Category Archives: Atheism

Memorial

memorial-day-wallpaper

And God said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations. (Exodus 3:15)

In the United States, we set aside (consecrate, sanctify, make holy) Memorial Day to commemorate those who paid the ultimate price in the defense and preservation of our freedom. As is common with all “holy” days, the significance of the day wanes after one or two generations lost in habitual and meaningless traditions and mechanical ceremony. True, one will find gatherings here and there in honor of our fallen heroes, but the crowds are usually small and composed mostly of those whose loved ones are entombed beneath the sacred ground. But for the majority of Americans today, Memorial Day is just another excuse for a three-day weekend.

Few veterans of the Second World War survive today, and many veterans of the Korean and Vietnam wars are quickly fading away. Our children scarcely remember Desert Storm, nor can they explain the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. One may debate the legitimacy of our involvement in the wars since World War II, but the blood spilt and the lives sacrificed in those conflicts remain precious to their Creator and to us. They died, rightly or wrongly, for their country and for our freedom, and it is fitting that we sanctify a day for their memorial.

As our nation rapidly declines in the whirling vortex of moral decay (I can almost hear the sucking sound!), holy days lose their virtue and give way to debauchery. Just this week I read in the online Washington Times that a small display of crosses set up especially for this occasion was taken down after one person found the crosses offensive and complained.[1] Ultimately, things like this result from the nation’s rejection of and enmity with God.

It is interesting that the first time the word “memorial” appears in the Bible, it is in the context of God revealing Himself to Moses. God confronted Moses through the burning bush and commissioned him to liberate His people from Egyptian bondage. After a series of excuses as to why he was not up to the task, “Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them? And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you” (Exodus 3:13-14, emphasis mine). The name, יehâyâh (I AM), means “to exist.” God was proclaiming Himself to be the “Self-existing One,” the One Who Is, the eternal One. God specified, “this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations” (v. 15, emphasis mine).

“All generations” means ALL generations. That includes our generation, and our nation, but our nation – our generation – has rejected God. All that God opposes, our nation has embraced and even promoted. Therefore what used to be precious is now held in contempt. What used to be contemptible is now admired. What was shameful now is something for which to be proud. What was kept in secret is now flaunted. Therefore God says:

Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight! Woe unto them that are mighty to drink wine, and men of strength to mingle strong drink: Which justify the wicked for reward, and take away the righteousness of the righteous from him! Therefore as the fire devoureth the stubble, and the flame consumeth the chaff, so their root shall be as rottenness, and their blossom shall go up as dust: because they have cast away the law of the LORD of hosts, and despised the word of the Holy One of Israel. Therefore is the anger of the LORD kindled against his people, and he hath stretched forth his hand against them, and hath smitten them: and the hills did tremble, and their carcases were torn in the midst of the streets. For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still. (Isaiah 5:20-25, emphasis mine)

Having forgotten our Memorial – the I AM – nothing is sacred, and Memorial Day simply becomes just another three-day weekend because those who gave their lives for “one nation under God” died for something that is now forgotten, or held in contempt. Yet God always has His remnant. He still has those “who have not bowed the knee to Baal” (1 Kings 19:18; Romans 11:4), and He does not forget His own. For those who remain, Memorial Day retains its sanctity as we remember those who selflessly offered up all that they could give that we might live free, if only for a little while longer. “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). The God who spoke those words gave His life that we might live. He also promised, “In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also” (John 14:2-3).

So, if my musings seem a little cynical (I am not), it is because I cannot obscure the putrid decay I plainly see taking place in our nation. Yet, the same gives me hope because I know what the future holds, and I know the One who holds the future. Jesus is coming back bringing the tree of life “for the healing of the nations” (Revelation 22:2). Men seek the Utopian state, but that will only come when the King of Kings and Lord of Lords reigns supreme upon the earth. That hope turns my cynicism into confidence for what my Memorial has in store. Even so, come Lord Jesus!

Notes:


[1]  The Washington Times online: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/may/24/memorial-day-crosses-for-fallen-soldiers-removed-a/ (accessed 05/25/2016).

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No Accident

 

CAUSE: Hydroplaning. EFFECT: Wreck. No Accident!

CAUSE: Hydroplaning. EFFECT: Wreck. No Accident!

All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. (John 1:3)

Commuting to work on the rain-drenched LBJ Freeway in Dallas, Texas this past week, I was at once amused and terrified at the maneuvers made by some crazy drivers obviously unaware of the hazardous road conditions. It reminded me of something that my old Driver’s Ed teacher repeated often a hundred years ago, “Accidents don’t happen; they are caused.” Apparently the crazies on LBJ never took driving lessons from my old Driver’s Ed teacher.

