2/20/17

"THE GOSPEL OF MARK" Two Great Commandments (12:28-34) by Mark Copeland

                          "THE GOSPEL OF MARK"

                   Two Great Commandments (12:28-34)

INTRODUCTION

1. Having silenced the Pharisees,  Herodians, and Sadducees, Jesus was
   approached by a scribe...
   a. Who asked which is the first (foremost) commandment of the law
      - Mk 12:28
   b. Jesus replied by offering two great commandments - Mk 12:29-31
   c. With which the scribe agreed with grace and wisdom - Mk 12:32-33
   d. Prompting Jesus’ comment:  "You are not far from the kingdom of
      God" - Mk 12:34

2. Though part of the Law, these "Two Great Commandments" are very
   important to Christians...
   a. For they have their counterpart in the New Covenant
   b. And keeping the commandments of God is just as important now - cf.
      1Co 7:19; 1Jn 5:3

[Therefore it is proper to ask, do we love God and our neighbor?  Do we
understand what is involved?  By reflecting upon these "Two Great
Commandments" we can find the answer to such questions...]

I. THE COMMAND TO LOVE GOD

   A. UNDER THE OLD COVENANT...
      1. The Israelites were expected to love God (Deu 6:5)...
         a. "with all your heart"
         b. "with all your soul"
         c. "with all your strength"
         d. "with all your mind"
         e. Emotionally, physically, intellectually, they were to love
            God
      2. Thus they were to love God with their whole being, not like
         some who...
         a. Serve God emotionally, while committing intellectual suicide
         b. Serve God intellectually, but with no emotion
         c. Serve God emotionally and intellectually, but with no actual
            obedience requiring the exercise of strength (i.e., action)

   B. HOW WE ARE TO LOVE GOD TODAY...
      1. Does God expect any less of us?  Of course not!  We are to love
         God:
         a. With all our heart - cf. 1Co 16:22 (note the use the word
            "phileo")
         b. With all our soul (body and mind) - cf. Ro 12:1-2
         c. With all our strength - cf. He 10:36
         d. With all our mind - cf. Col 3:1; Php 4:8
      2. We demonstrate our love for God through keeping His
         commandments
         a. This is the love of God - 1Jn 5:3
         b. This is evidence that we love Jesus - Jn 14:15

   C. HOW TO GROW IN OUR LOVE FOR GOD...
      1. By letting God’s love for us to move us 
         - cf. 1Jn 4:9-10; Ro 5:8
      2. By asking God to help us grow in love - cf. 2Th 3:5
      3. By praying, and growing in love when He answers 
         - cf. Ps 116:1-2
      4. By keeping the word of God - cf. 1Jn 2:5

[Do we love God any less than what was expected of the Israelites?  We
certainly have compelling reasons to love Him even more (e.g., the gift
of His Son)!  Now let’s consider...]

II. THE COMMAND TO LOVE OUR NEIGHBOR

   A. ENJOINED UPON CHRISTIANS...
      1. We owe it to love our neighbor - Ro 13:8
      2. When fully applied, it fulfills what the Law required - Ro 13:8-10
      3. Five of the Ten Commandments spoke to working no ill toward our
         fellow man
      4. If one truly loves his neighbor, he will not kill, commit
         adultery, lie, steal, etc.

   B. ENHANCED BY A NEW COMMAND...
      1. Jesus taught us to love one another - Jn 13:34-35
      2. This new command takes our love to a higher level
      3. No longer do we just love one another as we love ourselves
      4. We must love one another as Christ loved us! - cf. Jn 15:13;
         2Co 8:9

   C. EXPERIENCED WHEN WE KEEP GOD’S COMMANDMENTS...
      1. We demonstrate true love of one another by keeping the
         commandments of God - 2Jn 1:5-6
      2. This is how we know that we really love one another - 1Jn 5:2
      3. Not by just claiming to love one another
      4. But by setting the proper example, and encouraging each other
         by the example we set!

   D. EDUCATED BY THE EXAMPLE OF GOD...
      1. We develop love for one another by being taught of God - cf.
         1Th 4:9-10
      2. The Thessalonians had been taught of God to love their brethren
      3. They did so remarkably, though there was always room for
         improvement
      4. Jesus by His own example demonstrates what true love is 
          - 1Jn 3:16-18
      5. If we wish to learn how to love one another properly, look to
         God and Jesus!

CONCLUSION

1. How great were these two commandments...to love God, and to love your
   neighbor?
   a. "There is no greater commandment than these." - Mk 12:31
   b. "On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets."
      - Mk 22:40
   c. "Love is the fulfilling of the Law." - Ro 13:9

2. When one truly loves God, and loves his neighbor as himself...
   a. They are on the path that leads to the kingdom of God! - cf. Mk 12:34
   b. They are on the road that leads to eternal life! - cf. Lk 10:28

If you wish to receive eternal life, and become a citizen of the
kingdom, then demonstrate your love for God by obeying His commands (cf.
Mt 28:18-20; Mk 16:16), and live a life of faith in Jesus that is
focused on loving God and others...!
 
Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2016

"THE GOSPEL OF MARK" The Resurrection Of The Dead (12:18-27) by Mark Copeland

                          "THE GOSPEL OF MARK"

                The Resurrection Of The Dead (12:18-27)

INTRODUCTION

1. After the Pharisees and Herodians, the Sadducees make their attempt
   to confound Jesus...
   a. A sect of the Jews who did not believe in the resurrection 
      - Mk 12:18; Ac 23:8
   b. Who thought they had an unanswerable argument - Mk 12:19-23

2. Jesus quickly answered their supposed dilemma...
   a. Charging them with being mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures or
      God’s power - Mk 12:24
   b. Explaining first that marital relations do not continue in the
      resurrection - Mk 12:25
   c. Proving the resurrection by the words of God to Moses at burning
      bush - Mk 12:26-27

[The Sadducees were "greatly mistaken" regarding the resurrection (Mk
12:27).  The same might be said of many people today.  Lest we be
mistaken about the resurrection of the dead, let’s review what is
revealed in the Scriptures concerning this wonderful event.  Beginning
with...]

I. THE FACT OF THE RESURRECTION

   A. JESUS TAUGHT THERE WILL BE A RESURRECTION...
      1. In which both those good and evil will come forth from the
         grave - Jn 5:28-29
      2. Jesus assures those who believe in Him will be raised at the
         last day - Jn 6:39-40,44,54

   B. HIS APOSTLES PROCLAIMED A RESURRECTION...
      1. Peter and John preached in Jesus the resurrection from the dead
         - Ac 4:1-2
      2. Before the Sanhedrin and Felix, Paul confessed his hope in the
         resurrection - Ac 23:6; 24:15
      3. To the church at Corinth, Paul asserted the necessity of the
         resurrection - 1Co 15:12-23
      4. To the church at Thessalonica, Paul taught the doctrine of the
         resurrection - 1Th 4:16-18

[Unless one questions the authority of Christ and His apostles, the fact
of the resurrection is undeniable.  But how can such a thing happen?  It
helps to remember...]

II. THE AGENT OF THE RESURRECTION

   A. CHRIST ATTRIBUTED IT TO THE POWER OF GOD...
      1. As He reminded the Sadducees, who denied the resurrection - Mk12:24
      2. And of course, "with God nothing will be impossible" - cf. Lk1:37

   B. PAUL ALSO EMPHASIZED THE POWER OF GOD...
      1. The same power that raised Jesus from the dead - 1Co 6:14
      2. He who can raise Jesus from the dead can certainly raise us up
         at the last day - 2Co 4:14

[While it may be difficult for us to comprehend how the dead can be
raised, it is not difficult for God to do it (unless "your" God is too
small)!  Another question to be addressed concerning the resurrection
pertains to who will be raised.  Therefore we note...]

III. THE UNIVERSALITY OF THE RESURRECTION

   A. JESUS TAUGHT ALL WILL BE RAISED...
      1. "All who are in the graves will...come forth" - Jn 5:28
      2. Both "those who have done good" and "those who have done evil"
         - Jn 5:29
      3. One to experience a "resurrection of life", the other a
         "resurrection of condemnation"

   B. PAUL TAUGHT ALL WILL BE RAISED...
      1. There will be a resurrection "both of the just and the unjust"
         - Ac 24:15
      2. "for as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made
         alive" - 1Co 15:21-22

[While there may be a difference in the nature of the resurrected bodies
(see below), in some way everyone will be raised from the dead!   What
about the timing of the resurrection...?]

IV. THE TIME OF THE RESURRECTION

   A. AT "THE LAST DAY," WHEN THE LORD COMES AGAIN...
      1. Jesus spoke again and again of raising the dead at "the last
         day" - Jn 6:39-40,44,54
      2. Paul wrote of it occurring when Jesus comes again, to deliver
         the kingdom to the Father, having destroyed the last enemy,
         death itself - 1Co 15:22-26
      3. He later says that it will occur at "the last trumpet" - 1Co15:52

   B. WHAT ABOUT DOCTRINES OF SEPARATE RESURRECTIONS...?
      1. Premillennialists (and others) teach that there will be more
         than just one resurrection
         a. All Premillennialists teach at least two resurrections:
            1) The resurrection of believers at the beginning of the
               millennium
            2) The resurrection of unbelievers at the end of the
               millennium
         b. Dispensational Premillennialists add two more:
            1) The resurrection of tribulation saints at the end of the
               seven-year tribulation
            2) The resurrection of millennial saints at the end of the
               millennium
      2. There are several reasons why the doctrines of several
         resurrections are found wanting...
         a. The Bible presents the resurrection of believers and
            unbelievers as occurring together - Dan 12:2; Jn 5:28-29;
            Ac 24:14-15; Re 20:11-15
         b. The Bible teaches that believers will be raised at "the last
            day", not several times (and therefore several days, years,
            or millennium) before the last day! - Jn 6:39-40,44,54
         c. Passages offered in support of several resurrections do not
            necessarily teach what Premillennialists say they do
            1) 1Th 4:13-16 concerns itself with the resurrection of the
               righteous, but that does not demand that the wicked are
               not being raised at the same time
            2) Re 20:4-6 describes a resurrection of "souls", not
               bodies, and the reigning with Christ is likely to occur
               in heaven, not on earth - cf. Re 2:26-27; 3:21

[One more subject to be considered in this study, and that pertains
to...]

V. THE BODY OF THE RESURRECTION

   A. THE RESURRECTION BODY OF THE RIGHTEOUS...
      1. Will be our physical bodies, but gloriously changed and
         different! - 1Co 15:35-55
         a. By the power of God (Mk 12:24), our bodies will serve as the
            "kernel" from which comes incorruptible and immortal bodies
            in which to house our souls - 1Co 15:35-37
         b. Our physical bodies...
            1) Sown in corruption, will be raised in incorruption! 
               - 1Co 15:42
            2) Sown in dishonor, will be raised in glory! - 1Co 15:43
            3) Sown in weakness, will be raised in power! - 1Co 15:43
            4) Sown as natural bodies, will be raised as spiritual
               bodies! - 1Co 15:44-49
         c. Even those alive at Christ’s coming will undergo this
            "change", in which that which is corruptible and mortal will
            "put on" incorruption and immortality - 1Co 15:50-55
      2. Will be conformed to the glorious body of our Lord! - Php 3:20-21
         a. That which is "lowly" will be transformed to be like that
            which "glorious"
         b. How?  "...according to the working by which He is able even
            to subdue all things to Himself" - i.e., by the power of
            God! - cf. Mk 12:24

   B. THE RESURRECTION BODY OF THE WICKED...
      1. Very little is revealed, other than the wicked will indeed be
         raised from the dead
      2. Though the Scriptures only apply the terms "incorruption" and
         "immortality" to the bodies of the righteous, most understand
         that the resurrection body of the wicked...
         a. Is not subject again to death
         b. Is capable of experiencing eternal suffering
      3. There are some, however, who understand that the "second death"
         will be literal...
         a. After the resurrection and judgment, the wicked will "die"
            again (a separation of resurrected "body" and spirit)
         b. Not that the wicked will be annihilated, but that they will
            spend eternity as "disembodied spirits" in the lake of fire
         c. This is not to be confused with those who don't believe in a
            resurrection of the wicked, or who believe the wicked will
            be annihilated
      4. Since the Bible is relatively silent on this subject perhaps
         "the best course seems to be simply leave the problem where it
         was left by the writers of the New Testament." - Ray Summers,
         The Life Beyond, p.93

CONCLUSION

1. There is probably more about the resurrection we would like to
   know...
   a. But we can know more than the Sadducees knew or believed!
   b. If we are willing to accept both the Scriptures and the power of
      God!

2. From the Scriptures we can know...
   a. The fact of the resurrection
   b. The agent of the resurrection
   c. The universality of the resurrection
   d. The time of the resurrection
   e. The body of the resurrection

3. Which is certainly enough to motivate those who...
   a. Desire whatever God has planned for those who love and obey Him!
   b. Are making it their aim to be ready for whatever God has prepared!

Does the hope of the resurrection motivate you to abound in the work of
the Lord...? - cf. 1Co 15:54-58
 
Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2016

The Bible Always Passes the Test by Wayne Jackson, M.A.


http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=13&article=1087

The Bible Always Passes the Test

by  Wayne Jackson, M.A.

Q.

Critics have claimed that the Bible contains all kinds of factual errors. Is the Bible trustworthy when it speaks of historical matters?

A.

The Bible contains two kinds of information. Some of it can be checked; some of it cannot. For example, it is not possible to “check” scientifically the accuracy of Genesis 1:1—“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” While the affirmation is not in any way inconsistent with available scientific data, at the same time the statement is one of prehuman history and therefore does not lend itself to empirical investigation.
On the other hand, the Scriptures contain hundreds of references that arise out of the background of human history. These may be tested for accuracy. If it is the case that the Bible is demonstrated to be precise in thousands of historical details, it is not unreasonable to conclude that its information in other matters is equally correct.
In fact, one of the most amazing features of the Bible is its uncanny reliability in the smallest of details. Let us note a few examples of biblical precision.
During His personal ministry, Jesus once passed through the region of Samaria. Near Sychar, the Lord stopped for a brief rest at Jacob’s well. He engaged a Samaritan woman in conversation, during which He suggested that He could provide the woman with water that could perpetually quench her thirst. Misunderstanding the nature of the Master’s instruction, the woman, alluding to Jacob’s well, declared: “Sir, you have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep” (John 4:11). The statement is quite correct, for even now, some twenty centuries later, Jacob’s well is approximately 80 feet deep—the equivalent of an eight-story building!
Reflect upon another example. In Acts 10 there is the account of Peter’s visit in the city of Joppa. Luke declared that Peter was staying in the home of Simon, a tanner of animal hides. Then the historian said, almost as an afterthought, “whose house is by the seaside” (Acts 10:6). Hugh J. Schonfield, author of the infamous book, The Passover Plot (and certainly no friend of Christianity), has commented on this passage as follows: “This is an interesting factual detail, because the tanners used sea water in the process of converting hides into leather. The skins were soaked in the sea and then treated with lime before the hair was scraped off.”
Consider another interesting case of Bible precision. When Paul was en route to Rome for trial, the ship upon which he sailed became involved in a terrible storm. When it eventually became apparent that the vessel was in a very dangerous circumstance, the crew cast the ship’s anchors into the water. At the same time, they “loosed the rudder bands, hoisted up the foresail, and aimed the ship towards the beach” (Acts 27:40). There is an interesting and subtle point in the Greek text that is not apparent in the King James Version. The original language actually says that they “loosed the bands of the rudders” (plural). This is amazingly precise, for in ancient times, ships actually possessed two paddle-rudders, not a single rudder as with modern vessels. In 1969, a submerged ancient ship was discovered in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Cyprus. An examination of the ruins gave evidence of dual rudder-oars by which the boat was steered (see National Geographic, November 1974), thus demonstrating the remarkable accuracy of Luke’s record.
The Bible can be tested—historically, geographically, scientifically, etc. And it always passes the test. Its incredible accuracy can be explained only in light of its divine inspiration.

Non-Religion, America, and Apologetics by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=12&article=1603

Non-Religion, America, and Apologetics

by  Eric Lyons, M.Min.

My dad was born in 1935 on a farm in southwest Missouri. My mother was born in 1940 in southern Alabama. Neither has any recollection of ever having conversations with atheists or agnostics. Practically all their acquaintances were theists who considered themselves Christians.
Religious researcher and statistician Flavil Yeakley mentioned in his most recent book, Why They Left, that in 1950 “we could assume that most of the people around us already believed in God, in Jesus Christ as the Son of God and in the Bible as the Word of God. They already understood that people are lost in sin and in need of salvation” (2012, p. 29). According to George Gallup, Jr. and Michael Lindsey, in 1947, 89% of Americans identified themselves as Christian Protestants or Catholics (1999, p. 7). Considering this is in addition to the millions of other “religious” Americans (e.g., Jews, Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, etc.), it is safe to say that the percentage of non-religious Americans (including atheists, agnostics, and skeptics) was minuscule.
Although, thankfully, the majority of Americans still believe in God (see Miller, 2012), the upward trend of non-religion in America is quite disturbing. In 1990, 8.2% of Americans claimed to be non-religious, most notably agnostics, skeptics, and atheists (Kosmin, 1991). In 2001, that number had jumped to 14.1% (Kosmin, et al., 2001). By 2008 it reached 15% (Kosmin and Keysar, 2009). According to USA Today’s religion reporter, Cathy Lynn Grossman, aggregated surveys by the Pew Research Center indicated that the percentage of non-religious Americans has now reached 19% of the American population (2012). [NOTE: The percentage of non-religious individuals would be even higher were it not for the many millions of Catholic Hispanics who have migrated to the United States over the past two decades.]
The percentage of non-religious Americans only 60 years ago was hardly noticeable. By 1990, nearly one in every 12 Americans claimed no religion. Today, it appears that nearly one in five Americans claims no affiliation with Christianity or any other religion, while one in every three Americans claims that religion is not an important part of their daily lives (Newport, 2009). Sadly, the number of skeptics, agnostics, atheists, etc. has risen drastically in only the last few decades, while the number of Americans claiming Jesus Christ as Lord of their daily lives has continued to decrease gradually.
The likelihood of you crossing paths with an atheist, agnostic, or skeptic at some point in the next few months is pretty high. The odds of your children, grandchildren, nephews or nieces running into atheistic professors or skeptical students in high school or college are very high (considering many public schools and universities are breeding grounds for non-religious Americans). More than ever, Christians need to equip themselves with the tools to help them “fight the good fight of faith” (1 Timothy 6:12). “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:4-5).
Those of us at Apologetics Press hope that you will consider equipping your friends and family members with soul-saving, life-enriching materials. Why not order for your younger children or grandchildren a subscription to Discovery, A.P.’s monthly children’s magazine on Scripture and science? Why not consider arming your teens with Truth Be Told: Exposing the Myth of Evolution? Why not purchase multiple copies of A Christian’s Guide to Refuting Modern Atheism and give them away to college students who may very well be struggling for the first time in their lives with knowing how to defend their belief in the one true God of the Bible? At the very least, why not send your friends or family members a link to the A.P. site, where they can obtain thousands of pages of free electronic Christian evidence material.
Never in the history of the United States has there been a greater need for Christians to study Christian evidences. It is imperative that we teach our young people, not merely proof texts about God’s plan of salvation, but the evidence for God Himself, as well as proofs for the inspiration of the Bible and the deity of Christ.
Are you armed and ready for spiritual warfare? Are you prepared to answer the accusations levied against New Testament Christianity (cf. 1 Peter 3:15)? Are you preparing yourself and others to assist some of the millions of non-religious Americans whom, by the grace of God, you will have an opportunity to talk to about the Creator and Savior of the world (Colossians 1:16; John 4:42; 1 John 4:14)?

REFERENCES

Gallup, George Jr. and Michael Lindsay (1999), Surveying the Religious Landscape: Trends in U.S. Beliefs (Harrisburg, PA: Morehouse Publishing).
Grossman, Cathy Lynn (2012), “Survey Finds 19% Without Religious Affiliation,” USA Today, July 20, http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/religion/story/2012-07-19/no-religion-affiliation/56344976/1.
Kosmin, Barry (1991), The National Survey of Religious Identification.
Kosmin, Barry, Egon Mayer, and Ariela Keysar (2001), American Religious Identification Survey.
Kosmin, Barry and Ariela Keysar (2009), American Religious Identification Survey.
Miller, Jeff (2012), “Literal Creationists Holding Their Ground in the Polls,” Apologetics Press, http://www.apologeticspress.org/APPubPage.aspx?pub=1&issue=1093&article=2040.
Newport, Frank (2009), “State of the States: Importance of Religion,” Gallup, http://www.gallup.com/poll/114022/state-states-importance-religion.aspx.
Yeakley, Flavil (2012), Why They Left: Listening to Those Who Have Left Churches of Christ (Nashville, TN: Gospel Advocate).


Inspiration, not Interpretation by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=11&article=566

Inspiration, not Interpretation

by  Eric Lyons, M.Min.

“Knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:20-21)
From time to time, certain religious leaders in the “Christian” world refer to the above passage in order to defend the idea that man cannot understand the Bible on his own. Because they believe the Bible is not to be interpreted privately, proponents of this idea teach that the Bible cannot be understood properly without the instruction of the “clergy.” Thus, they say, little good will come from private, personal study of the Scriptures.
A casual reading of 2 Peter 1:20—with little concern for the context in which the passage is found—might very well lead one to understand the verse in such a manner. However, a closer examination of this passage reveals that it has no reference at all to those who read the Scriptures, but refers instead to those who wrote the Scriptures. By studying the context of the passage, one learns that the passage is discussing how the Scriptures came into existence, not how they are to be “interpreted.”
Continuing the thought from verse 20 to verse 21, we read: “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (emp. added). That little word “for” in verse 21 connects the two thoughts. The English word “for” derives from the Greek conjunction gar. Strong’s Greek-Hebrew Dictionary (1994) indicates that this word is a “primary particle” that assigns “a reason” and is used in argument for “explanation” or “intensification.” The reason that “no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation” is because “prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (emp. added). The word “for” connects the two thoughts. Peter is saying that the prophets did not invent what they wrote; rather, they were guided by the Holy Spirit (cf. 2 Timothy 3:16-17). No doubt this is why the NIV reads: “No prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation” (2 Peter 1:20, emp. added)—not the reader’s interpretation.
Furthermore, according to Mounce’s Analytical Greek Lexicon of the New Testament (1993), the Greek word epilusis (translated “interpretation” in 2 Peter 1:20) means primarily “a loosing” or “liberation.” The stem (or “root” as we say in English class) of epilusis is luo, and means literally “to loosen, unbind, or unfasten.” Therefore, “no prophecy of Scripture” ever was released, loosed, or given out by the prophets’ own inventions. They did not put their own construction upon God’s message; instead, the Holy Spirit guided them. Obviously, then, this passage has no reference to present-day interpreters of the text, but rather to those who wrote it—i.e., the prophets or apostles (cf. Ephesians 3:5).
Some religious groups maintain the position that “you can’t understand the Bible on your own” in an attempt to deprive the average person from enjoying the blessings of privately reading, studying, and learning God’s will. For several hundred years, the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church kept the Bible out of the “laity’s” hands, because those who composed that hierarchy were concerned that the average person might read and study the Bible on their own and learn that the Catholic Church practices many things that the Bible does not teach. Even as late as 1816, Pope Pius VII (in De Versionibus S. Scriptura, September 3) said:

I declare that the associations formed in the major part of Europe to translate and diffuse the law of God into the common tongues, provoke horror within me and they tend to undercut the Christian faith down to its foundations. It is necessary to destroy this pest and reveal the evil designs of these manipulators.
Such comments reveal that the leaders of the Catholic Church were fearful that the “laity” would “come unto the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4) and throw off the corrupt teachings of the Catholic Church.
Although some will continue to use 2 Peter 1:20-21 to teach that we must have a “priest” or “pastor” to interpret the Scriptures for us, an in-depth and logical examination of these verses reveals otherwise. The fact remains, God has given us a book that we can understand and obey (cf. Ephesians 3:4).

Don’t Assume Too Much: Not All Assumptions in Science Are Bad by Jeff Miller, Ph.D.


http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=9&article=4666

Don’t Assume Too Much: Not All Assumptions in Science Are Bad

by  Jeff Miller, Ph.D.

It might be tempting to get the wrong impression and think that making assumptions in science is a bad practice, especially upon reading various writings from the creationist community. Creation scientists, for instance, correctly relate many of the problems inherent in the assumptions of evolutionary geologic dating techniques that tend to yield extremely old ages for the items they test. But do not fall victim to the same fallacy that the evolutionary community makes in assuming too much. As is the case with the fact that scientific theories can be good things (see Miller, 2012b), the practice of making assumptions in science also can be a good thing.

