3/12/21

In the News: Big Bang Problems Highlighted by the Evidence Again by Jeff Miller, Ph.D.

 

https://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=12&article=5476

In the News: Big Bang Problems Highlighted by the Evidence Again

by  Jeff Miller, Ph.D.

The dominant view of the origin of the Universe in the secular community, as well as a sizeable number of religious individuals, is the Big Bang Theory. The Big Bang Theory does not harmonize with Scripture on several counts,1 but neither does it harmonize with the scientific evidence, as two recent articles in major science magazines point out.

There are several scientific problems with Big Bang Theory that illustrate that it is an unscientific, irrational theory that amounts to a blind faith in naturalism. Some of the problems include:

  • the origin of the laws of science;2
  • the origin of matter/energy;3
  • the smoothness problem;4
  • the lack of evidence for dark energy5—a fudge factor added to the Big Bang model to try to explain space observations in light of the Big Bang; and
  • the lack of evidence for inflation6—an imaginary, but necessary, process at the beginning of the Big Bang that was invented to try to solve other Big Bang issues, including the horizon and flatness problems.

Those significant obstacles are not the extent of the problems with the Big Bang, as was recently highlighted yet again in major science magazines. The Fermi Paradox is the name given to the concept that if cosmic evolution (i.e., the Big Bang coupled with Darwinian Evolution) is true, it would be inconceivable that other life—even advanced life—does not exist somewhere in the Universe with its billions of stars and even more planets. Writing in New Scientist, University of Sydney astrophysicist Geraint Lewis explains: “The size of the universe suggests advanced alien civilisations, or at least evidence of them, ought to be out there. Signs in the shape of transmissions or megastructures should be obvious. Instead, we find nothing. This ‘eerie silence,’ as cosmologist Paul Davies [Arizona State University—JM] puts it, inspired physicist Enrico Fermi to ask: ‘Where are they?’”7 How is the naturalist to explain the Big Bang Theory’s blatant contradiction with the evidence? The most recent response: maybe the aliens are sleeping. Lewis explains: “What if aliens are indeed out there, but are sleeping, awaiting a glorious future when the universe provides the right conditions for them to fulfil their ultimate ambitions?”8

It is shocking how far science has drifted from a reliance on being rational—only drawing conclusions warranted by the evidence. At least Lewis admits that “[e]voking sleeping aliens is a very long shot to solve Fermi’s paradox”9 and “is little more than guesswork” and “speculation” that “should be taken with a suitable pinch of salt”10—highlighting the fact that the Big Bang is still directly and hopelessly in contradiction to the observable evidence.

Add to Fermi’s Paradox another problem that still plagues Big Bang Theory: the missing antimatter in the Universe.Energy can be transformed into matter, according to the 1st Law of Thermodynamics,11 but when it happens, an equal amount of antimatter (basically normal matter with a reversed charge on its particles) is always produced—without exception according to the laboratory evidence. So if the Big Bang is true and energy was transformed into all of the matter of the Universe at the beginning, there should have been an equal amount of matter and antimatter produced—but there clearly was not, or else when the two touched, they would have been immediately destroyed, releasing their energy. Today the Universe is virtually completely composed of regular matter. Elizabeth Gibney, writing in Nature, explains the dilemma for Big Bang believers: “As far as physicists know, matter and antimatter should have been created in equal amounts in the early Universe and so blasted each other into oblivion. But that didn’t happen, and the origin of this fundamental imbalance remains one of the biggest mysteries in physics.”12

Do not these many and diverse problems with the best model put forth by naturalists effectively constitute a falsification of modern naturalism? It seems apparent that the evidence is pointing in a totally different direction than a naturalistic model. But if naturalism does not fit the evidence regarding the origin of the Universe, then what does? Something supernatural.

Endnotes

1 Branyon May, et al. (2003), “The Big Bang—A Biblical Critique,” Apologetics Press, http://apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=12&article=56.

2 Jeff Miller (2012), “The Laws of Science—by God,” Reason & Revelation, 32[12]:137-140.

3 Jeff Miller (2013), “Evolution and the Laws of Science: The Laws of Thermodynamics,” Apologetics Press, http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=9&article=2786&topic=336.

4 J.V. Narlikar and T. Padmanabhan (1991), “Inflation for Astronomers,” Annual Review of Astronomy and Astrophysics, 29:325-362, September.

5 David N. Spergel (2015), “The Dark Side of Cosmology: Dark Matter and Dark Energy,” Science, 347[6226]:1100-1102, March.

6 Jeff Miller (2015), “Big Bang Inflation Officially Bites the Dust,” Reason & Revelation, 35[6]:62-65.

7 Geraint Lewis (2017), “Dream On,” New Scientist, 235[3137]:24, emp. added.

8 Ibid., p. 24.

9 Ibid., p. 24.

10 Ibid., p. 25.

11 Miller, 2013.

12 Elizabeth Gibney (2017), “The Antimatter Race,” Nature, 548[7665]:20, emp. added.

In Science We Trust by Jerry Fausz, Ph.D.

 

https://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=12&article=4758

In Science We Trust

by  Jerry Fausz, Ph.D.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: A.P. auxillary staff scientist Dr. Fausz holds a Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering from Georgia Tech.]

Our society places a great deal of faith and trust in Science. The reverence that many in our society grant to Science is clearly illustrated in a 1998 article published in Science magazine. The article is a compilation of essays and poetry submitted by the students of Holmdel High School in New Jersey: writings which were, in fact, solicited by the 150th anniversary committee of Science (Jackel, et al., 1998).

For example, a young lady named Megan McIlroy begins her essay, titled “What Science Means to Society,” with the words, “In a society where all aspects of our lives are dictated by scientific advances in technology, science is the essence of our existence” (Jackel, et al., emp. added). The following is a poem written by Brian Sze in the same article:

“Seesaw of the Spirit”

As science develops, religion declines,
Because religion begins where science ends.
As more and more knowledge fills our minds,
Religious influence lessens.
Religion was based on assumed claims,
Which through time have been proved wrong
.
But the Church has been too strict to change,
Which has been its downfall all along.
Creation gives us an account
Of man and woman’s first acts,
But evolution seems paramount,
Because it is supported by facts
.
So now we are presented with a choice.
Scientific knowledge or conviction?
Everybody has a voice
In answering this controversial question
(Jackel, et al., emp. added).

In one additional example, Jenitta Kwong begins her essay, titled “Science as Livesaver,” with “Science is everything to me,” and in her concluding remarks suggests that, without science, “Life would be meaningless” (Jackel, et al.).

How is it that high school children come to the conclusion that Science dictates all aspects of our lives to the extent that life would have no meaning without Science? From what do they deduce that a presumed “seesaw” between science and religion culminates in a controversial question? It is difficult to believe that very many individual scientists or technologists would suggest such a philosophy regarding science and religion. Most likely, these sentiments reflect values that have been passed on to these children by certain educators, their parents, and/or various friends or mentors with whom they may have associated. In short, our society has in some way conveyed to these children that Science has a position of ultimate importance in their lives that is, sadly (and mistakenly), terminally at odds with faith and religion. Perhaps most strikingly, this misconception has also occurred with very little, if any, input from Science itself.

No doubt, science and technology have given us many conveniences that seem, at least in a shallow sense, to have vastly improved the quality of human existence, but is that enough to suggest that Science is everything? Is the importance placed on Science by our society warranted? More important, does Science pose a better explanation for the meaning of life than religion? To add context to these questions, it is useful to examine the statements and writings of those who hold a preeminent position in the scientific arena.

The fact is, Science goes farther than just claiming preeminence over religion and belief in God in many of these statements. In 2006, several scientists at a conference in La Jolla, California advocated militant eradication of God and religion from society to be replaced completely with the precepts of science. At this conference, cosmologist Stephen Weinberg stated: “The world needs to wake up from the long nightmare of religion.... Anything we scientists can do to weaken the hold of religion should be done, and may in fact be our greatest contribution to civilization.” And celebrated evolutionist Richard Dawkins said: “There’s a certain sort of negativity you get from people who say ‘I don’t like religion but you can’t do anything about it.’ That’s a real counsel of defeatism. We should roll our sleeves up and get on with it” (as quoted in Lyons and Butt, 2007).

Others have simply approached the debate by claiming that science makes God and religion irrelevant. Famous theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking recently wrote: “Because there is a law such as gravity, the Universe can and will create itself from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the Universe exists, why we exist,” adding, “It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the Universe going.” These statements appear in Hawking’s 2010 book titled, ironically, The Grand Design (Hawking and Mlodinow, p. 181). Hawking goes on to explain:

The question is: is the way the universe began chosen by God for reasons we can’t understand, or was it determined by a law of science? I believe the second. If you like, you can call the laws of science “God,” but it wouldn’t be a personal God that you could meet, and ask questions (p. xx).

Here Hawking again attempts to de-emphasize God in favor of Science. Even more, there is a subtle attempt in the last statement to replace God with Science in suggesting that the “laws of science” might be called “God.”

Accomplished scientists such as Hawking and Weinberg, high profile evolutionist Dawkins, and a group of high school students from New Jersey seem to be in agreement that Science holds a place of preeminence over everything, even overshadowing religious conviction. They present science as an omniscient benefactor that gives us everything we need and tells us everything we need to know—very much as many relate to God.

