5/14/14

From Jim McGuiggian... Reflections on Regeneration (1)


Reflections on Regeneration (1)

I've made the proposal that Jesus isn't talking about Nicodemus' moral or spiritual condition when he spoke of his need of a "new birth". I don't deny that Nicodemus, like every other sinful human, needed God acting in pure grace to save him from the penalty and power of sin from which he could never save himself. I'm simply proposing that that is not what Jesus was talking about in John 3:3-8.

But moving on from there I'd like to respond a bit to the standard Evangelical presentation of "regeneration" (the new birth) because I can't help thinking there's more confusion than there needs to be.

The standard Evangelical presentation, particularly in the Reformed circles, begins with the understanding that due to Adam's sin everyone thereafter is born under God's condemnation because they are guilty because they are Adam's descendants. (Romans 5:12-19 is one text that would figure prominently in the discussion.) They are born not only guilty before God, they are also born morally corrupt and as they grow they prove, by personal sin, not only their guilt but their inherited moral corruption. All humans, from Adam to this day—without exception (well, One exception)—are born morally polluted, godless in their self-seeking and incapable of wanting to please God. It is more than the truth that they cannot save themselves; they cannot want God to save them; cannot even care that they are lost and it is even a question if they can discern that they are lost. In this state every human remains until God in grace and power, utterly and absolutely independent of the sinner transforms the inner world of the sinner and makes him into a new man. It's because they are in this state that they must have God to work a moral miracle in and for them for they cannot save themselves. This is where "the new birth" teaching enters.

[All this being true, there was no way that Nicodemus could understand the truth Jesus was speaking. Jesus might as well have been speaking to the wall for Nicodemus was born incapable of understanding it and would remain that way until the Holy Spirit transformed him within. As Packer will express it, Nicodemus was blind and couldn't discern spiritual realities. It doesn't matter that God uses the gospel to bring about the new birth, without God's prevenient grace Nicodemus could not savingly receive special grace by which to savingly understand and obey the gospel.]

If the matter were only left the way P. E Hughes expressed it in an article on Grace in Elwell's Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, not only would it make sense it would accord with the plain sense of the NT. "God does not treat men as though they were puppets with no mind or will of their own…By Christ's command the gospel of divine grace is freely proclaimed throughout the whole world…Those who turn away from it do so of their own choice and stand self-condemned as lovers of darkness…Those who thankfully receive it do so in full personal responsibility…but then they give all the praise to God because their whole redemption is, in some wonderful way, due entirely to the grace of God and not at all to themselves."

But that isn't enough for many in the Reformed tradition. The only will a sinner has is the one he was born with—utterly incapable of doing other than rejecting God and loving darkness. The corrupt will is his own in the sense that he was born with it; but he didn't ask for it and he can't even want to do anything about it! Even if God asked him, "Do you want me to do something about it?" he couldn't say yes! Until God works a moral miracle on him (the new birth) he cannot even truly discern what state he is in and wouldn't truly know what God meant!

[This all seems so contrary to the plain meaning of vast tracts of scripture and what we see in daily life that qualifications are made at every turn. The doctrine is adjusted to meet the facts but such is the fear of Pelagianism and some faces of Roman Catholic teaching that the problematic aspects of it remain entrenched and sinners are puppets. God must get the glory even if existence becomes a stage play.]

By the time this doctrinal development is done you can't even take the sinner's "thanksgiving" for salvation at face value. He doesn't choose—he merely responds. Of course we're told that isn't true because his will has been set free from corruption so that it can freely choose righteousness and thanksgiving; but that won't work. The "new birth" might only be the beginning of God's regenerating work but we're told (Calvin and others stressed this) that it is a lifelong work of God so it isn't as though the sinner is given a free will and independently exercises it. The new birth, they tell us, is the result of efficacious and irresistible grace and the continuing work of regeneration is on the same basis. There's simply nothing you can do about it because, we're told, God is omnipotent. According to this doctrine, once you've been given a gift you can't possibly refuse you can't possibly refuse to do other with it than what God irresistibly wants you to do. You can't tell him you don't want his "new birth"; he works a moral miracle and you want it without having wanted to want it. Now that you have what you had no choice in getting, your "free" will irresistibly follows where you are irresistibly led. [Make no mistake—the stress on "monergism" says precisely that—you don't choose or in any shape or form cooperate with the new birth and how it develops, the Holy Spirit alone restructures your entire inner world, including your choosing/willing faculty.]

We're left with a world of good puppets and bad puppets.

From Trevor Major, M.Sc., M.A. ... The Intelligent Design Movement [Part II]




http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=12&article=209

The Intelligent Design Movement [Part II]

by  Trevor Major, M.Sc., M.A.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Part I of this two-part series appeared in the October issue. Part II follows below and continues, without introductory comments, where the first article ended.]

“Intelligent Design”

William A. Dembski, one of the leading figures in the intelligent design movement, uses the term “design” to denote (1999, p. 127):
  1. the scientific theory that distinguishes intelligent agency from natural causes;
  2. what it is about intelligently produced objects that enables us to tell that they are intelligently produced and not simply the result of natural causes; and
  3. intelligent agency itself.
All these uses, you will notice, make some reference to intelligence. Why should intelligence provide the logical foil to nature? Recall our earlier discussion on the definition of “natural.” One way to define this term is to say that it denotes something that is not artificial. A natural thing is the product of nature, whereas an artifact is the product of design. An artifact is a contrivance; it results from a decision to use skills or learned knowledge. Nature cannot learn, or make decisions. Moreover, only agents can have the intention to act upon something else. Nature is acted upon; it cannot have intentions. Only agents can have a purpose—a reason for acting. To be able to reason is a mark of intelligence. Recall also that the natural excludes minds and intelligences. Dembski emphasizes this point by talking repeatedly of intelligent agency and intelligent design.
Where we see evidence of design, we look for an agent. The blob of clay that little Johnny fashioned in art class is an artifact, but so is a jet airplane or a beaver’s dam. Each of these objects reflects different levels of skill, but that is not the issue. Each of these objects was made from natural things, but that is not the issue either. Even something like, say, polyester—that wonder of manmade materials—ultimately must come from something in this world. The real question is this: Is there anything about Johnny’s masterpiece that would distinguish it from any other object that has not received the purposeful attentions of an intelligent agent?
What if we cannot detect signs of intelligent design, even when we know that Johnny made his piece of art in school today? This false negative is not as much of a concern as a false positive (see Dembski, 1999, pp. 139-144). In Johnny’s case, we have background knowledge of his artistic endeavors. We might find a similar blob of clay on another occasion and wonder if Johnny has been busy again, but we might not know one way or the other. When we are actually on the lookout for design, and dump an artifact in the box marked “naturally caused,” we then have reached a false, negative conclusion about that object. In fact, for all we know Johnny is at the vanguard of a new movement in ceramics that seeks, on purpose, to create objects indistinguishable from nature. An intelligent, designing mind can do that, if it wants to.
However, if we find an object that appears to show signs of intelligence and we put it in the box marked “designed,” then we might have reached a false positive. The concern on the part of epistemic naturalists is that theists are partial to such false positives—viz., they have an almost uncontrollable urge to credit God with the design of undesigned things. As I noted earlier, this view is based on bad theology. And besides, God is not the automatic conclusion. All we have to do is determine whether the cause is intelligent. Nonetheless, epistemic naturalists have raised the avoidance of false positives to a virtue. This is why Richard Dawkins can admit that living things have the appearance of being designed, while expressing confidence—given his decision to eliminate intelligent causes a priori—that none of these things will end up in the wrong box.

Inferring Design

Dembski’s contribution is to address this fear of false positives by proposing a three-stage explanatory filter. He provides a rigorous proof in his technical monograph, The Design Inference (1998). A more accessible treatment of the subject can be found in his book, Intelligent Design (1999), to which I have referred previously.
Basically (and I emphasize that word so as not to underestimate the very precise formulation that Dembski has offered in his writings), there are three questions to ask of anything before we can say it is the product of necessity, chance, or design (Dembski, 1999, pp. 127-133). First, is it contingent? In other words, is it the case that the event had to happen, or that the object had to appear? If so, then it is necessary, not contingent. For example, when sodium and chloride ions are dissolved in water, and the water evaporates, salt crystals remain behind. This process follows a regular, law-like behavior. No matter how many times we repeat this experiment, the ingredients assemble themselves into tiny, cubic structures. An understanding of the underlying physics establishes the fact that they must form these crystals, which means they meet the criteria for necessity, not design. Something that is designed—that is the result of an agent making a decision—is contingent.
Second, is the object or event complex? The idea here is to trap any object that appears to be contingent, but, in fact, could be produced by chance. Basically (there’s that word again), a simple object or a short series of events has a high probability of producing something that might appear to be the product of design. For instance, if we were to paint the letters of the alphabet on the backs of house flies, we might observe that sometimes, when they alighted on the wall next to each other, the sequence of letters formed recognizable English words. On one occasion, for instance, we might observe the sequence “NO.” However, there is a high probability that two letters, when set next to each other, will form a word. So while there is nothing necessary about this arrangement, it is not sufficiently complex to pass any further through the explanatory filter.
Which brings us to the third and final question: Is the object or event specified? For instance, the guides who lead cave tours frequently draw visitors’ attention to stalagmites, stalactites, and other natural formations that appear to represent faces, coastlines, animals, or other recognizable objects. True, this often involves a healthy imagination, and we entertain few doubts that these shapes are the product of purely natural causes—namely, the random accumulation of calcite deposits. But we cannot afford to be too hasty. What if we were to wander into a cave and find consecutive shapes showing a reasonable likeness of the first forty American presidents arranged in chronological order? It is difficult indeed to imagine what law-like behavior could result in such a phenomenon. Additionally, forty shapes might seem sufficiently complex because there are many different ways to arrange a sequence of this length. But is it “specified”? By this, Dembski means that the sequence exhibits a suitable pattern, which, in this particular example, would be the presidents arranged in chronological order. If the images were somewhat vague, and the Washington-looking rock came after the Reagan-looking rock, we might have reason to believe that our enthusiastic tour guide could have made this sequence of shapes fit practically any pattern. If so, we would have a case of ad hoc fabrication, not a pattern showing proper specification.
In addition, the fact that no one predicted that this pattern was going to appear before the sequence was discovered does not matter. What does matter is that the historical order of presidents is independent of, or detachable from, the pattern we can see on the cave wall. For instance, we might discover (in regard to the cave wall pattern) that the seemingly random dripping of mineral-rich waters actually is being controlled by something above ground, which just happens to be the city of Washington, D.C. If so, then there might be no detachability, and thus no inference to design.
A couple of comments are in order. Note that the nature of the designer is not a concern. Whether the presidential display is the work of a high-school art class, or some reclusive, strange history buff with a penchant for sculpting limestone caves, does not matter. The explanatory filter works only to determine whether a designer is the most likely cause. Further, if design is suspected in nature, there is no appeal to miracles, but only to what the evidence may or may not suggest about an intelligent agency.
Note, also, that the explanatory filter can produce false negatives by failing to recognize objects, such as Johnny’s clay figurine, that were the product of intelligent agency. At the same time, it is unlikely, although not impossible, to arrive at a false positive—i.e., to allow something through the sieve that was, in fact, produced by wholly natural causes. Even so, there is nothing to stop the test being run again when new evidence comes to light. Something that once was thought to be designed might, on further examination, turn out to be the product of natural causes.
Intuitively, we know that design cannot be a concept that is foreign to science because there are disciplines of a scientific nature that seek to tease apart natural causes from intelligent agency. Dembski is not proposing a change in the way that these scientists work. All he has done is to formalize the process that they (and many of us) already use, and to show that the process can detect design in a reliable fashion.
One such discipline is forensic science. A typical task of forensic investigators is to determine the cause of death: Was it natural or suspicious? Should they be looking for a person—an agent—who caused this death? Another science is archaeology, which on a regular basis must distinguish genuine artifacts from stones, sticks, and other items that so often clutter excavation sites. One of the best-known examples of design detection is SETI (the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence). The late Carl Sagan promoted this ongoing research program and featured it in his novel, Contact. This fictional work, which became a major motion picture starring actress Jodie Foster, provides a great angle on Dembski’s explanatory filter. The goal of the SETI program is to detect the activity of intelligent beings among the avalanche of radio noise arriving from outer space. The very existence of SETI proves that even self-confessed materialists (like Sagan) have well-honed intuitions when it comes to the detection of intelligent agency. All of these disciplines—forensic science, archaeology, and SETI—dispel the notion that science, by definition, cannot look for intelligent causes.

Updating Paley

Still, the objection is going to be this: We know there are people, but the existence of God is controversial. As Ernest Nagel has argued, “We have never run across a watch which has not been deliberately made by someone” (1992, p. 213). In other words, we know that there is a watchmaker; we do not know that there is a World Maker. But this begs the question, “Is there a World Maker?” There is no obvious way to get from “We don’t know” to “It cannot be.”
The skeptics likely will respond, “Yes, but there are plenty of reasons to deny that nature is the product of an intelligent cause.” Their favorite approach, at least going as far back as David Hume (and progressing forward to Charles Darwin, Stephen Jay Gould, et al.), is to point out the imperfections of nature. But this objection misses the mark entirely. If a watch does not keep time, then is it any less the product of an intelligent designer? The only way around this response is to say that, if there were a Creator-God, He must be pretty inept. Of course, this concedes that a Creator is at least a possibility. As for His being inept, that is another matter. How can we know that the less-than-perfect or “suboptimal” organ, system, or structure has not become so through time? My watch may be losing time now, but it might have run perfectly well before I dunked it in the ocean. And second, suboptimality is in the eye of the beholder. For instance, Gould is famous for talking about what he perceives to be the panda’s “clumsy” pseudothumb but, in fact, this particular appendage is an efficient tool for holding bamboo shoots and stripping off leaves (see Thompson, 1991).
How does talk about intelligent design differ from William Paley’s famous watchmaker argument? In its essential features, very little. As you may remember, Paley told the story of a man who found a stone and concluded rightly that it was a product of nature. Then this man found a watch and concluded (also rightly) that it was the product of a designer—a watchmaker. To hear the skeptics tell it, Paley’s arguments were crushed historically between Hume’s refutation in principle and Darwin’s refutation in fact.
Nothing could be farther from the truth. Ironically, Paley’s argument relied on Hume’s principle of “uniform experience” to argue that wherever we see the “marks of contrivance, we are led for its cause to an intelligent author” (1802, p. 232, emp. in orig.). As for both Hume and Darwin, Paley argued that we do not need perfection, nor a clear understanding of function, to see evidence of design.
If we are going to de-emphasize Paley, it is on three grounds (Behe, 1996, pp. 211-216). The first is a matter of strategy. People have heard Paley put down so much that it is hard to get past centuries of prejudice. Second, although Paley used the best science available, some of his examples have not withstood the test of time (and on occasion he did tend toward overstatement of his case). Paley’s arguments need to be recast in the light of contemporary science and more judicious examples.
Third, when Paley used a watch as an analogy, he would describe a system of interacting components. Take away one wheel, one cog, or one gear, and the whole system would cease to function. Yet the best biological examples used by Paley, and the popular examples we tend to use today, are at the level of gross anatomy. In a way, these arguments can sound very compelling. The vertebrate eye, for example, has a number of discrete components: the lens, retina, muscles, pupil, and optic nerve. If any one of these parts is missing or damaged, vision is not possible.
The standard response since Darwin is to suppose that the eye could have been built component by component. It is easier for nature to take small steps, creating each part individually, than to take a giant leap creating an integrated whole. Richard Dawkins argued along these lines in his book, Climbing Mount Improbable (1996). All we need, according to this argument, is for the right components to come together at the right place and at the right time. The evolutionist presses his point with an analogy that goes something like this: begin with an English word, replace some of the letters and, just by chance, another English word can be reached after a number of steps. The following is a simple example:
BELIEVE
ELIEVE
EVLIEVE
EVLIVE
EVOLIVE
EVOLVE

