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Unapologetic - Brian Seagraves
34 minutes | 2 months ago
Sermon: 1 Corinthians 6:1-11 – Christians Have Been Changed By God To Be Different
In this passage we see that Paul expects Christians to act like Christians because they have been changed by God.
4 minutes | 2 months ago
Episode 219 – Why Should Christians Care About Gender And Sexuality? (Video)
Here are 2 main reasons why Christians should care about Gender and Sexuality.
7 minutes | 2 months ago
Episode 218 – Can We Trust The Bible (Video)
Here’s a quick 6 minute video with 4 reasons we can trust the Bible.
5 minutes | 2 months ago
Episode 217 – Why Are There Viruses And Natural Disasters?
Here’s a quick 5 minute video/audio on a how to view viruses and natural disasters from a biblical perspective.
7 minutes | 3 months ago
Episode 218 - Can We Trust The Bible (Video)
31 minutes | 4 months ago
Sermon: 1 Corinthians 15:1-8 - The Most Important Message that You Never Move Past
VideoAudio TranscriptGood morning. My name is Brian, and it's great to be with you this morning as a church family. We're starting a new series today called Legit and when Pastor Dean told me that, I said, "I don't know if I'm legit enough to abbreviate that word." But what I can do is point us to the legit beliefs in the scriptures, the things that we should unite around as Christians, the things that we must hold on to that we can't not affirm, because there are many false ideas about God and religion today, about reality. False ideas about how we know what's true, what we should hold to, what we should cling to. And if we're going to base our lives on something, it needs to be true. I mean if it's not true, even if it feels good, even if it gives us warm fuzzies, we're just wasting our time and probably hurting other people. So how do we know what is true? Where do we go? Hopefully what comes to mind for you is the scriptures. We all have our own opinions, our own intuitions, the things we feel most deeply, but we can't look inwards to determine what is true, we can't look inwards to determine the answers to life's most pressing questions. We must look to something outside of ourselves, something that doesn't depend on what we think or how we feel. And the fact is God has told us what is true. He has told us what the world is like. And he's told us that in his word. So if you have your Bible, please turn with me to First Corinthians Chapter 15, First Corinthians Chapter 15. We'll be starting in verse one. In this letter called First Corinthians, Paul is writing to a church at Corinth, and this is a church that has many problems. Name a problem, they probably have it. They're divided over what is right and what is wrong, they're divided over who they follow and how they even know what is true, and they're divided over the beliefs they are supposed to hold. It's a very divided church. And in Chapter 15, so he's already gone a lot into this letter, but in Chapter 15, he tells them what is of first importance. And that's what we need to cling to, that's what we need to hold to and that's what we're going to read together this morning. So here's what Paul says. "Now I make clear to you, brothers and sisters, the gospel I preached to you, which you received, on which you have taken your stand and by which you are being saved, if you hold to the message I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. For I passed on to you as most important what I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the Twelve." "Then he appeared to over five hundred brothers and sisters at one time, most of them are still alive, but some have fallen asleep. And then he appeared to James, then to all of the apostles. Last of all, as to one born at the wrong time, he appeared to me." Paul starts out saying that he wants to make clear a gospel, a good news that they have received, that they are standing in and by which they are being saved. And so we see right here that there's a threefold way of looking at our salvation. Often we as New Testament Christians like to point to the past tense dimension of salvation. "We have been saved. We have received a message," in the past. And that's true. But the New Testament conception of salvation is deeper than that, it's more robust than that, because there's a present tense dimension. Paul says we are currently standing on this message. If we are not currently standing in and with this message, we show ourselves to have not previously received the message. But there's also a future dimension to this. There's a deliverance yet to come. We are, Paul says, being saved. We await a future final salvation when we will be ultimately transformed into the perfect image of Christ, when we will be glorified, that's yet to come, that's in the future. And so we have to receive the message, hold onto the message, persevere by God's grace, holding to this message until we reach final salvation. Or we show ourselves to have believed in vain. And Paul continues in verse three, "I passed onto you as most important what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures." It's become increasingly popular in some circles, sometimes liberal academic circles, to say that we should not try to convert someone from one religion to another, that that's inappropriate, that that's wrong. Yet this wasn't the view of Jesus who came proclaiming, "The kingdom of heaven is here. Repent," in other words, "Change your mind and believe this news." It wasn't the view of the early church that staked their lives on the furtherance of the gospel and converting people, and it wasn't the view of Paul we see here. Paul says this is a message that he received, in other words, someone tried to convert him, and that he passed on and that they have, past tense, believed. Christianity is essentially an evangelical religion. Now when I say that word, right, 2020 election season, I've got to immediately say, "Well, what do we mean by evangelical? Is that a voting block? Am I saying that Christianity is a political religion?" Well it is, but not in the way that most people think today. But this term, "Evangelical," or, "Evangelize," has sadly become corrupted in our culture today, because the word Paul uses in verse one here in Chapter 15, when he says he preached the good news to them, that's where we get our word, "Evangelize." He's saying he evangelized them, he proclaimed the good news to them. Christianity, at its heart, is an evangelical religion. It preaches conversion, and a Christianity that does not say, "I have a message you need to hear and I will share it with you," is not Christianity. Christianity is not a private belief. It preaches conversion. And interestingly enough, there are some notable atheists today who would say, "If you don't try to convert me to Christianity, I don't believe you actually believe what you say you believe," right? If you actually have a message that takes someone from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light and you won't share it, I don't think you believe it. And I think sometimes the atheists are more correct on this point than we often live out. But let's look at this message that Paul proclaimed in that he received. Paul says, "That Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures." It's easy to gloss over that phrase and keep going because it probably, if you've been in church for any length of time, sounds like familiar religious jargon or verbiage. Even a three-year-old can say, "Christ died for my sins," and we move on. But this is not a truth we move on from. This is not just the truth that you received in the past and then move on to weightier things or more practical things. No, this is a truth that by clinging to it and persevering in it, you will reach final salvation. You never move on from this truth. It's the truth we see every other truth through. And so I want us to spend some time today on this phrase, "Christ died for our sins according to the Scripture." Now this is a gospel summary. This is not everything that's essential to the Christian faith, this is not everything there is to the gospel. It's a summary. But each one of the words in this summary are themselves a summary. And so I want us to look at these individual words and the rich biblical doctrines they embody. So who is Christ? Christ died for our sins. Well, who is Christ? Christ is the word for Messiah, God's anointed savior of his people. We see elsewhere in the New Testament that the Messiah is Jesus. He was truly God, truly man. And Paul goes on to say that the Christ died for our sins, and so this probably raises some questions. What kind of man can die for sins? What kind of man could die for someone else's sins? Well only a perfect man, only the God man who was perfectly righteous without his own sins could die for someone else's sins. So as we look at the essentials today, here's another one. The belief in Jesus as the Messiah, who is truly God, truly man, who was perfectly righteous. Any other view of Jesus isn't just wrong or unchristian, it ultimately leaves someone in their sins. And don't be mistaken, there are many people today who would say they believe in Jesus and they will not be saved, because the Jesus they believe in is not the true Jesus or what they are trusting that Jesus to do is not something he promised he would do. It's essentially important that we believe in the right Jesus trusting him to do the right things, lest we believe in vain. So Paul says, "Christ died for our sins." What's this, "Our sins concept," right? So in order to understand why Christ died, we actually have to understand the, "Our sins," part of this verse. Well, Jesus died on behalf of sinful people. This is also essential. Mankind, since Genesis 3, is sinful and corrupt. God created us, we see in Genesis 1 and 2, to love him, to obey him, to glorify him, and yet our first parents Adam and Eve rebelled. And because of their sin, we have an inherited guilt before God, we have an inherited sin nature. We are pointed towards sin. It's not just that we sin and then become sinners, we're actually sinners and that is why we sin. We act according to our nature, and we can't just blame Adam and Eve that we've inherited their guilt. No, we're all too good at sinning all on our own and accruing our own guilt before God. And this is the fundamental problem of every person. Many people today want to say that mankind is basically good. We're good at heart and the evils in society or the way people become bad is because of systems, it's because of groups, it's because of systemic factors or society or structures. But there are issues with this. I mean just on the face of it, how do you get enough good people together? And then it becomes bad, righ
31 minutes | 8 months ago
Episode 215 - The Resurrection: Foolish or True?
Here’s an interview I did on the resurrection: why it matters, how it affects our personal devotion, and the best answers to objections.Audio
31 minutes | 8 months ago
Episode 215 – The Resurrection: Foolish or True?
Here’s an interview I did on the resurrection: why it matters, how it affects our personal devotion, and the best answers to objections.
36 minutes | 8 months ago
Sermon: 1 Corinthians 3:18-23 – If You Think Yourself To Be Wise, Become A Fool
How do we know if we’re actually wise in God’s eyes or in the world’s eyes? Is it good to be a fool in the world?
36 minutes | 8 months ago
Sermon: 1 Corinthians 3:18-23 - If You Think Yourself To Be Wise, Become A Fool
VideoAudio TranscriptWe are going through this letter that Paul has written to the church at Corinth. In our Bibles, it's called First Corinthians, and if you have your Bible, go ahead and turn to First Corinthians chapter three. First Corinthians chapter three, we'll be starting in verse 18. And like I said, this is a letter that Paul wrote to a real church, real people about 2000 years ago. But it's not just Paul's words, it's also the words of God. This is Holy Spirit breathed revelation. It's relevant for us and just as much God's words today as when he wrote it. Now, if you've been here, if you've been following along in our First Corinthians series, you've seen that this is a church in Corinth that's rather divided. And we'll go on to see the additional ways that they're divided, but we've seen that they're divided over what true preaching is. What kind of leaders should we follow? How do we know? And as we continue on in the letter, we'll see that they're divided over the practice of spiritual gifts. They're divided over how they respond to sin in the body of Christ. And Paul is writing to unify them around biblical, theologically accurate truth. And the section we're going to be in today in chapter three, really ending chapter three, concludes a line of argument that Paul began all the way back in chapter one starting in verse 18. And I want to read that to put us in context. So we're going to see the book ends of his argument. And this is what he says, "For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing. But it is the power of God to us who are being saved." Briefly put, the wisdom that God is opposed to here is a wisdom of the world. It's concerned, in Paul's context here, with evaluating preaching according to what's persuasive according to the standards of men and not what is accountable to God and his revelation. It's more based on the speaker than it is the truthfulness of the content. Another way to say it is, it's skilled in the things of the world and not in the things of the kingdom of God. And my hope for us today is that we will see what true wisdom is according to God in his word to us. And that our hearts will be lifted to worship God as we see in this passage, that all things are for us in Christ: the future, the present life, death. All things serve us and Jesus and all things are for our benefit. So let's read our passage today, starting in First Corinthians three verse 18. Paul says, ” Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you thinks he is wise in this age, let him become a fool so that he can become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God, since it is written, He catches the wise in their craftiness; and again, the Lord knows the reasonings of the wise are futile. So let no one boast in human leaders for everything is yours- whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or things present or things to come- everything is yours, and you belong to Christ and Christ belongs to God." This concludes where he started out saying, ”The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing," back in chapter one verse 18. And today's section really has two parts and they each start with, "Let no one," which is just a way of saying, "Don't do this." Examine yourself. Don't fall prey to human leaders and amassing around them. But he's addressing the two main struggles the church has at this point so far in the letter. Quarreling over human leaders, and doing it all the while thinking themselves to be wise. And he's saying, "No, you're actually being foolish." They have an estimation of their circumstance that is 180 degrees off of reality. And that's why in verse 18 he says, “Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you thinks he is wise in this age, let him become a fool so that he can become wise." He's telling them to evaluate themselves to determine are they wise in the world or are they wise in God's eyes? Because they all thought they were wise in God's eyes. And he's saying you've been self deceived, you're actually fools. But we should feel the brunt of this and the weight of this too. Don't be deceived. Much of what we count as true wisdom is actually foolishness in God's eyes. This letter is not just for Corinth 2,000 years ago. We need to consider this today and we need to ask where we and our families are believing and practicing and living according to the wisdom of the world and not the wisdom of the kingdom of heaven. And all of us have places where this is true. And you're probably thinking there's nothing I believe that's actually foolish. I don't knowingly believe something is foolish. Well, of course you don't. And neither did the Corinthians. That's why Paul says, "Don't be self deceived." We need to make sure we are not self deceived. We are blind to our blind spots. That's why they call them blind spots because you're blind to them. You can't see them. So we need the power of the spirit of God and the power of the word of God to remove the scales from our eyes in certain areas of our life so we can determine where we're believing the lies of the world and believing things are wise that are actually foolish in God's eyes. And that's where we need to repent and we need to change our mind and become a fool in the world so that we will be wise in the kingdom of Heaven. Paul tells us why this is, he shows us there's no middle ground. In verse 19, ”For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God." So it's not just that the gospel is foolishness to the world, it's also that what is wise in the world is foolish with God. There's no middle ground here. And I think there are many examples of this. I mean, consider the world's importance that it places on wealth. Or the primacy that it puts on personal autonomy or the prize of place it puts on comfort and security and safety. Or the way it prizes power. All of those are believed to be wise ends in the world. And biblically speaking, they're not a prime importance at all and often many of them are foolish and directly lead to ruin and shipwreck. The world considers them to be wise, but God does not. And for this reason, the gospel isn't viewed as foolishness. It says that salvation comes through surrender. It says that the meek inherit the earth and he who dies pursuing the most toys really does die and goes to hell. That what the world thinks is wise and worth pursuing isn't just a neutral ground. It's not just a couple of degrees off of the truth. It's diametrically 180 degrees opposed to biblical wisdom at many points. You're either a fool in the world or you're fool in the kingdom of Heaven. You're either wise in the world or you're wise in the kingdom of Heaven. In verse 19 Paul continues, ”Since it is written, he catches the wise in their craftiness." And again, the Lord knows the reasonings of the wise are futile. And he's quoting two Old Testament books here. He's quoting Job and he's quoting the Psalms. There's this idea floating around today often in christian circles that the New Testament church didn't have a Bible. They did, it was the Old Testament. Their reasonings about ethics and morality, right out of the Old Testament. Their understanding of who God is and grace and justice, straight out of the Old Testament. The New Testament church had a Bible and it was the Old Testament. So it's not surprising when basically on every page of our New Testament they're quoting what God had spoken before. And here Paul quotes Job 5:13. And this is Eliphaz speaking in Job. And Eliphaz is giving a speech, which ultimately goes on to be discredited. But