Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Questions Wanted

Hello everyone,

Because I don't know of a better way to collect questions, please comment on this post with your questions, and I will create a new post with your question.

60 comments:

Steven said...

Does anyone else find the Christian view on marriage difficult to justify given today's moral relativism? How do you defend the sanctity of same-sex marriage when society at large does not necessarily accept the biblical view of marriage? I read the recent breakpoint article on the issue but I was not satisfied by the arguments given there, nor could I imagine a non-Christian accepting the rationale given by the article.

Daniel Kim said...

The question above has been answered in another post...

Anonymous said...

this is great...thx!

Sue said...

Hi Daniel,
There are a couple of passages in the Bible that I just don't know what to make of. One example is Judges 19-20. I was always really disgusted by what was allowed to happen to the concubine (and almost to the daughter) and I was also shocked that the only response God gave was to say which tribe would fight first or whether to go battle against the Benjamites when it was the old man and the Levite's fault in the first place. I know that a big point of the book is that in those days the Israelites did as they saw fit, which brought about a lot of evil. But by remaining silent about what happened to the concubine, yet responding to the Israelites' wanting to go to war with each other, it seems like God didn't consider the actions of the old man and the Levite to be very bad. Although, I guess from the few words God does say, I can't really figure out what his attitude was. Similarly, it bothers me a lot that in Genesis 19 the angels don't voice any opposition to Lot's offering his two daughters to the mob. Certain stories like these, among others, made me really question God's character, if he was actually involved in the situation enough to make direct responses to the people, and yet didn't say anything against what was happening.

Emily said...

**Warning: fairly long comment. Someone emailed this to me, and I'm not sure exactly where to begin addressing the issues. Any help/advice would be greatly appreciated!

"I want to know how belief can be justified, because I can't see it. Fro example, people may be having a bad time, so they pray. And if things turn around, it was the power of prayer. But if not, then it was because it wasn't God's will. They're self fulfilling prophecies; faith is strengthened either way. How? Where's the cause and effect? People who don't pray
and aren't religious - the same stuff could happen to them. Things just happen and I don't see where it's grounded.

I don't see how you could get from here to belief w/o taking a big leap, so how do you convince yourself to take the leap?

And the way I look at it, all we know is uncertainty. No one knows what happens after life for sure. We just live and that's it. That's all we know for sure. So as far as we KNOW, life is all we have. Therefore going to church and singing, etc, praying and all of that.

If we're wrong, then it's kind of a waste of life, which is all we have. There's just no way of knowing that it's doing something."

Daniel Kim said...

For the above 2 questions, check out the following posts:

Lack of God's Response

And

Religion - Based on Uncertainty

Stephanie said...

Hi Daniel,
I was wondering about the legitimacy of the Bible as a whole unit. What does "God-breathed" or "divine inspiration" really mean? What constitutes the criteria for being in the Bible, and how is it that a council had the authority to choose it? Is it really relevant to insist on the truth of every aspect of the entire Bible (e.g. does whether Paul actually wrote all those letters have any impact on our faith)? A friend of mine came up with a fairly interesting analogy: how is the collections of the Bible different from a council of scholars coming up with a British literature anthology? Sure, you can pick out key relevant works, but how can you reduce all of Brit lit into just those few works? And what would it take for the resulting anthology to be considered the definitive tome of Brit lit?

ieatsuka said...

This was a question I heard someone else asked, but I have pondered it myself as well: What defines a Christian? In this pluralist, postmodern world, definitions are highly subjective, and anyone can call themselves anything. What's the difference between a Christian and a "christian"?

From an essay I wrote tonight:

*********
This is the story of "Joe," a dorm-mate at UC Berkeley last year. Joe had a friend named "Jack", with whom he went to high school. They were good friends and socialites, partying it up and having fun through high school. However in college, Jack was reached by a local church through which he heard about the Gospel in earnest, and started getting more and more involved in it.

Being in the same small group at that church, Jack was visiting my dorm and stopped in my hallway. Joe was also present and we struck up a conversation. It came up that Jack had started attending church, and Joe was reasonably surprised - as it was not something you'd expect from Jack. "Church? Nah, you don't need that stuff." Jack did not make much effort to defend his actions.

