11/18/15

From Mark Copeland... Homosexuality A Christian Perspective Helping Homosexuals To Overcome

Homosexuality

A Christian Perspective

Helping Homosexuals To Overcome
As suggested in the previous section, it is possible for a person to overcome their homosexuality even if they are not a Christian. But there is so much more help available if one is willing to come to Jesus Christ and the transforming power of the Holy Spirit! In this section, we shall briefly examine positive steps one can take in dealing with the pernicious sin of homosexuality.

OBEY JESUS CHRIST AS SAVIOR AND LORD

When one turns to the Lord in sincere faith and repentance, their baptism into Christ is the source of great blessings. As the apostle Peter proclaimed in the first gospel message on the Day of Pentecost:
"...Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." (Ac 2:38)
Notice carefully that when one is baptized upon repentance that there is first the "remission of sins." By the blood of Christ every sin is washed away in baptism. But there is also the "gift of the Holy Spirit" promised to those who repent and are baptized. This refers to the personal indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the life of the Christian, Who serves as the instrumental agent by which God and Christ indwell and strengthens the Christian. As Paul wrote to the Christians at Rome:
"But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you."
"Therefore, brethren, we are debtors--not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh."
"For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live."
(Ro 8:11-13)
Yes, it is by the Spirit we are able to "put to death the deeds of the body", for as Paul wrote to the Ephesians, it is through the Spirit that God strengthens our inward man:
"...to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man," (Ep 3:16)
With such "divine help" we are able to do whatever the will of God calls us to do. As Paul wrote in his epistle to the Philippians:
"...for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure." (Php 2:13)
"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." (Php 4:13)
When we obey Christ and submit our lives to Him, we are not alone in our struggle against sin and the temptations we often face in the flesh; by the Spirit of God we can receive the strength Christ provides!
But such ability does not come automatically. To receive the help God provides requires that we...

WALK IN THE SPIRIT

As written to the churches of Galatia:
"I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh." (Ga 5:16)
Whether the "lust of the flesh" we are fighting involves fornication, adultery, or homosexuality, we can only overcome it as we "walk in the Spirit". How does a Christian do this? The answer is found in Paul's epistle to the Romans:
"For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit." (Ro 8:5)
We "live according to the Spirit" (or "walk in the Spirit") as we "set our minds on the things of the Spirit!" Just as a person whose mind is "in the gutter" will soon live accordingly, those who "set" their mind on the things the Spirit has revealed will live in harmony with that revelation.
In other words, the Word of God, revealed to us by the Holy Spirit working through the apostles and prophets of Jesus Christ, contains those "things" upon which we must "set our minds" if we are going to "live according to the Spirit". The Word of God is the instrument (or sword, Ep 6:17) the Holy Spirit uses to transform the minds and lives of those who will truly give themselves to it!
As the Psalmist understood and declared so long ago...
"Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You." (Ps 119:11)
Even Jesus, when tempted in the wilderness, appealed to the Word of God again and again in His fight against the lusts of the flesh (Ma 4:1-11)! So must one who is serious in overcoming homosexuality set his or her mind on the Word of God, that they might truly walk in the Spirit and receive the strength only the Spirit can provide!
But there is more that can be said...

RESTRICT WHAT GOES INTO YOUR MIND

Jesus pointed out in His sermon on the mount that the problem of adultery actually begins in the heart (mind):
"...whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart." (Ma 5:28)
The same can be said for homosexuality. Therefore, a person who is serious in their efforts to overcome any sexual sin must be careful about what they allow their minds to dwell on. Again, Paul wrote:
"For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh..." (Ro 8:5)
If a person is going to be truly "transformed" it will occur only when the mind is being "renewed":
"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service."
"And do not be conformed to this world, BUT BE TRANSFORMED BY THE RENEWING OF YOUR MIND, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God."
(Ro 12:1-2)
But a person's mind cannot be "renewed" if they allow themselves to dwell on those things that will prompt lustful desires. Rather, they need to heed the following admonition:
"...whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy--meditate on these things." (Php 4:8)
Rather than dwelling on things that will weaken one's resolve, a person committed to overcoming temptations of the flesh will devote their thoughts, their reading, their television and movie viewing, to such things described above!

AVOID HOMOSEXUAL FRIENDS AND HANGOUTS

One should be aware of the dangers of the wrong kind of companionship:
"Do not be deceived: 'Evil company corrupts good habits.'" (1Co 15:33)
Friends can be a wonderful blessing, but the wrong kind of friends can be a disaster! Avoid like the plague those who would entice you back into sin. And avoid those environments where the opportunities for temptations are great, where homosexuals are known to frequent. In other words...
"...put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and MAKE NO PROVISION FOR THE FLESH, to fulfill its lusts." (Ro 13:14)
Do not provide opportunities for the flesh to be tempted to give into unlawful desires!

BECOME ACTIVE IN THE LOCAL CHURCH

Those who have been converted from homosexuality especially need the encouragement of that which comes from Christian fellowship. The very purpose of our assemblies is to provide such:
"And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another..." (He 10:24-25)
Of course, it is essential that those struggling with trying to overcome homosexuality be fully accepted despite their past by their fellow Christians, or they will be terribly discouraged! It is the Lord's desire that local congregations be a haven for ALL who seek to serve the Lord and overcome sin.

BECOME ACTIVE IN A WEEKLY BIBLE STUDY

The early Christians realized the value of home Bible studies with others...
"And daily in the temple, AND IN EVERY HOUSE, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ." (Ac 5:42)
"...I kept back nothing that was helpful, but proclaimed it to you, and taught you publicly and FROM HOUSE TO HOUSE." (Ac 20:20)
The value of such special studies should be especially apparent for those Christians overcoming difficult problems (such as drugs, alcohol, homosexuality) where meeting with the church during its regular assemblies is not enough. Again, this calls for understanding and committed Christians who are willing to spend such time in study with their brethren who may be weak.

BELIEVE IN GOD FOR AN "UNLIMITED" FUTURE!