Science, though, has a few things to say about its own “omniscience” that have a direct bearing on the question of whether or not it has eliminated the need for God. Furthermore, these observations have much to say regarding the supposed preeminence of science in our society.

Scientifically Uncertain

Prior to the 20th century, science and the Universe were believed to be strictly and objectively “deterministic,” meaning that all constituent elements of the Universe could be uniquely characterized and even predicted by fixed natural laws with straightforward (though sometimes complex) closed-form mathematical representations or models. For example, mathematical equations can be formulated for the motion of an object in space using Newton’s Laws of Motion and for the orbits of planets and artificial satellites using Kepler’s Laws of Planetary Motion. This deterministic way of looking at the cosmos is often referred to as “classical physics” or “classical mechanics.” Interestingly, while many of the results of classical mechanics have been shown to have a limited domain of validity, engineers still successfully use the concepts daily in building bridges, designing automobiles, navigating aircraft, and launching satellites into near Earth orbit.

During the past century, however, the theory of relativity and theorems accompanying the birth and growth of the emerging field of quantum mechanics cast doubt on this view of determinism in the minds of many scientists. Most notably, the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle of 1927 stipulated that the position and momentum of sub-atomic particles could not both be uniquely determined to an arbitrary degree of accuracy. That is, there will always be uncertainty in the measurement of at least one of these values that severely limits accuracy when one tries to measure both. Heisenberg’s result has since been extended to other pairs of measurements for subatomic particles, such as energy and spin. These momentous results present a fundamental limitation on the ability of Science to uniquely determine the complete state of the Universe at any given time.

Scientists initially believed that the uncertainty phenomenon was simply a consequence of taking measurements. For example, one might bounce a photon of light off of a subatomic particle and measure its position based on the return speed of the photon. In doing so, however, the momentum of the subatomic particle is changed and can no longer be determined accurately. Thus, the observer and his measurements have a profound effect on the resulting observation (Davies, 1984, p. 49). Dean Overman states: “What one observes depends to some extent on how one observes. The observer cannot be removed from the subject of the observation” (Overman, 1997, p. 29).

On the other hand, many scientists have interpreted the results of quantum mechanics to imply that the Universe itself is inherently non-deterministic. Scientific philosopher Paul Davies refers to this interpretation as “the ‘party line’ which maintains that quantum fuzziness is inherent in nature, and irreducible” (1984, p. 42). Thus, these scientists believe that quantum theory is an apt description of the reality of the Universe, rather than simply describing the effect the scientist has on the system when trying to take measurements. Notably, Albert Einstein, who helped formulate quantum theory, militantly disagreed with this interpretation as we see from one of his most well-known quotes, “God does not play dice.” Einstein believed that

behind the quantum world of unpredictable fuzziness and disorder lay a familiar classical world of concrete reality in which objects really possess well-defined properties such as location and speed and move according to deterministic laws of cause and effect (Davies, 1984, p. 42).

While scientists clearly do not agree on the correct interpretation of quantum theory, one thing that both sides agree on is that the uncertainty of the theory is inescapable and “irreducible,” as Davies describes it. The Uncertainty principle has a profound effect on the ability of Science to fully characterize the Universe. The “fuzziness” of quantum mechanics ensures that Science will remain unable to explain the Universe at its most basic level. Perhaps this can most readily be seen in the inability of Science to even determine the underlying meaning of its own quantum theory.

Mathematically Incomplete

In 1931, an Austrian mathematician named Kurt Gödel formulated and proved a theorem that stipulated “for any consistent mathematical system there exists within the system a well-formed statement that is not provable under the rules of the system” (Overman, p. 27). This result, known as Gödel’s First Incompleteness Theorem, implies that a mathematical system can be shown to be consistent, but will be unable to prove its own consistency within the rules of the system, thus cannot be shown to be “complete.” This fact has serious implications for scientific investigation, since mathematics is almost always utilized as a framework for organizing scientific thought and making application of resulting scientific principles. Scientific laws can be very often recognized more by their mathematical formulation than their narrative text.  For instance, while many recognize the equation E=mc2 as a statement from the Relativity Theory of Albert Einstein, few would recognize the statements of the theory underlying that famous formulation.

Certainly, mathematical research subsequent to the work of Gödel has identified very specific, limited mathematical systems that are “self-consistent,” that is, they are both consistent and complete. However, these limited results are not relevant to consideration of the First Incompleteness Theorem in a context that involves formulating scientific understanding and characterization of the entire Universe as opposed to a limited mathematical system. Thus, Gödel’s theory presents a critical impediment to the idea that Science can ever remove the possibility of God from a full understanding of the Universe. As Overman explains:

Gödel’s theorem demonstrates that mathematics is incomplete because the system leaves unanswered the truth or falsity of certain mathematical propositions which are the logical results of valid mathematical inferences (p. 28).

Since Science relies almost entirely on mathematics for developing and expressing its premises and results, Gödel’s theorem and proof should give great pause to anyone placing their total confidence in Science. Mathematical incompleteness will not pervasively limit scientific endeavor since mathematical constructions of closed systems can be both consistent and complete. However, as Science continues to pursue an explanation and corresponding model of the Universe as a whole, “at any moment a contradiction could arise and shake the system down to its foundations” (Overman, p. 28) due to the inability to show both consistency and completeness of the mathematical framework involved.

The Unknowable

Related to the idea of “incompleteness” formulated by Gödel is the concept of “undecidability.” Researchers have conceived many undecidable problems in mathematics and logic. A well-known example from logic is the so called “liar’s paradox,” which is

contained in the statement by Epimenides, a Cretan, who asserts, “all Cretans are liars.” If one assumes that Epimenides is telling the truth, then he is lying. But he cannot be lying because we have assumed he is telling the truth (Overman, p. 26).

Conversely, if we assume Epimenides is lying, then his statement becomes self-contradictory. The liar’s paradox is a logically undecidable proposition.

As for mathematics, mathematician Gregory Chaitin formulated an uncomputable number known as Omega (Ω), which represents the probability that a computer program will halt when its input is a random string of binary numbers. In general, probabilities fall between 0 and 1, where zero represents an event having no chance of occurring (zero probability) and 1 represents certainty. Davies suggests that Ω is “close to 1, because most random inputs will appear as garbage to the computer” and cause it to crash (1992, p. 133). However, Davies goes on to point out that the expansion of Ω beyond the first few digits is totally random, which implies there can be no algorithmic means to generate Ω.

What is most interesting, though, about Chaitin’s result is that Ω is representative of “halting” problems for computer programs, in general, which have been shown to be mathematically undecidable. This prompts Davies to suggest: “So knowing merely the first few thousand digits of omega would give us access to a solution of all outstanding mathematical problems of this type” (1984, p. 134). However, since Ω is completely random beyond the first few digits, it is uncomputable. The implications of this fact are further discussed by Davies:

Unfortunately, being an uncomputable number, omega can never be revealed by constructive means, however long we work at it. Thus, short of a mystical revelation, omega can never be known to us. And even if we were to be given omega by divine transmission, we would not recognize it for what it was, because, being a random number, it would not commend itself to us as special in any respect (1992, p. 134).

This quote is truly remarkable. Of course, we might argue quite reasonably that if such a number were to be given “by divine transmission,” such a transmission might likely include an indication of the meaning and importance of the data. That would certainly be the proper way to view divine revelation.

However, Davies’ statements raise an engaging question regarding that which is unknowable. In some sense, all of nature is a form of divine transmission (“The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork”—Psalm 19:1). Yet there is so much we do not understand and, it appears, can never understand. Perhaps it is true that the heavens also declare the boundaries of scientific knowledge. It certainly appears to be true that mathematics and science pose a hard limit on the extent of what Science can ultimately “know.”

Behold the Great and Powerful…Science?

In the movie classic The Wizard of Oz, there is the familiar, seminal moment when the true “Wizard of Oz” is about to be discovered by Dorothy and her companions. At that moment, the “Wizard” desperately and frantically states: “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!” (Fleming, 1939). Certainly, scientists are aware of the limitations implied by results such as the Incompleteness Theorems, the Uncertainty Principle, and the incomputable problems of mathematics. But this awareness does not stop Science, or at least certain of its most prominent representatives, from continuing to present Science as the omniscient benefactor that so many believe it to be. When scientific beliefs and theories, like manmade global warming and Darwinian evolution, are challenged, often the scientific community will attack the challenger, instead of addressing the merits of the challenge itself, almost as if to say, “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.

But scientific achievement is replete with modern examples of its own limitations. Overman comments:

The limits of our reasoning powers raise the question whether scientific explanations for the origin of the laws of physics, the Big Bang, or the origin of life are issues which fall into…the indeterminate category represented by Gödel’s Incompleteness theorem (p. 28).

Origin of Universe

Scientists continue to be conflicted regarding how the entire Universe came into existence in the first place. The longest prevailing theory (besides divine Creation), of course, is the so-called Big Bang theory—still the front-runner according to many scientists. However, researchers like Stephen Hawking have exerted significant effort to replace the Big Bang Theory due to their inability to explain the Big Bang singularity and how it came into existence. In fact, Hawking once observed that, at the Big Bang singularity, “the laws of science and our ability to predict the future would break down” (1988, p. 117).

