Revisiting free will, in conversation with Robert Picirilli (1)

A four-way conversation Among the theological decisions we must make if we are to have a theology and practice which both have an inner coherence, one of the most far reaching is our choice of model regarding God’s work in the world. How we understand the nature of the freedom God has given to his moral creatures is a key factor in that decision. This is a matter I have studied and ruminated about for … Continue reading

Posted in Divine Knowledge, Providence, Theology Proper | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why is God’s knowledge of counterfactuals valuable to a compatibilist doctrine of providence?

Yesterday, I was asked: “how important is it to your theology to add the hypothetical knowledge into the mix, since, in omniscience, isn’t knowledge of all possible things presupposed? That is an excellent question, so I want to post my response here as well. For me, God’s knowledge of counterfactuals, that is, of what free creatures would  have done in hypothetical situations (and hence, in possible worlds) is extremely important to compatibilism (i.e., the compatibility … Continue reading

Posted in Divine Knowledge, Providence, Theology Proper | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

William Lane Craig now affirms universal revelation accessibilism

When I wrote Who Can Be Saved?, everything I had read by William Lane Craig regarding his Molinist understanding of the situation of the unevangelized fell within the gospel exclusivist position. (See my “Typology of Positions Concerning the Salvation of the Unevangelized.”) At that time, he posited that “God in his providence so arranged the world that those who never in fact hear the gospel are persons who would not respond to it if they … Continue reading

Posted in Divine revelation, Evangelism, Soteriology | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

When you make a decision, what do you actually change?

A former student’s question Recently, a former student of mine raised a question. Here it is: You asked a question in Sys Theo once that was something like “when you make a decision what do you actually change?” I have pondered this question for years now. Was your point that the decision of the will is insufficient to actually bring what you will into reality? I have argued many times that will and the ability … Continue reading

Posted in Providence, Theology Proper | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Pope Francis on the nature of Hell

Pope Francis has a friend, Eugenio Scalfari, who is founder of the liberal newspaper Repubblica, and who professes to be an atheist. Periodically, the two of them meet for conversation and, later, Scalfari, without having taken notes at the meeting, publishes what he understood Francis to have said. Reading about the report on what Francis had said about hell, one of my friends expressed concern about what he had read to another of my friends, … Continue reading

Posted in Eschatology, Roman Catholicism | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Is it possible to give a biblically faithful account of human being which is substance monist?

Currently, I identify myself as a substance dualist who believes that humans are constituted of a material substance (body) and an immaterial substance (spirit), but I attempt to hold this view in a manner which does not diminish the great importance of the human body, and which emphasizes the wholeness of human being. I hold this position because it is what I have heard in the Bible, not because of the philosophical proposal of philosophers. … Continue reading

Posted in Anthropology (theological) | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

My blog posts most visited in 2017

I pay very little attention to analyzing traffic to my blog during the year but, at the end of the year, I find it interesting to check on what posts on my site have brought the most visitors that year. My life got busy in unexpected ways in 2017, so I got very few new posts written, but people kept finding me through searches which took them to things I had written previously. I do … Continue reading

Posted in Blog | Leave a comment

First and second death: similarities and differences

The significance of death as God’s punishment of humans for sin We don’t read far in the Bible before we encounter the reality of human death. It comes in Genesis 2:16, when God commands Adam not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil because, if he does, he will die “in that day.” From this, we gather that death was not natural for God’s image bearers, but their immortality was … Continue reading

Posted in Eschatology | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Should we be concerned about the shrinking church in western Christianity?

I hear a lot of hand-wringing about the decline in church attendance in western nations, and I have often shared that concern. But Brett McCracken has redirected our concern considerably by looking at the situation from a different perspective than the one I often hear. He is speaking specifically of Christianity in the US, but I think that his diagnosis applies more broadly. What he proposes is that we are observing “the dying away of … Continue reading

Posted in Ecclesiology, Mission | Leave a comment

The perspective on Adam in intertestamental Jewish literature

  I am following with great interest the discussion going on within evangelicalism regarding the relationship between biblical teaching and evolutionary theory. In this regard, Ben Witherington’s series of comments on Adam and the Genome, by Dennis Venema and Scot McKnight has been fascinating. I am particularly attending to the discussion of the historicity of Adam as progenitor of the whole human race because I still think this to be of great importance in both … Continue reading

Posted in Anthropology (theological), Books | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment