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The Point of the Book of Job

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The point of the book of Job is to teach us that the mystery of evil is a mystery of a war-torn and unfathomably complex creation, not the mystery of God’s all-controlling will. Given how Christians are yet inclined to look for a divine reason behind catastrophes and personal tragedies,…

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Satan and the Corruption of Nature: Seven Arguments

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Man…trusted God was love indeed And love Creation’s final law – Tho’ Nature, red in tooth and claw With ravine, shrek’d against his creed” —Tennyson, In Memoriam Tennyson nailed it. We trust that God is love, but we also believe that God is the Creator of nature, and nature simply…

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God of Sense and Traditions of Non-Sense

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As the title suggests, in his book, God’s Problem: How The Bible Fails to Answer Our Most Important Question – Why We Suffer, Bart Ehrman argues that the Bible has nothing compelling to say about the problem of evil. Well, I just put down a beautifully written four-hundred and fifty…

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Grieving with the God who Pulled the Trigger?

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Lawrence Krauss recently wrote a thought-provoking, soul-searching essay for CNN Opinion entitled, “Why must a nation grieve with God?” Krauss was disturbed by a comment made by President Obama at a memorial service for the victims of the tragedy at Newtown CT. Commenting on Jesus’ statement to “Let the little…

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Did Jesus Say That God Causes Blindness?

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As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in…

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Why the 35W Bridge Collapsed – blog post 8/09/2007

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As all of you know, I’m sure, a little over a week ago the 35W bridge in Minneapolis collapsed. This is the most traveled bridge in Minnesota. It was a tragedy, though the fact that only 13 people died and/or are presumed dead is really amazing, especially given that this…

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Would God Kill a Baby To Teach Parents a Lesson?

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Question: We have a group of guys that are going through your book “Is God to Blame” and a question came up that I would be curious how you would look at it. In the beginning of the book you ask the question “do you really think that God kills…

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Response to the September 11th attacks

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Was God Punishing Us? Since the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11th, many people have asked the question, “Why did God allow this to happen?” In response, some Christian leaders have suggested that God was punishing our country for reaching an all-time low in…

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The Reality of Satan and the Spiritual Realm

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Image by Lawrence OP via Flickr A theme that underlies Jesus’ entire ministry is the apocalyptic assumption that creation has been seized by a cosmic force and that God is now battling this force to rescue it. Jesus understood himself to be the one in whom this battle was to…

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Why Doesn’t God Heal When We Ask?

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If we are called to manifest what Jesus manifested and revolt against what Jesus revolted against, and Jesus carried out the kingdom through healing, then why doesn’t God heal those we pray for? One of my personal kingdom heroes is a Vietnamese lady named Dr. Huyen Tranberg. She is a…

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Evil, St. Augustine, & the “Secret” Higher Harmony

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The problem of evil constitutes the single most difficult challenge to Christian theism. Volumes upon volumes have been written with the express purpose of rationally reconciling the belief in an all-good and all-powerful God with the reality that life is frequently an inescapable nightmare. Indeed, it is not overstating the…

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Did God use Satan to test Job?

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Question: In Job 1:21 and 2:10, Job seems to accept “adversity” from God while continuing to trust him. Job blames his troubles on God (i.e. “He shattered me” [16:12], “He breaks me down on every side” [19:10], “For he performs what is appointed for me” [23:14]). In Chapters 1 and…

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Trusting God for the Wrong Things

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Image by vagawi via Flickr Chloe was a smart, personable, and devoted Christian student from South America whom I had the pleasure of teaching in several theology classes. In one meeting, Chloe confessed that, despite the confident appearance that she projected, she actually lived with a sense of guilt and…

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Is Suffering Part of God’s Secret Plan?

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Image by val.pearl via Flickr In the Christian tradition since Augustine, the most common explanation for the apparent arbitrariness of life and God’s interaction with humanity has been God’s mysterious will—his “secret plan,” as Calvin says. Whether or not a child is born healthy or a wife is killed by…

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Why? The Question That Cannot Be Answered

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Image by BuzzFarmers via Flickr Yesterday Greg sent out the following flurry of tweets: To provide some background to these tweets, the following illustration will prove helpful: They mystery of evil and an eight-second interval Let’s assume that there is an eight-second interval between two cars. Now let’s try to…

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Lord Willing?

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Lord Willing? Wrestling with God’s Role in My Child’s Death, by Jessica Kelley In November 2012, I received one of the most touching emails I have ever received. A young mother named Jessica Kelley explained to me that her four-year-old son had been diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumor. Despite…

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Past Sermon Series: Crap Happens

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Why God, why? This may be the most repeated prayer in history. Most people have said it at one point or another, if only under their breath. Why sickness? Why suffering? Why doesn’t God respond to my prayers? Why do I struggle so much? Honest questions like these deserve honest…

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Why Did God Allow Evil?

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Is it possible to force people to love? Powerful people may be able to force others to do just about anything. Through psychological or physical torture, they may succeed in forcing them to curse their own children to deny their faith. They may even succeed in forcing others to act…

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When Free Will Meets Unfathomable Evil

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In the face of tragedy Christians unfortunately tend to recite clichés that attempt to reassure people that, however terrible things seem, everything is unfolding according to God’s mysterious plan. We hear that “God has his reasons”; “God’s ways are not our ways”; “God is still on his throne”; “God doesn’t…

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Does God Still Heal?

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In the ancient world Jesus was known first and foremost as an exorcist and a healer. These two activities are mentioned in every summary of Jesus’s ministry found in the Gospels. It’s common for Western Christians today to accept that infirmities (sickness, disease, injuries, disabilities and deformities) are part of…

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