Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Why Creation in the Image of God is Important

When atheists and evolutionists will say that harm to another person is wrong, they are tacitly rejecting their own worldviews and standing on the biblical worldview. According to them, man is just another evolved animal and is nothing special. No Bible-respecting person should add evolution to it.

The fact that we are created in God's image has important ramifications throughout the Bible. It also gives us hope, unlike the evolutionary worldview.
Credit: Pixabay / Gerd Altmann
We are created in the image of God. This is affirmed several times in Genesis and its importance is seen many times throughout the Bible. The atheistic worldview is incoherent and full of despair by its very nature. The biblical creationist understands, however, that we are image-bearers of God, and it is being renewed in us until the final, ultimate redemption and Judgment. We are not just animals, we are different and special.
Atheism views man as simply a material being like all other animals. In many ways, this is the predominant view of popular culture: man may have “evolutionary advantages” over animals in reason, communication, and some physical abilities but is not a spiritual or sacred being with a purpose and destiny higher than that of the animals.)
In this view, man lives and dies like the beast. Thus concentration camps, gulags, killing fields, and abortion clinics are all monuments to atheism.  
. . .  
God’s Word, in contrast, views man as the pinnacle of God’s handiwork. On the sixth day of Creation, as His final work, God created man as a physical and spiritual being. . . .
But what exactly is the image of God and what are the implications of man being made in His image? The answers and applications of such questions are essential to the Christian because they dictate human happiness or wretchedness—and often life and death. 
To read the entire article, click on "God’s Image—The Difference Maker".

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

The Days of Genesis One

Since we are bombarded at every turn with assertions of evolution and millions of years as a fact, many Christians try to reconcile the days of Creation with long periods of time. Expressions like, "Well I think the days are God's days, and we can't know how long they really are!" Some are sidewinders who know precisely what is going on and deliberately corrupt God's Word.

The days of creation are confusing to people who do not accept what the Bible actually says. Day means day. If God wanted us to think he meant long ages, there were other words he could have used.
Background image credit: freestocks.org / Joanna Malinowska
To be blunt, it doesn't matter what you or I think. The important thing is what God said in Scripture, and that too many professing Christians are uninformed about the Bible they claim to believe — especially at the foundation, the first chapter of Genesis. Some misquote 2 Peter 3:8, "One day is like a thousand years", which does not help much because it would make creation week six thousand years long, unhelpful for deep time. Also, the verse cancels this idea out, "...and a thousand years like one day". Read the context, people.

"Evening and morning, one day...evening and morning, the second (third, fourth, fifth, sixth) day." God defined yom (יוֹם) as day. A child or anyone else who has been uncorrupted by secularism can plainly see that day means literal day. To get millions or billions of years out of Genesis, you must perform eisegesis and put them into it first. For them, God cannot preserve his Word or make it understandable — or they are unwilling to believe it.



There are compromisers who adamantly refuse to let a day in Genesis 1 be an actual day. Biblical scholars (even those who do not believe the plain meaning of the text) know that yom means day. It is interesting that Bible-deniers circle the wagons to defend against logic and scholarship, trying to take word and force it to mean long ages. They ignorie the fact that if God had wanted us to think the creation days were long ages, there were other Hebrew words he could have used! (They also ignore Exodus 20:11 and 31:17, and essentially call Jesus, Paul, Peter and others erroneous or even liars.) Let's be honest about what the text actually says and perform serious exegesis.
Were the days of Creation Week of 24 hours duration or were they long periods of time? This article will discuss the Hebrew ‘time’ words which the author had available to him and what meaning he intended to convey by his choice of the specific words he used.
I hope you will read the rest of this important article and even save it for reference. To continue, click on "How long were the days of Genesis 1?" I also recommend "Genesis and the Character of God".

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Gopher Wood and Noah's Ark

Something that has puzzled readers of the sixth chapter of Genesis is the use of the term gopher wood. Footnotes often say that the "Hebrew term is uncertain", and Bible translations differ —

"I know what that means, Cowboy Bob! Noah commanded his sons, "Shem, you gopher water, Ham can gopher more pitch, and Japheth can gopher wood".


No.

