Digging Deeper

Digging Deeper

Does God Really Choose Who Is Saved and Who Isn’t?

Section 6: Salvation — Part 1 Digging Deeper Topic: Does God Really Choose Who Is Saved and Who Isn’t? WHERE DOES FREE WILL COME INTO PLAY? The doctrine of election, as we defined it in the daily readings, is a controversial subject. The controversy arises because it sounds like we’re saying some people never have a chance when it comes to salvation. If God determines who will come to faith, doesn’t that mean none of us have a choice in…

Do the Miraculous Gifts Continue Today?

Section 5: The Holy Spirit Digging Deeper Topic: Do the Miraculous Gifts Continue Today? Summary of 3 Views In the daily readings, we noted that the Holy Spirit gives spiritual gifts to believers, such as serving, teaching, encouraging, and mercy. Spiritual gifts are to be used “to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of…

What Exactly Did Jesus Do for Us on the Cross?

Section 4: Jesus Digging Deeper Topic 2: What Exactly Did Jesus Do for Us on the Cross? Miscellaneous Views As Christians, we believe Jesus’ death saved us from our sins and made it possible for us to have a renewed relationship with God. The question is: just how did his death do that? Many different explanations have been offered. The Ransom Theory Description Some have thought of Jesus’ death as a ransom paid to Satan. In essence, this view looks…

What Are We Supposed to Make of Jesus’ Divine and Human Natures?

Section 4: Jesus Digging Deeper Topic 1: What Are We Supposed to Make of Jesus’ Divine and Human Natures? Mistaken Views In the daily readings, we discussed the fact that Jesus has two natures—one human and one divine. That’s a difficult concept for us to wrap our minds around. How can he be human and divine at the same time? The early Church struggled with that concept as well. One way to deal with the difficulty is to sidestep it.…

What Did the Fall Do to Us?

Section 3: Humanity Digging Deeper Topic 2: What Did the Fall Do to Us? We Inherited a Corrupt Nature I’ve recently gotten hooked on the show The Walking Dead. On one level, it’s just a story about a zombie apocalypse (and who doesn’t love a zombie apocalypse?). On another level, however, it’s a fascinating exploration of human nature. As the characters are forced to do horrible things just to survive, you can’t help but wonder how far they can go…

Should We Believe Adam and Eve Really Existed?

Section 3: Humanity Digging Deeper Topic 1: Should We Believe Adam and Eve Really Existed? Does It Matter Either Way? An increasing number of scholars argue Adam and Eve couldn’t have actually existed because the scientific evidence suggests the genetic diversity within the human race couldn’t have sprung from just one human pair. Not surprisingly, many within the Church strongly disagree. Before we dive into that debate, there’s another issue we should address first: Does this issue make any difference…

What about the Resurrection and All the Other Miracles?

Section 2: The Bible Digging Deeper Topic 3: What about the Resurrection and All the Other Miracles The Question of Miracles In the previous section, we closed by noting, although there are a number of reasons to think the gospels are reliable, many are nonetheless still skeptical. Even if the gospels contain some historically accurate details, at a minimum, they’ve got to be wrong about the miracles. That’s an important issue because Jesus’ miracles play an important role in defining…

Is the Bible Historically Reliable?

Section 2: The Bible Digging Deeper Topic 2: Is the Bible Historically Reliable? Is The Old Testament Reliable? An Important Reminder The question of the historical reliability of the Old Testament is a difficult topic to address. The Old Testament includes thirty-nine books. Not all of them contain historical details, but those that do span thousands of years. Because the Old Testament covers so much ground, it’s difficult to discuss all the evidence required to prove or disprove the accuracy…

How Was the Bible Put Together?

Section 2: The Bible Digging Deeper Topic 1: How Was the Bible Put Together? How Were the Old Testament Books Chosen? Introduction The formation of the Old Testament occurred over a roughly thousand-year period. A lot of religious material would have been written during that time. Not all of it would have been inspired Scripture, however. So the Jewish people would have needed some process for determining which books were inspired and which were not. We don’t know as much…

Providence, Prayer, and the Problem of Evil

Section 1: God Digging Deeper Topic 2: Providence, Prayer, and the Problem of Evil Three Models of Providence For the most part, Christians don’t argue over whether God is sovereign. We do, however, argue over the extent to which God uses his sovereignty to control what happens in the world. Theologians typically refer to God’s control over everyday events as divine providence. Over the years, various models have been proposed. In general, the models run along a spectrum. On one…

Does God Really Exist?

Section 1: God Digging Deeper Topic 1: Does God Really Exist? What Kind of evidence should we expect? We’ve spent a lot of time talking about what God is like. But many people claim there is no God. In light of those skeptics, it’s worth asking whether there’s any evidence that God does, in fact, exist. Now, when we look at the evidence for God’s existence, it’s important to recognize we’re never going to have access to the kind of…