Faith by Allan Turner

by Allan Turner
Faith is a matter of hearing testimony, examining the evidence accompanying that testimony, and then deciding “I believe it; it is true!” Contrary to what many seem to think, this is true whether one is dealing with scientific or biblical principles. The evolu-tionist believes that life came from non-life, not because he has observed this event taking place, but because he believes that the evidence demands such as faith on his part. Similarly, the theist be-lieves in God, not because he has ever observed Him, but because he believes that the evidence demands such a faith. Specifically, in the context of one's relationship to God, faith is arrived at by hearing God's Word, examining the confirming evidence, and then deciding if one believes it: “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17).
The Value Of True Faith
Of course, in order to be classified as genuine faith, it must lead us to obedience. In other words, genuine faith—the conviction that God is right and His Word is true—will always lead to action on our part (cf. James 2:26). Therefore, when one's faith is activated by obeying the gospel and, as a result, one lives a daily life of obedience to Christ, there is the remission of sins, as well as all the good things that accompany salvation (cf. Romans 5:1-5). By faith, one has the power to resist temptation. We know this is true because the Word of God tells us that we can take up the shield of faith and “quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one” (Ephesians 6:16). By faith, one has the powerful avenue of prayer (James 1:6; I John 3:22 and 5:14,15). By faith, one has moral courage and stability (II Corinthians 1:24; James 1:3). By faith, one has a foundation upon which character is built (II Peter 1:5-11). By faith, one has an understanding that others do not have, because by faith one understands the universe was “framed by the word of God” (Hebrews 11:3). By faith, one understands that man was created by God, is uniquely loved by Him, and is a candidate for eternal fellowship with Him in heaven. Thank God for the convicting power of His Word!
It is true then, and there must be no mistake about it, there is real power in faith. When we hear, believe, and obey the gospel of Christ; when we “walk by faith, not by sight,” there is power available “in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3). Of course, it must be remembered that the source of this power rests in God and not man.
The Faith In Faith Bunch
Unfortunately, some these days are having a lot to say about faith, but the faith they are talking about is not the faith spoken of in the Bible. Some today are deluded by “deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons (I Timothy 4:1)—and I am not just talking about denomina-tionalists—, and are teaching that the power of faith is located in the human mind and not in God. Faith is seen by these people as a power (i.e., force) of the human mind that compels God to act on their behalf. The correct biblical concept of ”asking in faith, with no doubting" (James 1:6) is wrested from the immediate context (viz., asking God for wisdom) and is used to undergird the ungodly teaching that says one can get from God any thing one prays for if possessed of a “positive mental attitude” or “belief.” This is not what James was teaching. Instead, James was teaching that when one who relies, trusts, and has complete confidence in God asks Him for wisdom, he receives it. This is true because such a prayer meets all the conditions stipulated in God's Word, including the most important one: “If it be Thy will, Lord.”
The Lust Of The Flesh And Eyes And The Pride Of Life
Turned-off by what they perceive to be a pie-in-the-sky,-bye-and-bye Christianity, many have succumbed to the you-can-have-your-cake-and-eat-it-too philosophy of the modern day prosperity preachers. Subscribing to what is called the “magic power of belief,” many have come to believe the blatantly false concept that says, “Anything the human mind can believe, the human mind can achieve.” This idea is similar, if not identical, to the “you will be like God” promise of satan to Eve in the garden (Genesis 3:5). With this in mind, it is interesting to notice just how far men will go to defend this erroneous doctrine.
In his book You Can If You Think You Can, Dr. Norman Vincent Peale tells the story of a poor Chinese refugee who became a successful business man after reading Philippians 4:13, which says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” According to Peale:
That struck him like a bolt of lightning. “All things” seemed incredible, but in that flashing moment he actually became a believer. He could—he knew he could—move up to better things.
But a believer in what? A believer in himself, of course; a believer in his own abilities and mind powers. Such faith in faith, you can be sure, was not what the apostle Paul had in mind in penning those words. The faith Paul was writing about was faith in Christ: the kind of faith that allowed him to understand that he could overcome all obstacles to his apostolic mission as a result of the strength he received from above. That is all Paul was saying—nothing more, nothing less! He was not saying, “Your unconscious mind... [has a] power that turns wishes into realities when the wishes are strong enough.” He was not saying, “You don't know what power you have within you... You make the world into anything you choose. Yes, you can make your world into whatever you want it to be.” He was not saying that all one needed to do was have a “positive mental attitude” and “think he could,” and he could then do any thing he wanted to do. Such thinking is carnal and promotes a materialism that is completely contrary to the life of faith exhibited by Paul, namely:
Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
Anyone, especially a Christian, who would attempt to accommodate these verses to the if-you-can-believe-it,-you-can-achieve-it gospel ought to be quite ashamed of himself. Such is nothing less than the devil's doctrine and is a disgraceful attempt to justify the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life (cf. I John 2:16).
More About Faith
Phil Hayes had a dream. He wanted to earn a lot of money, buy a schooner, and sail around the world. Phil was no idle dreamer. He was the kind of guy who could seemingly do anything he set his mind to. His wife described him as the only man in the world who could walk on water.
Faith in himself was one thing Phil had an abundance of. And Phil's faith got results too! He was a great success in business and was soon on his way to fulfilling his dream.
It wasn't long before Phil was able to purchase the 52-foot schooner “Astrea.” With a crew of four he set sail on a “shakedown” or trial run cruise to Mexico. But things began to go sour. There were mechanical problems with the schooner and Phil did not conduct himself in a way that inspired confidence on the part of his crew. They eventually deserted him and his wife, also, lost confidence in her husband's ability to sail around the world.
But Phil had faith! A four-year, round-the-world cruise was in his grasp, and he was not going to let it slip away. He recruited a new crew and sailed for Tahiti. Phil and his crew were never heard of again, even after a long and intensive search by the Coast Guard. Seven years later Phil Hayes was declared to be legally dead. Those of you who like a mystery might toy with the idea that Phil is still alive and living comfortably somewhere far away from the humdrum of modern life. Chances are you are wrong! More than likely, the remains of Phil Hayes and his dream lie at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean.
Of this one thing you can be sure: We will never hear about Phil Hayes from the cheerleaders of Positive Thinking and the modern-day pied-pipers of Faith in Faith. All the positive thinkers, faith healers, super salesman-types, politicians, pop-psychologists, and preachers can't “juice” people up with a Phil Hayes story. Phil's story is negative and these charlatans aren't selling negativism. They're selling The Power Of Positive Thinking, which, according to them, is right up there with apple pie, motherhood, and the flag! To these swindlers, The Power Of Positive Thinking is the greatest consumer product since pop corn.
Now don't get us wrong. We are not against positive thinking. We know there is an advantage to having the right frame of mind. If we think we can do something, there is a better chance we will actually do it than if we think we can't. We are not ignorant of the advantages of positive thinking. But neither are we ignorant of stories similar to that of Phil Hayes. In Luke 12:16-21, we read the following: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully. And he thought within himself, saying, `What shall I do since I have no room to store my crops?' So he said, `I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.' But God said to him, `You fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?' So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.” Here was a positive thinker who believed in himself. Notice how many times he uses “I” and “my.” He visualized what he wanted to do; nevertheless, things didn't work out exactly like he intended. Of course, this is another story you will never hear at a Faith in Faith seminar.
What Is Biblical Faith?
Biblical faith (i.e., saving faith) is not belief in self or some vague faith in faith. Biblical faith is belief, trust, and reliance in God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Faith in God is more than just believing that He exists, it is a willingness to exercise confidence and trust in His promises (Hebrews 11:6). The pied-pipers of Faith in Faith tell us that the object of our faith is, for the most part, irrelevant. On the other hand, the Bible tells us the object of our faith, in order to be pleasing to God, must be God Himself. The Bible tells us that Biblical faith is a conviction of and confidence in the absolute authority of the Sovereign of the universe (cf. Hebrews 11:1,2).
Biblical faith, then, is belief in an objective authority. Jesus Christ is that objective authority! In Matthew 8:5-13, this point is made quite clear. A Roman Army officer approached Jesus to plead for his paralyzed servant. The Lord says, “I will come and heal him” (verse 7), but the servant replies: “Lord, I am not worthy that you should come under my roof. But only speak a word, and my servant will be healed. For I also am a man under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to this one, `Go,' and he goes; and to another, `Come,' and he comes; and to my servant, `Do this,' and he does it” (verses 8 & 9). This Roman soldier believed Jesus had authority to heal his servant. He believed Jesus could just say the words and his servant would be healed. The Bible tells us that the Lord marveled at this Gentile's “great faith” (verse 10). This, friend and neighbor, is the faith we should all learn to emulate. This, the Bible says, is the kind of faith that will allow us to be saved (Romans 5:1,2 & Ephesians 2:8,9). Why? Because, Biblical faith trusts in God's absolute authority and acts upon His words (Hebrews 11:1-40). The faith that saves is not taught in Self-Esteem seminars and Faith in Faith lectures; the faith that saves comes from hearing God's Word (Romans 10:17). Save your money and your soul by avoiding those who would make merchandise of you, and by faith give yourself over to the one who loves you, and proved it by dying for you on Calvary's cruel cross.
Remember, Bible lessons on faith do not teach us to have faith in faith or faith in ourselves; on the contrary, they teach us to, “Have faith in God” (Mark 11:22).

