6/21/21

Seeing is Believing: The Design of the Human Eye by Taylor Richardson

 

https://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=12&article=1412

Seeing is Believing: The Design of the Human Eye

by  Taylor Richardson

If one of your friends asked you, “How do you know God exists?,” what would you say? There are many different ways to prove God’s existence, because God has given us so much evidence. Sometimes we find that evidence in things we see in the Universe, for example, the Sun. The Sun is like a giant nuclear engine. It gives off more energy in a single second than mankind has produced since the Creation. It converts 8 million tons of matter into energy every single second, and has an interior temperature of more than 20 million degrees Celsius (see Lawton, 1981). Sometimes we find evidence in the animal kingdom. Take the golden orb spider for instance. Pound for pound, the dragline silk of this spider is five times stronger than steel, and is twice as strong as the material that currently makes up SWAT teams’ bulletproof vests. In fact, due to its amazing strength and elasticity, it has been said that you could trap a jumbo jet with spider silk that is the thickness of a pencil.

And sometimes the evidence for God’s existence can even be found within our own bodies. The writer of the book of Hebrews spoke about this evidence when he said: “For every house is built by someone, but he who built all things is God” (3:4).

One of the best examples of design within the human body is the eye. Even Charles Darwin struggled with the problem of how to explain how such a complex organ as the eye could have “evolved” through naturalistic processes. In The Origin of Species he wrote:

To suppose that the eye with all its inimitable contrivances for adjusting the focus to different distances, for admitting different amounts of light, and for the correction of spherical and chromatic aberration, could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest sense (1859, p. 170, emp. added).

But even though Darwin acknowledged that the eye could not have evolved, he went on to argue that it had, in fact, been produced by natural selection through an evolutionary process. It seems almost as though Darwin could not seem to make up his mind on the matter. But he is not the only one who has struggled to explain, from a naturalistic viewpoint, the intricacy of the eye. Evolutionist Robert Jastrow once wrote:

The eye is a marvelous instrument, resembling a telescope of the highest quality, with a lens, an adjustable focus, a variable diaphragm for controlling the amount of light, and optical corrections for spherical and chromatic aberration. The eye appears to have been designed; no designer of telescopes could have done better. How could this marvelous instrument have evolved by chance, through a succession of random events? (1981, pp. 96-97, emp. added).

How indeed? Though Dr. Jastrow argued that “the fact of evolution is not in doubt,” he confessed that “…there seems to be no direct proof that evolution can work these miracles.… It is hard to accept the evolution of the eye as a product of chance” (1981, pp. 101,97,98, emp. added). Considering the extreme complexity of the eye, it is easy to understand why Jastrow would make such a comment. In his book, Does God Believe in Atheists?, John Blanchard described just how complex the eye really is.

The human eye is a truly amazing phenomenon. Although accounting for just one fourth-thousandth of an adult’s weight, it is the medium which processes some 80% of the information received by its owner from the outside world. The tiny retina contains about 130 million rod-shaped cells, which detect light intensity and transmit impulses to the visual cortex of the brain by means of some one million nerve fibres, while nearly six million cone-shaped cells do the same job, but respond specifically to colour variation. The eyes can handle 500,00 messages simultaneously, and are kept clear by ducts producing just the right amount of fluid with which the lids clean both eyes simultaneously in one five-thousandth of a second (2000, p. 313).

Statements like this proves that the eye was so well designed, and so complicated, that it could not have happened by accident, as evolution teaches.

THE EYE’S DESIGN

The anatomy of the eye was first examined and recorded at Alexandria, Egypt, in the first century A.D. An anatomist, Rufus of Ephesus, described the main parts of the eye, which included the dome-like cornea at the front, the colored iris, the lens, and the vitreous humor (which gives the eye its shiny look). Today, thanks to microscopes, we now know that these, along with many other parts of the eye, work in harmony to produce the gift of sight.

Diagram of the Human Eye

The outer white layer of the eye is called the sclera, more commonly known as the “white of the eye.” This layer is an extremely durable, fibrous tissue that extends from the cornea (the clear front section of the eye) to the optic nerve (at the back of the eye). Six tiny muscles (known as the extraocular muscles, or EOMs) connect to the sclera around the eye and control the eye’s movements. Four of the muscles (known as the rectus muscles) control the horizontal and vertical movement, while two (the oblique muscles) control the rotation. All six muscles work together so that the eye moves smoothly.

