Abstract of Systematic Theology


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All Departments 90 Documents 7 Researchers. Save to Library. This essay attends to the relationship between our ethnic, social, and cultural identities, and the creation of the new communal identity embodied in the Christian community. Drawing upon six New Testament texts — Ephesians —22; Drawing upon six New Testament texts — Ephesians —22; Galatians —28; 1 Corinthians —24 and ; 1 Peter —11; and Revelation —26 — it is argued that the creation of a new and prime identity in Christ does not abrogate other creaturely identities, even as it calls for the removal of such as boundary markers.

Those baptized into Christ are now to live in the reality of Christ who is both the boundary and center of their existence, a boundary which includes all humanity in its cultural, ethnic, gendered, social and historical particularities. A unique bond exists between the indissolubility of marriage and its sacramentality, that is, a reciprocal, constitutive relationship. Indissol-ubility makes one's grasp of the sacramental nature of Christian matrimony easier, and from Indissol-ubility makes one's grasp of the sacramental nature of Christian matrimony easier, and from the theological point of view, its sacramental nature constitutes the final grounds, although not the only grounds, for its indissolubility.

McLeod Campbell and P.

Professor of Theology and Culture, Princeton Theological Seminary

While holiness is one of the motifs in theological discourse that can legitimately be said to entwine many others, the coinage it receives for such honour is being largely exiled from discussion. Thus, any contribution that could be made Thus, any contribution that could be made by considering Jesus Christ as the defining revelation of holiness is sidelined.

Beginning with some biblical observations, and enlisting some help from Scottish Congregationalist P. Forsyth, this article seeks to encourage a reclaiming of holiness vocabulary as a distinctly christological reality and gift that finds expression first in the unique incarnate life and death of the Son, and then in the life and mission of the community created and sustained by that same Son. To escape this difficulty some have even maintained that there was originally in man a mere condition of equilibrium in which it was as easy to choose the wrong as the right.

Nor can it be shown that, if this had been true, a trial upon probation, in which was given a choice of good and evil, with consequent reward and punishment, would have been unjust to man or derogatory to the character of God. But the plain teaching of Scripture is that man was not created in perfect equilibrium, but with a holy nature, the whole tendency of which was naturally towards the good and the holy.

Sunday School: Abstract of Systematic Theology

In thus fitting him for his trial, God is seen, by special endowment, to have given him most graciously all the powers possible to fit him for a wise choice in any instance in which he should be left to act according to his good pleasure. In reply to the question how a being thus endowed could fall, the following suggestions may be made. While they may not be entirely satisfactory, they must be recognized as at least constituting a possible explanation of a subject so completely environed with difficulties.


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The excellent nature thus bestowed was, after all, only that of a mere creature. The perfection, as such, could be only natural and bestowed, not essential and inalienable. Therefore, unless preserved by the purpose and acts of God, it might be lost. It was that of a creature, the excellence of whose action consisted in always choosing the right and rejecting the wrong, but which had the power, should the inclination arise, of making and pursuing a contrary choice. No natural or compulsory necessity existed to prevent such choice.

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The right would only be chosen so long as the motive to do so should be the prevailing one. While, therefore, the nature wholly inclined by its nature to the right would naturally and certainly act in that direction, yet if that nature could be so affected as to incline towards the wrong, there would be no hindrance to its sinful action. Under such circumstances, against any gross violation of the law of God, or sinful rebellion against him, the heart would so naturally revolt that the beginning of sin in this direction would be almost impossible.

But if any desire should be awakened in itself sinless when duly exercised, that desire might so increase as ultimately to acquire sufficient strength to overcome the right tendency of the nature, and to lead finally by undue exercise to wrong action for its gratification. The foundation for such desire might be found in the wish to gratify the lower appetites, or to attain higher exercise of the intellectual faculties. The cause of its springing up would naturally be the denial of some means by which it would appear that either or both of these wishes could be attained.

This accords with the principle stated by the Apostle Paul. The natural result would be not immediately to determine to do the wrong, but to question the justice or intention with which the act was forbidden. This doubt of God would so lead the nature towards sin that the act would then be done from the motive arising from the desire of gratifying either the sensual or the spiritual appetite.

We have the account of the fall in Gen.

