Posts Tagged ‘God’

Thoughts for Valentine’s Day

February 13, 2015

What makes this holiday so special? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Admittedly, I wasn’t always a fan of Valentine’s Day. This was especially so back when I would have joined in with others and said “Singles Awareness Day.” As one can imagine, that has changed. At the same time, I understand the longings of those who are single and are not happy being single and want to be married. There are times in the church we look down on people who are single as if there was something wrong with them. (Was there something wrong with Paul and Jesus?) Some people just don’t want to marry. God bless them. Some do, and for those who do, we should not look down on them but help them be the best future husband or wife they can be and perhaps help introduce them to someone who would be a great spouse for them. After all, my wife and I were introduced to one another by a mutual friend.

And I want to stress to singles wanting to marry that a real relationship is what you want. A friend of mine recently sent me a link to an event called cuddlecon, which will involve numerous people getting together and cuddling. As I pointed out to him, nothing beats the reality. There is something very special about snuggling up with your loved one perhaps to watch a movie at home or just lying in bed at night. It is possible to cuddle together without sex for instance and still have it be completely intimate. (Although the man sure won’t complain if it leads to sex.)

In fact, just this morning, when I woke up I got my Bible after a prayer and had started reading when I felt Allie’s arm go around me some. I was surprised by this and said the first thing that came to my mind honestly. “Have a bad dream?” “No, Just wanted to.” It’s been hours later and I still remember that event so ladies, keep in mind your husband doesn’t always need the full deal for support and encouragement. Just a little bit can keep him going. (And in fact, it could be to your advantage to tease him a little bit, though remember if you tease, you must eventually deliver.)

Love like this has been one of the most life-changing events for me and I am sure many people have noticed changes that I have not. My work in ministry I think has improved as I have someone who affirms me constantly. I can safely say that the more I am affirmed, the better I am able to do what I do. I had no idea when I got married that the things that mean so much to me now would in fact mean that much to me.

On the other hand, there’s also the notion of sacrifice. I find myself giving and giving and giving and if I give so much that I bring a bit of joy into Allie’s life and see her truly happy, then I celebrate with that. It’s also found in doing things that are just good manners. It means opening the car door for her. It means pulling out the chair for her and not sitting down until she sits down. It means (GASP!) helping out with housework at times.

Why do it? Why do you give everything to your spouse? The reality is they give everything to you. Through covenant, they have committed their lives to you. Through physicality in the sexual union, they give their whole bodies to you. They make a vow to not see any other person in a romantic light and not be loving in that way with anyone else. They are to run from even the thought of that.

And that running can be hard at times. This I think is especially so for guys who are visually oriented. Of course, women see bodies on men they can desire, but men are more notorious for this. We are more like microwaves. Turn us on and we are ready to go and it doesn’t take much to turn us on. That is a great desire in us and it must be controlled and directed to the only one in our lives who truly deserves it, our wife.

Women give also. Women make themselves entirely vulnerable to men, who are usually more powerful than they are, at least physically. If you’re also the husband of a wife who you’ve had a child with, consider what she has gone through for you. Oh of course women can long to be mothers and want that, but that does not mean they enjoy the process. There is a period of up to nine months of vomiting, strange food cravings, pain, emotional mood swings, etc. Then of course, there’s the actual childbirth itself. I have told Allie before that I am sure if we ever get to that point, it will be incredibly difficult for me. I mean there will be all the crying, moaning, groaning, screaming, yelling, and on top of that, I’m sure she’ll be making a lot of noises too.

Women are the ones who often leave their own families and come to form a new relationship. In the case of Allie and I, many of you know that Allie was practically fresh our of high school when I found her and I had been already living on my own and living with a roommate both for some time and then Allie and I fell for each other. Her parents had no objections whatsoever to the relationship and when I asked them for her hand in marriage (Men. If possible, always do this) they happily consented. Yet I had to take her away from her family. She had to get used to a new identity and a new way of living that was totally foreign to her.