The difficulties with the Big Bang theory are, at least in part, a consequence of quantum theory and the Uncertainty Principle. As noted, the Uncertainty Principle limits accuracy in making measurements at a sub-atomic level. This limit, however, has an exact numerical characterization known as Planck’s constant, a physical constant associated with quantum mechanics that was first derived as the proportionality constant between the energy of a photon and the frequency of the photon’s wave form. In short, light can be treated as a particle (photon) or a wave, and Planck’s constant helps define the relationship between the two. As it turns out, Planck’s constant also happens to be the minimum amount of uncertainty that exists between the product of the momentum and position of a subatomic particle. It thus sets the boundary on the accuracy of those measurements in the formulation of the Uncertainty Principle.

This factor is related to uncertainty at the beginning of the Universe (according to the Big Bang model) due to another constant known as Planck time (Williams, 2010). Planck time is the time required for light to travel the distance of one Planck length. Both Planck time and Planck length are derived from Planck’s constant, the gravitational constant, and the speed of light. Remember that Planck’s constant provides a numerical limit on how accurately Science can characterize sub-atomic behavior. Thus, it might come as no surprise that Planck time imposes a hard limit on theoretical, naturalistic models of the beginning of the Universe. These models are unable to “predict” in any way what may have been occurring in the first 5.39x10-44 seconds (Planck time) of the Big Bang model. If you are not familiar with scientific notation, this number can be written as a decimal point followed by 43 zeros followed by 539. This is an extremely small amount of time, but large enough to befuddle scientists concerned with promoting the Big Bang theory. [NOTE: We are not claiming that scientists actually know what happened from Planck time onward, but merely noting that they cannot know what happened before.]

One of the most prominent theories on the beginning of the Universe in recent years suggests that our Universe is just one of a large number of possible universes brought about by quantum fluctuation. Hawking describes the theory this way:

One picture of the spontaneous quantum creation of the universe is then a bit like the formation of bubbles of steam in boiling water. Many tiny bubbles appear, and then disappear again. These represent mini-universes that expand but collapse again while still of microscopic size…. A few of the little bubbles, however, will grow large enough so that they will be safe from recollapse. They will continue to expand at an ever increasing rate…. These correspond to universes…in a state of inflation (Hawking and Mlodinow, 2010, pp. 136-137).

Note here that our own Universe is considered to be “in a state of inflation.” It is theorized that with such a large number of universes to “select” from, it is possible that a universe such as ours would exist. Specifically, Hawking says:

There seems to be a vast landscape of possible universes. However…universes in which life like us can exist are rare. We live in one which life is possible, but if the universe were only slightly different, beings like us could not exist (2010, p. 144).

This idea has mathematical tractability, subject of course to mathematical incompleteness and the potential of undecidability. With the inherent limitations of mathematics and logic, as well as the self-admitted impotence of Science with respect to predicting anything inside of Planck time, one might wonder how Professor Hawking can state with such certainty that universes like ours would be “rare.” In truth, we would have no way to know if every universe emerging from this hypothetical fluctuation wasn’t exactly like ours. Generally speaking, given the scientifically determined inability of Science to fully characterize our own Universe, verifying the existence and characterizing the nature of other possible universes seems quite a chore—pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.

Medical Science

Advances in medicine are often held up as some of the most impressive accomplishments of Science. Many of the essays in the Science article (mentioned at the beginning of this article—Jackel, et al., 1998) included references to advancements in the field of medicine. Eradicating Small Pox and treatment advances brought on by the Germ Theory of medicine are certainly some of the most impressive accomplishments of mankind. Even in the field of medicine, however, serious limitations in the ability to achieve desired results can be seen.

For example, the U.S. government claims that in 2013 it will spend $29.7 billion on AIDS research, and that at least $25 billion has been spent on AIDS research per year starting in 2009 (Kaiser…, 2013). That amounts to over $100 billion spent on AIDS research in the last five years without finding a cure. Certainly, new life-extending treatments have been developed as a result of this research. But the primary objective of scientific endeavors in AIDS research, that is, a final cure for the viral infection, remains unrealized with no indication that it is likely to come anytime soon.

Similarly, cancer research has been carried on throughout most of our lifetimes with enormous levels of government and private funding. Furthermore, it cannot be said that the money is simply spent by bureaucrats with Science having little say. A 1999 report on sources of cancer research funding indicates that one of the top funding agencies for cancer research publishes its results in the “open scientific literature” and “reviews its strategic research plan with the research community each year and publishes it” (McGeary and Burstein, 1999, p. 4) Again, many new treatments continue to be discovered, but a basic understanding of cancer, allowing for a cure instead of physically grueling treatments, still eludes researchers.

The science of medicine may one day cure AIDS, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and maybe even the common cold. However, when Science is unable to design a camera that can remotely compare to the human eye, or a microphone that performs as well as the human ear, it is no surprise that Science doesn’t have sufficient understanding of the human body to cure a disease, even with incredible amounts of funding being poured into research. Until those goals of modern medicine are achieved, Science as a whole might prefer for us to pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.

Conclusion

Science is neither omniscient nor omnipotent. Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorem, the Uncertainty Principle of Quantum Mechanics, and the undecidable and uncomputable problems of mathematics and logic show us that scientific omniscience is impossible—which further implies that scientific omnipotence is unachievable.

Mathematical incompleteness tells us that facts from outside of the system are required to prove the system to be both consistent and complete. Science relies implicitly on mathematics for the useful formulation of scientific or natural laws. Furthermore, anything outside of the system (i.e., the physical Universe) is irrelevant to science since it cannot be observed and therefore cannot be measured and/or modeled. Perhaps even more fundamental, the uncertainty principle limits the ability of Science to characterize or measure that which is observable. Thus, in actuality, Science is impotent in the ability to understand even that which is in its purview.

Quantum theory is fundamental to one model of the beginning of our Universe, which suggests that many universes bubbled out of a quantum fluctuation and one of those bubbles grew into everything we can observe. This is ironic because it is the uncertainty principle of quantum theory and the concept of Planck time that places impassable limitations on the ability of Science to understand such a phenomenon. Thus, in order to formulate its model, Science is using the very tools that place some of the elements of the model outside of its bounds.

Hopefully, the answers to the questions at the beginning of this article are clear. Science as an omniscient benefactor is a non sequitur. Science is certainly not omniscient and has no hope of ever being so. It also follows that, while Science has shown much success in meeting some apparent needs of society, it is ultimately incapable of providing everything we need—such as cures for some of our most prevalent infirmities.

The true contributions of Science to our society should never be discounted. Society, though, should take much greater care in where it decides to place its trust. Conversely, Science would only make itself that much more of a boon to society by embracing its limitations and operating more fully within them, instead of hiding behind the wizard’s curtain and pretending to be the omniscient benefactor that society wants to make it.

In the biblical Old Testament, God challenged Job, saying, “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the Earth? Tell me, if you have understanding” (Job 38:4). The origin of our Universe represents one of the pursuits of Science that is, in fact, outside the normal bounds of scientific endeavor. It cannot be empirically modeled, no physical measurements can be made and, as God points out to Job, no man was there to make direct observation.

More to the point, God inspired Solomon, king of the Jews, to write: “He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end” (Ecclesiastes 3:11). Here we see that God not only wants us to understand that we were not there at the beginning of the Universe and have no basis of understanding that event, but also that He has created the Universe with built-in limitations on the extent of man’s ability to characterize it. He has made us fundamentally a part of the system. As Overman states: “[T]he observer cannot be removed from the subject of the observation” (p. 29). Paul Davies also discusses the profound impact that the observer has on the system being observed, as a consequence of quantum effects (1984, p. 49). Being part of the system, we have no hope of characterizing what we observe to its most fundamental level and, as Solomon relates to us, that is a direct consequence of God’s design.

So as we discuss the limitations of Science illustrated by scientific laws like the Uncertainty Principle and the Incompleteness Theorem, we see that we are merely discovering manifestations of design constraints that God Himself placed on the Universe when He created it. These principles were put in place by God’s design as sure as Newton’s Laws, Kepler’s Laws of Planetary Motion, or Einstein’s Relativity Theories were, providing further evidence for the existence of design in the Universe and the God Who developed that design. Furthermore, we see this all the more clearly through a realization of our own inherent limitations to understand His work “from beginning to end.”

[NOTE: Although neither God nor His creative activity can be directly observed, indirect evidence for His existence can be gathered through scientific observation (e.g., evidence of design that leads to the conclusion that He exists).]

REFERENCES

Davies, Paul (1984), Superforce: The Search for a Grand Unified Theory of Nature (New York: Simon & Schuster).

Davies, Paul (1992), The Mind of God: The Scientific Basis for a Rational World (New York: Simon & Schuster).

Fleming, Victor, Dir. (1939), The Wizard of Oz (Hollywood, CA: Warner Brothers Pictures).

Hawking, Stephen (1988), A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes (New York: Bantam Books).

Hawking, Stephen and Leonard Mlodinow (2010), The Grand Design (New York: Bantam Books).

Jackel, Robert, et. al. (1998), “Science—Far More Than Required High School Coursework,” Science, 20:1858-1860, March.

Kaiser Family Foundation (2013), “U.S. Federal Funding for HIV/AIDS: The President’s FY 2014 Budget Request,” http://kff.org/hivaids/fact-sheet/u-s-federal-funding-for-hivaids-the-presidents-fy-2014-budget-request/.

Lyons, Eric and Kyle Butt (2007), “Militant Atheism,” Apologetics Press, http://www.apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=12&article=2051&topic=24.

