Posted by: BibleScienceGuy | November 14, 2018

Kepler on Guard

(3 Minute Read)

Woof! Woof!
This is Kepler, Master’s Jack Russell terrier, writing another article for Master’s Bible-Science Guy Blog.

Recently Master introduced me to Rebus puzzles. These are puzzles in which a phrase is represented by a combination of pictures, symbols, and letters. Some people call them pictograms. Master said that if I was smart enough to write blog articles for him then I could probably learn to decipher Rebus puzzles. Here is the first Rebus puzzle he showed me.

I love this kind of puzzle. It turned out to be easier for me than Master expected. Can you figure out what common saying this puzzle represents? The answer is near the end of this blog. Try to solve the puzzle before you look at the answer below. (Hint: This would be a good sign to put by the door of our house.)

Guard Dog

This puzzle was very appropriate for me, because one of my jobs is to guard Master’s house and camper. I am a top-caliber watchdog. Nothing gets by me.

I always warn Master about visitors. The doorbell never surprises him because I always bark well in advance to let him know someone is coming. I even let him know about Missus returning from the grocery store. I detect her arrival long before she approaches the back door. His ears do not work nearly as well as mine. Why I don’t know. Same with his nose — the Great Creator gave me much better ears and nose than He gave Master. I use them for Master’s benefit. As Master says, I “do very well what the Great Creator well-designed me to do.”

I patrol our yard to limit access by chipmunks, tree rats, raccoons, skunks, pre-teen pranksters, and other varmints. It’s a never-ending job. Sometimes it’s great fun, but sometimes I run into trouble.

We have a backyard, front yard, and side yards that I patrol. I can circle the house so much faster than Master. He cannot come close to keeping up with me! His legs are much, much longer than mine with much larger muscles. But he doesn’t move them very fast when he runs. If he were to move them as fast as I move mine, I would not be able to keep up with him. My legs are a blur when I run, but no one would say his were a blur.

Kepler
On Guard Duty at a Campground

When we are camping, I guard our campsite. I don’t let people even step on the grass of our campsite without notifying Master.

Recently I met Lacey, a large German shepherd sitting in the back of a police car. Master asked the policeman, “Wow, what did that dog do to get arrested?” Turned out that Lacey was a police dog, and the policeman did not appreciate Master’s sense of humor.

I asked Lacey how she got started working with the police. Lacey said she delivered 12 puppies in the park and got arrested for littering. According to her, she joined the canine police force to work off her fine. I was impressed that you can get paid for guard work which comes so naturally to me.

Biblical Guarding

Master told me that Guarding is a very Biblical activity. I was so pleased to learn that I am thus a Biblical dog.

Master explained that Guarding is an important function of angels. Their first guarding job was to guard the Tree of Life in the Garden of Eden after Adam sinned (Genesis 3:22-24). Today angels watch over, guard, and assist Yahweh’s people.
For He will give His angels charge concerning you, to guard you in all your ways. (Psalm 91:11)
Are they [angels] not all ministering spirits, sent out to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation? (Hebrews 1:14)

Master said that in addition to guarding help from angels, Yahweh’s people are to guard themselves.
Guard your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life. (Proverbs 4:23)
Be on guard, so that your hearts will not be weighted down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of life. (Luke 21:34)

Master said these verses instruct us to be careful what we think, to be careful about where we focus our affections. Keep your heart clean and pure and grounded in faith on the Great Creator. Believers are to guard their eyes (Job 31:1), to guard their tongues (Psalm 34:13), and to guard their feet (Ecclesiastes 5:1) from evil. But most of all, guard your heart, for out of man’s heart comes everything else.

I’m going to guard my little doggie heart!

Till next time, this is Kepler signing off. Woof! Woof!

Rebus answer: Beware of the dog.

Questions to Ponder

1. What area of your body, heart, or life needs vigilant guarding?
2. Even among those who don’t follow Christ, where do you see remnants of truth about the guarding role of angels?

Share your thoughts on these questions in the comments below. It could encourage or help another reader.

Soli Deo Gloria.

This is the 34th article in a series of blog posts on a precocious Jack Russell terrier named Kepler. Numbers 1-8 are by Kepler’s master, the BibleScienceGuy. Numbers 9-34 are by Kepler himself.
Read the prequels:
1. Why I Named Our Puppy “Kepler”
2. Kepler’s Kind
3. Kepler’s Lopsided Trade
4. Kepler’s Amazing Nose
5. Kepler’s Business Card
6. Kepler & the Psycho Squirrel
(with video)
7. Taunting Kepler
8. Adam and Puppies

The following posts are by Kepler:
9. Who Taught Kepler?
10. Kepler Gets a Buddy
(with video)
11. Kepler Chases a Squirrel (with video)
12. Kepler’s Complaint
13. Kepler’s To-Do List
14. Kepler and the Football Weekend
15. Kepler’s Favorite Store
16. Kepler at a Truck Stop
17. Kepler & Henry Catch a Squirrel
18. Kepler Finds Killdeer Eggs
19. Kepler Finds Robin Eggs
20. Kepler Lives to Tell the Tale
21. Kepler, Bears, & Raccoons
22. Kepler Mentors Henry
23. Kepler Gets a Bear
24. Kepler Finds Strange Eggs
25. Kepler Finds Duck Eggs
26. Kepler Gives Thanks
27. Kepler’s Newest Enemy
28. Kepler Loves Bulldogs
29. Kepler Ponders Snow
30. Kepler Wants to Move to Australia
31. Kepler’s Dating Profile
32. Kepler Meets Skunk
33. Kepler Wants to Be Good

Read the sequel:
35. Kepler ??? coming soon . . .

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Subscribe – Don’t miss future blog posts!
Click the sidebar’s “SUBSCRIBE” button to follow the
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new posts free by email. Click SUBSCRIBE NOW!

Click Best of Bible-Science Guy for lists of the best Bible-Science Guy posts of each year.
Click Bible-Science Guy Table of Contents for a list of all blog posts starting in October 2007.

©William T. Pelletier, Ph.D.
“contending earnestly for the faith”
“destroying speculations against the knowledge of God”
“for the defense of the gospel”
(Jude 1:3; 2 Cor 10:5; Phil 1:16)
Wednesday November 14, 2018 A.D.

But now ask the beasts, and let them teach you;
And the birds of the heavens, and let them tell you.
Or speak to the earth, and let it teach you;
And let the fish of the sea declare to you.
Who among all these does not know
That the hand of the LORD has done this,
In whose hand is the life of every living thing,
And the breath of all mankind?
(Job 12:7-10)

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Posted by: BibleScienceGuy | November 7, 2018

Kepler Wants to Be Good

(2 Minute Read)

Master’s Coffee Mug
It features me, Kepler.

Master’s Coffee Mug
It reminds me to be good.

Woof! Woof!
This is Kepler, Master’s Jack Russell terrier, writing another article for Master’s Bible-Science Guy Blog.

I try to be good, but I have some confessions to make. There are many situations where my good intentions fail to materialize. I get tired of waiting for Master and Missus, or I smell something terribly enticing, or my life-motto “What’s Next?” takes over.

