Tough Questions Answered

A Christian Apologetics Blog
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    If you want to find out whether Christianity fares well in the arenas of science, philosophy, ethics, and history, then you should subscribe to this blog. Our purpose is to show that Christianity is the most intellectually rich worldview that exists. Why is that? Because it is true. Every week, we will post 2-3 articles which should take you no more than 5 minutes to read. We believe that your Christian walk will be greatly enriched or, if you are not a Christian, you will come to see that Christianity is a most reasonable faith.
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  • Is Satan Totally Evil?

    Posted By on March 2, 2015

    Many people mistakenly believe that while God is totally good, Satan, or the Devil, is totally evil. They are polar opposites of each other.

    This idea, however, is false. Satan, while being totally evil in a moral sense, is not totally evil in a metaphysical sense. Theologian Norm Geisler explains the distinction in his book If God, Why Evil?: A New Way to Think About the Question. Geisler writes:

    The Bible speaks about Satan as “the evil one” (1 John 5:19) who is a liar by his very nature (John 8:44). Surely there is no good in Satan – is he not totally evil? Yes, he is completely evil in a moral sense, but not in a metaphysical sense. Just like fallen humans still have God’s image, even so Satan has the remnants of good that God gave to him as a created angel.

    For example, Satan has good insofar as he is a creature of God, insofar as he has intelligence, and power, and free will. Of course, he uses all these God-given good powers to do evil; he is ever, always, irretrievably bent on evil. But this is only to say he is totally depraved morally, not that he is totally deprived of all creaturely good metaphysically.

    God, on the other hand, is totally good, both metaphysically and morally. They are not opposites in a metaphysical sense. In fact, Satan could not even exist unless God created him. Evil is a corruption of good, a parasite. A personal agent who is totally and completely evil is, therefore, impossible.

    Why Don’t Christians Ordain a High Priest?

    Posted By on February 27, 2015

    If God commanded Moses to ordain a high priest, then why is it we aren’t doing that today? After all, the book of Leviticus recounts a 7-day ceremony meant to inaugurate the priesthood, and the high priesthood in particular, for the Israelites. If the Bible commands it, then why aren’t we doing it?

    Although the Old Testament books were written for us, they were not written to us.  They were written to ancient Israel, to a people who were saved from Egyptian slavery, and who agreed to a covenant with God, mediated through Moses. Since we are not living under the same covenant with God, then we cannot blindly apply Old Testament commands to our lives today. We must look to the new covenant described in the New Testament for guidance.

    When we look at the New Testament book of Hebrews, our questions are answered about the High Priest. The author of Hebrews makes it clear that Jesus Christ is our High Priest. As High Priest, he made a “sacrifice of atonement for the sins of the people,” he was faithful to his calling from God the Father, he resides in Heaven with the Father, he is able to “sympathize with our weaknesses,” and he is High Priest forever. The author of Hebrews summarizes:

    For it was fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, blameless, undefiled, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens. Unlike the other high priests, he has no need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for those of the people; this he did once for all when he offered himself. (Heb 7:26-27)

    Commentary on Leviticus 8-10 (The Ordination of Aaron and His Sons)

    Posted By on February 25, 2015

    The first seven chapters of Leviticus regulate the offerings to be given to God. Now that these instructions have been given, it is time for Aaron, the brother of Moses, and his four sons, to be anointed as the first Israelite priests under the new Mosaic covenant.

    Since there are no priests yet, Moses acts in the role of high priest to anoint Aaron and his sons, according to the commands of God. In verses 1-3, God gives Moses instructions to begin the anointing ceremony. The following people and items are needed: 1) Aaron and his four sons, 2) the garments that were made for them as specified by God in the book of Exodus, 3) anointing oil, 4) a bull for a sin offering, 5) two rams and bread without yeast for additional offerings, and 6) the elders representing all of the tribes and clans of Israel. Everyone was to gather in the tabernacle courtyard to witness what was about to happen.

