This site exists to provide insights from the Christian perspective through teaching theology and biblical exegesis. Does God exist? How reliable is the biblical text? How should the Christian faith be understood? These questions are not simply academic, but affect all groups of people. The Apostle Paul imparted this godly wisdom to us, "...that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against another" (1 Corinthians 4:6).
For Professing Christians Who Try To Refute The Doctrine Of Justification By Faith Apart From The Merit Of Works (Sola Fide), They Should Consider The Text Of 1 Corinthians 3:10-15:
-"According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire." (1 Corinthians 3:10-15)
Commentary On 1 Corinthians 3:10-15:
-On the Day of Judgment, God will evaluate the quality of every man's work. If the Christian's work ("gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw") withstands the testing of the fire, then he or she will receive rewards (v. 14). But if a person's works fail to pass the testing of fire, then he or she will still be saved. The Christian is saved in both scenarios. In either case (whether works pass the testing of fire or not), he or she will still be saved. Thus, it is clear from the text of 1 Corinthians 3:10-15 that justification is not determined on the basis of good works. Works determine the heavenly rewards that we will receive in heaven. Works are the product of a regenerate heart. Justification is strictly a gift from God. His grace is unmerited and undeserved. There is nothing that we can do to earn right standing before God. Parallel this with Romans 4:4-5. Justification is not an earned wage, but a free gift from God. He justifies the ungodly by His grace through our faith. Consider also 1 Corinthians 3:11, which tells us that Christ is the foundation of our salvation. Our good works are built on Him. Our good works are the product of a saving faith.
Following Is A Gem Rarely Published In Darwinian Literature--Overwhelming Complexity Of Embryonic Development (Evidence For Intelligent Design):
-"One of the main reasons for Duboule’s pessimism about the return of the EvoDevo comet is the staggering complexity and diversity of cellular and developmental regulatory processes. The configuration space for realistic models of such systems is vast, high dimensional, and potentially infinitely complex."
"Profound Similarities" Exist That Do Not Prove "Common Ancestry:"
-"Because of this, similarities in gene expression patterns or morphological structure often do not necessarily imply common ancestry, since they may as well reflect the frequent reuse of the same regulatory or morphogenetic modules."
Consider this admission from the Jehovah's Witnesses Watchtower Society:
“While inclining to view the pronunciation "Yah.weh" as the more correct way, we have retained the form "Jehovah" because of people's familiarity with it since the 14th century.” (The Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures, 1969, p. 23).
Confirmation from Jewish scholarship:
“JEHOVAH is a mispronunciation of the Hebrew YHWH the name of God. This pronunciation is grammatically impossible. The form ‘Jehovah’ is a philological impossibility.” (The Jewish Encyclopedia)
"And “morally corrosive” is exactly the term that some critics would apply to the new science of the moral sense. The attempt to dissect our moral intuitions can look like an attempt to debunk them. Evolutionary psychologists seem to want to unmask our noblest motives as ultimately self-interested — to show that our love for children, compassion for the unfortunate and sense of justice are just tactics in a Darwinian struggle to perpetuate our genes. The explanation of how different cultures appeal to different spheres could lead to a spineless relativism, in which we would never have grounds to criticize the practice of another culture, no matter how barbaric, because “we have our kind of morality and they have theirs.” And the whole enterprise seems to be dragging us to an amoral nihilism, in which morality itself would be demoted from a transcendent principle to a figment of our neural circuitry.
Here is the worry. The scientific outlook has taught us that some parts of our subjective experience are products of our biological makeup and have no objective counterpart in the world. The qualitative difference between red and green, the tastiness of fruit and foulness of carrion, the scariness of heights and prettiness of flowers are design features of our common nervous system, and if our species had evolved in a different ecosystem or if we were missing a few genes, our reactions could go the other way. Now, if the distinction between right and wrong is also a product of brain wiring, why should we believe it is any more real than the distinction between red and green? And if it is just a collective hallucination, how could we argue that evils like genocide and slavery are wrong for everyone, rather than just distasteful to us?"
