Book Plunge: Jesus the Muslim Prophet Part 4

How did Jews see the Son of God? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Well friends, I hate to say it but once again, we have a whole lot of nothing to reply to. Fatoohi goes through a lot of passages about the term “Son of God” in the Old Testament to see what they meant and yes, he is right that there are a variety of meanings to them. I gather that all of this is meant to somehow imply that since none of these categories includes something akin to being a divine being or the second person of the Trinity, that that rules that out for Jesus.

Unfortunately, the argument doesn’t work.

For instance, Fatoohi has said that no human who was the son of God in the Old Testament was considered to be deity. Fair enough, but then also no human who was considered to be son of God in the Old Testament was born of a virgin, which I do affirm. The realities Fatoohi has stated that set Jesus apart did not apply to any of these Old Testament saints.

It might seem like a bogus idea, but hear me out on this. What if, just what if, maybe it’s the case that all of these were just hints and shadows of what to come and maybe Jesus is the Son of God par excellence? Maybe He in His being fulfills what it means to be the Son of God?

Unfortunately, this is an item that Fatoohi never considers, at least in this section. Once again, if you are a Muslim and you are reading this, this is probably manna from heaven that you are enjoying, but if you don’t already buy into the claims of Islam, you’re not going to buy into these. Again, he might have more in the next chapters, but I doubt it.

However, in the interest of giving credit where credit is due, I will applaud that he at least bothered to interact with some of the intertestamental material. He does refer to Hanini Ben Dosa and he does refer to Honi, also known as Honi, The Circle-Drawer. It’s good to see he at least did this level of study into the topic and while Protestants like myself don’t think of any of the intertestamental period as divinely inspired, we should still read it.

The intertestamental period shaped the thought of the Jewish culture at the time of Jesus regardless of if it was inspired or not. It’s also why I would encourage Catholics and Orthodox to read Protestant works since they will interact with many of them to understand their side and Protestants to do likewise. If we all stay in our own bubbles reading and ingesting only the ideas that agree with us, we will never really grow.

So next time, we’re going to start looking at how Christians use the term Son of God. Again, color me skeptical that Fatoohi will get it right. We’ll see what happens.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Book Plunge: Jesus the Muslim Prophet Part 3

Is Jesus human? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Yes. He is.

Next time we’ll continue looking at this book and…..

Oh. You probably want to hear more.

There are some interesting aspects to point out in this chapter, but overall, the goal of Fatoohi in this chapter seems to be to keep pointing out that Jesus was human. I don’t know where these Christians are that he thinks he needs to convince of that are. It’s actually an essential part of Christianity not just that Jesus was human but that Jesus is STILL human.

I was surprised to hear him say that the Christ was killed on the cross. I do not know if he is somehow making some distinction between the Christ and Jesus, which strikes me as an odd position for a Muslim to take. Still, it is rare as well to find a Muslim that agrees that Jesus died on the cross. I don’t think the Qur’an necessarily rules it out, but I also know the majority of Muslims argue against it, even sometimes calling it the cruci-fiction.

Yet in the very next paragraph, he says that the Christians repudiated the view of the Jews that the Messiah would be a conquering warrior yet replaced him with a divine figure. He claims that this had no roots at all until Paul came along and until the Gospel of John was written. I do think he has other chapters on this later on. We’ll see but if so, I won’t fault him for not making his case now.

Later on, Fatoohi says that Jesus lived, died, and will be resurrected like everyone else. Again, this is a fascinating admission. He does say that Christians invented the concept of the second coming when the end of the world didn’t come. Readers can look through what I have written on Preterism to know how I see that concept.

So somehow, Fatoohi still thinks it’s a major point to stress that Jesus was a human being like all other Messiah figures in the Old Testament were. Again, no one is arguing against this. True, Christians do tend to downplay the humanity of Christ, but they still know He is human.

This is the problem I often find with reading material written to attack Christianity. I don’t care if we’re talking about Muslims or if we’re talking about internet atheists. Most of them do not really understand the position that they’re arguing against. They do not read the books that argue for the position they are opposed to. Meanwhile, when I realized I could be speaking to students about the doctrine of the Trinity for when they speak to Muslims, the first books I was buying were the Muslim books I could find on the topic.

