New Testament: Internal Evidence of Early Completion

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Utter, Unyielding Despair

47028368_354087128487293_1643572461058392064_nUnyielding despair. This is the conclusion of many great thinkers, when they consider the meaning of life, or rather its end result.

William Provine says, “Let me summarize my views on what modern evolutionary biology tells us loud and clear … There are no gods, no purposes, no goal-directed forces of any kind. There is no life after death. When I die, I am absolutely certain that I am going to be dead. That’s the end for me. There is no ultimate foundation for ethics, no ultimate meaning to life, and no free will for humans, either. No inherent moral or ethical laws exist, nor are there any absolute guiding principles for human society. The universe cares nothing for us and we have no ultimate meaning in life”

Richard Dawkins recounts this in regards to a reaction to his book, The God Delusion:  “A foreign publisher of my first book confessed the he could not sleep for three nights after reading it, so troubled was he by what he saw as its cold, bleak message. Others have asked me how I can bear to get up in the mornings. A teacher from a distant country wrote to me reproachfully that a pupil had come to him in tears after reading the same book, because it had persuaded her that life was empty and purposeless. He advised her not to show the book to any of her friends, for fear of contaminating them with the same nihilistic pessimism”. He also states, “Presumably there is indeed no purpose in the ultimate fate of the cosmos…”

Atheist chemist Peter Atkins says, “At root, there is only corruption, and the unstemmable tide of chaos. Gone is purpose; all that is left is direction. This is the bleakness we have to accept as we peer deeply and dispassionately into the heart of the Universe.”

Thomas Nagel: “It is often remarked that nothing we do now will matter in a million years. But if that is true, then by the same token, nothing that will be the case in a million years matters now.”

Jon Casimir: “Here’s what I think. There is no meaning of life. The whole thing is a gyp, a never-ending corridor to nowhere. What is passed off as an all-important search is basically just a bunch of philosophers scrabbling about on their knees, trying to find a lost sock in the cosmic laundromat.”

Existentialist Jean-Paul Sartre: “I existed like a stone, a plant, a microbe… I was just thinking… that here we are, all of us, eating and drinking, to preserve our precious existence and there’s nothing, nothing, absolutely no reason for existing.”

Many children and young adults feel this, and though they may not articulate this intuitive understanding of life as well as history’s ‘great’ philosophers, their actions will undoubtedly bear the signature of this belief. It is showcased in every school shooting, in every suicide, in every young, fatherless woman’s attempt to validate herself with random sexual encounters. It is ingrained in the psyche of every man unable to acquire power through leadership, when realization dawns that the days of his life, when overlayed on to the timeline of a 14 billion year old universe (so he is taught), amount to utterly nothing.

What is left then?

The reactions to this understanding are numerous. Escapism, filling the world with fantasy, and therefore meaning. Apathy, contentedness in not caring, at least not in the deeper questions of life. Helping others or leading others, a legacy mentality, which often degrades into the next option; self-service, to pleasure ones self with power, materialism, or physical contact. There is also pain and violence, sadism and masochism; pick your poison. A rebellion against life, an acting upon the resentment one has for being forced to live for no reason.

Consider Bertrand Russell’s explanation of life, in Free Man’s Worship. “That Man is the product of causes which had no prevision of the end they were achieving; that his origin, his growth, his hopes and fears, his loves and his beliefs, are but the outcome of accidental collocations of atoms; that no fire, no heroism, no intensity of thought and feeling, can preserve an individual life beyond the grave; that all the labours of the ages, all the devotion, all the inspiration, all the noonday brightness of human genius, are destined to extinction in the vast death of the solar system, and that the whole temple of Man’s achievement must inevitably be buried beneath the debris of a universe in ruins—all these things, if not quite beyond dispute, are yet so nearly certain, that no philosophy which rejects them can hope to stand. Only within the scaffolding of these truths, only on the firm foundation of unyielding despair, can the soul’s habitation henceforth be safely built.”

Are you depressed yet?

If there is hope, why not illustrate that hope, so that we do not have to trudge through this darkness of thought? Why carry on with such a heinous and nihilistic outlook?

Because, to appreciate the good, you must understand how bad it is. To be thankful for light, you must experience darkness.

I have, and will continue to offer evidences concerning the authenticity of our Biblical narrative. It is a beautiful and fulfilling study. But sometimes, we must look at what the alternative would yield. In regards to the common mindset of leaders within the atheistic evolution worldview, Henry M Morris says, “But the one common theme in all – Darwin, Lyell, Wallace, Erasmus Darwin, Lamarck, Marx, and indeed most all the rest – was hatred of God as Creator, Christ as Savior, and the bible as God’s Word.”

These wholly depressing views about our lives, our purpose, are inexorably the conclusions one must come to as an atheist. If you don’t, you are ignoring the realities of your presupposition. You are escaping the inevitable. And in the spirit of escaping this reality, we have the very apropos season fast approaching where Santa brings presents to quell the need of instant gratification, while simultaneously David Silverman, president of American Atheists, launches their yearly anti-Christmas, anti-God campaign.

But the gift of Jesus Christ being born, and the reason Christians celebrate the season, is an  acknowledgement of hope and love that surpasses all expectation, and conquers all the darkness with its light. In this event we hold a memorial to that which God did, enabling us to find meaning in all that we do. In this event, and those that followed, God revealed that all His promises were true, that His scriptures could be trusted and His words had authority, and that death itself was defeated. With the birth of our Lord and Savior, God abolished darkness forever, allowed victory over sin, and proved that each person meant something, because they were loved by an infinite creator.

Yes, atheistic thought and evolutionary materialism has caused an endless amount of evil and havoc. And fallen man will continue until his last days to rail against the reality of a creator God, so that he can rationalize his own evil. But you need not succumb to the same empty, hopeless conclusions that atheists’ must. You can instead grow your faith in the Word of God, and meditate on how much you are loved, how the inheritance of Christ has been shared with you for all eternity, for God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son. It is worth celebrating, and this Christmas, I hope you do.

Merry Christmas.

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Luke 2: 6-14

6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.

7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

 

 

 

 

Our Walk in the Nation of Israel

At the end of Luke, it says that Christ “opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures.” (Luke 24:45)

This great “Ah-ha!” moment for the apostles indicates a revealing of the secrets of scriptures. How Christ Himself was prevalent in all of church history.  Seeing real recorded history with not only so many prophecies fulfilled, but also so many parallels and perfectly recorded cross-references to our salvation journey is mind-boggling.

I have mentioned in several of  these articles, but today, we will highlight the Christian journey as it parallels the journey of the Israeli nation. You will see that this nation’s actual history reflects our lives in some very interesting ways, and that this journey therefore was no accident, but was painting a picture of the journey of each individual in the church.

Think about it. Conception, an ordained promise that God makes with Abraham, calling him out to grow a nation, conceiving it. These few parts of what will be the whole nation, move down into the protection of Egypt. Egypt, the safest place in world to grow, to be protected, just like a womb if you will, a civilization powerful enough to ensconce a budding nation and offer if the protections it needs to thrive. Remember, Abraham was respected by Egypt, as shown by how they honored him in death.

This nation grows from 75 people (a few cells) to approximately 2 million, a full nation, (full body) over a period of 430 years (pregnancy). Then birth, into their own country, but of course, as we follow the living metaphor, you cannot have birth without labor pains. Suddenly it seems even the pain of childbirth points to a profound and awesome plan.

Childbirth of course was the exodus, labor was slavery, pain-filled time, heartache, trouble, tumult. Fear as to whether or not they would survive, if things would be okay.

A quick aside, there are many verses about water in the bible. Part of creation of course, well of salvation, out of the side of Christ upon His death. But in our salvation story, there is also two births, being born, and as Christ says, you must also be born again. Birth into the world is accompanied by the water breaking. And our second birth, being born into God’s kingdom, accompanied by baptism.

Success in the birthing of a nation, a miracle (much like a birth today is a beautiful miracle), was as we know accompanied by water, the crossing of the Red Sea. Safely on the other side we have a new creature, a new nation. What God calls a stubborn, stiff-necked people, just like us, prone to complaining, idolatry, etc.

Then, next we have our 40 years in the wilderness. Consider, after you are born, there is a period of time you are not saved, learning, building faith, learning to trust God. You are not saved, you are convicted by laws, figuring out how to get to the promised land. 40 is part of biblical numerology, suggesting a time of trial, patience, storm.

Then, at long last, they are saved, as Joshua, a Christ-figure, leads them to the promises of God, and yet again, through a river, this time the Jordan, the baptism and second birth of the nation.

Like our own salvation and relationship with God, this is not paradise. There is war here in this promised land. There are enemies. But there is a relationship with God. This is our sanctification period. This does not remove you from the troubles of the world, as the prosperity gospel preachers would suggest. But the nation, the Christian is armed and is part of a nation, a family, a history, a body of Christ.

We have walked to the promises of God, to salvation, from birth, with Israel, and it is so like our own journey, an undeniable parallel, that the church’s salvation journey is literally prophesied and lived out by the nation of Israel for all to see in their history.

Such an amazing wonder, and testament to the plans of God.

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.

 

 

 

What Are Students Taught about the Death of Dinosaurs?

dinokiller

A giant, life ending, asteroid is the common theory, yes? 65,000,000 years ago, teachers confidently espouse, that the most “likely” scenario was an asteroid that our dragon friends could not survive. Despite no evidence for such an event, there are a surprising amount of specifics taught to children about this make-believe impact. It is a model that fits the bill, when one is needed to prop up faith in evolution, and allows evolutionists to maintain their pre-supposition in molecules-to-man, despite the observable data at hand.

The asteroid was apparently 6 miles wide, the needed girth to cause an impact great enough to change the weather, which would have created a crater 110 miles across. There are no craters in the surface of the Earth that show evidence of such an impact, though scientists have tried to pigeon-hole the data from the Caribbean Sea to imply that this event must have happened there. This impact, according to the theory, first proposed by geologist Walter Alvarez in about 1980, wiped out the dinosaurs, along with 80% of the Earth’s animals.

This theory is mostly propped up using the discovery  of a higher content of  of iridium in the Caribbean,  and coupling it with the made-up geologic column which exists no where on Earth. (Iridium is a mineral found in many meteorites, but is also heavily prevalent in volcanic events, which occurred during the flood.)

It is worth noting that though this is a prevailing theory, it is not the only one. Many scientists believe that alternate events killed the dinosaurs. Some of these include mammals eating dinosaur eggs,  the evolution of narcotic plants, climate change,  diseases, loss of plants causing herbivores to starve, which in turn caused the carnivores to starve, lowering of oxygen partial pressure in the atmosphere.

There are excellent articles and evidences addressing reptile size, geologic column, radiometric dating, etc, from a creationist perspective. But the important point here, and the crux of this article, is to note that none of these theories indicate a global flood. None of these indicate a drowning event, or water at all, as a catalyst for bringing about the extinction of large reptiles.

Why is this important? We can safely agree that academia in general has a strong bias against the bible, and its historical narrative, so we certainly wouldn’t expect the default opinion of secularism to match the global flood history recorded in genesis.

But what is telling is the actual observable data.

Certainly we know about finding buried dead things all over the Earth, including large pre-flood dinosaurs, or dragons. IMG_9378We have discovered billions of dinosaur tracks over the last 20 years, across the globe in over 1500 different locations. Scientists are slowly agreeing that these fossil graveyards, soft bodied (jellyfish) animal fossils, and fossils buried mid-meal, or mid-birth indicate a quick catastrophic burial, rather than some slow burial lasting millions of years.

