God On The Net

Theological Dictionary

Edify - Foreknowledge


      To build up. In the Christian context it means to strengthen someone, or be strengthened, in relationship to God, the Christian walk, and holiness. As Christians, we are to "let all things be done for edification" (1 Corinthians 14:26). We are edified by the Word of God (Acts 20:32) and by love (1 Corinthians 8:1). (See also Romans 14:19; Ephesians 4:29 and 1 Corinthians 3:1-4; James 4:1-6).


      Producing a result. Christ's atonement was efficacious; it produced the result of forgiveness of sins for the elect. The atonement is efficacious grace in action.

Elect, Election

      The elect are those called by God to salvation. This election occurs before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4) and is according to God's will not man's (Romans 8:29-30; 9:6-23) because God is sovereign (Romans 9:11-16). The view of election is especially held by Calvinists who also hold to the doctrine of predestination.


      The study of the teachings in the Bible concerning the end times, or of the period of time dealing with the return of Christ and the events that follow. Eschatological subjects include the Resurrection, the Rapture, the Tribulation, the Millennium, the Binding of Satan, the Three witnesses, the Final Judgment, Armageddon, and The New Heavens and the New Earth. In the New Testament, eschatological chapters include Matthew 24, Mark 13, Luke 17, and 2 Thessalonians 2. In one form or another most of the books of the Bible deal with end times subjects. But some that are more prominently eschatological are Daniel, Ezekiel, Isaiah, Joel, Zechariah, Matthew, Mark, Luke, 2 Thessalonians, and of course Revelation. (See Amillennialism and Premillennialism for more information on views on the millennium.)

Eternal life

      Life everlasting in the presence of God. "This is eternal life, that they may know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou has sent" (John 17:3).

      There are two senses in which this is used. First, as Christians we possess eternal life (1 John 5:13), yet we are not in heaven or in the immediate presence of God. Though we are still in mortal bodies and we still sin, by faith we are saved (Romans 4:5; Ephesians 2:8-9) and poses eternal life as a free gift from God (Romans 6:23). Second, eternal life will reach its final state at the resurrection of the believers when Christ returns to earth to claim His church. It is then that eternal life will begin in its complete manifestation. We will no longer sin.

Eternal Security

      The doctrine that salvation cannot be lost. Since it is not gained by anything we do, it cannot be lost by anything we do. This does not mean that we can sin all we want (Romans 6:1-2) because we have been freed from sin and are set apart for holy use (1 Thessalonians 4:7). (See Antinomianism.)


      This is similar to Monophycitism. It states that Christ's natures were so thoroughly combined -- in a sense scrambled together -- that the result was that Christ was not really truly able to relate to us as humans. The problem is this implies that Jesus was not truly God nor man. Therefore, He would be unable to act as mediator and unable to truly atone for our sins. (See Hypostatic Union, which is the correct view of Christ's two natures, and also Nestorianism and Monophycitism which are the incorrect views of Christ's two natures.)


      Moral rebellion against God. It is contrary to the will of God. There is natural evil (floods, storms, famines, etc.) and moral evil (adultery, murder, idolatry, etc.). Natural evil is a result of moral evil. Adam's sin resulted in sin entering the world allowing floods, storms, famines, etc. Evil originated with Satan (Isaiah 14:12-14) and is carried on by man (Matthew 15:18,19). (See Theodicy.)


      Though you might not expect to find the subject of evolution in a dictionary of theology, it is appropriate if you consider that the theory of evolution requires faith. The evidence for evolution is actually quite weak. There are numerous difficulties facing it and, the theory has undergone many changes since its inception in the 1800's. It is the theory that over an incredible duration of time, life developed from random combinations of non-organic materials. This life was improved upon through mutations and the process of natural selection. The Scriptures do not speak about evolution but instead negate the theory by stating that God created all things (Genesis 1). See Evolution  at http://www.carm.org/devolve.htm for more information.

