<body>
Hip and Thigh: Smiting Theological Philistines with a Great Slaughter. Judges 15:8

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Homeward Bound

The family and I leave tomorrow for home.

Remember: Nana lives in Arkansas. We live in California.

The trip coming here was uneventful, except for a flat tire in Tucson, and in fact, quite enjoyable. Even though this may sound utterly unspiritual, I must give kudos to those portable DVD players you can tie to the back seats of your car.

Man. How the times have changed. I never had the luxury of watching the entire Star Wars saga when I went on my road trips as a kid with the family back in the 70s and 80s. I had to be content looking out my window until my mind went numb.

I hope to take the 40 across. It should shave off about 4 or 5 extra hours of drive time. We pray the weather holds across the continental divide. The last thing I want to happen is to become a national tragedy when we get lost in the wilderness taking a short cut.

Needless to say, once again, regular posting and comment approval will be non-existent until this weekend or shortly there after.

Labels:

Against Kwanzaa

So you can have the heads up answering your muddle-minded, P.C., postmodernist friends:

Kwanzaa: Cultural or Cultic?

Labels: , ,

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas and All That


Thursday, December 22, 2011

Books I Read and Heard in 2011

Back in 2009, I began the yearly habit of reviewing the books I heard and read during the year. Here is my contribution for 2011.

Audio Books

I listened to a good many audio books this year. I certainly encourage my readers who love to read, but have limited time, to check out audio books. I get the bulk of mine from my local library, but there are decent internet audio book clubs where you can purchase them at a reasonable price.

Devil in the White City: Magic, Murder, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America - Erik Larson.

The book tells the story of the building of the 1893 Chicago World Fair. It was during this time period that America’s first “official” serial killer came on the scene: Herman Mudgett, who is believed to have lured anywhere between 27 to possibly 200 victims to a hotel he designed and built to kill his human victims. Larson cuts between a biography of the Fair’s chief architects, Daniel Burnham, John Root, and even George Ferris, the inventor of the Ferris wheel, and the murderous activities of Herman Mudgett, who also went by the name H.H. Holmes.

The book was okay. I preferred the retelling of Mudgett’s serial killing. (Bizarre, I know). The lives of the fair architects was somewhat boring. I also didn’t care for the reader of this book. His reading cadence rubbed me wrong.

Manhunt: The 12 Day Chase for Lincoln’s Killer - James Swanson

Hands down one of the most riveting books I listened to this past year. The book is detailed, well researched, and the retelling of John Booth’s motivation, assassination of Lincoln, and attempted escape was exciting to hear. There was actually a point where I caught myself thinking, “He’s gonna get away with it!” If you can get one non-fiction work to listen to, I would recommend this one first and foremost.

Three Vince Flynn novels, Memorial Day, Consent to Kill, American Assassin.

I like Tom Clancy novels and some folks told me if I liked them, I would like Flynn’s. Some other internet acquaintances also recommended them. However, reading the physical book doesn’t fit into my reading schedule. But they were available on audio, and for that format, they work splendidly. They center around the character, Mitch Rapp, who is a CIA black-opts operative. They obviously contain lots of bad guys doing bad stuff and getting wacked by Rapp, so you know what to expect.

The Harry Potter Series

I have it in my mind to review these audio books separately at some point because they are absolutely a joy and delight. All of my experience with Harry Potter has been from the movies. So when I read Dan’s reviews, and he and the commenters expressed lamentations of important book material left out of whatever movie, it didn’t particularly upset me. I had no context to offer a judgment. I can’t say that now. I finished listening to the Deathly Hallows a week or so before I watched the last movie. The book totally ruined the movie for me. I couldn’t believe the way the film-makers man-handled the book material.

At any rate, when I finished the Flynn novel, American Assassin, I wondered if our county library had the Harry Potter series in audio format. They did, and I began to work my way through the novels. The special thing about the audio version is the reader, Jim Dale, who brings each and every character to life with just his voice. He is an amazing talent. It was like hearing a radio theater rather than a novel being read. He had a voice for all of the main characters, and even the supporting cast. From a drunken Winky, Dobby the elf, Delores Umbrage, Professor Binns, and Grawp, Dale is able to give each of them an unique personality. If you are a Potter fan who read through the books, and you haven’t heard the audio editions, you will thoroughly enjoy a revisit.

Regular Books

Slave - John MacArthur. This is probably one of John’s better treatments on the doctrines of salvation. Not only does he provide an overview of Christ’s Lordship and our relationship to Him, but he provides a good historical overview of slavery in the ancient world.

Into the Wild - John Krakauer. See my fuller review HERE.

Prophets of Israel - Leon Wood. This is Leon Wood’s tremendous study on the OT prophets in Israel’s history. I have heard some folks say Wood is boring, but maybe I am a geek; I love reading his stuff.

John MacArthur: Servant of the Word and Flock - Iain Murray. See my fuller review HERE.

Heart of Anger: Practical Help for the Prevention and Cure of Anger in Children - Lou Priolo This book has been sitting on my shelf for many years, but I never read it. Now that I have children, and as they get older, they are beginning to experience moments of personal anger, Priolo’s book has been a valuable help in helping my wife and I think through how to address their attitude. I appreciate how Priolo gets right to the issue of anger: a person’s sinful heart. Actually, even though this book is primarily geared toward parents raising children, there are some good basic insights toward addressing anger in the heart of any person no matter how old he or she may be.

Heresy of Orthodoxy: How Contemporary Culture’s Fascination with Diversity has Reshaped Our Understanding of Early Christianity - Andreas Kostenberger and Michael Kruger. I hope to have a fuller review of this book at some later time, D.V. In the meantime, this is one of best apologetic books Christians can read. The authors deal primarily with the claims of Walter Bauer and many of his modern supporters, like Bart Ehrman, who say that the Christian faith we know today emerged from disunified and competing early church “Christian” orthodoxies.” Kostenberger writes the first portion of the book addressing what the early church truly believed about the person of Christ. Kruger writes the second part detailing what the early church believed about the NT documents and which books they affirmed as canon and why.

World Tilting Gospel and God’s Wisdom in Proverbs - Dan Phillips. The two books of one of my favorite all-time writers. See my reviews HERE and HERE.

Something Queer Happened to America - Michael Brown. I also hope to have a fuller review of this book later, too. Dr. Brown has written frightening book. He documents the rise of the homosexual movement in America and throughout the world. He deals with all the major arguments and talking points of the gay agenda (including the lie that “there is no gay agenda”). His research is disturbing, but well documented with a massive section of end-notes. Homosexuality is one of the major apologetic issues facing the Christian church and Dr. Brown has provided a much needed work to help us engage it effectively.

Labels:

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Why Do We Believe in God

The Sunday before we left on our trip, Don Green filled the pulpit in our fellowship group. He preached a message entitled, Why Do We Believe in God? I thought I would alert readers in light of recent comment discussions with a couple of atheistic skeptics.

A more expanded version can be located HERE.

Labels: , , ,

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Why Israel's Salvation Matters

I saw this video linked over at Alan Kurschner's new site. I watched it shortly before I left for my trip. It's Michael Brown teaching at a large church in Northern California on the salvation and restoration of Israel.

Some may raise a red flag because it is Michael Brown. He does run in charismatic circles; and I mean it's not those "Reformed," Sovereign Grace charismatic circles. Ignore that smudge against his personal theology, because I do think this lecture has some good stuff in it worthy of your time.

Also, I will say I disagree with him on two points. First, I believe he is a bit unfair with my Reformed brethren and their theology of fulfillment. He zeroes in on the concept of "replacement theology," and though I think Reformed theology can be accurately labeled a "replacement" theology, in fairness, it is important to note how they define the concept. Brown focuses on "replacement" implying that they are all antisemitic, and that is hardly the truth. It would have been helpful for him to interact with their definitions and distinctions.

Then secondly, he states in one of his points that Jesus will not come until all of Israel is saved. I am not convinced of his argument. Not only does it reek of Arminianism, which is possible knowing Dr. Brown is Arminian, but he glosses over those passages of scripture, like Deuteronomy 30:1-10 that speak of God being the one who brings about Israel's salvation. Israel will all certainly be saved, but it is God who sovereignly brings about that salvation in spite of the churches lack of Jewish evangelism.

Why Israel's Salvation Matters

Labels: , , ,

Monday, December 12, 2011

Gleanings in 1st Samuel [3]

imageThe Theology of Hannah’s Prayer [1:12-2:10]

I have embarked upon a devotional study of 1 Samuel. The book presents the life of Israel’s last major Judge and first major prophet – Samuel.

