Mark and Rex charge again into the dangerous territory of student questions. Without preparation or forethought, they attempt to answer a question drawn from a collection of theology students.
Welcome to Jessup tank. I’m your host Mark Moore
and your co host Rex Gurney. And I have a question for you. Oh, hey, we’re just starting. So we’re, we’re, you know, a bit into a new decade now. Yeah.
2020 and 2020. I don’t know about you. I’m a little older. But all I know is I was promised a flying car by now. And so what happened? That’s true. I agree. Like the Jetsons was not supposed to be fiction by now. Right? We
were all supposed to be flying car. And then mine. I think grown up that I was really focused on was the hoverboard pocket from the Back to the Future. Where’s that? Although, if I tried that today, I would break my neck. So
you can see the generational thing here, folks. And then he’s talking about Back to the Future. I’m talking about the Jetsons and they’re both still
wait. Don’t be like, wait, what are the future on the Jetsons? Oh, yeah. I don’t know. How do I know? There was on TV? Right now, but it was real boom, done an episode on that, where the rear end influenced? That’s right. That’s right. That’s right. That’s right. And that’s still happening. So
when I enter the future, new decade, we blast of the past.
Yeah, we got to look back, remind our viewers and today we’re kind of, we’ve done a couple of you. We’ve done one other of these recently, but we’re gonna have another kind of grab bag, grab a question. Now. Full disclosure, I’ve done a little bit of pre work, not pre work on the questions. Okay. But I pulled together some of the, you know, another semester has passed. Okay. I’ve I’ve asked my students again, for those kind of random questions. But before we even get to that, okay, I’ve got a question for you. Oh, this is this is just come to my attention. Okay. And I feel like we have to talk about it. That we haven’t talked about it yet. is really my fault. So I have a future with the show. That’s you do? You know, Rex, we need to have a conversation about your future here. Okay. We got some Strength Finders test. You’re gonna, you’re gonna have to. There’s some struggle areas. I’m gonna rumble about it. I am reading a leadership book right now. I’m ready to go on the leadership side. But no, I have come to my attention that you had a pet monkey. Oh, yeah. So I have I mean, I have so many questions on So how old were you when you had the pet monkey.
So I guess we were around. I was, I don’t know, nine. And my sister was seven. And somehow we convinced our parents to buy us a squirrel monkey. And they like did it. And they should be legally used to be used to be able to go into pet store, or spider monkey. Those are the kind of the two that you could you know, have sort of at your home and yeah, that was a row. So we bought Sam. Like I would have named him Sam now. named him Sam. And I actually have a picture that I showed my class. I had talked to the class about this and just dug it up actually a couple weeks ago. of Sam sitting on top of the TV. You know, this is this is back in the old days where you know, you have tube TV. TV was part of the room. Yeah, exactly. And indeed be warm on top because it get hot. Oh, yeah. So in the winter, Sam would go because we let him run around the house. So he’s just free range. House Yeah. At night he go in his cage during the day we let him run around the house, which is also not a good idea. But we still did it for years. Anyway. And he would just sit on top of the of the TV while we were watching TV. And we we put a sombrero on him. What’s so good. It’s just so wrong. That you know that is great. Yeah.
Sam the Monday Yeah, yeah, Sam. I mean, how long did you have? Sam was I guess
for about four years, four or five years? Yeah, my sister and I wanted to start sort of the zoo. I guess. Guess what we already had? Like we’re halfway there. Exactly. That is amazing, man. Yeah. Sometimes students will say I want a monkey I want a monkey. What can I get in a monkey? And it’s like actually, you don’t want them right. Yeah, I think it’s a good idea. Yeah, but you don’t want to I know Yeah, they’re cute. They’re cute but they can be a little feisty. feisty and it can be you know, a destructive destructive. Oh gosh, going
in your cage. Yeah. Now it is now was the time monkey Did you was he diaper? Did he have to wear a diaper or did you let him out or
no Wasn’t diapered and so DNA wouldn’t always do its business in the cage. Yeah, there was that. So yeah, so I don’t know if you can say this on the air. If not, our trusty editor might write about this. But um, so I grew up in a motel on Route 66. And so, yeah,
the plot thickens. So you had a pet monkey and tow, motel,
a motel motel on Route growing up in Mexico, right. And so I remember one time we actually have a book, we actually lived in a couple of the units before, before we built a house on the property, right? Yeah. And so the office was kind of next door to our living room, sort of right. And so, you know, Sam would not only run, you know, where this is going away, not only just run around the living room, it also run around the office, right? So I remember this one customer came in, and he’s filling out his registration, everything right. And I do remember this because the customer had bald head. He was kind of the Telly Savalas sort of thing before it was cool. Yeah. Anyway, he had it running around the curtain rods on the window. And so he jumped from the curtain rod onto the guy’s head. So your monkey jumps on your head. And then of course, you know, does his business. And so we’re mortally embarrassed. And you know, the strange thing about it, after he left off the whole thing, he still took the room. Yeah. He still stayed there. Yeah, but we tried to have no monkey in the office rules after that. Yeah. No monkey in the office. That’s a pretty good rule. Yeah.
So we just learned so much by Rex says, amazing. You had a pet monkey. in a motel on Route 66.
In New Mexico sounds sort of like a movie somewhere is moving. And this I could go there actually. So yeah, you can add door. folks might not know this, but you might Mark openindiana Yeah. So um, back in the day when the Indianapolis 500 was actually a big deal. Right, right. This family, extended family actually lived next door to us and across the street. And between the two generations, I think they won the Indianapolis 500 maybe eight times. Wow. And that was Bobby unser live two houses. Yeah, out onto the street and little owl going up, right. Actually, one day Annapolis 500 a few times before that, and one of my very, very few claims to fame. And it’s actually not much of a fame but still very few claims to fame is that when we were kids, we would go racing on many bikes. And the only official race I did with little owl actually be them. Yeah. Even though he had a fancy mini bike to his fancy racing car family, but I just had this old lawnmower engine on two wheels and still still be awesome. I don’t know how far you can go. 500 Exactly. In a race in a race. Right. That’s pretty good. That did. I was like 12 and he was like seven doesn’t much. still counting still at a cooler minibikes? Yeah,
that’s true. Well, that is another one. I do. I knew the answer family from just I mean, for watching them
in Indiana. Yeah. As soon as they, Bobby and l won the Annapolis 500 the first time because they wanted multiple times, right? Yeah, built a new house. But instead of like moving to the cool side of town or whatever, because we did not live on the cool side of town. They just built a bigger house out where they were living. So they still stayed in the neighborhoods.
Yeah, that’s great. Well, I’m hoping this year to learn even more about you 2020 is Marx has learned some some stories he hasn’t told you. That’s true. Yeah, we’ll get to those. We’ll get to those. But now we’re going to move Okay, to these questions. Okay. And we’ll, we may get to a couple I know, he said that last time, we only did the one but right but but we’ll start with all of these. For me, I kind of curated a series of questions that I’m like, hey, these are good or good to think about. And I think it is good. We can let the listeners know, again, that we are there’s not a lot of the pre work we’ve done for these rights will be our lives like our lives have been pre studied.
And folks, I have not seen these questions. I literally have
not seen these questions. And and so, so we are kind of going into this blind. But I think these are questions that are important to me. One thing that I like about this too is that I mean, these are questions that I have given my theology class the opportunity to ask at the end of every semester, these are real questions. These are real people ask right real things that are right and they’re like, hey, how does this you know and in many of the studio Our seniors, by the time they take the class kind of a junior senior level class, and they maybe have grown up in the church for, you know, now 20 years, 21 years. And so I think it’s nice in their perspective to have those type of questions of, hey, I’ve maybe grown up, I’ve heard these things, but I’m now getting to a place where I’m starting to maybe critically think about some things, right? I’m like, how does this make sense? Right? How do I connect this dots? How
can I own these things or not for the rest of my life?
Right? Alright, so we’re, we’re gonna, we’re gonna hit the ground running. Okay, we’re gonna come out swinging. But this is a, it’s worded really interesting as well. It says if creation was made good, and without sin, how did Adam and Eve choose sin? So we kind of have this. And that’s part of the narrative. And when we stressed it in, in class as well, you know, narrative that creation is good. Genesis narrative, right? God declares that seven times that this is good. It is without sin, then how you can maybe even ask, why did Adam and Eve to sin?
