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Atheist Tuesday: Evidence 101

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For years now, the atheists at this blog have been clamoring for proof of God, the existence of Jesus Christ, the veracity of the Bible, etc; so I have decided to provide an occasional series on Atheist Tuesdays concerning the evidences that most Christians see as reason enough to believe.

Now, I must confess that I did not come to faith in Jesus Christ because of evidence or proof. I came to him because I was at the end of my rope, ready to lose everything. I heard a message at a Christian 12 step program at my church that explained how I was a sinner, how I deserved Hell, and how I could be forgiven by repenting of my sin and putting my trust in Jesus Christ who suffered and died on a cross, was buried for three days and rose again. And I believed it! (You can watch, hear or read my testimony by clicking here.)

I understand that there will be many who refuse to believe. Even after I present these evidences—and more after—even then they won’t be good enough. Nevertheless, here is the first batch. These come from my friend Tony Yu (The JW Preacher), who has a blog called “Systematic Evangelism.”

Below is the cover of his new tract. Click “Read the rest of the entry” to examine the evidences he presents. I will provide the link for you to read the remainder so that you may critique the validity of his tract at the end of the post. Go for it atheists!

Now for some of the evidences:

 Who is God?

How can we know who God is? We can know who God is because only God can tell the future before it happens. Only the God of the Bible has ever foretold the future perfectly, over and over again. This is called fulfilled prophecy.

1. The Virgin Birth of Jesus: Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel (which means God-Is-With-Us). ~ Isaiah 7:14 Foretold 700 years before Christ

Fulfilled in Matthew 1:23: “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.”

2. The Crucifixion of Jesus: For dogs have surrounded Me; The congregation of the wicked has enclosed Me. They pierced My hands and My feet. ~ Psalm 22:16

Foretold 1,000 years before Christ Fulfilled in Luke 23:33. And when they had come to the place called Calvary, there they crucified Him, and the criminals, one on the right hand and the other on the left.

3. Gambling for Jesus’ Clothes: They divide My garments among them, And for My clothing they cast lots. ~ Psalm 22:18

Foretold 1,000 years before Christ Fulfilled in Luke 23:34. Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” And they divided His garments and cast lots.

4. Jesus Betrayed for Thirty Pieces of Silver: So I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw them into the house of the LORD for the potter. ~ Zechariah 11:13

Foretold 500 years before Christ Fulfilled in Matthew 27:3, 5. Then Judas, His betrayer, seeing that He had been condemned, was remorseful and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders…Then he threw down the pieces of silver in the temple and departed, and went and hanged himself.

5. Beaten, whipped, spat on: I gave My back to those who struck Me, And My cheeks to those who plucked out the beard; I did not hide My face from shame and spitting. ~ Isaiah 50:6

Foretold 700 years before Christ Fulfilled in Matthew 26:67. Then they spat in His face and beat Him; and others struck Him with the palms of their hands.

6. God becomes a man: For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. ~ Isaiah 9:6

Foretold 700 years before Christ Fulfilled in John 1:1, 14. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. And the Word (God) became flesh and dwelt among us…

Continue to examine the rest of the evidence at Tony’s blog by clicking here.

*****

Image #1 from Institute for Creation Research. Image #2 from EveryStudent.com

121 Comments

  1. Thanks Steve I really appreciate that you have put together a thought-out case.

    Re: the tract.
    “The universe is complex, more complex than the white house”
    If the universe was somehow created, the creator is far more complex and therefore requires its own explanation.

    “Atheists must believe nothing created everything”
    Unfortunately not. In addressing the first point I assume you will say something along the lines of God always existed or he is outside causality, etc. The reality is these arguments actually apply in a far more realistic sense to the universe without the added complication of a deity. I can explain more if you like or if someone thinks this is incorrect.

    I would also like to point out anyone handing out this section is endanger of hellfire by your own philosophy: Matthew 5:22.

    “God is self-evident”
    This is incorrect. Plenty of people believe that different deities are evident and some remote tribes find no gods to be evident. Therefore god is clearly not self evident. Furthermore arguing that there is a firmament is plain silly, I hope you agree.

  2. Re: your own evidences.

    All of these would certainly be evidence for Jesus if they were verified, but unfortunately they are not.

    Historiography demands more from a miraculous claim than a biased book written after the fact declaring a prophecy was fulfilled. For example we believe Alexander the Great conquered the known world, we do not believe he was a deity.

    It is for the exact same reaons we do not believe in Jesus, that you do not believe Achilles was immortal bar a weak spot on his ankle simply because it is written in the Illiad.

  3. Well, you’re right: that’s not going to convince the unbelievers (including myself) who often post here.

    The complexity argument doesn’t work, because complexity is not evidence of design. A crowbar is a remarkably simple item, but it’s still designed; an apple tree is vastly more complex, but isn’t the product of human artifice. If we find a watch in the desert, we may safely assume that someone built it… but only because we already know that watches do not occur on their own. Dandelions are, in their way, vastly more complex than watches, but they do occur on their own – quite frequently, and often despite my best efforts to remove them from my lawn.

    When it comes to the Universe, we have no such basis for comparison. Do Universes come into existence on their own, or do they require a creator? We can’t tell; we can’t see outside of this one, so we have nothing to compare it to. The fact that the Universe exists is really only evidence that the Universe exists.

    The Evidence Of Prophecy has specific problems, depending on which specific example of prophecy you use; but as a whole it suffers from the same issues that any evidence from the Bible will inevitably have: the prophecies and the evidence come from the Bible, which is to say that they come from Christianity. So in essence this “evidence” is the fact that Christianity says that Christianity is true. Which is pretty much what I’d expect, regardless of whether Christianity is true, false, or just a little bit off-base.

    To be fair, none of that is evidence that Christianity is false, either. It just isn’t evidence – let alone proof – that it’s true.

    • Michael Mock wrote: “The complexity argument doesn’t work, because complexity is not evidence of design.”

      This is exactly why God calls atheist fools. You MUST abandon your intellect to deny God’s existence because everything in nature demands God’s existence.

      Complexity is absolutely evidence of design. If you saw one stone on the ground in the forest, you could consider that to be simple. There is no proof that someone intentionally placed that stone there. However, if you saw 1,000,000 stones on the ground forming the all the words of to the play Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare, you could consider that to be complex. By your argument, you would say that those stones just happened to write out every word of the play Romeo and Juliet; that it was a natural formation; that it was purely an accident; that there was no proof of design because complexity is not evidence of design.

      If that is the kind of logic you have to resort to in order to deny God, you ARE a fool (again, I’m just agreeing with God).

      • You MUST abandon your intellect to deny God’s existence because everything in nature demands God’s existence.

        Absurd. I’m an atheist because I see no reason to believe that God exists. Your tract is supposed to offer proof – or at least evidence – that God exists. But when I point out that your evidence doesn’t really support your conclusion, your response is that the conclusion is self-evident…? Why, then, do you need to offer evidence?

        Complexity is absolutely evidence of design.

        Nonsense, and you prove the point yourself:

        If you saw one stone on the ground in the forest, you could consider that to be simple. There is no proof that someone intentionally placed that stone there. However, if you saw 1,000,000 stones on the ground forming the all the words of to the play Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare, you could consider that to be complex.

        Yes, if I saw a collection of rocks that spelled out the text of Romeo and Juliet, I’d (justifiably) assume that someone had arranged them that way – intentionally, deliberately. Why? Because the odds of rocks being arranged that way naturally are infinitesimal. So, yes: rocks arranged that way have meaning, and therefore the arrangement shows evidence of design. However, if you find an equal number of rocks scattered around a field, their arrangement – the relation of rock to rock – is just as complex. I sincerely doubt, however, that you’d consider their placement deliberate. Your entire argument is based on taking examples of artificial items, and then saying “…and the natural world is just like that” even though pretty much anyone with a decent basis for comparison can tell that a watch in the desert is artificial, while the sand dunes around it are not, in fact, just like that.

        If that is the kind of logic you have to resort to in order to deny God, you ARE a fool (again, I’m just agreeing with God).

        Now this… this is just weaselly. If you think I’m a fool, call me a fool. If you don’t, don’t use the word. But don’t hide behind “but I’m just repeating what he said!” (Or, more specifically, “…what He said.”)

      • Tony

        “Complexity is absolutely evidence of design.”

        Steve

        “We have a complex God.”

        And once again, by your own lines of ‘proof’ you guys have just demonstrated that God needs a God Designer.

    • Michael Mock wrote: “an apple tree is vastly more complex, but isn’t the product of human artifice.”

      No kidding? Nobody ever said humans were responsible for creating everything in the Universe. You just proved that God must exist. Thank you.

      • You just proved that God must exist.

        Really? How so?

        Here in the temporal, material world, we can usually tell the difference between artificial (“created”) items, and natural objects. This is not based on their complexity, but rather on our experience of whether or not objects of particular sorts occur naturally. So, a crowbar is simple but artificial; an apple tree is complex, but it grows on its own. Therefore we cannot assume that complexity is evidence of design; the two qualities are independent of each other.

  4. Congratulations Steve (And Tony), you just ‘proved’ that God needs a Creator God, and that Creator God, needs a Creator God Creator.

    Turtles all the way down.

    And that’s ignoring all outright stupidity that’s on that cover. I have no doubt it will be discussed in other posts.

    Our previous experience with Tony shows that he follows the standard fundie model (seen so often with Repetitive Richard). Assert Something (no matter how stupid or false), Refuse to address responses, and make up a response based on what you wanted the person to say rather than what they actually said.

    Oh and then run away. Confident that you have done nothing to further the Great Commision.

    Repeat.

  5. Isn’t is a shame that now we have to back up our comments before posting them since we have no idea if Steve will delete them for whatever random reason or edit them to say the opposite of what we originally said.

    • BathTub,

      You do understand that I’m not at my computer 24/7 like you guys. I have a family to support for crying out loud! 🙂 I don’t delete all the comments, just the most egregious, rude ones. You will notice that Nohm rarely if ever gets deleted.

  6. I can only imagine how much you’d be impressed with the prophecies foretold (and fulfilled!) in The Holy Qur’an.

    Right.

    In other news, I do not believe “nothing created everything”. Also, many builders built the White House, but I doubt that the tract is supposed to be arguing for polytheism (even though that’s exactly what the “Paley’s White House — I mean Watchmaker — analogy” is doing there).

    Tony’s tract claims: “The only option for an atheist is… that nothing created everything“.

    The only option? Says who? Just because Tony can’t read a book he thinks that is the only option?

    Why should I listen to anything that such a person says?

    Steve, you gave us:

    1. A tract written by Tony Yu (and I think you can guess my opinion of him, after my discussion with him here on your blog), that contains not just a clumsy version of the watchmaker analogy (nice argument for polytheism there, Tony), but also a false dichotomy between “God created the universe” and “nothing created the universe”. It’s as if looking up what “emergent properties” are is anethema to you guys. So, if Tony doesn’t know of any other options besides the two he listed, then there aren’t any? Really?

    No.

    Oh, and the tract contains scripture references, as if a non-Christian would react and say, “oh my gosh, the Bible talks (out of context) about these things? WHO KNEW??”

    Because, no.

    2. You list a bunch of prophecy, from the Bible, that comes true, in the Bible. It doesn’t come true outside of the Bible. It only comes true inside the Bible.

    There is no outside-the-Bible contemporary mentions — much less evidence — of the virgin birth, or the crucifiction, or the gambling, or the betrayal, or the beatings, or Jesus being God.

    Well…

    Okay, there is one other book that references some of those events. But I don’t think you like that other book very much. 😉

    Steve, I know I’ve asked this multiple times before, but I’ll ask again: what’s your opinion on the many fulfilled prophecies of The Holy Qur’an? Do you accept that as being fulfilled? Why, or why not? If someone used the same method of determining the accuracy prophecies on the Bible as they did on the Qur’an, what do you think would happen? Please explain.

    Thanks!

    • I wrote: “but I doubt that the tract is supposed to be arguing for polytheism

      Actually, it’s not even doing that. The tract is using the analogy to show that the universe had multiple creators. Those creators are not necessarily “gods”.

      Maybe there is a God, and He created the many universe-creators. *Shrug*

  7. Evidence:

    1. Virgin Birth

    Hinduism: the story of Krishna, “Vishnu himself descended into the womb of Devaki”

    Judaism: Moses, “He was born circumcised, and was able to walk immediately after his birth…”
    (Genesis Rabbah xlvii. 3) Isaac: “…after her name was changed from ‘Sarai’ to ‘Sarah’…her youth had been restored and she had given birth to Isaac,”

    Buddhism: Buddha, “Now Vipassi, brethren, when, as Bodhisat, he ceased to belong to the hosts of the heaven of Delight, descended into his mother’s womb mindful and self-possessed.”

