With a new year comes renewed hope in many endeavors. 2015 is no different. Among materialist scientists (those adhering to philosophical materialism – thus rejecting anything exists beyond the material world), hopes are high that researchers will find an earth like “exoplanet” – a planet that orbits a sun other than our own. As space.com’s Mike Wall1 reports:
The excitement is heightened as researchers prepare to launch a sun shade – a man made device to eclipse a star in front of a remote telescope like Kepler in the next decade – allowing it, and them, to see faint planets that would otherwise be invisible due to the glare coming from the star. But why the excitement? And why the insatiable desire to find earth like planets? Simply put, scientists are rushing head long to find the Great Scientific Hope.
The Great Scientific Hope
For materialist scientists, there is no greater hope than Continue Reading
A total eclipse of the sun: modern day scientists have called it “an amazing, awe inspiring, tremendously moving event”1 and ” a spectacle that few people who see one will ever forget.” Total eclipses of the sun have been tracked for over two millennia, as witnessed by the fact that the Babylonians figured out the Saros cycle – the cycle for when solar eclipses will repeat – 22 centuries ago. Recently it was discovered that the Saros cycle was built into the ancient Greek Antikythera mechanical computing mechanism dating to the second or third century BC – meaning the Greeks too were tracking the total eclipses.
Why this fascination with the total eclipse of the sun? While there are various theories why the ancients tracked them, modern day scientists use eclipses to discover things they couldn’t otherwise see due to the brightness of the sun. For example:
– A total eclipse of the sun was used to verify the notion of the curvature of space as predicted by Einstein’s theory of General
– The Corona around the sun – The solar disk is a million times brighter than the Corona3, so unless the sun is covered – as it is in an eclipse – you’ll never the corona.
The eclipse of the sun makes it possible to see the otherwise invisible corona (depicted above). This is similar to what God did for us that first Christmas. Scripture tells us God is invisible, and even if he weren’t, we still couldn’t see him because he lives in “unapproachable” light:
15 which God will bring about in his own time–God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords,
16 who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To him be honor and might forever. Amen.
1 Tim 6.15-16
17 Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be
honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.
1 Tim 1.17
How do you see one who is invisible; who lives in unapproachable light?
The lyrics of the Christmas hymn
Hark! the Herald Angels Sing gives us the answer:
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see
Hail the incarnate deity
Pleased as man with men to dwell
Jesus our Immanuel4
God, the invisible one was made visible by being “veiled in flesh” as the hymn puts it, nicely capturing the idea that in the incarnation, Jesus’ human flesh acted as the moon does during an eclipse, allowing us to see that which is normally invisible. The incarnation gives new meaning to the early confession “Jesus Christ has come in the flesh” (1 Jn 4.2) when we realize people who saw Jesus in the flesh were blessed to see the invisible God who lives in unapproachable light.
In “being made in human likeness.” (Php 2.7) God gives us the opportunity to know him and see what he is like. That we can see God through Jesus is why scripture tells us that Jesus is “the image of the invisible God” (Col 1.15), and that for those who saw Jesus, they got a glimpse of what the God the father is like, for as Jesus himself said, those who saw him, saw the father. (John 14.9)
So when you consider the baby in the manager this year, consider how great a gift God gave to the world. Not just the gift of his son – but the gift of a revelation of himself made possible by willfully eclipsing his own glory in order to allow us to see – as we do the sun’s corona when it’s in eclipse – the wonder and the beauty that is our creator, all wrapped up in the baby in the manger.
Duane Caldwell | posted 12/25/2014 | printer friendly version
2. Einstein’s theory of General Relativity says space is curved. If, so light should follow the curvature of space – particularly around massive bodies like the sun. This prediction was tested and verified during a total eclipse of the sun in May 1919 by British astronomer Arthur Eddington.