Equality, Submission, And The Role Of Women By Allan Turner


Equality, Submission, And The Role Of Women

By Allan Turner
The Bible teaches that both men and women are created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27), that is, both men and women are equal bearers of the divine image. This means that both men and women are equally human beings. Consequently, women are not inferior members of the human race and are not to be counted as second-class citizens.
Furthermore, women are not second-class citizens of the kingdom of God either (Galatians 3:28). They are full members of the church of Christ (viz., the universal body of the saved) with access to all the spiritual rights and benefits of such membership. In other words, one cannot be kept from the saving blood of Jesus Christ by his or her nationality (“neither Jew nor Gentile”), status in society (“neither slave nor free”), or gender (“neither male nor female”). All human beings are equal in that they can become “children” and “heirs of God” through faith in Christ Jesus (Galatians 4:7). Consequently, the context of Galatians 3:28 deals with who can become a Christian and on what basis, not with male/female roles.
It is, therefore, unfortunate that so-called “Biblical feminists” have pounced on Galatians 3:28 as the crux around which all Scripture must be interpreted. Some have even called this passage the “Magna Carta” of all humanity. They have claimed it teaches that it is God's desire to see all sex roles completely obliterated in the family, church, and society. Equality, they have falsely reasoned, means getting rid of all role distinctions. “Equality and subordination are contradictions!,” they claim. They feel that “true egalitarianism (equality) must be characterized by what sociologists call role-interchangeability.” They argue that any subordination is “psychologically unhealthy” and “carnal.”
These “Biblical feminists” have bought into the feminist argument that true equality means monolithic, undifferentiated role-interchangeability. Any Bible passage that does not square with their predetermined feminist definition must be either rejected as un-Biblical or explained away. Mostly, passages that teach a woman's role is to be one of subjection (e.g., I Corinthians 11:3; 14:34; I Timothy 2:11; Ephesians 5:22; Colossians 3:18; I Peter 3:1) are interpreted as culturally mandated and not meant for all time. It is the teaching of those who hold this belief that the cultural submission of women taught in the aforementioned passages would eventually evolve into the total gender equality and role-interchangeability that they have erroneously thought Galatians 3:28 teaches. (Incidentally, I have talked to Christian women who have made this same argument.)
Equality And Subordination Are Not Contradictions
The “Biblical feminists” are wrong! Equality and subordination are not contradictions. The Bible teaches that, as image-bearers of the divine nature, the female and male are totally equal. It teaches, therefore, that she is totally equal with the male in her humanity. Furthermore, the Bible teaches that the female is not a second-class citizen of the kingdom of God. It teaches, in fact, that she is totally equal in her access to the salvation that takes place in Christ. Nevertheless, the Bible emphatically teaches that the female role is to be one of submission. Unless one is willing to charge the Holy Spirit with being inconsistent and contradictory (and what true Bible believer would ever think of doing such a thing?), then one is forced to conclude that subordination and equality are not contradictory.
An irrefutable example that equality and subordination are not contradictory is the Son of God's submission to His Heavenly Father (I Corinthians 11:3; 15:28). The Bible teaches that there never was a time when the Son of God ever ceased to be fully God (Colossians 2:9). Ontologically (i.e., having to do with His nature and being), the second person of the Godhead was equal with His Father (Philippians 2:6). Even so, whenever the Bible says that God the Father sent His Son into the world (e.g., John 3:17), it is understood that the Son's role was one of subordination: the Father commands and sends; the Son obeys and comes. Only the heretic would be so bold as to suggest that the Son is a lesser God because it is His role to be submissive to His Father. Furthermore, the Bible tells us the Holy Spirit was sent by both the Father and the Son (John 14:26; 15:26; 16:7). Does this mean that He was even a lesser God than the Son who was already a lesser God than His Father? Again, none but a heretic would so teach!
If Christ's subjection to His Father does not suggest inferiority, then the woman's subjection to the male certainly does not imply her inferiority, as feminists so wrongly insist. The difference between the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is a functional one, not an essential one. They differ not in their essence or nature, but in the different roles they carry out in the Godhead. Similarly, men and women do not differ in their humanness, only in the roles they have been assigned by their Creator. Neither the natural equality that men and women enjoy as creatures made in the image of God nor their covenant equality in the kingdom of God is abrogated by the Biblical assignment of masculine and feminine roles.
As originally created, the male and female were to complete each other as they enabled one another to fulfill the God-ordained purpose of procreating and subduing the earth (Genesis 1:26-28). Neither was to seek the other's position, but as half of a whole they were to complement each other. When sin entered into the world, their distinctive roles were blurred and their harmonious relationship distorted. Instead of working together in unity, they began to compete with each other. Instead of reflecting the glory of God, they began to mirror the corruption of sin. Their original “oneness” was replaced by a power struggle that has continued in society ever since. This struggle, although it does not always manifest itself overtly, does, nevertheless, lie just below the surface in even the best of marriages.
Unfortunately, many men, even Christians, “hardened through the deceitfulness of sin” (Hebrews 3:13), have engaged in the practice of “lording it over” their wives. While on the other hand, many women, even Christians, have become “silly women laden with sins” (II Timothy 3:6) and have not willingly submitted to the headship of their husbands. It is sad but true that many Christians, both male and female, instead of “prov[ing] what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:1), are actually being guided by current secular values. Of course, we, of all people, ought to know that the answer to this problem is not to be found in current secular thought or even in so-called traditional thinking. The answer, instead, is to be found in God's Word, the Bible. It is in this book that we will find the answer to our problem.
A part of the “good news” of the gospel of Jesus Christ is that what was lost in the Garden of Eden can be restored in Christ. As faithful followers of the humble Galilean, the husband and wife can once again become the unit God intended them to be from the very beginning: the husband, the loving leader who “nourishes and cherishes” his wife as if she were his own body (Ephesians 5:28,29) and the wife, the suitable helper who willingly submits to her husband's guidance, “as to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:22). Such a relationship must be characterized by selflessness, yet it is only in Christ that one learns to crucify Self. It is only in Christ that one exchanges the egotistical “I am” of sinful pride for the loving guidance of the Great I Am. It is only in Christ that two people will live in the estate of matrimony as God truly intended.
Does this mean that people who are not Christians are not married? No, of course not. Does it mean that a Christian cannot marry a non-Christian? Again, no. Well, then, what does it mean? What it means is that without the restoration that comes in Christ, marriage will never be, nor can it ever be, what the Lord created it to be; namely, a relationship of unity that supersedes every other earthly relationship and in a very wonderful way reflects the unity that exists between Christ and His church (Ephesians 5:22-33). This Bible truth is a part of that light that illuminates a lost and dying world (Matthew 5:14). And it is this truth that functions as some of the salt that preserves our decaying society (Matthew 5:13). If Christians are not living this truth out in their lives on a regular basis, then they are no good to themselves or anyone else.
In Titus 2:2, the Word of God informs us that the younger women are to be taught to be “keepers at home” (KJV) or “home-makers” (NKJV). As has been pointed out in previous articles, the Bible does not prohibit the wife from working outside the home, but it does teach that the home is to be her primary concern. It is, indeed, unfortunate that the idea of homemaker is being much maligned in our present day society. It is tragic that young women and men are being taught that a female cannot really be happy as a homemaker. It is sad that young girls are being told they cannot be fulfilled unless they have a career that takes them away from their homemaking and child-rearing responsibilities. What is even more tragic is that many Christians have begun to incorporate these secular values into their own life-styles.
As God's people, we cannot be negligent in our responsibility to edify ourselves concerning this important subject. We must realize that young Christians will not be taught their God-ordained roles, and the duties associated with them, by a secular system inundated by humanism. We owe it to our young people to pass on to them the richness of the husband and wife relationship as taught in God's Word. Furthermore, as husbands and wives, we have the responsibility to live out our God-ordained roles before our children. But this is not enough! These roles must be reinforced by Bible classes that teach the duties and responsibilities, as well as the benefits, of the husband and wife relationship. In truth, we have not done a very good job with this subject, and it has definitely begun to show. The divorce rate among Christians, although much lower than that reflected in the world, is still much higher than anyone would have predicted just thirty years ago. Are we going to wait until the divorce rate among us begins to match the world's before we do something about it? If not, then we had better get busy and lovingly teach on this extremely critical subject before we find ourselves overshadowed by the horror of darkness that is engulfing our society. Fellow Christians, we must let our lights shine.
The traditional family, as defined by secular society, has assumed the husband to be the superior ruler and the wife to be the inferior servant. This is far to the right of what God has ordained in His Word. On the other hand, the feminist movement has swung the pendulum far to the left in denying the family structure and rolesGod has given. Let us, therefore, as Christians, strive for that golden mean set forth in God's Word and let us “not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of [our] mind[s], that [we] may prove [to a lost and dying world] what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:2).

"THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW" Chapter Six by Mark Copeland

                        "THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW"

                              Chapter Six

The "Sermon On The Mount" continues as Jesus teaches the righteousness
of the kingdom expected in those who would be citizens of the kingdom.
He discusses righteousness with respect to man’s relation to God,
regarding charitable deeds (1-4), prayer (5-15), fasting (16-18),
materialism (19-24), and anxiety (25-33).


   *  Performing acts of righteousness in ways that please God

   *  The danger of materialism and overcoming anxiety about such things

   *  Making the kingdom of God and His righteousness our number one


1) What are the main points of this chapter?
   - Righteousness with respect to man’s relation to God - Mt 6:1-18
   - Overcoming materialism and anxiety - Mt 6:16-33

2) As we perform acts of righteousness, what should we avoid? (1-2,5,16)
   - Doing it for the purpose of being seen by men
   - Acting like the hypocrites in the synagogues and in the streets

3) How can we ensure that God will reward us for our righteous acts?
   - By doing them in secret where only the Father sees

4) How else does Jesus teach us to give, pray, and fast? (3,7,17)
   - Do not let our left hand know what our right hand is doing as we
   - Do not use vain repetition as we pray
   - Do not disfigure our faces as we fast

5) What is the likely purpose of "The Lord’s Prayer"? (9-13)
   - To serve as a model of prayer ("In this manner...")

6) Of things in "The Lord’s Prayer," on what does Jesus elaborate?
   - The need for us to forgive others their trespasses against us

7) Where are we to lay up treasure?  Why?  How? (20,24; cf. Mt 19:21;
   1Ti 6:17-19)
   - In heaven; to serve God rather than mammon; by giving to the poor

8) What is the key to overcoming anxiety? (25-32)
   - Trusting in the providential care of God

9) How can we ensure that God will provide what we need? (33)
   - By seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2015

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                        "THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW"

                              Chapter Five

Beginning in this chapter, Matthew records the "Sermon On The Mount".
The theme of the sermon is "The kingdom of heaven" (cf. Mt 4:17;
5:3,10,19-20; 6:10,33; 7:21).  Jesus began with "The Beatitudes,"
describing the character and blessedness of those who would be citizens
of the kingdom (1-12) and illustrating their relation to world as salt
and light (13-16).  Clarifying His own relationship with the Law, Jesus
stressed how our righteousness must surpass that of the scribes and
Pharisees (17-20) following with a series of contrasts between the oral
interpretations of the Law and conduct expected of His disciples


   *  The meaning of the phrase:  "the kingdom of heaven"

   *  The blessedness of those in the kingdom, and their relationship to
      the world

   *  How our righteousness must surpass that of the scribes and


1) What are the main points of this chapter?
   - The beatitudes - Mt 5:1-12
   - Salt and light - Mt 5:13-16
   - Jesus and the Law - Mt 5:17-20
   - Interpretations of the Law versus kingdom righteousness - Mt 5:21-48

2) What do the beatitudes describe? (3-12)
   - The character and blessedness of the citizens of the kingdom

3) How are citizens of the kingdom to relate to the world? (13-16)
   - As the salt of the earth and the light of the world

4) What was Jesus’ relation to the Law of Moses? (17-18)
   - He came not to destroy the Law, but to fulfill it

5) What does Jesus expect of those who would be citizens of the kingdom?
   - Righteousness that surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees

6) List the five subjects whose interpretations are contrasted in this
   chapter (21-48)
   - Murder, adultery, oaths, retaliation, love

7) What phrases illustrate the contrast? (21-22,27-28,31-32,33-34,38-39,
   - "You have heard that it was said..." (not "It is written...")
   - "But I say to you..."

8) Then what contrast is being made with these five subjects?
   - The oral interpretation and application of the Law versus the
     teaching of Jesus

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2015

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"THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW" Chapter Four by Mark Copeland

                        "THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW"

                              Chapter Four

Following His baptism, Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness
where He fasted for forty days and overcame temptation by the devil
(1-11).  Returning to Galilee and moving from Nazareth to Capernaum,
Jesus began His Galilean ministry preaching the same message of the
kingdom of heaven as that of John the Baptist.  After selecting four
disciples, Jesus went about Galilee teaching in the synagogues and
healing all kinds of sickness and disease.  Soon great multitudes from
surrounding regions began to follow Him (12-25).


   *  How Jesus overcame His temptation by the devil

   *  The beginning of His ministry in Galilee, His message and methods

   *  The call of Peter, Andrew, James, and John to discipleship


1) What are the main points of this chapter?
   - The temptation of Jesus - Mt 4:1-11
   - The beginning of Jesus’ Galilean ministry - Mt 4:12-25

2) With what three temptations did Satan challenge Jesus? (3,6,9)
   - "If you are the Son of God, command that these stones become
   - "If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down (from the pinnacle
     of the temple)."
   - "All these things (kingdoms of the world) I will give You if You
     will fall down and worship me."

3) How did Jesus respond to each of the three temptations? (4,7,10)
   - With the Word of God ("It is written...")

4) Where did Jesus begin His public ministry?  Fulfilling what prophecy?
   - The region of Galilee; as prophesied by Isaiah (Isa 9:1-2)

5) What was the theme of Jesus’ preaching? (17)
   - "The kingdom of heaven is at hand."

6) Who were the four fishermen called to follow Jesus? (18-22)
   - Peter and Andrew, James and John

7) How did Jesus conduct His ministry in Galilee? (23-24)
   - Teaching in the synagogues
   - Healing all kinds of disease and sickness, including demon

8) Where did people come from to follow Jesus? (25)
   - Galilee, Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea, and beyond the Jordan

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2015

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"THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW" Chapter Three by Mark Copeland

                        "THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW"

                             Chapter Three

Matthew skips ahead about thirty years to describe events that prepared
Jesus for His public ministry.  John the Baptist served as a forerunner
with his own ministry of preaching in the wilderness of Judea and
baptizing in the Jordan river (1-12).   From Galilee Jesus came to be
baptized by John "to fulfill all righteousness".  As Jesus came up out
of the water, the heavens opened, the Spirit descended on Him like a
dove, and a voice from heaven declared, "This is my beloved Son in whom
I am well pleased" (13-17).


