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Part 8 The truth about the Trinity

ANALYZING MORMON DOCTRINES

Mormons call themselves Christians and yet they differ greatly from the beliefs of traditional Christianity.  Due to the differences, both belief systems cannot be right.  Over the next few weeks I would like to analyze Mormon doctrines by comparing beliefs.  We will begin our study with the most important doctrine in Christianity.

Traditional Christians believe the Trinity is Biblical

To prove the Trinity is a Biblical doctrine 3 important facts have to be established.

  1. There is only one God.
  2. The Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit are distinct persons, in that they communicate, love, & have a will.
  3. The Bible teaches the Father is God, Son is God, and Holy Spirit is God (yet there is only one God – #1).

If all 3 can be shown to be scriptural then the only conclusion an honest person can make is the Bible teaches the Trinity.

1. The Bible teaches only one God.

This is actually very easy because multiple verses teach there is only 1 God.   Deuteronomy 6:4, “Hear (Shema) O Israel:  The Lord our God, the Lord is one.” Isaiah 45:5a, “I am the Lord, and there is no other; apart from me there is no God.” For additional support read Isaiah chapters 43-48 and you will find the Bible clearly teaches there is only one God.

2. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are separate persons.

A person is non-physical.  A person can love, have a will, communicate, and possess emotions.  The Bible clearly establishes the fact that Father, Son, and Holy Spirit demonstrate the attributes of personhood.

3. The Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God.

The claim the Father is God is usually not controversial.  Many verses teach this includingGalatians 1:1 Paul, an apostle (not sent from men nor through the agency of man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised Him from the dead)…”

The claim the Holy Spirit is Godis more difficult but can be established multiple ways.  Acts 5:1-4 But a man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property, 2 and kept back some of the price for himself, with his wife’s full knowledge, and bringing a portion of it, he laid it at the apostles’ feet. 3 But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back some of the price of the land? 4 “While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not under your control? Why is it that you have conceived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.” Ananias lied about the money he supposedly gave and Peter said he lied to the Holy Spirit.  Then in verse 4 Peter told him he had lied to God; equating the Holy Spirit as God.  Another way to demonstrate the Holy Spirit as God is to find all the verses showing the Holy Spirit possesses the same characteristics and power as God.

Finally, the Bible teaches Jesus is God.  Matthew believed Jesus was God when he writes about the birth of Jesus. Matt. 1:23 “. . . and they will call him Immanuel” — which means, “God with us.”

John believed Jesus was God.  John 1:1, 14 The Apostle John writes, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” v14 “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.”

Thomas believed Jesus was God.  In John 20:28 prior to seeing the resurrected Jesus, we see Thomas doubting the resurrection.  Then he sees Jesus, and Thomas proclaims, “My Lord and My God.”

Paul believed Jesus was God.  Apostle Paul writes in Titus 2:13, “…looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus,”

Jewish religious leaders believed Jesus claimed to be God.  John 10:30-33 [Jesus speaking] I and the Father are one.” 31 Again the Jews picked up stones to stone him, 32 but Jesus said to them, “I have shown you many great miracles from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?” 33 “We are not stoning you for any of these,” replied the Jews, “but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.”

Remember to show the Trinity is Biblical, three important facts have to be established: 1) There is only one God, 2) the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are 3 distinct persons, and 3) that each is God.  Only the doctrine of the Trinity can explain the relationship of these 3 facts in describing the one true God.

A definition of the Trinity: We believe in one God subsists in 3 persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  All 3 are co-equal and co-eternal.

For a more in-depth teaching on the Trinity, go to a series I wrote called “Loving the Trinity.”  You could also listen to the two part series I have posted on this web site under the heading of “Sermons.” I delivered these messages to an attributes of God series in the winter of 2010 at Emmanuel Faith Community Church in Escondido, CA.

Go to part 9 here

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Part 7 Sharing with 2 Mormon Missionaries

Latter-day Saints believe in the resurrected J...
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Knowing my desire to share with Latter Day Saints, my children called a 1-800 number from a TV advertisement so they could order for me the Mormon video “The Lamb of God.”  To my surprise the video came in the mail addressed to me with documentation concerning the story of Joseph Smith and how I could join the Mormon Church.   What my kids didn’t realize was by ordering these videos I began to receive a series of phone calls from the Mormon Church in Salt Lake City Utah.  I must have hung up on them 10 times telling them I am not interested before God hit me on the side of the head.  I heard God’s still loud voice shouting at me, “They’re calling you to talk about Jesus you idiot and you’re hanging up on them!  What planet are you from?”  I didn’t have to answer the question; Mars of course.

Finally, one evening after passing on 10 calls, I took the call and got into a 45 minute discussion with a Mormon from Utah.  We discussed many subjects and I challenged him as best I could.  It was great fun.  Eventually the call had to end; he needed to move forward with more phone calls.  However, he asked me if I would like 2 Mormon missionaries to come and visit.  I said yes; this time without God walloping me on the side of the head.

A few weeks later two young men came to my house, the first of four visits.  I asked them where they lived, where they went to college, and what they were intending to do in the future.  Essentially, I made friends with them.  I asked them if was okay if we discuss issues pertaining to what we believe from the Bible, since it is a book we both used; they agreed and we began our talks.

During those visits we pored over the Bible and the teachings of Joseph Smith.  Over time I slowly introduced more evidence for why they were wrong.  It is probably an urban legend but there is an illustration of placing a frog in a pan of water and turning the heat up slowly.  The frog’s body adapts to the slow rising heat and eventually is fried to death.  This was my approach to my new Mormon friends.  I would turn the heat up slowly with the hope God would take the message of salvation to their hearts.

The next few posts I will be analyzing Mormon beliefs and doctrines.  My objectives focus on understanding what we believe, understanding what Mormonism teaches, and why their beliefs are eternally dangerous.

Go to part 8 here

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ASSESSING THE BOOK OF MORMON

Instead of praying over the Book of Mormon, we need to look for evidence.  What do we find when we test the Book of Mormon?

Stolen Transcripts: As Joseph Smith used stones to translate the golden plates, some detractors created a plan.  These critics stole 116 pages of the original Book of Mormon and then waited to see if Joseph Smith could reproduce from the plates the exact same words.  If the Book of Mormon was truly from God Joseph Smith should have had no problem duplicating the text.  However, he avoided this test by translating a different set of plates that he said were attached to the original plates.  So essentially he said the story in the Book of Mormon was the same as the stolen texts but the words were different.  How convenient an extra set of plates mysteriously appeared[1].  Who believes this story?

No Archeological evidence: Smithsonian Institution of Natural History released a statement calling the evidence for the Book of Mormon fictional.  The Smithsonian statement lists many items not in existence from the time period of the Book of Mormon. For example, iron and horses were not present in America during the alleged dates.

In addition there are no archeological artifacts found to support the ancient people groups of the Book of Mormon.   Interesting was the fact that during a visit to the Mormon Museum, I searched the entire facility to find any archeological artifacts and none could be found.  How could it be, the most famous Mormon museum in Salt Lake City, failed to display evidence for the people of the Book of Mormon?  While Mormon leaders have insisted that virtually millions of Jaredites, Nephites, and Lamanites lived during the Book of Mormon era, the LDS Church has no tangible evidence to support this claim.[2]

I once shared this information with a Mormon and he said: “If we don’t find archeological evidence or if the current evidence contradicts what we believe, we just know that in the future we will find the evidence to support the Book of Mormon.  He said eventually the findings will match what we already know to be true.”  I then asked him if he could be wrong and he said no.  He said the burning in his chest was confirmation from God that he had the truth.  If a Mormon’s heart says he is right, then the lack of archeological evidence no longer matters.

Major DNA problem:The Book of Mormon teaches the ancient inhabitants of the Americas (Native Americans) are descendants from the Israelite group called the Lamanites.However,DNA evidence shows no connection between American Indians and Israel.A quote from Dan Egan, a writer for the Salt Lake Tribune.

“Generations of Mormons grew up with the notion that American Indians are descended from the lost tribe from the House of Israel, offspring of a Book of Mormon figure named Lehi, who left Jerusalem and sailed to the Americas around 600 B.C.For the faithful members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Later-day Saints, Lehi’s story is neither fable nor parable.  It is truth.  Historical fact.  But mainstream science has failed to back that story.  Instead, archeologists, linguists and genetic experts outside Mormon culture say all the evidence points to Asia as the place from which American Indians originated.”[3]

This is devastating evidence against the Book of Mormon.  Many individuals have left the church based on the DNA findings.

When we assess Joseph Smith’s failure to reproduce the stolen text, the lack of archeology evidence, and the DNA studies, we are left with no other conclusion other than the Book of Mormon is a fictional account born from the fertile imagination of Joseph Smith.  Praying over the Book of Mormon will not change the truth.  Paul says, “Test everything.  Hold to the good.” Don’t follow your feelings, follow the evidence.  The Book of Mormon is pure fiction.

Go to part 7 here


[1] Palmer, Grant, “An Insider’s View of Mormon Origins,” Signature Books Salt Lake City UT, 2002 ps. 6,7

[2] Bill McKeever & Eric Johnson, Mormonism 101, Baker Books, Michigan, 2000 pg. 112

[3] Dan Egan, “Gene data may shed light on idea of American Indian-Israel link” Salt Lake Tribune, 12/24/2000

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Part 5 Book of Mormon’s make-believe history

The last few posts focused on Joseph Smith and why he was a deceiver, an occultist, and his “first vision” was a lie that grew over time.  Now I will take a look at the Book Mormon missionaries will tell you is comparable to the Bible.

ASSESSING THE BOOK OF MORMON

After God supposedly commissioned Joseph Smith, he was visited by the angel Moroni and told about some golden plates. These plates were the recorded history of the plight of the Jewish people as they came to North America and were visited by Jesus Christ.  The golden plates were then translated by Joseph Smith as he peered into a hat with the sides drawn around his head and using two stones, Urim and Thummim.  This work today is known as the Book of Mormon.

The Book of Mormon is the history of two people groups who came to the Americas.  The first group left just after the tower of Babel in Genesis 11.  They were called the Jaredites.  They became a powerful nation in America.  However, after many centuries’ of wickedness they annihilated themselves.

Hundreds of years later, a second group of people of Hebrew decent arrived in the Americas led by Lehi.  God had told him to flee Jerusalem just prior to the Babylonian captivity (around 600 BC).  After Lehi’s death two of his sons, Nephi and Laman, took over.  Some people gave their allegiance to Nephi, others to Laman.  The Book of Mormon describes these two Hebrew people groups as the Nephites and the Lamanites.  After many battles between the two groups, by the 5th century A.D., the Laminates finally destroyed the Nephites at the battle of the Hill Cumorah.  According to Mormon belief, the descendants of the Lamanites are the Native Americans.

Moroni, who was the son of Mormon, was the last living Nephite.  He recorded the events of this time period and buried the record of his people in the Hill Cumorah, which is located near present-day Palmyra in upstate New York.  This record was written on golden plates and was later discovered and translated into the Book of Mormon by Joseph Smith[1].

Is the Book of Mormon a true account of an ancient group of Hebrews who inhabited North America and were visited by Jesus Christ?  If a Mormon was asked this question the standard answer is for you to pray over the Book of Mormon to see if it is true.  Maybe you’ve been asked to do that by a Mormon.  They believe God will give confirmation of its truthfulness by a burning in the bosom.

Is this how we should test the accuracy and the truthfulness of the Book or Mormon?  Actually the Bible says differently.  In 1 Thess. 5:21(NIV) the Apostle Paul writes, “Test everything. Hold on to the good.” To test something is to look for verification or evidence for whether something is true or false.  Paul says when we find something is true and good, we are to hold onto it.  Essentially, the Bible says instead of praying over the Book of Mormon, we need to look for evidence.  So what is the proof the Book of Mormon is from God?  My next series of posts will deal with this question.

Go to part 6 here


[1] McKeever & Johnson, “Mormonism 101,” Baker Books, Michigan, 2002, pg. 106

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Part 3 Joseph Smith was a polygamist

Who are the Mormons?

In my previous post I made the assertion Mormons follow a false Jesus believe a different gospel, and place their trust in a false Holy Spirit.  In later posts I will show the Biblical verses that demonstrate the truth of my statements.

If I am right about Mormonism then their different gospel, false Jesus and their allegiance to the teachings of Joseph Smith will determine their eternal destiny.  In John 8:23-24 Jesus confronts the Jewish religious leaders; today he could be talking to Mormons.  We read in verse 23, “And He [Jesus] was saying to them, ‘You are from below, I am from above; you are of this world, I am not of this world. 24 Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.’” Jesus told the religious leaders if you are wrong about me you will die in your sins.  All Mormons who believe in the false Jesus of Joseph Smith and the false doctrines of this deceptive church will die in their sins and be separated from God for all eternity in hell.  This is why I have a passion for my Mormon friends and why I share with them every chance I get.  This is why you should have a passion for sharing with Mormons.

How can we show Mormonism is false?  We can learn what we believe and how to show them the truth.  How do we avoid being fooled?  We can learn what they believe and why they are wrong.  Where do we start?  Best place to begin is to look at how the Mormon Church began.

1. UNDERSTANDING THE FOUNDER OF MORMONISM: JOSEPH SMITH

  • We do know he had many leadership qualities

Joseph Smith was intelligent and loaded with charisma; he had to be in order to start a church from scratch and have it grow like wildfire.  Who in the world is going to follow a dim witted nerd who cannot speak in public?  Throughout history we see examples of people of spiritual influence who were good looking, charming, intelligent and possessed good communication skills.  Joseph Smith had all these qualities; he was a natural born leader.

  • We also know he was a deceiver

Joseph Smith was married but slept with other women.  In the early 1830s Joseph Smith said God commanded him to take more wives.  He reportedly didn’t want to take more wives but God threatened to kill him if he didn’t.  He said marrying other women was a terrible burden to bear.

When confronted publicly he denied he was a polygamist.  Eventually, he writes in the Doctrine and Covenants that God sanctioned polygamy and by this proclamation he justified his multiple marriages.  However, in public he continued to deny he was a polygamist; he even spoke out against it publicly.  However, the historical record says he had 33 wives; of which 11 were still married. Another 11 were teenagers when he married them.  Only 8 were close to his age and the rest younger.  When his first wife, Emma complained, Joseph Smith issued a revelation from God that told her to shut up or be condemned. Joseph Smith was a liar, a deceiver and practiced polygamy.

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If God Knows the Future, How can He Feel Regret? Part 2

Part 1 set the foundation for answering how God can feel regret in Genesis 6:5-8.  I will now complete my answer.

Definitions

Defining words in the Bible always depends on the context (see part 1).  God created man good and Adam expressed his free will to disobey God.  Sin and evil were rampant throughout the world leading up to Genesis 6:5-8.  The primary verse in question is Genesis 6:6 NASB The LORD was sorry [regretted] that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart.”   

Verse 6 different translations we see God was grieved, sorry, regretful, or repented His decision to create humanity. Which word best describes God’s emotions in this passage?  The Hebrew word “atsab” means to hurt, pain, or grieve[1].  Different versions of the Bible express this emotion using different words.  The ASV indicates God “repented” implying He had a change of mind.  The ESV/HCSB indicates God “regretted.”  The NKJV/ESV/NASB says God was “sorry” He made man.  In the NIV the translators used “grieved.” 

I am going to eliminate God repented because He is unchanging. An unchanging God cannot have a change of mind.  And yet, God will change His actions in response to changing circumstances. Jonah was asked by God to preach repentance to the people of Nineveh and instead he ran away.  Why?  He knew if the people of Nineveh repented God would forgive them.  He didn’t think they deserved mercy.  Eventually, Jonah does preach to them.  Jonah 3:2 “Arise, go to Nineveh the great city and proclaim to it the proclamation which I am going to tell you.”   Once the people realized their wickedness in the face of a holy God, they repented.  Jonah 3:5, Then the people of Nineveh believed in God.”  They placed their trust in God.  We see God’s response in Jonah 3:10, When God saw their deeds, that they turned from their wicked way, then God relented concerning the calamity which He had declared He would bring upon them. And He did not do it.”  God responded with forgiveness.  This does not violate His unchanging nature; the circumstances changed.  God simply responded to the peoples’ change of heart.  The same could be said of us when we move from unbelief to belief.  Unbelievers are under God’s judgment until they repent and place their trust in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of their sins.  One moment we are under God’s wrath and the next we are pardoned by the work of Jesus on the cross.

However, in the context of Genesis 6:6, God repented sounds like an internal change rather that a response to the actions of man.  God cannot change his mind.  For this reason I reject translations using the word repented.

The word regretted also carries unneeded baggage.  Regret seems to express a change in God, rather than the circumstances.  Regret doesn’t represent the nature of God.

I believe the best translation of the word atsab closely resembles the NASB Greek Dictionary definition to hurt, pain, or grieve.  The versions that chose the words sorry or grieved, I believe best captures the author’s intentions.  And yet, we have not escaped the problem.  If God knows the future, why would he grieve if people turn their backs on Him?  He knew the moment He created Adam and Eve, they and their offspring would rebel against His rulership.  So why did God grieve about creating them?

A Holy God must Punish Sin

The wickedness of mankind was so widespread God was going to use the flood in judgment.  God’s justice and His holiness required Him to judge and punish lawbreakers.  All humanity because of their wickedness perished in the deluge, except for Noah and his family.  Just like the wicked during Noah’s time, we deserve God’s judgment and upon death the wrath or righteous anger of a holy God leading to eternity in hell.  But only by His grace do we experience His mercy.  Noah and his family experienced that grace.  Not because they were good people but because they placed their faith in the God of the Bible.  The Apostle Paul wrote we are saved (from punishment) by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8, 9).  

A just and holy God must punish sin.  He did that dramatically through the flood.  And yet God takes no pleasure in punishing the guilty.  We read in Ezekiel 18: 32 For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone who dies,” declares the Lord GOD. “Therefore, repent and live.”  When we read the key word in Genesis 6 that says God grieved or was sorry He created man, we begin to get a picture of a God who takes no pleasure in punishing the guilty.  His desire is for all to turn away from wickedness and turn to Him for forgiveness.    

God’s Grace Displayed

All the evil we see around us reminds us our world today no different.  The sin of mankind still causes a just and holy God pain.  The Apostle Peter gives us some insight into the heart of God when he writes in  2 Peter 3: 9, The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.”  God wants all to turn from sin (repentance) and turn back to Him.  For those who do trust in His Son Jesus Christ grace is shown to them. 

Did God know man was going to rebel?  Yes!  Did it grieve Him?  Absolutely!  Did God regret creating mankind?  God wished that all humanity would have all loved Him but they didn’t. instead they chose to do evil.  God knew the risks of creating man and he still did.  The remnant was worth it.  The flood provided God an opportunity to preserve his holiness and exact judgment upon the wickedness of humanity.  It also gave Him a way to demonstrate His grace to a few. 

The expression God was grieved that He created man shows us the depth of pain God feels over our rejection.  God is not a robot and His emotions run deep.  We parents know these feelings.  We knew the risks and still had kids.  God also knew many would reject Him and many would turn back to love Him.  For the remnant, which today follows Jesus Christ, God thought it was worth the risk.  The death on the cross of God’s one and only Son, Jesus Christ, demonstrates how much God values us.  At the foot of the cross we see his grace lovingly displayed for us.

[1] NASB Greek-Hebrew Dictionary: atsab Number 5162



 
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Part 2 Mormons are not Christians

Who are the Mormons?

In 2 Corinth. 11:4, 13-15 the Apostle Paul was warning the Corinthian Church against false teachers who were deceiving the congregation.  “For if one comes and preaches another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted, you bear this beautifully.” Paul here chastises the Corinthian Church for accepting (you bear this beautifully) a different Jesus, spirit, and gospel.  This was not the teaching they had received from Paul.  Just like the false teachers in Corinth, Mormons bring a false Jesus, a different gospel, and false Holy Spirit.  Let me paraphrase this passage:  “For if a Mormon comes and preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or you receive a different spirit from the Mormons which you have not received, or a different gospel of Joseph Smith which you have not accepted, you bear this beautifully.” You will learn over these next few weeks why the Mormon gospel is different, the Jesus they follow is false, and the Holy Spirit they profess is different from the Biblical one.  We are not to commit the same error the Corinthian Church did when they accepted this false teaching.

Next Paul talks about false teachers, verse 13… For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. 14 No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.  15 Therefore it is not surprising if his [Satan’s] servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their deeds.”

The Apostle Paul was saying these false teachers were giving the impression they had the truth and were influencing people in the same fashion as Satan.  These individuals masqueraded as servants of righteousness, which means they looked good on the outside.  Paul was warning the church to watch out!  He was telling them don’t be fooled!  Don’t follow them!  Don’t be deceived!

Paul ends with a warning about judgment for the false teachers; their end after death would not be pleasant; they will be judged by their deceptive deeds.  What deeds was Paul referring to?  The spreading of a false gospel, a false Jesus, and a false spirit.  I believe this warning applies to Mormonism.  Every Mormon claims to be Christian and yet they deny every essential doctrine of Christianity.  If Christianity is defined as a person who believes and follows the doctrines of the historic church then Mormons are not Christians.  They don’t worship the same God as we do.