He becomes the mouthpiece of God. First Samuel 3:1 states: The Word of the LORD was rare, which means, there was no divine revelation. Through Samuel, God uses him to fulfill the role of a revelation giver to Israel.

Chapter 1 introduces us to Samuel’s family. His father Elkanah had married Hannah. But she was barren and could not have children. The text tells us God had closed her womb (1:5). Elkanah took a second wife, Peninnah, who would bear the children. She became an adversary of sorts to Hannah because of this role.

Hannah, then, goes to the Lord with her trial. When she and her husband were in Shiloh at the tabernacle during their annual pilgrimage of worship, Hannah prays. She vows a vow: If God would grant her a child she in turn would give the child back to the Lord. God grants her request, and shortly after their return from the tabernacle, Hannah becomes pregnant with Samuel.

When she returns to the tabernacle a year later, her heart is filled with praise to the LORD for the work He had done in her life. The prayer she offers is filled with rich, theological insight. This prayer not only record’s Hannah’s final words in 1 Samuel, but it is one of the longer prayers made by a woman in Scripture. Moreover, Hannah’s prayer emphasizes one great theme – God is the sovereign reverser of fortune. In Hannah’s case, a humble woman gave birth to the child who will become one of the greatest prophets in all Israel.

There are some important factors to consider in Hannah’s prayer that can model for us a theological mindset when we ourselves pray. Allow me to consider four expressions of theological praying:

I. Hannah’s Exaltation (2:1-2)

Hannah begins her prayer by offering praise to the Lord. She speaks of “smiling at her enemies” and “rejoicing in God’s salvation.” Though we thinking of salvation in the sense of being delivered from our sin, in Hannah’s mind, God is her “deliverer” in that He has rescued her from the reproach of childlessness. She smiles at her enemy, Peninnah, who routinely mocked her for her condition.

She is no longer afraid of Peninnah because she is really no longer needed as a surrogate mother.

God is the “Rock” of her “salvation.” As if she recalls Deuteronomy 32:30, 31. In this time of spiritual apostasy, Hannah has a high view of God.

II. Hannah’s Admonition (2:3)

Peninnah is not specifically named, but Hannah’s words are obviously directed toward her. God is a God of knowledge. He knew of Hannah’s plight. In fact, one inspired footnote, as already pointed out, is that God was the one who brought upon Hannah’s barrenness. But God had mercy, heard Hannah’s prayer, and it is left to Him to weigh actions and to change her circumstances.

III. Hannah’s Celebration (2:4-8)

Hannah rejoices in how God has sovereignly changed her situation. Situations, in which people thought things were going well, are completely changed in an instant. Those who thought they were the certain victor are quickly destroyed. Those who were on the verge of annihilation gain victory over their enemies.

Notice her contrasts:

- Military defeat/military victory

- Those with plenty now have nothing/those with nothing now have plenty

- Those with many children/the one with none

- Those who are rich are made poor/those who are poor are made rich

- God brings unexpected death/makes alive or preserves one’s life

God is sovereign over all the affairs of all people.

IV. Hannah’s Preservation (2:9-10)

Hannah is confident in light of God’s faithfulness to answer her prayer that God will guard the feet of His saints. In other words, He keeps them secure and from stumbling. Regardless of a wicked man’s strength, if God is your protector, he cannot prevail, for God will act in swift judgment against those who will oppose His saints.

All of these points are areas where we can direct our prayers when we pray.  A solid prayer life reflects a heart that has a solid theology.  Hannah demonstrates she had a sound theology of who God was, what He did, and how He acted. 

That should be our focus as well when we pray.  Who God is and how He moves in His sovereignty should be the focus of our prayers. 

Labels:

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Book Review

godsbattalionsGod’s Battalions: A Case for the Crusades

Rodney Stark

Rodney Stark has written another thoroughly enjoyable study in the history of the Christian Church. His subject this time is the crusades, first launched at the end of the 11th century to free the Holy Land from Muslim control.

As with his previous books, Stark engages his reader with crisp writing and interesting research that makes his book hard to put down, especially if you are some one who loves reading history that is iconoclastic in nature, smashing down the p.c. idols of sneering, Christian-hating academics. Plus, his book is mercifully short, coming in right at 248 pages.

