Discussion board forum 4 THEO 525 Reply to Phillip and Noah

 Read your classmates’ threads and post a reply to at least 2 other classmates’ threads (200–250 words) by 11:59 p.m. (ET) Friday. Provide thoughtful analysis and evaluation of the threads. Also, make sure you interact theologically and critically to the posts.   

Replies
1. Directly addresses the classmates’ threads by providing thoughtful analysis and evaluation.
2. Must reflect a strong understanding of the subject material. You may provide additional thoughts from the text or other theological resources that would contribute to the subject being discussed.
3. As stated above, avoid casual talks and testimonies by interacting theologically and critically.  If you disagree with a classmate, respectfully argue your case and seek to edify him or her.
4. It must be well-written. Curt responses such as “I agree with you,” “Ditto,” “You took the words right out of my mouth,” “You go, Bob!” etc., are not appropriate.
5. If you reply to more than 2 classmates’ threads in a forum, please specify which 2 replies you want counted for your grade by commenting accordingly at the end of both replies.  The third and fourth replies (and any more) will not count towards your grade.
6. Greetings, citations, and closings are not part of the total word count.
7. Please review the DB Forum Replies Rubric in order to maximize your grade.  
Replies
1. Directly addresses the classmates’ threads by providing thoughtful analysis and evaluation.
2. Must reflect a strong understanding of the subject material. You may provide additional thoughts from the text or other theological resources that would contribute to the subject being discussed.
3. As stated above, avoid casual talks and testimonies by interacting theologically and critically.  If you disagree with a classmate, respectfully argue your case and seek to edify him or her.
4. It must be well-written. Curt responses such as “I agree with you,” “Ditto,” “You took the words right out of my mouth,” “You go, Bob!” etc., are not appropriate.
5. If you reply to more than 2 classmates’ threads in a forum, please specify which 2 replies you want counted for your grade by commenting accordingly at the end of both replies.  The third and fourth replies (and any more) will not count towards your grade.
6. Greetings, citations, and closings are not part of the total word count.
7. Please review the DB Forum Replies Rubric in order to maximize your grade.

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 Reply to Phillip

Any theological development is important, supposing of course that it’s a development and not a regression of biblical theology. It’s impossible for anyone to achieve a full understanding of God, human limitations prevent it, so there is always room for improvement. Throughout this course of study I am grateful to say that my theology has been generally honed by interacting with it. The more we read and study, the more we talk about theology and discover where our comprehension is lacking, the more we can be honed. The more we can interact with one another theologically, the more the theological health of the church is bolstered.
            Specifically, it may be the area of sin (hamartiology) where the greatest insight came for me through this course. I’ve been studying theology for a long time and I’ve never before thought of how sin affected God. I’ve preached messages about sin and its corruptive nature. I’ve preached messages concerning the goodness of creation before sin entered it. We can trace the problems of the world back to the choice that was made by Adam and Eve but it had never occurred to me to ask what the results of sin were on God.
            Now in his being, in his nature sin could certainly be said to have no effect. God is unchanging, he can’t be added to or taken away from, but that’s not to say that sin shouldn’t be looked at from God’s perspective. Since we can trace the evil and wrongs of the world, the corrupted brokenness of creation to sin, it’s easy to say that humanity along with all of creation is being and has been brutalized by sin, but are we really the victims? We feel like victims when we’re effected by sin, especially when we’re visited by the consequences of someone else’s sin, but we’re sinful by nature.
            The consequences of sin are justly ours to bear because the problem of sin has invaded the fabric of the human race and corrupted it to the core. As the cause of sin, it’s not unjust for us to experience the consequences of sin and we’re therefore not victims. God, however, is the true victim of sin. Sin invaded his good creation through the weakness of Adam. God did the work of creating, and because of his nature, because it was God who did the creating, what he created was perfect and good. Sin entered the world, not by God’s doing, and corrupted what God made.
            Perhaps the most significant aspect of this is that God chose to create, knowing the consequences he would endure because of it. 

Reply to Noah 

 
Among the various doctrinal and theological topics discussed, one that has continually been at the forefront of my mind is the doctrine of God’s continual providence in light of sin. Leaning on verses like James 1:14, which states that God does not tempt His children, 1 John 2:16 which speaks of sinful behavior not being of God—among many other Scriptural texts—I subconsciously lived an understanding that God’s only involvement in sin was found in His justice, righteousness, and holy wrath.[1] It was not until this past year, both through personal study and the texts from this class, that I began to see a greater picture to God’s relationship to sin (I use this phrase carefully).
            From our text, Erickson attributes four relations God possesses to sin throughout history—that He prevents, permits, directs, and limits sin; however, it was the doctrine of His permission and direction that I have wrestled with most.[2] Simply put, Erickson describes God’s permitting sin as an act of allowing it to happen which—through sinful nature of humanity—will then definitely occur, though it is neither His joy or desire that mankind would do so.[3] Following Paul’s passionate declaration of his confidence in the Gospel in Romans 1, he then addresses the fact that God gave sinful man up to his sinful desires; serving as a perfect example of God in His sovereignty allowing Man in his free will to act sinfully (Romans 1:16-32). In that same light, God’s direction of sin in that, through man’s volitional pursuit of evil, God creates His perfect outcome for good.[4] For instance, Paul’s commentary in Romans 10 and 11 discusses Israel’s refusal for salvation, and how it ultimately led to not only the Gentiles’ salvation, but also for the remnant of those who will turn to Christ later.
            When I came across some of these doctrines, it was like one of those “Oh yeah…” kind of moments. It can be an easy thing to look over doctrinally important understandings when we focus on so many others—or even put emphasis on one over the other; however, in this case alone, a Christian can gain a sobering understanding of God’s sovereignty and its relation to Man’s responsibility. For this reason, it definitely helps put into perspective passages such as Romans 8:28 in light of encouraging suffering believers. We can know that all things truly work together for the good of those who love God because even when evil is lurking around the corner, God is not far removed. In fact, He has a wonderful tendency of taking that which was evil, dirty, and unwanted, and making it more precious than ever before. To see this best, we need only look in the mirror. “But God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8).”

[1] James 1:14, 1 John 2:16, ESV (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2001).
[2] Millard J. Erickson, Christian Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2013), 372.
[3] Ibid, 373.
[4] Ibid, 374.

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