One way she got used to a new identity was when we got her a new cell phone after we married. She was leaving a recording for her voice mail message and said “Hi. You’ve reached Allie Licona.” I caught her on it instantly and then she realized what she said. Her name is Peters now after all. It’s not that the Licona family doesn’t matter. Of course it does. It’s that she is part of a new family unit.

A new family unit. Isn’t that something magical about the whole thing? You see, true love is creative, and one thing it creates is new family units. Even if a family for whatever reason does not have children, there is still a new family unit involved. These are two people that share no blood relation to each other, but have a relation that could be tighter than any blood relation.

That love transforms and yes, love is transforming. It makes you into something else and something for the better. The Apostle was right. Love builds up. That’s what is to happen when marriage is done best. Both parties are to work to sacrifice for the other. It’s fine to know what makes you happy, but don’t seek your happiness first. Seek the happiness of your spouse first. Odd thing. If both of you are doing that, and both of you knows what makes the other happy, well guess what. You’ll both be happy.

And remember, like all other loves on this Earth, marital love in all the ways its expressed is meant to be a shadow of what is to come. Don’t make your spouse an idol. Only God deserves the highest place. For you men, especially those of you who are planning a very romantic Valentine’s Evening, remember that what you experience even in the bedroom together is meant to be just a tiny clue of what is coming. You can picture God saying “If you think this is so awesome, wait until you’re in my presence.”

So this year, yes, I do celebrate Valentine’s Day. I hope you will be as well and even if you are not married, celebrate where you are in life and give thanks. God can use you where you are just as much as He can use married people were they are.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Book Plunge: Christianity on Trial

December 16, 2014

What do I think of Mark Lanier’s book? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Christianity on Trial

I wish to thank Mark Lanier for sending me a copy of this IVP book for me to review. My first encounter with Lanier came when I heard him on Unbelievable? and thought he did an excellent job. I figured I would see if I could get Lanier to come on my own program as well, but first I’d want to see if his book was just as good as his appearance.

Overall, I conclude that it was. Lanier’s book is another one of those gateway books that is meant to get you searching and moving in the right direction. Lanier interacts with the opposition for his viewpoints and presents his case in a readable way. It’s not a narrative, but the main sources that he uses in each chapter are stated at the start as the witnesses that he calls forth. Some would agree with his conclusion. Some wouldn’t. All must be examined.

Lanier also starts out each section with a description of life in the law industry. One of the more amusing stories is the story told about Tom Smith. I’ll leave that for the readers to find out on their own, but I was thinking at the end that if this guy did not show up in a book sometime like “America’s Dumbest Criminals” then something would have to be off.

Something I found pleasantly surprising about this book is that unlike many in the area of apologetics, Lanier does not constantly quote works of leading apologists as answers. In fact, he hardly quotes them if he does at all. I do not doubt Lanier has read a lot of them, but for most of his sources, he’s trying to avoid that and just using the reasoning tools me all have to examine cases.

Lanier does cover several topics in this work. The existence of God is one that is covered quite thoroughly. I do wish more had been said about the Bible and the historical Jesus. There is thankfully a chapter on the resurrection, but it would have been good to have seen a prior chapter on the accuracy of the Bible in general and that it has been handed down reliably. I also did not think the chapter on morality answered the question the best, but even when I did not think the answer was the best, the argumentation is still quite interesting.

I would have also liked to have seen more of a bibliography. This would have been a good time for Lanier to have done something J Warner Wallace did in Cold-Case Christianity. I think a future edition could have ended with an appendix on the topics and lists of other “expert witnesses” that could be called forth to make a case.

Still, Lanier is an excellent thinker and I’m pleased to see a sharp trial lawyer using his mind to defend the Christian faith. If you’re looking for that book to get someone started thinking about Christianity, I highly recommend that you give deep consideration to Christianity on Trial.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Deeper Waters Podcast 12/13/2014: Louis Markos

December 11, 2014

What’s coming up on this Saturday’s episode of the Deeper Waters Podcast. Let’s dive into the Deeper Waters and find out!