McGeary, Michael and Michael Burstein (1999), “Sources of Cancer Research Funding in the United States,” National Cancer Policy Board, Institute of Medicine, http://www.iom.edu/~/media/Files/Activity%20Files/Disease/NCPF/Fund.pdf.

Overman, Dean (1997), A Case Against Accident and Self-Organization (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield).

Williams, Matthew (2010), “Planck Time,” Universe Today, http://www.universetoday.com/79418/planck-time/.

In Defense of the Golden Rule by Caleb Colley, Ph.D.

 

https://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=12&article=2853

In Defense of the Golden Rule

by  Caleb Colley, Ph.D.

Christ’s summary ethical principle, stated in Matthew 7:12, is often called the “golden rule”: “Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” We have demonstrated that Christ’s principle is unique—distinct in principle and fruit from the ethics of utilitarianism and other human systems of conduct—and also that it is superior to any other moral principle (Jackson, 1996). Consider the following account of an attack upon the rule, and a response, by Wayne Jackson:

Some, like Dan Barker (a former Pentecostal preacher who converted to atheism), have suggested that the golden rule should be characterized as “bronze”.... Barker argued that if one were a masochist, the golden rule would justify his beating up on someone else (1992, pp. 347-348). His argument assumes that it is rational to be a masochist! Others, not quite so much of the fringe element, have suggested that the golden rule might at least be improved: “Do unto others as they would have you do unto them.” Such a view, however, is fatally flawed, and even someone who is as ethically confused as Joseph Fletcher (the famed situation ethicist) has acknowledged such (1966, p. 117). The weak may want you to supply them with drugs, or indulge them with illicit sex, etc., but such a response would not be the right thing to do. If I am thinking sensibly, I do not want others to accommodate my ignorance and weakness (1996, emp. and parenthetical items in orig.).

This response to Barker and other critics rightly suggests that the golden rule cannot be manipulated to encourage an action that one perceives as evil prior to applying the rule. On this point, we have defended the golden rule previously.

However, others have suggested that Immanuel Kant’s ethical principle, summarized in his “categorical imperative” does a better job of tracking our moral intuitions than Christ’s rule. The categorical imperative has three formulations, which Kant thinks are equivalent to one another:

  1. “Act only according to that maxim whereby you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law.”
  2. “Act in such a way that you treat humanity, whether in your own person or in the person of another, always at the same time as an end and never simply as a means.”
  3. “[One’s acts—CC] ought to harmonize with a possible kingdom of ends as a kingdom of nature” (1994, pp. 30,42).

Each formulation, according to Kant, is equivalent to the others (p. 41). It is not necessary to develop a full understanding of the categorical imperative here (for more information, see Copleston, 1994, 6:308-348). Of concern here is the alleged superiority of the categorical imperative to the golden rule. The argument goes like this (adapted from Pecorino, 2000):

  1. Kant’s rule, as traditionally interpreted, tells us to act as we would want all other people to act toward all other people, and atrocities would be disallowed.
  2. The golden rule tells us to act toward others as we would have them act toward us.
  3. The golden rule would allow us to do terrible things to others, as long as it is what we wish they would do to us (e.g., masochistic desires could be fulfilled in accordance with the rule).
  4. Therefore, Kant’s principle is superior to the golden rule.

In order to dispute the conclusion (4), we must show that either (1) or (3) is false. I will dispute both, in order to demonstrate that the golden rule is superior to the categorical imperative.

THE CATEGORICAL IMPERATIVE AND ATROCITIES

There is doubt concerning whether the categorical imperative is equipped to forbid terrible actions. John Stuart Mill, for example, writes:

But when [Kant—CC] begins to deduce from this precept any of the actual duties of morality, he fails, almost grotesquely, to show that there would be any contradiction, any logical (not to say physical) impossibility, in the adoption by all rational beings of the most outrageously immoral rules of conduct. All he shows is that the consequences of their universal adoption would be such as no one would choose to incur (2001, p. 4; parenthetical item in orig.).

Mill thinks that, even though Kant would have wished to prevent atrocities, his categorical imperative does not do the job.

To assess Mill’s claim, consider an application of the universal-law formulation to an act like masochism or suicide. In this case, Kant uses the universal-law formulation to assert that a person has a duty to avoid harming oneself because the maxim of self-love that is necessary for suicide “cannot possibly hold as a universal law of nature and is, consequently, wholly opposed to the supreme principle of all duty” (1994, p. 31). Let us suppose that Mill views license to commit suicide as one of those “outrageously immoral rules of conduct” (he does think suicide is at least wrong; see Mill, 2003, p. 163). Mill’s objection (above) does indeed contradict Kant’s position here. Kant eschews a world in which everyone feels free to commit suicide, but there is no evident contradiction in such a world, as there is in the world where everyone makes promises they do not intend to keep. The universal-law formulation of the imperative clearly forbids the lying promise, because if everyone lied, it would no longer be effective to lie, and so there is a contradiction in the very conception of such a scenario.

However, it would seem just as easy to harm oneself in a “perturbed social world” where everyone commits suicide as in the world we actually inhabit (the Kantian “perturbed social world is the imagined world wherein the proposed principle of action is universalized according to the categorical imperative; see Rawls, 1999, p. 501). Humanity might destroy itself in such a circumstance, but that result is not equivalent to a contradiction in conception. Mill is correct, based on the first interpretation of his argument, that Kant’s rule allows for atrocities (Kantians would disagree, maintaining that Kant is consistent at least on some interpretation, and I will briefly address this objection before concluding).

Since Mill’s objection is justified in the case of the first formulation (but not in the second or third), then it is not the case that the other formulations are merely new statements of the first formulation, as Kant asserts (p. 41). Robert Johnson observes about the supposed unity of the formulations: “Perhaps Kant thought this, but it is not very plausible: That I should always treat Humanity as an end in itself, for instance, does not seem to mean the same thing as that I should act only on maxims that are consistent with themselves as universal laws of nature” (2008).

One Kantian response to my position would be that I am unfairly manipulating the definition of Mill’s “outrageously immoral” tag. However, if this objection is valid, then suicide is not outrageously immoral, and Kant clearly thinks that it is (pp. 82-85). Johnson mentions another possible Kantian solution: “if the formulas are not equivalent in meaning, they are nevertheless logically interderivable and hence equivalent in sense” (2008). However, it is much more difficult to establish that three separate ethical claims are “equivalent in sense” when they do not yield the same practical results, than it is to agree with Mill that something is wrong with Kant’s model. It is not at all clear that the categorical imperative disallows the kind of actions the permission for which are, allegedly, the downfall of the golden rule. If the golden rule disallows such atrocities, then its superiority to the imperative will have been maintained.

THE GOLDEN RULE AND ATROCITIES

The golden rule certainly does not allow for what are generally considered moral atrocities. Consider two essential principles.

1. The golden rule presupposes natural care for one’s own person. Objections such as Pecorino’s presuppose that the golden rule liberates a person to decide how to treat oneself. The golden rule simply is not designed to determine how one should treat oneself. However, when describing or promoting general ethical guidelines that are based squarely upon the very principle that people act out of self-interest, it is necessary to assume a typical level of self-interest; otherwise the point is unintelligible.

Paul made precisely this assumption in his epistle to the Ephesians: “So husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church” (5:28-29). Paul’s implication is that no rational person is interested in destroying his own body (this is not to say that a person must be unwilling to suffer physically or emotionally for a good cause, or to promote longer life to the neglect of all other considerations; cf. Acts 4:1-20; Revelation 2:10). Jesus obviously was speaking from this perspective when He announced the golden rule.

Yet, someone might wonder whether Jesus took into account the possibility that someone might apply the golden rule to promote atrocities (or, for that matter, whether Paul accounted for cases such as spouse battery or self-mutilation). To answer this question, consider the following.

2. The golden rule must not be separated from the overall context of biblical ethics. We, along with scores of ethicists, have allowed Kant to contextualize his principle in order to explain and defend its implications. Why should we not allow biblical ethics the same privilege? Christ Himself made it clear that the golden rule reflected a large body of doctrine (i.e., “the Law and the Prophets”; see Jackson, 1996; Lyons, 2009).

Moreover, as we interpret Christ’s statement, we must remember that it is part of a larger, verbal presentation to people who presumably did not have self-destruction on their minds. After all, in the very same presentation that includes the golden rule, the Lord made the following statements, all of which promote respectful, loving treatment of self and others:

  1. “Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent?” (Matthew 7:9-10).
  2. “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.... Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God” (5:7,9).
  3. “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake” (5:11).
  4. “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned.... You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.... Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”
  5. “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment” (5:21-22).
  6. “You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (5:27-28).
  7. “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven” (5:43-45).

These passages from Christ’s sermon do not include many other scriptures that corroborate and enlarge upon His teaching in this sermon. Such texts include Pauline injunctions that coincide with the golden rule and disallow sins such as battery (e.g., 1 Corinthians 7:3-4; Galatians 5:13, 22; 6:10; Ephesians 4:3, etc.).

CONCLUSION

It is utterly impossible that, at the announcement of the golden rule, Christ’s audience took the golden rule as an endorsement of moral atrocities. Rather, members of the audience would have understood the golden rule as a practical tool to help a person with common-sense intuitions to decide how to treat others, in light of what Jesus previously said in the sermon. There is no reason we should interpret the rule differently.