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The statement is very brief yet complete. This is a proof of its inspiration, which also appears from its accurate agreement with the best thoughts men have been able to attain as to how such an event could take place.

The narrative shows that the attack upon man had to be made in a most subtle manner. We have the occasion; in God's forbidding man to eat of the fruit of a certain tree, called "the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

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We have that love of wisdom, natural and proper in an intelligent being, excited by the idea that through its increase would be given elevation in the scale of existence. Led by this desire to think of its possible gratification, the very name of the tree whose fruit was forbidden seemed to confirm the language of the tempter. The good thus attainable appeared to be one which God would so naturally wish to bestow, that it created doubt whether God could really have meant to forbid its use, and particularly whether he would fulfil his threats, or had even intended them to be effective to prevent the proposed action.

Then followed the result, the statement of which shows the processes through which the mind of the woman had gone; "when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a light to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and she gave also unto her husband with her, and he did eat. The Scriptures say but little of the difference between Adam and Eve in this transaction.

The narrative of Genesis simply relates that the woman was the first tempted, and the first to sin, and that through her the fruit was given to the man. The only other allusion is that in which Paul states that "Adam was not beguiled, but the woman being beguiled hath fallen into transgression. This may mean only that the woman was tempted by Satan, while the man was not; or that Eve believed the tempter, and did not perceive the consequences of transgression, while Adam acted in full knowledge of them.

As to the reality of an external agent in the temptation, there has been no little dispute. Some have held that there was no actor, but that the temptation was the result merely of the emotions and desires of the woman. But the Scriptures say distinctly that there was a serpent, present and active. Temptation, through a serpent might have occurred in several ways. A serpent might innocently and alone have been the occasion of the suggestion of the thoughts to Eve. Some evil being might have accompanied the innocent acts of the serpent to suggest to her mind the thoughts by which he would tempt her to sin.

This evil spirit, in the form of a serpent, or taking possession of an actual serpent, might have used and uttered the language or suggested the thoughts attributed to him in the narrative. A fourth explanation has been suggested, and is somewhat advocated by Turner in his Commentary on Genesis, p.

This supposes that the devil was the only agent, and that all reference to the serpent is allegorical. The Scriptures seem to accord more nearly with the third of these theories. There appears to be no valid objection to the acceptance of this their most obvious import. The temptation of Jesus shows that Satan can assume bodily form. Mere mental suggestion cannot account for all that then occurred.


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It is necessary to believe that he appeared in bodily form to our Lord and addressed him in words uttered with the voice. This is involved in the offer recorded in Luke This shows that the serpent has always had its present form. The curse, therefore, so far as uttered against the animal is merely equivalent to an assertion of the continuance of what had always been, and only places before man a constant and dreaded memorial of the first sin. This is consistent with God's method of cursing and blessing as seen in the bow of Noah, Gen.

This third theory is favoured by the following facts: 1. The title serpent and dragon is given elsewhere in Scripture to Satan. See Rev. The narrative in Genesis demands more than mental suggestion through a mere animal. If the temptation of Eve arose from mere mental suggestion to her by the purposeless acts of a purely irrational animal, the mention of this subtlety is unaccountable.

These are aa That death would not ensue. The subsequent references in the Scriptures to this transaction show that this was the beginning of the great struggle of Satan for the ruin of man, which was to end in his destruction by the man Christ Jesus, the seed of the woman. In the New Testament it is both directly asserted, and in various forms assumed, that Satan seduced our first parents into sin.

Abstract of Systematic Theology by James Boyce

In Rev. In John , our Lord calls the Devil a 'murderer from the beginning, and the father of lies, because through him sin and death were introduced into the world. The fall of Man occurred when he was on probation under the Covenant of works. Theologians are accustomed to speak of two especial covenants, the one of works, the other of grace.

These do not embrace all the covenants between God and man, which indeed have been very numerous. The others most prominently mentioned in the Scriptures are that with Noah, Gen. The two covenants of works and grace are spoken of in Gal. That of grace is the covenant of redemption made by God with his elect, or more properly with Christ, the second Adam, as their representative. That of works, is the covenant of the law entered into between God and all mankind through the first Adam, their natural head and appropriate and appointed representative.

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