The Eternality of God by Caleb Colley, Ph.D.



The Eternality of God

by  Caleb Colley, Ph.D.

God alone is eternal. The Bible plainly asserts that God had no beginning, and that He will never end, or die—He possesses eternality. Consider Psalm 90:2: “Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever You had formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.” Isaiah wrote: “For thus says the High and Lofty One Who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: I dwell in a high and holy place, with him who has a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones” (Isaiah 57:15; see Deuteronomy 33:27). The apostle John wrote: “Grace to you and peace from Him Who is and Who was and Who is to come...” (Revelation 1:4, emp. added). In beautiful, poetic language, God said: “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty” (Revelation 1:8). It is difficult for finite, human minds to comprehend anyone Who possesses eternality, because every earthly person and thing known to us had a beginning, and has either died, ended, will die, or will end. To emphasize God’s majesty through His eternality, consider several items, which, though striking and awe-inspiring, are not eternal.

The Universe is not eternal. For many years, evolutionists attempted to prove that the Universe never had a beginning. For, they reasoned, if scientists were to arrive at the conclusion that the Universe had a beginning, they must turn to the next logical question: What caused the beginning of the Universe? Attempting to answer that question makes rationally thinking evolutionists uncomfortable. Of course, scientists have shown definitively that the Universe has not always existed, and that it will not exist forever. Because it exists, therefore, someone, or something must have always existed. Astronomer Robert Jastrow observed: “The lingering decline predicted by astronomers for the end of the world differs from the explosive conditions they have calculated for its birth, but the impact is the same: modern science denies an eternal existence to the Universe, either in the past or in the future.”1 In her book, The Fire in the Equations, award-winning science writer Kitty Ferguson wrote in agreement:

Our late twentieth-century picture of the universe is dramatically different from the picture our forebears had at the beginning of the century. Today it’s common knowledge that all the individual stars we see with the naked eye are only the stars of our home galaxy, the Milky Way, and that the Milky Way is only one among many billions of galaxies. It’s also common knowledge that the universe isn’t eternal but had a beginning ten to twenty billion years ago, and that it is expanding.2

Furthermore, the First Law of Thermodynamics, which states that both matter and energy can be neither created nor destroyed, precludes the idea of an eternal Universe. The Second Law of Thermodynamics, which states that systems become more disorganized, rather than more organized, also establishes that the Universe had to have a starting point. Because matter exists, but has not always existed, then something or someone must have caused its beginning. Some have suggested that the Universe simply created itself. Sproul wrote:

For something to bring itself into being it must have the power of being within itself. It must at least have enough causal power to cause its own being. If it derives its being from some other source, then it clearly would not be either self-existent or self-created. It would be, plainly and simply, an effect. Of course, the problem is complicated by the other necessity we’ve labored so painstakingly to establish: It would have to have the causal power of being before it was. It would have to have the power of being before it had any being with which to exercise that power.3

Obviously, the idea that the Universe was, at one time, nonexistent, but then independently came into being, is contradictory.4 Creationists do not have to wonder about the start of the Universe; they understand that God is the cause, and the Universe is the effect. That event is recorded in the first few pages of the Bible (Genesis 1,2).

Humanity is not eternal in the same sense that God is eternal. Humans have immortal souls—souls that will never die (Romans 5:21; 6:22; Galatians 6:8), and bodies that will be resurrected and reunited with their souls (John 5:28-29). And, although humans can access eternal life (Matthew 25:46; 2 Corinthians 4:18), human beings are not eternal, because each human has a beginning. The beginning of humanity itself is described in Genesis 1-2. And, when the Earth ends (see 2 Peter 3:10-12), humanity on Earth will cease. The Greek word translated “eternal” in passages like Mark 10:17,30, Luke 18:18, and John 3:15 is aionios, a word that also is used to denote the eternality of God (Hebrews 9:14; 1 Peter 5:10). “Eternal,” then, has approximately three meanings in the New Testament: (1) without beginning (Romans 16:25; 2 Timothy 1:9; Titus 1:2); (2) without beginning or end (Hebrews 9:14); and (3) without end (Matthew 25:46; 2 Corinthians 4:18; 2 Thessalonians 1:9).5 Humans are eternal in that their souls will never end, but only God possesses eternality in the first two senses of the word.

Why are humans instructed to live in view of, and prepare for, eternity? A few of the many reasons include: (1) Christians will live for a much longer time in heaven than they will on Earth (Philippians 3:20; 1 Thessalonians 4:17); (2) dire consequences await those who refuse to prepare for eternity in this life (Matthew 9:44-48; Matthew 23:33; Luke 13:28; John 5:29); (3) and there are great blessings associated with eternal life (Matthew 8:11; Hebrews 9:24; 1 Peter 1:4, 3:22; Revelation 21:2,3, 22).

Marriage is not eternal. Some religious people teach that marriages will endure throughout eternity. For example, James Duke, representing the Mormon religion, wrote:

Latter-day Saints believe that life is more secure and more joyous when it is experienced in the sacred relationships of the eternal family. Those who maintain such worthy relationships on earth will live as families in the Celestial Kingdom following the resurrection. Thus, a person who lives a righteous life in mortality and who has entered into an eternal marriage may look forward to an association in the postmortal world with a worthy spouse, and with those who were earthly children, fathers, mothers, brothers, and sisters.6

Jesus, however, said that, after they are resurrected, no one will be married or given in marriage (Matthew 22:30). Marriage has been created by God, Who is eternal, for the enjoyment and benefit of mortal men, but the institution of marriage will end when Earth ends (Genesis 2:24; Proverbs 18:22; Hebrews 13:4).