The primary focus with "God's Battalions" is two-fold. First, Stark interacts with modern, liberal revisionists of the crusades, like Karen Armstrong, who write of this period being horrible acts of violence perpetrated by cruel, imperialistic Westerners upon peaceful Muslims all in the name of Jesus. Then second, as Stark moves along debunking these myths, he provides the real story of the events framing the facts in an honest evaluation of what happened during those two centuries of crusading.

He begins his study centuries before the crusades even started; in the middle of the seventh century when after the death of Mohammed, Muslim armies expanded the Islamic empire beyond the Arabian peninsula. Arab Muslims pushed into areas like Persia, Egypt, and the Holy Land. Within 60 years they had made their way across North Africa and into Spain.

Stark describes what he calls "a great deal of nonsense" with what has been written about so-called Muslim tolerance of conquered people who are said to have been "treated with respect" under Muslim rule. The truth is quite different, and rather than being these jovial dictators wearing pointy shoes, Muslims often humiliated and punished Christians and Jews. Both were forbidden to build churches and synagogues and they had to wear distinguishing marks on their clothing lest a Muslim defile himself by accidently touching them. Moreover, they were prohibited from praying out loud so the Muslims could be protected from hearing them, and they were excessively taxed for being "non-Muslim."

He then recounts how Christendom struck back against Islamic aggressors. It began with the crushing Muslim defeat at Constantinople in 672, during which the legendary weapon "Greek fire" was employed to destroy the galleys of Muslim navies. The Battle of Tours is also highlighted, a game changing victory against the Muslims that is often downplayed by modern, p.c. historians as an insignificant event that has been exaggerated by the propaganda of the Franks and papacy. Far from being insignificant, the Battle of Tours was the one major battle that prevented Muslims from pushing into Western Europe and establishing a stronghold there.

Stark spends one chapter debunking the myth that the middle ages for Christendom were really a time of cultural backwardness that regressed into the "dark ages. "This is a malicious claim," says Stark "advanced by historians who write with an anti-Christian bias." (I am remind of a scene from Kevin Costner's version of Robin Hood in which Morgan Freeman's Muslim character constructs a crude telescope at the astonishment of the English.) One merely needs to contrast Western technological know-how with Islamic during this time in the areas of transportation, agriculture, and the military.

One little known reason why Western Christians were willing to risk so much crusading was to offer safe haven for pilgrims to the Holy Land. Just like evangelicals today tour the land of Israel, so too did post-apostolic Christians through Europe and North Africa, but for the religious opportunity to perform penance. Islam controlled the Holy Land and Christian pilgrims coming from the West were often set upon by Muslim raiders where they were often robbed of their possessions, or worse, kidnapped for slavery or even killed.

Stark discusses each of the major crusades and the events leading up to them, key figures who participated in them, and the aftermath of each one. Stark's account of the fourth crusade, that ended with the sacking of Constantinople, was of particular interest. It is the one crusade used as proof that crusaders were nothing more than greedy profiteers, filled with blood lust.

Stark cites Cambridge historian, Steven Runciman, who wrote six years after WW2 when the world had learned of the Nazi death camps and the extent of the Holocaust (and I would add the "raping" of Nanking by Japan) that, "There was never a greater crime against humanity than the Fourth Crusades." Can we say hyperbole?

Though modern, self-loathing Western p.c.academics point to the fourth crusade as a wicked Catholic atrocity against Orthodox believers, they ignore similar atrocities waged by Byzantines themselves against Westerners, especially the Orthodox brutalities against Latin Christians before the crusades even began, as well as the Byzantine treachery that occurred during each of the previous three crusades.

In the case of the fourth crusade, The deposed prince, Alexius, agreed to fund the crusade into Egypt if the crusaders first helped him reclaim his throne at Constantinople. They did, and after they secured it, he paid a few installments on his debt, but then ceased making payments. He then strengthened his defenses against the Western, crusading armies encamped around the walls of the city.

The crusaders, incensed by his treachery, launched an attack and quickly seized the city. Where as most p.c. accounts emphasize rape and murder of innocent civilians, such is an extreme exaggeration; the death toll was low. Emphasis should be placed upon the "sacking" of Constantinople. In other words, the crusaders looted the city of valuables, and knowing the history of cruel dishonesty the Byzantines showed the crusaders in the years prior to this "sacking," especially the first crusade, in a way, they had it coming.