Let me give you an illustration to help you understand.  I want you to guess what my oldest son Jeff looks like?  Some may say he is 6’4, has brown hair, blue eyes, and is very thin.  Actually, Jeff is around 5’8”, green eyes, blond hair, and has a medium athletic build.  According to the laws of logic he can’t be 6’4” in height and 5’8” at the same time.  He cannot have blond and brown hair at the same time.  There is only 1 correct description of Jeff.  The same goes for God.  You cannot create any old God you want; there is only one true God.

Mormons worship a different God than Christians.  For example the Mormons say God the Father has a body of flesh and bones like we do.  Christianity teaches God is an immaterial being; that God is Spirit.  God cannot have a physical body and be immaterial at the same time.  The Bible says in John 4:24 (NIV)“God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.” We must worship in truth the one true God and Him alone.  The God of the Bible does not have flesh and bones, He is a spirit being.  Mormons are worshipping a false God.

The Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians calls them and others like them, “… false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ.” He says they are deceivers and they masquerade as Christians.  Again I believe these verses apply to Mormonism.  This is not to say Mormons are bad people.  Most of the Mormons I know are great people; they are just not followers of the one true God.  They have been deceived and are deceiving others.  The Bible calls them false teachers.  As Paul warned the Corinthian Church; watch out!  Any old God won’t do!  We must worship in spirit and in truth.

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Was Jesus Invented by the Biblical Authors?

Some atheists try to argue Jesus never existed and was simply a fictional character.  Their primary tactic is to late date the four Gospels and say the writers wrote their books based on religious wishful thinking or bias reporting.  The question to ask an atheist who makes this claim, “What evidence do you have to convince me Jesus never existed?”  Many times this claim is an assertion without substance.

The vast majority of scholars both conservative and critical believe Jesus was a real person.  Only a few extremely skeptical scholars deny the existence of Jesus.  Here are a few lines of evidence:

1. Many scholars believe all 4 Gospels were written within the lifetime of the writers (40 – 70 AD).  Two were written by eyewitnesses (John & Matthew) and two were written by men (Luke and Mark) who received their information from key apostles (Peter and Paul).  These four Gospels cannot be discounted out-of-hand by skeptics as biased writings without proof or evidence of dishonesty.  Currently, none has ever been produced, only asserted.  In these accounts we find four independent attestations to the existence of Jesus.

2. Acts and the rest of the New Testament were written by eyewitnesses, apostles or writers receiving information from an apostle.  Again, an atheist cannot discount these writers just because they are included in the Bible.  In the early church the New Testament letters were being circulated throughout home churches.  Each letter must be dealt with on an individual basis and not thrown out as a group.  A person must have evidence to discount each book that today is accepted in the New Testament canon.

3. We have multiple independent attestations of Jesus outside the Bible.  For example:

  • Tacitus (AD 55-120): An early writer that has been called the greatest Roman historian.  Tacitus records at least one reference to Jesus and two references to early Christianity (no Christianity without Christ).
  • Suetonius:  Another Roman historian who wrote at the same time as Tacitus.  Made one reference to Jesus and one to Christians.
  • Josephus (AD 37- 97): A Roman court historian who wrote for Emperor Vespasian.  He makes two references concerning Jesus.
  • Pliny the Younger:  A Roman author and administrator who served as the governor of Bithynia.  In AD 112 he writes about Christianity in Bithynia and gives facts about Jesus[1].

To make the claim Jesus never existed, the atheist has to explain the multiple independent attestations from religious and non-religious writers.  This has been a futile endeavor, which is why so few scholars deny Jesus ever existed.


[1] Gary Habermas, The Historical Jesus, College Press, 1996

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Where is the Alleged Contradiction?

Atheists love to point to Genesis chapters 1 and 2 and say the two creation accounts contradict.  They point out the creation events in chapter one do not align with the same events mentioned in chapter two.  How can these chapters be reconciled?    

As far as Genesis 1 & 2, I have read these chapters over 100 times and I have never seen them as contradicting each other.  Funny for thousands of years the early readers never saw a contradiction either.  Why is it in our century we somehow find a contradiction when no one for thousands of years discovered it?  This for me raises some red flags.  If the original readers didn’t see a contradiction, then it is doubtful there was one.  Genesis 1 is a brief chronological overview of the creation.  Genesis 2 the main focus is on mankind.  Why would the writer write two chronological accounts?  That would be a waste of time.  When the writer in chapter 2 speaks about the garden he is talking about a past event.  When he speaks about birds and animals he is talking about a past event.  If anyone wants to know the exact order of events in the past of plants, animals, man, etc. just read Genesis 1.  Otherwise Genesis 2:4b – 25, makes humans the focus of the account.  Genesis 2 also clarifies who was created first; Adam before Eve.  In Genesis 1 we just get a general time frame of when they were created; Genesis 2 gives us more details.  Where is the alleged contradiction?  I don’t see it!

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Part 4 All Roads do NOT Lead to heaven!

The individuals who believe in the all roads lead to heaven mantra see all religious beliefs as subjective truths; similar to choosing your favorite television program.They believe one person likes one religion and you like another; who are you to say their religion is wrong?It is like telling someone who watches the popular television program “Lost” is wrong for watching it. A statement like that seems completely out of place and rude.They say when it comes to religious faith to call someone’s belief wrong is to be intolerant and close-minded.The rallying cry of the person who believes all religions lead to heaven is, “Who are you to say?” The problem with this view lies in the fact that religious beliefs are objective in nature; they are a view of reality.Therefore, “who are you to say” is actually an attack on the person and not the idea.My standard reply is, “who are you to say, who are you to say?”This demonstrates how ridiculous the statement is.“Who am I to say? I am a person who holds an objective belief system, just like you and I have the right to hold my viewpoint and comment on others, just like you.” Since all religious truth claims are objective, the belief all roads lead to heaven is contradictory.Remember, if all roads lead to heaven, then all beliefs are true.This has two major problems:

1.  If all views are true then Christianity is true.The Christian belief, Jesus is the only way to heaven, is therefore true.If Jesus is the only way to heaven, then all other religions are false.This contradicts the belief all roads lead to heaven.

2.  The central doctrines of all beliefs contradict each other.

  • Either God exists or He doesn’t exist.
  • Either God is personal or He is impersonal.
  • Christianity says Jesus is the only way to heaven, Muslims believe Allah is the only way heaven, and Hindu’s don’t believe in heaven and teach we all will experience reincarnation when we die.These different beliefs cannot all be right.

Therefore, since all religions teach contradictory beliefs they all cannot be true.A story is told of an East Coast pastor who began his sermon with the statement all religious beliefs are true.During the sermon a college student near the front squirmed in his seat as he listened to the pastor preach.At the end of the sermon, as the congregation was filing out the back, the pastor greeted them.The student tried to sneak out but the pastor stopped him and asked him where he was from?He said I am on break from a seminary in Bowling Green.The pastor asked what religious belief he was and the student said he’d rather not say.The pastor asked why not?The student replied I don’t want to offend you.“Oh son,” the pastor replied, “it doesn’t matter what your beliefs are, they are all true.So what do you believe?”The student said okay and whispered in the pastor’s ear, “I believe you are going to hell.”The pastor got red faced and said, I guess I made a mistake.All religious beliefs cannot be true, because yours certainly isn’t true! In summary, two contradictory beliefs cannot be true; either the atheist belief is true and there is no God or the person who believes in God is correct.They both can’t be right.Do all roads lead to heaven?Absolutely, not!

 

Go to part 5 here

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Part 21 Additional evidence for the design of the universe

Design of the Universe Reveals God

In my previous post I gave a few evidences for the design in the universe.  Scientists have discovered over 100 factors in the universe that if there is one small change, life on earth is impossible.  In my final posting for this series I will share a few more.

  • The sun must be the right color.  Photosynthesis depends on a star that is roughly yellow in color.  Photosynthesis is most effective with a sun that has a surface temperature of 5400°, like our sun.  Stars a little bluer or a little redder won’t fuel photosynthesis so you won’t get plants for animals to eat.
  • Solar luminosity must be precise.  The earth is very delicately balanced between a runaway greenhouse (Venus) and a runaway freeze-up (Mars).  If we are talking about Venus then we have a greenhouse problem.  If you increase the temperature slightly, more water vapor is released into the atmosphere.  This increases the greenhouse effect, increasing the temperature causing more water vapor to be released.  On the other hand, if we are talking about a planet like Mars the issue is freezing up.  The lower the temperature the more ice forms.  Ice reflects the sun’s radiation, continuing to lower the temperature, causing more ice to form, reflecting more radiation, causing more freeze-up.  Life is impossible on Venus and Mars.  However, what we find in the relationship between the sun and the earth is this incredible balance between too hot and too cold.  Here’s how the balance works.  The sun gets hotter as it ages.  Over 3.8 billion years ago when life was allegedly introduced to this earth it lowered the earth’s temperature. Earth’s atmosphere is changed as a result of the introduction of life.  The decreasing temperature caused by life being introduced in growing stages of complexity, exactly counterbalances the increase in luminosity of the sun. The sun gets hotter and hotter, but the earth gets cooler and cooler.  A decrease in CO2 and water vapor means a decrease in temperature, the opposite of a greenhouse effect.  Again we see what appears to be incredible design.
  • The earth’s rotation period must be right.  If you slow it down, the nights and days are too long, creating temperature extremes.  If you speed it up (Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune and Uranus are all rapid rotators), wind storms would be extreme (1000 mph. on Jupiter).
  • The tilt of our axis must be precise.  The earth’s axis is tilted 23°.  If it was straight up and down the equator would be hotter and the poles colder, disrupting the climate.  A greater tilt would expose the pole to the sun all the time (like Neptune).[1]

What are the chances natural processes could produce even one planet in the entire universe capable of producing life?  There are two parts to this problem.  First, you have the problem of getting the right planet so that life is possible (remember over 100 factors have to be perfect), and second you have the problem of life assembling by chance (life coming from non-life).  Harold Morowitz did the calculations on the simplest possible living system.  He concluded there was less than 1 chance in 10138,000to have the perfect planet for life and for life to come from non-life.  In other words it is statistically impossible for life to arise from chance.  If it’s statistically impossible that life could have happened by chance, it is statistically certain it was the result of intelligent design, because there are only two options.

Could you present Kalaam Cosmological argument, similar to how I did it with my son and his girlfriend, drawing it up on a napkin?  Start by thinking of Genesis 1:1; “In the beginningGod created the heavens and the earth.”  Either the universe had a beginning or it was eternal.  Science says it had a beginning evidenced by the big bang and 2nd law of thermodynamics; the Bible agrees.  Secondly, was the beginning cause or uncaused?  Uncaused means the universe came into existence from nothing.  The only reasonable answer is it was caused, and the Bible agrees “…God created.”  Finally, was the cause personal or impersonal?  A first cause cannot be impersonal; it has to be personal.  All thoughts, mind, reasoning, must come from a personal creator.  Again the Bible aligns with science and states God is the personal creator.

