Posts tagged ‘exegesis’

May 21st, 2013

Jesus, Transworld Damnation, and Molinism

by Max Andrews

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.[1]  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.[2]  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.[3]

May 11th, 2013

Original Sin and Libertarian Free Will

by Max Andrews

The teaching of Scripture seems to assert that post-Genesis 3 humans possess libertarian free will, including freedom to choose between opposites on matters pertaining to salvation or any other spiritual good.  This immediately raises questions surrounding the concept of original sin.  Augustine first used the expression “original sin” in the wake of the Pelagian controversy.[1]  Upon arriving at Rome in A.D. 400, the British monk Pelagius was horrified to see the open immorality prevalent among so-called Christians.[2]  This was the direct result of Theodosius I nineteen years earlier (381) declaring Christianity to be the state religion so decreeing that anyone living within its borders to be Christian. This was a transformation of Christianity from a voluntary religion (one that people freely choose to join) to a natural religion (one into which people are born) spawned immense immorality in many people who bore the name of Christ without ever having personally committed their lives to Jesus.[3]  Pelagius exhorted the Romans to live worthy of their Christian calling with an argument logically summarized in two steps:

1.  Humans possess libertarian free will.

2.  Humans should use their libertarian freedom to be good enough people to earn their own salvation.[4]

Unfortunately, as so often happens in the history of thought, one extreme position meets the response of an equally extreme opposing position, thus swinging the ideological pendulum from one side to the other.  Very rarely is prudence taken in shifting the pendulum back to the center, where the truth is most likely to be found.

May 6th, 2013

Q&A 21: John 6, Calvinism, and Free Will Revisited

by Max Andrews

Question:

Hey! My name is Josh. I’m a young college student by day (and christian apologist by night, jokes). But in my personal life, apologetics is important to me.

Aside from that, I have a question I think you could help me with. I’m a Calvinist (hold the tomatoes) because I think, Biblically, it’s the most accurate putting together of scriptural truth (basically the best systematic theology). My problem is this:

Total Inability and free will. How are we morally responsible if we cannot choose otherwise? And since no one seeks God (Romans) and no one can come to Christ unless the Father brings them (John 6), how is it that we can really talk about free will? How would this be the best possible world where most free creatures choose Christ, when they cannot choose Him unless He first removes their inability? It seems that it doesn’t matter what world God created becaue technically speaking, He could remove the inability from all people, resulting in everyone freely choosing Christ. I hope my questions make sense. I’m eager to hear your response.

July 4th, 2012

Word of the Week Wednesday: Interrogatio

by Max Andrews

Word of the WeekWord of the Week: Interrogatio

Definition: A mode of inquiry in which questions yield results that are entirely new, giving rise to knowledge that cannot be derived by an inferential process from what was already known.

More about the term: Lorenzo Valla (1406-1457) developed the interrogative (interrogatio) rather than the problematic (quaestio) form of inquiry.  This method was similar to the works of Stoic lawyers and educators like Cicero and Quintilian; that is, questioning witnesses, investigating documents and states of affairs without any prior conception of what the truth might be.  Valla transitioned from not only using this method for historical knowledge but also applied it as “logic for scientific discovery.”[1]

Valla’s logic for scientific discovery was the art of finding out things rather than merely the art of drawing distinctions and connecting them together.  He called for an active inquiry (activa inquisitio).  John Calvin (1509-1564) applied this method to the interpretation of Scripture and thus became the father of modern biblical exegesis and interpretation.[2]  Francis Bacon (1561-1626) applied it to the interpretation of the books of nature, as well as to the books of God, and became the father of modern empirical science.[3]

June 8th, 2012

The Molinism Directory

by Max Andrews

I’ve decided to gather all my posts on Molinism in one post for easy reference.

  1. Ebook: An Introduction to Molinism: Scripture, Reason, and All that God Has Ordered
  2. Middle Knowledge in a Nutshell
  3. A Review of Salvation and Sovereignty (Journal Publication)
  4. Review Essay: Four Views on Divine Providence
  5. Defining Omniscience
  6. Theological Elites and Their Dismissiveness of “Philosophy”
  7. Q&A 9: Layering Divine Middle Knowledge
  8. The Problem of Bad “Biblical” Rhetoric
  9. Why I’m Not an Arminian
  10. Why I’m Not a Calvinist
  11. The Incoherence of Theistic Determinism–Moral Responsibility
  12. Overpower–Is God Ultimately Responsible for Everything?
  13. The Singular Redemption View of the Atonement
  14. Is a Molinist Concept of Providence Discomforting?
    read more »

May 14th, 2012

The Image of the Invisible God–An Exegesis of Col. 1.15-17

by Max Andrews

I consider myself a philosopher and not a theologian or biblical scholar by any means.  I do have a bachelor’s degree in Religion–biblical studies so I do know how to exegete and perform proper hermeneutics.  With that said, here’s a philosopher’s exegesis of Colossians 1.15-17.

