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All ye who are weak and squeamish… all ye who are already teetering on the edge of that great chasm of despair…all ye who cannot bear to see truth in all its gory frightening detail…be warned! Herein lies your very own darkest nightmare! Enter ye not without strength, fortitude and courage…!

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Greetings, fellow travelers in time and space! I established in my last post the sense that even if God doesn’t have a “dark side” to his nature, it certainly seems like he has. Just look at the trouble and suffering we see all around us. Look at all the wars and commotion in the Bible. And why, in Heaven’s name, does God admit in Scripture to even causing some of the suffering directly? It’s enough to provide an excuse for millions to ignore God or pretend God doesn’t exist, and for many more to turn away from the faith or be weakened. Surely an all-powerful, all-loving God would stop us from suffering, wouldn’t he?

This human tendency to blame God for everything which isn’t according to our own plans and schemes is starkly conveyed in the Bible book of Job. For those who don’t know, Job was a good man, and also very prosperous. Satan accused God of spoiling Job. Surely if Job’s life was tougher, he reasoned, Job would turn against God. Job, claimed Satan, was “only in it for the money”. God then allowed Satan to give Job a very bad time in many tangible ways. Job seemed to be totally unaware of Satan’s involvement in his afflictions and even of Satan’s existence. He put the blame for his dire circumstances squarely on God, and felt like God had turned on him and viciously attacked him without a good reason.

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Here I must declare that I’m not one of those who thinks that anytime something goes wrong it’s the devil causing the problem. Neither does the devil make us do wrong. There are many reasons why we suffer: I’ve written about some of them in my series “Why Do We Suffer”, and I’m convinced that most of our problems are not direct attacks from the truly “dark side” of the spirit world.

What I’ve never personally heard in any preaching or teaching on the story of Job is this question, or any answer to it: Why did God draw Satan’s attention to Job in the first place? Couldn’t God have just kept Satan’s attention away from Job? Or then, once Satan’s sick and dastardly ire was aroused, couldn’t God have just told Satan exactly where he could go, i.e. the Lake of Fire? But instead, God called Satan’s attention to Job-virtually inviting him to pick on the poor guy, and then gave Satan the go-ahead to seriously afflict Job and his entire family, to see what Job’s reaction would be.

I hate to say this, but we could probably spot many similar situations in the Bible. And such questions apply to our own lives and times, don’t they? They’re the same questions, essentially, as I outlined in the first paragraph.

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But this is dark stuff indeed! This is where many or most Christian ministers fear to tread, as do most believers. This, dear reader, is one of those matters we all refuse to even consider for a moment, because it’s just too horrible. It’s like Luke having to face Darth Vader while being trained by Yoda, or Rey having to face the truth about her parents and herself while being trained by Luke. Yes, we’re back to the Star Wars analogy!

How can we even imagine that a God who we are told is both “Love” and “Light” would allow or even encourage the most evil creature in the universe to put any of us to the test! It seems almost like we as humans are the subject of some enormous game, or in a freak show, or that we’re entertainment for our cosmic spiritual masters!

Ah, but before you believers give up on me and dismiss me as a snake in the grass, and accuse me of pouring discouragement upon you, I will here clearly state that I’m certain that “God is Love” and that “God is Light”. There is an ultimate resolution-an ultimate and entirely good “balance” to all things. Here we are considering the great paradox-the problem and the question all humans at one time or another wrestle with: God loves his world and his creation, yet also allows the dark side of our existence to take its course.

There is a way through (but not around) the dark side of our universe, and there will be a time when Light and light alone will prevail. There is an answer to our problems, and no, God is not both light and darkness. However, I’m sorry to say that the resolution will not be discussed today! Come back for part three!

 

 

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If there is a God, why do so many bad things happen? Is God really everything we want to think he is…or is he something altogether different? More specifically, is there a “dark side” to the God of the Bible?
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The concept of the “dark side” of George Lucas’ “Force” in Star Wars is compelling in many ways, and fits in with the beliefs of certain world religions. Is there a “dark side” in the real universe, responsible for all the suffering we experience in life?

Suffering is cited as the biggest reason people reject the idea of the existence of God, or at least, the idea of a caring, personal God. To my mind the earth and life on it is obviously designed, and not cobbled together by time plus chance plus countless trillions of fortuitous and impossible events and circumstances. But I can understand why people do turn away from faith in the face of suffering, because we humans sometimes suffer unspeakable things, and it’s difficult even for those of us who believe in his infinite power not to sometimes question his motives or his methods.

THE DARK SIDE OF GOD?

Anyone who reads a sizable portion of the Old Testament can’t fail to notice some very heavy-handed dealings by God with his people and those around them. As an example, consider the punishment of Korah, his family and all who rebelled against Moses with him:

“…the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them up, with their households and all who belonged to Korah…and the earth closed over them…” (Numbers 17:31-35 ESV).

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In fact, the Old Testament is strewn with plain statements from God about himself which demonstrate a side of him that most of us choose to ignore:

“I form the light and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things” (Isaiah 45:7 KJV).

