The Problem of Evil

The “Problem of Evil” is one of the biggest philosophical challenges to a belief in God and is a major contributor to the rejection of Christianity.  In fact, well-known biblical scholar and critic Bart Ehrman credits the problem of evil with his own loss of faith.  We’ve addressed this topic in an earlier article, but a more comprehensive response is appropriate.  The problem can be simply stated as follows:

  1. If God is all-good, He would want to destroy evil
  2. If God is all-powerful, He could destroy evil
  3. Evil exists
  4. Therefore, an all-good, all-powerful God does not exist

The logic seems sound on the surface.  But can these really be our only options?  Clearly, the problem of evil presents believers with a dilemma.  Or does it? Continue reading

How Could God Become a Man?

Adoration of the Shepherds

Adoration of the Shepherds, Gerard van Honthorst, 1622

Christmas is the time of year when Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus, who they believe is the Messiah (or savior, literally “anointed one”) predicted in the Old Testament.  According to Christian orthodoxy, Jesus is actually God incarnate.  The doctrine of God becoming human is very clear throughout both the Old and New Testaments (e.g. Isaiah 9:6, Isaiah 7:14, John 1:1-3, John 1:14, Colossians 2:9, Hebrews 1:3, John 20:28).

Many non-Christians question how or if God could become a man.  They have many good questions related to this such as:  How is it possible for an infinite God to become a finite person?  How can God be two people at the same time?  Did He stop being God while He was a man?  Why would God do this in the first place?  As we approach Christmas, it is appropriate to reflect on these questions and “always be prepared to give an answer” to those who may ask why we believe what we do (1 Peter 3:15). Continue reading

“How can Jesus be the only way to salvation?”

one-way-signAs we covered in another article, it is popular today to believe that multiple religions offer equal access to God. Consequently, many people question whether Christianity can really be the only way to experience salvation. Christians are often thought of as narrow-minded or self-righteous for believing that their religion is the only “right one.”

Ultimately, “Is Jesus the only way to salvation?” is a very important question that Christians and non-Christians should ask. But how should we go about finding the right answer? Continue reading

“Can God Make a Mountain So Big He Can’t Lift It?”

MountainQuestions like “Can God make a mountain so big He can’t lift it” are sometimes used as an attempt to discredit the idea of an omnipotent God.  They attempt to show that the very idea of some all-powerful entity is logically contradictory and therefore, God doesn’t exist.  However, these questions misunderstand both the meaning of omnipotence and the nature of God. Continue reading

Aren’t All Religions the Same? (Easter Edition)

Painting of the crucified Christ, by Fra Angelico, circa 1437-1446

Painting of the crucified Christ, by Fra Angelico, circa 1437-1446, Wikimedia Commons

As we approach Easter, Christianity’s holiest day, it is natural to wonder if faith in “the risen Christ” represents the only way to have a true relationship with God.  In fact, it is increasingly accepted in modern culture that all religions are equally valid or that there is “one god, but many paths.”  However, is this premise true?  Can other religions provide equally valid ways of knowing God?

To address these questions, we will limit this post to the primary world religions.   There are several practical reasons for this limitation.  First, it is for simplicity’s sake, given the thousands of religions and philosophies that could be evaluated.  Secondly, it is reasonable to assume that if God has revealed Himself, He has done it in an effective way that has attracted many believers.  So under this pretext, we will evaluate Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism since they are generally considered the world’s most prevalent and influential faiths. Continue reading

Judge Not…

JudgeIn previous articles, we discussed how our behaviors and attitudes interact with salvation, and what God expects from us in these areas.  We also briefly mentioned how today’s culture doesn’t always accept these values and is quick to call Christians old-fashioned, close minded, or judgmental when they advocate for God’s standards.  All too often, some people attempt to silence Christians from espousing biblical ethics by quoting “Judge not, so that you will not be judged” from Matthew 7. Continue reading

How Should A Christian Act?

Angel and DevilIn a previous article, we discussed how works result from, rather than in, a person’s salvation.  Now we turn our attention to what those works should be.  The Bible states that as Christians, we are Christ’s representatives (2 Corinthians 5:20) and are called to do good works (Ephesians 2:10).  The question naturally arises “what should this look like?”  Our purpose in this article is to give an overview of how God expects Christians to be and act, as articulated in scripture.  This is not an exhaustive analysis, but rather a starting point for self-examination and further study. Continue reading

Saved by Faith or Works?

512px-Bartolomeo_Montagna_-_Saint_Paul

The Apostle, Paul, who played a critical role in spreading the Church to the Gentiles during the first century.

The role of faith vs. works in salvation has been the subject of debate and confusion since the beginning of Christianity.  Paul clearly states in Ephesians that we “are saved by faith…not by works” while James says that “faith without works is dead.”  So which is it?  Are we saved by faith, works, or some combination of the two?

The Case for Faith

The Bible is clear that we are saved “by grace through faith” in Christ.  But what exactly does that mean?  In short, salvation by grace through faith means that we do not earn it through our own actions.  It is an unmerited gift from God (i.e. “grace”) given “through faith” in Christ as our personal savior.   There are many Bible verses one can cite to explain what “faith in Christ” means, but one of the clearest is Romans 10:9 (“If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”)  Continue reading

Christianity 101

Antonio Ciseri's depiction of Pontius Pilate presenting a scourged Christ to the people Ecce homo! (Behold the man!). Painted 1871.

Antonio Ciseri’s depiction of Pontius Pilate presenting a scourged Christ to the people: Ecce homo! (Behold the man!). Painted 1871.

Christianity, in its broadest sense, is the world’s largest religion with over two billion followers.  However, because of the many denominations and varying beliefs and traditions, the term can be confusing and often means different things to different people.

So, especially for those who are newly exploring the faith, it’s important to answer the question:  “At its core, what is Christianity all about?” Continue reading