Three Theological Mistakes: How to Correct Enlightenment Assumptions about God, Miracles, and Free Will

By Ric S. Machuga

A critical study of erroneous modern theological thinking, offering an alternative understanding rooted in scripture and the insights of Aquinas and Barth.

ISBN: 9780227175286


  • Is the existence of God a matter of faith or knowledge?
  • Does God sometimes act miraculously or are there physical causes for everything?
  • Is morality absolute or relative?
  • Are humans truly free or does God’s sovereignty determine everything?
  • When bad things happen, is God the cause or are they the fault of humans?

Too frequently Christians answer these questions with a ‘Yes’ to one side and a ‘No’ to the other side. Thomas Aquinas and Karl Barth answer ‘Yes’ to both sides. Following their model, Machuga defends a ‘third way’ that transcends the Enlightenment dichotomies of fideism versus rationalism, supernaturalism versus naturalism, relativism versus absolutism, free will versus predestination, and God’s justice versus his mercy.

Machuga begins by showing how these false dichotomies grew out of Enlightenment assumptions about mechanism, universal quantification, and mono-causation. He then corrects these demonstrably dubious assumptions by articulating a theory of dual-causation. The result is a thoroughly biblical understanding of God, miracles, and free will that can withstand the contemporary criticisms of both science and philosophy.

Additional information

Dimensions 229 × 153 mm
Pages 292

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Trade Information JPOD

About the Author

Ric S. Machuga has taught Philosophy in the Honour Programme at Butte College for thirty-five years. He is the author of In Defense of the Soul (2002) and Life, the Universe, and Everything (The Lutterworth Press, 2011).



1. The Collapse of Mechanistic Philosophy
2. What Logic Can Never Do
3. No Logical Bridge
4. Two Views of God
5. God, Miracles, and Good Reasons
6. In Defense of Particularity
7. The Ethics of Grace
8. The Politics of Stewardship
9. Free Will and Predestination
10. The Goodness of God
11. Augustine’s Conception of Hell
12. God’s Gracious Wrath



Endorsements and Reviews

This patient, lucid argument unpacks the false dichotomies that bedevil controversies about God’s sovereignty, human freedom, and divine judgment, leading us persuasively to embrace humility, mystery, and confident hope.
John Wilson, editor of Books & Culture

… provides a valuable service by exposing the roots, and the questionableness, of many views which are still too often taken for granted. … The book is recommended to all those who are interested in questions of theological method, all who are interested in the relationship of theology to science and philosophy, and all who are interested in the effects of the Enlightenment on theology.
William J. Brennan III, in Reviews in Religion and Theology, Vol 25, Issue 1