Stark's book is a fascinating read, and if you are like me, and enjoy polemical writing meant to debunk leftist, historical revisionism, you'll enjoy it, too. The book has a decent bibliography, listing sources for further research. It lacks, however, an index, which I see as regrettable. It would have have been a positive inclusion in an otherwise outstanding book.

Labels: ,

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

The Invisible Gardener

Under this post, an atheist writes,

I suspect that any entity capable of creating universes is pretty much unknowable and incomprehensible. I'm certainly not going to say that such an entity can't or doesn't exist, but as to the details, to steal a line from Darwin, a dog might as well speculate on the mind of Newton.

I was reminded of a parable Anthony Flew liked to cite during his atheist days (who died renouncing his atheism, btw) about the invisible gardener.

Once upon a time two explorers came upon a clearing in the jungle. In the clearing were growing many flowers and many weeds. One explorer says, 'Some gardener must tend this plot.' So they pitch their tents and set a watch. No gardener is ever seen. 'But perhaps he is an invisible gardener.' So they set up a barbed-wire fence. They electrify it. They patrol with bloodhounds. (For they remember how H. G. Wells's The Invisible Man could be both smelt and touched though he could not be seen.) But no shrieks ever suggest that some intruder has received a shock. No movements of the wire ever betray an invisible climber. The bloodhounds never give cry. Yet still the Believer is not convinced. 'But there is a gardener, invisible, intangible, insensible to electric shocks, a gardener who has no scent and makes no sound, a gardener who comes secretly to look after the garden which he loves.' At last the Skeptic despairs, 'But what remains of your original assertion? Just how does what you call an invisible, intangible, eternally elusive gardener differ from an imaginary gardener or even from no gardener at all?'

That led me to an essay by John Frame on God and Biblical Language and his comments therein upon the concept of falsification. I appreciate his masterful parable in response,

Once upon a time two explorers came upon a clearing in the jungle. A man was there, pulling weeds, applying fertilizer, trimming branches. The man turned to the explorers and introduced himself as the royal gardener. One explorer shook his hand and exchanged pleasantries. The other ignored the gardener and turned away: “There can be no gardener in this part of the jungle,” he said; “this must be some trick. Someone is trying to discredit our previous findings.” They pitch camp. Every day the gardener arrives, tends the plot. Soon the plot is bursting with perfectly arranged blooms. “He's only doing it because we're here-to fool us into thinking this is a royal garden.” The gardener takes them to a royal palace, introduces the explorers to a score of officials who verify the gardener's status. Then the sceptic tries a last resort: “Our senses are deceiving us. There is no gardener, no blooms, no palace, no officials. It's still a hoax!” Finally the believer despairs: “But what remains of your original assertion? Just how does this mirage, as you call it, differ from a real gardener?”

Labels: ,

Monday, December 05, 2011

FBT Updates

I have added three more messages to my series from Judges if anyone is interested.

Study in Judges

Labels:

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Children’s Illustrated Bible Faith

childrensbible

In the comments under this post, I had an atheist explain to me with no uncertain terms just how out of touch with reality I truly am.

This happens to me every once in a while. I have an atheist favor me with a nice little pat on the head, a smile, and tell me that one of these days I’ll become a big boy, lay aside my children’s illustrated story Bible and see the real world for what it is.

Allow me to note some highlights for apologetic learning purposes.

Here's the bottom line. I grew up a Baptist church believing that Noah's Flood really happened. I believed all of it, and when I was young, I had no reason to doubt any of it. I would have been a much happier person if I could have continued to believe as I was taught, because certainty feels better than doubt.
But at a certain point, I just couldn't ignore the evidence provided by the physical world around me. At a certain point, it all just didn't make any sense any more. Not the flood, not eternal damnation, not the Trinity, none of it. I wish it did. I don't like doubt. My life would be easier without doubt. But life is what it is.

This admission says it all; it frames the rest of our discussion.

Here we have a guy growing up in a typical, red state, fundamentalist Baptist church. If it was the kind of Baptist church I attended, I have a lot in common with what he says here.

I could, without fail, tell you every week what the basic structure of the sermon would be. A three point message, lots of amusing, anecdotal Southern humor sprinkled throughout, and an emotional illustration, all wrapped up with a long invitation at the end.

