Category Archives: Philosophy

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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Filed under Apologetics, Atheism, Bible, Christianity, Creation, Evangelism, Evolution, Gospel, Origins, Philosophy, Religion, Science, Theology

The Problem With Academia

On my commute to work this morning (April 14, 2016), I tuned in to the Mark Davis Show on KSKY 660 AM and listened to a segment worthy of sharing. Mark read part of an article by Dr. Everett Piper, President of Oklahoma Wesleyan University, where he addressed a student who felt “victimized” by a sermon on 1 Corinthians 13 – “The Love Chapter.” In the article, Dr. Piper “schools” the boy on “how the cow eats the cabbage.” The interview that follows is equally educational.

I recorded this on my dash cam, so the sound quality is not the best, and on top of that you have to listen past the road noise. But, if you listen closely, you will get an education. 🙂 So relax. Turn up the volume, and enjoy my drive to work!

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Filed under Current Events, Philosophy, Random Musings

The Theocracy Fallacy

Bible and Cue Card Used by Gerald R. Ford When He Took the Oath of Office

Bible and Cue Card Used by Gerald R. Ford When He Took the Oath of Office

And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne.   (Revelation 12:5)

Recently the liberal news media bushwhacked presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson for his statement that a Muslim should not serve as President of the United States. The statement found great support among conservatives, but left-leaning Democrats and Republicans were self-righteously offended by his remarks. Attempting to do some damage control without really backing down, Carson explained that someone who would place Sharia Law above the Constitution of the United States cannot honestly swear to uphold and defend the Constitution. Carson rightly pointed out that Islam is a theocracy – god rule. A true follower of Islam cannot separate his religion from his politics; they are one and the same. The Muslim holy book and other Muslim sacred writings call for strict adherence to Islamic law. (“Islam” means “submission.”) Therefore, if a faithful Muslim were to become President of the United States, “he” (because a Muslim woman would not be permitted to hold such an office) would have to, out of obligation to his religion, invoke Sharia Law when it came in conflict with the Constitution.

In his defense, Carson qualified his stance by saying that he could indeed vote for a Muslim as President, if that Muslim denounced Sharia Law and swore to uphold the Constitution in all cases. (Of course, the Qur’an encourages Muslims to lie to “infidels,” so their integrity would be questionable.) Furthermore, said Carson, he would not vote for a Christian, if that Christian advocated for a Christian theocracy. Our nation is and always has been a nation of laws, and the Constitution is the law of the land.

I fully understand and agree with Dr. Carson’s stance. What I believe is missing here is a clear understanding of what a theocracy is. According to Dictionary.Com, a theocracy is “a form of government in which God or a deity is recognized as the supreme civil ruler, the God’s or deity’s laws being interpreted by the ecclesiastical authorities.” The problem with that definition is in the word “recognized” and in the phrase “laws being interpreted by the ecclesiastical authorities.” That renders the definition false because it is humanistic in nature. First of all, the deity has to be “recognized” by man as the “supreme civil ruler” which means that ultimately it is man that is defining the laws of the god. Secondly, the laws are interpreted by men who are either appointed by men or self-appointed as “ecclesiastical authorities.” Ultimately the “theocracy” becomes an “androcracy” – a rule by men, so the “god-rule” goes out the window.

When God brought the children of Israel into the Promised Land, they had no king other than God. God gave His law to Moses and set up a system of priests and judges to administer His law. Not long after they settled in the land, reliance on God and His law fell by the wayside and “every man did that which was right in his own eyes” (Judges 17:6; Judges 21:25). Therein lays the problem with a theocracy – man.

A true theocracy is absolute rule by God. Until Christ returns to set up His kingdom on earth, any man-initiated theocracy is doomed to fail. When Christ returns as King of Kings and Lord of Lords, His rule will be absolute. Speaking of Christ, the Messiah, the Lord says, “Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel” (Psalm 2:9). When He returns, He will share His administration with His saints “And [they] shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father” (Revelation 2:27). There will be no question of authority because His eternal law will not be violated. “And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God” (Revelation 19:15).  The “sharp sword” from His mouth is the Word of God: “For the word of God is quick [i.e., “alive”], and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).

Until Jesus returns, no true theocracy can exist. Any so called theocracy devised by fallen man is thereby flawed. Dr. Ben Carson is right. Anyone adhering to any human defined theocracy is unfit to hold the office of President of the United States. As it stands, the U.S. Constitution, because of its foundation on God’s Law, must be upheld as the supreme law of the land.

