Friday, March 29, 2013

Science or Antiscience? A Quick Reason for Transcendental Causality. A Reason for God.


Here's an apparently anti-scientific question for everyone:

If nothing explodes, what exploded? Simple answer, right? Nothing. Nothing exploded.
Did the explosion cause anything to happen? No, because nothing exploded.
If someone said that when nothing exploded it caused something to happen, you would say that the explosion couldn't have caused something to happen because nothing exploded.

Why is this anti-scientific? Because a group of atheistic scientists claim that because there is no God (and most say that matter or the universe is not eternal), matter and the universe exploded into being. This essentially says that when nothing exploded, something was caused to come into being. What kind of science is this? This is no science. This is nonsense. Nothing cannot explode because it is nothing. There was no thing to explode. Many will claim that this can be explained, but it cannot; it is nonsense.

Some will try to claim that matter and the universe are eternal, which brings up two distinct problems: one natural/scientific and one philosophical/mathematic. Problem one is the law of inertia. The law of inertia states that an object at rest tends to stay at rest unless acted upon by an outside force. This problem is clear and self explanatory. If matter and the universe were eternal, they would have continued as they were for eternity as they had for an eternity before the "big bang" happened. Which, brings us to our second problem. If the universe was truly eternal and existed for an eternity in the past, how would there ever had been enough time elapsed to ever get to the moment of the big bang. If that didn't make sense to you, I'll explain it another way. If an event is infinitely in the future, you'll never reach that event. The same thing applies to this "situation." If there is an infinite regress of time, because the universe is eternal, there would never be enough moments elapsed to arrive at any moment in the future because time would be infinitely regressing.

Here the atheist must either decide to believe that an event that goes against logic and natural law occurred naturally, all by itself for no reason. This is absurd, yet Christians (or even theists for that matter) are often called antiscientific and mocked. If science and scientists want to do science, they need not to ignore it.

We all believe something, whether we admit it or not.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Holes in Dispensational Theology

Dispensational Theology (or Dispensationalism) is certainly the most popular view of the Biblical covenants in American Christianity today. It is so popular, it is often assumed to be the default position of how one interprets the covenants and greatly affects eschatology. This theological system was developed around 1830 by John Nelson Darby and so is a very modern system. This system was only later made popular by the ever famous Scofield Reference Bible in 1909. This theology was again reiterated and entered mainstream evangelicalism even later in Tim LaHaye's very popular book series, Left Behind.

Dispensationalism is an evangelical, futurist, Biblical interpretation, which understands God to have related to humans in different ways through a series of different covenants in a series of "dispensations," or periods in history. Dispensationalism advocates a pre-millennial, pre-tribulation return of Christ. They justify their eschatology by the distinction they make between what they believe to be the two people[s] of God: Israel and the Church. This distinction must be made because they believe God has not yet fulfilled his promises to the nation of Israel. These promises include the land promises, which, they believe, in the future world to come will result in a millennial kingdom and a Third temple where Christ, after his return, will rule from Jerusalem for the one thousand years.

I have only two real problems with this description of Dispensationalism: (1) the distinction made between Israel and the Church and (2) the pre-tribulation return of Christ and rapture of the Church. I don't so much mind the second one as I do the first, because I can see where that interpretation is at least somewhat valid (and I actually hope I'm wrong about Christians enduring the tribulation themselves!). I cannot, however, ignore the gigantic problems with the first one. There are too many negative implications that come from this position as well as the problem that Christians are not claiming their true right to the covenant promises God has given the true Israel.

All Dispensationalists hold to a clear distinction between the Church and national Israel. They claim that there is no spiritual Israel and that Israel is specifically ethnic. The biggest problem with this is that because of this belief, Christians should default on many of the promises, commands, and such that they have rightful claim to. What is even more odd about this is that the Dispensationalists will claim most of the promises, although they know that they and their system claims that they have no right to the promises. Not only does it have Biblical implications, but it has two other major implications as well: ethical and national.

One of the ethical problems this system is that it produces a light or soft form of racism. This may sound crazy but it's true. When Christians claim that one ethnicity is better than another simply because of their ethnicity is racism. Dictionary.com offers this definition for racism: "a belief or doctrine that inherent differences among the various human races determine cultural or individual achievement, usually involving the idea that one's own race is superior and has the right to rule others." This is the very heart of dispensational thought: that the Jewish race is inherently better than other races, and deserves blessing, love, and protection over other ethnicities and nations. This system should be as offensive to everyone as it is to me if not but for this one reason! To claim that one race is better than another is an atrocity. But as I have noticed, white people tend to claim that one race is superior, whether it's their own or the Jewish people. Don't get me wrong, I love the Jewish people. But I don't love them any more that I would love a black person or an Italian or a Native American or an Asian. I do my best to love all people equally, regardless of their ethnicity, and I find it more than offensive when someone attempts to use the Bible to justify their racism or prejudice. 

The national implication is that we must give the nation Israel support and protection militarily- even when the nation might be doing something wrong, like trying to claim land that they don't own and that other people occupy. Again, don't get me wrong, I think that the conflicts Israel is going through is unnecessary and unfair to both Israel and the other nations involved. I do not think that Israel is causing all of the trouble over there, but she is certainly not helping. This has massive effects on the dispensationalist's view of foreign policy and military involvement in the world. 

Here's the thing, I only have such a problem with Dispensationalism because it ignores clear Biblical passages. I'll give two that are explicit, but there are others that mention or allude to the fact that the true Israel of God is not a national, ethnic group of people, but a nation he has called to himself through salvation.

