God's Existence, Science and Faith, Suffering and Evil, Jesus' Resurrection, and Book Reviews

Book Review: Creating God In The Image of Man

Book Review: "Creating God In The Image of Man: The New 'Open' View of God- Neotheism's Dangerous Drift" by Norman Geisler


Creating God In The Image of Man by Norman Geisler is a book focusing on the debate about Open Theism (called "neotheism" in this book). I've been going through some of the different views on the relationship between God's sovereignty and man's free will. Open theism is one of the options that falls on the extreme side of Arminianism.

The book is a short read at 145 page divided into seven chapters. Geisler includes two short appendices and a glossary for quick reference of terms used.

Chapter 1: The Chief Competitors to Christian Theism

In Chapter 1 Geisler explains why there are so many different worldviews and briefly looks at eight primary positions relating to God. These include: theism, deism, finite godism, atheism, pantheism, polytheism, panentheism, and neotheism (open theism). He explains that beliefs about the world have major consequences for how we act and uses a chart comparing theism, pantheism, and atheism to each other to illustrate the vast differences in beliefs.

Can Religion Be Tested for Truth?

Most of the time, I'm not too fond of using the term "religion". I normally prefer to use "worldview" because it is more clear about what all a belief system entails. However, for this post, I will use the term common for the question posed in the title: Can religion be tested for truth?

Many years ago, I would not have even thought to ask if religion can be tested for truth. I never thought much about it, because the obvious answer to me seemed to be "Yes". Apparently, though, many people are questioning whether religion can be tested for truth today. Some even say that religion can't be tested, thus such a term as "true religion" is an oxymoron. A common slogan that I hear is, "You can't put God in a test tube". I thought that I might take a few minutes to break this down and form some kind of defense for the idea that religion can be tested.

The Power of the Cumulative Case

Last week I talked a bit about the issues with presenting evidence and arguments that do not lead to an exclusive conclusion and one way to obtain an exclusive conclusion. Many times a single argument cannot produce an exclusive conclusion. However, there is another way to eventually obtain that single conclusion.

Investigations take place all the time. People investigate different happenings and phenomena throughout the world. Investigations are how we come to understand and are able to explain things. In any investigation, a series of evidences are compiled. Any explanation that is to be considered plausible must account for all the evidence. Investigators attempt to enter an investigation without any assumptions prior to seeing evidence. The truth is that an investigator has a reason for investigating otherwise investigating would be of little value.

The Danger of Overstating Conclusions

Have you ever played the electronic game 20 Questions? If you haven't, this is what it is: You think of an object and the computer will ask you "yes/no" questions until it narrows down what you are thinking about. If you answer 20 questions, and it can't figure out what you're thinking about, you win. I've tried it a few times, and I've been able to stump it a couple. :) What the computer does is ask questions to get answers. It uses these answers as premises in an argument. Let's say that I'm thinking of something. It asks me if it is an animal; I tell it "yes". It asks me if it is fury; I say "no". It asks me if it is black; I say "no". If it asked only these three questions, and told me that me that I was thinking of a frog, it would be wrong (I'm thinking of a lizard). A frog does match the answers that I gave (the premises of the argument), but it does not match exclusively. The conclusion that the only thing that I could possibly be thinking about is a frog, is an overstated conclusion.