Saturday, June 30, 2018

Romans 5 Is A Problematic Passage For Calvinistic Limited Atonement

  • Discussion:
          -"Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned." (Romans 5:12)
          -"For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ. So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men." (Romans 5:17-18)

          Just as the curse of sin infected the entirety of mankind through the fall of Adam, so the Lord Jesus Christ made atonement for the sins of the whole world. Salvation is not given only to an elect group of individuals, anymore than condemnation was passed on only to an elect group. In other words, there is a universal problem presented alongside a universal solution. The consistency of this message is incompatible with Calvinist limited atonement. Romans 5:6-10 expressly tells us that Christ died for the ungodly, which would include us all. 

    Thursday, June 28, 2018

    Spontaneous Generation Is Delusional Thinking

    "No, there is not a single known circumstance in which microscopic beings may be asserted to have entered the world without germs, without parents resembling them. Those who think otherwise have been deluded by their poorly conducted experiments, full of errors they neither knew how to perceive, nor how to avoid."

    Louis Pasteur, “Sorbonne Scientific Soiree” of April 7, 1864

    Why I Reject Darwinism As Science

            The concept of evolution revolves around changes in physical structures which take place over given periods of time. Some may either perceive this to have cosmological implications or strictly biological ones. According to the Theory of Evolution, a source of matter brought about all existing life forms that we see in our world today. It is maintained that all this took place stochastically through the processes of genetic mutation and natural selection. Microevolution is the small, rapid changes within a particular animal species. Macroevolution is the very gradual, major evolutionary transition which takes place among the different species of animals in becoming different types of organisms. The latter category of evolution has no evidence to support it.

            The first major promoter of evolution was Charles Darwin. Darwinism is now taught as a proven fact by most in the secular world. It stands in stark contrast to the creation narrative of Genesis, which has God creating the universe and giving meaning to life. Darwin recognized that people would make objections to his novel scientific proposals:

            "...why, if species have descended from other species by fine graduation, do we not everywhere see innumerable transitional forms? Why is not nature all in confusion, instead of species being, as we see them, well defined?" (The Origin of Species, chapter six)

            We have never observed life forms reproduce different life forms. In other words, all life forms produce after their own kind. Thus, the life reproduction pattern laid out by the Book of Genesis is more consistent with the modern scientific realm than evolution. Transitions between basic features in organisms are also rendered improbable by the fact that other vital functions would simultaneously be disabled (how did our essential organs such as the heart, lungs, and stomach develop in the first place?).

            Biochemists D.E. Green and R.W. Goldberger said the following in their book Molecular Insights into the Living Process, p. 407:

            "The macromolecule to cell transition is a jump of fantastic dimensions, which lies beyond the range of testable hypothesis. In this area all is conjecture."

            Consider this excerpt from Associate Professor of Biochemistry Douglas L. Theobald, who is not sympathetic to supernatural worldviews:

            "Universal common ancestry (UCA) is a central pillar of modern evolutionary theory. As first suggested by Darwin, the theory of UCA posits that all extant terrestrial organisms share a common genetic heritage, each being the genealogical descendant of a single species from the distant past. The classic evidence for UCA, although massive, is largely restricted to ‘local’ common ancestry—for example, of specific phyla rather than the entirety of life—and has yet to fully integrate the recent advances from modern phylogenetics and probability theory. Although UCA is widely assumed, it has rarely been subjected to formal quantitative testing, 7,8,9,10, and this has led to critical commentary emphasizing the intrinsic technical difficulties in empirically evaluating a theory of such broad scope 1,5,8,9,11,12,13,14,15."

