Archive for June 2012

Six Straight-Forward Reasons To Believe That God Exists

Six Straight-Forward Reasons To Believe That God Exists

At EveryStudent.com Marilyn Adamson provides six reasons to believe in God. Click on the image below to read more…

6 Reasons for God

Here are the six reasons that Adamson presents:

  1. The complexity of our planet points to a deliberate Designer:
    • Earth contains the right mixture of gases to sustain life.
    • The Earth is located the right distance from the sun.
    • The Earth contains water, which is uniquely suited to life. Water is a universal solvent and freezes from the top down so fish can live in the winter.
  2. The complexy of the human body points to a deliberate Designer:
    • The human brain processes more than a million messages a second.
    • The eye can distinguish among seven million colors.
  3. The universe had a start – what caused it?
    • Scientists now say that the universe began with one enormous explosion of energy and light, which they call the “Big Bang.” Scientists have no explanation for what caused that explosion.
  4. The universe operates by uniform laws of nature. Why does it?
    • Why is nature so mathematically based?
      • Gravity remains consistent.
      • The earth rotates in the same 24 hours.
      • The speed of light doesn’t change.
  5. The DNA code contains vast information and programs a cell’s behavior
    • Every cell of our bodies contains a very detailed instruction code, much like a miniature computer program.
  6. We know God exists because he pursues us and wants us to know him.
    • Adamson was a former atheist who couldn’t understand why the topic of God weighed so heavily on her mind. She concluded that it was God who was pressing the issue.
  7. Jesus Christ is the clearest, most specific picture of God revealing himself to us.
    • Buddha, Muhammad, Confucius and Moses all identified themselves as teachers or prophets. None of them ever claimed to be God. Jesus did. Jesus backed up the claim by healing people, raising people from the dead, creating food out of thin air, walking on top of a lake, and commanding a raging storm to stop. Jesus, himself, is evidence for the existence of God because he was God in the flesh.

 

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Evidence Good Enough To Convince An Atheist

Evidence Good Enough To Convince An Atheist

In this video Lee Stobel interviews Dr. J. P. Moreland of Liberty University, who explains why noted atheist and intellectual Anthony Flew began to believe in God.

Dr. J.P. Moreland shares why former atheist/intellectual Antony Flew began to believe in God. Moreland indicates there were three overwhelming strands of evidence that proved God existed:

  1. The “Big Bang” scientific theory indicates that space, time, and matter had a beginning
  2. There are at least 50 constants of nature, such as mass of a proton, charge of an electron, the force of gravity in the universe. If any of these 50 were different by one billionth of a percentage point, life could not exist in the universe.
  3. The search for extraterrestrial intelligence in the universe seeks any data that provides information and therefore indicates intelligence. The number one discovery of biology in the 20th Century was that living organisms here on Earth have cells filled with such data  (DNA), rich in information.  Information indicates intelligence and an Intelligent Designer.

Of course Christians have always known that God exists.   It’s obvious if you open your eyes.  In  Romans 1:20 it says, “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.” You can clearly see that God exists. How else could the tiniest cells and most distant stars get there?

 

   

 

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A 30 Second Argument For God

A 30 Second Argument For God

In this slide presentation author Robin Schumacher provides a quick proof of the existence of God.

Here is the argument that Schumacher presents:

  1. Something, the universe (time, space, and matter), exists
  2. Nothing cannot cause something (the universe had a beginning)
  3. Therefore, a Being outside of time, space, and matter exists

Scientists and other religions used to think the universe always existed; that it was eternal. However the “Big Bang” resulting from scientific discoveries now proves to skeptics that the universe had a beginning. As Schumacher reveals in his slideshow…

  1. The universe is running down (2nd Law of Thermodynamics states that the universe is running out of usable energy).
  2. The universe is expanding. It is not expanding into space; space itself is expanding. What expands must have a start or beginning.
  3. A “radiation echo” has been detected that is an afterglow from the “Big Bang”

Of course Christians have always known that the universe (time, space, and matter) was created: (Genesis 1:1) “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” “In the beginning” indicates creation of time. “Heavens” indicates creation of space. “Earth” indicates creation of matter.