The truth of the adage obeys the very basic law of physics, that of cause and effect. Simply stated, everything that happens, i.e. every “effect,” has a cause. On the highway, this basic law expresses itself through Newton’s three Laws of Motion: (1) Inertia – an object in motion tends to stay in motion unless some external force acts upon it, (2) Acceleration – when a force acts on a mass (object) to produce motion, and (3) Reaction – for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. These three laws are expressions of the primary law of cause and effect. There is a series of cause-and-effect scenarios that propel a vehicle down the road at high rates of speed. Friction is a stabilizing force acting upon the tires of a car to counter the inertia that would maintain the car’s high rate of speed. However, on a wet, rainy day, friction yields to a phenomenon known as hydroplaning. This “cause” creates a thin barrier of water between the surface of the road and the tires, which effectively negates the force of friction on the tires. The tires lose contact with the road surface and now skim along on a slippery sheet of water. Inertia now controls the forward motion of the vehicle, and the incognizant operator unwittingly presumes he is in full control until he has to make a quick lane change or a sudden stop. It takes little imagination to visualize the “effects” that may result. The frequent “mishaps” witnessed on the highway are “incidents” not “accidents.” The majority of the time, the main cause of these incidents is the loose nut behind the wheel. Lesson: be aware of road conditions!

Forgive the defensive driving lesson, but the point was to illustrate the law of cause and effect. Nothing that exists just happens. There are no accidents. This simple and common fact is overlooked or ignored by naturalists/evolutionists/atheists when dealing with the matter of origins. What caused the universe? The Big Bang they say. What caused the Big Bang? They say that an infinitesimal “singularity” rapidly expanded and produced all that there is. Even though no one existed to witness or record this great event, they (the “theoretical” physicists) can tell us what happened one second after the Big Bang, one minute after, five minutes after, and so on. So, from where did this singularity come? What caused the singularity? What made it expand? “We don’t know,” they admit, “but we are still working on it.” This is what is passed off as science today.

Everything must have a cause, but cause-and-effect can only be taken back so far. Eventually, we must arrive at the cause that caused all other causes, and this cause cannot itself be caused. “Science” has no explanation for this, therefore hypotheses abound. In desperation, absurdities, like the “multiverse” hypothesis, arise to account for what cannot be proven in this universe. Since it cannot be proven in this universe, it must be true in another. The problem is that this universe is the only universe to which we have access to do science. There remains this nagging requirement for science called observation, and we cannot observe other universes, if indeed they do exist. Ours is the only universe we can observe. Our science is limited to what we can observe in this universe.

That brings us back to question of origins. How did our universe come to be? If nothing else, the Big Bang asserts that our universe must have had a beginning. But what caused it all? Reason demands that the original cause cannot itself have a cause. Our universe is no accident.

Where science fails us, the Bible provides a reasonable answer. Naturalists automatically reject this notion; however they offer nothing in its place that makes more sense. “In the beginning God …” (Genesis 1:1). Time, “the beginning,” was caused by God. The reader will note that nothing is presented before God, the Cause. God is the “uncaused Cause,” and the Scripture’s presentation of nothing prior to God expresses His eternal nature, His infiniteness. His eternal existence is the only reasonable and logical response to an infinite series of causes and effects. God is no accident. He is and always has been and ever will be. He is the eternal “I AM THAT I AM” (Exodus 3:14). John identifies Jesus as the eternal Creator (John 1:1-3), and later records the Lord’s self-identification as the Eternal One: “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end” (Revelation 1:18; 21:6), “I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last” (Revelation 1:11), “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last” (Revelation 22:13). He is the One, the initial Cause that started it all. Before Him nothing else existed.

Our universe is no accident; it had a cause – God the Creator. Our world, our earth, is no accident; it had a cause – God the Creator. You and I are no accidents. We have a Creator that fashioned us in His own image (Genesis 1:27), and loved us enough to give us the choice to accept or reject Him. Either choice produces eternal effects. If we choose to reject Him, that decision is eternal. If we choose to accept Him, that decision is eternal. The choice is no accident.

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Says Who?

After the Flood

Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts,   (2 Peter 3:3)

“Scoffers,” as defined by the Apostle Peter in the context of this verse, are those who reject the teaching of Scripture concerning the return of our Lord Jesus Christ, but more generally, scoffers ridicule all teachings of Scripture. Scoffers become, as the Apostle Paul described, “fools” – “Professing themselves to be wise” (Romans 1:22). A “fool,” as defined by the Bible, is one who “hath said in his heart, There is no God” (Psalm 14:1). While the world has always had a good number of “foolish scoffers,” it seems, to me at least, that their ranks have swelled in these “last days,” or perhaps they have just gotten more brazen. The open and unapologetic Christian will sooner or later encounter scoffers that will mock and challenge one’s faith in the Word of God. When that happens, Peter says, “sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear” (1 Peter 3:15, emphasis mine).

