What happens after death and before the second coming

FLOYD ROGERS, TEXAS GOSPEL CANADA VOLUNTEER

What happens to our loved ones after death? Are they “sleeping” until the second coming? For starters I think sleep is an obvious metaphor. The body is no longer functioning. But I would also suggest these questions have an assumption woven into them. They assume we are limited to time and space after we die.

Here are a few things to consider. Scientists say we perceive time, but we only have a vague understanding of it.  They say time and space are relative. It’s hard to imagine two different places where time is not the same, but it’s fact.  It’s also something for which if we couldn’t compensate our GPS system wouldn’t work.

2 Timothy 1:9 says, “… This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time,” There are other scriptures that talk about a beginning to time. Given this alone we see that time is not eternal, it was created by God along with the universe. Luke tells us the rich man, after his death, asked God to send Lazarus to warn his family. That was AFTER his death, yet the second coming has not yet happened.  I think this is at least circumstantial evidence that we will not be limited to time after we die.

The science behind of all this is too much for me to understand, and I admit some of this is only an extrapolation from scripture, not scripture itself. So why is any of this important? Because it shows the limitations of our understanding, and how God and His creation are not limited to our understanding. Though we only have an idea of what heaven will be like, and only a glimpse of life after death, the bigger question here is, are you ready?

Do Christians lose their individuality?

FLOYD ROGERS, TEXAS GOSPEL CANADA VOLUNTEER

It’s not uncommon for those opposed to our faith to present stories of individual Christians doing bad things as evidence that there is something malicious about a belief in God. It’s interesting that while they cite wars and other wrongdoings that history tells us were carried out by individuals who claim to be Christians, it’s also not uncommon for anti-theists to reject the idea that atheism must be equally bad given that some atheist leaders have started wars and done malicious things. They excuse such actions by saying atheists are individuals who make their own decisions. Well, is religion the only reason a Christian could have for choosing to do evil? Is it true that only atheists are capable of individual decisions?

Nowhere in the Bible does it say that Christians lose their ability to disobey God and do wrong. In fact, there are plenty of scriptures about repenting when we do something that goes against God’s will. It’s also true that church office in ancient times was a requirement for political office creating a temptation for evil people to falsely claim to have faith. The political power also presents a temptation for those with true faith to take their eyes off God.

Given that atheist and believers have done evil, and that there is no evidence that anything, but an individual’s bad choice is to blame when he or she does bad things, why do so many resort to this argument to “prove” some malice among believers?

What are your thoughts?

Do you unintentionally share your faith like a scribe or Pharisee?

I’ve talked to people who have very complex ideas about God.  Some of those same people even claim that others who do not understand all of the details of their complex ideas are not really Christians, or at least heretics. Some of their conclusions may be sound deductions, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that their conclusions are correct.  Even faith is a gift, not something that springs from our own ability so that anyone can boast.

Consider, some inferences people make from the Bible are so complex that the average person would have difficulty understanding them, let alone someone with less-than-average intelligence or a mental disability.  That’s not an insult to anyone; people have different abilities. If salvation were dependent on one’s intelligence or ability to decipher complex issues, would it be fair?  If that were true, wouldn’t that make salvation more of a prize than a gift?

I don’t know about you, but I don’t think it’s fair to set a standard for being a “real Christian” that includes agreeing with a complex inference made from the Bible, especially one that excludes anyone with less than exceptional intelligence.

At some point demanding others to agree with a rigid inference made from scripture sounds a lot like that described in 2 Timothy where we are reminded to avoid quarreling over words, saying it only leads listeners to ruin. Around the 16th verse it says to avoid irreverent, empty chatter, which leads to more ungodliness 

Do the things that you post online serve only to undermine the faith of others or make you appear to be just as smart as the scribes and Pharisees?

What are your thoughts?

 

Sharing the scripture: Do you add to God’s word?

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…”?

What are your thoughts?

A misleading and unfair question

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.

What do you believe?