SES National Conference on Christian Apologetics

I just got back from the 2017 SES National Conference on Christian Apologetics which took place in Charlotte, at the Calvary Campus, and was for two days, home to some of the greatest apologetic minds of our day. It was a bit like going to Disney World for me. This was my Super Bowl.

I met the great Norman Geisler,

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Norman Geisler

and his son, and spoke with many great minds from different fields. There was not always agreement about theological interpretation, but all these men and women love the Lord, and it was wonderful to see the camaraderie and the shared mission of the speakers, to make disciples for Jesus Christ and the truth of the resurrection.

There was much to hear, I bought many new books, and of a most interesting conflict among the scholars was of course young verses old earth opinions. I may do a follow up article on that, as it was quite unique the way scholars who believe in the big bang theory have to explain themselves under the paradigm of a creator. They certainly have rebuttals and evidences all neatly decided upon, however, to me (though I am no astrophysicist), these explanations fall very short, and completely contradict what we find in God’s word. You can play interpretation games all day long, but as Ken Ham said quite correctly at the conference, you do not get the idea of millions of years from a simple reading of bible. It is a man-made worldview, which must then be shoehorned into the text to make it seem to fit.

There was a particularly potent and personal talk I attended, given by a neuroscience Doctor, a Dr. Camp. She (pictured above) was discussing specifically the tendency of Christians, within the social and secular construct of this world as a perfect storm, to be anxious and depressed, and why that is, rather than full of joy for Christ. Personally, this is something I struggle with, and so I attended her class away from my group, and learned a bit more about how our brains were wired. What I learned both comforted me, because there were solutions, one of which was knowledge, and also scared me, because of how are brains become hardwired to believe the lies we tell it.

There was an atheist vs God debate, based on things like philosophy, and the perceived tyrannical nature of God in the Old Testament. Dan Barker from the Freedom From Religion Foundation debated Dr Howe, and did very well. I commend him for braving the venue, and standing before all the Christians making a very direct and succinct case. It created a great many good topic questions for us later in groups, and his overall communication skill was terrific. Clearly he is passionate, though I disagree with his goals and conclusions. We discussed in groups questions like, can God commit murder? And, the importance of context when discussing bible stories/verses.

Frank Turek and J. Warner Wallace were amazing, and I loved meeting Dr. Sanford who wrote Genetic Entropy, an excellent case against evolution from the observable degradation of the human genome.

All in all, it was a fantastic and mentally stimulating trip, and I’d love to make it a tradition. Honestly, I’d love to lock myself in there and just study and drink coffee for a year, however, that seems slightly impractical.

 

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Case Study: A Wasted Life, Martians vs Percival

470172a-i1.0What led to Percival Lowell’s obsession with life on Mars? Led him to be convinced all the way to his deathbed it held signs of ancient civilizations? Led him to waste 22 golden years convincing his eyes of what his heart wanted to see? Life on mars, and martians,  is a theory that captivates the imaginations of people even today. (See: UFO’s and God)

As the egregious failure to provide evidence of abiogenesis, or the natural process of life arising from non-living matter,  marred evolutionary progress in the late 1800’s, some form of organic evolution had to be found. Abiogenesis was essential for propping up Darwinian theory, and amidst the embarrassment of Darwin’s disciples classifying gypsum (sulphate of lime) as a spontaneous sea life form, science needed a new, non-divine source for life. Incidentally, the newly found ‘life form’ was never denounced publicly, and Haeckel, the evolutionist who presented it, was convinced the real life form of his imaginings was laying in the ocean floor waiting to be discovered until his dying day. He was lecturing in Berlin on evolution in 1905, standing before a back drop of artist renderings relating man with apes, and his own notorious embryo drawings, found later to be completely falsified. (Haeckel was known to be a German hero of Hitler, and gave credence to his opinions on the master race.)

