Thursday, January 15, 2009

Plantinga Book – Chapter 3 (The Fall)

I found this chapter about the corruption of both man and creation because of the fall very interesting, but once again, I disagreed with many of Plantinga’s beliefs. Plantinga writes that evil is what’s wrong with the world, and it include disease, theft, and birth defects. He writes, “Evil is any deviation from the way God want things to be” (51). I disagree because God is omniscient and everything is under His control. God is not the author of sin, but He did plan sin because through salvation is the best way His people can glorify Him. I do agree with Plantinga when he writes, “ Sin grieves God, offends God, betrays God…God hates sin (51).” Just because God hates sin does not mean that it is out of His control. Later on in the book Plantinga questions who hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he talks about God’s rescue attempt (62). In Proverbs 21:1 it says, “The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.” God planned that Pharaoh’s sin because it is all under His sovereign will.

Continuing with the corruption of sin, Plantinga acknowledges, “Each new generation, and each new person, reaps what others have sown and the sows what others will reap” (53). I agree with this because in Exodus 20:5 God warns, “I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me.” Children will suffer in their lifetime for the sins their great-grandparents committed. For example, because of the way our relatives treated black people a hundred years ago, we still have to take the blame and guilt for being cruel to black people. Another example would be that a child born with fetal-alcohol syndrome has to suffer because of his mother’s drinking of alcohol. God takes sin seriously and will bring consequences upon those who disobey His holy law.

One major point that I disagree with Plantinga on is his denial of total depravity. Because of the fall we are totally depraved, meaning we are capable of doing no good without the Holy Spirit that God gives only to the Elect. On the contrary, Plantinga writes that total depravity “doesn’t mean that we are all as nasty as we can be” (58). He claims that the Holy Spirit distributes common grace to pour out good gifts on believers and unbelievers alike (59). This is not true because Proverbs 3:33 says, “The curse of the Lord is on the house of the wicked.” What seems like good gifts and good works of the wicked are really a curse because it leads to their damnation.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting post. I think your interpretation on Plantinga's view of total depravity may be a little confused. Plantinga does attribute righteousness to the Spirit, not to man's works. It is certainly true that there is common grace in this world; the sun shines on the saint and criminal alike. I think the verse you picked out from Proverbs point not only towards nonbelievers, but to believers and nonbelievers alike. We're all wicked and cursed with eternal damnation from the start; the only difference is whether we receive Christ's breaking of this curse.