Dark Matter; Why Does It Matter?

Disclaimer: I am not a cosmologist.

But here is what I do know. The model used to get from the Big Bang explosion from nothing to today’s observable universe, via naturalist or materialist means simply does not work without Dark Matter. (well, it doesn’t work for a myriad of other reasons too, but even assuming the rest fit, the naturalist needs Dark Matter).

Definitions are important, and sometimes I take for granted that everyone knows what I mean when I say things. So let’s take a second and define what I mean when I say a few terms:

Cosmology is a branch of astronomy concerned with the studies of the origin and evolution of the universe, from the Big Bang to today and on into the future.

When I say naturalist, or materialist, it is simply a person who supports the theory that nothing exists except matter and its movements and modifications. Things only developed through natural means, without a designer. Essentially this is the normative atheistic point of view.

And Dark Matter? What is it? Well, the definition provided is “a nonluminous material that is postulated to exist in space and that could take any of several forms including weakly interacting particles or high-energy randomly moving particles created soon after the Big Bang.”

These “particles” mind you, are not detectable by any means we now possess. Not visible or observable on any known spectrum. Can’t see it. Can’t feel it. Can’t hear it.

Then how, you might ask, do we know it is there? The answer is, it has to be, because if it wasn’t, the Big Bang model falls apart. In other words, those who operate under the presupposition that the universe propagated itself via natural means know that Dark Matter exists, because it has to exist for the presupposition to be true. This is the atheist’s own version of the “god of the gaps” argument. There is a major scientific gap in how stars can form and how galaxies have been able to maintain their shape (the wind-up problem) and in order to add the correct amount of gravity necessary to make the computer simulations work, they have invented, made up, concocted, pretended, that Dark Matter exists so that the observable universe is more mathematically feasible.

You see, without Dark Matter, the first stars could not have formed in the vacuum of space. If Hydrogen and Helium were floating around in a vacuum, physics tells us the particles would expand. Certainly if they were somehow inclined to coalesce into something more dense, and the temperature would rise, making them expand more, curbing any tendency inorganic, purposeless particles might have to form into a star. A star that must get so dense that it weighs 4,400,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 lbs, the weight of our own sun. Out of Helium. And hydrogen. In space.

The solution, enter Dark Matter. A plugged in and specified amount of un-detectable, un-observable gravity, that is there, simply because it must be, that would push these air particles together hard enough, and long enough to force them into creating the first stars.

I’d like to point out here that this is the self-same scientific community that prides itself on being the paragons of logic, who have market cornered on beliefs that are securely moored to facts, and who are quick to point fingers at believers in God as anti-science. The Berkeley science website even states, “Modern science does not deal with supernatural explanations because they are not scientifically testable.” – (understanding science, 2014).

And what is supernatural? It is defined as a force beyond scientific understanding, or the laws of nature. A force beyond observable nature.

A good example of such a supernatural force would of course be Dark matter.

Why am I so adamant, and even occasionally snarky about this subject? Because I feel the ridiculousness of these theories are obvious. The fudge factors are well known within the scientific community, and yet these obvious pleas for legitimacy are never presented to students. Only big words, and the repeating drums of the big bang being fact, along with great animation, and spectacular fairy tales propped up by eons of time. When spoken of in common language, explained in laymen’s terms, and splashed with the cold water of reality, with the physical laws of the universe, scientists are knowingly making up different types of matter, that no one can see, with the exact properties they need them to have, so that they do not have to be wrong. Dark Matter is one of several.

When I explain the reality of Dark Matter theory to my nine year old, she has the common sense to laugh at those silly scientists. Of course the atheist who sees Christians raise their kids with the notion that stars are a special creation, just like humans are, accuses the Christian of child abuse, negligence, and bad parenting.

But the materialists make up fudge factors with impunity, and without compunction. They call it good science, because it supports their idea of a Godless universe, and they manipulate data and simulations to tell the story they want to believe in. This has not been a search for truth. This has instead been a scramble to defend a dying cosmological model. Dark Matter,  and it’s perfect and uncanny gravity, is just another example of this dishonest practice.

My question is, how many made up components of the Big Bang model must their be, before the materialists admit that they too are faith based, and that their faith is in that which is beyond nature, beyond the ability to observe, and in that which contradicts the laws of physics? The difference between concluding that there is a God and concluding that there is Dark Matter, is that the heavens declare the glory of God, it is obvious to any nine year old who looks up to the heavens in awe. Dark matter is declared by no one but the scientists who invented it, and use it in hopes that it will keep the truth of God at bay for a little while longer.


UPDATE: In addition to this article, I will add here an excerpt from the article, “Evidence for dark matter in the inner Milky Way”, sciencedaily.com, February 2015.

““The existence of dark matter in the outer parts of the Milky Way is well established. But historically it has proven very difficult to establish the presence of dark matter in the innermost regions, where the Solar System is located. This is due to the difficulty of measuring the rotation of gas and stars with the needed precision from our own position in the Milky Way.
“In our new study, we obtained for the first time a direct observational proof of the presence of dark matter in the innermost part of the Milky Way. We have created the most complete compilation so far of published measurements of the motion of gas and stars in the Milky Way, and compared the measured rotation speed with that expected under the assumption that only luminous matter exists in the Galaxy. The observed rotation cannot be explained unless large amounts of dark matter exist around us, and between us and the Galactic centre,” says Miguel Pato at the Department of Physics, Stockholm University.” (emphasis added).

This statement, “The observed rotation cannot be explained unless large amounts of dark matter exist around us”, is the obvious and continual bias coming from the scientific community. The effect of the presupposition of deep time is pervasive, and endlessly sabotages attempts at good science. It is the reason they must cling blindly to faith in made up fudge factors.

Also, this author claims “direct observational proof!” Of a substance they cannot detect! How did they directly observe it? They measured the rotation speed of heavenly bodies while assuming only detectable matter exists! In other words, they simply observed the natural universe. And since the conclusion makes deep time impossible, they know dark matter is proved! Are you kidding me?!

Here, from their own lips, you have faith in a made up element, rather than ever consider that their underlying assumptions about the universe are dead wrong.

 

 

 

He is Risen, Indeed!

Happy Resurrection Sunday! He is Risen!

A fellow church goer friend of mine wrote, “To my atheist friends:
Atheists spend a lot of time and energy attacking the Bible, complaining about Churches and pointing out the flaws of Christians in an effort to bring an end to Christianity. There is only one thing that needs to be done in order to bring Christianity to its knees. It’s simple, too. Prove that Jesus’ tomb was not empty.”

In instances where Jesus Christ prophecies His demise, He always references that He will again rise from the dead, but of course, those closest to Him were plagued with disbelief, even after seeing Him with their own eyes! They just knew that this type of miracle couldn’t happen, but after many appearances, mending Peter’s broken heart, letting Thomas touch His wounds, eating with them, and ministering and appearing to hundreds of witnesses, His defeat of death itself was realized.

History already knows Jesus was real and historical, and we, through evidences and eye witness accounts know more about Christ’s death than the death of any other one man in the ancient world.

My friend is correct in his challenge, that all it would take is to prove that Jesus Christ the Messiah did not defeat death. There are many articles and books on rebutting the skeptic arguments, but rest assured, the challenge exists, for any and all to seek, to knock, to research so that you can find truth for yourself, for as the word says, it shall set you free. And when faced with the historical truth of a real and physical resurrection, you will be then faced with deciding whether you choose to love Jesus or hate Him.

The Bible even claims if you can do this one thing, prove He never rose on the third day,  it would make all of Christianity empty and worthless.

1 Corinthians 15: 12 But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. 15 More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. 19 If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.

Many are already familiar with Lee Strobel, who wrote the case for Christ. An investigative reporter, who was challenged by his wife to actually seek and try to disprove the Resurrection, only to find it was undeniable. This led to his book in 1998, as well as a follow up, The case for Faith.

Two men at Oxford, Gilbert West and Lord Lyttleton, were determined to disprove the bible as well. Lyttleton set out to prove Saul (Paul) was never converted, and Gilbert set out to prove Jesus never rose again.

Sheepishly meeting some time later, they had discovered that each had failed in their attempt. Saul of Tarsus had become a radically new man, and evidence unmistakably pointed to the fact that Christ rose again. The book that emerged from their study was, “Observations on the History and Evidences of the Resurrection. 1747.

One final story, (out of many converts who came from setting out to destroy the bible’s credibility), is from Frank Morison, from England. An unbeliever, Frank promised himself that one day he would write a book disproving the Resurrection. In the early 20th century, he was granted enough downtime to study, and make his case.

His book that emerged, after he accepted Christ as his savior, was the paperback, “Who Moved the Stone, published in 1930.

William Lane Craig points out “Without the belief in the Resurrection, the Christian faith could not have come in to being. The disciples would have remained crushed, and defeated men.”

So in strange and unprecedented times, on a holiday where we are all forced to take a look at our own mortality, and the relationship we have with God, the world, and those closest to us, on this Easter Sunday, my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ proclaim triumphant, in love, hope, faith, and truth, He is Risen Indeed!

And my friends who do not believe, all you must do is prove that the Historical Jesus never predicted His own death and Resurrection, and then fulfilled that very thing. I must confess in love though, that I do hope all who take this journey in earnest, reach the same foregone conclusions that these men mentioned in this article did, and that it plants a hope in your heart that will never be taken away. Happy Easter.

In The Beginning: Survey of the Truth of Creation 5

ME 89326. (pictured here) ME 89326

This title, ME 89326 is the name given to classify this ancient relic, dated 2300 BC. It is also known as the Temptation Seal, and is an impression of a carving off a cylindrical seal of the Akkadian Empire. The Akkadian Empire was an ancient Mesopotamian Civilization, spawned in and around the city the Bible calls Akkad.

This piece is currently held at the British History Museum and was discovered in 1846. As we continue our study on the truth of creation, we look to pieces such as this to verify that yes indeed, the Adam and Eve story was circulating within different cultures, as reflected here in the artwork of an ancient people who were not Hebrews.

Of course, a secular museum would not encourage such beliefs, being of the presupposition that the story is certainly not real, and that the beginning of the Bible is not true history. As we have seen, and will continue to see, evolutionary presupposition will dictate what must and must not be, including what an obvious piece like this cannot represent. The notes at the British Museum accompanying this relic state: “…the seal belongs to the well known Akkadian periods 2300 BC, the dated palm and the snake may have fertility significance, there is no reason to connect them to the Adam and Eve Story.”

The insistence that this is not the Adam and Eve story being depicted is quite telling. Notice that these forensic scientists don’t even allow for that possibility, and want visitors to know that they would be undoubtedly in error to assume such a thing, since the museum knows for sure that it just can’t be about that.

So let us look at the picture. The museum suggests that the figure is a man (left) seated in front of a god (right, with headdress), and that some offering is taking place. The plant offering is to worship divine fertility.

The problem: Historically in this period, neither male nor female worshipers are ever shown seated before a god. They are always shown standing with arms up, praising. Another important difference is the worshiper is always depicted smaller in size than the god being worshiped.

Now, if we look at it from a biblical perspective, we have the oral narrative of mankind’s beginnings, which must have been passed down to every and all people from Noah’s family of 8, up until the tower of Babel. Afterwards, oral, written, and artistic depictions of these same narratives, flood legends, creation, and the fall are recorded. In this case, in Mesopotamia, we have a simple enough depiction which was more than likely carved on a cylinder only 300-400 years after the flood took place.

Two human beings, a male and a female, of equal stature, and having a familiar relationship, sit across from one another to eat a fruit. They both eat of the fruit, and behind the woman, as if to tempt her, is a serpent. Further extrapolation might note that the tree is of great importance, central to the depiction, and has seven branches, the number of God and divinity.

It is hard to imagine the events of Adam and Eve being depicted more concisely then this.

Survey 4

Survey 3

Survey 2

Survey 1

In The Beginning: Survey of the Truth of Creation 4

The Torah, the first five books of the bible is written as a historical narrative. Often referred to as The Law, the Pentateuch, it sets the foundation of not only the beginning of the line of Christ, but also the beginnings of mankind, giving us insight into many things we can observe today, such as languages, genetics, geology, and the fossil record. But who wrote it?

Many critics of the bible assert that Genesis was written long after Moses, and Abraham, that it was written by the Jews in the 5th and 6th centuries BC, when The Jews went back after captivity to rebuild the temple. This would discredit the rich history, and mean that the Jews somehow borrowed and fabricated the narrative we see.

Let’s see what the bible has to say?

Luke 24

27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.

44 Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.”

John 5

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?”

John 7

19 Has not Moses given you the law? Yet none of you keeps the law. Why do you seek to kill me?”

Acts 3

22 Moses said, ‘The Lord God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your brothers. You shall listen to him in whatever he tells you

Does the bible clearly indicate who wrote the Law? If not Moses, who would you be disagreeing with?

What does it say within the Torah itself?

Exodus 17

4 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Write this as a memorial in a book and recite it in the ears of Joshua, that I will utterly blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven.”

24:4 And Moses wrote down all the words of the Lord. He rose early in the morning and built an altar at the foot of the mountain, and twelve pillars, according to the twelve tribes of Israel.

34:27 And the Lord said to Moses, “Write these words, for in accordance with these words I have made a covenant with you and with Israel.”

It would appear that according to the law itself, Moses was asked to write these things down, and as we saw before, these writings were corroborated by Christ Himself. Does the rest of the Old Testament refer to the Law as well? Let’s see:

Joshua 1:8 (1405 BC) This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.

1 Kings 2: 1-3 (971 BC) When David’s time to die drew near, he commanded Solomon his son, saying, “I am about to go the way of all the earth. Be strong, and show yourself a man, and keep the charge of the Lord your God, walking in his ways and keeping his statutes, his commandments, his rules, and his testimonies, as it is written in the Law of Moses, that you may prosper in all that you do and wherever you turn,

2 Kings 14: 1-6 (Amaziah Reigned 796-767 BC) In the second year of Joash the son of Joahaz, king of Israel, Amaziah the son of Joash, king of Judah, began to reign. 2 He was twenty-five years old when he began to reign, and he reigned twenty-nine years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Jehoaddin of Jerusalem. 3 And he did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, yet not like David his father. He did in all things as Joash his father had done. 4 But the high places were not removed; the people still sacrificed and made offerings on the high places. 5 And as soon as the royal power was firmly in his hand, he struck down his servants who had struck down the king his father. 6 But he did not put to death the children of the murderers, according to what is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, where the Lord commanded, “Fathers shall not be put to death because of their children, nor shall children be put to death because of their fathers. But each one shall die for his own sin.”

As we can clearly see from a quick scan of the word, going back to the patriarchs of Jewish history, they had referred to the Law. If the minor prophets made it up later,  how would it makes sense that they were referring back to a Law that they were making up on the fly? Were they inventing a Law, and a history, that they were simultaneously struggling to keep? And what about Joshua, referring to it as far back as 1400 BC.

The minor prophets mention Moses and the Law many times:

Isaiah 12 times
Jeremiah 12 times
Ezekiel 6 times
Daniel 4 times
Malachi 5 times
Hosea 3 times
Amos, Micah, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah all mention it once.

The point of this stage of the lesson is this; if we disagree with the authorship of the Genesis account, we might as well disagree with the historicity of the entire collection of God’s word. But to do that, logically, we dismiss it’s many truths, fulfilled prophecies, eye witness details, archaeological supports, and many other facts which point to its veracity. They verify each other. Furthermore, the authorship of all 66 books spans a 1400 year period, so these are not co-conspirators. We presupposed the bible as truth in the first lesson, but obviously this puts firmly in your mind the position all the authors took in regards to the Torah. To dismiss the first five books as fable, or made-up would be folly. Plain and simple.

 

In The Beginning: Survey of the Truth of Creation 3

The scientific credentials that come with the name Stephen Hawking are great indeed. One of the greatest theoretical physicists of our time, cosmologist, a medical miracle in his own right, and accomplished author, and no one would question his intelligence. But does even he succumb to the pitfalls of of presupposition?

We have discussed in these blogs how alien life is assumed by many evolutionists, both as a form of creating life on this planet (panspermia), as well as a form of “just-so” science, because we “know evolution is true, and therefore it must also have happened elsewhere. Hawking had stated before he passed away that he felt mankind should be looking to escape the Earth, to find a way to leave it, and colonize elsewhere. This is caused by a world view quite different then that of a Christian theist.

Furthermore, Stephen Hawking wrote The Grand Design, and in it, agrees Universe appears to be highly fine tuned for life, had a beginning. In this book he states this: “This book is rooted in the concept of scientific determinism which implies… that there are no miracles or exceptions to the laws of nature.” – pg 34, The Grand Design, by Stephen Hawking.

We should listen, yes? Because he is a brilliant scientist? What is the problem here?

This is a philosophical assertion! Not at all a scientific one. You cannot determine this as a fact by way of a scientific experiment. How do we know, then? Because he said it. It is just so. Scientific Determinism is true, there are no miracles, therefore atheism must be true. Because he stated it.

