― C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
― C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
In studying and familiarizing myself with more “Goldilocks” factors, or factors necessary for life to exist on this planet, I am reminded of some basics, considerations I was amazed and entertained by in my youth, but have since forgotten or dismissed. I remember leafing through science books about oceans, and volcanoes, and animals, endlessly looking at pictures and enjoying all the wonders of nature. One of my favorite science books was the one on our solar system; our sun, our nine planets (Pluto wasn’t under the scrutiny it faces these days), and our amazing moon.
Genesis 1:14 Then God said, “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years; 15 and let them be for lights in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth”; and it was so. 16 Then God made two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night. He made the stars also. 17 God set them in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth, 18 and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19 So the evening and the morning were the fourth day.
There are so many studies we could do on Genesis chapter 1, but one interesting thing to note is that many critics of the bible levy a charge against it that it simply borrowed creation accounts from other ancient cultures, such as Babylonian. I recommend studying that charge, as it is pretty easy to debunk. But note that those other stories from other peoples use terms for the sun and moon.
Babylon names them Shamash (sun) and Sin (moon). If we go farther back, to the Sumerians, their references to the moon-god are Sin, and Nanna. The sun was Utu, and Venus was Iananna, and since these were moon worshipping cultures, the writings say that these two objects were the children of our moon.
Clearly these ideas could not have given rise to our Genesis account, and any attempt to accuse such can be dismissed with a simple reading of the text. But note that at this point in history, these objects in our sky had already been named. It is intriguing to me that in our account, it simply states, “a greater light” (maor gadol) and “a lesser light” (maor qaton). It states they are there, made, and simply describes them. Genesis does not name either the sun, or the moon, because when that portion of Genesis was written, they had not yet been given names!
The names of these celestial bodies were given long after, by the Sumerians post-flood. The bible does not use names for them until Genesis 15 -Shemesh, the Babylonian name- and Genesis 37 – Yareah, a Canaanite name. This is great literary evidence that the first chapter of Genesis was written long before the myths of pagan cultures.
Our moon is a compass, a clock, a calendar, and a nightlight. Its distance and size is designed perfectly to provide a gravity that interacts with Earth’s, and regulates her tilt. It also keeps our oceans healthy, and regulates biorhythms. It is easy to understand how such a wonderful creation could be misunderstood and idolized by primitive peoples. But as Romans 1:25 tells us, mankind still falls into this trap today:
“Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshiped and served the created things more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.”
The moon is 238,900 miles from Earth, a particular distance that allows it, on its particular orbit to do something extraordinary, create eclipses. I say particular because typically satellites orbit around their planet’s equator. Since our earth is tilted at approximately 23.4 degrees, this would send the moon up and down rather than along the same plane as the sun. Instead, God had it orbit in perfect alignment with the earth’s orbit around the sun, regardless of the earth’s tilt.
It also has a particular size. The sun is 400 times larger than the moon, while the sun is exactly 400 times farther away! The result is that from Earth, they appear to be the same size. And when its orbit around Earth takes the Moon directly between Earth and the Sun, the Moon blocks our view of the Sun in what we call a solar eclipse. Considering the enormity of these bodies, and trying to fathom their perfect timing, size, and placement, that allows us on earth to appreciate their splendor that much more, I would be a fool as a cosmologist to not believe in an all-powerful creator God.
The heavens are telling of the glory of God; And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands
Unfortunately though, that is precisely what many cosmologists are doing. The evolutionary mindset of many sciences has blinded them into thinking that despite all this perfect order, what they see is nothing more than blind chance, accidental, coincidental luck.