Here are some examples:
1. I try to escape whenever a door opens. I know this is wrong — I’m supposed to sit at the door and wait till Master or Missus says I can go out, but I can’t help myself when I smell outside air.
2. I can’t stay out of the trash. Tissues and napkins that have been used are the best.
3. Sometimes I bark and bark and refuse to obey Master’s Quiet and No Bark commands. I like to stay right by Master or Missus. If they tether me outside the house or camper, I have to bark.

Master tells me that humans have the same problem of wanting to be good, yet failing to follow through. He said one of his favorite writers, Paul the Apostle, described the problem 2,000 years ago:
For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate. But if I do the very thing I do not want to do, I agree with the Law, confessing that the Law is good. So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want.” (Romans 7:15-19)

I asked Master why he and I both have this tendency to disobey. He said it all started with Father Adam who disobeyed the Great Creator‘s command to not eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil in the Garden of Eden some 6,000 years ago (Genesis 2:16-17).

All of creation was corrupted by Adam’s sin. In particular, all Adam’s offspring inherited his sin nature and the bent to do wrong.

Kepler
On Chipmunk Surveillance Duty

I asked Master if there was any way to escape the curse of doing wrong.

He said that’s the whole point of the Eternal Gospel as explained by the Apostle Paul:
For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! . . . Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.” (Romans 7:22-25; 8:1-4)

The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ sets His disciples free. Eventually all of creation will be redeemed and restored. (Romans 8:18-23)

I can hardly wait!

Till next time, this is Kepler signing off. Woof! Woof!

Questions to Ponder

1. What practical strategies do you find effective in resisting the urge to do wrong?
2. What absorbing activity can you keep at the ready so that boredom does not lead you to poor choices?

Share your thoughts on these questions in the comments below. It could encourage or help another reader.

Soli Deo Gloria.

This is the 33rd article in a series of blog posts on a precocious Jack Russell terrier named Kepler. Numbers 1-8 are by Kepler’s master, the BibleScienceGuy. Numbers 9-33 are by Kepler himself.
Read the prequels:
1. Why I Named Our Puppy “Kepler”
2. Kepler’s Kind
3. Kepler’s Lopsided Trade
4. Kepler’s Amazing Nose
5. Kepler’s Business Card
6. Kepler & the Psycho Squirrel
(with video)
7. Taunting Kepler
8. Adam and Puppies

The following posts are by Kepler:
9. Who Taught Kepler?
10. Kepler Gets a Buddy
(with video)
11. Kepler Chases a Squirrel (with video)
12. Kepler’s Complaint
13. Kepler’s To-Do List
14. Kepler and the Football Weekend
15. Kepler’s Favorite Store
16. Kepler at a Truck Stop
17. Kepler & Henry Catch a Squirrel
18. Kepler Finds Killdeer Eggs
19. Kepler Finds Robin Eggs
20. Kepler Lives to Tell the Tale
21. Kepler, Bears, & Raccoons
22. Kepler Mentors Henry
23. Kepler Gets a Bear
24. Kepler Finds Strange Eggs
25. Kepler Finds Duck Eggs
26. Kepler Gives Thanks
27. Kepler’s Newest Enemy
28. Kepler Loves Bulldogs
29. Kepler Ponders Snow
30. Kepler Wants to Move to Australia
31. Kepler’s Dating Profile
32. Kepler Meets Skunk

Read the sequel:
34. Kepler On Guard

Bible-Science Guy logo

Subscribe – Don’t miss future blog posts!
Click the sidebar’s “SUBSCRIBE” button to follow the
Bible-Science Guy Blog. You’ll automatically receive
new posts free by email. Click SUBSCRIBE NOW!

Click Best of Bible-Science Guy for lists of the best Bible-Science Guy posts of each year.
Click Bible-Science Guy Table of Contents for a list of all blog posts starting in October 2007.

©William T. Pelletier, Ph.D.
“contending earnestly for the faith”
“destroying speculations against the knowledge of God”
“for the defense of the gospel”
(Jude 1:3; 2 Cor 10:5; Phil 1:16)
Wednesday November 7, 2018 A.D.

But now ask the beasts, and let them teach you;
And the birds of the heavens, and let them tell you.
Or speak to the earth, and let it teach you;
And let the fish of the sea declare to you.
Who among all these does not know
That the hand of the LORD has done this,
In whose hand is the life of every living thing,
And the breath of all mankind?
(Job 12:7-10)

Posted by: BibleScienceGuy | October 31, 2018

Old Guy Fires Football

(3 Minute Read)

Old Guy (BibleScienceGuy) wearing his
Indiana Jones fedora zips winning throw
right through a tire.

Aaron Rodgers is the star quarterback for the Green Bay Packers. But since he has proved susceptible to injury, the Packers need a good backup quarterback. I have decided to be Rodgers’ backup because I can still fire a football.

At a campground several weekends ago, we participated in Rivalry Weekend festivities for the University of Michigan versus Michigan State University football game (won by UM 21-7). This was our third year at the park’s Rivalry Weekend. (See Kepler and the Football Weekend for a report of the 2016 Rivalry Weekend.)

One of the events this year was a quarterback passing competition in which contestants tried to throw footballs through the hole in a tire from 15 yards away. Along with some 30 to 40 other contestants, I entered the 17 and older division. About 90% of the competitors were under 30 years old. Prizes were given for First, Second, and Third Place based on how many footballs a competitor threw through the hole in the tire.

My many years of playing football finally paid off. I won First Place, even though I was decades older than most of the other competitors.

My wife entered the quarterback competition also, but she did not place. She hit the tire with all three of her throws and was pleased with that performance, because many people completely missed the tire with all their throws.

After the initial elimination round, only five contestants remained with some 100 intensely interested spectators. During the throw-off to determine First, Second, and Third Place, my wife heard onlookers near her make these comments about me (without realizing who she was):
“Wouldn’t it be something if Old Guy pulls this out?”
“Well Old Guy throws really well.”

Old Guy with his First Place prize.

Later several spectators congratulated me for “showing that old guys still have it.”

My wife said she was surprised to hear people refer to me as “Old Guy,” because she does not think of me that way.

My First Place prize was a portable propane grill with two propane canisters.

Old Guys

The Bible honors Old Guys:
A gray head is a crown of glory;
It is found in the way of righteousness.
(Proverbs 16:31)
This verse teaches that old age can be glorious as a result of righteous living.

The Apostle Paul encouraged Timothy to deal with Old Guys with respect:
Do not sharply rebuke an older man, but rather appeal to him as a father, to the younger men as brothers, the older women as mothers, and the younger women as sisters, in all purity. (1 Timothy 5:1-2)

Some Old Guys in the Bible did great things.

Adam began the human race, siring many sons and daughters while living to age 930. (See How Many Children Did Adam Have?.) Genesis does not record the number of Adam’s children, but if he had a child every 2 or 3 years, then he could easily have had hundreds of kids. The Jewish historian Josephus of the first century A.D. cites an “old tradition” that Adam and Eve had 56 children — 33 sons and 23 daughters.
(Flavius Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, Book 1, Chapter 2, Paragraph 2, Endnote 8.)

