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John Frame’s many years of personal correspondence with students, pastors, and theologians is now available for us all to see, and it provides unusual insights into his thinking and work. Frame himself says that this collection is the single most comprehensive account of his theological thought.
The correspondence is divided into three main groups: Systematic Theology, Philosophy and Apologetics, and Ethics and Miscellany. His letters on these subjects are far-ranging and extensive – roughly the equivalent of three print volumes.
36 How Does God Work All Things Together for Good?
The first consideration is to understand how difficult the question is.
Nov. 26, 2011
Good questions, M. A few comments:
1. Yes, I hold to a Calvinistic compatibilism: freedom is the ability to do what one most desires.
2. There are other forms of freedom too: moral freedom, political freedom, etc. See chapter 8 of my DG.
3. Yes, I believe that God has planned all evil for a higher good. Romans 8:28 is explicit on this.
4. I don’t know of any Bible passage that particularizes this principle so that for evil A there is always a higher good B that A brings about.
5. I don’t think this kind of particularization is required for a greater-good defense.
6. Still, I do believe that every particular event is foreordained by God and that it makes some contribution to his greater glory.
7. It would be theoretically possible to particularize the actual contribution of event A to God’s greater glory and therefore for the greater good. At least God himself knows how each event makes such a contribution.
8. But God is not obligated to tell us what that particular contribution is, and we may never know. Indeed it may be beyond our understanding.
9. In addition to the greater-good defense, I think Scripture warrants other responses to the problem of evil:
10. “Who are you, O man, who replies against God?”
11. The eschatological response: one day we will stand around God’s throne commending his goodness, without a shadow of doubt. Evidently, God has a means of eventually removing the problem of evil from our consciousness.
12. I discuss these matters in chapter 9 of DG and chapters 6–7 of my AGG.
Hope you find something helpful in these comments.
This sample is fairly typical of the correspondence overall – theology carefully considered and (usually) briefly, helpfully stated.
Table of Contents
Part One: Systematic Theology
The Doctrine of God
The Word of God
Election and Covenant
The Person and Work of Christ
The Spirit’s Application of Salvation
Grace, Law, Obedience
The Last Days
Part Two: Philosophy and Apologetics
Ethics: The Antithesis
The History of Philosophy
Part Three: Ethics and Miscellany
Introduction to Ethics
Christ and Culture
Appreciation to Friends
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The Theological Correspondence of John Frame