God vs god

I welcome discussion on this, and look forward to thoughts, so please share, and invite people to like the page, and join the discussion:
I asked  fellow Christians about whether or not the God of the bible and the gods of other religious writings were the same, and got some scary answers, as if Americans got to heaven one way, and the Japanese another, and Islamic states another. The crux of the issue is, are other religious writings from God too? Let us take a look at the Quran as a comparable.
We launch from the pre-supposition that the bible is fact, and was inspired by a holy creator, and we look at the question logically. God cannot contradict himself or lie, and therefore another holy book that contradicts the bible cannot be inspired by the same God. We could do this with the Vedas or Buddhist writings easily, and no one would challenge that they are speaking of the same paradigm. But what about Islam? Some verses to consider:
Does the Quran agree with the bible that Christ is God in the flesh, the only son of God, a considerable doctrinal truth in Christianity to say the least.
Surah 4:171 – …The Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary, was but a messenger of Allah and His word which He directed to Mary and a soul [created at a command] from Him. So believe in Allah and His messengers. And do not say, “Three”; desist – it is better for you. Indeed, Allah is but one God. Exalted is He above having a son…
Surah 23:91 – No son did Allah beget, nor is there any god along with Him: (if there were many gods), behold, each god would have taken away what he had created, and some would have lorded it over others! Glory to Allah! (He is free) from the (sort of) things they attribute to Him!
Furthermore, where is it that Christ will spend eternity according to the Quran?
Surah 3:45 says – Behold! the angels said: “O Mary! Allah giveth thee glad tidings of a Word from Him: his name will be Christ Jesus, the son of Mary, held in honour in this world and the Hereafter and of (the company of) those nearest to Allah
yet
Surah 21:98 says – Indeed, you [disbelievers] and what you worship other than Allah are the firewood of Hell. You will be coming to [enter] it.
indicating that believers “and what (they) worship” will be firewood for hell, which would include worship of Jesus Christ.
Let us remember that Jesus was worshiped by the apostles as Lord, and
John 1:3, “Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.”
Col. 1:16-17, “For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”
Rev. 1:17, “When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: ‘Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last.’”
Rev. 2:8, “To the angel of the church in Smyrna write: These are the words of him who is the First and the Last, who died and came to life again.”
John 8:24, “Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.” (NKJV)
John 8:58, “I tell you the truth,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I AM!”
Matthew 1:23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.
I would ask, with this disparity between the two works, would they both be written of the same God? would one so fully exalt Christ above all things, and the very same author deny His deity, position, omnipotence, and importance?
Whether you follow one school of thought or the other, that is your choice, but we must logically conclude that when it comes to what the author was trying to convey, the two are diametrically opposed. We also must conclude that since God cannot lie or contradict Himself, the Quran cannot contain the same god as the God found in the bible.
puts it this way, which I thought was a most logical and succinct way of viewing the entire issue:

Premise 1: Either the Bible is the Word of God or it is not.

Premise 2: If the Bible is the Word of God, the Qur’an is not.

Premise 3: If the Bible is not the Word of God, the Qur’an is not.

Conclusion: Therefore, the Qur’an is not the Word of God.

For a link to his article explaining this in greater detail,  click here.
(For reference, here is a list of Quran Scriptures that affirm the bible:

Surah Al-E-Imran 3: “He has revealed to you the Book with the truth [i.e. the Qur’an], confirming what has been before it, and has sent down the Torah and the Injil.”

Surah An-Nisa 136: “O you who believe, do believe in Allah and His Messenger and in the Book He has revealed to His Messenger and in the Books He has revealed earlier. Whoever disbelieves in Allah and His angels and His Books and His Messengers and the Last Day has indeed gone far astray.”

Surah An-Nisa 163: “Surely, We have revealed to you [i.e. Muhammad] as We have revealed to Nuh and to the prophets after him; and We have revealed to Ibrahim, Isma’il, Ishaq, Ya’qub and their children, and to Isa, Ayyub, Yunus, Harun, and Salaiman, and We have given Zabur [i.e. the psalms] to Dawud.”

Surah Al-Isra: “Your Lord knows best about all those in the heavens and the earth, and We have certainly granted excellence to some prophets over some others, and We gave Dawud the Zabur (the Psalms). Say, “Call those who you assume (to be gods), besides Him, while they have no power to remove distress from you, nor to change it.”“

Surah Al-Anbiya: “And We have written in Zabur (Psalms) after the advice that the land will be inherited by My righteous slaves.”

The Qur’an  also assert that the prophet Muhammad is prophesied in both the Old and New Testaments, although he is never mentioned. Consider the following verses:

Surah Al-Araf 157: “Those who follow the Messenger, the Ummiyy (unlettered) prophet whom they find written with them in the Torah and the Injil and who bids the what is fair and forbids what is unfair, and makes lawful for the good things, and makes unlawful for the impure things, and relieves them of their burden, and of the shackles that were upon them. So, those who believe in him and support him, and help him and follow the light sent down with him, those are the ones who are successful.”

Surah As-Saff 6: Remember when Isa, son of Maryam, said, “O children of Isra’il, I am a messenger of Allah sent towards you, confirming the Torah that is (sent down) before me, and giving you the good news of a messenger who will come after me, whose name will be Ahmad.” But when he came to them with manifest signs, they said, “This is a clear magic.”)

Gabriel Leaves Persia – Sonnet

Canon has them rushing towards the battle
As it spread with creeds from their commander
Fire from the ghostly horse’s saddle
Pestilence and axes promise danger

Gabriel resisted one and twenty
Here in mighty Persia, souls we settle
Blood and crimson coal keep pyres fiery
Prince and king but tools of raging devil

Pike and shield in hand, the valley’s covered
Slain and strewn the flesh of men the payment
Heaven watches sober, scythe them over
Soon the prince of Greece will add their raiment

Why has Michael’s power loosed his hand here?
Worthy risk to bring the Book of Truth near

 

Attempted my first Sonnet, Trochaic pentameter: Based on Daniel chapter 10, when Gabriel leaves the fight over Persia to speak with Daniel and relay prophecy. There are fourteen lines in a Shakespearean sonnet. The first twelve lines are divided into three quatrains with four lines each. In the three quatrains the poet establishes a theme or problem and then resolves it in the final two lines, called the couplet. The rhyme scheme of the quatrains is abab cdcd efef. The couplet has the rhyme scheme gg. © 12 hours ago, J.R.

Renewal of My Mind

Romans 12:2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind…

Living with joy is not always an easy endeavor, and yet, as a Christian, I know that my life is supposed to be a letter to others:  2 Corinthians 3:3 “And you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.”

This joy that Paul discusses over and over, and the reason he is able to praise God in even dire circumstances is due to the transcendent purpose of Christ in His life, and in the lives of those whom he cares for. This allows for a person’s heart to be filled with gladness, and love, and hope, even when all earthly pleasures have been stripped away. But our daily thoughts can be consumed by things we want, things we lack, people we are envious of, false idols, people or powers that stand above our love of Christ in our minds. So how do we renew our minds, and focus on the only thing that truly matters? (For why it is the only thing that matters, check out this blog from last year.)

I would state first that this is something I have not mastered, and am presently working on. My goal is to eventually live with the joy of Christ fully, and for my life to be a letter, a testament to that hope I have in Him. But putting away all the messy darkness must start with prayer, and there are several verses I pray and meditate on daily as I work towards keeping Jesus Christ as the transcendent purpose of my life:

Romans 12:2 “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.”

In regards to putting the past behind me, old idols, old hopes, old sadness, old worries, I use this: Philippians 3:13 “Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 15 Let those of us who are mature think this way…”

Him alone? Psalms 62:1 “For God alone my soul waits in silence;
from him comes my salvation.
2 He alone is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken.”

All those things we attempt to gain by our flesh, do we someday realize that God intends to give us these freely, if we but humble ourselves:

“And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.”
1 Peter 5:10

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you.” 1 Peter 5:6

This is so powerful. This is freedom from all anxiety, all regret, all pain. I’ve tried to establish my life on my own, my heart on my own. I failed. All was impasse, what love I could muster was selfish, half measures, and insufficient to establish anyone, least of all myself and those I loved. I died there, at the dead end of my decisions, my will. Luckily the mighty hand of God is expert at resurrection. I am thankful for my failures, for there is nothing more humbling than the death of all the best efforts of my heart.

So… the question is, are we humble enough to be truly care-free? I ponder this, and how to walk forward with a renewed mind, singularly focused on the only source of lasting joy. I am free then, to love others as He would have me love others, under His power, and because He first loved me. I hope this is a renewal of my mind, for I need the will of God to replace my own. My own is flawed, and only hurts. I trust His far more.

The Power of Simplicity (abstract)

I was shaving, using an old-fashioned boars hair brush, and homemade farmer’s market shaving soap that smells like sandalwood and lavender, listening to Sinatra, and slowing the haste of the world with my breathing.

This idea of transcendent purpose has affected me as of late, a clinging to a purpose I can serve, one that is larger than the vanities of our day. King Solomon told us that “All is vanity” (Ecc. 1:2). If not but for God, it would seem that Solomon ended up a nihilist. He felt what we all feel eventually, that the toil of life mixed with the purposelessness found in the perfunctory grind of our daily action is the legacy of dead men walking.

We work diligently in thought and deed for great swaths of time towards goals we find give us a sense of relevance. These are different for all. Maybe you are saving the manatees. Perhaps you follow the political battles of Washington D.C., working hard each day to know and understand your platform, so you can defend it, prepared to forgive the trespasses on your side, and militantly oppose the other. You may march with signs. You may work towards a financial goal, or strive to build a business. Perhaps you pursue love, and escape in the delirium of intense desire. You build a world around a hope, an earthly hope that has no choice but to crumble under the weight of your expectations. No matter your interest, as it pulls you from ecstasy to the depths, and back again, any achievement or reciprocation received is short lived, and leads only to bitter unrest at the knowledge that any joy it brings will not endure.

Does this foreknowledge of failure make you negative? A pessimist? Being able to see the collapse of hope in the distance, and unable to stop it often makes us even more dedicated to our dream. It could even be stated that doubt and uncertainty are part of a recipe necessary for coveting that which we cannot live without. It is shocking the violence that takes place in the mind when our desires and fears mix. Compulsive daydreams infect how we perceive reality, and despite the real understanding that all will burn, along with the knowledge that we are helpless to stop it, we choose to run headlong towards an ecstatic finale we know is not there.

So then, what purpose transcends this inevitable disappointment? Further, what transcends our lives? Fame? Sex? Power? Glory? We would need a purpose that exists beyond our time here. One that makes us part of something much grander than our accomplishments. Robert Lewis wrote: “A transcendent cause must be truly heroic, timeless, and supremely meaningful.”

Upon reflection, there is only one thing in the universe that qualifies. That is Jesus Christ. And lo and behold, He has offered to make us a part of His transcendent story.

So these items we cherish, wine, love, money, they as blessings cause enjoyment in one who’s focus is on Christ. They are merely things He has placed in your path as you live and grow in sanctification. But, as idols, they take, and they keep taking, and no permanent  satisfaction will ever be attained from them. The idols like those I have sought to validate me, instead have devoured me, and refusing to admit they were there, it was to the depths I went. “For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long.” (Psalm 32:3)

But to acknowledge this? How good I perceived myself as being versus how broken my actions had become? So twisted that God had to actually save loved ones from me? Deliver them from me, as I had become a catalyst for pain and lack of peace?  Who was this man I never meant to be? My heart desired what I dare not speak aloud, much less pray for. I coveted. I had false idols. I wished to steal (not just material things, but love, dignity, respect of others, time, freedom, for the most dire things stolen are not things at all). I am angry. I lust. This all means I bear false witness. A liar, especially to myself. One then who is blind to sins known since childhood, sins known to have been written by the very finger of God. What a pretty picture of a Christian.

And the result? Distance from God. Silence in prayer life. Anxiety. Inability to properly love others. Self-loathing. To be the clanging cymbal that has no love in his heart. Despair. And how much more, in these depths, did I rail against the world for my causes, or grasp harder for my purpose, my secular validation? Or, how much more did I escape, self-medicate, choose negligence, indifference. Has the man who militantly blames society for his pain examined his character?  Do the high ideals in the public square extend to his wife and kids? Does he bring the whole of himself home each night, as priest of it? Does he grab his wife’s hand and pray with her, or teach his son or daughter why the bible is true, or how to love? Does the daughter witness from him what she should expect out of a husband someday, or is this not a consideration the father should concern himself with? Can he put himself last and still hope for fulfillment when all the magic he desires is rationed to the fortunate unworthy standing in the wake of his life’s disintegration? Look in his eyes; he is simply not there.

Unfortunately, recognition of who we truly are must proceed change. When we all started this journey, we thought to ourselves, I will be this type of Christian, or this type of spouse, or this type of parent. My intentions are to be purposeful and knightly, and full of honor. But all is vanity; and distractions erode us; and idols fill us; and it isn’t long before we have forgotten how to love, because we have forgotten who loved us first.

The simplicity of life: “But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.” (2 Corinthians 11:3) The Alpha, the Omega, and your transcendent purpose. It need not be more complicated then this. All else, blessings to be enjoyed, or not.  In a world of distractions, and the great whirlwind of lives to compare and contrast yourself with, and the pressure of forcing idols to answer wishes for love and money, what if we take Christ at His word. What if it is enough? And in this power, as it allows you to love properly again, you live out the life you were meant to?

I was shaving, using an old-fashioned boars hair brush, and homemade farmer’s market shaving soap that smells like sandalwood and lavender, listening to Sinatra, and slowing the haste of the world with my breathing. Starting at the center of myself, and working out. The parts I could control. I could be thankful for the music, and the steam, and be blessed to feel the satisfaction of a proper shave, and the calm in which this romantic chore took place. Like an artist who paints a leaf, there was beauty in the smallness of the moment, and I was “allowed” to be part of it. From here, what man would I chose to be? I could step out and complain about money, or Washington D.C., or be anxious for investment returns, or escape into a fantasy of love never actualized. Would these actions help me love others the way they needed to be loved? The way they deserve to be loved by me?