By analogy, the argument goes, biology can produce something new and functional via the step-wise rearrangement of DNA bases, amino acids, or the components of an anatomical system. Dawkins suspects that nature “seems” designed because all we are seeing is the end product.
There are several problems with this analogy. First, there is a kind of “cheating” going on. The Dawkins fan who created the word puzzle above had a target, or goal, in mind. But, as Dawkins himself insists, evolution is blind; it is completely nonpurposive and undesigned. Nature has no “mind” in which it can visualize and formulate goals. Evolution’s equivalent to the Dawkins-like game would have Nature peeking through a tear in its blindfold. This is the same mistake Darwin made in his analogy from artificial selection. By definition, the farmer or agricultural researcher has a goal in mind, whether it be drought-resistant wheat or higher milk fat production.
Incidentally, evolutionists draw attention to the use of this technique in fields such as chemical engineering, software programs, and origin-of-life experiments. In each case, the idea is to generate a huge number of variations and then, along the way, test to see which one best meets the goals laid out at the beginning of the experiment. Often, such techniques are called “Darwinian” or “evolutionary.” That they work in the “real world” of business and technology is supposed to legitimize evolution as a useful endeavor and a pervasive feature of our world. But in all of these examples, there is a clear goal in mind. As long as there is a goal, we are not dealing with long-term, large-scale evolution as Darwin envisioned it. This is merely another version of the shell game that I mentioned in Part I of this series.
Second, and more significantly, you will notice that none of the intermediate words in this game has any meaning. The words “believe” and “evolve” are known to play a role in our language. But the intervening words are nonsense; they serve no purpose whatsoever in our language. Imagine, then, that the word “believe” corresponds to a biological system of some kind, and that the life of an organism depends on possessing one of these BELIEVEs. If it lost the B part, and was left with an ELIEVE, the system would break down, and the organism would die. Death, to put it bluntly, is not a good survival mechanism.
Behe’s counter-response to the evolutionists is to apply Paley’s watch analogy to more suitable biological examples. The components should not be discrete, nor self-contained, but should be essential to the functioning of the system. In this way, there are no “steps” to the functionality we see here and now; the system must appear—suddenly—in its entirety.

Black Boxes

To make the analogy stronger, Behe urges that creationists no longer employ arguments using gross anatomy. Although he believes it is unlikely that nature assembled the components of vertebrate vision, for instance, he thinks that evolutionist still could make a plausible, step-wise argument. Or, consider the panda’s pseudothumb. Ideally, we want to suggest that this appendage certainly is well designed. But, Behe argues, we cannot make a case for design unless we show that the parts could not have come together by, say, fortuitous mutations.
At first glance, such an argument might seem to concede too much. However, Behe is not suggesting that the panda’s pseudothumb came about accidentally; rather, he is arguing only that it remains to be shown that it did, or did not, come together accidentally. So Darwinists and design theorists are in the same boat until all the evidence is in. In Behe-speak, the various parts that compose the panda’s “thumb” might turn out to be a collection of discrete systems—what he refers to as “black boxes” (a term borrowed from engineers). For instance, I can install a hard drive in my computer without having to coat any disks, solder any wires, or write any programs. As far as I am concerned, my hard drive is just one black box that can be hooked up to a number of other black boxes that make up my computer.
What we are looking for instead, Behe argues, is not just complex arrangement of parts, but irreducible complexity. We want to dig down deep enough until we find no more black boxes. With sufficient knowledge, for instance, I could analyze my hard drive and see, perhaps, that there were no further subsystems. I might learn that it could not work without the platters, the heads, or the on-board controller. It does not matter whether the case is made of aluminum or gold, or whether there are six platters or only one. Just like with Paley’s watch, all of the interacting parts must be present for the system to function properly.
When you stop to think about it, creationists need that “out.” We need to be able to say that, on the gross anatomical level, certain modified or novel structures can be the result of random mutations, and that natural selection could preserve those mutations that are not harmful to the organism. For instance, the Bactrian camel has two humps, while the Arabian camel has only one. Clearly, a structure (a second hump) appears on the one camel that does not appear on the other. But why? Perhaps God created each species separately, or perhaps nature has produced a variation on a theme. To deny the second option outright is to say, in effect, that species are fixed (a concept that is difficult, if not impossible, to defend; see Major, 1993). What we want to allow is that variation is possible, and that new species can arise, but that the amount of variation (i.e., microevolution) is limited unless we can add new information. Perhaps the second hump of the Bactrian camel, considered structurally, is no different from its first hump, and thus adds no more information. So, yes, God could have created these two camel species, but it also is possible that the second hump is nothing more than a cobbling together of existing structures by mutation (or, conversely, is the end result of a mutation that reduced the original number of humps).
However, to suggest that camels’ humps and pandas’ “thumbs” have resulted from the cobbling together of black boxes does not prove macroevolution. To suggest that it does is to make the same mistake as Darwin, Dawkins, and others who would “explain” the eye by putting together a number of discrete components. But this sidesteps the question of how the components came together to make all those black boxes in the first place.
For Behe, the crucial arguments about irreducible complexity will take place at the level of biochemistry—an area of science that was not available to either Paley or Darwin. In the opening pages of his book, Dr. Behe talks about the biochemistry of vision within the retina. We now know, he says, that the retina is at the level of a black box, which means the biochemistry of vision is irreducibly complex. Take out one step at the biochemical level, and vision is not possible. You cannot cobble these parts together; all the components have to be present and interacting at once in order for the system to work. That is something that neo-Darwinian evolution is ill-equipped to explain.
Behe’s search for irreducible complexity is the equivalent of Dembski’s specification-complexity criterion described earlier. His efforts to rule out random mutations, for instance, parallel Dembski’s discussion of chance and complexity. This work is an example of putting intelligent design into practice as a research program (Dembski, 1999, p. 228). Similar efforts within the ID movement seek to move beyond the conceptual issues addressed by Johnson, Dembski, and others (see Johnson, 2000, pp. 14-15).

