The following program is recorded content created by the Truth Network. At the SteveNobleShow.com. And now here's your host, Steve Noble.
Okay. Well, after, uh, golly, how many years has it been? I became a Christian, a born again Christian in September of 1994. So that was a while ago. And then, uh, worked through my master's degree in ethics, theology, and culture, which felt like it took 327 years. It actually took, I think eight.
And now I've done, I think, I'd guess about maybe around 3000 radio shows. It's not, uh, very often that I run into a topic or a question that I haven't run into before, but today on Theology Thursday, a really interesting combination of a couple of things I love to talk about and have studied extensively and I'm fascinated by and blessed by. And that's kind of the, uh, the incarnation, which we should be talking about this time of the year.
Cause that's what Christmas is all about. Is it not God descending, humbling himself coming down in the form of a child? That's the incarnation God, uh, incarnating himself into the body of a man. That would be Jesus. I'm just using some general terminology here and then biblical worldview. So do you have a Christmas worldview or to use a slightly more intelligent terminology, Christ's incarnation and its effect on a biblical worldview. What a fascinating concept, fascinating topic. And of course it would have to be Dr. Renton Rathbun, who would bring this one, uh, today for Theology Thursday. Center for Biblical Worldview down at Bob Jones University.
Renton, how are you, man? Merry Christmas. Well, thank you. It's great to be here again. Plus, are you going to, and I'll share the seminary viewpoints that Dr. Rathbun wrote so that you can follow along and maybe consider it more later.
There's a lot to this topic and it's really fascinating. And one of the things that I'm hopeful for and confident that the Lord does every Theology Thursday is takes you to a deeper part of the pool than perhaps you were swimming in before, opens your eyes to some new things to contemplate and consider and ultimately helps you to worship and be blessed by the Lord even more. And certainly today I think that's going to be the case. So I just shared that on Facebook Live, Christ's incarnation and its effect on a biblical worldview, but also Renton, you're going to swerve into the third rail because I don't have to go too far into this blog post to see two words that when you oppose them to one another can cause some problems. That's the word Protestant and the word Catholic.
So we're going to go there too. So everybody chill out, relax. If you happen to be a Protestant, most of you are, don't get on your high horse quite yet. And if you're Catholic, don't assume we're here to trash you. There are things that we discuss whenever the issue of Catholicism versus Protestantism comes up that you have to go to the scriptures and see what it says. And so whenever we disagree with the Catholic Church, the Roman Catholic Church, it's not like I'm on a witch hunt or something. I know Renton isn't. We're just going to compare everything to scripture and let the chips fall where they may.
So we're going to do that. But I hadn't really looked at this before, Renton, in terms of the incarnation and its impact or effect on a biblical worldview. How important is this? Well, it becomes very important when you think about part of our biblical worldview is thinking about the big story, God's creation, how we fell, and then redemption. And scripture over and over tells us to imitate God and even specifically imitate Christ. And Christ as a redeeming God who came to earth incarnate, we are to imitate him. So the question is, how are we to imitate a redeemer God? Do we redeem? What would that look like if we tried to imitate a kind of creaturely redemption? Is that heresy to even say that? And so all these things really affect our worldview if imitation is our ultimate goal. Yeah. And so how does that then kind of get us into a Protestant perspective versus a Roman Catholic perspective?
Okay. So the first step of a worldview is thinking about creation, particularly a biblical worldview. And I would think that whether you're Catholic or Protestant, you're thinking, well, I want a biblical worldview. But how creation happened is important if we're going to think about how we imitate a redeeming God. So the question is, how did God make us imitate God? How did God make man? When it says God made man in God's own image, what does that mean exactly? Because how you define that is going to change how you imitate Christ in your worldview.
And so when it comes to a Protestant view, and I don't know how much time we have before the commercial, but not two minutes. With a Protestant view of man, how God made man in his own image, we see man created in his nature as very good, that there's nothing added, there's nothing needed, that God made man already in fellowship with himself. He made man ethically or morally excellent. He made man in a way that communion can happen between himself and man, and that is in his nature. So for man to fall, he would have to fall in his nature. The nature would have to fall. So we're looking at really kind of the resume of Adam in the garden pre-fall.
That's right. And whereas now, because you talk about inclining, we're naturally inclined, well, not towards God now, we're naturally inclined away from God. But Adam was naturally inclined towards God.
And then community was no big deal. He was able to commune with God. There was nothing in the way. He was morally excellent. There was no sin.
There wasn't even temptation at that point. And there's nothing else going on there. And then to your point, Renton, God looks at his creation, Adam in this case, and it's not just good, it's very good. All right.
So he's got top, top scores across the board. Yes, that's right. And what we'll find maybe after the break is that the Catholic view does not see Adam made that way.
They see it as a different thing where God, where Adam actually does need something extra. Yeah. And that's, and again, just to clarify, we're talking about in the garden pre-fall.
Pre-fall. Before the fall, how did God make Adam initially? Yeah. And so as Protestants, we see Adam made very good, nothing needed, in fellowship with God, morally excellent.
All right. And so the assumption now with the cat a little bit out of the bag is that the Catholics are going to have a different perspective on Adam's nature right there in the garden. Then we're going to have to, you'll have to help us understand, okay, why does that matter? And what are the implications now on this side of the garden and outside of the garden in terms of a biblical worldview?
That's why we're starting there in the garden pre-fall. What do the Protestants say about Adam? What do the Catholics say?
Why does it matter? This is Steve Noble with Dr. Renton Rathbun from Bob Jones University. We'll be right back. Welcome back.
It's Steve Noble, The Steve Noble Show. Merry Christmas to you and yours. It is Theology Thursday with our friends at BJU Seminary and Bob Jones University. Dr. Renton Rathbun back in the house today, who runs the Center for Biblical Worldview down at Bob Jones University. And we're talking today about Christ's incarnation, think Christmas, and its effect on biblical worldview, which we try to exercise here five days a week on the show. And going back to the garden, looking at Adam, and we're starting with this, because if you're going to pattern your life after Christ, follow me as I follow Christ, Paul taught us, that well, you've got to go back to the start there and say, okay, so who is Adam?
And now we're in the garden, we're before the fall. For Protestants, when God made Adam in his own image, I'm reading from today's blog post that Dr. Rathbun wrote, Adam was by nature, by nature, okay, remember that, that's an important phrase. Number one, able to commune with God. Number two, naturally inclined toward God with no inherent tendency towards sin. Okay, no bent away from God whatsoever. Number three, morally and excellently ordered to see God and be in his presence. No sin, morally, perfect.
Perfected, okay. And number four, in need of nothing extra, because he was created very good, very good in quotes, because that's exactly what God said on the sixth day of creation when he created man is very good. So that's the Protestant position. How is the Roman Catholic position? Number one, how's it different, Renton?
And number two, why does that matter? Okay, so it's different in that they believe that God made Adam, made Adam with body and soul, but it's different in that by nature he has a battle going on. Now the battle is this, that Adam is existing with a body. Now a body has desires, it has hungers. What Thomas Aquinas would refer to as the lower desires and the lower nature. But he has a will and he has reason. And a will and reason, now that's more divine according to the Catholic belief system.
And so you have this will and this reason that seems to be at war with the body's desires and hungers. And so what God had to do was to add a gift. It was a gift of God it was a gift of grace that was super added to Adam.
And so they call it the donum super adidum. It's the super added grace to allow Adam to be able to transcend that base hunger of the body to be able to commune with God because before he was not created in a way that was able to do that he needed that super added grace to be placed in relation and in communion with God. And so when we talk about you know you've heard the phrase falling from grace. So when Adam sinned in the Catholic view it's he fell from that super added grace. And so that super added grace was taken away and his those base desires of the body were left on their own.
It's at least to another term and I don't know if you want any more. No it's fine go ahead no that I mean that's people have to understand that this isn't Renton Rathbun just kind of coming up with his theories. This is out of the Catholic catechism. That's why the terminology and using Latin adds weight to what you're saying because it's like you're quoting from a book not just speaking your mind. Yes so the the war between the body and the reason and the will is called concupiscence. And all of this was taking place you know all of this is part of God's creation of man. So God created man in a state in which there was still something else needed because he wasn't created in a state of having the ability to commune with God. So to challenge or to subdue that concupiscence God gave that super added grace that allowed Adam to commune with God and to be morally excellent.
