God Is Great, God Is Good

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Jared Oliphint leads a review discussion of God Is Great, God Is Good: Why Believing in God Is Reasonable & Responsible.  Jared recently reviewed the book for TGCReviews.com.  The book includes contributions from several notable philosophers and theologians including

  • J. P. Moreland
  • Paul Moser
  • John Polkinghorne
  • Michael Behe
  • Alister McGrath
  • Scot McKnight
  • Gary Habermas
  • Chad Meister
  • William Lane Craig

Join us for a reformed look at philosophy of religion.

Participants: , , ,

 
 
 
 

22 Responses to “God Is Great, God Is Good”

  1. Steve Ruble says:

    I sometimes find it hard to believe that some of you have ever interacted with thinkers from outside of you community. One of you asserted that atheists would probably not admit that they could be wrong, that thet would not be open to the possibility of someone presenting them with an argument powerful enough to change their mind. That assertion was not disputed by any other member of the panel. Yet I can not think of a single currently writing atheist who would make such a claim. The very chapter of Dawkin’s book in which he puts forward his arguments against theism is called “Why there is *almost* certainly no god.” The essence of science and skepticism is doubt – doubt even of your most cherished beliefs. The claim that most atheists would not accept the possibility of being proven wrong is absurd.

    On the other hand, at least a few members of you panel seem completely unwilling to contemplate the possibility of being incorrect. Is my impression correct? Is there no concievable state of affairs which could come about which would convince you that your current beliefs are mistaken? If so, what is it like to be personally inerrant?

    I’m honestly asking. If my question seems aggressive, it’s in reaction to what quite seriously appears to be arrogance beyond Satan’s aspirations.

    Steve

    • Jared says:

      Steve,

      That’s a very very helpful comment, especially the second paragraph. If we did believe based on our own efforts and conclusions, arriving at the belief from a series of introspections, and shared this process and its conclusions with others who have brilliantly arrived at those same conclusions, then our belief would be located in ourselves, our own authority. If that was the case, it would be extremely arrogant to claim that there is no possibility of being wrong. But your comment exposes a critical point; the belief itself and the authority for it are located external to ourselves – in Scripture. And God has communicated in Scripture, very specifically, that there are no other true options besides Christianity. So it really is an all-or-nothing. To be a consistent Christian, we must take what God actually says as true in Scripture, and we do that because what Scripture teaches is also reflected in reality, how the world works. It’s not just an abstract logic puzzle or thought experiment.

      You may be right on the first point; I admit I haven’t surveyed a large number of atheists. So there may be a significant percentage that can allow the possibility of being wrong on the God issue. So it may have been unwise to claim such a thing and if that is the case I’ll have to go back and listen to see what could have been communicated better. Either way, thanks for your words. I’d welcome others weighing in on these issues as well.

      • Steve Ruble says:

        Jared,

        Thank you for your thoughtful reply. I’ve a few thoughts in response, but before posting them I’d like to make sure that I understand what you’ve written. I can’t seem to get my head around your phrase “the belief itself and the authority for it are located external to ourselves – in Scripture.” I understand the placement of authority outside of yourself, but I don’t think I understand how you can place the belief outside of yourself. Don’t you have to be believing the belief for it to be your belief? Does that make sense?

        Thanks,
        Steve

      • Steve Ruble says:

        OK, I think I see what you mean. I agree that there is no necessary direct proportionality between confidence and arrogance in general, but I think there are specific cases we should sort out. Your example of 2+2=4 makes a lot of sense to me: it seems like understanding the claim being made impels you to accept the truth of the claim. Likewise, e^(Ï€i)+1=0, which is harder to understand but still comprehensible once you understand the terms. This kind of simple a priori claim can be believed with high confidence and low arrogance, as you say.

        But consider a more complicated a priori claim, such as the claim for numbers a,b,c there is no number n greater than 2 such that a^n + b^n = c^n (AKA Fermat’s Last Theorum). That claim is not obviously true to me, although it has apparently been proven to be true by mathematicians using methods beyond my understanding. I therefore believe it to be true, but only so far as I trust the mathematicians (which is pretty far, but not absolutely). In other words, I wouldn’t claim to have a direct apprehension of its truth, even though it is superficially the same kind of a priori claim as 2+2=4.

