"THE EPISTLE TO THE GALATIANS" The Works Of The Flesh - II (5:19-21) by Mark Copeland

                    "THE EPISTLE TO THE GALATIANS"

                 The Works Of The Flesh - II (5:19-21)


1. Our study of the "works of the flesh" as found in Ga 5:19-21 now
   focuses on eight sins...
   a. They are "hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath,
      selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy" (NKJV)
   b. Which have been categorized as infractions of the law of love

2. Many find it hard to conceive that these eight sins are really all
   that terrible...
   a. Notice this news clipping that made the front page of the Orlando
      Sentinel (1/7/81) under the heading, "Pope Widens Sin Definition":
         "Pope John Paul II said today that sins of the flesh are not
      limited to fornication, orgies and drunkenness, but include
      idolatry, jealousy, envy and unfriendliness.
         "The pope made the remarks to his weekly general audience at
      the Vatican, his forum for the past 14 months on the subject of
      sex and sin.
         "In his latest discussion of the subject, the pope cited St.
      Paul, the first-century apostle, as giving Christianity a very
      wide definition of sins of the flesh.
         "'It is significant that when Paul speaks about the works of
      the flesh, he mentions not only fornication, impurity,
      libertinage, drunkenness and orgies which are the sins of sensual
      pleasure,' the pope said, 'but also speaks of other sins to which
      we are not accustomed to attribute a carnal and sensual character:
      idolatry, witchcraft, unfriendliness, discord, jealousy, dissent,
      divisions, factionalism, and envy.'"
   b. The heading made it sound like the pope is declaring something
      new, but as the pope himself stated, this is what Paul taught in
      the very passage we are studying

3. Indeed, what is said of immorality and drunkenness is also said of
   these eight sins:  "...those who practice such things will not
   inherit the kingdom of God"

[Therefore there is a great need to be informed as to what these sins
entail, and to make a concentrated effort to put them out of our


   A. HATRED, ENMITY (Grk., echthra)...
      1. Echthra means hostility, enmity, hatred - Strong
      2. It describes a state and attitude of mind toward other people
         which involves barriers between them and you
      3. Enmity is the direct opposite of love (agape); consider the
         a. agape - an attitude of mind which will never allow itself to
            be bitter to any man; always seeking the highest good of
         b. echthra - the attitude which puts up barriers and draws the
            sword of division
      4. When we allow the work of the flesh to rule (e.g., echthra), we
         cannot allow the Spirit to produce the proper fruit in our
         lives (e.g., agape)

      1. Eris is the expression of enmity or hatred; it is the outcome
         in actual life of that state of mind
      2. Paul uses this word to describe one of the evils that was
         characteristic of the pagan world - Ro 1:28-29
      3. Sadly, it can also describe the condition that may exist in a
         church - cf. 1Co 1:11; 3:3
      4. This particular sin invades churches more often, perhaps, than
         many others
         a. Because of our tendency to categorize sins, we may allow
            this one to linger and  fester more than such sins as
            fornication, adultery
         b. Yet this sin is most destructive of Christian fellowship; it
            will just as easily destroy (maybe even more so) a local
            congregation as will sins of moral impurity

   C. JEALOUSIES, EMULATIONS (Grk., zelos)...
      1. Zelos can be either good or bad
         a. Used in a good way
            1) Isa 9:7 - "The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform
            2) Ro 10:1-2 - "...they have a zeal for God..."
            3) Used to describe an excitement of mind, ardor, fervor of
               spirit, for something good
         b. Used in a bad way
            1) 1Co 3:3 - "For where there are envy..."
            2) 2Co 12:20 - "For I fear...lest there be...jealousies..."
            3) A fervor of spirit that is misdirected, resulting in a
               form of envy and jealousy that is destructive of personal
      2. Zeal that is misdirected is mostly directed toward self; i.e.,
         a. When we are zealous for God, that is good
         b. When we are zealous in behalf of others' good welfare, that
            is good
         c. But when we are jealous for selfish reasons, it is wrong!
      3. Such jealousy was a mark of carnality in the Christians at
         Corinth - cf. 1Co 3:1-3
      4. In view of the coming of Christ, zelos (envy) is one of the
         "works of darkness" we need to cast off - Ro 13:11-14

   D. OUTBURSTS OF WRATH, FITS OF RAGE (Grk., thumos)...
      1. This word describes...
         a. The blaze of temper which flares into violent words and
         b. The explosive temper which is uncontrolled
      2. Not to be confused with...
         a. Righteous indignation, which is proper and controlled; e.g.,
            the righteous indignation of God - Ro 2:4-11
         b. Anger which is properly checked and not allowed to produce
            an occasion for sin - cf. Ep 4:26-27
      3. Some try to excuse their explosive tempers as simply
         a. "That is just the way I am"
         b. "I am just a fiery Irishman, a hot Italian, etc."
         c. "It is human nature"
      4. But Christians, no matter what their "nature", are blessed to
         become partakers of "divine nature", and must therefore put
         away these things - cf. 2Pe 1:3-4; Ep 4:31-32; Col 3:8-11

      1. This word describes a self-centered attitude in the doing of
         any work; for example...
         a. Working solely for money
         b. Seeking and holding political office purely for personal
            interests and ambition
         c. Doing the work of the Lord out of a desire for recognition,
            personal ambition, or rivalry
      2. It is used to describe those who were preaching Christ out of
         jealousy - cf. Php 1:17
      3. It is this word which describes those who create party
         divisions in the church...
         a. Who are acting out of vainglory and a desire to be first
         b. Rather than out of a true desire to stand for truth
      4. It is contrary to that "mind of Christ" described in Php 2:3-5