 

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Three Reasons There Is a God

Three Reasons There Is A God

This week’s lesson is about the existence of God. To start out, go to the Three Reasons section, where I provide three reasons there is a God. Watch three short videos on the following topics:

  1. What begins to exist has a cause.
  2. Complex design requires a designer.
  3. Moral laws require a law giver.
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Devout Christian Founder Dr. Benjamin Rush

Devout Christian Founder: Dr. Benjamin Rush

Our country was founded by Christians. One of the most prominent was Dr. Benjamin Rush. Learn more about him below.

Benjamin Rush (1745-1813) was a signer of the Declaration of Independence (1776), delegate to the Continental Congress (1776-77), and a state delegate to ratify the Federal Constitution (1787). Rush was a leading founder of the United States. He was a very learned man and devout Christian.

Consider the many other accomplishments of Benjamin Rush:

  • Graduated from Princeton College (1769)
  • Studied medicine and received his M.D. from University of Edinburgh, Scotland (1768)
  • Treated more than a hundred patients a day during the yellow fever epidemic in Philadelphia (1793)
  • Is considered the “Father of American Medicine” for his numerous medical discoveries
  • Helped found the Pennsylvania Society for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery (1774) and served as its president
  • Was a member of the Abolition Society (1794-97)
  • Helped found the Philadelphia Bible Society (1808-13) and served as its vice-president1

Benjamin Rush was a devout Christian

Dr. Rush was also a devout Christian. Consider an excerpt from the book he wrote, A Defence of the Bible as a School Book:

That the Bible contains more knowledge necessary to man in his present state than any other book in the world: that knowledge is most durable, and religious instruction most useful, when imparted in early life: that the Bible, when not read in schools, is seldom read in any subsequent period of life.2

Rush not only advocated that we teach the Bible in schools early in a child’s life but continues later and advocates the universal education of our youth in the principles of Christianity:

I lament, that we waste too much time and money in punishing crimes, and take too little pains to prevent them. We profess to be republicans, and yet we neglect the only means of establishing and perpetuating our republican forms of government; that is, the universal education of our youth in the principles of Christianity, by means of the Bible; for this divine book, above all others, favors that equality among mankind, that respect for just laws, and all those sober and frugal virtues, which constitute the soul of republicanism.3

As Tea Party Christians, we couldn’t agree more with Dr. Rush. Christianity forms the basis for self-government. The Bible provides the virtues that enable a republic such as ours to function, including  equality, respect, sobriety, responsibility, etc. Benjamin Rush is as relevant today as he was in 1790.

To Read More

Edward J. Giddings, American Christian Rulers: Religion and Men of Government (Powder Springs, Georgia-American Vision Press, 2011, originally published by Bromfield & Company, New York, New York: 1889, 1890)

References

  1. Wall Builders, Benjamin Rush Personal Bible Study ((Wall Builders, n.d.) Available at: http://www.wallbuilders.com/libissuesarticles.asp?id=48(June 24, 2012)
  2. As cited in J Edward J. Giddings, American Christian Rulers: Religion and Men of Government (Powder Springs, Georgia-American Vision Press, 2011, originally published by Bromfield & Company, New York, New York: 1889, 1890), 435.
  3. As cited in Ibid, 435.
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Did Jesus Claim To Be God

Did Jesus Claim To Be God?

Some people say that Jesus did not claim to be God. Is it true? See what Lee Strobel has to say about that.

Lee Strobel asks, “Did Jesus claim to be God? The book Da Vinci Code says no. The book says that the idea that Jesus was God was made up 300 years after he died. However, is that what the historical record shows?

The earliest account of Jesus’ life is the Gospel of Mark. The most common reference to Jesus in Mark is “Son of Man.” (e.g. Mark 8:31) Does that mean he was claiming to be merely human, not divine? Hardly. It in fact it means the opposite–that Jesus was claiming to be divine. “Son of Man” is a reference to Daniel 7:13-14. Read what the passage says below:

13 “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. 14 He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all nations and peoples of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.

In addition, the Gospel of Mark refers to Jesus as the “Son of God” in these passages: Mark 1:1, Mark 3:11, Mark 15:39.