They cling to the dying theory of molecules-to-man evolution so faithfully that it forces the prevailing theories on the moon’s origin to be laughable. This is NASA’s theory as it stands today. This is literally what they believe, or try to believe, and condone teaching to students. This is what hoping there is no God looks like:
“The leading theory of the moon’s origin is that a Mars-sized body collided with Earth about 4.5 billion years ago. The resulting debris from both Earth and the impactor accumulated to form our natural satellite 239,000 miles (384,000 kilometers) away. The newly formed moon was in a molten state, but within about 100 million years, most of the global “magma ocean” had crystallized, with less-dense rocks floating upward and eventually forming the lunar crust. ” – NASA, (http://moon.nasa.gov/about.cfm)
Did you get that? A planet sized body collided with ours and formed a molten moon from the accumulating debris of an impact, in its perfect position, a perfect distance away, and didn’t destroy the earth in the process. And people laugh at my biblical beliefs!
Aside from the insurmountable ridiculousness of our leading cosmology theory, we run into another problem called lunar regression. It has been ascertained that the moon is slowly drifting away from the Earth at a rate of about 1.5 inches per year. Now, if we consider this drift from the presupposition that the bible’s chronology is accurate, after 6000 years or so this equates to moving the moon only 250 meters. Not a big deal.
However if, like NASA is declaring, the moon was blasted out of the Earth and somehow ended up in orbit 4 billion years ago, was it drifting the whole time? If we reverse the 1.5 inch drift over a period of only 1.5 billion years (I say only, due to the vast ages applied to evolutionary theory) we reach what scientists refer to as “Roche’s Limit”. This puts the moon only 11,500 miles from the Earth, at which point, Roche calculated that the gravity of the two bodies would rip each other apart. This does not bode well for the theory that the moon could survive being blasted off the side of our planet. It also does not bode well for the moon’s age, which is purported to be 4 billion years old. This limiting factor of 1.5 billion years continues to baffle those who hope our beautifully arranged solar system has come about by mere chance.
In addition to this Roche Limit, it was also calculated (to further complicate the scenario) that the closer the moon was to the Earth, the faster the lunar regression would be, due to the Earth’s gravitational pull and spin ‘flinging’ the moon away faster. This means that we now have to account for even more regression in the past, and two bodies that cannot be too close.
And one final consideration. If Lunar regression puts the moon insanely close to the Earth a billion years ago -95% closer! – and somehow scientists can bypass the reality of Roche’s Limit, what would gravity do to the tides of the oceans? Would the moon’s gravity flood the earth twice a day via global catastrophic flooding in a constant, destructive, never-ending, muddy, violent, perpetual water event? We already know evolutionists don’t believe in a global flood, right? (snicker snicker). But we would somehow have to explain how life not only came about and survived in this harsh environment, but also how it continued to thrive and evolve into more and more complexity.
I am glad it is not my challenge to solve, as I comfortably rest on the truth of God’s word. I can look up at the night sky, and feel blessed to look upon the heavens, and our amazing moon, and know that despite my sin, He loved me anyways.
Romans 8:37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
I have recently been setting up and teaching apologetic classes for my church, and as I grow my curriculum, I am getting more and more excited about the future of my ministry, in whatever form or capacity God may use it. But after gearing up for an amazing class for the high school kids this past Wednesday, I was derailed by threats of weather, which shut down the whole town, and sent the locals running for milk and bread.
The post script to this “storm of the year” was that it rained a little, but I digress.
Since I have been so amped up to rattle off some amazing facts, and have as of yet been unable to, I thought I would share a bit about space travel. The reason? TRAPPIST-1 of course. The observation of some planets passing in front of a star approximately 39.5 light years away. This news, although interesting in the sense that we can discover more about space and our galaxy, is being used as a catalyst to create space-exploration fever. TRAPPIST-1 has its own website now, and chatter about the planets have been mentioned far and wide, picked up by NASA, space.com, and a myriad of other such science based programs. The issue is, with each report comes the suggestion, sometimes implied, sometimes outright affirmed, that we are a step closer to exploring life on other planets, discovering life in the universe, and even traveling to them for a meet and greet in the near future.