It is important to remember that with God nothing is impossible! The scriptures tell us that God is able to do things beyond what we are able to imagine:
"...who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us," (Ep 3:20)
Notice the superlatives used by Paul ("exeedingly" "abundantly" "above all"), you soon get the impression that this "power" that works in us is really beyond description! But it is available to those who commit themselves to serving the Lord!
Not only that, but we have the promise that God will never allow us to be tempted beyond what we are able to handle:
"No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it." (1Co 10:13)
With the power of God working IN us to give us strength, and the providence of God working AROUND us to keep us out of temptations beyond our ability to overcome, we can change and be all that God wants us to be! (And remember, when we do fall because we do not take advantage of God's power and providence, there is still the grace of God to provide forgiveness when we truly repent and come back to God.)

PRESENT YOUR BODY FORMALLY TO GOD

When one becomes a Christian, their body then belongs to the Lord:
"Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body."
"Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?"
"For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's."
(1Co 6:18-20)
Since we now belong to God, we should present our bodies to God as part of our reasonable service...
"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.
"And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God."
(Ro 12:1-2)
Whereas before you may have allowed your body to be used as an instrument for sin, let it be used as an instrument of righteousness in the service of God:
"Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts."
"And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteous- ness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God."
(Ro 6:12-13)
The more we think of serving God with both body and spirit, the less we will succumb to allowing either to engage in sinful activities.

FINALLY, PRAY!

Yes, pray! And "pray without ceasing" (1Th 5:17) whenever the temptation is greatest. Why pray? The author of Hebrews gives us two good reasons:
"Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need." (He 4:16)
Through prayer we can receive from God both mercy and grace to help us in time of need. Mercy for the times when we do not take advantage of the help God provides, and grace to help in those times when we DO seek to take advantage of it.
Through prayer, the Word, the help of brethren, and the Holy Spirit Himself, anyone (including the homosexual and lesbian) should be able to say with the apostle Paul:
"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."
May God give us all whatever portion of that strength we need!

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

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The Genealogies of Matthew and Luke by Dave Miller, Ph.D.



http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=13&article=932

The Genealogies of Matthew and Luke

by Dave Miller, Ph.D.

One of the charges of contradiction brought by skeptics against the Bible is the surface appearance of contradiction between Matthew’s genealogical list (1:1-17) and the one provided by Luke (3:23-38). As is always the case, the charge of contradiction is premature and reflects an immature appraisal of the extant evidence. In every case of alleged contradiction, further investigation has yielded additional evidence that exonerates the Bible and further verifies its inerrancy. The alleged discrepancies pertaining to Matthew and Luke’s genealogies were explained and answered long ago (e.g., Haley, 1977, pp. 325-326; McGarvey, 1910, pp. 344-346; McGarvey, 1974, pp. 51-55; cf. Lyons, 2003).
When one places the two genealogical lists side by side, several factors become immediately apparent that combine to dispel the appearance of conflict.
Genealogies Chart
Click for Larger Image (132 Kb)
First, Matthew reported the lineage of Christ only back to Abraham; Luke traced it all the way back to Adam. Second, Matthew used the expression “begat;” Luke used the expression “son of,” which results in his list being a complete reversal of Matthew’s. Third, the two genealogical lines parallel each other from Abraham to David. Fourth, beginning with David, Matthew traced the paternal line of descent through Solomon; Luke traced the maternal line through Solomon’s brother, Nathan.
A fifth factor that must be recognized is that the two lines (paternal and maternal) link together in the intermarriage of Shealtiel and Zerubbabel. But the linkage separates again in the two sons of Zerubbabel—Rhesa and Abiud. Sixth, the two lines come together once again for a final time in the marriage of Joseph and Mary. Joseph was the end of thepaternal line, while Mary was the last of the maternal line as the daughter of Heli.
The reason Joseph is said to be the “son” of Heli (Mary’s father) brings forth a seventh consideration: the Jewish use of “son.” Hebrews used the word in at least five distinct senses: (1) in the sense used today of a one-generation offspring; (2) in the sense of a descendant, whether a grandson or a more remote descendant many generations previous, e.g., Matthew 1:1; 21:9; 22:42 (“begat” had this same flexibility in application); (3) as a son-in-law (the Jews had no word to express this concept and so just used “son”—e.g., 1 Samuel 24:16; 26:17); (4) in accordance with the Levirate marriage law (Deuteronomy 25:5-10; cf. Matthew 22:24-26), a deceased man would have a son through a surrogate father who legally married the deceased man’s widow (e.g., Ruth 2:20; 3:9,12; 4:3-5); and (5) in the sense of a step-son who took on the legal status of his step-father—the relationship sustained by Jesus to Joseph (Matthew 13:55; Mark 6:3; Luke 3:23; 4:22; John 6:42).
Notice carefully that Joseph was a direct-line, blood descendant of David and, therefore, of David’s throne. Here is the precise purpose of Matthew’s genealogy: it demonstrated Jesus’ legal right to inherit the throne of David—a necessary prerequisite to authenticating His Messianic claim. However, an equally critical credential was His blood/physical descent from David—a point that could not be established through Joseph since “after His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 1:18, emp. added). This feature of Christ’s Messiahship was established through His mother Mary, who was also a blood descendant of David (Luke 1:30-32). Both the blood of David and the throne of David were necessary variables to qualify and authenticate Jesus as the Messiah.
Once again, the Bible’s intricate complexities shine forth to dispel the critic’s accusations, while simultaneously demonstrating its own infallible representations. The more one delves into its intricacies and plummets its intriguing depths, the more one is driven to the inescapable conclusion that the Bible is, indeed, the Book of books—the inspired Word of God.

REFERENCES

Haley, John W. (1977), Alleged Discrepancies of the Bible (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker).
Lyons, Eric (2003), The Anvil Rings (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press).
McGarvey, J.W. (1910), Biblical Criticism (Cincinnati, OH: Standard).
McGarvey, J.W. (1974 reprint), Evidences of Christianity (Nashville, TN: Gospel Advocate).

Recent Turing Award Implies Creation by Kyle Butt, M.A.


http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=12&article=3739

Recent Turing Award Implies Creation

by Kyle Butt, M.A.

