Final Questions from Sermon 4 on Same-sex marriage

Here’s a few lingering questions from the message I shared two Sundays ago on same-sex marriage. These questions came in via text during the sermon:

Is it wrong to have a best friend who is homosexual?

No. Jesus was called a friend of sinners. I would ask how are you using your friendship to help your friend either come to know Christ or repent of his or her sin?

Do you believe god will eventually “change” all homosexuals in his own time if we are not able to reach them?

No. Homosexuality is like any other sin. God will not force people to live rightly. We must choose to repent and embrace righteousness. That sounds a whole lot easier than it is because many sins are tied to real challenging circumstances. For example, some homosexuality is tied to growing up in a home with a very domineering mother. As a young adult, you can’t change the environment of your home. With that said, you can change whether or not you respond to the urge for same-sex relationships. There are many examples of homosexuals who repented, found help and support from Christian friends, and found rewarding and enjoyable heterosexual relationships.

Is it wrong to be a homophobic?

Yes. Homocautious – no. I would caution anyone about hanging around someone practicing any kind of sin. Is it wrong to have a fear of drug addicts or child abusers or habitual liars? The problem with being afraid of homosexuals is that they need love, encouragement, support, and prayer. We cannot help someone overcome something if we are afraid of them. If homophobic means “gay bashers,” then is not just wrong it is terribly wrong. John 3:16 says God so loved the world. This means that if we are going to be like God, we too must love the world, including homosexuals.

Is it wrong to vote for a political leader who supports same sex marriage?

This is obviously your personal decision. I will tell you that I base my vote on Proverbs 14:34 – “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin condemns any people.” I chose to vote for politicians that will help us to be a righteous nation. For me, that means I do not want to vote for someone that upholds immorality in any form, supports abortion, promotes injustice, denies civil rights, etc. It is interesting that the Bible does not say a balanced budget exalts a nation or even a healthy military exalts a nation. It is righteousness that exalts a nation. That’s just me. You have to decide for yourself. I’m not a Republican or a Democrat. I seek God’s will as best I can and vote for the men and women who will best help us move toward righteousness.

So are you saying that gay people are not happy?

No. I think they are deceived. Some of them are confused. Some are miserable, but some are happy. Let’s face it. Sin can be a lot of fun…at first. It won’t be fun when they face a holy God who specifically said it is immoral.

God I Have A Question Series – Same-Sex Marriage questions from Sunday (Part 2)

If you have been following my blog lately, you know that I am sharing a message series on Sundays entitled “God, I Have A Question.” I put the series together based upon questions submitted to me through our website: godihaveaquestion.com. Now that the series is created, and I’m sharing it on Sundays, we are inviting questions during each service via text message. If you attend SonRise, you know that at the end of each message I am spending about ten minutes responding to these texts. Obviously ten minutes is not enough time, so I am addressing additional questions/comments on this blog. This past Sunday the topic was same-sex marriage, and I received a number of questions. I addressed some of them earlier this week. Below you will find additional questions and answers. Please fee free to comment/reply below as you may have some good insight on this topic as well.

How can you convince the nonbeliever that homosexuality is wrong?

The nonbeliever’s concept of right and wrong is many times determined by the standards of society or what feels right or wrong for them personally. The non-Christians I have spoken with about this subject have basically taken the position that it doesn’t personally affect them so they do not see any problem with it. I think it is good to engage non-Christians on societal issues or consequences and not just biblical rebuttals. I addressed this somewhat at the beginning of my message, though there are many additional thoughts that can be pursued. I usually use the issues of rights, financial consequences and the effects on children and casually include biblical thoughts, whenever it seems appropriate. I do think non-Christians are interested in the fact the Bible says it is wrong. I’m amazed at the number of people (Christian and non-Christian) who do not really know the Bible says homosexuality is wrong.

 What.do you do if you have a cousin who believes that God made him gay?

I would engage him in conversation about why he thinks this and point out there is no scientific evidence that says there is a “gay gene.” He obviously believes in God, so you could point out that the God who made him is the same God of the Bible. God will not contradict Himself. How could God be responsible for his homosexuality when God says homosexuality is a sin? Does God make sin? Even if he has a proclivity toward same-sex relationships, that does not mean he should pursue it. We all have a proclivity toward sin of some kind, but through the presence of God’s Holy Spirit, we have the fruit of self-control (Gal. 5:22-23).

 The issue is ALREADY politicized. How do Christians engage in the political arena? 

This has indeed become a hotbed of political discussion, and I’m not very confident that conservative Christians will win this debate. The number way for Christians to get engaged is to correspond with their congressmen and/or congresswomen on a regular basis. I think it’s good for our representatives to hear from us on a regular basis letting him or her know that we support them and are praying for them. We should let them know of our convictions and concerns. We can also get educated about the consequences of same-sex marriage and prepare ourselves to discuss it from a non-biblical perspective. We could write editorials about it, generate discussion on social media, and discuss it with our friends. It will obviously be an issue congress and the Supreme Court decides, even though God has already clearly conveyed His truth about the matter. Speaking of the Supreme Court, we should also realize that the future of our country may very well be determined by “the Supremes,” so we should carefully consider our presidential votes. I do believe “righteousness exalts a nation, but sin condemns any people” (Proverbs 14:34). For me, this means I vote for men and women based upon rather they will lead us into righteousness. This doesn’t necessarily mean they have to be a Christian, but I prefer men and women of character who uphold biblical values.

 What are Good guidelines for Talking about this with People? Be patient? Listen a lot? Talk a little?

This is a great question, because too many Christians have become militant on this issue. If we’re not careful, our spiritual arrogance will push someone over the brink into Hell. It is interesting that Jesus never held signs or yelled at struggling sinners. He did raise his voice at hypocrites, but he comforted sinners. People accused Him of being “a friend of sinners.” I really believe love is the most crucial element when dealing with any topic. I said one Sunday that it is possible to win the debate but lose the soul. We must work hard to demonstrate the love and grace of God in everything we do. This means that we love the sinner, just like God does. We cannot turn this into a debate or an attack on individuals. I’m not without sin, so I definitely cannot cast the first stone! I think the key on helping people who struggle with homosexuality is relationship. We must love them unconditionally and gently help them see that God has a better plan for their life. I know I mentioned Dennis Jernigan earlier, but I love the fact that a friend stepped into his life and walked with him toward Christ. This friend refused to give up on him and loved him, even though he was probably disgusted with his lifestyle. Good communication skills are a must (listen a lot/talk little). Make the other person know he or she is respected and valued. Know the person is the most important issue here not the principle. You may not win someone over through debate, but you could win them over with love.

