mid-week apologetics booster (7-29-2021)

Good morning friends,

Here is a random quote (of over 2000) from Nuggets:

THOU INCOMPREHENSIBLE BUT PRAYER-HEARING GOD, Known, but beyond knowledge, revealed, but unrevealed, my wants and welfare draw me to thee. – Valley of Vision

To view more of these quotes, visit:

http://www.ps11911.com/nuggets?dest=quotes

Now, here are your weekly links:

  1. 5 Apologetics Questions Every Christian Should Learn How to Answer – YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ETyzqrM3tB8
  2. Responding to Catholic Apologists on Purgatory – YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UzVzn8h7jnM
  3. The Resurrection Witness of Half-Frantic Women: The Significance of the Women Witnesses Confidence in Christ: https://confidenceinchrist.net/2021/04/15/the-resurrection-witness-of-half-frantic-women-the-significance-of-the-women-witnesses/
  4. Using the Kalaam Argument Correctly | Strange Notions: https://strangenotions.com/using-the-kalaam-argument-correctly/
  5. The Jellyfish with a Broad Reach Creation Moments: https://creationmoments.com/sermons/the-jellyfish-with-a-broad-reach-2/?mc_cid=423df30e6b&mc_eid=29f98ca00d
  6. Are Christians the New Extremists? Yes, and That’s Okay.: https://natashacrain.com/are-christians-the-new-extremists-yes-and-thats-okay/

Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.John 8:34-36

Blessings to you all

Conversation with an Atheist on a Local Facebook Post Comments Thread

Someone posed the following question on a local Facebook group for our community:

“If you could ask God any one question and you knew He’d give you an answer right now, what would you ask?“

What follows is one of many conversations that occurred in the comments for this post:

Him:  You know you were created in man’s own image, don’t you?

Me:  There are people who “create” a god of their own liking in their mind – so in that sense, some do what you’re saying, but that is idolatry. God has indeed revealed who He is – we didn’t “create” him in our image. He created all that we see and there is good evidence for His existence. If you’ve not heard of any of this evidence, I can share it with you.

Him:   No thank you. I have thoughtfully weighed the evidence and reached a conclusion. If you want to change my mind, pray over an amputee to regrow a limb. If it grows back, you win.

Me:  Hi <his name>, I appreciate that you have thoughtfully weighed the evidence and reached a conclusion. Your comment about God healing amputees is certainly a difficult one. I can’t get inside the mind of God. However I can evaluate evidence that he exists and designed life. If you’re interested in some additional evidence, and maybe a different perspective, you may want to check out this book which I and other former skeptics have found useful. https://www.amazon.com/…/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_glt_fabc… (Is God Just a Human Invention? And Seventeen Other Questions Raised by the New Atheists)

Him:  My investigation into the matter is closed, save for the amputee or equivalent scenario playing out. Fun fact: It was the world religion classes I took at a Catholic University that exposed the fallacy of the worship of deities and the irrationality of selection, which usually a matter of indoctrination than evaluation. If the illusion provides you comfort and fellowship, I understand that element of faith but the premise can only be accepted through faith, not proof.

Me:  in my case, it wasn’t indoctrination. I was a skeptic for most of my life, I didn’t grow up in the church, I am an adult convert, and entered with my eyes wide open. I am convinced that Christianity is true (beyond a reasonable doubt), by reason of several lines of evidence and philosophical arguments (not blind faith). My reading when I was a skeptic consisted of Sigmund Freud, Frederick Nietzsche, BF Skinner and other philosophers and psychologists. I’m familiar with the arguments of the new atheists, Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Daniel Dennett, Michael Shermer, Sam Harris, Richard Carrier, Bart Ehrman and others. What I hear you saying is that you have your mind made up, and you’re unwilling to consider any additional evidence. You seem to be stuck by the question of, if there is a loving God who’s all powerful and all knowing, why wouldn’t he heal amputees. I’m not claiming to have a good answer for that However, if Christianity is true, and God created the universe and everything in it, then he is extremely powerful and intelligent and has a vast amount more knowledge and context than I possess. Therefore, I would not consider myself qualified to question his judgment on matters where I don’t have all of the information necessary to make a proper decision. I know that answer won’t be satisfying to you, however the amputee issue does not make all of the other lines of evidence that God does exist disappear. I hope you’re not basing your final decision on information you heard at a world religions class in a Catholic University. None of the best minds in Christianity that I know of teach a world religions class at a Catholic University. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with a Catholic University or a world religions class. I’m simply saying that before dismissing a worldview held by billions of people, it may be a good approach to take an assessment of the best proponents of that worldview, people such as, William Lane Craig, JP Moreland, Steven C. Meyer, and others. Ultimately, it is your choice of course, but if you haven’t considered any of the aforementioned names, then I would contend that you haven’t heard the best arguments in favor of Christian theism. If you are willing, you could start with one of the many YouTube debates involving William Lane Craig. Have a great day <his name>!

Him:  It’s not important enough to me explore it further. As an atheist, I have everything to live for and nothing to die for. I’m too busy enjoying life to concern myself with the greatest manipulative tool mankind ever created: the promise of an afterlife IF and only IF you follow a particular, and ever-evolving set of rules. Thanks for the chat, that’s my last comment on the subject.

Me:   ok, nice chatting with you!

mid-week apologetics booster (7-22-2021)

Here is a random quote (of over 2000) from Nuggets:

Between 1978 and 1991, Jeffrey Dahmer murdered at least 17 men and boys. His murders included gruesome acts and he was sentenced to a lifetime in prison. But during his sentence something changed, and before his death, Dahmer went on MSNBC with his father. When asked what contributed to his new accountability, he told his father, Thanks to you for sending that creation science material.” In the interview Dahmer acknowledges that he once believed in the evolution theory which “cheapens life”. He went on to testify to the Lord Jesus Christ being the true Creator and accepting Him as his Savior… Like Dahmer, many today are being influenced by the cheapening of life promoted by the evolution theory. Racism, communism, Nazism and anarchy are all effects of this dangerous theory. Even the killers in the Columbine school massacre wore shirts that blared, ‘Natural Selection.’ Evolution is a perilous religion with fatal societal consequences. – Creation Science Evangelism, ‘Creation Science’ Makes a Difference

To view more of these quotes, visit:

http://www.ps11911.com/nuggets?dest=quotes

Now, here are your weekly links:

  1. More extra-biblical evidence of Jesus | George’s Journal: https://georgesjournal.net/2021/07/15/more-extra-biblical-evidence-of-jesus/
  2. Scott Klusendorf defends the pro-life view on the Unbelievable radio show | WINTERY KNIGHT: https://winteryknight.com/2021/07/14/scott-klusendorf-defends-the-pro-life-view-on-the-unbelievable-radio-show-8/
  3. Peppered Moth Color Changes Are Engineered | The Institute for Creation Research: https://www.icr.org/article/peppered-moth-changes-engineered/
  4. List And Profile Of Famous Atheists Who Converted To Christianity | Believers Portal: https://believersportal.com/list-and-profile-of-famous-atheists-who-converted-to-christianity/
  5. Journalist Finds a Cover-Up by the Bronx Zoo | Evolution News: https://evolutionnews.org/2021/07/journalist-finds-a-cover-up-by-the-bronx-zoo-2/
  6. Extrabiblical evidence of 83 people in the Bible | George’s Journal: https://georgesjournal.net/2021/07/17/extrabiblical-evidence-of-83-people-in-the-bible/
  7. LGBT activist calls for hardball fight to empty the church pews of Christians – Cross Examined: https://crossexamined.org/lgbt-activist-calls-for-hardball-fight-to-empty-the-church-pews-of-christians/

Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. On Him God the Father has placed His seal of approval. John 6:27

Blessings to you all

Conversation with a Skeptic on a Local Facebook Group Comments Thread

Someone posed the following question on a local Facebook group for our community:

If you could ask God any one question and you knew He’d give you an answer right now, what would you ask?

What follows is one of many conversations that occurred in the comments for this post:

Her:  Who created you?

Me: https://www.gotquestions.org/who-created-God.html

Her:  how many angels fit on the head of a pin?

Me:  I doubt this hypothetical question is of sincere interest to you, so, I will leave it alone

Her:   yes, philosophy and religion are extremely interesting and collide in all kinds of pithy ways. Religion has many positive social structures and fills some peoples’ needs for making order out of what they perceive as disorder. It’s all interesting to discuss if you can move beyond the trite.

Me:   Yes, Christianity has contributed greatly to many essential areas of society (e.g. origin of hospitals, many Christian scientists such as Copernicus, Galileo, Newton, Pasteur, institutions of higher learning such as Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Oxford had Christian beginnings and many other things). I agree that following Christian teachings has benefits for people in terms of stable families and moral behavior. But that’s not the main point. As C.S. Lewis stated, “Christianity is a statement which, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. The one thing it cannot be is moderately important.” So, if it is not true, I might as well be golfing on Sunday mornings   And yes, I strive to “move beyond the trite”. I like to concern myself with things that matter (eternally), and think that we all should do likewise. I think many (including my pre-conversion self) are more concerned about planning the next vacation or retirement than thinking about what will happen when they die. I’m open to a dialogue on these topics that really matter. Have a great day!

Her:   why be concerned about what will happen when you die? If you’re a believer, you should have no concern at all about what happens. Plan that vacation and go play golf on Sunday. 

Me:   I personally am not concerned (or “worried”) about what will happen when I die. That issue was settled for me when I became a Christian, so yes you’re right – I have no concern, I’m confident about my eternal destination. Rather, what I was referring to were those people who have not yet made that decision. I, myself, am an adult convert. I didn’t grow up in the church, but became a Christian well into adulthood, being married with children. So, I was relying on my own experience, describing what my priorities were “pre-conversion”. I was there at one point in my life and am not claiming any superiority of those who’ve not made that decision yet. I’m just one beggar trying to tell another beggar where I’ve found food!

Her:  people will always question and challenge the things they can’t see and know. That’s a part of both religion and philosophy, and all good.

Then, on another question in the same FB thread, the same person replied to my answer to this question:

How did life originate?

Me:  The evidence suggests that abiogenesis (the theory that life originated from non-living material [non-life]) is highly improbable. According to Stephen Meyer, the odds of getting a functional protein of 150 amino acids by chance is no better than 1 in 10 to the 164th power. Now consider that there are 10 to the 80th power elementary particles in the entire universe. So, life could not have originated “on it’s own”. Life shows many evidences of design, therefore the most reasonable conclusion is that life was originated by an intelligent designer, who we call God.

