googlef87758e9b6df9bec.html A Sure Word: March 2013

Sunday, March 31, 2013

An Easter Prayer

When therefore it was evening, on that day, the first day of the week, and when the doors were shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. And when he had said this, he showed unto them his hands and his side. The disciples therefore were glad, when they saw the Lord. Jesus therefore said to them again, Peace be unto you: as the Father hath sent me, even so send I you. And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Spirit: whose soever sins ye forgive, they are forgiven unto them; whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained. But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe. And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them. Jesus cometh, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and see my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and put it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God. Jesus saith unto him, Because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed. Many other signs therefore did Jesus in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book: but these are written, that ye may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye may have life in his name.
John 20:19-31

Thomas, known infamously as “Doubting Thomas,” refused to believe in the Resurrection until he had seen the risen Savior with his own eyes. When he saw Jesus alive, he addressed Him as, “my Lord and my God!” Thomas had become a believer.

Jesus told Thomas that those who believe without seeing will be blessed. We have not seen the resurrected Christ with our own eyes, but we have the account of His resurrection left by those who did witness it. John concluded this account with the words, “these are written, that ye may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye may have life in his name.

My prayer on this Easter is John's prayer – that you would believe in the living Savior and that, by believing, you would have life!

Happy Easter!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

The Resurrection is Not Like the Easter Bunny – but it is Like Jonah.

Then some of the Pharisees and teachers of the law said to him, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from you.” He answered, “A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.””
Matthew 12:38-40

When the Pharisees asked Jesus for a sign to validate the authority of what He taught, He promised them only one sign, the sign of His resurrection. Interestingly, He compared His resurrection to the Old Testament account of Jonah. In the same way that Jonah was in the belly of the sea creature for three days, Jesus would be in the tomb for three days.

Jesus often used familiar events from the Old Testament to teach the New Testament believers about Himself. Consider this passage where Jesus talks about His second coming:

As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.”
Matthew 27:37-39

Let's think about these analogies for a moment. I've heard many liberal Christians claim that many, most, or even all of the fantastic “stories” in the Old Testament are just that – stories. Jonah did not live inside a whale. David did not kill a 9 feet tall giant. Noah didn't really build an ark. Moses did not really part the Red Sea. What's more, most of these liberal Christians not only deny the event, they also deny the characters. There was no Jonah. There was no David. There was no Noah. There was no Moses. All of these events, and even all of these people, are just analogies. They're parables – just like the parables that Jesus taught. They teach a spiritual truth but weren't physical realities.

Here's the dilemma that I see. If Jonah was a parable, then is the resurrection also a parable? Did Jesus really rise from the dead after three days or does the Bible only say He rose from the dead in order to teach some “spiritual truth”? Likewise, how do we know that Jesus is literally coming again? If the Flood didn't literally happen, then maybe the Second Coming is just another parable that Jesus told.

Would it really make any sense for Jesus to compare a real event to an incredible one? Remember, this is more than a simple analogy.  Using a hypothetical example that someone can understand is a powerful, rhetorical tool.  But in these cases, we're talking about fantastic events.  What if I said, “Just like the Easter Bunny hides eggs for children to find, we also should his His words in our hearts”? Or maybe, “We exchange gifts at Christmas because Santa brings gifts every Christmas”? You can see how comparing a literal truth to a fictional account can actually diminish the point being made.

Furthermore, if we begin assigning the label of “parable” to any event or person we find too incredible, then on what grounds can we claim any part of the Bible is true? How do we know, for example, that Jesus Himself was a real person? After all, if Jonah wasn't real, and if Noah wasn't real, then how do we know Jesus was indeed a real person in history? Maybe the entire Person of Jesus is an analogy meant to represent God's presence among His people.

Believing that events from the Old Testament events are myths has consequences when considering New Testament events. How can someone claim to believe in a literal Second Coming if he refuses to believe in a literal Flood? If someone believes that Jonah wasn't really in a fish three days, then how can he believe Jesus was really in the tomb three days? To what literary clues can he point to distinguish between myth and reality (besides his own credulity)?

