Who Made Chase?

Who Made Chase?

Reading Time: 3 minutes

The other day I was having lunch with a friend and her 4th-grade son named Chase. In all regards, he is like any other 4th grader you might come across, but he asked me a question that astounded me. We talked about God, and I don’t remember the specifics of the conversation, but he started questioning the claim that God created everything. My phrasing, not his. Then he asked, “If God created everything, who created God?” Wow, how many 4th graders do you know even think about that question and can even articulate it? I have a count of one.

My reply was less than satisfying because some of the concepts are hard to wrap your head around, and I did not explain them well. I should have given him more credit and stopped reminding myself he was only a 4th grader. He certainly is thinking about concepts that most adults don’t even reflect on. As it was, I think I just muddied the waters, but I felt better after we played hangman and I won. Of course, I was adding eyeballs, eyelashes, and any other body part I could think of to continue guessing the letters.

I tried to explain to him; it is really the wrong question. When someone asks who created God, they are assuming that God was created. Let’s face it if some other being made God, then the obvious follow-up is who created that God? And then, who created the God that created God? So on and so on. You have an impossible infinite regress. Time cannot go back forever without end, or we would never have reached this moment in time.

Something, I will call it God, must have started the clock. Something that is outside of the universe and is not in any way dependent on it. They have an argument for this, and it is called the Kalam Cosmological Argument, which actually has its roots in Islam.

  1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause.
  2. The universe began to exist.
  3. Therefore, the universe has a cause outside of itself.

Look at premise 1 for a moment. We have two kinds of things that exist, things that exist necessarily and things that have a cause outside of themselves. Numbers are an example of something that exists necessarily. Many mathematicians think numbers exist fundamentally, and it is impossible for them not to exist. Can you imagine a reality that does not have numbers? I can’t. That leaves things that exist due to other things that exist. In other words, things exist because of other things. For example, puppies, turtles, trees, rocks, mountains, the moon, sun, and stars all exist because of something else. In premise 1 above, God falls into the category of existing necessarily.

Concerning premise 2 the scientific community overwhelmingly agrees that the universe began to exist. Most call that beginning the Big Bang. Space, time, matter, and energy all started when the universe began because they are one in the same.

This argument has two premises that lead to a logical conclusion. If the premises are true, then a logical and sound conclusion follow. Once we conclude that the universe was caused by something we can look more closely at what that cause could be. I call that cause God.

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Genesis 1:1

Creative Commons License
Who Made Chase? by James W Glazier is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

 

Sources:

Craig, William Lane. Reasonable Faith. Wheaton: Crossway, 2008, Print

D’Souza, Dinesh. What’s So Great About Christianity. Carol Stream: Tyndale House, 2007. Print.

Ell, Douglas. Counting to God. Attitude Media, 2014, Print

Craig, William, L. On Guard. Colorado Springs: David C. Cook Publishing, 2010. Print.

Why hasn’t God intervened…

Why hasn’t God intervened…

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Image by Anemone123 from Pixabay

Why hasn’t God intervened on the tyrants throughout history to prevent far worse atrocities than in the Old Testament days in which he did intervene?

An atheist blogger posted this question from a book titled Divinity of Doubt. He added a few of his own and then said they were impossible for a Christian to answer and that every Christian would ignore them. I enjoy looking for those kinds of challenges, not because I have an answer to all the questions I come across, but because it only sharpens my own faith when I work on a response. Let’s face it, no one, not even the most brilliant apologists or theologians, can answer every question that may be raised by skeptics. But if you take the time to consider what’s asked, it can only add to the tools you have at your disposal. 1 Peter 3:15 I choose the first three he listed and have addressed them in this post.

When I am around skeptics or atheists and they make a bold claim or a question that is based on an assumption, I often ask questions. The first question I ask maybe to clarify part of their statement. The second question has more to do with how they came to believe what they stated.

So, for example, with this first statement, I might ask, “What do you mean by ‘far worse atrocities’?” Or What do you mean by ‘intervened’? I would want to know what far worse atrocities she was referring to. Would the Holocaust, the Cambodian genocide, or the Rwandan genocide be examples? And by ‘interveined’ do they mean a complete and absolute interruption of some evil, or would a partial intervention be in the running?

