My Friday-night "Overtopping" explosion has done no good. Ideas beget ideas! I was up to 17 pink notes a few hours ago. So I'll go super short. Here are a few stubs for ideas that should be developed. Comment if one of them strikes your fancy.
There seem to be two senses of salvation. There is a sense in which we "have been saved" and another in which we "are being saved." It seems to me that with the past-tense part of salvation, we can also say we have been saved by faith; it is justification (Rom 8); it's focus is on our relationship to God: "Love the Lord thy God..."
The second sense is more dynamic and may seem to require works. This may be where the James "faith without works is dead" fits into salvation. This is sanctification. This 'being saved' depends on the first sense, but it's focus is outwards, on the second Great Commandment "Love thy neighbor as thyself."
If this were the case, both sides of Grace vs. Works would be right on salvation; it depends on the tense of 'saved.'
Life Expectancy at conception
We like to think of ourselves as civilized because our "life expectancy at birth" has gone way up after all our babies stopped dying from diseased we figured out how to prevent. But we would still look like barbarians if we calculated our life expectancy from conception, counting the millions who don't make it out of the womb because of abortion. Perhaps our life expectancy hasn't changed since the Dark Ages.
We all have to make assumptions about our worldview. Do we have to assume God? In what sense can we 'prove' Him? I had a friend strongly disagree with the Cosmological argument on the grounds that we could not know the nature of the universe 'before' the beginning. I then made the argument that if we could not know before the beginning for certain, we must at least be agnostic about it; we would have to consign it to an axiom or assumption of our worldview.
Was this a valid argument? Are we able to be more confident about God's existence on purely logical grounds? Or is God an assumed precondition of the universe?
Evil Is Singularly Human
I was discussing the difference between Humans and the animals and I argued that our absurd (in Evolutionary terms) altruism was something that set us apart. After a bit of discussion on that, my discussants (<-- I thought I made that word up... spell check isn't underlining it) suggested that no other species commits acts of evil. After reflecting, I think I agree. We are the only gratuitously evil species. Even in cases where it is against our best interest (survival or social), we'll commit terribly evil acts. This, I think, supports the view that Man is a Moral being. That is, he has the capacity to go above and below the call of instinct. I previously only focused on how he went above it in altruism, not below it in malice. Whew
Down to 9 pink notes. Single digits. Now it's bedtime.