Wednesday, October 16, 2019

On The Discrepancy Between The Bible And Book Of Mormon On Where Christ Was Born

        The Old and New Testaments affirm that Jesus Christ was born in Bethlehem:

        "But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah,
from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel,whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days." (Micah 5:2)

        "Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem" (Matthew 2:1)

        In contrast, the Book of Mormon claims that Christ was born in Jerusalem:

        "But behold, the Spirit hath said this much unto me, saying: Cry unto this people, saying—Repent ye, and prepare the way of the Lord, and walk in his paths, which are straight; for behold, the kingdom of heaven is at hand, and the Son of God bcometh upon the face of the earth. And behold, he shall be born of Mary, at berusalem which is the land of our forefathers, she being a virgin, a precious and chosen vessel, who shall be overshadowed and conceive by the power of the Holy Ghost, and bring forth a son, yea, even the Son of God." (Alma 7:9-10)

        Both Bethlehem and Jerusalem were cities in Judea. But how could there be a contradiction in divine revelation as to something as important as the birthplace of the Messiah? Dismissing the biblical text as corrupt in favor of the Book of Mormon is both a nonanswer and a cop out.

Monday, October 14, 2019

Addressing The Mormon Dogma Of Celestial Marriage

  • Discussion:
           -One dogma of Mormonism is that of celestial marriage. It is believed by Mormons that husbands will reign as gods in their own universes with their families and procreate for eternity. One biblical text that is problematic for this idea, however, is the teachings of Jesus Christ relating to the status of marriage in the resurrection of the dead:

           "Some Sadducees (who say that there is no resurrection) came to Jesus, and began questioning Him, saying, “Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies and leaves behind a wife and leaves no child, his brother should marry the wife and raise up children to his brother. “There were seven brothers; and the first took a wife, and died leaving no children. “The second one married her, and died leaving behind no children; and the third likewise; and so all seven left no children. Last of all the woman died also. “In the resurrection, when they rise again, which one’s wife will she be? For all seven had married her.” Jesus said to them, “Is this not the reason you are mistaken, that you do not understand the Scriptures or the power of God? “For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven." (Mark 12:18-25, emphasis added)

           The question posed by the Sadducees reflected the Jewish custom of passing childless married women whose husbands were deceased on to younger brothers in the same family. Christ answered their faulty premise, pointing out that there will be no marriages taking place in heaven. Humans will become immortal like the angels. There will be no need to produce offspring. See also the parallel text of Luke 20:34-36.

           What takes place in the heavenly realm is quite unlike our experiences on earth. Jesus Christ continues His reprimanding of the Sadducees with the following remarks:

           "But regarding the fact that the dead rise again, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the passage about the burning bush, how God spoke to him, saying, ‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? “He is not the God of the dead, but of the living; you are greatly mistaken.” (Mark 12:26-27)

           God will give us much more fulfilling things in the eternal state than any temporary pleasures available to us in this life. He does value the institution of marriage, but it will not exist in heaven. The same is true of family units.

           The Mormon concept of celestial marriage expressly contradicts the teaching of Christ. In fact, wives who lost their husbands on earth and chose to remarry would be guilty of committing adultery because according to Latter Day Saint theology, they would be forever bound to their first spouse.

Luke 1:1-4 And The Reliability Of New Testament Texts

        "Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things that have been accomplished among us, just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word have delivered them to us, it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, that you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught." (Luke 1:1-4)

        If Luke was able to select from a wide variety of sources in putting together an accurate account of the earthly ministry of Jesus Christ, then it stands to reason that he also had access to Mark and other earlier material. He also would have had contact with direct eyewitnesses to the resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:6). One commentator put matters in this manner:

        "1:1 draw up an account. In the Mediterranean world, disciples of teachers often committed the teacher’s lectures to writing; otherwise, others often did so (especially if the disciples were not very literate). Most scholars agree that at least one of the written works by Luke’s day was Mark; one of the many other sources might be a collection of material shared by Matthew and Luke (perhaps a collection of mostly sayings reported by Matthew). Sometimes students published their teacher’s sayings in ways that even reflected the teacher’s distinctive style. things that have been fulfilled among us. Reflects the kind of subject noted by ancient historians (rather than by other kinds of writers) in their prefaces."

