Book Plunge: An Impossible Marriage

What do I think of Matt and Laurie Krieg’s book published by IVP? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters.

Laurie and Matt have what they call an impossible marriage. It’s an unusual situation. Matt is like many red-blooded males and really likes to look at the ladies.

So is Laurie.

That’s right. Laurie is primarily attracted to women in their marriage. Because of that, they say their marriage is seen as impossible. They also agree, but you know who else has an impossible marriage?

Every single married couple out there.

All marriages involve two people who are very difficult trying to function as if they were one person. All require death to one’s self. All require sacrifice. All require putting another person before yourself. All require hard work.

So let’s go with the positives of this book first.

This is definitely a book that makes you think. Much of the book is talking about difficulties with sex. Laurie has gone through trauma and during this time looks at Matt as if he is a threat entirely. She is left wondering, “Why can’t we be friends without sex? Why should married couples need to have sex?”

Meanwhile, Matt is having a battle of his own. Can he love his wife even if she is not having sex with him? Some could say Matt was overplaying sex, but honestly I would say that’s not the case. Not because sex is the ultimate, it’s not. (Yes my fellow guys. I really mean that.) I say it because C.S. Lewis told us you can’t love something too much. You only love something else too little. Matt had to learn how to put God first.

This is something that led to a lot of thinking for me. I too had to think about what it is that makes sex in a marriage so important and this book does excellent at showing the gospel message that is meant from sexuality. This is a great book for husbands and wives to read together.

Second, this book has a habit of switching back and forth, though letting you know of who is speaking. You get to see Matt’s perspective on something and then you get to see Laurie’s perspective or vice-versa. This is good not only so husbands and wives can see what they relate to, but they can see inside the head of the other person.

Third, this book also is not something that really speaks out against homosexual practice, which I do disagree with. They state regularly they know that behavior is not acceptable for a Christian, but there is nothing here that shows any hatred towards someone who has same-sex desires. They invite such people to read this book to learn about their perspective.

Fourth, this book is a story. You will go along with their journey and wonder how it turns out. You want to see this couple work even when they are both convinced that they won’t, this despite both of them doing counseling to an extent, Matt even being a counselor, and both of them helping people with issues regarding sexuality.

Now let’s look at things I would change for another addition.

First, I like the story, but I think I was thrown into it. There was something on how Matt and Laurie met and married, but I would like to have known them first. How did they come to Jesus? My main wonder was with Laurie. Was she raised Christian and came to find she had same-sex desires and just decided to sacrifice them? I would have liked to have seen something such as in Rachel Gilson’s Born Again This Way. Not a whole book to be sure, but perhaps a single chapter with each of them introducing themselves first.

Second, some terms are vague. Matt says whenever he wants sex while Laurie is not able to, he is to turn that to God and say that he wants God. Okay. What does that mean? Do you want a feeling or what? How do you know when you get to the point where you can say you have Him? What are you supposed to experience? This term is unclear and I was left wondering about it.

Third, I do think too often subjective experiences were relied on. I am not saying such can’t happen, but when I see people going on more about what they think God is telling them, I do get cautious as many such claims exist. Also with some of these stories, they were often times very difficult to follow.

Fourth, while the book does say that we can make too much about sex, it does seem that the whole book is largely about the couple and the struggle that they have with sex. My conclusion is as much as we might want to downplay it, sex is far more important to a marriage than a lot of us realize.

I have an equal number of pros and cons, but ultimately, this is one of the most thought-provoking marriage books to read. Anyone wanting to marry or who is married should read it. It would also be great for small groups to study together. Either way, go get this book and read it.

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

Happy Liberal Passover!

How shall we celebrate June? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

When Autism Awareness Month started in April, I ordered some bracelets that say Autism Awareness on them and started wearing them. For you, my readers, I blogged on an insider’s perspective on what it’s like to have Aspergers, a subset of Autism. I did an interview on the topic for a Christian podcast as well.

I barely remember seeing one ad, I think on Hulu, about Autism Awareness.