How does the church deal with it INSIDE THE CHURCH?

It is important to know there are two perspectives in this issue. When we are dealing with the issue of homosexuality in our society or community, that is one thing. If a church is dealing with it inside the church family, that is another thing. To start with, if a gay couple came to our church and wanted to join, I could not allow them to become members. The same is true with someone who is practicing adultery, living together without marriage, etc. I would welcome them to attend and love them as Christ loves them. I would talk with them about their sin and encourage them to obey Christ. If someone in our congregation is struggling with homosexual tendencies, I would love them and encourage them to follow Christ and be obedient. If they are openly sinning and refusing to walk in righteousness, then the church would have no alternative but to practice church discipline and withdraw fellowship from the individual (Matthew 18). Obviously withdrawing fellowship is the last thing we would do. Much work would first go into helping the individual(s) repent. Withdrawing fellowship should only come in response to someone obstinately refusing to follow the scripture and showing an open spirit of rebellion and disregard for the church, the Word of God, and God Himself. If they would allow us, we would offer to help them move forward and deal with whatever issues may be leading them into this lifestyle.

 Why would you support the gay marriage if you are a Christian?

This is a good question, and honestly, I don’t know how to answer it. One would have to choose to not believe the Bible and choose to not interpret it literally. The only way someone to claim to be a Christian and not believe homosexuality is wrong is to not believe God inspired the Bible, but rather individuals wrote about theological ideas that may or may not be true. I think it’s also to be a Christian and not feel strongly against gay marriage if the Christian believes gay marriage doesn’t personally affect them or our society. They would obviously not be aware of the scripture that clearly states God cannot bless an immoral nation.

 What age is appropriate to talk with your young children about homosexuality to ensure they learn about it at home and not at school?

Excellent question and I’m not real sure there is a specific age. I do think the topic will be discussed in different ways depending upon age. I choose to protect our children’s minds from evil and help them maintain their innocence for as long as possible. At the same time, our children do live in a fallen world, and they must be equipped to deal with real issues. Romans 16:19 has been a guiding principle for me in protecting the delicate minds of my children when they were young: “I want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil.” Of course Paul was writing to adult believers in Rome, but I do think Satan uses evil seeds planted in the minds of the young to grow vineyards of evil over the course of their lives. Because this sin will become very public in the future (I believe), we do need to think about ways to communicate this to our children as wrong. I think the best way is to first instill God’s way into the minds of our children by making sure they understand that God’s plan is for men to marry women. We should model healthy marriages before our children, and our marriages alone will become compelling to our children. We can protect our children by making sure their innocence is intact and by maintaining communication with them about the things going on in their lives. If the model of biblical marriage is presented to them and they encounter same-sex marriage, hopefully through regular communication we can deal with that issue. At the same time, I would gently present to my first grade child the possibility of relationships in our world that do not honor the Lord, so if they encounter anything contrary to a biblical marriage, they will have a mental category in which to place this deviation. It would be a category of something not pleasing to God. As with the other questions, I would sure welcome additional discussion on this, so feel free to reply below.

Sermon 4 Questions regarding same-sex marriage (Part 1)

I am into the fourth week of my message series, “God, I Have A Question.” This past Sunday I responded to questions submitted related to same-sex marriage. This is obviously a very controversial subject in our society today, but the Bible is actually quite clear about what is right and wrong. As Christians, we do have a challenge to first know what God says about it, but secondly how to respond to it. I think our response can push people away from God or compel people to God. I love the story of Dennis Jernigan where he tells of a close friend who walked with him through his experience of homosexuality helping him find freedom in Christ. You can read his story on his website. As in the past messages in this series, I received numerous questions via text while I preached this message. While I responded to some of them at the end of the message, I was unable to get to many of them. I am beginning to post my responses to these questions. Below, you will find a few additional questions answered.

Should homosexuals be allowed to serve in leadership positions in church, particularly with students?

I believe that anyone practicing immorality without contrition or repentance does not need to be serving in any leadership position. Scripture addresses the need for church discipline under such circumstances (1 Corinthians 5, 2 Thessalonians 3:14-15, & Matthew 18:15-17).

Is it considered sin if we are are a Christian and support same sex marriage, even though we are not a homosexual?

There are more ways to sin than to actually commit an act. The scripture does command us in Ephesians 5:11 says we are to expose the deeds of darkness, and this is actually a command. With this passage in mind, I would have to conclude that it is a sin to support deeds of darkness (and the Bible does call homosexuality sin) and not expose it for what it is. I do believe, however, it is critical that we love the homosexual.

A recent article claims that the NFL, MLB, NBA and NHL needs a “gay” Jackie Robinson to break the barriers. How do you defend against a statement like this without being considered a bigot or full of hatred?

This is a great question and does underscore a serious problem in our society. Any time a Christian speaks out about his or her conviction, he or she is considered a bigot or a gay basher. It is interesting that Black Entertainment Television (BET) conducted a poll and determined that 55% of African Americans do not believe gay rights are the same as civil rights. One writer said “To argue that the Constitution guarantees equal treatment to all citizens, both men and women, does not say anything about what constitutes marriage, or a family, or a business enterprise, or a university, or a friendship. An appeal for equal treatment would certainly not lead a court to require that a small business enterprise be called a marriage just because two business partners prefer to think of their business that way. Nor would equal treatment of citizens before the law require a court to conclude that those of us who pray before the start of auto races should be allowed to redefine our auto clubs as churches.” I think a simple reply to someone thinking gay rights should be a civil right would be to point out that the majority of African Americans would disagree with that statement and that there is nothing in the constitution saying we have a right to re-define marriage.

Can you explain the difference between the Civil Rights movement and the Same Sex movement?  Racial discrimination is obviously not biblical but was often displayed by “Christians” in the past.  People often use a parallel with these movements and say that our nation will look differently on same sex marriage in the future. I feel these are very different movements.  Can u explain right or wrong view?

See my comments in the previous question. I would also like to add that I believe the church in the 50’s and 60’s by in large was very wrong. Christians were hesitant to speak out against racial discrimination and many Christians were prejudice. I believe this is wrong, and Christians should be ashamed. With that said, same-sex marriage is not in the same category as it even defies the definition of marriage. Just because someone wants to call it a marriage does not mean it’s a marriage. I can call a dog an elephant, but it doesn’t make it one. It is absurd to think that I am going to go before the Supreme Court and try to convince them to call a dog an elephant, and if anyone speaks against my dog being accepted as an elephant, they are discriminating against me and are basically elephant bashers.

Are you born gay?

There is no scientific evidence to support the belief that people are born gay. The fact is that studies have been done on homosexuals who are identical twins. If homosexuality is a natural thing and there is a gay gene, then both sets of twins would be gay because they share DNA. There are a number of examples of one twin who is gay and the other is straight. This alone dispels the “gay gene” belief.

Can homosexuals go to Heaven?

1 Corinthians  6 :9  –  homosexuals  nor sodomites will inherit the kingdom of  God.

If anyone repents of their sin and trusts Jesus as their Savior, they are saved and will go to Heaven. The question we have to ask is can a Christian sin and still go to Heaven? The answer is yes. Can a Christian knowingly sin and still go to Heaven? I would say yes. Can a person practice sin for a season and still be a Christian? It is difficult to understand how someone who calls themselves a Christian and has submitted to the Lordship of Christ can still get caught up in sin, but I know it happens. Paul called the Corinthians “carnal” in 1 Corinthians 3:1 and a member of the Corinthian church (therefore must have been a Christian) was caught up in a lifestyle of sin (1 Cor 5). If someone is a Christian, they will go to Heaven. We have a tendency to make homosexuality a worse sin than other sins, but James 2:10 says if you are guilty of one sin, you are guilty of all. We might could then ask the question can deceivers go to Heaven? or can thieves go to Heaven? (what about the last time you made personal copies on the company’s dime?) With all that said, I will also say that if someone continues to practice sin with no remorse and no repentance, I think we have every reason to wonder if they have an authentic faith. The scripture says we are new creatures in Christ. I believe that is why 1 Corinthians 6:9 and other similar passages would say homosexuals, etc. will not go to Heaven. If it means that someone who has struggled with homosexuality cannot be a Christian, then verse ten would also indicate that someone who has been even a little dishonest on income taxes (thief), taken a paper clip from the office (thief), secretly taken more banana pudding when no one was looking (greedy) or spoken badly about someone (slanderer) cannot go to Heaven. It’s interesting that while I’ve seen people standing on street corners holding signs telling a homosexual they are going to Hell, I’ve never seen a sign telling slanderers they too were going to Hell. Now, if someone practices sin all their life and never is sorry for it or repents of it, we have reason to think they may not be saved to start with.

Questions from Sunday 3 (Part 2) – Does God really care?

Here are my thoughts in response to additional questions that were submitted during my sermon on Sunday. My message Sunday was related to the topic of evil and suffering in our world.

You mentioned pre-destined…so what is the thought on pre-destination and how does that fit with “free will” if we are all pre-destined.

I mentioned the word “predestined” in my message from Sunday when I read Romans 8:29, which says, “For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son…” It seems the word “predestined” or “predestination” is a hot button that automatically evokes a fixed definition in our minds. For most people, predestination means that God picks some people to be saved and some people to be lost before He even created the world. To those who subscribe to this belief, it means that people do not have free will or the ability to choose whether or not they want to be a Christian. The word “predestined” simply means “something that was predetermined.” You have to look carefully at this verse to determine what was predetermined. According to Romans 8:29, God predetermined ahead of time that Christians would be conformed to the image of His Son. This does not say that God restricts our free will but rather that God wants us to be like Jesus.

Does God hurt when we hurt (suffer)?

Yes. I believe He does. If you remember in John 11, Jesus wept at the tomb of Lazarus knowing He was about to raise him from the dead. Jesus wept over Jerusalem. Isaiah 63 also speaks of God suffering with Israel. I think he hurts when he sees our struggle and knows our pain.

Why does God give us free will/choice when ultimately we have to choose Him/Jesus or be punished? 

What God wants most is a relationship and a relationship (love) requires choice. If we are forced to choose Jesus, then its not love to begin with. It is true that we either choose Jesus or go to Hell, but people choose Hell every day (by virtue of denying Christ). God’s nature is love (1 John 4:8) and therefore requires an object (us). If He forced us to choose Christ, it would be contrary to His nature.

Why did God create Earth when he knew it’d become corrupt? Why not just keep everyone in Heaven with him to begin with? 

See my reply to the question above.  I’m not sure that I can thoroughly answer this question because in some ways it is circular. Obviously God could have not created mankind at all…It goes back to God’s nature. He is creative and He is love (among other things). If you think about it, the Garden of Eden may have very well been like what Heaven will be like for us. The world at that time was the best of all possible worlds. Because God is love, however, Adam and Eve had a choice. Choice led to sin causing the earth (and the people on it) to become corrupt.

What crime deserves an eternity of punishment? If someone lives a good life but never knows Jesus or trusts him, how is this a crime worthy of eternal damnation? 

We view sins in categories. God does not. I think it is impossible for us to see sin as God does because we are sinners looking at something that is not necessarily an affront to us. Though sin is the “crime,” the real crime is rejecting God. The fact is, no one lives a good life. Romans 3:10-12 says it clearly: “There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.” A relationship with God and an eternity in Heaven is available to anyone who repents of their sin and trusts Christ.

If God is the ultimate, superior being, why does he need and create humans to worship him? Is He bored?

To start with, God wanted to create the world. Why do you do certain things? Sometimes we do things because of our need, but sometimes we just do it because we want to. I said above that God is love and God is creative thus resulting in the existence of our world. No, God does not need our worship. God is perfect and complete in Himself and needs nothing. There is nothing in the Bible that tells us that God needs to be worshipped. Since God does not need our worship, one writer suggested a better question would be “Why does God request or command our worship?” God does know that if we are going to find joy and meaning in life, we must be right with our Creator. Being right means we recognize who God is and we stand rightly before Him. Being right with God means that we recognize His nature and being and that requires worship. Also, we are the beneficiaries of worship. Being right with God and worshipping Him brings us joy and fulfillment. If one does not worship God, he or she is not finding the abundance for which he or she was made.

If my troubles are the results of my own sin, is God going to still be with me?

Yes. If you are a Christian, the Bible says God never leaves you or forsakes you (Heb 13:5). While Old Testament illustration are different because the role of the Holy Spirit changed at Pentecost (Acts 2), we can see that while Israel was rebelling, God did not leave them. After Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came to indwell believers from the point of their salvation. Acts 2:38 says, “Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 8:9 says that anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to Christ. I know our sin must break God’s heart (not that God literally has a heart, I don’t think) as it is a constant reminder of Christ’s death.

What about 2 Kings 17:25 that says since the people didn’t fear God, He sent lions in to kill some of them.

Whenever a person or a people choose to go their own way instead of Gods, there will always be consequences. Sometimes it comes in the form of results from their sin (someone dies from a drug overdose). Other times it comes as a result of moving out from under God’s protection. It is almost as if God is saying, “If you will live according to my plans, you live under the umbrella of my protection. If you step out from under the umbrella, the rain will fall on you.” For an example, God admonishes us not to practice immorality. As long as sex is confined to marriage, as God commanded, sex is beautiful, safe, and fulfilling (safe sex is married sex). If someone chooses to be immoral, the consequence might be a sexually transmitted disease. Sometimes troubles come as a result of God’s discipline. Hebrews 12:5-6 says, “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.” Sometimes it not a case of God bringing discipline on one of His children, but rather it is judgment on one who refuses God. In the case of the story in 2 Kings 17, the lions came as a result of God’s judgment on a people who rebelled against Him.

How can God allow others to misuse the Bible and misrepresent His Name and identity to oppress and abuse others?

Partly because, once again, God has made us as beings with free will. Free will either brings great blessing as a result of someone freely choosing Christ or great sorrow as a result of one choosing to reject Christ. When one refuses Christ, others are also affected by that choice (for example, a husband gets drunk and beats his wife). This does underscore how important it is that we know the Bible and are able to present the truth in our world. This is why 1 Peter 3:15 says, “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.”
Why does God allow families to fall apart?

Free will and consequence of sin. God clearly instructs us in the Bible how to live as a family. For example, Ephesians 5:33 says, “However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.” How many marriages can be described as a relationship where the husband really loves his wife selflessly and sacrificially (as he loves himself)? How many can be described as a relationship with the wife truly respects her husband and shows that respect in every area of life? The husband is commanded to love his wife this way and the wife is commanded to respect her husband this way, yet many Christians ignore these commands. God commands the wife to do this because the husband needs respect. God commanded the husband to love his wife because the wife needs love. God told us what to do to have strong families yet we disobey God. There are consequences for sin. We tell our children not to do certain things because they will get hurt. When our child disobeys and gets hurt, the pain came as a result of the child’s disobedience.

If God cares about his people why does he let us have wars?

Wars are horrible things and are simply a reality because of sin. Wars always start because of greed or some sort of injustice. This is a result of sin. The fact is, the world is not the way it is supposed to be because of the presence of sin. Like anything else, God can stop whatever he chooses to stop, but the world is spinning out of control because of sin. God would have to stop evil in order to stop war thereby removing mankind’s privilege to choose. If mankind has free will, then wars will be a natural consequence. I think all the evil and wars in our world should give us a longing for the return of Christ.

Sermon 3 Questions from Sunday (Part 1) – Does God Really Care?

This past Sunday, I preached a message entitled “Doe God really care?” I dealt with the problem of suffering, pain and evil in our world and sought to dispel several myths propagated by the presence of difficulty. You can listen to the whole message by clicking on the following link, which will take you to our church website where we post a recording of all my messages.  During my message this past week, a number of comments and questions were sent into me by text. I addressed a few of them at the conclusion of my message. Below, you will find answers to some I did not get to on Sunday. This is only some of the questions. I will add some more questions and answers later in the week.

Are some translations of the Bible better than others?

Yes. Some are better because they were translated from more reliable text. Others are better because newer discoveries make the translation closer to the original text. Some are better because of the method of translation. For example, the New International Version uses a form of translation called dynamic equivalent. While the translators were concerned with the individual words, they were more concerned with the phrases. The translation is accurate, but the focus was on the phrase. The New American Standard uses more of a word for word. It is because of this the NIV is easier to read but the NAS is a better study Bible. The Message is not as accurate of a translation, but it is very easy to read. I enjoy reading it for devotional purposes. If I’m going to do serious Bible study, I like the New American Standard.

You said the scripture is God breathed. Doe God really breathe?

Jesus did. With that said, God uses human terms sometimes to describe non-human concepts. For example, does God have an arm (other than Jesus)? Maybe not, but he uses the concept to present an image to human beings when the Bible talks about the arm of the Lord. The idea is that even as we have breath, God breathed the word into existence or spoke the word into existence.

Do you believe all things happen for a reason?

Yes I do. I do not want to say that God is necessarily the cause of all things, but rather God certainly uses all things. It is because of this that Romans 8:28 says that “all things work together for the good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose.” God’s greatest goal is that we become Christians. His second greatest goal for us is that we become like His Son. He will use circumstances to shape our character and mold our lives. I have found that He is more interested in my character than He is my comfort.
Why does God lead some people to stay married to somebody when they would be better off without them?

One will have to first answer the question “Is divorce ever the best option?” before you can really answer this question. I have a predisposition based upon the Word of God that says divorce is never the best option. Even in the most horrific circumstances, God’s best option is personal, emotional, psychological and marital healing and restoration. I realize I’m dealing with an elusive Utopia in a way, but maybe not. Imagine if you have a marriage that has gone terribly wrong, but both parties are willing to do whatever it takes to find the ultimate marriage. Is it better to end a marriage and carry the baggage with you for the rest of your life (and into your next marriage) or discover the kind of marriage that brings you ultimate joy and God ultimate glory? With that said, I realize that sometimes there is abuse, immorality, etc. that leads to divorce and these problems cannot be overcome (for example the one committing adultery will not repent and return to his or her commitment). I probably should interject here that I do not believe adultery should automatically mean divorce. It is possible, and even better, for the couple to find healing and forgiveness. In the cases where that can’t happen, then God does say divorce is okay. Now to the question…When a person stays married to someone in the midst of a bad situation it is because they are staying true to their vows and because they refuse to give up on God. 1 Peter 3 says that a wife can actually win her husband to Christ through a godly lifestyle. It may very well be that a godly wife may win her lost husband to the Lord through her patience and God-inspired love. A person will stay in this kind of marriage when they look at marriage and time from God’s perspective. God hates divorce and time is only temporary. I would rather spend a life-time walking in accordance with God’s plan than an eternity outside of His will. I’m not saying that if you get divorced you’re going to Hell, but I do believe divorce is not God’s best plan. I will be preaching on “marriage God’s way” on Sunday and deal briefly with divorce and same-sex marriage.

In choosing, why are the ones who have chosen God the ones that usually suffer the most?

I’m not sure that I necessarily agree with this conclusion, but I will say that Christians are in a spiritual battle. Once you become a Christian, Satan cannot steal your salvation, but he can rob you of joy and destroy your testimony. He does work overtime to accomplish this purpose. The Bible does say that suffering is not necessarily a bad thing. Romans 5:3-5 says “Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”

When needing to make a big life decision, and as I pray for God ‘s will and study God’s word, how do I know God’s will?

Discerning God’s will can be a challenging experience. First of all, He has spoken clearly through His Word. I approach big life decision with the understanding that God is more interested that I know Him than that I know what to do. I find that out of the context of a growing and passionate relationship with Jesus that my “God’s will antennas” become more sensitive. Romans 12:1-2 does address this: “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
If God’s Will for us is to be in poverty or sickness or pain, isn’t He also causing those conditions?

Consider this verse from 2 Peter 3:9: “Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” That verse clearly says that it is not God’s will for anyone to perish, but rather He wants everyone to come to repentance. You and I know that some people do not “come to repentance” but rather spend eternity in Hell. When a child grows up in poverty, is that really God’s will? Could be simply because the child’s father is a drunk, because the government gives financial benefit to unwed mothers thereby promoting single parenting, and because unjust practices at his mother’s job forced her to be fired? Many things happen in this world because the world is broken. It will one day be fixed, and frankly the brokenness around me makes me long for Christ’s return. Though God is not the cause of everything, he certainly uses everything (see my comments above). He could stop some suffering, but I suppose I wonder where would he draw the line? It seems to me that most of the time he chooses to use suffering and allow the consequences of sin to play out. He gives us the strength to deal with our circumstances and the opportunity to see those things Satan meant for harm be turned around for good.

Sunday 2 Questions (Part 2)

During my messages on Sunday morning in this “God, I Have A Question” series, questions are submitted to me via text message. While I attempt to answer the questions at the end of the sermon, I only have time to address a few. I am attempting to answer the remaining questions in my blog. These questions I’m addressing are NOT the questions submitted to me ahead of time through our godihaveaquestion.com website or through written questions that were turned into me through other means. Those questions were used to form the whole eight-week teaching series I am sharing on Sunday mornings. The questions I am addressing in this blog are just the ones submitted on Sunday mornings. Hope all of this is helpful. Feel free to comment below.

Can you ever lose your salvation? No. I do not believe you can. First of all keep in mind that salvation is not dependent upon works: “For by grace are you saved through faith; not of works lest anyone should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9). It makes since that if God says works are not part of the equation, that means you can’t work to earn it nor can you work to keep it. Also consider John 3:16. God said that whoever believes in Him has eternal life. I trusted Christ as my Savior when I was 7 (believed in Him). If I could lose my salvation at 17, that would mean I only had life for ten years, not “eternal life.” John 10:28-30 also says no one can take us out of the Father’s hand and Ephesians 1:13-14; 4:30 says we were sealed by the Holy Spirit, who was given to us as a down payment guaranteeing our complete redemption.

Since men were responsible for which books are contained in The Holy Bible, how can we be sure that it is complete, or that it doesn’t include books which shouldn’t be there? First of all, I trust God to be able to deliver to us exactly what He wants us to have. It makes sense to me that God wants to reveal Himself. If He wants to reveal Himself, one would have to ask what His options are for making this revelation. The most likely answer is something written. It also seems to me that since “faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God,” then God would be able to make sure we have his word so it can be heard. I also really don’t believe men were necessarily responsible. The way the early church first determined books to be inspired was through observation. The early church fathers noted the books that seemed to not only be accurate and consistent, but also effective and cherished by the early Christians. I believe God was involved in this process of convincing and convicting the early church about His word. Obviously a formula for authorship was important. It seems, for example, that the Gospel formula was either someone who was with Jesus or connected to someone with Jesus. The other New Testament writings were from either Apostles or from Paul, who had a personal encounter with Jesus (Acts 9) and called himself an Apostle (1 Cor 15.9). There is also amazing agreement between the books of the Bible and consistency in the message. It is true that other letters were written during the first century and other Gospels were written in the 3rd Century. These letters either did not survive or contained error. The Gnostic Gospels (dating 250 A.D.) are not considered part of the “Apocrypha” or “hidden books” because they are not just hidden but heretical. I do trust the consensus of the early church and the early church fathers as they concluded the canon of scripture to be complete. In addition to all of this, Revelation 22:18-19 does speak seriously toward anyone who adds to or takes away from this scroll. One might say these comments refer only to Revelation. Being that Revelation is the last book of the Bible written by the only living Apostle at the turn of the century, John, if something is added to the Bible, it would be added to Revelation. One might could work their way mentally around this argument, but it must be considered.

Will we know those in heaven who have gone before us? I believe the answer is yes. Peter, James and John recognized Moses and Elijah on the Mount of Transfiguration. Mary and the other disciples recognized Jesus. It seems that when Jesus said to Mary, “Do not hold onto me…”, he had a resurrection body but not an earthly body. This may also explain, at least in part, why God has planned for a bodily resurrection. He plans to use our existing DNA in our resurrected form.

Why was the gospel of Judas not included in the Bible? First, it was written around 300 A.D. and could not really be included in the Bible because it contradicts all the other Gospels. God would not inspire something that stood totally against the rest of His word. I also think that anything that claims authorship by an Apostle but indeed was written by someone else is suspect. It contains late 2nd century theology and does not reflect the typical content/style of the 1st century Gospel writers.

Can you address the age of the Earth according to the Bible, versus the scientific age (carbon dating, fossil records, etc)? I’m sure this will come up on the Sunday I address evolution. I will speak to it briefly. There are some who believe Christianity, salvation, and biblical inerrancy rests upon accepting the young earth theory (not more than 10,000 years old). Though I prefer to think of the earth as young, I do not believe inerrancy or Christianity hangs in the balance. If God chose to use the word “day” in the creation story as referring to an “epoch or time” and not just a 24 hour period, I do not really have a problem with that. There is scientific evidence that many of the changes in the earth that scientists claim would have needed millions of years to happen could have happened suddenly in response to a cataclysmic event. For example, when Mt. St. Helens erupted in 1980, significant changes took place in the affected area that many had previously thought would have required a long period of time. At the same time, there is a lot of evidence of an older earth. I’m not an expert on this, and personally, it is not a hill for me to die on.

Would LOVE I hear your thoughts on Joel Osteen resigning and leaving the Christian faith. I’m personally not a big fan of Osteen’s teaching because I feel that he leaves off important teaching about holiness, repentance, suffering, salvation, etc. I also realize there are some people who might say they are not a fan of my teaching for one reason or another. With that said, this internet story seems to have been a hoax.

Sunday 2 – Questions (Part 1)

Sunday was a great day as we looked at the question, “How do we know God’s Word is reliable?” You can hear the entire message through our website by Wednesday. While I tried to address as many questions as possible at the conclusion of the service, I did not come close to accomplishing that. I am including some of the questions/comments here:

What are some scientific facts backing up the bible?

There are several scientific facts mentioned in the Bible that scientists did not discover until many years after the Bible was written. For example, Job 26:7, “He [God] hangs the Earth on nothing.” I mentioned Sunday how people in ancient cultures thought the earth was on the back of Atlas or something else. Obviously God presented the truth in the oldest book of the Bible. Another example is where astronomers of old thought the stars could be counted. Up until the 17th century, astronomers were working to offer a correct count of the stars. Too bad they didn’t read Jeremiah 33:22 “The host of heaven [a reference to the stars] cannot be numbered, nor the sand of the sea measured.” Another is the Hydrological Cycle that is so common to us. We are quite familiar with the process of evaporation and rain clouds, but this was not really discovered by scientists until the 16th century. Had scientists just read Job, the oldest book of the Bible, they would have had a better understanding of this phenomenon: Job 26:8 “He wraps up the waters in his clouds, yet the clouds do not burst under their weight.” Job 36:27-29 “For He draws up drops of water, which distill as rain from the mist, which the clouds drop down  and pour abundantly on man.  Indeed, can anyone understand the spreading of clouds, the thunder from His canopy?”

Is any sin too bad for God to forgive and wipe us white as snow?

The short answer is “no.” God does not grade sins like we do. We have a tendency to see certain sins as being worse than others. Sometimes we even assign colors that denote severity: “white lie.” It is true that some sins have greater negative consequences, but the fact is that Jesus had to die for every sin, regardless of the color. James 2:10 says, “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.” Some people make a big deal about “the unpardonable sin.” The unpardonable sin is simply rejecting God. Matthew 12:31 calls it “blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.” For us today, blasphemy in this way is denying God. 1 John 1:9 tells us that all sin is forgivable, but obviously if you continue to say no to God and deny His deity right up until your death, you cannot go to Heaven.

Is there any evidence to support a global flood? Have remains of Noah’s ark been found?

Different people through the years have claimed to have found the ark, but to date, no solid proof has been given. The most recent discovery happened about two years ago, but unfortunately it turned out to be an elaborate hoax. Robert Ballard (Titanic discoverer) recently announced he was going to set about proving the flood really happened. There is scientific evidence that such a flood with waters flowing 200 times the speed of water going over Niagra Falls happened in the Middle East about 7500 years ago. You might want to read the article at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/10/evidence-noahs-flood-ark-real-robert-ballard-archeologist-titanic_n_2273143.html

How was it determined what order the books of the Bible were published, besides Genesis, which means “beginning?”

It was sort of a process. Though we do not know all of the process, we do know that the scholars who translated the Hebrew Old Testament into Greek (called the Septuagint), put the O.T. in its current order. You can see the chronological order in part of it. The poetry follows the chronological history and the writing of the prophets follows that. The prophets are organized by major prophets (longer books) and minor prophets (shorter books).

 

You said the scripture is god breathed. Doe god really breathe?

There is a term that is useful here: “anthropomorphically”. Next time you want to impress someone, throw that word around. It comes from the Greek word “anthropos.” We get our word “anthropology” from it: the study of man. Anthropos simply means man. When you say that God spoke anthropomorphically, you are saying you used human terms to describe himself. Basically there are many things about God we do not understand, but God uses terms we do understand to describe the indescribable. For example, the bible talks about the breath of God and the arm of God. So, does God really breathe? Probably not. He did use this term to describe the moving of the Holy Spirit as God breathing the word into existence.

I will send additional responses as soon as I can.

Tim

Questions from Sunday 1 (Part 3) – God, Are You Really There?

I am posting the final questions that were submitted last Sunday during my message, which focused on the existence of God: God, are you really there? I have answered the questions below to the best of my ability. Tomorrow, we will be looking at a second questions: “Is the Bible really God’s Word?”

With the discovery of the Higgs-Boson particle, is the field of evolution getting closer to having an explanation for the origin of life apart from Intelligent Design?

I only read of the Higgs boson discovery a couple of months ago and came to some preliminary thoughts. I’m sure someone more versed in the field of physics would have a greater understanding of these things, however, I do see this topic as great fodder for evolutionists propagandists. I do not believe the Higgs boson particle discovery gets evolutionists any closer to affirming the theory of naturalism or evolution. I like this definition of evolution: A theory that states the universe is self-contained, and that the origin and development of all its complex systems (the universe, living organisms, man, etc.) can be explained solely by time, chance, and continuing natural processes, innate in the very structure of matter and energy. I share this definition because evolutionist’s propagandists are pushing the discovery of the Higgs boson particle as being
the coup de grace to creationism. They even came up with the nickname “The God Particle.” It is interesting that many scientists do not like this nickname because it does not adequately represent this discovery. Jake Hebert PhD made the following comment about the Higgs
boson discovery:

The Higgs mechanism does not miraculously create mass out of “nothing.” Rather, the mass is transferred to the particle from the Higgs field, which contained this mass in the form of energy. Thus, the Higgs mechanism does not account for the origin of mass in the ultimate sense.
If God chooses to use a Higgs field to set the masses of all particles, He can certainly do so. The fact that such physics is possible or even meaningful would only make sense in a created universe that is controlled by the mind of God anyway. The study of how God upholds the universe today is the very essence of science. So the possible discovery of the Higgs boson falls under operational science, not origins science.

If Predestination is true, is there anything I can do to keep someone from accepting Christ?

First of all, one must define predestination. I do not believe the Bible teaches that God predetermines individuals to be saved and individuals to be lost before the world began. The Calvinist perspective presents salvation as being predetermined in that grace is irresistible and atonement is limited only to those who God predetermined to salvation. I don’t agree with this teaching. I believe it was predestined before the creation of the world that those who were in Christ would be saved. We still have a choice as to whether or not we will be in Christ. All of the
“whosoevers” of the Bible reveal Christianity as an invitation to everyone thereby giving us free will and a choice (John 3:16, Revelation 22:17, etc). We also see examples in the Bible of people saying “no” to God’s offer, thereby making grace and the Holy Spirit resistible (Mark 10:17-27, Acts 7:51, Mt 23:37). Also the Bible is real clear that Christ’s death was for the sins of the whole world and not just for those who would respond to God’s offer of salvation (1 John 2:2). Secondly, we must not presume that we are God’s only tool for someone’s salvation. You may be unfaithful in sharing the Gospel, but God can use others. For that matter, the Bible says God can even use creation to draw someone to Himself (Romans 1:20) I think this question is pointing to the fact that if Calvinists are right and people are chosen for salvation before creation, then will that person be saved regardless of what anyone does. The answer is that if Calvinists are right, and I do not believe they are, then the answer would be yes. The people God picked for salvation will be saved regardless and those He did not pick would have no choice but to go to Hell. It is difficult, if not impossible, for me to see the God of the Bible choosing me for salvation (that is I could not resist God’s grace but would have to be saved) and not choosing one of my children (that is they would have no choice but to go to Hell). How would I feel about a God like that? That teaching about God does not agree with what I believe the Bible teaches about God’s grace and love and free offer of salvation to whosoever.

If Christianity is a “faith-based” why is evidence” necessary?

I have addressed this question previously this week, but allow me to add one more thought. We cannot be saved without faith. It is true that you cannot use science to conclusively prove the existence of God. You can, however, use science, history, logic, etc. to give clues or evidence to the existence of God. If one concludes God exists, the natural next step would be to accept the Bible as God’s source of truth. One must also come face to face with either accepting Jesus as God’s Son or not. The reason evidence may be necessary is because we live in a world where the enemies of Christianity seek to win people to their “camp” by presenting evidence against the claims of the Bible (for example evolution). Satan is clever and is a deceiver. We must be willing to show people the truth about these matters. Science is not an enemy of God. True science cannot disprove God, but rather gives support to the teaching of scripture. One must reach beyond science to make science support the beliefs of naturalism.

What “evidence” does God require for allowing man to come into a relationship with Him?

Hebrews 11:1 says “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction (“evidence” in KJV) of things not seen.” One need not have any evidence that God exists and that Jesus died and rose from the dead in order to believe these things to be true. Salvation is by grace through faith.

This is all the questions that were left over from this past Sunday. I look forward to addressing new questions during tomorrow’s message. If I am unable to answer all the questions during the service, I will continue doing so next week on my blog.

 

Questions from Sunday 1 – (Part 2) – God, Are You Really There

Here’s some additional questions and responses to my message from Sunday. Please feel free to respond.

If you were born in a Muslim household would someone be able to convince you Jesus is the son of God when you had been taught differently your entire life.

The short answer is “yes.” According to Al-Jazeerah, 6,000,000 Muslims convert to Christianity per year in Africa alone, not to mention the rest of the world. That means that in Africa, 684 Muslims repent of their sins and trust Jesus as their personal Savior every hour, 24 hours a day! I do not believe, however, the “someone” that convinces them is a human being but rather it is God Almighty. God is not constrained by race or religion. While it seems challenging for a Muslim in a Muslim country to become a Christian, it is happening in record setting numbers.

What does the suffering of millions and billions of people have to do with his “master” plan.

God’s ultimate master plan is to save those who respond to His offer of grace and remove them from the presence of sin and suffering. While we will deal some with this topic in a couple of weeks, I will say here that God is not the cause of the suffering of “millions and billions of people.” Remember that Jesus said he came “to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10). He also came to testify of the truth (John 18:37), to reveal the Father (Matthew 11:27), and to destroy the works of the devil (1 John 3:8) which does involve alleviating the suffering of people. People’s suffering doesn’t have anything to do with God’s master plan other than the fact God’s plan will rescue us from the suffering
caused by sin and Satan.

What are your thoughts about the History Channel’s BIBLE mini series?

I have not watched every week of the mini-series, but the ones I have watched have been good, by in large. The writers have added a few things where I didn’t think anything needed to be added (like the little hand-to-hand combat of the spies within the city of Jericho). I also thought Moses looked a little delusional, but the parting of the Red Sea was pretty amazing. While there are a few inconsistencies with the Bible, the TV series has been good over all in that it has presented the basic story of the Bible. It is unfortunate that it has to move so quickly. You almost have to be familiar with the Bible to understand the series. I think the greatest value for us as Christians is that many people are watching it, and it gives us a great opportunity to share our faith in response to discussions about the series. I have found it to be too violent for children. I’m going to guess it would be given a PG-13 rating because of the violence, so I can’t really call it a family-friendly series. I’m disappointed
in that and have chosen not to watch the second half of the series as a family because of the blood and violence.

If God knew there was going to be sin why did he make us?

While there is no Bible verse to answer this question directly, I will give you my thoughts along with related scripture. God made mankind because of his nature. The Bible says God is love, and love desires an object. I want to quickly say that God did not create mankind because of his own needs (Acts 17:24-25), but rather because of His own nature. What God wants from us is relationship. Relationship involves choices. God chose not to stop evil and sin from entering the world, I believe, because love and relationship necessitates us choosing God over sin and Satan. Obviously whenever Satan fell (see Revelation 12:9), the potential of sin entering God’s creation was unleashed. Part of God’s plan
is to also involve us in defeating Satan. I, for one, am grateful that He chose to make me. While sin is frustrating and sometimes defeating, God ultimately is my victory, and I enjoy the thrill of a relationship with my creator, the exhilaration of the daily victories God gives me over the evil one, and the anticipation of spending eternity with Him in Heaven.
With the evidence that you shared today what is our part in speaking to those who do not believe in God?

God commands us to spread the Gospel to those who do not know Him (Matthew 28:18-20) as we seek to make disciples. We are also commanded to be prepared to give an answer to those who ask us of the hope we have (1 Peter 3:15-16). We can speak of the logical, historical, and scientific evidence of God and his salvation plan as well as share the biblical truth that presents God’s plan of salvation. Sometimes people are not prepared to receive the biblical witness until they see that God’s word is accurate, true, and logical. Some people will be closed off to the teaching of the Bible because secularists try to say science, history, logic, etc. makes believing the Bible impossible. I believe the opposite to be true. Believing the Bible is very logical. Many people, who are a lot smarter than many of us, have pledged their lives to proving God
doesn’t exist only to find that He does exist. Their logical response to their quest was to become a Christian (Josh McDowell, Lee Strobel, C. S. Lewis, Alister McGrath – to name a few). I would like to again emphasize that our purpose is not to win a debate about spiritual things. Our purpose is to lead others to faith in Christ. I think we do need to learn how to speak intelligently about these matters but also use discernment. There is a time to speak and a time to be silent (Ecclesiastes 3:7). We can win the debate and lose the soul. It is God’s role to convict, not ours. We should build loving relationships with people who do not know Christ and share with our friends the truth of scripture. Sometimes this “evidence” is needed to help people get past hindrances to faith.

