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As an FMC member, I have attended two of your sessions.
I am interested in the prospect of time "before" the Big Bang, Time and Eternity, God's foreknowledge and man's free will, the Arrow of Time (Roger Penrose), Time Reborn (lee Smolin), and the books and papers on 'time' by William Craig Lane and J P Moreland of the Apologetics Dept. in Talbot Theol. Seminary at Biola.
But what I am really into right now is writing a paper on the King James Only (KJO) controversy. I have narrowed it down to 3 essential issues: (1 which are the best manuscripts (Greek, Hebrew, Aramaic) to use--the issue of Textual Criticism'? (2 if God preserved His Word perfectly throughout the ages, what mechanisms did He use, and where in the Scriptures do we find evidence that He would use these mechanisms?, and (3 how do we deal with the very intractable problem of translation from the original languages?
I have an MA in Linguistics, and I have done field work in Brazil with an indigenous tribal people. Some translation issues I have become aware of are:
~ ancient historical translations ((Coptic, Syriac, Septuigint) have used slightly different source texts. Were these the genuine Word of God?
~ Greek-to-English translation works fairly well, because both have highly developed vocabularies, but this is not the case when translating into a language with vastly different cultural emphases and interests, and
~ Greek and English are both members of the Indo-European Families. Ancient Hebrew to English is not so good a fit. When one gets into other wildly different languages, word for word translations become impossible.
I hope to join in again in one of your classes.
I have responded here.
The medium Michelson and Morley attempted to validate seems to me to have been like a fluid through which the galaxies swim. What if they had instead looked for an absolutely real medium made up of points at rest capable of being energized and transmitting this energy pattern to the points proximate to them? A medium that could contain an energy pattern such as a photon of light, an interferometer, the Earth, or Michelson and Morley themselves? And what if the number of points in the medium was finite? Energy patterns that began as a big bang in the medium would eventually reach the "edge" of this medium. If these patterns were deflected parallel to the "edge", as I suspect, they would begin to interact with each other by means of gravity. To an observer, such as Hubble, the Doppler shift would be interpreted as straight line acceleration.
I was overjoyed to run across your blog and wonder if you would enjoy occasionally discussing this concept where what we call space and mass are caused by the energy patterns and are proportional to each other. And where the "why" of gravity can be understood as easily as the "how" was explained by Newton
I'm afraid your comments here don't make much sense to me. There are too many new terms defined in too vague of a way (e.g. "energy patterns, absolutely real"), with too little connection to what we already know about Big Bang cosmology (in which, by the way, there is no "edge" in space, but only in time). In order to construct models of cosmology which cosmologists will take seriously, you have to first learn the math of GR, and then if you want to modify the theory, you have to be able to express that modification in a similarly precise language.
I hope this doesn't come across as too mean, but I presume you wanted my honest opinion...
Dear Ken Murphy: I understand your comment.
When you say "an absolutely real medium made up of points at rest capable of being energized and transmitting this energy pattern to the points proximate to them?"
You are talking about a spacetime composed of indivisible particles, or Quanta. The Quanta transfer energy to each other in the form of momentum or radiation. It is, yes, an ether. Which is a good thing. I think there must be something in space, transferring the energy. Space is not an absolute void.
I prefer ground-state neutrinos. They are Quantum fermions with as little energy as possible. Yet they take up space. In fact they fill all of space. They transfer momentum and radiation at the speed of light.
This speed slows down (as seen by an outsider) when they are packed close by gravitational fields.
This is General Relativity, except using spacetime with a lot of little points, instead of no points. It is GR using discrete math, instead of calculus.
Most physicists reject this model, because it doesn't allow a singularity.
But I say you are right. Spacetime is a medium, not a void. I go further and say it is quantized, and the Quanta are ultrastable fermions and can not be crushed out of existence.
I don't know how many physicists you've run your model by, but I doubt very much that they reject it "because it doesn't allow a singularity". Many physicists would love to have a model that gets rid of singularities.
The reason they reject it is that you haven't done the following things: (1) write down your model in terms of equations, not just words, and (2) show mathematically that in a certain approximation, the theory can be reduced to General Relativity and/or the Standard Model, at least in those domains where they are well-tested. Unless you can do that (and I am quite sure you have not) physicists like me will not take a supposed revolutionary new theory of physics seriously.
