Worldview Consistency Flowchart

I’ve struggled with how to communicate the inherent contradictions of worldviews that do not start with the unchanging, unbound, transcendent Creator revealed in creation, the Bible, and in Jesus.

This is not the perfect communication medium, but if a picture is worth 1000 words, it assists with pointing out the inconsistency when naturalists assume certain aspects of reality. Based on their assumptions, to give a proper satisfactory explanation (justification) for the following components of reality, they must borrow from the Christian Worldview.

  • Truth – how it can be known for certain
  • Absolute Laws – math, physics, chemistry, laws of logic, thermodynamics
  • Inherent Human Value
  • Consciousness
  • Uniformity of Nature
  • Morality (Justice, Right, Evil…)

Consistency matters! God is worthy of all praise!

consistency

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The Bible Endorses Slavery

Internet philosophers love to point out contradictions…especially perceived contradictions in the Bible. The charge that the “Bible endorses slavery” is rampant and definitive. To those making the charge, no further argument is needed, and the case is closed because <outrage font> “slavery is wrong!”

Let’s analyze this claim and tactic. By what absolute standard do YOU declare slavery to be wrong/immoral/evil? For those who claim the worldview of naturalism/materialism/absurdism, what is evil? The priests of naturalism have this to say about human origins:

  • Carl Sagan – “The cosmos is all that is or ever was or ever will be.”
  • Tyson – “We (humans) are not figuratively but literally stardust.”
  • Dawkins – “The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference.”
  • Nye – “We are just a speck, on a speck, orbiting a speck, in the corner of a speck, in the middle of nowhere.”

So, if humans are the accidental aggregate of stardust on a speck of a speck in the midst of a blind, pitiless, indifferent universe made only of atoms, how can they justify unchanging, abstract universals like truth, morality, math, laws of logic, and physical laws by which to judge something or someone as evil? It is inconsistent and absurd for the naturalist to make judgments against the Bible as somehow immoral. What does stardust (humans) care about morality? What intrinsic value does stardust have such that it needs to be protected from slavery? How could stardust reason…and with what unchanging absolute tools?

So, if you do not start with the God of scripture, who revealed Himself in creation, in the Bible, and in Jesus – your outrage against ANYTHING God does, commands, or endorses is impotent.

But how do Christians understand the “endorsement of slavery” within the Bible? Is there a positive case to be made that would help Christians to understand the negative perception? Let’s look at scripture and see:

  1. God is eternally Holy. His character defines morality since He created mankind in his image. It is only because the unchanging, transcendent Creator has revealed Himself do we have any justification for declaring anything as “immoral” or “evil.” Adam/Eve were the 1st humans and their rebellion against God’s requirement affected all of creation (Genesis 3.) Since then, every human has followed suit in their rebellion against God, so EVERYONE deserves God’s righteous judgment. This is key: EVERYONE. But God’s plan was to send his only Son, Jesus to die and take the punishment for sin of everyone who repents of their rebellion. So, by his amazing grace, although everyone deserves punishment, some repent and receive mercy and abundant life! So, since everyone is guilty of disobedience against the perfectly holy Creator, slavery is better than what the rebellious actually deserve.
  2. Because everyone has sinned and there are uncontrolled consequences for rebellion against the Creator, mistreating people has become ubiquitous. Since the fallen idea of might-makes-right was recognized as the dominant paradigm in place of being God’s image bearers, slavery had a fertile garden in which to grow. The mightiest, richest, and/or craftiest have always been able to selfishly extort and manipulate other people. Slavery is actually the expected result of the human condition BECAUSE of the sin nature within mankind.
  3. The charge is that the Bible endorses slavery. What is the definition of slavery? In 1960, if someone said they were gay, what would that have meant? They were happy. In the 21st century, saying you’re gay has a completely different connotation. In the 21st century slavery is a polarizing term that means: White people owning/abusing/killing black people. To put this into perspective, let me explain a few things, Americans have received free education from our respective local governments from K-12 grades. We learned reading, writing, arithmetic, history, sociology, physics, music, and biology. With that education, and in a capitalist society, we can use those precious gifts to find employment and support our respective families. This was not the case 3000 years ago when the Bible was written. All over the world, for someone to live and eat they would need to “sell or rent” themselves into indentured servitude (slavery). Those who did not own land or were uneducated had no recourse other than to serve in the military or serve as a laborer. Both the old and new testaments set requirements for masters to treat their workers as valuable humans. The Bible gives clear boundaries and punishments for masters to treat their indentured servants as they themselves would want to be treated.
  4. Those who would kidnap and enslave others involuntarily are specifically condemned: I Timothy 3:10 “Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully, understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine.”
  5. In Matthew 22 Jesus is recorded to have said “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” So whether as a master or an indentured servant, love God and love people.
  6. The Egyptians, who had enslaved the Israelites for over 400 years, were harsh masters…so much so that the Hebrews cried out to God for divine intervention (Ex 3:7). God delivered them from the harsh slavery of the Egyptians, and told the Hebrews very clearly to treat indentured servants with mercy. Deuteronomy 15:12-15 says “If your brother, a Hebrew man or a Hebrew woman, is sold to you, he shall serve you six years, and in the seventh year you shall let him go free from you. And when you let him go free from you, you shall not let him go empty-handed. You shall furnish him liberally out of your flock, out of your threshing floor, and out of your winepress. As the LORD your God has blessed you, you shall give to him. You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the LORD your God redeemed you; therefore I command you this today.”
  7. The Apostle Paul wrote an impassioned letter to a fellow Christian, and it is included in the Bible under the name of the recipient, Philemon. Philemon is the master of an escaped indentured servant, Onesimus. Paul exhorts Philemon “For this perhaps is why he was parted from you for a while, that you might have him back forever, no longer as a bondservant but more than a bondservant, as a beloved brother”
  8. I listened to the audio books of Game of Thrones. I one of the books there were several chapters that described the story of the Dragon queen conquering a land that was defined by slavery. She succeeded in ending slavery in the whole land. When she (as the new queen) began seeing petitioners, one of the former slaves asked her to re-instate slavery because he and many others were now suffering as indigents. He makes the case that as a slave, he was cared for and protected in his master’s house, but when slavery was forcefully ended, it created a new class of homeless and downtrodden. In much the same way, the world prior to Western Culture was plagued with generational slavery. Because many masters were evil and de-humanized their slaves, chattel slavery flourished. But the Christian abolitionist, William Wilberforce helped to re-calibrate the philosophical assumptions that described certain classes of slaves as sub-human to instead show that they were created in God’s image and thus had inherent value. His crusade to end chattel slavery in England swept across Europe and finally into the western hemisphere. Thankfully, today, in this culture, slavery has ended and is unnecessary (for the indigent). Sadly, in other countries, young girls are still forced into sexual slavery because of generational illiteracy and corrupt rulers/elite.

The charge that the Bible is immoral fails for these and other reasons.

Because God has revealed Himself as Holy, unchanging, and transcendent, we can trust his revelation and praise Him in fulfillment of our created purpose. Jesus truly is worthy of all praise!!!

Does Christianity or Naturalism Better Account For Reality?

This is my first “formal” debate. An agnostic challenged me via Twitter to defend my position on Christianity. Any constructive criticism is appreciated.

We agreed beforehand to answer the question:

Does Christianity or Naturalism Better Account For Reality?

But right from the start, my opponent waffled on defending the position in an attempt not to be cornered. But as you can see, he really didn’t arrive with any position or defense.

The format of the debate was to have a 5 minute closing, but since there was a debate scheduled right after ours, the moderator chose to end our debate prematurely. This was my prepared closing:

“As we have heard hear tonight, naturalism is unable to account for reality. Because we have heard no consistent justification for the 8 necessities for explaining reality, it is a worldview that is insufficient for determining truth.

But my purpose for being involved in this debate is to share the gospel of Jesus the Messiah. All of mankind has rebelled against God’s holiness. God’s perfect creation is perverted by sin. We see the effects of the curse of sin all around us: Lying, stealing, adultery, murder are not just pragmatically wrong, socially wrong, or wrong because they cause harm…although they do harm. They are ultimately wrong because they lie about the character of Almighty God. God, who revealed himself through creation, the Bible, and in Jesus is truthful, content, faithful, and kind. His judgment for rebellion is based on righteousness. But God made a plan to redeem those who would repent of their rebellion. In fulfillment of prophecy God became man as Jesus and took on the punishment for sin that each one of us deserve. By his grace, those who repent of their rebellion, will be forgiven and live the abundant life that Jesus promised. He is worthy of all praise.”

