I thought it might be fitting to eulogize Dr. Norman L. Geisler in the manner of our mutual philosophical mentor, Thomas Aquinas.
Of Bestowing Accolades Upon a Creature
Whether It Is Fitting to Bestow Accolades Upon Dr. Norman L. Geisler
on the Occasion of His Passing
Obj. 1. It would seem that it is not fitting to bestow accolades upon and praise the life and achievements of Dr. Norman L. Geisler for no one deserves to be praised “for all have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God” as the Apostle Paul says in Rom. 3:23.
Obj. 2. It would seem that it is not fitting to bestow accolades and praise for the good we have experienced in our relationships with Dr. Norman L. Geisler for “no one is good but One, that is God” as the Lord Jesus says in Matt. 19:17.
On the contrary, the Scriptures command us to “render therefore to all their due … honor to whom honor.” (Rom. 13:7). Further the Scriptures command, “Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and doctrine.” (1 Tim. 5:17)
I answer that, that Dr. Norman L. Geisler deserves the accolades bestowed upon him can be proved in five ways. The first and most manifest way is the argument from family. Dr. Geisler was an exemplary husband to his loving wife Barbara and the loving father, grandfather, and great-grandfather to his children, his children’s children, and their children. The second way is the argument from evangelism. Dr. Geisler helped the unbeliever see the truth of Christ by his teaching, his many writings, and his many debates with unbelievers. The third way is the argument from restoration. Dr. Geisler helped believers to be strengthened in their faith who had been stumbled by the false arguments of unbelievers. The fourth way is the argument of apologetics. Dr. Geisler, by his careful reasoning and argumentation, helped stop the mouths of the “insubordinate, both idle talkers and deceivers” as the Apostle Paul commanded in Titus 1:11. The fifth way is the argument of edification. Dr. Geisler, by means of his writings and teachings, has equipped and continues to equip many saints “for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ” as the Apostle Paul instructs us in Eph. 4:12.
Reply Obj. 1. Despite the fact that all have sinned, it remains in our power as believers to do good, as the Apostle Paul instructs us in Gal. 6:10 that “as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.” Dr. Norman L. Geisler has done much good through his deeds, teachings, writings, and debates. Since good is worthy of acknowledgement and praise, it is fitting to bestow accolades upon him.
Reply Obj. 2. Goodness can cause a thing to fittingly deserve accolades and praise in two ways. One way that a being can be the worthy of praise and admiration is because it is intrinsically good as goodness itself. But only God is goodness itself. In this way no created thing deserves praise and admiration but God alone. A second way goodness can cause a thing to fittingly deserve accolades and praise is when it, as a created being, is an instrument used of God to finitely display God’s own infinite goodness. In this way, since Dr. Norman L. Geisler has been used of God as such an instrument, it is fitting to acknowledge his achievements and to bestow upon him such accolades.
Thanks for everything you let God to do for me through you. See you later.
Richard G. Howe