        Now consider Goldbach’s Conjecture: the claim that every even number greater than 2 can be written as the sum of two prime numbers. To me, this seems more intuitively true than Fermat’s Last, but in fact there is no proof that it is true. It’s been checked for numbers up to 4*10^18, but there just might be a number for which it is false. So, anyone claiming to have a direct apprehension of its truth would need to explain how they obtained that apprehension before anyone believed them. In the absence of such an explanation, anyone insisting that they were absolutely certain that Goldbach’s Conjecture is true would be regarded as merely arrogant.

        I’m sure you see where I’m going with this. With a priori claims, there are patterns to the relationship between arrogance and certainty. Absolute certainty is an compatable with lack of arrogance because of the availability of absolute proof, but the farther one is from the personal possession and comprehension of that proof the more certainty becomes arrogance, or at least the appearance of arrogance.

        With a posteriori claims, which do not allow for the same order of absolute proof available to a priori claims, certainty must inevitably appear more arrogant. To be absolutely certain about an a posteriori claim, one must implicitely claim to know all things and all relationships between things, so as to exclude the possibility of error. A person who claims that they have access to a source which has such knowledge is akin to a person who claims that they know a proof of the Goldbach Conjecture exists, although they neither know nor understand the proof in themselves. In other words, it is a claim that can only easily be regarded as arrogance, not as certainty.

        Steve

  2. Jared says:

    You’re right, that does sound vague. I don’t mean the act of believing, that obviously is the subject. It would have been better for me to have said “the system of beliefs and the authority for it…” The point I was attempting to make was that the level of confidence in a belief isn’t necessarily directly proportional to the level of arrogance in the person believing it. I can believe that 2+2=4, believe that reflects reality, believe that there is no possibility of that being wrong, and not have any shred of arrogance involved in that belief.

    • Steve Ruble says:

      It appears that I replied to the wrong post. My long post should be a reply to Jared’s post @ 4:44.

      Also, the 4th paragraph should read, “Absolute certainty is compatable…” where it currently reads, “Absolute certainty is an compatable…”. Don’t want to cause any confusion…

      Steve

      • Steve Ruble says:

        I think that I might have relied on an unshared assumption in my argument above, so I’m going to try to clear it up before anyone is made to waste any time.

        The step I’m concerned about is the move from a priori to a posteriori claims. When considering a priori claims I take it that certainty is possible because it is within our powers to take all relevent possibilities into consideration. In mathematics, we actually define what counts as a relevent possibility given the sytem we are reasoning within and the conclusion we are reasoning toward. Thus we can take into consideration that 7 is greater than 6 and less than 8, but we don’t need to worry about whether it sometimes likes to pretend to be 3. We can define the facts and the rules that govern the relationships between them. Given the constraints we agree on, we can be certain that our conclusions are valid within those constraints.

        A posteriori reasoning does not allow us that freedom, because we don’t get to define the reality from which we are drawing the empirical facts on which our reasoning is based. In reality, we cannot determine by fiat that certain scenarios cannot be the case, or that certain scenarios are the case. At least, that’s how it works in my reality, and there’s no point in assuming that yours is any different. In a posteriori reasoning, then, the facts and the rules that govern them are discovered, not defined. But every discovery is limited to its immediate object, and cannot guarentee that further discoveries will not invalidate or force the reinterpretation of the current discovery. Hence my claim that absolute certainty in a posteriori reasoning implies knowledge of all facts and relationships.

        I’d also like to introduce a claim that I’ll be relying on: I claim that your experience of the scriptures as a simple object of experience must have preceded your experience of the scriptures as the word of God; that is, that there was a time when you did not have any experience of the scriptures, a subsequent time when you experienced the scriptures as a set of words or propositions, and a time after that when you experienced those words or propositions as being the word of God. Is that claim agreeable?