Angels are not eternal. Here, we refer to spiritual messengers, and not humans (on occasion, human messengers are also called “angels” in the Bible).7 Angels, like humans, are created beings. Paul wrote: “For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers” (Colossians 1:16). Nehemiah 9:6 reads: “You along are the Lord; You have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the Earth and everything on it, the seas and all that is in them, and You preserve them all. The host of heaven worships You” (emp. added; see Genesis 2:1; Exodus 20:11). Job 38:1-7 makes it clear that angels were eyewitnesses to the creation of the Universe, so we are left to wonder if the angels were created during the Creation week, or at some earlier time. Respected Bible scholar Herbert Lockyer commented:

The heavens include all that are in them created by God, and among these must be the angels (Genesis 2:1). Among the hosts of heaven the angels are the principal part. They are expressly called “the heavenly host” and “the armies of heaven” (Luke 2:13).8

We cannot be certain when the angels were created, but we do know that no other being beside God is eternal in the fullest sense of the word.9

The devil is not eternal. Deity is eternal in the fullest sense (Deuteronomy 33:27; Psalm 102:27), but Satan does not possess the qualities of Deity. Thompson commented:

Scripture affirms: “Greater is he [God] that is in you than he [Satan] that is in the world” (1 John 4:4). When he sought to “sift” the apostles as wheat, he first had to “ask for them” (Luke 22:31). Satan is not omnipresent. His position as “god of this world” (2 Corinthians 4:4) was “delivered unto him” (Luke 4:6). When he eventually is cast permanently into his place of eternal torment, the devil will be powerless to resist (Revelation 20:10).10

Wayne Jackson noted:

…[S]ince the devil is not of the nature of deity, it is obvious that he is a created being, for all things and beings (outside the class of deity) are the result of creation—“for in him were all things created, in the heavens and upon the earth, things visible and things invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers” (Col. 1:16); this would include Satan as he originally was.11

While it is true that Satan will exist forever, it is obviously also true that he had a beginning. Genesis 1:31 reveals that all things which were created were, originally, “very good.” God did not create Satan to be humankind’s evil adversary; rather, Satan made the choice to become evil, and to work to convince others, both spiritual and human beings, to do wrong. Both Old and New Testament passages imply that Satan, at some point before he tempted Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, led a revolt, the result of which was the ejection of Satan and “his” angels from heaven (Job 4:18; Matthew 25:41; 2 Peter 2:4; Jude 6). There is every reason to believe that angels still have the ability to choose to do evil. Lloyd Ecrement observed: “They, therefore, have the ability to choose good or evil. It is possible, but certainly not necessary, for them to sin. If they choose evil rather than good, that is no reflection upon their Creator, but simply a rebellion against Him—they abuse the powers of reason and a free will given to them by God.”12 Little is known about why Satan chose to do evil initially, but it is easier to surmise why he chose to become the archenemy of God and man: he had once inhabited glory with God, but had been cast out.13


If a man composed a work in which he considered every temporal item, the work would be enormous, because the number of the things that will, at some point, cease to exist, is inestimable. However, there is only One Who possesses eternality. We should be impressed and thankful that our Creator is ageless, timeless, uninterrupted, and perpetual, not only in His existence, but in His personality and attributes. The truth of His message, like His very personage, never will change (Mark 13:31).


1 Robert Jastrowt (1977), Until the Sun Dies (New York: W.W. Norton), p. 30, emp. added.

2 Kitty Ferguson (1994), The Fire in the Equations: Science, Religion, and the Search for God (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans), p. 89, emp. added.

3 R.C. Sproul (1994), Not a Chance (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker), pp. 179-180.

4 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.

5 See William Arndt and F.W. Gingrich (1974 reprint), A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press), pp. 27-28; Gerhard Kittel, ed. (1981 reprint), Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans), 1:208; A.T. Robertson (1934), A Grammar of the Greek New Testament In Light of Historical Research, (Nashville, TN: Broadman), p. 272.

6 James Duke (1992), “Eternal Marriage,” http://www.lightplanet.com/mormons/basic/family/marriage/eternal_eom.htm, emp. added.

7 See Haggai 1:13; Alden Bass and Bert Thompson (2001), “When Did God Create Angels?” /rr/rr2001/r&r0106b.htm, 2001.

8 Herbert W. Lockyer (1995), All the Angels in the Bible (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson), p. 14, emp. in orig.

9 See Bass and Thompson, 2001.

10 Bert Thompson (2001 reprint), “Satan—His Origin and Mission,” (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press), p. 4-5.

11 Wayne Jackson (1980), “Satan,” Great Doctrines of the Bible, ed. M.H. Tucker (Knoxville, TN: East Tennessee School of Preaching), p. 78, emp. and parenthetical in orig.

12 Lloyd Ecrement (1961), Man, the Bible, and Destiny (Grand Rapids, MI; Eerdmans), p. 33.

13 See Wayne Jackson (2004), “Spiritual Warfare Is Real, Difficult, and Dangerous,” http://www.christiancourier.com/penpoints/spiritualWarfare.htm; Thompson, pp. 7-8.

The Essentiality of Evidence in Christianity by Eric Lyons, M.Min.



The Essentiality of Evidence in Christianity

by  Eric Lyons, M.Min.

Though “the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God” is mind-boggling, and though “His judgments and His ways” are “unsearchable” and “past finding out” (Romans 11:33; Deuteronomy 29:29), and even though finite man will never fully be able to wrap his mind around a holy, infinite, omnipotent, omniscient Creator, nevertheless, God has consistently dealt with mankind in rational ways providing the evidence needed for a reasonable faith. Consider, for example, how God has always ensured that enough evidence was available for honest, truth-seekers to know that He exists (cf. Proverbs 8:17; Matthew 7:7-8). Paul wrote: “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse” (Romans 1:20, emp. added). Since the time of Adam and Eve, mankind has been able to clearly see how “the things that are made” testify on behalf of a powerful, invisible Creator. As the psalmist proclaimed: “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork. Day unto day utters speech, and night unto night reveals knowledge. There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard. Their line has gone out through all the earth. And their words to the end of the world” (Psalm 19:1-4). The reason why “the fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God’” (Psalm 14:1, emp. added), is because God has always given man adequate evidence for His existence. Sadly, the foolish person dismisses the evidence.

When the prophet Samuel addressed the nation of Israel at Saul’s coronation, he did not merely deliver an emotionally based speech. He commanded them, saying, “[S]tand still, that I may reason with you before the Lord” (1 Samuel 12:7, emp. added). Similarly, Isaiah wrote: “‘Come now, and let us reason together,’ says the Lord, ‘Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow’” (Isaiah 1:18, emp. added). Consider also the stark contrast between Elijah and the prophets of Baal. In hopes of getting the attention of the bogus god Baal, these emotionally charged, pretend prophets “leaped about the altar,” “cried aloud,” and “cut themselves, as was their custom, with knives and lances, until the blood gushed out on them” (1 Kings 18:26,28)—all for naught. Elijah, on the other hand, had a rational faith that was grounded in the Word of God. He said to God, “I have done all these things at Your Word” (1 Kings 18:36, emp. added). His personal faith, as well as the message of faith that He preached, were rooted and grounded in the Heavenly revealed, rational Word of Almighty God. Biblical faith, after all, “comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17).

