A Proper Christian Theodicy

Dearest hijas,

One of the most pernicious arguments against the existence of God is based on the existence of physical and moral evil in the world. The question many unbelievers voice is, “If God is real, perfectly good and omnipotent, how can evil exist?” The “problem of evil” can be characterized in the following syllogism:

Premise 1: If God were all powerful, He would be able to prevent evil.
Premise 2: If God were all good, He would desire to prevent evil.
Conclusion: If God were both all-powerful and all-good, there would be no evil.
Premise 3: But there is evil.
Conclusion: Therefore, no all-powerful, all-good God exists.

The Christian response to the problem of evil is called theodicy, from the Greek theos and dike and combined mean “judicial hearing of God”, or the “justification of God”. Theodicy involves a vindication of God’s justice against the charge that the presence of evil in creation shows him to be unjust, capricious, cruel, haphazard, nonexistent, or even diabolical.

Theodicy declares that God is all-powerful and all-good, even though this might not seem to be the case since both physical (natural) and moral evil (sin) exists in His creation. The only proper Christian theodicy then, must come from Scripture.

Consider the following questions:
1. What did the first Adam do that the last Adam had to undo?

2: The promised Seed of Gen. 3:15 came to fix what as the last Adam?

3: What did Christ have to rectify, fix, stop?

Now consider the following:
1. If I define incorrectly the results/consequences of the first Adam, then I am redefining incorrectly the effects of the last Adam.

2. If natural evil (death, parasites, diseases, tumors, cancers, carnivory (including “the chase”), animals red in tooth and claw, bloodshed, mass extinctions, meteorite impacts, tsunamis, hurricanes, tornadoes, volcanic eruptions, massive earthquakes) existed before Adam, then Christ’s work on the cross doesn’t alter it, and it’s not part of the judgment of Genesis 3.

3. Millions and billions of years of death, disease, blood, gore, killing, natural disasters, etc., then become the work of Christ in creation (John 1:3, Col. 1:16), the outflow of His very being.

4. Millions and billions of years (a random, wasteful, inefficient, trial and error charade) makes Christ guilty of a creative process that involved death, disease, blood, gore, killing, natural disasters, etc., in the animal kingdom and throughout the earth in the process of arriving at man millions of years later.

5. It therefore impugns Christ with divine confusion and cruelty, and opposes the very character of God: His Holiness, His Love, His justice and fairness, His wisdom, His goodness, etc.

6. When Christ comes to His work on the cross then in the New Testament, He would be dying for his own work, pierced through for His own transgressions, bruised for His own iniquities, chastened for His own well-being (compare to Isaiah 53), not as judgment for the consequences of the first Adam’s sin.

A proper Christian theodicy begins in Genesis with a proper theology of the first Adam as the reason and requirement for a proper theology of the last Adam.

With love always,
Dear ol’ Dad,
Vaya con Dios mis hijas

Advertisements

Conundrum: Solved

Dearest hijas,

The solution to the conundrum I proposed in the previous post is in the wording, isn’t it? There really is no missing dollar. The hotel got $25 for the room ($30 minus the $5 given to the bellhop). The three sisters paid a total of $27 ($9 x 3) for the room. The difference of $27-$25 = $2 is what the bellhop kept for himself. Everything accounted for.

Love,
Dear ol’ Dad
Vaya con Dios mis hijas

Conundrum

Dearest hijas,

Three sisters are on vacation and go into a hotel. The desk clerk says that the room charge is $30, so each sister pays $10 dollars and they go to the room. Later, the clerk realizes the room was only $25, so he sends a bellboy to their room with $5. On the way, the bellboy couldn’t figure out how to split $5 evenly between the 3 sisters, so he gave each sister $1 and kept the $2 for himself. This meant that the 3 sisters each paid $9 for the room, which is a total of $27. Add the $2 dollars that the bellboy kept = $29. Where is the other dollar? (HT: W.J. Mencarow, The Paper Source, Nov. 2017)

Love always,
Dear ol’ Dad

“Dirty” Environment Enriches a Baby’s Microbiome. Dogs as Protectors?

Dearest hijas,

Thought you might enjoy this article on one of our favorite subjects: dogs. From Frannie to Snickers, Pepper to Bubbas, and now Dundee the boxer, we’ve loved our dogs haven’t we? Seems that a lick in the face by one of our favorite pooches can be beneficial, especially for babies.

http://www.icr.org/article/9974

With love,

Dear ol’ Dad

Vaya con Dios, mis hijas

Do You Have a Biblical Worldview?

Dearest hijas,

What is a Biblical worldview, and do you have one? A recent study by The American Culture and Faith Institute (ACFI) was seeking to determine how many Americans use the Bible as their filter for reality, to determine right from wrong, and to shape their beliefs, attitudes, and actions.