            Following is an excerpt from a paper written in 2011 by Denis Noble, a secular biologist, who criticizes neo-Darwinism:

            "Must higher level biological processes always be derivable from lower level data and mechanisms, as assumed by the idea that an organism is completely defined by its genome? Or are higher level properties necessarily also causes of lower level behaviour, involving actions and interactions both ways? This article uses modelling of the heart, and its experimental basis, to show that downward causation is necessary and that this form of causation can be represented as the influences of initial and boundary conditions on the solutions of the differential equations used to represent the lower level processes. These insights are then generalized. A priori, there is no privileged level of causation. The relations between this form of ‘biological relativity’ and forms of relativity in physics are discussed. Biological relativity can be seen as an extension of the relativity principle by avoiding the assumption that there is a privileged scale at which biological functions are determined."

            A commonly accepted postulate by defenders of Darwinism in regards to how the universe began is the Big Bang Theory, which is a problem in and of itself for atheistic worldviews because of its theistic underpinnings. It is simply contrary to reason to suggest that something can originate from nothing. From nothing comes nothing. Living matter cannot originate from non-living matter and chemicals. Nothing cannot be the cause of a cosmic expansion of matter. It is a fact that atheistic evolution cannot account for the origin of life. It is more reasonable to believe that God created all things ex nihilo. 

            Genetic mutations are rare and usually harmful. Changes can be made, but new genetic information cannot be added to an organism's genetic code (which is what is required for macroevolution to work). How did mammals reproduce before they somehow evolved into a male and female of the species? Did some mysterious creature that had both pairs of genitalia have intercourse with itself? How could the precise, natural process of blood clotting arise from blind, unguided chance? Why is it that some organisms have supposedly evolved to a certain state of complexity over millions of years just to cease in the process since (we have found snakes and spiders that are dated back millions of years that are the same today as they were back then)? How does one account for the fact that humans have characteristics that provide no advantages for survival such as music and religion? Which elements and compounds were included in the primordial soup? Where did life begin? These are only a few of the several questions that render naturalistic evolution inadequate as a scientific postulate. Norman L. Geisler and Frank Turek raise other issues:

            "Darwinism asserts that only materials exist, but materials don’t have morality. How much does hate weigh? Is there an atom for love? What’s the chemical composition of the murder molecule? These questions are meaningless because physical particles are not responsible for morality. If materials are solely responsible for morality, then Hitler had no real moral responsibility for what he did—he just had bad molecules. This is nonsense, and everyone knows it. Human thoughts and transcendent moral laws are not material things any more than the laws of logic and mathematics are material things. They are immaterial entities that cannot be weighed or physically measured. As a result, they can’t be explained in material terms by natural selection or any other atheistic means." (I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist, p. 187)

            The overall design and complexity of our universe cannot simply be accounted for in an atheistic evolutionary worldview. Naturalists have ascribed the role of creation and the reason for our finely-tuned universe to mere accidents. Thus, proponents of Darwinism have literally attributed to chance the power of producing intelligent, functional, meaningful systems. The origin and history of life on earth cannot be satisfactorily explained by natural selection, mutations, and genetic exchange alone. It would be more proper to treat the Theory of Evolution as a testable hypothesis than a worldview.

            Science does not say anything by itself. It is the scientists who interpret available data in accordance with their underlying philosophical presuppositions about life that speak. Our scientific reasoning will inevitably be colored by our preconceptions about reality. Scientific data is subject to interpretation. Everybody brings a set of foundational assumptions to the table in the process of scientific investigation. There are basic facts of science that everybody agrees on such as the existence of gravity and the movement of tectonic plates. However, a person either studies the natural world with the belief in a Creator or no Creator at all.