    In verse 5, Moses says, “This is what the Lord has commanded to be done.” The entire process of ordination was detailed in Exodus 29, and Leviticus 8 and 9 confirm that Moses, Aaron, and the elders of Israel, did exactly as God had earlier commanded. Verses 6-29 recount the first day of the ordination of the first High Priest (Aaron) and his sons.

    Gordon J. Wenham, in The Book of Leviticus (The New International Commentary on the Old Testament), explains the significance of the role of high priest and his garments. “The nation of Israel as a whole was called to be a kingdom of priests (Exod. 19:6), and the church is also (1 Pet. 2:5; Rev. 1:6). Israel could see in the glorious figure of the high priest the personal embodiment of all that the nation ought to be both individually and corporately.”

    As we pick up at verse 30, we see Moses completing the first day’s ceremonies. Moses takes anointing oil and blood from the altar (placed there during the sacrifices of the bull and rams) and sprinkles Aaron and his sons with them. This completed the first day of the ordination (which would last 7 days).

    For the next 6 days, Aaron and his sons would have to offer sacrifices for themselves every day. Moses commands them not to leave the tabernacle courtyard for the remainder of the 7-day period, lest they become unclean.

    Moses explains to Aaron and his sons, in verse 34, that the ordination rituals just completed were to make atonement for their sins. After all, the primary duty of the High Priest was to atone for the sins of Israel so that Israel could remain in relationship with God. But the High Priest cannot make atonement for the people before he atones for his own sins. That was the purpose of the day’s sacrifices. Again, we see in verse 36 that they “did everything the Lord commanded through Moses.”

    Wenham brings out a central theme of chapter 8, the pervasiveness of sin. He writes,

    In this section one doctrine emerges very clearly: the universality and pervasiveness of sin. The men chosen to minister to God in the tabernacle pollute the tabernacle and therefore purification offerings have to be offered. Their clothes and bodies are stained with sin and they must be smeared with blood to purify them. These sacrifices are not offered just once; they have to be repeated, because sin is deep-rooted in human nature and often recurs. There is no once-for-all cleansing known to the OT. It is the incorrigibility of the human heart that these ordination ceremonies bring into focus.

    In chapter 9, we have moved ahead to the 8th day of the ordination of Aaron and his sons. Now that they have atoned for their sins, it is time for them to atone for the sins of all of Israel. In verses 1-5, Moses explains all of the offerings that must be made for the people. The purpose for the sacrifices is stated in verse 6: “This is what the Lord has commanded you to do, so that the glory of the Lord may appear to you.” Once the sins of Aaron and sons were atoned for, and then the sins of the rest of Israel were atoned for, God would appear and confirm his presence and covenant with Israel.

    In verse 22 of chapter 9, Aaron completes the sacrifices for the people of Israel. With the process completed Moses and Aaron go into the tabernacle. When they come back out, God’s glory appears in the form of fire on the brazen altar that instantly consumes all of the remaining offering. The elders of Israel react as any of us would when confronted with the God of the universe. They fell flat on their faces and shouted for joy!

    Why was the whole process of sacrifices and ordination necessary for God’s presence to be made known? Wenham comments:

    Aaron’s gorgeous garments, the multiplicity of animal sacrifices, were not ends in themselves but only means to the end, namely, the proper worship of God. These elaborate vestments and sacrifices helped simple human minds appreciate the majestic holiness of God. But all the ritual in the OT would have been pointless if God had not deigned to reveal himself to the people. The clothing and the sacrifices merely helped to put the worshippers in a state of mind that was prepared for God’s coming, and removed the obstacles of human sin that prevented fellowship, but they did not necessarily ensure God’s presence.

    Throughout all of chapters 8 and 9, we are reminded that every command of God was followed with exactitude. In the first three verses of chapter 10, however, we see what happens when the newly anointed priests disobey God’s commands.

    Aaron’s two oldest sons, Nadab and Abihu, offer incense to God, but they do it in a way that is unauthorized, that is contrary to God’s commands. The text is not clear as to their exact violation. Some scholars have speculated that they performed a Canaanite or Egyptian ritual. Regardless, it seems they knew what they were doing and they paid for their disobedience with their lives.

    Fire consumed both of them, fire from God. Moses, in verse 3, explains to Aaron that the priests must honor God because he is holy, with the implication being that Nadab and Abihu did not honor God. Rather than dispute what Moses said, Aaron remained silent.

    What are we to make of the death of Aaron’s sons? It seems that the closer a man is to God (Levite priest being very close indeed) the stricter is the standard by which he will be judged. The New Testament reiterates this teaching. Consider Luke 12:48: “Everyone to whom much is given, of him will much be required.” Peter said in 1 Pet 4:17, “Judgment begins with the household of God.” James said in James 3:1, “We who teach shall be judged with greater strictness.” Christians in visible leadership are held to a higher standard.

    Will We Lose Our Identities in Heaven?

    Posted By on February 23, 2015

    No, but this seems to concern some believers. Author Randy Alcorn, in his book Heaven, deals with this question.

    A man wrote me expressing his fear of losing his identity in Heaven: “Will being like Jesus mean the obliteration of self?” He was afraid that we’d all be alike, that he and his treasured friends would lose their distinguishing traits and eccentricities that make them special.

    But he needn’t worry. We can all be like Jesus in character yet remain very different from each other in personality. Distinctiveness is God’s creation, not Satan’s. What makes us unique will survive. In fact, much of our uniqueness may be uncovered for the first time.

    At the very end of Mere Christianity, C. S. Lewis writes, “Until you have given up your self to Him you will not have a real self. Sameness is to be found most among the most ‘natural’ men, not among those who surrender to Christ. How monotonously alike all the great tyrants and conquerors have been: how gloriously different are the saints. . . . Nothing in you that has not died will ever be raised from the dead. Look for yourself, and you will find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin, and decay. But look for Christ and you will find Him , and with Him everything else thrown in.”

    There is a profound lesson here. The more like Christ we become, or the more we approach the good, the true, and the beautiful, the more unique, fascinating, and special we become. The farther away we move from Christ, or the more we move toward the evil, the false, and the ugly, the more dull and monotonous we become.

    God brings out the best in us, and so we can never reach our full, glorious potential away from Him.

    Is There Any Scientific Controversy Over Darwinian Evolution? Part 2

    Posted By on February 20, 2015

    After writing part 1 of this blog post almost 3 years ago, I received several comments along the lines of, “Just because one scientist, James Shapiro, disagrees with the idea that natural selection acting on random mutations is the main engine of evolutionary change, does not mean there is a controversy.”

    My goal in quoting Shapiro was not to state merely that Shapiro diverges from evolutionary orthodoxy, but to encourage the reader to go off and do some more reading to see that there are many more dissenting scientists, just like him. To help along that process, I’ve quoted from an article below that lists several more examples of the controversy. This is obviously not an exhaustive list, but is meant to lead truly curious readers to do more reading themselves. For those of you who have already decided that there is no controversy, don’t waste your time reading any further. You’ll just get more upset.

    Here is Casey Luskin in an article he wrote for the Christian Research Journal titled “The New Theistic Evolutionists.” Luskin notes that

    highly credible scientists doubt the neo-Darwinian view that natural selection acting on random mutation was the driving force building the complexity of life. Lynn Margulis, a member of the National Academy of Sciences, explained that “neo-Darwinists say that new species emerge when mutations occur and modify an organism,” and admitted, “I believed it until I looked for evidence.”

    In 2008, sixteen leading biologists convened in Altenberg, Austria, to discuss problems with the neo-Darwinian synthesis. When covering this conference, Nature quoted leading scientists saying things like “evolutionary theory has told us little about” important events like “the origin of wings and the invasion of the land.”

