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About James A. Gibson

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So far James A. Gibson has created 28 blog entries.

What is the Reformed Interpretation of John 3:16?

In this piece I will attempt to say what the Reformed interpretation of John 3:16 is as it pertains to God's love for the world. It is entirely possible, however, that there is no such thing as the Reformed interpretation because there are may be many interpretations given by Calvinists. The method I employ to satisfy that attempt is to examine or describe the interpretation of those who identify as Calvinists. That method may be unsatisfactory to some readers because of the following thought. If the majority of Roman Catholics believe that the Son was created by the Father, that would not thereby make that view the Roman Catholic view. That is true. There are mechanisms in place that define conceptual boundaries about the relationship between the Father and the Son, [...]

2018-07-06T14:27:10+00:00 June 16th, 2018|6 Comments

Inquiring about Tipping Point Evidence

Two colleagues on a team are debating with each other over whether to use a certain type of database in a current project. One team member insists that a certain query can be performed more quickly if data were stored in a NoSQL repository. Another disagrees. After being tired from not being able to convince each other, one member asks the other: "What would it take for you to change your mind?" The other responds, "You would have to show that the average time over 100,000 queries is faster than x amount." A mother and daughter are arguing over whether the husband/father had an affair. The mother is financially dependent on the husband and who has been the victim of her husband's other past affairs. She fears that [...]

2018-06-10T14:15:08+00:00 June 8th, 2018|6 Comments

Docker & MySQL

How to run MySQL in a Docker container Prerequisite: You have installed Docker and it is running. Run Docker Container with Empty Database docker run -d -p 3306:3306 --name mysql -e MYSQL_ROOT_PASSWORD=password -e MYSQL_USER=user \ -e MYSQL_PASSWORD=password -e MYSQL_DATABASE=mydatabase mysql/mysql-server:5.7 Explanation: the goal of this command is to run a MySQL server version 5.7 and setup an empty database with a user and password. The MYSQL_ROOT_PASSWORD is an environment variable inside the container; it is mandatory and provides the password at the root for the superuser. The other MYSQL environment variables are optional. But as you can see, I am here created a user, a password, and an empty database called mydatabase. --name parameter provides a name to the docker container. -p 3306:3306 tells Docker to use [...]

2018-06-07T19:47:00+00:00 June 7th, 2018|0 Comments

Calvinism and Analyticity

Rich Davis has responded to a piece written by Guillaume Bignon and myself. I would like to thank him for taking the time to interact substantially with our initial response.  In this piece, I am going begin with a few points of clarification on the arguments that Bignon and I give. The clarifications will be important to understand what moves I am making in the final section, which ends on matters more philosophically substantial. As a result of this discussion, I hope to make it more clear what challenges exist for Davis’ case against Calvinism. It is now impossible for anyone to follow this discussion without having read the pieces linked above. If you have not yet done so, do that first.  But in case you do not, [...]

2018-06-07T21:20:01+00:00 May 9th, 2018|Comments Off on Calvinism and Analyticity

Question: When Did Apologetics Programs Begin?

I am doing research for a paper. Maybe someone who looks here knows the answer. There have been people in universities and seminaries who were more or less appointed chairs of apologetics. But those positions, I think, were subsumed under the theology or philosophy departments. When was the first apologetics program created, which provided students its own unique degree? My guess is that this is a late 20th century creation, even though there were apologetics related courses prior to that. But these are all hunches. Does anyone here know and have the evidence to back it up?

2018-06-07T21:16:40+00:00 May 1st, 2018|1 Comment

The irrelevance of ‘whoever’ in John 3:16 and what really matters: A response to Brian Abasciano

In “Whoever Reads John 3:16 Can Know that ‘Whoever’ Is Really There”, Brian Abasciano argues against four Calvinists: James Anderson, Guillaume Bignon, James Gibson, and James White. (I, Guillaume, apologize for not being named “James”. In my defense, my middle name is “Jacques”, which is the French title of the book of James; surely that must count.) Abasciano argues that all four Calvinists have made an embarrassing mistake by failing to understand the Greek text in John 3:16. If these Calvinists had consulted BDAG or even John Calvin’s own writings, they would have recognized that John 3:16 really does convey a generic sense of “whoever”. We, Bignon and Gibson, will let Anderson and White defend themselves since they actually spend some time discussing matters of translation. But as [...]