        Moreover, Luke's work demonstrates that the four gospel accounts are rooted in history. They are not fictional or mythological.

Saturday, October 12, 2019

A Philosophical Argument For The Immateriality Of The Soul

"...in metaphysics, he held the view that ordinary objects (tables, chairs, etc.) are ‘logical fictions’, and that what exists “in the strict and philosophical sense” are parcels of matter. Parcels of matter cannot lose parts and continue to exist as the same things, according to Chisholm. But what we think of as ordinary objects are gaining and losing parts all the time, he noted. Some molecules that once composed the table in front of me no longer do so. They have been chipped off, and the table worn away with time. The same holds for human bodies. They gain and lose parts all the time, and thus for Chisholm, human bodies don’t persist through time “in the strict and philosophical sense.” But persons – whatever they are – do persist through changes in the matter that composes a body. Therefore, he concluded, persons are not identical with their bodies, nor with any part of the body that can undergo change."

Argument articulated by Roderick Chisholm
https://philosophynow.org/issues/75/On_Roderick_Chisholm

Thursday, October 10, 2019

A Discourse On Sexual Purity

  • General Points Of Consideration:
          -The historical, traditional view of reserving sexual intercourse between man and women for marriage has always been an integral product of divine creation (Genesis 2:20-24; Matthew 19:4-5). It is a part of God's plan for our good. 
          -Though every human being has been assigned sexuality by bodily design, the intimate act itself is to be restricted to the confines of matrimony. This is where procreation is supposed to take place. Thus, acts of fornication, adultery, lust, and masturbation are condemned in a biblical worldview. Sexual sins are sins against our very bodies (1 Corinthians 6:18-20). They are rooted in selfishness.
          -It is only from the biblical framework that the act of sex can be rightly understood. From it the act can be enjoyed to the fullest extent. Women are not viewed as objects of pleasure or used merely as baby making machines. 
          -Abstinence before marriage is proper and sensible even from a secular standpoint, as it prevents unwanted pregnancies which can be financially burdensome and the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. 
          -Abstinence before marriage results in faithful spouses and thus the proper development of families. The proper family structure maintains a healthy society overall.
  • Presenting Jesus Christ's Teaching On Lust And Adultery:
          -“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.' But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell." (Matthew 5:27-30)
  • Comments On The Teachings Of Christ In The New Testament:
          -Jesus was not deepening what the Law says, but bringing out the true meaning of the Law in contrast with the false teachings of the Jewish leaders. This is evident in Matthew 5 when Jesus contrasts His own teaching (Matthew 5:22, 28, 32, 34, 39, 44) with "you have heard that it was said" (Matthew 5:21, 27, 31, 33, 38, 43). We need to follow the spirit of the Law rather than the letter of the Law (Matthew 5:20).
          -The Law already taught obedience from the heart. The Old Testament forbids hatred as well as murder; lust as well as outward adultery. See texts such as 2 Kings 9:30, 2 Samuel 11:2-5, Job 31:1, and Proverbs 6:25-26.
          -"Many ancient Jewish moralists condemned lust; some later rabbis even compared extreme lust to adultery. Jesus’ warning here develops the context of the prohibition against adultery in the law: the seventh commandment prohibited adultery, but the tenth commandment warned that one should not even covet one’s neighbor’s wife (Ex 20:17; Dt 5:21). Jesus uses here the same verb as in the standard Greek translation of the tenth commandment. He refers, then, to wanting to have one’s neighbor’s wife. The principle, of course, extends beyond Jesus’ illustration, applying to both genders and to single people, coveting one who might be someone else’s spouse someday." (https://www.biblegateway.com/topics/adultery)

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Insect With Its Own Gearbox – More Proof Of Intelligent Design?

"Stunning imagery and video has been released of a tiny insect that uses a gearbox, complete with interlocking gears, to move.

“A species of plant-hopping insect, Issus coleoptratus, is the first living creature known to possess functional gears, a new study finds. The two interlocking gears on the insect’s hind legs help synchronize the legs when the animal jumps,” reported Live Science.

“To the best of my knowledge, it’s the first demonstration of functioning gears in any animal,” lead researcher Malcolm Burrows, an emeritus professor of neurobiology at Britain’s University of Cambridge, told journalists.