    That same year, Cornell evolutionary biologist William Provine explained that “every assertion of the evolutionary synthesis below is false,” including: “natural selection was the primary mechanism at every level of the evolutionary process,” “macroevolution was a simple extension of microevolution,” and “evolution produces a tree of life.”

    Luskin adds:

    The following year, leading biologist Eugene Koonin wrote that breakdowns in core neo-Darwinian tenets such as the “traditional concept of the tree of life” or that “natural selection is the main driving force of evolution” indicate “the modem synthesis has crumbled, apparently, beyond repair.” . . . Koonin mentioned growing skepticism over the “tree of life,” and the technical literature contains numerous examples of conflicting evolutionary trees, challenging universal common ancestry.

    An article in Nature reported that “disparities between molecular and morphological trees” lead to “evolution wars” because “evolutionary trees constructed by studying biological molecules often don’t resemble those drawn up from morphology.” Another Nature paper reported that newly discovered genes “are tearing apart traditional ideas about the animal family tree,” since they “give a totally different tree from what everyone else wants.”

    A 2009 article in New Scientist observes that “many biologists now argue that the tree concept is obsolete and needs to be discarded.” So severe are problems that a 2012 paper in Annual Review of Genetics proposed “life might indeed have multiple origins.”

    Again, if you want to argue that there is no controversy, you are simply ignorant of what’s going on. Instead of trying to shout down any one who says there is a controversy, your time would be better spent spend studying the differing views on evolution so that you can truly understand the issues involved.

    What Is the Pantheist Answer to Evil?

    Posted By on February 18, 2015

    The universal human experience of evil is a problem for all worldviews, not just Christianity. Philosopher Norm Geisler, in his book If God, Why Evil?: A New Way to Think About the Questionexplains that there are three main views on evil that come from the “big three” worldviews of pantheism, atheism, theism.

    Pantheism affirms God and denies evil.

    Atheism affirms evil and denies God.

    Theism affirms both God and evil.

    In a previous blog post, I explained why the existence of objective evil is a devastating problem for the atheist worldview, but why is the pantheist answer to evil also problematic? Geisler explains:

    In general, pantheists believe God exists but deny the existence of evil. They believe God is good, God is All, and hence there is no evil. Mary Baker Eddy, founder of Christian Science, held this view, maintaining that “evil is an error of [the] moral mind.”

    Most people, however, find it difficult to accept this answer. The old limerick summarizes their conundrum well:

    “There was a Faith Healer of deal

    Who said ‘Although pain isn’t real,

    If I sit upon a pin,

    And it punctures my skin,

    I dislike what I fancy I feel!'”

    So why is this a problem for the pantheist view?

    In short, if evil is not real, then why does it hurt so badly? If pain, suffering, and death are not real, then how do we explain where the illusion came from? And why does everyone have it? Further, why is the illusion so persistent? Why can’t we make it go away?

    When we wonder whether we are dreaming or awake, we can pinch ourselves. We know we have been dreaming because we wake up. But we don’t wake up from suffering, which always surrounds us and often invades us. We can tell an illusion because there is always a backdrop of reality by which we know it is an illusion. But evil is part of the backdrop of life itself. How then can it be illusory?

    The pantheist is then left with claiming that the pervasive, universal phenomena of human suffering is unreal, an illusion. Rather than explaining what evil is, the pantheist has simply denied its existence. On top of that, I can guarantee that every person that claims evil and suffering are illusions, act every day as if they are real. The pantheist view of evil is simply unlivable and incoherent.

    Why Can’t Science Explain Consciousness?

    Posted By on February 16, 2015

    It is not uncommon these days to hear something like the following: “Science has explained just about everything else in the world, so it is inevitable that science will explain the mind and consciousness.” This kind of comment always makes me roll my eyes because the people who make this comment are making a colossal error, but an error that can be hard to see.