Or can I step outside the walls of my bathroom and be a different man; a simpler man, and not concentrate on the periphery of the world, but on my walk down the hallway, the embrace of my child, the prayer that my loved ones deserve, the health and wellness my body deserves, the study of scripture that my God deserves. I could ask God to teach me to love others better, and then make efforts to do that. Imagine it! Edifying others without seeking gain!

But I wanted them all to think I was smart, and special, and attractive. I wanted to be worth something to everyone.

But would my worth, according to them, change at all how I could love them, if I was loving them properly? Can I change that? No. I can change only me.

This will change my home. Which will change my church. Which may change my town. Which may change the state. Which may change the country. Which may change the world. But I leave this to God. I won’t yell at you about who you are supposed to be. I will do better at what I should have been doing. Overtime, perhaps I can be forgiven for having loved so badly, and so selfishly. But, it was coming from my flesh, not Christ, so it was bound to an inherently faulty foundation. If I can truly make Christ first, then how I see the world, how I love the world, everything changes. And everything is simplified into one transcendent purpose. Suddenly, I feel blessed just to be allowed to enjoy any of this silly old world at all.

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?

Colossians 3:23 – Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men,

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

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.”

And so, I was just shaving, using an old-fashioned boars hair brush, and homemade farmer’s market shaving soap that smells like sandalwood and lavender, listening to Sinatra, and slowing the haste of the world with my breathing. And I thanked God.

Dark Streak

Romans 7: 14 We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. 15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18 For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing.

How many times have these verses been used to rationalize sin in a Christian’s life. For myself, the verse occurs to me all too often. I, panic-stricken, will scan the horizon of my journey for fruit of the spirit, and will quickly tally righteous action or heartfelt attempts at ministry to weigh against a hidden darkness. But when God shines the bright lights of holiness like a spotlight  upon the part of yourself you were unwilling to face, the part you refused to humble, the dark streak to which you held fast, it is shocking how paltry the offering of good works seems. As we have learned from Isaiah, these works are filthy rags, each one a complexity of self-serving, accolade seeking, pride boosting liabilities, that crumbles like dust in the searing light of holiness. What’s left is the desperate cry for grace.

A cry for grace, because you know you need it, and because you realize you’re not worthy of it, and you fear a God who may not give it.

A mentor has said, “If you don’t choose to humble yourself, God will choose to humble you.” So to scripture then, when God asked Pharaoh through Moses, “How long will you refuse to humble yourself before me?” Or how about 1 Peter, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.” But as Paul said in Romans, “But this evil I keep on doing…”

Every person struggles with sin, many struggle specifically with that one thing, that one thing they keep for themselves, that they won’t die to, that they fight to retain, that darkness that no one is allowed to see. But it will get comfortable to feed it, and it will be easier to ignore the expanding edges of that dark place, and it will seem sane to rationalize an unhealthy paradigm you’ve created for yourself. It will start to not matter that you have to lie to yourself every moment, and eventually you will grow to feel empowered by this thing. You think I jest? Tell me it doesn’t sound powerful to be in control of darkness, to navigate the perils of secrecy for just one more day, so that each titillating result was a pleasure earned, and a temple to your own desires you were able to  guard. You took back control, didn’t you? It felt good to immerse yourself in it, didn’t it? To push the boundaries of reality, and euphorically realize reality hasn’t stopped you? How could you not keep pushing?!

Your sin will hurt you, but what’s worse, it will diminish your relationship with God, and it will harm your testimony, sometimes beyond repair. In the midst of darkness, we can rationalize hurting ourselves, but soon the darkness will begin to hurt others, and that will be hard to watch. The fall out is typically preceded by warnings, but in the end, for a holy God, it is better to ruin your life and save your soul, then to gain your darkness and lose it. We see the verse in Matthew, “What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?” Hence the great light of Christ, the devastating blessing, the humbling exposure to holiness, the loss of all your power…

But you are not alone, and I am not alone, and so we turn back to God, damaged and free, humbled and grateful, with a fuller understanding of what grace means, and an appreciation for how it saves a wretch like me. We look back through biblical history and take comfort in how God used the broken to carry out His will. We pray thanks for a justification we don’t deserve, and hope that understanding makes us that much better at telling others about the good news.