On the other hand, Kant’s categorical imperative may reasonably be shown to allow moral atrocities. Therefore, the golden rule is better than Kant’s rule. May we strive to implement Christian moral principles in our lives, no matter what may be fashionable in the field of modern or contemporary ethics.

REFERENCES

Copleston, Frederick (1994), A History of Philosophy (New York: Doubleday).

Jackson, Wayne (1996), “Three Rules of Human Conduct,” [On-line], URL: http://apologeticspress.org/articles/231.

Johnson, Robert (2008), “Kant’s Moral Philosophy,” Stanford University, [On-line], URL: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/kant-moral/.

Kant, Immanuel (1994 reprint), Ethical Philosophy (Indianapolis, IN: Hackett), second edition.

Lyons, Eric (2009), “‘This Is the Law and the Prophets’,” [On-line], URL: http://apologeticspress.org/articles/1655.

Mill, John Stuart (2001 reprint), Utilitarianism (Indianapolis, IN: Hackett).

Mill, John Stuart (2003 reprint), On Liberty (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press).

Pecorino, Philip A. (2000), “Categorical Imperative,” [On-line], URL: http://www2.sunysuffolk.edu/pecorip/scccweb/INTRO_TEXT/Chapter%208%20Ethics/ Categorical_Imperative.htm.

Rawls, John (1999), Collected Papers (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press).

"THE GOSPEL OF MARK" The Cost And Reward Of Discipleship (10:28-31) by Mark Copeland


 

 

 

 

 

 

"THE GOSPEL OF MARK"

The Cost And Reward Of Discipleship (10:28-31)

INTRODUCTION

1. Jesus had just completed His encounter with the rich young ruler...
   a. Who sadly left when he chose his possessions over following Christ - Mk 10:17-22
   b. When Jesus then warned His disciples about the difficulty of riches - Mk 10:23-27

2. At which Peter began to say, "See, we have left all and followed You..." - Mk 10:28
   a. Matthew adds in his gospel "Therefore what shall we have?" - Mt 19:27
   b. Matthew also mentions the promise of the apostles sitting on
      thrones of judgment in the regeneration - Mt 19:28

[For everyone else who follows Jesus as His disciples, there is the
promise of both cost and reward.  With Mark's account (Mk 10:28-31)
before us, let's first examine...]

I. THE COST OF DISCIPLESHIP

   A. EARTHLY RELATIONS...
      1. Jesus spoke of leaving family - Mk 10:29
      2. He mentioned wife; not found in some mss of Mark, but is in Lk 18:29
      3. Not to suggest such is always necessary - cf. 1Co 9:5
      4. But sometimes even one's family turns against a disciple - Mt 10:21,34-36
      5. Thus Jesus and His gospel must come before family - Mt 10:37; Lk 14:26
      -- Sometimes the greatest cost of discipleship is imposed by our own families

   B. EARTHLY POSSESSIONS...
      1. Jesus spoke of leaving house and lands - Mk 10:29
      2. Not to suggest that it is always necessary - cf. 1Co 16:19; Ro 16:5; Col 4:15; Phm 1:2
      3. But disciples often sold lands, opened their homes to others - Ac 4:36-37; Phm 1:22
      4. Paul certainly gave up much to serve Christ - Php 3:7-8
      5. Thus Jesus and His kingdom must come before possessions - Lk 14:33; Mt 6:33
      -- We must be willing to forsake all that is necessary to be a
         disciple of Jesus

[The cost of discipleship can certainly be great.  For some, it is more
than others.  But for all who are willing to bear the cost of being His disciple, Jesus promises...]

II. THE REWARD OF DISCIPLESHIP

   A. ETERNAL RELATIONS...
      1. Jesus spoke of hundredfold blessings "in this time" - Mk 10:30
      2. Of brothers, sisters, mother, children
         a. He likely refers to fellow disciples as family - cf. Mk 3:31-35
         b. Jesus does not mention "fathers"; could it be because God is our Father? - Mt 23:9
         c. The fulfillment of this can be seen in the church, the
            family of God - 1Ti 3:15; 5:1-2
         d. Our spiritual family (the church) is the only one that will survive death
      3. Of houses and lands
         a. Perhaps through fellow ties with other disciples - Ac 4:32
         b. Who opened their hearts and homes to one another (Mi casa es su casa)
         c. Like Aquila and Priscilla - Ac 18:1-3; 1Co 16:19; Ro 16:5
      -- Even now, through His church, there are great rewards for following Christ

   B. ETERNAL POSSESSIONS...
      1. Jesus spoke of eternal life "in the age to come" - Mk 10:30
      2. As Paul described, the gift of God to be received at "the end" - Ro 6:22-23; cf. Mt 25:46
      3. This eternal life includes the "people of God" - cf. Re 21:3
      4. This eternal life includes spiritual houses and lands
         a. The Father's house, in which there are many rooms - Jn 14:1-3
         a. A new heaven and a new earth - 2Pe 3:13; Re 21:1
         b. The holy city, New Jerusalem - Re 21:2,23-27
      -- What glorious rewards await those who follow Jesus to eternal life!

CONCLUSION

1. In Mark's account, Jesus also mentioned persecutions...
   a. Together with the rewards of following Jesus - Mk 10:30
   b. Leading some to view them as a reward rather than a cost of discipleship
   c. Those who suffer persecution are certainly blessed - Mt 5:10-12; Re 20:4-6

2. Jesus concludes:  "But many who are first will be last, and the last first"... - Mk 10:31
   a. Which is followed in Matthew's gospel with the parable of laborers
      in the vineyard - Mt 20:1-15
   b. And is repeated again after the parable - Mt 20:16
   c. Thus a cautionary warning not to serve the Lord with a mercenary spirit

Whatever the cost of discipleship, whether our service proves to be long
and hard or short and easy, the reward of discipleship more than makes
up for it.  As Paul (who suffered greatly for Christ) wrote:

   "For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working
   for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we
   do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which
   are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the
   things which are not seen are eternal." - 2Co 4:17-18

May the words of Jesus in our text always remind us of the things that
are eternal, some to be enjoyed even in this age, others to be realized
in the age to come...
 
Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2016

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Abortion Actually Is… by Ken Weliever, The Preacherman


 https://thepreachersword.com/2019/11/14/abortion-actually-is/#more-14867

 

Abortion Actually Is…

You see some things on Facebook that make you wince. Others cause you to shake your head in disbelief. And some elicit a chuckle. This one makes me sick.

A pro-choice organization, which means pro-abortion, recently mounted a new campaign claiming that abortion is a selfless act of love.

The National Women’s Law Center is seeking to “reframe” the abortion debate with their campaign “Abortion Actually.” According to their website they intend to “fight back against the assault on abortion rights in our country.”

“Abortion – and the people who have them – have been called a lot of things. But what is abortion actually? An act of love. An act of compassion. An act of healing. An act of selflessness,” the website asserts.

Yumhee Park, senior manager of the campaign and digital strategies for the group published a blog explaining the usage of those words accompanying the above graphic.

“If you’ve had an abortion or are thinking about getting an abortion, we see your love – for yourself and others, we see your healing and the healing of your communities, we see your self-preservation and your selflessness, we see your compassion, and we love you,” Park wrote.

ThePreachersWord begs to differ with Park and her supporters.

Abortion actually is an act of selfishness.

Abortion actually is cruelty to children.

Abortion actually is barbarity of the worse order.

Abortion actually is gruesome, grisly and ruthless.

Abortion actually is hurtful to everyone involved.

Abortion actually is denying a human being the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Abortion actually is an atrocity that’s an appalling and abhorrent blight on our nation.

Abortion actually is an act of desperation that will result in guilt, heartache and a lifetime of regret.

Abortion actually is an iniquity that has taken over 61 million lives since 1973.

Abortion actually is depriving an estimated 2 million couples in the United States who are waiting to adopt children.

Abortion actually is taking of the life of another human being, not a simple procedure that removes a mere fetus.

Advocates of abortion like to speak of a woman’s fetus, as if it’s some inanimate clump of tissue. A non-person. In fact, Justice Harry Blackmun, in the 1973 decision argued that a fetus was not a person and thus has no rights that can run counter to the right to privacy.

The Bible uses the expression “with child” 26 times to refer to pregnant women. The term fetus is never used. Luke, the physician, records that Elisabeth, the mother of John the Immerser, conceived a son (1:35). In verse 41 the doctor wrote, “the baby leaped in her womb.” The baby! Not the fetus! It is the same Greek word that Luke uses to describe Jesus after he was born (2:12, 16). God views the unborn baby and the newborn baby in the same way. Both are living human beings.

In the midst of his suffering Job cries out, “Or why was I not hidden like a stillborn child. Like infants who never saw light?” (3:16). The unborn child is called an infant!

In describing the greatness of Jehovah’s power and majesty, the Psalmist, David, describes himself as a person, unborn in his mother’s womb.

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful,I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. (Ps 139:13-16)

Abortion actually is a sin against the helpless, weak and voiceless among us.

–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman

 

USING GOD'S NAME IN VAIN BY STEVE FINNELL

 


USING GOD'S NAME IN VAIN BY STEVE FINNELL


Is taking God's name in vain confined to swearing an oath or cursing using God's name? Is not using God's name in a flippant, glib or profane manner using God's name in vain? 

Is using God as a character of a joke, not using God's name in vain? Too many Christians believe God is great joke material.

