Thursday, March 17, 2011

Theology Thursday


Lat. “image of God”
The theological concept that man uniquely represents the image and likeness of God (Gen. 1:26-27). It is debated exactly what characteristics are unique to man. The options are many: personality, eternality, relationality, volitionality, rationality, spirituality, morality, dominionality. The best option seems to be that man possesses all these qualities to a greater degree than does the rest of creation. According to the Christian worldview, the imago dei was marred at the fall, but not destroyed. Therefore, all people still represent God”s image and have dignity as his image bearers (Gen. 9:6Jam. 3:8-9).


The Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox teaching that Mary, the mother of Jesus, was assumed bodily into heaven either shortly before her death or shortly after. The Catholics do not dogmatize when Mary was assumed but the Orthodox believe that the assumption took place three days after her death. Although this doctrine finds no biblical support and little support in early Church history, it was dogmatically and infallibly declared to be true by Pope Pius XII on 1 November 1950 in the Apostolic Constitution Munificentissimus Deus.


Apologetics is the discipline of defending or giving an answer for the faith to those who have questions or objections to the Christian faith. 1 Peter 3:15 says, “But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” Significant apologists today include J.P. Moreland, William Lane Craig, Robert Bowman Jr., and Alvin Plantinga, among others.


Propitiation describes the act whereby God’s wrath toward sin is fully satisfied through the sacrificial death of Christ on the cross. It is debated among Christians as to whether Christ’s death was a propitiation for all sins of all people, or limited only to the sins of the elect. 1 John 2:2 seems to suggest that the propitiation is universal, but this is not without its problems. “Propitiation” translates the Greek words hilaskomai (Luke 18:13 “be merciful” and Heb. 2:17“to make expiation”), hilasmos (1 John 2:2 and 4:10 “expiation” or “propitiation”), and hilasterion (Rom. 3:25 “an expiation” and Heb. 9:5 “mercy seat”)


God appearing
A term that delineates an appearance of God to man in a tangible way. In Christianity, many biblical theologians believe that God appeared to man as “the Angel of the Lord.” Many would also believe that this Angel is a pre-incarnate appearances of Christ. This is often called a “Christophany.” Examples of theophanies might include Gen. 12:7-9; 18:1-33; 32:22-30, Ex. 3:2-4:17; 24:9-11, Deut. 31:14-15Josh. 5: 13-15, Job 38–42, Dan. 3:22-25.


The belief concerning the destiny of the unevangelized that the blood of Christ is the only way for a person to be saved, but that one does not necessarily have to hear and believe the Gospel in order to be saved by the blood of Christ. In other words, Christ is needed ontologically, but not epistemologically. Inclusivists would argue that heaven will be populated by many who did not ever accept the Gospel of Jesus Christ such as Old Testament saints (who never heard it) and those who are mentally unable (infants and the mentally handicapped). Therefore, according to inclusivists, God does save people without explicit belief in the Gospel as we know it and he may save those who have never heard the Gospel today in the same way.

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