Saturday, November 9, 2013

Hitchens Challenge

Christopher Hitchens’ challenge:  ““Name me an ethical (moral) statement made or an action performed by a believer that could not have been made or performed by a non-believer.”

Answer:  A non-believer can neither make an ethical statement nor perform any ethical action.

Rational:  First let’s try to get our heads around some working definitions.  Since Christopher is secular, then we will go with secular sources for the key definitions.  We will take ethical to mean - of or relating to moral (concerned with the principles of right and wrong behavior and the goodness or badness of human character) principles.
Now, let’s suppose that non-believer Chris wants to do something ethical.  The first thing he needs to do is determine some wrong or bad behavior.  Let’s suppose that Chris decides that in general lying is wrong or bad.  Chris then states: “Lying is wrong or bad.”  Chris goes for 100 days and states only the truth.  On the 101st day a situation comes up that Chris did not think about before where he determines that lying in this case is the right thing to do.  Chris modifies his ethics and now lies only in the cases where he determines lying is not bad.  This will quickly become confusing for Chris and others to follow but let’s say we can all live with this as ethical behavior; Chris’s set of principles are just complicated but he manages to live by them for another 200 days.  On the 301st day a situation comes up where Chris is tempted to lie, let’s say for personal gain or convenience.  Now, Chris knows this is wrong.  He has had someone lie to him before because it was convenient for them and Chris did not like that one little bit; yes, it is wrong by Chris’s standards and Chris is fully aware of it.  However, there is so much personal gain or convenience at stake for Chris that he does it; he lies.  Most would say, yeah ok, Chris messed up but he is still ethical, or, more to Christopher’s point, Chris has stated and done ethical things in the past.
Wait just a minute.  This one act erodes all of the efforts Chris has made in the past and all of the efforts Chris will make in the future with respect to telling the truth.  It uncovers the true basis of his schema.  Chris does not tell the truth because lying is wrong or bad; Chris tells the truth when it is convenient and lies when it is convenient.  That is all Chris has ever done that is all he, by himself, will ever do.  Chris has not lived the past 300 days by his ethic of lying is bad.  Lying, to Chris, is only bad in theory.  In practice, it can be very convenient.

You might be now ready to beg that Chris does have an ethic:  Inconvenience is bad.  I caution you.  For if so, you have come to the description of human character summed up in Romans 3.  You might be comforted at this point by the fact that believers, of their own strength and will can neither make an ethical statement nor perform an ethical action.  We all have the same problem.  The solution?  There is one; Jesus.  John 15: 5 – 8.  So, the believer can make ethical statements and perform ethical acts by the power of the Holy Spirit in him or her.  The non-believer, at best, can only do what is convenient.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Modern Cosmology

 I was reading this morning the comedy of modern cosmology.  One positive note; of late these cosmologists seem to be worming up to the idea “Who coverest thyself with light as with a garment: who stretchest out the heavens like a curtain:” – Psalm 104: 2  You see some of them think the Universe has a diameter of 156 billion light years while all the lemmings agree the Universe is about 13.7 billion light years old.  Read for yourself from

“"All the distance covered by the light in the early universe gets increased by the expansion of the universe," explains Neil Cornish, an astrophysicist at Montana State University. "Think of it like compound interest."

Need a visual? Imagine the universe just a million years after it was born, Cornish suggests. A batch of light travels for a year, covering one light-year. "At that time, the universe was about 1,000 times smaller than it is today," he said. "Thus, that one light-year has now stretched to become 1,000 light-years."

All the pieces add up to 78 billion-light-years. The light has not traveled that far, but "the starting point of a photon reaching us today after traveling for 13.7 billion years is now 78 billion light-years away," Cornish said. That would be the radius of the universe, and twice that -- 156 billion light-years -- is the diameter. That's based on a view going 90 percent of the way back in time, so it might be slightly larger.”

If you extrapolate this idea just a bit more, then a 6,000 year old Universe is not hard to see.  I am reminded of a problem I gave my high school students when I was a math teacher.

Just for fun let’s say that the 13.7 billion year age is an accurate coordinate time age for the Universe and that the 78 billion light year radius is equally as good and that it all started at the big bang.  What would the proper time number look like?  Well, the velocity of the expansion after the big bang is generally agreed to be preposterous or insane or some other such adjective by these folks ( LUDICROUS SPEED).   Ok, maybe not ludicrous speed.  Let’s try an average rate of expansion of 0.9999999999999c where c is the speed of light.  According to the accepted formula, ΔƮ = ΔT*SQRT(1 – v^2/c^2), for proper time ΔƮ, then due to the observable phenomenon of time dilation proper time would be about 6,128 years.  In relativity, proper time is the elapsed time between two events as measured by a clock that passes through both events.

In other words, if we would have lived through the events of the supposed big bang as they unfolded the current physics tells us that it would have taken no more than a few thousand years (proper time) for the Universe as we know it to have formed.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Day Two

Genesis 1

6 And God said, "Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters."

     Jeremiah 10:12

     He has made the earth by His power,
     He has established the world by His wisdom,
    And has stretched out the heavens at His discretion.

     2 Peter 3: 5

     this they willfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old,
     and the earth standing out of water and in the water,

     Psalm 136: 6

     To Him who laid out the earth above the waters,
    For His mercy endures forever;

7 And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament and it was so.

     Job 38: 8 - 11

     “Or who shut in the sea with doors,
     When it burst forth and issued from the womb;
       When I made the clouds its garment,
     And thick darkness its swaddling band;
      When I fixed My limit for it,
    And set bars and doors;
      When I said,
     ‘This far you may come, but no farther,
     And here your proud waves must stop!’

     Proverbs 8: 27 - 29

     When He prepared the heavens, I was there,
     When He drew a circle on the face of the deep,
       When He established the clouds above,
     When He strengthened the fountains of the deep,
       When He assigned to the sea its limit,
     So that the waters would not transgress His command,
     When He marked out the foundations of the earth,

     Psalm 148: 4

     Praise Him, you heavens of heavens,
     And you waters above the heavens!

8 And God called the firmament Heaven.  And the evening and the morning were the second day.

     1 Chronicles 16: 24 - 27

     Declare His glory among the nations,
     His wonders among all peoples.
       For the Lord is great and greatly to be praised;
     He is also to be feared above all gods.
       For all the gods of the peoples are idols,
     But the Lord made the heavens.
       Honor and majesty are before Him;
     Strength and gladness are in His place.

     Matthew 24: 30

     Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes
     of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the
     clouds of heaven with power and great glory.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Day One

Genesis 1

1 In the beginning God

     Psalm 90: 2

     Before the mountains were brought forth,
     Or ever You had formed the earth and the world,
     Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.

     Isaiah 63: 16

     Doubtless You are our Father,
     Though Abraham was ignorant of us,
     And Israel does not acknowledge us.
     You, O Lord, are our Father;
     Our Redeemer from Everlasting is Your name.

     Romans 1: 20

     For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by
     the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without

created the Heaven and the Earth

     John 1: 1 - 3

     In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
     He was in the beginning with God.
     All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.

2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. 

     Jeremiah 4: 23

     I beheld the earth, and indeed it was without form, and void;
     And the heavens, they had no light.

     Isaiah 45: 18

     For thus says the Lord,
     Who created the heavens,
     Who is God,
     Who formed the earth and made it,
     Who has established it,
     Who did not create it in vain,
     Who formed it to be inhabited:
     “I am the Lord, and there is no other.

And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

     Psalm 24: 1 - 2

     The earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness,
     The world and those who dwell therein.
     For He has founded it upon the seas,
     And established it upon the waters.

     Job 26: 13a

     By His Spirit He adorned the heavens;

3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.

     Psalm 33: 6

     By the word of the Lord the heavens were made,
     And all the host of them by the breath of His mouth.

     Psalm 148: 5

     Let them praise the name of the Lord,
     For He commanded and they were created.

     Hebrews 11: 3

     By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things
     which are seen were not made of things which are visible.

     2 Corinthians 4: 6

     For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts
     to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

4 And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.

     Isaiah 45: 7

     I form the light and create darkness,
     I make peace and create calamity;
     I, the Lord, do all these things.

     James 1: 17

     Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights,
     with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.

5 And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night.

     Psalm 74: 16a

     The day is Yours, the night also is Yours;

And the evening and the morning were the first day.

     Job 38: 12

     “Have you commanded the morning since your days began,
    And caused the dawn to know its place,

Sunday, September 15, 2013

That Great City!

Revelation 21: 10 -- "And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God,"
Revelation 21: 16 -- "And the city lieth foursquare, and the length is as large as the breadth: and he measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand furlongs.  The length and the breadth and the height of it are equal."
So, how big is that?  Will we, Christians, all fit?
Well a furlong here is a Greek stadion which is 1/8th of a mile.  So, the Jerusalem cube has a volume of 3,375,000,000 cubic miles.  That sounds kinda big; but how big?  Let's compare it to the space we live in here on earth.
The radius of the earth is approximately 3,959 miles.  So, the volume of space we live in can be calculated using the following formula:

V = 4(pi)((3959 + x)^3 - 3959^3)/3

where x is the altitude in miles above sea level for the top of our space.

According to National Geographic the highest town in the world is La Rinconada, Peru some 3.2 miles above sea level.  For x = 3.2, V = 630,785,690 cubic miles.  The Great City is more than 5 times as large.  Ok, commercial jets fly at about 45,000 feet or about 8.5 miles.  For x = 8.5, V = 1,677,767,946 cubic miles.  That is about half the size of the Great City.  The tropopause has an altitude of 10.6 miles.  This is the end of weather.  For x = 10.6, V = 2,093,384,542 cubic miles, not even 2/3 rds the size of the Great City.  In fact, not until x > 17, well into the stratosphere, does the volume of "our space" reach that of the Great City.  Bacterial spores are the only things that live in the stratosphere.  So, I think we can safely say that the Great City is larger than the total of space that we all, saved and unsaved, live in now.  Glory to God.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Abortion: Are we doing the right thing?

In 1973 the United States Supreme Court decided that an unborn child is not a person.  Therefore, the fetus is not entitled to the rights guaranteed in the Constitution of the United States.  In their course of making this determination they refused to take up the question of human life.  That is:  Is the unborn child / fetus a human being or not?  They found themselves not up to the task of answering this question.  However, they did conceded that its answer would be the determining factor could it be ascertained.
So let me ask the pro-choice people of the year 2013, if the fetus is a human being, then is its life more important than the privacy of the woman whose body is inflicted by this parasite?  If the answer is yes, then should we not now, with the vast medical knowledge attained over the past 40 years, re-examine this question?  Perhaps we can answer it more surely than could the cowardly justices of 1973.  Perhaps we could all agree that while a pregnancy can be enormously inconvenient for the mother, if the unborn baby is a human life, then we are bound to respect the life of an innocent human being over the convenience of another.  Do you have the stomach to look at this issue anew with an open mind to medical and biological facts?

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Can a Christian forfeit his/her salvation? -- (4)

(4)   The assurance
Philippians 1: 3 – 6
I thank my God upon every remembrance of you,  always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy,  for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now,  being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;
Ephesians 1: 13 – 14
In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.
1 John 2: 18 – 19
Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the[c] Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour.  They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us.
Hebrews 13: 5
Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
Romans 8: 28 – 39
And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.  For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.  Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.  What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?  He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?  Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies.  Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.  Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?  As it is written: “For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.”  Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.  For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Can a Christian forfeit his/her salvation? -- (3)

(3)   The responsibility
Ephesians 2: 4 – 10
But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,  even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),  and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,  that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.   For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,  not of works, lest anyone should boast.  For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
Hebrews 12: 1 – 2
Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,  looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
1 Corinthians 1: 4 – 9
I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given to you by Christ Jesus, that you were enriched in everything by Him in all utterance and all knowledge, even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you, so that you come short in no gift, eagerly waiting for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will also confirm you to the end, that you may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.  God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
Ephesians 1: 3 – 12
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.  In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him.  In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.
Hebrews 6: 1 – 8
Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.  And this we will do if God permits.  For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they fall away,[b] to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame.  For the earth which drinks in the rain that often comes upon it, and bears herbs useful for those by whom it is cultivated, receives blessing from God; but if it bears thorns and briers, it is rejected and near to being cursed, whose end is to be burned.
Romans 8: 1 – 14
There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.  For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.  For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.  For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.  For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.  Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be.  So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.  But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.  And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.  But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.
1 Corinthians 9: 24 – 27
Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it.  And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown.  Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air.  But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.
Galatians 6: 7 – 10
Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.  For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.  And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.  Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.
Matthew 5: 13
“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.
Mark 9: 49 – 50
“For everyone will be seasoned with fire, and every sacrifice will be seasoned with salt.  Salt is good, but if the salt loses its flavor, how will you season it? Have salt in yourselves, and have peace with one another.”
Luke 14: 34 – 35
“Salt is good; but if the salt has lost its flavor, how shall it be seasoned?   It is neither fit for the land nor for the dunghill, but men throw it out. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”
Matthew 6: 19 – 21
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Luke 16: 13
“No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”
Matthew 12: 30
He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad.
Luke 13: 22 – 28
And He went through the cities and villages, teaching, and journeying toward Jerusalem.  Then one said to Him, “Lord, are there few who are saved?”  And He said to them,  “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able.  When once the Master of the house has risen up and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open for us,’ and He will answer and say to you, ‘I do not know you, where you are from,’  then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in Your presence, and You taught in our streets.’  But He will say, ‘I tell you I do not know you, where you are from. Depart from Me, all you workers of iniquity.’  There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and yourselves thrust out.
John 15: 4 – 6
Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.  “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.  If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.
Romans 6: 15 – 23
What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not!  Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness?  But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered.  And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.  I speak in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness.  For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness.  What fruit did you have then in the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death.  But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life.  For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
1 Corinthians 10: 1 – 12
Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea, all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ.  But with most of them God was not well pleased, for their bodies were scattered in the wilderness.  Now these things became our examples, to the intent that we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted.  And do not become idolaters as were some of them. As it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.”  Nor let us commit sexual immorality, as some of them did, and in one day twenty-three thousand fell;  nor let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed by serpents;  nor complain, as some of them also complained, and were destroyed by the destroyer.  Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.  Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.
2 Corinthians 7: 1
Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
2 Corinthians 13: 4 – 6
For though He was crucified in weakness, yet He lives by the power of God. For we also are weak in Him, but we shall live with Him by the power of God toward you.  Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified.  But I trust that you will know that we are not disqualified.
Philippians 2: 12 – 16
Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.  Do all things without complaining and disputing,  that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world,  holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain.
Philippians 3: 12 – 16
Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.  Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.  Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind; and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you.  Nevertheless, to the degree that we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us be of the same mind.
Colossians 2: 4 – 10
Now this I say lest anyone should deceive you with persuasive words.  For though I am absent in the flesh, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good order and the steadfastness of your faith in Christ.  As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.  Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.  For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily;  and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.
1 Timothy 6: 17 – 21
Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy.  Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share,  storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.  O Timothy! Guard what was committed to your trust, avoiding the profane and idle babblings and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge—  by professing it some have strayed concerning the faith.
Hebrews 2: 1 – 4
Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away.  For if the word spoken through angels proved steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just reward, how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him, God also bearing witness both with signs and wonders, with various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to His own will?
Hebrews 10: 26 – 31
For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins,  but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries.  Anyone who has rejected Moses’ law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses.  Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace?  For we know Him who said, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,”[e] says the Lord. And again, “The Lord will judge His people.”  It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
Hebrews 12: 25 – 29
See that you do not refuse Him who speaks. For if they did not escape who refused Him who spoke on earth, much more shall we not escape if we turn away from Him who speaks from heaven,  whose voice then shook the earth; but now He has promised, saying, “Yet once more I shake not only the earth, but also heaven.”  Now this, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of those things that are being shaken, as of things that are made, that the things which cannot be shaken may remain.  Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.  For our God is a consuming fire.
Revelation 2: 4- 5
Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love.  Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent.
Revelation 2: 10
Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.
Revelation 3: 5
He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.
Revelation 3: 11 – 12

Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown.  He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God. And I will write on him My new name.

Can a Christian forfeit his/her salvation? -- (2)

((2)   The remedy
Romans 5: 6 – 8
You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.  Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die.  But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Acts 4: 12
Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.
Romans 10: 8 – 13

But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach):   that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.   For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.  For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.”  For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him.   For “whomsoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Can a Christian forfeit his/her salvation? -- (1)

(1)    Man’s plight:
Genesis 6:5
The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time.
Romans 6:23
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 3: 10 – 24
As it is written:  “There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God.  All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.”  “Their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit.”  “The poison of vipers is on their lips.”  “Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.”  “Their feet are swift to shed blood; ruin and misery mark their ways, and the way of peace they do not know.”   “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”  Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God.  Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin.  But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify.  This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,  and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
John 3:16 – 19

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.  Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.  This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

The Cross

Christians around the world are celebrating Easter in a couple weeks.  A lot of people, non-Christians and Christians, might ask: “What’s the big deal?”  Well, aside from being reminder of  the most important event in history, going through the religious traditions serves to remind us of who exactly this God of the Bible is and what He has done.
So, if you really and truly want to know who this God is, then you have to start at The Cross.  If you have ever asked yourself “How could a loving God let all these bad things happen to good people?” or “Why did God kill all those people in the torturous way of the great flood?”  These questions can only be answered in the light of The Cross.  If you want to know who God is, then you have to start at The Cross.  Nothing about Him will make any sense to you apart from The Cross.
Sure, God created everything, you and me included, but if there is no Good Friday and Easter Sunday, then it is all for not.  Suppose God did come down to earth in the person of His Son Jesus with all this great information on how to live and all the spectacular miracles but “the cup pass away from Him”, then it is all for not.
You want to know God, pick a Gospel (Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John) and read the account.  Then ask yourself: “Why did He do that?”  If you go through the line of questions and Biblical answers that will ensue, then you will come to know the God of the Bible.  On the contrary, if you start at the loaded question: “How is it fair that God hardened Pharaoh’s heart and then punished him for a hard heart?”; then you may be hindered by your own hardness and never get to The Cross.  The light of who God is, as shown at The Cross, illuminates God’s encounter with Pharaoh.  If you don’t understand God at The Cross, then you can’t understand God at the Red Sea.
“It is finished!”  If you want to know what is finished, then you are going have to start at the event that finished it.  I hope you will.  Feel free to contact me or any other born again Christian for encouragement along this journey to know God.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Entitlements: Parental Unit Smith and CEO Jones

Parental Unit Smith lives in the US and works at a department store and makes minimum wage getting an average of 39 hours per week and will continue there in this capacity for the foreseeable future.  This breaks out to less than $15,000 a year.  Parental Unit Smith lives in a single income home where there are two young children.  This money can’t cover the basic requirements of the household (food, shelter, transportation, healthcare).
CEO Jones lives in the US and is the Chief Executive Officer for a large reputable corporation.  CEO Jones has amassed a personal wealth that would last ten people ten lifetimes.  CEO Jones earns $10,000,000 per year.
Question:  Is Parental Unit Smith “entitled” to some of CEO Jones’ money?  We are not talking about CEO Jones giving Parental Unit Smith money out of the goodness of CEO’s heart.  We are not talking about what a good and moral society ought to do.  We are asking, “Does Parental Unit Smith have a “right” to some of CEO Jones’ money regardless of what CEO thinks and regardless of what society ought to do?  If so, how much and why?  Why isn’t CEO Jones entitled to the money?
Is it because a Smith entitlement “promotes the general welfare” of the country and a Jones entitlement does not?  I can see that a Smith entitlement might put the required basics in the hands of Smith’s family.  I can also see that a Jones entitlement might create a better job for Smith and so put the required basics in the hands of Smith’s family.  What can you see?

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Darwin's Standard

In Darwin’s book on page 158 he states: “"If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed, which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down." Here he sets up the standard to falsify his theory. This is just after he has imagined his way through how the formation of an eagle’s eye over millions and millions of years and countless selected modifications could maybe have happened. If I were to parallel this I would say I get to imagine my God and call it science unless you can show He does not exist. Be that as it may.
I would put forth Behe’s idea that the flagellum is irreducibly complex at least puts the ball back in Darwin’s court. Now I read Miller’s take on it and like Darwin he can imagine how at least a subset of parts could have come into functional existence and latter morphed into the flagellum. But I say again, I can imagine how God spoke the flagellum into existence.
No I think the probabilities introduced by Dembski demand a scientific reckoning superior to imagination alone. I think it is high time a feasible detailed scenario be proposed for the evolution of the flagellum or any complex organ for that matter.
Otherwise, I think we can dismiss the theory based on Darwin’s standard laid out above.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Best Default Position on God

Out of the gate, one must take one of three positions with respect to the existence of God.  1) Non-belief – God does not exist.  2) Ignorance – God may or may not exist.  3) Apathy – God’s existence or lack thereof is irrelevant.  4) Belief – God exists.  The most reasonable/logical default position is number 4.
God – the supernatural being or entity (all powerful; all knowing; eternal; everywhere always present) who created, sustains, and cares for the universe.
God Dichotomy – it is either the case that the one God exists or no such God exists.
We will examine each of the four possible defaults and their implications under each case in the God Dichotomy.  One may say: “Ignorance is the obvious default as a baby could never have been told of God and therefore must start at (2).”  We would answer: “Who told the baby to breath or be afraid of a load noise?”
Suppose that God does not exist.  In this case, (1) would be the correct position.  They would have spent their lives on earth free from all the oppressive demands of an imaginary deity.  If some pool of lesser gods exists, they may or may not have had a better chance of communing with them, but, I think not, as their default seems more inclined to ignore such a pool.  As for group (2), again, individuals may have found a ‘better’ path, but, the group as a whole is clueless to any supernatural goings on and therefore no better or worse off than (1).  Group (3) also turns out to have been just as well off as (1).  God was irrelevant and the group was free to do as they saw fit all along, as expected.  As for group (4), what a bunch of saps, right?  They wasted so much of their time praying to, talking to, and living for their imaginary friend.  They could have been having much more fun having it their way and, in this case, are to be most pitied.  However, you can’t really make a claim that they are any worse prepared for whatever may or may not follow death.  After all, in the end, their karma or mojo or whatever you call it will be based on what they decided was right here on earth just like the members of the other groups.  So it was based on what was written in some book; that can’t be said of the other groups?  No, in this case, whatever happens after death will be unaffected by which of the four defaults you took.
Suppose that God does exist.  In this case, (1) is problematic.  If God wants you to find Him, then you will not because you won’t even look.  If God wants to reveal Himself, the standard of proof will be set by you, the one who does not believe.  This is not the best set up for success.  If you are in this situation, then you better hope God forces His standard of proof on your hard heart.  Otherwise, if he has consequences for your disbelief, then you will be sorry.  Group (2) is slightly better off.  If God exists as defined, then it is most likely you will be informed of it at some point.  At this point, having no predisposition against, you will be more inclined to accept the truth of God.  Group (3) is likely the worst off in this case.  These hardy souls are entrenched in their own self-sufficiency.  The cost that God’s existence exacts on their paradigm is enormous; catastrophic to their ego.  It is surly easier to pass a camel through the eye of a needle than to move a soul from (3).  Group (4) is in the zone.  They are to God as kids are to their parents when the parent arrives home.  They are not a shoe-in however.  Believing God exists and knowing the one true living God are two different things.  The demons also believe and tremble.  But, of the four defaults, in this case, (4) is far superior because there must be advantage to knowing this God.  And, you can’t know Him without believing that He exists.  And if you believe by default he exists, then you have already cleared the three difficult hurdles of stubbornness, stupidity, and self-righteousness.  The only one left is submission to the one true living God – Jesus Christ – as your LORD and savior.
Therefore, number (4) is the most reasonable/logical default position.  If you are wrong the penalty is small.  If you are right the reward is close at hand.  None of the other three can make this claim.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Pay More Get Less

Here is the concept.  Since the US has a 16+ trillion dollar debt and it would take 80+ years to pay it off running a record surplus of 200 million dollars each of those 80+ years, I propose the following.
Everyone must pay more to the government in taxes.  I mean everyone with income and on all income.  This would include but not be limited to wages, tips, capital gains, education benefits, and even unemployment and welfare payments.  Also, every will get less.  This would include but not be limited to national defense, subsidies, roads/bridges, and of course, all entitlements.
It is that simple.  You can’t cut your way out of this.  You can’t tax your way out of this.  We are going to, at some point, realize that we are going to have to pay more and expect less from it.  If we do it now, we could spend the next 100 years on a disciplined fiscal diet and come out on the other end debt free.  If we continue the gridlock of debate, name calling, and blaming the other side, then we will crash and crash hard.
These are the simple truths.  But don’t let me interrupt your sports contests and your internet games.  Continue to watch grown men act like children in the name of entertainment.  Please continue to split fruit or watch virtual angry birds or whatever the latest fad.
Insanity - doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.
Obama, Reed, Pelosi, Boehner, McConnell, Cantor; what do we expect will happen?  They will raise taxes a bit, increase spending a lot and do nothing to pay down the debt.  It is up to us.  #PayMoreGetLess