The inside of the eye can be divided functionally into two distinct parts. The first is the physical “dioptric” mechanism (from the Greek word dioptra, meaning something through which one looks), which handles incoming light. This includes the cornea, iris, and lens. The cornea is the transparent, dome-shaped window (about eleven millimeters in diameter) that covers the front of the eye. Its most important function is to protect the delicate components of the eye against damage by foreign bodies. Thus, the cornea acts like a watch face, in that it lets us look through the “window” of our eye while protecting the internal components from debris and harmful chemicals. The cornea also takes care of most of the refraction (the ability of the eye to change the direction of light in order to focus it on the retina) and works with the lens to help focus items seen at varying distances as it changes its curvature. The iris and the pupil work together to let in just the right amount of light. There are two opposing sets of muscles that regulate the size of the aperture (the opening, or the pupil) according to the brightness or dimness of the incoming light. If the light is bright, the iris constricts, allowing little light to pass; but if it is dark, the iris dilates or expands, allowing more light to pass through. The light (or image) then moves through a lens that has the ability to adjust its shape to help it clarify the image by changing the focal length of the lens between 40.4 and 69.9 millimeters where it is then focused (in an inverted form) on to the retina.

Between the lens and the retina is a transparent substance (the vitreous fluid) that fills the center of the eye. This substance is important because it not only gives the eye its spherical shape, but also provides nutrition for the retinal vessels inside the eye. In children, the vitreous feels like a gel, but as we age, it gradually thins and becomes more of a liquid.

The second is the receptor area of the retina where the light triggers processes in the nerve cells. The retina plays a key role in visual perception. In his book, The Wonder of Man, Werner Gitt explains how the retina is a masterpiece of engineering design.

One single square millimetre of the retina contains approximately 400,000 optical sensors. To get some idea of such a large number, imagine a sphere, on the surface of which circles are drawn, the size of tennis balls. These circles are separated from each other by the same distance as their diameter. In order to accommodate 400,000 such circles, the sphere must have a diameter of 52 metres... (1999, p. 15).

Alan L. Gillen also praised the design of the retina in his book, Body by Design.

The most amazing component of the eye is the “film,” which is the retina. This light-sensitive layer at the back of the eyeball is thinner than a sheet of plastic wrap and is more sensitive to light than any man-made film. The best camera film can handle a ratio of 1000-to-1 photons in terms of light intensity. By comparison, human retinal cells can handle a ratio of 10 billion-to-1 over the dynamic range of light wavelengths of 380 to 750 nanometers. The human eye can sense as little as a single photon of light in the dark! In bright daylight, the retina can bleach out, turning its “volume control” way down so as not to overload. The light-sensitive cells of the retina are like an extremely complex high-gain amplifier that is able to magnify sounds more than one million times (2001, pp. 97-98, emp. added).

Without a doubt, this thin (only 0.2 mm) layer of nerve tissue is a marvel of engineering. It contains photoreceptor (light-sensitive) cells and four types of nerve cells, as well as structural cells and epithelial pigment cells. The two kinds of photoreceptor cells are referred to as rods and cones because of their shape. Each eye has about 130 million rods and 7 million cones. The rods are very sensitive to light (whether it is bright or dim), and allow the eye to see in black and white. Cones, on the other hand, are not as sensitive as rods, and function only optimally in daylight. There are three different types of cones—red light, green light, and blue light—each of which is sensitive to its respective color of light, and which allow the eye to see in full color. The rods and cones convert the different lights into chemical signals, which then travel along the optic nerve to the brain.

Not only are the images produced by the dioptric mechanism miniaturized and upside-down, but it turns out that they also are left-right inverted. The optic nerves from both eyes split up and cross each other in such a way that the left halves of the images of both eyes are received by the right hemisphere of the brain, while the right halves are received by the left. Each half of the observer’s brain receives information from only one half of the image. As Gitt went on to explain, “Note that, although the brain processes the different parts of the image in various remote locations, the two halves of the field of vision are seamlessly reunited, without any trace of a joint—amazing! This process is still far from being fully understood” (p. 17). It is hard to believe that this inverted system of sight could have been produced through evolution.

Since the eyes are one of the most important organs in the body, they must be taken care of constantly. And God designed just such a built-in cleaning system, consisting of the eyelashes, eyelids, and lacrimal glands. The lacrimal glands produce a steady flow of tears that flush away dust and other foreign materials. The tears also contain a potent anti-microbial agent known as lysozyme that destroys bacteria, viruses, etc. The eyelids and eyelashes work together to keep dirt and other debris from entering the eye. The eyelids act like windshield wipers, blinking 3-6 times a minute to moisten and clean the eye.

For many years, scientists have compared the eye to the modern manmade camera (see Miller, 1960, p. 315; Nourse, 1964, p. 154; Gardener, 1994, p. 105). True, the eye and camera do have many things in common, if the function of the camera demands that it was “made,” does it not stand to reason that the more complex human camera, the eye, also must have had a Maker? Alan Gillen explained it best when he wrote: “No human camera, artificial device, nor computer-enhanced light-sensitive device can match the contrivance of the human eye. Only a master engineer with superior intelligence could manufacture a series of interdependent light sensitive parts and reactions” (p. 99, emp. added). That master engineer was God. The writer of Proverbs knew this when he wrote, “The hearing ear and the seeing eye, the Lord has made them both” (20:12).