    Babylonian mythology: “relationships between gods and goddesses resulting in other gods and goddesses,” such as Ea and Damkina assisted by Apsu giving birth to Marduk.

    Egyptian Mythology: Early Christian stories in the Apocryphal Gospels, which record the wanderings of the Virgin and Child in Egypt are similar to stories found on the Metternich Stela texts about the life of Isis.

    anyways, there have been some virgin births before Christ.

  8. 2. The Crucifixion of Jesus

    “While its origins are obscured in antiquity it’s clear that the form of capital punishment lasted for nearly 900 years beginning with Darius’s (550-485 BCE)” “it’s practice was found among the Indians, Assyrians, Scythians, Taurians, Celts, Greeks, Seleucids, Romans, Britanni, Numidians, Carthagians”
    The Gospel of Luke was likely written between A.D. 58 and 65

    Crucifixion was adopted as the principal form of capital punishment by the Romans. During the Roman Empire, violent offenders, those guilty of high treason, despised enemies, deserters, slaves and foreigners were crucified.

  9. 4. Jesus Betrayed for Thirty Pieces of Silver:
    5. Beaten, whipped, spat on:

    Matthew’s Gospel was written as early as 50AD and completed by 70AD

  10. The tract:

    “If it makes no sense that the White House can build itself out of nothing, then how much more absurd is it to believe that the Universe built itself out of nothing”

    How can you use this logic to disprove the existence of an eternal or self creating universe but then not use it on the existence of God? How can God come from nothing? What or who created God? Surely something as complex as God has to have a creator.

    It is a lot easier to dismiss the question of the origin of the Universe and existence with “God made it” than it is to live with the idea that you don’t know the answer. I sometimes wish I could dumb down my brain and take this easy route, but unfortunately once you have opened your eyes it is hard to shut them again.

  11. “if anything exists, God must exist”

    Bible, Genesis: “…two great lights, the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night; ”

    This shows that the writers didn’t know that the moon actually is just reflecting light from the sun. lol

  12. I will be replying to your comments Wednesday evening. I am preparing to give a presentation on Thursday.

    PLEASE NOTE: This tract has 8 PAGES. When you go to the blog, click on the picture of the tract for a PDF of all 8 pages. Or, you can click on this link:

    http://systematicevangelism.files.wordpress.com/2011/10/systematictract_rev12.pdf

    I could tell by Vagon’s comment that he left at my blog that he didn’t see the other 7 pages.

    Please also keep in mind that this is a physical tract which is limited by space and $. So I did not go into the question of who created God. I will be happy to go into that on Wednesday too.

    • You, um, might want to put a note on your blog about that. I didn’t see the other seven pages, either.

    • The second page is the list of “fulfilled prophecies” that Steve listed above.

      The third page is basically “Scientific miracles of the Qur’an” (what’s your opinion on those, Tony?), only for the Bible.

      The fourth and on pages presuppose belief and are, therefore, not applicable to non-believers.

  13. Let’s deal with the fullfilled prophecies section.

    Keep in mind two things:

    1) The Gospels you quote were written 60-100 CE. Since the average lifespan from the ancient world was between 30-40 years most, if not all of the eye witnesses to these events had died.

    2) The gospels were not written by eye witnesses. The were not even written by people who had spoken to eye witnesses. They were written by people who had spoken to people who had spoken to eye witnesses.

    In other words the writers had no idea of the life and doings of Jesus except for the oral story fragments which were circulating, and those same prophecies.

    Conclusion: The writers had no idea if Jesus did or didn’t fulfill these prophecies, and there was no way to find out, but since the writers believed in Him being the Messiah then they knew He must have fullfilled them – hence the stories in the gospels that mention Jesus doing these things.

    Put simply the writers just added these details in.

    • Since the average lifespan from the ancient world was between 30-40 years most, if not all of the eye witnesses to these events had died.

      Since everyone else is dealing with the assertions, fallacies, and wishful thinking that have been presented as evidence, I’ll deal with a minor quibble. An average life span of 30 to 40 years doesn’t mean the average person died at 30 or 40 or that there were very few elderly. If you had ten people that lived to 80 and ten people that lived to 5, their average lifespan would be about 42.

      • You are quite correct Perdita. Allow me to clarify.

        The higher the average life expectancy the greater the number of people who would have survived into their eighties and beyond. That being so if someone makes a misleading statement about an event from their era that person will have a greater chance of being picked up on said statement. With a lower life expectancy said person will have less chance of being corrected.

        Now with the Roman world the death toll seemed to be spread from infancy to the fifties. Few lived past that. The vast majority never lived into their eighties. Such elders were given respect by their community because of their age. They were a living connection with the past. As I wrote above, such venerables were very rare. Such advanced age was, you are correct, not impossible though.

  14. I will address one point tonight. Vagon posted a comment on my blog saying “Atheists do not believe nothing created everything. Atheists specifically do not believe anything was ‘created’ at all. You are in danger of baring false witness. Instead you should say Atheists usually believe the universe always existed and that causality breaks down at the point of singularity.”

    Firstly, listen to the most famous atheist of all, Stephen Hawking, say in his mechanical voice “Because there are laws such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself out of nothing.”

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-11172158

    I don’t want to beat up on a guy in a wheelchair, but this is nonsense. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to prove that Hawking has lost it. Can nothing do ANYTHING? Can there be an effect without a cause? Again, do you see why God (not me) declares that atheists are fools?

    Secondly, Vagon, I spoke correctly. Your argument that the Universe always existed is NOT an option. The Big Bang PROVES that the Universe WAS created and had NOT always existed. It came into being at a specific time in the past. Your argument that causality breaks down at the point of singularity holds no water. Why should anyone believe that unfounded presupposition? Why should causality break down in a singularity? The singularity does not excuse you from explaining where the matter and energy of the Universe came from. If your presupposition was true I could say “There was a singularity in my drawer and the money just created itself out of nothing, officer” and he’d have to let me off. LOL. You are grasping at straws. You were check mated but you refuse to stop playing.

    Now that we’ve disposed of your groundless excuse, we’re back to the original truth. Your ONLY option IS that nothing created everything; as your high priest, Stephen Hawking, so eloquently asserted.

    The bottom line is that you hate God so much that you would rather embrace the absurd than to worship God. This IS foolish.

    • I’d study physics more Tony you might find your answers there. Its refreshing to hear an evangelical accept the Big Bang theory as truth rather than the genesis myth. But you miss the point entirely, the argument that the universe has always existed is the current scientific consensus pending the discovery of new information. Its just hasn’t always existed in its CURRENT state. Matter as we know it can not be destroyed, it can be transformed into a different state, but it will always be there. Just as a star, through fusion, converts hydrogen to helium and other denser elements, the matter isn’t transforming ‘into nothing’ its merely changing into a denser more stable element. We don’t know if the matter contained within the singularity, pre Big Bang came from anywhere, but what Hawkings is saying is that given, that observation has shown, that the laws of physics are constant, that forces like gravity would result in that singularity breaking down resulting in the inevitable formation of the universe in its current state. Its special pleading to assert that it was created by one intelligent supernatural force when there’s no evidence to indicate that. What Vagon and Nohm are pointing out is that just like a house can require multiple builders, so too can the universe. I mean think about it Tony, there are two sexes amongst some of the animal species, and so many animals are bi-gendered… doesn’t it make more sense that there are two gods in the universe? I mean the evidence is all around you….

    • Now that we’ve disposed of your groundless excuse, we’re back to the original truth. Your ONLY option IS that nothing created everything; as your high priest, Stephen Hawking, so eloquently asserted.

      1. It’s abundantly clear that you don’t understand what Hawking meant.

      2. He’s hardly any kind of “high priest”; don’t be sillier than you have to be, please.

      Tony, if you ask me what I have in my fridge and I say “nothing”, does that mean that there’s a void in my fridge? No. You’re taking a turn of phrase and trying to use it literally; that’s your mistake.

    • 1. As many other people have pointed out, you don’t understand what Hawkings meant by “nothing”.

      2. I wrote my sentence carefully and used the term “atheists usually”. Even if Hawking did believe in the philosophically impoosible concept of nothing, it doesnt mean that atheists do. Thats like me saying you believe in the angel Moroni, like all believers in Jesus. Now where are your magic undies?

      3. The universe always is existing is the only logical option I am aware of. The big bang simply proves existence greater than singularity, not existence at singularity. Theres a difference you have missed.

      4. I know you failed to read my carefully worded statement, but here it is also clear you misunderstand fundamental physics. Time only existed after the big bang and causality breaks down at singularity.

      5. You should believe that causality breaks down at singularity from the results of a number of careful experiments. Alternatively you could show why those experiments fail or offer a credible (read a falsifiable one without special pleading) alternative hypothesis. Good luck with that.

      6. I did not say singularity excused me from explaining where matter comes from I indicated that matter always existed. Please re-read.

      7. Yes you can say there’s singularity in your drawer as an alibi for theft, but you would be wrong. Again. And you might go to gaol. Where you might have a chance to read up on physics. Not a bad plan.

      8. Declaring victory is amusing when you haven’t even understood how to play.

      9. I do not hate something that does not exist. That would be silly.

      10. You continue to use the word fool which is in your own philosophy a hypocritical notion (Matthew 5:22).

  15. I couldn’t resist. I have to answer another point.

    NOHM wrote: “Also, many builders built the White House, but I doubt that the tract is supposed to be arguing for polytheism.”

    VAGON commented on my blog: “The whitehouse had many builders (and plumbers etc). You just argued for polytheism.”

    You guys remind me of one kid copying the WRONG answer off of another kid’s test. It makes me laugh. Is this your best?

    By your logic, if it took 5,000 people to build the White House, it must therefore take exactly 5,000 people to build ALL houses. If that is NOT what you’re saying then you must admit that it is possible for some houses to be built by one person, right? The only unacceptable answer is that a house can be built by 0 persons, right? If it is possible for one person to build a house then my analogy does NOT prove polytheism as you so carelessly assert.

    Oh, here one house that was built by one person!
    http://www.panoramio.com/photo/19101520

    Oh, here’s another one!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gc5opJ_yTUA

    • So, you analogize those particular houses to the universe?

      Nah, I don’t think so. You specifically said “the White House”, which had many builders. If you were talking about a house built by one person, why didn’t you use that in your analogy?

      In other fun, what exactly does a house have in common with the universe? Think about your answer carefully, please.

      If it is possible for one person to build a house then my analogy does NOT prove polytheism as you so carelessly assert.

      Says the person who clearly wrote “the White House”, and not “this random house built by a single person”.

      But here’s a question, did the single person create the wood for the house? No. The metal? No. The stone? No.

      So therefore, at best, you’re arguing for a creator who used objects already created by something or someone else. Therefore, you’re STILL arguing for polytheism.

      But I think you’ll understand the problem with the analogy better if you try to answer the question as to what a house and a universe have in common. Or by researching “Paley’s Watchmaker analogy”.

      • “So therefore, at best, you’re arguing for a creator who used objects already created by something or someone else. Therefore, you’re STILL arguing for polytheism.”

        Or God could have made the universe from pre-existing materials like a builder can make a house out of natural material. That wouldn’t be polytheism. That would be a sort of dualism akin to Manicheism.

        Sorry, just a minor quibble. Carry on.

      • Chris, you’re absolutely correct. I would then ask where those pre-existing materials came from.

        But as Tony Yu says (and does not demonstrate), anything that begins to exist has a cause. So, what is the cause of these pre-existing materials? It can’t be God, or Tony’s analogy fails.

        Of course, it fails for plenty of other reasons, such as: what does a house have in common with the universe?

        (hint: Tony is assuming his conclusion, which is a no-no.)

    • unless you live in a cave and make it into a home, then the house was built by zero people.

    • Nohm already dealt with this. Your specific analogy is the Whitehouse as representing the universe. This analogy is so strained I think I developed carpal tunnel just typing it, so I understand you searching for a new one.

      Problem is you still want to find a house that was built by one person. Is that even standard? How many houses are designed, built, wired, plumbed, tiled etc etc by one person?

      Just concede you were wrong and think a bit more before you type. You should also educate yourself on the reasons why your thinking has already been proven wrong for any man made object. It’s the honest thing to do (9th commandment).

  16. Since you’ve decided to censor my reply may I ask what rule I broke?

    I didn’t use any cuss words [mild or otherwise], I didn’t blaspheme, I used capitalized the word God and Jesus so why was my post deleted?

  17. Vagon:

    There are so many holes in your theory that the Universe always existed I don’t even know where to begin. The holes are so enormous; you can drive a galaxy through them.

