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NWR: The Reason for God by Keller

Anyone else read Timothy Keller's book The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism?

Thoughts? Did it answer any lingering questions for you about your faith?

I thought it was amazing; well written and very thorough.  There are still some points he tried to make that I don't "buy" or, I guess questions/doubts I still have but overall I'm very happy I read it.  Gives me more to work with when talking about my faith with friends/family who still aren't sure what they believe.
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Re: NWR: The Reason for God by Keller

  • edited December 2011
    Excellent book. We went through it in one of our college gatherings. I think the book does well what it was meant to be: give an overview of some of the common questions and arguments, and then address those from a Christian worldview. Personally I found that the quotes at the beginning of each chapter were extremely accurate, I have literally heard most of those problems/arguments over dinner at college. I think that most (all?) of the issues he discusses have more in-depth answers by other authors/leaders, but as an overview I think his is great.

    I have found all of his writing to be challenging. I would *highly* suggest his "Galatians" Bible study. It  is absolutely the most life-changing study I have done. It's about 13/14 weeks and goes verse by verse through Galatians. I have done it 3 times and have learned something new and been challenged in different ways. Just a thought =).
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  • golden1215golden1215
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    edited December 2011
    Oh thanks for the recommendation- I'll add that to my list.  So many things I want to read, not enough hours in the day! 
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  • edited December 2011
    I haven't read that book, but there is a series of books by Lee Strobel that is absolutely a faith-strengthening series:

    The Case for Christ
    The Case for Creation
    The Case for Faith

    Lee Strobel was an atheist who was challenged to find irrefutable proof to deny Christianity, and is also a lawyer.  He approached it from a legal standpoint -- having undeniable proof that Christ is who he said he is, that Faith is what we must have, and that Creation DID happen (and for those who have a evolution + christ view, this would be the book for you to read to understand the scientific proof to why Creation is historical and accurate as opposed to scientific theories which are STILL only theories, not fact). 

    Anyway, I ramble.  If I have some time I'll check out Keller's book.  He is a fantastic author to read.
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  • edited December 2011
    If anyone is interested in the science/faith area, I really recommend "Redeeming Science." My fiance is a biology major and I got it for him last year, and he loved it. It is very thorough and to us it was more academic than a lot of the other Christian evolution/creation books. It is very well-researched and cited. I don't necessarily understand everything because I'm more of a physics/math person than bio/chem, but the book is also more broadly about approaching science/math in a God-glorifying way which I found to be applicable and more accessible. It also goes into some more theories that Christian scientists have come up with that don't get as much press that I found to be *really* intriguing. Overall I think it has helped him a lot being a bio major in a department that is largely atheist/agnostic and very hostile to Christians.

    Sorry for all the book suggestions, my FI and I are avid readers and I can't help but share books that have been inspiring/encouraging for us.
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  • golden1215golden1215
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    edited December 2011
    In Response to Re: NWR: The Reason for God by Keller:
    I haven't read that book, but there is a series of books by Lee Strobel that is absolutely a faith-strengthening series: The Case for Christ The Case for Creation The Case for Faith Lee Strobel was an atheist who was challenged to find irrefutable proof to deny Christianity, and is also a lawyer.  He approached it from a legal standpoint -- having undeniable proof that Christ is who he said he is, that Faith is what we must have, and that Creation DID happen (and for those who have a evolution + christ view, this would be the book for you to read to understand the scientific proof to why Creation is historical and accurate as opposed to scientific theories which are STILL only theories, not fact).  Anyway, I ramble.  If I have some time I'll check out Keller's book.  He is a fantastic author to read.
    Posted by kellya01
    wait... evolution (single celled organisms to cavemen to modern humans etc) as a theory and Creation, as in God created 1 man and 1 woman is fact? Is that what you're saying?
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  • edited December 2011
    In Response to Re: NWR: The Reason for God by Keller:
    In Response to Re: NWR: The Reason for God by Keller : wait... evolution (single celled organisms to cavemen to modern humans etc) as a theory and Creation, as in God created 1 man and 1 woman is fact? Is that what you're saying?
    Posted by golden1215

    Sorry golden1215, I probably rambled and confused words in my PP.  I do not believe in the theory of evolution.  I believe that God created the world and everything in it.  God created man, and I believe this beyond a shadow of a doubt.  

