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INTEGRITY in a World of Change!

The WORD Detective

EVIDENCE FOUND IN THE “DIGGING”:  [Daniel 5:1-30]

INTEGRITY with CONSISTENCY–

One of the hardest aspects in living your life is INTEGRITY being consistent.  But first, let me give a secular definition of the word, then we will getter a better meaning set in our minds:

INTEGRITY:  A concept of consistency of actions, values, methods, measures, principles, expectations, and outcomes.  In ethics, INTEGRITY is regarded as the honest and truthfulness or accuracy on one’s actions.  INTEGRITY can be regarded as the OPPOSITE of hypocrisy”  Quoted from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

With all the problems we face throughout our lives, no wonder many fail to act and react consistently in each situation.

In this blog, I will continue my detective work; digging in the Biblical evidence contained in The Book of Daniel Chapter 5. 

DANIEL is now approximately eighty years old.  He would be considered by all standards in any society…

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The Question of the Resurrection

Jesus' resurrection

With Easter just around the corner, I chose to do at least two blogs concerning the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. My first blog was an in depth look at the crucifixion, and this blog will center around the resurrection. A great little book dropped into my lap a few weeks back, called: “The Case for the Resurrection” by Lee Strobel. There is a link to this book on my Thanks page. Much of this blog will center around this book and the questions it raises and answers with my own thoughts thrown into the mix. As Easter sneaks up on us, I invite you all to think on this pivotal matter and what it means to you.

What Does the Resurrection Mean?

When I first cracked open the book, it posed and interesting theory to me. It was written by a former atheist, who was married to a Christian woman, and firmly believed in the total non-existence of God. Then a question came to him, and it was the question of the resurrection of Jesus. Did it really happen? Was it spiritual or physical or both? Even as an atheist, he believed that Jesus did, in fact, die on the cross. The crucifixion was historical fact as far as he was concerned. But the question remained of the resurrection. If, indeed, the resurrection did occur it would settle everything. The fundamental arguments concerning the validity of religion would have a valid and unquestionable answer, as would the existence of God. He set out on a journey to answer this question. And this journey brought him to Christ.

As a Christian, this question is easily answered. The resurrection represented God’s victory over the forces of death and sin. It is the key to victory in the Christian life because of our union with Christ. Because of the resurrection, we receive both eternal life and spiritual power. Had the resurrection not occurred, then we would still live in fear of sin and death, with no hope for our future.

But what proof is there in the resurrection? How can we truly believe that it happened and what it represented? This little gem of a book answers those questions, and does so using the gospels. I’d like to summarize this, with various points from the book thrown into my dialogue. I borrow heavily from this book for this post, and if you’d like a full reading of it, it can be found here.

The Account of the Resurrection

Jesus Appears to Mary

Jesus Appears to Mary

The Finding of the Empty Tomb

When Jesus was buried, his tomb was put under constant guard. The chief priests and the Pharisees came to Pilate to ask for a contingent of guards to watch over the tomb because they remembered Jesus’ words: “After three days I will rise again.” – Matthew 27:63. They were afraid that Jesus’ disciples would come in the night, steal Jesus’ body from the tomb and declare that He had risen. Pilate authorized a guard and told them to make the tomb as secure as they were able (Matthew 27:6266). Matthew goes on to say (after the actual resurrection event) that the report of the guard surrounding the tomb was covered up as well. After the guards reported the missing body of Jesus, the elders gave them large sums of money and told them to report that the Jews had taken the body while they slept (Matthew 28:11-15). This is an interesting deception given that those disciples defected just a few days earlier in the Garden of Gethsemane. Also, I find it hard to believe that the soldiers could testify about anything that happened while they slept. Interestingly enough, according to Matthew 28:15, the Jews still declare this false report to be true: “… and this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day.” Clearly we have to take this in context as “this day” at the time of the writing was somewhere around A.D. 60-90. However, most Jewish religions reject Jesus as the Messiah to this day.

Returning to the topic at hand, all four gospels account for the resurrection. There are a variety of details contained in each gospel, however these details tend to compliment each other rather than contradict. The slight differences will be recounted here, and for some modern readers can cause alarm, but most historians and bible scholars consider these to be secondary details and no cause for concern. All four gospels report that the tomb was found empty “in the end of the Sabbath” (Matthew 28:1, Mark 16:1, Luke 24:1, John 20:1). The angel that appears to open the tomb was not there to let Him out, but to show that it was empty and that He was already gone. Matthew records that Mary Magdalene and “the other Mary” found the sepulcher empty and were told to “go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead…” – Matthew 28:1-10 (the “other Mary” is the mother of James and Joses and the wife of Cleophas mentioned in John 19:25 and reported to be Jesus’ mother’s sister). Mark reports that Mary Magdalene and “Mary the mother of James, and Salome” (v16:1) went to the tomb to anoint Jesus with “sweet spices“. In this account, the angel was already in the opened tomb rather than descending from heaven to open it for them.  Luke 24 records the same details, however the women that went to the tomb that day were “Mary Magdalene, and Joanna, and Mary the mother of James, and other women that were with them“. – v10. In this account, Peter went to the tomb to confirm this story (v12) though, it would seem that none of the disciples were convinced, merely bewildered. Luke also records two angels rather than one meeting the women at the tomb (v4). John 20 records that Mary Magdalene found the empty tomb and ran to tell Peter and John this news. From the other accounts, we know there were other women present during this event as well. John also records two angels rather than just one (v12), however, again, this is hardly contradictory as whenever there are two of something, there is also one. John and Luke merely add to the secondary details. From all four accounts, we can see that Jesus’ tomb was found empty in the early morning hours by a group of women followers. Given that all four accounts have slightly different details, we can assume that the authors of these accounts had multiple independent sources. One could say that Matthew and Luke copied from Mark’s account, but a complete examination of the different details shows that even if Matthew and Luke knew of Mark’s account, they also had their own sources of information concerning the event. The reason for John mentioning only Mary is also easily reconciled as she may have simply been the first on the scene so John mentions only her. That’s hardly a contradiction.

It behooves us to mention the credibility of female witnesses in the resurrection accounts. Apparently, the testimony of the women was considered suspect as they would not be objective observers of the event as they were “friends” of Jesus during His ministry. As women in first century Jewish culture were on a lower rung of the social ladder, the fact that they are recorded as the first witnesses to Jesus’ empty tomb is, in and of itself, astounding evidence as to the historicity of the event. In a Jewish court of law, female testimony was considered so worthless that they were not even considered for legal witnesses. Therefore, it is astounding that the writers of the Gospels would leave this testimony in place. It shows that, like it or not, theses women were the first to discover the tomb! As for the women’s actions in going to the tomb in the first place, it can easily be explained as well. These women were grieving for a lost loved one. Certainly they would not be able to move the stone covering the tomb by themselves, but perhaps they thought there would be men, or guards around that would move it for them. Anointing a body with oils is certainly a well known Jewish practice. I certainly don’t see any suspicious behavior from the women in this regard.

Jesus’ Appearances

One of the more prominent accounts of Jesus’ appearances was in Luke 24:13. In this account, Jesus walked the road to Emmaus with two of His disciples conversing with them but hiding himself through some form of divine intervention (v16). There are some skeptics that believe that Jesus didn’t really die on the cross, but that he survived. This account in Luke (the only gospel containing this story) suggests a true physical resurrection. Even if Jesus were to have survived his ordeal on the cross, discarded his linen wrappings, move the giant boulder covering his tomb and sneak past the guard, he would hardly be in any condition to walk after having nails hammered into his feet. This man not only lost His entire blood and fluid supply, but was covered in welts and gashes, arms pulled from their sockets, and had a spear wound in his side. The appearance of such a man would hardly inspire the uprising of an entire religious movement surrounding this man’s resurrection and triumph over death. Most likely His disciples would have pitied Him and attempted to nurse Him back to health. The passages in Luke 24:13 indicate that Jesus was given a fully functional resurrection body that appeared, at times, different from his original body. Part of our faith is one day obtaining new resurrected bodies such as the one given Jesus. If Jesus were to return just as he left us, in a battered, broken, and beaten body, would so many of His disciples willingly go to their deaths in the hope of one day obtaining the same?