The Eternal Creator is Good!

close up portrait of lion

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

In C.S. Lewis’ timeless tale, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, a conversation ensues between Susan and a native of Narnia,

Mr. Beaver: “Aslan is a lion- the Lion, the great Lion.”

Susan: “Ooh. I’d thought he was a man. Is he-quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion.”

Mr Beaver: “Safe? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good.”

God is good. Here are 29 times in the old testament that say this exact phrase:

  • I Chronicles 16:34
  • II Chronicles 5:13
  • II Chronicles 7:3
  • II Chronicles 30:18
  • Ezra 8:18
  • Nehemiah 2:8
  • Nehemiah 9:20
  • Psalms 23:6
  • Psalms 25:8
  • Psalms 34:8
  • Psalms 52:9
  • Psalms 54:6
  • Psalms 73:1
  • Psalms 84:11
  • Psalms 85:12
  • Psalms 86:5
  • Psalms 100:5
  • Psalms 106:1
  • Psalms 107:1
  • Psalms 118:1
  • Psalms 118:29
  • Psalms 119:68
  • Psalms 135:3
  • Psalms 136:1
  • Psalms 143:10
  • Psalms 145:9
  • Jeremiah 24:2
  • Jeremiah 26:14
  • Jeremiah 33:11

I’ve mentioned BlueLetterBible.org before, and it’s one of my favorite Bible study tools. Let’s look at the Hebrew word for “good” and see if we can make some connections in other parts of scripture:

GodIsGood

This Hebrew word ‘towb’ is used many times in the old testament, and it is translated as good, better, best, pleasant, excellent, prosperous. Now let’s look at places that pair ‘towb’ with its opposite: “ra” and “ra’a”, which is usually translated as evil, harm, destruction.

GoodEvil

Some examples would be Genesis 31:29

“I (Laban) have the power to harm (ra’) you; but last night the God of your fathers said to me, ‘Be careful not to say anything to Jacob, either good (towb) or bad (ra).'”

I Samuel 24:17

“You (David) are more righteous than I (Saul). You have treated me with goodness (towb), but I have repaid you with evil (ra).”

My purpose in writing this post is twofold:

  1. Remind everyone that the Almighty Creator is the opposite of evil. He is good!
  2. To highlight the contradictions of old earth paradigms in God’s Word.

Without exception all old earth paradigms require that death, disease, suffering, harm, and predation existed prior to the rebellion of Adam and Eve. But as disciples of Jesus, we want to be in agreement with ALL of his eternal Word, so let’s look at the historical narrative in Genesis to see how a proper understanding of  “towb” and “ra” can help us eliminate contradictions.

Seven times in the creation story of Genesis 1, God looked at what He had made and declared, “it was good” (towb – H2896). On the seventh time, when the Creator viewed all that He had made, He declared “it was very good.” The number 7 has symbolic meaning in God’s Word, as it seems to be used for emphasis. So, the fact that God declares his creation good and the 7th time “very good” should accentuate that God wants us to tune in to his super-repetition.

Genesis 1:29-30 God clearly says that He intends his creatures to eat fruits, seeds, and greens rather than engage in predatory behavior, and when we see Isaiah 11:6 and Isaiah 65:25 there is clear evidence that the restoration of the new creation does not include harm, destruction, or predatory behavior.

“Towb” is used to describe the character of God, and God uses “towb” to describe his creation before sin entered it. “Ra” is the opposite of “towb”, and “ra” means harm, evil, and destruction. For old earthers to assume harm, evil, and destruction were part of the “very good” creation prior to sin is not just a contradiction, it actually speaks to the character of the Almighty. Can “towb” include evil, predatory behavior, and destruction?

The Bible says no, and we can trust God’s eternal Word. Old earth paradigms cannot be an acceptable part of Christian thinking because of the contradictions that are raised when one believes harm, destruction, and death were a part of God’s “very good” creation prior to sin…along with many other reasons.

Since we can trust God’s revelation about the past, we can trust Him with our future! Our good God is worthy of praise!!!

 

Welcome to the Great Debate

IMG_7019For years Matt Walsh has been an outspoken conservative commentator and blogger on politics and abortion. He has amassed an ardent audience through his multiple media portals. I’ve enjoyed reading  many of his opinions.