A Scientific Assumption in Practice

Consider a real-world example from the engineering field. Let’s say I want to design a remote control vehicle to be used on a one mile strip of paved road. The road has been blocked off for my use, and I have maintained the road well, re-paving it when necessary. I have constructed fences around the road to keep animals off of it, and I check the road regularly to make sure that it is smooth and clear. The remote control vehicle is equipped with the necessary sensors that will allow me to keep track of its velocity and heading at all times, since I will be controlling the car from a building several miles away from the strip of road.
With all of that information, I begin developing the equations that will allow me to control the vehicle from a distance. However, the equations get significantly more complex if I do not make certain assumptions about the motion of the vehicle. So, I decide to make the assumption that the car will have 100% traction as it travels down this strip of road. In other words, I assume that it will never slide from side to side or skid—an assumption which could save me a lot of extra time and money. I check the weather report for road conditions and determine that skidding conditions are unlikely during the testing period. The assumption that I will have 100% traction, and can eliminate those variables pertaining to traction from my equations, is a reasonable one—one that will not cause significant error in my equations. There may be a few small rocks on the road, or a heavy gust of wind that might cause a very small amount of error due to my assumption, but by the end of the one mile strip of road, I can maintain, with a very high degree of confidence, that the car will likely still be on the road and very close to the location that I anticipate.
What if I were to take this same remote control vehicle, with the same assumptions in place, and use it in an off-road setting—out in the middle of nowhere, with no road, and on extremely rough terrain? Would the assumption that there will be 100% traction be a reasonable assumption in that setting—one that would not cause a significant amount of error in my equations? How likely would it be that I will know exactly where my car is by the end of one mile of off-road navigation?
Assumptions often have to be made in science, but those assumptions have to be made very carefully or the end results can be significantly affected. Invalid assumptions can cause the scientist to draw conclusions that are not in keeping with the actual evidence. The key for the scientist is to make assumptions that are reasonable and that do not significantly alter the end results. The problem is that much of the alleged evidence for evolution has been gathered under unsubstantiated, unreasonable, and even false assumptions that contradict the actual evidence.

Unreasonable Assumption 1: Abiogenesis

Consider, for instance, the assumption of abiogenesis. In 1960, G.A. Kerkut published The Implications of Evolution. Therein he listed seven non-provable assumptions upon which evolution is based. “The first assumption is that non-living things gave rise to living material, i.e., spontaneous generation occurred” (p. 6). Evolutionary geologist Robert Hazen, who received a Ph.D. in Earth Science from Harvard, is a research scientist at the Carnegie Institution of Washington’s Geophysical Laboratory and a professor of Earth Science at George Mason University. In his lecture series, Origins of Life, Hazen said:
In this lecture series I make a basic assumption that life emerged by some kind of natural process. I propose that life arose by a sequence of events that are completely consistent with the natural laws of chemistry and physics. In this assumption I am like most other scientists. I believe in a universe that is ordered by these natural laws. Like other scientists, I rely on the power of observations and experiments and theoretical reasoning to understand how the cosmos came to be the way it is (2005, emp. added).
The entire discipline of evolutionary biology is built on the assumption of abiogenesis. But is abiogenesis a reasonable assumption? Is there any evidence to support the assertion that life could come from non-life? Absolutely not. Quite the contrary. There has never been a scrap of empirical evidence that shows that such a thing could happen. In fact, there is a scientific law which prohibits the idea (see Miller, 2012c). The assumption of abiogenesis, upon which evolution stands, is unreasonable and should cause the scientist to scrap the idea in favor of one that does not require such an outlandish assumption.

Unreasonable Assumption 2: Uniformitarianism

What about uniformitarianism? According to the McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific and Technical Terms, “uniformitarianism” is
the concept that the present is the key to the past; the principle that contemporary geologic processes have occurred in the same regular manner and with essentially the same intensity throughout geologic time, and that events of the geologic past can be explained by phenomena observable today (2003, p. 2224).
Uniformitarianism is a fundamental assumption of evolutionary geology. Much of the alleged evidence for deep time—an extremely old age of the Earth and Universe—is based on the principle of uniformitarianism. But is it reasonable to assume that all, or even the majority, of  “the events of the geologic past can be explained by phenomena observable today”? How could one possibly make such an assertion? How could one know whether or not something catastrophic happened, perhaps only once in history, that would have, for instance, completely altered the geologic strata? The idea of “catastrophism,” to which creationists subscribe, allows for such phenomena, and is a much more reasonable assumption upon which to interpret geologic evidence.
Consider, as one example of the effect of catastrophic events on geologic phenomena, recent scientific discoveries concerning rapid petrification. For years it had been assumed that the process of petrification is a uniformitarian process that takes millions of years to complete. However, in 2004, five Japanese scientists published research in the journal Sedimentary Geology which casts doubt on that assumption. The team studied mineral rich, acidic water from the explosion crater of the Tateyama volcano in central Japan—water which runs over the edge of the volcano as a waterfall. Wood had fallen in the path of the water. The surprising discovery was that the wood had become petrified with silica after only 36 years as the water flowed over the wood (Akahane, et al., 2004).
As a further investigation of this phenomenon, the scientists attached pieces of wood to wire and placed them into the water flow. After only seven years, the wood had turned to stone—petrified with silica. Wood petrification had occurred due to the nearby volcanic activity as well. Using a scanning electron microscope, they found that silica petrification occurs in the same way that the wood petrification occurred in the volcanic ash near the volcano (Akahane, et al.). This single discovery completely contradicts the assumption of uniformitarianism, and yet many more could be cited. Catastrophism, on the other hand, is much more reasonable, since it allows for catastrophic events such as volcanoes, meteors, and floods.

Unreasonable Assumptions 3, 4, & 5: Basis of Dating Techniques

The Second Law of Thermodynamics tells us that the Universe is running down or wearing out. We are running out of usable energy. Matter, itself, is breaking down. Various elements break down into other elements over time, and the breakdown appears to be at constant rates today. Scientists are able to measure the rate at which parent isotopes decay into daughter isotopes with an amazing degree of accuracy. This ability is an amazing technological feat, unsurpassed in known human history. However, a major issue arises based on what evolutionary geologists do with the information that they gather from this process. Using the known decay rates of the elements they are studying, evolutionary geologists extrapolate backwards in time to try to determine how old a specimen is.
While this procedure might seem reasonable on the surface, there are significant issues with this practice. The older a specimen is said to be, the more inaccurate the dating technique is known to be. The margin of error grows higher and higher. One reason scientists are aware of this fact is because different dating techniques are often used to date the same specimen, and completely different ages result—often differing by millions of years. It is reasonable to conclude that the primary reason for this discrepancy is the effect of unrealistic assumptions that initiate the process of age extrapolation (cf. Kulp, 1952, p. 261; McDougall and Harrison, 1999, pp. 10-11; Friedlander, et al., 1981 for a discussion of the various assumptions inherent in the dating techniques). Ironically, the evolutionary geologists, themselves, acknowledge that “violations” of the assumptions “are not uncommon” (McDougall and Harrison, p. 11).
One major assumption upon which radiometric dating techniques are based is that, while a specimen might currently have various daughter elements in it, it is assumed that no daughter element existed in the specimen at the beginning of its decay. In other words, the dating technique assumes that the rock was initially completely composed of the parent element. But how could one possibly substantiate an assumption about the initial conditions of a specimen’s decay process, especially when the commencement of its decay was hundreds or thousands (or according to evolutionists, millions or billions) of years ago? Is it not possible, and even likely, that a specimen might have been initially composed of more than one element that blended together during a geologic phenomenon before that rock’s decay processes began? Is it not possible that various rocks were even created by God from the outset, composed of more than one daughter element, due to the usefulness of having those elements already in existence, rather than awaiting their emergence through decay processes? How could one possibly conclusively assert that any specimen was initially composed only of the parent element?
A second assumption upon which radiometric dating techniques are based is that the amounts of parent and daughter isotopes in a specimen have not been altered during the decay process by anything except radioactive decay. So, according to this assumption, the specimen being examined is in a closed system. In other words, the amount of the elements present in a sample have not ever been affected by outside elements. But how likely is it that in thousands of years of geologic processes (or even worse, millions of years, again, according to evolutionists)—lava flows, floods, mudslides, meteorite activity, etc.—the amounts of the various elements in a specimen have not been affected by outside forces?
Evolutionary geologists, again, recognize that this assumption oftentimes does not hold up. According to Ian McDougall, professor of geology in the Research School of Earth Sciences at the Australian National University, and T. Mark Harrison, professor of geology in the Department of Earth and Space Sciences at the University of California, Los Angeles, “Departures from this assumption in fact are quite common, particularly in areas of complex geological history” (1999, p. 11, emp. added). To suggest a closed system for a specimen that is believed to be very old is a reckless, unreasonable assumption, (1) when there is clear evidence that a closed system cannot be guaranteed, and (2) when, in fact, there is compelling evidence that ancient Earth was rocked by a global catastrophe that most certainly would have violated the “closed system” assumption (cf. Whitcomb and Morris, 1961) and created an extremely “complex geological history.”
The third assumption of such dating techniques is that, in keeping with uniformitarian principles, the nuclear decay rate of the elements being measured have remained constant throughout history. While the other assumptions can be seen on the surface to be unsustainable, the problem with this assumption might not seem as evident at first glance. One might expect that the rate of decay of various elements would be “set in stone” as it were—more like scientific laws. However, recent research by a team of scientists (known as RATE) that was presented at the International Conference on Creationism in 2003, indicates that the nuclear decay rates have not always been constant (Humphreys, et al., 2003). The RATE team had several zircon crystals dated by expert evolutionists using the uranium-lead evolutionary dating technique and found them to be 1.5 billion years old, assuming a constant decay rate. A by-product of the breakdown of uranium into lead is helium. Content analysis of the crystals revealed that large amounts of helium were found to be present. However, if the crystals were as old as the dating techniques suggested, there should have been no trace of helium left, since helium atoms are known to be tiny, light, unreactive, and able to easily escape from the spaces within the crystal structure. The presence of helium and carbon-14 showed that the rocks were actually much younger (4,000 to 14,000 years old) than the dating techniques alleged. Since these zircons were taken from the Precambrian basement granite in the Earth, an implication of the find is that the whole Earth could be no older than 4,000 to 14,000 years old. The results of the crystal dating indicate that 1.5 billion years’ worth of radioactive decay, based on the uniformitarian constant decay rate assumption, occurred in only a few thousand years. How could such a thing be possible? How can the two dating techniques be reconciled? By understanding that the rate of decay of uranium into lead must have been different—much higher—in the past (cf. DeYoung, 2005).
Evolutionists have no qualms openly acknowledging the assumptions inherent in evolutionary dating techniques, since without these assumptions in place, there would be no way to date the Earth or anything on it using science. The standard practice of geologists today, in light of this, is to “do what you can with what you have.” However, if the dating assumptions are too unrealistic to allow for an accurate date of anything, shouldn’t the dating methods be deemed untrustworthy or even abandoned, if that is where the evidence leads? It makes no sense to ignore the issues and accept evolution as fact along with its deep time proposition based on such faulty evidence. How is it scientific to use such dating methods in spite of the near certainty that they will not provide accuracy when dating extremely old specimens? In truth, because of the effect of catastrophic activity on the Earth over the centuries, the only sure way to attain the date of the Earth and its elements is through divine revelation. However, as the next assumption shows, that reasonable option has been eliminated from the table as well, due to evolutionary assumptions.

Unreasonable Assumption 6: Naturalism

According to the National Academy of Sciences, “The statements of science must invoke only natural things and processes. The statements of science are those that emerge from the application of human intelligence to data obtained from observation and experiment” (Teaching About Evolution…, 1998, p. 42, emp. added). So according to this modern definition of “science,” anything non-natural is ruled out. In other words, science must be approached through the assumption of naturalism and materialism. Therefore, God is deemed unscientific by this definition (even though He actually instituted the field of science, cf. Miller, 2012d), since He is non-natural and non-material.
Recall the earlier concurring statements by geologist Robert Hazen of the Carnegie Institution, in which he stated that he assumes that life came about through a “natural process…completely consistent with natural laws…. Like other scientists, I rely on the power of observations and experiments and theoretical reasoning to understand how the cosmos came to be the way it is” (2005). Richard Lewontin, evolutionary geneticist of Harvard University, unabashedly said:
Our willingness to accept scientific claims against common sense is the key to an understanding of the real struggle between science and the supernatural. We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to naturalism. It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door (1997, p. 31, 2nd-4th emp. in orig.).
So regardless of the evidence, the bulk of today’s scientific community has agreed to wipe God and supernatural phenomena out of the definition of “science,” not because of the evidence for or against God, but because of the assumption of naturalism. Again we ask, is this a reasonable assumption?
Remember that not all assumptions in science are unreasonable. If an assumption does not significantly alter the end results, it may be a fair, legitimate assumption. However, the assumption of naturalism significantly alters one’s results—yielding completely different answers to important questions compared to the answers that would be given using an approach without that assumption in place. Further, the assumption of naturalism proves to be unreasonable, first, because it is not in keeping with the evidence, and, second, because it is self-contradictory.
According to science—the First and Second Laws of Thermodynamics—in nature, nothing comes from nothing and nothing lasts forever (cf. Miller, 2013). So according to the scientific evidence, in order to explain the origin of everything in the Universe, since it could not have naturally lasted forever or come from nothing, it had to have come from Something outside of “nature”—outside of the Universe. According to the Law of Biogenesis, in nature, life comes only from life and that of its kind (cf. Miller, 2012c). So again, according to the scientific evidence,  since life could not have naturally come from nothing, it had to have come from Something outside of “nature”—outside the Universe. Naturalism does not work in explaining the scientific evidence on these points. It cannot offer an explanation for the origin of the Universe or life in keeping with the evidence. So would it not be reasonable to re-define “science” in such a way that no option is eliminated from consideration based on the faulty assumption of naturalism?
If the scientific evidence points to something, i.e., Someone, supernatural, why not be allowed as scientists to follow the evidence where it leads? Just because one cannot empirically observe something happening, does not mean that one cannot use science to determine who did what, how they did it, when they did it, where they did it, and with what they did it. Forensic scientists engage in this process every day. Indirect evidence is a legitimate source of scientific information, and the Universe is saturated with indirect evidence for the existence of God.
As an approach to science, naturalism contradicts the scientific evidence, and what’s more, it contradicts itself. The naturalist says that everything must be explained through natural processes. However, naturalism requires unnatural phenomena—like abiogenesis and the spontaneous generation or eternality of matter—in order to explain the origin of the Universe and life (cf. Miller, 2012a). Such things not only have not been witnessed by scientists, but in fact, all the scientific evidence is contrary to them. How can a self-contradictory approach to science be the very perspective that defines science? Why are simple logic and common sense being rejected by so many in the scientific community today?

Conclusion

Assumptions are oftentimes necessary in operational science, and they can be effective and productive in helping scientists to solve problems and make advancements and important breakthroughs; but assumptions must be made with caution. The evolutionary community has a strangle-hold on the minds of many in the scientific community today and, all the while,  evolution is riddled with issues, many of which come down to the fundamental assumptions upon which evolution is based. Why do so many people insist on making such far-fetched, unreasonable assumptions? In the words of Scottish philosopher David Hume, “No man turns against reason until reason turns against him” (as quoted in Warren, 1982, p. 4). Many have turned against reason in spite of the evidence, since the evidence has turned against them. But why be so irrational? Why continue to hold to such a bogus, baseless, irrational theory? The reason for most of humanity’s rejection of truth throughout human history was stated succinctly by God through Paul nearly 2,000 years ago. Some people simply do “not like to retain God in their knowledge,” because His restrictions, though given for our good (cf. Romans 7:12; Deuteronomy 6:24; 10:12-13; Psalm 119), tend not to harmonize with our fleshly desires (Romans 1:20-32).

REFERENCES

Akahane, Hisatada, Takeshi Furuno, Hiroshi Miyajima, Toshiyuki Yoshikawa, and Shigeru Yamamoto (2004), “Rapid Wood Silicification in Hot Spring Water: An Explanation of Silicification of Wood During the Earth’s History,” Sedimentary Geology, 169[3-4]:219-228, July 15.
DeYoung, Don (2005), Thousands...Not Billions (Green Forest, AR: Master Books).
Friedlander, G., J.W. Kennedy, E.S. Macias, and J.M. Miller (1981), Nuclear and Radiochemistry (New York: Wiley), third edition.
Hazen, Robert (2005), Origins of Life, audio-taped lecture (Chantilly, VA: The Teaching Company).
Humphreys, Russell, John Baumgardner, Steven Austin, and Andrew Snelling (2003), “Helium Diffusion Rates Support Accelerated Nuclear Decay,”Proceedings of the Fifth International Conference on Creationism, ed. John Ivey Jr. (Creation Science Fellowship: Pittsburgh, PA), www.icr.org/research/icc03/pdf/Helium_ICC_7-22-03.pdf.
Kerkut, Gerald A. (1960), The Implications of Evolution (London: Pergamon).
Kulp, J.L. (1952), “The Carbon 14 Method of Age Determination,” Scientific Monthly, 75, November.
Lewontin, Richard (1997), “Billions and Billions of Demons,” The New York Review, January 9.
McDougall, Ian and T. Mark Harrison (1999), Geochronology and Thermochronology by the 40Ar/39Ar Method (New York: Oxford University Press), second edition.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific and Technical Terms (2003), pub. M.D. Licker (New York: McGraw-Hill), sixth edition.
Miller, Jeff (2012a), “The Atheistic Naturalist’s Self-Contradiction,” Reason & Revelation, 32[5]:53, May, http://www.apologeticspress.org/apPubPage.aspx?pub=1&issue=1029.
Miller, Jeff (2012b), “Don’t ‘Throw the Baby Out With the Bathwater’: Not All Theories Are Bad!” Apologetics Press, http://www.apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=9&article=4541.
Miller, Jeff (2012c), “The Law of Biogenesis,” Reason & Revelation, 32[1]:2-11, January, http://www.apologeticspress.org/apPubPage.aspx?pub=1&issue=1018&article=1722.
Miller, Jeff (2012d), “Science: Instituted By God,” Reason & Revelation, 32[4]:46, April, http://www.apologeticspress.org/apPubPage.aspx?pub=1&issue=1026.
Miller, Jeff (2013), “Evolution and the Laws of Science: The Laws of Thermodynamics,” Apologetics Press, http://www.apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=12&article=2786.
Teaching About Evolution and the Nature of Science (1998), National Academy of Sciences (Washington, DC: National Academy Press).
Warren, Thomas B. (1982), Logic and the Bible (Ramer, TN: National Christian Press).
Whitcomb, John C. and Henry M. Morris (1961), The Genesis Flood (Philadelphia, PA: Presbyterian & Reformed).

Morality Without Religion? by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=7&article=1508

Morality Without Religion?

by  Dave Miller, Ph.D.

Bible and Scales
In the incessant conspiracy to expel the God of the Bible from public life and to dismantle America’s Christian heritage, a variety of ploys and myths frequently is floated by those who profess “political correctness.” One commonly heard quip is: “We can have morality without religion.” Those who advocate such thinking insist that Christianity must be removed from the public sector—whether in government or public schools. They declare that morality is distinct from religion, and that individuals will acknowledge and embrace morality in the absence of Christianity. It was Hitler who said, “The great masses of the people...more easily fall victim to a big lie than to a little one” (1933, 1:10).
The fact is that the Creator of the human race is the sole Author and Source of objective morality. Otherwise, moral distinctions would simply be the product of the subjective whims of humans. Morality would thus legitimately vary from person to person and country to country. One society might decide to legalize pedophilia while another might make it illegal—and both would be “right” in the sense that everyone would be free to formulate their own moral standards. The result would be complete and utter social anarchy in which every person would be equally free to believe and behave however he or she chooses.
Charles Carroll
Charles Carroll
In stark contrast, the Bible presents the only logical and sane assessment of reality—an objective standard, authored by the Creator, exists for the entire human race. That standard resides within the confines of the Christian religion as articulated in the New Testament. Unless human civilization gauges its moral behavior according to that objective, absolute framework, moral and spiritual chaos in society will be the end result. In the words of Charles Carroll, a signer of the Declaration of Independence: “Without morals a republic cannot subsist any length of time; they, therefore, who are decrying the Christian religion, whose morality is so sublime and pure...are undermining the solid foundation of morals, the best security for the duration of free governments” (as quoted in Steiner, 1907, p. 475, emp. added).
Yet, for some fifty years now, Americans have been pummeled with the humanistic notion that morality can be maintained in society to the exclusion of Christianity. With almost prophetic anticipation, the very first president of the United States—the Father of our country—anticipated and addressed this sinister misnomer. After serving his country for two terms as president, George Washington delivered his farewell address to the nation, dispelling the “morality-without-religion” theory in sweeping tones:
Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked: Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths which are the instruments of investigation in courts of justice? And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle. It is substantially true that virtue or morality is a necessary spring of popular government. The rule, indeed, extends with more or less force to every species of free government. Who that is a sincere friend to it can look with indifference upon attempts to shake the foundation of the fabric? (1796, pp. 22-23, emp. added).
Washington was simply echoing the teaching of the Bible. He recognized that the American republic was founded on the moral principles of the Christian religion. He understood that to abandon the Christian religion was ultimately to abandon the moral principles inherent in that religion. He also affirmed that those who “shake the foundation of the fabric,” by undermining the importance of Christian morality, are not sincere friends of America. Indeed, “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people” (Proverbs 14:34). “For the nation and kingdom which will not serve you shall perish, and those nations shall be utterly ruined” (Isaiah 60:12).

REFERENCES

Hitler, Adolf (1933), Mein Kampf, [On-line], URL: http://www.hitler.org/writings/Mein_Kampf/mkv1ch10.html.
Steiner, Bernard (1907), The Life and Correspondence of James McHenry (Cleveland, OH: Burrows Brothers).
Washington, George (1796), Address of George Washington, President of the United States...Preparatory to His Declination (Baltimore, MD: George & Henry Keating).

God Cannot be Tempted...But Jesus Was? by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


http://apologeticspress.org/AllegedDiscrepancies.aspx?article=3580&b=James

God Cannot be Tempted...But Jesus Was?

by Eric Lyons, M.Min.

According to Scripture, Jesus was Deity in the flesh (John 1:1-5,14; 20:28). He was not sired by man; He was not conceived naturally by woman (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23). Rather, Jesus came from heaven (John 3:13; 6:38), proved His “mighty God” Messiahship (Isaiah 9:6) through a variety of verified miracles (John 20:30-31; cf. Lyons and Butt, 2006), accepted worship (Matthew 14:33; John 9:38), and claimed a unity with God the Father that even His enemies understood was a profession of Deity (John 10:30,33). Some, however, question the Bible’s consistency of Jesus being God. The argument goes something like this (cf. Wells, 2010): The Bible declares that Satan tempted Jesus (Matthew 4:1), and that Jesus was “in all points tempted as we are” (Hebrews 4:15). Yet, the Bible also declares that “God cannot be tempted by evil” (James 1:13). Therefore, the Bible (allegedly) contradicts itself regarding the nature of Jesus. How could He be God, if God cannot be tempted?

First, Christians freely admit that contemplation of the nature of God is by no means a simple mental exercise. We were created; He has always been (Psalm 90:2). We have flesh and bones; God is Spirit (John 4:24). We are limited in power; He is omnipotent (Genesis 17:1). We can become knowledgeable about some things; God’s knowledge has always been infinite—“too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain it” (Psalm 139:6). The apostle Paul expressed his amazement of God to the Christians in Rome, saying, “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!” (11:33). It is always a humbling mental struggle for mere man to contemplate the wondrous attributes of God.

Still, however, the legitimate question remains: How could Jesus be God, if He was tempted while on Earth? The answer to this question is basically the same for a variety of questions that one may ask about the nature of Jesus. How could Jesus not know something if He was God (e.g., the time of His Second Coming; Mark 13:32)? How could God the Father be greater than Jesus if Jesus was “equal with God” (John 14:28; John 5:18; Philippians 2:6)? The answer to these and similar questions must be understood in light of what the apostle Paul wrote to the church at Philippi concerning Jesus’ self-limitation during His time on Earth. According to Paul, Christ

being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation [He “emptied Himself”NASB], taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross (Philippians 2:6-8, emp. added).
While on Earth in the flesh, Jesus was voluntarily in a subordinate position to the Father. Christ “emptied Himself” (Philippians 2:7; He “made Himself nothing”—NIV). Unlike Adam and Eve, who made an attempt to seize equality with God (Genesis 3:5), Jesus, the last Adam (1 Corinthians 15:47), humbled Himself, and obediently accepted the role of a servant. But, as Wayne Jackson observed, Jesus’ earthly limitations “were not the consequence of a less-than-God nature; rather, they were the result of a self-imposed submission reflecting the exercise of His sovereign will” (1995, emp. added). In the form of man, Jesus assumed a position of complete subjection to the Father, and exercised His divine attributes only at the Father’s bidding (cf. John 8:26,28-29) [Wycliffe, 1985]. As A.H. Strong similarly commented, Jesus “resigned not the possession, nor yet entirely the use, but rather the independent exercise, of the divine attributes” (1907, p. 703).

Admittedly, as with Deity’s very nature, understanding Jesus as being fully human in addition to His divine nature is not a simple concept to grasp. When Jesus came to Earth, He added humanity to His divinity—He was made “in the likeness of men” (Philippians 2:7). He moved from the spiritual realm to put on flesh (John 1:14) and became subject to such things as hunger, thirst, weariness, and pain. Our holy God chose to come into this world as a helpless babe, Who, for the first time in His eternal existence, “increased in wisdom” as a child (Luke 2:52). In order to become the perfect sacrifice and Great High Priest, Jesus willingly submitted Himself to temptation and death. As the writer of Hebrews noted: “[I]n all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted” (2:17-18).

In short, the Bible’s depiction of Jesus as God incarnated is not contradictory. As the immortal, invisible, pre-incarnate Word (1 Timothy 1:17), He was God (John 1:1). When the Word put on flesh, He was still by nature God (John 10:30,33; 20:28), though He willingly “humbled Himself” and “made Himself of no reputation” (2:6-8) in order to become the tempted, but perfect Man. Indeed, He “who knew no sin” became “sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21).

REFERENCES

Jackson, Wayne (1995), “Did Jesus Exist in the Form of God While on Earth?” Reason & Revelation, 15[3]:21-22, March,  http://www.apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=10&article=354.

Lyons, Eric and Kyle Butt (2006), “The Very Works that I Do Bear Witness of Me,” Reason & Revelation, 26[3]:17-23, March, http://www.apolo geticspress.org/articles/2857.

Strong, A.H. (1907), Systematic Theology (Old Tappan, NJ: Fleming H. Revell).

Wells, Steve (2010), Skeptic’s Annotated Bible, http://www.skepticsannotatedbible.com/contra/tempt_god.html.

Wycliffe Bible Commentary (1985), Electronic Database: Biblesoft.

Judging accusations against others by Beth Johnson


http://www.oldpaths.com/Archive/Johnson/Edna/Elizabeth/1939/judging.html

Judging accusations against others
So often in the work of the church we hear people saying they have been falsely accused or that they did not get an honest hearing when someone laid charges against them. There should be no place for such incidents in the church of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. How can we keep this from happening? How can we make sure that every man is heard in his cause and that Christians make wise decisions concerning one brother against another? Following the scriptures is the only way I know to be sure that every man has justice, judgment and equity.
In John, chapter 7, we read that Jesus could no longer walk among the Jews because they sought to kill him, so he walked in Galilee and did miracles and taught the people there. Even then he was criticized by his own brothers who did not believe in him. They mocked him saying, "Depart hence, and go into Judea, that thy disciples also may see the works that thou doest. For there is no man that doeth any thing in secret, and he himself seeketh to be known openly. If thou do these things, shew thyself to the world," (John 7:3-5).
Later we see that the Jews sought to kill him at the feast. And there was much murmuring among the people,-some saying Jesus was a good man, and others saying he deceived the people. Both these reports could not be true. So which report was true? How would anyone know? Yet the Jews sought to kill him.
Another similar incident in the history of the early church shows Paul and his companions being falsely accused of seeking to destroy the goddess Diana along with the temple in Ephesus. We read about Demetrius the silversmith stirring up the crowd and causing near riot conditions for several hours before they finally caught Gaius and Aristarchus (Acts 19:24-28). No matter what the motivation, the statements made by Demetrius were partly true and partly false. Like many today, when the truth will not have the desired effect, additional (false) information is added to make the assertion "lather." Paul and his companions did teach that there were no other gods besides the one Heavenly Father, but they did not advocate Christians tearing down or destroying the temple of Diana. That addition to the truth was nothing but a blatant false accusation, which made their whole platform abominable.
As you know from reading accounts of the trials of the Apostle Paul, he endured many such accusations from the Jews and from brethren "so called." Fortunately the Roman government made an attempt at giving him justice even though the Jewish people did not. Sometimes the same thing is true of disputes today. A civil courtroom is often used to seek justice when the church has not judged in matters between brethren, but that is not the way it should be. What should we do? To whom should we go for judgment?
Nicodemus stated a universal truth, which many people in the church today ignore. "Nicodemus saith unto them, (he that came to Jesus by night, being one of them,) Doth our law judge any man, before it hear him, and know what he doeth?" (John 7:50-51).
What did the OT Law say? How were the Jews supposed to judge Paul and his companions?
"Ye shall not respect persons in judgment; but ye shall hear the small as well as the great; ye shall not be afraid of the face of man; for the judgment is God's: and the cause that is too hard for you, bring it unto me, and I will hear it" (Deuteronomy 1:17).
"If there arise a matter too hard for thee in judgment, between blood and blood, between plea and plea, and between stroke and stroke, being matters of controversy within thy gates: then shalt thou arise, and get thee up into the place which the LORD thy God shall choose. And thou shalt come unto the priests the Levites, and unto the judge that shall be in those days, and inquire; and they shall shew thee the sentence of judgment: And thou shalt do according to the sentence, which they of that place which the LORD shall choose shall shew thee; and thou shalt observe to do according to all that they inform thee: according to the sentence of the law which they shall teach thee, and according to the judgment which they shall tell thee, thou shalt do: thou shalt not decline from the sentence which they shall shew thee, to the right hand, nor to the left" (Deuteronomy 17:8-11).
"One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or for any sin, in any sin that he sinneth: at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established. If a false witness rise up against any man to testify against him that which is wrong; then both the men, between whom the controversy is, shall stand before the LORD, before the priests and the judges, which shall be in those days; and the judges shall make diligent inquisition: and, behold, if the witness be a false witness, and hath testified falsely against his brother; then shall ye do unto him, as he had thought to have done unto his brother: so shalt thou put the evil away from among you" (Deuteronomy 19:15-19).
"He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him" (Proverbs 18:13).
Under the New Testament law given by Christ, we also have commands to follow in judging any matter against a brother:


  1. "But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established" (Matt 18:16).
  2. "This is the third time I am coming to you. In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established" (2 Corinthians 13:1)
  3. "Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses. Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear" (1 Timothy 5:19-20).
  4. "Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee" (Jude 9).
  5. "He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses" (Hebrews 10:28).
  6. "Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work, To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men" (Titus 3:1-2).
Finally, even if we have sought justice and judgment and not found it, we may be comforted by the final days of Paul the Apostle, who endured prison, mockery, and trial after trial which never gave him justice, judgment or equity in his lifetime. The letter sent by Felix to the king states Paul's innocence plainly; yet Paul probably never knew freedom again because of his false accusers (Acts 25:14-27).
Paul never found justice in this world, and we may never find justice, but the Lord of all is watching and will reward on that Great Day. Meanwhile our hearts are being formed.
Beth Johnson
Published in The Old Paths Archive
(http://www.oldpaths.com)

Bible Reading February 20 by Gary Rose


Bible Reading February 20 (World English Bible)


Feb. 20
Exodus 1

Exo 1:1 Now these are the names of the sons of Israel, who came into Egypt (every man and his household came with Jacob):
Exo 1:2 Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah,
Exo 1:3 Issachar, Zebulun, and Benjamin,
Exo 1:4 Dan and Naphtali, Gad and Asher.
Exo 1:5 All the souls who came out of Jacob's body were seventy souls, and Joseph was in Egypt already.
Exo 1:6 Joseph died, as did all his brothers, and all that generation.
Exo 1:7 The children of Israel were fruitful, and increased abundantly, and multiplied, and grew exceedingly mighty; and the land was filled with them.
Exo 1:8 Now there arose a new king over Egypt, who didn't know Joseph.
Exo 1:9 He said to his people, "Behold, the people of the children of Israel are more and mightier than we.
Exo 1:10 Come, let us deal wisely with them, lest they multiply, and it happen that when any war breaks out, they also join themselves to our enemies, and fight against us, and escape out of the land."
Exo 1:11 Therefore they set taskmasters over them to afflict them with their burdens. They built storage cities for Pharaoh: Pithom and Raamses.
Exo 1:12 But the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and the more they spread out. They were grieved because of the children of Israel.
Exo 1:13 The Egyptians ruthlessly made the children of Israel serve,
Exo 1:14 and they made their lives bitter with hard service, in mortar and in brick, and in all manner of service in the field, all their service, in which they ruthlessly made them serve.
Exo 1:15 The king of Egypt spoke to the Hebrew midwives, of whom the name of the one was Shiphrah, and the name of the other Puah,
Exo 1:16 and he said, "When you perform the duty of a midwife to the Hebrew women, and see them on the birth stool; if it is a son, then you shall kill him; but if it is a daughter, then she shall live."
Exo 1:17 But the midwives feared God, and didn't do what the king of Egypt commanded them, but saved the baby boys alive.
Exo 1:18 The king of Egypt called for the midwives, and said to them, "Why have you done this thing, and have saved the boys alive?"
Exo 1:19 The midwives said to Pharaoh, "Because the Hebrew women aren't like the Egyptian women; for they are vigorous, and give birth before the midwife comes to them."
Exo 1:20 God dealt well with the midwives, and the people multiplied, and grew very mighty.
Exo 1:21 It happened, because the midwives feared God, that he gave them families.
Exo 1:22 Pharaoh commanded all his people, saying, "You shall cast every son who is born into the river, and every daughter you shall save alive."

