The Reasons to Believe

The Divinity of Christ (Part 1)

The Reasons to Believe #121

Our Reasons to Believe Scripture verse for today is Colossians 2:9. It reads, “For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.”

Our Reasons to Believe quote for today is from Ronald Reagan. He said, “I still can’t help wondering how we can explain away what to me is the greatest miracle of all and which is recorded in history. No one denies there was such a man, that he lived and that he was put to death by crucifixion. Where is the miracle I spoke of? … This uneducated, property-less young man has, for 2,000 years, had a greater effect on the world than all the rulers, kings, emperors; all the conquerors, generals and admirals, all the scholars, scientists and philosophers who have ever lived—all of them put together. How do we explain that—unless He really was what He said He was?”

Our Reason to Believe powerpoint today is titled “The Divinity of Christ” part 1 from “The Handbook of Christian Apologetics” by Peter Kreeft and Ronald K. Tacelli.

Peter Kreeft and Ronald K. Tacelli go on to give us An Introduction to the Issue of Jesus’ Divinity:

More important than evil as an argument against the existence of God is evil as a broken relationship with God, a spiritual divorce. Therefore, more important than a logical answer to the problem of evil theoretically is a personal answer to the problem of evil practically. More important than an apologist is a Savior.

The theoretical problem produces in us ignorance and questioning. The practical problem produces in us sin and guilt. Christ came to solve the second problem, not the first. Christ was not a philosopher.

The Problem of Evil (Part 17) — Practical Application

The Reasons to Believe #120

Our Reasons to Believe Scripture verse for today is Psalm 5:4. It reads, “For thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness: neither shall evil dwell with thee.”

Our Reasons to Believe quote for today is from C.S. Lewis. He said, “Whenever you find a man who says he doesn’t believe in a real Right and Wrong, you will find the same man going back on this a moment later.”

Our Reason to Believe powerpoint today is titled “The Problem of Evil” part 17 from “The Handbook of Christian Apologetics” by Peter Kreeft and Ronald K. Tacelli.

Peter Kreeft and Ronald K. Tacelli go on to give us “Practical Application”:

More important than evil as an argument against the existence of God is evil as a broken relationship with God, a spiritual divorce. Therefore, more important than a logical answer to the problem of evil theoretically is a personal answer to the problem of evil practically. More important than an apologist is a Savior.

The theoretical problem produces in us ignorance and questioning. The practical problem produces in us sin and guilt. Christ came to solve the second problem, not the first. Christ was not a philosopher.

Guilt can be removed only by God, because guilt is the index of a broken covenant with God. Shame is only the index of a horizontal, human fear or fracture, but guilt is vertical, supernatural. A good psychologist can set you free from shame but not from guilt. He can even set you free from guilt feelings, but not from real guilt. He can give you anesthetics but cannot cure your disease. Psychology can make you feel good, but only religion—relationship with God—can make you be good.

That’s why God sent his Son; no one but Jesus Christ could take away our sin and guilt. Faith in his atoning sacrifice is the only answer to the real problem of evil. Our only hope is not a good answer but “good news,” the gospel. The great theologian Karl Barth was asked in his old age what was the most profound idea he had ever had, in his many years of theologizing. He instantly replied, “Jesus loves me.”

The Problem of Evil (Part 16) — The Problem Remaining

The Reasons to Believe #119

Our Reasons to Believe Scripture verse for today is 2 Corinthians 10:5. It reads, “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.”

Our Reasons to Believe quote for today is from Charles Colson. He said, “The Bible’s historical accuracy is a reminder that while “the heavens declare the glory of God,” there’s also plenty of evidence among the rubble and ruins.”

Our Reason to Believe powerpoint today is titled “The Problem of Evil” part 16 from “The Handbook of Christian Apologetics” by Peter Kreeft and Ronald K. Tacelli.

Peter Kreeft and Ronald K. Tacelli go on to discuss the topic of “The Problem Remaining”:

A problem remains. It is an in-house problem, so to speak. It is a tension, a contrast in emphasis, between two elements within our many-faceted solution. This remaining problem is brought about by an embarrassment of riches, so to speak. But if this section confuses you, please forget it.

The tension is between appealing to free choice and appealing to divine providence and grace to solve the problem of evil. Let’s first look at this tension regarding sin, and then suffering.

Sin is explained, on the one hand, by our free will. On the other hand, God’s providential plan foresaw and used even sin. God brings good out of evil, and makes all things work together for good for those who love him. Even sin, through the golden door of repentance, becomes “behovable,” as Julian of Norwich said, that is, good for something. But only by the power of God.

