Archive for February, 2017


Most of us have a one-hundred percent chance of dying, and dying is the most common cause of death. So perhaps it requires a little consideration, now and then…

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In five years of blogging my most popular post by far has been “The Meaning of Life According to Hamlet, Paul and Deep Thought”. So I decided it was time to discuss the meaning of death. Unfortunately Deep Thought, an imaginary computer invented to calculate the meaning of life, apparently had no opinion on the meaning of death…

Death is pretty popular these days. That may seem like a rather crass statement, but unfortunately, it’s true. Take, for example, the idea in certain religious circles that you can only be sure of getting to heaven by killing yourself along with other people: you prove how great God is by committing suicide and murdering them. That isn’t, incidentally, the God of the Bible.

Death has been explained and explored in as many ways as the human mind can imagine. One of the most popular ideas about death is that we die because we need to have another go at getting life right: reincarnation. Seems like a good idea, eh? Why shouldn’t we get another chance at life if we blow it? The problem is that according to such philosophies the majority of us are going to “blow it” through tens of thousands of life-times. So if you’re not used to dying yet, you’d better start getting used to it now.

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(Photo Laurent Belanger)

Unless God puts his foot in the door first-or more specifically, on the Mount of Olives-we all have a one-hundred percent chance of dying. Dying is the most common cause of death. And I don’t mean that flippantly either, because when God warned Adam against disobedience, he meant not that Adam would be zapped on the spot by a lightening bolt the moment he disobeyed, but that he would begin to die, and he would keep dying, until he was dead. God was not keeping Adam and Eve from fulfillment in life: he was trying to help Adam make a wise choice and so avoid death. Alas, Adam opted for death.

Another highly popular explanation for death was promoted by Mr. Darwin in the nineteenth century, and of course by all his fans up to the present day. In Darwin’s theory death is nature’s way of disposing of the older, more primitive life forms, and giving rise to the new and more successful. Darwin believed that some races of man were more highly evolved than others, and would soon see their extinction. Yes-he was genuinely biased against certain groups of humans, a fact rarely included in discussions of the “elegance” of evolution theory.

Darwin himself had been influenced by others, particularly Herbert Spencer, who coined the word “evolution” and the phrase “survival of the fittest”. These concepts gave rise to “Social Darwinism” which saw wealthy, successful intellectuals as being more evolved than the poor and the weak, and later “eugenics”- the idea that the weakest in the human race should be discouraged or stopped from breeding. Such ideas were taken up and implemented very successfully by men like Adolph Hitler and Joseph Stalin*

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The meaning of death in evolution, if we look at it honestly, is that it’s a vital part of the onward-and-upward trend of life on earth, including that of humanity: it’s a good thing. More specifically (and modern evolutionists generally avoid this aspect of the discussion too) the death of the less successful, the less attractive and the weak is necessary and inevitable. No wonder such men as Hitler liked the idea. And by the way, the meaning of life according to evolution is struggle and competition, so better your neighbors if you can.

This view of death demeans you. It makes your life little more than a stepping-stone for someone else’s. In the rising tide of atheism, unbelief and skepticism in our world, there are many who would read what I just wrote and then claim to be more than willing and happy to be one of those stepping stones. But for those who are not, there’s a far better explanation for death, and a hope beyond it which far outweighs any pain experienced on its arrival.

It’s sometimes said by the cynical that heaven is a fairy story for those who can’t face the thought of death. My view is that evolution is a fairy story for those who can’t face the thought of heaven, God or judgment. As I’ve written before many times, I’ve seen no evidence for evolution, and neither have you. Oh, you’ve seen different kinds of dogs, but they’re still dogs. You’ve seen people with black skin and white skin and yellow skin, but they’re still people. In contrast, I’ve seen plenty of evidence that there is an incredibly intelligent and powerful Creator, a creator who is eternal, and who therefore must have power over death.

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The Bible gives an explanation for death which is, I believe, higher, deeper, and more noble than that of the evolutionist. For me it fits the whole claim found in the Bible that there is a holy God who has absolute standards. We as his creation, beginning with Adam and Eve, have failed to live up to those standards, and the result is death:

“The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23a)

A perfect God cannot allow a rebellious creation to live for ever: there has to be a check-point: a consequence and an answer to our fallen condition. However, the Bible teaches one death only.

A God who is able to make such an amazing, beautiful universe must also, as the Bible declares, be a loving God. And it’s that love which provides the antidote to death:

“But the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (6:23b).