On the same note, it is also shown that Jesus retained His scars and wounds, as they were used as proof of His resurrection. Jesus appeared to Thomas in John 20:24 and allowed Thomas to stick his fingers through the holes in His wrists and the spear wound in His side (v27). Luke 24:36 shows also another appearance to His disciples wherein He invited them to look upon his wounds and believe (v39-40). He also asks for food (Luke 24:41, John 21:5), indicating to us that Jesus did reappear in bodily form and that He retained His scars, could be touched, and even ate. The discreet appearances wherein he appeared to them differently, I believe, were tests to see who would believe without seeing. As Jesus states in John 20:29 after the conversion of Thomas: “… Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.” Kind of hard to have faith in something that you can see, hear, and touch. It’s not considered faith then, is it? Let’s not forget, also, Hebrews 13:2: “Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” Luke 24:28-31 shows that the two disciples He traveled with on the road to Emmaus offered Him lodging and food for the evening and that He opened their eyes to Him after the breaking of the bread. Kindness to strangers, for one never knows when one is being kind to an angel, or in their case, Christ Himself!

Christ also appeared to His eleven apostles in Matthew 28:16-20, and to many of His disciples, including the apostles in the Mount of Olives shortly before His ascension (Luke 24:50-52; Acts 1:3-9). We therefore have a wealth of eyewitness accounts of the resurrected Jesus. Acts is littered with references to this event, Peter being among the most adamant about it. This wasn’t just a few eyewitnesses to some shadowy figure, this was multiple accounts of the same person appearing to numerous people and corroborated in all the gospels. Since the resurrection was most likely the focal point for the early church, it seems likely that they would have made absolutely sure that it was true.

Other Evidence

Jesus' Ascension

Jesus’ Ascension

Some of the strongest evidence for a true resurrection is in the subsequent activities of the church after Jesus’ ascension. One of the most prominent accounts is the tale of Stephen in Acts 6 and 7. His activities strongly suggest that he was a Hellenist, meaning that he accepted at least some of the Greek customs and was not a Jew in the strictest Palestinian tradition. He was, however, full of the Spirit, faith, wisdom, and power. His career was short, but illustrious. He was arrested, persecuted, and finally executed by stoning. Not once did he waver from his faith in the Lord God and the ministry of Jesus.

We also have the conversion of Saul (Acts 9), a man who ruthlessly persecuted the early church and was responsible for the arrest and death of Stephen mentioned above. This man was so utterly convinced of Christ’s resurrection that he completely changed and went to his death believing it. Most know him better as Paul, who wrote the various epistles in the New Testament.

Acts is littered with events similar to this. Paul, Stephen, even Jesus’ half-brother James were all transformed to the point where they were willing to suffer persecution and martyrdom for their belief in the risen Christ. Of course there are many religions where people are willing to die for their beliefs, so what does this really prove? That they certainly regarded their beliefs as true. They didn’t willingly lie about any of it as liars make for bad martyrs. They didn’t just believe it though, they knew it beyond a shadow of a doubt and were willing to die for the truth of the resurrection. A modern day Islamic terrorist can only have faith that their beliefs are true, but are never in a position to know for sure. The disciples died for the truth, not for faith.

If one were to believe that Jesus died and that His disciples stole His body and began a worldwide religious movement based on a lie, I find it hard to believe that it would have survived so much persecution and converted so many vehement non-believers. Paul’s conversion lends weight to the true resurrection account. We now have testimony from friend and foe alike! How else can we explain this radical transformation from ruthless persecutor of the church to one of the most well known preachers of the good Word? It demands an explanation! Six other ancient sources such as Luke, Clement of Rome, Polycarp, Tertullian, Dionysius of Corinth, and Origen all report that Paul was willing to suffer continuously and even die for these beliefs. This points to strong evidence for a true, spiritual, and physical resurrection of Christ!

Conclusion

The resurrection of Jesus was a remarkable event, symbolizing God’s victory over the wages of sin and death in the world. From it, we gain the hope and freedom to avoid spiritual death and reign forever with God in His Kingdom of Heaven. How amazing it must have been for His closest and deepest friends to have found Him alive three days after His death! Jesus’ ordeal on the cross was brutal, bloody, and harrowing, but now we know that it was for a purpose! For “I am the way, the truth, and the life…” – John 14:6. Jesus is our savior in every sense of the word, and our union with Him will bring us to future resurrection through Him! The resurrection is the key event in Christian history, the event that trumps all others as it proves God’s sovereignty over life and death, and that His all knowing truth is our only salvation. We should always feel blessed that God gave us the gift of His Son! For through Him, we find life, light, and most importantly: LOVE.

Published by Jay McAnally
Copyright © 2013

An interesting in depth article about spiritual rebirth and growth. It gave me much to dissect and consider.

The WORD Detective

My mind, as of late, has been focused like many others, on March 31st, 2013:RESURRECTIONSUNDAY!  So when reading in First Peter this past week, and starting a Bible Study with my wife Dianne, I was drawn by GOD’S SPIRIT to the HOLINESS OF GODand the events that Christianity has named–EASTER.

Where did the Expression “In a Nutshell” come from?

I thought I might insert the phrase into this blog for an ‘attention getter’, but later thought…culturally, would everyone understand the meaning; what do “nutshells” have to do with “spiritual re-birthing”?

How the phrase “in a nutshell” came to mean “brief and concise:

various_nuts_including_hazelnuts_walnuts_and_almon_postage-d172902192036531751exumr_325The idea of having a detailed amount of information about the FACTS, neatly contained in a small, compact nutshell has somewhat evolved to–the idea of having just the facts you need to make a decision, minus the “superfluous waffle.”  

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Jesus – The Real Life Superman

No Christian, Jew, Bible scholar, historian, or even skeptic can deny that Jesus died by Roman crucifixion. There can really be no denying this historical fact, and there are a number of sources that can be used to verify this. To begin with, all four gospels account for this event. Non-Christian sources also corroborate this event. The historian Tacitus said that “Jesus suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius”. A Jewish historian, Josephus reports that Pilate “condemned him to be crucified”. The Jewish Talmud reports that Jesus was “killed”. A Greek satirist, Lucian of Samosata, mentions the crucifixion, and Mara Bar-Serapion, who was a pagan, confirms the execution of Jesus. By all accounts, Jesus was, in fact, completely “dead” by the time he was brought down from the cross, and there was no doubt as to his passing.

But how many of us have really stopped to think about what Jesus actually went through before and during this ordeal? How many of us understand, or even could understand the excruciating amount of suffering and pain that He endured before his death, in amounts that would kill any normal man? That He did this willingly, and that He did it for the very people that were causing His torment? I want to dissect those final few hours, using the biblical gospels for reference, to show what exactly it was that Jesus endured for us, and why it is so important that we never forget and that we honor that sacrifice.

Gethsemane

Jesus praying at Gethsemane

Jesus praying at Gethsemane

We will start our investigation in the gardens of Gethsemane, where Jesus spent His last free hours with his disciples before His arrest. Jesus knew what was coming, and that His ordeal was soon to begin, and He was certainly afraid, or at the very least, distressed. Mark 14:33 says that He “began to be sore amazed [greatly troubled], and to be very heavy [deeply distressed]”. Matthew 26:37-38 tells us that He was “sorrowful [grieved] and very heavy [deeply distressed]” and that His “soul is exceeding sorrowful even unto death.” Luke 22:44 goes even further to tell us that while He was “being in agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.” It makes sense that Luke would record this particular fact as he was a physician and would most likely recognize this as medical condition, not to mention that Luke’s gospel, as a whole, recorded events from the perspective of a more educated and fundamentally scientific viewpoint. Luke could have been using a metaphor, or symbolism, but medically, this condition is entirely possible, and given Jesus’ state of mind during this event, it makes it even more likely that Luke’s meaning was literal. A medical condition known as hematidrosis is associated with a high degree of psychological stress and can cause a release of chemicals that break down the capillaries in the sweat glands, causing a small amount of bleeding into the glands resulting in sweat tinged with blood. It is a fairly rare condition, and would not result in large amounts of blood, but can still account for Luke’s observation of Jesus at that point in time.

Jesus was certainly distressed. He knew what was coming, and it caused Him great distress as I think it would anyone put into that kind of situation. It was an ordeal that He knew He could not avoid as it was the culmination of His entire purpose for being. But this did not stop him from stressing over it, agonizing over what was coming. He spent that time in Gethsemane praying to the Lord for strength and courage, and even asked that God prevent the ordeal all together. In Mark 14:36, Jesus calls upon God by the name “Abba“, which at the time, was the household term for father. He was calling upon God as his parent, not because he was afraid of death, but to question the will of God that the ordeal is necessary. Matthew 26:39 also records this prayer as such: “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will but as thou wilt.” The cup is representative of God’s wrath against sin, of the ordeal that Jesus must endure in our place. In the anguish of that moment, the sin of the world was poured onto Him, and he became “sin for us“. – 2 Corinthians 5:21. Therefore, Jesus would die a substitutionary death for the guilty mankind. Also notice, though Jesus may have questioned God’s will, He still never wavered in carrying it out by the words He spoke: “not as I will but as thou wilt

So even before Jesus’ arrest, He was under a great deal of strain both mentally and physically, with the weight of the world’s sin on His shoulders, the agonizing absence of His Father’s presence, and the foreknowledge of His ordeal. His disciples were all about to leave Him in a lurch, and He knew that everything He knew to be coming had to pass. So, already, before the arrest, we have a man who is under a massive amount of stress, and who is physically weakened by it almost to the point of exhaustion.

