Observations on life; particularly spiritual

Posts tagged “bible

Distant starlight and the biblical timeframe

The Bible makes it clear that the creation of the heavenly bodies was just as miraculous as the creation of the first peopleThis post comes from Dr Don Batten of Creation Ministries International.

The following question is often directed to Christians, ‘How can you believe in a straightforward biblical time-frame and explain distant starlight?’

The ‘problem’ is formulated thus:

  • The biblical time-frame is about 6,000 years since creation (“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth”, Gen. 1:1)
  • There are stars that are millions and billions of light years distant that we can see. Travelling at the speed of light, the light from those stars would take millions or billions of years to travel to Earth, depending on the distance, so that we can see them.

(more…)


Natural selection is the opposite of Darwinian evolution

Natural selection can be proven to be true by the definition of the wordsThis post comes from Dr Jason Lisle of the Biblical Science Institute.

Natural selection is often claimed to be the mechanism by which Darwinian evolution occurs. And yet the scientific evidence shows that natural selection is actually the opposite of evolution.

What is Natural Selection?

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines natural selection as “a natural process that results in the survival and reproductive success of individuals or groups best adjusted to their environment and that leads to the perpetuation of genetic qualities best suited to that particular environment.” Other dictionaries and biology textbooks also support this definition. Basically, natural selection is the principle that organisms that have traits well-suited to their environment tend to survive and reproduce in greater numbers than organisms with traits that are not well-suited to their environment. In extreme cases, the organisms that are less suited to their environment are driven to extinction. (more…)


No one knows what tomorrow will bring

No one knows what tomorrow will bringHave you ever had to walk in the dark? I mean when it’s can’t-see-your-hand-in-front-of-your-face dark? For those of us not used to it, walking in the dark can be slow and scary. We may have an idea of a destination but we can’t always be sure we’re going in the right direction. We desperately search for something familiar or a sliver of light to guide us. (more…)


Just war principles

Civilians fleeing the Ukraine - more than 3 million fled the country after a month of warThis post comes from Bill Muehlenberg’s commentary on current issues, “Culture Watch”.

In a fallen world, war, the use of force, bloodshed, violence and aggression will always be with us. And that is because sin is always with us. So the believer knows that God established civil government to help curb violence and injustice, and maintain a modicum of peace and order. (more…)


Biblical geology

Channelized runoff from the Flood carved canyons & valleys - e.g. Spider Rock in Canyon de Chelly, Arizona. If these valleys formed over millions of years, this spire should not be there and there would be more tallus beneath the cliff.sThis post comes from a book by Oard and Carter (2021).

Biblical geology is much more sophisticated than skeptics both inside and outside of Christianity assert. Over 60 years of research, often published in technical journals as well as popular books and magazines, have produced an impressive body of evidence. Sloppy examination of creation science, and their biases, often cause secular scientists, old-earth creationists, and theistic evolutionists to grossly misrepresent the nature of the debate and the quality of evidence supporting the historic Christian view. (more…)


The Bible is for our time, but not about our time

The Bible was written for us, but not to usThis post comes from Michael Bird, a theologian who lives in Melbourne, Australia.

The Bible is for us. It is the principal source for how to believe and behave as disciples of Jesus Christ. The Bible exists for us to have a God-centered view of creation, to understand God’s providence in history, to hear God’s promises, to know God’s words of warning and encouragement, to have the words of Jesus, to hear the apostles’ testimony about Jesus, and to look ahead to the kingdom in all its future fullness. The private and public reading of the Bible is for us in the sense that it is for our training, our edification, our transformation, and our encouragement. The Bible is for us since the Bible enables God to speak to people across the tide of history, through our manifold cultures and languages, and in a way that truly transcends human differences. Whether you are a second-century Christian in Rome, a fifth-century Arab Christian in the city of Tikrit, or a twenty-first-century believer in Zimbabwe, the Bible is God’s word for you, for them, and for us today. The Bible is for us, yesterday, today, and until the end of the age. (more…)


Meet your maker

Meet your maker before you meet your makerThough we don’t live like it, death is a sure thing. I often take walks amongst the beautiful gardens and graves of the cemetery I live near. Thousands and thousands of headstones and memorial plaques lay quietly in various stages of abandon. Each represents another human who was once living and breathing like me. Right now death seems like something that happens to other people, but one day the sum of our lives will also be etched on a headstone for others to pass by. And then? (more…)


The Lord’s Supper – a visible sermon

 Toasts are generally offered at times of celebration, like wedding receptions or New Year’s EveA toast involves raising a glass and drinking in honor of or to the health (or goodwill) of a person or thing. It shows your appreciation of them or wishes them success. Toasts are generally offered at times of celebration, like wedding receptions or New Year’s Eve. A toast is a custom or habit that is part of our culture.

The Bible tells us that the Lord’s Supper is how we are to remember the death of Jesus Christ. The bread and wine symbolize the death of Christ. (more…)


Be encouraged, not discouraged

Protest to stop Russian aggression in UkraineWith war in Europe and floods in eastern Australia, there’s plenty to be discouraged about. But did you know that there is also plenty to be encouraged about?

In Thessalonica

The letter of 2 Thessalonians tells Christians how to face difficult times, in this case it was facing false teaching. The key verse is 2:15 which says, “stand firm and keep a strong grip on the teaching we passed on to you both in person and by letter” (NLT). That meant to follow the teaching given by the apostles, which is now in the New Testament. (more…)


COVID fear

There is considerable fear and anxiety about COVID-19Yesterday there were 35,000 new cases of COVID-19 in New South Wales, Australia. And it was 38,600 today. The World Health Organization has warned of a “tsunami of cases” of COVID-19 (from Omicron and Delta variants) around the world.

