5/18/19

"THE FIRST EPISTLE OF PETER" The Living And Abiding Word (1:22-2:3) by Mark Copeland


"THE FIRST EPISTLE OF PETER"

The Living And Abiding Word (1:22-2:3)

INTRODUCTION

1. As Christians, we are but pilgrims in this world;  our lives are but
   a sojourn toward our true home which is in heaven
   a. But as we travel through this life, we are not left without a
      "spiritual roadmap"
   b. To guide us on our journey, God in His grace has given us His
      wonderful Word, contained in the pages of what we call the Bible

2. What is sad is the fact...
   a. That many people go through their lives and never seriously
      consult this book which can direct them to heaven
   b. That even many Christians go through life ignorant of much of its
      content!

3. I am hoping that in the course of this lesson...
   a. I can awaken any such people to the value of the wonderful Word
      of God
   b. And that I can impress upon you the importance and necessity of
      reading the Word of God on a daily basis

[In an effort to do so, I encourage you to open your Bibles to 1Pe 1:
22-2:3, where we read of the nature of God's Word (read).

Within this passage of scripture, we can glean various attributes
possessed by the Word of God that make it so wonderful.  Consider,
then...]

I. THE WONDER OF GOD'S WORD

   A. IT LIVES AND ABIDES FOREVER...
      1. Verses 23-25 stress this point:
         a. "not of corruptible seed, but incorruptible"
         b. "which lives abides forever"
         c. "the Word of the Lord endures forever"
      2. Jesus has also spoken of the indestructibility of the Word of
         God - Mt 24:35
      3. History has borne out the fact that despite man's efforts to
         destroy and do away with it, the Bible continues to endure
         a. The efforts of Diocletian
            1) In 303 A.D. he proclaimed an edict requiring Christians
               and their sacred scriptures to be destroyed
            2) But within 25 years, the succeeding emperor ordered that
               50 copies be made and distributed at government expense!
         b. The claims of Voltaire, the French atheist (who died in
            1778)
            1) He boasted that within 100 hundred years of his
               lifetime, Christianity would be swept from the earth
            2) But only fifty years after his death, his own printing
               press and house were being used by the Geneva Bible
               Society to produce stacks of Bibles!
      4. How true, then, is the statement of Isaiah as quoted by Peter
         in 1Pe 1:24-25

   B. IT CAN CAUSE ONE TO BE BORN AGAIN...
      1. There is a law of science known as the Law of Biogenesis which
         states that "life begets life"
      2. Because the Word of God is what it is, it is able to produce
         spiritual life!  What is it?
         a. It is "incorruptible" seed which "lives and abides forever"
            - 1Pe 1:23
         b. It is "living and powerful" - He 4:12
         c. As Jesus said: "...The words that I speak to you are
            spirit, and they are life." - cf. Jn 6:63
      3. When a person receives the Word of God and obeys it, he or she
         is truly born again! - cf. Jm 1:18

   C. IT CAN PURIFY THE SOUL...
      1. Notice carefully:  "Since you have purified your souls in
         obeying the truth..." - 1Pe 1:22
      2. By obeying the truth (the Word of God), our souls are purified
         - cf. Jn 17:17
      3. That is because the truth contains the gospel, which when
         believed and obeyed, results in the remission of sins by the
         blood of Christ!

   D. IT CAN PRODUCE CONTINUAL GROWTH...
      1. "...desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow
         thereby," - 1Pe 2:2
      2. Spiritual growth as a Christian is totally dependent upon the
         Word of God!

[Do you see why the Word of God is too wonderful to neglect? There is
no way you can destroy it, and if you desire to be born again and grow
spiritually, it is impossible without the incorruptible seed of the
Word of God!

Now if we desire to allow the Word of God to produce in our lives its
desired effect (spiritual life and spiritual growth), there are at
least two things mentioned by Peter which are essential...]

II. GROWING BY THE WORD OF GOD

   A. FIRST, WE MUST PREPARE THE SOIL OF OUR HEARTS...
      1. Just as when we prepare the ground for planting a garden
         a. We cleanse the ground of all insects and weeds
         b. So that seeds can grow unhindered
      2. Likewise, there are things Peter says we must lay aside...
         a. MALICE - an evil disposition, malignant spirit, a desire to
            injure another
         b. GUILE - that is, craftiness
         c. HYPOCRISY - deceptive and deceitful actions and attitudes
         d. ENVY - feelings of unhappiness because another has that
            which one desires for oneself
         e. EVIL SPEAKING - slanderous and defamatory statements about
            others
         -- For the Word of God to flourish in our lives, we must rid
            ourselves of these things
      3. Note also that these attributes must be rid of, if we are to
         be able to "love one another fervently" (as commanded in 1 Pe 1:22)

   B. SECOND, WE MUST HAVE THE PROPER DESIRE FOR THE WORD...
      1. Peter illustrates the proper desire...
         a. We are to be like "newborn babes" who desire milk - 1Pe 2:
            2-3
         b. Just as babies "long" for milk, we are to "long" for the
            Word of God
      2. Do our present attitudes toward the Word of God indicate such
         longing?
         a. Do we demand regular feeding upon the Word of God?
         b. If we feasted upon food as often as we feasted upon the
            Word of God, would we survive physically? - cf. Mt 4:4;
            Ps 119:165; Jer 15:16
      3. Failure to have this longing for the Word of God is a main
         reason for the lack of spiritual growth in many today
         a. It is why many do not overcome sin in their lives - cf.
            1Jn 2:14
         b. It is why many never become the godly men and women you
            would expect of Christians who have been such for 5,10,15
            years or more
      4. A question I often raise:
         a. If we do not read, study and meditate upon the Bible
            daily...
         b. If we go year after year, failing to read through the Bible
            on a regular basis...
         -- Can it be said that we have the proper desire for the Word
            of God?