Shockingly, only 4% of millennials qualified to have a Biblical worldview. These are the next generation of pastors, teachers, elders, deacons, Sunday school teachers, and parents!

Here’s the link to the article:

https://answersingenesis.org/culture/study-shows-only-10-percent-americans-have-biblical-worldview/

Make sure your worldview is Biblical, mis hijas. It starts with a proper understanding that God is Creator, that you and I are creatures (the thing created). The world is not an emanation from God’s essence, one piece of God, if you like, but that the created world is entirely and irrevocably distinct from God. As creatures of God, we are capable of fellowship with God however.

It entails the absolute tripersonality of God. God is absolute personality, and because He is absolute, He is self-sufficient and self-existent, and therefore does not depend on anything else. He knows, He loves, He speaks. He is not just personal, but tripersonal, one God in three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This has important philosophical implications and answers the age-old philosophical problem of the one and the many (universals and particulars). God is both one and many, and has made a universe that is both one and many.

As to the relationship between Creator and creature, the Bible’s description of this relationship is lordship. God is LORD, and creation is His servant. God’s Lordship entails His control, authority, and presence. God controls all things according to His will. His authority is His right to be obeyed. His presence is His nearness to His creation and His intimate relationships with it.

We also know that a Biblical worldview describes man’s condition. Everyone of us, dead and lost in sin, in rebellion against our Creator. Everyone of us in need of an answer to our sin problem; an answer that can only be found in an acceptance of Christ’s death on the cross in our behalf, as a substitute for the death we rightly deserve.

With love,
Dad
Vaya con Dios mis hijas

Offering Unacceptable Sacrifice

Dear hijas,
Have you ever wondered why Cain’s sacrifice of the fruit of the ground in Genesis 4 was unacceptable to God, and Abel’s sacrifice of the firstlings of his flock and their fat portions was? “I mean, wow, God, since Cain was a tiller of the ground (Gen. 4.2), why did you reject his hard work at producing a good crop from the ground and only accept Abel’s”? “That seems totally unfair, Cain wasn’t a keeper of flocks like his brother Abel, but shouldn’t his hard work of watering and tending and careful grooming of the fruit of the ground be enough”? “Why was this not acceptable’?

Well, the answer lies in what happened in Genesis 3 and the Fall of Adam and Eve. What do we see God do after he confronted Adam and Eve with their sin in Genesis 3? Genesis 3:21 tells us that “the Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife, and clothed them”.

adam_and_eve

And how did God get those animal skins? “Poof, there it is”? No, the logical inference is that God killed the animal or animals and clothed Adam and Eve with their skins. You see, we have to remember what was going on here. Adam and Eve ate from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil which God commanded them not to eat. They felt ashamed that they were naked and clothed themselves by sewing fig leaves together. God confronted the man and woman in the Garden. He got confessions from Adam and Eve. The man blamed the woman and the woman blamed the Serpent, both of them unwilling to take responsibility for what they have done. God curses the Serpent above all ‘other’ beasts and between his seed and the woman’s seed, the woman in childbearing, and the ground that the man would have to toil and work in by the sweat of his brow to produce the plants and bread he would eat.

But God doesn’t leave them there in that sinful state, does He? He provides the way of atonement; a proper way back. That way of atonement required a sacrifice: the death of an animal. The animal’s death was a substitute for their penalty of sin. It was a stark reminder to Adam and Eve of the dire consequences of their disobedience. God Himself sets up the pattern for an acceptable sacrifice, for what is required to satisfy His holy justice. It required the shedding of blood (Heb. 9:22). You can see this pattern repeated time and time again throughout the Old Testament. The sacrifice of animals as a guilt offering (Lev. 5 & 6), the sprinkling and pouring out of the blood on the horns and base of the altar in the tent of meeting (Lev. 3 & 4), the bull, the sheep, the goats, the turtledoves and pidgeons (Lev. 1), were all required for the remission of sin. A sacrificial victim is slain, their penalty is paid, and they are covered by the blood of the substitute.

And when we come to the New Testament, Christ Himself, fulfilled this law of atonement by shedding His own blood, sacrificing Himself, and offering His own body on the Cross as the substitute.

So, how does this relate to Cain and Abel? In this mis hijas; God showed Adam and Eve the proper way to approach Him now that sin was in the world. Fig leaves as coverings weren’t enough and was not the proper way. It required a sacrifice; the death of an animal and the shedding of blood. Adam and Eve passed this knowledge on to their sons. Abel followed the proper way of an acceptable sacrifice, Cain did not. Cain knew what was acceptable to God, but chose to think his way of the fruit of the ground would be “good enough”. Notice God’s communication with Cain in Genesis 4: 4-7, especially verse 7, “If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up”? ‘Doing well’ meant the proper and acceptable way of sacrifice; an animal sacrifice and the shedding of blood.