REFERENCES

Blanchard, John (2000), Does God Believe in Atheists? (Auburn, MA: Evangelical Press).

Darwin, Charles (1859), On the Origin of Species (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press; a facsimile of the first edition).

Gardner, Lynn (1994), Christianity Stands True (Joplin, MO: College Press).

Gillen, Alan L. (2001), Body by Design (Green Forest, AR: Master Books).

Gitt, Werner (1999), The Wonder of Man (Bielefeld, Germany: Christliche Literatur-Verbreitung E.V.).

Jastrow, Robert (1981), The Enchanted Loom: Mind in the Universe (New York: Simon and Schuster).

Lawton, April (1981), “From Here to Infinity,” Science Digest, 89[1]:98-105, January/February.

Miller, Benjamin and Goode, Ruth (1960), Man and His Body (New York: Simon and Schuster).

Nourse, Alan E., ed. (1964), The Body (New York: Time, Inc.).

Seeing God in a Box...Fish by Kyle Butt, M.Div.

 

https://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=12&article=1541

Seeing God in a Box...Fish

by  Kyle Butt, M.Div.

Constant competition between car companies rages to see which one can design the lightest, toughest, most aerodynamic, fuel efficient models. It seems that the DaimlerChrysler Company has recently put itself several steps ahead in the race by designing a remarkably efficient economy car for Mercedes-Benz. The idea that inspired this car was very simple. The designers looked to the natural world to find a model of highly-efficient, aerodynamic design, coupled with a sturdy structure that could withstand collisions. The model on which they finally settled seemed an unlikely candidate: the boxfish.

Boxfish

At first glance, the boxfish’s body does not appear very aerodynamic. As its name implies, it has a rather “boxy” look, and not the streamline “raindrop” shape that is used for many aerodynamic models. Upon further investigation, however, the boxfish’s shape and design happen to be amazingly efficient. As one author put it, “Despite its boxy, cube-shaped body, this tropical fish is in fact outstandingly streamlined and therefore represents an aerodynamic ideal. With an accurately constructed model of the boxfish the engineers in Stuttgart were able to achieve a wind drag coefficient of just 0.06 in the wind tunnel.” In order to grasp the importance of this drag coefficient, it “betters the drag coefficient of today’s compact cars by more than 65 percent” (“Mercedes-Benz Bionic...,” 2005, emp. added).

But the aerodynamic aspects of the boxfish were not the only helpful features used by the DaimlerChrysler engineers. The skin of the boxfish “consists of numerous hexagonal, bony plates which provide maximum strength with minimal weight” (“Mercedes-Benz Bionic...”). By reproducing this skin structure, the car company was able to achieve “up to 40 percent more rigidity...than would be possible with conventional designs.” The report went on to say that if the entire car shell were designed with these hexagonal structures, the weight of the car could be reduced by almost one-third, without forfeiting any safety features during collisions.

Boxfish design

Such copying of the natural world is not a unique event. A popular field of study known as biomimicry has arisen of late in which scientists and technologists look to nature to supply optimal designs and functions. Ironically, the writer of what appears to be the primary article on this amazing boxfish/car relationship misses the logical conclusion of the biomimetic design, as do other scientists who study the field—that design demands an Intelligent Designer. The said writer commented, “[T]he boxfish possesses unique characteristics and is a prime example of the ingenious inventions developed by nature over millions of years of evolution. The basic principle of this evolution is that nothing is superfluous and each part of the body has a purpose—and sometimes several at once” (“Mercedes-Benz Bionic...,” 2005).

Notice the concession made in the writer’s statement that the boxfish, indeed, exhibits “ingenious invention.” Such a statement implies that some type of “genius” or intelligence is behind the invention. Furthermore, evolution has been consistently presented as a process that is maintained by naturalistic, random, chance happenings that are incapable of producing anything “ingenious” or “intelligent.” And finally, the author states that evolution leaves nothing “superfluous,” and that each part of the evolved animal has “a purpose.” This remark is ironic considering the fact that many defenders of evolution continue to use the argument that humans and animals maintain several “vestigial organs” that are supposedly useless leftovers of evolution (see Harrub, 2001, for a discussion of vestigial organs). Indeed, any theory that explains too much, explains too little. On the one hand, evolution maintains an underlying principle that nothing is superfluous, while at the same time evolution is a “fact” because animals and humans supposedly have left-over vestiges that are no longer useful? As one can see, the concept of evolution is so “flexible” and self-contradictory that it sustains no real ability to explain anything.

To the contrary, the only valid explanation for the optimal design in the boxfish is the fact that whenever we see efficient, complex design, there must be an intelligent designer behind it. Considering the fact that many of the most ingenious engineers that the car-manufacturing world can boast spent thousands of hours copying the design of the boxfish, which proved to be 65 percent more efficient in some ways than other designs, one must logically conclude that whoever designed the boxfish has outsmarted the brightest car engineers for many years. “Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good” (Genesis 1:31).