that doesn't mean everything he said was false. He's right, here. God really does catch the wise in their craftiness. And then Paul quotes Psalm 94:11, to show that God really does know what the wise in this world are thinking. He knows their reasonings, that they're futile. And Paul is using this imagery of a hunter who uses the very cunning of his prey to catch them. Like God is using what people think is wise in this world to actually catch them in their sin. This is the idea that Paul puts forth in Romans 1 verse 22, where he says that people believing themselves to be wise actually became fools. Because they exchanged the knowledge of the immortal God for images and creatures and created things. They put off what God had made known about himself in nature and in creation and in the hearts of men and said, "No, I don't want that. I want to do something else." And they thought they were wise when they did it, all the while it was foolish. So by people's very sin, God catches and judges them. They think they're being wise, throwing off restraint, but all the while they're piling up for themselves condemnation. That's not just someone else's story. If you are in Christ, that was your story. We all thought the ways we were living, which were out of accordance with God's design, were wise. We didn't think we were doing it wrong. We didn't think we were fools. But the Bible tells us the truth about our situation before Christ. And it shows us the reality of what we were doing and how God used that to bring a knowledge of our sin and ultimately lead us to repentance. But the second verse here shows how utterly futile it is to live outside of God's design. Because God knows the thoughts of the wicked person, of the non-Christian. He knows their reasonings and he knows more than that, that they are futile. In fact, they are futile because they're outside of his plan and he is actively using what they are doing to judge them. And I think for us, we need to understand reasoning that is not done from a foundation of Godly wisdom as revealed in the scriptures, is futile. It amounts to nothing. It's empty, it's pointless, it's vain. It may lead to momentary happiness, but it doesn't build anything that lasts. And that's the picture Paul gave us before this passage today, just a little earlier on
35 minutes | 9 months ago
Sermon: 1 Corinthians 2:1-10 – The “Foolishness” of the Gospel and the Power of the Spirit
Why did Paul not present the gospel with “persuasive words of wisdom”? Why is the gospel a “hidden mystery”? We look at that and more in this sermon from 1 Corinthians 2
35 minutes | 9 months ago
Sermon: 1 Corinthians 2:1-10 - The "Foolishness" of the Gospel and the Power of the Spirit
VideoAudio TranscriptIt is great to be with you today on the East side of town to see many familiar faces and, more importantly, to be gathered as a single church family here in Tallahassee. If you have your Bibles, go ahead and turn to 1 Corinthians 2. We've been going through 1 Corinthians as a church family. We've already gone through chapter one and today we'll continue on in chapter two. But, this is a letter that Paul wrote to the church at Corinth that is also a Holy Spirit breathed scripture, words of man and words of God. And right off the bat in this letter, we've already seen that this church is divided over many things. So, most immediately, who do they follow? Is it Paul, Apollos, Peter, someone else? And as we go, we'll see they're actually divided over a lot more than that. So they're divided over how they practice spiritual gifts, how they come to the Lord's supper, how they deal with sin in the body of Christ, and a whole lot more. But my hope today, as we walk through part of chapter two, is that this sermon will strengthen your trust in the gospel and in the Holy Spirit. That we see that those two things together are what change hearts and change lives. And we're going to see Paul present this idea to us by talking about the wisdom of the world and wisdom according to God. And in the first couple chapters, Paul is concerned with correcting misunderstandings of wisdom. About what it is, who preaches it, how you know what it is. And that's true of this section too in chapter two, but he actually starts in verse 18 it's why I kind of want to pick up and get a running start there because Paul shows us that there are only two categories of people. There are those who are perishing that find the message of the cross foolish, and those who are being saved and the message of the cross is life to them. And this is what he says, “For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing. But it is the power of God to us who are being saved. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise and I will set aside the intelligence of the intelligent." And he goes on to say that the cross is foolishness to Gentiles, and it's a stumbling block to Jews. Those probably are not words we're familiar with using for the cross or the gospel, right? Foolishness, stumbling block. But why is that? Well consider today, we'll just say that the Gentiles of back then are like atheists of today, that's a gross oversimplification. But if you talk about God taking on flesh and dying on a cross, and that that person actually who died being God that's going to be foolish today to non-God fearing people. Well, why was the cross a stumbling block to the Jews? Because the same scriptures of the Jews, the Old Testament said that anyone hung on a tree, and a cross is a tree, was under God's curse. And they had no idea, no conception of a dying Messiah. It just did not fit the cultural expectation. It didn't fit the narrative. So it was a stumbling block. It was a hindrance to belief. That's the kind of wisdom that God chose. It's actually foolish in the eyes of the world. And then, Paul continues at the end of chapter one in verse 26 and following. And he continues to show us that God's economy, God's wisdom is basically a 180 from what the world considers to be wise. That God actually chose the weak, the lowly, the unintelligent things, the things that are just disregarded by society to shame those who believed themselves to be wise. It's as if he's saying, if you rely on yourself and your wisdom you will come to ruin. And then, in verses 29 through 31 he says that this is so that no one can boast unless he boasts in and because of the Lord. So why is that? Why can we not boast in our salvation? Well, as Paul has explained it in chapter one, it's because it wasn't based on your intelligence. It wasn't based on how morally sensitive you were. It wasn't based on your upbringing, or where you were born, or any of those things because if it were, you could boast. No, Paul says, salvation, true wisdom, which is foolish to the world, only comes by the message of the cross and the work of the spirit to change hearts to receive that message. If it were anything else we could boast. And that brings us to our passage today. So if you have your Bibles, turn with me to 1 Corinthians 2 and let's read it together. Paul says, ” And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom proclaiming to you the testimony of God. For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling. And my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the spirit and of power. So that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God. Yet, we do speak wisdom among those who are mature. A wisdom, however, not of this age, nor of the rulers of this age who are passing away, but we speak God's wisdom in a mystery. The hidden wisdom which God predestined before the ages to our glory, the wisdom which none of the rulers of this age has understood. For if they had understood it, they would not have crucified the Lord of Glory. But just as it is written, things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard and which have not entered into the heart of man. All that God has prepared for those who love him. For to us, God revealed those things by his spirit." So there's a lot there. We've probably seen some more perhaps unexpected characterizations of the gospel, hidden, mystery, foolish, and we're going to unpack those together today. But he says when he came to them, brethren or your translation might say