Recently I had an electronic exchange with a scoffer pretending to be a Christian. (“Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.” Matthew 7:20) This scoffer mocked the account of the Global Flood recorded in Genesis. He questioned the construction of the Ark, the collecting of the animals, the supposition that dinosaurs were carried onboard and the logistics of taking care of the menagerie. He asserted that dinosaurs did not live at the same time as the biblical account of the Flood, then chided that it made “me ashamed that fundamentalist Christianity is part of our culture, that these ‘adults’ actually live in a mass fantasy world, manipulated by others in their own fantasy world, some of whom have PhD after their name” – referring to creation scientists. He continued, “Don’t you realize that the New Testament gives us permission to abandon the fantastic myths of the Old Testament, and that the only teaching of Jesus is compassion, for which we don’t need a Bible, or for that matter, a religion?” (emphasis mine)

Proverbs teaches us to “Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit.” (Proverbs 26:5) I assumed the scoffer to be “Christian” from his suggestion “that the New Testament gives us permission to abandon the fantastic myths of the Old Testament.” Although I found it rather astounding that a “Christian” would only accept less than one-third of the Bible. Obviously, he does not know his Bible very well, which is not something for which to be proud, if one really is a Christian. Consider the following:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made … And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (John 1:1-3, 14)

Obviously, that is talking about Jesus, but compare that with Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” Here the New Testament (NT) claims that Jesus IS God. That being the case, consider the following:

But from the beginning of the creation God made them [Adam and Eve] male and female. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh. (Mark 10:6-8, emphasis mine)

For in those days shall be affliction, such as was not from the beginning of the creation which God created unto this time, neither shall be. (Mark 13:19, emphasis mine)

Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. (John 8:44, emphasis mine)

In the verse above Jesus was referring to Genesis 3:1-5, “Now the serpent [the devil] was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? … And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die” (emphasis mine)

But as the days of Noe [Noah] were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, (Matthew 24:37-38, see also Luke 17:26-27, emphasis mine)

Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city. (Matthew 10:15, emphasis mine)

But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee. (Matthew 11:24, emphasis mine)

And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear you, when ye depart thence, shake off the dust under your feet for a testimony against them. Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city. (Mark 6:11, emphasis mine)

But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. (Luke 17:29, emphasis mine)

For as Jonas [Jonah] was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here. (Matthew 12:40-41, emphasis mine)

Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am. (John 8:58, emphasis mine)

By now, it should be obvious to even the most Bible illiterate that Jesus, who is God the Creator, affirmed the “myths” of the Old Testament (OT). Not only that, but being God Himself, He is also Author of those “myths.” The NT says that ALL Scripture is “breathed out” by God.

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16, emphasis mine)

Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. (2 Peter 1:20-21, emphasis mine)

The writers of the NT only knew the OT as “Scripture.”  So, how did they view the “myths” of the OT?

And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: (Ephesians 3:9, emphasis mine)

He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. (1 John 3:8, referring to Genesis 3:1-5, emphasis mine)

By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith. (Hebrews 11:7, emphasis mine)

Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water. (1 Peter 3:20, emphasis mine)

And [God] spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly; And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly; (2 Peter 2:5-6, emphasis mine)

Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire. (Jude 1:7, emphasis mine)

By faith they [Israel] passed through the Red sea as by dry land: which the Egyptians assaying to do were drowned. By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they were compassed about seven days. (Hebrews 11:29-30, emphasis mine)

So, the NT confirms all of these “myths.” What then should we do? Discard the New Testament? If Jesus is who the NT says He is, then the scoffer needs to rethink his prideful arrogance. If all the accounts of the OT are simply myths, then Jesus was either misinformed, which precludes His omniscience, or He was lying. In either case, He would be disqualified as God because God, by definition, is all-knowing, and He cannot lie (Numbers 23:19; Hebrews 6:18)

If the scoffer really is a “Christian,” (which I doubt), he should take into consideration that the NT confirms the OT miraculous accounts. Therefore, at least by NT standards, the OT is true. If the OT is true, then science rightly practiced will validate what it has to say about Creation, the Fall, the Flood, and the division of nations, as well as all other fantastic accounts of the Bible. The Institute for Creation Research does scientific research that confirms what the Bible has to say about creation and other matters of science. The Bible is not a science text book, but when it speaks on scientific matters, it is accurate and trustworthy. The scoffer knows neither the Bible nor science.