As for me, I have a dark streak, it has always been there, and I don’t think it will ever go away, but I know that I am not alone. The solution is simple; just keep shining light on it. “In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.  The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” – John 1:4-5

How Geisler Defeated Skepticism

The great apologist, Norman Geisler, was battling the growing philosophy of skepticism back in the mid-sixties, made popular by David Hume over 200 years earlier. Hume’s skepticism regarding truth led other philosophers to follow suit, to expound on his ideals, leading to the pervasive skeptic movement that still exists today in academia. Hume’s assertion was that things were only actually meaningful if, and only if:

  1. The truth claim is of abstract reasoning, such as 2+2=4, or all triangles have three sides;
  2.  the truth claim can be verified by the 5 senses.

According to his book, if it does not have reasoning concerning quantity or number, and it does not contain experimental reasoning, it should be “committed to the flames” as an illusion.

This of course does away with almost everything forensic in nature, not to mention relegating every religious book to usefulness only as fuel for a book burning.

God within philosophy was hard hit, and it opened up avenues for skeptics that are alive and well even now.

We have discussed The Law of Non-Contradiction, a self-evident first principle of philosophy in the previous article linked here. As a review, the law of non-contradiction states that contradictory statements cannot both be true in the same sense at the same time, e.g. the two propositions “A is B” and “A is not B” are mutually exclusive.

This Law gives logical ammunition to those who know how to use it as Geisler did, and in a college professor’s class at the University of Detroit in the ’60’s, he did just that. Hume’s philosophy was called ’empirical verifiability’, and was the second chapter of the subject matter being taught during this 14 week course. The professor, a professed atheist, allowed Norman to give his presentation on a chapter. He chose the empirical verifiability chapter.

That morning, the professor said to keep the speech at 20 minutes, so there was room for discussion after. Norm didn’t need that long. He stood up in front of the class, and stated this:

“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.”

He then sat down, and the class and professor both were silent.

Just like that, Norm had shown concisely, that the principle contradicted itself, and was not internally logical. It was self-defeating. The professor later blamed the train wreck of a semester, and all of its volatility on that one statement.

When we are faced with these world views, notice often that the writer or espouser always wishes to be excluded from his or her own statement. This occurs again with Kant, when he claims that no one can know the real world. In this premise he himself claims to know something about the real world.

We do very much believe in a God of logic, and who is reasonable. There is objective morality, objective truth beyond ourselves, and this should comfort us. Without it, we could not know anything at all. This is not to say we understand everything, for what kind of God would that be if we could comprehend all His glory. But, I dare say, it is more comforting believing in Him, then filling your worldview with doubt. What hope is there in doubt?

 

For I know the plans I have for you… or does He?

Do you know this one?

Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

Of course you do! Favorite verse? Hanging on your wall? Grandma cross-sticked it in your throw pillow? Memorized for inspiration, and hope in your life? I have seen it often as of late, and I do agree, this verse will aid and inspire you greatly… if…. if what? if you are who he is talking to, more specifically the surviving elders of the exiles, and to the priests, the prophets, and all the people, whom Nebuchadnezzar had taken into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon! (Jeremiah 29:1)

The bible does not actually have verses, and chapters. They are there as a quick reference. Jeremiah was not talking to you.

A rule of biblical interpretation: The bible cannot mean today what it didn’t mean when it was written, especially just because you want it to. Does God know your future? Yes. Is He omnipotent, and omnipresent? Yes. But He uses many things to accomplish His will, and furthermore does not necessarily impart welfare and goodness to all who believe in Him.

Quite the contrary, many further His work and His will for a future kingdom by suffering hardships, loss and pain. Does He know these plans as well? Yes. And yes, there is hope in that. But we must be careful not to ignore the context of a passage when we simply scripture-grab for our own personal peace of mind. One apologist goes so far as to say, “Never read a bible verse!”

In this way he emphasizes the importance of getting context with your statements, and of not imparting historic descriptive passages with prescriptive powers upon our lives.

You can see the error of this method much more clearly if we approach it from a different angle. For example, your friend or loved one approaches, and says, “man, I am having such a rough time. I am so anxious, and depressed lately, I just need to seek God.”

And you respond, “Hey, just remember, friend, Jeremiah 6:11-12 says to us, ‘Therefore I am full of the wrath of the Lord;
I am weary of holding it in.
“Pour it out upon the children in the street,
and upon the gatherings of young men, also;
both husband and wife shall be taken,
the elderly and the very aged.
Their houses shall be turned over to others,
their fields and wives together,
for I will stretch out my hand
against the inhabitants of the land,”
declares the Lord.'”

Hang that on your wall! Thought you were feeling bad before? How about applying this verse randomly to your situation?