        Steve

      • Jared says:

        I’m at a conference this week and so I have about 5 mins here and there to respond, so please don’t take my brevity and infrequency as a lack of concern in addressing what you’ve written. Let me respond to the following,

        “I claim that your experience of the scriptures as a simple object of experience must have preceded your experience of the scriptures as the word of God; that is, that there was a time when you did not have any experience of the scriptures, a subsequent time when you experienced the scriptures as a set of words or propositions, and a time after that when you experienced those words or propositions as being the word of God. Is that claim agreeable?”

        I’ll put it a different way; there was a time when I read God’s Word not as God’s Word but as another set of beliefs and claims from which I suspended belief. The jury was out on both its God-breathed nature and its truth. So I read every claim and immediately followed it with a “Maybe, but it may be wrong and there’s no way to completely know that because the truth claims are so systemic – they apply to EVERYthing. And I haven’t personally looked at everything.”

        Then there was a time of conviction, of a quickening of that attitude, a rest and a submission to Christ and God and how God describes how his world works, and at that point he initiated a process that would be worked out epistemologically, ethically, etc. according to his description of reality and what he has done in history. At that point I stopped believing that every truth was something that I myself needed to empirically or a priori verify based on some arbitrary criteria that was pieced together from my own experience, conclusions and supposed judgment. My response changed from, “Maybe, but…” to “Thank you.”

        Do me a favor, even if it’s just an intellectual exercise for now. Start with seeing every single fact that you know as a fact created by God. Then see the specifics of that worked out, revealed in God’s Word, as reflected in reality. If you really do start there, I’ll bet you can get pretty far and still be wholly consistent with where you started. I know that doesn’t address everything you wrote (I’ll refer you to Plantinga’s Warrant: the Current Debate on probabilistic coherentism for some of the arrogance/reliabilism discussion for now), but may be a start.

  3. DF says:

    It seems that the atheist can admit the possibility that he is wrong on some fairly trivial things, but he will not and cannot willingly admit he is wrong when it comes to his being autonomous (Being a law unto himself). Because his autonomy is his anchor, his ultimate commitment. That is where the major struggle between Christian theism and atheism lies. If he is to be wrong, it is always (ultimately) because he says so. Anything deemed “Truth” must pass the test of his “autonomous cognitive filter” (detached from any external authority) he will not submit his intellect to another because he sees man as the ultimate arranger and unifier of the facts. That is, there is no God who defines what reality is. According to the atheist, it’s all up to him (his autonomous reason, sense experience, intuition etc.). This position of autonomy presupposes that there is no God who Creates, knows all and defines His creation as he so chooses and requires all men to think His thoughts after Him. In that sense the atheist can’t admit that he might be wrong when it comes to his autonomy and be consistent with his own autonomy. So the atheist would have to say: “I might be wrong that there is no God who is the Lord of the universe and demands that my intellect be placed under his Lordship.” The very positing of the possibility of God’s non-existence means autonomous man is more ultimate than God and defines what is possible and impossible. This is the very thing that Christianity rejects. So agnosticism is really dogmatism in disguise.

    The consistent Christian believes that God is the “all-conditioner”. He is the transcendental reality upon which the intelligibility of anything rests. We don’t come to Bible and say “Wow! there is a God, where has He been my whole life?” Everyone knows God, but not everyone honors Him as such. God is revealed through nature, ourselves and Scripture, but we suppress this knowledge in unrighteousness. We don’t want to submit to the Lord. Our innate knowledge of God is manifested in many ways. It is clear in the ways that people use the gifts that are only intelligible in a framework of this Triune God’s revelation. People try to fit the laws of logic, morality, laws science etc. into an autonomous framework that ends up destroying these realities failing to provide the necessary grounding for them. So it’s not that the unbeliever is stupid (by any means), often he is very intelligent, but this is because he relies on God’s revelation (though not giving honor to Him). The Christian understands that the basic reliability of our sense perception that we use when we read the Bible rests on the creative design of the God who reveals Himself through the Bible (and nature, conscious, along with all the facts of the universe). Also our rational faculties work because they were designed by this God whose very nature they are meant to reflect. The universe is rational because God is it’s rational Creator.

