Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Creation from Way Up Yonder

Here in the United States, Thanksgiving Day is tomorrow. While we need to be thankful to God every day for his blessings, Thanksgiving is a special day and even a theological act. There have been times when I have suggested getting up on the hill — that is, a larger perspective. How about perspective from the International Space Station?

Sometimes we need to get far away and have a larger perspective. An astronaut who has seen Earth below provides his view of creation.
Captain Barry Wilmore image credit: NASA
I camped out on this article for a while, so at this point the 50th anniversaries have come and gone. The linked article was written prior to those events.

Captain Williams has logged many hours in space on the shuttle Atlantis and on the ISS. He reminds us that the creation itself was a miraculous event, as is our redemption in Jesus Christ. We can give him honor, glory, and worship forever. Take some time to thank him, pilgrim.
I’ve had the privilege few ever experience. To date, I’ve spent not just a few hours or a week in space, but 178 days. I lived there (most of the time on the space station) and had the opportunity to experience space. I’m often asked what perspective this gave me. Did I have a spiritual experience, a moment of enlightenment that freed me from the constraints of our planet?

I can say without question that one cannot help but be filled with awe at the beauty, majesty, and utter wonder of God’s magnificent creation while zipping around the planet 16 times a day at 17,500 mph. One of the most memorable experiences is the kaleidoscope of vivid colors that encircle the globe. It’s hard to put into words what one actually sees and experiences because our eyes detect light differently than can be recorded by cameras.
To read the full article or download the MP3, go to "To Space and Back—an Astronaut’s Perspective". 

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Evangelism and Evolution

People tend to believe in an old earth and accept evolution, often shying away from scientific evidence to the contrary and affirming recent creation. To stand for creation and the young earth invites ridicule from folks who think they are "scientifically literate" and smarter than the rest of us. This is an impediment to evangelism.

When Christians are doing evangelism and mix in long ages and evolution, we are actually being detrimental to the gospel message.
Credit: Good Free Photos
Christians should know that people need Jesus. We are to preach repentance and faith for salvation, but when we compromise on the authority of Scripture and reject creation, we are tacitly admitting that we do not fully believe the Bible. Adding long ages and evolution to evangelism is detrimental to the gospel message.
Evolutionary ideas have religious implications. The atheistic notion that nature creates itself—from the Big Bang to the diversity of life on Earth—is contrary to the biblical truth that God created nature. Last month we saw how this strikes at the very doctrine of God. Evangelism deals directly with a person’s accountability to God. A person may indeed want to mentally deflect dealing with that impending reality. Evolutionism offers a Creator-denying, and thus conscience-appeasing, worldview that allows someone to live as if God doesn’t exist.
To read this important article in its entirety, click on "Evolutionism Contradicts Christian Evangelism".

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Inspiration and the Bible

We have moments when we feel inspired to do something, such as write an article or music, design an application, or somesuch. This kind of inspiration is far different than what is meant when Christians say the Bible is inspired. In that case, it is θεόπνευστος
theopneustos, which essentially means God-breathed. There is more to it than this.

Inspired is used to refer to Laura Ingalls Wilder or the Bible. There is obviously a big difference. We can examine the importance of biblical inspiration.
John Wycliffe reading his translation of the Bible to John of Gaunt, Ford Madox Brown, 1847
There are theological liberals and unbelievers who say that the Bible is inspired like other impressive human compositions, but is not all that special. They reject the inerrancy of Scripture, which leaves them in a world of hurt. After all, they cannot be consistent by rejecting creation, the Genesis Flood, miracles of Jesus, end-times prophecy, and other things — yet claiming that they trust in Christ for their eternal destiny! Atheists and other Bible-deniers seem to want to go to Hell, attempting to justify their suppression of truth by claiming that "the Bible is full of contradictions", but this pile of meadow muffins is easily shoveled away.

The different kind of inspiration between a Laura Ingalls Wilder or Riley B. King compared to the Bible is clear, but we still want to know what defines biblical inspiration. Some people think that God dictated it, as if he gave a whistle, told the author to sit down on yonder rock and write this stuff down. Not quite, since personalities and styles of various authors can be seen, but on occasion God did give a bit of dictation. There are other areas of consideration that may seem at first glance to threaten inerrancy and divine inspiration, but are actually items that need to be properly understood.
Most evangelical Christians would say the Bible is “inspired”. Yet if we scratch beneath the surface, most would be hard-pressed to explain, much less defend, the inspiration of Scripture. Many Christians only have a vague idea how we got from the original papyrus and parchment scrolls and letters to the leather-bound collection of documents we carry to church on Sundays.

Until relatively recently, this wasn’t a huge problem. But with the rise of Internet skepticism, anybody can copy a list of “100 Bible errors” and use it to assail their unsuspecting but well-meaning Christian ‘friends’. Thus, the average Christian needs to be more prepared to defend their faith. The good news is that the doctrine of inspiration is easy to explain, and with just a little effort you can confidently believe this important idea and easily defend it against the unsupported claims of unbelievers and skeptics when you are called to share your faith with them.
To read the rest, click on "The inspiration of Scripture comes in various forms".

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Cannabis and the Christian

There are many discussions and points of view using words like cannabis, hemp, marijuana, and so forth. Unfortunately, there is a great deal of confusion, especially from those who want to legalize pot for recreation. Some Christians want to get high, others detest the idea.

Some people think there is nothing much wrong with cannabis, others may wonder why God created it in the first place. Here are some biblical perspectives.

I have struggled to learn the differences between hemp and marijuana. Some said that it's the same plant but the younger version is where the THC (the chemical that alters your state of consciousness) comes from, and the bigger ones become hemp. Not quite. Apparently versions of cannabis are virtually indistinguishable by sight, but hemp is legal in may places and does not require special growing conditions. It also has only a fraction of THC. This article seems reliable.

Unfortunately, pro-reefer folks seem to be like climate change cultists, anti-vaxxers, and evolutionists who ignore data that they dislike and cherry-pick information that seems to confirm their biases. There are also logic problems, such as saying, "You can drink alcohol and pot is better for you". Lousy comparison. For one thing, the doobie smoker is inhaling burning leaves and their carcinogens. Today's burning leaves are far more potent than hippies smoked at Woodstock, and the THC levels have been increasing over the years. Also, it is a controlled substance under US federal law; if your state legalized it, that's a mite confusing since the feds say, "Nuh-uh, you're breaking the law". EDIT: That was very recently changed.

Someone may complain that smoking weed is not mentioned in the Bible, so we can go ahead. No, we must use biblical principles, as God's Word is our foundation in all areas of life — including our thinking. In a Bible-believing worldview, we need to remember that drug use is a component in sorcery and witchcraft. God does not condone misuse of alcohol, so getting high one way or another is against what God teaches.

This issue is very complicated and can get confusing, especially when you factor in the dubious value of using CBD for relaxation and to alleviate pain. Yes, God created cannabis, and hemp has been very beneficial for textiles as well as (possibly) hemp seeds and oil.

Now I would like to turn you over to Dr. Jerry Bergman's article for some interesting perspective. 
With the recent legalization of the recreational use of the mind-altering drug cannabis in many states, and the legalization of its medical use in most states, questions arise about the drug from a creation-worldview standpoint. The main psychoactive component of cannabis is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). One major question is, why did God create drugs that are poisonous or that can cause harm? Poisonous substances include anything that can physically harm us if we inhale, swallow or touch it. They range from bee stings to cyanide poisoning.
I hope you will read the rest of "Why Did God Create Cannabis?"