Category Archives: Theology Proper

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

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

Does Satan have authority or only power?

Recently, I gave a 2 hour presentation at our church on “Angels and Demons.” The next day, I had a good question from one of the attendees which I am going to answer here. I’ll call the asker of this question Q (for “questioner”). The question put to me Q wrote: You mentioned last night that Satan “has power but no authority.” For some time now, I’ve assumed that Satan actually does have some authority … Continue reading

Posted in Angelology, Theology Proper | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

“Allah,” the God of Arab Christians

In recent discussions such as the one aroused by tensions at Wheaton College last year, one question often arises: “Do Muslims and Christians worship the same God?” Because of the important differences between the God of Islam and the God who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit, many Christians instinctively answer “no.” I have argued here before that it is a troublesome question because people answering it are frequently not talking about the same thing, … Continue reading

Posted in Theology of religions, Theology Proper | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Who gave Paul his thorn in the flesh?

Last fall, I spent a couple of hours at our church one evening, speaking about the tough chestnut of “God and evil.” If God is almighty and good, why is there so much evil in the world? About 100 people showed up, because this is a subject that troubles many, and it comes close to home at some point in almost everyone’s life, when we ourselves are suffering greatly and none of our earnest cries … Continue reading

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

How would Molinism work without the affirmation of the Principle of Alternative Possibilities?

Source incompatibilism A few years ago, I became aware that William Lane Craig no longer affirmed the principle of alternative possibilities (PAP), although he continued to work within the framework of Molinism. That prompted me to write a blog post asking: “W. L. Craig’s understanding of freedom: Molinism or monergism?” A few people contributed helpful comments on that post and it is obvious that some others share my interest in this area of theology. Since … Continue reading

Posted in Divine Knowledge, Providence | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

Theological disagreement or a difference in the use of terms?

Apparent theological differences often derive from differences in the way individuals or groups are using the same terms, rather than in substantial theological disagreement. Once lines have been drawn and division has resulted from that perceived theological disagreement, however, it becomes extremely difficult to bring about reconciliation and fellowship in mind and heart. With this in mind, I was encouraged by what I read in the  latest report from Bonner Querschnitte, entitled “Landslide changes in … Continue reading

Posted in Christology, Ecumenism, Trinity | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Is the theory of evolution compatible with theism?

  At Reasonable Faith, in the Defenders podcasts, William Lane Craig did a series on creation and evolution, as an excursus in his treatment of the biblical doctrine of creation. This is a subject about which I feel woefully ignorant, and I have done very little of the reading I would like to. So I found these lectures very helpful. Craig proposes that, if one works with a philosophical pre-commitment to methodological naturalism, then Neo-Darwinism … Continue reading

Posted in Theology Proper | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Science, Christianity, and miracles: some wisdom from Alvin Plantinga

The relationship between science and religion is much discussed these days. Are these two perspectives in conflict or complementary? Are they reconcilable or not? In our culture, where economic pressure on university level education is energizing an expansion of the physical sciences at the expense of the humanities and the social sciences, our attitude to the physical sciences becomes more important than ever. Add to this the growth of humanistic secularism in western culture and … Continue reading

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