Her:  well, the odds of life being created by ‘god’ are even less! I’d like to see your statistics about that for comparison.

Me:   Design requires a designer. Life is obviously designed. DNA is more sophisticated than any programming language that human beings have created. Creation requires a creator:

1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause

2. The universe began to exist

3. Therefore the universe has a cause.

This syllogism is known as the Kalam Cosmological argument for God’s existence.

The universe didn’t “pop out of nothing”. The effect (the universe) tells us something about the cause.

The bottom line is this: Since there was an absolute beginning to space, time and matter, it’s reasonable to conclude that the cause of the universe must be spaceless, timeless and immaterial. This cause must also be personal in order to choose to create, intelligent to create such a fine-tuned universe, and powerful to create out of nothing. A spaceless, timeless, immaterial, personal, intelligent, powerful Being is exactly what theists call “God”.

Her:   keep thinking! We know very little and eventually you can find calm in that

Me:  sorry, but I will have to respectfully disagree. We know many things, according to the same standard of proof in our legal system, “beyond a reasonable doubt”. I don’t find calm in not knowing, but rather in trusting in God who I have good reasons to believe exists. Again, I will quote C.S. Lewis, who I believe is very helpful here: “Christ never meant that we were to remain children in intelligence: on the contrary. He told us to be not only ‘as harmless as doves’, but also ‘as wise as serpents’. He wants a child’s heart, but a grown-up’s head. He wants us to be simple, single-minded, affectionate, and teachable, as good children are; but He also wants every bit of intelligence we have to be alert at its job, and in first-class fighting trim. The fact that you are giving money to a charity does not mean that you need not try to find out whether that charity is a fraud or not. The fact that what you are thinking about is God Himself (for example, when you are praying) does not mean that you can be content with the same babyish ideas which you had when you were a five-year-old. It is, of course, quite true that God will not love you any the less, or have less use for you, if you happen to have been born with a very second-rate brain. He has room for people with very little sense, but He wants everyone to use what sense they have. “. Have a great day and I urge you to think deeply about the things I’ve said in our interactions in this excellent thread!

Her:  excellent! Yes, I hope you find peace and comfort in the unknown. Scientifically and intellectually speaking, we ‘know’ virtually nothing at all. That makes life exciting! And full of experiences of all kinds. You don’t even know what your brain is going to be thinking about 20 minutes from now. Life is a grand adventure.

Me:  you say “Scientifically and intellectually speaking, we know virtually nothing at all”. I would like to respectfully point out something about it by asking you a question… Is that something you claim to “know”?

Her:  yes, I definitely know that I know almost nothing, compared to what there is to learn and ‘know.’ And, what is known by others is vast, but almost nothing compared to what we would like to know.

Me:  so, you must be aware that your statement is what is called a “self-refuting statement”. It is a statement that doesn’t live up to its own standard. It would be like saying I can’t speak a single word in the English language, yet using English to communicate that idea. Self-refuting statements cannot possibly be true.

Her:   lol, keep thinking! You are a reader and learn from others, and adopt others’ ideas that ring true to you. That’s super interesting. We use what we ‘know’ to try to understand what we don’t ‘know.’ Makes sense to us within the confines of so little knowledge.

Conversation with Muslim on a local Facebook group comments thread

Someone posed the following question on a local Facebook group for our community:

If you could ask God any one question and you knew He’d give you an answer right now, what would you ask?

What follows is one of many conversations that occurred in the comments for this post:

Her:  Where and how, did racial supremacy and arrogance start?

Me:  It’s called sin. God allows this now, but will be dealt with at Judgment Day…

Her:  my question though, is not whether God allows it or not. He certainly DOES NOT APPROVE OF IT. There is NOTHING godly about it at all! When you make that statement, it sounds a bit irresponsible. Also my question, is what are the origins of it?

Me:  the origins of it are evil and sin in the human heart. The Bible says, the heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure, who can understand it? Jeremiah 17:9. All have sinned in fall short of the glory of God. Each one has different types of sins that they commit, for some it’s lying, for some its selfishness, for some it’s racism, arrogance, etc. However God will judge all sin, no matter what type.

Her:  I can get you plenty of Holy Quran verses, which say that it started when Iblis or who the Christians call Lucifer, refused to bow in greeting to Adam. The reason being that this entity, was one of the jinn, made of fire, according to Muslims and according to the Christians he is a fallen angel made of light. Either way, he thought he was superior to Adam, who was made of clay or earth. But now I would like the specific human instance where racial supremacy first started.

Me:   Well, I don’t know if it’s the first instance, but the Pharaoh of Egypt enslaved millions of Hebrews (under Moses – Read the first part of the book of Exodus) and treated them very harshly. He only finally let them go after God brought the series of plagues and other disasters upon him and his people. But it is said that Pharaoh “hardened his heart”. I believe that what was going on there was a form of racism or ethnic persecution. I will say this, the Bible does speak about all races and classes of people being equal. Galatians 3:28 says “there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus”. So, the ground is level at the foot of the cross. Additionally, yes, I do agree that Satan was the instigator of the initial sin that came into the world, when he caused Eve to question God’s Word and His goodness. It is said of Satan in Isaiah chapter 14 that his sin was pride and that he wanted to be higher than God, which is why God cast him down and he took with him a third of all the angels, which you called “Jin”. I had many conversations over a period of about a year with a Muslim friend of mine who is a Sunni Muslim. It was a really good time and we sparred back and forth about the various aspects of the Quran, and the Bible, and Jesus, etc. He gave me a copy of the Quran, which I already had in Kindle on my phone, and I gave him a study Bible. Neither one of us convinced the other one, but it was always an enjoyable, respectful and invigorating conversation. I continue to pray that he would see the biblical Jesus and receive Him as Lord and Savior of his life. I truly believe that all religions can have productive dialogue without hatred violence or discord.

Her:  I really like your comment here, but if I have to be completely honest, this idea of Eve being the one to be blamed for the original sin is simply NOT in Islam. My personal belief is that it is erroneous, because it is not written in the Holy Quran like this AT ALL. It is both who sinned. This belief has caused A LOT of misogyny in the world and even in Western nations, I see this cruel misogyny that rivals or even tops the most uneducated nations. It has caused a lot of sadness and heartache. I simply do not believe it, which is why ,I simply cannot accept Christianity….and why only Christianity , I also can’t accept Judaism . But of course to each their own 

Me:   to be clear, in Christianity, Eve is not the one blamed for original sin. Romans 5:12 says that sin entered the world through one man, and that man was Adam. It doesn’t say that sin entered the world through Eve. Eve was the first one to eat the fruit which God commanded not to eat, but Adam participated with her. It was a joint error. Therefore, it is not a valid reason to reject Christianity. Christianity stands or falls on three things: The deity, death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. If those three things are true, Christianity is true if any of them can be proved false, then Christianity falls apart.

Her:  I would need to read the Bible. But I have many reasons for not accepting the Judeo -Christian tradition. That is certainly my choice. I am not obligated to accept this tradition at all. I have friends from both faiths though.  Whatever you are telling me here, about who ate the apple first, sounds …not quite right to me. Anyway, if you believe it, then this is your choice.

Me:   sure, it would be good for you to read the Bible, Sura 5:47 even says “let the People of the Gospel judge by what Allaah has revealed therein”. Yes, it is certainly your choice what to believe. Christians attempt to persuade others Christianity is true, but we don’t force people. And thankfully, our country was founded with freedom of religion. Good to hear you have friends of both faiths

Her:  great, have a good day!

Me:  thanks! You too! Nice talking to you.

Another person chiming in: thank you both for having an open and respectful dialogue. Either which way… you guys both rock!!

Her: awww, thank you You are so sweet. (my name) seems like a gentleman, I think I am too blunt, I apologize if I have hurt anyone. Also, I would like to let (my name) know that the place my parents came from, India, also has almost every religion, it was founded on freedom of religion, so even though it is majority Hindu, there are plenty of Muslims and also Christians, Sikhs, Jains, Zoroastrians, Buddhists and even Jews …also many Muslim nations too, like Palestine, Syria, Egypt and Iran do have freedom of religion! There are plenty of happy Christians living in those places as well as other faiths and Iran has THE highest Jewish population in the Middle East, aside from Israel and they are VERY happy living there! But the media often paints another very sad picture. Iraq too, used to be like this, but then first Saddam Hussain, then our invasion of the place and then the formation of ISIS/ISIL (due to a variety of sinister factors) really messed things up and that terror spread into Syria as well. It is very sad and if I talk about it too much it could get controversial, as this is a local group. Anyway, love and prayer for you both

Me:   don’t worry, I don’t get hurt over things like this. Nothing you said was offensive or hurtful – I promise you. I’m told in the Bible to contend earnestly for the faith (Jude 1:3), but yet leave the results to God (1 Corinthians 3:6). Most of my adult life in college and work, I have spent with people from India, Iran, China, Japan, Ecuador, Mexico, Taiwan, Germany, Spain, UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and many other places and many other faiths, so in a sense, at my place of employment, I’ve been a minority for many years – the only native born American and only Christian in my department. I appreciate hearing about the cultures and ways of life from all these different locations, and I continue to share my faith with them all. Again, I would like to thank you for the respectful conversation and would also like to mention that you’re free to come join us at Bridgeway Community Church (24th Street & Liberty Lane), I’m sure you will find all the people there friendly. By the way, thank you for the kind words. Additionally, (to the other person), thanks for chiming in to give your 2 cents! Have a great father’s day with any fathers in your lives!

mid-week apologetics booster (7-15-2021)

Good morning friends,

Here is a random quote (of over 2000) from Nuggets:

If there were no Trinity, there could be no Incarnation, no objective Redemption, and therefore no salvation; for there would be no one capable of acting as mediator between God and man. – Unnamed Theologian quoted in “2002 Surprising Things About God and the Bible”

To view more of these quotes, visit:

http://www.ps11911.com/nuggets?dest=quotes

Now, here are your weekly links:

  1. Mathematical Challenges to Darwin’s Theory of Evolution – YouTube – Based on new evidence and knowledge that functioning proteins are extremely rare, should Darwin’s theory of evolution be dismissed, dissected, developed or replaced with a theory of intelligent design? Has Darwinism really failed? Peter Robinson discusses it with David Berlinski, David Gelernter, and Stephen Meyer, who have raised doubts about Darwin’s theory in their two books and essay, respectively The Deniable Darwin, Darwin’s Doubt, and Giving Up Darwin (published in the Claremont Review of Books).: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=noj4phMT9OE
  2. Inoculating the Masses: What in the world is Critical Race Theory? Women in Apologetics: https://womeninapologetics.com/inoculating-the-masses-what-in-the-world-is-critical-race-theory/
  3. Render to God – It’s time to make a shift. Blending into the world around us is no longer an option for the church. The culture rejects the Christian worldview and won’t be appeased by anything short of total ideological surrender, so it’s time for us to get counter-cultural.: https://www.str.org/w/render-to-god
  4. Religious Faith Is Not Inherently Blind Bread & Fish: https://breadnfishcom.wordpress.com/2021/06/22/no-blind-faith-here/
  5. How An Atheist Scholar Misleads Millions Of People – YouTube – (I think everyone should listen to this) Bart Ehrman has convinced more people to reject the Christian faith than almost anyone alive today. But he has done so largely through being very misleading. I’m going to provide some solid examples of this as it relates to the crucifixion of Jesus in the Gospel of Mark because I think there is a lot of benefit in dealing with misleading claims about the Bible. I’m doing a lot of apologetics related stuff here at the end of this series on the Gospel of Mark and I hope you find it faith building and inspiring!: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g2ne3ndnVQk
  6. What does the Bible say about saving for retirement? | GotQuestions.org: https://www.gotquestions.org/saving-for-retirement.html
  7. How are we to live our lives in light of Christs return? | GotQuestions.org: https://www.gotquestions.org/live-lives-Christ-return.html
  8. Here’s the question: Does faith save you? To help you think carefully about the answer, let me suggest an illustration. Pretend for a moment that you are a diabetic on the verge of diabetic coma. Pretend also that I present you with a hypodermic syringe and a small vial that I said was insulin. Would you trust me to give you an injection to save your life? I think you already see the thrust of illustration. my First, you know (or at least have heard) that the Bible teaches salvation by faith. Second, the illustration shows a clear contrast between mere belief and active trust the point I’ve just been making). You already believe that insulin can give you relief. But you remain in danger until you take a step of faith and actively entrust yourself to my care. So I suspect you would take me up on my offer. If you did, however, you would be dead. Here’s why: All the sincerity of your childlike trust could not change the fact that the vial in my illustration does not really contain insulin, only saline. You had genuine faith, to be sure- fiducia, trust, belief in action. But you would be dead, nonetheless.: https://www.str.org/w/truth-is-a-strange-sort-of-fiction-the-postmodern-turn-part-2
  9. Centuries after Christ: Was the New Testament written long after Jesus?: https://carm.org/the-bible/was-the-new-testament-written-hundreds-of-years-after-christ/

“You will all fall away,” Jesus told them, “for it is written: ” ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.’ But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee.” Peter declared, “Even if all fall away, I will not.” “I tell you the truth,” Jesus answered, “today–yes, tonight–before the rooster crows twice you yourself will disown me three times.” But Peter insisted emphatically, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” And all the others said the same. – Mark 14:27-31

Blessings to you all

mid-week apologetics booster (7-8-2021)

Good morning friends,

Here is a random quote (of over 2000) from Nuggets:

The wrong tomb theory assumes that the all of the Jews (and the Romans) had a permanent kind of “collective amnesia” about what they had done with the body of Jesus. – William Lane Craig

To view more of these quotes, visit:

http://www.ps11911.com/nuggets?dest=quotes

Now, here are your weekly links:

  1. 10 Biblical Reasons Jesus Is God | Answers in Genesis: https://answersingenesis.org/jesus/jesus-is-god/10-biblical-reasons-jesus-is-god/
  2. Five Best Scientific Evidences for the God of the Bible – Reasons to Believe – Five Best Scientific Evidences for the God of the Bible: https://reasons.org/explore/blogs/todays-new-reason-to-believe/five-best-scientific-evidences-for-the-god-of-the-bible
  3. How Do We Know that the Bible Is True? A number of Christians have tried to answer this question. Unfortunately, not all of those answers have been as cogent as we might hope. Some answers make very little sense at all. | Answers in Genesis: https://answersingenesis.org/is-the-bible-true/how-do-we-know-that-the-bible-is-true/
  4. How Do We Know Who Wrote the Gospels in the New Testament? Open your Bible to the table of contents and take a look at the list of books in the New Testament. There, you’ll find the Gospels according to Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John leading the list. But were Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John really the ones who wrote the Gospels? If so, how do we know? Your first reply might be, Of course, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John wrote the Gospels; their names are right there on the books! and you would be correct. These four names have appeared on the manuscripts of these four Gospels for well over a thousand years. And yet, these names may not have been present on the earliest manuscripts of the Gospels. In fact, when it comes to the question of who wrote the Gospels, some scholars are quite convinced that Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John couldn’t possibly have been the authors of these four books (e.g. Bart Ehrman).: https://www.timothypauljones.com/apologetics-how-do-we-know-who-wrote-the-gospels-2/
  5. Skeptics say we don’t know who wrote the gospels, but it wasn’t Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John. They’re using a double standard. | by Erik Manning | Medium: https://eriknmanning.medium.com/skeptics-say-we-dont-know-who-wrote-the-gospels-but-it-wasn-t-matthew-mark-luke-or-john-c710546d003
  6. Do we know who wrote the Gospels? – The claim: We don’t know who wrote the gospels. This post responds: https://connect.rzim.org/t/do-we-know-who-wrote-the-gospels/28709
  7. Can I Trust the Bible? Open Forum with Amy Orr-Ewing – YouTube. Lots of people imagine that the Bible is fantasy, fairy tale or stories that have evolved over time but is this what the evidence supports? Are there good reasons to believe that the Bible is historically reliable and may have something really meaningful to say to us today?: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E2lnouLeQzg
  8. Who Wrote the Gospels? | CrossExamined.org | Apologetics: https://crossexamined.org/wrote-gospels-2/
  9. Species were designed to change, part 1 – creation.com: https://creation.com/species-designed-to-change-part-1
  10. Mike Licona explains the As, Bs, Cs, Ds and Es of New Testament reliability | WINTERY KNIGHT: https://winteryknight.com/2021/07/01/mike-licona-explains-the-as-bs-cs-ds-and-es-of-new-testament-reliability-7/
  11. Andy Bannister and Michael Ruse discuss how atheists find meaning in life | WINTERY KNIGHT – Nietzsche’s statement that if there is no God, there is no meaning in life: https://winteryknight.com/2021/06/30/andy-bannister-and-michael-ruse-discuss-how-atheists-find-meaning-in-life-4/
  12. If There Is No God -Then Everything Is Permitted – Fyodor Dostoevsky’s faith: https://www.pravmir.com/article_678.html
  13. Is God Real? – God Evidence – lot of talking this article about quantum physics and the idea of a mind being the primary reality: https://godevidence.com/2020/10/is-god-real/
  14. 23 Minutes in Hell – Bill Wiese is the Man Who Went to Hell – I realize that this may be controversial, but I have the book of the same title and it is a good book not containing heresy That’s why I’m including it here: https://notashamedofthegospel.com/video/bill-wiese-23-minutes-in-hell/
  15. Muslim Father in Uganda Beats, Poisons Daughter for Turning to Christ – Christian News Headlines: https://www.christianheadlines.com/blog/muslim-father-in-uganda-beats-poisons-daughter-for-turning-to-christ.html
  16. The Injustice of Social Justice. Why Woke Social Justice Is Antibiblical | iApologia – iApologia: http://iapologia.com/the-injustice-of-social-justice-why-woke-social-justice-is-antibiblical-iapologia/
  17. Who Wrote The Gospel Of Luke & Acts? | Reasons for Jesus: https://reasonsforjesus.com/who-wrote-the-gospel-of-luke-acts/
  18. Archaeological Evidence for Jesus’s Resurrection Seeing God’s Breath: https://godsbreath.net/2021/05/02/archaeological-evidence-for-jesuss-resurrection/
  19. Are Fine-Tuning Arguments for God (or the Multiverse) Circular? | Strange Notions: https://strangenotions.com/are-fine-tuning-arguments-for-god-or-the-multiverse-circular/
  20. Why New Testament Miracles Shouldn’t Disqualify the Gospels | Cold Case Christianity: https://coldcasechristianity.com/writings/why-new-testament-miracles-shouldnt-disqualify-the-gospels/
  21. Stop Using the Term Fetus | Cold Case Christianity: https://coldcasechristianity.com/writings/stop-using-the-term-fetus/
  22. Work toward having unshakable faith – Media Center – creation.com: https://youtu.be/0wfJ00bJdIA
  23. Change, Yes; Evolution, No, Darwin and Biologic Change | Answers in Genesis – Dr. Gary Parker: https://answersingenesis.org/natural-selection/change-yes-evolution-no/
  24. Is the Bible True? The Cumulative Case for the Reliability of the Gospels (Free Bible Insert) | Cold Case Christianity: https://coldcasechristianity.com/writings/is-the-bible-true-the-cumulative-case-for-the-reliability-of-the-gospels-free-bible-insert/
  25. Yes, America Had a Christian Founding | The Stream: https://stream.org/should-we-just-write-america-off-as-a-botched-godless-experiment/
  26. How Can the Bible Be Inerrant If It Contains Variants – YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rl41qMLjHeY
  27. Evidence, Dr. Frank Turek looks at science and if it confirms or denies belief in God. – YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UbrY2orqhm0
  28. The Solar System Declares the Glory of God – Dr. Jason Lisle – YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XaROq87mnWM
  29. Jeff Foxworthy on the Bible, An interview with Jeff Foxworthy for a promo leading up to the hosting of the Bible Challenge game show. He talks about one of his favorite stories of the bible and real life experience. – YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mxFqVQFvhvw

In those days when the number of disciples was increasing, the Grecian Jews among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food. So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, “It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables. Brothers, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.” This proposal pleased the whole group. They chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit; also Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas from Antioch, a convert to Judaism. They presented these men to the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them. So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith. Acts 6:1-7

Blessings to you all

Verses to memorize for sexual temptation

It is a fact of life that most men (and many women) battle against sexual temptation.

God has prescribed the way that He wants His children to live. He tests each of our hearts (not just what is on the outside). Here is what He expects to find:

1 Chronicles 29:17a

I know, my God, that you test the heart and are pleased with integrity

Not only is He pleased with integrity, but Jesus even said several times in the Scriptures, that He expects anyone who follows Him (Christians) to deny themselves, rather than to “give-in” to themselves:

Luke 9:23

Then He said to them all: “If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me.

He wants us to put Him first, not our own evil desires. We need to have the attitude of John the Baptist:

John 3:30

He must become greater; I must become less.

