Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Engaging God’s World: Ch 2

I have a few disagreements with Plantinga over a few issues.  At one point Plantinga claims that we humans have certain unalienable rights. He says “ Sixth, the declaration, ‘Let us create man in our image’ implies a range of human responsibilities, including those associated with earthkeeping and creativity.  But it also secures rights, including the right to respect, the right to life, and the right to certain freedoms.  These are unalienable rights.”  I disagree with Plantinga about this.  I do not think that we have a right to anything.  If we ever had any rights they were lost in the fall.  We deserve nothing but hell.  We cannot claim any rights because no one can give us rights but God, and the rights Plantinga claims that we have are not biblically founded at all.

Another issue that I have has been a large theological issue for years; this issue is common grace. Plantinga speaks of how everything that God created in this earth retains some of its goodness after the fall.  I disagree with this statement.  As follows Calvin’s TULIP we are all totally depraved, which means there is no good left in us.  When Adam ate of the tree of knowledge of good and evil he died spiritually and thus all his descendants inherited this spiritual death, “The day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.”  The elect are only able to do good by the grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  This grace fills us with the Holy Spirit which allows us to do God glorifying works.  If the work is not done to the glory of God, then it is not a good work.  This is why the bandit loving his mother was not a good work.  I do not presume to say whether this bandit is saved or not, but Plantinga implied that he was a reprobate.  We must remember that our purpose on this earth is to glorify God in all that we do.  A wicked man could love his mother, yes, but he would not be glorifying the Lord in doing it.  We must remember that even our best works are shrouded in sin, and it is only through the grace of our Father in heaven that He sent His Son to the cross that He might purify the souls of the elect and thus allow our works to be pure.  The wicked do not have that gracious sacrifice, and thus they have black hearts that corrupt every work they do.  I do not see any evidence that the Lord has a common grace that he has given to all men.


  1. Dear Ross,

    I do believe that the problematic of Plantinga’s ‘common grace’ will only be solved when we are finally in front of God’s throne. I will quote Rev. Schalkwijk for this:
    "For although not each individual person will be saved, this does not mean that the blood of Christ would be partially lost, because the death of Lamb for the world affected indeed that whole world. Our world as a whole was rescued from the evil one and will be transformed into a New World, where justice and peace will reign (2Pet 3.13). The final restoration of creation may delay a little, and is waiting for the revelation of the sons of God (Rom 8.19-21); but its time will come, because God is faithful (1Cor 1.9). Meanwhile we are able to perceive that, praise God, that precious blood has also a broader meaning, as if it were a general application, as the basis for a “common grace”, by which He allows this world to continue and puts a control upon the outgrowths of evil (Col 1.20). ‘Common grace’ does not take away the guilt of sin, but contains and subdues its devastating results (Berkhof, Dogmatics, p435). Christ is the mediator of creation and of reconciliation, that is, of the universe and of the church (Rom 8.19; Col 1.16,20). The central ray of the “Light of the world” penetrates the blackness as a powerful beam (John 1.9), around which shines a diffuse light. If this were not so, how terrible would it be in this dark world!! It is still time for salvation."
    Furthermore, I (Adriana) believe that if a bandit was not able to feel love for anyone, and as such, would not be able to understand the concept, I could never be able to reach his heart. It also answers an age old question I always had on an Old Testament comment of Javeh "I will send my terror ahead of you and throw into confusion every nation you encounter. I will make all your enemies turn their backs and run. I will send the hornet ahead of you to drive the Hivites, Canaanites and Hittites out of your way. But I will not drive them out in a single year, because the land would become desolate and the wild animals too numerous for you. Little by little I will drive them out before you, until you have increased enough to take possession of the land (Exodus 23:27-30).
    Common Grace as such is a protection to us from 'too many wild animals' I.e. too much violence and disruption of peace... It is a protection and a outreach... What wisdom! What Grace!

    God Bless
    Adriana & Paulo

  2. I believe there is common grace. My reasoning for this is that I have seen many people who are not Christians doing "good" things. For instance a dedicated doctor has saved many lives even if he is not a Christian. God has used him to pro-long the lives of others. In class someone said that we, Christians, are only good because the Holy Spirit is in us and works through us. I believe the Holy Spirit works in everyone, if he did not than none of us would ever be able to receive God's grace. The Holy Spirit had to soften our hearts before we were willing to receive God's grace. There are no boundaries to God's work, thus His good work can be done by anyone.

  3. Dear Schmit,

    I agree with Ross about how there is no common grace. God does not love the wicked. Common grace is arminianism because by it puts man in the position to accept Christ rather the power of the Holy Spirit.

    God loves his elect, and he sent Jesus to die for only the elect. John 10:15 says, "As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep." Jesus' sheep are his people, not the whole world. Christ continues by saying, " And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd." This verse clearly says that Christ died ONLY for his people. If you say that He died for all and loves all, and not all are saved, then you are saying that Christ failed in His work of trying to save everyone.

    Unbelievers can do no good works because they do not have the holy spirit in them. They are not saved so they do not have the grace of God; therefore, they are totally depraved. Romans 3:12 says, "There is none that doeth good, no, not one." A good work is only done to the glory of God, and unbelievers can not praise God. They do it for a wrong reason, like for the glory of others of to feel good about themselves. Yes, God uses other people for good, as He works all things for the good of His people (Romans 8:28). Unbelievers hate God so there is no way for them to do any good.