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.

Spiritual Battle, Homelessness, Irrelevance

To the forever homeless. We will travel in the world together until that day, gypsies, knowing the beauty that exists forever out of reach in this life, keeping hope stored in our hearts until we find our way home.

[In the early years of the 16th century there began to appear in Britain some members of a wandering race of people who were ultimately of Hindu origin and who called themselves and their language Romany. In Britain, however, it was popularly believed that they came from Egypt, so they were called Egipcyans or Egyptians. This was soon shortened to Gipcyan, and by 1600 the further altered form Gipsy, Gypsey, began to appear in print. By later in the 1600s the verb gypsy, meaning “to live like a Gypsy” began to be used.]

Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.
Colossians 3:2

But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Philippians 3:20

Whom have I in heaven but you?
And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
Psalm 73:25

____________________________________________

 

God, show me my purpose. Let me not be irrelevant. Let not the power of my life, and the love of my heart be unrequited. Teach me what can be, according to your will rather than my own. Please reward the pain of hope; please remove the fear of the hopelessness; Amen:

Psalm 138:8

The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands.

Matthew 28:19-20

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Romans 8:28

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

Ecclesiastes 12:13-14

The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.

1 Corinthians 10:31

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

Matthew 5:13-16

“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

Habakkuk 2:3

For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay.

Psalm 57:2

I cry out to God Most High, to God who fulfills his purpose for me.

Philippians 4:13

I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

Matthew 6:33

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

Romans 12:1-5

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.

Psalm 73:26

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

Ephesians 1:11

In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will,

2 Corinthians 12:9-10

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Ezra 10:4

Arise, for it is your task, and we are with you; be strong and do it.”

Mark 12:30-31

And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

Revelation 4:11

“Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.”

1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

2 Timothy 1:9

Who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began,

Ephesians 2:10

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Micah 6:8

He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?

John 5:30

“I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge, and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me.

Psalm 119:105

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.

Colossians 3:23

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men,

1 John 1:9

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

John 16:13

When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.

Isaiah 46:10

Declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,’

John 16:33

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

Philippians 4:7

And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Matthew 16:25

For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

Romans 12:1

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.

1 Thessalonians 5:12-18

We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone. Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks, for this is God’s will for you in Jesus Christ.

2 Corinthians 3:18

And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.

1 Corinthians 2:9-13

But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him”— these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual.

Hebrews 12:1

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,

Proverbs 19:21

Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.

Mark 8:35

For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it.

 

2 Timothy 3:16

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,

John 15:5

I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.

Proverbs 3:1-7

My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments, for length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you. Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart. So you will find favor and good success in the sight of God and man. Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes, fear the Lord and turn away from evil.

2 Timothy 2:14-15

Remind them of these things, and charge them before God not to quarrel about words, which does no good, but only ruins the hearers. Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.

1 Corinthians 3:12-15

Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw— each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.

Proverbs 20:5

The purpose in a man’s heart is like deep water, but a man of understanding will draw it out.

Philippians 2:12-13

Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

Acts 20:24

But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.

Isaiah 49:4

But I said, “I have labored in vain; I have spent my strength for nothing and vanity; yet surely my right is with the Lord, and my recompense with my God.”

James 1:2-27

2 Count it all joy, my brothers,[b] when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. 6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

9 Let the lowly brother boast in his exaltation, 10 and the rich in his humiliation, because like a flower of the grass[c] he will pass away. 11 For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beauty perishes. So also will the rich man fade away in the midst of his pursuits.

12 Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. 13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. 14 But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. 15 Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.

16 Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. 17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.[d] 18 Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.

Hearing and Doing the Word
19 Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; 20 for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. 21 Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.

22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. 24 For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. 25 But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.

26 If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless. 27 Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.

Psalm 119:15

I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways.

Luke 9:23

And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.

Ephesians 3:20

Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us,

Philippians 1:6

And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.

2 Corinthians 12:9

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

John 14:27

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.

Ephesians 1:5

He predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will,

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!

Do Neandertals Disprove Day Six Creation?

The evolutionary claim is that Neandertals split from the lineage of humans about 500,000 years ago, and are an ancestor of humans (homo sapiens) which constitute a link between us and ape ancestors. We can include the newly “discovered” lineage of Denisovans as well, a particular DNA from archaic man that appears to have fingerprints in modern DNA. The Neandertal DNA is found, too, in the modern human genome, which shows that interbreeding took place between them and us.

Let us look at three possibilities:

  1. Atheistic evolution is true, and these groups must be 500,000 year old links to our ape-like ancestral past.
  2. Progressive or ‘old-earth’ creation is true, which means these were pre-Adamic soulless non-humans, or that man existed, lived and died, long before the fall.
  3. Man was created on day 6 of creation, and these are simply humans.