The Trials and Pilate

Jesus was then betrayed and arrested and taken before the High Priest, Caiaphas in the middle of the night for a mock trial.

Jesus on Trial

Jesus on Trial

Matthew 26:59 tells us that that “the chief priests, and elders, and all the council, sought false witness against Jesus, to put him to death“. Many false witnesses came to offer testimony, but “For many bare false witness against him, but their witness agreed not together.” – Mark 14:56. The chief priests, of course, viewed Jesus as a threat to their way of life, a threat to their beliefs, and a blasphemer. However, all throughout Jesus’ ministry, the priests had been unable to trick Jesus into answering their questions in such a way as to incriminate Himself based on their interpretation of the laws. After His completely unfounded arrest, they held the trial in the middle of the night, called on many to give false testimony and pronounced sentence. After this, Jesus was blindfolded and beaten and mocked by the men holding him. “And when they had blindfolded him, they struck him on the face, and asked him, saying, Prophesy, who is it that smote thee?” – Luke 22:64. Mark 14:65 tells us a bit more in that Jesus was also “spit on” and that they “did strike him with the palms of their hands.” John 18:19-24 records a smaller, even more informal trial before Annas, Caiaphas’ father-in-law, which took place shortly before the trial before the Sanhedrin. In this trial, He was asked about His disciples and His doctrine, and John records that He was struck at least once by one of the officers holding Him. In the morning, Jesus was brought before the council and formally pronounced guilty and sentenced to death.

Since the Jews had no laws concerning crucifixion, Jesus was brought before Pilate, the Roman governor of Judea and Samaria during Christ’s ministry. The Jews demanded crucifixion, though Pilate was unconvinced of Jesus’ guilt. Pilate was only interested in the political ramifications of the Jew’s claims about Jesus. Thus, his only question to him was whether or not He was, in fact, the King of the Jews. Mark 15: 2 tells us that Jesus answered him with “Thou sayest it.” Luke 23:7-12 records that Pilate sent Jesus to Herod for further interrogation, however, Jesus’ silence infuriated the chief priests and so Herod “set him at nought [treated him with contempt], and mocked him, and arrayed him in a gorgeous robe, and sent him again to Pilate.” The robe was clearly mocking Jesus’ supposed claim of Kingship of the Jews. Again, Pilate is concerned that the Jew’s claim could incite a Jewish rebellion against Rome. Jesus’ answer to Pilate: “My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence” and “Thou sayest I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth hearest my voice” is enough proof for Pilate to “find in him no fault at all.” – John 18:36-38. Again, the Jews renounce Him and demand his crucifixion.

The Roman Beatings

Jesus scourged and beaten

Jesus scourged and beaten

Pilate ordered a flogging and Jesus was whipped with a flagellum, which consisted of small pieces of metal and bone tied to strips of leather while tied to a post. Each crack of the whip would have stripped off flesh, exposing muscle and tissue and resulting in major blood loss. This came after several beatings during His trials, and the exhausting 2.5 mile walk from Gethsemane the night before. Roman authorities did not limit the number of whips either, though the exact number of times Jesus was whipped was not recorded in the gospels. However, we can conclude that it was a rather severe flogging given that Pilate had hope that the beating alone would appease the Jews.

After the beating, Jesus was led inside and brought before a band of soldiers who dressed him in a “scarlet robeplaited a crown of thorns” and “put it upon his head, and” placed “a reed [rod or staff] in his right hand“. “They bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews!” – Matthew 27:28-31. After this, the soldiers took the rod from Him and beat Him on the head, while spitting in His face. Isaiah 50:6 indicates that they may also have pulled hair from His beard. “… and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair…”. This further indicates the severity of the beating, performed just after a brutal flogging. The beating on his head would further drive the crown of thorns into his scalp, causing copious amounts of blood to spill since the scalp is one of the most vascular parts of the body.  Isaiah further comments on the severity in 52:14, which states: “As many were astonished at thee; his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men.” This indicates that He was beaten to the point where he could no longer be recognized as a human being! After this, the soldiers removed the robe and returned Him to Pilate. We can assume that the soldiers were rather careless when they removed the robe, and we can assume by this point that the robe would have adhered to the clots and serum in the wounds from the flogging and when it was torn from His body, it would cause excruciating pain as the wounds were torn back open and intense bleeding would resume, resulting in further loss of blood.

Jesus has now suffered a brutal flogging, savage beatings and mocking, all resulting in further psychological damage, and massive blood and fluid loss. The flogging itself would have killed any normal man, but Jesus survived, only to be beaten further by Roman soldiers. He was allowed no rest during this ordeal and was dragged from location to location until it was time to be crucified.

The Crucifixion

Jesus Crucified

Jesus Crucified

The normal custom for crucifixion is for the offender to carry his own cross to the place of execution. John 19:17 corroborates this, telling us: “And he bearing his cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha.” The other three gospels indicate that a man named Simon, a Cyrenian, carried Jesus’ cross. Luke 23:26 indicates that Simon was to carry the cross “after Jesus“, most likely meaning that Jesus began carrying it but was unable to continue due to the blood loss, pain, and exhaustion from the flogging and beatings. This cross would have been tied across his shoulders, the weight settling on His back. Most likely, He was made to carry only the patibulum, or the cross-arm section of the cross, as the primary post was usually affixed permanently in the ground at the execution site. However, just the patibulum would have weighed at least 110 pounds, give or take. The walk from the palace to the crucifixion site was around 650 yards, much of it uphill. The rough wood of the beam would have cut into his lacerated skin, causing further pain. After reaching the site, Jesus was offered some wine mixed with myrrh which would have dulled the pain, however, He refused it (Mark 15:23, Matthew 27:34, Luke 23:36). The patibulum was then thrown down, Jesus roughly thrown down on top of it. One arm was pulled into place and a square cast iron nail is driven through His wrist. The same is done to His other arm, making sure that the arms aren’t too tight against the wood, leaving some leeway. The patibulum would now be raised into place on the stipes and his feet are then nailed into place. Jesus’ exhausted body would sag downward, causing excruciating pain to explode into His brain from the nails in His wrist putting pressure on the median nerves.

To counter this, He would attempt to push himself upward to relieve the stretching torment. However, the searing agony of the nail tearing through the nerves in His feet would begin. Eventually the muscles in His arms would begin to fatigue, causing cramps in His muscles, resulting in a deep knotting, throbbing pain. These cramps would prevent Him from being able to pull upward, again causing Him to sag, hanging by only His arms. The tissue from His lacerated back would be torn from it as He moved up and down against the rough timber of the cross. Suffering for hours from cramps, searing nerve pain, and partial asphyxiation, He utters His last recorded words. He looks down upon the Roman soldiers throwing dice for His tattered garments and says: “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” – Luke 23:34. He then looks to the thief hanging next to Him and says: “Today shalt thou be with me in paradise…” – Luke 23:43. He then looks to the grief stricken and horrified John and says: “Behold thy mother!” and to his mother: “Behold thy son!“. – John 19:26-27. And finally, He speaks to His father in Heaven: “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” – Matthew 27:46 and Mark 15:34. This represented His final cry of anguish as God could no longer look upon Him while He carried the entirety of mankind’s sin upon Him. In John 19:28-30, Jesus also stated : “I thirst“. By this point, a terrible crushing pain is felt in His chest as His pericardium fills with fluid and begins to compress the heart. The loss of tissue fluids has reached critical levels, His heart is now attempting to pump a thick, sluggish blood through His veins, His tortured lungs are desperately trying to pull in small gasps of air, and dehydration fully sets in. The Romans bring Him a sponge filled with vinegar and put it to His lips. It is unclear as to whether or not He actually partakes of it. He can feel His body finally shutting down, and utters in what could only be a barely audible whisper: “It is finished.” – John 19:30. He more than likely was referring to His ministry and His purpose for being rather than His ordeal. His only complaint throughout all this suffering was “I thirst“. With one final surge of strength, He stretches up on His cross and cries: “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit…” – Luke 23:46. It was then, His suffering ended.

