The Bookshelf: Systematic Theology by Louis Berkhof

Berkhof’s Systematic Theology was my first book on Christian theology. Its unique cover design still reminds me of my first days with it. I would stay in my room to study, making repeated visits to the Bible close by to look up his numerous references. I loved the book (and still do.) It opened up…

Man in the State of Sin

The Origin of Sin *The Bible teaches us that sin entered the world as the result of the transgression of Adam and Eve in paradise. The first sin was occasioned by the temptation of Satan in the form of a serpent, who sowed in man’s heart the seeds of distrust and unbelief. Scripture clearly indicates…

Providence

*Since God not only created the world but also upholds it, we naturally pass from the doctrine of creation to that of divine providence. This may be defined as that work of God in which He preserves all His creatures, is active in all that happens in the world, and directs all things to their…

Creation

*The discussion of the decrees naturally leads on to the study of their execution, which begins with the work of creation. This is the beginning and basis of all revelation, and also the foundation of all religious life. 1. Creation in General. The word creation is not always used in the same sense in the…

The Divine Decrees

*The Divine Decrees in General. The decree of God is His eternal plan or purpose, in which He has foreordained all things that come to pass. Since it includes many particulars, we often speak of the divine decrees in the plural, though in reality there is but a single decree. It covers all the works…

The Trinity

*1. Statement of the Doctrine. The Bible teaches that, while He exists in three Persons, called Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. These are not three persons in the ordinary sense of the word; they are not three individuals, but rather three modes or forms in which the Divine Being exists. At the same time they…

The Attributes of God

*God reveals Himself not only in His names, but also in His attributes, that is, in the perfections of the divine Being. It is customary to distinguish between incommunicable and communicable attributes. Of the former there are no traces in the creature; of the latter there are. 1. The Incommunicable Attributes. These emphasize the absolute…

The Nature of God

*THE BEING OF GOD 1. The Knowledge of God. The possibility of knowing God has been denied on several grounds. But while it is true that man can never fully comprehend God, it does not follow that he can have no knowledge of Him at all. He can know Him only in part, but nevertheless…

Scripture

            1. Revelation and Scripture*. The term ‘special revelation’ may be used in more than one sense. It may denote the direct self-communications of God in verbal messages and in miraculous facts. The prophets and the apostles often received messages from God long before they committed them to writing. These…

Revelation

1. Revelation in General*. The discussion of religion naturally leads on to that of revelation as its origin. If God had not revealed Himself, religion would have been impossible. Man could not possibly have had any knowledge of God, if God had not made Himself known. Left to himself, he would never have discovered God….