Within the age…

we cannot transcend all the errors that characterize our time.

Archive for July 2014

Dynamic Women of the Bible – A Review

leave a comment »

Dynamic Women of the Bible was written to plunge readers into a deeper thoughtfulness of Biblical women, and what their lives were like. From the back cover: “What parts did these women have in the vast family of God? What challenges did they face that we face even today? And what can we learn from them if we allow them to be the three-dimensional people they really were?”

Ruth Tucker takes an interesting method to her consideration of Biblical women that I would be remiss not to mention. In fact, she actually mentioned in the introduction the exact argument I am going to make about her book. In the introduction she states: “As we peer into these fascinating lives, it helps when we exercise our imaginations and ask more questions than we answer.” Later in referencing readers who are looking for specific and concrete answers to questions she says: “This volume does not address these matters, thoughtful and valid though they may be. We leave these issues to experts, while here we embrace the mystery.” She says that the book would be ideal for small groups, and she recognizes that some may complain that we NEED a Bible expert, but she dismisses this as: “..Bible experts often disagree among themselves.” (pg. xvi)

Her method of considering the lives of these Biblical women is to turn the power of her imagination on the text (most of which are very short, like Noah’s wife). Now, to be fair she states at the beginning of the book that she is going to be using her imagination, and engaging with the mystery not so much the specific and concrete answers.

I am going to argue in favor of her hypothetical objecter she mentions on page xv of the introduction. We DO need a Bible expert. Tucker weaved her imagination in and out of each character, and the problem is that sometimes it’s not all that clear to an uneducated reader where one stops and the other begins. In her consideration of Sarah she mentions that Sarah doesn’t keep track of how long it’s been since she made love to Abraham, possibly years. However nothing like that is anywhere in the story.

Dynamic Women, wants to be a novel with story-like elaborations on scripture, but be taken as seriously as an commentary on the lives of these women and what we can learn from them. Having so many elaborations on the text makes it difficult for anyone to take seriously as a good small group study book if the point of the study is to be talking about what scripture says.

My wife has pointed out to me many times that there is a real lack of good Christian books for women, and I was hopeful about this one. However I would recommend that because of the imaginative elaborations on scripture that you may be better served by a book like Twelve Extraordinary Women by John MacArthur instead.

I received this book for free from Baker Books in exchange for my reviewing it, and I was not required to write a positive review.

Advertisements

Written by Agrammatos

July 23, 2014 at 3:35 AM

The Atheist’s Fatal Flaw – A Review

leave a comment »

Disclosure: I received this book free from Baker Books through the Baker Books Bloggers program. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255
—————————————–
Geisler and McCoy wrote this book because they believe that atheists are guilty of holding contradictory beliefs, and I agree. They state their thesis like this: “…the atheist holds two contradictory beliefs in his mind simultaneously, and moreover, he does it twice. These two fundamental inconsistencies will invalidate two central atheistic arguments.” (Page 9)

The first inconsistency they claim to have found centers around the belief that an all-powerful, all-knowing, all-loving God cannot exist because of the existence of evil. They also claim atheists reject God’s interventions to fix the problem of evil as being essentially immoral in nature. They say this is an inconsistency which proves the atheist worldview is contradictory (Atheists say evil should not exist, but they reject God’s interventions to fix it because it violates human autonomy).

The second inconsistency they attack is that while atheists claim God’s interventions would be immoral, they are in favor of some of these same interventions being done by mankind on a societal level, further highlighting the inconsistency of their rejection of God.

The primary problem with Geisler and McCoy’s work here is that they are guilty of (I think unintentionally) creating a straw man when they laid out the main points of their argument. The atheists that they interact with, and boy do they ever interact (the book is filled with quotations), are not simply arguing that if God really existed he would deal with the problem of evil. If that was the extent of the atheistic argument then Geisler and McCoy would be spot on. However, it’s not that simple. The atheists reject God’s interventions to fix the problem of evil, because they say if God was who he is said to be the problem of evil wouldn’t exist in the first place. The Atheist’s Fatal Flaw does not provide a satisfying answer to THAT question. Geisler and McCoy don’t interact much with the question except to essentially dismiss it on pages 137-138.

The real atheist argument is this: if God is all good, all powerful, and all loving, then why can he not simply make a world where everyone has total autonomy, free will, and no evil exists? Geisler and McCoy don’t answer this question. They say that to suggest God be more forceful in fixing the problem of evil and also give humans autonomy is nonsense, as Lewis said: “You may attribute miracles to him, but not nonsense.” (pg. 138)

In summary, I think the authors have overlooked the greatest atheistic critique of their position, and in doing so undermined the whole thesis of their book. The authors also overlooked a number of primary examples on how an atheistic worldview is obviously self-contradictory. In a world without God, moral judgments are made but what is the foundation for having any morality? Logic is used to argue, appeals are made to justice, but in a worldview without God no such appeals can be successful because there is no “oughtness” to it. Why should you be right, and I wrong? Geisler and McCoy miss out on an entire presuppositional approach that would have fit very well with the theme of their book.

I would say that the book is still worth purchasing even just for all of the interaction with actual quotations from primary sources.

Written by Agrammatos

July 23, 2014 at 12:09 AM

Posted in Book Recommendations

Tagged with ,