The Problem of Evil (Part 15) — Solutions to the Problem of Evil

The Reasons to Believe #118

Our Reasons to Believe Scripture verse for today is Acts 16:31. It reads, “And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.”

Our Reasons to Believe quote for today is from E. Paul Hovey. He said, “Men do not reject the Bible because it contradicts itself, but because it contradicts them.”

Our Reason to Believe powerpoint today is titled “The Problem of Evil” part 15 from “The Handbook of Christian Apologetics” by Peter Kreeft and Ronald K. Tacelli.

Peter Kreeft and Ronald K. Tacelli go on to discuss the topic of “Solutions to the Problem of Evil”:

Where are we now? Have these five definitions enabled us to construct a solution to the problem of evil?

Better than that. The definitions, which we thought would be preliminary tools for constructing a solution, turn out to contain the solution. The problem is now not so much solved as dissolved, like a fog. Once we see clearly, we need not construct clever, elaborate arguments any more.

There are six problems: the nature, origin and end of spiritual evil and of physical evil.

1. The nature of spiritual evil is sin, separating ourselves from God.

2. The origin of spiritual evil is human free will.

3. The end for which God allows spiritual evil is to preserve human free will, that is, human nature.

4. The nature of our physical evil is suffering.

5. The origin of physical evil is spiritual evil. We suffer because we sin.

6. The end or use of physical evil is spiritual discipline and training for our own ultimate perfection and eternal joy. (It also is just punishment for sin and a deterrence from sin.)

The Problem of Evil (Part 14) — Happiness

The Reasons to Believe #117

Our Reasons to Believe Scripture verse for today is John 6:47. It reads, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.”

Our Reasons to Believe quote for today is from Charles Spurgeon. He said, “I have noticed that whenever a person gives up his belief in the Word of God because it requires that he should believe a good deal, his unbelief requires him to believe a great deal more. If there be any difficulties in the faith of Christ, they are not one-tenth as great as the absurdities in any system of unbelief which seeks to take its place.”

Our Reason to Believe powerpoint today is titled “The Problem of Evil” part 14 from “The Handbook of Christian Apologetics” by Peter Kreeft and Ronald K. Tacelli.

Peter Kreeft and Ronald K. Tacelli go on to discuss the topic of “Happiness”:

We now come to our fifth ambiguous term, happiness. As with omnipotence and goodness, the ambiguity is between the shallow, popular meaning and the deeper, more philosophical meaning. The shallow meaning creates the problem of evil; the deeper meaning solves it.

The shallow meaning of happiness (which is our modern meaning) is first of all subjective. Happiness in this sense is a feeling. If you feel happy, you are happy. Second, this happiness is only a present, temporary phenomenon. Feelings come and go, and so does the feeling of happiness. Third, this happiness is largely a matte roof “hap,” that is, chance or fortune. It is “good luck.” It is not under our control. Finally, its source is external. It consists in things like winning the lottery, or the Super Bowl, or bodily pleasures, or prestige, or health. It is money, sex and power, never poverty, chastity and obedience.

The older, deeper meaning of happiness is evident in the Greek word eudaemonia. This is, first of all, an objective state, not just a subjective feeling. It’s not true that if only you feel happy, you are happy. A grown man sitting in the bathtub all day playing with his rubber ducky may be content, but he is not happy. A Nero gloating over the Christians he killed may be pleased, but he is not happy. Happiness is to the soul what health is to the body. You can feel healthy without being healthy, and you can feel happy without truly being happy. You can also be happy without feeling happy, as Job was, learning wisdom through suffering. Jesus’ saying “Blessed [objectively happy] are those who mourn [feel subjectively unhappy]” assumes such a distinction.

In the second place, true happiness is a permanent state, a matter of a lifetime, not a fleeting moment. It is also under our control, our choice. Its main sources are wisdom and virtue, both of which are good habits we create in ourselves by practice, not gifts of fortune passively received. Finally, happiness’ source is internal, not external. It is a good soul, not a good bank account, that makes you happy.

Divine providence arranges our lives in light of true happiness as our end, because God is good and loving. This does not necessarily include happiness in the shallow sense. For true happiness requires wisdom, and wisdom requires suffering. As Rabbi Abraham Heschel says so simply, “The man who has not suffered, what can he possibly know, anyway?”

Deep happiness is in the spirit, not the body or even the feelings. It is like an anchor that holds fast and calm on the bottom even while storms rage on the surface. God allows physical and emotional storms to strengthen the anchor; fires to test and harden our mettle. Our souls must become bright, hard, sharp swords. That is our destiny and his design. We are not toys; we are swords. And that requires tempering in the fire. The sword of the self is to sing in the sun eternally, like the seraphim….

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