This is an intellectually dishonest position, and I am of the belief that these scientists know it. What they have observed is simply that planets orbit a dim sun 232,210,000,000,000 miles away. Now, of the seven observed, they push the insinuation repeatedly that 3 of these 7 are within the “habitable zone”. This of course implies that life like ours could potentially live on all three of these planets, which will be the idea perpetuated heavily and with as much vigor as possible. Why? The all-mighty dollar. This will insure attention, clicks, interest, comments from world leaders, write ups in magazines, PBS specials, and most importantly, an influx of money promised to be earmarked for further discoveries of such ‘magnitude’.
Why this assumption that life must be out there waiting for us to discover it? Evolution! The pre-supposition is firmly set within the minds of academia, and through this lens is how they observe the universe. It stands to reason that if we evolved here, then judging by the size of the universe, many other such life forms in various states of evolution must have done the same all over. We just need to locate where!
Of course if they believed we were a special creation, and that God stretched out the heavens (said over 17 times in the old Testament) to speak of His glory, we would not expect evolution, a most unscientific theory anyway, to have done much with any of the stars we see in the night sky.
SETI – the search for extraterrestrial intelligence – believes as Sagan, Tyson, and Dawkins do, that we are not special, and so they have spent hundreds of millions since 1960 in order to discover absolutely nothing.
This is a huge topic, but 2 things we must consider:
There is much more on this topic, and I wrote this article, UFO’s and God some time ago for you to check out. The bottom line is, yes science and discoveries are wonderful, but space exploration, like the “discoveries” from anthropology, are often used for money, grants and prestige, not for truth.
Question posed to me by students studying apologetics:
“This is a question a lot of Muslims ask because they don’t believe in the Trinitarian attribute of our God and like to use Matthew 24:36 to “prove” that the Son and the Father are not one, but completely separate. So the question is, after reading the verse, how can Jesus the son be God the Father if God is omniscient and all knowing but Jesus does not know the hour and God knows the hour?”
This is how I answered:
The answer is based in what scholars have dubbed “the hypostatic union”, whereby Jesus Christ was both fully God and fully man. He walked and talked as a man, mourned as a man, suffered as a man, yet as God He was prayed to, worshiped, etc. We could certainly do a trinity, or deity of Christ study if need be, using John 1:1 (theos en ho logos), or in John 8 (before Abraham was I am) or Isaiah 7 (Emmanuel meaning God with us). In Micah He is called the everlasting father, etc.
But the emptying of himself on earth is described in Phil 2 “Who, being in very nature of God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man,he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death.”
Another example is in Hebrews 2 it states that “He was made for a little while lower than the angels.” We can infer from all this that Christ, during His earthly ministry, healed and did miracles by the father’s power, or the power of the Holy Spirit rather than His own. Therefore, having to live a perfect life as a man, He did this so perfectly or “fairly” may be a better term, that He did not know the day nor the hour.
If you are looking for a less intense, down and dirty answer, we’d simply refer to Revelations, which is a go-to place to witness to Mormons as well as those who practice Islam, since the deity of Christ is often attacked.
Ask, who is this that says in Rev 1:11 , “I am the alpha and omega, the first and last.” The Mormon, or Muslim will say that refers to God (or Allah they may say). Then ask, what about here in Rev 21:6, “I am the Alpha and Omega, beginning and the end.” Who is that? They will say, God.
Then we refer to rev 1:17-18. “I am the first and the last, He that liveth, and was dead, and behold I am alive forever more.” Who is this? They will say, that is God, to which you reply, “When did God die?”
Also, on a side note, The Quran of Islam states that God departed the law and inspiration to the bible’s profits, that he sent down the law of Moses, and the Gospel of Jesus, (Sura 2:87; 3:3; 4:163; and 5:46), and that the word of God cannot be altered (6:34, 6:115). However, most Muslims will state that the bible has been corrupted and that the Quran must be trusted over the Christian bible. The real question is how can the Muslim trust the Quran, if in its very text it states to trust the gospels, and Allah’s words cannot be changed. Another way to state this is in a simple proof which the text bears out:
1 – If the Bible is true than the Quran is false
2 – If the Bible is false, than the Quran is false
3 – Therefore, the Quran is false
Please feel free to comment, and let me know if you have any additional thoughts in regards to this question.
