Archive for the ‘special revelation’ Category

(A series of scripted correspondences from a ‘Heavenly helper’ to a Christian Soldier)

[Letter 3]:

Greetings Soldier,

Of course it is no bother to further elaborate on the references to natural and special revelation as mentioned in my first correspondence to you. I am glad that you are interested in learning more about the ways that God has revealed Himself to humankind and I always enjoy talking in detail about them. First, there is natural revelation. This is God’s revelation of Himself through His creation. Consider the universe and all that it contains–the stars, the moon, the sun, planets, oceans, trees, grass, people, clouds, rain, insects, animals, etc. These are all but a reflection of God’s awesome power and His unlimited creative genius. Indeed, that which is made declares the presence of the Maker and the laws that govern His Creation serve as irrefutable proof of His Sovereignty as the Supreme ruler of Heaven and Earth. In fact, it bears repeating that Romans 1:18-20 states that God’s existence is so plainly confirmed via His creation that no one has an excuse for denying Him whatsoever. How’s that for irrefutable, eyewitness testimony!

Though Creation is more than sufficient proof of God’s existence, God hasn’t stopped there. He has also revealed Himself to mankind via special (or, as some like to call it, supernatural) revelation. This includes His revelation of Himself through the Bible, His Spirit, and through Jesus Christ. It is through these means that we find the deeper wellspring of wisdom and insight into who God is (His character and nature), what He expects of mankind with regards to their thinking, behavior, and salvation (as those being made in His image and subject to His Ultimate Authority), and His plan to ultimately restore all things to a state of eternal perfection, order, and peace through His only begotten Son. Through the kindness of the Father in revealing the Truth of Himself to man, natural and special revelation form the basis for all knowledge and truth and, therefore, provide sound testimony of the inescapable reality of a living God who upholds and sustains all things by the power of His might. May this knowledge make you bold in your witness and fill you with all confidence and Holy assurance in the God that has called you according to his Divine purpose. Here to serve,

Your Heavenly ‘Angent’

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(A series of scripted correspondences from a ‘Heavenly helper’ to a Christian Soldier)

[Letter 5: The Bible]

Greetings Soldier,

I have much to say in response to your second question which involves the special revelation found in the Bible. As you have rightly stated, it is truly astounding to know that the God of heaven and earth has chosen to reveal Himself to mankind such that they can know for certain who He is via inspired text. Without a doubt, the Bible is unlike any other book ever written and it is important for you to not only understand THAT it is different, but also WHY it is different. As such, here are some important truths to keep in mind regarding God’s great Book and the inspired truths within it.

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 considering 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 Christopher Columbus made his famous voyage around the world.

~Thousands of years before NASA successfully sent man into orbit around your 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 human eye.

~Inspired by the phrase ‘paths of the seas’ in Psalm 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 you 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 found in the Bible:

~Sometime 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 foreigners (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 Divine 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.  In fact, 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.”

In closing, I leave you with the inspired (and fitting) words of the Apostle Peter: “But the word of the Lord endureth for ever…” 1 Peter 1:25.  Here to serve,

Your Heavenly ‘Angent’

(A series of scripted correspondences from a ‘Heavenly helper’ to a Christian Soldier)

[Letter 6]:

Greetings Soldier,

You do not have to apologize for the feeling of disappointment you are feeling now. After all, a sense of frustration is only natural when good evidence is given to support your case, but then dismissed out of hand due to the hostile bias of the one examining the evidence. It is very important to understand what is going on here with your brother and it is time that you were granted insight into the nature of ‘presuppositions’ and the effect they have on one’s reasoning and conclusions about the world around them. You see, everyone has a worldview—a view of the world founded upon certain tightly held beliefs that are assumed to be true and through which they interpret all of their observations and experiences (including any and all evidence presented to them for consideration). Because of this, it is impossible to convince someone of something they do not wish to be convinced of since they will interpret any evidence via the lens of those tightly held, most foundational assumptions that are already present. Confused yet? Perhaps this illustration might help:

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!

See the point (pardon the pun)? The young man in the 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 interpretation of the evidence to make it agree with what he already assumed to be true (his ‘presuppositional bias’). Perhaps this makes it easier now to understand how and why many of the people who actually witnessed Jesus’ most notable miracles were the same ones who demanded His crucifixion. Why do you suppose they were not convinced of His Divinity 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. In fact, this is nothing new, as many today would simply rather be their own god instead of bowing the knee to God and surrendering to His authority. It has been rightly stated that the atheist cannot find God for the same reason a criminal can’t find a policeman—-they simply aren’t looking. The unbeliever chooses to live in willful denial of what they know to be true about God’s existence in order to avoid accountability to Him. You will do well to keep this in mind in your evangelism endeavors. At your service,

Your Heavenly ‘Angent’

(A series of scripted correspondences from a ‘Heavenly helper’ to a Christian Soldier)

[Letter 7]:

Greetings Soldier,

I’m glad that you are beginning to grasp these concepts and wholeheartedly agree with you that the aforementioned topic of worldviews–and the presuppositions upon which they are founded–warrants further commentary. Indeed, volumes could be (and have been) penned about this topic and its effect upon the human psyche and behavior. Simply put, it is a matter of two opposing foundational belief systems that are as different as night and day and/or black and white (and which are as diametrically opposed as the Kingdom of God and the kingdom of satan from which they each originate).