But even more telling is that we have scientists themselves admitting that these finds were originally deposited due to water. For example:

World’s Largest Dinosaur Graveyard Linked to Mass Death, By Charles Q. Choi, Live Science Contributor – “The way the fossils are linked together in the same layers of earth within these bonebeds suggests all these Centrosaurs were wiped out simultaneously. The likely culprit in this scenario was a catastrophic storm, which could quickly have routinely made the waters flood up as high as 12 to 15 feet.”

Drowned dinosaur eggs’ fossil remains reveal embryos grew fast, Los Angeles Times, April 10, 2013|By Amina Khan

Publication in Yellowstone National Park – “Mammoth Site in South Dakota. Mammoths and other megafauna got trapped in a sinkhole and drown about 26,000 years ago.”

This is just a sampling. All over the world, and in article after article, scientists observe the data that these fossils were drowned at the time of death.

Now, look at these pictures of dinosaurs discovered buried:

Struthiomimus_skeleton_jconwaydownloaddeath_pose-lgcompsognathus_fossil

Notice they exhibit this peculiar contorted position popularly called the “death pose.” This pose of many fossilized dinosaurs, with wide-open mouth, head thrown back and recurved tail, likely resulted from the agonized death throes typical of brain damage from asphyxiation, according to paleontologists. If they were buried in rock slides, or were buried after death and then fossilized, they would not have this position. These animals were obviously suffocating as they were being buried by mud and water. These animals drowned.

We find this data all over the globe, and yet, I would remind you that all of the deep time, secular speculations taught in schools do not involve water! I would say that I remain curious as to why that is. But I know the answer. It puts science a little too close to a biblical theory that must not be allowed in the door. But, as it has many times before, the bible continues to be shown as the most accurate explanation of our early Earth. Is the story fantastic, and amazing? Absolutely. But it so easily explains so many geological features that it puts secular theories to shame. Academia will of course continue to scoff at the bible, regardless of how well the data matches the history. But it is quite faith-building to know that when you put in the time and research, you can stand on a great deal of evidence to support the biblical narrative.

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2 Peter 3:3 Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. 4 They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.” 5 But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens came into being and the earth was formed out of water and by water. 6 By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed.

What are the Odds, Layperson?

In the last article on dragons, I eluded to a default acquiescence that people engage in if they are laypeople, and are faced with advanced degrees and elite status. It is important to discover what science, and experts have learned, of course. But that is not to say that laypeople cannot engage in common sense considerations in regards to the creation vs evolution debate.

Often, we lay down against an opposing force with initials behind their name, and automatically assume that we are ignorant, or even stupid, if we disagree with them.

I have experienced this myself, when speaking to an astrophysicist. He talked circles around me, and was light-years (haha) smarter than me about Big Bang Theory, star formation, accepted postulations, lunar regression. But when I walked away, I couldn’t dismiss the fact that many of his postulations were deep time scientific models i.e. made up. The Biblical history described in Genesis was not only more logical in the end, but much more intellectually satisfying.

The point is, and this is just my opinion, laypeople have every right to engage in healthy debate, and if done cordially, and with respect, they can depend on their own sense of logic and common sense when it comes to the both biblical, and evolutionary studies. On the biblical side, we must ascertain if miracles are possible, for example. On the evolution side, we must decide if it is logical for us to believe in abiogenesis, or life from non-life. Another example may be that both camps have a huge problem with explaining starlight distance against time. One camp doesn’t have enough time for it to reach Earth, the other doesn’t have enough time for it to be observably equal across galaxies.

