Can we truly understand God? No…and yes.
As sinful men and women, even our logic has suffered the effects of sin. We cannot expect to completely understand a God that lies beyond our comprehension; however, the God who created us also revealed Himself to us. Because of both general revelation in creation and special revelation in God’s written Word, we can a great deal about God.
First, we must recognize that God is a God of order and not disorder. Gen 1:1-2 states:
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. (ESV)
In the beginning, God created from nothing. From that nothing, God made something and then he gave it order. He set lights in the sky to rule it by day and by night. He set the stars in fixed positions to serve as a guide for seafarers. He constructed the seasons of fall, winter, spring and summer with recurring cycles for planting, watering, and reaping a harvest. God took disorder and gave it order.
We see order in the New Testament through many ways, but especially in the Greek word for world, kosmos. The word kosmos means “to set in order” or “to adorn or decorate.”
Guys, perhaps you have seen your wife get ready or as they say, “put her face on.” She begins with a foundation, adds some lipstick to make her lips pop and some eyeliner to draw attention to the color of her eyes. Perhaps some mascara or eyelash extensions among other things all designed to adorn and give order. While doing this, she uses cosmetics. Notice the resemblance to our word kosmos. Well, we certainly don’t want to stretch the relationship too far, but perhaps next time you see someone wearing cosmetics or put them on yourself (ladies), then you will remember how God has put order into this world and adorned it with beauty.
God communicates to humans through general revelation and special revelation. General revelation includes such things as creation whereas special revelation typically refers to the Scriptures. God, who communicates order through general revelation, also communicates order through special revelation. Throughout the Bible we see orderly communication of truths to the people He created. By systematically studying the Bible (special revelation), we can learn more about God, more about ourselves, and more about the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ.
So what exactly is Systematic Theology? It is a discipline that gives a systematic, coherent exposition of the Christian faith, based on the entire Bible, resulting in personal application for the Christian life and ministry.
So what exactly is Systematic Theology? It is a discipline that gives a systematic, coherent exposition of the Christian faith, based on the entire Bible, resulting in personal application for the Christian life and ministry. Over the next several posts, we’ll see that Systematic Theology should be studied for ourselves, for others, and for the Gospel. In the final post, I’ll offer some starting points for studying Systematic Theology as well as helpful resources to guide you.
Editor’s Note: This is the second article in the series “Why You Should Study Systematic Theology” by Thomas White, vice president for student services and communications at Southwestern.