First off, for those wondering about last week, we will be rescheduling with our guest Cynthia Hampton to talk about Jehovah’s Witnesses. As it stands, I was just starting to get over the stomach flu and Allie had just come down with it and so I wanted to be available in case she needed me again suddenly and in light of that decided that it probably wouldn’t be best to do a show. Family comes first!

So now, let’s talk about this week’s show!

How is apologetics to be done in the 21st century? Do great thinkers of our past still have anything to say for us? My guest, Dr. Louis Markos says we need to be doing apologetics in the 21st century and learning greatly from those who have come before us. He focuses mainly on several noted apologists of the 20th century with the most noted one of course being C.S. Lewis. Also touched on are Chesterton, Schaeffer, Sayers, and Josh McDowell.

So who is Louis Markos?

louismarkos

Louis Markos holds a BA in English and History from Colgate University and an MA and PhD in English from the University of Michigan.  He is a Professor of English and Scholar in Residence at Houston Baptist University, where he teaches courses on British Romantic and Victorian Poetry and Prose, the Classics, C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien, and Film.
Dr. Markos holds the Robert H. Ray Chair in Humanities and teaches classes on Ancient Greece and Rome for HBU’s Honors College.  He is the author of 9 books: From Achilles to Christ: Why Christians Should Read the Pagan Classics, Pressing Forward: Alfred, Lord Tennyson and the Victorian Age, The Eye of the Beholder: How to See the World like a Romantic Poet, Lewis Agonistes: How C. S. Lewis can Train us to Wrestle with the Modern and Postmodern World, Apologetics for the 21st CenturyRestoring Beauty: The Good, the True, and the Beautiful in the Writings of C. S. Lewis, Literature: A Student’s Guide, On the Shoulders of Hobbits: The Road to Virtue in Tolkien and Lewis, and Heaven and Hell: Visions of the Afterlife in the Western Poetic Tradition. His tenth, Giants in the History of Education: C. S. Lewis, is due out in 2014. He has also published an ebook: A to Z with C. S. Lewis. All these books are available at his amazon author page.
This should be a fascinating interview as we’ll be talking about his book Apologetics For The 21st Century which I have reviewed as well. The first half of our interview will be focusing on looking at some of the great minds of the past, though I certainly want to focus in on Lewis and Chesterton, two of my favorites. In the second half, we’ll be looking at an apologetic argument going from the existence of God to the resurrection of Jesus. I hope you’ll be watching your ITunes feed for this one! (And yes, I plan on updating that soon too!)

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Book Plunge: Apologetics for the 21st Century

November 26, 2014

What do I think of Louis Markos’s book? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

For all interested, yes, I am going to be continuing my reviews of some Christ-myth literature, both pro and con, but I’m also busy reading several other books now so I plan on reviewing those as I finish them, so I should have plenty to keep me busy. This also includes a comment posted earlier this week by a Robert G. Price. I have it on my Kindle and when I finish the reading I need to do first on there I plan to get started and write a response. For now, let’s move on to Markos’s book.

Markos’s book is divided into two parts. The first part is looking at major names that have been influences in the world of Christian apologetics. The second part is looking at an apologetic case for the existence of God, the resurrection of Jesus, and the reliability of Scripture, as well as looking at questions about the Da Vinci Code, the new atheists, ID, and the conversion of Antony Flew to theism.

The first part of the book is without a doubt the better part. If you’re familiar with apologetics, you’ll still get something out of this, particularly on the parts about C.S. Lewis. If Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist, then in Markos’s view, Lewis made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled Christians.