    Let’s start with recent news. Three scientists were awarded the Nobel Prize yesterday for proving that the Universe is expanding at an accelerating pace. The Universe is expanding faster and faster as time goes by. They proved that the fate of the Universe is what’s called “Heat Death”. Given enough time, all stars will die out. All energy will be expended. All life will be extinguished. The Universe will approach a temperature of absolute 0.

    The reality that our sun is still shining PROVES that the Universe is NOT infinitely old. The scientists have proven AGAIN that he Universe has a beginning. Anything that begins to exist must have a cause.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/feedarticle/9878245

    Science is NOT on your side.

    • Drive a galaxy? Where does one put the steering wheel? =)

      Tony you don’t know where to begin because there are so many holes…. and then you don’t even begin anywhere, you mention something unrelated?

      Heat Death is the eventual outcome of the stars exhausting their hydrogen fuel, and eventually going nova, the elements that compose that star will be fused into denser more stable elements such as iron and be cast out into the universe as ‘byproducts’ of fusion. The matter they consisted of will still be there but in a denser and more inert state. Just because are sun is still shining doesn’t mean the sun has ALWAYS been there, current theory is that our own sun formed as a result of a super nova that occurred billions of years prior, if you’re interested in star formation I suggest studying astronomy or other related sciences. Likewise it doesn’t mean are sun will ALWAYS be there either, it will eventually die out though it will be long after we’re all dead.

      Regardless, it all goes back to the Big Bang and what came before it, if anything, is unknown, it isn’t ‘nothing’ (if you could even define the word properly within physical reality given that even space is comprised of something), and for some it may be impossible to fully grasp as according to the theory, there was no light, sound, matter in a state we are familiar with, or even time.

    • But still at the end, there will still be all the original particles that were there in the beginning, only in another state. One could theorize that given enough time that these elements will once again come together and cause another big bang.

      How do you say something can’t come from nothing and then also say that God came from nothing and is outside of nothing?

    • And here is the whole that you are ignoring: does God exist?

      Then what is his cause?

      • What I am saying is that “Stuff can’t come from nowhere” is a rule that exists within the universe. If there is such a law, it did not exist before the universe came about. So a universe from nothing is not violating anything.

    • Tony,

      You have yet to point out a single hole in the argument. In fact you’ve yet to understand the argument. To be brutally honest you don’t even understand the premises the argument is built on.

      If you care at all about how you are representing your faith you should admit that to yourself and refrain from posting until you’ve educated yourself a bit more.

      Let me help with your understanding:

      Heat death has nothing to do with the universe having always existed, it simply means it does not exist in the way it used to.

      I did not say the universe was infinitely old, I said it always existed. Age is a measure of time, which only began at the big bang.

  18. BathTub says:
    October 4, 2011 at 7:07 pm
    Congratulations Steve (And Tony), you just ‘proved’ that God needs a Creator God, and that Creator God, needs a Creator God Creator.

    Turtles all the way down.

    I am going to have to agree with BathTub. The problem with that sort of tract is that the same line of reasoning used to argue for the existence of God can also be used to question how did God come into existence.

    Layperson: What was before the Big Bang?
    Physicist: There was no time before the Big Bang, so nothing happened.
    Layperson: whuuut?

    Layperson: What was before God? How did God come to be?
    Theologian: God has existed for all eternity. God has no beginning.
    Layperson: whuut?

    Do you see the problem? I think it would be better to avoid using tracts like that since it creates more questions than answers them. The tract employs a line of reasoning which undermines the very arguement you are trying to make.

    • Lastly, if the line of reasoning used in such tracts did indeed prove the existence of God it doesn’t prove the existence of the God of the Judeo-Christian Bible. It could prove the existence of Plato’s Demiurge or the Hindu Brahman or the Muslim Allah etc.

      As far as the White House analogy goes, everyone knows that the White House was built by ALIENS!

      🙂

  19. Tony, best wishes and my prayers are with you as you present your talk on Thursday.

    Excellent tract you have put together. And excellent rebuttals to our non-believers on this blog. Very understandable responses, not like those who belittle sound cogent arguments.

    If you have ever lied, the God who you say does not exist, will see you as a liar. If you ever stolen something, the God who you say does not exist, will see you as a thief. If you have ever used his name in vain, the God you say does not exist, will see you as a blasphemer. And if you ever lusted in your heart, the God you say does not exist, will see you as an adulterer at heart. Atheists are definitely wrong and who can say he’s never been wrong. There is problem and that problem is man’s rebellion.

    When you sin you indeed have a problem. Not with me, with the one who created you. You also have a problem with your conscience. You have a problem with your reasoning. You put yourself as judge over God. And therein lies your dilemma-sin the ultimate problem-sin. You are an idolater. God provided a remedy for your sin. He became a man. He took on flesh and suffered for our sins and die.

    Rather than bowing your knee to the God you know exists you harden your heart.

    It is interesting to see how atheist uses reasoning when they have no basis for its origin. Christians appeal to the transintendental argument of God’s existence. Atheist uses a circular argument that is viciously circular. They say, “I know I exist because of my senses and reasoning”. Yet, they can’t prove their senses and reasoning are valid. They walk around and think they have never made a mistake.

    Atheists are like Pharaoh, they see the evidence of God’s greatness and refuse to acknowledge his holiness. As Jesus said, “Repent or you to will perish”.

    Go to 180Movie.com

    • They walk around and think they have never made a mistake.

      Besides the imaginary people, who says this?

      No one. And there’s no scriptural reference to this.

      Therefore, please admit that you are engaging in failed mind-reading. For once. Seriously, Richard.

      • It is interesting to see how atheist uses reasoning when they have no basis for its origin.

        It is interesting to see how a “Righteous” man makes stuff up to try to snark.

    • Eh, I might as well throw my full two cents in.

      When you sin you indeed have a problem. Not with me, with the one who created you.

      I can assure you that any problem I have is with you. Not about sin, but about you telling me what I supposedly think, and other misrepresentations.

      You also have a problem with your conscience.

      Fortuntely, I don’t. You might, considering how often you tell atheists what they supposedly say, think, and opine on.

      You have a problem with your reasoning.

      You’d have to demonstrate that, because that’s certainly not my view of this situation.

      You put yourself as judge over God.

      I don’t believe in God, so I can’t put myself as judge over Him. I can certainly judge the Being that you might describe, but that’s in a (philosophically) theoretical sense.

      But my opinion of the God you worship has absolutely nothing to do with why I don’t believe in His existence.

      And therein lies your dilemma-sin the ultimate problem-sin.

      You’re putting the cart in front of the horse, here. For me to believe in “sin”, a crime against God, I’d have to believe in God first.

      You are an idolater.

      No, and not even in the LW “a god without wrath” sense.

      God provided a remedy for your sin.

      Again, cart before horse here.

      He became a man. He took on flesh and suffered for our sins and die.

      I am aware that you, and many Christians, believe this.

      Rather than bowing your knee to the God you know exists you harden your heart.

      Well, do I harden my heart, or does God do that? Because I certainly have no memory of hardening my heart.

      You know why?

      Because hardening my heart would be idiotic and masochistic.

      It is interesting to see how atheist uses reasoning when they have no basis for its origin.

      Says who? You?

      Additionally, who cares if we didn’t have a basis for the origin (for the sake of discussion; I do not actually hold the opinion that we “have no basis”)? We have a basis for the use of reasoning, which is far more important.

      Christians appeal to the transintendental argument of God’s existence.

      Wonderful. As do Muslims.

      I am of the opinion that the TAG (Transcendental Argument for God) has multiple problems, which are the same problems that many other people have found with it (such as the false dichotomy and the special pleading).

      Atheist uses a circular argument that is viciously circular.

      “Viciously”? Huh.

      They say, “I know I exist because of my senses and reasoning”.

      No, not exactly, but you could have done far worse, so no biggie.

      Yet, they can’t prove their senses and reasoning are valid.

      Says who? You?

      They walk around and think they have never made a mistake.

      And here we have a clear-as-day example of non-scriptural telling-other-people-what-they-think failed mind-reading. I think this is hypocritical, as you would likely not enjoy having this done to you.

      Atheists are like Pharaoh, they see the evidence of God’s greatness

      Nope, we don’t. We see people copy and paste hoary arguments that they haven’t spent any considerable time exploring. Or researching.

      If I saw “evidence of God’s greatness”, I’d think that God was great.

      and refuse to acknowledge his holiness.

      Why do you think I’m both an idiot and a masochist?

      As Jesus said, “Repent or you to will perish”.

      Gotcha.

      Go to 180Movie.com

      It’s not going viral.

      • Don’t forget the bible explicitly states that God hardened Pharaohs heart so that God could kill more people to Glorify himself.

    • Perfect, absolutely perfect Richard, as I said, ignore everything everyone has said, and stick to your script, all that’s left is for you to make a hasty exit from the conversation.

    • Richard is back!

      “Excellent tract you have put together. And excellent rebuttals to our non-believers on this blog. Very understandable responses, not like those who belittle sound cogent arguments”

      Got any objective reaons for that, or are you just baring false witness?

      “if you have ever…. [insert conversation avoiding script] …harden your heart”

      Richard while you wait for your invisible friend to hold people accountable, we here on this blog will hold you accountable for your lies and willful ignorance.

      “It is interesting to see how atheist uses reasoning when they have no basis for its origin.”

      *blows dust of the Chav failosophy counter*
      Chav failosophy counter = 28

      Why wont you learn?

      “Christians appeal to the transintendental argument of God’s existence.”

      Chav failosophy counter = 29

      At least get the name right. Transcendental. TAG isnt even a starting point. You don’t have a positive ontology for your deity. In fact I warrant you don’t even know what a positive ontology is.

      “Atheist uses a circular argument that is viciously circular They say, “I know I exist because of my senses and reasoning”. Yet, they can’t prove their senses and reasoning are valid. They walk around and think they have never made a mistake.”

      Chav failosophy counter = 30

      A naked, willfuly ignorant and hypocritical assertion. Your sense dont let you know you exist the fact you can sense or no anything proves you exist. Its not circular, its axiomatic.

      “Atheists are like Pharaoh, they see the evidence of God’s greatness and refuse to acknowledge his holiness. As Jesus said, “Repent or you to will perish”.”

      Is that the Pharaoh your deity had “righteous” Abrahm lie to, right before he supposedly went crazy and rained plagues on him?

      And you worship this deity?

      “Go to 180Movie.com”

      Non sequitur much?
      Steve can I spam my non related website here or is Richard special?

  20. Another question for Tony Yu:

    Please name something that you would describe as “not complex”.

    • Actually, I’d also like to read an answer from Steve, Richard, or any other Christian who supports the first page of Tony’s tract shown above.

      • I have no need to answer any of your questions. The truth is there for you to accept or reject. Nothing I can say will open your eyes. Nothin’!

        That’s only something God can do.

        He’s better at it anyway.

      • Steve, I’m not saying that you need to answer any of my questions, but why are you so resistant to doing so in this instance? I have always tried to answer any and all questions posed to me, especially your questions since you’re the blog-owner, and I have no “need” to answer your questions; I simply view it as the polite way to interact with people.

        So, like I asked, can you name something that is “not complex”?

      • Everything is complex. We have a complex God.

      • As I said previously in one of the many comments you’ve deleted lately.

        Saying you have an answer, and refusing to give it, looks exactly the same as if you don’t have answer.

      • Mostly it’s a time issue. My time is better served by posting truth and letting the chips fall where they may.

        I have no problem with unbelievers trying to prove how I’m wrong. I’m still confident that 2 plus 2 will always equal four no matter how interesting the disputations.

      • Steve wrote “I’m still confident that 2 plus 2 will always equal four no matter how interesting the disputations.”

        That’s true only in a base ten system Steve. 🙂

        Steve then went on to write “I have no need to answer any of your questions. The truth is there for you to accept or reject. Nothing you can say will open my eyes. Nothin’! ” [fixed it for ya Steve] 🙂

  21. Tony, only someone of very low intelligence, or very, verydishonest, would take a quote from a Physicist on the subject of Physics and claim “This is what Atheists Believe!”

    And that’s ignoring the issue of taking 1 line out of an entire book which we know that person has never read, and pretending that’s the last word on the subject.

    You wouldn’t know anyone that would resort to such tactics would you?

  22. Richard, do you ever get tired of carrying on these conversations with yourself?

  23. THE BIG BANG DEMANDS GOD

    Four things were created in the Big Bang:

    1. All Matter
    2. All Energy
    3. All Space
    4. All Time

    That’s right even space and time were created in the Big Bang. I can’t fathom such a thing but that’s what science has discovered.