The Assumption of Mary was not officially declared to be an article of the Roman Catholic faith until 1950 by Pope Pius XII:
"The Immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory.” (Munificentissimus Deus)
The Roman Catholic Catechism explains this dogma in the following manner:
"Finally the Immaculate Virgin, preserved free from all stain of original sin, when the course of her earthly life was finished, was taken up body and soul into heavenly glory, and exalted by the Lord as Queen over all things, so that she might be the more fully conformed to her Son, the Lord of lords and conqueror of sin and death." The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin is a singular participation in her Son's Resurrection and an anticipation of the resurrection of other Christians." (CCC #966)
Enoch (Genesis 5:24), Elijah (2 Kings 2:11), and Jesus (Acts 1:9) are people recorded in Scripture as being bodily assumed into heaven. There is no such reference for Mary, which is admitted by Roman Catholic Apologist Karl Keating:
"fundamentalists ask, where is the proof from Scripture? Strictly, there is none. The mere fact that the Church teaches the doctrine of the Assumption as something definitely true is a guarantee that it is true" (Karl Keating, Catholicism And Fundamentalism, [San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1988], p. 275)
The doctrine of Mary's assumption is apocryphal in origin:
"The idea of the bodily assumption of Mary is first expressed in certain transitus–narratives of the fifth and sixth centuries. Even though these are apocryphal they bear witness to the faith of the generation in which they were written despite their legendary clothing. The first Church author to speak of the bodily ascension of Mary, in association with an apocryphal transitus B.M.V., is St. Gregory of Tours’." (Ludwig Ott, Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma (Rockford: Tan, 1974), pp. 209–210)
The Catholic Encyclopedia tells us that the first "authentic" references to the bodily assumption of Mary can be found in writings dated to the sixth through eight centuries:
“The belief in the corporeal assumption of Mary is founded on the apocryphal treatise De Obitu S. Dominae, bearing the name of St. John, which belongs however to the fourth or fifth century. It is also found in the book De Transitu Virginis, falsely ascribed to St. Melito of Sardis, and in a spurious letter attributed to St. Denis the Areopagite. If we consult genuine writings in the East, it is mentioned in the sermons of St. Andrew of Crete, St. John Damascene, St. Modestus of Jerusalem and others. In the West, St. Gregory of Tours (De gloria mart., I, iv) mentions it first. The sermons of St. Jerome and St. Augustine for this feast, however, are spurious.”
The Assumption of Mary itself is just an assumption based on pious legends.
The Roman Catholic Church has endorsed a plethora of unscriptural Marian dogmas, and has traditionally identified the "woman" figure mentioned in the text of Revelation 12:1-2 to be Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ.
This faulty interpretation of Revelation 12 has been a springboard for the development of doctrines such as the Assumption of Mary, her being called the Queen of Heaven, and the Mother of the Church. It accounts for the existence of portraits with her being dressed in cosmic clothing standing over the world.
Hence, the Church of Rome literally believes the "woman" figure mentioned in Revelation 12:1-2 to be Mary. Pope Pius XII wrote in an Apostolic Constitution, “The scholastic Doctors have recognized the Assumption of the Virgin Mother of God as something signified, not only in various figures of the Old Testament, but also in that woman clothed with the sun whom John the Apostle contemplated on the Island of Patmos” (Munificentissimus Deus).
Note how Revelation 12:2 depicts this "woman" figure as experiencing birth pangs. Also, notice that a part of the curse of original sin is pain during childbirth (Genesis 3:16). The Roman Catholic interpretation of Revelation 12 is inconsistent because according to official Roman Catholic teaching, Mary was preserved from receiving a fallen nature:
"Through the centuries the Church has become ever more aware that Mary, "full of grace" through God, was redeemed from the moment of her conception. That is what the dogma of the Immaculate Conception confesses, as Pope Pius IX proclaimed in 1854: The most Blessed Virgin Mary was, from the first moment of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of almighty God and by virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, Savior of the human race, preserved immune from all stain of original sin." (CCC # 491)
Thus, she could not experience pain when bearing children. But this is clearly not the case, according to Revelation 12:2. "She" was clearly in distress. So Roman Catholics are being theologically inconsistent when interpreting the passage of Revelation 12 as being a reference to Mary. It is counterproductive. If she was sinless, then she would not have to undergo pain in labor.
