Tag: God

WHAT IS GOD LIKE?

A couple of weeks ago I discussed very briefly the three main theories humans use to attempt to explain our existence. A fourth, one which I dismissed from consideration, is that we aren’t really here at all-we only think we are. If we don’t exist, you’re not really reading this post, so there’s no point in imagining that you’re reading it, because it doesn’t exist anyway…

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I concluded, based on tangible evidence, that we do exist and that we’re here because God created us. We didn’t get here on this planet because aliens “seeded” us here, and we didn’t develop in some fantastical evolution from nothing. We were created, by a being far above our own abilities and perception. Today I’ll consider what that God must be like.

For such a universe to exist, God must be a sovereign being. There could be no order and consistency if there were many gods vying for supremacy and having different ideas about how things should be. Just look at the mess of our political scene as a contrary example, or at the Greek Pantheon and its constant quarrels and childish actions and reactions. The real God is One, and is supreme.

The farther astronomers look into space, the more they see. The closer researchers look into cells and living systems, the more mind-boggling features, processes and detail they discover. The longer we as individuals live, the more beauty we recognize. There seems to be no end to what we can discover and experience in this incredible world and universe-there’s only a limit and an end to the time we have to explore and enjoy it.

Since the universe is this way, and since things do not create themselves and do not arise and develop from disorder, we must conclude, if we’re honest with our reasoning and logic, that what we see, feel, hear, taste, smell and otherwise spiritually detect with our senses comes from what God has created. The fact that we have the ability to test, enjoy and benefit from the world around us is one evidence that God is gracious, generous, kind and loving to enable us to experience these things, and to interact with our environment and with each other. We would not even know that the universe outside our immediate surroundings existed if we didn’t have the eyes to see, the bodies to move, and the brains to comprehend what’s there.

The creator must be eternal and unlimited by time. He created time along with other things. Einstein concluded that time and space are inseparable, and that you can’t have matter without time and space also. Perhaps unwittingly, he was confirming the first verse of the Bible, which states that “In the beginning (time) God made the heavens (space) and the earth” (matter). The three had to come into existence simultaneously, and of course, secular scientists have had to incorporate the three together in their “big-bang” theory. But the Bible said it first-a long time ago. So to create time, space and matter, God must be outside of it all: apart from it and above it, and not subject to it.

God must be able to control  the universe and all it its constituent parts. That makes him omnipotent-all powerful, and omnipresent-everywhere. And so all the order we see in the universe-the precise order of the planets and their movements in our galaxy, all depending as they do on the order and consistency of the sun’s power, is evidence, as Isaac Newton concluded, that God is unfathomably intelligent, ordered and powerful, and is in fact The master mathematician and The master scientist.

The integrity of God’s design speaks of the integrity of his character. He is faithful, consistent and committed. Just as the universe hasn’t changed in its operations, laws and principles, so God must be unchanging.

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When we look around at our own world, we see beauty which constantly astounds and amazes us. This makes God not only the master of beauty, but beautiful in his nature. Beauty can only be created by beauty.

When we consider the terrible things that man inflicts on his own kind, we see the patience and mercy of God in action, because the all-powerful God, who created what we damage and destroy, endures it all- at least, for now.

As we know, large numbers of people deny the existence of God, or they twist and deny his character as expressed in creation. The apostle Paul wrote about the clear evidence for God all around us. He declared that there’s no excuse for denying His existence and His nature:

“For what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood from His workmanship, so that men are without excuse” (Romans 1:19-20).

The real truth is that God is far above any words we have available to us, and any power of imagining we can conjure up. God is great. Glory to his Name.

There will be a part 2 to this post, coming soon…

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IS THERE A GOD?

Multitudes of people write off the promise and hope of eternal life, and meaning in this one, with one stroke of their closed minds. Why? Because they choose to write off the existence of an eternal and meaningful God…

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He isn’t peering through the clouds, he didn’t fix things up with their desired lover, he didn’t make all their lottery numbers come up at the right time as repeatedly requested, and the world is in a terrible mess. As if that weren’t enough to make them want to ignore the concept of God, it seems that all the people with power and influence are either agnostic or atheistic, and they must be right-right? Haven’t scientists demonstrated, for example, how some cells reproduce themselves, in which case, there’s no God making them? On one level I understand this thinking, apart from the fact that it really isn’t thinking-on any independent level.

