Was Jesus’ Resurrection Only Spiritual?

was jesus resurrection only spiritual?Some have adopted what is known as the metaphorical approach of interpreting the Bible. That is, rather than looking at certain stories with miraculous overtones as actual history, they look at them as mere metaphors, symbols of what actually happened. Consequently, the resurrection of Jesus (the center of the Christian faith) would be rendered a myth. It was a metaphor for his ascending into Heaven. All Christians will find this view to be abominable, and it is only represented by a few of the radical Jesus Seminar, who are known for liberal theology, the followers of the Baha’i faith, and the Jehovah’s Witnesses. But what does the Bible say? Was Jesus’ resurrection only spiritual?jesus spiritual 2

I would point out firstly that this is a central issue. It is not something that brothers in Christ will debate, like creationism, or free will. As Paul recited the four-line oral tradition, calling it, “the gospel… by which, you are saved.” (1st Corinthians 15:1-2), he speaks of Jesus’s death for the sins of the world, his burial, his resurrection and his appearances to many (v. 3-8). Paul tops the argument off as he says, “if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain.” (v. 14). If Christ has not been raised from the dead, the Christian faith is in vain. Those who take this stance are just as those who say that salvation comes by works, or deny the deity of Christ. So then the question becomes, what does the Bible mean when it says that Christ is raised from the dead? Was Jesus’ resurrection only spiritual? Or a physical, and bodily resurrection?

After the resurrection, Jesus tells his disciples that he has a physical body. Luke 24:39: “See My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself; touch Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” So when Jesus was raised from the dead, he approached his disciples, and at first, they did not recognize him (either because Jesus had died and they were not expecting him, or God simply veiled their eyes). In direct response to the doctrine that he was merely a ghost, or a spirit, Jesus tells them to feel his hands and his feet. Was Jesus’ resurrection only spiritual? He denies that he is a spirit, and the reasoning behind that is that he has a physical body. Thomas

In response to this, the Jehovah’s Witnesses will say that God gave Jesus a different body, in which he appeared to them. But that does not really align with Jesus’s reasoning. He tells his disciples to see “that it is I myself.” By examining his body, the disciples were to come to the conclusion that it really was Jesus in the flesh. If Jesus had a different body, they would not come to that conclusion. They would come to the conclusion that he was somebody else. His claim that “it is I, myself,” would not follow from “see my hands and my feet… touch me and see…” Thus the plain reading of the text seems to prevail.

The tomb of Jesus was empty. When the Jewish Sanhedrin heard that the disciples were proclaiming that Jesus had risen from the dead, why did they not just point to the body of Jesus? By parading his body in the streets, the Christian movement would have instantly died, and the claims that he was risen subsumed in that reality. But instead, the Sanhedrin said that the disciples had stolen Jesus’s body. This response presupposes the empty tomb and aligns with the biblical narrative of the empty tomb (John 20:1-18). But if the resurrection was merely a spiritual resurrection, one would expect the tomb of Jesus to be occupied by Jesus, since he never physically rose. empty_tomb2

Scrambling desperately to explain away the empty tomb, Jehovah’s Witnesses will say God zapped the body of Jesus and disintegrated it or made it disappear. If God did do that, then in fact, it was God who fooled the world into believing that Jesus had risen bodily from the dead. After all, if one has an empty tomb, and disciples declaring that Jesus is risen, then one can hardly be blamed for thinking that the resurrection is physical and bodily. Was Jesus’ resurrection only spiritual? If it is, then it was God who was ultimately responsible for propagating a lie, and deceiving the world into being Christians, when they should have become Jehovah’s Witnesses.

The Jewish belief about the resurrection. Jesus’s resurrection was a picture of the resurrection of all of mankind. He was “the first fruits of those who are asleep,” (1st Corinthians 15:20) and “the firstborn from the dead.” (Colossians 1:18). Jesus rose from the dead just as we will also rise from the dead. But when the Bible offers a picture of the resurrection, it is always a physical resurrection, the dead literally getting up out of their graves. That is the Jewish belief about the resurrection. Was Jesus’ resurrection only spiritual? Since Jesus’s resurrection corresponds to our resurrection, it follows that his resurrection must have been bodily.ezekiel37

Isaiah 26:19: “Your dead will live; Their corpses will rise. You who lie in the dust, awake and shout for joy, For your dew is as the dew of the dawn, And the earth will give birth to the departed spirits.” Daniel 12:2 “Many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt.” 1st Samuel 2:6 “The LORD brings death and makes alive; he brings down to the grave and raises up.” Ezekiel 37:5-6 “This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.”

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Are The Father And The Holy Spirit The Same Person?

are the father and the holy spirit the same person? 1Christians often might be confused about the distinction between God the Father and God the Holy Spirit. After all, does the Bible not refer to the Holy Spirit as the Spirit of the Father (Matthew 10:20). It refers to him also as the Spirit of Christ (Romans 8:9). Now in my article Is Jesus The Holy Spirit? I refuted the modalistic idea that Jesus and the Holy Spirit were the same person. I turn my guns now to the separate question: are the Father and the Holy Spirit the same person? Is the Holy Spirit just the spirit-mode of the Father? What does the Bible say?

father and holy spirit 2I should first point out that the Father himself is a spirit (John 4:24). So we cannot say that the Holy Spirit is just the spiritual version of the Father, because the Father is a spirit himself. But then, perhaps these are just different titles that one applies to the same person. Perhaps in the same way that a man can be a father and a son, so also God is the Father and the Holy Spirit. I will defend the trinitarian position: There is one God who is eternally present in three persons, the Father the Son, and the Holy Spirit. This article will zoom in on the Scripture relevant to the question: are the Father and the Holy Spirit the same person?

The Father will send the Holy Spirit. Suppose a father tells his children, “I will not leave you alone. I will send a babysitter when I go out.” Then the father showed up that night. What will the children think? Where is the babysitter? Then the father tells us, “Oh, I am the babysitter.” We would think that his actions were incoherent. One does not say that they are going to send another, if they are the one who is coming. But that is precisely what Jesus said of the Father.

Jesus said, “I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth.” (John 14:16-17) He will ask the Father, and the Father will send the Holy Spirit. The modalist is forced to the conclusion that Jesus will ask himself, and then he will send himself. This is clearly and patently incoherent. When Jesus said that the Father will send another, he meant that he will send another. He went on to say, “But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” (v. 26). We see the same theme in Isaiah 48:16, which says, “and now the Lord God has sent me and his Spirit.”

Any attempt to say that the Father is the person of the Holy Spirit will rely on fancy hermeneutical footwork. That interpretation forbids us from reading the plain meaning of the passage. The person who wants to think that the Father is the Holy Spirit must read between the lines of this passage and draw an interpretation that the original disciples never would have.

We have access to the Father through the Holy Spirit. When a person wants to be saved, they must put their trust in Christ for their salvation, in the same way that one will trust in a parachute before they jump out of a helicopter (Ephesians 2:8-9). The second they do that, they are instantly granted the free gift of eternal life (John 3:16) and instantly born again by the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit (John 3:5). So the role of the Holy Spirit is regeneration. We are born again through the Holy Spirit.

This is where we find the distinction of persons. Through Christ, we have access in one Spirit, to God the Father (Ephesians 2:18). This raises a distinction beyond duty, because according to the plain reading of the text, we have access to the Father as the Holy Spirit presents us to him. We are welcome into the Father’s house because of the work of the Holy Spirit. Any attempt to make the Father and the Holy Spirit in this context would, again, rely on shunning the text and elevating ones’ own preconceived ideas and traditions above it.

Are the Father and the Holy Spirit the same person? No, just as there is a distinction of persons between Jesus and the Holy Spirit, and Jesus and the Father, so also there is a distinction of person between the Father and the Holy Spirit. If the Father were the Holy Spirit, the text that we have reviewed would not make sense. We have Jesus asking permission of the Father, and then upon receiving that permission, sending the Holy Spirit. If the Father were the Holy Spirit, this event would be reduced to absurdity.

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Is Abortion Okay If The Girl Was Raped?

is abortion okay if the girl was raped? 1Is abortion okay if the girl was raped? One of the more powerful arguments for abortion would be the reality of molestation. Pregnancy is not always of the free choice of the woman, nor does it always come as a product of her choice to have sex. Sometimes, in great trauma, men force themselves on women. Women are raped, and sometimes, when they are raped, they get pregnant. So the argument goes that if abortion is not permitted in this case, she would have to endure a living reminder that she was raped, rather than being free to move on. In this way, if a pro-life advocate and a pro-choice advocate were both to talk to a teenager who was raped, it might often seem that the pro-choice advocate was more sympathetic and loving and compassionate. is abortion okay if the girl was raped? 2

While the pro-choice advocate may have sincerity in their hearts and even while they have the purest of intentions, they are severely misguided. Is abortion okay if the girl was raped? Not at all. I maintain that they are offering a solution comparable to suicide: it may seem easier and it may seem to have a lighter load, but it devalues human life and is built on a foundation of false compassion.

What if the girl made the choice to keep the baby, but changed her mind after birth? Suppose for a moment that this rape victim made the decision to keep her child and to give birth. After the baby emerges, she sees the physical resemblances that it has to her rapist. Every time she looks in the babies’ eyes, she sees the face of her rapist staring up at her. Yet she has already decided to keep the baby. However, if we apply the very same reasoning as the abortionist, we are led inevitably and irrevocably to the practice of infanticide. This girl is forced to have a living reminder of her rapist, and who are we to say otherwise?

Suppose again that the same rape victim is pregnant, she has a few days before she delivers the baby. She changes her mind at this point and decides that she does not want a living reminder of her rape. Is abortion okay if the girl was raped? I think most will say not. But suppose that same baby was born prematurely, eight months early. Twenty-eight days after the birth of the baby, she decides that she does not want a living reminder of her rape. Is abortion okay if the girl was raped? It is the same baby and the same girl and the same time. The only difference is that the baby is outside of the uterus rather than inside of it. It seems to me then, that if we take rape as a vindication for abortion, we are guilty of reductio ad absurdum. Identical reasoning can be applied to the murder of infants or toddlers.

Abortion is a further burden to put on the girl. Imagine that a veteran of war went to a group therapy session, and admitted all of the things that he did in the war. He said that he could not shake the memories. The leading therapist decided to subscribe that he should go and kill somebody else. A civilian. Just walk up to them on the street and choke them out. That will help. Right? Or would it be adding a further burden to his already heavy heart and weary memory?

That is precisely what abortion does to the girl who just wants to shake the memory of her rapist. She has this one trauma to deal with, and in response, we tell a girl that she can commit murder, and this will lighten the load. But later, she will find that her conscience cannot bear the unnecessary burden that we have put on her. Not only have we encouraged her to take the life of another human being, but to take the life of her own child. Who can live with such a reality? Is abortion okay if the girl is raped? To put such a heavy burden on the girl should be far from our thoughts.

Why would we punish the baby for the crime of the father? Something that is important to emphasize is that the fetus is an actual biological human being. I argue that since it is immoral to kill a biological human being, and since the unborn is a biological human being, by irresistible logic, we conclude that it is immoral to kill the unborn. The baby is an actual human being. That is why the illustration of the infant or the toddler is so crucial. We do not commit murder just because that human being happens to be inconvenient to us. That philosophy of life is nothing short of sociopathy. baby-in-womb1

In response to this, the abortionist might raise the arbitrary distinction of a biological human being and a human person. But, one asks, what is the difference? After all, that distinction has been raised to justify homicide on a cataclysmic scale throughout the ages. The Jews were not persons, but were merely human beings, and so the Holocaust commenced. The blacks were not persons, and so slavery found its’ home. This is an arbitrary distinction that is meant only to justify murder. Is abortion okay if the girl is raped? No, that does not make sense, because the baby is still a human being.

Is abortion okay if the girl was raped? This seems to me to be a comparable question to, “is suicide okay if the girl was raped?” Do we encourage suicide, just because we do not want the girl to live with such a thing? After all, it is her body, and so it is her choice. We do not tell people to kill babies when they have something terrible weighing on their conscience. We do not place a greater yoke on the shoulders of rape victims. We do not devalue human beings. That is not progress. That is regression. That is stupidity.

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Is Mark Driscoll A Heretic?

mark-driscollIs Mark Driscoll a heretic? When my 2013 article 5 Popular Christian Teachers To Avoid went viral, there were a number of reactions. Some people wanted to know what I meant by what I said, and whether I condemned them as sinners going to Hell. The answers to that would be that I do not. My message was simply that these are ministries that have propagated false information, and they should be avoided. Another common question was why it was that more people were not included. is mark driscoll a heretic?Among the names, the most common was Mark Driscoll. Is Mark Driscoll a heretic? Is he outside the body of Christ, worthy of our condemnation?