   *  The message and ministry of John the Baptist

   *  The purpose and meaning of Jesus’ baptism


1) What are the main points of this chapter?
   - The ministry of John the Baptist - Mt 3:1-12
   - The baptism of Jesus Christ - Mt 3:13-17

2) What was the theme of John’s preaching? (1-2)
   - "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!"

3) What was John’s mission as foretold by Isaiah? (3)
   - To prepare the way of the Lord (Isa 40:3)

4) What unique clothing and diet did John have? (4)
   - Clothed in camel’s hair and leather belt, food was locust and wild

5) What was John doing in the Jordan river? (5-6)
   - Baptizing people as they were confessing their sins

6) What did John say to the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to be
   baptized? (8)
   - "Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance"

7) What did John say One who followed him would do? (11-12)
   - Baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire

8) Who came from Galilee to be baptized by John? Why? (13-15)
   - Jesus; to fulfill all righteousness

9) As Jesus came up from the water, what three things happened? (16-17)
   - The heavens were opened to Him
   - The Spirit descended like a dove upon Him
   - A voice from heaven said, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am
     well pleased."

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2015

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"THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW" Chapter Two by Mark Copeland

                        "THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW"

                              Chapter Two

Unlike Luke, Matthew does not record events related to the day of Jesus’
birth.  But he does describe the visit of the wise men who followed the
star to find the infant child and to worship Him (1-12).  Warned by an
angel in a dream, Joseph takes Mary and Jesus to Egypt, escaping the
massacre of infants by an enraged Herod (13-18).  After the death of
Herod, Joseph and his family return to settle in the village of Nazareth


   *  The details of the visit of the wise men from the East

   *  Fact versus fiction related to the birth of Jesus

   *  Old Testament prophecies fulfilled by the events in this chapter


1) What are the main points of this chapter?
   - The visit of the wise men - Mt 2:1-12
   - The flight to Egypt and massacre of infants - Mt 2:13-18
   - The return from Egypt and residence at Nazareth - Mt 2:19-23

2) Why had the wise men from the East come to Jerusalem? (1-2)
   - They had seen the star of the King of the Jews and had come to
     worship Him

3) How did the priests and scribes determine the location of Christ’s
   birth? (4-6)
   - From Mic 5:2

4) How did the wise men find the young Child?  Where did they find Him?
   - Heading to Bethlehem, they followed the star; in a house with Mary
     His mother

5) Why did Joseph and his family flee?  What prophecy would be
   fulfilled? (13-15)
   - Warned by an angel to go to Egypt, in order to escape Herod’s
     effort to destroy Jesus
   - "Out of Egypt I called My Son" (Hos 11:1)

6) What prophecy did the slaughter of the innocents fulfill? (16-18)
   - That spoken by Jeremiah the prophet (Jer 31:15)

7) What prompted Joseph and his family to return?  Why to Galilee?
   - An angel told Joseph of Herod’s death, and told him to return to
   - Hearing that Herod’s son ruled over Judea, they turned aside to

8) Where did the family settle?  What prophecy did that fulfill? (23)
   - In a city called Nazareth
   - "He shall be called a Nazarene" (no one prophecy in particular)

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"THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW" Chapter One by Mark Copeland

                        "THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW"

                              Chapter One

Matthew begins his gospel with the genealogy of Jesus from Abraham to
Joseph.  Thus he shows the royal lineage of Jesus from David, one of the
first things required to convince a Jewish audience that Jesus qualified
to be the Messiah (1-17; cf. Mt 22:41-42).  The birth of Jesus is then
described, with the announcement of the angel to Joseph, and the
protection of her virginity until His birth (18-25).


   *  The genealogy, comparing it with the one in Luke’s gospel

   *  The prophecies of Isaiah and the angel regarding the virgin birth

   *  The significance of the names given to the child born of Mary


1) What are the main points of this chapter?
   - The genealogy of Jesus Christ - Mt 1:1-17
   - The birth of Jesus Christ - Mt 1:18-25

2) Whose genealogy is given by Matthew? (1)
   - Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham

3) What four women are included in this genealogy? (3,5,6)
   - Tamar
   - Rahab
   - Ruth
   - The wife (Bathsheba) of Uriah

4) What was the initial relationship between Joseph and Mary? (18)
   - Betrothed (engaged)

5) When and how did Mary become pregnant? (18)
   - Before she and Joseph came together
   - From the Holy Spirit (cf. Lk 1:26-35)

6) What two names would be given the child, and what do they mean?
   - Jesus (savior); Immanuel (God with us)

7) What scripture in the OT was fulfilled by the virgin birth of Christ?
   - That written by Isaiah in Isa 7:14

8) How long did Joseph wait until he knew Mary as his wife? (25)
   - Until she had given birth to her son (Jesus)

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"THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW" Introduction by Mark Copeland

                        "THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW"


The book of Matthew has always occupied a position of high esteem in the
faith and life of the church:

"When we turn to Matthew, we turn to the book which may well be called
the most important single document of the Christian faith, for in it we
have the fullest and the most systematic account of the life and the
teachings of Jesus." (William Barclay)

The writings of the early church fathers reveal that it was the most
frequently quoted and perhaps the most widely read gospel during the
first two centuries of the church's history.


The apostolic origin and canonical rank of the gospel of Matthew were
accepted without a doubt by the early church (ISBE).  Matthew, surnamed
Levi, had been a tax-collector,  one of Jesus' earliest disciples (Mt
9:9; Mk 2:14).  He was chosen to be one of the twelve apostles (Mt
10:2-3).  A close associate of Jesus during His ministry, Matthew's
gospel is a first hand account, unlike Luke who depended upon other
eyewitnesses (Lk 1:1-4).


Irenaeus says it was written when Peter and Paul were preaching in Rome
(Against Heresies 3.1.1).  Eusebius states that this was done when
Matthew left Palestine and went to preach to others (Historia
Ecclesiastica, III, 24).  Clement of Alexandria said that the presbyters
who succeeded each other from the beginning declared that "the gospels
containing the genealogies (Matthew and Luke) were written first"
(Eusebius, Historia Ecclesiastica, VI, 14).  It is traditionally dated
in the late 50s or early  60s A.D.


The gospel appears written to Jews, designed to prove that Jesus is the
Messianic king of Old Testament (OT) prophecy.  This is evidenced by
Matthew’s frequent appeal to OT Messianic prophecies.  He quotes from
almost every book in the OT, and twelve times he identifies OT
prophecies as fulfilled in the life of Jesus (Mt 1:22; 2:15,23; 4:14;
5:17; 8:17; 12:17; 13:14,35; 21:4; 27:9).  One could therefore say that
the theme is:
                    Jesus, the King of the Jews


It is a Jewish gospel.  We've noted its frequent appeal to OT
prophecies.  It's organization is mostly topical, as opposed to strictly
chronological (a common style in Jewish literature).  Thus it appears to
have been written with a Jewish audience in mind.

It is an ecclesiastical gospel.  It is the only gospel which mentions
the word "church".  It foretells its beginning (Mt 16:18), and describes
some of the life in the church (Mt 18:15-17).  It contains lengthy
discourses especially beneficial to those in the church, such as the
sermon on the mount (Mt 5-7), the many parables (Mt 13), and the Olivet
discourse (Mt 24-25).  It contains admonitions important to disciples of
Christ, such as the importance of doing the Father's will (Mt 7:21-23)
and observing all that Jesus commanded (Mt 28:20).  In other words, this
was a gospel designed for use by those in the early church.

It is an evangelistic gospel.  It is a preaching gospel, especially when
compared with the apostles' preaching found in Acts.  It expands upon
the basic elements and points made in their sermons.  Consider these
themes in apostolic preaching:

   *  God's promises in the OT have been fulfilled - Ac 3:18,24
   *  The long-awaited Messiah, born of David's line, has come - Ac 13:23
   *  He is Jesus of Nazareth - Ac 13:23
   *  He went about preaching and doing good through mighty works - Ac 10:38
   *  He was crucified according to the promise and will of God - Ac 2:22,23
   *  He was raised from the dead, and exalted at God's right hand - Ac 2:24,32-33
   *  He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead - Ac 3:20-21; 17:30-31
   *  Therefore, all should heed His message, repent, and be baptized
      - Ac 2:36-38

All of these points are expanded upon in the gospel of Matthew.


