In 1985 at the University of California in Irvine, Dr. Greg Bahnsen, a Christian theist, debated Dr Gordon Stein, an atheist, on the question of whether God exists. “The Great Debate,” as it was titled, provides a good example of presuppositional apologetics and the use of the transcendental argument for the existence of God or “the impossibility of the contrary.” Namely, one must assume the existence of the God of Scripture in order to make sense of reality (metaphysics), to justify truth claims (epistemology), or to have any cogent basis for morality (ethics). The YouTube video below provides the audio and text of the debate which lasts just under two hours. Enjoy! Read more
Modern Christians seem to marginalize the doctrine of Christian liberty. The subject is rarely discussed in any systematic theologies. Even practical books on Christian living often gloss over the topic. For some, the doctrine of Christian liberty is just not that important in relationship to other doctrines of the faith. For others, the doctrine of Christian liberty is too controversial. Consequently, many modern Christians fail to give this doctrine the attention it deserves. Read more
Pride is the root of human sin. It first sprouted in the Garden of Eden. From there its vines spread throughout the antediluvian world. Nor was it uprooted by a worldwide flood-judgment. It persisted in the line of Noah until it found monumental expression in the empire-building exploits on the plains of Shinar. The infamous “Tower of Babel” episode (Gen 11:1-9) provides a concise yet poignant display of human pride on a societal scale. As such it serves as a timeless reminder that mankind can never be “the measure of all things.” Only God can give meaning and restore access to heaven. Read more
The doctrine of the human will has been one of the most important and most debated doctrines in church history. Augustine debated Pelagius over this doctrine. Luther debated Erasmus. Calvinists have debated Arminians. According to Greg Nichols, “Freewill is the pivot of all anthropology. Error at this point is fatal.”1 Read more
- Unpublished lectures on the “Doctrine of Man,” Lecture 14, p. 2. [↩]
May we ascribe genuine emotional capacity to God? We’ve examined the answer of classical theism (Part 1) and open theism (Part 2). While we side mostly with classical theism, we tend to agree with those theologians who insist that divine impassibility need not preclude an affirmation of divine emotivity (Part 3). It’s our conviction that a comprehensive view of the all the biblical data compels us to affirm that God has capacities that are analogous to human emotions. So in this final post, we’ll attempt to formulate a biblical doctrine of divine emotions.
According to King Solomon, godly living requires balance: “It is good to grasp the one and not let go of the other. The man who fears God will avoid all extremes” (Eccl 7:18 NIV). What Solomon says about practical living is also relevant for doctrinal formulation. The notorious “pendulum swing” has often been the bane of good theology. I believe this is true with respect to the biblical teaching regarding God’s emotions. Read more
Does God have emotions? In the first installment in this series, we focused on the classical view of “impassibility,” which seems to treat emotions ascribed to God as metaphors for divine action. Emotions ascribed to God are not actual but are phenomenological. In this post, we’ll look at a contrary view that doesn’t merely affirm divine emotions but interprets them as practically equivalent to human emotions. If the classical view seems to leave God inwardly “unaffected” by human sin and misery and, as it were, “comfortably numb” in his celestial repose, this view portrays God as “dazed and confused.” Read more
The OT scholar Gerhard von Rad aptly depicts the spread of human sin after the Fall as “an avalanche.”1 This avalanche accelerates to such staggering proportions that God is forced to visit the world in a catastrophic flood-judgment (7:6-24). But prior to the judgment itself, God evaluates the human condition in Genesis 6:5 and issues a judgment oracle in 6:7. Sandwiched between the divine evaluation and oracle is a striking depiction of God’s inward response to the human condition: “The LORD was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain” (6:6, NIV). Read more
- Old Testament Theology, trans. D. M. G. Stalker (Peabody: Prince Press, 2005), 1:154, 168. [↩]
Having framed the question of and summarized the objections to the “well-meant offer” of the gospel, we’re prepared to defend the doctrine. And our first argument pertains to the doctrine’s logical consistency. Claiming that God desires the salvation of a non-elect sinner and that it’s also the case that God doesn’t desire the salvation of a non-elect sinner sounds illogical. The same would be true of the following juxtaposed remarks: “I like chocolate ice-cream,” and, “I don’t like chocolate ice-cream.” Contradiction! Right? Not necessarily. Let me explain.
I believe the most important biblical concept for understanding the nature of man is found in the phrase, “image of God.” That phrase summarizes what it means to be human. It provides us with the true identity of man. But what does it mean to be created as God’s image? Throughout the history of the Christian church, theologians have offered various suggestions as to what constitutes “the image of God.” While all of these suggestions highlight important facets of man’s identity and uniqueness, I believe the primary idea conveyed through the metaphor “image of God” is that of visible replica and vicegerent. In this post, I’d like us to consider man’s royal status as God’s image and God’s son. Read more