A Dinosaur by any other name …

A Therapod dinosaur, AIG's Creation Museum, KY

The title is of course a play on the line from Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet, where Juliet laments the fact that her new found love Romeo is from the family of Montague. The two families, the Montagues and Juliet’s family, the Capulets, have been feuding for some time, which sometimes erupted into dueling. The animosity between the two families sets the background for the play. Juliet expresses her dismay with the famous discourse that begins with “O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?” and includes the lines:

‘Tis but thy name that is my enemy;
Thou art thyself, though not a Montague.
What’s Montague? It is nor hand, nor foot,
Nor arm, nor face, nor any other part
Belonging to a man. O, be some other name!
What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet
;

Juliet’s well put and clear meaning being that Romeo would still be Romeo if he were called by any other name. Which is where we pick it up concerning dinosaurs.

Dinosaurs by Any Other Name are Still Dinosaurs

I originally wanted to call this article “Dragons are Dinosaurs.” But dinosaurs are also called by other names and perhaps just as importantly the term “Dinosaur” is limited to land-dwelling creatures, but I want to cover flying and swimming creatures as well. Continue Reading

An Ontological Argument for Hell (and a plea – Be saved!)

Heaven or hell. Both exist. Choose life! Choose heaven.

Perhaps you’ve heard of the ontological argument for the existence of God. If not, I’ve written about it here[1], here[2] and here[3]. But this time, I’m not speaking of the existence of God, I’m speaking of a corollary necessary truth: the ontological argument for the existence of hell.

I should dispense with a technicality up front. “Hell” is actually the holding place of torment for unbelievers until the final judgment (Luke 16.23, Rev 20.13 KJV). Unbelievers are held in hell until the final judgment at the Great White Throne Judgment (Rev 20.11),  whereupon those who have not believed God and trusted in Christ for salvation, but instead have repeatedly rejected God’s gift of salvation, will be tossed in the Lake of Fire (Rev 20.15), there to spend eternity in torment. Since both are places of torment, for the purposes of this article, I will call both “Hell”, though technically, the final, eternal destination of the lost is the Lake of Fire.

Why, you might wonder, would you ever want to prove the existence of hell – that most feared place among those who truly understand it? There are two simple reasons: Continue Reading

Miracles: Impossible or Improbable?

Matthew (writer of the gospel) - upon witnessing the miraculous catch of fish

Matthew – “It’s impossible.” The Chosen Episode. 4 “The Rock On Which it is Built”

In “Evidence is for believers, not mockers” I make the case that miracles, one of the strongest proofs of the truth of the gospels, and a validation of the message and ministry of Jesus, is meant for those who already believe, or are ready to believe. They are not meant for mockers like hardened atheists and agnostics or doubters not really looking for the truth. This is true for a number of reasons which I list in the article, so I won’t repeat them here.  I’ll simply encourage you to read the article for the detailed reasons.

As I watched The Chosen (an excellent series I highly recommend about the life of Jesus starting with the call (the choosing) of the disciples) I noticed that they gave a strong defense for why that thesis is true – that miracles are for believers, not unbelievers and mockers. The difference in the approach between those willing to believe and those unwilling to believe a miracle can be seen in how they answer this question: Was that impossible, or merely improbable? Continue Reading

Who Can See the Resurrection? (A meditation)

The risen Messiah is revealed to Mary Magdalene

Jesus reveals himself to Mary Magdalene at the empty tomb. “The Bible”, Ep 10 “Courage”

A resurrection day meditation 

In the palm Sunday service this past Sunday, the pastor at my church mentioned that “the great crowd” (John 12.12) that had come out to see Jesus was huge. He mentioned it was likely multiple tens of thousand of people, something I hadn’t considered before. That’s a staggering number. So like a good Berean (Acts 17.11), I got out my Bible history to check.

