Monthly Archives: August 2008

Special Solar System…

I wrote before about Ecological Biodiversity, and how amazing it is, especially from an Intelligent Design POV, or a Creationist POV.  An article on Science Daily shows, once more, that our planet and our continued existence are pretty special indeed: Solar System is Pretty Special.  Do the authors see it as a sign of ID, or Creationism…probably not.

We must also keep in mind that this computer simulation was set up by man, and will be limited on both its scope and its knowledge base, and heavy on speculation and perhaps even bias…but I found it quite interesting, just for conversations sake.  It makes us look through the lens of the “macro” and see how unique the earth is.

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Filed under Of Interest, Origins

Water…

Isn’t water simply amazing?  Right about now, my husband is assuredly rolling his eyes, as several of my readers may be doing as well…I could go on about water at length, and with great delight.  Every now and then it pops into my head about how interesting water is, and I just have to share!

Think about it; if God had not designed and created this wonderful element to behave in exactly the way it does, life wouldn’t work.  We need it to live, and not just in the way many people think about it.  For one simple example; when water freezes, it expands.  With this unusual property…ice floats in water.

Hmmm…ok, so what?  Because ice floats, this allows life to continue on even in the face of winter.  What do you think would happen to all the living things in water where it gets cold enough to freeze, if water sank when it froze?  They’d be dead.  The fact that ice floats makes the fish in my pond very very happy.

Water, like all other God designed elements of nature, can be a friend.  We drink it, we live.  It keeps us healthy; it allows our internal organs to function, it keeps us cleaned out, it is a must for out metabolism, it helps our complexions, helps us lose or maintain weight, etc… etc… (Yes, you want to get healthy faster?  forget all that pop you are drinking and switch to water, and no, kool-aid doesn’t count! )  Water helps us keep clean, allows us to trade and travel with/to other countries, helps us to grow food, keep our animals healthy, gives us a place to play…

Water is to be respected as well.  Drinking too much of it too fast can kill you, floods destroy homes, massive rains and floods can eat away at the earth very very quickly, water forms coastlines, conducts electricity, smooths rocks, can take our life if we drown… Yes, it is like fire and wind; harness and respect it and it can give us energy and life, but in a different form, it is destructive; water has power.

Water is a prominent theme in Christianity.  It is used for both actual cleanliness, and as a metaphor for cleanliness, and even burial.  Baptism is what most people will think of, which is actually based in Judaism, of course.  Baptism is pretty much taking part in being “purified” in a mikvah, a Jewish ritual bath.  We, as Christians, see that as water cleanses our physical selves, faith in Christ and His life, death, and resurrection cleanses our spiritual selves.

It is an outward showing of our faith, and symbolizes how our sin is washed away with faith in Christ, and also symbolizes how the Spirit Himself washes over us.  Water is symbolic of life and renewal, and also of burial.  As Christ was buried when He was dead, so He came up out of the earth to new life; that is what we show by being submerged “dead in our sins” and rising to new life in Christ.

But, the use of water in Christianity does not stop there; Christ Himself is a font of living water, and it can become so in you too upon faith in His name.

John 4:13 Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: 14 But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.

John 7:37 In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. 38 He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.

Revelation 22:17 And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.

I’ve also shown how Jesus can control of the very elements in a previous post: A call for calm… Water itself can help calm us; I love the sound of the ocean, of a gentle rain, of a babbling brook, or water can make us nervous as well; waves crashing against a boat we happen to find ourselves in, the splash of someone falling into the water, the rushing sound of a flood.

Water is all around us, so it can serve as a reminder of how great God is!  In His creation of water, and His use of water to bring us to Himself in a very meaningful way; God, the life giver, and the purifier of life.  Though we are called to Baptism once upon profession of our faith (and it is the faith in Christ that saves, not the physical act of being dunked) , it is neat just to remember the washing away of our sins whenever we are around water, especially as we bathe, swim, or take a shower.

So, next time you see the rain fall, or hear a river rushing by, or are taking a simple drink of H2O, pause a bit to consider how amazing water really is, and hence how awesome and amazing the Creator is that gave it to us!

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Filed under Sacred Secular, Theology

Jehovah-nissi; The LORD my Banner…

I love learning the different names of God.  What I find interesting is that on one point, some atheists or agnostics have it right; if there is a God as we describe, He must be beyond human reckoning.  This is a good, fundamental philosophical idea; but, it misses one of the wonderful aspects of God; the revelation of Himself.

If God so chooses, and He has, He can reveal important aspects of Himself to us, in ways that we can understand and comprehend.  Of course His greatest revelation to us was in His Son; Jesus Christ.  He also has revealed Himself through creation, and through scripture.

One of the ways He does this, is by the various inspired names that He has given, and had recorded in scripture for all of us. BTW, a great resource and reference for the Names of God is Titles of the Triune God, by Stevenson.

Today, I wanted to introduce you to, or remind you, dear reader, of one of His names; Jehovah-nissi, which means The LORD my Banner.

It is found given as a place-name in Exodus 17:

Exodus 17:10 So Joshua did as Moses had said to him, and fought with Amalek: and Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. 11 And it came to pass, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed: and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed. 12 But Moses’ hands were heavy; and they took a stone, and put it under him, and he sat thereon; and Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands, the one on the one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun. 13 And Joshua discomfited Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword. 14 And the LORD said unto Moses, Write this for a memorial in a book, and rehearse it in the ears of Joshua: for I will utterly put out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven. 15 And Moses built an altar, and called the name of it Jehovahnissi: 16 For he said, Because the LORD hath sworn that the LORD will have war with Amalek from generation to generation.

We have to remember that even though this is the single instance of the name given in the form of a name, it tells us something about God that is further backed up elsewhere in scripture.  This title of God, this aspect, is associated with the warfare of His people.

Enemies assail us all; whether they be physical or spiritual.  We are instructed, by Paul, to put on the whole armor of God; how great it is to know that when we put on that armor, that isn’t the end of His help. He is also the very standard, or banner under which we fight.  It is He that gives victory, and it is in His name that victory is taken.

Notice too, that while all praise is due God, He still expects us to actually “get our hands dirty” so to speak.  If it is a spiritual battle we face, we are to be strong, do “our” part, and also rest in the assurance of His victory, if it is a physical battle, the same thing, legal, emotional, etc…  The Israelites actually fought Amalek, they didn’t sit back and complain that God wasn’t doing all the work; He told them what to do; they followed His orders, and emerged victorious.

If God is guiding us into a situation, and He puts us in it, sends us, then we are in the same position as the Israelites.  If we do indeed emerge in the moment triumphant (which can even seem like a defeat in the eyes of the rest of humanity), we too should proclaim that The LORD is my Banner.  When the Israelites won, they praised God, as we should do in all things.  No matter what fight we come to in our lives, we must acknowledge that without God there is no hope of an ultimately good outcome.

It’s not going to be easy, and Jesus has assured us that we will be persecuted in this life, with ultimate victory “over there,” when we are finally and completely changed, and we will dwell with our Banner forever.

Isaiah 59:19 So shall they fear the name of the LORD from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him.

Isaiah 11:10 And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious. (This is referring to Jesus Christ, for those who don’t realize it.)

Never forget that no matter what your facing, or what the outcome, God Himself, Christ Himself, is our Banner; be of good courage… Psalm 60:4 Thou hast given a banner to them that fear thee, that it may be displayed because of the truth. Selah.

Other name of God I’ve blogged about; Jehovah-Rapha, Jehovah-Shammah, Jehovah-Tsidkenu, and Jehovah-Rohi.

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Finding the sacred in the mundane…

Some people, even some denominations as a whole, are better at recognizing that everything we do can include faith and an understanding that God is with us at all times.  One of the keys of this is finding meaning in all the mundane things we must do in this life.

I’m always reminded of the Shakers, who were so mindful of the fact that God sees all and is everywhere, that they would even take the time and effort to finish the back sides of drawers in a set of chest-of-drawers.  The part of a drawer that most humans would never see is built and finished just as beautifully as the front.  It is really neat if you get a chance to see it, and is one reason why true Shaker furniture is sought after.

If one makes that into a legalistic issue, then it fails to be “sacred;” however, if one sees what they did as a metaphor, it is a wonderful thought.

Paul tells us, Colossians 3:23 And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; 24 Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.

Notice what it says; whatsoever you do.  Whatsoever.  If you are taking out the garbage, if you are washing dishes, if you are cooking, or jogging, or walking the dog.  In our minds should always be a reminder; believers are servants of Christ, we answer to no other master.  As such, if we are mindful of that fact, as long as we are doing what He’d have of us; such as taking care of our families, than we are actually serving Him in the mundane.

I have a slight…wellllll…not so slight problem with certain preachers that go on  and on trying to get a mass of people hyped up over going to be missionaries, and acting as though that is the ultimate thing that you can be called to do, and if you aren’t over somewhere risking your life, then it is meaningless before God.  Not so.  Not everyone is called to such a life, not in the least.

We are each unique, and God does not call us all the same.  Yes, there are general guidelines and expectations, but as far as living out our lives, even in the mundane, we should have an “ear” to God to figure out what He wants us to do.  If God tells you to stay home and raise your kids, and you do so, that is answering His call in a sacred way just as much as someone who is called to missions and goes.

Faith isn’t about us outdoing one another, it is about hearkening to God in our own lives.  Part of that is recognizing that those mundane tasks we all “love” so much may just be seen as sacred, if we are indeed answering God’s call.  Laundry, dishes, dusting, scrubbing toilets, teaching, mining, fishing, waiting on tables…they become much more meaningful, and bearable, if we find the “sacred” aspect of them in serving God.  Remember; whatsoever you do, do it as unto the Lord; it is Him we serve.

Is it easy to keep this in mind? Not in the least.  We literally cannot remember it all the time, somethings get too frustrating or overwhelming, but we can ask the Holy Spirit to help us remember these things, especially when we are just reflecting on the day, or getting ready for it.  And, it is one of those things that we have to be constantly reminding ourselves, because the “mundane” is labeled so for a reason.  It is far easier to live out if we are doing something “spectacular” in the eyes of other humans…but we are not their servants, we are His…and when we are His, anything He urges us to do, and we do with the help of the Spirit, becomes spectacular.

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Filed under Sacred Secular, Theology

Critical Thinking; Euphemisms vs. Dysphemisms…

It’s been a while since I gave a miniature logic lesson, so today I thought I’d talk about Euphemisms and Dysphemisms.  Rhetorical devices, and rhetoric in general, are often employed to try to “slant” the hearer’s or reader’s perspective on something.  Remember, rhetoric employs psychological or emotionally persuasive language, without giving an actual reason for a conclusion.

Euphemisms and Dysphemisms are two rhetorical devices that are quite common.  A Euphemism is a “positive” spin; it takes a word, phrase, or concept and makes it sound either neutral or more positive.  For example, we spin “death” and “died” more positive or neutral by phrases like, “bought the farm,” or “he’s pushing up daisies.”  Car dealerships no longer sell “used cars” they sell “pre-owned vehicles.”

On a more serious note, you can see it in politics, and political situations.  I once saw a news cast about a band of militia in some country where there was an uprising, within about fifteen minutes, three different people were interviewed; to one person the militia was referred to as a group of “freedom fighters.”  The next person interviewed referred to them as “guerrillas” and the final person referred to them as “terrorists.”  Three different words evoking different emotional and psychological reactions within the hearer.

That brings me to dysphemisms; they are the “negative” slant.  So in the above example, the “freedom fighter” phrase would be a euphemism, and the “terrorist” phrase would be a dysphemism, just as an example.  Notice that the phrased could be considered accurate as long as the idea or word in question truly meets the definition of those words; for example, there is a time and a place to truly label someone a terrorist, as long as the definition is truly met.

Also, just because they are rhetorical devices doesn’t mean you can dismiss whatever argument that they are used in out of hand; it is just important to note that people do use terms to sway hearers’/readers’ emotions as that is a part of being a critical thinker.

How does this apply to the Christian, or Christian Apologist’s POV?  There are a lot of dysphemisms that non-believers employ…oftentimes just to insult, or try to get a rise out of Christians.  One of the more popular ones in this day and age amongst atheists online, for whatever reason, is labeling Christianity a “death cult.”  How is this a dysphemism?  Because it employs emotionally and psychologically charged language, and has no evidence to back it up, and in fact, the evidence clearly contradicts the label.

Be on the lookout for these two rhetorical devices, and even look up some more examples so that you can more easily spot when someone is attempting to sway you with words…and remember that words do indeed have power to get people to react.  This is something that politicians have known for a long long time; we will surely get treated to many examples of euphemisms/dysphemisms in the upcoming presidential election coverage; especially at the conventions.

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Filed under Logic, Religion and Politics

We are not as we should be…

The human condition, the “old man” or “old nature,” original sin, the fall of man…some of these concepts are deep theological issues.  But, the underlying idea is one that most of us grasp fairly easily.

There is a line in a song by Switchfoot, Meant to Live, that captures the point:

We were meant to live for so much more

Have we lost ourselves?

We were meant to live for so much more…

Most of humanity sees that humans are indeed meant to be “more.”  Sure, every now and then we glimpse something either in ourselves, or in another human that “clicks,” where a human seems more…truly human…an act of selflessness, an act of physical near-perfection, someone in a state of peace, etc… but, even during these rare moments we don’t get to see within others, and are mostly even blind to our own inner workings.

I often ask my students a question just to get them thinking, or talking, that lets me get to know them a bit better (or lets them get to know themselves…). One light-hearted question I ask is, “If you could choose one super power what would it be?”  Every now and then I get someone who says, “I’d want to be able to read other people’s minds.”

But, would one really want to be able to do that?  We see people’s actions clear enough, but we often don’t actually glimpse someone’s true mind, heart, or soul; it’s even hard for us to “see” our true selves most of time.  The human mind is not often a pleasant place to peer into…

Every aspect of a human was and is affected by the fall; Adam and Eve’s slip from perfection, their sin paved the way for all kinds of troubles.  We are affected physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, etc…

First, our minds and wills were affected, Paul says it best, Romans 7:15 For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. 16 If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. 17 Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. 18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. 19 For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do

I don’t care what your religious persuasion, all humans go through this in their lives.  There are certain things that we know are the right things to do, yet we cannot make ourselves do them, for whatever reason.  Same thing on the other side of the coin; there are things we know that we should not do, and yet we persist.

Second, our hearts.  You take the most “innocent” acting amongst us, and they are just as capable of devising something “wrong” as anyone else, even if they don’t carry it out.  This is no surprise as none of us are righteous on our own.  Not one of us.  Our hearts comprise more than just our actions.  Genesis 8:21…for the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth.

There are some really “good” kids out there; well behaved, sweet, loving, etc… but if we adults are completely honest, we know that there is no perfect child, esp. when it comes to morality.  Lying is one thing that fascinates me, for example.  You work with a child to teach them language, and how to communicate, you work hard teaching them how to hold a spoon, etc… buy lying is amazing, you, as a parent, don’t even have to teach lying, it just happens.  There are those that even come right out and say that lying is a part of normal human development, and that is just one example.

Third, the physical aspect of humans was affected as well.  The evidence of this has impacted each and every one of us at some point.  We become sick, some humans are born with physical abnormalities, our DNA can get messed up, we grow old, we die.

CS Lewis once talked about evidence that we are more than our mortal bodies.  And I have, unfortunately, come to understand what he was referring to through many first hand examples.  When we look at a dead body, even children notice this, it isn’t as though we are looking at the person.  It does indeed look like an empty shell that the person inhabited.  “You don’t have a soul. You are a Soul. You have a body,” is one way that Lewis phrased it.  We are indeed immortal beings, and are often made uneasy by death, or, even dead human bodies.  But, as I was saying, even those of us that aren’t make uneasy can clearly observe the difference between a living body and a dead one; the soul has flown the coop.

Finally, our spiritual state was affected as well; how could it not be?  We had, in Adam and Eve, direct access to God; He walked with them, talked with them, formed them Himself.  There was no sin to mar the relationship.  We also know that every aspect of man affects the other aspects; they are all interconnected; the physical affects the mental, affects the emotions…the spiritual affects the emotions, affects the physical, etc…

I’ve met people that deny the fall…yet, they can clearly see and agree that we humans are not as we should be.  They appear to be in a state of denial about a “theological” issue, but are perfectly fine with it when rephrased in a more secular manner…yet more evidence for the fall of man?  Despite these things, and the clear evidence that we humans are presently flawed, there is indeed hope…hope in Christ that we humans can truly become more, as we were meant to be.  I’ll be touching upon ideas that go along with this in the near future.

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Filed under Apologetics, Philosophy, Theology

Carbon Leaf, Doctor Who, and Stargate; just because…

One of my favorite vids on youtube introduced me to a band that has quite an interesting sound, very Indie or folk rock.  I owe that introduction, BTW, to my brother who first discovered the vid, so because I can, I’m going to introduce my readers to Carbon Leaf via their song “What About Everything,” and three vids that feature the exact same song.  I never really get tired of hearing it, and I’m betting you won’t either.

As you listen, pay attention toward the end for the line; “What about that midnight phone call…the one that wakes you from your peace,” it’s the one that gets me in the gut every time I hear it.  If you’ve gotten that midnight phone call you know exactly what that line is talking about…

First, the Stargate Atlantis vid by “footindasink” on YouTube, this is indeed one of my favorites:

Second, a wonderful Doctor Who vid with “What About Everything;” this one is edited together very well and is by “Emery16Board”  and showcases both Nine and Ten:

Third, the guys themselves.  This is a video that was done at “SudFlood” in ’07.  This was done after the Virgnia Tech shootings.  “What About Everything” is over at 4:51, the sound goes downhill from there as they caught the end of another Carbon Leaf song, “Mary Mac;” which doesn’t do them justice, IMO (the recording, not the song itself).  This one was posted by “CarbonLeafTerry” which I take to be Terry Clark of Carbon Leaf.

And, finally, just because I can and because they sing this hymn so well, here’s Carbon Leaf singing “Gloryland” A Cappella posted by “Angelynn77:”

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Filed under Doctor Who, Of Interest, Reviews

Thoughts about Ecological Biodiversity and ID…

I’m in the middle of a book titled: In Six Days; Why Fifty Scientists Choose to Believe in Creation (Ashton, 2000).  All the chapters (which are composed by the different scientists giving their reasons) have been informative and interesting, but one so far really stood out to me.

Dr. Henry Zuill holds a B.S. in biology, a M.A. in biology, and a Ph.D. in biology (from Loma Linda University).  His chapter is the fifth chapter in the book, and he brings up a perspective that I’ve never really thought about before.  Ecological Biodiversity is one of those things that I don’t set and ruminate on all that much, and I certainly haven’t pondered it fully when it comes to the Creationist vs. Evolutionist debate, or even ID vs. Evolution debate, but he got me thinking.

When ID proponents look a the world and try to spot irreducible complexity, it is usually sought at the micro level; within cells for example.  Dr. Zuill urges a different perspective too; a look at the macro and complexity.

One thing he brings up is the fact that we know that ecosystems are very complex in nature, and one thing in an ecosystem affects every other thing.  Take one species out of an ecosystem, and their will be changes, small or large.  Ecosystems, made up of plants, animals, bacteria, fungi, etc… serve to make our planet habitable.  On page 67-68 he notes:

When we look broadly at the panorama of life and ecological relationships, we see that ecological complexity is built on layer upon layer of complexity, going all the way down through different hierarchical structural and organizational levels to the cell and even lower.  Thus, if we think cytological complexity is impressive, what must we think when we realize the full scale of ecological complexity?

We are reminded again and again, even in the high school science classroom, that certain ecological relationships are essential for life; therefore, it could be an interesting way of looking at something at the macro level that is irreducibly complex.  For certain ecosystems to come to be, to survive, and to flourish, I’ve seen no evidence that mere naturalistic evolution could account for their existence; then it is entirely possible that they had to be designed and created in certain states.

It also has implications for the origins of life; not only do naturalistic evolutionists expect us to believe that life arose from time and chance, they would also be expecting us to believe that time and chance provided the correct ecological systems in place at the exact right time for life to 1) come to exist, 2) survive, and 3) reproduce, while at the same time balancing the ecological system itself.

Dr. Zuill points out that some naturalistic scientists do see that at the very least two species had to co-evolve, but also those same scientist see that they would have to have a close ecological relationship as a foundation for that co-evolution…that close ecological relationship would, “have to precede co-evolution.” (p. 69)

I love things that make me think in a different manner, and add to the scientific discussions between naturalistic evolutionists, creationists, and IDer’s.  Dr. Zuill’s thoughts on Ecological Biodiversity have enhanced the way I look at our world in general, and also added to my thoughts on Intelligent Design, and he points out some things that just may be irreducibly complex outside the world of the micro.

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Filed under Apologetics, Atheism, Origins

Romans 1:20 and an example…

I wrote a whole post dealing with the fact that we are without excuse when it comes to a belief in God.  Of course one of the key verses behind this idea is Romans 1:20.

For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world 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

I was watching the old movie about the life of Helen Keller when she was first introduced to Annie Sullivan; The Miracle Worker.  If you haven’t seen it, you should.  It shows the struggle that both student, Helen, and teacher, Annie, go through in order to reach and teach Helen who was both blind and deaf…and pretty much wild.  While I was watching it, two thoughts popped into my head.

One came to me as Annie physically wrestles with Helen to teacher her how to sit at a table, with a plate in front of her, and eat off of it with a spoon, instead of like an animal.  It has to be akin to how the Holy Spirit and the “old man” or old nature struggles within us once we are saved.  The Holy Spirit changing us from within, helping us to “see” what needs to be changed, and teaching us how, but our flesh still wrestling back, even if the change will be for our good…

The second thought was more like a reminder of one of my favorite facts about Helen. Helen Keller, the woman who was deaf and blind, and could not speak or understand any sort of language, in the beginning even sign language explained:

“In one of her letters, Helen told Bishop Brooks that she had always known about God, even before she had any words. Even before she could call God anything, she knew God was there. She didn’t know what it was. God had no name for her — nothing had a name for her. She had no concept of a name. But in her darkness and isolation, she knew she was not alone. Someone was with her. She felt God’s love. And when she received the gift of language and heard about God, she said she already knew.” from Phillips Brooks and Helen Keller.

Think on that!  Does it need any more discussion?

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Filed under Apologetics, Atheism, Sacred Secular, Theology

The Reliability of the Bible…

One question that comes up in many Apologetics discussions is the reliability of the Biblical manuscripts.  In this post, I am not going to go into detail, as others have already done so.  What I am going to do is give an overview of why this is important, and also give resources for everyone to utilize.

First a word about a common misunderstanding.  Many times, atheists and other non-believers will accuse Christians of circular logic.  They present a straw man which says, “Christians always refer to the Bible as evidence of God, and they use the Bible as evidence for the Bible which is circular.”  Now, I personally haven’t read any Christian doing this; what I do see often is fundamental lack of knowledge on the part of the atheist/non-believer as to what the Bible actually is, and why we cite it as evidence, and why it can indeed be cited as evidence.

The Bible is not a single document.  It is a collection of ancient documents into one binding; there is a distinct difference.  These documents often have different authors and are written at different periods of time; they are not one solid document that someone can accuse of trying to “prove itself.”  This would be like entering into a conversation about the formation and continuation of the United States government.  In this discussion, one person pulls out a book titled: Political Documents of the United States.

Within this single book is a collection of many US documents; The Declaration of Independence, The Constitution, The Federalist Papers, The Records of the Continental Congress, etc…  Then, the person they are dialoging with says, “You can’t use that as a reference, or as evidence when talking about the formation and continuation of the US Government!  Political Documents of the United States is just used to prove itself, that’s circular logic!”

So, a basic understanding of the composition of the Bible is needed; it is a collection of manuscripts authored by around 40 human authors (under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit).  It’s contents were written over a large span of time, and in different languages, mainly Hebrew and Greek.  Then these manuscripts were collected together into one volume; The Bible.  Using various historical manuscripts to support other historical manuscripts is not “proving itself.”

There is also discussion about how these particular manuscripts made it into the collection.  Many non-believers try to make this into some huge conspiracy, while the Roman church tries to use it as proof that they are the one true church, and them alone; some fundamentalist Christians act as though God handed the KJV in it’s final form to Moses on Mt. Sinai.  The truth is that it was a very organic and logical process, though the inclusion of some of the books were debated.  I just read a good description of the process in Ravi Zacharias’ new book; Beyond Opinion.   In fact, the very first chapter of Ravi’s book is devoted to “Postmodern challenges to the Bible,” written by Amy Orr-Ewing.

In general, certain criteria were met, and as these criteria were met, the books eventually came to be “canonized” formally, though many of the books were already recognized as canon.  (The criteria were things like; authorship by an apostle or an immediate follower of an apostle (which obviously included dating), church usage, etc…)

Are the documents reliable?  Are they accurate?  Can you trust the Eyewitness accounts in the NT? There are many good resources for these questions here are only a few:

Online resource examples;Manuscript evidence for superior New Testament Reliability on CARM,  The Textual Reliability of the New Testament from Tekton, Miscellaneous Questions on the Text of the Old Testament from Tekton, Testimony of the Evangelists by Simon Greenleaf, Archaeology and the New Testament from Apologetics Press,  Is scripture a “faithful record” of historical events? from Apologetics Press, etc… etc…

Other resource examples; The New Testament Documents by F.F. Bruce, The Canon of Scripture by F.F. Bruce, Trial of the witnesses by Thomas Sherlock, General Introduction to the Bible by Geisler and Nix, Can I trust the Bible? by D. Bock & R. Zacharias, and also examples of general resources that touch upon Biblical matters: The New Evidence that Demands a Verdict by Josh McDowell, The Case for Christ by Strobel, etc… etc…

These resources are for everyone; believers, skeptics, anyone interested in Biblical apologetics.  What I offered here is not even a drop in the bucket of information available on this topic.  One of the most frustrating things in Apologetics can be talking to people who glean all their knowledge of the Bible from proselytizing atheistic websites that have lists of points to try to bring up in a debate.  Why is it frustrating? Because the answers are readily available to all, and are very easy to find, and also it shows, to me, that the person isn’t really wanting an answer, no…they are trying to proselytize their own beliefs.

Take the time to study the Bible.  It can be trusted and is highly reliable; historically, prophetically, internally, archaeologically, etc…  The resources I gave above have many other resources cited in their notes, so, keep digging and studying.  The Bible can stand up to all scrutiny.

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