   F. DISSENSIONS, SEDITIONS (Grk., dichostasia)...
      1. This word literally means "a standing apart"
      2. It describes a condition where all fellowship, all togetherness
         are gone
         a. This was the condition in the church at Corinth 
             - cf. 1Co 3:3
         b. Paul taught we should mark those who cause such divisiveness
            - Ro 16:17
      3. Such may be due to:
         a. Personal division (where two people refuse to speak to each
         b. Class division (i.e., class warfare between the rich and
         c. Party division (where devotion to party rises above devotion
            to principle)
         d. Racial division (e.g., Jew vs. Gentile, Greek vs. barbarian,
            white vs. black)
         e. Theological division (misusing labels and fixing them
            unfairly on others)
         f. Ecclesiastical division (church division, especially in the
            form of denominationalism)
      4. This sin is committed when we confuse...
         a. Prejudice with principle
         b. Unreasonable stubbornness with unwavering resolution

   G. HERESIES, FACTIONS (Grk., hairesis)...
      1. It most commonly denotes a group belonging to a particular
         school of thought or action
         a. Such as the "sect" of the Sadducees - Ac 5:17
         b. Or the "sect" of the Pharisees - Ac 15:5
      2. Peter used it to describe false teachers who will bring in
         destructive divisions - 2Pe 2:1
      3. Thus it refers to divisiveness, especially that brought about
         by false teaching
      4. This word came to mean a belief or doctrine which is contrary
         to orthodoxy or the truth

   H. ENVY, ENVYING (Grk., pthonos)...
      1. William Barclay offers this distinction between phthonos and
         a. zelos is the envy which casts grudging looks
         b. phthonos is the envy which has arrived at hostile deeds
      2. We might also add this distinction:
         a. zelos is less serious, less bitter, less malignant than
         b. But zelos, left unchecked, can result in phthonos
      3. Whereas zelos has both a good and bad sense, phthonos is always
         a. It was phthonos that moved the Jewish leaders to deliver
            Jesus to Pilate - Mt 27:18
         b. phthonos is indicative of a reprobate mind that has denied
            God - Ro 1:28-29
         c. It is often the result of striving over words - 1Ti 6:3-4
         d. It is typical of our lives prior to salvation - Tit 3:3
         e. But it is part of that which we are to "lay aside" 
            - 1 Pe 2:1


1. "Murders" (KJV, NKJV) is not found in the oldest manuscripts and thus
   omitted in some translations...
   a. Though it certainly is an infraction of the law of love 
      - cf. Ro 13:9
   b. It is a sin of which even those who hate are guilty 
      - cf. 1Jn 3:15

2. Why are such sins included in the works of the flesh...?
   a. Because of what Jesus did on the cross
      1) It is true that He died to reconcile man back to God 
         - cf. 2 Co 5:18-21
      2) But also to reconcile man back to man in one body! - cf. Ep 2:
   b. Because we are to preserve this reconciliation
      1) Not only the "vertical" reconciliation we have with God, which
         we preserve by living holy lives (which is why we must also
         avoid sins of moral impurity)
      2) But also the "horizontal" reconciliation we have with one
         another, which we preserve by maintaining the unity of the
         Spirit in the body of peace - cf. Ep 4:1-3

3. Therefore, infractions of the law of love undo the work of Christ on
   the cross...!
   a. Dare we commit sins of moral impurity to jeopardize our
      reconciliation with God?
   b. Neither should we violate the law of love and jeopardize our
      reconciliation with one another

4. They also prevent us from producing the fruit of the Spirit in our
   a. For such sins are certainly contrary to the Spirit - cf. Ga 5:17
   b. Making it impossible for us to enjoy love, joy, peace, etc. - cf.
      Ga 5:22

Our next study will conclude our look at the works of the flesh by
noticing the sins of intemperance...

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2016

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Did Jude Treat Noncanonical Writings as if They Were Inspired? by Caleb Colley, Ph.D.


Did Jude Treat Noncanonical Writings as if They Were Inspired?

by Caleb Colley, Ph.D.