Case in point: the Christian begins with two basic assumptions which form the foundation of their worldview. First, they assume that God exists and secondly they assume that His Word (the Bible) is true. It is through the ‘lens’ of these two assumptions that the Christian then begins to reason, form their conclusions, and interpret their observations about the universe in which we live. In contrast, the unbeliever assumes that God does not exist and that the Bible is not His inspired, infallible Word and then proceeds to reason and interpret the world around them from THAT position. This is why Christians and unbelievers can examine the exact same piece of evidence and then reach two totally different conclusions about it; it’s because they have two completely different starting points from which their evaluation of any evidence is conducted and from which their conclusions about the validity of that (and all) evidence as a valid proof is determined. Whatever does not correspond with the primary presuppositions of their respective worldviews will be rejected while that which agrees with those presuppositions will be accepted.

Therefore, the real issue is not one of evidence at all, but of those foundational assumptions (presuppositions) through which people interpret the evidence in the first place and whether or not they are logically sound and rationally defensible. It goes without saying that if something cannot pass this test, it should be rejected as false (since that would make it illogical and irrational by definition). Let’s examine both sets of presuppositions to see which passes the test. First, we’ll look at the Christian’s presuppositions:

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. Again, 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 mankind to be certain of who He is and what He expects with regards to their behavior, reasoning, and salvation.

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 (some of which I have mentioned already) 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 (i.e. non-random).

~Intelligence somehow came from non-intelligent matter.

~Morality somehow evolved from amoral (non-moral) matter.

~Absolute (unchanging), immaterial (not made of matter), universal (applying everywhere and at all times) laws such as 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 a lot like the young man in the ‘Dead men do bleed’ illustration; that is, they hold to their position 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 generic or specific ‘deity’ (or deities) other than the God of the Bible). 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.”

If nothing else, hopefully it has become clear that everyone has certain tightly held foundational beliefs that form the framework for their worldview (even though they may not always be aware of those beliefs). However, not all worldviews (or their corresponding framework of beliefs) can be true. In fact, only one IS true—the Christian one. I trust you will find this newfound knowledge refreshing and an asset to you in your witnessing endeavors. At your service,

Your Heavenly ‘Angent’

(A series of scripted correspondences from a ‘Heavenly helper’ to a Christian Soldier)

[Letter 10]:

Greetings Soldier,

You do not disappoint! I thought that you might ask for some practical examples of how to put this information into use when dealing with objections and/or arguments against, God, the Bible, or Christianity in general. Well, here you go! Let’s look at some scenarios you likely have or will encounter in your evangelistic endeavors:

First, suppose the unbeliever’s argument against God is presented in the form of a moral objection (e.g. claiming that He is evil, that certain acts in the Bible are immoral, etc.).  Now, you could spend a lot of time and energy providing evidence as to why that is not the case (only to likely have your evidence discarded or dismissed due the presuppositional bias of the unbeliever), or you could (and should) simply challenge their foundational assumption here and ask them how they arrive at absolute, objective standards of behavior in a universe without God in the first place.  After all, if God does not exist, there could be no absolute moral Authority and, therefore, no binding standard of behavior by which anyone (least of all, God) SHOULD conduct themselves.  If moral standards are arbitrarily stipulated, then the unbeliever loses any rational foundation for their complaint against God, since anyone is free to stipulate their own standard of morality in such a universe and no behavior could ever be truly ‘right’ or ‘wrong’–just ‘different’ from someone else’s personal preference.  The very argument itself reveals the internal inconsistency and contradictory nature of the unbeliever’s position and, as a result, makes this objection AGAINST God’s existence a valid proof FOR His existence!

