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.

Atheism: Definition

Regarding the term atheist, there is commonly an adoption of this identity by people who don’t want to consider God, or who don’t necessarily choose to believe in a god, or any god for that matter. It is often stated as a philosophy, which acts as a barrier against the need to consider morality, origins, afterlife, etc, and serves to reject the consideration of “religion” in its entirety.

People will claim, “I am an Atheist,” and when pressed, will define it as “I don’t believe in a god,” or “I lack a belief in God.”

This is not comprehensive enough to be considered ‘atheism’, in my opinion, and is hopeless as a definition.

It is no longer a position, or viewpoint, but rather becomes merely description of your psychological state. You are stating that you, personally, do no choose to believe in a god at this time. “I don’t believe in a god” is not a truth claim about the existence of God at all, and can neither be right or wrong. It is simply a belief.

If I say, God is real. That must be either true, or false. There is no getting around it. I can believe what ever I want as a subjective individual, but the moment I make a truth statement, I have to open myself up to evidences, and the possibility that I am incorrect, based on the law of non-contradiction.

In much the same way, a true atheist could categorically state,”I believe there is no god.” This is a truth statement, which now must be verified, scrutinized, held up along side evidence, and considered against opposing views as either true or false.

Michael Shermer, publisher of skeptic magazine even stated at the opening of his debate with Dr. Turek, “There’s two types of atheism, there’s weak and strong atheism, strong atheists say ‘I believe there is no God’, weak atheists say, ‘I don’t believe in God’.”

This weak position causes atheists to say,  “I don’t believe in a god, but you now have the burden of proof.” If the two opposing viewpoints are making truth statements, then both parties assume a burden of proof. Or else, I could just as easily state, “I believe in God, prove me wrong.”

Instead, I may say, “there is a God.” I made a truth statement. An atheist may then ask, “What evidence do you have to support that?” (For examples of evidence click here.)

This tactic of lacking a belief in a truth-claim is obvious during any research on the subject. For example, the atheists.org site asserts numerous times that a truth claim should not be pinned to the belief system. It rejects the idea of being a belief at all. Here is an excerpt from that site:

“Atheism is not an affirmative belief that there is no god nor does it answer any other question about what a person believes… Atheism is too often defined incorrectly as a belief system. To be clear: Atheism is not a disbelief in gods or a denial of gods; it is a lack of belief in gods…. Despite the fact that atheism is not a religion, atheism is protected by many of the same Constitutional rights that protect religion. That, however, does not mean that atheism is itself a religion, only that our sincerely held (lack of) beliefs are protected in the same way as the religious beliefs of others. Similarly, many “interfaith” groups will include atheists. This, again, does not mean that atheism is a religious belief.” – American Atheists, www.atheists.org/activism/resources/about-atheism/

Notice the attempt to absolve all responsibility from making any truth statements, while maintaining religious protections. This is not an indictment upon atheist persons as a group, certainly not ones who are searching, studying, and determining their own belief paradigm, as much as it is upon an agreed upon definition which allows a group to straddle that line. To be simultaneously a belief and not a belief; a religion and not a religion; a people group that promotes unity and solidarity under the banner of a lack of believing. In other words, a people group who share a belief in no belief.

They state, “To put it in a more humorous way: If atheism is a religion, then not collecting stamps is a hobby.” (et. al.) This would of course hold water if persons who did not collect stamps were a politicized, and well organized people group who wrote, persuaded, and influenced the culture around them of the merits of not-stamp-collecting, as opposed to simply being people who do not collect stamps.

Imagine a group of people who have decided not to collect stamps stating , “We have more than 170 affiliates and local partners nationwide. If you are looking for a community, we strongly recommend reaching out to an affiliate in your area in order to continue not collecting stamps.”

Stating an opinion does not claim anything, or differentiate you from bananas, baboons, and babies, all who are considered atheists under the weaker, culturally accepted definition, i.e. they don’t personally believe in a god. Atheism is a truth claim, “there is no god.”

For the record, Merriam-Webster declares the definition to be a “belief that there is no god, or a strong disbelief in a god.” This is the point I am arguing here. Are we making a truth statement, or simply stating a psychological position, such as “I don’t like okra.”

