Most people wrongly assume that science supports evolution as the explanation for the origin of man and that the Bible ‘s description is without any scientific support.
Consider that the theory of evolution born out of the writings of Charles Darwin in the 19th century in now undergoing a considerable re-think based on 20th and 21st century science. Through science we now know that our universe had a beginning before which there was nothing, that the universe and earth are governed by life sustaining natural law constants of such precision that they could not have come about by chance and that numerous biological processes appear to operate on incorporated information.
That the universe had a beginning points to a beginner. The precision of life sustaining natural law constants rule out chance and point to intentionality. The information incorporated into physical and biological processes points to intelligent design. Collectively, a beginner, intentionality and intelligent design point to one conclusion. That God is the giver and sustainer of life.
Evolution as popularly taught is in trouble because of the absence of transitional species required to prove evolution, the periodic explosions of life forms without those expected transitional species, and the extreme statistical improbability that chance could be a factor in numerous complex biological processes.
In weighing the evidence, the scales seem to have tipped in favor of a beginner and intelligent designer that intentionally made the world and man to occupy it.
It was all done with a purpose.
For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will… Ephesians 1:4-5 (NIV)
This challenge for all Christians comes directly from the great Commandment recorded in Luke 10:27. It is a confirmation Jesus made about the importance of using intellect and reason to become a mature follower and disciple. So, how does a Christian do it; i.e. “Love God with all your mind”?
Jesus provided the way to love God with your mind by giving each new believer the indwelling of the Holy Spirit to lead them to life transforming truths found throughout the Bible. What is required on the believer’s part is to be diligent in using all their God-given faculties to gain relevant knowledge and understanding by reading, studying, examining and discussing Biblical truths.
This pursuit of truth will also lead to grasping the meaning of apologetics, i.e. what Christians believe and why they believe it.
This intellectual undertaking, guided by the Holy Spirit, will result in Christians being able to discern truth from cultural lies and will help them justify their beliefs about all things important. Those faculties we are given to use include our senses (including common sense and sense of curiosity), memory, logical reasoning abilities and our moral conscience.
It is a scientific fact that reason and logical thinking differentiate man from all other creatures. These capabilities also confirm that mankind was created in the image of God. These unique qualities imply the importance of using our mind and intellect to enter into an intimate and personal relationship with God and with Jesus Christ. Eventually the believer will be capable of thinking like a Christian on all elements or disciplines encountered in life and in the culture. He or she will have developed a Biblical worldview.
For a more in-depth study of this topic, we recommend books, Love Your God with All Your Mind by J. P. Moreland, and Your Mind Matters by John Stott. An important follow-up question which will be answered in the future is, Where is your Mind and why is that Important? You might be surprised at the answer.
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No, the God of Islam is not the same as the God of Christianity and the Bible. In Christianity God is explained as being of three natures. That concept is known as the Trinity. Simply, it is God the father who created us, Jesus, his son, who lived among us, and the Holy Spirit who lives in us. Islam rejects the idea that God is three in one. It is not possible for God to be a Trinity and not Trinity at the same time.
Islam denies the Trinity and teaches that God has no Son. In the Quran, the holy book of Islam, in Surah 5:73 (Yusuf Ali), it is written, “They do blaspheme who say: Allah is one of three in a Trinity: for there is no god except One Allah.” The Quran clearly denies one of the essential Christian doctrines about God’s nature. The God of Islam and the God of Christianity are not the same. The God of Islam is characterized by submission whereas the God of Christianity is characterized by love.
This is most clearly explained in the central tenet of Christianity, Jesus died for our sins and rose again, creating a path for us to enjoy eternal life in his presence. Christians are assured of this through grace–what Jesus did for us, not because of anything we have done for him.
In Islam, Jesus is not God in the flesh (Surah 4:172; 5:73: 9:30), whereas in Christianity he is (John 1:1,14). In Christianity Jesus was crucified, but in Islam he was not (Surah 4:158). This is another irreconcilable difference between Islam and Christianity regarding God and who Jesus is. In addition, Islam says that the Helper is Muhammed, where the Bible says that the Helper is the Holy Spirit (John 14:26). So, the God of Islam and the God of Christianity and the Bible are not the same. Muslims and Christians therefore do not worship the same God.
Sadly, Muslims do not live with assurance that they will spend eternity with God. They hope that they can do enough good to earn them salvation, but only Christianity offers assurance that all the work necessary has already been done by Jesus on the cross.
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Let’s start with the second thought first. If you have invited Jesus Christ into your life as your Savior and Lord, then yes God is on your side! His promise to you is the same made to Joshua, the man selected to lead the Israelites into the promised land (Deut. 31:8). God Will never leave you or forsake you no matter what. That includes trials, pain, hurts, betrayals and anything else.
Unfortunately, the reality is evil exists and we live in a fallen world; a world that is stained by sin and by every person’s natural sin nature. As a result, bad things happen and good people, even Christians, can get hurt emotionally or physically or even killed as a result. Many times life’s trials drive us to cry out to God seeking answers. That is okay. Remember, however, God does not owe us answers. He wants us to trust him knowing that, in spite of our hurt, God loves us and cares for us. God often does allow suffering in this life so we can grow stronger, trust him more and often help others who are hurting.
In this life we will often suffer from self-inflicted wounds because we have free will. There are consequences to choices in life for example:
- Our bad decisions and mistakes
- Going to the wrong places
- Having a poor set of core values
- Following the wrong examples
- Listening to the wrong voices
- Watching inappropriate movies and TV shows
- Not knowing what God has said that could keep us from experiencing bad things
A person needs to know what the Bible says about God’s rules for proper and meaningful living. The Bible is God’s operations manual for Life on earth. It is Best Inspected Before Leaving Earth. In other words, know it’s content well and don’t leave home without it. Remember, your enemy, as a Christian, is the devil who wants you to doubt God and his word and not trust him.
Also remember this. God loves us and will see us through our sufferings and trials. Trials will develop perseverance, which will develop our character and our character will lead to hope for the present world and the world to come. (Romans 5:8) (James 1:3) These qualities will over time lead to a strong mature faith in an all Sovereign, all Powerful and Loving God; a faith that will sustain you through life and into eternity.
Finally, remember that Christ died for our sins while we were yet sinners (Rom. 5:8) to save us from the worst consequences imaginable, eternal damnation, eternal separation from God and eternal suffering–hell. That is how much God loves those who trust in his son, Jesus Christ. It does not get any better than that.
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Jesus in the great commission said, “make disciples and baptize them.” ( Matthew 28:19 ) If Jesus thought it was important, so should we even if we don’t fully understand the spiritual reason for it. Jesus set the example by being baptized by John the Baptist in the Jordan even though He was sinless and had no sins to be ‘washed away’. (Mark 1:9)
Baptism has a profound effect on a person’s mindset about their Faith commitment. It is a constant reminder of God’s saving grace.
Baptism is an event which is never forgotten. It creates a memory of a lifetime. The time, the place, the pastor, the friends, and the witnesses all come to mind when a person thinks about their baptism experience. That is why baptism should take place when a person is of an age to make the decision fully understanding what baptism means. It should not be done just as a ritual of the church or to qualify for church membership.
While it is true that baptism is not a prerequisite for one’s salvation, it does put a ‘Spiritual Seal’ on it.
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Baptism is an outward and visible sign of an inner change that has taken place when a person accepts Christ as Savior and Lord. It tells the world, usually in front of several or many witnesses, that a person is now a Christian and not ashamed of it. ( See Luke 9:26 )
Baptism symbolizes dying (buried) with Christ and to self and then rising to a new life in HIM in this present life and for life in eternity. It also means that a person has decided to follow Jesus and now there is no turning back to the old way of life. In another sense, it reflects repentance and forgiveness and acceptance by God.
In a symbolic way, the waters of baptism means having your sins washed away and being resurrected to newness of life in Christ. In other words, becoming a New Creation in Christ. ( 2 Corinthians 5:17 ) and receiving the Holy Spirit.
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These are important questions. They involve a matter critical to the Christian Faith. The answer to the second question is also the answer to the first question. In life there are many authority figures that need to be honored and respected and obeyed; parents, teachers, officers of the law, Government authorities and the like. When a rule or law is broken there are consequences and justice must be served.
God is the supreme judge and ultimate authority (sovereign) over the entire universe and everything in it. So when Adam, the first man, sinned and disobeyed God, death was the penalty. God, who is eternal, holy, omniscient (all knowing), omnipresent, omnipotent (all powerful), just, and in control of his creation, did ‘FIX’ the sin problem that man, Adam and Eve, initially created. Disobedience broke the intimate personal relationship God intended for mankind and himself. God’s holiness and justice demand that sin and rebellion be punished. The punishment is eternal separation from God. (Romans 6:23)
The ‘FIX’ was for God to send his son, Jesus Christ, to pay the price for man’s sins by his death on the cross (John 3:16). Jesus clearly understood his mission on earth was to proclaim the kingdom of God and to be a sacrifice for the sins of man. He knew it was God’s will for him to die. Jesus willingly laid down his life as an atonement for sin. In other words, Jesus paid the price or the penalty for our sins and in so doing established an opportunity to restore a right relationship with God and become one of his children. It’s called God’s Grace or unmerited favor.
The Bible says, ”without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.”(Hebrews 9:22) So it was Christ’s sinless blood that was shed to provide for man’s salvation and redemption and a new beginning with God in this life and in the life to come in heaven. (Romans 4:7,8) Those who put their trust in Jesus as Savior and Lord are ‘Born again’, have their sins forgiven and receive the assurance of eternal life.
Jesus had to die to fulfill God’s requirement for justice because of mankind’s sin. The good news is that the God of all creation is also loving, merciful, and gracious. He fixed this problem with the most expensive and precious gift and way possible, with Jesus Christ his only son. So our sins are paid for, and we no longer have to die an eternal death. This is why Jesus had to die and how the all powerful God of Creation FIXED the sin problem once and forever.
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God doesn’t live anywhere. He is everywhere and as far as his ability to be omnipresent, it is impossible to know such a thing or else we would be god like. However, once we recognize that god is a transcendent being and operates outside of time and space as we know it, it is easy to understand that a being can be involved in every aspect of creation.
Nuclear physicists have hypothesized that at the subatomic level the smallest identifiable quantity is light. So just as light is everywhere—inside every cell of the human body, inside every grain of dust and blade of grass, God can be everywhere all the time.
In the Bible, writers describe God as one who is involved in every aspect of his creation. When we read David’s passage of Psalms 139:11-12, we get a sense of the wonderment of Gods power come over David.
If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,” even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.
The best way to test the theory of God’s omnipresence is to talk with him. As you become aware of your communication, you only have to imagine billions of others carrying on a conversation with God at the same time.
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The Bible verse you are referring to is from a letter that the apostle Paul wrote to fellow Christians in the city of Galatia, in what is now central Turkey.
… the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
Paul explains that when you ask God’s Spirit to guide your life, you will become more loving of others and know an overarching joy and peace in all circumstances. You will also become more tolerant of those who offend you, and be more willing to show kindness to those who are not kind to you—something that is usually very difficult without the Spirit guiding your thoughts and actions.
Likewise, you will find that doing good and being faithful in your relationships and your work will come more naturally. You will be gentle in your speech and actions, and in all ways you will find yourself better able to control your destructive behaviors.
A tree bears fruit based on its DNA plus water and nutrients it absorbs through its roots. Good genetics, the right amount of water and the correct balance of nutrients will yield good fruit. In the same way, when you allow God’s spirit to infill you, your life will yield wonderful fruit.
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The Bible is the only prophetic book that is absolutely 100% accurate because it is inspired by God who exists outside of our time and space created universe and who sees human history from Genesis to Revelation as if it is already completed. That being so, we can trust that the prophecies contained in the Bible will happen just as predicted even though we are not privileged to know the precise time and day in advance. Timing remains one of God’s many mysteries.
That said, prophecies about Jesus as Messiah are abundant and scattered throughout various books of the Bible. Now to know specifically that Jesus was and is in fact the promised Messiah we need to ‘Dial’ into only a few of the over 300 prophecies about Him.
Think about it this way for a moment. There are over 8 billion people on planet Earth and a vast majority have cell phones. So, if we want to connect with someone, we start with a country code or area code. That alone cuts down the number of people into a specific geographic area. Then say we ‘dial’ in the next three digits and the field of possibilities greatly shrinks again. Finally, as we dial in the last four numbers we find a person we are looking to talk with. So, with only a total of 10 or 12 numbers we get the person. That’s really amazing.
Using that analogy, we can search the “Biblical prophetic phone directory” and search for who might be the Messiah. So, let’s begin the quest and see if we can find Him.
- Country/ Area code. Micah 5:2, Bethlehem-Ephrata in Israel which is a few miles south of Jerusalem. Not Bethlehem, Pa., or the other Bethlehem in northern Israel.
- Male or female? Isaiah 7:14, A virgin will bear a son who will be called Emmanuel, God with us.
- Genesis 22:18 & 49:10, the Messiah would be a descendant of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and come from the line of Judah or king David. Both Mary and Joseph were from the line of David.
- When will the Messiah have appeared on the planet? Before 70 A.D. as that’s when the Romans destroyed the Temple and the city. Jesus said that would happen and He spent considerable time at the temple. Mark13:2
- How did the Messiah die? Isaiah 53:12 & Psalm 22:16, Romans used crucifixion to kill the condemned. History says Jesus was killed, crucified in 30 A.D. This prophecy was made 700 years before crucifixion was adopted as a method of killing criminals.
So from these six prophecies alone, we have identified the place he was born, that Messiah is a male, from the lineage of David, he lived before 70 A.D. and he was crucified by the Romans in 30 A.D. His death was also reported by the secular historians Josephus and Tacitus.
Now for the logic and the facts. No one gets to choose the place they are born, their gender or parents or ancestors, what time they would live on the planet and how they would die. And remember these six prophecies were made many hundreds of years before the Messiah was born.(Note-He just didn’t appear one day down from the heavens, although He will come again one day that way as He said so himself.)
So, the only person that could possibly fit these few prophecies as Messiah is Jesus Christ. If you are still not convinced, explore another six or so of the 300 other Old Testament prophecies to convince yourself of this truth. God promises to reveal the Messiah to those that diligently want to know Him. Wise men and women still seek Jesus the Messiah for salvation and eternal life. Finally, remember life is full of choices but eternity only two. Choose wisely!
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