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Evidence-based approach to origins leads to creation

The following is adopted from Come and Reason Ministries

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Can any scientist demonstrate something coming from nothing? I can show you a world filled with evidence of new things coming from something that already exists.

Can any scientist demonstrate life coming from non-living matter? I can show you a world teeming with life coming from living matter.

Can any scientist demonstrate complexity coming from chaos by random forces without any intelligent input? I can demonstrate a world filled with complex machines, computers, and technology, all of which is a result of intelligent design and input.

Can any scientist demonstrate random genetic mutation that has added genetic fitness? I can show you millions of genetic mutations that destroy fitness.

Can any scientist demonstrate selection that removes enough genetic damage to cause a species to become more genetically fit than the preceding generations? I can show you that despite selection the accumulation of genetic damage increases with each subsequent generation thereby degrading the species.

Further, which theory is in harmony with known laws of physics? The first law of thermodynamics, energy is conserved, rules out the first premise of evolution origins. Something cannot come from nothing if energy is conserved.

The second law of thermodynamics, things tend toward disorder unless energy is put into a system, simply states that left to its own things decay over time. This law rules out the premise that complexity comes from chaos without intelligent input. It also rules out the idea that genetic mutation results in increased fitness.

Both of these scientific laws of thermodynamics support the premises of creation origins but fail to support evolution origins.

So, which theory is actually built upon testable, reproducible evidence, in harmony with known laws, and which theory is demonstrated, by the evidence, to be inconsistent with testable evidence and laws? Then which theory is more scientific?

I find it fascinating that Creationism is actually founded upon scientific premises and beliefs, and supported by testable laws, whereas evolutionism origins is founded upon “blind faith,” premises that are disproved by objective testable science. Yet, scientists refuse to follow the evidence and instead persist in proclaiming evolutionary origins are actually scientific.

 

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How do I forgive??

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Torn piece of paper with the word “Forgive” in the woman’s palms.

 

The following is adapted heavily from Timothy S. Lane’s article titled “Pursuing and Granting Forgiveness” which was originally published in The Journal of Biblical Counseling in Spring of 2005.  It can be read in its entirety online here:  http://www.gigr.org/uploads/Forgive.pdf

 

Forgiveness is such a crucial part of many people’s healing.  Unforgiveness is one of those top three factors that brings on depression.  But it is also a very difficult topic.  There are many confusions about what it is and how it happens, and why we fight it.  Timothy Lane’s article does an excellent job of detailing all of these hard to explain or understand topics.  I’ve used it with many clients, and found great results.  Below I will summarize each section and point made, and provide my insights as well.

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WHAT IS FORGIVENESS?

Before we can know how to forgive, we have to accurately define.  Lane separates out this definition into 7 sections:

  1. Forgiveness cancels a debt.

When someone wrongs us, we have this feeling as if they owe us.  Forgiveness involves releasing them from that obligation.

 

  1. Forgiveness makes a three-fold promise.

1 – I will not bring up this offense again.  (Forgiveness is not authentic if we use the offense over and over to knock the offender down again)

2 – I will not gossip or malign you because of this offense.  (No getting together with your girlfriends or buddies and knocking your spouse for it behind closed doors)

3 – I will not dwell on this offense.  (No playing the video tape of the event over and over.  No, I won’t ask you to destroy the tape, but it’s time to pop it out and put it on the shelf)

 

  1. Failure to forgive turns victims into victimizers.

This is the concept where the real person that unforgiveness hurts is you – not them.  You are sabatoging your own future.  They are free, they’ve probably moved on.  You are stuck, and it may be eating you alive.  You may inevitably take that out on others or yourself.

 

  1. Failure to forgive has an eternal cost.

Matthew 6:15 says “if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”  Yoda says “fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering” – all of which is the path to the dark side.  Unforgiveness breeds bitterness, hate, fear, and suffering.

 

  1. Forgiveness is both and event and a process.

It is something we don’t just do once and be done with it.  It is an event, in the sense that it is an action we take, but it is also a process in the fact that we have to continue to choose a lifestyle of forgiveness.  It’s a daily choice.  It is not a simple one-and-done.