Once I have a clearer understanding I might ask another question to seek further insight and reasons for their belief. For example, I might ask, “How do you know that God has not intervened?”

This question assumes there is a God and implies He has not done any intervening. Consider for a moment the underlying assumption. How could anyone possibly know that God has not interceded? If a terrible atrocity was averted by God and did not take place, how would anyone know that? It would be impossible to see if He has intervened because the tragedy would never take place to question His lack of interceding. Just a moment of reflection makes this first claim comical.

Of course, this does not prove He has intervened, but don’t let someone get away with an assumption that cannot be supported.

2. If God were all-powerful, why wouldn’t he create humans who could appreciate good without having evil to compare it with?

There are several directions I could go with a question like this. What do they mean by all-powerful? I would want to flesh out exactly what they mean by that. For starters, all-powerful does not mean God can do the logically impossible. Can he put a round peg in a square hole? Can he create a married bachelor? Of course not.

C.S. Lewis touches on this in his book Mere Christianity. “My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of just and unjust? A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line. What was I comparing this universe with when I called it unjust?1

We can appreciate the goodness of God without having experienced evil. God’s goodness is objectively beautiful. A child can enjoy a lovely garden without having experienced a garden full of withered and dry flowers void of color. A child can also appreciate loving and kind parents without having experienced cruel and abusive parents.

The above question pre-supposes that we can’t appreciate good without evil. God’s love, kindness, wisdom, and much more can be appreciated without experiencing corruption of some sort. The second question implies that we can’t enjoy good without evil, which is patently false.

Are there parts of God’s character we wouldn’t understand without evil? Oh yes! How could we experience his mercy, forgiveness, grace, and justice without evil? Yes, we can experience His goodness without evil, but we experience more of Him because of evil.2

3. If God were all-perfect and all-powerful, why would he do such a poor job and create such an imperfect world with its deadly earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, droughts, etc.?

The brilliant Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias would often respond by asking a question, “Who is asking?” In other words, what steers your world view? He would address the questioner and point out the following:

  • If you are a scientific naturalist, then natural disasters are part of the evolutionary process. For example, without plate tectonics, we would not have mountains. Without degrees of elevation, we would not have rivers, lakes, canyons, flood plains, etc. Those who lose their lives from natural disasters just become part of the natural selection equation. So why are you complaining?
  • If you are a philosophical naturalist, then our chemistry rules the day. What could be wrong with natural disasters? It is just the way things are, and you have no basis to complain. Natural disasters are just normal, regular, and expected common occurrence of our world. How could that be wrong? There would be no such thing as a ‘poor job’ because that suggests something is wrong with our natural world.
  • If you are a follower of an eastern religion such as Buddhism or Hinduism, then it is just ‘karma.’ You are getting what you deserve. What goes around, comes around. If you had done evil in your former life, then you are receiving what you earned.
  • If you are a Muslim, then the term ‘inshallah’ or Allah’s will, applies to the question. Everything is the will of Allah and cannot be questioned.

Our world view is what we believe to be true about reality. We can ask questions all day long, but some answers (depending on your world view) are not allowed, not even an option to consider. I will quote Thomas Nagal to make this point clear. Nagel is an atheist philosopher who was refreshingly honest in his personal assessment of God. Nagel wrote, “I want atheism to be true and am made uneasy by the fact that some of the most intelligent and well-informed people I know are religious believers. It isn’t just that I don’t believe in God and, naturally, hope that I’m right in my belief. It’s that I hope there is no God! I don’t want there to be a God; I don’t want the universe to be like that.“((Nagel, Thomas. “Logic,” The Last Word, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1997, 130-131))

If you talk to people outside the circle of your world view, opportunities are inevitable. Opportunities to do some gardening, maybe pull some weeds. If nothing else, seek to understand their view and the reasons behind it. If you have something to offer, great. If not, then let it go and consider what they had to say.

