The Lord's Prayer: "Your Kingdom Come"

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, March 29, 2021 0 comments


by Katie Erickson

As we continue digging into the Lord’s prayer in Matthew 6:9-13, we now move into verse 10 with today’s phrase: “Your kingdom come.” But whose kingdom are we talking about, and where do we want it to come?

To discover whose kingdom it is we’re talking about, we need to look at the context of the rest of the prayer up to this point. Jesus is telling His disciples how they should pray, and before this phrase, He begins by saying, “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.” The “your” in “hallowed be your name” refers to our Father in heaven (God), and the “your” in “your kingdom come” does too. So, the kingdom that we want to come is the kingdom of God.

But what is the kingdom of God? I’m glad you asked - and in fact, I’ve already written about that here. To summarize that post, the kingdom of God is not a specific place or realm with a person who reigns over it as we would think of a kingdom, but it’s a lifestyle. The kingdom of God is not someplace we go but how we can live our lives. As Jason DeZurik says, “The Kingdom of God is not a place. It is a spiritual awakening. It is a mindset. It is a lifestyle.”

But if the kingdom of God is something that we’re already living, why would we pray for it to come? It’s a concept that’s both “already” and “not yet.” We are able to live out God’s kingdom here on earth, but at the same time, we not fully able to do so while we’re still living in this sinful world. We will not be perfect at living out this mindset here on earth. It’s already here that we can live out God’s kingdom, but we’re living it out imperfectly, so it is not yet fully here.

The kingdom of God can also refer to God ruling over the world in absolute sovereignty. While God is fully sovereign now, we will not yet see the full extent of His kingship until He comes again at the end of time. Praying for God’s kingdom to come is also asking for God to come again to fulfill everything about His kingdom - we’re praying for the “not yet” to become the “now.” It’s similar to when Paul says, “Come, Lord!” in 1 Corinthians 16:22.

What will it look like when God’s kingdom comes? One idea is portrayed in Revelation 11:15-19 in the Seventh Trumpet, though it should be noted that whether this will happen literally or not is up to God (see more on eschatology here). As verse 15 says, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah, and he will reign for ever and ever.” Whenever God decides that the time has come for this world to end, then His kingdom will fully come into our lives on this earth. Until then, we pray for His kingdom to come.

The Kingdom of God was not a new concept when Jesus spoke this Lord’s prayer. In Mark 1:15, Jesus began proclaiming His coming kingdom: “‘The time has come,’ he said. ‘The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!’”

A bit later in His ministry, Jesus spoke these words in Mark 9:1: “Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see that the kingdom of God has come with power.” These words came right after Jesus taught about the difficult life of discipleship and following Him in Mark 8:34-38.

Being a disciple of Jesus and following Him with our lives is how we live out the kingdom of God here on earth. His Kingdom is not fully here, but we can still participate in it by living our lives for Jesus Christ and proclaiming the good news of salvation through Him.

Mark 15:43 says, “Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent member of the Council, who was himself waiting for the kingdom of God, went boldly to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body.” Joseph was a member of the Jewish council, so he would have been waiting for the Messiah to come - that was the form of God’s Kingdom that he was waiting for. It was a bold move for him to ask for Jesus’ body, but perhaps we can see from this verse that Joseph recognized that Jesus would be the fulfillment of all the Old Testament prophecies that told of the coming Messiah.

The Jewish perspective has been to wait and pray for the coming Messiah; the Messiah would usher in the coming of God’s kingdom. Jews would recite an ancient prayer called “Qaddish” (which means sanctification, or making something holy) in Aramaic at the end of each service at the synagogue. The oldest form of this prayer states, “Exalted and hallowed be his great name in the world which he created according to his will. May he let his kingdom rule in your lifetime and in your days and in the lifetime of the whole house of Israel, speedily and soon. And to this, say: amen” (quoted from the Expositor’s Bible Commentary entry on Matthew 6:10).

Do you see any similarities between that and the opening phrases of the Lord’s Prayer? The Jews looked forward to God’s kingdom coming in the form of the Messiah, whereas we as Christians know that the Messiah has already come in the person of Jesus Christ! Instead of looking forward to the savior who is yet to come, we look forward to that savior coming again to fully establish His kingdom here on earth.

What are you doing in your life to show that you’re living out God’s kingdom here on earth? And what are you doing to look forward to when Jesus will come again to fully establish His eternal kingdom?

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

READ MORE

Breaking Free from Idolatry

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, March 26, 2021 0 comments


by Charlie Wolcott

For the past few months, I’ve been addressing idolatry and expressing just how wicked it really is. Let’s be real and face the facts: we’ve all done it. We’ve all committed idolatry. We have all replaced God with something or someone else and given it an image. We’ve all taken God’s name lightly and disregarded it, nor remembered Him on our “Sabbath” day. We’ve all dishonored our parents. We’ve all hated someone to the point we would murder them if we knew we’d get away with it. We’ve all lusted after others who aren’t our spouse. We’ve all stolen, all lied, and all lusted after something that isn’t ours. We are all guilty of breaking all Ten Commandments and I do not believe I am off-base to suggest we did all this because of following a god or serving an idea, person, or thing that isn’t God. We are lost and without hope on our own, because God is going to make us face Him on Judgment Day when the books will be opened.

Idolatry is like a prison. It deceives us to think we are being free to do what we want, but in actuality it is slavery and the further we go, the tighter the chains get. It’s like any addiction. The moment you want to put it away, you find out you can’t. It won’t let you. You have made a covenant bond with it, and it won’t let you go. But there is hope! That bond can be severed. Those chains can be broken. There is one Man who did it: Jesus Christ. Jesus came and lived on this earth as a man. He was temped in every way known to man and beat it.

There was no point in Jesus’ life when He put another god, person, idea, or thing before God. He submitted completely to the Father. The very notion of going against His Father’s will was anathema to Him. There was no physical object He served to give Him hope or direction. It was only the Father. He never took His Father’s name in vain, even when He identified Himself as being one with the Father. Everyone else thought it was blasphemous, but they didn’t understand the Scriptures. It was not wrong for Jesus to identify Himself with God because He was God. He was and still is part of the Trinity.

Jesus honored the Sabbath. He understood its point and purpose: to rest the body and remember God. He dismissed the strict regulations of the Pharisees, who frequently were violators of their own laws themselves. He honored His mother and father. He submitted to them, when even at 12 years old and was teaching in the temple, He went home with His parents and submitted to their authority.

He was firm and at times fierce, but He never committed murder nor hated even those who rejected His message. He wept over the Pharisees and how they missed the mark with Him, and He rebuked James and John who in their anger sought to call fire down from heaven. He never lusted after another. There are false ‘gospels’ that suggest Jesus married Mary Magdalene, and I could only slightly agree with the idea that there may have been a temptation there, but not one Jesus would have given a second thought. I can only suggest this because Scripture says he was tempted in every way known to man, and if Jesus didn’t overcome sexual temptation, what hope do we have? Jesus never stole anything that wasn’t His, including the name of God. He never claimed anything that wasn’t His. He never lied, nor spoke even half-truths, nor hid the truth. He only spoke that which was true. And He never lusted after anything that didn’t belong to Him. He never coveted after anyone’s home, their clothes, their lifestyle, anything. He only asked His Father to meet His needs and was willing to go without anything His Father needed Him to go without. Jesus fulfilled every single commandment, perfectly. Nothing led Him astray.

That gives us hope. And because Jesus perfectly lived out a perfect life, He could offer Himself to the Father to satisfy the Wrath of God against sin. If Jesus has sinned just once, His death would only be able to cover His own sin, not that of another. That’s why none of us could die in the place of another. We have our own debt to pay, and our death can only pay for our own sins. Jesus could do it instead. And on that cross, a scandalous substitution took place. Jesus became sin and took on the full wrath of God in one go. He then traded His righteous perfection to us so that we do not carry our own righteousness but His. The debt is paid. The wrath of God is satisfied. But we would still be dead and so would Christ, so there was one more thing: the Resurrection.