Commonly, crucifixion was ended by crurifracture, or the breaking of the legs, preventing the victim from pushing himself upwards and relieving the pressure on the chest. Thus, rapid suffocation would occur. The two thieves crucified with Jesus had their legs broken, but when they arrived at Jesus they saw that it was not necessary. To be sure, they pierced His side with a spear upward between the ribs into the heart. “And forthwith came there out blood and water.” – John 19:34. This is evidence to support the theory that Jesus did not die normally on the cross but rather by heart failure due to shock and constriction of the heart from fluid in the pericardium.

Conclusion

Given the violent, agonizing, and torturous manner of Jesus’ death, and the fact that he carried Himself through it with dignity, and with strength no normal person could have, I consider Jesus to be the real life Superman. And if ever there is a case to be made for the true meaning of love, we need only look at the crucifixion for the answer. Why would a man willingly put himself through such torture? Jesus knew what His end would be, the ordeal he would endure. He had the power to stop it, yet didn’t. He willingly allowed all of what transpired to happen and didn’t lift a finger to stop it, nor did He even take any of the easier paths to His death. He did not submit to the rule of the Sanhedrin or to Pilate. He did not take the offering of the wine mixed with myrrh to dull His pain. It is uncertain, but most likely that He did not take the vinegar offered to Him even though His thirst was unbearable. He willingly suffered an eternity of pain for US, the very people who were condemning Him to such torture. Why would He do this? The answer is a simple one: LOVE. 

 

Published by Jay McAnally
Copyright © 2013

The Dinosaurs

The bible is not considered to be one of the defining pieces of source material about the existence of dinosaurs. In fact, the bible doesn’t even really touch on the subject, given that it is rather irrelevant to the message of the bible as a whole. Thus, dinosaurs have been considered almost mythological in nature, a legend for children to love and adore. The evidence of their existence, however, is all too real and cannot be ignored. Therefore, we must not ignore that God created these creatures as He did everything else, despite the apparent lack of biblical evidence. There are a few issues in attempting to merge biblical evidence and scientific evidence, however. As my previous post described the Gap Theory, the obvious issue is dating the dinosaurs’ existence. Scientific evidence points to the dinosaurs evolving over millions of years, while most biblical scholars agree on a creation date of only 6000 years ago. Obviously these are two very conflicting accounts! But I plan to start out easy. Just the facts.

The Facts

First of all, the easiest one: did dinosaurs exist? Of course they did. The physical evidence is numerous and totally impossible to ignore. Scientists have even been able to reconstruct the skeletons of many of them so we even have an idea of what they must have looked like. We even know which ones were vegetarians and which ones were meat-eaters! Fact number two: God created the earth in six days! On day six, He created all the land animals, as well as Adam and Eve. Whether you approve of a 6000 year old Earth, or the Gap Theory to allow for millions of years of scientific evidence, this one biblical truth tells us something. That man and dinosaur roamed the earth together, at least for a little while. Obviously, evolutionists disagree with this biblical evidence as they will tell you that no man roamed the earth with the dinosaurs. They also believe in millions of years of evolution and an extinction level event that destroyed them, preparing the earth for our arrival some million years later. However, despite the conflicting accounts, we know two things for sure. Dinosaurs existed, and God created them, the other land animals, and mankind on the sixth day of His creation week.

The Dinosaurs!!

What else do we know about dinosaurs? The first bones were uncovered back in the 1820’s by a doctor named Gideon Mantell. From his discovery, almost nine different species of this new lizard were discovered by the 1840’s. A famous British scientist, Dr. Richard Owen, was the man responsible for coining the name “Dinosauria”, which meant “terrible lizard”. We also know that, unlike other lizards, the dinosaurs walked upright much as a horse or cow would walk. Many of them were even the same size as a horse or a cow, which lends weight to the theory that they could interact with and coexist with other animals of that size. Other lizards waddle when they walk, like crocodiles or geckos. Dinosaurs did have a wide range of sizes, however. Some were as small as a chicken, other were forty feet tall, weighing in at around eighty tons! All these things we know, the physical aspects of the lizards, we know, or at least can be fairly certain about. Our main issue, again, is when these creatures lived. You might be surprised to know that the bible supports evidence of man living among these beasts!

Biblical Facts

Again, as in my previous posting, I don’t support the Gap Theory, at least not as it is posited. I don’t necessarily support a 6000 year old Earth either, as I cannot take the genealogies in the Bible and consider them to be a complete record of all mankind up until the coming of Christ. What I do support, however, is the absolute fact that God is the creator of our universe and everything in it, be it mankind or animal, star or supernovae. This, to me, is undeniable fact; not debatable. “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.”Genesis 1:1. Fact. Indisputable, undeniable fact. Fast forward to the sixth day of creation. “And God said, let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so. And the God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and everything that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good. And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea , and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” Genesis 1:24-27. Again, this is fact. Since God created the dinosaurs along with the other land animals on day six, we can be absolutely sure that they were created for a purpose and were designed to fulfill that purpose, just as all other of God’s creations.

Evolution would have us believe that the dinosaurs evolved over a period of millions of years into the creatures we know and recognize. This implies that the creatures evolved from other lifeforms, meaning that some of the genetic material would have to carry over into the new species. If reptiles evolved from amphibians for example, there would have to be a record somewhere of this life form in its transitional stages. However, no scientist to date has found this missing link in any animal or creature, including man. This means that dinosaurs are 100% dinosaur, no other genetic material comprises their makeup. They are just as unique as any other creation. And they fulfilled a unique purpose in God’s design just as every other creature on the earth. Evolutionists also declare that dinosaurs existed well before mankind walked the earth, and again, the bible refutes this. As indicated in Genesis 1:24-1:27, God created the land animals and man all on the same day. This proves that mankind walked with the dinosaurs for a time. And there is other evidence to support this in the bible.

Biblical Evidence

Adam and Eve in the Garden

Given that at the onset of creation, there was no sin, and no death, it stands to reason that the dinosaurs (as well as mankind) were vegetarians. In order to eat meat, one would have to kill to obtain said meat. Despite this limitation, God gave an abundance to Adam and Eve, as well as the animals inhabiting the garden. “And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat.” – Genesis 2:16. This food source was, of course, unending and plentiful. It was more than enough to sustain man and animal. It was after the fall that sin and death entered the world (Genesis 3:1-7). God punished that sin with death as He plainly indicated in Genesis 2:17 – “… for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” Therefore, there can be no fossil record from before the fall of man because there was no death in the world until that moment. There is other biblical evidence to support this as well. Romans 5:12 tells us – “Therefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.” As indicated in the verse, death and sin are hand in hand. There cannot be one without the other, and until the existence of sin in the world, there was no death. Acts 2:21 says – “Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution [restoration] of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.” This verse speaks of a return to a sinless world, much like the one Adam and Eve lived in. It will be a return to innocence, a return to the Garden of Eden, and sin and death will again be no more. Again, this tells us that death did not exist before the original sin, and is further corroborated by Romans 8:22 – “For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.” Until the time of the restoration, we will suffer in pain and death as the price we pay for Adam’s sin. “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.” – Genesis 3:19. Death will be a part of the Genesis curse until the restoration, as death is a part of sin. Hebrews 9:22 – “And almost all things are by the law purged [cleansed] with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission [forgiveness].” There can be no forgiveness without the shedding of blood. This is proven by the sacrifice of Jesus upon the cross, whereupon the shedding of His blood, gave us forgiveness for our sins. Therefore, death is a requirement of sin, a necessary component of forgiveness. Without sin, death cannot and does not need to exist. What this all boils down to is the complete impossibility of dinosaur fossils existing before the fall of man. Death simply did not exist at that time.

So THAT’S what happened…

We can’t be entirely sure when dinosaur fatalities began to occur, however, we can be pretty sure when dinosaur fossils became reality. Death entered the world immediately after the original sin. At this point, we can be certain that animals began hunting other animals, and possibly even humans, and vice versa. However, fossilization would only occur if the bones of the dead animal were preserved by being buried under sediment. And this burial would have to occur quickly after death for the permineralization process to occur. The fossil record that we have is inconclusive. Depending on the area of excavation and the interpretation of the findings, we can draw different conclusions. Some experts find a gradual decline in certain fossil species indication a slow natural extinction due either to climate changes, lack of food, or migratory patterns. Other experts interpret a sudden and cataclysmic end to the dinosaurs, from which many extinction level event theories have emerged. Meteor impact, sudden volcanic activity, floods; all of these have been posited, and physical evidence for all theories has been uncovered. While it may be within God’s power to send a meteor crashing into earth, or to erupt all volcanoes at once in a certain area, biblical evidence points to Noah’s flood as the cause of the dinosaurs extinction, among others. After all, more than just dinosaurs died in this event. Many humans, plants, and other animals died in this flood. This does not mean that dinosaurs were excluded from the ark by any means. But it also doesn’t mean that the dinosaurs survived after the flood either.

