Fertile Soil

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Sunday, June 25, 2017 0 comments

by Ami Samuels

What is the condition of your heart? I fear we are often afraid to let God in. We guard our hearts and aren’t pliable like soil that is ready to be molded into Christlikeness.

Are we hard and unapproachable? Are we easily offended? Are we accepting of new people? Are we open to new situations? Or do we feel dried up, been there done that, or bored with our faith and burned out.

Are we willing to let God work over somethings in our lives? Are we willing to let Him weed out the things that pull our attention away from Him?

Good fertile soil needs to be turned over, and weeded so that it is ready to receive the seed to be planted. Are you ready to truly give your heart to God? Are you ready to allow Him to turn over and weed out things, and maybe even people, who are preventing us from growing closer to God?

This is an ongoing process that is never ending if we want to continue to grow in our faith. I think people sometimes think that this transformation takes place all at once; I know I thought that at one time. But it is a day by day, month by month, year by year process. It is daily abiding in a relationship with God through all seasons of life, not just loving Him and serving Him when life is good. It is like the beauty of spring, but also enduring the trying times in our lives when it feels like a long, cold, dormant winter.

Let’s take some time today to examine our hearts and ask ourselves the tough questions about where we are in our faith walk, and how the condition or our hearts is reflected in our day to day lives. Are our hearts pliable and are we willing to allow God to mold us and shape us to be more like Jesus?

I know I am asking some difficult questions and this can be challenging, but I know you can do it with the Holy Spirit’s power. I know that God has great plans for each of our lives, but we have to be willing to let Him work us over from time to time to get there and be fertile soil.

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Science vs. History

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, June 23, 2017 2 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

When it comes to the origins debate regarding Creation and Evolution, very few fields of study are confused more than science and history. I would suggest this is a problem on all sides of the debate, not just the secularists and the Old Earth crowd. Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis infamously makes a distinction between observational science and historical science, however I personally find his distinction to be lacking in clarity. I believe is he right to make such a distinction, but my opinion is it needs more work. In his debate against Bill Nye, Ham did accurately showcase the difference between science that builds computers and rockets and studies of past events, however I noticed he tended to talk negatively towards the secular historical science, but failed to point out what his side is doing is also historical science. He has not polished that argument properly yet. Is there a difference between science and history in the origins debate?

Last week, I discussed how science cannot be done in a vacuum and how the science suggesting an old earth never considers the written and historical evidence that demonstrate the opposite. Here I want to zoom in on this science vs. history issue. I was in a discussion with an atheist who has a PhD, and he kept talking about how science proved Evolution and a millions-of-years-old earth. However, every time he opened his mouth he kept talking about historical events, not scientific observations. So I challenged him to prove he was born. His response: “That’s a categorical error.” I initially didn’t catch on to his tactic, which was to pin his error as though I was the one committing it. I knew he was trying to use science to prove history, and I was trying to get him to see the folly of his logic. However, instead of admitting his own error, he tried to make it my error. When I said, “Scientifically prove you were born,” I was not confusing science and history, but was rather seeking to point out science CANNOT prove history. Allow me to explain.

What is the evidence that you could use to prove your birth? Or that you went to Hawaii on vacation? Or have an education? Most people would present a birth certificate, or a plane ticket, or a hotel receipt, or a diploma. That is fine, but that is not scientific evidence. I can see many people crying foul already at that statement. “The evidence is right here!” Yes, that is evidence, but it is not scientific evidence. It is what we would call legal or historical evidence. You see, to make claims about a past event, you cannot determine them in a lab. You would rather determine them in a court room setting.

