June 5, 2010
This is an old article I wrote for an ezine that never paid me, and I think has since folded.
In the centuries that unfolded since the Industrial Revolution, man has become more cynical, more curious, and more skeptical seeking to logically explain away old beliefs and superstitions. As a result, there were those who would test the histories of the Bible seeking to explain away miracle as myth and to find reasonable, logical conclusions for the way things are.
Science has replaced religion as the new modern religion. The great halls of research and education are the temples to the twenty-first century techno-gods. White-coated PhDs are their high priests and the media serves as their prophetic mouthpiece.
However, what makes science more of a religion is that its followers who demand proof, and considerations accept the final judgment pronounced by science without so much as a questioning glance. The earth is getting too hot. We accept it. There is a hole in the ozone. We believe it. Stem cells are the cure-all for everything. We know it.
It is not that science is without value or even to be devalued. However, science must be met with the same skepticism that its practitioners claim to use. Whenever a lone voice or perhaps a small chorus of voices challenges one of the above beliefs that have become sacred dogma to our generation, such voices are quickly shushed with condemnation. Their opponents quickly cry foul saying that those opposing interests are being funded by this source or that. Isn’t all scientific research funded by someone? Does the government or public interest have any less to gain than private interest?
The public is in error if it is to believe that every scientific finding announced by the media is backed by all scientists or even a majority. As one physicist said, “there is no such thing as a proven scientific fact”. Science by nature approaches everything as theory. And theory, by definition can never be proven, but incorrect theory can be disproved.
So, why does the public simply accept that the latest findings are indeed facts? Part of it may be a lack of scientific literacy in the general public. Another portion may be because that we are so bombarded with information that it becomes impossible to double check everything that makes the news. The rest may come from scientists and the media themselves.
First, one must realize how scientific “fact” is determined. According to Dr. Richard S. Lindzen, a climatologist at MIT, data has to be gathered. Usually, large amounts of data are gathered, too large indeed to work with. So, data must be simplified. However, oversimplify the data and it gives an inaccurate picture. According to another climatologist, Dr. John Christy, director of the Earth System Science Center at the University of Alabama-Huntsville, if we look at too short or too recent a picture of global climate change, it will give us a slanted view of the global warming issue.
For example, most people aren’t aware of a period known as the “little ice age”, a period of some of the coldest global temperatures on record. The little ice age came to an end as the industrial revolution was cranking up. Which brings up one of the first rules of scientific research, “correlation does not equal causality”?
To further exacerbate the problem, it is as John Stossel put it reporters are good at telling us what buildings burned down and what else happened today, but they do a “dismal job” when it comes to putting science and economics into perspective. On his ABC News web page, (www.abcnews.go.com/2020/Stossel) Stossel goes on to say that many in the media are scientifically clueless but when someone who is alarmed brings in a story idea, and then the media becomes alarmed. Also, many scientists are not readily forthcoming with contradictory data, sometimes for fear of losing grant money.
But, it isn’t just one-sided gloom and doom scare tactics that are used to pull the wool over our eyes. Take for example South Korean Dr. Hwang Woo Suk whose “findings” in stem cell research had thrust him into the international spotlight just before he crashed into embarrassment with the admission that he had faked much of his own data. The whole while beforehand, American politicians were debating the merits of funding stem cell research.
Which brings us the next problem with science—politics. When scientific issues catch the attention of politicians, then truth becomes a convenient casualty.
None of this is to say that scientists are inherently corrupt, but often, the media, the politicians, and the public at large jump to conclusions before they have been entirely worked out. However, there are those with agendas on either side of an issue who will push the data that is most favorable to their cause. The worst thing that the public can do is simply accept a statement simply on its face value. We have learned to question the motives for war and the “evidence” that leads to it. Surely we can question whether the party with the most environmentally conscious platform is really doing the right thing. Or whether the latest disaster is worth a trillion tax payer dollars.
March 5, 2010
Is anybody out there?