Interestingly, his book also says, ““Free will is just an illusion.” – pg 32. This is reminiscent of his opinion in 1990 when Hawking determined we are not free, we are totally determined. If you are pre-wired to think the way you do,how can you make any truth claim? You don’t have the free will, according to Hawking himself, to make a truth claim, only produce a result caused by how stimulus is processed through a random brain. So based on his own philosophy, how could anyone trust any of his thoughts on truth at all? Is he not simply pre-wired to think the way he does?

The moment you make a truth claim, you violate determinism.

As much as they would like to deny it, materialists are forced to use philosophy, even as they deny using it. Philosophy always buries its undertakers. To deny it IS to use it. Science is Bound to philosophy and cannot be done without it. Assumptions must be made, and those can dramatically affect conclusions.

We must remember as Dr, Frank Turek says, science doesn’t actually say anything; SCIENTISTS DO! All data must be interpreted.

Let us look at an example of how we must interpret data. The Eiffel tower has demonstrable, testable attributes. Some of these are:

1,063 ft tall
Wrought Iron Lattice Tower
Weight is 10,100 tons
Located on the Champ de Mars in Paris, France

If one were inclined, one could test and re-test for the accuracy of any of these statements. But what about these facts?

Engineer was Gustave Eiffel
Finished in 1889

How do we know these are correct? We must conclude them from trusted sources, yes? This means that we must find those historic, written sources to be accurate, not tampered with, and found to fit the proper historical context. No one questions these two facts, but it brings about an interesting point. The facts in this case must be believed; they are not testable, and repeatable. They are forensic in nature.

All history is this way, including Biblical history, Cryptology, Archeology, Criminal forensics, Geology, Paleontology, and Cosmology. We must collect data, and interpret it based on our pre-suppositions. Ken Ham, the creationist, pointed this out while teaching.

As a teacher, he found that whenever he taught the students what he thought were the “facts” for creation, then their other teacher would just reinterpret the facts. The students would then come back to him saying, “Well sir, you need to try again.”

Conversely, when he learned to teach his students how we interpret facts, and how interpretations are based on our presuppositions, then when the other teacher tried to reinterpret the facts, the students would challenge the teacher’s basic assumptions.

In The Beginning: Survey of the Truth of Creation 2

in-principio-genesis-15-15-part-15-defending-genesis-the-earth-was-without-form-and-voidGod uses natural causes, to be sure, but can they explain everything? A materialist atheist, and a Christian both believe in natural causes. Of course we can find causality through natural means. But what about things that are forensic in nature, meaning, those things that are not repeatable in a lab, or observable on any level, and more to the point, contradict what we DO observe! Such as the creation of matter? Life from non-life? Creation of new elements?

Things that cannot be explained by science. – aesthetics, ethics, mathematics and logic, metaphysical truths (like there are other minds then my own).

In the 1700’s, David Hume was a Scottish Enlightenment philosopher, historian, economist, and essayist, who is best known today for his highly influential system of philosophical empiricism, skepticism, and naturalism. Hume’s assertion was that things were only actually meaningful if, and only if: The truth claim is of abstract reasoning, such as 2+2=4, or all triangles have three sides; and the truth claim can be verified by the 5 senses. Norman Geisler defeated this by simply observing,  “The principle of empirical verifiability states that there are only two kinds of meaningful propositions: 1. those that are true by definition, and 2. those that are empirically verifiable. Since the principle of empirical verifiability is neither true by definition, nor empirically verifiable, it cannot be meaningful.” A slick idea met with the swift and brutal simplicity of logic.
Kant, another skeptic, said that you can’t know the real world. Of course, then how do you know that about the real world?

The theme here is that much of what we use to interpret and understand about life, the universe, creation, is based on our faith, and our presuppositions. An example:

“I speak from experience, being strongly subject to this fear myself: I want atheism to be true and am made uneasy by the fact that some of the most intelligent and well-informed people I know are religious believers. It isn’t just that I don’t believe in God and, naturally, hope that I’m right in my belief. It’s that I hope there is no God! I don’t want there to be a God; I don’t want the universe to be like that. My guess is that this cosmic authority problem is not a rare condition and that it is responsible for much of the scientism and reductionism of our time. One of the tendencies it supports is the ludicrous overuse of evolutionary biology to explain everything about human life, including everything about the human mind …. This is a somewhat ridiculous situation …. it is just as irrational to be influenced in one’s beliefs by the hope that God does not exist as by the hope that God does exist” – Nagel, Thomas, The Last Word, pp. 130–131, Oxford University Press, 1997. Dr Nagel (1937– ) is Professor of Philosophy and Law at New York University.

I posed this question to the class; does it appear that this person’s conclusions would be influenced by his presuppositions?

Another fantastic example is from Dr. Steven Stanley, (Bioscience, vol. 36 (Dec 1986) p. 725. paleontologist and evolutionary biologist), who specialized in punctuated equilibrium. This is the reaction to lack of evidence within Darwinism. Many scientists proposed that punctuated equilibrium explained things that could not be seen by evidence, namely, that animals mutated quickly into other species, thereby leaving no evidence within the fossil record. He said, “Evolution happens rapidly in small, localized populations, so we’re not likely to see it in the fossil record.” Now, we ask again, is this conclusion based on science? He is literally claiming evolutionary change has occurred between the rock layers, where we find no evidence! Safe to say that Stanley had already made up his mind that evolution was true, and since he “knows” this, has proposed a non-scientific model to explain it.

Lastly, for this portion of the lesson, we will look at a notorious quote from Dr. Richard Charles Lewontin, Columbia University is an American evolutionary biologist, geneticist, academic and social commentator. “Our willingness to accept scientific claims that are against common sense is the key to an understanding of the real struggle between science and the supernatural. We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism. It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.

Posing the same question, do we honestly think an unbiased look at evidence would be likely here? Stated another way, if the truth did rest in the fact that God was a cause, could this type of “science” ever discover the truth?

More on Creation in part 3.

In The Beginning: Survey of the Truth of Creation 1

I am teaching through a series on Genesis at my church, as an 8 week course. After the classes, I will be posting the same lessons in article form on here, so anyone may follow along as we continue forward in our study of Genesis, its authenticity, and the historicity of Creation as recorded in our bibles.

This series will be predicated upon certain presuppositions from the outset. The examination of these presuppositions has been addressed in many previous writings.

The first presupposition for the class is that truth is knowable. This means that we have done away, as far as this series is concerned, with debate from the post-modernist or relativist agenda. A simple refutation lies in the answer to the common assertion: “there is no absolute truth!”

To which  someone should answer, “Is that absolutely true?” We turn the question on itself, and realize the self-defeating nature of relative truth very easily. Most post-modernist authors want to be exempt from their own conclusions.

C.S Lewis said, in regards to the philosophical first principles of truth, “These first principles of practical reason are fundamental to all knowledge and argument, to deny them is to deny knowledge itself.” In other words, if you deny truth exists, you can’t know anything, discover anything, determine anything. All knowledge would be rendered useless.

Secondly, we would stipulate that the Bible is the inspired word of God. There are many reasons for this of course, born out through history, testimony, archaeology. Although some supporting evidence may occur during the series, the focus is not to prove the Bible is God-breathed. We will stipulate that since it has already stood the tests of time and unrelenting scrutiny, the Bible, is

John 17:17 Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.

2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God[a] may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

2 Peter 1:20 Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things. 21 For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

Thirdly, we would embark on the series looking at the world from a biblical world view.  What we believe determines how we behave. This means that if our presupposition is that atheism, or evolution is true, and the only possible creative mechanism, this determines how we see the world. If God is possible, even probable, making more logical sense in the end anyway, then this allows of the possibility that the bible is true history, miracles are possible, and that determinism cannot and will not explain the existence of time, space and matter.

Need we look at everything then, as religion vs science?

Absolutely not! Science is the search for causes, essentially. Observations in our natural world SHOULD line up with the word. This means that we do not commit the folly of excluding the possibility of God, by adhering to evolutionary presuppositions, and saying things are “just so”.“Just-So Science” example: We know that life arose from non-life because we know that it is so, because evolution is true.

If nature had a beginning, then how can the cause be something natural, since nature didn’t exist. Nature was the effect. Therefore the cause must be beyond nature, or supernatural.

I do not have all the answers, (another stipulation). Yes I have a passion for this material, and the study, but I’m not a scientist or a doctor. But it would be my heart’s desire for you to walk away from the series,  and be able to stand tall and say, I am a bible thumping Christian, I believe the bible from cover to cover, and make no apology for that. Hopefully a tool of discipleship. At the very least, perhaps it helps people think of things they had not considered before.