So, to help us along in our quest for holiness, I have listed some verses for you to memorize to help you resist sexual temptation. The Psalmist stated the benefits of memorizing Scripture:

Psalms 119:11

I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.

The benefit is clear: “that I might not sin againstGod.

I have memorized each of these passages myself and have found them to be of great benefit

Let’s start off the list with one that states God’s mandate very clearly and directly:

1 Corinthians 6:18-20

Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.

This passage tells me that I am not my own. I can’t just do whatever I want with my body. My body is a temple of the Holy Spirit. He is living in me and sees everything I do. Which leads me to the next verse:

Hebrews 4:13

Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

He sees all and we will have to give account for all He sees. As Ray Comfort commented, “What happens in Vegas stays in God’s mind until Judgment Day.”

Ecclesiastes 12:14

For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.

Romans 14:12

So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God.

Am I saying that you’ll be thrown into hell for committing an act of sexual immorality? No. When you were saved, you were justified. All sins, past, present and future were paid for by Jesus’ shed blood on the cross. Yet, we as believers are expected to behave in a way that is “worthy of our calling” (Eph. 4:1). Sexual immorality is definitely not worthy of our calling!

God takes sexual immorality – especially the physical act of adultery – very seriously. So seriously, in fact in the Old Covenant with Israel, the penalty was the death sentence for both involved parties:

Deuteronomy 22:22

If a man is found sleeping with another man’s wife, both the man who slept with her and the woman must die. You must purge the evil from Israel.

However, sexual immorality is not an external, behavioral issue only (such as adultery). This sin starts in the mind with our own evil desires (James 1:13-14). In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus raised the standard of purity so that no one can escape the charge of guilt in this matter:

Matthew 5:27-28
You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

Jesus is seeking obedience from those that call Him Lord:

Luke 6:46

Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?

Don’t be a hypocrite, one day calling Jesus Lord and then another day, committing sexual sin.

Job was a godly man and was certainly aware of this standard as he strove to avoid lust in this way:

Job 31:1

I made a covenant with my eyes not to look with lust upon a young woman.

Daniel was also a godly man, living in exile, in the midst of a vile, wicked, depraved and idolatrous culture. In the beginning of the account, we see his resolution:

Daniel 1:8-9

But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way. Now God had caused the official to show favor and sympathy to Daniel

Have you resolved not to defile yourself by what your eyes consume? Daniel’s strong resolution here ought to challenge and inspire us to do the same. By resolving, he had made up his mind what he was going to do when he was put in that situation. Don’t just wait until that moment of temptation comes to decide what you’re going to do. If that is your approach, you will fail. Rather resolve ahead of time what steps you’re going to take to avoid defiling yourself in sexual sin.

David, a man after God’s own heart, a man acquainted with moral failure (see 2 Samuel 11), resolved not to let sin come through his eyes:

Psalms 101:3

I will refuse to look at anything vile and vulgar. I hate all crooked dealings; I will have nothing to do with them.

We need our minds renewed by Scripture so that we no longer conform to the pattern of this world, which is so full of sexual temptation:

Romans 12:2

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is –his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Many of these passages can be summed up in this wise counsel from the Apostle Paul:

Romans 13:14

But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.

What have you done to “make no provision” for your flesh? There are many practices and safeguards that one can implement, but the one thing we should all be doing is putting on the Lord Jesus Christ daily – that is the number one strategy in this battle. Don’t make it is easy for your flesh to gratify its evil desires!

And, yes, this is absolutely a battle! It is not a battle against flesh and blood, but at the core it is a spiritual battle:

Ephesians 6:12

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.

And since it is a spiritual battle, it needs to be fought with spiritual weapons from God:

2 Corinthians 10:3-5

We are human, but we don’t wage war with human plans and methods. We use God’s mighty weapons, not mere worldly weapons, to knock down the Devil’s strongholds. With these weapons we break down every proud argument that keeps people from knowing God. With these weapons we conquer their rebellious ideas, and we teach them to obey Christ.

Have you ever considered that when we are committing sexual sin, at that moment, we don’t fear God? Think about that… Even one of the thieves on the cross next to Jesus asked the other thief if he feared God, because it was evident by the way he was talking that he didn’t:

Luke 23:40

But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence?

Unknowingly, the first thief was affirming a great truth of Scripture, often repeated:

Proverbs 9:10

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.

And:

Isaiah 8:13

Do not fear anything except the LORD Almighty. He alone is the Holy One. If you fear him, you need fear nothing else.

Jesus told His disciples to fear God because of His ability to throw them into hell:

Luke 12:4-5

I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear Him.

So, yes, the fear of God is a healthy attitude to have and can keep us from committing sexual sin!

Scripture also states that sin will hinder your prayers:

Psalms 66:18

If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened;

Do you stumble into sin? Or do you cherish sin? Our goal should be to avoid both, but worse by far is the one who cherishes (or relishes) sin.

Isaiah echoes the same sentiment about our sin causing separation from God. In the context of the following passage, God was speaking to His “people and to the house of Jacob” (Isaiah 58:1):

Isaiah 59:1-2

Listen! The LORD is not too weak to save you, and he is not becoming deaf. He can hear you when you call. But there is a problem — your sins have cut you off from God. Because of your sin, he has turned away and will not listen anymore.

But God gave us the solution for having our prayers heard again:

2 Chronicles 7:14

If My people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

The essence of that phrase “seek My face and turn from their wicked ways” is the concept of repentance! There is no change and no transformation without repentance – and God commands it!

Acts 17:30

Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent,

By the way, after reading this blog, you can no longer claim ignorance.

In the midst of admonishing believers not to argue over foolish and stupid things, the apostle Paul talked about people who are held captive by the devil to do his will:

2 Timothy 2:26

and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.

As believers, we ought not be held captive by anyone or anything except Jesus Christ (since we are His slaves). We are told specifically:

Colossians 2:8

See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.

Additionally, we as believers ought to be discerning enough and acquainted enough with our own depravity to know what situations, places and people put us into temptation, and that we need to avoid those:

Proverbs 4:26

Ponder the path of your feet, And let all your ways be established.

We ought to be able to see the danger ahead and take refuge:

Proverbs 27:12

The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it.

In addition to pondering where you go and what situations you put yourself into, you need to be intentional about your thoughts:

Philippians 4:8

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.

And:

Colossians 3:2

Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.

Sexual temptation requires much more than casual action, it requires drastic action on our parts! Though we may be “pondering the path of our feet” and thinking about “whatever is pure”, we are still “in the world” (John 17:14-16) and therefore it is possible, with the best of intentions, that we may find ourselves in a tempting situation. The following verse tells me what to do when I encounter anything that stimulates lust – RUN!!!

2 Timothy 2:22

Run from anything that stimulates youthful lust. Follow anything that makes you want to do right. Pursue faith and love and peace, and enjoy the companionship of those who call on the Lord with pure hearts

It is also encouraging me who to hang out with – that’s really important too.

As usual, Jesus ratchets up the response even more with His teaching on how to deal with sin:

Matthew 18:8-9
If your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life maimed or crippled than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into eternal fire. And if your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell.

The eye and the hand are are certainly used to commit much sexual sin… Jesus is not advocating self mutilation here, but this is to be understood as instructing us to take whatever actions are necessary to limit our access to those people, places, situations and technologies that give us opportunities to sin.

Another passage that is terrifying when you consider what is being said in it is this:

Hebrews 10:26-27

Dear friends, if we deliberately continue sinning after we have received a full knowledge of the truth, there is no other sacrifice that will cover these sins. There will be nothing to look forward to but the terrible expectation of God’s judgment and the raging fire that will consume his enemies.

Does that mean that if we continue to sin at all after having been saved, there we will experience the wrath of God? Well, it depends. One who is truly saved will not continue in an unrepentant pattern of sin for an extended period of time. I consider this a warning for us as believers to examine ourselves:

2 Corinthians 13:5a

Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves.

This should be a regular practice of all believers, to examine your life critically and see if it represents the life of a true born again Bible believing Christian.

The following passage is one of the key passages when it comes to sexual immorality:

1 Thessalonians 4:3-5

It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God

Not many places in Scripture tell you explicitly what God’s will is – the above passage is one of them. This passage tells me that I need to learn to control my own body. That tells me that it is not “natural” to control my body. I have to go against what feels natural and control my body. Likewise, Paul says:

1 Corinthians 9:27

But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.

Yes, this requires discipline. It is a spiritual battle and therefore demands your daily and even hourly attention so that you do not get caught off guard! In fact elsewhere Paul reminds us to be on our guard:

1 Corinthians 16:13-14

Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong. Do everything in love.

The Scriptures contain many other such warnings. For example, the apostle Peter warns us to be on our guard, using different words:

1 Peter 5:8

Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

The Lord Jesus Christ Himself even strongly admonished His disciples to keep alert, but added prayer as a way to gain victory over temptation:

Matthew 26:41
Keep alert and pray. Otherwise temptation will overpower you. For though the spirit is willing enough, the body is weak!

So, how much sexual immorality is acceptable for the child of God?

Ephesians 5:3-6

But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person–such a man is an idolater –has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient.

The above passage even speaks of God’s wrath as a consequence of these type of behaviors. You don’t want to go there…

The passage below has really helped me. It tells me that as a regenerated follower of Jesus Christ, I do in fact have the power and ability to not let sin reign in my body or to obey my body’s evil desires. What an encouragement that is!

Romans 6:12-14

Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.

The above passage raises the question about who you’re letting reign, in other words, who are you serving? Jesus told us you can’t serve two masters:

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 devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.

While the above verse is about money, the same principle applies to your illicit sexual desires.

You know that if you ask some people about why they continue to fall into sexual temptation, they’ll claim that that’s just the way God made them. They have these desires and they were meant to be fulfilled. That is human logic – that’s the way of thinking that “seems right”:

Proverbs 14:12 (&16:25)

There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.

But that way of thinking really leads to death.

Here’s a good one from Proverbs

Proverbs 14:2

He who walks in his uprightness fears the Lord, But he who is perverse in his ways despises Him.

This directly ties “upright” behavior to fearing the LORD and “perverse” behavior to despising Him.

Next are some words from Jesus that hit me like a ton of bricks:

John 3:19-20
This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.

These words are powerful because, in this passage the “light” which has come into the world IS JESUS. So, when it says “everyone who does evil hates the light”, its saying that everyone who does evil hates Jesus! Wow.