The lesson for Cain was that he couldn’t approach God through whatever he himself thought was worthy. There was only one proper way to do this and it wasn’t through an offering of the fruit of the ground. It required an animal sacrifice and the shedding of blood. The lesson for us living after the once for all sacrifice of Christ on the Cross is the same. Christ paid the price, He is our substitute, and we only approach God through Him.

With love,

Dear ol’ Dad

Vaya con Dios mis hijas

Paralyzed Christianity

Dearest hijas,

It’s been a while, hasn’t it? I haven’t forgotten about you and this blog, mis hijas, but, you know the story. Perhaps this review of Dr. John K. Reed’s “Rocks Aren’t Clocks: A Critique of the Geological Timescale” has been a bit overdrawn, no? Okay, perhaps, so let’s sum this all up and move on, right?

How does this boil down to the warp and woof of “your” Christian living? How does the rubber meet the road here? Why, for God’s sake, does this have anything to do with anything?

I hope you know by now, mis hijas, that for the sake of God and His character, this does have monumental ramifications. You live in the 2nd decade of the 21st century. You’ll probably be around, God willing, until the 7th or 8th decade of this century long after your Momma and I are gone. We live in a time where many of your Christian friends, pastors, and leaders are paralyzed. Paralyzed by the fear of looking foolish in the eyes of the world. Paralyzed by prognostications of the secular elite on the nature of reality. Paralyzed by secular critics that claim Christianity (especially young-earth biblical Christianity) is opposed to science.

These Christians are paralyzed because they won’t believe their own Bibles. They won’t believe that their own Scriptures speaks authoritatively about a universal and worldwide Flood in the days of Noah that explains the rock layers and washes away the millions of years (Gen. 6-9). They won’t believe that a ‘day’ is a ‘day’ just like we know them today (Gen. 1, Ex.20:8-11). They are paralyzed by current scientific announcements and purported data that says the earth is millions and billions of years old, not realizing the bias of the scientists that make these claims and the eyewitness testimony of the God who was there and wrote it down for us. They are brainwashed to believe the idea that rocks, acting as the pages of nature’s history book, are superior to the history of the Bible.

Such a state are we in, mis hijas.

But remember this, as Dr. Reed points out:

…Christian compromise has proven completely ineffective in stopping the secular juggernaut. Two hundred years of retreat is enough. Perhaps in the 1800’s, such views were more understandable. Today, they only aid and abet a secular culture by weakening principled opposition–all for the fleeting flattery of ‘intellectual respectability’. Deep time is inseparable from evolution. And both are inseparable from naturalism.

There is a web of deceit woven all through the secular worldview. Man and woman, born in rebellion to God, seek to use their own reason and the logical powers of their mind, to explain the nature of reality autonomously; apart from God and His revelation. Their whole being ‘shouts’ to them that there is a God; and not just ‘a’ god, but ‘the’ God of which the Bible speaks, and yet they fight with all their might to push this away. Paul in Romans 1 is very clear on this.

So the question becomes, “If the true nature of reality, the true history of Earth and mankind, is presented in the Judeo-Christian Scriptures, especially in Genesis, why have so many Christians accepted and become paralyzed by secular history”?

Dr. Reed responds:

First, few realize they are compromising their worldview. Christianity was the default worldview of the West for so long that the possibility of a secular rival was unanticipated, especially a secular ‘scientific’ opponent rising out of Christianity’s own intellectual tradition. Second, the early secularists were smart. They claimed that there was no conflict with ‘true’ Christianity. The Bible was true as far as it went; it just didn’t talk about geologic time. Moses was ‘primitive’ and ‘unscientific,’ but he was still a nice guy. This scam worked, and the church was lulled into complacency. As time went by, young people were indoctrinated to not question prehistory and evolution.

However, the Bible, mis hijas, claims to be an accurate record and account of history, back to the beginning. It can’t find common ground with secular history that does not acknowledge God as Creator, all peoples on earth, past and present, from Adam and Eve, a worldwide and universal Flood in the days of Noah, and the incarnate Christ come to save us from our sin problem. Bank on it!

With love,
Dear ol’ Dad
Vaya con Dios, mis hijas

Blindness to Worldviews

Dear hijas,

In picking back up in my review of Dr. John K. Reed’s book “Rocks Aren’t Clocks: A Critique of the Geologic Timescale”, I love these particular quotes from Chapter 6 titled ‘Unreliable Clocks’:

At its core, the geologic timescale is a weapon that secularism has used to good effect against Christianity.

Or this:

Furthermore, if the various clocks used by stratigraphers all worked as claimed, then they would all agree. It is clear that they do not. Different radiometric methods yield different ages. Dates of rocks of known ages are incorrect. Paleontologists discard radiometric dates that contradict fossil assemblages. And no one thinks that these disagreements pose serious problems, they just ‘know’ that the template is correct.