After Eden Eve, mother of all living

Noah sired sons at age 500. At age 600 he built and piloted a ship through the greatest storm and flood the world has ever known. (Genesis 6-9)

Noah’s great-grandfather Enoch was so righteous that God took him to heaven at age 365 without him dying (Genesis 5:21-24). Noah’s grandfather Methuselah lived to age 969, the oldest man in the Bible (Genesis 5:25-27).

When Abraham was 100 years old, he began the nation of Israel with the birth of Isaac (Genesis 21:5).

Isaac’s son Jacob moved his entire clan of around 70 people from Canaan to Egypt at age 130 (Genesis 46-47).

Moses liberated the nation of Israel from slavery in Egypt at age 80. He led Israel through the wilderness for 40 years before dying at 120. Even at death, Moses’ eye was not dim, nor his vigor abated (Deuteronomy 34:7).

Apparently I have reached the stage of life where I am identified as an “Old Guy.” I am not as old as many of the heroes of the Bible, nor have I done such great things as many of them did.

Nevertheless, look for me on TV in green and gold on the Green Bay Packers sideline.

The Old Guy Challenge

Here is the challenge for today’s Old Guys. The Apostle Paul instructed,
Older men are to be temperate, dignified, sensible, sound in faith, in love, in perseverance. (Titus 2:2)

What exactly does this Old Guy Challenge from the Apostle Paul mean?

Temperate means demonstrating moderation and self-restraint. Dignified means having a noble, serious manner that is worthy of respect. Sensible means thinking, speaking, and acting with practical wisdom and prudence. Sound in faith means committed to the Lord God and His Word as one lives and teaches it. Sound in love means one is focused on others rather than on one’s self. Sound in perseverance means steadfast tenacity in a Biblical walk despite difficulty.

I challenge all of us Old Guys to memorize this verse and to pursue these admirable qualities daily.

If you are not yet an Old Guy, the Apostle Paul had a similar challenge for you which he delivered to young Titus:
Likewise urge the young men to be sensible; in all things show yourself to be an example of good deeds, with purity in doctrine, dignified, sound in speech which is beyond reproach, so that the opponent will be put to shame, having nothing bad to say about us. (Titus 2:6-8)

If you are an Old Gal or a Young Gal, Paul tailored his Old Guy Challenge for you too:
Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored. (Titus 2:3-5)

For all of us, Paul urged,
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds. (Titus 2:11-14)

Questions to Ponder

1. How will you personally meet the Apostle Paul’s Old Guy Challenge today?
2. How will you show Biblical regard and respect for Old Guys and Old Gals?

Share your thoughts on these questions in the comments below. It could encourage or help another reader.

Soli Deo Gloria.

Bible-Science Guy logo

Subscribe – Don’t miss future blog posts!
Click the sidebar’s “SUBSCRIBE” button to follow the
Bible-Science Guy Blog. You’ll automatically receive
new posts free by email. Click SUBSCRIBE NOW!

Click Best of Bible-Science Guy for lists of the best Bible-Science Guy posts of each year.
Click Bible-Science Guy Table of Contents for a list of all blog posts starting in October 2007.

©William T. Pelletier, Ph.D.
“contending earnestly for the faith”
“destroying speculations against the knowledge of God”
“for the defense of the gospel”
(Jude 1:3; 2 Cor 10:5; Phil 1:16)
Wednesday October 31, 2018 A.D.

Older men are to be temperate, dignified, sensible, sound in faith, in love, in perseverance. (Titus 2:2)

Posted by: BibleScienceGuy | October 24, 2018

Reason Permeates Faith

(3 Minute Read)

Last week’s article, What is the Starting Point for Reason?, challenged a protestor’s claim that “Reason Cures Faith” by showing that Biblical faith is the basis or starting point for reason.

The Great Creator made mankind’s minds and gave Adam and all his progeny the capacity for reason. Reasoning ability is one of the Creator’s great gifts. It’s part of the image of God in man, for the Great Creator is Himself the Great Reasoner. In fact, He even calls on men to join Him in reasoning:
“Come now, and let us reason together,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are as scarlet, they will be as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, they will be like wool.” (Isaiah 1:18)

The Apostle Peter instructs believers to be prepared to give a logical answer or reason for why they trust in Christ:
But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give a reason for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence. (1 Peter 3:15)

Reasoning Supports Biblical Faith

The Apostle Paul, one of the great intellects of the Roman world, found evidence to justify a logical, reasoned belief in Jesus:
Therefore in Christ Jesus I have found reason for boasting in things pertaining to God. (Romans 15:17)

Paul used his reasoning ability evangelistically as he sought to convince both Jews and Gentiles of the Christian faith throughout the Roman world.

In Thessalonica, for example, . . . there was a synagogue of the Jews. According to Paul’s custom, he went to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and giving evidence that the Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead, and saying, “This Jesus whom I am proclaiming to you is the Christ.” (Acts 17:1-3)

In Athens he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the God-fearing Gentiles, and in the market place every day. (Acts 17:17)

In Corinth Paul reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, trying to persuade Jews and Greeks. (Acts 18:4)

At Ephesus he spent two years reasoning daily in the school of Tyrannus, so that all who lived in Asia heard the word of the Lord, both Jews and Greeks. (Acts 18:19; 19:8-10)

Paul reasoned extensively in every one of his epistles — as did Peter, John, James, and Jude. The New Testament epistles overflow with reasoning. For example, in one of the Apostle John’s epistles he reasoned regarding sin and forgiveness:
If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:8-9)

Apollos, an eloquent apologist, reasoned forcefully and effectively in Achaia:
He powerfully refuted the Jews in public, demonstrating by the Scriptures that Jesus was the Christ. (Acts 18:28)

Jesus Himself delivered many well-reasoned arguments to His disciples and the Jewish leaders, applying reason to derive logical conclusions. When the Jews sought to kill Him for making Himself equal with God (John 5:18), Jesus defended His claim to Deity with reason by presenting the witness of John the Baptist, the evidence of His miracles, the testimony of God the Father, and the witness of the Old Testament Scriptures. (John 5:33-47)

Jesus was so successful in reasoning with the Jewish leaders (Pharisees and Sadducees) that they eventually completely shut up.
No one was able to answer Him a word, nor did anyone dare from that day on to ask Him another question. (Matthew 22:46)

Jesus and the apostles extensively used reason to support their teaching. The Bible is stuffed with reasoning! Most pages containing conspicuous reasoning.

The field of apologetics, in which reasons are given to support Biblical faith in Jesus of Nazareth, is heavily dependent on logical reasoning. The articles of this Bible-Science Guy apologetics website are full of reasoning.

The protestor cited in last week’s blog article who waved a “Reason Cures Faith” sign at a Christian apologetics event is badly and sadly mistaken. The sign should more accurately read
Reason Permeates Faith
like the sign in the picture at the top.

Not only is Biblical faith in the Great Creator the only valid starting point for logical reasoning (see What is the Starting Point for Reason?), but reasoning is used throughout Scripture to support Biblical faith. Biblical Faith and Reason go hand-in-hand.

