Utter, Unyielding Despair

47028368_354087128487293_1643572461058392064_nUnyielding despair. This is the conclusion of many great thinkers, when they consider the meaning of life, or rather its end result.

William Provine says, “Let me summarize my views on what modern evolutionary biology tells us loud and clear … There are no gods, no purposes, no goal-directed forces of any kind. There is no life after death. When I die, I am absolutely certain that I am going to be dead. That’s the end for me. There is no ultimate foundation for ethics, no ultimate meaning to life, and no free will for humans, either. No inherent moral or ethical laws exist, nor are there any absolute guiding principles for human society. The universe cares nothing for us and we have no ultimate meaning in life”

Richard Dawkins recounts this in regards to a reaction to his book, The God Delusion:  “A foreign publisher of my first book confessed the he could not sleep for three nights after reading it, so troubled was he by what he saw as its cold, bleak message. Others have asked me how I can bear to get up in the mornings. A teacher from a distant country wrote to me reproachfully that a pupil had come to him in tears after reading the same book, because it had persuaded her that life was empty and purposeless. He advised her not to show the book to any of her friends, for fear of contaminating them with the same nihilistic pessimism”. He also states, “Presumably there is indeed no purpose in the ultimate fate of the cosmos…”

Atheist chemist Peter Atkins says, “At root, there is only corruption, and the unstemmable tide of chaos. Gone is purpose; all that is left is direction. This is the bleakness we have to accept as we peer deeply and dispassionately into the heart of the Universe.”

Thomas Nagel: “It is often remarked that nothing we do now will matter in a million years. But if that is true, then by the same token, nothing that will be the case in a million years matters now.”

Jon Casimir: “Here’s what I think. There is no meaning of life. The whole thing is a gyp, a never-ending corridor to nowhere. What is passed off as an all-important search is basically just a bunch of philosophers scrabbling about on their knees, trying to find a lost sock in the cosmic laundromat.”

Existentialist Jean-Paul Sartre: “I existed like a stone, a plant, a microbe… I was just thinking… that here we are, all of us, eating and drinking, to preserve our precious existence and there’s nothing, nothing, absolutely no reason for existing.”

Many children and young adults feel this, and though they may not articulate this intuitive understanding of life as well as history’s ‘great’ philosophers, their actions will undoubtedly bear the signature of this belief. It is showcased in every school shooting, in every suicide, in every young, fatherless woman’s attempt to validate herself with random sexual encounters. It is ingrained in the psyche of every man unable to acquire power through leadership, when realization dawns that the days of his life, when overlayed on to the timeline of a 14 billion year old universe (so he is taught), amount to utterly nothing.

What is left then?

The reactions to this understanding are numerous. Escapism, filling the world with fantasy, and therefore meaning. Apathy, contentedness in not caring, at least not in the deeper questions of life. Helping others or leading others, a legacy mentality, which often degrades into the next option; self-service, to pleasure ones self with power, materialism, or physical contact. There is also pain and violence, sadism and masochism; pick your poison. A rebellion against life, an acting upon the resentment one has for being forced to live for no reason.

Consider Bertrand Russell’s explanation of life, in Free Man’s Worship. “That Man is the product of causes which had no prevision of the end they were achieving; that his origin, his growth, his hopes and fears, his loves and his beliefs, are but the outcome of accidental collocations of atoms; that no fire, no heroism, no intensity of thought and feeling, can preserve an individual life beyond the grave; that all the labours of the ages, all the devotion, all the inspiration, all the noonday brightness of human genius, are destined to extinction in the vast death of the solar system, and that the whole temple of Man’s achievement must inevitably be buried beneath the debris of a universe in ruins—all these things, if not quite beyond dispute, are yet so nearly certain, that no philosophy which rejects them can hope to stand. Only within the scaffolding of these truths, only on the firm foundation of unyielding despair, can the soul’s habitation henceforth be safely built.”

Are you depressed yet?

If there is hope, why not illustrate that hope, so that we do not have to trudge through this darkness of thought? Why carry on with such a heinous and nihilistic outlook?

Because, to appreciate the good, you must understand how bad it is. To be thankful for light, you must experience darkness.

I have, and will continue to offer evidences concerning the authenticity of our Biblical narrative. It is a beautiful and fulfilling study. But sometimes, we must look at what the alternative would yield. In regards to the common mindset of leaders within the atheistic evolution worldview, Henry M Morris says, “But the one common theme in all – Darwin, Lyell, Wallace, Erasmus Darwin, Lamarck, Marx, and indeed most all the rest – was hatred of God as Creator, Christ as Savior, and the bible as God’s Word.”

These wholly depressing views about our lives, our purpose, are inexorably the conclusions one must come to as an atheist. If you don’t, you are ignoring the realities of your presupposition. You are escaping the inevitable. And in the spirit of escaping this reality, we have the very apropos season fast approaching where Santa brings presents to quell the need of instant gratification, while simultaneously David Silverman, president of American Atheists, launches their yearly anti-Christmas, anti-God campaign.

But the gift of Jesus Christ being born, and the reason Christians celebrate the season, is an  acknowledgement of hope and love that surpasses all expectation, and conquers all the darkness with its light. In this event we hold a memorial to that which God did, enabling us to find meaning in all that we do. In this event, and those that followed, God revealed that all His promises were true, that His scriptures could be trusted and His words had authority, and that death itself was defeated. With the birth of our Lord and Savior, God abolished darkness forever, allowed victory over sin, and proved that each person meant something, because they were loved by an infinite creator.

Yes, atheistic thought and evolutionary materialism has caused an endless amount of evil and havoc. And fallen man will continue until his last days to rail against the reality of a creator God, so that he can rationalize his own evil. But you need not succumb to the same empty, hopeless conclusions that atheists’ must. You can instead grow your faith in the Word of God, and meditate on how much you are loved, how the inheritance of Christ has been shared with you for all eternity, for God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son. It is worth celebrating, and this Christmas, I hope you do.

Merry Christmas.

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Luke 2: 6-14

6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.

7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

 

 

 

 

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Who Is God?

Many times in these articles, I have expounded on the basic apologetic’s argument, the cosmological argument. This highlights the causality law and the fact that the universe had a beginning. This truth leads to the logical conclusion that a creator in this case must be outside of said creation, therefore be timeless, spaceless, immaterial, personal, and powerful. A pretty good start when trying to describe the God of the bible.

But after one study I was doing, it occurred to me to perhaps look at it in reverse. See, with the cosmological explanation, which does hold water, you are; a) still miles away from landing on the Christian God of the Old and New Testament, and b) still faced with taking an all-powerful infinite being, and trying to quantify it/Him with a finite mind, and finite knowledge. I would dare say this is an impossible task.

The result of people trying, is rampant disagreement through the ages. Humans have within us this obvious understanding that people have value, that nature is beautifully created, and that there must be a creator, a higher power (yes, people can and do convince themselves otherwise to absolve them from the gravity of such knowledge, but most through the majority of history lean towards this obvious truth). But as people try to define it, as they try to feel spiritual, or connect with a deity they know is there, we explode into a cacophony of religious concepts, crystals, the moon god, baal, self worship, pluralism, pantheism (god is in everything), he is a force, the great spirit, Allah, the great I AM, and somehow, regardless of truth, history, logic, many contradictions are accepted at once, and the peaceable of us are often denoted as the most enlightened of us.

The truth is, there is no way to know an infinite, timeless, spaceless, immaterial, all powerful God unless He wants to reveal Himself, His nature, and His presence to us. Without that, you are grasping at straws. The great part is, that is exactly what He chose to do.

So how do we get to know God?

John 14:6-10
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him.” Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works.”

John 1:14
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

Philippians 2:6-7
who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.

Matthew 1:23
“Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.”

John 5

45 Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father. There is one who accuses you: Moses, on whom you have set your hope. 46 For if you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of me. 47 But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?”

Hebrews 1:3 He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high

The exact imprint of His nature.

If Jesus is telling the truth, if He did rise from the dead, which there is great evidences for, and over and over He is telling us, plainly, that to know the Father, you must know Him, for no one comes to the Father but through Him, that He is the door, that He is the way, is the truth, then the answer to who is God is simple.

If you want to learn who God is, study Jesus. If you want to commune with God, then commune with Jesus. If you want to seek God, then seek Jesus. It is only through God coming down and revealing Himself to us that we are able to grasp Him at all! Everything else we try, crystals, read the stars, do good works, transcendental meditation, in order to feel spiritual, will be a false attempt at seeking your creator, propped up by an emotional experience.