Yesterday was June 1st, the start of Gay Pride Month.

Already, the day before Words With Friends 2 has a theme going on this week about gay pride with a bonus yesterday if you played the word “pride” and today if you play the word “trans.” I saw WatchMojo released a video on top LGBTQ+ characters in video games and I am sure more such vids are coming. I saw ads from companies like LinkedIn and others celebrating. I saw numerous people on Facebook posting messages for Gay Pride Month.

Now these businesses and people have a right to do what they want with their business. However, where was this support for the Autism community? After all, if we say we care about the people involved, does this mean that most companies today don’t care about people on the spectrum? I don’t want to think that, so perhaps there’s something else going on.

Have you seen what happens if you disagree with the LGBTQ community? You get blacklisted and “cancelled” and often sued. Is it a shock then that so many businesses are putting up rainbow images? Imagine if we changed Exodus 12 to this idea.

And the LGBTQ community said, “And we will pass through your social media accounts, and when we see the rainbow avatar, we will not destroy, but if we come to any business account that does not have a rainbow account, we will bring all our forces on you to show you are against diversity and inclusion and you’re a bigot and we will destroy you in our fury.”

Keep in mind that a few years ago, these were the people telling us we need to be tolerant. As is expected, when such people get into power, tolerance is not a virtue that is cared about anymore. It was useful for the time, but you can be sure there won’t be tolerance for evangelical Christians and others who disagree, except perhaps Muslims since we don’t want to be killed.

So as this Liberal Passover goes on (I wish the name was original to me, but a friend came up withit), other communities can be expected to be ignored as is common. I didn’t even see this much last month when it was for Asians and Pacific Islanders. Of course, that’s also because Asians likely won’t sue you if you say nothing about them.

So then for all those businesses who are treating this month like it’s the most awesome thing ever, where was the “love” when it was the month for Autism? Where was the celebration of diversity and inclusiveness? After all, I think it is pretty firmly established that we’re born this way. I don’t think many of you want to go with the idea that vaccines cause Autism since we have heard enough condemnation in Covid about the Anti-Vax community.

So let’s see. We are born this way and we have a known disability and we’re not even asking for pride. The month for April is not Autism Pride Month. It is Autism Awareness Month. I do celebrate that I am on the spectrum, but I know it’s not because of anything that I did so pride isn’t fitting. What criteria do we not fit that we get people to talk about our month?

Once again, as a Christian, while I do oppose homosexual behavior, I also support the freedom businesses have to do what they want. If you want to support Gay Pride Month, that is your choice, and if you don’t want to support Autism Awareness Month, that is also your choice. At the same time, if someone doesn’t want to support a business for their choices, that is also their choice. That’s the way freedom works after all.

I just would like to have some consistency and I would delight in hearing from businesses. Why is this month something you want to shout out about, but April was met with cold silence? Is it hatred or disapproval of the autistic community? Are we just not worth it? Why the silence?

I think I already know the answer and it’s the one I gave above, but if I’m wrong, let me know.

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

Book Plunge: The Skeletons in God’s Closet

What do I think of Joshua Butler’s book published by Thomas Nelson? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Sometimes you hear about someone you really like or meet them. They seem like a great person upfront in their public image, but then you see something behind the scenes. This person has skeletons in their closet. Everything is called into question then.

Many people think God has a few in His closet.

How could a loving God send people to Hell?

Why would a loving God judge anyone?

How could a loving God be so genocidal in the Old Testament?

Each of these can be a deal breaker for so many people. Why would I want to serve a God like that? These are valid questions, but Butler turns these on their heads. Each of these is actually good news for most of us.

One of the reasons for this is we don’t take sin seriously. We say to just let it be. It’s not really hurting anyone. Right? Imagine if we took the same approach to someone being treated for cancer. “Don’t worry. It’s just a little cancer. You want to keep some of it in you. Right? A little cancer won’t hurt you will it?”