I believe the plain reading of the words of the Bible conveys the most obvious meaning. Simply hermeneutics tells us when Jesus is speaking in parables and when He is speaking about real events. The Second Coming is a real event. The Flood was a real event. Any attempt to allegorize some events in the Bible while affirming others is nothing more than special pleading.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Barking Up the Wrong Tree

Have I mentioned that liberals annoy me? I'm pretty sure I have. Did I mention too how they are brain damaged? Yes, I know I did. Well, I'm saying it again.

Jim Carrey, a typical, Hollywood-type liberal, recently made a video parodying Charlton Heston and the NRA. He calls it, “Cold Dead Hand,” a spoof on the line Charlton Heston often used during speeches: “I'll give up my gun when they pry it from my cold dead hand.” You can watch the video for yourself but here are some of the lyrics from the song:

Imagine if the lord were here
And he knew what you’ve been thinkin’
Would his sacred heart be sinkin'
Into the canyon of dismay

And on the ones who sell the guns
He’d sick the vultures and coyotes
Only the devil’s true devotees
Could profiteer from pain and fear

Those last two lines are the funniest (“funny” in an ironic sort of way). “Only the devil's true devotees could profiteer from pain and fear”? Really? Why is it that Hollywood constantly churns out movies portraying pain and fear via people being murdered with guns, on screen, in graphic detail? Even Mr. Carrey himself has been known to use guns in his films on more than a couple of occasions. Oh! And did I mention that all liberals are also hypocrites? I thought so.

Now, in the video, Carrey dons a cowboy hat, a western style shirt, and cowboy boots. He even feigns a southern accent by dropping the “g” at the end of words like “thinkin'” and “sinkin'.” I grew up in KY and cowboy hats aren't really a southern things as much as it is a western thing but I know what he's getting at. He making fun of rural people in general – those that some people might call “red necks.” They're the kind that President Obama said clings to their guns and Bibles.

Being from the south myself, I know a lot of gun owners. I even own a few guns myself. I just took my daughter shooting on her 20th birthday. On my son's 10th birthday, I gave him a rifle that once belonged to my father. My dad was an avid hunter, fisherman, and outdoors man in general. Gun racks in the back windows of pickup trucks were a common sight in the 70s. Dads even dropped off their kids at school with their rifles in plain sight. Really! Guns are a part of our culture. But in all those years, and of all my friends and family who own guns, I've never known anyone who has murdered someone with a gun.

Are there gun crimes in Louisville? Yes, of course. But there is less gun crime here than in some place like Chicago or Los Angeles. My question, then, is why is Jim Carrey (and the others of his ilk) so worried about rural people with guns? We're the law abiding ones. We're the responsible gun owners. Why doesn't Carrey parody... I don't know... maybe something like hip hop music? You know, the kind of songs that actually sing about killing people. Isn't that the kind of music that a lot of gang members (I.e – gun users and murderers) listen to? What would Carrey say about the following lyrics, for example?

I'm a wreckin cappin money stackin
Pistol packin son of a bitch
I'm throwed I'm so throwed in the club
And I got my gun in this bitch
Yeah I know you like my whip
But leave it at that cause I ain't no punk
Got a diamond in the back
And a sunroof top
Everytime I cock my glock I dunk
Forty five in my shotgun pump
Blow you out yo g*d damn socks nigga

Liberals are barking up the wrong tree.  They waste their breath condemning law abiding citizens and utter not a peep about people who actually shoot and kill people.  When gun crimes occur, Hollywood liberals rush to condemn the NRA, then will hang out and party with gansta rappers.

I know that many people from rural America aren't as “progressive” and cosmopolitan as folks on the coasts.  Liberals shun us like they have a phobia.  Frankly, I don't see the advantage of living in a city where there are 6 murders committed over the average weekend.