brothers and sisters. Whenever we see that, and we need to remember Paul is writing to Christians, like this is an in-house discussion. He's correcting them, but he's correcting them out of love as a part of the one family of God. This is not some kind of knock down, take out letter. He wants to exhort them to better faithful living to Christ. But he says when he came and preached to them, he's referring back to a previous event, he didn't come with superiority of speech or of wisdom. And, in fact, he just determined to not know anything among them except Jesus Christ and him crucified. Now why is that? That's like an odd thing to say. I didn't come with wisdom or persuasive words. It's like, well wouldn't you want to be persuasive? It seems counter to what we would expect. But the Corinthian church, remember, was divided over many things, but one of them was who they follow. Is it Apollos? Is it Paul? Is it someone else? And from what we can determine, Apollos was actually the better speaker of the day. At least if you evaluated him according to the standards of the day, because at this time there was a cultural expectation about the form a speaker would have. So Greco-Roman rhetoric, how a speaker at that time would speak was a formal thing. And you would be evaluated based on how closely you accorded with that standard when you gave your message, or your talk. And, in fact, the better a person's rhetoric the more wise they were thought to be. So the emphasis was on how persuasive the presentation was, not so much on the content, or its truthfulness, though that would matter some too. And so it was assumed that you were more wise if you were more persuasive based on your method and your rhetoric. Not so much based on your message. But what does Paul say? I did not come with superiority of speech or wisdom. He knew the cultural expectation. He knew how he would be evaluated and he chose not to use that. Now, he's not saying that what he said wasn't wise. So when he says, "I didn't come with words of wisdom," he's not saying what I came with was objectively foolish. That's not what he means because he'll go on to say that he actually preached true wisdom later. But he is saying it didn't accord with the standards of wisdom of the day. He knew how it would be evaluated and he intentionally stayed away from it because, and this is key, he wasn't looking for man's approval in his speech. He didn't want to move someone with anything but his message. Now, if you were reading along, your Bible translation may have had a different word there in verse one. So I read and it said that Paul came with testimony about God, and your translation may say mystery. And those two words, when Paul wrote this, are very similar and some manuscripts differ, and that's why your translation might have been a little different than mine. But I think the best arguments favor testimony, because Paul's building up through this paragraph here to verse seven where he says that this foolishness, that this message of the cross, it was a mystery that was revealed that used to be hidden. So I don't think he's actually talking about the mystery here back in verse one. It's not that important of a thing, but I did want to acknowledge you may have seen a different word there than what I read. So he comes with this testimony about God and he avoids moving his hearers with anything but his actual message. In fact, he even says, "I determine to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified." Does that mean Paul just walked around saying, "Jesus Christ was crucified, Jesus Christ was crucified, Jesus Christ was crucified"? No, he probably said a little more than that. This is a shorthand for his gospel proclamation. He uses these short hands all over the place, like little summaries. This is the same kind of thing he did in verse 18 in chapter 1 where he calls it the message of the cross. So the message of the cross, Christ in him crucified, these are shorthands for the gospel, this message of who God is, sovereign creator of the universe who is Holy and perfectly good, who created us to live according to His standards in His image and glorify Him. And we did not do that. All of us have t
15 minutes | 10 months ago
Episode 214 - If You Accept The First Sentence Of The Bible, All That Follows is Plausible
Audio Transcript(This transcript was automatically generated and may contain errors) Hello, and welcome to Unapologetic, a podcast about defending not apologizing for your Christian convictions. I want to go to the very first verse in the very first chapter of the Bible today. So, the book of Genesis verse one, "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth." And here's what I want us to think about today. If that verse is true or perhaps better said, since that verse is true, everything else that follows in the Bible makes sense. It's plausible. It's not outside the realm of possibilities. So, many of the questions people have, the doubts they struggle with, or the apologetic issues that we confront are strewn throughout the whole Bible. For instance, how is it that God holds people accountable? How do we understand God's law and justice in sin? And what about miracles and crucifixions and things like that? All of those are good issues to talk about and some people think they aren't even the kinds of things that can happen. Like miracles? Really? A resurrection? That's craziness. But what I want us to understand is the problem doesn't start when you get to the end of Matthew's gospel and there's a resurrection from the dead. The problem that we're encountering with whoever we're talking with actually begins at the very first verse of the Bible. In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. That is the point where a departure will happen. Either you accept that is true and believe it or you reject it, and hence you will have a problem with everything else that follows in the Bible, not least of which that which follows in the first chapter where it goes on to say that God made man and woman according to his own image, he made them male and female. It's not an identification. It's not a choice. So once again, you see man and woman were created. They're not evolved. All of this happens as an outworking of the first verse of the Bible. So, today I want us to see four things that this verse either teaches or implies that tell us about the whole rest of the universe and God's creation and hence everything else that also follows in the scriptures. So first, let's just look at the foundation. In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. Some people take this as a summary of everything that follows. I think a better way to understand this verse is it's describing God bringing into existence space and time. He created the universe. That's how the ancient Hebrew people would have spoken of the universe. They would have called it the heavens and the earth. They didn't have a word for universe. And then, we go to the second verse and we see that we're zooming in on earth. Now, the earth was formless and void, that sort of thing. But at the very beginning, even before the earth, God creates the universe, the heavens and the earth. And so, here are the four things we can take from this verse and its implications. The first is that before everything, God existed. So, even when there was nothing, and using the word when and before here aren't actually good words because it doesn't make sense to talk of before when there wasn't even time or space and those things go together, but before, we'll just use that word, before everything existed that is material, God existed. And God is immaterial. So, immaterial realities proceed physical realities. The things that have been created were created by something that can't be seen, that's not made, that's not physical. In other words, here's the simple takeaway. The universe we live in is fundamentally a supernatural universe. That's what we're seeing in this first verse. In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. God is separate from the heavens in the earth. He's not material, he is immaterial. He's not natural, he's supernatural. So, we live in a supernatural universe. That's something that should just make us take a step