4 From the second stanza – Hark! the Herald Angels Sing
Note: Immanuel is Hebrew for “God with us”
There is no question that Hollywood knows how to make big, beautiful, epic, blockbuster movies with wide appeal. In that regard they are second to none. With the release of the recent Biblical themed movies – the latest of which is Exodus – Gods and Kings by Ridley Scott, the question for Christians is has Hollywood learned, or more appropriately, recalled how to do Biblical themed movies that Christians will both enjoy and approve of? I say ‘recalled’ because of course Hollywood used to know how to make such movies. Anyone who has seen Cecille B. DeMille’s Ten Commandments understands why it is regarded as the standard against which every other Biblical epic is judged.
To answer the question: no, Hollywood has not learned or has chosen not to recall how to make movies Christians can both enjoy and approve of. If Exodus – Gods and Kings is the gauge, then it’s clear Hollywood remains clueless in this regard – or perhaps more appropriately – remains willfully antagonistic toward the Christian messages inherent in Biblical themed movies.
This assessment stands in stark contrast to the article in Christianity Today
For Ridley Scott, director of films such as Gladiator (2000), Hannibal (2001) and American Gangster (2007) the account of the exodus is just another story. He could not possibly care less if it is a Biblical story that has theological meanings, symbolism and message. He doesn’t care if it is cherished by Jews and Christians the world over. He’s a story teller, and he’s going to do it his way. And do it his way he did.
After viewing the movie I sat down and wrote over 3 dozen inaccuracies and problems (from a Christian perspective) in the film without having to look hard or dig for them. What follows are what I consider to be 10 of the most egregious. After that I’ve included commentary on the ten reasons that Brett McCracken thinks it’s okay to see the film.
Here are links to the two sections:
1. How can faith be rational, when faith means believing in something with no evidence?
2. Is Faith/belief in God/belief in miracles compatible with science?
Starting with the second question – Faith in God and belief in miracles are compatible with science because faith and science are complimentary; not contradictory. There are questions that science is not equipped to handle. In such cases it doesn’t mean the item the question isn’t real; it simply means that science is incapable of answering the question. One such item, as author, scientist and theologian Alistair McGrath points out is this:
The answer clearly is no, science can’t answer it. And why not? Famous evolutionary biologist and historian of science Stephen Jay Gould suggests it’s because science and religion deal with different spheres of knowledge – “magisteria” as he called them – and they do not overlap. Science and religion are thus Non-Overlapping Magisteria (NOMA) – so the one can not comment on the other. This formulation is close. Science can not see or measure the spiritual world, so it can not comment on it; but God, who is spirit (John 4.24) sees both the spiritual and material world, and thus can comment on both as an eye witness. Thus regarding the creation of the world, what you have in Genesis 1 is an eye witness account of the creation of the heavens and the earth in 6 days, and recorded as evidence – a testimony for all time.
In passing, God as an eye witness to the creation is something science can not disprove. They can disagree with his testimony, (which they do) and disbelieve he even exists (which they do), but they can not prove he does not exist. Neither can they provide an eye witness to their version of creation – the big bang. They say believing God’s testimony can only be done by faith. Okay, so what is it when you believe George Washington was the first president? No one alive today was there to see it. All we have are testimonies. Is that not then, also faith? Yet no one asks scientists to prove George Washington was the first president, or prove that he existed. They take both to be true on the word of historians. Biblical testimony is no different. So why is faith in God’s written testimony any less rational than believing written testimonies that George Washington was the first president?
If doubters of the Biblical account still want “proof” one can say creationists have higher quality “proof” than scientists – since in addition to scientific evidence, creationists have an eye witness account by a perfect witness while science merely has a of highly disputed theory – the big bang which is backed by highly disputed evidence. Indeed the more we learn, the more the big bang is discredited. The universe is both too young for the theory to be true (for more on that see Saturn’s Rings are Young!) and recent discoveries like the Higgs Boson (the so called “god particle”) contradict the Big Bang theory. (For more on that see Testimony of the Higgs Boson.)