 

  1. Forgiveness is not forgetting.

This is one that really trips a lot of people up and prevents forgiveness.  Many think they must forget that the offense ever happened.  This is simply not true.  This is a wrong interpretation of Jeremiah 31:34 that says that God will remember our sins no more.  Lane says “but the omniscient God does not have amnesai when it comes to our sins.  The word ‘remember’ in this passage does not mean ‘memory’, it means ‘covenant’”.  God chooses to not dwell on our sins anymore.

 

  1. Forgiveness is not peace at any cost.

Many do not wish to forgive because they think that will give the offender the permission to walk all over them.  To get past this we need to understand that forgiveness is not for them, it is for you.  Forgiveness opens the door for Godly confrontation in love.  It opens the door for healthy communication and restoration.

 

After these seven concepts, I think we can summarize forgiveness into the following statement:

Forgiveness is treating another person not as though they deserve.

 Or you can put it towards yourself… forgiveness is treating yourself not as though you think you deserve.

Now that we know what forgiveness is or is not, we can move onto how to do it.

 

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PRACTICING FORGIVENESS

 Lane outlines five parts of how to practice forgiveness, and you will notice quickly that most of them have to do with looking inward first and making sure you are ready to forgive.  Matthew 7:5 says “first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”

 

  1. Don’t turn a blind eye to sin.

Don’t ignore your own faults.  Watch your behavior.  Learn from mistakes.

 

  1. Love the habitual sinner wisely.

This has to do with setting appropriate boundaries.  Sometimes we don’t know exactly what to do or how to handle the situation, but God does!  This is where we entrust the person’s well being to God because we can’t be involved in that lifestyle.

 

  1. Hold yourself to a high Biblical standard.

Here’s where we really examine ourself:  our character, our integrity.  This is where we remain open to reconciliation even in the worst of circumstances.  I think about the many times I hear people talk about marital unfaithfulness as a ‘deal-breaker’.  I understand that feeling, but I don’t think that concept resembles a high Biblical standard.  Just because divorce is justified because of unfaithfulness, doesn’t mean it has to automatically be our default position.

 

  1. Deal first with your own heart attitude.

This has to do with making forgiveness a lifestyle, not just a choice or action we do.  Lane says “you cannot use the offender’s failure to ask for forgiveness as an excuse to hold onto your anger and hurt.”  We have a responsibility to forgive first on a vertical axis – with God before we attempt horizontal forgiveness with the offender… and there’s no excuse for not forgiving them on the vertical axis.

 

  1. Ask for forgiveness.

And finally, after all that preparation – this is the step where we actually do it.  This is the event of forgiveness.  The process continues on afterwards.  This may be us asking for forgiveness or letting someone know we forgive them.  In my house when our kids have to ask for forgiveness it is a 4 step process:

1 – apologize.

2 – why was it wrong.

3 – what will you do differently in the future.

4 – ask for forgiveness.

 

Even after learning all of the above, many of us are still hestiant to forgiveness.  Why is that??  Lane outlines three more bullet points on why we don’t forgive.

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WHY DON’T WE FORGIVE

 

  1. You don’t believe that you need to be forgiven.

Ever thought this:  well, I’ve done wrong but I’ve never killed anyone.  Yeah, that’s this concept.  It wasn’t a big deal what I did.  But by who’s standard?  God’s standard is perfection.  In only took one sin for paradise to be lost in the Garden of Eden.  What’s so wrong with eating a piece of fruit?  Nothing in theory, but it was wrong because they were told not to.  Anything that God tells us not to do, but we do anyways is sin – and automatically separates us from God – and we need forgiveness.

 

  1. You don’t think you are forgivable.

Sounding like humility, this is actually pride.  What you are saying is:

1 – My sin is too big, there is no way God’s grace can top it.

2 – I don’t want to rely solely on God’s mercy.

3 – God may forgive me but I can’t forgive myself.

This last one sounds like humility but it’s full of pride.  If God is the judge and deems you not guilty, then you sit in judgment of his judgment – what does that say about your faith?

 

  1. The joy of His forgiveness has grown dim.

Lane says “the white hot truth of the Gospel gets lost in that monotony, and it soon becomes simply a nice, warm experience of the past.  We return to handling daily life and the provocations of others in ways similar to our pre-Christian days.”

