Thinking about how both God & evil can coexist … given this proposed dichotomy: "God can either do literally anything and everything, or he cannot":

If God can do literally anything and everything, this includes things that are contradictory. Ex, he can make a square circle, or can create something the smells purple. If this is so, there is no problem with God's goodness and the existence of evil in the world, because since God can do anything, such seeming contradictions should not faze us.

On the other hand, if God cannot do literally anything and everything (as is suggested in the Bible, ex God cannot lie), then this means that there are certain things that God cannot do. Thus, it is at least possible that the existence of free-willed creations (which could freely choose evil) and God's omnibenevolence (perfect goodness) and omnipotence (all-powerfulness) are not incompatible, since it may not be possible for God to have the former (free will) without the latter (evil) to some degree.

This is part of the argument given in Alvin Plantinga's landmark (but difficult since it's written for philosophers) book God, Freedom and Evil … at least, as I understand it. (Short essay based on the book is available here.) He goes into considerably more detail in that book and no doubt with much more precise terminology and philosophical acumen than I have here. Not sure why it suddenly came to mind today, but thought I'd type it out. It makes sense in my own head … :)

As a follow-up to the previous post, "Out of Nothing", here is a short 5 minute video where William Lane Craig addresses the question "Could the Universe Have Simply Popped into Being?" via Lee Strobel's site. It provides a more succinct reply to the question than the videos I linked to in my previous post. [HT: TruthBomb]

Click the "more" link to view (the embedded video unfortunately auto-plays so I had to add the extra step to avoid it playing every time people came to the site).


I just started reading through John Bunyan's classic The Pilgrim's Progress (I read part of it for one of my classes, but have never read through it in its entirety) so there may be most posts of this nature in the coming days/weeks. :)

Skeptic: There is no right interpretation. In fact there have been lots of interpretations over the many years since the Bible was written. Who are you to say you know what the Bible means? We can't know what it really means.

Christian: So let me see if I understand you correctly. You're saying that Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and that there is no salvation without Him.

Skeptic: What? No, that's exactly what I'm not saying! I'm saying you can't conclude that, there are many valid interpretations of the texts.

Christian: So you're saying that there is only one correct interpretation and we should try to find it.

Skeptic: No, no, why are you twisting what I'm saying? You know I'm not saying that.

Christian: Are you saying I am interpreting your words incorrectly?

Skeptic: Yes, you are!

Christian: So, it seems to me that a person could be interpreted wrongly. If that's the case, then some interpretations about what the biblical authors wrote could similarly be wrong, couldn't they?

There are no doubt passages of the Bible that are difficult to understand. Perhaps, for some, we will never be sure of the correct interpretation. But most are not so difficult, and even some of the difficult ones are only so because we choose to make them so. As with most things in life, the interpretation with the best reasons to back it up "wins"; we make educated inferences to the best explanation. There ARE correct interpretations of the texts. That doesn't mean I claim to be 100% right about all of mine, but since I believe there are right answers, and I care about finding them, I will be willing to change my mind if I am convinced otherwise.

thinking.jpgShouldn’t Christians just leave people alone? After all, if all religions feel fulfilling to those that follow them, why try to get people to change their beliefs? You may have heard people say that there are many roads up the mountain, but they all eventually lead to the same point at the top.

I guess it depends whether religion is like insulin or ice cream. For example, I prefer chocolate ice cream, while you might prefer vanilla, or butter pecan, or strawberry, or … great, now I’m hungry. But regardless of what your favorite flavor is, there’s nothing wrong with choosing one instead of another; it’s a personal preference. If someone told me they liked mint flavor best, I wouldn’t respond by saying “What the heck’s wrong with you?” or “How dare you choose mint instead of chocolate, you big jerk!”

The point is this:
That’s the beauty of ice cream – you can choose what you prefer. When it comes to medicine, however, it doesn’t make sense to choose what you prefer. Rather, it’s essential to choose what heals. It would be silly to choose NyQuil over penicillin simply because it tastes better. (Greg Koukl)

When choosing ice cream, you choose what you like. But when you choose medicine, you choose what heals you. Religion isn’t like ice cream, where you should choose whatever “tastes best”. You need to choose what’s true. The truth is often tough, but that doesn’t mean we should just ignore it and choose what we like.

Jesus didn’t claim Christianity is ‘true like ice cream’. He didn’t say “Come, follow me, it’ll be fun!”. He in fact claimed something very specific, contradicting every single religious (or non-religious) person who lived before him. He claimed that it’s impossible to “earn” our way into heaven, and in fact need to trust in God (who Jesus himself claimed to be in human form) instead of trusting our own failing efforts.

But isn’t that pure arrogance? Isn’t that intolerant? Doesn’t it sound presumptuous for Christians to claim they have “the truth” and all other religions are wrong? Well, only if truth is like ice cream. If someone is dying and needs medicine, you need to give them what will heal them, not what they like best. In the same way, Jesus gives us what we need, and ultimately what is best for us.

There are many different paths, but they don’t all eventually lead to the top of the same mountain. Some veer off to the left and the right; others climb entirely different mountains! And if God is real, truth about God is not like ice cream; it’s like medicine, and only what is true can heal.

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