I - K
to the The Dictionary of Theology Index
An idol is a representation
of something in the heavens or on the earth. It is used in worship and is often
worshiped. It is an abomination to God (Exodus 20:4). Idolatry
is bowing down before such an idol in adoration, prayer, or worship. In a loose
sense, idolatry does not necessitate a material image nor a religious system.
It can be anything that takes the place of God: a car, a job, money, a person,
a desire, etc. Idolatry is denounced by God at the beginning of the Ten Commandments.
The teaching that Mary was conceived without original sin.
Typically believed as true in Roman Catholicism.
Image of God
Man was made in the image of God
(Gen. 1:26). The
image of God is generally held to mean that people contain within their nature
elements that reflect God's nature: compassion, reason, love, patience, kindness,
The divine attribute of unchangeableness
which many consider central to Christian notions of God.
Life without death anytime in the future.
To reckon to someone the blessing,
curse, debt, etc. of another. Adam's sin is imputed to all people (Rom. 5:12-21),
according to some passages, mostly found in the New Testament. Similarly, the
righteousness of Christ is imputed to the believer, thus making a right relationship
with God possible.
Something that exists and is complete.
Beginning to be, but not yet complete.
The notion that in Jesus, the human and the divine are one, such that his divinity
is revealed in the way he lived a completely human life. In this he is seen as
the "pioneer and perfecter" of human nature itself. In
classical Christian theology, Jesus has two natures: divine and human. This is
known as the Hypostatic Union.
doctrine is of vital importance to the Christian. By it are defined related notions
of the atonement, forgiveness, grace, salvation, redemption, etc.
A system of logic where specific
facts are used to draw a general conclusion.
In Catholicism, a means by which the Catholic church takes away some of the punishment
due the Christian in this life and/or purgatory because of his sin.
Without error, non-errant. In some denominations, inerrancy states that the Bible,
in its original documents, is without error regarding facts, names, dates, and
any other revealed information. Inerrancy usually is not seen as extending to
the copies of the biblical manuscripts. Most of the major denominations do not
view the Bible as inerrant. The majority view is that the Bible is inerrant only
with respect to its essential teaching on matters pertaining to salvation. See:
The Bible True or False.
The practice of baptizing infant children
of believing parents. In the Catholic Church infant baptism washes away original
sin and is regenerative. In Reformed circles, infant baptism is not regenerative
but covenantal and validated through the believing parent(s). There are no explicit
accounts of infant baptism in the Bible. However, it cannot be excluded as a possibility
given that entire households were baptized Acts 16:15,
33; 18:8. For
more on baptism.
derogatory term used by those who identify with a particular religion to those
who do not.
The state or quality of being infinite, unlimited by space or time, without end,
without beginning or end. God is infinite in that He/She is not limited by space
or time and is without beginning and without end (Psalm 90:2).
An archane issue within Reformed theology dealing with what may have happened
in God's mind regarding the logical order of considering whom to elect into salvation
before the foundation of the world. The word means "after the fall."
The position is that God first decided he would allow sin into the world and second
that he would then save people from it. By contrast, the supralapsarian
("before the fall") position holds that God first decided that he would save some
people and then second that he would allow sin into the world.
The belief that the Bible
was composed by human authors and editors who were acting with the influence of
God. It is, therefore, accurate and authoritative for the believer. Intense
discussion continues about the inspiration and authority of the text with opinion
ranging from those who hold the God literally dictated each word of the text,
to those who see biblical inspiration as being comparable to the way other great
writing emerges from the imagination of a gifted artist. For
more on the inspiration and authority of the Bible.