    Before the Big Bang, matter, energy, space and time did NOT exist. So, whatever or whoever created matter, energy, space and time had to be SOMETHING OTHER THAN matter, energy, space and time because they didn’t exist to create themselves. We also know that these things are incapable of creating themselves (out of nothing).

    Can you think of anything or anyone that isn’t matter, energy, space and time? The one that fits this description is God Himself.

    Let’s look at each of the four elements created in the Big Bang.

    Anyone who created all matter, yet isn’t matter is immaterial. He must transcend the physical. He must be spiritual. God is a spirit.

    Anyone who isn’t energy, yet is capable of creating all of the energy in the universe in an instant must transcend energy and must be all-powerful. God is omnipotent.

    Anyone who isn’t confined by the three dimensions of space, yet created space and transcends space could easily exist in all space. God is omnipresent.

    Anyone who created time, yet lives outside of time and transcends time must be eternal. God is eternal.

    If this being is everywhere at all times (omnipresent and eternal) this would give Him the ability to be all-knowing. God is omniscient.

    Getting back to the original question of “who created God”; the answer is, God is outside of the created universe (which He created). God had to be an uncreated eternal being because he exists outside of time. He was never created. He always existed. Science and logic demand this conclusion.

    Asking the question “who created God” is an error of category. It’s like asking the question “what does the color blue taste like?” The question doesn’t make any sense because blue is a color and taste is not a property that applies to colors. In the same way, asking the question “who created God” is an error of category because God is not created. If He was created, He would cease to be God. Also, following the effect-cause chain backwards requires there to be an uncaused first cause for everything – God. Everything fits together very nicely.

    I want to reiterate the fact that time itself was created in the Big Bang. Because whatever created the universe, including time, had to exist outside of the confines of time. This fact in itself demands an eternal creator. This fact demands that our creator be transcendent; that is to say that He must be of another reality. This is the conclusion that science is demanding.

    But, the very first verse of the Bible tells us as much.

    In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. ~ Genesis 1:1

    The phrase “heavens and earth” is the Hebrew way of saying “Universe”. Do you realize that this very first verse is teaching that before the Universe ever existed, that God existed? It is telling us that God is the uncaused first cause. He answered the question before it was ever posed. He told us that He transcends matter, energy, space and time before we could ever contemplate those things having a beginning.

    For this very same reason, God’s personal name is “I AM”. He is declaring His self-existence, His uncaused status, His transcendence, His eternality. All this is wrapped up in His name and in the very first verse of the Bible.

    • Tony you continue to fail in your interpretation and there’s nothing ‘scientific’ in your reasoning. You keep referring back to matter, etc, being created, needing to be created by something or someone, but now that you admit that time was created at the big bang because time is relative after all, there is no causality pre-Big Bang because time as we know it didn’t exist. Hence why the theory and what we know about matter in this universe is that its eternal, capable of shifting states, but it can neither be created nor destroyed, only changed. The same amount of particles (and anti-particles) exist in the universe today (as far as we know) as it did in the beginning.

      Now you can say that the singularity was God, that’s about as close to a God that is testable or reasonably inferred based on the evidence as we can get, but we have no idea about whether or not this singularity was intelligent. What we DO know is that intelligence is an emergent property of carbon based life forms, that we can test and observe, to insist on anything else is simply special pleading.

      Its also funny how you appeal to Big Bang theory and then quote Genesis, an allegorical myth taken from Babylonian culture by the Hebrews, to prop up your statement. Do you believe in a literal Genesis account or do you believe in scientific theory because the two aren’t complimentary… at all?

  24. Nohm wrote: “But here’s a question, did the single person create the wood for the house? No. The metal? No. The stone? No.”

    THANK YOU NOHM. You just proved my point. Men are incapable of creating anything from nothing but God is. Someone HAD to create from nothing or nothing could exist. This is exactly what the referenced scripture is saying. Read it again:

    For every house is built by someone, but He who built all things is God. ~ Hebrews 3:4

    It is telling you exactly who created the basic material from which men can create objects like buildings.

  25. Chris wrote: “Or God could have made the universe from pre-existing materials like a builder can make a house out of natural material.”

    No, Genesis 1:1 answered that question from the very first verse of the Bible.

    In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. ~ Genesis 1:1

    There are two Hebrew words for “create”, “bara” or “asah”. God chose to use “bara”. Bara means to create from nothing (ex-nihilo). “Asah” is what men do when they use pre-existing material to fashion an object. Right there in the first verse of the Bible, God told you who created all matter; God did.

    http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/aid/v2/n1/did-god-create-or-make

    • Nothing is a physical impossibility as far as we know, the very fabric of reality consists of ‘something’ even if its a vacuum. Even if there were just one creator God, (as opposed to two, or cadre of them, which is just as perfectly viable) there would still be something, that something would be God, and as there is no such thing as a concept of space, all that IS would be God, but now God has simply become the unknown for what existed pre-Big Bang, it tells of nothing of what this God would be.

      Its dishonest to try and wed the tribal God of the Hebrews to the unknown force that you speculate existed pre-Big Bang. The writers of Genesis, who borrowed from the Babylonian peoples believed in a sort of ethereal darkness suspended in a kind of water, hence the references to the deep. This darkness was their interpretation of ‘nothing’ but even this magical ‘pre-reality’ still is something. Furthermore the writers had no idea about the scope and nature of reality and physics, hence why you don’t find anything scientific in the Bible, its a repository of magical thinking and superstition held by ancient peoples of antiquity first passed down by oral tradition and then later written down by a variety of people.

    • Tony wierdly wrote “No, Genesis 1:1 answered that question from the very first verse of the Bible.

      In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. ~ Genesis 1:1″

      Correct Tony but so what? Genesis is a collection of folk tales by an unknown author.

      Tony then wrote” God chose to use “bara”. Bara means to create from nothing (ex-nihilo).”

      God chose that did he? He chose that exact word and then forced the human writing it to write that word and no other. Bang goes free will. 🙂

      Really haven’t thought your answers through have you tony?

      Oh and by the way do you agree with the good person test? You do? Good then let’s examine the bible using the good person test.

      Have you ever told a lie Tony? Well that makes you a liar doesn’t it? And you’d probably reply that you believe that everyone has told at least one lie. So according to your beliefs we are all liars. And liars are untrustworthy aren’t they?

      Now if everyone lies then, according to your beliefs, that includes the men who wrote the bible. Since them men who wrote the bible are liars, and liars are untrustworthy, then that makes the bible untrustworthy.

      Now you might reply “God wrote the bible”. Says who? You? But you’re an untrustworthy liar. You addmitted as much. Or did you mean the men who wrote the bible claimed that? But why should I believe them? After all they are untrustworthy liars. They must be because, according to your beliefs everyone lies and liars are untrustworthy. Unless you were lying about that. 🙂

      • Allow me to address Tony’s assertion that the word “bara” used in Genesis 1:1 means “created from nothing”.

        In 1 Samuel 2:29 we read “Why do you scorn my sacrifice and offering that I prescribed for my dwelling? Why do you honor your sons more than me by fattening yourselves on the choice parts of every offering made by my people Israel?”

        That word “fattening” is…wait for it…BARA!

        Now the word “bara” can’t mean “created from nothing in this context can it? In fact we find that “The word “bara” does not mean, “create” (Hebrew actually has no word that meaning “create” in the sense of something out of nothing) but “to fatten”. If we take the literal definition of “bara” in Genesis 1.1 we have – In the beginning God fattened the heavens and the earth. What does this fattening of the heavens and earth mean? This verse is not showing the creation of the heaven and earth, but rather the fattening or filling up of it. Therefore, Genesis 1.1 is a condensed version of the whole creation story. ”

        Source: http://www.ancient-hebrew.org/23_genesis_1.html

        It seems that AIG got it wrong. One could even say they created their definition of the word “bara” out of nothing. 🙂

  26. I have been enjoying reading this particular discussion.
    And have to say a hearty AMEN to my brother Tony !

    The above discussion is exactly why I could never be (and never was) an Atheist. To deny the existence of at least “a god” is absurd. An honest look at the evidence that we currenlty have does not rule out God at all.

    There is nothing in the above arguments that rules out God as the Creator of the known universe. Not a single argument that a non-believer has put forth even comes close to taking God out of the picture. There is no evidence being presented by the non-believers that even comes close to making me doubt my faith. Quite the opposity actually. I find that reading these mini debates only cause my faith in God to grow! So I also thank my non-believer friends on this blog for helping me to see clearly why I believe what I believe. And I pray for each and everyone of you that your search which is clearly away from God, will one day lead you back to God.

    I, like Steve, rest easy in the fact that God created each and every one of you. He shows himself to whoever HE chooses – no amount of arguing or reasoning on my part, or from any other Christian will change that.

    That’s why I like reading Nohm who at least is honest enough to admit that at this point he won’t rule out God – but he is still looking for answers and evidence. But those of you commenting that completely rule out God as a possible cause for the Universe as we know it are not being honest.

    Step 1 – accept that God could at least be a possible explanation.
    That way you can make your next steps in truth.

    I try and do the same thing when I read your comments and evidences for the existence of the universe. My step 1 as a believer is ok fine there is no God. Ok now let’s read what they say caused the universe to exist. let’s read what they say about how we came to be. Where morality comes from.
    And all I read is scattered answers, usually with loads of sarcasm attacking Christianity or personal attacks against a person, etc. What I don’t read is a clear, concise, answer that all non-believers have or share telling me this is TRUTH. Instead of telling me this is TRUTH and this is why you Dennis are wrong for believing in God – you have less than nothing.
    As I already said before. What you guys DO have is evidence which again points back to God as the Creator of all things. Not only that. We are morally accountable to this God.

    Wonderful job on the tract Tony – and great job in refuting the comments and attacks against you. Watching from the sideline you are hitting homers while the “atheists” are running around all over the field trying to figure out what game they are even playing (sorry couldn’t resist).

    I love you guys and pray for each one of you.
    God Bless.

    • At least we are playing a game…you’re just a robot with a implanted script where you can’t even see outside the box anymore.

      You should try playing another game sometime again…

      • Sadly, Davy, you are still in the box where it’s dark. Dark.

        Gotta think outside the box.

        This is why it is said: “Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”

      • Thinking outside of the box? The box of rationality, or the box of testable observation, or maybe the box of making sure what you say and believe in can be backed up by anything that has weight to it? Why would one want to think outside those boxes?

      • Steve wrote “Sadly, Davy, I am still in the box where it’s dark. Dark.

        Gotta think outside the box.” [Fixed it for ya again Steve] No need to thank me.

    • Dennis wrote: “Step 1 – accept that God could at least be a possible explanation.
      That way you can make your next steps in truth. ”

      Your belief is not the “Truth”. I could see how you could arrive at your idea of the “truth” by following your steps, but that is not how you find truth. This is my understanding of how you Dennis have found “truth”. First, accept it as truth and then the answers come to you. Hmm, I kind of see some flaws in that line of thinking.

      Dennis: “Ok now let’s read what they say caused the universe to exist. let’s read what they say about how we came to be. Where morality comes from.”

      Have you not been reading the wonderful comments posted above? Have you not read anything about science since you put your blinders on? Matter CANNOT be created nor destroyed. ALL the material/matter in the universe today is the same as what was before, only the sates have changed.

      I guess you won’t be happy until someone lines out the beginning of the Universe and how it came to be, if there even is a “beginning”. I find this so absurd. Our feeble minds cannot grasp the vastness of the Universe and these questions of existence have been around since the beginning of consciousness. God didn’t find you. You went to Steve for relationship counseling and he convinced you that you are a sinner. Steve did, not God. You didn’t research the existence of the Universe and the beginning of time and came to the conclusion or answer of God.

      Dennis: “Wonderful job on the tract Tony – and great job in refuting the comments and attacks against you. Watching from the sideline you are hitting homers while the “atheists” are running around all over the field trying to figure out what game they are even playing (sorry couldn’t resist).”

      You sideline sitter, you. So, would you call this a drive by comment?. I don’t see Tony hitting any homers, i see him swinging at a ball that isn’t even there. Nobody is “attacking” Tony personally, only his theories. Keep your ego in check big brother.

      Dennis, you scare me more and more every time I read your comments and see what you are doing out in public.

      • Im in the Box? That is the funniest thing I have ever heard. Funny coming from someone who never listens to anything anybody ever else says on this site or in the real world. Funny coming from someone who never has an answer except one from the bible. You may have brainwashed my brother…but your mind tricks won’t work on me. And even if you convinced me there is a God…doesn’t mean i will stand on a box and preach for you.

      • Blogger’s note: Patrick and Davy are Dennis’ brothers. Pray for Dennis.

