Friday, March 30, 2018

Change Current Gun Laws? Five Elementary Realities which Render that Tactic Irrelevant

1.     Obviously guns, as inanimate objects, cannot cause murderous rampages.  The cause is instead people who pull a trigger, thrust a knife, or wield a hammer because they determine in their murderous heart to kill innocent victims (James 4:1f).  It is clear that “the heart of the human problem is the problem of the human heart,” a brokenness which needs a Savior (1 John 5:12).

2.      Law breakers laughingly ignore gun laws altogether.  If fire arms are further restricted to the point of becoming outlawed, criminals will still amass them illegally at the same time that law-abiding citizens will face such evil-doers utterly without protection and unequipped to resist.

3.      Negotiating with a person intent on murdering the defenseless is doomed to fail.  Once he begins his deadly work it is only a defender with a gun who has any capacity at all to stop him.

4.      Even under the best of conditions, police possessing the very highest motives simply cannot arrive in time to stop him before the dead and wounded victims increase in number.

5.      Obviously unless the gun laws already on the books are actually enforced, it is ludicrous to expect that enacting further laws will reverse the mounting murderous violence.  Such govern-mental apathy instead highlights an already existing failure that must first be reversed.

Further Thoughts

6.       Gun control proponents who have access to armed body guards are dishonestly exempting themselves from the kinds of protection that they seek to deprive from the average citizen.

7.      For all who are interested in the truth, Jesus and His disciples were armed with a defense-weapon common at that time (Matthew 26:51-52, Mark 14:47, Luke 22:50, John 18:10-11).

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

What's Really Wrong with Us Part II

and How the Answer Leads to Good Friday

What causes quarrels, and what causes fights among you?” –James 4:1a
Yet despite the fact that secularists today claim their “reasoning” to be superior to biblical revelation, such perspectives entail serious self-contradictions.[1]  Firstly, if everyone is the product of nothing more than blind processes, then leaders who teach this cannot exempt themselves.  If we are mindless machines, then they are too!  If then, on the basis of Darwinism, what we call “thoughts” are nothing more than the electro-chemical interactions, it must also be true that the arguments secularists advance cannot have any grounding in actual reality.  Also, since Darwinism teaches that there is no such thing as freedom from the unbroken line of material cause and effect even within our brain, then Darwinist proponents are likewise also mere impersonal machines who possess no freedom either!  As a Darwinist at the time, Dr. Dean Kenyon sought to undergird this Darwinian position in his book titled, Biochemical Predestination.  Secondly, since Darwinism denies that humans have the capacity for personal choice, then it is self-contradictory for Darwinists to either argue for the superiority of their position, or expect us to change our minds.

                In light of such a sea of contradiction, should it be surprising that secularists are failing to resolve the problem of violence?  Now they could attempt to counter that Christianity appears no more successful in addressing this problem.  Yet we may reply to them that the reason the problem is ongoing is that human beings habitually resist the Lordship of Christ.  The bottom line is that the most plausible diagnosis of the cause of the brokenness of our world is the biblical concept of sin (James 4:2) described above.

                Sin is no trivial matter.  Far from the concept of sin being outdated, it is so highly relevant as to qualify as our most urgent need in the transformation of rational (1 John 1:7) thinking.  Not only will we all stand before the judgement of a holy God at the close of this world, but present reality confronts us with the truth that a life which ignores or disobeys God’s purposes issues in brokenness at a number of levels.  No one at all is exempt from the judgment that, whether we open our lives to Scripture or ignore God’s revealed Word altogether, we all are guilty of disobeying what we at bottom know to be true.

                When God sent His Son into the world to die on the cross, He was not delving into trivialities, but addressing our most profound need of all, namely that we both have our sins forgiven, and our lives restored back to the One for whom we were made, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  However, understanding the problem He came to address is a vital step to being receptive to the gift He came to bring.                      

