Archive for the ‘ Apologetics ’ Category

Give Me 5: Does God Prove His Existence?

Is there evidence God exists.

Give Me 5: Proof of God?

There is a running theory that atheists and even many Christians believe that God does not prove His existence.

Take as a prime example the god of Douglas Adams’ “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”:

“I refuse to prove that I exist,” says God, “for proof denies faith, and without faith I an nothing.”

“But,” says Man, “the Babel fish is a dead giveaway, isn’t it? It could not have evolved by chance. It proves you exist, and so therefore, by your own arguments, you don’t. QED.”

“Oh dear,” says God, “I hadn’t thought of that,” and promptly vanished in a puff of logic.

(emphasis added)

This is a fun exercise, but a) I defined faith in the last video, discrediting the second point of faith made here, and b) ABSOLUTELY NOWHERE does God say He would not offer proof.

In fact, Psalm 19:1 exclaims “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims His handiwork.

In Romans 1:18-20, Paul says:

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 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.

No, God has offered proof and calls for humanity to pay attention.

Basically, it is in the complexity and obvious orderedness of Creation, including the human body and mind.

The ultimate proof, though, may begin to sound like an overused cliche that I have used time and again: Jesus of Nazareth was God incarnate, who came as a man to talk with humanity, lived a perfect life, claimed the Hebrew Scriptures were about Him, predicted His death and resurrection claiming they would validate His message and that He is God, and then did it! (See 1 Corinthians 15)

In other words, the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ prove God exists. (And I already dealt with the reliability of Scripture.)

I am sure there are those who wish to debate this.

Leave your comments below or e-mail us at Together@asimplemanofgod.com, and remember to subscribe to get regular updates.

Give Me Five: What Is Faith?

I did not do the silly high five at the end of this video! Am I a horrible person? (Theologically speaking, technically yes … apart from Christ …)

But it is addressing that tantalizing question: What is faith?

Give Me 5: What Is Faith?

Many people do not really understand faith.

In a recent book, “A Manual for Creating Atheists”, philosopher Peter Boghossian defined faith as belief without evidence, pretending to know things you don’t really know.

But is this right?

In a word: no.

How does the Bible explain faith?

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
Hebrews 11:1, ESV

Another way of explaining faith is putting your beliefs into action. If you believe something to be true, prove it! Prove you are faithful to those beliefs by acting on them.

The most used example of what faith is is a chair. You can say you believe a chair will hold you up, but faith is proving it by sitting on the chair. Typically, you are acting on evidence. (In this case, you have been told chairs are for sitting on, and you may have seen other people sit in chairs.)

As Christians, we do not have a blind faith. The Bible is our evidence for God and Jesus.

The Bible has several prophecies about the coming Messiah who would take away our sins, and Jesus claimed He was the fulfillment of those prophecies. He made many claims to His deity, as well, and He said that He would prove it all by dying and rising again.

The Apostles and early disciples did not just write about things they heard. They claimed to have heard these things and seen the crucified and risen Jesus with their own eyes.

And the Bible is the most reliable ancient set of documents we have from antiquity, by far. Few experts contest this. (Maybe the actual events, but not that at least the New Testament is reliably from people from the First Century.)

Who lives with and uses faith?

Everyone.

It is not only Christians and the overtly religious. My evidence for this?

How about evolutionary theory: How is it claimed life began? Several chemicals somehow combined in the right amounts at the right time to create the building blocks for RNA and DNA, creating the first living cells.

How do we know it happened this way?

We don’t. No one was there to see it, and no one as recreated it in the lab to test this hypothesis. People simply believe it is true.

This is more like blind faith than Christianity!

As said before, everyone lives by some form of faith in someone or something throughout their days and lives. Faith is putting beliefs into action.

What do you think? Am I way too far off the mark? (I think most others are.)

How about we talk about, either in the comments (on this blog post or on the YouTube channel) or through the e-mail: Together@asimplemanofgod.com, or even at the Facebook page: a simple man of God.

