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Revealed theology

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Revealed theology or biblical theology is Christian theology founded in the Bible. Under a historical-critical exegesis underpinned by a systematic methodology verses are found throughout the Old Testament and New Testament of the Bible that contain similar and consistent teachings about the nature of God and His revelation to humanity. Jesus Christ is the central figure that guides revealed theology within Christianity by presupposing His life, death and resurrection as the fulfillment of prophecy. It is in this light that exegesis proceeds and allows the practice of sound hermeneutics.

Exegetical foundations of revealed theology are realized by applying the same approaches as Jesus practiced. In Luke 4:25-27 Jesus demonstrates His relevance;

25And He said to them, "O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! 26"Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?" 27Then beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures. Luke 24:25-27 (NASB)

History

During the Middle Ages (5th century to the 15th century AD) ecclesiastical establishment dictated biblical theology. Founding itself not in reverence to the Bible but within Sacred Tradition of the Catholic Church.[1][2] Sacred Tradition informed (and in fact continues to inform) the biblical text by man made traditions concerning apostolic authority within the Roman Catholic view. Theological models were constructed around such man centered notions that did not consistently rely on the biblical text as authority. Having the authority of the biblical text in the periphery rather than central position breeds the practice of eisegesis. This atmosphere deepened and cultivated the Protestant reformation and to a lesser degree Calvinism. Christianity realizes theological orthodoxy in a time before the Middle Ages and the institutional Catholic church. It is within the teachings of the Apostolic fathers and the historical context from the time of Christ to no later than the fifth century AD.

Ecclesiastical history shows a wide spectrum of diverse opinion. Common theological models may be found even though secondary denominational differences are clearly common.[3] It is when heresy emerges within denominational difference that excommunication or the stigma of cult maybe necessary. Differences abound when religions are viewed externally as well but subtle similarities may still remain upon further research. Islam and Christianity for example are strikingly different in almost every aspect yet still retain at least a kind of relationship.

Brevard Childs book Biblical theology of the Old and New Testaments; Theological Reflection of the Christian Bible is a classic that illuminates many aspects of biblical theology. It states that;

Its task would be defined thus: In 'biblical theology' the theologian who devotes himself specially to studying the connection between the Old and New Testaments has to give an account of his understanding of the Bible as a whole, i.e. above all of the theological problems that come of inquiring into the inner unity of the manifold testimony of the Bible. - Gerhard Ebeling (1912-2001)[2]

Characteristics

Hermeneutics

Main Article: Hermeneutics

Hermeneutics is the science or practice of understanding text (theory of interpretation). Although there are secular applications, the term was used originally to stand for the field of biblical interpretation.[4] The philosophy or methodology assumes the Bible remains as written, but that its interpretation changes between historical periods, across cultures, etc. It is a qualitative research tradition that uses these diverse experiences of people as a tool for understanding the social, cultural, political, and historical context in which interpretations occurs.

The Oxford Companion to the Bible defines hermeneutics as;

inquires into the conditions under which the interpretation of biblical texts may be judged possible, faithful, accurate, responsible, or productive in relation to some specified goal.

Biblical inerrancy

Main Article: Biblical inerrancy

Biblical inerrancy is a belief and a doctrinal stand that the Bible is without error. Such belief or trust in the truths of the Bible weigh heavily into our epistemology, and ultimately our faith in salvation.

There are two forms of inerrancy known as strict and original inerrancy.

  • Strict inerrancy holds that the Bible is without error in its present form.
  • Original inerrancy holds that the Bible was without error in its original form, but has accumulated a few minor and insignificant errors through years of copying.

Biblical canon

Main Article: Biblical canon

The Biblical canon is the collection of books accepted as holy scripture and recognized by any Christian church as genuine and inspired. The most vital component of the history of any country or religion is the original document outlining its governing principles. The Christian church begins with the Bible. It contains 66 books, 39 in the Old Testament and 27 in the New Testament written by 40 different authors over 1500 years. [5] No other book in history is as popular, or as revered, nor as diverse in context as the lives of those who wrote it.

Theology proper; Nature of God

God

Main Article: God

God is the single, omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent deity as described in monotheistic religions — the sole creator and ruler of the universe.