CONCLUSION

1. The Word of God is too wonderful for Christians to neglect! Yet I
   dare to say that there has been a wholesale neglect of the Word of
   God among Christians in the Lord's church today

2. "If indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious", as Peter
   says, if you have been born again by the Word of God, then I plead
   with you to make Bible reading an integral part of your daily life!

If you have not even obeyed the gospel, why not do so this very day?
For the wonderful Word of which we have been speaking is contained
within the gospel (cf. 1Pe 1:25b; Mk 16:15-16).

Yes, be born again through obedience to the Word of God (cf. 1Pe 1:
22-23), and begin a life where you can continue to grow, feeding upon
"The Living And Abiding Word!"

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2016

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Militant Atheism by Eric Lyons, M.Min. Kyle Butt, M.Div.

http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=12&article=2051


Militant Atheism

by Eric Lyons, M.Min.
Kyle Butt, M.Div.


The stereotypical scientist in a white lab coat who follows the facts wherever they may lead, and reports those data without prejudice, often does not correspond to reality these days. In fact, a large majority of scientists now believe that God does not exist. These scientists feel that they should militantly spread their ideas of atheism and evolution as far and wide as possible. They abhor the idea of a supernatural Creator and believe it should be eradicated from human consciousness. Just how determined are some of the leading atheistic evolutionists to expunge theism from the world? A recent issue of the journal New Scientist, which just celebrated its 50th anniversary, sheds some light on the subject. In an article titled, “In Place of God: Can Secular Science Ever Oust Religious Belief—and Should It Even Try?,” Michael Brooks recounted a recent meeting of “some of the leading practitioners of modern science” in La Jolla, California (2006, 192[2578]:8). They had gathered to discuss, among other questions, “Should science do away with religion?” Their answers are alarming. [NOTE: The following quotations are extracted from Brooks’ report.]
Cosmologist Steven Weinberg was first to address the question, “Should science do away with religion?” He responded with an unequivocal “yes,” saying: “The world needs to wake up from the long nightmare of religion.... Anything we scientists can do to weaken the hold of religion should be done, and may in fact be our greatest contribution to civilization” (p. 9, emp. added). Since scientists at the symposium used the terms “religion” and “God” interchangeably, Weinberg in essence was saying that ridding God from the world would be one of science’s greatest achievements. He seemed so certain that scientists could achieve this goal that he actually admitted he would “miss it once it was gone” (p. 9). How were Weinberg’s comments received, you might ask? According to attendee Michael Brooks, he received “a rapturous response” (p. 9), before being heavily criticized by some, such as Richard Dawkins, surprisingly enough, “for not being tough enough on religion” (p. 9).
Dawkins, who is perhaps the most celebrated evolutionist alive today, was one of the most militant atheists at the conference. He stated: “I am utterly fed up with the respect we have been brainwashed into bestowing upon religion,” i.e., God (p. 9; cf. Ecclesiastes 12:12-13). Passive atheism apparently should not be tolerated. Dawkins is “ready to mobilize” his “big...enthusiastic choir” of evolutionary colleagues (p. 11). He said: “There’s a certain sort of negativity you get from people who say ‘I don’t like religion but you can’t do anything about it.’ That’s a real counsel of defeatism. We should roll our sleeves up and get on with it” (p. 11, emp. added). Dawkins even compared evolutionary scientists’ position in the 21st century to that of homosexuals in the late 1960s: everyone needs to be “willing to stand up and be counted,” so that “they could change things” (p. 11).
Dawkins likely called for such drastic action because he has seen atheism lose some of its battles. In his book, The Blind Watchmaker, he admitted that modern creationists have been “disturbingly successful” in their attempts to combat evolution in “American education and textbook publishing” (1996, p. 241). He also wrote: “There are still those who seek to deny the truth of evolution, and there are disturbing signs that their influence is even growing, at least in local areas of the United States” (p. x). The influence of anti-evolutionists disturbs Dawkins greatly—so much so that he and his colleagues feel compelled to advance evolution, while doing “away with religion” (Brooks, 192[2578]:9).
Evolutionist Neil deGrasse Tyson of the Hayden Planetarium in New York “spoke with an evangelist’s zeal” (p. 10, emp. added). He referred to a recent poll taken of members of the U.S.National Academy of Sciences which revealed that 15 percent did not indicate they were atheists, and asked: “How come the number isn’t zero?... That should be the subject of everybody’s investigation. That’s something that we can’t just sweep under the rug” (p. 10). To Tyson, theistic members of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences represent “a problem that needs to be addressed” (p. 10). One wonders what Tyson would suggest if Louis Pasteur, Isaac Newton, Carolus Linnaeus, and other brilliant theistic scientists from the past were members of this group? Kick them out for not being atheists, even though their contributions to science likely far exceed any efforts put forth by most current members of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences? Even the staunch evolutionist Niles Eldredge admitted that “all the great biologists and geologists prior to Darwin were, in some sense at least, creationists” (2001, p. 49).
Dr. Harry Kroto of Florida State University also stepped forward at the conference declaring himself “ready to fight the good fight” (Brooks, 192[2578]:11). He proposed the launching of “a coordinated global effort at education, media outreach and campaigning on behalf of science,” using especially the Internet to take evolutionary science into every home (p. 11). If you think students in private religious schools will be untouched and invulnerable to the efforts of modern-day evolutionists, consider that Kroto has these schools in his sights as well. He declared: “We must try to work against faith schooling” (p. 11).
Michael Brooks summarized the overall attitude at the La Jolla, California symposium in the following words: “science can take on religion and win” (p. 11, emp. added). So, in the words of Richard Dawkins, “We [evolutionists—EL/KB] should roll our sleeves up and get on with it” (p. 11).
The irony of this militant attitude toward religion is that evolutionists sometimes downplay such aggressive tactics in an attempt to lull the religious populace into thinking that no battle is taking place. Niles Eldredge, the Curator in the Department of Invertebrate Paleontology at the American Museum of Natural History, wrote a book titled The Triumph of Evolution and the Failure of Creationism. In that book, he said: “Creationists have spuriously convinced many citizens that huge hunks of science are antithetical to their religious beliefs” (2001, p. 174). One would not have to read past the first page of Brook’s New Scientist article to understand that the evolutionists themselves openly admit that their atheistic, evolutionary beliefs are antithetical to religion. To add further irony to Eldredge’s statement, the back of his book quotes Booklist as saying that Eldredge’s book is “a clarion call rallying evolutionist [sic] to battle.”