REFERENCES

Harrub, Brad, (2001), “Hey Cut That Out...On Second Thought, Hold That Scalpel!, [On-line], URL: http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/2050.

“Mercedes-Benz Bionic Concept Vehicle,” (2005), [On-line], URL: http://www.germancarfans.com/news.cfm/newsid/2050607.004.

Seal Whiskers Sensing God by Kyle Butt, M.Div.

 

https://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=12&article=5393

Seal Whiskers Sensing God

by  Kyle Butt, M.Div.

As it turns out, seals (as in the animal, not the trained U.S. military personnel), sport a remarkably well-designed feature for sensing underwater objects: their whiskers.  These little appendages that bristle from the sides of their faces might help seals to look cute, but they also have a far more technical purpose. Seal whiskers have been specially designed to sense activity underwater. Reporting on recent research, Jennifer McDermott from the Associated Press explained how the shape and design of seal whiskers helps seals survive. She wrote: “When a fish swims by, a hungry seal senses the wake with its whiskers. It can tell characteristics of the fish, such as shape and size, and track the location even when it’s murky or dark.1

The benefit of this technology over the current sonar technology the Navy uses is that seals do not have to send any sound or wave out. Their whiskers gather information based solely on what is coming in. McDermott wrote that researchers are attempting to “reverse-engineer the system” that is built into seal whiskers. Such reverse-engineering begs the question: If highly intelligent scientists are attempting—so far without success—to reverse-engineer the technology behind seal whiskers, then the original Engineer must have been more intelligent than those who are now attempting to understand the design. Such examples of humans looking to nature to find usable technology (often called biomimicry) validates the conclusion that there is a Grand Engineer behind the workings of the world. The idea that random, chance processes of evolution worked over millions of years to “design” a system such as that found in seal whiskers does not provide an adequate or rational answer. If it takes intelligence to reverse-engineer it, then it took intelligence to engineer it in the first place.

McDermott went on to state that seal whiskers are not the only natural technology that has peaked the interest of the U.S. Navy. She wrote: “The Navy, which is also funding bio-inspired work at universities, has taken a greater interest in the field in the past decade. Animals do things well that the Navy wants its underwater vehicles to do well.” When we look to the natural world that God, the Grand Engineer, designed, we can truly see that the beasts, cattle, great sea creatures, and even the whiskers on a seal bring praise to the Lord (Psalm 148:7-12).

Endnotes

1 Jennifer McDermott, “The Seal Whiskerers: Navy Looks to Sea Life for New Ships,” Associated Press, 2017, http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/wireStory/seal-whiskerers-navy-sea-life-ships-46136863.

"THE GOSPEL OF JOHN" The Testimony Of John The Baptist (1:19-34)

 






 

"THE GOSPEL OF JOHN"

The Testimony Of John The Baptist (1:19-34)
 
INTRODUCTION

1. In the prologue to John's gospel, we were introduced to John the Baptist...
   a. A man sent from God - Jn 1:6
   b. Who came to bear witness of the Light - Jn 1:7-8
   c. Who bore witness to the preeminence and preexistence of the Light - Jn 1:15

2. As John begins the narrative portion of his gospel, he starts with John the Baptist...
   a. His testimony to priests and Levites from the Pharisees in Jerusalem - Jn 1:19-28
   b. His testimony the next day when he saw Jesus - Jn 1:29-34

[What did John the Baptist testify concerning Jesus?  What lessons might
we glean from his testimony?  We note first of all that John the Baptist proclaimed...]

I. I AM NOT THE CHRIST

   A. HIS TESTIMONY ABOUT HIMSELF...
      1. He confessed he was not the Christ - Jn 1:19-20
         a. Many people wondered if he were the Christ - cf. Lk 3:15
         b. John clearly asserts that he was not the Christ
      2. He was not literally Elijah as foretold by Malachi - Jn 1:21a
         a. Some thought Elijah would return in person, which John denies - cf. Mal 4:5
         b. John did fulfill the prophecy, which was figurative
            1) As foretold by the angel Gabriel - cf. Lk 1:l7
            2) As testified by Jesus - cf. Mt 11:11-15; Mt 17:10-13
      3. He was not the Prophet foretold by Moses - Jn 1:21b
         a. Moses foretold a Prophet like him would come - cf. Deut 18: 15-18
         b. Many people were anticipating the arrival of this Prophet- cf. Jn 6:14; 7:40
         c. This Prophet was indeed Jesus, not John - cf. Ac 3:22-26
      4. He was the one foretold by Isaiah - Jn 1:22-23
         a. The voice of one crying in the wilderness - cf. Isa 40:1-3
         b. Sent to prepare the way of the Lord - cf. Lk 1:16-17;2:76-79

   B. LESSONS FROM HIS TESTIMONY...
      1. John's example is a powerful one for all Christians, especially ministers
      2. As followers of Christ, our task is similar to his role as forerunner
         a. To deflect attention away from ourselves, and point people to Christ!
         b. Let us never forget, no matter how honored we may be, we are
            not the Christ!