It is the Resurrection that changes everything. It is the Resurrection that transforms a person and restores life. In the Resurrection of Christ, there is no more sin, death, disease, or even sadness. That has not yet been fully realized, but as the Old Testament saints looked forward to our day where Christ has come and done His work, we look forward to the day where we will finally be delivered from the very presence of sin. How does this happen? While the entire work is done by Christ so we have no means or ability to boast, we still have a response to make. The response Jesus taught in His ministry was, “Repent and believe.” We must renounce the old way of life, turning away from it. We no longer want that old life, and we forsake it. We must nail it to the cross, too, so that Jesus’ work can be accomplished. Then we must believe. It’s trust and dependence upon Christ, ultimately letting Him do His work in and through us. The real secret to Christianity is Jesus living His life in and through us, not us trying to live out Christianity. If we are willing to forsake our idols, destroy them, tear down the “altars” where we worship them, and replace them with the only True God, we will see true freedom and the idol’s hold on our lives will be broken. It’s a continual journey and we’ll never exhaust the end of it on this earth, but those who have done this have never regretted it. Once you know and taste the freedom God gives, you will never want to return to idols that can’t do what only God can do.

Do you want freedom? Do you want to break away from worthless practices that never satisfy and never let you know if you did “enough”? Get ahold of any of us at Worldview Warriors: Jason DeZurik, Katie Erickson, Steve Risner, Chad Koons, Eric Hansen, or myself. We will gladly work with you and show you how to meet Jesus and get freedom. Our hope is in Jesus Christ and He can be your hope too. Even if you are already born again, Jesus can offer deliverance to any area of sin that you have not yet experienced victory over. But you have to let it go so He can. When we turn to Jesus, He has the answer to ALL of our problems, and we can rest with assurance and confidence that He will take care of us. It may not be the way we think, but He will take care of us and it will be worth it. Put your trust and your faith in Christ Jesus. Unlike any idol, Jesus does what He claims, and He never leads anyone astray. Follow Him. You won’t regret it.

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

READ MORE

Do You Believe in Magic?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, March 25, 2021 0 comments


by Steve Risner

In this blog post we’ll wrap up what we began talking about here and here — how time is a major issue for the cosmology (the belief on how the universe came about and why it appears to us as it does at present) surrounding the Big Bang theory. This leads to chemical evolution (how elements formed) and stellar evolution (how stars formed and allegedly changed over time). This eventually leads to planets and nebulae and large amounts of cosmic debris. We’re going to explore a central part of Big Bang cosmology today on top of this: magic.

The universe is a lot of empty space, but it also has a great deal of stuff in it—over 100 billion galaxies that we’ve spotted with each having billions of stars. There are huge gas clouds called nebulae that can encompass millions of light years in space. They’re truly huge, although their density is less than any vacuum we can create here on earth. But, from earth, as far as we can see in this universe that is thought to be 93 billion light years across, we see things occupying space. There’s a great deal of empty space between objects, but there has had to be time for stars to form and die and spew out their contents and reform trillions of times and fill this universe that is about 6 x10ˆ23 miles across (a 6 with 23 zeros following it).

Last time, we looked at some difficulties with star formation. To be fair, those who believe in the Big Bang have made up some nice solutions to some of their major issues. Explanations like the inflationary period (which we can never verify happened, but it solves some issues) and dark matter and energy (which we can never verify exist but, again, they solve some major issues). But star formation, especially the first stars, is a challenge for physics. As with many other things, they’ll contend that the physics allows for star formation, but it really doesn’t. We need to allow for some very large assumptions and just give some passes in order to believe it. However, since it is vital to the Big Bang (there cannot be anything without star formation) they will fight tooth and nail over it. It’s interesting what lengths they’ll go to in order to hang on to their origins myth.

Why don’t we see any Population III stars—stars only consisting of hydrogen and helium? Maybe because they never existed. That doesn’t fly, so they have made up a number of reasons why we might not see them. One is they might have been too big. Bigger stars burn out faster; smaller stars exist longer. Now, as of the early 2000’s, nearly 3 out of 4 stars were 0.8 solar masses on the average. This means they are very small. If Pop III stars were this size, there would likely be some still out there. There are none. So, the solution is to claim that all of them were much, much larger than this so they’d burn out quickly. Convenient, right? Another is that they were Pop III stars at first, but over time they turned into Pop II stars. Also convenient, right?

As far as lacking evidence, there is no evidence at all that any primordial gas clouds that could birth these first stars existed. None. No evidence exists showing us that Pop III stars currently do or ever did exist. There is none. There is no evidence that dark matter and dark energy exist, but they claim these mysterious entities account for 95% of the substance of the universe. Not having evidence never stops the person who rejects the Bible from having second thoughts. These things are foundational to their beliefs, and yet there is no evidence of any kind that any of it is real.

Why do I bring up dark matter again? It’s directly connected to the story telling we hear about star formation. According to Dr. John Hartnett, a well-published research scientist (retired now), “‘Dark matter’ is an essential ingredient to form stars naturally given only standard known physics. ‘Dark matter’ is a hypothetical exotic form of matter, unknown to laboratory physics, which does not interact with or emit light in any way, hence it is invisible to all forms of detection within the electromagnetic spectrum, from radio-waves to gamma radiation. ‘Dark matter’ itself, therefore, is outside of standard known physics. It is made-up stuff that has been given one special property, which is that it gravitates, that is, unlike normal matter, it is a source of gravity only.”

“Magic” is what we can call this, really. Something with no explanation that happens outside of all known physical laws would be magic. This is not an appropriate way to describe Creation and things related to the supernatural when God is the source of such actions. He would be an explanation, so God’s works lie outside the realms of magic. Atheists have a monopoly on magic since much of what they believe hinges on processes and occurrences that are far beyond what nature and materialism can produce, and their worldview rejects anything related to God doing the supernatural.

In a 2014 New Scientist article, reporter Marcus Chown spoke with Israeli physicist Mordehai Milgrom and asked him, “Why is now a good time to take an alternative to dark matter seriously?”

To which Dr. Milgrom replied:
“A host of experiments searching for dark matter, including the Large Hadron Collider, many underground experiments and several space missions, have failed to see anything convincing. This comes on top of increasing realization that the leading dark matter model has its failings. Among other things, it predicts that we should see many more dwarf galaxies orbiting our Milky Way than we actually do.”

He seems to drive home rather well the idea that dark matter is an excuse for us to be ignorant. Often times, I’ve been told or have read that creationism, especially Biblical creation or what has been called “Young Earth creationism” can lead us to not being inquisitive enough or stunting the growth of scientific research. Dark matter seems to be the height of this as it screams to us of ignorance, yet many will hang their hats on it and proclaim we actually understand how the universe works. Obviously, we don’t understand if we need to employ matter and energy that have no evidence for their existence that acts like magic on the universe so our calculations work. This accounts for 95% of the universe and we can’t find it anywhere! The irony is hopefully very clear and shocking.

You see, dark matter is critical to star and even galaxy formation but there’s no reason at all to believe it exists. In this creation article, you can read how Professor Carlos Frenk points out that dark matter is essential to making the universe look like it does in computer simulations. Without dark matter, there is no way to understand much about the universe as we see it. Stars cannot form, period. Galaxies cannot form, period. What Professor Frenk is saying is that there are no known ways for nature to produce stars or galaxies without invoking a material we have no way of detecting. If this isn’t invoking magic, I’m not sure what is.

Dr. Hartnett goes on in the above cited creation.com article to say, “Nowadays, dark matter is added as an essential ingredient to all simulations on star formation because once any hypothesized cloud of hydrogen gas condenses to a certain size it comes into hydrodynamic equilibrium. This means the outward force on the cloud, caused by the accumulated pressure due to heating of the compressed cloud, equals the inward force on the cloud due to the mutual gravitational attraction of all matter in the cloud. At this point no further contraction can occur, unless something else is introduced to overcome this limitation.”