With molecules to man evolution hanging on the possibility that despite the complexity of DNA, mutations must somehow add to the genetic make up of an organism over time, the theory is truly struggling. Genetics is NOT a friend to evolutionary theory. Ignoring the magic elixir of “time” that evolutionists add to the mix in order to devise an acceptable probability ratio, we must conclude firstly that enough mutations will slowly (or quickly) transform one kind of animal into another (I sometimes can’t even believe this still needs to be discussed).
A couple of short points: You have heard of a gene pool, yes? This is an invention, a constructed idea of early population geneticists who were dedicated to Darwinism. The problem they faced is that most genetic mutations aren’t catastrophic in nature. They instead degrade, and interact with other nucleotides, to create a long term minimal effect. Genes are poly-dimensional, working many different ways as a language. Imagine a book that could be read forwards, and backwards, and using every other word, and using a cipher. This is the type of complexity we encounter. It is well known in genetics that one nucleotide, since it doesn’t affect enough of the whole organism, would not be enough to be selected or mutated beneficially to bring about a change. Rather, we know that several nucleotides would have to be changed productively at once. The gene pool constructs a visual that sells well, promoting the idea that out of this “pool” nucleotides can be mutated to change the overall composition of the organism over time without consideration for those other nucleotides it affects.
In other words, the ripple effect from being a multi-purposeful nucleotide would create so much “noise” and would affect the overall organism so little, that there is almost no correlation between that one nucleotide changing, and the betterment of the animal as a whole. You are talking about an almost atomic level of change.
We must therefore conclude that large “chunks” must change to create any real progress. So we must analyze this possibility.
Mutations within the human genome have been scrutinized and analyzed, and it has been found that most of the mutations are not “noisy” enough by themselves (changing a letter in a DNA strand, like a typo in a book) to be selected by mother nature to pass on, whether good or bad. These mutations are neutral, or un-selectable, and therefore cannot occur with enough impact to change the organism, regardless of time. Geneticists realize that most are neutral, and that because of this there would be no reason for this information to be passed on to further a species up the evolutionary chain.
Furthermore, if we consider the ratio of beneficial to non-beneficial mutations, the vast majority are on the negative side. One experiment reviewed 10,000 mutations, and could only list 4 beneficial ones, which later all proved to be a net loss of information. Any that are actually considered beneficial mutations are usually in the neutral range anyway! This even further reduces the chance of benefit occurring, and being passed down.
Remember, evolution requires a high rate of beneficial mutations over time to succeed. This is not observably the case on any level.
There is so much more we could discuss, but this is a blog, and I just want to offer a sense of the trouble actual genetic science delivers to the evolutionary theory. Two more final notes. One is that considering that all of these nucleotides are multi-functional, if you do actually come up with a beneficial mutation that helps the organism in one way, there is no possibility that that change has also somehow benefited the way it is used in all of its other ways. It would disrupt how the information was read in all of its other variable forms, and therefore would only be beneficial in one sense, but damaging in all others.
Secondly, genetics ignores in its models the very real, and very detrimental concept of “fitness valleys”. Consider this: If 99.9996% of all mutations are either bad, or neutral, and those are occurring all the time, can you suppose a timeline whereby the positive ones somehow surpass the overall effect of all the negative ones to essentially make the organism healthier and more complex? Food for thought.
Frank Turek at Cross Examined teaches 6 evidences to consider that give us confidence in the authority of scripture, all starting with the letter E for easy remembering:
1 – Early testimony – As I stated yesterday as an example, the first writings of Buddha are approximately 400 years after the actual life of Siddhartha. By contrast, the New Testament was written before 70AD, many books completed only 17-21 years after the resurrection. This adds great veracity to the historicity of the text.