The imagery of the bug is certain to further fuel the scientific debate about intelligent design versus random evolutionary development, because it shows complex machinery was not developed first by humans, but in nature itself.

The discovery of the gearbox follows the discovery of an internal motor, similar to an outboard on a boat, used by certain bacteria to propel themselves.

Scientists investigating the ‘design inference’ have noted on the bacterial motors that these molecular machines are appearing at sub-cellular levels as a product of DNA coding rather than sexual reproduction and natural selection. They also argue that the biological machines are “irreducibly” complex, meaning they give no advantage to the organism unless they are working from day one.

The odds against such complex machinery assembling itself on day one are said to be so huge that it gives rise to the question of whether they are evidence of intelligent design in nature.

In the present case, the gears are assembled on the legs."

https://investigatemagazine.co.nz/4267/insect-with-its-own-gearbox-more-proof-of-intelligent-design/

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Genesis 3:21 And Imputed Righteousness

"Adam and Eve had fallen into sin and under God's subsequent curse. God had said that disobedience to his command would receive the penalty of death (Gen. 2:17). Adam and eve would die, being barred from the tree of life and thus kept from living forever (Gen. 3:22). But at the same time God announced his gracious purpose to achieve their salvation, and to each of the players in the drama of the fall, God spoke of a Savior who would achieve that salvation. In Genesis 3:15 he warned the serpent of a seed from the woman who would crush his head. But in Genesis 3:21, God proclaimed Christ to Adam and Eve in a different and wholly wonderful way: "The LORD God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them." We remember that sin had contaminated the first couple's nakedness with shame, so God covered their sin and guilt with the skins of an innocent substitute. Here was a spotless creature who had not participated in our first parents' sin but who nonetheless paid sin's penalty of death. Adam and Eve, not participating in the sacrifice's righteousness, nonetheless are clothed by it so as to stand justified before God."

By Faith Alone: Answering the Challenges to the Doctrine of Justification, contributor Richard D. Phillips, p. 91-92

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Romans 4:7-8 And Imputed Righteousness

"In citing Psalm 32:1-2, Paul further makes clear that these are people who have "lawless deeds" and "sins" (Rom. 4:7-8). Altogether, the apostle teaches that "ungodly" people characterized by "lawless deeds" and "sins" are "justified" in that God "credits righteousness" to them "apart from works." Carson thus concludes, "We perceive that justification of the ungodly means the imputation of righteousness."20

By Faith Alone: Answering the Challenges to the Doctrine of Justification, contributor Richard D. Phillips, p. 82

Romans 4:4-5 And Imputed Righteousness

"...note that in Romans 4:5 Paul adds the statement that faith "trusts him who justifies the ungodly." This can only be a reference to God justifying Abraham. If Abraham was ungodly when he was credited with righteousness, it cannot be because he did something that God considered righteous. If Abraham was faithful at the time he was justified, then this could not be an instance of God "justifying the ungodly." Carson argues, "In Paul's understanding, then, God's imputation of Abraham's faith to Abraham as righteous cannot be grounded in the assumption that faith itself is intrinsically righteous."18 If Abraham was "ungodly" at the time of his justification, his must have been what Reformed theology has termed an alien righteousness-a righteousness that is not based on Abraham's actual condition of faith. "Thus God credits us with a righteousness we do not have."19

By Faith Alone: Answering the Challenges to the Doctrine of Justification, contributor Richard D. Phillips, p. 82

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Romans 4:4-5 And Justification By Faith Alone

"Paul is contrasting two approaches to righteousness. The one is secured by works and the other by faith. The one is based on merit ("his due") and the other on grace ("as a gift")...Most significant is Paul's contrast between something that is earned, so that it is credited to the person "as his due," verses something that is received by faith, which is received "as a gift." In other words, Paul says that Abraham received righteousness not as something he did but because of God's gracious gift. Carson explains: "Romans 4:4 establishes that there is a crediting, an imputing, that means something is credited to your account that you do not deserve." This means that "when faith is imputed to Abraham as righteousness, it is unmerited, it is all of grace, because it is nothing more than believing God and his gracious promise."17 Paul's whole argument here is that while Abraham's believing is correlated to his being credited with righteousness, this is not because he did something to ear it."

By Faith Alone: Answering the Challenges to the Doctrine of Justification, contributor Richard D. Phillips, p. 81