Not that Lewis was without his influences. Although a whole chapter isn’t on him, J.R.R. Tolkien would be among this group. There is a chapter devoted to Chesterton, who is a man more apologists, and in fact everyone for that matter, should be aware of. Chesterton’s writings are brilliant and some of his fictional works are quite entertaining. I can still recall my former roommate before I got married borrowing my copy of the Complete Father Brown Mysteries and planning to read a little bit before going to sleep one night. He had a bone to pick with me the next morning because he didn’t get to sleep until about 1:45 A.M. or so due to having to finish three of the mysteries.

Part Two will give some good information to people who are learning apologetics, though if you’ve read a lot of literature, you probably won’t find much new here, but that’s okay. Writing has to be done on different levels. While I do prefer the first part, I find Markos’s style here is down-to-earth and easy for all to grasp.

What are some areas I’d improve on?

The first is that I would have liked to have seen some citations. Markos does have a bibliography to be sure and he does recommend books and tell you who some big names are in the field, but that could be improved simply by having notes of some kind so you can see where these arguments that you’re getting come from.

Second, I would have preferred to have references made not to apologists so much as scholars. Some of the apologists cited are scholars in the field. The reason is that too often if you’re in debate and you cite someone and you say they’re an apologist, an atheist will be more prone to dismiss them.

Third, there were some claims that I think are incorrect. For instance, on page 168 we’re told that a whole generation is not enough time for a resurrection myth to form let alone a few years, but this is false. There have been people who have had myths made about them in fact the very moment that they died. This has even happened in the ancient world. What the real claim being referenced is is that there’s not enough time for a myth to totally replace the true account. That one I stand by.

Finally, I think there can be a danger of casting one’s net too wide. I understand wanting to have a comprehensive case, but I think too many apologists think they have to make an argument on history, philosophy, science, and everything else out there. I find it better to be more specialized in fact and rely on other members of the body to make arguments where you’re lacking. For instance, I avoid debating science as science. Evolutionary theory doesn’t matter a bit to me to my interpretation of Genesis or the reality of the resurrection.

I would have liked to have seen more in the first part overall. The first part was for me the most engaging of all. The second part is still a just fine introduction, though if you have read widely already, you will not find much that is new. Still, if you’re someone who is just getting started in learning about a defense of the Christian faith, this would be a fine gateway.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Book Plunge: Echoes of a Voice

August 19, 2014

What do I think of James Sire’s latest book? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

echoesofavoice

This is James Sire’s latest book where he looks back over the years and tells why he still believes. James Sire’s main area of focus is the English language and so by studying the literature he has read from all over the world, Sire seeks to draw out a transcendent reality that he sees throughout the literature. It does not matter if it is Christian literature at all. All that matters is that it is literature.

Naturally, there is some truth to this. If the Heavens declare the glory of God, we should not be surprised if some of that comes down to the Earth as well. Augustine has said that God has made us for ourselves and our hearts are restless until they find their peace in Him. If this is the case, then will we not find what James Sire refers to as “echoes” of this here?

I certainly agree with a point made early on in the book that everything here is a pointer to God. Sire is not alone in this. For instance, Peter Kreeft in his book “Heaven: The Heart’s Deepest Longing” reminds us that everything that is here is either a pointer to Heaven or to Hell. If we follow the path even when we see something that we think is evil, we will eventually find God. (In fact, this is one reason I find the problem of evil so unconvincing. It starts off with evil and then you have to ask how you know good from evil and then that gets you to an objective moral standard and then you get to God. That’s a highly abbreviated form of course, but the general bit of it is still there.)

Sire has a great favor for the transcendental argument. His is found mainly in literature. That’s fine for him and I understand it. I can’t say I connected the same way, or it could just be I’m unfamiliar with the literature that he cites. It does not mean that I do not see God in any literature, but at the same time, I am not one who really finds the time to read much fiction.

Still, I think for those of us who do not, we can look and see how transcendence shows up in other places. Something that you learn about analyzing worldviews is that after you do that, you don’t watch a movie the same way again for instance. You’re always looking at that movie and trying to figure out where the author is coming from. That also includes TV shows, video games, songs, and other forms of media.

