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Saturday, August 24 2019

“If God is all-powerful and all-loving, then God should stop all the evil and suffering in the world.” While this judgment of God may be convincing for some and a struggle for many who doubt, one should think of the implications. How can God give free will and yet remove the consequences of free will? God could change every bullet fired for murder into bubbles and all knives used for an assault into rubber. God could send an angel to stop every great human tragedy. However, if every act of evil concluded with neutral or positive effects, then evil no longer reveals the depth of its depravity. The reality of evil will become distorted before human eyes.

            Evil, death, and suffering have come into this world by the sin of humanity (Rom 5). Removing all evil removes free will and its consequences. Such a world would not allow the coming of a heavenly paradise to exist where good people by free will make good choices and live together by loving one’s neighbor. Instead, many want this present world to become a “paradise” where free choice has no real effect and where causality no longer applies. Such a world exists without logic, science, morality, consequences, or the need for any good actions and thus negate love.

            Why does God allow evil? God allows evil to a great extent for the complete and ultimate destruction of evil and sin through Jesus Christ (Col 2:13–15; Heb 2:14–18; 1 John 3:8). God allows suffering to communicate that the greatest tragedy in this life is temporary and minimal compared to God’s overwhelming recovery from the hurt that each person endures in this life. God allows great suffering for those who suffer greatly can experience the grace of God that gives peace in Jesus Christ (Rom 8:16; Phil 1:27–30; Jas 1:2–4). God allows evil and suffering as God’s grace strengthens a person’s character through suffering that cannot exist without suffering (Rom 5:3–5; 8:16, 28; 2 Cor 12:7–10).

            God allows evil and that allows the greatest acts of good — repentance, mercy, compassion, forgiveness, comfort, and relief — that cannot exist otherwise (Luke 5:32; 6:20–49). God gives free will and the ability for humanity to choose to flee sin and pursue holy living rather than living in a world with no real consequences for one’s actions (Rom 6:15–23). God allows evil so that people who sin can continue living by God’s mercy and have opportunity to repent because God loves all and wants everyone to repent and be saved (1 Tim 2:4; 2 Pet 3:9).

            God resolves suffering justly and overcomes death in Jesus’s resurrection. God will give eternal life by restoring creation from corruption and decay (Rom 8:18–25). This restoration includes the redemption of the faithful by bodily resurrecting from the dead (1 Cor 15:53; 2 Cor 4:17).

            The atheistic worldview is always in a continuum of collapsing so that unbelievers are always struggling to hold onto morality, meaning, causality, and reality. The atheistic perspective of reality often sets people opposing “evil” while “good” is often changing for them and denying any ultimate reality of good and evil. Secular society is always questioning and overturning every moral position. Isaiah prophesied, “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!” (Isa 5:20).

            Thank God that He will make all things right. God is the Source of all good for God is love (1 John 4:8, 16). By Christ laying down His life for all, every believer can know God’s love and so love others (1 John 3:16).

Posted by: Scott J Shifferd AT 07:00 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Thursday, August 08 2019

“Research shows… Historians recognize… If you could read… [something]” so people argue various points of view, and few are challenged to change their minds. What use are academic papers demonstrating reasons to believe in God and Christ if the common Christian cannot apply them in their conversations. Christians need a defense of the faith that one could write on a business card and is handy enough to stick in one’s pocket.

            The Christian must recognize that not everyone is going to believe and that those who will consider the evidence for the faith must have a reasonable view of God (Acts 17:22–31). A person must be willing to consider with honesty the self-evident facts. The apostle Paul revealed, “For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse” (Rom 1:20 ESV). The Christian can help those willing to consider God by keeping five reasons (more or less) to demonstrate the reasonable faith in God and Christ.


Here are 5 reasons to believe:


1. Cause and Effect: The universe must have a cause that is greater than itself. The cause of the universe must be greater in power, create order, and exist beyond the universe and its natural laws. Therefore, the cause of the universe must be by definition the supernatural Creator. Furthermore, the creation of the universe is the first miracle that proves that God does miracles.


2. Design: As the complex order of a smartphone being greater than a pencil demonstrates intelligent design, so the complex order of biology being greater than human inventions demonstrates intelligent design. Otherwise, everything exists by random chance or determined by the necessity of purposeless laws. Creation reveals God’s eternal power and divine nature.


3. Logic: Without God, no objective standards for logic could exist, because logic cannot discover logic without logic, create itself, or exist outside the mind. Therefore, logic exists constantly and eternally, so logic reveals God’s divine nature.


4. Morality: Without God, no objective values for morality could exist because morality would then be subject to some arbitrary foundation of self, society and, or instinct. However, objective moral values exist, God must exist who is the source of morality, and thus universal morality reveals God’s divine nature as love (1 John 3:16; 4:8, 16).

5. Witnesses: Various doubters and unbelievers witnessed Jesus resurrected from the dead and that changed their lives (1 Cor 15:1–11). The church could only begin and exist because of the witnesses of Jesus’s death, burial, and resurrection. Furthermore, Peter proclaimed predictions of Jesus’s resurrection, Jesus’s empty tomb, and witnesses as evidence of Jesus’s resurrection (Acts 2:14–36).