That’s a lot of jargon but to paraphrase, he’s saying that as gas molecules accumulate due to their gravitational attraction, they begin to compress and heat up. As they heat up, they want to expand. This gets to a point where no more contraction can occur, and this huge ball of gas will never become a star. It just sits in equilibrium, in balance. This is physics. The laws of physics make star formation an impossibility, at least as we know them currently.

This is explained by those who adhere to the belief in the Big Bang by claiming that a nearby supernova could compress the gas further, overcoming the equilibrium of outward and inward pressures. That seems fine, but there are a few issues here. 1) We have no idea if it actually will do this. 2) Since there are billions of trillions of stars in the known universe, this process had to happen perfectly an astounding number of times. 3) This has no explanatory power for the first stars since a supernova is an exploding star. You cannot have stars go through a life cycle and explode before the first stars existed.

The storytelling is amazing and, frankly, a little insulting. We are told with confidence how the universe began and how stars originally formed and then how younger stars formed as well as planets and other debris we find in space. But the truth is, this is nothing more than telling stories without much factual basis at all.

I trust in the Word of God. It has explanatory power, and it’s sent to us from the One who created the heavens and the earth—who breathed the stars. I put my trust in Him to accurately and articulately explain what He did and, since He seems to have left us easy-to-follow clues as to when He did this, I accept that as well. Trust in the Lord and always view the world through the lens of the Bible. You won’t be disappointed. We can join with the Levites who sang the praises of our God as they returned from exile and had rebuilt Jerusalem when they said, “You alone are the LORD. You made the heavens, even the highest heavens, and all their starry host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. You give life to everything, and the multitudes of heaven worship you.

The heavens truly declare His glory and greatness!

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

READ MORE

The Lord's Prayer: "Hallowed Be Your Name"

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, March 22, 2021 0 comments


by Katie Erickson

After discussing last week how we are praying to “Our Father in heaven,” the next phrase we come to is “Hallowed be your name.” Let’s dig into what that phrase means.

That phrase is translated in the same way in many common English Bible versions. However, some do give a bit more explanation of the word “hallowed” in their translations. For example, the Holman Christian Standard Bible translates this phrase as “Your name be honored as holy,” and the New Living Translation renders it as “may your name be kept holy.”

So what’s the deal with that word “hallowed”? I’m guessing that you don’t often use that in your everyday conversation; I know I don’t. The Greek root word there can be translated as sanctify, set apart, make holy, or the act of regarding or honoring as holy. It’s a passive imperative verb in this usage, which means it’s a command that we should regard God’s name as holy.

But why does Jesus use “your name” here instead of actually saying God’s name? That was actually a common Jewish practice. The Jews considered the name of God to be the holiest of words, so much so that they would not actually read His name when they came across it in the Old Testament. Instead, they would say “Adonai” (meaning lord or master) or “Hashem” (which literally means ‘the name’ in Hebrew). The name of God was considered too holy to even pronounce with our sinful human lips.

So, Matthew is able to refer to God without directly mentioning His name, even though it’s clear who he’s referring to - especially by the previous phrase, “our father in heaven.” This phrasing of referring to God’s name indicates how God has revealed Himself throughout history, and how He is present with His people. A person’s name is synonymous with their reputation, so when someone honors God’s name, they are honoring God Himself.

God’s name is a reflection of who He is. God is holy, therefore His name is to be considered holy. Earlier, I shared that this verb for “hallowed” can mean to set apart. God truly fulfills that in that He is set apart from the rest of the creation; He is God over all of it.

But when we pray “hallowed be your name,” what exactly are we saying? A person praying for God’s name to be holy won’t make God any more holy than He already is; God is totally and completely holy and perfect in all that He is and in all that He does. Praying “hallowed be your name” is to pray that God may be treated as holy. See the difference there?

God was, is, and will always be holy no matter what we do as His creation. But we often fail at treating God as holy. Recently, my fellow writer Charlie Wolcott has been writing on idolatry and how it relates to each of the Ten Commandments (here). Any form of idolatry is putting something else as more important, or more holy and revered, than God in your life. Anytime we commit idolatry, it’s because we are not treating God as the truly holy God that He is.

Notice the importance of God’s holy name in Ezekiel 36:22-23: “Therefore say to the Israelites, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: It is not for your sake, people of Israel, that I am going to do these things, but for the sake of my holy name, which you have profaned among the nations where you have gone. I will show the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, the name you have profaned among them. Then the nations will know that I am the LORD, declares the Sovereign LORD, when I am proved holy through you before their eyes.” God is going to save Israel simply for the sake of His holy name, and it is because of God’s name that He will be proven to be holy before all of the nations. This is why we are commanded to honor God’s name as holy!

A person’s name is connected to their reputation. We say that we can “give someone a bad name” when we spread negative information about them. A person is known by their name, and that name is connected to their reputation. Many children are named after family members or famous people who have good reputations, but no one names their child after Adolf Hitler. A theme from the movie Office Space comes to mind with this idea (video clip; note there’s some inappropriate language). One of the main characters is named Michael Bolton, and during the movie, he’s mostly annoyed by having the same name as a singer who was popular in the 1980s. On one occasion he uses that to his advantage when he’s interacting with two men who will decide whether he keeps his job or not, and they happen to really like the singer Michael Bolton’s music.

Another aspect of keeping God’s name holy is that we do not misuse His name. That is one of the Ten Commandments, given in Exodus 20:7. For more on that, check out this blog post.

Whether you like your name or not, it is tied to your reputation. The same is true with God’s name. God is holy, and His name should also be honored as holy in all circumstances and all situations. We pray “hallowed be your name” not because there’s a chance God’s name could no longer be holy but so that we are encouraged to honor it as such in all our lives.

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

READ MORE

Idolatry: The Root of All Evil

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, March 19, 2021 0 comments


by Charlie Wolcott

We have all heard the phrase “the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.” That’s Paul writing in 1 Timothy 6:10. However, while it is not explicitly stated in Scripture as such, I do not believe I am off-base to suggest that idolatry is the root of all evil. Before I go into that claim, let me review the previous ten posts of this series.

Idolatry is the practice of putting anything before God, be it a person, place, thing, or idea. Any noun that we utilize to seek to supplant God, or replace God, or to get from that which only God can offer, can be or is an idol. As I have read the historical accounts and the prophets, idolatry is the primary sin that is marked above all sins. All the kings were judged by how they handled idolatry: by allowing it, by participating in it, or by shutting it down. The prophets were more interesting because they don’t just describe how the kings did it but also how the average family engaged in idolatry. Jeremiah 7:17-19 describes how a family would all participate in idolatry. Jeremiah 32:29 describes how the roofs of homes in Jerusalem were used to worship Baal. And get this, even while wandering in the wilderness for 40 years, after having received the Ten Commandments and after the Golden Calf incident, the Israelites carried the Tabernacle and also idol of Molech.

In the Old Testament, the idols were the gods of their neighbors and including Baal, Asherah, Molech, Dagan, and many others. The idols took indirect forms through kings and other leaders. And I would suggest that ancient Israel had also crafted their own image of God that they worshipped instead of the true God. Otherwise, the Psalmist would not have rebuked the people for thinking God was like them. Isaiah would not have had to say that God’s ways were higher than our ways, His thoughts higher than our thoughts. And the Jews would have been ready for the Messiah when He came instead of expecting a military leader who would rescue them from Rome.

It was idolatry that made Israel misrepresent the name of God, taking His name in vain. It was in idolatry that they ignored the Sabbath’s purposes and led to dishonoring of parents. Idolatrous practices involved the intentional murder of children, sexual depravity, stealing from God and giving to another, lying about God, and greedily coveting what the other gods had to offer.