 

This entire article is the roadmap to forgiveness and reconciliation.  Forgiveness is for you, for your sanity, for your future.  It is God’s plan for your life.  It is a lifestyle.  It is choosing to treat someone not as though they deserve.  God does it for us.  The least we can do is do it for others.  I know it is hard, but I promise it is worth it.  I leave you with the song and story behind the song of Matthew West’s “Forgiveness”…

 

 

Island rapidly forms before sailor’s eyes!

In 2006, a group of sailors traversing the south Pacific ocean came across an anomaly.  What appeared to be a sand barge in the middle of the ocean.

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They decided to investigate.  They maneuvered their boat through the ‘sand barge’ leaving a trail in their wake.

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As they moved away they noticed something strange – a plume of smoke rising out of the area.

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It turned out they had just sailed over an active volcano!  Within minutes, the witnessed a brand new island being formed rapidly before their eyes!

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This amazing event gives evidence to a rarely talked about phenomenon: how geologic events can and do occur very rapidly!  We get used to interpreting most geologic processes as gradual and uniform, taking millions of years to form and change.  This is not always true.

We creationists believe that the flood of Noah’s time initiated plate tectonics (“the fountains of the great deep burst forth” Gen 7:11).  We believe that was the onset of of most geologic activity such as earthquakes, volcanoes, tsunamis, etc.  In fact, we believe that ongoing geologic events are technically aftershocks from the flood.  We believe the flood rearranged the continents, raised the mountain ranges, lowered valleys, and much more.

This amazing rapid island formation is evidence that although we observe most geologic events such as erosion happening very slowly over a long time, extreme catastrophic events can shape the face of the planet very rapidly.  When we see this island formation happen, it makes it more understandable how a worldwide catastrophe such as the flood could quickly reshape our planet – and that judging that past by today’s normal slow processes would lead to incorrect conclusions (old-earth/evolution).

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more info:  http://www.snopes.com/photos/natural/maiken.asp

Twitter debate with Biologos

This week I had the pleasure of interacting with Mario Anthony Russo of Biologos.  Russo is a God-loving Christian who used to be an outspoken young-earth creation apologist and is now with Biologos, the largest theistic evolution promoting organization.  We had a debate in 140 characters or less on Twitter.

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It was in response to his new article titled “Tales of a recovering Answer Addict: From young-earth apologist to Evolutionary Creationist” (http://biologos.org/blogs/brad-kramer-the-evolving-evangelical/tales-of-a-recovering-answer-addict-from-young-earth-apologist-to-evolutionary-creationist).  Here is some more background info on Russo:

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The following are screenshots of our Twitter debate.  Since it is kinda confusing to go into Twitter and see everything, I tried to reassemble it in chronological order below.  Of course Twitter is not the most preferred format for a debate (and hard to screen cap – you will see a couple duplicates, etc), it certainly gets to the point quickly.

I hope you will be able to see how I believe he dodged several direct questions and was not willing to admit that he interprets the Bible through his beliefs about science…

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This entire debate can be summed up in this image:

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Atheists admit they don’t know where laws of nature come from

The Helix Nebula is 700 light-years away from Earth, but screened before audience's eyes in reconstructed 3D in Hidden Universe, released in IMAX® theatres and giant-screen cinemas around the globe and produced by the Australian production company December Media in association with Film Victoria, Swinburne University of Technology, MacGillivray Freeman Films and ESO. The original image was taken by ESO's VISTA Telescope.

Imagine you wake up, check your bank account – and there’s $1 million in there that you have no idea where it came from!  What do you do?  I think the reasonable person goes to the bank and finds out what happened.  According to atheist logic, you just go about spending it.  Let me explain…

The universe is governed by unchanging laws of nature.  In an atheistic worldview there is no explanation where these laws came from or how they originated.  They just are.  The problem is the entirety of science is built on those laws and constants.  When we do an experiment we expect it to return the same results each time we do it because constants and laws are the same.  I was curious as to how atheists reconcile this seemingly big leap of logic.  They love science, but their science depends on these laws/constants that they have no idea where it came from or why its there.  They say there’s no evidence for God, and I say they have to be deliberately ignoring it as it stares them in the face everyday.  In my metaphor above, it seems like they would rather spend the money and go about their life then realize that the existence of the money suggests someone put it there.  It’s like they have constructed a house built on an invisible foundation – and they’re okay with that.