I also would have liked to have seen more on transcendence on every day experiences. When it comes to transcendence, these are the areas that I find it most. Some times of depression for me have been ended just by seeing the joy of my cat playing with a toy for instance and seeing him as a reality pointing to something beyond himself. 

Of course, we have other transcendent moments in this life. One that I think we need to think on more as Christians for instance is the joy found in the sexual union of husband and wife. Chesterton said years ago that the man who knocks on the door of a brothel is looking for God. The reason so many people get addicted to sex or even to other things like alcohol, gambling, shopping, food, etc. is that everyone is looking for something transcendent.

Maybe you’re like me and you don’t really go through fiction that much. If not, then Sire’s book could be a reminder to you to try to view what you are interested in through the same lens that Sire views fiction through.

Now if you are a great lover of fiction or poetry or other works like that, this is the book for you. You will probably find a much greater connection and hopefully, and I know Sire will agree with me on this one, find the one that is really being pointed to, the one who transcends all.

This book was also given to me for review purposes by James Sire and I wish to thank him for that here.

In Christ,

Nick Peters

Apostles’ Creed: Almighty

July 9, 2014

What does it mean when we say God is Almighty? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

Almighty is one of those terms that is really misunderstood. There is this idea that if God is all-powerful, then that means that He can do anything. This is not the case. Scripture explicitly tells us that God cannot lie, for instance. There are a number of other things He cannot do. He cannot change. He cannot cease to exist. He cannot do evil. This is because those violate His nature.

He also cannot do nonsense. C.S. Lewis said years ago that nonsense does not cease to be nonsense simply because you add the words “God can” before it. God cannot make a square circle. God cannot make 2 + 2 = 5. God also cannot make a rock so heavy that He cannot lift it.

When it comes to something like the problem of evil also, God cannot make someone who is free and then have them be forced to choose Him either. Forced freedom is a contradiction in terms. If God is going to make creatures that are going to be free, then He is going to make them so that they are just as free to rebel as they are free to make the choice to love Him.

Here’s something else to consider. Just because God has all power it does not mean that He will always use it. God will allow some things to happen in order to bring about a good that could be unreachable through any other means. Like it or not, many times pain is the only way God has to reach us. We don’t really respond to pleasure. We like pleasure and we enjoy it and we want more of it, but we don’t really learn much of the good that we learn in life through pleasure.

It is in suffering that we learn the most. How many of us look back on a hard time in our life and say “That was horrible and I would never want to go through it again and I would not wish it on another, but in the long run, I am thankful that I went through it. It turned out to be a time in my life when I learned the most.”

Pain has a way of reminding us that we are not in charge and that we need to rely on someone greater than ourselves. It breaks into our world where we all attempt to be the god of our own universe and shows us that there are realities that are beyond our control and we need to rely on something greater than ourselves.

God is all-powerful, but He is also all-knowing and we must trust that if He does not do what we think He should be doing, that He has a greater good in mind beyond the pain. Note also that I am not saying either that all of this is directly caused by God. One of the last claims to make is that any natural disaster, for instance, is the wrath of God inflicted on a people. It could be, but we don’t have the right to make such a claim.

What we do have the right to do is to trust in God and in His power in the midst of our suffering. Let us also remember that by the resurrection, we know that He has conquered the ultimate enemy of death. God has the power to raise us all from the dead and bless us abundantly despite any suffering we endure in this lifetime. Let us make sure to rest easily. Our God is omnipotent.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Deeper Waters Podcast 4/12/2014: Jay Wesley Richards

April 10, 2014

What’s coming up this Saturday on the Deeper Waters Podcast? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

Jay W. Richards, Ph.D. of The Institute for Faith, Work &

While in the intellectual field my main love is apologetics, I have to admit that I do enjoy discussing economics. That’s one reason I’m certainly looking to the show this Saturday. My guest will be Jay Wesley Richards to talk about his book Money, Greed, and God, which is a Christian defense of capitalism. The review I wrote of it can be found here.