Exodus 20:7 "You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not leave him unpunished who takes His name in vain. (NASB)

Exodus 20:7 "Never use the name of the Lord your God carelessly. The Lord will make sure that anyone who carelessly uses his name will be punished.(GOD'S WORD Translation (1995)

Exodus 20:7 "You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name. (NIV 1984)

Matthew 6:9 ....Our Father....Hallowed be Your name.

GOD'S NAME IS HOLY!

The church of Christ is one body: unique, indivisible, exclusive and real by Roy Davison


 https://www.oldpaths.com/Archive/Davison/Roy/Allen/1940/unique.html

 

The church of Christ
is one body:
unique, indivisible, exclusive and real

By 'church of Christ' we mean the church that Jesus built (Matthew 16:18), also called 'the body of Christ' (Ephesians 1:22,23; 5:23; Colossians 1:18,24).

Christ's church is unique, one of a kind, incomparable.

The foundation of the church is unique: "For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ" (1 Corinthians 3:11).

Christ is "the only begotten Son of God" (John 1:14,18; 3:16,18; Hebrews 1:5; 1 John 4:9). He is one Shepherd of one flock (John 10:16). "He is the head of the body, the church" (Colossians 1:18, Ephesians 1:22,23). "Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body" (Ephesians 5:23).

"There is one body" (Ephesians 4:4). "We, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another" (Romans 12:5). We are reconciled to God "in one body through the cross" (Ephesians 2:16). "For we, being many, are one bread and one body; for we all partake of that one bread" (1 Corinthians 10:17). "For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body" (1 Corinthians 12:13). The one body has "one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all" (Ephesians 4:5,6).

The church of Christ has a unique identity with unchangeable distinguishing marks.

A diamond can be identified on the basis of unique characteristics. Diamond is the hardest known material. It consists of pure carbon, but not all carbon is diamond. The carbon atoms in diamond form a crystal lattice with each atom connected to four other atoms. Diamond is hard because these bonds are short and strong. Diamond is a good electrical insulator, has the lowest coefficient of expansion, and is the best thermal conductor at room temperature. Diamond is transparent in the whole spectrum from ultraviolet to infrared and has a refractive index of 2.42 for yellow light with a wavelength of 589 nanometers. Diamonds repel water, but attract grease. They are not harmed by acids and bases, but are attacked by some salts such as melted potassium nitrate.

The average person cannot recognize diamond with certainty because he lacks knowledge. Someone who has the required knowledge, can recognize diamond beyond any doubt.

The church of Christ can also be identified on the basis of unique characteristics described in the holy Scriptures. The average person cannot tell the difference between the church of Christ and an imitation because he lacks knowledge. Someone who has the required knowledge, who knows the revealed characteristics, can identify the church of Christ with certainty.

The church is unique, one of a kind.

Christ's church is indivisible, not susceptible to subdivision.

Jesus said: "Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand" (Matthew 12:25).

When Jesus prayed for His apostles, He said: "I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me" (John 17:20-23).

The church is indivisible. Paul asked "Is Christ divided?" (1 Corinthians 1:13). "Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment" (1 Corinthians 1:10). Like the atoms of diamond, members of Christ's body are solidly joined together.

Followers of Christ may have nothing to do with 'subdivisions' in Christendom, groups that sail under the flag of some human founder, doctrine or institution. When a religious group claims to be a 'subdivision' among Christians, by definition they cannot possibly be the church of Christ. Whoever establishes, maintains or participates in such a denomination, is in rebellion against Christ who prayed for unity. We must shun people who cause division through departures from the original doctrine: "Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them. For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple" (Romans 16:17,18). "These are sensual persons, who cause divisions, not having the Spirit" (Judas 19).

The church of Christ is indivisible. Christians must take their stand only as the church of Christ.

Christ's church is exclusive, set apart, sanctified.

The church of Christ is by definition the church that is of Christ, in contrast with all denominations, groups and associations that are not of Christ.

The church of God has been purchased by the blood of Christ (Acts 20:28). Jesus "gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works" (Titus 2:14). "But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light" (1 Peter 2:9).

God's people must separate and sanctify themselves: "Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said:
'I will dwell in them
And walk among them.
I will be their God,
And they shall be My people.'
Therefore
'Come out from among them
And be separate, says the Lord.
Do not touch what is unclean,
And I will receive you.
I will be a Father to you,
And you shall be My sons and daughters,
Says the Lord Almighty'" (2 Corinthians 6:14-18).

God's people do not remain in 'Babylon', a representation of false religion. "Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues" (Revelation 18:4).

The church is exclusive in the good sense of the word. This exclusiveness is based on God's word, not on human judgment. Salvation by grace is offered to all people (Mark 16:15,16; Matthew 28:19; Revelation 22:17), but there are conditions: "Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent" (Acts 17:30).

A person is added to the church by God Himself. We read about the establishment of the church: "Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them" (Acts 2:41). Peter had commanded: "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins" (Acts 2:38). Only those who believe, repent and are baptized for the forgiveness of sins, are added to the church. "And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved" (Acts 2:47). The church consists of those who are saved, who have been added by God Himself.

This is not simply 'joining a group'. It involves a spiritual cleansing, a rebirth, a new creation, a new citizenship. "Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever" (1 Peter 1:22,23). "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new" (2 Corinthians 5:17). "For our citizenship is in heaven" (Philippians 3:20).

Those who have not fulfilled the revealed conditions, are not added to the church and are not accepted into the fellowship. "For many are called, but few are chosen" (Matthew 22:14). Only those who have been sanctified by the blood of Christ, belong to the church.

About the church at Jerusalem we read further: "And they were all with one accord in Solomon's Porch. Yet none of the rest dared join them, but the people esteemed them highly. And believers were increasingly added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women" (Acts 5:12-14).

The church is exclusive. One cannot simply 'join'. One must be added by the Lord.

Christians who walk disorderly, are excluded from the fellowship. "But we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you withdraw from every brother who walks disorderly and not according to the tradition which he received from us" (2 Thessalonians 3:6). "But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner -- not even to eat with such a person" (1 Corinthians 5:11). "Therefore 'put away from yourselves the evil person'" (1 Corinthians 5:13).

Someone who teaches false doctrine is also avoided: "Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them" (Romans 16:17). "Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him; for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds" (2 John 9-11).

John writes about some who had gone astray: "They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us" (1 John 2:19).

The church is exclusive on the basis of revealed conditions. Paul explained to the Corinthians: "For there must also be factions among you, that those who are approved may be recognized among you" (1 Corinthians 11:19). When people turn away from God's word in their lives or doctrine, they are not approved, they separate themselves from the fellowship.

The church of Christ is unique, indivisible and exclusive on the basis of God's word.

Christ's church is real, substantial, visible.

The church has an observable presence and identity. Paul wrote letters to the church of God at Corinth (1 Corinthians 1:2; 2 Corinthians 1:1). He sent greetings from churches of Christ (Romans 16:16). Were these churches invisible?

Some claim that the church of Christ is only an ideal that can never be accomplished in reality. They speak about an "invisible church of Christ" that supposedly consists of the true believers in the various denominations, and about a "visible church" that according to them can never be more than a human, historical and cultural phenomenon.

This false proposition is used as an excuse for the perpetuation of denominations -- based on human traditions and teachings -- that are not equivalent to the church of Christ.

Stones are sold for loaves with the claim that real bread is invisible! Hungry souls must break their teeth on stones because real loaves do not exist. Paste is palmed off with the claim that real diamonds do not exist, that diamond is only an 'ideal'.

The church is precisely Christ's visible presence on earth! Christians are living, functioning, performing, active members of the body of Christ (Romans 12:4-6; 1 Corinthians 12:12-27; Ephesians 3:30).

The church also shares in the suffering of Christ. Paul persecuted the church of God (1 Corinthians 15:9; Galatians 1:13). Did he persecute an invisible church?

Paul said to Timothy: "These things I write to you, though I hope to come to you shortly; but if I am delayed, I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth" (1 Timothy 3:14,15). Through what is written we can known how we must conduct ourselves substantially and observably in the church. The church is the pillar and ground of the truth because we have God's word in our heart and mouth. "The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart (that is, the word of faith which we preach)" (Romans 10:8).

We may not be impious like Esau "who for one morsel of food sold his birthright" (Hebrews 12:16). The church of Christ is one body: unique, indivisible, exclusive and real. Let us be thankful for this matchless church, and like Paul, continue to preach the unsearchable riches of Christ "to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places, according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Ephesians 3:10,11).

Roy Davison

    The Scripture quotations in this article are from
    The New King James Version. ©1979,1980,1982, Thomas Nelson Inc., Publishers.
    Permission for reference use has been granted.

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

 

 

Bible Reading for March 12-14 by Gary Rose


Bible Reading for March 12-14

World  English  Bible

 

Mar. 12

Exodus 22

Exo 22:1 "If a man steals an ox or a sheep, and kills it, or sells it; he shall pay five oxen for an ox, and four sheep for a sheep.

Exo 22:2 If the thief is found breaking in, and is struck so that he dies, there shall be no guilt of bloodshed for him.

Exo 22:3 If the sun has risen on him, there shall be guilt of bloodshed for him; he shall make restitution. If he has nothing, then he shall be sold for his theft.

Exo 22:4 If the stolen property is found in his hand alive, whether it is ox, donkey, or sheep, he shall pay double.