There are sixty-six books commonly accepted as Scripture—the divinely inspired Word of God. Origen (c. 185-254), a prolific early Christian writer, noted a commonly accepted list of 27 New Testament books, indicating that by the second or third century, the New Testament canon was established (McGarvey, 1974, 1:66). There are many other books, beside the New Testament canon, that are considered inspired by some scholars, but not all (A.P. Staff, 2003, p. 1). The Bible is complete as it is, sufficient for the spiritual needs of Christians (2 Timothy 3:16-17; Luke 21:33; John 12:48).
Critics of the Bible would like nothing better than to show that God’s Word is a tangled web of contradictions, inconsistencies, and untruths. To that end, many critics have attempted to chip away at the credibility of Scripture by showing that it simply is impossible to determine what material is Scripture and what material is not. They have alleged that the biblical writers themselves accepted extrabiblical sources as inspired Scripture. One instance of a biblical writer allegedly treating noncanonical material as authoritative is in Jude 9. “Yet Michael the archangel, in contending with the devil, when he disputed about the body of Moses, dared not bring against him a reviling accusation, but said, ‘The Lord rebuke you!’ ”
Aside from Jude 9, there is no biblical record of any “contention” or meeting between the devil and Michael the archangel. Many scholars, based on the writings of Clement, Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Origin, and Didymus (Guthrie, 1962, p. 918; Earle, Blaney, and Hanson, 1955, p. 411), assume that Jude 9 is a reference to an apocryphal book called The Assumption of Moses, a work that is extant only in fragmental form (in Latin and in a translation from Greek). The fragment now known as The Assumption of Moses presents the account of Moses’ appointing of Joshua as his successor, and a description of the future of Israel during the conquest of the Promised Land. According to Richard Lenksi, scholars believe that the missing portion of The Assumption included “an elaboration” of Deuteronomy 34:5, the biblical account of Moses’ death, showing how God used angels to bury Moses (1966, pp. 601-602). It is thought that The Assumption of Moses, at this point, used Zechariah 3:1-2 as its basis for the use of the phrase “The Lord rebuke you!” It has not been proven, however, that Jude intended to quote from The Assumption of Moses.
If Jude intended to reference it, it cannot be determined that Jude actually quoted the apocryphal book, because the material Jude allegedly quoted does not exist. If The Assumption of Moses did indeed contain material about Moses’ burial, then Jude independently wrote the same thing that the writer of The Assumption wrote. Thus, Jude confirmed that this particular portion of The Assumption is historical. That is very different from stating that any portion of The Assumption was inspired. It may be that Jude simply intended to reference an oral tradition (which was true) that became the basis for The Assumption (Guthrie, 1962, p. 918).
Jude is the only New Testament book that seems to include a direct citation of a Jewish apocryphal work, which is, in this case, The Book of Enoch (Guthrie, p. 917). The apparent reference to Enoch’s prophecy is in Jude 14-15. An example of the kind of criticism that comes against Jude 14-15 is that of Carroll D. Osburn, a distinguished professor of New Testament at Abilene Christian University. Dr. Osborn argued in his book Peaceable Kingdom (1993, p. 94) that Jude should not be included in the New Testament canon because, among other reasons, Jude 14-15 discusses an event that also is recorded in The Book of Enoch. Enoch’s book apparently has more than one author, but scholars differ on which author wrote which portions, and it is uncertain when each portion was written. According to Sir Frederic Kenyon, former director and principal librarian of the British Museum, The Book of Enoch is pre-Christian, and parts of it are probably pre-Maccabean (1949, p. 246). However, there is no positive proof that The Book of Enoch existed as early as the time of Jude (Barnes, 1949, p. 400), or that it can even be traced back as far as the third century (Woods, 1962, p. 399). It is thought to have been written in Palestine. David Childress gave an overview of the history of The Book of Enoch:
The apocryphal Book of Enoch the Prophet was first discovered in Abyssinia in the year 1773 by a Scottish explorer named James Bruce. Bruce, a sort of 18th Century Indiana Jones, may have seen the Ark of the Covenant at Axum (or its copy, as we surmise), and was able to obtain the ancient Coptic Christian text, approximately 2,000 years old. In 1821 The Book of Enoch was translated by Richard Laurence and published in a number of successive editions, culminating in the 1883 edition (2000, p. 328).
James C. VanderKam, in his book, Enoch and the Growth of an Apocalyptic Tradition, claimed that Jude (in verses 14-15) quoted 1 Enoch 1:9 (1984, p. 110), and at first glance, that appears to be a correct assessment. First, consider Jude 14-15:
Now Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men also, saying, “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints, to execute judgment on all, to convict all who are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have committed in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.”
Now notice the wording of 1 Enoch 1:9:
And behold! He cometh with ten thousands of His holy ones to execute judgment upon all, and to destroy all the ungodly: and to convict all flesh of all the works of their ungodliness which they have ungodly committed, and of all the hard things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.
Several points should be considered about Jude’s citation of Enoch’s prophecy. Because it is so difficult to date the origin of The Book of Enoch, and because numerous portions of the book suggest that the writer was influenced heavily by the New Testament, Guy N. Woods, commentating on Jude, wrote:
There are sharp variations between the statement allegedly cited by Jude and the actual statement as it appears in Jude. There is more reason for supposing that the book of Jude is older than this so-called “Book of Enoch” and that the author quoted from Jude rather than Jude from him! In the same fashion that Peter knew that Noah was a preacher, that Lot was vexed in Sodom, and that Paul knew the names of the Egyptian magicians; Jude learned of Enoch’s prophecy—by inspiration (1962, p. 399).
Let us assume, for the sake of our study, that The Book of Enoch existed at the time that Jude wrote, and that Jude really was referencing it. Simply because Jude knew of Enoch’s prophecy and approved it, does not necessarily imply that Jude certified the entire collection of Enoch’s writings as inspired of God. The Greek word translated “prophesied” in Jude 14 is propheteuo, a word that is used on only one occasion in the New Testament (Matthew 15:7) for a citation of an Old Testament passage (Isaiah 29). The cognate Greek noun prophetes, which relates to the verb propheteuo, was used by Paul to refer to a heathen poet (Titus 1:12). There is no evidence, then, that Jude referred to Enoch’s prophecy as an inspired work. Why, then, did Jude mention The Book of Enoch? He recognized that the prophecy of Enoch had turned out to be a true prophecy. Jude never gave indication of what he thought of the remainder of The Book of Enoch.
Many times in Scripture, inspired writers use other sources of information; sometimes these sources are inspired, and sometimes they are not. For an example, one occasion when an inspired writer used an uninspired source is in 1 Corinthians 10:4, where Paul apparently made a reference to Jewish legend to support his own inspired interpretation of Israel’s wilderness wanderings (Lenski, 1937, pp. 392-393). On other occasions (Acts 17:28; Titus 1:12-13), Paul quoted from pagan poets to support his own assertions, and even told his audiences that the specific portions of the pagan writings he referenced were accurate. Did Paul claim that these extrabiblical materials were inspired? Certainly not. Paul used supporting materials that would have been meaningful to his audiences. The noncanonical works that were cited by New Testament authors were highly respected. The fact that Paul used noncanonical sources to add an extra dimension to his message should not motivate us to regard any of Paul’s writings as inferior, or to totally disregard them. The same is true in the case of Jude’s epistle.
Further, Jude did not necessarily imply that Enoch saw into the future to predict attitudes or actions of the sinners under consideration in the epistle. All that is necessarily implied in Jude 14-15 is that Enoch’s prediction happened to be descriptive of the men about whom Jude wrote (Barnes, 1949, p. 399).
We probably will never be sure when (or if) Jude received information from earthly sources about Enoch’s writing or The Assumption of Moses. Perhaps Jude heard about it from traditional sources or from the books themselves, but this does not alter the fact that Jude was inspired of God. It is possible that the Holy Spirit, as He inspired Jude, certified that one particular portion of The Book of Enoch is correct, though not inspired. It is altogether certain, however, that despite critics’ allegations, the Bible continues to stand firm as the sole message from the Creator—always accurate and dependable.