At the height of his influence in 1876, Haeckel said, “[The spontaneous generation] hypothesis is indispensable for the consistent completion of the non-miraculous history of creation.” One year later was the’discovery’ from Italian astronomer Schiapatelli that would ignite a series of far reaching events to answer this evolutionary vacuum. With the limited telescopic technology available, this searcher of the stars found a straight line on the planet mars. He called them “canali” for channel in Italian, which of course became “canals” in English. A few months after this announcement was the failure of Haeckel’s spontaneous life form. Despite the modesty of Schiapatelli’s report, the imaginations of the scientific community where abuzz with visions of extraterrestrial life. And why? Ian T. Taylor says it this way: “Relegating that origin to some cosmic outpost gave a measure of intellectual satisfaction since no amount of negative evidence could lessen the possibility of it being true; in other words, it was for the foreseeable future beyond the reach of man’s inquiry and could neither be proved or refuted.” (In the minds of Men, 2008)

Which brings us, stage now set, to Percival Lowell. While traveling abroad, Percival discovered that Schiapatelli was no longer able to continue his work, and enthusiastically adopted the search for proof of Martians. He was surrounded by the progressive thinking of evolution, and with science clamoring for a life source from space, Mr. Lowell was all too eager to help. From 1894 to 1916, Lowell observed Mars, wrote about Martians, and encouraged the public with lectures and maps. Using the excellent viewing conditions of Arizona’s nighttime sky, the number of canals he observed swelled to over 700.

Other scientists seemed to struggle with eyeing the same canals Percival did, to which he replied – ‘such observations relied heavily upon viewing conditions.’ There was even a water vapor discovery that also somehow eluded other scientists. This did not stop the passionate, if not obsessed, astronomer from producing “Mars” (1895), “Mars and Its Canals” (1906), and “Mars As the Abode of Life” (1908) along with a myriad of articles discussing our fourth planet.

I discuss the dangers of indoctrination in other articles, and continue to make application as we face an educational system today that is itself obsessed with the faith of evolution. Let us examine the fall out from Lowell’s observations, bearing in mind the unrelenting PR campaign for evolution that took place before Lowell, run by Huxley, the X-Club, and various societies that held sway over the whole scientific community (this is not an exaggeration, and parallels today’s methodology). Lowell influenced the imaginations of the western world with his continual promotion of a martian probability. One such imagination belonged to a writer named H.G. Wells. The very one who wrote War of the Worlds (1898) about a martian invasion of Earth.

You know what comes next. Another Wells, this time Orson Wells, and his Halloween hoax radio show of 1938, an age of tension, and war, and technological terror. Orson proved that with theatrics, some sound effects, and not a shred of evidence, a dedicated groups of individuals could create absolute panic. The radio broadcast convinced thousands the end of the world was happening, as he presented a War of the Worlds live radio show, causing at least one death, flooding the police switchboards, and pulling off the greatest media stunt of all time.

Sci-fi followed suit, from Isaac Asimov to  area 51 to Star Trek, and as evolution was blasted into the American school system in 1959 via Eisenhower’s National Defense Education Act, the need for abiogenesis was just as necessary as it was in 1876. With the space race against the Russians being the impetus for this, and the moon landing not far off, it is no wonder America never lost its fancy for Martians.

In 1976, 60 years after Lowell’s death, the Viking spacecraft landed on Mars, mapping the surface, and proving what the Mariner series spacecraft had already ascertained a couple years before. Lowell was wrong. There were no canals. None. Not one.

I cannot think of a more disappointing scientific legacy that that of Percival Lowell. I have written my first book, and know the passion and dedication that it takes to carry it out. This man not only wrote three, but built his own observatory, staffed it, and arduously studied the red planet for 22 years. I in no way feel that Lowell was a con-artist. On the contrary, I believe with every fiber of my being that he worked with dedication, ethics, and honor, and that he truly felt he was serving humanity with his efforts. He never learned of the worthlessness that was his legacy. So where did it all go wrong?

The presupposition, of course. The starting point, believed with an emotional faith that, I dare say, no one could have talked him out of. It is the same here as with biology, paleontology, anthropology, and all sciences, where how you interpret the world around you is directly affected by what you believe. Some would levy the same argument against Christianity, and would be right to do so, though it is the only starting point that offers satisfaction. To explain would take another article entirely, however I will say this. There is reason, logic, and answers within Christianity that cannot be found anywhere else. Rom 1:20 – “For from the creation of the world the invisible things of Him are clearly seen, being understood through the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse.” God can be clearly seen, and a presupposition beginning with a holy, inerrant, and prophetic creator is a much more reasonable faith than a faith based on man’s failed attempt to prove we are all just cosmic accidents. If Percival Lowell hadn’t been influenced by man’s idea to supplant Christian truth with humanistic evolution, as history shows us, this story wouldn’t be so tragic. Would  those 22 years have been better spent studying God’s word, instead of Mars?

