Showing posts from June, 2011

Not a chance!

Is there any such thing as luck or chance? For example, a basketball player takes a half-court shot at the buzzer and makes it. Do you think that it’s due to chance, to the player’s skill, or to God’s will? We can rule out chance right off the bat. As Christians we shouldn’t be in the habit of talking about chance or luck because there’s no such thing. The world is governed by God, and everything that happens can be traced in one way or another back to God’s will. This doesn’t mean that God directly causes everything to happen, as if he’s the only agent at work, the only one who is truly acting; but it does mean that everything is under God’s control. The Westminster Confession of Faith has an excellent statement on the providence of God. God the great Creator of all things doth uphold, direct, dispose, and govern all creatures, actions, and things, from the greatest even to the least, by His most wise and holy providence, according to His infallible foreknowledge, and the free and

On the hardening of Pharaoh's heart

Please explain what it means when it says that the Lord “hardened” Pharaoh’s heart. There are several passages that speak of God hardening Pharaoh’s heart. The first time this is mentioned is in Exodus 4:21, where God announces his intention to do this, saying to Moses, “When you go back to Egypt, see that you do before Pharaoh all the miracles that I have put in your power. But I will harden his heart, so that he will not let the people go” (see also: Ex. 7:3; 9:12; 10:1, 20, 27; 11:10; 14:4, 8, 17). I suppose there are a couple of things our questioner has in mind about this:  (1) what exactly did this hardening consist of, and (2) was God unjust to harden his heart? We must be cautious in answering the question about what the hardening consisted of because the Bible doesn’t explain it. But I think we would not be too far off the mark to suppose that, at a minimum, God withdrew whatever positive influences operated upon Pharaoh’s mind. The Bible teaches that we are by nature sinfu

So much for global warming

New research indicates that instead of facing steadily increasing global temperatures, we may actually be heading toward a little ice age. Low sun activity is cited as the reason. In recent measurements, sunspot activity, intense solar eruptions caused by magnetic activity, has been astonishingly lower than predicted, which translates into a period of cooling — what scientists dub a “little ice age...” ( read more ) But who really knows? It's always a bit dicey trying to predict the future.  Current sunspot activity may not necessarily be an indicator of future sunspot activity. As Danish physicist Niels Bohr once said, "Prediction is very difficult, especially about the future." It seems to me, however, that sunspot activity - which of course is wholly beyond our control - is likely to have far more to do with global temperatures than human activity (with the possible exception of all the hot air emitted by Al Gore).

Apostasy and the welfare state

The welfare state is only possible where there is a loss of the Christian faith. But we urge you, aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, so that you may live properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one (1 Thes. 4:10-11)

What about demon possession?

In the New Testament we find several accounts of people being possessed by evil spirits. Do you think that still goes on today? I think it’s clearly possible that it still happens today, but I don’t think we should expect it to happen with the same degree of regularity with which it occurred in the period of the New Testament. And I might add that the same is true for the miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit. We should not expect miracles to happen with the same degree of regularity. Some people believe that since miracles were frequently performed by Jesus and the apostles, then they should still be frequently taking place today. The reason they don’t take place, we’re told, is because of our sinfulness or our lack of Christian maturity or our lack of faith. But there is a serious flaw in reasoning here. We should not assume that whatever took place in the New Testament ought to be regarded as normative for the church for all time. Here’s why: God was clearly doing something uniqu