Wednesday, September 20, 2017

THE MOUNTING FAILURES OF NATURALISM





What if you found that a marine animal had its own GPS system? Would you automatically conclude that such a thing could blindly evolve, or would you conclude that an intelligent Mind had to design such a thing?

A loggerhead turtle migrates millions of miles over its lifetime, and, each year, it always returns to the very beach in Japan where it had been hatched to lay its own eggs after feeding on the coast of California.

In Have You Considered: Evidence Beyond a Reasonable Doubt, Bruce Malone writes:

·       It has been known for decades that loggerheads have a built-in “compass” in their heads that allow them to know their latitude…Loggerheads were found to have not just a “compass” but a built-in “GPS” system detecting both the intensity and angle of the magnetic field.

Malone argues that we intelligent beings had required hundreds of years to develop such devices. Could they have just happened through a mindless process?

Before you answer this question, consider the fact that animals have other equally complex and profound sensory systems like sonar, sight, radar, and infrared heat sensors. Do we have any evidence that these can arise from a chance and mindless process?

Let’s take it to a more basic level. There is absolutely no evidence that anything ever happens or is caused naturally (without intelligence or design). No one has ever been able to provide a shred of evidence otherwise. Meanwhile, some have mentioned snowflakes and crystals as evidence that design can have a natural cause. However, when they are challenged by the obvious fact that these minerals are merely replicating their pre-existing chemical design, which had already been programmed into them, they have no further answer.

Naturalism is an utterly bankrupt idea, although it now holds Western culture hostage. However, few have eyes to see and to proclaim that the King is without clothing.

IRREDUCIBLE COMPLEXITY AND ONE OF THE INTRACTIBLE PROBLEMS OF EVOLUTION





Evolution and Darwin have offered “gradualism” to explain the development of new and beneficial structures, which improve a creature’s ability to survive and reproduce. Darwin theorized that each successive change (mutation, adaptation) had to produce a survival advantage in order for it to be “selected” (passed on) by evolution. But here’s the problem – a new and adaptive structure, like sonar, requires numerous and simultaneous changes before it can confer a survival advantage, and the evidence fails to provide any clear examples of this.

To use a very clear example of this problem – for a worm to become a butterfly, it has to build a cocoon around itself, totally deconstruct, and be transformed into an entirely different creature. For this to happen, thousands of pieces of genetic information have to simultaneously exist beforehand. Without all of this information, the worm will remain dead in its cocoon.

This problem is explained by the concept of “irreducible complexity (IC),” which observes that unless all of the materials and information are simultaneously present, no new functioning structure can naturalistically arise.

The mouse trap is often used to explain this problem. For a mousetrap to work, it cannot evolve gradually. All of the five parts must first be present and properly constructed or the trap will fail to catch a mouse. Nor can it be reduced to four parts to catch mice.

It is argued that every organ or structure is “irreducibly complex” and therefore defies evolutionary explanations. In Have You Considered: Evidence beyond a Reasonable Doubt, Bruce Malone provides several examples of (IC). Our blood must be able to clot, or any cut can cause us to bleed to death. However:

·       In order for blood to clot, there must be 12 specific individual chemicals reacting in a domino effect for a clot to form.

Malone adds that these chemicals must also be present in the right amounts lest no clot or too many clots result. How then could an animal survive unless this entire mechanism had been present! This reality defies any gradualistic Darwinian explanation.

Malone also offers the example of the carnivorous Venus flytrap. For it to survive on its exclusively insect diet, five complex systems have to be in place simultaneously.

1.    The insect has to be lured to Venus by a “sweet smelling aroma.”
2.    Venus has to “know the insect is there.”
3.    Venus has to “trap the insect.”
4.    Venus has to have the digestive apparatus to digest the insect.
5.    Finally, Venus has to eliminate the remains.

Lacking any one of these IC processes could mean starvation and death for Venus. Instead, each of these had to be present simultaneously.

We encounter this same problem within all species. Malone also cites the sea cucumber. It survives its predators by secreting its sticky organs which “can glue a predator’s throat shut.” Malone rhetorically asks:

·       How did the first sea cucumber survive the first time he spilled his guts? From the very beginning, he had to have the ability to vomit out his sticky organs and then have the ability to regrow them.