The the knowledge the righteousness and holiness was through that grace. Does the Catholic doctrine theology does it does it explain whether that was all concurrent God bends down metaphorically and he's forming Adam from the dust of the earth and breathes into him the breath of life and at the same time or perhaps in the breath does it get this specifically like okay now you're going to get the super added grace because the body in and of itself is bent in the wrong direction so I have to correct that right from the get-go and drop in this super extra grace which to me when listening to this because I've never been down this road before so I'm just like probably 99 percent of the audience right now and I'm sitting there going okay so then when God said it is very good but he had to correct something a little bit from the start to me I'm like okay that that sounds problematic. Yes, to be to be as generous as possible with the Catholic view I think God being all-knowing and this was something Thomas Aquinas was very clear about God was all-knowing and so it wasn't just you know God made man he's like ooh that's not right let me give you grace.
Right yeah oops that's not happening. But you know Thomas Aquinas in his in his description of God you're talking about a God that in his master plan created man with a body that he knew would be at war with with the will and the and and reason and so in that bringing alive he brings him alive with that super added grace and but this also tells you what the Catholic conception of of sin is going to be. So at the fall it's the fall is as mysterious to the Catholic Church as it is to the Protestant Church. So in the Protestant world you know we're saying that God made man in his nature perfectly able to commune with God and morally excellent so why on earth would he fall?
Right. And the Catholics are the same way you know yes his body and his will and his reason might have been at war but he had he had super added grace why did he fall? So it's still always a mystery with both sides no one you know no doctrine has answered that question per se.
But in that fall you see that man returns or if I maybe not returns but is left in the Catholic view just without that super added grace. So sin isn't something that is as nefarious or as dark as the Protestant conception it just means your baser needs are overcoming your more divine parts which is your will and your reason. Which then says in the Catholic conception of sin you can sin only when you know it's a sin and you willfully do it. So willful knowledge is what sin then becomes. If you are doing something that God has called a sin but you weren't aware of it then it can't really be a sin to you. Now this leads to all kinds of difficulties. Does that get you into mortal versus venial sin?
Yes that's right. Venial is like yeah I didn't I didn't see the speed limit. I didn't know I was going over the speed limit.
Mortal being I saw the speed limit and I didn't care and so I blew it off knowing I was glowing. Okay all right there's a lot to unpack here and then we'll move into okay how does this actually affect your worldview and then the ultimate question do you have a Christmas worldview an incarnational view worldview based on actually understanding Christ's incarnation and how does that affect your worldview. There's a lot more work to do here we're going to do it when we come back. Little Johnny Cash there for you welcome back it's Steve Noble on the Steve Noble Show Theology Thursday as it is every week with our friends at BJU Seminary and Bob Jones University today. Dr. Renton Rathbun back in the house who's the is it director executive director I want to make sure I title you correctly. It is director but I'll look into seeing what I can do if I get to change an executive director. The director of the Center for Biblical Worldview down at Bob Jones University and we're talking today about Christ's incarnation and its effect on a biblical worldview we're kind of comparing and contrasting when you go back to the garden what Protestants how they look at Adam versus how Roman Catholics look at Adam and again this isn't Renton going well here's what I think they say I mean this is all based on what's in the Roman Catholic catechism okay so you go you go to the source itself and see what they say so we're finding obviously differences in how they view Adam right from the get-go this is pre-fall again and so how does that when we have two different I think we're looking at two different seeds here Renton then metaphorically speaking as that comes as that comes out of the ground as we get into sin and especially redemption and a biblical worldview overall why does that matter like what's what's the big deal well as you as you as you think about a worldview you're thinking about what the big story is and we talk about the fall I think both Catholics and Protestants both agree the fall is a big deal so no one's saying one thinks it's a big deal the other one doesn't I want you to think about what started the entire reformation in the first place what started the entire reformation in the first place is Martin Luther giving mass for the first time and he's holding the bread in his hand his dad is in is in the congregation and um and that mattered to to Luther and he's holding the bread in his hand and he is thinking of the bread as Christ himself in his hand and he's thinking who am I to hold Christ in my hand and an entirely different view of sin begins to form as especially as Luther is going through the book of Romans with his class as as a as a professor and talking to these guys about you know