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Archive for October 18th, 2012

Purchase: Westminster | Amazon

This is a book on the problem of evil that I fully agree with, though not many Christians even those who are Reformed are willing to accept readily. The only other book that I can think of that is in similar vein is Gordon Clark’s God and Evil. If you want to see a treatment of theodicy that takes God’s sovereignty into account and the issue of where does one get the standard of right and wrong from in the first place, this book is for you. The book does not appeal to the free will argument for the problem of evil which I feel is rather inadequate as a remedy (philosophically and biblically). Jay Adams also note how those who are Reformed sometimes stop short and appeal to mystery with the problem of evil when there are more that Scripture reveal on the matter. I’ve always thought Job 38-42, Romans 9 and Habakkuk have been underutilized in formulating a biblically centered theodicy. Focusing chiefly on Romans 9 (though there was mention of Job) the author points out that why God allow evil is really for a grand demonstration of His Holy wrath and also for the elect it is a contrast to demonstrate God’s mercy, grace and patience. Of course, Jay Adams picks up the Apostle Paul’s attack on humanistic autonomy which sets up it’s own standard against God such as those who wish to prohibit God from doing things that Scripture itself does not say God cannot do. Jay Adams notes from James 4:11b that if we judge the Law we are not living it. This work also explains the differences between fatalism and predestination in a clear and concise matter. Here are some notable quotes from the book:

“To begin with, the very fact that Paul indicates that this question will be asked proves that what I am teaching about the matter in this book is the same thing Paul taught. Paul says that whenever this truth is taught people will ask that question” (44).

“After all, what is fairness? And from where does your sense of fairness come? Fairness is based on a standard of right and wrong. But it is God, Himself, Who has given us that standard” (46).

Difference between decretive and directive will of God: “To speak of the decretive will of God means that the writer is telling us what God will do. One perspective has man in view as the actor; the other, God” (59).

Fatalists and Predestinarian distinguished: “Fatalists say, ‘If I’m going to be hit by a truck on the corner of Fifth and Main on July 5, 1992, it will happen—no matter what I do.” Que sera sera. But in stark contrast, predestinarians say, ‘If I’m going to be hit by a truck on the corner of Fifth and Main, on July 5, 1992, it will happen—because of what I do.’ It will be because you were watching that attractive blonde rather than the traffic. Fatalists say ‘in spite of’; predestinarians say ‘because of.’ The former view destroys responsibility; the latter establishes it” (68).

“God does not have to ‘overrule’ what man does in order to bring about His purposes (as Hughes supposes); rather, He works out these purposes by means of human beings who are ordained to freely choose and decide in a responsible manner” (68-69).

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