Barnes, Albert (1949), Barnes’ Notes—James, Peter, John, and Jude (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1978 reprint).
Childress, David Hatcher (2000), Technology of the Gods: The Incredible Sciences of the Ancients(Kempton, IL: Adventures Unlimited).
Earle, Ralph, Harvey J.S. Blaney, and Carl Hanson (1955), Exploring the New Testament, ed. Ralph Earle (Kansas City, MO: Beacon Hill Press).
Guthrie, Donald (1962), Introduction to the New Testament (Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity, 1970 reprint), third revised edition.
Kenyon, Frederic (1949), The Bible and Archaeology (Britain: Harper and Brothers).
Lenski, Richard C. H. (1937), The Interpretation of I and II Corinthians (Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg).
Lenski, Richard C. H. (1966), The Interpretation of I and II Peter, the Three Epistles of John, and the Epistle of Jude (Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg).
McGarvey, J.W. (1974), Evidences of Christianity (Nashville, TN: Gospel Advocate).
Osburn, Caroll D. (1993), The Peaceable Kingdom (Abilene, TX: Restoration Perspectives).
A.P. Staff (2003), “The Canon and Extra-Canonical Writings,” [On-line], URL: http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/1972.
VanderKam, James C. (1984), Enoch and the Growth of an Apocalyptic Tradition (Washington, The Catholic Biblical Association of America).
Woods, Guy N. (1962), A Commentary on the New Testament Epistles of Peter, John, and Jude(Nashville, TN: Gospel Advocate).

God and the Laws of Science: The Laws of Probability by Jeff Miller, Ph.D.


God and the Laws of Science: The Laws of Probability

by Jeff Miller, Ph.D.


A typical misconception about science is that it can tell us what will definitely happen now or in the future given enough time, or what would certainly have happened in the past, given enough time. The truth is, science is limited in that it does not grant absolute truth, but only yields degrees of probability or likelihood. Science observes the Universe, records evidence, and strives to draw conclusions about what has happened in the past, is happening now, and what will potentially happen in the future, given the current state of scientific knowledge—which is often times woefully incomplete, and even inaccurate. The late, prominent evolutionist George Gaylord Simpson discussed the nature of science and probability several years ago in the classic textbook, Life: An Introduction to Biology, stating:
We speak in terms of “acceptance,” “confidence,” and “probability,” not “proof.” If by proof is meant the establishment of eternal and absolute truth, open to no possible exception or modification, then proof has no place in the natural sciences. Alternatively, proof in a natural science, such as biology, must be defined as the attainment of a high degree of confidence (Simpson and Beck, 1965, p. 16, emp. added).
In other words, science observes and attempts to answer for mankind such things as: what could have happened in the past; what most likely happened; what is probably happening now; what could happen in the future; or what will likely happen in the future. Science does not necessarily tell us what will certainly always be or has always been the case. Rather, it tells us what has always been observed to be the case and what will almost certainly always be the case, without exception, and which coincides with logic, intuition, and mathematics. When enough evidence is gathered and all that evidence points to some truth and therefore yields an extremely high level of confidence in that truth (i.e., the probability of the same truth always being the case is considered so high that it is beyond doubt), the truth is made a law. Such a step is not taken lightly. Extensive observation must be conducted before doing so. Therefore, the laws of science are highly respected and considered to be essentially beyond doubt. However, there is always the slightest potential that a law could be broken in the future by some unknown event. Thus, probability is intimately intertwined with science. Mark Kac, famous mathematician and professor at Cornell and Rockefeller Universities, said, “Probability is a cornerstone of all the sciences, and its daughter, the science of statistics, enters into all human activities” (as quoted in Smith, 1975, p. 111, emp. added).
Many evolutionists understand the significance of probability in science and yet go too far in their use of the laws of probability, presumptuously claiming that they can do more than they profess to do. These assert that anything—no matter how far-fetched—will inevitably happen, given enough time, as long as it does not have a probability of zero. Supposedly, objects will pop into existence, and eventually, those things will come to life and transform into humans. Many evolutionists have long cited the principles of probability in an effort to support such unscientific dogmas (e.g., Erwin, 2000). As far back as 1954, George Wald, writing in Scientific Americanconcerning the origin of life on Earth, penned the words:
However improbable we regard this event, or any of the steps it involves, given enough time, it will almost certainly happen at least once. And for life as we know it, once may be enough. Time is the hero of the plot…. Given so much time, the “impossible” becomes possible, the possible becomes probable, and the probable becomes virtually certain. One has only to wait; time itself performs miracles (Wald, p. 48, emp. added).
There are at least four problems with such assertions about the laws of probability.


First of all, we are not “given enough time” for macroevolution to have occurred. We at Apologetics Press have documented this fact time and time again (cf. Jackson, 1983; Thompson, 2001). Years ago, in his article “The Young Earth,” Henry Morris listed 76 scientific dating techniques, based on standard evolutionary assumptions, which all indicate that the Earth is relatively young (Morris, 1974). Donald DeYoung documented extensive, compelling evidence for a young Earth as well, in the book Thousands…Not Billions (2005). This fact alone dispels the preposterous contention that we are the descendants of ape-like creatures.


