Archive for the ‘apologetics’ Tag

Time is for Humans   Leave a comment

I don’t believe that the creation account in Genesis 1 and 2 is threatened by the theories of science. The Bible is not a book of science. It’s a book of history and a specific kind of history, written for the people of the era from their perspective, inspired but not dictated by God. It therefore does not have to be scientifically precise. Science loosely agrees with the Bible with the theory of the Big Bang and even evolution is not really incompatible with the Biblical account … provided you recognize that the Bible is not a book of science and that God was acting outside of time until He created human beings.

Time is a human concept. We are born, we live, we die. We divide up our lives into increments so that we can keep track. God is eternal. He never had a beginning, He will never have an end. What use are “days” to Him? He has no need to keep track of days, weeks, years, and centuries. Therefore, you have a description of creation broken into “days” before there is a sun to revolve around an earth to mark those “days.” Was it six literal days or six periods of time? We don’t know and it probably doesn’t matter.

Trust me – at the Great White Throne and the Bema Seat judgments our entrance into heaven will not be based upon our belief in a literal six-days creation or some form of theistic evolution. We will rise or fall on whether we believe Jesus Christ is God crucified for the forgiveness of our sins and risen on the third day to show He has overcome the broken nature of creation.

Genesis 1 is a side issue compared to that!

The God Who is There (Introduction)   Leave a comment

My hope is not built on Francis Schaeffer’s writings, but The God Who Is There was my signpost to God. So I thought I’d take a bit looking at what this book means.

Schaeffer was all about the presuppositions, which is probably why he appealed to me in the first place. Growing up in an issues-oriented state, raised by parents who were political opposites, I had been trained early to question my political presuppositions. That I hadn’t questioned my spiritual presuppositions was probably because my parents largely agreed with the Alaskan culture that spiritual things weren’t all that important.

Schaeffer primarily wrote in the period of upheaval during the 1960s and 70s when Christians were coming to L’Abri in Switzerland to sort out their confusion. He was not writing in a vacuum. He was dealing every day with the confusion Christians were experiencing as we entered the post-modern age.

“The present chasm between the generations has been brought about almost entirely by a change in the concept of truth. … The consensus about us is almost monolithic, whether you review the arts, literature or simply read the newspapers and magazines…. On every side you can feel the stranglehold of this new methodology … the way we approach truth and knowing. … And just as fog cannot be kept out by walls or doors, so this consensus comes in around us, til the room we live in is no longer distinct, and yet we hardly realize what has happened ….

Schaeffer recognized way back in the 1950s that modernism was taking a dark turn. He never used the term “post-modernism” but he understood that modernism was headed that way. To him what we term “post-modernism” was really just the logical continuation of modernism’s failure to fulfill its promises.

“If you lived in … the United States before about 1935, you would not have had to spend much time, in practice, in thinking about your presuppositions. … What were these presuppositions? The basic one was that there really are such things as absolutes. They accepted the possibility of an absolute in the area of Being (or knowledge), and in the area of morals. Therefore, because they accepted the possibility of absolutes, though men might disagree as to what these were, nevertheless they could reason together…. “

That was lost and Schaeffer recognized that. Modernism had promised to answer all the questions of man through the sciences and to find agreement in all spheres. It had failed in doing that because science is the study of the material world and there is more to the human experience than the material world. When modernism failed to deliver on that promise, philosophers (who tend to speak for society) despaired and began to find other ways to answer those great questions.

Human societies have a tendency to seek a uniform culture where people can agree on the major issues, but Christians must always stand for God because God is truth. Martin Luther wrote”

“If I profess with the loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the truth of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Christ. Where the battle rages, there the loyalty of the soldier is proved, and to be steady on all the battlefields besides, is mere fight and disgrace if he flinches at that point.”

Schaeffer did not flinch from the battlefield and he sought to explain to 20th century Christians how their culture had drifted so far from Christianity, but also why their children were and remain at risk of being sucked down with it.

Although I grew up in a non-believing home, I was one of those youth that Schaeffer hoped to wake up to the reality around them, so that they would be free to follow God with their eyes wide open.

That Schaeffer’s The God Who Is There would be in an Alaskan cabin in the middle of nowhere so that I would have reading materials when I (a non-Christian) was bored enough to read a book on Christian apologetics could be deemed a statistical improbability, but I choose to see it as a miracle. God wanted me to read the book. He made sure we were both in the right place at the right time under the right conditions.

Coincidence?

Only You Can Prevent Moral Evil   1 comment

At some point, almost everybody asks “Why?” when confronted with the tragedy that is human history, especially in the 20th century (100 million killed in various genocides) and, well, the 21st century is still new, but things aren’t looking promising. There’s a great deal of truth to the idea that there are no atheists in foxholes. We all, to some degree, believe there really is a God Who is conscious of human beings, Who is good, and Who has sufficient power to prevent bad things from happening.