back and think. We, as Christians, assume this, but we can demonstrate it from this verse. If all material came into existence at one point, that means the cause of that material could not have been material. And this is why I said the departure on things like miracles and the resurrection, they don't start in the gospels, they start here, because what this verse shows us is we live in a supernatural universe. And if verse one of the Bible is true, then there's no fundamental principled objection based on miracles or the supernatural being impossible to things like resurrections. Because for a God who can create everything from nothing, a mere resurrection is child's play. I think William Lane Craig was the first person I heard make that point. I think it's an excellent point, that if you can create everything from nothing, surely you can raise a guy from the dead. The biggest miracle in the Bible in terms of maybe raw power and impressive feat is not the resurrection. That might be the most meaningful, but creating everything from nothing as finely designed and as beautiful as it is, that is surely the most momentous miracle in the Bible. And if God did that, and since God did that in verse one, we can't reject the possibility of miracles thereafter. There's no fundamentally principled objection we can have if we live in a fundamentally supernatural universe where God has already been seen to intervene. So, the whole first chapter of the Bible is God's interaction in time and space with his creation. He doesn't just create it, he interacts in it. So, that's the first point. The second point is the universe is not eternal. It had a beginning, and that's what we see here. That in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. They come into being at a point in time. They have not always existed. Now, we've talked in the past about how just the creation of everything, that it did have a cause, points to there being a causer. And so, we've talked about the Kalam cosmological argument in the past. How that everything that comes into existence has a cause. The universe came into existence, therefore the universe has a cause. And we've talked about the five attributes of that cause of God that we can discern from that. But I just simply want to point out here, the universe is not eternal. It had a beginning. That's what we see in the very first verse of the Bible and it accords with what we're able to ascertain about the physical world from science today. That shouldn't be surprising. The book of God's words in scripture fits with the book of God's works in nature. And using the tools God has given us of rationality and science and understanding the world and the laws of logic, we're able to come to see more than the scriptures tell us. That doesn't mean nature is more authoritative, but it tells us complementary truths to what scripture says. Now, if we ever arrive at an impasse where it seems like a scripture is telling us something different than what science is telling us, we have misunderstood one of those things. Perhaps we've misunderstood what the scriptures have to say. Perhaps we've misunderstood what scientific evidence is pointing towards, but the two cannot be in contradiction because God has spoken through both. There's so much more we can say about that, but we're going to move on to our third point. So first, just recapping here, before everything, God existed. He's eternal and we live in a supernatural universe. Secondly, the universe is not eternal, but third, the universe is not an accident. It doesn't say in the beginning God was sitting around with himself and Oh my gosh! There popped a universe. No, in the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. He created it, which means he had to make a decision to. And that raises the question, why? But while that's not unpacked in this first verse, the rest of the Bible does explain why God created the heavens and the earth. In fact, we don't have to read much into the first chapter to see that he created us in his image to glorify him, to fill the earth and subdue it and cultivate it and bring order where there's disorder and reflect the glory of our creator. So, we don't get that in the first verse, but we do get it in the first chapter. But simply what I want to point out here is the universe did not come about by some random chance. It was created by its creator with a purpose. And that's actually our fourth point, that we are a creation. So, we have a creator, that's in this first verse, right? God created the heavens and the earth and he goes on to say that God created everything else. We see in the gospels that Jesus is the one through whom everything was created and apart from him, nothing has been made that has been made. He created all things. That's what we see and that's basically saying the same thing that the very first verse is saying here. And that means we have a creator. We are a creation. There's not too much of a step to get to the fact that we're accountable to our creator. In every other sphere of life, whatever is created belongs to the one that makes it, belongs to the one that designed it. And more than that, if you're the creator, you get to say how your creation is supposed to work, how it's supposed to live, what it's supposed to do, what it's not supposed to do. And so, from this idea, this teaching of scripture that we're a creation, we understand that we're accountable to our creator. In previous generations, this was just common sense. Today, this seems something that we have to spend some time on. But if you make it, you own it, you get to say how it should work. Now, why is it today that people don't like a worldview that says that there's a creator? I don't think it's because they only find it scientifically implausible. I don't think that's it. I think it's because they like the idea that there is no one to be accountable to. We see this throughout the scriptures where the fool says in his heart, there is no G
44 minutes | 10 months ago
Sermon: Genesis 1:26-31 - The Worth and Dignity of Every Person
Audio Transcript(Note: this transcript was created automatically and may contain some errors)Today is what's been set aside as national sanctity of human life Sunday where we reflect on the innate worth and dignity of every single person from conception to natural death and every stage in between. But on this day specifically, we want to reflect on the innate worth and dignity of all unborn persons too. And this isn't just an arbitrary day. You might think, "Why today? What makes this Sunday in January that day?" Well, in 1973 on January 22nd, the Supreme Court of the United States decided the case Roe v. Wade. And that case and cases that have followed have basically led to abortion on demand for any reason being acceptable or at least legal in our country. And since then, over 60 million children have been aborted just in the United States, over a billion worldwide. To put that in perspective, the Holocaust saw six million people lose their lives, have them taken from them. And so we're dealing with something of epic proportions even beyond that. It's an evil that we don't even necessarily have a category or a word for, and it's interesting because it's legal. So it leads to somewhat awkward conversations where we might say, "Well, this is wrong," and someone says, "it's legal." And we have to be able to work through, okay, so some things are illegal and wrong and some things are illegal and right, and how do we know what's true? What is our source of authority and knowledge about what is right and what is wrong about who we are? And so those are some questions that hopefully we will reason from the scriptures with today and wrestle with, like how should Christians think about abortion? What do the scriptures have to say? Now, in a room this size, it's likely that there are several people who have some experience with abortion. Maybe you've had one, maybe you've encouraged someone to, maybe you've participated in one, maybe you have wanted one, a whole range of people. And my goal here today is not to heap condemnation on anyone, it's not to judge anyone. I do want us to reason from the scriptures, from God's word to a robust conception of what the value of