Like I said, liberals are brain damaged.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Still Another Lie that Evolutionists Tell

A few years ago, I wrote “Five Lies that Evolutionists Tell.” A few months ago, I added a “6th Lie That Evolutionists Tell.” Would it be too tired theme if I were to now add a 7th? Perhaps I should throw in some of Eugenie Scott's whoppers and just make a Top Ten list. Nah. Maybe I'll do a top ten list later. For now, let's stick to a 7th lie that evolutionists tell.

This lie comes from Talk Origins' “Frequently Asked But Never Answered Questions” (FABNAQ). Actually, these questions have been answered many times on the net so even the title is a lie so the following question is a lie within a lie. Anyway, here it is:

Why is there the remarkable coherence among many different dating methods -- for example: radioactivity, tree rings, ice cores, corals, supernovas [sic] -- from astronomy, biology, physics, geology, chemistry and archeology?

The lie in the question rests in the premise that there is a “remarkable coherence among many different dating methods.”

Before I go any further, there's something I cannot let pass without comment. “Radioactivity” is not a dating method. Neither are “corals” nor “supernovas.” It's a typical tactic of evolutionists to spout off technical sounding words as though they're making an argument. The technical term for this fallacy is argumentum verbosium. These words might sound scientific but they don't mean anything in the context in which they are used.

Of course, I think I know what they're trying to say; when they say, “coral,” for example, they probably mean that we can observe how rapidly coral grows and then we can try to extrapolate backward to determine how long it's been growing. But then again, perhaps they are intentionally misusing the word in order to give the impression that “coral,” all by itself, is evidence for their theory. They could have said, “radiometric dating, dendrochronology, the growth rate of coral, etc...” but they didn't. They have used these words incorrectly – either out of ignorance or intentionally. So we not only have a question where the premise is a lie, the question doesn't even make sense anyway. By using these words this way, they put creationists in the position of seeming to argue against “radioactivity” rather than the veracity of “radiometric dating.”

Moving on now, let's get to the fundamental premise of the question. The simple fact of the matter is that there is no “remarkable” coherence of different dating methods. Such a coherence only occurs when evolutionists interpret the data according to their theory. In other words, evolutionists begin with the assumption that their theory is true, they arrange the data to fit the time lines they've already assumed to be true, then they pat themselves on the back because the data seems to support their theory.

Do you think I'm kidding? Let's look as some of the “dating methods” that TO suggested are remarkably cohesive. Dendrochronology studies tree rings to estimate the age of a tree or grove. It's a little more sophisticated than just counting the rings. Dendrochronology can only estimate to a maximum age measured in thousands of years. Astronomy is the study of stars. Scientists have developed theories concerning the life cycle of stars and all theories suggest that the life of stars is measured in millions or billions of years. So tell me, exactly how remarkably do “supernovas” comport with “tree rings”?

Likewise, archeology studies human history. Human civilization, according to evolutionary theory, only goes back a few hundred thousand years. Many radiometric dating methods are not considered accurate on samples less than a few million years old. It seems obvious that these dating methods do not support each other.

TalkOrigins also suggested that dating methods within biology correspond with other disciplines like geology. I imagine that it does as long as scientists date fossils according to where they appear in the geological column. They might date a certain species of dinosaur to 80 millions years ago, for example. If later, the same species is found in rocks believed to be 120 million years old, the age of the dinosaur is simply inflated to match the new data. A 50% error in the previous estimate isn't enough to cause doubt in the minds of scientists. The headlines will read something like, “New find shows x-species is older than previously thought” and scientists will continue touting the alleged coherence of their dating methods.

But just how reliable is radiometric dating anyway? Rocks formed during the eruption of Mt St Helens in 1986 were dated using Potassium-Argon dating and yielded ages between .35 million and 2.8 million years old. In this case, radiometric dating could not even corroborate the known age of these rocks!

In another case, Andrew Snelling had commissioned a secular lab to test some fossilized wood that had been encased in basalt. Carbon dating on the wood yielded an age of 37,500 years. However, K-Ar dating on the basalt yielded an age of 47.5 million years. So which is the correct date – 37,500 or 47.5 million years?

