Thursday, December 29, 2011

Common Questions about God, the Bible, etc.

We have been dealing with some weighty issues over the past few months (Gnosticism, Atheism, and even Big Bang Cosmology), so I thought that it might be time to step back and cover (or re-cover) some basic common theological questions (you know, those questions that a lot of people have, but they are somehow afraid to ask).

It never ceases to amaze me when spending time talking about real and pressing issues with people about spiritual, biblical, theological, and philosophical issues, that there are recurring and lingering difficulties and perplexities they wrestle with. There are a standard set of questions that arise, questions for which there are real and fairly simple answers, but it seems that many people are afraid to raise the questions---perhaps out of a deep-seated fear that there are NO answers. Maybe there is a subtle psychological reflex that prefers to ignore the question (or even deny it), rather than to get it out in the open.

Put your mind at rest, there are answers, there are explanations---trust me, there is not single question that you have thought of (or that has been asked of you) that has not already been dealt with thoroughly. What if I asked you right now: "What is the approximate mass of the planet Jupiter?" Would you break out into a cold sweat, or fear that perhaps science has no answers (just because you personally do not have one)? Of course not...there are answers, even if you do not have the slightest idea---yet. (By the way...the mass of Jupiter is 1.9 x 1027 kg)

Here is a list of some of the most commonly asked questions about God, the Bible, and Christianity in general.(click on the question to be linked to the answer)

  Where did God come from (Who made God)?  

Here is a fun exercise: Think about the very first thing that ever happened, now think about the thing that happened before that, and then before that--and on and on. Try to imagine something with no beginning. Pretty tough isn't it?  Actually, it is for all intents and purposes nearly impossible to understand. We think about everything (just about) in terms of TIME. Yesterday I did such and such, today and I am reading this blog, and tomorrow, I am planning on going here or there. We always think of 3 divisions of Time--Past, Present, and Future.

Both science and the Bible reveal to us that everything in the Universe, including space, matter, energy--and yes, even TIME itself began at the beginning of the creation of the Cosmos. In a very real sense, there was no time BEFORE the beginning of the Universe. We live IN TIME----just as fish live IN WATER, we are surrounded by it, guided by it, and trapped inside of it---we are creatures OF TIME. It is the only way we understand the events that happen in the Universe--we think of time as a line (technically, a Ray), which began at the creation of the Universe, and is moving on down through the ages until this moment.

Why all this metaphysical temporal babble? It is crucial to understand that God CREATED TIME. That logically means that He is a being, a person, OUTSIDE of time. Next, we must understand the Law of Cause of Effect. That Law states that every Effect, is initiated by some prior (or concurrent) Cause. This fundamental Law undergirds most scientific research. Science is often the search for causes (and philosophy and science together seek ultimate causes). Logically looking at it, this whole Universe, and everything that has ever occurred in it, has been preceded by an earlier Cause.

If we trace this back, using logic, then we must finally arrive at an Original, Uncaused Cause. There must have been something, outside of time, that then led to everything else. Using logic, we can deduce that this Cause must itself be Uncaused (eternal---no beginning) is impossible to even conceive of any other option. Considered the greatest philosopher to have ever lived, Aristotle called this the First or Prime Mover, and Sir Isaac Newton, esteemed to be the greatest scientist to have ever lived, echoed this term, enshrining it as the inescapable consequence of his Third Law of Motion.

So, the conclusion of logic and the Law of Cause and Effect (as well as Newtonian Laws of Motion), is that there must be a being, a Creator, who is outside of time, who is necessarily eternal, having no beginning, that could lead to everything else (the Universe, for example).

Another approach to this question is to demonstrate that it is a nonsense question. What is a nonsense question? Here are a few examples:

     -What does the color blue taste like?
     -How far is it from headphones to true love?
     -How many millions of corners are there on a circle?

These are all "QUESTIONS", but none of them is a real question...they are nonsense--they can be asked, but there are NO answers. Let's apply this same type of reasoning to "questions" about God's origin.

Since God is defined as the original, uncaused Creator, who has no beginning or ending, then it is NONSENSE to ask about WHERE or WHEN God came from. You can ask it, but it is a nonsensical and foolish quest.

Some may challenge and say: "Well, I can't understand how God could just have always existed! It just doesn''t seem to make sense to me." But it is important to remember, just because any one of us cannot, or does not, understand something, that has absolutely no bearing whatsoever on whether it is true or logical. Could you imagine travelling back 2000 years ago and trying to tell people that the Earth is a big sphere? Since they did not understand Gravity, it would seem absolutely impossible to them ("Why don't the people fall off on the other side?" "Why don't the ocean drain off the bottom?" etc.)---they would not be able to understand the concept---but yet, the Earth IS SPHERICAL (more or less).

Perhaps in Eternity, God will unlock that part of our understanding (much like the concept of Gravity) which will make His eternal nature (no beginning) make perfect sense, even though it confuses us NOW.

  What was God doing BEFORE He created the Universe?  

For this interesting question, please read the answer to the question above: "Where did God come from (Who made God)?" firstThis particular question suffers from a common error---taking the rules that govern us, and then forcing them to apply to God. God is the Creator, He created the Universe which includes even TIME itself. He exists in a realm or dimension that is not bounded, governed, or restricted by time (past, present, future). Therefore, to ask about anything that God did BEFORE the Universe, fails under it's own weight of logical fallacy. It is not a case of a pulling a metaphysical "fast one" or of a trick way to "escape" the question.

There may be an answer to this question, but is difficult, if not impossible (since we are beings who live IN TIME) to come to a "comfortable" answer. To illustrate, take the expansion of the Universe, for example. Scientists (and the Bible) tell us that the Universe began at a single point and is expanding outward. This logically means that somewhere, way, way, way out there, there is the "edge" of the Universe as it expands. But wait--what is PASSED the edge of the expanding Universe---what is it expanding INTO? No one knows...yet we know it is expanding.

Just because we do not know (or understand) what is AFTER space, it follows that it may not be possible (in our present state of understanding) to know what God was doing BEFORE creation.

  How can God know the future?  

This is another Time-Conundrum question (similar to the first two above). Once again, please read the answers to the questions above before moving on with this one. To summarize and condense the above two logical constructs, God is the creator of the Universe, therefore even the creator of time itself. God exists OUTSIDE of time, and is not subject to the same constraints as those who were created inside of time (us).

In a very real sense, God exists in the NOW. One logical approach is to see that the past, present, and future are all existing in the now with God. He is outside time, or for the sake of analogy--He is ABOVE time. Let me illustrate.