It seems to me that we’re here-we exist. Descartes figured that one out many moons ago, and I’m sure he wasn’t the first. Amusingly, even the fact of our existence is questioned by some people determined to remove all meaning from the world.

We’re here. That seems pretty clear to most of us. But how did we get here? Did some alien race “seed” us here? Did we evolve, or did God create us? These are the most realistic options.

If we were seeded here on this planet by aliens, where did the aliens come from? Didn’t they also have to come from somewhere? Didn’t there have to be some point in time when life began and was not “seeded”? The alien race hypothesis is a total flunk, with no evidence whatsoever.

If we evolved, where’s the evidence? Ask yourself what evidence you have personally seen for evolution. What have you seen evolve from one thing into another? What physical, tangible evidence have you seen that one type of creature changed into another? Have you ever witnessed life arising from non-life? The half-baked “evidence” of bacteria developing a resistance to something proves nothing, because bacteria remains bacteria: all it’s doing is surviving and adapting, as it was designed to do.

Perhaps you like to rest in the knowledge that “all scientists” believe in evolution in the Neo-Darwinian style, and that they possess all the evidence you need that we came from the slime. No, it isn’t true that “all” scientists believe in Neo-Darwinian evolution, or even that they all believe in evolution at all in the sense of one creature gradually turning into another. But given that the majority do, does a majority prove Darwin’s tree of life, picturing life forms developing over time? Could it not be that that majority not only began their careers already wishing to sweep away the notion of God, and that they continued in that vein in order to pass exams, get degrees, get a job, gain tenure, and maintain their positions and incomes without being written off for insanity or heresy? Could it not be that they were willingly indoctrinated and brainwashed into an unproven hypothesis? Is a majority always right? Do we have to follow the herd? Do we have to go with the flow of godless thought like a bunch of obedient unquestioning sheep?

Failing the “evidence” test for evolution, the final and most logical option explaining our apparent existence is that there really is a God-a creator. Cells reproduce themselves because they were designed to do that. The universe is a beautiful, intricate, rich and orderly place because it was created by an even more beautiful, intricate, rich and orderly God. We are amazingly complicated and intelligent creatures because there is an even more complicated and intelligent being who made us: one who is immortal, eternal, and who had no beginning. Don’t sweep him away.

UNITY? NO THANKS!

If I were to coin the phrase, “Holy Division”, it would not, contrary to the opinions of many out of and even in the Church, be an oxymoron: it would be a scriptural and practical imperative…

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It’s common to hear many people across the political and religious spectrum to piously declare that we should “come together”, “unify”, “compromise” and “unite”. It’s a lovely, cuddly, warm-sounding sentiment, without any regard to reality. The problem for me, and for many others, is that we’re all expected to “compromise” not in the sense of meeting half way, but by capitulating entirely. This is the new definition of unity: surrender to change.

Those claiming to occupy the middle ground, but who in fact are a long way left of what has for centuries in the West been the middle ground, want us to unite… under their ideology. Doing so would mean the rest of us completely surrendering to what our hearts and minds tell us cannot be surrendered to. And more than that, those who want us to unify their way are intent on calling anyone who will not unify “haters”, “bigots” and…well, you know the rest… in order to shame us and beat us into submission. Having once been a very liberal person in my BC days, voting firmly on the left of politics, I now find that my Biblical views earn me the additional labels “extreme right-winger” and even “fascist”. Such name-callers don’t know the meaning of the words and don’t know anything about history except perhaps the “revised” version. Yes, history is being revised as part of the effort to move the world away from what was once the real “middle ground”.

It’s also becoming increasingly clearer that true Biblical faith is inseparable from our view of politics, because it’s the politicians (and judges) who now largely shape the society we live in, including its acceptance of what is totally ungodly. Our view of politics is one expression of where we stand in regard to the Word of our God. For example, the subject of taking the lives of children violently before they have a chance to be born relates very much to the scripture. As David said:

You saw me before I was born.
    Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out
    before a single day had passed (Psalm 39:16).

There is a good unity-one worth living for. As the apostle Paul said, the saints are being equipped by Christ:

“…until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God” (Ephesians 3:13 ESV).

That’s the unity I can go for. It doesn’t include, among other destructive and illogical concepts, the idea that there can be one God and at the same time no God, ten gods, and a million gods.

There is, in this ridiculous “post-truth”, post-modern age, a set of standards to live by which are as solid and unmovable as the biggest rock you can imagine, and that rock is Jesus Christ. He is the one who said:

“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household” (Matthew 10:34-36).

