68 Factors Arguing for Earth’s Design

Say what you want about the fine-tuning argument and the old earth viewpoint from which this is written, but this still gives me chills.

Of the 68 factors discussed here that are perfectly calibrated to bring life to earth, I was previously aware of only 17 of them. From the galactic to the elemental, all points to the God behind the cosmic curtain.

Thankd to Bruce Cooper for pointing this one out.

http://www.godandscience.org/apologetics/designss.html

Easter Eggs in the Christmas Story

When it comes to storytelling, the writers of Lost have nothing on our Lord. He weaves hints, parallels, symbolism, foreshadowings, and callbacks throughout his narrative with the skill of a master. So exciting.

I have no words. Just watch.

Moon Landings, Conspiracies, and the Reliability of the Bible

A common strategy to watch for from Biblical skeptics.Did you know that some people don’t believe we landed on the moon?

Seriously. They think that NASA tried, couldn’t, and faked it on a TV soundstage to save face before Russia.

They’ll tell you there is “evidence” to prove it. They’ll pepper you with dozens of “facts” that will supposedly doom your beliefs about the Apollo program.

Some of these facts are actually intriguing and can catch the layman off guard. “Why aren’t there any stars in the lunar photographs?” “Why didn’t the lunar modules leave any craters?” “How could the astronauts’ air-conditioning work in the vacuum of space?” “Why is so much Apollo 11 telemetry missing?” “Why do the astronauts’ memories seem to contradict each other?”

Their strategy: to present an elephantine list of supposed problems with the Apollo accounts, and then hope you’re overwhelmed by the sheer length of the list.

And when you launch into a blow-by-blow rebuttal of each and every point, they spring their trap.

“OH, COME ON!!!” they say. “You look ridiculous. If there are this many holes, it can’t possibly be true!”

And yet…they’re still wrong.

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Totality: God’s Scientific Signature On Life

eclipse1I jaunted down to Idaho on Monday in a bid to catch the solar eclipse in totality.

Had to take a day off work to do it. 900 miles of driving in 28 hours. The same weekend as a 35-mile hike. I was too exhausted to stay awake on the drive back to town after the event (my aunt drove back), and I got a bit sick at work the following day.

Worth it.

Words suck to describe a total solar eclipse. The awe, the indescribable wrongness of a giant hole-like thing staring down like a glaring eye – it’s bizarre. Chilling. Powerful. The shadow rushed towards and over us from the western horizon. Everything got cold. The corona hung frozen around the moon’s edges like white fishnets (or Bernie Sanders’ hair). It looked – well, three-dimensional. Like real objects blow you away after you’ve only viewed the 2-D pictures.

But the most awe-inspiring part was the scientific articles I read beforehand.

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Reflections on “The Case for Christ”

“Stop blaming me, and the church, and God, and do your job!”

That exclamation from a Christian to the character of atheist Lee Strobel in Pure Flix’s The Case for Christ (based on the book of the same name) landed on my soul like an affirming balm. I wanted to fist-pump. Echoing in those words is the frustration and annoyance of Christians worldwide and down through the millennia.

It’s not that getting mocked for our faith surprises us (as long as we’ve read our Bible). What’s frustrating is how lazily it’s done.

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“God’s Only Excuse is Easter!”

flowersIn Disappointment with God, author Philip Yancey describes a series of conversations with a young friend named Richard, who has turned away from the faith.

One of Richard’s big beefs with the idea of God is the conundrum of suffering. This one gets us all. Why does a loving and powerful God allow suffering, and all that.

Over the last few years, I’ve felt a part of me becoming impatient with that question, as I’ve found too many skeptics to be merely hiding behind it rather than honestly seeking an answer. And there are answers. But I’ve tried to hold off my cynicism and remain understanding, for I know suffering weakens and disheartens. It’s especially true for the skeptic, as they have no hope of an “inexpressible and glorious joy” (1 Peter 1:8) to sustain them.

After lambasting God for his treatment of Job, his apparent detachment from mankind, and every other angle he can, Richard eventually rounds it out with an interesting phrase:

“God’s only excuse is Easter!”

It was one of those phrases that sums up everything you’ve ever suspected but never quite has the eloquence or brevity to say.

I wouldn’t say Richard is theologically correct in saying that. God has, off the top of my head, at least one other great excuse for allowing suffering: the chance to demonstrate his ability to sustain and empower us in the middle of it. It’s quite Scriptural to say that this is sometimes the sole reason for our suffering: creating an opportunity for him to make our hearts ironclad, untouchable by despair and brimming with joy even in jail or on the sickbed.

But you have to admit: even if Easter were God’s only excuse, it’s a whopper of an excuse.

If the claims of Christianity are true, an afterlife is available whose gladness far outweighs any pain we experience on this earth (Romans 8:18) – and for those who reject it, a penalty whose horror far outweighs any peace, prosperity, or good we achieve on this earth.

Which means that judging God by what happens on this earth is…well, you can hardly call it a worthy verdict.

The ideas of heaven and hell may feel like cheap cop-out and motivation, respectively, for a church trying to boost its numbers. It may feel ridiculously out of touch with our modern era’s respect for what can be seen, felt, and proven. It may feel like the last thing you want to hear in the midst of today’s suffering.

But how it feels has no bearing on whether its claims are true.

That is why the claims of Christianity are too great to ignore, or dismiss as good-for-you experiential truth. They demand examination.

And if the story of the resurrection of Christ truly happened, if it bears examination then it’s all true – making the Gospel a message of enormous generosity, and enormous warning.

Though God is bringing all things together for his own glory first and foremost, he is hardly callous enough to leave our groaning hearts out of the equation. He has promised us rewards. He has prepared a great many things for those who will believe; he asks only that we receive him.

I pray fervently that the unbeliever might examine these claims.

Nine Prophecies in Two Chapters

starI read Matthew’s Christmas story last night. It took no less than two chapters to blow me away.

Reading God’s word is never a chore, for we always uncover something fresh and unexpected. This time, for me, it was the sheer number of prophecies being fulfilled about Jesus before he could even walk. You can’t swing a dead cat in Matthew 2 without hitting a prophecy. These events were seemingly random, sometimes tragic, and it’s difficult to imagine that the prophets who described them even understood how they would unfold. In just the first two chapters, there are a whopping nine prophecies fulfilled, making the likelihood of fulfillment almost astronomical without even accounting for prophecies in other books.

Let’s get into it.

 

#1: The virgin birth fulfilling Isaiah 7:14

But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”

All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”). (1:20-23)

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