    As far as a good introductory book to presuppositional apologetics you could try “Certainty of the Faith: Apologetics in an Uncertain World” by Richard Ramsay.
    http://www.wtsbooks.com/product-exec/product_id/5600/nm/Certainty+of+the+Faith%3A+Apologetics+in+an+Uncertain+World+%28Paperback%29

    • Steve Ruble says:

      DF,

      The consistent Muslim believes that Allah is the “all-conditioner”. He is the transcendental reality upon which the intelligibility of anything rests. We don’t come to the Qu’ran and say “Wow, there is a God, where has He been my whole life?” Everyone knows Allah, but not everyone honors Him as such. Allah is revealed through nature, ourselves and the Qu’ran, but we suppress this knowledge in forgetfulness. We don’t want to submit to Allah. Our innate knowledge of Allah is manifested in many ways. It is clear in the ways that people use the gifts that are only intelligible in a framework of this One God’s revelation. People try to fit the laws of logic morality, laws science etc. into an autonomous framework that ends up destroying these realities failing to provide the necessary grounding for them. So it’s not that the unbeliever is stupid (by any means), often he is very intelligent, but this is because he relies on Allah’s revelation (though not giving honor to Him). The Muslim understands that the basic reliability of our sense perception that we use when we read the Qu’ran rests on the creative design of Allah who reveals Himself through the Qu’ran (and nature, consciousness, along with all the facts of the universe). Also our rational faculties work because they were designed by Allah whose very nature they are meant to reflect. The universe is rational because Allah is its rational Creator.

      Fixed that for you.

  4. Steve Ruble says:

    Jared, I don’t have access to Plantinga’s book, but I can read parts of it oon Google Books. While I do that, I’d appreciate it if you were to clarify what you mean by, “[S]ee the specifics of that worked out, revealed in God’s Word, as reflected in reality.” That might help me understand how to see every fact I know as a fact created created by God, which I’m also uncertain about. I tried it today, but I found thaat I was just walking around repeating to myself, “Every fact was created by God,” which didn’t seem helpful.

    I’m also considering your other remarks but my phone is dying.

    Steve

  5. Steve Ruble says:

    Jared,

    I’ve now read parts of Plantinga’s Warrant: The Current Debate on Google Books (it was annoying – many pages are unavailable). I was really surprised at the similarities between his introduction to his concept of warrant and the perspective on certainty that I posted above… I actually agree with him on many more points than I would have expected. I was disappointed with his conclusion, however, which seems to boil down to, “Warrant is produced by systems which are designed to produce warrant, when they are properly producing warrant under circumstances where warrant can be produced by that kind of system.” I think he could have perhaps introduced that claim without so much proceeding verbiage.

    You wrote, “[T]here was a time of conviction, of a quickening of that attitude, a rest and a submission to Christ and God and how God describes how his world works, and at that point he initiated a process that would be worked out epistemologically, ethically, etc. according to his description of reality and what he has done in history.” Within that statement is contained a concept which is very puzzling to me, and which I often hear expressed in various ways on the podcast. You seem to leap suddenly to the conclusion that your scriptures were not created by other people but instead were created by God, and that you are provisioned with some epistemic magic which makes this conclusion warranted. I look at the scriptures and see claims made by men, which have the same epistemic status as any other claims made by men – but you look at them and see something very different.

    I just don’t see any reason to believe that your scriptures were not created entirely by humans. Moreover, I don’t see how any stronger claim can be warranted, nor do I understand how you can evince such certainty in making a stronger claim. Without a rational for believing that the men who wrote your scriptures were guided by God, how can you escape the charge of fideism? Do you have any reason for believing beyond the fact that you already believe?

    Steve

    • Jared says:

      Scripture makes claims about itself, including that it was (obviously) written by men but that those men were under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. There is no epistemic magic in sharing that conclusion.