        And his brothers! 🙂

    • Can you show any of us that have absolutely ruled out God as an explanation Dennis? Or are you just being very dishonest so that you can keep to script?

    • Dennis, you, like Tony, are trying to marry the God that is written about in the Bible with the force that is responsible for the formation of the universe in its current state, which is gravity according to theory. If you take the Bible literally than those two entities are incompatible, if you accept the Genesis stories as allegorical than that’s another story.

      You are right though, all of this arguing doesn’t DISPROVE whatever God you or others might believe in, but that’s because our scope is limited and unless we understand the scope of the cosmos and reality itself than we can’t fully rule out the possibility of some form of divinity behind it all. HOWEVER, the evidence we currently have doesn’t point to a God as the only possible explanation for the current state of the universe, quite the contrary it points to physics and physics doesn’t require a supernatural force in order to operate. And even if it did, we have no real way of interpreting the nature of that intelligent force unless it manifests itself in a clear, concise, and scientific way that we can verify its existence.

      • I don’t know if this will help clarify, or muddy the waters further, but here goes: given the way Christianity defines God, science cannot disprove His existence. Cannot. Simply put, that’s not what it’s for.

        Science is, at its core, two things:
        1. A means for testing ideas about the natural world.
        2. The body of knowledge (incomplete, and subject to revision if needed, but reliable to the limits of our current understanding) gained by using that method.

        When you start talking about all-powerful beings who exist outside of space and time – when you start talking about anything outside of space and time – you’ve moved beyond the scope of science. You’re into the realm of philosophy, if not outright Onanism. There are no tests that we, as human beings, can use to determine omniscience, or to measure something that’s supposed to exist independent of space. The existence of God is not a testable hypothesis; therefore it is not a scientific question.

        And if that totally fails to clarify, just assume that I’m agreeing with Vintango2k on this.

  27. Causality is a product of time. If time is a result of the Big Bang, pre-Big Bang there was no time. Step 6 is where you begin to pre-suppose your own version of God into the equation if you need a reference. Its also where the argument begins to fall apart if you’re in anyway trying to be scientific. If you need a uncaused first cause, you don’t need God for that as Hawkings is stating, you need only gravity or the existence of physics in this universe to get the inevitable Big Bang to get the formation of the universe in its current state.

  28. @ Bathtub

    My comment was meant for any hard core Atheist and not really anyone specific that I know on this blog. That’s why I call you guys non-believers. So maybe God isn’t ruled out – but all the arguments – the way they are written all make it very clear that you will very much argue AGAINST a God.

    Also I rather stick to the script (if you meant Bible with that) then to be floundering around lost, confused, and wondering what’s it all about.

    @ my brothers

    Jesus’s family didn’t believe in him either. So nothing new there.
    They also thought that he was crazy walking around healing the sick, casting out demons, and claiming to be God? It wasn’t until later when He resurected from the dead that they came to believe in Him.

    You can try to dismiss me saying I am brainwashed and have lost my mind – but it doesn’t change the message:

    You are not right with God (you inherited a sin nature)
    You are accountable to God (He will judge you when you die)
    Your punishment for breaking God’s Law (written on your heart) is Hell
    You pay the price for all eternity

    God sent Jesus – HE died on the cross for your sins.
    He took the punishment for you. It’s a gift – nothing you do to deserve it or earn it.
    You need to repent (turn from your sin) and faith and trust in Jesus.

    You’ll be brainwashed, and heart washed, and spiritually washed by the Holy Spirit. Which will mean you actually want to follow God instead of being an enemy to God. How cool is that?

    Sorry guys but that’s the story and I am sticking to it.
    Jesus came to seek and save that which is lost. And for that I will be eternally grateful. Christianity is the only “game” I will ever play for the rest of my life. Am I going to be perfect? Nope. I will be a sinner saved by grace.

    • So maybe God isn’t ruled out – but all the arguments – the way they are written all make it very clear that you will very much argue AGAINST a God.

      Is that really how it seems to you? I would have said that I – and most of the nonbelievers here – argue strenuously against the likelihood of God, but not against the possibility of His existence. And, because we don’t want to be misrepresented, we tend to argue strongly against the idea that “of course, obviously” there must be a God. If Christians (both in general, and here specifically) took the attitude that, y’know, not everyone believes, and nonbelievers have their reason, and we just hope that God will have mercy on them… well, I for one would cheerfully shut up and go away.

    • @ Dennis

      The crazier you sound the more it reaffirms my beliefs and gets me to doubt your definition of God.

      It is sad that you stick to the story. The story is horrible for setting you up against your own family.

      Dennis, you wrote: “You can try to dismiss me saying I am brainwashed and have lost my mind – but it doesn’t change the message:”

      Yes, but the fact of the matter is that the people that wrote the bible could very well have “changed the message”. If you can’t see that, then that is your loss.

      Dennis: “You are not right with God (you inherited a sin nature)”
      No, I inherited a natural body. Society inhibits some natural tendencies. Your God is not right with me, according to you. I don’t have any qualms with something I know nothing of. I am not right with your church and Steve.

      Dennis: “You are accountable to God (He will judge you when you die)”
      Good for him. I am ready to die. I do not fear my mortality. Remember the Fear angle doesn’t work on me. I have seen scarier things than an all loving God.

      Dennis: “Your punishment for breaking God’s Law (written on your heart) is Hell”
      I haven’t broken any laws written on my heart for quite some time. Usually when I feel bad about an act, I try to atone for them. I do follow the Golden Rule you know.
      Speaking of hearts, I hope that somewhere deep inside there you know what you are doing is wrong. Spreading fear and damnation is not something I would do.

      Dennis: “You pay the price for all eternity”
      Yeah, I highly doubt that. By my rough calculations using your definition of who would go to hell, there would be more than a 100 billion souls there.

      Dennis, you have been tricked and fear driven into your beliefs. Think about it. It didn’t come from love. Steve doesn’t love you. I love you, you are my brother.

    • Resurection? Next you are going to tell me Dinosaurs never existed? Jesus most likely died on the cross…the reasons are many, and there are many stories surrounding it…but not everyone follows that belief….so…im sorry if I think you are a little overboard. And…like i have said many times before…I don’t care if you believe in God, its the methods of preaching and the way this particular group you are in is affecting your life….

  29. Dennis, by scripts I mean Tony’s ridiculous mantra of ‘A Physicist says something on Physics, therefore this is what Athiests believe’ and Repetitive Richard’s Presup routine.

    You have Evangelists repeating lines they’ve been fed despite the fact that they know that they are either factually incorrect, nonsense, and worst of all completely ineffectual.

    Here you have a website with a built in non-believer audience, so what is the evangelists response to these ineffectual arguments?

    Improve your argument?

    No. Repeat the argument again. Stick to the script, then say ‘God does the saving’ and retreat.

    • BathTub wrote: “Dennis, by scripts I mean Tony’s ridiculous mantra of ‘A Physicist says something on Physics, therefore this is what Athiests believe’

      I think it’s even worse than that.

      I’ll be blunt: I don’t think that Tony has actually read any Hawking. I think Tony grabbed that quote mine from some website that probably also has the Darwin “eye” quote mine.

      Plus, Tony and Richard often tell us what we think (even though we don’t think what they claim), which is wrong.

  30. If the target audience for the tract is atheists, I don’t think that any argument is going to convince them of the existence of a Deity. I think if someone identifies himself or herself as an atheist they have mostly likely spent a great deal of time thinking about a Deity and have come to the conclusion they do not believe in one.

    I think all of these arguments fail because if they succeeded then there would be no doubt in anyone’s mind that God exists.

  31. Patrick writes:
    Evidence:

    “1. Virgin Birth
    Hinduism: the story of Krishna, “Vishnu himself descended into the womb of Devaki”
    Judaism: Moses, “He was born circumcised, and was able to walk immediately after his birth…”
    (Genesis Rabbah xlvii. 3) Isaac: “…after her name was changed from ‘Sarai’ to ‘Sarah’…her youth had been restored and she had given birth to Isaac,”
    Buddhism: Buddha, “Now Vipassi, brethren, when, as Bodhisat, he ceased to belong to the hosts of the heaven of Delight, descended into his mother’s womb mindful and self-possessed.”
    Babylonian mythology: “relationships between gods and goddesses resulting in other gods and goddesses,” such as Ea and Damkina assisted by Apsu giving birth to Marduk.
    Egyptian Mythology: Early Christian stories in the Apocryphal Gospels, which record the wanderings of the Virgin and Child in Egypt are similar to stories found on the Metternich Stela texts about the life of Isis.
    anyways, there have been some virgin births before Christ.”

    Isaiah 7:14
    Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.

    Isaiah 9:6
    For unto us a Child is born,
    Unto us a Son is given;
    And the government will be upon His shoulder.
    And His name will be called
    Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

    Arguably, these chapters in Isaiah were written in the 8th century BCE, the story you mention in Hinduism is dated at approximately the same time, 8-9th century BCE; your reference to Judaism is interesting, yet it does not mention a “virgin” birth from a god or God, to a human virgin woman; the birth of Krishna? dated to the 6th century BCE; the babylonians? I’ll give you that this story pre-dates Isaiah, but you fail to show a tangible relationship to the story we find in Isaiah, and beyond for that matter. As to the Isis, again, not a real comparison, and the Metternich Stela is dated to 3-4th BCE, again, Isaiah trumps it… and the any apochryphal stories that may be similar are not ordained as God-breathed for a reason, I’ll let you read between the lines here for brevity… Isis mythology clearly predates Isaiah, but not the relationship to the virgin birth…

    I submit that the book of Isaiah is the true inspiration for all virgin birth myths from a god, or God in this case, with a human virgin woman… and prior to this, the book of Genesis 3:15, (note it is “the” woman, I submit, a prophecy of Mary)
    “And I will put enmity
    between you and the woman,
    and between your offspring and hers;
    he will crush your head,
    and you will strike his heel.”

    written circa 1500 BCE and arguably an oral tradition predating this, evidenced by the existence of the high priest Melchizedek that Abraham paid tribute to… that is, Melchizedek blessed Abraham, the greater blesses the lesser, so this a high priest of God that was not a Jew, since they did not yet exist, must have had communion with God and a culture must have known the true God, however small that culture, from the days of Adam and Eve, through Noah, through Melchizedek and Abraham… keep in mind that Noah and Seth (Adam and Eve’s third son) were contemporaries!!!

    Yes, there are many virgin birth stories, but Jesus, evidenced by Isaiah, verified by the Dead Sea Scrolls, was first…

    • You’re missing the point Nicholas.

      1) You quote Isaiah 7:14
      “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.”

      You do know that the word used here ‘ha’almah’ means “young woman”. The word that Matthew uses “virgin” actually comes from a mistrqaslation of Isaiah found in the Septuagint.

      2) This verse is NOT a Messianic prophecy. Isaiah was saying that a young woman giving birth and calling her baby by a certain name was to be a sign to evil king Ahaz. Not erxactly rational to take it that Mary giving birth several hundred years after Ahaz had died was God’s sign to the king. Doesn’t make sense does it?

      So it seems that there was no virgin birth prophecy for Jesus to fullfill. That being so countries like India did NOT get the idea of a virgin birth from the writings of the Tanakh.

      • Just like many things in the Bible, they suffer from errors in translation between languages that people of antiquity did not fully grasp or simply made mistakes, or felt free to embellish on if it made for a better message. These embellishments are the primary reason why there are still Jews to this day. The rabbis and the faithful of God’s Chosen People have looked at the Christian claims, saw that the writers of the New Testament went too far in trying to make Jesus fit into the prophecies or didn’t understand all of the prophecies in the Torah, and recognized them for what they were.
        This in turn angered many early Christians because the Jews were rejecting their claims on reasonable grounds, the 2nd-4th centuries are rife with rising anti-jewish literature, not to mention apocryphal gospels that are increasingly hostile to the Jews. Is it any wonder this lead to the rampant persecution of Jews in Europe for the centuries that came afterwards?

    • “Isaiah 7:14
      Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.”

      Yes, this is one of the earliest written text about virgin birth, but no, this is not about Jesus.

      Chris and Vin, did a pretty good job answering you, so now, I will just read about Virgin birth myths online for some entertainment.