The analogy, like all analogies, is not perfect, but if we treated sin like cancer we could find our lives quite different. If we don’t, then God has the answer of Hell. At the start, Butler has it clear that this place is not a torture chamber. Part of the problem is we have an idea that Heaven is up above and Hell is down below, such as the old email chain about Hell being found underneath Siberia. (Ridiculous since Percy Jackson showed us all that Hell is really under Hollywood, but I digress.)

This is false. Heaven is some place far up there and Hell is some place way down there. This division doesn’t really help us as we make this world an awful place to escape then. This is the world of God and God made it to be dwelt in. That does not include Hell. Nothing in Scripture indicates that Hell is made for humans.

Hell is really an intruder in this world. However, what if someone doesn’t want to choose God in this life? What does God do with them? He gives them what they want. Those who want to join in the rebellion and fight against God get the results of fighting against Him and choosing against Him. Still, it is not a torture chamber. It is a place of shame and sorrow where one realizes what they have lost.

Judgment, however, is still good news. After all, if anyone talks about the problem of evil and asks why God doesn’t intervene, they want judgment in some way. “If I was God, I wouldn’t let someone get raped.” This is a real need for us. We want to see justice done.

This is then good news. There is a God who will deal justice and does deal justice. We don’t really want a grandfather in the sky who says the children will be children, unless, of course, it’s our own sin that we’re talking about. We don’t want God to judge that.

But for those who do evil, there is a day of reckoning coming. God will not let someone do what they want forever and for those of us who do hunger for justice, that is good news. For those who are living in a sin of some sort, that is very bad news. Nothing will escape His eye. Nothing. We have to give an account for everything that we do in the body. If you’re a Christian and you read that and there is no nervousness in you over that thought, you really need to examine yourself.

And sometimes, that judgment came in the Old Testament in holy war, but is that really like God? Butler argues that what happens most of the time is not living cities are attacked, but more military outposts. These also often include the idea of driving out instead of killing.

But doesn’t the text say women and children are killed?

This is language of totality and is really trash talking. It doesn’t indicate women and children are killed, especially since they were rarely in these military outposts. What about Jericho? Consider first off that Jericho could be walked around 7 times in one day. Sure, Rahab was there, but it wasn’t uncommon to have a woman be a tavern master for the men and sometimes, she would be a prostitute if men wanted more than a drink.

Consider as Butler suggests, a basketball team in the locker room after a game talking about how they demolished and destroyed the other team. Final score? 120-105. Hardly a complete shutout, but that language is used. What you see in the genocide passages is actually trash talk.

I have only given brief explanations, but this book is an extremely powerful book. Skeptics who want to complain about these kinds of passages really need to read this book. Even Christians who have studied apologetics for years will get food for thought.

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

Evil And Responsibility

Why argue about evil? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I ultimately think the problem of evil is a failure. The logical problem has been solved as even most atheistic scholars in the field will admit, but that doesn’t stop the more emotional forms about certain kinds of evil being allowed. One of the big objections I have with this is that it doesn’t really deal with the theistic or historical arguments which still stand regardless. From a practical standpoint, it eliminates the cause of hope in the face of the evil while still allowing the evil to stand. Hardly a win.

That being said, I have noticed too often that evil is more of an excuse. This past weekend, I was engaged in a debate with someone where evil came up and the objection of children being molested by Catholic priests. I agree this is a real problem and needs to be addressed. However, I asked him that if that was a concern of his if he condemned the public school system as well. I was told that was a red herring, but how could it be? If we’re talking about suffering children, public schools have the same problem. In reality, public schools are more dangerous. Now if children suffering through sexual abuse is the issue, it should be easy to say, “I agree. We also have a problem in the public school and that needs to be taken care of.” Instead, as you can imagine, it isn’t.

Most of us have an idea that a man is not measured by his words. If you want to know where someone stands on an issue, you don’t look at just their words. You look at their actions. Consider the case of Charles Blondin. It’s a true story that he put a rope across Niagara and walked across with an audience watching. Crowds would gather and one time, he came with a wheelbarrow.

“Do you believe I can cross this pushing a wheelbarrow?”