The Flood

In Genesis 6:12, we are that “God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth.” Because of this corruption, God said “I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.” – Genesis 6:7, and “… I will cause it to rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights; and every living substance that I have made will I destroy from off the face of the earth.” – Genesis 7:4.

So God commissioned Noah to create an Ark, instructing him in exactly the dimensions needed, and the materials to be used. And on it, he was to load his family, and two (seven of some) of every air breathing animal existing on the planet. “…every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort shalt thou bring into the ark…” – Genesis 6:19. This means that dinosaurs were included as they were flesh. They were not excluded from passage on the ark as the above cartoon posits to us (although it is a funny cartoon). The ark was certainly created to be big enough to fit two of every animal as well as Noah and his family. This does not mean they would be comfortable during the flood, but they would have enough room to live and survive, which is what God was aiming for. This wasn’t meant to be a pleasure cruise. The ark would wind up being about 137 meters in length (450 feet).

The Relative size of Noah’s Ark

Since most dinosaurs were not incredibly large, there was plenty of room for two of each species of dinosaur to fit on the ark. Also, we could assume that God sent younger animals on to the ark, such as young adults that may not have grown to full size in order to save space. There would also be ample food on the ark for all the animals and Noah’s family. We can also assume that separate compartments were created in order to contain the more aggressive species, such as carnivores from the more passive non-meat eating herbivores. Of the animals that did not join Noah on his ark, they were quite simply, drowned. “And all flesh dies that moved upon the earth, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of beast, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth, and every man.” – Genesis 7:21. And while the rampaging flood covered the earth, they were most likely buried under layers of mud and sediment that was being tossed around in the tidal surges. Given this, we would expect to find evidence of billions of dead animals and plants buried in the ground. And this is exactly what we find, and exactly what has led to the fossil record we keep today.  Young earth creationists believe that this flood occurred roughly 4500 years ago. If this is the case, the fossils that we have uncovered could only be a maximum of 4500 years old, rather than the millions of years of age that evolutionists would have us believe. As I am still up in the air as far as the age of the earth is concerned, I’ll leave it up to you to draw your own conclusions.

The Evolutionist Viewpoint

Evolutionists don’t seem to have a concrete theory about the extinction of the dinosaurs. In fact, they don’t seem to have much of a clue if some of their theories are to be taken seriously. Since they believe that dinosaurs ruled the earth before mankind came along, there has to be a string of theories explaining the rapid extinction of these animals. When perusing evolutionist literature, we can find many different theories pertaining to this. They starved to death, massive volcanic eruptions, overeating, unable to reproduce due to blindness or predators eating their eggs, changes in air composition, brain shrinkage leading to greater stupidity and a slew of others. Perhaps the most well known theory is that of the meteor impact. Though it cannot be denied that meteors have struck the earth due to physical evidence found at impact sites throughout the world, this does not make them the progenitors of a mass extinction. Changes in air composition, a migratory change, predatory losses, and other factors can, indeed, contribute to a mass extinction. This does not, however, rule out the flood as the progenitor of that extinction. In fact, evolutionists cannot decide on one unifying theory, and this is because no evolutionary explanation can be found. No explanation for the death of the dinosaurs exists. Apart from one, however. If you remove the evolutionary footprint, and take what is read in the bible seriously, your explanation is in the printing!  But, just for fun, let’s discuss a few of the most prominent evolutionary theory regarding the extinction.

Mass Level Extinction Meteor Impact
Massive Meteor Impact

Massive Meteor Impact

This hypothesis states that a large comet or meteor, around 10 kilometers wide impacted the earth just off the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula around 65 million years ago, which corresponds to the supposed age of the dinosaur extinction event. After the event the planet was covered in perpetual darkness from the dense clouds of dust permeating the atmosphere following the impact. This impacted the amount of sunlight that could reach the earth’s surface, effectively killing a majority of plants and the animals that sustained themselves upon them. Even after the dust settled, an increase in greenhouse gasses caused by the impact would make temperatures skyrocket. Within a few years, these temperature and climate changes caused the rapid extinction of nearly 70 percent of all carbon based life forms on the planet.

Evidence supporting this theory exists in the impact crater itself, and the metals found in the surrounding sediment layers. A rare metal called iridium was found in the surrounding earth layers, a metal that is rarely found on earth, but quite common to many astronomical phenomenon such as comets or meteor fragments. This metal was found in quantities of excess of 30 times greater than average in the tertiary layer of sedimentary rock that was laid down at the time of the extinction. Again, this is averaged out to be around 65 million years ago.

There is also evidence of impact ejecta, or previously melted rock at this same layer of earth. This is evidence of an explosion that was powerful enough to instantly melt bedrock and propel it hundreds of miles from its point of origin. An explosion from a massive meteor impact upon the earth would create this phenomenon. There are also crystals found in this layer, showing a fractal pattern that could only be caused by a massive high-energy explosion or impact, or at least this is maintained by some scientists. However, none of this is definite proof.

Massive Global Volcanic Activity and Eruptions
Volcanic Eruption

Volcanic Eruption

This theory posits that the earth was just a mess of volcanic activity 65 to 70 million years ago. Huge beds of lava found around the world and dated back to this time period, depict a world where volcanic eruptions were fairly commonplace. According to the theory, this amount of almost constant volcanic eruption resulted in gas, ash, and dust settling into the atmosphere and preventing sunlight from reaching the surface. As in the meteor impact theory, this resulted in the loss of plant and animal life when proper adaptation to the harsh environment failed.

Evidence for this theory is found in ancient lava beds found throughout the world. A prominent lava flow discovered in India, covers almost 200,000 square miles of the Deccan region and reaches depths of almost 2000 meters indicating a rash of volcanic activity that could have persisted for around 500,000 years leading up to the extinction. The same metals, iridium, are used as evidence in this theory as they are also found prominently in layers of volcanic rock, round in the same tertiary layers. The same crystals are also posited to be evidence of this theory. Interestingly enough, some scientists believe that volcanic activity could account for the same fractal patterns found in these crystals that would normally only be caused by a high-energy explosion.

On a personal note, this theory seems to be a big failure to me. Most of the evidence is exactly the same as in the meteor impact theory, and nothing can explain as to why this massive amount of volcanic activity simply stopped right after the extinction.

Conclusion from a Biblical Standpoint

Noah and the Gathering

Noah and the Gathering

The truth is, most evolutionists simply don’t know what happened during this extinction. There is no proof, no definite theory, no unifying cause for this extinction, and many of them conclude that they will never know what happened 65 million years ago. However, being as the bible is filled with historical fact, wouldn’t it be more prudent to ignore both the evolutionist framework, and the amount of time, and realize that the bible gives one single unifying explanation for the extinction? Despite the death of all the land creatures apart from the ones safely ensconced on the ark, and the death of most of the sea creatures, some of the animals survived the flood. However, the world they emerged into would have been greatly different than the one they left. Food was no longer in abundance, habitats were gone, and we can assume a major climate change from all the moisture in the air contributed to harsher conditions than what they were used to. Unable to adapt, or survive, some of these animals, including the dinosaurs didn’t survive. Man was also a contributing factor. Some of these animals were most likely hunted for food, and possibly for sport, leading to extinctions of certain species. Extinction seems to be the one rule in earth history rather than evolution.

There is evidence that Job, who lived in the post flood world, lived among dinosaurs. In Job 40:15, God mentions a “behemoth“, which some biblical scholars have concluded must translate to elephant or even a hippopotamus. However, God also states that “he moveth his tail like a cedar…” – Job 40:17. An elephant or a hippopotamus certainly doesn’t have a tail anything like a cedar tree! The entire description given in Job 40:15-24, seems to represent a larger dinosaur like an apatosaurus. This creature was used to help Job understand that he could not stand against just one marvel of God’s creation and therefore couldn’t hope to stand against God Himself. However, this is proof of their existence, the fact that they could be seen and measured! This also gives proof of their continued existence after the flood, even if for only a short time, and leads to the proof that the dinosaurs most likely suffered an extended period of extinction due to climate changes, habitat destruction, and lack of food.

Interestingly enough, scientists are still finding new species in remote parts of the world that were too dangerous to explore until recently. Does this mean we may find a live dinosaur? We can’t really know that answer until an event like that occurs. While creationists may not be surprised to find a live dinosaur, evolutionists would certainly be in trouble having to explain why their dogmatic beliefs they’ve been preaching to us have suddenly unraveled. Personally, I hope for that day to come!