    Philosopher Ed Feser gives a brilliant analogy that makes the error more obvious. He calls it the “lump under the rug” fallacy.

    Suppose the wood floors of your house are filthy and that the dirt is pretty evenly spread throughout the house.  Suppose also that there is a rug in one of the hallways.  You thoroughly sweep out one of the bedrooms and form a nice little pile of dirt at the doorway.  It occurs to you that you could effectively “get rid” of this pile by sweeping it under the nearby rug in the hallway, so you do so.  The lump under the rug thereby formed is barely noticeable, so you are pleased.

    You proceed to sweep the rest of the bedrooms, the bathroom, the kitchen, etc., and in each case you sweep the resulting piles under the same rug.  When you’re done, however, the lump under the rug has become quite large and something of an eyesore.  Someone asks you how you are going to get rid of it.  “Easy!” you answer.  “The same way I got rid of the dirt everywhere else!  After all, the ‘sweep it under the rug’ method has worked everywhere else in the house.  How could this little rug in the hallway be the one place where it wouldn’t work?  What are the odds of that?”

    What is wrong with using the “sweep it under the rug” method to get rid of the dirt under the rug?

    Naturally, the same method will not work in this case, and it is precisely because it worked everywhere else that it cannot work in this case.  You can get rid of dirt outside the rug by sweeping it under the rug.  You cannot get of the dirt under the rug by sweeping it under the rug.  You will only make a fool of yourself if you try, especially if you confidently insist that the method must work here because it has worked so well elsewhere.

    So what does the “sweep it under the rug” method have to do with the issue of whether science will explain the mind and consciousness some day?

    Now, the “Science has explained everything else, so how could the human mind be the one exception?” move is, of course, standard scientistic and materialist shtick.  But it is no less fallacious than our imagined “lump under the rug” argument.

    Here’s why.  Keep in mind that Descartes, Newton, and the other founders of modern science essentially stipulated that nothing that would not fit their exclusively quantitative or “mathematicized” conception of matter would be allowed to count as part of a “scientific” explanation.  Now to common sense, the world is filled with irreducibly qualitative features — colors, sounds, odors, tastes, heat and cold — and with purposes and meanings.  None of this can be analyzed in quantitative terms.

    To be sure, you can re-define color in terms of a surface’s reflection of light of certain wavelengths, sound in terms of compression waves, heat and cold in terms of molecular motion, etc.  But that doesn’t capture what common sense means by color, sound, heat, cold, etc. — the way red looks, the way an explosion sounds, the way heat feels, etc.  So, Descartes and Co. decided to treat these irreducibly qualitative features as projections of the mind.

    The redness we see in a “Stop” sign, as common sense understands redness, does not actually exist in the sign itself but only as the quale of our conscious visual experience of the sign; the heat we attribute to the bathwater, as common sense understands heat, does not exist in the water itself but only in the “raw feel” that the high mean molecular kinetic energy of the water causes us to experience; meanings and purposes do not exist in external material objects but only in our minds, and we project these onto the world; and so forth.  Objectively there are only colorless, odorless, soundless, tasteless, meaningless particles in fields of force.

    In short, the scientific method “explains everything else” in the world in something like the way the “sweep it under the rug” method gets rid of dirt — by taking the irreducibly qualitative and teleological features of the world, which don’t fit the quantitative methods of science, and sweeping them under the rug of the mind.  And just as the literal “sweep it under the rug” method generates under the rug a bigger and bigger pile of dirt which cannot in principle be gotten rid of using the “sweep it under the rug” method, so too does modern science’s method of treating irreducibly qualitative, semantic, and teleological features as mere projections of the mind generate in the mind a bigger and bigger “pile” of features which cannot be explained using the same method.

    And there you have it. The very way science does its work is to exclude the qualitative features of reality as experienced by human consciousness. To lump the phenomena of consciousness in with the phenomena of gravity, cellular division, and star formation, is to try to get rid of the dirt under the rug by sweeping the dirt under the rug! It won’t work, ever.