Christians are Hypocrites

“I don’t go to church, because Christians are nothing but hypocrites!”

This charge is often levied against churches, or the people who attend them.

“I know a guy/girl who goes to church, and acts Christian, but they did this, or that.” “I talked to this pastor, and he was a jerk.” “At least I’m real and true to who I am, Christians pretend like they are perfect or righteous.”

Let’s cut past all the subterfuge and subtlety. Are Christians hypocrites? Yes. Every single one. Hypocrisy is the practice of claiming to have moral standards or beliefs to which one’s own behavior does not conform. By definition, Christians have moral beliefs, set forth by God’s word, to which we desire to adhere. But every single Christian fails in this task. Every single one falls short, and I dare say this happens daily in the heart and minds of each, if not in actions.

Jesus says, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” The moment this expectation, demanded by a holy God (for what else could infinite perfection demand), has failed to come to fruition, even in the smallest of ways, we have by definition become hypocrites and in fact, lawbreakers. We have failed to live up to a moral standard we accept as right.

But let us consider an atheist, who by definition, has a subjective moral code, derived from either ones own opinion, from popular opinion, or from the opinion of those who are in charge and can force a citizenry to exercise a particular behavior. In these instances, a moral code also exists, albeit one that is not handed down from a perfect creator, but is instead decided upon by mankind. If we reflect on the results of these subjective moral laws, depending on the flexible moral code of a given society, then two results  can generally be expected:

  1. If you live in a morally stringent society with heavily girded laws, as a citizen subject to these agreed upon codes, any violation of these codes renders you a hypocrite, and a law breaker, i.e. anyone who disagrees with Sharia.
  2. If you live in a morally relativistic society, defined by anarchy, nihilism, or lawlessness, or if you have determined within your own subjective mind that your behavior should fit no moral code (i.e. sociopath, or in religion – New Ageism), then you have absolved yourself from consequence to escape guilt. Anything goes.

Number 2 is extreme, and approaches mental disorder, however the reality in everyday life is a combination of the two. Often one who wishes for the freedom to be flexible in beliefs finds themselves to be militaristic towards anyone who holds to an opposite view, like during an abortion or transgenderism conversation, thereby pitting one set of subjective beliefs against another, if there is indeed no standard, and neither of which has more merit.

The reality is, therefore, to escape being a hypocrite against whichever moral code you reside under,

you must either operate perfectly within that framework – nigh impossible, or

you must adopt a framework with a moral bar set so low that you can’t help but live up to its standard, and then defend it militantly to escape any shame and guilt associated with those behaviors, or

you must constantly be ‘moving the goal posts’ within an ever changing set of standards, which is by definition, not a standard at all.

With careful, logical scrutiny, one could conclude that every acceptable moral set of beliefs would inherently have as its members nothing but hypocrites, all of whom are constantly trying, and re-trying, to live up to the expectations they believe in. As it is with every pursuit in life, from sports, to education, to religion, to parenting, human experiences are riddled with failures, and shortfalls. We strive for excellence in these pursuits, though we may never achieve perfection, and in so doing we work to better ourselves. It is the same with our walk in Christ, and for this walk we use the word sanctification, a lifelong and constant goal. The alternative, in Christianity, as well as sports/parenting/education, is to set the standard so low, that you feel validated by sub-par character and performance. This is no way to enrich a life, or the lives of those around you.

The result of this constant falling short is accepting the reality of hypocrisy. This is why Christians should gather in churches, as it is a place not only for worshiping the one person who set up the holiest standard possible, and then lived up to it, but also to surround yourselves with those who cannot, and are there to love and support each other. This is the essence of the body of Christ. Those who recognize that despite all human effort, they are in need of grace and mercy from a holy Creator.

Let me save you the trouble of pointing it out. You will not find perfect Christians in church. Christians struggle with anger, alcohol, sexual immorality, hate, depression, gossip – oh Lord the gossip, among a myriad of other sins. Yes we hide them, yes we don’t like to announce our struggles and shames from the mountain tops, and yes we pray for forgiveness constantly for not being as good as we can be. But there is peace and joy in Christ, in grace, and in knowing that we can let go of all of our missteps and focus the next day on how to love better. And despite these struggles, there is a concerted effort (or should be in a healthy church group) to do good works, to support others, and to be generous with the gifts that we do have.

