A Lecture in Systemic Theology
by Alan Allegra 9/24/2012 / Christian Living
God totally fascinates me. I can hang with Him 24/7. I have been to over a dozen countries; met the poor, the powerful, and the prestigious; traveled coast to coast from New York City to towns whose name makes you giggle, where you can buy gas, fireworks, postage, and pay your speed trap ticket in the same office; seen the Eiffel Tower and Wall Drug; studied atoms and galaxies. After 60 years, I can honestly say, nothing captivates me more than a person I have never seen, touched or heard: the true, triune God.
A good portion of my library consists of books by Him (bibles), about Him, and about His people and works. Over a dozen are systematic theology books, each a little different in perspective on bible truth- thousands of pages of absorbing fireside reading. Systematic theology compiles the bible's teaching into categories for easier reference. It gives as complete a picture of God and His works as possible, given what He has revealed. Let's look at some characteristics of God to see how fascinating He is.
God is infinite: He has no boundaries, borders or bottom. He cannot run out of everything He is. He is not restricted by time or place. He is fully present everywhere and every time (Job 11:7-10). What does this mean?
God is eternal: He never started and can never end (Psalm 90:2). He'll never get old and feeble and die (Psalm 102:25-27).
God is everywhere in all His fullness (Psalm 139:7-10). He doesn't spread out and thin out like pizza dough.
God is all-powerful: He can do anything He wants (Jeremiah 32:17; Psalm 115:3).
The true God never changes (James 1:17): He never has mood swings nor is a victim of peer pressure.
God is all-knowing and all-wise (Psalm 147:5; Romans 11:33): He knows everything without learning and understands how to achieve the best outcome (Romans 8:28).
These are a few of God's awesome attributes, the study of which has fascinated theologians for centuries. But don't think God is a specimen swimming in a culture medium on a microscope slide--He is a living, personal, person.
Although God is spirit and not physical matter like us (John 4:24; Luke 24:39 [For a truly fascinating mental exercise, try to comprehend "spirit."]), He relates to us as a person. This is because we were made in His image (Genesis 1:27).
God is love (1 John 4:8). His love never changes, is available everywhere, and will never run dry (Jeremiah 31:3).
He showed His love in a fascinating, mind-boggling way: "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8). God showed up in the person of Jesus Christ to live with and like us, but without sin (John 1:14; Hebrews 4:15).
He Who loves us will never die (Hebrews 7:25). The Savior is everywhere; we need not seek a "holy place" (John 4:21; Romans 10:6-9). He is powerful to save (Isaiah 59:1). God never changes, so His promises come true (2 Corinthians 1:20). He knows all our sins, so He can't overlook any when forgiving them (1 John 1:9). His plan of salvation is the wisest possible plan (1 Corinthians 1:21).
Systematic theology is not as stuffy as some like to think. It should lead to what I call "Systemic theology." "Systemic" means "pertaining to or affecting the body as a whole." Theology is not meant to fill the brain fissures of ivory-tower professors; it is meant to affect our very lives. "Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says" (James 1:22).
God took on manhood to die for our sins so we could enjoy Him forever (1 Peter 2:24). Isn't that fascinating?