    Saturday, June 23, 2018

    Notes On The Christian Prayer Life

    • Defining The Issues:
              -The fact that God seemingly ignores certain prayer requests has been a major source of discouragement in daily religious life, and has in fact harmed the faith of some. We have all been disappointed from time to time with how He decides to answer our prayer supplications. But this is by no means a valid reason for turning away from God, for we are in no place to question the intentions of our Maker. Neither are we fully able to comprehend His will. There are several biblical principles for a Christian to take into account in his or her daily prayer life.
    • Keep In Mind The Possibility That God May Be Trying Our Faith For The Purpose Of Building Our Character:
              -"Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance." (James 1:2-3)
    • Keep In Mind That In Order To Have A Deep Relationship With God We Must Pray To Him On A Regular Basis:
              -"Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus." (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
    • God Will Not Answer The Prayers Of Somebody Who Has The Wrong Motives:
              -"You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures." (James 4:3)
    • God Will Not Answer The Prayers Of People Who Have Doubt In Their Hearts:
              -"But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways." (James 1:6-8)
    • God May Refuse To Answer The Prayers Of People Who Are Not Fulfilling Their Duties As A Christian Or Have Cherished Sin In Their Hearts:
              -"Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; and whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do the things that are pleasing in His sight. This is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as He commanded us. The one who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. We know by this that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us." (1 John 3:21-24)
    • Other Points Worthy Of Consideration:
              -Even when God says no to a prayer request, that is still an answer to prayer.
              -God can answer our prayers in totally unexpected ways.
              -Maybe God wants us to wait for a period of time before He answers a prayer.
              -The forgiveness of sin does not entail the undoing of negative consequences.
              -God wants us to pray according to His will (1 John 5:14).
    • There Are Different Types Of Prayer:
              -If the conscience of a person is burdened by sin, then he or she can pray and meditate on Psalm 51.
              -If a person does not know what to say or how to pray, then he or she can always recite from the heart the Lord's Prayer (Matthew 6:6-14).
              -If a person even needs encouragement, then he or she can pray and meditate on Psalm 23.

    Thursday, June 21, 2018

    Liberals Avoid Debate By Charging ‘Homophobia’

    "Writers who have written for years, or even decades, without ever mentioning homosexuals have been denounced for “homophobia” because they began to write about the subject after the AIDS epidemic appeared—and did not take the “politically correct “ position on the issues. How can someone have a “phobia” about something he has scarcely noticed? Many people never knew or cared what homosexuals were doing, until it became a danger to them as a result of the AIDS epidemic. Whether those people’s reactions were right or wrong is something that can be debated. But attributing their position to a “phobia” is circular reasoning, when there is no evidence of any such phobia other than the position itself. Like so much in the vocabulary of the anointed, it is a way of avoiding substantive debate.

    Among the writers who took non-“politically correct” positions on AIDS was the late Randy Shilts, whose best-selling book And the Band Played On is a chilling exploration of the political irresponsibility, based on fears of offending the organized gay lobby, that led to thousands of unnecessary deaths before the most elementary public health measures were taken to reduce the spread of AIDS. No doubt he too would have been called “homophobic” if he were not himself an avowed homosexual who later died of AIDS."

    Thomas Sowell, "The Vision of the Anointed," p. 216-217

    Wednesday, June 20, 2018

    Cultural And Historical Background Information On The Suffering Servant Of Isaiah 53

