Why could God not have made men such that they always freely choose the good?

Why is there so much evil and suffering in the world if the Judaeo-Christian God exists? This question presents us with the challenge known as the logical problem of evil. The solution to this problem, Scripturally and logically, is the high value placed on significantly free (ie libertarian free will (LFW)) people (see post).

Irenaeus

Irenaeus

A common challenge to the free will defense (FWD) is that God could create a world in which significantly free people never “go bad”.  The FWD, as posited by philosopher Alvin Plantinga, however, rests on the idea that creating people with LFW makes such a world impossible (quotes).

God can create free creatures, but He can’t cause or determine them to do only what is right. For if He does so, then they aren’t significantly free after all. … He can’t give these creatures the freedom to perform evil and at the same time prevent them from doing so.

C.S. Lewis would agree with Plantinga, a world in which people are significantly free yet never do anything but good is not possible, even for an omnipotent God. Continue reading

Agabus the fallible prophet? (Part 2)

The first post can be found here


It has been interesting how often a relatively obscure prophet named Agabus keeps coming up in seminary. This week he also came up in the “General Epistles” class  during our discussion on 2 Peter 1:20-21.

For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

This would seem to be a fairly straight forward NT definition of how prophecy works that would rule out a fallible prophetic gift. With this in mind let’s examine the case against Agabus.

We meet Agabus in Caesarea where he intercepts Paul and his team who are on their way to Jerusalem having concluded the 3rd Missionary Journey (3MJ). As Paul has made his way through the cities of Macedonia and Achaia, numerous prophets have warned him that he will be face prison and hardship in Jerusalem (Acts 20:23). As Paul gets closer to Jerusalem he is warned again in Tyre (21:4) and in Caesarea by Philip’s daughters (21:9) before Agabus reaches him. Apparently Agabus had a prophetic vision while in Judea and felt compelled to  travel north to warn Paul as well. Agabus’ prophecy provides the most detail about what awaits Paul and includes the OT practice of having the prophet act out some part of the prophecy.   Continue reading

Agabus the fallible prophet?

A conversation in our home group sparked the re-post of this two post series on fallible prophecy originally published in 2011.


One of the many seminary classes I am taking is pneumatology (the theology of the Holy Spirit). In this class we evaluated various positions on the spiritual gifts which exposed me to the a view that regards the NT gift of prophecy as operating today in a fallible manner. It is held by such esteemed pastors and scholars as John  Piper, Wayne Grudem, and D. A. Carson.

Piper gives this succinct definition of the NT prophet:

the gift of prophecy is in the New Testament [and it] is a Spirit-prompted, Spirit-sustained utterance that does not carry intrinsic, divine authority and may be mixed with error.

Continue reading