Finally, you can point to all the obvious design of the universe.  A person has to exercise incredible faith to believe the earth was positioned perfectly for life exist and that life could arrive from non-life; the odds against that position are incredible.  Point out how the sun has to be the right age for the perfect temperature, it has to be yellow, the rotation of the earth has to be perfect, and the tilt has to be perfect.  Mention there are over 100 factors that have to be flawless in order for life to exist on earth.  The case for God is logical, reasonable, and easily the odds on favorite.  To not believe in God is to exercise irrational blind faith.

My hope is this series has first and foremost strengthened your faith, that we have the evidence for our beliefs.  I have used these arguments and they stand up in the real world.  If someone disagrees with you, they have to present counter arguments. Science continues to struggle with answers to the problem of the origin of life and the origin of the universe.  If you do share with a non-Christian, just remember the Holy Spirit loves to use good arguments to drive people to their knees.  Lovingly present the truth and let God worry about the results.

Recommended Resources:

  • Craig, WL, “Reasonable Faith,” Crossway Books, 1984
  • Ross, Hugh, “The Creator and the Cosmos,” NavPress, 1993
  • Gregory Koukl “ABC-Why I’m Not an Evolutionist” 1999 www.str.org

[1] Gregory Koukl “ABC-Why I’m Not an Evolutionist” 1999 www.str.org

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Is God is Responsible for All Evil?

I will continue to answer the objections from the atheists in Balboa Park in San Diego.  I will use the verses they supplied in the handout they gave to anyone who was interested.

Their next objection was Isaiah 45:7 in which they try to imply God is responsible for all evil.  Isaiah 45:7 The One forming light and creating darkness, causing well-being and creating calamity; I am the LORD who does all these.”  Some translations instead of saying creating calamity, say creating evil.  If God is the creator of all evil then He cannot be perfectly good.  This would then serve as a defeater against the very nature of God.

The first problem is these atheists make no effort to provide context to Isaiah 45:7.  Proper interpretation requires this to understand the meaning of the verse.  They also make no attempt at looking for possible solutions.  A scholarly effort would take into consideration counter arguments and try to answer them.  These atheists make no effort to research the verses they call into question in their flyer.  All they want to do is bombard the Christian with multiple verses that seem to teach God is a moral monster.  However, utilizing some research answers can be found.

Prior to this event God judged the northern kingdom of Israel and they were captured by the Assyrians and dispersed throughout Assyria (740 BC).  God also judged the southern kingdom of Judah for their rebellion and worship of idols.  He used the Chaldeans, led by Nebuchadnezzar, to capture Jerusalem and begin to deport the Jews to Babylon (605 BC).  The Jewish temple was completely destroyed.  This was foretold by the prophet Daniel in chapter 9 verses 7-14.  Daniel 9:7-14 “Righteousness belongs to You, O Lord, but to us open shame, as it is this day—to the men of Judah, the inhabitants of Jerusalem and all Israel, those who are nearby and those who are far away in all the countries to which You have driven them, because of their unfaithful deeds which they have committed against You. 8 “Open shame belongs to us, O Lord, to our kings, our princes and our fathers, because we have sinned against You. 9 To the Lord our God belong compassion and forgiveness, for we have rebelled against Him; 10 nor have we obeyed the voice of the LORD our God, to walk in His teachings which He set before us through His servants the prophets. 11 “Indeed all Israel has transgressed Your law and turned aside, not obeying Your voice; so the curse has been poured out on us, along with the oath which is written in the law of Moses the servant of God, for we have sinned against Him. 12 “Thus He has confirmed His words which He had spoken against us and against our rulers who ruled us, to bring on us great calamity; for under the whole heaven there has not been done anything like what was done to Jerusalem. 13 “As it is written in the law of Moses, all this calamity has come on us; yet we have not sought the favor of the LORD our God by turning from our iniquity and giving attention to Your truth. 14 “Therefore the LORD has kept the calamity in store and brought it on us; for the LORD our God is righteous with respect to all His deeds which He has done, but we have not obeyed His voice.”

Daniel prophesied that God would bring calamity (evil) down upon Judah for their sin and rebellion.  These verses portray God as a righteous God who cannot tolerate sin and punishes those who rebel against Him; even his chosen nation. As a result Judah was in captivity for approximately 70 years.  They received the righteous judgment of God.  The same Hebrew word for God’s righteous judgment “raah” (calamity or evil) is used in both the Daniel and Isaiah passages.  I believe calamity is a better English word than evil.  The word evil is a subjective judgment by humans that carries lots of baggage.  The word calamity captures the sense of God’s just punishment.

After 70 years of captivity in Babylon, God raised up the Persian ruler Cyrus to bring the Jews back to their land.  We read in Isaiah 45:1-7 Thus says the LORD to Cyrus His anointed, Whom I have taken by the right hand,To subdue nations before him And to loose the loins of kings; To open doors before him so that gates will not be shut: 2 “I will go before you and make the rough places smooth; I will shatter the doors of bronze and cut through their iron bars. 3 “I will give you the treasures of darkness And hidden wealth of secret places, So that you may know that it is I, The LORD, the God of Israel, who calls you by your name. 4 “For the sake of Jacob My servant, And Israel My chosen one, I have also called you by your name; I have given you a title of honor Though you have not known Me. 5 “I am the LORD, and there is no other; Besides Me there is no God. I will gird you, though you have not known Me; 6 That men may know from the rising to the setting of the sun That there is no one besides Me. I am the LORD, and there is no other, 7 The One forming light and creating darkness, Causing well-being and creating calamity; I am the LORD who does all these. 

God tells Cyrus He is the only God and that he doesn’t know Him.  God then used Cyrus of Persia to punish the Chaldeans (539 BC in accordance to a prophecy by Jeremiah 50:35; 51:1-8; 51:24) who had deported Judah to Babylon.  God took credit for the “evil or calamity” done to Babylon, an evil pagan nation.  This was a punishment.  We can compare this to God taking credit for Israel wiping out other pagan nations under the military leadership of Joshua.  However, this time He used a pagan nation to deliver the punishment.

Is God responsible for all evil?  Once we understand the context of the Isaiah 45:7 and the historical background we see a righteous God exacting punishment upon people who reject Him and worship idols.  It is clear to me this group of atheists don’t want to allow God to be a righteous judge.  God’s holy nature is dependent upon His punishing lawbreakers.  God is not responsible for evil.  A righteous and holy God will cause calamity upon those who deserve punishment.

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Part 18 Was the universe caused or uncaused?

Arguing for the Existence of God

Both the big bang and 2nd law of thermodynamics refute an eternal universe (previous posts). Therefore, the universe had a beginning.  Next we will look at step 2 of the Kalaam Cosmological Argument for the existence of God.

2. The universe was either caused or uncaused

A. Universe uncaused

If we say there was no cause to the beginning of the universe, and we know the universe can’t be eternal, then nothing was the cause.  The universe simply jumped into existence from nowhere, caused by nothing.  Some people contend that something can come from nothing.

In the July 20th 1998 article from US News and World Report, physicist Alexander Vilenkin of Tufts University, proposed his theory of why it is possible to have an infinite number of universes.  Vilenkin believes that what came before creation was nothing in the literal sense; therefore the formation of universes will never end, since you can never run out of nothing.  His contention is that nothing was the cause of the creation of the universe.What was His proof?  You guessed it, nothing.  Vilenkin chooses to believe in the power of nothing rather than God.

Aristotle wrote this, “Nothing is what rocks dream about!”  It is obvious that out of nothing comes nothing.  If the universe couldn’t possibly be uncaused then the only alternative is…

B. Universe was caused

No other conclusion is possible.  From here I will move to my final leg of the Kalaam Cosmological Argument for the Existence of God.

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Here is step 1 of the Kalaam Cosmological Argument for the existence of God.

Did the Universe have Beginning (or no beginning)?

A.  The Big Bang theory Refutes the Eternal Universe (part 16)

B. The 2nd law of thermodynamics Refutes the Eternal Universe

The next proof the universe had a beginning comes the 2nd law of thermodynamics or the law of entropy.  This law says that in a closed universe the finite amount of energy is winding down, moving towards a time when all energy will be expended.   If we spin a ball on a table what we find is that it has a finite or limited amount of energy that was applied to spin the ball.  The spinning ball will soon stop; it has run out of energy.  In a similar fashion the universe with its limited amount of energy, is going to wind down to where there is no energy left.

Another illustration of the 2nd law of thermodynamics utilizes a hot cup of coffee.   Over time the coffee cools and the heat moves outward into the room.  Soon the temperature of the coffee and the room will be equal.  The same goes for the universe.  Heat is moving outward from stars and is being uniformly distributed throughout the universe.  Eventually the limited amount of heat energy of the stars throughout the universe will run out and suffer what is called, “Heat death.”  L. Barnet said this, “The universe is progressing toward an ultimate heat death or, as it is technically defined, a condition of maximum entropy.  When the universe reaches this state some billions of years from now, all the processes of nature will cease.  All space will be the same temperature… There will be no light, no life, no warmth–nothing but perpetual and irrevocable stagnation…and there is no way of avoiding this destiny![1]

If the universe was eternal, all the heat energy would have been utilized an infinite amount of time ago.  If this is true then we should currently be at heat death.  All the energy should have been used up an eternity ago.  Since energy exists today we can conclude the universe is not eternal.  If the universe is not eternal, it must have had a beginning.  Both the big bang and 2nd law of thermodynamics refute an eternal universe.

Go to part 18 here


[1] Barnet, L., The Universe and Dr. Einstein, New American Library, 1957 pg. 102-3

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Part 16 Big bang reveals the universe had a beginning

Arguing for the Existence of God

Here is the part one of step 1 of the Kalaam Cosmological Argument for the existence of God.

1. Did the Universe have a beginning (or no beginning)?

A.  The Big Bang theory Refutes the Eternal Universe

In 1916 Albert Einstein published his conclusions based on the constant velocity of light.  The findings came to be called the theory of general relativity.  One of the more significant findings was that the universe is expanding and decelerating, similar to the pieces of an exploding grenade.  As the pieces of the grenade explode outward they collide with material (air molecules, buildings, furniture, etc.) that slows them down.  This same principle works for the universe.

It was Hubble’s 1929 discovery that provided confirmation of the expanding universe.  What this discovery did not describe was the expansion of material content into empty space of the universe.  Instead we find rather is the expansion of the substance of space itself.  As space itself progressively stretches outward the planets and galaxies move along with it much in the same way marks on a balloon move outward with the balloon as you blow it up.  Thus as the universe expands outward it becomes less dense, just like the surface of the balloon thins as it expands outward.  Today this is called the Big Bang Theory.  All matter, energy, space, and time were created at the time of the explosion.  The result of these findings was that the universe had a beginning and, according to science, was created out of nothing.