Not long ago, I went shooting with a friend from work who shoots regularly. I had mentioned my Smith & Wesson Shield .40 had jammed for the first time about a week prior. As we chatted about it, she brought up ‘limp wristing,’ a term I had never heard of before. After watching some Youtube experts, which she shared with me (got to love Youtube), I believe that could have been the problem. All that to say, if I had had the attitude that a woman could not teach me anything about firearms, I might still have an occasional jam in an excellent handgun, mistakenly thinking it is the weapon, not the operator.

Having a little humility is a good thing. If you are wrong, don’t you want to know? Understanding world views outside of Christianity is an asset. I have lost track of the number of atheists or skeptics I have chatted with whose goal is not to understand, let alone even consider what I might be sharing, but to smugly ask questions many Christians can’t answer. Their arrogance is sometimes palatable, but I keep reminding myself His desire is for all to be saved and I am not ahead of them in line for the pearly gates. 1 Timothy 2:4

Like a bulletproof vest, take your faith to the range and fire some rounds at it to see if it holds up. If it doesn’t, then maybe something your world view needs to change.


Why hasn’t God intervened by James W Glazier is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

  1. Lewis, C.S. “The Rival Conception of God.” Mere Christianity, Harper One, 1952, p.38 []
  2. Hall, Amy. Would We Know God without Evil? Stand to Reason, str.org, Aug. 7, 2020, https://www.str.org/w/would-we-know-good-without-evil- []

If God is in Control of everything, is He really Good?

Reading Time: 7 minutesI was asked the question recently, “If God is in Control of everything, is He really Good?” The timing of this question was poignant in my life because this past week we found out my daughter, who just graduated from high school, has cancer. She had a dark spot on her scalp and after the biopsy came back positive for melanoma, further testing was done, and she will have to go to U.C. Davis to have more if it removed, and possibly some lymph nodes removed. While the prognosis at this point seems to be optimistic, it would be natural for someone to ask God why.  

Out of all of our children, she is the one that eats healthy and is genuinely concerned about her health. No smoking, drinking, or drugs, (of course none of them do that), but she does not drink coffee, sodas, energy drinks, sausage, bacon, deep fried Twinkies, you know, all the things that most normal Americans consume.  

This is not the first time I asked God why something was taking place. Years ago, I lost my best friend Keith to cancer. He left behind a wife and young son who he was deeply concerned about. Over the years, both my wife and I have known many people who have struggled with cancer and lost the battle. Many have left behind a spouse and young children. At our own church there have been young children struggling with diseases, and others born with defects which the families have to struggle with for the rest of their lives. Would a ‘good’ God allow this? 

So if God is in control, and most Christians I know of believe that, why would he allow adults have so much pain and suffering? Not to mention children, some under the age of five, whose worst sin might be cutting Barbie’s hair without permission, coloring on the white wall in the bed room with crayons, poking metal keys in a light socket, (OK that had its own consequence which Beth learned about first hand), or attempting to feed the family dog peas from her dinner plate. Adults I get it, some probably deserve the pain and suffering they are struggling with, at least from my perspective, but young innocent children? How can a Christian respond to that question?  

How many of us would heal the sick and the lame if we could? Hopefully, everyone we know. Then again, if one of us had that kind of power, I can’t help but wonder if it would turn into some commercialized healing center with millionaires from all over the world knocking at our door, (or using RPG’s to get in), to heal a child or loved one. Nevertheless, just about everyone of us would do what we could to heal those in need. Regardless of what that kind of miraculous ability would morph into over time, especially if it were public knowledge, most of us would make the effort to help those who were in anguish. 

As Christians though, we do believe God has the power to stop evil from taking place. Not only the evil of diseases, but the evil humans inflict on each other in wars and domestic violence. The recent shootings in Orlando Florida where a follower of ISIS shot and killed 49 people in a late night LGBT bar. Then there is natural evil; you only have to reflect on the 2011 tsunami in Japan which killed over 15,000 and left homeless almost a quarter of a million people.  

