Talbot School of Theology

Subscribe to Talbot School of Theology feed
Updated: 2 hours 37 min ago

Are Souls Dependent on God?

Fri, 09/23/2016 - 12:00

Are Souls/spirits dependent on God for existence or not?

I am currently an atheist who is looking for reasons to believe that God exists. I was once a Christian but became an atheist by rationalisation when I realised that I believed simply because I was raised to believe.

I have since become horrified by the implications of the atheistic explanation of life's origin (particularly mindless spontaneous generation), not to mention what it says about human destiny.

I find the concept of God inspiring and want to believe that God exists but continuously encounter obstacles from numerous sources ranging from atheistic materialism to biblical and doctrinal difficulties.

If something is true then it should make sense.

Herewith one of those difficulties.

My understanding of spiritual death and hell is that it is the natural consequence of choosing separation from God who is the source of spiritual life.

I base this on the fact that the bible states that "the wages of sin is death" and other places in the bible where Jesus indicates that he (God) is the source of life.

However hell as consequence, which for some reason cannot be changed after death, (rather than punishment) only seems just and makes sense to me if the soul is indestructible and able to exist independently of God.

Yet my conceptual understanding of God is that He is the omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient being who sustains the existence of everything. If he stopped sustaining it would not exist.

If that is true then how can anything continue to exist if it is actually separated from omnipotent God? Where can anything be that an omnipresent God is not?

Does this not mean that God is actively sustaining the souls of the damned purely so that they can suffer? For eternity?

Or can even omnipotent God not destroy a soul?

Neither really make sense to me. This is therefore one of the (unfortunately many)things that makes me doubt that the bible is true as much as I want it to be true ...

Categories: Seminary Blog

Desire to Sin Decreases When You Walk in the Spirit

Mon, 09/19/2016 - 18:21

As you daily walk in the Holy Spirit, God will fill you with his Spirit in such a way that your desires to sin lessen.  Galatians 5:16—set in a chapter that parallels Romans 8 in many ways—says it so well:  “Walk in the Spirit and you will not carry out the desires of the flesh.”  The one who walks in the Spirit will not give in to the desires of the flesh.  Walking in the Spirit and carrying out the desires of the flesh are mutually exclusive ideas; you cannot do one at the same time as you engage in the other.

Categories: Seminary Blog

Guidance and God’s Plan

Fri, 09/16/2016 - 12:00

Dr. Craig,

First and foremost thank you for the work you've done. I'm young and I've barely scratched the surface of Christian apologetics and the enormous body of literature thereof, but your contributions to the field have made a huge difference in my life. I'm thankful God has blessed the Christian community with you and I hope you stay active for many more years to come.

My question is this: Does God Have a Plan? ...

Categories: Seminary Blog

How Do I Interpret General Relativity Theory?

Fri, 09/09/2016 - 12:00

Dear Dr. Craig,

Thank you for your ministry. The content on your website and mobile app is an incredible resource. I absolutely love it and can't seem to get enough!

I have a question, Dr. Craig. An atheist with whom I'm in dialog with claims that you reject General Relativity (GR). I hadn't ever heard this so I asked what caused him to believe this, he says that because you interpret special relativity in neo-Lorentzian fashion that this interpretation does not allow a pathway to GR and thus no theory of gravitation.

Additionally, he says that it is impossible to have a derivation of GR without using the principles of Einsteinian SR.

From reading some of your work, it is clear that you prefer the Lorentzian approach to SR due to your commitment to the A-Theory of time. What I'm not able to figure out is whether the assertion is true that GR needs to be rejected as a result. Would you mind clarifying this? ...

Categories: Seminary Blog

Is the Bible Clear?

Thu, 09/08/2016 - 16:46

I remember sitting in my office with a student who was thinking about moving out of evangelical Protestantism and into a different church tradition. He began thinking this way after he had started reading widely in the writings of Christian authors from earlier eras. After being exposed to various authors who sometimes expressed divergent viewpoints from his own, he became increasingly unsure about whether the Bible on its own was clear in what it taught. He was considering changing to a church tradition that could interpret the Bible for him. Since, in his thinking, we can’t be certain what the Bible actually means when we read it, we need an authoritative guide. Let me assure you, there are people out there who will gladly tell you what the Bible means if that’s what you want!

Another conversation with a different student also comes to mind. She wasn’t sure whether she could really give herself to Christ in faith because she didn’t know if the message of the gospel was actually true. But the more we talked together, the more I realized that she wasn’t struggling with which truth claims were correct and which were false; she was struggling with whether anyone could know something was true at all. So whenever I appealed to the Bible I didn’t get any traction in our discussion because she didn’t think we could actually come to know truth through a written text.

