Knowledge of the Holy One Part 3: God the Father

The Father runs to the returning prodigal

Since Jesus, the son of God, is the key to salvation, we started with him and spent the first two articles in this series looking at who he is, and just as importantly, who he isn’t. The picture we have of Jesus is very clear: starting with the creed of the Christian faith:

Jesus Christ is Lord; (Php 2.11)

Indeed he is both Lord and Christ (or Messiah) (Acts 2.36)
This is the central creed of Christianity.

But we have further statements that help clarify who Jesus is:
Jesus is the one who:

… has all authority in heaven and earth (Matt 28.18)
… is the one who died and came to life again and lives forever (Rev 1.18)
… is the holder of the keys of life (John 11.25-26) and death (Rev 1.18)
… is the Ruler of God’s Creation (Rev 3.14)
… is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords (Rev 19.16)
… is the one to whom every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that he is Lord (Php 2.11).

There is an implicit understanding in each of these statements. Namely that there is one who has bestowed these rights and titles on Jesus.

Who has given Jesus all authority in heaven and earth?
Whose power and glory raised him from the dead?
Who has given him the keys to life and death?
Who has made him ruler of God’s creation?
Who has made him King of Kings and Lord of Lords?

It is the one who is glorified on the day when every knee will bow to Jesus and every tongue confesses “Jesus Christ is Lord.” The person[1] so glorified is God the father. (Php 2.11) Continue Reading

Knowledge of the Holy One Part 1: Jesus – the Holy One Revealed

“Who do you say I am?”

This is one of the most well-known questions Jesus asked his disciples. Perhaps because it is arguably the most significant. Significant not just for his disciples, but for everyone – because at some point everyone must answer that question.

Amid the cacophony of false idols, false religions, false gods, false ideas, hearsay and slander against Jesus everyone must answer the question Jesus puts to them: “Who do you say I am?” (Matt 16.15)  It was no different for the disciples or the people of Jesus’ day. Consider the context in which Jesus asks his disciples the question:  Having just fed more than 4,000 people, Jesus was approached by the unbelieving and treacherous Pharisees and Sadducees who came “and tested him by asking him to show them a sign from heaven.” (Matt 16.1) So right off the bat there’s a clear indication that they would not have believed any sign he gave them because he had just performed a miraculous sign. No, they weren’t looking for reasons to believe. They were looking for reasons to justify unbelief, and put him on trial so they could sentence him to death. Continue Reading

Is the Bible full of fantastic creatures? Part 8: The Dragon and The Beast

On May 9, 2012 a Russian-made Sukhoi Superjet 100 on a demonstration flight with 45 souls aboard slammed into Mount Salak south of Jakarta, Indonesia killing all aboard. What has that got to do with the dragon  – the red seven headed dragon – you wonder? Bear with me a bit and I’ll make the connection. But before going into that, for this final installment of the series, let me remind you of a couple of points made in the opening article of the series. 

First, the list of items (reproduced verbatim) that this atheist finds objectionable and unbelievable that this series has addressed:

“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]
(Not listed but also covered: The Cockatrice; and thrown in with this article: The Beast of Rev 13.)

As I said in the initial article, it doesn’t concern me that an atheist has a problem with these things. It does, however, concern me that believers in God and those seeking the truth might be challenged by charges like this leveled by unbelieving atheists.  So I wanted to demonstrate there is a clear, rational answer for each item in the list.  In this series, the biblical intent behind each item – if it exists – is explained; and those that don’t exist are identified. Continue Reading

Atheist Meme Mistakes: Morality and Sin

Atheist meme mistake: Atheists are illogical about morality and sin

Many atheists proclaim themselves to be bastions of reason and logic. They consider themselves to be free thinkers who are correct in their rejection of God. They believe themselves to be superior in their thinking when it comes to matters concerning God. That’s ironic since it can be easily demonstrated that 1. Many atheist claims are illogical and 2. an atheist cannot live consistently within an atheistic worldview.  Since many will miss this second point, let me emphasize it by repeating it, atheists cannot live consistently within an atheistic worldview. In fact, no one can live consistently within an atheistic worldview. That is a sign that the atheistic worldview is not true.

Case in point: memes on morality and sin. They are problematic for atheists, though atheists apparently have not realized that yet. Let me explain why. Continue Reading

Evidence is for Believers – Not Mockers

“Let the children come” – Jesus

If you’re reading this, you likely have an interest in either finding evidence for the Christian faith, or presenting evidence to defend your faith. The endeavor to defend the faith is known as apologetics. When doing  apologetics we often have a focus on presenting evidence or reasons to believe in the Christian faith. That is why you see apologetics ministries with names like Reasonable Faith[1] or Reasons to Believe[2] and even my own Rational Faith. In this age dominated by Science and scientism[3] many have identified the need to defend Christianity against pervasive claims that modern minds cannot believe in the ancient claims of Christianity because many of those claims appear unscientific or outright impossible and are therefore unbelievable.  After all how can the modern mind believe in a 7 day creation and a 6000 year old universe; and an original Adam and Eve when the modern scientific community is telling you the universe is some 13.7 billion years old, and humans were not created, they evolved?

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Conspiracy Theory: You Killed JFK (And other false claims and abuses of Evidence)

JFK Motorcade

NO EVIDENCE. In what amounts to an abuse of evidence, atheists are fond of saying that there is no evidence for the existence of God. If you doubt that, take a look at this brief collection of atheists telling the world that very thing.  But is that a true claim? When a proposition is not true, you would expect to find no evidence for that proposition.

Take for example the proposition in the title – that  you, yes you dear reader –  killed JFK on the fateful day – November 22, 1963 at Dealey Plaza in Dallas. All reading this could no doubt  refute that claim. But those born after that date have a particularly easy and obvious piece of evidence that falsifies the proposition. The claim that they weren’t even born yet backed with a birth certificate to prove it. 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

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

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

Waiting for the End – A Meditation for Easter

Crucifixion of Jesus – Marco Palmezzano

“And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, ‘Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?’–which means, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’  When some of those standing near heard this, they said, ‘Listen, he’s calling Elijah.’
One man ran, filled a sponge with wine vinegar, put it on a stick, and offered it to Jesus to drink. ‘Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to take him down,’ he said.
With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last.”

 

“It was Preparation Day (that is, the day before the Sabbath). So as evening approached, Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent member of the Council, who was himself waiting for the kingdom of God, went boldly to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body.
Pilate was surprised to hear that he was already dead. Summoning the centurion, he asked him if Jesus had already died.” When he learned from the centurion that it was so, he gave the body to Joseph.

Mark 15.34-37; 42-45

Pilate was surprised to learn that Jesus had died so quickly. That was because Roman crucifixion was not merely an  execution. It was a slow death by way of torture, filled with excruciating pain, designed by the Romans to  extend the amount of time it actually took to die as long as possible. “Historically the process could take anywhere from 3-4 hours to 3-4 days. And there were reports of people living as long as 9 days on a cross.”[1] The Jewish leaders and Pilate were both expecting it to take days for Jesus to die as was typical. That’s why the Jewish leaders petitioned Pilate to have his legs broken (John 19.31).   Because when hung on a cross for crucifixion, “Modern forensic research shows that a person whose hands are bound above his head has severe trouble breathing.”[2] The results being that:

“The muscles that run between the ribs are basically fully extended which means the ribs are fully expanded, which means the chest is essentially passively full of air. In order to get the stale air and the carbon dioxide and all the waste gases out, the victim would actually have to actively lift themselves up to get the pressure off of these muscles and allow themselves to exhale.”[3]
Robert M. Morris, MD
ER Chief, Stanford medical center

Continue Reading