We have all heard the old example of monkeys pounding out Shakespeare on a typewriter. If not, it goes something like this:

If several hundred monkeys were lined up at typewriters, and were coerced to start pounding on the keys, and if this experiment went on long enough, we would eventually get the complete works of Shakespeare. This is evolution to a tee. It is a sold probability, and is supported by the elite of academia, regardless of whether or not it passes the smell test of our collective common sense. It is an accepted truth. It is technically possible, and so we add deep time, and conclude that without any guidance what-so-ever, a bacteria can through natural selection become a giraffe. This means that an unintelligent cause, literally beyond a simple-mindedness into the reality of no-mindedness, which knows nothing of giraffes, transforms a bacteria into a giraffe.

Must you be a technical expert in genetics, or biology to understand that this does not hold water?

The theory is perpetuated like this:

Can our monkeys accidentally hit the ‘T’ and then the ‘O’ one after the other? Sure, it is possible. One might say, hey neat, this monkey accidentally made a small word, the word “To”.

Is it technically possible that the space bar is hit next? Of course. Then, the odds would be small, but again technically possible for that monkey, assuming we had enough monkeys, billions of monkeys, hit ‘B’, ‘E’, ‘space’, ‘O’, ‘R’, ‘space’…

And then, ‘N’, ‘O’, ‘T’, ‘space’, ‘T’, ‘O’, ‘Space’, ‘B’, E’.

Is it technically possible? Given billions of monkeys, and billions of years, that eventually you would get the sentence, “To be or not to be”? It is a stretch. I’m going to say the answer is an obvious no. This is based on what I observe. I am not a geneticist. Not a biologist. But I know that based on my experiences this cannot happen.

We as logical, rational laypeople, realize that if I toss a handful of letters up in the air, it is possible that two letters may land next to each other, and spell ‘be’, or ‘to’, or ‘is’. If I actually got a three letter word, I’d probably laugh in amazement. “Holy cow, look, I tossed these letters up and it spelled bat! I mean, the ‘T’ is a bit crooked, and the ‘B’ is backwards, but still, that’s crazy!”

But if I go up in a helicopter, and toss out millions of letters, and I do that millions of times, will I ever spell, “To be or not to be, that is the question”?

Now imagine doing that and putting several million in the right order – the amount of base pairs in one bacteria cell’s DNA (cell of a human is 3 billion base pairs).

Another logically huge difference is evolution’s need for trillions of monkeys, to pound on that keyboard non-stop for billions of years. As if the universe, by chance through a series of non-intelligent causes with no agenda, is somehow trying to make order from chaos an infinite number of times. Not only this, but the universe must by chance continue to create new information, beneficial mutations, in order, at the right place, in a habitable zone, and with precise timing, all in order to bring about a result it does not desire in the least. Again, the mindless universe does not know what a giraffe is.

This is what we are taught. And despite our teachers telling us this is how it happened, we know instinctively that this cannot be the case. In fact, one could say, that we are “Without excuse.” It is my opinion, that people must train themselves into this belief, regardless of its absurdity. People wanted to believe it, wished for it, sold it, and of course now it is prevailing and acceptable. So much so that theistic evolutionists have adopted its processes as some warped way that the God of the bible would have created us. It is handed to us by an increasingly secular, man-centered society, and it is a gift for people to latch on to who hate the idea of God.

When Christ said ‘the truth shall set you free’, to those that sought to kill Him, they argued about accepting His truth about God the Father. He told them, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would be doing the works Abraham did, 40 but now you seek to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. This is not what Abraham did… If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and I am here. I came not of my own accord, but he sent me. 43 Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear my word. 44 You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies. 45 But because I tell the truth, you do not believe me.” (John 8: 39-45)

We know that an anti-God position is presented to allow for the greatness of man and his theories, but more so for his flexible morality. But I reiterate, a layperson should have every right to test what is being taught against their common sense,  about macro-evolution (molecules to man), abiogenesis (life from non-life), and all random chance creating perfect order (anthropic principle) out of chaos for literally no reason, and with no intelligence.