Exo 22:5 "If a man causes a field or vineyard to be eaten, and lets his animal loose, and it grazes in another man's field, he shall make restitution from the best of his own field, and from the best of his own vineyard.

Exo 22:6 "If fire breaks out, and catches in thorns so that the shocks of grain, or the standing grain, or the field are consumed; he who kindled the fire shall surely make restitution.

Exo 22:7 "If a man delivers to his neighbor money or stuff to keep, and it is stolen out of the man's house; if the thief is found, he shall pay double.

Exo 22:8 If the thief isn't found, then the master of the house shall come near to God, to find out if he hasn't put his hand to his neighbor's goods.

Exo 22:9 For every matter of trespass, whether it be for ox, for donkey, for sheep, for clothing, or for any kind of lost thing, about which one says, 'This is mine,' the cause of both parties shall come before God. He whom God condemns shall pay double to his neighbor.

Exo 22:10 "If a man delivers to his neighbor a donkey, an ox, a sheep, or any animal to keep, and it dies or is injured, or driven away, no man seeing it;

Exo 22:11 the oath of Yahweh shall be between them both, whether he hasn't put his hand to his neighbor's goods; and its owner shall accept it, and he shall not make restitution.

Exo 22:12 But if it is stolen from him, he shall make restitution to its owner.

Exo 22:13 If it is torn in pieces, let him bring it for evidence. He shall not make good that which was torn.

Exo 22:14 "If a man borrows anything of his neighbor's, and it is injured, or dies, its owner not being with it, he shall surely make restitution.

Exo 22:15 If its owner is with it, he shall not make it good. If it is a leased thing, it came for its lease.

Exo 22:16 "If a man entices a virgin who isn't pledged to be married, and lies with her, he shall surely pay a dowry for her to be his wife.

Exo 22:17 If her father utterly refuses to give her to him, he shall pay money according to the dowry of virgins.

Exo 22:18 "You shall not allow a sorceress to live.

Exo 22:19 "Whoever has sex with an animal shall surely be put to death.

Exo 22:20 "He who sacrifices to any god, except to Yahweh only, shall be utterly destroyed.

Exo 22:21 "You shall not wrong an alien, neither shall you oppress him, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt.

Exo 22:22 "You shall not take advantage of any widow or fatherless child.

Exo 22:23 If you take advantage of them at all, and they cry at all to me, I will surely hear their cry;

Exo 22:24 and my wrath will grow hot, and I will kill you with the sword; and your wives shall be widows, and your children fatherless.

Exo 22:25 "If you lend money to any of my people with you who is poor, you shall not be to him as a creditor; neither shall you charge him interest.

Exo 22:26 If you take your neighbor's garment as collateral, you shall restore it to him before the sun goes down,

Exo 22:27 for that is his only covering, it is his garment for his skin. What would he sleep in? It will happen, when he cries to me, that I will hear, for I am gracious.

Exo 22:28 "You shall not blaspheme God, nor curse a ruler of your people.

Exo 22:29 "You shall not delay to offer from your harvest and from the outflow of your presses. "You shall give the firstborn of your sons to me.

Exo 22:30 You shall do likewise with your cattle and with your sheep. Seven days it shall be with its mother, then on the eighth day you shall give it to me.

Exo 22:31 "You shall be holy men to me, therefore you shall not eat any flesh that is torn by animals in the field. You shall cast it to the dogs. 

 

Mar. 13

Exodus 23

Exo 23:1 "You shall not spread a false report. Don't join your hand with the wicked to be a malicious witness.

Exo 23:2 You shall not follow a crowd to do evil; neither shall you testify in court to side with a multitude to pervert justice;

Exo 23:3 neither shall you favor a poor man in his cause.

Exo 23:4 "If you meet your enemy's ox or his donkey going astray, you shall surely bring it back to him again.

Exo 23:5 If you see the donkey of him who hates you fallen down under his burden, don't leave him, you shall surely help him with it.

Exo 23:6 "You shall not deny justice to your poor people in their lawsuits.

Exo 23:7 "Keep far from a false charge, and don't kill the innocent and righteous: for I will not justify the wicked.

Exo 23:8 "You shall take no bribe, for a bribe blinds those who have sight and perverts the words of the righteous.

Exo 23:9 "You shall not oppress an alien, for you know the heart of an alien, seeing you were aliens in the land of Egypt.

Exo 23:10 "For six years you shall sow your land, and shall gather in its increase,

Exo 23:11 but the seventh year you shall let it rest and lie fallow, that the poor of your people may eat; and what they leave the animal of the field shall eat. In like manner you shall deal with your vineyard and with your olive grove.

Exo 23:12 "Six days you shall do your work, and on the seventh day you shall rest, that your ox and your donkey may have rest, and the son of your handmaid, and the alien may be refreshed.

Exo 23:13 "Be careful to do all things that I have said to you; and don't invoke the name of other gods, neither let them be heard out of your mouth.

Exo 23:14 "You shall observe a feast to me three times a year.

Exo 23:15 You shall observe the feast of unleavened bread. Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, as I commanded you, at the time appointed in the month Abib (for in it you came out from Egypt), and no one shall appear before me empty.

Exo 23:16 And the feast of harvest, the first fruits of your labors, which you sow in the field: and the feast of harvest, at the end of the year, when you gather in your labors out of the field.

Exo 23:17 Three times in the year all your males shall appear before the Lord Yahweh.

Exo 23:18 "You shall not offer the blood of my sacrifice with leavened bread, neither shall the fat of my feast remain all night until the morning.

Exo 23:19 The first of the first fruits of your ground you shall bring into the house of Yahweh your God. "You shall not boil a kid in its mother's milk.

Exo 23:20 "Behold, I send an angel before you, to keep you by the way, and to bring you into the place which I have prepared.

Exo 23:21 Pay attention to him, and listen to his voice. Don't provoke him, for he will not pardon your disobedience, for my name is in him.

Exo 23:22 But if you indeed listen to his voice, and do all that I speak, then I will be an enemy to your enemies, and an adversary to your adversaries.

Exo 23:23 For my angel shall go before you, and bring you in to the Amorite, the Hittite, the Perizzite, the Canaanite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite; and I will cut them off.

Exo 23:24 You shall not bow down to their gods, nor serve them, nor follow their practices, but you shall utterly overthrow them and demolish their pillars.

Exo 23:25 You shall serve Yahweh your God, and he will bless your bread and your water, and I will take sickness away from your midst.

Exo 23:26 No one will miscarry or be barren in your land. I will fulfill the number of your days.

Exo 23:27 I will send my terror before you, and will confuse all the people to whom you come, and I will make all your enemies turn their backs to you.

Exo 23:28 I will send the hornet before you, which will drive out the Hivite, the Canaanite, and the Hittite, from before you.

Exo 23:29 I will not drive them out from before you in one year, lest the land become desolate, and the animals of the field multiply against you.

Exo 23:30 Little by little I will drive them out from before you, until you have increased and inherit the land.

Exo 23:31 I will set your border from the Red Sea even to the sea of the Philistines, and from the wilderness to the River; for I will deliver the inhabitants of the land into your hand, and you shall drive them out before you.

Exo 23:32 You shall make no covenant with them, nor with their gods.

Exo 23:33 They shall not dwell in your land, lest they make you sin against me, for if you serve their gods, it will surely be a snare to you." 

 

Mar. 14

Exodus 24

Exo 24:1 He said to Moses, "Come up to Yahweh, you, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel; and worship from a distance.

Exo 24:2 Moses alone shall come near to Yahweh, but they shall not come near, neither shall the people go up with him."

Exo 24:3 Moses came and told the people all the words of Yahweh, and all the ordinances; and all the people answered with one voice, and said, "All the words which Yahweh has spoken will we do."

Exo 24:4 Moses wrote all the words of Yahweh, and rose up early in the morning, and built an altar under the mountain, and twelve pillars for the twelve tribes of Israel.

Exo 24:5 He sent young men of the children of Israel, who offered burnt offerings and sacrificed peace offerings of cattle to Yahweh.

Exo 24:6 Moses took half of the blood and put it in basins, and half of the blood he sprinkled on the altar.

Exo 24:7 He took the book of the covenant and read it in the hearing of the people, and they said, "All that Yahweh has spoken will we do, and be obedient."

Exo 24:8 Moses took the blood, and sprinkled it on the people, and said, "Look, this is the blood of the covenant, which Yahweh has made with you concerning all these words."

Exo 24:9 Then Moses, Aaron, Nadab, Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel went up.

Exo 24:10 They saw the God of Israel. Under his feet was like a paved work of sapphire stone, like the skies for clearness.

Exo 24:11 He didn't lay his hand on the nobles of the children of Israel. They saw God, and ate and drank.

Exo 24:12 Yahweh said to Moses, "Come up to me on the mountain, and stay here, and I will give you the tables of stone with the law and the commands that I have written, that you may teach them."

Exo 24:13 Moses rose up with Joshua, his servant, and Moses went up onto God's Mountain.

Exo 24:14 He said to the elders, "Wait here for us, until we come again to you. Behold, Aaron and Hur are with you. Whoever is involved in a dispute can go to them."

Exo 24:15 Moses went up on the mountain, and the cloud covered the mountain.

Exo 24:16 The glory of Yahweh settled on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days. The seventh day he called to Moses out of the midst of the cloud.

Exo 24:17 The appearance of the glory of Yahweh was like devouring fire on the top of the mountain in the eyes of the children of Israel.