CONCLUSION

The purpose of this review has been to highlight the positive aspects of the intelligent design movement. Admittedly, there are some off-putting aspects as well. All I can do at this point is encourage readers to exercise due regard, as they should with any human author.
Allow me to relate a personal experience with the ID movement. When I first heard Phillip Johnson make his pitch for intelligent design at the International Conference on Creationism in 1994, I came away with severe misgivings. At different times during his speech (e.g., when he was attacking naturalism), I found myself in hearty agreement. At other times, I wondered what on Earth he was doing there. Here he was, at the premier meeting of young-Earth creationists, telling his listeners that they were wasting their time on the age-of-the-Earth issue. It led to splintering and factionalism within the religious community, he said, and is not relevant to the dominant culture. He explained his personal decision to remove the debate from the Bible-science context or, more specifically, any defense of the Genesis account. Here is my own transcript of this point from the speech he gave that night:
And so I thought it was tremendously important to focus on the scientific and philosophical issues, and so I declared at the beginning that I would not discuss the biblical account at all, or have anything to say about it, and to completely put behind any question about matters such as the age of the earth....my approach will be just simply to take for granted as an assumption of whatever the authorities wanted to say on that point.
Johnson altered his view slightly when a young-Earth creationist friend reminded him that those same authorities were the ones who dogmatically asserted that materialistic evolution is a “fact.” Since then, he has softened his stance toward young-Earth creationists to the point that he resists attempts to marginalize this group within the ID camp. Anyone who has challenged the suggestion of the alleged factuality of evolution has been shunned by the gatekeepers of scientific orthodoxy. It would be ironic, to say the least, if the same kind of treatment then were extended by some within the ID movement to those (i.e., young-Earth creationists) who definitely are allies of that movement. Indeed, Johnson now envisions a Big Tent approach in which all the opponents of epistemic naturalism can gather, regardless of whether they are young-Earth or old-Earth creationists. And as strange as it may sound at first, Johnson even would welcome nontheists, as long as they admitted to being skeptical of epistemic naturalism.
Our task is to separate the wheat from the chaff—to use the best that the ID movement has to offer, while at the same time retaining an innate respect for the Bible’s specific teachings regarding the age of the Earth and related matters. There is much to be gained by tapping into arguments that are able to refine the concept of inherent design—a concept that, after all, is a core belief of young-Earth creationism.
There also is a place for framing the debate in terms of Intelligent Design vs. Naturalism. It represents a way to deal with evolution in various contexts, such as public schools, where any mention of God or the Bible closes the door to any further discussion. Most important, perhaps, it is a way to diagnose and teach our brethren who have adopted epistemic naturalism, and yet do not comprehend or understand the tensions they have created within their own faith.

REFERENCES

Behe, Michael J. (1996), Darwin’s Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution (New York: The Free Press).
Dawkins, Richard (1996), Climbing Mount Improbable (New York: W.W. Norton).
Dembski, William A. (1998), The Design Inference: Eliminating Chance Through Small Probabilities (New York: Cambridge University Press).
Dembski, William A. (1999), Intelligent Design: The Bridge Between Science and Theology (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press).
Johnson, Phillip E. (2000), The Wedge of Truth (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press).
Major, Trevor (1993), “Variation Within Limits,” Reason & Revelation, 13:25-30, March.
Nagel, Ernest (1992), “Philosophical Concepts of Atheism,” To Believe or Not to Believe, ed. E.D. Klemke (New York: Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, reprinted from Basic Beliefs, 1959), pp. 209-222.
Paley, William (1802), Natural Theology (Boston, MA: Gould, Kendall & Lincoln, 1850 edition).
Thompson, Bert (1991), “Evolution’s ‘New’ Argument—Suboptimality,” Reason & Revelation, 11:41-44, November.

From Mark Copeland... The Miracles Of The Apostles (Acts 5:12-16)

                          "THE BOOK OF ACTS"

                The Miracles Of The Apostles (5:12-16)

INTRODUCTION

1. Following the death of Ananias and Sapphira, we read about...
   a. The signs and wonders being done by the apostles - Ac 5:12-13
   b. Where they were able to heal all those brought to them - Ac 5:14-16

2. "The Miracles Of The Apostles" provide an opportunity to make
   observations about...
   a. The success of the apostles' miracles
   b. The purpose of the apostles' miracles

[Similar observations can be made about the miracles of Jesus and Paul,
which can serve to critique so-called miracles today (are they really
miracles?).  So let's begin by noting...]

I. THE SETTING OF THE MIRACLES

   A. IN JERUSALEM...
      1. During the early days of the church - Ac 5:12; cf. Ac 2:43
      2. Daily in the temple, in Solomon's Porch - Ac 5:12; cf. Ac 2:46;
         3:1-10
      3. Even in the streets, as the shadow of Peter went by - Ac 5:15

   B. OTHER OCCASIONS...
      1. The miracles of Jesus - Mk 6:53-56
         a. In the land of Gennesaret
         b. In villages, cities, the country
      2. The miracles of Paul - Ac 19:11-12
         a. In the city of Ephesus
         b. During his extended stay while on his third journey

[In both rural and urban settings, wonderful things happened when true
men of God were healing the sick.  So let's consider carefully...]

II. THE SUCCESS OF THE HEALINGS

   A. IN JERUSALEM...
      1. The sick were laid out in the street on beds and couches - Ac 5:15
      2. People from surrounding cities brought the sick and possessed
         - Ac 5:16
      3. Note well:  "they were all healed"

   B. OTHER OCASSIONS...
      1. Jesus in the land of Gennesaret - Mk 6:53-56
         a. When people heard He was there, they gathered the sick
         b. Wherever He went, they brought the sick to Him, on beds
            laying them in the market
         c. Note well:  "as many as touched Him were made well"
      2. Paul at Ephesus - Ac 19:11-12
         a. God worked unusual miracles by the hands of Paul
         b. Even handkerchiefs brought from his body to the sick healed
            them
         c. Note well:  implied is that all who received such
            ministrations were healed

[The crowds that gathered around the apostles, Jesus, and Paul were
understandable, for the success of these three men was remarkable.  Now
for an observation or two about...]

III. THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE MIRACLES

   A. IN JERUSALEM...
      1. The effect of the miracles led to high esteem among the people
         - Ac 5:13
      2. The purpose of apostolic miracles was to confirm their message
         - Mk 16:17-20

   B. OTHER OCCASIONS...
      1. The purpose of Jesus' miracles was to confirm His claims - Jn 5:36; 10:25,37-38
         a. People who saw such signs made the connection - Jn 3:2;
            9:30-33
         b. Jesus did refrain from doing miracles on one occasion for
            lack of faith - Mt 13:58
         c. But note well:  He never failed any miracle that He Himself
            attempted!
      2. The purpose of apostolic miracles was to confirm they were
         from God - Ac 14:3
         a. God bore witness to His Word by gifts of the Holy Spirit 
            - He 2:3-4
         b. The apostles did not always heals those they knew were sick
            - 2Ti 4:20
         c. But note well:  the apostles never failed any miracle they
            attempted!

CONCLUSION

1. Today, there are self-proclaimed miracle workers who say God is
   working through them...
   a. Large crowds often attend their meetings, hoping to be healed
   b. But many people leave such meetings, disappointed that they were
      not healed
   c. Despite having such healers lay their hands on them, and pray for
      them

2. When true servants of God worked miracles, everyone was healed...!
   a. Whether it was the apostles, Jesus, or Paul
   b. The purpose of miracles to confirm they were servants of God
   c. And God left no room for doubt:  all were healed!

