In preparation for my debate this past March I went through my opponents blog to find relevant arguments he may use. (He didn’t use any I had expected. Instead, he just did the scatter-gun approach by putting little, ineffective arguments out there hoping they’d stick instead of presenting a few robust, substantive arguments.) I found this argument on the impossibility of God from omniscience and omnipotence. I expected this because these are the types of arguments atheists should be using. In order to demonstrate a universal negative one must demonstrate that the referent is impossible or logically incoherent; that is, since contradictions are the only things that cannot obtain. To much misfortune, the argument was not presented. If it had been presented the debate would have been much more substantive. (To watch the debate for yourself, watch it here. Don’t take my word for it.)
The Matthean account of Jesus pronouncing judgment on the cities of Choarzin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum may be found in Matthew 11.20-24. This passage of Scripture contains a historical context of six particular cities that were condemned for their depravity. The following contains a grammatico-historical examination of the text, which is an example of the doctrine of revelatory judgment applied, a verse often used to support the soteriological problem of evil, and is a problem passage for the doctrine of transworld damnation. The purpose of Jesus’ pronouncement of judgment on these cities was to convey the depravity of man.
Before any critical examination of the text can be made a conclusion on the genre must be established. The book of Matthew is a Gospel, which is a genre in and of itself. Many studies performed in modern scholarship of the Gospel literature link the Gospels with Hellenistic biography. Hellenistic biographers did not feel compelled to include all periods of an individual’s life or to narrate in chronological order. The selected events were carefully ordered to promote a particular ideology. In slight contrast to Hellenistic biographies, Robert Guelich proposes formal and particular genera for the Gospels:
Formally, a gospel is a narrative account concerning the public life and teaching of a significant person that is composed of discreet [sic] traditional units placed in the context of Scriptures… Materially, the genre consists of the message that God was at work in Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection effecting His promises found in the Scriptures.read more »
I’m in your philosophy class. I have been trying to process what we talked about in class today and I am stuck on something you said. You mentioned briefly that you do not believe there is a Heaven and Hell yet and that we all go to Paradise until God makes the new heaven and new earth. So under your view point do non-Christians go to paradise until they are judged? Where are you basing this off in the Bible? What exactly is Hell then and where are Satan and his demons now? What about those who have already died who are not Christians? I have never heard this concept before and I’d love to hear your expanded version.
The whole idea of paradise is very interesting. I grew up thinking when we die we go to heaven then the Lord creates a new heaven and new earth where we actually live forever. But paradise..as kind of a waiting place is interesting. The point I am stuck on is when you said that believer and unbeliever go to paradise.My first thought was in Numbers 16 when Korah rebelled. How the Lord opened up the Earth and it says they fell into Sheol. They were taken down to Sheol with their family (realm of the dead as NIV says it). In your view is that a place where demons and Satan reside and not unbelievers and that was just a special case?
Also, when Jesus was on the cross, why did he only turn to the one criminal and say that you will join me in paradise if both non-believer and believer go there? It would make sense for him to say that to the one criminal only if he was going to paradise and the other one wasn’t.
But then what exactly is paradise if both non-believer and believer are there? Wouldn’t it confuse non-believers because then they think that they are actually in heaven and that they won’t be going to hell? The passages I have found that mention paradise are very vague especially Paul’s little side note about 3rd heaven). Revelation 20:11-15 also talks about “and Hades gave up the dead that were in them….” The context of this passage talks about the judgment of the dead but how do you see this passage in light of your view on their being no Hell currently?
Becky A.read more »
From the time that Constantine’s (AD 227-337) father died (306) until Constantine challenged Maxentius at Milvian bridge (312), he was consolidating his position of power in Gaul and Britain. Even at this early date he showed the same military and political acumen that he would later exhibit as emperor: He strengthened his defenses against the barbarians along the Rhine, winning the gratitude of his French subjects. He did not impose onerous taxes on the people, and entertained the bloodthirsty among them with frequent shows in the circuses He was deft in diplomacy and military strategy. Above all, he was a patient man, not playing his hand until the time was right.
At the Battle of Milan (312) Constantine prepared for his invasion of Italy by making sure that Licinius could not take advantage of it by seizing Maxentius’s territories to the East. To that end, he offered Licinius his half-sister Constance in marriage, and waited until Licinius was militarily engaged with Maximinus Daia before launching his own campaign. He committed only ¼ of his troops to the battle – the rest remaining in Gaul to ward off barbarian advances. Upon winning the battle and gaining control of the western half of the empire, Constantine moved to consolidate his power, entering into an alliance with Licinius in 313 (the “Edict of Milan”).
