God As A Means

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

Many times, I get really annoyed when Christians start talking about Heaven so much. It’s not so much because Heaven is unimportant to talk about. It is. The problem is that seems to be all that we talk about and when we talk about Heaven, it’s not even for the right reasons.

Let’s start with the first point. Listen to many Christians today and you would think the whole point of Christianity is going to Heaven. A small child comes forward and accepts Jesus and now he has to look forward to that when he dies, he will go to Heaven. What is he told about the here and now? What is he told about the purpose of his life? Well, be a good person. Congratulations. Even secularists do the same with their children. They can also offer that without all this stuff that people find so hard to believe, so what a shock when children will dump Jesus later on in their teen years. What was the point anyway?

Nothing is said about us being servants of the Kingdom. Jesus is your savior, but nothing is said about what you are to do for Him. It’s all about what He did for you. Nothing is said about how He is supposed to be your king. When do we hear about holy living in the here and now for the glory of God?

As for the second problem, I have heard many Christians describe Heaven and when they do so, their descriptions are quite lacking. The lacking in the details of Heaven is nothing is said about God. You see, you get to live forever and you’re reunited with your loved ones and you have this mansion and these streets of gold. It’s as if God is an afterthought.

With this, God becomes solely a means to obtain what we want for ourselves. God is not the goal and the great reward. He is the means to the goal and the great reward. It’s almost as if this kind of attitude is wanting to rape God for the good things that He has.

I can assure you it was incredibly awkward even writing that last sentence, but that is the only kind of parallel I can come up with. Perhaps such a graphic illustration is what some of us need anyway. All the good stuff alone does not make Heaven.

I have heard there was an episode of the Twilight Zone where a man dies and goes to a place where he has a mansion and all the good things he wants. As time goes on though, he gets bored and when asks about that is told that’s the way it is. He asks why it is that Heaven is like this to which he is told, “Who said you were in Heaven?” I am not saying this is what happens, but one could imagine how twisted it would be for a hell to be a place where you seem to have all you want at the start and then find out that it is unfulfilling. Ultimately, only God can eternally satisfy the longings of man, something I still have to remind myself of.

Besides that, when we see our loved ones, it’s almost as if we think we will pick up right where we left off. Last night, I finished reading again C.S. Lewis’s A Grief Observed. He describes the same sort of idea and does also realize he is being tempted to treat God as a means to see his beloved again. Lewis throughout tries to think about what could be happening to his bride. Perhaps she is still being sanctified. Why think that her pain is entirely ending? Could she be experiencing separation? While Lewis was a Protestant, he did still pray for her and was open to some sufferings of purgatory.

Perhaps it is because we do not see God as desirable Himself that we look at Heaven like this. Why do we not see God as the great reward Himself? As an apologist, I wish I had an answer, but I do not at this point. It is a question I am still mulling over. I hope to do some future blogs as I think about it in the future.

I suppose in closing all I can say is to think about why you are doing what you are doing. Is God a means to an end? What is the point of your life now? Are you presenting God as the goal or just the afterthought, the means to the end?

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

Autism Awareness: God

How do I relate to God? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

As a Christian, sometimes, it is difficult to understand how one is to respond to God. I was tempted to say relate, but how do you relate to God? God is so vastly different from us. Of course, we do have the incarnation to help with this, a great blessing of the Christian belief system.

Unfortunately, I have a great distrust of a lot of Christianese. I have heard this said in Protestant and Orthodox Churches and I am sure it is said in Catholic Churches, and that’s where you hear talk about how “This is what God has done for us” and it’s not what happened in Scripture, but what took place in goals like fundraising or building plans or something of that sort. I always want to ask “How do we know God did that?” It could be we’re going along with our plans and when we see something happen, we interpret that to mean God is giving us a green light, but maybe He isn’t.

I am also highly skeptical when I read a Christian book that is more about something like marriage build-up or dealing with anxiety and depression and not apologetics related and I hear the author talk about what God told them. I am usually very skeptical at that point. Just yesterday I was listening to a book on my Tap where the author talked about sending a message to his wife that he said God gave him, but it was clear, and the author even realized this later on as well, that it was not from God.