Give Me 5: The Five Solas

Yep. I missed last week. We had family in town, and I never had a long enough, quiet enough stretch of time by myself to record a video. Here is a new one, though! Here is the new Give Me 5:

Out of the Reformation of the 1500’s came what we call “The Five Solas or Solae”, but what do they mean?

The Five Solas

The Reformation started as a call to return to a simple faith not dogged down by man-made or superfluous rules and dogmas. (This is not the time for a debate about Catholic versus Protestant and denominational separation.)

It does lead to our first sola: Sola Scriptura – Scripture alone. Basically, this means that all of our traditions and understanding about God, Jesus, and humanity should be based on what the Bible says. There is value in traditions, the various councils, and books/teachings, but they must conform with what Scripture – as a whole – teaches.

This includes the matter of salvation, covered in the next solar: Sola Gratia, Sola Fide, Solus Christus, Soli Deo Gloria – By grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, to the glory of God alone.

This was summarized by Paul in Ephesians chapter two, when he said,

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
(vv. 4-9, ESV)

We still need to confess our sins – primarily to God, but also to each other (James 5:16).

We still do works – but as an act of obedience and love for the One who saves us (2 Corinthians 5:14-15).

But it is only by grace through faith in the work Christ to the the glory of the Father as revealed in Scripture that we are saved.

Now, this is only a brief overview. We can continue to discuss this in the comments or through e-mail at Together@asimplemanofgod.com, or even on our Facebook page, a simple man of God. I am sure more videos and articles will be made discussing these.

Give Me 5: Is the Bible Reliable?

People ask if the the Bible is reliable, that it can be trusted as authentic and historical. (See the video on YouTube by clicking this sentence.)

There are a few items that prove the historicity and reliability of the Bible.

To begin with, in the last 20 years alone, several archaeological discoveries have been made confirming the existence of Kings David and Solomon, as well as much of ancient Israel from Biblical times, including NT times.

One of the greatest discoveries was the Dead Sea Scrolls, collections of biblical manuscripts dating from before the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70 and even before the time of Christ. These scrolls contained much of the Hebrew Bible, confirming that existed it before Jesus’ time. This is important, because it means the prophecies of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection existed prior.

What about the New Testament?

First, if we want to discuss numbers of manuscripts, as a whole there are about 24,000 of the New Testament, and the four Gospels alone have nearly 6,000 copies from early on, possibly as early as late first century or early second century. This is within 100 years of Jesus’ and the Apostles’ lives. Even further, we know the majority of the gospels were written before 70 due to Paul – who was killed by 64 – quoted Luke 10:7 in 1 Timothy 5:18. By contrast, the next closest ancient document is Homer’s “The Iliad” with 643 manuscripts from over 500 years after Homer lived.

This should be enough to convince anyone, but just in case, the ultimate proof is that Jesus corroborated much of the OT and said His testimony is true. His proof was that He predicted His own death and resurrection (See Luke 20-22), adding validity to His claims by being crucified and rising again.

Therefore, as Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15, “For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied. But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.” (vv. 16-20)

In other words, the resurrection proves the Bible is true (by backing up Jesus’ claims). (See also the series beginning with this post.)

Wanna debate, challenge, or question what was said here? Leave a comment below or send us an e-mail at Together@asimplemanofgod.com.

Give Me 5: The Law

Welcome back, my little chickadees! Or something… And as a reminder, this is late due to technical issues. Hopefully later this week another one is coming!

This is the first of a new series of videos I will be making called Give Me 5. The premise is that in about five minutes (hopefully less, and not necessarily including the intro and a few other extras – like my little outtakes I sometimes put in) an apologetics approach (apologetics, again, coming from 1 Peter 3:15, in which we are told to always be ready to give a reasoned defense, Greek apologia, for our faith) will be used to answer some biblical/theological questions/challenges.

