Part 6 Biblical Theism The Names of Deity -- By: Lewis Sperry Chafer

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 096:384 (Oct 1939)
Article: Part 6 Biblical Theism The Names of Deity
Author: Lewis Sperry Chafer


Part 6
Biblical Theism
The Names of Deity

Lewis Sperry Chafer

(Series continued from July-September Number, 1939)

[Author’s Note: This somewhat abbreviated treatment of the names of Deity, which serves to conclude the series of discussions on Theism, will be supplemented in later articles respecting the Trinity-especially the titles of the Son and of the Spirit. Beginning with the January-March issue of BIBLIOTHECA SACRA and continuing to upwards of eight successive articles, there will be presented a consideration of the general field of Trinitarianism.]

{Editor’s note: Footnotes in the original printed edition were numbered 7–13, but in this electronic edition are numbered 1–7 respectively.}

Introduction

As no argument is presented in the Old Testament to prove the existence of God, so in like manner, there is no argument advanced to demonstrate that God may be known. Men of those times knew God because of His presence with them. That truth does not imply His bodily appearance. In fact there is little that borders on a physical conception, nor, on the other hand, is there much doctrine that establishes the fact of the divine essence. The Old Testament’s delineation of God is almost wholly ethical. With reference to the way in which God is revealed, Dr. A. B. Davidson in his Theology of the Old Testament states:

“The peculiarity of the Old Testament conception rather comes out when the question is raised, how God is known. Here we touch a fundamental idea of the Old Testament-the idea of Revelation. If men know God, it is because He has made Himself known to them. This knowledge is due to what He does, not to what men themselves achieve. As God is the source of all life, and as the knowledge of Him is the highest life, this knowledge cannot be reached by any

mere effort of man. If man knows anything of God, he has received it from God, who communicates Himself in love and grace. The idea of man reaching to a knowledge or fellowship of God through his own efforts is wholly foreign to the Old Testament. God speaks, He appears; man listens and beholds. God brings Himself nigh to men; He enters into a covenant or personal relation with them; He lays commands on them. They receive Him when He approaches; they accept His will and obey His behests. Moses and the prophets are nowhere represented as thoughtful minds reflecting on the Unseen, and forming conclusions regarding it, or ascending to elevated conceptions of Godhead. The Unseen manifests itself before them, and they know it... But, however much the Old Testament reposes on the ground that all knowledge of God comes from His revealing...

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