“YES!”

“Do you think I could do it with a person in the wheelbarrow?”

“YES!”

“Who wants to climb in?”

No one did then, although later Blondin’s manager did.

That’s an extreme example, but you could apply it to several other cases. I have a phobia of water. If I tell you that I am now convinced that water is safe, yet I hesitate to get into a swimming pool, you have reason to disbelieve my words. You can say all you want to that flying is safe, but if you refuse to get on that plane, then we can question if you really believe your data.

We do this in philosophy too. If someone says morality is relative and then complains about evil, we see an inconsistency. I find it amazing that the people who are often the ones to complain the most about evil in the world of evil in the Bible, are also the ones who state that morality is relative. You can’t have it both ways.

So what do you do with someone who says that they don’t understand why God allows XYZ evil, but then they go and do nothing about that evil? I infer from that, that they don’t really care about that evil. They care about using that evil as an argument against God. Note, this is assuming an evil you can do something about no matter how small. A Jewish person can do nothing about the holocaust that happened decades ago.

You see, the problem of evil isn’t just a problem for Christians. It’s one for everyone. Everyone has to give an answer for evil. This is also the case with Christians on other issues. You want to complain about abortion? Do what you can to end it. You want to complain about redefining marriage? If you’re single, treat marriage as holy and don’t have sex with anyone until you’re married and if you are married, treat your own marriage seriously. Do you care about sex trafficking? Then at least avoid pornography which encourages that. Do you care about the poor? Then give of y our own resources. The government has a horrid record of helping the poor.

From now on then, I think one of my approaches with skeptics will be to ask them what they’re doing about evil. I should also be willing to accept it if they ask me the same question back. This doesn’t mean we don’t answer the problem of evil, but I want to see if the skeptic really cares about the evil, or if he just wants to use evil to attack Christianity not caring about the victims.

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

Does God Know What’s Happening In Genesis?

How do we read these texts? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Sometimes in the book of Genesis, it seems like God doesn’t know what’s going on. Now some of you might be thinking I’m referring to the creation passage and using that in this debate. No. I am not. I am instead referring to passages where God asks some questions or indicates He needs to investigate a matter.

Let’s start with Genesis 3. God comes walking through the garden at one point asking Adam where he is. While some might question if God knows the future, right now, this is asking if God even knows the present. Did God know where Adam was? Absolutely. He knew what had happened already. So why ask the question?

It’s asked to give Adam a chance to respond properly. As we know from the text, he didn’t. He played the blame game and blamed God and Eve both. Eve did the same thing and blamed the serpent. Unfortunately for the serpent, he had no one else to pass the buck to. God doesn’t buy any of it and punishes all of them.

Why phrase it this way? God is being presented in a way that we can understand. We will see this more when we get to impassibility. This is the language used especially in the Psalms when God is described as a rock, a shield, a hen over her young, or being told to wake up and bring about judgment. It’s not as if the Psalmist thought God was literally sleeping.

Another place to go to is Genesis 11. In this, the people decide to build a tower to the heavens. The problem with this is the flood came and the people were told to go throughout the Earth and fill it. Instead, they say they will stay in one place so that they can avoid another flood. God says “Let us go down and see what is going on.”

Why say this? It’s actually meant to be sarcasm. Here the people are trying to build something to reach to the heavens and God is in the heavens and saying “I think I see some tiny smidgen of something down there. Let’s go see what this thing is.” Consider it like Goliath talking smack to David about how insignificant an attacker he was. The text is speaking in mocking language of what God is doing to the people.

Finally, when Abraham barters with God, God seems to reason within Himself what He should do. Of course, this would mean that God would be ignorant of something. This again is not just the future, but the present. It is also God asking what the right thing to do is, which would mean God has a moral requirement and that laws of morality are above Him.

What is the purpose of this text then? It is to show Abraham as a mediator. After all, mediating is somewhat important in the Bible. Yes. God really does heed what men say. How that works will be something talked about later on. God is in charge of this deal the whole time. He sets the standards. Once a limit is reached, God says no more.