Exo 24:18 Moses entered into the midst of the cloud, and went up on the mountain; and Moses was on the mountain forty days and forty nights. 

 

Mar.  12

Mark 8

Mar 8:1 In those days, when there was a very great multitude, and they had nothing to eat, Jesus called his disciples to himself, and said to them,

Mar 8:2 "I have compassion on the multitude, because they have stayed with me now three days, and have nothing to eat.

Mar 8:3 If I send them away fasting to their home, they will faint on the way, for some of them have come a long way."

Mar 8:4 His disciples answered him, "From where could one satisfy these people with bread here in a deserted place?"

Mar 8:5 He asked them, "How many loaves do you have?" They said, "Seven."

Mar 8:6 He commanded the multitude to sit down on the ground, and he took the seven loaves. Having given thanks, he broke them, and gave them to his disciples to serve, and they served the multitude.

Mar 8:7 They had a few small fish. Having blessed them, he said to serve these also.

Mar 8:8 They ate, and were filled. They took up seven baskets of broken pieces that were left over.

Mar 8:9 Those who had eaten were about four thousand. Then he sent them away.

Mar 8:10 Immediately he entered into the boat with his disciples, and came into the region of Dalmanutha.

Mar 8:11 The Pharisees came out and began to question him, seeking from him a sign from heaven, and testing him.

Mar 8:12 He sighed deeply in his spirit, and said, "Why does this generation seek a sign? Most certainly I tell you, no sign will be given to this generation."

Mar 8:13 He left them, and again entering into the boat, departed to the other side.

Mar 8:14 They forgot to take bread; and they didn't have more than one loaf in the boat with them.

Mar 8:15 He warned them, saying, "Take heed: beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and the yeast of Herod."

Mar 8:16 They reasoned with one another, saying, "It's because we have no bread."

Mar 8:17 Jesus, perceiving it, said to them, "Why do you reason that it's because you have no bread? Don't you perceive yet, neither understand? Is your heart still hardened?

Mar 8:18 Having eyes, don't you see? Having ears, don't you hear? Don't you remember?

Mar 8:19 When I broke the five loaves among the five thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up?" They told him, "Twelve."

Mar 8:20 "When the seven loaves fed the four thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up?" They told him, "Seven."

Mar 8:21 He asked them, "Don't you understand, yet?"

Mar 8:22 He came to Bethsaida. They brought a blind man to him, and begged him to touch him.

Mar 8:23 He took hold of the blind man by the hand, and brought him out of the village. When he had spit on his eyes, and laid his hands on him, he asked him if he saw anything.

Mar 8:24 He looked up, and said, "I see men; for I see them like trees walking."

Mar 8:25 Then again he laid his hands on his eyes. He looked intently, and was restored, and saw everyone clearly.

Mar 8:26 He sent him away to his house, saying, "Don't enter into the village, nor tell anyone in the village."

Mar 8:27 Jesus went out, with his disciples, into the villages of Caesarea Philippi. On the way he asked his disciples, "Who do men say that I am?"

Mar 8:28 They told him, "John the Baptizer, and others say Elijah, but others: one of the prophets."

Mar 8:29 He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?" Peter answered, "You are the Christ."

Mar 8:30 He commanded them that they should tell no one about him.

Mar 8:31 He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.

Mar 8:32 He spoke to them openly. Peter took him, and began to rebuke him.

Mar 8:33 But he, turning around, and seeing his disciples, rebuked Peter, and said, "Get behind me, Satan! For you have in mind not the things of God, but the things of men."

Mar 8:34 He called the multitude to himself with his disciples, and said to them, "Whoever wants to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

Mar 8:35 For whoever wants to save his life will lose it; and whoever will lose his life for my sake and the sake of the Good News will save it.

Mar 8:36 For what does it profit a man, to gain the whole world, and forfeit his life?

Mar 8:37 For what will a man give in exchange for his life?

Mar 8:38 For whoever will be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man also will be ashamed of him, when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels." 

 

Mar. 13, 14

Mark 9

Mar 9:1 He said to them, "Most certainly I tell you, there are some standing here who will in no way taste death until they see the Kingdom of God come with power."

Mar 9:2 After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James, and John, and brought them up onto a high mountain privately by themselves, and he was changed into another form in front of them.

Mar 9:3 His clothing became glistening, exceedingly white, like snow, such as no launderer on earth can whiten them.

Mar 9:4 Elijah and Moses appeared to them, and they were talking with Jesus.

Mar 9:5 Peter answered Jesus, "Rabbi, it is good for us to be here. Let's make three tents: one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah."

Mar 9:6 For he didn't know what to say, for they were very afraid.

Mar 9:7 A cloud came, overshadowing them, and a voice came out of the cloud, "This is my beloved Son. Listen to him."

Mar 9:8 Suddenly looking around, they saw no one with them any more, except Jesus only.

Mar 9:9 As they were coming down from the mountain, he commanded them that they should tell no one what things they had seen, until after the Son of Man had risen from the dead.

Mar 9:10 They kept this saying to themselves, questioning what the "rising from the dead" meant.

Mar 9:11 They asked him, saying, "Why do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?"

Mar 9:12 He said to them, "Elijah indeed comes first, and restores all things. How is it written about the Son of Man, that he should suffer many things and be despised?

Mar 9:13 But I tell you that Elijah has come, and they have also done to him whatever they wanted to, even as it is written about him."

Mar 9:14 Coming to the disciples, he saw a great multitude around them, and scribes questioning them.

Mar 9:15 Immediately all the multitude, when they saw him, were greatly amazed, and running to him greeted him.

Mar 9:16 He asked the scribes, "What are you asking them?"

Mar 9:17 One of the multitude answered, "Teacher, I brought to you my son, who has a mute spirit;

Mar 9:18 and wherever it seizes him, it throws him down, and he foams at the mouth, and grinds his teeth, and wastes away. I asked your disciples to cast it out, and they weren't able."

Mar 9:19 He answered him, "Unbelieving generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you? Bring him to me."

Mar 9:20 They brought him to him, and when he saw him, immediately the spirit convulsed him, and he fell on the ground, wallowing and foaming at the mouth.

Mar 9:21 He asked his father, "How long has it been since this has come to him?" He said, "From childhood.

Mar 9:22 Often it has cast him both into the fire and into the water, to destroy him. But if you can do anything, have compassion on us, and help us."

Mar 9:23 Jesus said to him, "If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes."

Mar 9:24 Immediately the father of the child cried out with tears, "I believe. Help my unbelief!"

Mar 9:25 When Jesus saw that a multitude came running together, he rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to him, "You mute and deaf spirit, I command you, come out of him, and never enter him again!"

Mar 9:26 Having cried out, and convulsed greatly, it came out of him. The boy became like one dead; so much that most of them said, "He is dead."

Mar 9:27 But Jesus took him by the hand, and raised him up; and he arose.

Mar 9:28 When he had come into the house, his disciples asked him privately, "Why couldn't we cast it out?"

Mar 9:29 He said to them, "This kind can come out by nothing, except by prayer and fasting."

Mar 9:30 They went out from there, and passed through Galilee. He didn't want anyone to know it.

Mar 9:31 For he was teaching his disciples, and said to them, "The Son of Man is being handed over to the hands of men, and they will kill him; and when he is killed, on the third day he will rise again."

Mar 9:32 But they didn't understand the saying, and were afraid to ask him.

Mar 9:33 He came to Capernaum, and when he was in the house he asked them, "What were you arguing among yourselves on the way?"

Mar 9:34 But they were silent, for they had disputed one with another on the way about who was the greatest.

Mar 9:35 He sat down, and called the twelve; and he said to them, "If any man wants to be first, he shall be last of all, and servant of all."

Mar 9:36 He took a little child, and set him in the midst of them. Taking him in his arms, he said to them,

Mar 9:37 "Whoever receives one such little child in my name, receives me, and whoever receives me, doesn't receive me, but him who sent me."

Mar 9:38 John said to him, "Teacher, we saw someone who doesn't follow us casting out demons in your name; and we forbade him, because he doesn't follow us."

Mar 9:39 But Jesus said, "Don't forbid him, for there is no one who will do a mighty work in my name, and be able quickly to speak evil of me.

Mar 9:40 For whoever is not against us is on our side.

Mar 9:41 For whoever will give you a cup of water to drink in my name, because you are Christ's, most certainly I tell you, he will in no way lose his reward.

Mar 9:42 Whoever will cause one of these little ones who believe in me to stumble, it would be better for him if he was thrown into the sea with a millstone hung around his neck.

Mar 9:43 If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life maimed, rather than having your two hands to go into Gehenna, into the unquenchable fire,

Mar 9:44 'where their worm doesn't die, and the fire is not quenched.'

Mar 9:45 If your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life lame, rather than having your two feet to be cast into Gehenna, into the fire that will never be quenched-

Mar 9:46 'where their worm doesn't die, and the fire is not quenched.'

Mar 9:47 If your eye causes you to stumble, cast it out. It is better for you to enter into the Kingdom of God with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into the Gehenna of fire,

Mar 9:48 'where their worm doesn't die, and the fire is not quenched.'

Mar 9:49 For everyone will be salted with fire, and every sacrifice will be seasoned with salt.

Mar 9:50 Salt is good, but if the salt has lost its saltiness, with what will you season it? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another."