The Reason for God. Tim Keller.


After a friend gave me The Prodigal God and I read it in a couple of nights,  I thought I should read more from Tim Keller — afterall, he is the pastor of a PCA church, as is Jim Belcher, author of Deep Church, and PCA just seems to keep popping up in much of my recent reading and in local conversations.

The Reason for God is at times much more apologetic than I typically care for, but at other times really spoke to me in ways I did not expect.  Two primary areas that it makes me want to investigate further are the Doctrine of Hell, especially in light of recent discussions surrounding hell as portrayed in Judgement House, and the Kingdom of God as described in Deep Church and other recent readings as a renewed and restored “creation,” here on Earth.

I think, because there is so much to this book, that I will just copy and paste the bulleted list of quotes from my EverNote notebook:

  • The people most passionate about social justice were moral relativists, while the morally upright didn’t seem to care about the oppression going on all over the world.
  • As a child, the plausibility of faith can rest on the authority of others, but when we reach adulthood there is a need for personal, firsthand experience as well.
  • … faith journeys are never simply intellectual exercises. [emphasis mine]
  • Each side should accept that both religious belief and skepticism are on the rise.  [ Two sides are religious and non-religious, believers and skeptics. ]
  • A faith without some doubts is like a body without any antibodies in it. People who blithely go through life too busy or indifferent to ask hard questions about why they believe as they do will find themselves defenseless against either the experience of tragedy or the probing questions from a smart skeptic. A Person’s faith can collapse almost overnight if she has failed over the years to listen patiently to her own doubts, which should only be discarded after long reflection.
  • Believers should acknowledge and wrestle with doubts — not only their own but their friends’ and neighbors’.  It is no longer sufficient to hold beliefs just because you have inherited them.  Only if you struggle long and hard with objections to your faith will you be able to provide grounds for your beliefs to skeptics, including yourself, that are plausible rather than ridiculous or offensive.
  • But even as believers should learn to look for reasons behind their faith, skeptics must learn to look for a type of faith hidden within their reasoning.
  • It would be inconsistent to require more justification for Christian belief than you do for your own.
  • The reality is that we all make truth claims of some sort and it is very hard to weigh them responsibly, but we have no alternative but to try to do so.
  • What is religion then?  It is a set of beliefs that explain what life is all about, who we are, and the most important things that human beings should spend their time doing.
  • Redeemer lacked the pompous and highly sentimental language they found emotionally manipulative in other churches..
  • [The] resistance to authority in moral matters is now a deep current in our culture.  [not just moral, but all matters!]
  • In our society many people have worked extremely hard to pursue careers that pay well rather than fit their talents and interests.  Such careers are straightjackets that in the long run stifle and dehumanize us.
  • Disciplines and constraints, then, liberate us only when they fit with the reality of our nature and capacities. A fish, because it absorbs oxygen from the water rather than the air, is only free if it is restricted and limited to water.
  • Freedom, then, is not the absence of limitations and constraints, but it is finding the right ones, those that fit our nature and liberate us.
  • When people have done injustice in the name of Christ they are not being true to the spirt of the one who himself died as a victim of injustice and who called for the forgiveness of his enemies.
  • Instead of trying to shape our desires to fit reality, we now seek to control and shape reality to fit our desires.
  • Our peer group and and primary relationships shape our beliefs much more than we want to admit.
  • Christians who accept the Bible’s authority agree that the primary goal of Biblical interpretation is to discover the Biblical author’s original meaning as he sought to be understood by his audience.   This has always meant interpreting a text according to its literary genre.
  • “Genesis 1 has the earmarks of poetry and is therefore a song about the wonder and meaning of God’s creation.  Genesis 2 is an account of how it happened.
  • We come to every individual evaluation with all sorts of experiences and background beliefs that strongly influence our thinking and the way our reason works.
  • CS Lewis:  I believe the son has risen, not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.
  • He looked at one argument for God after another, though many of them had a great deal of merit, he found that ultimately every one of them was rationally avoidable at some point…  He was assuming “strong rationalism” which itself has not airtight proof…  Then we went back to review the lines of reasoning and instead of calling the proofs looked at them as clues…
  • Science cannot prove the continued regularity of nature, it can only take it on faith.
  • … innate desires correspond to real objects that can satisfy them…
  • .. Dawkins admits that since we are the product of natural selection, we can’t completely trust our own senses.  After all, evolution is interested only in preserving adaptive behavior, not true belief…
  • Even when we believe with all our minds that life is meaningless, we can’t simply live that way.
  • pride is the enemy of hope
  • “Sin is:  in despair not wanting to be oneself before God… Faith is:  that the self in being itself is grounded transparently in God.”  — Kierkegaard
  • Our need for worth is so powerful that whatever we base our identity and value on we essentially deify.
  • Every person must find some way to justify their existence….  Every one is building their identity on something.
  • Sin is not simply doing bad things… It is putting good things in the pace of God.
  • “Your father has defeated you, as long as you hate him.  You will stay trapped in your anger unless you forgive him thoroughly from the heart and begin to love him.”
  • If you don’t allow your children to hinder your freedom in work and play at all, and if you only get to your children when it doesn’t inconvenience you, your children will grow up physically only.   In all sorts of other ways they will remain emotionally needy, troubled, and over dependent.
  • All life-changing love toward people with serious needs is a substitutional sacrifice.  If you become personally involved with them, in some way, their weaknesses flow toward you as our strengths flow toward them.
  • We should repent not only for what we have done wrong, but our motivations behind our good works…
  • It is not the strength of your faith but the object of your faith that saves you.



2 thoughts on “The Reason for God. Tim Keller.

  1. Pingback: Proper Confidence. Lesslie Newbigin. « 2sparrows

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s