Idolatry is practiced today, too, and you can see my posts in this series for those details. But here, I am going to make the claim that ALL sins come out of a root of idolatry. That claim goes back all the way to Genesis 3 and the Fall of Man. One of the lies that Satan used to get Eve to eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil was that in doing so, she would be like God. This was the tipping point. This was the clincher. You could be like God. You could be the judge of right and wrong. You could rule your own life. You could live as you please. You could live submitting to no one. Eve took the bait, and Adam who was with her let her do a test run before joining her in it. They believed the lie and turned themselves into idols. One of the great sins of original sin was the worship of self.

So, what about the love of money? Actually, that makes money an idol. Jesus said you cannot serve both God and mammon. Mammon was the Greek god of money. What about pride? God hates pride more than idolatry, doesn’t he? Actually, pride is simply the worship of self. The idol of pride is you. The proud and arrogant worships self.

But there is another form of this idolatry of the worship of self: the god of your own making. This one is very subtle, but it’s still the worship of self. Brian McLaren in A Generous Orthodoxy showcases this issue. On pages 84-85, he describes “God A” and begins to list all the attributes of a god he doesn’t like: wrath, anger, vengeance, jealousy, etc. Then he says we should imagine “God B” which has all these lovely and fluffy attributes: love, mercy, kindness, gentleness, etc. Then he says, “I'm not sure which comes first--the kind of universe you see or the kind of God you believe in, but as a Christian who believes in Jesus as the Son of God, I find myself in universe B, getting to know God B.” This is blasphemy. McLaren has sought to redefine God as he would like him to be, while claiming to be a Christian. This is not Christianity. This is an entirely different religion altogether (and I believe he’s gotten a lot of other things very wrong too).

This comes out of post-modern thinking where truth cannot be known and is constantly changing (thanks to Evolutionary thinking). It is a purposeful rejection of truth being defined outside of self. Post-modern thinking is simply the modern version of: “In those days there was no king, and each man did that which is right in his own eyes.” We expect this kind of thing in the world, where sin runs rampant anyway. But it’s gotten into the church and Satan has made it his business to deceive the church to keep us from knowing the truth, let alone speak it.

One of the clearest places I’ve seen this kind of idolatry is through the origins debate. How one views their origins is a reflection of how they view God. If we have a high view of God, we’ll have a high view of the record God gave on origins. If we have a high view of Scripture, we’ll have a correct view of God. But the reverse is also true. If Scripture is “malleable” and “unclear” about one of the fundamental questions about life, and we can basically just “fill in the gaps” with whatever “historical” claims are made by the secularists claiming to be scientists that do not reflect a worship of the True God but a worship of a god that does what we think he should do.

One thing you will notice about “Old Earth” models is that as the “science” changes, so do their models, and so does the account and description of God with it. The “Young Earth” position does not have this issue. While our specific scientific models may change, the core history has never changed because the text of Scripture nor its meaning has changed. When one takes a method of interpretation that changes with the times, one has a god in his mind that changes with the times too. I describe such a god this way: “He likes what they like, dislikes what they dislike, does what they think should be done, does not do what they disprove of, and overall looks a lot like them.” Now, I’m not making this as a blanket statement, but I would suggest it represents a large majority of those in churches today. They don’t worship God on Sunday mornings; they worship their own ideas about God.

The more I study idolatry, the more I see how it is the root of all sin. Sin is by definition a violation of God’s moral character or God’s intended purpose for something. Idolatry is the practice of replacing God with something else or seeking something else to give you what only God can give. So, since idolatry is a rejection of God, it is at the core of every sin. It is the root of all evil. I hope by now we can see why God takes such things so seriously. But there is still hope! God seeks that we break free from our idols. Next week, I will wrap up this series to talk about the One who did not commit idolatry in any way and kept all of God’s Commandments: Jesus Christ.

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

READ MORE

It's Still a Matter of Time

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, March 18, 2021 1 comments


by Steve Risner

Last time, we discussed some of the processes that are believed to have occurred in order for our 93 billion light year wide universe to appear as it does today. We reviewed how after the Big Bang, there were no elements for a brief moment. Then, as protons and neutrons formed and electrons found themselves around these guys, we had the elements of hydrogen, helium, and a little lithium. These somehow condensed into huge balls of gas which ignited. Over time, they burned out and spewed the newly forged elements they had created out into space. These Population III stars have never been seen but are critical to the Big Bang origins myth. The new elements generated by these stars would condense and form Population II stars—stars with small amounts of metals in them. These would, over time, burn out and spew their contents out and stars with even higher metal content would be born. These are Population I stars. Our sun is a Pop I star.

We also touched on how quickly it seems, according to the story they tell, that galaxies formed after the Big Bang and how this contradicts the evidence they bring to the table. This really becomes a problem when we consider what some have claimed to have found in deep space—13-billion-year-old galaxies! Although some suggest as much as 100 million to a billion years went by before Pop III stars were formed, we have entire galaxies of Pop II and Pop I stars that would have allegedly formed before their predecessors were even formed. Some galaxies are over 13 billion years old. This means there was enough time for elements to form, then Pop III stars to form, burn, die, explode, and coalesce into other stars, then a huge gathering of stars to be connected gravitationally in less than a billion years, although some say it took a billion years for the process to even start! It’s inconceivable.

GN-z11 is a galaxy that’s supposed to be 13.4 billion years old and they have no issues with this huge galaxy being this old (keeping in mind it doesn’t have any Pop III stars, which means we had to go through all of the above mentioned processes before this galaxy could form). Describing stars in GN-z11, National Geographic says, “Those stars were very hot, very young, and very massive—the types of stars astronomers think existed in the early universe.” They are telling us about the stars in this galaxy like they know about them when they obviously don’t. You can see from this image of GN-z11 that, while information can be gleaned from it, they can hardly tell us with confidence what they are telling us.

A galaxy so large which existed so soon after the first stars began forming is a challenge to some current theoretical models of the formation of galaxies, according to spacetelescope.org on March 3, 2016. To further my point about Pop III stars not being found anywhere although they are the oldest type of star and necessary for the universe to exist in the Big Bang I will quote from Wikipedia: “The oldest observed stars, known as Population II, have very low metallicities; as subsequent generations of stars were born they became more metal-enriched, as the gaseous clouds from which they formed received the metal-rich dust manufactured by previous generations. As those stars died, they returned metal-enriched material to the interstellar medium via planetary nebulae and supernovae, enriching further the nebulae out of which the newer stars formed. These youngest stars, including the Sun, therefore have the highest metal content, and are known as Population I stars.”

I highlight this to show that, to date, no Pop III stars have been found. In fact, SMSS J031300.36-670839.3 is a star 13.6 billion years old and is a Pop II star. So this star was born out of the remnants of a Pop III (at best; possibly another Pop II star supernova remnant) star which didn’t exist until 100 million years or even a billion years after the Big Bang. It then took a million years or more for this star to form and, for some reason, it’s not burnt out yet. Our complex, spiral galaxy called the Milky Way is allegedly 13.6 billion years old. Isn’t that something? We can “look into the past” by seeing a 13.4-billion-year-old galaxy but we live in a galaxy that’s older than this.

All this star formation is still a thing of mystery to materialists (people who think nature and the material world is all there is and ever was). They will try to say it’s all been worked out, but adding in fudge factors and telling a story on paper is not the same as reality. Stars form, allegedly, from dust clouds. We see dust clouds in space. They are remarkably beautiful as you can see from the small sample below.

They frequently refer to some of these amazing places as “star nurseries” but this is story telling. The truth is, to a creationist like myself who builds their worldview and beliefs on origins on Scripture, whether stars can form in space is irrelevant. It makes no difference. But it’s critical to the humanist origins myth. Without star formation, they have nothing—quite literally. And we’ve never seen a star “turn on.” It’s wishful thinking at this point.

But nebulae are produced from star death—a supernova. They’re magnificent to look at but they cannot explain the origins of the first stars. In fact, they can’t really explain the origins of “young” stars either.

Some of the issues surrounding the birth of the original stars are discussed here at creation.com: “The process of star formation is assumed to begin with molecular gas clouds like those that are currently observed in the galaxies. The process is envisaged to be gradual, slow, and inefficient. However, present day molecular gas clouds have no relevance to the origin of the very first Population III stars because conditions soon after the big bang were greatly different from what exists now.”