I speak out about it to hopefully lend courage to those on the fence, or who are too scared or intellectually bullied by science elitists. It is okay to disagree with a prevailing theory that makes no sense, and is completely un-observable. It is okay to speak up and say that you don’t believe you came from a sub-species of ape, or from a fish, or from a bacteria, or the now infamous ‘we all came from stardust.’ It is okay to believe that billions of monkeys doing random things will never create the genius of a play, or the genius of a hummingbird, or the genius of you, who are made in the image of something wonderful. It is okay to believe you are worth more than happenstance, built upon random pointlessness.

It is more than okay. It is obvious.

 

_______

Romans 1:20 – For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse

 

 

Education vs Indocrination

The Classical Education Paradigm has been replaced with our current public school curriculum, for better or worse. This includes Common Core, which is certainly polarizing. But what classical education was predicated upon was how the brain of a created child naturally develops and evolves through childhood.

“Regardless of their learning style, children learn in three phases or stages (grammar, logic or dialectic, and rhetoric), known as the trivium. In the grammar stage (K–6), students are naturally adept at memorizing through songs, chants, and rhymes. If you can get children in this stage to sing or chant something, they will remember it for a lifetime. In the dialectic or logic stage (grades 7–9), teenaged students are naturally more argumentative and begin to question authority and facts. They want to know the “why” of something—the logic behind it. During this stage, students learn reasoning, informal and formal logic, and how to argue with wisdom and eloquence. The rhetoric stage (grades 10–12) is naturally when students become independent thinkers and communicators. They study and practice rhetoric, which is the art of persuasive speaking and effective writing that pleases and delights the listener. Again, it is this approach to teaching students based on their developmental stage that makes this approach so very effective.” –  Dr. Christopher Perrin; https://classicalacademicpress.com/what-is-classical-education/

So, in regards to teaching macro-evolution as true, is it any wonder that the books children first absorb, the fun ones about space and dinosaurs, categorically state billions of years, millions of years, repeatedly,  like a broken record during that critical stage of absorbing knowledge. We do not teach a first grader in public school to reason, for they cannot. We simply introduce things to them for consumption. So by the time they begin reasoning, and asking why, and how, and what about this or that, they are in middle school. If they started reading science books at age 4, that is nine years of Big Bang, billions of years, dinosaurs extinct for 60 million years, missing link ape men, and all of the ridiculous assertions that are endlessly made before a child has a chance to ask if it makes sense.

They are not taught of its holes, its bad science, and sorted, bloody history. These flaws include considerations for the second law of thermodynamics, or first law for that matter; law of angular momentum with planets;  lunar regression problem; lack of transitional fossils; lack of super novas in the sky; or how stars form; lack of weight and mass in gas clouds; deterioration magnetism problem; river deltas; genetic limits of species; soft tissue discoveries of “millions of years old” specimens; Grand Canyon; etc. They are simply given evolution as a fact to absorb, to repeat, and to believe.

By the time a child is twelve… he or she has been told that this is the only way to think, and has never been introduced to any alternate theories. They already believe it before they know to question it.

What if we explained to children that under the ice caps of Antarctica
they drilled down and hit the tops of tropical trees. How would that effect your opinion on matters, possibly global warming, or earth history, or geology?
If taught that Darwin was a racist, who stated categorically that he supported the wiping out of inferior races, would that change the opinion of whether or not students wanted to learn from him, or perhaps make them examine closer whether his opinions held water? (They do not).

So… I would ask, when they are feeding these theories that “have to be true” to children, why are they not teaching real facts that may hurt their theory simultaneously? Is it wrong for children to understand that another possibility exists? Or that the theory isn’t bulletproof? Why be scared of the conversation?

One final note on the matter. It is already the default position of many to be against God. A God evokes thoughts of rules, consequences, something to reign over you, or something to worship or humble yourself in front of. It is probable that if taught from day one of education that the world around you can be explained without a God, this would be more palatable to most, who wish to do what they please, what is “right in their own eyes.” Especially if such a position is condoned by parents, teachers, and those a child naturally looks up to for guidance.

