Today is Saturday and this morning my intention had been to sleep late after a long week. As is sometimes the case, I found myself partially awake (I was going to say half-awake, but upon reflection it felt closer to three-fourths awake) far earlier than I wanted to be and resolved that if I just stayed put I would eventually fall back asleep. This is indeed what happened, but some thoughts came to me during that partially awake period that remained with me when I woke up for good a few hours later. I don’t remember the path of my thoughts, but I was thinking about life, and God, and what I should be doing, and whether I should write about it, and my mind was drawn towards this saying Continue reading “Is Christianity easy or hard?”
In one of my old posts on the problem of suffering, I told of a memory of when I was three, and my mom washed my hair, I hated the process and thought she was going to drown me. The point was to see the analogy of God as our parent, and that when we have trouble reconciling His professed love for us with the suffering that He allows to exist, we should keep in mind that our inability to resolve a theological difficulty (and the problem of suffering is the grand-daddy of them all) and understand the full picture does not mean that there isn’t a perfectly good reason known to God.
One of the possible rejoinders to this line of thinking (and over they years I’ve heard many, and even come up with some of my own), is that Continue reading “If God loves me, where is He?”
Genesis 1:27 proclaims that God created man in His own image. For reasons discussed in other posts on this blog (such as this one), I don’t automatically assume any statement is true just because it appears in Genesis, but in this case I think the text alludes to a great truth.
My purpose with this post, however, is not to dig into the text of Genesis specifically. Rather, I wish to discuss the question of whether God made man in His image, or vice versa, without presupposing Continue reading “Does man make God in his own image?”
Each person who believes in Jesus as the Son of God has different reasons for doing so. I’ve summarized mine here and discussed them at length throughout the blog. For some people, their personal experiences with prayer provide support for their belief in Jesus. For others, such as myself, the relationship works more in the reverse. I believe in the power of prayer because I believe in the authority of Jesus (on other grounds). As such, I do not consider myself especially qualified to write about prayer. Nonetheless, Continue reading “Does prayer achieve results?”
Time and again, we’re told that God wants us to believe in Him. Yet it must be admitted that God does not make Himself obvious to all of us. In response, it can be said that God is not a physical being and therefore does not exist at a particular location and is therefore not naturally visible to our eyes or audible to our ears. However, that is inconsistent with the claim that if God so chooses (for example, on this occasion), He is capable of revealing Himself visibly and audibly, as one would expect from an omnipotent being.
Furthermore, focusing on eyes and ears just Continue reading “Why doesn’t God just reveal Himself to everyone?”
This is among the most difficult questions to answer, and I don’t have any particularly innovative solution to offer that hasn’t already been proposed before. A short listing of the most notable answers can be found here. They provide some food for thought, and may help explain why a world with some suffering in it could be preferable to a world with none at all. For a vivid illustration of this, I’d recommend the Twilight Zone episode A Nice Place to Visit.
Nonetheless, I would agree that if God is good, the quantity and intensity of suffering we observe in this world Continue reading “If God is good, why is there so much suffering in the world?”
For me, this is one of the most mysterious issues in Christianity. Like many of the other posts on this blog, this one is not going to provide a precise answer, but rather some possibilities to consider.
Nevertheless, while I’m unclear as to the why and the how of it, I affirm that Jesus did indeed die for us. This is not a peripheral part of the Christian message. It does not at all appear to be something added on by the biblical writers or later Church leaders, nor is it something where Jesus has been misunderstood. Rather, it seems to be the abundantly clear teaching of the New Testament that Jesus gave up his life for our sake.
It is true that Jesus taught a lot about morality. But He didn’t present Himself as a moral innovator, but rather as one who illustrates (and calls us back to) timeless moral truths that we already knew inside our hearts. For example, Continue reading “Why did Jesus die for us?”
The Old Testament contains many passages that are difficult to believe. There are of course problems with scientific, geographical, or historical details, the most famous of these being the six-day creation. These issues do not present severe difficulty except to the fundamentalist who insists on taking every word literally. Allegorical interpretations of the Genesis story have been part of mainstream Christian thought since long before the scientific age.
The more serious concerns with the Old Testament come from passages where either the “moral of the story” itself, or the life lesson that a believer could be expected to draw from a passage, or the depiction of the character of God, strikes us as terribly wrong. For example, in Numbers 5:11-29, we read that Continue reading “Did God order the Israelites to commit genocide?”
Yes, I think so.
This relates to the idea of “omnipotence” (unlimited power) as one of the attributes of God, something present in many belief systems, including Christianity. The typical response to this is to say that omnipotence is subject to the limits of what power can intrinsically do. It cannot, for example, involve a logical contradiction. God cannot, for example, make one plus one equal three. As C.S. Lewis puts it, nonsense remains nonsense even when we talk it about God.
Some thinkers reply similarly to questions like this, such as whether God can create a stone too heavy for Him to move. I think there is a subtle difference, however. An analogy that comes to mind for me is computer programming.
The computer is a creation of man. Within the confines of a programming language and the limits of the hardware, man has complete control over what a computer does. Continue reading “Can Jesus warm up a burrito so hot that even He cannot eat it?”