A Brief Book Summary from Books At a Glance
About the Author
Craig Biehl (PhD, Westminster Theological Seminary) is the author of The Infinite Merit of Christ: The Glory of Christ’s Obedience in the Theology of Jonathan Edwards; Reading Religious Affections: A Study Guide to Jonathan Edwards’ Classic on the Nature of True Christianity; and The Box: Answering the Faith of Unbelief.
This book examines the perfections of God and shows how all of human life and thought must be submitted to him. Biehl unpacks the attributes of God and demonstrates how God’s nature is the only possible foundation for rationality and morality. God’s existence is clearly revealed through all things, and all people know that he exists. Only in the Christian worldview can the universe, ethics, reason, and human experience be made intelligible. God is infinitely perfect and the standard for righteousness. He is ultimate truth. All of his excellences and attributes exist in a perfect unity. God is the Creator, and the world that he created cannot be interpreted apart from his eternal existence and divine knowledge and wisdom. Any attempt to live and reason in independence from God is doomed to futility and self-contradiction. Christians can know reality because they know God and accept God’s revelation.
Table of Contents
Introduction: In the Beginning of God
Chapter 1 God is Eternal
Chapter 2 God Needs Nothing
Chapter 3 God Cannot be Known Unless He Reveals Himself
Chapter 4 God is Boundless Perfection
Chapter 5 God Does Not Change
Chapter 6 God is Undivided
Chapter 7 God is Spirit
Chapter 8 God Knows Everything
Chapter 9 God is Wise
Chapter 10 God is True and Truthful
Chapter 11 God is Good and Love
Chapter 12 God is Holy
Chapter 13 God is Righteous
Chapter 14 God is Infinitely Powerful
Chapter 15 God Rules Over All
Appendix A: Problems with Atheistic Rationalism and Empiricism
Appendix B: A Comparison of Justified and Unjustified Faith
God is Eternal
The Bible begins by proclaiming, “In the beginning, God…” God is eternal and self-existent, and he creates the world and everything that exists. Nothing is independent of God, but rather all things depend on him. This means that there is nothing that is comprehensible apart from seeing it in its relationship to God. Every particle and all the laws of the universe are only what they are because of God’s will, ordering, and power. Scientists can observe and discover the way that God has ordered the universe, but they cannot explain why the universe is ordered and coherent. Science is descriptive and explains what happens but not why it happens: the only answer to the “why” question is that God holds the universe together and continues to sustain it and direct it. Atheism cannot explain why the universe is coherent.
Christians recognize that they depend on God for their lives, but they do not always realize that they also depend on God for knowledge, authority, and truth. Our knowledge is partial at best, but God’s is exhaustive. Even before they fell, Adam and Eve were dependent on God for knowledge and the proper interpretation of reality. Now that we are all sinners, our finiteness and our sinfulness work together to ensure that, on our own, we will misinterpret and misconstrue ultimate reality to exclude God and exalt ourselves. All knowledge depends on the God of truth, who reveals it and who gives us the ability to know and understand.
God is also the source and standard of moral truth. He knows what is right and wrong, and he has revealed moral truths to the human race. The love, compassion, and service of Christians stands in stark contrast to the evolutionary ethics of many philosophers and atheistic regimes of the recent past. When we reject God’s moral standards we are still left with selfish desires, and there are no ethical norms that can constrain our tyrannical wills. We were created not for ourselves but for God. God needs nothing and is dependent on nothing, but he created us to know him, the God who is infinitely perfect in every way. In sin, unbelievers suppress the knowledge of God that they have, and they persist in rebellion against his moral standards. Yet God’s moral standards are inescapable, as is the evidence of his existence. The rejection of God’s revelation—both in creation and in Scripture—is motivated by a sinful heart, not by reason and evidence. We need the Scriptures to know the gospel, but the created order is enough to know that there is a God to whom we owe everything we are and have.
God Needs Nothing
God is completely independent, self-existent, and self-sufficient. There is literally nothing that he needs. God created us in his image, and the redeemed will reflect his glory in eternity, but there will always be a categorical distinction between the creatures and their Creator.[To continue reading this summary, please see below....]
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God the Reason: How Infinite Excellence Gives Unbreakable Faith