Young earth or Old? The Wrong Approach to the debate that divides Christians

In the beginning… Gen 1.1

Editor’s note:  This is in response to Tom Gilson’s article “Young Earth or Old? The Debate That Divides Christians — But Shouldn’t[1] Normally I wouldn’t bother posting a comment on an article I’ve read to this site, but I’m making an exception here because 1. This is a topic I’ve written on a number of times on this site, so it’s fitting here and 2. For some reason my comment remains marked as “spam” and thus is not visible under Tom’s article, though I’ve indicated it’s not spam. And rather that speculate why it remains unpublished as of this writing I offer it to you here in its entirety, with a few added notes for clarification.
– Duane

Tom, you’re usually right on the mark, but here you’re advocating a very dangerous position. You’re basically advocating “leave it to the experts.” You’re stating this issue is so complex it requires “a high level of expertise in multiple fields, including biblical Hebrew, Ancient Near East literature and culture, and four or five major branches of science.” Continue Reading

Hell is for liars Part 2: The Heart of the Lie

Satan’s advice: Be proud

In part 1 of this series, I pointed out that God will not allow liars into heaven (Rev 21.8), and then pointed out some of the lies that will keep you from heaven. Some wanted to make a distinction between those actively lying by trying to deceive, and those duped by the lies.  But those who read closely understood that objection was answered implicitly with the analogy of poison: It doesn’t matter if you drink poison because someone lied to you and told you it was a harmless soft drink; Or because you’ve deceived yourself and are now convinced that the poison – say arsenic – is not really poison at all, and it won’t harm you, in fact it’s good for you so you consume lots of it. (Think “did God really say…” Gen 3.1) – regardless of what causes you to drink the poison whether you’re actively deceiving (yourself) or are merely deceived and believe the lie, if you drink it, you will die. Continue Reading

Hell is for liars

The Christian doctrine of hell:  conscious, painful, separation from God for all eternity for those who refuse God’s salvation. Perhaps the most difficult doctrine to deal with – for both Christians and non-Christians alike. This is such a difficult teaching there are plenty of people, cults and religions who outright deny it. After the denial of the deity of Christ, the doctrine of  hell is one of the first Biblical teachings to go.  In its place – everything from annihilation of the soul to universal salvation. Apparently the doctrine of hell is so scary even annihilation – eternal nonexistence –  is preferable to the Biblical doctrine of hell. According to one account, the Catholic doctrine of purgatory (a temporary place of punishment to pay for any un-forgiven sins) came about because punishment consisting of eternal wrath could not be countenanced by at least one early church father[1]. But the doctrine of purgatory is strictly a Catholic add on teaching – it’s not in the Bible. And it’s not what we’re talking about. Let’s be clear about what we are talking about. Continue Reading

If the resurrection is true, why doesn’t everyone believe?

Prefect Mauritius Gallas speaks with the Apostle Paul in “Paul, Apostle of Christ”

A Meditation for Easter

Just-in-time for resurrection day (aka Easter), is the movie Paul, Apostle of Christ. In it, we find the apostle Paul (played by James Faulkner) in the jail of  Roman prefect Mauritius Gallas (played by Olivier Martinez). As I mentioned in my review, this film presents the thinking Christian with many questions to ponder. One of those questions is about the resurrection and is posed by the prefect, which if memory serves, is actually phrased as a statement along these lines: If the resurrection were the truth, then all would believe.  The movie has the apostle answering with a verse from his often quoted chapter on the resurrection (1 Cor 15.1-20):

“… if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless…” (1 Cor 15.14)

But that response answers the question, “is the resurrection true?” It does not really address the deeper issue the prefect appears to be getting at. That question is, Continue Reading

Review: Paul, Apostle of Christ

It’s AD 67,  some 34 to 37 years after the crucifixion of Christ. Nero, emperor of Rome has recently burned half the city in order to rebuild it according to his tastes. To cover his crime Nero scapegoats all Christians, and as the historian Tacitus tells us, Nero arrests, tries and convicts them not of arson, but of “hatred of the human race,” and puts them to death by “methods calculated to provide lurid entertainment for the public.”[1] Paul, the apostle of Christ is a key figure in the Christian faith and community. As such, Nero holds the Apostle Paul directly responsible for the fire, considering him the “chief enemy of Rome.”

