Monday, May 3, 2010

I have moved:

The Reformed Revivalist

-burton 261e

Westminster Bookstore

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Problem With The Problem of Evil

Currently writing a paper with this title as the title of my thesis. I will post it up when it is finished (Should be done by May 17th).
Wrapping things up with my final semester at the University and final semester as President of the Fraternity. Things are VERY busy...

-burton 261e

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

I Would Be a Sceptic, Had God Not Shown Me Grace.

I will finish this thought when I have more time. Right now I have a meeting with a professor. But I wanted to get it started now so that I do not forget about it.

The discussion will be on what I think is the highest form of human reasoning, namely, the tradition of "Pyrrhonian skepticism" and I will show how human reason in all of its wisdom is not sufficient enough to know that God exists, therefore God must reveal Himself to His creatures in order to be known by them.

-burton 261e

God and the Existence of Evil

We have all often heard this question. And many of us have even asked this question.
It always shows up looking like this, to a greater or lesser degree:

"If God is a good God, then why does He allow evil and suffering to exist in His world?"

The main point of this question (or statements and arguments like it), is that if God exists, then He would not allow evil to be present in the world because God is perfect/good/etc. The implication of this type of question/statement/argument is that, since evil is present in the world around us, God does not exist. God, if He did exist, because of His good nature would stop it, and it would no longer exist. When we look at the world around us, we see a world full of hatred, rape, murder, and ... chaos. Therefore, the obvious conclusion is that God does not exist, and if He did exist, then God is not a good God because He would have created a world that was without evil in the first place; therefore, again, God does not exist.

Now, for the longest time I have split hairs over this question and have been unable to provide an adequate answer to it. Until a few nights ago...

So the question is, "Why does God allow evil to be present in this world?"
Before we try to answer this question, we must first define what "evil" is. Evil then (At least in its tangible and observable form), is anything that hurts or damages or defiles or deprives or impairs or injures God's creation, which is mankind and the universe or world that we inhabit and anything that is against the God that created what does exist. Now, when we examine ourselves, and we take a look at relationships between human beings, we see that much damage and destruction is done and has been done. Marriages fail, and even marriages that haven't failed come with much strife. Friendships deteriorate or contain backbiting at times. We see people get along, and then the same people get along no more. There are occasional or frequent "brush ups" with all human beings. It is the state of being human. There is much damage done among us. All around the world the innocent suffer, and the guilty get away with doing things that they should not have done. We see a world full of hatred. If we watch the news for no more than 5 minutes, we see a world full of rebellion. A world full of destruction. A world full of chaos. And what is the root cause of this chaos? God? No. Man. Man is the source of this evil, because we wrong one another and we even sometimes wrong ourselves without trying to do so. If we examine our thoughts, and truly look at them, we see that they are often times full of wickedness. If you disagree with me on all of this, then let me take all of your thoughts, from when you were a little child all the way up until now, and let me put every thought that you've ever had on a giant movie screen so that others may observe your thought life. If you have lived a life without one wicked thought, or one thought that did not seek your own good above someone else, then you are right and I am totally wrong. But I think that you would agree with me, that your thought life does contain evil at times, and you would probably not want others to see some of the things that you have thought about because they are in fact very evil. Man is guilty then, of what the Bible calls "sin," which is doing what is contrary to God's will or falling short of God's Holy law (or God's will). If evil then, does exist, and it exists in mankind and manifests itself as sin (or rebellion against God), then all of mankind is evil. All of mankind (whether man, woman, child, or infant), are evil, and are then "sinners."

If we accept this to be true (Which to be honest, is a very hard truth to swallow and one that does offend the self-righteous), then we must agree that God, being the good God that He is, has every right to blot out mankind from existing on this earth. We see that, God, could eliminate all of mankind, and remain just in doing so.

Genesis 6:5-7 sheds light on this notion:
"The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the Lord was sorry that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. So the Lord said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens, for I am sorry that I have made them.”

Let's go back to the original question: ""Why does God allow evil to be present in this world?"
The answer is: because of His grace. If God had decided to eliminate evil from this world, He would have to eliminate us [all of mankind], because man is the root problem of this present darkness. Man is responsible, personally responsible, for thinking and doing evil. Thanks be to God then, through Jesus Christ, that He has NOT eliminated us all from this earth, and that He has given us the opportunity to turn from our sin (or repent for our sin against Him and others) and turn to Him for forgiveness of our sin, by the blood of His Son Jesus Christ, and in the end, receive a gift that we do not nor ever could deserve: life now, and life eternal after.

-burton 261e

Friday, January 15, 2010

Powerless god or Powerful God?

If God can't make a man go to heaven by the free choice of His will, then He certainly couldn't have the ability to send a man to hell either. God is rendered powerless by such a doctrine, and a powerless god is no god at all! The God of the bible is powerful and has every right over His creation. He may send whomever He wishes to heaven or hell. Those that go to heaven; are deserving of hell but receive mercy and are filled with gratitude. Those that go to hell; go where they willingly wanted to be [namely, where God isn't] and receive their just punishment. All are hell-bound without the hand of God. All fall short.

-burton 261e

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The Predestinated Free Will Paradox.

The sin of men "was rendered possible by the fact that God gave them free will" (C.S. Lewis in Miracles), however, "a man cannot rise of his own will as he fell by his own will" (St. Augustine in On the Free Choice of the Will). The first act was of free will, every act after, is in bondage to the fallen will. That is why a man cannot turn from his own sin, apart from the grace of God. Faith must be given for the dead to rise.

Genesis 3:6
"So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate."

Ephesians 2:1-10
"And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ— by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them."

-burton 261e

ὐμᾶς ὄντας νεκροὺς, χάριτι ἐστε σεσῳσμένοι διὰ πίστεως· ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ
"you were dead, by grace you are saved through faith in Christ Jesus"

[*Scripture quoted from the ESV translation]

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Recent Quotes by me.

"It's not until everything of value to you is forcefully stripped away, or voluntarily pushed aside, or unexpectedly trampled upon by the foot of men, or suddenly removed; and all of your desires are strenuously cast down at the foot of the cross, that you begin to see, rather clearly, the invaluable and inimitable beauty of the precious Christ. His love truly is never ending and is always abounding." -August 12, 2009

"You are only entitled to what God has given you, and even that is to be received with thanks and even given back to God if He so desires. Nothing is yours. You have no rights that are not gifts from Him. You are his bondservant. But, He has given you... HIMSELF and He has even said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you." (Hebrews 13:5) Therefore, He is more than enough." -August 11, 2009

"How can a stubborn boy who has decided and purposed in his heart that "God is a fairytale" and that he hates the very idea of God come to the point of believing in God? The answer is: grace. And, I was that boy. It is an absolute miracle ...that I, a boy who turned his back on religion and a former atheist, ever became a "Christian." If you want proof of God's existence, look no further than that." -August 4, 2009

"Most people think that winning the argument is what matters, not learning the truth. I could care less about the argument, just give me the truth! I would rather be called an idiot and have the appearance of knowing nothing than live to portray to know all things and in the end have it shown to me that I am nothing." -July 31, 2009

-burton 261e