[1] John West. Darwin Day in America: how our Politics and Culture are Being Dehumanized in the Name of Science. (ISI Books, 2007). I hasten to highlight West’s ultimate point that Darwinism is not real science.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

What’s Really Wrong with Us All? Part I

and How the Answer Leads to Good Friday
What causes quarrels, and what causes fights among you?” –James 4:1a

                The very first outward sinful action recorded in the Bible occurred when “Cain rose up against his brother Abel and killed him” (Genesis 4:8).  Although nothing specific is stated as to the means of this murder, it is clear that his methods were primitive, although effective.  Everything he needed to accomplish his deed was right at hand including both his means and his motive.

                As I am writing this article, my radio is repeatedly announcing the one month anniversary of what is among the ten worst school mass killings in recorded history at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.  Today, in a call to “solidarity” with the seventeen people who were killed, students across the country are observing a seventeen-minute period of silence.  In addition however, they are insisting on an overthrow of our current fire arms laws out of a belief that banning or restricting certain weapons will radically diminish the level of violence in our society.
                Yet it is not my purpose to discuss gun laws so much as it is to turn our attention to our society’s glaring neglect of that very cause which precedes either the raising of a stone (perhaps) in Genesis or the pulling of a trigger today.  The Bible identifies that cause with the tiny word “sin,” while James 4:1-2 as a whole fleshes it out very effectively.  The Bible teaches that there is something morally wrong with human beings because more profoundly there is something spiritually wrong with us.  We have fallen out of our intended relationship with God and for that reason we are consequently also utterly out of sync with His creation.   The proper center of our lives is replaced with self-centered us!  As James puts it, if we don’t get our way, then violent acts of varying degrees becomes the means in order to wrest what we desire from our neighbors.

                I find it astonishing that our society habitually neglects to direct our anger onto the perpetrator and to name the cause of such massacres as personal sin and wickedness.  Now there is no question but that our culture dismisses this kind of language as outdated, irrelevant, and outright offensive.  But the major question of our time is what is our culture offering in its place?  The preferred politically-correct method of addressing such social malfunctions is to name as the cause some overriding sociological malady, label certain laws (pertaining to guns or methods of criminal punishment) as barbaric, or source the cause of crimes to the existence of weapons (be they a gun, a knife, a stone, a heavy stick, you name it —and that’s the point!) themselves.  Even on today’s news, in response to the attempted kidnapping of a child, it is proposed that the suspect have “mental evaluation.”  No request at all is made for a moral reassessment!  One overriding reason for this glaring neglect is that our culture’s former biblical worldview has become replaced with an opposing worldview.  For the purpose of this article, secularism doesn’t merely hold to an even-handed view of competing values.  Driven by secularized academic circles, it holds to a view of human beings that is based on Darwinian evolution.  In addition to insisting on unguided evolution however, Darwinism also denies the existence of all things spiritual, which both removes the authority for moral law and undermines the foundation of an objective purpose for living.  Worse still, Darwinism holds that human “thinking” consists of nothing more than the interactions between molecules and electrical charges inside our brain.  What logically follows is that what we call “free choices” are merely the effects of such “physical” events in the past which firmly determine what we do in the present.

  to be continued...               

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

The Greatest Miracle that Science has ever "Proven" part 2

                Many young-earth creationists (YECs) actually share the same misconception with atheists that the Big Bang (BB) is the cause of the beginning of the universe, even though they do so for different reasons.  Since YECs hold this view, they reject the BB because they believe that it removes God as the creator.  Atheists by contrast, hold the BB to be the cause precisely because they are committed to a materialist cause of the universe.  Both positions are wrong for the reason that the BB is not an ultimate cause at all, but to the contrary, the effect of a prior cause, namely, God who brought the physical order into existence by His word of power.  Hebrews 11:3 says, “By faith we understand that the entire created order was fashioned by the command of God so that the things that we see were brought into existence not by that which appears” (my translation).  Indeed, it is conceptually impossible for either position to postulate scientific events as the cause of existence for the reason that, prior to the BB, there was neither matter, energy, space, nor time, by which science could conceivably do any creative work at all.