Serves me right. I start this blog and then run off and abandon it for—what? Two years now? I don’t know when it really started. I started blogging as a way to demonstrate my understanding of scripture. I did this to advance my freelance writing career. I had applied for jobs with Christian publications. Yet, I lacked the published clips in my so-called niche market. But, I think there was more to it. As I told more than a couple of people, I think I started this as a way to answer my own questions, to challenge my own doubts. But that’s easier said than done. Does God get angry at us for doubting? My former pastor said that it wasn’t doubt that God hated but fear. Doubt questions, seeking answers. Fear paralyzes. I remember from when I was a kid and my mom was a Sunday School teacher, she had this poster in her classroom in our little church. The poster was a photograph of a tombstone with the epitaph “Faith Without Works”. Faith requires action. Although Abraham was justified by faith, it wasn’t enough for him just to nod his head and say “Okay God I believe you” and then go on about his business. No, he had to act on his faith.
So, what does that have to do with me? So, I start this blog for the aforementioned reasons. But, I have paying clients and I’m not really making any money from this blog. (I know quite a few people make a lot of money blogging) However, I put my attention with where I’m making money—writing for other people. In my writing business, I have a motto: I’m either making money or wasting time. If I’m not making money, then I’m wasting time. So, other things were more pressing.
Then, I faced some challenges. I know everybody does from time to time. Then I started to question whether God really existed. I started to look at science for answers. I challenged people I know to challenge me. I reached a point where I said I could see how the universe came into existence without God. But just because it’s plausible doesn’t mean its actually what happened. I know I’m doing a crappy job of writing an apologetics blog right now, but I also believe in this blog’s motto: 1 Peter 3:15 Be prepared to give an explanation as to the hope you have. That’s where I believe that a little doubt can help us. If I come out of this darkness still believing, then my faith will be stronger. If I go the other way, then I will still believe that I have sought the truth and that’s what God asks us to do anyway.
January 20, 2009
Hebrews says that Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. But, I’d like to offer another definition. Faith is obedience in action. Hebrews tells us that Abraham believed God and it was accounted unto him as righteousness. Yes, Abraham believed God. But, the important thing is thae he believed God enough to act on it. Abraham actually got up and moved to another place. If Abraham had simply said, “Yeah, I believe you”, but had not followed up with action, would that have been faith?
God calls us to do absurd, rididuclous things. When God sent Moses to Pharoah, he already gave Moses several signs. There was the burning bush, the rod that became a serpent, and Moses’ hand that changed. But Moses still wanted a sign. God told him to go and tell Pharoah, “Let my people go” and when Pharoah refuses, that will be a sign. It’s like God saying go tell the bank to loan you a million dollars because your new idea is going to be the biggest thing ever. But, when they laugh at you and escort you out to the sidewalk, THAT will be a sign unto you that yyou will succeed.
Think of the shepherds who were met by angels and told to go to Bethlehem and find a babe lying in a manger. As if the angels weren’t enough! So what if there was a child lying in a manger of stable outside an inn in an overcrowded city full of people travelling to take a census. That really isn’t any more out of the ordinary than today finding a child left in a dumpster. But, to believe that that child is going to be a King is something altogether awesome.
January 7, 2009
The Table of Nations is one of the most overlooked passages in the Bible. Most people look over it without really looking at what it says or its implications. The Bible says that God has made from one blood, all nations of man. Also, I can remember a National Geographic article several years ago that discussed the evolution of race.
But, the genealogy of man is not the only reason to study the Table. Some of what’s discussed in Genesis 10 comes back later as prophecy.
8 Cush was the father of Nimrod, who grew to be a mighty warrior on the earth. 9 He was a mighty hunter before the LORD; that is why it is said, “Like Nimrod, a mighty hunter before the LORD.” 10.
Nimrod being a “mighty hunter” is discussed in another of my articles. This mighty hunter was a hunter of men. He captured men by beguiling them. “before the LORD” means “in the face of the LORD” or “in opposition to”. Incidentally, Nimrod, is said to come from the Hebrew Ni murud which means “the fool” or “the rebel”. Nimrod is thought be an insulting nickname for Gilgamesh, the first king of Babylon.
