The Existence and Attributes of God

The Existence and Attributes of God
by Stephen Charnock, Baker Book House,
ISBN 0 8010-1112-4, 2000, 1130 pages

We are always on the lookout for books that deal with faith and belief. Most of the books we review in this column are books that are fairly new and written by modern authors. This is a book that has been released by Baker Book House that is actually a combination of two books written by a Puritan scholar who was born in 1628. The author is a theologian who has gone into the attributes of God to such a depth that his work has been used at the university level for over 300 years, and Baker obviously felt that it was worthwhile to reprint these two books because of their relevancy for modern times.

This is not an apologetic book in the modern sense of the word, but rather a theological work. Charnock's first essay, for example, is titled On the Existence of God. What is done is to quote Psalm 14:1 and then to show why each word in "The fool hath said in his heart `there is no God" is true. The statements are mostly theological and philosophical in nature, although some design features of the cosmos are used as a reference. It is mostly an awe-of-nature type of approach, but interestingly enough uses examples that pretty much stand up today. The second chapter titled "Practical Atheism" continues to build on Psalms 14 and to deal with the character of believers and nonbelievers.

After two chapters that deal with belief and faith, Charnock spends the rest of the book discussing different attributes of God. The chapter headings pretty well tell you what the book is about. They are:

On God's Being a Spirit On Spiritual Worship
On the Eternity of God On the Immutability of God
On God's Omnipresence On God's Knowledge
On the Wisdom of God On the Power of God
On the Holiness of God On the Goodness of God
On God's Dominion On God's Patience

These subjects are documented biblically and then discussed. It is interesting that Charnock identifies areas of understanding still missing in society today, which are the root of many misconceptions about God. This is an old book with a great deal of use to the Bible student. It has a very useful index and could be helpful to anyone studying the Bible. Its negative approach to disbelievers would probably not allow it to be used in studying with an atheist or skeptic, and its volume and detail may be more than the average Bible reader would be able to deal with.

Back to Contents Does God Exist?, SepOct04.