Questions to Ponder

1. How do you find reasoning helpful in understanding Biblical teachings?
2. How do you use reasoning in your own presentations of the Everlasting Gospel?

Share your thoughts on these questions in the comments below. It could encourage or help another reader.

Soli Deo Gloria.

Read the prequel:
What is the Starting Point for Reason?

Bible-Science Guy logo

Subscribe – Don’t miss future blog posts!
Click the sidebar’s “SUBSCRIBE” button to follow the
Bible-Science Guy Blog. You’ll automatically receive
new posts free by email. Click SUBSCRIBE NOW!

Click Best of Bible-Science Guy for lists of the best Bible-Science Guy posts of each year.
Click Bible-Science Guy Table of Contents for a list of all blog posts starting in October 2007.

©William T. Pelletier, Ph.D.
“contending earnestly for the faith”
“destroying speculations against the knowledge of God”
“for the defense of the gospel”
(Jude 1:3; 2 Cor 10:5; Phil 1:16)
Wednesday October 24, 2018 A.D.

But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give a reason for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence. (1 Peter 3:15)

Posted by: BibleScienceGuy | October 17, 2018

What is the Starting Point for Reason?

(2 Minute Read)

Recently a protestor outside a Christian apologetics event waved this sign:
Reason Cures Faith.

The clear implication of the sign is that rationality and faith are contradictory. The protestor believes that logical reasoning and Biblical faith are at odds.

The sign even suggests that faith is a sickness that needs to be cured.

Is this true? Are Faith and Reason incompatible?

Absolutely not!

How could faith in the One who created our minds be inconsistent with Reason? Biblical faith is the starting point for valid reasoning, and logical reasoning actually supports Biblical faith.

Faith, the Starting Point for Reason

All logical reasoning must start somewhere. There are always assumptions, axioms, or postulates at the base of any chain of reasoning. For example, the rules of logic used to reason are assumed, never proven.

King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon (6th century BC) perfectly illustrates the necessity of faith in the Almighty as a starting point for reason. He refused to recognize that the Most High is ruler over the realm of mankind (Daniel 4:25) and instead pumped himself saying, “Is this not Babylon the great, which I myself have built as a royal residence by the might of my power and for the glory of my majesty?” (Daniel 4:30).

As a result his reason was immediately stripped from him and he lived outdoors like an animal eating grass for seven years (Daniel 4:28-33). His reason returned when he acknowledged the Almighty, saying:
“But at the end of that period, I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes toward heaven and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High and praised and honored Him who lives forever;
For His dominion is an everlasting dominion,
And His kingdom endures from generation to generation.
All the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing,
But He does according to His will in the host of heaven
And among the inhabitants of earth;
And no one can ward off His hand
Or say to Him, ‘What have You done?’
At that time my reason returned to me. And my majesty and splendor were restored to me for the glory of my kingdom, and my counselors and my nobles began seeking me out; so I was reestablished in my sovereignty, and surpassing greatness was added to me. Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise, exalt and honor the King of heaven, for all His works are true and His ways just, and He is able to humble those who walk in pride.”
(Daniel 4:34-37)

A demonstrator outside Nebuchadnezzar’s palace in Babylon could have carried this sign,
Faith Restores Reason,
as he celebrated Nebuchadnezzar’s return to governing.

Biblical faith in the Great Creator is the only valid starting point for logical reasoning. Biblical faith is the basis for valid reasoning.

Without a starting point of faith in the Great Creator, how can one even know whether one’s reasoning is “right” or not? And what does “right” mean?

Whenever anyone reasons, he is implicitly acknowledging the existence of the Great Reasoner who created logic and reasoning. Logic and reasoning don’t just pop into existence out of nothing.

Every logical argument needs a starting point. Everyone’s starting point for their reasoning is their worldview. The reason the pictured protestor “reasoned” as he did that faith and reason are contradictory is due to his faulty worldview.

Starting logical reasoning with a denial of the Great Creator will eventually yield false results. This is exactly the problem with evolutionary science.

Next week’s article, Reason Permeates Faith, will explain how reason can be used to support Biblical faith.

Questions to Ponder

1. When you have to make a logical decision, do you use Biblical faith as the starting point?
2. How can you encourage others to base their reasoning on Biblical faith?

Share your thoughts on these questions in the comments below. It could encourage or help another reader.

Soli Deo Gloria.

Read the sequel:
Reason Permeates Faith

Bible-Science Guy logo

Subscribe – Don’t miss future blog posts!
Click the sidebar’s “SUBSCRIBE” button to follow the
Bible-Science Guy Blog. You’ll automatically receive
new posts free by email. Click SUBSCRIBE NOW!

Click Best of Bible-Science Guy for lists of the best Bible-Science Guy posts of each year.
Click Bible-Science Guy Table of Contents for a list of all blog posts starting in October 2007.

©William T. Pelletier, Ph.D.
“contending earnestly for the faith”
“destroying speculations against the knowledge of God”
“for the defense of the gospel”
(Jude 1:3; 2 Cor 10:5; Phil 1:16)
Wednesday October 17, 2018 A.D.

I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes toward heaven and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High and praised and honored Him who lives forever. (Daniel 4:34)

Posted by: BibleScienceGuy | October 10, 2018

Wrestling with “Eternal”

(4 Minute Read)

A recent BSG blog article of two weeks ago, The Eternal Gospel, stimulated a thoughtful question by John, a reader from Dallas, TX. He ponders the meaning of the word eternal, especially as applied to the Gospel.

Here is John’s insightful comment and question on The Eternal Gospel:

Thank you for this post on the eternal Gospel. The word “eternal“ has been wrestling with me for the past year or two. Not to the point of setting aside time to do a deep study of the word, but more so to paying attention to its context in Biblical use, and its use by the men of the cloth to whom I listen. This desire to know what God means with His use of this word has been engendered by the overuse (to the point of annoyance) of the word “infinite,” mostly by several of the members of the men’s Bible study I attend, as well as by some of the pastors and theologians to whom I read and listen. Challenging the men in my study with their use of the word “infinite” has engendered discussion about both infinite and eternal. I have no problem with understanding the common meanings of “infinite,” at least to the extent that mathematicians use the word.

“Eternal” doesn’t live comfortably in my known lexicon. In one sense I think of “infinite” as being of the created order and “eternal” as being transcendent. This is where I am with “Eternal”:
1) Without beginning or end.
2) Transcendent — an adjective describing many entities outside creation like God, His attributes, His Kingdom, His Word, etc.
3) Different from infinite, not particularly intended to measure size.
4) Not “time” related.
5) Unchanging.

I am not particularly comfortable with that list, but that is where I sit currently.

Until your post, the “Eternal Gospel” never took a foothold in my mind. With my limited understanding of “eternal,” this new (to me) use of the word has challenged my understanding; however, it makes me wonder if calling the Gospel “Eternal” implies that the Gospel will continue to be a prominent part of the glorified lives of God’s elect in the new heaven, in Christ’s Kingdom. And if that is so, other than that the Gospel will be a reminder to the elect why they are there, I wonder if there is more to derive from the knowledge that the Gospel is indeed eternal. Please share any thoughts you have on this, and please disabuse me of any misunderstandings.