Now, let’s suppose the argument comes in the form of a ‘logical’ complaint against God (e.g. the Bible is illogical, Christianity is nonsense, etc.).  Again, much time and energy could be spent providing ample, solid evidence to the contrary, only to likely be told “well that doesn’t prove anything.”  Instead of putting God on trial before the unbeliever, the more effective (and Biblical) approach would be to expose the self-defeating nature of such an argument by simply asking how there can exist any meaningful, objective, universal standard of logic and reasoning in a world without God.  Obviously, if there is no true Ultimate Authority, then there can be no absolute standard by which human beings should conduct their thinking and reasoning.  Therefore, no thinking or reasoning could ever truly be said to be ‘incorrect’ or ‘illogical’—just ‘different’ from the thinking and reasoning of someone else.  This internal inconsistency in the unbeliever’s position yet again testifies to the inescapable, self-evident truth of God’s existence and Authority. It also adequately demonstrates that, like the air, one must assume His existence to even begin to argue against it (which makes that position the very epitome of ‘foolishness’). That is why when the Bible refers to those who deny the existence of God as ‘fools’ (Psalms 14:1), it is not merely engaging in name calling.  This is the proper term for someone who willfully refuses to acknowledge that which has been so plainly and openly revealed. Here to serve,

Your Heavenly ‘Angent’

(A series of scripted correspondences from a ‘Heavenly helper’ to a Christian Soldier)

[Letter 11]:

Greetings Soldier,

Your recent enquiries reveal a deep thirst for knowledge and an eagerness to put what you have learned thus far into action. Needless to say, the Heavenly Hierarchy is pleased with this! Regarding your question about whether unbelievers (whom we know to be living in willful denial of God’s revealed truth) are necessarily lying when they profess to believe the things they say they do: the answer is ‘no’—they are not necessarily lying but are often ‘self-deceived’. Remember, satan does have the ability to blind the minds of those who deny God in order to keep the Gospel from reaching their hearts. One of the ways he accomplishes this task is by means of cultivating and promoting an attitude of ‘willful ignorance‘ (merely one form of self-deception) on the part of the unbeliever with regards to things concerning God, Christ, and the Bible.  It has been rightly stated that one will not receive into their heart as true that which their mind rejects as false. Therefore, it is the concerned Christian’s urgent duty to engage in pulling down such ‘intellectual strongholds’ through the bold presentation and declaration of the truth in order that the unbeliever might be freed from the captivity of satanic deception and granted repentance unto salvation by God the Father, through faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Understood in this light, Christ’s declaration in John 8:32–‘you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free’–is received with a new and fresh appreciation in the mind and heart of the Christian.

In response to your second question: ‘yes’ I do advocate trying out these arguments online. There you will find no shortage of anti-Christian blogs, posts, and websites where you may engage the unbeliever, expose the error of their worldview, and enlighten them with Biblical truth. Be forewarned, though, that unbelievers do not take kindly to having the basis of their worldview challenged and exposed in this way and you will almost certainly encounter hostility like you never have before. In truth, this is really a positive, since it is a sign that the arguments have struck a nerve and are provoking some discomfort in the unbeliever’s state of mind. Besides, any reaction is always preferred over apathy (since apathy is but one sure sign of intellectual and spiritual ‘deadness’). So long as there is passion and/or zeal present (even misguided passion and/or zeal), then there is hope of a genuine conversion; after all, who can forget the grand transformation that took place when a certain misguided zealot named Saul was converted into that radical new creature in Christ—the Apostle Paul! If you are interested in beginning a conversation on the Dialogue.org site you mentioned, then I suggest you simply state your position plainly as to how Christianity provides the foundation for preconditions of intelligibility and then challenge the unbelievers there with a few direct questions about how those things are reconciled within their worldview. The purpose of this is twofold: it will provide the unbeliever with an opportunity to tell you about their worldview so that an internal critique of it can be performed, while providing you with the opportunity to plainly demonstrate to them how and why Christianity alone provides a rational, internally consistent, foundation for the preconditions of intelligibility required to hold a discussion in the first place (knowledge truth, logic, etc.). For example, you could begin with something like this:

*’Isn’t Dialogue.org great?! We have a place where anyone can come and argue any point about virtually any topic! However, an astute debater will find that the very concept of ‘debate’ assumes the existence of logic, truth, and knowledge. Since laws of logic are abstract, universal, invariants and truth and knowledge are certain by definition, each of these concepts can be (and are) made sense of in the Christian worldview (since they reflect the absolute, immaterial nature of a Sovereign God who has revealed Himself to mankind such that we can be certain of who He is).One should ultimately ask, though, how any non-Christian can rationally account for any of these concepts apart from the God of the Bible. Well?’

This should elicit enough response from the other side to keep you busy for a while and provide you with plenty of hands on practice in evaluating non-Christian worldviews for the presence of arbitrariness, inconsistency, and the preconditions of intelligibility. Have fun,

Your Heavenly ‘Angent’

*To see this approach utilized at a real online debate site, check out: http://www.debate.org/forums/Religion/topic/55783/