Here is a good one from Paul:

Titus 2:11-13

For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope–the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ,

This one tells us that God’s grace actually teaches us to “just say no!” to “ungodliness and worldly passions” – that would certainly include lust and sexual sin. But it doesn’t only tell us what to say no to, but it also tells us how to live: “self-controlled, upright and godly lives”. That is a picture of holy living. Notice the phrase “self-controlled”. According to this passage, you have the ability to control your participation in these forms of behavior.

Then, there is the most concentrated teaching on worldliness in all of God’s word:

1 John 2:15-17

Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world–the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does–comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.

Notice – this passage talks about 2 things that are directly related to lust and sexual sin: “the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes”. If anyone “loves” this kind of stuff, the love of the Father is not in him. By the grace of God and the power of the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, we need to distance ourselves and reject these kind of worldly affections!

John MacArthur, in his excellent sermon on Romans 7:14-25 says that one of the categories of sin is the “sin of remembrance”. Sometimes, the mind of the believer will wander back to ponder some past sin. We must not allow ourselves to fall into that trap. Peter admonishes us:

1 Peter 1:14

As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance.

Later on in the same letter, he encourages with the example of Christ Jesus’ suffering:

1 Peter 4:1-5

Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because he who has suffered in his body is done with sin. As a result, he does not live the rest of his earthly life for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God. For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do–living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry. They think it strange that you do not plunge with them into the same flood of dissipation, and they heap abuse on you. But they will have to give account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.

Notice, that we are not to live the rest of our earthly lives for “evil human desires” – this includes many things. He goes on to list some of those evil human desires: “debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry“. He ends up the passage by indicating that those who live like this will “have to give account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead“. If these behaviors are the impenitent, pattern of your life, it indicates you are not saved.

Then, this one from the author of 1 Kings regarding the prophet Elijah’s challenge to the people to “get off the fence“!

1 Kings 18:21

Elijah went before the people and said, “How long will you waver between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.” But the people said nothing.

How is this applicable to illicit sexual desire? Just replace the phrase “if Baal is God, follow him” with “if [your sexual desire] is God, follow [it]”. That is what we’re doing when we’re giving in to sexual sin – we’re making it our God. Don’t do that!

Did you know that whenever you’re tempted to sin sexually, God will show you a way out? This is an iron-clad promise – you can take it to the bank. The following passage tells us not to be over confident when you’re in a season of strong obedience, but that we should be careful. Then it explains that we’re in the same boat with others:

1 Corinthians 10:12-13

If you think you are standing strong, be careful, for you, too, may fall into the same sin. But remember that the temptations that come into your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will keep the temptation from becoming so strong that you can’t stand up against it. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you will not give in to it.

Praise the Lord that He is faithful, and that He will not let the temptation become too strong!

Jesus was once asked what was the essential or most important teaching in the old testament:

Matthew 22:36-40

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.

Notice that He summed up all the expectations of the believer into 2 concepts – Love God and Love others. We cannot do those 2 things while committing sexual sin!

The following verse may not seem to be related to sexual temptation:

Romans 1:25

They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator–who is forever praised. Amen.

But if you think about it. Your sexual desire is a created thing. If you worship and serve it (especially in an illicit manner), you are exchanging the truth of God for a lie…

Sometimes, you’ve gotta follow Jesus’ example and just tell Satan to “get lost” if you’re being harassed:

Matthew 4:10

Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’

But notice – we not only should be telling Satan to get lost, but we need to be worshiping the Lord our God and serving Him only!

There is a favorite verse of many people that says:

Matthew 5:16
In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.

Again, what does this have to do with sexual immorality and sexual temptation? Well, if you think of it, you’ll realize that your behavior in the world affects God’s reputation in the world, either positively or negatively. But your behavior does not change whether He exists or whether He is glorious or good. So, if you are behaving in an immoral way you are bringing God into disrepute. Then it can be said of you, as in Romans 2:24 – “God’s name is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.” Serious stuff! Don’t do it – you love God too much for that!

Finally, the passage that has been most helpful to me in battling sexual temptation is:

Matthew 23:24-28
You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel. Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean. Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.

The reason this passage is so powerful for me is that, as a Christian leader and teacher, I receive those words from Jesus as directly applying to me. Especially the finishing line which says “on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness”. That one cuts to the heart. Jesus knows what’s “on the inside” – no one else does. I may be able to fool other people, but I can never fool Jesus. Jesus hated hypocrisy with a holy hatred – probably more than anything else. This chapter records the greatest rebuke he ever delivered regarding sin – the sin of hypocrisy. And sexual sin in the life of a believer makes that person a hypocrite, professing one thing with your lips, but thinking and behaving in opposition to that. So, when I hear Jesus’s rebuke directed at me, my unrighteous desires immediately melt away – its like pouring cold water over me. Paul gives us some very good counsel about how we should be viewing our Christian walk:

Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God. 2 Corinthians 7:1

Notice that we already have these promises (that he’d been talking about in the prior chapters – especially chapter 5). So, we are not avoiding sexual sin in order to get saved, but rather, now that we are saved (we have these promises), we are to live in a holy manner. Why? “Out of reverence for God”.

Brothers and sisters, I pray that you are convicted and cut to the heart like I am and that you would memorize each one of these passages so that you might be led away from sin when you’re at the moment of temptation. Remember God always provides a way out (1 Corinthians 10:13) if we are willing to take it. He is faithful and will protect you from the evil one:

2 Thessalonians 3:3

But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen and protect you from the evil one.

Appendix

Additional Verses

Psalms 119:9

How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word.

Psalms 141:4

Let not my heart be drawn to what is evil, to take part in wicked deeds with men who are evildoers; let me not eat of their delicacies.

Psalms 86:11

Teach me your way, O LORD, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name.

Psalms 119:37

Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your word.

Psalms 23:3

he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

Psalms 19:14

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my rock and my Redeemer.

Titus 1:15-16

To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure. In fact, both their minds and consciences are corrupted. They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him. They are detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good.

2 Timothy 1:7

For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Galatians 5:19-21

The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Revelation 21:8

But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars –their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.”

Titus 3:3-7

At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.

John 8:31-32

To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.

Acts 3:19

Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord,

Romans 7:18-19, 7:24-25a,

For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doingWretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!

Hebrews 4:15-16

For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

1 Peter 2:24

He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.

Philippians 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.

Hebrews 2:18

Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.

Hebrews 12:14

Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.

Extended Facebook Conversation with an Atheist

The following is an extended Facebook conversation I had online. Someone had asked on a community Facebook page “If you could ask God any one question and you knew He’d give you an answer right now, what would you ask?” I answered many of the responses in that thread, but here is an ongoing discussion that I thought I would post here on my blog for the benefit of those who are in similar conversations:

(Him) Why do you punish people for your own incompetent?

(Me) God wants all people to be saved and to reach repentance. That is clear from the Bible. Many people, however, don’t seem to want to be saved for whatever reason… So God will not force them into heaven against their will. C.S. Lewis said “There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, Thy will be done, and those to whom God says, in the end, Thy will be done. All that are in Hell, choose it. Without that self-choice there could be no Hell.”

(Him) well why should anyone believe what the Bible says? Is it the word of God because it says in it that it is the word of God??? Well that’s circular!! Isn’t it???

(Me) that is a great question! Your initial question was why does God punish people for his own incompetence? Where did you get the idea that God punishes people? Did you get it from the Bible? Maybe you got it from other people who got it from the Bible… By the way, I did not claim that the Bible is the word of God because it says it’s the word of God. Yes, that would be circular reasoning. However the Bible is not one book, but a library of books, 66 books written by 40 different authors over 1,600 years, on three continents, and in three languages, written by people from all walks of life. Christianity is not true because the Bible is the word of God. Christianity stands or falls on these three points: the deity, death and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus of Nazareth was undoubtedly a historical person. The crucifixion of Jesus on a Roman cross is one of the best attested facts of ancient history. We have a set of facts about Jesus, the historical person, that are best explained by his resurrection. Many other theories exist to explain the facts, but none of them accounts for all the data we have like the resurrection does. The Bible is a reliable set of documents regarding first century events in Palestine. It contains early testimony, eyewitness testimony, enemy testimony, fulfilled prophecy, and embarrassing testimony, which is a sign of historicity. So we have good reason to trust the Bible, it has been corroborated by extra biblical sources and archeology repeatedly. We have more manuscript evidence for the New Testament, by far, than for any other book from ancient history, so those are some of the reasons I can think of off of the top of my head why anyone should believe what the Bible says…

(Him) I’m willing to go over everything and examine your evidence by putting aside all I know about every point that you brought up. But before we get to that, you have to prove and convince me that the God of bible exists, before you can tell me you or anyone else knows what he says or what he wants.Are you up for the challenge? Just couple of points: We absolutely don’t know who the authors of most books are, there is almost no contemporary records of Jesus time, the existence of one individual named Jesus is still questionable to me, and then we get to miracles that can’t be confirmed. I want to know what are your evidence for all that you claim. But first give me your Best argument for existence of God of bible.

(Me) thank you for being open-minded and willing to consider evidence and arguments! Two arguments for God’s existence that are most convincing to me personally. The Kalam Cosmological argument and the argument from design. The Kalam Cosmological argument states that whatever begins to exist has a cause, the universe began to exist, therefore, the universe has a cause. The effect, the universe, tells us something about what the cause must be like. Since there was an absolute beginning to space, time and matter (i.e Big Bang), it’s reasonable to conclude that the cause of the universe must be spaceless, timeless and immaterial. This cause must also be personal in order to choose to create, intelligent to create such a fine-tuned universe, and powerful to create out of nothing. A spaceless, timeless, immaterial, personal, intelligent, powerful Being is exactly what Christians call “God.” Additionally, biological life, and our solar system, show evidence of design. In 2009 Astrophysicist Dr. Hugh Ross prepared a list of 501 parameters that any planet or comparable site within the universe would have to possess in order to support bacterial life for 90 days or less. The Probability of all 501 parameters being met in a single planet is 1 in 10 to the 311th power! Keep in mind, scientists generally consider anything with a probability of less than 1 in 10 to the 70th power to be operationally impossible. There are only 10 to the 80th atoms in the universe. These statistics give evidence of design. Design requires a designer. Natural selection, however, is blind (has no forethought), and does not actually design anything. I’m not denying that natural selection exists, or is a concept that is operative in our world, rather I’m saying that it doesn’t design anything. It only selects organisms with features that are compatible with our environment, and those features give the organism a survival advantage. Natural selection explains the “survival of the species”, not the “arrival of the species”. There must be a population of organisms to select from in order for natural selection to work. DNA is more complex than any computer programming language that man has devised (per Bill Gates). I am a programmer, and I know that randomness does not generate working programs. If I were to scramble my source code, the program would quickly become non-functional. Software programs come from programmers, from their minds. Therefore, it is reasonable to believe that DNA, which is highly ordered and complex, has its origin in a mind, not from unguided processes. With regards to the existence of Jesus, there are plenty of historical records that corroborate his existence. How many non-Christian sources are there that mention Jesus? Including Josephus, there are ten known non-Christian writers who mention Jesus within 150 years of his life. By contrast, over the same 150 years, there are nine non-Christian sources who mention Tiberius Caesar, the Roman emperor at the time of Jesus. So discounting all the Christian sources, Jesus is actually mentioned by one more source than the Roman emperor. If you include the Christian sources, authors mentioning Jesus outnumber those mentioning Tiberius 43 to 10. Even Bart Ehrman, the skeptical New Testament scholar from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill says “This is not even an issue for scholars of antiquity…. The reason for thinking Jesus existed is because he is abundantly attested in early sources…. If you want to go where the evidence goes, I think that atheists have done themselves a disservice by jumping on the bandwagon of mythicism, because frankly, it makes you look foolish to the outside world. If that’s what you’re going to believe, you just look foolish.”. Jesus’s crucifixion on a Roman cross in the first century is one of the most best attested facts of ancient history. Again this is corroborated by Bart Ehrman. Those are just a few things I can think of off the top of my head. Thanks for being willing to engage in this important topic! Have a great day!