In Mark 6: 45-52 is provided the account of Jesus walking on water. Jesus reassures his disciples, saying, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” However Strobel reveals that in the original Greek, “It is I” is actually “I AM” (God gives reveals his name to Moses as “I AM WHO I AM” in Exodus 3:14.)

In Mark 14: 61-64 the high priest asks Jesus, “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?” Jesus answers, “I am,” and refers to himself as the Son of Man clearly from the Daniel 7:13-14 passage. The reaction by the high priest was to immediately cry out “blasphemy” because he knew that Jesus was claiming to be divine.

In John 10:30, Jesus says, “I and the Father are one.” Strobel reveals that the Greek word for “one” in this verse means “essence” The reaction by the audience was to immediately pick up stones to stone Jesus for blasphemy because they said “…you a mere man, claim to be God.” ( John 10:31-33.)

In addition, Jesus accepted worship and forgave sins like God. When Jesus asked Peter who Jesus was, Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (Matthew 16:16)

Any serious Bible reader will acknowledge that Jesus claimed to be divine. He paid the price for our sins as only God can and rose from the dead as only God can. We therefore worship him and glorify him as we glorify God.

 

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Did Jesus arrange for His prophecies to come true

Did Jesus arrange for His prophecies to come true?

Lee Strobel addresses whether Jesus and his disciples could have arranged for the fulfillment of prophesies. For example, Zechariah 9:9 states that the Messiah would ride a donkey.  Couldn’t Jesus have easily arranged that?  Listen and read on to see why this claim does not stand up to scrutiny.

Although Jesus could have certainly arranged to ride a donkey into Jerusalem, there are many prophesies that he couldn’t have arranged, such as:

Strobel also addresses whether the disciples fabricated the fulfillment of the prophesies and rewrote history to make the prophesies fit. For example, Micah 5:2 states that the Messiah will be born in Bethlehem. Maybe the disciples made up the Roman Census to plausibly place Joseph and Mary in Bethlehem. However, the accounts were written while eyewitnesses were still living. If the accounts were untrue, the eyewitnesses would have disputed the accounts and stopped the Christian movement in its tracks. In addition, the writers died as martyrs for their beliefs. Why would they make up a story and die for it?

Finally, Strobel discloses that the Talmud made derogatory remarks about Jesus, such his being a sorcerer, but did not object to the claim that he fulfilled Messianic prophesies. Therefore, the evidence points to Jesus actually fulfilling the prophecies and validating his claim to be the Son of God.

 

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More Prophesies Fulfilled by Jesus

PROPHESIES FULFILLED by Jesus

Jesus fulfilled many prophesies. In this slide presentation author Robin Schumacher discusses several of the 300 prophesies fulfilled in Jesus’ lifetime.

Here is a partial list of the prophesies fulfilled by Jesus in the slide presentation:

As Schumacher reveals in his slideshow, the odds of just eight prophecies being accidently fulfilled in the life of one man is 1 in 100,000,000,000,000,000. That is strong proof that Jesus was no ordinary man, but the Son of God.

 

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Why Jesus is the only way

Why Jesus is the only way

In this video, Greg Koukl of Stand to Reason answers the question, “Why is Jesus the only way?”

As Greg Koukl explains in the video, Jesus is an exclusivist but not because of arrogance. Jesus is an exclusivist because he understands the human problem. The problem isn’t that good or sincere people exist in the world. The problem is that every person in the world has failed to keep God’s law as they were supposed to. Therefore, since God is perfectly just, His justice requires punishment. God does not overlook His own laws.

Imagine a courtroom where God is the judge. We stand accused of not keeping God’s law. We are guilty as charged. However, Jesus steps in the dock in our place. He says that he will accept the punishment that is meant for us. The punishment he is referring to is his crucifixion. The question asked by the judge is whether we accept Jesus being punished in our place? If we accept it, God offers a pardon. We fall under the mercy provided by Jesus’ punishment, and that provides the grounds for forgiveness by God. If we don’t accept Jesus being punished in our place, then we stand on our own two feet before God, and we fend for ourselves. We are therefore not forgiven by God and receive the sentence of eternal separation from God (hell).

That is the choice put before us. It is a step of trust based on good, solid information found in the Bible.  The choice is ours.