IT STARTS EARLY AND STAYS LATE

In the mid-1990s, philosopher Daniel Dennett wrote a book titled Darwin’s Dangerous Idea. Leading evolutionists such as Richard Dawkins, Steven Pinker, Philip Kitcher, and Edward O. Wilson highly recommended the book, calling it “surpassingly brilliant” and “essential,” as it persuades readers that “evolution by natural selection is vital to the future of philosophy.” One of the most disturbing comments in Dennett’s book concerned parents who teach their children (among other things) “that ‘Man’ is not a product of evolution” (1995, p. 519, emp. added). Dennett wrote: “[T]hose of us who have freedom of speech will feel free to describe your teachings as the spreading of falsehoods, and will attempt to demonstrate this to your children at our earliest opportunity” (p. 519). Notice the jab at religious parents—accusing them of lying and not “freely” telling the truth about man’s origins. More important, observe how he then proceeded to testify that evolutionists like himself will endeavor to convince the children of theists that evolution is not fiction, but a fact that will be communicated “at our earliest opportunity.” How early? Consider one example.
The toddler pop-up “history” book titled Life on Earth was published in 2002 by Barron’s Educational Series. It is 21 pages of colorful illustrations, captivating pop-ups, and evolutionary dogma. It tells the story of evolution with less than 10 words per page. Beginning with “the first living things” in the seas, it proceeds with fish crawling out onto land and becoming amphibians. It then tells of the reptiles’ appearance, followed by the mammals, and eventually the first “hairy” humans. In case a child misses the point of the book, placed strategically just above a baby in diapers sliding down the tail of a large dinosaur, the text on the back cover reinforces the main point: “Millions of years ago life on Earth started in the oceans. Then it moved onto the land and eventually led to YOU!”
Those who teach evolution target children. Niles Eldredge wrote: “I maintain my conviction that the real battleground is in the classroom” (2001, p. 157, emp. added). In the same book, he asserted: “The real battle is still being fought at school board meetings and in public school classrooms” (p. 149, emp. added). Notice the military terminology used. Mark it down. Many within the evolutionary community recognize that the ideas of a supernatural God and organic evolution are at war. Eldredge and others offer a glimpse into their battle strategy: start early in the school system.
Near the end of his book, Eldredge included a list from Eugenie Scott, Director of the National Center for Science Education, of 25 things “parents, teachers, and even scientists” can do to help evolution win its battle over creation. The number one item listed: “Donate books and videos about evolution to school and public libraries” (p. 178, emp. added). Number eight: “Share your views with school board members, legislators, textbook commissioners, and other educational policy makers” (p. 179, emp. added). Number 16: “PARENTS: Make sure your child’s teacher knows s/he has your support for teaching about evolution” (p. 179). Number 22: “K-12 TEACHERS: Work with your colleagues to create a supportive atmosphere in your school and community” (p. 180). Number 23: “K-12 TEACHERS: Work with colleagues to develop or publicize workshops and in-service units about evolution; take advantage of them yourself” (p. 180). A cursory reading of the list shows exactly the primary target of evolutionists: children and educational systems.
Dr. Dennett and his band of evolutionary guerrillas are serious about teaching evolution at the “earliest opportunity.” It can start with what parents perceive as “innocent” pop-up books, and continue into elementary school, middle school, and high school. Then, generally with more fervor than ever before, many evolutionary college professors make it their mission to verbally beat God out of their students. Sometime ago a gentleman visited one of our creation/evolution seminars. He had attended a well-known university in the southeastern United States. He recounted how he entered one of his science classes at the beginning of the semester, and heard his professor ask the class to stand up if they believed in God. Seven individuals stood up. The professor then went on to say that by the end of the semester not one of them would stand up when he asked that question. Sure enough, toward the end of the semester the professor posed the question again, “How many of you believe in God?” Only one student stood up.

