Tag Archives: Love

Evolution vs. Creation Philosophy Part IV of IV–Where is History Headed?

Part IV of IV—Where is history headed?

Think back to the 1920 stock market crash, to 9-11, or as recent as November 20th, 2016, the Trump election—no one saw them coming. We are not good at predicting the future, but the Bible is. Hundreds of predictions have been made and come true and some of them came thousands of years in advance. God’s word has predicted world shaking events, such as the time and place of Jesus’s birth, how and when Jesus would die and who would be by His side when He died, the name of the man who let the Israelites go after 70 years of captivity—Cyrus—and my favorite, what nations would pass across the stage of history (Daniel 3, 7, 9 and 11).

God showed Nebuchadnezzar, the King of Babylon, his golden kingdom would be replaced by the Meads and Persians, who would be ruled by Greece, and then Rome, and eventually Rome would fragment into 10 countries (Dan 3, 7, 11). It even gives the details: Greece would fall and divide into four parts (Dan 8), and three of the ten countries comprising the fallen Roman Empire would be plucked up by one unique power, and it did (Dan 7). It predicted the fall of the Vatican State, and its healing (Rev 13), and it even predicted the United State’s rise to power. But all of these events are past; does the Bible tell us what’s coming? Yes it does.

  1. The world will become more and more wicked, while it looks more and more religious (Rev 12, 13). Think hypocrisy and false religions.
  2. Countries and churches will unite to control the masses (Rev 13).
  3. A remnant of zealous Christians will give three moving messages to the world (Rev 14).
  4. The world will attempt to silence then destroy this small number of reformers (Rev 13); while
  5. Satan will fake Jesus’s return in an attempt to control the world.
  6. Jesus will come again just as society implodes; He’ll come to resurrect the righteous dead, translate the living saints, and take all of the saved to heaven for 1000 years (Rev 14).
  7. For a thousand years Satan and his evil imps will be confined to planet earth to contemplate their gloomy future, while the saints are reviewing the history books in heaven.
  8. At the end of the 1000 years, Jesus, God, the heavenly city New Jerusalem, and all the saints will descend back to earth;
  9. The rest of the dead, those lost, will be resurrected for judgment; they will see themselves and how they have despised God’s love and how they have unfitted themselves to live in God’s presence; and God will reveal Himself—giving life and vitality to those who love Him, but sadly destroying those who don’t.
  10. And forever more the saints will live in paradise made new. God will recreate the earth, probably in the same way He did it before, one day at a time, so we can watch and be amazed. He will wipe away our tears and all traces of sin; not a drop will remain except for the scars in Jesus’s hands, feet, and side.

It’s hard to believe the world could become any more wicked than it is, and could it really be worse than during world War II when 60 million people were slaughtered? It’s possible, but what’s unique this time is, it will be cloaked in religion. Already churches and countries are lining up: Catholic Europe, Central America, and South America; Muslim Middle East, and Protestant America; and within them the sins of pride and domination rule. It is one thing to humbly protect your own, but another completely to dominate and compel the conscience.

Coming out of this montage of religions a small group of zealous Christians will shake the earth with three simple messages:

Then I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth—to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people—saying, “Fear God and give Him Glory for the hour of his judgment has come; and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water.” And another angel followed saying, “Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she has made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornications.” Then a third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. (Rev 14:6-9)

These three messages are much more complicated than they appear, and understanding them without the context of the rest of the Bible is really not possible. The Bible is internally consistent; it uses its own stories to define terms. For example, “forever” to us, means a long, long time, but Biblically, a slave could serve his master forever, so forever really means for as long as you live. We know we will live forever (using our modern definition) because the Bible says there will be no more death, not because it says forever. And wrath to us means an intense anger, but the wrath God is talking about, is God giving up on us, finally abandoning us, leaving us to drink the cup, to reap the natural consequences of our choices; and nobody really wants that to happen. When God did that in the past, Jerusalem was sieged, sacked, burned, destroyed, and demolished when He stopped protecting them from those Satan had control of.

What do the three-angels messages mean to you? What do you think are the most important terms and ideas? What do you think the everlasting gospel is, or the judgment, the mark, the image, and the beast? I’d like to know.

Why Did Jesus Have to Die? Excerpt

Chapter 1

Why are things this way?

In your mind’s eye, look outside your door and peer into the ghettos and dark alleys of this world. In your heart, you know this is not what God had in mind for our planet. Sure, there is good out there, but there is bad too. There is beauty in bright smiles and romantic sunsets, blue oceans and painted deserts, quasars and star-studded skies, but there is ugliness in disease, decay, and death. And there is pain, a lot of pain. Why are things this way? Why do lions and tigers eat Bambi and Thumper? Why are the good often bad and the bad sometimes good? Why does the song say, “Only the good die young”? And why did someone as loving as Jesus have to die?