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Eyes That See Not

Miracles 9812570_ml

Son of man, thou dwellest in the midst of a rebellious house, which have eyes to see, and see not; they have ears to hear, and hear not: for they are a rebellious house.  (Ezekiel 12:2)

In this day of technological marvels it is increasingly more difficult to believe in miracles. It seems that every extraordinary accomplishment or phenomenon can be explained by some naturalistic means. Today we possess the ability to send men to the moon and return them safely. We send probes deep into space to explore distant planets in our solar system. Our space telescopes look deep into the far reaches of our universe. Medical science, while it has yet to find the cure for cancer, has made remarkable progress in healing patients having the dread disease. Scientists in the study of eugenics continue to make inroads into the modification of human DNA with the hopes of creating super humans with capabilities for greater physical endurance, greater mental agility and intellectual acuity, better vision with the ability to see into the infrared light spectrum, and all of this while consuming less food.[1],[2] This, of course, is for the betterment of mankind, and is seen as our next step in human evolution.

No wonder, then, that scoffers deny the miracles recorded in the Bible. However, this is nothing new. Skepticism in the Word of God has existed since the Garden of Eden: “Yea, hath God said …” (Genesis 3:1). During the Age of Enlightenment (a misnomer in my opinion) “reason” supplanted “faith” so that every effect resulted from a natural cause. Reason, then, eliminated miracles because from this perspective, everything has a natural explanation. Enlightened theologians attempted to explain the miracles of the Bible though natural means. Some who were less capable for the task simply rejected the miracles altogether and relegated them to the category of myth. Thomas Jefferson, for example, redacted the New Testament by excluding every record of Jesus’ miracles from the Gospels.[3]

Rejection of the Bible continues today in greater force due to our technological advancements. So, what is a miracle, anyway? By definition, a miracle is “an effect or extraordinary event in the physical world that surpasses all known human or natural powers and is ascribed to a supernatural cause[4] (emphasis mine). By definition, a miracle has no natural explanation and can only be attributed to the supernatural. Arguably, the greatest miracle of all is the universe itself, and all that it contains – from the largest star to the tiniest subatomic particle. Even though there is great disagreement among atheistic scientists about the origin of the universe, they all tenaciously seek a natural explanation for the existence of it all. The Big Bang theory is in such crisis that some have proposed an “eternal” universe disregarding the Second Law of Thermodynamics (entropy – everything is dying). Yet the Bible offers the simplest explanation of all: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” (Genesis 1:1, emphasis mine) – beginning (time), heaven (space), earth (matter/energy) – the universe. The existence of the universe is a miracle – an immense effect brought about by a “supernatural” cause – God.

If one rejects this greatest of all miracles, which has no natural explanation despite all the theories man can contrive, then no other miracles recorded in Scripture are credible. For this reason, liberal theologians contend that the Global Flood (Genesis 6-9) was just local in spite of the unreasonableness of the command to build an Ark for the event. The confusion of tongues at the Tower of Babel mythically explains the diversity of languages. The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah resulted from an asteroid impact or a long-since vanished volcano. The Red Sea crossing came about by a hot easterly wind that died up the very shallow Reed Sea – a marsh. The quail with which God fed the Israelites in the wilderness (Exodus 16:13) were migrating and coincidently tired out exactly where Israel was camped so that about a million Israelites ate until full. Downplaying such miracles takes little effort, but they are equally defensible by employing some simple logic. What about the sun stopping (Joshua 10:11-13), or regressing ten degrees (2 Kings 20:11)? Can an ax head really float (2 Kings 6:5-6)? These things defy the physical laws as we know them, and since the skeptic fails in concocting natural explanations for such occurrences, these miracles are attributed to either fantasy or myth. Either way, the skeptic rejects all miracles. For the skeptic, miracles either have a natural explanation, or they will have a natural explanation when “science” learns more, or they are simply fantasy.

These are they who “have eyes to see, and see not” (our starting verse); but for those who “have eyes to see,” miracles are real, and they happen every day.  The creation of a new life in the womb occurs thousands of times daily. Those who “see not” attribute that to natural biological reproduction. But out of millions of sperm cells deposited during sexual intercourse, how does one particular sperm cell just happen to fertilize one particular ovum to create one very unique individual? Who writes the DNA code for the 46 chromosomes (23 from each parent) that make up the one-of-a-kind person we are individually? Even identical twins are not exactly identical. The naturalist has no explanation for this and attributes it to random chance. God says, “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee …” (Jeremiah 1:5). Those who have “eyes to see” respond, “I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them” (Psalm 139:14-16). They who “have eyes to see, and see not” suffer from a spiritual blindness that prevents them from seeing the supernatural work of God – the miracles that take place every day.

They who have “eyes to see,” believe the words of Jesus when He said, “Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 18:19). When God answers their prayer, they who have “eyes to see” recognize the Source and give credit to Whom credit is due.