Come along on a journey with Mitchell, as he recalls his nightmare for his mother. Mitchell was in a land of darkness and gloom, when due to no cooperation of his own, a Knight in shining armor saved him and all the other captives He intended to save. “Help! Arminians are Giving Me Nightmares Again!” is a children’s allegory designed to teach your kids the Doctrines of Grace through the use of creative story-telling.read more »
Friedrich Daniel Ernst Schleiermacher (1768 – 1834)
Schleiermacher saw Christianity as “despised” because it was misunderstood in the following ways.
- Christianity is misunderstood as assent to orthodox dogma
- It is misunderstood as rationalism or natural theology
- i.e. Getting to God by pure reason alone
Schleiermacher‘s key concept of religion was “feeling of Absolute Dependence.” Examine those feelings. What do they tell you about God? “Oh, they tell me God is good and kind.” He’d say, “Good! Write that down.” Therefore, the nature of religion is not thinking. The scientific approach was eliminated by Immanuel Kant. Here Schleiermacher is attacking the historic Christian position that theology is a science. Also, the religious nature is not ethics either. Rather, it is feeling which works its way out in absolute dependence.
Schleiermacher believed the individual’s life consists of three primary parts. The first is the sense of perception. This includes Newtonian physics and scientific knowledge. The second is activity, which is the realm of ethics. Lastly, and perhaps the most important, there is feeling, which is the realm of religion, human feeling, and the affective domain. “God is the whence [source] of my absolute dependence, or God is the idea that clarifies my absolute dependence, and human absolute dependence on the infinite shows God.”
According to Rudolf Bultmann, God is the Totaliter Aliter (Wholly Other), there are no points of contact between us and him. God is, but we cannot know him objectively. God is hidden and thus neither God nor his actions are open to verification. This world is a closed system of cause and effect; we can never find God by empirical processes. There are no breaks in the links of causation; thus, there are no miracles. No event can ever be ascribed to God; all are natural causes. There is an infinite qualitative difference between God and the world, which makes it impossible for God to objectively act in the world. Paradoxically, the hidden God reaches down to finite humanity and reaches himself (via the kerygma). Miracles would be intrusions of God into the natural realm.
I love getting emails like this.
When people say that philosopher only know how to explain the world and never change the world,I totally agree .Philosophy is outdated and should be overtaken by Science.Philosophy is delusional presupposition idea …People who study philosophy will be unemployed in this modern society.Philosopher is indeed a sadist and an arrogant profession…Christianity itself is arrogant and selfish ….I think that Christian should be ridiculed and mocked in public with contempt !And see who will save you ? A man on the cloud ?read more »
I just saw one of the comments by Jim in a previous post (Face the Facts–There are Gaps in Biblical Genealogies) and I thought I’d briefly add some thought to it.
Max. Thank you. Excellent post as usual. Hitchens also used the 250,000 number frequently in his debates so as to make the point “look at your horrendous God – willing to allow all those generations to perish before he sent a savior…” He had no idea that Scripture clearly affirms a retroactive efficaciousness to the Atonement.
I’ve seen this objection made against Christianity several times and it’s a rather horrendous objection (bolded). I’ve never researched the numbers on how many people have existed before the coming of Jesus and I don’t know how many people have existed since Jesus. I don’t think the numbers really matter that much, to be honest.
I don’t understand why anyone thinks this is such a horrendous concept. Obviously, this is an internal issue particular to Christianity. Christian doctrine never makes the claim that salvation was impossible prior to the resurrection of Jesus. I think it’s quite clear that the New Testament (well, OT too!) teaches that the atonement applied to those who came before Christ as well as those succeeding Christ. So what’s the problem?
The following objection to intelligent design is from observing the natural data and claiming that it could not have been designed because there are some things that lack proper function or there could have been a better way for a certain [i.e. organ] to function. This objection is often made by many theistic evolutionists, though, still non-theists object as well, is based on an inappropriate and misconceived understanding of design. The design hypothesis merely states that there is intelligent causation that permits the existence of life (a probability factor). Optimality of what has been designed is not a criterion for design. Motor vehicles break down and computers crash. With comparing motor vehicles to design, there is a natural decay and effects of heat, friction, and weather decay. What is interesting about the comparison to malfunctioning software is that a frequently known cause of malfunction is an intentionally designed malware or virus, which has been designed for the primary purpose of malfunction, it is designed to break down or decompose a previous design.