A great danger also is if I am right with this and it is not God speaking so much, then we are setting up newer Christians and people on the spectrum for a fall. They have a number of options. Someone can make something up because they think that is what they are supposed to do. Someone can have a strong feeling and think God is speaking to them then. (How many of us really think all our strong feelings are from God?) Some of us on the spectrum who do not have strong emotions or relational skills could think something is wrong with us.

Those of us on the spectrum have a hard enough time relating to other people not sure what all the social rules of a relationship are. It’s far harder for us when it comes to relating to God. Here, we have someone we can’t see and few if any will rarely directly hear.

For me with prayer, it is something I always wonder about. How long do you do it? What do you really say? How do you treat God properly in prayer? I have read books on prayer, but there is still something about it that is hard to understand.

Now keep in mind this is from someone on the spectrum who is also highly well trained in Christian theology. If I have this hard a time with the matter while it is my life’s work, how much harder could it be for the person on the spectrum who is exploring Christianity? When we talk to them about the faith, are we talking about Christianity as it was taught by the apostles, or are we talking about the Western individualist notions we have added in?

The walk with God can be difficult for everyone and in some ways, should be, but it can be harder I suspect for those of us on the spectrum. Be understanding. Apologetics will be a great help here since many of us are logically minded and prefer rules and order. Talking about your personal emotions and experiences will probably not be helpful.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)
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The Need of the Other

What can we not do for ourselves? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

My apologies for a week without blogs. I have had a whole lot going on in my personal life. I am sure it will come out eventually, but for now, I am fighting a private battle with the help of some friends and others and I appreciate your prayers and support in it. I also have some book reviews to do, but I wanted to write on something I was thinking about recently.

It started with my cat actually. I have noticed whenever I am around him, my cat is constantly wanting my attention. I can hardly play a video game or a TV show without him being right up there with me wanting to get attention.

Now in some ways, we could say a cat could survive on their own. Many do in the wild. They can hunt their own food and they can go to the bathroom where they want. Many of them are solitary animals who hunt on their own from what I see.

So yes, I do feed my cat and change his litter box and he can’t do this on his own while domesticated, but even if in the wild, there is something he can’t do on his own. He can’t pet himself. If my cat wants to be petted, he depends on me, a human being.

As we grow up, one of the first blessings we can get in our lives when we step outside of our homes is friends. These are people who have no blood relation to us and come to like us and enjoy our company and are willing to sacrifice their time and sometimes money because they think we are worth the investment. I have plenty of friends who have been there whenever I have needed to make a phone call and it means a lot when someone calls just to check and see how I am doing.

Aristotle even said friends were something not necessary to live, but they were good to have and your life is lacking without them. Friendship has been a great mystery to us, but we are all thankful for it. Even in Plato’s Lysis, it is not known at the end what a friend is, but it is hopeful that we all leave as friends.

This is not to deny family, and it’s interesting that it takes multiple people really to have a family. The family begins with a man and a woman together. Communist societies had a war against the family constantly because the family doesn’t require the government or its justification to exist. Family is the first community we live in and it is a community often vastly different than we are. Our birth parents in reality are people we might not even choose as friends if we didn’t know them, but we have a great bond to them as family.

And now let’s combine those two. Friends and family are best combined in marriage. Again, I cannot give myself that kind of love. If we refer to sexual love, yes, regardless of your moral stance on the issue, masturbation exists, and yet most of us would prefer to be with a member of the opposite sex instead of alone by ourselves.

So sexual love requires someone else and marriage is not only a community, but is a making of a new community that is a reproducing community. If you have friends, you grow the circle from without by bringing in new people that are already there. With marriage, you bring in new people through the act of sexual intercourse. That comes from within.

If we look in Scripture, we find numerous passages in the New Testament in the epistles especially that are commands to do something to one another. The church is meant to be a community. There is no Lone Ranger Christianity in reality. With the Coronavirus, many of us have lost that community. It’s hard to have community when you are alone in your homes watching on a screen. While I have a different interpretation of the Lord’s Supper than my Catholic and Orthodox friends, we all agree it is an important aspect of community.