what is sin Catholic Church you know if Adam if Adam's sin is merely a loss of grace and then this the human body kind of takes charge that's one thing so you have the stain and so baptism washes the stain off and then you can move on so a stain has the idea that deep down it's not that you're so bad per se it's just that you have disorder and so the stain washes off and you're able to to actually please God well well Martin Luther is thinking that's not what sin is after I go through Romans and I've studied it through and through what I see the scriptures telling me is that sin is deep in my nature it's not just a stain it's me and if I I'm going to be baptized it's not a stain washing off I have to die yeah it's not that it's not that I have some bad clothes yes that my jeans g-e-n-e-s yeah exactly it's not just tearing off clothes that are bad it's I need a stake to my heart and I need to die with Christ and be resurrected with him and that's be that's what he began to understand as salvation so when we when we think of the Protestant understanding of sin you're talking about our very nature so in in Catholicism it's not your nature that's fallen your nature is disordered and you've lost super super added grace for the Protestant the very core of you is sin and we have inherited that core all the way from Adam now this changes the way you view the world it changes the way you view Christ our Redeemer who doesn't come merely to reorder the world but comes to call on us to die with him yeah and so yeah I mean you go to Jesus's interaction with Nicodemus and Jesus is like you must and Nicodemus didn't ask anything Jesus just said you must be born again and so that implies you're actually spiritually dead yes you have to be born again you were born physically but you're dead spiritually yeah as opposed to you must be cleaned again am I in the ballpark there absolutely I mean you know look at look at Ephesians and how the language it uses to describe us in our fall Ephesians 2 yeah it's ugly we're not we're not delirious in sin we're not merely disordered in sin we're not we're not sleepy in sin we are dead corpses in sin and we have nothing and even our very father is the devil himself we are his children so you know by by even our spiritual genetics we are in and under Satan himself and in that death while we were still dead in our sin Christ died for us amen I mean when you think of Ephesians 2 and you hear you see those two words but God right who is rich in mercy oh man the mercy is not I'm coming to reorder you the mercy is I'm coming to resurrect you and this resurrection power that Christ has in his in his resurrection from the dead well then is that kind of power that resurrects us in ours spiritually and then in one day physically yeah and that that makes me think of in terms of works based righteousness workspace salvation versus the Protestant understanding of justification in a in a moment that okay we need to cleaning up as an ongoing process right so I need I should bathe every day I should brush my teeth every day then my teeth get dirty my body gets dirty my hair gets dirty so I bathe and I brush my teeth and I wash my hair that's kind of a workspace righteousness this continually this continuing process versus you're dead okay well if you're dead the only chance you have is you're going to have to be brought back to life yeah right so that that's where it's like can you kind of work your way through this and you can imagine Luther going uh yeah I don't now that I properly understand sin and the depth of it I don't think that's something you dig yourself out of that's right and and you know to be fair to the Catholic church they see Ephesians 2 you know they have the same Ephesians 2 in their Bible yeah um and I and I don't mean to say that they look at sin lightly yeah but at the root of sin is a disorder um for them for the protestant as we look at it at the root of sin is our rebellion in the core of our nature yeah the protestant version is darker yes the origin is darker more despondent yeah more like okay hey we brought the patient in in the car accident and they lost all four lost all four of their limbs and they're bleeding out they're like okay that I don't think we can fix that yeah that's right as opposed to they lost an arm their legs mangled they've got some internal bleeding and like we can get to work on them we can practice it right you know what I mean human effort is enough that's versus hopelessness or or as a hardcore Calvinist would say total depravity yeah I mean you don't dig yourself out of that right and and you know they would they would say well you can't alone dig yourself out but there is there's a there's a congruence of God and man's effort um that they that they insist upon particularly as the sacraments become the super added grace right that you must have through the church and it um and what we say is we stick to Ephesians chapter 2 where it says no faith itself is not a reward for my belief faith is a gift from the Holy Spirit so that I can believe yeah and so um with that in mind we think about that kind of redemption that Christ did and we think if we are told throughout the New Testament particularly um to imitate Christ and I think Ephesians chapter 5 even tells us to imitate God this how do you imitate a a God who redeems now obviously you know we can't imitate God identically we don't save anybody we don't do what Christ does but what's interesting is that the word redemption is used in terms of how you in terms of how you use your time redemption is talked about in Ephesians 5 as to how men are supposed to respond