3. It is important to remember that such miracles were for a specific
   purpose...
   a. They were to confirm the message and messengers as being from God
   b. Once the Word of God was completely revealed and confirmed, there
      is no longer a need for such miracles of confirmation - cf. 1Co 13:8-10
   c. Which explains why such miracles are not being done today
   d. Contrary to claims made by false teachers who mislead many

When we carefully study the miracles of Jesus and those of His apostles,
comparing them with the so-called miracle healers of today, we can easily
see the difference...

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2012

From Gary... Bible Reading May 14

Bible Reading  

May 14

The World English Bible

 
May 13
Joshua 7, 8
Jos 7:1 But the children of Israel committed a trespass in the devoted things; for Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took some of the devoted things. Therefore Yahweh's anger burned against the children of Israel.
Jos 7:2 Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai, which is beside Beth Aven, on the east side of Bethel, and spoke to them, saying, "Go up and spy out the land." The men went up and spied out Ai.
Jos 7:3 They returned to Joshua, and said to him, "Don't let all the people go up; but let about two or three thousand men go up and strike Ai. Don't make all the people to toil there, for there are only a few of them."
Jos 7:4 So about three thousand men of the people went up there, and they fled before the men of Ai.
Jos 7:5 The men of Ai struck about thirty-six men of them, and they chased them from before the gate even to Shebarim, and struck them at the descent. The hearts of the people melted, and became like water.
Jos 7:6 Joshua tore his clothes, and fell to the earth on his face before the ark of Yahweh until the evening, he and the elders of Israel; and they put dust on their heads.
Jos 7:7 Joshua said, "Alas, Lord Yahweh, why have you brought this people over the Jordan at all, to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites, to cause us to perish? I wish that we had been content and lived beyond the Jordan!
Jos 7:8 Oh, Lord, what shall I say, after that Israel has turned their backs before their enemies!
Jos 7:9 For the Canaanites and all the inhabitants of the land will hear of it, and will surround us, and cut off our name from the earth. What will you do for your great name?"
Jos 7:10 Yahweh said to Joshua, "Get up! Why are you fallen on your face like that?
Jos 7:11 Israel has sinned. Yes, they have even transgressed my covenant which I commanded them. Yes, they have even taken of the devoted things, and have also stolen, and also deceived. They have even put it among their own stuff.
Jos 7:12 Therefore the children of Israel can't stand before their enemies. They turn their backs before their enemies, because they have become devoted for destruction. I will not be with you any more, unless you destroy the devoted things from among you.
Jos 7:13 Get up! Sanctify the people, and say, 'Sanctify yourselves for tomorrow, for Yahweh, the God of Israel, says, "There is a devoted thing in the midst of you, Israel. You cannot stand before your enemies until you take away the devoted thing from among you."
Jos 7:14 In the morning therefore you shall be brought near by your tribes. It shall be that the tribe which Yahweh selects shall come near by families. The family which Yahweh selects shall come near by households. The household which Yahweh selects shall come near man by man.
Jos 7:15 It shall be, that he who is taken with the devoted thing shall be burnt with fire, he and all that he has, because he has transgressed the covenant of Yahweh, and because he has done a disgraceful thing in Israel.' "
Jos 7:16 So Joshua rose up early in the morning and brought Israel near by their tribes. The tribe of Judah was selected.
Jos 7:17 He brought near the family of Judah; and he selected the family of the Zerahites. He brought near the family of the Zerahites man by man, and Zabdi was selected.
Jos 7:18 He brought near his household man by man, and Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, was selected.
Jos 7:19 Joshua said to Achan, "My son, please give glory to Yahweh, the God of Israel, and make confession to him. Tell me now what you have done! Don't hide it from me!"
Jos 7:20 Achan answered Joshua, and said, "I have truly sinned against Yahweh, the God of Israel, and this is what I have done.
Jos 7:21 When I saw among the spoil a beautiful Babylonian robe, two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold weighing fifty shekels, then I coveted them and took them. Behold, they are hidden in the ground in the middle of my tent, with the silver under it."
Jos 7:22 So Joshua sent messengers, and they ran to the tent. Behold, it was hidden in his tent, with the silver under it.
Jos 7:23 They took them from the middle of the tent, and brought them to Joshua and to all the children of Israel. They laid them down before Yahweh.
Jos 7:24 Joshua, and all Israel with him, took Achan the son of Zerah, the silver, the robe, the wedge of gold, his sons, his daughters, his cattle, his donkeys, his sheep, his tent, and all that he had; and they brought them up to the valley of Achor.
Jos 7:25 Joshua said, "Why have you troubled us? Yahweh will trouble you this day." All Israel stoned him with stones, and they burned them with fire and stoned them with stones.
Jos 7:26 They raised over him a great heap of stones that remains to this day. Yahweh turned from the fierceness of his anger. Therefore the name of that place was called "The valley of Achor" to this day.

Jos 7:1 But the children of Israel committed a trespass in the devoted things; for Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took some of the devoted things. Therefore Yahweh's anger burned against the children of Israel.
Jos 7:2 Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai, which is beside Beth Aven, on the east side of Bethel, and spoke to them, saying, "Go up and spy out the land." The men went up and spied out Ai.
Jos 7:3 They returned to Joshua, and said to him, "Don't let all the people go up; but let about two or three thousand men go up and strike Ai. Don't make all the people to toil there, for there are only a few of them."
Jos 7:4 So about three thousand men of the people went up there, and they fled before the men of Ai.
Jos 7:5 The men of Ai struck about thirty-six men of them, and they chased them from before the gate even to Shebarim, and struck them at the descent. The hearts of the people melted, and became like water.
Jos 7:6 Joshua tore his clothes, and fell to the earth on his face before the ark of Yahweh until the evening, he and the elders of Israel; and they put dust on their heads.
Jos 7:7 Joshua said, "Alas, Lord Yahweh, why have you brought this people over the Jordan at all, to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites, to cause us to perish? I wish that we had been content and lived beyond the Jordan!
Jos 7:8 Oh, Lord, what shall I say, after that Israel has turned their backs before their enemies!
Jos 7:9 For the Canaanites and all the inhabitants of the land will hear of it, and will surround us, and cut off our name from the earth. What will you do for your great name?"
Jos 7:10 Yahweh said to Joshua, "Get up! Why are you fallen on your face like that?
Jos 7:11 Israel has sinned. Yes, they have even transgressed my covenant which I commanded them. Yes, they have even taken of the devoted things, and have also stolen, and also deceived. They have even put it among their own stuff.
Jos 7:12 Therefore the children of Israel can't stand before their enemies. They turn their backs before their enemies, because they have become devoted for destruction. I will not be with you any more, unless you destroy the devoted things from among you.
Jos 7:13 Get up! Sanctify the people, and say, 'Sanctify yourselves for tomorrow, for Yahweh, the God of Israel, says, "There is a devoted thing in the midst of you, Israel. You cannot stand before your enemies until you take away the devoted thing from among you."
Jos 7:14 In the morning therefore you shall be brought near by your tribes. It shall be that the tribe which Yahweh selects shall come near by families. The family which Yahweh selects shall come near by households. The household which Yahweh selects shall come near man by man.
Jos 7:15 It shall be, that he who is taken with the devoted thing shall be burnt with fire, he and all that he has, because he has transgressed the covenant of Yahweh, and because he has done a disgraceful thing in Israel.' "
Jos 7:16 So Joshua rose up early in the morning and brought Israel near by their tribes. The tribe of Judah was selected.
Jos 7:17 He brought near the family of Judah; and he selected the family of the Zerahites. He brought near the family of the Zerahites man by man, and Zabdi was selected.
Jos 7:18 He brought near his household man by man, and Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, was selected.
Jos 7:19 Joshua said to Achan, "My son, please give glory to Yahweh, the God of Israel, and make confession to him. Tell me now what you have done! Don't hide it from me!"
Jos 7:20 Achan answered Joshua, and said, "I have truly sinned against Yahweh, the God of Israel, and this is what I have done.
Jos 7:21 When I saw among the spoil a beautiful Babylonian robe, two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold weighing fifty shekels, then I coveted them and took them. Behold, they are hidden in the ground in the middle of my tent, with the silver under it."
Jos 7:22 So Joshua sent messengers, and they ran to the tent. Behold, it was hidden in his tent, with the silver under it.
Jos 7:23 They took them from the middle of the tent, and brought them to Joshua and to all the children of Israel. They laid them down before Yahweh.
Jos 7:24 Joshua, and all Israel with him, took Achan the son of Zerah, the silver, the robe, the wedge of gold, his sons, his daughters, his cattle, his donkeys, his sheep, his tent, and all that he had; and they brought them up to the valley of Achor.
Jos 7:25 Joshua said, "Why have you troubled us? Yahweh will trouble you this day." All Israel stoned him with stones, and they burned them with fire and stoned them with stones.
Jos 7:26 They raised over him a great heap of stones that remains to this day. Yahweh turned from the fierceness of his anger. Therefore the name of that place was called "The valley of Achor" to this day.