All of this community shows us how much we need one another. We are not meant to be alone. Even if a person wants to be single, they still need companions and friends. Even Jesus had them on His journeys as did Paul. All of this comes from God above.

And by the way, He is a Trinity. Just think about it.

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

Is God’s Goodness Always Good?

What happens when good doesn’t seem good? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Christians hold that God is good. We also hold that there is real evil in the world. It’s not an illusion. It actually happens. There are things in this world that are unjustifiably evil.

Let’s understand if skeptics see a problem here. I understand logically things work out, but emotionally, evil is a real problem. I’m wanting today to write about when the idea of the goodness of God is hard.

It’s easy to say God is good when things are going fine in our lives. That’s not a problem. However, as soon as we start having problems that are serious, many of us start to wonder about the goodness of God. Besides, isn’t it so obvious what should be done in this situation? Surely God who is all good and all loving and knows all would agree with what needs to be done and do what we ask. Right?

Not necessarily.

That’s when the goodness of God gets really difficult. If anything, it becomes more painful to believe in the goodness of God. You have to accept that what is happening is not necessarily good, as evil is never good, but that God is not doing anything wrong in allowing this evil to occur, whatever it is.

Do you still believe in the goodness of God?

If you don’t, you don’t really believe in the goodness of God. You believe in it only if God is doing what you think is good for you. God is subject to what you think. If you do believe in His goodness, then you believe in it regardless. That is the real test of belief in God’s goodness.

This is what happens in the book of Job. The book of Job is not about the problem of evil. You can look high and low and you will not find the answer to why good people suffer. It is also not God making a bet on a whim. It is asking why does Job serve God?

Does Job serve God because life is going good for Him and He gets all the goodies? Well, congratulations. Anyone can serve under those conditions. If you were a Christian and one of the wealthiest people if not the wealthiest in the world at the time and had a good family on top of that, it would be really easy to talk about the goodness of God.

Can you talk about it when things are rough?

What if Job lost everything? Would he still serve God? If he doesn’t, then he only serves God for the goodies. If he does, then he serves God because of who God is and it’s the right thing to do.

This is not to say Job can’t question and complain. He does. So do we. We can do that also. The Psalms are full of such cases. You are allowed to talk to God. He’s a big God. He can take it. You’re still supposed to trust Him in it.

C.S. Lewis said years ago this is the kind of Christian that puts the cause of evil in a panic. If a soldier looks up for a God who he feels abandoned by, asks why, and still obeys, then that soldier will serve through anything. That is a position we are all to take.

God’s goodness can be hard, but it is the best hope that we have. When things are rough, God is still good. He is still in charge and it is His story, not yours. Trust the author to work it out.

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

Book Plunge: Time and Despondency

What do I think of Nicole Roccas’s book published by Ancient Faith Publishing? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Sometimes when I have been struggling with something, I will talk to my wife’s priest. While I am not Orthodox, that is not a problem with us as he’s more than happy to help me with things. I also think wisdom can be found outside of one’s own tradition (And even religion) and if we as Christians ever think it’s only people of our theological heritage that have true wisdom worth gaining, that is a very sad state.

Right now with some present circumstances, I have been in normally a state of seasonal depression. When I mentioned the word depression to him, he turned it into despondency. At that moment, I remembered I ordered for my wife who is a catechumen in the Orthodox Church the book Time and Despondency. I decided to get it out and give it a try.

Let’s start with one excellent thing about this book. The author does not come out as someone high and holy and thus you read the book and think “I will never reach this level.” Nope. Roccas is a fellow traveler on the journey and she too would prefer at times to do something like binge watch Netflix.

She definitely writes from an Orthodox perspective, but that does not overwhelm the book so much that others won’t benefit. As a Protestant, I found much of the advice helpful. The advice of great saints is found as there is wisdom to be found in many places.

She also writes of goals that are doable. She never tells you to go and pray for an hour or so. Instead, just work on matters bit by bit and learn and grow in them. There’s even a place advocating quick prayers. Those are fine many times. When I am out in public and I hear sirens and see a first responder going by, I always pray for that situation. (Definitely not with eyes closed if driving.)