[As John continues with his testimony, he proclaims concerning Jesus...]

II. HE IS PREFERRED BEFORE ME

   A. HIS TESTIMONY ABOUT CHRIST...
      1. Given in response to those from the Pharisees - Jn 1:24-25,28
         a. Why did he baptize, if not Christ, Elijah, or the Prophet?
         b. For he had been baptizing in Bethabara (or Bethany) beyond the Jordan
      2. The One coming after him is preferred before him - Jn 1:26-27
         a. Even One who was in their midst as he spoke!
         b. Whose sandal strap not even John was not worthy to loose!
      3. The reason Jesus was preferred before him?
         a. "For He was before me" (i.e., because of His preexistence)   cf. Jn 1:15,30
         b. "Who is mightier than I" (i.e., because of His power) - cf. Mk 1:7
      4. John would later reaffirm Jesus' preference over himself
         a. "He must increase, but I must decrease" - Jn 3:30
         b. He is "above all" - Jn 3:31

   B. LESSONS FROM HIS TESTIMONY...
      1. We should not hesitate to exalt Jesus over self - cf. Lk 9:23-24
         a. He is preferred before us
         b. While we may be the body of Christ, He is the head! - cf. Ep 1:22-23
      2. Jesus deserves our humble service and adoration
         a. Because of His power - cf. Col 1:16
         b. Because of His preexistence - cf. Col 1:17
         c. Because of His headship over the body, the church - cf. Co 1:18

[On the next day, John the Baptist had another opportunity to testify
concerning Jesus, in which he declared...]

III. BEHOLD! THE LAMB OF GOD

   A. HIS TESTIMONY ABOUT CHRIST...
      1. Declaring Jesus as "the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of
         the world!" - Jn 1:29
         a. As foretold by Isaiah - cf. Isa 53:4-7,10-12
         b. As later proclaimed by the apostles - cf. 1Co 15:3; 1 Pe 2:24; 1Jn 2:2
      2. Identifying Jesus as the "Man who is preferred before me" - Jn 1:30
         a. Because He was before John (i.e., His preexistence)
         b. Even more so now as the Savior of the world!

   B. LESSONS FROM HIS TESTIMONY...
      1. We should never forget the basis of our salvation!
         a. We are not saved on the basis of our good deeds - cf. Tit 3:5
         b. We are saved by the blood of the Lamb! - cf. Re 1:5; 5:9; Ro 5:1
      2. We should ever point the world to Jesus!
         a. He is their only hope for forgiveness of sins! - cf. 1Ti 2:5-6
         b. We should proclaim Jesus Christ and Him crucified! - cf.1Co 2:2

[If Jesus is truly "preferred before" us, we will never hesitate to
offer Him as the Lamb who takes away the sin of the world.  Finally, we
note John's testimony concerning Jesus that...]

IV. THIS IS THE SON OF GOD

   A. HIS TESTIMONY ABOUT CHRIST...
      1. "I did not know Him" - Jn 1:31,33
         a. Though related, Jesus lived in Nazareth, John in the Judean desert
         b. Even if there had been a casual acquaintance, John did not
            know Jesus as the Messiah
         c. Yet John came baptizing with water
            1) That the Christ might be revealed to Israel
            2) For upon whom the Spirit would descend, would be the One
               who baptizes with the Holy Spirit - cf. Mt 3:11
      2. "I saw the Spirit descending...and He remained upon Him" - Jn 1:32
         a. Just as John was told to anticipate - Jn 1:33
         b. Which occurred when Jesus was baptized by John - cf. Mt 3:16
      3. "I have seen and testified that this is the Son of God." - Jn 1:34
         a. John saw the Spirit descend upon Jesus like a dove - cf. Mt 3:16
         b. John testified to the same truth as spoken from above: "This
            is My beloved Son" - cf. Mt 3:17

   B. LESSONS FROM HIS TESTIMONY...
      1. We must be willing to confess Jesus as did John - cf. Mt 10: 32-33
      2. We must confess Him to be the Son of God
         a. As did Nathanael - cf. Jn 1:49
         b. As did Peter - cf. Jn 6:68-69
         c. As did Martha - cf. Jn 11:27
      3. We must believe Jesus to be the Son of God in order to be saved
         a. As John declares in his gospel - Jn 20:31
         b. As the Ethiopian eunuch confessed in order to be baptized - cf. Ac 8:37

CONCLUSION

1. Jesus would later describe the testimony of John...
   a. He bore witness to the truth - Jn 5:33
   b. He was the burning and shining light - Jn 5:35
   c. In which some were willing to rejoice - Jn 5:35

2. Are we willing to rejoice in the testimony of John...?
   a. Knowing that John was not the Christ?
   b. Understanding that Jesus is preferred above John and all others?
   c. Accepting Jesus to be the true Lamb of God who takes away the sin
      of the world?
   d. Willing to confess along with John that Jesus is the Son of God?