Does Mary have eagle's wings (Revelation 12:14)? Where in Scripture do we ever hear of Mary going to Egypt to be fed for 1,260 days? What about the fact that the flight of this "woman" took place after Jesus Christ's ascension to God's throne (Revelation 12:5-6)? More reasonable interpretations of this passage would identify this "woman" as either being Israel or the church. The Roman Catholic New American Bible Revised Edition says the following in regards to the "woman" of Revelation 12:
"[12:1] The woman adorned with the sun, the moon, and the stars (images taken from Gn 37:9–10) symbolizes God’s people in the Old and the New Testament. The Israel of old gave birth to the Messiah (Rev 12:5) and then became the new Israel, the church, which suffers persecution by the dragon (Rev 12:6, 13–17); cf. Is 50:1; 66:7; Jer 50:12."
To take the imagery of Revelation and claim that it shows Mary's assumption is really stretching the intent of the passage.
"It is true, that a little philosophy inclineth man's mind to atheism, but depth in philosophy bringeth men's minds about to religion: for while the mind of man looketh upon second causes scattered, it may sometimes rest in them, and go no further; but when it beholdeth the chain of them confederate, and linked together, it must needs fly to providence and deity."
Sir Francis Bacon, A Father Of The Scientific Method (1561-1626)
"...contrary to what Hawking claims, physical laws can never provide a complete explanation of the universe. Laws themselves do not create anything, they are merely a description of what happens under certain conditions."
According To Official Roman Catholic Doctrine, Only The Substance Of The Consecrated Elements (Bread and Wine) Are Changed By The Priest:
-"If any one...denies that wonderful and singular conversion of the whole substance of the bread into the Body, and of the whole substance of the wine into the Blood-the species only of the bread and wine remaining-which conversion indeed the Catholic Church most aptly calls Transubstantiation; let him be anathema." (Council of Trent, Thirteen Session, Canon 2)
How Eucharistic Miracles Contradict The Roman Catholic Doctrine Of The Eucharist:
-The cited excerpt from the Council of Trent expressly states that the appearance of the bread and wine remains the same, despite the substance being mysteriously transformed (into the literal fullness of Jesus Christ's flesh, blood, and divinity) by the priest. In other words, the Catholic definition of transubstantiation involves an unverifiable miracle to human reason. However, Eucharistic miracles are readily observable to the people who are present at the Mass ceremonies. This is extremely problematical for the Roman Catholic position because according to official Church doctrine, the appearance of the transubstantiated elements remains completely unchanged. A change in appearance is contrary to no change in appearance. So when apologists for the Church of Rome cite occurrences of Eucharistic miracles as proof for the veracity of their beliefs, their arguments are actually counterproductive because these so-called supernatural occasions do not fit the Roman Catholic definition of transubstantiation.
“What about instinct? Evolution has no answer: Even if the bat’s sophisticated radar system suddenly appeared by chance, who taught the first mutated bat to use it? How many millions of Arctic terns drowned before the first one, by chance, learned to navigate thousands of miles across the ocean? How many salmon lost their way in the ocean and never made it back to spawn before this uncanny instinct was developed? How many millions of spiders starved before the amazing mechanism for making webs suddenly chanced itself into existence—and who taught that unique mutated spider how to make a web? How many eggs of all manner of birds rotted before the instinct to hatch eggs developed, and how was it learned and passed on?"
Dave Hunt, Occult Invasion: The Subtle Seduction of the World and Church, p. 36