    • Introduction:
              -Isaiah chapter fifty three is the most keen, vivid description of the Jewish Messiah provided in the entire Old Testament. It portrays Him as being a servant who suffers for our sins. It contains the very basic message of redemption as revealed more fully through New Testament revelation. Christians naturally identify this suffering servant figure to be Jesus Christ. While the text of Isaiah 53 may seem pretty straightforward to us, most Jews absolutely refuse to see the emphatic implications set forth by a natural reading of the passage being discussed. They insist that the suffering servant refers to the Nation of Israel, but the evidence simply does not point in favor of that interpretation. Isaiah 53 is clearly a Messianic prophecy that has already been been long fulfilled by Christ Himself.
    • It Appears That Virtually All Jewish Rabbis Once Believed That The Suffering Servant Of Isaiah 53 Was Referring To The Coming Of A Promised Messiah. In Fact:
              -"Rashi (1040-1105 a.d.) might have been the first to deny that this incredible passage is messianic. But many Jewish sages, before and after Rashi, saw the Messiah in Isaiah 53." (Daniel Mann, Jews for Jesus, "Rabbis, Skeptics and the Suffering Messiah")
    • Following Are Examples Of Jewish Sources That Interpret The Suffering Servant Of Isaiah 53 In A Messianic Sense (Taken From Which The Excerpt Above Was Cited):
              -"The highly regarded first-century Rabbi Shimon Ben Yochai stated: “The meaning of the words ‘bruised for our iniquities’ [Isaiah 53:5] is, that since the Messiah bears our iniquities, which produce the effect of his being bruised, it follows that whoso will not admit that the Messiah thus suffers for our iniquities, must endure and suffer them for them himself."
              -"The mystical Zohar records: “The children of the world are members one of another. When the Holy One desires to give healing to the world, he smites one just man amongst them, and for his sake heals all the rest. Whence do we learn this? From the saying, “‘He was wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities“‘ (Isaiah 53:5)” (Numbers, Pinchus, 218a)"
              -"Many different rabbis – Gaon Rabbi Saadia, Rabbi Naphtali ben Asher, and Rabbi Moshe Alshich adamantly opposed Rashi’s new interpretation, and demanded that the Sages of Israel should ignore him and return to the original interpretation, the most famous of among them was Mamonides, who categorically declared that Rashi was completely mistaken."
    • Isaiah 53 Has Been Called The Forbidden Chapter In Jewish Communities. One Source Notes The Following:
              -"The 17th century Jewish historian, Raphael Levi, admitted that long ago the rabbis used to read Isaiah 53 in synagogues, but after the chapter caused “arguments and great confusion” the rabbis decided that the simplest thing would be to just take that prophecy out of the Haftarah readings in synagogues. That’s why today when we read Isaiah 52, we stop in the middle of the chapter and the week after we jump straight to Isaiah 54." (Eitan Bar, One For Israel, "Isaiah 53-The Forbidden Chapter")
    • Other Jewish Sources That Interpret Isaiah 53 Messianically:
              -"In Midrash Tanhuma it says, “Rabbi Nachman says, it speaks of no one but the Messiah, the Son of David of whom it is said, here a man called “the plant”, and Jonathan translated it to mean the Messiah and it is rightly said, “man of sorrows, acquainted with grief”."
              -"Midrash Shumel says this about Isaiah 53: “The suffering was divided into three parts: One for the generation of the Patriarchs, one for the generation of Shmad, and one for the King Messiah”."
    • The Suffering Servant Of Isaiah 53 Cannot Simply Be A Reference To Israel, But To A Person:
              -If the suffering servant of Isaiah 53 is a reference to the nation of Israel rather than Christ Himself, then how can it be said that he was cut off from the people (Isaiah 53:8)? How can this suffering servant be cut off from himself?
              -If the suffering servant of Isaiah 53 is a reference to the nation of Israel rather than Christ Himself, then how can it be said that he bore the sins of the people (Isaiah 53:5-6)? This person is said to be righteous, yet the Old Testament records Israel routinely falling into sin and judgement by God.
              -Who would better fit the description of the suffering servant in Isaiah 53 than Jesus Christ Himself as recorded in the four gospels?

    Tuesday, June 19, 2018

    What Happens To The Souls Of Infants Who Die?

              There are a number of different positions amongst Christians as to what happens to the souls of children who die. Augustine postulated that unbaptized infants were punished eternally in hell, but to a lesser degree. His views softened over time. For centuries, the Roman Catholic Church unofficially taught that the souls of deceased children go to a place called Limbo. The Greek fathers did not discuss this topic at length, but some believed children who died went to some place distinct from both heaven and hell. The stance defended here is that the destination of little children who pass away enter into the presence of God in heaven.

              Scripture implicitly affirms the concept that we call the age of accountability (Deuteronomy 1:39; Isaiah 7:15-16). This is relative due to the fact that everybody develops differently. Thus, there exists a period of time in childhood in which God in His mercy does not count sins against a person due to lacking reason and understanding. While babies are born with a sin nature, they still cannot actually commit acts of evil. 