Sunday school was based upon the denominational quarterlies that are designed to rush the class through the entire Bible in three years. Sunday school teachers were nice folks. Heck, my aunt taught my Jr. church and I had a cousin teach our teen class. But honestly, in spite of their sweet Christian piety, they lacked any serious sophistication to answer any hard questions I would put to them regarding any of the things I heard at school that challenged my faith.

So I could say my background is the same as the atheist's here.

However, he seriously thinks I still remain in a carpeted game room and derive my theology from flannel boards. All through high school and college, I was exposed to the same evidence provided by the same physical world taught to me by stern, dogmatic professors who told me my Bible was a fairytale.

Why then doesn't any of that so-called evidence shatter my faith? Am I not reading the right peer-reviewed journals? Not reading the right books? To borrow an illustration from another atheist, I live on the same pale, blue dot. How come I don’t see stuff like he does?

Atheists carry on as if I would read just the same stuff they did, I wouldn't be a Christian any longer. But I have read their stuff, and here I still sit, believing in historicity of Noah's ark, the flood, and Jesus. I don't doubt any of it and it all makes sense to me.

Has it occurred to my atheist commenter that evidence really has nothing to do with my beliefs? Evidence has to be interpreted, any ways, and the starting point on which one evaluates and filters the evidence will obviously impact what one concludes about that evidence.

I begin with the fear of the Lord. I grant that my "fear" is supernatural and undebatable in peer-review journals. In other words, my faith is a work of divine grace that gives me ears to hear and eyes to see. I would venture a guess that his doubts have nothing really to do with overwhelming evidence and everything to do with disappointments with God, the lack of respect he has toward his religious family growing up, and deep respect he has now for his new found atheist community.

So, now you have to turn to an argument that leads to the conclusion that we can’t draw conclusions about anything. You have a bias, I have a bias, so all we have in the end are our opinions. I reject your conclusion because you’re biased. You reject my opinions because I’m biased. What’s the point? This is not very helpful, and I don’t understand why YEC folks always go for the “no one is unbiased” argument.

Here again is an example of how atheists, particularly young 20 somethings that are fresh from their former life as a Fundamentalist, often do not self-reflect upon their presuppositions.

They naively flit through the world thinking all the evidence it has to offer is self-authenticating and that he now knows the truth because he had the smarts to remove his "God delusion" blinders to see things as they truly are. Rarely do they recognize that a person filters his "opinions" through a set of personal presuppositions.

Let me point out some selected comments to illustrate what I mean.

I think that I’ve done far more reading than you realize.

Oh. I'm sure he has. Of course, if you’re only reading atheist propaganda, I'm not sure how that helps your case.

I don’t think that I’m that far off base when I say that it is the consensus of practicing ANE archeologists that much of the early history of the OT is contradicted by the archeological evidence. Is there any reason to think that this is not an accurate summary of the current state of ANE archeology?
But hey, give me some sources, and I’ll look into it. I've changed my mind about things many times in life. Have you? By the way, do you have anything that is published in peer-reviewed, mainstream journal?

I often wonder if all the young, internet atheists these days utilize the same play book when they engage their religious opponents. Apparently, this play book is encyclopedic, because it covers a wide range of subjects like ancient Near Eastern studies, geology, biology, and biblical lexicography, all in scrutinizing detail. And on top of that, it makes the atheist an instance expert.

Either that, or all atheists are idiot savant "Rainman" types incapable of forgetting anything.

But to the point at hand. Here's a good example of where those presuppositions come into play. I can give a rather extensive list of scholars and authors who would disagree with the assessment that ANE studies devastates the OT. For example, Noel Weeks, Michael Grisanti, Eugene Merrill, Andrew Steinman, K.A. Kitchen, Leon Wood, E.J. Young, Mark Rooker, Daniel Block, Bryant Wood, Charles Ailing, Doug Petrovich, James Hoffmeier, John Currid, to name a few.

All of them are published in peer-reviewed, mainstream journals, if the mainstream, theological and archaeological journals count for the atheist. Of course, that is the rub. He has his list of so-called peer-reviewed journals he accepts as authoritative. If the ones in which these men publish don't fit his criteria, they'll be dismissed out of hand without any consideration.

Additionally, he believes his peer-reviewed journals are unbiased, have no particular interest in religion one way or another, and thus no agenda to promote. They see the evidence for what it is and conclude the Bible isn't truthful in these regards. But this just reveals more self-delusion.

