The Nature of God and Holiness

Hoeksema is not an easy read at times, but there are some veins of gold to be mined in his work.

Reformed Dogmatics (1966) Herman Hoeksema (see attachment at the end of my introductory comments)

When Hoeksema uses the phrase “act of necessity”, the intention is that God does NOTHING because He “needs to”.  No external force can cause God to act in any manner, for any reason.  God is Omnipotent, Perfect, Immutable, and Sovereign with all Right.  Whenever He determines or acts or even thinks, it is because He so willed to do so.

The Greek word Logos (whence our word family logic, logical, analogue, logistics, and the suffice in words such as biology, theology, etc. derive) is translated “word”; but it is not the same word for individual words, which is the Greek word hreymata; logos means, “the rational, logical thought, word, discourse, teaching, doctrine”, and in reference to God, possibly also “truth, reality, knowledge” (for God does not speak jibberish, nonsense, illogic, falsehood, or useless words).  The New Testament informs us that God the Son, Second Person of the Trinity is that Word (of God) that created all things, and that Word became flesh (Christ Jesus).

As I explain in my book, Does God Repent? Can God Change His Mind, God is Immutable and Omnipotent and Perfect; nothing can force itself into His Mind that He did not first determine.  Every single thing that happens on the micro and macro scales is determined by God. 

Humanists (including most “Christians”, who are ever learning but never able to come to the knowledge of the truth, rejecting Romans 9:19ff.), who (like 5-year olds who think that the world revolves around themselves) resist Divine Soverienty and Determinism, who are self-centered may ask: Why does God then have a world if He already knows and determined the outcome...? 

The answer is: for the same reason any author / playwright produces a novel, play, movie — to see it performed and to make Himself known. 

God is Immutable.  He did not “have to grow a new attribute”, such as Wrath, as a result of sin / evil.  Sin did not take Him by surprise, but is part of His Drama, which require villains and victims as well as heroes.  God’s Creation did not simply “go bad"”, like an outdated cucumber in the refrigerator bin.  He determined all so that through it He would reveal / showcase the full Panoply of His Attributes / Divine Perfections.

Does not any author, gymnast, musician, singer, etc. wish to be known and have his talent known ?  How much more so if the individual is 100% perfect and above and beyond all other...?  Also, since God owns all and determined all, it is His Right; and the Honor of which He is Worthy and due Him.

[- Does God Repent...? Can God Change His Mind...? [And an Utter Demolishment of the Humanistic Myth of Man’s “Free Will” and Arminianism], 506pp., 25.00 + 6.00 P&H within the U.S.  Email for ordering instructions.  Dovetails nicely w/ my, God and Evil & my, The Sovereignty of God, Predestination, “Free” Will, and the Protestant Reformation (inquire). Lively, profound, revealing, thought provoking, convincing thought, logic, Scripture. Exposes subversion of true Christian faith in counter reformation re-introducing false theology of Origen and Pelagius; corruption of modern church by Jesuits, crypto-jews & terribly deceived humanists (Schleiermacher, Kierkegaard, Spinoza, Barth, Schweitzer, Erasmus of Rotterdam, etc.); undermining of Puritan church by Solomon Stoddard, and much more; dissects false theology from 1 chapter of 2 different books (1 by Dr. Norman Geisler and 1 by Brother Andrew).

Thus, the majority of “Christians” have trouble with true Theology / Sound Doctrine, because they are humanists, not Christians: they think that the world revolves around man / themselves — and not God.  Theology revolves around God.  Reality revolves around God.  Most “Christians” / humanists think the purpose in life is to “enjoy” whatever.  That is hedonism. 

Understand this, which probably no one has before heard or conceptualized:

True Christian thought realizes the purpose in life: To understand reality in the Light of God’s Word and to conform oneself, by God’s Grace, to that reality.  The majority believe that their individual experience is reality; but that is actually delusion—delusion that God has sent them.

Even the authors of the Westminster Confession had minor blindspots of humanistic thinking, that caused them to miss the bullseye at times.

In the Westminster Shorter Catechism, which I remember from about 4th grade, the question was: What is the chief end of man? The answer was: To love God and enjoy him forever.

This has two flaws: 1. not understanding that love is not a feeling or experience and it is not subjective; it is obedience / self-sacrifice / faithfulness to all that God commanded, and 2. our “enjoyment” is not an end, and certainly not our chief end.  It is a by-product of the first part, overgeneralized as “love” (obedience).  Love originates in no individual (if it does, it is not true love and it is not “good”; for in no man is there any good thing, there are none righteous, all have gone astray, none even seek God — so if any do seek God (which is goodness in itself, to so see; and since those who are dead in trespasses and sins have no understanding or will or ability to choose to follow God) it is only because God has called them from death unto life and drawn them unto Himself. 

Scripture tells us:

“that in all things He might have the pre-eminence”

“He is before and above and in all things”

“He must increase and I must decrease”

Any “enjoyment” is actually according to the Law of the Harvest (controlled also by God’s Determinate Counsel) is the reaping of God’s Blessing as a result of obedience and doing that which He commanded and that which is pleasing in His Sight.  Morality never changes.  What God commanded never changes.  It is impossible to please God without Faith.  Faith originates in no individual but is a Gift of the Holy Spirit whereby the elect of His people believe unto salvation and live within salvation (which is more properly termed sanctification).  Whatever is not of faith is sin.  Sin is transgression of the Law.  The Law cannot save; it was never meant to.  It is the Standard of Morality by which God commanded us to live throughout all our generations forever — and it NEVER changes.  Those who think it does follow a false christ and worship a false god.

Theology centers around, has as its source and goal, its beginning and its end, in GOD.  That’s why the word “human” or “man” is not in the word Theology.  The very prefix “Theo” should be a clue that the “logy” (rational thought, discourse, teaching, doctrine, word, logic) is NOT about man.

Carnal humans (including most “Christians”) have a god-complex (that is, they irrationally imagine themselves to be god), and don’t know God.  A person cannot know God without having studied God’s Word — and unless he actually believes and submits to what God declares: theology, the systematic, structured, properly assembled understanding of God as He reveals Himself in His Word.  Such don’t even know where they end and God begins.  Those who cannot name God’s Attributes (or even know what Attributes or Divine Perfections are), certainly do not know them, and certainly cannot know God.*  The Word of God cannot be understood through the filter / perspective of the carnal mind; which will falsely imagine everything as if man creates God in sinful man’s image and likeness, and God must submissively and impotently conform to it.  They interpret reality and truth and information and the world from their own confused and fallen perspective, and irrationally think that their mind creates reality, right and wrong, morality, how things should be — without even realizing that the world cannot be the way 9 billion individuals think it should be; and neither can God so be the way 9 billion different individuals imagine Him to be (that is called, “Hinduism”).  Herman Hoeksema expressed a very similar sentiment, in different words, which I had not read until now, though for a decade I have held this position (that most “Christians” — that is, deluded humanists, “Christians” in name only, are actually atheists** or idolators, and are closer to Hindus and believe in a Gandhi-type Jesus, not the true Christ).  Such statements are not made intrinisically to insult anyone; but to wake them up from their delusion... they are driving at night in a thick fog and the bridge ahead has collapsed... yet they think they are perfectly safe, though they are going in the wrong direction and to certain destruction.  They are fooled by the Apostate Church’s “Touched by an Angel” theology, in which the false gospel teaches, “God loves you just the way you are; no need to change a thing”.

[* See my annotated edition of, The Attributes of God (1930) Arthur W. Pink, “Critical Edition” with detailed Preface, Biography, and my Annotations doubling the page count, 199pp., pb., 17.50 + P&H. 

** If they actually believed in God, they would know that He is Holy and Just and must punish sin — and they would not live as they do, in casual, complacent, unrepentant sin, even imagining that sin is perfectly acceptable behaviour and abominations are wholesome lifestyle choices.  They would fear Him and live in obedience to all that He commanded.  Such who do not, do not know God, as John said in I John 2:3-6.]

Hoeksema wrote:

“A theology that ignores the revelation that has now come through Christ Jesus can never be any more than mere philosophy of man, always creating his own God [sic, god] and worshipping an idol.” (p.19)  [brackets mine.]

However, one clarification must be made.  The “revelation that has come through Christ Jesus” needs to be defined.  This refers not solely to the red letters in the Gospels.  Christ declared that not one jot or tittle would pass from the Law or the Prophets.  Christ never contradicted a single Old Testament passage — rather it was the very “Scriptures” that He quoted, “as it is written”, “ye have heard it said of old”, “thus saith the Scriptures”, etc.  The New Testament did not replace the Old, but made it complete.  Being “fulfilled” does NOT mean one ceases to exist, but that they become one.  The Gospel is not merely “Jesus loves you”.  The Gospel in a nutshell contains the entire Plan of God: Adam sinned and all his descendants inherited his sin nature that rebels against the holy, perfect, just, and good Law of God [which is the only standard of morality and never changes]; God sent His Son to die for the elect of His people determined before the Foundation of the world; and those regenerated by His Holy Spirit are to walk in newness of life, in obedience to all that God commanded, which is the evidence of regeneration, and in order to please God and be blessed and inherit of Him.... and that soon He will return to deliver His people and judge all the rest.  THAT is the Gospel.  The Gospel is also something to be obeyed.  “7And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, 8In Flaming Fire taking Vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: 9Who shall be punished with Everlasting Destruction from the Presence of the Lord, and from the Glory of His Power” (II Thessalonians 1)  The Doctrine of Christ is the Full Counsel of the Word of God.  John said in his first epistle, those who do not keep God’s Commandments don’t even know God and the Truth [Christ Jesus, the Holy Spirit] is not in him.


The carnal mind rejects the Word of God, it is not in submission to God, and it cannot be.  One true test of conversion* is the acceptance of sound doctrine.

[* Understand: NO human “converts” to Christianity (or any denomination of it)... —EVER!  Those who think that they have done so, have merely changed their spiritual country club membership.  The HOLY SPIRIT converts: which is more properly termed regeneration.]

