Archive for March, 2014

 What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?   For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour.   ~Psalms 8:4-5

To a Christian, one of the most valuable things in this world is human life.  This is because we know that each and every individual is fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of God, regardless of their physical appearance or genetic makeup.  As such, each and every person is deserving of human dignity and love.  However, as we see a moral and spiritual decline in our country (and in the world, for that matter) due to a rejection of God and His Word, we also see a corresponding diminishing of the perceived value of human life in society.  Case in point: While watching a recent news broadcast, my wife was telling me that she was sickened and  horrified to learn that a hospital in the UK was found to be burning the aborted fetuses of  unborn babies right along with the rest of the hospital’s trash as a new ‘green’ way of heating their building.  That’s right, these innocent little children were first murdered and then their lifeless bodies were simply tossed into the trash pile and incinerated, with absolutely no regard whatsoever.  How utterly despicable to think that the remains of these dear children were used as the means of providing warmth to the very hands that had so coldly ended their lives. 

Once again, we see that when the Absolute Authority of the Bible is discarded and replaced with atheistic and evolutionary notions, there remains no ultimate reason to value human life above that of any other ‘evolved’ mass of cells.  In fact,

if we are all nothing more than rearranged bags of molecules, why should anyone care what happens to someone else?  We wouldn’t get bent out of shape over a dead cancer cell or a housefly we squashed with our flyswatter, after all. 

Why not do what we want to one another and even rearrange each other a little more if we feel like it (especially if it benefits us and we can get away with it)?  We wouldn’t put a lion in prison for killing a zebra or for maiming a gazelle, would we?  Besides, didn’t murderers, thieves, and terrorists evolve too? Why should they be punished for acting out the thoughts produced by the random chemical reactions in their evolved brains, if that’s what their DNA tells them to do?

Think about it: if one person’s brain fizz produces a standard that tells them that murder is OK and someone else’s brain fizzes a standard which says that protecting life is what they should be doing, then ultimately, what is the difference if both people are eventually just going to die anyway without consequence? Followed to its logical (read: illogical) conclusion, this corrupt line of reasoning tells us that it truly does not matter if one lives their life like Mother Theresa or if they live like Adolph Hitler, as both of them are now on equal footing—dead forever. 

Like it or not, this is the result when we abandon the absolutes of the Christian worldview for the subjective standards of atheism, which postulates an accidental, random-chance, evolving universe.   Apart from an absolute law giver,  there can be no moral absolutes–only subjective personal preferences with regards to behavior.  As such, ANYONE is then free to stipulate their own personal moral standards (including rapists, murderers, thieves, and child molesters), and there is no way to resolve the conflict, as one personal standard is just as valid as another.  As such, ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ become meaningless terms, as differing personal opinions are not ‘right’ or ‘wrong’, they’re just…..well….’different’.  In an atheistic, evolutionary universe, that’s the most one could ever say about anybody else’s behavioral standards (no matter how personally offensive they may be).

Fortunately, we do not live in such a universe.  We live in God’s universe where we all know that things like rape, murder, and stealing are absolutely wrong, since He has ‘hardwired’ His moral law into each of us and has given us a conscience to affirm that He has done so.  This is an inescapable reality, as even the most diehard criminal locks his own doors at night to keep someone else from perpetrating upon him the very acts that he does to others, because he knows in his heart of hearts that his deeds are absolutely morally wrong, and not just a matter of personal preference.  Likewise, the staunchest professing atheist not only expects to be treated with a certain level of reasonableness, dignity, and respect by his fellow human beings–he demands it!  In doing so, he undermines his professed atheism and reveals plainly that, deep within, he knows that God exists as Creator and that he also has inherent value, being made in His image.  In summary, it has been rightly observed that:

Humanism or atheism is a wonderful philosophy of life as long as you are big, strong, and between the ages of eighteen and thirty-five. But watch out if you are in a lifeboat and there are others who are younger, bigger, or smarter.    ~William Murray

 

 

Words of wisdom from Charles H. Spurgeon:

If any man thinks ill of you, do not be angry with him, for you are worse than he thinks you to be. If he charges you falsely on some point, yet be satisfied, for if he knew you better he might change the accusation, and you would be no gainer by the correction. If you have your moral portrait painted and it is ugly, be satisfied, for it only needs a few blacker touches, and it would be still nearer the truth.

It is truly astounding to know that the God of heaven and earth has chosen to reveal Himself to mankind such that we can know for certain who He is.  One of the ways that He has done this is through the special revelation of His inspired Word–the Bible.  Without a doubt, the Bible is unlike any other book ever written and it is important for us to not only understand THAT it is different, but also WHY it is different.  First of all, the Bible is unique among other so-called ‘holy books’, as it alone meets the criteria of a true objective Revelation in that it can be freely examined by all, corresponds with reality, makes sense of the necessary preconditions of human intelligibility (such as knowledge, truth, logic, morality, and the uniformity of nature), and is internally consistent (i.e. doesn’t contradict itself).  The very fact that God used fallible people to produce an infallible work is, itself, a feat worthy of awe, especially when we consider the fact that the Bible was written over a period of about 1,500 years, by approximately 40 different authors, yet their writings agree in perfect harmony!  To put into perspective just how miraculous this is, consider the following story:

One Friday night, four teenagers went out for a ride around their town.  They had so much fun that they lost track of time and accidentally kept one of the teens out past his curfew.  Afraid that he would get in trouble, they decided that they would simply tell the boy’s dad that they had had a flat tire and that was the reason why they were late getting him home; problem solved!  Thick as thieves, they all went in to face the boy’s father together as the teen meticulously recited the concocted story to his dad.  When asked if it was true, the other three enthusiastically affirmed that it was.  “Well,” said the dad, “I guess that settles it, then.”  The boys all breathed a sigh of relief.  “One more thing, though,” they heard the dad say as he handed each of them a pen and a scrap of paper, “I want each of you to write down WHICH tire was flat.”

Now, what do you suppose the odds are that all four boys will write down the exact same thing, on the very first try (without any prior discussion of this detail)?  Yet, that’s exactly what we find with the Bible:  God got it right the first time!  He has delivered His message completely intact via those forty or so inspired individuals (many of whom never met or spoke to one another) who lived at different times in history, resided in different geographical regions, and were from varying social and economic backgrounds.  In fact, from Genesis to Revelation, it’s as if this entire book was written by the hand of the same author; because ultimately it was—God’s!

In addition, we find that the Bible is also historically, scientifically, and prophetically accurate, which is exactly what one would expect from an omniscient, omnipotent God.  Let’s elaborate:

Historically Accurate:  The Bible provides factual, verifiable historical records of real people, places, and events.  Because of its precise and detailed accounts, it is relied upon more than any other book in antiquity to aid in locating artifacts and relics from ancient civilizations.  Even among secular archeologists, the general consensus is that if the Bible says something is at a particular location, it’s there.  This is something that time has only served to confirm again and again as new archeological finds constantly serve to validate the truth of the Bible.

Scientifically Accurate:  As we would expect, the Bible is not only scientifically accurate, it also contains many scientific facts that were revealed by God long before they were ever discovered by man.  Here are a few:

  • At a time when most people (including the scientific community of the day) were convinced that the earth was flat, the Bible declares, in Isaiah 40:22, that God sits upon the ‘circle (sphere) of the earth’ about 3,000 years BEFORE Columbus made his famous voyage around the world.
  • Thousands of years before NASA successfully sent man into orbit around our planet, the Bible alludes to the earth’s free float in outer space, with no visible means of support.  In Job  26:7 we are told that God hangs the earth on NOTHING.
  • Long before the modern telescope gave man true insight to the vastness of the universe, the Bible reveals in Genesis 15:5 and Hebrews 11:12 that the stars of the heavens are innumerable, at a time when only about 1,100 stars could be seen with the naked eye.
  • Inspired by the phrase ‘paths of the seas’ in Psalms 8:8,  famous oceanographer, Matthew Maury, began to study old ships’ logs.  From his studies, he compiled data of ocean-wind and sea currents and was later able to develop this data into charts of the ocean currents—the ‘paths’ of the seas—which greatly aided the science of marine navigation.
  • Only in recent times has washing one’s hands in running water and the quarantine of the sick become a standard practice for those in the medical profession.  Untold lives could have been saved over the years had people only read their Bibles, as these practices are specifically advocated all the way back in Leviticus.

Prophetically Accurate:  Not surprisingly, one of the ways in which God demonstrates the authenticity of His Word is through the accurate foretelling of future events.  Since only God knows the future, fulfilled prophecy is powerful proof of Divine Inspiration.  However, we should also remember God’s standard of accuracy for prophecy is 100%.  Anything less and we can be assured that what was spoken did not come from God, and that the person who made the prediction is a false prophet.   The Bible contains some 2,500 prophecies, about 2000 of which already have been fulfilled to the letter with no errors, while  the remaining 500 or so reach into the future and may be seen unfolding as days go by.  Here are but a few of the fulfilled prophecies we find in the Bible:

  • Some time before 500 B.C. the prophet Daniel proclaimed that Israel’s long-awaited Messiah would begin his public ministry 483 years after the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem (Daniel 9:25-26). He further predicted that the Messiah would be “cut off,” killed, and that this event would take place prior to a second destruction of Jerusalem. Abundant documentation shows that these prophecies were perfectly fulfilled in the life (and crucifixion) of Jesus Christ
  • In approximately 700 B.C. the prophet Micah named the tiny village of Bethlehem as the birthplace of Israel’s Messiah (Micah 5:2). The fulfillment of this prophecy in the birth of Christ is one of the most widely known and widely celebrated facts in history.
  • In the fifth century B.C. a prophet named Zechariah declared that the Messiah would be betrayed for the price of a slave—thirty pieces of silver, according to Jewish law-and also that this money would be used to buy a burial ground for Jerusalem’s poor foreigners (Zechariah 11:12-13). Bible writers and secular historians both record thirty pieces of silver as the sum paid to Judas Iscariot for betraying Jesus, and they indicate that the money went to purchase a “potter’s field,” used—just as predicted—for the burial of poor aliens (Matthew 27:3-10).
  • Some 400 years before crucifixion was invented, both Israel’s King David and the prophet Zechariah described the Messiah’s death in words that perfectly depict that mode of execution. Further, they said that the body would be pierced and that none of the bones would be broken, contrary to customary procedure in cases of crucifixion (Psalm 22 and 34:20; Zechariah 12:10).

Countless other examples of detailed, fulfilled Biblical prophecies could be provided here, including those pertaining to the virgin birth of Jesus Christ, his predicted lineage from the tribe of Judah as a descendant of David, and other specific details of the events surrounding His death, burial, and resurrection from the dead.  By contrast, the Muslim Koran contains NO fulfilled prophecies and the Book of Mormon even contains false prophecies (such as citing Jerusalem as the birth place of Jesus instead of Bethlehem, along with other contradictory claims and accounts).   As the Word of God, the Bible stands alone as the only source of Divinely revealed Truth in the universe.  It is, therefore, no surprise that it has been the object of ongoing satanic attack over the years to attempt to destroy and discredit it.  However, those who have voiced even the most vehement opposition to the Bible in ages past are now lying silent in their graves, while the irrefutable truth of God’s Word still speaks and its mighty power lives on.  John Clifford’s poem, ‘The Anvil of God’s Word’,  is a fitting tribute to that fact:

“Last eve I paused beside the blacksmith’s door, And heard the anvil ring the vesper chime;

Then looking in, I saw upon the floor, Old hammers, worn with beating years of time.

“‘How many anvils have you had,’ said I, ‘To wear and batter all these hammers so?’

‘Just one,’ said he, and then with twinkling eye, ‘The anvil wears the hammers out, you know.’

“And so, I thought, the Anvil of God’s Word For ages skeptic blows have beat upon;

Yet, though the noise of falling blows was heard, The Anvil is unharmed, the hammers gone.”

But the word of the Lord endureth for ever… 1 Peter 1:25

Interesting title, huh?  Now that I have your attention, please consider the following illustration:

Once upon a time, a young man believed he was dead.  For months, his friends and family tried desperately to convince him that this was not the case, but to no avail.  Finally, at their wits end, they decided to take him to see the family doctor in hopes that he could offer some sort of medical counsel to help the young man come to his senses.  After two unproductive hours of talking with the young man and reasoning with him using the latest medical journals, charts, and photos, the good doctor had an idea!  “Son, do dead men bleed?”  He asked.  The young man thought for a moment and then responded, “well, if a person is dead, there is no heartbeat to pump the blood and, therefore, no blood pressure to force the blood out of the body, so, no, dead men do not bleed.”  Upon hearing this, the doctor took a needle and pricked the young man’s index finger.  As the blood began to ooze from the small wound, the young man grabbed his finger and cried with great excitement, “well, what do you know! Dead men DO bleed after all!”

The point (pardon the pun) is, it is impossible to convince somebody of something that they do not wish to be convinced of, no matter how much evidence is provided to them or how valid it may be.  After all, many of the people who witnessed Jesus’ miracles were the same ones who demanded His crucifixion.  Why do you suppose they were not convinced by the marvelous feats of the dead being raised and the blinded eyes receiving sight in their presence?  It was simply because they did not WANT to be.  Likewise, the young man in our story had a predetermined belief which he was unwilling to surrender, despite being shown ample proof that it was false.  The overwhelming evidence given to him did not change his mind, but, rather, his mind changed the evidence to make it fit his presuppositional bias (now there’s a mouthful!).  Presuppositions are the most foundational assumptions/beliefs that we each hold, and through which we examine and interpret the world around us, including any (and all) evidence presented to us.  For instance, Christians begin with two basic assumptions which form the basis of our view of the world (our worldview).

First, we assume that God exists and secondly we assume that the Bible is His inspired Word.  It is through the ‘lens’ of these two assumptions that we then begin to reason and form our conclusions about the universe in which we live.  That’s why Christians and unbelievers can examine the exact same piece of evidence and then reach two totally different conclusions about it; it’s because we have two completely different starting points from which we perform our assessment of the evidence we are given.  