The Table can also reveal to us who the Magog are as they play an important role in prophecy. See Ezekiel 38-39 and Revelation 20:8. Also, the Table will help us know about the relationships between the various nations and how they related to Israel.
Japheth Ham Shem
Cush—(Ethiopians or Africans)
Put (Egypt) and Canaan Elam Asshure Arphaxad Lud Aram
Sons of Gomer
Togarmah Sons of Cush
Sabteca Sons of Aram
Uz, Hul, Gether, and Meshech
Sons of Javan
Rodanim Sons of Mizraim
Casluhites(from where the Philistines came)
Caphtorites Sons of Arphaxad
Shelah was the father of Eber from which we get the name “Hebrew”
Eber had two sons, Peleg and Joktan
Sons of Canaan
Hamathites Sons of Joktan
Hazarmaveth, Jerah ,Hadoram,
Uzal, Diklah, Obal, Abimael, Sheba, Ophir, Havilah
January 2, 2009
Okay, so I don’t post often. Part of that is because, I like to do a bit of research on topics before I jump into them. Also, I’m trying to dig into stuff that most Christian know very little about. And I’ve been literally going through the Bible a chapter at a time covering topics. My next planned post was going to be on the Table of Nations–but. . .
In my personal Bible study, I’ve really come into something that needs to be talked about more in the Church today. It’s a topic that most people don’t like to talk about and at most when we talk about it, we skim the surface like a pebble across a pond, not dive into it and plunge its depths. So, I’m skipping the OT commentary for a while and jumping into the NT. What I’m talking about is Matthew 7:21-23.
21“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ 23Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
Whoa! There it is! Did you catch it? “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the kingdom of heaven”. Wow! That means a lot of people who think they’re saved now, will be sorely disappointed come that Day.
In verse 22, he goes on to say that many will say “‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform miracles?’ Then, I will tell them plainly, I never knew you. Away from me you evildoers!”
To be totally honest, this verse has always made me a little uneasy. I mean, you think you’re saved on that you’re on the Glory Land Way. Right? And then boom! Jesus just pulls the rug right out from under you.
But, I don’t quite think it works that way, either. Jesus gives us several points here that we need to take into consideration.
In verse 23, he calls them “evildoers”. Well, who are evil doers? The obvious answer is those who do evil. Those who rebel against the Law and God. It is possible to go to Church on Sunday and live like hell on Saturday. Conversely, he says in verse 21, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord’, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven”.
So, who’s going to heaven? The one who does the will of the Father. That’s right. So what is the will of the Father? This doesn’t necessarily mean finding the “will” for your life like whether or not to take that job offer. No, this is about doing the basic will of God. Let’s bounce back to the OT for just a second and look at Deut 10:12
12 And now, O Israel, what does the LORD your God ask of you but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, 13 and to observe the LORD’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good?
The will of God is that we fear Him, we walk in ALL His ways, love Him and serve Him and to observe His commands.
One last thought. If you go back to Matt 7:15-20, we learn that you can tell a tree by its fruit. And that every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.
I don’t usually make New Year’s resolutions. But I do set goals. This year, I hope to bear more good fruit in my life and I hope you will too.
May God shower his blessings on you
January 1, 2009
Kind of getting away from my typical post, I wanted to say that last night, I want to the annual New Year’s Gospel Sing in Charleston, WV at the municipal auditorium. The performers were Tony Gore, The Isaacs, Brian Free and Assurance, and several more!
I would encourage anyone who loves good Southern Gospel or Bluegrass music to come out next year. The attendance was kind of slim this year, I would really hate to see this annual event come to an end because the word isn’t getting out. Even if you’re not into that “twangy” bluegrass type stuff, Southern Gsopel has a bit of a modern country feel to it. I recommend you check these sites.
November 28, 2008
Genesis six is filled with all kinds of goodies that I could go into about Nephilim, etc. and some of the common beliefs about who or what they were. But, I’d rather look at something a little more substantial. This is for me, the BBQ, The Big Burning Question. Look at Gen 6:5 and at 6:9.