Thanks again. I enjoy worshiping God discovering His Truth by reasoning about the meaning of words.

I appreciate John’s thoughtfulness and his drive to understand Scriptural truth. I admire the way he thinks deeply about Biblical issues.

He is undoubtedly a valuable part of his Bible study group, although I suspect that the men don’t always appreciate his probing questions, challenges, and insights.

Like Reader John, I also notice (and object to) people’s frequent sloppy use of the word “infinite.” So often it is used simply to mean “very big,” not true infinity. The accurate use of “infinite” overlaps with “eternal” in the sense that there is an infinite amount of future time or existence in eternal life.

Concerning the meaning of eternal, here are my thoughts. I think eternal means different concepts in different contexts. When used with reference to God, it certainly means without beginning or end, transcendent, and unchanging.

In most other contexts I think it primarily means only “without end” or “never ending.” In the King James Version, the word “everlasting” is often used instead of “eternal.” I think everlasting is a more accurate word, for “everlasting” clearly only means “without end.”

Here are some examples from the New American Standard version (NASB):
1. “The eternal God” (Deuteronomy 33:27; Romans 16:26) and His “eternal power” (Romans 1:20). Here eternal means certainly means without beginning or end, transcendent, and unchanging as indicated above.
2. When eternal is used with reference to life and salvation as in “eternal life” (John 3:16 and many other verses) and “eternal salvation” (Mark 16:20; Hebrews 5:9), I think it means “without end.” It could not mean “without beginning” in this case because we mortals who receive the gift of eternal life all definitely had a beginning.
3. Eternal means everlasting or without end for “eternal fire” (Matthew 18:8) and “eternal punishment” (Matthew 25:46).

Now what about the “eternal gospel” preached by the angel in Revelation?
I saw another angel flying in mid-heaven, having an eternal gospel to preach to those who live on the earth, and to every nation and tribe and tongue and people; and he said with a loud voice, “Fear God, and give Him glory, because the hour of His judgment has come; worship Him who made the heaven and the earth and sea and springs of waters.” (Revelation 14:6-7)

Many translations (including the King James) say “everlasting gospel.” I think the thrust of eternal gospel or everlasting gospel is that the truth of the gospel has no end — in the sense that the redemptive work of Christ will be praised for all eternity, He will be acknowledged and praised as the Creator forever, and the results of His redemptive work (those He redeemed) will be evident forever. So, yes, I think as John from Texas writes, “the Gospel will continue to be a prominent part of the glorified lives of God’s elect in the new heaven, in Christ’s Kingdom.”

The angel’s description of the Gospel as eternal also emphasizes the Gospel’s importance and significance. Eternal things are always more significant than temporal things. Calling the Gospel eternal is also a way of indicating how tremendous it is — far more tremendous than we typically think. We have gotten inured to the word Gospel and fail to contemplate how great the Gospel is.

The angel’s eternal gospel is also an unchanging gospel. It’s the same for everyone across all the ages.

The Gospel is that Jesus of Nazareth, the Great Creator Himself, was crucified for sin and then raised from the dead for our justification (Romans 4:23-25). He commands men to repent of sin and offers forgiveness for sin and eternal life. This is worth eternal (never ending) contemplation and praise.

The true, eternal, unchanging Gospel presents Jesus of Nazareth as God and Creator as well as Savior. He is the sin-bearing, crucified, and resurrected God-Man who is the coming King of kings, Lord of lords, and Final Judge. The Gospel calls men to repent of sin and to serve and worship the Great Creator.

Questions to Ponder

1. How does the never-ending (eternal) nature of the Gospel affect your life and thinking today?
2. What else does eternal suggest to you about the Gospel?

Share your thoughts on these questions in the comments below. It could encourage or help another reader.

Soli Deo Gloria.

Read the prequels:
The Eternal Gospel
Is Belief in Creation Necessary for Salvation?

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Subscribe – Don’t miss future blog posts!
Click the sidebar’s “SUBSCRIBE” button to follow the
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©William T. Pelletier, Ph.D.
“contending earnestly for the faith”
“destroying speculations against the knowledge of God”
“for the defense of the gospel”
(Jude 1:3; 2 Cor 10:5; Phil 1:16)
Wednesday October 10, 2018 A.D.

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. . . . He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. (John 3:16,18)

Posted by: BibleScienceGuy | October 3, 2018

Is Belief in Creation Necessary for Salvation?

(3 Minute Read)

Last week’s blog article The Eternal Gospel stimulated a thoughtful question by Dennis, a reader from Cincinnati.

In The Eternal Gospel I had written,
“Identifying God as the Creator and believing in Biblical creation is not a salvation issue. One does not have to be a creationist to repent of sin and follow Jesus Christ as Lord.”
That is, I was saying that belief in Biblical creation is not necessary for salvation.

But Dennis challenged this. Here is the articulate comment he sent via the BSG Contact Page:

“Repent, and believe the Gospel” (Mark 1.15) You rightly point out the full complement of the Gospel must include repentance and the Resurrection. Your third point stipulates the Biblical emphasis on the Creator as a critical aspect to the Gospel, both “in the beginning” (Law of First Mention) and at the last in Revelation 14. You are correct: “The Great Creator is the essential identifying description of God for mankind”.

If these several critical points you rightly make are part and parcel of the Gospel, then how is this “not a salvation issue”? If I need not believe ALL the Gospel, if believing the Gospel is an eclectic exercise, then how can I be saved? If “Creation is a Gospel issue”, as you rightly point out, how, then, can I “repent and believe the Gospel” (supra) while rejecting Biblical creation?

If the Biblical account of Creation is not relevant to salvation, then this article is pointless. You have just wasted however many minutes you took to write it, for me to read it, and to reply. In effect, you have just said that the GOSPEL is not necessary to salvation!

Please help me to understand.

I appreciate Dennis’ thoughts and his zeal for the truth. I concur that Biblical Creation is very, very important and a necessary part of a full understanding of the Biblical message.

In fact, Creation is the foundation for the Gospel, so the Biblical account of Creation is certainly relevant to salvation. Consider these Gospel-related questions: Who is God? Who is man? What is sin? Why does man need to be saved? The answers to these questions all go back to the record of Creation in Genesis.

The identification of Jesus as The Great Creator is certainly part of the Gospel as I discussed in The Eternal Gospel. In the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Colossians, he identified Jesus as the Creator when introducing His work of reconciliation through His death on the cross:
For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities — all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything. For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven. (Colossians 1:16–20)

An accurate understanding of who Jesus is certainly includes His identity as the Creator of the universe. But in my understanding, the New Testament authors did not require belief in Creation to be saved. Consider these salvation passages which do not require belief in creation:
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. . . . He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. (John 3:16,18)
If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. (Romans 10:9)

When Paul discussed Abraham’s justification as illustrative of ours in Romans 4, he said it was based on faith in God.
Faith was credited to Abraham as righteousness. . . . Now not for his sake only was it written that it was credited to him, but for our sake also, to whom it will be credited, as those who believe in Him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, He who was delivered over because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification. (Romans 4:9, 23-25)
There is no mention of Abraham believing in Creation, although he almost surely did. Abraham’s justification and our justification is based on faith; belief in Creation is not required.

