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ex nihilo

Ex nihilo is a Latin phrase meaning "out of nothing".

It often appears in conjunction with the concept of creation, as in creatio ex nihilo, meaning "creation out of nothing"—chiefly in philosophical or theological contexts, but also occurs in other fields.



pro·le·gom·e·non ˌprōləˈɡäməˌnän,-nən/
plural noun: prolegomena

a critical or discursive introduction to a book.




the theory of knowledge, especially with regard to its methods, validity, and scope. Epistemology is the investigation of what distinguishes justified belief from opinion.




reparation for a wrong or injury.
"she wanted to make atonement for her husband's behavior"

(in religious contexts) reparation or expiation for sin.
"an annual ceremony of confession and atonement for sin"
the reconciliation of God and humankind through Jesus Christ.
noun: Atonement; noun: the Atonement




the branch of Christian theology relating to the person, nature, and role of Christ.




the branch of knowledge that deals with interpretation, especially of the Bible or literary texts.


Systematic Theology

sys·tem·at·ic the·ol·o·gy

a form of theology in which the aim is to arrange religious truths in a self-consistent whole.


Biblical Theology

Biblical theology 

is an attempt to articulate the theology that the Bible contains as its writers addressed their particular settings. The Scriptures came into being over the course of many centuries, from different authors, social settings, and geographical locations




Epistemology is the study of knowing.  It deals with the nature of knowledge, how do we know things, what do we know, why we know, is what we know true, and what are the limits of knowledge.



Teleology is the philosophical position that the universe and everything in it has a cause and a purpose.  It is the study of final causes or results--having a definite purpose, goal, or design.  In Biblical teaching, our God has designed the world and everything in it.  However, it has been affected by sin and is not in its original condition.


Teleological Argument

The teleological argument is an attempted proof of God's existence based upon the premise that the universe is designed and, therefore, needs a designer: God.


Type, Typology

A type is a representation by one thing of another. Adam was a type ofChrist (Rom. 5:14) and so was Isaac (Heb. 11:19). The Passover was a type of Christ (1 Cor. 5:7). There are many types in the Bible and most of them are too extensive and deep to be listed. An example of a typology follows: Isaac a type of Jesus


A priori

a philosophical term that refers to knowledge, judgments, and principles which are true without verification or testing. It is universally true.

The information you start with does not need to be verified with experience. An example would be "All bachelors are unmarried." This is true naturally and by definition.



  • an ancient theological error that appeared around the year 320.  
  • It taught that 
    • God could not appear on the earth and
    • that Jesus was not eternal and could not be God. And, 
    • That there was only one person in the Godhead: the Father.  Jesus, then, was a creation.
  • It was condemned by the Council of Nicea in 325.

The Jehovah's Witness cult is an equivalent of this ancient error though not exactly.  Please see Heresies for more information.



Common Grace

Common Grace is the grace God gives to creation as a whole, to all unbelievers. In this universal non-salvific form of grace, God allows the sun to shine upon both the righteous and the unrighteous.  He does not judge unbelievers right away due to the work of Christ on the Cross by which people are saved.  God endures with them for the sake of those who would believe.  Unbelievers can be doctors, engineers, parents, etc., and function within God's domain and counsel.



Depravity is the moral corruption and sinfulness of man after the fall. It is from the Latin term depravare, which means to make corrupt 1.



Docetism was a Gnostic heresy, that was condemned by the  Early Church, with several variations concerning the nature of Christ. Generally,

  • it taught that Jesus only appeared to have a body, that he was not really incarnate, (Greek, "dokeo" = "to seem").
  • This error developed out of the dualistic philosophy which viewed matter as inherently evil, that God could not be associated with matter, and that God, being perfect and infinite, could not suffer.


Double Predestination

The view that God sovereignly and freely chose to predestine some to Heaven (the elect) and some to Hell (the reprobate).  This predestination is not based on anything in the person, nor is it based on what the foreseen actions and/or beliefs of that person would have been.



