by Ken Hamrick
This will be a series of informal posts chronicling my quest to understand and engage Jonathan Edwards on the ideas of necessity and certainty, and to establish where Andrew Fuller departed from Edwards’ view. In this, I’m seeking to expand the argument made in the paper, “Fuller & Inability: A Centrist Response to Tom Nettles.”
Edwards defines necessity in the following way:
Philosophical Necessity is really nothing else than the FULL AND FIXED CONNECTION BETWEEN THE THINGS SIGNIFIED BY THE SUBJECT AND PREDICATE OF A PROPOSITION, which affirms something to be true. When there is such a connection, then the thing affirmed in the proposition is necessary, in a philosophical sense; whether any opposition or contrary effort be supposed, or no. When the subject and predicate of the proposition, which affirms the existence of any thing, either substance, quality, act, or circumstance, have a full and CERTAIN CONNECTION, then the existence or being of that thing is said to be necessary in a metaphysical sense. 
He treats necessity and certainty as the same thing Continue reading
This article was also published at SBC Voices
by Ken Hamrick
Recently, I came across a paper in the Journal for Baptist Theology & Ministry, written by Dr. Kenneth Keathley in 2013, entitled, “Confessions of a Disappointed Young-Earther.” The piece is well done and gives an informative summary of the various arguments and supposed problems of the Young-Earth Creationism movement. After reading it, I must say that I’m just as disappointed as Dr. Keathley, but for different reasons. I’m disappointed that the enemy, who is delegitimizing the truth-claims of Christianity by undermining the authority of Scripture, is often met with so little resistance and so much well-meant, reasonable-sounding cooperation. I’m disappointed that not even the best among us are immune from a skeptical evidentialism. And I’m disappointed that one so capable of competent reason would falter in thinking that evidence has bearing on the question of a recent miraculous creation.
I’m no scientist, and I do not claim to be able to present all the scientific intricacies of the various arguments. To be fair, there do seem to be some valid points brought against Young-Earth “creation science” and even a few points in support of it. Nevertheless, I do not argue for a “young” earth, but for an old earth recently created—what Dr. Keathley presents as Philip Henry Gosse’s “Omphalos argument” or the mature earth view. The Bible clearly and explicitly reveals a recent creation by divine fiat. Miracles being what they are, we should not expect to find proof in physical evidences for this recent miraculous act. But, neither should we expect the secular scientific view to be free from error, overconfidence, and overreaching. Ultimately, though, the scientific argument is irrelevant to the vital question at hand—and that fact is sadly missed by Young-Earthers and Old-Earthers alike. Continue reading
by Ken Hamrick
In the ongoing debate over the Genesis creation account, one supposed problem that seems particularly troublesome for many is the question of the length of a day prior to the creation of the sun (on Day 4). Since the sun is the means by which a day is usually measured, then it is objected by Old-Earthers that we are left without any sure understanding of what God might possibly mean by the term, “day,” when it is used to describe the first three days of creation. Here’s the text:
Genesis 1 ESV
1 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. 3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 4 And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day. Continue reading
by Ken Hamrick
Old-Earth Creationists, who accept the evidence-based claims that the earth is billions of years old, ought to honestly acknowledge that their view does not rest on natural evidence, but upon their own prior skeptical denial of creation by divine fiat (or, command). It is dishonest to put forth such a view as being based on the evidence. Without first denying that a miraculous creation by fiat might have occurred, they would have no basis for giving weight to any natural evidence. This doesn’t mean that they have properly thought this out and realized that they must first deny the plausibility of a miraculous creation by fiat; rather, for most of them, their preconceived skeptical denial remains unrecognized, like a hidden assumption.
To answer the question, How long ago did God create the world?, they immediately look—as a matter of course—to what the scientific evidence ‘reveals.’ Ostensibly, this supposes to give equal weight to all sources of truth, whether God’s revelation in Scripture or God’s revelation in the physical world (nature). However, the bias of the scales toward nature becomes evident: whenever the two (the plain reading of Scripture and natural evidence) seem to contradict, they never opt for reinterpreting natural evidence in light of the inerrant Scripture, but always insist on reinterpreting Scripture in light of the inerrant natural evidence (at least where creation is concerned). Continue reading
by Jim Pemberton
Up to this point, I have made a case for faith based on reason. In this article, I want go back to a section of a previous article that talks about how reason is based on faith. This is the article where I discussed the limitations of the scientific method. The section comprises the first half of the article and is entitled Unprovable Presuppositions.
We all rely on unprovable presuppositions. It’s unavoidable. This is why it is all too easy for one camp to level at the other the charge of circular reasoning. Continue reading
Doubt can be a tricking thing. Our society, for instance, has elevated doubt to an unquestioned virtue. Those who follow tradition or submit to any kind of standard—especially an ancient one—are viewed with smug condescension. “Well,” we think, “they may not be clever enough to question authority, but I won’t be fooled.” We’ve trained ourselves to see through everything, looking for the gimmick. But as C.S. Lewis said, “You can’t go on ‘seeing through’ things forever. The whole point of seeing through something is see something through it. To ‘see through’ all things is the same as not to see.”
Many Christians respond by asserting that doubt is a vice. It has no place in a life of faith. Questions are often discouraged, as religious leaders tell their flocks to simply believe. But this is hardly a better option. Continue reading →
We tend to fret.
It is a fact about creatures that we are derivative beings who can’t ultimately control the world around us. We have questions about whether we should do this or that, and about what might happen if we do this or that, which quickly turns into worries about how badly this or that might turn out. Before long, we’re in the storm of outright anxiety. It begins to bear down on us with hurricane-force winds — all the facts and would-be’s, the haywire of things gone sideways, and our incapacity to determine results. What are we supposed to do?
Remember God. That is what we are supposed to do. We remember that these worries are as ancient as our earliest forefathers, and that God has been in the business of answering them since the beginning, and better, that the way he answers them is not by ignoring the complexity, but by stepping into it. In short, we should know we’re not alone, that God hears, and that God works in the middle of our mess. Continue reading →
by Jim Pemberton
So what of the foundation for knowledge between the non-theist and the theist, particularly the Christian? (I acknowledge a difference between other theists and Christians because Christianity has a particularly compelling apologetic for revelation. I won’t discuss that here, however.) So I’ll start this article with a recap of some of the earlier material and use it to jump off into a comparison between Christian and non-theistic epistemology, or to say, “how we each know what we claim to know.”
by Ken Hamrick
The theology of Andrew Fuller, as set out in his greatest work, The Gospel Worthy of All Acceptation, is centrally located between those Calvinists who see sinners as walking corpses—no more able to believe than a dead body is able to raise itself from the dead—and those of the other side who see sinners as fully enabled by God’s grace to choose (their will being the determining factor). To Fuller, men are able to believe, but will nonetheless remain unwilling until God does a supernatural work of grace to reverse their unwillingness. Regeneration only causes a man to do what he otherwise could have and should have done but refused. This puts the feet of the universal gospel offer on much more Biblical ground, and removes much of the repugnance of the Calvinist doctrine. The gospel is to be preached to all men because all men do have the ability—and the warrant—to embrace it; and that gospel would save any who do—even the unelect if they would but be willing. Continue reading
Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows. When His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit. And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man, and not wanting to disgrace her, desired to put her away secretly. –Matthew 1:18-19
The key thing to note about Joseph’s character is in verse 19. The text says that Joseph was “a righteous man.” A righteous person in Matthew’s gospel is one who has an obedient trust in the promises of God revealed in the Old Testament. A righteous person cares about what God says. He trusts what God says, and so he obeys what God says. That was Joseph.
But Joseph was faced with a crisis. He found himself engaged to a woman who was pregnant. You might not think of it as a crisis, given the way engagement works in our culture. Continue reading →
by Jim Pemberton
Between a full time job, final exams, and Christmas, I have been indisposed of late and plan to resume the series shortly after Christmas to finish this series. In the meantime, Brett Kunkle of Stand to Reason has recently concluded a short series on a tangential topic, “How Science and Religion Converge Rather Than Conflict”. It’s worth a read: Continue reading
Recently I had a discussion with some friends about some public leadership fails in the news. Our conversation turned to a general topic of leadership and things we’ve observed. What struck us was how these things evolve from little, seemingly insignificant decisions that form the culture out of which unhealthy leadership grows. In other words, nobody wakes up one day and says to himself, “I’m going to strive to be an authoritarian leader who wreaks havoc on the people I serve.” It just doesn’t happen that way. Leaders start with good intentions. They start as “normal” people. So how do leaders fail? I think there are five basic mistakes leaders make: Continue reading →
Christmas is an amazing time of year. It’s one of the few remaining holidays when almost everyone’s attention is drawn to Jesus. People who rarely think about God or the things of God hear about wise men, shepherd, angels, and “the baby Jesus.”