      Let me ask you, what *would* be a reason you would accept in believing that Scripture has been inspired by God; what scenario *would* convince you? Would it be part of its content that is somehow deemed more profound than other literature? Would it be its cultural influence? Or its age? If you’re looking for these kinds of criteria in order for you to determine whether Scripture is actually God’s Word, you won’t find them. All those aspects are part of what makes Scripture so infinitely valuable, but they are not pre-conditions that determine whether or not it really is God’s Word. If Scripture is really God’s Word, it should come through when reading it, shouldn’t it? In other words, it should be self-attesting. But there are countless examples in Scripture where people do not see that Scripture is actually God’s Word.

      If you’re looking for some outside standard or pre-condition to judge whether Scripture is actually inspired by God, you won’t find it. If you read Scripture regularly, you may begin to understand its nature and that it is its own standard, clearly communicating its inspired character. Any blocks on understanding that are because of us, not Scripture.

  6. Steve Ruble says:

    Jared, thanks for the response.

    You asked me what would convince me that Scripture was inspired by God; I can’t think of an answer to that question (it may have been a rhetorical question; I couldn’t tell). I can easily think of scenarios in which the inspiration of the writers would be more plausible: it could contain claims which could not have been known by the writers to be true, but which we now know to be true, such as e=mc^2, for example. Such inclusions would make it clear that, at the least, some entity outside of our day to day experience was involved in its creation.

    But I don’t know what would constitute grounds for believing that the triune creator of the cosmos inspired the authors, and if I’m interpreting your response correctly, you don’t know what would constitute those grounds either. Before I could be convinced of the truth of the claims of the Bible, I would need to engage in a fundemental restructuring of my basic epistemic framework, and you’re really not giving me much reason to do that. All you’ve told me is that I should imagine that every fact was created by God and that if I read the Bible regularly I might start to think it’s convincing. I don’t know how to do the first, and the more I read the Bible the more obvious it seems that it was written by men who were acting exactly as I know men tend to act, with no hint of divinity about it.

    I can’t shake the feeling that what you’re giving me is a fancied up version of the old canard, “The Bible is true because it says its true.” Is there something more sophisticated in your reasoning that I’m missing?

    • Jared says:

      I do know what would constitute those evidences, but those evidences are not the ultimate grounds for belief. Also, there is no formal, outside criteria (precise predictions of the future, awe-inspiring poetic language, etc.) for which Scripture must fit into and, if it then does, we can then be assured that Scripture is in fact divinely inspired.

      You’re exactly right, but I would phrase it another way…*In order for you to be convinced*, you would need to engage in a fundamental restructuring of your basic epistemic framework. The full restructuring can only happen when initiated by God, but he can sometimes use conversations like these as a means for that outcome, coupled with reading what he has said in the Bible.

      As far as sophisticated argument goes, you’ve articulated the bottom line but haven’t articulated the specific arguments themselves – there’s a difference. The Bible attests to itself by displaying its God-breathed character, which nothing else does, and this is evident when reading it. But our own sin and rejection of God gives us blinders to that God-breathed character and we think we’re the judge and jury of whether Scripture is inspired or not. We’re not. There’s nothing within your own brain and its system that can determine Scripture’s inspired character. Conversely, you believe Scripture is not true because you’ve relied wholly on your own ability to figure out how everything works, and have concluded the world does not work the way in which the Bible says it does. So your confidence that Scripture can’t be true and/or inspired rests wholly in your own ability and assurance that something called reason or logic can fully disclose all the inner workings of reality to complete accuracy. This is where you put your faith – your own ability to use reason, logic, whatever. Why do you put all your confidence in reason, logic, your own mental ability? Because you have used reason, logic, and your own abilities to figure that out.

      So it should be pretty evident that you or I don’t have the chops to figure all this out. We haven’t surveyed the universe, we don’t know 99.999% of how the universe works, and to stand back and have full confidence that we have the ability to figure it all out sounds pretty absurd even from your vantage point, I imagine. What needs to happen then is submitting your gut instinct, your anti-God conclusions from an infinitely weak data set, your imposed anti-God system on His world, and let what He has said trump whatever you think you’ve figured out about the world.