Without all of these complex abilities functioning simultaneously, the cucumber could not have survived.

Is there any evolutionary record of these adaptations (gradual changes found in the fossil record)? Not really! Malone offers the example of the monotremes, egg laying mammals. There are only two – the platypus and the echidria. Evolutionists believe that mammals had evolved from amphibians. However, the fossil record is silent about any such transition. Malone writes:

·       Did the platypus evolve? Fossil platypuses are essentially identical to modern platypuses; no transitional forms have been found.

I will offer once last example, among many, of IC. Malone offers the example of the poisonous snake. In order for this weapon to be functional, many systems have to be in place simultaneously:

1.    Venom
2.    Venom gland to store venom
3.    Canal to transfer venom to the fangs
4.    Hollow fangs…to inject the poison
5.    Muscles to contract the venom reservoir
6.    A nervous system to signal the muscles to contract
7.    Spring loaded fangs
8.    Instincts to know when and how to use all this against prey or predator

To illustrate the problem for Darwinian gradualism, all of these systems have to be present at the same time for the snake to deliver its lethal blow. If just one is lacking, the snake will not survive. Only the Design hypothesis is capable of accounting for the simultaneous appearance of all of the necessary systems.

As science continues to demonstrate the complexity, functionality, and profound elements of design, it becomes obvious that to deny design contradicts the many findings. It also suggests that the denial of an Intelligent Designer constitutes a rejection of the findings in favor of a blind faith that someday naturalistic explanations will counter-evidentially appear.

FALSE NEWS OR FALSE LEADERS






For many church leaders, evangelism has become a dirty word, unless we evangelize without words.

In an article entitled, “Pope Francis Issues Top 10 Tips for Happiness,” the last two tips conclude with these suggestions:

·       We can inspire others through witness so that one grows together in communicating. But the worst thing of all is religious proselytism, which paralyses: 'I am talking with you in order to persuade you,' No. Each person dialogues, starting with his and her own identity. The church grows by attraction, not proselytizing.”

·       The call for peace must be shouted. Peace sometimes gives the impression of being quiet, but it is never quiet, peace is always proactive” and dynamic. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/pope-francis-issues-top-10-tips-for-happiness-9639488.html

Did you notice the contrast? We are to shout “peace,” but we cannot even whisper “Jesus.” I wonder what this Pope what have said at the preaching of John:

·       In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah when he said, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord; make his paths straight.’” (Matthew 3:1-3; ESV)

Would Francis have corrected Jesus along with John? Let’s look at His final instructions to His Apostles:

·       “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20)

Sounds like proselytization, doesn’t it? In contrast, Francis claims: “But the worst thing of all is religious proselytism, which paralyses: 'I am talking with you in order to persuade you,' No.”

Well, isn’t Francis trying to persuade us? A little bit of a double-standard here? Perhaps proselytism is not the worst thing in the world.

It is also worthy to note that none of Francis’ ten tips allude to Jesus or Scripture. Could it be that this article is just another example of “false news” or are we looking at a false representative of Jesus?

Monday, September 18, 2017

THE SPIRIT AND HIS WORD: THEY WORK TOGETHER





The knowledge of the truth of God can build us up. It is even necessary for our growth. Paul explained that God had provided His Church with teachers and pastors to build it up in the transformational knowledge of the truth:

·       …to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ. (Ephesians 4:12-15; ESV)

The truth is the source of all unity, stability, and growth (2 Peter 1:2-3). Nevertheless, the truth can also be used as a hammer to destroy and separate us when the Spirit is not involved:

·       If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. (1 Corinthians 13:1-2)

Where the Spirit is lacking, we are possessed by an earthly wisdom and its earthly motives:

·       But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. (James 3:14-16)

Without the Spirit, we can even use the truth for very self-centered and unspiritual purposes. Consequently, in the Dynamics of Spiritual Life, Richard Lovelace has written:

·       [Biblical] propositions fall far short of the splendor of the One who is the Word and the Truth, it must be admitted. But by the power of the Spirit of truth they can be the medium of conveying to us the mind of Christ. The Christian who wants to encounter God without listening to what he has to say may remain in the condition of a smiling sub-literate and the disobedient two-year-old. (282)

Lovelace, therefore, argues that we need both – the Word and the Spirit illuminating it and applying it to our minds and hearts. Actually, this is at the heart of the New Covenant promise:

·       “For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” (Jeremiah 31:33)

However, this promised experience of God writing His words on our heart does not seem to be independent of our meditating on His Word. Paul had explained that the Spirit had written the Words upon the hearts of the newborn Church, but this did not happen apart from Paul’s teaching ministry.

·       And you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. (2 Corinthians 3:3)

The Israelites also had the Scriptures, which were able to make them wise unto salvation (2 Timothy 3:15; but without the Spirit, they remained blinded (1 Corinthians 3:14). However, the children of Christ had the Spirit. Consequently, they were able to behold the transformative truths of God (2 Corinthians 3:17-18; 4:4-6).

The Spirit must illuminate the Scriptures for us as Jesus had done for His disciples after His resurrection:

·       Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures. (Luke 24:44-45)

While the Spirit has the ability to open our minds without the Word, He does so in accordance with the Word. Jesus had also promised His Apostles that the Spirit would bring all His teachings (Scripture) back into their remembrance (John 14:26).

Similarly, Paul instructed Timothy to meditate on what he had written him. Consequently, God would give Timothy understanding in conjunction with Paul’s words, not in isolation from them:

·       It is the hard-working farmer who ought to have the first share of the crops. Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything. (2 Timothy 2:6-7)

Again, we see that the Lord illuminates Scripture giving us understanding. Paul also likens Timothy’s reflections on Paul’s writings to the “hard-working farmer.” This suggests that we shouldn’t take the Spirit’s work for granted. We too must do our part by diligently studying Scripture, laboring over it, meditating on it both night and day (Psalm 1:1-3; Joshua 1:9; Deuteronomy 6:4-6).

Against this, some have appealed to the Spirit alone to guide us into all truth. For example:


·       Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Consequently, they wrongly argue that all they need is the Spirit and ecstatic experience. However, if we truly hear what Scripture is promising, we understand that these verses are promising His guidance in conjunction with the Word, with acknowledging Him in all of our ways.

How do we acknowledge Him? By acknowledging His Word! There is no other way. To acknowledge Him, we have to acknowledge what He reveals about Himself. According to Jesus, the Father requires worship which accords with His truth, as He had informed the woman by a well in Samaria:

·       But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4:23-24)

Scripture does not allow us to separate God from the truth of His Word. The two are inseparable. To love God is to love His Word. To hate Him is to dismiss or hate His Word. Consider these verses:

·       Psalm 130:5-6: “I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in HIS WORD I put my hope.”

·       I will bow down toward your holy temple and will praise your name for your love and your faithfulness, for you have exalted above all things your name [God Himself] and YOUR WORD. (Psalm 138:2)

·       "But anyone who sins defiantly…BLASPHEMES THE LORD, and that person must be cut off from his people. Because he has DESPISED THE LORD'S WORD and broken his commands, that person must surely be cut off; his guilt remains on him" (Numbers 15:30-31).

·        “Why did you DESPISE THE WORD OF THE LORD by doing what is evil in his eyes? You struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and took his wife to be your own. You killed him with the sword of the Ammonites. Now, therefore, the sword will never depart from your house, because you DESPISED ME and took the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your own” (2 Samuel 12:9-10).

Consequently, to love God is to love His Word (John 14:23-24). This understanding should prevent us from relying on either the Spirit or His Word. The two must go together. Besides, we are instructed to pursue understanding through the Word and not experiences.

Seeing our dependence on both the Word and the Author of the Word, we should be in continual prayer for understanding and the Spirit’s involvement. We also have to ask Him to protect us from sin – anything that would distance the Spirit from us. Consequently, we should be examining ourselves to see if there is anything that might be separating us from His influence (1 Corinthians 11:28-32), also asking Him to examine us (Psalm 139:23-24).