     [The rest of this material on evolution is not from CARM.]  Few theologians have studied evolution in any detail and few evolutionists have studied the Bible in any detail.  Most people on either side assume it is an "all or nothing"  question.

     The fact is that the evidence indicates a mixture of special creation and theistic evolution, i.e., some things 'zapped' instantaneously and others the result of later changes by evolution directly controlled by an incredibly powerful, incredibly intelligent being that can control reactions everywhere in the entire universe, that existed before the universe began, that planned everything, who still exists and still is carrying out the plan.

     Even evolutionists claim there are various degrees of evolution.  The HIV virus evolves -- period. Changes in genetic sequences from one generation to the next can and have been measured. This is referred to as micro-evolution.  Micro-evolution does not contradict the Bible in any way.  Scientists estimate that currently there are over 2 million different species alive, and historically there have probably been at least 10 million species. Obviously, Noah could not have fit more than 20 million animals on the Ark, and he could not have accumulated animals from the entire planet. Furthermore, a flood lasting several months would have destroyed most forms of plant life.  Where did all the new species of plants come from if micro-evolution doesn't occur?

     Micro-evolution is consistent with the Bible and also explains both the existence of the fossil record and the observed emergence of new species.  Note that new species are not necessarily new kinds, i.e., trees don't become birds.

     Macro-evolution, on the other hand, is a theory based on a series of hypotheses and assumptions.  It is the theory that a molecule developed the ability to copy itself and over time the chemical became more complex, developed into a virus, developed into a simple cell without a nucleus, then a cell with a nucleus, then a multi-cell creature, and ultimately, humans.

     "Macro", "micro", and "special creation" attempt to say what happened, not what caused it to happen.  Within evolution there are two camps: theistic and atheistic.  Theistic evolution says that a god controls any evolution that occurs.  Atheistic evolution says that it's all a matter of chance. Note that it is possible to believe in the existence of a god but still believe in atheistic evolution; atheistic evolution is not an opinion about the existence of a god, it is an opinion on how life came into existence.  Atheistic evolution says that even if a god exists, he isn't causing or controlling evolution.

     Although atheistic evolution is the generally accepted view both in the scientific community and among the general public, it is totally unscientific.  It violates some of the basic laws of science, such as the Second Law of Thermodynamics (a fundamental law of physics which in layman's terms says, "Left alone, things break down.") and the Law of Irreducible Complexity. (For example, an animal gains no competitive advantage in obtaining food, mating, avoiding predators, etc., by evolving a visual cortex in its brain to process data from an eye until it has eyes and an optic nerve to carry information from the eyes to the cortex. It gains no advantage by evolving eyes until it has a visual cortex and connecting nerves.  It gains no advantage by evolving an optic nerve if there is nothing to connect to on either end.  The chances of appropriate organs simultaneously developing by accident is ZERO.)

     According to the Bible, man is unique in that he is the only creature with a flesh body and a spirit.  It easy to see that man acts differently from all other creatures.  A spirit is non-corporeal, i.e., not made of matter.  How do you obtain a spirit by chemical changes?  Many scientists and laymen claim it's possible, BUT WHERE IS THE SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE TO BACK UP SUCH A CLAIM?  WHERE IS THE TEST DATA?

     So, based on the scientific evidence alone we have only three possibilities:

  1. Special creation by a deity

  2. Theistic evolution continuously controlled by a deity

  3. A combination of special creation and theistic evolution


      The cancellation of sin. Expiation and propitiation are similar but expiation does not carry the implication of dealing with wrath, of appeasing it through a sacrifice. Generally speaking, propitiation cancels sin and deals with God's wrath. Expiation is simply the cancellation of sin. Jesus was our propitiation (1 John 2:2; 4:10 -- "atoning sacrifice" in the NIV).