The second problem with the assertion of evolutionary inevitability is implied by the work of the renowned French mathematician, Emile Borel, for whom the lunar crater, Borel, is named (O’Connor and Robertson, 2008). In 1962, Borel discussed in depth the law of probability known as the Single Law of Chance—a law that he said “is extremely simple and intuitively evident, though rationally undemonstrable” (1962, p. 2). This principle states that “events whose probability is extremely small never occur” (1965, p. 57). He further stated that we “at least…must act, in all circumstances, as if they were impossible” (1962, p. 3, italics in orig.). The law, he said, applies to
the sort of event, which, though its impossibility may not be rationally demonstrable, is, however, so unlikely that no sensible person will hesitate to declare it actually impossible. If someone affirmed having observed such an event we would be sure that he is deceiving us or has himself been the victim of a fraud (1962, p. 3, italics in orig., emp. added).
To clarify the meaning of “extremely small” probabilities, he defined different categories of events in which the probabilities are so small that they are “practically negligible,” including events from the human, terrestrial, and cosmic perspectives (1965, p. 57).
In his discussion on the probabilities of certain cosmic events, he argues convincingly from mathematical calculations and intuition that reasonable human beings consider probabilities of chance cosmic events that fall below one in 1045 to be negligible (1965, p. 59). In other words, if the probability of a certain event happening in the Universe is less than one in 1045 (i.e., a one with 45 zeros after it), human beings intuitively categorize that event as so unlikely that we consider it to be an impossible event.
Several years ago, evolutionist Harold Morowitz of Yale, and currently professor of biology and natural philosophy at George Mason University, estimated the probability of the formation of the smallest and simplest living organism to be one in 10340,000,000 (1970, p. 99). A few years following Morowitz’s calculations, the late, renowned evolutionist Carl Sagan made his own estimation of the chance that life could evolve on any given single planet: one in 102,000,000,000(1973, p. 46)! Note also that these calculations were made before the last several decades have revealed with even more clarity the complexity of life (cf. Deweese, 2010). These probability estimations for the formation of life, made by the evolutionists themselves, are, of course, so far beyond the limit articulated for cosmic events by the Single Law of Chance that we must respond in shock, rather than humor, at the big lie that has been perpetrated on the world at large by so many in the scientific community in thrusting macroevolution on the masses. The distinguished British astronomer, Sir Fred Hoyle once said regarding evolution, “the chance that higher forms have emerged in this way is comparable with the chance that a tornado sweeping through a junk-yard might assemble a Boeing 747 from the materials therein” (1981b, 294:105). He further stated:
At all events, anyone with even a nodding acquaintance with the Rubik cube will concede the near-impossibility of a solution being obtained by a blind person moving the cubic faces at random. Now imagine 1050 blind persons each with a scrambled Rubik cube, and try to conceive of the chance of them all simultaneously arriving at the solved form. You then have the chance of arriving by random shuffling at just one of the many biopolymers on which life depends. The notion that not only biopolymers but the operating programme of a living cell could be arrived at by chance in a primordial organic soup here on the Earth is evidently nonsense of a high order (1981a, 92:527, emp. in orig.).
Borel’s Single Law of Chance certainly lays plain the impossibility and incredibility of the evolutionary proposition. However, Borel tried to distance himself from the implications of his findings and their application to the spontaneous emergence of life by noting that the laws of chance do “not seem possible to apply” to some evolutionary events (1963, p. 125, emp. added). He further stated:
[I]t is generally held that living beings are the result of a slow process of evolution, beginning with elementary organisms, and that this process of evolution involves certain properties of living matter that prevent us from asserting that the process was accomplished in accordance with the laws of chance (1963, p. 125).
In other words, evolutionary processes are not considered a succession of random, chance events. Instead, it seems that they are considered intentional events that somehow occur without intention. However, since non-living matter has no mind of its own, the progression of events that would have to occur to lead to the optimal arrangement of that matter allegedly to bring about life would have to be just that—a succession of random, chance events. In making the assertion that the laws of chance do not apply to evolution, he tacitly acknowledges the fact that the evolutionary model would actually require multiple, successive random events taking place gradually over time in order to bring even the pre-living “organism” to a place in which life could allegedly burst into existence. And as if to further drive the tombstone into the grave, according to Borel, himself, “[i]t is repetition that creates improbability” (1962, p. 3). Such almost endless successive random events would actually create more of a problem for evolution. “[I]t is their [the successive repetition of improbable events leading towards significant complexity—JM] almost indefinite repetition that creates improbability and rightly seems to us impossible” (1962, pp. 3-4, emp. added). After all of these successive evolutionary events leading towards life, the final random, chance event in which all the circumstances happen to be “just right” to bring about the jump from non-life to life is so improbable, according to the evolutionists themselves, that the Single Law of Chance would consider the event impossible and not worthy of human attention. [NOTE: We are not suggesting that it is possible for life to be spontaneously created from non-life, no matter what the circumstances or arrangements of matter may be. We are only noting the implications of the evolutionists’ own arguments and their application to the laws of science.]


There is yet another problem with the assertion that macroevolution will happen, given enough time, as long as it does not have a probability of zero. Several of the events that are necessary in order for the theory of evolution and the Big Bang Theory to be true, indeed, have a probability of zero, according to the scientific evidence. The whole question is not really even one of improbability, but impossibility. How can one calculate the probability of something happening for which there is zero evidence that such a thing can even occur? Chance applies only to events or circumstances wherein possibility is present.
For instance, before the Big Bang was allegedly a small, condensed sphere comprised of all of the matter in the Universe [see May, et al., 2003]. Consider for a moment the spontaneous generation of that sphere of matter. Its appearance and subsequent organization, being a random, chance event, would fall under the guidelines of the Single Law of Chance as well. Unfortunately for evolutionists, since all scientific evidence indicates that matter cannot spontaneously generate (according to the First Law of Thermodynamics; see Miller, 2007), the probability of such an event would be much less than the “one in 1045” barrier set by the Single Law of Chance, namely, zero.
Also, what proof is available that leads to the idea that life could spontaneously generate (i.e., abiogenesis)? What scientific evidence is available that would lead to the idea that abiogenesis has a probability of anything but zero? Speculation abounds concerning the sequence of events that could cause precisely the right conditions for it to occur. However, there is zero scientific evidence to support the idea that it could happen even if those improbable conditions were ever in effect. In actuality, the scientific evidence is not “neutral” on the matter, as though there is no evidence for or against abiogenesis. Rather, the scientific evidence is not only unsupportive of abiogenesis, but all experimental scientific results are contrary to it! The experiments of renowned 19th-century scientist Louis Pasteur long ago killed the possibility of the spontaneous generation of life, and recognition of the well-respected law of science known as the Law of Biogenesis (i.e., life comes only from life and that of its kind) drove the nails into its coffin (cf. Thompson, 1989).
These truths alone create impenetrable barriers for evolutionists—non-traversable, gaping chasms that would have to be crossed in order for the theory of evolution to be plausible. According to the scientific evidence, there is a probability of zero that abiogenesis can occur. According to the laws of probability, specifically Kolmogorov’s first axiom, when the probability of an event is zero, the event is called an “impossible event” (Gubner, 2006, p. 22, emp. added). Since several events that are necessary in order for the theory of evolution and the Big Bang Theory to be true have a probability of zero, according to the laws of probability, these atheistic theories are impossible.