This question? Um, um, and I don’t know, if I have, it was a definitive answer to this, then nobody would be answering this question you’re asking is quite Yeah, yeah, perennial questions like this before, but this sort of comes up in my Christian perspective class, too. And there’s some, you know, similarities between some of the things we’ve talked about, right? Right, we approach it a little differently. But so I get this questionnaire out at the beginning of every, every class, and it’s kind of a worldview questionnaire. And it’s anonymous, but the students do it in class, and then I tally all the stuff and a couple classes later, because sometimes it’ll take a while for me to, to, to finish it up. We put it on the on the, on the PowerPoint, and we just sort of see where the class is right now about things, right. And one of the first questions is, are people basically good or bad? And, you know, the class is almost always split. And it always changes every time. But but one, one thing we we talk about, is that even among people that have grown up in the church, and are serious about their Christian Can, can commitment can sort of come land on different sides of this, depending on whether they’re they’re focusing on Genesis, one more Genesis two, because it was sort of it sort of says to diff, well, two, I believe complimentary things rise, I don’t believe that, you know, the creation stories contradict each other right way. But if you focus on Genesis one and the good of God’s creation, and humanity is the crown of God’s creation and humanity as part of God’s good creation being very good, that might land you in one square, sort of the imago day, if you focus on Genesis two and talking about the fall, and then the repercussions of the fall, yeah. And getting into chapter three, and then you filter that through a couple of 1000 years of the least for us as Christians a couple 1000 years of Christian theology. You know, and you know, St. Agustin sort of stands there, like a, you know, a great eminence over all of this. Yeah, kind of got to go through him almost can’t go around him. Right. Brian, you might come to a different conclusion. But but yet I think both things are sort of affirmed in Scripture. Yeah. One thing that helps me with that, is believing that that free will is a positive good, huh. And so you know, because of the consequences of a negative choice that arises out of freewill, sometimes we can think of freewill as sort of a negative thing. Right? Would it be better if we didn’t have had that? Because look at everything that has happened, right, to God’s good creation, because of because of our, you know, our choices? Yeah. But the fact that we are free moral agents and we have choices is actually part of God’s good creation. Yeah. At least that helps, you know, move the conversation along. I’m not sure it right, definitively, you know, into the discussion, but it can move the conversation along.
When this is tough, too. Because it’s because like he said, there’s there’s been a lot maybe written on this and a lot said, and there’s there isn’t just the one kind of party line, right. Yeah. And, and so kind of tackling and I always try to encourage students that there’s actually a lot of places in theology that are that way. There are there are kind of good arguments on both sides. And it depends on how you approach it. So I Calvinists and arminians are still fighting each other are discussing issues. Yeah, exactly. intently discussing the finer points of theology. And so I always encourage students like he kind of on issues like that. Now there, I feel there are some essentials that the church has, you know, has agreed upon and focuses on. But on some of these issues of maybe the finer details and the points, you may have to choose an interpretation that you feel best fits maybe the biblical narrative, and also raises the questions that you can live with, you can live with those unanswered questions. That’s
actually a really good point.
But maybe on another interpretation, you’re like, Nope, I can’t live with that question. I need that answer. Can you live with Yeah, what kind of what kind of questions because because I do think, in this regard, it really is good to highlight in that narrative flow, when we kind of talk about that about I mean, in that it’s kind of amazing, the rest of scripture in the Bible project does this really well. The rest of Scripture almost constantly draws you back to Genesis one through three. Like it’s all through the New Testament, it’s through like, it’s always coming back to, hey, this is who we are as human beings. This is why we’re here. And this is what has happened to get us here. And so kind of having this narrative of created as good. And then the fall. The one reason I kind of stress out in class, because then that gives us the ability to be restored to the good, right? And so kind of an important step like restoration can happen. But but it is interesting within church history, like what has been stressed, and what hasn’t, is it and sometimes I’ve heard it described this way is the original goodness, stretch stressed, or Original Sin, right. And we’ve kind
of had some some iterations of kind of contemporary theology, we’ll talk about original blessing versus Original Sin. And yeah, you kind of use that vocabulary. I think that’s an interesting point, though, that I hadn’t thought of before that you just sort of mentioned about the about the restoration of a broken creation and the restoration being sort of a source of our I don’t know, hope. Yeah, you know, or something that would at least drive us to believe that there’s something something better, but not different, better in a way that it restores something that should have been all along somebody that was broken? Yeah. And that eschatological hope is, is in itself a good thing. Right. And you can see the good in the world that has, it has come from that.
Yeah. Now some have answered this question. And it’s they’re saying, and I’ve talked with some students, and we’ve done some different kind of research and reading of credit, trying to see a lot of these different answers some, some theologians have answered this question by saying that there was at the time of Adam and Eve there was evil, like evil is somehow and this kind of gets into philosophy world a lot. Yeah, I guess in a lot of things, but kind of the ideas of dualism. And and kind of what we mean there, especially like, term we can throw out for the listeners metaphysical dualism, so meaning beyond just the physical worlds, which kind of good and evil would would be in that realm. But that there’s an actual Good and Evil is an actual substance that is similar to the good
which is what a Gustin did not want to write, right, he did not want to go right, which Gustin speaks against
that. Right. And, and so some maybe have answered this like, Oh, well, they had two options, right? Evil was a thing. Good was a
call that Star Wars theology, actually, yeah, yeah.
Well, and that definitely, there’s a lot of dualism happening. There’s the
whatever it is, it can be used for the good or use for the bad. Yeah, the dark side, but it’s sort of and, you know, people and even Christians have struggled with this sort of forever, right, you know, the manna keys were duelists some sort of get some of that from Zoroastrianism. You get some gnostic dualism in there. I know that one of the issues with the authority or the albigensian heresy, you know, back in though I don’t know what 13th century 12th century, right. Yeah. Um, was that they were very dualist Mm hmm. too, right. And, and so it’s something that say, and I get that Actually, um, you know, dualism. Even though I actually think that that’s a real problem, I actually would not want to go there because I actually don’t believe that the scriptural witness is dualistic. I do think, though, that we keep trying to make it dualistic which is another thing. Yeah, that is that we’re sort of practical duelists even if we’re not theological dude, right. But
yeah, cuz we kind of and kind of maybe what you are what you’re saying there? Do we kind of that idea of practical dualism?
Make sense? Yeah, we’ll just just just pick up the paper and read right, it looks like you know that we live in a world Yeah,
that there is evil and good. And they’re locked in a battle. Right? And we’re just hoping good wins. Right? And that seems to be Yeah, for me the kind of the issue where some kind of metaphysical dualism answers the question, hey, Adam and Eve, they chose sin because it was their evil evil prompted them right, there was this prompt from evil? That answered that, but for me, then that brings up other questions that I can’t live right. So I answered one question, but now, right. And what it brings up for me, is it going back to that restoration, if good and evil, are together? In some kind of metaphysical dualism, and some type of eternal struggle? Right, then you don’t necessarily land on any type of restoration back to the good? No, you don’t? And that’s where, you know, and that’s where a Gustin came in, and, and kind of the idea of good and an evil being just a privation of the good. Right. Which, which still brings up other questions, it still brings up this question. Okay. Well, then if there was only good, why did Adam Adam and Eve leaving? Well, it’s
interesting, though, because even when you go back to the the narrative there about what exactly happened in the garden, and what’s the fruit and that whole story? You know, it’s not like, we look at that as evil. I’m not sure that, you know, Adam and Eve would have seen what was offered them as evil, right. And as some sort of an alternative to the good because it seemed like it was good. Yeah. Who doesn’t want to know everything and be like God, right. You know? Yeah, who doesn’t want that? They say a bad thing. Yeah. You know, but but it, you know, obviously is, but yeah, it certainly didn’t seem that way.
Yeah. No, that’s a really good point to make. I think that is good. Because it wasn’t, yeah, it wasn’t a, like some type of obvious heinous choice. Even Adam are making of Yeah, we’re gonna we’re gonna do this. But it does seem to be and that seems to be in the biblical narrative that step up, right? The, they’re kind of linked, you go from the, the eating of the fruit. And this knowledge gained to, you know, in the next chapter, cane killing, right, right. So you This doesn’t take long to move to something that we could highlight as, okay, that’s clearly evil. And, and I think the biblical narrative is, is trying to highlight that as well. So this is, but i do i do think that it is that first move from Adam and Eve, that’s, that’s kind of attributing that is it just highlighting as human beings. And as our representative, this idea of gaining our own knowledge, and maybe in and pursuing that. And, and maybe disregarding what God has for us, you know, which comes back to that idea of freewill. And that idea of if, in God’s good world, our freedom was the good, which would come with it, the ability to to choose against, that would be actual,
actual freewill. And all that I would know if I want to sort of insert myself into that story is that if, if if I were choosing to be God, like in having the knowledge of good and evil and all of that, I know that it wouldn’t be a good world anymore. Right? Right. It just wouldn’t be Yeah. Because we’re we’re taking the place of God we are. We are contingent beings. God is not contingent on anything or anyone and what makes it contingent think they can do a, you know, supersede the non retention. I know we’re using sort of philosophical language here. Yeah. Yeah. I think that’s a really important point.
Yeah, it is because I think as you approach it to, if If there was no ability to choose, and it was all set, in some ways, I think we would also if we read that narrative like, again, today, if that was Genesis One, two, it would be for one completely disconnected from our experience of reality, right? And it’s kind of like watching, I always am struck by this when I’m watching a movie or TV show, in Star Trek did a lot when they would go to a new place, and it was kind of a utopia. You’re always like, This isn’t good. It’s not good, even though you shouldn’t be like, this is great, this society is perfect. These guys do not come in peace, even if they are exactly. So it’s like, I think we kind of know that as human beings, that it’s like that, that that idea of some type of forced utopia wouldn’t really be a utopia. And one
thing that could perhaps help the student once again, I don’t think it’s a slam dunk argument. But it seems like a simplistic one. But if you see, sort of, you know, the the most important attribute of who God is and and how God relates to God’s creation, God’s relational God is in some very profound sense. And scripture actually comes right out and says this plain Greek that that God is love. And so if love is sort of at the heart of all of this, I think we all understand how love is impossible without free choice, because if it right, we had no free choice, it would not be love. And if loves the ultimate good, then some sort of free choice has to be possible. Yeah. But then, of course, if it’s a free choice, then that obviously opens up everything else, right?
I guess you could, you could attribute it to trying to think of other examples in our life. I mean, maybe maybe there were times. Even in a romantic relationship, you could be with someone who was quote, unquote, perfect. They were great. They were that but you just chose not to be with them. You’re just there was something not? There. Right. The? I don’t know. I’ve never had that experience. But I’m not I’m not necessarily. theory I pathetically.
Mark had the perfect woman. I ended up with a. Okay, well, God’s gracious, God’s good. gracious to me is good.
No, but that idea of that, that just because something is perfect doesn’t mean as a human being, we choose to engage in it. And we, so just being created into a perfect creation if we have the choice, because really, the choice Adam and Eve made was a choice of self over God. Right? It wasn’t the choice of one evil over one good. Like you were saying, I think that’s a really good point to make. It wasn’t like, yeah, I’ve never thought of murder, but now I’m going to choose to murder. Right. It’s, it starts it doesn’t start there. It starts with that choice of self right over God. And, and that leads into this. But I mean, I think this, I think this is a good question. It is to think about because it’s one we don’t often bring up in church when we’re when we’re talking about this narrative. And and I think it is helpful, because it does bring up a lot of the different philosophical questions that are out there. And and how you reconcile good and evil, and and what evil is. And I do think it’s important for us to talk about that and so on. And I think I appreciate the influence that a Gustin has had and that I think we also have to realize some of the things right there, right, where he’s been called into question. Like, I think it’s good to good to understand those things. And one of the things in my life, that I think I’m starting to look at more and more, because for many of us, especially Protestants, post reformation, the focus has been on the fall. Right, right. And one thing I’ve been looking at more and more is that Genesis one narrative like no, there there is this original goodness. Now we have fallen and and that is Reinhold Niebuhr said, the doctrine of original sin is the most empirical, verifiable doctrine in all of Scripture. Because Yeah, you just look in anything outside your door, right? Even if someone said, we’re mostly good, even even people who you know, today would say that that’s a qualifier, but also admit, right, but we’re not mostly good, and we’re not. And that’s just this recognition. And I think that’s what Genesis 1123 are really highlighting for us is that we realize as human beings, we have walked away from the good We have walked in that good being, love and relationship and connection and because of walking away from that, and I think this is also an important point,
it gets hard to see the glimpses of the beauty of God’s good, is very good creation that’s still there. Yeah. Yeah, that’s obscured by, you know, the right the blinders that we have on. Yeah. And I still there,
I think that’s good, too. And, and in each other, too, is like, I don’t know, the, the, the idea of total depravity and realizing, you know, I mean, like the and, and the old saying, are ruined by the fall kind of, out of that movement. And understanding that we are right, I mean, like we, we struggle with, with doing good. But there are those times when we, we do choose the good, right. And those are moments of grace. Right. Those are moments of grace. And, and I think they’re glimmers of that good. world that God created good. Is
there to be chosen. Yeah. With our good gift of freewill.
Yeah. Yeah. And, and, and, and that hope, like you said, the hope of restoration, right? Is is highlighted there as well, that there is and I really do think that underlines the idea of Christian hope, of that there is going to be a restoration, right? There’s, there’s going to be restoration. I look forward to that. I,
you know, we may have talked about this before I’m colorblind. And my students, you know, love to especially I teach history. And so, you know, whenever I have a graph or a map, or it’s actually it’s more than two and the two are, well, if the two are green, and red, then I’m still in trouble. Right. But I literally can’t, I can’t tell what they are. But and so you know, I’ve never seen a rainbow. Like it’s supposed to be I never have, you know, what I do see is beautiful. It’s like, you know, this, you know, gray, horrible world? No, I’m still enchanted by this wonderful, enchanted world, but I just don’t see a rainbow like apparently everybody else does. But, and I actually have thought about this, you know, at the restoration of all things, you know, a rainbow might not be anything to you, because you see it all the time, but it will really be something for me. Yeah, it really wouldn’t be but it’s not, you know, something new. It’s just seeing something that was there and good. All along. Right. with new eyes.
Yeah, I’m looking forward to that. That is great. And that connection as human beings connection with God connection with each other, right, without having to be defensive without having to worry about yourself, right? Without attacking right. Now all or nothing to defend and to attack. Yeah, that will all be gone. And that will be our start. Well, that was a that was a good question. From Sundar, it’s anonymous, I can’t even track them down. But if you’re listening to this podcast right now, we use your question, we use your question and and we did our best at dancing all around the question and answering I think we I think we got you know, somewhere. But there’s a lot more to be said on that. And I’m sure even on the podcast, we’re gonna bring up because good and evil and love. Yeah, not going away. Love God’s justice, all those all those aspects of theology bring up questions. Right. And, and we’re here to kind of wrestle with those, right? Because I think it’s really important. And, I mean, now is just a full episode. I
mean, we got into philosophy. So once again, we just spent the whole time talking about one question.
Yeah. So we, you know, when you when you hit a good question, that was a good one strikes a chord, we could probably do two or three episodes on that question. Yeah, we got to do a little philosophy of metaphysical dualism, and a little bit of everything, ancient heresies, and we learned the Jetta pet monkey. Well, you know, in on Route 6666 on a set of a movie. Next door, the answers are you go, that’s gonna be my first novel. Okay. Okay. People would think it’d be science fiction or fantasy. Well, we’re looking forward to some more 2020 2020 feeling good so far. Thank you for listening to Jessup. Think Be sure to follow us on Twitter at Jessup think we would love to hear your thoughts on the episode and engage with any questions you have. Our aim is to provide a framework for further reflection and deeper exploration of these important topics. You can also help the show by leaving a review on iTunes these reviews help the podcast reach new listeners. Until next time, I’m Mark Moore and this is Jessup.
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