If we are willing to accept the testimony of John the Baptist and obey
the Son of God, eternal life can be ours! - cf.. Jn 3:36; He 5:9; Mk 16:16 
 
Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2016

eXTReMe Tracker


#NotMyCaesar by Ken Weliever, The Preacherman

 


#NotMyCaesar

“Politics have caused a vast divide in our country. Some Christians want to think that a president being elected by a suspicious or even illegal method means they need not recognize or honor him,” wrote Illinois gospel preacher David Diestelkamp in an article entitled #NotMyCaesar.

“Some conclude,” David continued, “that a president who is immoral, accepts the killing of babies (abortion), or condones the sexually deviant, is not ‘their president.’ And some are judging the validity of a presidency based on their perspective on law, rights, taxes, foreign policy, or free trade.”

David correctly reminds us that “the first-century Roman emperors failed in all these areas.”

Imagine being a Christian in New Testament times. Paganism was widely practiced. The Governors were corrupt. Most of the Roman Emperors were homosexuals and even pedophiles. The Roman historian Suetonius wrote that the Emperor, Tiberius, who reigned from 14-37 A.D. and was in power during Jesus’ day, retired to the island of Capri to engage in “wanton sexual pleasure” with young boys and girls.

Yet, when asked whether or not it was right to pay taxes to the corrupt Roman Empire, Jesus said, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s.” (Matt 22:21).

Caligula (37-41) and Claudius (41-54) and Nero (54-68) succeeded Tiberius and were not any better. Maybe worse.

Caligula is “described as a noble and moderate emperor during the first six months of his rule. After this, the {historical} sources focus upon his cruelty, sadism, extravagance, and sexual perversion, presenting him as an insane tyrant.” He is infamously remembered for his promise to “make his horse Incitatus, a consul, and actually appointed him a priest.”

While under Claudius’ reign the Empire underwent expansion and gave rise to many public works projects. His personal life, according to various historians, was characterized by bribes, murder, and dominated by sexually illicit relationships. “Aquila and Priscilla got to experience firsthand the emperor’s ire when Claudius tried to solve his problems by expelling all Jews from the city of Rome (Ac. 18:2). Comply with a megalomaniac emperor’s unreasonable edicts?” The answer? Yes.

The apostle Peter exhorted Christians living at that time to “submit yourselves to every ordinance and for the praise of those who do good. For this is the will of God…” (I Pet. 2:13-17).

Nero, the Emperor during Paul’s ministry, was a fornicator, adulterer, and pedophile. The sexual pervert once married a 12-year-old boy, Sporus, and paraded him through the streets of Rome. Described as a “brutal psychopath,” historians record his many barbarous acts against Christians as they were arrested and viciously executed by “being thrown to the beasts, crucified, and being burned alive.”

However, Paul commanded Christians to pray “for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness” (I Tim. 2:2). He further commanded, “Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities.” And he added when we refuse, “we resist the ordinance of God” (Rom. 13:1-7).

Tomorrow, Joseph R. Biden, Jr will be sworn in as the 46th President of the United States. So, what responsibility do Christians have toward him and his administration?

Succinctly stated…

1. Pray for President Biden and all other governmental leaders.

2. Respect authority.

3. Obey the law.

4. Pay your taxes.

5. Do NOT speak evil of rulers.

6. Do NOT use your liberty as a cover-up for evil.

7. Be an influence for good, giving glory the God, as a reflector of the light and love of Christ.

As David correctly asserted, “#NotMyCaesar was not an option that Scripture gave to Christians.” And neither is #NotMyPresident.

–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman

IT TAKES A SKILLED PROFESSIONAL by steve finnell

 

https://steve-finnell.blogspot.com/2016/11/it-takes-skilled-professional-by-steve.html


IT TAKES A SKILLED PROFESSIONAL by steve finnell


It takes a skilled professional to convince men that  perversions of the gospel facts are true.

John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. (NKJV)

It takes a skilled professional to convince men that salvation is not for all who believe in Jesus, because men do not have the free-will to believe. How is it possible to persuade some that God selects only a chosen few for salvation?

Mark 16:16 "He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. (NKJV)

It takes a master of deception to convince men that water baptism is not essential in order to be saved. No one could reach that conclusion without being convinced by a trained professional.

John 8:24 "Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins."(NKJV)

It takes a competent, skilled, deceiver to persuade men to believe that you can deny who Jesus is and still be on your way to heaven.

Romans 10:9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.(NKJV)

It takes a professional deceiver to persuade men they can be saved without believing in the bodily resurrection of Jesus from the grave.

Acts 3:19 "Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, (NKJV)

It takes a deceiver of certain skills to convince men their sins can be forgiven without repentance.