2018-06-07T21:18:44+00:00 April 24th, 2018|9 Comments

For God so loved the world: A Calvinist Response to Richard Brian Davis

This piece is co-authored by Guillaume Bignon and James A. Gibson. Order is alphabetical.  In "Calvinism's Gospel Tautology," Richard Brian Davis argues that John 3:16 is evidence against the Calvinist doctrine of limited atonement. According to that doctrine, the death and resurrection of Christ is intended for only a subset of humanity, the elect. How, then, is a Calvinist to understand "world" in this passage? Davis considers one possibility suggested by R.C. Sproul.  "The world for whom Christ died cannot mean the entire human family. It must refer to the universality of the elect (people from every tribe and nation) or to the inclusion of Gentiles in addition to the world of the Jews" (Sproul, cited in Davis). Davis argues that it is a fundamental mistake to take the [...]

2018-06-07T21:23:19+00:00 April 7th, 2018|13 Comments

The Moral Psychology of Depravity and the Difficulty of Living in the Kingdom

Unconditional election is one of the infamous doctrines of Calvinism. How broadly unconditional election is understood varies among Calvinist writers. Lorraine Boettner defines the doctrine by citing the Westminster Confession, III.iii-vii (The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination, 84), and that includes a passage on the purpose of election as well as a passage about God passing over those who were not extended divine mercy. The latter passage is suggestive of infralapsarianism, which Boettner goes on to discuss. It is less important to get into the details of Boettner's account than it is to see that he provides a broad characterization which encompasses other robust doctrines. Other Calvinist writers are more narrow in their characterization. Louis Berkhof characterizes election as unconditional. "Election does not in any way depend the on foreseen faith or good [...]

2018-06-07T21:24:01+00:00 March 30th, 2018|Comments Off on The Moral Psychology of Depravity and the Difficulty of Living in the Kingdom

Agency and Bottom-Up Determinative Causation

I am reading through a book on theories of the nature of the mind and I wanted to comment on an argument discussed in a chapter by William Hasker. For one thing, Hasker is a very good philosopher worth reading and reflecting upon. For another, his argument is worth discussing because it is interesting and not obviously wrong. This will provide an occasion, as well, to see how arguments against determinism can often be tied to other metaphysical theses without that being made explicit. And once so explicit, we can see that arguments against naturalistic determinism do not as easily slide over against theologically deterministic views like Calvinism. Nancy Murphy distinguishes between ontological and causal reductionism. The former is a thesis about the the ontology of different levels (physics, chemistry, [...]

2018-06-07T21:30:20+00:00 March 10th, 2018|11 Comments

On Justifying the Current Practice in the Software Engineering Technical Interview

Why do software engineering interviewers care so much about data structures and algorithms?  It is a question you have probably asked yourself if you have gone on the market for a software engineering job. I have never myself heard a very convincing answer where the answer is interpreted as a justification of the practice. There are plausible sociohistorical explanations for why interviewers ask questions like, "balance this binary tree" or "implement a function that removes a node from a linked list." Such questions are arguably analogs of vestigial organs, a legacy of interview questions from the 1950s. But still they remain. And should they? Yes, says Soham Metha, the previous Director of Engineer at Box and founder of InterviewKickstart.com. Metha's answer to this question is interesting because he acknowledges: Yes, DS/Algos are [...]

2018-02-18T23:54:26+00:00 November 18th, 2017|Comments Off on On Justifying the Current Practice in the Software Engineering Technical Interview