                This predicament is far more damaging to atheistic materialism (AM) than it is to YEC.  The problem for AM isn’t merely its insistence that science is the solitary legitimate mode of knowledge about reality.  AM further is so committed to an exclusively materialistic cosmos that it dismisses as illusory both the spiritual realm and supernatural events of any sort that cannot be accounted for by science.   Yet granting the multi-faceted demonstrated scientific proof that the universe began out of nothing (see Hugh Ross’ “A Beginners and Experts Guide to the Big Bang”), the BB stands as a profound refutation of the notion that miracles cannot happen.  Since in light of the present level of knowledge that event can be rationally understood only as a miracle in a manner that is consistent with Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth,” we have strong reasons to hold that God exists, both as creator, and sustainer by His Word of power (Colossians 1:17,Hebrews 1:3).  Notice then the context by which I appeal to science; NOT as an explanation of the BB as if it was a naturalistically-occurring event, but as a witness to the broad array of indicators that the BB is the very greatest miracle behind nature.  The vital consequence of such a monumental miracle as the BB is that it strikes a fatal blow to the fundamental tenet of atheism that nothing exists outside of the material order.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

The Greatest Miracle that Science has Ever "Proven"

              You may have noticed that the word “proven” in my title is in quotes and wondered if this is a concession that no such proof really exists for the “miracle” in question.  So you may be thinking my claim only illustrates the adage, “What one hand gives, it takes away with the other.”  Now on the one hand it is true that in terms of the question of causes in the succession of events of nature (e.g. present array of biological creatures, the geological history of Washington, etc.), scientists are not able to prove their conclusions.  Instead, they look at the entire range the evidence and then, out of a pool of multiple competing hypotheses, choose which one best fits the broadest array of data.  On the other hand, even under this criterion, the claim of my title still stands that science has virtually “proven” the “miracle” of the beginning of the universe!  Not only are scientists at a loss to explain this event in light of current scientific knowledge.  This is an event for which there is not even conceivably a scientific explanation.

                At a recent Reasons to Believe ( chapter meeting, the agenda of which is to harmonize the Bible with scientific knowledge without compromising either one, our “resident atheist” also attended as a highly valued guest.  During the Q&A which followed that day’s video presentation on the beginning of the universe, he declared publically that there is no actual evidence for the existence of God.  I publically contested his assertion by posing the challenge that, in the face of the scientific evidence just presented affirming the universe came into existence out of a “zero volume singularity,” what can atheism offer as a scientific account of how the universe began out of nothing, that is superior to theism?  When he replied that “the God answer” is unacceptable, I further pressed him, “What cause then do you offer in its place as a more reasonable account?”  When he proposed a quantum alternative, others present reminded him that he was merely assuming the prior existence of the very particles and laws that he seeks to explain.  Ultimately he conceded that the cause of the universe is yet unknown.                

To be continued...  

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Glaring Biblical Errors in the Movie: "Genesis: Paradise Lost" part IV

"They examin[ed] the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so" (Acts 17:11).

             At the very beginning of GPL, Charles Darwin was blamed for causing people to assume the world is old.  In actual fact there is a strong and broad body of evidence that is entirely independent of Darwinism which indicates that the entire cosmos, including the earth, is very old.  To give some examples:  1) On the basis of the speed of light, the time it has taken for light to travel from its respective sources (e.g. galaxies) to our optical instruments can be measured in billions of years.  The light from our closest galactic neighbor, Andromeda, took 2 ½ million years to reach us.  In order for YECs to dismiss this indicator of age, they must, in denial of Rom. 1, suppress as opposed to embrace the plain testimony of the heavens.  2) Ice core samples pertaining to annular snowfalls in the high arctic, indicate time frames of over 800,000 years of deposition (see Hugh Ross. A Matter of Days. (RTB, 2015), pp. 190f.).  3) Taking into consideration the range of necessary conditions in order for fossilization to in any way occur lead to the conclusion that it is simply impossible for the topography of our entire planet, including the Himalayas, to be attributed to a singular deluge.  See my two papers, “The Biblical Extent of Noah’s Flood” and “The Prints are Everywhere.” 