He also already does know what’s going on. It’s not as if God literally has to go and investigate. (And for what it’s worth, God is never seen going through the towns.) God is acting in a way we can relate to.

Now immediately, the objection pops up of, “But you’re not taking the text literally!” I am taking it literally in the sense that I think this is what the author intended. I am not taking it literalistically in the sense of reading it as a wooden text much like I don’t read in Deuteronomy of God being a consuming fire and think that He’s a giant cosmic bunsen burner.

All this sets us up for another such occurrence in Genesis in a passage with a lot of debate about it so we will save that for next time.

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

Immutability

Does God change? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

In Malachi 3:6, God says that He does not change. This has also been a position that the church has held historically. God is the same from ages to ages. Now I know at the start there are some objections people are going to have. Doesn’t the text say God changed His mind? Didn’t God become a man? Doesn’t that count as a change?

We will get to those.

Right now, I just want to establish immutability, which means that you cannot change. This means that any change whatsoever in the nature of God does not take place. God’s nature will always stay the same.

One reason we can say this is a change is from something else to something else. We are talking about changes that change one’s nature as well, but ultimately, I would say this means no chronological change in God. God is not moving along the timeline from not being a creator to being a creator, for example. God is doing all things eternally and not moving along the timeline.

After all, God does not age. I realize some people are open theists and would disagree with my position and I plan on speaking about God and the future. For now, this is just an articulation of my position as I have said and a defense in the face of criticism will come later.

Some who are theologically inclined are wondering probably if I will say anything about impassibility. That will be a later set of posts as well as I think there are some differences there, but at the same time it is something that I hold to.

If we do hold to simplicity, immutability will also follow. God does not have several parts that can change from one thing to another. Also, if God’s very nature is to be, then that being is not changed by something else. How can what it mean to be really change? Can a limitation be put on God that wasn’t there before?

The ultimate point of much of this is to show that God is not like anything else. He is not a creature. He is not the superhero God like the Greek gods and others who are pretty much really powerful humans with superpowers. It’s also hard to say how some of this is pagan thought since no pagan gods in a polytheistic sense would be immutable or simple.

This also means that God cannot be changed by anything else. That will be either good news or bad news depending on how you see Him. If you see Him as all-loving and all-compassionate, then that is a good thing since He will stay the same and not change. If you see Him as wicked and destructive as His immutability will mean that He will stay that way.

But what about prayer? Don’t we pray to God? What about God changing His mind? What about the incarnation? Again, questions about emotions and God will come along later.

Hopefully, next time we will be able to speak on this topic.

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

Book Plunge: Fault Lines

What do I think of Voddie Baucham Jrs book published by Salem Books? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Baucham is concerned about the evangelical church in America and the rest of the world for that matter. Too many good Christians are buying into Critical Race Theory. It might look good for awhile. After all, who wants to say that black lives don’t matter? Don’t we all agree that racism is a bad thing? Don’t we all want justice? Of course, but there are bad ways to get good things.

Baucham does agree that racism is in America, but America is not systematically racist. Racism is not at the root of all of our ills. He also sees CRT as Marxist and pagan in its origins. It will do more harm by far than good.

Baucham also deals with statistics on crime and other issues. For example, he tells the story of a young man who died tragically at the hands of police. A police officer pinned him to the ground and mocked him. He pleaded with the officers saying that they were going to kill him. The officers did nothing and kept making jokes.

No. That’s not George Floyd. That’s Tony Timpa. Timpa had schizophrenia and had called the police himself because he was off his meds and he had already been handcuffed by a security guard. Timpa died under those police officers before the paramedics arrived.

Most of you never heard of him because he was white.

On October 5, 2016, an officer was nearly beaten to death by a suspect. She knew she should have used her weapon. Her supervisor told her she should have. Why didn’t she?

Because she knew the next day she and her family would undergo scrutiny on the national news. There are real world consequences?