The A.M. Turing Award is one of, if not the, highest awards that can be given to those in the computing field. It was named after British mathematician Alan M. Turing, and awarded to those who are believed to have made breakthrough advancements in computing technology (Robertson, 2011). The most recent recipient of the Turing award was Harvard University professor Leslie Valiant. He received the award based on his contributions to the field of “computer learning.” Jordan Robertson, APTechnology Writer, noted that Valiant’s efforts “paved the way for computers that more closely mimic how humans think” (2011). Robertson quoted ACM President Alain Chesnais as saying that Valiant’s work, “has produced modeling that offers computationally inspired answers on fundamental questions like how the brain ‘computes’” (2011).
Valiant’s work is truly amazing. He has spent 30 years of his life trying to help synthetic machinery “compute” more like the human brain. In many ways, however, the computers are still vastly inferior to the human brain. Reasoning through this situation leads to a very important conclusion. If Valiant is a brilliant computational scientist, and he has spent three decades trying to mimic the computational abilities of the brain, what does that imply about the brain? It means it was designed by an Intelligent Designer even more brilliant than Valiant. That is the only conclusion that adequately evaluates the evidence. Yet sadly, many in the scientific community will pat Valiant on the back for the efforts he has made to understand the brain’s computational abilities, while they will completely ignore the implication of design that is inherent in his work. In reality, God’s design of the human brain has paved the way for scientists like Valiant to mimic His work and build better computers.

REFERENCE

Robertson, Jordan (2011), "Turing Award Goes to ‘Machine Learning’ Expert", http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110309/ap_on_hi_te/us_tec_technology_prize/print.

Does Evolution Belong in Biomedical Curricula? by Will Brooks, Ph.D.


http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=9&article=3796

Does Evolution Belong in Biomedical Curricula?

by Will Brooks, Ph.D.

In a recent issue of The Scientist, Leonid Moroz, a professor at the University of Florida’s College of Medicine, authored an article calling for the inclusion of courses on evolutionary biology in the curricula of medical schools and biomedical Ph.D. programs. He states: “Evolutionary theory, speciation, principles of biological classification, and biodiversity must be part of the required curricula not only for biologists but for medical students as well” (Moroz, 2010, 24(11):36). Dr. Moroz contends that natural selection and other evolutionary principles are fundamental biological concepts, which must be taught in such curricula. This call for biomedical educational reform is not new. In the January 26, 2010 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a collection of articles wasImagepublished in a special supplementary edition of the journal, which conveyed the thoughts of some scientists that medical school curricula needed a course on evolutionary biology (“Evolution in Health…,” 2010, 107[suppl. 1]:1691-1807). The question of whether medical school and biomedical graduate programs should require a course on evolutionary biology is complicated to say the least.
First, evolutionary biology must, as always, be defined. Microevolution (or the small genetic changes occurring in populations that lead to differences within a species) has relevance to medicine and medical research. Consider, for example, the idea of antibiotic resistance in bacteria and viruses. Over time and under the pressures of antibiotics, many strains of bacteria and some viruses will undergo genetic changes (mutations) that allow them to become resistant to the drug(s) that would otherwise be lethal. Additionally, bacteria have the amazing ability to transfer genes between one another, thereby passing antibiotic resistances from one bacterium to another. This problem of antibiotic resistance is a significant medical concern, especially for some diseases such as tuberculosis and HIVwhere multidrug-resistant strains of the infectious agent, which are difficult to treat, are causing disease. However, macroevolution (or the idea that over long periods of time species will evolve into new and distinctive species) does not have relevance in medicine. Macroevolution is the alleged process by which many, many small genetic changes accumulate over time to transform one organism into a new and different organism. For example, macroevolution is the alleged process by which evolutionists claim that bacteria evolved into mitochondria and eventually eukaryotes, how reptiles evolved into birds, and how apes evolved into humans. Even if true (and it is not), this description of evolution has no place in medical or biomedical curricula.

APPLICATIONS FOR MEDICAL PROGRAMS

Modern medical (M.D.) programs are designed to give future physicians a foundational understanding of the biochemical and cellular basis of the human body, and then teach them about the body’s anatomy, physiology, and various disease states. The microevolutionary genetic changes that are attributed to antibiotic resistance and phenotypic variation (physical and biochemical differences between people) in the human population are currently not stressed in medical curricula. Nesse and colleagues stated: “[F]ew physicians and medical researchers have taken a course on evolutionary biology, and no medical school teaches evolutionary biology as a basic science for medicine” (2010, p. 1806). What the authors of this article fail to do is distinguish microevolution from macroevolution. It is likely that physicians could benefit from a better understanding of how small genetic changes lead to diversity in the human population and adaptations such as antibiotic resistance in pathogens. Macroevolution (also known as Darwinian evolutionary theory) is an attempt to explain the origin of life. It does not address disease states nor how we treat disease. Even if Darwinian evolutionary theory were a proven science, it would serve no purpose in the preparation of future physicians. The reality is that Darwinian evolution is simply an unproven hypothesis, which means that it certainly does not belong in medical school coursework.
Knowing that your doctor has only two years of coursework in his or her medical school program, would you want this person, who is going to be caring for the medical needs of you and your family, to spend less time learning about how the human body works, and more time learning about the monkeys from which humans supposedly originated? The idea is rather preposterous. Physicians obviously need to know everything possible about the human body and its diseases, not about how single-celled organisms allegedly evolved over millions of years into humans. The brief two years of required medical school coursework are a major hurdle in adding any form of evolutionary biology to the curricula, because if any course or set of material is added, then something else has to be removed. There is only so much time for medical educators to teach students in this two-year period. I, for one, would much rather my doctor spend time on medically relevant content than the unproven “science” of macroevolution.

APPLICATIONS FOR BIOMEDICAL PROGRAMS

In 2007, I received a Ph.D. in cell biology from a biomedical graduate program at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine. In that program I took no formal coursework in evolutionary theory or speciation, nor were such courses even an option. Instead, I took coursework in biochemistry, genetics, cell biology, virology, and the biology of disease, among others. Moroz claims that this kind of curricula is “sacrificing a deeper understanding of the fundamental laws of biology,” and students in such programs “lose some strategic advantage as well as a long-term perspective” (p. 36). I must disagree.
Modern graduate doctoral programs in the biomedical sciences are designed to train future scientists in how to conduct research that has the potential to lead to new medical discoveries, such as the origins of disease and the development of novel disease treatments and cures. This training requires a strong foundation in the scientific method and its direct application, as well as basic science coursework in human and pathogen biology. Just as was described above for physicians, an understanding of microevolutionary processes has benefit for future biomedical scientists. For example, to develop a new and improved drug to treat the HIV virus, one would need to know why current drugs are becoming less effective due to viral genetic changes. However, macroevolution does not belong in the curricula of future medical researchers for all of the same reasons that it does not belong in medical school programs: (1) Darwinian evolutionary theory is an unproven hypothesis, and (2) it has no application in medicine.