You can see the point here. We cannot just pluck and plug things that make us feel better. God was using His prophet to speak with the elders at that time. It is historical, and instructive, and does teach us about the Israeli nation, and further bolsters our understanding about the line of redemption and His good works. But again, unless Nebuchadnezzar took you into exile 2600 years ago, and you are a surviving elder of this time period, you cannot simply apply this to your life. It may feel good, but as stated many times in these articles, we aren’t Christians because it is easy, or because of an emotional payoff. We are Christian, simply because it is true.

There is a great and bloody history in the bible. The thin red line of the redemption of Jesus Christ is fraught with many a fallen person, doing many unspeakable things. There is murder, rape, incest, war, prostitution, theft, idol worship. These are there for us to learn truth. These are not prescriptions on how to live.

Did I ruin your favorite verse?

Let us respect these verses in context.

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.

 

Taphonomy

Taphonomy is the branch of paleontology that deals with the processes of fossilization. It is like investigating a crime scene to find out the best possible explanation for the evidence. In laymen’s terms, it is attempting to find out what killed the animals in question. In the case of the paleontological dig in Wyoming run by Dr. Arthur Chadwick, it is about finding what cased the death of many dinosaurs.

Art explained: “We’re doing what’s called taphonomy.  Taphonomy it’s like CSI, Crime Scene Investigation.  Our goal is to find out what killed the dinosaurs, what they were doing when they died, and then what happened after they died.  Did they sit around and rot, or were they buried right away?  And then what happened after they were buried to preserve the bones and change them?”

The area that he was excavating for study was over 80 acres in size, and had millions of fossilized bones in it, most disarticulated. This just means that they are found disconnected from the adjacent bones. This indicates some swirling pressure, and some rot (enough to separate bone from connective tissue). Fascinatingly, most of these bones in Arthur’s bone bed are found in the first 3 feet of mudstone. In 80 acres and only a meter thick, we find millions of bones laid out together!

So what is the doctor’s conclusion as to how they got there? He explained: “These animals had to die and then their carcasses had to have time to rot. So we’re talking days or weeks or months during which time the bones and tissue were either eaten away or rotted away. And then the bones that remained were deposited instantaneously in this environment because they’re in a graded bed with big bones at the bottom and little bones at the top, and you can see that here. The big bones are all down at the bottom. When they start digging up here, they start to find smaller bones. So that condition requires a sorting process that can only take place during a catastrophic emplacement.”

“The only way I know how you could develop a graded bed is if you had a catastrophic process that transported these bones and laid them all in as a single event.” – Art Chadwick, PhD

So, take a minute and think about the environment that this must have taken place in. Not the slow gradual environment that they try to teach in school. That would not explain this, nor a plethora of other fossil graveyard sites. In a millions of years scenario, there would not be sorting. They would not all be so close to the surface. They would not be so densely packed, and over so wide a range (if say deposited by an ancient river). How would this occur slowly over time, and somehow carcasses  not be consumed by nature too quickly for fossilization (like we observe in nature today). This, according to tophonomy is best explained by a single catastrophic event. You have many dinosaurs which all died together, swirled in muddy eddies, rotting and breaking apart over weeks or months, and then settled in mud and water. And most of these animals that found themselves in these swirling, violent, muddy deathtraps would indeed be disarticulated.

Picture100Remember, this is a forensic science. Studies current data to explain a past event. We have two events to consider, the slow depositing of animals world wide who all were buried in mud and water (not occurring today), or a recorded world wide deluge, corroborated by the bible, over 270 flood legends, and evidence such as bone-beds like this picture. Could this happen all over the world with slow natural processes? These observations are made, knowing full well the disdain modern scientists have for studying data in light of the reality and authenticity of Genesis. But our education is our own, not someone else’s. You must decide which model makes sense to you.

Archeological/Geological Response to Atheist Part 4 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)

(for part 3, click here)

the almost universal disarticulation of vertebrate fossil skeletons (complete articulated skeletons would indicate catastrophic burial),

Fossils are found articulated (together), disarticulated (space between vertebrae), and partial. Considering the swirling violent nature of a world wide flood, and the amount of eroding mud and water that was displaced, we get exactly what wPicture100would be expected, which is various fossil graveyards, sea creatures fossilized on mountains, evidence of swirled eddies of decaying flesh buried by mud, and yes, disarticulated spines. A better question, I think, is how do you explain this picture and many like it without a global catastrophe?  Could this happen all over the world with slow natural processes?How were these animals log jammed together in what would become a fossil graveyard? How do 36 bus-sized sea creatures (Mosasaurus) end up buried on the Rocky Mountains? How are petrified clam shells, buried before death (closed), found on Mt Everest? And I guarantee that most of the vertebrate animals finding themselves in these swirling, violent, muddy deathtraps were disarticulated.