Consequently when the movie opens we find the Apostle in prison awaiting his fate.  Luke, the physician and writer of the Gospel of the same name, and the Acts of the Apostles (commonly known as Acts) arrives in the city with a mission to save and retrieve the last of the writings of the apostle, determined that such important words not be lost. Continue Reading

Do Ancient Chronologies Challenge the Bible? Part 3: The Tower of Babel

The construction of the Tower of Babel

In parts 1 and 2, we saw how misunderstandings of ancient texts led to commonly held, but incorrect views.  Part one demonstrated why the early date of the exodus – 1446 BC – is the correct date. Part two demonstrated that commonly held Egyptian chronology is off and identified the amount of the error at the point of the exodus by identifying the pharaoh of the Exodus. (Hint: it’s not Rameses or any of the other commonly suggested pharaohs.) Here in part three we see a more egregious error: An outright denial of Biblical truth. Whereas in parts one and two those who came to the wrong conclusions likely did so honestly – by simply misunderstanding the text.  But there can be no mistake here: it is clear the error here can only be arrived at by an outright denial of the biblical text – and its related teachings – at many levels. Let me give you an illustration of why this must be the case.  Continue Reading

Do Ancient Chronologies Challenge the Bible? Part 1: The Date of the Exodus

Moses parting the Red Sea so the children of Israel could cross during the Exodus

Editor’s note: This article began as a demonstration of errors in Egyptian chronology, but to get there it was necessary to  first lay down foundational information concerning the exodus. Which pushed back the Egyptian info to part 2. What follows is the foundational info on the exodus. 

A common way to try to discount Biblical truth is to to challenge the event based upon the age. The challenge comes either because 1. Scientist think the Biblical account is too young (e.g. age of the earth/universe) 2. Scientist can’t find evidence of the event at the time period they think it happened (e.g. The Exodus) or 3. Scientists believe they have found evidence that disproves the Biblical time line (e.g. ancient artifacts like the Dendera Zodiak or the below Egyptian pyramids.) 

This is ironic because out of all the things science can do, one thing it cannot do is measure age directly.  Age – the amount of time passed – is not something you can measure with instruments after the fact.   Yet it is one thing scientists tend to get the most adamant about. But when scientists claim to be measuring the age, what they’re really doing is measuring a property of something that usually varies regularly with time, such as the number of half lives of a radioactive element, or the number or rings in a tree trunk. But strictly speaking, they are not measuring age. And more importantly – the assumptions they make when attempting to determine the age are often wrong, throwing the estimated age off.[1]

Continue Reading

A tale of two stories – a Christmas day meditation

The Nativity (Detail) by Franz von Rohden (19th century)

A Christmas Day Meditation

The word “story” is a rather ambiguous word.  It’s ambiguous in that the word itself does not tell you whether the story is true or not. Thus we’ve come up with phrases to help us with that.  When the story is true, we use phrases like ” the true story of…” or   ” (story name), a true story”,  or “the real story of” – to differentiate true stories from stories full of common misconceptions.

We also have ways identifying stories that are not true. When we tell “fairy stories” we’re telling a story we’re acknowledging to be a fanciful, made up fictional string of events.  Or we may end an explanation with “… that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.”  Most people understand this as a tacit admission that parts or all of the story might not true, but the teller of the story is unwilling to tell “the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth” as you would in a court of law. Continue Reading

Detecting Design and Entropy on a Beach

We had the pleasure in vacationing in Jamaica this past summer. Of course we made it to the beach where I waded in and sat, enjoying the warm waters. As I looked around at the sand and rocks beneath the water I found a rock which  appeared to have the impressions of a leaf embedded in it. With the possibility of having found a fossil I was, of course motivated to look for more. I found another one which appeared to have impressions of some type in it. I made a mental note to find someone knowledgeable about fossils to take a look at these to confirm whether these are what I thought they are.

As I continued to look for rocks in the warm water I came across an item I didn’t expect to find. It was perfectly square, about 1/8″ inch thick, flat on the bottom with beveled edges on top. It was blue with white speckles on top with a shiny coat covering the top, and solid white on the bottom. Continue Reading

Taking Pride in Creation: Genesis: Paradise Lost | Movie Review

 

Genesis: Paradise Lost movie

Since the limited run  of  Genesis: Paradise Lost is almost over (there’s a final encore on December 11, 2017), you may be wondering why another review. We’ll get to that in a moment. But first let me note that a number of even handed reviews have already been written. Here are 3 of them: Continue Reading