Talbot School of Theology

Subscribe to Talbot School of Theology feed
Updated: 2 hours 59 min ago

Reflections on Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, Part Two: The Long Defeat and the Old Testament of Middle-Earth

4 hours 13 min ago

This post continues the study of the long defeat of Tolkien by looking at the foundational work for the Lord of the Rings, the Silmarillion. As noted in the previous post, the long defeat was Tolkien’s phrase for the idea that no matter how many times one defeated evil, it continued to (apparently effortlessly) return to full strength. The motif is connected with the elves primarily, who are immortal and experience the long defeat over the long millennia of their lives. Since we are talking about the long defeat, it is good to slow down and look at more history!

Categories: Seminary Blog

The Worldview Behind "The Jungle Book" Movie

Mon, 05/02/2016 - 15:30

My entire family went to see The Jungle Book this past weekend. From my 3 ½-year old son, to my mother-in-law, we all thoroughly enjoyed it. Disney is to be commended for making an engaging, creative, and faithful “live” version of this classic story.

Like all fictional movies, The Jungle Book offers a story, which has worldview implications. Two questions lie at the heart of the movie: What does it mean to be human? And secondarily: How does man relate to nature? Specifically, these questions are explored through the life of Mowgli—a young boy whom wolves raise in the jungle ...

Categories: Seminary Blog

God’s Response to Evil

Mon, 05/02/2016 - 12:00

A while ago, I got a letter from a friend (whom I’ll call “Mary”) struggling with why God allows evil. Some people had told her that God was working through terrible tragedies to produce a greater good (Rom. 8:28). Others had told her that Satan was the cause of evil and that greater faith and use of her authority in Christ would deliver her from difficulties. Mary found little comfort in these well-meaning professions, and in fact was beginning to think that God was either cruel, impotent, or worse, non-existent, a classic case of the problem of evil ...

Categories: Seminary Blog

Is the Universe an Object, and Does It Matter?

Fri, 04/29/2016 - 12:00

Dr Craig,

My question is based on your formulation of the argument from contingency, specifically, your restricted version of the PSR.

Restricted PSR: everything that exists has an explanation for its existence, whether in the nature of its own necessity or an external cause.

There are good reasons to prefer a restricted PSR over the strong version - it avoids the famous objection by Peter Van Inwagen, which argues that the PSR is false because it has the absurd consequence on making all facts necessary. I am aware that you have of Alexander Pruss's work on defending the strong version and am on the fence at the moment as to whether Inwagen's objection succeeds ...

Categories: Seminary Blog

Misinterpreting the Thief (John 10:10)

Thu, 04/28/2016 - 12:00

In Jesus’ Shepherd Discourse in John 10, Jesus contrasts himself with “the thief.” “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life and have it in abundance.” If you hear this verse quoted in a sermon, or see how people use this verse online, you will usually hear that the thief is Satan. But is that what Jesus meant?

Categories: Seminary Blog

Does the Church Have a "Plausibility" Problem?

Wed, 04/27/2016 - 12:00

Since writing my book on Same-Sex Marriage, I have been reading almost every book I can get my hands on related to homosexuality and the church. While there are some great books, there has been a huge need for a book that addresses the “plausibility” problem. I recently came across the book Same-Sex Attraction and the Church by Ed Shaw, and was pleasantly surprised that it dealt with this exact issue with clarity and insight. In my view, this book is one of the top five most important books for Christians to read on the subject. Pastor Ed was kind enough to answer a few of my questions. Enjoy! ...

Categories: Seminary Blog

What Can We Learn About Parenting From Paul’s Comments About the Law?

Tue, 04/26/2016 - 12:00

Paul’s discussion of the Old Testament law in Romans and Galatians connects well with a practical life concern: How do we effectively parent our children? In particular, one question parents regularly face has to do with what part rules play in raising children. Since Paul actually uses the raising of children as an analogy to explain the role of the law (Galatians 3:24-26; 4:1-7; Romans 8:14-17), perhaps we should turn the analogy on its head and ask if there is anything we can learn about raising children from Paul’s teaching about the law ...

