What are the “Big”/”Tough” Questions of Life and Faith?

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I am writing up a lesson series that is basically on apologetics. Part of this lesson series will deal with the “big” questions. What would you include in that list of the questions that people are really asking and that Christians should know how to answer?

12 Responses

  1. What’s the difference between the “word of God” and the Text?
    Why does a loving God allow evil to even exist?
    From what are we saved?
    What is the consequence of disbelieving? Rejection of God?
    What happens to people who have never heard the Gospel message (due, for example, from extreme isolation from civilization)?

    1. Richard, thanks for sharing from your experience. I have taken note of your comment and continue studying and praying over these things. These are humbling topics to say the least.

    2. Not sure if this will help with your study on this particular question. But a quick assessment:

      There seem to be two ways of handling this issue from an apologetics stance.

      First, and the most traditional approach, is to offer a theodicy. And there are all sorts of theodices.

      Second, and this is my position, the belief that 1) there is no adequate theodicy and 2) trying to offer one is offensive (an attempt to excuse the inexcusable, the case that Ivan makes in The Brothers Karamozov in the chapters “Rebellion” and “The Grand Inquisitor”).

      In response to this latter–that to give an “apology” for the existence of suffering is offensive–the best line of argument seems to be simply pointing to the cross and saying:

      “Christians have no theodicy other than the cross–God’s divine solidarity with victims. Thus Christians don’t have a theodicy–an explanation of suffering–but, rather, a call to action in the face of suffering: To stand in the location of the cross in solidarity with the victims of the world.”

    3. That is helpful perspective. We like one size fits all…the perfect answer that fits every possible scenario. I don’t believe that exists when it comes to suffering just like it doesn’t exist when it comes to joy. There are times God may have a hand in the things we suffer and other sufferings that are alien to God’s hand or plan. Some things are random and other things are just because this world is broken. We tread on dangerous ground when we try to play the role of assigning to people which particular agent caused their suffering. We just aren’t wise enough to do that with enough precession to be helpful and end up doing more harm than good.
      I am convinced that God is just as upset over things, if not more so than we are. Death is an enemy to be defeated (1 Cor 15). That tells me God isn’t at all happy with the way things are.
      Systematic theology is helpful but at some point you have to pick the theme to systematize around (covenant or sovereignty, etc) and once you pick that, the things that don’t fit get stretched into places that just don’t work. I think that accounts for some of our theodicy issues. We try to systematize things that are beyond our comprehension. Sorry for rambling…I am typing on my phone while helping my kiddos fly around like super heroes.

  2. I wish you would consider including a serious look at how we teach that God turned his face away at the cross. This is an unhealthy view of the cross and one that is based on to my mine very little scriptural support. If we teach that God seperated himself from Jesus when he was being his most obediant because he couldn’t take the ugliness of our sin, then this gives us the idea that God will seperate from us when things aren’t perfect….I think a core cause for legalism. God If instead you see God as there at the cross, because how can the trinity be seperate? Then when you spend time looking and listening at the foot of the cross you realize that God does not promise us there will be no suffereing..what he does instead is he shows us how to do it…he suffers with us. That is a loving God I praise and live my life in service…

    1. Yes! We are on the same page here..So the passage in Gal, I believe can be explained that Jesus was a sin offering, he was perfect, I have heard it expressed like we are thinking our sins are transferred like a banking transaction. This is again unhealthy, or at least it was for me. If you really spend time with Jesus’ 7 last words, the moment of Why have you forsaken me? I believe is his teaching us that at some point we will all feel this way and it is ok to question God and express our despair. Still think you should include this conversation in your current work. Thanks!

  3. But the cross had a lot to do with the fact that there had been some men who claimed to be the Messiah and all had met the same fate, execution. The difference was that Jesus came back from the dead. The rest had not. On that Friday and Sabbath, the faith was in limbo. Go to church on Good Friday and listen to the Gospel stop at “apostles were scattered and the body was entombed”. The homily sometimes will touch on “what do we do now?”. There was a lot of uncertainty those 2 days.

    Compare this to the plagues on Egypt. The Egyptian magicians could repeat them until #10. That was the big one. It was not repeatable.

  4. How about the media-effected modern paradigm shift that threatens to replace the expectation, in the public mind-set, of heavenly resurrection with some technological utopia? In the Middle Ages people’s best expectations were, I believe, some variant of Augustine’s City of God. After the Reformation, the expectation was for a simpler more Bible-contexted Paradise, populated by angelic beings and resurrected immortals. Now, for many, it’s some version of the star-ship Enterprise’ Galaxy-spanning civilization, built by mankind. How can such a viewpoint be in any way compatible with the Apostle John’s future visions in the Book of Revelation, except maybe thru the words of the Apostle Peter in Acts 2:17? Regardless of dire warnings about the short-comings of science and technology, a lot of people are thinking that way.


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