We can use science as part of the analysis of historical events, but science cannot be the only factor considered. The Mythbusters do a great job at using science in testing a myth. They take the myth, or the historical account, and try to replicate the event. If they succeed, they consider the myth confirmed. If they cannot replicate the event, they consider it busted. If there are factors they cannot scientifically test, or not quite fully replicate it but get close, they consider it plausible. But here is a key thing we have to understand: science, no matter how much we’d love it to do so, can never prove history true. You cannot scientifically test that George Washington crossed the Delaware River on Christmas Day. You can scientifically show it was possible, but you cannot demonstrate scientifically that it happened. Why not? Because you cannot replicate the event. You can replicate the conditions of the event, but you cannot replicate the event itself. To validate the event itself, you need a historical document or a historical claim.

Skeptics will usually respond to this line of thinking with “So forensics is not a valid science then?” Two things to this objection. 1) Most of these skeptics think of forensics from NCIS, CSI, and other crime shows. Most actual forensic scientists will tell you outright that much of what they do is not very reliable compared to what the shows tell us. One can spot numerous “Hollywood-ized” scientific “facts” from those shows that cannot happen in the real world, and even the Mythbusters themselves often busted numerous of these shows’ takes. Don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater, but forensics is not the “great science” Bill Nye seems to think it is. 2) I do not deny forensics from having a role to play. They just aren’t the standard of truth and, void of other factors in play, they can easily be misleading. We can use them, but they are not the ultimate standard that settles all cases.

“But, but, what about clearances from DNA and such like that?” Again, I am not denying the use of forensics. Yes, many people have been cleared of charges due to forensics, however, how many innocents were incarcerated because the forensic evidence was planted? In the movie Training Day, Denzel Washington’s key phrase to Ethan Hawk was, “It’s not what you know. It’s what you can prove.” Washington played a corrupt cop, and his purpose was to show how to make the forensic evidence fit the story he wanted to tell, whereas Hawk’s ideal was to speak the truth in every case, even if the evidence was not in his favor.

My point is not “forensics is invalid,” but that forensics cannot be done in a vacuum. They work when you combine them with eyewitness testimony and other fields. Ever notice how in every criminal case the detectives do not go to collect evidence as their first step? They actually look for eyewitnesses first. They do look for evidence to see if the eyewitness claims are legit, but a key part of deciding court cases is the eyewitness testimony. That is why courts take so much time to determine if the witness is reliable or not. If we wish to know the true past, we need to examine both science and history and NOT treat them as the same field.

Regarding Genesis, I am tired of skeptics accusing young earth creationists of treating Genesis as a scientific textbook. We never do and never have. Such a statement not only shows ignorance of YEC, but also an ignorance of the field of science. Genesis is a history book. It’s not poetry. It’s not a metaphor. It’s not an allegory. It’s not a myth. It is not written as any of those. Now, you do not have to believe the historical account to recognize this. The secular-humanistic account of Evolution (the big model, not merely biological evolution) is also a historical account. It is not a scientific claim; it is a historical claim. I expect many to be crying foul with that statement too. If you are dealing with past events, you are making historical claims. If x happened millions of years ago, that is a historical claim. It’s not science. You can use science to help make the claims, but that does not make it a scientific claim. The origins debate is not science vs science. Nor is it science vs the Bible. It is history vs history. The question is, which account has the evidence that backs it up?

As I mentioned last week, the historical evidence for any old earth model is missing. There is a lot of scientific evidence put forth, but that evidence was generated in a vacuum of all other fields of knowledge. I would also question what makes such proposed evidences “scientific.” Where is the observation, testing, and repeating of experimentation? There is a lot of scientific evidence for a young earth model as well. Many reject it, primarily because it disagrees with the history they side with, not because it is actually invalid science (try as they may). That being said, the young earth audience needs to be careful about what is science and what is history. We are more aware of the distinction than our secular peers, however, we too can easily fall into the trap of confusing them. Next week, I’m going to dig further into this aspect and how we use science, or what we think is science, as our “evidences” for our models.

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Who Should Pay for Consequences?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, June 22, 2017 0 comments

by Jason DeZurik

“Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life” (Galatians 6:7-8).