ancient sandstone that formed in deserts (not floods),

This is most likely a reference to the Coconino desert sand dunes found at the Grand Canyon. Evolution-believing geologists such as Young, Strahler,  and Stearley use this formation as a slam dunk to discredit the flood. Though, as of Creationist Geologist Dr. John Whitmore’s study, none of these scientists had actually been there. So a team of Creationist Geologists (The study had many participants, including Ray Strom, Paul Garner, Stephen Cheung, and Guy Forsythe, resulting in many scientific publications, presentations, and abstracts within the scientific community, with John Whitmore as the lead investigator) went out there to examine the claims, and do lab work. They found 7 myths being perpetrated upon students of geology regarding these formations that served to convince others it was not formed underwater.  (“Intraformational Parabolic Recumbent Folds in the Coconino Sandstone (Permian) and Two Other Formations in Sedona, Arizona (USA),” January 21, 2015; and “Petrology of the Coconino Sandstone (Permian), Arizona, USA,” December 10, 2014.)

These included, by where not limited to whether or not the sand grains are well-sorted, well-rounded, and the dunes were at the correct angle for being formed under water vs by wind – over 200 samples revealed angles of 20 degrees, not 32, which was indicative of underwater formation rather than wind; corroborated by other geologists, and comparable to observable underwater dunes today. Bottom line? It took Bible believing scientists who saw flaws in the formation story of these dunes to investigate it themselves, without the presupposition of evolutionary time, in order to discover the problems with often adhered to claims. With molecules to man evolution having been widely accepted by academia as true, geologists unfortunately feel no need to re-examine the claims of their peers, despite the fact that contradictions with what is taught in text books exists for all to see and observe.

P.S. Similar results were found at the Navajo Sand Dunes.

P.P.S. We can add this to the list of features (coming up next) about the Grand Canyon that have no evidence which can discredit the flood, but can instead be used to support God’s word. Expected, but still amazing!

 

the physical shape of the Grand Canyon,

Taken at face value, the Grand Canyon continues to be quite the perplexing formation for evolutionists. The dedication to this paradigm forces geologists to theorize beyond what would otherwise be so simple. Creationists who understand the obvious reason for its formation need no such gymnastics to explain it. With proof that great spillways can form rapidly now apparent since the Mt. St, Helens eruption, and with several obvious observations at the Canyon itself, we can take joy in the truth of God’s word:

„Middle is higher elevation than the head waters (Kaibab Plateau)

„Both sides agree uplift of center occurred before the river was there (water doesn’t run uphill; another great observation for second graders)

„Gargantuan river delta that should be present is missing

„Stable, shear cliffs, little rock fall – not slow erosion, but washed out

„No Talus at base of cliffs – Amphitheaters hundreds of feet of sheer Cliffside over one mile from water, with no debris (washed out)

„It is relict – unchanged from what formed it, stable in current condition.

This geological feature becomes quite obviously the result of a global flood. Slow erosion could not have created it, nor could any river system imaginable. Also, the lack of river delta was addressed in an earlier part, which happens to be missing if the 1000 cubic miles of mud and rock were washed away slowly.

[side note: geologist and creationist Dr. Snelling is currently in a lawsuit with the Grand Canyon Authorities, due to them not allowing him to collect samples for his work, because of his beliefs and how they pertain to his field.]

 

ancient stromatolites,

These are algae fossils within the “Pre-Cambrian” strata. Creationists understand that faulty assumptions based on a geologic column that was invented out of the imagination of a bible hater in the 1800’s, and that exists no where in the world except for in the text books where they teach children about evolution, would need to be re-examined. Catastrophism is quite obvious in the fossil record, and is quickly being admitted to even by evolutionary geologists. But throwing away the sacred cow of the faith based geologic column is anathema to evolutionists. That being said, if the circular reasoning of arbitrarily dating the ‘pre-cambrian’ strata, and then using said date to infer that its fossils must pre-date the flood is again not science. It is assumption based on faith. This type of argument is called begging the question. It isn’t logically or scientifically valid.

 

concentrations of helium in zircons (which comes from radioactive decay),images

At the present evaporation rate of helium within zircon, if it were millions of years old, there should be none left, yet we find plenty. This is yet another coffin nail in the evolutionary timeline, along with many various dating issues, such as the Carbon-14 found in diamonds!  The RATE Team (8 doctors who believe the bible) did an 8 year study on this and other remarkable geology. Find it in their book “Thousands, not Millions”.

the changing chemistry of rocks over time,

addressed at dolomite question (part 2)

the nearly complete absence from the earth’s crust of elements like technetium (the most stable isotope has a half life of 4.2 million years),

This element is literally a man made, synthetic element created in the 1920’s.  I had to chuckle when I looked this up. I can’t imagine how this could be levied against Christians in a desire to make their beliefs seem foolish. It being absent from the earth’s crust, being that it’s man-made, would have no bearing on this argument whatsoever. It was hard not to be sarcastic in this answer.