Jos 8:1 Yahweh said to Joshua, "Don't be afraid, neither be dismayed. Take all the people of war with you, and arise, go up to Ai. Behold, I have given into your hand the king of Ai, with his people, his city, and his land.
Jos 8:2 You shall do to Ai and her king as you did to Jericho and her king, except its spoil and its livestock, you shall take for a plunder for yourselves. Set an ambush for the city behind it."
Jos 8:3 So Joshua arose, and all the people of war, to go up to Ai. Joshua chose thirty thousand men, the mighty men of valor, and sent them out by night.
Jos 8:4 He commanded them, saying, "Behold, you shall lie in ambush against the city, behind the city. Don't go very far from the city, but all of you be ready.
Jos 8:5 I, and all the people who are with me, will approach to the city. It shall happen, when they come out against us, as at the first, that we will flee before them.
Jos 8:6 They will come out after us, until we have drawn them away from the city; for they will say, 'They flee before us, like the first time.' So we will flee before them,
Jos 8:7 and you shall rise up from the ambush, and take possession of the city; for Yahweh your God will deliver it into your hand.
Jos 8:8 It shall be, when you have seized on the city, that you shall set the city on fire. You shall do this according to the word of Yahweh. Behold, I have commanded you."
Jos 8:9 Joshua sent them out; and they went to set up the ambush, and stayed between Bethel and Ai, on the west side of Ai; but Joshua stayed among the people that night.
Jos 8:10 Joshua rose up early in the morning, mustered the people, and went up, he and the elders of Israel, before the people to Ai.
Jos 8:11 All the people, even the men of war who were with him, went up, and drew near, and came before the city, and encamped on the north side of Ai. Now there was a valley between him and Ai.
Jos 8:12 He took about five thousand men, and set them in ambush between Bethel and Ai, on the west side of the city.
Jos 8:13 So they set the people, even all the army who was on the north of the city, and their ambush on the west of the city; and Joshua went that night into the midst of the valley.
Jos 8:14 It happened, when the king of Ai saw it, that they hurried and rose up early, and the men of the city went out against Israel to battle, he and all his people, at the time appointed, before the Arabah; but he didn't know that there was an ambush against him behind the city.
Jos 8:15 Joshua and all Israel made as if they were beaten before them, and fled by the way of the wilderness.
Jos 8:16 All the people who were in the city were called together to pursue after them. They pursued Joshua, and were drawn away from the city.
Jos 8:17 There was not a man left in Ai or Beth El who didn't go out after Israel. They left the city open, and pursued Israel.
Jos 8:18 Yahweh said to Joshua, "Stretch out the javelin that is in your hand toward Ai, for I will give it into your hand." Joshua stretched out the javelin that was in his hand toward the city.
Jos 8:19 The ambush arose quickly out of their place, and they ran as soon as he had stretched out his hand, and entered into the city, and took it. They hurried and set the city on fire.
Jos 8:20 When the men of Ai looked behind them, they saw, and behold, the smoke of the city ascended up to heaven, and they had no power to flee this way or that way. The people who fled to the wilderness turned back on the pursuers.
Jos 8:21 When Joshua and all Israel saw that the ambush had taken the city, and that the smoke of the city ascended, then they turned again, and killed the men of Ai.
Jos 8:22 The others came out of the city against them, so they were in the midst of Israel, some on this side, and some on that side. They struck them, so that they let none of them remain or escape.
Jos 8:23 They captured the king of Ai alive, and brought him to Joshua.
Jos 8:24 It happened, when Israel had made an end of killing all the inhabitants of Ai in the field, in the wilderness in which they pursued them, and they had all fallen by the edge of the sword, until they were consumed, that all Israel returned to Ai, and struck it with the edge of the sword.
Jos 8:25 All that fell that day, both of men and women, were twelve thousand, even all the men of Ai.
Jos 8:26 For Joshua didn't draw back his hand, with which he stretched out the javelin, until he had utterly destroyed all the inhabitants of Ai.
Jos 8:27 Only the livestock and the spoil of that city Israel took for prey to themselves, according to the word of Yahweh which he commanded Joshua.
Jos 8:28 So Joshua burnt Ai, and made it a heap forever, even a desolation, to this day.
Jos 8:29 He hanged the king of Ai on a tree until the evening, and at the sundown Joshua commanded, and they took his body down from the tree, and threw it at the entrance of the gate of the city, and raised a great heap of stones on it that remains to this day.
Jos 8:30 Then Joshua built an altar to Yahweh, the God of Israel, in Mount Ebal,
Jos 8:31 as Moses the servant of Yahweh commanded the children of Israel, as it is written in the book of the law of Moses, an altar of uncut stones, on which no man had lifted up any iron. They offered burnt offerings on it to Yahweh, and sacrificed peace offerings.
Jos 8:32 He wrote there on the stones a copy of the law of Moses, which he wrote in the presence of the children of Israel.
Jos 8:33 All Israel, and their elders and officers, and their judges, stood on this side of the ark and on that side before the priests the Levites, who carried the ark of Yahweh's covenant, the foreigner as well as the native; half of them in front of Mount Gerizim, and half of them in front of Mount Ebal, as Moses the servant of Yahweh had commanded at the first, that they should bless the people of Israel.
Jos 8:34 Afterward he read all the words of the law, the blessing and the curse, according to all that is written in the book of the law.
Jos 8:35 There was not a word of all that Moses commanded, which Joshua didn't read before all the assembly of Israel, with the women, the little ones, and the foreigners who were among them.


