ASK

We know that everyone–Christians, non-christians, seekers–has questions about God, Christianity and the gospel. So we want to give you the opportunity to ask your questions! First check out this short video:

Go to our Facebook page and ‘like’ us (you’ll also be able to see Veritas updates) and ask your question. ‘Like’ any questions that you want us to answer. And once a week, we’ll choose one question to answer!

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About Patrick K. Miller

Currently I am living in Columbia serving at the University of Missouri with Veritas, The Crossing's campus ministry. In December 2010 I graduated from Mizzou with a degree in English Literature. My beautiful wife, Emily, works is an Interior Designer with a local firm. I like espresso, 30 Rock, and books. My favorite old dead guys are John Owen, Augustine and Francis Schaeffer. You should read something by them.
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9 Responses to ASK

  1. Sam Harper says:

    How are we to take Genesis? If we take it literally, humans have only been on earth about 6000 years. But if we take it metaphorically, where do we draw the line between metaphore and history? After all, there is a seemly narrative from Adam and Eve all the way to Abraham and even Moses. Moses, surely, was an historical person. Otherwise, God didn’t give his law to Israel through Moses, Judaism was never true, and Christianity can’t be true. But is it reasonable to believe that people have only existed for 6000 years? Chinese history seems to go back farther than that. It won’t do to say the genealogies skip generations because the narrative doesn’t allow for that. It tells us exactly how old each person was when the next person was born. Since the dates overlap, they are interlocking, so we can figure out exactly how much time passed, whether generations were skipped or not. If Adam and Eve were not historical people, then how do we make sense of Paul’s arguments in Romans 5? They seem to depend on Adam being a real person.

  2. Sam Harper says:

    “seemly narrative” was supposed to be “seamless narrative.”

  3. Sam Harper says:

    Some people argue for the resurrection of Jesus by comparing the rival hypotheses to the resurrection hypothesis and arguing that the resurrection hypothesis is a better explanation of what we know. But this argument seems to depend on the dubious assumption that even a bad explanation is better than no explanation at all. Is it unreasonable for a person to think that we just don’t know what actually happened but that surely something other than a resurrection happened that, if we knew about it, would explain things just fine? Isn’t that usually how we react when confront with a fantastic story? I used to date a girl whose parents told me about seeing a UFO. They described it in vivid detail, and my girlfriend cooperated. Supposedly, they all got in the car to go follow it with my girlfriend in the back seat afraid the whole time. They followed it around town until it disappeared. These are very decent people who I have no reason to suspect of dishonesty. But I have a very hard time believing their story just because it’s so fantastic. I think the maximum, “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence” is true. If your buddy came in and said he had a flat tire today, you probably wouldn’t have any difficulty believing it. You wouldn’t require any more evidence than just his word, because there’s nothing unusual about having a flat tire. But the same friend told you he ran into Norah Jones at the grocery store and that Norah Jones started smooching him, you’d probably have serious doubts. You’d require more than just his word on it. Well, a resurrection surely is a lot more fantastic than smooching with Norah Jones.

    • Patrick K. Miller says:

      Did your friend die because he wouldnt recant his story about smooching Norah Jones? Did the UFO chasing family have corroborating evidence with 500 other eye witnesses? Does one of the most reliable documents from antiquity (as in the one we have hugely more copies of than other contemporary histories, which has widely been accurately compared to it’s contemporaries) qualify as bad evidence?

      All of these questions can be answered with a resounding “yes” regarding the resurrection account. Your question is a very excellent one worth considering, and I am willing to admit that I cant respond to all of these questions in text, but I would love to chat more and share some resources (like Yancey’s Case for Christ). If you’re in Columbia, let’s grab coffee and chat it out. Unfortunately we discontinued the Ask thing, so now it’s just up to you and I. My email is Patrick@thecrossingchurch.com

      Thanks for some thoughtful questions, so I hope we can have a thoughtful dialogue.

  4. Sam Harper says:

    Does God have free will?

    If no: Is he capable of doing evil? A free will act is an act that is not determined by any antecedent causes or conditions, including a person’s own desires, motives, character, etc., then isn’t anything possible? Wouldn’t a person be capable of both good and evil? Wouldn’t God be capable of acting contrary to his nature?

    If yes: How can he be good? If God’s choices are determined, how can he be worthy of praise or blame? Doesn’t that violate the maxim that “ought” implies “can”? Isn’t free will necessary for moral virtue and vice?

    • Sam Harper says:

      Woops! I switched the “if no” and “if yes.” Just switch them, and my questions will make more sense. Sorry. No edit feature.

      • “A free will act is an act that is not determined by any antecedent causes or conditions, including a person’s own desires, motives, character, etc., then isn’t anything possible?”

        Well, that’s certainly one definition of free-will, but we could also say people are free when they act in accordance with their natures, desires, motives, etc., because they want to. God acts in accordance with His good and holy nature, so He isn’t capable of sinning. God is doing what He wants to do, so surely He is still praiseworthy for His actions.

        “Ought” does imply “can”, but there’s also a distinction between a natural inability and a moral inability to do something. People with natural inabilities to work (handicapped) aren’t blameworthy, people who don’t work because they don’t want to (too lazy) are blameworthy.

        I’ll have to contemplate how this would apply to God. He certainly has the moral ability to carry out his good acts, but I don’t want to say that He doesn’t have the natural ability. Natural ability ALONE might make it seem like God just does good like a robot rather than doing it out of any good will, but I’m wondering if He can have both a natural and moral ability to do something. Maybe you can help me out there.

      • Sam Harper says:

        Kyle, a natural ability, the way Jonathan Edwards uses the phrase, is just having the raw power to do something. For example, if you have good working legs, then you have a natural ability to walk. If you have no legs, then you have a natural inability to walk.

        A moral ability (which I prefer to call a ‘psychological ability’) is just having the proper motive or desire to do something. If you lack any motive or desire to do something, then you have a moral inability to do it.

        Since God is perfectly good, he has nothing by praiseworthy desires and motivations. He has no desires and motives to do evil, so God has a moral inability to do evil. But he nevertheless has the raw power to do evil. God has the natural ability to lie since nothing physically prevents him from lying. But he has a moral inability to lie due to a lack of inclination.

  5. I just now noticed your post here, Sam. Thanks.

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