WHERE WILL IT LEAD?

If militant evolutionists have their way, what ultimately will become of nonconformists and disbelievers of evolutionary theory? Let us allow the evolutionists themselves to tell us. Richard Dickerson, a molecular biologist, wrote an article titled “The Game of Science.” In that article, he insisted that science cannot tolerate a supernatural Creator Who would perform miracles or create the Universe in six, 24-hour days. He also proposed that real science never can resort to invoking miracles as a legitimate explanation for anything that happens in the real world. Dickerson said: “[I]nvoking miracles and special creation violates the rules of the game of science and inhibits progress” (as quoted in Scott, 2004, p. 254). According to Dickerson, then, what should be done with any person who does believe in a supernatural Creator and a straightforward reading of Genesis 1? He is quick to offer his opinion. He says: “People who do not understand that concept (evolution—EL/KB) can never be real scientists, and should not be allowed to misrepresent science to young people from whom the ranks of the next generation of scientists will be drawn” (as quoted in Scott, p. 254, emp. added). Richard Dawkins quipped: “No serious biologist doubts the fact that evolution has happened, nor that all living creatures are cousins of one another” (1996, p. 287, emp.).
Consider one example of intolerance toward creationism in 2002 at Texas Tech University. When undergraduate student Micah Spradling requested a letter of recommendation from a biology instructor in order to enroll in a pre-medical program, Professor Michael Dini informed him that he needed to “‘truthfully and forthrightly’ believe in human evolution to receive a letter of recommendation” (see Kitchen, 2002). At the time, Dr. Dini’s Web site contained the following defense of why he asked students if they believed in the factuality of evolution:
Why do I ask this question? Let’s consider the situation of one wishing to enter medical school. Whereas medicine is historically rooted first in the practice of magic and later in religion, modern medicine is an endeavor that springs from the sciences, biology first among these. The central, unifying principle of biology is the theory of evolution, which includes both micro- and macro-evolution, and which extends to all species. How can someone who does not accept the most important theory in biology expect to properly practice in a field that is so heavily based on biology? It is hard to imagine how this can be so, but it is easy to imagine how physicians who ignore or neglect the Darwinian aspects of medicine or the evolutionary origin of humans can make bad clinical decisions....
Good medicine, like good biology, is based on the collection and evaluation of physical evidence. So much physical evidence supports the evolution of humans from non-human ancestors that one can validly refer to the “fact” of human evolution, even if all of the details are not yet known. One can deny this evidence only at the risk of calling into question one’s understanding of science and of the method of science. Such an individual has committed malpractice regarding the method of science, for good scientists would never throw out data that do not conform to their expectations or beliefs. This is the situation of those who deny the evolution of humans; such a one is throwing out information because it seems to contradict his/her cherished beliefs (as quoted in Thompson and Harrub, 2002).
In the eyes of some, such as Dr. Dini, it is no longer acceptable simply to know about the theory of evolution and be able to discuss it intelligently. Now, if you do not profess it, even though, admittedly, it is still simply a “theory” and “all of the details are not yet known,” you may risk the opportunity to further your education—a risk that Christians must be willing to take.
In 2003, following an investigation by the U.S. Justice Department, Dr. Dini supposedly “eliminated the evolution belief requirement from his recommendation policy and replaced it with a requirement that students be able to explain the theory of evolution” (Taylor, 2003, 27[4]:6). The wording in Dr. Dini’s policy changed to the following: “How do you account for the scientific origin of the human species? If you will not give a scientific answer to this question, then you should not seek my recommendation” (as quoted in Taylor, 27[4]:6, emp. added).
Notice that Dr. Dini simply changed his criteria to demand a “scientific” answer. Yet, when one explores the writings of these militant evolutionists, it becomes apparent that the word “scientific” is simply a synonym for “evolutionary.” For instance, Eugenie Scott wrote: “To scientists, using God to explain natural phenomena of any kind violates the practice of methodological naturalism, in which scientific explanations are limited only to natural causes” (2004, p. 119, emp. added). In other words, any idea that contains a hint of a supernatural, non-material Creator is, according to their definition, “unscientific.” In the National Academy of Science’s book Science and Creationism, the “steering committee” members, such as Stephen J. Gould, Eugenie Scott, Francisco Ayala, and others, put it like this: “[T]he teaching of evolution should be an integral part of science instruction, and creation science is in fact not science and should not be presented as such in science classes” (1999, p. 2). How convenient. Simply demand that all answers must be “scientific,” then define scientific as excluding any reference to a supernatural Creator. Needless to say, the great scientists of the past like Newton, Farraday, and Carver never would have accepted such a biased definition of science. Nor should thinking people today allow these sneaky, semantic tactics to go unchallenged and unanswered.
Ultimately, evolutionists would like to marginalize completely those who believe in a supernatural Creator. They would like to relegate all non-evolutionists to a tiny a band of “know-nothings,” or as Dawkins puts it, “backwoodsmen” who do not deserve the name “scientist” (1996, p. x). If these militant evolutionists have their way, no creationist will be allowed to enroll in the prestigious institutes of higher learning to earn advanced accredited degrees, much less have the opportunity to teach on college campuses. In the introduction to his 1996 edition of The Blind Watchmaker, Dawkins said as much: “I was reminded of the creationist student who, through some accident of the selection procedure, was admitted to the Zoology Department at Oxford University” (p. xi). To Dawkins, and others like him, a “properly” working selection procedure would have disallowed a creationist to enroll in an institute like Oxford, regardless of his or her intellectual accomplishments or abilities. Dawkins’ sentiments are clear from his statement in 1989: “It is absolutely safe to say that if you meet somebody who claims not to believe in evolution, that person is ignorant, stupid, or insane (or wicked, but I’d rather not consider that)” (7:34, parenthetical item in orig.). In contradistinction, the Bible says: “The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God’” (Psalm 14:1; 53:1).
The fact that these militant evolutionists want to silence the idea of creation is ironic in light of beliefs held by Darwin himself. In his book, Origin of the Species, Darwin wrote:
I am well aware that scarcely a single point is discussed in this volume on which facts cannot be adduced, apparently leading to conclusions directly opposite to those at which I have arrived. A fair result can be obtained only by fully stating and balancing the facts and arguments on both sides of each question... (1956, p. 18, emp. added).
Judging from the comments by Dawkins and others, Darwin’s suggestion that both sides should be heard was far too tolerant and soft on the “unscientific” idea of creation.