Categories: Seminary Blog

What Does Jerusalem Have to Do with Washington D.C.?: Rethinking the Church’s Role in Law and Public Policy

Mon, 04/25/2016 - 12:00

The summer of 2014 gave us the Supreme Court’s 5-4 ruling in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby on the side of religious liberty. The summer of 2015 witnessed another culturally controversial 5-4 ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges, which carries potentially ominous implications for religious liberty (particularly according to the dissents of Justices Roberts and Alito). Meanwhile, some legal scholars are forecasting a massive public policy paradigm shift in coming years over another hotly contested issue—the right to life. Fordham University’s Charles Camosy, as a case-in-point, sees such a dramatic shift as not only possible but indeed inevitable ...

Categories: Seminary Blog

Deductive Arguments and Probability

Fri, 04/22/2016 - 12:00

Hello, Dr. Craig.

You have often said that a deductive argument is good if it meets two conditions: It is valid, and each premise is more probable than it's denial. Furthermore, in a recent newsletter, you said, "in a deductive argument the probability of the premises establishes only a minimum probability of the conclusion: even if the premises are only 51% probable, that doesn't imply that the conclusion is only 51% probable. It implies that the conclusion is at least 51% probable."

But why would the probability of a premise establish minimal probability of a conclusion? Shouldn't it establish maximal probability? ...

Categories: Seminary Blog

Going On Retreat: The Role of Good Intentions in Spiritual Formation

Thu, 04/21/2016 - 12:00

“It’s the thought that counts,” we say and, of course, thoughts do count. But the mere thought to do something—the desire and intention to do it—falls short of actually doing it. “I thought about getting you a birthday present, but … I didn’t.” And yet, there is something about the desire and intention to do good that is itself good. It is the right place to start. We desire and then intend to do something good and that desire/intention is an essential part of being a good person ...

Categories: Seminary Blog

Worshiping at Work

Wed, 04/20/2016 - 12:00

What images do the word “work” bring to mind? If students and others I’ve had the chance to ask are any measure, the first thoughts aren’t all that positive. For myself I can recall flip comments I have made (half-) jokingly about hating when my work gets in the way of my hobby (cycling, mountain biking—the sport of kings!). From what I get from others, I’m fairly typical ...

Categories: Seminary Blog

Why Were Some Books Left Out of the Bible?

Tue, 04/19/2016 - 12:00

A few years ago, the National Geographic Society announced the discovery of a lost gospel called the Gospel of Judas. Every major news outlet covered this event, with some hailing it as the discovery of the century. The Society then aired a television special on the Friday before Easter telling the story of this great find and discussing its significance. This discovery raised many questions for people, but especially two of a critical nature for the Christian faith: (1) why were some books left out of the Bible (like the Gospel of Judas), and (2) should we consider including other books in the Bible? ...

Categories: Seminary Blog

New Book Provides Short Answers to Big Questions about God

Mon, 04/18/2016 - 12:00

I recently received a copy of an intriguing book in the mail called Short Answers to Big Questions about God, the Bible, and Christianity. One of the authors, Dr. Clinton Arnold, is a friend and colleague of mine at Biola University. This father-son pair tackle some of the biggest theological questions raised about Christianity today, such as, “Is Hell a real place?” “Do angels and demons really exist?” and “Does God hate sex?” If you’re looking for an easy-to-read, insightful, and timely book that tackles these types of questions, then I highly recommend this book. To give you a sense of the content and approach of this book, the Arnolds answered a few of my questions ...

 
Categories: Seminary Blog

Properly Understanding Properly Basic Beliefs

Fri, 04/15/2016 - 12:00

"Another example would be the warrant for Christianity's truth that comes from the inner witness of the Holy Spirit. To assume that the experience of the Holy Spirit's witness to the truth of Christianity is mere emotions is question-begging. If God does exist, He is certainly capable of communicating His truth to you in an interior way as well as through external evidences. Again, certain Christian beliefs are, I'm convinced, known to be true in a properly basic way, grounded in the inner witness borne to us by God Himself. Interestingly, beliefs based on testimony--like my belief that your name is Grant--is a properly basic belief which I am rational to hold unless and until a defeater for that belief comes along. Similarly, many Christian beliefs are beliefs warranted to us by testimony--God's own testimony. Don't be too quick to dismiss it, lest you fail to hear the voice of God speaking to you."