It seems like any popular level teacher, no matter how gentle and godly and humble and loving he is, will receive some sort of backlash. People will always find a reason to condemn them. One could name any popular teacher among Christians and they will be pleased to offer their unsolicited and unrestrained opinion. Perhaps Driscoll has just been thrown under the bus as a popular teacher. Perhaps there is no merit at all to the indictments that people have against him. Is Mark Driscoll a heretic? This question is under consideration.is mark driscoll a heretic? 2

Is Mark Driscoll a heretic? He believes and teaches the true gospel. If I go as far to call somebody a heretic, it is because they have abandoned the faith in some fundamental way. They are not a true Christian and they have not been born again (John 3:3). They have denied the deity of Christ (John 8:24), or denied the incarnation (John 1:14). They have denied that Jesus died on the cross for the sins of the world (1st John 2:2). They have denied that he rose bodily from the dead (Luke 24:39). They have denied that one is saved by putting their trust in Christ (Ephesians 2:8-9). That is a heretic. Other issues are secondary. We may disagree, but still are brothers in Christ. As Saint Augustine said, “In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity.”

Mark Driscoll affirms the gospel. He affirms everything that I said above. So then, I think that with that in mind, we may still have criticisms of him, but these criticisms should be from one brother in Christ to another. We should be careful lest we condemn and attack our own brother. We may be frustrated with him or even think that he should not be teaching. But if that is the case, then we need to remember that he is still a brother in Christ. Beyond that, if you want to say that he is not truly born again, I think that is a hard question for an outside who does not know the man to answer.

Is Mark Driscoll a heretic? Does he mock the Bible? One of the complaints that I have heard of Driscoll is that he mocks the Bible in his books. He ridicules it and ridicules the Lord. In pages 43-44 of his book Vintage Jesus, he explains the first chapter of Mark in a way that seems less than charitable to the person of Jesus. He compares the Lord to “a wingnut who holds billboards… he tells people to shut up… he picks a fight… he breaks into a church… he ignores his mother.” You get the idea. The accusation is that he is not portraying Jesus as the glorious Lord.

However I wonder what Driscoll’s goal in writing this way was. Perhaps he had in mind the old pithy proverb, “what would Jesus do?” People often do not realize how radical of a man Jesus was. So he was communicating that to his audience. Further, his audience is something else to consider. Perhaps some of his fans find that abrasive style of writing to be easier to read and more entertaining than scholarly literature. One might indict Driscoll for this chapter. I could conceive of it. It is not as flattering as I would depict the Lord. But I think it is important to ask the question of what he has to say. Why did he write it like this? Perhaps he was (whether successfully or unsuccessfully) attempting to adhere to the philosophy of ministry of the apostle Paul, namely, “I have become all things to all people so that by all means, I may save some.” (1st Corinthians 9:22). It could just be a method of communicating a truth. Is Mark Driscoll a heretic? I do not think that we can condemn him as one for this reason.

Is Mark Driscoll a heretic? The comments about sex. Driscoll has, admittedly, made some strange comments about the Songs of Solomon, and whether it is okay for people to masturbate. While I think that his intention was to communicate truth, some of the things that he preached over the pulpit, to put it mildly, were very inappropriate. He says of the Songs of Solomon, ‘They will say that it is an allegory between Jesus and his bride the church. Which if true, is weird. Because Jesus is having sex with me and puts his hand up my shirt. And that feels weird. I love Jesus, but not in that way.’ Bad joke, Mark. I am not prone to let Mark off the hook for this. This was a foolish this for somebody in his position to say. There were several other similar remarks. In fact, John MacArthur replied with a three part sermon series called The Rape of Solomon’s Songs.

I say again, I am not letting him off the hook for anything. He made a mistake. But my understanding is that he was ashamed of this sermon. He made a point to wipe it off the internet and does not want anybody to know about it. But he said it (and not only that) and people have the right to know that. Is Mark Driscoll a heretic? No, I do not think that this makes him a heretic. I think this proves that he is a sinner and did not think about what he was going to say as much as he should have.

Is Mark Driscoll a heretic? No, but teachers are judged harshly. James tells us that not many people should become teachers, because teachers are judged harshly (James 3:1). If somebody is going to lead people, they need to be beyond rebuke. They need to be respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not addicted to wine or pugnacious, but gentle, peaceable, free from the love of money, and I draw your attention to this: And he must have a good reputation with those outside the church. (1st Timothy 3:1-7). Is Mark Driscoll a heretic? No. But he should not be a teacher or a leader in a congregation.

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Does Free Will Solve The Problem Of Evil?

does free will solve the problem of evil? 1Does free will solve the problem of evil? Burdened by the issue of the evil in the world, many Christians will turn to free will. God allows men to make immoral decisions, even when it brings about suffering, because he wanted us to have free will. He wanted us to turn to him freely in love, and in general, he just wanted us to have the gift of libertarian freedom as we inhabit the earth. But since men are free to choose either good or evil, some will inevitably choose to do evil. Thus, evil prevails, and it is permitted for the sake of free will, which is a greater good. This raises the question: does free will solve the problem of evil?does free will solve the problem of evil? 2

Most Christians unthinkingly and blissfully accept the free will theodicy. It has been quite thoroughly propagated among virtually all Christians, save for perhaps Calvinists (who deny that there is free will in a libertarian sense, an issue that this essay will touch on). But with a propagation on such a massive scale, a good among of criticism is chauffeured with it. Ex-Christians already know what to say in response to the challenge of free will. So is it valid? Does free will solve the problem of evil?

Is there free will in Heaven? This problem arises with one of the renderings of the free will theodicy. On this particular version, it is not only that God wants us to have and experience free will, but further, God wants us to have the freedom to choose him over and against evil. This is because he does not want people to turn to him robotically, automatically. He wants people to choose him freely. In fact, love necessitates freedom. There could be no love without freedom. But, the skeptic asks, is there love in Heaven? If so, would that mean that there is free will in Heaven? If so, that would imply that there was evil in Heaven, thus rendering it just as fallen as earth.images-34

I think that this version of the free will theodicy collapses at this. However, the apologist may reply, God wants men to have free will, not because it is a prerequisite of love, but because it is a gift in and of itself. There are certain goods in this world that we could not have in Heaven. We would be so consumed by God’s presence in Heaven that we could not rebel and could not sin. He would literally overpower us. Therefore, there could be no free will in Heaven. Therefore, free will is only for earth. The same could be said of courage and self-sacrifice. These good things could not exist in Heaven. Does free will solve the problem of evil? I think so. God allows evil on earth because he wants us to have courage, and self-sacrifice, and freedom of the will.

Is the free will theodicy available to the Calvinist? A Calvinist is one who believes that God has decided who will be saved from eternity on the basis of the good counsel of his will. The elect will be saved, and the non-elect will be damned. A person is only saved if God draws them to be saved. Jesus only died for the elect. Of course, if this is the case, then a person could not freely choose to be saved. God draws them and they have no choice but to respond to his saving grace. God overpowers their will. So then, could a Calvinist say that God allows evil for the sake of free will?TULIP

Does free will solve the problem of evil? Even for the Calvinist? I think so. Recall what I had to say in the last section. The Calvinist can believe in freedom of the will, even for every decision that a person makes, except for salvation. The Calvinist can believe in libertarian freedom, so long as that libertarian freedom does not extend to the decision of salvation. With that in mind, free will may still be one cause of evil and suffering in the world. God could still want to offer humans the gift of freedom, even if he does not extend it to salvific decisions. Calvinists, then, are welcome to apply this theodicy.

What about natural disasters and brain tumors? It often occurs to people that freedom of the will is not really an all-inclusive theodicy. It does not solve every issue. God could allow men to have free will, and still, there would not have to be natural disasters. Natural disasters probably do not follow as a direct consequence of freedom of the will. But even if that is true, the application of the free will response still perseveres. Moral evil (the evil decisions of men) could be accounted for with free will, even if natural evil (disaster, brain tumors, et cetera) has a different solution.Typhoon Pat

But, does free will solve the problem of evil? Even natural evil? I think that it does. The reason that there is natural evil is precisely because of sin. God created a universe that was custom-made for fallen creatures. It is a fallen world for fallen creatures. Everywhere we turn, we are reminded of our sin and our depravity and our need for God. Everything that we touch screams, “Fallen.” That is why God told Adam, “the ground is cursed because of you.” (Genesis 3:17). So I think that the problem of moral evil and natural evil can find their resolution in freedom of the will.

The free-will theodicy is quite brilliant. I think that we are pretty immune to it because we have heard it so much. But it is a brilliant philosophical point. God wanted us to have good things in this world that we could not have if there was no evil. However, it should also be pointed out that it is not the Bible’s response to evil. It may still be true, but it is established strictly on philosophical grounds.

A central book in the Bible on the problem of evil is the book of Job. Job endures struggle and comes to question God and to assert his own righteousness. Think of Job’s sin like this. Imagine that you had the most beautiful carpet in the world, and it is flipped over. Your friend approaches and can only see the underside of the rug, and they complain, “I thought you said that this rug was beautiful.” You will tell them that because of their limited perspective, they say this. But when the rug flips over, they will see. In exactly the same way, when the rug of this world flips over, we will understand. The question is whether we want to put our trust in the Rugmaker, or question every single thread. Job’s sin was that he multiplied words against God. God is more righteous and loving than we are and he did not put his trust in him. Thus God says, “Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?” (Job 38:2). Does free will solve the problem of evil? Yes. But it is not the Bible’s answer.

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Why Does Anything At All Exist?

why does anything exist? 1From the greatest scholars of the today, to the most famed philosophers of old, anybody who has ever observed the natural world has been plagued, or blessed, as it were, by the question, “why does anything at all exist?” This seems to be the reason that most people believe in the existence of a transcendent Creator of the universe. Whether the argument is stylized syllogistically, highly philosophical and technical, or the average man gazing at the head of the sun as it peaks over the horizon, feeling “naturally overwhelmed,” in the words of Richard Dawkins, “almost a desire to worship something.” Men know this problem, even atheists admit it. why does anything at all exist? 2People believe in God’s existence because it is obvious in the existence of the natural world. Any argument that is mounted against God’s existence will always fall short, will never measure up, to the abundance of the natural world around us.

In the words of the apostle Paul, “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.” (Romans 1:20). The question that one might pose is this: can this stand as more than an emotional observation? Can the atheists answer the challenge, answer the question, “why does anything at all exist?” I think that the boyhood observation perseveres, toppling down the objections of the intellectual. Why does anything at all exist?romans1-20

I pose this argument, and state the premises thusly (though I will break them down in as simple terms as I know how): 1 – Everything that exists has an explanation of its’ existence, whether in the necessity of its’ own nature, or an external cause. 2 – The universe exists. 3 – The explanation of the universe is not in the necessity of its’ own nature. 4 – Therefore, the universe had an external cause.

Everything that exists has an explanation of its’ existence. What does I mean by that? I will apply a popular illustration so that this point will become apparent. Suppose you were hiking with a friend, and the two of you stumbled across a beach ball in the middle of the trail. That would be quite an unusual sight, so you would rightly pose the question, “Where did this ball come from?” url-44

Your friend is unmoved and indifferent, as they reply, “Don’t worry about it. It’s just there.” Whether your friend knows it or not, he has just made an ontological statement about the ball. It has no explanation. It is just there. Now if you were interested in resolving this philosophical quagmire, you would not accept your friends answer. The ball does not just exist. There is an explanation of the balls’ existence. But expand the ball to the size of a house. It still needs an explanation. Expand it to the size of the earth. It still needs an explanation. Expand it further and finally to the size of the universe. Still, it needs an explanation. The universe must have an explanation.

That explanation is either in the necessity of its’ own nature or an external cause. This is a little technical, but like I said, I will try to break it down as simply as I can. When I say that something exists necessarily, I mean that it must exist. It could not be otherwise. The ball exists because it must exist. Its’ existence is absolutely essential. This is one of the options for the existence of the universe. It may be that the universe must exist. The alternative option is that the universe has an external cause. That is, a cause beyond itself that brought it into being. This alternative would be comparable to how Michelangelo is the cause of the statue of David.davi1

(Note: I have assumed that premise 2 is valid. The universe exists. If anyone wants to argue that the universe does not exist, they will also have to explain why it is that I should bother responding to them, because, as a part of the universe, they do not technically exist, and therefore, they never mounted the objection.)