    Books that are based in the Bible are a great starting point, but no matter what the book is, even if you think the author is trustworthy, it never hurts to check the text with what God says. 

    [edited because I'm mentally exhausted and needed to re-think my rambling words.]
    July 16, Our Wedding Day, is also International Juggling Day!
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  • golden1215golden1215
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    edited December 2011
    Kellya- Then I must ask, do you believe in polygamy?  Can your husband take many wives and/or concubines?  Do you believe a soldier should be able to force a woman to marry him against her will?  Should rape victims be required to marry their attacker? If your husband dies are you going to marry his brother?

    Because all of those things are in the Bible.

    I am in no way attacking you, just saying a literal reading of the Bible leaves your life pretty freaking miserable.  Especially a life lived in accordance to the OT.
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  • edited December 2011
    This debate is for minds more educated in Biblical theology than my own.  I strive every day to love as Jesus has loved me, to share the good news of Jesus Christ and his redeeming love, and to live that in my actions and words... to be like Christ.  I'm not perfect, but I'm definitely not miserable.  God is doing some amazing things in my life and I love that this forum is here for others of similar mind.  We'll most certainly have different points of view on the subjects batted around, that is to be expected with the many people who interpret the Bible and the many branches of Christianity.  There are a bunch of websites available on the commandments and how the OT applies to Christians.  I don't mean to assume anything about anyone here.  I am just so overjoyed with how God has found ways to provide for me in my times of need, rejoice with me in my times of contentment, and to carry me in my times of hurt.  Praise be to God!!! 
    July 16, Our Wedding Day, is also International Juggling Day!
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  • golden1215golden1215
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    edited December 2011
    Kellya- I understand where you're coming from.  I studied theology and ethics at a Jesuit university after years and years of parochial education so I feel pretty versed in the evolution vs creation debate and I'm just saying if you're going to read the Bible literally, then you need to read the whole thing literally.  You can't pick and choose which parts are infallible and which are not.  So, if God created man (as in actual human) then God also created woman as inferior to man and we are in for a rough life.

    I choose to view the Bible as a living document which must be looked at in the time and worldview in which it was written.  I believe in the major truths and teachings of the Bible but, since God doens't have a type writer up in Heaven, I have to be realistic about the fact that is was written by man.

    Glad to hear about your financial good news!  I swear every time I think I'm up financial creek without a paddle, money comes from somewhere.  God is good.
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  • fpaemp2011fpaemp2011
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    edited December 2011
    In Response to Re: NWR: The Reason for God by Keller:
    In Response to Re: NWR: The Reason for God by Keller : wait... evolution (single celled organisms to cavemen to modern humans etc) as a theory and Creation, as in God created 1 man and 1 woman is fact? Is that what you're saying?
    Posted by golden1215
    I believe this as well...that our awesome Father God created the universe and everything in it less than 10,000 years ago, in 6 literal days, including Adam, with Eve being created later on day 6.

    In Response to Re: NWR: The Reason for God by Keller:
    Kellya- Then I must ask, do you believe in polygamy?  Can your husband take many wives and/or concubines?  Do you believe a soldier should be able to force a woman to marry him against her will?  Should rape victims be required to marry their attacker? If your husband dies are you going to marry his brother? Because all of those things are in the Bible. I am in no way attacking you, just saying a literal reading of the Bible leaves your life pretty freaking miserable.  Especially a life lived in accordance to the OT.
    Posted by golden1215
    The Law was fulfilled through Christ's sacrficial death, and just because the account was in the Bible does not mean it was "ok" in God's eyes.