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Filed under Apologetics, Current Events, End Times, Philosophy, Politics, Religion, Second Coming of Christ, Theology

No Time Like the Present

timeflies

… behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation. (2 Corinthians 6:2)

We understand time in three phases: past, present, and future. We receive wise counsel not to live in the past while at the same time we are advised to plan for the future. Indeed, even the Apostle Paul exhorts, “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14). Our minds help us in regard to the past by minimizing bad memories and enhancing the good ones. This is healthy for when we latch on to bitter memories, the effects degrade both our physical and mental health. If we focus too much on the future, we can set ourselves up for disappointment, if we fail to accomplish unrealistic goals.

Either dwelling too much on the past or focusing too much on the future can both have negative effects on our lives, so we are encouraged to live in the present. “Take time to smell the roses,” we are told. Recently, this has given me cause to ponder. Just how long is the present that we should dwell therein? A minute? A second? A millisecond? A nanosecond? Time constantly moves forward with no stops. In the blink of an eye, the present becomes the past, while in the same instant we arrive in the future and then that is gone. The question is really an existential one since it deals with our existence and experience. We experience life through our senses: touch, sight, taste, hearing, and smell. These all employ our nervous system with the brain and all of its complex network of nerves. So I thought perhaps the present has to do with the speed of a nerve impulses. “Scientists have an idea how fast nerves send signals. It varies among different animals and humans, but in general one can say it is very fast, on the order of 115197 ft/sec (3560 m/sec).”[1] That is amazingly fast, but even at that the nerve impulse itself has a start and stop time, so it too moves from the past into the future with no hesitation.

So, how long is the present? Apparently the present cannot be measured by time, so this must be a philosophical question. I asked a coworker, whose opinion I value highly, how long he thought the present could be. He said the present does not exist. Similarly, I asked an astrophysicist friend, and he said suggested that it was zero. Both of these answers make sense to me because time is constantly moving forward. I envision standing on the zero point on a line graph that continually moves beneath me from positive to negative – positive being the future and negative being the past. I operate from the zero point as time whizzes by me, but what I do at the zero point – the present – influences the future that comes at me.

I posed the same question to my oldest son. He’s pretty smart in his own right, and he gave me the most provocative response of all. He said, “The present is eternal.” I do not know if he fully understood the ramifications of such a profound statement. For starters, God is eternal, and He identifies Himself to Moses as “I AM THAT I AM” (Exodus 3:14). He is ever-present. We understand that God is unfettered by time, so He is present at every point in time. He is present in the past and in the future simultaneously. That is why He could say to the Prophet Jeremiah, “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations” (Jeremiah 1:5). God can accurately foretell the future because He exists in the future. He is eternally present.

Unlike God, we are confined by time. We can only experience time at point zero, and that only for the briefest of moments. We experience the future as it passes us by, but our actions in that brief moment affects the unseen consequences that lie ahead. God created us in His image (Genesis 1:26), and as such we are eternal beings. Unlike God, we have a beginning and no end, and again, we exist at point zero. Our actions, therefore, incur eternal consequences. When Adam and Eve disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3), they caused an eternal rift between God and mankind (Genesis 3:22) that affected all of their posterity – you and me. Their offense, and our subsequent sins, offends an eternal and holy God, and the offence is eternal. Since the offence is eternal, the consequence is also eternal, and therefore must be atoned for eternally. Hell is eternal because the offence is eternal, therefore the punishment must be eternal.

The good news is that God granted a way of escape from the eternal punishment that we all deserve. I AM is present in all of time from creation to re-creation; so that

Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God. (1 Peter 1:18-21, emphasis mine)

At the perfect time (Galatians 4:4), God stepped out of eternity into our present time in the form of the first, sinless Adam, to offer up Himself as the perfect atoning sacrifice for all of mankind. That sacrifice had the eternal effect of mending the eternal rift between God and mankind.

But the remedy is not universal, and it is not automatic. Each individual must make the choice for himself. Making the right or wrong decision in the present will settle your fate for all eternity. “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:12-13).

And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:14-16, emphasis mine)

The present is eternal after all. There is no time like the present to change the course of your eternity.

 Notes:


[1] From http://scienceline.ucsb.edu/getkey.php?key=1950, accessed January 16, 2015.

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