The explanation of the universe is not in the necessity of its’ own nature. Recall again what I said about necessity. Necessity of existence means that something must exist. This premise states that it is not the case that the universe must exist. The universe is contingent. When I say that, I mean that it depends upon something else for its’ existence. We may know that the universe is contingent, as opposed to necessary, precisely because it has not always existed. The universe is not eternal in the past. It had a beginning a short time ago. This means that it will not do to say that the universe is just there, a brute fact, because it had not always been a brute fact. It had an absolute beginning.

We can be certain of this because an infinite series of events is logically absurd. Mathematicians, such as Doctor David Hilbert, realize that while one can apply the infinite to mathematics, it cannot be transferred into reality, because it leads to logical absurdities, as Doctor Hilbert showed in his paradoxical Hilbert’s Hotel (see left). Consider it like this: If there were an infinite number of days in the past, then that means that it would require an infinite amount of time before reaching today. This means that today would have never arrived. An infinite is literally never-ending. If a never-ending chain of events happened before today, then it follows that today would never have gotten here. This leads one irrevocably to the conclusion that there cannot have been an infinite number of days or events prior to today. The universe cannot be eternal.

This line of thinking carries over into the scientific realm, specifically the law of entropy. Since the universe (or multiverse, if such a thing exists) is one massive closed system, it is subject to the laws of entropy. Entropy states that the usable energy in the universe is depleting, much like the energy of a battery depletes, so also the energy in the universe depletes. When it runs out, the universe will incur what scientists refer to as the heat death of the universe. The universe will die. The question that presses upon us is this: if the universe has existed for an eternity, then why has it not already died? Thus the universe cannot have existed from eternity. As Stephen Hawkins put it, “Almost everyone now believes that the universe, and time itself had a beginning at the Big Bang.” (Hawking and Roger Penrose, The Nature of Space and Time. The Isaac Newton Institutes Series of Lectures, page 20).

Since the universe had a beginning, it follows that it is not necessary in its’ nature. The universe could conceivable not exist, as it has, and as it will. Thus I repeat my question: why does anything at all exist? What is the explanation of the universe? It is not in the necessity of its’ own nature. Therefore…

The universe had an external cause. This is highly significant, a point that most atheists would not be willing to concede, because the threads of atheism begins to unravel at the idea of a cause of the universe. Consider with me for a moment what the universe is. The universe is all of nature, all of energy, space, matter, and time. Everything that exists. If all of nature, space, and time have a cause, that cause cannot be natural, spacial, or temporal, for the same reason that a man cannot be his own father. The cause of the universe must be supernatural, spaceless, timeless, immaterial, transcending the entire known universe, existing in such a way that the universe is contingent upon him. Therefore, God exists.

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What Does Philippians 2:5-8 Mean?

what does philippians 2_5_8 mean?I usually avoid exegetical articles for the sole reason that they do not attract a lot of attention. Most of my articles are more topical, and like my cohort Evan Minton of CerebralFaith.blogspot.com, I weave in the relevant selected Scriptures throughout. So in today’s article, What Does Philippians 2:5-8 Mean? I am doing something a little different. I am simply looking at the text of this passage, summoning the theological nuances to shine forth so that the Holy Spirit may illuminate this passage for you, and for me.

phil 2_5_8I would first point out that most scholars regard this passage as pre-Pauline. Paul received or learned this hymn from his contemporaries, namely, Peter and James (Galatians 1:18). So the theology that is found in this hymn comes before Paul. We cannot say that Paul invented it or distorted the early Christian teachings (as Muslim apologists will assert). This song came before him. This is highly significant because it means that what we find in this passage represents the beliefs of the earliest Christians. Paul’s views were representative of the rest of the church, and this hymn evidences that. So then, what does Philippians 2:5-8 mean? First, take a look at the passage with me, and also, I will examine verses 10-11.

V. 5-8: Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the phil 2_8form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross… (v. 10-11) so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

“…Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped.” phil_2The Greek word for “existed” in this verse is ὑπάρχων, and it literally means that this is what he was in his original state. This is what Jesus was from eternity, he existed in the form of God, at the time when the Word was with God (John 1:2). At that time, Jesus existed in the very form of God. The Oneness Theologians will say that Jesus was a forethought or a plan in the mind of God. But this song informs us that Jesus was in the very form of God. That is not to say that God has a physical structure, but rather than Jesus existed in the very nature, he shared the very essence of God. What does Philippians 2:5-8 mean? Jesus was (and remains) God.

Further, as he existed in the very nature of God, the song informs us that he did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped. He was God, sharing the very nature of God, and yet did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped. This is a clear distinction between God the Father and Christ Jesus before the world began. Jesus did not regard equality with God the Father a thing to be grasped. The Oneness theologians will guess that when Jesus became a man, then at that point, he did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped. But that is not what the text says. It says that although he existed in the form of God, he did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped. This clearly preceded the incarnation because at this point, he existed in the very nature and essence of God.

“…but emptied himself, taking on the form of a bondservant, and being made in the likeness of men…” There is nothing humbling for a human to be a human. It is humbling for God to become a human. There is nothing embarrassing or humiliating about a human remaining a human. There is nothing that we would have to empty ourselves of. But for Christ Jesus to become a human being is humiliating. Since Jesus Christ did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, he emptied himself.

Since it is the season... (image from ncregister.com)

Since it is the season… (image from ncregister.com)

This word “emptied,” is translated from the Greek, “ἐκένωσεν” or sometimes transliterated, “kenosis.” It is from where we derive the doctrine of kenosis. It literally means that Jesus emptied himself, he was deprived of content. When Jesus became a man, he emptied himself of his divine attributes and his divine will. So rather than being omnipotent, he relied on the miraculous power of the Holy Spirit. He was a human being. He was the human image of the invisible God (Colossians 1:15). He was the fulness of the trinity, the one and only God (for there is only one God [Deuteronomy 6:4], eternally present in three persons [Hebrews 1:8, Acts 5:3-4, Matthew 28:19]) in human flesh (Colossians 2:9). The consciousness of God the Son was transferred to the flesh of a man.

Lest you think that this is just theological wrangling, I point you back to the text. Jesus was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped. Jesus was both God and with God (John 1:1-2). What does Philippians 2:5-8 mean? It means that earliest Christians sung hymns of the incarnation and the trinity.

“…Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross…” Note how the status of Christ descended. In the beginning of the song, he is God, sharing the very nature of God the Father, in eternal glory. He descends to not grasping the equality that he had. He descends again to the shame of a human being. He paradoxically departs from this eternal and everlasting state of eternal glory and kingship and becomes a man. Then he humbles himself to the lowest possible status of a human being.

Crucifixion is a stain on the soul of humanity. It is the most gruesome form of capital punishment that men have ever enacted. God descended to it and absorbed it. When Jesus was crucified, it pleased God the Father to crush him (Isaiah 53:10), because on that cross, his love was on display. All of God’s wrath that we deserve was poured out upon him. Christ Jesus descended treacherously, diving into the portal from Heaven to crucifixion, leaving his divine rights behind, leaving his power and glory, and becoming a man, obedient to the worst form of torture imaginable. What does Philippians 2:5-8 mean? This verse means that God died the death that you and I deserve (1st John 2:2). Three days later, he rose from the dead. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that those who believe in him shall never perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)

“At the name of Jesus Christ, every knee will bow and tongue confess that he is Lord.” Paul is quoting Isaiah 45 and applying it to Jesus. In Isaiah, YHWH says of himself, “to me, every knee will bow, and every tongue will swear allegiance.” Paul takes the words of God and applies them to Jesus. Is it not clear that Paul regards Jesus as God? Paul believed that Jesus was YHWH, the God of the Old Testament.

Isaiah 45:21-23
“Is it not I, YHWH?
And there is no other God besides Me…
…A righteous God and a Savior;
There is none except Me.
Turn to Me and be saved, all the ends of the earth;
For I am God, and there is no other.
I have sworn by Myself,
The word has gone forth from My mouth in righteousness
And will not turn back,
That to Me every knee will bow, every tongue will swear allegiance.”

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Does God Know The Future?

does god know the future? 1The traditional conception of God among monotheistic faiths is that God is utterly perfect in every way. God is all-powerful, all-knowing, all-loving, all-present, all-good, and so on. But some Christians (hereafter referred to as open-theists) wrestle with these attributes and wonder how it is that they fit into their systematic theology. So when they come across God’s absolute knowledge, contrasted against human freedom, they tend to recoil, and take the position that because human beings have libertarian freedom, that therefore, God must not be able to know their future decisions. After all, if God does know their future decisions, then in what sense what would they freely make these decisions? does god know the future? 2But this is more a philosophical question (though I will resolve that tension in this article), when I think it is important to ask the biblical question. What does the Bible reveal to us? Does God know the future?

Before beginning, I ought to indicate that these open-theists, while they deny that God knows the future, they also affirm that God is omniscient. He knows everything. The pointed issue is that, in their minds, the future is just unknowable. It is impossible to know the future. So, God does not know it. In the same way that we might be able to inductively predict, based on the past, what is going to happen in the future, so God also may also make guesses, but he would not be certain, because the future is not something that one can be certain of.

God does not inductively guess – he prophecies. When God makes proclamations, he does not caution that these are just his best guesses, and they might not come to pass. Rather, he boldly claims that these things not only will come to pass, but have come to pass from the very foundations of the world. He “chose us from the foundations of the world… in love, he predestined us to adoption as sons through Christ Jesus to himself.” (Ephesians 1:5-6). God not only knew who was going to be saved, he actively elected them (and for the moment, I ignore the issue of conditional and unconditional election). Thus God knew their future decisions. He knew that they were going to choose to be saved.Prophecy2

Further, God knew the immoral decisions of men from the foundations of the world. Jesus Christ has been slain from the very foundations of the world (1st Peter 1:20). God predestined the crucifixion of Jesus. But God foreknew it from the foundations of the world. He knew that Jesus would be crucified. He knew that the Romans would crucify Jesus. The Romans were sinning, and it was God’s will, because it brought about a greater good – the crucifixion. “For truly in this city, there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, to do whatever your hand and your purpose predestined to occur.” (Acts 4:27-28).

Often, open-theists will say that God knows only what he is going to do in the future. But the problem is that he is using people in this case. He knew that people would be there, to crucify the Lord of Glory. He also knew that people would choose salvation. I am inclined to add that even if I concede that God merely knew what he was going to do, that is still knowledge of the future. Does God know the future? It seems to me that the concept of prophecy necessitates that.

God predestines the free decisions of men. God often uses evil to bring about his ultimate good. If there were no evil, if we did not live in a fallen world, there could never be things like courage, or self-sacrifice, or freedom of the will. So God will bring about evil so that we can have greater good. He predicted and allowed the evil decisions that men have made. So he says, “I knew that you would deal very treacherously.” (Isaiah 48:8). God knew in advance this decision to deal treacherously.8140987_f520

We see this theme recommenced in Psalm 138:4, which reads, “All the kings of the earth will give thanks to you, O LORD…” God knows the future decision of men to give thanks. In the next chapter, the psalmist continues in praise of God, now zooming in on God’s knowledge of himself. “Before there is a word on my tongue, behold, O LORD, you know it all.” (139:4). God knew what the psalmist is going to say before he says it. He goes on to praise God’s attributes; praise him for who he is. He says, “Where can I go from your Spirit? Or where can I flee from your presence?” (v. 7). He is speaking of God’s omnipresence. In the verse just before, he says, “Such knowledge is too wonderful for me. It is too high. I cannot attain to it.” Since God knows even the psalmists words before he says them, his knowledge is too high. Does God know the future? While the future is impossible for men to know, and while we cannot attain to it, God can.

Is free will inconsistent with God’s foreknowledge? Let us temporarily concede for a moment that it was. Let us suppose that there was no free will, that God knew everything, and as a consequence of this knowledge, we do not have free will. So what? That does not change what the Bible says. We cannot let our desire for free will change God. I struggle mightily to see how this is anything short of idolatry in the name of the self.

But now, lifting my concession, I indicate that freedom of the will is not inconsistent with foreknowledge. God may have absolute knowledge of what is going to happen tomorrow, and nonetheless, we still have freedom. God’s knowledge could be viewed as sort of like a thermometer. It is always accurate in its’ measurement of the temperature, but it has no causal power over the weather. Does God know the future? Does he, in light of the possibility of human freedom? Well there really is no reason for there to be so much tension between God’s knowledge and human freedom. If there is tension, then God’s knowledge should be the victor, lest we commit idolatry. If you are interested in how the Bible reconciles predestination and human freedom, check out Evan Minton’s treatment of Molinism in his article Molinism And Divine Foreordination.