      • Steve Ruble says:

        Jared, I’ve been struggling with how to reply to your latest post. I feel like we’re talking past each other a little bit.

        You wrote, “There’s nothing within your own brain and its system that can determine Scripture’s inspired character.” If you mean that Scripture will have its inspired character (or not) whether or not I’ve concluded that it has that character, then of course you’re correct. And if you mean that there’s no way to determine to my own satisfaction that Scripture has an inspired character then I would again agree, given my epistemic framework. But you seem to be saying something else, something like, “You must decide that the Scripture is inspired without using your brain and your systems of thought,” and I don’t know how to do that. In fact, I suspect that such a prescription is nonsensical. So I’m at a loss to understand what you are trying to tell me to do.

        You wrote, “Conversely, you believe Scripture is not true because you’ve relied wholly on your own ability to figure out how everything works, and have concluded the world does not work the way in which the Bible says it does.” I don’t think that’s precisely correct. What I have concluded is that humans have a demonstrated inability to figure out what the Bible is saying about how the world works. Historically, people have interpreted the Bible to be asserting that the Earth is the center of the Universe, that the Earth is about to end, and any number of conflicting doctrines which have divided the churches for centuries. As a consequence I am convinced that if the Scripture is inspired, that inspiration imposes few constraints on the interpretation of the text. It seems to me that the even if I were convinced that the Scriptures were the 100% inspired word of God I could still legitimately ignore them based on the probability that my own interpretation (like that of most other people) would be incorrect, and I certainly wouldn’t display the inordinate confidence that you and your compatriots evince in your own interpretations of the Bible text.

        So, in response to your instruction to “let what He has said trump whatever you think you’ve figured out about the world,” I would like to know what would privilege whatever *I think* I’ve figured out about the *Scripture* over whatever *I think* I’ve figure out about the *world*. Scripture is, after all, part of the world.

        Finally, I’d like to make it clear that I don’t think reason and logic can fully disclose all the inner workings of reality – at least not to me (although I do have a hunch that the inner workings of reality are, in fact, reasonable and logical). However, I do think that I have about the same amount of confidence in reason, logic, and my own mental ability that you have, or perhaps slightly less… but unlike you, I don’t try to deny that my own mental ability is the source of the conclusions I draw. I’m not sure how you’ve justified to yourself the idea that you can come to conclusions without being responsible for having come to the conclusions, but I wish you would accept that you are, in reality, using your own mental ability to come to your conclusions about Scripture. I can’t really imagine thinking anything else.

        Steve

  7. Jared Oliphint says:

    Real quick: “As a consequence I am convinced that if the Scripture is inspired, that inspiration imposes few constraints on the interpretation of the text.” The consequence you speak of is from an apparent lack of consensus among Christendom to unanimously agree on key doctrines. There’s no reason to think that a lack of consensus speaks against the truth of any matter – your comment about a geocentric earth is one counter example. A geocentric consensus says little in regard to whether that view is true or not. It can hold weight, but not be determinative. Similarly, it’s completely true that there is much disagreement among Christians (Protestant, Catholic, and Eastern Orthodox), but this isn’t surprising at all, is it? There is something wrong with humans and that is sin (epistemic included), and that gets in the way of how truth is derived. Even when using reason and logic, reason and logic are only as helpful as the starting point from which they derive – that starting point being *reason and logic themselves (as a circular foundation)* or *God’s words in Scripture revealing their true origin as created entities.* I’m completely using my mental ability to choose the latter as my foundation, but my mental ability is not the foundation for that choice itself. It’s the means.

    You’re right, unfortunately we’re going to talk past each other given where we put our faith. Mine is in God and what He says about His world, and yours is in your own ability to figure these big questions out. So let’s see how far our beliefs take us and how those consistently applied beliefs match up with reality.