6.       GPL employs dubious lines of argument in their attempts to support its YEC position, including appealing to statements by Jesus to establish the “historical” nature of Genesis.  Although I too affirm its historicity, nothing Jesus said proves He affirmed YEC.  GPL also raises a concern, “If we can’t trust the first nine chapters of Genesis, how can we trust the resurrection of Jesus Christ?”  Yet this question is utterly absurd.  Taken to its logical conclusion, no claims at all to matters of fact, including assertions by the movie narrators, would ever achieve a level of trustworthiness for the reason that the entire human race is prone to error.  Further, since ancient historical narration has been conveyed by varying modes of literary expression that include verse (Psalm 105, Homer’s Illiad, and Virgil’s Aneid), GPL lacks grounds for its certitude that its YEC position is the only valid historical interpretation of Genesis 1.  Finally, Jesus himself would oppose at least posture 5A (above) as indicated by the question he posed to Nicodemus: “If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe me, how can you believe me if I tell you heavenly things?” (John 3:12).  In 1 John 1:1-3 the Apostle John applies Jesus’ very same principle by appealing to three of our modes of perception (“heard, seen with our eyes, touched with our hands”) in order to affirm our doctrine of the incarnation (John 1:12); not vice-versa.  This returns us full circle to Jesus’ reply to John the Baptist’s emissaries by appealing not to Scripture, but instead to what their senses actually told them (Matt. 11:4).  Contrary to the YEC propensity to ignore the logical principle of “non- contradiction,” Both Jesus and the Apostle John held that revelation must, in actuality, harmonize with the phenomena it describes.  See my paper, “Truth is Never Less than One.” 

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Glaring Biblical Errors in the Movie: "Genesis: Paradise Lost" part III

“[They Examined] the Scriptures daily to see if these Things were so.” (Acts 17:11)

4.       GPL’s assertion that its 24-hour day, young-earth creationist (YEC) interpretation of Genesis 1 is “unassailable” is far from substantiated.  Even though Martin Luther held to the 24-hour day view, he conceded on the first page of his Genesis lectures that the text of Genesis 1 is “difficult to understand(Jaroslav Pelikan, ed. Luther’s Works: Genesis, v. 1. (American Edition, Concordia, 1958), p. 3).  In spite of Luther’s honesty, my own Church body, The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LCMS), refuses to entertain even a conversation on this state of affairs, despite my requests (see my correspondence with the Commission on Theology and Church Relations (CTCR) of the LCMS titled, “Debate Challenge CTCR”).  In reply to the following challenge that the LCMS has publically posted: “Unless there is compelling reason on the basis of the biblical texts themselves…we are to believe God created the world in six 24-hour days,” I have picked up the gauntlet with my list of ten substantial grounds for holding that the creation days are indeed longer than 24-hours.  To give a few examples, firstly I challenge the claim that the Genesis “evening…morning” refrain proves the days are 24-hours each.  I reply that such phrasing utterly deviates from the text of Leviticus 23:32, which by contrast specifies duration: “from evening to evening.”  Secondly, although the movie narrators use the definite article (DE) “the” in reference to the creation days (e.g. “the third day,” etc.), with few exceptions the DE is not found in the Hebrew text.  This implies the “days” are indefinite.  Thirdly, since God exists outside of our time (2 Peter 3:8), it is entirely conceivable that His “days” are not ours.  Fourthly, on the YEC view, there is no Sun on days 1-3, which would be the normal indicator that the days are 24-hours.  See my essay, “The Biblical Demand to Take Another Look: Ten Exegetical Reasons the Creation Days of Genesis are Non-24 Hour.”

5.       When GPL insists that its YEC interpretation of Genesis alone is God-honoring, it misrepresents the Bible’s own claims as to how its authority is established in the face of scientific knowledge.  GPL’s dismissive posture contradicts St. Paul’s stricture in Romans 1:18-20 which forbids suppressing the testimony of nature.  There are NO biblical passages which pit revelation against the witness of nature as though they conflict. To the contrary, the Holy Spirit speaking through St. Paul not only deems it wickedness to suppress that testimony, He further elevates the same to the status of a convicting law (Rom. 3:19-20) thereby rendering unbelievers culpable for refusing to honor God as Creator.  As v. 20 states, “Ever since the creation of the world [God’s] invisible nature, namely His eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made.  So they are without excuse.”  For this reason GPL ought to renounce its participation in blunting this convicting aspect of God’s law by its suggestion that the witness of nature can’t trusted!  See my essay. “The Bible Expressly Forbids Suppressing the Testimony of Nature.”