Does God know the future? God foreknew and predestinated exactly who would be adopted into his family and saved through Christ Jesus. He foreknew and predestined the crucifixion, which had tied within in the wicked decisions of men. He foreknew both good and evil future decisions, and he proved that in his prophecies. He foreknew those decisions in Isaiah 48:8 and Psalm 138:4; 139:4-5. God foreknew all of these future human decisions. But this is not logically inconsistent with freedom of the will.

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Why Are Christians So Mean?

why are christians so mean? 1People with views that oppose Christian doctrine often mount the accusation that Christians are mean-spirited and obnoxious. It is not necessarily so much that these groups are merely disagreeing with each other, but Christians are utterly disagreeable, unable to have a friendly conversation and listen to the beliefs of those with whom they disagree. I have seen Christians who are mean-spirited toward homosexuals, Muslims, liberals, and even other Christians. Pretty much anybody who calls into question one of their beliefs and practices. Rather than intellectually criticizing the doctrine of Islam, Christians treat Muslims, as people, with bigotry. why are christians so mean? 2It seems that rather than sharing the gospel and loving their enemies, Christians are inclined to point the finger, call names, accuse, and incite anger. So then, this raises a critical question that Christians need to deal with. Why are Christians so mean?

They are not born again. They may bear the title Christian and claim to love the gospel, but for them, loving the gospel, or loving their enemies, are empty platitudes. These are ideals, but not something that they are willing to live out. If one tells them to love their enemies, they are either unaware of that verse, or they say, “we are loving our enemies,” as they call another group derogatory names. The issue is that people such as this might not be born again. They might not really have the power of God in their lives.

born-againWhen I say that somebody is born again, I mean that they are made a new creature by the Holy Spirit (2nd Corinthians 5:17). One who is born again makes it their words that, “it is not I who lives, but Christ who lives through me.” (Galatians 2:20). They are justified, adopted into the family of God, and they are being sanctified. They are being made holy (1st Peter 1:15). They are displaying the fruit of the Spirit, which are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). If a person instead displays “…enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions…” (v. 20) then this could be good evidence that this person has not been born again. Why are Christians so mean? They are not real Christians. They are just as much of a child of Hell as those against whom they are screaming.

They do not understand different people. I am afraid that this is a plague of humanity, not only Christians. People recoil and reflex when they encounter somebody that they just do not understand. That is why when adolescence will encounter a homosexual, they will bully them. That is why a homosexual will walk down the street and be mugged. That is why a New Yorker will be treated with contempt in the south, and vice versa. That is why black men have been treated with bigotry. People see these groups with the slightest divergence and they hate them for it. Whether it is jealousy, projection, insecurity, or whatever underlying psychological issue, people hate those who are different.galatians3_28

Christians are often not immune to this. Those who are not may fall into the category above, that they are not born again. Either way, there is an inclination against those who are different. That is an offshoot of the fallen nature. A lot of people have to deal with this and need to deal with it maturely, striving to overcome it. But instead, Christians indulge in it. They will use their faith to justify bigotry. It is important to point out that there is a difference between the doctrine of Islam and Muslims as people. It is important to point out the difference between the sin and the sinner. While Jesus Christ would speak scorching words against sin, he would have the deepest compassion for sinners. Why are Christians so mean? They are just like the Pharisees, the mean religious folks of old, who would say, “Why is your teacher eating with such sinners?” (Matthew 9:11), Jesus replied (v. 12-13), “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire compassion, and not sacrifice,’ for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

They cannot handle disagreements about their sacred beliefs. There are some things that people hold so dearly to their heart that they literally identify with them. Christians hold their beliefs about the Bible in such esteem that any time they are challenged or criticized, they just cannot handle it. They cannot handle when anybody disagrees about anything. So just as those in the last category, Christians will recoil and reflex in anger when somebody disagrees.

When people reply, that the Bible is not true, or even start ridiculing the Bible, Christians do not know how to handle it. They are emotionally challenged. That is one reason that I think that apologetics and doctrine are so important. While the Bible is foundational to our beliefs, we need to be engaged with the intellectual element of our beliefs. When we understand why the Bible is true and what the Bible says, we will not feel so insecure about our beliefs. We will be able to listen carefully to what people say and understand why it is not necessarily true. In our culture, it is not enough to only know Bible stories. We need doctrine and apologetics.

Sometimes Christians seem mean when they are merely disagreeing. With so many nasty people claiming to be Christians, spreading bigotry, refusing to following the clear commands of Jesus to love their enemies (Matthew 5:43-48), often, all Christians are mistakenly conflated with them. If I point out a sin, even lovingly, I am conflated with all of the Christians who attack the sinner. If I criticize the doctrine of Islam, I am conflated with those who treat Muslims with bigotry. So my point is that while Christians need to be careful to not treat with bigotry, often when we criticize a view, people will mistake it for bigotry. If I say, “the Bible teaches that same sex-marriage is a sin,” people hear, “I hate homosexuals.” But that is not what I said.

We need to learn to listen to each other. If Christians want to share the gospel, to fulfill the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19), we need to learn to listen to people. People are different. Everybody has different things that they hold dearly. People are not groups of people. They are individuals who cry over different things. We need to understand people, as individuals. They are not merely a banner for the LGBT movement. They are individuals. Listen to them. They have real issues that they have dealt with and a real past. They have real baggage.

If we want to love our enemies (Matthew 5:43-48) (not that homosexuals are enemies), we need to listen to them. We need to respond in love and show them to love of Christ. We need to adopt the words of Paul for ourselves, that “Christ came to save sinners, of whom, I am the worst.” (1st Timothy 1:15). Apart from the unmerited mercy and grace of God, we would be heathens who commit moral atrocities on a grand scale that would make homosexuals grimace in disgust of our behavior.

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What Is A Good Analogy For The Trinity?

what is a good analogy for the trinity? 1When we want to explain something, especially complex topics, we often want to appeal to analogies and illustrations as tools to help us illustrate our point. This seems to carry over into theology. Since the doctrine of the trinity is often built up as something so complicated that no mere mortal could ever understand any aspect of, we scramble desperately for a way to relay this divine truth to new Christians. But as we tell them how complicated it is, and how they just need to take it on faith, we are likely to lead our friends astray into confusion. So how can we relay this point? What is a good analogy for the trinity?what is a good analogy for the trinity? 2

I think it should be pointed out that the trinity is not necessarily a mystery. It is not beyond all human comprehension. It may be counter-intuitive, but we can still grasp it. We can still understand what the Bible says. God may be more complicated than a man, or more complicated than what we expect, but we can still understand what the Bible teaches. The Bible teaches three truths: 1 – there is one God. 2 – The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are each God. 3 – The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are distinct persons. As John 1:18 says, Jesus is “the only begotten God, in the bosom of [God] the Father.” Therefore, there is one God, who is eternally present in three persons. How can we simplify this? How can we reduce it down? What is a good analogy for the trinity?247850

Is the trinity like H20, or a man who is a father, a husband, and a son? As we appeal to these elements of the world that people know and comprehend, we try to render the trinity relatable. We try to fit the trinity into the rational mans’ previously accepted paradigm. So we tell them, “Just as a man can be a father, a son, and a husband, so God is the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” But that comparison is fatal to the trinity.

A man who is a father, a son, and a husband is not three distinct persons. He does not have three centers of consciousness. These are just three modes that he takes. But God does not take on different modes. That is modalism. So the same with the H20 illustration. For us to draw these comparisons only muddies the water. In attempt to simplify, these comparisons complicate. trinity1

Three in one comparisons. In response to hearing of the doctrine of the trinity, people may pose the question, “but how could God be both three and one?” That is a clear contradiction, so how could that be so? Obviously he is not both three gods and one god, and obviously he is not both three persons and one person. That would be a contradiction. Rather, God is one God, and three persons. God is eternally present in three persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

The mind may still boggle at this notion, at the presentation of three in one. I think it may be permissible at this point out that there are other things in the universe that are three in one. A triangle is one triangle and three sides. That is not to say that a triangle and the trinity are identical, but for the purpose of illustrating that three in one is not always a paradox, the concept of a triangle is a useful tool. So a triangle may not be an analogy to the trinity, but an analogy to the coherence of three in one. Three in one is not an incoherent concept, and when a triangle is used that way, and that way only, it is not wrong.scriptures-trials-and-triumphs

Explain from Scripture. When people hear the doctrine of the trinity, they may be inclined to think that it is a consequence of contradictions opposing views of the authors, and we are trying to reconcile them. That is why it is important to show verses such as John 1:1-2. “In the beginning was the Word, the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.” The Word was both God, and with God. John empowers this point toward the end of his prologue as he calls Jesus (v. 18) “…the only begotten God, in the bosom of the Father…” So we see two distinct persons within the one God.

Another good proof-text would be Isaiah 44:6 (and I went into more detail in my article 3 Reasons Atheists Are Afraid To Read Isaiah) which reads, “So said the Lord, the King of Israel and his Redeemer the Lord of Hosts.” Both times the word Lord are used, they replace the word YHWH, the name of God. So in this verse, there are two who are called YHWH: the Redeemer and the King of Israel. Yet a few verses down, Isaiah plainly states that there is only one God (44:8). The testimony of Scripture is that there is one God who is eternally present in three persons. What is a good analogy for the trinity? Do not worry about analogies. Look to Scripture. dont_over-complicate_being_successful_3

Stop overcomplicating everything. It seems like every time I hear a Christian explaining the doctrine of the trinity, they preface it with a few qualifications about how the trinity can only be understood by faith and that it is beyond all human comprehension and they will never understand it. I think that it is within human capacity to understand what the Bible reveals, or else there would not be any reason for the Bible to reveal it.

If you think it is too complicated to understand, then perhaps you should not be teaching people. Physician, heal yourself. Learn what the trinity is, because there is a succinct and simple definition that is easy to understand. It may be counter-intuitive. It may seem like an illogical model of God (although I argued against this in my article Is The Trinity A Logical Model of God?), but it is not so complicated that no human being can understand it. It is only like that because you are the one explaining it and you are overcomplicating it.

What is a good analogy for the trinity? A worm looks up at a man. We would not expect the worm to instantly understand the man, or the man to be precisely what the worm expects. Yet we look to the heavens and hold expectations of God. God may not be what you expect. There may be no analogy of the trinity that does not break down at some point. But that does not mean that you cannot explain what the Bible reveals. Stop desperately shuffling through fallacious analogies. There is one God who is eternally present in three persons. That is the trinity.

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Does Salvation Come By Faith?

salvation by faith 1Does salvation come by faith? Why is this an issue? Well, present in the majority of the world religions is the idea that if one is a good person, they will merit eternal life with God, and those who are evil must go to Hell. This is the view of most people, a sort of surface understanding of God’s justice. The Bible teaches that Jesus Christ did their work for them. Jesus Christ died on the cross, bearing the penalty for the sins of the world (Romans 3:26, 1 John 2:2). salvation by faith 2Three days later he arose, bodily, from the dead. So when we say that salvation comes by faith, we mean that in order to be saved, one must put their trust in Jesus Christ for salvation. If you were preparing to jump out of a helicopter, you would put on a parachute, and trust in that parachute for the jump. In the same way, the moment you put your trust in Jesus, you will be saved and granted the free gift of eternal life. That is what salvation by faith means.

Yet rather than trusting in the atonement of Christ, some Christians decide to trust in themselves. They put their trust in their own good works. They believe that the way the atonement is applied to a person is through their works. But what does the Bible say? Is salvation applied by works? Or does salvation come by faith?

Ephesians 2:8-9 reads: “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” Salvation is granted to a person by God, through his unmerited favor of God. Despite that one does not deserve it, God offered salvation to them. If this grace were by works, it would cease to be grace, because then, they would be earning God’s favor. But grace literally means unmerited favor. That is why Romans 11:6 says, “But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace.” So salvation must come by faith, to the exclusion of works, lest grace cease to be grace.

In response to this, many will claim that Paul was only talking about works of the Law, not any works. But Paul writes to the exclusion of all works, and we know this because he said that salvation is “not of yourselves.” Further, if salvation came by works, why would it not be by the works of the Law? By what works, then? It seems to me that if Paul was teaching that there was an alternative law to follow, he would have been more clear. If he just meant that they can be saved by following their conscience, the mind boggles as I consider that this just leaves us with moral relativism. So God undid the Law of Moses just so that men could be saved by following their unguided conscience. I find that view neither persuasive nor faithful to the text.