ACKNOWLEDGE THE WAR! JOIN THE FIGHT!

Highly acclaimed evolutionary scientists recognize that a war is going on—a war between atheistic evolutionary science and anti-evolutionary science. Evolutionists are ready to “get on with it” (Brooks, 192[2578]:11). They are speaking “with an evangelist’s zeal” and are “ready to fight the good fight” (pp. 10,11). Even now, they are attempting to position themselves to set evolution “in place of God” (p. 8).
Creationists must not shy away from this battle. We, too, must roll up our sleeves and heed the apostle Paul’s admonition to “fight the good fight of faith” (1 Timothy 6:12). We must strive to “speak the words of truth and reason” (Acts 26:25), and “be ready to give a defense to everyone” (1 Peter 3:15). Indeed, “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” (2 Corinthians 10:4-5).
What can creationists do? How can we fight against atheistic evolutionary science? If evolutionists have benefited from Eugenie Scott’s to-do list for the advancement of evolution, perhaps it is fitting to close this article with a list of suggestions for creationists in their fight against atheistic evolution.
  • Recognize that there is a battle over the most fundamental pillar of Christianity (the existence of God), and resolve to do something.
  • Begin teaching your children, grandchildren, nephews, nieces, etc. the case for creation and the case against evolution before they ever enter school. Then continue this instruction as they get older.
  • Encourage your children to ask questions about God, creation, and evolution. If you don’t answer their questions, someone will—and that someone probably will be an evolutionist.
  • Give your children (and yourself!) the tools needed to build a strong faith—one that is based on both reason and revelation.
  • Familiarize yourself with Web sites such as ApologeticsPress.org and ChristianCourier.com, which provide immediate answers to many of your questions. They also aid students with term papers, reports, speeches, etc.
[The final five suggestions are adapted from Eugenie Scott’s list (see Eldredge, 2001, pp. 178-180).]
  • Donate books and videos about creation to school and public libraries.
  • Make it a point to share your views about creation with school board members, legislators, textbook commissioners, and other educational policy makers.
  • Let your children’s teachers know that they have your support if they choose to teach about the errors and weaknesses of evolutionary theory.
  • Attempt to create an open-minded atmosphere in your school and community, so that creation and evolution can both be discussed.
  • Work with parents, teachers, churches, etc. to develop or publicize workshops or seminars about the errors of evolution and the evidence for God’s existence.

REFERENCES

Brooks, Michael (2006), “In Place of God,” New Scientist, 192[2578]:8-11.
Darwin, Charles (1956 edition), The Origin of Species (New York: J.M. Dent & Sons).
Dawkins, Richard (1989), “Book Review,” The New York Times, section 7, April 9.
Dawkins, Richard (1996), The Blind Watchmaker (New York, NY: W.W. Norton).
Dennett, Daniel (1995), Darwin’s Dangerous Idea (New York, NY: Simon and Schuster).
Eldredge, Niles (2001), The Triumph of Evolution and the Failure of Creationism (New York, NY: W.H. Freeman).
Kitchen, Sebastian (2002), “Professor Rigid on Evolution,” Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, A-1,9, October 6.
Life on Earth (2002), (Hauppauge, NY: Barron’s Education Series).
Science and Creationism (1999), (Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press), second edition.
Scott, Eugenie (2004), Evolution vs. Creationism: An Introduction (Los Angeles, CA: University of California Press).
Taylor, Larry (2003), “Biology Professor Alters Evolution Statement for Recommendations,” Skeptical Inquirer, 27[4]:6, July/August.
Thompson, Bert and Brad Harrub (2002), “Quick, Let’s Discriminate Against the Creationists!” [On-line], URL: http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/2504.