It takes a master of deception, a skilled professional to convince men the Bible is wrong and that their false doctrines are God's gospel plan of salvation.

No man who is truly seeking God's truth about salvation can read the Bible and reach these perverted conclusions alone. IT TAKES A SKILLED PROFESSIONAL.    

IRRESISTIBLE GRACE by C. A. Feenstra

 

 https://www.oldpaths.com/Archive/Feenstra/C/A/1931/ch04.html
 
IRRESISTIBLE GRACE

Man's words

Canons of Dordt - Third and Fourth Heads of Doctrine

Article 11


But when God accomplishes His good pleasure in the elect, or works in them true conversion. He not only causes the gospel to be externally preached to them, and powerfully illuminates their minds by His Holy Spirit, that they may rightly understand and discern the things of the Spirit of God; but by the efficacy of the same regenerating Spirit He pervades the inmost recesses of man; He opens the closed and softens the hardened heart, and circumcises that which was uncircumcised; infuses new qualities into the will, which, though heretofore dead, He quickens; from being evil, disobedient, and refractory, He renders it good, obedient, and pliable; actuates and strengthens it, that like a good tree, it may bring forth the fruits of good actions.

Article 12

And this is that regeneration so highly extolled in Scripture, that renewal, new creation, resurrection from the dead, making alive, which God works in us without our aid. But this is in no wise effected merely by the external preaching of the gospel, by moral suasion, or such a mode of operation that, after God has performed His part, it still remains in the power of man to be regenerated or not, to be converted or to continue unconverted; but it is evidently a supernatural work, most powerful, and at the same time most delightful, astonishing, mysterious, and ineffable; not inferior in efficacy to creation or the resurrection from the dead, as the Scriptures inspired by the Author of this work declares; so that all in whose heart God works in this marvelous manner are certainly, infallibly, and effectually regenerated, and do actually believe. Whereupon the will thus renewed is not only actuated and influenced by God, but in consequence of this influence becomes itself active. Wherefore also man himself is rightly said to believe and repent by virtue of that grace received.
* * *

"We believe that, to attain the true knowledge of this great mystery, the Holy Spirit kindles in our hearts an upright faith, which embraces Jesus Christ with all His merits, appropriates Him, and seeks nothing more besides Him." (The Belgic Confession, Article XXII)

* * *

"But they do not consider, that when the apostle makes hearing the source of faith, he only describes the ordinary economy and dispensation of the Lord, which he generally observes in the calling of his people; but does not prescribe a perpetual rule for him, precluding his employment of any other method; which he has certainly employed in the calling of many, to whom he has given the true knowledge of himself in an internal manner, by the illumination of his Spirit, without the intervention of any preaching." (Calvin's Institutes, the Westminster Press, Vol. II, page 622)

* * *

"The Calvinist, on the other hand, says that in the last instance the difference lies with God and not with man. In the one man the Spirit is not working in a saving way, and because the man is spiritually dead, he cannot believe, even though he hears the external preaching of the Word and perhaps reads it for himself many times. In another man, however, the Holy Spirit works irresistibly, regenerating him so that he understands fully that he is a sinner and needs God, and therefore, wants to be saved and to believe." (The Five Points of Calvinism, Edwin H. Palmer, Th.D., page 48)

* * *

"Thus the once dead sinner is drawn to Christ by the inward supernatural call of the Spirit who through regeneration makes him alive and creates within him faith and repentance.

Although the general outward call of the gospel can be, and often is, rejected, the special inward call of the Spirit never fails to result in the conversion of those to whom it is made. This special call is not made to all sinners but it is issued to the elect only! The Spirit is in no way dependent upon their help or cooperation for success in His work of bringing them to Christ. It is for this reason that Calvinists speak of the Spirit's call and of God's grace in saving sinners as being "efficacious", "invincible", or "irresistible". For the grace which the Holy Spirit extends to the elect cannot be thwarted or refused, it never fails to bring them to true faith in Christ!" (The Five Points of Calvinism, Steele and Thomas, page 49)

* * *

Q. Is Calvinism's "Irresistible Grace" true, OR does GOD'S WORD teach that faith comes only by hearing the Word of God?

"So belief cometh of hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ." Rom. 10:17

"Many other signs therefore did Jesus in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book: but these are written, that ye may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye may have life in his name." John 20:30-31

"Neither for these only do I pray, but for them also that believe on me through their word." John 17:20

"But many of them that heard the word believed." Acts 4:4

"For I am not ashamed of the gospel: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek." Rom. 1:16

"Send to Joppa, and fetch Simon, whose surname is Peter; who shall speak unto thee words, whereby thou shalt be saved, thou and all thy house." Acts 11:13b-14

"And he (Paul) reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded Jews and Greeks....and many of the Corinthians hearing believed, and were baptized." Acts 18:4, 8b

"Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures....receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls." James 1:18, 21b

"...I (Paul) begat you through the gospel." I Cor. 4:15c

"Now I make known unto you, brethren, the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye received, ... by which also ye are saved" 1 Cor. 15:1-2

The sower went forth to sow his seed....Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God....And that in the good ground, these are such as in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, hold it fast, and bring forth fruit with patience. Luke 8:5, 11, 15

* * *

Q. Where does GOD'S WORD teach that the Holy Spirit directly, miraculously, and irresistibly opens the hearts of unbelieving, unrepentant sinners, and regenerates them?