every single human life is, every single person. So I understand this can be difficult, but we can't difficult topics. God's word speaks to the full range of issues we encounter in life. And so we don't want to selectively look at certain things that may make us uncomfortable or not. Perhaps today some of you will come to change your mind about something. It was sermons and people reasoning with me about this issue that led to me changing my mind about this in part over the years. And I'm thankful for faithful friends who are willing to have those conversations with me. And perhaps some of you will say, "I need to do something. I have these convictions, but I want to put feet to them." And so that might look like care net, it might look like helping a mom who's struggling in your neighborhood or in your church. But let's not just be people who believe right things, let's be people who do right things. So I hope the Holy Spirit will guide each of us as we look at our text today and then apply it. So if you have your Bible, if you would turn with me to Genesis 1:26, Genesis 1:26. If you have a Pew Bible, it's probably page one. I didn't check, but it's a safe guess. So while you're turning there. So Genesis is given by Moses, it's the first kind of recorded revelation of God after he takes his people out from under 400 years of Egyptian captivity, slavery, and oppression. We know from other places in the Bible that the Hebrew people, God's people had taken Egyptian gods as their gods. They had imbibed deeply from the well of how the Egyptians and surrounding cultures viewed the world, what made us valuable. Are human beings valuable? They were much more Egyptian and Canaanite than they were God's people. So God takes them out from under this captivity and he gives them Genesis one, Genesis two, Genesis three to tell them here's who God is, here's who you are, and you're here. Kind of starting to answer right off the bat in the very first pages of the Bible the most important questions any of us will grapple with in life. And so it starts out, God creates the heavens and the earth, literally everything that exists was created by God. And we go on to see that on earth God separates the sky from the land, the water from the land, he populates those spaces with birds and vegetation and animals on subsequent days of creation. And then we arrive at day six, and that's where our passage picks up today. So would you stand with me as we read God's word. Starting in verse 26, then God said, "Let us make man in our image according to our likeness. They will rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, the livestock, the whole earth, and the creatures that crawl on the earth." So God created man in his own image, he created him in the image of God. He created them male and female. God blessed them. And God said to them, "Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth and subdue it. Rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, and every creature that crawls on the earth." God also said, "Look, I have given you every seed bearing plant on the surface of the entire earth and every tree whose fruit contains seed. This will be food for you, for all the wildlife of the earth, for every bird of the sky, and for every creature that crawls on the earth. Everything having the breath of life in it, I have given every green plant for food. And it was so. God saw all that he had made, and it was very good, indeed. You may be seated. Thank you. So the Bible is very clear that Adam and Eve were real people, like the first two human people. So regardless of how you understand the days of creation in Genesis one and Genesis two and how do those fit, and is the earth young or is it old? There's some things we as Christian should just all be on the same page about, God created human beings in his image, distinct. We're not the results of a random process or anything like that. Jesus and Matthew 19 affirms that human beings, Adam and Eve were literal people. So he's asked about divorce and remarriage and something like that. And he replies as he often does have you not read, and he goes on to quote Genesis one, have you not read that he who made them in the beginning made them male and female? So I'm just going to side with Jesus on this and say Adam and Eve, real people, the first two people, this is history. God is telling us what happened. And these first two people were created in the image of God, and we will unpack that phrase in a little bit. But we see in this text that humankind, we are the pinnacle of the creation account. You could say that God saved the best for last. Humankind is in a different category than the animals. We are the only creation that is made according to the image of God. So physical world, plants, animals, and then mankind. We're a distinctly different kind of being. Now, we can't... you can't get on social media or anything like that and not understand that the issues people care about today are very much issues of rights, dignity, equality, justice. And those are all very good things to be concerned with, that we should care deeply about. Now, we may understand what justice entails differently than someone else. We may say that you're excluding a certain category of person from equality or we may even disagree about what equality means. But if humankind is not created by God distinct from the rest of creation, there's no real reason to have that conversation around rights and dignity and human worth. So if we're just slightly more evolved animals and there is no God, there's no binding reason for us to treat each other any way, much less a good way. Because if we want to say there's a moral law that says I have to treat you with dignity and respect, that means there's a moral law giver who sits over both of us to give that moral law. But if the prevailing non Christian worldview is true and we're just the products of a random process that didn't have us in mind, then something similar to what Richard Dawkins said is true. For instance, he has said the universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference. Now, not everyone who is an atheist or a non-Christian would affirm that, but I would say atheism consistently affirmed, ends up with something where there's nothing but blind pitiless indifference. And this is basically the view of the alien intelligence and Star Trek when it encounters human beings, it says that we are ugly bags of... Now, you can decide which part of that applies to you and the person sitting next to you. But we all at least are bags of water from a physical, biological standpoint. But the question is, is that all we are? Well, if Christianity is true, no, that's not all we are. If atheism and other worldviews are true and we're consistent, then yes, that's all we are. There really are only two consistent views when it comes to human worth. God created us and hence we are valuable and have innate worth and dignity or God didn't and we're just the products of recycled stardust. And one bag of mostly water that's recycled stardust does not have an obligation to treat another bag of mostly water who's recycled stardust in any sort of way. There's no true middle ground. People will act like there is, that we have certain obligations to each other, and that's good. Anytime someone's inconsistent in the right direction, I want to commend that. But can we actually be consistent in our affirmation of rights and equality and justice and the worth of human beings if we don't ground them in the scriptures? And the answer is no. Without a biblical grounding, all attempts to ground human worth will exclude some people. We saw this w
44 minutes | 10 months ago
Sermon: Genesis 1:26-31 – The Worth and Dignity of Every Person
In this sermon we look at 5 ways to understand the value of every human being and hopefully clear up some misunderstandings around being “created in the image of God.”
14 minutes | a year ago
Episode 212 – Is Our Knowledge of God like Blind Men Feeling an Elephant?
How should we think about the claim that all religions are equally valid, each containing parts of a greater whole of religious truth?
14 minutes | a year ago
Episode 212 - Is Our Knowledge of God like Blind Men Feeling an Elephant?