Imagine that you are a child watching a parade going by. You are on a crowded sidewalk, with throngs of people on all sides, and all you can see is the part of the parade that is immediately passing by you. You can hear the bands and musicians that are soon to be coming by, and you can hear the faint and dying echoes of those that have already passed.  This is how we experience TIME

Time is like the parade---what we see going by right now in front of us is the PRESENT, what we hear to be soon coming is the FUTURE, and what is dying away is the PAST.  We can only experience the present, but we can anticipate (to some degree) the future, and we can remember the past. But, all of the parade is one big, unbroken procession called TIME.

Now, God is like someone in a helicopter, far above the parade. From His vantage point, He can see the entire parade at the same time, the past, the present, and the future. He can interact with any part of it at any "time". So, returning to the question: "How can God know the future?" we must think of the analogy of the parade. God "knows" the "future" because it is all visible to the one Who has created even time itself. He is above it, outside it, and can survey all of it in the eternal "now." There is no "future" with God, in a sense, as He knows the entire parade of time, all at the same "time."

  Where did Cain's wife come from (who did Adam and Eve's children marry)?  

Those who engage in apologetics (the study of defending the Christian faith) say that this is the number one question that people ask when given the opportunity to have long-standing problems discussed. Imagine that. Not about the Trinity, or some miracle, or hard to understand doctrine, they want to know: Where did Cain get his wife?

Let's give some background on this one. The Bible reveals that God created the original pair of humans, Adam and Eve. They initially had two sons, Cain and Abel. Cain was jealous of his brother, and eventually murdered him. The Bible then says that Cain fled the area, and eventually took a wife and settled down. The question is: where did Cain's wife come from? The answer is so simple, we read right passed it, and due to cultural issues, we will miss it nearly every time.

In Genesis 5:4 it plainly declares that Adam and Eve had many "other sons and daughters." Cain's wife would either be (a) one of his sisters, or (b) a niece (daughter of one of his brothers). Now stop--before you are in any way repulsed or perplexed about this, it's time to bring in science, particularly DNA.

Let me ask you a question: Why don't we allow marriage of brothers and sisters, or other close relatives? Now, before you give the emotional answer of "Because that's disgusting! That's incest, and it is just plain wrong." you need to realize WHY it is not allowed, and separate that from the personal, emotional, and cultural stigmas. Close intermarriage (up to about 2nd cousin) is NOT allowed because of GENETICS, not because of MORALITY. It has nothing to do with good or evil, moral or immoral--it has to do with SAFE or DANGEROUS.

Here's why: Humans, and all living things, are constructed using a biological blueprint known as DNA. It is about 3.1 billion pieces of information long. Over time, there have been a lot of mutations and imperfections that have crept in and changed the DNA, creating bad or dysfunctional areas in our genes. When a male and a female reproduce, they each contribute about 50% of the DNA to the new organism (person). The closer together the mother and father are in terms of relationship (like brother and sister, or first cousins) then the chances are greater that they will have "bad" DNA in the same spot in the genetic code (because they share so much similar DNA).

Here is a simple example: let's pretend these are two short segments of DNA, one from the father, one from the mother: To way oversimplify it, the genes compare the two sections, and look for "good" DNA.
GENE #          1            2          3         4          5        6        7
FATHER ------Good    Good    Good    Bad    Good     Bad     Good
MOTHER-----Good     Bad     Good   Good    Bad     Good    Good
NEW DNA--- Good    Good   Good   Good   Good   Good    Good

So the new DNA is pretty much all "good" because at least one of the two parents had "good" DNA in each of the genetic spots. But what happens when both have "bad" in the same spot? Let's see:

GENE #            1           2           3          4         5       6        7
FATHER ------Good    Good    Good    Bad    Good     Bad    Good
MOTHER-----Good     Bad     Good     Bad     Bad     Good   Good
NEW DNA--- Good    Good   Good    Bad    Good   Good   Good

Uh-oh...Houston, we have a problem. Both parents had "bad" DNA in genetic position #4. When you have enough "bad" DNA it results in serious problems, including birth defects, other diseases or deformities, all the way up to death. That is why we do not allow marriage of close relatives---the DNA is so similar between mother and father that the probability of having "bad" DNA in the same place is far too high. It's dangerous.

Think about it. There is no difference between your husband/wife and your brother/sister. Both are either a male human, or a female human. All of us are Homo Sapiens, and we are about 99.8% genetically similar, it's just that .2% of differences and "bad" DNA that can cause absolutely horrible problems if two close relatives have children. That is why we don't allow marriage of close relatives, even though it is not "bad" or "wrong" in a moral sense. 

Now, getting back to the original question---Where did Cain get his wife? Since his wife was either (a) his sister, or (b) a niece, many of you are now asking, "Then why didn't all the close intermarriages early on in human history cause problems and birth defects like now?" 

The answer: DNA, mutations, and time. To put it simply, in the beginning, the human DNA was basically "pure". It did not have all of the many thousands of years of genetic mutations and corruption, as it is now. The accumulated mass of genetic defects in human DNA is known as our "Genetic Burden". When God first created mankind, there was no "genetic burden." In fact, it wasn't until roughly the time of Moses ( a few thousand years after the first human parents were created) that God finally banned marriages between close relatives. There were hefty penalties for breaking this law, once God enacted it...and for good reason, to allow the practice to continue could completely corrupt the human DNA.

It wasn't because it was "evil" or "dirty" or "wrong" (because prior to that time God allowed it)---it was because of the accumulated genetic burden had by then made it DANGEROUS. This is one of those amazing and wonderful cases where our modern understanding of science has helped us to appreciate even more WHY God does certain things or prohibits certain things. True science and true scripture are not at odds, they will always perfectly complement one another.

  Since man makes mistakes, and people wrote the Bible, doesn't the Bible then have mistakes?  

Click this LINK to a full blog post that answers this common question.

  Why are there four Gospels and not just one?  

The story is often told of four blind men who meet an elephant. One grabs the trunk and says: "Elephants are a lot like snakes!" The second one grabs an ear and says: "No, elephants are like flat flabby sheets!" The third blind man feels around one of the huge legs and says: "You're both wrong--elephants are like tree trunks!" Finally, the last man grabbed the tail and exclaimed: "Elephants are like ropes!"

Obviously they were all RIGHT. Each one of the four experienced a different aspect of the elephant, and together we see a more complete picture of the large land mammal.

As we look at the arrangement of the books of the New Testament, we see that it begins with the familiar Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. These are books (letters, or accounts) concerning the life and Earthly ministry of Jesus Christ, and the books (also known as "gospels") are named after their authors. Two of these men were apostles (Matthew and John), and the other two were personal friends and assistants to the apostles (Mark and Luke). Mark (aka John Mark) was a close associate of the apostle Peter, and recorded much of Peter's eye witness accounts, and Luke (a physician) was a close assistant to the apostle Paul.

All four of these cover, at least, the approximate three years of ministry of Jesus, including His betrayal, arrest, crucifixion, and resurrection.Some of them give accounts of events leading up to His birth, and even some accounts of His early life, as well, but the bulk of all four gospels concern themselves with His public ministry and crucifixion.