(Him) Thank you very much for your response. All I ask in return is intellectual honesty. I’m sorry to say that you give me the awful impression that you have never heard Any arguments made against these two arguments that you brought up. I will point out only to a few of many problems with these arguments.

(Me) you’re welcome. I will strive to be intellectually honest! Actually, many of the rebuttals you’ve provided are not new information to me. I will do my best to give reasonable replies to all you’ve brought up.

(Him) While Kalam Successfully modified an earlier version of cosmological argument presented by 13th century philosopher Thomas Aquinas, By arguing that everything that “began” must have a cause, There are still issues with this argument.

(Me) The source of the Kalam Cosmological argument is al-Ghazali, a medieval Muslim theologian from the 12th century who lived in Persia, or modern day Iran.

(Me) However, hopefully you agree that the “form” of the cosmological argument is “air-tight” (i.e. if the premises are true, the conclusion necessarily follows)?

(Him) 1) Has a great special pleading that claims the prime mover is exempt from needing the cause. Because it claims that the prime mover was always there. So if a prime mover can be always there why can’t the universe to have been always there?

(Me) First off, the Kalam Cosmological argument does not actually include God (or a prime mover) in the argument. It just says that that whatever begins to exist must have a cause. (premise 1) Do you agree with premise 1? My understanding of your response is that you don’t take issue with premise 1, but rather with premise 2 (“the universe began to exist”). I would agree with you that the only other alternative to a “prime mover” (uncreated Creator) is that the universe (or the multi-verse) has always existed. However, you yourself are committing the same fallacy you’re accusing me of – the fallacy of special pleading – you cite one more example of something that might “have been always there” (the universe). I don’t believe it is special pleading to conclude that something or someone must’ve always existed. Otherwise nothing would exist. Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (1646-1716) posed the question well, “The first question that should rightly be asked is, ‘Why is there something rather than nothing?'”

(Him) A mistake that you are making is that you said “there was an Absolute beginning to space, time and matter”
This is not correct.
Our current understanding of big bang theory only points out to our local space time in the matter. I don’t think any scientist would say that this is absolute. We don’t know currently what was there before times zero of our local time. Perhaps another universe ended and our local universe started!
And who’s to say this has not happened millions of times?
All we know is that our local knowledge is limiting to time 0 at the big bang point. Just like every other time, we may gain more knowledge and understand what happened before that.

(Me) Hmmm… “perhaps…”, “who’s to say”. You’re right about one thing, when you start with “perhaps…” or “who’s to say”, you can spin any yarn you want. But then comes the hard part: giving reasons why anyone should take your science fiction story seriously. It’s not my job to disprove your “something from nothing” fair tale. It’s your job to prove it. You haven’t done that. Now, I will give some evidence that the universe in fact began to exist.

  1. The First and Second Laws of Thermodynamics – the First Law of Thermodynamics states that the total amount of energy in the universe is constant. In other words, the universe has only a finite amount of energy. Like gas in a running car’s gas tank or energy stored in the battery in a flashlight, if the car is still running or the flashlight is still giving light, you know that it hasn’t been “on” forever. It must’ve been “turned on” at a point in the finite past. In the same way, the universe still has energy (e.g. our star, the sun, is still shining), so we know that it has not been here eternally. The Second Law of Thermodynamics is also called the law of entropy, which essentially says that in nature, things tend to go from order to disorder. Your car falls apart; your house falls apart; your body falls apart. But if the universe is becoming less ordered, then where did the original order come from? Since we still have some order left—just like we still have some usable energy left—the universe cannot be eternal, because if it were, we would have reached complete disorder (entropy) by now.
  2. The Universe Is Expanding – General Relativity predicted an expanding universe. In 1929 Edwin Hubble showed that the light from distant galaxies is systematically shifted toward the red end of the spectrum. This red-shift was taken to be a Doppler effect indicating that the light sources were receding in the line of sight. What Hubble had discovered was the expansion of the universe predicted by General Relativity.
  3. Radiation from the Big Bang – discovered by accident in 1965 by Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson. This turned out to be one of the greatest discoveries of the last century and won them Nobel Prizes. They had discovered the afterglow from the Big Bang fireball explosion, which was predicted by scientists as early as 1948. If the Big Bang actually occurred, scientists believed that we should see slight variations (or ripples) in the temperature of the cosmic background radiation that Penzias and Wilson had discovered. These temperature ripples enabled matter to congregate by gravitational attraction into galaxies. In 1989 NASA launched a satellite named COBE for Cosmic Background Explorer. When the project leader, astronomer George Smoot, announced COBE’s findings in 1992, he said, “If you’re religious, it’s like looking at God.” Cambridge astronomer Stephen Hawking called the findings “the most important discovery of the century, if not of all time.” COBE not only found the ripples, but the ripples show that the explosion and expansion of the universe was precisely tweaked to cause just enough matter to congregate to allow galaxy formation, but not enough to cause the universe to collapse back on itself. (note – this is evidence against your speculation above that “perhaps another universe ended and our local universe started”.) Any slight variation one way or the other, and none of us would be here to tell about it. In fact, the ripples are so exact (down to one part in one hundred thousand) that Smoot called them the “machining marks from the creation of the universe” and the “fingerprints of the maker.”
  4. Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity – this theory was the beginning of the end for the idea that the universe is eternal. The theory demands an absolute beginning for time, space, and matter. It shows that time, space, and matter are co-relative. That is, they are interdependent—you can’t have one without the others. From General Relativity, scientists predicted and then found the expanding universe, the radiation afterglow, and the great galaxy seeds that were precisely tweaked to allow the universe to form into its present state.

In the book “The Face of Chaos” by Victor J. Stenger, a physicist who taught at the University of Hawaii, writes “the universe exploded out of nothingness.”

I would also like to present philosophical evidence that the universe is not eternal.

  1. An infinite number of days has no end.
  2. But today is the end day of history (history being a collection of all days).
  3. Therefore, there were not an infinite number of days before today (i.e., time had a beginning).

Also, look up the argument/analogy called Hilbert’s Hotel, named for German mathematician David Hilbert.

Finally, I want to address your hinting of the concept of multiple universes. You state “perhaps another universe ended and our local universe started! And who’s to say this has not happened millions of times?”. Additionally in rebuttal against the design/fine tuning argument, you state “just because we exist in this universe doesn’t mean if the parameters were different another universe with another sort of existence couldn’t have been.”. According to the Multiple Universe Theory, there actually are an infinite number of universes in existence, and we just happen to be lucky enough to be in the universe with the right conditions. There are multiple problems with this multiple-universe explanation. First, and most significantly, there’s no evidence for it! The evidence shows that all of finite reality came into existence with the Big Bang. Finite reality is exactly what we call “the universe.” If other finite realities exist, they’re beyond our ability to detect. No one has ever observed any evidence that such universes may exist. That’s why this multiple universe idea is nothing more than a metaphysical concoction—a fairy tale built on blind faith—detached from reality. even if other universes could exist, they would need finetuning to get started just as our universe did (recall the extreme precision of the big bang I presented above). So, positing multiple universes doesn’t eliminate the need for a designer—it multiplies the need for a designer. the Multiple Universe Theory appears to be an attempt to avoid the implications of design.

(Him) 2) I had no point Kalam’s Argument points out to the God of the Bible. Is this another interpretation of the believers to use this argument and inject their preferred God into equation?

(Me) To be fair, I looked back at your original question. You said “give me your Best argument for existence of God of bible”. Strictly speaking, the Kalam argument is not directly an argument for the God of the Bible, it is only one piece of the puzzle. However, if the Kalam argument is valid and the premises are true (beyond a reasonable doubt) then the conclusion necessarily follows and thus evidence has been provided that a “theistic God” exists – a god that is consistent with the monotheistic religions such as Judaism, Islam or Christianity. So, in that case, we’ve narrowed the “possibilities” down to 3. Furthermore, if an uncreated Creator exists, and the existence, deity, death and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth is true, then Christianity is true. Christianity stands on that set of facts: the existence of God, and the deity, death and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. If any of those can be conclusively proved false, then Christianity is false, and I would be golfing on Sunday mornings rather than going to church!

(Him) 3) Also, if Kalam’s argument was any good, Why is it pointing to one prime mover or one God? Why can’t there be a combination of multiple ever existing group of prime movers who coexisted together? >>> (Me) What you’re raising here is the possibility of polytheism (many gods), like Hinduism teaches. Fair question – so, why does the existence of a theistic God disprove polytheism? It disproves polytheism because, what theists call “God” is an infinite Being, who is not contingent or dependent on anything or anyone else for his existence, and there cannot be more than one infinite Being. To distinguish one being from another, they must differ in some way. If they differ in some way, then one lacks something that the other one has. If one being lacks something that the other one has, then the lacking being is not infinite because an infinite being, by definition, lacks nothing. These other “gods”, if they existed, would still be contingent or dependent on something or someone for their existence. So there can be only one infinite Being. Now one could argue that finite beings (or “gods”) exist that are more powerful than human beings. In fact, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam all teach the existence of angels and demons. But that’s not polytheism, which denies that there is a supreme, infinite, eternal Being to whom all creatures owe their existence and to whom all creatures are ultimately accountable. Since theism is true, polytheism must necessarily be false.