If you are a non-believer that has had an unpleasant experience with a Christian, please realize that this person is struggling daily to do what is right, or may be going through his or her own temptations or trials, just like you. To dismiss thousands of years and mounds of evidence of revelation from God, to dismiss all His good works to bring about a savior, and our relationship with Him, and to dismiss the reality of eternal life with that Creator, because you interacted with someone who fell short in their walk is to dismiss the very reason we need Jesus Christ. In fact, as an unbeliever, are you not claiming to have a problem with a belief to which you do not conform? Is that not hypocrisy?

So if someone finally reaches the conclusion that he or she has fallen short of God’s perfect moral standard, that they are ready to admit that they are a hypocrite in their own right, based on the moral law written on their heart, then they can safely come to a church of believers. They are in good company, a place full of hypocrites, who all have fallen short, and all wish to experience freedom from their sins. If I see you there, I will do my best to lift you up, and do life with you. But I am a hypocrite too, so I may fail, and need forgiveness from time to time.

 

Supposed Final Words of Steve Jobs

Widely reported as the last words of Steve Jobs, though inspired and interesting, is most likely a false deathbed speech. We can easily imagine thoughts such as this passing through our minds at the end. Though most likely not genuine, it is interesting to consider them, and how they reflect our hopes for our lives:
“I have come to the pinnacle of success in business.
In the eyes of others, my life has been the symbol of success.
However, apart from work, I have little joy. Finally, my wealth is simply a fact to which I am accustomed.
At this time, lying on the hospital bed and remembering all my life, I realize that all the accolades and riches of which I was once so proud, have become insignificant with my imminent death.
In the dark, when I look at green lights, of the equipment for artificial respiration and feel the buzz of their mechanical sounds, I can feel the breath of my approaching death looming over me.
Only now do I understand that once you accumulate enough money for the rest of your life, you have to pursue objectives that are not related to wealth.
It should be something more important:
For example, stories of love, art, dreams of my childhood.
No, stop pursuing wealth, it can only make a person into a twisted being, just like me.
God has made us one way, we can feel the love in the heart of each of us, and not illusions built by fame or money, like I made in my life, I cannot take them with me.
I can only take with me the memories that were strengthened by love.
This is the true wealth that will follow you; will accompany you, he will give strength and light to go ahead.
Love can travel thousands of miles and so life has no limits. Move to where you want to go. Strive to reach the goals you want to achieve. Everything is in your heart and in your hands.
What is the world’s most expensive bed? The hospital bed.
You, if you have money, you can hire someone to drive your car, but you cannot hire someone to take your illness that is killing you.
Material things lost can be found. But one thing you can never find when you lose: life.
Whatever stage of life where we are right now, at the end we will have to face the day when the curtain falls.
Please treasure your family love, love for your spouse, love for your friends…
Treat everyone well and stay friendly with your neighbours.”

I have never personally faced a life threatening illness. But I have had my life threatened, as well as watched the life of a loved one deteriorate. I have watched helplessly at a bedside, when the only power I had was to pray to God. And the only hope that I had in my heart was that if that loved one passes from this world to the next, I will get to see them again, and stand with them before a God who saved us both through His mercy and grace.

These final words go far, and they are serious, and wise, but do they go far enough? The author mentions God, but if there is one and only one infinite God, He alone is to be sought. And if that God has declared the one door to Him is through His son, Jesus Christ, then I would lovingly declare this statement does not go far enough by any stretch of the imagination. An atheist who lived out Steve’s advice would die with memories, and still with no hope. And those who remembered them, would also perish, and so the love that had been attained in a lifetime of wholesome philosophy would be lost to history. This alone is not the answer. That is why I often repeat my favorite verse in these articles, “Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.”

In John 10:9, Jesus says, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”

In John 14:6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

This may seem narrow-minded to some, or dogmatic, and I assure you it is, unless it is the truth.43dc6e87710d1c4d4f780482f310a7df If it is the truth, if God entered His creation to die for our sins, and that sacrifice resulted in the legal and moral substitution for a judgement we deserve, then it would indeed be the only way, and the truest act of love. The author mentions God, and speaks of the importance of love in this life. True words, sir, and a very fine philosophy for living. Yet those with money, and those with loving memories both still stand to lose all if they do not address the truth of salvation.

