Friday, January 11, 2019

Evidence For Intelligent Design Found Throughout Nature

"The important point is not merely that there are regularities in nature, but that these regularities are mathematically precise, universal, and "tied together." Einstein spoke of them as "reason incarnate."... This is certainly the question that scientists from Newton to Einstein have asked-and answered. Their answer was the Mind of God." (p. 96)

"...the laws of nature seem to be crafted so as to move the universe toward the emergence and sustenance of life." (p. 114)

"How can a universe of mindless matter produce beings with intrinsic ends, self-reproduction capabilities, and coded chemistry?" (p.124)

"Over the centuries, thinkers who have considered the concept of "nothing" have been careful to emphasize that "nothing" is not a kind of "something." Absolute nothingness means no laws, no vacuums, no structures, no physical or mental entities of any kind-and no "symmetries." It has no properties or potentialities. Absolute nothingness cannot produce something given endless time-in fact, there can be no time in absolute nothingness." (p. 170)

Antony Flew, There Is a God

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Suggesting That Life Arose By Blind Chance Is Absurd

"Schroeder first referred to an experiment conducted by the British National Council of Arts. A computer was placed in a cage with six monkeys. After one month of hammering away at it (as well as using it as a bathroom!), the monkeys produced fifty typed pages-but not a single word. Schroeder noted that this was the case even though the smallest word in the English language is one letter (a or I). A is a word only if there is a space on either side of it. If we take it that the keyboard has thirty characters (the twenty-six letters and other symbols), then the likelihood of getting a one-lettered word is 30 times 30 times 30, which is 27,000. The likelihood of a getting a one-letter word is one chance out of 27,000.

Schroeder then applied the probabilities to the sonnet analogy. "What's the chance of getting a Shakespearean sonnet?" he asked. He continued:

All the sonnets are the same length. They're by definition fourteen lines long. I picked the one I knew the opening line for, "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?" I counted the number of letters; there are 488 letters in the sonnet. What's the likelihood of hammering away and getting 488 letters in exact sequence as in "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day? What you end up with is 26 multiplied by itself 488 times - or 26 to the 488th power. Or, in other words, in base 10, 10 to the 690th.

Now the number of particles in the universe - not grains of sand, I'm talking about protons, electrons, and neutrons - is 10 to the 80th . Ten to the 80th is 1 with 80 zeros after it. Ten to 690th is 1 with 690 zeros after it. There are not enough particles in the universe to write down the trials; you'd be off by a factor of 10 to the 690th.

If you took the entire universe and converted it to computer chips - forget the monkeys - each one weighing a millionth of a gram and had each computer chip able to spin out 288 trials at, say, a million times a second; if you turn the entire universe into these microcomputer chips and these chips were spinning a million times a second (producing) random letters, the number of trials you would get since the beginning of time would be 10 to the 90th trials. It would be off again by a factor of 10 to the 600th. You will never get a sonnet by chance. The universe would have to be 10 to the 600th time larger. Yet the world just thinks monkeys can do it every time."

Antony Flew, There Is a God, pg. 76-77

Reason Verifies The Existence of God

"I have said in some of my later atheist writings that I reached the conclusion about the nonexistence of God much too quickly, much too easily, and for what later seemed to me the wrong reasons." (p. 12-13)

"...the God of the monotheistic religions has the same attributes as the God of Aristotle." (p. 92)

"I must stress that my discovery of the Divine has proceeded on a purely natural level, without any reference to supernatural phenomena. It has been an exercise in what is traditionally called natural theology. It has had no connection with any of the revealed religions. Nor do I claim to have had any personal experience of God or any experience that may be called supernatural or miraculous. In short, my discovery of the Divine has been a pilgrimage of reason and not of faith." (p. 93)

Antony Flew, There Is a God

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

The Problem With Lying

"One problem with dishonesty is that just keeping a record of our lies and pretenses is a full-time job! Abraham Lincoln used to say that if a man is going to be a liar, he had better have a good memory! When a person uses up all his energy in pretending, he has nothing left for living; and life becomes shallow and tasteless. A person who pretends not only robs himself of reality, but he keeps himself from growing: his true self is smothered under the false self."

Warren W. Wiersbe, Be Real [commentary on 1 John], pg.35

Is The Roman Catholic Church Built On Peter?

        "...Because of the faith he confessed Peter will remain the unshakable rock of the Church. His mission will be to keep this faith from every lapse and to strengthen his brothers in it." (CCC #552)

        "The Lord made Simon alone, whom he named Peter, the "rock" of his Church. He gave him the keys of his Church and instituted him shepherd of the whole flock...This pastoral office of Peter and the other apostles belongs to the Church's very foundation and is continued by the bishops under the primacy of the Pope." (CCC #881)

        1 Corinthians 3:11 is a text that rebuts the Catholic position by presenting Christ as the central figure and not Peter himself. The apostle is a part of the church's foundation, in the same way as the other apostles and the prophets. He does not have a position of supremacy over the other apostles.

