Fundamental Joy

John 14:1 says “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.” And verse 12 says “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father.”

I dont completely understand how we can do greater works than Christ, except that maybe there was but one Jesus who returned to the Father leaving many brothers and sisters who would go proclaim the gospel and do great works “which God prepared beforehand” (Ephesians 2:10).

Sometimes I feel like life is just one little situation, one little problem, one little frustration after another. And I get discouraged and ask, “Whats the point?”

And then Christ comes along and says Let not your heart be troubled. I’ve prepared great works for you.

Life does not consist of little frustrations, little problems, but of great works prepared by our God.

Steve Saint, whose father was killed on the mission field said this: For the world, the pain is fundamental and the joy is superficial because it won’t last. But for us, the pain is superficial and the joy is fundamental.

Accurate Reporting or Left-wing Propaganda?

Shortly before the movie “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed” came out, I reviewed it and recommended it on my blog. (I saw it in a special screening before it was in theaters. I did not review this movie without seeing it, as many in the left-wing media did.) I believe that the issues it speaks to are of great importance. I also believe that some in the aforementioned left-wing media would have us to believe otherwise.

As stated on the Evolution News and Views blog, an editorial in the New York Times presents, as fact, statements that are simply not true. It says that we creationists “struggle with reality,” that teaching the strengths and weaknesses of evolution is “code for teaching creationism.” These statements are simply false.

But it gets worse. It moves from ill-informed opinion to blatant lies:

Scientists are always probing the strengths and weakness of their hypotheses. That is the very nature of the enterprise. But evolution is no longer a hypothesis. It is a theory rigorously supported by abundant evidence. The weaknesses that creationists hope to teach as a way of refuting evolution are themselves antiquated, long since filed away as solved.

But The Scientist (magazine) would beg to differ. It seems that all the mysteries and questions surrounding the process of evolution have not been “filed away as solved.”

This theory of evolution is really a framework for thinking about change in the living world. It provides no specific guesses for the kinds of traits that may exist, no strong requirements or prohibitions on how they may interact to make a complex organism or ecosystem, and no commitments to how innovation can occur. Even the problem of how a differentiated population ultimately divides into two distinct species (posed in the title of Darwin’s seminal work) remains a major technical problem in evolutionary biology

Someone needs to explain to the New York Times the difference between fact and fiction.

Status Quo Was The Status Quo

I was recently scanning the “Religion” message forum – a place for open discussion of all things religious – on and I came across a very interesting “thread.” It was titled: What would the world be today if Jesus and Christianity had never existed?

Now I must admit I’ve never considered this question before. I’ve never heard the issue raised.

Status quo was the status quo. That is: most of the discussion was along the lines that, were there no Jesus, no Christianity, things in this world would be basically the same.

Now that surprising to me on many levels (some of which I will mention here). It seems absolutely none of the Christians I know would answer that the world would still be truckin’ along at basically the same pace with no major differences. So the overwhelming response was not coming from the Christian worldview, but from a secular atheistic worldview.

Now that may not be atheistic with respect to any god at all. But it is certainly atheistic toward a god who actually does anything.

Another surprise is that many of the leading secularists of the modern day – such as Sam Harris – blame religion for most of the world conflicts and wars. The one who hold this view would logically believe that the world sans Christianity would be a much more peaceful place.

I am stricken by the irony of this idea: that a religion centered around repentance, mercy, forgiveness and grace, a religion whose God, when he came to earth, said “Blessed is the peacemaker,” a religion whose primary carriers opt for martyrdom over resistance would merely propagate violence, hatred and widespread suffering. Though I disagree vehemently, I do appreciate the irony (or absurdity) of the view. I also recognize that many who have acted on behalf of (or in the name of) Christianity historically have acted often in ways very far removed from its teachings.

(I’m not stooping here to apologize for Christianity’s place in the Crusades, which are constantly thrown in my face as a miscarriage of justice on behalf of Christianity. If it weren’t for the Crusades, Islamic radicals would have probably taken over all of Europe. The entire western hemisphere would likely be speaking in Arabic, daily memorizing the Koran, making pilgrimages to Mecca and endeavoring in other vain attempts to earn passage into Paradise.)

But where does a Christian begin in considering the question: what would the world be today if Jesus and Christianity had never existed? We can at least say that there would be no substitutionary atonement on the cross. This would lead to no grace, no mercy, only wrath from a Holy God toward unrighteous man. This is a very bleak picture to begin with.

We could further extrapolate, however, with the apostle Paul who boasted only in the cross, for all good things come to man through it. Common grace would be absent. There would be no with-holding of wrath, by God, on behalf of the righteous remnant who trust in him.

This was the case with Sodom and Gomorrah. God would have with-held wrath had there been a mere 10 people who were righteous, who trusted in Him. But there weren’t. And fire and brimstone (literally sulfur) were rained down from heaven on these cities and their inhabitants were utterly destroyed. That is a picture of the absence of common grace because of the lack of a righteous remnant. Without Christ and Christianity the world would be a horrible place; mankind would be doomed to destruction.

But I must extrapolate even further. Without Jesus, there would be no Triune God. Genesis 1, in which God says “Let us make man in our image,” could not be. Without Christ, the second Person of the Trinity, there would be no mankind.

Be we must go even further still. Hebrews 1:3 tells us that our world holds together by the word of His power. (The “His” here refers to Jesus.) So without Jesus, everything – everything – would just fall apart, cease to be. Further, though, John 1:3 tells us that all things came into being through Christ. So, actually, everything wouldn’t fall apart because there would be nothing of our existance – or any other save for God himself – created.

However, we must still trek further. We must consider the very person of God. For without the second person of the Trinity – Jesus – God would be a far different God. Who could even speculate as to the kind of God he would be?

Apparently the secular and Christian answers to this question are far different – about as different as two answers could be. The real question to be answered though is not: what would the world be today if Jesus and Christianity had never existed? The real question is: Has God really spoken?

For if he hasn’t, the secular answer is as good as any. But if God has spoken, if He has revealed Himself, if the Bible is His revealed Word, then the secular answer fails at every level and the Christian answer to this question – and a million others – is the only pertinent answer there is.

So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” – John 8:31-32

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