What is God’s grace called?

God’s grace is called Jesus.

From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another. (John 1:16, NIV)

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Published in: on February 24, 2013 at 9:14 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Truth

I would rather die in Truth than live in lies.  Because the one isn’t dying and the other isn’t living.

Jesus said to the people who believed in him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings.  And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31-32, NLT)

Published in: on August 9, 2011 at 4:56 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Alone

I am so struck by the Truth that I am not alone.

It is not whatsoever frightening, because I know who I am with, and I know He loves me.

I want you to understand, it is not that I deserve this privilege.   I don’t.  And from human rationality, it can’t make sense to me why it’s true.  I don’t deserve to be in the presence of love.  I know this.  And yet I am not alone.  And I am loved.

What is the one thing that I wish the world could hear?  What is the one thing I would say, if I could say just one thing and nothing more?

It would be John 3:16.  Not because it is a well-quoted verse or because it sounds good in Sunday School, but . because . it . is . real.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16, NASB)

I love the Lord.

I love Him so much.

But it wasn’t my idea.

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.  (1 John 3:16, NIV)

It was His.

And I am not alone.

I am not alone.

And I am in good company.  I am in the best of company.  I am a friend of God.

How do you say, “I am a friend of God”?  How can my tiny little human mind process such a statement?  I am a friend of God?  Me?  With my flaws, my failures, my ruin?  I am a friend of God?

Yes I am a friend of God.

But how?

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16, NASB)

But why?

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.  (1 John 3:16, NIV)

Jesus Christ did this for me?  For love?

What is love, then?  Can I even say I understand it?  Love is to take a sinner and make a saint?  How is it possible that God can be inclined to feel pity for a sinner?  How is it that the pity God feels can be so great it leads Him to die?  How is it that when I feel sorry for someone, I am at most merely inclined to help, but when God feels pity, He gives up His throne and suffers all the horrors of the world and dies?

Why would He care that I am alone?

How could He care that I am alone?  He is infinite in being, free from space or time, and yet He concerns Himself with me, a person who lives on a globe that is not even a speck in the galaxy[1], a galaxy that is one of what we think are billions?

Or is it that I have it all wrong?  Is it that this little not-even-a-speck-in-the-galaxy is the reason the stars surround us?  Is God showing us how vast and incomprehensible His love like a master artist, leading us from painting to painting, each telling us a little more of His love for us?

How?  How can this be?  That the stars were created around us and not us from the stars?  That we alone in all the universe are made in the image of God, that He should lavish such love upon us?

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16, NASB)

Not perish.

Not perish.

Not perish.

That whoever believes in Him should not perish.

No clauses.

No amendments.

No disclaimers.

Whoever.

That means me, too.

It’s hard for me to believe sometimes that such a thing so good to be possible for so bad a race as the human race, for so bad a person as me.

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23, ESV)

There wasn’t any hope.

But then there was.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16, NASB)

Are you alone?

If you are, why?

There is a Savior.  A Savior who is exactly who we need.  A Savior who gives us His Word He will love us eternally if we live in Him.

This Savior, He is a friend.  He is a friend as I have never had one.  He is a friend as you have never had.

There is nothing in this world, in this universe, in Heaven, or anywhere at all that can compel me to love as I love my Savior, His Father, His Spirit.

I pray you will love Him, too.

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.  (1 John 3:16, NIV)

[1] “How Many Galaxies Are In The Universe?” by Fraser Cain, May 4, 2009, http://www.universetoday.com/30305/how-many-galaxies-in-the-universe/

Photograph by David Woo, profile on http://www.flickr.com/people/mckln/

See Copyright Page for Bible translation information.

Is there a loving Creator?

Yes.  And that’s what makes suffering all the harder.

It is our sadness in suffering that shows there is a loving Creator.

For example, we can imagine we are in a dungeon with no lights.  This is misery.

But suppose suddenly a light turns on in the dungeon, a projector screen comes down, and we see slides of people playing on a beach, looking like they’re having incredible fun.

Now we’re not just miserable.  We’re also sad.

The presence of sadness shows we are aware that something more is going on than what we’re experiencing . . . that there was a time when people played on beaches instead of living in dungeons.