By “create evil” I assume not that he’s a “Yin-Yang” type of God who is both good and evil, but that some of those terrible things we hear of in our world, and which we ourselves suffer, are without doubt sent by Him, or allowed within his plan.

Who hasn’t read the account of Job’s testing without a chill running down his back or without asking some very serious questions about God, and who hasn’t wondered why God put that tree…that baaad tree, in the perfect Garden, along with the serpent?

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Here are two more examples:

Then the LORD said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the LORD? (Exodus 4:11 ESV);

When ye be come into the land of Canaan, which I give to you for a possession, and I put the plague of leprosy in a house of the land of your possession… (Leviticus 14:34 KJV).

It really doesn’t help our fear of God’s “darker” side to dismiss the Old Testament and only follow the New, because by dismissing the Old you are also bringing into question the entire New Testament. You can’t read any one of the gospels without finding numerous examples of Jesus Christ quoting the Old as though he believed it were totally true, and the letters are similarly packed with references to it. In fact, putting the Pharisees on the spot as he loved to do, Jesus said:

For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me, for he wrote about Me (John 5:46 NASB).

The two disciples on the road to Emmaus were given a Bible study from what we call the Old Testament (Luke 24:13-35). Jesus was showing the validity and importance of Old Testament scripture, and how it gave the background to his own ministry and person. The genealogy and history of Jesus’ human side is recorded there, and then confirmed in Matthew’s gospel. The two testaments are inextricably linked. You can’t have one without the other.

In the New Testament there’s no escaping God’s “other” side, because statements throughout it apparently echo what we saw in the Old Testament:

…let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. For our God is a consuming fire (Hebrews 12:28 KJV).

It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God… (Hebrews 10:31 NIV)

This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might (2 Thessalonians 1:6-9 NIV).

And here is one I often refer to in my own daily life:

For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it (Romans 8:20 NIV).

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We seem to be stuck with the fact that the God who sent plagues upon the Egyptians, and who ordered the cleansing of Canaanites from the land, and who said “I make peace and create evil”, is the same God who sent his son Jesus into the world for us to find life, forgiveness and hope. The same Bible that tells us about the love of God also tells us that many of the things which go wrong in our lives and in our world are directly from the hand of the one who created it, or they are allowed to occur by him. God does, then, have what appears to be a “dark side” to his nature.

However, as any Bible student will have been itching to inform me up to this point, John the apostle wrote that:

 

God is light; in him there is no darkness at all (1 John 1:5 NIV).

No darkness at all! How can God be said in his own book to be all “light” and yet at the same time to cause or allow frustration, trouble, testing and suffering? We obviously have in the Scriptures what is either a serious contradiction, or a strange paradox which we need to come to terms with. So in part two of this post-in a few days-I’ll discuss why the fact that God’s “other”, darker side does not have to exclude the reality that God is all “Light”, and I’ll discuss God’s provision for our deliverance.

I’ve published an entire series on the causes of suffering as revealed in the Bible. While I don’t pretend to have all the answers, some of them are there for your consideration. I’m not trying to sell them to you in “my latest insightful book”-they’re free. Start here: https://nickyfisher.com/2017/05/31/why-do-we-suffer-part-1/

 

 

Have you ever hugged a tree? I’m not going to suggest you should, but perhaps it’s time for some of us to give trees and plants-and their origins-a lot more thought than we have up until now…

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A few months ago I shared with you a discussion I heard by a panel of very learned evolutionists on the subject of photosynthesis*. In its scientific moments it was extremely educational-because life is stunningly complex and beautiful, and because truly empirical science is fascinating and enlightening. However, it also included a degree of speculation and wishful thinking, revealing more of the incredible lack of evidence evolutionists actually have for their theories which, they tell us, are conclusively proven. I decided to give it a second visit, and quickly found more gems of speculation which I would like to sample for you here.

I said last time that:

Evolutionists love to claim the moral high ground in the debate over origins by stating that their beloved theory is supported with only empirical and rigorously tested science, whereas, they insist, “ignorant”, “deluded”  and even “dangerous” creationists rely solely on faith, hope and mysticism.

I then went on to outline the explanation they have for the evolution of photosynthesis. Apparently chloroplasts, where that all-important process takes place, “were once bacteria”, and were “captured by more complex cells, something in the order of one billion to one and a half billion years ago”. Well that’s pretty darned specific, eh? What’s in a half billion years anyway? Time just flies by doesn’t it?

The problem with this “expert” explanation for the origin of photosynthesis-and so lfe itself-is that there’s no actual evidence of any such transition from bacteria to chloroplast. There’s just bacteria…and chloroplasts. However, evolutionists are determined to believe in it anyway. As one of the experts on the panel says:

“…there are no fossils of this kind of thing-to date-in rocks, but it must have happened…

The casual listener, and especially the listener convinced of the theories of evolution, would enjoy the discussion convinced that he’s hearing expert scientific assurance in his view of the origin of life. I found it interesting that the genres of this particular discussion are listed on the BBC web-site as “Factual” and “History”. Since there’s no evidence to support the theory of the origin of the process, shouldn’t there be more genres listed: “Speculation”; “Philosophy”; “Faith”; “Hope”; “Religion”; “Propaganda”; “Poppycock”?