With the release of his YouTube video, Why I am Not A Young Earth Creationist, this past week, he took a bold step into an area of theology for which he appears to be completely unprepared.

Walsh brings to the discussion monumental misunderstands of what biblical creation teaches …and not much else. Here are the glaring misunderstandings that he attributes to biblical creationists:

  1. Biblical creationists take every single thing in the bible completely literally. Poetry, parables, exaggerations, symbolism are all held the same as history, doctrine and the words of Jesus. 
    1. This is a ridiculous view. Biblical creationists take the genre into consideration when reading God’s revealed word. Walsh’s opening point is very polemic and unhelpful to the conversation. Genesis is written as history. The author’s intent was to to convey to his readers that the events in Genesis are part of the history of God’s interactions with humanity and specifically the origins of the Hebrew people. The rest of the old testament and dozens of times in the new testament, Genesis is quoted as having actually happened. Genesis regarded by Moses, the other old testament authors and the new testament authors as history. Should Walsh want to believe that part of Genesis was metaphor and part history, where does this switch happen? 
  2. Biblical creationists demand that Genesis be a scientific encyclopedia that explains all fields of science in the greatest depth.
    1. Again, this polemic misrepresentation adds nothing to the discussion. Nothing in scripture is intended to be a scientific treatise, but where scripture covers something scientific, it’s never incorrect. The creation story in Genesis 1 and 2 is not concerned with teaching humanity about profound scientific principles. It is God’s revelation of his miraculous acts of creation. Since creation was supernatural acts involving his supreme power, why do old earthers, like Walsh, expect naturalistic explanations for these miracles but not the other miracles in the Bible? Virgin birth? Resurrection from the dead? These things are scientifically impossible. Why do old earthers specifically segregate the miracle of creation as impossible? 
  3. Biblical creationists demand that the word day means 24 hours every single time it is used throughout scripture without exception. According to Walsh, a day can be measured on earth, Pluto, or Saturn because God was not clear in his revelation, so he can take whatever frame of reference he wants a day to be. Walsh: “We have no reasons at all to assume that the days in Genesis 1 were 24 hours long.”
    1. Biblical creationists agree that the Hebrew word “yom” can be translated in many ways. The key to understanding what it means in each passage, and specifically Genesis 1 is called exegesis. Look at the context and where scripture talks about this event in other places to see what the word means here. Each of the days of Genesis 1 are denoted with an ordinal (THE 1st day, THE 2nd day, THE 3rd day…), and each of the days is bounded by evening and morning. Looking at Exodus 20 (which is a passage that NO ONE says is poetry), God says your weeks should be like my creation week. “Six days you shall labor and do all your work but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God…For in 6 days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day.” So, by exegesis we have 100% verification that God intended his people to work for six 24-hour days and rest on one 24 hour day…just like He did during the creation week. So if old earthers want to change the definition of a day in this context they have to overcome the direct command from God about the course of a week and the ordinals and familiar boundaries of evening/morning.
  4. Biblical creationists hate science and they think that all scientists in all fields of science are lying about their conclusions of long ages. 
    1. Again, more straw-man arguments that are not true. Most branches of science were started and developed by biblical creationists. There are axioms and assumptions in all scientific research. Biblical creationists forsake the naturalistic assumptions that the modern paradigm relies upon for their old earthism. If Walsh wants to accommodate old earth cosmology because the vast majority of scientists believe it, he is bound to accept the biological origins of humanity as well, which is also untenable from a biblical perspective.

Walsh starts his video with this friendly sounding quote: “We should be able to discuss an important and interesting issue without getting angry and without getting offended.”

But the more you watch his video, he is not interested in rational discussion. He is clearly not trying to be persuasive but is instead purposefully mischaracterizing those with whom he disagrees as morons.

Walsh gets his arguments mixed up at one point by saying there are days prior to there being an earth…except the first sentence in the Bible says that God created the earth at the beginning. He then misunderstands the definition of a day saying that there must be a light source or days mean nothing. This is not true. The definition of a day is 1 rotation of the earth on its axis. No light source necessary. But for his old earth position, he has a HUGE shortcoming in his foundations since a year is defined as the time is takes the earth to revolve around the sun. What are the units of time prior to the sun and earth coalescing from primordial space dust and how is that calibrated? They would say it’s 9 billion years, but what is a year prior to the calibration of a year existing?