Microcomputers in the Brain Tabulate Design by Kyle Butt, M.Div.

http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=12&article=4790


Microcomputers in the Brain Tabulate Design

by Kyle Butt, M.Div.


I’m typing this article on a personal computer. You are most likely reading it on some form of one, whether a desktop, laptop, smartphone or tablet (which are really just small computers). These amazing devices are all around us. Brilliant researchers have spent billions of dollars designing the most functional computers to help people all over the world achieve their goals. You may well know, however, that one computer is more powerful than any that humans have been able to design—the human brain. As LiveScience writer Charles Choi stated, “The most powerful computer known is the brain” (2013).
But a fresh look into the brain has revealed something amazing. This supercomputer is even more “super” than we thought. Inside the brain are short branches of cells called dendrites. These dendrites have long been thought to be simple transporters of nerve signals to brain neurons. Recent discoveries by neuroscientist Spencer Smith and his team of researchers suggest, however, that dendrites do more than passively transfer information (Choi, 2013). It appears that dendrites are actually minicomputers that process information instead of simply transferring it. Because of this discovery, Smith stated: “Suddenly, it's as if the processing power of the brain is much greater than we had originally thought” (as quoted in Choi, 2013).
To what did Smith compare this remarkable discovery? He illustrated the results in this way: “Imagine you’re reverse engineering a piece of alien technology, and what you thought was simple wiring turns out to be transistors that compute information” (as quoted in Choi, 2013).
The implication of Smith’s statement about alien technology could not be clearer—the brain is comparable to (but surpasses) any technology humans have designed. Therefore, if we were to realistically compare it to something, it would have to be technology produced by brilliant aliens whose mental capabilities must be far superior to that of humans. But wait, the technology that we at first recognized to be superior, we discover to be even more advanced than we originally thought. What does that say about the brain? It must have been designed by a Being with incomprehensible intelligence. The idea of mindless evolution simply cannot account for the computer, no, the supercomputer filled with minicomputers, we call the brain. It really is a no-brainer, there must be a God.

REFERENCES

Choi, Charles (2013), “‘Minicomputers’ Live Inside the Brain,” LiveSciencehttp://news.yahoo.com/minicomputers-live-inside-human-brain-113240564.html.

Love is not Jealous, so Why is God? by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=12&article=777

Love is not Jealous, so Why is God?

