Ligon Duncan on the Non-Negotiables of the Gospel

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  • Friday, December 24, 2010

    Divine Love versus Deadly Poison on Display

    Christmas is beautiful time of year celebrated by many, but not by all. This was evident in Richard Dawkin's response to Pope Benedict XVI's message in a piece entitled "A Shameful Thought for the Day"

    In this post, Dawkins with utter audacity and unbridled shamelessness, stemming only from the bowels of the very sinful nature he himself seeks to deny, displays none other than the antithesis of godliness as he with full understanding regarding the strategic intent and timing of his release spews forth nothing other than the poisonous spiritual & rhetorical venom of a present day viper who with a dead and hardened heart has inclined and bound himself with unrelenting commitment to opposing, throwing off and trampling without cease the name and glory of his creator and eternal ruler, and in the process is found doing no other than seeking his own glory and trying to build a name for himself among men, which eventually in time and eternity will be seen as not only temporal and sadly displaced, but to have evidenced rebelliousness and treason of the greatest kind, should he not turn and repent before this same God, who even now in the face of all his misdirected acts and ambitions, holds out and displays most openly and vividly especially at this time of year, the most loving and selfless and gracious and sufficient display of divine love and salvation the world has ever known, and yet at present while it's revealed for all the world to see, it lies not only beyond Dawkin's aspirations and affections, but as the object of his profaning and damning imagination and condemnation.

    To be simple and brief:
    1. Dawkins errs in both failing to understand the method of the propagation and nature of sin and hence fails to see the necessity of redemption. To our chagrin though lamentable, it's laughable that Dawkins would assert it Christian theory that sin (which is of a 'spiritual' origin and nature) is bequeathed and passed on simply by Adam's physical or "bodily semen". While it's true that mankind was changed as a result of Adam's sin (posititionally before God as well as "condition"-ally as we became sinners) and while it's true that in nature both nature as well as genes are passed through conception and birth, Dawkin's fails to recognize both man's federal relationship to God in Adam and in Christ as well as the fact that sin ultimately has meaning only in relation to God. Shouldn't one who is so forthright and venomous in his attack be the least bit careful to understand the opposing position before publicly attempting to criticize and condemn it, especially knowing the worldwide nature of the exposure?

    Additionally, if original sin is not true, then why do all men possess the nature of Adam, participate in the acts of the sinful nature, prove powerless to change (apart from Christ) and incur the consequences, even death itself? It's not enough to heap insult at the premise if you cannot as well explain the corollaries.

    2. Dawkins also errs and shows blind ignorance when suggesting the manner of God's redemption to be "one of the most repugnant ideas ever to occur to a human mind". Dawkins states "For heaven's sake, if he [God] wanted to forgive us, why didn't he just forgive us?" But to state this is to fail to account for the holiness of God of whom it would be impossible to unjustly turn the eye and fail to reckon with the sin itself. As Paul explains in Romans 3, God accomplished salvation not only in such a way as to be just (i.e., and deal with the sin) but one who also justifies the sinner (which He is able to having provided both forgiveness and righteousness by His own atoning sacrifice and offer of righteousness).

    What's clear this time of year, a time when the star of Bethlehem shines so brightly, is that NO ONE should be led astray by Dawkin's present rantings and ravings, the writing of no less than a madman, but rather every reason this season in keeping with the veracity of God's truth and Word points us to the only one in whom both original sin can be dealt with and redemption accomplished by the shedding of blood, that being Jesus Christ himself, who has become for us wisdom from God, that is our righteousness, our holiness and our redemption! May not only the contrast but the attack itself which has been set before upon Christ and Christmas in this example lead to none other than the glory of God's wondrous name, though the redemption and faith of those who believe!

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