11/24/15

From Mark Copeland... "ISSUES OF DISTINCTION" The Identity Of God



                        "ISSUES OF DISTINCTION"

                          The Identity Of God

INTRODUCTION

1. Our previous study briefly surveyed some of the arguments for the 
   EXISTENCE of God:
   a. The ontological argument (if man can conceive of a perfect God,
      one must exist)
   b. The general argument (the universal belief in God and man's 
      religious instinct)
   c. The cosmological argument (every effect must have a cause; the 
      cosmos is an effect, and its adequate cause is God)
   d. The teleological argument (evidence of design necessitates a 
      Designer)
   e. The moral argument (moral nature in man and sense of "ought" 
      demands a Moral Person in back of all things)
   f. The esthetical argument (beauty in the universe and man's 
      response to it suggests a Supreme Being with an eye for beauty)
   -- These philosophical arguments are based upon what is seen in 
      CREATION, which reveals something of the Creator - cf. Ro 1:20

2. But these arguments do not, nor does creation, IDENTIFY who this 
   Supreme Being is...
   a. Is He the God revealed in the Bible?
   b. Is He the God or Gods believed in by Hindus, Buddhists, etc.?
   c. Or is He some Being yet to be discovered by mankind?

[In this study, we shall take a closer look at the second "issue of 
distinction":  The Identity of God...]

I. THE IMPORTANCE OF THIS ISSUE

   A. IF GOD IS NOT THE ONE REVEALED IN THE BIBLE...
      1. Then the Jew, the Muslim, and the Christian are in error
         a. For they are united in their belief that He is the God of 
            Abraham
         b. And that He has revealed Himself through prophets
      2. Then we should be looking elsewhere to learn who God is
         a. Either to the eastern religions, such as Hinduism or 
            Buddhism
         b. Or perhaps some other religion among the many in the world

   B. IF GOD IS THE ONE REVEALED IN THE BIBLE...
      1. Then we owe it to ourselves to carefully read the Bible
         a. To learn what God has revealed about Himself
         b. To learn what God expects of mankind
      2. Then we have narrowed down the choices as to what is the true
         religion in the world:  Judaism, Christianity, or Islam

[As we proceed to consider arguments for believing that the God of the
Bible is the One True God, a certain line of reasoning will be 
followed:

   The Bible claims to be the Word of the One True God; if this is
   true, we should find evidence of INSPIRATION.

What, then, are evidences that the Bible is really INSPIRED of God?]

II. EVIDENCES FOR THE IDENTITY OF GOD

   A. THE UNIFORMITY OF THE SCRIPTURES...
      1. The Bible is a collection of 66 books, written:
         a. Over a 1600 year span
         b. Over a period of 40 generations
         c. By approx. 40 authors from every walk of life; e.g.:
            1) MOSES, a political leader trained in the universities of
               Egypt
            2) PETER, a fisherman
            3) AMOS, a herdsman
            4) JOSHUA, a military general
            5) NEHEMIAH, a cup bearer to a king
            6) DANIEL, a prime minister
            7) LUKE, a physician
            8) SOLOMON, a king
            9) MATTHEW, a tax collector
           10) PAUL, a tentmaker and rabbi
         d. In different places
            1) Moses in the wilderness
            2) Jeremiah in a dungeon
            3) Daniel on a hillside and in a palace
            4) Paul inside prison walls
            5) Luke while traveling
            6) John in exile an the isle of Patmos
            7) Others in the rigors of military campaign
         e. At different times
            1) David in times of war
            2) Solomon in times of peace
         f. During different moods
            1) Some writing from the heights of joy
            2) Others from the depths of sorrow and despair
         g. On three continents
            1) Asia
            2) Africa
            3) Europe
         h. In three languages
            1) Hebrew
            2) Aramaic
            3) Greek
         i. Which subject matter includes hundreds of controversial
            topics
            1) The origin of man & the universe
            2) The nature of God
            3) The nature of sin & man's redemption
      2. Despite all this, there is harmony and continuity!
         a. For example:
            1) "The Paradise Lost of the book of Genesis becomes the
               Paradise Regained of Revelation"
            2) "Whereas the gate to the tree of life is closed in 
               Genesis, it is opened forevermore in Revelation."
               - GEISLER and NIX
         b. Compare the continuity of the Bible with any other such 
            writings of man
            1) Imagine what you would have if you just took ten 
               authors...
               a) From one walk of life, one generation, one place, one
                  time, one mood one continent, one language
               b) Speaking on one controversial subject
            2) You would have a conglomeration of ideas, not harmony!
      3. The reason for the UNITY of the Bible?
         a. The writers were all inspired by the same God 
             - cf. 2Pe 1:20-21
         b. Providing evidence that the God of the Bible is the One 
            True God!

   B. THE SCIENTIFIC FOREKNOWLEDGE OF THE BIBLE...
      1. The nature of this argument:
         a. In the Bible there are scientific truths...
            1) That were unknown by man with all his wisdom and 
               resources
            2) That are stated as facts hundreds of years in advance of
               the discovery of these truths by men
         b. That the writers of the Bible could have known these facts
            only through inspiration
         c. That such evidence of inspiration confirms they were 
            writing or speaking for the One True God!
      2. Just a few examples of facts written about in the Bible, but
         confirmed only recently with the aid of modern science...
         a. The roundness of the earth - Isa 40:22
         b. The suspension of the earth in space - Job 26:7
         c. The currents in the seas - Ps 8:8
         d. The springs in the seas - Job 38:16
         e. All nations of one blood - Ac 17:26

   C. FULFILLED PROPHECIES FOUND IN THE BIBLE...
      1. The nature of this argument:
         a. The prophecies of the Old Testament foretold events in 
            detail that were beyond the scope of human speculation
         b. How did the writers do it?
            1) They attributed it to God!
            2) And God declared that such evidence was a proof of His
               existence and superiority over men and all heathen gods
               - Isa 41:21-24; 42:8-9; 46:8-11
      2. A few examples (Messianic prophecies will be considered in the
         next study):
         a. The fall of Babylon, written two hundred years before it
            occurred - Isa 13:17-22
         b. The fall of Egypt, that it would be destroyed more by civil
            war than by outside forces - Isa 19:1-4
         c. The fall of Nineveh, with its utter desolation - Zeph 2:
            13-15
         d. The fall of Tyre, with its becoming a place for the 
            spreading of nests - Ezek 26:1-5
         -- Cf. Introduction To Christian Evidences, Ferrell Jenkins, 
            pp. 87-107

CONCLUSION

1. We have briefly surveyed evidence suggesting the Bible to be 
   inspired by a Supreme Being...
   a. The uniformity of the Scriptures
   b. The scientific foreknowledge of the Bible
   c. Fulfillment of prophecies found in the Bible
   -- Our examples have been few, and simply illustrative; indeed, 
      entire volumes have been written on this subject

2. The Bible is either the work of men or of God; if it is from God...
   a. Then it is easy to understand how these men could write as 
      they did
   b. Then the IDENTITY of the One True God is known:
      1) He is the God of the Bible!
      2) And that Book is His Word to us!