Her advice to deal with despondency is also not just purely spiritual matters. She talks about St. Antony who was scolded by someone for playing with his fellow monks when surely he should have been praying and how Antony responded to justify his actions. She talks about the use of humor, which at this point, I couldn’t help but think of Harry Potter and the spell to deal with boggarts.

For those who don’t know, boggarts are creatures that take on the image of your worst fear. The way to deal with them is to use a spell with the word “Ridiculous!” and turn them into something you can laugh at. I think Rowling at this point hit on something with the nature of fear.

Roccas also shows that this is a problem that is not just modern in nature. Monks from well over a thousand years ago dealt with this. They had times they didn’t want to pray either or work on the Scriptures. Apparently, some could have even committed suicide from sorrow. It was even called the noonday demon. The condition is the same, but today we probably have more means to encounter it.

There is also definitely good theology in here. Roccas brings out the reality of the resurrection and what it means. God being the God of all time is there to redeem every moment of time, including the moment that we are in. Again, just like before, none of this though is spoken in terminology that is over the layman’s head.

If you’re struggling with depression, or despondency if you prefer, this is a really good book to read. The advice is practical and doable and not over your head. Most of the chapters are short enough to read in one sitting and even the longest one can be broken down into manageable pieces. Give it a try. It beats living in despondency after all.

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

Book Plunge: The God Virus Part 1

What do I think of Darrel Ray’s book published by IPC Press? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Oh my! There are atheist books out there that actually try to make a convincing argument, but this is not one of them. At least, that’s not the way I see it. It’s as if today atheists want to compete to see who can write the worst one out there.

This one is an older one published in 2009, but while age might improve wine and friendships, it doesn’t always improve books. I was asked to read this by someone and thinking them someone I want to take seriously if I remember rightly who it was, I ordered it. Going through this one has been funny at times, but a labor at others.

Ray writes the whole time as if religion is a virus and he uses metaphors for viruses throughout. It really doesn’t work well. The work comes across as very depersonalizing and instead of really treating religion seriously, it looks like Ray, who apparently has a Master’s in religion, doesn’t really know much about it.

For one thing, he never even defines the term. He just comes out of the gate talking about religion and I’m sitting here wondering “What do you mean by the term?” This is especially problematic when later on he gets to movements like Marxism and the rise of Lenin and those get treated like religions too. Those are atheistic movements and yet somehow an atheistic movement is a religion.

Ray also says he starts with an experiment. You talk with a deeply Christian friend (Assuming you’re not a theist) about Muhammad. You agree he was delusional thinking he was talking to God and the Koran is definitely his work and he didn’t fly to Heaven on a horse, etc. Then he says imagine you wrote a transcript of the conversation and gave it to them.

“During the conversation you bother agree that Jesus was probably delusional to think he could talk to Jehovah. The Bible was clearly written by men and not by Jehovah. You both agree that it is ludicrous to claim that he is the last prophet and that all later ones are false. Neither of you can believe that he rose from the dead nor flew to heaven. It all sounds too crazy, and it is difficult to see how someone could believe such a religion. At the end of the conversation, you both agree that Christians did not choose their religion; they were born into it. Anyone who was exposed to both Christianity and Islam would see that Islam is the true religion.”

And thus is the experiment. Present this to your Christian friend and they will turn defensive (Imagine that. When you question what someone believes, they might actually defend what they believe! Gasp!) Will they make elaborate arguments that have no factual basis? Will they cut you off and terminate your friendship?

Some of us will give arguments and if Ray wants to say they have no factual basis, it will be up to him to demonstrate that. Good luck. Without that, he’s just engaging in presuppositional atheism.

However, on this very page after talking about a friendship enduring, he goes on to talk about an associate of his who lost a father to cancer. After that, he became a Christian and any time they talked religion crept in and before too long, Ray stopped seeing him altogether. This on the very same page as the above questions.

So if you challenge a Christian, your friendship might not endure. However, when Ray hears someone talking about Jesus so much, their friendship can’t endure. How is this not seen?

