Tag Archives: Apologetics

There IS Purpose!

To Begin With…

The world is in a state of turmoil. Pain and suffering are everywhere. Worry and fear are some of the more common emotions among men and women these days. In the midst of all this unforgiving stress, the hurting need comfort; yet, where are they to find it?  I believe that comfort can be found in the belief that this world is not the result of an accident, but design. I believe that there is more to life than what we can see. I believe in a Creator. I believe in God. This belief gives me comfort in the midst of pain and suffering.

But…

Many (but not all) scientists, however, do not believe in a Creator, so they pursue meaning and purpose through the discovery of new things, improving mankind’s situation, and better anticipating the future of the universe. Even though great scientists of the past viewed science as a means to further understand God’s creation, leading them to give God praise for His magnificent design, many modern scientists see the universe through a naturalistic worldview. They tend to comfort themselves in the supposed fact that this universe, made of matter, is all that there is – nothing more. They reason that since life is just a natural process and that matter is all that there is, what does it matter (pun intended) if there is no purpose to life? To the naturalist (the typical scientist), it is all about the here-and-now, occasionally sprinkled with purposeless wonder and meaningless awe.

Science?

A recent “scientific” study was conducted that shed some interesting light on the reasons why people choose to believe that there is a Designer of the universe, rather than purposeless existence after death. Just consider the title of the study: “Death and Science: The Existential Underpinnings of Belief in Intelligent Design and Discomfort with Evolution.” (Tracy, Hart, Martens) This study showed that when faced with the ultimate reality of death, most choose to find comfort in the belief that there is a design to everything, which would suggest purpose, rather than hold to Darwin’s theory of evolution. When faced with what was called “mortality salience,” even the unreligious tended to be “uncomfortable” with the theory of evolution. The conductors of the experiment were amazed (I found it perfectly logical), even indignant at times (which I thought was funny). Sadly, the researchers who conducted the study were obviously predisposed to atheism and the idea that the universe is un-designed. Surely they included themselves in the category of “certain individuals who are more deeply invested in the scientific worldview (e.g., scientists),” and, like Carl Sagan, viewed “naturalism as providing human life with meaning and purpose.” (Tracy, Hart and Martens 10)

Only a fool could look at a working machine that had every feature capable of performing a particular task and call that machine a random collection of atoms without purpose or meaning. Even the Psalmist said, “the fool hath said in his heart, [there is] no God.” On the other hand, the logical person would conclude, at some point, that the universe machine must have been designed by a Designer. To illustrate this, William Paley (1743-1805) used a pocket watch as an analogy to describe what one should conclude when he looks at the universe. Like a lone watch found on a beach, the universe should be to the observer an intricate work of art made for a purpose. People that are logical also see themselves as instruments of purpose, because they can recognize things that bear the marks of design. Why should it be a surprise to anyone, that when faced with death, the need for meaning would be important to the same, thoughtful, logical observer? “When we see evidence of intelligent design…we naturally assume that an intelligent designer was responsible for constructing the object.” (Phillips, Brown and Stonestreet 78)

Ten Words

The Christian can find his whole sense of purpose in the ten words that make up Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” The Christian scientist can also read these words and find confirmation to his observations. It is the naturalistic scientist that looks at William Paley’s watch analogy (teleological argument) and comes to the illogical conclusion that “chance plus time” created a beautifully intricate machine out of nothing.

If the universe is Godless, and it was not designed for a purpose, then meaning is irrelevant. The thing that is designed for a purpose, even if only to amuse, has a purpose, which gives meaning to every aspect of its being. Something that was not designed, created, or brought about either in reality or in the abstract, exists, at best, by accident. There is no purpose inherent within an accident (accidents are by definition unplanned), unless, of course, the accident was caused. If an accident is caused, even if it was not purposeful, then it was at least caused, was it not? So, either way, it could be argued that whether the universe was designed or came about by accident, there was a Something that brought it about, for both are objects of a Creator, else neither would have existed.

Waxing Philosophical

In conclusion, I would now argue that if the universe was either designed or the result of an accident, and if both design and accident have to have a cause; and, since accidents usually don’t result in the promotion of life-sustaining details, but rather carnage; and, since the universe mirrors best an intricate machine full of life; therefore, it must be designed, not an accident. If, then, the universe was the product of a Designer, then there must be a purpose inherent in the design. In other words, there is a reason for everything we see. It may be hidden somewhere in the workings of this great machine. Or, it could be found in the revelation of the Designer – the Bible.