And according to his bio

“Jay W. Richards, Ph.D., is author of many books including the New York Times bestsellers Infiltrated (2013) and Indivisible (2012). He is also the author of Money, Greed, and God: Why Capitalism Is the Solution and Not the Problem, winner of a 2010 Templeton Enterprise Award; and co-author of The Privileged Planet with astronomer Guillermo Gonzalez.

Richards is a Senior Fellow at the Discovery Institute in Seattle. In recent years he has been Distinguished Fellow at the Institute for Faith, Work & Economics, Contributing Editor of The American at the American Enterprise Institute, a Visiting Fellow at the Heritage Foundation, and Research Fellow and Director of Acton Media at the Acton Institute.

Richards has a Ph.D., with honors, in philosophy and theology from Princeton Theological Seminary. He also has an M.Div. (Master of Divinity), a Th.M. (Master of Theology), and a B.A. with majors in Political Science and Religion. He lives with his family in the Washington DC Metro area.”

If you spend a lot of time on the internet, you will see a lot of discussions on economics. Many Christians get in these discussions and have a highly negative view of capitalism. After all, the Bible says that we are to avoid greed. Capitalism is all about the self-interest of the individual and thus is about their greed. Therefore, we should avoid it. It will also just make the poor poorer. Right?

Well, no. That’s not right. Richards in fact believes that capitalism is the more biblical economic system and that capitalism in the long run is what will help the poor. How is it then that a system that’s supposed to be about greed can be defended by an evangelical Christian? You’ll need to listen to find out.

We’ll also no doubt be discussing many contemporary issues right now. Obama is wanting to raise the minimum wage. Is that good or bad for America? Should companies like McDonald’s be required to pay a living wage? What can be done to deal with the economic crisis in our country? How did we get this way in the first place?

With the way our country is, Christians need to have some economic knowledge. After all, we would all agree as Christians that we are to help the poor, but we want to make sure that the methodologies that we’re using will really help the poor.

So join us this Saturday for the Deeper Waters Podcast as we discuss the question of economics in relation to a biblical worldview. The date will be 4/12/2014. The time will be 3-5 PM EST. The call-in number is 714-242-5180. The link can be found here.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

The Apostle’s Creed: In God

March 10, 2014

What should we think about when we think about God? Let’s talk about it on the Deeper Waters Podcast.

God. The word can evokes a number of attitudes and emotions. For some people, it means to mind a pristine holiness. They are filled with love and awe when they think about God. For another crowd, there is thought about the cosmic energy of the universe. They look within and think about what they see there. They seek to be one with the world around them. For yet another group, there can almost be a hatred. The thought of anything to do with God is automatically absurd and if this God exists, they’d rather go to Hell than be with Him.

Let’s be clear at the start of the discussion about God. The question matters. If you look at the question of God’s existence and think it doesn’t make any difference whatsoever to the nature of the world or how you view it, you’re not taking it seriously. This in fact is the problem with Bertrand Russell’s teapot illustration or with comparing God to unicorns, fairies, leprechauns, etc.

And if you think there is a God, knowing what He is like is extremely important as well. Is He a pantheistic concept that is all of us? Is He a distant deistic being who is off playing a round of cosmic golf while we toil away on this Earth? Is He Allah and is inspiring Muslims to do acts of terror all around the world? Or is He the one who has revealed Himself in Jesus Christ?

C.S. Lewis in his “A Grief Observed” said in there that it wasn’t his fear that God did not exist in his grief. He was sure of the existence of the divine being. It was a worse fear for him. It was the fear of “He exists and this is what He’s really like!”

But why would the Apostles’ Creed start with belief in God? Isn’t that a given? Doesn’t everyone know Christians believe in God?

Well, no. Not really.

Okay. Okay. Maybe there is some postmodern stuff in our world today that allows you to have a definition of God and believe in Him and somehow still be an atheist, but surely the charge of atheism like that is new. (And no, I can’t even think of how someone would be able to pull off a claim like that, but in our postmodern age, I wouldn’t be surprised if someone has or someone will.)