Salvation is a free gift. Suppose I pick up a homeless man on the street. He was holding up a sign that said, “Will work for food.” I tell him not to worry about it and that the food was a free gift from me. Then after we eat, I take him to my house and tell him that he needs to mow the lawn to reconcile his debt. Well, then the meal was no longer a free gift. He is paying for it. He is working for it.

Yet Paul repeatedly refers to salvation as a free gift (Romans 5:15, 16; 6:23; Ephesians 2:8-9). Romans 6:23, “The wage of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus.” In affirming that salvation is a free gift, Paul necessarily excludes any form of salvation by works. If it were a free gift, it would not be by works.

Faith is counted as righteousness. When somebody puts their trust in Christ for their salvation, God looks at them and does not see their account of sin. They see the spotless record of Jesus Christ. The unrighteousness of men was put on Christ and his righteousness was put on men. When they are saved, God sees Christ’s righteousness, not their sin. They are dead to sin. Thus Paul says, “Faith is credited as righteousness.” (Romans 4:5). The moment a person has faith, their record of insubordination and sin is destroyed, and the righteousness of Jesus Christ is applied to them.

The entire verse reads, “But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness.” Paul earlier states that God is the just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus (Romans 3:26). Verses such as this are significant because the advocate of works cannot say that it is making a distinction between the Law of Moses and works-salvation. Paul plainly says that God justifies those who have faith. “By what sort of law?” he asks (v. 27). At this point, he has the chance to tell us about his law of works. But instead, he says, “By a law of faith.” Further, and critically, rather than denying or negating the Law of Moses, Paul concludes this section by saying, “We establish the law.” Thus Paul is not denying the Law of Moses in favor of a law of works. He establishes the Law of Moses by establishing salvation by faith.

If salvation came by works, everybody would fail. The typical view of salvation by works is that God will forgive your sins if your good works outweigh your evil deeds. But the question is, how many people can really say that? Is it not true that every inkling of mans’ heart is wicked (Genesis 6:5)? The heart is wicked and deceitful above all things (Jeremiah 17:9). There is none righteous, no, not one (Romans 3:10). If that is the case, if all are wicked, if the very center, the control-tower of man is wicked and deceitful, if there is nobody who is righteous, how could any of these people work to save themselves? Would they not all fail?

Paul walked us through this in Romans 2:17-24. He posed the question to those who would justify themselves by their works: you who say that you ought not commit adultery, do you commit adultery (Romans 2:22)? You who say that you ought not steal, do you steal (v. 22b)? You who boast in the Law, do you dishonor God by breaking the Law (v. 23)? Paul holds men up to their own standard and they realize that they fall short by it.

Consider your own moral standard. You believe that it is wrong to lie. Have you lied? You believe that it is wrong to steal things. Have you stolen anything? You believe that it is wrong to commit adultery, and Jesus said that if you look with lust, you commit adultery in your heart (Matthew 5:28). Have you looked with lust? You fall short of your own moral standard. How much more must you fall short of God’s? You cannot earn your salvation. You have broken every law that God every gave (James 2:10). That is why your works are like filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6).

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Would A Loving God Send Anyone To Hell?

would a loving god send anyone to hell? 1As Christians present the gospel, they are often confronted by difficult philosophical quagmires that they cannot find their way to wriggle out of. Not the least of these is the issue of Hell. Would a loving God send anyone to Hell? So the skeptic will ask. For the Christian, when presenting the gospel message will emphasize two things: God’s love. He loves you so much that he sent his Son to be the sacrifice for your sins. Yet out of the other side of their mouth, they will emphasize that God is a righteous judge, and you are headed for Hell.loving god hell 2 But wait a moment, if God loves me so much, why would he send me to Hell? Would a loving God send anybody to Hell? Yet we find both of these truths in Scripture. So how do they reconcile?

Hell is penal – it is a punishment for sin. Consider the court of law. A righteous judge will send somebody to prison to suffer the consequences for the crimes that they have committed. If the judge were to just let a guilty criminal go, he would a corrupt and immoral judge, and he would deserve to be brought to justice himself. God is not a corrupt or immoral judge, and therefore, he punishes people for their sins. That is why works are like filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6) and by works, no flesh shall be justified (Romans 3:20). No matter how many good works we accrue, we will always have to answer for the crimes that we have already committed. If we tell a righteous judge that we have done good things too, they will reply that we deserve to be punished for the sins that we already committed. Good works are good, but they cannot save you from the punishment that you rightly deserve.

In response to this, many will say that the judges’ work is redemptive rather than penal. The judge will send somebody to prison so that they will become a better person, a contributor to society, and recover from their life of crime. However I am not compelled to think that all punishment is solely redemptive. Let’s suppose for a moment that a man raped a child, only once, and decided afterwards that he would never do it again. He turned away from his crime, and stepped onto the path of righteousness. Should that man be sent to prison? There is no redemptive work to be done. If he is sent to prison, it would be only for penal reasons. The honest reader will concede that he ought to be sent to prison.

We need to balance God’s attributes. A universalist is a person who thinks that God is so loving that he would never send anybody to Hell. Their emphasis is squarely on God’s love. But this emphasis on God’s love seems to be to the exclusion of his righteousness. Although, in the other corner are often those who emphasize God’s righteousness to the exclusion of his love. They will argue that God is so righteous that he must send everybody to Hell. So one group emphasizes God’s love, and the other emphasizes his righteousness. They two groups are standing in each others’ face arguing with each other.

I think that this is why Theology Proper, the study of the attributes of God, is so important. If somebody discards God’s love, they are guilty of idolatry. If somebody discards God’s righteousness, they are guilty of idolatry. We need both of these attributes. We cannot say that God is so loving that he will not send anybody to Hell, because then we discard his righteousness. God is righteous, so he must punish sin. We cannot say that one attribute is, in any sense, greater than another, or overpowers another. God is perfect in every conceivable way. He is perfectly righteous and perfectly loving. Yet his perfect righteousness entails that he will send men to Hell for their sins, and his perfect love entails that he will not send anyone to Hell. Where does that leave us?

The Cross of Christ. Jesus called out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46). I think the cross is a worthy of consideration for this sort of dialogue. Jesus was godforsaken on the cross but he was still loved by the Father. He bore the penalty that we deserve (1 John 2:2). Three days later, he rose from the dead. We are guilty before a righteous God, and Jesus Christ paid our fine. That is why it pleased YHWH to crush him (Isaiah 53:10), because his perfect love was on display on the cross. God is just, because he poured out his wrath on Christ. God is love, because all men can freely come to him and be born again. Yet even if a person denies substitionary atonement, Jesus still died on the cross, by the will of the Father. He was still forsaken, and yet still loved.

I think that the universalist perspective is unbalanced. While the universalist will say that a loving God will not send anybody to Hell, another person could stand in the other corner and say that righteous God would not allow anybody into Heaven. We cannot limit God to only love or only righteousness. If we lose one of these attributes, we commit idolatry (not that I am accusing the universalist of idolatry). But when we look to the cross, we see the nexus of love and righteousness. After all, if a loving God would allow his only Son to be slaughtered, what will happen when a guilty sinner, uncovered by the atonement of the cross, falls into the hands of that same God?

Would a loving God send anyone to Hell? This question is fatally misstated. I could equally ask if a righteous God would send anybody to Heaven, and again, it would be fatally misstated. The question is if a perfect, holy, righteous, loving, powerful, wise God would send anybody to Hell. The answer is yes. Would the same allow anybody into Heaven? The answer is yes. We see God’s wrath and God’s love at the cross. Look to the cross.

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Does The Author Of The Qur’an Understand The Trinity?

quran understand trinity? 1Does the author of the Qur’an understand the trinity? Christians are often told that nobody can; the trinity is confusing and counter-intuitive. Although, if the Qur’an were truly divine in origin, the author (Allah) would comprehend the mystery of the trinity and would be able to fully expound upon it. Therefore not only would the author be able to represent the teaching accurately, he would also be able to refute it, assuming unitarianism. What strikes me though is that as I read the Qur’an and the Sunna, I struggle mightily to find a single verse that suggests that the author understands what the trinity is. quran understand trinity 2

I might preface this by pointing out what the Bible teaches about the trinity. First, there is only one God. The trinity begins with strict monotheism. If you deny that there is only one God, you have denied the trinity. But within the one God, there are three distinct persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Thus, there is one God, who is eternally present in three persons.

Is that difficult to grasp? Surely we cannot indict everyone who does not understand it. Some people may accidentally misrepresent it, even if they have the best of intentions. Well think of it like this. God would understand, right? God would understand that the trinity teaches that there is one God who is eternally present in three persons. But in the Qur’an, the author does not seem to understand. He utterly misrepresents the doctrine of the trinity. If the author was God, he would not have erred in such a way. Therefore, the Qur’an cannot be authored by God.

Buy it. Read it. Memorize it.

Buy it. Read it. Memorize it.

The Qur’an Teaches That The Trinity Is Polytheistic That is not to say that it teaches that it is polytheistic in all but name. Rather it teaches that the trinity is outrightly the view that there are three gods. It never bothers to address the most basic confession of the Christian, that is one God, and three distinct persons within the Godhead. So in this way, the author of the Qur’an completely misrepresents the doctrine of the trinity.

In Qur’an 4:171, the author writes, “So believe in God and His messengers and do not speak of a ‘Trinity’—stop, that is better for you—God is only one God.” The author tells the Christians that they need to stop asserting ‘three.’ The justification for this is that there is only one God. But to tell a Christian that they ought not believe in the trinity because there is only one God is like telling me that you do not live in New York state, but that you live in Albany. The trinity necessitates that there is only one God, knowledge which the author of the Qur’an seems bereft of.

Again in Qur’an 5:72-75, the author writes, “Those people who say that God is the third of three are defying [the truth]: there is only One God.” Is God a third of three? We know that he is not arguing against the position that the Father is one of three persons. The affirmation, “there is only one God,” affirms that he is arguing against polytheism, a stance which no Christian takes. The author of the Qur’an is arguing against a position that Christians do not take. One might wonder, who is it that he is talking to?

Qur’an 23:91 associates God’s having a son with polytheism and raises a few philosophical difficulties. “No son did Allah beget, nor is there any god along with Him: (if there were many gods), behold, each god would have taken away what he had created, and some would have lorded it over others.” Does the author of the Qur’an understand the trinity? Well as Doctor James White said, we are still left looking for the first indication of that. The Qur’an’s central and repeated argument against the trinity is, ‘there is only one God,’ which raises confusion, because the trinity presupposes that there is only one God.

Who Are The Gods Within The Trinity? Further, the Qur’an fails to recognize the Holy Spirit as a member of the trinity. Rather, Allah puts on a big show in addressing Jesus, and says, “O Jesus, Son of Mary, did you say to the people, ‘Take me and my mother as deities besides Allah ?'” Now many Qur’anic commentators suggest that this is supposed to take place during the end-times. Jesus will come back, and will speak to God, who will reply with voices from the heavens before Christians. Allah will affirm that we ought not take Jesus and his mother as gods.

I will ignore the polytheistic implication (as Jesus is not one of the gods, but is God) and point out what the Qur’an conception of the trinity is. We do not see Father, Son, Holy Spirit. Instead, we see, Allah, Jesus, and Mary, a view which no Christian, anywhere, would affirm. It seems that just as the author of the Qur’an included apocryphal stories of Jesus indiscriminately (Qur’an 3:46,49) so he also saw all of the glorified images of Mary holding Jesus. He heard all of the things that the Christians had to say about Mary in that day and assumed that they took her for a goddess.

Does The Author Of The Qur’an Understand The Trinity? It seems to me that the author should have checked his research. When he heard Christians speaking, he should have asked what they meant, rather than just making assumptions. I can just imagine how embarrassing and silly he must have looked, as I have encountered people like that. When I say something, and they just completely misunderstand me, and go off on a long diatribe without asking any questions. Since they utterly refuse to ask any questions or seek to understand me at all, they just talk passed me, they ignore everything that I say and are only interested in refuting me. But since they did not understand me in the first place, they refute a position that I did not even hold. This is the height of intellectual dishonesty. This is Muhammad.

Now the good Muslims will reply that Muhammad did not write the Qur’an. Allah did, and Muhammad was a passive recipient. But why did Allah neglect to check his research? You say that the trinity is difficult to understand, but surely, Allah understands it. If Allah wanted to argue against the doctrine of the trinity, he could have. If Allah wanted to refute the view that there was one God who was eternally present in three persons, he could have. If Allah were the one who wrote it, he would have understood. But since the Qur’an displays a surface misunderstanding of the doctrine of the trinity, which even a layman could correct, we are left with the hard conclusion that Allah cannot be the author of the Qur’an.

