"...but try the spirits whether they are of God..." (1 Jno. 4:1)
|Volume Five, Number One||Spring 1997|
Letter #508 from JM Continues from Last Month (Part ff)
[Point #21 in our pamphlet was: If God created everything (Col. 1:16, Eph. 3:9, Rev. 4:11, John 1:3) then he created the world's evil (Isa. 45:7, Lam. 3:38). Thus, he should be held responsibleED]
JM's Defense is: This gets back to objection #3. God made everything, but he did not make it evil. Satan rebelled against God, and Adam and Eve allowed sin to come into the world through their disobedience. Man uses things that God gave for good, to make evil things. This is hardly God's fault, and it is unfair to blame God with it.
Editor's Response to Letter #508 (Part ff)
Again, JW [sic], we see that logic is not one of your strong suits. Either God created everything or he didn't. There is no inbetween. Scripture says in Col. 1:16 and Eph. 3:9 that God created everything and you also stated, 'God created everything.' That settles the matter. In groping for an answer you say God create everything but he didn't create evil. That's a contradiction. If Satan rebelled against God and Adam and Eve allowed sin to come into the world, then god did not create everything. But you are drifting off into the secondary consideration of how sin came about according to Christian theology which is irrelevant. What matters is that God either is or is not the source.
Letter #508 Continues (Part gg)
...There are places in the Bible, however, that seem to indicate that God does do evil.... How can these things be reconciled with the fact that God does not do evil? Simply by realizing that whatever God allows, is attributed to him. God is the ultimate source of power and authority. This being the case, we need to realize that even evil must be allowed by God, or else it would not exist. Thus in that sense God creates evil. When one looks at the overall context of the Bible, there is no problem with the Bible at all. The figure of speech used here is 'anthropopathea' or the ascribing of human attributes to God....
Editor's Response to Letter #508 (Part gg)
Don't be silly, JM; of course there is a problem and your 'God allows' subterfuge just won't fly. You not only said he created everything, which by definition means he must have created evil, but key verses clearly show that God didn't just 'allow' evil, he created it, he's the source, it's his idea. Through a subtle ruse you are trying to say he didn't created everything. You might want to read our commentary on God in the July 1992 issue of BE. There aren't just places in the Bible that 'seem' to indicate that God does evil. There are verses that flatly state he is the source. Biblical readers are not ascribing attributes to God; the Bible is, and it is doing so in no uncertain terms.
Letter #508 Continues (Part hh)
[Point #22 in our pamphlet was: In Psalm 139:711 we are told God is everywhere. If so, why would God need to come down to earth to see a city (Gen. 11:5) when he already here and how could Satan leave the presence of the Lord (Job 1:2, 2:7)ED]
JM's Defense is: Again the figure of speech 'anthropopathea' is used here, in another one of its aspects. God does not need to come down to see what is going on, but he is said to come down so that man may understand him. Satan cannot literally leave the presence of the Lord, but he is said to be able so that men could understand God.
Editor's Response to Letter #508 (Part hh)
You can bring in more irrelevant verbiage, JM! Who cares why he came down or if he needs to come down at all. That doesn't address the basic problem. How can he come down if he is already there? That's the issue! Don't try to change the focus. And where are you getting this stuff about him coming down 'so that many may understand him'? Where is that in Scripture, or is this another concoction. [sic] And what do you mean, 'Satan cannot literally leave the presence of the Lord'? Don't you believe Job 1:12 ('So Satan went forth from the presence of the Lord') or do you prefer to interpret as you see fit. Aren't you fundamentalists the ones who constantly complain about Christian liberals leaving the literal interpretation of Scripture when they're in a bind? And here you are, practicing the same dishonest scholarship. If you spent as much time reading and accepting the book as is, as you do in interpreting and redefining for expediency's sake, you'd be far better off. This 'anthropopathea' nonsense you keep tossing out is nothing more than a subterfuge to escape an impasse.
Letter #508 Continues (Part ii)
[Point #23 in our pamphlet was: For justice to exist, punishment must fit the crime. No matter how many bad deeds one commits in this world, there is a limit. Yet hell's punishment is inifiteED].
JM's Defense is: The reason that Mr. McKinsey sees a problem here is because he does not understand the nature of sin and of God. There is also a limit to what man can do because he is finite. If man was infinite I have a feeling that the punishment for crimes would be greater than what they are. God is an infinite being, who cannot make allowances for sin. God is of purer eyes than to behold sin and he cannot allow it. Mr. McKinsey does not see the terrible nature of sin in the eyes of God because he does not think that sin is very bad. To him, and people like him, sin is nothing more than a child's disregard for parental rule. In God's eyes even this is terrible (for children who know the difference between right and wrong.)
Yet [sic], hell is infinitely greater than any punishment we as humans could inflict upon evildoers. However, it needs to be remembered that God does not want any to perish, but all to come to repentance. (2 Peter 2:9). It was terrible enough that God
had to give his Son as the only way from sin back to God. If one refuses to accept the gracious gift of God's sacrifice, then God will punish them eternally. Why, because the price paid was infinitely greater than anything we could ever have offered. God gave his sinless Son that we might have life.
