Sunday, October 20, 2013

Un-Apologetic, Part 2: Miracles

Why did Jesus perform miracles? I know you may be thinking, "Wait a second, I thought we were talking about evolution? What do miracles have to do with anything?" Actually, it has a lot more than you may realize. Sure, God is interested in restoring things and providing for those in need, which explains why He healed so many people and made little bits of bread and fish go ridiculously long ways. But how do you explain such things as turning water into wine, or walking on water, or calming the raging sea with His voice? I suppose you could explain them merely as object lessons (which they were), but more than that, they say something about who Jesus was (and is).

Let's begin by looking at the latter example from Matthew 8:23-27:

"Now when He got into a boat, His disciples followed Him. And suddenly a great tempest arose on the sea, so that the boat was covered with the waves. But He was asleep. Then His disciples came to Him and awoke Him, saying, 'Lord, save us! We are perishing!'
But He said to them, 'Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?' Then He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. So the men marveled, saying, 'Who can this be, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?'"

It's clearly understood from the text that what happened here was not a mere passing of a storm. No, this is something that defied the laws of nature. I've heard people describe miracles in broader terms, but for the sake of this here argument, that's what I'm talking about.

What did such signs accomplish? Well, for starters, it gave His followers a reason to believe. John 2:11, which follows the account of the wine from water miracle, says, "This beginning of signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory; and His disciples believed in Him." Even many among those who had not become followers couldn't deny the power implied by His miracles. In Acts 2:22 Peter appeals to them, "Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know—" There's a common knowledge among all mankind that miracles are from a higher power. Why is that? Well, because we understand deep down that God, by His very nature, is above the laws of nature that He established.

So what does this have to do with evolution? As I mentioned in the previous post, evolution is born from the viewpoint of naturalism, which by its very definition requires that all things natural be conformed to the laws of nature, and their coming into existence be subject to those laws. Theistic evolution assumes that where the theory of evolution ends, God steps in and fills the gaps. What I mean is, evolution explains how we came about through naturalistic processes, but God gave the initial spark, and from this point forward simply holds the universe together according to the laws of nature. That's not to say that He's not involved in our lives, or doesn't answer our prayers, or wasn't responsible for our souls being born. In fact, you'd be hard-pressed to find any Christians who view God in such a hands-off kind of way. The difference with young-earth creationists like myself is that we disagree that God was bound to the laws of nature when it came to the creation of the universe. We believe that the creation account in Genesis was an account of miraculous historical events.

Understanding that miracles are a sign that God holds power over the laws of nature, it seems hard to believe that He would have limited Himself in any way in the act of creating. God is not a slave to the laws He created. If He were, those laws would be god, and God would be no different than Bertrand Russell's floating teapot in space or the Flying Spaghetti Monster, whichever you prefer. This is why I have no problem with issues concerning such things as the distance of the stars in relation to the speed of light. From a purely naturalistic point-of-view, it would be impossible for their light to reach us in a young-earth scenario. But if God wanted the light to reach us so we could be reminded of His glory in the heavens, He could make it happen instantaneously, just as He instantaneously calmed the seas. Time is not a restraint for God. In fact, God transcends time. He is eternal, which is a concept that we as humans are simply incapable of grasping. We are limited in our understanding to the things of this universe that we are bound to because that's all we know. How can we possibly comprehend God without being God? In our modern thinking, we seek to put everything in a box, but God cannot be contained. Why not instead embrace the mystery of His greatness? 

My great concern for the adherents of theistic evolution moving forward is, "Where does it end?" When you give credence to the consensus opinion of the naturalistic science community in this area, will you also adopt their views as they develop consensus theories on how the stuff that became the universe (pre-"Big Bang"), time, and the first life began? This is why I began this study from the conspiracy angle. As long as you give respect to the views of those who greatly desire to define your existence apart from God, you will continue to see your understanding of God's power erode until all you're left with is a hope for God's existence with no grounding in reality: blind faith in the Incredible Shrinking God. Such a god is no God at all, because any god whose power is subject to the opinion of godless Man is inferior to him, thus making Man god. Where will you draw the line in the sand? How far will you follow them down the godless-shaped hole that is naturalism? The day is fast approaching when they will have all the "answers." Are you ready to defend your faith?

"Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men." (1 Corinthians 1:20-25)

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Un-Apologetic, Part 1: Conspiracy Theory

In the months ahead, my postings here are going to be aimed at convincing my fellow Christians that the Bible, and particularly the Book of Genesis, is historically accurate. You may be a firm believer that evolution and Christianity can coexist peacefully, but I will do my very best to prove otherwise. To do so, I'm going to be frequently referencing the Bible, assuming that the reader accepts the authority of the Bible as God's Word. If you already believe that God created the world in six days, as I do, I hope that this will help to confirm your faith, and maybe give you some tools to use in defending yourself from growing opposition within the Church.

I thought I'd start with a very basic biblical truth: This world is greatly deceived by the Devil and his demons. Revelation 12:9 says, "So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him." This verse is important because it not only tells us how influential the enemy is in our world, but it links us back to the very beginning in the Garden of Eden. In Genesis 3:1 the serpent asked Eve, "Has God indeed said, 'You shall not eat of every tree of the garden'?" The question is an attack on the truth of God's Word, an attack that continues to this day. When Adam and Eve disregarded what God said, not only they, but their children and all of humanity thereafter suffered the consequences.

We see much the same thing happening today when it comes to the teaching of evolution. The idea was born of the atheistic worldview of naturalism. Webster's Dictionary defines naturalism as "a theory denying that an event or object has a supernatural significance; specifically :  the doctrine that scientific laws are adequate to account for all phenomena." My Christian friends who believe in evolution must admit that this is a lie. The theory of evolution was born of the need to explain the universe without a creator. As naturalism is taught as reality in contrast to the "stories" of the Bible, children are growing up, moving out on their own, and promptly leaving the Church in droves. Many of those whose parents embraced theistic evolution just don't see the need to add God to the equation.

I know the objections. "But evolution is proven scientific fact!" I don't have time to deal with all the contradictory evidences. You can easily find such things at Answers in Genesis or the Institute for Creation Research. I'm more of a logical kind of guy. Nothing describes the world and the state of our existence so truthfully as the Bible. The way it describes me is so spot-on, I know there's a wisdom there that rises above anything that the world has to offer. That wisdom is the truth of God. The "truth" according to atheistic scientists is evolution, which remains pure speculation. If it were true, it would be quite easy to prove in the fossil record. Oh yeah, I wasn't going to get into those details… Long story short, I trust God's Word. I don't trust those who don't believe because they lack wisdom. Proverbs 1:7 says, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction." It's not because they're deliberately deceitful, but because they are deceived. 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12 says, "The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness."

"Now wait a second! This sounds like some kind of wacko conspiracy theory!" Well, yes. It is. The truth is, there is a giant conspiracy plotted by the Devil and his demons, involving many unwitting participants (including atheistic scientists, college professors, etc.), whose purpose is to spread lies that steal people away from eternity with God. You can see the fruit of their work with each passing generation as our western culture is becoming increasingly secular and atheistic. Those most devoted to the cause reflect the heart of their deceiver with their mockery of those of us who believe God's Word, especially the historical account of Genesis.

Here's a thought to ponder: If God used evolution, why does knowledge of this "truth" lead so many away from Him? How does this jive with the following?: "Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, 'If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.' They answered Him, 'We are Abraham's descendants, and have never been in bondage to anyone. How can You say, 'You will be made free'? Jesus answered them, 'Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed." (John 8:31-36) Is it not true that belief in evolution has resulted in countless young people forsaking their God-given purpose and chasing after the life of sin that enslaves them?

I'll conclude this chapter with the following encouragement:
"Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints…" (Ephesians 6:11-18)