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Who Is The Suffering Servant? Israel Or Jesus?

who is the suffering servant? 1Christians who want to defend their faith often will appeal to fulfilled prophecies in the Old Testament, knowledge of New Testament revelation that would not be there absent divine inspiration. Of course, the Jews often stand ready to take the Christians to task, because they do not believe in the inspiration of the New Testament. So many of their interpretations are specifically opposed to Christian theology. In particular, I have Isaiah 53 in mind, which, if somebody with any knowledge of Christianity read, they would assume that it was referring to Christ. who is the suffering servant? 2It might benefit you first to just read the passage to see what I mean. But Jews adamantly oppose this view. They suggest that the suffering servant of Isaiah 53 is Israel. So then, who is the suffering servant? Israel or Jesus?

Before Christ, Judaism Viewed This As A Messianic Text. Modern Jews will deny the Christological interpretation of the verse specifically as a response to Christian interpretation (comparable to their reading of the plurality of majesty in Genesis 1:27). They do not want to concede that it is referring to the Messiah because that is just what the Christians are saying. Since it so closely corresponds with Christian theology, they must reject it as referring to the Christ. But this close correspondence with Christian theology was thought to be truly Messianic for centuries prior to its’ fulfillment.

As the Babylonian Talmud reads (Sanhedrin 98), “The Messiah, what is his name? The Rabbis say, The Leper Scholar, as it is said, ‘surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him a leper, smitten of God and afflicted.” The Babylonian Talmud is authoritative Jewish tradition. Who is the suffering servant? Israel or Jesus? According to orthodox Jewish tradition prior to the coming of Christ, it was the Christ.

The servant in prior chapters is distinct from Israel. There are several discourses about the servant in the later chapters of Isaiah, the NASB titling the chapters ‘God Helps His Servant’ (chapter 50), ‘The Exalted Servant’ (chapter 52:13-15) and finally ‘The Suffering Servant,’ (chapter 53). One can hardly blame the rational man for thinking that these are all the same figure. Beginning in Isaiah 49:5, the servant is talking, and he says “The Lord, who formed me from the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob back to him, so that Israel might be gathered to him.” This servant seems to be one who is distinct from the nation of Israel.

He goes on to say, (v. 6) “I will also make you a light of the nations…” (v. 8) “I will keep you and give you a covenant of the people…” I do not want to be guilty of reading into the text, but it seems to me that Messiah of the Jews is a light to the nations. Billions of Gentiles have turned to the God of Israel and worshipped him. Has this not been fulfilled? Who is the suffering servant? Israel or Jesus? This text can only be referring to the Messiah, and was plainly fulfilled in the conversion of billions of Gentiles across the world.

The text of Isaiah 53 favors a Christological interpretation. Verse two reads, “For he grew up before Him like a tender shoot, like a root out of parched ground.” This will ring out to anybody familiar with Messianic prophecies. The Messiah was commonly referred to as a shoot, or a branch, or a root. Isaiah 11:1 reads, “Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse…” (v. 10) “In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him, and his resting place will be glorious.”

Jeremiah 23:5, “The days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land.” 33:15: “‘In those days and at that time I will make a righteous Branch sprout from David’s line; he will do what is just and right in the land.”

Zechariah 3:8 “I am going to bring my servant, the Branch.” 6:12: “‘Here is the man whose name is the Branch, and he will branch out from his place and build the temple of the LORD.”

This was a common idiom always referring to the Messiah. Who was the suffering servant? Israel or Jesus? I ask. One cannot objectively look at the text without seeing the obvious Christology.

The text of Isaiah 53 does not favor the personification-of-Israel interpretation. There are attributes of the suffering servant that Israel just does not have. The Suffering Servant was righteous (53: 11), and was never disobedient (50:5). But, almost as bad as the Gentile nations, Israel cyclically turned away from God in disobedience. Isaiah 1:4 accuses Israel, “Alas, sinful nation, People weighed down with iniquity…” It cannot be called righteous, just as the Gentiles cannot be called righteous (note: this is not an indictment against Israel alone). For this reason, the suffering servant must not be Israel.

Secondly, the Suffering Servant bore the penalty for “my people.” (v. 8). He died in their place, taking upon himself the penalty that they deserve. But who are “my people,”? Well, the answer would be… the people of Israel. So if this is referring to Israel, that would mean that Israel is suffering for Israel. The stroke was due to Israel, and Israel stepped in and took the blow in substitute. I am not sure if that is an astute exegesis.

The Suffering servant was buried (v. 9). Israel has been thrown into exile, but they were never buried, assigned a grave, thrown down into Sheol. They were not given a rich man’s grave. One might be inclined to compare this to the Babylonian Captivity, in which they were taken away from their home. But the verse goes on to say that he was given a rich man’s burial specifically because he had done no violence and there was no deceit in his mouth. I would repeat Isaiah’s indictment against Israel, “sinful nation… weighed down with iniquity… sons of those who act corruptly…” (1:4).

Who is the suffering servant? Israel or Jesus? How ironic it is that traditional Judaism believed and taught that the suffering servant was the Messiah until the very day that it was fulfilled. When their traditions were fulfilled, they instantly disconnected themselves from them. Now they argue that it is a personification of Israel. But that just does not fit in the text. The reason that traditional Judaism always taught that this was a reference to the Messiah is that it is the only interpretation that is faithful to the text.

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What Does The Bible Say About Same-Sex Marriage?

same sex marriage? 1During an era of what one preacher called a sexual revolution, many Christians find themselves knuckling under and surrendering to the pressure and accusation of mainstream society. Homosexual Christians are flamboyantly displaying their sexual preferences for all to see, not necessarily saying that the Bible is wrong, but saying that the Bible is silent on the issue of same-sex marriage. Some of us have heard of Matthew Vine’s best seller, God And The Gay Christian, in which he argued just that. So then, what does the Bible say about same-sex marriage?same sex marriage 2

Let me begin by telling you what the Bible does not say. While it can be a very heavy topic and emotionally loaded, it does not say that parents ought to tell their children that they are a disgrace and disconnect them from the family. If we treated all non-believers as such, there would be nobody left to teach the gospel to and the Great Commission would be totally undermined. The Bible tells us of church discipline that within the congregation, if there is unrepentant sin, then we need to respond to it (Matthew 18:15-19). If it is outside of the congregation, then if we were to disassociate with all of the immoral people of the world, we would have to leave the world (First Corinthians 5:10). I think it might be rightly charged against Christians that they have severely mishandled the issue of homosexuality, and that is why there are so many charges of bigotry and homophobia. We can teach the truth in love. So then, what is the truth? What does the Bible say about same-sex marriage?

Each man should have a wife, and each woman a husband. In his chapter about marriage in his letter to the Corinthians, Paul coupled only women with men and men with women. Some people may have the gift of being single, and they may be able to control their flesh and make their body a slave. But most people cannot bear this. So, for a man, he should take a wife, and for a woman, she should take a husband (First Corinthians 7:2). Throughout his chapter on marriage, any time he mentions a couple, he says that woman should take her husband, and a man should take his wife. So Paul excluded homosexual relationships from prevention against immorality.

Now the question that would arise is whether Paul knew about the issue of same-sex marriage. Well, the Greco-Roman society was filled with homo-erotica, including outbursts of lustful passion, and, as always happens when attraction is present, same-sex marriage. It was part of the Greco-Roman culture. In fact it was expected for the Romans to want to have sex with male partners [1]. As is always a consequence of sexual passion, this extended into romantic love. The Greek poet Quintus Lutatius Catulus even wrote a poem addressed to man [2]. Further, and critically, this was a culture built on the foundation of Platonic philosophy, which, in his Symposium, Plato painted same-sex marriage in the same way that he painted heterosexual marriage. Since Paul was educated in Greco-Roman culture (Acts 17:28), he was aware of the issues that they dealt with. He could have included homosexual marriage, but he did not.

Homosexuals will not inherit the kingdom of God. In First Corinthians 6:9-10, Paul lists sexual sins that commonly take place in Greco-Roman culture, and tell the people that they will not inherit the kingdom of God. (That is not to say that these are unforgivable, but rather that if you continuously commit them, then you prove that you are not part of the body of Christ). So Paul says, “Or do you not know that the unrighteous[a] will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.”

Now in response to this, the advocates of same-sex marriage will argue that the word translated into homosexual is a homophone. There are many different dimensions to it, and it probably just means fornication or sexual immorality. The problem is that Paul group with it several other sexual sins, and he called them by name. He named sexual immorality. He named fornication. For him to say homosexuality in that sense would be redundant. By process of elimination, he must have meant homosexual behavior; man on man relations.

What does this have to do with the state? Nothing. In the United States, we have a separation of church and state, so that the biblical data will not change the laws. In the secular mind, it is a small thing to read Scripture. It is even offensive to read Scripture. I write this to disabuse you of the notion that Scripture says nothing about it. This growing movement among Christians that favors same-sex marriage is flatly wrong.

It should also be pointed out that there are good social reasons that we ought to oppose same-sex marriage. I recommend reading Doctor Frank Turek’s book, Correct, Not Politically Correct: How Same Sex Marriage Hurts Everyone.

What does the Bible say about same-sex marriage? I did not go to the Old Testament because I think that Paul’s letter to the Corinthians is quite clear. No homosexual shall inherit the kingdom of God, and if you cannot control yourself, a man needs to take a wife, and a woman needs to take a husband. Paul was aware of the Greco-Roman practice of long-term, same-sex monogamous coupling. Yet he still said these things.

[1] – Richlin, Amy The Garden of Priapus: Sexuality and Aggression in Roman Humor (Oxford University Press, 1983, 1992), p. 225.
[2] Courtney, Edward, The Fragmentary Latin Poets (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1992), p. 75.

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What Is The Unforgivable Sin?

what is the unforgivable sin? 1What is the unforgivable sin? When Jesus encountered the Pharisees, they accused him of being filled with demons, to which he replied that anyone may blaspheme the Son of Man, and it is possible for them to be forgiven. However, if they blaspheme the Holy Spirit, that person may never be forgiven (Matthew 12:31-32). This is a topic that burdens Christians, and that they struggle with, because it raises certain philosophical questions. Why does there need to be an unforgivable sin? Why is it blasphemy to an unforgivable extent to say that the Holy Spirit is a demon? what is the unforgivable sin? 2

Further, Christians end up offering contradictory resolutions to this quagmire. They will say that if you are worried that you have committed it, this is proof that you have not committed it. But this raises an odd question. Suppose somebody had, during their lifetime, referred to the Holy Spirit as a demon. Would they never feel guilty? Would they never worry that they had committed it? Why? Judas wept bitterly after he betrayed Christ (Matthew 26:75). Unsaved people can regret their sin and they can even desire repentance. So again, the question presses upon us: how does one know that they have committed the unforgivable sin, and what is the unforgivable sin?

Let’s suppose for a moment that we adopted the classical idea of what the unforgivable sin was, which is, to call the Holy Spirit a demon. But then you meet someone who has done that, and today they are repenting of it. You will tell them that they did not commit the unforgivable sin. But what you have done, essentially, is to say that the unforgivable sin is not really unforgivable. The reason that there are so many problems with this concept is that the unforgivable sin is not to call the Holy Spirit a demon. Some people may, during their life time, call the Holy Spirit a demon, and later be forgiven. So, what is the unforgivable sin?

The Unforgivable Sin is to never accept Christ. This is what William Lane Craig calls (in this article) a meta-level sin, or a higher order sin. When people deny the Son, they are condemned already (John 3:18). They are condemned not only for their sins in this life (such as stealing things, hurting people, et cetera), but they are condemned for their refusal to recognize the Savior and be born again. They are condemned for their refusal to recognize God’s power in Christ. When the Pharisees did that, and when any unbeliever does it, it is “blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.” When a believer does it, it is “apostasy,” and “blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.”

This is unforgivable because it disconnects a person from the atonement of Christ. There is only one way for a person to be forgiven of their sins: by putting their trust in the Lord Jesus alone for their salvation (Ephesians 2:8-9, John 14:6, 3:16-18). When they do that, they are made righteous in the sight of God and adopted into his family. However, if a person does not do that, they remain under God’s wrath and are never forgiven. Thus, the unforgivable sin is to deny the power of God. It is to refuse to be born again during your life. It is to refuse to put all of your trust in God. What is the unforgivable sin? It is to refuse salvation until your very last breath. Such a person will never be forgiven.

