There was another decent exchange last night between Shawn McCraney and Matt Slick. This so far has gone quite well. Matt is doing a very fine job of representing the "Reformed" (Biblical:) position and Shawn has done alright giving the emotional, man-centered viewpoint. And Shawn hasn't threatened to punch someone or called his guest an idiot or hung up on anybody! Which is a welcome improvement! hotm.tv
Really, I'm grateful he has allowed this "debate" to occur. Generally, he has shown little interest in engaging others directly with a different perspective on these matters and has practically bragged about how he doesn't bother to read much if any opposing viewpoints. A lot of Christians similarly don't want to be bothered with any disputes or contentions (within the purported Body) . . . but a growing, sizeable portion do who like to think, analyze, study the Word and seek for greater and greater light . . . so these kinds of meetings are hungered for and welcome . . . and I think helpful and educational for those who are not satisfied with but a nominal, surface-level, childish and immature intellectual experience of the Faith. Yeah . . . I'm painting with a strident brush here . . . but I find it irksome and pathetic that people will spend endless hours following sports teams and their stats . . . or every twist of the political theater . . . or each nuance of fashion trends . . . or whatever . . . but barely a thought or couple minutes ever put toward the most important subject, object, topic, purpose and meaning of their very life itself--GOD!
Now, re the area under discussion here lately . . . I would like to note that I have not referred to or quoted Calvin or used as authority anyone other than God and His Word . . . as it pertains to primary issues. My source has been the Bible, not John Calvin. I quoted Dr. Morey on a secondary matter only in response to another secondary opinion source, Justin Martyr.
As to "vile, evil . . . actions and blasphemous things" happening in time . . . there are really only a few ways to look at it. If we accept that God is omniscient and omnipotent (which is a fundamental Christian tenant) . . . then either . . . God created a universe knowing that all this evil and blasphemy was going to happen . . . and yet, went ahead and allowed it--all the suffering, wickedness, darkness--because allowing libertarian creaturely "free will" is so important that all of the mess is worth protecting it (and I would say, talk about exalting man!) . . . OR . . . God created a universe where evil would have a purpose in serving HIS glory (not the glory of man's free will) where HIS free will is what is most important!
Yes, I agree . . . as you say "God is not cruel" . . . but He is also not a pacifistic free-love hippy. His wrath against sin and evil doers is clearly evident:
"The arrogant cannot stand in your presence. You hate all who do wrong." --Psalm 5:5
"The LORD examines the righteous, but the wicked, those who love violence, he hates with a passion." --Psalm 11:5
Sodom and Gomorrah . . . the Flood . . . the Egyptian firstborn . . . the Amalekites annihilated by Saul. . . .
You imply that God has nothing to do with evil that occurs; as if it just happened and He stands by aghast and only laments it.
Yet, how do you explain this:
"The LORD has made everything for its own purpose, Even the wicked for the day of evil." --Prov. 16:4
Can it be more explicit--that God is sovereign over everything? That He has "MADE EVERYTHING FOR ITS OWN PURPOSE, EVEN THE WICKED FOR THE DAY OF EVIL"?
I suggest it is not loving nor respectful nor good . . . to only pick out and focus on those attributes of God which we are comfortable with, ignoring or rejecting the others. God is not evil, but He created a world where evil would exist . . . and He had a perfect, holy, good, loving reason to do so. Why is this such a problem to accept? Why must one tear out whole sections of the Bible to avoid seeing the full character and glory of God? Why does the natural, fallen man HATE and reject GOD AS HE IS?
Well, obviously . . . because he is just that, fallen . . . a slave to sin . . . a rebel . . . like his father, the arch rebel and devil . . . who is always promoting "brotherhood", "equality", "fraternity", "world peace", "non-judgmental love"--"can't we all just do what we want and get along?". . . .
The first sin was rejection of God's command and an attempted parsing of what He "really" meant. Can't you hear the serpent even now whispering: "God surely is not so hateful and cruel that He would not want you to do what you desire and go after what is pleasing? He is a God of love, right? Surely He won't curse you with death. Only a 'Calvinist' type God would do such an awful thing!"
[By the way, I did not say "the God of the Bible is the God of Calvinism". That is a misrepresentation, most likely from a quick read and misunderstanding. What I said what that SHAWN has lodged many complaints against "the God of Calvinism". I put that in quotes for a reason, to specify that that was what Shawn calls it.]