There are a great many people who are happy to produce these crackpot theories, and we physicists can detect them in a heartbeat. We reject them not because they come from a source outside academia, but because they haven't done steps (1) and (2) above.
Again, I'm not trying to be mean here, just brutally honest.
OMG! You have honed that beautiful acerbic wit into a delicate critical blade. It's been too many years since we've last talked in our mutual office at UMD in your first graduate year. I recall the shared beauty and intensity of our discussions on Spirituality and Physics. Thank you.
I was delighted to discover this haven of theoretical physics and spiritual philosophy as I searched the web for research/commentary on discredited predictions of Loop Quantum Gravity with respect to Black Hole Entropies; it was recently but briefly mentioned in a lecture by Maldacena entitled "Geometry, Entanglement and Entropy".
Regardless, it brought me to this beautifully designed webpage bejeweled with your wonderful essays. It may take a little time, but I'll probably devour them all...Lol. I was also captivated by your Doubting Thomas artwork. Oh and by the way, congratulations on receiving your Ph.D., your marriage, your post-doc appointment and of course your move to the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, my alma mater.
From our last discussions at Maryland, I've continued these same pursuits. I've only now discovered your ArXiv papers and will be taking a look at your worldline ;) My own research has me on perhaps a similar Network approach (your papers should establish any similarities) as well as a purely Combinatorial approach. And let's just say that I'd enjoy demonstrating to you that "Lorentz Invariance" can arise as a purely emergent/statistical phenomena characterized by either defects in the CFTs or Wilson Loops.
And again, it was so wonderful to discover you and your awesome page. Please contact me; I'd really enjoy catching up ;)
What a pleasant surprise! I'm very pleased to see that you're still alive, and thanks so much for all of your compliments. If you're ever in the Princeton area again, please feel free to drop by. I also remember our discussions well (though I believe they mostly occured during my 2nd year). If I may take the liberty of saying so, never before have I heard such bizarre opinions expressed with such wit and sophistication! ;-).
The "Doubting Thomas" artwork was shamelessly excerpted from a larger picture by an artist named "John Granville Gregory"; you can easily find the rest online.
As I'm sure you know, Juan Maldacena is at the IAS; I've met him several times and I'm very much looking forward to interacting with him more extensively.
Regarding the wave/particle duality principle. Please read this short paper at the link:
Please comment on that Australian idea; that the results of the dual-slit experiment can be explained as the effect of multiple universes. Isn't there a contemporary 'standard model' of the photon that adequately explains this? Have a link to such? - - - John, ee, retired
New Scientist is famous for sensationalist reporting, so I took a look at the actual article instead. It proposes a new interpretation of QM where there are a very, very large but finite number of universes which interact. Unlike most "intepretations" of QM, this one is different in that it does not lead to the exact same predictions in general. Only in the limit where the number of universes goes to infinity, does it give the same predictions. Thus, the number of universes needs to be large in order to agree with observations.
This seems like an extremely speculative idea. It also seems to be much more complicated than regular QM, insofar as it requires one to specify the force laws between the different universes in a somewhat arbitrary way. I think the idea may be worth exploring, but unlike New Scientist I don't think it's ready for prime time yet. If I were you, I would leave it alone until more people have studied it, and we have a better idea of its features and bugs.
Regarding the contemporary standard explanation of particles going through 2 slits, isn't the answer just "ordinary QM"? (Interpreted in whichever way you like best...)
Aron, do you have a Facebook or a Twitter account where I can follow your blog?
Not at the moment, but if there's enough demand I might create it. There is however an email subscription tool, and an RSS feed.
Hi Aron. I have a question that I think falls under metaphysics.
I recently became a Christian and having grown up in a Christian family and done a lot of reading over the last couple of months I believe I have a pretty solid understanding of what the Bible says. But I struggle to understand how this world of Christianity fits into the world that I know as a physicist in which I look at particles, waves and fields and how they affect each other. I guess my question is what is God physically? Do these things like souls, the Holy Spirit and angels and demons exist, can the interact with the physical world, or are they just metaphors to illustrate the psychological battles that we have?