Watching his video once was bad enough, but going back through it again to highlight his misunderstandings is nearly unbearable. So, while there are more strawmen arguments and lazy analysis of biblical creation, it is sufficient to say that Walsh could use a serious re-adjustment of his perspective regarding God’s revelation in Genesis. Our understanding of science is based upon God’s revelation from the Bible; not the other way around.

Should he want to do his due diligence (and he doesn’t care for Ken Ham) there’s more than enough information to learn what real biblical creationists teach from these resources:

  1. Bible
  2. ApoloJedi.com
  3. Creation.com
  4. crev.info
  5. TheCreationClub.com
  6. BiblicalScienceInstitute.com
  7. Icr.org

Book Review : Fight – A Christian Case for NonViolence

Fight

In today’s culture that includes all view from the pendulum swing of gun-free extremism to open-carry extremism, how relevant is a book like this? My younger brother introduced me to Preston Sprinkle’s Fight – The Christian Case for Non Violence, and I was very skeptical thinking, “It’s probably just liberal politics with some holy water poured on it to make it sound Christian.”

I was both wrong and right. Let me start with my conclusion: This book is worth reading because of how Christians are influenced too much by what the culture is teaching rather than influencing culture by what the Bible teaches.

Forward

Is there a more lazy condemnation of something distasteful than to say, “Well, Hitler did xxxxxx?” Even though, he only mentions Hitler in passing, the context of that paragraph suddenly get swallowed in that black hole because of the strong emotions that come with his mere mention.

Some strong points from the forward:

The cure to bad theology is not “no theology” – but good theology

Definitely, and I found this book contained both good and bad theology

But in the end he reminds us that we are not called to follow Augustine…we are called to follow Christ.

This is so relevant to our culture because there is a strong temptation to latch onto some bumper sticker proverb or clever tweet from a famous pastor as though it were doctrine.

Chapter 1

One of the themes that runs throughout that book is the way that Christians have conflated the Kingdom of God with the Kingdom of the United States of America. It is a heresy that has infiltrated the church, and has diluted the power and truth of the gospel. If the reader gets nothing else from this book, Christians should live as citizens of the Kingdom of God with more passion than as citizens of their mortal land.

One of the first opportunities for recognizing this dichotomy is when he asks, “Should Christians celebrate the death of a terrorist or suicide bomber?” Our patriotism shouts victoriously that it’s good that this terrorist is dead, but as citizens of the eternal Kingdom, we recognize that any terrorist is suffering for eternity because of his sin. Death is the enemy (I Cor 15). What a sad state of affairs that we don’t weep for how sin has perverted Creation and instead cheer for the death of America’s enemies.

One of my favorite paragraphs from the whole book:

All the more need to open God’s Word to see what He thinks about these issues…But in order to address these issues from a Christian perspective, we need to dig into scripture to see what God does say about them. So often in heated debates, the Bible is rarely consulted. Or if it is, it’s done haphazardly or with blatant bias. Oftentimes we start with a view we are convinced is right; then we go to Scripture to find verses that support it.

More than anything I got from reading this book was the conviction that my Americanism influenced my view about guns and violence rather than letting God’s divine Word shape my thinking.

Sprinkle brings to light some horrific heretical teachings by famous Christian teachers:

Hal Lindsey, located the moral demise if America in the “crisis of military weakness.” He believed that “the Bible supports building a powerful military force…the Bible is telling the US to become strong again” and “to use our vast and superior technology to create the world’s strongest military power.” Jerry Falwell…called America back to biblical values, which included patriotism and a strong military to ward off the threat of atheistic communism…Wayne Grudem saw America’s “superior military weaponry” as “a good thing for the world.” After all, “genuine peace in the world comes through the strength of the United States.”

Grudem’s final comment is so disheartening that Christian leaders would so dishonor the Prince of Peace by elevating the USA to His rightful throne and say that the USA provides genuine peace through superior firepower.

PeaceThroughFirepower

As a youth, I loved this phrase, and it is easy to rally behind! But that again is the patriotism deciding my doctrine rather than God’s Word.

Some questions (though not specifically in the book) were brought to mind for me in reading ch 1:

  • Has Americanism invaded the church?
  • Is religious freedom God’s intention?
  • Is militarism the key to religious freedom and a hope for peace?