(Him) Do you see the problems with Kalam’s argument? >>> (Me) No, I stand just as convinced (beyond a reasonable doubt) as I was prior to reading your rebuttal.

(Him) Find tune universe argument is also flawed.
This is the only University have and we don’t have any other universe to compare to if the variables were slightly different. Just because we exist in this universe doesn’t mean if the parameters were different another universe with another sort of existence couldn’t have been.
It’s very similar to the puddle analogy.
I’m sure you heard of it right?
(Me) Yes, I’m well familiar with it.
(Him) When a puddle wakes up one morning and finds himself perfectly contained in his little universe, he thinks to himself I’m so special, this hole is made perfectly to contain me in it….Please look into the puddle analogy.

(Me) This essentially is a rebuttal to the Anthropic Principle (look it up). The puddle analogy suggests that we are trying to explain why this universe (this puddle) exists. Rather, we’re trying to explain why a “life-permitting” universe exists. The analogy would be asking why puddles exist. Puddles can be any shape or size, so that there is no fine-tuning for puddles to be explained. The analogy collapses.

(Me) I’ve run out of time for today and will continue addressing these issues tomorrow, time permitting.

(Him) – Please remember complexity is not a requirement for a designer.

(Me) complexity (e.g. snowflake) may not be a requirement for a designer, but our experience tells us that specified complexity (e.g. DNA, software code) comes from a mind. For example, when you were a kid, if you walked into your kitchen and a box of Alpha-Bits cereal was knocked over on the table and the Alpha-Bit letters spelled “TAKE OUT THE GARBAGE—MOM”, what would you think? Would you think that message to be the product of mindless natural laws? Of course, not. It would be assumed to be a product of a mind (your Mom). Same thing if you were walking down a beach and saw a heart drawn in the sand with the words “Alice loves Tyler”, would you assume it is the product of wind and erosion? No, you would know with certainty, once again, that a mind drew that message in the sand. Final example, the 4 faces on Mount Rushmore, when you look at those, do you assume they were a product of unguided natural forces (wind, rain, erosion, etc.)? Nope, once again, they find their source in a mind.

Here are several ways that we’re able to use our minds and sense perception to detect something is a product of “intelligent design” rather than unguided natural processes:

  1. Improbability – odds of occurring by chance are low
  2. Familiarity/Similarity – think of Mount Rushmore – these are familiar faces to many Americans, also think of the bacterial flagelum’s “outboard motor”, which is similar to outboard motors humans have designed.
  3. Sophistication/Intricacy
  4. Information Guided – when something is directed and created by way of instructional information, it’s reasonable to conclude an intelligent agent has designed it.
  5. Goal Direction/Intentionality – We’re able to see the purpose and intentions of the designer.
  6. Natural Inexplicability – The laws of physics and chemistry do not necessitate its formation nor do they appear to be likely reasons for it.
  7. Irreducible Complexity – Darwinian evolution requires a gradual and incremental pathway to any finished biological machine. Charles Darwin stated “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”. We now know that there are organs, systems, and processes in life that fit that description (e.g. the cell, blood clotting). An irreducibly complex system is composed of several well-matched, interacting parts that contribute to the basic function, wherein the removal of any one of the parts causes the system to effectively cease functioning.
  8. Decision/Choice – Designers make conscious choices between options – their designs often reflect these decisions. The Panda’s thumb – the panda’s thumb works just fine in allowing him to strip bamboo. Maybe pandas don’t need opposable thumbs because they don’t need to write books 🙂

(Him) It is true that natural selection does not deal with the origins of life. >>> (Me) Good to hear that you agree about that 🙂

(Him) For the origins of life you need to look into “abiogenesis” , Please look into that.

(Me) I have looked into abiogenesis, in fact I even referenced it in response (1 week ago) to someone else on this very thread. Here was my response to the questioner who asked “How did life originate?”: “The evidence suggests that abiogenesis (the theory that life originated from non-living material [non-life]) is highly improbable. According to Stephen Meyer, the odds of getting a functional protein of 150 amino acids by chance is no better than 1 in 10 to the 164th power. Now consider that there are 10 to the 80th power elementary particles in the entire universe. So, life could not have originated “on it’s own”. Life shows many evidences of design, therefore the most reasonable conclusion is that life was originated by an intelligent designer, who we call God.”

(Him) I appreciate the fact that you’re trying to validate existence of Jesus (>>> (Me) Thank you), >>> (Him) but I’m waiting for you to tell me who was contemporary to Jesus‘s time who wrote about him? As far as Josephus , most scholars agree that couple of lines he wrote about “the Messiah” could have been a forgery. He talks about multiple different Jesus.
Such as
Jesus Ben Ananias “which most likely author of Mark, used to write about the temple story.”
Jesus son of Onias
Jesus the brother of John “who was killed by John”
These two Jesus were priests
Jesus son of Damneus
The most important part of Josephus Writing is the passage in “Testimonium Favianum” Which is the only part perhaps about “ the Jesus “ Is Agreed to be partially or completely a forgery.
Invite you to do more research about this.

(Me) I’d certaintly heard about the accusations that Josephus’s writing about may’ve been altered by Christians later on. Though I’d not heard about him speaking about multiple different persons named Jesus. However, I am very well acquainted with the fact that Jesus was a popular name in first century Palestine. So, that fact seems to corroborate the possibility that Josephus was writing about many persons named Jesus. I’m willing to concede, for the sake of argument, that at least part of the Josephus “Jesus passage” in the Antiquities of the Jews 18:3:3 has been altered later by Christians. For the sake of completeness, let me include it here:

“Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man; for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles. He was [the] Christ. And when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him; for he appeared to them alive again the third day; as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him. And the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day.”

Let’s not also forget the later passage from Antiquities of the Jews 20:9:1 (https://sacred-texts.com/jud/josephus/ant-20.htm) which speaks about the existence of someone named James, who was brother of Jesus who was called Christ. Here is that passage in part:

“…Festus was now dead, and Albinus was but upon the road; so he [Ananus the high priest at the time] assembled the sanhedrim of judges, and brought before them the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, whose name was James, and some others, [or, some of his companions]; and when he had formed an accusation against them as breakers of the law, he delivered them to be stoned…”

Now, as you state, there are many others named Jesus in this very passage. But the passage above, in this passing reference to Jesus, distinguishes the brother of James as “Jesus who was called Christ”. So, Josephus had to distinguish “this Jesus” among the others named Jesus so that his readers would know which of the many people called Jesus he was referring to.

Additionally, Josephus corroborates the account of John the Baptist in Antiquities 18:5:2 (https://sacred-texts.com/jud/josephus/ant-18.htm), here is that text: “…John, that was called the Baptist: for Herod slew him, who was a good man, and commanded the Jews to exercise virtue, both as to righteousness towards one another, and piety towards God, and so to come to baptism; for that the washing [with water] would be acceptable to him, if they made use of it, not in order to the putting away [or the remission] of some sins [only], but for the purification of the body…”

So, while the 18:3:3 passage certainly contains later Christian manipulation (possibly by Eusebius, fourth century Bishop of Caesarea who is the first person to quote the passage), I do believe that a case can be made that there is a historical core to the 18:3:3 passage that is more consistent with what a non-Christian, Jewish writer would’ve written, that does corroborate the existence of the Jesus of the New Testament. Additionally, when you include the other 2 passages from Josephus that I cited (18:5:2 and 20:9:1), on the face of it, Josephus corroborates John the Baptist and James the brother of Jesus. Two other Christian accounts also confirm the martyrdom of James, even if they differ over the details. Hegesippus provides a detailed account in Book 5 of his Memoirs (Hypomnemata), which have been preserved in Eusebius. And Clement of Alexandria (c. AD 150-215) also provides an account of the fate of James in the seventh book of his Hypotyposes, as recorded by Eusebius (Ecclesiastical History 2.1.4b-5). So these ancient extra-biblical, historical sources do corroborate various aspects of the New Testament narrative. New Testament scholar Dr. Gary Habermas states “The vast majority of scholars who address this issue think that although Josephus’ longer statement about Jesus in Antiquities 18:3 has been altered a bit, the bulk of it was written by Josephus. This view means that Josephus supplies some very important material about Jesus. An even larger percentage of scholars accepts Josephus’ second statement concerning Jesus being the brother of James (Antiquities 20:9). Further, we have to make sense of ancient non-Christian historians like Thallus, Tacitus, Suetonius, and Lucian, who reported all sorts of facts about Jesus. Well over 100 items are reported about Jesus, many by non- Christians. So, to argue that Jesus never existed totally ignores a large body of historical data.”

(Him) Also remember even Josephus was not a contemporary writer to Jesus time. But we can get to that later.

(Me) I believe Josephus lived from ~30AD – 93AD. So, he was born around the time Jesus died. That would be roughly similar to me writing about John F. Kennedy, who died a year after I was born. Could I write valid history about John F. Kennedy since I wasn’t his contemporary? I believe I could, since I could interview eyewitnesses who were alive and adult at the time of the events. You have to understand that to have multiple accounts of both the New Testament authors and the extra-biblical authors, which were written within the lifetimes of the eyewitnesses (in antiquity) is historical gold. Now, the apostle Paul was a contemporary of Jesus… He wrote 1 Corinthians (which is considered to be an authentic Pauline epistle) in the first half of 55AD, so that is within 25 years of the crucifixion. Not only that, Paul was a skeptic initially, until he’d seen the risen Christ, then did a 180 and became the most prolific NT author. Galatians 1:23 alludes to this: They only heard the report: “The man who formerly persecuted us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.”

(Him) It’s interesting that you mention existence of Jesus and his Crucifixion, How about all the miracles?

(Me) I mentioned his crucifixion because it is one of the most well established facts of ancient history. It is well attested (including enemy attestation). You seemed to be suggesting it was doubtful that the historical person of Jesus of Nazareth ever existed. That is why I focused on the crucifixion, and also why I cited Bart Ehrman, the skeptical NT scholar.

