Part 3: Biblical Theism The Attributes of God (Concluded) -- By: Lewis Sperry Chafer

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 096:381 (Jan 1939)
Article: Part 3: Biblical Theism The Attributes of God (Concluded)
Author: Lewis Sperry Chafer


Part 3:
Biblical Theism
The Attributes of God (Concluded)

Lewis Sperry Chafer

(Series continued from October-December Number, 1938)

{Editor’s note: Footnotes in the original printed edition were numbered 13–23, but in this electronic edition are numbered 1–11 respectively.}

[Author’s Note: This article continues the general theme of Theism and specifically the attributes of God, which is concluded with these pages.]

II. Attributes

1. Personality

b. Sensibility

By this term the second element in personality is introduced. Both in philosophical and theological usage, the designation sensibility includes the higher forms of feeling and stands as much for the rational and moral as for the lower appetences. Though a difference as to degree and essential purity is recognized between the divine and the human sensibility, the reality of the divine cannot be questioned. To dispose of the vast body of Scriptures bearing on this theme by maintaining that divine sensibility as set forth in the Bible is no more than an anthropomorphism does not meet the exigency; rather, and far more in agreement with the truth, the human sensibility but feebly reflects that which subsists in God to the degree of infinite perfection. The fact that in God the emotions of love, patience, and the attributes of holiness, justice, goodness, mercy, faithfulness, exist goes far to indicate the true quality of God as in contrast to the errors of Deism and Pantheism. Too frequent, indeed, have been the efforts of theological writers to remove from the thoughts of men the warm and sentient nature which, by every form of utterance, the Scriptures seek to uphold. Defining God by negatives is justified only when the elements of weakness and

imperfection which are resident in man are to be eliminated. This procedure is carried too far when God is presented as pure intelligence and action apart from those emotions which sustain the divine attitude and motivate the divine action. Sensibility in God is as well defined as are the other essentials of personality-intelligence and will. Apart from the feeble experience of human love, men could comprehend nothing of the revelation set forth in the words of Christ to His Father, “For thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world,” and the words of Christ to men, “God so loved the world.” It is no limitation in God that He requires an object for His love, or that His love varies with different objects. There is peculiar force in the words addressed to Israel, “I have loved thee with an everlasting love” (Jer 31:3), and in the words, “Jacob have I loved, but...

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