Because they were first, Population III stars would not have formed by the same mechanisms that evolutionists use to explain the origin of Population I stars, which are observed today. There are a number of significant differences. First, evolutionists cannot invoke a supernova to trigger the gas cloud collapse. Supernovae did not occur until after Population III stars had formed and burned all their nuclear fuel. Second, there were no dust grains or heavy molecules in the primordial gas to assist with cloud condensation and cooling and form the first stars. (Evolutionists now believe that molecular hydrogen may have played a role, in spite of the fact that molecular hydrogen almost certainly requires a surface—i.e. dust grains—to form.) Thus, the story of star formation in stellar evolution theory begins with a process that astronomers cannot observe operating in nature today.

Once again, there is more to say on this, but I’ve run out of space for this installment. I hope it’s becoming clear that the story told by Big Bang believers isn’t as solid as we’re led to believe. In fact, it’s a great deal of guess work and storytelling with a fudge factor of 95% added in so the math works. And there simply hasn’t been enough time for all of this to happen. Not nearly.

God is the Star Breather. The Psalmist tells us the starry hosts were from the breath of God. These and the nebulae and all that we see in the heavens were created to proclaim His glory and, in truth, as wonderful and magnificent as the heavens appear to us and as great and vast as they are, they utterly fall short of the greatness of our Lord.

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

READ MORE

Spiritual Enmity, Part 2

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Tuesday, March 16, 2021 0 comments


by Eric Hansen

In my last article, I looked at an overview of what spiritual enmity or warfare is and some common signs that we are currently in such a state. While the list was certainly not exhaustive, as a recap, we are in a state of warfare between the flesh and spirit when there is temptation that our flesh wants but we know it does not glorify or honor God. The deeper you grow in your faith, the more you will essentially be struggling as you continue being surrounded by the secular world’s pressures.

The ability for us to resolve these battles that we face is addressed in Ephesians 6:10-20, but unfortunately, without context it just sounds like pure poetry. However, there is a direct reason why Paul, a former Roman soldier himself before his conversion, wrote about this topic in such a way that he did. My fellow blogger Charlie Wolcott wrote on the armor in informative detail about 6 years back as of this writing, and I will be linking to his posts for further reading. I’ll focus on the front-wielding armor here, and I’ll discuss the back-wielding armor in the next post.

Belt of Truth
The first piece of armor Paul references is the belt of truth. This also sets the tone for the rest of his message and his intent. A belt is simple in design but mandatory to survive any war, even now. It not only holds the armor but also the weaponry and protection. Back in Roman times, they would wear what we consider an athletic supporter - gold hanging in front of the groin area to protect it. The belt was also used to hold the sword, clothing, other armor, etc. that made it essential to even enter into war.

This is also why truth is considered the belt of our armor. To put it bluntly, you would be foolish to try and fight evil in your underwear and using a toothpick. We need to keep truth in mind - what is important and what is right - especially now as movements such as cancel culture, Marxism, critical race theory, and other subliminal heresy are infecting even the churches today. We need to hold true to what the Bible says is honorable. Should we stay at a church that is living within its four walls only, or should we find one that is invested into its community? While it’s a scary thing to consider, as I know it was for my wife and me, we both knew we needed to leave the church where I was a youth pastor if we wanted to grow and become Christ-faithful Christians.

Breastplate of Righteousness
Paul’s second armor reference is the breastplate of righteousness. Paul leaves the canvas intentionally uneventful with this, as when we consider what the breastplate protects we can start to picture in our own mind where he was going with this.

A breastplate is basically a shield worn by soldiers, typically made out of metal but could be leather or other material. It saved not only their ability to fight but quite often their lives as well. Behind the plate were the heart, lungs, abdomen, etc. - very critical organs and soft areas of the body that if exposed and attacked could quickly lead to death.

The imagery here is no different than the importance. Righteousness is our salvation; it’s our key into God’s kingdom when we take our last breath here. It protects our soul and typically takes the brunt of the attack. Evil knows where to hit us, and it could be with a divorce, an illness, gluttony, etc. Such forces are not blind to a creation that hasn’t really evolved in many millenia. So Paul is instructing us to protect our core with our salvation. Remembering that when we are hit with those papers, that doctor’s call, etc. that we remember the cure to the pain is God’s presence.

Shoes of Readiness
The last piece of armor I’ll discuss in this post is the shoes of readiness given by the gospel of peace.

We need to be ready to go to war at all times, and we need to be ready to be peaceful. This doesn’t mean to be silent, but it does mean to not retaliate out of anger. An example of this is Martin Luther, who started the Reformation movement in 1517. He didn’t try to burn down English buildings or silence the Catholic bishops, even though he did not agree with them. Instead, he wrote the Ninety-Five Theses and nailed it to the church door, for all visitors to stare at and read as they entered their church and start to wonder just how impactful their church really was. Jesus was no different, opting to use words instead of violence to further the gospel that had started and was about to be complete.

But the fact Paul attributes shoes with readiness confused me when I first started reading this passage as a baby Christian. Though if we look at shoes in his time it makes much more sense; we take for granted the quality of shoes we have today.

Like ours, their shoes were designed to travel far and over rough terrain and allow for stability when needed. They also became more comfortable the more you wore them. They were made of leather and had what we call cleats on them for that grip. Jesus preached about peace whenever possible because we are only in control of our own emotions, not anyone else’s. But being able to be peaceful would help us travel further, reach more people, and still be ready for the arrows being casted toward us.

There is more armor and other elements that Paul mentions in these 10 verses, which will be the focus of my next blog post. As you can already see, even though Paul dedicated only a sentence or two per armor piece, there is so much more we discover if we consider the context.

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

READ MORE

The Lord’s Prayer: “Our Father in Heaven”

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, March 15, 2021 2 comments


by Katie Erickson

As I introduced last week, I’m going to be going through each phrase of the Lord’s Prayer as recorded in Matthew 6:9-13. The first phrase is, “Our Father in heaven.”

But even before we get to that, it’s important to note the first phrase of verse 9: “This, then, is how you should pray.” Jesus is not giving the exact words of what everyone should pray, but it’s more of a model - how we should pray. This is a structure or format we can use to model our prayers. He’s not saying we shouldn’t use these words, but we don’t have to use them; they’re simply a guide.

Now, on to looking at the introduction to this model prayer. In the original Greek, it literally translates to, “Father of us, the one who [is] in the heavens.” Our NIV English translation (quoted above) basically just smooths that out and makes it a little less clunky. The NASB, which is generally considered to be the most literal English translation to the original Greek, gives this phrase as, “Our Father who is in heaven.”

While we commonly think of God as Father, that is not one of the central themes of God in the Old Testament. There are no direct references to God as Father, but there are a few indirect ones where the term “father” occurs relating to God. Some of these can be found in Deuteronomy 32:6, Psalm 103:13, Isaiah 63:16, and Malachi 2:10. The pagans of the day would sometimes address their gods as father; for example, “Zeu pater” (literally, “Zeus, father”) became the god name Jupiter in Latin. But the one true God was not typically addressed as Father until Jesus walked on the earth.

But what did that mean to the people of His day when Jesus began to call God “Father”? For those who did not see Jesus as being the Son of God, this would be seen as anything from presumptuous to blasphemy by declaring Himself a direct relation of God. For those who were following Jesus, this was seen as evidence of the truth that Jesus was also God.

Jesus would have likely used the term “Abba” to speak of His Father. This term actually comes from the Aramaic language, which would have been the commonly spoken language of the day among the Jews. We see this specifically in Mark 14:36 when Jesus is praying in Gethsemane: “‘Abba, Father,’ he said, ‘everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.’” We see that the early Christians adopted using Abba in reference to God as Father like we see in Romans 8:15 and Galatians 4:6.