So you ask, “How about all the miracles?” My question is, what do you want to know about them? What we do know is that the miracles are recorded in the same early, historical, ancient biographies of Jesus of Nazareth that report his teachings and other activities. I would like to point out that if the God I’ve described exists, then miracles are possible. In fact the greatest miracle of all has already happened and (I believe) we have good scientific evidence for it – the creation of the universe. Can a God who created the entire universe out of nothing part the Red Sea? Bring fire down from heaven? Keep a man safe in a great fish for three days? Accurately predict future events? Turn water into wine? Heal diseases instantaneously? Raise the dead? Of course. All of those miraculous events are simple tasks for an infinitely powerful Being who created the universe in the first place. As C.S. Lewis, the former atheist said, “If we admit God, must we admit Miracle? Indeed, indeed, you have no security against it. That is the bargain.” So, again, we need to look back at the arguments for God’s existence. If we can infer (beyond a reasonable doubt) based on the scientific evidence and philosophical arguments that God exists, then we should have no problem (in principal) with the possibility of miracles. Once you realize that miracles can be possible for the creator of all matter and all laws that govern physics/chemistry, then the next question may be why do miracles occur? The most reasonable explanation for why miracles occur is that God is trying to authenticate his message. A miracle confirms the messenger. That also explains why we don’t seem to observe miracles in our modern world (although there are accounts of miracles – see Craig Keener’s 2 volume work called Miracles that catalogs worldwide miracle reports up to the present day). God was introducing new revelation so he was authenticating that the revelation was from him. Natural laws describe what happens regularly, by natural causes; miracles, if they occur at all, describe what happens rarely, by supernatural causes. The most famous skeptic of miracles was David Hume. Here is his anti-miracle argument:

  1. Natural law is by definition a description of a regular occurrence.
  2. A miracle is by definition a rare occurrence.
  3. The evidence for the regular is always greater than that for the rare.
  4. A wise man always bases his belief on the greater evidence.
  5. Therefore, a wise man should never believe in miracles.

If those four premises are true, then the conclusion necessarily follows—the wise man should never believe in miracles. Unfortunately for Hume, the argument has a false premise—premise 3 is not necessarily true. The evidence for the regular is not always greater than that for the rare. To disprove premise 3 we only need to come up with one counterexample. We actually have a few:

  1. A hole-in-one (golf) is a rare event, but when we witness one we have no trouble believing it.
  2. A lottery winner – we don’t tell the person they have to get the winning numbers several times in a row in order to receive the money.

I’m sure many more could be thought of – highly improbable events that don’t have to be repeated in order to be believed. As usual, C. S. Lewis has great insight: “Now of course we must agree with Hume that if there is absolutely ‘uniform experience’ against miracles, if in other words they have never happened, why then they never have. Unfortunately we know the experience against them to be uniform only if we know that all the reports of them are false. And we can know all the reports to be false only if we know already that miracles have never occurred. In fact, we are arguing in a circle.”

(Him) Again I’m interested to be convinced of existence of God.
And I’m still waiting for a compelling evidence and not hearsay of anonymous sources of translations and translations of copies of claims that was made with no substantial evidence.
And if I may, I would leave you with this.
While I don’t know where this originated from but “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence”
We cannot accept claims of miracles and all powerful deity with on extraordinary attempts to prove…
One last thing. Do you know who wrote the gospels?

(Me) I believe that the most reasonable inference is that Matthew the Tax Collector, John Mark the companion/scribe of Peter, Luke the historian/doctor and companion of Paul and John the “beloved apostle” were the authors of the Gospels. I’m aware that our earliest manuscripts of the Gospels do not cite the author. This is the evidence given by Bart Ehrman and others that the Gospels are anonymous and that we cannot be confident of their authorship. However, many of the earliest Gospel manuscripts have not survived sufficiently intact for us to know whether or not the manuscripts originally included titles. But all the manuscripts that have survived sufficiently intact to include any title, do in fact include the ascription to the author. In every manuscript that has survived sufficiently intact for a title to be present, there is a title, and the title links the text to the same author that’s ascribed to that Gospel in your New Testament today. No “anonymous” copies of Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John have ever been found. While it is true that the titles of the Gospel manuscripts we have do vary, they vary because of abbreviations (e.g. “Gospel According to” vs. “According to”). It is illegitimate to assume that variation in the titles of the manuscripts automatically indicates it was added later. In the titled manuscripts of the New Testament Gospel, there are no variations in which authors are ascribed to which Gospels. Although the wording of the titles may differ slightly, the ascribed author never changes. This is significant because the accounts spread rapidly over a large area (e.g. Rome, Lyon, Egypt, etc). It would have been very difficult to get everyone, everywhere to assign the same names to the same accounts if they had been added after they were written. Additionally, the early church recognized and attested to the authors (research Tertullian of Carthage, Clement of Alexandria, Irenaeus of Lyons, Papias of Hierapolis, Muratorian Fragment, Ignatius, Polycarp).

(Him) Obviously I give you A for effort. In this five-step replies you have tried very hard to justify your position . I will respond to all of your points when I get in front of a computer and I can type down my thoughts.
But at the moment I would like to point out couple of things.
You bring up some arguments that even you acknowledge it has nothing to do with existence of God or prime mover. But then you draw your own conclusion and inject God in there. If an argument has nothing to do with God then how could one use it to prove there is a God. Furthermore I asked specifically for your belief in God of the Bible. Your five point responses Is partially acceptable and mostly unsubstantiated assertions.
The fact that you’re writing long responses is just adding up to the quantity of points that I have to break down. But I want you to focus on my main question. Justify existence of “God of the Bible“
Also based on your responses I have concluded that you’re a very smart person person, So I know that you were aware of your attempts to shift the burden of proof And that is not very honest.
Again will respond when I get in front of a computer, but if this takes long I invite you to sit down for a cup of coffee and talk so The conversation goes faster.

(Me) sorry if my responses have been too long. I was just trying to be thorough. I assure you I had no bad intent in piling up all my responses. Don’t rush on your response, it’s ok, we have time. Yes, I think it would be good to sit down for a cup of coffee 🙂. If you have FB messenger, just DM me and we’ll arrange something!

mid-week apologetics booster (7-1-2021)

Good morning friends,

Here is a quote (of over 2000) from Nuggets:

In high school and college Christian teenagers are intellectually assaulted with every manner of non-Christian worldview coupled with an overwhelming relativism. If parents are not intellectually engaged with their faith and do not have sound arguments for Christian theism and good answers to their children’s questions, then we are in real danger of losing our youth. It’s no longer enough to teach our children simply Bible stories; they need doctrine and apologetics. It’s hard to understand how people today can risk parenthood without having studied apologetics.

William Lane Craig

To view more of these quotes, visit:

http://www.ps11911.com/nuggets?dest=quotes

Now, here are your weekly links:

  1. A Reply to Bart Ehrman’s Defense of Jesus, Interrupted on the MythVision Podcast: https://crossexamined.org/a-reply-to-bart-ehrmans-defense-of-jesus-interrupted-on-the-mythvision-podcast/
  2. The Fossils Still Say No: Global Flood Solves Permian Perplexities | The Institute for Creation Research: https://www.icr.org/article/the-fossils-still-say-no-global-flood-permian/
  3. The First Question to Ask of an Ancient Holy Book: Is It Ancient? | Cold Case Christianity: https://coldcasechristianity.com/writings/the-first-question-to-ask-of-an-ancient-holy-book-is-it-ancient/
  4. The Scientific Kalam Cosmological Argument | Popular Writings | Reasonable Faith In this lecture at Georgia Tech Dr. Craig focuses on the scientific evidence for the premises of the Kalam cosmological argument for a Personal Creator of the universe. The source of this argument is from al-Ghazali, a medieval Muslim theologian from the 12th century who lived in Persia, or modern day Iran: https://www.reasonablefaith.org/writings/popular-writings/science-theology/the-scientific-kalam-cosmological-argument/
  5. Why is there Something Rather Than Nothing? – The first question that should rightly be asked is, Why is there something rather than nothing?’: https://reasonabletheology.org/why-is-there-something-rather-than-nothing-leibniz-contingency-argument/
  6. The Gilgamesh Epic – A problem for the flood? Rational Faith: https://rationalfaith.com/2021/06/the-gilgamesh-epic-a-problem-for-the-flood/
  7. On the Origin of Articles | Biblical Science Institute: https://biblicalscienceinstitute.com/apologetics/on-the-origin-of-articles/
  8. Did Josephus Write About Jesus, Or Was It Entirely A Forgery?: https://thereforegodexists.com/did-josephus-write-about-jesus-or-was-it-entirely-a-forgery/
  9. Science Confirms Biblical Creation – Dr. Jason Lisle – YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0qjrTSra0pQ
  10. Is the Jesus Story Stupid and the Resurrection Totally Mythical? – YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h58RvduPnac
  11. Where is God in the midst of suffering? Frank Turek – YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-u8L3VSnsTk
  12. How do we help kids who doubt their faith? Let’s ask a skeptic! – Dr. Sean McDowell YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s2_m0YX21YI
  13. Did James, the Brother of Jesus, Die as a Martyr? | Sean McDowell: https://seanmcdowell.org/blog/did-james-the-brother-of-jesus-die-as-a-martyr
  14. Does Secular Historian Josephus Give Historical Corroboration to the New Testament? | Thomistic Bent – 20.9.1: https://humblesmith.wordpress.com/2017/11/06/does-secular-historian-josephus-give-historical-corroboration-to-the-new-testament/
  15. Why It’s Important to Inoculate (Rather Than Isolate) Our Young People | Cold Case Christianity: https://coldcasechristianity.com/writings/why-its-important-to-inoculate-rather-than-isolate-our-young-people/
  16. Really Interesting Theological Discussion Ruined By Someone Pulling Out A Bible Verse | The Babylon Bee: https://babylonbee.com/news/really-interesting-theological-discussion-ruined-by-someone-pulling-out-a-bible-verse
  17. Atheist Myths and Scientism Probe Ministries: https://probe.org/atheist-myths-and-scientism/
  18. Johns Gospel May Have Been Last, But It Wasn’t Late | Cold Case Christianity: https://coldcasechristianity.com/writings/johns-gospel-may-have-been-last-but-it-wasnt-late/

When David finished saying this, Saul asked, “Is that your voice, David my son?” And he wept aloud. “You are more righteous than I,” he said. “You have treated me well, but I have treated you badly. You have just now told me of the good you did to me; the LORD delivered me into your hands, but you did not kill me. When a man finds his enemy, does he let him get away unharmed? May the LORD reward you well for the way you treated me today. I know that you will surely be king and that the kingdom of Israel will be established in your hands. Now swear to me by the LORD that you will not cut off my descendants or wipe out my name from my father’s family. ” So David gave his oath to Saul. Then Saul returned home, but David and his men went up to the stronghold. 1 Samuel 24:16-22

Blessings to you all