APPLICATIONS FOR BIOMEDICAL RESEARCH

In his article, quoting Theodosius Dobhansky, Moroz stated: “Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution” (p. 36). What this means is that one cannot understand life and its intricacies unless it is looked at from the perspective of evolution. “Whether we like it or not, biology simply means evolution,” Moroz went on to observe (p. 36). Once again, I must strongly disagree.
I once had a conversation with my graduate Ph.D.advisor, a pediatric oncologist and scientist, about the similarities in DNAsequence and genome structure between humans and other organisms. He, believing in Darwinian evolution, and I, believing that God created each organism separately, had very different perspectives on biology. But, he concluded that no matter which stance you take on the origin of life, evolution or creation, the way in which we conduct biomedical research is unchanged. Common ancestry due to macroevolution would be expected to lead to organism similarities, just as common design due to a Designer would also lead to similarities in organism structure and function. The point is that biology does make sense in light of creation. Statements made by individuals such as Moroz or Dobzhansky regarding the need for evolution to understand biology are nothing more than evolutionist propaganda, intending to use the letters behind one’s name to sway the population into believing that macroevolution must be fact.
Moroz did write correctly in his article that “many, if not most, breakthroughs in biology and medicine have come by studying experimental models representing the entire spectrum of the diversity of life: from bacteria to yeasts, from infusorians to algae, from hydra to squid and sea slugs” (p. 36). Obviously, scientists cannot use humans as their lab animals, so we use other organisms instead. Indeed, biomedical research relies upon model organisms such as the mouse, fly, worm, and yeast to model what is going on in humans. This modeling of physiology and disease pathology works because of the similarities all organisms share—including humans. However, what is important to note, and what Dr. Morov does not say, is that Darwinian macroevolution need not be true, let alone understood or taught to medical students, for these similarities to be utilized for biomedical research. God created humans, mice, flies, worms, and yeast with both their distinctions and similarities. This common design allows scientists to maximize on the similarities for research purposes.

CONCLUSION

While I took no formal courses in evolutionary biology during my own graduate coursework, I was exposed to some evolutionary theory embedded in courses such as biochemistry. On one particular biochemistry exam, I was posed with observations about the similarities and differences between protein amino acid sequences among various species and asked, “How do you account for these observations?” My response on the exam read: “I account for this observation by believing that God created these proteins in this manner,” followed by, “The evolutionist accounts for this observation by.…” I received 80% credit for my response, but more interestingly, the professor wrote these words below my response: “This particular belief will make it more difficult for you to function as a professional biologist.” Did this statement turn out to be true? No. I have functioned well, perhaps excellently in my professional career. I have published research in top-tier journals and won awards. I do not mention these things to boast, but rather to prove that biology does not depend on evolutionjust as medicine does not depend on evolution.
The topic of evolutionary theory in biomedical curricula is complex. The principles of microevolution would likely be beneficial for both future researchers and physicians if they can be worked into an already content-heavy curriculum. But, Darwinian evolutionary theory, biodiversity, and speciation do not belong in biomedical or medical curricula. As scientists, physicians, and medical educators make decisions regarding curriculum reform, let us hope that prudent wisdom will prevail over the biased agenda of many staunch macroevolutionists.

REFERENCES

Moroz, Leonid (2010), “The Devolution of Evolution,” The Scientist, 24(11):36.
“Evolution in Health and Medicine Special Feature” (2010), Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 107(suppl. 1):1691-1807, January 26.
Nesse, Randolph M., et al. (2010), “Making Evolutionary Biology a Basic Science for Medicine,”Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 107[suppl. 1]:1806, January 26.

Do Humans and Apes Differ Only by Degree? by Trevor Major, M.Sc., M.A.


http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=9&article=374

Do Humans and Apes Differ Only by Degree?

by Trevor Major, M.Sc., M.A.

Q.

Do animals possess the same kind of intelligence as human beings? If we say that apes have less intelligence than humans, does this make them inferior to us?

A.