The seeming coherence of different dates is also propped up by the willingness of evolutionists to completely ignore data that contradicts their theories. A few years back, I wrote about trace fossils (human footprints) found in volcanic ash in Mexico. Radiometric dating on the ash yielded an age of 1.3 million years. This doesn't fit at all with evolutionary theory which says modern humans are only around 200,000 years and didn't arrive in Mexico until around 40K years ago. The only way to make the data seem to jibe is to assume 1) the ash is not really 1.3 million years old (thus admitting the radiometric date isn't valid), 2) modern humans were really in Mexico 1.3 million years ago, 3) somehow, modern footprints were recently left on ash that is 1.3 million years old, or 4) they aren't really footprints no matter how much they look like footprints.

This post has gone on a little too long but I have to mention carbon dating. As I've said already, many radiometric dating methods are only considered accurate on samples that are more than a few million years old. Carbon-14 (14C) has a half life of only 5,730 years and so is used to date organic materials less than 100,000 years or so. After 100,000 years, there should be no 14C left in the sample. The RATE research project at the Institute for Creation Research found 14C to be virtually ubiquitous. For example, they found detectable amounts of 14C in coal samples yielding a carbon date between 48-50K years for coal believed 40-320 million years old according to conventional dating methods. They also dated diamond samples – believed to be 1-2 billion years old – to be only 55,000 years old according to carbon dating.

TalkOrigins' question is sort of like the old question, “Have you stopped beating your wife?” It suffers from a flawed premise. The only thing in common between many dating methods is that scientists have carefully arranged the data to force it to fit their theory.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Luke 7:11-17: A funny thing happened on the way to Nain

Soon afterward, Jesus went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd went along with him. As he approached the town gate, a dead person was being carried out—the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the town was with her. When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, “Don’t cry.”
Then he went up and touched the bier they were carrying him on, and the bearers stood still. He said, “Young man, I say to you, get up!” The dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother.
They were all filled with awe and praised God. “A great prophet has appeared among us,” they said. “God has come to help his people.” This news about Jesus spread throughout Judea and the surrounding country.
Luke 7:11-17

Besides His own resurrection, there are three other times recorded in the Bible where Jesus raised someone from the dead. The resurrection of Lazarus usually gets the most press but it's hard to say that one resurrection could somehow be more “impressive” than any other. As far as life lessons, it's my opinion that this account, where Jesus raised the widow's son at Nain, paints the most remarkable picture of a relationship with Jesus.

In the early, first century, being a widow was especially difficult. The usual trades of people in this area – fishing, farming, and shepherding – were often too physically demanding for an older woman. What's worse, Roman and Jewish laws concerning property rights favored men. Women often could not defend themselves against aggressive creditors nor thieves.

When a man died, the role of leadership would fall to the oldest son.  Since this woman is identified as a widow, she certainly would have already come to rely on her son. Now her son – her only son – had died also. She had virtually lost everything. As she led the procession to bury him, she not only mourned the loss of someone she loved, she also must have been worrying about her own fate.

Then Jesus came along.

Just as the widow had a large crowd following her, Jesus also had a large crowd following Him. It's very likely, too, that in the crowd that followed Jesus, there were some widows. There were probably also some people who had lost sons and daughters. In many ways, the crowds resembled each other. They would have both had men and women, old people and young, and widows and orphans. The primary difference between the two groups is that one followed Jesus and the other didn't.

It's hard to not compare these two groups to the saved and the lost. In most ways, Christian's lives are not significantly different than unbelievers'. Matthew 5:45 affirms that God sends rain on both the righteous and the unrighteous. When we become saved, we're not promised a life of ease. We face all the same trials that the lost face. The difference is, we now have Jesus.

Look at the differences Jesus made at Nain:

One group was sad; the other group was happy.
One group mourned someone who had lost everything; the other group celebrated the One who had made everything.
One group had seen sick people die; the other group had seen sick people healed.
One group was on their way to a tomb; the other group was on their way to a resurrection!

What a difference Jesus makes! The widow was on her way to bury her son and Jesus was on His way to raise him to life again.

When we face trials, we should never despair because we don't face them alone. I'll leave you with the words of John 16:33:

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”