Here is the classic argument about why evil can’t be stopped by God.
1. If God is all good, He would destroy evil.
2. If God is all powerful, He could destroy evil.
3. But evil is not destroyed.
4. Hence, there is no such God.

In his best seller book, The God Delusion, Richard Dawkins puts it as well as any atheist could when he describes what God is, if he exists. “The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.”1 

So with our back to the wall, we as Christians have to look at why an all loving and all powerful God would allow this kind of evil to continue in the world today. I would like to answer this in three ways.  

First, let me ask you a question. Do scars have a purpose? Yes, one purpose is they serve as reminders of an injury we endured. The injury may have been inflicted by others, (I recall a beautiful spinning heel kick that landed perfectly on my left temple). It may be self inflicted due to a mistake in judgement, (ask Beth if she remembers keys and sparks). Finally, it could be due to some natural occurrence such as cancer or an earthquake.  

In the first example, I learned not to spar with someone whose legs are longer than mine. In the second example, you can ask Beth if she has stuck any keys into a wall socket recently. In the final example, someone who has a history of skin cancer may be diligent in checking for dark areas on their skin. A Californian may move out of San Francisco, (think of the year 1906), to any location in Minnesota, the land of ten thousand lakes, not quakes. In other words, we can learn from our suffering; in fact, you can learn from the suffering of others without having to make the same mistake yourself. Rebecca, our youngest daughter, never stuck keys in a light socket.  

Second, I want to point out that evil cannot be destroyed without destroying freedom.2 Think about this for a moment. It is free beings who are the cause of great evil in the world today. If freedom was destroyed, it would destroy evil, but what else would be lost? Matthew 22:36-37 tells us the greatest commandment is to love your God with all your heart, soul, and mind. (I will point out that loving God with your mind is a huge plug for apologetics.) If freedom was destroyed to rid the world of evil, then it would also be destroying love, which according to Jesus is the greatest commandment.3 It is not possible to love without free will, unless you consider matrimony by gun point a legitimate form of marriage.  

This line of thinking puts us between a rock and a hard spot. Apparently, God can’t rid the world of evil unless He also rids the world of freedom, so what are we to do? Scripture is packed with verses that talk of overcoming evil, defeating evil, overpowering evil, outsmarting evil. For example: 1John 3:8Ephesians 6:11, 1 Corinthians 15:57, 1John 5:4, 1Peter 5:8 are just a few. Finding verses in scripture on defeating evil would be about as easy as finding a lake in Minnesota.  

Geisler and Brooks puts it this way, “The very argument used against the existence of God turns out to be a vindication of God in the face of the problem of evil. There is no question here that if it has not happened and God is as we supposed Him to be, that we simply haven’t waited long enough. God isn’t finished yet. The final chapter has not been written. Apparently, God would rather wrestle with our rebellious wills than to reign supreme over rocks and trees.”4 Just because there is evil in the world does not mean God is unable or unwilling to overcome it.  

The third and final way I want to address this is by pointing out the use of the word ‘good’. How we feel about something does not determine if it is good or not. Goodness is not a subjective truth. Goodness must be an objective truth. Let me explain the difference.  

If I told you mint chip ice-cream tastes good you might not agree. You might go so far as to say it tastes terrible. This is a subjective opinion on how we each feel about the taste of ice-cream. Now if I said mint chip ice-cream is a good cure for cancer you would probably not agree. If we began to debate this, sooner or later I would have to come up with some evidence or proof for this claim. Is there any documented evidence that suggests people with cancer are cured if they eat mint chip ice-cream? No, of course not.  

Alex McFarland wrote The 10 Most Common Objections to Christianity, and in it he addressed feelings, truth, and goodness. “Often people do not even know they have cancer until a routine physical examination reveals it. Many people who are diagnosed with cancer for the first time have this reaction: ‘How can that be? I feel great.’ Then, of course, the treatment begins. To aggressively fight a tough disease such as cancer, it requires strong medicine that can make the patient feel perfectly miserable. But it is important to remember that although the patient feels worse, he is actually getting better… I say all that to make this point: Feelings are important. God gave them to us for many good reasons. But they are, by themselves, poor guides in life.”5 

To determine if something is good we need a standard to compare it to. For example, if you bowl, you know that a perfect score is 300, and how close you are to that score would determine how well, (good), you bowled that game. If you bowled a 27, no matter how good you feel about it, no one would ask you to join their bowling league, even if they were members of a blind bowling league.