Anyway, Bible translations differ. Many use the term gopher wood, and using the translations in my copy of theWord Bible Software, Coverdale (1535,) Geneva (1587), and Tyndale (1526) translated it as pine. The NIV translates it as cypress and adds the "uncertain" reference. The KJV, NKJV, NASB, HCSB, ESV, WEB all render the term as gopher wood.


Noah built the Ark out of gopher wood. What was it? The answer may not be what you would expect, and has biblical implications as well as science.
Credit: Wikimedia Commons / Cimerondagert (CC by-SA 4.0)
An excellent possibility is that God was not specifying a particular tree that has disappeared since then, but that Noah was to use hardwood. Getting into the Hebrew language, we see the root word that is used with brimstone, which is now called sulfur. This makes the plant material strong. The Ark, the wood, the pitch used to coat it all foreshadow the work of Jesus Christ. We can gain not only construction insight here, but also some theological principles!
Scientific facts can sometimes yield surprising biblical insight. For example, lignins make hardwood trees hard. They are a complex group of organic compounds found in the cell walls of plants that give structural rigidity to the plants’ overall growth and architecture. One type of plant lignin contains sulphur, while the other is sulphur-free. It’s the sulphur-bearing lignins that form the fundamental structural basis of all hardwood trees used for lumber products.

This botanical fact casts an interesting theological light on Genesis 6:14, where God instructs Noah to build a large ship. The Ark allowed him and his family (eight people total) and various representatives of the animal kingdom to survive the impending global Flood and repopulate the earth. Specifically, Noah is commanded, “Make yourself an ark of gopher wood.”
To read the rest of the article, click on "Scientific and Biblical Truth Converge for Gopher Wood".

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Trusting Bible Manuscripts

When pondering ancient texts, people wonder why we should trust biblical manuscripts. After all, we do not have the originals. We do have copies that have been passed down through time. Lots of them. In fact, there are far fewer copies of works by Plato, Caesar, and other ancient writers, and there is a tremendous gap between when they were written and the oldest manuscripts — and people trust their authenticity for some reason. What makes the Bible more reliable?


People wonder why we should trust the Bible since the manuscripts are so ancient. There are many reasons to be certain that God has preserved his Word.
Section of P-45 Greek papyrus manuscript of the Gospel of Luke via Wikimedia Commons
It has been suggested that since people tend to worship and idolize things, God has not made the originals available. That may also be the reason the body of Moses was buried by God (Deuteronomy 34:5–6). For that matter, I heard someone say that if a miracle happened on a particular spot, people would adore the spot instead of the one who performed the miracle. I'll allow that this is all speculation, but it makes sense.

Biblical manuscripts have been found that date way back yonder, and older copies have been discovered as well. When compared, there are no significant differences, and nothing has ever contradicted major Christian doctrines. Jewish scribes took their work very seriously, and it wasn't just a matter of corralling several manuscripts and picking those based on personal preference, nor was it like a supervisor tossing a copy on a desk and telling the scribe, "Here, copy this. And try not to spill your soy latte on it this time!" It was a sacred duty. Also note that Christians do not attempt to hide known variations. That is why you will see footnotes in your Bibles.

Those ancient scrolls are mighty fragile. One was recently "read" through imaging technology. The scroll is essentially the same as what is available today.

There is an area of scholarship called textual criticism where manuscripts are evaluated. (This is not to be confused with higher criticism, which utilizes circular reasoning based on secularist presuppositions.) It has been shown that God has indeed preserved his Word.
Why does my reference Bible have notes at the bottom of the page that say things like “Some manuscripts add . . .” or “some early manuscripts omit . . .”?
This is not a minor issue. Headed by Bart Ehrman, a growing movement claims that we cannot be sure what the original Bible said.
First off, there is no other ancient literature so well attested by so many manuscripts (handwritten copies of the original text) over such a length of time, as the Christian’s Bible. But since we don’t have the originals, written by Isaiah or Paul for example, would the many copies made over the years introduce thousands of mistakes, as Erhman and others believe?
Let’s check it out so you know what to say next time someone makes this claim.
To read the rest or download the audio, click on "Trusting the Text". The author is Brian H. Edwards, and you may be interested in some of his related material, here.



Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Malevolence and Meditation

The word meditation has many connotations, and if you study on it, you will see that it has a variety of meanings. Some folks might think of formal meditation practices used in Eastern religions, but others may be pondering something and call that "meditating". Meditation is popular nowadays, but what do people really mean by it?

There are many forms of meditation in use today, but they can lead to unpleasant experiences and occult influence. Christians are told to meditate, but we must do it the right way.
Credit: Unsplash / Yogi Madhav
If you spend a great deal of time thinking and focusing on something (or someone), you're meditating on it. Take a gander at what people are doing and see if you agree with me. They meditate on church activities, politics, global climate change hysteria, sports, a favorite musician, sex, and so on. (I remember hearing a caller to a political talk radio show and the host exclaimed, "Your religion is liberalism!" The caller replied, "Yes!") This can also have a negative thrust. I can name a few atheists and anti-creationists who essentially meditate on their hatred for God's Word. See Psalm 38:12, for example.

We have to be careful when using Christian meditation. There are people who will tell you to avoid it because New Agers, Eastern yogis and other occultists use meditation techniques. That can be guilt by association; occultists breathe air, too, shall we avoid that because they do it? (I'll allow that my example is hyperbolic, but I hope it gets the idea across.) However, caution is advised.

I used to oppose the concept that people can get into certain states of consciousness and open themselves up to occult influences. Even materialists are seeing negative effects resulting from meditation. Notice also that such practices are often used by people who are indulging in other occult and paranormal practices.

You may be surprised to learn that Christians are told to meditate. The main point is to focus on the Word of God (Psalm 1:2, Psalm 77:12, 1 Timothy 4:15 KJV), not on ourselves or other things.
What is meditation? It can be very different things. It can be an attempt to empty the mind. Or, by contrast, it can be the purposeful attempt to focus the mind with certain kinds of thoughts, to the exclusion of other thoughts. The word meditation by itself needs modifiers to be meaningful. The intuitive picture people have of meditators is that they are sitting in some kind of lotus position, with eyes closed, doing something. But what? And what are the consequences of whatever they are doing in their inner selves?

At New Scientist, Donna Lu reports that “A quarter of people who meditate experience negative mental states.” That’s a surprisingly high percentage for an activity widely advertised to be beneficial.
 To read the entire article, click on "Some Meditation Practices Can Be Scary".

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

The Problem of Evil and the Biblical Worldview

One of the biggest problems for unbelievers and Christians alike is what is often called the problem of evil. People have different concepts of what they consider evil, but those are essentially based on trends in cultures or even personal preferences.

People say that something is evil, but they need a consistent standard. This is a way to deal with it and to realize that we are finite; we cannot understand everything. We live by faith.
Credit: Freeimages / createsima
The candies I'm chawing right now are evil because I'm not supposed to have them, but it's my fault for eating the things. The bird that flew away with Captain America's hot dog was evil. There are some Christians who consider rock music to be evil because, well, because. Others consider country music evil. Those examples are personal preferences (and a bit of sarcasm), not there is no actual evil involved.

Natural disasters are evil because of the destruction of property and loss of life, but that is really nature doing what nature does. Terrorists are evil, but from their perspective, they are seeking some kind of greater good. Brian Sims acts like pro-life activists are evil, but pro-life people consider him evil for advocating the murders of unborn children. One tinhorn considers biblical creationists liars and evil because we present evidence refuting his deep time and idolatrous position.

There has to be an ultimate standard for good and evil. This cannot be found in an evolutionary or atheistic worldview, since they think we are simply responding to our chemical impulses; when they complain that something is evil, they are standing on the biblical creationist worldview! I challenged the tinhorn mentioned earlier that, if I was indeed lying, why would that be wrong according to his worldview? He was defeated because he could not give a cogent answer, and displayed his subjective opinion instead.