How do I know if I have committed the unforgivable sin? Are you terrified that you have committed it? You still may be in the process of committing it. Thankfully, unlike what most evangelicals will tell you, the unforgivable sin is not a past event, it is something happening throughout your entire life. You know that you are presently committing the unforgivable sin if you are not saved. Have you been born again (John 3:3-5)? Have you put your trust in Christ for your salvation (Ephesians 2:8-9)? Has God worked in your life, striving to bring you on the righteous path, away from sin, and into sanctification, and into holiness (Hebrews 12:8-10)? Are you becoming more and more like Christ and less like yourself (Second Corinthians 5:17, Galatians 4:14)? If your answer to these questions are no, then you are in the process of committing the unforgivable sin. You are not saved.

So my urgency to you would be that you need to put your trust in Christ for your salvation. If you were jumping out of helicopter, you would put on a parachute and you would trust in that parachute to save you. In exactly the same way, put your trust in Christ for your salvation, you will be born again, made a new creature by the Holy Spirit and given the free gift of eternal life. Therefore you will halt your process of committing the unforgivable sin. Do that today. If you have done that, then you have not committed the unforgivable sin in its’ fullness.

What is the unforgivable sin? It is not to utter the words ‘The Holy Spirit is a demon,’ nor is it even to believe that. This is just how it manifested in the historical context. Rather, it is to deny the salvation of God. Take up the salvation of God, take up the free gift of eternal life, and you will not commit the unforgivable sin.

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It’s An Attack On The (Adopted) Son: Ken Ham Maligns Brethren

it an attack on the adopted sonI think it ought to be credited to Ken Ham and Answers In Genesis for their repeated claims that one need not believe in young earth creationism to be saved. That is to say that Ham believes and has taught on multiple occasions that one can believe in an old earth and still be saved. During a sermon, he said of an apologist for old earth creation, “He is a great man of God. He’s in Heaven.” So I would like to quickly disabuse you of the assumption that Ham and Answers in Genesis condemn all old earth creationists. its an attack on the adopted son 2I further think that they have a lot of great and scholarly material, and can raise serious challenges to both the biblical and scientific arguments. With that in mind, I also think that he has been quite discourteous in the past and continues to be today with those who disagree with him, even his brothers in Christ. That is why I say: It’s an attack on the (adopted) son: Ken Ham maligns brethren.

While I commend Ham for his staunch position on the salvation of old earth creationists, one can hardly be blamed for suspecting that he condemns them. With the cutting language that he uses, the poor research that he applies when dealing with fellow Christians, he seems to do very poorly in disagreements with other Christians. He seems to do very poorly in encountering intelligent Christians who do not agree with him.

It’s An Attack On The Son In a 2002 article entitled It’s An Attack On The Son, Ken Ham indicted William Lane Craig for his claim that he was going to go with the flow of contemporary cosmology. Critical of Craig, Ham writes, “It’s ideas from outside the Bible, not the plain reading of Scripture, which determine his view on the age of the earth.” But that is not what Craig said. What Craig was saying was that he believes that Genesis permits him to follow the flow of contemporary cosmology. As he said in his debate with the atheist Frank Zindler, “Genesis is open to all manners of different interpretations, and Christians are not necessarily committed to special creationism.” In another debate, he said that he takes a position of “progressive creationism.” But in his debates with atheists, he tends to leave the issue of interpreting Genesis aside, because that is an in-house debate to be had amongst Christians. So he does not want to be caught up debating interpretations, so he just points out that he believes that Genesis can be interpreted in alternative ways.

The problem with what Ken Ham is doing is that he just assumed that his interpretation was right, and then attacked Doctor Craig for taking a different one, and charged him with attacking the Son. Craig could equally indict Ham for attacking the Son for his stance of young earth creationism. In fact, anybody, with any interpretation, could accuse another person of attacking the Son, if they disagree. It seems to me that this is just below the belt. That is why: it’s an attack on the (adopted) son. Since Craig is a Christian, a brother in Christ, he is an adopted Son, and I think that what Ken Ham had to say was uncharacteristic of how Christians should treat each other. He misrepresented him, acting as though he was just ignoring the Scripture, when in fact his foundation for following contemporary cosmology was precisely that Scripture allowed it. I think that Ken Ham owes Doctor Craig, who seems to be one of the finest and most loving Christian gentleman out there, an apology.

Hugh Ross Twists The Bible. Like William Lane Craig, Doctor Hugh Ross is a progressive creationist who believes in the day-age reading of Genesis chapter one. He has proven a very challenging opponent to any young earth creationist, both in expositing Scripture and, as an astrophysicist, he can explain why astronomy is a significant challenge to those who want to maintain a young universe. Unlike Doctor Craig, he is a perpetual apologist for the old earth view, constantly emerging in the debate circle, and responding to what Ken Ham has to say. As people often do, and few are immune to, Ken Ham seems to become frustrated with Doctor Ross after the ongoing intellectual struggle.

In his 2014 article, Hugh Ross Twists The Bible To Fit Man’s Fallible Opinion, Ham did not really add anything new or substantial to the dialogue. It just seems to be a nasty little response to an interview that Ross has. It seems as though no matter which way Ross turns, Ken Ham is there to point the finger and to lodge accusations at him. Learning that the interviewer was impressed by Ross’s academic credentials, Ham wrote that Ross “loves the praise of men more than the praise of God.” I would just like to pose the question of how Ken Ham knows what Doctor Ross loves. It seems to me that any old earth creationist could be equally indicted by what Ken Ham has to say. So while out of one side of his mouth, he may say that they are saved, out of the other side of his mouth, he argues that they are scripture-twisters, compares them to Pharisees, damages the salvation message and discourages faith.

While I certainly respect the intellectual discourse, and promote his rebuttals of Ross’s work, I think that this article is just an act of frustration. It’s an attack on the (adopted) son, and Ken Ham owes Hugh Ross an apology.

What Do I Suggest? Some might have the impression that I am a progressive creationist as they read this, because I have defended Doctor Craig and Doctor Ross. But this article is not about the debate between young and old earth creation. It is about how we are going to treat our fellow brothers in Christ when we disagree. Are we able to have civil discourse, or must we misrepresent them without doing proper research, as Ham did with Doctor Craig? Must we follow them around and just look for reasons to attack and insult them, as Ham did with Doctor Ross?

There are many scholarly posts on Answers In Genesis, and on most days, I would affirm their intellectual honesty and passion for pursuing truth and defending God’s word. But other pages read more like an opinion blog. Other pages read more like they are just being hateful. It’s an attack on the (adopted) son. Ken Ham needs to step back and ask what it is that he hopes to accomplish through his ministry. Does he want to malign brethren? Does he want to send the message that if you disagree with him, he is going to write nasty retorts of what you have to say, that do not advance the discussion one iota?

I think this is something that anybody could point out. If Doctor Hugh Ross behaved in the same way, I would point it out and write a similar article. Ken Ham and I agree about most things, and he has a lot of great material. But he does not handle disagreements with brethren in a mature manner.

Agree? Disagree? Leave a comment.

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Are Oneness Pentecostals Saved?

Are Oneness Pentecostals Saved?I am not the judge. But I can ask what the Bible says. Evangelicals often take the stance that for a person to be saved, they must believe in the doctrine of the trinity. I can certainly sympathize with this, because the doctrine of the trinity is usually tied in so closely with the deity of Christ. If we hear somebody denying the doctrine of the trinity, we assume that they are also denying the deity of Christ. Of course, one needs to believe that Jesus is God to be saved (John 5:22-23, 8:24). But there are non-trinitarians Are Oneness Pentecostals Saved? 2who believe that Jesus is God and who believe that the Holy Spirit is a real person. They are known as modalists. So I suppose that when I ask the question, ‘Are Oneness Pentecostals Saved?’ I am asking if modalism is a condemnable heresy, because that is really the biggest dividing line.

What is modalism? Modalism is the view that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are the same person, in the same way that a man can be a father, a son, and an employee. This raises a few confusing questions about the distinctions that Jesus raises between himself and his Father, such as in Luke 23:46, wherein he says, “Father, into your hands, I commit my spirit.” I expounded upon this point in my article Is Jesus God The Son? So modalism is certainly false doctrine. But is it condemnable doctrine?

As with most things, it depends.

Do you honor the Son as you honor the Father? In John 5:22-23, Jesus said, “…all will honor the Son even as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.” So we must honor the Son in exactly the same way that we honor the Father. We must give him the honor of God. Many modalists do not do that. The General Superintendent of the United Pentecostal Church, David K Bernard argues that the Son is not God. The Son is the human nature of Jesus, while the Father is the spiritual nature of Jesus. That is a descending Christology. It does not honor the Son. But Jesus argued in the above verse that if you do not honor the Son, then you do not honor the Father.

However, the average laymen in the pews do honor the Son, because they are just not taught Oneness Pentecostal doctrine. The typical oneness view that is held is known as patripassianism. This is the view that in the incarnation, God the Father was removed from Heaven. There was no God in Heaven. God was solely on earth. Thus, God the Father died on the cross. Most Oneness Pentecostals hold this view, and this is the view that Tertullian struck to pieces into his Against Praxeas. (Of course, David K. Bernard criticized Tertullian for attacking patripassianism when it is the less sophisticated of the views. But if most modalists are representing patripassianism, how can we blame him for making that mistake? Further, Oneness Theology may not have been fully developed by that point, so perhaps patripassianism was the only available option.)

So if you want to condemn Oneness Pentecostals, you would have to ask what their view of the Son was. Do they have a descending Christology? Do they honor the Son? Is the Son God? If not, then they would have to fall into John 5:22-23.

What Is Their Authority: Tradition or Scripture? Many Christians, not just Oneness Pentecostals, hold their tradition in higher authority than the Bible. Their interpretation of Scripture becomes Scripture. They learn what the Bible says before they even read the Bible, and so they come to the Bible with all of these presuppositions. So when a Oneness Pentecostal reads Jesus saying, “Father, into your hands, I commit my Spirit,” (Luke 23:46), they have to struggle to find some way to twist and wrinkle that piece of the puzzle into their paradigm, even if it does not fit.

So the question is, how confusing of a man have they made Jesus into? When Jesus is praying to his Father, do they have a man praying to his own spirit? When Jesus says that he shared glory with the Father before the world began (John 17:5), are they saying that Jesus was a forethought in the mind of God before the world began? How about when Jesus says that he brings forth two witnesses, namely himself, and the Father (John 8:18). Is that sort of like saying, “I have three witnesses: me, myself, and I.”? What manner of man have they made Jesus into? Does Jesus mean what he says? Is Jesus bad at communicating? I would have to wonder these things as I am engaging with a Oneness Pentecostal. If they really do think these things, that would raise a few chilling questions about whether God is really guiding them.

Are They Resolutely Anti-Trinitarian? Now when I say that, it should be kept in mind that most Oneness Pentecostals do not even know what the trinity is. Most Oneness Pentecostals have been lied to by their preacher (is that a harsh thing to say? Well, teachers are judged harshly [James 3:1]. They should check their research before approaching the pulpit.) and told that the trinity is the view that there are three gods. Thus, most Oneness Pentecostals do not even know what the trinity is. So most Oneness Pentecostals are not resolutely anti-trinitarian. They might think they are, but they are not.

So there is a conundrum in the Bible. It teaches three truths: there is one God. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are each God. Further, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are distinct from one another. The question is whether this is a distinction of persons (as the Bible and consequently the trinitarians teach) or of modes of existence, like a father, a son, and an employee (as Oneness Pentecostal tradition holds).

So when we teach them the biblical truth that this is a distinction of persons, how do they react? Are they resolutely opposed to it? If that is so, it would be a valid question to ask if they were truly saved.

Are Oneness Pentecostals Saved? My answer to that question would be: which one? There are many different Oneness Pentecostals with different beliefs. A Oneness Pentecostal can be saved. But I do not think they would stay in that tradition for a long time, unless they are taught for their entire life that the only alternative is tri-theism (the view that there are three gods).

It is a tricky subject. And of course, I am not the judge. I am only asking what the Bible says. The Bible teaches that if you do not believe that the Son is God, then you do not honor the Father (John 5:22-23). Further, if somebody holds their tradition in higher authority than they do the Scripture, if they twist the words of Christ, and if they are resolutely non-trinitarian, then they are resolutely against the biblical stance, and we have good grounds to question their salvation. I am not the judge. The Bible is the judge, and I am just asking what it says about this difficult subject.