3. But among those who believe in the God of the Bible, there 
   are differences...
   a. Most Jews accept only the Old Testament portion as Scripture
   b. Christians accept both the Old and New Testaments
   c. Muslims believe that both the Old and New Testaments have been
      corrupted, so as to present an improper picture of Moses and 
      Jesus

4. The core of these differences revolve around another "issue of 
   distinction":  The Identity Of Jesus of Nazareth

That is the "issue" we shall examine in our next study...


Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2015

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The Holy Scriptures--Verbally Inspired by Wayne Jackson, M.A.



http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=13&article=5174

The Holy Scriptures--Verbally Inspired

by Wayne Jackson, M.A.

In logic, there is a principle called the Law of the Excluded Middle. Simply stated, it is this: a thing must either be, or not be, the case. A line is either straight, or it is not. There is no middle position. Applied to the Bible, one therefore might declare: The Scriptures are either inspired of God, or they are not inspired of God. If the writings of the Bible are not inspired of God, then they are the mere productions of men, and as such would merit no religious respect; in fact, in view of their exalted claims, they would merit only contempt.
Paul, an apostle of Christ, wrote: “Every scripture is inspired of God, and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be complete, furnished completely unto every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). The Bible asserts its own inspiration—of this there is no doubt. But to what extent does the sacred volume claim inspiration? This is a question that has perplexed many.

SOME POPULAR, BUT FALSE THEORIES

Some have suggested that the Bible is “inspired” only in the sense that other great literary productions are inspired. That is, they all are simply the results of natural genius, characteristic of men of unusual ability. Such a notion must be rejected immediately since: (a) it makes liars of the biblical writers who claimed the Holy Spirit as the ultimate source of their documents (2 Samuel 23:2; Acts 1:16); and (b) it leaves unexplained the mystery of why modern man, with his accumulated learning, has not been able to produce a comparable volume that has the capacity to make the Bible obsolete.
Others have claimed that only certain portions of the Scriptures are inspired of God. We often hear it said, for example, that those sections of the Bible that deal with faith and morals are inspired, but that other areas, particularly those accounts which contain certain miraculous elements, are merely the productions of good—but superstitious and fallible—men. Again, though, such a concept is not consistent with the declarations of the divine writers. They extended inspiration to every area of the Scriptures, even emphasizing, in many instances, those very sections that modernists dub as non-historical, mythical, etc. See, for example: Matthew 12:39-40; 19:4ff.; Luke 4:27; John 3:14-15.
Too, the allegation has been made that the Bible is inspired in “sense,” but not in “sentence.” By that, it is meant that in some sense the Scriptures are of divine origin, but that the very words of the Holy Book are not to be construed as inspired. Such a view is nonsensical. If the words of the sacred narrative are not inspired, pray tell what is inspired? Is the binding? The paper? The ink? The truth is, if the words of the Bible are not inspired of God, then the Bible contains no inspiration at all!

VERBAL INSPIRATION

What do we mean when we speak of the “verbal inspiration” of the Holy Scriptures? Frank E. Gaebelein has suggested that a sound view of inspiration holds that “the original documents of the Bible were written by men, who, though permitted the exercise of their own personalities and literary talents, yet wrote under the control and guidance of the Spirit of God, the result being in every word of the original documents a perfect and errorless recording of the exact message which God desired to give to man” (1950, p. 9). In his classic work, Theopneustia—The Plenary Inspiration of the Holy Scriptures, L. Glaussen, professor of systematic theology, Oratoire, Geneva, defined inspiration as “that inexplicable power which the Divine Spirit put forth of old on the authors of holy Scripture, in order to their guidance even in the employment of the words they used, and to preserve them alike from all error and from all omission” (n.d., p. 34).
Let us take a closer look at 2 Timothy 3:16. The Greek text says: pasa graphe theopneustos—“all scripture [is] God-breathed.” Something within this context is said to be “God-breathed.” What is it? All Scripture. The term “scripture” [graphe] denotes that which is written. But it is the words of the biblical text that are written; hence, the very words of the Bible are God-breathed! No one can appeal to 2 Timothy 3:16 as an evidence of Bible inspiration without, at the same time, introducing the concept of verbal inspiration. The truth is, the doctrine of the verbal inspiration of the Scriptures is abundantly claimed throughout the sacred canon. Consider the following examples.
  1. More than 3,800 times in the Old Testament, the claim is made that the Scriptures are the word[or words] of God. For instance, “And Jehovah said unto Moses, Write this for a memorial in a book...” (Exodus 17:14). David declared: “The Spirit of Jehovah spake by me, and his word was upon my tongue” (2 Samuel 23:2). God instructed the prophet Jeremiah, “Behold, I have put my words in your mouth” (Jeremiah 1:9). The Scriptures are exalted as the Word of God some 175 times in Psalm 119 alone!
     
  2. Jesus Christ certainly endorsed the concept of verbal inspiration. He affirmed that neither “one jot nor one tittle” would pass away from the law “until all things be accomplished” (Matthew 5:17-18). The jot was the smallest Hebrew letter, and the tittle was a tiny projection on certain Hebrew characters. Professor A.B. Bruce has noted: “Jesus expresses here in the strongest manner His conviction that the whole Old Testament is a Divine revelation, and that therefore every minute precept has religious significance...” (1956, 1:104). The Lord frequently made arguments based upon the text of the Old Testament, wherein He stressed very precise grammatical points. His argument for the resurrection from the dead in Matthew 22:32 depends upon the present tense form of a verb—“I am [not “was”] the God of Abraham....”

    Within the same context, Christ quoted Psalm 110:1, showing that David, speaking in the Spirit, said, “The Lord said unto my Lord...” (Matthew 22:41ff.). Again, the emphasis is on a single word. Jesus (affirming His own deity) asked the Pharisees why David referred to his own descendant, the promised Messiah, as Lord. Not recognizing the dual nature of the Messiah (i.e., as man, He was David’s seed; as deity, He was David’s Lord), they were unable to answer. But had Christ not believed in the inspired words of the Old Testament, He could hardly have reasoned as He did (see also John 10:30ff.).
     
  3. Christ promised His apostles that the words of their gospel declaration would be given them. He told them: “But when they deliver you up, be not anxious how or what you shall speak; for it shall be given you in that hour what you shall speak” (Matthew 10:19). And, note Luke’s parallel that they were not to “meditate beforehand” how to answer their antagonists (Luke 21:14). That has to involve their very words!
     
  4. It is quite clear that the penmen of Scripture were conscious of the fact that they were recording the words of God. Paul wrote: “I received of the Lord that which I also delivered unto you” (1 Corinthians 11:23). Again, “This we say unto you by the word of the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:15). “When you received from us the word of the message, even the word of God, you accepted it not as the word of men, but, as it is in truth, the word of God, which also works in you that believe” (1 Thessalonians 2:13). When Philip preached in Samaria, those people to whom he spoke had heard “the word of God” (Acts 8:14).
    In a remarkable passage, Paul asked: “For who among men knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of the man, which is in him?” He means this: you cannot know what is in my mind until I, by my words, reveal to you what I am thinking. That is the apostle’s illustration. Here is his point. “Even so the things of God none knoweth, save the Spirit of God...which things [i.e., the things of God] we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Spirit teacheth; combining spiritual things with spiritual words” (1 Corinthians 2:11-13). There is not a more comprehensive statement of verbal inspiration to be found anywhere in the holy writings. The mind of God has been made known by means of the inspired words of those representatives whom He chose for that noble task.
  5. The biblical writers considered one another’s productions to be inspired of God. In 1 Timothy 5:18, Paul writes: “For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox when he treadeth out the corn. And, The laborer is worthy of his hire.” In this passage, the apostle has combined Deuteronomy 25:4 and Luke 10:7, and classified them both as “scripture.” Similarly, Peter refers to Paul’s epistles as “scripture” in 2 Peter 3:15-16.

MECHANICAL DICTATION—A STRAW MAN

Whenever you hear someone accusing advocates of verbal inspiration of believing in “mechanical dictation,” most likely you are dealing with a theological liberal! The notion of “mechanical dictation” [i.e., that the Bible writers were only dictaphones or typewriters, hence, their cultural and personality factors did not enter into their works] is not taught by many conservative Bible scholars. Certainly, Paul’s writings differ in style from those of John, etc. But that does not negate the fact that after God used the individual writers of Scripture, in the final process, only the exact words that He wanted in the text appeared there!

HAS TRANSMISSION DESTROYED INSPIRATION?

“But suppose,” someone wonders, “the Bible was verbally inspired initially. Hasn’t the transmission of the text across the centuries caused a corruption of the original documents, so that verbal inspiration has been virtually destroyed?” No, not at all. The text of the Bible—both Old and New Testaments—has been preserved in a remarkable fashion. For example, after years of scientific research in connection with the text of the Old Testament, professor Robert Dick Wilson, who was thoroughly acquainted with forty-five languages, stated that “we are scientifically certain that we have substantially the same text that was in the possession of Christ and the apostles...” (1929, p. 8, emp. added). Evidence for the textual reliability of the New Testament is no less impressive. Scholars are now in possession of some 5,378 Greek manuscripts (in part or in whole) of the New Testament, and some of these date to the early part of the second century A.D. It has been estimated that textual variations concern only about 1/1000th part of the entire text (see Gregory, 1907, p. 528). Transmission, therefore, has not destroyed verbal inspiration.

DOES TRANSLATION AFFECT INSPIRATION?

Since the Holy Scriptures originally were penned in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek, and since then have been translated into many languages, some are concerned that the translation process has destroyed the Bible’s initial inspiration. But there is no need for concern over this matter so long asaccurate translation is effected. When a word is translated precisely from one language into another, the same thought or idea is conveyed; thus, the same message is received.
That translation need not affect inspiration is evinced by an appeal to the New Testament itself. In the 3rd-2nd centuries B.C., the Hebrew Scriptures were translated into Greek. This version, which was begun in Alexandria, Egypt, is known as the Septuagint. Note this interesting fact: Jesus Christ Himself, and His inspired New Testament writers, frequently quoted from the Septuaginttranslation of the Old Testament Scriptures! For example, in Matthew 22:32, Christ quoted from the Septuagint (Exodus 3:6), and of that passage said: “Have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God?” (22:31). The translation from Hebrew to Greek did not alter the fact that the message was the Word of God!
It also might be observed in this connection that scholars generally agree that the Septuagint is not as reliable a translation as is the Hebrew text of the Old Testament. Yet in spite of this, the New Testament frequently quotes it. However, as one author observed: “The writers of the New Testament appear to have been so careful to give the true sense of the Old Testament, that they forsook theSeptuagint version whenever it did not give that sense...” (Horne, 1841, 1:312). The fact is, when a New Testament writer was quoting from the Greek Old Testament, the Holy Spirit sometimes led him to slightly alter the phraseology to give a more accurate sense. Thus, inspiration was still preserved though a less-than-perfect translation was being used.

CONCLUSION

The Scriptures are the verbally inspired Word of God. This view has been entertained by reverent students of the Holy Writings for multiplied centuries. Fritz Rienecker noted that the Jewish “rabbinical teaching was that the Spirit of God rested on and in the prophets and spoke through them so that their words did not come from themselves, but from the mouth of God and they spoke and wrote in the Holy Spirit. The early church was in entire agreement with this view” (1980, 2:301).
Let us therefore exalt the Holy Scriptures as the living Word of God (Hebrews 4:12), and acknowledge them as the only authoritative source of religious guidance.