So the question is, "Why FOUR accounts of Jesus...and not just ONE?" There are several reasons that been observed down through the centuries, and I will not be able to give an exhaustive list in this short blog. Here are the primary reasons most often given:

1. Multiple witnesses give more credibility to the life/death of Jesus.
2. Differing perspectives allow for greater appreciation/understanding.
3. Different accounts are tailored to reach different audiences.

Let's look at these briefly...

  1. Multiple witnesses give more credibility to the life/death of Jesus.  
One of the ways historians verify and validate historical information/data, is to seek out multiple witnesses or accounts of similar events. If only one author speaks of some important event, but it is not mentioned elsewhere, it can lead to suspicion or doubt concerning the information. Now, that does not mean that only one source of information is WRONG, it just means that we place less credibility to single sources.

When it comes to the historical accounts of the life of Jesus, we have many, many sources. Not only the four gospels, but also the physician Luke records more detail in the Book of Acts, and the apostle Paul shares much further information (especially in the Book of I Corinthians). Also, non-Christian sources, such as the Jewish historian Josephus, shares much about the life of Jesus, and Roman sources such as Pliny the Younger, and the historian Tacitus provides clues as well.

Also, since there are four gospels, and they all cover the same life and person, even though they overlap in terms of what they reveal, they are each unique and provide differing (yet not contradictory) information. Think about how amazing that really is. If you and three friends were walking uptown, and all of you witnessed the same car accident, imagine being interviewed by the authorities about the event. Even if you gave testimony immediately after the event, there would be differences, discrepancies, and even some contradictions.

If there were only one primary source of information about the life of Jesus, imagine what the skeptics and critics would say. But, with several different primary sources, the information can be confirmed, validated, and trusted.

  2. Differing perspectives allow for greater appreciation/understanding.  

Thinking about the four blind men and the elephant story, the issue of different perspectives cannot be stressed enough. If you setup four video cameras at the the same concert, let's say, you could get four completely different views of the same event. They would give complimentary, yet not contradictory, information.

As we read Matthew's account, we see a very Jewish approach concerning Jesus, and how His life and ministry was prophesied in the Old Testament writings. Matthew presents Him as the Christ, the Messiah, the King.  Luke, who was trained as a doctor, a physician, presents Jesus as the true man (the "son of man"), and gives many detailed accounts of the humanity and suffering of Christ. The apostle John, however, focused on Jesus as the Son of God, as being truly man, and yet truly God manifested in the flesh (John 1:1-14). Finally Mark portrays Jesus as the humble, suffering servant. Each looks at the same life, yet each from a differing (yet not contradictory) perspective.

 3. Different accounts are tailored to reach different audiences. 
The ancient world, and even our world today, is a conglomerate, a mosaic of different types of people groups.  With different languages, cultures, and customs, navigating and communicating properly can be a challenging task. When God wanted to reveal the truth of the message and life/death of His Son, He gave us four different accounts to reach these different people groups.

Just to give two obvious examples, in the Roman world of ancient Israel, every person was either a Jew, or a Gentile (non-Jew). These two basic distinctions necessitated at least two different approaches in sharing the message of Christ. To reach these disparate groups, Matthew's gospel is written primarily with a Jewish audience in mind, filled with references to the Old Testament, to the fulfillment of long ago prophecies, and presents Jesus as the Messiah.

But to reach the Gentile, Roman world, a largely Hellenistic (Greek) environment which valued philosophy and law, the Gospel of John and the Gospel of Luke reach those audiences. You will search the world in vain to find a volume such as the Gospel of John in terms of it's elegant simplicity in dealing with deep philosophical issues. Likewise, Luke's style, his detailed descriptions of laws and customs, and his painstaking revelation of the crucifixion, found a home within the reasoning mind of the Roman temperament.

  If God is perfect and almighty, then why is there evil and suffering in the world He made?  

Click this LINK to a full blog post that answers this common question

Why does it seem that the God of the Old Testament is harsh and judgmental, and the God of the New Testament is loving and compassionate?   

This is perhaps the single most common objection that is challenged by skeptics, I call it the supposed "good cop bad cop" routine of Old Testament God vs New Testament God (in terms of God's nature). People will accuse the God of the Old Testament as being harsh, and full of judgment, and will also comment that the God revealed in the New Testament appears to be loving and compassionate, forgiving.

A simple analogy will do more than a hundred blog posts. Imagine that you are driving down the road at an excessive rate, and Officer Williams pulls you over and reads you the riot act and gives you a fat ticket for $500. (What a mean guy!?) Now, a week later you are driving and lose control and flip your car over, and it is on fire! The same officer Williams pulls up, and at great personal risk and harm, saves you from the burning vehicle.

Question: Can both those actions logically come from the same person?

Can one officer Williams be both a dispenser of Law as well as a dispenser of Compassion?
Obviously Yes. Law and Grace can equally coexist, without contradiction. Two aspects of the same person.

The Bible reveals that God is JUST (He will and does judge sin, He is holy---that is the great object lesson of the entire Old Testament Law) but He is also (simultaneously) LOVE (that is the great object lesson of the New Testament).

Now, and this may surprise many readers, some of the most harsh statements about God's hatred of sin are found (of all places) in the New Testament, and some of the greatest examples of the tenderness and compassion of God are found (of all places) in the Old Testament. God is both just and compassionate. One God, two different facets of His character.

I consider Romans 6:23 to be the key summary verse of the entire Bible. It says:
"The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."

There is the summary of the Old Testament ("the wages of sin is death") and the entire New Testament ("the free gift of God is eternal life").

Just as we have to train up and teach our children, beginning with simpler lessons, progressing on to more advanced, God, in the progressive revelation feature of the scripture, used a similar method.

First, mankind needed proof and examples of our sinfulness, and that God is holy, and that He will and must judge sin. But, once we understand that, then we are ready to receive His pardon and grace, and His love and compassion is magnified against the backdrop of our own realized wickedness.

If you went to the doctor and after running a few tests he/she walked back into the room and asked you what day you wanted to schedule your brain surgery, you would probably have the natural response: "What???!!?!?! What brain surgery? What're you talking about, Doc?"

"Oh, you didn't see your scans? Here, let me show you." He/she then proceeds to place a frightening CT scan on the lightboard. It clearly reveals a tumor. "If I don't take that out soon, you're a dead person," the doc says. Then, and ONLY then, would you be willing to subject yourself to the remedy.

Likewise, God had to prove to us that we are sinners, sinful, and sick morally. He had to prove to us that sin leads to death. Once proven, He then points us to the cross, whereby He has provided the perfect remedy, the solution to our sin problem.