Will it improve in this book? I’m doubtful. It would be good to have my position treated properly, but I honestly don’t remember the last time that happened. Still, there’s no stopping since I’ve started and next time we look at this we will see more on the idea of Jesus being the Son of God.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

 

Book Plunge: Jesus the Muslim Prophet Part 2

Who is Jesus in Islam? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

We’re going back to Louay Fatoohi’s book on Jesus and now we get to start diving into the subject more. So who does Fatoohi say Jesus was? Christians might be surprised to learn that the Qur’an actually speaks highly of Jesus. Here are some statements that Fatoohi says about Jesus.

Jesus was one of the prophets, but he was also distinguished and, in some aspects, unique. He is the only prophet who did not have a biological father. Probably related to his unique miraculous conception is his other distinctive quality that he became a prophet while still in his mother’s womb or immediately after his birth. This is what the infant Jesus said to his mother’s people in defense of her chastity when, upon returning to them carrying her newborn, they suspected that she had conceived Jesus illegitimately: “I am Allah’s servant. He has given me the Book and has made me a prophet” (19.30). Jesus’ unique conception and the fact that, unlike other prophets, he was made a prophet immediately after his birth, or even while still in his mother’s womb, must have distinguished him with special spiritual qualities.

Fatoohi, Louay. Jesus The Muslim Prophet: History Speaks of a Human Messiah Not a Divine Christ . Luna Plena Publishing. Kindle Edition.

Grant one point of favor. At least Muslims affirm the virgin birth, which I also affirm.

Although Gabriel delivered the Qur’an to Prophet Muhammad and probably communicated with other prophets, only Jesus is described as having been “supported” by Gabriel — probably hinting at a unique role that Gabriel played in Jesus’ life.

Fatoohi, Louay. Jesus The Muslim Prophet: History Speaks of a Human Messiah Not a Divine Christ . Luna Plena Publishing. Kindle Edition.

These are the kind of miracles that the Qur’an says Jesus performed: (1) Speaking in infancy. (2) Showing paranormal precociousness in infancy. (3) Creating figures of birds from clay and then giving them life. (4) Healing blindness. (5) Healing albinism or serious skin diseases. (6) Raising the dead. (7) Knowing what people ate and stored in the privacy of their homes. (8) Bringing down from heaven a table of food.

Fatoohi, Louay. Jesus The Muslim Prophet: History Speaks of a Human Messiah Not a Divine Christ . Luna Plena Publishing. Kindle Edition.

If one didn’t know better, it looks like Jesus is a greater figure in the Qur’an than Muhammad is.

So what about other claims about Jesus? When looking at the New Testament, one statement Fatoohi makes is:

But, of course, the New Testament also promotes Jesus’ divinity. Describing Jesus as both “servant” of God and “divine” is another aspect of Jesus’ confused nature in the New Testament.

Fatoohi, Louay. Jesus The Muslim Prophet: History Speaks of a Human Messiah Not a Divine Christ . Luna Plena Publishing. Kindle Edition.

Confused in what way? Fatoohi needs to show that this is a contradiction. It is not enough to just assert it. From a Trinitarian standpoint, this fits in perfectly.

In writing about Paul, he says:

Paul’s misguided comparison between Jesus and Adam looks to me a “contextual displacement” of the authentic comparison between the two that God must have made in the book that He revealed to Jesus and/or which Jesus himself spoke of, which is repeated in the Qur’an. I have coined the term “contextual displacement” to refer to a special kind of textual corruption in Jewish and Christian writings where “a character, event, or statement appears in one context in the Qur’an and in a different context in other sources.” Contextual displacements are the results of “the Bible’s editors moving figures, events, and statements from their correct, original contexts” (Fatoohi, 2007: 39).

Fatoohi, Louay. Jesus The Muslim Prophet: History Speaks of a Human Messiah Not a Divine Christ . Luna Plena Publishing. Kindle Edition.