The thief on the cross to whom Jesus promised salvation, received it based on his profession of faith in Jesus with no mention of whether or not he recognized Jesus as the Creator. He most probably did not. (Luke 23:39-43)

The Genesis record of creation is vital for a true understanding of the Bible’s central gospel message — Jesus’ crucifixion for sin and the significance of His resurrection. Scripture’s bedrock is the Creation foundation laid in Genesis.

Do you have to believe in Biblical Creation to be a Christian? No, a Christian can believe in evolution for example. But a house built on sand collapses in a storm. Without a sound Creation foundation, the Gospel is undermined. This can lead one to compromising on the rest of God’s Word.

A sinner does not need to know anything about creation or evolution to repent of his sin, to ask God for forgiveness based on Jesus’ death and resurrection, and to commit his life to following Jesus as His Lord. This is the basis for God’s gift of eternal life (salvation).

The true, eternal, unchanging Gospel presents Jesus of Nazareth as God and Creator as well as Savior. He is the sin-bearing, crucified, and resurrected God-Man who is the coming King of kings, Lord of lords, and Final Judge. The Gospel calls men to serve and worship Him.

Questions to Ponder

1. Do you include an identification of Jesus Christ as The Great Creator when presenting the Gospel?
2. What Scripture will you memorize today to strengthen your foundation to honor the Lord of Creation?

Share your thoughts on these questions in the comments below. It could encourage or help another reader.

Soli Deo Gloria.

Read the prequel:
The Eternal Gospel

Read the sequel:
Wrestling with “Eternal”

Bible-Science Guy logo

Subscribe – Don’t miss future blog posts!
Click the sidebar’s “SUBSCRIBE” button to follow the
Bible-Science Guy Blog. You’ll automatically receive
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©William T. Pelletier, Ph.D.
“contending earnestly for the faith”
“destroying speculations against the knowledge of God”
“for the defense of the gospel”
(Jude 1:3; 2 Cor 10:5; Phil 1:16)
Wednesday October 3, 2018 A.D.

We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.
(2 Corinthians 10:5)

Posted by: BibleScienceGuy | September 26, 2018

The Eternal Gospel

(3 Minute Read)

There is a part of the Gospel that is rarely included when the Gospel is presented. Do you know the part to which I’m referring?

The word Gospel means Good News, and it refers to how man can be reconciled to his Creator.

Repentance

One part that is often left out of the Gospel is repentance for sin. To repent means to be sorry for sin and to determine to turn away from it as part of becoming a disciple of Jesus Christ and accepting by faith His death as payment for your sin.

Repentance is an important part of the true Gospel which is often overlooked when calling people to follow Jesus. Jesus Himself included it when speaking with His disciples after the Resurrection:
“Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day, and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.” (Luke 24:46-47)

But repentance is not the part of the Gospel to which I’m referring. There’s another part which is almost never mentioned. Do you know what it is?

Resurrection

The physical Resurrection of Jesus is often skipped or downplayed because it’s hard to believe and some feel it makes the Gospel harder to accept. Yet the Apostle Paul considered it an essential part of the Gospel of salvation:
If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. (Romans 10:9)

But the Resurrection is not the part of the Gospel to which I’m referring. There’s another part which is almost never mentioned. Do you know what it is?

The Missing Part

The last time the Gospel is mentioned in the New Testament occurs in this passage:
And I saw another angel flying in midheaven, having an eternal gospel to preach to those who live on the earth, and to every nation and tribe and tongue and people; and he said with a loud voice, “Fear God, and give Him glory, because the hour of His judgment has come; worship Him who made the heaven and the earth and sea and springs of waters.” (Revelation 14:6-7)

The significance of this passage is that it identifies a part of the Gospel which many do not even think of as part of the Gospel.

Part of the Gospel is the identity of the One whom we are to worship and serve. The angel sent to preach the eternal gospel to earthlings in the last days identifies the One we are to worship as He “who made the heaven and the earth and sea and springs of waters.” The angel says as part of the gospel he is preaching that we are to worship the Great Creator.

The purpose of the Bible is to teach man about God and to lead him to salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. Thus the Bible must introduce God and Jesus to man.

Why does the Bible begin by identifying God as the Creator?
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. (Genesis 1:1)

Why does the Gospel of John begin by identifying Jesus as the Creator?
All things came into being through Him [Jesus]; and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. (John 1:3)

Why did the Apostle Paul introduce God to Gentiles as the Creator?
In Lystra on Paul’s 1st Missionary Journey, he identified the true living God as the One “Who made the heaven and the earth and the sea, and all that is in them.” (Acts 14:15) In Paul’s “Unknown God” address to the Athenians on his 2nd Missionary Journey, he identified the true God as the “God who made the world and all things in it.” (Acts 17:24)

The answer to all three questions is that The Great Creator is the essential identifying description of God for mankind!

These cited verses (Genesis 1:1; John 1:3; Acts 14:15; 17:24) introduce man to God and to Jesus with the most awesome identification which men can understand, God the Creator.

Throughout the Old Testament God identified Himself to the Israelites as the Creator, Maker of heaven and earth. In both Lystra and Athens Paul was addressing a pagan culture which did not know the God of the Old Testament as the Jews did. He therefore introduced God to the people of that culture the same way God identified Himself to the Jews in the Old Testament — as the Creator.

Identifying God as the Creator and believing in Biblical creation is not a salvation issue. One does not have to be a creationist to repent of sin and follow Jesus Christ as Lord. But creation is a Gospel issue. To deliver an accurate gospel we must identify God as the Creator, just as the angel God sends to preach the gospel in the last days will do (Revelation 14:6-7).

The only true worldview, the Biblical worldview, begins where the Bible begins — with God as the Creator of the universe. We must introduce God to people of our day as The Great Creator, the One who made the universe. This is part of the eternal, unchanging gospel.

The true, eternal, unchanging Gospel presents Jesus of Nazareth as God and Creator as well as Savior. He is the sin-bearing, crucified, and resurrected God-Man who is the coming King of kings, Lord of lords, and Final Judge. The Gospel calls men to serve and worship Him.

Questions to Ponder

1. In your experience, what essential part(s) of the Gospel are sometimes omitted?
2. Has your Sunday School or Bible Study class ever assigned Revelation 14:6-7 as a memory verse? Will you memorize it today?
3. Have you applied the Eternal Gospel to your own life? Have you acknowledged Jesus as your Creator, Savior, and Lord?

Share your thoughts on these questions in the comments below. It could encourage or help another reader.

Soli Deo Gloria.

Read the sequels:
Is Belief in Creation Necessary for Salvation?
Wrestling with “Eternal”

Bible-Science Guy logo

Subscribe – Don’t miss future blog posts!
Click the sidebar’s “SUBSCRIBE” button to follow the
Bible-Science Guy Blog. You’ll automatically receive
new posts free by email. Click SUBSCRIBE NOW!

