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The Existence of God A.
Place of the Doctrine of God in Dogmatics. The prevailing opinion has always recognized this as the most logical procedure and still points in the same direction. In many instances even they whose fundamental principles would seem to require another arrangement, continue the traditional practice.
There are good reasons for starting with the doctrine of God, if we proceed on the assumption that theology is the systematized knowledge of God, of whom, through whom, and unto whom, are all things.
Instead of being surprised that Dogmatics should begin with the doctrine of God, we might well expect it to be a study of God throughout in all its ramifications, from the beginning to the end.
As a matter of fact, that is exactly what it is intended to be, though only the first locus deals with God directly, while the succeeding ones treat of Him more indirectly. We start the study of theology with two presuppositions, namely 1 that God exists, and 2 that He has revealed Himself in His divine Word.
And for that reason it is not impossible for us to start with the study of God. We can turn to His revelation, in order to learn what He has revealed concerning Himself and concerning His relation to His creatures. Attempts have been made in the course of time to distribute the material of Dogmatics in such a way as to exhibit clearly that it is, not merely in one locus, but in its entirety, a study of God.
This was done by the application of the trinitarian method, which arranges the subject-matter of Dogmatics under the three headings of 1 the Father 2 the Son, and 3 the Holy Spirit. Neither one of these can be called very successful.
Up to the beginning of the nineteenth century the practice was all but general to begin the study of Dogmatics with the doctrine of God; but a change came about under the influence of Schleiermacher, who sought to safeguard the scientific character of theology by the introduction of a new method.
The religious consciousness of man was substituted for the Word of God as the source of theology. Religion gradually took the place of God as the object of theology.
Man ceased to recognize the knowledge of God as something that was given in Scripture, and began to pride himself on being a seeker after God. Under such circumstances it was but natural that some should regard it as incongruous to begin Dogmatics with the study of God.
It is rather surprising that so many, in spite of their subjectivism, continued the traditional arrangement. Some, however, sensed the incongruity and struck out in a different way.
He does not deal with the doctrine of God connectedly, but only in fragments, and concludes his work with a discussion of the Trinity. His starting point is anthropological rather than theological. Some of the mediating theologians were influenced to such an extent by Schleiermacher that they logically began their dogmatic treatises with the study of man.
Even in the present day this arrangement is occasionally followed.
A striking example of it is found in the work of O. Curtis on The Christian Faith. This begins with the doctrine of man and concludes with the doctrine of God.
Ritschlian theology might seem to call for still another starting point, since it finds the objective revelation of God, not in the Bible as the divinely inspired Word, but in Christ as the Founder of the Kingdom of God, and considers the idea of the Kingdom as the central and all-controlling concept of theology.
However, Ritschlian dogmaticians, such as Herrmann. Haering, and Kaftan follow, at least formally, the usual order.A high quality, affordable college education should be within the reach of every student. Our goal is % student success, and that begins with offering the first two years of your undergraduate education at a reasonable cost that can be paid without going into debt.
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Compendium of all course descriptions for courses available at Reynolds Community College. Systematic Theology (Louis Berkhof) - Ebook download as PDF File .pdf), Text File .txt) or read book online.
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