The next thing to note is that Jesus uses the pronoun “our” in front of Father. This establishes the relationship that exists between Jesus’ disciples (who Jesus was addressing in this context) and God. It shows specifically who this prayer is directed toward. God is a personal God, and He is a caring God. He’s our Father not in the sense of being a tyrant, but He is the truest example there is of fatherhood. Ephesians 3:14-15 says, “For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name.” All fathers should base their relationship with their children on the relationship between us and God.

However, we know that earthly fathers don’t live up to this Biblical standard. Even the best earthly father is still a sinful human being who is not perfect. Many people have a very negative view of their earthly father, often for good reason. Perhaps their father abused them, treated them in a hurtful manner, often broke promises, didn’t provide as he should have, or wasn’t even in their life for some reason. It is important that we do not compare God as our Father to these earthly models, but that we turn to the Scriptures to find out God’s true character. We know that God as our Father is perfect and can be fully trusted in all ways.

The “our” here also reminds us that no believer is alone in our faith. If the prayer was “My Father…” then it would feel more solitary. But we as believers in Christ are meant to be in community with other believers, and this “our” indicates that. While we can say this prayer on our own or with others, we are all a part of the great family that encompasses all believers.

We also see where our Father is located - in heaven. This reminds us that He is no mere earthly father, but the one true God. He is our heavenly Father. His nature is completely holy and perfect and good, as no sin can exist in heaven where our Father is located. However, it is also important to note that God is not merely residing in one place like we do with our human bodies; being omnipresent, God is everywhere at all times. So designating God as being “in heaven” does not mean He is only located in heaven but that His perfect nature allows Him to be in heaven while He rules over the entire universe.

No matter your view of earthly fatherhood, know that this prayer addresses God as our perfect Father in heaven. We are called to put our trust in Him and pray to Him, knowing with confidence that He will protect us, guide us, and provide for us.

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

READ MORE

Idolatry: Covetousness

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, March 12, 2021 0 comments


by Charlie Wolcott

“You shall not covet…” -Exodus 20:17

This is the last of the Ten Commandments. You shall not lust after that which belong to your neighbor. Not his wife, nor house, nor car, nor children, nor things, nor anything that belongs to your neighbor. Not even their skills and talents, and interestingly enough, some people covet other people’s trials because they think they could handle them more easily than their own.

Covetousness had multiples causes; greed, control, jealousy, and lack of being content are the first four that come to mind. Greed, because you want things and if someone else has something you don’t, you want it too. Control, because if someone else has something you want and you don’t have control over it, then you can’t control that person either. Jealousy, because someone else is happier than you are, even if you have more stuff. Lack of being content, because “stuff” never satisfies and always leaves us wanting more. One could argue that covetousness is a root of breaking the other horizontal commandments, and I’ll make the argument that it can also be a root of idolatry. Unlike the other commandments where idolatry either is the violation of the commandment or leads to the violation of the commandment, violation of this commandment of covetousness leads to idolatry.

Few stories showcase covetousness more than Ahab. I give credit to David Wilkerson for pointing this out to me. Jezebel is perhaps the most wicked woman recorded in Scripture to the point where her name means “false teaching” or “false spirit.” She was the one who manipulated Ahab and controlled him. She led him into an even greater level of idolatry than Jeroboam had done, and as a result Ahab was considered the most wicked king of Israel. Ahab saw a vineyard owned by Naboth and because it was convenient and looked good, he wanted it. Naboth could not sell it according to the Law, and so Ahab threw a fit before Jezebel, and Jezebel did her thing to kill Naboth and give Ahab the land. In Ahab’s greed and covetousness, he turned to a false god and a false prophet to get it. His covetousness led to idolatry, turning to someone (in this case Jezebel) other than God.

During the time of the Judges and the Kings, the people of Israel and Judah kept turning to the gods of their neighbors. Why? 1) They wanted to be like their neighbors. Hint: that’s a form of covetousness. That’s why they asked for a king. Their neighbors had something they wanted: a physical ruler to represent them, rather than God. 2) The false gods offered something they didn’t believe God offered: fertility, rain, money, prosperity, etc. The gods offered all the people desired there and then, out of God’s will and out of God’s timing. There’s one big problem with all that: God DID promise He would provide everything they would need and above and beyond that. They just needed to trust Him.

Covetousness leads to turning to sources other than God for our needs, and that leads to idolatry. At the same time, already having an idol in your heart produces covetousness as well. When we have an idol, it means we don’t trust God to provide for us. And when we don’t trust Him, it means we end up seeking something that caters to our flesh instead of trusting God for what we need. Remember what Jesus faced in the wilderness? You can summarize the temptations in three words: health, wealth, and prosperity. That’s what Eve saw in the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. It’s also the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. That’s what Satan offers, and it’s what the coveter seeks in his lusts. When a man seeks something, he will seek that which will give it, even if it is an idol and even if it means a deal with the devil. And Satan will gladly offer it, but it won’t last nor endure.

If we instead seek God, He will provide all we need and above and beyond that. But it will be in His timing and it won’t be for the purpose of satisfying our lusts. I have never seen God fail to deliver on His promises, though He will intentionally delay them to test us to see if we will prove faithful. There are many times where man may jump the gun and go too early where if they had only waited, the right thing or the right person would be in place to direct them. God often allows a counterfeit to go first to see if we will take the bait, but if we trust Him, there will be no need to seek after the other gods to give us what we think we want.

There is always a cost when we covet, and that cost is not merely failure of our endeavors. People have lusted after fame and fortune, coveting the lavish lifestyle, the media love, the popularity, the money, the expensive toys and large houses, etc., and many of them got it. They turned to their gods and their gods delivered them. But their gods also have their own “quid pro quo” terms. It often comes in the form of serving the gods in demonic ways. If the people of Israel turned to performing sex orgies, drunkenness, and child sacrifice to serve their idols, how much more so are people doing that now? When Jesus said, “If you gain the whole world but lose your soul…” this kind of thing could very well be part of that. Jesus knew what went on behind the scenes, behind the publicity and the paparazzi. History books don’t tell you those things and the few who are allowed to speak out, are allowed because they won’t be a threat to those pulling the strings.

When it initially dawned on me how idolatry can be or is involved in the breaking of all Ten Commandments, I was still thinking surface level, but as this series began to come together, it’s hit me on a greater level how deep and how dark idolatry is. I am seeing more and more now why God took it so seriously. There is absolutely nothing good that can come out of idolatry. However, every one of us has engaged in idolatry is some way shape or form, and in that idolatry, we’ve broken these Ten Commandments from mere dwelling of hatred of our brother or lusting in our hearts to the actual deeds themselves. And as a result, every one of us are guilty before God of treason deserving of death. Next week, I will talk about how idolatry is the root of all evil, but fortunately there is hope for us, which I will write about after that.

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

READ MORE

It's Only a Matter of Time

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, March 11, 2021 3 comments


by Steve Risner

The universe is huge. In fact, it’s far beyond any sort of human comprehension just how large it is. Even a light year is more than the human mind can conceive. A light year is just short of 6 trillion miles. The observable universe is a sphere around the earth that is 93 billion light years across. That’s 5.5 x 10ˆ23 miles in diameter (5.5 with 23 zeros following it). Very big. I think this is very interesting because of the time factors necessary for the Big Bang which leads into chemical evolution, stellar evolution, and the forging of heavier elements which eventually allegedly led to the formation of our solar system. Let me explain.

After the initial expansion began from a singularity, some cosmologists suggest there was a time of inflation that was exponential in nature. What that means is for a fraction of a second, the universe expanded really, really fast—much faster than the speed of light. They invented this idea out of nowhere to deal with a few issues that the Big Bang had. Problem solved. Just like dark matter and energy – these things were invented to account for the fact that the numbers don’t add up at all when calculating various things in the universe. In fact, we know so little about how the universe actually works that we need dark matter and energy as a fudge factor to account for 95% of what we observe! That means we know 5% of how things work, so we need to add in something we cannot see or measure or even know exists to make the math work. I think that’s profound.