(adapted from The Wycliffe Bible Commentary)

1. The birth and childhood of Jesus - Mt 1:1-2:23
   a. Genealogy of Christ - Mt 1:1-17
   b. Birth of Christ - Mt 1:18-25
   c. Visit of the Magi - Mt 2:1-12
   d. Flight into Egypt and massacre of the infants - Mt 2:13-18
   e. Residence at Nazareth - Mt 2:19-23

2. The preparation for the ministry of Jesus - Mt 3:1-4:11
   a. The forerunner of Christ - Mt 3:1-12
   b. Baptism of Christ - Mt 3:13-17
   c. Temptation of Christ - Mt 4:1-11

3. The ministry of Jesus in Galilee - Mt 4:12-18:35
   a. Residence at Capernaum - Mt 4:12-17
   b. Call of four disciples - Mt 4:18-22
   c. General survey of the Galilean ministry - Mt 4:23-25
   d. Sermon on the mount - Mt 5:1-7:29
   e. Ten miracles and related events - Mt 8:1-9:38
   f. Mission of the twelve - Mt 10:1-42
   g. Christ's answer to John, and related discourse - Mt 11:1-30
   h. Opposition from the Pharisees - Mt 12:1-50
   i. A series of parables on the kingdom - Mt 13:1-58
   j. Withdrawal of Jesus following John's beheading - Mt 14:1-36
   k. Conflict with the Pharisees over tradition - Mt 15:1-20
   l. Withdrawal to Phoenecia and healing of a Canaanitish woman's
      daughter - Mt 15:21-28
   m. Return to the Sea of Galilee and performing of miracles - Mt 15:29-38
   n. Renewed conflict with the Pharisees and Sadducees - Mt 15:39-16:4
   o. Withdrawal to the region of Caesarea Philippi - Mt 16:5-17:23
   p. Instruction of the twelve at Capernaum - Mt 17:24-18:35

4. The ministry of Jesus in Perea - Mt 19:1-20:16
   a. Teaching on divorce - Mt 19:1-12
   b. Blessing of the children - Mt 19:13-15
   c. Interview with the rich young man - Mt 19:16-30
   d. Parable of the laborers in the vineyard - Mt 20:1-16

5. The ministry of Jesus in Judea - Mt 20:17-34
   a. Another prediction of Christ's death and resurrection - Mt 20:17-19
   b. Ambitious request of Zebedee's sons - Mt 20:20-28
   c. Healing of two blind men - Mt 20:29-34

6. The ministry of Jesus in Jerusalem - Mt 21:1-25:46
   a. Triumphal entry - Mt 21:1-11
   b. Cleansing the Temple - Mt 21:12-17
   c. Cursing of the barren fig tree - Mt 21:18-22
   d. Questioning of Jesus' authority and his parabolic answer - Mt 21:23-22:14
   e. Questioning of Jesus by various groups - Mt 22:15-46
   f. Jesus' public denunciation of the Pharisees - Mt 23:1-39
   g. Olivet Discourse - Mt 24:1-25:46

7. The suffering of Jesus - Mt 26:1-27:66
   a. Plot against Jesus - Mt 26:1-16
   b. The final meal - Mt 26:17-30
   c. Prediction of Peter's denial - Mt 26:31-35
   d. Events in Gethsemane - Mt 26:36-56
   e. Events at the Jewish trials - Mt 26:57-27:2
   f. Remorse of Judas - Mt 27:3-10
   g. Events at the Roman trials - Mt 27:11-31
   h. The Crucifixion - Mt 27:32-56
   i. Burial - Mt 27:32-56

8. The resurrection of Jesus - Mt 28:1-20
   a. Discovery of the empty tomb - Mt 28:1-8
   b. Appearance of Jesus Christ - Mt 28:9,10
   c. Report of the soldiers - Mt 28:11-15
   d. The great commission - Mt 28:16-20


1) Who authored the book of Matthew?
   - Matthew, also called Levi
   - An early disciple, and an apostle of Jesus Christ

2) Approximately when was the book written?
   - The late 50s or early 60s A.D.

3) What has been suggested as the theme of Matthew’s gospel?
   - Jesus, the King of the Jews

4) What three characteristics of the gospel were noted in the
   - It is a Jewish gospel
   - It is an ecclesiastical gospel
   - It is an evangelistic gospel

5) List the eight sections of the gospel as indicated in the outline
   - The birth and childhood of Jesus
   - The preparation for the ministry of Jesus
   - The ministry of Jesus in Galilee
   - The ministry of Jesus in Perea
   - The ministry of Jesus in Judea
   - The ministry of Jesus in Jerusalem
   - The suffering of Jesus
   - The resurrection of Jesus

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Founding Father Elias Boudinot on Islam by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


Founding Father Elias Boudinot on Islam
by Dave Miller, Ph.D.

American views of Islam going back to the origins of America have been generally consistent. With a Christian worldview intact at the beginning, Americans have naturally recognized Islam’s inherent hostility toward Christianity and its fundamental threat to the American way of life. For example, Elias Boudinot was a premiere Founding Father with a long and distinguished career. He served as a member of the Continental Congress, where he served as its president (1782-1783); he signed the Treaty of Peace with Great Britain; he was a member of the U.S. House where he helped frame the Bill of Rights; he served as the Director of Mint under presidents Washington and Adams; etc. In his masterful refutation of Thomas Paine’s Age of Reason, Boudinot labeled Muhammad an “impostor,” and insightfully observed that
Mahomet aimed to establish his pretensions to divine authority, by the power of the sword and the terrors of his government; while he carefully avoided any attempts at miracles in the presence of his followers, and all pretences to foretell things to come.His acknowledging the divine mission of Moses and Christ confirms their authority as far as his influence will go while their doctrines entirely destroy all his pretensions to the like authority…. And now, where is the comparison between the supposed prophet of Mecca, and the Son of God; or with what propriety ought they to be named together?...The difference between these characters is so great, that the facts need not be further applied (1801, pp. 36-39, emp. added).
This premiere Founder merely expressed the sentiments of the bulk of the Founders as well as the rank and file of American citizens. The political correctness that now characterizes western civilization has desensitized citizens and left the country vulnerable to the sinister infiltration of an ideology that is antithetical to the principles of the American Republic.


If It's Just a Good Book, Then It's Not God's Book by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


If It's Just a Good Book, Then It's Not God's Book
by Eric Lyons, M.Min.

Some time ago, I read an article by a college professor who stated that “the best thing that could happen to the New Testament has happened to it.... Within the University, at least, the Bible has become simply another ‘great book.’” Many in the world today consider the Bible to be a “good book” containing moral teachings written by noble men, yet reject the idea that the Bible was “given by inspiration of God” (2 Timothy 3:16). Many college professors today teach that the Bible simply is a “good book” that is no more inspired than Homer’s Odyssey or Chaucer’sCanterbury Tales. It is the mere result of natural genius characteristic of men of unusual ability.
Common sense, however, compels the honest person to reject such illogical notions. If the Bible is a “great book,” but not inspired of God, it makes either liars or lunatics of the biblical writers, who claimed the Holy Spirit as the ultimate source of their writings. The honest person surely will admit that the Bible—a book that has been studied and examined more than any other book in human history—definitely is not a product of insane men. Its unity, fulfilled prophecy, historical accuracy, and scientific foreknowledge testify to an intelligent source. Thus, the Bible was written either by the honest or the dishonest. Logically, no other choices exist.
Moses either lied or was truthful when he recorded: “And God spoke all these words, saying: ‘I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before me’” (Exodus 20:1-3, emp. added). Moses claimed such inspiration literally hundreds of times. Was he a liar, or did he tell the truth? In the New Testament, Peter wrote that “prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:21, emp. added). Did Peter tell the truth, or was he lying? This same question can be asked of all the writers of the Bible who claimed inspiration. To say that the Bible is simply a “great book” written by “good men” makes liars of the biblical writers who repeatedly claimed that God was the ultimate source of their documents (cf. 2 Samuel 23:2; Acts 1:16).
The Bible is either a product of God or a product of liars. There are no other options. If these men were liars, then they “insanely” pronounced their own destruction, for they claimed that lying was wrong and that all impenitent liars would burn in hell (cf. Exodus 20:16; Colossians 3:9; Revelation 21:8). If these men were liars, it leaves as inexplicable the mystery of why modern man, with all his accumulated learning, has not been able to produce a comparable book to make the Bible obsolete. Finally, if these men were compulsive liars who filled an alleged historical work with thousands of lies, pray tell, why do so many unbelievers still call it a “great book”? Non-Christians who profess an admiration for the Bible should consider the foolishness of their position.