by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


The argument goes something like this: (1) 1 John 4:8 indicates that “God is love;” (2) 1 Corinthians 13:4 says that “love is not jealous” (NAS); and yet (3) Exodus 20:5, along with several other passages, reveals that God is “a jealous God.” “How,” the skeptic asks, “can God be jealous when several verses say God is love and 1 Cor. says love is not jealous?” (McKinsey, 1992). Simply put, if love is not jealous, and God is love, then God logically cannot be called jealous. Or conversely, if love is not jealous, and God is jealous, then God cannot be considered loving. Right? How can these verses be anything but contradictory?
The term “jealousy” most often carries a negative connotation in twenty-first-century America. We pity the man who is jealous of his coworker’s success. We frown upon families who react to a neighbor’s newly found fortune by becoming overcome with jealously. And we are perturbed to hear of a jealous husband who distrusts his wife, and questions every possible wrong action that she might make, even going so far as demanding that she never leave the house without him. Add to these feelings about jealousy what various New Testament passages have to say on the subject, and one can understand why some might sincerely question why God is described at times as “jealous.” The apostle Paul admonished the Christians in Rome to “behave properly,” and put off “strife and jealousy” (Romans 13:13, NAS). To the church at Corinth, Paul expressed concern that when he came to their city he might find them involved in such sinful things as gossip, strife, and jealousy (2 Corinthians 12:20). And, as noted above, he explicitly told them that “love is not jealous” (1 Corinthians 13:4). James also wrote about the sinfulness of jealousy, saying that where it exists “there is disorder and every evil thing” (3:16; cf. Acts 7:9). One religious writer described such jealousy as “an infantile resentment springing from unmortified covetousness, which expresses itself in envy, malice, and meanness of action” (Packer, 1973, p. 189). It seems, more often than not, that both the New Testament and the “moral code” of modern society speak of “jealousy” in a negative light.
The truth is, however, sometimes jealously can be spoken of in a good sense. The word “jealous” is translated in the Old Testament from the Hebrew word qin’ah, and in the New Testament from the Greek word zelos. The root idea behind both words is that of “warmth” or “heat” (Forrester, 1996). The Hebrew word for jealousy carries with it the idea of “redness of the face that accompanies strong emotion” (Feinberg, 1942, p. 429)—whether right or wrong. Depending upon the usage of the word, it can be used to represent both a good and an evil passion. Three times in 1 Corinthians, Paul used this word in a good sense to encourage his brethren to “earnestly desire (zeelo├║te)” spiritual gifts (12:31; 14:1,39). He obviously was not commanding the Corinthians to sin, but to do something that was good and worthwhile. Later, when writing to the church at Corinth, the apostle Paul was even more direct in showing how there was such a thing as “godly jealousy.” He stated:
I am jealous for you with godly jealousy. For I have betrothed you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. 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. For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted—you may well put up with it (2 Corinthians 11:2-4, emp. added).
Paul’s burning desire was for the church at Corinth to abide in the love of God. As a friend of the bridegroom (Christ), Paul used some of the strongest language possible to encourage the “bride” of Christ at Corinth to be pure and faithful.
In a similar way, Jehovah expressed His love for Israel in the Old Testament by proclaiming to be “a jealous God” (Exodus 20:5; Deuteronomy 4:24). He was not envious of the Israelites’ accomplishments or possessions, but was communicating His strong love for them with anthropomorphic language. The Scriptures depict a spiritual marriage between Jehovah and His people. Sadly, during the period of the divided kingdom, both Israel and Judah were guilty of “playing the harlot” (Jeremiah 3:6-10). God called Israel’s idolatrous practice “adultery,” and for this reason He had “put her away and given her a certificate of divorce” (3:8). This is not the “lunatic fury of a rejected or supplanted suitor,” but a “zeal to protect a love-relationship” (Packer, p. 189). Jehovah felt for Israel “as the most affectionate husband could do for his spouse, and was jealous for their fidelity, because he willed their invariable happiness” (Clarke, 1996, emp. added). Song of Solomon 8:6 is further proof that love and jealousy are not always opposed to each other. To her beloved, the Shulamite said: “Put me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm. For love is as strong as death, jealousy is as severe as Sheol; its flashes are flashes of fire, the very flame of the Lord” (NAS). In this passage, love and jealousy actually are paralleled to convey the same basic meaning (see Tanner, 1997, p. 158)—that (aside from one’s love for God) marital love is “the strongest, most unyielding and invincible force in human experience” (NIV Study Bible, 1985, p. 1012). In this sense, being a jealous husband or wife is a good thing. As one commentator noted, married persons “who felt no jealousy at the intrusion of a lover or an adulterer into their home would surely be lacking in moral perception; for the exclusiveness of marriage is the essence of marriage” (Tasker, 1967, p. 106).
Truly, love has a jealous side. There is a sense in which one legitimately can be jealous for what rightfully belongs to him (see Numbers 25). Such is especially true in the marriage relationship. Israel was God’s chosen people (Deuteronomy 7:6). He had begun to set them apart as a special nation by blessing their “father” Abraham (Genesis 12:1ff; 17:1-27). He blessed the Israelites with much numerical growth while living in Egypt (Exodus 1:7,12,19; Deuteronomy 26:5; cf. Genesis 15:5; 46:3). He delivered them from Egyptian bondage (Exodus 3-12). And, among other things, He gave them written revelation, which, if obeyed, would bring them spiritually closer to Jehovah, and even would make them physically superior to other nations, in that they would be spared from various diseases (see Exodus 15:26). Like a bird that watches over her eggs and young with jealousy, preventing other birds from entering her nest, God watched over the Israelites with “righteous” jealousy, unwilling to tolerate the presence of false gods among his people (see Exodus 20:3-6; Joshua 24:14-16,19-20). Such “godly jealousy” (cf. 2 Corinthians 11:2) was not what Paul had in mind in 1 Corinthians 13:4.

REFERENCES

Clarke, Adam (1996), Adam Clarke’s Commentary (Electronic Database: Biblesoft).
Feinberg, Charles Lee (1942), “Exegetical Studies in Zechariah: Part 10,” Bibliotheca Sacra, 99:428-439, October.
Forrester, E.J. (1996), “Jealousy,” International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia (Electronic Database Biblesoft).
McKinsey, C. Dennis (1992), [On-line], URL: http://members.aol.com/chas1222/bepart56.html.
NIV Study Bible (1985), (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan).
Packer, J.I. (1973), Knowing God (London: Hodder and Stoughton).
Tanner, J. Paul (1997), “The Message of the Song of Songs,” Bibliotheca Sacra, 154: 142-161, April.
Tasker, R.V.G. (1967), The Epistle of James (London: Tyndale Press).

God’s Attributes (Part 4) by Ben Fronczek

http://granvillenychurchofchrist.org/?p=1693

God’s Attributes (Part 4)