The big bang theory is what science currently accepts as the explanation for the beginning of the universe with very few dissenters.  However, to avoid an explanation of an absolute beginning these dissenters have attempted to come up with alternate models.  I will touch on two of these theories.

The first is one is called the Oscillating model and it was first introduced in 1965.  This view tries to demonstrate that the gravitational force of the universe has enough power to eventually halt the expansion of the universe and then draw it back together into a single volume.  Once it has achieved this single volume (or singularity) the imploding universe somehow bounces back and begins a new cycle of expansion.  Big bangs expand and contract over and over again for an infinite period of time.

First, all current observations and calculations point in the opposite direction of ever halting the expansion and drawing the universe back together.  Our universe is continuing to expand at a faster rate with no indications of stopping or slowing down.  Secondly, even if the universe came back together, scientists have to come up with the power for the universe to rebound and begin expanding again.  Even if they could in theory find the force to do it, according to the law of entropy over time the number of rebounds would continue to decrease to make a bounce happen.  This would be similar to a rubber ball dropped from 6 feet will rebound less than 6 feet and each successive bounce more energy is lost until the ball stops bouncing.  So due to the 2nd law of thermodynamics the oscillating model suffers from energy loss over time resulting in losing both rebound force plus limited number of rebounds possible.  At this time there is no good reason to believe in the oscillating model for the creation of the universe; which is why it is rejected by most scientists.

A second theoretical model currently touted by some in the scientific community is the chaotic inflationary universe.  Basically, universes create more universes.  According to the theory today we have billions and billions of universes.  New universes are continually being created.  This is the type of theory that cannot be proven either true or false, since the theoretical evidence lies beyond our capabilities to detect, no supportive evidence is even possible.

One of the major obstacles to the chaotic inflationary universe theory is why is there life on earth?  The answer they give is, if there are billions and billions of universes, it is likely at least one of them would have the right conditions to support life.   This sort of thinking is problematic.  Let’s say the odds of a planet attaining all the right conditions for life to occur was the same odds as flipping a coin heads a trillion times in a row.  Some would think that if you had a billion chances to flip the coin that many times in a row, certainly it would happen.  But the problem is that each time a tail comes up and you start all over again, the odds against accomplishing the task starts over also.  If say the odds were a trillion to one against, each and every time a planet is created with no life, you start over and it is a trillion to one again.

My final point concerning both these theories is that neither one solves the problem of the beginning.  Both the oscillating theory and the chaotic inflationary theory have to have a first universe to get the process going.  They both still have to answer, where did that initial universe come from?  To which they have no good answer.

So according the science, the Big Bang Theory gives evidence for the universe coming into existence.  All space, time, matter, and energy had a beginning and are not eternal.

Go to part 17 here

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Part 15 Origin of the universe reveals God

Arguing for the Existence of God

I am going to walk you through step-by-step the Kalaam Cosmological Argument for the existence of God.  It will take a few posts to do this.

I. Origin of the Universe Reveals God

Dr. William Lane Craig is one of the foremost debater’s for the existence of God in the world.  A few years ago Dr. Craig spoke locally and I got a chance to sit with him for dinner.  I asked him if he feels intimidated whenever he debates scientists at major universities.  He told me he didn’t; in fact they are intimidated by him.  I asked him why?  He said on complicated issues of science he just gives in to their expertise.  However, they don’t like debating a philosopher.  Philosophers use well reasoned arguments and have the ability to unmask bad thinking.  This is intimidating to highly intelligent people.  I have found many times very scholarly people make major mistakes and reach poor conclusions when it comes to spiritual issues or issues of metaphysics.

My job is not to make you into expert at arguing but to help you become a better thinker.  Arguing well requires clear thinking and understanding what you believe.  To argue is simply to present evidence for your beliefs.  When you tell people heaven is only for followers of Jesus you have the beginning steps of an argument.  When people ask you, why do you believe that, your answer is an argument. You are arguing Jesus is the only way.  Jesus argued with the religious leaders all the time.  If we want to be like Jesus we have to learn to argue.  However, we have to control our emotions and not be argumentative.

Dr. Craig has written books and papers on the cosmological argument for the existence of God.  I will use the Kalam Cosmological Argument for the existence of God to not only give you a way to establish the existence of God to an atheist but also to demonstrate that we have solid evidence for believing in a personal Creator. In the process this strategy should strengthen your belief in the Christian God.

“Kalam” is an Arabic word that stands for philosophy or theology.  “Cosmo” refers to the universe and “logical” refers to valid reasoning.   It is a logical case for the beginning of the universe. This argument can be traced back to Christians living in Egypt.  After the Muslims overtook Egypt they developed the argument further. Armed with this argument, my hope is to strengthen your belief and build your confidence to share with someone that doesn’t believe in God.

The argument can be stated in 3 simple either/or steps:

  1. The universe either had a beginning, or it didn’t have a beginning and is eternal.
  2. If the universe had a beginning, it was either caused or uncaused.
  3. If the universe was caused, then cause was either personal or impersonal.

My next post I will begin with step 1.

Go to part 16 here

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Part 8 What is microevolution & macroevolution?

Is Darwinian Evolution a Fact?

Before we can adequately answer this question I have to clarify a couple of definitions of evolution.

  • Microevolution – Small changes through natural selection that allow the organism to survive and reproduce.

Microevolution is what we see on islands where bird beak sizes change due to draught.  The birds with longer beaks could reach food and water in the cracks of the rocks survived and reproduced.  The babies that had the long beaks survived and then they reproduced.  Soon the finch beak size was longer than usual.  Another example is insects adapt and survive when farmers spraying DDT.  These resistant creatures reproduce and their offspring are resistant to DDT.  This is called natural selection.  Living creatures adapt to changes in their environment and these changes lead to survival of the creature through reproduction.  This type of evolution is not disputed.  We as Christians have no problem with microevolution.

When Darwin observed small changes in birds and other creatures on the Galapagos Islands, microevolution, he theorized these small changes could then lead to major changes; the gradual accumulation of small changes would lead to a new species or a new creature.  This is what we call…

  • Macroevolution (Darwinian Evolution) – All life came from non-life and evolved from the first life up to humans.  Also nicknamed the “Molecules to man theory”

Macroevolution accounts for all the diversity we see on earth.  Instead of God creating special creatures, all living things are the result of small changes over billions of years.  This is why it is also nicknamed, “Molecules to man theory.”  We begin with some molecules formed from non-life and through the process of natural selection, mutations and time we get humans.

If we clearly understand these definitions, we can avert many of the arguments that occur over evolution.  Many people I talk to on this subject think I am nuts for not believing in evolution; what they are thinking of is microevolution.  By explaining these two definitions I have averted many misunderstandings.  I clearly make it known that I have no problem with microevolution, small changes in the organism.  I tell them my problem lies with macroevolution; many small changes leading to new living creatures.  I don’t have a problem with finches getting longer beaks to find food; I have a problem with the idea that finches with longer beaks eventually become whales or some other creature.  One organism, over billions of years, changing into another species I believe is false.  Macroevolution is what Darwinian Evolution teaches.  What does the evidence reveal?

Go to part 9 here

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Part 14 Arguing for the existence of God

Arguing for the Existence of God

While our family was vacationing in Yosemite, I was asked by my son Keith to present to his girlfriend the Kalaam Cosmological Argument for the existence of God.  This is a sophisticated argument Dr. William Lane Craig, a defender of Christianity, utilizes on a regular basis in his debates.  Years ago when I worked with the college group at Emmanuel Faith Church in Escondido, I taught this argument. My son had been a part of the college group at the time and remembered that session.

Now I hadn’t taught this for almost 10 years and it was going to take everything I had to recall the basics of the argument.  Fortunately, for me I love to listen to Dr. Craig’s debates on my MP3 player and he uses this argument on a regular basis.  Writing on a napkin in the dining hall of the Yosemite Lodge, I began to sketch out the argument.  It has a logical beauty that my son loves.  Upon finishing his girlfriend was impressed with the soundness of the argument.  She is a very intelligent young lady and loves to read about scientific issues.  The argument left no doubt in her mind God existed and it confirmed what she already believed.

I would like to present to you how to sketch out this argument.  This information can be presented to an atheist who challenges the existence of God.  Secondly, I would like to present an argument for the existence of God based on design we see in the universe.  My science teaching buddy, John said the argument for design is the best evidence for the existence of God.  I will show you a few incredible findings that point towards a creator of the universe.

To establish these arguments I will utilize science to make a case for God.  Atheists think the Bible is nothing but fairy tales.  Some of the information I will use I have covered in earlier postings.

Tactically, whenever we make a case for God with non-Christians I find it is best, on certain issues, to adopt their views.  For example my suggestion is not to argue against the big bang or try to establish a young earth.  Science says the universe is 14.6 billion years old.  Regardless of your view on the age of the universe, adopt their view.  In other words choose the hill upon which you are willing die on.  The age of the universe is not a hill worth dying on.  If you choose to argue for a young earth with an atheist, all your views of science will be discarded.  No non-Christian scientist on record believes the earth is a few thousand years old.  The same goes for the big bang.  Accept it as true whether you believe it or not.  Make your case on issues where we have solid evidence in the scientific community.  Go after macroevolution where we have strong evidence to the contrary (previous posts on evolution).

My goal in these final postings is to strengthen your faith based on the strong scientific evidence for existence of God and equip you to share that information with others.

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Part 13 Belief in evolution an example of blind faith

The answer to the question, is Darwinian Evolution a fact, is a resounding NO!  My hope it you will take the information you have learned and share it with others.  For the college students in our churches, Darwinian Evolution is having a negative impact.  Many of them are leaving the church because professors say science has proven Christianity false and Darwinian Evolution true.  The number one reason why teenagers and adults turn their back on Christianity is for intellectual reasons.  We need to give answers to those who are asking science questions.

The search for knowledge will strengthen your faith.  I read book by an atheist called, Evolution a Theory in Crisis. It was written by Michael Denton a respected Microbiologist.  In his book he completely dismantled the Darwinian theory of Evolution.  When I finished I had tears in my eyes.  Why you ask?  Because here was a scientist who didn’t believe in God and didn’t have an ax to grind, writing there is no evidence for Darwinian Evolution.  As I sat there and realized what this meant, I began to weep.  Yes I am weird, just ask my wife!  Since that day I have been teaching others the weaknesses of evolution and establishing God as the creator.

Another good resource to read is Michael Behe’s Darwin’s Black Box.  Behe is a biochemist from Lehigh University.  He studied scientific literature to find out how science could explain highly complex systems.  What he found was none of the research articles published in major scientific journals had any answers for the problem of irreducible complexity; gradual Darwinian Evolution couldn’t explain it.  Behe is the one who coined the mousetrap illustration and is still a thorn in the side of evolutionists.