The presence of sadness goes back to the fall, when Adam thought it would be smart to taste the knowledge of evil.

Thousands of years after Adam . . . imagining a creation of perfection can be very hard.  We see so much suffering, so much tragedy, so much death . . . yet we still long for a perfect world.  Movies, sitcoms, books, and video games try to capture that idyllic society in one way or another, that place we wish we had.  The problem is, we are so messed up by sin that most of the time what we think would be perfect . . . would actually belong in Hell.  But our minds are still constantly searching for something better than what we have now, something that no amount of trying to indulge ourselves here on earth can cure.

There is something better.  But we are going to miss out if we do not know Jesus, because He is the sunrise.

Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. (Revelation 21:1, NIV)

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Photo by Sean MacEntee, profile on http://www.flickr.com/people/smemon/

Photograph is under Creative Commons License.

See Copyright Page for Bible translation information.

Published in: on March 19, 2011 at 4:25 pm  Comments Off on Is there a loving Creator?  
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If Jesus is God’s Son, how was He with God from the beginning?

Jesus was born of a woman, but He did not originate within that woman.  The Bible tells us that the Holy Spirit planted Him inside Mary’s womb.  I think Jesus probably had fully different genes from all other people in the world, because He was perfect and did not fall under Adam’s curse.

While I think Christ descended from no one in the genetic sense, He did choose to come through the line of David by being born of Mary, to keep His promise to Adam, to Abraham, and to David that salvation for the world would come through their Descendant.

Jesus did not begin to exist when the Holy Spirit planted Him inside Mary’s womb.  Not at all.

In the beginning was the Word,

and the Word was with God,

and the Word was God. 

He was with God in the beginning. 

All things were created through Him, 

 and apart from Him not one thing was created

that has been created.

(John 1:1-3, HCSB)

But how could a child be with his father since the very beginning?

We live within the constraints of time, and we do not know what it would be like to exist outside of time.  God lives outside of time—all of God, including Jesus, except for the time when He came into the world.

I do not understand the Trinity (God in three Persons) fully—nor would I expect to as a mortal, and a fallen mortal at that—but I imagine Jesus is a Son in the sense that He was sent to a woman’s womb in order to become mortal and human.

But it’s also possible Jesus was identified as a Son always.  In my finite way of thinking, a father must exist before a son, but that does not mean God the Father would have to exist before God the Son.  To say it must be this way would be to impose the process of God’s created world on God!

When it comes down to it, there are going to be mysteries about God that we can’t fully solve.  But if we could, we wouldn’t believe in God by faith . . . and faith is the only thing we have to show Christ that we accept His sacrifice!  If we didn’t have faith, we would not be made right by Christ’s sacrifice (see Romans 1:17, Romans 3:22, Philippians 3:9).

He has rescued us from the domain of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of the Son He loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

He is the image of the invisible God,

the firstborn over all creation;

because by Him everything was created,

in heaven and on earth, the visible and the invisible,

whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—

all things have been created through Him and for Him. 

He is before all things, and by Him all things hold together.

He is also the head of the body, the church;

He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, 

so that He might come to have first place in everything

For God was pleased [to have] all His fullness dwell in Him,

and through Him to reconcile everything to Himself

by making peace through the blood of His cross

whether things on earth or things in heaven.

And you were once alienated and hostile in mind because of your evil actions. But now He has reconciled you by His physical body through His death, to present you holy, faultless, and blameless before Him — if indeed you remain grounded and steadfast in the faith, and are not shifted away from the hope of the gospel that you heard. (Colossians 1:12-23a. HCSB)

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See Copyright Page for Bible translation information.

What is the probability that, if there is a God, God is the Christian God?

What is the probability that, if there is a God, God is the Christian God?

Probability is useful for things we can test.  By ‘test’, I mean things that we can experience repeatedly to check the ‘odds’, like chance of rainfall or buying a lottery ticket.  (See What is the probability there is a God? blog for more information.)  We can’t calculate the probability of a God because probability is only reliable if we can test likelihoods over and over.  Can you imagine being able to do that with God?  Of course not!  If there is a God, then there is no universe He won’t be in, and if there isn’t a God, then there is no universe He will be in!