There are people who reject God because of evil in the world. After all, why doesn't he do something about it? God is the Creator and he is sovereign. We are not entitled to understand everything he does, but what kind of God would he be if his finite creation could fully understand him? Christians are to respond in faith that he has purposes and that ultimately, everything glorifies him. No, that is not an ego thing where he wants us to applaud his every move. The glory of God is far deeper than that.
Perhaps the most frequent argument used by skeptics against the Christian faith is that a good, loving, and all-powerful God wouldn't possibly allow evil (along with sorrow, pain, bloodshed, etc.) into his world. Evil obviously exists in our world. It is all around us. Thus, the biblical God can’t possibly exist. If he did, and he was indeed omnipotent, he would obviously do something about it! It is not only skeptics, however, who struggle with this “problem of evil.” The Christian who shares his faith will find that this question probably causes more people to doubt the validity of the Bible and the Christian faith than any other. This author, based only on his own anecdotal experiences, would argue that it is a greater stumbling block to people than is even the creation-evolution debate. Therefore, the Christian must be prepared to explain the existence of evil. Fortunately, within the Christian worldview it is possible to do just that. Outside the Christian worldview, it is not. There are no adequate explanations for evil in other worldviews.
To finish reading, click on "Creation and the Problem of Evil".


Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Make a Bible Casserole with Current Trends

by Cowboy Bob Sorensen

Christians who believe in the inerrancy and authority of the Bible have been scorned for centuries. Many of us have been persecuted in varying forms, even to the point of death. People do not want to be reminded that there is a Creator who is also their Judge, and they are accountable to him. We could make it easier by giving in on certain areas.

When we mix the Bible with cultural and secular science trends, we are elevating those above God's Word. Some folks think we should just give up and get with the times.
Credit: RGBStock / John Byer
Get with the times, don't be on the wrong side of history! Society changes, so should religious people, right? Not hardly! Cultures can change quickly. What was scandalous a few years ago is acceptable today. And back again. It was acceptable to be ant-Semitic in Germany, but that fell out of fashion, except that it is becoming acceptable for American leftists and Louis Farrakhan. Should we join in or is there an ultimate standard?

Women can be pastors despite what Scripture says. Atheist women can be pastors despite the Bible (and rational thought). Marriage can be redefined to include marriage to yourself, your pet, someone of the same sex, or whatever despite what God established — and societies accepted for millennia. Science is being hijacked to support leftist causes such as transgenderism and denying scientific facts of differences between men and women. Should we saddle up and ride with everyone else?

Science has shown that Earth is billions of years old, universal common ancestor evolution is a fact, everything began with the Big Bang, and so on. We don't need the clear teachings of the Bible, and we can pick whatever "science" confirms our biases. All that scientific evidence for the young earth and refuting evolution can be discarded so we can just get along with everyone. Should we join in?


While we're compromising, we may as well keep going. "Science has shown" that the virgin birth could not have happened. Miracles cannot happen at all because atheism. Obviously, Jesus could not have been raised from the dead. After all, Jesus as just a man of his time. Same for Paul, Peter, and the other New Testament writers, so all of them were limited in knowledge and made mistakes. Scriptura sub scientia using naturalistic (atheist) interpretations of ever-changing man-made science philosophies. God can take a nap in the next room, we'll call him if we decide he is necessary.

Group hug, everybody!

When people reject the Bible's authority, they make it into a casserole:
  • obtain sciencey foundation as your large dish, making sure to select leftist trends and evolution to help undermine notions of biblical inerrancy
  • insert things that you want to believe
  • add a generous dose of cultural trends
  • select views from various religions for flavor
  • bake in the fires of Hell until golden brown
  • top with opinions of the moment
  • serve 
Variations on this recipe have been used for many years, but the acceleration toward evolutionary thinking and secularism have added more buffalo chips than it had in the past.

Without our biblical foundations, we have no basis for science and logic (which may be a reason so many secularists and leftists are unskilled in critical thinking). More than that, our faith is worthless — not only are we wasting our time, but we are without hope facing eternity.

Who do you want to please? I don't pay no nevermind to those who think I am a fool for Jesus and for the Word of God. Any Christian who believes the Bible should focus on the author and finisher of our faith, not the opinions of men and women. Those who reject the authority and inerrancy of the Word need to repent.

This article was inspired by one from Dr. R. Albert Mohler. I recommend for your edification "Should Christians Just Admit That The Bible 'Got It Wrong' And Move On?"


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