Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Plantinga Book – Chapter 2 (Creation)

This chapter about creation was very interesting. Plantinga made a lot of great points, but there were also many aspects that I disagreed with him about.

The first thing that stood out as interesting to me was when Plantinga wrote, “Creation is neither a necessity nor an accident.” God was not bored because from eternity He has a communal life within himself. Creation is definitely not an accident; rather it is the delicate and careful work of God’s fingers (Psalm 8:3). God created everything He did because He found that this was the best way to glorify Himself. In fact, creation is one of the ways in which God reveals Himself to His people. Article 2 of the Belgic Confession says that the creation is before our eyes as a most elegant book. We have to open this book of creation and examine it with our knowledge, using the scriptures. The more knowledge that a person gains in a particular area, the more he can see the handiwork of God. For example, after I carefully studied the nervous system pathways in anatomy, I discovered how complex the human body and brain is. Only God could have made this wonderful design of our bodies, with all the parts functioning properly.

I loved how Plantinga described how God revels in His creation. God loves and celebrates creation. He even plays with his creation. In this chapter, Daniel Migliore comments, “While the stars, the trees, and the animals do not speak or sing of the glory of God in the same way that humans do, in their own way they too lift up their praises to God…” Plantinga acknowledges that that the singing and breaching of the humpback whale is the language that these great beasts of the deep talk to God.

One thing that I disagreed with Plantinga on was his idea of God resting on the seventh day. Plantinga writes, “On the seventh day God rested and was refreshed, as if even God needs a break from time to time.” God does not need rest; He is eternal and all-powerful. The reason God rested on the seventh day was to reflect on the work that He had done. It is a picture for us. We stop from our daily work on the Sabbath, and we use this day to reflect on God’s glory. It is a picture of the eternal rest we have in Heaven one day.

One other major point that I disagreed with Plantinga was on page 35, where he talks about common grace. He says, “The original goodness of creation implies that all of it, including any human being we meet, is potentially redeemable…so everything made by God retains at least some part of its goodness and promise.” The error of common grace is that it says that God blesses the wicked with “good” things and that unbelieving men are capable of doing civil good.
Romans 3:12 tells us that there is non that doeth good. All men are totally depraved, incapable of any good, until the Holy Spirit works in their hearts. Proverbs 3:33 says, “The curse of the Lord is on the house of the wicked; but He blesseth the habitation of the just.” He only sends blessing to His own sheep, not to the wicked whom He hates.

One last thing that I do not like about this chapter is that Plantinga never states that the creation was a literal seven days. Our group discussed this matter, and many today believe in theistic evoluation, which says that the days of creation were literal, and God let the creation evolve by itself. In the course of our discussion someone said that as long as you believe that God created the world, it doesn’t matter how He did it. Someone else could not believe that I actually believe everything in the Bible to be true. We are at a Christian college, and our basis should be on the Bible. We can not just regard Genesis 1 as a myth because it throws away the authority and truth of the rest of the Bible. When God says, “And the evening and the morning were the first day, etc,” He really means one day, not a thousands years. God’s Word is to be taken seriously, and it is our job to search and defend His truth in every part of the Bible.

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