Those of us who know Christ and are familiar with the gospel are reminded of the incarnation, the humbling of Christ to become human, and His birth to the virgin Mary. We are reminded that the humble birth of the king of the universe was a road leading to death and resurrection.
Mary and Joseph’s Path Toward the Future Continue reading →
“Whoever walks in integrity walks securely.” Proverbs 10:9
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. . . . Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.” Ephesians 6:10-13
The word “integrity” is the key word in Proverbs 10:9. A secure walk is not a matter of clever politics but of personal integrity. But what is integrity? Continue reading →
There are modern-day Ark legends being spread far and wide by secularists who are seeking to hinder the Ark Encounter project of Answers in Genesis, a full-size Noah’s Ark to open in Northern Kentucky in 2016. This Noah’s Ark theme park will present the historicity of the biblical account of the massive ship of Noah’s time, which is rejected today by Bible scoffers in various anti-Christian groups. Many of these secular groups, as they relegate Noah’s Ark to a myth, are passing around their own Ark myths. These agitators outside the state are trying to affect the project by spreading misinformation and putting pressure on the state of Kentucky to undermine the project.
To counter this intense misinformation campaign by secularists and many in the media, a billboard campaign (and other initiatives) has been launched to get people to discover the truth about the Ark project, and to direct people to our Answers in Genesis website. This new campaign follows after last year’s hugely successful “Thank God You’re Wrong” billboard campaign that directed thousands of people to AnswersInGenesis.org and a special banner article and video. This new campaign is expected to have a similar effect and will help to counter the myths floating around about the Bible-upholding Ark Encounter. Continue reading →
by Tim Chaffey […]
Christ’s Resurrection is the most mocked and vilified miracle in the annals of human history. “Impossible, a fake,” modern scholars say. Yet a closer examination confirms the Bible’s historical integrity.
“”Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for He is risen, as He said”” (Matthew 28:5–6).
Unlike many world religions, Christianity’s origins are not shrouded in an unwitnessed, mythical past.
Unlike many world religions, Christianity’s origins are not shrouded in an unwitnessed, mythical past. The Christian faith centers on the person and work of Jesus Christ. His life and miracles were witnessed by thousands, and His sacrificial death on the Cross was also a public spectacle. Three days later, God raised His Son from the dead, and over the next forty days, Jesus appeared to hundreds of individuals.
Overstating the importance of the Resurrection is impossible. It conclusively demonstrated Christ’s power over the grave, secured our hope of eternal life, and proved that He truly was and is the Son of God. Because He rose, Christ also proved that every non-Christian belief system is false, and that He will eventually return to judge this world (Acts 17:30–31).
So it’s no surprise that people have tried to deny the historic reality of the Resurrection. The attacks began the day of the miracle (Matthew 28:11–15) and have continued until the present day, from the Jesus Seminar to the recent “Jesus myther” fad. The ongoing assaults demonstrate that nobody has found a workable alternative. The biblical and historical evidence is just too overwhelming.1 Continue reading →
The name Joshua is the English version of the Hebrew phrase, Yeshua saves. The English version of the same phrase from Greek is … Jesus. By its very name, the book of Joshua is deeply linked to the good news of Jesus Christ. It is a book about God fulfilling His promises to His people in temporal circumstances that points to God fulfilling His promises for eternity.
Though Joshua doesn’t have the moral missteps that his forefathers ingloriously demonstrated, there is no sense in the book that either Joshua or the children of Israel have earned God’s deliverance for any reason except faith. Continue reading →
by Dr. Jason Lisle and Mike Riddle […]
The Bible instructs believers to have answers when challenged by any and all who oppose the Word of God.
A football coach recruited the best defensive players he could find. His strategy was to have the best defense in the conference. All through the season the opposing teams were unable to score many points. When the season was over his team posted a record of zero wins, ten losses, and two ties. How could this happen? The answer is they had no offense.
A Christian Game Plan
This is where many Christians are in their efforts to witness to unbelievers. The Bible instructs believers to have answers when challenged by any and all who oppose the Word of God (defense—1 Peter 3:15). The Bible also instructs believers to bring down all strongholds and anything that exalts itself against the knowledge of God (offense—2 Corinthians 10:4–5). Sadly, while many Christians lack the knowledge to challenge unbelievers (offense), they also lack a defense. Continue reading →
by Jim Pemberton
In the previous article I stated the scientific method in probably its simplest terms. I also stated it in probably its best light. In this article I will turn the tide and discuss some of its limitations. I’m sure I won’t be able to state them all here. However, I do want to establish two categories for understanding the epistemological limitations to the scientific method.