Hello Dr. Wall,
I am a recent Christian convert who is studying philosophy and physics at Seattle Pacific University. I have been reading through your website and really love it, so I wanted to thank you for your work. I do have a question however, I am just starting to study cosmological models in school, and I am curious about your thought on Dr. Craig and James Sinclair's critiques of some non-standard models. Here is one video for example - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qx9w0qYh8jo&list=PL916E17EE70E98A68&index=24 This video is part of a series where Dr. Craig addresses cosmological models that would seem hostile to theism and tries to critique them (the other videos are in a playlist to the side). Is he off base or are his critiques (any of them really) on base? I don't know if you have ever read the Blackwell Companion to natural theology, but James Sinclair has also critiqued the models there. I am sorry for the long question, but I am just really curious if any of these critiques are any good. Finally, do you have a model that you think is the most strongly supported by evidence? If so does it have a beginning?
Thank you for your time,
Perhaps you know that I have a lot of family members who went to college at SPU (although I didn't myself)! I wrote pretty extensively about some of these issues in my series about Did the Universe Begin?. Please especially note my post on Fuzzing Into Existence where I argued that the choice of models is not as theologically important as many people make it out to be.
I've not read the Blackwell Companion, and I'm afraid I have a personal policy against reviewing web videos. It is difficult to engage with them at an academic level since it's hard to speed-read them and also hard to quote them. If you can find a link to a transcript or some other text description of their arguments, I could engage with that. I will say that it is bad terminology to call anything "the quantum gravity model". Quantum gravity is a field of study, not a specific hypothesis about the origins of the universe. It would be like calling a particular idea about of how evolution works "The Biology Model".
All of the things you mention are real, but one of them belongs in a completely different category than the others, namely the Holy Spirit. In Christian theology the Holy Spirit is an aspect of God himself (the Third Person of the Trinity). That means the Spirit is not a physical entity of any kind, instead it is the Creator of the whole universe. Since it predates the physical universe, it cannot itself be a physical entity, nor composed of any parts, rather it is the mind that lies behind the physical universe. As for how God interacts with the physical universe, the answer is simple: because he is the Omnipotent Creator, he can do so in whatever way he pleases, whether by means of miracles, or by simply dwelling within the normal results of physical processes of Nature. Of course, the most important Christian doctrine is that the Holy Spirit wants to dwell within our own hearts and minds.
As for angels and demons, if you believe the New Testament then these seem to be actual objective phenomena and not just aspects of human psychology. To the extent that they merely suggest thoughts to our minds, they may be very difficult to distinguish from our own subconscious minds. But it is hard to read events like Mark 5:1-20 or Matt 28:1-10 or Acts 12:1-11 in any other way. The reason we believe in angels is because they tend to appear to people during important moments of divine revelation; the reason we believe in devils is Jesus' interpretation of his healing of demonically possessed individuals. Unfortunately we Christians are not in a position to do scientific experiments on angels (because they submit to the will of God, and only appear to favored people at special moments in history) or on demons (because possession is rare, because it would be unethical to try to do experiments on such people instead of curing them, because demons are liars and therefore not a good source of knowledge, and because the study of them is not conducive to sanity). Thus the only honest answer I can give you, about their powers and how they relate to the physical universe, is I DON'T KNOW. This is a very respectable phrase which people should use more often. Our scientific knowledge is a limited approximation to reality, and if there are things outside the normal physical realm there is no reason why we should have detected them in expriments. But since they aren't God, they must have been given some limited nature with a definite set of powers, like people or trees.
The "soul" raises a completely different set of questions related to the Philosophy of Mind. I would personally define the "soul" as a way of talking about our interior self, so that is something that should exist on any interpretation of the mind. Of course the human mind is psychological by definition, but that doesn't make it unreal. Science seems to make it clear that the neural processes in our brain play at least a large role in determining the contents of our thoughts. In my opinion a Christian can consistently believe that our minds are in some sense physical entities, as long as they also accept that God is somehow going to arrange for us to live forever. But, the question of whether it is actually possible to reduce mental properties to physical properties is a very difficult and controversial question. I've discussed it here and here.
Thank you very much for answering my question Dr. Wall, I will wait and ask questions about models when I have more specifics!
Hey Aron, how are you doing?
