By Carl F Henry.
The first four volumes dealt with epistemology. The final two deal with ontology and the doctrine of God.
“God who stands” = personal sovereign containing in himself the ground of his own existence.
“God who stays” = governs in providence and in eschatological consummation (Henry 10).
Does have its uses. Its basic meaning is “to stand under.” It is not an essence distinguishable from the divine personality (11). God stands under, not as an underlying substratum, but as the free originator (12).
“God stands” includes his revelational initiative.
“Secular religion lacks revelational criteria to distinguish the divine from the demonic in its promotion of social revolution” (39).
Chapter 2: The Being, Coming, and Becoming of God
Thesis: The Bible has no problem with “being-language,” but such language is always conditioned by God’s self-disclosure (48-49). And this self-disclosure is known to us (if not exhausted by) by valid propositional truths.
Chapter 3: The Living God of the Bible
The ambiguous status of cosmic powers in the Bible is not because of some evolutionary move towards mono- or henotheism. Rather, it is because that world has an ambiguous ontology of rival spirits (74).
Chapter 4: Methods of Determining the Divine Attributes
Henry surveys the three ways (negation, eminence, causality) and finds them inadequate. Even neo-orthodox scholars must presuppose some positive statements about God in order for them to posit a crisis-intuitive encounter.
Can we know God “in himself?” Henry cautiously affirms that. If our knowledge of God’s nature and attributes comes from cognitive, propositional statements from God’s self-disclosure, then there is no reason why we can’t have metaphysical knowledge about God’s nature (96).
God’s attributes are determined by a logically ordered exposition of scriptural revelation (100).
Chapter 5: Relationship between Essence and Attributes
Realism: “nonmental ‘substance’ is the ontological core of all finite realities.”
Henry’s position: rejects that there is an underlying substratum in which attributes inhere. This would make the forms and logic “other than” and superior to God.
Chapter 6: God’s Divine Simplicity and Attributes
Essence or nature of God: a living personal unity or properties and attributes (130). “Essence and attributes are integral to each other.” “A living unity of perfections.”
“God’s activities are divine qualities or attributes.”
Chapter 7: Personality in the Godhead
Person: the medievals applied it, not to God’s being, but to the distinctions within the Godhead (153). For us there is both personality of God and personality in God.
Chapter 8: Muddling the Trinitarian Dispute
Divine personality is not simply the human self infinitely expanded.
Chapter 9: The Doctrine of the Trinity
Gregory of Nyssa: the Trinity is a Platonic idea where the three persons are subsumed under the one idea of God just as three men are subsumed under the one idea of Man.
Shedd: There is a personality to the Godhead. This is not the same as the person of the essence.
Chapter 11: God the Self-Revealed Infinite
Barth: Infinity is the plenitude of God’s perfections (Henry, 230).
Chapter 12: Divine Timelessness or Unlimited
Thesis: God is timelessly eternal (239). This is not the same thing as an “everlasting now.”
Chapter 13: The modern attack on the timeless God
Question: If God is timeless, how does he respond in time to humans? The answer lies in his sovereignty.
Chapter 14: Divine Timelessness and Omniscience
Omniscience: God’s perfect knowledge of all things, actual or possible, past, present or future” (268). “The biblical view implies that God is not in time; that there is no succession of ideas in the divine mind” (276).
Chapter 15: Immutability not borrowed from the Greeks
The changelessness predicated of an eternal being is different from the changelessness of a being in time (288).
Chapter 16: The Sovereignty of the Omnipotent God
God’s power is not exhausted by his universe.
Chapter 17: God’s Intellectual Attributes (very important chapter!!)
Thesis: God is the source and ground of all rational distinction (334). The laws of logic are the architecture of God’s mind. “The divine Logos is creative and revelatory.”
Revelation is divine self-disclosure.
Chapter 19: The Knowability of God
Incomprehensibility does not imply unknowability.
Chapter 20: Man’s Mind and God’s Mind
Our minds “coincide” in certain propositions, but not pantheistically (383).