 

Chapters 2-5

Sprinkle spends most of these chapters building his case for non-violence. Sadly, I found most of these chapters as scriptures taken out of context, a huge stretching of the text to make a point, or repetitive frustration with militarism.

Sprinkle introduces a strange resolution to the Israelite’s destruction of the Canaanites (and other OT sins).

God both accommodates to and improves upon the ethical systems of the surrounding nations. p49

Accommodating sounds very much like God compromises his holiness since the Hebrews are unable to obey perfectly. It’s like saying, “Well, at least the Hebrews weren’t as bad as the surrounding nations. They did some things better, so God must have changed his standards to accommodate their behavior.” This is NOT God’s plan, so to say this (more than once in these chapters), Sprinkle seems not understand God’s purpose to redeem Creation from the curse of sin…completely.

But in light of other ancient war accounts, the Old Testament looks much less gruesome. p65

Compared to other nations, Israel did not glorify violence. p68

Here it is again – this idea of “At least it’s better than others.” God is not into hierarchical sins and above a certain threshold is unacceptable.

The section heading on page 68 is “Should America follow Israel’s war policy?” I mentioned earlier that patriotism should not be intertwined with Christianity. In this section Sprinkle explicitly states a powerful truth that Christians today need to embrace:

But America is not God’s nation. Let me be clear: I do not think that America should use the Bible to construct or defend its military program, because America is not the new Israel, nor is it a Christian nation…God’s people should never celebrate military power, and we certainly shouldn’t find our hope and security in it.

There are lots of Christians in the USA, and a valid case can be made that some Christian principles were employed by many Christian founding fathers to create this nation, but it is not (as a nation) God’s chosen people.

In my opinion Ch 4 can be skipped completely, because he builds a strong case that American Christians today should not wipe out Canaanites as the Israelites did (either hyperbolically or otherwise.) We agree.

In chapter 5 he makes the strange case that Israel was not to possess “advanced weaponry.” So, for the time, horses were seen as advanced weaponry, and Israel (under Solomon) sinned by adding advanced weaponry (horses) to his army. What? And even though he specifically said earlier that the USA is not God’s nation, Sprinkle condemns the USA’s acquisition of advanced weaponry today as against God’s commands. So, why would that matter if the USA is not God’s nation? This contradiction is peppered throughout the book.

I can very much appreciate the sentiment in chapter 6 that Christians are called to be citizens of the eternal Kingdom rather than subject to the thoughts and desires of the world. Jesus confessed before Pilate “If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews.” Christians should evaluate their involvement into the affairs of the world’s kingdoms the way Jesus did.

[SPOILER: Skip to the next paragraph if you want to appreciate the surprise] On p.130, Sprinkle shares a powerful “gotcha” moment in which he describes a young man named, Martin, who served his country with honor during WW2. Martin said, “When this great nation was formed, God gave Christianity as its soul, and it is from these Christian roots that it has grown and developed.” Martin Niemoller served in the German army out of his allegiance to his earthly nation. It is a good reminder that when we ally ourselves with the world, we will inevitably not be serving the Kingdom of God.

I found myself in agreement with most of his writing in chapters 7 and 8. Love your enemies and Good Citizens. In Chapters 9 and 10, Sprinkle again builds a tired case that just because there is violence in the Bible (Revelation in this case), that Christians should not seek out violent means. Perhaps, it is because I do not travel in specific circles, but I’ve not heard Christian leaders make the case that because there is bloodshed prophesied in Revelation that Christians can kill and maim unbelievers, so I’m in agreement with Sprinkle…the chapters just seemed to drag on as unneeded to make his case.

Chapter 11 discusses what is perhaps the most asked question with regards to Christian violence. “What should Christians do when an attacker comes into your home?” Sprinkle does not answer conclusively, but the questions and concepts covered are very valuable in answering this question for yourself. When the Christian culture says, “Blast anyone who comes into your home” can we as Christians not recognize that when the people that Jesus loved most were faced with persecution/death, He chose not to act in violence?

success isn’t the highest goal. Faithfulness is. So what would be the most faithful Christlike response to the attacker at the door?

Pray for him. I’m living in a world ruled by Jesus.

We love our enemies because we were once God’s enemies. We were the attacker at the door who crucified His Son, and He didn’t shoot us. And even if we killed our enemy as the lesser of two evils, it’s still a horrific incident. We don’t cherish the death of our enemies.