to their wife in love as ones that would give themselves the way Christ gave himself in redemption it does seem like there's creaturely ways in which we can imitate Christ our redeemer um and so what we see is the world has taken things that God intended one way and twisted it another right um right before the show you and I were talking about marriage or during one of the breaks we're talking about marriage and how um how the supreme court has said marriage is no longer merely between a woman and a man now it could be between any combination and now this um our congress is passing the law right yeah now they're modifying it yep so so when we look at that what we see is something that is good marriage but it has been twisted so our work one way we can imitate Christ our redeemer is to say how can we twist marriage back to how God intended try to get back to its original intent we're talking to Dr Renton Rathbun about the incarnation in a biblical worldview don't go anywhere we'll be right back welcome back it's steve noble the steve noble show of theology thursday with our friends at bju seminary bob jones university down in beautiful greenville south carolina back in the house dr renton rathman who's the director of center for biblical worldview at bob jones university talking about christ's incarnation and its effect on a biblical worldview which i know sounds a little heavy it is this is the deep end of the pool not a lot of people go there but the great thing about whenever we talk about a subject like this Renton and thanks as always for taking the time to be with us and helping us down these roads is whatever even if you only understand 10 or 15 or 20 or 25 of what we're saying and what Renton is helping us to understand that is still this is my optimist side that's still infinitely more than zero so to be exposed to things like this and to get your brain moving in this direction and to consider things even if you get confused is really important and and god has given us this capacity to learn and that needs to be exercised and so it's always when even when i'm scratching my head i know i'm getting something it's impossible for me in that point to get nothing so don't get frustrated if some of this stuff seems like it's going over your head not all of it is and my number one goal in doing something like this is to glorify god and in doing so that builds us up in our own faith so just hang in there i know sometimes we get a little heavy here on theology thursday but there's plenty of fruit for all of us which will benefit you and glorify god so again thanks Renton for your patience and bringing us along and so as we kind of let's get to to the as much application as we can in terms of understanding the incarnation the actual nature of man in the garden prior to the fall and how should that affect how we live today that's the biblical worldview then is the lens by which you view all of life it should affect how you approach all of life and you keep bringing up you right back to the beginning of the show rent and you're talking about imitating so imitation so let's kind of spend this this final segment on that remembering paul talking about imitate me as as i imitate christ yeah so we you know one of the most if if you know if you remember nothing else think of this that as protestants sin is so um so dark and so horrible and so um so a part of who we are that christ came to earth emptied himself by adding flesh to himself to die on the cross while we were yet sinners the biggest takeaway i i get from a world view that has christ as one i am to imitate is the kind of life i live where when someone has done me wrong um i desire them to um repent before i forgive them right yeah um i want them to suffer a little and then repent and then my forgiveness will be earned yeah you need your pound of flesh that's right and i think we're all a little that way sure of course um but while we were yet dead in our trespasses and sins he died for us and it was more than just while we were dead in our trespasses and sin he had compassion for us i mean you know if you have children you know what it's like to see your children in the midst of sinning and not listening to you and they're doing the exact thing you said not to do 10 seconds ago and you do not feel compassion immediately what you feel is rage right oh yeah and to to think that in the midst it's not that you know we're not corpses corpses in that we're inactive the corpse is one who continues and continues and is rebellious and hate for god and while we were there christ died for us think of that kind of that kind of forgiveness um and you know it's interesting that when christ told us how to pray it was very clear that you can ask me for forgiveness you can ask god for forgiveness but if you haven't forgiven your brother i'm not going to forgive you i don't care how sincere you are i don't care how much you you know pray and pray from for forgiveness and really do feel repentance inside if you haven't forgiven your brother then i'm not forgiving you and because why well because why don't we want to forgive our brother we'll probably because well he hasn't asked far for forgiveness yet right i mean and here's christ uh giving himself not in the midst of mere care for us but in the midst of sacrifice right he's doing that while we were dead in sin and that kind of imitation that kind of a world view helps you understand that even when you get frustrated towards other people in the world i mean you know it's easy to hate when you talk about politics you think about joe biden and you just think how is it possible how is any of this