REFERENCES

Bruce, A.B. (1956), Expositor’s New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).
Gaebelein, Frank E. (1950), The Meaning of Inspiration (Chicago, IL: Inter-Varsity).
Glaussen, L. (no date), Theopneustia—The Plenary Inspiration of the Holy Scriptures (Chicago, IL: Moody).
Gregory, C.R. (1907), Canon and Text of the New Testament (New York: Scribners).
Horne, Thomas H. (1842), An Introduction to the Critical Study and Knowledge of the Holy Scriptures(Philadelplhia, PA: Whetham & Son).
Rienecker, Fritz (1980), A Linguistic Key to the Greek New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan).
Wilson, Robert Dick (1929), A Scientific Investigation of the Old Testament (New York: Harper & Brothers).

Robotic Hand Points to God by Kyle Butt, M.A.



http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=12&article=2828

Robotic Hand Points to God

by Kyle Butt, M.A.

Science has done it again. What humans in past generations would never have thought possible is becoming a reality. Associated Press writer Ariel David recently reported on one of the most advanced scientific experiments ever done in the world of prosthetics. Twenty-six-year-old Paierpaolo Petruzziello was involved in a month-long research project in which scientists used special electrodes to attach a robotic hand to the nerves in Petruzziello’s left forearm. The research team performed the study in order to see if Petruzziello could control the hand by triggering the correct nerves simply by thinking about it.
Amazingly, Petruzziello successfully manipulated the robotic hand using his mind. In fact, he stated: “It’s a matter of concentration. When you think of it as your hand and forearm, it all becomes easier” (as quoted in David, 2009). The doctors left the electrodes in the young Italian’s arm for a month. So successful was Petruzziello at controlling the hand, by the end of the month he could “wiggle the robotic fingers independently, make a fist, grab objects, and make other movements” (2009).
While it is true that science fiction movies and books like Star Wars feature such amazing technology, who would have ever thought that such astounding advancement would become a reality? Petruzziello stated: “It felt almost the same as a real hand” (2009). As remarkable as the study is, however, the new technology leaves many things to be desired compared to an “average” human hand. For one thing, no one knows how long the electrodes can be attached to the human nerves. Those in need of such prosthetic apparatuses need the technology to remain connected for years, not a few days. Second, the hand “obeyed the commands it received from the man’s brain in 95 percent of cases” (2009). Of course, the human hand is far more efficient at responding to the brain’s commands. In addition, as would be expected, the robotic hand is extremely expensive. The one-month long project cost approximately three million dollars. And, as the researchers concluded: “More must be done to miniaturize the technology on the arm and the bulky machines that translate neural and digital signals between the robot and the patient” (2009). In truth, there is still an extremely long way to go before such technology begins to approach the capabilities of
an average human hand.
Research like this underscores the astonishing intelligence necessary to produce a “working” hand. The project cost three million dollars, “took five years to complete and produced several scientific papers that have been submitted to top journals including Science Translational Medicine andProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,” according to Dr. Paolo Maria Rossini, the neurologist leading the research (as quoted in David, 2009). Brilliant men and women spent thousands of hours and millions of dollars, combining their immense intelligence and experience, to enable the month-long trial to be successful. Yet “more must be done” to equip the robotic hand to function on a practical level.
As amazing as this research is, how many of us would voluntarily swap our “ordinary” human hand for the latest robotic facsimile? The rhetorical answer is: “None of us.” And yet we are being told by the majority of modern scientists and the media that the human hand arose by purely naturalistic, evolutionary processes over millions of years, while the inferior prosthetic hand was intelligently designed. The false evolutionary inference is simply untenable. If the inferior robotic hand necessitates intelligent design, by implication, the superior human hand must necessitate greater intelligence. How long will the greater-scientific world refuse to admit the truth that biological organs and systems can only be explained by an intelligent Designer? Indeed, as with all such research, this latest robotic hand points a steady index finger straight to the God of the Bible.

REFERENCE

David, Ariel (2009), “Experts: Man Controlled Robotic Hand With Thoughts,” [On-line], URL:http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20091202/ap_on_sc/eu_italy_robotic_hand.

Don't "Throw the Baby Out with the Bathwater": Not All Theories are Bad! by Jeff Miller, Ph.D.


http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=9&article=4541

Don't "Throw the Baby Out with the Bathwater": Not All Theories are Bad!

by Jeff Miller, Ph.D.

Perhaps you have fallen victim to the fallacy alluded to by the title of this article. Creationists spend quite a bit of time countering the claims being made by those who believe in the Theory of Evolution and the Big Bang Theory—and rightly so. However, in our haste to show the flaws in evolutionary theories that contradict the laws of science, the impression might be left that we believe scientific theories are somehow unimportant, or are to be rejected and even scoffed at simply because they are theories. Let’s set the record straight.
According to the McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific and Technical Terms, scientific theory is “an attempt to explain a certain class of phenomena” by deducing them from other known principles (p. 2129). Scientific theories are crucial and very beneficial to the work of a scientist. They are a starting place to try to explain and make sense of scientific evidence that has been gathered. Much of what we know to be true in science started out as theory that was later verified or proved and re-categorized.
In biblical apologetics, we often lay out “theories” as to what message might be conveyed in a certain difficult text. For example, in Matthew 20:29-34 and Mark 10:46-52 the Bible records an incident where Jesus is said to have been leaving Jericho, and seemingly the same incident is recorded in Luke 18:35-43, where it says that the event happened while Jesus was drawing near to Jericho. Mark and Luke say that one blind man was healed in this incident, while Matthew says that two blind men were healed. Eric Lyons discussed various “theories” which adequately explain what is likely happening in these passages—reasonable theories which illustrate that the Bible in no way contradicts itself (Lyons, 2004). While many of these theories may not ever be known as “gospel” this side of eternity, those theories should not be considered “bad” or things to be scoffed at. Creation scientists also suggest “theories” in order to attempt to explain various scientific observations in light of biblical revelation, for example, about the Flood or the Creation account.
Theories can be good—as long as they are accepted for what they are. A theory looks at the evidence and attempts to explain what may be going on—but it does not necessarily yield definites. Theories are “maybes.” That is why there can be multiple theories to try to explain the same observed phenomena, and yet those theories can be totally different from each other and can even contradict one another without, at the same time, contradicting the evidence. One scientist says, “Well, I believethis is what’s going on.” Another scientist says, “Well, maybe, but I think this explains that phenomena better;” or “Yes, I agree, but I also think this is going on.” They have both proposed theories, and may find out in time that they are both right, only one of them is right, or neither is right. But for the moment, their explanations are merely theories—possible explanations of what they are witnessing. A theory may ultimately be proven wrong in the long run, and if not, it will still likely be revised to some extent.
That said, a fundamental rule for developing a scientific theory is that the theory must be in keeping with the scientific evidence—not in contradiction to it. A law of science trumps a “theory” if the two contradict one another, because a law, by definition, is known with certainty to describe nature and is considered to be without exception—beyond doubt. For example, if John Smith proposes a “theory” that claims that a “perpetual motion machine” could be made by combining certain mechanical components in a certain way, he would likely be scoffed at by the engineering community, since the Second Law of Thermodynamics prohibits the design of such a machine (cf. Miller, 2010). The laws of science trump theories that contradict them.
Theories are not, in and of themselves, bad. They are very good for science. The key is to develop theories that are in keeping with the evidence, and reject those theories that are found to be in contradiction to it. The Theory of Evolution and the Big Bang Theory contradict the laws of science in many ways (cf. Miller, 2011; Miller, 2012; Miller, 2007; Thompson, et al., 2003), and yet those theories are blindly clung to by many in the scientific community when those theories should be rejected. We should be sure not to “throw the baby out with the bathwater” with regard to the importance of scientific theory, but if the bathwater needs to be thrown out, do it, or you could hurt the baby—in this case, the baby being the progress of science.