Audio TranscriptThis week we're going to talk about the idea that all religions are equally valid, that all religions contain a piece of the greater truth, and hence are all equally valid ways to get to God. This is much larger of a topic than we could possibly cover in one episode, but maybe we'll attack it from various angles over the coming months, maybe skipping a week here or there. But you've probably seen this represented by a wheel, where all the religions are spokes on the wheel and they're all going towards the center. And the center is, well, it's not one thing, it depends on who you ask, but at least on the picture, it's presented as one thing. It's the end goal of life or religion. It might be nirvana, it might be salvation, it might be enlightenment, it might be the shedding of peace, it might be stoicism, but all of the spokes on the wheels are equally valid ways to get to the center. And so we start on the outer edge. And you find a path you like and I find a path I like, or I find that one that works for me, and we use our various spokes, our various paths to get to the center. And so it's said all religions, all spokes, all paths are equally valid. Well, there's another way of representing this and it actually, it seems a little more compelling. And so this is how a parable is often told about an elephant. And so here's how it goes. A group of blind men heard that a strange animal called an elephant had been brought to the town, and none of them had ever been aware of its shape or size before. Out of curiosity, they said, "We must inspect this and know it by touch of which we're capable," because they're blind men so they can only touch it to experience it. So they sought it out, and when they found it, they groped about it. In the case of the first person whose hand landed on the trunk, he said this being is like a thick snake. For another whose hand reached an ear, it seemed like a kind of fan. As for another person whose hand laid upon a leg, the elephant was like a tree trunk. The blind man who placed his hand on the side, so the elephant was like a wall. And another who felt its tail described it like a rope. And the last one who felt its tusk stated that the elephant is that which is hard, smooth and like a spear. And so, as this parable is told, often in an eastern religious context, and maybe a Hinduism context, a Buddhist context, a Janus context, that said, well this is describing man's experience with religion. And so all of us today, all the different religions are like the different blind men. They have a different experience with God, a different experience with the truth, but they're all just seeing parts of the greater whole. And so, if you're a Christian, you have no greater claim to say that your beliefs are true and more accurate than a Muslim, than a Buddhist, than a Mormon, etc. Because we're all just experiencing different parts of the same thing, like the blind men with the elephant. So how should we respond to that? Right, because if you actually take it seriously, it should hopefully make you stop and think. I think all too often we as Christians, and just people today in general, we hear an idea, we don't think about it, and we instantly launch in with something to say, where we implicitly think the opposite of talking is waiting, when the opposite of talking probably should be listening. So let's listen to what the person is saying. Let's analyze it. Let's think about it. Let's give the idea its weight and to think about it from different angles, and then let's respond. Well, people smarter than myself have pointed out about this analogy that it has a few problems. So here's one. Who is this person that actually knows that all of these blind men are experiencing but a part of the elephant? Someone is claiming to know about the full elephant. Someone is claiming to know that an elephant has tusks. It has a trunk, it has sides, it has legs, it has a tail. Someone is claiming actually to know, in this parable and the way they're using it, that religion is bigger than the individual religions, that truth is bigger than the individual truths, and hence they're claiming to know what that bigger truth is. So far from an analogy that's meant to maybe put individual religions on an equal playing field or lead to some form of skepticism, it actually is a claim that someone knows the greater whole comprehensive truth. I think that's a fatal flaw in this analogy, this parable, that if we're going to talk about individual parts, well, how do we know their parts? That's a greater claim to knowledge. Someone is claiming to not be blind, but to be able to see the entire animal. So why can't that, in principle, be one of the religions? Now, it doesn't work in this parable, right? I'm not saying that the blind man who only felt the tusk was experiencing the totality of the elephant. No, but I am saying, well, what if someone wasn't blind? What if we're not constrained by a made up fictitious parable? What if there actually is the kind of person like the parable teller who does see the entire elephant? Well, I think that is the Christian worldview, broadly speaking. I'm not saying it has answers for every single question that we will come to know them, but I am saying it's the best explanation for reality, because what it does is it takes those individual pieces. It takes the trunk, it takes the tail, it takes the side, it takes all these various facets that we see in the world and it puts them together and it makes the best sense of it. Now, I'm not saying Christianity just includes all the truths from Islam and Hinduism and that sort of thing. I'm kind of pivoting in how I'm using the analogy, but what I am saying is Christianity is the best explanation for reality. We see, in general, the elephant and here's why. Here's the second part where I think this parable breaks down. It's not a good parallel to God or religion. Elephants don't talk, but what if the elephant talked? What if the elephant was able to tell us about itself? What if it was able to say, "Hey, you're holding onto my trunk." That would be kind of a terrifying thing, but what if it was able to say, "Hey, if you go to the right, that guy who said I was just like a tree because he only felt my leg, actually, that's just another part of me. And that guy who felt me and thought I was just a wall, actually, that's a little behind my leg. All of these are parts of me." What if the elephant could talk? What if the elephant had a voice? What if he revealed himself? Well, that's Christianity. This might be a sacrilegious, but in Christianity, the elephant talks, right? If the elephant represents God or religion or the truth, and everyone has a part of it, well in Christianity, God actually has spoken. He's told us about himself. So the person who only experiences, if it's even true that you can only experience a part of God in that way, but the person who experiences a part of him, doesn't have to wonder if that actually is a part of God. Is it a partial truth? Am I confused? Is it wrong? No. In Christianity, our God has spoken. He's revealed himself in the world. As the beginning of Hebrew says, he used to speak through the prophets and the Old Testament writers and the patriarch and the fathers. Okay, so that that has happened. God has a history of speaking, but in these last days, he has spoken to us through his son. And the Bible goes on to tell us that he continues to speak through his word, so we have a speaking God. In fact, the very first verses of the Bible start out telling us that God spoke and the world came into existence. He created by his word, and then he went on and used his word to reveal himself to us. That's huge, because we're not left trying to piece together tails and sides and legs and tusks, no, we actually have been told what the entire thing is like, at least in as much as we need to know because our God has spoken. In other words, the elephant has a voice. That is very important. Many other religions don't have that sort of concept, but if they do claim to have that concept, we should evaluate that revelation or that claim to revelation on its merits. And when we evaluate the documents that make up the Bible, as we've talked about over the years on this podcast, they stand in a category all their own. And that shouldn't surprise us because, as the word of God, they attest to God. God speaks through them, authenticates them, and they are the best attested works of antiquity. They stand up in a category all their own. When we analyze them like historical documents, like we would any other historical documents, and they contain the revelation of our God, we're not left wondering what part we're groping at or grasping for, God has told us. But there's another issue with this parable. It's not just that someone has claimed to see the entire elephant. It's not just that in Christianity the elephant speaks. Once again, pardon that. That still feels kind of odd to say, but more than that, this parable is a way to skim over and minimize the differences and contradictory elements of different religions. So it only works if you stipulate, if you start from the position that we are experiencing only a part of something, but most of the religions on the planet today are self-contained, systematic understandings of the world, and this is why it's often very difficult when we talk with people of other religions. We might be debating one point of doctrine between two different religions, and let's just say the atheist or the Mormon or the whoever says, "Well that doesn't work at all," because they're taking your one puzzle piece and trying to exchange it for the kind of analogous puzzle piece in their puzzle. Well, of course it's not going to fit. Their whole puzzle is built to fit together in a certain way. You can't just swap out, most of the time, one piece of doctrine. What you need is a new puzzle. You
17 minutes | a year ago
Episode 211 – The Four Virgin Births of Atheism
Christianity affirms the virgin birth of Jesus, but Atheism has its own "virgin births" as well.