Of course, there is always one more theory isn’t there?

This was just too funny NOT to add!

This was just too funny NOT to add!

Published by Jay McAnally
Copyright © 2013

Hatred

I’m going to deviate today from my normal style of postings and write on more of a personal note today. I’ve had so much on my mind lately that I’ve developed nervous ticks; perhaps a remedy will be spelling it all out here. I’ve become overwhelmed by what I believe God is placing upon me, and though by no means is it not welcome, I feel rather upset about the current state of things. There are things I have discovered recently that give me no amount of pause, and for the life of me, I can find no answers to these questions.

A week ago, the country was in an uproar over the upcoming presidential election. They called it the most important election in the history of the United States, not that I understood how this election was any different than any other election. Truth be told, there isn’t a politician alive that I trust any further than I can throw them, so I figured whoever got in, got in, and what happened, happened. And it would seem that President Obama will remain in office for another four years. So, big deal. However, since that night, I have seen, read and heard of things happening that simply blow my mind.

First up, is the (so far) 24 states that are attempting to petition the government to allow them to secede from the United States and form their own separate governments. All because Obama was re-elected. Are you serious? Let me get this straight, you want to literally leave the country, take your entire state with you, and become your own self-contained government, all because Obama won? Please tell me how we will be any worse off than we have been for the last four years under his presidency. And how could we have been so sure that Romney would have done any better? So, let’s just say that these states are allowed to secede (which I highly doubt would happen), what then? Will they want to keep their currency? Will they open trade negotiations with other states that are still a part of the United States? What about businesses? What if they need supplies or other needs that could only be met by yet another business that is still governed by United States law? Are we really going to be opening international trade agreements within our own country? Will I need a passport if I want to move to another state? Obama won the election, so the natural response is to start a civil war and descend into anarchy right? We are all going to Hell because WE re-elected President Obama. As if God actually cared about who we put into office, as though He has nothing better to do than to get entangled in our politics! Really?

Which brings me to my next problem. Obama is the anti-Christ. Now, this is coming up more and more often, pushed onto us by extremist Christian groups that, in my opinion, have failed to read and/or understand anything the bible tells us (Westboro Baptist Church comes to mind). They suggest that Obama is the anti-Christ because he supports, say, abortion. Given that God detests this practice, and Obama supports it, he must therefore be the anti-Christ. Well, of course. That makes perfect sense right up until you realize that by that logic, ANYONE who supports abortion is the anti-Christ. Ah, but he also supports the right to homosexual marriage! He’s two for two, he’s the anti-Christ, his father is Satan! Same logic, people, a lot of people support gay rights. For the record, let it be known that Obama neither supports nor boycotts either of these issues, as his recorded stance is that the government should not be involved in said issues. Which I happen to agree with, personally. Abortion and homosexuality are personal choices and these people should be prayed for because their only judge will be God himself. Jesus taught us to give to Ceasar what is Ceasar’s and to give to God what is God’s. I feel Obama is appropriately separating church and state, as it should be. I am by no means defending Obama, as I said before, I don’t trust any politician. The point being is that even though Romney was against abortion and gay marriage, these two things will continue to happen until the end of time, and Romney would not have been able to stop it any more than Obama could. Making these things illegal will not stop homosexuals from being together, and it will not stop a woman who sees no other alternative than to get an abortion. Meth is an illegal drug. People still do it. These people instead need to be prayed for, they need to know that God loves them! They need to know that God is there, that He will take care of them, that He wants them at His side!

Westboro Baptist Church would have us believe otherwise. I have never seen anything like this before in my life, and the amount of hatred channeled through the good name of a church just makes me completely ill. Their website is godhatesfags.com. You may find that hard to believe. That’s understandable, which is why I have included that link directly to their page. I honestly have no words to describe what this group does. They spew savage hatred toward the most controversial issues of today: homosexuals, Muslims, Jews, Catholics, abortion, cancer, politics, and now even military funerals. And then if you lay so much as a finger on one of their members during a supposedly peaceful protest taking place right outside the legal distance required from your loved one’s funeral, they slap you with a million dollar lawsuit to further fund their tyrannical dogmatic drivel. They publicly thank God for deadly disasters like 9/11, the tsunami and earthquake in China. They thank Him for the killing of young children who were sinners. They thank Him for the killing of Muslims or Jews. They thank Him for the disease of cancer, the killer of sinners. Oh, and, as if you didn’t know this, God also hates Lady Gaga. They proclaim that they would give a sinner a big hug and maybe a kiss on the forehead if they could only get to you before God “kicks your ass”. God doesn’t just hate “fags”, he probably also hates YOU. And God, of course, does a lot of “ass-kicking”. What a shameful, offensive way to observe and spread the Word of God. The very name of the website makes me seethe with hatred despite my best efforts not to. I have only one question for this “church”. Did you people even READ the bible? Because I can’t imagine that you have. Your very motto of God hates Fags begs the question of just how completely ignorant you people are! And you can quote me all the bible verses you want to defend the notion that God hates sinners. I’ll even throw a couple out there for you. How about Psalms 5:5? “…thou hatest all workers of iniquity.” Or perhaps “All their wickedness is in Gilgal: for there I hated them: for the wickedness of their doings I will drive them out of mine house, I will love them no more…” – Hosea 9:15. Once again, let’s go ahead and use one section of the bible to illustrate our point while at the same time, ignoring the rest of it. To claim that God hates sinners is to completely disregard John 3:16, AND the entirety of Christ’s purpose! Tell me, if God hated us so much, WHY would he bother to send us His only son, who then loved us so much that He gave up His LIFE for OUR sins! If God hated us so much, WHY would Jesus have spent almost the entirety of His life in the company of prostitutes and degenerates? Jesus did not come to punish, He came to SAVE! God hates the SIN, but loves the SINNER! Does this mean that unrepentant sinners will avoid the pit of fire? No, it doesn’t. God wishes us all to be with Him in the end, but He cannot allow iniquity in His presence. He is just, He is holy, and He cannot allow unrepentant sinners into His kingdom. But He loves us so much that He gives us the opportunity to repent our sins and join Him in His kingdom! Westboro Baptist Church would have us believe that God hates America! That He is literally killing the men of our US military because they support a nation that is not unlike Sodom! Interestingly enough, there is a counter further down the page that is under the heading of “numbers”. This counter continually rises the longer you are on the page and represents the number of US soldiers God has killed since you loaded the page. Other outrageous numbers are also available for perusal, such as how many US soldiers God has killed to date, the number of people saved in the flood (8), the number of people killed in the flood (16,000,000: not sure where this number came from), and my favorite: the number of nanoseconds of lost sleep over their concern for our opinions and feeeeeliiings (0). How very Christian, to have no consideration whatsoever for other people’s feelings, and not only that, but to mock those feelings on your website! Yes, this is very loving, clearly the message God wanted to send! Yes, the bible tells us to hate everyone that doesn’t completely conform to your own beliefs, and worry instead, only about yourself! These people protest military funerals. They picket signs that declare how much God hates US soldiers, therefore, He hated the deceased! That’s right grieving family! God hated your son/husband/uncle/grandpa/brother so much that He struck him down! Don’t worry though, you’ll be next because, in your delusional state of grief, you actually held a funeral for someone God killed because He hated him! You shouldn’t have been grieving! God hates that too! Now, He’s going to kill you! You fools… yes, they call people fools on their website and during their picket rally’s. The saddest thing, I think, is that little children carry around these terrible picket signs, as in the picture above. It makes me so sick to see this as I imagine my own daughter being brainwashed to believe that God is nothing but hatred and vengeance. Now, perhaps I’ll be sued for this blog, because the leaders of this church are lawyers (again, another nail in their coffin), and thoroughly enjoy going sue-happy on anyone that doesn’t follow their beliefs (again, how Christian of you), but I simply don’t care! I pray for the families of lost soldiers that have to suffer the presence of these people during their hour of darkness. And I wish I could pray for the people of Westboro Baptist Church, and though I know I certainly will, I haven’t the strength to ignore my hatred of what these people do. Instead, for now, I will pray God give me the strength to see just how lost these people are, and help me push my hatred right out of me. Otherwise, I would be no different than they.

I also read something else recently that was rather disturbing. I am no fan of the Catholic Church as I believe they have managed to completely destroy real Christianity in the world today. I do not believe there to be a “real” church in existence thanks to them, and I just love what they’ve done with the ten commandments. You know, changing them and all. But what I read was in regards to the changing of the Sabbath day from Saturday to Sunday, which was also the Catholic Church’s doing. I don’t have the actual writing on me at the moment, but I will add it to the post when I get home. The writing states that nowhere in the New Testament was there a hint or suggestion that we should keep the Sabbath….   I’m sorry, what? Say that again? In all the New Testament there was not a single hint or suggestion that we should maintain the Lord’s Day? Really? So then, Jesus DIDN’T dedicate around 75% of his sermons discussing the importance of the Sabbath day? I was reading it all wrong, is that what you are saying? Jesus tells us to “love the Lord thy God with all thy soul, and with all thy mind…” and “…love thy neighbor as thyself.” – Matthew 22:37-39. Jesus’s two Great Commands essentially reduce the Ten Commandments into two, making them easier to understand and comprehend. These two Commands do not trump the Ten Commandments by any means, but rather encompass them! The first four commandments teach us how to love God, and the remaining six teach us how to love each other. Commandment 4 is: “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.” – Exodus 20:8. Christ also tells us that He has not “come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy but to fulfill.” – Matthew 5:17. Jesus was the ultimate fulfillment of the Mosaic law. Jesus revered, loved, and obeyed the law, fulfilling the Mosaic demands of perfect obedience to the letter! His sacrifice meant that we no longer had to sacrifice livestock in atonement for our sins! His sacrifice was the fulfillment of that part of the law as well. Jesus’ regular custom was the worship on the Sabbath. He tells us to “…keep the commandments.” – Matthew 19:17. But, you are right, I must be completely wrong and we should just ignore the Sabbath, or better yet, let’s just mock the importance of this day even further by switching it from Saturday to Sunday! Let’s make the Sabbath a pagan ritual, yeah that makes sense! Because just as The New Testament didn’t give us any hint or suggestion that we should keep the Sabbath, there is no hint or suggestion in the whole bible about God hating pagan rituals or anything. After all, Westboro Baptist Church goes on Sunday (Sun worship day was the original meaning of this day), and it’s clear from their website (I did mention their website right? www.godhatesfags.com?) that they are completely reasonable, kind-hearted, loving Christians, and if THEY go on Sunday, then it must be the God’s truth right? It amazes me how blind people can truly be. Jesus was denied by His own people, even after proving His divine heritage through miracles such as raising the dead and feeding 5000 people with a few loaves of bread and some fish! And yet people still would deny Him. People will deny Him at His second coming! That’s right, people will stand there and deny God while Jesus is soaring down from the clouds with an army of angels behind Him! I don’t understand this behavior! I don’t understand, either why people don’t actually READ the bible. They have no problem cracking it open to look for a verse that justifies their behaviors but then completely fail to take that verse in the context of the rest of the passage. Anyone who actually reads the bible from cover to cover, I would think would realize that the overlying message in the scriptures is one of love and compassion, spiritual renewal, and peaceful co-existence! I have no words as to why the bible and the Christian religion have both been so twisted and perverted to the point that the original message is completely lost. However, this parallels the world Jesus entered into so long ago when the Mosaic Law had been twisted and revised so much that no one could even accurately describe it!

I know only that I am in the place God wants me to be. Everything in my life has led me here. The world may end in December of 2012. The country may erupt into civil war and anarchy and we may face the collapse of our government and economy. Frankly, I’m not too worried about any of it. I will live my life as I have been. I will help where I can, write in my blog, enjoy my family, and take it day by day. I’ll let God worry about the rest of it. After all, it’s a cakewalk for Him! I know that no matter what, I am in good hands with God. I just wish that everyone could feel this type of security. I wish only that the hatred would just stop. I know that it won’t, at least not yet. But I will pray for it just the same. I am by no means perfect, and I make no such claim, nor have I ever. I owe God my very existence! To me, even total perfection on my part could not even hope to be enough thanks for such a monumental event! I am an only child, but I had two sisters and two brothers before me that died at birth. I was the one that survived! And I feel I spent most of my life wasting it until I came to God, and in some ways, I still feel I’m not doing enough. I have debts that I cannot pay, made mistakes that I have trouble forgiving myself for. Knowing that God still loves me, that He is still willing to forgive me, I cannot even describe how that makes me feel. I fell that I could still be doing more although what that may be still escapes me. I do know that when God is ready for me to do more, He will open a door for me, and I WILL step through it. It is simply the least I can do for His gift of life. Frankly, when I look at the hatred in the world today, I am even more thankful for God, that He would still love us despite that. And we should all be thankful. By all rights, God SHOULD hate everyone of us! Thankfully, He is the strongest of all, the most holy and just, and our only hope for salvation and life eternal! I am thankful that He granted me my life, and that He has led me to where I am today. I am thankful for His gifts to me of my wife and our kids. He has given me all I need, and He takes care of me every day that I continue to draw breath. I only wish that everyone could feel this joy…

Published by Jay McAnally
Copyright © 2012

The Gap Theory

I’m guessing many a Christian have been confronted with the “Gap Theory” as the most plausible approach to unite both “undeniable” scientific evidence and biblical allegory into a working postulate of the “true” creation account. It attempts to be infallible, accountable, and accurate. It avoids blasphemy by conceding to the truth of the scriptures, thereby appealing to a mass community of Christians, particularly Old Earth Creationists, Gap and Progressive Creationists, and Theistic Evolutionists who believe that God uses natural processes and evolution to create life. At the same time, it allows for scientific evidence of an ancient Earth and life before man.

The Gap Theory

The Gap Theory was posited in response to increasing debate between Christians and the scientific community over the age of the earth and mankind. Taking a literal view of Genesis into account, the Earth was created in six days of twenty-four hours each. God then rested on the seventh day. Beginning with Adam and ending with Jesus, and using the genealogies found in Genesis and Chronicles, an age of approximately 6000 years for the Earth and all that inhabit it is derived. Most famously, this was brought forward by Archbishop James Ussher in 1650 in which he stated that the Creation occurred on the nightfall preceding October 23rd, 4004 BC. By the current date, the earth would be just over 6008 years old.

However, Gap Creationists consider the overwhelming scientific evidence to the contrary that the Earth is billions of years old to be provable beyond a reasonable doubt, and therefore cannot be ignored despite the scriptures. Therefore, scripture must be made to account for the “irrefutable” scientific testimony of an ancient earth. It does so by reinterpreting the first two verses of Genesis.

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” – 1:1

And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.” – 1:2

The Gap Theory proposes an indeterminate amount of time passing between these two verses. The actual Creation Week begins in verse 3. During the time period between verses 1 and 2, Lucifer ruled upon the earth with his angels and a soulless human progenitor race. Lucifer then rebelled against God, and his subsequent banishment from heaven and judgement caused the earth to become “without form, and void“. Thus, the starting point for Genesis 1:3 and the beginning of the Creation Week in which God created all life that inhabits the earth in this age. Therefore, the creation account in Genesis was actually more of a recreation after Satan’s rebellion. This reinterpretation is even further validated by other scripture as listed below.

Gap Creationism

The Gap Theory was first proposed by Thomas Chalmers (1780-1847), a notable Scottish theologian. However, it can be traced back to even earlier writings by the Dutchman Episcopius (1583-1643). Chalmer’s writings did very little to shed light on the Gap Theory due to their lack of detail. Other writers such as 19th century geologist Hugh Miller, quoted from and expanded upon Chalmer’s original works. G.H. Pember was the most notable writer to popularize this view, however, with his book: “Earth’s Earliest Ages” (1884). In the 20th Century, Arthur C. Custance gave a strong academic defense of the Theory in his book: “Without Form and Void” (1970). The primary reasoning for proposing the Gap Theory was to validate the struggle of the “geological ages”. Pember’s book goes into great detail about this struggle and it is a struggle many Christians deal with. There is a fossil record that indicates mutual destruction and death and disease before Adam. Genesis is in conflict with this, stating in 1:31 that “God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good…”. In light of this verse, it is difficult to believe that the earth was already under the control of a fallen angel, and that the crust of the earth was filled with the fossils of creatures that had previously been destroyed. How could it have been a very good creation if that was the case? How can we validate both science and scripture, or rather, what we believe with what we supposedly know? The following is a small list of “proofs” for the Gap Theory, and my comments on each.