REFERENCES

Lyons, Eric (2004), “Controversial Jericho,” Apologetics Press,http://www.apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=6&article=666.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific and Technical Terms (2003), pub. M.D. Licker (New York: McGraw-Hill), sixth edition.
Miller, Jeff (2007), “God and the Laws of Thermodynamics: A Mechanical Engineer’s Perspective,”Reason & Revelation, 27[4]:25-31, April, http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/3293.
Miller, Jeff (2010), “Couldn’t There Have Been Exceptions to the Laws of Science?” Apologetics Press, http://www.apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=12&article=3713.
Miller, Jeff (2011), “God and the Laws of Science: The Law of Causality,” Apologetics Press,http://www.apologeticspress.org/article/3716.
Miller, Jeff (2012), “The Law of Biogenesis,” Reason & Revelation, 32[1]:2-11, January,http://www.apologeticspress.org/apPubPage.aspx?pub=1&issue=1018&article=1722.
Thompson, Bert, Brad Harrub, and Branyon May (2003), “The Big Bang Theory—A Scientific Critique”Reason & Revelation, 23[5]:33-47, May, http://www.apologeticspress.org/apPubPage.aspx?pub=1&issue=541&article=540.

Much Respect for the Quran—Not Much for the Bible by Dave Miller, Ph.D.



http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=7&article=1525

Much Respect for the Quran—Not Much for the Bible

by Dave Miller, Ph.D.

You remember the scandal surrounding the mistreatment of enemy prisoners in the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. Another furor has erupted over the treatment of detainees—this one at the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Newsweek magazine reported that interrogators flushed a copy of the Quran down a toilet (Barry and Isikoff, 2005). Within a week, newspapers in Afghanistan and Pakistan picked up the story. Muslims, outraged by the disrespectful treatment of the Quran, held anti-American demonstrations that resulted in several deaths (Kurtz, 2005). Newsweek has since retracted the story (Whitaker, 2005). A White House spokesman insisted that the United States military goes out of its way to treat the Quran with great care and respect (Holland and Dunham, 2005).
The average American might be surprised to learn that Muslims hold the Quran in such high regard that they compare it—not to the Bible—but to Jesus Christ (Nasr, 2002, p. 23). In fact, insulting the Quran (or Muhammad) is regarded as blasphemy and punishable by death in both Pakistan and Afghanistan (“White House...,” 2005). While Americans, and other western nations that have historically subscribed to the Christian religion, have not typically viewed a physical Bible with such superstitious regard, nevertheless, respect for the Bible as the Word of God was once the norm. The pluralistic assault by the forces of political correctness on America’s Christian heritage has obscured this fact.
America’s initial existence and future survival was originally seen by the Founders to be heavily, if not exclusively, dependent on the successful diffusion of the Bible throughout society. Many evidences of this assertion exist. For example, a year after declaring independence from England, the Colonies began to feel the effects of the British embargo. Consequently, the Continental Congress directed a committee to investigate ways by which Bibles could be secured. The committee made its report on September 11, 1777, stating “that the use of the Bible is so universal, and its importance so great...your Committee recommends that Congress will order the Committee of Commerce to import 20,000 Bibles from Holland, Scotland, or elsewhere, into the different ports of the States of the Union.” Congress promptly ordered the importation (Journals of..., 1907, 8:734-745). Four years later, as the shortage continued, importation became sufficiently impracticable that Congress was again petitioned for approval, this time to print Bibles in America rather than purchase them abroad. The request was approved and upon completion of the printing, on September 12, 1782, the full Congress not only approved the edition, but their endorsement was given in the front of the Bible: “Whereupon, Resolved, That the United States in Congress assembled...recommend this edition of the Bible to the inhabitants of the United States” (Journals of..., 1914, 23:574).
The Bible was required reading in the public schools of America from before the beginning of the nation—and for two centuries thereafter up to the 1940s and 1950s. Indeed, the first book in the classroom was the Bible. It was the centerpiece of a child’s education: “Students learned how to read using the Bible. Much of the school day was devoted to memorizing and reciting passages from it, and passages were copied to learn penmanship” (“Evolving Classroom,” 2001).
For example, the 1636 rules of Harvard included the following directive to students: “Every one shall so exercise himself in reading the Scriptures twice a day that he shall be ready to give such an account of his proficiency therein” (Pierce, 1833, p. 5). Founded in 1699 by ministers, Yale had the same requirement: “[T]he Scriptures...morning and evening [are] to be read by the students at the times of prayer in the school” (Dexter, 1916, p. 32). The textbooks of American public education were literally loaded with allusions to the Bible—from the New England Primer to the “Blue Back Speller.” One sample is seen in the Fourth Eclectic Reader of the “McGuffey’s Readers” series, which contained a section titled “A Mother’s Gift.” That gift? “The Bible” (1837, p. 255).
The courts of America once underscored and reaffirmed the nation’s devotion to the Bible as the undergirding foundation of society. In Vidal v. Girard’s Executors, the U.S. Supreme Court declared:
Why may not the Bible, and especially the New Testament, without note or comment, be read and taught as a divine revelation in the college—its general precepts expounded, its evidences explained, and its glorious principles of morality inculcated? What is there to prevent a work, not sectarian, upon the general evidences of Christianity, from being read and taught in the college by lay-teachers? ...[W]here can the purest principles of morality be learned so clearly or so perfectly as from the New Testament? Where are benevolence, the love of truth, sobriety, and industry, so powerfully and irresistibly inculcated as in the sacred volume? (1844).
The Founders themselves were not silent on their preeminent conviction that the Bible was integral to American public life. One of the signers of the federal Constitution, James McHenry, insisted:
[T]he Holy Scriptures...can alone secure to society, order and peace, and to our courts of justice and constitutions of government, purity, stability, and usefulness. In vain, without the Bible, we increase penal laws and draw entrenchments around our institutions. Bibles are strong entrenchments. Where they abound, men cannot pursue wicked courses (see Steiner, 1921, p. 14).
Signer of the Declaration of Independence, Benjamin Rush, stated: “[T]he Bible...should be read in our schools in preference to all other books from its containing the greatest portion of that kind of knowledge which is calculated to produce private and public temporal happiness” (1798, p. 100). Noah Webster said: “The Bible is the chief moral cause of all that is good and the best corrector of all that is evil in human society; the best book for regulating the temporal concerns of men” (1833, p. v).
Proof of the extensive reliance of the Founders on the Bible is seen in a ten-year project dedicated to ascertaining the sources of the Founding Fathers’ political ideas. The group of political scientists who undertook the project reported that the number one influence was the Bible (Lutz, 1988, p. 140). The authors of a Newsweek article even concluded that “historians are discovering that the Bible, perhaps even more than the Constitution, is our Founding document” (Woodward and Gates, 1982, p. 44).
So if a White House spokesman maintains that the American military goes out of its way to treat the Quran with great care and respect, what has happened to a comparable respect for the Bible? What response would be heard from America if Muslims flushed a Bible down the toilet? The silence would be deafening—not because we know that the value of the Bible is in its words, not the paper on which the words are printed; but because America no longer views the Bible with the same regard as the Founders of America. There exists within this country a widespread loss of reverence for the Word of God. Would that Americans possessed half the respect for the Bible that Muslims have for the Quran.

REFERENCES

Barry, John and Michael Isikoff (2005), “Gitmo: SouthCom Showdown,” Newsweek, May 9.
Dexter, Franklin ed. (1916), Documentary History of Yale University (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press).
“Evolving Classroom” (2001), PBS, [On-line], URL: http://www.pbs.org/kcet/publicschool/evolving_classroom/books.html.
Holland, Steve and Will Dunham (2005), “White House Says Newsweek Must Do More About Koran Case,” [On-line], URL: http://www.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=topNews&storyID=8526132.
Journals of the Continental Congress (1904-1937), (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office).
Kurtz, Howard (2005), “Newsweek Apologizes,” The Washington Post, May 16, [On-line], URL: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/05/15/AR2005051500605.html.
Lutz, Donald (1988), The Origins of American Constitutionalism (Baton Rouge, LA: Louisiana State University Press).
McGuffey, William (1837), McGuffey’s Fourth Eclectic Reader (New York: American Book Company), [On-line], URL: http://www.howtotutor.com/samples1.htm.
Nasr, Seyyed Hossein (2002), The Heart of Islam (New York: HarperCollins).
Pierce, Benjamin (1833), A History of Harvard University (Cambridge, MA: Brown, Shattuck, and Company).
Rush, Benjamin (1798), Essays, Literary, Moral and Philosophical (Philadelphia, PA: Thomas and Samuel Bradford).
Steiner, Bernard (1921), One Hundred and Ten Years of Bible Society Work in Maryland, 1810-1920(Baltimore, MD: Maryland Bible Society).
Vidal v. Gerard’s Executors (1844), 43 U.S. 127; 11 L. Ed. 205; 1844.
Webster, Noah (1833), The Holy Bible Containing the Old and New Testaments (New Haven, CT: Durrie & Peck).
Whitaker, Mark (2005), “The Editor’s Desk,” May 16 http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/7857154/site/newsweek/.
“White House Hits Out at Newsweek,” BBC News, May 18, [On-line], URL: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/4557929.stm.
Woodward, Kenneth and David Gates (1982), “How the Bible Made America,” Newsweek, December 27.

Does Genesis 4 Indicate that God Specifically Created Others Besides Adam and Eve? by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


http://apologeticspress.org/AllegedDiscrepancies.aspx?article=4585&b=Genesis

Does Genesis 4 Indicate that God Specifically Created Others Besides Adam and Eve?

by Eric Lyons, M.Min.