Recently my brother-in-law was involved in a farming accident where he was run over by a huge farm tractor. There are so many ways that he could have died that day. He tells me that when the tractor ran over him he was completely at peace knowing that he would soon see Jesus. He says, “I kept looking around expecting to see heaven, but all I could see was corn stalks.” The tractor he had been driving was pulling a trailer full of silage, and it was coming toward him to get him a second time. The tractor had crushed his pelvis and broken his hip so that he was unable to move, yet he felt that “Someone” rolled him out of the way of the oncoming trailer. Some time elapsed before his son-in-law found him and contacted emergency services. He was flown to Omaha where he spent two weeks in the Intensive Care Unit of the hospital. He had several surgeries to reconstruct his pelvis and replace his hip. Today, nearly four months after the accident, he has returned to work and is walking with the assistance of a cane. The skeptic would attribute his recovery to the excellent work of the physicians that attended him, and they completely miss the miracle that transpired. Those who have “eyes to see” know that even before anyone knew of the accident, God was already at work to preserve his life. Then as soon as “believing” friends and family were made aware of the situation, petitions to the Father started flooding the gates of heaven on his behalf and continued throughout his recovery. Those with “eyes to see” see the miracle that those who “see not” miss.

For them who “see not” the miracles that God performs every day but have a desire to see, Jesus says, “blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed” (John 20:29). “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Hebrews 11:6). “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). Jesus said, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened” (Matthew 7:7-8).  To have eyes that see requires only that one take God at His Word and ask. “[I]f thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved” (Romans 10:9). If you have “eyes that see not,” Jesus says, “anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see” (Revelation 3:18). That “eye-salve” is the Word of God contained in the Bible. It will teach you how to see the miracles of God.

Notes:


[1]  http://www.inhumanthemovie.com/

[2]  Horn, Thomas and Nita Horn, Forbidden Gates: How Genetics, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Synthetic Biology, Nanotechnology, and Human Enhancement Herald The Dawn Of TechnoDimensional Spiritual Warfare, (Defender Publishing LLC, January 1, 2011)

[3]  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jefferson_Bible

[4]  http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/miracle?s=t

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A Day to Give Thanks

horn-of-plenty

In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. (1 Thessalonians 5:18)

In the “Jaywalking” segment of the “Tonight Show,” Jay Leno posed some Thanksgiving Day trivia questions to passersby, and the results were humorous and sad at the same time. Here is a sample of questions asked and the responses:

  1. What year was the first Thanks giving? 1966, 1492
  2. Pilgrims are often shown wearing what on their shoes and their hats? Moccasins
  3. What is a male turkey called? Fred, Richard
  4. 280 Million Americans will cook turkey on Thanksgiving. How many Americans are there in our country? 8 Million
  5. Where did the first Pilgrims land? Hawaii, the East Coast
  6. What President declared Thanksgiving a national holiday? Ronald Reagan, Theodore Roosevelt, Benjamin Franklin
  7. How many days did the first Thanksgiving last? Three: one day for breakfast, one day for lunch, and one day for dinner
  8. What is the name of the ship the Pilgrims came over on? the Nina
  9. Where did the Pilgrims come from? Spain

This may be good for a belly laugh, but it is really tragic that Americans today are so ignorant of our nation’s history and traditions. In today’s culture, Thanksgiving Day is just a good excuse to have a day (or two) off of work, indulge in gluttonous behavior, and worship before the luminous god of football followed by the giving of alms to the god of materialism the next day all the while in complete ignorance of the significance of the day.

It does not have to be that way. The psalmist said, “Therefore will I give thanks unto thee, O LORD, among the heathen, and sing praises unto thy name” (Psalm 18:49). The “heathen,” in this case, were the gôyim, Hebrew for the “nations” or the “Gentiles,” and by implication, the “godless.” Our attitude of thanksgiving should be a testimony to those that are without God not just on Thanksgiving Day, but everyday of our lives. In these “last days” we should live in contrast to those who are “lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy (2 Timothy 3:2).

C. S. Lewis once said, “We ought to give thanks for all fortune: if it is ‘good,’ because it is good, if ‘bad’ because it works in us patience, humility and the contempt of this world and the hope of our eternal country.” Paul expressed this same idea when he said, “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need” (Philippians 4:11-12). We assimilate this attitude when “we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). “Them who are the called according to His purpose” do not live their lives like the “heathen” who are ungrateful or “unthankful” in their life conduct.

Perhaps the reason the “heathen” are unthankful is because they do not know to whom they should be thankful. That, of course, presupposes that in every other respect they are caring of others beyond themselves. If expressed at all, we often hear such empty platitudes as: I’m thankful for my job; I’m thankful for my family; I’m thankful for good friends, etc. That is fine, but thankful to whom?

When the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth in 1620, they arrived in the face of a harsh New England winter. They were without food and without shelter. Of the 121 souls that departed England to escape religious persecution and “for the Glory of God, and advancements of the Christian faith and honor of our King and Country,” only 47 of the original colonists survived that brutal winter. With the help of neighboring Indian tribes, the colonists learned to cultivate and enjoy the bounty of the land. At the harvest that followed, they celebrated a season of thanksgiving to God for His providence and protection. The third year after having landed, William Bradford officially proclaimed November 29, 1623 a day of thanksgiving.