It’s true that we were once enemies of God, but we do not love our enemies because we were once enemies. We love our enemies because Jesus said, “Love your enemies.” No other reason is needed.

There are other questions and objections answered in Sprinkle’s book, but my blog post is about 10X longer than I like to write, so I’ll end it here with an endorsement.

Christians should read this book – not because we have to agree with everything written in it. This book challenged my thinking…to break out of the cultural comfort of patriotic compromising of God’s Word. Today’s Christians have inherited/developed a strong sense of self defense and justice in violent retribution. More than anything else, we should strive to honor the King and obey him with faithfulness. If faithful obedience means sacrificing our Constitutionally-protected right to self-defense, obedience is the most important.

 

Evidence for the Almighty

Interact with people long enough online when discussing God, and the inevitable demand for “evidence for your sky daddy” (or other pejorative) will arise. So, let’s talk evidence.

Evidence

That’s a decent definition for evidence. As another prerequisite, how do we define God. God as revealed through his creation, through his Word, and through Jesus as The All powerful, All Knowing, and All Loving Eternal Creator.

We need to talk about three more things before we talk about evidence:

  1. All evidence is interpreted by your worldview. Evidence does not speak for itself. Let me give you an example of how people interpret evidence according to their worldview. The evidence is a fossilized dinosaur bone.
    • A Christian will look at the fossil and interpret it to be exactly what one would expect to find when digging in sedimentary rock layers because the dinosaur was rapidly buried by water-born sediment. Since the animal now exists as a fossil, it avoided decomposition from scavengers/bacteria, so it had to be buried quickly by a massive flood like the one revealed as historical evidence in Genesis 7-9. We know from calculations on ages and historical markers that the flood took place about 4500 years ago, so the bone has been buried for about 4500 years.
    • A non-Christian will look at the fossil and interpret it to be exactly what one would expect to find when digging in sedimentary rock layers because dinosaurs lived millions of years ago and so the rock layer in which the dinosaur is buried is also that old. Because the rock layer has this fossil in it, we know that the fossil was buried about 65 million years ago.
    • Same evidence.Wildly different conclusions. There is no special atheistic evidence, and there is no special christian evidence. There’s just evidence that people interpret within their worldview framework. Can evidence ultimately convince someone of God’s existence? So, we have to ask how valid is it to put out evidence to convince someone that God exists.
  2. What things count as evidence?
    • Laboratory evidence or repeatable evidence. There are all kinds of examples for this, but let’s go easy: Water at sea level boils at 100 degrees Celsius. This is repeatable and consistent. Most of the time, when I have interactions with people online, they want this kind of laboratory evidence to prove that God exists. We’ll talk more later about why a demand for evidence of the Almighty on this level is absurd.
    • Historical or Forensic evidence. Clearly, one cannot go into the laboratory and prove with repeatability the existence of Ghengis Khan or Thomas Jefferson, but one can, with a high degree of certainty, rely on historical records. Biases play a major role in the documentation of historical records, so it’s helpful to recognize bias and read multiple accounts of a historical event to get the truest picture of the past.
  3. This is not specifically about evidence, but the demand that people make of God. “God you appear before me or you’re not real!” To demand this of the Eternal Almighty is audacious, prideful, and dangerous. On a much smaller scale, it would be similar to saying, “The President of the USA better show up to my birthday party and light my candles, or he’s not really the president.” This demand is completely unreasonable for his authority/position, and it ultimately has no bearing on the president’s authority/position.

 

What is the evidence for God?