It is the same God (both holy and just) in the Old Testament, and the same God (loving and compassionate) in the New Testament. But, like any good diagnosis and remedy, you need the proof before the solution. There are not two "gods", rather two important and eternal aspects of our Creator revealed in His dealings with mankind.

 Does the Bible say that the Earth is flat?  

For a quick response, the answer is emphatically NO. In fact, the prophet Isaiah, who wrote around 700 BC, gave one of the first known accounts of a SPHERICAL Earth. Isaiah said of the Lord: "It is He who sits above the SPHERE of the Earth." (Isaiah 40:22--the Hebrew word there means Circle or Sphere). It wasn't until the 6th century BC that the Greek mathematician Pythagoras suggested a spherical Earth.

Why do people say that the Bible teaches that the Earth is flat? The misunderstanding comes from an unfortunate translation of one Hebrew and one Greek word by the translators who worked on the famous King James English Translation about 500 years ago.

The two words in question are KANAPH (Hebrew) and GONIA (Greek). Here are two verses to show how the King James translators used them:

"And (God) will assemble the outcasts of Israel,
And gather together the dispersed of Judah
From the four CORNERS (Kanaph) of the Earth."
(Old Testament--Isaiah 11:10-12)

"And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four CORNERS (Gonia) of the earth..."
(New Testament--Revelation 7:1)

These two words, though translated into English as the same word, suggest similar but not identical meanings. The Hebrew word Kanaph means "to the extremity" or "the furthermost". It always has the idea of direction and distance. The Greek word means literally "angle" or direction as well.

Now, think about it, when you look at a map, what symbol do you usually find to help with directions and orientation? A compass. And what FOUR THINGS does the compass have? FOUR angles, directions (North, South, East, West--NSEW).  Both the Hebrew phrase "four extremities" and the Greek phrase "four angles" both refer to the compass points, North, South, East, West.

Logically, you need exactly FOUR angles to encompass "everything" and "everywhere". So, when the Lord wants to covey the concept of everywhere, or worldwide, it is not uncommon to read of the "four corners (angles, directions) of the Earth."

Now, not only does the Bible teach that the Earth is a SPHERE (Isaiah 40:22, Proverbs 8:27, Job 26:10) but it also reveals that the Earth floats in space, supported, as it were, by NOTHING. In Job 26 verse 7, it says of God:

"He stretcheth out the north over empty space, and hangs the Earth upon nothing."

Amazing. The authors of the Bible wrote about a spherical Earth (before the Greeks figured it out) and they also taught that the Earth is hanging in space upon nothing. Not bad for a bunch of "ignorant, barely literate, nomadic goat herders" (A common ridicule used by skeptics when speaking about the authors of the Bible---completely unaware that among the list of Bible writers were Kings, Doctors, Philosophers, Royal Advisors, and Government Officials)

  Is Jesus God?  

Jesus. Certainly no other name inspires more joy in the utterance of the faithful, or creates more fear and disgust in the contemplation of the skeptic.

To think that a simple Jewish preacher, who never traveled more than 200 miles from home, who was born into a poor family in the backwoods of a remote corner of the Roman Empire, who died penniless and nearly friendless, and who never attained Earthly power or fame, would occupy our minds and discussions here in the 21st century is -- remarkable, nearly beyond explanation.

Yet, here we are discussing Jesus. One writer observed:

“Nineteen centuries have come and gone
And today Jesus is the central figure of the human race
And the leader of mankind's progress
All the armies that have ever marched
All the navies that have ever sailed
All the parliaments that have ever sat
All the kings that ever reigned put together
Have not affected the life of mankind on earth
As powerfully as that one solitary life.”

Perhaps in answering the WHY of His influence upon mankind, we need to consider a different issue—

WHO is He?

Much could be theorized and many contemporary authors could be cited at length in this investigation, but all modern observations must take a distant second place to the actual testimony of the Bible itself. We will look primarily at three convergent areas of testimony:

- What Jesus said about Himself
- What others said about Him
- What the Old Testament says about Him

What Jesus said about Himself:

Many of those who deny that Jesus is truly God (also known as the “Deity of Christ” or the “Divinity of Jesus Christ”) will say that Jesus, Himself, never claimed to be God. As you read the New Testament, one wonders if these detractors have read the same Bible. Not only does Jesus assert that He is God repeatedly, those around Him (on more than one occasion) took steps towards killing Him. When asked why, they quickly declared:

“Because You, being a man, make Yourself out to be God.” (John 10:33)

I would offer that those who walked with, listened to, and questioned Jesus (such as those who wanted to stone Him) surely know more about who Jesus claimed to be, rather than a group of 21st century skeptics with their own theological agenda. But what prompted such indignation in these 1st century Jews? Many of His statements, including what Jesus had just said to them:

“I and My Father are One.” (John 10:30)

This was inconceivable to these strictly monotheistic Jews. Notice Jesus was claiming that the LORD God was HIS Father (“My Father”). Now, the Jews considered God to be “our Father” as a nation (generally) but Jesus asserted something very different. He was claiming to be of the same substance as God, “One” with the Father.

With that in mind, it is easy to see why they were ready to execute Him on the spot. Some people today may deny who Jesus was claiming to be, but those who heard Him had no doubts about His assertions. In John 5, Jesus again made it unmistakably clear about His identity:

“...that all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father...” (John 5:24)

Surely this verse alone should be sufficient to get the complete picture of who Jesus was claiming to be. He declared that people should render the same reverence towards Him as they do God, the Father. If Jesus was anything less than truly God, the Jews would have been justified in their anger against Him.

Shortly before His crucifixion, the High Priest of the Jewish nation confronted Jesus. His question was simple, in effect, he asked Jesus if He was God. Jesus said:

"I am. And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven...Then the high priest tore his clothes and said... “You have heard the blasphemy! What do you think?”And they all condemned Him to be deserving of death." (Mark 14:62-64)

If Jesus was just claiming to be a prophet, or even an angel, then He would not have been condemned to death. But it was His claim to be Divine that led to the charge of blasphemy, and eventually His execution. His crime could be summed up once again:

“Because You, being a man, make Yourself out to be God.” (John 10:33)

What others said about Jesus:

We will now turn our attention from what Jesus said about Himself (and the reaction of His enemies) to the testimony of the Apostles and other New Testament writers. What did they think of Jesus? This is especially important when we consider that the authors wrote under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, infallible, and true.