Further, even if there were not a probability of zero when it comes to macroevolution, it is important to note as was discussed earlier that probabilities do not guarantee that an event will or will not happen, regardless of how much time is allotted. Sproul, Gerstner, and Lendsley correctly observed:
The fact is, however, we have a no-chance chance creation. We must erase the “1” which appears above the line of the “1” followed by a large number of zeroes. What are the real chances of a universe created by chance? Not a chance. Chance is incapable of creating a single molecule, let alone an entire universe. Why not? Chance is no thing. It is not an entity. It has no being, no power, no force. It can effect nothing for it has no causal power within it, it has no itness to be within. Chance…is a word which describes mathematical possibilities which, by a curious slip of the fallacy of ambiguity, slips into discussion as if it were a real entity with real power, indeed, supreme power, the power of creativity (1984, p. 118, emp. in orig.).
We certainly agree. There is only one causal Power capable of creating the Universe, and there is certainly nothing random about Him.


Recall what Borel said of events prohibited under the Single Law of Chance—that sensiblehumans “must act, in all circumstances, as if they were impossible” (1962, p. 3, italics in orig.). Unfortunately, so many scientists today do not act sensibly. They do not follow this simple and intuitive truth when it comes to the matter of origins. Rather, they hold to the impossible, pouring thousands of hours and billions of dollars into researching it, writing on it, speaking on it, thrusting it into the minds of people of all ages, and attacking anyone who contradicts them. They, themselves, admit that the spontaneous generation of life from non-life has never been observed and that the odds are shockingly against it, and yet, since they start with the presumptuous assumption that there is no God, they believe the existence of life is proof enough that spontaneous generation occurred. But if the scientific evidence is so strongly against it, how can it be considered scientific? Even if there was a 0.0000…1% chance that macroevolution could happen, why would a scientist stake his/her name and entire career on such astronomical, outrageous odds when, if biased assumptions are dropped, there is a much more plausible explanation for the origin of this Universe? Prominent evolutionist, Richard Dawkins, himself admitted, “The more statistically improbable a thing is, the less we can believe that it just happened by blind chance. Superficially the obvious alternative to chance is an intelligent Designer” (1982, p. 130, emp. added). We certainly agree, and sadly, the implication of that alternative is the very reason so many people irrationally hold onto impossibilities—the intelligent Designer has expectations to which this rebellious generation refuses to submit.
Nevertheless, in the words of Emile Borel:
When we calculated the probability of reproducing by mere chance a work of literature, in one or more volumes, we certainly observed that, if this work was printed, it must originally have emanated from a human brain. Now the complexity of that brain must therefore have been even richer than the particular work to which it gave birth (1963, p. 125, emp. added).
And if we might add another line to Borel’s statement: “And further, the complexity of the Mind that gave birth to that brain must be truly incomprehensible!”


Borel, Emile (1962), Probabilities and Life (New York: Dover).
Borel, Emile (1963), Probability and Certainty (New York: Walker & Company).       
Borel, Emile (1965), Elements of the Theory of Probability (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall).
Dawkins, Richard (1982), “The Necessity of Darwinism,” New Scientist, 94:130-132, April 15.
Deweese, Joe (2010), “Has Life Been Made From Scratch?” http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/240389.
DeYoung, Donald (2005), Thousands…Not Billions (Green Forest, AR: Master Books).
Erwin, Douglas (2000), “Macroevolution is More Than Repeated Rounds of Microevolution,” Evolution and Development, 2[2]:78-84.
Gubner, J.A. (2006), Probability and Random Processes for Electrical and Computer Engineers(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press).
Hoyle, Fred (1981a), “The Big Bang in Astronomy,” New Scientist, 92:521-527, November 19.
Hoyle, Fred (1981b), “Hoyle on Evolution,” Nature, 294:105,148, November 12.
Jackson, Wayne (1983), “Our Earth—Young or Old?,” http://www.apologeticspress.org/rr/reprints/yng-old.pdf.
May, Branyon, et al. (2003), “The Big Bang Theory—A Scientific Critique,” Reason & Revelation, 23[5]:32-34,36-47, May, http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/2635.
Miller, Jeff (2007), “God and the Laws of Thermodynamics: A Mechanical Engineer’s Perspective,” Reason & Revelation, 27[4]:25-31, April, http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/3293.
Morowitz, Harold J. (1970), Entropy for Biologists (New York: Academic Press).
Morris, H. (1974), “The Young Earth,” Acts & Facts, 3[8], http://www.icr.org/article/young-earth.
O’Connor, John J. and Edmund F. Robertson (2008), “Felix Edouard Justin Emile Borel,” The MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive, http://www-history.mcs.st-andrews.ac.uk/Mathematicians/Borel.html.
Sagan, Carl, ed. (1973), Communications with Extra-terrestrial Intelligence (Boston, MA: MIT Press).
Simpson, George G. and William S. Beck (1965), Life: An Introduction to Biology (New York: Harcourt, Brace & World).
Smith, Anthony (1975), The Human Pedigree (Philadelphia, PA: J.B. Lippencott).
Sproul, R.C., John Gerstner, and Arthur Lendsley (1984), Classical Apologetics (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan).
Thompson, Bert (1989), “The Bible and the Laws of Science: The Law of Biogenesis,” Reason & Revelation, 9[6]:21-24, June, http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/330.
Thompson, Bert (2001), “The Young Earth,” http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/1991.
Wald, George (1954), “The Origin of Life,” Scientific American, 191:45-53, August.