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Click Bible-Science Guy Table of Contents for a list of all blog posts starting in October 2007.

©William T. Pelletier, Ph.D.
“contending earnestly for the faith”
“destroying speculations against the knowledge of God”
“for the defense of the gospel”
(Jude 1:3; 2 Cor 10:5; Phil 1:16)
Wednesday September 26, 2018 A.D.

We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.
(2 Corinthians 10:5)

Posted by: BibleScienceGuy | September 19, 2018

Darwin’s Secret Sex Problem

(2 Minute Read)

What is the huge “elephant-in-the-room” problem for evolutionary biologists that is no problem at all for Biblical creationists?

It is this big question:
How did sexual reproduction ever get started?

How did males and females simultaneously emerge in kind after kind of animal?

For Biblical creationists, the answer is simple. The Great Creator from the beginning made them male and female and commanded them to be fruitful and multiply (Genesis 1:20-28).

But evolutionary biologists have no idea how to answer this question — a question that is continually staring everybody right in the face day after day.

Evolutionists hypothesize that reproduction started asexually — copying DNA and splitting in two. But how did life kinds transition from asexual reproduction to sexual reproduction? The latter requires the simultaneous appearance of two separate individuals which each contribute only half of their DNA to the offspring. It’s a major puzzle for evolutionists.

Dr. F. LaGard Smith is the author of a new book focused on this problem:
Darwin’s Secret Sex Problem: Exposing Evolution’s Fatal Flaw—The Origin of Sex
It challenges both evolutionists and evolutionary creationists.

Dr. F. LaGard Smith

Dr. Smith points out the problems with a purported evolutionary development of sex:
“The first-ever generation of sexual reproduction would have required
1) a never-before-seen male organism and a novel female organism,
2) magically having compatible chromosomes, and
3) a death-defying process of precisely halving their chromosomes, mixing them together in a revolutionary way, and then recombining to produce, not a clone (as in asexual replication), but a unique offspring unlike any on the planet.
Not to mention the minor details of geographic proximity and an evolved instinct to mate — all absolutely required in Round One of sex to start the sexual ball rolling.”

Dr. Smith concludes that natural selection could not possibly have provided simultaneous, on-time delivery of the first compatible male/female pair for each of millions of sexually-unique life kinds, without which, Smith says, “evolution’s bedrock thesis of microbe-to-man common descent is not science, but science fiction.”

Sexual reproduction could not possibly have been
formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications.
-Dr. F. LaGard Smith

Dr. Smith focuses on science throughout the book. He ignores religious and Biblical issues, choosing instead to highlight a major flaw of evolutionary science — one that he says dynamites Darwin’s theory of evolution of life kinds from molecules.

This book is a fresh illuminating look at a very old problem. Dr. Smith shows what Darwin himself said would falsify his theory — namely that sexual reproduction “could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications.”

Dr. Smith’s book is an enjoyable, edifying read seasoned with splashes of humor. I highly recommend it.

Questions to Ponder

1. If no scientist has been able to explain an evolutionary origin of sexual reproduction, why is evolutionary theory still taught as unquestioned gospel?
2. Did you learn about this problem with the theory of evolution in your high school or college biology classes? If not, why not?

Share your thoughts on these questions in the comments below. It could encourage or help another reader.

Soli Deo Gloria.

Bible-Science Guy logo

Subscribe – Don’t miss future blog posts!
Click the sidebar’s “SUBSCRIBE” button to follow the
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new posts free by email. Click SUBSCRIBE NOW!

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©William T. Pelletier, Ph.D.
“contending earnestly for the faith”
“destroying speculations against the knowledge of God”
“for the defense of the gospel”
(Jude 1:3; 2 Cor 10:5; Phil 1:16)
Wednesday September 19, 2018 A.D.

Guard what has been entrusted to you, avoiding worldly and empty chatter and the opposing arguments of science falsely so called. (1 Timothy 6:20)

Posted by: BibleScienceGuy | September 12, 2018

Hurricane Coming

(5 Minute Read)

Hurricane Florence is expected to smash into the east coast of the United States with winds up to 150 mph later this week.

 

The average hurricane spans about 300 miles, but Florence is a monster storm spanning 575 miles. This is significantly larger than 2005’s Hurricane Katrina (415 miles wide) but currently smaller than Hurricane Sandy’s record width of 1,000 miles in 2012.

The National Hurricane Center classifies Florence as an “extremely dangerous” Category 4 storm. The center issued hurricane and storm surge watches for the East Coast from Edisto Beach, South Carolina, all the way north to the North Carolina-Virginia border.

The center warns of an “extremely dangerous” triple threat in the Carolinas and Virginia:
1. A life-threatening storm surge (rise in ocean water over dry land).
2. Life-threatening flooding from exceptionally heavy rainfall — as much as 4 feet of rain. Recent rains have already produced high rivers and saturated ground in North & South Carolina and Virginia. The slow-moving storm will exacerbate flooding danger.
3. Hurricane-force winds over hundreds of square miles of land.

A Category 4 hurricane (winds 130-156 mph) can be mind-numbingly catastrophic. The National Hurricane Center described the potential damage from a Category 4 storm: “Well-built framed homes can sustain severe damage with loss of most of the roof structure and/or some exterior walls. Most trees will be snapped or uprooted and power poles downed. Fallen trees and power poles will isolate residential areas. Power outages will last weeks to possibly months. Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months.”

South Carolina governor Henry McMaster issued mandatory evacuation orders along the South Carolina coast resulting in over 1 million people fleeing the storm. Virginia Governor Ralph Northam ordered mandatory coastline evacuations. The governors of Virginia, Maryland, and North and South Carolina have declared states of emergency before the storm even hits.

President Trump tweeted Monday afternoon:
“The Storms in the Atlantic are very dangerous. We encourage anyone in the path of these storms to prepare themselves and to heed the warnings of State and Local officials. The Federal Government is closely monitoring and ready to assist. We are with you!”

What is a Hurricane?

Called typhoons in the Pacific and cyclones in the Indian Ocean, hurricanes are huge rotating thunderstorm systems with sustained winds of 74 mph (Category 1) to 157+ mph (Category 5). Hurricanes can generate 100-foot waves, extend hundreds of miles across, last over two weeks, and travel thousands of miles.

Hurricane formation is only partially understood. When rain condenses from rising moist warm air, the resulting dry cooler air cascades earthward, generating powerful winds. These sweep up more moisture from a warm ocean, continuing the cycle. Earth’s rotation spins the system. Hurricanes produce violent winds, torrential rain, storm surges (causing 90% of hurricane deaths), flooding, and tornadoes.

For northern-hemisphere hurricanes, the most dangerous region is the right side relative to travel direction because of the additive effect of steering winds and counter-clockwise hurricane winds. The right side has the heaviest rainfall and spawns the most tornadoes.

Hurricane season runs June through November. Major hurricanes striking the US were more frequent 1940-1970 than 1970-2000. Hurricanologists think Atlantic hurricane frequency is now increasing. Last century, 24 hurricanes surpassed $1 billion damage. Already this century, at least 25 hurricanes have exceeded that figure.