I've read your "The Poetic Secret of Fear and Trembling" and I've found it extremely helpful in grasping just what Kierkegaard is presenting us -- or rather, what he's _doing_ with us.
I'm Brazillian and there's very little content on Kierkegaard here, even less from a christian perspective. So I'm here to ask you this: May I translate your thesis to Portuguese and post it (with the source and your name and all these things) in my blog?
I'm waiting your response, may God bless you!
As I said by email, go ahead.
Your research is great and I love looking back in time at real historical fact as presented by verifiable extant sources. Especially like recovered writings only available through later quotes, a challenging way to fill in history’s blanks. Thank for making your research available. I’ve bookmarked this page and will comment on anything I read. Again, much appreciated,
As a old guy and Reformed Christian, I’m always interested in the perspectives of a Christian who is also a physical scientist, regarding the development of Protestantism since the 16th C. [I’m not asking for an essay.]
Since I became Reformed, or Covenantal, or Calvinist, thru RC Sproul’s Ligonier Ministries about 20 years ago, the most essential difference between before and after is the high belief in God’s absolute sovereignty over all (eg, Romans 9). Where the rubber meets the road, the importance of this in the life of a believer is many and varied. For myself: Trust in God is far easier when I know He will not be “my copilot” but my pilot; Love for God that He allows me to act in this temporal realm w/out fear of my making a hash out of it beyond His ability to recover me; That both of my sons born with disabilities and losing one the Summer of ‘16 at age 19, allows my grief to always be permeated with hope beyond anything I could have dealt with in the ordinary American Evangelical Christianity that characterized my faith; and more.
Reformed believers take Ephesians 2:8,9 and Titus 3:5 in their absolute sense, that is, we are regenerated before we believe since no work or effort or verb of mine, can impact my salvation’s beginning.
Elder Reformed authors include Jonathan Edwards, John Owen, BB Warfield, JC Ryle, and J Gresham Machen. An interesting feature of most of these men’s lives is their impact with Calvinism originally, or their impact with “modern Christianity”, especially in an educational setting. E.g., Machen had to leave Princeton Univ. when liberalism basically subsumed the theological faculty. He founded Westminster Theo. Seminary in Philadelphia as a result. Johnathan Edwards, whom many still call the brightest mind America has ever produced, was impacted by the liberal branch of theology while a student at the very new Yale College in the 1720’s after his father left the the thoroughly corrupted theology of Harvard a few years earlier. (trivia: Edwards was at Yale when Elihu Yale’s donation put his name on the U !)
Anyhow, I’d be very pleased to read your thoughts on the issue of Calvinism versus what I guess most refer to as Arminianism or semi-pelagianism.
Take care sir and God’s blessing to you and your family.
Arlington, TX by way of
Welcome to my blog, and thanks so much for your kind words about my writings. I pray that God would richly bless you and your family, as you continue to ponder his mighty deeds.
You've asked me to express an opinion about Reformed/Calvinist theology. Well, there's no doubt that the Spirit was at work in the ministry of the saints that you mentioned.
Everything in the Bible is inspired by the Holy Spirit, but interpretations are too frequently the work of man. My grandfather was a pastor in a very conservative small denomination, and one of his wise sayings was this: "never let your systematic theology interfere with your biblical theology!"
If Reformed theology means selecting a small "canon-within-the-canon", consisting of a few proof texts like Romans 9, which you choose to interpret "absolutely", and everything else in the Bible is subordinate to them, so that you are only allowed to interpret the rest of the Bible in a way that agrees with that extreme interpretation, then this is not a theological project which I take much interest in.
If you take the Bible "as it is", i.e. without trying to fit it into the straightjacket of somebody else's systematic theology, then you can find verses which talk about divine predestination (class A), and you can also find verses which talk about God modifying his plans in response to human free will (class B). I shouldn't need to list the verses in each class because you've surely read them.
(PS I also don't see anything in Ephesians 2:8-9 which states that regeneration precedes belief. It states that faith is "the gift of God", which is of course true, but it doesn't say anything about the temporal order. And some verses, e.g. John 1:12, seem to state that belief results in becoming a child of God, rather than the other way around.)
