Do you choose your words carefully when you share your faith? What I mean is, are you careful when you talk to others about God’s Word that what you attribute to God is actually what is written in scripture?
Proverbs tells us not to add to His word or face rebuke and be found to be a liar. Revelation says, “I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book.” Because of this, I believe we should be careful when talking to others about God especially when you preface a sentence by saying, “The Bible says.”
Most people paraphrase scripture when talking about the Bible. For example, rather than say, “In the Beginning God created the heaven’s and the earth…” they might say something like, “God made heaven, then He made earth.” There’s nothing intrinsically wrong with that, as long as you make it clear that you are describing scripture in your own words. And I don’t think this is a small point. It’s very easy to accidentally add to the meaning of any written document any time you stray from the words written on the page. Not only that, you can quote a scripture verbatim out of context making it appear to say something very different than God’s word. Antitheists are quite skilled at intentionally doing this.
Are you careful as you should be when using the phrase, “God said…”?
It’s not uncommon for someone opposed to our faith to ask: How could you believe in God given some of the things science has proven? It’s a misleading and unfair question for several reasons. It’s usually directed at someone who is not an astrophysicist or even someone who holds some advanced degree. It’s easy to imply that advanced science has proven there is no God when talking to someone who is not a scientist. It’s an unfair advantage that some exploit. One can claim that science has proven anything when talking to someone without such an education. But doing so speaks more to the intentions of the one making the claim. Science has not proven there is no God. It’s either a claim intended to deceive, one made from ignorance, or it’s an expression atheist faith.
It’s important to note that the Bible wasn’t written to teach us about the processes by which God created the universe. Its books were written to explain in words we can understand, the nature of God and our need for salvation. The processes by which God created the universe may or may not be something that men and women can understand. When one considers how little of the universe is even visible to us, we would have to make a lot of assumptions to claim we understand it.
Researchers have learned things about the physical world that that appear to be gibberish to common understanding. I’m talking about things such as subatomic particles that exist in two places at the same time and the universe being made up of mostly dark matter that we can’t see or detect other than its gravitational pull. Something existing in two places at the same time? That doesn’t make sense. It sounds like gibberish to say most of the universe is invisible, but they’ve demonstrated that as well. Reality is not what we think, and it’s certainly not what our senses tell us.
Researchers and our finest scientific minds have never come up with something that “proves” there is no God. If anything, they’ve demonstrated we’re going in the wrong direction if our goal is to confirm that our understanding of reality in this universe reveals that the idea of God is hard to believable. But there are some people who work very hard to try to convince us that science has eliminated God. Let me restate this. As top scientists find things that go against our common sense, they find that making sense of God’s creation isn’t as simple as we’d like it to be. Fallacious arguments such as the “celestial teapot” lose their bite when used to say the idea of God is false because it seems absurd. In fact, Bertrand Russell who devised the argument was intentionally being absurd to demonstrate that the burden of proof lies with the person making a claim, not to “prove” there is no God. How something seems or feels does not tell us anything about its reality. As science advances, the arguments of those calling the concept of God absurd recedes, and the idea that science has eliminated God is revealed as little more than anti-theist faith.
I believe God created the universe, and us, and loves us enough to offer His son’s blood to cover our shortcomings.
When one considers today’s headlines about coronavirus and its potential to kill, it’s easy for anyone to ask, “Why is there so much suffering?” It’s a question that has been asked since the Old Testament. But on whom does responsibility for suffering rest? What does the Bible say about our corrupt world? Do we have any choice in the matter when it comes to suffering?
Consider Job and how he responded after losing all his wealth and children. He took his concern to God and asked for understanding. And with that understanding came peace. Job’s suffering was not because of something he did. His suffering was caused by the sins of Satan. Doesn’t this teach us that suffering is the result of sin, and those who suffer are not necessarily the sinner who causes the suffering?
God created a perfect world, but man’s sin opened that world to corruption. Viruses, tornadoes, floods cause suffering. To be clear, they are the result of the corruption of what was once a perfect world. We suffer from sin that corrupted the world in the past, and present-day sin that continues to corrupt God’s creation. While the Bible doesn’t tell us in scientific language how the world physically changed, it does tell us the corruption of God’s creation sprouts from man. It also tells us that we can choose to remain blinded to the cause of corruption and wallow in the suffering, or we can ask that God would open our eyes to His will for us. We may also ask for the strength we need while surrounded by corruption.
God gives everyone the choice. Which one do you choose?
There are a lot of people today who claim they want to tell you what God’s word means. They quote scripture verbatim, then go on to explain its meaning. But does including a scripture mean they are presenting God’s message? Are you disagreeing with God if you question someone who claims a specific passage is the source of their belief? I’m not nick-picking when I say there is a very big difference between telling someone God’s Word and telling someone what you say God’s word means.
Consider that Galatians tells us that even if an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one the apostles preached, let them be under God’s curse! The irony here is that there are people who use this scriptural warning about those who add to God’s Word, to get others to follow the things they’ve added. What I mean is, if someone reads a scripture and says this is God’s Word, they have spoken well. But if they follow the scripture they just quoted with phrases like, “And what that means is…” they are no longer speaking God’s Word but giving you their interpretation of God’s Word. Shouldn’t we be wary of anyone who claims that if you disagree with them, you’re disagreeing with God if they have said anything in addition to what’s written in the Bible?
Disagreeing with what someone says about the scripture is not the same as disagreeing with scripture. Too many times people, even preachers, claim that if you have a problem with what they are saying you’re disagreement is with God when they’ve added to what God actually said. If someone claims that they alone, or their congregation alone, is the only one following God’s Word, would you know how to tell the difference?
Religion is man’s attempt to understand God. Science is man’s attempt to understand His creation. The two disciplines are not mutually exclusive.
Anti-theists often argue that Christianity is corrupt because it is a religion, and some religions teach violence. I’m talking about those who say religion causes evil. This is clearly a composition fallacy; that is, inferring that something is true of the whole from the fact that it is true of some part of the whole. It is the same as lumping science into a category with all other attempts to understand the physical world. Scientists should not be strapped with all the baggage of non-scientists who have made claims about the universe. And yes, there have been terrible things done by some who seek to understand the physical world. Consider those who say they know some cure for cancer and encouraged people with symptoms to avoid the doctor. Those people may have developed their “cure” through some non-scientific effort to understand the physical world, but they are not scientists and it’s wrong to lump scientists into a group with them simply because both try to understand the universe. That is the same kind of composition fallacy committed by the anti-theists who lump Christians into the same group with all others who seek to know God.
By the way, it would be wrong to call everyone involved in science a malefactor because individual scientists have used their understanding for bad things. It would also be wrong to judge all scientists because individual scientists have been mistaken about one or more of the basics of their field resulting in harm. A misguided scientist and minister who misunderstands the basics of what Jesus taught are individuals. There is no logic in judging all Christians or all scientists by the actions of either one of these people. People are individuals.
Have unfair judgments lobbed at Christianity prevented you from seeking God?
Christian apologetics, a term that comes from the word apologia, meaning “defense,” is giving answer to those who question our faith. It’s something I believe is part of what 1st Peter is talking about when it says we should be ready to give an answer to everyone who asks for a reason for our faith, although I think the scripture is referring to far more than logic, epistemology and debate like we see on social media.
While I think apologetics is interesting and important for Christians, I also see a danger if one focuses too much on this endeavor. This may seem like an odd statement from someone on a station that has so many features that focus on apologetics. But I mention it here because of something very important: Faith that leads to salvation is a gift from God. No one is saved because they concluded something through some formula.
Ephesians tells us saving faith is a gift from God, not of works, so that no one can boast of something they did. Too be clear: I believe this means when we seek God, and ask him for salvation, we receive a faith that leads to salvation. One does NOT receive this faith by some lab experiment. Philippians tells us salvation leads to the peace of God, which “surpasses all understanding;” it’s certainly not from epistemology.
When you witness to non-believers, or discuss our faith with anti-theists, do you do so with meekness, or ego of your own intellect?
Prosecutors in Greenfield, Massachusetts are preparing their case for the trial of a man accused of setting two fires inside a Catholic Church building last year.
Trevor J. Defrancesco, 21, was arraigned in Franklin County Superior Court Thursday for an Oct. 19, 2019 fire at Our Lady Immaculate Church in Athol, Mass., according to a report in the Greenfield Recorder. Prosecutors have not said what they believe to be his motive.