    In Response to Re: NWR: The Reason for God by Keller:
      So, if God created man (as in actual human) then God also created woman as inferior to man and we are in for a rough life.
    Posted by golden1215
    Where did you find that?  Everything I have ever learned in my Baptist Sunday School, Church, and my Fundamental Baptist University, has taught that men are to love their wives as Christ loves the Church, and women are to respect their husbands and their leadership as the head of the home, as Christ is the head of the Church.  I have never been taught (or read) that I am "inferior" to a man.

    In Response to Re: NWR: The Reason for God by Keller:
    You can't pick and choose which parts are infallible and which are not.... I choose to view the Bible as a living document which must be looked at in the time and worldview in which it was written.  I believe in the major truths and teachings of the Bible but, since God doens't have a type writer up in Heaven, I have to be realistic about the fact that is was written by man.
    Posted by golden1215
    All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 ESV
  • edited December 2011
    Aw, Emily I LOVE your picture of the reading from Luke!  What a precious group of loved ones!!  

    Thanks for posting the verses you found -- I have those tucked away somewhere but just am not as fresh in my Bible as I used to be.  I'm getting it back, but it is taking time.  God has been working on me for the past 3 years and it has been really tough to remember to rely on God.  It's important that I get back to the Word so I can be more prepared for questions such as these in the future!! 
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  • edited December 2011
    I think this is a really complicated issue. I remember Keller addressing it in the sense of someone can be a Christian and still believe in evolution. I think the distinction that needs to be made is between naturalistic evolution vs. God as creator. Christians have always affirmed that God is the creator, this is consistently affirmed throughout the Bible and church history. But, some Christians argue that God could use evolutionary processes to create, while he is still the creator. In contrast, naturalism seeks to specifically reject any intervention of another being. Personally, I think that if you deny that there was a historical Adam and Eve you end up with some theological problems, specifically in Romans where Paul uses the fact that sin came through the world through one man (Adam) in the same way Christ will pay for the sins of his people.

    I just found that the book I mention, Redeeming Science, has a pdf version online right now if you just search "redeeming science" in google. I think that Ch 4 (the significance of God as creator, naturalism, etc.) and Ch 5 (goes into various theories related to modern science) are most pertinent to this discussion and would recommend them for anyone who wants to go further into the topic.

    Also, I think there is a difference between "literally" interpreting the Bible and believing it is inerrant. Different passages are meant to be read in certain ways. That is part of the complication of Gen 1, because it is in a poetic language. Similarly, the Psalms are often poetic, so it is important to interpret the those passages accordingly. I think there is also difficulty in using the argument about the old laws. I know there is no way I can do justice to this idea, but there are important things to consider when looking at the laws in the Old Testament- especially related to the fact that Isreal was an actual political nation to be ruled by  God and that those laws had specific contexts and meanings for those people at that time. We also see in the NT, as others mentioned, that Christ perfectly fulfilled the law and that the law was meant to reveal sin because it could not be attained perfectly by us. Also, in the gospels (esp. John) we see that Christ was fulfilling all of the aspects of the law and the festivals and that all of those were to point to Christ. When we are saved, we are not only forgiven of our sins, but also given the righteousness of Christ. Paul sums up that the law is love (although not necessarily what our culture dictates is love) and our lives after the new covenant are meant to reflect this.

    Obviously this is a really detailed issue that is difficult to do justice to on an internet forum. But I hope that maybe gives a little perspective of how a few of us (perhaps?) see the issue.

    I would add along with the others, that a view of inerrancy does not lead to a miserable life, but rather leads to hope and trust in God through how he has revealed himself in the Bible. I know I could add more but I will leave it at that. =)

    Once again, sorry for my long posts...I need to work on that!
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  • golden1215golden1215
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    edited December 2011
    So is that 7 days in our time or God's time?  Do you presume to confine God and His works to our human understanding of the passage of time?  Like, God goes to bed everynight at 8:00pm and gets up the next day at 6:00 am and keeps working?