In just three paragraphs, Ray deals with near-death experiences. Does he look at any with evidential claims in them? Not a one. Does he mention any researchers in the field that endorse such arguments? No. He points to one doctor who says it’s the brain trying to make sense of an experience. He also tells us that we can bring about the emotion of NDEs by stimulating certain parts of the brain. This is likely true, but irrelevant. We can stimulate many things, but that doesn’t mean that we aren’t stimulating real things.

But again, without dealing with real evidential cases, Ray is not doing his proper work. Throughout the book Ray will talk about theists shutting off logic and critical thinking. Physician! Heal thyself!

On p. 30 in a footnote he says that during witch trials in Europe in the 16th and 17th centuries, historians estimate that 200,000 people died. Inquiring minds want to know who these historians are. Ray never tells us. Too many atheist readers will lap this up and believe it instantly. Those of us who actually care about evidence want to know more.

In a footnote on p. 32 he mentions Bruno as one who questioned the suppositions of religion and paid a price for it. Another such example he mentions is Galileo. People who make this claim have likely never read anything by Bruno. As for Galileo, he questioned Catholic interpretations, but he never once questioned the truth of Christianity.

On p. 39, he speaks about fundamentalism where people are immune to influence and ignore any evidence that contradicts their beliefs. Note, this is from a man who at least halfway through the book has not interacted with one opposing scholar so far. Ray also regularly writes about his fundamentalist upbringing. I do not question he had one. I also do not question that he has not escaped it. His thinking is still very much the same way.

On p. 42, he says Christians early on were instructed on how to take over political institutions. I would love to know where he sees this, but he does not say. Maybe all those things about honoring the emperor and praying for him and things like that. That’s how you take over government after all.

When we get to p. 48, he describes Marxism as a god virus. How this is a god virus when it is inherently atheistic is not explained. It’s a convenient way though to avoid having to question your own movement. Any movement that has mass death behind it must be a religious movement. It can’t possibly be atheistic!

Naturally, on p. 51, he says science education is the answer to religion. There is never a connection made here. There are plenty of fine scientists who have no trouble with being theists at all. Ray gives no arguments here.

When we return next time, we’ll start with the chapter on American Civil Religion, which is definitely a hideous chapter as far as evidential claims are concerned.

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

Hallowed Be Thy Name

What does it mean for God’s name to be holy? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Hallowed is simply a way to refer to something as holy, and holiness is something we have lost sight of. In our world today, the question “Is nothing sacred?” is entirely relevant. Most people today seem to live just for the next pleasure high, and that doesn’t necessarily mean drugs, though it can. Casual sex is all too often and apps like tinder can exist to pretty much just give a hook-up to someone.

Sometimes I look at our society and wonder what people think is worth living for. What is the true greatest good in our lives? For we Christians, we would say it’s the goal to see God one day, but while we say that, we often live like the greatest good is something else, myself included.

Holiness refers to something being set apart. It’s not just something common and normal. It’s to be reserved for a specific usage and time. God’s holiness means He is set apart from creation and refers to His goodness and purity. He is unique.

We can honor His name best by how we live our own lives. Do we live lives of service and gratitude to Him? Do we seek to love our neighbor as ourselves? Do we seek to do good to those around us even when they wrong us?

Also, do we treat God way too flippantly. Do we seek to speak for Him when we have no business doing so? I think about this when I hear so many people convinced that God is speaking to them. God gets treated in a casual manner. I don’t really care for John MacArthur, but I think he was 100% right when he talked about the guy who told him that God talks to him every morning while he’s shaving and MacArthur asked “Do you still keep shaving?”

My wife and I attend Celebrate Recovery together and normally, you introduce yourself as a faithful believer in Jesus Christ. I don’t say that. I try to remind myself of something else with my introduction and say “Servant of King Jesus.” Jesus is a friend for sure, but He is not just any friend. If you were friends with the president, regardless of what you think of him and if you don’t like Trump replace him with someone you do like, you would not treat that friendship casually. You would treat the president still with the utmost of respect.