  8. Steve Ruble says:

    Jared, you can say that you are putting your faith “in God and what He says about His world”, but before you can do that you *must* be relying on your own interpretation and understanding of what *you* have determined is his word. There is simply no other way for the concepts to exist in your head, unless you are claiming to be a prophet with a direct apprehension of God, in which case you would be placing your own claims above the claims of Scripture anyway.

    I’m surprised by your statement, “So let’s see how far our beliefs take us and how those consistentl ied beliefs match up with reality.” Does it actually matter to you whether your beliefs match up with reality? After all, if you revised your beliefs based on your experiences of reality, you would be placing your understanding over the Scripture… on the other hand, my beliefs tautologically match my experience of reality, because they are based on my experience of reality and are updated whenever there is a conflict between my expectations and my outcomes.

    • Jared Oliphint says:

      I’ll pick this up on the Descartes site. For now, I’ll point out with the rest that no matter how many times you insist, no matter how intense those emphatic statements get, something more is needed than insisting that I must be relying on my own interpretation.

      There’s an aspect that I may not have been clear about. Of course I am *involved* in believing something – I’m not passive while the belief just passes through me and ends up on the other side as a belief I possess. It is I who believes it. But that is wholly different than saying that my belief is *grounded* on my own interpretation. I process the belief, but my faith relies wholly in what God has said, communicated to me as a creature.

      If Christianity is true (and it is), it isn’t just formally true as a theoretical schema, left on its own to sort out the relation of the theory to reality. Christianity’s truth encompasses reality itself, so that I know that everything I see is created, and that every fact that is known is also a created fact. Case in point – I know that you do know God and are in relationship to him, and I know that you know that as well. I also know that you suppress that knowledge of Him, which is why you’re not getting that final epistemological authority is in God telling us in Scripture how things work. I know that He can work within you to break down your resistance to Him, and I know how tiring that gets, I used to continually do that myself. So here’s to when that finally happens.

      • Steve Ruble says:

        Jared, I’m not familiar with the way you are using the phrase “case in point”. In my experience, it is used to mean, “Here is a specific example which shows the accuracy of my general theory,” while you seem to be using it to mean, “Here is my theory, which is my theory.”

        Could you please clarify?

  9. William says:

    God is great, God is good: why belief in God is responsible & reasonable edited by William Lane Craig (Talbot) & Chad Meister (Bethel College) is a frontal response to the New Atheists. The title itself is a play on Christopher Hitchens’ book God is Not Great. Craig and Meister have marshaled some of the best Evangelical philosophers and apologists to undertake this task. The book is divided into four parts, 1). God is, 2). God is great, 3). God is good and 4). Why it matters. Overall, the book is unevenly written. Part one is the strongest section of the book. Craig’s refutation of Dawkins’ atheistic arguments is best demonstrated in his treatment of the cosmological and especially the teleological argument where he expounds the ‘fine tuning’ of the universe. Part two again takes up the teleological argument. Here John Polkinghorne and Michael J. Behe rightly hold to the theory of evolution but argue that the probability of our universe existing in its present form is best explained within a theistic context. Part three is decidedly disappointing. Chad Meister sidesteps the ‘Problem of Evil’ almost entirely after stating that the “logical problem of evil” is indefensible. If Meister has the deductive form of the ‘Problem of Evil’ in mind he has not addressed the inductive form of the argument which the majority of philosophers recognize as a major problem for theism. Part four is a ‘pastoral’ appeal that is unlikely to convince the atheist or agnostic to change their mind. In conclusion, this book is not great, nor particularly good, but simply fair.

  10. wesley strebeck says:

    I just wanted to chime in and say that I am enjoying the dialogue between steve and the reformed forum guys very much. It is not just entertaining but a learning experience for me. Most reformed folks seemed to be very isolated from others from different worldviews and I think it is a good (and somewhat peculiar) thing that there is a place where people are actually engaging on these issues. So, yeah…I would comment more, but I feel to dumb to make any meaningful contribution. Maybe another day : )

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I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naïve. (Romans 16:17-18)

 

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