So I think a better question than What is the probability that God is the Christian God is rather Who is the most likely God?

Unless we believe a god ‘evolved’, we have to assume that God has been around since before we were.  (Evolved god = no god, as a god is not just a being in power but the creator.  For more information see Relativity blog.)

What would be characteristics we would expect to see in the real God?

  • Intelligence (as the Creator of the Universe)
  • Creativity (as the Creator of the Universe)
  • Beauty (as the Creator of the Universe)
  • Immortality (to sustain the Universe)

What type of god wouldn’t qualify based on intelligence?

  • A cow
  • A tree
  • A gold cow
  • An old tree, etc.
  • ‘Mother Earth’
  • ‘Nature

Something I’ve always thought was true: sandwiches did not invent sandwiches.  Mice did not invent mice.  Necklaces did not invent necklaces.  Something not in existence yet can’t create itself.  As of yet, I have not seen a single thing come into existence that made itself.  Baskets didn’t appear out of thin air one day and *poof* weave themselves.  Panda bears didn’t drop out of nowhere saying proudly, “We did it!  Now we exist!”

Therefore, nature does not make nature.  This includes the universe.  The universe did not make the universe, and science has given strong evidence that the universe was not always here[1][2][3][4].  No totem pole god, no dirt god, no metal god is going to work, because all of these are created substances.  And, besides, they are not intelligent.  The universe is not ‘smart’.  That would be personifying the universe when the universe isn’t a person!

The God of the Bible is intelligent.  He has had a masterplan since the beginning of the universe for how to restore people’s relationship with God.  That’s right—God knew Adam and Eve would sin before they sinned . . . and God had a plan before He even made them for how to bring them back to Him.

Some people don’t understand why God would still make the earth, knowing the messes that would happen . . . the pains and struggles . . . but they don’t really realize what they are saying.  Would you rather not exist?  Would you really want to be nothing?  You see, that God made humans in spite of what He knew would happen makes an incredible statement for the love of God.  God could have easily made more animals and plants to fill the earth, and left humanity out of it altogether.  But God wanted to create us!  God loved humans enough that He created them even knowing the disasters that would happen . . . because He wanted them to have an eternal existence in Him.

The Tree of Life was given to Adam and Eve as a free gift . . . and when they turned away from God, and cut themselves off from His Life . . . He gave them a second chance.  This time, however, the life could not come just from that tree.  If Adam and Eve ate from that tree as sinners, they would never die and therefore be forced to live eternally on this earth in the current state of things.  This would be no gift!

No, in order for people to eat from that tree again, they had to be right with God again.  Notice that God made them right with Him to begin with!  When He made them, He didn’t ask them to do ten commandments for Him; prove themselves through accomplishments; earn His love through hardships.  No, they were created with the incredible freebie of being right with God! They naturally, instictively obeyed God’s commandments without even needing to hear them, as we obey gravity whether we have been told its law or not.

Even though God created them perfect, with everything going for them, He still gave them another chance . . . this one costing Him the greatest cost of all . . . Himself.

What type of god wouldn’t qualify based on creativity?

  • A dull god
  • A shallow god

Sadly, there are people who think Christianity is boring.  It’s crazy to think that we can read and become excited over such stories as The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Twilight , the Marvel comics, and video games that feature characters like Link and Pokèmon and Mario . . . and miss the great adventure of the Bible!  Some people have heard the Bible stories unenthusiastically presented for so long that they see them as “ho hum”, but imagine reading for the first time about the creation of the earth . . . the collossal worldwide flood . . . the death and resurrection of God Himself!  The Bible is packed with stories about humanity’s relationship to God, everything from the miraculous events like men being thrown into a fire and not burning; an enormous sea parting for slaves;  a few fish and loaves turning into a feast for all. . . to seemingly ‘ordinary’ events like how Ruth meets Boaz or Timothy pastors his church.

What type of god wouldn’t qualify based on beauty?

  • An evil god

There have been evil ‘gods’ worshipped throughout history, gods who required human sacrifices, even children sacrifices, and gods who enjoy torment and trickery.  Satanism is the ultimate example of evil worship, but any ‘god’ who causes people to turn away from the true God is an evil god, whether it be more obvious, such as the ancient Mayan gods, or more subtle, such as the obsession for wealth.

