Star of Bethlehem – Divine Preparation for the Incarnation

A Christmas Meditation

The naiveté  of those who doubt that Jesus is the messiah because they suppose that he arranged to fulfill the requirements and prophecies of the messiah himself always amuses me – particularly at this time of  year when the preparations of God for the arrival of the messiah are so apparent.

It reminds me of the naiveté of the comic character Calvin, of Calvin and Hobbes – an active and curious child who with his stuffed tiger (who is alive to Calvin) always gets into amusing situations.  In one instance Calvin asks his father: Continue Reading

Is the Bible full of fantastic creatures? Part 4: Witches and Ghosts

Some people disbelieve the Bible because they find what I’m calling fantastic creatures – creatures which they believe don’t exist, and thus they conclude the Bible is full of fairy stories and make believe. But nothing could be further from the truth. So in this series we’re looking at the reality behind the creatures which the atheist who tweeted the below finds objectionable:

“He follows a holy book with a jealous & genocidal god, ghosts, zombies, seers, devils, demons, witches, satyrs, unicorns, talking animals, a man who lived in a fish and a 7 headed dragon.”[1]

And though this is not the season for Halloween, next up we’re looking at witches and ghosts.

Are there Witches in the Bible? 

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Creation, Craig and the myth of a “mytho-historical” Genesis

My seminary apologetics teacher Dr. William Lane Craig has a quite serious problem on his hands.  He’s painted himself into a corner.  Dr. Craig has built a career and made and name for himself in apologetics and is well respected in the field. He now faces a problem that could undo all the good work he has done in defending the faith. What problem could possibly be so severe you wonder? Like the man cutting off the branch he’s sitting on, Craig is heading in the direction of undermining most if not all the work he has done in defending the existence of God and the resurrection of Jesus Christ. He appears ready to embrace the creation account as “mytho-historical.” Continue Reading

Is the Bible full of fantastic creatures? Part 3: Cockatrice

The creature sculpted into the fountain above is the mythical cockatrice. It was not included in the below list from one atheist in his attempt to mock the Bible and the Christian faith for including what he considers unbelievable creatures:

“He follows a holy book with a jealous & genocidal god, ghosts, zombies, seers, devils, demons, witches, satyrs, unicorns, talking animals, a man who lived in a fish and a 7 headed dragon.”[1]

Like many atheists he’s grossly wrong in many of his presumptions. And since I’m sure someone with an anti-Bible axe to grind will point to the cockatrice as an unbelievable creature in the Bible I’ve included it. Though not mentioned in this atheist’s  list, this is a good place to handle it – following an article on the satyr – because a lot of similar dynamics are involved. Of particular note is the use of Hebrew rhyme – the repetition of a single idea. In Is 34.14   we looked at the use of rhyme when a satyr – an idol for a pagan demonic god represented by a goat – was used in the context of judgment. In contrast here we see Hebrew rhyme used with the word the KJV translates as “cockatrice”  in the context of the glorious reign of Christ on earth, in a passage about the effects of the curse being removed. 

So what’s going on here? Is the Bible really referring to the mythical beast, a winged serpent with a rooster’s head and deadly gaze, hatched from a cock’s egg? Or is something else going on? With a little history and some good dictionaries, it’s easy to see both the intent of the word (a poisonous viper such as an asp or Egyptian cobra), and a likely reason why those more common words weren’t used. Continue Reading

Is the Bible full of fantastic creatures? Part 2: Satyrs, devils and demons

We continue now into our investigation of a claim made by an atheist who charges that the Bible is full of what he considers unbelievable natural and supernatural characters and creatures:

“He follows a holy book with a jealous & genocidal god, ghosts, zombies, seers, devils, demons, witches, satyrs, unicorns, talking animals, a man who lived in a fish and a 7 headed dragon.”[1]

In my previous article I dealt with unicorns and his misunderstanding of God as a “jealous & genocidal god.”  Now we move onto satyrs – and as it turns out devils and demons fit in here too, so we’ll cover them instead of Jonah as I indicated in the previous article. Continue Reading

Is the Shroud of Turin Authentic? The Unconsidered Evidence

The Shroud of Turin

Summary

In their article “Is the Shroud of Turin Authentic – or Is it a Forgery” Creation Ministries International (CMI) supports the theory that the Shroud of Turin is not the authentic burial shroud of Christ – it is a medieval forgery. This article refutes that theory, along with the main reasons CMI gives for rejecting authenticity.