Were the Popes Really Celibate? by Moisés Pinedo


Were the Popes Really Celibate?

by Moisés Pinedo

Although the Bible clearly does not support the doctrine of celibacy as a requisite to any office of the church (see Pinedo, 2008), the Catholic Church has established celibacy as a distinctive mark of the papacy and other Catholic offices. In fact, the current pope, Benedict XVI, affirmed that celibacy (imposed by Pope Gregory VII in the Council of Rome in 1074) “is really a special way of conforming oneself to Christ’s own way of life” (“Pope Pens...,” 2007). Therefore, whoever wants to serve as a priest, and finally as the Universal Bishop of the Catholic Church (the pope), must be celibate.
According to Catholic doctrine, Peter was the “first pope.” And, since popes are considered to be Peter’s successors and keepers of Petrine tradition, one would expect them to follow Peter’s example in every aspect—including the acceptance or rejection of celibacy. Matthew 8:14-15 records that Jesus healed one of Peter’s relatives. This relative was none other than his mother-in-law. The text states, “Now when Jesus had come into Peter’s house, He saw his wife’s mother lying sick with a fever” (emp. added). Some have tried to argue that this lady was the mother-in-law of another disciple—not Peter. However, the grammar of the text in Matthew (and in the parallel records of Mark and Luke) is very clear when it says that Jesus came to Peter’s house and saw his mother-in-law (cf. Mark 1:30; Luke 4:38). The only conclusion from a straightforward reading of the text is that if Jesus saw Peter’s mother-in-law, then Peter had a wife!
The apostle Paul also confirmed that Peter was married when he wrote, “Do we have no right to take along a believing wife, as do also the other apostles, the brothers of the Lord, and Cephas?” (1 Corinthians 9:5, emp. added). Paul identified Peter (also called Cephas; cf. John 1:42; 1 Corinthians 1:12) as someone who already had taken advantage of his right to be married. Additionally, in the first epistle that bears his name, the apostle Peter identified himself as an elder of the church (cf. 1 Peter 5:1). And, as the New Testament teaches, one of the qualifications of elders of the church is to be “the husband of one wife, having faithful children” (Titus 1:5-6). Every piece of biblical evidence on this subject points to the fact that Peter was a married man.
While Catholics appeal to Peter for support of the papacy, ironically, they will not appeal to Peter to argue in favor of papal celibacy for one important reason: Peter was not celibate! Here Catholics exalt Paul, who opted to be celibate. But if popes are the alleged successors of Peter (not Paul), should they not follow Peter’s example?
Like many other teachings of the Catholic Church, celibacy is a man-made doctrine. Though many consider it as a sign of purity, celibacy, imposed on those who aspire to ecclesiastical office, is simply a sign of apostasy (1 Timothy 4:1-3). Consider, for example, the immoral things many “celibate” popes did during their papacies.
Pope Sergius III served as pope from A.D. 904 to 911. History records that he began a “shameful succession” of immoral popes (Schaff, 1910, 4:285). He “owed his elevation [to the papacy—MP] to the influence of the shameless Theodora [a Roman noblewoman—MP] and her no less shameless daughters Marozia and Theodora.... He was grossly immoral, and lived in licentious relations with Marozia, who bore him several children, among them the future pope John XI” (McClintock and Strong, 1867-1880, 9:570).
Pope John XII served as pope from A.D. 955 to 963. He is considered “one of the most scandalous popes of history” (“John XII,” 1997). Philip Schaff noted that “[h]e was one of the most immoral and wicked popes, ranking with Benedict IX., John XXIII., and Alexander VI. He was charged by a Roman Synod, no one contradicting, with almost every crime of which...human nature is capable, and deposed as a monster of iniquity” (1910, 4:287). Writing around A.D. 1000, a Catholic monk recorded that “John XII loved hunting, had vain thoughts, liked women reunions more than liturgical and ecclesiastical assemblies, was pleased by tumultuous insolences of young people and, concerning lasciviousness and audacity, he surpassed even the pagans” (quoted in Hernández, n.d.). It is recorded that he died “of a stroke while in bed with a married woman” (Walsh, 2001, p. 663).
Pope John XXIII served as pope from A.D. 1410 to 1415. It is said that “he was destitute of every moral virtue, and capable of every vice” (Schaff, 1910, 6:145). He was accused “on seventy charges, which included almost every crime known to man. He had been unchaste from his youth,...committed adultery with his brother’s wife, violated nuns and other virgins, was guilty of sodomy and other nameless vices” (Schaff, 6:158). Finally, he was removed from office by the Council of Constance and erased from the official list of the papacy.
Pope Innocent VIII served as pope from A.D. 1484 to 1492. “His conduct was disgracefully irregular: he had seven illegitimate children by different women, and was, besides, married when he took orders” (McClintock and Strong, 1867-1880, 4:593). It is said that his children numbered “16, all of them children by married women” (Schaff, 1910, 6:438). It also is said that “the success of Innocent VIII in increasing the population of Rome was a favorite topic with the wits of the day” (McClintock and Strong, 4:594).
Pope Alexander VI served as pope from A.D. 1492 to 1503. In their Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature, McClintock and Strong point out that Alexander is considered “the most depraved of all the popes” (1867-1880, 4:594). They explained: “His youth was a very dissolute one; and he early formed a criminal connection with a Roman lady living in Spain with her two daughters. He soon seduced the daughters also; and one of them, Rosa Vanozza, became his life-long mistress.... His pontificate of eleven years was a stormy one, as he made every thing subordinate to the purpose of raising his bastard children above the heads of the oldest princely houses of Italy” (1:145-146). A Roman Catholic historian says that he was “one of the greatest and most horrible monsters in nature that could scandalize the holy chair. His beastly morals, his immense ambition, his insatiable avarice, his detestable cruelty, his furious lusts, and monstrous incest with his daughter Lucretia, are, at large, described by Guicciardini Ciaconius, and other authentic papal historians” (as quoted in Barnes, 2005b, p. 82). The following words summarize Pope Alexander’s life: “To Alexander nothing was sacred,—office, virtue, marriage, or life” (Schaff, 1910, 6:462).
Pope Paul III served as pope from A.D. 1534 to 1549. Before his pontificate, he had four children—Pier Luigi, Paolo, Ranuccio, and Costanza—by a Roman mistress (see “Paul III,” 1997, 9:205). History summarizes his life as “largely given up to pleasure and frivolity. He kept low company, supported mistresses, became a father, and in many ways gained an unenviable notoriety” (McClintock and Strong, 1867-1880, 7:831).
More examples could be given, since papal history is characterized more by its sins than by its “holiness.” But the examples listed above clearly prove that many “celibate” popes were anything but celibate, and moreover, anything but chaste.
When men departed further from the truth of God’s Word, they deified themselves, choosing an earthly representative (the pope) to usurp the place of God. Many immoral men, thirsty for glory and power, desired the human office (i.e., the papacy) that apostasy promoted. These men fought for this office, hating each other and killing their fellow man. And, in their zeal, they pretended to fulfill the demand for celibacy imposed by human tradition, while giving free rein to their carnal passions.
What sacrifice did these “selfless” popes endure by being “celibate” (i.e., unmarried) if they had the lovers they desired? What altruism did these popes exhibit by disallowing themselves to have only one wife, yet diving into indescribable immoralities with many lovers, including relatives, nuns, prostitutes, and other men’s wives during nights of “celibate solitude”? The truth is, this kind of “celibacy” has produced many illegitimate children in the history of Catholic religion!
The Catholic who points to 1 Corinthians 7:7-8 in order to provide biblical support to papal celibacy, should read the advice of Paul in the following verse in order to see that celibacy is not demanded, nor should it be sought in order to institute a certain ecclesiastical order: “[B]ut if they cannot exercise self-control, let them marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion” (1 Corinthians 7:9, emp. added). Many popes, as well as many local bishops, priests, monks, nuns, etc., have burned with passion for centuries, and many are adding logs to the fire today. The Bible warns: “But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death” (Revelation 21:8, emp. added).