This same kind of rational, evidence-based faith and preaching can be found in the New Testament. Consider the actions and teachings of Jesus. He could have merely announced to the world that He was the Messiah. He could have only told people that He was the Son of God. He could have expected everyone simply to believe His claims that He was Heaven-sent, and never given His contemporaries any proof for His deity. However, even though there were occasions when Jesus chose not to offer additional proof of His deity (because of the hard-heartedness of many of His hearers; e.g., Mark 8:11-12), Jesus understood the essentiality of evidence. During His earthly ministry, He repeatedly gave ample proof of His deity. He noted how John the Baptizer bore witness on His behalf (John 5:33). He said, “[T]he Father Himself, who sent Me, has testified of Me” (John 5:36, emp. added; cf. John 1:32-33; Matthew 3:16-17). He spoke of how “the Scriptures…testify of Me” (John 5:39, emp. added), and specifically noted how “Moses…wrote about Me” (John 5:46, emp. added). He also noted how His miraculous works bore witness to His deity (John 5:36). Jesus performed many miracles that demonstrated His power over nature, disease, demons, and death. He understood that His own verbal testimony alone would not convince anyone in a court of law (John 5:31; cf. Deuteronomy 17:6; 19:15). Thus, at the Feast of Dedication in Jerusalem He told the unbelieving Jews, “If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me; but if I do, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, that you may know and believe that the Father is in Me, and I in Him” (John 10:37-38, emp. added). Sadly, His foolish, stubborn enemies repeatedly rejected the irrefutable evidence that Jesus presented on His behalf.

Perhaps the greatest evidence that Jesus presented for His divinity was His miraculous resurrection. He could have risen from the dead and never appeared to anyone on Earth. He could have departed from the tomb and allowed speculation to run wild. Christianity could have begun on the back of uncertainty and mysticism. Instead, Jesus was “declared to be the Son of God…by the resurrection from the dead” (Romans 1:4). He appeared alive to Mary Magdalene, to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, to the apostles, to James, and to over 500 disciples at once, most of whom were still living and could be questioned several years later when Paul, who also witnessed the risen Savior, wrote 1 Corinthians (15:5-8). Jesus “presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs” (Acts 1:3, emp. added), because He is the Head of a reasonable religion. The excitement, energy, and courage that early disciples manifested was grounded in the rock-solid proofs of Jesus’ resurrection (among other things, e.g., fulfilled prophecies). The emotional, energetic, evangelistic faith of 21st-century Christians must likewise be rooted firm and deep in evidence.

Jesus was not the only New Testament figure who demonstrated the necessity of a knowledge-based faith. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John packed their gospel accounts with confirmation of Jesus being the Christ. Consider just the beginnings of these four books. Matthew began his account of the Gospel by genealogically proving that Jesus was the promised seed of Abraham and David (Matthew 1:1-17). He then noted how Jesus was born of a virgin, fulfilling the prophecy of Isaiah 7:14 (Matthew 1:18-25). Mark began “the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God” (Mark 1:1) by quoting Malachi 3:1 and Isaiah 40:3. Mark proved propheticallythat John the Baptizer was “the voice of the one crying in the wilderness,” and Jesus was “the LORD” (1:3). Luke also opened his account of the Good News with an appeal to evidence, knowledge, and understanding.

Inasmuch as many have taken in hand to set in order a narrative of those things which have been fulfilled among us, just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word delivered them to us, it seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write to you an orderly account, most excellent Theophilus, that you may know the certainty of those things in which you were instructed (1:1-4).

Then there is John’s gospel account, which, from beginning to end, is packed with proof that Jesus is the miracle-working Son of God (1:3: 2:1-11; 20:30-31; 21:25). In fact, the stated purpose of his record of the various miracles of Christ (and there were many others John did not mention) was so that “you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name” (20:30-31). If biblical faith is merely “a firm belief in something for which there is no proof,” which is one definition Merriam-Webster (on-line) gives for the word “faith” (2011), then why did John and the synoptic writers spend so much time offering proof for Who Jesus is? Answer: Because the truthful, reasonable facts of God, His Word, and His Son are the foundation of real faith (John 8:31-32; 17:17; Romans 10:17).

When the apostle Paul stood before Festus and King Agrippa, he spoke of those things “which the prophets and Moses said would come—that the Christ would suffer that He would be the first to rise from the dead, and would proclaim light to the Jewish people and to the Gentiles” (Acts 26:23-24). However, as Paul “made his defense, Festus said with a loud voice, ‘Paul, you are beside yourself! Much learning is driving you mad!’” (26:24). How did Paul respond? Did he answer with a mere emotional appeal? Did he welcome the idea of an unreasonable, unverifiable Gospel? Not at all. Paul humbly, but confidently, replied: “I am not mad, most noble Festus, but speak the words of truth and reason” (Acts 26:25).


Sadly, most accountable people in the world will never accept the mountain of evidence for Christianity and become Christians (Matthew 7:13-14). But, those of us who choose to put our faith in God, Jesus, and His Word, can do so because “the truth” can be known (John 8:32), rightly obeyed (Romans 6:17; 10:12-13), and logically defended (1 Peter 3:15).

The Despair of Atheism by Kyle Butt, M.Div.



The Despair of Atheism

by  Kyle Butt, M.Div.

An implication is an idea that follows logically from a set of facts which are plainly stated. The concept of an implication is clearly seen in math. Take the Pythagorean Theorem, which says that for a right triangle the sum of the two shorter sides squared equals the longest side (the hypotenuse) squared—A2 + B2 = C2. So, if one short side is 3 and the other is 4, then we can know exactly what the longest side is, even though it is not stated or written down—it is 5. An implication is not less of a fact than what is stated or “seen.” It is just as factual, only not stated. Another clear example of an implication is seen in the famous syllogism: All men are mortal. Socrates is a man. Knowing those two explicit facts, what else can be known? If a person is thinking logically and correctly, then he or she can know a third piece of information that is included in the premises but not written down: therefore, Socrates is mortal.

All beliefs have implications. They may be difficult to uncover and piece together, but they are there and follow inescapably. If a person is rational and honest, there is no denying an implication. In light of that fact, what implications follow from the belief that there is no God? Many of these implications have been fleshed out in other places.1 This article will deal with only one: The concept of atheism implies that human life does not have any objective meaning. If atheism is true, then human life is meaningless.