Ever since Copernicus put the Sun at the center of the Solar System, scientists and other modern thinkers have diminished the role of humankind in the Universe. We have gone from being the crowning glory of God’s creation to a hairless ape stuck on a small planet circling a mediocre Sun in the distant reaches of one arm of the Milky Way Galaxy. Some of the most widely read authors in the evolutionary camp (such as Carl Sagan and Stephen Jay Gould) emphasize the lack of our uniqueness and the luck of our existence. Man occupies neither the center of the Universe nor the preeminent place in the living world; we are the product of the same natural, evolutionary processes that created the animals.
According to the most extreme version of this view, it is the utmost arrogance to identify anycharacteristic that distinguishes us from animals. Any differences we perceive are merely a matter of degree, and for all the things we do better, there are other things we do worse. The chimpanzee, in particular, is worthy of coequality because it is supposed to be our nearest living relative. Some even have gone so far as to suggest that this kinship puts a burden on us to make laws granting special rights to apes (Cavalieri and Singer, 1993; cf. Maddox, 1993).
The problem with such extreme positions is that they provide no reasonable stopping point. If we include chimps in our “community of equals,” then why not include all primates, all mammals, all animals, all living things? If the apes’ rights advocates can devise criteria that divide us and the apes from other animals, then can we not also devise criteria that divide ourselves from the apes? In other words, can we say that there are no essential differences between humans and, say, chimpanzees? Or, to put it another way, are there enough similarities to make us treat chimps on the same level, or almost on the same level, as members of our own species?
My gut reaction is to wonder why these chimps are still swinging from tree to tree, while the members of our species are able to walk on the Moon—and upright at that! To think like this makes me guilty of “speciesism,” the apes’ rights advocates would say. Apply the same reasoning to other humans, they charge, and it would put me in the position of saying that white European males are superior because Africans or Asians never have walked on the Moon. I would counter that regardless of sex or skin color, such a feat was something that members of our species were able to do, and something that chimps never could think of doing.
Does this make the chimps inferior? This word “inferior” means lower than, or below, another thing, but labeling something as inferior usually requires a judgment call. For example, inspectors at a factory may judge the work of one individual as inferior to the work of another. If this is the way the word is being used, then I cannot say that apes are an inferior product; they were created with the same physical perfection as humans. Further, God’s stewardship grant compels us to show respect for all creatures that have been entrusted to our care. That there is a special relationship between God and man neither renders the ape inferior nor opens the floodgates to animal cruelty.
If apes are not inferior to humans, is it true that they are as intelligent as humans? One of the big success stories in looking at the human-like qualities of apes is a chimp (specifically, a bonobo) known as Kanzi (see Savage-Rumbaugh and Lewin, 1994). Through many years of intense training and close social contact with humans, this remarkable animal has attained the language abilities of an average two-year-old human. Kanzi goes beyond the mere parroting or “aping” of humans: he really can communicate his wants and needs, express feelings, and use tools. Inasmuch as Kanzi can accomplish these things, does this prove that chimps are merely hairy, child-like versions of humans?
Without detracting anything from Kanzi, fundamental differences remain. Unlike human children, chimpanzees do not naturally pick up language from trained apes. Such abilities have been drilled into Kanzi, and each new trainee must be taught by humans. Also, chimps: (a) do not have a special region in the brain devoted to language; (b) have a much smaller brain overall; and (c) lack the anatomy to speak the words they may think. In summary, humans have an innate, built-in, hard-wired ability to acquire and communicate complex language from the moment of their birth; chimps do not.
Sheba, another remarkable chimp, has demonstrated the ability to count and think abstractly. She was taught that whenever presented with a choice between two quantities of an object, she would receive a reward if she gave the greatest quantity to another chimp. However, when the objects were changed to food items (gumdrops), she never would hand over the dish with the greatest quantity. Each time she chose the plate with the most gumdrops, the researchers would take it away quickly before she had a chance to eat (Fischman, 1993; Gonick, 1994). She could not learn that keeping the greater share gained her nothing—no gumdrops and no reward. In other words, her food instinct got in the way of her numerical ability. Although you and I may prefer to get the biggest piece of pizza, we may suppress that desire for the sake of politeness or because someone needs it more than we do. Apes, apparently, have no override button when it comes to food.
Perhaps part of the reason for Sheba’s apparent selfishness is that she lacks empathy or “transcendental perspective.” This is a uniquely human ability that allows us to project the effect that our actions might have on someone else’s thinking or feelings sometime in the future. For example, I am able to wash the dishes in the hopes that my doing this will please my wife who is due home in a couple of hours. Anthropologists have found that animals do not act in this way, even if the lines of communication are open through simple language skills, as in the case of Kanzi. So, although chimps may learn to think abstractly, they lack the ability to form complex social relationships based on the communication of such ideas (Gibbons, 1993). Empathy also is the reason animals live outside the moral sphere. Sheba cannot be accused of selfishness for not handing over the plate with the most gumdrops because she is incapable of knowing that this is something she ought to do.
Some researchers speculate that the sort of foresight inherent in empathy and other human endeavors, such as sophisticated tool making and long-term planning, may be related to the fourfold difference in size between the cerebral cortex of chimps and humans (Calvin, 1994). Again, this is not merely a matter of degree: the chimp brain is not a one-fourth scale model of a human brain; rather, there is a fundamental difference in the way the two brains work.
Are chimps intelligent? The answer is yes. Do chimps possess the same kind of intelligence as humans? The answer would have to be “no.” Humans are more intelligent, and they possess additional forms of intelligence. What we must remember, also, is that the greatest capabilities of the apes belong to a handful of superstars like Kanzi and Sheba. Even these animals lack the empathy, foresight, and language capabilities of all but the youngest or most intellectually challenged of our own species.
Chimps and other apes may be worthy of respect (or eve natural sympathy as McShea [1994] suggests), but they cannot share our experiences, understand our stories, or be accountable to our rules of living. They are not inferior, but neither do they differ from merely by degree.

REFERENCES

Calvin, William H. (1994), “The Emergence of Intelligence,” Scientific American, 271[4]:100-107, October.
Cavalieri, Paola and Peter Singer (1993), The Great Ape Project (London: Fourth Estate).
Fischman, Joshua (1993), “New Clues Surface About the Making of the Mind,” Science, 262:1517, December 3.
Gibbons, Ann (1993), “Empathy and Brain Evolution,” Science, 259:1250-1251, February 26.
Gonick, Larry (1994), “Sheba’s Last Theorem,” Discover, 15[6]:114-115, June.
Maddox, John (1993), “The Kinship of Apes and People,” Nature, 364:185, July 15.
McShea, Daniel W. (1994), “On the Rights of an Ape,” Discover, 15[2]:34, February.
Savage-Rumbaugh, Sue and Roger Lewin (1994), “Ape at the Brink,” Discover, 15[9]:90-96,98, September.

Marriage Is Losing Its Honor In the Eyes of Many Americans by Kyle Butt, M.A.


http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=7&article=3741

Marriage Is Losing Its Honor In the Eyes of Many Americans

by Kyle Butt, M.A.

Almost 2,000 years ago, the divinely inspired Hebrews writer boldly stated: “Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge” (Hebrews 13:4). For millennia, the family unit consisting of one man and one woman who give birth to their own biological children (or adopt needy children into their homes) has been the cornerstone of stable societies. This institution was established and sanctioned by God at the beginning of time (Genesis 2:21-25) and has been the hallmark of productive societies ever since. Those societies that have attempted to tamper with this foundational unit, allowing polygamous marriages, homosexual relationships, and other forms of sexual unions not in accord with the biblical plan, have suffered the shame and debilitation that inheres in disobeying God’s pattern.

Sadly, many in the United States are falling prey to the idea that marriage is no longer important to promote human well-being in society. Associated Press writer Hope Yen recently penned an article titled, “Four in 10 Say Marriage is Becoming Obsolete.” She reported on a Pew Research Center survey that indicated that 39% of those polled say that marriage is becoming obsolete, or unnecessary. Yen stated: “More people are accepting the view that wedding bells aren’t needed to have a family” (2010). She further “reported that the opposite-sex unmarried couples living together jumped 13 percent this year to 7.5 million.” In addition, about 44 percent of those who responded said they have lived with a partner without being married.

Such troubling statistics show that many Americans no longer value God’s instructions for human sexuality and family structure. The problem with this situation is two-fold. Not only will those who disobey God’s laws for marriage and sexuality be lost eternally (1 Corinthians 6:9-10), but since God knows exactly how humans should behave in order to be happy (Proverbs 29:18), those who refuse to do His will are condemning themselves to lives of heartbreak and sadness. Over 3,000 years ago, Moses told the Israelites that God’s rules were designed for the welfare and benefit of the Israelites. He said that God’s instructions were instituted for “our good always” (Deuteronomy 6:24). That has not changed. God’s directives, rules, and laws are still designed to bring about the greatest possible human happiness. That is why Jesus said that He came so that all who obey Him might have “life more abundantly” (John 10:10). The farther Americans get from God’s design for the home (Hebrews 13:4), the farther they will be from happiness, prosperity, and the abundant life. God help us all to teach His truth concerning marriage to as many as possible in the hopes that they will want to obey Him and enjoy the abundant life He gives through Jesus Christ.

REFERENCE

Yen, Hope (2010), “Four in 10 Say Marriage is Becoming Obsolete,” http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/us_declining_marriage.

Too Much Activity on Day Six? by Eric Lyons, M.Min.



http://apologeticspress.org/AllegedDiscrepancies.aspx?article=761&b=Genesis

Too Much Activity on Day Six?

by Eric Lyons, M.Min.

One of the reasons skeptics reject the validity of the biblical account of creation is because they find it impossible to believe that one man could name every single species of animal on the Earth in a single day. Considering there are only 86,400 seconds in a 24-hour period, we are told it is ridiculous to believe that an individual (who had never seen animals before the day he named them) could name several million species of animals in one day. Perhaps over a period of a few weeks he could accomplish such a task, but certainly not in a single day—right?
The problem with such objections to Genesis 2:18-20 is that they are based on assumptions. The question that skeptics often ask, “Could Adam have gathered and named all of the animals on the Earth in one day?,” is misleading because the Bible places certain restrictions on the animals Adam named. Consider the following.
  • Adam’s task did not include searching for and gathering all of God’s creatures. Rather, God “brought them” to him (Genesis 2:19). Likely this was in some sort of orderly fashion in order to reduce the amount of time and human energy necessary to complete the process.
  • Genesis 2:20 does not say that Adam named “all” of the animals on the Earth. The text actually says, “Adam gave names to all cattle, to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field.” Excluded from this naming process were sea creatures and creeping things mentioned earlier in the creation narrative (cf. Genesis 1:21,25).
  • The beasts God brought to Adam are qualified by the descriptive phrase “of the field” (hassadeh). Although the precise limits of the term “field” are difficult to determine, it is possible that it refers only to those beasts living in Eden.
  • If the beasts of the field were limited to those animals within the boundaries of Eden, then livestock and birds could have been similarly limited. This would greatly reduce the number of animals involved in the naming process, since it is very unlikely that all created animals lived in Eden. [If so, Eden would have been quickly overrun and destroyed.]
  • Contrary to popular belief, Adam did not name millions of species of animals on day six (cf. Wells, 2001; McKinsey, 2000, p. 84). Genesis 1 states that the animals were created “ according to their kind(s)” (vs. 21), not species. The Bible was written long before man invented the modern Linnaean classification system. The “kinds” (Hebrew min) of animals Adam named on the sixth day of Creation were probably very broad—more like groups of birds and land animals rather than specific genera and species. Adam would have given animals general names like “turtle,” “dog,” or “elephant,” not special names like “pig-nosed soft-shell turtle” or “Alaskan Husky.” As Henry Morris has pointed out,
...the created kinds undoubtedly represented broader categories than our modern species or genera, quite possibly approximating in most cases the taxonomic family. Just how many kinds were actually there to be named is unknown, of course, but it could hardly have been as many as a thousand (1984, p. 129).
All of these textual considerations suggest that the events of day six could have been accomplished easily within a 24-hour period. Adam did not have to spend a great deal of time pondering what he would call each animal; he was created with the ability to speak and reason. If my two-year-old son can look at a book and call the names of 60 different kinds of animals in 60 seconds, I have no problem believing that Adam, having been created directly by the hand of God and made in His image (see Lyons and Thompson, 2002), had the ability to name hundreds (if not thousands) of birds and land animals in 3,600 seconds (just one hour!).

REFERENCES

Lyons, Eric and Bert Thompson (2002), “In the ‘Image and Likeness of God,’ ” Reason & Revelation, 22:17-32, March & April.
McKinsey, Dennis (2000), Biblical Errancy (Amherst, NY: Prometheus).
Morris, Henry (1984), The Biblical Basis for Modern Science (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker).
Wells, Steve (2001), Skeptic’s Annotated Bible [On-line], URL: http://www.skepticsannotatedbible.com/1cor/index.html

From Jim McGuiggan... INDWELLING, WITH OR IN?

INDWELLING, WITH OR IN?