Or how about this one:

Most of the public thinks that radiometric dating is the one infallible clock. But scientists recognize that is not true and so they rely instead on combinations of fallible, malleable methods. Then they argue that the timescale is more certain because of independent overlapping lines of evidence. But do they overlap each other like shingles, forming an impenetrable seal, or like a house of cards? This need of many clocks tells us an important truth; there is not one single infallible chronometer. Would you rather have one watch that kept time or a dozen that didn’t?

Or:

…professional stratigraphers have known all along that the real ‘clock’ is biological evolution. Rocks are ordered by fossils and fossils by their evolutionary stage. This is why geologists share the panic of biologists when evolution is attacked. The credibility of the timescale is linked to that of evolution. If evolution falters, the timescale does too.

And then this classic from Chapter 4:

Christians can no longer remain blind to the worldview behind the timescale.

With love,

Dear ol’ Dad

Vaya con Dios mis hijas

‘Death’ Before the Fall?

Dearest hijas,

Have you ever considered one of the arguments that some Christians give for believing in death before the Fall of Adam, and its related corollary of an old earth? It goes something like this: “Well, I don’t believe that death as an entity only came about because of Adam’s sin. That was death for humans only, for surely plants died before the Fall, and animals don’t experience pain in death like we humans do, so animals were peacefully dying long before Adam’s sin, much like the good ole’ family pet, Fido, curled up by the fireplace who simply dies peacefully and naturally”.

It seems like a logical argument – doesn’t it? It seems so logical that many of your Christian friends and leaders stumble over it. A case in point, is the below article and link by Dr. Jonathan Sarfati about R.C. Sproul Jr., who teaches at Reformation Bible College in Sanford, Florida. An otherwise stalwart man of faith and of the Reformed tradition, Sproul Jr. is a young-earth creationist, but seems to be confused about the implications of his position, as Dr. Sarfati points out.

I encourage you to click on the link below and read the article carefully. Within the article are other links to other articles that you can click on and get more information. You may have to read a portion, think about it, read more, and/or come back to it several times as you have time to read through the whole article completely.

R.C. Sproul Jr Blunders on Plant Death

Pay particular attention to the description of plant ‘death’ from a Biblical perspective and to Scripture’s definition of what constitutes a ‘living creature’ or in Hebrew nephesh chayyah.

Pay attention also to the way animals ‘died’ as shown in the fossil record. Did they die peacefully and naturally like our example of the family pet, or were there other things evidenced in the fossil record that indicate this was not so?

Keep asking questions, mis hijas. Don’t be afraid to challenge respected leaders who have compromised on Biblical truth.

TheoJello

With love I remain,
Dear ol’ Dad
Vaya con Dios mis hijas

Without Genesis 1-11: Nothing

Dear hijas,

I’m going to repost a video and post from Answers in Genesis that I think you might enjoy:

Teach the Uncompromised Truth of Genesis in Church

Click on the above title and watch Pastor Corey Abney of Florence Baptist Church explain why the first 11 chapters of Genesis are foundational to all our doctrines in Christianity. The great doctrines of the Church build on one another, link after link, and foundational to that and to the gospel we preach is the creation of all that exists, including you and I, by an act of omnipotent, omniscient, and benevolent power. He is a God who is there and is not silent; who spoke and it was done.

373

Listen to what Pastor Abney explains is happening in churches all across this country: perhaps in your church. Listen to “why” this is happening. Listen for the “how” it occurred. Try to glean a few action points that you can use in making a change where you are; with your colleagues and friends, with your church, in reversing this dangerous trend.

For an in-depth article on the importance of Genesis 1-11 by the Logos Research Associates, see and click here:
The Importance of Genesis 1-11 In Depth

With love,
Dear ol’ Dad
Vaya con Dios mis hijas

Answers Research Journal

Thoughts from Dear ol' Dad on Fighting the Good fight of Faith (1 Tim. 6:12)

Biblical Science Institute

Thoughts from Dear ol' Dad on Fighting the Good fight of Faith (1 Tim. 6:12)

CEH

Thoughts from Dear ol' Dad on Fighting the Good fight of Faith (1 Tim. 6:12)

Reformation21 Blog

Thoughts from Dear ol' Dad on Fighting the Good fight of Faith (1 Tim. 6:12)

bylogos

Thoughts from Dear ol' Dad on Fighting the Good fight of Faith (1 Tim. 6:12)

BiblicalGeology blog

Thoughts from Dear ol' Dad on Fighting the Good fight of Faith (1 Tim. 6:12)

Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary

Thoughts from Dear ol' Dad on Fighting the Good fight of Faith (1 Tim. 6:12)

AlbertMohler.com

Thoughts from Dear ol' Dad on Fighting the Good fight of Faith (1 Tim. 6:12)

Green Baggins

Reformed theology