Now, although both classes of verses must be taken to reveal truths, there is an obvious tension between them. Given this tension, I fail to see why the verses in class B should be treated as `second-class citizens' in the world of biblical intepretation; so that verses in class B always have to be reinterpreted so as to be consistent with the class A verses (sometimes at the expense of the most plain or obvious meaning); but never the other way around, where the class A verses are understood in a way that makes room for the class B verses.
Even Christ, who is the fullest revelation of the Father, sometimes talks in both of these ways. So there has to be an important truth in both the concept of predestination and the concept of human free will. So don't come to me with a theology which basically says: keep this half of the Bible and cleverly reintepret the other half. Because that's just as much "picking and choosing" as any liberal theologian.
I'm not sure if you know it, but `semi-pelagianism' is what they call "fighting words"; and I would appreciate it if you could refrain from using those words to describe the Arminian position, which in no way states that human works are capable of meriting salvation apart from God's grace (as the heretic Pelagius taught). St. John Wesley, a famous Arminian, once stated that his position and the Calvinist one didn't even differ by the "breadth of a hair". Arminians also believe in the complete and total sovereignty of God; they just believe that divine freedom is so absolute and powerful and unrestricted, that he can even will for creatures to be free!
I didn’t understand this:
Arminians also believe in the complete and total sovereignty of God; they just believe that divine freedom is so absolute and powerful and unrestricted, that he can even will for creatures to be free!
From an historical perspective, would you call yourself a Protestant? What defines Protestant? Who defined Protestants?
You said Eph 2:8,9 doesn’t support that regeneration precedes belief. Think of the original language: For by grace are you saved through faith, and that a gift from God. What is the gift of God? The original Greek supports that Faith is the “gift.”
Titus 3:5 Not by works of righteousness that we have done, but according to His mercy He saves us. By the washing if regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Spirit.
Roman Catholics taught a “merit” based salvation. Scripture teaches a grace based salvation. But it also teaches throughout that God is sovereign even over election ( Jesus said: “All that the Father gives to me will come to me”). I ask you, when was or is one’s name written in the Lamb’s book of life? When were you considered by God part of the body of Christ. When were your sins forgiven?
If “faith” is a gift from God, allowing us to believe, how many who receive that gift do not believe?
As a 56 year old, and 37 year yo believer, I’ve confronted the question of free will for many years. If I have free will as Arminians profess, then I’m at least in some degree responsible for my salvation. On the other hand, if even the faith to believe is a gift from God, all of my salvation is due to God’s decision to have mercy on me. You poopoo’d Romans 9, but I only referred to it because it’s a clear representation of God’s total control as the Potter over the clay.
You accuse me of making a canon w/in the canon. How does reading Romans 9 literally, lead to that. All of Scripture attributes salvation to the Father. Jesus’ words teach that He is sovereign over salvation.
If anything one does, results in his salvation, then Eph 2 and Titus 3 are false. If Arminius was correct, then man is partially responsible for his own salvation.
Please tell me this isn’t the logical case
(By the way, My favorite Aunt is a Nazarene & had a huge impact on my becoming a believer. She gave me my first bible. She will always be my second mom and God placed her in my life to open my eyes to His grace)
Ravi Zacharias was an Arminian. I loved Ravi almost as long as I’ve been in Christ.
The one reason I’m a Calvinist is that God’s sovereignty expands the greatness of His love and the magnitude of His trustworthiness, and the depth of His compassion for His own.
I’ll never understand why Arminians dig their feet in, in opposition to the Creator of the universe‘s claims of absolute sovereignty, autonomy and power. Why is your control so important?
Sorry if my initial message came across as combative. I really was just looking for your input or opinion. With your response, I figured you wanted counterpoint.
I never "poopoo'd" Romans 9. If you thought I did that, then you completely misunderstood the point I was making.
What I said was that there are Scriptures that at first sight seem to support Calvinism, and also scriptures that at first sight seem to refute it. If you don't agree with that statement then I think you must be reading the Bible selectively, and not carefully studying the whole thing.
There are verses which, if you read them according to their plain meaning, seem to imply that people can lose their salvation. For example, using the same biblical tropes you mentioned, there are verses that talk about God "blotting people out" of the Book of Life (Exodus 32:33), which (if we take the metaphor seriously) would imply that their names were originally written in the book, prior to being removed. There are also passages which talk about the Potter and the clay in ways that emphasize the potter's ability to change his plans in response to human repentance or evil (Jeremiah 18:5-10).