              Jesus Christ stated that the kingdom of God is not only for little ones, but also for those who become like children in their faith (Mark 10:13-15; Luke 18:15-17). If babies were to be sentenced to hell upon death, then why did He welcome them? The gospels record Christ having compassion on children as He called them to His side and sat them at His feet in the crowds (Matthew 18:3; 19:14-15). If they were to be sentenced to hell by God for original sin, then why did Jesus commend their simplicity?

              Consider the mourning of King David when the Lord took away his newborn child as discipline for acts of adultery and murder (2 Samuel 12:22-23). Even in the midst of his selfish and brutish conduct, we see God exercising mercy as his own life was spared. He is in charge of life itself. The text of 2 Samuel affirms that both would go to the same place at the moment of physical death. Moreover, Hebrews 11:32-33 tells us David entered into the presence of God. Why should we believe that the souls of deceased children go to some place other than heaven? 

              The God of the Bible is one of love, mercy, righteousness, and truth. He would not condemn to hell somebody who never even had a chance to live. We must also keep in mind those who have severe cognitive disabilities. Though it is a teaching of Scripture that God has inscribed a moral law into the hearts of men, every person needs to have the mental capacity to act. Each man will be judged according to his own conduct (2 Corinthians 5:10; 1 Peter 1:17). Babies cannot do anything on their own. What could God judge them for?

    Monday, June 18, 2018

    The Danger Of The “#MeToo” Movement

    "The #MeToo movement has uncovered real abuses of power. But the solution to those abuses is not to replace valid measures of achievement with irrelevancies like gender and race. Ironically, the best solution to sexual predation is not more feminism, but less. By denying the differences between men and women, and by ridiculing the manly virtues of gentlemanliness and chivalry and the female virtues of modesty and prudence, feminism dissolved the civilizational restraints on the male libido. The boorish behavior that pervades society today would have been unthinkable in the past, when a traditional understanding of sexual propriety prevailed. Now, however, with the idea of “ladies and gentlemen” discredited and out of favor, boorishness is increasingly the rule."

    Heather MacDonald, “The Negative Impact of the #MeToo Movement

    Friday, June 15, 2018

    The Calvinist Misuse Of Romans 8:28-30

              "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be confirmed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us?" (Romans 8:28-31)

              The people under consideration in Romans 8:28-30 are those who love God, not a select few whom God "irresistibly causes" to love Him. It does not state that certain people are predestined to become Christians. Rather, those who believe on Christ and His gospel for salvation are destined to inherit eternal blessings. This Scripture passage simply discloses what happens to the elect.

              Even so, it appears that the Apostle Paul places the concept of foreknowledge before predestination, which is problematic for unconditional election. Calvinism has traditionally argued that foreknowledge follows predestination. In other words, the inspired author presents the sequence of the order in a "backwards" manner (not in a consistently Calvinistic fashion).

               We can agree that God foreknew believers personally as His children. Consequently, He predetermined a plan of redemption before the foundation of the world. This does not amount to Him predetermining the eternal destiny of each individual.

              The type of election being addressed in Romans 8 is not a matter of identity, but rather concerns the character and plan for those who are justified in the sight of God. Believers experience fellowship with God. Believers are appointed for His glory. They become vessels of honor to Him. This process of reconciliation takes place when we first believe (Romans 5:1-2). It is a decree to save those who come to Christ by faith. These soteriological blessings are categorically applied to all Christians.

              The entire point that the Apostle Paul establishes here is that God works for the good of all who love Him, and that He wields absolute power over everything. Nothing is beyond His grasp. Nothing is beyond His comprehension. Humans having free will does not negate the sovereignty of God. We as believers should have great comfort and assurance because of these scriptural truths. God does interact with creation. He is working things for good and His glory.