Most of us recognize how evil the slaughter of six million Jews by the Nazis in World War II was, but many Nazis may have felt it was a ‘good’ deed. That is the problem with using culture or feelings to determine if something by nature is good. To use the word good, we need a standard to measure the meaning of the word. The question if God is in control and asking if He is good, slips in the objective meaning of good, but where is that objective meaning? What standard of good are they using to determine if God is good?   

Peter Kreeft put it this way, “The ultimate source of morality is God. We must be good because God is good. God repeats over and over again to His chosen people the reason for morality in the Old Testament: ‘Be holy, for I am holy’ (Leviticus11:44)…God’s law comes from God’s will, and God’s will comes from His nature. He wills the moral law according to His nature.”6 It is God’s nature that is our standard, just like a score of 300 is our standard in bowling. Any other standard of goodness is subject to change without prior notice, just read the fine print.  

 

Sources:
1. Dawkins, Richard. The God Delusion. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2006. Print.
2. Geisler, Norman. Brooks, Ronald. When Skeptics Ask a Handbook on Christian Evidences. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1990. Print.
3. Ibid.
4. Ibid.
5. McFarland, Alex. The 10 Most Common Objections to Christianity. Minneapolis: Bethany House, 2007. Print.
6. Kreeft, Peter. Because God is Real. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2008. Print. 

 

 

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If God is in Control of everything, is He really Good? by James Glazier is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

If God created the universe, who created God?

If God created the universe, who created God?

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Above image by Raphael from Pixabay

One of the men attending our early Sunday morning apologetic class, Anthony, shared with me that someone actually asked him this specific question.

We started watching the six week Greg Koukl DVD series on Tactics. At the end of the 2nd session, I made eight statements, or claims, that I wanted those attending to think about. The second one on my list was, “If God created the universe, who created God?” So when Anthony heard that one, it reminded him of someone asking him that question.

This question has been around for a long time. What some of you may find interesting is that the response, at least in part, comes from Muslim philosophers. It is called the Kalam Cosmological Argument. I know it sounds like a mouthful and would not come up when you’re fishing with your buddies, but let me explain.

It is a philosophical argument for the existence of God, which has become popular with Christian apologists in the last 40 years or so. Part of its popularity has to do with the Big Bang theory, which dovetails perfectly with this philosophical argument. The Kalam Cosmological Argument comes in many forms, but a nut shell, goes like this:
1. Everything that begins to exist has a cause outside of itself.
2. The universe began to exist.
3. Therefore, the universe has a cause outside of itself.
What do we call that cause? God.

If you were to look at a tree in your yard, you could start tracing its cause back, starting with the tree that dropped the seed which sprouted the one in your yard. Then back to the tree that seeded the one which seeded the first. Then to the one that seeded that one, and the next, and the next…you get the idea. Your tree, and everything else that begins to exist, traces its cause to something outside of itself. Nothing that has a beginning can be the cause of its own existence.

Think about it. Not only trees, but cars, dogs, books, flowers, the sand on the beach, and the very earth we stand on.

Genesis 1:1 Over the centuries, most monotheistic religions believed that God was the cause of the universe.

Over time, many began to believe that God was unnecessary for the universe because the universe was static, it always existed. If that was true, then there was no need for God. He could not have created something that was always there. Even Einstein believed the universe always existed and in the process of working out the Theory of General Relativity, his equation reflected the view of a static, eternal universe. But Einstein was wrong.

Einstein was uncomfortable with the thought of an expanding universe. Obviously, if it is expanding, as we move backward in time the universe is smaller. The further back in time we move, the smaller the universe, until we have a point from which we say the Big Bang emerged. This theory is widely accepted among the scientific community today. Not only is it expanding, but the further out we study distant galaxies, we find they are moving away faster than the ones closer to our own Milky Way.