Joe continued by pulling out the christian cross necklace he wore - "look, I'M a Christian," said Joe. "I even wear a cross necklace! It's just that i'm not a very good Christian - i don't go to church and i drink and party, but i can still call myself a christian." And that's the story of the christian Joe and his Christian friend Jack.


And I realized, anyone can call themselves a christian - just not a very good one, and *sarcastic voice* who are you to say they are not a christian? aren't christians not supposed to judge others?

While Joe was joking in his claim to be a "christian," even in his joking he made a very good point. Anyone can claim to be a christian. ********

I wrote an entire essay with my thoughts, i'd still like to hear yours. The definitions I came up with are:

A CHRISTIAN is a follower of Christ - one who follows with sincerity. Even if his heart is not wholly for God, it is progressing in that direction. A Christian cannot be worldly - if a man or woman's heart is for Christ, it precludes the selfishness, pettiness, and vanity of the world.

A "christian" is someone who, for whatever reasons considers himself one, but does not have his or her heart set on Christ - anything else in their heart is moot - they are a "christian." The worst thing about one, is their illusion - of security, of spirituality, or worst of all, of "divine right." These illusions can range from somewhat benign, to unfathomably malignant.

Jennifer Tse said...

Jesus commands us to rest on Sabbath Day. However, many poor/working-class people have to work on Sundays to survive. The economy also won't function if absolutely no one is working on Sundays. So is Jesus' command to make disciples in every nation a reality, or more like a vision/illusion?

Daniel Kim said...

The above question is discussed on this thread

Anonymous said...

Hello,

I somehow found this link and as I was reading some posts it was good to see issues ironed out. It made me think of a question I have that I figured I'd find a better answer to later if I read some commentaries or invested more time in researching but since you seem more knowledgeable than me I'll ask you and maybe you can direct me where I should go for more info.
Anyway, its 1 Corinthians 15:34-35,(1 Corinthians 11:13-15), I think those right now are good there's other little things you know I don't think I would know what to say if someone said hey were not the "weaker partner"(1 Ptr 3:7) but anyway I'm asking because one of my friends belongs to an apostolic church so there's all these rules for women and I kind of want to start dialogue going on interpreting the bible and giving these verses the proper context they deserve. Okay thanks.

Wynn said...

Some interesting questions came up in a religious studies class that I'm taking, and I'm not sure how to answer. One of the main question boils down to: what exactly is a soul? We've been discussing it for a while, and I think it's been a bit one-sided on the reductionist side on what is meant by "soul." What does it include? Memory? Consciousness? Language? How do we know it's there? The reductionists say that there really is no such thing as the "soul" in the traditional sense, and that all these things we attribute to the soul have been explained by neuroscience. I've tried researching it, but I'm not even sure where to start.

Kevin said...

A couple of weeks back, there was a Friday night bible study on the hybrid nature of man as both a physical and spiritual being. First of all, as a Christian, I completely agree with this concept. I think, intuitively, humans know that there is more to life than just physical interactions of non-rational particles, and our longings for eternity also attest to the fact that we do not belong to the physical world. Moreover, there is also historical evidence (witnesses to biblical miracles) that suggests that supernatural occurrences are possible. I do not contest the existence of the two distinct states, but my questions stem from the interaction between nature and super-nature, in which the boundary between the abstract and the concrete smear. To what extent and how do the body and the soul interact? And is there any way to explain this interaction? In other words, aside from intuitive and retrospective knowledge, is it possible to capture this interaction through (scientific) observations? I realize that the last question could be flawed because science only deals with physical matter. But surely, if the body and soul, brain and mind, are to interact, then there should be a supernatural and natural explanation for this hybrid interaction. For example, a supernatural explanation would that the soul wills the body to act. But there seems to lack natural explanations that consider the mechanism of this process. I think the failure to resolve this interaction have caused people to disown the possibility of God all together. Some atheists believe that consciousness--let alone free will, souls, and God--is an illusion, which I think is an unfair and cheap answer. Others believe that consciousness “somehow” arises from firing of neurons in the human brain, and therefore, we do not need the concept of soul and God to explain the interaction between the abstract, rational mind and the physical, non-rational brain (since molecules are non-rational). But “somehow” is vague, and it is why I am not satisfied with the statement that the body and the soul “somehow” interact. Is there another answer?