Clay Jones in his latest book Immortal argues that one of the reasons we might not have such a Christian drive in our country is we have lost sight of what happens when we die. We try to not think about the fact that one day all of us will. When we lose sight of that, we also lose sight of the fact that we will be judged.

Think about that. You will give an account for every deed that you do. Really think about it.

Every deed.

So what have you done? Did you get snippy with your wife? Were you berating your husband? Did you scare the kids by being harsher than you should have been? Did you give your neighbor the cold shoulder? Did you rejoice over the suffering of a personal enemy?

Every deed.

Most of our sins against God are not directly done against God. They’re done against His creation, mainly other people. Jesus tells us this in His parable of the sheep and the goats. C.S. Lewis reminded us that we have never met a normal person. Every person we meet will one day either be a creature we would be tempted to bow down before and worship, or a creature that would come out of our nightmares.

And a lot of this starts with a low view of God. If God is treated casually, then we are missing out on Him. Most Christians don’t have a clue about the Trinity, for example, and what a difference that should make to our lives. God is really no different than Zeus to most of us. He’s just a superpowered human being.

Seeing God as holy will require a revolution in our thinking about God. We will need to take doctrine seriously and our own holiness seriously. We will need to seek to banish evil not just from the world around us, but from our very selves. Fair wager here, but I suspect most of us spend more time complaining about the evil of others around us than the evil within us. To refer to Lewis again, he said that we often seek to excuse our sins, but not the sins of others. When we sin, that is different, but the other person? They really ought to know better!

If we are going to be Christians who say Jesus is #1, our lives had better be different. Our marriages had better be different. Our parenting should be different. Our job performance should be different. Our entertainment should be different. Everything. We should be different people because we serve a God who is really different from everything else.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Your Enemy

How much do you love God? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I want you to picture in your mind your enemy. Okay? This is the person you either hate the most or at the least, love the least. Who is this? Well, it could be someone historical, like Hitler. Based on your politics, it could be Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama or Donald Trump. It could be a former friend or an ex-lover. It could be a family member. It could be someone who hurt your spouse and/or kids.

It could even be yourself.

Now this is a personal theory of mine. I think it’s Scriptural, but like many other theories, I welcome feedback. 1 John tells us that if you do not love your neighbor, who you have seen, you cannot love God, who you have not seen.

My theory is you can only love God as much as you love that person that I told you to think about.

I’m not saying I’m crazy about this theory either. It’s really hard when I think about it. I don’t have a lot of personal enemies I can think of, but when I think of people who have hurt my wife Allie, I do have anger towards them. One of the ways I look at how I see people is I ask how they treat my wife. If they treat her well, all is good. If they don’t, it doesn’t matter what else they do.

Yet even those people that hurt her, I am told to love them.

This doesn’t mean I have warm fuzzies with them or particularly good feelings towards them. It also doesn’t mean that I give up the call for justice. However, I think it is a problem if we want punishment for the sake of punishment itself. For some who have hurt Allie, I pray for their brokenness that they will realize what they’ve done and repent.

If you have delight at the thought of someone going to Hell, you have it wrong. After all, if it were not for the grace of God in your life, you would be going the same way, and that’s a statement that doesn’t care if you’re a Calvinist or an Arminian or anywhere else. All is by grace.

It doesn’t mean also that you have to particularly like that person. It makes perfect sense if you don’t want to be around a past abuser and in many cases, it could even be wise, but it could mean that rather than hate them, you look at them with pity. What are they doing to destroy themselves by their actions? I don’t mean suicidal or self-harm actions, but actions where they are destroying what they are meant to be.

C.S. Lewis once said to not ask if you love your neighbor. Live like you did. We often think love is a feeling. This is particularly true in the area of romance. Many of you see the way I treat my wife on here and some have in person and you would probably think I’m constantly filled with lovely and warm feelings towards my wife.

No. Not really.

But the point is you do loving things anyway and it’s not a feeling of love that grows, but it’s rather a mindset of love. So it can be with your neighbor. If you find yourself genuinely praying for your neighbor, you will come eventually to love your neighbor, provided you come with the heart that God expects you to have.