This first one is about The Law

Specifically, I am dealing with the question of what it means that Christians are not under the Law while also looking at the challenge from atheists and the irreligious that the Law, and more specifically the Ten Commandments, are useless and/or stupid.

Not Under the Law?

It is first helpful to realize that we are freed from the ceremonial or Levitical law. We no longer need to perform certain regulations and sacrifices to be made clean before God. He did that for us by sacrificing Christ on the cross.

Jesus summarized the Moral Law by quoting the two greatest Commandments:

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.

Deuteronomy 6:5, ESV

you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.

Leviticus 19:18, ESV

Loving God can summarize the first three and a half Commandments, while loving people can summarize the second six and a half.

Why?

Non-controversial Commandments

When God gave Moses the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20, He tells us in verse two that “I am the Lord your God,” which tells is that all morality is based on who God is. Apart from God, there is no valid reason for morals. Obviously, atheists and the irreligious disagree with this.

God begins with the First Commandment (v. 3) that we should have no other gods. He created everything ever, so no one could be as powerful as He is. There simply are no other gods. Period. (This rules out other religions.) There is a God.

This leads to the Second Commandment (v. 4) that we are not to make idols. This is anything we create or is a part of God’s Creation that we give worship to. And before anyone argues that this does not happen: many people, such as astrophysicist Niel DeGrasse Tyson, argue that all of the elements were created in stars which blew up, spreading that stuff all over, so that we are mad up of this star stuff, therefore we should literally thank the stars that we are alive.

That is idolatry.

Which relates to Commandment Three (v. 7), that we do not use the Lord’s name in vain. This does mean not saying “G.D.” or “omg” and stuff like that, but more importantly it is claiming to be a follower of God (i.e. Christian) and do the very things Je says not to do (i.e. cuss people out, sleep around, lie, mistreat others, etc.)

Now it shifts to the halfsies Commandment, number four (v. 8): Observe the Sabbath. Atheists and the irreligious disregard this (and the first three Commandments) because it is all about the God they do not believe in, because it says that He spent six days creating and then rested, so we should, too.

However, they should not object to the idea of taking a day off every week! It is about rest! (Again, why this is not exactly reiterated in the New Testament is for another time, but essentially we have rest for our souls now with the hope of eternal Sabbath after Christ’s return.)

The other six Commandments should be what we all agree on(at least to some extent.

The For-Some-Reason-Controversial Commandments

  • Fifth: Honor your parents (v. 12)
  • Sixth: Do not murder (v. 13)
  • Seventh: Do not commit adultery (v. 14)
  • Eighth: Do not steal (v. 15)
  • Ninth: Do not lie (v. 16)
  • Tenth: Do not covet (v. 17)

What is there to disagree with?

God says to show respect to people (especially parents, which has become weird in the past few decades), do not murder, take a spouse from or stuff from, lie to or about, or desire to have the possessions and loved ones of other people.

Sure, our society now says that parents are largely irrelevant and that it is okay to want others’ stuff, including spouses. Even murder is seen as okay (i.e. abortion and assisted suicide).

But we do all agree that resting, showing respect to others, and not taking other people’s things, loved ones, or life are all good.

We also need to remember that God is the reason these are good, that we are even here to experience it all, and deserves all honor and worship.

If you want to debate, challenge, or question any of this, comment below or on the video, or even send an e-mail over to Together@asimplemanofgod.com.

God loves you!

Daniel

VerseD: Romans 1:16

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
Romans 1:16, ESV

Do not be intimidated with sharing the gospel or that you believe.

You should be ready to explain why you believe, but it is okay (as a young Christian, at least) to admit you are not entirely sure of all of the reasons.

Just share how you came to faith.

VerseD: Hebrews 11:1

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
Hebrews 11:1, ESV

We do not have a blind faith. We have the historical, prophetic, and biblical evidence, with the ultimate proof of our faith being the real and physical death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.