Note: My interest in this question is independent of my faith in God. It is merely a difficult question to which I would greatly appreciate a possible answer. It seems to me that science has become more and more abstract in order to explain the world around us. Namely, it has gone from bodies to cells to molecules to atoms to quarks to strings. From each progression, the answers have become more and more complex. Can something like string theory finally tie the knot between the physical world and the spiritual world? Or, metaphorically speaking, is science doomed to chase “ghosts” (aka empty truths)? Thank you in advance for any feedback.

Daniel Kim said...

The questions regarding women in Corinth are handled here

The 2 questions about soul is collapsed together and put into this thread

The question about string theory is located here

Wynn said...

I was wondering about the topic of Divine Inspiration and Biblical Fallibility in the canonization of the Bible. There are some passages, like the supplication prayer of Psalm 137, that ask God to act as the avenger of Israel. Some of the things the psalmist prays for makes me squirm, like

8 O Daughter of Babylon, doomed to destruction,
happy is he who repays you
for what you have done to us-

9 he who seizes your infants
and dashes them against the rocks.

What would be the role of passages like these in the Bible? Is it also divinely inspired, or did it find its way into the Bible as a consequence of human fallibility? How should we treat such passages?

Daniel Kim said...

The answer to the question about unsavory verses has been posted in the thread: Uncomfortable Passages

Anonymous said...

Apostle Paul's Role in Scripture and the Christian Faith: I was wondering if you could give some historical/theological background and explanation to Apostle Paul's special role as the early Christian authority whose application of and exposition for much of Jesus' teachings (and OT teaching as well, as it is 'fulfilled' in Jesus' teaching and life), inform such a large part of the practical living out Christian life today? Perhaps including issues like: is there significance that Paul ended up writing most of the NT (or the other way around in terms of causation) though he was not one of the Twelve who lived with Jesus; how Paul distinguished between things that were "[he] and not the Lord" and "the Lord, not [he]"; what would distinguish Paul and a later Christian who also had a vision of Jesus and who decided to write similar homilies, explanations, and applications (since Paul's conversion experience was highly personal, one of the criteria used to determine the likely historicity of a spiritual encounter, as with Jesus' resurrection appearances)? Thanks! I've been curious about this and have looked up resources on the web, and while there are a lot of good resources dealing with the 'Pauline conspiracy'/Christology, I haven't found many dealing with these topics of Paul's seeming special and thereafter unreplicated position as Scripture-writer, apologist, and expositor (though I feel CS Lewis almost serves a role nearing the same ballpark for us in the modern day).

Daniel Kim said...

I have created the thread for the above question at: Apostle Paul's Role

Wynn said...

How would you respond to allegations that the gospel writers had done a bit of "map-bending" in their gospel accounts to force the events in Jesus' life to conform to OT scriptures. For example, Matthew seems to have recorded that Jesus rode on a donkey and a colt on Palm Sunday, while the other synoptics recorded only one. Matthew seems to have recorded 2 donkeys to fit the prophecy in Zechariah. Also, in Matthew, Jesus is shown as a second Moses - the slaughter of the innocents parallels the circumstances around Moses' birth, and the escape to Egypt is also a parallel to Moses' situation. I might have missed it, but I don't think these things are in the other gospels. This would seem to undermine the credibility of the gospel. How would you answer this?

joongwlee said...

Hi Daniel,

Thank you for starting this up again. I've linked this site to my blog. You might hear from some of our Waypoint Church members.

http://joongwlee.wordpress.com

Wynn said...

I was curious about the views of Christian Biblical scholarship on the topic of the biblical authorship. I've heard a lot of theories on the authorship of the 4 gospels, including the Q Document theory. What do Christian Biblical scholars say about the authorship of the 4 gospels and the authenticity of the epistles. The few authors I've read on the topic claim that the gospel of Matthew, Mark, and John were not written by these authors. These attributions are not implicit in the gospels themselves, except in Luke, so the scriptures don't claim the authorship we attribute them to.

I guess what I want to know is, are there any updates in what we know of NT scholarship? For example, I know that in the case of the letter to the Hebrews, it's been traditionally attributed to Paul, but now a lot of modern scholars have rejected that authorship. Are there any more of these cases with the NT, or OT even? What does Christian biblical scholarship say? Why did tradition attribute the gospels to these authors - all 4, except Luke, are not very obvious.

PS: I realized that this is a very long and loaded question. Please feel free to edit it as you seem fit. Thank you so much.

Daniel Kim said...

Regarding the above question about authorship, I believe there was some discussion previously when we talked about divine inspiration. Try looking there, and see if it helps. If there are more questions that arise from that, please feel free to ask further questions on that thread.

dan said...

This question isn't on quite an apologetic topic, but still is something that I'd like input on.

What is the role of emotions in Christian thinking? That is, why did God give them to us? What use are they?

Some thoughts on the matter:
I've already heard that emotions are a very hard thing to define, much less talk about(from a psychology viewpoint, anyway), but what I have heard indicates that they are evaluative. This means that our senses collect raw data, the mind interprets it into something we can understand, and then, as far as I can tell, emotions place value on it in some way(thus our instinctive responses to things).

If this is true, then it would seem to me that we feel things in such a way as to help us place value in proper places and on proper things. This also leads me to think that when our emotions are out of whack, blown out of proportion, or simply aren't there(spock-style), then something is internally wrong with our value system. It seems that in this sense they can help us understand what's wrong with ourselves a little bit better.

If this is all at least somewhat true, then I would add a little bit to the question: Is it a problem how we treat emotion in church today? When we sing songs that make us feel very 'worshipful', or when days like good friday come around and we try to feel very sad but grateful, are emotions serving their proper purpose? These are, of course, proper responses to their respective situations, but I wonder if people skip the step of understanding and repairing their value systems, and simply manipulate emotions.

Anonymous said...

The gifts of the Spirit (ie the gift of tongues and of prophesy) - are they still relevant in the modern day church? Or is it only emphasized in charismatic/pentecostal churches? Some churches do not believe such gifts exist anymore. So when Paul said " 39Therefore, my brothers, be eager to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues" (1cor 14), what does it mean for us today.

Anonymous said...

Recently, in DT we looked at Gehazi in 2 Kings 5 and how he got leprosy after he lied to Elisha about going to Naaman and receiving the gifts. It is understandable that he is punished, but why does his descendants also get punished? Isn't it unfair?

Anonymous said...

How can we distinguish our will vs God's will. Is it only when something gone wrong/not meeting our expectation then we call that God's will?

Example: Not being able to get a job.

Don't people often just say that "oh, maybe God wants you to have something else." And many Christians would just believe God has something better in store. They would not expect God would work according to their schedule, but that just lead to an indefinite waiting period for "what's better in store".

Mark B said...

In John 5:24 Jesus says, "I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned." Then, speaking of the final Judgment, he says, "Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out - those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned." My question is how do we reconcile these statements which on the surface seem contradictory? The first says that we receive eternal life simply through believing in the person and work of Jesus. However, the second seems to say that works have something to do with it, to the extent of eternal salvation or eternal condemnation.

Daniel Kim said...

For the above two questions, I wanted to let you know that instead of answering them by producing a whole new post, I'm just going to address it here and hope that it's sufficient. The reason is that this site is getting a lot of posts now, and I wanted to limit the type of questions that get posted to questions that non-Christians would ask that would be a serious challenge to Christianity... and I wanted to keep this site away from going too deeply into internal battles within Christianity.
For the first question, I believe the post Religion Based on Uncertainty covers that topic.
For the second question, I would just refer you to the tension inherent in the book of James.

Wynn said...

According to Course 101, the Bible describes Hell as a place of Darkness, regret, and torment, symbolized by darkness, gnashing of teeth and torment, respectively. Regret implies a recognition of what one should have done instead of the path one had chosen, and that implies the possibility of repentance. Does that mean there can be repentance in Hell? The handout we got from Advanced Course 101 gives a really good explanation of whether or not we'll be able to reject God in heaven, BUT I feel like this is a different case. Experiencing the presence of God face to face in heaven would probably confirm the fact that you've made the right choice in living a life for God. But on the other hand, experiencing Hell in full sounds like something that would change your mind about rejecting God. I know that Catholics, think that prayer and petition by the righteous gets people out of Hell, starting (as far as we know) from the Passions of Perpetua in the early 2nd century. But is this biblical? Where does choice come into the equation in this situation?

Vicky said...

The following question is regarding human evolution, in light of the Truth Project from 7/12:

Some scholars point to various homo species' fossils as supporting evidence for human evolution. What is the truth behind such evidence? How are these evidence discredited?

Daniel Kim said...

I will copy this comment to the post below, you can follow the discussion there.
Gracepoint Truth Project - Issue with Evolution

Caroline said...

Hi Daniel,
I recently had a discussion with a student who had a question about why God allowed for the Crusades back in the Medieval times. I answered her question by pointing to the fact that back then the church and state were one, that it was wrong for the church to do the Crusades, that it was driven by greed. I also mentioned that since God allows for free will within our relationship with Him, he cannot stop us from choosing war over peace. But then, I started to think about the OT wars and how God allowed and sometimes even decreed attacks on other nations through Israel. So, why would a loving God want his own Creation to kill one another? Why would he decree such wars? It would seem a bit contrary to His character. I've been thinking - would it be best to point out that God is also a God of justice, in that He cannot/does not allow for any sin within His people (the Israelites), therefore, killing anyone who is a threat to Israel and the covenantel relationship He has with them? Just wanted to know if there are better/other ways to go about answering this...

Jiseon said...

When I try to share about the Christian faith to my Hindu co-workers, they often tell me that many stories in Xianity and Hinduism are similar. They tell me that they also have gods who came to live with men to make their lives better, and that there is good evidence for their existence. When I ask how people came to validate the divinity of these people/gods, they just said it was known among the people. And they have holy books which go in length for each of their many gods.
The one question they had was why there are so many gods and why all of them gave sometimes contradictory rules (eat veg while some eat non-veg (meat), etc). However, they see that people's prayers seem to be answered and they live well enough. I answered by saying that religion is not just about morality. And it's not just about living well. And that, though, un-PC, there can only be one Truth.
However, when I proposed that there is ample evidence for Christ and his resurrection, other stories of Bible, the response is, each culture has their similar stories that are just as well attested for.
Although I know that many of their "proofs" are not based on much, how do I gently communicate this? However, obviously, I don't know how to build a stronger case. Am I barking up the wrong tree? What is the best way to approach them?

CPeng said...

Wondering what your take is on young earth creationism. Had a student who forwarded me some email and weblink to a website of some young earth creationists and need to know how to respond to her. Thanks!

CPeng said...

in conjunction with my previous comment, if you want that link for young earth creationism, it is here
http://www.drdino.com/media-categories.php?c=international&v=28
thanks again

Anonymous said...

How do we justify/show, using the Bible, that having sex before marriage is wrong? Does it explicitly say so anywhere?

Daniel Kim said...

Thought that this was a simple one, so I will just answer it here. Anytime the Bible talks about "sexual immorality" or "fornication" (e.g., Mark 7:20-23), the original Greek word is porneia, which means illicit sex. Well, what does that mean? I think this is where we can't project our current controversies into the past.. At the time of the writing, in the context of Jewish culture, premarital sex was clearly illicit sex.. So it would be a mistake to somehow project into the minds of the writers of New Testament our current culture's loose understanding of what would constitute sexual immorality.
If you want a verse that explicitly links sexual relations with marriage, read 1 Cor 7:1-9. It's clear in those verses that temptation of sex before marriage is something to be avoided.

JeannePhung said...

I have a question regarding how we are to understand salvation and consequently, damnation, in the context of the pre-Christ world. Was salvation possible in a pre-christ world? Was it possible in all cultures, outside of Abraham and outside of the Jewish community in formation? If so, how? In-line with this question is another one I have heard twice in the past month, and would like help in addressing. Is it possible for someone who has never heard of Jesus (in a post-Jesus) world, to be saved? If so, how, and under what circumstances and understanding?

JeannePhung said...

I have a question regarding how to understand man's cultural progress in light of the anthropological studies and the biblical record. Someone commented in reading Genesis that man seemed so sophisticated in the beginning: Cain was a farmer and Abel was a shepherd. Also, according to God's commands to Adam and Eve, they sounded like farmers as well. Weren't humans hunters and gatherers at first? Just wondering how to approach this question. My initial thought is that perhaps the bible just doesn't give insight into the time when humans were were more of the hunter and gatherer...but I don't know too much regarding man's development in agriculture.

JeannePhung said...

Someone recently asked me: If in the beginning God only made adam and even, how did so many different cultures and races develop? Also, this student was wondering about the different early species of man scientists have purported to find. How should we understand those findings?

Wynn said...

I have a question about the differences between the Protestant Bible and the Catholic Bible. I was looking through the Catholic Bible, and I found books like 1 & 2 Maccabees, Judith, Tobit, etc. How come these books were excluded from the Protestant Canon? If these books were thought of to be scripture by the Catholic church, I would assume that the early church Fathers had approved of them. But then how did they fall out of the Protestant bible? Shouldn't we consider them authoritative based on the decisions of the Early Church Fathers (who even quoted some of them)?

Anonymous said...

What is the right Christian view on dating? Am I allowed to date anyone, or just Christians? What about someone within my church?

Sierra said...

So I can see that marriage and sex are big questions in your church. My question is - what do you believe about transpeople and intersex people?

For instance my friend is transitioning male-to-female. After the letter on her driver's license changes we would lose the right to marry each other. Unless I transition as well and then suddenly we'd be able to get married again. It was only our bodies that changed. We'd be heterosexual then homosexual then heterosexual again, with the same 2 people.

Or take my other friend with a hormone disorder that puts hir in the middle. Is she in a constant superposition of homosexual and heterosexual? Should sie just abstain entirely?

The Christian paradigm that I am familiar with does not account for this inconsistency so I am curious what your church makes of this.

Daniel Kim said...

There is actually another post that deals with this issue Sanctity of Marriage and in the comment dated March 10, 2010, there is a similar question as the above.. where I admit my ignorance. So I will just refer to that post, and if you have further questions, please reply to that post.

The only thing I would distinguish is that transgender/homosexuality is different from a XXY or intersex disorder..

Caroline said...

Hello Daniel,

I've been asked this question a few times through my recent Course 101 - "Who was Cain's wife? his sister? How was God OK with incest?" If Adam and Eve were the only humans that existed on earth, there would be almost no doubt that Cain's wife would've been his sister. Is this a case of incest that God allowed? or is there a better explanation to this? Thank you!

Daniel Kim said...

Yes, I think this could be a scenario (in the early beginning points of humanity) where God allowed for things that He would later prohibit. (There are others, such as polygamy, no-fault divorce, etc.)

Or it could be that Adam and Eve were the first human beings, but that there were others who were created. But this alternative, to me, seems like it's trying a bit too hard to get around the incest problem.

Jane said...

Hey Daniel,

I've been asked a lot by non-Christians concerning the unfairness of God such as why a loving God would allow suffering (cancer, Holocuast, childhood mortality, etc.). I normally respond by saying that Jesus suffered the ultimate pain and unfair punishment by dying in our place on the cross so that we would not have eternal damnation. Are there other responses you would make and are there any resources or Bible verses to back up the views? Thanks in advance!

Bernard said...

Let's get this forum back up!

Not sure if this question is suited to this forum but here goes:

During the transition to a post-Christ world, does the change from a law-based relationship with God to a grace-based indicate a change in God's nature? If not, are there examples where God's nature regarding law/grace and salvation is demonstrated to be consistent before and after Christ?
In other words, are the requirements for salvation consistent from OT to NT? There is an appearance that OT is about law and NT is about grace so a casual reader might think that pre-Christ people had to do all these things and then suddenly after Christ you don't have to follow the laws, which makes/made it unfair.
A pastor who was sharing on this explained that there is no difference, and that passages in the OT regarding salvation still point to Jesus through the prophecies, and if one argues that OT people got salvation through following the law then there is salvation other than Jesus.

Becky said...

How can I fear a loving God?

Patrick said...

I have a few questions that some of my friends asked that I myself could not answer.

1.) How can a perfectly good God command evil to be done to others? Take for instance the plague inflicted upon the Egyptians for the sins of Pharaoh. Doesn't an action like this seem to contradict that God is perfect and good?

2.) According to a friend, there are accounts of people who have claimed to be a reincarnation of sorts. How do we justify a true account and collection of facts of someone who claimed to have attributed it to being part of their own reincarnation experience?
(sorry if the idea is poorly written out)

Thanks Daniel!

robolai said...

Dear Daniel,

Thank you so much for providing this forum to talk about and learn how to explain some difficult yet important Christian concepts in laymen's term. I was just talking to some students in Taiwan, and I thought about this website and went over to read through all the posts. And it was very helpful for me as I tried to answer his questions regarding predestination, etc. I was also wondering about the concept of trinity, can you give some examples or ways to help me explain the trinity more clearly, thanks!

kevin

Anonymous said...

Hi Pastor Daniel!

I used to hold the view that the way God created Earth and human beings was that He set everything in motion and guided forces such as evolution. Now, I'm not so sure if this fits with the theories. As Christians, we believe that physical and spiritual death was introduced with the Fall of Man - when Adam and Eve disobeyed God. How can this fit with the theory of Evolution? There would have been many physical deaths before that event, according to natural selection, in order for human beings to arise as a species. We see this through fossil records, etc. So how can I reconcile creationism and evolution together?

Also, why would God choose to use such a wasteful process as evolution?

What is your personal opinion about how human beings were created by God?

Thanks for considering my question! :)

Daniel Kim said...

@Anonymous,

Sorry, but there's a policy where I won't discuss issues of old earth vs. young earth, because it's an internal controversy among Christians. Regarding this view, you can read a previous post Issues with Evolution. Hopefully that will help you a bit. But there is a portion of your question which I'm interested in answering.. which is the issue with deaths before the Fall. I think it would be faulty to say that there was "no death" before the Fall.. Genesis account of creation of man says that God breathed into man "the breath of life" -- but this is not biological life, because other animals had biological life, but only man got the "breath of life" -- so when Genesis talks about life, we're talking about something far more than biological life. So when Christians believe that there was no death before the Fall, we're talking about something more than biological. It seems obvious to me that there must have been biological death before the Fall... First, we had to eat. Animals ate before the Fall. Frogs ate insects, sharks ate fish. (unless we're going to claim that sharks were vegetarians and their sharp teeth came as a result of the Fall.. But EVEN IF we say that, eating vegetables does kill some kind of biological life -- plants. So there is biological death before the Fall, that's clear.)

Regarding using such a "wasteful process" -- I would say that the virtue of efficiency is something that human beings have, not God. There is no reason why God needs to be "efficient" -- we need to be efficient because we have limited resources, but why would we require that God be efficient? Think about the fact that there are places on the Earth right now that human beings will never see... Was God being inefficient by creating that? The size of the universe is another thing that is mind-blowing... but one could say that it's highly "inefficient". But again, efficiency / inefficiency is our hangup, not something that God needs to answer to. Hope that helps.

I am personally agnostic about evolution as a way that God used.. I would say that I'm a "punctuated creationist", where I believe that God might have inserted new genetic information at different times.

Anonymous said...

I was asked a question about the original sin: "If Adam and Eve had not yet received "knowledge of good and evil," would they have known that rejection of God was evil?" what are the misconceptions of this question and how should I answer this? its clear that there was some change in the air since God himself says "man has become like us, knowing good and evil" but what does that mean?

Olivia Chou said...

This question refers to the argument for God's existence from "The Regularity of Nature" (page 3, Chapter 1 Appendix in Course 101).

I have a hard time understanding this argument. Why is it troubling that we don't have any idea why regularity of nature is happening now, and no rational justification for assuming it will continue in the future? How is it that we can't prove the continued regularity of nature? And I don't understand how from that, we can conclude that this points to existence of God.

Olivia Chou said...

This is a question in response to the Fine-Tuning argument.

Even if the probability for a fine-tuned universe to happen by chance is small, if there's a large enough amount of time, the event will happen. So this argument doesn't really have religious implications. (page 2, Chapter 1 Appendix)

I've heard this objection before, but I'm not sure how to respond to it.

becky said...

How were people saved before Jesus? I've been looking it up on my own and they talk about a third realm other than heaven and hell called 'abraham's bosom'. Is that theologically correct?

Anonymous said...

Hi Daniel,
I was wondering, how do you respond to someone who says, regarding their lives- I just want to live a good, decent life, leave something good to pass onto my kids, and then pass away? As a Christian, I know this is an insufficient way to look at life, and yet how can I powerfully argue that his view is deficient, lacking?

PS said...

Question 1 - Do I stop worrying about my future because God has my future planned for me?
Question 2 - In the end, wouldn’t everything - good or bad - glorify God? So, my future, good or bad, will glorify God right?
Question 3 - Does it show that I trust in the Lord if I don’t worry about the future? What does that mean - "to trust in God with your future?" Does it mean that I shouldn't prepare?
Question 4 - Does preparation mean doing my best? My passion/interest is that from God?

PS said...
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