Unfortunately, he never tells us where these original sources are that he has access to. He never tells us where the writings of the New Testament have been corrupted nor does he tell us where the Qur’an even says that they have been. Maybe, and this could be a bizarre idea, but maybe the Qur’an is just wrong.

Yet if anything seems to be stressed here, and it will be stressed more in the next section, it’s that Jesus was a human being.

You know, the very thing Christians have been proclaiming for 2,000 years…

It’s so strange that people write books against doctrines they haven’t ever attempted to really understand. Who does that?

(If you want examples, just do a search for “new atheists” on here.)

So next time, we’ll look at the next step Fatoohi has for us in his claims about Jesus.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

The Acolyte vs. Hogwart’s Legacy

What is the difference between these two? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I’ve never been a Star Wars fan.

I know for some of you, that’s automatically blasphemy, but I was not raised in a household where sci-fi was common. I could say the same about video games, but they were just starting out and I was in an elementary school where people were talking about them and my Dad had a Colecovision that I got started on. Either way, the majority of my knowledge of Star Wars came secondhand. My Dad and I never that I recall watched any of the original trilogy together.

I have seen episodes 4 and 5 and I did go with some friends who wanted to see 1. My ex-wife wanted to see 7 and 8 so I took her to see those. Other than that, I don’t have that much experience with the series.

I say that because passion for the franchise cannot be genuine on my part. I cannot begin to just watch the episodes and think that I am up on all the lore behind it like people who have been following the series for decades can. Thus, I haven’t seen an episode of the Acolyte, but I have been watching the controversy over it.

Fans of the series tell me the problem with the Acolyte is that it is essentially dumping all over the lore. Is the series woke? So I am told. Does it make a big deal about diversity? Apparently. Both of those would be problematic enough, but the main thing I hear from people is that it has no real story. You are not invested in the characters.

What many on the side of the woke forget is that they are putting the message as primary and the story as secondary. Do that, and you lose both. Attempts are made to go after the fans and say it’s their fault. If the material was good, the fans would enjoy it. You know what the fans want the most?

A good story.

“Look at how many non-white people we have in this series.”

Fans don’t care.

“Look at how much different marginalized people groups are represented.”

Fans don’t care.

“Look at the movements we are making for LGBTQ people!”

Fans don’t care.

Now fans might think some of those things could be alright, but they don’t want the story sacrificed for those. That’s not the draw. The draw for them of Star Wars has never been the lightsabers and the usage of the force. Those are cool things, but the main draw is the story that resonates from those.

Lightsabers are the medium. The story is what is communicated through the lights and special effects. Fans would rather have a story that was set in a distant past in the Star Wars universe without lightsabers and the force to show how those things came to be than to have an abundance of those and a terrible story.

So now let’s talk about a series I do know something about.

My sister recently gave me a $100 gift card to the Nintendo Eshop. I bought Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, since I knew there was controversy around it and I wanted to see it firsthand. The big thing was one of the characters was supposed to be transgender. The thing is, that’s only said in one paragraph at one point and you could honestly easily miss it if you were going through it. It plays ZERO relevance to the story.

So I had enough left over and Hogwart’s Legacy was on sale so I picked that up.

Hogwart’s Legacy was all set to be game of the year, but what happened? Well, J.K. Rowling said some statements that were deemed to be “transphobic.” In other words, she supported basic biology we should all know. Because of that, even when game sites were reviewing the game, they always thought they had to bring up what Rowling said. People streaming the game when it was brought out were mobbed en masse by angry leftists complaining about them being “transphobes” and there was even a website set up to list who had “streamed that wizarding game.”

But you know what?

Fans didn’t care.

So I turn on this game and what do I see before too long. Well, I am entering into Gringott’s Bank and then going to Hogwart’s and I have a professor named Weasley. I get to put on the sorting hat. (Ravenclaw for me) I go to Hogsmeade and find a shop set up by Ollivander there who has a new one in addition to Diagon Alley. I see Zonko’s Joke Shop.

In other words, I am walking into an established universe.