See also Romans 11:22, or 2 Peter 2:1,20 (which clearly states that the false teachers were "bought" by the Lord, and that they once knew the Lord and Savior) or Hebrews 6:4-8.
I don't have time to compile a complete list right now but there are well over a dozen more such passages if you chose to look for them and not let others dictate the meaning of Scripture to you. Of course Calvinist theologians have plenty of subtle explanations for why they don't take those verses according to their most plain and obvious meaning (don't bother typing these out for me, I am already familiar with them), but then again Arminian theologians also have explanations for the other set of verses as well. If you aren't even willing to acknowledge the existence of these other Bible verses, then there can be no dialogue between us (about this particular controversy, I mean).
As for the apparent conflict between divine predestination and present free will, I think it is a false dichotomy based on the fact that we humans perceive everything through the lens of time, but God is eternal and therefore sees everything at once. Although the Holy Spirit gives us some hints about the divine perspective, it seems arrogant to think that any of us human beings can fully understand God's perspective on human life, and I deeply mistrust any theologian who thinks they can cash out the meaning of "grace" into a tidy theological package and say exactly how moral responsibility is divided between God and human beings. (And yes, God:100%, humans:0% is an example of the kind of "tidy package" I'm suspicous of.)
You keep asking "when" I was saved and "when" I was grafted into the body of Christ, but this is an attempt to express eternal realities, in time-bound human language. Such questions do not, I think, have unique answers. Salvation happens when we believe, yes; but it also happened when the Father chose us before the foundation of the world, when Christ died (and I believe he died for all human beings, not just the elect), and when Christ comes again to judge the world in glory. All of these are what salvation means (biblically speaking), and for God they are simultaneous realities, even though from our limited human perspective they seem to have a temporal sequence.
By the way, it does not follow that because Roman Catholics believed a falsehood, that the diametric opposite of what Catholics believed is necessarily the truth. Protestant theology is (or ought to be) defined by following the Bible's teaching, no matter whom it agrees or disagrees with.
You keep using the word "sovereignty", but that word just means "kingship", and it seems to me no Christian ought to formulate a notion of God's "kingship" without first taking into account the ways in which Christ reinterpreted our (sinful and short-sighted) human notions of what it means to be a "king". If Christ was a king in the Calvinist sense of a potentate arranging everything in advance to maximize his own glory and control over events, then his crown wouldn't have been made out of thorns, and he wouldn't have allowed himself to be mocked by those he came to save (John 3:17). If God is love (1 John 4:8), then he loves even those who will never be reconciled to him. There is indeed also a glory in the cross, but that glory consists precisely in being a Creator who freely gives himself to mankind, and allows his gift to be trampled on by creatures, and by that very means offers salvation to us.
Calvinists claim that their God has deeper love than the God of Arminianism because he predestines people unconditionally; but if the only reason you feel more deeply valued is because you think God hates other people and predestined them to destruction, and that God might equally well have done the exact same thing to you, but arbitrarily chose not to; then I think that's a pretty twisted and distorted notion of what true love looks like. (Do feel free to correct me if this does not in fact match your beliefs about what you think "grace" means!) It's certainly not how God commands us to behave towards other human beings.
I’ll never understand why Arminians dig their feet in, in opposition to the Creator of the universe‘s claims of absolute sovereignty, autonomy and power. Why is your control so important?
This is an unnecessary imputation of bad motivations to people you disagree with. Arminian theologians think that Arminianism is the best interpretation of the Bible, and so from their perspective they are the ones who are just believing the Creator of the universe's claims to "take no pleasure in the death of the wicked" (Ezekiel 18:23) and to desire "all men to be saved" (1 Tim 2:4), while Calvinists are opposing what God has clearly revealed. If you aren't willing to assume that people on the other side are arguing in good faith, from their own understandings of Scripture, then again there's not much point in having a dialogue. Unless you are able to first understand why the people who disagree with you believe what they believe, you will never be able to convince them of what you believe.
Blessings in Christ.