So faith expressed as belief that God exists is rational; it is consistent with how we use “faith” in other spheres, and it is consistent with science. But some people don’t agree with that assessment for reasons that take us back to the first question:
“How can faith be rational?” (implied: when science can’t see the evidence to prove it). This is perpetuated by a chorus of acolytes echoing the refrain:
What’s always amusing about these statements is the claim there is no evidence. Because the first thing they typically do is list the evidences then explain why they refuse to believe it. First off they want to eliminate the Bible as evidence because it’s well – the bible – a holy book. They never seem to realize they are committing the fallacy of a false analogy when they compare the Bible to a book of mythology or even other holy books. Unlike mythology and other “holy” books the Bible is full of verified history, fulfilled prophecy (we’ll note one below), known, verified historical people, and geographical locations that exist to this day that you can visit. That makes it a reliable source of information. In fact regarding reliability of the key section of the Bible that records the life, death and resurrection of Jesus – the New Testament – author and apologist Josh McDowell states:
|Interior – St. Peter’s Basilica as painted by Giovanni Paolo Panini||
Claims that there is no evidence that Jesus ever existed are simply untrue. Here’s why.
In the companion article, Is Faith Rational, I note that many atheists claim:
You’ll find this objection from bloggers and authors2 alike among other skeptics. In response, I pointed out 4 items that are historical or archaeological evidence of the existence of Jesus to silence this claim. They are:
In the companion article there was not space to discuss these issues, so here is that discussion.
Physical Evidences of Jesus’ Existence:
First, please note these are presented as evidences not proofs. It’s very difficult to “prove” anything that happened in the past. However what we do have left from events in the past is evidences that the event occurred. The following are evidences that Jesus existed.
1. St Peter’s Basilica; Cathedrals and Churches all over the world.
Before moving on – wait – I hear an atheist saying, based on that logic every pagan god for which a temple was built must also exist. Nice try. Let’s consider a pagan temple the Bible mentions – the temple of Artemis (Roman name: Diana) in the city of Ephesus. (Acts 19.27) and compare how people treat a mythical god with how they treat Jesus:
– Is Artemis worshipped in any significant way today? Does she have thousands of temples/churches?
– When swearing or cursing, does anyone swear by Artemis? Or use Artemis as an expletive?
– Does anyone claim Artemis loved mankind enough to become incarnate, live on earth and redeem mankind from his own sin and folly?
– Is time divided before and after the coming of Artemis?
– Does Artemis have an animal marked on its body with her symbol that carried her in triumph as Jesus does? (John 12.12-15) Has her symbol inspired kings and armies like the Chi Rho did Constantine and his army?
– Did Artemis prophesy anything that was fulfilled?
Whether you love Jesus and revere him or despise him and use his name as an expletive, clearly the responses to Jesus has always been, and always will be qualitatively and quantitatively different from any other so called god. This makes both the worship of Jesus and his places of worship also qualitatively different. There is an entire fabric of evidences that St Peter’s Basilica becomes part of strengthening the entire case for the existence of Jesus. The temple of Artemis [or substitute any false god – Zeus, whatever] is a single thread that simply reminds man of his tendency to idolatry and folly. So please, don’t bother with the comparisons to other fallen temples.
2. Nails From the the Cross of Jesus
While this find is helpful, what’s even more interesting is this: archeologist Simcha Jacobovici, noted that in the grave of the Caiaphas were two nails. He believes he has found the very nails used to affix Jesus to the cross, stating he has made: Continue Reading
|Where is the outrage over hundreds of bombs raining down on Israeli cities, and the oft stated intentions of Muslim radicals to wipe Israel off the face of the earth?|
How long would the United States tolerate terrorists bombing its capital Washington DC, or its financial center New York City? Well we already know the answer don’t we? When terrorists attacked the US on September 11, 2001 the US response was swift. On September 20, 2001 President George W. Bush declared a “War on Terror” and later vowed to capture the mastermind Osama bin Laden “dead or alive.”1 That sentiment resonated with the American voters and helped win him a second term. That was after one attack on a single day with four targets.