He has many names and titles, most notably Yahweh or Jehovah (Hebrew: יהוה, Yāhwēh; Greek: Ἰαουέ, Iaouē; Latin: Iahveh) in Christianity, Lord (Hebrew: אֲדֹנָי, ʼAḏōnāy) in Judaism, and Allah (Arabic: الله, Allāh) in Islam. Most theists hold that God is perfect, omnipotent, omniscient, and benevolent. Questions regarding the existence and nature of God falls under the branch of philosophy known as metaphysics.

Trinity

Main Article: Trinity

The trinity is a specifically Christian view of God. The word is from the Latin Trinitas, meaning "threeness." An ontology of theism different from Islamic and Jewish Unitarianism, called trinitarianism (three in one). Although not explicitly found within the biblical text the trinity however is implied in both the Old Testament and New Testament of the Bible. Systematic studies of scripture under Christian theology highlight the different aspects or what are called persons of one God. God is revealed in three unique persons as; Father, a Son (namely Jesus Christ) and a Holy Spirit. Each personal nature of God is with independent purpose, yet all are united within the Godhead so to speak.

Christians are distinguished from other theists by their understanding of the Godhead as both one and three, and by their belief that God has redeemed the world through Jesus of Nazareth.[6]

Anthropology

Nature of Man

Sin
Main Article: Sin

Sin is the tendency to set one's own will in opposition to God's and the general deficiency of our own moral character compared to God's. Following from that, a particular sin is an action or inaction that does not conform to God's character, and especially any action that is committed with the foreknowledge that it is contrary to conscience or morality or divine law. Humans have inherent knowledge of right and wrong that was obtained at the time Adam and Eve ate of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. We commit "sin" when our actions violate these instincts. It is through sinful acts that we fall short of God's intended design. Such behavior displeases God and causes us to be separated from Him.

Fall of Man
Main Article: Fall of Man

The Fall of Man (Date::8 Ethanim 1 AM) was an event during which the first man and woman (Adam and Eve) sinned against God, and fell from grace. The event is also known as the Original Sin. According to the Bible, this sin brought death into the world, but humans remain immortal beings to be resurrected to eternal life in heaven, or eternal death in hell. The Bible also seems to clearly imply that humans were designed to live immortally in their physical bodies before Adam and Eve committed the original sin.

Ecclesiology

Main Article: History of Christianity

A ecclesiastical historian specifically studies the history of Christianity, also known as ecclesiastical history. Church history studies the remarkable history of the growth of Christianity as a movement, in numbers and influence. Today the institution founded by Jesus Christ is the largest and most influential religion in the world, despite multiple efforts to stop its spread.

A methodical, scientific study of the growth and development of this movement must examine the claims that its Founder made and the evidence that bears out those claims. They include a declaration that the church would never die and that the Holy Spirit would continue to guide its growth and development in order to save mankind from its sin.

Within the historical method an ecclesiastical historian must study the tension between the free will of man and the possibility of supernatural intervention in any event. That God is an external causal agent acting in nature producing miracles throughout history cannot be analyzed by the scientific method. But when examination of historicity takes place through the historical method recognition of supernatural intervention is common for the ecclesiastical historian and should be seen as what sustained the church on the path that it has followed. [7][8]

Eschatology

Main Article: Eschatology

Eschatology (Greek εσχατος or eschatos the last and λογος or logos a word) is the study of the last things that the Bible predicts will happen to the world and mankind. Jesus Christ made repeated reference to a sorting-out of saved and lost people at "the end of the world." Moreover, most of the prophets whose writings survive today made some reference to prophecies that would not be fulfilled within the time frame of the Bible--including many that, many commentators suggest, remain unfulfilled to this day.

References

  1. Peter Marshall, The Reformation: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford University Press 2009), pg. 11
  2. 2.0 2.1 Biblical theology of the Old and New Testaments; Theological Reflection of the Christian Bible By Brevard S. Childs, 1993
  3. Comparison of Christian Denominations' Beliefs By ReligionFacts
  4. It Does Not Matter What the Bible Means to You by C Michael PattonMay 17th, 2009
  5. Slick, Matthew J. "The Bible." Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry, March 23, 2007. Accessed September 16, 2008.
  6. Charlers Taliaferro, Paul Draper and Phillip L. Quinn, A Companion to Philosophy of Religion (Wiley-Blackwell, 2nd Edition 2010), pg. 59
  7. Kirsch, Johann Peter. "Ecclesiastical History." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 7. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1910. Accessed September 16, 2008.
  8. History of Christianity by Wikipedia

External Links