Theology Corner

Addressing commonly asked questions about Christianity from the perspective of a non-theologian

Theology Corner


Christians believe God is present everywhere, in every component of the universe and in every part of Heaven.  However, making immanence the dominate attribute of God can lead to a narrow concept called pantheism by which God is not outside and beyond the universe; He is the universe.  He exists only in it and apart from it has no existence.  He exists in bondage to space, time, matter and energy.  He cannot be wholly other; He cannot be transcendent to space and time.  Spinoza said succinctly, “To my mind God is the immanent, and not the transcendent cause of all things.”  Einstein offered occasional commentary on religion including the comment, “I believe in Spinoza’s God, a deity revealed in the orderly harmony of the universe.”


But, according to Colson and Pearcey, Einstein also said the following:


“If this personal being is omnipotent, then every event everywhere in the universe is his work – including every human action, every human thought, every human feeling.  So how is it possible to think of holding people responsible for their deeds and thoughts before such an almighty being? ...You say God is a being of absolute goodness and righteousness.  But think of this.  If he is the one ultimately responsible for our actions, then he is behind all the harm we do each other.  In giving out punishments and rewards, he is in a way passing judgement on himself.  God himself is the source of the very evil he supposedly judges!”


The god condemned by Einstein resembles the god of the 1646 Westminster Confession: God from all eternity, did, by the most wise and holy counsel of His own will, freely, and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass.  By the Westminster Confession, a man may think he is acting freely but he is actually executing a sinister puppet dance, with God pulling the strings from behind the veil.  This would mean, as Einstein correctly surmised, that God is the first-cause of all evil. All tragedy, suffering, disease, decay, iniquity, corruption, immorality, wickedness and depravity covering the manifold of evil in heaven and earth were decreed by God before anything else existed.  But, man would be fully responsible for his second-cause sins since they are executed willingly.  There has, however, always been an alternative to Reformed Theology other than retreating to a ‘Jedi Yoda life force’ theology.  Here is a directionally correct alternative.

God created the universe with such precision that the slightest change in any one of its properties would preclude our existence and God designed the earth as a home for man.  God placed certain powerful angels in charge of his creation and instructed them to be good stewards.  Some angels began to oppose God under the leadership of Satan, the most powerful and intelligent of all rebellious angels.  Satan exercises a pervasive, structural and diabolical influence, on whatever he touches, which caused all creation to be captured by the bondage of evil.  That which God created as good began to exhibit a pain-ridden, bloodthirsty, sinister and hostile demeanor.  “Mother Nature,” became an inherently violent and terrifying system dominated by disease, suffering and death – a system red in tooth and claw.  Man had not yet been created.

God set aside some real estate for the Garden of Eden and restored it to its condition prior to Satan’s diabolical influence.  He then created Adam and Eve to live in this Garden.  In full view of all the angels in Heaven, Satan demanded unrestricted access to Adam and Eve and, although they were created sinless, Satan won them over.  Evil had taken up residence in the soul of man, that particular evil called sin.  The will, intellect and heart of Adam and Eve had been possessed and permeated by sin.  But what about us, the descendants of Adam and Eve?

God is just.  God does not impute to us the individual sins of Adam and Eve.  But He knew it would be pointless to allow the offspring of Adam and Eve to be born sinless.  He knew they would follow exactly the same path as their created ancestors.  So He allowed the generations of Adam and Eve’s offspring to be born with a sin nature.  We are all born corrupt, averse to God and inclined to evil.  However, for this depraved nature we are not responsible and no guilt or demerit attaches to it.  We become responsible for this sin nature only after attaining the age accountability and ratifying it as our own.  The age of accountability is not the same for all persons and, for many, it may be very young indeed.

God knew, before the creation of the universe, that all this was going to happen.  On one hand, God knew sin would prevent Him from fellowship with man; on the other hand, God knew He would love each individual unconditionally and would not want eternal separation to be the inevitable consequence of sin.  But sin could not simply be overlooked; a price had to be paid for every crime.  Unfortunately, if you and I paid the price for our own crimes, our souls would spend eternity in Hell.  Before the universe began, God chose an incredible, astounding and magnificent solution to this dilemma.  That solution was the incarnation, crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ.