The Truth Series: How do I know I have the truth? (Part 10)

The Truth Series: How do I know I have the truth? (Part 10)

FROM OUR IMMATERIAL SELF: A part from the Triune God revealed through the Bible as the eternal, personal, sovereign Spirit who created, sustains, and is Lord of all souls, there is simply no way to account for, nor explain, our primary spiritual nature. That is, we are immaterial selves, minds, who, though fully integrated with our bodies from inception to death, transcend and supervene upon our physical nature. The soul-less deterministic forces and processes of sheer evolution on purely physical matter will not produce spiritually self-aware, self-conscious, self-determined, and self-evaluating persons like us.

Consider four simple reasons clearly indicating that we each have a prime immaterial nature, also known as a mind, soul, or spirit.

(1) Your mind is more then your brain. Our brains consist of non-conscious parts, which together, host our consciousness. Like an airplane in flight, like a lit bulb, like a electromagnet force, there is something else not equatable to the parts or the whole.

(2) Your mind is more then your mental states. We are enduring, transcending selves, responsible for our past, present, and future thoughts and actions. Like the file folder for a journalist’s story, which story transcends and superimposes itself on the collected facts, sources, and details.

(3) Your mind exercises power over your brain, nervous system, and thus your body. Our minds are fully integrated with, and exercise dominion over, our brains and bodies for living meaningful in our world. Like the personal choice to move a limb vs. external brain manipulation.

(4) Evidence from near death experiences (NDEs) show that people have been aware, conscious, and informed outside their bodies. Conscious awareness after clinical death has been experienced, and in certain cases empirically verified, by people’s accurate recounting of surrounding details upon returning from an NDE.

Human consciousness continues to be a great unexplainable mystery under the dominant philosophical paradigm of the western world. While modern science has indeed learned much about the brain and nervous system, it remains unable to explain and account for the presence of the mind.

Yet, when we simply turn to the ancient biblical text we readily discover that our God made us physical beings with a primary spiritual nature, the real living, conscious you and me (Genesis 1:26-28, 2:7, John 4:23-24, James 2:26). In the power of the Spirit, through the Son, the Father created our physical bodies as vehicles for our true spiritual selves to exist meaningfully in this world.

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The Truth Series: How do I know I have the truth? (Part 9)

The Truth Series: How do I know I have the truth? (Part 9)

From the Origin and Nature of the Universe: A part from the Triune God revealed through the Bible, as the absolute Creator and Lord, we are utterly unable to explain the origin, nature, and purpose of our cosmos, of our world, and of our very selves. When, to the best of our ability, we “step back” in our minds and look at reality as it is we are rightly stunned by its magnificence and the deep sense that the sheer processes and forces of evolution would never predict nor ever be able to produce our universe. Nor is there another supernatural alternative to the Trinity that measures up as an explanation.

Just consider three of the numerous ways in which this inescapable truth is illustrated:

(1) There is an absolute day one for the universe and all things therein contained. Think about it: An infinite number of yesterdays means we would never arrive at today! This is known as the absurdity of an infinite regress, and it applies to the world both physically and philosophically, and it means there was a day one.

(2) There is astounding physical design throughout the universe, balancing on a razor’s edge of precision fine-tuning so that, for example, complex conscious life forms like you and me can exist. This is known as the anthropic principle, and it means that the universe was prepared for, and thus expecting, you and me.

(3) There is a timeless and universally binding moral law clearly evidenced throughout history in the moral codes and moral experience of human beings. In particular, the moral law teaches us that there is a way to be human and that we are morally accountable for that.

One does not need modern science and philosophy to clearly perceive these three facts, and many more like them, even though modern science and philosophy have helped in amplifying some of these facts. The truth is that, from the very beginning, God made every fact in the universe to be revelatory of himself, showing us without question, that he is the absolute Creator, Designer, and Authority. (Genesis 1:1, Nehemiah 9:6; Genesis 1:2 to 2:3, Psalm 19:1-6; Genesis 2:15-17, Ecclesiastes 12:11-14, Romans 2:11-16.)

It is only the Triune God of biblical Christianity who makes a universe like ours—a part from whom there would be no universe, no me, no you, no anyone or anything. Thus, the reality of God is obvious, natural, intuitive, and inescapable.

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The Truth Series: How do I know I have the truth? (Part 8)

The Truth Series: How do I know I have the truth? (Part 8)

From the Nature and Necessity of God: In Part 7, as I introduced the defense of Christianity as the truth, it will seem I have begged the question by assuming the necessity of the Christian Triune God of the Bible for explaining the universe, world, and ourselves.

Let me attempt to show “the proof is in the pudding” with three big interrelated thoughts for you to begin pondering: (please note, if you find this post too difficult to understand please skip to the next post, Part 9)

(1) The most fundamental belief in biblical, historic Christianity is the Trinity. While it is largely a glorious mystery, we know by divine revelation there are three coequal Persons—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—who intimately subsist as the one true and living God (Genesis 1:1-2, 26-28, Deuteronomy 6:4, Matthew 3:13-17, 28:18-20, John 1:1, 14:5-11). This is the self-contained ontological Trinity who, being eternally complete and infinitely perfect, is critical to the existence of our finite, temporal, shifting universe.