That’s three times in this article that I have said, ‘I am not the judge.’ So I’ve saved you the trouble. But you will probably remind me in the comment section anyway! :)

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Is Baptism Necessary For Salvation?

is baptism necessary for salvation? 1When I pose the question ‘is baptism necessary for salvation?’ it should be noted that I am speaking of water baptism, not the baptism of the Holy Spirit. It should also be noted that while my answer to this question is, ‘No, water baptism is not necessary for salvation,’ I would hastily add that Christians need to be baptized. It should come right after salvation. It would be unthinkable for a member of early Christian church to refuse to submit to baptism, or to delay it as we do today. As the eunuch said in Acts 8:36, “Look! Water! What prevents me from being baptized?” So water baptism is necessary. But the question is, is baptism necessary for salvation? Is baptism a sacrament? That is a different question. Thus the commands to be baptized are rendered irrelevant. Yes, Scripture commands baptism (Matthew 28:19). But is baptism necessary for salvation? The answer that Scripture provides is a resounding no.

is baptism necessary for salvation? 2Now I should also point out that this essay will ignore some of the positive arguments and I will make a case of my own. It will ignore Acts 2:38. However, you may read my exposition of Acts 2:38 by clicking here. (But delay that until after you read this article!)

I take an Acts 10:47 view of water baptism. Acts 10:47 reads, “Surely no one can refuse the water for these to be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we did, can he?” These people were filled with the Holy Spirit, but had not yet undergone the process of water baptism. This is significant because of what it means to be filled with the Holy Spirit. For a person to be filled with the Holy Spirit is to be regenerated, born again, saved.

Paul puts this argument like this. “But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.” (Romans 8:11). He goes on to say that the Holy Spirit is the “spirit of adoption,” through whom we can call God our Father (v. 15). He concludes his argument by saying that the Spirit testifies that we are children of God (v. 16). Thus, by being filled with the Holy Spirit, a person has absolute assurance, the highest of authority, that they are saved. If salvation is anything other than being adopted into the family of God and calling God your Father, then I would like to know what your conception of salvation is. Thus, those in Acts 10:47 were saved before being baptized.

Now we have to be careful in how we frame this argument. People who believe in baptismal regeneration often reply that this is just an argument from silence. For example, Jesus said in Mark 1:15, “Repent, and believe in the gospel.” That he did not mention the Holy Spirit does not lead one to believe that we do not need the Holy Spirit. Similarly, just because Acts 10:47 does not mention baptism, does not mean that we do not need baptism. This is the objection. The problem is that Acts 10:47 does mention baptism. People are saved, and it says that afterwards, they are water baptized.

God’s Covenant With Men. Guilty sinners have come into a relationship with God since the very beginning, and God cast their sins out, as far as the east is from the west (Psalms 102:5). He was able to do that because even before the death of Christ, the sins’ of men were still atoned for by his death in a retroactive fashion. But actions such as circumcision and burnt offerings, grain offerings, peace offerings, sin offerings, guilt offerings and so forth were a response to grace. They were a consequence of salvation, not a cause of salvation. This is Paul’s argument in Romans 4, when he says very plainly, “Under what circumstances was [righteousness] credited? Was it after he was circumcised, or before? It was not after, but before! And he received circumcision as a sign, a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised.”

Paul argues that the nature of God’s covenants with men is such that their obedience and keeping the covenants are a sign of righteousness, a sign of salvation, but they are not the cause of salvation. Since water baptism is part of God’s covenant, I argue that it follows the same precedent as God’s previous covenant.

In fact, the prophet Ezekiel even wrote about burnt offerings in the future Messianic kingdom in the Temple of Jerusalem (Ezekiel 43:18). For Christians, though, the obvious question arises: if Jesus gave the ultimate sacrifice, why would we need burnt offerings? Interpreters have determined that these future burnt offerings are a memorial to Christ, but obviously have no bearing on our salvation because we are already covered under the blood of Christ. As such, these burnt offerings will be, and were, part of God’s covenant with men, but have no bearing on salvation. Such is the nature of God’s covenants.

How Is One Baptized Into The Body of Christ? When we read passages such as “Baptism saves,” (First Peter 3:21), or that we were buried in baptism (Colossians 2:12, Romans 6:3-5), to which baptism is he referring? Paul expounds upon this for us in First Corinthians 12:13, where he says, “We were all baptized by one spirit, into one body… we were all made to drink of one Spirit.” Thus the baptism that initiates a person in the body of Christ is the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

Since water baptism and the baptism of the Holy Spirit always come at different times in the New Testament, we are left with the conclusion that the baptism in water does not bring a person into the body of Christ. It symbolizes that they were brought into the body of Christ. That is why they are baptized in water. Water is a symbol of the regeneration of the Holy Spirit (John 4:14). The water is an outward symbol of the inward regeneration. That is why when Peter says that baptism saves, he expounds upon this by saying that it is not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but the appeal to God for a good conscience. They are made new. They are baptized by the Holy Spirit, and water symbolizes that. That is the Pauline view of joining the body of Christ.

Is Baptism Necessary For Salvation? It seems to me that if there is even one instance in which somebody is saved without first being baptized, the answer must be no. The New Testament paints a picture of our model of worship and sacraments. If a group of people are saved before baptism, it follows logically and necessarily that water baptism is not necessary for salvation. But that is what we have in Acts 10:47. That is the nature of God’s covenants with men, and further evidenced by how one enters into the body of Christ. That is why I take an Acts 10:47 view of water baptism.

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Was Muhammad A Sexual Deviant?

was muhammad a sexual deviant? 1Islamic tradition holds that Muhammad was the ideal man; pious and holy, set apart from all of the heathens of the world. If a person wants to be a proper Muslim in absolute submission to God, they need to imitate Muhammad (Qur’an 33:21). That is why so many Islamic fundamentalists are named Muhammad. That is why the Sunna (the compilation of the sayings and deeds of the historical Muhammad) are so important. Muslims need to know who Muhammad was so that they may also be like him. However, this has led to depravity on a cataclysmic scale. was muhammad a sexual deviant? 2Men have appealed to the deeds of Muhammad to justify sexual immorality. But how is that, if Muhammad was the ideal man? I would like to suggest an alternative view, namely, Muhammad was not the ideal man. So, who was he? Was Muhammad a sexual deviant?

Muhammad married and had sex with a prepubescent girl, little Aisha. I hastily admit that I look at this marriage through western eyes, my perception honed by context. I point this out because that is the common Islamic response. They do not deny this. They simply reply that in those days, it was quite typical for younger girls to marry older men. However, the defense that they raise is that little Aisha had already gone through puberty by the time Muhammad had consummated his marriage with her.

The Islamic sources tell a different story. Muhammad proposed marriage to little Aisha when she was six years old, offering the romantic tale that God himself had decreed their marriage (Bukhari 9:87:140). However, at another time, Muhammad admitted that he married little Aisha because he was sexually aroused by the six year old (Bukhari 7:62:17). Further, while she was too undeveloped to have intercourse with the holy prophet, she was not so undeveloped that he could not fondle her and place his hand between her legs, according to the grand mufti Abu Abdullah Muhammad al-Shemary (1809). He would also take baths with the six year old (Bukhari 1:6:298).

All of the hadiths concur that Muhammad consummated his marriage with little Aisha when she was nine years old. When she moved into Muhammad’s home (much to her fathers’ protest [Bukhari 7:18]), she still had her dolls with her. Little Aisha played with dolls, and Muhammad had sex with her (Muslim 8:3311). Was Muhammad a sexual deviant?

Muhammad stole wives from other men, sometimes after murdering the husband. This can be so difficult to fathom for westerners, because even if somebody is murdered in the west, the murderer then goes into hiding. They do not have the power nor the authority to steal that persons’ wife. But suppose they did? The man who murdered your husband is having sex with you, and do you think that is consensual sex? I seriously doubt it. That is rape.

But that is precisely what Muhammad did. A man named Kinana ibn al-Rabi knew where some treasure was hidden, and Muhammad tortured him so that he would surrender that information. Afterwards he struck his neck until he inflicted slaughter (Ibn Ishaq, Sirat Rassul Allah page 515). Then he took Kinana’s seventeen year old wife, Safiyyaa as a slave girl for a short period of time, until he married her (Bukhari 1:8:367). Thus, he raped Safiyyaa. Was Muhammad a sexual deviant?

Muhammad permitted his followers to rape widows and married women. Reread that sentence until the implications set in. Consider the sexual slavery that we see throughout the radical (or, orthodox) Muslims throughout the middle eastern world. ISIS takes Christian and Jewish women as sex slaves. This, of course, is abhorrent to many of our Muslim friends throughout the world. They call for the condemnation of these men in accordance with the religion of peace.

The problem is that the very Qur’an that they appeal to condones these practices. After battles, the Muslims would have a number of female captives. The Muslims men were afraid to take these women as spoils, because they might get them pregnant. Muhammad replied, “It is better for you not to [ejaculate outside of the vagina], for if any soul till the Day of Resurrection is predestined to exist, it will exist.” (Bukhari 5:59:459).

Further, when the Muslim men captured married women, and asked Muhammad if it was permissible to have sex with them, he replied that it was forbidden to have sex with a married woman, except those who your right hand possesses. (Qur’an 4:24). ‘Those who your right hand possesses’ is an idiom for those who are your captives. Thus Muhammad permitted this followers to have sex with married captives of war. Do you think this was consensual? Thus Muhammad permitted his followers to rape women. Was Muhammad a sexual deviant?

Muhammad allowed prostitution. Imagine a man who was so overcome with lust that he just could not control who he had sex with. Sometimes, this man would have sex with nine or ten women every day. This man is Muhammad. With so little self-control, he had sex with every women that he could find. He instituted a practice known as Mutta, which was a temporary marriage, that is, legal prostitution. Since it was illegal to have sex with somebody with whom you are not married, you need only marry them for one night. The Islamic sources teach that Muhammad’s followers practiced this during his lifetime, and it was later annulled by Umar (Muslim 3248). If Muhammad’s followers are practicing Mutta, one could hardly suspect that their leader was not also indulging himself. Was Muhammad a sexual deviant?

Muhammad took more wives than his own revelation allowed. Muhammad told his people that they were permitted to have as many as four wives (Qur’an 4:3). I am not in the business of criticizing him for polygamy, because surely, there are worse sins. But instead, I think it is worthy to point out that while Muhammad permitted Muslims to have four wives, he took more for himself. He had at least nine wives (Bukhari 7:62:142).

The reason for this is simply that he had sexual desires and he wanted to fulfill them. Not only that, but these raging sexual hormones were looked with favor by the divine. God wanted to give Muhammad all of the lusts of his heart (Bukhari 6:60:311). Now of course, that is a theological question that it might be difficult to refute. But I am just saying that it seems a little suspicious when a person institutes a law saying that one can only have four wives and then takes nine. It becomes even more suspicious when that person claims that the reason for this is none other than that God wants to give them more sexual partners. Was Muhammad a sexual deviant?

Muhammad’s conception of Paradise entails having sex with lots of young virgins. Imagine what Heaven will be like. Many Christians imagine seeing their lost loved ones, running toward them on a sandy shore. We hear of imagery of no more tears or pain. All of the pain of this world will be forgotten. I think that all of these things and so much more that we cannot even imagine will be there. But most importantly, Jesus Christ will be there. That is Heaven. To be with God.

Not for Muhammad. For Muhammad, Heaven is all about having sex with lots of girls. That common ’72 virgins’ in the Islamic utopia is straight out of the Qur’an and the Sunna. The righteous shall be wed to dark-eyed virgins (Qur’an 44:51-54). They will arrange in ranks, waiting in line to marry wide-eyed, fair, female virgins (Qur’an 52:20). “Which of your Lord’s blessings will you deny? Therein are bashful virgins who neither man nor jinnee have touched before.” (Qur’an 55:54-56). They will be chaste and fair, dark-eyed virgins, (Qur’an 55:70-74). They will have swelling breasts (Qur’an 78:31-34). This is the Paradise of Muhammad. Women. Many women to have sex with. Was Muhammad a sexual deviant?

Was Muhammad a sexual deviant? According to their own Islamic sources, Muhammad must have been a sexual deviant. If moderate Muslims want to follow Muhammad, they need to start marrying and having sex with girls who play with dolls. They need to start murdering men and stealing their wives. They need to start raping widows and married women when they capture them in war. They need to temporarily marry women just to have sex with them. They need to be so obsessed with sex, that the greatest place that they can conceive of, is full of it. If a Muslim wants to follow Muhammad, they need to be sexually depraved.

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