Doesn’t the scripture say that Jesus was born to bring peace on the earth? Not exactly. It promises “peace to those on whom his favor rests” (Luke 2:14). That’s a very different thing, because his favor doesn’t rest on those opposed to his ways. Jesus wasn’t stirring up division, he was describing reality, saying that those who choose him and his ways will de-facto be separate and distinct from those who do not. And that’s the way it has to be:

What agreement can exist between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be My people.” Therefore come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you” (2 Corinthians 6:16-17 NIV).

 

 

WHAT IS THE GOSPEL OF JESUS?

What is the gospel of Jesus Christ? Is it socialism? Is it just one of many ways to God? Is it an invention of white American men? I’ve posted this message before…and I’ll post it again…

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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. The gift-if we accept it for ourselves and change our ways-takes us from being subjects of God’s wrath into eternal life, even though for now we are in mortal bodies.

Contrary to the common view on the street, as promoted by Hollywood, the education establishment and by certain authors, the gospel, the scriptures and the essential Christian doctrines were not all invented or altered 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”(note 1) 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, which contains a clear definition of the gospel as outlined below, can be confidently dated to around 55 AD.

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 Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, and writes that the gospel existed in the form below even before Paul’s letter:

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 is this:

1 Christ died for our sins, as prophesied in Old Testament 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.

The gospel is here spelled out for you. Accept it, believe it, pray it, confess it, and live it.

NOTES

1 Lee Strobel “The Case For Christ” Pg 230. Pub. By Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49130. © 1998 by Lee Strobel.

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.

THINKING ABOUT THE BRAIN

I have to apologize for my title – a greater brain could have conceived a better one…

Scientists aren’t allowed to consider even the possibility of design or creation, under threat of ostracism, ridicule, and loss of livelihood. Consequently such bafflingly complex design features as the human brain are just blindly accepted as being another product of chemicals plus a convincingly long period of time. It’s that baffling complexity which got my own brain thinking about itself recently.Neuron_Cell_Body(This post is another in my “blast from the past” series posted while I concentrate on writing a book. It was originally called “Brains, Sense and Nonsense”)

An average healthy human brain contains some 200 billion nerve cells connected to one another through hundreds of trillions of synapses, so that a single human brain has more information processing units than all the computers, routers and internet connections on the earth. One brain’s memory capacity, even by a conservative estimate, is at least a petabyte, equal to the entire world-wide web. Weighing only three pounds, it is super-energy efficient. The brains internal communications occur at light-speed.*

So if we’re part of the onward and upward evolution of life, why is it that even the most talented and intellectual among us only use a fraction of their brains’ potential? Does that make sense to you? Shouldn’t it be the other way around-that the most intelligent are pushing the boundaries of their brain so that their offspring will have greater brain power, given the additional requirement of an incredibly fortuitous mutation?

Someone may protest that the history of man demonstrates evolution clearly: just look how we’ve developed technology and travel in the last few decades alone. That’s not evolution, that’s development. It’s the result of a snowballing God-given thirst for knowledge, in conjunction with times of relative freedom from war, factions, disease and starvation. You could take a man from what is a very backward tribe, still a reality in some remote parts of the world, assuming that he could stand the shock of the change in lifestyle, and put him through school and university. He has brain power too, and it’s not that of an ape-man.Great_Andamanese_-_two_men_-_1875Historians-secular historians-find remarkable the rapidity with which the first civilization in Mesopotamia developed writing, literature, mathematics, geometry, astronomy, business and technology. People weren’t morons crawling out of the trees or muddy fields and making a few marks on a piece of rock or banging two sticks together, one for yes and two for no, in order to communicate. As far back as real history goes, man was intelligent-he just hadn’t got around to building a computer or an airliner yet. He did manage to build such structures as Stonehenge, the Mayan temple and the Pyramids-structures so big and so cleverly put together that we still haven’t figured them out. Some imaginative people have put such structures down to aliens-because, they’re convinced-early man was brainless and clueless. They aren’t allowed or willing to consider the possibility that humans have always had that brain-power potential, right from their creation.

However, some people even in past millennia were able to recognize what professors and educators of today are missing by intent, which is that we humans have been created physically complete and ready to function, and designed by a mind far above our own:

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

(Psalm 139:14 NIV).

* http://www.icr.org/article/human-brain-beyond-belief

TOP DIAGRAM: NEURON CELL BODY, BY BRUCE BLAUS