Q. According to GOD'S WORD, did God open Lydia's heart by the direct irresistible operation of the Holy Spirit, OR did God open Lydia's heart by the gospel preached by Paul and by Lydia hearing this gospel preached?

"And when he (Paul) had seen the vision, straightway we sought to go forth into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them ... And on the sabbath day we went forth without the gate by a river side, where we supposed there was a place of prayer; and we sat down, and spake unto the women that were come together. And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple of the city of Thyatira, one that worshipped God, heard us: whose heart the Lord opened to give heed unto the things which were spoken by Paul." Acts 16:10, 13-14

"No man can come to me, except the Father that sent me draw him: and I will raise him up in the last day." John 6:44

Q. Does John 6:44 teach Calvinism's "Irresistible Grace"?

Q. According to GOD'S WORD, in the verse following John 6:44, how does the Father draw men to Christ?

"It is written in the prophets, And they shall all be taught of God. Every one that hath heard from the Father, and hath learned, cometh unto me." John 6:45

"Good and upright is Jehovah: Therefore will he instruct sinners in the way." Psalm 25:8

"...God our Saviour; who would have all men to be saved, and come to the knowledge of the truth." I Tim. 2:3-4

"Jesus answered and said ... Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; ... and ye shall find rest unto your souls." Matt. 11:25, 28-29

"...it was God's good pleasure through the foolishness of the preaching to save them that believe." I Cor. 1:21

"For I am not ashamed of the gospel: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; ... For therein is revealed a righteousness of God from faith unto faith:" Rom. 1:16-17

"So belief cometh of hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ." Rom. 10:17

Q. Does GOD'S WORD teach that the saints at Ephesus had at one time been dead in trespasses and sins?

"To the saints that are at Ephesus, and the faithful in Christ Jesus:" Eph. 1:1

"And you ... when ye were dead through your trespasses and sins, wherein ye once walked according to the course of this world,..." Eph. 2:1-2

Q. Does GOD'S WORD teach that these spiritually dead Ephesian sinners, first heard the WORD, then believed and obeyed the WORD, and were then sealed by and given the Holy Spirit?

"...Christ. In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise." Eph. 1:12-13 AV

"Paul having passed through the upper country came to Ephesus, and found certain disciples ... they were baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus." Acts 19:1, 5

Q. Where does GOD'S WORD teach that the Ephesians or any others, were ever miraculously regenerated by the Holy Spirit before they heard, believed, and obeyed the gospel of Jesus?

Q. Is Calvinism's "Irresistible Grace" true, OR does GOD'S WORD teach that God gives His Holy Spirit only to those who hear, believe, and obey the gospel of His Son?

"And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may be with you for ever, even the Spirit of truth: whom the world cannot receive; for it beholdeth him not, neither knoweth him: ye know him; for he abideth with you, and shall be in you." John 14:16-17

"He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, from within him shall flow rivers of living water. But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believed on him were to receive: for the Spirit was not yet given; because Jesus was not yet glorified." John 7:38-39

"And Peter said unto them, Repent ye, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of your sins; and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." Acts 2:38

"And we are witnesses of these things; and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God hath given to them that obey him." Acts 5:32

"And because ye are sons, God sent forth the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, Abba, Father." Gal. 4:6

"To the saints that are at Ephesus ... Christ: in whom ye also, having heard the word of the truth, the gospel of your salvation, -- in whom, having also believed, ye were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise." Eph. 1:1, 12-13

"This only would I learn from you. Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?" Gal. 3:2

"That upon the Gentiles might come the blessing of Abraham in Christ Jesus; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith." Gal. 3:14

Q. Is Calvinism's "Irresistible Grace" true, OR does GOD'S WORD teach that man can resist the truth and in this way can resist, grieve, and quench the Spirit?

"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, that killeth the prophets, and stoneth them that are sent unto her! how often would I (Jesus) have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!" Matt. 23:37

"Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth...." II Tim. 3:8 AV

"Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Spirit: as your fathers did, so do ye." Acts 7:51

"Yet many years didst thou bear with them, and testifiedst against them by thy Spirit through thy prophets: yet would they not give ear: therefore gavest thou them into the hand of the peoples of the lands." Neh. 9:30

"But they rebelled, and grieved his holy Spirit: therefore he was turned to be their enemy, and himself fought against them." Isa. 63:10

"Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God" Eph. 4:30

"Quench not the Spirit." I Thess. 5:19

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