    Why Don’t Christians Sacrifice Animals to Atone for Sins?

    Posted By on February 13, 2015

    There are many commands given by God to the Israelites at Mount Sinai that Christians do not obey, animal sacrifice being one of them. Aren’t we disobeying God by not following his commands? Skeptics of Christianity love to read through the Book of Leviticus and point out how inconsistent we are in obeying God’s commands. How do we explain this?

    In general terms, Christians are told by New Testament writers that we are under a new covenant and that the old covenant given to Moses at Mount Sinai (often called “the Law”) is obsolete (see Heb 8:13 and Rom 7:6, for example). Therefore, there is no obligation for Christians to obey any commands in Leviticus without further consideration about how those commands should be applied by New Testament believers.

    More specifically, the New Testament teaches that Jesus Christ is the all-sufficient sacrifice for all of mankind’s sins, so further sacrifices are unnecessary. Jesus said he came “to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45). Paul said, “Walk in love as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God” (Eph. 5:2). Peter said, “You were ransomed . . . with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot” (1 Pet. 1:18–19). And finally, Heb. 7:27 mentions the daily sacrifices the Levite priests offered, but Christ offered one sacrifice “once for all when he offered up himself.”

    Commentary on Leviticus 1 (Sacrifices)

    Posted By on February 11, 2015

    The book of Leviticus opens with God calling to Moses from the Tent of Meeting. God wants Moses to instruct the Israelites how to bring offerings to Him, now that the tabernacle complex (God’s home among the Israelites) has been constructed. Remember that offerings had been made to God as early as Abraham, so it wasn’t that God was introducing new kinds of offerings to the people, but He was instead teaching them how to do these offerings now that there is a new covenant between them (represented by the stone tablets containing the Ten Commandments).

    There are five kinds of offerings that are regulated in Leviticus: burnt, grain, fellowship, sin, and guilt. We will only dig into the burnt offering, as it is the most important and the first to be regulated.

    The person who wants to give a burnt offering to God may choose between 3 kinds of domesticated animals: 1) cattle, 2) sheep or goats, or 3) doves and pigeons. Cattle were worth more than sheep and goats, but sheep and goats were worth more than doves and pigeons. Which animal was offered depended on the relative wealth of the person giving the burnt offering. In each case, however, the offering was a significant economic sacrifice. These domesticated animals provided food, clothing, and many other essential things for people living at this time. To give up one of these animals was painful.

    In verses 3-9, the instructions for the sacrifice of cattle is given. These verses teach us important truths about the process. First, in verse 3, we see that the cow must be a male without defect. Male cattle (bull) were more valuable than female and a bull without defect was worth more than a bull with defects. Only the best was allowed for the burnt offering to God.

    Continuing in verse 3, the person making the sacrifice is to bring it to the entrance of the tabernacle courtyard (“entrance curtain” in this illustration – http://www.karbelmultimedia.com/portfolio/the-tabernacle/).

    In verse 5, the person offering the bull must place his hands on the head of the bull so that the bull’s sacrifice can make atonement for the offerer. What does atonement refer to here? According to Gordon J. Wenham in The Book of Leviticus (The New International Commentary on the Old Testament), “The worshipper acknowledged his guilt and responsibility for his sins by pressing his hand on the animal’s head and confessing his sin. The lamb [or bull or bird] was accepted as the ransom price for the guilty man.”

    Verses 5-9 dictate that the person giving the burnt offering must kill the bull himself, skin the bull, cut the bull into pieces, and then wash the parts of the bull in water. The Levite priests will capture dripping blood from the animal and sprinkle the blood on the brazen altar (see illustration above). After the offerer has completed the above steps, the priests will arrange the pieces of the bull on the brazen altar and burn all of it.