Chloroplasts take electrons from water and, in layman’s lingo, “put them onto” Carbon Dioxide, with the help of sunlight energy, the panel tells us. They also discard oxygen as a by-product. Hey-what a weird coincidence! Plants discard oxygen which we need, and we discard carbon dioxide, which plants need…to make food…which we eat…and to discard more oxygen…which we need… and grow bigger, and reproduce… and make more oxygen…and food… Far out man!

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Asked by the fawning host how a series of membranes and enormous complexes of proteins extract electrons from water and “pass them down a kind of a chain”, and eventually push them onto carbon dioxide to make sugars, the expert answers that at the biochemical level the process is “enormously difficult” to understand.

“Why?” says the host.

“Well it’s not easy to get electrons out of water in the first place”. Even waves crashing upon rocks in the largest storms will not release electrons from water.

“But light can do that. Now light doesn’t normally do that: certain wavelengths-UV light-can split water, but by enlarge it requires..a…a biochemical skill which we can mimic, but with great difficulty…and plants just simply do it…”

Host: “They must have evolved to do it over a long period of time… why did they want to do it?”

Answer: “That’s always a difficult question in evolution…”

Why indeed.

I’m not here saying that what is unknown is evidence for God, as some would accuse me of saying. However, the incredible “coincidences” of nature; the inexplicably complex processes-all interlinked and interdependent; the unfathomable intricacy; the unsurpassable beauty of nature, and the sheer lack of hard evidence for the only theoretically viable alternative to Creation by an intelligent and omnipotent God, are all compelling arguments, in my book, for the notion that “In the Beginning, God created the heavens and the earth”.

* http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0435jyv

My original post: https://nickyfisher.com/2016/07/22/the-must-haves-of-evolution/

The gloves are off now. No longer do we argue the point about politics with any measure of civility or honesty; no longer are news reporters reporting news or educators merely educating, and no longer do we intellectually or intelligently jostle and contend for the moral high ground of truth. Instead lies, slander, hate, intrigue and unashamed scheming are the weapons of choice in a mad, rabid attempt to bring down a duly elected President. Those who once claimed to be tolerant are out of the closet and swinging, bare knuckled.

So what’s just around the corner for America, and so for the world? It the haters win, there can be no other outcome but the total loss of free speech, the triumph of those who hate what America stands for, and the triumph of elites determined to rule over the rest of us using our money and our hard labor. The enemies of America and what was once Europe will be free to swamp the West. Sounds almost apocalyptic, doesn’t it?

I’ve had it with “experts”, of all shapes and sizes…it’s time to exorcise them from my view of the world entirely!

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For a large part of my life I’ve had an inbuilt distrust for “experts” in the secular world. You know-the ones who “must be right” because they went to X university and appeared on TV; the ones who tell us that we’re related to slugs; the ones who tell us that by eating hamburgers we’re destroying planet earth; the ones who so want us to be tolerant that they will not tolerate any other view but theirs, and the ones who tell us that candidate X (yes, I do like the letter “x”) obviously has no path to election.

I’ve also had an intrinsic distrust for those in the “religious” world who invent their own theology and call it Truth. You know-the ones who say that all religions lead to God (which God they don’t say-they just know it’s not the Biblical God); the ones who say that if you don’t speak in tongues you’re useless to God; the ones who say that Allah and Jehovah are one; the ones who say that John Doe is the latest Prophet and we all need to listen to him, and the ones who want to cut your head off if you don’t see things their way.

However, in recent years I’ve been distancing myself also from many “experts” within the evangelical Christian world. You know, the ones who are, metaphorically speaking, paraded on Christian radio and in the pulpits, and now behind microphones and guitars, as bearers of True doctrine. They went to X university, they’re good-looking, and they’ve written five hundred and sixty two million books on the subject, so they must be right.

There are Christian ministers and teachers who will tell you to “be like the Bereans” by searching the scriptures “to see if these things are so”, and who will then tell you how to be like the Bereans their way…

They’re the ones who say that they need X million dollars in the next two weeks to continue their ministry so “give as much as God is leading you to give”. They’re the ones who say that “God has a wonderful plan for your life” while Christians around the world get driven from their homes and slaughtered horribly by their persecutors. They’re the ones who tell me that I’m clearly a Jew and Israel-hater because I’m not a Pre-Trib believer; the ones who say that the early chapters of Genesis are merely poetic language to describe evolution- for example, that the word “day” really means billions of years and that God only told Noah to build a boat so he could float around on a lake for a while. They’re the ones who insist that Biblical wine is only grape juice, failing to explain why Paul would say that older women should not be addicted to “grape juice” (Titus 2:3).

I’ve had it with the “experts”. From now on, it’s me and my Bible.

 

 

 

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