What about Dylan Noble? During a routine traffic stop, he reached into his wasitband and was shot 11 times. Why do you not know about him? He’s white.

Breanna Taylor made the national news when she did in a shooting involving the police. A police officer served an eviction notice on her Dad. The Dad pulled a weapon and the officer pulled out his gun and fired. The bullet passed through his arm and hit Ciara which caused her death eventually. Why do you not know about this? She was white.

Why bring these up? Because people love to bring up stories that fuel a narrative. In this case, it’s the idea that the police treat the black population unfairly. Baucham argues there is further evidence to back this.

Meanwhile , a National Academy of Sciences study ignited controversy when its authors proclaimed, “ We find no evidence of anti – Black or anti – Hispanic disparities across shootings, and White officers are not more likely to shoot minority civilians than non – White officers. ” 14 More fundamentally, the researchers noted that “ using population as a benchmark makes the strong assumption that White and Black civilians have equal exposure to situations that result in FOIS, ” which is the only way the 2.5 – to – 1 ratio could be viewed as prima facie evidence of police bias. Instead, they noted that contrary to the accepted narrative, “ If there are racial differences in exposure to these situations, calculations of racial disparity based on population benchmarks will be misleading. ” 15 In other words, the 2.5 – to – 1 ratio, taken at face value, is actually misleading.

CRT will not bring about unity. It will only bring further division. For example, if every incident involving interaction between blacks and whites is made into racism, even if no racist motives can be shown, then there will be hesitancy to act in any situation. Not only that, but if you cry wolf, real racism will go unnoticed. Even today, I am highly suspicious as soon as someone says “racist” about something or someone.

Baucham stresses that CRT has Marxist origins and thus is highly antithetical to Christian values. The church could let the nose of this camel in thinking they are doing good, only to wind up having the whole camel in and that will lead to chaos on other issues.

For many on the CRT side, if you deny that you are a racist, well that just shows you are a racist. No matter what you do, you are racist. You can marry someone of the another race or have children of another race and still be considered to be racist. You are guilty of racism until you are proven innocent, and you cannot be proven innocent.

I was amazed also to read parts of a sermon that Obama gave to a black church on a Father’s Day. I never supported Obama, but I have to say I agree so much with what he said.

Yes, we need more cops on the street. Yes, we need fewer guns in the hands of people who shouldn’t have them. Yes, we need more money for our schools, and more outstanding teachers in the classroom, and more afterschool programs for our children. Yes, we need more jobs and more job training and more opportunity in our communities. But we also need families to raise our children. We need fathers to realize that responsibility does not end at conception. We need them to realize that what makes you a man is not the ability to have a child — it’s the courage to raise one.

The problems for the black community by and large are not from without but from within. Fatherlessness is too common and too many black men are dying at the hands of other black men. Restoring the family to the black community would be the best gift that could be given. CRT will not do that as groups like BLM are opposed to the typical nuclear family.

This book is written from a Christian perspective, but I think a non-Christian would get something out of it. They won’t care likely about what is going on in the church over this, but I would hope they would look at the case either way. I really hope Baucham is wrong about a future earthquake coming, but I fear that he is right.

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

Simplicity and The Trinity

Can God be simple and triune? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

When talking about simplicity, I have said that God has no parts. This means that you cannot put A and B and C together and get God. There isn’t anything you can take away from God. We could say that what God is, He is that one something.

As Christians, we certainly don’t want to deny the Trinity. I think the evidence for that is overwhelming. However, while many of us, especially in the Protestant tradition, are good at making the Scriptural case for the Trinity, we sadly don’t often seem to go beyond that to the theology of the Trinity and how that would work with doctrines like simplicity. (Never mind your average churchgoer has never even heard of it.)

Something that we also have to avoid is tri-theism. When we talk about the three persons in God sharing one nature, we don’t mean it like having three different humans together and all those humans share human nature. That is true, but they also don’t exist in a relationship such that they’re bound up with one another. Even if you took a family of three persons, the family can still be separated.