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Wednesday, August 07 2019

“I feel helpless. I can’t persuade anyone of anything about God and Jesus.” The Bible has equipped Christians for every good work (2 Tim 3:16–17). However, many believers need training from their leaders faithfully to engage the world of unbelief (Eph 4:11–13).

            Jude taught Christians to “have mercy on those who doubt; save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh” (Jude 1:22 ESV). Christians are loving and merciful for snatching doubters from the fire of Hell. Because all must appear before the judgment seat of Christ, the apostle Paul revealed, “Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others” (2 Cor 5:11b).

            Christians are capable of waging spiritual warfare against arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God (2 Cor 10:4–5). Victory is to take captive every thought to the obedience of Christ. However, many Christians are not thoughtful and considerate about their faith to engage the foolishness of anything being significant without God.

            A child may believe that a monster lives under their bed because he hears noises and imagines what is in the darkness under his bed. A friend may think that aliens have visited him because he saw a strange light in the sky and heard whispers around his house. Possibilities are not the best explanations for reality. Many doubt because they accept a possibility over what is reasonable.

            Does life emerge from nonliving material? No. No one has observed a spontaneous generation of life. The scientific Law of Biogenesis affirms the common and unanimous observations that life does not naturally arise from nonliving material. Someone could reason that life could possibly begin in certain circumstances, but reasoning upon possibilities is a logical fallacy. Living according to possibilities is absurd, irrational, anxious, and obsessive.

            The possibility that the universe created itself from nothing, formed from a multiverse generator, or existed from an infinite past are not reasonable. No one sees things popping into existence from nothing. No sees natural laws or complex order forming from an unintelligent generator. Nothing within the universe can exist from an infinite time in the past, because then the infinite past could never reach the present reality.

            Most people want to believe the best explanation for reality, and the best explanation for the beginning of the life-permitting universe is God. The most reasonable explanation for the origin of life is God. Believers of God stand upon the only reasonable view of reality. Furthermore, Christians can persuade by reasoning from the creative power and divine nature of God as demonstrated through what is created (Rom 1:20). Evidently, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction” (Prov 1:7). How can anyone reason upon the causes and effects of the universe by denying the first Cause, the Creator, who must have existed before and beyond natural laws?

            Begin with “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (Gen 1:1). What can people know about the Creator of the universe? The Creator must exist before and beyond the universe and its natural laws. The Creator made everything including intelligent human life in His likeness as the Creator must be intelligent. The Creator must be God who is greater and more powerful than the universe that He created. Thank God for He makes sense of all of His creation!

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Tuesday, August 06 2019

“Why do I doubt my faith?” People doubt in different ways. Some honestly doubt by asking questions and struggle to find answers. Others doubt because they do not want to believe something that goes against their desires and ambitions. While these two types of doubt are often very far apart, someone may experience both questions and temptations to sin. In the case of questioning, John the Baptist questioned if Jesus was the Christ but that is not necessarily doubt (Matt 11:1–7).

            Doubts vary. Some doubt is very harmful. James revealed that the person who doubts God is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind (Jas 1:6). However, some forms of doubt are a part of growing as a believer. The father of young boy pleaded with Jesus to do anything to save his son. Jesus urged him, “If you can! All things are possible for one who believes” (Mark 9:23). The father cried out, “I believe; help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24).

            While walking on the sea, Peter doubted and began to sink when he experienced the winds in the midst of the storm (Matt 14:28–33). Jesus spoke to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” Those who doubt in a manner of questioning often feel anxiety that can result in disruptive doubt and fear causing obsessive behavior. A person may be overly concerned with “What if this happens?” For example, some people live in some fear or anxiety of crossing bridges in fair weather and avoid bridges. Many reasonably fear to see hurricane-like winds beat against a bridge. Most people live according to probability based on common experience, so they don't fear what some do.

            Some Christians doubt the faith that their parents and Bible teachers have delivered to them. They think that they might be wrong. Sometimes, they struggle with the possibility that the universe popped into existence from nothing, life spontaneously generated and evolved, and Jesus could have been an exaggerated figure in history. They seek and struggle to find answers. However, most come to see that these skeptical ideas are not reasonable and not the best explanation for reality.

            Christ has given evidence of Himself if a person is ready to accept a reasonable view of God (cf. John 5:30–47; 8:17–18; Acts 1:3). Jesus declared, “If anyone's will is to do God's will, he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority” (John 7:17).

            Thomas doubted Jesus’s resurrection but he was ready to accept the evidence. Thomas declared, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe” (John 20:25b). Jesus responded to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe” (John 20:27; cf. Luke 24:38). Therefore, Thomas confessed, “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28). However, Jesus concluded, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (John 20:29).

            The apostles first doubted the evidence of Jesus’s resurrection that they would declare to the world, and Jesus rebuked them for not believing the evidence of witnesses (Mark 16:14). Both Peter and Paul would preach the predictions of Jesus’s resurrection, the empty tomb, and the witnesses of Jesus’s resurrection (Acts 2:14–36; 13:26–41; 1 Cor 15:1–11).

            With a reasonable view of God, everyone is reasonable to believe that Jesus is the exact image of God. Thank God that Jesus has given many proofs!

Posted by: Scott J Shifferd AT 08:00 am   |  Permalink   |  Email