The result, once a child reaches the developmental stage of reasoning, and independent thinking? The result will be the same for many, what many atheists have called Unyielding Despair.

They will reason, much to the chagrin of caring parents everywhere, since it is “true” that God is not necessary to explain the world around them, that the point of life will be to please self, please the collective, or that no course in life matters. These are logical conclusions, based on reason, under that world view. Unfortunately for many, it will never have occurred to question the consequence of the indoctrination they endured, or whether the world view makes sense. When they finally apply reason, it will be in terms of how to deal with the world view they were convinced of. The outcome is bleak for many reasons. But if you are truly nothing more than stardust, what does it matter?

Endurance Through Trials

Romans 5 : 1 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

Been meditating on this verse lately. Trying to, though counter-intuitive, be grateful for sufferings. Each of us bears his or her own loss, or bitterness of heart. Having been broken in love, or denied goals, having drank the anguish of defeat, often it causes us to resolve ourselves to hopelessness.

Charles Spurgeon said, “The mind can descend far lower than the body, for in it there are bottomless pits. The flesh can bear only a certain number of wounds and no more, but the soul can bleed in 10,000 ways, and die over and over again each hour.”

But, in wading through these things, we do good to remind ourselves of a couple of key truths. Firstly, For by him [Christ] all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. (Col 1:16)

Also consider, John 15:5 “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.”

God has given us creation to enjoy, to be sure; love, wine, nature, a myriad of pleasures, but that only works if our hope and focus is on Him. When we look to the world to make us happy, finding sustaining life in the world is impossible. Welch put it this way:

“When you observe life and listen to wise people, you will quickly find that it is not about us, which hurts our pride but is a welcome relief. We simply can’t invest our hopes, dreams, and love in the self because it was never intended to carry such freight. For that matter, there is nothing created that was intended to sustain such hopes. Creation is to be enjoyed, but we don’t put our trust in it. The only alternative is God himself.” -Welch, Edward T.. Depression: Looking Up from the Stubborn Darkness (Kindle Locations 913-916). New Growth Press. Kindle Edition.

If we face bitterness and continue to long for that which we feel we are owed, even owed by God, then our resentment towards Him would distance us from that which is most important, would it not? If Christ is the door, the way, the truth, if indeed the greatest command is to love God above all else, then it could be determined that any trials, though not caused by God, are allowed to happen, in order to bring about the truth of this reality.

Paul said, it is better for you to lose your life and save your soul. Again, very counter-intuitive with how the world thinks. But imagine a world where every pleasure and desire was realized, and those pleasures kept you perpetually from seeking God. That life is still subject to entropy, and eventual death. Would it not be better to endure trials that “produce perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope?”

This has led me to conclude, rather reluctantly, that I am grateful for my trials. I say this carefully, not wishing certainly to evoke more, God forbid. But, my bitterness has certainly exposed the worst parts of me, it has exposed all of what I need to work on, and all I have put my hope in other than God Himself.

If the rest of my life, hypothetically, were devoid of all joys, stripped of all hope of love, and robbed of all entertainments, and ego-boosting assurances, understanding this one fact, that it is God’s love that will sustain me, then it is not a life wasted.

That is not to say, that nothing should be enjoyed. You won’t see me moving to a stone-built monastery in the Alps this year leaving my LOTR extended addition behind, or selling my car and living with the Amish (though I am sure they are much happier than many of the people who are plugged deeply into the world). But the folly of dependence upon people or things is lessened, as I focus my hope on Him, who has promised to sustain me, not just now, but always. John 5:24 “Truly, Truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes in Him who sent Me, has eternal life…”

Yes it is counter-intuitive. But I am grateful for my trials.

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.”)

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.

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