Part 2:John Sanders 3 | Chris Hall 3 | Sanders 4 | Hall 4 | Sanders 5 | Postscript
Thank you for your thoughtful and challenging remarks. Your wisdom is valuable to me. Theology is, and always has been, produced in dialogue and I'm delighted to be in conversation with you.
In response, let me say that I agree that "In Jesus Christ, God has spoken against evil and sin." This is no small agreement! Jesus is God's definitive response to our evil, demonstrating the divine love toward us. I agree that God "allows" evil to occur and that God has "acted against that very same evil." However, you, as a classical theist, and I, as an open theist, disagree on the role of evil in God's plans. Since you believe that God cannot change in any respect, cannot be affected by us in any way, and that God meticulously controls everything that happens, you have to say that every evil that occurs is part of God's plan and that each and every evil is for the good. Given this, I wonder how you can claim that God acted "against" the very evil he ordained in the first place. Do you have a schizophrenic God? According to your view, nothing happens except what God specifically wants to happen, so God never takes risks, and his will is never thwarted in the least detail. Hence, you are forced to deny that God genuinely grieves over our sin (Gen. 6:6) since it makes no sense to say God grieves over what he wanted to occur!
Moreover, if God never responds to us, then you must affirm the doctrines of irresistible grace (we cannot reject God's will) and unconditional election (God chooses those who are saved without responding to anything the saved do). Of course, you may simply appeal ...1
Already a CT subscriber? Log in for full digital access.
Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.
Subscribe to Christianity Today and get access to this article plus 60+ years of archives.
- Home delivery of CT magazine
- Complete access to articles on ChristianityToday.com
- Over 120 years of magazine archives plus full access to all of CT’s online archives
- Learn more