1. If atheistic evolution is true, we would need to be confident in our ever-changing timeline based on each conflicting fossil discovery. But modern evolutionists such as Evolutionist Donald Johanson, discoverer of the “Lucy” Australopithecus, said this about Neandertal:

“From a collection of modern human skulls Huxley was able to select a series with features leading ‘by insensible gradations’ from an average modern specimen to the Neandertal skull. In other words, it wasn’t qualitatively different from present-day Homo sapiens.”

Prof. Clive Finlayson of the Gibraltar Museum, an evolutionist, says the scientific community will have to accept that the Denisovans, like Neandertals, were, like us, Homo sapiens.

If this is true, on an evolutionary timeline, we have broader acceptance of humans being humans, having interbred, and moved about the world as merely people groups of the same homo sapien species for the last 500,000 years, with still no connection to apes. Hence, we are only examining the genetic interbreeding of different people groups from different parts of the world.

But were Neandertals truly like us? Consider the archaeological evidence, discovered and corroborated regardless of belief in an intelligent designer:

Tools make of stone.

Leather working skills.

Ability to control fire, and make pitch.

They had jewelry.

They used make-up (cosmetics).

They had culinary skills, and used herbs to spice food.

Burial customs for the dead.

They had an understanding of music, and instruments.

They made glue.

Understanding of architecture, even building large structures underground.

Care for the disabled among them (evidence shows some members of the community living long past an injury).

Created shelters, much like native Americans, covered with animal skins.

Evidence of a voice box (they could speak to each other).

This to me does not sound like a group of evolving apes based on evidence, and there is no need to even assert biblical beliefs to conclude this.

2. If Old Earth creation or progressive creation is true, then we must ask of the timeline. Adding the dates of the bible, even with a liberal understanding of its chronology, you cannot add up the dates and get to 10,000 years, 100,000 years, or the 500,000 years that Neandertals supposedly lived. Stretching out the lineage in this case is of no help. The progressive creationist must accept secular dating. Therefore they must decide if Neandertal is a soulless non-human, (can’t be true based on their ability to breed with modern humans, making them the same created kind), or if they lived and died for half a million years to bring about God’s timeline in dealing with modern man.

I have mentioned Frank Turek many times in my writing, and he continues to be a wonderful apologist, well spoken, and so very smart. I have the utmost respect for him, and his Cross Examined ministry. But as he does not prescribe to a biblical timeline for the universe, I still find myself in conflict with him on this point. I bring him up now, because I just watched him in a debate with atheist Michael Shermer. Frank was amazing as always, articulate and logical, and only got backed into a corner at one point. And that was when Michael had the wherewithal to press Frank on the millions of years problem. Shermer asked, “…Christianity began about two thousand years ago, what was God doing that 99.99% of all that time, if this is all beautifully designed and elegant[ly], teleological and purposeful, and it’s all here for us so that we would be here, boom, here we are, why the 13.7 billion years of nothing, and then, I think I’ll send my son to this desert place in the bronze age culture… and I’ll give them the message?”

He goes on to ask of the supposed souls of Neandertals, of Australopithecus, all the way down to his dog. Frank, normally confident, was stymied, and forced to quip back with sub-par responses, because his world view on this point does not line up with scripture. Death before sin, of course. But Shermer’s point is obvious, and engaging, and yes, logical! Why indeed would an all-powerful God mill about for 13 billion years then finally deliver a message 2000 years ago. What a cosmic waste of time for a God who can create from nothing, who is love, who desires a relationship with us. From a biblical perspective it makes no sense.

Dr. Turek was forced to take a weak position, responded first with a joke, and say blandly that yes Christ died for the Neanderthals if they had a capacity to make moral decisions, as well as Lucy, and homo erectus. He is correct in asserting that Christ’s sacrifice was retroactive, and still based on faith retroactively, but now you have a sub-species of ancient man who didn’t make the morality cut off line, who perhaps didn’t have souls, and who were so far from homo sapiens that they would have no capacity for religion. More than that, you have now inadvertently implied that religion is a modern (aka man-made) construct that had no relevance to certain ancient groups. Apparently God was sitting back and watching them live, and die, until they became moral enough to start interacting with them, a process He decided to start only 6000 years ago.

God also revealed to us by special revelation (God-breathed word, the Bible) that by one man, Adam, sin entered into the world. A pre-Adamite group who suffered the penalty of sin (death) for millions of years before the fall would make this claim a lie, and would therefore be heretical. It would seem that once again, if man’s interpretation of data is accepted, based on the pre-supposition that we evolved, it would clearly undermine the authority of scripture. When even brilliant men like Dr. Turek, and Dr. Ross try to blend the two, it inevitably waters down the word of God.