Both of these students were struggling with whether the Bible was clear.

Categories: Seminary Blog

Is Mercy an Essential Property of God?

Fri, 09/02/2016 - 12:00

Hello Dr. Craig, I was recently reading your "Love and Justice in The Trinity" question response.

Specifically you state: "My argument is that it's not enough to think of love as a mere dispositional property, the disposition to love if some other person were to exist. Being loving is not merely the disposition to give oneself away to another if that other existed. Being loving involves actually giving oneself away to another. So this disposition cannot lie merely latent in God and never be actualized."

So thinking about mercy, if being loving requires one to have an object which is being loved, then could it be argued that if God is merciful he would require an object to which such mercy is shown? What would be your response to such an objection Dr. Craig? ...

Categories: Seminary Blog

Could God Be Amoral?

Fri, 08/26/2016 - 12:00

Dear Dr. Craig

I've recently had my worldview shattered and pretty much torn apart by the natural arguments for the existence of God, the Kalam Cosmological argument, the Teleological argument, the Ontological argument, and a few others which you present in outstanding accuracy and clarity. Being 17 years old, as any other teenager I thought I had everything figured out, I had responses ready for every argument that could've threatened my atheist belief ...

Categories: Seminary Blog

¡Todos Somos Pobres!

Wed, 08/24/2016 - 12:00

“Todos somos Marcos” se convirtió en una popular frase en México y en muchos lugares del mundo. El primero de enero de 1994 el denominado Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional inició una lucha armada en el estado de Chiapas en el sur de México. El subcomandante Marcos era el líder de este movimiento que buscaba justicia, trabajo justo y equitativo entre otras demandas básicas. El subcomandante Marcos se convirtió en  un personaje carismático y enigmático porque tenía un pasamontañas que cubría su identidad. Para protegerlo y para identificarse con las demandas de este movimiento muchas personas empezaron a decir “todos somos Marcos” y de esta manera borrar las diferencias entre esta persona y ellos mismos ...

Categories: Seminary Blog

7 Reasons You Might Be Struggling to Love Muslims

Mon, 08/22/2016 - 12:00

Following are seven reasons you might be struggling to love Muslims. The seventh reason is probably the most important ...

Categories: Seminary Blog

Limited Atonement

Fri, 08/19/2016 - 12:00

Dear Dr. Craig,

Thank you so much for your ministry and the work you do for the kingdom; I really appreciate the work that you've done. I am also glad that you have chosen to take on the atonement, as I have had just this past school year some puzzlement about the philosophical issues of the atonement, particularly Penal Substitution. In reading to try and find some answers, it happened that most of the resources on Penal Substitution are written from a reformed perspective, and my question is over your views on the extent of the atonement. If the atonement is "definite" or "limited" as Calvinists believe, it seems perverse of God to command us to offer the gospel indiscriminately, when most people couldn't even possibly be saved by it. On the other hand, one of the principal arguments against taking an universal atonement perspective is basically that, given penal substitution, it would either result in universalism to be true, or it would be unjust of God because the penalty of an unsaved person's sin would be borne both by Christ and by the person, which is double jeopardy. How do you address this objection? I agree with you that the Bible teaches both Penal Substitution and unlimited atonement, but am struggling on putting these together ...

Categories: Seminary Blog

5 Misconceptions about the Bible

Thu, 08/18/2016 - 12:00

The Bible is the most influential book of all time. Given its impact over literature, history, governments, philosophy and more, it should come as no surprise that there are many misconceptions about its nature. Christians need to avoid these misconceptions because Paul said, “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15) ...

Categories: Seminary Blog

A Review of "The Enduring Authority of the Christian Scriptures," ed. D.A. Carson

Wed, 08/17/2016 - 12:00

I have just finished reading through (most of) the new 1,200+ page book, The Enduring Authority of the Christian Scriptures, edited by D.A. Carson. This book is a splendid example of deep thinking about important subjects presented in a format readable not just for advanced students and scholars, but also for other deep-thinking Christians. I am not saying that the topics are simple. Quite to the contrary, this book tackles some of the most difficult questions surrounding the authority of Scripture. The doctrine of inerrancy in particular is underscored throughout the book ...

Categories: Seminary Blog

Epic Failure: My Biggest Evangelism Mistake

Wed, 08/10/2016 - 12:00

During a trip to Breckenridge, a beautiful ski town in the mountains of Colorado, a friend and I decided to get our hair cut at one of the little shops downtown. As we waited our turn, I read another chapter of the book I had brought along with me, a book whose title clearly indicated my interest in spiritual things ...