Some of the most profound passages in all of the Bible concerning Jesus were penned by the Apostle John. Of the many titles used of Jesus in the scriptures, such as Messiah, Prince of Peace, and Savior, John identifies Him as “The Word.” The opening chapter of his gospel couldn't be more clear:

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him...and the Word became flesh...” (John 1:1-2,14)

These verses reveal deep and important theological truths about the nature of God. We see that, even though God is one being, He also is somehow more than one “person”. In this chapter, the “Word”(Jesus) is both “with” God, and yet also “IS” God. We also see that Jesus is the Creator. It reads: “All things were made through Him.” The very first verse of the Bible states:

“In the beginning, God created the Heavens and the Earth.” (Genesis 1:1)

Yet here in John 1:2, Jesus is the Creator. The writer of Hebrews takes up this same thought about Jesus:

"In the beginning, You, Lord (Jesus), laid the foundation of the earth, And the heavens are the work of Your hands.” (Hebrews 1:10)

The Apostle Paul, in writing to the Colossians, gives one of the clearest testimonies to the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ, when he declares Him to be the Creator:

“For by Him (Jesus) were all things created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.” (Colossians 1:16,17)

In writing to the church at Philippi, Paul made this incredible declaration of the Deity of Jesus:

“Let this mind be in you which was also in Jesus Christ, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it something to be held onto to be equal with God...” (Philippians 2:5-10)

Just in case there were any lingering uncertainties about the identity of Jesus, Paul clears up those doubts:

“For in Him (Jesus) all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form...” (Colossians 2:9)

Paul asserts the great mystery of the Incarnation:  Jesus is both truly God, and truly man. The famous “doubting Thomas” has given us perhaps the single greatest affirmations of who Jesus truly is, when he declared this statement to Jesus after the resurrection:

“The Lord of me, and the God of me.” (John 20:28)

Worshiping Jesus:

The scriptures also contain other incidents regarding Jesus that reveal that He is God. For example, several times in the gospels we read that people worshiped Jesus.” (Matthew 2:2,11; 14:23; John 9:35-38). We also read that He is worshiped by angels in Hebrews 1:6.

Praying TO the Lord Jesus:

In the book of Acts, as Stephen was being martyred for his faith in Christ, the scriptures record that he prayed to the Lord Jesus as he was dying:

“...he called on the Lord and said, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!” (Acts 7:59)

Paul also speaks of praying TO the Lord Jesus:

”...all who, in every place, call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours” (I Cor. 1:2)

The Lord gives us other evidences of the nature of the Lord Jesus, such as one of the names given to Him:

“'Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel’ which means: The God with us.” (Matthew 1:23)

What the Old Testament says about Jesus:

The Old Testament Prophet Isaiah wrote entire chapters about the coming Messiah. In one of the most well-known passages of the Bible he says of Jesus:

“For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given...And His name will be called...Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6)

Notice that Isaiah says that a human “Child”, a “Son” is also the “Mighty God.” Isaiah also prophesied about the coming of John the Baptist, the messenger who would herald the Messiah's arrival. Isaiah gives us the messenger's mission and proclamation:

“Prepare the way of the LORD; Make straight in the desert a highway for our God.” (Isaiah 40:3)

In the New Testament this is repeated concerning John the Baptist, who pointed Israel to Jesus. Isaiah says that Jesus is both “the LORD” (Jehovah) and “our God.” In Psalm 102, the LORD is worshiped for His great works, especially the work of creation. It says of Him:

“LORD...of old You laid the foundation of the earth, And the heavens are the work of Your hands. They will perish, but You will endure...You are the same, and Your years will have no end.” (Psalm 102)

In the New Testament book of the Hebrews, it says that this passage about the LORD creating all things (Psalm 102) is about Jesus the creator. Therefore, the Jesus of the New Testament is the Jehovah of the Old Testament. This is why the most common title of Jesus is “The LORD Jesus Christ.” He is the LORD. As an important final Old Testament passage, the Prophet Zechariah says:

“(The LORD says) They will look on Me, the One they have pierced” (Zechariah 12:10)

In the New Testament book of John, this passage is quoted as referring to the crucifixion of Jesus. John says that the LORD (Jehovah) was pierced on the cross. Whether in His own words, the declarations of the first century church fathers, or the prophesies of the Old Testament, the Deity of the Lord Jesus Christ is clearly revealed. May He bless our study as we are:

“...looking for the...glorious appearing of our great God and Savior: Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13)

  If Jesus is God, then why did He pray, and why did He say that He didn't know some things?  

Those who challenge or seek to deny the true deity and Lordship of Jesus Christ, will often point out two specific questions in an attempt to cast doubt on His divine identity. They will share that several times in the gospel accounts we read of Jesus praying, oftentimes for many hours at a time. Then they will point out one verse (about His second coming at the end of the age) when Jesus told His disciples "But, of that time, no one knows, neither the angels in Heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only." (Matthew 24:36)

So, the two issues are (1) Prayer, and (2) Limited Knowledge. Do these have anything to do with denying the essential identity of the Lord Jesus Christ as God? Not at all, in fact, not even close--here's what the Bible itself says about this.

What is Prayer?

Prayer is, in fact, a simple conversation directed to God. It is talking to God. Have you ever talked with/to yourself? When you have an important decision, have you caught yourself "thinking?" You are talking internally, a self-directed conversation, so to speak.

Did you know that the Bible records many instances of God (The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) speaking to Himself, in a holy conversation, so to speak? Here we go:

(In the creation of mankind)
"And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion..." (Genesis 1:26)
Hmmm...exactly who was God speaking with? Not the angels, and we weren't created yet. We are given a glimpse into the internal conversation within the Trinity. We are allowed to eavesdrop, if you will, on the very "counsels of God."

In Genesis 11, we read about the famous attempt of man to build the Tower of Babel. God has another holy internal conversation and it says:

"And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. Let us go down and confound their language..."

Notice in both passages, God refers to Himself as "US". In some incredible, and yet unfathomable way, God is one being, yet He is more than one at the same time.  These are not my words, this is the testimony of God Himself about His own nature. We often use the word Trinity (not found in the Bible) meaning One God in Three Persons. God created us, and so we will never be able to completely understand our own creator in terms of His essential nature. Since God uses the plural word "US" (in Hebrew, the plural here means THREE or more), and Jesus speaks of God's name as being "The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit", and the fact that almost every one of Paul's epistles in the New Testament opens with a declaration of the Trinity (God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit) we can let God speak for Himself and He reveals that He truly is ONE GOD in THREE PERSONS.

(By the way, you are a Trinity so to speak--the Bible says that we are made of "Body, Soul, and Spirit". So, in a very real sense, we are a threefold person in one being. Time is a Trinity--Past, Present, Future--three tenses but all one time. All matter exists in a Trinity---matter is solid, liquid, gas--three states but yet one substance. I believe that God, as creator, has placed clues about His own essential nature in many of things He created. Since He is one being in three persons, He has placed that "stamp" of His own nature on many of His created things.)

Now, is it so difficult to imagine that when Jesus (God the Son) came to this Earth, that internal communication between the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit continued as we read about it in the past? In the Old Testament we just read two passages that reveal the Trinity in conversation, and in the New Testament, is it so amazing that God would continue to reveal that same internal discussion?

Jesus is Our Perfect Example of a Man of Prayer

Secondly, concerning the issue of prayer, most Jesus-God-deniers overlook one vital and incredibly important fact: The Bible teaches that Jesus (as both God and man) was our Perfect Example as a MAN. If there is one thing the Bible continually encourages us to do, it is to continually carry on a conversation with God--PRAYER. Therefore, Jesus (as our perfect example) engaged continually in PRAYER. We are told to follow His example.

Look at this list:
1. The Bible tells us to give thanks....Jesus gave thanks.
2. The Bible encourages us to pray...Jesus prayed.
3. The Bible encourages us to witness...Jesus shared the gospel everywhere He went.
4. The Bible encourages fasting at certain times...Jesus fasted.

Jesus, as not only our Savior (His primary mission) was also our great and perfect example as a "man of God." We are told to follow His example. He showed us, by praying, that a man of God should spend time in prayer. In fact, I would be shocked if the New Testament gospel accounts did not show Jesus as a man of prayer.

Jesus Demonstrated Limited Knowledge

In the interest of fairness, there is only ONE VERSE that speaks of this, and it is:

 "But, of that time, no one knows, neither the angels in Heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only." (Matthew 24:36) 

Now, just because it is one isolated verse, does not mean that we can simply brush it off. Absolutely not, in fact, this verse reflects a very important truth that the apostle Paul finally revealed several years later in his letter to the Philippian church. Here is what he says of the knowledge of Jesus while on the Earth:

"Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not something to be held onto be equal with God: But emptied Himself, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:" (Philippians 2:5-7)

Wow. What a privileged glimpse we are given into the very mechanics, if you will, of the incarnation...of the fact that Jesus, as God, stepped out of Heaven, and became truly a man. Notice that Paul is very careful to safeguard and protect the true identity of Jesus---he says that Jesus was God first, then he says that Jesus "emptied Himself" when He became a man.

The Greek words for "emptied Himself" carry the idea of pouring something out, to be empty of what was formerly there. Now, the passage does not specify exactly what transpired in this "emptying" but there are other passages that may give us further clues.

In John 17:5 we read of Jesus (the Son) praying (talking to) the Father. Jesus says:

"And now, O Father, glorify Me with Your own self with the glory which I had with You before the world was."

Notice that Jesus tells us here that He existed WITH the Father even before the world was created. But, even more, we can see one of the things that Jesus "emptied" Himself of--His visible glory of deity. He speaks of getting back the divine glory once His work on Earth is done. If He hadn't emptied Himself of His eternal glory, no one could have stood before Him on this Earth, we would have been consumed, as the glory of God is spoken of as being like a "consuming fire."

Now, Matthew 24:36 may be giving us another glimpse into this "emptying." Jesus says that He does not "know" the exact day and hour of the Second Coming. This could be referring to His emptying and becoming a perfect man, He laid aside (temporarily) that divine prerogative, so to speak. 

It is interesting though, that even in the Old Testament, the Lord God asks questions which, at face value, would perhaps lead someone to think that even God does not know everything. For example, when Adam sinned, God came into the Garden of Eden and cried out: "Adam, where are you?"

Now, obviously, God knew precisely where Adam was, but He wanted Adam to think about where He was, now lost, in rebellion, and afraid due to the consequences of sin. It may be, that similarly, in the Earthly life of Jesus, He also was making a point about how secret and unknown the moment of the Second Coming was. 

So, letting the Bible speak for itself, and acknowledging that we, as simple created beings, cannot claim to know everything about what it meant for Jesus, God the Son, to "empty Himself". The writer to the Hebrews says that:

 "Jesus, was made, for a little while, lower than the angels..."  

Is it so difficult to just accept what the Bible says, that Jesus, even though He was God, was made for a little while lower than the angels?  It is any wonder that He prayed, that He gave thanks, that He was obedient, that He DIED? As perfect man and perfect God all of these things are true of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the Bible clearly reveals it to be so.

  Does the Bible teach that God is a "TRINITY"?  

It is important to point out that the word "Trinity" NEVER appears in the Bible. But, to be strictly honest, neither does Salvation, Heaven, Hell, God, or Eternal Life. The previous list are English words or phrases that have been used to translate other Hebrew and Greek words in the text of the Bible. Now, the word Trinity (meaning Three in One, or One God in Three Persons) is a concept that is found all over the Bible, even starting in the first book of Genesis, and continues all the way until the final book of Revelation.

It is important, before we get too far, to clearly identify what we DO NOT MEAN, when we say that God is a Trinity. We do NOT mean that there are THREE GODS. This is a completely false teaching that is found, very clearly, in Mormonism. Mormonism teaches not just three gods, but actually, many millions of gods.

We also do not mean by the word "Trinity" that God merely "appears" to be three persons. This is what is known as the "Three masks" theory of God, and is taught by the United Pentecostal Church. They will say that God takes up different forms at different times, appearing at times as The Father, other times, The Son, and other times, The Holy Spirit.

The Trinity teaches that the Lord, Jehovah, is One God, comprised of three persons within one divine nature.

Many people would be shocked to learn that the concept of the trinity is actually taught in the very first verse of the Bible, a verse that most of you can quote from memory:

"In the beginning, God created the heavens and the Earth." (Genesis 1:1)

Where is the trinity? It is there, in the original Hebrew of this text. The Hebrew word for God is usually "El" or "Eloah" meaning God (singular). But here, the verse uses the distinct PLURAL form of "El" which is "Elohim". Hebrew has two different plural states and a singular state (in English we only have singular and plural). Most Semitic languages have suffixes that indicate plurality, but they further distinguish between two, or between three or more.

In Genesis 1:1, Elohim is the plural Hebrew word "Gods" (meaning three or more). Now, before you close this page and declare me a heretic, give me a few more minutes to show why this is the perfect word and tense for God's nature. The very next verb "created" in Hebrew is the singular masculine, meaning the exact translation should be "He created." Now, put these together and we get:

"In the beginning, Gods He created the heavens and the Earth." (Genesis 1:1 literal)

In Genesis 1:1 we see that God is ONE GOD, because of the singular masculine verb "He created" yet God is somehow more than one because of the Hebrew plural noun "Elohim" meaning "three or more gods". I don't care if you are Catholic, Lutheran, Baptist, Jehovah's Witness, Latter Day Saint, or atheist...let the Bible say what it says, and then see if your faith (or non-faith) lines up with the Bible itself says.

If you have to ignore certain parts of the Bible, or try to deny what they are saying (as here in Genesis 1:1), and then have to look to other writings or other organizations to tell you something else (very common in false teaching) then beware. I like what the apostle Paul says in Romans: "Let God be true and every man a liar." I don't care if the Pope, Joseph Smith, or any other man teaches something different than what God says in His word, if they contradict the Bible, then "let God be true and every man a liar." God put those words in the Bible because of situations just like this.

