Saturday, March 28, 2009

Some initial thoughts on Nightline’s ‘Does Satan Exist?’ Face-Off

I’ve watched part of the Nightline Face-Off Does Satan Exist? For those who don’t know, Mark Driscoll was on the program.

1) The great: Driscoll is repeatedly proclaiming the Gospel. That’s great. He’s arguing that the work of Christ is God’s solution and the victory over evil.

2) The not-so-great: But Driscoll also invoked the free will defence in explaining the origination of evil.

He said that there isn’t virtue without the possibility of vice.

The fundamental problem, if one were to give this some thought, is that God is not capable of vice. He cannot sin (James 1:13; cf. Hebrews 6:18). So, is God virtuous, or not? I take it that all Christians accept (rightly) that God is righteous, good, holy, upright, which is to say, He’s the definition of virtue. (I would also argue that the definition of divine righteousness precludes the possibility of God sinning). So if God is virtuous and yet cannot sin, this immediately undercuts the claim that God gave free will in man because free will is necessary for virtue (here free will is understood as that which includes the genuine actionable possibility of choosing evil, or the ability to choose otherwise), since it is evident that such a notion of free will is not necessary for virtue.

This is an inadequate answer for the problem of evil. Hence, don’t invoke it.

3) The humourous: On another note (and I mention it because I found it funny), Bishop Pearson, in railing against fundamentalism, just enumerated a list of rules that Christians add, in response to Driscoll and Lobert – as if that has any bearing whatsoever on Mark Driscoll! Clearly Pearson had no idea who he is debating. And that doesn’t make for a helpful interaction.