I just read Sue Bohlin's Answering the Big Questions of Life. I appreciate having this article available, and as an evangelical, I agree wholeheartedly with her perspective. However, there is a concept in the article that needs tightening up. She states pantheism sidesteps the issue of "why is there something rather than nothing" by claiming an impersonal beginning. But couldn't Christian Theism be accused of the same thing? When asked where God came from we reply that He is the eternally existent one. Why is our answer any less of a sidestep (in their mind) than theirs is to us?
A couple of reasons, none of which I am convinced are enough for those who don't want to believe them, but that's the way of faith. <smile>
First, there is a big difference between believing in an impersonal beginning and claiming that a very Personal Being has always existed. The difference between impersonal matter+space+time always "being there" (actually, then, there WAS no actual "beginning" for the pantheist) and an actual "Person with personality" existing before matter, space and time, is a huge one.
Secondly, our belief that God is the eternally existent one answers the problem of "First Cause." Before anything happened or existed, something else had to be there, causing it to happen or exist. We live in a cause-and-effect universe. Eventually, if you go back far enough, you have to come to what philosophers call the "First Cause," an "uncaused cause," who (or that) simply WAS. If there was ever a time when God did not exist, then something or someone would have had to create Him. But that's not the way it is; God is the "the buck stops here" First Cause where everything starts, except for Himself. It's logical, but for those who don't want to accept their accountability to God, they can blow it off. It doesn't make it any less true, though.
Boy, you make me glad I'm "preaching to the choir!"
I hope this hasn't clouded the issue further. But thanks so much for writing!!
About the Author
Sue Bohlin is an associate speaker with Probe Ministries. She attended the University of Illinois, and has been a Bible teacher and conference speaker for over 35 years. She is a frequent speaker for MOPS (Mothers of Pre-Schoolers) and Stonecroft Ministries (Christian Women's Connections), and serves on the board and as a small group leader of Living Hope Ministries, a Christ-centered outreach to those dealing with unwanted homosexuality. Sue is on the Bible.org Women's Leadership Team and is a regular contributor to Bible.org's Tapestry Blog. She is also a professional calligrapher and the webmistress for Probe Ministries; but most importantly, she is the wife of Dr. Ray Bohlin and the mother of their two grown sons. Her personal website is suebohlin.com.
What is Probe?
Probe Ministries is a non-profit ministry whose mission is to assist the church in renewing the minds of believers with a Christian worldview and to equip the church to engage the world for Christ. Probe fulfills this mission through our Mind Games conferences for youth and adults, our 3-minute daily radio program, and our extensive Web site at www.probe.org.
Further information about Probe's materials and ministry may be obtained by contacting us at:
2001 W. Plano Parkway, Suite 2000
Plano TX 75075