Furthermore, it is not man’s “chief” end.  Scripture makes it perfectly clear:

“13Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep His Commandments: for this is the WHOLE duty of man. 14For God shall bring every work into Judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.” (Ecclesiastes 12)

The phrase “chief end” is NOT a proper replacement for WHOLE DUTY.  Chief or primary is NOT the same as WHOLE.  End is passive; DUTY is ACTIVE.  Man’s “enjoyment” is not even in the equation.  It is not a factor.  It is a natural result of obeying God: blessing.

Those “Christians” who don’t know God (Whom they cannot know if they do not understand or believe God’s self-revelation of His Own Nature, which is Theology) have NO CONCEPT of HOLINESS.  THAT is a major flaw of humanists who think that they are “Christians”, and that God revolves around and conforms to them and their ideas.

“These things hast thou done, and I kept silence; thou thoughtest that I was altogether such an one as thyself: but I will reprove [rebuke] thee, and set them [truth] in order before thine eyes.” (Psalm 50:21)

“8For My Thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My Ways, saith the LORD.  9For as the heavens are higher than the Earth, so are My Ways higher than your ways, and My Thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55)

I was struck this morning in my daily reading by the DIVINE element in this passage, not the normally noticed mundane element:

“12Thou shalt have a place also without the camp, whither thou shalt go forth abroad: 13And thou shalt have a paddle upon thy weapon; and it shall be, when thou wilt ease thyself abroad, thou shalt dig therewith, and shalt turn back and cover that which cometh from thee: 14For the LORD thy God walketh in the midst of thy camp, to deliver thee, and to give up thine enemies before thee; therefore shall thy camp be holy: that He see no unclean thing in thee, and turn away from thee.” Deuteronomy 23

As the old saying (which is only true in a limited scope, and is one of obeying / reflecting God’s Image, not a means of attaining godhood or holiness) goes, “Cleanliness is next to godliness”.

God is a God of Order and all things should be done in decently and in order and for the right reasons (which is a major element in true obedience).

There is the human, mundane, existential, and even medical (physiological, biological) health element in this Command.  Savages evacuate their bowels or bladder and just leave it.  EVEN CATS have a natural instinct to bury it.  Dumb cattle and goats and horses just let it fly wherever they happen to be — even doing it in the very water they are drinking, or upon the very food they are eating.  Savages, narcissistic psychopathic criminal predators, who think nothing of anything except themselves, and do not think of such things.  It is a matter of life and death.  The inner cities of the major cities in Christendom, now that we have absorbed savages, now smell like and are polluted with disease, as third world nations have been since... — forever.  When I worked with missionaries in Portugal in 1978, in the main streets of Lisbon, men would walk 2 steps off the main sidewalk and in broad view of everyone, unzip and urinate on the wall of a building in the ally (even if someone lived in the apartment above and had the windows open; even if the wall was the wall of a restaurant or cafe.  Men did this all day long.  Likewise, when I was in Argentina (for the same reason), in 1979, the men did the same thing.  I also saw one woman with a 4 year old.  Right there in the very large sidewalk area, with a herringbone pattern of bricks along the 8 lane highway of Buenos Aires, she pulled the kids pants down, held his thighs from above him while he squatted and defecated on the sidewalk; she pulled a napkin from her purse, wiped him, threw the napkin down, pulled his pants up — and walked away and left it.  In one online documentary of the drug lords in Liberia, the stench along the beaches in the stifling heat hits you, because the entire population walks out onto the beach, does their business, and just walks away and leaves it and the paper napkin—even the mayor in his 3-piece suit.

See around 13 min. in; but the entire video is worth the watch; shocking and disgusting

Regardless, the DIVINE element, often overlooked is that GOD IS HOLY.  This is a powerful anthropopathism.  Imagine God walking through the camp of His people and stepping in a pile of feces that someone deposited on the ground and just walked away from...!  Those “Christians” who sin against God, without any thought, as if right and wrong / morality / all that God commanded just does not matter — do that very thing to God!

Jesus is not Saviour of those for whom He is not LORD.  Those who do not obey what God commanded are not redeemed: for if they were truly regenerated by God’s Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit would lead them to repentance, the desire to know what God requires — and the desire to do it!

“3And hereby we do know that we know Him, if we keep His Commandments.  4He that saith, ‘I know Him’, and keepeth not His Commandments, is a liar, and the Truth is not in him.  5But whoso keepeth His Word, in him verily is the Love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.  6He that saith he abideth in Him ought himself also so to walk, even as He walked.” (I John 2)

WHAT does it take for “Christians” to repent? —to even care whether or not they are sinning against God? to love God enough to turn from their sin and obey Him; rather than being like the natural [unregenerate] man who sees himself in a mirror — and goes straight away without making any of the corrections of imperfections that the mirror revealed; but being like dogs to return to eat their own vomit and pigs to wallow in the mire of their own feces and urine.  How can those who are truly regenerate go on in sin and ignore the prophets warning them; and not even ask questions..., let alone fall on their faces in repentance.  The only way they can continue in sin and not even care about it is if they are under profound delusion that God has sent... and if that statement does not shake them to their core, that is simply more evidence of the strong delusion, the false security, and as Jude says, they are clouds without water and twice dead.