2 – Eye-witness testimony – Frank teaches that after extensive study, and just as one example, if we take the book of John and Acts, therein can be found over 140 details that could only be eye-witness details. On a side note, many of these are in Genesis as well, proving the authenticity of it too, such as the verified price of a slave at that time matching Joseph’s sale price.
3 – Embarrassing testimony – Would writers of their own story include Peter denying Christ 3 times? What about the Lord they followed and loved calling Peter Satan? “Get behind me Satan.” Or would it describe how the men ran and fled, and the women stayed on the scene of the crucifixion? Or that they were the ones who discovered the missing tomb, in a time where there testimonies were not held in as high of esteem as a man’s. These are in there, not because they help the story, but because they are true.
4 – Excruciating testimony -If you have read Fox’s book of Martyrs, you know the horrible details of the brave Martyrs following Christ, and spreading Christianity to the civilized world. The apostles were boiled, crucified, even upside down, and this was the same group that days before were running away, fleeing, unsure of why they followed Jesus, and fearing the repercussions of such a choice. What made such men do a complete 180, and declare Christ even in the face of death?
5 – Expected testimony – The story of Christ fulfills hundreds of prophecies! From where He was born to how He would die. Emmanuel that was promised in Isaiah 7 was expected, and what was expected was fulfilled. For a great example, please re-read Isaiah 53.
6 – Extrabiblical testimony – We have 10 ancient non-Christian sources, such as Josephus, which describe the basic phenomenon of Christ’s story. You can conclude that even those books that are not canonized scripture agree on the historical Jesus, His plight, and His following, lending veracity once again to the true narratives about Him.
For more from Frank Turek, and other great apologists, visit www.crossexamined.org. Also, he released a great book which I highly recommend called “Stealing from God: Why Atheists Need God to Make Their Case”.
UPDATE: 7th E is Elaborate Testimony – Without collusion, different writers inadvertently support what each other are saying, and/or provide details that confirm another’s testimony.
I am seeing this a lot lately. A feel good platitude. A slogan. A new age, anything goes, faux-zen-enlightened bumper sticker. Upon close examination, it doesn’t hold water. I hope those who consider their salvation can think past this, and truly don’t hang their eternal souls on the slogans of new age inclusiveness. Especially since this mess of a poster violates the law of non-contradiction about six ways from Sunday. Unfortunately, most people will grab such slogans, like “the bible was just written by men”, or “God can’t make a stone so big He can’t lift it”, or “separation of church and state”, and compile them as a world view. They will then comfortably walk through life, believing wholeheartedly in a world view they spent no time investigating. H.G. Wells said this about our contemporary lives as it concerns people’s resounding inaction regarding the preciousness of life:
“But in these plethoric times, when there is too much coarse stuff for everybody and we struggle for life takes the form of competitive advertisement and the effort to fill your neighbor’s eye, there is no urgent demand either for personal courage, sound nerves or stark beauty, we find ourselves by accident. Always before these times the bulk of people did not overeat themselves, because they couldn’t, whether they wanted to or not, and all but a very few were kept “fit” by unavoidable exercise and personal danger. Now, if only he pitch his standard low enough and keep free from pride, almost anyone can achieve a sort of excess. You can go through contemporary life fudging and slacking, never really hungry nor frightened nor passionately stirred, your highest moment a mere sentimental orgasm, and your first real contact with primary and elemental necessities the sweat of your deathbed.”
If we research, even lightly, the veracity of this poster’s statement, we will find it severely lacking in truth. Without even addressing the glaringly obvious, commandment-breaking image of putting one of the million false Hindu gods on an even plane with Jesus Christ, God and Lord, creator of all things, we will ask were they all merely teachers of love? Does this discount the necessity of judgement, and offer only pleasure with no recognition of sin, and therefore render our desperate need for grace and Christ moot? There is a flood to square with, as well as the destruction of Sodom, and the Canaanites, and the existence of hell. Does escaping the reality of a promised judgement for sin require us to simply pick a teacher/deity we like, and try to be loving? And if you have been following along on my series, you know by now that other gods, other religions, don’t come close to the loving God of the bible. For more on that, please read through that, but one quick example for you is in the year 627; Muhammad decapitated 900 Jewish men in front of their families, and ordered troops to rape women, and enslave them. This was the last Jewish tribe in Medina. Ransoms and beheadings were common place. So judging by these actions, as well as other conquests in the name of Allah, to say nothing of polygamy, and the consummation of a marriage with a 9 year old, was Muhammad a teacher of love, like our feel-good poster suggests? Or were his actions self-serving?