At first glance, it may seem that the burden is to prove that atheism implies meaningless. That is not the case, since that task has already been done eloquently by many of those in the atheistic community. Leading atheists do not deny that their belief implies meaninglessness. On the contrary, they openly admit the implication, and spend the bulk of their discussions trying to incorporate the implication of meaninglessness into a “fulfilled” human life. Thus, instead of proving the implication, we will simply cite several unbelievers who have done so, and then proceed to show that it is impossible to live a fulfilled human life without the concept of objective meaning. Humans have been designed to understand that life has real meaning and purpose. When these concepts are denied, those who take time to consider the loss recognize that something is amiss. Humans intuitively know their lives have purpose. To deny that truth forces them into a state of cognitive dissonance of the worst kind. The only conceivable outcome of knowing that humans should (and do) have an objective purpose in their lives, while denying the fact, is a state of despair.

Atheism Implies that Life is Meaningless

A brief look at the writings of unbelievers reveals that meaninglessness naturally follows from the concept of atheism. Atheistic philosopher Alex Rosenberg penned a book titled The Atheist’s Guide to Reality: Enjoying Life Without Illusions. Harper’s magazine reviewed the book, saying: “Rosenberg is admirably frank about the implications of scientism [atheism—KB].” The back cover of the book quotes from the New York Times Book Review: “The work of a well-informed and imaginative philosopher.” At the beginning of the book, Rosenberg declared: “This book aims to provide the correct answers to most of the persistent questions…. Given what we know from the sciences, the answers are all pretty obvious….” He then provided a list of questions with his concise “pretty obvious” answers following each question:

  • Is there a God? No.
  • What is the nature of reality? What physics says it is.
  • What is the purpose of the Universe? There is none.
  • What is the meaning of life? Ditto.
  • Why am I here? Just dumb luck.
  • Does prayer work? Of course not.
  • Is there a soul? Are you kidding?
  • Is there free will? Not a chance!
  • What happens when we die? Everything pretty much goes on as before, except us.
  • What is the difference between right and wrong, good and bad? There is no moral difference between them.
  • Why should I be moral? Because it makes you feel better than being immoral.
  • Is abortion, euthanasia, suicide, paying taxes, foreign aid, or anything else you don’t like forbidden, permissible, or sometimes obligatory? Anything goes.
  • What is love, and how can I find it? Love is the solution to a strategic interaction problem. Don’t look for it; it will find you when you need it.
  • Does history have any meaning or purpose? It’s full of sound and fury, but signifies nothing.
  • Does the human past have any lessons for our future? Fewer and fewer, if it ever had any to begin with.2

Graham Lawton, Executive Editor of New Scientist magazine, penned a brief article titled, “What is the Meaning of Life?” He began with his blunt, one line answer: “The harsh answer is ‘it has none.’” He went on to say: “Your life may feel like a big deal to you, but it’s actually a random blip of matter and energy in an uncaring and impersonal universe.”3 Stephen J. Gould, one of the most recognized evolutionary paleontologists of the 20th century, wrote about atheism’s meaninglessness with his customary flair: “We are here because one odd group of fishes had a peculiar fin anatomy that could transform into legs for terrestrial creatures; because the earth never froze entirely during an ice age; because a small and tenuous species, arising in Africa a quarter of a million years ago, has managed, so far, to survive by hook and by crook. We may yearn for a ‘higher answer’—but none exists.4

Philosopher and self-professed atheist, Thomas Nagel, teaches and writes extensively on atheism’s implication of meaninglessness. In his brief book What Does it All Mean? A Very Short Introduction to Philosophy, he stated:  “If you think about the whole thing, there seems to be no point to it at all. Looking at it from the outside, it wouldn’t matter if you had never existed. And after you have gone out of existence, it won’t matter that you did exist.”5 Eminent atheistic author, debater, and spokesperson Richard Dawkins boldly said: “The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference.”6 Edward O. Wilson quipped that “no species, ours included, possesses a purpose beyond the imperatives created by its genetic history.”7

The late William Provine, atheistic professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the distinguished Cornell University, stated: “Naturalistic evolution has clear consequences that Charles Darwin understood perfectly. 1) No gods worth having exist; 2) no life after death exists; 3) no ultimate foundation for ethics exists; 4) no ultimate meaning in life exists; and 5) human free will is nonexistent.”8

The existential philosopher Albert Camus, winner of the Nobel Prize in literature, struggled greatly with atheism’s lack of meaning and purpose. So great was his contemplation of it, he declared, “I therefore conclude that the meaning of life is the most urgent of questions.”9 Camus then championed the idea of the “absurd” man. He used a very specific meaning for the word “absurd.” In his writing, the concept of the absurd is the recognition and acceptance that life has no meaning, rhyme, or reason. He says of the absurd man: “He feels within him his longing for happiness and for reason. The absurd is born of this confrontation between the human need and the unreasonable silence of the world.”10 His whole book begins with the premise that atheism denies any meaning to the world, and proceeds to flesh out how a person can keep from committing suicide once he arrives at universal meaninglessness. Thus, he begins the book, saying: “There is but one truly serious philosophical problem, and that is suicide. Judging whether life is or is not worth living amounts to answering the fundamental question of philosophy.”11 And later in the book he concludes, about his entire book, discussion, and life: “Let me repeat. None of all this has any real meaning.”12

Creating Our Own Meaning?

If there is no God, then the implication that life ultimately has no real meaning cannot be denied. Knowing, however, that humans have an innate sense that their lives have meaning and need to have a purpose, atheism is burdened with the unenviable task of manufacturing meaning with no raw materials, whipping it into existence out of thin air. How does this work? One approach put forward by leading unbelievers is that we simply create our own, individual meaning in our lives. When asked about the meaning of life, Alom Shaha, author of The Young Atheist’s Handbook, stated:

Yes, of course I know that life is ultimately without meaning or purpose, but the trick is not to wake up every morning and feel that way. Cognitive dissonance? Embrace it. Create a sense of meaning and purpose by doing something useful with your life (I teach), being creative—I don’t mean that in a poncey hipster way, I mean make a curry, build some bookshelves, write a poem. And most importantly, find people you like and love and spend lots of time with them. I regularly have people over for dinner, throw parties for no other reason than I just want to spend time surrounded by the people I love. And if you’re really stuck, eat rice and dal. Physically filling yourself with the food you love really does fill the emptiness you may feel inside.13