In as much as the great Father has given us this year an abundant harvest … and in as much as He has protected us from the ravages of the savages, has spared us from pestilence and disease, has granted us freedom to worship God according to the dictates of our own conscience; now I, your magistrate, do proclaim that all ye Pilgrims, with your wives and ye little ones, do gather at ye meeting house on ye hill, between the hours of 9 and 12 in the day time, on Thursday, November ye 29th, of the year of our Lord one thousand six hundred and twenty-three … there to listen to ye pastor and render thanksgiving to ye Almighty God for all His blessings.

Our nation, from its beginning, has always set aside a special day to give thanks to God, but not always on a consistent basis. George Washington declared a national day of thanksgiving on November 26, 1789 with these words:

Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor … Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the twenty-sixth day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these United States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is or that will be … that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations, and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions …

Would that our current national leaders adopt that attitude!

Finally, Thanksgiving Day was proclaimed an annual national holiday by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863. He said:

No human counsel hath devised, nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the most high God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy … I do, therefore, invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens … [it is] announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations are blessed whose God is the Lord … It has seemed fit to me and proper that God should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged, as with one heart and one voice, by the whole American people.

This Thanksgiving Day, amid all the festivities and family gatherings, try to devote at least some time to “Sing unto the LORD, O ye saints of his, and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness” (Psalm 30:4). “Praise God from whom all blessings flow.”

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God’s Not Fair

Judgment of God

O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? (Romans 9:20)

Someone complained that God is unfair to send people to hell simply because they don’t know any better. She said, “I’ve recently hit a point where my faith is all but dead, not by will but by fear that the worst is true, that there is no God after all.” Her reasons for arriving at this conclusion are as follows: “It’s two-fold in that [1] God has never revealed Himself to me in ways that I was taught He would (Pentecostal background), and [2] more recently that I just cannot wrap my head around the idea of a God of ultimate love knowingly creating even one single soul knowing it was destined for eternal damnation. I question why God would create such a being, knowing beforehand the choices he would make.”

Her first reason, it seems to me, finds an explanation in her “Pentecostal background.” I see this problem with many Pentecostals because many (not all) are taught (if not directly then by inference) that God must reveal Himself in miraculous ways: speaking in tongues, healings, tangible answers to prayer, etc. The fact is that God is not obligated to reveal Himself to us in any way other than He has already done, i.e., through His creation (Romans 1:19-20) and through His Word (John 1:1-3, 14; Psalm 119:105; 2 Timothy 3:16, et. al.). Her Pentecostal background may also have something to do with her second issue against God in the Arminian soteriology of Pentecostals, which holds, in part, that a believer can “fall from grace,” and if they die in that condition, they will go to hell. So, Pentecostals must continuously “work out their own salvation” so as not to lose their salvation. That, in itself I think, might give one a tenuous grasp on their eternal status and sense of eternal security.

Her Pentecostal background may be the source of her sense of insecurity which she then projects on those whom she sees as victims of a merciless God. Why would God create humans knowing that He is going to send them to hell? Not only is God merciless, but she finds eternity in hell to be cruel and unusual punishment.  She said, “I am a pale imitation of God, an ignorant human born in a world of decay, yet to me the pain of one soul, any soul, even the worst example of humanity, is not worth the existence of this universe” (emphasis mine). Can you see what she has done? She made moral judgment against God and placed herself in a position of moral superiority above God. Though she is “a pale imitation of God,” she makes herself morally superior  to God because she would not cause pain even to the worst example of humanity. If she were in the place of God, she would not even create the universe, if even one soul would suffer eternal torment. Furthermore, God has no basis “to extend this eternal punishment further to those that fail to heed words in a book thousands of years old when other books tell their own versions (other religions).”

As I read her tirade, I distinctly heard echoes of Genesis 3:1-5: “Tssssssssssssssss! Yea, hath God said in the Bible? That book is so ancient. Those are just the words of men. What about all those other holy books? Aren’t they just as valid? Ye shall not surely die. If God is so loving, He wouldn’t send anyone to hell would He? And even if He did, surely He wouldn’t make someone suffer for eternity. If He does, then God’s not fair! Why should you follow a God like that!”

When we put ourselves in a position where we question why God made us the way He did, we in effect pass judgment on Him and make ourselves superior to Him because we are saying that we could have done it better. “Who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?” (Romans 9:20-21 also Isaiah 29:16, emphasis mine). We are not in a position to question God’s motives in creating us as He did. We are not God. Humanly speaking, does not a creator/inventor of anything have the right to assign value to his/her creation/invention, and to decide how to dispose of it? By the same token, can we not allow the Creator to decide the “worth” of His creation and select what He will keep and what He will discard without our input? Let’s be fair here!