 

Feb. 20, 21
Matthew 26

Mat 26:1 It happened, when Jesus had finished all these words, that he said to his disciples,
Mat 26:2 "You know that after two days the Passover is coming, and the Son of Man will be delivered up to be crucified."
Mat 26:3 Then the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders of the people were gathered together in the court of the high priest, who was called Caiaphas.
Mat 26:4 They took counsel together that they might take Jesus by deceit, and kill him.
Mat 26:5 But they said, "Not during the feast, lest a riot occur among the people."
Mat 26:6 Now when Jesus was in Bethany, in the house of Simon the leper,
Mat 26:7 a woman came to him having an alabaster jar of very expensive ointment, and she poured it on his head as he sat at the table.
Mat 26:8 But when his disciples saw this, they were indignant, saying, "Why this waste?
Mat 26:9 For this ointment might have been sold for much, and given to the poor."
Mat 26:10 However, knowing this, Jesus said to them, "Why do you trouble the woman? Because she has done a good work for me.
Mat 26:11 For you always have the poor with you; but you don't always have me.
Mat 26:12 For in pouring this ointment on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial.
Mat 26:13 Most certainly I tell you, wherever this Good News is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be spoken of as a memorial of her."
Mat 26:14 Then one of the twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests,
Mat 26:15 and said, "What are you willing to give me, that I should deliver him to you?" They weighed out for him thirty pieces of silver.
Mat 26:16 From that time he sought opportunity to betray him.
Mat 26:17 Now on the first day of unleavened bread, the disciples came to Jesus, saying to him, "Where do you want us to prepare for you to eat the Passover?"
Mat 26:18 He said, "Go into the city to a certain person, and tell him, 'The Teacher says, "My time is at hand. I will keep the Passover at your house with my disciples." ' "
Mat 26:19 The disciples did as Jesus commanded them, and they prepared the Passover.
Mat 26:20 Now when evening had come, he was reclining at the table with the twelve disciples.
Mat 26:21 As they were eating, he said, "Most certainly I tell you that one of you will betray me."
Mat 26:22 They were exceedingly sorrowful, and each began to ask him, "It isn't me, is it, Lord?"
Mat 26:23 He answered, "He who dipped his hand with me in the dish, the same will betray me.
Mat 26:24 The Son of Man goes, even as it is written of him, but woe to that man through whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would be better for that man if he had not been born."
Mat 26:25 Judas, who betrayed him, answered, "It isn't me, is it, Rabbi?" He said to him, "You said it."
Mat 26:26 As they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks for it, and broke it. He gave to the disciples, and said, "Take, eat; this is my body."
Mat 26:27 He took the cup, gave thanks, and gave to them, saying, "All of you drink it,
Mat 26:28 for this is my blood of the new covenant, which is poured out for many for the remission of sins.
Mat 26:29 But I tell you that I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on, until that day when I drink it anew with you in my Father's Kingdom."
Mat 26:30 When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.
Mat 26:31 Then Jesus said to them, "All of you will be made to stumble because of me tonight, for it is written, 'I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.'
Mat 26:32 But after I am raised up, I will go before you into Galilee."
Mat 26:33 But Peter answered him, "Even if all will be made to stumble because of you, I will never be made to stumble."
Mat 26:34 Jesus said to him, "Most certainly I tell you that tonight, before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times."
Mat 26:35 Peter said to him, "Even if I must die with you, I will not deny you." All of the disciples also said likewise.
Mat 26:36 Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to his disciples, "Sit here, while I go there and pray."
Mat 26:37 He took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and severely troubled.
Mat 26:38 Then he said to them, "My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here, and watch with me."
Mat 26:39 He went forward a little, fell on his face, and prayed, saying, "My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass away from me; nevertheless, not what I desire, but what you desire."
Mat 26:40 He came to the disciples, and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, "What, couldn't you watch with me for one hour?
Mat 26:41 Watch and pray, that you don't enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak."
Mat 26:42 Again, a second time he went away, and prayed, saying, "My Father, if this cup can't pass away from me unless I drink it, your desire be done."
Mat 26:43 He came again and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy.
Mat 26:44 He left them again, went away, and prayed a third time, saying the same words.
Mat 26:45 Then he came to his disciples, and said to them, "Sleep on now, and take your rest. Behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.
Mat 26:46 Arise, let's be going. Behold, he who betrays me is at hand."
Mat 26:47 While he was still speaking, behold, Judas, one of the twelve, came, and with him a great multitude with swords and clubs, from the chief priest and elders of the people.
Mat 26:48 Now he who betrayed him gave them a sign, saying, "Whoever I kiss, he is the one. Seize him."
Mat 26:49 Immediately he came to Jesus, and said, "Hail, Rabbi!" and kissed him.
Mat 26:50 Jesus said to him, "Friend, why are you here?" Then they came and laid hands on Jesus, and took him.
Mat 26:51 Behold, one of those who were with Jesus stretched out his hand, and drew his sword, and struck the servant of the high priest, and struck off his ear.
Mat 26:52 Then Jesus said to him, "Put your sword back into its place, for all those who take the sword will die by the sword.
Mat 26:53 Or do you think that I couldn't ask my Father, and he would even now send me more than twelve legions of angels?
Mat 26:54 How then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that it must be so?"
Mat 26:55 In that hour Jesus said to the multitudes, "Have you come out as against a robber with swords and clubs to seize me? I sat daily in the temple teaching, and you didn't arrest me.
Mat 26:56 But all this has happened, that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled." Then all the disciples left him, and fled.
Mat 26:57 Those who had taken Jesus led him away to Caiaphas the high priest, where the scribes and the elders were gathered together.
Mat 26:58 But Peter followed him from a distance, to the court of the high priest, and entered in and sat with the officers, to see the end.
Mat 26:59 Now the chief priests, the elders, and the whole council sought false testimony against Jesus, that they might put him to death;
Mat 26:60 and they found none. Even though many false witnesses came forward, they found none. But at last two false witnesses came forward,
Mat 26:61 and said, "This man said, 'I am able to destroy the temple of God, and to build it in three days.' "
Mat 26:62 The high priest stood up, and said to him, "Have you no answer? What is this that these testify against you?"
Mat 26:63 But Jesus held his peace. The high priest answered him, "I adjure you by the living God, that you tell us whether you are the Christ, the Son of God."
Mat 26:64 Jesus said to him, "You have said it. Nevertheless, I tell you, after this you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of Power, and coming on the clouds of the sky."
Mat 26:65 Then the high priest tore his clothing, saying, "He has spoken blasphemy! Why do we need any more witnesses? Behold, now you have heard his blasphemy.
Mat 26:66 What do you think?" They answered, "He is worthy of death!"
Mat 26:67 Then they spit in his face and beat him with their fists, and some slapped him,
Mat 26:68 saying, "Prophesy to us, you Christ! Who hit you?"
Mat 26:69 Now Peter was sitting outside in the court, and a maid came to him, saying, "You were also with Jesus, the Galilean!"
Mat 26:70 But he denied it before them all, saying, "I don't know what you are talking about."
Mat 26:71 When he had gone out onto the porch, someone else saw him, and said to those who were there, "This man also was with Jesus of Nazareth."
Mat 26:72 Again he denied it with an oath, "I don't know the man."
Mat 26:73 After a little while those who stood by came and said to Peter, "Surely you are also one of them, for your speech makes you known."
Mat 26:74 Then he began to curse and to swear, "I don't know the man!" Immediately the rooster crowed.
Mat 26:75 Peter remembered the word which Jesus had said to him, "Before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times." He went out and wept bitterly.