There are numerous philosophical arguments that provide reasonable explanations for believing in the existence of God. One of the more popular and contemporary arguments is the kalam cosmological argument. Simply stated, it says that everything that begins to exist has a cause for its existence, and since the universe began to exist, then something (in this case, God) brought the universe into existence. In a traditional philosophical form, it is often put this way:
- Everything that begins to exist has a cause (for its existence).
- The universe began to exist.
- Therefore, the universe has a cause for its existence
This “cause” we call God.
Atheists often question and sometimes chastise Christians for believing in God because of the existence of evil. If God is all-loving and all-powerful, then why does evil exist? Wouldn’t he just take it all away? Since he does not, God must not be all that good, or he must not be as powerful as Christians believe him to be. So goes the atheist’s objection. Continue reading
One theological question that has perplexed Christian thinkers for centuries is how God’s sovereignty relates to human free will. If God is sovereign and directs all the affairs of the world, how is it that humans have free will? Are humans just puppets or do they in fact have significant freedom to choose their own actions and destinies?
One way this topic has been approached is by Molinism, named for the sixteenth century Spanish Catholic Jesuit priest Luis de Molina (1535-1600). He believed that God has three types of knowledge. He named them natural, middle, and free knowledge. Middle knowledge is the type that most concerns us in this view, but we need to understand natural and free knowledge first. Continue reading
Every year it’s a good idea to create a list of books to read. For one thing, it helps to maintain the discipline to read throughout the year. It is, however, also good to keep a list of books one has already read, so one can see how much he has accomplished in one year. My reading list from last year (2019) included the following major works. Note that this is not an exhaustive list. It just represents the major works: Continue reading
“If you are not with me, then you are my enemy.” ~Anakin Skywalker
As Star Wars fans know, at the end of “Stars Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith,” Anakin Skywalker turns evil, joins the “Dark Side,” and sets out to destroy his former Jedi Master, Obi-Wan. Just as these two begin to duel, Anakin chides Obi-Wan, “If you are not with me, then you are my enemy.” Such a statement illustrates well much of the current American political atmosphere. Unfortunately, it illustrates not just the polarization among Democrats and Republicans in general, but it describes Christians who politically disagree. But it’s more than just mere disagreement among Christians. The political disagreements have led to personal attacks, and much like Skywalker’s comment, it has led to an attitude of “you vs. me” in the church. I call this political posture “Skywalker Syndrome.” As we go forward into 2020 and approach yet another presidential election, Christians, although disagreeing, need to keep in mind the faith we share and strive for unity. Continue reading
We in America love our ideologies, and we gravitate toward others who affirm our preconceived notions. If you already dislike a certain politician, then find a blog or article that affirms the worst about him or her. If you really like a politician, then discredit a negative news story by claiming “fake news” or calling people names. So why not just create our own theology in the same way? Well, we American Christians do this as well, so I thought I would help all of us out and develop a 10 point plan on how to do this effectively. By following this plan, you will be able to convince everyone else of the legitimacy of your theological view by making it look biblical. In addition, people will think you’re smart! Continue reading
What if Ken Ham’s criticisms of belief in an old earth were applied to a position he held to be true, let’s say, heliocentrism (the idea that the sun is the center and the earth rotates around it)? What would it look like? In this blog, I take Ken Ham’s response (found HERE) to Matt Walsh’s video explanation of why he doesn’t believe in a young earth and re-formulate it to show what it would look like if “the shoe were on the other foot.” As you will see, Ken Ham could be criticized in the exact same way that he criticizes those who believe in an old earth. There was a time when Christians interpreted numerous biblical passages as teaching geocentrism, that the earth was the center of the universe and did not move. It was not until “secular” science came along that Christians reinterpreted such passages to no longer teach geocentrism. Continue reading
A student of mine once commented, “We don’t know which religion is true, so we might as well just believe in what we want and be happy!” This statement captures well a very popular idea today. It basically says that there really is no such thing as truth, and even if there is, no one can really know it. This idea calls into question the very foundation of being able to talk about God and knowing things about him, or doing what we call “theology.” Continue reading
A popular idea today is that we have the “right” to believe whatever we want or choose as we wish when it comes to religious and moral beliefs. This concept probably comes from a sense of self-autonomy and the American sociopolitical context in which we live. In large part, it comes from the popular notion that there is no objective truth when it comes to religion and morality–it’s the old Schaefferian upper and lower story split when it comes to what we can and cannot know. Whatever the reasons, the pressing question is, “Do we really have a right to choose to believe whatever we want, especially religious and moral beliefs?” Continue reading
The 31st of this month will mark the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, and the celebration has already begun in many quarters of the evangelical world. As part of this celebration, many are reminiscing and re-telling the important event that began it all: Martin Luther posting his 95 theses in Wittenburg. Interestingly, as evangelicals are celebrating the boldness of Luther, some unwittingly make him out to be a heretic and spreading a false gospel.
This may sound a bit outrageous, but consider the popular 9Marks ministry. Several weeks ago a good friend of mine sent me a 9Marks link that dealt with a question about the Christian Churches/Churches of Christ (CC/CoC). (If you are unfamiliar with the ministry of 9Marks, check out their website HERE.) An inquisitor (a “Steven” from “Virginia”) remarked that he was rather confused about what exactly these churches believe. He commented that many of the churches have ambiguous statements of faith or none at all, so how should he interact and relate to this group of churches?
As interesting (and troubling) as this question was, the 9Marks answer and interaction with it revealed a theological inconsistency that is all too common in evangelicalism in general: an acceptance of Martin Luther’s view of justification by faith while leaving out his view of baptism. The result? In this case, the great founder of the Protestant Reformation would not be allowed to be a member of a 9Marks church. In fact, Luther would have to repent for perpetuating a false Gospel! Continue reading