Som biblical texts imply that for the
individual, resurrection does not take place at the time of death, but much later
during the "end times" as part of a general resurrection the dead. The
condition of the person in this "intermediate state" is debated. One
theory is that the person is without a body, yet is conscious, and that he will
receive his body at the resurrection. Another theory states that the person has
a different sort of spiritual body that will be lost at the resurrection when
body and soul are reunited (2 Cor. 5:1-4).
anglicized pronunciation of the Hebrew tetragrammaton, YHWH, which are the four consonant letters
used to spell God’s name in the Hebrew Bible (Exodus 3:14). The Hebrews considered
the name of God too holy to pronounce and susbstituted the word “Lord” (adonai)
when the text was read. The vowels of the word “adonai” was combined with YHWH
to get the word “Jehovah” which was first used in the 12th century. A more accurate
pronunciation of YHWH would be “Yahweh.” Howver, the exact and proper pronunciation
has been lost.
to most Christian teaching Jesus is God Incarnate, He is fully God and fully human
(Col. 2:9); thus, He has
two natures: divine and human. He is not half God and half man. Some Christians,
who emphasize the divinity of Jesus are comfortable with the declaration: "Jesus
is God." They see Jesus on an equaly par with the God, the Creator and the
Holy Spirit as part of the Trinity. For more on the
range of views within Christianity on the identity of Jesus. For
more on the Trinity. For more on the Holy Spirit.
is a movement in some Pentecostal circles. It reflects a somewhat unusual understanding
of the nature of the Trinity. The biblical Trinity consists of three persons simultaneously
and eternally existing in one God. The Jesus Only Movement maintains that there
is only one person in the Godhead: Jesus. It teaches that the person of the Father
became the person of the Son who then became the person of the Holy Spirit and
that the persons are consecutive not simultaneous. Most denominations would describe
this view as heretical. For more on the Trinity.
For more on pentacostalism.
a Jew was a member of the state of Judah during the period of the division of
Israel into two nations: Judah and Israel. It became a common reference from the
8th century B.C. Today it is used of those who identify with Judaism as a religion
or culture. For more on the relationship
between Christians and Jews.
The word appears often in
the Bible and the meaning varies according to context. There are several judgments:
the judgment of the believer's sins (John 5:24), the
judgment of the believer's self (1 Cor. 11:31-32),
the judgment of the believer's works (2 Cor. 5:10), the
judgment of the nations (Matt. 25:31-46),
and the judgment of the wicked (Rev. 20:11-15). There
is intense debate within theological circles as to the implications and interpretations
of these and other texts. The common theme of most of those who reflect upon the
notion of God's judgement is that there are consequences resulting from our behavior,
and that God can be trusted to act consistently with both love and justice which
are the essential aspects of God's character.
The due reward or punishment for an act. Justice is getting what is deserved.
God is merciful but also just (Deut. 32:4 -
righteous) and, as indicated, there are consequences for those who act in ways
that are contrary to the will of God. The biblical notion of justice is framed
both by the laws of the Torah, and most specifically the Ten Commandments, but
also a more general understanding of the nature of God. The notion of justice
in the Bible includes a strong emphasis upon the notion of addressing the wrongs
of the world with special emphasis upon the exploitation of the poor by the powerful.
To be justified is to be made
righteous. It is a divine act through which God liberates and individual to be
and become all that he or she is meant to be, allowing the individual to act fully
and completely "in the image and likeness of God." For Christians, justification
is made possible through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.
Justification is a gift of grace (Rom.
3:24) rather than an achievement or accomplishment of the individual. Those
who are justified may be expected to act with the same loving kindness, regard
for the poor, and love of peace that Jesus so powerfully exhibited.
In Hinduism, the total compilation of all a person's past lives and actions that
result in the present condition of that person. Normally, it is associated
This is a teaching concerning Jesus' incarnation. The Kenosis attempts to solve
some paradoxes between the nature of God and of the human as united in Jesus.
For example, how could an all knowing God become a baby, or how could God be tempted?
The Kenosis maintains that God, when becoming human, was divested of some qualities
of being human. In a sense, the Kenosis is God minus something; God subtracting
some qualities of deity to become human. The Hypostatic Union is God plus something; God
adding the human and the divine into One. The Kenosis, then, jeopardizes the notion
that Jesus was fully human and fully divine. (Compare with Hypostatic Union.)
of God is a focal point in the teaching of Jesus. For Jesus, "the kingdom
of God" or "the kingdom of heaven" begins in the life of the individual
who exhibits the love and justice of God. It was this immediate sense of the reality
of the "kingdom" that Jesus had in mind when he said that the "kingdom
of God is in the midst of you." The
notion also refers to the end of time when God's reign will be complete. For
more on the "kingdom of God" in the teaching of Jesus.
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