The bible is not ambiguous on this point. There isn’t one way for Christians, one for Muslims, one for Buddhists, and another path for New Agers. There is one door, which is why Christ Himself includes that He is the truth, as well. It is a warning, given in love, and providing hope for all, for all are fallen, and all face death. To Mr. Steve Jobs, I say, boldly and beautifully said, a sad and grave wake up call against the things that drive us. But, I also say, your love and memories cannot save you. Living for a fallen version of love will still leave you wishing and hoping in a hospital bed. There is only one door. Though it is now, more unpopular than ever to state, and offends many, we cannot be so timid as Christians that we cannot claim the truth, and that is that Jesus Christ is our door to salvation. It is said that this speech, despite its lack of authenticity, has inspired many. But we must ask, does talk like this truly help? or does it give a false sense of meaning, and therefore provide a complacency more dangerous than the position of men who admit they are evil. Change is only possible when one realizes it is necessary.

 

The Feelings That Drive Us

In studying forgiveness this week, we delved in to Luke 17:

3 Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. 4 And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day returns to you,[b] saying, ‘I repent,’ you shall forgive him.”
5 And the apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith.”

6 So the Lord said, “If you have faith as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be pulled up by the roots and be planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you. 7 And which of you, having a servant plowing or tending sheep, will say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come at once and sit down to eat’? 8 But will he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare something for my supper, and gird yourself and serve me till I have eaten and drunk, and afterward you will eat and drink’? 9 Does he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I think not. 10 So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do.’”

The interesting thing about forgiveness is that here Christ commands it, as a duty, which is especially noteworthy in a society that cultivates self-gratification, the fulfilling of emotional desire, and the alleviation of consequence from duty or action. The pleas for help against the strength of emotion are not merely a product of today, but of the weaknesses of all mankind, and is illustrated here by the apostles themselves, when they ask Jesus for increased faith. They wish for a greater faith to overcome the emotions set against forgiving others. It is as if they are saying, “no one can forgive someone over and over on their own!”

Jesus’ response? It is your duty. Don’t hem and haw and finally decide to forgive, so that you may then turn around and ask for praise and adulation for simply doing what is commanded. If you follow me, if you love me, then you will forgive, because that is what I have done for you. It is your duty.

Society will absolve guilt and duty with phrases and mantras such as:

“You shouldn’t have to apologize for your feelings,”

“We can’t control our emotions,”

or even

“We should allow for our feelings to guide us in our decisions.”

I admittedly am an emotional person, given to highs and lows, and do struggle with the discipline of not letting un-caged emotion drive my decisions. However, we must remember that we are Christians because it is true, and there is hope in truth. Yes it is emotional, but God has also provided a great many evidences, not the least of which is the reality of a resurrected messiah.

John MacArthur has said, “Pertaining to the bible, its prophecies are fulfilled. Its miracles are true and attested to. It is scientifically flawless and accurate. Its history and archaeology are verifiable to the smallest detail.”

He goes on to assert, “The basic task of the church is to teach sound doctrine. It is not to give one pastor’s opinion, to recite tear-jerking illustrations that play on emotions, to raise funds, to present programs and entertainment, or to give weekly devotionals.”

When it comes to forgiveness, it is described as a duty that should supersede emotional qualms. This also implies that forgiveness is not waiting on the emotion to join the intent, but instead is action taken despite emotion. But what action?

Forgiveness is simply releasing the right for revenge. The action of not disparaging a person who sins against you. To not gossip about them. To even speak well of them. To not seek or hope for their demise, or punishment, or just desserts. These are actions. These can rise above emotion.

Put another way, the act of forgiveness can be carried out as a duty until the emotions match the actions. If however, we wait on the emotion, the weakness of our flesh, to entice us to follow God’s command, would it ever happen?

Another instance of an emotionally driven construct of today is the transgenderism issue, a delicate one, and one that not only defies God’s will for us based on emotion, but also defies very real and understandable science and genetics. Scientifically stated, there is no such thing as transgenderism. It is  a construct of our society. We see similar psychological disorders with anorexia and the like, a person who perceives reality and the biology of their body differently than what is real. Consider this denial in who you are, this rebellion against how you were made, total denial in the identity of yourself. This is akin to suicide, the end of your life as what you were designed to be. Couple that with the mutilation of one’s body to fulfill the emotional desire to not be oneself, and you have not only physically harmed the body, but have harmed chances of a marriage, of having your children with a spouse, to connect with people of the same and opposite sexes on a meaningful level in many ways. This is why those in the transgender world are 19 times more likely to commit suicide than other people groups. A group forever forced to adopt the persona of what they are not.

Dr. Paul R. McHugh, is the former psychiatrist-in-chief for Johns Hopkins Hospital and its current Distinguished Service Professor of Psychiatry, and is the author of six books and at least 125 peer-reviewed medical articles. He states that transgenderism is a “mental disorder” that merits treatment, that sex change is “biologically impossible,” and that people who promote sexual reassignment surgery are collaborating with and promoting a mental disorder.

“This intensely felt sense of being transgendered constitutes a mental disorder in two respects. The first is that the idea of sex misalignment is simply mistaken – it does not correspond with physical reality. The second is that it can lead to grim psychological outcomes.” Regarding his willingness to reassign gender through surgery, he said this: “And so at Hopkins we stopped doing sex-reassignment surgery, since producing a ‘satisfied’ but still troubled patient seemed an inadequate reason for surgically amputating normal organs.”

We could go on and on with this subject, discussing an “everything is normal sex education”, child abuse, etc. But the point here and of this article is, we must be aware that truth and morality are objective things. They are verifiable things, and therefore, we must make a choice not to fall into the tempting pattern of blaming and cultivating emotions not anchored to truth, in order to absolve ourselves from reality.

Especially with the support of society, it can be easy to simply blame emotion for all of the situations we find ourselves in, but those not squarely rooted in God’s will tend to leave people in tumult, whether it be in anger, or anxiety, or depression. As we mature in Christ, it should become clearer that the discipline of our actions define who we are. Galatians lists fruits of the spirit in chapter 5, one of which is self-control. Ephesians 4:14 says, “Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming.” We must ask ourselves, when society plays on feelings and emotions to convince us that reality is false, do we consult the word for truth, or succumb to the continued and pervasive relativity of popular opinion and PC pressure. If we allow our emotions to be victorious over reason, what do we gain? What do we lose?

Why do we care: Young Earth vs Old Earth inconsistencies (abstract)

We have explored the fact that Jesus Christ believed mankind was created at the beginning of time. We have discussed the references from Paul, John, David, Peter, indicating that they firmly supported the testimony of early patriarchs, and the Genesis account, specifically the actuality of a global deluge. For example:

2 Peter 2:5:

“if he did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a herald of righteousness, with seven others, when he brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly”

Matthew 24:37–39

“For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.”

Hebrews 11:7

“By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.”

2 Peter 3:5–6

“For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God, and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished.”

I was teaching the other day at church, and someone asked (believers in molecules-to-man evolution have asked several times as well) why does it matter how old the Earth is? In other words, why must this be a node that our faith hinges on? Or maybe more to the point, why am I so passionate about exploring it?

I will repeat this point to start, that being saved by the propitiation of Christ does NOT hinge upon origin beliefs. You can absolutely be saved by faith in Christ and still believe the Big Bang theory created everything from nothing, and that spontaneous matter flew through the empty vacuum of space evolving into massive stars, which then exploded into more stars creating heavier elements, which eventually coalesced into orderly solar systems upon which billions of years affected its habitability so that abiogenesis could take place, which led to the slow development of continually more complex organisms despite observable entropy, until eventually man sprouted from the animal kingdom evolved enough to begin understanding a God that set it all in motion. Yes, you can believe this (despite the lack of evidence, and the fact that it was invented to escape the reality of God 200 years ago), and be saved. But at what point will a logical student, who is learning this as a world view in college, start to realize that if this is true, then the bible must not be?

What do I mean? Consider the amount of death that took place in order to bring about mankind within the evolutionary model. Billions of dead animals, and man-like creatures eventually rising to an evolved enough state to proclaim that there is a God. Not only death, but  thorns, cancer, disease, arthritis, abscesses, tumors, rickets, syphilis, all before man and the fall in fossil record.
Then we read,

“Then to Adam He said, “Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it’:

“Cursed is the ground for your sake;
In toil you shall eat of it
All the days of your life.
Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you,
And you shall eat the herb of the field.
In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread
Till you return to the ground,
For out of it you were taken;
For dust you are,
And to dust you shall return.””

And later, a messiah who shall lift this curse:

Colossians 1:20  – and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross
Revelations 21:4  – And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away
Revelations 22:3 – And there shall be no more curse.

At what point will the student realize school is teaching him or her that

a) this was all by accident instead

b) death is not the unnatural enemy and curse of mankind, but a means of creation via mutation

c) if it took millions of years of evolution, at what point did God impart souls to people? or are there no souls in reality?

d) if what we see in geology is not the result of an obvious flood, but instead of millions of years of erosion, then Christ, Moses, David, Peter, Paul, John and others were all lying or just story telling (Nearly every book in the bible refers to Genesis (over 200 times in NT alone))

e) if my parents asked me to believe all this in Genesis, and it isn’t true, and they also asked me to believe in a virgin birth, miracles, the death and resurrection of Christ, them why should I believe it?

f) religion must be man made…

This is perhaps the reason that 75% of church going students who go off to college drop away from the church, and from their faith in the Good News of Christ. As with the parable of Christ, the world is not fertile ground, but is instead hard ground and thorns which will not allow faith to grow.

But, when Paul relays the gospel to us, what phrase is repeated in 1 Corinthians 15: 3-4:

“that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,  and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures

According to the scriptures! This means we should expect them to be accurate! If we consider the scriptures, the hundreds of fulfilled prophecies (uncanny proof of their veracity), if we consider the geography presented – even skeptic archaeologists use the exactitude of the bible to uncover ancient discoveries in the Middle East, places like Ur and Nineveh, which date back to before Abraham – if we consider the eye-witness testimony, we should very easily be able to apply it to our world view with no problem. And we can!  Abraham is in Genesis, and from Abraham on, we have abundant evidence that things happened just as was stated by eye-witnesses, and recorded by Moses. It was then verified by prophets and historians for centuries, and backed with prophecy, and miracles, not the least of which involves an empty tomb, also verified by history.

This is played out similarly in the word, when it says in 1 Corinthians 1:23:

“but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles”

Why foolishness to the Gentiles? Because they have no frame of reference with which to believe such a story. They do not accept the concept of sin, or God, of God’s law, or the fall of man, and therefore do not even acknowledge their need for salvation. This was addressed also in Acts by Paul, who had to explain who God was when he preached to non-Jews. He was not preaching to people who were waiting for a messiah. He was preaching to a people who had no idea they needed one!

This is the secular environment of the world today. Christianity seems like foolishness to the world, to America, to students on college campus. It doesn’t matter that the anti-god world view of those they look up to, learn from, and revere, has no evidence to support it. It is what they prefer, for in that world view, they need not ever humble themselves, and the world before them is a justified buffet of consequence-free pleasure, and power, for anyone strong enough to get it.

Often, an atheist will contemplate the meaning of life, as we all do, yet they do so with the naturalistic world view. As Neil DeGrasse Tyson stated, we are nothing but stardust.  Existentialist Jean-Paul Sartre said,  “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.” If we are truly an accident, a blip, then the cold truth is, life has no meaning. It is a fleeting thing, and we are as worthless as the ant, the leaf, and the rock. Your feelings are happenstance, and your moral compass is random programming.

It is with this understanding that I consider the bible, and must logically conclude it must either teach truth, or all be a deranged hoax. This is a serious consideration, and if it is true, which I think it clearly is, then how could I not be passionate about the hope we have in Jesus Christ! How could I not also push for others to understand  that when the bible is taken as truth, the world very much makes sense within its framework. As well it should, for God created it! In it we have answers from archaeology, genetics, paleontology, geology, biology, and cosmology, just to name a few.

At what point could someone see all this, believe all this, verify all this, a God who wrote you a love letter, and a history of the world, over a 1400 year period, which has withheld critics for centuries and stood strong under the most extreme scrutiny, and then choose to believe all but the beginning, the very reason a messiah is needed, and the very reason that screams to us all how special a creation we are, thereby causing everyone in the rest of the book to be lying, or foolish. Not only that, but would instead chose to believe a team of men who set out specifically to concoct a theory that would disparage God’s word (and succeeded), the consequences of which cost 100’s of millions of lives.

And all this damage, this godless, twisted result, all of it so that a person can impose their will for a time before a meaningless death consumes them. Whether the life of an atheist is perceived as good or bad, it could not matter one iota, as the end must be the hopelessness of nothing, tantamount to never having been at all.

 

Utter, Unyielding Despair

Unyielding 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.