Some people try to assert that the Christian God is evil, but nothing could be further from the truth!  I’ve already discussed why God chose to create humans knowing Adam would make the wrong choice.  God doesn’t allow evil to happen in the world because He enjoys it or because it makes His goodness seem “better”.  God’s goodness is fully good without any evil present.  God is not like a novel writer, creating conflict to prove Himself the hero.  God is already the hero as the creator.  God did not “set it up” so people would sin and He would have to sacrifice His Son.  This is absurd when you realize that Jesus is God and therefore any pain Jesus endured . . . His Father in Heaven had to endure as well.   (For more information, see the blog, If Jesus is God’s Son, how was He with God from the beginning?)

God does not cause people to sin and He does not want people to sin.  He was not happy to give His Son to die.  Some people think it was “mean” of God to give His Son to die, but they forget that Jesus is God and that Jesus’ death is the only way to salvation.  If God hadn’t given His Son, everybody would go to Hell.

Some people think God is evil because He sends people to Hell, but they are not thinking about how morally irresponsible and cruel it would be to have everyone living in Heaven together, including unrepentant serial killers, child abusers, tormentors, and so on.  (For more information, read the blog Is the Bible just one of many holy books? The All-Roads Idea and the blog, coming soon Lord willing, Why is there a Hell?))

What type of god wouldn’t qualify based on immortality?

  • A god that is a “fad” god
  • A god that has not been God since the beginning of the earth (and all things!)

The Christian God revealed Himself to the very first two people on the earth.  He didn’t make Himself any mystery.  And through time, He revealed Himself time and time again, most importantly in the history-changing, eternity-changing event of His death and resurrection on the cross, to the ultimate revelation described in the last book of the Bible, Revelation.

Some people think God isn’t revealing Himself now, and therefore He must be a fraud.  But this is totally false!  God does reveal Himself now.  Since the time of Christ, there have been Christians who not only have been given the incredible gift of being right with God and knowing Him, but who have also been given the opportunity of sharing that incredible gift with others!  Certainly not everyone who claims to be a Christian is, but genuine Christians find themselves sharing their testimony throughout the earth, everything from what I’m trying to do in some small way in this blog, to the amazing efforts of (true) missionaries who have been persecuted and even killed trying to give people from all nations and speaking all languages the Message of Jesus Christ!

These lyrics to God from the songwriter David encapsulate the intelligence, creativity, beauty, and immortality of God far more beautifully than I have done:

I will exalt you, my God and King,

and praise your name forever and ever.

I will praise you every day;

yes, I will praise you forever.

Great is the Lord! He is most worthy of praise!

No one can measure his greatness.

Let each generation tell its children of your mighty acts;

let them proclaim your power.

I will meditate on your majestic, glorious splendor

and your wonderful miracles.

Your awe-inspiring deeds will be on every tongue;

I will proclaim your greatness.

Everyone will share the story of your wonderful goodness;

they will sing with joy about your righteousness.

The Lord is merciful and compassionate,

slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love.

The Lord is good to everyone.

He showers compassion on all his creation.

All of your works will thank you, Lord,

and your faithful followers will praise you.

They will speak of the glory of your kingdom;

they will give examples of your power.

They will tell about your mighty deeds

and about the majesty and glory of your reign.

For your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom.

You rule throughout all generations.

The Lord always keeps his promises;

he is gracious in all he does.

The Lord helps the fallen

and lifts those bent beneath their loads.

The eyes of all look to you in hope;

you give them their food as they need it.

When you open your hand,

you satisfy the hunger and thirst of every living thing.

The Lord is righteous in everything he does;

he is filled with kindness.

The Lord is close to all who call on him,

yes, to all who call on him in truth.

He grants the desires of those who fear him;

he hears their cries for help and rescues them.

The Lord protects all those who love him,

but he destroys the wicked.

I will praise the Lord,

and may everyone on earth bless his holy name

forever and ever. (Psalm 145, NLT)

See Copyright Page for Bible translation information.


