Benjamin Breckinridge Warfield has become a bit of a hero of mine, which is odd, because until tonight I had not finished a single complete work of his. B.B. Warfield, as he is known, was a professor of theology at Princeton Seminary from 1887 until his death in 1921.  He is considered by many to have been the last of the great conservative theologians at Princeton, an institute which also employed famed theological thinkers Archibald Alexander, and Charles and A.A. Hodge.  I was first introduced to Warfield several years ago by Daniel B. Wallace in his article, My Take on Inerrancy, which I have commented on previously.  Since I have read a great many of Wallace's papers and have come to admire his expertise in a number of subjects, it was inevitable that I should also come to respect Warfield, a man who he respects.  Steve and I have begun reading Warfield's The Inspiration and Authority of Scripture, and will likely post on it in the future.  Tonight, while out of town for business, I found an excellent used bookstore near my hotel where I happened upon a compilation of papers written by Warfield.  The book, called Evolution, Science, and Scripture1, claims to be an unedited selection of his works which articulate his views on... well, evolution, science, and scripture.  I will presently summarize and comment on the first of these essays, entitled The Divine and Human in the Bible.2

The reliability of the Old Testament is at once a fascinating subject and a contentious issue.  It is maligned by some for its historical inaccuracies, while at the same time it is praised by others as being a valuable primary source for ancient history.  Needless to say, it is also held by those within the church to be the very word of God.
If the Old Testament is not historically accurate, if it is riddled with inconsistencies and contains fables that have been dismissed by other ancient sources, then it seems the faith on which it is based is on shaky ground.  Indeed, if the veracity of its historical claims is suspect, why should the supernatural claims be trusted?  Doesn't it seem likely that the one book in all the world that faithfully sheds light on the supernatural should be extremely reliable historically as well?  If on the other hand, it is historically reliable, shouldn't it be considered a valuable source of history and its supernatural claims seriously considered, rather than simply being dismissed?

Those are the stakes.  The debate has often taken place in popular culture.  With films like Noah and Exodus coming to theaters this year, there will likely be a flurry of discussion.  Once in a while some new archaeological discovery finds its way to the front pages of newspapers and magazines, and the question is submitted to the American public once again: Is the Old Testament reliable?
After having finished Free Will: A Contemporary Introduction by Robert Kane, I quickly jumped into another called Four Views of Divine Providence. This is a book that I purchased several years ago when I started going to an Evangelical Presbyterian church because I had become internally conflicted on which view of God’s providence was likely correct. Growing up, I had not thought about it much, and probably just assumed that human beings have a free choice to accept or reject Christ’s gift of salvation; that is, humans can choose whether to believe or disbelieve the efficacy of Christ’s atonement. This fits into the larger view that while God is in control of the overall fate of the universe, He allows us many individual decisions on a day-to-day basis.

This view of God’s providence was challenged when I started going to a so-called Reformed church which holds to God’s providence as complete active control of every detail of the universe, as claimed in the Westminster Confession of Faith1. I began to realize that this issue has been debated for millennia and is not simple by any means. The book, which I have finally picked up again, allows four different views of God's providence to be defended by four different theologians, and then allows each theologian to respond to the others’ views. In this post I will introduce the topic and recount the history of this view in the Christian Church. In subsequent posts, I will summarize each view and the criticisms raised for each view. In the final post, I will discuss my updated stance on the doctrine, as well as any outstanding issues with any of the views.

The work of Alvin Plantinga has not garnered much attention outside the world of philosophy.  I thought it worthwhile to spend some time on his work, so that readers could gain an appreciation for some of his arguments and realize the profound influence he has had on Christian philosophy.  While most of his work has not entered the general public's consciousness, one argument has gained the attention of the atheist community, and therefore their ire.  It is known as the Evolutionary Argument Against Naturalism.

While the argument has found serious consideration in the philosophy community, some of the reactions from the outside have been downright vitriolic.  It's a rather curious phenomenon.  Part of it has to do with the fact that Plantinga recently wrote his first popular-level book - Where the Conflict Really Lies, which has found a wider audience than his previous books.

First, we will cover the argument itself, then briefly discuss some of the reactions to it.
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