I am blessed to have a good number of conversations with atheists, and a while back some atheists and I were discussing free will. For the most part, they were good with the idea of free will and making decisions for themselves, until we started discussing the consequences of bad choices. The fact of the matter that there is personal responsibility in the decisions we all make.

I asked, “Who should pay the bill, if two people who chose to have sex outside of marriage get an STD, because one of the people in this union is unfaithful sexually to the other person?”

I was accused of being a homophobe, even though I never even brought up homosexuality and in fact already made it clear that I was not talking about homosexual sex. I had stated, “Whether it be a man with a man, woman with a woman, man with a woman, whatever.”

One person then went into how we should take care of each other though and said, “So are you saying people who get stuck underground while working in mines should be just left there? After all, it’s just a consequence to their actions.”

Here’s the answer: Of course, we should help them, just as we should help people with STDs. The only question that needs to be answered is, who should pay for the consequences?

In the question of the miners the answer is an easy one: the company that employs the miners are responsible for getting those people out of there safely.

Regarding the couple with the STD, they are responsible. Society is not and should not be responsible to pay for their consequence. Now, should these people be restrained from getting adequate medicine and healthcare that is available to everyone? The answer is, of course, no. But, they are ultimately, personally responsible for their actions and the consequences physically, mentally, spiritually, and financially that follow.

As a Christian, it seems to me that Christians are called to do what God calls them to do to help people, with the provision that God has supplied for them. We are called to love people through their difficult times. Christians should pray for them and be there, telling them about the good news of Jesus Christ. Then each person can decide what to do regarding their relationship with Him.

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:14-16).

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The Zombie Fair vs. the Good Life

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Wednesday, June 21, 2017 0 comments

by David Odegard

Those who do not know God cannot know the good life (Romans 8:8). In the Garden, Adam and Eve turned their backs on paradise. They rejected God as the source of all life; they turned away from the water of life and instead “dug wells for themselves, broken wells that can hold no water” (Jeremiah 2:13). God gave a beating heart and two breathing lungs to experience life – life in paradise no less – but, “Although we know God, we do not honor Him as God or give thanks to Him, but have become futile in our thinking, and our foolish hearts are darkened” (Romans 1:21).

Death gripped the hearts of every one of us. It squeezed out the life of God, and our hearts, once alive, are now shriveled to nothing. They withered to death leaving only a hollow shape, an empty void where once God abided. “Claiming to be wise, we have become fools, and have exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man” (Romans 1:22-23).

Human beings have been reproducing this shadow of God’s image for several millennia. A carnival of hollow forms, a cadre of emaciated, starving beings desperate to fill an unfillable void, a zombie fair. Like a dog with an unsatisfiable itch who scratches himself to the bone, so these ones tease the same itch until they are raw.

As a pastor, I have seen the same shiftless forms go through life bent on the lie that they can decide what the good life is for themselves – but they never can! They stay up late, they drink and eat, they taste everything, desire everything, and touch everything, until their eyes are bloodshot, their bodies bruised, and their souls desperate, forlorn, and discarded.

One of my teachers once said it this way, “I have had the ability and the freedom since I was about 5 years old, to go out into the yard and find a hot, steaming pile of dog doodoo and get down on my hands and knees and just smear my face back and forth in that hot pile. I have never yet used that freedom.” But those who throw off the restraint of God’s will and ways commit this very act of folly. They smear disgust all over them and dare God to strike them down. They think that having nothing to restrain them is a state of freedom, but it is a state of revilement. “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6). Our foolish hearts shrivel like a leaf and blow away leaving only hollow desperation. Friends, this is not the good life. This is the life of the damned.

“We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each has turned to our own way” (Isaiah 53:6; Romans 3:23). Each of us is huddling in the scant light of our own blind senses. Crouching in darkness and fear of the future, we remain hidden from God, not daring to “come into the light as he is in the light for fear our deeds will be exposed” (1 John 1:7). “No one understands; no one seeks after God. Together we have become worthless” (Psalm 53:2; Romans 3:10-12). We are “living in this world without hope and without God” (Ephesians 2:12 NLT).

This is not life. “Man shall not LIVE by bread alone” (Matthew 4:4). Although mere food can animate his body, it cannot satisfy the soul. “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.”

Jesus came to give us true life and to restore the broken relationship of man to his Creator. We were created for paradise with God. We all know that something is wrong in the world. A cursory glance at creation cries out that all is not well. Evil exists, and the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, like a strutting peacock. Evil men and women gain and gain, while God’s righteous few are hunted down (Psalm 73).

Because human beings choose to throw off God’s ways, because they choose to worship the creature rather than the Creator, because they deny God his rightful place as the center of the heart, because they prefer a life of shiftless and wandering slavery than the robust life of faith, God gave them over. He gave them over to shameful lusts, to the abuse of themselves in homosexual dishonor, and ultimately He gave them over to a debased mind (see Romans 1:18-32). Like a dog that scratches himself to the bone, those apart from God pierce themselves through with many sorrows.

God did not force this delusion on them. He merely allowed them to choose what they truly wanted in their hearts. God wanted something different for them, namely life, but they would not have it. Such was the case for all of us. This must end! “Who shall deliver me from this body of death!?” (Romans 7:24).

The good life comes only from God. Augustine recognized that he walked around like a zombie, empty inside, until he found Christ. “My soul was restless until I found rest in Christ.” C.S. Lewis also referred to aimless, purposelessness in his article “Men Without Chests,” indicating the incapacity of those who have rejected God to perceive His transcendent reality.

Do you want the good life? Get to know God. That is the most practical thing you can do. Jesus Christ was crucified, buried, and raised again on the third day to reclaim the possibility of life with God. He offers to come and fill the void in our hearts, to deliver us from “the bondage to decay” (Romans 8:21), which is the besetting problem of every zombie.

Constant reader, I earnestly plead with you to believe the promise of Jesus: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10).

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Judges 18:7-13

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, June 19, 2017 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

“So the five men left and came to Laish, where they saw that the people were living in safety, like the Sidonians, at peace and secure. And since their land lacked nothing, they were prosperous. Also, they lived a long way from the Sidonians and had no relationship with anyone else.
When they returned to Zorah and Eshtaol, their fellow Danites asked them, 'How did you find things?' They answered, 'Come on, let’s attack them! We have seen the land, and it is very good. Aren’t you going to do something? Don’t hesitate to go there and take it over. When you get there, you will find an unsuspecting people and a spacious land that God has put into your hands, a land that lacks nothing whatever.'
Then six hundred men of the Danites, armed for battle, set out from Zorah and Eshtaol. On their way they set up camp near Kiriath Jearim in Judah. This is why the place west of Kiriath Jearim is called Mahaneh Dan to this day. From there they went on to the hill country of Ephraim and came to Micah’s house.” (Judges 18:7-13)

To get the context of today’s passage, I encourage you to read my posts from the last two weeks, here and here. Last week, we saw that the Israelite tribe of Dan didn’t trust God with the land that He had provided for them, so they went looking for different land on their own.

The Danite spies had gone 100 miles north, outside the land that God had given to Israel. This new land they found was very secure and very prosperous. It was a long distance from any of their enemies, it had water (springs that formed the source of the Jordan River), and it had the mountains of Lebanon for protection. It was called Laish, and its residents were basically like sitting ducks here in that spot.

The spies all agreed that they should take this land immediately. 600 men set out to conquer this new land, but they did stop for camp first. “Mahaneh Dan” means Dan’s camp, and that is evidently how that place was remembered for many years.

The Danite spies said God blessed their taking of this land, but that was likely based on the word from Micah’s priest, which really wasn’t from God and had nothing to do with taking that land. God had not given this land to Israel, but they wanted to take it for themselves anyway because they liked it. They misinterpreted the priest’s word from “God” to fit what they wanted it to say; that’s a form of eisegesis, or reading your own meaning into the text.