[1] Evolution Exposed: Earth Science Chapter 2: The Big Bang? by Roger Patterson, 2010, http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/ee2/big-bang

[2] “So Long, Eternal Universe; Hello Beginning, Hello End!” by Bert Thompson, Ph.D., 2003, http://www.apologeticspress.org/article/310

[3] The Universe Confirms the Bible by Jason Lisle, Ph.D., 2008 http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/tba/universe-confirms-bible

[4] Who Created God? Paul S. Taylor, adapted from author Ray Comfort, http://www.christiananswers.net/q-aig/aig-c039.html

What is the probability that there is a God?

What is the probability I am experiencing reality right now and not a dream or illusion?

What is the probability that the people around me are thinking beings and not just robots?

What is the probability that the universe is real?

I think these questions are really impossible to answer with probability.

So far as I can see, probability only works for events that we have measured before, preferably many times.  The more something is measured, the more likely our statistics are to be accurate.

If I only flip a coin once to see if I get heads or tails, I am not get an accurate probability.  I’ll either think that the coin lands on heads 100% of the time or tails 100% of the time.  If I flip a coin 5 times, the odds are that I will have a more accurate, although it is still possible that I flipped to heads 100% of the time or tails 100% of the time.  If I flip a coin 10,000 times, the odds are overwhelming that I will have a much better probability, very close (thought probably not perfect) to 50-50.

So I don’t see how we can reasonably assign a probability to something that we can’t test even once[1].

I can say that there is a 1 in 33,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 that if I make a gingerbread cookie it will jump off the tray and run away.  The problem is . . . we have never seen a gingerbread cookie get up off a tray and run away.  So how can I establish any probability about this at all?  How do I know that a gingerbread cookie would ever jump off a tray?  What if it’s never possible?

So how can I make a probability guess about how likely it would be for the universe to come into being on its own?  I could give a number with all kinds of zeros behind it, but that doesn’t mean it’s possible.  I have never seen a universe come into being, so how could I know the probability that a universe would come into being on its own?  What if it’s never possible?

On the flip side, what is the probability that God exists?  What number can I ascribe to this?  Once again, I could string a bunch of zeroes behind a one, but that would not mean a God does or does not exist.  What if there is no chance there’s a God?  Or what if it’s not possible the universe can exist without God?

Probability-wise, I’m not getting anywhere fast on any of these questions.  Probability-wise, I’m not getting anywhere slow either.  I’m not getting anywhere at all.

Probability might be helpful when I’m rolling a die[2] but it isn’t much good at determining what occurs or has occurred outside the observable realm.

When probability doesn’t work for my most important questions . . . where will I find my answers?

I think about Elijah’s prayer:

“O LORD, answer me! Answer me so these people will know that you, O LORD, are God and that you have brought them back to yourself.” (1 Kings 18:37, NLT)


[1] (unless, of course, a higher authority tells us the probability!)

[2] (however, only to an extent, since it can never guarantee me what I will roll, nor can it promise me that my roll is not influenced by a higher will, who could have created mathematics)

See The New Answers Book 2: Chapter 6: Can Natural Processes Explain the Origin of Life by Mark Riddle, http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/nab2/natural-processes-origin-of-life

Photograph by Flare, profile on http://www.flickr.com/people/75898532@N00/

See Copyright Page for Bible translation information.

The difficulty of persuading someone a loving God does exist and accepts us freely through His Son

Suppose I decide to interview 100 people on how they got to work today.

Most people tell me they drove to work.  A few people told me they took the bus.  One person even tells me he biked!  “Fine, fine,” I say.

But then this rather serene-looking woman walks up.  I ask the regular question, “How did you get to work today?”

She says, “I took a jet.”

I look at her a little funny and say, “No you didn’t.”

She says, “Wait a minute, how do you know I didn’t?”

I say, “Well, I don’t see a jet anywhere.”

She says, “It’s parked just behind the building.  I’ll show it to you if you want.”

I say, “You’ll show me the jet?  That’s real funny.  Really, how did you get here?”

“Really,” she says, “I took a jet.”

I’m getting irritated now.  “Really,” I say, “how did you get here?”

She looks a little surprised.  “I took a jet.  It’s the best way to travel.”