        If the church was built on the Apostle Peter, then how come he never made such a statement about himself in Scripture? This is ironic, since the primary passage of Scripture cited for papal supremacy is Matthew 16:18.

        The Apostle Peter refers to the Lord Jesus Christ as being the chief cornerstone, and all believers without distinction as "living stones" (1 Peter 2:5). He describes the Christian church without qualification as a "royal priesthood." Thus, Peter clearly knew nothing about a distinction between clergy and laity.

        He knew nothing about a papal office which would by its very nature distinguish him from the rest of Christendom. The role of this apostle has been exaggerated by the Church of Rome so as to bolster its claims to having infallible teaching authority.

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Pope Gelasius And Transubstantiation

Was transubstantiation generally believed in the early church? It is interesting to read what Pope Gelasius (492-496 AD) had to say about this matter. But first let’s define the meaning of the doctrine.

Transubstantiation (from Latin trans- across, and substantia substance) is the conversion of the substance of the Eucharistic elements into the body and blood of Christ at consecration, only the appearance of bread and wine still remaining. “Substance" means what something is in itself.

The Council of Trent states: “If anyone says that in the sacred and holy sacrament of the Eucharist the substance of the bread and wine remains conjointly with the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, and denies that wonderful and singular change of the whole substance of the bread into the body and the whole substance of the wine into the blood, the appearances only of bread and wine remaining, which change the Catholic Church most aptly calls transubstantiation, let him be anathema.” (Council of Trent, session 13, canon 2).

Thus, the Catholic Church teaches that at consecration the bread and wine no longer remain; they become truly, really and substantially the body and blood of Christ even though the appearance (or “accidents”) remains unchanged. We continue to see bread and wine though they are no longer bread and wine; what we perceive and taste as bread and wine are in fact the body and blood of Jesus.

Now let’s see what Pope Gelasius taught. In a treatise De Duabus Naturis against Eutyches and Nestorius (who taught that in the incarnation the human nature of Christ was absorbed in the divine nature), Gelasius wrote:

“The sacrament of the body and blood of Christ, which we receive, is a divine thing, because by it we are made partakers of the divine nature. Yet the substance or nature of the bread and wine does not cease. And assuredly the image and the similitude of the body and blood of Christ are celebrated in the performance of the mysteries.”

Gelasius taught that the sacramental bread and wine are the “image and the similitude” of the body and blood of Christ; the “substance or nature” of the bread and wine remain unchanged – “it does not cease”. Bread remains bread; wine remains wine. Clearly, Pope Gelasius contradicted the idea of transubstantiation.

How do Catholic apologists react to this? One Catholic writer argues that “Pope Gelasius was simply saying that the appearance [accidents] of bread/wine remain alongside the Real Presence in an attempt to explain the mystery of the Incarnation, since Christ humanity remains alongside His divinity. Some scholars interpret the above passage to refer to the accidents of the bread and wine.” (Kenneth Henderson)

Did Pope Gelasius really mean “appearance” when he wrote about “substance” and “nature”? Was the pope ignorant of the meaning of the very terms used in the Nicene Creed (325AD) and the Definition of Chalcedon (451AD) to describe who Jesus actually is?

There is a very simple reason why Gelasius did not mean “appearance”. Remember he is using the Eucharist as an analogy for the Incarnation, namely that “Christ’s humanity remains alongside His divinity.” Now if by “substance or nature” he meant that only the appearance of bread and wine remains, it follows that Christ merely appeared human but in fact he was not! That is the very heresy he was refuting!

No, rather, Gelasius rightly believed that the distinction of divine and human natures of Christ are “in no way annulled by the union” (Council of Chalcedon). Jesus is truly God and truly man! The Eucharist illustrates this great truth, for, just as the substance of the bread and wine remains unchanged, so the human nature of Christ remained unchanged despite its union with divinity.

Pope Gelasius did not try to prove that the bread and wine remain unchanged. He could take it for granted that his readers at the close of the fifth century believed that the substance of the eucharistic elements do not cease. The novel idea of transubstantiation was developed and adopted much later in the history of the Catholic church.

© Copyright Dr Joseph Mizzi | Duplication and free distribution is encouraged | www.justforcatholics.org

Saturday, January 5, 2019

The Evolution Of Charismatic "Tongues Speaking"

"...Every biblical example of angelic encounters with humans of any nationality shows the angel speaking in speaking in the language of of the person/people he was sent to (cf. Gen. 16:9; 22:11; Num. 22:32; Judg. 13:3). Revelation 14:6 speaks of an angel flying in the mid-heavens proclaiming the everlasting gospel to every nation, kindred, and tongue. The only tangential referent is found in the pseudepigraphic book titled "Testament of Job" which mentions Job's three daughters chanting in the "dialect of cherubim."29 Some date this book around the time of the writing of First Corinthians and Paul never gives credence to this novel writing and in fact warns against getting caught up in Jewish fables in Titus 1:14. For anyone to claim that they speak with the "tongues of angels" is simply without any biblical support and must be regarded as spurious. Naturally, this brings into question the alleged ability to translate an angelic tongue. How would anyone know if the translation is correct? We have no angelic lexicons, grammars, or dictionaries. For someone to claim they have the supernatural gift to translate angelic tongues is equally spurious.

