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Reviews Theology

The Reason for God (Chapter 2)

These are direct quotes from the book. If it is my paraphrase, it will marked by an asterisk (*) after the page number.

Chapter 2: How Could a Good God Allow Suffering?

Just because you can’t see or imagine a good reason why God might allow something to happen doesn’t mean there can’t be [a God]. Again we see lurking within supposedly hard-nosed skepticism an enormous faith in one’s own cognitive faculties. If our minds can’t plumb the depths of the universe for good answers to suffering, well, then, there can’t be any! This is blind faith of a high order. (23-24)

If you have a God great and transcendent enough to be mad at because he hasn’t stopped evil and suffering in the world, then you have (at the same moment) a God great and transcendent enough to have good reasons for allowing it to continue that you can’t know. Indeed, you can’t have it both ways. (25)

From C.S. Lewis:

My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of “just” and “unjust”?…What was I comparing this universe with when I called it unjust?…Of course I could have given up my idea of justice by saying it was nothing but a private idea of my own. But if I did that, then my argument against God collapsed too–for the argument depended on saying that the world was really unjust, not simply that it did not happen to please my private fancies…Consequently atheism turns out to be too simple. (26)

Therefore, though Christianity does not provide the reason for each experience of pain, it provides deep resources for actually facing suffering with hope and courage rather than bitterness and despair. (28)

Jesus, the God-man, underwent more evil and suffering than we could ever imagine, and he bore the agony of death on the cross. Therefore, we truly know God is Immanuel (God with us) even in our worst sufferings. (31*)

For the one who suffers, the Christian faith provides as a resource not just its teaching on the Cross but also the fact of the resurrection. The Bible teaches that the future is not an immaterial “paradise” but a new heaven and a new earth. In Revelation 21, we do not see human beings being taken out of this world into heaven, but rather heaven coming down and cleansing, renewing, and perfecting this material world….Embracing the Christian doctrines of the incarnation and the Cross brings profound consolation in the face of suffering. The doctrine of the resurrection can instill us with  a powerful hope. It promises that we will get the life we most longed for, but it will be an infinitely more glorious world than if there had never been the need for bravery, endurance, sacrifice, or salvation. (32, 33)

From C.S. Lewis:

They say of some temporal suffering, “No future bliss can make up for it,” not knowing that Heaven, once attained, will work backwards and turn even that agony into a glory. (34)

Categories
Theology

A Must Read

If you are a Christian and if you live in a postmodern world (which we all do), then you need to read The Supremacy of Christ in a Postmodern World.  The book wonderfully tackles tough issues that Christianity faces in our world today and how we can overcome those issues to continue advancing the kingdom.

It is a collection of essays that are taken from messages given at the 2006 Desiring God National Conference.  Contributors include Mark Driscoll, Tim Keller, Don Carson, Voddie Baucham, Jr., David Wells, and John Piper.   Piper and Justin Taylor are the general editors.

Categories
Theology

Richard Dawkins, Are You Serious?

Dawkins, famed atheist and scientist, is leaving his position at Oxford University to write a book about the effects of Harry Potter on kids.  The point mainly is to stir kids away from magic, spirituality, etc. toward science and evidence (as if the two were mutually exclusive).  In the article link, Dawkins is quoted at a recent conference, talking about a related subject.  He said:

It is evil to describe a child as a Muslim child or a Christian child. I think labelling children is child abuse and I think there is a very heavy issue, for example, about teaching about hell and torturing their minds with hell…It’s a form of child abuse, even worse than physical child abuse. I wouldn’t want to teach a young child, a terrifyingly young child, about hell when he dies, as it’s as bad as many forms of physical abuse.

Dawkins is blind to the light of the gospel (2 Cor. 4:4).  We can’t blame him; he can’t help it.  He is especially lacking common grace from God.  Yet, he’s still responsible for his sin and folly.  I honestly don’t think I know anyone, even the most liberal person in my sphere, who would say that physically hitting a child is better than calling them a Christian.

I can only ask, “Richard Dawkins, are you serious?”