You write very well Aron. I do have to admit that you have a major issue with Calvinism and assumed a lot about myself as result. All I’m sure of regarding election is that God saved me for nothing good in me. However His choice of the elect is made, Scripture teaches we are selected, we don’t select. But I will concede that I probably see that more from the Lord’s perspective than mine. I know I had to be aware of my sinfulness and need of a Savior, I know I had to believe in Jesus, His death, & resurrection, etc. But that I give 100% credit to God for my salvation doesn’t contradict this. Your understanding of Calvinism presupposes a few things as dogma that are just not so. Aron you also made sweeping comments of assumption (ie, if I believe a Protestant is 100% the opposite of a RC...) I never intended to imply that. I do believe that the Pr.Ref. began uniquely covenantal in Europe, UK, & US. I believe history provides many instances where the “new theology“ impacted by the renaissance, brought a more man-centered approach to Christianity; historically, the “new theology” was Arminian. The “new theology” undermined godly institutions that were founded to honor Christ and produce ministers of the Protestant Christian persuasion.
I’d be interested to hear your idea of the liberalization of Protestantism in Europe and the US. eg, major influence sociologically or societally. My opinion is the impact of Arminian doctrine; in America, the 2nd great (little g) awakening as spread by anti-supernaturalists like Finney. You don’t have to refute my opinion of Finney. I really started this inquiry because of my idea of your intellect as a scientist. You may suppose I’m what you classify as a Calvinist, and I do believe Calvinists happen to be more Covenantal theologically than other Prot. approaches. I do believe Scripture represents throughout that our Lord covenants with His people throughout.
I should also say, most Arminian believers are as much Christian as most Covenantal/Calvinist believers are. I will always believe that what you deride as “Calvinism” provides a greater reason for my loving God (not yours Aron, it’s my opinion) and I became Covenantal after being in Christ for 12+ years, and consider my previous stance as Arminian (mine, not anyone elses.)
Finally, w/out referring back, my life experience is also partly responsible for the vehemence of my Covenantal holdings: Abused psychologically as a child by my two step-bros., black sheep of 6 children, used drugs from 7th grade to college; Father said I was a fool for becoming a believer at 18; Father said I was a fool for my choice of wife at 24yo.; First child born with cong. CMV with all sequalae, second son 4 years later born with spinal cord injury that crippled him; my back was wrecked in a surgical procedure that has left me a chronic pain patient since 1999; our 2nd son died three summers ago of a drug interaction related to his disability. My wife of 33years, and our 28yo special needs son, live together happily (bends but no breaks!) and we all believe that our Sovereign Over All God is why we survived the few low-points listed above. I do not begrudge non Calvinist believers, but I do believe they miss out on richer, fuller perspective of faith in the Creator of all. My opinion.
I apologize if listing some of my/our hurdles in life seems gratuitous; it’s wasn’t supposed to be. I guess the cliche’ regarding how much God saved us from or how deep our sin was, making us more devoted, is at least partially in play as I truly am floored by God’s goodness more each year of my old life.
Our Lord bless you and your family Aron. Believe me that despite our apparent differences, I am grateful you take the time to respond in a fairly comprehensive manner to not just my inquiries, but lots of others. In His Name, Eric J
Here’s a great pres. regarding election from a Covenantal preacher.
I have been fortunate to discover your blog, and I'm very grateful for your thoughts. I was wondering if perhaps sometime in the near future you would consider laying out your thoughts on the concepts of the book of Job. I have several questions:
1. Do the scenes in heaven give us a picture of a God that causes people to suffer on a whim? I understand that the "Satan" who challenged God to remove his protective hedge may not be the devil as we traditionally believe, but more of a type of "accuser," perhaps an angel given this task by God.
2. The scripture passage also speaks of the "fire of God" coming from heaven and consuming the servants. This would also bear with the thought that it was actually an agent of God causing these troubles.
3. What of the people in this story who also suffered? I'm thinking of the servants, their families who would miss them, and others. Is it accurate to extrapolate this story to present-day, and consider any tragedy as one that may have been caused by God to "test" someone's faith, even if it causes the deaths of hundreds of people?
I know that some scholars take the story of Job as fiction, but the references elsewhere in the Bible seem to discount that notion.
These are my hurried notes as my toddler son cries for my attention, thanks for reading and considering.
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