Is it not the height of arrogance that we would assume to shun how God has reached out to us, and should instead choose to try to find Him, or truth at all, of a holy and infinite being, through our own silly regimens and rituals?

Often, in apologetics, the concept of God is too big. It comes with all these questions, and gets metaphysical, and existential, and un-quantifiable in its scope. People can’t wrap their arms around the idea of infinite, of driving towards a goal forever, and still being not one iota closer to the end.

But it need not be that hard, that distant. Jesus says simply, if you want to know the Father, get to know me.

Furthermore, in many places, Jesus promises this faith will give you eternal life. Over and over, He states that He is providing eternal life. But in one place, He literally defines it. What is eternal life?

John 17:2 since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. 3 And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.

Eternal life is promised, and the very question we hope to answer, who is God, is the very thing promised as a result, to know and walk and commune with an infinite God.

In other words, your only hope in answering for yourself the question, who is God? Is to answer for yourself now, here on earth, who is this Jesus Christ.

Our Walk in the Nation of Israel

At the end of Luke, it says that Christ “opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures.” (Luke 24:45)

This great “Ah-ha!” moment for the apostles indicates a revealing of the secrets of scriptures. How Christ Himself was prevalent in all of church history.  Seeing real recorded history with not only so many prophecies fulfilled, but also so many parallels and perfectly recorded cross-references to our salvation journey is mind-boggling.

I have mentioned in several of  these articles, but today, we will highlight the Christian journey as it parallels the journey of the Israeli nation. You will see that this nation’s actual history reflects our lives in some very interesting ways, and that this journey therefore was no accident, but was painting a picture of the journey of each individual in the church.

Think about it. Conception, an ordained promise that God makes with Abraham, calling him out to grow a nation, conceiving it. These few parts of what will be the whole nation, move down into the protection of Egypt. Egypt, the safest place in world to grow, to be protected, just like a womb if you will, a civilization powerful enough to ensconce a budding nation and offer if the protections it needs to thrive. Remember, Abraham was respected by Egypt, as shown by how they honored him in death.

This nation grows from 75 people (a few cells) to approximately 2 million, a full nation, (full body) over a period of 430 years (pregnancy). Then birth, into their own country, but of course, as we follow the living metaphor, you cannot have birth without labor pains. Suddenly it seems even the pain of childbirth points to a profound and awesome plan.

Childbirth of course was the exodus, labor was slavery, pain-filled time, heartache, trouble, tumult. Fear as to whether or not they would survive, if things would be okay.

A quick aside, there are many verses about water in the bible. Part of creation of course, well of salvation, out of the side of Christ upon His death. But in our salvation story, there is also two births, being born, and as Christ says, you must also be born again. Birth into the world is accompanied by the water breaking. And our second birth, being born into God’s kingdom, accompanied by baptism.

Success in the birthing of a nation, a miracle (much like a birth today is a beautiful miracle), was as we know accompanied by water, the crossing of the Red Sea. Safely on the other side we have a new creature, a new nation. What God calls a stubborn, stiff-necked people, just like us, prone to complaining, idolatry, etc.

Then, next we have our 40 years in the wilderness. Consider, after you are born, there is a period of time you are not saved, learning, building faith, learning to trust God. You are not saved, you are convicted by laws, figuring out how to get to the promised land. 40 is part of biblical numerology, suggesting a time of trial, patience, storm.

Then, at long last, they are saved, as Joshua, a Christ-figure, leads them to the promises of God, and yet again, through a river, this time the Jordan, the baptism and second birth of the nation.

Like our own salvation and relationship with God, this is not paradise. There is war here in this promised land. There are enemies. But there is a relationship with God. This is our sanctification period. This does not remove you from the troubles of the world, as the prosperity gospel preachers would suggest. But the nation, the Christian is armed and is part of a nation, a family, a history, a body of Christ.

We have walked to the promises of God, to salvation, from birth, with Israel, and it is so like our own journey, an undeniable parallel, that the church’s salvation journey is literally prophesied and lived out by the nation of Israel for all to see in their history.

Such an amazing wonder, and testament to the plans of God.