Many people have offered answers to that question. Some explanations revolve around some type of ransom being paid to the devil; others say that Jesus paid a debt to His Father, to the angels, or to sin itself. Are these the only options? Has the question been adequately addressed? Why is it that no earthly court would ever allow some saintly fellow to take the punishment for a criminal, yet many religions think it is okay for God to do so? Could punishing Gandhi ever atone for Hitler’s crimes? Could Mother Teresa’s virtue ever negate the lack thereof in Stalin, Pol Pot, Nero, Hirohito, or Osama bin Laden?

Surely it is arrogant to suggest that humanity has exhausted all the possibilities or that we could actually comprehend it all. So with that, I would like to throw one more possibility into the theological hat for consideration: the Great Controversy-Demonstration Model. Several people have incorporated great controversy concepts into their theology, but none have risen to the level of Graham Maxwell PhD, University of Chicago. Many of the ideas presented here were first learned from this great man.

This book is divided into four sections. The first is historic, tracing the biblical story to the cross. The second is allegorical, using train-wreck metaphors to compare theologies. The third section looks at issues one by one, and section four defines terms.

Is God Doing This? Ebola

Is there any hope?

It’s been shown that a person’s world view answers four questions: Why is there something and not nothing? What has happened and is broken in the world? Is there any hope, and if so, what is it? And, where is history headed?

In Part I I’ve shown that science can’t answer the question, why is there something and not nothing? nor should it be expected to. You can’t test it; you can’t put something into a test tube or beaker or even a cyclotron and turn something into nothing or the reverse. Even turning energy into matter, as remarkable as that is, can’t be manipulated into making something from nothing. It’s beyond science.

We discussed, what has happened and is broken in the world? and noted two philosophies dominate. Evolution suggests nothing is broken. Rather, we are happily traveling down the survival-of-the-fittest highway of life, competing with each other for limited resources, and having “fun” doing it. The competition between individuals and countries and races is merely how we improve the gnome. The other theory is Biblical. What went wrong first happened in heaven, not earth. Our broken world is just collateral damage from a war gone wrong in the cosmos, and it was over God’s character. He was accused of lying, lying about sin causing death, of being arbitrary, exacting, unforgiving, and severe by His second-in-command—Lucifer—and one-third of the heavenly beings believed his lies. The only way to settle the conflict was to create a new planet with beings that didn’t know the past. But sadly, earth sided with God’s enemy. We rebelled thinking God couldn’t be trusted to keep his word; and we ate the fruit. Now we are living and dying from the consequences.

Today’s focus is on hope: Is there any? When I’m asked open-ended questions like that, I want to ask back quickly, “What kind of hope, or hope in what, or hope to do what?” It’s the same when someone says, “Trust me.” I want to ask, “Trust you to do what, to tell the truth, always be there for you and never let you down, or just trust you enough to make a tasty breakfast and nothing more? It varies a lot!

I think the “hope” all people crave is—immortality—both the evolutionary scientist and those of faith. Both have a deep-seated longing for something more than what we see, feel, taste, and are. If science continues its advances in medicine, men and women will live hundreds of years with the benefit of new knees, hips, and hearts. We’ll have new livers, new corneas, new kidneys, and we’ll know how to keep cancer at bay. We will learn to use genetics to overcome hereditary diseases like: physical deformities, ugliness, shortness, weakness, and stupidity. We’ll have bionic eyes and ears and able to jump tall buildings with a single bound, but I’m not sure about our characters. Have you seen the movies 1984 or A Brave New World? In 1984, Big Brother uses technology to enslave mankind; and in A Brave New World, technology is used to genetically create whatever type of worker is needed for the all-powerful Ford Motor Company. Mankind is prone to dominate, and domination in genetic science necessitates the creation of super beings. We are enthralled with them. We have Superman and Wonder Woman, Batman, Neo, Thor, Hulk, Spock, Yoda, Luke Skywalker and a score of other super heroes with super powers. They may not have super characters, however, and we become what we most highly prize and admire. What we behold be become, and society loves the powerful. Science’s endgame is immortality, super humans—self-perpetuated eternal life.

Those of faith have hope too in a future immortality, but their path is different. It’s not through science, technology, and evolution; it’s through a man—the God-man—Jesus Christ. It seems ironic that a person today can embrace immortality only through someone who died himself. I remember trying to make sense of it when I was young. I knew there had to be more to the story.

The short story is: we have all rebelled against God (sinned) and must die. But God so loved the world (us) that He sent His Son to die in our place; and those who have come back to Him and ceased their rebellion, will be forgiven. They will live forever—they will be given immortality.

This short statement is true if you make the correct assumptions. But world-wide, the way it’s generally presented puts God the Father in a poor light. Should doing one thing wrong, one time, no matter how trivial it is, be punished with death; why not have a graduated punishment scale instead? And, can one person’s death atone for every wrong ever committed? Would any court accept an innocent person’s punishment in lieu of another person’s crimes? Is that a just swap? Not normally.