      "Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen" (Hebrews 11:1). It is synonymous with trust. It is a divine gift (Romans 12:3) and comes by hearing the Word of God (Romans 10:17). It is the means by which the grace of God is accounted to the believer who trusts in the work of Jesus on the cross (Ephesians 2:8). Without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6). It is by faith that we live our lives, "The righteous shall live by faith" (Habakkuk 2:4; Romans 1:17).

Fall, The

      The fall is that event in the Garden of Eden where Adam and Eve disobeyed the command of God and ate of The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil (Genesis 2 and 3). Since Adam represented all of mankind, when He sinned, all of mankind fell with Him (Romans 5:12).

Fast, Fasting

      Depriving oneself of food for a period of time for a specific purpose, often spiritual. It is the "weakening" of the body in order to "strengthen" the spirit. It is interesting to note that sin entered the world through the disobedience of eating (Genesis 3:6). We are called to fast in the N.T. (Matthew 6:16). (See also 1 Kings 21:27; Psalm 35;13; Acts 13:3; 2 Corinthians 6:5).


      There is no specific definition given in the N.T. But we are called into fellowship with one another (1 John 1:3), with Jesus (1 Corinthians 1:9), with the Father (1 John 1:3), and with the Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 13:14). Fellowship implies sharing common interests, desires, and motivations. Fellow requires that time be spent with another communicating, caring, etc. It carries with it a hint of intimacy. As Christians we fellowship with one another because of our position in Christ, because we are all redeemed and share an intimate personal knowledge of Jesus. We share a common belief (Acts 2:42), hope (Hebrews 11:39,40), and need (2 Corinthians 8:1-15).

      The Greek word for fellowship is koinonia. This word is also translated communion in 1 Corinthians 10:16 in the KJV. This is where we get the term the communion supper.


      The first of the mother's offspring. It stands figuratively for that which is most excellent. The firstborn male of the family carried certain familial rites and privileges (Genesis 27:1-29; 48:13,14) and was given a double portion of the inheritance (Deuteronomy 21:17). It also refers to Christ being the first raised from the dead (Colossians 1:15,18). It does not mean first created as Jehovah's Witnesses believe in reference to Colossians 1:15. In fact, the firstborn rites were transferable. Compare Jeremiah 31:9 with Genesis 41:50-52.


      There are seven words in Scripture which denote the idea of forgiveness: three in Hebrew and four in Greek. No book of religion except Christianity teaches that God completely forgives sins. God remembers our sins no more (Hebrews 10:17). God is the initiator of forgiveness (Colossians 2:13).

      There is only one sin for which the Father does not promise forgiveness: blasphemy against the Holy Spirit (Mark 3:28; Matthew 12:32). The contexts suggest this to be the sin of attributing to unclean spirits the work of the Holy Spirit.

      For man to receive forgiveness, repentance is necessary (Luke 17:3-4). For the holy God to extend forgiveness, the shedding of blood is necessary (Hebrews 9:22; Leviticus 17:11). Forgiveness is based upon the sacrifice of Christ on the cross.


      Hater of God. One who is morally weak, who misuses what God has given him for selfish purposes. He is lustful (Proverbs 7:22), lazy (Ecclesiastes 10:15), does not fear God (Proverbs 14:1), hates knowledge (Proverbs 1:22), and is self-righteous (Proverbs 12:15). As Christians, we are to avoid foolishness (Ephesians 5:4). (See Ecclesiastes 7:25; Proverbs 3:35, 10:8.)

Foreknow, Foreknowledge

      It is the knowledge of God about things that will happen. Past, present, and future are all "present" in the mind of God. He inhabits eternity (Isaiah 57:15). God has infinite knowledge (Isaiah 41:22,23) and knows all things in advance. In the N.T. it does not always mean "to know beforehand" but also to cause to be. See 1 Peter 1:2,20.

Theological Dictionary pages (c) 1997 by Matthew J. Slick, B.A., M. Div. (except as noted) at
Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry (C.A.R.M.)

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