Now, as we move through the Bible, the LORD starts getting more clear about His nature as One God in Three Persons. In the creation of mankind, the Lord Jehovah says:

"And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion..." (Genesis 1:26)

Notice that God says "US". Hmmm...exactly who was God speaking with? Not the angels, and we weren't created yet. We are given a glimpse into the internal conversation within the Trinity. We are allowed to eavesdrop, if you will, on the very "counsels of God."

In Genesis 11, we read about the famous attempt of man to build the Tower of Babel. God has another holy internal conversation and it says:

"And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. Let us go down and confound their language..."

Notice in both passages, God refers to Himself as "US". In some incredible, and yet unfathomable way, God is one being, yet He is more than one at the same time. These are not my words, this is the testimony of God Himself about His own nature. We often use the word Trinity (not found in the Bible) meaning One God in Three Persons. God created us, and so we will never be able to completely understand our own creator in terms of His essential nature.

Since God uses the plural word "US" (in Hebrew, the plural here means THREE or more), and Jesus speaks of God's name as being "The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit", and the fact that almost every one of Paul's epistles in the New Testament opens with a declaration of the Trinity (God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit) we can let God speak for Himself and He reveals that He truly is ONE GOD in THREE PERSONS.

(By the way, YOU are a Trinity, so to speak--the Bible says that we are made of "Body, Soul, and Spirit". So, in a very real sense, we are a threefold person in one being. Time is a Trinity--Past, Present, Future--three tenses but all one time. All matter exists in a Trinity---matter is solid, liquid, gas--three states but yet one substance. I believe that God, as creator, has placed clues about His own essential nature in many of things He created. Since He is one being in three persons, He has placed that "stamp" of His own nature on many of His created things.)

Thanks to the researchers at, here is a comparison about how each of the three persons of the Trinity share the same titles throughout the Bible. Now, if you have to go to a man, another book, or some organization to "clarify" this information, in order to deny what the Bible is actually teaching then realize that you are taking MAN'S WORD over God's word. If you have to quote Joseph Smith or some other founder of some other "Christian" movement to "explain away" these verses then you are disobeying God's own word in which He said: "Let God be true, and every man a liar."

Is the Trinity LOGICAL?

To quote Bible scholar Matthew Slick at length:

"One of the questions I ask the anti-Trinitarians is "Can you please show me how the Trinity is illogical?". Usually, they respond with something like, "It just doesn't make sense," or "It simply can't be." But making such statements doesn't prove or disprove anything. The question is, "How is it illogical?" I have yet to hear a logical explanation.

It isn't against logic for God to be three persons. It may be difficult to understand, and some may not like it, but it isn't illogical. For it to be illogical, there must be some rule of logic that is violated that makes it impossible for God to exist as a Trinity. For example, to say that one god is really three gods is illogical because the quantity of one is not the same quantity as three and since they (one and three) are mutually exclusive as to quantity in this situation, to say one god is three gods is illogical. But that isn't what the Trinity is anyway. Remember, it is not that three gods are one god as some critics mistakenly say. The Trinity is three divine persons who comprise the one God. Furthermore, there is no logical reason why God cannot be three persons.

Trinitarianism is monotheistic. That means that it is a doctrine that teaches the existence of a single being who is God and that there is only one God in all existence. This is sometimes ignored or not known when people criticize the Trinity by asserting that the Trinity teaches three gods. But, it does not. As is stated above, the Trinity is a monotheistic theological position."

I Just Don't Understand the Trinity

Often I will talk to people about this topic and they will say: "Well, I just don't understand the trinity!"--as if that somehow makes it untrue. Here is what I then ask them:

"Do you understand how God could create the Universe out of nothing?"

(their answer---"No.")

"Do you understand how God could have always existed, with no beginning, no end?"

(their answer---"No.")

"Then, is there any reason that God is NOT a trinity, as the Bible says?"

(their answer---"No.")

Just as we cannot understand how God could create out of nothing, or the fact that we cannot understand how He has no beginning or no ending, similarly we cannot truly understand His nature as a trinity.

The only logical and Biblical way to deal with this topic to let our Creator, God Himself, reveal Who He is, and what His nature is like. We cannot "figure it out" by thinking about it, or calculate it with some metaphysical mathematics, and we cannot measure it with instruments in a lab. How about we just let God be God, and then trust what He has revealed about Himself?

For further information, including "Is Jesus God?" and also answering challenges against the deity of Jesus Christ, visit these links:

10. Is Jesus God?

11. If Jesus is God, then why did He pray, and why did He say that He didn't know some things?

   Why Did God Give the Ten Commandments?   

This is one of those questions that the Biblical answer may surprise you!
Click on this link to view the answer to this very important question! LINK HERE

   Does Science and the Bible (Faith) Conflict?   

It is difficult to watch the news on TV or read the latest news blogs online without the supposed "Bible-Science Conflict" story popping up somewhere. Some "new" discovery in space, or some possible biological breakthrough hits the front page, and before you know it, reporters knowing that the quickest route to boost sales is to create conflict and controversy spin it into a "Religion vs. Science" matchup. Sometimes the pageantry and fanfare rivals that of a WWE Special.

The problems involve the presuppositions and assumptions. It is assumed that science and faith MUST clash, that they MUST be in conflict, that they MUST forever be at odds. This is patently false, and demonstrably so.

There is no conflict between true science and the Bible (or true faith). Here's why:
Science is defined as "Knowledge, or the structured pursuit of knowledge regarding the Universe." True science concerns itself with furthering understanding of mechanisms, substances, forces, patterns, and processes in the cosmos. Science is neither inherently anti-faith, nor is it inherently pro-secular. Science just IS. It is knowledge or it's pursuit.

Starting with both a Biblical and logical frame of reference, the Universe was brought into being by God (the Creator). This can be demonstrated, not just by quoting verses, but by invoking varying disciplines in the sciences, such as logic, natural law, the Law of cause and effect, entropy, DNA, specified complexity, the big bang, fine tuning, and so on. 

Since science is just the acquisition of knowledge about the created Universe, then it is impossible for science to be in conflict with God, or faith (trust in God), or the Bible. Science is the study of what God has created, seeking to better understand the processes, mechanisms, patterns, substances, and forces that He has set in motion (read Sir Isaac Newton and Aristotle for further information about God setting things in MOTION)

The only possible conflict that can come is from two sources: (1) Theories of science, or (2) Theories of theology. Theories can conflict, but true science (true knowledge) and the Bible can never be in conflict. If there is a conflict, then there are two possibilities: (1) Your scientific postulation is incorrect, or (2) Your Biblical understanding is incorrect.