    The Calvinist Misuse Of John 6:32-58

              "All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out...No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day." (John 6:37; 44)
           
              This passage of John's gospel narrative is known as the Bread of Life Discourse, where the Lord Jesus Christ had delivered a speech at a Synagogue in Capernaum. In the sermon, He likened bread and wine to His body and blood so as to articulate the point to His unbelieving Jewish audience that He was indeed their promised Messiah, who would offer Himself up as an expiatory sacrifice for the sins of mankind. It should be noted that Christ chose not to fully reveal Himself to all members of society during much of His earthly ministry so that He could complete His mission of atoning for the sins of the world. Moreover, these Jews were not born with a seared conscience against God. This is not a matter of people being born hated by God and predestined to eternal condemnation since the timing of creation. The context of John 6:32-58 nowhere indicates an irredeemable situation. It says nothing concerning regeneration leading to faith, which is required for salvation. It says nothing concerning an irresistible calling of the human will. Does regeneration proceed faith? No, regeneration comes after faith. That is what the Scripture affirms (John 20:31; Acts 11:18; Romans 5:1; Ephesians 1:13).

               More precisely, these Jewish people willfully turned their backs against God (John 5:39-40; Acts 28:27). They wanted to be self-righteous. They wanted to be arrogant. They wanted their own sinful lifestyles. They wanted to rebel against the God who created them. In short, this was a totally voluntary hardening of the human heart by sin, which God allows. The mission of Christ was accomplished through the unbelief of Israel. The Jews were handed over to their vices, which explains why they were rejecting Christ. This willful blinding of the conscience was never meant to be permanent, for God has always wanted to save His chosen nation Israel. The Father draws the sinner who listens and learns (John 6:45). We must accept the truth of the gospel that we preach in order to be saved (Romans 10:14-17). We have the responsibility of hearing, knowing, and understanding the revealed truths of God. We absolutely must make the decision of accepting the forgiveness of God as proclaimed through the gospel.

               In John 6:32-58, Jesus Christ was simply trying to get the Jews to see their disconnect from God. They did not truly love the Father because they did not love the Son. One cannot come to have a true relationship with the Father without also believing on the Son. Nobody can come to Christ without first hearing and accepting the truth of the gospel. Hence, the unbelieving Jews were under spiritual condemnation. Their hearts were not right with God. The twelve apostles, however, were drawn by the Father through the miracles and sound teachings of Christ. Their hearts were open to God. As a result, those obedient to the Father also chose to follow the Son. The will of the Father is that all who come to Him and believe on His name be saved (John 6:40). As a result of the crucifixion, God wants to draw everybody to salvation through faith in Him (John 12:32-33; Romans 11:32).

                Calvinists are guilty of limiting God when they argue that He cannot foreknow what He did not foreordain. He is sovereign enough to give us the freewill to accept or reject Him. He can do whatever He wants. He is limited by nothing. The fact of the matter is that the Calvinists have misconstrued the meaning texts such as John 6:37 and John 6:44 to fit their own preconceived theological conclusions.

    Tuesday, June 12, 2018

    The Calvinist Misuse Of Ephesians 1:1-13

              "just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will...also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will." (Ephesians 1:4-5; 11)

              To preface, it should be noted that the verses in question do not actually say anything about God choosing before the creation of the world which individuals will be saved. In fact, Ephesians 1:1-13 does not even mention anything about the unrepentant and the unbelieving, nor an irresistible calling of the human will. This passage from Ephesians discusses God predetermining the plan of salvation and how those who get saved will serve Him. It concerns predestination for blessings, not who will specifically be recipients of salvation. It concerns what will happen to those who get saved. Those who are faithful to God have been predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son Jesus Christ. He wants to have a relationship with us. He wants to redeem us. He wants to make us His children. We are included in Christ the moment we believe from the heart the message of the gospel (Ephesians 1:13). We were not predestined to be in Christ. Rather, we are predestined "in Him."