Hurricane Benefits

Too few hurricanes would be as harmful as too many. Hurricanes are essential for planetary temperature balance, releasing solar heat from oceans and diverting heat from the tropics. In oceans hurricanes prevent CO2 buildup which could lead to global cooling.

Many regions depend on major storms for water. Bringing 6-12 inches of rain, hurricanes relieve drought. Hurricanes prune old growth with winds and lightning fires, making room for new plants. Lightning fixes nitrogen in soil, fertilizing it. Hurricanes significantly enhance marine chlorophyll along continental shelves.

A hurricane releases daily heat energy that’s 200 times earth’s electrical generating capacity. Could man harness and store hurricane energy someday for beneficial use?

After Eden teachable moment

Hurricane Theology

Natural disasters like hurricanes and earthquakes stagger humanity with destruction, suffering, and death. Does an all-powerful, loving God intentionally send hurricanes, earthquakes, and tsunamis? Or does He wish they didn’t happen?

Biblical response to disaster includes compassion, assistance, and God’s truth (Isaiah 45:7).

The same day Hurricane Matthew made landfall in Haiti in October 2016, a representative of the Christian Relief Fund wrote, “Our team is already on the ground distributing clean water and food and working to provide immediate shelter for those who have been displaced.”

Many churches and Christian schools in Florida and North Carolina promptly opened their doors as shelters for Hurricane Matthew victims, with believers rallying to provide food, bedding, and other immediate needs.

The first “boots on the ground” after Hurricane Katrina in 2005 were compassionate Christians. World magazine reported 9,000 Southern Baptists from 41 states contributed 120,000 workdays serving 10,000,000 meals and boosting recovery. Salvation Army personnel served 5,000,000 hot meals from 11 field kitchens. Christian agencies, megachurches, and small congregations embodied Christian compassion with shelter, clothing, and food — often including Bibles and prayer.

Southern Baptist Disaster Relief (SBDR) is one of the three largest disaster relief providers in the U.S. It is ready to immediately spring into action to assist victims of Hurricane Florence. SBDR plans to repair storm damage as well as to provide food, water, shower and laundry units, and other needed supplies. SBDR chainsaw teams will clean up fallen trees and storm debris. SBDR will also send out trained volunteer teams to remove mud and flood debris from homes, repair water damage, and kill mold caused by standing water.

Why do catastrophes happen? The reason is sin — we live in a broken world (Genesis 3:16-19; Romans 8:20-22). Nonetheless, God has a clear purpose for catastrophes.

How did Jesus answer when asked about tragedy? His astounding answer was that catastrophes — like the Siloam Tower collapse killing eighteen and Pilate’s Galilean massacre — are warnings to repent:
Now on the same occasion there were some present who reported to Him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. And Jesus said to them, “Do you suppose that these Galileans were greater sinners than all other Galileans because they suffered this fate? I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Or do you suppose that those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them were worse culprits than all the men who live in Jerusalem? I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” (Luke 13:1-5).

Jesus was echoing God’s words to Solomon:
When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land, or send a plague among my people, if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:13-14)

God sends famine, drought, blight, plague, storms, floods, and war — to call mankind to repentance (Amos 4:6-11).
I killed your young men with the sword…yet you did not return to Me,” declares the Lord.

Who sent Noah’s Flood? Who destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah? Who inflicted plagues on Egypt? Who sent Assyria and Babylon to chastise Israel and Judah? Who sent Jesus to the cross (Acts 2:23)?

Many times I told my children, “Don’t waste your discipline. Learn the lesson so you won’t have to repeat the discipline.” Most people waste catastrophes — they miss God’s message. Either they babble nonsense about the power of nature, or they curse God and refuse to repent (Revelation 16:9,11,21).

People usually miss and ignore God’s message in natural disasters. According to Jesus, the message of tragedy is, “Unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” (Luke 13:1-5) The proper response to calamity is repentance.

Why expect good weather? If everything developed via random evolutionary processes, catastrophic weather should be the norm. Expectations of good weather presuppose a benevolent weather Controller. Last century only 24 of 5200 weeks saw hurricanes of $1 billion damage. Do we thank God for good weather?

The God who “hurled a great wind on the sea” to drive Jonah to repentance orchestrates all weather (Jonah 1:4; Psalm 107:29; Zechariah 10:1). Matthew, Mark, and Luke report Christ stopped a storm so severe that veteran sailors trembled for their lives, gasping in awe, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?” (Matthew 8:23-27; Mark 4:35-41; Luke 8:22-25)

God controls all creation, from sparrow deaths (Matthew 10:29), to storm paths (Job 37:9-13), to rulers’ rise and fall (Isaiah 40:23-24; Daniel 2:21,37-38,44; 4:17,32).

Hurricanes are God’s merciful megaphones to get man’s attention. The crucial message of every calamity is “Repent and follow Christ.

The God who “hurled a great wind on the sea”
to drive Jonah to repentance
controls all creation — from sparrow deaths,
to storm paths, to rulers’ rise and fall.

What Hurricanes Cannot Destroy

People scramble to safeguard life and property against hurricanes, but neglect essential preparation — repentance for sin and commitment to Jesus Christ.

Eventually life and property will be destroyed anyway (Hebrews 9:27; 2 Peter 3:7,10-12). Prepare for life’s hurricanes by turning to Jesus Christ. The gain is eternal life which hurricanes cannot destroy.

The greatest tragedy of history, the Crucifixion, provided reconciliation with God. Christ died for my sins and gave me eternal life. Why fear hurricanes, bad-hair days, or anything else?

Questions to Ponder

1. Have you allowed the reports of Hurricane Florence to work fresh repentance and reverence in your heart?
2. What personal benefits have you observed following your own life’s disasters?

Share your thoughts on these questions in the comments below. It could encourage or help another reader.

Soli Deo Gloria.

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©William T. Pelletier, Ph.D.
“contending earnestly for the faith”
“destroying speculations against the knowledge of God”
“for the defense of the gospel”
(Jude 1:3; 2 Cor 10:5; Phil 1:16)
Wednesday September 12, 2018 A.D.

“But I gave you also cleanness of teeth in all your cities
And lack of bread in all your places,
Yet you have not returned to Me,” declares the Lord.
“Furthermore, I withheld the rain from you
While there were still three months until harvest.
Then I would send rain on one city
And on another city I would not send rain;
One part would be rained on,
While the part not rained on would dry up.
So two or three cities would stagger to another city to drink water,
But would not be satisfied;
Yet you have not returned to Me,” declares the Lord.
“I smote you with scorching wind and mildew;
And the caterpillar was devouring
Your many gardens and vineyards, fig trees and olive trees;
Yet you have not returned to Me,” declares the Lord.
“I sent a plague among you after the manner of Egypt;
I slew your young men by the sword along with your captured horses,
And I made the stench of your camp rise up in your nostrils;
Yet you have not returned to Me,” declares the Lord.
“I overthrew you, as God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah,
And you were like a firebrand snatched from a blaze;
Yet you have not returned to Me,” declares the Lord.
(Amos 4:6-11 NASB)

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