Has that happened to you in your life? You see something that is better than what you have and you want it, whether God is ok with you having it or not. Maybe it’s a new car or a new phone that you really want but can’t really afford; maybe you would have to give less money to God and His mission to afford this new thing. Do you think God wants you to have that? Do you misinterpret God’s Word to justify getting that thing you want?

Honor God by following what He commands you and being content with what He provides for you.

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Dead at the Root

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Sunday, June 18, 2017 0 comments

by Ami Samuels

Have you ever felt like everything you touched crumbled in your hands, like everything you plant dies at the root? I have heard it said, “Bloom where you are planted.” But what if everything you plant doesn’t take root, and doesn’t grow?

My family and I experienced a season like this and it was miserable and confusing. But God has a purpose and a plan for everything we go through, even our pain. It seemed the harder we tried, the harder we fell. That experience changed us. I’m still looking and finding ways in which it changed us for the good.

My head understands the scripture of James 1:2-3, “Consider it pure joy my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.” But during this season, my heart didn’t understand.

However, I did pour over these scriptures:

“Trust in the Lord with all of your heart. Lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him and he will make your path straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)

“Be strong and courageous. God not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you or forsake you.” (Deuteronomy 31:6)

It was these truths that guided me through that challenging time. If you feel like you are in a difficult season, my encouragement is to cling to the truth of the Bible, reach out to fellow believers for prayer, and take one day at a time. Remember that this is a season, and seasons don’t last forever.

This forum is meant to foster discussion and allow for differing viewpoints to be explored with equal and respectful consideration.  All comments are moderated and any foul language or threatening/abusive comments will not be approved.  Users who engage in threatening or abusive comments which are physically harmful in nature will be reported to the authorities.


Science in a Vacuum

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, June 16, 2017 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

The origins debate has brought in an interesting aspect about the use of science. The Evolutionary side practices this aspect religiously and demands the creation side do the same. What is it? Doing science in a vacuum. Does that mean we go up into space and perform science there? No. Doing science in a vacuum means you’re completely ignoring or setting aside any other data that is already present.

I get asked all the time where the scientific evidence for the Biblical Creation is and I cannot point to pure science. Why? Because pure science cannot answer that question. To be able to answer the past, I need more than scientific processes. I am going to delve deeper into the difference between historical science and observational science next week, but to give you a preview, you cannot scientifically prove you read this post. Why not? You can have the document in front of you and you can cite information that came from it, however you cannot repeat the process. If you tried, that would be reading it a second time. You cannot scientifically prove you read it the first time. You can’t repeat it. You can, however, historically prove you read it. More on that next week. My point is, to do science, particularly on past events, you need more than just science. You need history. You need anthropology. You need archaeology. You need written documents. You need oral records. The problem is when you try to do science without taking of all these into consideration.

The Old Earth Creation model follows the general evolutionary timeline for mankind to start coming around in the hundreds of thousands of years ago and if they have an Adam and Eve, they would be around about 30,000 years ago. The Young Earth model has man arriving suddenly at 6000 years ago in Day 6 of Creation and the people groups dispersed shortly after the Flood, around 4400 years ago due to the Tower of Babel dispersion. Here is my question. If the Old Earth models are true, where is the history of man? According to several old earth models, Adam and Eve lived about 30,000 years ago, and at that time they had the power of understanding language and could communicate clearly, both with God and each other. Where is the history for the 25,600 years of an intelligent man to the first records of modern written history?

Some will say, “Writing had not been developed yet.” I can give credence for that argument, however regarding writing, there is no evidence anywhere of it “gradually” developing. There are nice theories about how it developed, but we have no records of a gradual development. It appeared suddenly with full language, letters, context, grammar. If the Young Earth account of history is true, this “sudden appearance” makes sense because God would have instilled in Adam a full language and writing it down would not be an issue. If any Old Earth models are true, this is a hole in their model that remains unaccounted for.