I stick out my lower jaw and I am really getting annoyed.  “It is not the best way to travel,” I say.

“How do you know?” she asks.

“Because I don’t travel that way!” I shout.  “And besides, you do not have a jet!  There’s no way.  Your clothes came from a thrift shop and you didn’t even get a decent haircut!  YOU DON’T HAVE A JET!”

She crinkles her forehead.  “. . . What do my clothes and haircut have to do with me taking a jet?  Oh!  You mean I’m not rich enough?”  She laughs.  “You’re right about that.  I don’t have any money to pay for a jet.  No, no.  The jet is free.”

I narrow my eyes.  “The jet is free.  Yeah, right.  Next thing you’re going to tell me you take a rocket ship back home.”

“No,” she says confidently.  “Just the jet.”

I sigh and set my jaw.  “I’m going to ask you this question again.  How did you get to work—AND DON’T SAY A JET!

She blinks a few times.  “Well, I can’t really say anything then.”

“Fine!” I say.  “You’re disqualified! You don’t get to be in the statistics I’m writing!  SO THERE!

She blinks a few more times.

“. . . Ok,” she says.  “But it still doesn’t change the fact that I got here in a jet.”

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The idea of a loving God who freely gives us salvation through the sacrifice of His only Son on a cross . . . seems more impossible to believe than that an ordinary woman could arrive to work on a free jet.  And yet . . . the free gift of Jesus’ payment for our sin because of His vast love is the foundation of the Bible and the heartbeat of Christianity.

Paul explains our God well:

“The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else. From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.'” (Acts 17:24-28a, NIV)

And how we can have a miraculous, unthinkable, unbelievable friendship with Him because of His unimaginable determination to open the only Way possible back to Him:

Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil—the commander of the powers in the unseen world. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God. All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature we were subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else.

But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus. So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of his grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus.

God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. (Ephesians 2:1-10, NLT)

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.  (Romans 8:1-4, NIV)

Find out more from God Himself . . .

Listen to the Bible

Read the Bible (this link starts at John 1)

Find out more from Christ-followers . . .

Find out more, and talk to a person (if you want)

Explore your thinking

Watch clips of Christian answers to lots of questions

How to become a Christian

Read answers to questions about Jesus

Short videos investigating Christianity

Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis

The Problem of Pain by C.S. Lewis

I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist by Geisler & Turek

Testing Christianity’s Truth Claims: Approaches to Christian Apologetics by Gordon Lewi

Can We Trust the Gospels? by Mark D. Roberts

The Case for Faith, The Case for Christ, and The Case for a Creator by Lee Strobel

Hard Questions, Real Answers by William Lane Craig

Why would I believe in a young earth?

2 Timothy 3:16-17, Romans 15:4, and 2 Peter 1:20-21 give no allowance for a "somewhat useful" Scripture. I must decide either 1) every word of the Word is true or 2) God is a liar or 3) people have made God up.

If the God of the Bible is perfect, His guidebook is perfect.  The Word is not just an authored book, the Word is a manifestation of the Author (see John 1:1-5).

For me to believe the God of the Bible is who He says He is, I must believe His Word is perfect.  The Word sets up an incredible claim: either every word God inspired specially chosen people through the ages to write is infallible, or the entire message is lost in imperfection.

I believe, with everything I am, that the Word is infallible.  I could not think otherwise because God has opened my eyes to read and my ears to hear the language of God, set down perfectly and immovably in the 66 books of Scripture.

This foundation is much broader than only a belief in a young earth.  This foundation is the starting point for why I accept every claim in Scripture [1].

There are Christians who genuinely believe the Word of God is infallible, but they believe God used millions or billions of years to create the Universe rather than the 6 days the Bible clearly outlines in Genesis 1.

To harmonize these two beliefs, they have to add time in between days of before the first day or believe the days as symbolic.  They also must believe the order of events is symbolic if they believe in the Big Bang.

Unless the Christian believes God used millions or billions of years for some processes but created Adam from dust[2], Adam is believed to be an evolved ape-like creature who God “finished” or merely “adopted and breathed into” rather than created from dust as Scripture says.

