Free will musings

In our mid-week Bible study, I was reminded of something I had just read in a book earlier in the week. People sometimes wonder why the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil was placed in the Garden of Eden. (Genesis 2, 3) It occurred to me that since God is the Creator and Sustainer of everything in the universe, there is no material thing we could give Him as an act of worship. All we can give Him is the one thing within our power to withhold from Him; our willing obedience. With the placing of the tree in the garden, there was the opportunity to willingly obey, or to withhold obedience. Without such a choice, there was no way for Adam and Eve to express love to God in any objective, meaningful way. Sure they could have said, “I love you.” But, those words are meaningless without actions to back them up. This is confirmed by Jesus’ words, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” (John 14:15)

Another issue that came to mind is the circumstances Adam and Eve were in. It is common for us to blame our circumstances for our sinful choices. If I could only feel God’s presence in my life, I would be better able to resist temptation If I only had more of this, or less of that, etc… However, the account of Adam and Eve’s fall in Genesis 3 shows this is nonsense. No other human being before Jesus walked in closer relationship to God, unspoiled by sin, than Adam and Eve before the fall. They had all they needed and all they could want. Yet, they still sinned. If we think we would make better choices than that, we are fooling ourselves.

Doubting Toward Faith By Bobby Conway: A review

Bobby Conway is a lead pastor of LIFE Fellowship, Charlotte, and the One Minute Apologist on YouTube. No stranger to seasons of doubt in his own life, Conway brings his experience, Biblical teaching, and careful thinking to the issue of dealing with doubt.

Through ten chapters, Conway explains the effects of doubt on the mind, the church, and one’s faith, the universality of doubt, and the hazards related to leaving them unexamined. Moreover, even when none of our friends can deal with our doubts, Jesus can.

Conway explains how doubts arise, some of the most common types, and the roots. Then he shows how to work through it, especially noting how faith is grounded in reason, not credulity.

Conway spends a lot of ink describing the experience of doubt, and at first this struck me as filler. However, having read it, it occurs to me that he has done a masterful job of helping the reader who has not recently dealt with serious doubt feel the weight of the experience. Moreover, for the reader who is struggling, or has done so recently, Conway’s description helps them see that he is not approaching this from a cold, academic point of view.

Doubting Toward Faith is a must-read for anyone plagued by doubts in their Christian faith, but even better to read it without waiting for the doubts to come. How much better to be ready beforehand?

This book is suitable for readers from high school students to college professors. It would also make an excellent resource for small group study.