The gift of eternal life comes by a healing of our broken relationship with God in which God chooses to forgive us completely and put us on the right path. Death parts us from our fallen nature which caused the problem in the first place. It’s nothing but good news-the good news about Jesus Christ. Please see my recent post on the gospel:

https://nickyfisher.com/2017/02/12/the-gospel-of-jesus-christ/

*See for more info on the link between the theory of evolution and murderous philosophies, see the following posts:

https://nickyfisher.com/2012/07/15/adolph-hitler-part-5-of-war-religion-and-atheism/

https://nickyfisher.com/2012/06/30/stalin-part-4-of-war-religion-and-atheism/

 

 

With all  the fake news stories; the smears and lies; the threats of emigration; the false charges of racism, misogyny and xenophobia; the plethora of unproved accusations; the boycotts of Trump family products and Trump events; the protests and riots; the plans to impeach and the more-than-obscene language and rants hurled at the new president, it’s becoming clearer by the day to many of us just how “tolerant” and “loving” some of these liberal types really are.

Disagree if you want: it’s your right. Just don’t try preaching at the rest of us any more about tolerance, if you can’t do it yourself…

THE UNTAMEABLE GOD

Upon conversion the believer begins his or her walk of faith in the self-assurance that God’s operation in his life will be predictable, safe, and subject to certain human standards. The opposite is true…

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Before someone out there burns me at the stake for making such a heretical statement, I want to declare that after decades of living under my own profession of faith, I still believe that God is always faithful, that he is always good, and that he is always right.

I wrote a post a few years ago titled “What Is God’s Will for your life-Really?”* It was in answer to a claim I’d heard many times in the first few years of my Christian life, usually made by Christian ministers, to the effect that God does indeed have that “wonderful plan” for each and every believer, and it’s just up to us to discover what it is and then get to work on it.

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GOD’S WILL FOR YOUR  LIFE

I spent I don’t know how many years attempting to find out what that divine plan for my life was. After all, if you’re not careful, you miss out on the whole deal-right? I learned the hard way that God’s will for us is to walk in faith and obedience, and to do what’s on our heart to do, what he’s gifted us with, and what we are best at-so long as it doesn’t conflict with his word. He will then steer our lives, whether we know what’s supposed to happen or not. And even when we get things wrong, somehow God is still at work.

God’s will for your life, most fundamentally, is that you be conformed to the likeness of His son Jesus Christ (Romans 8:29). Though he may have a specific plan, it’s not necessarily going to be anything like what you expected or wanted, and it may not always seem all that wonderful. Just think of all those poor Christians recently martyred or driven from their homes in Iraq and neighboring countries.

The worst thing to do, the worst way to think, is that God must or will arrange the parts of your life just as you think he will or should. You may be heading for paralyzing disappointment if you wait for that to happen. When he doesn’t make life happen the way we want it to, we’re prone to being frustrated with him, to losing faith in his goodness or his love for us, or even to lose faith and hope altogether.

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Perhaps the most striking Biblical example of this, shall we call it, “difference of opinion”, between His will and ours is seen in the account of the life of Job. Job’s life was going smoothly and very successfully, until Satan requested to test his faith. God granted that request (Job 1:12). We could discuss the possible reasons for God’s permission some other time: the interesting fact for our subject is that God did allow Satan to test Job-and that very severely. Not only so, but we might wonder if God actually instigated the test in the first place, since Satan wasn’t interested in harassing Job until God said to him:

“Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil?” (Job 1:8).

An interesting New Testament parallel is Jesus’ observation that Satan had “asked” to sift Peter like wheat (Luke 22:31 NIV. The word is translated “demanded” in the ESV; “desired” in the KJV). In other words, Satan wanted to cut Peter down to size and to see if his professed faith really had any substance. It’s not clear whether Satan was granted his request concerning Peter, though Peter certainly went through plenty of trials in the rest of his life. Notice that in both cases Satan had to make the request-he isn’t a loose cannon doing whatever he wants to do.

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In the events following Satan’s request to test Job Job’s life was turned upside down, and before long he’d convinced himself that God didn’t care for him, and worse, that God himself had thrown Job’s life into turmoil out of spite.

However, there was one thing that Job was right about, as God himself later pointed out: God had his own mind and he did his own thing without any reference to Job’s will or plan. Finally he acknowledged that God knew what was best for him and for the entire world. He recognized that God knew far more than he could hope to understand, and that essentially he knew nothing.

GOD IS GOD AND WE ARE NOT

For the first few years of my Christian life I looked to the Bible to try to understand God. More recently, while I still read my Bible knowing that it’s His message to us, I’ve also been attempting to see how God acts by looking at how he’s been at work in my life and in others’ lives. Most of you will know that we can only understand God to a limited extent. Attempting to understand all that God allows and all he does is as futile as trying to walk to the sun: it’s impossible. And why would it not be? He’s eternal, omniscient, omnipotent and uncontainable, and we are most ephemeral, and extremely limited in knowledge and power. Earth

Scripture gives us the clearest view of God’s nature and character that we can have in this limited existence. I can see from scripture, as played out in my own life that God is indeed Love. He is faithful, he’s merciful and he’s all-knowing. He’s patient and kind. On top of that, scripture gives a powerful explanation for the problems and suffering that all humanity faces. It tells us why we’re here, what the meaning of life is and why we die. It tells us a little of God’s plan for the future, and how we can be a part of it.