I asked the reddit community “DebateAnAtheist”, and got some rather interesting responses with the overwhelming consensus being “I don’t know”.  Here’s what I asked…

“Where do constants such as laws of nature come from? I would think that the atheist answer would have to include some sort of gradual, unintelligent, evolutionary process – but how can a constant or a law evolve? If it did, wouldn’t that suggest that it is theoretically still changing and thus not really a constant? If it didn’t evolve, then where did it come from? There doesn’t seem to be any good explanation from an atheistic perspective – but laws and constants are proven science. I posit that it is more logical to hold to a position that laws and constants were designed to serve a purpose put in place by a creator to govern the universe. You may say the burden of proof is on me to demonstrate the positive claim, but irregardless your entire worldview relies on these laws/constants that you cannot account for. Do you find that problematic?”

Here’s a fun collection of responses I received with my responses bolded…..
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“If I say “I don’t know” then does “God did it” automatically win? What evidence is available to support the creationist claim?”

That doesn’t solve YOUR problem. You will never be able to convince me of a naturalistic worldview if you can’t even account for the laws/constants you need to make that worldview work. 

 

my world view rests on the facts I do have, not the facts I don’t have. What you seem to be ignoring is that you don’t have that foundation either, you’re just pretending you do.”

So you admit that we both use faith to justify our worldviews, right?

 

Faith is pretending to know things that you don’t know. Show me where I have professed “faith” in something.”

You have faith that naturalistic atheism will one day be able to answer this question that your entire worldview relies on.

 

I’m able to accept that there are things I don’t know without having to make up answers to make me feel better.”

The little thing you don’t know affects your entire worldview and the entirety of science.

 

“Laws of nature” are descriptive, not prescriptive. There is no indication that they were “put in place” by anyone/anything or that they are “serving a purpose”. The universe is. It is in state A. We study this state and describe it. That is all there is to it.”

Your entire answer can be summed up with where you said “the universe is”. Well, that’s not really an answer. I asked where did the laws come from… you answered – they just are. Not going to convince me that way.

 

The “laws” did not come from anywhere. They are a property of this universe. It is like asking “Where does red come from?”. It does not come from anywhere, it is a property of the visible spectrum that we defined as “red”.”

I’m not asking where red came from. I’m asking where the visible spectrum came from. I understand red. I understand constants. Where did they come from? Why do we have them? If you can’t answer that, I’m not buying naturalistic atheism. I would hope no one would!

 

And your entire argument is just “God is.”

Are you admitting that your logic is no better than the theists you argue against? Are you admitting that we both use faith?

 

I’m saying that I believe the only intellectually honest answer is “I don’t know,” not a baseless assertion – no matter what side of the fence you are on.”

That’s a HUGE I don’t know. You have faith that one day naturalistic science will be able to answer it. I don’t have that much faith.

 

actually you have even more faith than that.  Because instead of accepting “i dont know”, you have accepted a cosmic jewish zombie as the answer to everything.”

At least I have an answer that can be debated that I’ve built my worldview on. You have no answer and yet you’ve built a worldview on it. I’d say that takes more faith.

 

If there weren’t constants, the universe would be dramatically different and not support life, or not exist at all. Why shouldn’t there be natural constants?”

That’s a non-answer. You are basically saying they exist because they’re necessary. Well, we’re just back to square one. I agree they’re necessary – but that doesn’t answer the question.

 

The only intellectually honest answer to the question of where all these natural laws and constants came from is: We don’t know.  The Whys and Hows of Natural Law and Universal Constants are indeed difficult questions to answer, and at this time, rather beyond our ability to explain except through unsupported speculation. However, “Goddidit” doesn’t even warrant status as a Stupid Answer – it’s no answer at all. It just moves the question up a level.

This is a non-answer. It’s basically saying “they just are”. Yet you rely on them, but you can’t account for them. Your entire worldview is predicated on their existence yet you have no clue where they came from. I understand that it just switches the burden of proof back to me which I can’t fully provide… but doesn’t that demonstrate how we are both in the same boat. Our entire worldviews hinge on assumptions we can’t prove. We both require the same amount of faith. Therefore atheism is no more logically correct than theism.

 

The “laws of nature” come from US. It’s just humanity describing what they see.”