Donatism was the error taught by Donatus, bishop of Casae Nigrae, that the effectiveness of the sacraments depends on the moral character of the minister. In other words, if a minister who was involved in a serious enough sin were to baptize a person, that baptism would be considered invalid. Please see Heresiesfor more information.



Existentialism is a philosophical viewpoint based on Soren Kierkegaard's philosophical work and emphasizes human freedom and abilities.  Subjectivity and individual choice are elevated often above conceptual and moral absolutes because truth is found within personal experience.  Existentialism would deny objective moral truths.



Filioque is the doctrine that the Holy Spirit proceeds equally from both the Father and the Son.


Gap Theory

Gap Theory

The gap theory is the idea that there is a gap in time between Genesis 1:1 inGenesis 1:2.  The gap lasted for millions of years and accounts for the dinosaurs.  This theory was begun by a Scottish minister named Chalmers in 1814.

Gen. 1:1, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."
Gen. 1:2, "And the earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep; and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters."



The Gospel is the good news that we have forgiveness of sins through Jesus.

Specifically, the Gospel is defined by Paul in 1 Cor. 15:1-4,  "Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures."

The Gospel comes from God (Gal. 1:10-12), is the power of God for salvation(Rom. 1:16), is a mystery (Eph. 6:19), and is a source of hope (Col. 1:23), faith (Acts 15:9), life (2 Cor. 4:14), and peace (Eph. 6:15).



Homoiousios means "of similar substance," "of the similar essence." It was a term used in the fourth century by a heretical group to describe the relationship between the Father and the Son. This is an improper term to use when describing the relationship between the Father and the Son. They are not of similar essence. Rather, they are of the same essence (Homoousios). In other words, according to the correct doctrine of the Trinity, the Father and the Son (and the Holy Spirit) share the same essence. See Ontological Trinity.



Homoousios (Gk.ὁμοούσιος) means "of the same substance," "of the same essence."  Homo means "same" and ousia means "essence."  The term was used by Athanasius in his correct teaching of the oneness of the Father and the Son in that they are the same substance, the same essence of divinity.  The term was used in the Nicene Creed (and creeds thereafter) when it described Jesus as being of the same substance as the Father in its affirmation of the Trinity.




Hypostasis is a Greek word ὑπόστασις that has a range of meanings:  nature, substance, image, essence, etc.  It is translated as "nature" in the NASB in Heb. 1:3, "And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power." It is translated as "image" in the ASV, KJV and NKJV, "imprint" in the ESV and NRSV.  It is also found in


Hypostatic Union

This is the union of the two natures (Divine and human) in the person of Jesus. Jesus is God in flesh (John 1:1, 14; 10:30-33; 20:28; Phil. 2:5-8; Heb. 1:8). He is fully God and fully man (Col. 2:9); thus, He has two natures: God and man. He is not half God and half man. He is 100% God and 100% man. He never lost His divinity.  He continued to exist as God when He became a man and added human nature to Himself (Phil. 2:5-11). Therefore, there is a "union in one person of a full human nature and a full divine nature."



Objectivism is a branch of philosophy which asserts that reality exists apart from the human mind and that the knowledge of this reality is based upon observation.


In facto

In facto means something that exists and is complete.  Contrast with in fieri. 


Impute, Imputation

To impute means to reckon to someone the blessing, curse, debt, etc., of another. Adam's sin is imputed to all people (Rom. 5:12-21). Therefore, we are effectively all guilty before God. Our sins were put upon, imputed, to Jesus on the cross where He became sin on our behalf (2 Cor. 5:21) and died with them (Isaiah 53:4-6). Therefore, our sins are forgiven. Understanding imputation is very important. Imputation is the means of our salvation. Our sins were put upon, imputed, to Jesus on the cross. Our sins were "given" to Jesus.