When I am in Hogsmeade, I go to the tomes shop and before too long, I realize, “Hey. The guy running this is black.” That wasn’t a problem for me. That’s how diversity should go. When diversity is truly there, you don’t have to point it out. It just naturally blends into the society.

Yes, the game has a main story quest to follow, but I am honestly enjoying more now just exploring the world of the game and going on the side quests first. So many aspects I uncover leave me feeling like I am in the world of Hogwarts. That also is the goal of a good game, a good movie, a good book, and a good TV show. It is to leave the people behind with the proper feeling that they should have. Yes. This is one time where feeling is the proper word.

Good stories are meant to draw you in and in that way, the message still comes through loud and clear. Christians often like Christian movies, but non-Christians don’t. They know that they’re being preached to. They don’t like the way non-Christians are depicted as wicked every time and Christians are perfect saints. They don’t like that the makers think you’re so stupid that they have to explicitly spell out the gospel for you every time.

What do gamers want? A good game. What do moviegoers want? A good movie. What do TV watchers want? A good show. What do book lovers want? A good story. All of us want something we can enjoy and if you are not reaching out and giving your fans something they can enjoy, they will never get your message. The only people who get it are the ones who already believe it.

On our side, that means Christian media doesn’t do much good if we want it to reach non-Christians and yet only Christians watch it. If we think the message is primary and sacrifice the story for that, then the audience we want to reach gets neither. We must make the story primary and smuggle the story in under that to get past the watchful dragons Lewis told us about.

Woke material doesn’t do that either. Not only that, but when people don’t like it, the fans are blasted as being bigots, racists, phobes, etc.

So let me deal with some of that.

I love the Metroid games. It was a major shock for fans of the first game when it was revealed the character you’ve played the whole game is a woman. Did that stop fans from playing the series? No. We love the series still.

I remember going to see Wonder Woman. I thought that was an incredible movie. I left the theater wishing there were more movies that were out like that. Having the main character be a woman didn’t matter to me.

I saw Black Panther. I thought it was an alright film. I wasn’t at all bothered that the main character was black.

I like Final Fantasy VII. I don’t mind that Barrett is black. He’s really an awesome character.

Diversity in and of itself is not a problem for us.

When it is a problem is when it is not organic. Diversity needs to blend into the story and not be the story. When you have to point out diversity, that is a problem.

Hogwart’s Legacy is a great game and will go down in history as a great game. I am drawn into the story and I can spend a lot of time wandering around Hogwart’s Castle just exploring without even engaging in combat because of how much I am drawn into the world. The developers respected the lore and they respected the fans.

I don’t know anyone getting drawn into the Star Wars world because of the Acolyte. The developers I understand have not respected the lore and they have not respected the fans.

It’s not hard to guess which of these two is most popular and which of these sells the most.

I suspect some time in the future, many will look back and wonder what our society was thinking by following this woke ideology. Fortunately, great entertainment will still be there waiting for us by the people who care about the material and care about a good story.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

 

Book Plunge: Jesus The Muslim Prophet Part 1

What is Islam? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I have spoken to someone recently in Pakistan who is interested in having me speak via the internet to others in Pakistan interested in defending Christianity. I have heard they have had talks on Gospel reliability and the resurrection already. I can cover those, but I figured I could add something by answering objections to the Trinity.

I have spent considerable time debating Jehovah’s Witnesses, but for this, I decided I would then get some books on Kindle by Muslims arguing against the Trinity. If you are interested, this is the one that I chose to begin with.

So looking at the first part on just Islam, if I was being told that all of this is what the Muslim view of Jesus is, then there would be very little to argue with. I could tell you over and over what Muslims believe Islam is. You can 100% agree that they think that is what it is and 100% disagree that their claims correspond to reality.

It’s not really in dispute as far as I know that the name Islam means submission. What is under dispute is if Islam is really the universal religion that Islam claims it to be. The idea is not that Muhammad really revealed a new religion but was calling people back to the religion that supposedly was being followed by all the prophets in the Old and New Testament, including Jesus.