Science is an easy topic to get into a discussion with my non-Christian friends.  Time, Newsweek, US News and World report magazines publish articles about evolution continually and this makes discussions easy.  All you have to do is read the articles and then go to coffee with a friend and talk about them.

My atheist science teacher friend and I met for over a year and one day I came to his room prepared for war.  I wanted to summarize the important things we had discussed.  So I went to his chalk board and wrote…

  • How did the universe come into existence?  He answered I don’t know.
  • Why is the universe designed perfectly for life?  He answered I don’t know.
  • How did life begin?  He answered I don’t know.
  • How did early life become so complex?  He answered I don’t know.

I said, John if you don’t have any good answers for any of these questions, why don’t you believe it was done by God?  He then told me “I believe science will discover the answers within the next 25 years.”

Let me make four quick observations about this remark.

−   First, it’s a tacit admission evolutionary scientists don’t have the evidence.

−   Second, the intelligent design answer is not a default position based on what we don’t know (God of the gaps), but rather on what we do know.

−   Third, sometimes the current evidence is so decisive, it’s hard to imagine it being overturned.

−   Finally, what really matters is the evidence at hand, not what might be produced in the future (no science of the gaps).  When, and if, new facts come to light, then we’re free to reassess.  The most useful conclusions are based on present facts, not future fantasies[1].

John’s atheistic beliefs are based on blind faith.  He refuses to believe in God as the creator and as the Bible states it, he is without excuse.  How about you?  Can you answer the questions I gave John?  If not, you might want to reconsider your position.

My next series of posts I am going to make a logical argument for the existence of God.  I will demonstrate atheism cannot be true based on the evidence.

Go to part 14 here


[1] Koukl, Greg, “Why I’m Not an Evolutionist,” Stand to Reason 1999 teaching outline, pp. 20-21

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Part 11 Bible teaches all life created by God

Is Darwinian Evolution a Fact?

If science has no idea how life comes from non-life and how early life in the fossil record is so complex, what does the Bible say?

The Bible teaches all life was created by God.

I believe there will never be an explanation for how life comes from non-life.  The reason is only a living intelligent being could ever create life.  Life only comes from life.  No matter how much scientists try, jamming chemicals together will never produce intelligent life.  Living creatures look designed, because they are!  The Bible says in Genesis 1:21, “God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves.” We see in verse 27 “God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” All life, according to the Bible, was created by God.  This is what we observe; this is the only good explanation for why life exists.  All humans owe their existence to God.

Complexity also is best explained by an intelligent designer.  Just like a computer comes from an intelligent designer, so does the living cell.  Genesis 1:21, “God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves.” Think about how complex movement is; the knee, foot, toes and ankle work together so we can efficiently move.  I was on a 7 mile run a few weeks ago contemplating how everything works to perfection so I can move smoothly down the road.  How each foot-plant the various muscles and tendons absorb the shock.   Each step I thought this is an unbelievable work of design by and incredible designer.  Then reality hit me; this is an incredibly long run and I can’t wait to get home!

Movement is just one example of tremendous complexity that is part of all living organisms.  The mousetrap maybe a highly complex system but not nearly as complex as our eyes or our blood clotting system or our immune system.  All of these systems need multiple parts in place at one time, like the mousetrap, before they can function.  Darwinian Evolution has no explanation for this.  All life is irreducibly complex, so much so the best explanation is a designer; the Bible teaches that designer is God.

In truth, I believe complexity is a sign to all scientists that God exists.  There is no possible natural explanation for the incredible complexity we see in all living organisms.  Paul writes in Romans 1:20, “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.” God is visible through creation; through all living things.  All people, including scientists, are going to be held accountable because God can be seen and understood through His creation.  Paul says people that don’t believe are without excuse.  When they die and meet God they cannot say there wasn’t enough evidence.  People choose to ignore the evidence.  If you are one of those individuals please don’t ignore the obvious; trust and believe in God and His Son Jesus Christ today.

Go to part 12 here

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Part 10 Problems with complexity of biological life

Is Darwinian Evolution a Fact?

Evolution has a major problem with life coming from non-life.  The problem get even worse answering the question…

  • Why is early life more complex than our laptop computers?

For Darwinian evolution to be true not only must life come from non-life but early life must be simple and over time gradually evolve to become more complex.  Ten years after Darwin proposed his theory of evolution, he wrote how life could come from non-life and that the cells that make up all living organisms were extremely simple; like a “Jello” type substance with a nucleus and a cell wall.  This idea seemed to be confirmed by the use of early microscopes.  However, as microscopes became more powerful, the cell all of a sudden became more and more complex.  So highly complex it makes our computers look like a child’s toy.

As digging has continued around the world, scientists have found in the fossil records the earliest living organism were highly complex at the cellular level.  When I say highly complex or irreducibly complex, from Michael Behe’s book Darwin’s Black Box,I mean all parts of the system or organism have to be completely in place at one time so it can function.  Dr. Behe used a mouse trap to demonstrate a highly complex organism.

There are different parts to a mouse trap:

  1. Base made of wood
  2. Metal hammer for crushing the mouse
  3. Spring to help the metal hammer slam down on the mouse
  4. Catch with food holder
  5. Metal bar to hook to the catch to hold back the metal hammer
  6. 4 Staples to hold the metal in place

Now a system is irreducibly complex if all parts of a mousetrap have to be together before it can catch a mouse.  The way you test this is to ask, would it work if one part was missing?  Would it catch a mouse if the latch was missing?  Or maybe the spring was missing or the staples weren’t there to attach the spring and metal hammer.  Would it work?  Of course not!

Now think of the mousetrap as a living organism and it has to catch mice to live.  A long time ago there was only a base and the base was made of thin material like paper.  Could it catch mice?  Eventually, somehow the base became wood and grew staples.  Could staples alone sitting on a base catch mice?  Then the metal hammer came into existence by mutations and chance; could it now catch a mouse?

Unless the mousetrap is 100% complete, with the right materials in place at the same time it will not function.  If this was a living organism how could it have survived by gradual steps?  From paper to wood, gradually until it reached completion.  It couldn’t have!  Darwinian evolution has no explanation for how highly complex organisms come into existence, since they have to be in complete form to survive.

As I said before scientists have found in the fossil record early cells more complex than the computers that sit on our desks.  Could a computer suddenly jump into existence without gradual steps?  And what is more intriguing is these cells can duplicate themselves continually.

I once told a friend to imagine your computer on your desk in your house; the next day you come into your office and there are two of them, exactly the same.  The day after that you come in and now there are four; then eight, and eventually millions of computers.  I asked him if his computer could do this?  He said of course not; not without outside help.  I then said this is what cells do all the time.  They can perfectly reproduce themselves at a higher complexity than your computer.  And you believe the duplication of cells happened by chance and accident without any outside assistance?

Bottom line, science has no idea how life comes from non-life and how early life in the fossil record is so complex.  Remember if Darwinian evolution cannot explain how life comes from non-life then the theory fails.  Life has to come about as a result of natural processes or you can throw the theory out.  This is one of the reasons why an increasing number of scientists have abandoned Darwinian Evolution.

Go to part 11 here

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Part 9 Problems with life coming from non-life?

Is Darwinian Evolution a Fact?

Macroevolution has two pillars that both have to be in place in order for it to be true.  If either one is wrong the theory fails.  One pillar is life has to somehow come from non-life and secondly, the fossil record has to be loaded with transitional fossils.  Let’s look at the first problem with macroevolution.

If Darwinian Evolution is a fact then why is there no evidence for life coming from non-life?

According to Darwinian Evolution there was a time when there was no life and suddenly without any help life came into existence.  How is this possible?  How does living stuff come from dead stuff?  The answer…no one knows!  NO ONE!  Over 45 years of intensive research has virtually failed to show any tangible results.

Many scientists theorize there had to be an early primordial soup that allowed for life to begin.  In 1953 Miller-Urey experimental evidence for primordial soup was cited when they demonstrated elementary amino acids (which are building blocks for protein) could be formed in a lab with an atmosphere resembling primordial earth.  However, the atmosphere in the Miller-Urey experiments proved to be incorrect.  The true early atmosphere destroyed life instead of allowing it to develop.  Similar experiments have not been successful and/or utilized so much operator interference that their validity is questioned.  Astrophysicist Sir Fred Hoyle has said:  “If there were some deep principle that drove organic systems toward living systems, the operation of the principle should easily be demonstrable in a test tube in half a morning….No such demonstration has ever been given. Nothing happens…except the eventual production of a tarry sludge[1].”   Atheist Richard Dawkins states: “The probability of life having arisen by chance is as vanishingly small as the likelihood of a Jumbo Jet having being constructed by a hurricane sweeping through a scrap yard[2].”

In fact the situation is so bleak that in 1999 at the San Diego Origin of Life conference, the group from NASA attracted the most attention.  Why you ask?  They proposed life was started here by aliens who migrated to earth from another planet.  The reason for looking to outer space was because there are no other good explanations for life coming from non-life.  Francis Crick, one of the scientists who discovered DNA, is currently leading the way in searching for life in outer space, once wrote, “The origin of life appears to be almost a miracle, so many are the conditions which would have had to be satisfied to get it going.”[3] Instead actually saying how life began was a true miracle, one from God, he now looks to outer space; giving credit to little green men in space suits.

The problem with looking for life on other planets is answering the question, how did life come from non-life on that planet?  The problem is simply transferred millions of miles away.  Currently we have zero evidence for life on another planet.

So what is the evidence for life coming from dead stuff?  It doesn’t exist!  The efforts to jam chemicals together in a lab by scientists has only resulted in scant amounts of amino acids and are nowhere close to creating life from non-life.  And to think, these failed experiments are done in a lab by intelligent designers.  The overwhelming evidence for life from non-life points to an uncreated intelligent designer.

Go to part 10 here


[1] Sir Fred Hoyle and Chandra Wickramasinghe, Evolution from Space (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1981), 24.

[2] Kenan Malik reviews The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins http://www.telegraph.co.uk/arts/main.jhtml ?xml=/arts/2006/10/08/bodaw01.xml

[3] “In the Beginning,” Scientific American, Feb. 1991, 125.

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Part 7 Is Darwinian Evolution a fact?

Is Darwinian Evolution a Fact?

As a public school teacher I asked one of the science teachers at my school if he wanted to discuss the issue of evolution versus creation.  He accepted the invitation and we began meeting 2-3 days a week in his room during lunch.  John was athletic, intelligent, and articulate.  He believed God was a myth and was a strong advocate for evolution.

We met for over a year, discussing God, the Bible, science, society, family, and other issues of importance.  After 5 months of discussion John looked me square in the eyes and said something like this, “After reading your materials and the discussions we’ve had I am more convinced than ever that Christianity is false.”  He didn’t seem to want to give any ground when confronted by my evidence.  He strongly believed Darwinian Evolution was more than a theory.