  32. Chris,

    In regards to your posts, please read the following arguments, as I do not speak ancient Hebrew, do you?
    http://www.crivoice.org/isa7-14.html
    http://www.crivoice.org/immanuel.html

    After reading these, considering that as Christians we see the entire Bible, canonized Bible, not the apocryphal texts, as God’s inerrant Word, and again we must still be careful to meditate on it and realize than any one English version if taken at face value and out of context may lead us to mis-interpretaions, i.e. the Bible is not a novel to be skimmed, but a manuscript to be thoroughly studied, and I could and hope to spend a lifetime doing so if God wills… is it possible that this passage has a dual meaning? The meaning for the theological concept of “God with Us” as referenced in the above arguments, and as a prophecy about the coming Messiah. From these readings and reading the scriptures and meditating on them, the arguments presented above in the links I am fine with, yet Matthews use of “virgin” and the many references in the New Testament concerning Jesus’ descent from Joseph, “according to the flesh,” lead me to attest to a virgin birth, and it seems your brother Patrick would agree that Isaiah is speaking of a virgin birth at least; think “a young woman” (a woman of virtue, i.e. not a prostitute or a woman sexually active before marraige, i.e. a “young woman” which ancient Hebrew would render an unmarried woman and then logically a “virgin” yes? So then we would have “the young woman (or virgin), is about to give birth (or will bear a son)” This argument follows logically from the links given as well, yet the author does not make this connection… I hope you can follow… Also, given the prophetic nature of Isaiah, it makes perfect sense that God was speaking not just to Ahaz, but to the “house of David” and therefore the kingdom of Judah and Israel as a whole, speaking of Judgement to come and that “God with us” to come, not to “weary” men, since Jesus would not come for quite some time, but who can “weary” God as the text eludes to. Makes perfect sense when you meditate on it and study it… I love God’s Word!!!!

    Also, if Ethiopa, think Queen of Sheba, Rastafarian beliefs, links its own heritage with Solomon, and Solomon, from the Bible, was king of a great trading nation, then why wouldn’t we expect cultures as far as India to be influenced by ancient Hebrew history and prophecy?

    Vin,
    Many atrocities have be done in the name of Jesus, mostly as a result of greed, xenophobia, selfishness, or border disputes; name a reason any reason for war and persecution of others and people can ascribe any rhyme or reason to it. Since christianity became relatively official religion of most of much of Europe starting in the Roman Empire circa 4th century, CE, it makes sense that the religion of the masses, angry masses, not “Christians” would persecute Jews…

    Patrick,

    How can you be sure that Isaiah 7:14 is or is not about Jesus? Please see above for some of my thoughts in relation to my response to Chris, thank you.

    God bless you Chris, Vin, and Patrick, grace and peace to you from the Lord Jesus Christ!

    Please, Christians, please correct any of my assertions or help shed light on these points, thank you! God bless, grace and peace to you in God our Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

    • I know, I am terrible at arguing about something using something else that is derived from itself. There are thousands of people already doing this. If there are that many different “meanings” and interpretations then I will leave you to it. Looking this thing up brings way too much controversy for me to want to take a side or a point. A side on the icosahedron or whatever multi-faceted object you want to insert here.

      I will say however that it is highly unlikely that any such event has taken place. I could think of a hundred better ways that God could become human and avoid all the controversy.

    • “it makes sense that the religion of the masses, angry masses, not “Christians” would persecute Jews…”

      Its those fans again, the ones that love Jesus but don’t want to follow his teachings. The ones who can not simply live with judge not, lest ye be judged, and blame for the death of Christ began to shift solely to the Jews in lieu of the adoption of Christianity by the former Roman Empire. Make no mistake about it though, Christianity fell upon Europe by way of the sword, it wasn’t tolerance and love that crushed the pagans it was those militant fans of Jesus, it was armies that enforced it, and armies that spread it. Opposing forces were crushed into submission, and the survivors were swept up by the followers of Christ to be converted as they road in on the coattails of fine Christian soldiers.

      Its a symbiotic relationship really, the followers need the fans to protect them otherwise opposing faiths and forces would crush them, or take advantage of them habitually. You see this is countries were Christians are persecuted, they’re generally stomped, but in countries of Christian majority the followers are perfectly willing to sit aside and let the fans of Christ do whatever they wish in the name of Christianity. And honestly, there’s nothing the followers can really do to stop them other than call them Non-Christians ie. Hitler, because taking up arms and not loving one’s enemy isn’t the Christian thing to do.

      • Nicholas

        Your arguments\

        1) The hebrew word ha’almah does NOT refer to a young unmarried woman. It means just a young woman. The writer of Matthew is wrong!

        2)Woman commonly married at a young age during that period in the middle east. The average age for a woman was 14. Young is it not?

        3) The only support you have for this idea that the prophecy of Isiah had two meanings is the writer of Matthew. It isn’t in the text itself it has to be read into the text by someone else – in this case the writer of Matthew.

        4) Is Matthew accurate? No! The writer of Matthew makes up prophecies in order to support his beliefs. For example : Matthew 2: 23 “He shall be called a Nararene” [meaning a person from Narareth]. There is no such prophecy! The closest that anyone can come to it is Judges 13: 5 where we finds the words “the boy shall be a Nazirite [someone especially devoted to God and as a sign of that devotion never cuts his hair].

        5) Your idea that certain verses have a double meaning flies in the face of logic. Why stop at two meanings? Why not ten? Or 100? Or 1,000? With this idea of a double meaning in scripture you can make any verse say anything you like – example: Every verse where it takes about Paul in the book of Acts is only the surface meaning, the second meaning is the big green bunny rabbit in the sky. 🙂

        5) Now the important question: Can the great Nicholas be wrong? Can he make a mistake? Even about his interpretation of scripture?

        If you can make a mistake perhaps you are wrong about the necessity of being a fundie. Perhaps you should consider ALL the evidence not just the evidence which supports you.

        However if you can’t even admit to the possibility that you’re wrong then I would suggest that the real object of your worship isn’t God at all. It’s the ego of the person named Nicholas. Why? Because by refusing to admit even the possibility of error you are implying that Nicholas can never be mistaken. Nicholas is always correct! If that isn’t worship of ego what is?

  33. The difference between scientists and evangelists.

    Evangelist: “One of us has to be right and the other wrong.”

    Scientist: “We could both be wrong.”

  34. Patrick,

    I appreciate you reading the arguments and my meditations on the Word, thank you. I also can see how it is an intellectual exercise to say that you can think of many ways God can do God better, in a sense, to be in line with human wisdom. But God’s thoughts are much higher than ours, and a glimpse of who He is is given us in the Bible, and more so through meditation on His Word and prayer. God is His Word, for the “Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us.” Also, yes, as a Christian and amateur evangelist at the most, I would say that we could both be wrong, not that one of us has to be right… however, if the Bible is true, and Christ is the “way, the truth, and the life…” and you are wrong about it, are you willing to bet eternity on it? This is not the only reason for belief, especially perhaps not Faith that perseveres, as this could be construed as selfish, yet it is a valid impetus to belief… How else can we as imperfect men, women and children ever atone for our mistakes (i.e. sin) that cause harm to ourselves, others, and God Himself, if not through the saving work of Jesus?

    Vin,

    Well said, I agree, and that is why instead of taking up arms in the infantry against evil, and the “fans” of Christ as you put it, we as followers take to the streets in evangelism, taking up the full “armor of God!” Also, Hitler was not just a Non-christian, he was a heretic to say the least… And you are right that evil men have used religion, many religions throughout history, christianity being only one of them, as justification for the means to an end, and this is truly a sad state of affairs, but if we spread true Christianity, that is, the gospel of Jesus Christ so that others would call us “Christ like,” or little wanna be Jesus’, then no one would be left to take up the sword… What a glorious day it will be when Jesus Himself brings judgement on the church and the world… for the weeds have been allowed to grow with the wheat until the return of Jesus when the weeds will be thrown out…

    • Hi Nicholas,

      however, if the Bible is true, and Christ is the “way, the truth, and the life…” and you are wrong about it, are you willing to bet eternity on it?

      This is called “Pascal’s Wager”. Please look it up so you can see the problems with it.

      For example: Nicholas, if the Qur’an is true, and ascribing partners with Allah (e.g., worshiping Jesus) is worthy of Hell, and you are wrong about it, are you willing to bet eternity on it?

      Do you see the problem?

      Also, you wrote: “How else can we as imperfect men, women and children ever atone for our mistakes (i.e. sin) that cause harm to ourselves, others, and God Himself, if not through the saving work of Jesus?

      We can atone for our mistakes that cause harm to ourselves and others by repenting *to those people we harm*, making changes in our lives so that we don’t continue to make those mistakes, and carefully considering the consequences of our actions. No “saving work of Jesus” required.

      Obviously, I left out how to atone for mistakes made that harm God since I’m not a theist.

    • ”Also, yes, as a Christian and amateur evangelist at the most, I would say that we could both be wrong, not that one of us has to be right… however, if the Bible is true, and Christ is the “way, the truth, and the life…” and you are wrong about it, are you willing to bet eternity on it?”

      And that’s the primary argument usually raised on this blog, that those that don’t believe or are skeptical raise the point that the evangelist starts from the default position of asserting that they and what they believe is the absolute truth based on feelings alone rather than actual physical evidence that proves conclusively that the Bible is absolutely true. Its the need to understand why which intrigues me. The reason why this interests/concerns me is that people who act irrationally or act emotionally can be dangerous or can find it easy to justify unreasonable acts or actions…. that or they feel artificial confidence when they spread around misinformation, ie. when Steve talks about laminin. =)

  35. Nicholas

    Let’s deal with your failure in logic first.

    You wrote “I also can see how it is an intellectual exercise to say that you can think of many ways God can do God better, in a sense, to be in line with human wisdom. But God’s thoughts are much higher than ours,…”

    If Patrick could point out where God could have done better than it is Patrich’s ways which are higher not God’s. God is proclaimed to be omnibenevolent [all good] and the Summum Bonnum [Greatest good]. If that’s the case it should be impossible for someone to have ab greater sense of right and wrong than God. Since Patrich has done this then that image of God [as presented in a fundie understanding of scripture] is wrong!

    Now let’s get on to an interesting admission of yours.
    You wrote “God is His Word, for the “Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us.”

    So you admit to being a worshipper of the bible? I believe that is called “bibliolatry! In other words you worship a book! That’s the same as idolatry.

  36. Chris, Nohm, Vin, Patrick,

    I love you guys, thank you for your comments, I have learned a lot from talking with you and am thankful for your time and comments.
    Yes, as I mentioned before, in earlier posts, I could very well be wrong on a lot of things, yes, it is a very easy thing to make an idol of God and/or the Bible, and in terms of evidence, I have studied history, law, physics, biology, chemistry, logic, and find all ate left wanting; only God, the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Word of God found in the Bible is logical in a world of confusion… For as I said before, I choose the folly of the gospel of Jesus Christ over the wisdom of the world…
    God bless, I pray that you may all have eyes that see and ears that hear, grace and peace to you in the Lord Jesus Christ!

    P.S. Nohm, I am familiar with pascal’s wager, and we have debated it’s tenets and criticisms before on this blog, we just, obviously, see things from much different perspectives, may your wisdom be complete my friend, God bless.

    Sincerely,
    Nicholas

  37. Nohm,

    You also wrote:
    “For example: Nicholas, if the Qur’an is true, and ascribing partners with Allah (e.g., worshiping Jesus) is worthy of Hell, and you are wrong about it, are you willing to bet eternity on it?”

    Yes, I am willing to bet eternity that the Qur’an is not a divine revelation from God the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit, the great I AM; and rather that it is the product of what we as Christians were already warned about hundreds of years before the Qur’an:

    “But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed!”
    Galatians 1:8

    Who wrote the Qur’an? When was it written? Who wrote the Bible? When was it written?

    Grace to you in Christ Jesus,
    Nick

    • For clarity, I do not quote this verse to condemn Islam or Muslims, for I pray for Christianity to spread throughout Islam like wildfire that all will be saved, and my prayers are with both Muslims and the persecuted church, yet it was quoted to show why I don’t believe in the prophecy of the Qur’an, and why I believe the gospel of Jesus Christ to be the true revelation of God.

      Grace to you Nohm, I hope to hear your thoughts on my questions soon.

      God bless,
      Nick

    • In the case of the Bible, we don’t know the authorship of the Bible the people who wrote it could have been anyone, the best we have is the Apostle Paul and his letters, but some of those letters that have made it into the Bible, we have serious reason to believe are forged with authors simply claiming to be Paul and writing in his name. This is revealed through sentence structure, word usage, the limitation of language, contradictions between letters, and changes in overall writing style. If you’re going to use age as a standard for revelation than why do you not listen to Rabbis? The Jews came before the Christians and the Jews don’t accept Jesus as the Messiah for plenty of reasons.

  38. Vin,

    You also wrote:
    “And that’s the primary argument usually raised on this blog, that those that don’t believe or are skeptical raise the point that the evangelist starts from the default position of asserting that they and what they believe is the absolute truth based on feelings alone rather than actual physical evidence that proves conclusively that the Bible is absolutely true…”

    Tell me, can you be absolutely sure about anything? Be careful to not be too quick to answer…

    “…Its the need to understand why which intrigues me. The reason why this interests/concerns me is that people who act irrationally or act emotionally can be dangerous or can find it easy to justify unreasonable acts or actions….”