    I believe in God as Creator which allows for evolution and the passage of eons of time.  God is in no rush.  He has forever.  Why couldnt he have created the Big Bang and let things evolve on their own?  He is running late for some meeting?
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  • fpaemp2011fpaemp2011
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    edited December 2011
    In Response to Re: NWR: The Reason for God by Keller:
    So is that 7 days in our time or God's time?  Do you presume to confine God and His works to our human understanding of the passage of time?  Like, God goes to bed everynight at 8:00pm and gets up the next day at 6:00 am and keeps working? I believe in God as Creator which allows for evolution and the passage of eons of time.  God is in no rush.  He has forever.  Why couldnt he have created the Big Bang and let things evolve on their own?  He is running late for some meeting?
    Posted by golden1215
    I believe the creation account in Genesis was 6 literal days in our time, the 7th being the day of rest.  He even says in Genesis 1:3-5, "And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day." 

    Even if one uses the argument from 2 Peter 3:8-9, "But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.  The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance," it doesn't make sense. 

    First, this passage refers to living in anticipation of Christ's return, but remembering that no one but the Father knows when that will be.  If one applies this to the creation account, and take one day as 1,000 years, that would mean there would be 1,000 years between the creation of plants and vegetation on day 3 and the sun, moon, and stars on day 4.  Without the rhythms of the seasons, those plants would not have survived 1,000 years.  They also would have gone without cross pollination by birds and bees for another 1,000 years, since they were created on day 5 (fish & winged creatures). 

    I believe in an omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent Father God who intricately created each detail to work in harmony.  If I thought the He just snapped His fingers and sat down to watch what happened, how could I believe that He would want to make a way for me to have an intimate relationship with Him?  I also believe that Jonah spent 3 literal days in the belly of a fish, and that Christ spent 3 literal days in the grave before the Resurrection.  If one choses to believe that the creation account is just poetic and not really totally true, then how can they believe that the Death and Resurrection of Christ (thus the hope our faith depends on) is true, and not just a nice story?
  • golden1215golden1215
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    edited December 2011
    Because you have to take each book of the Bible in the style it was written.  Almost all Biblical scholars agree that Gensis, and many other books, are written in poetic and lyrical ways.  The NT however, specifically the 4 gospels, are written as actual accounts.  So yes, I do believe Jesus was in the tomb for 3 days, but I do not think God created everything in the universe in 168 hours.
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  • naomikbnaomikb
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    edited December 2011
    I am new to this board.... been browsing it recently but haven't really posted.  This discussion has me quite interested though.

    Golden1215...  I'd like to chat with you more.  I'm in line with all your thinking as well - God worked through evolution, and not reading the Bible literally.  People wrote the words in the Bible, inspired by God and God's works, and they have been translated dozens of times since they were written.  Entire books of the Bible are missing, that were removed hundreds of years ago by a committee. 

    I've been in search of a good Christian book that emphasizes these principles, and not that the earth is 6000 years old.  Do you have one (or an author) to suggest?  Is The Case for Christ series good?  I've had difficulty finding one that is appropriate... I'm open to reading differing opinions in order to make my own decisions but I don't want to read a book that is written by someone who has totally totally different fundamentals in their life.  You strongly support Timothy Keller's book(s)?

  • golden1215golden1215
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    edited December 2011
    Keller is good, he believes in God as the Creator (i.e. Big Bang then evolution) with God "intervening" in some points throughout the history of the earth to make creation more beautiful.  I've only read on his one book but I plan to read this one next (or perhaps the longer 2008 version of it)

    http://www.amazon.com/Love-Jesus-Accept-Evolution/dp/1556358865/ref=sr_1_16?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1293586352&sr=1-16
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  • golden1215golden1215
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    edited December 2011
    fpaemp2011 - also, another thought, days and nights are not always set.  In far north locations- Iceland, Sweden etc- days and nights can go on for days.  The north pole, in fact, has 6 straight months of sun followed by 6 straight months of dark.
     
    So again, what is a "day" and what is a "night"? 
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  • naomikbnaomikb
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    edited December 2011
    Thanks Golden.  I was actually out this afternoon exchanging a book that I got duplicates of for Christmas, and traded it in for The Reason for God.  I'll let you know how it goes.

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