5 The LORD saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. (emphasis added).NIV
Every inclination of our thoughts is only evil all the time. Whoa! Wow! I don’t know about any of you, but as a Christian, I still struggle with sin and doubt, and I look at this and say, “if every inclination of my heart is only evil all the time, then what chance do I have?” The answer is “of my own doing–none”.
Now look at this next passage.
9 This is the account of Noah.
Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked with God (NIV)
I like to study Biblical biographies. I like to look at the characters and try to figure out what they did right and where they went wrong. And not just people of the Bible–I like to read bios of a lot of succesful people because I believe that you can learn so much from them. But Noah here was “righteous”, “blameless”, and he “walked with God”. How can we do that? Especially when you consider that Noah lived before the Commandments and the Law were handed down.
The next thing I like to do is really dig in to the study of the Word. I have eSword which comes with a lexicon so that you can really see what the words were in Hebrew and see how they were used. Let’s take a look.
First, I want to look at v5. I only have eSword in the KJVand it says “that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually”.
So, what does the Bible mean by “imagination of the thoughts of his heart”?
From H2803; a contrivance, that is, (concretely) a texture, machine, or (abstractly) intention, plan (whether bad, a plot; or good, advice): – cunning (work), curious work, device (-sed), imagination, invented, means, purpose, thought.
From H7489; bad or (as noun) evil (naturally or morally). This includes the second (feminine) form; as adjective or noun: – adversity, affliction, bad, calamity, + displease (-ure), distress, evil ([-favouredness], man, thing), + exceedingly, X great, grief (-vous), harm, heavy, hurt (-ful), ill (favoured), + mark, mischief, (-vous), misery, naught (-ty), noisome, + not please, sad (-ly), sore, sorrow, trouble, vex, wicked (-ly, -ness, one), worse (-st) wretchedness, wrong. [Including feminine ra’ah; as adjective or noun.]
So based on the definitions above, let’s say it another way.
Every purpose that man conceived in his mind was bad. That is to say that the schemes that we cook up in our minds are self-serving and ill-contrived and will eventually cause pain for ourselves and others.
Now, let’s contrast this with Noah, who was “a just man and perfect in his generations and Noah walked with God”.
Before we delve into definitions, consider that Noah was perfect in his generations (emphasis added). I won’t post the whole definition, but in his generation refers to “a time or an age also a dwelling”. So Noah was perfect “in his time”.
So what about just and perfect?
Just is pretty straight forward.
So, Noah was lawful and unblemished. In some ways, I know that that does not tell us a lot more than we already knew. But, let’s look at some of the other text in the story.
11 Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight and was full of violence.
Now let’s see what else the Bible has to say about this.
16 There are six things the LORD hates,
seven that are detestable to him:
17 haughty eyes,
a lying tongue,
hands that shed innocent blood,
18 a heart that devises wicked schemes,
feet that are quick to rush into evil,
19 a false witness who pours out lies
and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers.
(Proverbs 6:16-19 NIV emphasis mine). But you can see how God feels about violence and schemes. This should also tell us how Noah stood out among his generation. Also, let’s look at Psalm 11:5 The LORD examines the righteous, but the wicked [a] and those who love violence his soul hates.
But the important thing is that Noah walked with God. Without walking with God (knowing him, studying his word), it is impossible to understand His Laws and what he hates. This story also goes to show that God could be found at a time and place before there was a scripture, before the Laws of Moses and before the Commandments. If we seek God, we can find him anywhere. and he wants to be found by us.
November 18, 2008
Now Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let’s go out to the field.” And while they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him. (Gen 4:8 NIV) www.biblegateway.com
Cain is an interesting character. He is what is most essentially human in us all. He is self-centered, jealous, and tempermental. Cain has also ganrered much discussion in some religious circles that look to conspiracy theories, evil empires and government cover-ups.
Let’s look at some other things about Cain.
Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? (1 John 3:12 emphasis added). Some have use “belonged to the evil one” as saying that Cain was the son of Satan.
15 But the LORD said to him, “Not so [e] ; if anyone kills Cain, he will suffer vengeance seven times over.” Then the LORD put a mark on Cain so that no one who found him would kill him. 16 So Cain went out from the LORD’s presence and lived in the land of Nod, [f] east of Eden.
17 Cain lay with his wife, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Enoch. Cain was then building a city, and he named it after his son Enoch. 18 To Enoch was born Irad, and Irad was the father of Mehujael, and Mehujael was the father of Methushael, and Methushael was the father of Lamech.
The interesting thing is that Cain went out into the land of Nod (which means wondering) and he built a city. First one wonders exactly who taught Cain how to build a city. And building a city is much more than just bricks and mortar. A city is a place with an infrastructure. It is also a place where men rule over other men. The city of Babylon is an example where “Nimrod was a mighty hunter before the LRD”. That “before the LRD” means “in the face of the LRD” as in getting up in one’s face and being the defiant (Note: Nimrod is Hebrew for “the fool” or “the rebel”)
Any way, this not to say that I am certain of these things but I find it interesting that Cain was of the devil, and he went out building cities. God did not create government–men did! Cain lived to be 800 years old at a time before the continental divide. Many have associated Cain with building the pyramids of Giza to the ziggurats in South America.
August 26, 2008
When one considers the fall of man and the whole eating the apple story; it is hard not to get caught up in the curse of Eve. (“Your desire will be for your husband and he will rule over you” Gen 3:16b). Yes this verse has caught the ire of feminists everywhere and been source of every Biblical offense against women. But, as I have noted in my other posts, the Bible does not condone misogyny.
However, we also cannot blame God for every offense committed in his name or how twisted men use scripture to justify twisted deeds. I want to use this post to talk a little about true submission. But first let’s look at something else, shall we. We all know that Eve took the apple first and brought it to her husband right? But check this out. Scripture says: “For just as through the disobedience of one man, many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man, the many will be made righteous”. (Romans 5:19) Did you cath that the disobedience of one man. But who took of the fruit first? So why then is it through the man that sin comes into the world? What was Adam’s sin? It was this. He failed to look after what was given to him. When God gave Adam dominion over the garden, it wasn’t to kick back and prop his feet up. No, God made man to work in the garden (Gen 2:5). But that’s not all. When God gave Adam dominion, He was saying “I’m holding you responsible for whatever happens in here”. And I believe he still says that to men today.
Adam didn’t have to take the fruit. He could have chased the serpent out of the garden. He could have told Eve not to do it (And yes, she still could have). He could have called on the name of the God who walked with him in the cool of the day. But he chose to do none of this and therein lays Adam’s sin.
So, what does all of this have to do with submission? Because when we are in charge, sometimes we have to do the hard thing and to put the good of others ahead of our own desires. But moreover I wanted to touch on some other scripture teaching on submission.
First I believe that submission is a unique little word with not one but two opposites. On one end is subjugation. (don’t bother looking this up in a dictionary) The Bible may say wives submit to your husbands. But no where does it say husbands subjugate your wives. If you try to subjugate someone else to your will, you will only succeed in making them and eventually yourself miserable.
The other opposite of submission is selfishness. Christ gave himself to us in perfect submission not only to the Father’s will but also to our good. He could have refused to go to Calvary (and who would blame him). But he sought our good first. Which is the heart of submission.
So let’s look at Godly submission
Jesus called them together and said, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant”.
Look at Phillippians 2:3-4
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility, consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests but also to the interests of others.
And also 1 Peter 5:2-3
“. . . serving as overseers–not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock”.
So, submission is not just a “woman thing” or the “wife’s job”. As Christians we are called to submit to one another and to minister unto one another. If we did this I believe that our marriages would be blissful, our neighbors would hold us in high esteem and the church houses would be packed to overflowing from Sunday to Sunday.
August 18, 2008
One of the things I often tell people is to read the Bible like you’re reading it for the very first time. Often, we subconsciously read stuff into stories from our subconscious because that’s the way we think its supposed to go or that’s what it’s supposed to say. For example, Genesis says that “the serpent is more wiley than any of the wild animals”. People get hung up on the idea of a literal serpent losing his legs and having to crawl on his belly. But notice that the Bible doesn’t say that the serpent was more wiley than any of the OTHER wild animals. So, he’s not counted as a “wild animal”.