    Consider if you will the gospel of Jesus Christ found in the New Testament, primarily the four gospels of Matthew, Luke, Mark, and John, and the Epistle Hebrews, Romans, and James (these are books that taken alone explain a lot of the gospel and authority of Jesus, and why I mention only these for now), and tell me, what danger would a true follower of these texts be to others?

    I do agree that unreasonable people may and have used the Bible and the New Testament to justify unreasonable acts, but that’s a bit like the tail that wagged the dog. That is, a person that does not have the Holy Spirit within them, a person that acts out of selfish motives and an agenda, based on preconceived notions about the Bible rather than let God speak for Himself through the text, that is an unreasonable person. And therefore, this unreasonable person is the tail, attempting to “wag the dog” that is the Bible, metaphorically of course, you follow?

    I truly hope you address both questions above, which are:

    1) Can you be ABSOLUTELY SURE about anything?

    2) What danger would a true follower of the gospel of Jesus Christ be to others?

    Grace to you in Christ Jesus,
    Nick

    • 1) The Answer is no. No one in the world can honestly say Yes to this question as if claiming to know absolutely everything about a subject were a mathmatical proof. You would have to have absolute knowledge to have absolute truth and no one in the world has that. Now with that said, we CAN through science and reasoning determine near sureties about thing. As in, if my name is Hank, everyone calls me Hank, its written on my birth certificate, and I haven’t had any evidence in the past of possessing a different name, than in all liklihood, pending the arrival of new evidence, it is true that my name is Hank, enough to the point of almost absolute certainty. There’s nothing saying the rules won’t all change tomorrow and I might suddenly find out my name is Jonathan but given the state of things currently, most would find that highly unlikely, not impossible, but highly improbable.

      2) Ignorance and spreading around of ignorance. I work with a man, who believes in the literal truth of the Bible, everything in there is 100% correct, word for word. He’s filled with certainty, and will argue his point stubbornly despite the myriad of evidence we present to him. His faith has blinded him to the vast fields of science we have discovered, the science that is improving our lives all the time and teaching us more about the nature of reality and the cosmos. He’s content to stay in the darkness and worse, spread around his beliefs to others or perhaps even the children that he has. He thinks that scientists are evil and its all just a conspiracy, do you not think he’ll tell his children that? Stifling any interest they have in discovering new and glorious things about the universe and about nature? We might lose the next Einstein or the next Darwin to the forces of superstition.

      • Additional

        1) Near likelihoods are how we proceed in reality, we assume the constant state of the universe based upon the laws of physics and plan our reality around their constants, but it is possible they could change at any given point, we simply don’t anticipate that because we have yet to observe a change in them over time. We consider those certainties or near certainties, and they are “absolute” for all intents and purposes, but there are probable eventualities we assume MAY happen and prepare for just in case. For instance, we purchase insurance to protect against statistical dangers such as floods, fire, tornadoes, etc. when in all likelihood your home actually won’t burn down, or rather the odds are in your favor that you won’t lose your home to fire. This is still a reasonable thing to do however based on our observations about reality, if all fires everywhere suddenly stopped and there was no more home loss due to fire or arson then there’d be no reason to have that insurance, our reality will have changed through observation and we will change our actions to match the new paradigm. However if these sudden paradigm shifts DON’T happen and haven’t happened in the past, if the laws of physics don’t fly out the window, its unreasonable to assume they will and plan your life around them. For example, some Christians believe the rapture will happen on Oct 21st this year, based on past claims and observations its unlikely this will happen, do you agree?

        2) Additionally, while my co-worker isn’t proactive politically, he and those who listen to him may vote a certain way, he may rally to protest the teaching of science curriculum, and try and get religion taught in the science class, as there is a real threat of that going on here in Texas. Its one thing to have it taught in a religious studies or philosophy class, I think that’s completely fine and helpful, there is a lot of good stuff in the Bible worth spreading around, but just like Jefferson, if we’re going to have an enlightened 21st century society we must abandon the superstition and ignorance of our ancestors…. the Earth isn’t flat, its not the center of the universe, its not 6000 years old, and dinosaurs and man didn’t exist at the same time, etc…. people that advocate these things must not be indulged, their ideas are wrong and must be corrected.

      • Vin,

        If the answer to question number 1 is no, then why would you hold the Bible to that standard, and Christians for preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ?

        You hold it to that standard by your words:
        “based on feelings alone rather than actual physical evidence that proves conclusively that the Bible is absolutely true…”

        We do not believe based on feelings alone, we have the Bible, extra-biblical accounts of the history of Israel, Jesus, and the rise of Christianity (I would recommend the book Imperial Rome and Christian Triumph, by Ja’s Elsner, not a religious book, but a philosophical and systematic artistic review of Roman history circa 100-400 AD), archaeological evidence that supports Biblical claims/history, the Dead Sea scrolls, and logical inferences as reasons to believe, yet ultimately our faith does not come from us, but it is a gift from God… Amen!

        In regard to question 2, you did not really address it, you only told me about a seemingly unreasonable person you know who calls himself a Christian, and I have no way of knowing if he is or is not… I submit that science and the Bible, the gospel of Jesus Christ, are by no means in conflict, science deals with the how, the Bible deals with the WHY… I recently heard a good sermon on this, check it out:

        http://realitysf.com/teachings/the-meaning-of-creation/?audio

        You see, as a Christian, a scientist (google Nicholas A Landsman if you want to fall asleep tonight), and God willing a physician this time next year, science tells us how things work, how we live, how the earth and the universe is sustained in physical terms, but it can say nothing about the why, and the Bible, God’s word, tells us why; tell me, are the only things you believe those that can be scientifically proven? Science without God is misinformed, and a relationship with God without reason is equally misinformed, and science, “to know,” is definitely a glorious pursuit into the power, wonder, and wisdom of God, but it can not replace Him…

        Grace to you in Christ Jesus,
        Nick

      • I’m reading books on early Christianity, as its fascinated me of late, learning about the split between Jews and Christians. Jews, with good reason, do not believe in Jesus as the Messiah, and nor do Muslims, and furthermore the Christian claims do not seem, so far as I’ve read, to hold anymore weight than other divine claims. If the claims were obvious, clear, and supported by evidence, faith wouldn’t be needed, everyone would have clear measurable evidence and being ‘saved’ would be a whole lot easier a case to sell to people in order to save their souls. I’m not holding Christianity to a standard of absolute right or wrong, that would contradict what I asserted in the first place, I’m saying that we are faced with trying to figure out how reality works, and how it all started. The account of genesis and many accounts in the old testament are wrong… are we to do the right thing and declare that these accounts are not literally true? If they aren’t true then what did Jesus mean when he talked of Adam? Was he being literal or speaking allegorical? When it talks of Jesus’ lineage being traced back to Adam, what did it mean? If Adam and Eve didn’t exist in a literal sense then what of original sin and ‘the Fall’? When the claims are not specific or open to interpretation than how are we supposed to gain any real insight into them in order to understand the world? When we find out information about reality that contradicts the Bible, how can such a book truly be inspired by God if its incorrect?

        I think I answered your second question, spreading ignorance is harmful. As a physician… would you enjoy the bird cure for leprosy or treating diseases like demon possessions? We’ve learned to discount magic and superstition as things that probably do not exist but some people cling to it because its mysterious or they were indoctrinated with it, or worse are told to believe in it over what has proven to be the most likely truth. When science says HOW… and that how shows no evidence of ‘magic’ than WHY would you hold up an ancient text as the word of God when it contradicts what we know? Science without God isn’t misinformed, science doesn’t prove or disprove God because theirs no evidence of Gods in the natural world that we’re aware of.

    • Nicholas asked “What danger would a true follower of the gospel of Jesus Christ be to others?”

      I’m not Vin but perhaps I may answer this one as well.

      a) The born again Christians who kill people who violate biblical morality.

      b) The born again Christians who are attempting to subvert the constitutions of the US and Australia [my country] and establish theocracies in those countries.

      c) The born again Christians who censor scientific textsbooks in schools because those books mention the age of the Earth or provide the evidence for evolution.

      d) The raw hatred directed at atheists and homosexuals on born again Christian sites.

      Would you like some more examples? I have several.

  39. Chris,

    you wrote:
    “If Patrick could point out where God could have done better than it is Patrich’s ways which are higher not God’s. God is proclaimed to be omnibenevolent [all good] and the Summum Bonnum [Greatest good]. If that’s the case it should be impossible for someone to have ab greater sense of right and wrong than God. Since Patrich has done this then that image of God [as presented in a fundie understanding of scripture] is wrong!”

    Tell me, how has Patrick shown this? And furthermore, who defines right and wrong? Who is to say what a greater sense of right and wrong is, is Patrick a god? Or an authority on morality? Why should others listen to him? Think carefully before you answer too quickly… think about various cultures around the world and the VERY different ideas of right and wrong…

    Grace to you in Christ Jesus,
    Nick

  40. The trouble is Nicholas I think fundie biblical morality is a little too relative. Anything which God [as portrayed in the bible] condemns is to be avoided at all costs unless He commands people to do that self-same act…then it’s ok.

    Eg. Is genocide evil? Of course it is! Unless God commands it of course [remember the book of Joshua?]

    Or how about infanticide? Is that evil? Of course it is! Unless God commands it of course [remember the psalmist who declared that the man would be blessed who snatched the babe from it’s mother’s arms and killed the kid?]

    I think I can do a little better than such flexible morality.

    How about the ethics of W.D.Ross?
    Ross argued that in order to identify the ethically correct thing to do all we had to do was assign Prima Facie Duties:
    1) Duties of Reparation
    2) Duties of Fidelity
    3) Duties of Gratitude
    4) Duties of Justice
    5) Duties of Benificence
    6) Duties of Self Improvement
    7) Duties of Non-Malificence

    Not only is Ross’ ethical systemconsistent but it also seems to be an improvement on blind obedience to a diety, especially when said obedience can lead to genocide and infanticide, as we have seen above.

    Let’s apply those against genocide and infanticide shall we? Both of those acts violate duties 4, 5, and 7 therefore they are unethical no matter who commands them.

    So it seems that we have shown that God’s commands [as interpreted by fundies] have been bettered by an ethical system. Said ethical system was conceptualised by a human, it follows therefore that a human ways are higher than God’s ways [at least as understood by fundies].

    I don’t happen to believe that, but then I’m not a fundie [Just a Zoroastrian].

    • Chris,

      Thank you for your comments. Here are my rebuttals:

      1) You speak of God’s “flexible morality” only in the context of the first covenant made with the nation of Israel that emanated from Abraham, and you ignore the context of its history. In Joshua, we read the story of God establishing a nation, and what nation on earth has ever been established but at the edge of a sword? I can not speak for God, and who am I to question who God creates for grace and whom for destruction? At least the Bible is clear that Canaan was inhabited by a people who already practiced child sacrifice to Molech, and Canaanite history may be controversial on this assertion, but their worship of Molech is generally accepted. Furthermore, God also enacted His righteous judgement on Israel herself when she rebelled against God and turned from Him, evidenced by the wandering in the desert before Joshua et al. took Canaan, and again with the Babylonian conquest. If God exists, and He is the creator and sustains all things by the power of His word, then His sovereignty and judgement against evil is a very high moral standard. In the gospel of Jesus Christ, things that have not been spoken since before the world began, we are taught to love our enemies, and this is by far a higher standard than duty 7. Followers of Christ would not partake in genocide, and I would submit neither in nation building, for it is not a kingdom on earth we belong to, but the kingdom of heaven. Do not confuse the past with the present and future, for God, as shown with an understanding of the ENTIRE Bible through the Holy Spirit, has clearly shown His:

      A) Reparation through His own death for our sins, as He who was without sin became sin and suffered the wrath on the cross meant for us; that is, He himself made the reparation on our behalf that we could not make, wow!! now that is far higher a standard than what Ross meant here…

      B) Fidelity, or faithfulness, through the gospel of Jesus Christ and the fulfillment of His covenant with Abraham

      C) Gratitude by the blessings He bestows upon the righteous and the wicked

      D) Justice through His judgement and the consequences of sin

      E) Beneficence through the place He is preparing for us in Heaven, and through the work He has prepared for us now since the beginning of time

      F) God is perfect, so it is us that improve by becoming more like Jesus every day we live, and it is He that perfects us

      G) Non-maleficence in that He desires all to be saved, and that none should perish, that all would become followers of Jesus Christ… that we should love and bless our enemies!