There is, according to Scripture, a purpose for everything. Even amidst all the turmoil of the Vietnam War era a song came out by a group call The Byrds entitled, “Turn, Turn, Turn.” The lyrics included a line from Ecclesiastes 3:1 which said, “a time to every PURPOSE (emphasis mine) under heaven.” To everything there is a purpose, even though it may not be plain to the observer. For example, unless they are meant to be a prank, buttons and levers on a machine usually have a purpose. Even if they don’t do anything, they had the purpose to illicit a response of some kind from the observer. That being understood, if there seems to be any design to the universe, wouldn’t it make the most sense to assume there was a Designer? If there was a Designer, then there was a purpose for the design. And the Bible says that the purpose, if for no other reason, was to cause “…all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him [the LORD]. For he spake, and it was [done]; he commanded, and it stood fast.” – Psa 33: 8-9 KJV

God made everything for a reason. You have a purpose. There IS hope in Jesus Christ.

Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the LORD. – Psalm 31:24 KJV


Works Cited

Tracy, J. L., J. Hart and J. P. Martens. 2011. Death and Science: The Existential Underpinnings of Belief in Intelligent Design and Discomfort with Evolution. PLoS ONE. 6 (3): e17349.

Phillips, W. Gary, William E. Brown and John Stonestreet. Making Sense of Your World, A Biblical Worldview. Salem, Wisconsin: Sheffield Publishing Company, 2008.

Here is a link to the Institute for Creation Research article addressing the study mentioned above: http://www.icr.org/article/6039/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+icrscienceupdate+%28Science+Update+from+ICR%29&utm_content=FaceBook

 

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Filed under Apologetics, Christianity, Faith

It’s the Bible, Not a Telephone Game

Dear friends,

This afternoon I was skimming through posts on Facebook and came across a discussion on the reliability of the Bible. A lady named Shannon questioned the claim that the Bible we have today is the same scripture from thousands of years ago.

Shannon asked, Ever play the game telephone? Try doing that over a course of a couple of centuries and a few languages.” 

Well, I felt I should engage Shannon, so I offered her some resources I thought might be helpful. I want to share them with you guys, too.

First, please try to find a copy of the book God’s Word In Our Hands: The Bible Preserved for Us. I have a copy in my library and let me tell you, it is an invaluable resource.

Click on the picture of the book for a link to Amazon.

Secondly, if you can take the time, watch this lecture by Dr. Sean McDowell (son of Josh McDowell) on the reliability of the Bible.

 

Yes, we may disagree on what some of it means, but it would be intellectually silly to write off the Bible as nothing more than the result of 2000-year’s worth of playing “telephone.”

Essentially, I am fully convinced that what we have today is the preserved Word of God, regardless of how long it’s been since the originals were penned. The textual evidence is overwhelming that what we have in our hands is reliable.

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Do You Even Know the Difference?

Walmart lines can be insanely long, as many of you know well. Therefore, as I am standing in one with my wife, I decided to pull out my phone and watch something on YouTube. She is looking at something in a magazine, probably about how Queen Elizabeth ordered Meghan to boot camp…or that she’s actually an alien.

Anyway, I came across the following video featuring a favorite of mine, Ravi Zacharias. No doubt, the modern church is becoming less and less equipped to handle threats against our faith, and much of the problem lies in the desire to have one’s ears tickled.

Do you know the difference between Christianity and Islam? I hope you do.

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Appreciate the Dandelions; They Are EVIDENCE!

My Katie

Guys (and I do mean that figuratively), you should really get to know my daughter, Katie. She is so gifted by God in photography, music, and even writing. But what most impresses me about Katie is her ability to see the wonder of God in the smallest of things.

Like I said, Katie is a gifted photographer. Her personal blog is called “Shutter Elf,” and features some seriously good photos. I can take a picture of something and it will look like a picture; Katie can take a picture of the exact same thing and it will be art.

Unfortunately, because of college and stinking Instagram, she doesn’t post as much on her blog. I wish she would do more, however. All it takes is a little browsing through her posts and you will notice not only her natural skill as a photographer, but her ability to bring meaning and insight to what the shutter captures.

The Dandelion

Last night, as I was wrapping things up and getting ready to shut things down, I happened to click on a blog post entitled “Overwhelmed.” Just click on the link and check it out.