May 14
Joshua 9, 10

Jos 9:1 It happened, when all the kings who were beyond the Jordan, in the hill country, and in the lowland, and on all the shore of the great sea in front of Lebanon, the Hittite, the Amorite, the Canaanite, the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite, heard of it
Jos 9:2 that they gathered themselves together to fight with Joshua and with Israel, with one accord.
Jos 9:3 But when the inhabitants of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done to Jericho and to Ai,
Jos 9:4 they also resorted to a ruse, and went and made as if they had been ambassadors, and took old sacks on their donkeys, and wineskins, old and torn and bound up,
Jos 9:5 and old and patched shoes on their feet, and wore old garments. All the bread of their provision was dry and moldy.
Jos 9:6 They went to Joshua to the camp at Gilgal, and said to him, and to the men of Israel, "We have come from a far country. Now therefore make a covenant with us."
Jos 9:7 The men of Israel said to the Hivites, "What if you live among us. How could we make a covenant with you?"
Jos 9:8 They said to Joshua, "We are your servants." Joshua said to them, "Who are you? Where do you come from?"
Jos 9:9 They said to him, "Your servants have come from a very far country because of the name of Yahweh your God; for we have heard of his fame, all that he did in Egypt,
Jos 9:10 and all that he did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon king of Heshbon and to Og king of Bashan, who was at Ashtaroth.
Jos 9:11 Our elders and all the inhabitants of our country spoke to us, saying, 'Take provision in your hand for the journey, and go to meet them, and tell them, "We are your servants. Now make a covenant with us." '
Jos 9:12 This our bread we took hot for our provision out of our houses on the day we went out to go to you; but now, behold, it is dry, and has become moldy.
Jos 9:13 These wineskins, which we filled, were new; and behold, they are torn. These our garments and our shoes have become old because of the very long journey."
Jos 9:14 The men sampled their provisions, and didn't ask counsel from the mouth of Yahweh.
Jos 9:15 Joshua made peace with them, and made a covenant with them, to let them live. The princes of the congregation swore to them.
Jos 9:16 It happened at the end of three days after they had made a covenant with them, that they heard that they were their neighbors, and that they lived among them.
Jos 9:17 The children of Israel traveled and came to their cities on the third day. Now their cities were Gibeon, Chephirah, Beeroth, and Kiriath Jearim.
Jos 9:18 The children of Israel didn't strike them, because the princes of the congregation had sworn to them by Yahweh, the God of Israel. All the congregation murmured against the princes.
Jos 9:19 But all the princes said to all the congregation, "We have sworn to them by Yahweh, the God of Israel: now therefore we may not touch them.
Jos 9:20 This we will do to them, and let them live; lest wrath be on us, because of the oath which we swore to them."
Jos 9:21 The princes said to them, "Let them live, so they became wood cutters and drawers of water for all the congregation, as the princes had spoken to them."
Jos 9:22 Joshua called for them, and he spoke to them, saying, "Why have you deceived us, saying, 'We are very far from you,' when you live among us?
Jos 9:23 Now therefore you are cursed, and some of you will never fail to be bondservants, both wood cutters and drawers of water for the house of my God."
Jos 9:24 They answered Joshua, and said, "Because your servants were certainly told how Yahweh your God commanded his servant Moses to give you all the land, and to destroy all the inhabitants of the land from before you. Therefore we were very afraid for our lives because of you, and have done this thing.
Jos 9:25 Now, behold, we are in your hand. Do to us as it seems good and right to you to do."
Jos 9:26 He did so to them, and delivered them out of the hand of the children of Israel, so that they didn't kill them.
Jos 9:27 That day Joshua made them wood cutters and drawers of water for the congregation and for the altar of Yahweh, to this day, in the place which he should choose.
Jos 10:1 Now it happened when Adoni-Zedek king of Jerusalem heard how Joshua had taken Ai, and had utterly destroyed it; as he had done to Jericho and her king, so he had done to Ai and her king; and how the inhabitants of Gibeon had made peace with Israel, and were among them;
Jos 10:2 that they were very afraid, because Gibeon was a great city, as one of the royal cities, and because it was greater than Ai, and all its men were mighty.
Jos 10:3 Therefore Adoni-Zedek king of Jerusalem sent to Hoham king of Hebron, to Piram king of Jarmuth, to Japhia king of Lachish, and to Debir king of Eglon, saying,
Jos 10:4 "Come up to me, and help me, and let us strike Gibeon; for it has made peace with Joshua and with the children of Israel."
Jos 10:5 Therefore the five kings of the Amorites, the king of Jerusalem, the king of Hebron, the king of Jarmuth, the king of Lachish, the king of Eglon, gathered themselves together, and went up, they and all their armies, and encamped against Gibeon, and made war against it.
Jos 10:6 The men of Gibeon sent to Joshua to the camp to Gilgal, saying, "Don't abandon your servants! Come up to us quickly, and save us, and help us; for all the kings of the Amorites that dwell in the hill country have gathered together against us."
Jos 10:7 So Joshua went up from Gilgal, he, and all the people of war with him, and all the mighty men of valor.
Jos 10:8 Yahweh said to Joshua, "Don't fear them, for I have delivered them into your hands. Not a man of them will stand before you."
Jos 10:9 Joshua therefore came on them suddenly. He went up from Gilgal all night.
Jos 10:10 Yahweh confused them before Israel, and he killed them with a great slaughter at Gibeon, and chased them by the way of the ascent of Beth Horon, and struck them to Azekah and to Makkedah.
Jos 10:11 It happened, as they fled from before Israel, while they were at the descent of Beth Horon, that Yahweh cast down great stones from the sky on them to Azekah, and they died. There were more who died from the hailstones than who the children of Israel killed with the sword.
Jos 10:12 Then Joshua spoke to Yahweh in the day when Yahweh delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel; and he said in the sight of Israel, "Sun, stand still on Gibeon! You, moon, stop in the valley of Aijalon!"
Jos 10:13 The sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the nation had avenged themselves of their enemies. Isn't this written in the book of Jashar? The sun stayed in the midst of the sky, and didn't hurry to go down about a whole day.
Jos 10:14 There was no day like that before it or after it, that Yahweh listened to the voice of a man; for Yahweh fought for Israel.
Jos 10:15 Joshua returned, and all Israel with him, to the camp to Gilgal.
Jos 10:16 These five kings fled, and hid themselves in the cave at Makkedah.
Jos 10:17 Joshua was told, saying, "The five kings are found, hidden in the cave at Makkedah."
Jos 10:18 Joshua said, "Roll large stones to the mouth of the cave, and set men by it to guard them;
Jos 10:19 but don't stay. Pursue your enemies, and them from the rear. Don't allow them to enter into their cities; for Yahweh your God has delivered them into your hand."
Jos 10:20 It happened, when Joshua and the children of Israel had finished killing them with a very great slaughter until they were consumed, and the remnant which remained of them had entered into the fortified cities,
Jos 10:21 that all the people returned to the camp to Joshua at Makkedah in peace. None moved his tongue against any of the children of Israel.
Jos 10:22 Then Joshua said, "Open the mouth of the cave, and bring those five kings out of the cave to me."
Jos 10:23 They did so, and brought those five kings out of the cave to him: the king of Jerusalem, the king of Hebron, the king of Jarmuth, the king of Lachish, and the king of Eglon.
Jos 10:24 It happened, when they brought those kings out to Joshua, that Joshua called for all the men of Israel, and said to the chiefs of the men of war who went with him, "Come near, put your feet on the necks of these kings." They came near, and put their feet on their necks.
Jos 10:25 Joshua said to them, "Don't be afraid, nor be dismayed. Be strong and of good courage, for Yahweh will do this to all your enemies against whom you fight."
Jos 10:26 Afterward Joshua struck them, put them to death, and hanged them on five trees. They were hanging on the trees until the evening.
Jos 10:27 It happened at the time of the going down of the sun, that Joshua commanded, and they took them down off the trees, and cast them into the cave in which they had hidden themselves, and laid great stones on the mouth of the cave, which remain to this very day.
Jos 10:28 Joshua took Makkedah on that day, and struck it with the edge of the sword, with its king. He utterly destroyed them and all the souls who were in it. He left none remaining. He did to the king of Makkedah as he had done to the king of Jericho.
Jos 10:29 Joshua passed from Makkedah, and all Israel with him, to Libnah, and fought against Libnah.
Jos 10:30 Yahweh delivered it also, with its king, into the hand of Israel. He struck it with the edge of the sword, and all the souls who were in it. He left none remaining in it. He did to its king as he had done to the king of Jericho.
Jos 10:31 Joshua passed from Libnah, and all Israel with him, to Lachish, and encamped against it, and fought against it.
Jos 10:32 Yahweh delivered Lachish into the hand of Israel. He took it on the second day, and struck it with the edge of the sword, with all the souls who were in it, according to all that he had done to Libnah.
Jos 10:33 Then Horam king of Gezer came up to help Lachish; and Joshua struck him and his people, until he had left him none remaining.
Jos 10:34 Joshua passed from Lachish, and all Israel with him, to Eglon; and they encamped against it fought against it.
Jos 10:35 They took it on that day, and struck it with the edge of the sword. He utterly destroyed all the souls who were in it that day, according to all that he had done to Lachish.
Jos 10:36 Joshua went up from Eglon, and all Israel with him, to Hebron; and they fought against it.
Jos 10:37 They took it, and struck it with the edge of the sword, with its king and all its cities, and all the souls who were in it. He left none remaining, according to all that he had done to Eglon; but he utterly destroyed it, and all the souls who were in it.
Jos 10:38 Joshua returned, and all Israel with him, to Debir, and fought against it.
Jos 10:39 He took it, with its king and all its cities. They struck them with the edge of the sword, and utterly destroyed all the souls who were in it. He left none remaining. As he had done to Hebron, so he did to Debir, and to its king; as he had done also to Libnah, and to its king.
Jos 10:40 So Joshua struck all the land, the hill country, and the South, and the lowland, and the slopes, and all their kings. He left none remaining, but he utterly destroyed all that breathed, as Yahweh, the God of Israel, commanded.
Jos 10:41 Joshua struck them from Kadesh Barnea even to Gaza, and all the country of Goshen, even to Gibeon.
Jos 10:42 Joshua took all these kings and their land at one time, because Yahweh, the God of Israel, fought for Israel.
Jos 10:43 Joshua returned, and all Israel with him, to the camp to Gilgal.