      This is a very limited exercise noted above, and God is so much bigger than the writings of a intuitionist philosopher in the post-modernism era. Also, in reading at least the wiki page on Zoroastrianism, could you comment on it, and at least, would you ascribe the “renovation and judgement section” as in line with your beliefs? I find this quite interesting…

      2) In regard to infanticide, the psalm you are quoting is often purported as an attack on the morality of God and the Bible. I would ask that you would read the cross-reference to this passage, here it is for your convenience:

      The Psalm you reference, from 137:
      “7Remember, O LORD, against the(D) Edomites
      (E) the day of Jerusalem,
      how they said,(F) “Lay it bare, lay it bare,
      down to its foundations!”
      😯 daughter of Babylon,(G) doomed to be destroyed,
      blessed shall he be who(H) repays you
      with what you have done to us!
      9Blessed shall he be who takes your little ones
      and(I) dashes them against the rock!”

      Cross-reference: 2 Kings 8 excerpt
      “And Hazael said, “Why does my lord weep?” He answered, “Because I know the evil that you will do to the people of Israel. You will set on fire their fortresses, and you will kill their young men with the sword and dash in pieces their little ones and rip open their pregnant women.”

      Hazael later did just these things to the people of Israel, and yes, this was a part of God’s judgement on the evil Israel had turned to, so what is God telling us in this passage of scripture, breathed by the Holy Spirit through the psalmist? Was this calling out a desire for revenge, for justice, perhaps, or was he in a lamentation, highlighting the horror of being under God’s judgement and wrath, for it is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the Lord as a reprobate sinner; yet it is glorious to fall into His hands as a follower of Jesus in love… such interpretation of this psalm is meant in prayer and meditation on the word, and I have not done this enough on this passage to say either way yet… how is it that you are so confident in your judgement of the Psalm?

      Furthermore, again, Jesus commands us to love our enemies, and therefore, revenge is not ours, for now that Christ’s redemptive work is complete, we are called to follow Him, and that means if we are called to die for Christ’s sake, that is, for His word, and obeying His command to love our enemy, then so be it, for we must not love our lives so much that we shrink from death… this is by no means easy or trivial… and none of us knows what we would do in a given situation until we are there…

  41. To Nicholas who said:
    “A) Reparation through His own death for our sins,…”

    I don’t see this as much of a sacrifice considering he can live an infinite amount of lives if so desired. Also, It doesn’t have to care about not having an afterlife. We, on the other hand have to worry that maybe there isn’t an afterlife.

    “…as He who was without sin became sin and suffered the wrath on the cross meant for us; that is, He himself made the reparation on our behalf…”

    Wrath that would be put upon him or us by himself. He who also created evil. Which came first? Sin or the Snake? By creating free will did he not create Sin? Is darkness a representation of Evil? Did God create the darkness or was it already there?

    Sorry I also, wanted to touch on something that you said to Vin.
    “In regard to question 2, you did not really address it, you only told me about a seemingly unreasonable person you know who calls himself a Christian, and I have no way of knowing if he is or is not…”

    How do we know you are a true Christian or not? Maybe you are following things incorrectly. Different Christians have different ideas about what is a true Christian, don’t they?

  42. Vin, Chris, Patrick,

    I have spent some time in prayer, meditation on God’s word, and research, in order to hopefully allow the Holy Spirit to give me the wisdom to attempt to answer your concerns (I say attempt, not in doubt of the Holy Spirit to do so, but in recognition that I may yet have heard Him, and answer only in the flesh, or, proverbially, one can lead a horse to water, but not make him drink)…

    Vin wrote:
    “…However if these sudden paradigm shifts DON’T happen and haven’t happened in the past, if the laws of physics don’t fly out the window, its unreasonable to assume they will and plan your life around them. For example, some Christians believe the rapture will happen on Oct 21st this year, based on past claims and observations its unlikely this will happen, do you agree?…..”

    It is written:
    “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.”

    Yes, it is unlikely that this will happen, and the gospel explains this perfectly as quoted above, besides the “rapture” itself is highly controversial, and not necessarily a salvation issue in and of itself. Furthermore, the laws of physics have flown out the window before in the past, evidenced by the paradigm shift from classical to quantum physics… The hydrogen bomb definitely was something that Japan would have hoped to plan around… Tell me, can you logically explain why the atom exists as we think we know it? Please attempt to go beyond citing the strong nuclear force, but you’ll lose me at quark; science is glorious, I agree, but it is to the glory of God, that by the power of His word He upholds the universe, one atom, or sub-atomic particle at a time, if you will. Or is science your god?

    “Know that the LORD Himself is God;
    It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves…”

    “…there is a lot of good stuff in the Bible worth spreading around, but just like Jefferson, if we’re going to have an enlightened 21st century society we must abandon the superstition and ignorance of our ancestors…. the Earth isn’t flat, its not the center of the universe, its not 6000 years old, and dinosaurs and man didn’t exist at the same time, etc…. people that advocate these things must not be indulged, their ideas are wrong and must be corrected.”

    If you read the Bible, you will find that it talks of the Earth being a circle, does not say it is the center of the universe (as far as I know), does not give an “age” of the Earth (hint: if we believe God created Adam as a man, i.e. not a fertilized ovum, then why not an Earth and universe with age?); dinosaurs and man? An interesting concept if you consider this: Are Mary Higby Schweitzer’s results valid? You may find that it is still controversial, but an interesting concept… Furthermore, if we believe that Noah took all current lab animals (and insects and reptiles, etc, if you will) into the Ark, then he logically could not take all species that we see today… however, if you expand “kinds” from the level of species to the level of genus, family, or even order in some cases, this becomes quite plausible… miraculous, but plausible, especially for an almighty God to orchestrate… therefore, “evolution” as you may call it, may actually occur a lot faster than you may think, yet this is still, “micro-evolution” as we so often point out… yes, even Nohm’s evidence for “macro-evolution,” ERVs, are evidence for micro-evolution, and to extrapolate these observable phenomenon beyond recorded history is not science, its pure philosophy… can you not see the problem with such assumptions?

    “The account of genesis and many accounts in the old testament are wrong… are we to do the right thing and declare that these accounts are not literally true? If they aren’t true then what did Jesus mean when he talked of Adam? Was he being literal or speaking allegorical? When it talks of Jesus’ lineage being traced back to Adam, what did it mean? If Adam and Eve didn’t exist in a literal sense then what of original sin and ‘the Fall’? When the claims are not specific or open to interpretation than how are we supposed to gain any real insight into them in order to understand the world? When we find out information about reality that contradicts the Bible, how can such a book truly be inspired by God if its incorrect?”

    Can you prove that these accounts are wrong? How can you say with any near certainty that they are incorrect? Again, the Genesis 1 account of creation is in many respects logical in terms of the progression of creation, and I submit that it is not meant to give a detailed account of how God created everything, other than that we understand the power of words, in particular His word, since He SPOKE all things into existence (my friend, this is not scientific, this is philosophical, not allegorical, but I submit quite literal)… words my friend, have the power to shatter one’s spirit, or to build each other up… The Bible is meant to be understood by all, and given its intended simplicity, we still find ways to fight over it among those who believe in God and his word… how much more if it was a scientific treatise! Imagine God telling Moses about the speed of light, relativity, quantum physics, cosmology! Tell me, you must understand this concept…

    Chris,

    I asked about a true follower of the gospel of Jesus Christ, not about what people who call themselves born again Christians do or are doing… there is a difference… I am asking you, when you read the gospel accounts of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, what danger lurks within to others? Better yet, read the beatitudes and tell me, where is the danger to others? All of your examples do not address this question, they address, for the most part, foolishness, not the gospel… if you have pertinent examples, list them, yet I would ask that you would read at least Matthew 5 beforehand…

    Patrick,
    you write, “I don’t see this as much of a sacrifice considering he can live an infinite amount of lives if so desired. Also, It doesn’t have to care about not having an afterlife. We, on the other hand have to worry that maybe there isn’t an afterlife.”

    This ignores the fact that we know Jesus to be fully man and fully God, we can’t explain how, yet the Bible is clear on this, clear as mud you may say, yet when we see both, it is a very high sacrifice… Jesus the man did not consider himself equal with God:

    For it is written:
    “though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross”

    and further still written:
    “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.”

    Jesus the man prayed these words, knowing that he would endure not just a terrible, tortuous death, but that all the world’s sin would be placed on His shoulders on the cross, all sin, the most vile acts and godlessness, one might argue separated from the Father for a time… a not so equivalent example would be that if I told you you would give a loved one another 10 years of life if you suffer 3rd degree burns all over your body, but then you would be healed perfectly afterward, would you consider it not a sacrifice to endure the pain?

    further you wrote: “Wrath that would be put upon him or us by himself. He who also created evil. Which came first? Sin or the Snake? By creating free will did he not create Sin? Is darkness a representation of Evil? Did God create the darkness or was it already there?”

    Excellent questions, although I detect a bit of sarcasm; God did not create evil… God is perfect, He alone is good, we created evil on Earth… all that was good Adam and Eve knew, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was to know that which was not good, to willfully disobey God and choose that which was not good, not God, therefore, by definition then evil (as in “not good”)… The devil made this same choice, as did the angels that followed him, and I am no expert on the devil, at least I hope not… and my understanding of the theology of the problem of evil elementary at best… so to answer your circular questions:

    1) No such thing as free will (there is no “free” in any choice we make in life)

    2) We are made in God’s image, therefore we are rational (at least we have the ability to reason), personal, emotional, volitional beings (all four qualities together are unique to humans) Therefore, we all, inherited from Adam, will as volitional beings, choose to disobey God, what and who is good

    3) The serpent does not necessarily have to be the devil, yet I imagine it was, given God’s condemnation that follows

    4) Keep in mind that in relation to the word, “darkness,” it may mean literal darkness, as in “darkness covered the face of the deep” or darkness as in metaphorically evil… also, the text itself in English is limited in scope in some meanings due to translational difficulties, which is why we must meditate on the word and in prayer consider the English text carefully, read several versions, and discuss the text in community… in isolation, your concerns and misrepresentations of scripture will be commonplace… that is, we must prayerfully consider hermeneutics and exegesis of the word, and not allow for eisegesis

    Note: we must also be careful to consider controversial passages in the text in regard to what is and is not canonized, and God is good in that we can do so by applying any scripture to the test of internal validity, comparing it to other scripture, for instance, the controversial passages in Mark 16:9-20; some of it we see in Acts and in the Pauline epistles, yet it may very well have been added after the facts… however, this is well known in Christendom and therefore the test of internal validity holds (that is, oldest manuscripts don’t have it, so it is likely not to be canonized as God-breathed), furthermore, those that would attempt to live this out in the flesh, as with any prophecy are forewarned elsewhere:

    “And he took him to Jerusalem and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, 10for it is written,

    “‘He will command his angels concerning you,
    to guard you,’

    11and

    “‘On their hands they will bear you up,
    lest you strike your foot against a stone.’”

    12And Jesus answered him, “It is said, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’” 13And when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from him until an opportune time.”

    You see, God is good, all the time, and we have every reason to believe… but yes, the Jew and Muslim and Atheist have good reason to not believe, much like Thomas:

    “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.”

    26Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them.(AM) Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 27Then he said to Thomas, (AN) “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” 28Thomas answered him,(AO) “My Lord and my God!” 29Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me?(AP) Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

    Therefore consider these things…

    Finally you wrote:
    “How do we know you are a true Christian or not? Maybe you are following things incorrectly. Different Christians have different ideas about what is a true Christian, don’t they?”

    You don’t know, I don’t know for certain…

    for it is written:
    “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.”

    Further still:
    “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. 25Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. 26So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. 27But I discipline my body and keep it under control,b lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.”

    and elsewhere:
    “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!”

    And when Jesus spoke of His betrayer, they asked:
    “Is it I, Lord?”

    Only God knows, only Jesus, only the Holy Spirit, if I am a true Christian or will be one, yet by faith I pray that I am, and that faith, freely given from God, makes me secure in my salvation by grace…

    Yet even so, I may be following things incorrectly, and pray that God will correct my errors, our errors even, and I am sure that I am wrong about a great deal of things, save this:

    Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the Son of Man, the Word that is God, God in the flesh, who made His dwelling among us, lived a sinless life, and died on the cross in our place for the salvation of all men, women, and children who believe in His name, whom he gives the right to be called children of God, born not of natural descent, human decision, or a husband’s will, but born of God…

    Thank you all for your comments and discussion.

    Grace and peace to you Chis, Patrick and Vin in the Lord Jesus Christ,
    Nick

  43. oops, “lab” animals, was supposed to be “land animals,” that’s the scientist slip in me…

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