Posts Tagged ‘ Answer ’

Topical message: The God Who … Slays?

If you are unable to attend a church at this time, may this short message help get you through. Obviously, it is preferable to get together to sing praises, pray, read Scripture, and hear the Word preached.

Regardless, may this message be a blessing to you in some way.

Topical Message: The God Who … Slays?

I guess we can consider this part two of the C-19 response series.

Last time we looked at whether the church staying apart during something like a pandemic is biblically okay. (Basically, yes, though far from ideal.)

This time, I am going to tackle one of those difficult questions: Does God send various calamities – such as C-19, locusts, earthquakes, and famines – against people, nations, and various groups?

There are two passages to consider.

The first is found in Luke 13:1-5:

There were some present at that very time who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And he answered them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”

The other passage is Amos 4:6-10:

“I gave you cleanness of teeth in all your cities, and lack of bread in all your places, yet you did not return to me,” declares the Lord. “I also withheld the rain from you when there were yet three months to the harvest; I would send rain on one city, and send no rain on another city; one field would have rain, and the field on which it did not rain would wither; so two or three cities would wander to another city to drink water, and would not be satisfied; yet you did not return to me,” declares the Lord.

“I struck you with blight and mildew; your many gardens and your vineyards, your fig trees and your olive trees the locust devoured; yet you did not return to me,” declares the Lord. “I sent among you a pestilence after the manner of Egypt; I killed your young men with the sword, and carried away your horses, and I made the stench of your camp go up into your nostrils; yet you did not return to me,” declares the Lord.

So, what do these two passages tell us?

  1. Sometimes people really deserve what they get! But they do not always get what they deserve, at least in this life;
  2. And sometimes God does send war, famine, pestilence, and pain as judgment.

We should talk about this.

Let’s start with that second point: God sending these things. We see through Amos and the other Old Testament accounts that God sent the plagues on Egypt (Amos 4:10), and we know long before that He sent the flood waters in the time of Noah. Further, we get to the Revelation at the end of the Bible, and we see that God’s wrath is literally poured out on the entire Earth because they have rejected God.

And of course, we see the highlight of the whole Bible, when God’s wrath was poured out on the Man on the cross. This points back to the first point: people do not always get what they deserve. As Christians, we appreciate this, because we know that humanity deserves God’s wrath and judgment. Yet, we do not get what we deserve thanks to God’s grace poured out to us through the cross.

But what about the rest of the world?

In the Luke passage, we see that Pontius Pilate deserved punishment from God by mixing the blood of Galileans in with the sacrifices. Yet, he lived much of his life in relative comfort. Conversely, those Galileans and the eighteen killed by the tower falling did not necessarily do anything wrong.

This brings up two other quick points:

  1. Is it so bad to die? If we are true followers of Christ, no! As Paul said, in 2 Corinthians 5:1-10:
    For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling, if indeed by putting it on we may not be found naked. For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.
    So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.

    So, for those apart from Christ, it is bad to die, because they still face judgment and wrath. But we Christians await judgment and glory with Christ.

    And, we must also recognize, God is our Creator. As Romans 9 reminds us, who are we to question the Potter? Just as we may create something – say, a bowl – and then throw it away later, why can’t our Creator do the same? Compared to God, we are nothing: clay. Yet, He still chooses to save us or let us reject Him. Which leads to …
  2. The other point is that God may not directly send these things, but He does allow them.

Make no mistake. God is still in complete control. He lets natural processes play out. And we may ask why, because, if He is all-powerful (omnipotent), then He can stop these things from happening.

But as I have said numerous times, if people keep saying they want nothing to do with God, that they push Him away and call Him evil, why should He stop these things or protect them from these things? We know God can control illnesses (Plagues in Egypt, Exodus 7-12), the movements of the Earth (see Korah’s rebellion in Numbers 16) and the weather (Noah’s flood in Genesis 6-9 and Elijah’s praying for rain in 1 Kings 17-18), and even the Sun’s motion (Joshua 10). He can stop these things from happening or getting worse, but the majority of the world’s population says, “We don’t need you!” Then they blame Him for those things!

So, now that we know God does send some things and allows others, how do we respond?

We can blame God for all the problems in this world and fear what will happen to us in this life. And then the life to come.

Or we can remember that we live in a rebellious world, fallen into chaos because of our own (collective) sin, and that God is still in control. It is not pleasant to suffer, and I will not judge anyone for fearing that suffering. But we can rest in the hope that the One who suffered for our sins on the cross has promised He is coming again, and we will be with Him in comfort and joy for all eternity.

Therefore, believe that Jesus was the perfect man and Son of God, who saw us in our sin and rebellion but came to offer us grace and forgiveness by dying on the cross for our forgiveness of sin, that He rose again to life, and that He now sits at the right hand of the Father until He comes again. Then, you can know you will escape the final judgment of the Earth.

VerseD: 2 Corinthians 10:5

We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ
2 Corinthians 10:5, ESV

The world tries to argue against God, but their arguments tend to be contradictory, circular, or ignorant.
This is why we must know what we believe, based on Scripture and what the evidence truly points to, helped by the Holy Spirit.

VerseD: Revelation 3:20

Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.
Revelation 3:20, ESV

Christ calls to us, for salvation and good works.
Heed His call. Answer. Be saved, and help others.

VerseD: Proverbs 18:10

The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous man runs into it and is safe.
Proverbs 18:10, ESV

We do not need to defend God. His Word is enough. Trust in the name of Jesus.

(But also be ready to give an answer to those who question! 1 Peter 3:15)

Frosty Video Responses

A few weeks ago I uploaded the video and blog post about God proving His existence. Over on the YouTubes, I got my first internet troll!

Okay. Maybe he does not think he is a troll but actually doing some good atheist works by confronting us Christians.

Regardless, after a short dialogue, he made such a long response that I decided to respond here. I will put the entire discourse here so that perhaps we all could learn something and engage in meaningful dialogue.

This will be long …

frosted1030:
We don’t define evidence as you do. Or, in layman terms, your weak assertions don’t meet the standard quality of evidence required.


Response:

Firstly, thanks for commenting!

Secondly, I guess it really does matter how “evidence” is defined. I do wonder how you would define evidence. I agree that complexity does not necessarily lead to the conclusion of “creator”. An explosion certainly leads to complexity! I can concede order does not necessarily conclude intelligence. I have seen a river lay a neat pile of sticks and reeds all facing the same way and looking like a pile someone built.

But perhaps we are not considering historical evidence as real evidence? If so, that is a major fallacy. Without historical evidence, even the scientific method falls apart, because we have to rely on what we and others have recorded as evidence. Likewise, the field of archaeology is pointless, because we could never truly know what happened in the past. Why trust what others have written? Yet we do this all the time. We accept historical sources as evidence. Likewise, we have documents from people who claim to have interacted with someone who claimed He was the Creator God and said He would prove it by being killed and rise again. That in and of itself is not enough (look at all of the “faith healers” today who are really tricksters … we certainly agree on that, I am sure), but the Gospels meet the expectations of historical documentation and then far exceed them in many cases (largely in volume of manuscripts and consistency in content among the manuscripts. There is a video on the channel that briefly covers this.)

Maybe I misunderstood your assertion (for which I apologize if true), but some of your videos as well as your comment on this particular video lead me to that conclusion (and also assuming you watched the entire video.) Otherwise, is there evidence that could convince you? (Luke 16:29-31 serves as a reminder to us, though, that, no, no evidence will. But I and others are willing to have the dialogue!) Again, thanks for “stopping by!” I like a good discussion!

And now for the big response-o-rama:

frosty1030:
@a simple man of God “I guess it really does matter how “evidence” is defined. I do wonder how you would define evidence.” We define evidence, in this context, to be fact that supports or does not support a predictive model based on a specific definition. In this regard, the theist’s perpetual last ditch resort fallacy is removed (goalpost moving). This is why you will never see a specific definition for a deity with any quality. “

I guess, then, we have to discount the numerous prophecies made throughout the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament) that said a specific person was coming and would do certain things. Further, Jesus made several predictions that He would be arrested, beaten, crucified, and rise again. This certainly qualifies as predictive and setting a specific definition. The facts that support this would be Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. That looks like what you asked for. No goalposts being moved, and throughout the Bible God gives us definitions of deity [there is only one (Exodus 20:2-3, Isaiah 37:16, 1 Timothy 1:17), creates and controls everything (Genesis 1, Colossians 1:16-17), knows everything (Isaiah 40:26, Jeremiah 17:10, Hebrews 4:12-13), source of morality (10 Commandments)]. But, having already read your entire response, I know this will not be good enough for you. I will get back to it …

An explosion certainly leads to complexity!” Careful with that strawman. We shall not be discussing cosmology without context.

Carefeul there! You are putting words in my mouth and creating the strawman. My only point is that any explosion causes anything that is ordered to become very complex by being spread out and made into a mess.

But perhaps we are not considering historical evidence as real evidence?” We do not consider fables (no matter how apparently accurate in small bits) as they fail to meet the base qualifications. This is an old apologist argument, pretending that you don’t understand that one inconsistency, fallacy, or inaccuracy is enough to demonstrate a fiction, not the other way around. If you doubt this methodology, do ask how many scientists have been put on the project of finding Neverland as there are fewer inconsistencies and more facts in Peter Pan then there are in your fables.

What is your evidence that the biblical stories are fables? The Bible has vast archaealogical evidence supporting much of the history it shares. In the past 20 years alone we have found evidence of David and Solomon and several of the kings who followed after them. Many people groups and settlements mentioned in the Bible were found specifically by following the Bible’s descriptions. Jesus is mentioned by several people outside of the Bible and Christianity.

As for the inconsistencies and facts, to which do you refer? I keep seeing and hearing the same tired examples that have been refuted time and again through the centuries. If you refuse to interact with those answers, that does not prove your point nor contradict our arguments. So, please offer examples rather resorting to the very things you accuse me of doing.

Likewise, the field of archaeology is pointless, because we could never truly know what happened in the past. Why trust what others have written?” A track record of consistency, and changing conclusions when the facts reveal better more verbose detail pointing to a different conclusion. Something theism can not do due to presuppositional fallacy.

Firstly, and again, where has the Christian message (as a whole, not merely some of us who have made mistakes or have gone off the rails in their attempts to defend the faith, such as people like Westboro Baptist Church or those who resort to overly-simplistic arguments) been inconsistent? I concede there have been people who have abused the name, and sometimes we make mistakes. We are sinful people. It is why we show grace to others, including atheists. (And I am sorry people attempt to lump all atheists together so that those like Lenin, who killed millions by his decrees, laws, and actions, are made the defacto representation of atheism.)

Secondly, I feel like you misunderstand presuppositionalism. Yes, some misrepresent it. However, how is saying “People think wrongly about foundational things, so it is helpful to reveal those wrong thoughts and fill in possible gaps” a fallacy? What is the point of education if not to correct incomplete and wrong knowledge?

Likewise, we have documents from people who claim to have interacted with someone who claimed He was the Creator God and said He would prove it by being killed and rise again.” First off, you sound like the guy standing there holding her purse full of bricks outside the women’s bathroom at a restaurant, six days later. The only difference is that you have been holding that purse for over two-thousand years. Face it, she ditched you.

The simple answer here is Jesus’ words from Luke 16:31: “If they do not hear Moses and Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.”

I am pretty sure that we all agree with Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:17: “if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile …” He also said in that book that our faith and the gospel are foolishness to this world, which is why we need our minds corrected (regenerated) to be able to believe. We wait, but we were not given a purse with bricks but a command (Matthew 28:18-20) to share the news of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection for the forgiveness of sins and hope for the future glory.

Secondly, we have much earlier stories that say the same thing, yet you discount them, even though they were written in a time of illiteracy, when most stories were passed down “word of mouth.” Ever play telephone? Let’s look at one: Horus was born to Isis-Meri (became Mary), Foster father: Seb (called Jo-Seph) from royal ancestry, Birth date Dec 21/25, Birth announcement by angels, witness to birth 3 solar deities (wisemen), Death threat during infancy, no info between ages 12-30, raised the dead, traveled with 12 disciples, baptized at 30, baptizer beheaded, betrayed, crucified, dead for 3 days, resurrected . Seem familiar? That story was written over three-thousand years before the events in your fables were said to take place. What about Krishna, Dionysus, Mithra? All predating your fables, all very very similar (though nit-pickers will find all the differences) and all passed down the same way. Did you really think your fables were unique?

I am only slightly surprised you pulled out this tired trope. (I am surprised people as intelligent as Bill Maher still believe this stuff.) For my reply, I refer to Lutheran Satire’s fun response:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s0-EgjUhRqA

In short, this argument is incredibly easily refuted, and there is absolutely no evidence to back up the claim that the Christ-myth predates the Gospel.

is there evidence that could convince you?” Sure. Bring your deity to a press conference, let it stand trial for crimes against humanity, allow it to answer any and all questions put to it including detailed questions by scholars, and scientists. If you can’t or won’t, ask yourself why you bother insisting upon fantasy through fallacy.

My first question in response to this is, “but would even submit to God were He to come (again) and answer your questions?” (And I refer you back to Luke 16, the parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man that ends with the quote in verse 31 seen above.) We also need to know what precisely is meant by crimes against humanity, especially seeing as the Christian argument is that all of humanity has commited crimes against a holy God and each other. Does God not have the right to do with His creation as He sees fit? If He is guilty of anything, it is relenting in completely wiping us out at the first sin. Instead, He lets us deal with the results of our own sinful behavior, but He offered a way out through Jesus if we are willing to turn and believe. He will return one day to remove those who have hated Him and renew all of Creation. Perhaps I will make a video responding to the penalty of sin to answer your inevitable questions about Hell and judgment …

Whew! That got wordy!

What are your thoughts? How would you respond to either of us? Would you have changed any of our arguments?

VerseD: Proverbs 15:1

A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
Proverbs 15:1, ESV

Be gentle, yet truthful. Do not demean, speak out of turn, or merely complain. You are speaking with a fellow image bearer of God.