Romans 9:1-8 says this:
"I am speaking the truth in Christ- I am not lying; my conscience bears me witness in the Holy Spirit- that I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brethren, my kinsman according to the flesh. They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises. To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ, who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen. But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel, and not all are children of Abraham because they are his offspring, but "Through Isaac shall your offspring be named." This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring.

I think that this passage is clear as is, but I'll add a little bit before the next passage.
"But it is not as though the word of God has failed." This means that all of the promises made in the Old Testament were still 100% valid, just in a way that the Romans apparently did not understand. They thought that the Jews were the chosen people of God, to whom all of the promises belonged, but Paul says it is not this way. Paul says that these promises belong to Israel. But wait, aren't they the same thing, Jews and Israel? Paul says no. "For not all who are descended from Israel [that is, our forefather Isaac] belong to Israel, and not all are children of Abraham because they are his offspring." The Jews are not "of Israel" just because they were born from that lineage, and not all inherit the promises to Abraham (moreover, Abraham's promises were not fulfilled through them as well) just because they are from his line. Paul concludes with this, "This means that it is not the children of the flesh... but the children of the promise are counted as offspring." This is explicit. Paul says that Abraham was not given promises to his children and their children, but to the nation that God has chosen for himself before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:3-4; Rom. 9:10-16). 

Galatians 3:15-29 says this:

"To give a human example, brothers: even with a man- made covenant, no one annuls it or adds to it once it has been ratified. Now the promises were made to Abraham and to his offspring. It does not say, “And to offsprings,” referring to many, but referring to one, “And to your offspring,” who is Christ. This is what I mean: the law, which came 430 years afterward, does not annul a covenant previously ratified by God, so as to make the promise void. For if the inheritance comes by the law, it no longer comes by promise; but God gave it to Abraham by a promise. Why then the law? It was added because of transgressions, until the offspring should come to whom the promise had been made, and it was put in place through angels by an intermediary. Now an intermediary implies more than one, but God is one. Is the law then contrary to the promises of God? Certainly not! For if a law had been given that could give life, then righteousness would indeed be by the law. But the Scripture imprisoned everything under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.
Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed. So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise."

This essentially says the same thing, except that the covenants were not annulled by Christ, but fulfilled by them, ushering in a New Covenant, which is mentioned in Hebrews so I won't mention that any further. The point of this passage is that the promises are given by those who have faith, so there is no distinction between ethnicities or social statuses or genders, but we are all one in Christ Jesus. One nation that God has chosen, because if we are Christ's (or if we are in Christ) then we "are Abraham's offspring" and "heirs according to promise." Christians are the "Israel" that Abraham was promised and we inherit his promises in Christ. 

If nothing else, I at least hope this post made some people think. I know this is a controversial topic, but I believe that what I've said is the truth. I hope and pray that we glorify God all the more through this, realizing that God has and does keep all of his promises.

Sorry for how long this post was, and I would like to thank you for reading. 

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Limited Atonement.



Limited Atonement.

What is it? Why would someone want to believe in an atonement that's limited? Isn't an unlimited atonement a better one? In what ways is it limited?

These are all questions the Calvinist must answer. Limited Atonement is the "L" in the famous (or infamous) "TULIP." People have said that Limited Atonement says that Christ only died for the elect. That is only very partially true. I think a better place to start is by asking, "What does the Arminian believe about the atonement?"

The Arminian believes in an atonement they call Unlimited Atonement. Immediately, this seems like the better option, because the name implies they are not limiting the atonement. But they are. The Arminian limits the atonement in its efficiency. They call it "unlimited," though, because they believe that Christ died to make salvation possible for all men (I'll return to this point shortly). So, although they do not limit the sufficiency of the atonement, they limit the efficiency of the atonement. The Arminian believes that the atonement is sufficient in that all men can be saved, but only efficient for those who repent.

The problem with the name Limited Atonement is this: the word "limited" assumes a lower ground or a lesser belief about the atonement, but belief in Limited Atonement actually believes MORE than the Arminian believes in his Unlimited Atonement.

The essence of what the Arminian belief of the atonement is this: Christ died so that all men might be saved if they believe and repent. You see, the Calvinist believes this too! The Calvinist just believes a whole lot more. The Calvinist can honestly say, "If you repent and believe, you will be saved!" He can honestly say, "Christ died so that if you repent and believe, you will be saved!" Here is where the Calvinist and Arminian [should] very much agree.

What more does he believe? The Calvinist believes this about the atonement: Christ died to definitely purchase, redeem, justify, and ultimately glorify those elected unto salvation, so that the cross saves all for whom it was intended. So simply put, they believe that everyone can be legitimately offered a real, valid chance for all people to repent and believe, while and although the cross was meant to bring salvation to a few people.

Was the cross meant to make salvation available to all men or to definitely save some of them? The answer is yes. Salvation is truly available for all men, because the cross was meant to save all who will repent and believe. Salvation is definitely bought for all the elect, because Christ died so that the elect would definitely be saved. John 10 is clear: Jesus laid down his life for the sheep, and those who don't believe are not his sheep. So Jesus laid down his life for those who would believe, and he will lose none of them.

Limited Atonement is not something someone should believe because it's a part of some system known as Calvinism. Limited Atonement is something someone should believe because it is Biblical. It says Christ died so that all who believe will certainly or definitely be saved. It says Christ died so that anyone who believes will certainly or definitely be saved. It is not exclusive, it is all inclusive. ANYONE who believes. Limited Atonement is not some Calvinist saying that the atonement is less that the Arminian perspective, it is the Bible saying that it is more!

I hope that this has given you all reading this a better perspective of Limited Atonement, and that in your greater understanding of this important doctrine that you glorify God all the more because of it!


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