If Adam and Eve were the only human beings that God miraculously created, where did all of the people come from who were of great concern to Cain? After God sentenced the murderous Cain to be “a fugitive and a vagabond” on the Earth (Genesis 4:12), recall that Cain said to the Lord, “My punishment is greater than I can bear” (4:13). Cain then said: “Surely You have driven me out this day from the face of the ground; I shall be hidden from Your face; I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond on the earth, and it will happen that anyonewho finds me will kill me” (4:14, emp. added). God then responded to Cain, saying, “Therefore, whoever kills Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him seven-fold.” So, “the Lord set a mark on Cain, lest anyone finding him should kill him” (4:15, emp. added). Do the references to “anyone” and “whoever” in these verses suggest that God specially created others besides Adam and Eve?
Before answering these questions, one must keep in mind that Genesis chapters 1-11 cover approximately the first 2,000-plus years of human history (Butt, 2002; cf. Lyons, 2002). The following 1,178 chapters of the Bible tell us about the next 2,000 years. Although the first 11 chapters of Genesis are undeniably literal, historical language (cf. Thompson, 2001), God chose to reveal to man only a few important facts about the first 2,000-plus years of man’s existence—and most of this revelation is about Creation, the Fall, and the Flood. What’s more, Genesis chapters 4-5 likely cover a period of more than 1,400 years. Thus, a lot of time can pass between events without the text specifically expressing exactly how many decades or centuries elapsed.
How much time elapsed in Genesis 4:2? Immediately following the announcement of Cain and Abel’s births (4:1-2), the text says, “Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground” (4:2). Most likely, at least 20 years had passed by this time, and it could be that several more decades had expired before Cain and Abel finally settled on their respective vocations. (How many people today do not settle on a profession until they are 35 or 40 years old?)
How much time transpired when the Bible says, “And in the process of time it came to pass that Cain brought an offering of the fruit of the ground to the Lord” (4:3, emp. added)? How long was Cain angry with Abel before God spoke to Cain about his anger (4:6)? How long was it before Cain spoke with Abel (4:8)? (Have you ever known people, even family members, to hold-in feelings of resentment for years or decades?) Genesis 4:8 says, “It came to pass when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him” (emp. added). Again, we cannot know exactly how much time transpired between the conversation that Cain had with Abel and the day that he actually murdered Abel (4:8).
The fact is, Cain could have been 100 years old or more by the time he killed his brother. [Keep in mind that since the patriarchs often lived to be several hundred years old (e.g., Adam died at the age of 930), being 100 in that day, was somewhat comparable to being 20 today.] What’s more, Adam and Eve may have had 50 children or more by the time Cain killed Abel (cf. Genesis 5:4). They may have had 300 grandchildren by then. There could have been three or four generations of Adam’s descendants on Earth by the time God sentenced Cain to be “a fugitive and a vagabond.”
How many children, and possibly grandchildren, did Adam and Eve have when God said, “Whoever kills Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold”? How many people had descended from Adam by the time God “set a mark on Cain, lest anyone finding him should kill him”? Who were the “whoever” and “anyone” that both God and Cain mentioned? They were the dozens, hundreds, or possibly thousands of people on Earth by that time—all of whom were descendants of Adam, “the first man” (1 Corinthians 15:45) and Eve, “the mother of all living” (Genesis 3:20). In no way does reason or inspired revelation forbid a literal interpretation of Genesis; on the contrary, it demands such.

REFERENCES

Butt, Kyle (2002), “The Bible Says the Earth is Young,” Apologetics Press, http://www.apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=9&article=885.
Lyons, Eric (2002), “When Did Terah Beget Abraham?” Apologetics Press, http://www.apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=13&article=624.
Thompson, Bert (2001), “Genesis 1 thru 11—Mythical or Historical?” Apologetics Press,http://www.apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=11&article=451.

From Jim McGuiggan... SAUL KANE'S CONVERSION /

SAUL KANE'S CONVERSION /

Imagine a man who has committed a terrible crime and is imprisoned for it. During his trial he is utterly unrepentant, snarling and swearing that if he had the chance he’d it again and worse. This man does more than endure the penalty in prison; he remains the evildoer within. If he were to complete his sentence and be freed he would still be that evildoer because he carries the love of his evil with him and even exults in it. But if he comes to see his crime in all its ugliness and to hate it, to wish he had never committed it and would never want to do it again—he would be a different man even while he endures the chastisement.
In this new state of mind (repentance) he would be seeing the crime with other eyes and another heart—with the eyes and with the heart of the victim’s parents, with the eyes of the judge and jury. He doesn’t now rage against their decision, he isn’t now untouched by the pain of the people he hurt; now he would undo it all if he could.He can’t change the fact that he has committed the crime but he is no longer the man who committed the crime. The deeper and purer his repentance becomes the further he is removed from the man who did this awful thing. (We see that in Paul—do we not?) In a very real and profound way (not the only way) this man has been delivered from the power of evil. Once more, the man who did the evil and was put in prison is not the same man who now bears the judgment. If it should be that he is somehow pardoned his fully repentant heart would match the utter freeness of the forgiveness graciously bestowed on him. When we bear in mind that it is the goodness of God that leads us to repentance, that it is God in his kindness who gives us the gift of repentance unto life through the Lord Jesus then we realize that we are delivered from the power of sin by the inner transformation he brings about. (Romans 2:4; Acts 11:18; 2 Timothy 2:25) By his grace we come over on to God’s side and our hearts are in tune with his. That’s one face of reconciliation.I’m saying that God’s gift in the Lord Jesus of freedom from sin means that Sin no longer stands between God and us, it is no longer the destructive power that alienates us from the Holy Father—we’re forgiven and our sins are remembered against us no more. I mean it also includes our new mind (repentance) which is God-generated and Christ-shaped so that our life’s direction has changed and we no longer admire or wish to live as an enemy of God’s character or eternal purpose. Masefield’s poem expresses this marvelously. Here’s a piece of it that describes the changed heart of the once bitter, foul-mouthed and drunken prizefighter, Saul Kane.  (The Everlasting Mercy, Collected Poems of John Masefield, William Heinemann, Ltd., London, 1924, page 125)

I did not think, I did not strive,
The deep peace burnt my me alive;
The bolted door had broken in,
I knew that I had done with sin.
I knew that Christ had given me birth
To brother all the souls on earth,
O glory of the lighted mind,
How dead I'd been, how dumb, how blind,
The station brook to my new eyes,
Was babbling out of Paradise;
The waters rushing from the rain
Were singing Christ has risen again.
I thought all earthly creatures knelt
From rapture of the joy I felt

This is one of the profound aspects of reconciliation and redemption from sin—a heart transformed and now at one with God’s heart. And how does God work this wonderful transformation in Christians in keeping with his eternal; purpose? Jesus himself said that it he were to be “lifted up” he would draw people to himself and there lies the central power.  (John 12:31-32)
Arthur J. Gossip, a Scots preacher who was a chaplain during WWI was speaking of the cross and its power to grip and change a person when he said this. 
(Experience Worketh Hope, pages 50-51)
"Once, far up the duckboard track towards Pachendaele—by far, the most eerie and awesome part of the whole front in the last war—I came upon a laddie lying all alone and—dead. I don't know why out of the multitude that one saw killed, he so impressed me. But he had given his life for us, given it in the spring and its first
freshness. And I remember how—all alone in that grim lonesome wilderness of endless shell holes, mile upon mile of them, like a grey tumbling sea—I pulled off my bonnet, and looking down into his dead eyes, promised him that, because he had done this for us, I would see to it that his sacrifice was not in vain. 'I promise you,'
said I, 'that I will be a better man, because you have done this. I promise it.' " And he goes on to say, "All which was twenty five years ago. And, in the main, I have largely forgotten. Yet, even now, at times, it rises up with the old vividness, and stings and shames me toward worthier things. This is how the cross of Christ works."