What about Buddhism? Very zen and peaceful, yes? The value of human beings must be quite high in their thinking, right? An interesting story, since we are on the subject, has to do with the killing fields of Cambodia. The maimed and injured were pouring in to medical camps run by Christian missionary volunteers. The country was filled with Buddhists, but Christians were there in droves helping the wounded, ministering to the sick and dying. The Christians asked the local doctor why the Buddhists, considering their peace-filled worldview, weren’t here helping any of the refugees, and why was it only European and American Christians. He said it was because in Buddhism, it is believed that karma determines your fate, and that these suffering people must have earned these troubles in a past life. It was their Karmic fate that brought them to this, not the sin of a fallen world. So they felt no obligation to help or “love” as our poster suggests.
Perhaps we can find love of people in a place that favors Hinduism, such as India? India, where rats swarm crops, decimating sometimes up to 50% of the food grown for the citizens there. The result of course is famine, and the poor health of India’s massive population. But in years past, they have continually chose not to exterminate these rats. Why? Because in their religion, these rats may be the reincarnated ancestors of peoples’ families, so their lives are important as well. As we zoom out and logically consider this world view, we can ascertain that these rats are being given equal consideration and worth as the human beings in Hindu culture. Even at the expense of their lives.
Does this reflect the same love as our Creator God? A love so great that He declares He knows every hair on your head? That He made you in His image? He came to earth to die for you? Do you sense your value as a son or daughter of the Lord, as compared to other world views? It is interesting that for all the bumper sticker slogans we have, when you get down to it, there is one God of love, and there is the harsh reality of other religions, and how much they devalue life. In these others, upon actual examination, you will find the worth of people on par with animals (Hindu), left to the fate of the universe (Buddha), solely dependent upon the whim of a conquesting god (Islam), or completely fluid based on moral relativism (New Age). The truth is much more beautiful, and hopeful, and yes, loving, then the slogan. But, this does not dismiss us from having to consider the truths of a holy God. That with perfect love, we must also examine perfect judgement. Both infinite attributes of a perfect Creator. So again we say, “determine your salvation with fear and trembling” – Phil 2:12
I have previously defined myself as a biblicist. This means that I Believe the bible from cover to cover, a rarity, and absolute foolishness to most. Some would retort, “How can you take literally that which was intended as metaphor, or poetry?” The response is of course, I don’t. I realize that different styles of writing are utilized to unfold the entirety of biblical canon. Dr. Floyd Nolen Jones puts it this way:
“The word [biblicist] connotes one who, while taking both the immediate and the remote context in to account, interprets and believes in the bible literally.”
He goes on to say that despite continual biblical criticism, the biblicist believes the promises and concepts therein, and also recognizes the rarity of such a belief, even among pastors, priests, and seminary professors, a shame in my opinion. But we can rest assured that this doesn’t mean I am so dense that I don’t understand prose and allegory are used.
Some other critic might say, “But how can you trust what was written over 2000 years ago!” A great question, not for this article, perhaps, but one that every believer and non-believer needs to answer for themselves. My studies have led me to believe in the truth of the word for many reasons, such as fulfilled prophecy, expert eye-witness accounting, corroboration with history and archaeology, just to name a few. Despite being amazingly unique in its circulation and teachings, it has been preserved better then any ancient book, the next closest being Homer’s Illiad. Just to clue you in to how much better the Bible is preserved, we possess 643 ancient copies of the Illiad, while we possess over 25,000 of the new testament. John Warwick Montgomery said this: “To be skeptical of the resultant text of the New Testament books is to allow all of classical antiquity to slip into obscurity…”
For more on this subject and others regarding the text, try reading Josh Macdowell’s “New evidence that Demands a Verdict.” The first 200 pages of this book alone will change your world.
