I think that far from counting as evidence against God’s existence, evil actually provides evidence for God. How? Evil is when things aren’t the way they are supposed to be or are the way they aren’t supposed to be. You can’t have real evil without there being a real way things are and are not supposed to be. But, again, this distinction is clear to me if there is a God. But if God does not exist, things just are. There is no way that things are supposed to be. Stuff happens and that’s the end of the matter.
This is a guest post from J.P. Moreland (Ph.D., University of Southern California). Moreland is Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at Talbot School of Theology, BIOLA University. You can see the whole series on A God-Centered Worldview here.
“I want to develop a Christian mind, but I don’t know how.” This attitude is both common and understandable. That we are to develop our minds as Christians is not in doubt. We are admonished to love God with our mind (Mt 22:37), be transformed by its renewal (Rm 12:2), and be prepared to give thoughtful answers to questions about the faith (1 Pt 3:15).
A mature Christian mind has two aspects to it. First, it is a mind that has formed the habit of being focused on God constantly throughout the day. It is a mind preoccupied with God and directed regularly toward Him in prayer and meditation (Ps 16:8; Is 26:3; Lk 18:1; Rm 12:12; 1 Th 5:16-18). But how can one do this and still perform one’s daily tasks? Fortunately, people can do more than one thing at the same time. While driving or centering one’s attention on a task, one can still be aware of God in the boundaries of one’s attention. And one can bring God to the center of prayerful focus at various times throughout the day.
Two habits can make it easier for you to focus on God constantly. First, memorize four or five Bible passages that really speak to you. Each passage can be from one to several verses in length. Now, make it a practice to pray these passages to the Lord throughout the day. As you pray through a passage phrase by phrase, use it to pray about things of concern to you. Second, regularly ponder these passages or other scriptural readings, thinking of what they mean, of how you can internalize them, and of how you can promote them to others.
The second aspect of a mature Christian mind is one that sees all of life in light of a Christian worldview and is growing in intellectual excellence. A worldview is the sum total of all the things one believes, especially in regard to reality, truth, knowledge, and value. A Christian worldview is a biblically grounded set of beliefs about all of life, from work, recreation, and finances to God, life after death, and morality. One tries to think of all of life in light of the teachings of holy Scripture and, more specifically, of the Lord Jesus. There is no secular/sacred separation in such a mind.
All of life is an occasion for discipleship and worship for a mature Christian mind. Further, an intellectually excellent mind is one that is informed, that makes important distinctions when a less mature mind fails to do so, and that has deeper and deeper insights into issues of importance. To develop such excellence, one must regularly read, listen to tapes, and expose oneself to excellent teaching. One must also be willing to engage others—believers and unbelievers—in conversations about important worldview issues. Such regular practice, if combined with a growing ability to listen nondefensively, will bring motivation and opportunity for regular growth in intellectual excellence.
This post is adapted from The Apologetics Study Bible with permission from B&H.
I highly recommend his book that this talk is based on. Link below.
Dr. J.P. Moreland
If I had to pick a few lectures that really changed my life, then this lecture by J.P. Moreland would definitely be on that list.
- How J.P. Moreland become a Christian
- How evangelism drove his efforts to answer skeptics
- How can evangelicals be so numerous, and yet have so little influence?
- When did the church stop being able to out-think her critics?
- How studying and thinking can be a way of worshiping God
- Romans 12:1-2 – what does this passage mean?
- Are your beliefs under the control of your will?
- Can you “try” to believe something by an act of will?
- If not, then how can you change your beliefs?
- Changing your mind is the only way to change your life
- Matthew 22:37 – what is this passage saying?
- How can you love God by using your intellect?
- How can you defend God’s honor, when it is called into question?
- In a debate, should you quote sources that your opponent doesn’t accept?
- Should you only study the Bible, or should you study rival worldviews?
- 1 Pet 3:15 – what does this passage mean?
- If you knew you were going to be in a debate, what should you do?
- How can you be bold in witnessing? Where does boldness come from?
- What should the church do to make bold evangelists?
- 2 Cor 10:5 – what is this passage talking about?
- The passage talks about destroying fortresses – what are the fortresses?
- List of some of the speculations that we are supposed to be destroying
- What does the phrase “spiritual warfare” really mean?
And here is a longer version of the same lecture (MP3) presented to an audience of university students and faculty.
By the way, the title of his lecture comes from a book that he wrote, which is now in its second edition.
I think the book is hard not to rate it highly enough. It should challenge us in our worship of God – with our minds. Here is a portion of the blog that talks about it.
Read this book and invite others to do the same. Christians are called to a thoughtful faith and there is no better book out there that models and teaches this as well. Buy. Read. and Grow!
. . . if someone can spend several hours a day learning to swing a golf club, at least the same effort would not be inappropriate for someone who wants to be a more effective witness for Christ.
J. P. Moreland;Dallas Willard. Love Your God with All Your Mind: The Role of Reason in the Life of the Soul (p. 133). Kindle Edition.