Okay then. We have two properly basic beliefs:

(1) The testimony of others

(2) Inner witness ...

Categories: Seminary Blog

More than a Carpenter

Thu, 04/14/2016 - 12:00

In response to Klaus Issler’s article, “Exploring the Pervasive References to Work in Jesus’ Parables,” I offer two conclusions that are valuable for Christology and a Christian vision of economic activity. Jesus’ demonstrates two kinds of work productivity, and Jesus knows workplace temptations that afflict us all. In advance of exploring these conclusions, I will review how Issler’s analysis includes three important ideas that overturn common misconceptions about Jesus ...

Categories: Seminary Blog

Spirit-Intended Applications

Wed, 04/13/2016 - 12:00

When was the last time you heard the Bible taught and it penetrated to the core of your being? What about having this experience after thinking, “I could care less about this topic!”? Then, much to your surprise, the Spirit used the Bible rightly-interpreted and rightly-applied to cut through your lack of interest and the absence of a felt need. You stumbled out of the room enthralled with the God who speaks so clearly and powerfully through His Word. You left passionately asking the Lord of the Bible how you could align your life with this amazing truth that you cared nothing about the hour before ...

Categories: Seminary Blog

Does God Want Me to Be Happy?

Tue, 04/12/2016 - 12:00

Without any hesitation we can say that yes, God wants you to be happy. The Bible (as well as experience) tells us that the Christian is given happiness in an incredible number of ways. But Christ has actually sweetened the deal and offered us something even better. While happiness is used to describe a basic feeling of gladness and contentment, what Christ offers is joy, which includes happiness, but runs much deeper, lasts much longer, and is felt much more strongly than happiness. The word joy shows up roughly four hundred times in the Bible, and it is no coincidence. Christ wants you to experience the joy that comes from him ...

Categories: Seminary Blog

Why Evolution Is Not "Just a Theory"

Mon, 04/11/2016 - 12:00

One of my favorite presentations to do at universities, schools, conferences, and churches is my Atheist Encounter, in which I interact with the audience while role-playing an atheist. After briefly setting up my character (which involves putting on my “atheist glasses”), I then take live questions from the audience and do my best to defend atheism so Christians can see how well—or how poorly—they defend their faith ...

Categories: Seminary Blog

Grieving the Loss of a Loved One Who Was Mentally Ill

Sat, 04/09/2016 - 12:00

I have a friend who was diagnosed as schizophrenic and delusional. He suffered for over 5 years with this illness, and during this time people tried desperately to come alongside of him and “help him change.” All of them experienced failure in their attempts. Those years were sad and difficult for family and friends. He recently committed suicide, and we are grieving his loss.

As a result of his illness, my friend did not always treat people properly. He left his family. He lost his job. He spent his entire life savings, including his children’s college funds. The family lost their home, and his wife did her best to keep the family together. He did not walk his daughter down the aisle or even attend her wedding. He missed birthdays, his anniversary, and Mother’s/Father’s Days. Obviously, there was much pain. And there was anger. And often this anger was expressed toward my friend ...

Categories: Seminary Blog

Is the Universe a Necessary Being?

Fri, 04/08/2016 - 12:00

Dear Dr. Craig,

In the Leibniz' Contingency Argument, the premise 2 states that "If the universe has an explanation of its existence, that explanation is God". This requires that the universe does not exist by the necessity of its own nature, and that anything that could possibly exist outside the universe, could not be the cause of the universe, except for God.

The universe is further defined as all of space-time reality, including all matter and energy. You have previously answered the question "Is Part of the Universe a Necessary Being?" (Question #235), essentially by stating that it would be absurd to suggest that a specific set of elementary particles would exist necessarily in all possible worlds, while being the cause of all the other similar particles ...

Categories: Seminary Blog

Pages