But no, the charge of atheism is in fact an old one. The early Christians were accused of being atheists.

What?

The early church lived in a world where polytheism was the norm. In this world, everyone believed in multiple gods, with the exception being the Jews. Yet Christians show up on the scene and say “Not only are we not going to worship pagan gods, those gods don’t even exist.” This was a charge to not only the pantheon of the time, but to Caesar as well who was seen as a god. I agree with Crossan who says that Mark 1:1 which tells us about the beginning of the good news of Jesus, the Son of God, could be read as saying “In your face, Caesar.” This was a direct challenge since Caesars could have their own reigns described this way.

The Christians refused to buckle under pressure and let Jesus be included in a pantheon of gods. They were monotheists to the core. Now how that fits in with Jesus and the Trinity will be discussed later on in this look at the creed, so if that is your concern for now, hold on to it.

The God question then matters and always has. If you are a theist reading this, think about how much your worldview would change if you found God did not exist. If it wouldn’t make much of a difference to you, perhaps you should ask yourself if God makes much of a difference to you now.

On the other hand, if you are an atheist, what would it mean to you if you found undeniable proof that God existed? Would it seriously change your worldview? If it would not, then perhaps you are not taking the question seriously right now.

And if you are a theist, really think about what you are saying. Last week, my wife was watching the Science Channel with the “Are We Alone?” week on there discussing aliens. For you as a theist, the answer is “No. We are not alone.”

Depending on your view of theism, you also have to ask how it is that God has interacted with the world of if He has. Do you hold that miracles are possible? Do you hold that everything around you is existing because of the existence of this one being? Do you hold that this being entered the world in the person of Jesus and died on a cross and rose again somehow?

Now I realize some readers will say I have not presented an argument for theism. True. In this blog post, I have not, but that has been done elsewhere. I will point the reader to some looks I have given in other posts on my favorite arguments, the Thomistic arguments, those from the great theologian Thomas Aquinas.

Aquinas had five ways to demonstrate that God exists. The first can be found here, followed by the second, third, fourth, and fifth. In fact, you can also listen to a debate I did on the Razor Swift podcast on the First way of Aquinas here.

In closing, I just want my readers to think about the question of God and realize it matters. If you had to make a case for theism, could you do it? If you disagree with theism and had to make a case for atheism, could you do that?

And what difference would it make if either of you were wrong?

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Book Plunge: Hidden Treasures In The Book of Job

February 21, 2014

What do I think of Hugh Ross’s book on Job? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

hiddentreasures

In Hidden Treasures in the Book of Job, Hugh Ross, astronomer as well as president and founder of Christian science and faith ministry Reasons To Believe, takes on a journey through the book of Job looking at it through the eyes of a scientist.

As I started going through the book, I think Ross could say the first lesson to learn is “Don’t write a book about Job.” Why? Because shortly after he started, he tells about great tragedies that came in his life, such as the loss of his father and of his wife’s father. Now of course, I don’t think the writing on Job causes that, but I do think that writing about Job can make you more in tune to the suffering in the world.

Ross starts off with talking about the history of the book and much of this I found interesting. For instance, I had not considered how far Job’s friends traveled to see him. The image showing this was quite revealing. I also do agree that Job is the oldest book in the Bible and so I started wondering about how it would be that if Moses had a copy of Job that it influenced his writing. I cannot say for certain if I think it did or not, but I do think that this is something that is worth research by leading scholars of the OT if it has not been done already.

Also a fascinating question if this is the case would be to ask how Moses got this information. Could it be that it came from Abraham since Abraham came from near the area of Job? Could it be then that Abraham might have had some knowledge through knowing Job or his story? These are questions worth considering.

Unfortunately, on the science aspect of the book, I really can’t comment. I make it a point to not comment on science as science. If something is a good argument against evolutionary theory, I could not show it and therefore make it a point to not comment.