God and the Laws of Thermodynamics: A Mechanical Engineer’s Perspective by Jeff Miller, Ph.D.


God and the Laws of Thermodynamics: A Mechanical Engineer’s Perspective
by Jeff Miller, Ph.D.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: The following article was written by A.P.’s staff scientist. He holds M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Texas at Arlington and Auburn University, respectively, with emphases in Thermal Science and Navigation and Control of Biological Systems.]
“[T]he principles of thermodynamics have been in existence since the creation of the universe” (Cengel and Boles, 2002, p. 2, emp. added). So states a prominent textbook used in schools of engineering across America. Indeed, these principles prove themselves to be absolutely critical in today’s engineering applications. Much of the engineering technology available today is based on the foundational truths embodied in the Laws of Thermodynamics. As the writers of one engineering thermodynamics textbook stated: “Energy is a fundamental concept of thermodynamics and one of the most significant aspects of engineering analysis” (Moran and Shapiro, 2000, p. 35). Do these laws have application to the creation/evolution debate as creationists suggest? What do they actually say and mean? How are they applied today in the scientific world? Let us explore these questions.
The word “thermodynamics” originally was used in a publication by Lord Kelvin (formerly William Thomson), the man often called the Father of Thermodynamics because of his articulation of the Second Law of Thermodynamics in 1849 (Cengel and Boles, p. 2). The term comes from two Greek words: therme, meaning “heat,” and dunamis, meaning “force” or “power” (American Heritage..., 2000, pp. 558,1795). Thermodynamics can be summarized essentially as the science of energy, including heat, work (defined as the energy required to move a force a certain distance), potential energy, internal energy, and kinetic energy. The basic principles and laws of thermodynamics are understood thoroughly today by the scientific community. Thus, the majority of the work with the principles of thermodynamics is done by engineers who simply utilize the already understood principles in their designs. A thorough understanding of the principles of thermodynamics which govern our Universe can help an engineer to learn effectively to control the impact of heat in his/her designs.


Though there are many important thermodynamic principles that govern the behavior of energy, perhaps the most critical principles of significance in the creation/evolution controversy are the First and Second Laws of Thermodynamics. What are these laws that not only are vital to the work of an engineer, but central to this debate?

The First Law

The First Law of Thermodynamics was formulated originally by Robert Mayer (1814-1878). He stated: “I therefore hope that I may reckon on the reader’s assent when I lay down as an axiomatic truth that, just as in the case of matter, so also in the case of force [the term used at that time for energy—JM], only a transformation but never a creation takes place” (as quoted in King, 1962, p. 5). That is, given a certain amount of energy in a closed system, that energy will remain constant, though it will change form (see Figure 1). As evolutionist Willard Young says in defining the First Law, “Energy can be neither created nor destroyed, but can only be converted from one form to another” (1985, p. 8).
Figure 1
This principle, also known as the “conservation of energy principle” (Cengel and Boles, p. 2), can be demonstrated by the burning of a piece of wood. When the wood is burned, it is transformed into a different state. The original amount of energy present before the burning is still present. However, much of that energy was transformed into a different state, namely, heat. No energy disappeared from the Universe, and no energy was brought into the Universe through burning the wood. Concerning the First Law, Young further explains that
the principle of the conservation of energy is considered to be the single most important and fundamental ‘law of nature’ presently known to science, and is one of the most firmly established. Endless studies and experiments have confirmed its validity over and over again under a multitude of different conditions (p. 165, emp. added).
This principle is known to be a fact about nature—without exception.

The Second Law

In the nineteenth century, Lord Kelvin and Rudolph Clausius (1822-1888) separately made findings that became known as the Second Law of Thermodynamics (Suplee, 2000, p. 156). The Second Law builds on the first, stating that though there is a constant amount of energy in a given system that is merely transforming into different states, that energy is becoming less usable. Extending our wood burning illustration above, after the wood is burned, the total amount of energy is still the same, but transformed into other energy states. Those energy states (e.g., ash and dissipated heat to the environment) are less retrievable and less accessible (see Figure 2).
Figure 2
This process is irreversible. The implication, to be discussed below, is that the Universe is running out of usable energy. Lord Kelvin stated that energy is “irrevocably lost to man and therefore ‘wasted,’ though not annihilated” (as quoted in Thompson, 1910, p. 288). This principle is known as entropy. Simply put, entropy states that nature is tending towards disorder and chaos. Will the paint job on your house maintain its fresh appearance over time? Will your son’s room actually become cleaner on its own, or will it tend toward disorder? Even without your son’s assistance, dust and decay take their toll. Although work can slow the entropy, it cannot stop it. Renowned evolutionary science writer Isaac Asimov explained:
Another way of stating the Second Law then is “The universe is constantly getting more disorderly!” Viewed that way we can see the Second Law all about us. We have to work hard to straighten a room, but left to itself it becomes a mess again very quickly and very easily. Even if we never enter it, it becomes dusty and musty. How difficult to maintain houses, and machinery, and our own bodies in perfect working order: how easy to let them deteriorate. In fact, all we have to do is nothing, and everything deteriorates, collapses, breaks down, wears out, all by itself—and that is what the Second Law is all about (1970, p. 6).
Entropy is simply a fact of nature. Entropy can be minimized in this Universe, but it cannot be eradicated. That is where engineers come in. We must figure out ways of minimizing energy loss and maximizing useful energy before it is forever lost. Thousands of engineering jobs are dedicated to addressing this fundamental fact of the Second Law of Thermodynamics. Your energy bill is affected directly by it. If the Second Law was not fixed, engineers could not develop the technology necessary to maximize usable energy, thereby lowering your energy costs.
This concept is analyzed and quantified by engineers using what thermodynamics textbooks call “efficiencies.” Efficiencies reduce to “energy out” (desired output) divided by “energy in” (required input) (Cengel and Boles, 2002, p. 249). For instance, a turbine is the “device that drives an electric generator” in steam, gas, or hydroelectric power plants (p. 188). By taking the actual work done by the turbine and dividing it by the work required to operate the turbine, an engineer can calculate the turbine’s efficiency. Discovering or designing ways to maximize that ratio can be lucrative business for an engineer.
Another type of efficiency is called “isentropic efficiency.” For a turbine, isentropic efficiency is essentially the ratio of the amount of work that is done by the turbine to the amount of work that could be done by the turbine if it were “isentropic,” or without entropy. Again, the closer an engineer can approach 100% efficiency, the better. However, engineers know they cannot reach 100% efficiency because of the Second Law of Thermodynamics. Energy loss is inevitable. As the engineering textbook Thermodynamics: An Engineering Approach states: “Well-designed, large turbines have isentropic efficiencies above 90 percent. For small turbines, however, it may drop even below 70%” (Cengel and Boles, p. 341).
Some engineers devote their entire careers to minimizing entropy in the generation of power from energy. All this effort is based on the principles established by the Second Law of Thermodynamics. These principles are established as fact in the scientific community. TheAmerican Heritage Dictionary of the English Language defines “law” as “a statement describing a relationship observed to be invariable between or among phenomena for all cases in which the specified conditions are met” (2000, p. 993, emp. added). Since laws are invariable, i.e., unchanging and constant, they have no exceptions. Otherwise, they would not be classified as laws. Tracy Walters, a mechanical engineer working in thermal engineering, observed:
It has been my experience that many people do not appreciate how uncompromising the Laws of Thermodynamics actually are. It is felt, perhaps, that the Laws are merely general tendencies or possibly only theoretical considerations. In reality, though, the Laws of Thermodynamics are hard as nails, and...the more one works with these Laws, the deeper respect one gains for them (1986, 9[2]:8, emp. added).
Evolutionist Jeremy Rifkin stated that “the Entropy Law will preside as the ruling paradigm over the next period of history. Albert Einstein said that it is the premier law of all science; Sir Arthur Eddington referred to it as the ‘supreme metaphysical law of the entire universe’” (1980, p. 6). God designed it. Creationists believe it. Engineers use it. Evolutionists, as will be shown, cannot harmonize it with their theory.