God’s Attributes (Part 4)
As I prepared for this lesson I came across a statement that I thought was worth sharing. It goes as follows:
“Sadly, it is not merely children who are ignorant of God’s attributes. Many people in the world today go through life with a very vague notion of who God is. If they think about Him at all, they do not think about Him rightly. And even those who ascribe attributes to Him, do not always ascribe biblical ones. Some may think of Him as loving, but not judging. Others think of Him as full of wrath, but not full of grace. Still others may think he is wise, but not powerful. And this is true even of those within the church.
Ignorance of God’s attributes is no small thing. It has profound effects. How can our hearts be gripped by the glory of God if we are ignorant of who He is? How can our lives be transformed by His grace if we remain ignorant of it? How can we passionately preach that Christ loves us and saves us from the wrath of God, unless we have a true understanding of both God’s wrath and His love?”
It is for this reason I wanted to share with you these lessons on God’s amazing and awesome attributes. I want you to be awed by Him, I want you to revere Him. I even want you fear Him, because as Solomon put it after a life time of trying to figure what life is all about, he said to
Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind. For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.” (Ecc 12:12-14)
So far we’ve talked about His unlimited omnipotent power and soverignity. There is no one like Him with the ability to create and sustain the all that has ever been made like Him. And also because He has always existed and stands outside the constraints of the dimension of time, He is omnipresent – or present everywhere in all moments of time, and therefore He is all knowing because absolutely nothing is hidden from Him.
In our last lesson we talked about something very special and unique about our Lord and our God. It’s something which defines much of who He is and how He acts.   And that was the fact that our God is absolutely, absolutely HOLY.
Now the fact that He is so Holy leads me today to talk about how His holiness influences other aspects of His personality and other attributes that we read about in Scripture.
For example, because He is absolutely Holy He will always, always be absolutely righteous in all ways. He simply can’t do anything wrong because He is always right. The author of Psalm 71 wrote in 15ff;
“My mouth will tell of your righteous deeds, of your saving acts all day long—though I know not how to relate them all.  16 I will come and proclaim your mighty acts, Sovereign Lord; I will proclaim your righteous deeds, yours alone. 17 Since my youth, God, you have taught me, and to this day I declare your marvelous deeds. 18 Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, my God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your mighty acts to all who are to come. 19 Your righteousness, God, reaches to the heavens, you who have done great things.   Who is like you, God?
Psalm 97:1-2 says“The Lord reigns, let the earth be glad; let the distant shores rejoice. Clouds and thick darkness surround him; righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne.”
Ps 145 17 states, The Lord is righteous in all his ways and faithful in all he does.”
Whatever He does is always the right thing, whether we agree or understand it or not.
And because He is perfectly Holy and Righteous He is also always faithful and true. As we just saw in Ps. 145 it stated that “the Lord is faithful in all that He does.” Also In Psalm 71:22 David wrote, “I will praise you with the harp for your faithfulness, my God; I will sing praise to you with the lyre, Holy One of Israel.”
Another Psalmist wrote in 89:8, “Who is like you, Lord God Almighty? You, Lord, are mighty, and your faithfulness surrounds you.”
And regarding God always being true the Apostle John wrote in 1 John 1:19-20 19 We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one. 20 We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true. And we are in Him who is true by being in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.”
If God said it, you can be sure it’s going to be true because He Himself is absolutely faithful and true.
And because He is Holy, and righteous, and perfectly faithful and true, He is also perfectly JUST in His dealings.
Before Moses died he wrote a song and the words are recorded for us in Deut. 32. In verses 3-4 he sings “ I will proclaim the name of the Lord. Oh, praise the greatness of our God! He is the Rock, His works are perfect, and all His ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is He.”
Our God has no hidden agendas, He will never falsely accuse someone, He is always fair. But as you know there is the hard side of justice. Sometimes the judge has to condemn those who are guilty of breaking the law. And God will not break His own Holy and righteous laws.
Paul gives a stern warning in Romans 2:5-11 concerning God’s judgment;“But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when His righteous judgment will be revealed. God “will repay each person according to what they have done.” To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, He will give eternal life. But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile; 10 but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. 11 For God does not show favoritism.”
So because God is faithful and true to His own word, He is also obligated to be a fair judge, even if the judgment dictates someone being condemned.
Yes God love everyone and want to see everyone in heaven, but to be true to Himself and His own Righteousness and Holiness, He has to hold true to His word and who He is.
I think we’d be in a pretty scary predicament if there wasn’t more to the story, by sending Jesus to save us. For Paul also reminds us that we all sin and are guilty and fall short of the Glory of God.
But thank God, He is also GRACIOUS AND GOOD AND LOVING AND MERCIFUL AND PATIENT. I hate lumping all these together because each of are amazing attributes of our wonderful God, but without these awesome qualities, we would all be lost.
Listen to what Peter writes in his amazing epistle 2 Peter 3:3-15
“Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.” But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens came into being and the earth was formed out of water and by water. By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.
But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare.
11 Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives 12 as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. 13 But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.
14 So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him. 15 Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation.”
God not only created all, He is also patiently waiting wanting as many of us as possible to come to Him and be saved and brought into His kingdom before He destroys and wipes away the physical universe as we know it to usher in something better – “a new heaven and new earth”..
God is good,   and patient, and merciful, and He loves us. And we should thank Him,  and praise Him,  and honor Him with our lives every day.
These words of Peter were some of the last words recorded by him in his second letter. After warning us about what is to come and how we should live, he ends his letter by writing this   17 Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position. (Yes it is possible to walk away or fall out of God’s grace. But he continues and says…) 18 But grow in the grace (or LOVE) and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be glory both now and forever! Amen.”
And to that, I can add much more to this today! Do your best to grow in your love of God as well as your knowledge of Him. And as you do so, try to become more like Him, living holy, godly lives, and be filled with hope because what is to come.
For more lessons click on the following link: http://granvillenychurchofchrist.org/?page_id=566
All comments can be emailed to: bfronzek@gmail.com