possible or yeah or the 40 or 50 republicans in the house of representatives that voted for the gay marriage bill this yes and you're like i guarantee you the vast majority of them eight years ago are all about we're against same-sex marriage oh yeah now they're not elected yeah now they're signing on the dotted line yeah yeah and i feel uh i'll baptize it and call it righteous indignation part of it is part of it isn't yeah well and it's it's part of that you know be angry and sin not well it's it's okay to be angry at sin but do i do i view other people as as as sinning in a way i would never sin so i don't know if you've ever had jim burg on the on this show but he's um he's he teaches at the seminary and he in one of his books um created in god's image um i forgot the name of the book it's in his image or something like that i think a really good book he has been dumb that i forgot the name of it yeah he has been but he talks about how if there's a sin that you believe you are incapable of committing then you don't know you enough yeah and and when you're looking at the world that way and you're looking at the world in view of god our redeemer in a redemptive way you start realizing um what it means to forgive what it means to um try and twist this things that have been twisted back towards a creational model and doing it in love for god i mean it's it's not a love for the republican party it's not a love for conservatism it's not a love even for america it's a love for god that drives us to want to take that which is twisted and twist it back yeah because like we were talking about one of our breaks um the more our country sins against god the the more his wrath is stacked upon this nation yeah and some gets let loose now i mean the terrible notion i don't know if i can't remember who said it jefferson or whatever is that uh god's storing up his wrath but that doesn't last forever yeah that's right sooner or later that's going to be meted out yeah jonathan edwards in his in his sermon sinners in the hands of an angry god talks about how god's wrath is like mountains upon mountains of waters that are being held back merely by his good pleasure but one day he's gonna let go of it yeah and all of that wrath is gonna come down and it's gonna come down for eternity upon those that have not repented yeah we got very serious stuff and so there is a in our world view on whatever topic you want to talk about you want to talk about sexual ethics you want to talk about uh what's going on with poverty the poor the use of resources you want to get into the environment we want to talk about euthanasia whatever that that you you and this has happened to me more over the years is that i i enter into those conversations and i consider the situation and what god says and what man is doing uh i think every year my heart gets broken more i have more of a lament about me i wouldn't call it a holy depression but it's definitely it's definitely a grieving yeah where i'm i'm like and and i was trying to explain to students today i'm like you know you guys there's a certain depth of understanding of the scriptures that i think is unavailable to people that aren't parents hmm and i think when you become a parent then i mean you start to consider how much love you can have for somebody else and and i said this to my students i was sitting down in front of 20 of them and i said i i would die for my wife i would die for my four kids i would die for my grandson and and but the real rub is would i die for you guys now i love you guys i don't love you the same way that i love my kids or my wife yes and now i'm starting to do some calculations like if i were to die for you and i'd point to one of them now i'm going to provide my wife of some years of of camaraderie in our marriage and my kids their dad and my grandson his grandfather and blah blah blah blah no but but but while we were yet sinners christ died for us yeah like and scripture tells us about that you know it's one thing to care for somebody that you like to bless somebody you like it's another thing to bless somebody that you can't stand yeah and and we would die for a friend but i would never die for an enemy yeah and that's exactly what we were i mean it's it's not that we were just disordered toward god and we couldn't we couldn't muster the love but then god helps us muster it but we were enemies we hated god there is no state and this is what jesus says he says you were either for me or against me right at enmity yeah there's no neutrality you don't get a spot right even if you don't feel angry towards christ i mean that's what you know especially with americans everything's about how we feel and we think well i don't feel angry towards christ i just don't care about all that but that is hatred yeah it is hatred and and in that hatred god said you know god gave himself yeah for his people yeah yeah he empties himself he takes on human flesh that's the incarnation and he comes after us a bunch of radically broken dead people that for lack of a better way of describing it hate his existence yes that's right and he comes after us anyway yeah so think about that uh this month on december 25th and that should alter the trajectory of our christmas renton always great to be with you thank you so much for being here and helping us merry christmas to you and your family uh we'll do it again you're very welcome this is steve noble on the steve noble show god willing i'll talk to you again real soon and like my dad always used to say ever forward another program powered by the truth network
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