              The truth of the matter is that Calvinists misunderstand Scripture due to having a confirmation bias. These people take out of context words such as elected, predestined, foreknew, and before the foundation of the world to fit their deterministic theological paradigm. Thus, Calvinists altogether miss the point of Ephesians 1:1-13. If our eternal destinies have already been determined by God since the beginning of time, then why would the Apostle Paul pray for the salvation of all people (1 Timothy 2:1-2)? How could God reason with His chosen nation Israel (Isaiah 1:18)? Why would He tell His people to make the choice of either serving Him or idols (Joshua 24:15; Deuteronomy 30:15-19; Jeremiah 21:8)? How could the Lord draw near to those who seek Him (1 Chronicles 28:9; 2 Chronicles 15:2; Jeremiah 29:13)? How is it possible for people to harden their own hearts against God (Psalm 95:8)? Why should Christians even be concerned about the loss of heavenly rewards (1 Corinthians 3:15; 2 John 8-9)?

               Hence, the Calvinist view of predestination is irrational at best. The Bible presupposes our capacity to reach out to God through faith and humble repentance. God has no desire in punishing the wicked (Ezekiel 18:30-32; 33:10-11). God delights in showing mercy (Micah 7:18). The Lord does act in a contingent manner (Jeremiah 18:1-13). Election is conditioned on faith.

    Thursday, June 7, 2018

    The Spirit Of Holiness

    [Romans] 1:4 In many cases it is impossible to put a small or a large S rightly to the word Spirit, as the presence and power of the Holy Spirit characterizes the state, and that and the state are both included; so it is here. It is divine, not merely human, perfectness, and by the Holy Spirit, yet it is Christ's state. But it is not merely a state, but that state which consists in the presence and power of the Holy Spirit, and is the absolute expression of it. On the whole, I put a large S here, but it is the Son manifested on earth who is spoken of, and characteristic of him. Resurrection was the proof, but he who had eyes to see, saw what came in flesh justified in the Spirit even when here, the same Spirit which was quickening power in resurrection, as 1 Pet. 3.18.

    [Romans] 1:4 Hagiosune, the nature and quality itself, as 2 Cor. 7.1 and 1 Thess. 3.13. Distinct from hagiasmos, the practical effect produced, the character in activity, translated 'holiness' in Rom. 6.19, 22; 1 Cor. 1.30; 1 Tim. 2.15; Heb. 12.14; and 'sanctification' in 1 Thess. 4.3; 4.7; 2 Thess. 2.13 and 1 Pet. 1.2. Another word, hagiotes, is used in Heb. 12.10 (the only time in Scripture), for the quality itself.

    J.N. Darby's Translation footnotes on Romans 1:4

    Wednesday, June 6, 2018

    The Impossibility Of Abiogenesis

    • Discussion:
              -Following is an excerpt from an article originally published by the Cosmos Magazine:

              "Since he and colleague Tracey Lincoln first succeeded in creating this artificial genetic system that can undergo self-sustained replication and evolution last year, the molecules have changed dramatically as they evolve better and better solutions."

              Naturalistic atheists seem to believe that the creation of these self-replicating RNA enzymes vindicates the notion of abiogenesis, which is the theory that life originated spontaneously from inanimate materials.

               This effort to demonstrate the possibility of life coming from non-living matter does not hold water, considering that these enzymes did not actually create themselves. They did not simply appear from nothing and start evolving.

              If this scenario proves anything at all, then it only means that all created things require an intelligent designer. After all, these RNA enzymes were created by scientists, who have intelligence. They were developed in laboratory conditions, which are artificial, controlled, and customized by intelligent beings.

              There is no scientific evidence existing to support the idea of a self-sustaining cell that could arise spontaneously in the appropriate environment. The modern theories of abiogenesis cannot account for the extraordinary complexity and design of living organisms. Neither is there a known explanatory mechanism for how such an unguided process could work.