Outside the Garden of Eden, the world was already full of the skeletons of animals who have struggled to survive and failed.  To harmonize this with the Bible would have to mean death of animals is

very good (Genesis 1:31).

Ape-like creatures, who would one day become human, also suffered and died.  But God did not show care or concern for them until one day He “adopted” two [3]?

If instead of being the first two humans, Adam and Eve were two of many apes-like creatures evolving (as some progressive creationists now believe), why did the curse fall on all of humanity?  And what is the consequence of sin if there was already suffering and death[4]?

But most deadly of all, if the first Adam was symbolic . . . why do we believe the Second Adam, Jesus Christ, is an actual Person?  To believe in a symbolic Christ is to destroy the entire Bible, the purpose of faith, the atoning power of Jesus, and to condemn us all–every single one of us—to the sinner’s Hell where we belong.

Adam, the first man, was made from the dust of the earth, while Christ, the second man, came from heaven. (1 Corinthians 15:47, NLT)

Just as sin entered the world through one man, and death resulted from sin, therefore everyone dies, because everyone has sinned.  Certainly sin was in the world before the law was given, but no record of sin is kept when there is no law.  Nevertheless, death ruled from the time of Adam to Moses, even over those who did not sin in the same way Adam did when he disobeyed.  He is a foreshadowing of the one who would come.

But God’s free gift is not like Adam’s offense.  For if many people died as the result of one man’s offense, how much more have God’s grace and the free gift given through the kindness of one man, Jesus the Messiah, been showered on many people!  Nor can the free gift be compared to what came through the man who sinned.  For the sentence that followed one man’s offense resulted in condemnation, but the free gift brought justification, even after many offenses.  For if, through one man, death ruled because of that man’s offense, how much more will those who receive such overflowing grace and the gift of righteousness rule in life because of one man, Jesus the Messiah! (Romans 5:12-17, ISV)

And if Christ has not been raised, then your faith is useless and you are still guilty of your sins. (1 Corinthians 15:17, NLT)

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[1] I am ashamed to even use the word “claim” to describe the Truth.  God has given us the freedom to choose to accept His Word or not, and this is what I am trying to express.  The reality is that whether or not I accept the claims of Scripture, they will always be truth.  Regardless of whether I accept the claim of gravity, if I jump off a cliff it’s not going to go well for me.  To an infinitely greater extent, what I conclude about God’s Word has no impact on its validity but instead on the state of my soul.

[2] This doesn’t satisfy the evolutionist, who insists man came from ape-like creatures, or explain why God would describe each day as a day but only day 6 (or certain days) to be literal.

[3] If Adam and Eve evolved from ape-like creatures, then Eve’s creation must be symbolic as well, for she could hardly have been made from Adam’s rib if evolution is true.

[4] If the only consequence of Adam’s sin was Hell, then the rest of creation did not actually suffer any more than it already was.  But Romans 8:22 says,

We know that all creation has been groaning with the pains of childbirth up to the present time.

Romans 8:18-23 is a crystal-clear explanation of the connection between the fall of creation, suffering, death, and our sin.  My prayer is you will take the time to read this passage, and explore what the Bible says about the curse (e.g., Genesis 3) for yourself.  Biblecc.com and Biblegateway.com are easy ways to look up Scripture.

Photograph by Savio Sebastian, profile on http://www.flickr.com/people/savioseb/

Photograph is under Creative Commons License.

See Copyright Page for Bible translation information.

Why Aren’t There More Signs of God?

I remember a song that used to be very popular, Calling All Angels by Train, which you can still hear on the radio from time to time.  The opening line is, “I need a sign to let me know you’re here.”

Ken Ham in Is There Really a God? handles this question with brilliance.

In his seminar, he discusses how some scientists have searched for ‘extraterrestrial life’ in signals received by earth.  In England, when SETI scientists made their discovery of a pulsar, they thought it might be evidence for extraterrestrials.  He also mentions, SETI (Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence).  Their website mission statement is: “To explore, understand, and explain the origin, nature, and prevalence of life in the universe”[1].  Their list of sponsors includes NASA, the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy, and the U.S. Geological Survey[2].