Colossians 1.15-17

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by Him all things were created, both in the heaves and on the earth,visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities–all things have been created through Him and for Him. 17 He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.

ὅς ἐστιν εἰκὼν τοῦ θεοῦ τοῦ ἀοράτου, πρωτότοκος πάσης κτίσεως, He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.

Let’s look at εικων (eikon, a likeness, literally statue. A fig. representation—image, nominative singular feminine). This is where we get the word ‘icon.’ (The second Gr. text provided is Westcott/Hort with Diacritics 1853 and Codex Sinaiticus).

April 3rd, 2012

VT Debate–Response to the Atheist Objection that God is a Moral Monster

by Max Andrews

There were two main objections, which my atheist opponents defended during the VT debate on the existence of God.  One of the objections was from the problem of gratuitous evil, particularly natural evil, which I have already responded to here. The other objection raised during the debate was presented first after my opening statements. The argument was that because me and my debate partner were Christian theists the Christian God cannot exist because of the supposed atrocities in the Bible and other doctrines such as hell.

The argument began with the problem of predisposition. In other words, why you must approach your faith of choice with objectivity and skepticism and not confirmation bias.  However, in response, in order to identify and affirm the discovery of a truth one must not exhaust all possibilities.  Additionally, it works both ways.  If the criterion is applied fairly how can one deny the proposition, in this case, God exists, without examining all possibilities?  This criterion is untenable.  Also, to suggest that one is a Christian because of environment or spatiotemporal location is to commit the genetic fallacy.

March 29th, 2012

The Geisler Directory

by Max Andrews

I’ve decided to keep all my posts and responses to Norman Geisler in one location for ease of access and reference.

My Support and Endorsement of Mike Licona

It has been a long time coming but I wanted to publicly support Dr. Mike Licona amidst recent accusations of him denying inerrancy over Matthew 27.51-54 (the resurrection of the saints at the time of the crucifixion) in his most recent book The Resurrection of Jesus:  A Historiographical Approach.  Licona takes the position that this passage is apocalyptic imagery and is not literal.  To be clear from the beginning, Licona has not denied inerrancy.  He has been quite clear about that (even though he lost his job as the Apologetics Coordinator with the North American Mission Board over this… unfortunate).  Dr. Al Mohler is the president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and has openly condemned Licona for his position…

Continue reading…

March 2nd, 2012

What Does the Bible Say About Tattoos, Beards, and Blood?

by Max Andrews

Tattoos, beards, and consuming blood is mentioned in the Bible in Leviticus 19.26-28.  These verses prohibit tattoos, trimming the edges of one’s beard, and consuming blood.  Christians often find themselves puzzled as to what we should do with these types of verses.  Are we allowed to have tattoos today?  Well, that’s important for me since I’m covered in tattoos.  Are we allowed to trim the edges of our beards?  Should we let them grow out?  Have you ever had a medium-rare steak with just a little bit of blood in it?  I’ve provided an exegesis of this passage of Scripture in hopes to help others understand how we should understand this passage and provide insight as to how the Old Testament Law applies to us today.

__________

Leviticus is the sequel to Exodus.  At the heart of Exodus is the Sinai Covenant, though it is rarely mentioned in Leviticus.[1]  Leviticus explains how covenant worship should be conducted (chs. 1-17), how the covenant people should behave (18-25), and then closes with a section of blessings and curses, entirely appropriate to a covenant document (26).[2]  The book enshrines the laws by which the religious and civil organization of the primitive theocracy in Canaan was to be regulated.  [3]  Leviticus is given in a treaty format consisting of naming the suzerain, giving a historical prologue explaining the background of the treaty, stipulations, a document clause (covenant context), blessings and curses, and the divine witness[es].[4]

February 15th, 2012

The Timeline of Creation

by Max Andrews

The following is a timeline for creation laying out the distinct and important moments from a scientific and biblical perspective.  For more of my posts on creation please see:

  1. Were the Days of Creation Long Periods of Time or 24 Hours?
  2. The Sixth Day of Creation Was Just Too Long to be 24 Hours
  3. Is There Scientific Evidence for Young Earth Creationism?
  4. Why I Believe Young Earth Creationism is Simply Dead Wrong
  5. Young Earth Creationism’s Interpolation
  6. Yes, There Are Gaps in the Biblical Genealogies