Some evolutionists argue that creationists take the Laws out of context when applying them to the creation/evolution debate. Mark Isaak, the editor of the Index to Creationist Claims, for instance, alleges that creationists “misinterpret” the Second Law of Thermodynamics in their application of the law to the creation/evolution controversy (Isaak, 2003). So what is the proper context for the Laws of Thermodynamics? Do these principles apply to the debate or not? Are creationists “misinterpreting” the laws?
A host of examples could, of course, demonstrate how mechanical engineers use the Laws of Thermodynamics in design today. Without these laws being fixed and well-understood by the scientific community, such designs would be impossible. As explained earlier, the vast majority of the work engineers do with the laws today is in their application to nature, rather than the study of the laws themselves. The laws already are thoroughly understood. To determine if creationists are “misinterpreting” the Laws of Thermodynamics or inaccurately applying them to the creation/evolution debate, consider three engineering examples that demonstrate the Laws in action.
Example #1. Perhaps one of the most celebrated—and appreciated—engineering designs of the 20th century pertaining to thermodynamics is the air-conditioning system. Briefly explained, an air-conditioning unit is a machine that was designed to acquire a large quantity of air from a system (e.g., a home or the interior of a car), remove heat from that air, and then release the cooled air back into the system, while disposing of the heat into a “heat sink” (e.g., the outdoors). Simply stated, this process occurs through what many engineers call a vapor-compression refrigeration cycle (Moran and Shapiro, 2000, p. 517)—a cycle heavily rooted in the Second Law of Thermodynamics. In this cycle, a fluid (called a “refrigerant”) in “super-heated” vapor form flows through a pipe and into a compressor where it is compressed into a hotter gas with a higher pressure. From the compressor, the gas moves into the next phase of the cycle, composed of a set of coils (a condenser). As the refrigerant flows through the condenser, some of the heat is removed, and the refrigerant condenses into a liquid. Moving through an expansion valve, the refrigerant is “throttled” into a colder, lower-pressure mixture of liquid and vapor.
One principle of thermodynamics, as noted originally in 1824 by the French physicist Sadi Carnot (Suplee, 2000, p. 156), indicates that in a system, heat will move from higher temperature sources to lower temperature sources until an equilibrium temperature is reached (Incropera and DeWitt, 2002, p. 2). This principle is directly utilized in the final step of the cycle. In this step, the low temperature refrigerant exiting the expansion valve moves through a set of coils called the evaporator that absorbs heat from the refrigerated area. At this point, the refrigerant has absorbed enough heat to return to its initial vapor state, and is ready to repeat the cycle.
In what way did the thermodynamic laws come into play in this process? One of the major responsibilities of the engineer is to take the principles stated by the laws of science and understand them enough to be able to apply them in new designs. In order to apply scientific laws, engineers must formulate ways to quantify the concepts articulated by those laws. In the case of the above example, engineers must take the principles stated in the Laws of Thermodynamics in particular and quantify them. To apply the First Law of Thermodynamics to design, engineers must first quantify the energy that is or will be present in a system (work, potential energy, kinetic energy, heat, internal energy, etc.). As the First Law states, the amount of energy present in the system remains constant during a closed system process—a system that “consists of a fixed amount of mass, and no mass can cross its boundary” (Cengel and Boles, 2002, p. 9). The engineer must calculate the amount of energy utilized within a system before a process and set it equal to the amount of energy present in the system after the process. The energy may change forms (i.e., work is partially transformed into heat), but the total amount of energy in the system remains constant.
Considering the above example again, engineers would quantify the energy that is being inserted into the system (such as the electrical energy required to run the compressor) and the energy that results from the processes in the system (such as the heat released into the “heat sink”). The energy would then be equalized, with a primary concern being to achieve the optimum usableenergy as an output, understanding that there will be a certain amount of wasted energy due to the Second Law of Thermodynamics (see Figure 3). The more usable energy achieved in the system processes, the more financially desirable the process, and the less energy wasted.
Figure 3
In order to facilitate this endeavor, a quantification of the principles inherent in the Second Law of Thermodynamics is essential. As noted earlier, efficiencies are essentially a measure of the usable energy achieved during a process. Achieving optimum energy efficiencies in the design of different machines helps to reduce the inevitable entropy implied by the Second Law.
Again, in the above example, in order to accomplish the refrigeration cycle, a compressor is used. To run the compressor, work (energy) must be used to compress the refrigerant to the right pressure to go through the condenser. Engineers must design these compressors to yield optimum efficiency, taking the Second Law into account, since the refrigeration/air conditioning process is not an isentropic one (i.e., a process with no entropy). The amount of energy required to operate the compressor to pressurize the refrigerant is more than the heat transfer that will occur from the hot room to the hotter outdoors due to the presence of the Second Law. In other words, usable energy is lost along the way (see Figure 4). This unalterable principle, which governs and permeates all of nature, will be shown to contradict the theory of evolution. Available energy is gradually being consumed. Engineers can slow the process, making the loss as efficient as possible, and maximizing energy usage. However, energy loss cannot be stopped due to the existence of the exceptionless Second Law of Thermodynamics.
Figure 4
Example #2. A second thermodynamic engineering example is seen in much of today’s electronic equipment. For example, a computer has many microchips (see Figure 5). Due to an understanding of the First Law of Thermodynamics, when work is done within a computer by a microchip, an extremely high amount of heat is released to its surroundings. As noted earlier, the Laws stipulate that the amount of energy that goes into a process must equal the amount of energy that results after the process. As computers get more powerful, the heat energy output becomes a more serious problem, especially considering that the computer components are moving closer to each other as computers become more compact. The intense heat that radiates from chips must be transferred away from the computer, or melting will occur among the system components. Faced with this significant problem, engineers are called upon for solutions. How can we continue to decrease the size of computers, increase their power, and still have the ability to transfer enough heat out of them to preserve their components? By adjusting the amount of power input and the rate at which heat is released in the First Law equation, engineers can ensure that the system will not be overloaded with heat.
Figure 5
Example #3. A third example of how engineers use thermodynamic principles in design is demonstrated by the examination of a vapor power plant that produces electrical power (see Figure 6). Similar to the air conditioning system, the vapor power plant cycle also often is composed of four components. According to Moran and Shapiro, in this cycle liquid water is passed through a boiler which has a heat input. The water then changes phase to a vapor and enters a turbine, where it expands and develops a work output from the turbine (electrical power). The temperature of the vapor drops in the turbine and then goes through a condenser where heat is passed from the vapor into a “cold reservoir.” Some of the vapor condenses to a liquid phase. The water then passes into a pump (compressor) where the water is returned to its initial state before repeating the cycle (2000, p. 229). Again, engineers recognize the limitations imposed by the Second Law, and must minimize entropy as much as possible when designing the turbine and pump (recognizing entropy cannot be eliminated). The more efficient the cycle components are designed, the more power the world gets and the less wasted energy there will be.
Figure 6
To recap, the engineering community utilizes the simple concepts inherent in the First and Second Laws of Thermodynamics—laws which govern nature in a very straightforward manner. The First Law: Energy in any closed system is constant. The amount of energy in a system before a process must equal the amount of energy that is in the system after the process (though it will change form). The Second Law: The energy in a given system is becoming less usable. Some of the usable energy inevitably will be lost, no matter what measures are taken. It would be beneficial if entropy were zero for an automobile’s fuel system. We could buy one tank of gas and simply reuse all of its energy indefinitely! The fuel would not transform into wasted, less usable forms (heat, exhaust, etc.).