In spite of any scrutiny of outer space to discover intelligence, Ken Ham points out:

“If scientists would turn their telescopes into microscopes and look at our DNA, they would discover the most complex information system signal . . . that you could ever find in the entire universe.  But they look at that and say, ‘Chance, chance, chance!’ Then they hear, ‘Blip, blip, blip!’ [of a pulsar] and they say, ‘There’s intelligence out there [3]!’”

There’s an amazing ‘children’s’ story that comes to mind called Yellow and Pink by William Steig.  In the story, two marionettes wake up one day for the first time.  In other words, they come to “existence”.  They discuss with each other what might possibly have caused them to be what they are.  Yellow explains how a series of natural events could have occurred, but Pink is not so sure about all this.  The ending is fabulous.

Is it that we don’t have enough signs?  This is the very thing that many people in Jesus’ day complained about.  There is a theme throughout Jesus’ ministry that the people who did not want to believe Him were never satisfied with His signs, always wanting more.  (See Matthew 12:38-42, Matthew 16:1-4, Mark 8:11-14, Luke 11:29-32.)

Jesus performed all sorts of miracles.  He fed thousands of people with a few fish and loaves; He healed the sick; He freed the possessed; He cured skin diseases, blindness, deafness, muteness, and paralysis; He even resurrected the dead.  But the majority of the religious leaders still didn’t believe Him!

If I say, “Well, that’s just evidence miracles didn’t really happen!” . . . then why would the New Testament writers record such a crazy falsehood?  Why would they say that a group of the religious elite in their day, the people who had power and great authority, witnessed these miracles if they hadn’t?  Wouldn’t it be wiser to say all the miracles happened in a cave somewhere or a remote island?

No, the New Testament authors wrote that Jesus performed miracles in front of the religious elite because He did!  These leaders didn’t question that His miracles were miracles.  It was His authority that was the argument: Was He doing these things because He really was God?

This begs the question . . . if a person can heal the sick, the crippled, the haunted, and even the dead, but people won’t believe . . . what kind of sign is needed?  What would cause people to believe?

Jesus tells about a rich man and a poor man in a story.  In the story, the poor man lived a miserable life on earth and the rich man sees him often but never helps him.  They both die.  When the poor man dies, he goes to paradise and meets the highly respected Jewish forefather, Abraham.  When the poor man dies, he goes to Hell and is in total misery.

The rich man can see into paradise—but he can’t get there—and he calls out to Abraham  for help.  When he finds there is no way he can ever get help, he begs Abraham to send the poor man back to his brothers’ houses so his brothers can believe.  But here is what Abraham says:

“If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.”  (Luke 16:31, NIV)

Many religious leaders of Christ’s day proved this was true.  After Christ’s ultimate miracle, His resurrection, the Pharisees no more believed in Him than they had before.  Even when the guards they’d arranged to guard Jesus’ tomb came back with amazing news that an angel had rolled the stone away and Jesus was gone, they did not believe, not the belief that He was their Lord and Master.  I think they probably did believe He had been resurrected.

Signs in and of themselves, even the greatest sign of all, does not cause people to repent.  The only way to repent is to see your sin by the light of the Holy Spirit and want to turn from it.  So the real issue is not about miracles.  It’s about pride.

People who don’t think they have done anything wrong, or don’t want to believe they need rescuing, or deny that Jesus Christ is incomparably better than them . . . aren’t going to be convinced by miracles or angels or even the testimony of the resurrected Lord.  Only when He comes back will they believe.  And then, tragically, it will be too late.

These people (and I used to be one of them) have an arrogance that says, “Impress me”, rather than a humility that says, “I must find forgiveness for my failures.”  And so they search for razzle and dazzle, fog machines and strobe lights and pyrotechnics, and they miss the Message of the Almighty God.

Jesus, the One who says these things are true, says, “Yes, I am coming soon.”  Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!

(Revelation 22:20, NIV)


[1] SETI Institute Homepage, http://www.seti.org/, 2011

[2] SETI Institute: About SETI Institute, http://www.seti.org/page.aspx?pid=234, 2011

[3] Is There Really a God? DVD, Ken Ham

See Copyright Page for Bible translation information.

Published in: on February 15, 2011 at 10:44 pm  Leave a Comment  
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