Christian terms atheists should be aware of

Following are terms that atheists, who want to dialogue with Christians, should be aware of.  The terms, of course, are from a Christian perspective.  Some of the definitions are derived from

  • The Westminster Dictionary of Theological Terms, by Donald K. McKim, (Westminster John Knox Press:  Louisville), 1996.  Herein abbreviated as WDTT.
  • Baker's Dictionary of Theology, edited by Everett F. Harrison, (Baker Book House:  Grand Rapids, Michigan), 1960.  Herein abbreviated as BDT


  1. Atheism--the position that there is no God or gods and/or denies that God or gods exist and/or lacks belief in God or gods.
  2. Christian--a person who has received Christ (John 1:12) and is made a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17).  Many claim to be Christian but are not.  True Christians affirm that Jesus is God in flesh, physically died and risen, that salvation is by grace through faith alone in Christ alone, and that only through him is salvation attained.
  3. Evil--That which is in opposition to the will and character of God.  "Distinctions are made between physical and moral evil, naturalistic and intrinsic evil," (WDTT).
  4. Faith--the belief in and trust in God, his will, and his character.  We are justified before God by faith (Rom. 5:1) and saved by faith (Eph. 2:8).
  5. God--The single and only Supreme Being who has always existed, never had a beginning (Psalm 90:2), who is omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient.  God exists as a Trinity which is three distinct and simultaneous persons:  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  God created the universe (Gen. 1:1-31) and everything in it.  God is holy, cannot sin, cannot violate his own nature, nor violate logic  God cannot stop being God.
  6. Good--"Excellence of quality, particularly in regard to moral qualities.  God is the supreme good who not only 'does good' but 'is good,' and thus is the standard by which all grades of 'goodness' are assessed," (WDTT).  "When we say God is good, we mean that he is good in the same sense in which we use this word of men, only in the highest degree.  God's goodness always actively promotes truth and righteousness," (BDT).
  7. Grace--The undeserved kindness and mercy of God bestowed upon mankind in the person of Jesus.
    1. Jesus--The second person of the Trinity.  Jesus Christ is the Word (God) who became a man (John 1:1,14).  Jesus is the one person who exists with two distinct natures:  divine and human (Col. 2:9).   Jesus still is both divine and human and will forever be in this state (1 Cor. 15:28).  Jesus is the savior only for those who receive him by faith--not by faith and works (Matt. 7:22-23).  Jesus died on the cross and physically rose from the dead (John 2:19; 1 Cor. 15:1-4).  He will return bodily (Acts 1:11).  Jesus intercedes for the Christians eternally as a high priest after the order of Melchizedek (Heb. 6:20; 7:45).
    2. Justification--God's legal act where he declares the sinner righteous.  This righteousness is derived from the work and sacrifice of Christ and is reckoned to the believer by faith (Rom. 4:5).
    3. Heaven--The dwelling place of God and the future place in which Christians, redeemed by Christ, will dwell.
    4. Hell--The place created for the devil and his angels and is a place of torment.  Unbelievers will join the devil and his angels in hell.
    5. Human beings--People who descended from Adam and Eve, who were created by God in his image (Gen. 1:26).  Humans did not evolve from lower forms of life.
    6. Hypostatic Union--The two natures of Jesus consisting of divine and human.
    7. Logic--The process of proper inference.  The study of reasoning principles, argumentation, and the application of them.
    8. Omnipotence--Being all-powerful.  God alone possesses this attribute, and he can do all things he desires.  All he desires to do will not conflict with his nature and knowledge.
    9. Omnipresence--Being everywhere.  God alone possesses this attribute, and he is in all places at all time (Psalm 139:7-10).
    10. Omniscience--Knowing all things.  God alone possesses this attribute, and he knows all things actual as well as potential (Heb. 4:13).
    11. Person--As it relates to the Trinity, the individual substance exhibiting attributes of self-awareness, awareness of others, self-identity.
    12. Salvation--Being delivered from the righteous judgment of God.
    13. Satan--The great angel who rebelled against God.  He stands in opposition to God and God's will.  He is also called the devil.
    14. Sin--Violating the will of God.
    15. Trinity--The three eternal and distinct persons in the Godhead who each possess the divine nature of God.  The three persons are the Father, the Son (Jesus), and Holy Spirit.



    1. McKim, Donald K., Westminster Dictionary of Theological Terms (Westminster John Knox Press:  Louisville), 1996.  Herein abbreviated as WDTT