There is no logical Problem of Evil, because it is impossible in logic for God to create any sort of thing that is not extremely likely to Fall, and so suffer.
God knows perfectly, and so wills, the way that everything should be in order to be best. His existence is necessary, so if he were the only entity, things would necessarily be best.
But God is not the only entity. Because he is necessary, all the other entities that exist must – logically must – be contingent; for, there can be at most one unmoved mover. And contingent beings as such, by definition, are at risk of evil.
That there should be different things, then – that, i.e., there should be more than just one thing, namely God – entails that there should be great risk of evil.
Epistemological reach is the primary factor of ontological extent. As understanding grows, so does depth, intensity, efficacy, and causal influence of being. Growth of understanding is increase of substance; “substans” is the Latin for “understand” (and “hypostasis” the Greek).
God is an indivisible whole, so any bit of him is all of him. Nothing new can ever be added to revelation, then, because wherever revelation occurs, the whole of God enters into the prophet, and is present there, fully disclosed to him who has eyes to see.
With each ingression of God to the created order, the whole of him enters in. So each instance of his ingress, and each instance of every type of him, is a synecdoche of the whole of him. Thus is he completely present in every atom of creation, in each speck of consecrated host, each Christian, each congregation – and in every passage of the Scriptures.
In principle, the prophet can see the whole of God in any part of him. Because the whole of God is present in every bit of him, a vision of any such bit is for the seer a glimpse that takes in all that God knows. So it is that those who return from the mystical ascent report having seen “everything.”
Last October, influential Reformed Baptist pastor John MacArthur organized the “Strange Fire” conference, dedicated to opposing the errors of Pentecostalism. The title is an allusion to Leviticus 10:1 which describes Aaron’s sons offering unauthorized worship (“strange fire” in the King James translation) to the Lord.
Pentecostalism has had a short but colorful history since emerging at the turn of the Twentieth Century as a movement built around the belief that God is initiating a new movement featuring a renewed ministry of the Holy Spirit: speaking in tongues, miraculous healing, new prophecy. Since the belief of a new movement cannot be drawn from Scripture, Pentecostalism has been troubled by extrabiblical tomfoolery since its inception. Continue reading
Orthodox Street in Philadelphia runs only one way. It passes Saint Mary’s Malankara Syrian Orthodox Cathedral and skirts the Roman Catholic church of Saint John Cantius.
“Street” is “straight.” It is also “strait,” of course. But, Orthodox Street is not particularly narrow.
In the discussion thread to my post “Atheism is an Assumption, not a Reasonable Conclusion from the Evidence,” commenter Taggard offered a lengthy criticism of my position. Since my response to his response is also lengthy, I offer it here.
In this writing, Taggard reiterates what I described as the basic error of the atheist: sticking with an initial negative assumption in the face of positive evidence.
I reproduce here the full text of Taggard’s comment. My responses are in bold:
Taggard, 9:45 am:
I would like to reply to this article point by point, for the most part, but before I do, I need to lay down some definitions, a basic assumption, and a few statements:
Definitions: Atheist – one who lacks belief in all gods. [AR: This is too thin a definition. The existence of God is too important for a man simply to “lack belief.” For example, if someone told you that there was a bomb, or a check for a million dollars, in your car, you would not be content just to “lack belief.” You would want to have good reasons for acting in whatever way you choose to act. Atheists act as if they are confident that there is no God.] Agnostic – one who does not know for sure if gods exist. Evolution – the process by which living organisms have developed and diversified from earlier forms during the history of the earth. [AR: As defined by the scientific establishment, “evolution” means that the process was entirely naturalistic.] Abiogenesis – the origin of life. Continue reading
I recently listened to a debate between Christian apologist Norman Geisler and Paul Kurtz, one of the heroes of the secular humanist movement.
Several basic points occurred to me while listening. They all have to do with the atheist’s assuming ignorance rather than allowing his mind to go where the evidence (one of his favorite words) points.
The Origin of the Universe
There is overwhelming scientific and philosophical evidence that the physical cosmos (hereafter “cosmos”) has not existed eternally. Therefore there was a time (or perhaps we should speak more generally and say “a domain”) in which there was no cosmos: no matter, energy, space or even time.
Since the cosmos obviously does exist now, it seems obvious that some entity other than the cosmos must have caused it to come into existence. The only alternative is that sheer nothingness somehow “caused” the cosmos, an obvious impossibility.
The typical atheist responds to all this by asserting that we do not know what caused the cosmos, therefore atheism (or at least agnosticism) is the preferred position.
Here’s the basic problem with that: If someone really doesn’t know what caused the cosmos, then the cause could be anything. That’s what “I don’t know” means. Therefore if the skeptic is serious in his claim, he cannot rule out the possibility of God. If the cause is unknown, it could have been God. After all, the cause would have to exist outside of matter, energy, space and time, and would have be unimaginably powerful if not omnipotent, and either unimaginably lucky or else unimaginably wise. It would have to have these attributes. And these are some of the primary attributes of the God of the Bible, the one true and living God. Continue reading
Commenting on my post about the Queen of Heaven, Ilíon asked a searching question:
Was the Immaculate Conception indeed unnecessary? All things are possible with God, of course; yet, “Who can make the clean out of the unclean? No one!” (Job 14:4). Making the clean out of the unclean is one of those logical impossibilities, such as making a four-sided triangle, that even God cannot perform.
So, it’s logically impossible for God to bring forth the sinless Jesus from the sinful Mary, but it’s not logically impossible for God to bring forth the sinless Mary from the sinful Anne?
An excellent question. It raises a far deeper, more difficult and important question: if Job is right that it is logically impossible to bring impurity out of impurity, how can we be saved, even by God?
I’ll deal with the second question first.
From the perspective of naturalism into which most moderns – including Christians – have been from birth inculcated, the Resurrection can make no sense. It’s not just that the naturalist thinks the notion is false, he cannot but think it incoherent with the principles of reality as they are plainly manifest to him, as plainly as the nose on his face. From his perspective, the Resurrection, and for that matter the whole religious impulse and rigmarole, arise from a grotesque misprision that is “not even wrong.” The whole thing looks to him like a willfully insane mistake.
Once begin however to take seriously the fact that Nature Cannot Explain Itself, and the Resurrection becomes just as plausible as chickens. Because Nature is insufficient to itself, some Supernature or other is required, upon whose order the regularities of Nature supervene. That Supernatural Order – or Logos, as it has long been called in Greek – is not governed by the order of this world, but vice versa.
On Good Friday the Atonement is accomplished. On Holy Saturday – here on Earth an intermission in the great drama of salvation – the Redemption of the world begins. It starts from the very bottom, with the Harrowing of Hell.