There are other indications to the universe having a beginning. The example of our own sun points out that as time passes, the fuel declines. Eventually, (several billion years from now), our sun will burn up the supply of hydrogen and swell to a red giant. So large in fact, that the orbit of the earth will intercept the sun. 1

If our universe had always existed, then we would have run out of usable energy long ago. Our own sun could not have have been burning forever. D’Souza put it this way, “…if the universe can be compared to a clock, the fact that the clock is continually running down leads to the conclusion that there was a time when the clock was fully wound up. The universe originated with its full supply of energy, and that is the fund that has been dissipating ever since.”2

So the universe began to exist, and we consider the cause God. So the question remains, who created God? If another super being created God, then who created the super being that created God? And who created that being, and on we go, spiraling backward into an infinite number of causes.

That does not work, because if time always existed we would never have reached today. High Ross in his book, Why The Universe Is The Way It Is wrote, “…the universe was brought into existence by a causal Agent with the capacity to operate before, beyond, unlimited by, and transcendent to all cosmic matter, energy, space, and time.”3

In other words, God created time, space, and matter. He is not limited to his creation. He is a transcendent uncreated being. He has no creator and has no need of one, because He created time as we know it. A hard concept to wrap your mind around, but that is the answer to the question, “Who created God?” No one. He never began to exist, unlike our universe.

Scripture confirms this belief. Deuteronomy 33:27 talks of God being eternal. Job 36:26 says his years can’t be discovered. Psalm 103:17 says He is everlasting to everlasting. John 1:1-3 says that all things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made. There are other verses in Scripture that attribute God for having made all that exists and that He is eternal.

Ross also wrote, “Such complete freedom to compress or expand time is only possible for a Being who is completely free to operate beyond, or transcendent to time.”4

Finally, in his book Surprised By Meaning, Alister E. McGrath explained how the Christian World view fits nicely to our current observations of the natural world. Christians have never had to adjust to a created universe, or a uncreated Being. “Yet it must be emphasized that Christian theology has never seen itself as charged with the task of inventing an explanation for these observations; rather, they fit within, and resonate with, an existing way of thinking, which proves capable of satisfactorily incorporating such observations.”5

 

 

Sources:
1. “What Will Happen to Earth When the Sun Dies?” livescience.com. Live Science, 1 December 2010. Web. 18 August 2015
2. D’Souza, Dinesh. What’s So Great About Christianity. Carol Stream: Tyndale House, 2007. Print.
3. Ross, Hugh. Why The Universe Is The Way It Is. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2008.
4. Ibid.
5. McGrath, Alister E. Surprised by Meaning. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2011.

 

 

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If God created the universe, who created God? by James Glazier is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at http://www.dev.christianapologetics.blog/.

Free Will

Reading Time: 5 minutesIf God wants us all to follow and worship him, why didn’t he create us as such? *Your expected answer will be addressed in the next question.

This is the 12th and 13th (see below) of 50 Questions Christian’s can’t answer   If you click on the link you will see my responses from on the first ten.

Imagine you are able to create something that has mobility, processing ability, and can react, but does not have a free will. We call those kinds of things machines, computers, or robots. Free

In the not too distant future we will have robots that will interact with families on a regular basis. They may clean house, cook meals, water plants, help children with their homework, drive them to school, and even feed the cat. These robots will become as much a part of our lives as indoor lighting is now. Flip a switch to turn on the light without a second thought, or give the command, “take out the trash”, without a second thought.

We already have robots that will vacuum, scrub, or mop your floor, clean your gutters or pool. Google and others are testing driverless cars. In fact, this March, Delphi Automotive started a 3,500 mile trip in San Francisco to drive across the U.S. with a driver-less car that has already been testing on the streets of California, and even in Las Vegas. 1

The things we create have ‘extrinsic’ value. William Lane Craig gives the example of money. We use money for commerce and it has value for that purpose, but in and of itself, money is just paper, which is not worth much at all.