In the Trinity, all the persons subsist within one another. They only differ by their relationship. The Father is the one who begets, the Son the one who is begotten, and the Spirit the one who proceeds. (I know Catholic and Orthodox both disagree on whether the Spirit proceeds from the Father or from the Father and the Son, but all agree He proceeds)

Because of this, we can say one of the aspects of God’s very nature is Trinity. However, the three persons of the Trinity are not three parts put together. If somehow the Son was gone, would we say we only have 66.6% of God left and He has to make up for the lack somehow? Such would imply that each person has their own exist apart from the other and when we get to that, we have tri-theism going on.

The difficulty for us here is that we can’t think of anything else in existence like this, but this should not be a shock. If God is real, why should we expect Him to be like us in this way? Too often, the view of God in modern dialogue is often God who is a superhero.

What do I mean by a superhero God? God is not a being who is not radically different from us, but He is like us except a lot more powerful, smarter, bigger, etc. Take a human and power him up enough and eventually you get to God, which is ironically what the Mormons have. God is also an agent who plays by our rules. God is a being who has to live by the same moral principles we do, as if God were subject to morality.

On that point, let’s be clear that what God does is good, but we cannot say it is moral as if God has an obligation to do something for us. God by virtue of being God and the ground of all being can do things that we cannot. Hence, one of the first questions I ask an atheist in this kind of dialogue is “Who does God owe life to?” The only obligations God has to us are those He has promised to us.”

God is not a superhero. God is someone different from us radically. We have lost often in the church this kind of deep theology. Many of us are ready to get the Trinity off of the bookshelves when it comes time to debate Jehovah’s Witnesses, but then we don’t really think about the doctrine outside of that.

So why do I hold to simplicity and the Trinity? Because the other options lower God and I just prefer to say God has existence (Or rather is existence as that is His nature) in a way greater than I realize and that way is triune. The other options are heretical in some way such as tri-theism, unitarianism, or modalism.

I plan to from here on look at other attributes of God and why they matter.

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

Book Plunge: Napoleon’s Hemorrhoids

What do I think of Phil Mason’s book published by Skyhorse publishing? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I will get back to Simplicity soon, but for now, I wanted to review this book I finished over the weekend. I enjoy reading about little oddities in history and this book is full of them. It’s my goal then to tell some that I really liked and give some thoughts from a Christian perspective.

At the start, Mason says that the reason we have civilization today is beer. We have an old Sumerian recipe for beer and that recipe caused people to stop and work on agriculture instead of being hunters and gatherers. After all, they wanted more beer. If this theory is accurate, then the reason we are on the internet today and I am writing and you are reading is because some people once wanted to drink beer. Incredible.

It has also been theorized that another drink helped save civilization. That is the sacred drink of tea. The Industrial Revolution took off in Britain according to this because people had to gather together and often, the water wasn’t the best, but tea contains enough health benefits that it could be used. No other nation had the Industrial Revolution take off so if this is so, tea has done our world a great service.

Now with many of these, from a Christian perspective, you could argue that God was orchestrating some events. That could be so, but I hesitate to say such a thing. After all, I have presented some positive events. What happens if I present negative events, and there are several of those.

Let’s start with the fact that starlings are in America because Shakespeare wrote Henry the IV. Yes. There was a man in America who wanted to bring every bird mentioned in Shakespeare to America and since Shakespeare referred to the starling one time in that play, 100 starlings were brought over and they have been a problem to our American ecosystem ever since. The same happened in Australia as a man wanted to hunt rabbits so he brought some over and now Australia has a problem with the rabbit population.

At Lincoln’s second inauguration, there was a young man who broke through the ranks and almost got to the president. He was stopped and restrained because the police thought he was really harmless and so they let him go. Want to know what happened to him? I’ll just tell you his name was John Wilkes Booth.

Why did the Battle of Gettysburg take place in the Civil War? It wasn’t planned, but one army leader heard a story about shoes being on sale in a town and his troops needed shoes. The journey to get them was seen as hostile by the other side and thus began a major battle that took place and could have changed the tide of the war, all because someone wanted shoes for his troops.

