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Please click on the photo to go to www.markneale.org for my latest post. ‘Pray to Reapir Your Relationship With God?’ Don’t worry, it is good news.
Go well 🙂
The reason for the blog famine from yours truly is because I have been working on a new site (amongst other things). Things are more or less together now and I would be delighted if you would check it out and sign up. http://www.markneale.org Thanks!
Go well my friends 🙂
It has been so busy that I haven’t had time to write yet this week. I am going to aim at 2-3 posts a week, with one audio teaching (starting in the autumn).
For now here is one of my favourite recordings. I listen to it if I need stirring up.
Click on the link below for some serious inspiration.
Go well my friends 🙂
Across the world Christians dream, sing and talk about the promise of an eternity in heaven with Jesus. But, is that even in the Bible, or is it a historical confusion that is far removed from what God has actually promised?
Plato was a Greek philosopher who lived around 400bc. He realised that if you wanted the population to get behind the republic and live sacrificially for the benefit of the community, they would need some encouragement. The answer was to encourage everyone that death, rather than reducing you to a less than human shadow (a popular belief at the time) could actually be a promotion. A time of reward and bliss.
The prison of the body
The idea that Plato and others put forward that this world isn’t the true reality started to grow. People began to believe that our bodies were a prison that we had to endure for as long as we were on earth. They were encouraged to look forward to being released from this physical prison, a release that only death could bring.
Free the soul
Because the world was thought to be a secondary reality it was believed that once the soul was released from the body, people could become their real selves, free from this apparently shadowy and corrupt world. This belief has so permeated Western history that many Christians still have the same thinking. However the Bible tells us that our bodies are amazing and an essential part of who we are, though they are currently broken by sin.
As we read through the pages of Scripture we discover a very different story to that put forward by Plato. Jesus didn’t come to simply get us to heaven, but to redeem all of creation from the effects of mans sin. Through the cross Jesus recued you, me, nature, the planets and stars, the whole lot. We can also add our bodies to that list, which though still suffering from the effects of death are in for a big change.
When we read the word hope in the Bible, it is worth remembering that it isn’t the same as us ‘hoping to win the lottery’ or hoping things will turn out okay. Bible hope is a rock solid certainty that hasn’t happened yet, but upon which we can base our faith, emotions and decisions.
However we read the book of Revelation we all agree one thing; God wins! When all is done heaven and earth will join and we will be in God and He will be in us forever, but in a physical world made perfect, rather than wandering around heaven in a disembodied state.
The best is yet to come
The New Testament tells us to set our hope fully on the appearing of the Lord Jesus. Our tendency is to set our hope on the things of this age, but they are temporary. However when He comes, all wrongs will be righted, justice will be done, every tear dried and all death, suffering and disease forever destroyed. It sounds too good to be true, but it is our future hope. The earth and the universe will be recreated and our bodies will be made to be like Jesus’ body. We don’t know exactly what we will be like or the details of what happens, but we will be like Him, and let’s face it, with God in charge it is going to be truly awesome.
Go well my friends 🙂
Whilst some people would like us to think that science is firmly on the side of evolution, that simply isn’t true. The evolutionary hypothesis has more holes than a political manifesto; it contradicts itself and relies on a religious belief system to survive. Whilst Christians who accept evolution can easily answer how everything started, it is my opinion that in this area they also are misguided, both scientifically and theologically.
This is my last post in this series and there is no attempt here to be the definitive document on the science behind the creation story. Instead, I just want to promote a few ideas to encourage people not to be intimidated by the claims of so called science.
Evolutionists and Eternity
One of the reasons people reject the existence of God and therefore the creation account is because they cannot accept that God has always been. To their mind, for God to be self-sustaining without a creator is absurd. But wait a minute; that is exactly what they believe about the universe! The universe we are told exploded out of nothing, life started spontaneously and then developed into what we see today. Seems to be a problem there…
We have a choice:
‘In the beginning God created…’ or ‘In the beginning nothing exploded and made the universe…’ We all believe one or the other.
The fossil record
For the fossil record to truly ‘prove’ evolution it would need to show a myriad of in-between species as life crawled further from the primeval gloop. I am not the only one who would think this…
“Geology assuredly does not reveal any such finely graduated organic chain; and this, perhaps, is the most obvious and gravest objection which can be urged against my theory. The explanation lies, as I believe, in the extreme imperfection of the geological record.” Darwin, C., Origin of Species, 1859, ch. 9, p. 280, Darwin online.
I fully am aware that many modern scientists and individuals claim that the fossil record proves evolution, but in spite of all the research and excavation nobody has ever produced an intermediate species. Without this evolution is still imaginary.
The earth’s magnetic field
Simply put, the magnetic field around the earth is decaying, and this decay is fully measurable and asks some difficult questions of the old earth theory. It is being suggested that at the current rate of decay the earth would have been a magnetic star, unable to support any form of life, just 20,000 years ago. For an in-depth article go to http://creation.com/the-earths-magnetic-field-evidence-that-the-earth-is-young
Science or religion?
Michael Ruse is an ardent atheist and has committed his life to disproving the creation story, but listen to what he says.
‘Evolution is promoted by its practitioners as more than mere science. Evolution is promulgated as an ideology, a secular religion—a full-fledged alternative to Christianity, with meaning and morality. I am an ardent evolutionist and an ex-Christian, …the literalists are absolutely right. Evolution is a religion. This was true of evolution in the beginning, and it is true of evolution still today. … Evolution therefore came into being as a kind of secular ideology, an explicit substitute for Christianity.’ Ruse, M., How evolution became a religion: creationists correct? National Post, pp. B1,B3,B7 May 13, 2000.
History shows what a powerful and dangerous animal religion is, and one of evolutions leading proponents freely admits that we are not dealing with ‘mere science’.
It’s all about what you believe
Evolution, ancient earth, God calling evil good is not based on pure science but presuppositions. If we take them away the arguments collapse beyond repair; I have written this so that believers can be encouraged to trust the creation account and to not be intimidated by the pseudo-science that is being popularised in the media. What’s more, I would encourage you to read around, do a bit of homework. It is amazing what is going on.
Go well my friends 🙂
With the British Prime Minister David Cameron determined to have same sex marriage by 2015 the debate is both fierce and emotional. The religious right are being called haters whilst the LGBT community are being accused of perversion and uncleaness. Why can’t marriage be left as it is, or why should marriage be exclusively a male female institution?
Back to Genesis
In the last post we talked about presuppositions, the background beliefs that influence how we process information. These presuppositions come from another set of beliefs that are called our ‘world view’. Our ‘world view’ is a set of beliefs that come from what we believe about the fundamental aspects of reality, and these beliefs influence everything we see, think, say and do.
Two world views
As a follower of Jesus the Messiah I have adopted a certain world view. I believe that God is the creator, that everything is for Him, I believe in good and evil, in truth and purpose. Because of these beliefs I make certain decisions about the nature of our reality. My foundational blueprint for life is the first few passages of Scripture that include the fall of man and paradise lost.
What has this to do with marriage?
When God had put the man and the woman together He said it was “very good”. From that I conclude that marriage was instituted by God and is for a man and a woman. To make it any different is to stray from the blueprint and therefore not “very good”.
Why do some people want marriage changed?
If someone believes in an accidental universe, the chance happening of life or whatever ‘world-view’ they happen to have, then they will see reality differently from me. They won’t consider marriage as God given or exclusive, they will consider it unfair that some can be married and some can’t. In fact they will see me as cruel and hateful for denying their desire to be ‘married’.
Worldview, a key to revival?
Today we have a generation that is brainwashed with the wrong history, they believe in spontaneous life from a spontaneous happening without purpose or planning. They believe they are simply over developed primates who decide for themselves what is good and what is evil. There is no knowledge of sin or the God of creation, so when someone talks of forgiveness or repentance it is foolishness to them.
Jews and Greeks
The message of the cross is a stumbling block to the Jewish mind, but it can be overcome; That is why we saw 3,000 converted on the day of Pentecost. The whole idea of a Saviour, the need for forgiveness and the truth of Scripture were a reality to them. All they needed was to turn to the one they had crucified.
“…but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness,” 1 Corinthians 1:23
But what happened when Paul went to Athens? He shared the same message, but instead of 3,000 converts he was mocked by some, a few believed and some others wanted to know more. This was a very different response to Peter’s first sermon in Acts 2. The reason being that the Greek people had a very different world view from the Jews; they had a mixture of religion, superstition and evolution. Not that dissimilar from today. Paul’s remedy for their world view was to start His message with “God who made the world, and everything in it” before moving on to the preaching of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead.
In my opinion it is not good enough to damn the LGBT community for their strange demands. Yes, I have written to government saying that to abandon marriage is a huge mistake; but what these people want agrees with their world view. In my opinion we should love them, and pray that they come to realise that there is a God who created the universe and everything in it. When they come to terms with that they might want more, and perhaps turn to God and be rescued by His outrageous and bottomless grace.
Just over two hundred years ago most people in the west accepted Genesis as an account of our origins. Until, that is the church began its affair with the “Enlightenment”; from then on the rot set in. As the church abandoned its loyalty to Scripture, the universities followed, and then the education system began to teach a Godless world view; the result? We have a godless generation whose main purpose is pleasure, and who defines truth by how good it feels. The hard question is, is their world view their fault or the church’s?
Go well my friends 🙂
We can argue over the length of days in Genesis, the interpretation of the biblical record, we can even call each other names. But, at the end of the day our viewpoints hinge on one main factor.
A presupposition is a background belief. For example the justice system has to be very careful that juries do not have a background belief that someone is guilty before hearing the evidence. If you are approached by a police officer in a dark alley you will have a different presupposition to being approached a youngster in a hooded jacket. Why do we do that? Because we already have certain beliefs about people and situations and then process our experience through those beliefs.
The origins of man
Nowhere in the Bible is there the suggestion of the evolution of species, neither does it suggest that the earth’s age is measured in billions of years. So why would someone who believes in the God of the Bible think otherwise? Because they already believe that evolution is true because of other information they have received, they then filter the biblical account through their presupposition.
Educated or conditioned?
If we are not careful we can be conditioned to believe just about anything. That includes creation and evolution. It is vital that we start to think through what we say we believe; there is nothing to fear, because if the Bible is true it won’t be disproved and if evolution is the work of God it will agree with the Bible. Truth can stand up to the hard questions.
What can we prove?
The truth is that no one can prove evolution or creation. We have the same evidence, but no one alive today was an eye witness to the origins of man, and neither of the claims of the creationist and the evolutionist can be observed today. We can only study the result.
Why the different beliefs?
The reason we can have an eminent scientist state that the world is less than ten thousand years old whilst his colleague next door says the opposite is simply what they presuppose. One of them presupposes the Bible to be true and interprets his data accordingly, the other presupposes that evolution is true and interprets data through his evolutionary filter.
It’s all about faith.
Because the creationist cannot prove their point, the evolutionist thinks the creationist foolish and illogical because of his “unsubstantiated” beliefs. The problem is, he is actually guilty of the same thing. There is no empirical evidence for either standpoint. The big one for me though is why the creationist says what he believes is true; he interprets his surroundings through Scripture rather than the other way around.
How do we view the Bible?
This is where the rubber hits the road; is evolution and an old earth somehow taught in Scripture. Is Adam being a type, rather than a literal person a valid interpretation of the text? For me, the answer is a big no; to my mind that makes no theological or historical sense. What’s more, I have chosen to believe the Bible first (I understand this makes me a target for criticism), but am also satisfied that Science actually agrees with the biblical account.
I want to look at how our view of Genesis affects our society, and then an introduction to how science actually supports the story of Genesis.
Go well my friends 🙂
Is a Christian who believes in creation a religious simpleton, or does the rejection of the creation account make a mockery of the faith we claim to believe? Does the New testament actually support the creation account found in the book of Genesis?
Of all the topics that create controversy, the creation/ evolution debate must be amongst the most fiercley contested. So why do I, someone who accepted evolution completely, now reject it wholesale? I would like to call three witnesses who changed my mind: Yahweh, Jesus and the apostle Paul.
The Genesis account is muddied by the continued arguments of what the word day means, eons of time or 24 hours? But what if Yahweh Himself just stated clearly how long He chose to spend on creation, surely that would settle it? Well, He did! In Exodus 20 Yahweh is giving Moses the Ten Commandments and in verse 11 Yahweh explains the reason for the sabbath.
“For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth,… and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.”
There it is, Yahweh told Moses He took six days and rested on the seventh. Other people may have reasons to disagree, but that is good enough for me.
Jesus the Messiah
There are no New Testament passages where Jesus said “I believe in Genesis” but, He clearly stated His belief by inference. When He was being challenged by the Jewish leaders in Matthew 19:4-6, Jesus was having to defend His view on divorce.
“And He answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female, … and the two shall become one flesh’? So then, they are no longer two but one flesh…”
The point here is that Jesus used the creation account to justify His argument; if neither He or His hearers believed it to be true His argument becomes invalid. If this were the case Jesus would be found to be in a lie… Think about that one!
The apostle Paul
Most people would agree that Paul’s teachings on Christ, His church and the New Covenant are foundational to our identity and our inheritance in Christ. The thing is, the foundation to Paul’s world view was the creation story. In Romans 5 Paul’s entire argument for how God took us from death to life in Christ relies on taking the creation story as written. Look at Romans 12:5-21.
“Therefore, just as through ONE man sin entered the world, and death through sin… Death reigned from Adam to Moses… For if by ONE man’s offence many died… Judgement came from ONE offence… For if by the ONE man’s offence death reigned through the ONE… Therefore, as through ONE man’s offence … By ONE man’s disobedience many were made sinners… So that as sin reigned in death…”
It is clear that Paul was convinced that sin came through one man. Non believers reject the very notion of sin, but as believers we understand its reality all to well. If we believe in theistic evolution then we have to sit Paul down and explain to him that he has his history confused. A history that itself was God breathed, seeing as it is included in Scripture.
The origin of death
As we can see, Paul also clearly states that death is the result of sin. Evolution says that death is the running down of life according to entropy. If we believe that God is the force behind evolution then we are forced to believe that death is not an enemy but rather God’s chosen method of improving His creation. Is that compatible with what the New Testament teaches?
Why did Jesus die?
Jesus came to set us free from sin and all its effects. If death is God’s plan for the development of man then Jesus’ suffering and death are needless and irrelevant. This in turn would mean that the New Testament is simply wrong in its most basic assumptions and that God is conflicted with Himself… In other words, there is no God, no salvation and no hope.
God isn’t conflicted, the Bible is true, Jesus has risen from the dead and all that believe in Him will have a place in the Kingdom of God. If we accept the Genesis account our faith agrees with itself. If on the other hand we choose evolution, then there are some very serious quesitons about the reality of God and the truth of Scripture that need to be answered.
But what about the science?
Good question, stay tuned!
Go well My friends 🙂