Barnes, Albert (2005), Notes on the New Testament: 1 Thessalonians to Philemon (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker).
Hernández, Jesús (no date), “A Shameful Pontificate” [“Un Pontificado Vergonzoso”], [On-line], URL: http://www.luxdomini.com/JuanXII.htm.
“John XII” [“Juan XII”] (1997), Espasa Universal Chronology [Cronología Universal Espasa] (Espasa Calpe, S.A.: Microsoft Corporation).
McClintock, John and James Strong (1867-1880), Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker), 1968-1970 reprint.
“Pope Pens Exhortation on the Eucharist” (2007), Zenit, March 13, [On-line], URL:http://www.zenit.org/article-19138?l=english.
“Paul III” (1997), Encyclopaedia Britannica (London: Encyclopaedia Britannica).
Pinedo, Moisés (2008), “Should the Pope Be Celibate?,” [On-line], URL:http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/3852.
Schaff, Philip (1910), History of the Christian Church (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).
Walsh, Michael, ed. (2001), Dictionary of Christian Biography (Collegeville, MN: The Liturgical Press).

What Exactly Did Jesus Say? by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


What Exactly Did Jesus Say?

by Eric Lyons, M.Min.

Numerous times in the gospel accounts, the Bible writers recorded statements made by Jesus while He was on Earth. Puzzling to some Bible readers is the fact that, although Bible writers frequently recorded the same statements, they are not exactly (word-for-word) alike. For example, whereas Matthew recorded that Jesus told Satan, “It is written again (palingegrapti), ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God’” (4:7), Luke wrote: “It has been said (eiratai), ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God’” (4:12). Although this difference is considered minor, and is referring to the same thing (the Old Testament), Matthew and Luke still recorded Jesus’ statement using different words. Why? Why did Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John not always record the words of Jesus exactly alike?
First, it is possible that some differences are due to Jesus having made both statements. It is unwise to think that every similar statement recorded by the gospel writers must refer to the exact same moment. In the example of Jesus responding to Satan’s temptation, it may be that Jesus repeated the same thought on the same occasion using different words. After telling Satan, “It has been said, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God,” Jesus could have re-emphasized the point (especially if Satan repeated the temptation) by saying, “It is written, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’” Thus, Jesus could have made both statements.
A second reason why differences exist among the gospel writers’ testimony of Jesus’ teachings is because the writers’ purpose was to record precisely what the Holy Spirit deemed necessary (cf. John 16:13), but not necessarily exactly what Jesus said. Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit (2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:20-21), one writer may summarize a person’s (e.g., Jesus’) words, while another writer may quote the exact words.
Consider the variation in notes taken by honest, intelligent college students in the same class on the Civil War. At the close of the class, when the notes of the students are compared and contrasted (as the gospel accounts are) differences are evident. If one student recorded that the teacher said Abraham Lincoln delivered his famous Gettysburg Address “in November of 1863 to honor those who died in the Civil War Battle of Gettysburg,” and another student wrote that Lincoln’s speech was delivered “on November 19, 1863 in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania,” their notes would not be considered contradictory. Though there are slight differences in what the students indicate the teacher said, they both are faithful testimonies of what the teacher taught—one student simply chose a less definite style of note-taking (i.e., not mentioning the precise day on which the Gettysburg Address was given).
Throughout the gospel accounts, we find accurate statements that Jesus made, but not necessarily the exact quotations. Inspired summaries of what someone said does not take away from the sacredness of the God-given Scriptures, nor our ability to apply those Scriptures to our lives. What’s more, differences among statements recorded in the gospel accounts also may be the result of the statements being made at different times. In whichever category a difference among the gospel accounts falls, Bible students can be confident of the Bible’s reliability.