The fact is that God made us in His image (Genesis 1:27), and part of that image includes rational thought and the ability to make decisions and exercise our free will. Along with that comes the responsibility to assume the consequences for our decisions.  When God made Adam and Eve and He placed them in the Garden, He gave them one choice: eat of the tree of life and live, or eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and die, i.e., be eternally separated from God (Genesis 2:16-17). God created Adam and Eve with a will and the ability to choose whether to obey or disobey God. Had God not given that choice, His creatures would be no different than any other animal, and they certainly would not have the “image” of God. The will and the ability to make choices is part of having the image of God. Without that, we are just animals.

Adam and Eve disobeyed God’s only prohibition (Genesis 3:1-6). Eve was deceived, but Adam disobeyed willingly (1 Timothy 2:14). That disobedience, whether willful or through deception, brought death upon all of God’s creation. Because of that original sin, all of mankind receives the curse of sin which is death (Genesis 3:19). Every human being is born “dead” – eternally damned – due to Adam’s original sin. We are not sinners because we sin; we sin because we are sinners. We are all in the same condition; there is no escaping it. How well informed or how misinformed one is has nothing to do with it.

Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned. (Romans 5:12)

And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses (Colossians 2:13)

And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins … Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) (Ephesians 2:1, 5)

Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die. (Ezekiel 18:4)

This is the truth, and it is not going to change simply because it offends our sensibilities. It does not matter whether someone is duped by evolution, or whether they have not had the Gospel explained clearly enough for them to understand; the fact of the matter is that every human being that is born, is born “dead” because of sin. The penalty for sin is eternal death (separation from God) in hell.

However, this dead condition is not without resolution. God provided the way to eternal life through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. God makes Himself available to all who will seek Him. “For by [the free gift of] grace [i.e., unmerited favor] are ye saved through faith [Hebrews 11:6]; and that not of yourselves [even the faith to believe comes from God]: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9). What God asks of us is not that difficult: “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved” (Romans 10:9). “Neither is there salvation in any other [than Jesus]: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6).

People like to quote John 3:16 because it expresses the love of God for the entire world, but two verses later it says, “He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God” (John 3:18, emphasis mine). A choice has to be made. Because of Adam’s sin, we all begin from the point of “condemned already.” We all have the same choice: believe or disbelieve. Not choosing is actually choosing to disbelieve. And to remove any excuses, God’s creation testifies to His existence, “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse” (Romans 1:20, emphasis mine). God reveals Himself in His creation. Without exception, everyone has a choice.

The charge that God is somehow unmerciful and unloving dissolves in light of His personal intervention on our behalf. God’s grace and mercy was expressed on the cross of Christ. “The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23). God has given sufficient evidence in His creation to make man wonder about his origin and about the origin of the world around him. God says, “And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13). God does not hide Himself. The fault is with man for rejecting the evidence God has provided and refusing to seek God. Jesus said that the way to destruction is broad, and many go that way; but the way to life is narrow and difficult to find, and very few find it (Matthew 7:13-14).

Answering the criticism of God sending people to hell: God created hell for “the devil and his angels” (Matthew 25:41), not for human beings. People choose to go to hell by not choosing God. God demonstrated “his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ [God in the flesh] died for us” (Romans 5:8, emphasis mine). What more could He possibly do and still respect our will and our right to choose? He could have made us animals, but He didn’t. He made each one of us unique, created in His very image. That is why He values us, and because He values us, He gives us the choice to either accept Him or reject Him. Because He cherishes us, He will not impose Himself on any one of us. But, if we reject Him, we make an eternal choice, but it is our choice. God didn’t create us for hell. Do you think for one moment that God has any desire to destroy His image! “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9), but He respects our choice.

There you have it. Rather than criticize God for His methods with which we may disagree, why not simply submit to Him? He is God, and by definition, His way is right regardless of what we may think. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9, emphasis mine). If we are truly concerned for those that are bound for hell, perhaps rather than criticizing God for His methods, we should be a light to show the way (Matthew 5:14).

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No Gap

earth-implosion

And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. (Genesis 1:2)

Ever since Charles Darwin published his On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection or the Preservation of Favored Races in the Struggle for Life, (in which, by the way, he never addresses the main thesis of his book) it seems that Christian theologians have been scrambling to defend the Genesis creation account and allow for millions of years of evolution. Even now with all the great research being done by creation scientists in the fields of biology, cosmology, geology, meteorology, paleontology, physics, and others, and by great organizations like Answers In Genesis, Creation Ministries International, the Creation Research Society, the Institute for Creation Research and others, still we have far too many Christian pastors and theologians that cower at the roar of atheists and evolutionists when it comes to the question of origins. They fear being labeled as ignorant and uneducated and likened to geocentric flat-earthers. Rather than defend the clear teaching of Scripture on this matter, they will either completely capitulate to the evolutionists, or they will find some compromise to accommodate evolutionary concepts. What really frustrates me is when some of these cowards claim to defend the infallible, inerrant, Word of God. If the Word of God is truly infallible and inerrant, then compromise is not an option.