Not recently I heard a preacher say explicitly from the pulpit that when one becomes a Christian the Holy Spirit moves inside the Christian’s physical body and takes spatial residence there. That is, the HS is actually spatially located inside the Christian’s body. I don’t happen to believe that and I wrote him saying so and offering some reasons. His response, boiled down, was that there are texts that say the HS indwells believers and one that says He dwells in their bodies [1 Corinthians 6:19—I won’t comment here on that section that is filled with difficult phrases].
My questions, of course, did not deny what the texts say—they were about how we should understand them—as a literal spatial residence or as relational metaphor that would speak of identification, temple metaphor, assurance of source of power and intimacy with God, and so forth. He insisted on the words of the text and said it was above his pay grade to explain such things. [Reminds me of the story of Luther’s pounding the table in his discussion with Zwingli and writing on it, “this IS my body”. It’s of no avail to pound and say, “I AM the door”. One doesn’t have to follow Zwingli to dispute Luther’s kind of proof.]
In any case, I let the matter drop. But then recently I heard the same preacher list his view of indwelling as the way we acknowledge the HS's presence in our lives. It's where he had it listed that seriously got my attention. It was the first on a list of how we can sin against the HS. [For example, we were told that we grieve, quench, resist the HS and when we won’t acknowledge His presence and then he briefly argued the "He's inside your physical body" notion.] That raises the stakes so I’m returning to the matter here. I am one of millions who firmly believe what the biblical witness says—the HS “indwells” Christians. That’s never the question—the NT says it’s so!
After a tendentious preamble about people he knew when he was young who just about believed the Bible is the HS we got about 5 minutes of his making his case. His making his case was 1 Corinthians 6:19 quoted [after a few sentences about an idolatrous setting, which was promptly forgotten] and the difference between “with” and “in” in John 14:17.
Just so I make myself clear. The HS is a “person”—he speaks of himself like that in Acts 13:2. He is what we for convenience sake sometimes call “the third Person in the Godhead”. Anyone who thinks the HS is the Bible is barely worth talking with. The HS does many things [comforts, encourages, enlightens, strengthens, guides, reveals, intercedes and on and on] but the HS is not the things He does—He is the one who does these things! Beethoven is not the music he wrote, Shakespeare is not the plays he wrote and the HS is not the wondrous things He brings to pass. He is God, for pity’s sake!
So what was the preamble about? We often do what the swindler Professor Harold Hill did in ­The Music Man. Link the trouble in River City with the pool hall and when you get people alarmed announce the cure: the people should have a school band. Professor Hill was only following a long line of speech experts—that’s the way to get people to lean your way.
In the case I'm addressing: we’ve heard this from a long line of speakers: “The trouble in the Church is that we have forgot the HS and that’s why we’re apathetic, powerless and in every other way casual and unsuccessful and it's why we don’t evangelize.” That’s part of why you have a tide of popular books called things like, The Forgotten God [meaning the HS]. In this kind of a setting we don’t have titles like The Forgotten Jesus or The Forgotten Father. We talk plenty about the Father & Son so we can’t complain about that. [Though I think there’s a case to be made for saying too little about God as distinct from (not as opposed to) the man Jesus.]
So, here’s the story “We’re feeble and struggling because we don’t talk or think enough about the HS. 

      The cure is to think and talk more about the HS. We need to know the HS indwells us!”

   
    I confess to you I know a LOT of Christians and among those I don’t know a single one who DOESN'T believe that the HS indwells them.
I do remember sitting in a class listening to one hard case [a preacher, wouldn’t you know] who believed the HS didn’t influence Christians in any other way but through the biblical witness.  He was wrong—I thought that then and think it now but even he didn’t believe the HS was the Bible.
But none of that has anything to do with the HS moving from outside the Christian’s physical body to inside the Christian’s physical body! That entire issue is bogus.
Even if it is true that we’re not thinking enough or not talking enough about the HS, that has nothing to do with the Spirit actually and literally and spatially dwelling inside the believer’s body. That notion is irrelevant and injurious. The claim is being made that we’re powerless and under-achievers if we don’t believe the HS is actually inside our physical bodies. That is refusing to acknowledge the Spirit’s presence in our lives.
I’m one of millions who every day either literally on our knees or with our hearts on their knees ask God [that’s Father, Son & Holy Spirit as the one true] for forgiveness and empowerment and transformation into the likeness of God who has come to us in and as Jesus Christ.
It would be a form of sin if we were to deny the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives but it is no crime against Father, Son or Holy Spirit to deny some interpretation of His presence because under religious pressure we want to preach a mystical spatial indwelling of the Spirit.
I don’t say it is wrong to pray to the Holy Spirit! Once more, I don’t say it is wrong to pray to the Holy Spirit. The Bible is saturated with speech about the Spirit of God and the wonders He performs but nowhere in the entire Bible does anyone ever pray to the Holy Spirit as distinctively the Holy Spirit.
Is that significant? In what way?
In the NT Paul [Jesus also] asks “the Father” to send or give or strengthen by or in the HS. The Spirit is always presented as the one who does the bidding of the Father and Jesus even as Jesus is.
“But when he the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth for he will not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear that shall he speak; and he will show you things to come. He shall glorify me; for he shall receive of mine and show it unto you.” [The word gar (for) is in the text.]
Is that text significant? How is the Spirit in this His post-Pentecostal work characterized in this text? 
This isn’t the place for a discussion of Christology or Pneumatology or the “economic” Trinity but that doesn’t mean we aren’t to recognize how the Holy Scriptures speak about how the persons of the Trinity function in the unfolding of the creation/redemption work of God.
It wasn’t the Father who became incarnate. It wasn’t the Holy Spirit that became incarnate. The “Word” didn’t send the Father nor did the Holy Spirit send the Father. Neither the Father nor the Spirit died on the cross. We honor the Holy Spirit by honoring what He reveals about Himself in the biblical witness. Jesus we know, Paul we know but who are these who hand down their interpretations and say we sin if we don’t believe them? An aspect of the beauty & glory of the HS is that He chooses to take "the back seat" and take Jesus and his things and make him and them His message.
With some it isn’t enough that we all fervently believe that the Spirit of God is the Spirit of creation, revelation and Christ-honoring blessing we must believe that He is physically/spatially inside our bodies or we’re refusing to acknowledge His presence in our lives?
1 Peter 1:11 says the Holy Spirit [the Spirit of Christ] was IN the prophets and enabled them to preach the gospel ahead of time! The speaker I’m having this lover's quarrel with insisted that the word “in” is confined to something that happened after Pentecost. [See below on John 14.17.] 
We were told that the Spirit was “with” the apostles and their preaching colleagues when they went out to preach [Matthew 10 illustrates]. Nothing was said about the function of the word “with” in such a setting. The speaker seemed to think that he and everyone else knew how it functioned so it’s just passed by.
In John 14:17 Jesus said the HS “lives with you” [NIV]. The speaker gave no thought to the word “with” [par] here other than to say it was different than the word “in” which of course he took to mean “inside your body”.
The argument offered was this. The word “with” means “not inside” and the word “in” means “inside”. That is, when the HS was “with” them he was spatially “outside” their bodies but when Pentecost came the HS moved spatially “inside” them.
You have to remember that the man was offering us talk about a spatial location or you won’t get the argument. Before Pentecost the Spirit was spatially outside their bodies but at Pentecost the Spirit spatially moved inside their bodies. We were assured that if we didn’t believe that that we are not recognizing the Spirit’s presence in our lives and this was one of the points he listed as ways in which we sin against the Spirit.
But the treatment of the texts used is careless even if we read it as he reads it [and he told us to pay special attention to the words “with” and “in”]. Because he already had his mind made up he reads the text like this: “he lives WITH you but he will be IN you.”
Ignoring for the moment his claim about how the words themselves function, must we read it his way? Why must we read it as stressing the two words in question? Why can’t we read it as an assurance that the future will not be different than the present? Why can’t we read it this way? “He lives with you and shall be in you in the future.” They are worried about Jesus absenting himself and he is assuring them that they need not worry—what’s ahead isn’t something they need to worry about! I think that is what he is saying.
But look. In 14:16 Jesus speaks about the future [when he personally is absent] and assures them that he will ask the Father and he will send the HS to be “with” you forever. This was to be the Pentecost onward experience, an experience the apostolic group and the entire Church of our Lord was to experience until the Story climaxes. Jesus uses “with” [meth] to speak of the age-long indwelling of the Spirit as his [Jesus’ representative] in them.
He doesn’t seem to know what our speaker knows that “with” means “outside”—Jesus should have used “in”. Let me make this clearer.
Jesus uses “with” to include “indwelling”! And our speaker says “with” doesn’t include indwelling; in fact, "with" means non-indwelling. I prefer Jesus’ view.
Then in 14:23 Jesus [again with Pentecost in view] speaks of himself and the Father coming to “make our home with the believer.”
Our speaker [telling us to note carefully the words “with” and “in”] says “with” means spatially outside and “in” means spatially inside.
But you must note what is being said underneath all these words in the context of the speaker’s message. To accept the truth of God and get the power of the HS you must believe the HS is spatially inside your body. It’s from in there that he does his work and empowers us. It isn’t enough to say He is “with” us—we must believe He spatially resides “inside” us. The speaker knows that something new happened at Pentecost but he doesn’t know what it is that is new; he only thing he knows is that before Christ the HS was “with” people but now he is “in” people.
Back to the word “with”. When our speaker insisted that prior to Pentecost the HS was “with” he doesn’t attempt to say what “with” means—he’s only sure that it means “not inside”. Yes, but what does it mean that the HS was “with” them and not inside them] when they went out on a preaching mission [say, Matthew 10]. That the HS was walking along beside them?  How does the word “with” function in such a statement. Even if we were to say “alongside” the question would remain—what does that mean? The truth is it has nothing to do with spatial position or anything like it.
When Jesus said [at Pentecost] the HS will be with the Church he wasn’t talking about some mystical “outside of them” experience. When he said [of prior Pentecost experience—John 14:17] that the HS lived with them he wasn’t talking about some spatial positioning of the Spirit “outside” their fleshly bodies. He tells them that, even as he says the Spirit “lives with” them [the present indicative here of menei would speak of the continuing nature of the experience]. The HS lives “with” them has absolutely nothing to do about his spatial position outside of their bodies.