When understood properly, the Laws of Thermodynamics apply directly to the creation/evolution controversy in precisely the same way they apply in the above examples to the work of engineers. In fact, these foundational truths utilized daily by the engineering world, have eternally significant, spiritual implications in that they prove that God exists. How so?
If there is no God, the existence of the Universe must be explained without Him. The Big Bang theory claims that all matter in the Universe initially was condensed in a sphere the size of a period at the end of this sentence (see Thompson, et al., 2003, 23[5]:32-34,36-47). However, this theory offers no explanation for the origin of that sphere. The only logical possibilities for its existence are that it popped into existence out of nothing (spontaneous generation), it always existed, or it was created (see Figure 7).
Figure 7

Possibility 1: Spontaneous Generation of the Universe

Consider the entire physical Universe as a system consisting of all mass/matter/energy that exists in the Universe. Without a God, this Universe would have to be a closed system. Since our system encompasses the entire Universe, there is no more mass that can cross the system’s boundary, which necessitates our system being closed—without the existence of God. If mass, matter, and energy could enter and/or exit the system, the system would be an open system—which is the contention of a creationist. However, without a God, the entire physical Universe as a system logically would have to be a closed system. Atheists must so believe in order to explain the Universe without God.
The First Law of Thermodynamics states that in a closed system, the amount of energy present in that system is constant, though it transforms into other forms of energy, as in the case of the above compressor. So, if the Universe as a whole initially contained no mass/matter/energy (energy input is equal to zero), and then it spontaneously generated all of the mass/matter/energy in the Universe (energy output is unequal to zero), the First Law would be violated. Applying the earlier example of the compressor, this circumstance would be equivalent to saying that the sum total heat loss and compressor work is greater than the electrical input—which is impossible. Without intervention from an outside force, the amount of mass/matter/energy in the Universe would have remained constant (unchanged) at zero. As was mentioned earlier, there are no exceptions to laws, or else they would not be laws. The First Law of Thermodynamics has no known exceptions. As previously explained, the Law is accepted as fact by all scientists in general and utilized by engineers in particular. Therefore, the Universe, composed of all mass/matter/energy, could not have spontaneously generated (popped into existence on its own) without violating the exceptionless and highly respected First Law of Thermodynamics. The energy level of the Universe would not have been constant. Spontaneous generation would be the equivalent of a zero energy input to a system and a non-zero output (see Figure 8). The Universe could not have come into existence without the presence and intervention of a Force outside of the closed system of the entire physical Universe. The Universe therefore must be an open system that was created by a non-physical force (not composed of mass/matter/energy) outside of the physical boundary of this Universe (above nature, or supernatural) with the capability of bringing it into existence out of nothing. That Force can be none other than the supernatural God of the Bible. Scientifically speaking, the Universe could not and did not spontaneously generate.
Figure 8
Unfortunately, though this truth is so glaringly obvious, there has been a recent surge of sentiment in the impossible notion that this Universe could have created itself—that something could come from nothing. British evolutionist Anthony Kenny (1980), physics professor from City University in New York, Edward Tryon (1984), and physicists Alan Guth from MIT and Paul Steinhardt of Princeton (1984) are just a few who are open proponents of this notion. However, the truth still stands. Until the First Law of Thermodynamics ceases to be a fundamental law explaining this Universe, the spontaneous generation of this Universe from nothing is impossible.

Possibility 2: Eternal Existence of the Universe

Again, considering the entire Universe as a system necessitates that it be a closed system. The Second Law of Thermodynamics states that though energy in a closed system is constant (First Law of Thermodynamics), that energy is transforming into less usable forms of energy (i.e., the Universe is “running down”). This process is irreversible. There is a finite amount of usable energy in the Universe (which explains the widespread interest in conserving energy). That usable energy is depleting according to the Second Law, as illustrated by the less usable heat output in the examples cited earlier. Engineers strive to slow this inevitable depletion of energy, but it cannot be stopped. If the Universe has always existed (i.e., it is eternal), but there is a finite amount of usable energy, then all usable energy already should be expended (see Figure 9). Yet, usable energy still exists. So, the Universe cannot have existed forever. It had to have a beginning. The eternality of matter would be the equivalent of a system with an energy input and 100% usable energy output (see Figure 10).
Figure 9
Figure 10
No wonder the evolutionists, themselves, sometimes concede this truth. In his book, Until the Sun Dies, renowned evolutionary astronomer Robert Jastrow stated:
The lingering decline predicted by astronomers for the end of the world differs from the explosive conditions they have calculated for its birth, but the impact is the same:modern science denies an eternal existence of the Universe, either in the past or in the future (1977, p. 30, emp. added).
In his book, God and the Astronomers, Dr. Jastrow reiterated this truth: “Now three lines of evidence—the motions of the galaxies, the laws of thermodynamics, the life story of the stars—pointed to one conclusion; all indicated that the Universe had a beginning” (p. 111).

Possibility 3: The Inevitable Implication

To repeat, there are only three possible explanations for the existence of matter in the Universe. Either it spontaneously generated, it is eternal, or it was created. Atheists use the theory of evolution in an attempt to explain the existence and state of the Universe today. In order for the theory of evolution to be true, thereby accounting for the existence of mankind, either all of the mass/matter/energy of the Universe spontaneously generated (i.e., it popped into existence out of nothing), or it has always existed (i.e., it is eternal.). Without an outside force (a transcendent, omnipotent, eternal, superior Being), no other options for the existence of the Universe are available. However, as the Laws of Thermodynamics prove, the spontaneous generation and the eternality of matter are logically and scientifically impossible. One possible option remains: the Universe was created by the Creator.


Evolutionists claim that science and the idea of God are irreconcilable. “Only one of them can be the truth,” they say, “and you cannot prove there is a God.” However, the Laws of Thermodynamics, which science itself recognizes in its explanations of the phenomena in the Universe, were designed by the Chief Engineer. As expected, they prove to be in complete harmony with His existence, contrary to the claims of evolutionists. God, Himself, articulated these laws centuries ago. At the very beginning of the Bible, the First Law of Thermodynamics was expressed when Moses penned, “Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them,were finished. And on the seventh day, God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done” (Genesis 2:1-2, emp. added). After the six days of Creation, the mass/matter/energy creation process was terminated. As evolutionist Willard Young said regarding the First Law: “Energy can be neither created nor destroyed, but can only be converted from one form to another” (Young, 1985, p. 8). Through the hand of the Hebrews writer, God also articulated centuries ago what scientists call the Second Law of Thermodynamics: “You, Lord, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of Your hands; they will perish, but You remain; and they will all grow old like a garment” (1:10-11, emp. added).
The inspired writer wrote in Hebrews 11:3, “By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.” Paul declared in Acts 14:17, “Nevertheless He did not leave Himself without witness, in that He did good, gave us rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness.” The psalmist affirmed, “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork” (19:1). Paul assured the Romans, “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse” (1:20, emp. added).
In closing, we return to Lord Kelvin, the Father of Thermodynamics, for fitting final thoughts.
I cannot admit that, with regard to the origin of life, science neither affirms nor denies Creative Power. Science positively affirms Creative Power. It is not in dead matter that we live and move and have our being [Acts 17:28—JM], but in the creating and directing Power which science compels us to accept as an article of belief.... There is nothing between absolute scientific belief in a Creative Power, and the acceptance of the theory of a fortuitous concourse of atoms.... Forty years ago I asked Liebig, walking somewhere in the country if he believed that the grass and flowers that we saw around us grew by mere chemical forces. He answered, “No, no more than I could believe that a book of botany describing them could grow by mere chemical forces”.... Do not be afraid of being free thinkers! If you think strongly enough you will be forced by science to the belief in God, which is the foundation of all religion. You will find science not antagonistic but helpful to religion (as quoted in Smith, 1981, pp. 307-308, emp. added).
So, according to the Father of Thermodynamics, evolutionists are failing to “think strongly enough.” No wonder the psalmist asserted: “The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God’” (14:1).


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