Tag Archives: Picture of God

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.

Philosophy-Part II-What happened that it’s broken?

petri-dishI just read a few journal articles with titles like: “Is humanity a failed experiment?” “Is Humanity Failing?” “Why is humanity failing as a whole?” and “Humanity is a failed experiment”. The thought that something has gone wrong in the universe, and more importantly that something has gone wrong right here, is not just an isolated, random, or outlier thought. Thousands, possibly millions of people think something has gone terribly wrong. But what happened? What has happened that society is so broken? Why do people murder, lie to each other, cheat each other, and steal from each other?

In the naturalistic, big bang/evolutionary scenario, with its prime drivers—random chance and natural selection—humanity is not failing; it’s thriving; it’s doing exactly what it’s expected to do when a population increases to the point where there is an intense competition for resources. It’s true that the prognosis is not what we’d like: a massive die-off at the end, like a bacteria culture that has consumed all the nutrients from the petri dish. The whole batch dies leaving only a few, only the toughest, only the few mutant-like cells that were a little more tolerant, a little more adaptable to the harsh environment than the rest of the herd; and they will live on, repopulating the dish with an improved genome until the cycle repeats.

In a natural selection scenario, competition encourages lying to survive, hording money and groceries and houses and resources to out-compete your neighbors. You can do anything and say anything; you can even kill to survive, and it’s not considered an unnatural or immoral act: it’s just natural selection. So the fights, the wars, and the troubles we see and hear are normal; it’s just the survival of the fittest. The riots, the drug abuse, the immorality, the cruelty and the resulting poverty are only the results of following the natural ways of evolution to select out an even better genome. Through it all, evolution should produce, an even better, stronger, more cunning, and maybe a more ruthless, smarter race.

The Bible on the other hand suggests a more sinister plot to our plight. Our social problems are not the results of natural selection merely, but rather the desperate consequences of a galactic war gone bad, a spiritual war between good and evil, and it’s being played-out right here on planet Earth. God was accused of lying about the results of rebellion in His universe. Satan insisted that God was lying when he said rebellion brought on death; and when the chips were down, Adam and Eve sided with Satan.

What happened that society is so broken? Our planetary representatives rejected God’s personal leadership, and we are reaping the results. Fortunately, God did not wholly abandon us to Satan’s influence—we have been given a choice as to whom we will serve and which principles we will follow. The question is: will we follow our Creator or something less?

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.

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.

What is God like?

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The struggle in the Middle East is just the playing out of what each religious group thinks God is like. We become what we most highly admire and desire, and Isis, Islam, the Jews, and Christians are all living out their picture of God to the world.

What is God like? Christians believe Jesus’s words, If you have seen me you have seen the Father. And to illustrate it, Jesus healed the blind, fed the hungry, and preached the good news of God’s great love to all that would listen–rich and poor alike.

He told stories so plain that everyone would understand, like the Prodigal Son:

“There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father “Father, give me my share of the estate.” So he divided his property between them.

Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his with in wild living. After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.

When he came to his senses, he said, “How many of my father’s hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.
So he got up and went to his father.

But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. The son said to him Father, “I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.”

But the father said to his servants, “Quick, Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found. So they began to celebrate. Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. Your brother has come home, he replied, and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.

The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. Bet he answered his father, look. All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him.

My son, the father said, you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.”

In this third story Jesus showed the Father’s true attitude toward us–all of us–the sons and daughters that chose to leave like Adam and Eve.

Which picture of God do you want?