That’s not really an answer. Yes, we came up with the language to describe what we are seeing but we can’t explain where what we are seeing came from. That’s what I’m asking.

 

“What atheists will tell you is instead of assuming that the answer is God, let’s just keep working on figuring it out. The answer could end up being God, or it could be some other ultra complex process that we can’t even comprehend. But most atheists feel like they have yet to see any evidence to support God being the answer.”

I find it ironic that “most atheists feel like they have yet to see any evidence to support God” when I am right here right now saying that the existence of these laws/constants IS the evidence.

 

I’d prefer to just be honest when asked this question and say “No I don’t know where they came from, do you?” and hope one day someone has the right answer to tell me.”

I appreciate your faith.

 

The constants are what they are, because if they weren’t we would not be there to observe the values of these constants.”

This is not an answer. This is a circular argument.

 

 I can account for laws/constants. They have to be some number or another, and the values that we measure for them are simply the values that they happen to be.”

And do you believe that number magically set itself up that way so that it works fine tuned with all the other magically/randomly set up the same way? Sounds like each law/constant had intelligence about the others. Whew!!

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The bottom line is that the entire atheistic worldview is built on the existence of laws and constants that atheists themselves admit they can’t explain where they came from… and then they don’t see why that’s a problem!?  In a Christian worldview, God created the laws of nature to set the universe in order to serve a purpose to sustain life.  Any worldview relies on faith, some worldviews are just more complete than others.  The point of this whole exercise is to encourage Christians to not feel intimidated by the modern atheist movement to shove their devotion to science down our throats.  Don’t fret – they can’t even give an account where the fundamentals necessary to do science comes from.  Their entire argument is circular.

To read all the over 300 responses you can read the thread yourself here:
https://www.reddit.com/r/DebateAnAtheist/comments/3sguyy/where_do_constants_such_as_laws_of_nature_come/

Be sure to hit the + buttons to unfold all the conversations to read all my replies as they are always downvoted to oblivion.

ACLU sues Indiana school over nativity scene

The following news report popped up in my neck of the woods (Northern Indiana):

Federal lawsuit filed for Concord Community Schools’ use of nativity scene

http://www.wndu.com/home/headlines/Federal-lawsuit-filed-for-Concord-Community-Schools-use-of-nativity-scene–331137932.html

“The ACLU is filing a federal lawsuit against the Concord Community Schools for their use of the nativity scene in their annual Christmas concert.

The federal court documents say the nativity scene violates the establishment clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, and that the plaintiffs are entitled to their nominal damages.”

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There seems to be a recurring theme over what can and can’t be said/done in a government-funded public school setting.  This is mainly because the separation of church and state concept has grossly been overapplied and misinterpreted.  This school’s display of a nativity scene during their holiday celebration is in no way evangelistic.  In other words, it is not put there to proselytize anyone.  It is put there duing a Christmas celebration because it is historically significant to the event.  Whether Christ’s birth is literal or not, whether it was divine or not, and how it applies to our eternal souls – is NOT the point of this display.  Even the debate over the historocity of the nativity as an actual event isn’t the point.  Whether it happened or not, the nativity is not culturally and historically significant and worthy of inclusion in a holiday celebration.  If you think about it from a secular position, it is no different than kids singing about Santa Claus.  Whether Santa is real or not doesn’t matter, it’s the fact that Santa is an important tradition in regards to Christmas in the same sense that the nativity is.

There really doesn’t seem like there should even be a debate about this.  This is no different than the display of a painting of Benjamin Franklin in the school’s hall.  Benjamin Franklin is a historically significant individual, the nativity is a historically significant event.  We cannot erase history to protect our feelings.  Just because the nativity offends some people doesn’t mean we should cater to their insecurities.  Should we also remove all mentions of the holocaust as that would offend some Jews in our history classes?  Of course not.

What this boils down to is a non-Christian choosing to attend an optional program where they know a Christian holiday will be celebrated, and then being offended when exactly that happens.

The beautiful thing about our country is that we are a melting pot.  Many different kinds of people all living together.  That means from time to time you are going to hear something that disagrees with you… and that is ok.  It reminds me of one of my favorite quotes from one of my favorite movies of all time: The American President.  Michael Douglas’s democratic President Andrew Shepherd utters this unforgettable truth:

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