This article relies primarily on the testimony of Shroud of Turin Research Project (STRP) members and other expert testimony to demonstrate there is a wealth of evidence CMI apparently did not consider before drawing their conclusions. This article is intended to inform the reader of those evidences and make available the testimony of the STRP members and other expert witnesses so that readers may judge for themselves whether CMI has reached the correct conclusion. It is the position of this article that they did not. The reader is encouraged to click on the links to view the referenced testimonies.

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Are Unicorns In The Bible?

Sidebar to: Is the Bible full of fantastic creatures? Part 1: Jealous God and Unicorns? 

First of all, let’s dispense with the idea that the Bible speaks of the mythical magical type of unicorns pictured above – the type that most people think about when they hear the word “unicorn”.  In fact the word “unicorn”-  as it is understood today, is so far removed from the meaning of the original Hebrew word ראם (reh-ahm) that modern translations have chosen to not even use the word, preferring instead “wild ox.” Some translations using “wild ox”: NIV, ESV, NKJV, NASB, NRSV among others. That’s appropriate since 1. “wild ox” is the primary meaning given in the standard reference – BDB[1]  and 2. Its a word that could refer to what many commentators conclude the Hebrew word points to – the aurochs – a wild ox now extinct. The problem with that understanding is that all the wild oxen we’re familiar with have two horns. Which gets back to the main question I want to examine:

Does the Bible Really Refer to a Unicorn?

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Is the Bible full of fantastic creatures? Part 1: Jealous God and Unicorns?

An atheist on twitter was frustrated that I was following my own advice about not providing evidence to mockers.[1] So in his frustration he did what mockers do: engaged in ridicule and mocking. In an attempt to deride and ridicule the faith he proceeded to tell others what he thinks I believe:

“He follows a holy book with a jealous & genocidal god, ghosts, zombies, seers, devils, demons, witches, satyrs, unicorns, talking animals, a man who lived in a fish and a 7 headed dragon.”[2]

Clearly he takes exception to all of these. But since he is an atheist, that neither surprises, nor concerns me. The question I do want to address however is what are we believers and people who are seeking the truth to think about what many would consider mythical creatures in the list?  With that in mind let’s look at what the Bible has to say about each of these items, plus one that is usually questioned, but not in his list: a talking snake. So let’s look at these one by one in the light of what the holy book – the Bible – says about them. But before I start, let me highlight the main problem: Continue Reading

Distant Starlight – Under Occam’s Razor – Part 2: Critique and Cuts

Supernova SN1987a

As noted in part 1 of this article, distant starlight has been called the best argument against biblical creation and a young earth. A serious charge. So I thought it would be helpful to identify the best answer to this “best” charge against creation. A number of solutions to this problem have been offered by scientists who happen to also be creationists.  We briefly examined the popular ones in the previous article.  Now that we’ve completed an overview of possible solutions, we’ll get to the meat of the matter: identifying which theory or theories both have a possibility of working, and surviving the principle of Occam’s razor. So without further ado: Continue Reading

Distant Starlight – Under Occam’s Razor – Part 1: Contenders

The Milkyway from the International Space Station

Distant starlight: It’s been called the best argument against biblical creation and a young universe.[1] Why is that? Because Big Bang Theorists, secularists and anyone who believes in an ancient universe believe they have an iron clad case against a young universe with regard to distant starlight. The argument goes like this.

The Problem

We can see stars hundreds of thousands, millions even billions of light years away.  Take the Andromeda galaxy – 2.5 million light years away. A supernova was observed in that galaxy. That implies the light took 2.5 million years to get to earth. But if the earth (and indeed the entire universe) is only 6,000 years old. How can we see Andromeda or the supernova? Using standard understandings and formulas, there hasn’t been enough time for the light to get here from Andromeda. Yet we can see it. On the face of it that suggests that the earth is at least 2.5 million years old – much older than the 6,000 years that Biblical creationists claim for the universe. And the problem only gets worse for more distant stars. This is indeed an acknowledged problem. Continue Reading