But this blog post isn’t about all the made-up stuff they have to insert into the story to make it seem plausible. In this writing, I wanted to focus on what needed to happen and how long it took. A little backstory is needed.

Immediately after the Big Bang, it is believed no elements existed. According to exploratoium.edu, “About one ten-thousandth of a second after the Big Bang, protons and neutrons formed, and within a few minutes these particles stuck together to form atomic nuclei, mostly hydrogen and helium. Hundreds of thousands of years later, electrons stuck to the nuclei to make complete atoms.”

So, it took several hundred thousand years for the elements of hydrogen, helium, and possibly a little lithium to form. These are the first three elements on the periodic table. This is the beginning of chemical evolution, or the evolution of elements from their basic parts and then into heavier elements. They then would condense, for some unknown reason, into what are called Population III stars. These are stars (which have never been found and exist only in theory) that only consist of hydrogen, helium, and small amounts of lithium. That’s because there were no other chemical elements for them to consist of at all. The idea is that after millions or billions of years, depending on the size of the star, these Pop III stars would burn out and expel their contents. While they burned, these stars were turning these 3 elements into other elements like oxygen, carbon, calcium, magnesium, and eventually iron and other heavy elements.

This is where the time issue might come into place. It takes about a million years or so to form a star, it is believed. So we’ve got hundreds of thousands of years for elements to form. Then we have millions of years for the first stars to form—some sources suggest 100 million years to as much as a billion years before these stars formed. These stars would live for millions of years if not billions of years before they went supernova and spewed their newly manufactured elements into the surrounding space.

Realize, as I mentioned in the first paragraph, that the universe is incomprehensibly large, but the entire universe has stars throughout in huge clusters we call galaxies. None of the stars we have observed are Pop III stars—those stars that are comprised solely of hydrogen and helium. Not one. Many of the stars we see are Population II stars which contain a small amount of other elements. Still others are Population I stars which have the highest metal content. But they are everywhere. Don’t believe me? Look up at the night sky on a clear night and see how many stars you can see—and that’s just in our galaxy which is one of around 125 billion galaxies we’ve spotted. Every one of those stars is a Pop II or Pop I star.

So we are to believe, that after these stars (which may never have existed) were born, burned, and died, they spewed their contents of heavier elements into space. It then gathered again into another star after an immense amount of time and lit the fuse in another star. And this has happened billions of trillions of times since it’s estimated that the universe has over one billion trillion stars (that’s 10ˆ21 stars). No one has an issue with this?

Come on. We are to believe that a star (more like trillions of them) vomited out its contents and these condensed over and over to generate all the stars, planets, and debris we see all over the universe? How is there enough time for this material to have expanded all across the universe? When ejected, at its fastest, the material from a supernova might travel 10% of the speed of light but in many cases it’s much slower than this. The shockwave also slows down over time. One such supernova remnant (what’s left after a star dies and explodes) was recently found to be expanding at 8 miles per second. That might sound fast in terms of an earth vessel like your car, but it’s hardly moving in terms of a universe that is 93 billion light years across. At that speed, it would take 135 days to travel from the sun to the earth. Light makes this trip in 8 minutes. That 8 miles/sec speed is .004% of the speed of light and rescuing devices like an inflationary period had to be invented to explain how light has made it 93 billion light years in less than 14 billion years. How much less plausible is a universe replete with galaxies which are packed with billions of stars each to have come about in 14 billion years after these Pop III stars, which no one has ever found, were born, burned all their fuel and exploded, sending their newly forged elements through space? It boggles the mind to see thinking people will buy this.

Using some average numbers, we can see the silliness in this core belief that the Big Bang hangs on. Galaxies are, on average, about 100,000 light years across. If ejected material from a Pop III star in the area of where one of these galaxies would eventually be, at a top speed of 10% the speed of light (being generous to this belief since that’s a higher speed and not a likely speed), it would take 1 million years for that ejected material to spread out over this entire space a galaxy would later occupy if it never slows (but it does). But it wouldn’t be very dense at this time. We need more stars that would happen to be nearby and happen to go through the same processes. At the above-mentioned speed of 8 miles/second, we would have to wait about 24 million years for the material to expand out over the entire galaxy we’ve imagined. Then we would need millions or billions of years for new stars to form and then “turn on” and later die and spew out their material and so on. Now, I realize that the belief doesn’t say one star died and all the billions of stars in a galaxy were formed from that exploding star. So we would have to have billions of Pop III stars live and die and eject their contents close together so they could be reborn as Pop II stars which would live and die and reincarnate as Pop II and Pop I stars (the only two types we see). But the point is there simply isn’t enough time and we’re talking about just one galaxy. The universe is brimming with billions of galaxies. Keep in mind as well that we are talking about average sized galaxies. Some galaxies are literally 50 times larger than this so all of these numbers would need to be multiplied by 50 (50 million years to expand at the speed of light and over a billion years at the rate of 8 miles per second).

There’s a great deal more to say about this topic, but I’ve run out of space (no pun intended). I will pick this up next time. Until then, think critically and trust God’s Word. According to Genesis 1:16, God created the stars on day 4 of creation. This was just about 6000 years ago, if we trust what the Bible says about it. We should trust in the One who created the stars and us and who made a way for us to know Him for eternity. Isaiah 40:26 says, “Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one and calls forth each of them by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing.”

God is awesome and out of His mind the stars of the galaxies were birthed to declare His glory! Praise Him.

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

READ MORE

The Lord’s Prayer: Introduction

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, March 8, 2021 0 comments


by Katie Erickson

As followers of Jesus, we know that prayer is the method we can use to communicate with God. We at Worldview Warriors have written on prayer multiple times; for example, I wrote on how to pray and if God hears our prayers. Charlie Wolcott wrote a series on prayer a few years ago that starts here. But for this series, I want to focus on one specific prayer: the Lord’s prayer.

We find the Lord’s Prayer twice in Scripture, in the gospel of Matthew and the gospel of Luke. Here are those two versions for comparison:

“This, then, is how you should pray: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’” (Matthew 6:9-13)

“He said to them, ‘When you pray, say: ‘Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread. Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us. And lead us not into temptation.’” (Luke 11:2-4)

After reading both of those, you may notice a few things. First, those two versions are different; some scholars believe that the one in Matthew happened around a year earlier than the one in Luke, and that those were two different occasions. How do they know? Check out the context.

Based on the introduction in Matthew 5:1-2, chapters 5, 6, and 7 in the book of Matthew are what’s commonly referred to as the Sermon on the Mount, and you’ll notice that this prayer is right in the middle of that. Immediately before it, Jesus is teaching on giving to the needy, and then on prayer in general. From there, He launches into this specific prayer with the instruction of “This, then is how you should pray.” It’s not enough to tell people that they need to do something; it’s much more helpful to actually give an example of how to do it. After this prayer, Jesus goes on to talk about forgiveness, fasting, and more.

The introduction in Luke 11:1 says, “One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.’” Immediately before that in the gospel account, Jesus is at the home of Mary and Martha. So, the context makes it pretty clear that these are two different instances.

You’ll notice that the wording of both prayers is actually somewhat different too. This is true in the original Greek as well as in our English translations. If you were to teach something twice, chances are you may say it a little bit differently the second time; that’s what’s going on here. It could also be the difference between Matthew and Luke recording the words of Jesus at different times in their separate manuscripts.

You may have also noticed that perhaps neither of those line up exactly with the way you were taught to say the Lord’s Prayer. The version in Matthew is likely closer to what you learned than the one in Luke, but I would guess there are still differences. That may be due to the version I quoted (the NIV) being translated in 2011; perhaps you learned it from the older NIV translation or even from the King James Version.