What is given to demonstrate this? Quotes from the Qur’an. If you’re a Muslim, that’s the gold standard and your case is made. If you’re not, then what you have been told is really meaningless. Quoting the Qur’an as an authority to outsiders is useless unless you’re given a reason to think the Qur’an has authority in what it describes. You can accept it as an authority on what Muslims believe, but that’s about it.

The only distinguishing mark given to Muhammad is that he is the last prophet. I’m inclined to think the Qur’an should be included in that also. It is quite convenient that this is the last prophet. It’s just amazing how a figure shows up and claims to be a prophet and gives a final revelation.

So this is the start and I could cover more than a brief section in my next reading, but for now, the problem is the only source that is quoted in all of this is the Qur’an. Thus far, there are no scholars of Islam or Christianity or even Judaism quoted. The only source referenced is one that lo and behold, happens to be by Muslim authorities and happens to agree with them. Imagine that.

As much as I give internet atheists a hard time, in many ways, Muslim apologetics often turns out to somehow be worse. We have thus far encountered no specific section on Jesus alone and the claims that Christianity makes about Him, but they are coming. I hope we’ll find something stronger, but I’m skeptical.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

 

The Control of Language

Do words matter? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I was looking at a group I’m in on Facebook Wednesday night and saw someone share a before and after picture of Ellen Page, who is now calling herself Elliot Page such that if you do a web search for her name, the first thing you can get is Elliot Page. Already, if some are reading this, they would accuse me of misgendering and insist that I say “He” about her.

One comment left on the picture was about how sad she looked after X number of years living as a man.

I jumped in and said she has lived zero years as a man. She has lived instead as a mutilated woman.

This kind of thing might seem minor to some people, but it is huge. “Why do you say ‘he’? Why not just say ‘she’? What’s the big deal. It’s just a pronoun.”

Pronouns are gateway drugs.

What it is really saying is “I have the power to define myself in contradiction to reality and not only do I want to contradict reality, I want you to join me in contradicting it.” I can freely say that Ellen believes herself to be a male. I can freely say she has mutilated her body to look like a male. I can freely say that she identifies as a he now. However, I can say those things because they are either what she believes about herself, the first and the last option, or something objectively true, the second one. I cannot affirm that her beliefs reflect reality and thus, I cannot affirm them.

It is the same thing I see when I hear someone talk about someone who is a biological male. There is only a male. As soon as we say biological male, we are saying on some level that we think women who mutilate their bodies become men. Male needs no explanation. You either are or you aren’t.

I also do not speak of a same-sex marriage. If marriage is a union of a man and a woman, and it is, there can be no such thing as a same-sex marriage. You might as well talk about a square circle. If you say the term, you have already given up half the game. How can you say that it’s not really a marriage when by your words you have already said it is.

What do I say instead? Redefining marriage. The impetus is on the other side to show why the classical definition of marriage is wrong and why it should be changed. They must also show why it is changed to what they want and not what they don’t want. Marriage has to mean something. If it can mean anything, then it is nothing so there’s no big deal in having it.

Some of you might have noticed I don’t even use the term homosexual. I use the term same-sex attracted. Is it clunkier? Absolutely, but I fear part of the danger is we make who someone sleeps with part of their identity and if that is your identity, how can you expect to deny it? I prefer a term that describes the attraction without saying the person has to have this in their identity.

Every step of language is one we must defend. One might think that this is so small, but what started just a few decades ago as “Just let us live in peace and don’t bother us” has now become Pride parades going on with sexual acts being done where children can see them. We have children taking puberty blockers and mutilating their bodies. We have books in public school rooms graphically displaying sexual acts that are often dangerous and also exploitive and abusive.

We were taught tolerance for so long that most people didn’t see that it was a sham (Though some of us did) and as soon as the reins of power switched, tolerance went out the window.

Also, some might think this is unloving. I disagree. What is unloving is to affirm someone in a deadly delusion that can destroy them. Loving someone does not mean denying reality.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Suffering Together

What can make suffering easier? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

A few nights ago on Facebook I saw someone share something and I knew immediately what it was about. It was about his divorce as when I announced mine and shared my experience, it was greatly helpful to him. I hate that every day I live with the scarlet D on me, but it is somehow easier when I meet someone who I have got to help who is going through the storm as well.