Humans, on the other hand, have ‘intrinsic’ value. We are made in God’s image, not that we physically look like him, but part of his character is his free will, which we have also. If God created something that would love him because it had no choice, it would lack intrinsic value. It would be a thing, not a person. Augustine said we should love people and use things, not use people and love things. That is why we see the fundamental evil in people who use people as objects. They strip their intrinsic value and replace it with an extrinsic value, making them nothing more than objects. 2

 

What good is it for us to have free will if the intention is for us not to use it? Sure, we can use our free will, but we will burn in hell for eternity if we do. Russian roulette, anybody? It sounds like a set-up to me.

To the second part of the question I would respond, God ‘did’ create us with a free will with the intention of our using it. Why should breaking a law or laws and there being a consequence be so difficult to understand? The gentleman who wrote these questions is very liberal with his use of logical fallacies. For example, strawman, appeal to the stone, are littered throughout his questions and statements. Where in the Bible does it say if we use our free will we will burn in Hell for eternity? Russian roulette? What on earth does that have to do with free will? It is not a gamble, but a choice.

As fallen created beings, we have a choice of accepting the gift of salvation, or not. You know who talked about Hell more than anyone else in the Bible? It was Jesus, and He had good reason for talking about it.

Have you ever been hurt by someone else? Have you ever been hurt by someone else and they got away with it? For the minor hurt, we are able to forgive, but the hurts that involve years of abuse, rape, torture, especially against young children, the ability to forgive does not come so easily. What about those who have caused great pain and suffering in the lives of others, and get away with it? Not a single day of jail or a single word of regret or taking shameful responsibility for their deeds.

Hitler took over six million lives and died in a way of his own choosing, probably in the arms of his mistress. Stalin, hating God to the end, died in his own bed after killing twice as many as Hitler. Do they just get away with their inflicted untold suffering? For centuries, around the world we have millions of people who have gotten away with murder, rape, and child abuse. Are they ever punished?

Theologian J.I. Packer put it this way, “Would a God who did not care about the difference between right and wrong be a good and admirable being? Would a God who put no distinction between the beasts of history, the Hitlers and Stalins (if we dare use names), and his saints, be morally praiseworthy and perfect? Moral indifference would be imperfection in God, not perfection. But not to judge the world would be to show moral indifference. The final proof that God is a perfect moral being, not indifferent to questions of right and wrong, is the fact that he has committed himself to judge the world.” 3

The Gospel message is clear. Hell is not God’s desire for anyone. The cross gives everyone another option, but few take it. McDowell and Morrow wrote, “So, whether you are new to Christianity or have read the Bible for years, we want to be crystal clear that the point of Christianity is not to avoid hell, but to enjoy the presence of God now and forevermore.” 4

Atheists and skeptics will read what they want into scripture. Much of it will not make any sense to them. For that matter, much of what the Bible has to say does not make any sense to me either, but we can share Scripture and the truths within without reading Bible passages to someone who does not believe in the Bible. We can share Scripture by acting it out in our lives. I had heard this years ago, but was recently reminded that for some, the only Bible they will ever read will be us.

For those that might actually read the Bible and are open to the wisdom, truth, and reality held within its pages, Peter Kreeft has some advice, “Don’t interpret a book – any book, including the Bible – according to your own ideas. Interpret it according to the author’s ideas. Then you will get more out of it more than you put into it: you’ll get the author’s mind out of it, not just your own.” 5

 

Sources:

1. Cathcart, Corinne. “Driverless Car to Begin Cross-Country Trip Sunday.” ABC News. Abcnews.go.com, 21 March 2015. Web. 1 April 2015
2. Craig, William L. Hard Questions Real Answers. Wheaton: Crossway, 2003. Print
3. McDowell, Sean. Morrow, Jonathan. Is God Just a Human Invention? Grand Rapids: Kregel Publishing, 2010. Print.
4. Ibid.
5. Kreeft, Peter. Because God is Real – Sixteen Questions, One Answer. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2008. Print.

 

 

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Free Will by James Glazier is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at http://www.dev.christianapologetics.blog/.

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