Now officially evolution is a theory.  However, if you don’t believe it is a fact, many scientists deem something is wrong with you. In fact Richard Dawkins, an Oxford zoologist, said this, “It is absolutely safe to say that, if you meet somebody who claims not to believe in evolution, the person is ignorant, stupid or insane or wicked, but I’d rather not consider that.[1]

The October 9th 2006 issue of Time Magazine the front page article was entitled, “How We Became Human:  Chimps and humans share almost 99% of their DNA.  New discoveries reveal how we can be so alike—and yet so different.”  In the main article there is a picture of an evolutionary tree; the trunk of the tree, Charles Darwin said, represents the theory that all life has a common ancestor and the branches represent the different directions life has evolved; as far as the evolution of humans, the lower branch showing Orangutans, then Gorillas, onto a pigmy chimp branch, over to chimpanzees, and finally a separate branch for modern humans.

The article states, “Along the way they [Paleontologists] learned, among other things, that Charles Darwin the individual responsible for the theory of evolution, even with next to no data, was close to being right in his intuition that apes and humans are descended from a single common ancestor[2].

Are monkeys our next of kin?  Are our relatives locked up in the Escondido Wild Animal Park?  Is Darwinian Evolution a theory or a fact?  How do we defend what we say with our non-Christian friends?  What does the Bible say about this issue?

My desire is to equip and encourage you concerning this important cultural issue.  I believe we have the goods; the evidence is on our side and we just need to learn to present the truth in a loving and winsome fashion.  Since much of society has discounted the Bible we have to be able to discuss this issue in the public square without it.  However I will show how accurate the Bible is concerning how life began.

Either God is creator of all life or all life is the result of mindless random processes of mutations and natural selection that never had us in mind.  We are either products of chance with no ultimate purpose or created by God for a purpose.  Is Darwinian Evolution fact?  What does the evidence tell us?

Go to part 8


[1] Koukl, Greg, “Why I am not an Evolutionist” Lecture notes p.7, Stand to Reason, 1999

[2] Limonick, Michael; Dorfman, Andrea, “What Makes Us Different,” Time Magazine p. 46, 10/09/06

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Next I would like to move to an inside the church discussion.

II. How Old is the Universe

For scientists this is not a controversial issue.  Today’s best estimate is the universe is 14.6 billion years old and the earth is 4.5 billion years old.  Physicists and astronomers are the ones that have arrived at those ages.

However, there is great disagreement inside the Christian Church as to how old the universe is.  There are followers of Christ that believe the universe is 6,000 years old all the way to others believing the universe is 14.6 billion years old.  So how do you reconcile these huge differences?

The first step is to acknowledge in Christianity there are open handed and close fisted issues.  Close fisted issues are those whereby to deny them is to deny Christianity.  They are also called essential doctrines or core doctrines.  An example would be the Trinity; if you deny the Trinity then you deny the God of the Bible.  You can call yourself anything you want but you cannot call yourself a Christian.  Another close fisted or core doctrine is the resurrection.  You must believe Jesus rose bodily from the dead or you are not a Christian.

An open handed doctrine is one that there can be disagreement or should we say differences in interpretation.  A few open handed examples are: theories of salvation such as Calvinism versus Arminianism or end time beliefs or whether supernatural sign gifts are for today.  Christians can disagree on all of these and still be brothers in the Lord.

The age of the universe/earth is an open handed belief.  Being an open handed belief doesn’t mean it’s not important; it just means we can agree to disagree on certain issues.  Saint Augustine once penned, “In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, and in all things charity.”

This can be an emotional issue.  I have found some people hold strongly to their view and get angry if you disagree.  For some young earth believers they think holding a view of billions of years is an attack on the Bible and giving in to Darwinian Evolution.  I can assure you six of the seven views take the Bible seriously and believe they are interpreting Genesis 1 the way the author intended.  Only one view supports Darwinian Evolution, theistic evolution.  I believe that particular view has major problems.  I strongly believe the Bible to be God’s Word and think the best interpretation of Genesis 1 and the rest of the Bible is the old earth view.

I will give you 7 different ways of interpreting Genesis 1.  All of them have strengths and all have weaknesses.  This is why there is so much disagreement among Christians on this issue.  I will highlight of few of them.

  1. The Young Earth Interpretation – Often called the twenty-four-hour view, the Calendar-Day view, the young earth perspective may be described very simply. It accepts the first chapter of Genesis as historical and chronological in character and takes the creation week as consisting of six twenty-four-hour days, followed by a twenty-four-hour Sabbath. Since Adam and Eve were created as mature adults, so the rest of creation came forth from its Maker. The Garden included full-grown trees and animals, which Adam named. Those holding this view believe this is the normal understanding of the creation account and that this has been the most commonly held understanding of this account both in Jewish and Christian history.
  2. The Old Earth Interpretation – Also called the day-Age view, the old earth view says the six days of the are understood in the same sense as “in that day” of Isaiah 11:10-11—in other words, as periods of indefinite length and not of 24 hours duration. The six days are taken as sequential but as overlapping and perhaps merging into one another. According to this view, the Genesis 1 creation week describes events from the point of view of the earth, which is being prepared as the habitation for man. In this context, the explanation of day four is that the sun only became visible on that day, as atmospheric conditions allowed the previous alternation of light and darkness to be perceived as coming from the previously created sun and other heavenly bodies. The Day-Age construct preserves the general sequence of events as portrayed in the text and is not merely a response to Charles Darwin and evolutionary science. From ancient times there was recognition among Bible scholars that the word “day” literally could mean an extended period of time.

Go to part 6 here

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Part 4 What creation teaches us about God

II. What do we learn about God from His Creation?

When we hear a song we can learn something about the composer or when we see a painting we can learn about the artist.  When God creates the universe we can learn something about Him.  Here are just some the things we learn about our God from creation.

  • God is the Only God: Genesis 1:1 does not say, “In the beginning gods created the heavens and the earth.”  The opening line says God created.  Isaiah 45:18 (NASB) “For thus says the Lord, who created the heavens (He is the God who formed the earth and made it, He established it and did not create it a waste place, But formed it to be inhabited), ‘I am the Lord, and there is none else.’”
  • God is Trinitarian: Genesis 1:26 (NASB) “Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness…’” An example of one God using the words “us” and “our” in reference to Himself.  We believe in one God subsisting in 3 persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit; each is co-eternal and co-equal.  Each of the persons of the Trinity was involved in creation.  The Father created (Ps. 19:1, Acts 17:28; 1 Cor. 8:6), the Son created (John 1:1-3; Col. 1:16, 17), and the Spirit created (Gen. 1:2).
  • God is the Uncreated Creator: God is eternal and the universe is not.  Universe was created and God was not.
  • God is Transcendent: God is separate from His creation.  Some religions, like Pantheism, believe God is all and all is God.  They believe God is the chair, earth, house, etc.; everything is God.  The God of the Bible is not His creation; He is separate or transcendent from His creation.
  • God is Imminent: God is separate but active in his creation.  He is sustaining and ruling over everything.
  • God is Personal: God is not an “it,” the impersonal god of some religions (New age).  God is a personal living being and He creates personal living beings.
  • God is Holy: God is without sin and so was creation until man rebelled.  In the end God will restore what was lost at the fall.
  • God is Powerful: God’s power is demonstrated by making everything from nothing.  His power rules over creation and can be demonstrated by His miracles.
  • God is the Ruler Over Creation: God is king over everything He has made, including Satan, demons, humans, planets, stars, animals, etc[1].

Go to part 5 here

[1] Mark Driscoll & Gerry Breshears, Doctrine, Crossway Publ. Wheaton, Ill. 2010 pgs. 86-89

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Forgiveness with or without Repentance Part 1

(An email from a woman to a local pastor)

I was listening to an apologetics program today and a woman who called in stated that we should forgive others even if they have not asked for forgiveness. She sited Luke 23:34 “Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.” And also Acts 7:60 (Stephen Speaking) “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” The apologetics facilitator said that we should not forgive those who have not asked for forgiveness because there must be repentance to forgive.

Our Christian nature I would think (at least mine does) leads us to forgive those who have wronged us. This is how I have dealt with my divorce by forgiving my ex-husband and allowing me to be freed from resentment. A woman I work with and I had a huge personality conflict but because of my forgiveness of her shortcomings and my love for her, we have a rather good working relationship.

Could you please shed some light on this? Does the person need to repent to receive forgiveness from us?

The pastor passed this email on to me to give an answer. Below are some key New Testament scriptures that deal with the issue of forgiveness. These helped me as I formulated my answer.

Matthew 6:14

For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.

Matthew 18:21 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?”

Matthew 18:35 “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart.”

Mark 2:7 “Why does this fellow talk like that? He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?”

Mark 11:25 And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”

2 Cor. 2:7 Now instead, you ought to forgive and comfort him, so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow.

Col. 3:13 Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

Luke 17:3-4 So watch yourselves.”If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him. 4If he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times comes back to you and says, ‘I repent,’ forgive him.”

This was a good question and one I was excited to try to answer. In part 2 I will share my reply to the woman.

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Let me begin our discussion where God begins:

I. In the Beginning God created the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1:1)

The Bible teaches the entire universe came into existence out of nothing.  The phrase ex nihilo is used because is means, “out of nothing.”  What this means is before the creation of the universe, nothing else existed except the Triune God.  God existed from all eternity as a Trinity; Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and all 3 persons of the Trinity participated in creation ex nihilo (out of nothing).   Hebrews 11:3 (NASB) By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible.” God created everything material and immaterial out of nothing.

What does science say?  The vast majority of scientists believe the universe came into existence via the big bang.  Physicist Steven Weinberg in his book The First Three Minutes says, “In the beginning there was an explosion.”  The big bang theory teaches the universe began to exist with a great explosion from a state of infinite density about 14.6 billion years ago.  Four of the world’s most famous astronomers describe that event in these words: “The universe began from a state of infinite density…Space and time were created in that event and so was all the matter in the universe[1].”  Since the beginning event space and matter have been moving outward; the universe is constantly expanding.  And where did the matter come from?  Science has no idea.

Another interesting question is what was the cause of the big bang?  Author Bill Bryson writes in his book A Short History of Nearly Everything, “It seems impossible that you could get something from nothing,” he said, “but the fact that once there was nothing and now there is a universe is evident proof that you can.”  Are you kidding me?  A brilliant man saying the universe came into existence from nothing and was caused by nothing; as if nothing had the power to create the entire universe.  Aristotle defined nothing as what rocks dream about.  Nothing is no-thing and cannot create anything.  This just shows how far science has to go to avoid giving God the credit.  Over the years there have been alternate theories proposed (i.e. steady state, oscillating universe) but all of them have been soundly refuted.  Currently, scientists have no idea how the universe came into existence.