Furthermore, the manifestation not only changed from an unknown language to an angelic language but the reason for the gift changed. Initially, Pentecostalism saw the restoration of this gift as a means to evangelize the world supernaturally and quickly. Due to the various well-publicized failures on the missionary field, the manifestation shifted from missionary work to the individual's personal prayer life. After WWII America experienced a "Healing Revival" with various Pentecostal tent-revivalists.30 This revival marks the explosion of Pentecostal practices (primarily tongues, prophecy, healing, and deliverance from demons) into non-Pentecostal denominations referred to as the "Charismatic Renewal" movement.31

The use of the gift changed from a supernatural missionary tool into a private (me and Jesus) language. It changed from being seen as a missionary gift for ministers to something that all believers can posses and should practice. Tongues went from having to be translated in public ministry today where entire groups of people all speak in tongues at the same time with no translation expected.

The only "restoration" of these gifts back into the Church is through outright heretical teachers (Montanus and his disciples) and later questionable fringe sects (Camisards, Shaking Quakers, Holiness groups) or other non-Christian cult groups.37 The Shakers were America's first non-Christian Pentecostals and since their advent other non-Christian Bible-based cults practice speaking in tongues as part of their piety including the Latter Day Saints (Mormons), the Unification Church of the Holy Spirit (Moonies), the Way International, snake handling groups to cite a few."

Rev. R. Liichow, Comparing and Contrasting the Various Concepts of "Tongues" Historically, p. 8-10

Friday, January 4, 2019

The Fatal Flaw Of The Charismatic Movement

  • Discussion:
          -John MacArthur has made the following observation concerning the tongue-speaking phenomena found within the Charismatic Movement:

          "...All kinds of feeling experiences, all kinds of emotionalism, all kinds of sensual things in the broadest term of sensual, that is, apprehended by the senses rather than the mind. This was very common to pagan religion. Plato, in his dialogues – and, incidentally, Plato lived from 429 to 347 B.C. before Christ, and in his dialogues, he has page, after page, after page describing these pagan ecstasies of speech."

          Consider further insights from a pamphlet titled "Comparing and Contrasting the Various Concepts of "Tongues" Historically" by Rev. R. Liichow, page 2:

         "The ability to manifest ecstatic speech is not limited to the Christian Church or even the early church. Anthropologists have found many examples of religious groups who practice "tongues". The East Greenland Eskimo use a spirit language through their shamans. The Quillacinga and Pasto Indians also express "unintelligible words" in their services.5 We have possibly the earliest account of ecstatic speech approximately 1,100 years before the Day of Pentecost in Egypt.6 Dr. Wayne House has shown a historical practice of speaking in tongues in Phrygia by followers of the Cybele-Attis cult as well as the cult of Apollo prior to the birth of the church.7 Biblical scholar Gerald Hovenden demonstrates that "the existence of glossolalia in pagan world in ancient time itself cannot be denied."8 He shows that glossolalia phenomenon appeared prior to the New Testament period in the Mari Document (around 2000-1500 BCE), Wen Amon (1100 BCE), the Homeric to Delian Apollo (700 BCE), Cassandra, and etc."

          Therefore, the speaking in tongues that we are witnessing today in the Charismatic Movement is not from God. It is rooted in the occult. The tongues that are spoken of in the New Testament are simply human languages that the speaker acquired by supernatural means. They were actually intelligible. To attribute the human experiences found within the Charismatic Movement to the Holy Spirit is sheer blasphemy. 

           The various sign gifts utilized by the church in the first century were to be used in serving God, not self-gratification. Speaking in tongues was a sign for unbelievers (1 Corinthians 14:22). We no longer need sign gifts because we now have the New Testament. The gospel has sufficient power to bring about the conversion of souls (John 20:30-31; Romans 1:16).

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Socialism Has Never Worked

"Contrary to popular belief, communism and socialism are virtually identical. Karl Marx defined socialism as abolishing private property with everything owned by an all powerful state on behalf of the people. Sounds very similar to communism, right?

While proponents claim that socialism is for the better of the people, they overlook a major obstacle. A government that is big enough to give you everything you want is also strong enough to take away everything you have. A government that is this powerful rarely stays that generous.

Socialism works against human nature and personal motivation. History tells the devastating results of socialism combined with unchanging human nature. The rich become poor and the poor become poorer. Don't fall for the lies that say otherwise. Help protect our freedoms and a system that rewards good works."

Mathew Staver

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

An Excellent Prayer For Us To Pray And Know

"I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe." (Ephesians 1:17-19)