To be continued in part 2.

New Testament: Internal Evidence of Early Completion

The defense of the Bible, Apologetics, is a complex and fascinating area of study. It can be scientific, or philosophical; it can examine scripture text, or archaeological history. Many books on many facets have been written, none of which are exhaustive. One area of apologetics defends the Bible itself, not only if it has been accurately passed down to us, but if the words passed down to us are in fact true, based on evidence.

Meticulous studies in ancient literature have proven to hold the New Testament in the highest esteem, and beyond reproach in regards to how accurate the translations are. In fact, it stands so far above other historical books from authors such as Homer, Pliny, and Plato, that to question the accuracy of the Bible, would be to throw all ancient writings into utter obscurity. This article is not about that, but instead, about one of the Evidences of its historical accuracy. (for an overview of other common evidences, click here).

One of the main six is “Early Testimony.” This study, like the others can get in depth, and many scholars put much of the New Testament authorship within the first several years after Christ’s death and resurrection. As a contrast, the first writings of Buddha are approximately 400 years after the actual life of Siddhartha, and the Hadith describe the collection of the Koran as having been cobbled together from certain traditions by an Islamist long after Muhammad’s death, who then had all copies not accepted collected and burned for the sake of solidarity.

But there is one particular aspect of early testimony evidence I found fascinating. And that is the destruction of Herod’s temple in 70 AD, 40 years after the Resurrection.

As you may or may not know, after rebellion and years of tension, the Roman Emperor Nero sent Titus into Jerusalem with 30,000 troops, and slaughtered 600,000 Jews, while summarily burning Herod’s revitalized temple to the ground. The fire was so hot, it melted the gold so that it ran down between the cracks of the stone. When looters came to retrieve the gold, they ripped down each stone from the others to get to this gold, thus fulfilling Christ’s prophecy:

Matthew 24:1 Jesus left the temple and was walking away when his disciples came up to him to call his attention to its buildings. 2 “Do you see all these things?” he asked. “Truly I tell you, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.”

Now, picture yourself as a soon to be New Testament writer. You grow up seeing Herod renovate the temple. It is the cornerstone of your faith, and became such a glorious structure that it, rather than God, began to be revered by your neighbors and friends. Your sins were forgiven there. The high priest conducted ceremony there. It was the cornerstone of your faith, the economy, the culture. It’s importance to the Jewish people could not be overstated.

And then, this Jesus comes along, performs miracles, and predicts His own death and resurrection, and prophecies that the venerated Jewish temple adored by your people will soon be so much rubble scattered to the winds of history. When he dies, you and your contemporaries soon see Him appearing alive, and can touch His wounds. You eat with Him, and watch Him ascend into the sky. And inspired to risk your life, elevate Gentiles to the same platform as the Jew, and go against the priests of your day, you spread this new gospel message, and write of all you had seen.

To the crux of the issue; if the temple you worshiped at for decades had been utterly leveled, 600,000 Jews murdered, the city decimated, and its people scattered, thus fulfilling the very prophecy your savior had foretold, punctuating the year Titus destroyed all you ever knew and loved, do you think you would mention it? Do you think one of the authors of the New Testament would have finished their historical narrative by stating the temple had come down?

There are numerous internal evidences in the word that point to the fact that its writers had first hand, eye-witness knowledge of the times. Locations, language, details, key historical figures, all mentioned with the accuracy of someone present. Meticulous history is presented. Is it possible that all 8 of the New Testament writers somehow failed to mention this monumental event which just so happened to corroborate what their messiah said would happen?

We do know it happened; it is a plain matter of history, a mere 40 years after Christ died and rose again.

This is strong evidence that the entire New Testament was finished, before 70 AD. We can be certain that these writers, who included details about who among them was martyred, who went to jail, and who even included embarrassing details in their telling, for example their cowardice at times, would have at least noted this siege, if not dedicate entire chapters to it!

History records this later, and yes, Christ was proven to be right, fulfilling yet another prophecy, and further verifying the truth of the word of God. But this realization also proves to us something else. How soon after Christ these events were recorded. Within less then 40 years, the new Christian church was copying, and circulating the very words you have today. Remarkable!

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.

 

 

 

 

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.