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God nearby and God far away − Stephen Charnock on divine attributes

By Jan Hoek

Abstract

<span style="font-family: Times New Roman; font-size: small;"> </span><span>This article evaluated the way the Puritan theologian and pastor Stephen Charnock describes the attributes of God in his book titled </span><em>Discourses upon the existence and attributes of God</em><span>. On the one hand, the book displays a clear testimony to God’s highness, ‘God far away’, which helps us overcome earthly conceptions of God’s majesty. On the other hand, the book pays particular attention to the significance of experiential knowledge of God’s attributes such as his omnipotence, holiness and goodness regarding the life of faith. This way, Charnock endeavours to preach ‘God nearby’. The main question of research in this article is whether or not Charnock succeeded in establishing a connection between the attributes qualifying God as ‘God far away’ and those that depict him as ‘God nearby’. Did he bridge the gap between these two approaches?</span><p><strong>God nabij en God ver weg − Stephen Charnock (1628–1680) over de eigenschappern van God.</strong> Dit artikel evalueert de wijze waarop de Puriteinse theoloog en pastor Stephen Charnock in zijn boek <em>Discourses upon the Existence and Attributes of God</em> de eigenschappen van God bespreekt. Enerzijds is het boek een helder getuigenis van de grootheid van God, ‘de God van verre’, waardoor we geholpen worden om aardse voorstellingen van Gods majesteit te overwinnen. Tegelijkertijd geeft dit boek bijzondere aandacht aan de betekenis van de bevindelijke kennis van Gods eigenschappen, zoals zijn almacht, heiligheid, goedheid enzovoorts, in het leven van het geloof. Op deze wijze zet Charnock zich in om ‘de God van nabij’ te verkondigen. De belangrijkste vraag die dit artikel wil beantwoorden is in hoeverre Charnock erin slaagt een brug te slaan tussen deze beide benaderingen.</p><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt; line-height: 200%; mso-outline-level: 1;"> </p><span style="font-family: Times New Roman; font-size: small;"> </span

Topics: theology proper, attributes of God, consolation for the believers, Charnock, Stephan, Practical Theology, BV1-5099, Practical religion. The Christian life, BV4485-5099
Publisher: AOSIS
Year: 2014
DOI identifier: 10.4102/ids.v48i1.1706
OAI identifier: oai:doaj.org/article:73626d9a4f4a4611a08c58af04efe005
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