Biology professor, author, and lecturer Jerry Coyne states: “What people cannot abide is the conviction that the Universe and life are pointless. Which is what really, science is telling us. Pointless in the sense that there is no externally imposed purpose or point in the Universe. As atheists, this is something that is manifestly true to us. We make our own meaning and purpose.”14

Dr. Pete Etchells, lecturer and science writer, expounded on the idea of creating our own meaning when he said:

Whenever I get involved in conversations about the meaning of life, and where everything’s headed, I can’t help but feel that there’s an underlying assumption that because these are “big” questions, they necessarily need big answers. There aren’t any, though. We’re not here for a universal purpose, and there is no grand plan, no matter how tempting it is to believe it. But that’s absolutely fine, because it means that if there aren’t any big answers, the little ones are all the more important. So every day, I take my dog for a walk in the field near my house. Sometimes I get to see a pretty sunset, but usually it’s either bucketing down and I get soaked, or cold, or the field is full of mud and bugs and dog [poop], and it’s a pain to navigate through. Whatever the situation, though, my dog has the most ridiculous fun ever, and being a part of that little moment of joy is what it’s all about.15

So, the answer to the meaning of life is make curry, build a bookshelf, or wander through a muddy field full of dog poop and watch your dog have fun? The problem with this “create-your-own-meaning” approach is twofold. First, it refuses to take the word “meaning” seriously. It is a semantic game in which the word can be applied to anything. Meaning “for you” might be watching your dog run, “for me” it might be watching paint dry, “for him” it might be watching grass grow, etc. Just because an activity may bring momentary tranquility or pleasure to a person does not endow it with any objective meaning. A person’s arbitrary attachment of the word “meaning” to something does not somehow create meaning in any real sense—not for that person or for others. Abraham Lincoln once sagely quipped: “How many legs does a calf have if you call its tail a leg? Four. Just because you call a tail a leg does not make it so.” Attaching the words “meaning” and “purpose” to a bowl of shrimp and grits or a sushi roll will never be sufficient to answer the “most urgent question” of life.

The second insurmountable problem for this approach of creating meaning is that those who propound it intentionally hide the dark truth that necessarily follows. They often paint a picture of self-created meaning in rosy terms of a tranquil couple viewing a sunset, a man walking his beloved dog, or a parent running and laughing with a child. What they are forced to omit, if they want to keep up the ruse, is that self-created “meaning” can manifest itself through any behavior, including genocide, serial killing, torture, terminal drug addiction, overdose, etc. Using the proponents’ own logic, a man could just as easily say he finds meaning in killing other people’s dogs in the park as in watching his own pet frolic playfully. As Sommers and Rosenberg accurately stated:

Darwinism thus puts the capstone on a process which since Newton’s time has driven teleology to the explanatory sideline. In short it has made Darwinians into metaphysical Nihilists denying that there is any meaning or purpose to the universe, its contents and its cosmic history. But in making Darwinians into metaphysical nihilists, the solvent algorithm should have made them into ethical nihilists too. For intrinsic values and obligations make sense only against a backdrop of purposes, goals, and ends which are not merely instrumental. But the Darwinian philosophers have shied away from this implication.16

If human existence has no real meaning, then neither do moral or ethical ideas. We may like to think that humans would adhere to some type of generally accepted guidelines, but we would have no grounds to insist that they do. I may “create my own meaning” by reading a book to a child, while another person may contend that they find meaning in killing their parents and cannibalism. There is no rational grounds upon which a person could argue that reading a book to a child is more meaningful than murder and cannibalism. After all, as Camus said, “Let me repeat. None of all this has any real meaning.” As philosopher John-Paul Sartre declared: “Everything is indeed permitted if God does not exist.”17 The create-your-own-meaning approach fails miserably.

Life Has No Meaning, But Just Act Like It Does?

Many unbelievers recognize that we cannot create meaning just by saying we have. They see the failure of attempts to infuse meaning where there is, or can be, none. Their approach is simple: Admit that life is meaningless in every sense, but live like there is a meaning. Dr. Loyal Rue is a strong proponent of what he calls a noble lie. Based on a naturalistic framework, he writes, “The universe is blind and aimless…. The universe is dead and void of meaning…. The universe just is.”18 He admits that, from a naturalistic standpoint, meaninglessness “is not something that one can argue away by showing that it results from fallacious thinking.... It is logically and empirically secure.”19 How does Dr. Rue suggest that humans approach meaninglessness? He concedes that we cannot live fulfilled lives with the truth before us. He proposes that we adopt a lie, a noble lie, that the Universe has real meaning, even though (according to atheism) it does not. His stated thesis is “to oppose a monstrous truth [meaninglessness—KB] with a noble lie.”20 Why does Dr. Rue insist we adopt this lie? Because, he says, “without such lies, we cannot live.”21 [One wonders why, in the face of life’s meaninglessness, Rue suggests a noble lie? If there is no objective meaning, purpose, or morality, would it not be just as acceptable to adopt an ignoble lie? According to Rue’s view, what would be wrong with telling yourself that the more people you kill, the more meaning your life has, or the more money you steal, the more meaningful you are? After all, if we simply make up lies to make ourselves feel better, a lie is a lie—and any lie will do.]

Thomas Nagel touched on this avoidance approach when he wrote:

Even if life as a whole is meaningless, perhaps that’s nothing to worry about. Perhaps we can recognize it and just go on as before. The trick is to keep your eyes on what’s in front of you…. Some people find this attitude perfectly satisfying. Others find it depressing, though unavoidable. Part of the problem is that some of us have an incurable tendency to take ourselves seriously. We want to matter to ourselves “from the outside.” If our lives as a whole seem pointless, then a part of us is dissatisfied…. Life may be not only meaningless but absurd.22

Notice that Nagel realizes that if you take your life “seriously” then it just won’t do to think about the meaninglessness of it all. What does he suggest? “The trick is to keep your eyes on what’s in front of you.” In other words, do not think about it. Act like it is not there. Ignore the lack of purpose and meaning. Atheism prides itself on rationality, enlightenment, and intellectual honesty. And yet denial, avoidance, and deceit must lie at the heart of unbelief in order for humans to be truly satisfied and live productive lives.

American film director, writer, actor, and comedian, Woody Allen, understands the problem he and his fellow atheists struggle to face. He stated:

This is my perspective and has always been my perspective on life. I have a very grim, pessimistic view of it. I always have since I was a little boy; it hasn’t gotten worse with age or anything. I do feel that it’s a grim, painful, nightmarish, meaningless experience and that the only way that you can be happy is if you tell yourself some lies and deceive yourself. But I am not the first person to say this or even the most articulate person. It was said by Nietzsche, it was said by Freud, it was said by Eugene O’Neill. One must have one’s delusions to live. If you look at life too honestly and clearly, life becomes unbearable because it’s a pretty grim enterprise, you will admit.23

In another interview, he said:

Then after a while, you start to realize, I’m taking the big picture here, that eventually you die and eventually the Sun burns out and the Earth is gone and eventually all stars and all the planets and the entire Universe goes, disappears and nothing is left at all. Nothing of Shakespeare’s or Beethoven. All gone. Michelangelo, all gone. And you think to yourself. It is a lot of noise and sound and fury. And where’s it going? It’s not going any place…. You know it just seems like a big, meaningless thing. You can’t actually live your life like that. Because if you do, you just sit there. Why do anything? Why get up in the morning and do anything?24

Allen, Nagel, Rue, and others are forced to admit that a meaningless, hopeless, purposeless Universe incapacitates the most optimistic unbelievers. Were they to attempt to put into practice a course of action consistent with their belief, then they would not even get up in the morning. In fact, there would be no real reason to do anything—ever. That is why Camus recognized the fact that the only real question to answer in such a world is why would a person want to stay alive at all?

Nothing left but Despair

What is left in a world where meaninglessness reigns supreme, but its human inhabitants are wired to need meaning in their lives? As Lawrence Krauss so brazenly reminds his readers and listeners: “And by the way, that’s the second of the two things I wanted to remind you of. The first is that you’re insignificant. And the second, the future is miserable.25 French humanist, Voltaire, encapsulated this recognition of misery in his “Poem on the Lisbon Disaster,” in which he wrote: “What is the verdict of the vastest mind? Silence: the book of fate is closed to us. Man is a stranger to his own research; He knows not whence he comes, nor whither goes. Tormented atoms in a bed of mud, devoured by death, a mockery of fate.”26

So, humans are “insignificant,” “miserable,” “tormented atoms in a bed of mud.” Yet, atheism is not finished painting humanity’s sad plight with the pale colors of despair. Peter Atkins opined: “We are children of chaos, and the deep structure of change is decay. At root, there is only corruption, and the unstemmable tide of chaos. Gone is purpose; all that is left is direction. This is the bleakness we have to accept as we peer deeply and dispassionately into the heart of the Universe.”27

Albert Camus quoted Kirkegaard, who said: “If man had no eternal consciousness…what would life be but despair?” Camus then wrote: “This cry is not likely to stop the absurd man. Seeking what is true is not seeking what is desirable. If in order to elude the anxious question: ‘What would life be?’ one must, like the donkey, feed on the roses of illusion, then the absurd mind, rather than resigning itself to falsehood, prefers to adopt fearlessly Kierkegaard’s reply: ‘despair.’”28 Bertrand Russell bemoaned: “Brief and powerless is Man’s life; on him and all his race the slow, sure doom falls pitiless and dark. Blind to good and evil, reckless of destruction, omnipotent matter rolls on its relentless way; for Man, condemned today to lose his dearest, tomorrow himself to pass through the gate of darkness....”29

Into this chaos of bleakness, meaninglessness, insignificance, torment, and despair, Christianity offers a hope that can anchor the soul (Hebrews 6:19) and a truth that does not need a “noble lie” to make it palatable. Christianity provides the only system that can give humanity a reason to get up in the morning and live life to the fullest.

A Response to Atheism’s Despair

Madalyn Murray O’Hair was the founder of the American Atheist organization. She lived a life in complete rebellion against her God. Her rabid atheism prodded her to attack the idea of God whenever she could. But her atheism could not bring her joy, only a forlorn heart of desperation. When her personal belongings were auctioned, it was discovered that on six different pages of her writings was the heartbreaking cry: “Somebody, somewhere, love me!”30 The greatest tragedy of atheism is that it strips the world of everything meaningful, including real love.

Atheist Dan Barker admitted that, according to atheism, “In the end of the cosmos it’s not going to matter. You and I are like ants or rats or like pieces of broccoli, really, in the big picture...there is no value to our species...we are no different than a piece of broccoli in the cosmic sense.”31 As we have seen, according to atheism, humans are nothing more than matter in motion, “tormented atoms in a bed of mud.” Our actions will not determine where we spend eternity. And any “feeling” that one person may have for another person can only be “skin deep.” It can only be a product of the physical brain. As much as atheists try to discuss love, hope, honor, or any of the elevated human virtues, they cannot explain how such can exist in a world without God.

Sadly, just like O’Hair, there is a world full of people who want someone to love them, but they refuse to recognize that there is Someone Who does. Their Creator, God, loves them so much that He came to die on the cross for them. Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, gave His life to prove His love for humanity and to show humans that they are not cosmic accidents, but intentionally designed persons who have a meaning and purpose in life. And He gave His life so that those humans who choose to obey Him can live eternally in heaven. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).

But God’s love has a limit. He will not force anyone to believe in Him. He loves each person enough to let us all freely choose whether or not to believe in and obey Him. And our choice will determine our eternal destiny. Moses once wrote to the Israelites: “I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life” (Deuteronomy 30:19). The failure to choose the right beliefs and actions in this life has real consequences. These are not imagined consequences that have to be endowed with meaning by subjective, arbitrary feelings. On the contrary, the consequences are objectively real.

We are not ultimately like broccoli or rats. Our decisions really matter, for now and for eternity. Those who refuse to acknowledge God can have no hope for an afterlife or joy in death, only despair. Agnostic Bart Ehrman, who once claimed to be a Christian, wrote: “The fear of death gripped me for years, and there are still moments when I wake up at night in a cold sweat.32 The Bible explains that Christ came to defeat death, and “release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage” (Hebrews 2:15). The only solution to the fear of death and the deep, abiding despair that stems from atheism is to seek God and His will. Madalyn Murray O’Hair’s cry, “Somebody, somewhere, love me!” echoes across the world from millions of voices who are trying to find love and hope apart from God. The irony of it all is that they have shut their ears to the voice of God, Who through His Son, calls from the cross, “I love you.” Instead of the bleak, tormented, useless, meaningless, purposeless, pitiless, miserable despair that atheism demands, let us turn our faces to the true light, hope, joy, and love that our Creator provides.33


1 Kyle Butt (2008), “The Implications of Atheism (Parts 1 & 2),” Apologetics Press, https://apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=12&article=911.

2 Alex Rosenberg (2011), The Atheist’s Guide to Reality: Enjoying Life Without Illusions (New York: W.W. Norton), p. 3, emp. added.

3 Graham Lawton (2016), “What is the Meaning of Life?” New Scientist, 231[3089]:33, September 3, emp. added.

4 Stephen Gould (1988), “The Meaning of Life,” Life Magazine, December, https://www.maryellenmark.com/text/magazines/life/905W-000-037.html

5 Thomas Nagel (1987), What Does It All Mean? A Brief Introduction to Philosophy (Oxford, England: Oxford University Press), p. 96.

6 Richard Dawkins (1995), “God’s Utility Function,” Scientific American, 273[5]:85, November, emp. added.

7 Edward O. Wilson (1978), On Human Nature (Harvard University Press), http://staff.washington.edu/lynnhank/Wilson.html.

8 William Provine (1998), “Evolution: Free Will and Punishment and Meaning in Life,” http://eeb.bio.utk.edu/darwin/DarwinDayProvineAddress.htm, emp. added.

9 Albert Camus (1983), The Myth of Sisyphus, ed. Justin O’Brien (New York: Vintage), p. 4.

10 Ibid., p. 28.

11 Ibid., p. 3.

12 Ibid., p. 117.

13 As quoted in Tom Chivers’ article, “I Asked Atheists How They Find Meaning in a Purposeless Universe,” BuzzFeed, https://www.buzzfeed.com/tomchivers/when-i-was-a-child-i-spake-as-a-child, emp. added.

14 Jerry Coyne (2012), “The Odd Couple: Why Science and Religion Shouldn’t Cohabitate,” Speech to Glasgow Skeptics, December 21, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0wCIa_OQ-2s&noredirect=1, emp. added.

15 As quoted in Chivers, emp. added.

16 Tamler Sommers and Alex Rosenberg (2003), “Darwin’s Nihilistic Idea: Evolution and the Meanlessness of Life,” Biology and Philosophy, 18:653-658.

17 Jean-Paul Sartre (1989), “Existentialism is Humanism,” in Existentialism from Dostoyevsky to Sartre, ed. Walter Kaufman, trans. Philip Mairet (Meridian Publishing Company), http://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/sartre/works/exist/sartre.htm.

18 Loyal Rue (1994), By Grace and Guile: The Role of Deception in Natural History and Human Affairs (Oxford, England: Oxford University Press), p. 3.

19 Ibid.

20 Ibid.

21 As quoted in William Lane Craig, “The Absurdity of Life Without God,” Reasonable Faith, https://www.reasonablefaith.org/writings/popular-writings/existence-nature-of-god/the-absurdity-of-life-without-god.

22 Nagel, pp. 100-101.

24 Woody Allen, YouTube video, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2MsuqvLIttk.

25 Quote from Lawrence Krauss as quoted in Austin Brown’s The Case for Utter Hopelessness: Why Atheism Leads to Unyielding Despair (2017), (Self Published), emp. added.

26 “Poem on the Lisbon Disaster” in Joseph McCabe (1912), Toleration and Other Essays by Voltaire (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons), http://people.whitman.edu/~iversojr/Candide/lisbon.htm, emp. added.

27 Peter Atkins (1984), The Second Law (New York: Scientific American), p. 200.

28 Camus, p. 40, emp. added.

29 Bertrand Russell (1910), “Free Man’s Worship,” https://users.drew.edu/jlenz/br-free-mans-worship.html, emp. added.

30 As quoted in an article by Chuck Colson (1999), “The Real Madelyn Murray O’Hair,” http://www.breakpoint.org/1999/06/the-atheists-god/.

31 Quoted from his debate with Paul Monata, July 10, 2006, posted on the radio program “The Infidel Guy,” https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BzBGd8nA3jj_N181TGI0MDB6YUE/view.

32 Bart Ehrman (2008), God’s Problem: How the Bible Fails to Answer Our Most Important Question—Why We Suffer (New York: HarperOne), p. 127.

33 See Eric Lyons and Kyle Butt (no date), Receiving the Gift of Salvation (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press).

"THE GOSPEL OF JOHN" All Should Honor The Son (5:16-30) by Mark Copeland







All Should Honor The Son (5:16-30) 

1. The ministry of Jesus was not without controversy...
   a. One reason was because He healed on the Sabbath - Jn 5:16
   b. Another reason was because He made Himself equal with God - Jn 5:17-18
   -- Prompting the Jews to seek to kill Him

2. Yet He they sought to kill, they should have honored - Jn 5:22-23
   a. Even as one should honor the Father
   b. For failing to honor the Son, they did not honor the Father who sent Him
   -- Indeed, all should honor the Son!

[Do we honor the Son today?  Truly honor the Son?  We certainly should,
and in our text we note several reasons why Jesus should be held high in
our estimation of Him...]


      1. Among the "greater works" Jesus would do included raising the dead! - Jn 5:20-21
      2. We have record of Jesus raising three people from the dead
         a. The daughter of Jairus - Mk 5:21-43
         b. The son of the widow of Nain - Lk 7:11-17
         c. The brother of Mary and Martha, Lazarus - Jn 11:1-44
      3. One day, Jesus will raise all from the dead! - Jn 5:28-29
         a. Those who have done good, to the resurrection of life
         b. Those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation
      -- Just as in Adam all die, so in Christ all shall be made alive!- cf. 1Co 15:22

      1. The Father has committed judgment to His Son - Jn 5:22
         a. Jesus has authority to execute judgment, because He is the Son of ManJn 5:27
         b. Jesus will exercise righteous judgment, because He seeks the Father's will - Jn 5:30
      2. One day, Jesus will judge all mankind! - cf. Ac 10:42; 17:31
         a. His words will judge us in the Last Day - Jn 12:48
         b. We will all stand before the judgment seat of Christ - Ro14:10; 2Co 5:10
      -- Knowing we will one day stand before the Judge, should we not
         honor Him now?

      1. To those who hear His Words, and believes in the Father who sent HimJn 5:24
         a. They shall not come into judgment (i.e., condemnation)
         b. They shall pass from death (spiritual) to life (eternal)
      2. The time for this offer is now ("the hour is coming, and now is") - Jn 5:25
         a. When those who are dead (spiritually) will hear the voice of
            the Son of God (via the gospel)
         b. Those who hear (obey) will live (be saved)
      3. The Son has power to give life - Jn 5:26
         a. Because the Father has life in Himself
         b. And the Father has granted the Son to have life in Himself
      -- That Jesus offers the gift of everlasting life is certainly
         reason to honor Him!