Regardless of how I answer critics, the point is that I always do, and zealously so, usually leaping from a sketchy foothold of slight coolness or quiet reserve, (which admittedly is very little to begin with) into an emotional soap-box diatribe, that causes any listener I may have to regard me thereafter with caution. If they don’t know me well, they will say I am a Fanatic, way too zealous and over the top, a bible-beater, a Jesus freak, a literalist who needs to relax because I take ‘religion’ way too seriously.
If the person does know me, then I fear in their hearts, they regard me as a hypocrite. Anyone who believes the word of God so fervently, they must think themselves righteous beyond reproach; a Christian who knows he is better then those he preaches to; a saint among sinners. I must seem so false to those who know my struggles, because the fact is, I fail every day, and they know it. They have seen me stumble, they have seen me fall. They have seen a filthy mouth, and a worse mind, a heart that fights darkness, and a mind that fights anger. They have seen my insecurities cause me to act out in hopes of public approval. They have seen me weak with drink, with words, and with action. They have seen my life, and all of its failures, and they know intuitively that this is not a saint that stands before them. This is not a so-called ‘good christian’. This isn’t a person who should be preaching to anyone. They must watch me wax on and on about my favorite subject, sometimes hotly, sometimes over too many glasses of wine, sometimes after trying to fit in, and they must immediately chalk me up as a fraud. A Hypocrite.
And they are right.
But also, they are not.
It is my favorite subject, because of how beautiful the mosaic is. How intricate the history of redemption is, and how it offers endless study that leads you deeper and deeper into awestruck wonder as you go. And at the bottom of it all, when all is said and done, if the conversation will allow and anyone is left to listen, they will find I am not judging, but just excited. They will find the whole reason that it is my favorite subject is indeed because I am so broken, and so imperfect, and so sinful. It is precisely because of the unique grace offered to us, and that I recognize I need it, that I drone on and on beyond what social protocol dictates. I do not mean to. I just love the material.
So yes, I am a hypocrite, because I am quite imperfect and am preaching. But I am not, because I recognize my imperfection, and therefore recognize my absolute need for grace. This makes me fanatical.
To address fanaticism, let us consider the bible. In it, God claims to have made the very world you stand upon. literally, the ground beneath you. Not only do you draw each breath by His grace, but every beautiful thing you have ever smiled at, ever enjoyed, ever felt, was because of Him. Not only that, He continued to love you, despite your sin, and offered you the inheritance of His son, Jesus Christ, who made all things. It says every single thing, the universe, everything was made… for Him. Even you.
It says this. There is no getting around it. It says fear the Lord, and work out your salvation with fear and trembling. It promises one of two results upon death, either the judgement seat of Christ, or the white throne judgement. If you don’t know which one you will be present for, it should scare you. Why am I fanatical? If it is not true, and is just a religion like all the others, to appease the weakness of man, and lessen the reality of death’s sting, then to be zealous would be foolishness. But being a Christian is hard. Why would we put ourselves through it, when we could instead fill our days with carnal pleasure, self-service, and indifference? There wouldn’t be a need to bother others with our beliefs, and persecution would be someone else’s problem. So why then, if it is so counter-intuitive to be Christian, do we allow God to be Lord over our lives?
Because it’s true.
And I for one would rather live a difficult truth, even with all its problems, then live a comfortable lie, and face the reality of God’s holiness when I die. Upon studying the Bible, to be honest, I find it hard to believe we all aren’t fanatics. I know one day I will wish I had been even more so.
So if I get excited talking about it with you, please know, I’m just a flawed person trying to love you, because God loved me first.