the current temperatures of huge masses of igneous rock (which would have taken millions of years to cool down),

Again, we are creating a problem here based on assumptions. Are we counting Granite which makes up 70% to 80% of the earth’s crust, as igneous rock which must be cooled?  According to Berkley,  “Debate has long centered on whether granite is igneous or metamorphic in origin. Originally granite was thought to form mainly from magmatic differentiation of basaltic magma, but geologists now believe there is simply too much of it for it to have formed this way… Evidence of intrusion or great mobility is considered to indicate an igneous origin that stems from melting of sediments; but where no good evidence of either a magma chamber or of fluidity is observed, a metamorphic origin must be considered.”

This means to the layman, that much of the earth’s crust must have been made chemically, not from being melted. This reduces the amount of rock that needs to be cooled, as the intrusive rock layers, or plutons, which are considered igneous, may instead have a metamorphic origin, which means they were never melted. Polonium halos also speak to granite’s quick formation. See the book, “Creation’s Tiny Mystery”, by Robert V. Gentry.

Again, defining the problems without assumption give us many plausible answers. Much of the crust can most easily be explained by creation on day 3.

Regarding the actual igneous rock formations, many could have actually been formed at the time of the flood during the development of tectonic plate movement. Great strides have been made in the understanding of the viscosity, and its cooling, (conduction vs convection) of plutons. Evidence suggests that these sheets of rock were quickly injected into the earth’s crust, and could have cooled in less than 3000 years.

large metamorphic bodies,

Amusingly, the creation model detractor has put every type of rock we observe in nature on his list for reasons their can’t be a creation or a flood. This has more to do with the fact that geologists have adopted the evolutionary paradigm of biology, and presume millions of years upon every feature they observe. As with the geological sorting that has occurred to lay down sedimentary rock layers showing obvious signs of catastrophe, and likewise the observable processes and evidence of igneous rock formations, we can now consider the observable reality of metamorphic rocks. The evolutionary model of how these formations were formed of course involves millions of years. As with other factors, this is simply not the only possibility, and through studying, can even have evidences stacked against it as a possibility. More importantly than that, though, is the realization that according to the creation model, dry land was formed, created by God on day 3. If God truly created the heavens and the earth, if the bible is in fact true, then the miracles of earth formation, as well as stars, water, the sun and moon, and other actual creative miracles were obviously assumed to be the method of formation in many cases.

Evolutionists will claim this is a “God of the Gaps” argument, that we insert God’s creative powers anywhere that doesn’t fit the biblical paradigm. This could grow into a lengthy answer, if responded to completely. But the short answer is simply, a realization that this is not a fall back excuse, but a believed in process, supported not only by the great design we witness, but by the fact that the alternative is that matter had to have made itself, which is its own ‘evolution-of-the-gaps argument, relying on time and unobserved mutations, violations of laws of motion, and of thermodynamics, to create matter, and order from nothing.

the sheer amount of volcanic deposits…

Most of the volcanic evidence we observe in the earth’s crust was from when when the fountains of the deep broke open. The evidence shows just how volatile the flood really was. Spillways, mountains, volcanoes, oceans, ice age, these geological observances indicate not only the event’s seriousness, but also its scale. Remember this was to wipe out all life.  It is not the mild rains depicted in children’s books. It was a global killer, and is responsible for the fossil record, the ring of fire, and the great amounts of pillow lava we observe, some making up whole sections of continents (Northwest America), evidence that the magma burst forth under water. Again, all this points to the reality of a flood, and continues to.

Archaeology does not support the exodus from Egypt,

This is quite plainly a false assertion. Archaeologists tend to know that despite biblical criticism, the bible ends up being proven right as more and more evidence is uncovered. It used to be that arguments against the bible were made from silence, that is they said we hadn’t found evidence to support it yet. But that is always a dangerous position, as many have found; and as more evidence has been uncovered, in archaeology specifically, it corroborates what the OT has already stated as history for thousands of years. This is true with cities, kings, customs, economies, and more, and we have an embarrassing amount of evidence, such as bulla, cuniform, and architecture to prove it. Anyone making this claim is saying so without proper study, or is being intellectually dishonest, and more than likely wishes there to be no evidence and is willing to take a skeptic’s rant against the bible as true fact.

There are over 52 historical  people from the bible who have been confirmed archaeologically, many cities such as Nineveh, and Ur, Babylon, and Jericho. And there are great studies and documentaries on the subject in question, such as “Patterns of Evidence: Exodus” which detail evidences of the forensic science of archaeology, and how it pertains to the bible.

(Continued in Part 5)

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