The longer version is laid out in several thousand pages of the Bible. We are used to, here a little and there a little, like the paragraph above, but what about the rest? Only after knowing the whole story does it make sense. How does the nation of Israel fit into the narrative, and the sanctuary, the 10-Commandments, Elijah killing 450 or more prophets, and God killing 180,000 Assyrians? Try reading the whole book through yourself and don’t just take other people’s opinions as being true without checking it out yourself. You will be glad you did!

The Bible paints a picture more beautiful and more hopeful than any Walt Disney fairy tale. The hope of all Christians is being resurrected at Jesus’s second coming and living in God’s presence, having eternity to get to know Him and be like Him, living in a place where there are no tears, no death, no sorrow, and only joy; traveling from planet to planet as God’s ambassadors, sharing the good news of His love, mercy, and truthfulness with other creations, having bodies that won’t decay and brake and grow old. The hope of Christians includes all that of evolutionists, but is greater. It’s more than immortality—it adds perfection of character and living with God, angels, and others who love us and can be trusted. Note below a couple of hopeful verses taken from the Bible.

lion-and-the-lambIn the earth made new:

6The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them. The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. The infant will play near the cobra’s den, and the young child will put its hand into the viper’s nest. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. (Isaiah 11: 6-9, NIV)

Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him. (I Corinthians 2:9, NKJV)

There is Hope!

God is Not

It’s been said that God is love. But love never gets defined. Isis says God (Allah) is love, and Islam says the same. The Jews say God (Yahweh) is love. And Catholics say God is love, too; but they say it differently than Lutherans, who say it differently than Methodists, who say it differently than Anglicans, Adventists, Mormons, Church of Christ, and Evangelicals. If God really is love, how can He be like what all these churches and religions describe, when each presents a picture of God that is so different?

Strangely, we may not agree on what love is, but most people will agree on what a friend is. A friend sticks by your side even when the going gets rough. A friend can tell you the truth when you need to hear it, and they will do it with a smile or when needed, a tear, and with loads of compassion. A friend looks out for your best interests. A friend won’t ever throw you under the bus.

I think its better to define God as your best friend than to say, He is love, because there are so many types of love. I love my dog! I love your shoes! I love my cappuccino! And, I love my God? But we all know what we mean when we say, my friend sticks closer than a brother. My friend has never let me down. I can trust him or her with any secret.

Let me tell you a secret. I have found God to be the best friend a person could ever have. He is always there to talk to; He never leaves you or forsakes you, and He comforts me when there are no others. When you read His written word, its like He is right next to you, talking to you, encouraging you, telling you just what to look at and what to do with those heart-rending decisions that always crop up. And reading and praying to Him gives you peace, peace of mind and heart, peace that the world can not give.

Another way to describe God is: what God is NOT. He is not rude. He is not arrogant. He is not proud and not puffed up. He does not lie. He is not arbitrary. He is not an exacting task master. He is not severe or unforgiving or vengeful. And how do I know? I have studied the life and death of Jesus, who said before He went back to heaven, “If you have seen Me you have see the Father.”

What is God like? If you use the definition of love given in 1Corinthians 13, then, God is love. But you can also describe Him by saying, what He is NOT. And if you want, you can say with me, He is the greatest friend I have ever known.

John 3:16

I listened to a powerful sermon this last weekend about God’s love and the plan of salvation, and he used just one verse, the famous Bible text, John 3:16. It is simple but profound; it’s the greatest!

For God – The greatest one
So loved – The greatest degree
The world -The greatest amount of people
That He gave -The greatest generosity
His only begotten Son – The greatest uniqueness
That whosoever – The greatest invitation
Believeth in Him – The greatest simplicity
Should not – The greatest certainty
Perish – The greatest possible loss
But – The greatest difference
Have -The greatest possession
Everlasting – The greatest length
Life – The greatest gift

Thanks to Glen Pinterich.

The good news about God is so simple even a child can understand it: God is good, loving, and patient; He is trustworthy, responsible, and humble; He’s friendly, and would never lie or let his children down. But the Bible is also so deep even the scholars can’t comprehend it’s limits.

Ask a child why Jesus had to die and they might say simply, because he loves us or he came to show us what God is like. Ask a scholar and they will bring up words like: propitiation, expiation, and atonement. But then we would have to ask, what do those words mean? Maybe the child’s version is closer to the truth than the long, drawn-out explanations we sometimes get. What words did Jesus use?

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28)

“If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him.” Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works. Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves. (John 14: 7-11)

No one has ever seen God. The only Son, who is the same as God and is at the Father’s side, he has made him known. (John 1:18 GNT)

Jesus showed everyone, that God is the greatest!