17 minutes | a year ago
Episode 211 - The Four Virgin Births of Atheism
Audio TranscriptWhich virgin birth do you believe in? Atheism offers at least four, and Christianity offers one. It's that time of year again. At Christmas, we remember and celebrate the incarnation, the taking on of flesh, by Jesus Christ, the adding of human nature to his divine nature in the incarnation. The virgin birth is a very important part of that. We'll talk about that a little at the end of the episode today. It's interesting, society thinks that Christians are the only ones who believe in a virgin birth. While that may be true if we're talking about the virgin birth of a human being, atheism, at least in general, has a few different virgin births that it believes in, even if they would not describe it by that term. I think it's helpful for us to be aware of how different people think about different things. We're going to talk about at least four different virgin births that atheism believes in and ascribes to. The virgin birth of the universe The first one, and the most notable, is that atheism believes in the virgin birth of the universe. The whole universe came from nothing, for no cause, for no purpose, on atheism. The big bang theory, from a secular perspective, is that everything came from nothing, and nothing is not like a small something. It's the absence of anything. Everything came about with no cause, for no purpose, on atheism. That's a virgin birth of everything that exists. Christians get criticized for believing in the "supernatural" when it comes to the virgin birth of a human being. How could a human come from nowhere, from no father? But atheism affirms that everything that exists came from nothing. They might try to explain this in terms of natural laws. In fact, Stephen Hawking has said, because of the laws of nature, the universe can and will create itself from nothing. Let that sentence just ring and hang in the air a minute. Something can't create itself. It would have had to exist in order to create itself, but if it existed it wouldn't need to create itself. That doesn't work. It's philosophical nonsense. But more than that, we can't have this idea that there are natural laws if there's no nature. And more than that, as many people, Christians and non-Christians have pointed out, a natural law isn't actually a law that prescribes how something must work. It's more of a description of how things have worked in the past. For the Christian, we understand that a natural law is simply a description of how God has sustained his creation in the past. Creation is not self-sustaining and self-actualizing. On the Christian worldview, God created everything. Now that idea of God is repugnant to many people, but isn't the alternative view, that everything came from nothing, isn't that just intellectual suicide? Now non-Christians will say it's the Christian who creates intellectual suicide, but we at least can explain the cause of everything. If people ask about what caused God, that's a category error. Because God, by definition, is an uncreated being. If you don't have something like God in your belief system, you're left with an infinite number of causes. What caused the cause that caused the cause that caused the cause? All of that to stay there must be a first uncaused cause, an unmoved mover. God makes sense of that. I don't have to understand everything about God as we've talked about before, to be justified in believing that he exists, and more than that, that he created the universe. Atheism affirms a virgin birth of a universe, which makes no sense, and Christianity affirms that God created the universe. The virgin of birth life The second virgin birth of atheism is life. Life came about from non-life in an evolutionary worldview. No one can explain how this can happen adequately. This is actually called abiogenesis, from non-life, life. But how did this happen? We don't know. No one can actually demonstrate this, because if someone could demonstrate this in the lab, what they would not have shown is abiogenesis. They would have shown intelligent design. An intelligent scientist puts certain ingredients together and sets up certain conditions, and low and behold life comes. We've just demonstrated intelligent design. Life comes about from non-life, complexity from non-complexity, on atheism, at least in general. This is a virgin birth of life. But when Christians affirm the virgin birth of a single life, that's intellectually not credible, but the virgin birth of all life? Very credible, we're told. That's obviously a gross contradiction and inconsistency. The virgin birth of morality But there’s a third virgin birth on atheism, so not just virgin birth of the universe, not just the virgin birth of all life. Morality actually somehow comes about from nothing on atheism, but exists. This is where I do want to try and be fair to atheists. There are a wide variety of views on atheism about morality. Some people would say there is no morality. Some people would say we make our own morality. Some people would say there are actual objective right and wrongs on atheism. "Killing is wrong for all people at all times. It doesn't matter what culture they're in," some people would say on atheism. Now many atheists, if they've thought about their beliefs consistently, would not actually affirm that type of belief. They might say that evolution has created in us moral desires and moral intuitions. So it kind of came from nowhere, for no cause, once again. Universally, we know and affirm that morality is best when we put other people first. To help someone at the sacrifice to yourself is seen to be morally good. To put yourself above others is seen and affirmed almost universally to be morally bad. But what does evolution do? Does evolution create in animals a desire to put other people first? No, it creates in them a desire to put themselves first, because evolution-random mutation and natural selection-is about getting a single individual's genes into the next generation. It's about success in procreating. Putting other people first, as a rule, does not help someone, an organism or a human, procreate. Taking things, killing, those types of things are most effective at getting rid of obstacles to procreation, and yet we consider those types of behaviors and traits to be immoral, not moral. Once again we're left with saying, what view best explains reality? The idea that somehow humans have this moral intuition and knowledge (which they often suppress or behave inconsistently with, and that just came from nowhere),That's view A, the atheism view. What about the Christian view, that God is the source and ground of morality, and that we are created in his image and therefore we're moral creatures. We have moral knowledge. We can discover and learn moral truths. We have moral intuitions and we have guilt when we behave immorally, as we should. If you're guilty, you should feel guilty. Once again, we're left with the question of what best explains the world as we see it and experience it. Atheism either says morality's not real and objective or they would say, "We just decide for ourselves," which is not real morality. If it could change tomorrow by a vote, it's not actual morality. Or perhaps they'll say that it came about through evolution, which once again, where did it come from? How did that happen? How do we get immaterial obligations like “I have to be nice to someone” from a materialistic process like evolution? There isn't a satisfactory explanation for that. No, in other words, morality has a virgin birth in culture. Now maybe I'm pushing that metaphor a little, but nonetheless, this is something that does not fit well in an atheistic worldview. Virgin birth of the universe, virgin birth of life, virgin birth of morality. The virgin birth of human dignity The last virgin birth we’ll talk about that doesn't fit in Christianity is that of human dignity. In fact, we have heard in recent years this new type of crime that's been spoken of called a crime against human dignity. It might be where you call someone a name or maybe where you refuse to serve them a cake because they want the cake for a certain type of event (like we've seen recently a case that went to the Supreme Court was over a Christian baker who refused to make cakes for same-sex ceremonies and adult-themed parties and different things like that. The people in this case have said that he harmed their dignity as humans.) On atheism, broadly speaking, human dignity has a virgin birth. We can't explain why humans have it and other animals don't. Maybe it's because we're more complicated or advanced. That's just a decision we made. There's no actual dignity there on atheism. It's just a decision that's made corporately. Same idea with morality. Multiple years ago when the case that went to the Supreme Court that legalized same-sex marriage, Obergefell, was being argued in oral arguments, what was said is that it was the government's goal and job to bestow dignity on its citizens and its couples by conferring on them the right to marriage. It was said same-sex couples suffered harm to their dignity because they weren't allowed to marry each other like heterosexuals were, they said. Now I will say the law has never imposed a gay or straight test to see if you could marry. It has only said what types of people, what types of couples, were going to be created. Was the couple going to have two people of opposite sex ? That actually says nothing about their sexual orientation at all, so it did not discriminate based on orientation, it discriminated based on results and action. That's a separate conversation for a separate day. Nonetheless, in arguing that, it was said that not allowing these people to marry harmed their dignity. We've also heard that people are denied dignity if they can't end their life when they want to end it perhaps they're going through some type of terminal condition and they don't wan
12 minutes | a year ago
Episode 210 – Jesus vs. Paul: Who Wins?
Should we treat Paul’s writings with the same authority as those of Jesus?
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