3. Since Neandertal DNA is present in modern man, the interbreeding indicates they were in fact the same species, just a different people group. If these are robust post-flood, post Babel decedents of Adam, then all of the evidence fits perfectly. They lived and died as human beings, nomadic for a time, in a world that was just destroyed in deluge and was unsettled. They suffered from malnutrition, buried their dead, and exhibited normal tribal behaviors. Furthermore, they were alive at a time where the bible records long life (hundreds of years), which explains robustness of the skull and skeleton, and is backed by scientific understanding of the changing oxygen, air pressure, and magnetism of that time as compared to present day.

Once again we find that logic and evidence answers the riddle of Neandertal using a biblical framework with relative ease. The historicity of the word of God continues to be a tremendous source for understanding the ancient pre and post flood world.

Christian Despondency

If you have followed along on my Facebook page you have no doubt noticed that I celebrate the comfort and truth of God’s word, the hope we have in Christ, and the invigorating exploration of apologetics, as well as the beauty of literature and poetry, and the power that resides in the written word. It is said that in America, we have lost some 60% of the words that scholars used to utilize at the zenith of our language. How I envy the ability to write as Shakespeare did, or Jane Austin, or Cervantes.

But within these posts, you may have noticed an underline addressing of despondency; an analysis of heartache, tragedy, and melancholy; a searching for some future hope, or purpose, a loss of life’s magic, and even a celebration of beautiful literature surrounding these feelings.

The Greeks did honor to both masks, remember, the joyful laughter, as well as the tragedy of sorrow. We sometimes presume that the families who file into church Sunday mornings are balanced, happy, stable, even perfect. Pastors preach about sins, and tribulations faced, in a general way. But it often doesn’t appear to land on the well-dressed, well-behaved, perfect people in the pews.

But these same people fight within their marriages, have trust issues, have broken hearts, cry in Sunday school classes, face anxieties.

Charles Spurgeon once said in a sermon, “I wonder every day that there are not more suicides, considering the troubles of this life.”

We can end up rejecting, or not walking with God, due to our despondency. Prayer and rest become empty. Friends who “comfort” you with scripture feels like bright lights during a migraine. And when it doesn’t appear that Christ is “enough” and you aren’t exemplifying the fruits of the spirit such as joy and peace in your walk, those friends can become accusatory. Perhaps you don’t have Christ in your life? Perhaps you don’t have faith? Why can’t you just cheer up?

Zack Eswine, who wrote about Spurgeon’s sufferings said this:

“Conscious only of our miseries, we become like those who love a person without that love being returned. To carry out the metaphor, what is worse, we must listen in as the one we love marries another and goes on with life happily without us… the toasts and cheers from their family and friends only magnifies the absence, anxiety, and rejection with which we must live. This is what it is like with God.”

As we cling to God when all our evidences are clouded, and joys are fled, our grip on the cross becomes a desperate grasp.

The Psalmist said, “When I remember God, I moan: when I meditate, my spirit faints. Selah.” (Psalms 77:3)

These feelings are real, and I dare say, prevalent within the church. Addressing it, and talking about it is the only way to deal with it. Of course continue to take it to the Bible, and to God, but finding a peer group that is committed to each other, and to exploring ways to grow in their walk is vital. To grow in faith together, so that even as emotions ebb and flow, the faith on the promises of God do not.

We do not shy away from the fact that there is a precedence in the Bible for addressing depression. There was suffering and longing in the desert. David was broken by his sin, and the repercussions that unfolded because of it. Solomon had all worldly pleasures, and delivered us the book of Ecclesiastes, which spells out the vanity of our lives. Even our savior Himself, according to Isaiah 53, was prophesied to be the “Man of Sorrows.” And indeed, He was, taking on the rejection of the people He came to save.

I am starting a group within my church, a place to encourage each other, and to identify a means of support for those who can no longer pretend to have it all together. I feel called to this particular type of ministry, as I have noticed the common, anonymous, social media versions of this are riddled with unhelpful distractions. Often the classes available in church will never address some of these truths in our lives. College class, parents with children class, young adults, singles, married couples class, a place to study the word to be sure, but upon leaving, those issues will be waiting within your week to smother the spirit.

Charles Spurgeon was a tremendous warrior for the Lord, and his sermons are studied and quoted to this day. He fought as a soldier bought by the blood of Christ, and is widely respected by pastors the world over. But he testified once, “I could readily enough have laid violent hands upon myself, to escape from my misery.” Referring to his own death, he said, “I know one who, in the bitterness of his soul, has often prayed it.”

If you start by knowing that you not only aren’t alone, but that you are in fact in the best of company, well then it is a step. My hope is that the encouraging of one another will follow. God bless.