(2) Next is the Creator-creation distinction. First, there is God (Genesis 1:1a, Psalm 90:2)—as just identified above. Second, God created the cosmos (Genesis 1:1b, Nehemiah 9:6)—from our small planet to the furthest reaches of the universe and everything therein—giving it a separate existence of its own, while being dependent upon him as its firm foundation. This distinction further means that God did not create out of lack and need but out of infinite overflow and abundance (Acts 17:24-28, Psalm 104:27-30, 23:5, 87:7, John 4:10, 13-14, 10:10, 2 Corinthians 9:8, Ephesians 3:14-21, Romans 11:33-36), and that God created the universe and world as a general means through which he makes his existence and nature known to all (Psalm 19:1-6, Romans 1:18-20, Acts 14:15-17, Romans 2:11-16).

(3) Third, are how the concepts of an “approximate starting point” and an “ultimate starting point” relate to each other so as to undergird meaning, rationality, purpose, love, unity, diversity, and many other cherished values on which we thrive. Since we are beings with an existence of our own we naturally and rightly begin thinking about things from within our own minds. For example, we can ponder rationality and meaning and how they might play out in life. However, when we forget we are derivative from and dependent on God, and we stay lodged within ourselves, we inevitably begin believing that our universe and ourselves are, in principle, ultimate. But when this belief is pressed to its logical conclusion, we are forced to admit that our universe has no meaning or rationality in itself, for it is merely the accident of a-personal natural forces and processes. By extension, since we are only a micro part of the universe, we unwittingly reduce ourselves to irrational beings without meaning. Hence, at best, our cherished values become nothing more than abstractions and useful fictions. Yet, when we submit our “approximate” capacity to the “ultimate” capacity of God, through his revelation to us, then all our cherished values are concretely preserved.

It will take time to work through these densely packed thoughts. Yet, it is my prayer that this short excursion into the necessity of the Trinity is the beginning of seeing why this God alone provides the necessary preconditions for the existence of ourselves and our cosmos.

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Barbie Movie Thoughts

Barbie Movie Thoughts

Well … I gave in, took my youngest daughter, and went and saw the new Barbie movie. What convinced me? The brief review by Michael Knowles of the Daily Wire!

His claim, in disagreement with Ben Shapiro, was that Barbie was not woke or liberal, but rather, under the surface, a conservative movie. So, looking for some summer fun with my youngest, we saw it.

Disclaimer: I am not a movie reviewer. But here it goes any how.

I have to say, I was quite surprised! I actually liked it. I laughed—quite hard at times. I really enjoyed the deeper hidden meanings (for adults) of the story.

It is true. Barbie is not really a liberal, woke, or transgender driven film. There is a remnant thread of conservatism running throughout the movie. For the most part, with a few small exceptions (like possibly Allan), men are men and women are women. And, because of what culture and consumerism has done to male and female, Barbie and Ken have to figure out who they really are. What a great idea and vehicle for this massive life question!

However, that is all the movie could deliver of worth in my estimation.

While men and women get the choice to be as they are designed to be, mostly, the movie writes off patriarchy and barbie land as cultural constructs to deal with a tough world. So, while Barbie is herself and Ken is himself, which is good, they are, in my interpretation of the film, quite egalitarian. To be clear, I have no problem with women pursuing careers of all sorts, so long as it is what truly serves the creation mandate, the marriage union, and the family.

Sure twisted versions of “patriarchy” and “matriarchy” have to be identified and jettisoned. I agree with that. Sadly, though, the movie throws out the baby with the bath water. What we need is a good gospel transformed and centered “pate” and “mate” that is flexible enough to handle the diversity and spectrums of men and women God has created. Pate and Mate is first biblical, and second, it is true to how life actually is.

Therefore, I felt quite let down with the shallow moral of the story: “I am me.” That does not tell us much at all. That does not explain much about us at all. That overlooks some big items regarding the very clear design of man and woman, male and female.

Yet, thankfully, maleness and femaleness, mostly, are preserved. This has to be the absolute baseline—which line to cross is altogether destructive of who we are as man and woman, created in the image of our glorious God and, for those who believe, redeemed in his beloved Son, and brought back to what we were made for with the hope of a glorious future.

Moreover, the family is preserved. Pregnancy is re-elevated back to, at the minimum, an equally legitimate choice for women. This is a small step in the right direction. And this I want to point out and applaud!

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The Truth Series: Good News! Read all about It! (Part 4)

The Truth Series: Good News! Read all about It! (Part 4)

Most people don’t realize the Christian “gospel” means “good news.”

I confess, there was a time when I did not see Christianity as newsworthy. Clearly, since I have written this piece, I have had a deep change of perspective.

My grandfather strongly felt the same as I once did. On one occasion, after my change of mind, I recall talking with him about this good news. At one point he said, in no uncertain terms, “that’s fine for you but it’s not for me.”

Yet, he also underwent a deep change of heart. This happened when all avenues finally failed him in his battle with cancer. Soon after his doctor gave him the bad news that there was nothing more they could do, the gospel became really good news to him.

What makes this “gospel” such “good news”? It meets our greatest need.

Think of it this way. If all our woes in this world stem from our estrangement from God then the only solution is to return to God. This is precisely what the gospel of Jesus does for us.

John 3:14-17 reads: “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”

The serpent was lifted up as a symbol of the curse the Israelites incurred for their incessant rebellion against God, the very curse which Jesus fully bore for us all when he was lifted up on the cross.

My grandfather and I came to this turning point: If we can humbly and truthfully face where we stand with our God, then we are in a position to return to our loving God, on his terms—by repenting, looking to, and trusting in Jesus Christ, God’s Son, who died for our sin and rose again (John 1:29, Romans 6:23, 1 Corinthians 15:3-4, 2 Corinthians 5:18-20).

Please don’t wait for crisis or tragedy to strike before you begin exploring the astoundingly “good news” of Jesus.

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