If you’re not a believer, you’re about to compose an angry response to my contention, but hear me out.

If there is no God, the question is not “Why are children starving in (name that location)?” It’s not “Why is (name that dictator) murdering millions for (name that goal)?” The question is “Why not?” Why shouldn’t they be starving and being murdered and why should we care if they are? In the absense of a moral context, starving and gassing your citizens is no more “wrong” than feeding and clothing them. Evil is commonplace in this world, so why do we rail against it? If God does not exist, shouldn’t we just accept reality?

Instead, we think evil is strange, something against the natural order.

Why?

The Bible says that God created mankind to be “good”. If God created us, we were not created for evil. Thus, evil is strange to us. That changed when Adam and Eve chose to disobey God. They gained the knowledge of good and evil and in the bargain, they learned how to do evil. We learned how to do evil. But at our basic DNA level, we know it’s wrong and we know it’s strange.

Christian faith accepts that every event is ultimately redeemable and also therefore, permissible, by a personal God Who is both willing and able to nurture into being a creation which cannot be improved on. This doesn’t mean we believe that every event is good. Bad things happen because we humans broke the creation God gave us to tend. Moral evil is all around us. Yet God through Jesus Christ cares about all human beings and even sparrows and flowers.

So how do Christians answer evil. “If God is both all-good and all-powerful,” people say, “He would not allow evil things to occur at all.” They follow with: “If God is all-good and all-powerful, evil should not exist. And, if man was created in God’s image, the moral evil makes God look like the Devil.”

Human beings are messy because God created us with free will, which means we are capable of acting in ways that God did not authorize. Moral development of personality is possible only in a world of genuine freedom. God does not and never would approve of some of things that human beings do to one another, but the horrendous moral crimes we commit are the result of our freedom of moral choice. God is more interested in our character than our comfort. If a child is never permitted to do wrong, he or she will never become capable of developing a nature or character that CHOOSES good. Good people must live in a world where doing evil is a genuine choice for them.

This does not mean that God is limited in power. It only means that He restrains the use of His power. Producing people with character without giving them a choice to exercise their character is impossible, because the capacity to choose is part of character.

The presence of moral evil in the world does not mean that God is lacking in goodness or power, but that He allows us to choose to use the free will that He built into us. Why we struggle with this is that, to our eyes, this life is all we have. We forget that there is a life following that God has promised us. That life after is not just for believers. Non-believers have an eternal life as well. When we focus on this life alone, evil, pain, and frustration cannot be redeemed. If God is only God for our temporal reality, then He has no business allowing us to suffer. He’s not the God of temporal reality. He is the God of eternity and that makes all the difference.

Paul the apostle taught that great suffering is “our light afflication, which is but for a moment and which produces for us a weight of glory far greater than it.” (2 Corinthians 4) There is a world that we don’t see in our every day way. God loves us – each and every one (even those of us who don’t love Him) – and He has provided a way for us to go to His full and perfect world where existence is good all the time. There, God is seen to be good and great without limit and every individual received into His presence enjoys the everlasting sufficiency of His goodness and greatness. There is no tragedy for those who rely on THAT God.

This world is but a moment and eternity is longer than we can imagine. While God permits evil to allow us to exercise our free will, He is not the source of evil. While pointing your finger at God for the problem of moral evil, please do note the other fingers pointing back at you. Human beings commit moral evil. We are the source. The very first time mankind exercised our free will, we attempted to put ourselves in God’s throne and set loose the forces of evil in our world.

Why do humans commit moral evil? We have our reasons and we justify our behavior as “necessary”. I lie, cheat, steal, hurt others, but it is necessary to achieve my aims, so it’s justified.

When I recognize my position and rely upon God Who is infinitely wiser than me, I can relinquish the realization of my aims to Him. I can stop doing what I and everybody else knows is wrong and cease cooperation with immoral behavior occurring around me. I can also stand against the evils of this world, unconcerned about the consequences to me, because I realize that this world is a moment and eternity is longer than I can imagine.

Perfection of character is not necessary. We can concentrate on just doing better than what we did as autonomous humans. That is the surest way to vastly improve the world we live in … do what God wants us to do.

Start by relying on Jesus Christ to guide and help us. By trusting Jesus as well as we are able, we come to share the eternal kind of life that belongs to God. We come to understand how the Psalmist could “fear no evil” because “goodness and mercy shall follow [us] all of [our]days and [we] shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” This assurance is God’s response to our trust. Experience will confirm this assurance.

The problem of moral evil is soluble by mankind putting our trust in God and choosing to exercise our freewill in opposition to moral evil. Because God really exists and He is the only way to turn from evil to good.

Posted September 23, 2013 by aurorawatcherak in Christianity

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