  1. Since God is the Creator, all evidence is evidence for God. Romans 1:20 “For since the creation of the world, God’s invisible qualities-his divine nature-have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.” A key question would be: What evidence would convince you that God exists, even though he says you already have enough evidence?
  2. Without God, you couldn’t prove anything at all. As the Ultimate Truth shows, God can fulfill the necessary preconditions for intelligibility. To be absolutely certain of something, one must know everything or have revelation from Someone who does know everything. We all know things, therefore God exists.
  3. There are immaterial, invariant, universal entities. Those who believe in a naturalistic worldview cannot account for these entities, because the naturalist is bound by constantly-changing matter. Since God is immaterial, invariant, and transcendental, He can substantiate both the material and immaterial entities. Because there are things like good, beauty, truth, mathematics, and information we know that God must exist to be the source for these things.
  4. The Bible. Scripture claims to be divinely inspired. These claims are internally consistent and continually verified by forensic science. As verification of their divine nature, fulfilled prophecies have been recorded throughout scripture and later come true. Ultimately, the resurrection of Jesus from the dead is the pivotal point in history. Multiple lines of evidence are compelling for this miracle.
  5. Specified Complexity – DNA is a biological code that exhibits specified complexity. It is both highly ordered and elaborate. Scientifically, only intelligence is known to create specified complex code like computer programs. DNA is not just a code, but exhibits informational capacity in multiple dimensions. Complexity of this magnitude requires a magnificent Power.
  6. Irreducible Complexity – “A single system which is composed of several interacting parts that contribute to the basic function, & where the removal of any one of the parts causes the system to effectively cease functioning. An irreducibly complex system cannot be produced gradually by slight, successive modifications of a precursor system, since any precursor to an irreducibly complex system is by definition nonfunctional.” God shows Himself to be a master designer by creating mechanisms that cannot function with any missing parts. Examples of IC are most of the  biological systems: respiratory, circulatory, immune, etc…
  7. Fine Tuning – There are properties of the universe that could have any number of values. If any of these values were different in even the slightest degree, life would not be possible. The universe appears to be not just perfectly fine tuned for life but perfectly designed for the flourishing of life and scientific discovery.
    1. A sub-category of the fine-tuning evidence is the specific evidence for earth being designed for human life:
      1. Perfect distance from the sun provides for liquid water and optimum temperatures for humanity
      2. Unique near-circular orbit prevents massive climate swings
      3. Protective atmosphere – The atmosphere deflects or absorbs much of the dangerous radiation and meteors. It also provides the right amount of heat preservation for life on earth. Its composition fosters the water cycle that sustains life on earth.
      4. The earth is the perfect size for generating a magnetic field of the right strength. The Van Allen belts protect humanity from dangerous radiation. As a secondary benefit of the belts, the beauty of the northern lights can be enjoyed by humanity.
      5. Transparent atmosphere allows us to use the visible light spectrum for vision. Because of this, humanity can observe evidence both inside and outside our atmosphere.
      6. The atmosphere is also the perfect ratio of elements for respiration, combustion, flight, photosynthesis, condensation, evaporation, and UV protection. The atmosphere is also a great medium for passing smell and sound.
      7. The proximity to the moon and sun provide perfect amount of force to control tides and keep the oceans from becoming stagnant.
      8. We can view a perfect solar eclipse because the moon appears to be 400X smaller than the relative distance of the sun, which is 400X further away. Coincidence or design?
      9. The placement of the earth within the solar system protects the earth from most meteor strikes. The large gas planets “vacuum” up most of the dangerous ones.
      10. The placement of the earth within the Milky Way appears to be perfectly designed because it is in a relatively safe part of the bands of stars that allows for the greatest level of discovery.
  8. Symbiosis – Symbiosis is defined as “interaction between two different organisms living in close physical association, typically to the advantage of both.” Unrelated biological systems that cannot exist independently are best explained by a master Designer, who planned their advantageous interactions.
  9. The Moral Argument – While not a specific piece of evidence, the argument that there are ultimate moral laws necessitates a moral law giver. Again, naturalistic worldviews cannot account for universal, immaterial, and invariant moral laws.

This list is not comprehensive, but it is a good start when studiously researching the evidence for the existence of God.

I mentioned earlier that most atheists demand a level of evidence for God on par with 2+2=4 or the repeatable boiling point of water. This demand is absurd, because it is a category error.

God is by definition beyond nature, so demanding a natural evidence for a supernatural event/entity does not make sense. As an example of this, a miracle was recorded in the Bible where Jesus changed water into wine. Jesus did not use a law of nature or mathematical formula to perform this miracle. It is by definition supernatural and does not produce evidence that can be repeated or the process described step-by-step. It’s very much like the character in a video game who demands that the video game designer bring himself into the video game to prove his existence.

So, if your limited worldview has barriers that ignore/suppress/disallow the supernatural, no evidence will ever be good enough.

To know the Creator, you must admit and repent of your rebellion against Him. He is faithful to forgive and only faith in his Son can bring the mercy and peace that we all need.