Category Archives: Theology

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

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Why the World Won’t End Today

Dear hijas,

You’ve probably read that according to the Mayan calendar, the world is supposed to end today, Dec. 21, 2012. It’s all over the news, a doomsday panic if you will, fearful ‘end of the world’ callers flooding NASA, and some people around the world, believing this to be true, are preparing for the worst. So as a caveat, let me preface the title of this post by clarifying ‘Why the World Won’t End Today’, by adding,  ‘According to the Mayan Prediction’.  Christ ‘could’ return at any minute, and we are to be ready for it, but it won’t be because the Mayans predicted it. So let’s take a look at this Mayan prediction through the lens of our Christian system of thought. Does Scripture have anything to say about this, and what as Christians are we to think about it?

First off, who were the Mayans? For students of ancient Mesoamerican time-keeping, Dec. 21, 2012 marks the end of a 5,125-year cycle in the Maya Long Calendar, an event one leading U.S. scholar said in the 1960s could be interpreted as a kind of Armageddon for the Maya. Tracing its origins to the end of the 4th millennium BC, the ancient Mesoamerican civilization of the Maya reached its peak between A.D. 250 and 900 when they ruled over large swathes of southern Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and Belize. Famed for developing hieroglyphic writing and an advanced astronomical system, the Maya then began a slow decline, but pockets of the civilization continued to flourish until they were finally subjugated by the Spanish in the 17th century. Today, ethnic Maya are believed to number at least 7 million in Mexico, Guatemala and other parts of Central America. Tales of human sacrifice, pioneering architectural feats and an interest in the stars burnished the Maya’s supernatural reputation. So too, say experts, has the misguided notion that the Maya died out with the arrival of the conquistadors. “That idea that they disappeared culturally back in the deep past is one of these things that feeds into this idea that they are mysterious, that they are otherworldly,” said David Stuart, a Maya expert at the University of Texas. There are scores of old Maya ruins, temples and monuments dotting the landscape between southern Mexico and Central America. One of the most popular attractions lies in a leafy grove near the crumbling pyramids of Coba, where a large stone tablet records the Maya creation date of August 13, 3114 BC – quite literally the cornerstone of the 2012 phenomenon.

I’ve cut and pasted the above paragraph from an article that can be found here: (http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/12/19/mexico-maya-idUSL1E8NJ05V20121219).

With that as backdrop, how are we to think about this? It starts with our presupposition that the Word of God, and it alone, is the final authority in all that it speaks. Does Scripture have anything to say about the end of the world? It certainly does. Scripture calls it ‘the Day of the Lord’, there are many references in Scripture to this ‘Day’,  and one can’t read the book of Revelation without coming to the conclusion that things will be terribly different for the people of this earth before Christ’s return. But Jesus Himself said that no one will know that day or hour (Mark 13:32).

So, were the Mayans God-worshippers? It seems not.  They were certainly god(small g) -worshippers, for it seems they sacrificed humans to this god, but like all pagan religions, it was a god of their own making, not the Creatior-God of the universe, nor the God of their ancestors descended through Noah. You see, since the nations of the world today all came through Noah’s three sons and their wives (after the great Flood) as Scripture  so aptly describes in Gen. 6:18, 9:1, 9:18-19, 10:1, and as the apostle Peter proclaims in 1 Peter 3:20, then the Mayans were descendants of one of these three sons of Noah (Shem, Ham, or Japheth). Noah was a righteous man, and found favor in the eyes of the LORD (Gen. 6:8, Heb. 11:7). He knew this Creator-God of the universe, worshipped Him, and rightly taught his sons to obey Him.  They in turn taught it to their children.  But what happened? The Tower of Babel happened. The peoples descended through Noah’s three sons became corrupt again, God confused their language, and ‘from there the LORD scattered them abroad over the face of the earth’ (Gen. 11:9). They forgot the Creator-God, the true God of their ancestor Noah, and started worshipping false gods of their own making.

Which brings us back to the Mayans and their prophetic prediction that the world will end today. We need not fear a pagan prediction from a people group not rooted in the worship of the one true God, nor rooted in Scripture. ‘For we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention’…(1 Pet. 1:19)

‘But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God’ (1 Pet. 1:20-21).

As always, with love,

Dear ol’ Dad

Adios y vaya con Dios mis hijas