A quick example from Historical Science. Many historical scientists (history scholars) mocked the Bible and said that it contained imaginary historical information. One famous case concerned the Babylonian King Belshazzar, mentioned several times prominently in the Old Testament book of Daniel. These scholars, up until the late 19th century, pointed out the "fact" that there was no historical evidence that such a king had ever lived, and that no tablets, or inscriptions, or statues, or any other physical identifiers had ever been found corroborating the Bible "story". They said that this proved that the book of Daniel was fiction.

And then came along the Nabonidus Cylinder. Discovered around 1881, this cylindrical Babylonian historical account speaks of King Nabonidus, who, before leaving Babylon to engage in war, appointed his son, Belshazzar (Belshezzar) as the new King of Babylon. 

You see, there was no conflict between true science (true history) and the Bible. There was only conflict between historical theories and the Bible.

There are hundreds of such examples, from biology, to physics, to history...all confirming that when the truth about a scientific endeavor is obtained, it aligns with the Biblical testimony--given by the Creator who made the Universe. The Old Testament reveals (scientifically) that the Earth is a sphere (Isaiah 40:22) and that the Earth hangs in space upon nothing (Job 26:7). It would take many hundreds, if not thousands of years, to confirm all of this Biblical information scientifically.

So, the next time the sensational headlines make it appear that God and Science are two polar opposites, or that you have to "commit intellectual suicide" to be a Christian, just smile, and think about the old Nabonidus Cylinder, and wait patiently for true science to catch up with what has already been revealed in God's word.

Science is just the pursuit of knowledge about the Universe God created. Only theories can conflict, true science cannot.

   Does the Bible say anything about ALIENS?   

From "E.T". to "Independence Day", from "Men in Black" to "Contact" Hollywood fills screens and minds with the "certainty" of extra-terrestrial life. But is it true from both a scientific and Biblical viewpoint?
Click this link for an in-depth look at the issues of Aliens and God. LINK HERE

   Is Believing that Jesus is the Only Way "narrow-minded"?   

Jesus said: "I Am the Way, the Truth, and the Life, no one comes to the Father, except through Me." Is this exclusive claim inherently narrow-minded? Actually, according to LOGIC, the answer is NO.

   Hasn't the Bible Been Translated Too Many Times?   

Many people think that the Bible that we read today is a translation, of a translation, of a translation, of a translation, and so on. They think that our modern English is so far removed from the original writings that we cannot be sure of what the Bible actually says. This is a common misconception.

   I've Heard That Jesus is Just a Copycat Religion   

Starting in the early 19th century, anti-biblical scholars went on frenzied search for any possible way to attempt to discredit the Bible. One of these challenges was to claim that Jesus was merely an invention of the apostles, and that they based their "Savior" off of earlier Egyptian, Roman, Babylonian, and Greek religious myths and legends. Some even went as far as to try and find similarities with Buddha, Confucius, and other far-Eastern mystics.

While this was a furious, but short-lived attack, lingering challenges still seem to crop up from time to time by those unaware that serious historians abandoned these superficial and sometimes embarrassing claims many decades ago. Most of these "copy-cat" challenges proved out to be nothing more than extremely-stretched oversimplifications of "similarities", and the rest were often proved to be the other way around (facts about Jesus were actually copied and adopted by LATER pagan belief systems.).

There are several of these supposed "sources" of the Jesus copy-cat myth, too many to tackle in this short blog, but CLICK HERE for a link to another page full of articles debunking these one by one.

  Can't You Make the Bible Say Whatever You Want?    

Imagine a Presidential press conference, a really big one. All the major networks are there, as well as most cable news outlets, even online news hotspots, and the room is a buzz of activity. Everyone can feel that there is something big about to break. The room hushes in anticipation as the Commander in Chief strolls confidently up to the podium. He speaks:

"There has been a rumor circulating of late that I wish to address. Some have said that I have been unfaithful to my wife. I am telling you now, that I am not, nor have I ever been, unfaithful to my life partner, my love, my wife, indeed, my best friend."

He turns, and quickly moves out of the room as cameras flash, and reporters hurl endless follow ups.

The next day the headlines read: President admits "I have been unfaithful to my wife"

Wait a minute?! Is that headline TRUE? Is that an accurate statement? Read the President's speech again, indeed that headline is word for word accurate. He did "admit" something, and he did say those words in that exact order. Check it.

But accuracy is not so much the point here, rather truth, context, and intent. In the greater context of what He said, that headline is false. Since we live in a fast-food world of quick news sound bites, unfortunately truth and context are the first victims of our own appetite for entertainment and variety.

Now that example is admittedly a simple and lighthearted one, but when it comes to serious matters, such as the Bible, many people take a similar approach. In order to deny that we can objectively learn any truths from the pages of the Bible, they will say: "Well, you know, you can make the Bible say anything you want! It can be interpreted hundreds of ways!"

Here's a simple analogy that demonstrates why this is logically false. A thief is running down the sidewalk, bank money in hand, being hotly pursued by a police officer. The cop pulls out a gun, points it at the fleeing fugitive who is glancing back at him, and the officer shouts: "Stop, or I'll shoot!"

Now, please, give me just 3 different ways to "interpret" what that police officer was saying. Was he saying:

"Keep running, and I will help you get away with this crime!" or was he perhaps meaning:
"Stop being so negative about yourself, or I will have to shoot another compliment your way!" or, here's a good one:
"Stop running away, or I will shoot myself out of a feeling of failure!"

Seriously. There are people that apply that type of over-the-top-Willy-Wonka-fantasy-land type of logic when it comes to reading the Bible. In a thinly-veiled attempt to "get out of" the obvious ramifications of a passage in the Bible, they will pull this "Ace" out of their sleeve and claim: "Well, I know that sounds like it means that, but really, it could mean this." (yawn) Really?

Since sentences contains words, and words have to be understood and "interpreted" in our minds, then anyone could claim the same ridiculous assertion about ALL communication. Anyone could say of ANY statement: "Well, you know, that could be taken a lot of different ways!"  But that is patently false. 

Words do have meanings, and within context, those meanings are typically very clear. If words can have any meanings that we want to "interpret" them, then we might as well quit talking, reading, listening to the radio, and watching TV. It would all be "up for grabs"---a blather of disconnected and unintelligible phonics.

The Bible (in English) contains about 1300 pages. It has history, speeches, songs, and prophecies. It contains conversations between men, angels, and God. It has detailed deliberations of pagan kings, of godly rulers, and the incredibly profound and inspiring teachings of Jesus Christ Himself. Now, I am sure, that if you took snippets, small sections, partial sentences, and strung some of them together, you could make all sorts of wild speculations---but that is not the point, for those do not contain the truth, the intent, the context of those passages.

Usually there is some questionable behavior they want to engage in, or some activity they do not want to condemn, and so they invoke the "Get out of Jail Free" card and say: "Well, the Bible can be interpreted so many ways!" says what it says, and it is not for us to stand in judgment over the scripture, but for the scripture to stand over us.

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