But sometimes, as poor Job found out, and as we all find out sooner or later, our questions go unanswered. While Job suffered perhaps as much as any human has ever suffered, we all get a taste of that very same bewilderment and sense of complete impotence that he suffered. It’s at such times that we have only two alternatives: we can either stop walking with our Creator, or we have to let God be God. In those moments, days or years we learn, as I believe God wants each one of us to learn, that He is God, and we are not. God does what he wants, when he wants. He has every right to be who he is, and there’s nothing we can do about it.

God is The eternal being. In stark contrast we are mortal dust, created by Him and for Him, totally fallible, and totally dependent on him. Any other attitude is a sinful attitude, and stops us from discovering the truth about our existence.

 

https://nickyfisher.com/?s=WHAT+IS+GOD%27S+WILL

I recently received some good news, and remarked to several people how uplifting-and rare-good news is for most of us. With everything going on in the world and in our own lives, it’s refreshing to be reminded that there’s something worth celebrating every day.

I’ve published this post a few times before-apologies to regular readers- but it has to be done for those who’re searching for some good news and only glance at the home page. So here it is…good news for all of us!

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The Greek word translated “gospel” in the New Testament means “good news”, and in the context of the Bible the gospel is the “good news” about Jesus Christ. But what exactly was and is that good news, and what does it mean for us?

In answer to the second question first, read what Jesus said:

“I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life” (John 5:24).

The Bible speaks of a love-gift from God. That gift is forgiveness of all our sin, and eternal life with our Creator. We only need to accept God’s son, and to be prepared to try to live God’s way instead of our own way.

Contrary to the common view on the street, as promoted by Hollywood and by certain authors, the gospel, the scriptures and the essential Christian doctrines were not all invented hundreds of years after the time of Christ’s life on earth. Lee Stroebel, with an MA in Law from Yale University, and a former award-winning investigative journalist for the Chicago Tribune, in his book “The Case for Christ” interviewed a number of believing scholars such as Cambridge educated Sir Norman Anderson. Anderson was a Professor at Harvard, and lectured at Princeton. He was also the Dean of the Faculty of Law at the University of London. Anderson said that Paul’s letter to the Corinthians can be confidently dated to around 55 AD (1).

Dr. Gary R Habermas, a New Testament historian, received his Ph D from Michigan State University and his DD from Emmanuel College, Oxford. In his book “The Historical Jesus”, Habermas discusses the creed quoted below as found in 1st Corinthians, and writes:

“That this confession is an early Christian, pre-Pauline creed is recognized by virtually all critical scholars across a wide theological spectrum” (2).

THE GOSPEL

Here, then, is Paul’s first century definition of the gospel of Jesus Christ, which he had given his life to, despite all opposition and threats, having once been a persecutor of Christians:

“Now brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve.  After that he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time….Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also…” (1 Corinthians 15: 1 – 8).

So the gospel of Jesus Christ-the good news we can accept or reject-is this:

1 Christ died for our sins, as prophecied in Old Teatament Scriptures (we can be forgiven for all our sin because of Christ’s death on the cross);

2 He was buried;

3 He was raised from the dead on the third day;

4 He appeared alive to his disciples after his resurrection.

In a soon-coming series of posts I will discuss the significance of the gospel a little more, and also the nature of Jesus Christ: was he just a man, or was he and is he the “Son of God”, the incarnation of God?

NOTES

1 Lee Strobel “The Case For Christ” (Pub. By Zondervan, © 1998) p. 230.

2 Gary R Habermas “The Historical Jesus: Ancient Evidence for the Life of Christ” (College Press Publishing Company, Joplin, Missouri, © 1996 Gary Habermas) p 153.

I’m said to be “ignorant” because I believe in a Creator. I’m “a member of the flat earth society” because I don’t go along with man-made climate change propaganda. I’m “deplorable” because I like Donald Trump…

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I’m a “right-wing extremist” because I don’t support overbearing socialist and globalist agendas; I’m a “misogynist” because I want abortions to stop-some of them occur up to the moment of birth; I’m “Islamo-phobic” because I want to separate murderers from the truly peaceful; I’m “racist” because I believe we should have a border; I’m “bigoted” because I’m a white male, and I’m “hateful” because I believe in God’s design for marriage…

The list goes on.

Come on now, with all this name-calling, vilification, falsification and rioting in order to  avoid real debate, are we really in a “sophisticated” twenty-first century culture, or are we still metaphorically crawling around in prebiotic soup-“soup” being a euphemism for something much less appetizing and much more stinky?

 

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