• Are there distinctions of sin in hell? Question and Answer

    2 Corinthians 5:10

    SPROUL: I think the New Testament makes it clear. There are at least twenty-five references in the New Testament that speak of the various degrees of punishment and/or reward in heaven relative to the degrees of sinfulness of sin. Even though all sin is sin, there is still a clear distinction in the New Testament between those sins that are covered, the multitude of sins that love covers—the Roman Catholic distinction between “mortal” and “venial” is not something that we would hold, but it’s a distinction that we would agree with in part, that at least there is a difference … View Resource

  • Does the Bible preclude the existence of life elsewhere in the universe? Question and Answer

    MOHLER: The answer is no; that’s speculative. What it does make very clear is that the entire cosmos was created for the drama of redemption, as Calvin said. The cosmos is a theater of God’s redemption, of what would take place in here in order to save sinful humanity. We have no reason to believe there is any other story out there. There is nothing in Scripture that says there can’t be some form of life somewhere. But what we are told is that the cosmos was created in order that on this planet Jesus Christ, in space and time … View Resource

  • With the rise of seeker-sensitive churches, how do we understand biblically “seeking” God? Question and Answer

    Romans 3:10-12

    SPROUL: In Acts 17, Paul at the Areopagus quotes some of the pagan poets and talks about people groping after God. They have the statue to the unknown god, and in one sense they’re seeking Him. In the other sense, speaking didactically, the apostle spells out specifically what the natural human condition is. Quoting the psalm and adding to the fullness of it, the Apostle Paul makes it very clear that no one—that’s a universal negative—no one in their natural state seeks after God (Rom. 3:10-12). Thomas Aquinas had to answer this question centuries ago: “Why is it that people … View Resource

  • What does it mean when we confess that Jesus has a reasonable soul? Question and Answer

    SPROUL: When we say that Jesus has a reasonable soul, we simply mean that touching His human nature, He is a duality. He is body and soul, as all human beings are, and that soul is rational. In that sense, the term “soul” is virtually interchangeable with the word “mind,” and God has created us in His image. God Himself is a rational being, and God has planted within the soul or mind of every creature that He has made in His image the capacity for reasonable discourse and thinking. I know we live in a time that is one … View Resource

  • Is it biblical to say God “loves you” to believers and nonbelievers alike? Question and Answer

    Matthew 5:45

    Historically and theologically, we distinguish among three types of divine love. There is God’s love of benevolence, where God has a kind spirit to the whole world. His benevolent will and love fall on everybody. There is also the sense in which the love of God is defined in terms of God’s love of beneficence, which refers not just simply to His attitude toward the world, but how He displays that goodness universally. “The rain falls upon the just as well as on the unjust” (Matt. 5:45). So that universal dimension of the love of God is manifest. When we’re … View Resource

  • In Acts 16 Paul encourages Timothy to be circumcised, then later condemns it. Was he being hypocritical? Question and Answer

    Galatians 5:1-6

    I don’t think the apostle was being hypocritical at all. This is a very interesting historical situation that the New Testament records for us. It does say that Paul circumcised Timothy and then refused to circumcise Titus, and this became a major controversy in the early church. Paul’s reasoning behind it, I think, can be ferreted out through a study of Galatians, Corinthians, and Romans. He talks about his concern for ethics and says that there are certain things God prohibits and certain things he commands. Then there are those things that are basically neutral in the ethical sense—those things … View Resource

  • What does the Apostles’ Creed mean when it says that Jesus descended into hell? Question and Answer

    Luke 23:43

    The Apostles’ Creed is used as an integral form of worship in many Christian bodies. One of the more puzzling statements in that creed is: [Jesus] descended into hell. First of all, we have to look at the creed from a historical perspective. We know that the Apostles’ Creed was not written by the apostles, but it’s called the Apostles’ Creed because it was the early Christian community’s attempt to give a summary of apostolic teaching. This, like other creeds in the church’s history, was partly a response to distorted teachings that were present in some communities; it was statement … View Resource

  • What is the biblical basis for human dignity? Question and Answer

    As a Christian I do not believe that human beings have intrinsic dignity. I am totally committed to the idea that human beings have dignity, but the question is, is it intrinsic or extrinsic? Dignity, by biblical definition, is tied to the biblical concept of glory. God’s glory, His weightiness, His importance, His significance, is what the Bible uses to describe the fountainhead of all dignity. And only God has eternal value and intrinsic (that is, in and of Himself) significance. I am a creature—I come from the dust. The dust isn’t all that significant, but I become significant when … View Resource

  • Why would a loving and holy God allow a child to suffer through a serious illness such as cancer? Question and Answer

    We usually associate the love of God with the benefits we receive from Him and the blessings that come from His kind and merciful hand. Because His love usually manifests itself in good things that happen to us, we sometimes fall back in shock and consternation when we see a child struck by disease or some other trauma. Before we speak to the question of why God allows children to suffer, we need to ask the bigger question: Why does God allow suffering to happen to any person, whether he’s two years old, two months old, or twenty years old? … View Resource

  • How should Christian values impact business ethics in the office? Question and Answer

    I remember having a discussion a few years ago in the boardroom of one of the Fortune 500 corporations here in the United States. I was speaking to the chairman of the board, the president, and several vice presidents of this corporation on the issue of the relationship between theology, philosophy, and ethics. At the end of the discussion the chairman of the board looked at me and said, “Do I understand you to be saying that ethical issues—that is, policies that we have in our business organization—touch the whole question of ethics, and in turn those ethics touch the … View Resource

  • Does God frown upon interracial marriages? Question and Answer

    Numbers 12:1-9

    Some people insist that the Bible meant for the races to remain pure, therefore prohibiting any kind of interracial marriage. Usually two biblical texts are drawn upon to support that view. One is the fact that Noah had three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth. As you recall, Shem received a patriarchal blessing, and an enlargement of that was given to Japheth. Ham, because he looked upon his father’s nakedness, was cursed. “Cursed be Canaan” was the malediction that Noah pronounced on Ham and his descendants. Some have neatly contrived from the three sons of Noah, three survivors of the flood, … View Resource

  • What is the significance of baptism? Question and Answer

    Just as an aside, the word significance has as its root the word sign. A sign is something that points to something beyond itself. We all recognize that whatever baptism signifies, Jesus obviously thought it was very important because he gives a command to baptize all nations in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Whatever else it is, baptism is the sign of the new covenant that God makes with his people. We do have the clear mandate in the New Testament that Christians are to be baptized. I personally do not believe that baptism … View Resource

  • Are those who have never heard of Christ going to hell? Question and Answer

    Romans 1:18-23

    That’s one of the most emotionally laden questions that a Christian can ever be asked. Nothing is more terrifying or more awful to contemplate than that any human being would go to hell. On the surface, when we ask a question like that, what’s lurking there is, “How could God ever possibly send some person to hell who never even had the opportunity to hear of the Savior? It just doesn’t seem right.” I would say the most important section of Scripture to study with respect to that question is the first chapter of Paul’s letter to the Romans. The … View Resource

  • When a person dies, where does his or her spirit and body go until the Second Coming? Question and Answer

    Luke 23:43

    Throughout its history, the church has struggled with the concept of what is called the “intermediate state”—our position between the time we die and the time Christ consummates his kingdom and fulfills the promises that we confess in the Apostles’ Creed. We believe in the resurrection of the body. We believe there will be a time when God reunites our soul and our body, and that we will have a glorified body even as Christ came out of the tomb as the “firstborn from the dead.” In the meantime, what happens? The most common view has been that, at death, … View Resource

  • Has Satan been given dominion over the earth until Jesus returns? If so, why was he given this authority? Question and Answer

    There’s only one supreme Lord over all the world, and that’s God. We are told in the Old Testament that this whole concept of dominion was shared with Adam and Eve. Man was given dominion over the earth to be vice-regents for God, that is, vice kings to represent God’s reign on this planet. Of course, we made a terrible mess out of it, and we were subjected more and more to the power of Satan. That power of Satan was dealt not just a significant blow but a fatal blow by Christ in his incarnation. We’re told, first of … View Resource