    Gordon Wenham explains the significance of the ritual to those participating:

    Using a little imagination every reader of the OT soon realizes that these ancient sacrifices were very moving occasions. They make modern church services seem tame and dull by comparison. The ancient worshipper did not just listen to the minister and sing a few hymns. He was actively involved in the worship. He had to choose an unblemished animal from his own flock, bring it to the sanctuary, kill it and dismember it with his own hands, then watch it go up in smoke before his very eyes. He was convinced that something very significant was achieved through these acts and knew that his relationship with God was profoundly affected by this sacrifice.

    The rest of Leviticus 1 explains similar processes for the offering of goats, sheep, doves, and pigeons. The only difference for the birds is that because they are so small, the priests end up performing most of the ceremony.

    So what is the overall purpose of the burnt offering? Wenham summarizes for us:

    The burnt offering was the commonest of all the OT sacrifices. Its main function was to atone for man’s sin by propitiating God’s wrath. In the immolation of the animal, most commonly a lamb, God’s judgment against human sin was symbolized and the animal suffered in man’s place. The worshipper acknowledged his guilt and responsibility for his sins by pressing his hand on the animal’s head and confessing his sin. The lamb was accepted as the ransom price for the guilty man.

    The daily use of the sacrifice in the worship of the temple and tabernacle was a constant reminder of man’s sinfulness and God’s holiness. So were its occasional usages after sickness, childbirth, and vows. In bringing a sacrifice a man acknowledged his sinfulness and guilt. He also publicly confessed his faith in the Lord, his thankfulness for past blessing, and his resolve to live according to God’s holy will all the days of his life.

    Will We Have Desires in Heaven?

    Posted By on February 9, 2015

    Buddhism teaches that the human problem is that we have desires. All desires are bad and Buddhist “heaven” consists of a state where we stop desiring anything. This understanding of the human condition is completely at odds with Christianity. Christianity teaches that there are good desires and bad desires. Our problem is the bad desires. So what will Christian Heaven be like?

    Let’s see what Randy Alcorn has to say about this in his book Heaven.

    We’ll have many desires in Heaven, but they won’t be unholy desires. Everything we want will be good. Our desires will please God. All will be right with the world, nothing forbidden. When a father cooks steaks on the barbecue grill, he wants his family to listen to them sizzle and eagerly desire to eat them. God created our desires and every object we desire. He loves it when our mouths water for what he’s prepared for us. When we enjoy it, we’ll be enjoying him.

    One of the greatest things about Heaven is that we’ll no longer have to battle our desires. They’ll always be pure, attending to their proper objects. We’ll enjoy food without gluttony and eating disorders. We’ll express admiration and affection without lust, fornication, or betrayal. Those simply won’t exist.

    Alcorn continues:

    Christianity is unique in its perspective of our desires, teaching that they will be sanctified and fulfilled on the New Earth. . . . Christianity teaches that Jesus takes our sins away while redeeming our desires. Desire is an essential part of humanity, a part that God built into people before sin cast its dark shadow on earth . I’m looking forward to having my desires redeemed. (Even now, as redeemed children of God, we get tastes of that, don’t we?)

    Won’t it be wonderful to be free from uncertainty about our desires? We often wonder, Is it good or bad for me to want this thing or that award or his approval or her appreciation? Sometimes I don’t know which desires are right and which aren’t. I long to be released from the uncertainty and the doubt. I long to be capable of always wanting what’s good and right.

    He concludes:

    God placed just one restriction on Adam and Eve in Eden, and when they disregarded it, the universe unraveled. On the New Earth, that test will no longer be before us. God’s law, the expression of his attributes, will be written on our hearts (Hebrews 8:10). No rules will be needed, for our hearts will be given over to God. David said, “Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37: 4 ). Why? Because when we delight in God and abide in him, whatever we want will be exactly what he wants for us.  What we should do will at last be identical with what we want to do. There will be no difference between duty and joy.

    In Heaven we will be completely free to always desire what is good and right. Our freedom will no longer be tainted with the ability to choose what is evil.

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