The author of the blog (I don’t know her name) concluded her post with the following words:

“So today I pray instead for the Lord to show me the value in the dandelions, the treasures to be found hidden in our afflictions, to open my eyes to His blessings safely tucked within the weeds.”

That’s when I had to comment, and the comment consisted of me asking her to do what I’m going to ask you to do…

Read Katie’s post about dandelions! You will never look at them the same again!

Oh, and try to encourage Katie to post more by leaving a comment and subscribing to her blog. 🙂

Click HERE, or on the picture, to read “DANDELIONS.”

Photo Credit: Katie Marie

 

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I’m Not Feeling It, TobyMac

The other day I was listening to the radio and a song by TobyMac (Toby McKeehan) started playing. Since I had nothing better to do as I was driving, I listened.

I was disappointed.

Folks, if you will remember what I wrote in a previous post, I’m not anti-contemporary music…I’m just anti-bad theology. New songs, even those with styles I can’t stand, are fine with me as long as they convey biblical theology, edify the Christian, and bring glory to the name of Jesus Christ. Really, that leaves the Christian music artist with a lot of room to  create.

But it seems to me that Toby Mac really missed the mark with this song. In “Feel It” (released in 2015) TobyMac seems to want to appeal to the modern, post-Christian, millennial culture by basing the whole argument for God’s existence on his personal, subjective feelings.

The chorus of “Feel It” reads:

“Feel It”

[Chorus:]

Oh I feel it in my heart
I feel it in my soul
That’s how I know (oh oh oh ohah)
You take our brokeness
And make us beautiful
Yeah, that’s how I know
That’s how I know (You can’t take that from me)

I’m sorry, brother, but your argument is weak, to say the least.

Contrast the above with the first verse and chorus from another song, “Never Alone” by Barlow Girl:

“Never Alone”

I waited for you today
But you didn’t show
No no no
I needed You today
So where did You go?
You told me to call
Said You’d be there
And though I haven’t seen You
Are You still there?[Chorus:]
I cried out with no reply
And I can’t feel You by my side
So I’ll hold tight to what I know
You’re here and I”m never alone

Do you see the difference? The first finds comfort and reassurance in “feeling,” but the second finds faith secure in “knowing.” There is a difference.

These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.” – 1 John 5:13

“Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.” – John 17:17

“And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” – John 8:32

Notice that last verse? What did Jesus say? Did He say, “You shall have a feeling, and the feeling shall set you free”? Don’t think so.

Feelings fluctuate. Feelings lie.

In the tagline of “Feel It” TobyMac repeats,

Everybody talkin’ like they need some proof
But what more do I need than to feel you?

I’ll tell you (and I bet you already know), Toby, you need the Truth, God’s promises, His Word that never changes…

’cause feelings sure do.

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Filed under Apologetics, Faith, music

If Footprints Could Talk

Footprint 1: Hey! You look just like me! 

Footprint 2: Yeah. So?

F1: I just think it’s cool, because we must have been made by the same Walker.

F2: Excuse me? You believe in a Walker? Are you an idiot?

F1: Uh, well, it would seem logical to assume that since we are both footprints, there must be a Walker who made us…at least Someone with feet. 

F2: You’re full of fungus, you uneducated, illiterate, mind-numbed hole in the ground! Show me the proof! Go ahead, I’m waiting. Where’s your proof there’s a Walker? 

F1: You’re being serious, aren’t you? 

F2: Of course! You come aroun here bothering me with all this talk of a Walker who made me, but where is he? Where’s your proof he exists? 

F1: You. Me. 

F2: Jesus Christ! Oh my god!! Is that the best you’ve got? You simpleton! I could give you a thousand reasons why we are here, why we look like footprints, without having to resort to such superstitious hypotheticals like a Walker. 

F1: OK, Dr. Shoal, tickle me. 

F2: Oh, you’re boring me! Look, we only look like footprints because you want there to be a Walker. You can’t be happy just being here; you have to think you were made for a reason. In reality, you are just a hole in the sand that happens to look like what might have been made should a Walker exist. But you have no proof he exists. Show me the evidence! You can’t! 

F1: You are the evidence. I am the evidence. 

F2: I don’t accept your evidence. Actually, I would rather believe you and I are the result of higher life forms from outer space. Runners. Possibly Joggers. 

F1: But believing there’s a Walker is crazy?

F2: Of course! You’re just a nut, that’s all. 

F1: I still say there’s a Walker. 

F2: Show me the evidence. 

F1: Good grief! 

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