Jesus prior to the ascension says, “Look, I will be with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:20.
Is that significant? In what way?
Even accepting that a change will occur at Pentecost [that is clearly the truth] it has nothing to with a change of spatial location. The speaker has no awareness that there could be any other sense in Jesus’ words than the one he puts in them. He has Jesus saying, “The Spirit continues to live with you, outside you of course, but come Pentecost he will shift spatial position and move inside your bodies.” This, this is what Jesus was saying? Bless me.
Words like these—a host of such words—have nothing to do with spatial or physical realities. Daily life and the biblical witness is saturated with speech that is not to be construed carelessly and in empirical terms—they are not spatial realities; they have to do with intimacy, relations, function and so much more.
Paul says the Thessalonians were in his heart! He told the Corinthians that they were in Titus’ heart. Christians are said to be in the Spirit. Christ is said to abide in us and we are said to abide in him. We are said to be baptized into Christ and into his death and we’re said to dwell in God. The Spirit is said to dwell in Christians and Christians are said to live in the Spirit. We’re told that Jesus dwells in our hearts and Jesus said he will be with us.
Depending on context these prepositions speak of beautiful and rich and varied and actual experiences that include function, intimacy and so much more. People lift us up or get us down or carry us through or in life they walk beside us; they let us in and find their way into our hearts or emotionally they turn away from us or turn toward us or we are always in their hearts and they often weep over the loss of loved ones.
Sometimes we talk nonsense; I’ve done plenty of that myself over the years. [That’s true and not just a generalized confession so I can go on and make a point! I now look back on some things I've said and wonder how I could ever have thought them to be true; and I suppose I’ll continue to do that.]  I hate it but there it is.
Sometimes it’s due to laziness, sometimes due to simple ignorance, sometimes it’s due to thinking we’ve arrived and while we know we’re not infallible we aren’t aware of just how ignorant and fallible we are. We’re not just wanna-be scholars we perceive ourselves to be scholars. We invite nobody who might be our equal to test our views so we always come out on top and then we come to believe we are skilled debaters or sages and pride takes hold. The very proud are unteachable—they make generalized confessions of their limits but they don’t take correction well, don’t even take it well when they are disagreed with. Their personhood gets all tangled up with what they know or think they know. They never comes and ask, “Help me understand this.” They dabble with other people’s writing, pick up some new insights and some phrases and repeat them without having digested them. The inexperienced don’t notice and so they rarely answer back but if they were to, we the proud dabblers can always out-talk them.
Sigh.
I think this specific issue is hardly worth talking about and I think I wouldn’t have bothered with it again but then I heard the stakes were raised.
It’s so dangerous to add one more sin to the already long lists of sins of which people can be guilty. Too, it’s dangerous to make one specific form of sin to be peculiar, the “king of sins,” so to speak. It’s tragic because it makes those who struggle with that specific form of sin into….lepers, so to speak. It’s especially tragic if we do that based on a single text in the entire Bible. No wonder James says the tongue can set an entire world on fire. Where does it end, eh?
In the meantime be sure you remember this: It isn't the "indwelling" that empowers us. That's the figure of speech. The empowering one is the Holy Spirit Himself!
might, God allowing, take this up again at some point.

Spending Time with Jim McGuiggan