One such compromise is known as the Gap Theory which proposes that there is a “gap” of long ages – billions of years – between the first two verses of Genesis 1. “According to this concept, Genesis 1:1 describes the initial creation of the universe. Following this, the standard events of cosmic evolution took place, which eventually produced our solar system about five billion years ago. Then, on the earth, the various geologic ages followed, as identified by their respective assemblages of fossils (trilobites, dinosaurs, etc.).”[1] Following this, some sort of global cataclysm takes place destroying all life and God must re-create the earth. Thus, Genesis 1:2 is describing the earth “becoming” without form and void. This idea was popularized by the Scofield Bible, and widely accepted for almost a century, but it was due more to fear of ridicule than solid Bible apologetics.

The first problem with this view begins with the first word of the second verse – “And.” We must first keep in mind that the original text did not include chapter and verse divisions. The text was a continuous reading. The “And” at the beginning of verse two is the Hebrew letter waw (pronounced “vav”). In Hebrew grammar, this construct is known as a “waw consecutive” indicating that there is no break between what precedes it and what follows. The text, then, is one continuous thought without any break: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth, and the earth was without form, and void.” By the way, punctuation marks were not part of the original Hebrew text; punctuations were added by the translators as they thought proper according to English grammar. The same is true for the remainder of verse two: “and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.” Each of those “ands” is a “waw consecutive” indicating no break in the action. Furthermore, verses 3-5 all begin with a “waw consecutive,” indicating no break in the action from the beginning of verse one to the end of verse five. Simply analyzing the Hebrew grammatical construction of these first five verses of Genesis destroys any notion of “gaps” in the creation account in Genesis. Attempting to insert a gap in the text is simply sloppy hermeneutics.

The second problem presents itself with the final statement in verse five: “And the evening and the morning were the first day.” “Evening and morning” define a normal 24-hour day. In addition, the Hebrew word translated “day” is yom, and it is normally understood to mean a single 24-hour day. Although it is rarely used to indicate an undetermined time as in “the day of the Lord” or “in that day” or “in those days”; it is never used to indicate an indefinite amount of time as in millions of years. There are other options for specifying longer periods of time. For example, in Daniel 9:24, the use of shâbûa‛ meaning “seven” and translated “weeks” in the King James Bible (KJV), is used to indicate a period of seven years. Later, in Daniel 12:7, the use of mô‛êd, meaning “an appointment” or a “fixed season” and translated “time” in the KJV, is used to indicate a year, although “year” in Hebrew is actually shâneh. Hebrew does have a word for an indefinite amount of time; that word is ‛ôlâm, which is often used in the sense of eternity. So, God had other word options to indicate eons of time, yet He chose to use the word for a normal 24-hour day.

Finally, God regards “death” as an enemy. “The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death” (1 Corinthians 15:26, emphasis mine). At the end of the sixth day, God assessed His work, “And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day” (Genesis 1:31, emphasis mine). Think about this: God, who is incapable of any error whatsoever, declares His creation, not just “good,” but “very good.” The Hebrew word for “very” is mǝ‘ôd, and it is an adjective meaning “vehemence” or “vehemently.” That is a very strong word describing God’s assessment of His perfect creation. Now think about this: if God considers death the enemy, why would He allow billions of years of death inserted between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2 and then turn around and exuberantly declare His creation “very good”? That makes no sense! God does not contradict Himself like that. Furthermore, the enemy, death, entered through Adam’s sin (Romans 5:12), and the penalty for sin is death (Romans 6:23). That being true, then how could death have existed before Adam’s sin? And if death existed in “the gap” prior to Adam’s sin, then how could death be “the enemy” and the “penalty” for sin? So, the “Gap Theory” raises some serious theological issues.

If a preacher, pastor, theologian or layman professes to believe in the infallibility and inerrancy of Scripture, it is time to claim ALL of it, stand by ALL of it, defend ALL of it, and stop making excuses and compromising with the secularists that disregard both the Bible and the Creator. There is NO GAP in Genesis. The only gap that exists is the chasm of sin that separates man from God, and that gap cannot be bridged by compromising any part of God’s Word.

Notes:


[1]  Henry M. Morris, “Why the Gap Theory Won’t Work” (http://www.icr.org/article/why-gap-theory-wont-work), accessed October 16, 2015.

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