We have cave paintings that seem rather “amateurish” to some degree. These date tens of thousands of years old to hundreds of thousands of years. The secular concept is that these were primitive mankind showing their battles with large creatures. However, the only places we see adults writing on walls like that are to leave messages for other people. The Juarez Mountains (in Juarez, Mexico) have two pieces of art work on the mountains. One is “La Biblica Es La Verdad. Leela” (The Bible is the Truth. Read it). The churches of Juarez gather every few years to white wash the mountain. It is the largest Biblical message on mountains in the world. On the other side is a seemingly childish depiction of a horse. However, this was white washed to be a sign to travelers that there was an outpost there. But let me throw in a wrench to the common understanding of these cave drawings. What if they were not done by primitive man, but by children? Our kids draw on walls all the time. This makes absolute sense in a post Tower of Babel dispersion. But if from primitive man, where is the history for tens or hundreds of thousands of years? Cavemen were not bumbling half-apes with only grunting language at best. King David was a caveman for a few years of his life. Would it not be reasonable to suggest children in a hunting group, or even merely a travelling group, staying in a cave to escape the weather or a war could have done those drawings?

Oral traditions are greatly misunderstood today because we don’t live in one. The oral tradition of the passage of history is not unreliable as is perceived today. It’s actually extremely reliable. The telephone game is the common example to refute this idea, but any who uses this argument has not playing this game with an oral tradition culture. In oral tradition cultures, they emphasize on mnemonics and memorization. These cultures have incredible memories. Many Jews were illiterate. They could not read, so what did they do? They memorized the Torah. It was expected every 12-year-old boy would have the first five books of the OT memorized. Try playing the telephone game with that mindset. You’d get a perfect transmission of the message, or at the most minimal errors.

Cultures that had an oral tradition would have a history that far exceeds the written language. Why aren’t there any cultural legends that describes even a few tens of thousands of years? Why do the oral traditions actually point back to a recent creation, a massive flood with a few survivors, and a dispersion? What really surprised me about Eternity in Their Hearts by Don Richardson is the fact that polytheism actually came from the lost knowledge of the One True God. The secular models insist it was the other way around, that the monotheistic religions got their ideas from simplifying the polytheistic models. Again, where is the history for the secular claims? We have it for the Biblical account.

We cannot do science in a vacuum. We cannot do science properly without understanding the historical context, not just of our day but of the past. The old earth models have absolutely NOTHING to anchor their models to. If Adam and Eve lived about 30,000 years ago, where did that number come from? The Bible? Science? Historical data? The answer is… NOWHERE. It’s a made up number. So are all the figures of millions of years. Scientists try to get dates established with their methods, however with such a wide range of results from the methods, which is reliable? Because such methods are done in a vacuum, they have no basis for any of their claims, let alone any legitimacy of their methods.

When YEC does their science, they anchor to a historical account, namely Genesis. But we do not look at the Bible alone. We look at history. We look at archaeology. We look at anthropology. We look at all these well-established fields and consider them together. The secular models depend exclusively on their dating methods, which provide one giant circular reasoning argument. It is not uneducated to believe in a young earth. YEC tend to be far more knowledgeable on numerous fields, in part because we have to be, but also because we have the data that supports our position. The written and oral history matches with precisely what we should expect from the Biblical account to be true.

Which science do you support? That which is done in a vacuum and completely misses what the other sources have to say, or that which constantly checks with the context to see if the results match with all the other fields? The secularist will deny the Bible has any input into the equation and that they need to do science to validate the historical accuracy; however, what validates their science? They can only point to themselves for that. With the Bible, however, it not only matches itself, but everything else matches with it. When you do science, check with all the other fields and include the Bible in the equation. When you do that, the science will work itself out and reveal the truth, as the Bible always does when it is used as the standard.

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