No, it doesn’t “just happen”. If it happens, it’s because of the way the natural world happens to work. “Self-organizing biochemical reactions” happen all of the time. What makes the scientific study of abiogenesis different is that it’s testable. As you would say, you don’t know what you’re talking about.

Atheists, like my commenter, are so desperate to ignore any "evidence" of purposeful design, or dare I say “creation,” that they are willing to embrace the absurd and ridiculous "science of the gaps" type arguments.

Abiogenesis is a good example. I wonder if my commenter even knows what I mean here, because abiogenesis is life from non-life. "Self-organizing biochemical reactions" may happen "all the time;" hydrogen, for example, bonds with oxygen to make water. But none of these “chemical bonds” can produce the diverse, genetic driven, intelligent life that we see fill our world today. Chemical bonds don’t produce information: lots of complex information that causes the organisms to thrive, live, and adapt.

Of course, many folks have written on this subject. Stephen Myer, for instance, has a massive, 500 plus page book called “The Signature in the Cell.” Does it count? Probably not if the atheist can find a consensus of ID haters to say it doesn’t. It’s situations like these that free-thinkers appeal to consensus to determine truth rather than evidence.

But what about atheists who have problems with Darwinianism’s explanation of life? Do they count? Are they just going rogue for the sake of going rogue? Do they “know what they are talking about?”

What puzzles me is why folks tend to bristle a bit when someone says that the Noah story isn’t feasible. Why should young earthers or literalist care if it’s feasible? What’s the point of even trying to demonstrate that any aspect of the story is feasible? I don’t get it. Why is there a need for a long drawn out response when Mr. Atheist says you must believe the following amazing things? Just embrace the fantastic!

arkI can appreciate that comment. There is a kernel of truth in it. Is the biblical record authenticated by peer-reviewed engineering journals on the feasibility of the ark? No. I would say the same about the Resurrection. Do we need to have a testable situation in which we can scientifically determine through peer-reviewed journals if a corpse can come to life and thus prove the veracity of the Gospel narratives? Of course not.

However, the ark, as it is revealed in Scripture, is feasible. A number of ancient wooden ships match it closely in size, so there is no particular structural problem, and those ships were designed to be sailed repeatedly rather than utilized once. Moreover, the Bible doesn’t record specific designs for the ark. It just records the dimensions and how many decks it is to have. Nothing about how the structural integrity would be achieved. It’s just assumed by my atheist commenter that Noah was a primitive, stupid man limited by the pre-bronze age world or whatever. Thus, unless he had modern day technology, he couldn’t achieve what God asked him to do.

I am of the mind that if God asked him to do something, he had the ability to achieve what God asked. We may not know exactly how that was done, but of course, my atheist commenter has the same problem with the origins of life.

Look, I understand that you believe what you believe, and there is nothing that I can say to change it. But the vast, vast majority of Christian geologists think that the geological evidence contradicts the global flood hypothesis. Perhaps you should ask the question…why do they think this? Why have the vast, vast majority of CHRISTIAN geologists come to the conclusion that geology is devastating to a literal OT and the flood myth?

Wow. Not just one “vast,” but two. All of those Christian geologists? Can he name some? I happen to know a few. One in particular who has written for Biologos and is an evangelist AGAINST biblical creationism. He has written to me on numerous occasions. Has begged my boss to let him come to my church and straighten out us poor, misguided Christians who have been lied to by Ken Ham and Answers in Genesis (his words, not mine).

I only assume if my geological anti-creationist claims to be a Christian that he believes some particular things about Scripture. He has told me he does, for instance, believe in the infallibility and inerrancy of Scripture, something my atheist commenter denies. Yet when I press my geological antagonist on the particulars of his doctrine, he falls back upon “I don’t know” and points me to the websites of apostates and other similar miscreants who basically argue like the atheist commenter.

I would venture a guess and say the main reason “Christian” geologists say the OT flood narrative is “devastated” by the so-called evidence has more to do with how they have been taught to do geology, rather than just raw evidence. Geology is a fairly young discipline and it was initially based upon a set of uniformitarian principles the geologist was expected to utilize when doing research. Those principles can be challenged, as is demonstrated in this article and this article. (Which happens to be in a peer-reviewed journal).

Labels: ,