Editor's Response to Letter #508 (Part ii)
Why a rambling entanglement of vapid gobbledygook! First, you state that, 'If man was infinite I have a feeling that the punishment for crimes would be greater than what they are,' which is nothing more than speculation on you part and does nothing to excuse God's behavior. Even more important, how could the punishment be any greater, when it's already infinite. For goodness sake, what do you want? How could man becoming infinite extend the punishment any further, when one's residency in hell is already eternal? Second, you state, 'God is an infinite being, who cannot make allowances for sin,' when he obviously must; otherwise, everyone will end up in hell. Third, the crux of your argument seems to be that God is so pure that all sin is horrific in God's eyes. Consequently, only infinite punishment is justified. Don't be absurd. That's no answer. That has nothing to do with justice. You mean that because God is so offended, infinite punishment is appropriate? God makes no allowances for degrees of culpability. That's a just God! [sic] I repeat my original question. How is God fitting the crime to the punishment and where's the justice? Fourth, I take great exception to your wholly unjustified remark that, 'Mr. McKinsey does not think that sin is very bad.' Quite the contrary, I find the amount of antisocial behavior prevalent throughout our society to be nothing short of appalling and I can't help but note that people of the most profound religious convictions are in charge of the political/social/economic/ideological scene while it runs rampant. And I have never looked upon felonious acts such as murder and rape as 'nothing more than a child's disregard for parental rule.' Are you serious? Where are you getting this poison. [sic] Fifth, you state that, 'if one refuses to accept the gracious gift of God's sacrifice, then God will punish them eternally.' How utterly outrageous! You mean the mere act of simply failing to accept a gift merits as much punishment as if one had committed the most heinous crimes imaginable? If you look upon this whole arrangement as just, I only hope I never enter a courtroom in which you are the judge.
Letter #508 Continues (Part jj)
[The 24th and final point in our pamphlet entitled: 'THE BIBLE IS GOD'S WORD? [sic] was: And lastly, in Acts 20:35 Paul told people to 'remember the words of Jesus, how he said 'it is more blessed to give than to receive.' Since Jesus never made such a biblical statement, isn't Paul guilty of deception?ED.]
JM's Defense is: Mr. McKinsey labors to find something with the Bible in bringing up this objection. Who said that if Jesus made such a statement that it would ever have to be recorded. John said: "many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book....' (John 20:30). If Jesus did many other signs which were not written, would it not be reasonable to
say that Jesus said many things which were not written. Paul was speaking to the Ephesian elders who had no doubt been taught many of the sayings of Jesus (by the apostles) which had not been written down.
Editor's Response to Letter #508 (Part jj)
After all these months, JM, you've finally made a point that has some degree of credibility. As long as you and your compatriots are willing to admit that there is no such statement by Jesus anywhere in the Bible; as long as you and your cohorts are willing to promise that you will never again use this quotation by Paul without telling your listeners that the alleged comment by Jesus is nowhere to be found in the Bible, and as long as you are willing to admit that you are assuming Paul is correctly quoting an extrabiblical comment by Jesus which he managed to come across somehow, I am willing to concede that Paul might be correct. But that is a big 'might.' Even before placing this problem into my pamphlet, I realized biblicists would probably use your defense. But I inserted it anyway, because I felt the problem was of such importance as to merit consideration, and I knew how I would respond. I think most people will see your transparent defense for what it really is, a rationalization. But if they don't, they have at least been made aware of the problem.
Letter #508 Concludes After Nearly One Year (Part kk)
So where are the great problems are supposed to make us tremble in our boots? Where are the ironclad arguments that conclusively destroy the credibility of the Bible. Mr. McKinsey started out by saying that these difficulties could not be solved, only rationalized. Well, he can call it what he wants, but we would like to see him respond, point by point to the responses we have given. Maybe he will write another tract answering these responses.
It is our hope and prayer that someone will see the truth by reading this booklet
and come to God, or have his faith strengthened. If this is done, we will be paid back a hundred fold.
Editor's Concluding Response to Letter #508 (Part kk)
If you didn't tremble in your boots, JM, it's probably because you were too busy drowning in them. You entire pamphlet is anemic, deceptive, and erroneous and only substantiates the truth of my original comment: These problems can't be solved, only rationalized. You hoped that I would write a reply to your document and respond to your points one by one. I trust you aren't too disappointed in light of the fact that every issue of BE since September 1992 has exposed one or more points in your booklet entitled: 'Still a Perfect Work of Harmony' [sic] which attacked my pamphlet 'The Bible is God's Word? [sic]' You ask: Where are the ironclad arguments that destroy the credibility of the Bible? Take off your Christian blindfold, and you'll see wreckage strewn all about. Like winds from Hurricane Andrew, even if you personally can't see them, objective observers can sure see the results of their force and destruction. Contrary to the title of your publication, if there is one thing the Bible is not, it's a Perfect Work of Harmony. It's anything but. As I have said so often, the Bible has more holes in it than a backdoor screen. [Dennis McKinsey's address is 3158 Sherwood Park Drive, Springfield, OH 45505]
CHALLENGE is published quarterly by Challenge Publications.
Jerry D. McDonald, Editor; Michael P. Hughes, Associate Editor.