Spending Time with Jim McGuiggan

From Roy Davison... What do the Scriptures tell us about Satan?


http://www.oldpaths.com/Archive/Davison/Roy/Allen/1940/034-powerofsatan.html

What do the Scriptures tell us about Satan?
Jesus sent Paul to the people and to the nations: “to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith” in Christ (Acts 26:18).
Who is Satan? What is the extent and nature of his power? Who has conquered Satan, and how can people turn from the power of Satan to God?

Who is Satan?
In Revelation we are told: “And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him” (Revelation 12:7-9).
Our knowledge of the heavenly realm is limited to what God has revealed. We are told that Satan led a rebellion against God. Pride was his downfall. An elder is not to be a novice, “lest being puffed up with pride he fall into the same condemnation as the devil” (1 Timothy 3:6).
It is the ultimate arrogance to suppose that a rebellion against God could succeed. Yet, billions today follow Satan's example. They live in rebellion to God.

What is the extent of Satan's power?
According to John, “The whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one” (1 John 5:19). Thus, Satan has much power.
Many do not believe that he exits. Others think that only those who commit terrible atrocities are under the power of Satan. But John says that the whole world is in the wicked one!

What is the nature of Satan's power?
The devil uses deception to rule the world. Jesus said that the devil “does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44 RSV).
Satan is called “the tempter” (1 Thessalonians 3:5). He cannot force people to sin, but he tempts them by false claims that rebellion against God would bring greater pleasure, less pain or some advantage. Satan tempted Eve by telling her that she would be like God if she disobeyed God and ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 3:1-5).
Satan appeals to people's desires. “Let no one say when he is tempted, 'I am tempted by God'; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed” (James 1:13, 14).
When people decide to sin, they voluntarily join Satan's rebellion and extend his power. They also distance themselves from the fellowship of God. “But your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear” (Isaiah 59:2).

Jesus came to conquer Satan.
“Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out. And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself” (John 12:31, 32).
Referring to the Holy Spirit, Jesus said: “And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they do not believe in Me; of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged” (John 16:8-11).
Jesus came to rescue us from the power of Satan. “Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage” (Hebrews 2:14, 15).
Satan is a killer. Jesus said: “He was a murderer from the beginning” (John 8:44). Satan brought death into the world by deceiving Eve. He encouraged her to disobey God and told her she would not die (Genesis 3:4). How could she be so foolish? Yet, we all follow Eve's example, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23) and “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23).
Jesus came to rescue us by depriving the devil of his deadly power. He accomplished this by bearing the punishment for our sins, He “who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness” (1 Peter 2:24). Jesus says in Revelation: “I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death” (Revelation 1:18). Through His resurrection, Christ conquered death. He has the keys to our grave. This is good news! This is the gospel!
Recently I learned the location of the grave of my maternal grandparents, Charles and Pearl Kincaid. I hope to obtain a picture of the plaque on their grave.
They were dedicated Christians. Although I do not remember them because I was small when they passed away, they had a great impact on my life. Their influence led to my parents becoming Christians.
When we walk through a graveyard, the stones are silent. The inscriptions show the person's name, the date of his birth and the date of his death.
In the fall, when the trees are wearing their most colorful garments, we like to go for a brief holiday across the border in the hills of Germany. While driving around admiring the beauty of God's creation, we have at times stopped to visit a graveyard. The cemeteries are beautiful, usually on the side of a hill. In the fall, flowers are placed on the graves in remembrance of family members who have passed on.
Walking from gravestone to gravestone, we sometimes noticed that a child had lived only a few months, or that a whole family had died on the same day, or that someone had lived a full life of eighty or ninety years. Now they all are silent in the grave, and one day soon we will be with them, unless the Lord returns before we die. We never know which day will be our last.
Death is the power of Satan. After Adam and Eve had to leave Eden, everyone dies because everyone sins (Romans 5:12).
Yet, something within us objects to death. God has placed eternity in man's heart (Ecclesiastes 3:11). People we know and love ought not to die! And God has provided a way that we can live on with Him forever. Death and sin give Satan his power, but Jesus has conquered sin and death and Satan.

How can someone turn from the power of Satan to God?
Salvation from the power of Satan is offered to all. After His resurrection, Jesus told His followers: “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:15, 16). “And the Spirit and the bride say, 'Come!' And let him who hears say, 'Come!' And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely” (Revelation 22:17).
When someone does not desire, however, when his heart is not right, Satan can prevent him from believing. Jesus explained the parable of the sower: “The seed is the word of God. Those by the wayside are the ones who hear; then the devil comes and takes away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved” (Luke 8:11, 12). ... “But the onesthat fell on the good ground are those who, having heard the word with a noble and good heart, keep it and bear fruit with patience” (Luke 8:15).
Paul says: “But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them” (2 Corinthians 4:3, 4).
But when we are willing, when we hear the word with good and noble hearts, when we believe and are baptized, we are saved by God: “He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins” (Colossians 1:13, 14).
John heard praise in heaven for Christ's victory over Satan: “Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death” (Revelation 12:10, 11).
Paul explains: “And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience” (Ephesians 2:1, 2).

But Satan does not give up easily.
He tries to bring us back under his power. Paul was concerned about the Corinthians: “But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ” (2 Corinthians 11:3). He had similar fears about the welfare of the Thessalonians: “For this reason, when I could no longer endure it, I sent to know your faith, lest by some means the tempter had tempted you, and our labor might be in vain” (1 Thessalonians 3:5).
Peter warns: “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith” (1 Peter 5:8, 9).
James gives this admonition: “Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you” (James 4:7).
God has given us the weapons we need to resist the devil: “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints” (Ephesians 6:10-18).

What have we learned about Satan?
Mankind is in the clutches of the wicked one, who deceives the whole world. His power is the destructive power of sin and death.
Christ came to set us free from the power of Satan by suffering the penalty for our sins so we can be forgiven. This good news is preached to all.
He who believes and is baptized will be saved by God who transfers him from the power of darkness into the kingdom of His Son. Satan still assails us, but God gives us the weapons we need to resist him and remain faithful.
In conclusion, a blessing from Romans 16:20 - “And the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.”
Roy Davison
The Scripture quotations in this article are from
The New King James Version. ©1979,1980,1982,
Thomas Nelson Inc., Publishers unless indicated otherwise.
Permission for reference use has been granted.

Published in The Old Paths Archive
(http://www.oldpaths.com)