  1. The word “was” in verse 2 is more accurately translated from Hebrew as “became“, allowing for Satan’s rebellion and subsequent war to shatter the earth leaving it “without form, and void“. This is merely a linguistic approach to attempt to validate this theory, as most prominent past and present biblical scholars agree that “was” is the proper English translation from the original Hebrew. However, even if we were to accept this translation as accurate, there are still too many theological errors to the Gap Theory that cannot be ignored, and the reinterpretation of this single word is perfunctory evidence at best. The change in wording still allows for a creation occurring roughly 6000 years ago.
  2. God is perfect. Everything that He does is also perfect. Therefore, a newly created Earth would not be chaotic, imperfect, or “without form, and void“. This is proven by scripture. Deuteronomy 32:4 tells us that God “… is the Rock, his work is perfect“. The Earth also would not have been shrouded in darkness, “For thus saith the Lord that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited” – Isaiah 45:18. And 1 John 1:5 tells us that “God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.” These are all completely silly attempts to validate scripture with scripture as these verses are used entirely out of their original contexts. The verse in 1 John is speaking ethically and morally about light and darkness as good and evil qualities rather than the actual physical properties of light and dark. Therefore, Gap Theorists use this verse to validate darkness covering the earth in Genesis 1:2. However, as we can clearly see that God has not yet created light, there could not be light upon the earth in verse 2. By reading verse 2 in the context of an act of divine creation, it is easy to glean that “darkness” in verse 2 refers to an absence of light. The verse in Isaiah is used to prove that the earth was created to be inhabited, thus inferring a perfectly created earth using the evidence from Deuteronomy that was ruled over by Lucifer and his angels. This allows for the ancient age of the earth, dinosaurs (more on them in my next essay), the ice age, and other geological formations by adherents without contradiction to the events in Genesis. However, it is easy to see that Isaiah was referring to the fact that God created the Earth for man to inhabit. Nothing else in the entire passage (45:18-25) indicates that Isaiah was hinting at or referring to a previous incarnation of the Earth. Isaiah was pleading for salvation through the Lord for the people of Israel, giving prophecy of Cyrus the Great who would be God’s instrument in the restoration of Jerusalem and the Temple. He was reassuring the people of Israel that God would not simply rub them our of existence, that He had a plan for them. God’s creation was perfect at the end of the creation week. This is weak evidence to support the Gap Theory. God created man to be perfect as well. It is US that have failed Him.
  3. A runaway verse in Psalm 104 is also used to justify the Gap Theory. Verse 30 states: “Thou sendest forth thy spirit, they are created: and thou renewest the face of the earth.” This attempts to indicate that the the Spirit moving over the waters in Genesis 1:2 was in the act of renewing the post-war earth after Lucifer’s fall. This also is weak evidence, considering that, in context, the verse is referring to the living things inhabiting the earth. Verses 27-30 speak of our dependency on God and our certain death without Him. The “renewing” is of us, not the earth itself as we cover the face of the earth.
  4. Another “proof” of the Gap Theory is the knowledge that angels existed before the creation of the earth, indication that a previous creation had taken place. Job 38:7 is used for this evidence. At this point in the narrative, God finally answers Job’s questions, although perhaps not in the way Job would have liked. Verses 38:4-7 concern the creation of the earth, and verse 7 clearly states that the angels worshiped God as he “laid the foundations of the earth“. In verse 7, the “sons of God” refer the angels. Using this evidence, the Gap Theory states that a previous creation took place prior to our own, validating the existence of Satan and his angels on earth. However, the bible already tells us that the angels were created before us. Clearly Satan had already been created and fallen before the creation of Eden as he already existed there in his fallen state. Nailing an exact time down for their creation is tricky on the other hand. Hebrews 1:14 tells us that angels are “ministering spirits, sent forth to minster for them who shall be heirs of salvation.”. This could indicate that the angels were created just prior to the creation of the earth with the duties of ministering to mankind. However, Revelation 5:11-14 indicates that another duty of the angels is to worship the Lord God around His throne. By our reckoning, this means that the angels could have been created millions of years ago. However, the scriptures tell us that angels were created before the creation of the earth. Genesis indicates that God created the earth in the beginning of our physical universe. God and the angels exist outside our physical universe. He is not restricted by the same laws of time and space as we are. Given that the angels share that existence, they cannot be held under those same restrictions either. Genesis is the creation of our physical universe. Angels do not share in that creation.
  5. Satan again is used as evidence in that he had been a sinner from the very beginning. John 8:44 is used primarily for this evidence, however, passages from Isaiah and Ezekiel are also used. John 8:44 tells us that “He [Satan] was a murderer from the beginning…“. Therefore, Satan must have existed prior to “the beginning“. However, my previous statements already proved that Satan existed before the creation of our universe given that Satan existed in Eden in his fallen state. I firmly believe that the creation account in Genesis concerns the creation of our own physical universe. The “heaven” is our universe, the sea of galaxies and stars that stretches on for infinity. Isaiah 14:12-15 is also used to support the theory that Satan lived on earth with his angels. Verse 12 tells us that Satan was cast out of heaven. Ezekiel 28:11-19 tells us why. He was “perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.” His “heart was lifted up because of thy beauty” and he “corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness.” Satan fell prey to vanity. His pride overrode his reasoning. He felt he could be above God Himself! Isaiah goes on to tell us that Satan would “ascend into heaven… above the heights of the clouds.” indicating that he was below the heavens in some fashion, therefore he must have occupied earth. However, this too is weak evidence, as attempting to become as or better than God is always represented as rising above the clouds to heaven. Isaiah was tasked with giving God’s word to His people. What better way to explain divine, incomprehensible things than by symbolization? It was easy for Israel to understand that God was above and they were below. Satan was no different. And in Satan’s foolishness, he was cast out of heaven. All signs seem to point to the fact that Satan’s rebellion took place in heaven, not on earth. However, Satan has not been cast out of heaven just yet. As indicated in Job 1, Satan still has access to God’s throne, albeit in a limited fashion. Ezekiel 28:18-19 tells us of Satan’s final punishment, which will occur after the tribulation.

Conclusion

As you can see, most of these so called “proofs” for the Gap Theory are easily debunked. Most of them are simply the result of reading a verse from the bible out of context from the rest of the passage. The Gap Theory is used to disprove the theory that the earth is only 6000 years old. However, I don’t believe that disproving the Gap Theory would prove Young Earth Creationism in kind. Merely adding the years listed from the biblical genealogies doesn’t prove that the age of the earth and mankind is roughly 6000 years. The genealogies themselves could be incomplete, and in the context of the bible, represent only the Israelite nation, or rather the descendants of Abraham. The genealogies that branch off after Noah, representing other nations are fairly incomplete as the bible focuses primarily on the Israelite nation. This means that we couldn’t possibly use them to construct a timeline of events, at least not until the beginning of recorded history. Not to mention after the Babel incident, we have no way of knowing the length of time between the scattering of the nations and their resettlement elsewhere. Did the North Americans, for instance, migrate directly from the tower to the american landmass? Or did they slowly migrate there over a long period of time? This points to obvious gaps in the genealogies and makes them a poor source for dating the age of the earth. It is, indeed possible that the world is only 6000 years old. It is also possible that it is millions of years old, as indicated by the remains of dinosaurs and other geological evidence that we simply can’t ignore. After all, how do we explain the fossil record? Almost all written history begins around 3000 BC, which coincides with the theory of a young 6000 year old earth. This is all post-flood history, indicating that the flood must have occurred sometime before that. Scripture tells us that all the animals were saved on the ark, or at least enough of them to propagate the species once the flood waters receded. However, this does not mean that all the animals survived into this age. But this also means that another flood or catastrophic event would have had to occur for fossilization and we have no record of that. Is it also possible that “days” in Genesis could mean lengths of time rather than actual 24 hour periods? This is matter of interpretation, and not one that is provable. When reading the bible for the first time, I personally felt that the ages of the earth were irrelevant, as were the time periods being discussed. The bible itself never gives exact dates, we can only extrapolate dates from other literature and writings of the time period. Given that dates were not discussed in the bible, how can we then deem them so important?

I believe we are also missing the biggest point here. “Avoid foolish questions [debates] and genealogies and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain [useless].” – Titus 3:9. Better yet, “Foolish and unlearned questions [ignorant disputes] avoid, knowing that they do gender [generate] strifes [quarrels].” – 2 Timothy 2:23. The age of the earth and of mankind is a trivial doctrinal point, and most likely a mystery that will not be solved until God deems us ready for this knowledge. The bible is meant to be a guide to proper Christian living and brotherly love. It tells us only what God deems necessary for us to know. We need only know that God created the earth and mankind upon it. It does not matter when He did it, only that He did it and that we owe Him our existence. This type of pointless debate was illustrated well in the book of Job, and by reading that book, we can easily see, through God’s responses that there are things we are meant to know and understand, and things we are not meant to know and understand. We must only let God be God. And this is the only truth we need to know.

Published by Jay McAnally
Copyright © 2012
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