What would the response be if terrorists were raining down bombs by the hundreds over months and years?2 What if they regularly made statements to totally eradicate every last American? I submit the answer is obvious. Americans wouldn’t tolerate it, and would demand swift, decisive military action to eliminate the threat – as President Bush initiated against the war on terror. There would be no tolerance for hiding in bomb shelters nor a felt need to moderate the force used against the terrorists.
Why then does anyone have a problem with Israel’s actions to defend itself? Why the continued calls for Israel to back down on their defensese? Why the sympathetic articles towards the terrorist group Hamas by liberal papers like the The Washington Post? Why is the world, (not to mention her ally the United States), not rallying behind Israel supporting her 150%,? The answer is easy: As one Israeli Christian put it,
“…it is the very height of hypocrisy that the West, which sheds crocodile tears over the horrors faced by Christians in Iraq and Syria, then turns around and condemns Israel for defending its people against the very same horrors.”3
But why the hypocrisy? Another easy answer: Spiritual Blindness. The type of blindness that prevented the Pharisees from acknowledging that Jesus had healed a man born blind in fulfillment of prophecy and thus both demonstrating and asserting that he is the messiah.4
It’s the same type of spiritual blindness that keeps evolutionists from seeing all the evidences of design in God’s creation; that keeps big bang supporters from recognizing that you can not get a universe out of nothing; and the same type of blindness that keeps atheists who are angry with God from seeing that anger or disappointment over some evil in the world does not mean that God does not exist.
Scripture records Jesus reaction on one occasion to the stubbornness and spiritual blindness of those who refuse to answer even a simple a question lest their error and hypocrisy be revealed:
He looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts…
If you deny Israel’s right of self defense, or obvious things like the fact that universes don’t pop out of nothing, don’t be surprised to get this reaction from a Christian.
Let me close with a reminder to Christians:
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: May those who love you be secure.
Duane Caldwell | posted 7/31/2014 | Print format
1 Bush pledges to get bin Laden, dead or alive USAToday 12/14/2001
2 Hamas has showed Israel with hundreds of bombs with the intent to kill as many as possible – regarless of whether civilian, women or children and have targeted the capital Jerusalem, and the financial center Tel Aviv.
Hamas rockets reach Jerusalem and Tel Aviv Jerusalem Post 7/8/2014http://www.jpost.com/Operation-Protective-Edge/Iron-Dome-intercepts-second-rocket-over-greater-Tel-Aviv-361994
This tweet puts the number of rockets fired by Hamas at Israel at 3034 since the start of Operation Protective Edge
3 Israeli Christian Spokesman: Enough With Western Hypocrisy! Israel Today 7/30/2014
4 John 9.1-41; Isaiah 42.1-7
I was asked by multiple atheists – what if some other religious book were true? Here is the response.
|In the song “Nada One” Heart’s Nancy Wilson sings about an ephemeral, nocturnal love who has glowing, night creature eyes that frequents her dreams. This mysterious love seems to appear only in dreams where no one can see him. For even when wandering through streets, she describes this scene:
With such descriptions, one questions the reality of his existence. Indeed she herself seems to harbor a doubt or two since she must reminder herself “you are as real as I feel.” The one thing that’s not mysterious in this song, is what she means by “nada one.” Clearly “nada one” is a play on the sound of the phrase “not a one,” yet still, one must wonder – since it is always capitalized – if she’s using it as a proper noun – speaking or referring to a being named “Nada One.” The Wilson sisters were purposefully ambiguous for artistic purposes. But as we’ll see God is purposefully clear and unambiguous to eliminate doubt and nurture faith.
I was reminded of this song as I awaited responses to a question I had posed. Let me step back and explain. I saw the below tweet that informed people that last Thursday was “National Ask an Atheist Day.”
This seemed like a perfect opportunity to re-query the unbelieving regarding a question I had asked in a Continue Reading