When my divorce came, I remember that it was helpful having someone around with me who had gone through it before as well. Now don’t get me wrong. I still had to do the work of healing myself. I also made sure to get in touch with DivorceCare, which was actually instrumental in getting me down here to seminary.

The reality is for many of us that when we meet someone who has the same struggle that we do, it can make the burden a little bit easier. We’re no longer alone. One of the worst feelings in suffering is that you are unique in your experience. Even if you know you are not, it can be hard if you think no one around you understands what you’re going through.

When you meet someone who does, it changes. Now you’re not alone. They don’t even have to be able to solve the problem. All they really need to do is to be able to listen.

This is one of the beautiful things at times about suffering. When I get to help someone else out of their suffering by sharing my experience, it is true they get helped, but I am also helped by it. It shows me that already, my experience is not being wasted. If I have someone also who respects me and says “Hey. This guy I respect has gone through this. Maybe I’m not so awful for having this experience.”

For me, it works with situations like divorce, being on the spectrum, dealing with anxiety, and I wouldn’t mind helping out kids in the hospital who are about to undergo surgery for scoliosis to say “I went through it, and I’m fine today.” For you, it could be anything else. It could be having to go through a miscarriage or recovering from cancer or surviving child abuse when you were younger.

As Christians, we should know that none of our suffering is wasted. God will not put any of us through needless suffering. All of our suffering will be redeemed somehow. Somehow, it will work for His glory, yes, but Romans 8 tells us all things work together for good to them that love the Lord.

That means whatever suffering you go through, it will work for your good. In gaming terms, this is the ultimate cheat code. Imagine going through a game and no matter what happened in it, you knew it would work for your good. You would be a quite confident player.

This isn’t a game. This is reality. All things will work for your good. Deal with suffering in a healthy way, but remember in all of it, it will work out for your good.

Then go out and help someone else with their suffering. In turn, they too can be a wounded healer for others.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

 

When Vs How

What makes the two arguments different? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I was recently engaged with someone on the Kalam argument who was arguing with someone else. I jumped in asking if he was arguing against the horizontal form or the vertical form. He didn’t know the difference, but he said it doesn’t matter since the whole premise is faulty about the universe beginning to exist.

Pro-tip: If you admit you don’t know the differences between two arguments, it’s highly recommended to not act like you know what the premises are to the unknown argument.

Many of you know the Kalam from someone like William Lane Craig.

Everything that begins to exist has a cause.
The universe began to exist.
The universe has a cause.

The form is entirely valid. I don’t know anyone who disputes the form. There might be some atheist out there who does, but I haven’t seen it yet.

The problem is a number of atheists ask a lot of questions.

“How do you know the universe began to exist?”

“What about the multiverse?”

“What caused God?”

To get into any of these, you often have to go beyond science into metaphysics.

Which is why I value the vertical way. It doesn’t depend on modern science at all. I don’t think the universe is eternal, but that wouldn’t change the Kalam working that I use. Now some might think that Aquinas used this and he did believe that the universe had a beginning. Indeed he did, but that wasn’t a premise he used in his arguments for the existing of God that were based on empirical knowledge alone.

If we look at Q. 46 Art. 2 of the Summa in the “On the contrary”, he says:

On the contrary, The articles of faith cannot be proved demonstratively, because faith is of things “that appear not” (Hebrews 11:1). But that God is the Creator of the world: hence that the world began, is an article of faith; for we say, “I believe in one God,” etc. And again, Gregory says (Hom. i in Ezech.), that Moses prophesied of the past, saying, “In the beginning God created heaven and earth”: in which words the newness of the world is stated. Therefore the newness of the world is known only by revelation; and therefore it cannot be proved demonstratively.

Thus, Aquinas says you need revelation to know that the world had a beginning. He even wrote a short book on this topic. His contention was that you couldn’t know this by logical argument and empirical knowledge alone. You could say “He was wrong on that!” but that’s irrelevant. The whole point is that his argument for God, his Kalam, does not depend on the world having a beginning.

So what is he arguing?