One example that should definitely give us pause in saying God is behind some events is Hitler. Mason lists numerous times that there were assassination plots against Hitler and at the last moment, something changed in Hitler’s plans and he avoided assassination every time. It was also through a quirk circumstance he describes that Mengele avoided capture as well.

This is the danger of many of my fellow Christians when we often try to read into history, including our personal history. We often like to try to read what we think God is doing in every situation in our lives. I have said before that it would be awesome if we Christians spent as much time trying to interpret Scripture rightly as we do trying to interpret our experiences rightly.

On the other hand, this book is informative, but it’s also fun. You can read about how some actors in Hollywood got big breaks through chance events. About the only topic I didn’t really get into was the one on sports since I didn’t understand a lot of the analogies.

People who like history should get this book and go through it. Each chapter contains several bite-sized section that would take at the most a couple of minutes to read. These will also be great conversation pieces to make any group gathering interesting and leave you looking really informed as well.

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

Why Does Simplicity Matter?

What difference does it make to say that God is simple? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

In the last post, I explained simplicity and what it meant. I also pointed out this has been a historic position so even if someone disagrees, it should not be disagreed with lightly. There are objections and I will likely get to those next week, but for now, let’s ask what difference does it make. Is this just something that a theologian can stick in their hat for a trivia game or does it have a point?

It’s the latter. Everything about God has a point.

When we look at the early church, they lived in a world where monotheism was not the norm. You had gods in polytheistic gods and normally, these weren’t really gods, but just really powerful beings. Zeus was seen as the king of the gods in Greek and Roman thought, but even he had a beginning and he ran in terror from his wife many times. We could consider them to be like superheroes you would read about in comics today.

None of these are an ultimate explanation. Each of them needs a cause. When we get to Scripture, it’s radically different. Right at the start we read “In the beginning God created the Heavens and the Earth.” John says “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.”

Did you catch that?

None of these have an origin story for how God came to be. God is just there from the beginning. The Bible in itself is not meant to be an argument for the existence of God. It’s to tell us something different. It has God right from the beginning and it makes no sense to say how He came to be. He never did. Why does the Bible never explain this explicitly? Because it’s not meant to be a philosophy book either.

We can say God says His name is “I AM” which indicates that He has eternal existing, but that is just simply stated. Moses never gets a philosophical treatise on the matter. He’s not supposed to. These are the matters left for us to work out and explore some, which we should. If two lovers love each other, they want to know everything they can about the other. If I love a game or a TV show, I look into it and try to find out more about it. I am reading through the complete Peanuts collection right now and when I see a new character in the strip, in a quest for information, I look up information about that character online.

If you love God, you will want to know more about Him. The Bible is not meant to answer these questions. He’s left them for us to explore.

So what does this matter? It gets us into the very nature of God. If we understand the nature of God better and realize that God is not just a really powerful creature, that definitely helps in dealing with the whole foolish “I just go one god further” objection from atheists. The other gods normally rejected are just superhero gods. None of them are the grounds of reality for the most part. Of course, even if one goes with a God who is fully simple, religions like Islam and Judaism are still in the running. Mormonism, on the contrary, is ruled out.

Also, God is not a combination of things. God is not a being who has goodness and power and love. God is these things. This shouldn’t surprise us as we get a clue in 1 John that says “God is love.” God does not merely have loving qualities as we do. God is love. Note that that cannot be reversed to say “Love is God.” Love does not have the attributes of God. God has the nature of love.

This also means God is totally different from the rest of His creation, which is meant to be. Isaiah was right in the section starting at chapter 40 with the whole challenge to the false gods. When you realize something like this, many new atheist objections, including the classic “Who made God?” fall to the wayside. Note also that many of these objections were being answered before they were even being asked. Skeptics today hardly ask any questions Christians didn’t ask themselves for centuries.

God is not a conglomerate. He is one being. He is not made up of parts. You can’t put attributes together in a metaphysical blender and get God. He is truly unique.

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