The Kingdom – Part 1

This is the first part of a study of the Kingdom of Heaven by my friend Michael White. The paper in its entirety can be downloaded here.


By: Michael White

the-kingdom-of-heaven-title-graphic

We are all familiar with the term, “kingdom of God,” but what does it mean? What is its nature? When we look at the world around us it’s easy to see that God’s “will…” is not always done “…on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10). We are challenged as Christians “How could a good God allow such pain and suffering?” Moreover, there is within the Church significant disagreement concerning various doctrines and religious views, even those that represent blatantly heretical false teachings. If the Kingdom of God is truly among us today in 2016 (Luke 17:21), why aren’t all of our prayers answered the way we want, and why hasn’t Christianity triumphed as the dominant worldview?  Since our ability to share knowledge has increased so dramatically with new technologies, and with such an abundance of books and study materials available to us than at any time in human history, why do we see such a wide divergence of doctrinal views rather than a coming together in greater agreement? And what did Jesus mean in responding to a Pharisee’s question about the kingdom of God, when He said “nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you (in your midst)” (Luke 17:21)?   Then In the very next verse, Jesus turns to his disciple’s and tells them to watch for signs that would precede the coming kingdom?   So which is it?   Is the Kingdom of God here now?  Then what did Jesus mean that it is still to come (Matthew 17:11)?  Is Jesus contradicting Himself in the very same passage?  Continue reading

Posted in Bible Study, Doctrine Study, Guest Author, Prophecy | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Five Terrible Objections to the Rapture

This is the first in a series of posts on the doctrine of the Rapture of the Church.


"I am... the Bright and Morning Star" Revelation 22:16“The word rapture isn’t in the Bible.” This objection is so bad it didn’t even make the list! The word is right here:

1 Thessalonians 4:16-17: “the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.” The Greek word that is translated “caught up” in English, is translated ‘raptura’ in Latin, which is where the English word ‘rapture’ comes from.

Continue reading

Posted in Doctrine Study, Prophecy | 18 Comments

In Defense of The Third Premise

This is in response to a friend’s critique of my argument for the existence of God


Quote:
Whatever is changeable is changed in the act of changing another

Comment:
By this premise, in order to change something, one must change himself. This means the unchanged changer is either (A) an exception to the rule, whatever is changed must be changed by another, or (B) both the changer and not the changer at the same time.

If we are going to say a contradiction exists, or an exception to a rule exists, why this exception and not another? Or, why not admit to the many other contradictions we could imagine as solutions? We could assume that there is an entity that has both potentiality and actuality which caused everything. It would be an exception to the rule, but so is the proposed solution.

By the way, If I use the word ‘move’, it will be in the classical sense. I mean something more than locomotion. I mean change in general. Continue reading

Posted in Christian Apologetics, Philosophy, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Unmoved Mover vs. Creator

This is in response to a friend’s critique of my argument for the existence of God.


Quote:
Change is something existing potentiality becoming an actuality. Only what is already actual can cause something to go from potentiality to actuality.

Comment:
If we end up agreeing that there would have to originally be an entity that caused everything to go from potentiality to actuality, it doesn’t mean that the uncaused cause created all potentiality. The argument hinges on the relationship between things transitioning between states, but doesn’t comment on potentiality itself. Since the goal of the argument is typically to show that an entity that not just caused the events to begin but caused everything to exist, the argument would fall short.

I would guess the response to this criticism would have to posit qualities of potentialities that are beyond our experience. Since we simply have experience of things changing from potentiality to actuality, much of the proposed qualities of potential entities would be unfounded speculation.

You claim that the goal of the argument is to establish an entity that caused everything to exist. (What do you mean by “typically”? Do you mean the goal of cosmological arguments is typically to establish the cause of the existence of all things?) The goal of this argument, for Aristotle, was to determine the cause, or explanation of all motion. The goal for Aquinas (according to some Thomists) was to establish the existence of a being worthy of the name God, or god. So, it is hardly a critique to say the argument establishes the existence of a being who is the cause of all change, but does not establish that this being also created all things. After all, it would be a strange sort of atheism to grant that a supernatural being exists who causes all change. Continue reading

Posted in Philosophy, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How is that God? Objections and Responses to the Argument From Change

1ID8BS39I’ve compiled some objections and some brief responses to this argument for the existence of God. Some of these are specific to the argument, some apply to arguments in general. Please comment! Be sure to bring up any other objections, and feel free to pursue these questions deeper. I’d love to discuss this more!

 


Certainly, we could discuss each one of these topics in greater detail. I’ve briefly responded to these objections to hopefully clarify the argument, and to at least point in the direction of a possible rebuttal.  Continue reading

Posted in Christian Apologetics, Philosophy, Science | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

Psalm 23 – New Internet Version

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want
He maketh me to lie down in self satisfaction; he guardeth my opinions from challenge

He restoreth my pride: he leadeth me in the paths of right-ness for my name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of comment threads, I will fear no troll.

For thou art on my side; thy memes and thy sick burns, they comfort me.
Thou preparest a page before me in the absence of mine enemies: thou anointest my posts with likes; My friends list runneth over.

Surely the cool kids and celebrities shall follow me all the tweets of my life:
And I will dwell in a bubble of affirmation forever.

Aside | Posted on by | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Change Happens. Does that Mean God Exists?

This is a Cosmological Argument for the Existence of God. This represents my current understanding of Aquinas’s First Way, the “Argument from Motion,” and it is my attempt to describe a version of it for a modern layman like myself. If I have misunderstood Aquinas, or made a mistake in reasoning, be sure to point it out in the comments! 

Candle photo croppedLet’s talk about change. Let’s talk about it in the most general and fundamental sense, not just cultural change, not just behavioral, or physical, or chemical, but the very metaphysics of change. What must be true for any change whatsoever to occur?

Continue reading

Posted in Christian Apologetics, Philosophy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment