Thursday, September 29, 2011

You will die! - One approach to Christian apologetics.

Dear readers, whoever you are. 

This isn't exactly what one usually would consider when they think of defending the Christian faith; the statement, "You will die."  It's not pretty.  It's not nice.  We try not to think about it.  We try to push death out of our minds.  That's why they call them casualties and not deaths!  That's why they call them viruses, or the bird flu, or the swine flu, and not plagues!  We don't want to think about death!

To quote the Black Sabbath song, "After Forever," "When you think about death do you keep your cool?" 

Well to quote the song more, "I'll be prepared when you're lonely and scared at the end of our days."  The answer in that song by Black Sabbaath of course is "Jesus Christ is the only way to love."

I know a pastor who sets up shop at UCLA.  He shares the good news of salvation with people.  However, if a person rejects the news.  If they are complacent, if they are ambivalent, he challenges them to consider the alternatives... what if there is no God, then you die and you are in the ground.  What if there is a God?  And you have rejected him? What if that God is Jesus?  What then?  Are you so sure... do you keep your cool when you think about death?

He told one student, "Well, just remember you are going to die."  And the student left the conversation at that, but came back to him a month later and said, "Do you remember the last thing you said to me?"  The pastor did not.  The student said it had troubled him ever sense talking to the pastor.  He finally came face to face with his own personal death, and was he so sure... was he so certain that he would be reincarnated as his faith taught.  The pastor shared, Jesus will save you from that death if you trust in him and turn to him for salvation.

Part of apologetics is just properly explaining the Christian faith, and God's Word can be divided into two camps, Law, and Gospel.  God's Law shows us that we are sinners, that God's wrath is upon us and that we justly deserve his eternal punishment.  God's Gospel shows us our savior.  To learn more about Law and Gospel, click on the "What's in the Bible?" link at the top, left of this blog page and then click on the Law and Gospel article. 

So, you will die.  Worried?  Well, maybe you shouldn't be complacent?  Don't put off considering what lies beyond this life.  To be fair, I'll say look to all religions, but I'd recommend looking to Christianity first, and say this because it is objective, read 1 Corinthians 15 to know what I mean. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Defending Hell #4

In Rob Bell's book, Love Wins, he presents the belief that hell is here on earth.  Hell is the pain and suffering, here, now.  This isn't a new idea that Bell is presenting. 

For example, here is a video of Ronnie James Dio talking about his views on religion, and in particularly, heaven and hell, since the name the first Black Sabbath album he was singer for was entitled, Heaven and Hell.  In this video, he explains what heaven and hell both mean to him in that song...

The answer to the existence of heaven and hell, however, shouldn't be based on the beliefs of a rock singer, or any human for that matter.  How can any of us know for certain what lies after death... unless that has been revealed to us by God.

We need to be careful to not let our own feelings and thoughts get in the way of what God has revealed to us in his Word.  What does God's Word say about the existence of hell?

Matthew 10:28 says, "Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul.  Rather, be afraid of the one who can destroy both soul and body in hell."  

 A clear reading of this passage, indicates that the soul goes on after the death of the body.  In fact, there is the indication that the soul will be reunited with the body in the future and both will be in hell. 

This of course is not good news.  This is God's law that brings wrath and judgment.  However, there is freedom from sin, death, devil, and hell.  If you don't know John 3:16, please look it up.  If you have doubts about God's Word, look through this blog, look through the articles connected to the "What's in the Bible?"  and the "Why Believe the Bible?" links at the top left of this blog. 

Sunday, September 18, 2011

What I have Learned from Alice Cooper #1

I was in Best Buy yesterday evening, and I was shocked to see that Alice Cooper has a new nightmare.  A long, long time ago, 35 years is what I'm reading on the Internet, Alice released the album, Welcome to my Nightmare!  Now, the revisit to his nightmare is entitled, Welcome 2 my Nightmare.

 How does this fit with apologetics?  I could go several routes...

1.  I could talk about defending the faith, by defending our hearts.  Will listening to Cooper, lead Christians away from Jesus.  Short answer: Maybe.  Depends on the Christian. 


2.  The Alice Cooper is a Christian route.  Yet, how does that fit into      Christian apologetics?

I'm going with route two, by quoting Alice!

Despite maintaining his rocker, horror style, of which an entire maze has been created based on Cooper's music at this year's Universal Studios Night of Horror for Halloween, Cooper says, "My life is dedicated to follow Christ."

However, he has purposefully kept from becoming known for being a Christian!  He says, the focus should be on Christ and not on Alice, a rock singer who can't save anyone.


Alice says, "I've had a couple of people that were friends of mine that I've talked to that have vocally said they have [accepted Christ]. I have talked to some big stars about this, some really horrific characters ... and you'd be surprised. The ones that you would think are the furthest gone are the ones that are more apt to listen."

This is the first connection to Christian apologetics I want to make.  Alice spoke with his friends, and other stars that he has had connection with through his profession.  I think Christians are certainly called to sow seed, to spread the Gospel, but at the same time, we can lose a lot of time by going around and around in circles (arguing if you will) with people who are far, far, far from listening to the message of Christ.  Cooper reminds me of who is the most likely to listen - who to spend time with sharing the Gospel - the horrific characters.  The religious and those who got their act together in their own mind, likely won't listen, because to them, they don't need Christ.  Jesus spoke of fertile soil to receive the word of the Gospel - the people we think are the furthest gone, are likely the ones whose hearts are made up of fertile soil.  They've been tilled through the hard knocks of their own sinful actions and the persecution of the "righteous" that they are open to listen to the message of unbiased, unconditional love that comes through Jesus.  

More on Alice to come...

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Humans and Dinosaurs #3

If God created all sea, air, and land creatures on the fifth and sixth days of creation, with humans being created on the sixth day also, then yes, humans and dinosaurs coexisted at one point in history.  I say this because the penalty for eating the forbidden fruit in the garden was death.  Romans 5 says that "Just as sin entered the world through one man and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned." My reading of Romans 8:19-25 indicates that the death that occurred in men after the fall also fell upon all of creation.  All of creation was subjected to frustration as a result of Adam.  I don't believe Scripture teaches death before the Fall, if you know verses that teach this, please let me know. 

As long as men and dinosaurs coexisted, wouldn't there be evidence of their coexistence?

Let's take a look at one example.  The Lindworm!  The Lindworm is found within Eurpoean mythology. 

Were Lindworms real?  Would they classify as dinosaurs today?

Historically, Marco Polo, reported seeing Lindworms in Central Asia.  Here's the quote from Marco Polo:

.. snakes and great serpents of such vast size as to strike fear into those who see them, and so hideous that the very account of them must excite the wonder of those to hear it. ... You may be assured that some of them are ten paces in length; some are more and some less. And in bulk they are equal to a great cask, for the bigger ones are about ten palms in girth. They have two forelegs near the head, but for foot nothing but a claw like the claw of a hawk or that of a lion. The head is very big, and the eyes are bigger than a great loaf of bread. The mouth is large enough to swallow a man whole, and is garnished with great [pointed] teeth. And in short they are so fierce-looking and so hideously ugly, that every man and beast must stand in fear and trembling of them. There are also smaller ones, such as of eight paces long, and of five, and of one pace only. (The Travels of Marco Polo, Ch. XLIX)
To read the entre chapter from The Travels of Marco Polo, click here. He goes into detail on how they are caught and how they are very valuable, because they are used in making a medicine - very much a part of Traditional Chinese Medicine. 
 There is a lot more present on the Lindworm at the following sites:
These sites aren't well cited, but I'm sure that if you search for the specific details within these sites you will be able to find historical citations.  At least I posted the Marco Polo quote. 

Is the Lindwurm evidence of dinosaurs existing with humans?  What do you think?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Human and Dinosaurs #2 -The London Hammer

 What would it mean if a hammer was found in a layer of rock that ordinarily would be dated at the time of the dinosaurs?  Would that mean dinosaurs, grafted hammers.  Does anyone remember the show Dinosaurs.  According that show's fantasy, they did.  If I remember correctly, the father dinosaur in that show was a construction worker. 

If you don't know what I'm talking about there is a hammer called "The Hammer" or the "The London Hammer".   It has this name because it was found in London, Texas.  The hammer is from the Cretaceous time period - a time when human evidence should not exists according to Darwinian theory.  Of course some, people claim that this hammer, isn't actually from Cretaceous rock, such as the following two writers:

However, some sites, take a different approach to this artifact:

The following site lists it as an unexplained and unsolved mystery of the world.  Adding to the mystery, this site says that "the quality of the iron equals or exceeds the quality of any iron found in the modern world."  Wow!  What would that mean?  Check out the summary of this artifact from Mysteries of the World (of course they also have information about aliens...):

"The Hammer" even hit ZME's "Ten Most Amazing Unexplained Artifacts."  From their write up, we hear that there was a team that dated the hammer to be way older than the rock formation it was discovered.  This definitely would mean people co-inhabited with dinosaurs.  Here's a quote from their site, "A team of archaeologists checked it, and as it turns out, the rock encasing the hammer was dated back more than 400 million year; the hammer itself turned out to be more than 500 million years old. Additionally, a section of the handle has begun the transformation to coal. Creationists, of course, were all over this. The hammer’s head, made of more than 96% iron, is far more pure than anything nature could have achieved without an assist from modern technology."  Read more:

Here is information about the hammer from the museum that houses the artifact: Creation Evidence Museum.

What do you make of this? Who do you trust? And why?

Friday, September 9, 2011

Humans and Dinosaurs #1

It's a hot topic now in my classroom; did people and dinosaurs exist at the same time?  This question has been asked in a couple of different classes in the past week.

Matt Damon would say if you think people and dinosaurs ever coexisted, you shouldn't be qualified to be president of the United States of America (near the end of the following video). 

Here's one reason why dinosaurs likely are not as old as many scientists claim (230 million years old according to this site).  Did you know that red blood cells were found within dinosaur bones?  Most scientists upon hearing this would think this is improbable, that the findings must be wrong!  Why?  Because there is no way that red blood cells could be preserved for millions of years.  There's no way they wouldn't have decayed.  The known laws and functions of science would lead them to believe they must have been decayed.  To make matters even more interesting, soft bone tissue has also been found within a T-rex bone!  Again, what?  How is this possible?

Watch the full episode. See more NOVA scienceNOW.

It's funny that when this was discovered, scientists began to think about the possibility of finding DNA and then cloning dinosaurs, just like in Jurassic Park!  Really, that's the first thing that came to mind.  Why wouldn't it come to mind that this evidence shows that dinosaurs aren't as long extinct as previously thought?  Why isn't this being addressed. 

Jurassic Park - Here we come! 

Again, if the bones are millions of years old, you would expect there to be no red blood cells, no soft tissue present.  It would have decayed and become hard minerals.  But it hasn't.  Please note, the source for this is PBS!  I didn't quote from a Christian website. 

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Defending Hell #3

Defending hell is a strange title for a blog post.  But from my perspective, hell is under attack.  A large number of Christians and non-Christians question the existence of hell.  And ultimately in questing the existence of hell, the existence of God is being questioned, as well as the significance of Jesus' sacrificial death on the cross!  An apologetic for hell is sadly necessary. 

Erasing Hell: What God said about eternity, and the things we made upOne objection to the existence of hell is its duration.  Eternity?  Isn't that too long of a punishment?  Wouldn't an all-loving, merciful God believe in remediation, and not eternal condemnation?  No second-chance? 

 Let's first admit that if you believe there might be a hell and there might be a God, that God if he was able to create all things, must be greater than us.  His ways, thoughts, and actions must function on a higher plain than that of humanity.  When we start with that notion, we have to admit that God is soverign and if I don't understand his judgment against sin, it doesn't really matter. 

I also believe that from our experiences in life, we are given the ability to at least reasonable understand how God could justify eternal condemnation  of hell.  Let's consider our own prison systems.  If someone outright intentionally, murders someone we would expect them to receive a death sentence - here life in prison, or a trip down death row.  If someone rapes someone, we likely would also wish for a life sentence, although we know rapists get way less and when released are often times repeat offenders.  If someone who murdered someone gets off the hook - he cry foul!  We desire justice and we desire tat the punishment fits the crime. 

How long would it take to murder someone?  One gunshot - dead.  Murder can be instantaneous.  But how long is the penalty?  Much, much longer.  For a one second crime - one moment of stupidity, or anger, a person receives a life time of punishment.  How is that fair?  It's fair because a life was taken, and the only way to repay a life is to lose your life. 

Now think about hell?  Who is the crime against?  Sins are committed against God.  If a person lives for 30 years, that's thirty years of sinning against God.  As great a value as human life has, the value of the life of God is much greater!  So for a one second - three minute crime committed against a human, a lifelong sentence can be expected in many cases.  For lifelong crimes committed against God - how long should the crime be? 

Also, if we think about the exchange that is weighed out in penalties - a life for a life, we should consider that God is eternal.  An entire sinful life against God - wouldn't an eternal penalty fit the crime? 

But, the love of God objection is usually thrown out here.  I would have to say the love of God justifies the penalty of hell. God Father had his Son, Jesus Christ, brutally executed by the hands of his creation.  Jesus Christ on the cross, suffered the eternal penalty of hell - that doesn't make sense to me, but God is outside of time and it is possible for him to somehow suffer hell in a three hour time span.  If God the Father is willing to allow his son to serve as a substitute for us, and if Jesus Christ, his son, is willing to suffer hell for us, so we won't have to experience hell - isn't that the greatest love of all?  If he experienced hell, even though he was innocent, so we who are guilty won't have to experience hell, how can we truly object to God sentencing sinners who have rejected him from the punishment of eternal hell? 

I still don't get hell - I still don't like it, and I definitely don't want anyone to suffer it, just as God doesn't evidenced through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, but my personal likes and dislikes have to be submissive and obedient to the will of God and his Word. 

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Defending Hell #2

In today's American culture, it has become, at least in my opinion,  politically incorrect to say someone's religion is wrong.  When it comes to religious beliefs, the spirit of the age seems to encourage a relative approach - it's all good, as long as it's good for you and it doesn't harm others and you are respectful of others' beliefs.  Respect, however, seems to be more than just showing care and a whimsical approach to sharing one's beliefs with another, respect is not saying someone else is wrong.  It's not claiming that your faith is exclusively true - bad news for any exclusive religion, including Islam. 

The result of this spirit of the age is that even within Christian circles, there is a doubt of the existence of hell.  It's become the view that love means being accepting of all ideologies, political viewpoints, religions, sexual orientations, and etc.  The thought goes, "If we can be so loving and open to accept and cherish everyone regardless of personal differences, then God should be that loving too!  An all-loving God, if he exists, wouldn't send someone to hell, because their beliefs didn't align with his."  It really shows, that we think we know more about love than God.  It shows that we think we know more about justice than he does.  How arrogant is that?  Our words, our thoughts, our beliefs, cannot trump those of God expressed in his Word. 

Some Christians have jumped on the universal salvation bandwagon.  They still claim that salvation is through Jesus, and through faith, but they allow an opportunity after death for people to come to faith in Christ!  Is this in Scripture anywhere?  Christian universalism is of course grounded in a right heart position, that no one should perish and suffer hell, which by the way is God's heart position too, in his moral will.  But in his decreed will, God allows for us to be morally free agents.  He isn't the puppet master of our souls - forcing us into a relationship with us.  So in his decreed will, he allows for humanity to reject him - to mock him - to spit on him - to trample him underfoot.  The major flipside to this is that it means God's righteous judgment upon the people who reject him.  The upshot of course is that for those who have accepted him, it wasn't forced, it's a true love relationship with the Master of the Universe! 

When this life is over, where do you want to stand on man's word, or God's.  I'd like to cite some of the verses which Bill Wiese lists in his book which show the existence of hell within the pages of the Bible. 

23 Minutes In Hell: One Man's Story About What He Saw, Heard, and Felt in that Place of Torment Hell: Separate Truth from Fiction and Get Your Toughest Questions Answered

Appointed or Assigned 

Luke 12:46
Revelation 21:8

Body in Hell

Proverbs 1:12
Matthew 10:28


Job 33:28-30
Matthew 8:12
2 Peter 2:4-17


Job 21:30
Matthew 23:33
2 Thessolonians 1:9

Eternal Separation

Proverbs 15:29
2 Thessalonians 1:9


Psalm 55:15
Matthew 16:18
Revelatoin 20:14

These are just a few of the verses, and I mean just a few, which Bill Wiese cites in his book.  For the full list, check out his book 23 Minutes in Hell.  Also check out his book, Hell: Separate Truth from Fiction and Get Your Toughest Questions Answered