May 14, 15
Luke 24

Luk 24:1 But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they and some others came to the tomb, bringing the spices which they had prepared.
Luk 24:2 They found the stone rolled away from the tomb.
Luk 24:3 They entered in, and didn't find the Lord Jesus' body.
Luk 24:4 It happened, while they were greatly perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling clothing.
Luk 24:5 Becoming terrified, they bowed their faces down to the earth. They said to them, "Why do you seek the living among the dead?
Luk 24:6 He isn't here, but is risen. Remember what he told you when he was still in Galilee,
Luk 24:7 saying that the Son of Man must be delivered up into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again?"
Luk 24:8 They remembered his words,
Luk 24:9 returned from the tomb, and told all these things to the eleven, and to all the rest.
Luk 24:10 Now they were Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Mary the mother of James. The other women with them told these things to the apostles.
Luk 24:11 These words seemed to them to be nonsense, and they didn't believe them.
Luk 24:12 But Peter got up and ran to the tomb. Stooping and looking in, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he departed to his home, wondering what had happened.
Luk 24:13 Behold, two of them were going that very day to a village named Emmaus, which was sixty stadia from Jerusalem.
Luk 24:14 They talked with each other about all of these things which had happened.
Luk 24:15 It happened, while they talked and questioned together, that Jesus himself came near, and went with them.
Luk 24:16 But their eyes were kept from recognizing him.
Luk 24:17 He said to them, "What are you talking about as you walk, and are sad?"
Luk 24:18 One of them, named Cleopas, answered him, "Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem who doesn't know the things which have happened there in these days?"
Luk 24:19 He said to them, "What things?" They said to him, "The things concerning Jesus, the Nazarene, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people;
Luk 24:20 and how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death, and crucified him.
Luk 24:21 But we were hoping that it was he who would redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things happened.
Luk 24:22 Also, certain women of our company amazed us, having arrived early at the tomb;
Luk 24:23 and when they didn't find his body, they came saying that they had also seen a vision of angels, who said that he was alive.
Luk 24:24 Some of us went to the tomb, and found it just like the women had said, but they didn't see him."
Luk 24:25 He said to them, "Foolish men, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken!
Luk 24:26 Didn't the Christ have to suffer these things and to enter into his glory?"
Luk 24:27 Beginning from Moses and from all the prophets, he explained to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.
Luk 24:28 They drew near to the village, where they were going, and he acted like he would go further.
Luk 24:29 They urged him, saying, "Stay with us, for it is almost evening, and the day is almost over." He went in to stay with them.
Luk 24:30 It happened, that when he had sat down at the table with them, he took the bread and gave thanks. Breaking it, he gave to them.
Luk 24:31 Their eyes were opened, and they recognized him, and he vanished out of their sight.
Luk 24:32 They said one to another, "Weren't our hearts burning within us, while he spoke to us along the way, and while he opened the Scriptures to us?"
Luk 24:33 They rose up that very hour, returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and those who were with them,
Luk 24:34 saying, "The Lord is risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!"
Luk 24:35 They related the things that happened along the way, and how he was recognized by them in the breaking of the bread.
Luk 24:36 As they said these things, Jesus himself stood among them, and said to them, "Peace be to you."
Luk 24:37 But they were terrified and filled with fear, and supposed that they had seen a spirit.
Luk 24:38 He said to them, "Why are you troubled? Why do doubts arise in your hearts?
Luk 24:39 See my hands and my feet, that it is truly me. Touch me and see, for a spirit doesn't have flesh and bones, as you see that I have."
Luk 24:40 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet.
Luk 24:41 While they still didn't believe for joy, and wondered, he said to them, "Do you have anything here to eat?"
Luk 24:42 They gave him a piece of a broiled fish and some honeycomb.
Luk 24:43 He took them, and ate in front of them.
Luk 24:44 He said to them, "This is what I told you, while I was still with you, that all things which are written in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms, concerning me must be fulfilled."
Luk 24:45 Then he opened their minds, that they might understand the Scriptures.
Luk 24:46 He said to them, "Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day,
Luk 24:47 and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name to all the nations, beginning at Jerusalem.
Luk 24:48 You are witnesses of these things.
Luk 24:49 Behold, I send forth the promise of my Father on you. But wait in the city of Jerusalem until you are clothed with power from on high."
Luk 24:50 He led them out as far as Bethany, and he lifted up his hands, and blessed them.
Luk 24:51 It happened, while he blessed them, that he withdrew from them, and was carried up into heaven.
Luk 24:52 They worshiped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy,
Luk 24:53 and were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God. Amen.