Questions from Sunday 1 – God, I Have A Question

I began our new teaching series at SonRise Baptist Church on Sunday called “God, I Have A Question.” We created a website (www.godihaveaquestion.com) where people submitted questions on their minds. We gathered all the questions together and created eight summary questions that would answer these questions. We are also doing something quite unusual during the service by allowing people to submit questions/comments during the sermon via text message. I am attempting to answer some of these questions at the conclusion of my sermon each week, but due to time constraints, I can’t get to all of them. I will be using this blog to address the questions I could not answer during the service. This past Sunday, I preached a message on the existence of God by answering the question “God, are you really there?” After the sermon, I was able to address three questions that were texted to me during the message. I would like to answer some of the questions I was unable to get to below. While this post will not address all the questions, I will add  more answers to Sunday’s questions throughout the week.

One question submitted on Sunday asked why we needed to consider evidence for the existence of God when we have the Bible. One thing I did not mention in response to that question was the Bible says in First Peter 3:15-16 “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16 keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.” Many people do not believe the Bible to be God’s word, and they are asking for answers as to why you believe in God. This passage says we must be prepared to answer their questions. They may require that we consider evidence through science, logic, or other means that present the case for Christ.

Here are some additional questions and answers I received on Sunday:

What do you do when someone continues to deny the existence of God?

This is something we face as Christians because people sometimes have opinions that grow out of painful experiences or unfounded biases. I think our role is to present the gospel and communicate the evidence of the God’s claims, but beyond that we must simply love the person and pray for their salvation. It is critical that we not seek to win “the debate” but lose “the soul.” The best way to lead anyone to faith in Christ is through friendship. It is in the context of that friendship that we build trust and have opportunities to live out our faith before our friends. It will not be a fast thing. It may take some of our friends years of true friendship before they trust Christ.

Why did God  create the devil?

Satan was created as an angel, and when he was first created, he was very different than he is today. The Bible does indicate he was beautiful and obviously cunning. He was God’s servant before he rebelled against God. The short answer is that God created the devil for the same reason He created all the other angels. The real question is why did God allow Satan to rebel? God knows everything and sees the end at the same time He sees the beginning. He knew before He created humanity that Satan would wreak havoc on the world. I believe part of the answer has to do with the fact that when God created beings, he created them as beings of choice. The fall of Satan reveals that even angels have a choice. While God did not create evil and sin, God allowed it to happen in response to Satan’s choice to rebel against God. This choice also put in motion the fall of humanity. Mankind is also presented with this same choice, and this choice is a critical part of what it means to be in relationship with our Creator. If choice were not an option, then we could not call our response to God love. I don’t want to go so far as to say God wanted Satan to fall so mankind would be tempted, but I will say that God even uses Satan to show people their need for a relationship with Himself.

Why would regular people be as jealous as the devil was?

Jealousy is the pinnacle of pride, which is at the heart of sin. We can fall into the same trap as Satan in that we too want to be god of our own lives. Even as God demanded that position in Heaven before the creation of the world, He still demands it in our lives. With that said, he still gives us the option of choosing God or refusing God. When we refuse to repent, we find we are battling for the throne of our own hearts. The
bottom line answer to this question is sin. Because of sin, we are jealous of people who have things we do not have. Sometimes our jealousy moves us away from God even as it did Satan before time began.

Science can’t prove the Bible to be fake so they go together.

This is a great point. Science only measures natural responses. Anything beyond the natural falls out of the realm of science. God is not contained to the natural and is not governed by the laws of nature. One cannot presume to know so much as to say it is impossible for anything to exist outside of the realm of our comprehension or out the realm of our understanding. Proving the Bible to be fake is beyond the  oundaries of science.

Miracles are a stroke of luck and coincidence.

I would disagree with this statement simply because God is not confined to the natural laws of the universe. He can perform a miracle because the laws of science do not apply to Him. For example, Jesus could ascend to Heaven because He is beyond the law of gravity. Because God is all powerful and not confined in any way, miracles are a work of God not a stroke of luck.

What was God doing before creation?

I spoke to this on Sunday morning, but I would like to share some thoughts that came from one our members (Jared Osterhage) after the service was over. I am using his comments with his permission.

The question as stated implies that God experiences time in a linear fashion, so that at some point in the past He was doing something else, now He is managing human history, and in the future He will do something else, but I think that is probably not the way God interacts with time and history.  He is equally present in all moments and all places, which would mean that all moments and places are “present time” to Him.  The question can be restated as “Is God doing anything else beside managing His natural creation and human history?” I think the Bible indicates that He has done/is doing other things.

We know that He has done other things because the angels came from somewhere and we have no biblical account of their creation.  At the end of human history God will have perfect harmony and relationship with millions of saints who have been battle-tested in their mortal lives and chose to follow Him through faith in Christ.  We will be able to join in whatever He is doing as His willing servants, and therefore with full access to His power and wisdom.  We don’t know the answer to what He did “before”, but I believe that God is doing something WITH creation that will carry forward into other things He is doing which we cannot currently comprehend with our human minds, but in which we will actively participate in ways that are only made possible by our experiences as sinful human beings redeemed from a fallen world.

Who wrote Genesis and where did the inspiration come from?

There is no name attributed to Genesis in the book of Genesis, however, there are other places that the early writings of the Bible are referred to as the “Book of Moses” (Mark 11:26) Tradition, along with these references to Moses’ writing, attribute the first five books of the Bible to Moses (except for the part of Moses’ death. We assume Joshua completed Deuteronomy after Moses’ death. As far as where the inspiration came from, I believe it came from God just like the rest of scripture (2 Timothy 3:16). We can only assume that during the wilderness wandering, God inspired Moses with the words that became the first five books of our Bible.

Is God made of the same type of elements/atoms we are or did he create them new?

There really is no way to fully know the elements that make up God, but we do know the Bible says He is Spirit while we are body and spirit. (John 4:24). We can therefore assume that the atoms/elements God used to create the world were created out of nothing. We can also go to the meaning behind the word “created” in Genesis 1. The Hebrew word is bara and it means “to create something new” or “create something out of
nothing.”

I welcome your comments. I’ll share more questions and answers later this week.