[Many other reasons to honor the Son could be given, but these certainly
suffice.  How should we honor Him?  From our text, we can glean at least three ways...]


      1. One day, we will hear His voice - cf. Jn 5:28-29
         a. Whether alive or dead
         b. Whether we want to or not
         c. Either to a resurrection of life, or to a resurrection of condemnation
      2. How much better that day will be, if we hear His voice now- cf. Jn 5:24-25
         a. We can have everlasting life!
         b. We will not come into judgment (condemnation)!
         c. We can pass from death to life!
      -- Will we honor the Son by listening to His words of life?

      1. It is not enough to simply "hear" His Words
         a. We must be "doers" of His Words - Mt 7:24-27
         b. Otherwise, why bother to call Him "Lord"? - Lk 6:46
         c. Only by abiding in His word are we truly His disciples - Jn 8:31
      2. Jesus is the author of eternal salvation to all obey Him - cf. He 5:9
         a. Obeying His call to believe in Him - Jn 8:24
         b. Obeying His call to repent of sins - Lk 13:3
         c. Obeying His call to confess Him before others - Mt 10:32-33
         d. Obeying His call to be baptized - Mt 28:19; Mk 16:16
         e. Obeying His call to remain faithful - Re 2:10
      -- Will we honor the Son by heeding His voice now, today?

      1. Jesus sought His Father's will in all that He did - Jn 5:30
         a. His "food" was to do the Father's will - Jn 4:34
         b. He came down from heaven to do the Father's will - Jn 6:38
         c. He glorified the Father by doing the work He was given to do- Jn 17:4
      2. Jesus wants us to do His Father's will
         a. Otherwise we will not enter the kingdom of heaven - Mt 7:21-23
         b. Otherwise we will not be part of His family - Mt 12:46-50
      -- We can best honor the Son by emulating His example in doing the
         Father's will!


1. All should honor the Son today...
   a. He is certainly worthy of honor - cf. Re 5:12
   b. Just as the Father (He who sits on the throne) is worthy - cf. Re 5:13

2. All will honor the Son one day...
   a. By responding to His voice at the resurrection - Jn 5:28-29
   b. Every knee will bow, and every tongue will confess - Ro 14:10-11;Php 2:9-11

For those willing to honor Him today by heeding His voice, they will be
honored together with Him in That Day! - cf. 2Th 1:10-12 
Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2016

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Jesus’ Answer To A Politically Polarized Nation by Ken Weliever, The Preacherman



Jesus’ Answer To A Politically Polarized Nation

Charles Dickens’s depiction of 19th century Europe in his classic “Tale of Two Cities,” seems in some ways to describe the incredible times in which we live.

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness…”

Our country enjoys unequaled prosperity, incredible opportunities, and according to a recent Gallup Poll, 90% of Americans are satisfied with their personal life. Yet, it seems more than ever, we are polarized politically socially, religiously, and morally.

Just think about this week’s events. The sexually-charged Super-Bowl half-time show. President Trump’s State of the Union Address. Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, ripping up his speech in front of 37 million TV viewers. The Senate voting not to remove the impeached President from office. And former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor, Pete Buttigieg, a homosexual,  who’s married to a man, winning the Democratic Iowa caucus for President of the United States.

Add to all of this President Trump’s speech before the 68th annual prayer breakfast, in juxtaposition to Speaker Nancy Pelosi sitting at the head table and leading a prayer. Then the President’s unprecedented victory celebration in the East Room of the White House a few hours later.

Whether you are a Christian or a non-Christian, a liberal or a conservative, a Republican or a Democrat, a “Trumper” or a “Never-Trumper,” you’ve got to admit we live in unusual and unsettling times.

What didn’t make much news from the Washington, D. C. Prayer Breakfast, was a speech by conservative author Arthur Brooks, a Harvard professor and a self-described “follower of Jesus.”

Brooks said, “Today, I’m here to talk to you about the biggest crisis facing our nation and many other nations today: It’s the crisis of contempt and polarization that’s tearing our societies apart.”

“In this crisis resides the greatest opportunity we have ever had as people of faith to lift our nations up and to bring our people together,” Brooks declared.

Brook’s answer to this challenge was to “think differently” and apply an age-old solution taught by Jesus in His famous Mountain Message.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you” (Matt 5:43-44).

These words, Brooks correctly observed, are as “subversive and counterintuitive” today as they were 2,000 years ago.

Brooks encouraged the audience, including The President and The Speaker, to personally apply Jesus’ command.

“I want it to be personal to you on this day,” the author of Love  Your Enemies, challenged, “Let me ask you this: How many of you love somebody with whom you disagree politically? Are you comfortable hearing someone insult that person that you love? Make it personal, my friends.”

At one point Brooks compared our country to a couple who can’t get along. “Contempt is ripping our country apart. We’re like a couple on the rocks in this country. Don’t believe it? Turn on prime time TV … it’s tearing our society apart.”

“How do we break the habit of contempt? Some people say we need more civility and tolerance. I say, nonsense. Why? Because civility and tolerance are a low standard,” he said. “Jesus didn’t say, ‘tolerate your enemies.’ He said, ‘love your enemies.’ Answer hatred with love.”

It’s too bad the cable news didn’t air Brooks 15 minute keynote speech in its entirety instead of some of the other divisive clips that were repeated over and over again.

While Jesus’ teaching and Brooks’ speech may have little impact on our national leaders, it ought to resonate with those of us who claim to be Christians. We can do better. We can try harder. We can live on a higher plane. And with nobler intentions.

Jesus’ admonition does not demand us to develop a mushy emotion for our enemies but to love them like God does. With goodwill. With their interest at heart. With concern about their soul.

Jesus says when our enemies blaspheme us, we bless them. When they hate us, we help them. When they persecute us, we pray for them. Is that hard? Absolutely. But it’s necessary. If we really want to be a child of God. If we really desire to be different from the world. If we’re seeking a perfect love like our Heavenly Father.

Let’s demonstrate that kind of love for others in all our interactions on social media. Facebook posts. Conversations. Classes. Sermons. And personal relationships.

We can disagree without being a disagreeable jerk. We can discuss without being disrespectful. We can even debate without acting despicably.

Jesus’ ancient call to love one another despite our differences, will provide inner peace, improved personal relationships, and an opportunity to shine our light in a sin-darkened world.

–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman