“If god commanded you to kill your children or loved ones, would you do it?” It is a pretty common question to be asked when talking to atheists online.
No, because I would assume I am a kook if I heard that or the Dark Side of the Force was tempting me.
However, if I had the one on one relationship Abraham is portrayed as having with God, trusted in His promise to bless the world through my son when he was grown, knew that God was the Author of Life and able to raise the dead, etc. I might feel differently. Abraham’s choice has… Continue reading
Debating the Resurrection of Christ with an intelligent friend who equates the first-century eyewitness testimony of the Risen Jesus with Elvis sightings today. My response:
I am reminded of the tragedy which befell a travelling circus when its Human Cannonball was killed while practicing his act of being shot out of a cannon. When interviewed, the circus manager tearfully said, “We will never find a man of his caliber again.”
In order for sightings of Elvis to be of the same caliber as the Risen Jesus eyewitnesses you would need to produce:
1. A dozen of Elvis’ closest confidantes would have to experience seeing… Continue reading
I was recently discussing whether the universe was created by God or Nature with an atheist friend and he seemed surprised when I said I believed that God was a simpler explanation for the existence of the universe than Nature itself. He then said that even if I could prove the existence of God there would be no reason to suppose He was personal. Here is the question as I was asked:
“Why would it have personality, something only observed in highly complex evolved biological creatures?” To which I replied…
The Uncaused Cause, simply because it is the origin of time, space, energy and matter… Continue reading
In response to the assertion that since all religions contradict one another, all are necessarily false and solely the result of natural evolutionary processes such as our need to deal with fear of the unknown and the human tendency to seek patterns and meaning in everything, I wrote this to an atheist friend…….
In your comments you have mentioned fear of the unknown and our human tendency of categorizing/ recognizing patterns to explain why religion exists. I have agreed and added love and wonder and conscience to that. We are both in perfect agreement that these are reasons the vast majority of humans are religious… Continue reading
Debating whether there is design in nature with a non-theist who says we only think so because of faith and that the natural assumption is that there is no design ergo no Designer. My reply:
“I believe that design is apparent in the beauty, complexity, and functionality of nature. I also believe that there is a good deal of randomness and even sub-optimal design worked into the system as well.
This is because God’s normal mode of activity in a cosmological context is providential rather than interventionist. By providential I mean He normally operates through the ordained and sustained natural processes by which He chose… Continue reading
I was pressed recently to give as succinct an explanation as I could of the accommodationist view of Scripture and whether I thought certain passages had been written as literally true or not. Our discussion centered around the opening chapters of Genesis and some passages in Joshua. The conversation came to a head when my friend quoted the account of Joshua’s long day in chapter 10 of that book:
“So the sun stood still, And the moon stopped, Till the people had revenge Upon their enemies. Is this not written in the Book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven,… Continue reading
The Scriptures do not teach Young Earth Creationism. They don’t teach Old Earth Creationism either.
Taken literally they simply express themselves in the cosmology of the time they were written. Try reading these verses with ancient eyes as the original audience would have read them…
Does this mean Scripture taught error? No. Why not?
Cosmological models, like all scientific truths, are not absolute truths. Science is made up of tentative truths which can be corrected as more is learned. What makes a scientific model “true” or “not true” depends on whether it is predictively useful.
At the time Moses wrote Genesis the ancient Hebrew… Continue reading
I had an online exchange earlier today with an academic sounding soul who wanted to push the old idea that Christianity is not truly unique as a religion because it stole many of its beliefs and practices from paganism. To set the stage: What set this gentleman off was someone who had posted to Facebook a still shot from Mel Gibson’s movie about Jesus showing Him carrying the cross to Golgotha. I guess he wanted to rain on the Christian Easter parade (this weekend is the Western Easter) and enlighten us with the real origins of Christianity. I decided to post the conversation to… Continue reading
In debating an atheist on whether there is indeed order in the universe to the degree that we can refer to it as “fine-tuned” I came up with this response which I decided to post for any other would-be apologists looking for a concise answer to this common objection:
“While a few great minds do reject fine tuning, it is not really doubted among the vast majority of scientists (atheists included). They do not ascribe this to God, of course, and that is why they have speculated about counter responses like the multi-verse. There is not really much disagreement on whether there is fine-tuning, the… Continue reading
“Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily” (Mt. 1:19).
What does true righteousness look like in practice? Joseph was confronted with what appeared to be a clear case of infidelity when he learned that his betrothed Mary was pregnant. This verse gives his response to the news: “being a just (or righteous) man and not willing to make her a publick example”. These words seem to indicate that BECAUSE Joseph was a righteous man he did not want to expose Mary’s apparent sin and cause her… Continue reading
Many Bible students are familiar with the concept of types and figures of Christ in the Old Testament.
There is the First-Created man Adam. Just as he is the father of all men according to the flesh so Jesus, the Second Adam, is the spiritual father of all the faithful.
Consider Job who in his suffering and profound grief, saw nothing before him but a miserable death bereft of human consolation fell down to the ground and prayed, humbling himself to God’s will. Then see Christ praying in anguish in the Garden of Gethsemane.
Then there is Noah. Just as he was the only just… Continue reading
While discussing Creation and Genesis with a Theistic Evolutionist yesterday, he made the following comment, “Genesis 1 does not have to be literal, or use an indeterminate time-period meaning of the Hebrew word for day, ‘Yom'”
To which I agreed, “Absolutely, at this point I think the “yoms” of Gen. 1 could be read either way.
For the ancients who had just left Egypt and knew also of the Mesopotamian cosmogony, the accomodationist view of the Creation story would have been plainly obvious. Genesis 1 shows Yahweh creating the universe out of nothing and by Himself in a transcendent manner and making man in… Continue reading
1. Review of the Book of Judges
Samson was born during the seventh of the seven cycles that keep recurring throughout the book of Judges. Cycles of sin, suffering, supplication and salvation. Each section begins with a phrase like: “And the children of Israel again did what was evil in the sight of the Lord” because everyone was “doing what is right in their own eyes” rather than what is right in God’s. So the Lord allows them to enter a time of suffering, being oppressed by those same nations that they were supposed to have conquered when they entered the… Continue reading
In a recent exchange with an anti-theist I was asked to defend the supernatural and why the Bible is similar to so many other ancient religious texts. I think that last claim is exaggerated but I chose not to quibble about it. As for the first criticism, it is interesting how often the philosophical naturalist’s anti-supernaturalism based on science rears its head these days in discussions.
My anti-theist friend wrote, “Science provides enough evidence to make the explanation that the Bible was written by normal men, and the supernatural episodes in it are largely myth, vastly more probable than the alternative that they actually happened.… Continue reading
Fiat Lux! The Vulgate’s rendering of the divine command, “Let there be light!” I have been engaging in several online debates with Young Earth Creationists on Facebook and it seems that not many of them are aware of the deep problems that undermine their position for a 6000 year old universe when the measurable constant velocity of light is considered in relation to the immense size of the universe.
The usual argument is that God not only created the stars and galaxies on Day 4 of Creation Week but also beams of light from them to us. This results in quite a few quandaries not… Continue reading