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People Who Had Near-Death Experiences Say There Is a Heaven

Both Don Piper, a Baptist minister, and Colton Burpo, four-year-old son of a Wesleyan minister, visit heaven and return to tell about it. Read on to find out more.

Before I reveal more about the experiences of Don Piper and Colton Burpo, let me first address the subject of near-death experiences and their validity. Then, I will recount the accounts of the Piper and Burpo experiences in Heaven.

  • Validity of Near-Death Experiences
  • Don Piper Near-Death Experience
  • Colton Burpo Near-Death Experience

Validity of Near-Death Experiences

Some question the validity of near-death experiences, saying they are 1) the result of oxygen deprivation, 2) hallucinations caused by emergency room drugs, 3) lack of certain biochemicals during resuscitation, or 4) a psychological defense mechanism for coping during trauma. However James Garlow in his book Heaven and the Afterlife 1 says that researchers have found no correlation between physical factors and near-death experiences. First of all, not everybody revived from death reports a near-death experience. Plus, some accounts can only be explained supernaturally, as the following example will illustrate.

Gary Habermas and J.P. Moreland in their book Beyond Death Exploring the Evidence for Immortality 2 tell the story of a woman named Maria. Maria had just arrived in Seattle and was unfamiliar with the locality, when she had a heart attack. As she was rushed to Harborview Hospital, she floated from her body and saw a tennis shoe on the hospital roof ledge, which was around the corner of the building. The shoe was not visible from the ground or from her room. Afterwards when researchers went looking for it, they had difficulty finding it. When the researchers did find the shoe, they confirmed Maria’s description of the shoe: its color, size, material, a worn little toe, and the position of the lace, which was located under the heel. Maria’s description of the shoe could not be attributable to oxygen or chemical deprivation or to hallucinations.

Don Piper Near-Death Experience

On his way home from a church conference Don Piper, a Baptist minister, was “killed” at 11:45 AM January 18, 1989 after an 18 wheeler ran head-on into his Ford Escort on Texas Highway 19 as he crossed a bridge over the Trinity River, about 90 miles north of Houston. Four sets of paramedics soon reached the scene, did not find a pulse and declared that he died on impact. They were unable to extract him from his crushed vehicle and covered it with a tarp.

Piper did not travel through a tunnel or feel himself leaving his body. A brilliant light enveloped him, and he was standing in Heaven. He said that “Joy pulsated through me as I looked around, and at that moment I became aware of a large crowd of people. They stood in front of a brilliant ornate gate.”3

He saw a crowd of people rush toward him, people he had known and had died during his lifetime. Every person was smiling and praising God, and he was aware that they were his welcoming committee assembled outside Heaven’s Gate waiting for him. He recognized his grandfather and Barry Wilson, a classmate in high school, who had drowned in a lake. He recognized two teachers who had often talked about Jesus Christ to him. He realized that all the people had contributed to his becoming a Christian and had spiritually impacted him in some way.

Piper says, “I had never felt such powerful embraces or feasted my eyes on such beauty. Heaven’s light and texture defy earthly eyes or explanation. Warm, radiant light engulfed me. As I looked around, I could hardly grasp the vivid, dazzling colors. Every hue and tone surpassed anything I had ever seen.”4

They began moving toward the gate and an intense light. Piper says, “I expected to see some darkness behind the gate but as far ahead as I could see, there was absolutely nothing but intense, radiant light”5 Each step increased the intensity of the light, but it wasn’t blinding and could be viewed with ease.” Each step he took he had the sense that he was being ushered into the presence of God.

Piper says, “I was home; I was where I belonged. I wanted to be there more than I had ever wanted to be anywhere on earth. Time had slipped away, and I was simply present in Heaven. All worries, anxieties, and concerns vanished. I had no needs, and I felt perfect.”6

After about an hour, another Baptist preacher, Dick Onerecker, whom Don had met at the conference, saw the wreckage, stopped and asked if he could pray for anybody. The police officer said that the man in the red car was dead. However, Dick felt that God instructed him to pray for the dead victim. Over the officer’s objection, Dick crawled into the wrecked car and began to pray. He prayed for 20-30 minutes, and God brought Don back to the living. Since the release of his bestselling book, 90 Minutes in Heaven – a True Story of Death and Life, Don has traveled across the country and around the world sharing his amazing story. His message is simple … We can have a better life now and an eternal life someday through faith in Jesus Christ!