Imagine you’re at your home one day minding your own business and you hear some strange music. You step outside of your residence and try to follow the sound. Where is it coming from?

What is causing that?

Now in another scenario, you wake up and you look outside and it looks like it’s a beautiful day. Why not step outside? You do so and right on your driveway is a giant orb.

What caused that?

It makes sense to us. The orb being placed was a one-time event so you asked “What caused that?” but the music is continuous. “What is causing that?” Aquinas says, “But you can ask ‘What is causing that?’ about the orb also.”

How so?

The orb doesn’t exist by its own nature or power. Something is holding it in existing. Think of how Scripture says in a passage like Col. 1:15-18 that Christ upholds all things by His power. If He ceased holding them, they would cease existing.

But could something eternal still have a cause of its existing?

Yes.

I tell people to picture this scenario. You have a man who has existed eternally and he is standing in front of a mirror. The mirror is also eternal. The man has been eternally looking into the mirror. He sees eternally his own reflection.

Question: Is the reflection eternal?

Answer: Yes.

Question: Is the reflection caused?

Answer: Also yes.

The reflection in the mirror is still dependent on the man and the mirror both even if eternal.

Aquinas is not saying “The universe came to be, therefore it had a beginner.” Odds are, he would not disagree, but his argument is different. He doesn’t want to know when the universe came to be. It’s irrelevant to him. He wants to know how the universe continues to be.

If I was making a Kalam, I would make it something like this.

Whatever does not have the basis of its existing in itself depends on something else to exist.
The universe does not have the basis of its existing in itself.
Therefore, the universe depends on something else to exist.

Now that is God who is the exception not because of special pleading, but because God is the only being whose nature is simply to be. If He depended on something else, that something would be God. Aquinas spends the rest of that part of the Summa on the doctrine of God describing this God based on that.

This is also the form of the argument I prefer. It’s simple and powerful and honestly, most atheists don’t even attempt to understand the argument at all. I usually try to get them to tell me what Aquinas is arguing in the first way in their own words and it’s always some quick attempt to refute it and not even understand it.

Back to a pro-tip: Before you refute an argument, make sure you understand it and the best way to assure your opponent you do is when you can repeat it to him in your own words to his satisfaction.

If you can’t do that, don’t try.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

 

Concluding Thoughts On Ten Things Christians Wish Jesus Hadn’t Taught

So what’s the verdict on this book? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Recently, I started reading for class a book on divine simplicity. Now whatever your thoughts are on the doctrine, I respect something the author, James Dolezal, did. At the start of the book, he takes a survey of many arguments from atheists and evangelicals and others AGAINST divine simplicity.

That means going in, he’s not giving you a one-sided case.

Unfortunately, evangelical atheists don’t know how to do that.

As I said, only one conservative source is quoted and the arguments aren’t even made from that source. Now you could be a fan of liberal New Testament scholarship, but even still, you should hopefully agree that if someone wants to present a case, they should show familiarity with the other side. Madison shouldn’t be able to just say “I have a PhD.” He needs to show he has interacted with the material.

I bring this up because as we finish this book, we find more of the same kinds of arguments.

So let’s see. One thing thrown out suddenly is the idea of 30,000 denominations. I always like to refer to this source on that because this is an argument non-Protestant forms of Christianity often use, and yet here there is a Catholic source saying it’s bogus. He’s right. Bad arguments are bad arguments even if the cause they are arguing for is true. (And no, I don’t agree with Catholicism or Orthodoxy, but that’s not the point here.)

Then we have him giving Tim Sledge’s argument of “Why didn’t Jesus say anything about germs?”

Yeah. Try to picture how you would say something about microscopic beings that you couldn’t even see back in Jesus’s day and how that would be passed on. Besides that, water quality wasn’t exactly the best. It could be washing your hands could do more harm than good at times and who knows how many people had access to good means of cleaning?

No. Jesus gave us Himself instead which led to the scientific revolution. It is quite strange to say “Jesus didn’t speak on what I wanted Him to speak on, therefore I won’t believe in Him.” It’s also a way to avoid evidence to the contrary. Just say Jesus didn’t speak on X, therefore, I don’t need to listen to anything else. Such people do not really care about evidence.

Madison also encourages Christians to study the work of serious scholars, devout and secular alike. Well, I have. I’m still convinced. It doesn’t look like Madison has really done that. I see some secular scholarship, but a lot of his sources are not scholars and as I said earlier, he only briefly references one “devout” source of scholarship.

Physician, heal thyself.

So in the end, the conclusion is not a shock. Madison is someone who chooses the flimsiest of arguments that could easily be answered if he really wanted to have them answered. I don’t mind that Jesus taught any of the things Madison brings up, at least not in the same way, but I am thankful that I have tried to follow something Paul taught and I wish that Madison had.

Study to show yourself approved, a workman that needs not be ashamed.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Book Plunge: The Toxic War On Masculinity Part 9

What happens when the church absorbs secularism? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

We are going to conclude this tonight as the last two chapters are about men and marriage and the church and patriarchy.

For the former chapter, Pearcey says it takes a man to save a marriage, and in many ways, I think this is true, but not all. I know many men like myself who we did not want our wives to leave at all. We fought tooth and nail to save our marriage.

If someone wants to leave, you can’t stop them.

Yet still, there is no doubt men need to be pulling their weight in marriage. Of course, women do, but this is written considering the men. We need to make sure we are treating our wives honorably and in a way pleasing to Christ.

That gets us to the last chapter.

Can we get some matters clear?

UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES IS IT ACCEPTABLE FOR A HUSBAND TO ABUSE HIS WIFE!

Let’s add a corollary to that.

UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES SHOULD A WOMAN STAY WITH A MAN THAT IS AN ACTIVE DANGER TO HER AND/OR HER CHILDREN!

The first one seems obvious, but there’s a real danger in that several churches tell women they cannot leave an abusive relationship. They have to respect the man as the leader of the household. If he’s not being the man he should be, who’s fault is that?

Why it’s the woman, of course. She is just obviously not being pretty enough or taking care of the house enough or being submissive enough or not having enough sex with him. If she will change her behavior, he will change his.

Baloney.

One strong reason men who abuse keep abusing is that they know that they can get away with it. A woman in this position is not respecting male headship. She is enabling true toxic masculinity.

This is not some new modern idea. This goes back to Augustine.

In the fourth century, the great church father Augustine said that if a husband is committing serious sin, such as fornication or adultery or physical abuse, his wife should not submit to him. She should regard God himself, not her husband, as her head: If her husband fornicates, she offers her chastity to God. For Christ speaks inwardly in her heart, and consoles his daughter with words like this: “Are you distressed about your husband’s wrongful behavior, what he has done to you? . . . In so far as he behaves badly, don’t regard him as your head, but me.”

Pearcey, Nancy. The Toxic War on Masculinity: How Christianity Reconciles the Sexes (pp. 257-258). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

If you are in danger, get out. If your children are in danger, get out. If your church tells you you have to stay, leave that church.

Headship means the man is actually striving to act like Christ. A man who is an abuser is not a man. He’s a temper-tantrum boy in the body of a man.

Pearcey closes the book describing the Titanic and when it sank, the men went down with the ship so the women and children could flee. One man put on a tuxedo so he could die as a gentleman. Now, a group of men regularly gather around a statue commemorating the event and say the following:

“To their dignity, grace, and style, but most of all, tonight we toast their courage. . . . To those brave men.” “Hear! Hear!” “To the stewards, the men who stoked the boilers, the crew who shared that bravery as much as any man in a tuxedo. . . . To those brave men.” “Hear! Hear!” “To the young and old, the rich and the poor, the ignorant and the learned, all who gave their lives nobly to save women and children. To those brave men.” “Hear! Hear!” Finally, one man closes the commemoration saying, “Chivalry, gallantry, bravery, and grace—in these times those ideals seem to have all but disappeared. But by our remembrance they are born again. And in our lives, they can live again.”

Pearcey, Nancy. The Toxic War on Masculinity: How Christianity Reconciles the Sexes (pp. 269-270). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

May they live again in men today!

Hear! Hear!

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)