So… which version is correct? Did Jesus speak the words of the version in Matthew? I believe so. Did Jesus speak the words of the version in Luke? I believe so. Which English version is the “right” one? That depends on how you define “right.” We all have our preferences, but a preference doesn’t make it correct or incorrect. If you gauge that by being the closest possible to the words that Jesus spoke, then no English version is “correct.” It’s likely that Jesus spoke those words in Aramaic (the commonly spoken language of the day), but as far as scholars know, it was first written down in Koine Greek in both the Matthew and Luke accounts, though there are even slight differences in those Greek texts. There has been much scholarly study done on how the Lord’s Prayer transitioned from the most original written words we have to the common forms we know it in today, but I’m not going to focus on that here; you can check this out for an overview.

The fact of the matter is that there is no wrong way to pray - for the Lord’s Prayer or any prayer. There are no specific words that make your prayer “right” or “wrong.” The most important issue with any prayer, including the Lord’s Prayer, is the state of your heart. Is your attitude one of desiring true communication with God? Are you just repeating the words because you have to for participating in a church service? Is your attitude a self-serving one, thinking that you’ll get something from God for saying these words?

The specific words that you say when you speak the Lord’s Prayer are less important than the attitude of your heart. I grew up reciting the Lord’s Prayer at least weekly in church services and in the Christian school I attended as well. For much of that time, it was just saying the words because that’s what you’re supposed to do. After I graduated college, the church I attended at the time had a tradition where toward the end of the service, everyone would hold hands and recite the Lord’s Prayer together. The pastor explained it once by saying that when we hold hands to pray, those who are spiritually “higher” will lift up those who are spiritually “lower,” and we all encourage one another. It also unifies us as part of the body of Christ. Having that closeness to my fellow believers while praying these words of Jesus really brought them alive to me and made them mean so much more.

Over the next few months, I will be focusing on each phrase of the Lord’s Prayer based on the account in Matthew 6:9-13. Each week, we’ll dig into one phrase in Koine Greek, what it means in English, and how we can apply it to our lives today.

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

READ MORE

Idolatry: Lying

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, March 5, 2021 0 comments


by Charlie Wolcott

“You shall not bear false testimony against your neighbor.” -Exodus 20:16

No one likes being lied to. But it sure is amazing how in reality, a person will lie to either make themselves look better or to protect themselves from scrutiny. Lying is a sin that no one is taught; it’s an instinct. That’s the sinful nature easily on display. The first recorded lie told by man was Cain covering his tracks for his murder of Abel, and man hasn’t stopped lying since. Lying lips are the second thing listed by God in the things he hates the most behind a proud look/haughty eyes. Pride is why we lie, because it’s all about self-image. When we exaggerate, we are lying (the use of hyperbole is not a case of this). Those white lies are still lying. Guess what? It does not take much for me to know that I am a liar. I have told lies. I generally am truthful, however all it takes is one lie and by definition I am a liar. I’ve broken this commandment. And guess what? So have you. I don’t have to know your heart or your lifestyle. I just know how mankind is and what Scripture say about us.

Idolatry in regard to lying is like murder or adultery: idolatry leads to it. Now before I go further, I want to make clear that many people are truly sincere in what they believe, and they actually believe it. So while like murder, not all idolatry produces lying, but it certainly plays a role in the practices of idolatry.

Perhaps the clearest example of lying as a direct result of following an idolatrous practice is in Islam with the practice of taqiyya. It is the teaching that in the face of persecution or if it helps the cause of Islam, you can lie to the face of an “infidel.” It is important to realize that Islam teaches conquest and there truly is no such thing as a “moderate Muslim.” They are only “moderate” when they are in the minority, but the moment the majority is Muslim, suddenly they become “radical” in part because the last thing they want is for the “radicals” to think they aren’t Muslim. So they will lie to your face and not think twice about it.

The occult practices are heavy on lying. Remember, a lie is not just a blatant falsehood. It’s also a withholding of the full truth, and it’s speaking partial truths. In the occult, people seek the “advice of the spirits.” They are literally communing with demons. You don’t mess around with that stuff. To the youth reading this or to the parents of youth reading this: things like Tarot Cards, Ouija Boards, Palm Readings, Crystal Balls, the “Charlie Charlie ‘game’,” etc. are talking with demons. These aren’t games. These spirits will talk to you and they will tell you what you want to know. They are skilled observers, and they know things about you that you likely don’t know yourself. They’ll tell you partial truths to suck you in, but it won’t be the whole truth. They will say they are guiding spirits, your imaginary friend, or whatever, but they are demons. And they will get you to believe lies and once you start to believe the lies, you will start to speak them as though they are facts.

Identity politics has taking lying and blown it up to excessive proportions. We have men identifying as women, women identifying as men, blacks identifying as white, whites identifying as “Native Americans,” a grown woman identifying as a cat, and a man identifying as a 6-year-old girl, just to name a few. This is not only insanity; it’s lying. It’s lying to yourself and lying to public about yourself.

Don’t think the church is exempt from lying either. There is a lot of disillusionment in the young community about the church in regard to hypocrisy. Hypocrisy is a form of lying, and in many cases the hypocrisy comes from an idolatrous view of God. A recent book I read is “The Ten Commandments of Progressive Christianity” by Michael Kruger. It’s an excellent exposé of ten of the major teachings of this movement, but what he points out is that there are a bunch of half-truths in each of these tenets. The Progressive Christian movement does have some legitimate complaints about how the evangelical church has been, but their solution is to ditch truth, ditch facts, go by emotion, “love everyone” (without addressing sin), and forget any real relationship with God or that we have a sin problem. They want gracious behavior but not sound doctrine, and in reality, you can’t get gracious behavior without sound doctrine. They teach we should be loving towards each other and be good people, but when it comes to sexuality, how dare anyone question that. How can they have it both ways? They have an idolatrous view of God, coming out of post-modernism, and as a result they are not being truthful about what they actually believe. Kruger points out that this is not Christianity. It’s something else entirely.

One thing that pushes my buttons when it comes it evangelism is the idea that we can “agree with the world” on a number of things so they will know we are on their side, and then we can tell them the truth about Jesus. This is a classic bait-and-switch, and frankly it’s a deception. Whoever does this is lying to whomever they are trying to convert. They teach in practice that it is fine to move them from one lie to another lie only then to reveal the actual truth. Here is a modern example of this. The world believes that the earth is 4.5 billion years old and they think the idea of the earth only being 6000 years old is silly. So, if we say that God created the heavens and the earth as the Bible describes, the “educated” won’t listen to us, therefore, we need to agree with them about the age of the earth so they will not shut us down and we can tell them about Jesus. I’ve heard this many times. They are sincere about it. They truly think that is the best way to approach it. But they are lying to everyone they speak to in doing so. The rest of the world can read the Bible too and they KNOW it teaches 6-day creation with only a 6000-year history.

So, what happens? Either the evangelist who does this is dismissed, or they get the person to believe a half truth. And that half-truth includes what it means to be a Christian. Now I am not saying you must believe in a 6-day creation and a 6000-year history to be saved. I am saying you must believe the Bible means what it says if you are saved. Otherwise, you have the Holy Spirit within you saying it’s okay to not believe His inspired message when it comes to a controversial topic. It may take a while for the Holy Spirit to get deeply ingrained lies rooted out of you. I give grace for that. But any person who actively and openly questions the clarity of Scripture is not operating by the Holy Spirit, very likely is not saved, and has a false image of God. It’s idolatry, and such positions lead to lying about God, lying about your standing with God, and lying to others about God

John MacArthur makes a harsh statement about those who do not accurately represent God (he was specifically talking about those whom in current post-modern thought teach that God cannot be known or His word is not clear): “They hate the true God and are scared to death if anyone finds out who He really is.” I can say from my encounters with such people that they don’t just hate God, they also hate all who speak correctly about Him. They are idolaters and don’t want their delusions shattered, so they lie through their teeth about God, feigning a form of godliness but denying it.

Idolatry leads to lying – lying to others, lying to God, and lying to yourself. The only way to deal with it is to get rid of your idols and tear down your high places. Then return to the True God who speaks only truth and will deal with all forms of error. I have one more commandment to address next week: covetousness.

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

READ MORE