Whether or not you believe in the big bang theory, it is important to understand, the vast majority of scientists believe the universe came into existence at some point in time in the past.  The idea of an eternal universe is rejected almost universally by scientists.  Steven Hawking writes, “Almost everyone now believes that the universe, and time itself, had a beginning at the Big Bang[2].”  Bottom line the big bang needs a big banger.  Moses was correct thousands of years ago when he penned his words in Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”

I was on a hike with my college age nephew Max from New Zealand.  He is normally very quiet except when he is with me; he loves to talk to me about spiritual issues.  On a hike in the Mammoth Lakes area, I asked him where he thought truth came from.  He said truth comes from science.  I said I believe we can learn a lot from science but ultimately all truth comes from God.  He couldn’t accept my answer because he didn’t believe God existed.  I then asked him how the universe came into existence and he told me he believes the universe never had a beginning; that it is eternal.  I said that goes against science; that science has rejected the idea of an eternal universe and almost all scientists believes in the big bang.  I then said, how can you say science has the truth but when science contradicts your beliefs you reject science?  He got very quiet.  I then said, Max science isn’t the center of truth, you are.

Max wanted to avoid the big bang; why? A big bang needs a big banger.  You have to understand scientists worldwide don’t want the big bang to be true.  It leads to the possibly God exists and they don’t want any supernatural answers to scientific questions.  They will do anything to avoid giving God the credit for the universe.  Paul writes in Romans 1:21For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.” Ignorance is the result of a choice. People who do not “know” God are those who have made that choice. Understanding God requires a moral decision, not additional information. My nephew Max doesn’t need more evidence, he just needs to believe; God says he is without excuse.

Go to part 4 here


[1] J. Richard Gott, et al., “Will the Universe Expand Forever?” Scientific American (March 1976): 65.

[2] Stephen W. Hawking and Roger Penrose, The Nature of Space and Time (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1996), 20.

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2. Understanding science will strengthen our faith

Whenever I have doubts about my faith, the first thing I do is recall all the scientific evidence I’ve learned over the years.  This quickly dispels that little voice that speaks in the back of my head that says, “This Christianity stuff is all made up.”  Do you ever have those doubts or am I just weird?  One apologetic speaker called it wonder.  Wonder is asking questions about God in order to get to know Him better.  We need to have more wonder.  We need to seek answers to our wondering.  The more we seek and find answers, the more we grow closer to the creator of the universe.  Remember God thought this was so important He began His special revelation to us by giving us the creation account.  God knows the more we understand science and how it supports his existence and His power, the more we will strengthen our faith.  As our faith grows stronger our love for God grows deeper.  Faith is not wishful thinking; faith is based on knowledge.  A growth in knowledge is a growth in faith.

3. Our friends and relatives need to hear the truth about science and faith

This is listed third for a good reason; simply because not everyone reading this will talk with individuals who love to discuss science.  However, we need to understand one of the major stumbling blocks for some individuals becoming followers of Christ is science.  Our culture thinks science is based on truth and religion is based on blind faith.  We have friends and relatives who think we live in a fantasy world if we think science and Christianity are compatible.  Some of these individuals will not listen to our message about Jesus Christ unless we clear away the false ideas of issues such as Darwinian Evolution.  People have to believe in the existence of God before they could ever accept Jesus Christ.  God loves to use good arguments to help friends and relatives to come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

One perfect example of needing to hear the truth about science and faith was Anthony Flew, who was a lecturer, a debater, and for over 30 years a professor of philosophy at two universities.  He wrote books in support of atheism and on a regular basis debated against Christians and theists on a number of topics.  He at one time was considered one of the world’s leading scholars and advocates of atheism.

However, something happened in the 2004.  Upon years of studying the evidence for Darwinian evolution and intelligent design he reached the conclusion that intelligent design had the better arguments.  He then became a deist.  A deist believes that God got things started and then backed off.  From a hard core debating atheist to a believer in God is a monstrous change!  In an interview, with Christian scholar Gary Habermas, Flew said this concerning his change from atheism, “I think the argument to Intelligent Design is enormously stronger than it was when I first met it.  It now seems to me that the findings of more than fifty years of DNA research have provided materials for a new and enormously powerful argument to design[1].”

Anthony Flew, upon a close examination of Darwinian evolution and intelligent design, made a radical decision to change his belief system.  As an intellectual scholar he felt he had no other reasonable choice.  Anthony Flew had the courage and honesty to leave his atheism and go with the evidence.

As I said before, the most important reason for studying this material is God began his scriptures with, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”  He thinks science is important and so should we. Secondly, this information will strengthen your faith and third I would like to equip those who get into science discussions.

Go to part 3 here


[1] Habermas & Flew, Interview 2004 Evangelical Philosophical Society, pgs 2,3

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The Watchtower Organization in their booklet “Should You Believe in the Trinity” attempted to make the case the anti-Nicene Fathers (early church fathers) were anti-Trinitarian. Before answering them I need to give a brief definition of the Trinity.  One God subsists in three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; co-equal and co-eternal.  I will now examine some quotes from the Watchtower booklet.

Justin Martyr

Justin Martyr (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

THE ante-Nicene Fathers were acknowledged to have been leading religious teachers in the early centuries after Christ’s birth. What they taught is of interest.

Justin Martyr, who died about 165 C.E., called the prehuman Jesus a created angel who is “other than the God who made all things.” He said that Jesus was inferior to God and “never did anything except what the Creator . . . willed him to do and say.”  [Exert from “Should You Believe in the Trinity?”]

They begin their case by quoting Justin Martyr.  I will provide some background information conspicuously missing from the booklet.  Robert Bowman writes in his book Why You Should Believe in the Trinity[1]:

The JW booklet cites selectively, and without documenting its quotations, from several Ante-Nicene Fathers (Christians living before the Council of Nicea) to show that none of them believed in the Trinity.  These early Christian writers are quoted as if each, by being considered one of the “Fathers,” is regarded as having been completely orthodox in his theology.  Such is not the case.  Justin Martyr is regarded as an “apologist” in that he gave effective answers against some of the popular misconceptions of Christianity in the second century, but he is not regarded as a theologian, and he is generally criticized by Christian theologians for mixing Christian beliefs with pagan philosophy.”

Justin Martyr taught that the prehuman Jesus was God, not an angel.  Justin did say the Christ was called an angel, but explained that this was because Christ, who was actually God, took on the appearance of an angel.  Thus Justin writes that “the Father of the universe has a Son; who also, being the first-begotten Word of God, is even God.  And of old he appeared in the shape of fire and in the likeness of an angel to Moses and to the other prophets…”

In short, although Justin Martyr did not use such terms as “Trinity,” and his philosophical explanations of the relation of Christ to God were somewhat confused, he worshiped Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and he regarded Christ as Jehovah God.

The booklet seems to imply Justin Martyr said Jesus was inferior to God.  This is false. You notice these words are without quotation marks.  They are the conclusion reached by the Watchtower writer.  They justify this because Justin wrote the human Jesus followed the will of the Father.  For them this meant Jesus was inferior to the Father therefore he could not be God.  It is true the Bible and Justin Martyr both state Jesus only did what the Father wills.  This doesn’t make Him inferior but obedient.  Since Justin believed Jesus to be fully God he would never had called him inferior in an ontological (nature of being) sense.

Justin also identified Jesus as YHWH (Jehovah) of the Old Testament.  He writes, “Although the Jews were always of the opinion that it was the Father of all who had spoken to Moses, it was in fact the Son of God…who spoke to him…They who assert that the Son is the Father are proved to know neither the Father, nor that the Father of all has a Son, who is both the first-born Word of God and is God.”[2]  He goes on to say, “What was said out of the bush to Moses, ‘I am He who is, the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob and the God of your fathers,’ was an indication that they though dead still existed and were Christ’s own men.”[3]  Here we see not only is Jesus YHWH of the Old Testament but that Justin taught Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were still alive in the afterlife even though physically dead.  This contradicts the teachings of the Watchtower, who believe once you die you go out of existence until the end times.  Interesting they would quote someone who refutes their beliefs. Elsewhere Justin writes, “For Christ is King, and Priest, and God, and Lord…”[4]

Even though Justin Martyr does not use the word Trinity, he still believed in a Triune God.  Justin clearly taught Jesus was fully God and fully man, refuting the Watchtower beliefs he was a created being.  This deceptive organization again misrepresents the true views of the author.

Go to part 8 here


[1] Bowman, Robert; Why You Should Believe in the Trinity, p. 28-29.

[2] W.A. Jurgens, The Faith of the Early Fathers, vol. 1 (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1979) p. 63

[3] Ibid.

[4] Martyr, Justin, Dialogue with Trypho Chapter 19 p. 211
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I am beginning a new series discussing issues of science and faith.    I would like to demonstrate how science and Christianity are compatible.  As I begin I would like to establish some ground rules.

  1. The Bible is not a scientific textbook. It will not use precise scientific language and will describe events from the perspective of the observer.  For example the Bible will say the sun sets, whereas we know the rotation of the earth causes the change between daylight and darkness.  However, there are no contradictions between science and what the Bible teaches.
  2. I am going to argue against issues such as Darwinian evolution from a scientific perspective and not a religious one.  This is important because in the public square, the Bible has been discredited in many people’s minds.  However, since I am writing to primarily Christians, I will show when and where the Bible does support my points.
  3. I am a generalist and not a scientist.  That doesn’t disqualify me from this discussion.  In fact I find many scientists I talk to don’t know as much as I do on this topic.  They have a narrow understanding of their particular discipline but issues of creation versus evolution I find they are not prepared to discuss.  I enjoy reading books on evolution and intelligent design.

Let me share 3 reasons why understanding issues of creation are important.

  1. God says it is

Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Heavens and earth simply means God created the universe and everything in it.  Let me ask you, what other religious book begins by announcing God is the creator of the universe?  There are none that I am aware of; not the Quran, the Hindu scriptures, the Book of Mormon, not a single one.  Do you think if God begins His Word with two chapters on creation that He thinks it’s important?  Absolutely!  You see science properly interpreted and the Bible properly interpreted are not in conflict; both are God’s unique revelations.  In creation God clearly reveals Himself.

In theology we have general revelation and special revelation.  Special revelation is God revealing Himself through His written word.  General revelation is God revealing himself through his creation.  King David attests to general revelation when he writes in, Psalms 19:1-2 (NIV) The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. 2 Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge.” As David writes creation pours out knowledge about Him!  It tells us God exists and some about who He is.

In fact creation is so important we are held accountable for acknowledging God’s existence.  Romans 1:18-20 (NASB) For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.” People who don’t believe in God cannot say God didn’t provide me with enough evidence; God says sorry you should have believed in me based on the powerful evidence in the world around you; therefore, you are without excuse.  When non-Christians die, God will pour out his wrath on those who reject Him and His Son Jesus Christ and His judgment will be just because they rejected clear evidence.

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