Categories: Seminary Blog

What are the Best Apologetics Resources for Students?

Wed, 08/03/2016 - 12:00

When I first wrote my book Ethix in 2006, the reviewer for the Christian Research Journal said its one of a few, but growing number of apologetics resources for students. It’s amazing how much has changed in a decade. Now we have tons of good apologetics resources for students, and the challenge is to highlight the best ones. The purpose of this post is simply to highlight some of my personal favorites. Please let me know if there are any good ones I need to add to my list ...

Categories: Seminary Blog

Gratuitous Evil and the Burden of Proof

Fri, 07/29/2016 - 12:00

As I am transcribing your latest Defenders lectures on the problem of evil, I was hoping someone would ask the question, but I don't think it has been asked. So, maybe you can attend to it next week?

Instead of arguing that "even though some evils look gratuitous, they really aren't" (i.e. we can't discern what greater-good will come out of any evil - this greater-good could occur centuries later in another country), why not come up with an argument that says, yes, gratuitous evil does exist (since it seems more obvious than not that it does exist), but that that somehow doesn't refute God's existence?

Specifically, have you read Kirk MacGregor's response to the problem of evil and what are your thoughts? ...

Categories: Seminary Blog

Pokémon Go and Jesus

Thu, 07/28/2016 - 15:15

By now, most of us know about the Pokémon GO craze. My son downloaded the app on my cell phone the week it came out and while I don’t play much, I understand enough of the game to capture Pokémon and cash in on the rewards dished out at PokéStops (for the uninitiated, Pokémon are monsters of various species that appear on the game display based on where players are physically located and PokéStops are places where players can collect needed items—thus, people play this game on the move). So, the other day while on a prayer walk in a local park, I had my Bible app open to Colossians 3 and my son’s Pokémon GO app open as well. It turns out that parks are fruitful places for capturing Pokémon.

Categories: Seminary Blog

5 Myths about Teaching Apologetics to Students

Wed, 07/27/2016 - 12:00

Training students in apologetics is one of the most important tasks for any youth leader today. Whether through classroom teaching, speaking, personal conversation, on apologetics mission trips, or through writing, I have been training students to defend their faith for nearly two decades. While there are certainly some exceptions, in my experience, the vast majority love it ...

Categories: Seminary Blog

Should We Think of Christ’s Death in Juridical Terms?

Fri, 07/22/2016 - 12:00

Dr Craig

First and foremost, I would like to thank you for the significant impact that your ministry has had in the life of my family. My wife and I have been encouraged to share our faith with confidence knowing that we can provide a rational response to many of the objections that Christians face.

I have been a Christian for a majority of my life. However, my new found interest in apologetics has highlighted my considerable lack of knowledge with respect to the basics of the faith that I attempt to defend. As a result, I have started to study theology.

The question I have for you arises from my recent study on the atonement. Howard Marshall's Aspects of the Atonement (2007), was very helpful, and provided a solid defence of penal substitution. However, I have since developed doubts regarding this atonement metaphor ...

Categories: Seminary Blog

J.P. Moreland Answers Three Important Questions

Wed, 07/20/2016 - 12:00

In my recent book, A New Kind of Apologist, I was able to interview my friend and colleague J.P. Moreland. He is the distinguished professor of philosophy at Talbot School of   Theology and the author or coauthor of thirty books, including The Kingdom Triangle ...

Categories: Seminary Blog

The Call to Love Thy Neighbor: Promoting True Human Flourishing in a Consumer Society

Mon, 07/18/2016 - 12:00

In Scripture God bids us to “love our neighbor” no fewer than eleven times. Yet centuries later the church still struggles with its calling to do so. From the pulpit to the pew, Christians interpret this command in a variety of ways. In his book Word vs. Deed, Dr. Duane Litfin, president emeritus of Wheaton College, addresses this struggle writing, “The gospel is inherently a verbal thing, and preaching the gospel is inherently a verbal behavior. If the gospel is to be preached at all, it must be put into words.”(20) Though this is not a new topic in theology, the Evangelical church in the West is seeing the urgent necessity to find the balance between word and deed in the dynamic culture of the 21st century. The church is more aware than ever of the pressing needs of the world. Technology has given us unprecedented access to seeing the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs that exist worldwide. On our smart phones and computers we can watch natural disasters destroy cities and wars and violence destroy lives. While knowledge of the needs of the world is growing, there is a great necessity to understand how the church is to respond. What is the biblical view of how the church is to care for others, particularly in light of the growing awareness of the pressing needs both near and far? ...

Categories: Seminary Blog

Pages