Colton Burpo Near-Death Experience

On March 3, 2003, four-year-old Colton Burpo had emergency surgery for a ruptured appendix and an abscess. The appendix ruptured 3 days earlier but was misdiagnosed. After seemingly to recover, Colton had to undergo a second surgery on March 13 to drain three abscesses. Colton’s condition deteriorated, and on March 17 the medical staff informed the parents, Todd and Sonja, that nothing more could be done, implying they should prepare for Colton’s imminent death. Todd, who is a pastor at Crossroads Wesleyan Church in Imperial Nebraska, asked for concentrated church prayer for Colton. The next morning, on March 18, Colton showed amazing signs of recovery, and on March 19, Colton returned home.

That in itself, was remarkable, but the account to follow is even more remarkable. About three months later, Colton began to tell his account of visiting Heaven. He described where his parents were during his operation, “I went up out of my body and I was looking down and I could see the doctor working on my body. And I saw you and Mommy. You were in a little room by yourself, praying, and Mommy was in a different room, and she was praying and talking on the phone.”7

Colton said he met Jesus and “his cousin” (John the Baptist).8 He said “he [Jesus] has brown hair and he has hair on his face,” not knowing the word for “beard.”9  He described the “markers” Jesus had in the middle of His hands and feet, referring to the nail marks. Colton’s father, Todd, said that no one had previously described the crucifixion to Colton because of his tender age. Weeks later, Colton described meeting Todd’s grandfather, Pop, confirming that Todd was very close to Pop.

However, Colton revealed the most remarkable account weeks later. He informed his mother, Sonja, that he had two sisters. Confused, Sonja, thought that he was referring to his older sister Cassie and a cousin. Colton was adamant, “No. I have two sisters,” he said. “You had a baby die in your tummy, didn’t you?” Sonja, asked, “Who told you I had a baby die in my tummy?”10   “She did, Mommy,” Colton replied. “She said she died in your tummy.”

A year before Colton was born, Sonja miscarried her two-month-old baby. They had never told Colton and did not even know that the baby was a girl. Colton told his mother, “She looked a lot like Cassie. She is just a little bit smaller, and she had dark hair.” He continued, “In heaven, this little girl ran up to me, and she wouldn’t stop hugging me.”11  He also said she didn’t have a name, confirming that neither Todd or Sonja had named her.

Colton’s account to his mother provided her with healing for a heart seared with grief. His account and Don Piper’s account can confirm to us the Biblical reality of Heaven.  In the book about Colton’s journey, Heaven is for Real, Colton also reveals that the way to Heaven is through Jesus Christ. 

To Read More

James L. Garlow and Keith Wall, Heaven and the Afterlife (Minneapolis-Bethany House Publishers, 2009)

G. R. Habermas and J. P Moreland, Beyond Death: Exploring the Evidence for Immortality (Wheaton-Crossway Books, 1998)

Don Piper and Cecil Murphey, 90 Minutes in Heaven, A True Story of Death and Life (Grand Rapids-Revel, 2004)

Todd Burpo and Lynn Vincent, Heaven is for Real: A Little Boy’s Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back (Nashville-Thomas Nelson, 2010)

References

  1. James L. Garlow and Keith Wall, Heaven and the Afterlife (Minneapolis-Bethany House Publishers, 2009)
  2. G. R. Habermas and J. P Moreland, Beyond Death: Exploring the Evidence for Immortality (Wheaton-Crossway Books, 1998)
  3. Don Piper and Cecil Murphey, 90 Minutes in Heaven, A True Story of Death and Life (Grand Rapids-Revel, 2004), 21-22.
  4. Ibid, 25.
  5. Ibid, 28.
  6. Ibid, 33.
  7. Todd Burpo and Lynn Vincent, Heaven is for Real: A Little Boy’s Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back (Nashville-Thomas Nelson, 2010), 61
  8. Ibid, 63.
  9. Ibid, 65.
  10. Ibid, 94.
  11. Ibid, 96.
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