No evidence for or against okra is likely to change my mind. But once we make that truth claim, we can now consider how the evidence stacks up; in the case of God, we can overlay the realities of objective moral law, design in nature, the existence of matter, the beginning of the universe, and see if science upholds the possibility that all of this was accidental and random, (a faith in and of itself).

This becomes important during debates, specifically because of the burden of proof. It is often placed upon the Christian nowadays during even civil and healthy debates, but rarely on the atheist, as if the lack of belief in a god should be obvious and universal. But, in times past, it was the other way, and belief in God was the norm, and therefore the default setting if you will. It was up to Charles Lyell and Thomas Huxley to campaign against the bible, much like Dawkins and Hitchens have done in modern times, precisely because they make a truth claim.

Remember, a true atheist must carry some of the responsibility of a burden of proof in a debate. It is not one sided. Learn to recognize the difference between someone making a truth claim, and someone just stating their opinion.

_________

Side note: Thomas Huxley, Darwin’s bulldog, was a devout campaigner for Darwin, outspoken, charismatic, and he drew in crowds like a rock star of today. He actually coined the term agnostic, the West’s new faith, a word he used as a stepping stone to drive doubt against the bible, and to hoist up Darwin’s ideas of all life having common ancestors. This quote by Huxley will give you some insight into the motivation behind such claims. It is fair to say personal philosophy, and not science, drove much of the campaigning for evolution, as it still does today.

“No rational man, cognizant of the facts, believes that the average negro is the equal, still less the superior, of the white man. And if this be true, it is simply incredible that, when all his disabilities are removed, and our prognathous relative has a fair field and no favour, as well as no oppressor, he will be able to compete successfully with his bigger-brained and smaller-jawed rival, in a contest which is to be carried out by thoughts and not by bites.” – Thomas Huxley.

Archeological/Geological Response to Atheist Part 3 of 5

Atheist: Here’s a very incomplete list of things that cannot be explained by your flood or fit into the young earth creationist’s timeline (continued):

(for part 1, click here)

(for part 2, click here)

huge amounts of chalk,

These are exampled by the thick chalk beds of Dover, England.

The first thing to note is that these chalk beds, like many other large sedimentary examples, stretch across vast areas, even continents! These great rock formations, and how they cover so much land is a great sign that they were laid down not only catastrophically, but that they were part of a global event strong enough to spread them over large territories. Millions of years of slow local processes would not, and could not accomplish this.

“The Cretaceous chalk beds of southern England are well known because they appear as spectacular white cliffs along the coast. These chalk beds can be traced westward across England and appear again in Northern Ireland. In the opposite direction, these same chalk beds can be traced across France, the Netherlands, Germany, Poland, southern Scandinavia, and other parts of Europe to Turkey, then to Israel and Egypt in the Middle East, and even as far as Kazakhstan.

Remarkably, the same chalk beds with the same fossils and the same distinctive strata above and below them are also found in the Midwest USA, from Nebraska in the north to Texas in the south. They also appear in the Perth Basin of Western Australia.”  – Dr. Andrew Snelling, Geologist, https://answersingenesis.org/geology/rock-layers/transcontinental-rock-layers/

Dr Ariel Roth of the Geoscience Research Institute (Loma Linda, California) and John Woodmorappe are two of several doctors that again provide math that allows for their thickness, once scientists are willing to see past their uniformitarian assumptions. (Article on Chalk beds by Snelling)

Rather than rehash the same response as with syntectonic deposits, and dolomite, it might be interesting to point out here that a major problem with the two opposing views is interpretation of what we observe. We all have the same facts, large chalk formations, sediment in the ocean, the moon and its features, and we must interpret them depending upon our world view. This has been explained several times, and in several different ways, so I won’t re-explain here. But what one must also do is then weigh these theories, these models, these interpretations, and decide for one’s self if they hold water collectively.

When taken as a whole, the obviousness of the order in our universe is apparent, from the solar system to our DNA, evidence of biblical history, evidence of the resurrection, and the numerous factors that can be viewed easily from a biblically historic perspective, where what we observe matches a history written so long ago, and is still proven reliable and verifiable over and over. Or we can believe that humans have no soul, that life, and reason, and art, and music, and love were accidental. And in believing so, we must adopt mental gymnastics, and propose great gobs of time to develop the godless model of our existence.

So the common argument, in order to hope there is no god, is to say, I have a plausible explanation for everything being random if we add enough time, despite obvious signs of catastrophism the world over.

Dr. George Wald, Professor of Biology at Harvard University, and Nobel Laureate espoused well the necessary belief to convince oneself of such incredible explanation:  “The origin of life”  Scientific American, August 1954 “However improbable we regard this event [origin of life], or any of the steps which it involves, given enough time it will almost certainly happen at-least-once. And for life as we know it, with its capacity for growth and reproduction, once may be enough.”

“Time is in fact the hero of the plot. The time with which we have to deal is of the order of two billion years. What we regard as impossible on the basis of human experience is meaningless here. Given so much time, the “impossible” becomes possible, the possible probable, and the probable virtually certain. One has only to wait: time itself performs the miracles.”

Sounds like faith to me.

 

offset of sediments along faultlines like the San Andreas,

Don’t know much about this, or why it would mean the world is millions of years old. Would have to research, however the conventional opinion of creation scientists is that most or all of the fault lines were created when the fountains of the deep broke open, allowing subterranean water chambers to flood the earth, and forming plates.

the amount of oil and coal in the earth’s crust,

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Answered regarding biomass in part 1.

 

 

the mere existence of oil and coal,

Previously addressed numerous times. Here is an excerpt from Diamonds Have Carbon 14:

“Consider this as well: Scientists in a lab made coal in 6 hours. At a different time, in 1982 the British made oil in 10 minutes. Noel McAuliffe of Manchester University triumphantly stated, “We are doing in 10 minutes what it has taken nature 150 million years to do.” This is yes another stellar example of our presuppositions determining our interpretations. Another, more obvious conclusion, if one were not blinded by evolutionary theory would be to instead  triumphantly announce, “It doesn’t take nearly as long as we thought for coal and oil to form!”

So what we have is, depending on conditions and pressure, the scientifically proven ability to form these things quickly. Furthermore, we have evidence that they are from not long ago, with artifacts from mankind having been found in them, such as bells and figurines, as well as having found carbon 14 in them, diamonds, and bones that should at this point be carbon dead.

I would submit that the existence of coal, oil, and the fossil record prove that millions of things were buried quickly andglobally, since this is how they are in fact formed, and do not detract from the reality of a flood, but support it greatly.

the absence of soft tissue in older fossils,

This is an argument from silence. A few years ago, the argument would have been “you don’t have soft tissue in fossils at all!” That of course has changed, since many examples of soft, stretchy tissue have now been found, in T-Rex samples, in triceratops horns, and many others. Now the criticism is, we don’t possess soft tissue from things older than “60 million years”  or “older fossils”. The mineralization of organic material is evidenced all over the earth; millions of animals and plants buried quickly by mud and water. The very nature of how they were buried  provides us with our ample fossil evidence. We know again from observation that most things that aren’t buried do decay quickly, and are consumed by the natural recycling of nature. Any soft tissue of extinct animals would be rare indeed. Soft tissue of such examples only verifies the creation model. A better question for atheists is, why do we have this many fossils at all?!

early fossils found in gastroliths in the bellies of dinosaur fossils,

Interesting assertion here. A gastrolith is a rock swallowed by a dinosaur that is used to aid digestion. As they roll around in the belly of an animal, they become polished and rounded. Evolutionists have found some of these with fossils already in them, so as you can see, if the fossils within the gastroliths were formed before the dinosaurs, then how did the the flood cause both samples to be fossilized at different times? The solution, as verified by Zaleha, M.J. and Wiesemann, S.A., (Hyperconcentrated flows and gastroliths: Sedimentology of diamictites and wackes of the Upper Cloverly Formation, Lower Cretaceous, Wyoming, U. S. A., Journal of Sedimentary Research 75(1):43–54, 2005), is that these gastroliths with fossils are not gastroliths at all, but merely akin to the river rocks of today. Polished, smooth rocks washed miles and miles by water. We can easily imagine in a receding flood, many rocks being eroded and deposited all over the land. Why then are these classified as such? To promote evolution? Perhaps. Or perhaps an evolutionary scientist gets more kudos by reporting on a  supposed “proof” of anti-creation, and a rare gastrolith, then reporting on some river rocks?

(Continued in Part 4)