I also found the chapters on animals to be fascinating. I cannot say that I think there is a message specifically in the animals named or if they’re general examples used for various purposes. That would have been good to see. We are told in the book about how these animals could be used for our good, but I do not recall seeing the lessons that we were to learn from them that would have been more readily apparent to the people back then.

I also found the section on what the great animals were described in Job that many people think are dinosaurs. In these areas, I did find that Ross’s explanations were convincing.

Naturally, when it came to some ideas, I was more skeptical. When it came to places where eschatology is commented on, I did not find those persuasive seeing as Ross interprets such passages in a much more literalistic sense than I do. (Something that he has said in one of his books surprises many people)

The last chapters are about the problem of suffering and evil and here I think Ross definitely writes with a pastor’s heart. There is not much in these chapters that was really scientific, but it is more written I think with the purpose of helping people who are undergoing suffering.

Some other reviews I have found elsewhere by skeptics note that they do not find much convincing them there is a God. I think Ross writes some books for that purpose, but I do not think this is one of them. I think instead this was written more to inform Christians on the book of Job from Ross’s perspective. There are some arguments that deal with scientific matters and I’m sure they’re worth investigating if they haven’t been already.

I cannot say at this point I agree with all of Ross’s readings, but I will say there is still material in here to spark conversation. I made sure to share many of the statements about animals with my wife who happens to be an animal lover. It gave us a delightful conversation together.

Still, if someone is interested in the book of Job, there is a unique view here you probably will not find elsewhere so by all means, see what you think.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Deeper Waters Podcast 1/3/2014: Life Is Beautiful

January 2, 2014

What’s coming up on the Deeper Waters Podcast? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

Well first off, the bad news. The bad news is we’re having to bump back the show with David DeSilva. My wife has a beauty pageant she’s due to be in with Joni and Friends to see if she can be Miss Shining Star. This is an important event for her and it’s on Saturday. DeSilva has said he will be back. As I’ve stressed many times to other apologists, family comes first and do you really think I’m going to miss a chance to see Allie in a beauty contest?

Fortunately, my good friend Gretchen Passantino Coburn has agreed to come in and talk about an issue near and dear to her heart. To work with the time, the show will actually air on Friday, January 3rd from 3-5 PM EST.

What’s that? Why it’s the beauty of life. She’s had to go through much with her husband having recovered from being in critical condition and has seen how these end of life issues affect Christians. Yet since January is the month of Roe V. Wade, it’s important to realize that these issues don’t just affect end of life issues, but also beginning of life issues.

Coburn already had much preparation to do such thinking. She has been one of the minds behind the apologetics ministry of Answers in Action for years. Her perspective will come with sound reasoning and with the devout Christian character that we should all seek to provide.

This is also an issue important to me knowing much about the sufferings of others. What about those who have considered suicide and even attempted suicide? Does the message of Jesus have anything to say to them about their own lives?

What about people who are diagnosed in the womb with disabilities. We have a couple at our church who told us that their baby was diagnosed as having Down’s Syndrome in the womb and the doctor tried to hint at the possibility of getting an abortion. It was totally out of the question. Was that the right response to have? Coburn will tell us what she thinks.

What Coburn will be discussing in answer is that all of our lives from the womb to the tomb belong in the hands of God and that He is the one in charge of when we go. Every life has value and purpose because it in its own way is a reflection of the image of God. Finally, suffering is not a waste. God can take the suffering that you undergo and redeem it for a far greater good.

I am highly looking forward to this show. Coburn has been a good friend of mine for some time and we’ve got to enjoy commenting on one another’s posts a number of times, plus she’s a very real and humorous lady to work with. I think you’ll find her presentation to be engaging and entertaining both.

The show will air Friday from 3-5 PM EST. The call in number if you want to ask Coburn a question is 714-242-5180. The link to the show can be found here.

In Christ,
Nick Peters