Sure enough, in “Jerusalem in the Time of Jesus” in an excursus on the number of visitors to Jerusalem during the Passover, Bible historian Jeremias summarizes: Continue Reading

As Obvious as the Falsity of Evolution

With the events of the past week concerning the capitol and the president that we’ve all seen to some degree or another, what I’m about to say is already obvious. But since I had already planned to write this article, I’ll go ahead and say it anyway. Content warning: I’ll be speaking much more bluntly than I normally do regarding both the gospel and the country. Given the topic and the times, this is no time to mince words. Continue Reading

Knowledge of the Holy One Part 5: The Trinity

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”
Prov 9:10

 

Who is the Holy One?

Having laid down the foundation, we can now answer the question, who is the Holy One? Answering the questions will of course also allow us to answer who the Holy One is not.

In the previous articles the ground work was laid for stating explicitly what scripture presents implicitly. We see God revealed in a number of ways in scripture. The revelations we are given are of a holy, transcendent God who exists as: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Yet there is one God. Not three Gods, one God. Three persons sharing one divine essence with all its qualities: omniscience, omnipotence, omnipresence, etc. Not one God switching between three roles (modalist Unitarianism), rather we see God revealed as one God eternally existing as three distinct persons. This is the Holy One presented in scripture. From the time he first refers to himself, God does so using plural pronouns:

“Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness,”
Gen 1.26

Continue Reading

Knowledge of the Holy One Part 4: The Holy Spirit

The Filling of the Indwelling Spirit


In scripture we have a very clear picture of Jesus, the Son of God as we saw in part 1. Since he is the only means of salvation (Acts 4.12) that is to be expected. We also have a very clear picture of God the Father. The sacrificing love of God the Father is also clear in scripture, from the love that covered the sin of Adam and Eve and promised a savior (Gen 3.21, 3.15), to his gift of salvation offered to the world (John 3.16) as we saw in the previous article. And now we come to the third person of the holy Trinity: God the Holy Spirit. Though he is as active in all aspects of salvation and all that God does, as are the first and second person, for reasons that will soon become apparent, he is not seen in revelations as often as the first and second person of the Trinity. Why is that? We’ll answer that in the course of answering our main question:

Who is God the Holy Spirit?

In scripture, we often see the father revealed in a couple of common ways: as the “Ancient of Days” (Dan 7.9), and perhaps even more often only as the glory of God, the dwelling presence of God known in Jewish circles as the Shekinah glory of God. (Ex 29.43, 33.22; Rev 15.8, 21.23). Continue Reading

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 2: Jesus – The Holy One Denied

Fun house mirrors are amusing for a short time. Like caricatures they emphasize some features while diminishing others – or making them completely disappear. But the reason they’re enjoyable is because you know what the true image looks like, and you’re only seeing the distortion for a short time for amusement. And everyone looking at the distortion knows it’s a distortion. That’s why you stand before the distorting mirrors in the first place – to be amused by how the mirror will distort your features.

 But how would you feel if all that people knew about you was the distorted image? What if they never saw the real you, the undistorted you? What if all your life you had to deal with people thinking that you were in fact the distortion they saw?

Contents

Continue Reading

This Easter, don’t miss the Big Picture


Tapestry depicting the resurrection hanging in the Vatican Museum

A Resurrection Day Meditation

Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, “You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!”
Matt 27.39-40

As I came to this passage while meditating on the passion narrative two things came to mind – a question and a conclusion.  The question:  If Jesus did come down from the cross, would those who hurled insults and mocked him have believed he was in fact the Son of God? The conclusion: No, most if not all who mocked would not have believed. The reason: there’s a recurring theme in scripture that talks about the spiritual blindness of people. It’s described as having eyes to see, but not seeing.[1] I’ll paraphrase it as missing the big picture.

Mockers at the Cross Miss the Big Picture

With the exception of the centurion who realized by his manner of death that Jesus was the Son of God (Mark 15.39), those at the cross who hurled insults were no doubt oblivious to the truth of Jesus’ identity and the many spiritual dynamics going on at the cross: That Jesus, the Son of God was, making atonement for the whole world (John 3.16) by dying in our stead on the cross. (1 Pe 3.18)  And though Jesus could have commanded he be taken off the cross by angels (Matt 26.53); as Jesus had already pointed out to his disciples, if he did that, how would the scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen this way (Matt 26.54) – with his death on a cross? Continue Reading