Whereas the Christian begins with the previously mentioned assumptions about God’s existence and the truth of the Bible and then reasons from that position,  those holding to anti-Christian worldviews assume the contrary (i.e. God does NOT exist and the Bible is not true) and then proceed to reason from that position.  Therefore, the real issue is not one of evidence at all, but of those foundational assumptions through which we interpret the evidence in the first place (our presuppositions), and whether or not they are logically sound and rationally defensible.  First, let’s examine the Christian presuppositions to see if they pass this test:

  1. God Exists:  This presupposition is justifiable/provable after the fact, in that God has revealed Himself to all mankind both directly and indirectly via natural and special revelation.  Natural revelation is God’s revelation of Himself by natural means (through His Creation), while special revelation pertains to God’s revealing of Himself via supernatural means (the Bible, His Spirit, and His Son, Jesus Christ).  Through these avenues, God has made it possible for us to be certain of who He is and what He expects from us with regards to our behavior, reasoning, and salvation.
  2. The Bible is true:  This assumption is also provable after the fact, by the impossibility of the contrary.  That is, the contrary position (i.e. The Bible is not true) ends in absurdity and irrationality, which makes it false.  Consider what the Bible says about this in Romans 1:21-22:

Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools

According to Scripture, when someone rejects or fails to acknowledge God and the truth of the Bible as the foundation of their thinking and reasoning, we can expect their thoughts to become ‘vain’ and ‘foolish’ (illogical).  Let’s see if that’s what we get when we examine the unbelievers’ presuppositions that God does not exist and the Bible is not true: First, it should be pointed out that, when someone makes these assumptions, they are forced, by default, into the position of embracing evolution as the means and mechanism by which life as we know it exists on earth today (as opposed to the Biblical account of creation as found in Genesis).  As such, there are several other assumptions that they also have to accept as a consequence of this position.  Namely:

  • In the beginning there was nothing.
  • Nothing somehow turned into something.
  • The something which came from nothing somehow blew up and became everything.
  • Life somehow arose from that non-living matter
  • Randomness somehow became ordered.
  • Intelligence somehow came from non-intelligent matter.
  • Morality somehow evolved from amoral matter.
  • Absolute (unchanging), immaterial (not made of matter), universal (applying everywhere and at all times) laws of logic, math, science, and morality somehow came from a strictly material, constantly changing, random chance universe.

The problem with these assumptions is, they are all unjustified and unjustifiable.  Each of them is contrary to sound reasoning and good science, as they are not consistent with reality nor are they based upon ANY observable data or evidence gathered through actual repeatable testing and experimentation.  Rather, they stem from a flawed belief system about the unobserved past and, as such, are based upon nothing more than blind faith.  It should be pointed out that believing something and acting upon that belief with no logical reason for doing so is but one form of irrationality.  This makes those who hold to anti-Christian positions alot like the young man in the story above;  they do so in spite of any logically sound reasons, not because of them.  Without exception, this is the sad end result when one abandons the absolute Truth of God and His Word in favor of ANY competing non-Christian worldview (including those which advocate the existence of a ‘deity’ other than the God of the Bible).  I think the following quote from Christian Author Ken Ham sums this up nicely.  He says:

It’s not a matter of whether one is biased or not.  It is really a question of which bias is the best bias with which to be biased.

Just as the idol Dagon was physically reduced to rubble in the presence of God’s holy Ark of the Covenant (see 1 Samuel Chapter 5), so the false ideologies of our day are exposed and eviscerated by the ‘quick and powerful’ Word of that same living God.

For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.  Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?                                                      ––1 Corinthians 1:19-20

 

There is a door to each man’s heart, and we have to find it, and enter it with the right key, which is to be found somewhere or other in the word of God.  All men are not to be reached in the same way, or by the same arguments, and as we are by all means to save some, we must be wise to win souls, wise with wisdom from above.  We desire to see them conquered for Christ, but no warrior uses always the same strategy.  There is for one open assault, another a siege, for a third an ambush, for a fourth a long campaign.  On the sea, there are great rams that run down the enemy, torpedoes under water, gunboats, and steam frigates.  One ship is broken up by a single blow; another needs a broadside; a third must have a shot between the wind and water; a fourth must be driven on shore.  Even thus, we must adapt ourselves and use the sacred force entrusted to us with grave consideration and solemn judgment, looking ever to the Lord for guidance and for power.  All the real power is in the Lord’s hands, and we must put ourselves fully at the disposal of the divine Worker, that He may work in us both to will and to do of His good pleasure, so shall we by all means save some.