Again, this is just a theory of mine, but I do think it’s scriptural. I welcome your feedback.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Deeper Waters Podcast 4/4/2020

What’s coming up? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

The past is a funny place. They do things differently there. So it is that they did not see the world we do. They didn’t know about germs and viruses like our world knows about right now. They didn’t know how to explain weather. Until Galileo, they thought the sun went around the Earth. They would never have dreamed of the internet, video games, Alexa devices, automobiles, or anything we have today.

Now seeing how they didn’t have all of that and we have so much more today, why should we take what they said back then seriously? These are modern times after all! You can Google and learn anything that you want to! Modern science has shown us so much about the world! Why would we want to go to another system like philosophy?

Maybe though, just maybe, those who came before us have something that they can teach us. Maybe science and philosophy can work together. Maybe if we go down this path, we can find that we are truly not alone in the universe, not in the sense of extraterrestrial life, though that could be, but in the sense of a God who is out there.

In the 13th century, there lived a monk named Thomas Aquinas who was named the dumb ox by his classmates. His teacher said that dumb ox would roar and the whole world would hear it. His teacher was right. Today, Thomas Aquinas’s philosophy is still shaping the thinking of many people.

It’s not just Catholics either. Protestants like myself can greatly value the teaching of Thomas Aquinas. In order to discuss him and mainly his arguments for God, I am bringing on an up and coming apologist to talk about the issues, something I am prone to do as others did the same for me and still do the same. His name is Gil Sanders.

So who is he?

According to his bio:

Gil studied under Edward Feser for almost three years at PCC, and got his bachelors in philosophy at Cal State Los Angeles. He co-founded a Ratio Christi at PCC, lead a philosophy club, and went on to publish a paper in the CSULA journal. Gil’s special areas of research include philosophy of religion, metaphysics, politics, and ethics. 

We’ll be discussing Thomistic metaphysics, why anyone should care about Aquinas, and how Aquinas gave a convincing argument that God exists. I hope you’re looking forward to this one. We are still working hard on uploading older episodes. Stay tuned!

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Book Plunge: Who God Is

What do I think of Ben Witherington III’s book published by Lexham Press? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

When I received this book from Lexham, I was a bit skeptical. After all, Ben Witherington is an excellent New Testament scholar, but I have not heard of him being a theologian. Still. I knew that since he wrote it, it would likely be brilliant. The book looked small as well so I thought it would be a quick read and so I decided to dive in.

First off, I was right on one point. This is a quick read. I started it in the late afternoon and I finished it before I went to bed that evening. If you want a quick read on the nature of God, a primer as you will, this is the one to go to. It’s a short read, but let’s get to the other parts.

Second, my skepticism proved to be wrong. This is really a great book. It’s not a dry read from a New Testament scholar. It’s really a passionate act of worship, something I don’t think I’ve seen like that from Witherington before, but it was an excellent work. It focuses on a select few attributes of God, and not always the ones we normally go to.

Normally, if you pick up something like the Summa Theologica for example, you will get the far more metaphysical concepts of God. I was just looking it up. Aquinas wrote a lot, but in the Prima Pars I don’t see love mentioned. What Witherington covers is five concepts. Love, light, life, spirit, and unique.

This isn’t an apologetics book per se. You won’t find arguments for the existence of God or the reliability of Scripture. All of this stuff is just assumed, and that’s fine. This book is more of a devotional book for those who believe.

At times, Witherington does touch on some secondary issues. Towards the end, some issues I didn’t care for being discussed, but if that distracts you from the overall point of the book, you have greatly missed out. Witherington’s book is a refreshing step out of the ivory tower as it were to a place where theology is meant to meet real life.

Far too long, I have said that a disconnect is there. Too many apologists I think have been doing what Lewis said, been so intent on proving God exists that you would think He has nothing to do but to exist. Witherington’s work reminds us that theology is meant to touch your life. It should change how you live.

Are you worried you won’t understand it because it’s deep talk about God? Don’t be. Witherington’s book is very readable. Like I said, it’s short enough that you can read it in a day, but it will be a day well spent. You will find at least one gem in here that will get you closer to worship of our great God.

In Christ,
Nick Peters