Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Plantinga Book – Chapter 4 (Redemption)

In this chapter, Plantinga discusses our redemption that we need because of the fall. When man first fell, he had something to hide and something to fear because of sin, but then God made garments of skins for man to clothe his shame and nakedness (Plantinga 73). God does not leave us to despair in our sin, but in His mercy He sent Christ to atone for our sins so that He sees His people just as if they have never sinned. I agree with Plantinga when he writes, “Sin traps people and makes them wilt; godly obedience liberates people and helps them flourish. The Ten Commandments are guides for a free and flourishing life” (76-77). Often we think that rules tie us down and take away our freedom when they actually take away the burden of sin when we strive to follow God’s commands.

Because of Christ’s incarnation, atonement, and resurrection we are redeemed. Jesus became God in the flesh, and he lived and preached on this earth to bring comfort to His people. He accomplished His work by dying for the sins of His people (John 10:11). He did not die for all men because he does not love all men and try to save all of them, contrary to the belief of many in the world today. Finally, Christ rose from the dead, overcoming the power of death. Plantinga points out that Christian hope rises with Christ because His resurrection showed that God’s grace cannot be defeated, even by death (82).

In His resurrection, “Christ rose as the head of a whole body of people elected to have faith in him” (Plantinga 83). Christ overcame sin and death for us so we live lives of gratitude unto God, knowing we are free from the everlasting punishment of Hell, which we deserve. Plantinga also brings up justification, which is God’s act of forgiving sinners and reconciling them to Himself (90). The way in which we can come closer to Christ is by prayer, sacraments, and listening to the Word of God (Plantinga 93).

I agree with Plantinga when he says that God’s people will demonstrate God’s saving grace in their life by good works (94). Plantinga gives C.S. Lewis’ example in which a child likes to go to a clothes box full of grownup outfits. These clothes are too big, but the child is pretending and preparing to be an adult someday. Likewise, we can only become Christ-like by putting on godly virtues (Plantinga 94).

Finally, Plantinga speaks of our duty to reform all things. Although we may find this ideal to redeem every person and place in the world, this is not going to happen because it is out of the will of God. He only will redeem His people, and the world cannot be made perfect until He destroys this one with fire and makes His new creation. With the Holy Spirit guiding our lives, we are able to be shining examples in this world, reforming various areas of life according to the Word of God. The Bible gives us guidelines in the Ten Commandments, but it does not tell us exactly how to live (Plantinga 108). We must strive to live according to God’s Word to show our lives of thankfulness as redeemed people of God.

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