This post comes from Tony Payne who lives in Sydney, Australia.

A lot of Christian pixels have been spilt over the past several weeks about vaccination, conscience, the weaker brother, civil obedience, the freedom to gather, the desirability of not excluding anyone, and more besides. (more…)


You are welcome here

You are welcome hereIt was Christmas Day. I was in Kathmandu 10,000 kilometers from home. I knew no one. I didn’t understand the language everyone was speaking around me. The food, the gestures, the smells were all new and strange to me. Yet I clapped along to the songs, in which I understood only one word, with a sense of belonging. The word was Yesu – Jesus. Because of Jesus these strangers were also my brothers and sisters. They welcomed me. They shared their Christmas lunch with me. They invited me back to their homes with warm smiles and enthusiasm. (more…)


Synonyms of the Lord’s Supper

Synonyms of the Lord’s SupperThe Lord’s Supper is described in the Bible in the synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke) and the books of Acts and 1 Corinthians. These were all written between about AD 45 and AD 63 (Appendix A). Where do the synonyms we use for the Lord’s Supper come from?

At the last Passover before Jesus died (about AD 30), He told His disciples to eat the bread and drink the cup of wine “in remembrance of me” (Lk. 22:19NIV). Although there is no name for the Lord’s Supper in these gospels, some people call it “the Remembrance Service” or “the Memorial service”. (more…)


The relationship between voluntary assisted dying, suicide and murder

A "Voluntary assisted dying" (VAD) protestA vote on the NSW Voluntary Assisted Dying (VAD) Bill 2021 in parliament has been delayed until next year. The Bill intends to, “create a safe framework for people who are in the final stages of a terminal illness and who are experiencing cruel suffering that cannot be relieved by treatment or palliative care to be provided with the choice to die peacefully, with dignity and surrounded by loved ones” (NSW PRS, 2021). NSW is currently the only state in Australia that doesn’t allow terminally ill people to seek medical assistance to end their own lives. VAD is defined in Appendix A. (more…)


Genocide of the Midianites?

"Battle of Gideon Against the Midianites" by Nicolas Poussin 1626Does the Bible support genocide, violence and war? In the Bible God tells the Israelites to destroy the Midianite nation. I have received a comment about the military threat of the Midianite nation, “Why couldn’t they (the Israelites) spare any (Amalekite) captives? At least those who wouldn’t be a military threat in the future like the Midianites?”

After the death of Sarah, Abraham married Keturah, and Midian was one of their sons (Gen. 25:1-4; 1 Chron. 1:32-33). Midian’s descendants were called Midianites or Ishmaelites (Gen. 37:27-28; Jud. 8:24-26). They settled in “the land of the east (of Canaan)” (Gen. 25:6NIV). And they are thought to have worshipped many gods, including Baal-peor and the Queen of Heaven, Ashteroth. (more…)


What does the Bible say about Christians getting vaccinations?

Should Christians get vaccinated against COVID-19?I have been asked if Christians should get vaccinated against COVID-19. As vaccination was invented in the late 18th century AD, while the New Testament was written at least 1,700 years beforehand in the 1st century AD, this topic isn’t addressed in the Bible. However, there are principles in the Bible that are relevant.

Debatable Matters

In a situation that is not sinful, whether to get a vaccination can be considered to be a debatable matter where Christians may have different opinions and convictions. These are secondary matters that are not essential to the Christian faith. The Bible distinguishes between essentials and non-essentials in the Christian faith. The essentials or fundamentals or primary matters are things which all believers should agree on. They are the tests the Bible quotes for recognizing false teachers and false ideas about things such as the person and work of Christ; the good news of salvation “by grace … through faith .. not by works” (Eph. 2:8-9); and the inspiration and authority of the Bible as God’s revelation to us. (more…)


The gospel in one Bible verse

Joe lives alone and has been socially isolated during the 3-month COVID pandemic lockdownJoe lives alone and has little contact with his family. He has no carer and needs help to look after his home, garden, health and safety. And he has been socially isolated during the 3-month lockdown in Sydney during the COVID pandemic. Like all of us, his days on earth are numbered. But being over 90 years of age, his number of days is less than most of us.

Joe is a nominal Roman Catholic who needs to hear the good news about Jesus – the Bible says that Jesus took our place before God by dying on the cross for us so that we can be forgiven and have a new relationship with God. Here’s an easy way to share the gospel with someone like Joe. (more…)


12 reasons God is not like a genie

A genie offers to grant your wishesPrerequisites for answered prayers

According to fairytales, a genie lives in a brass oil lamp or a bottle. When you rub the lamp or bottle, the genie is released and offers to grant your wishes. Does God grant our wishes when we pray? When we ask God to give us this and that and expect the answers to be delivered immediately, we treat God like a genie.

Scriptures that seem to imply that Christians receive whatever they ask

At first appearance, the following scriptures seem to imply that God will give Christians whatever they ask for in prayer. (more…)


Why pray in trials and difficult times?

Premier of NSW Australia, Gladys Berejiklian, at daily 11am COVID-19 press conference In Sydney we’re all going through a tough time with an extended COVID-19 lockdown. Parents will be home schooling for two more months. Travel is restricted with stay at home rules, except for essential purposes. There are rules and restrictions on face masks, physical contact, COVID tests, COVID vaccinations, quarantine, self-isolation, and contact tracing. No visitors are allowed in hospitals and aged care nursing homes. Other services are reduced. Churches can’t meet as usual. And households are spending extended time together without relief. It’s a bit like George Orwell’s “1984” with government surveillance and propaganda. People are isolated, which can increase anxiety, fear and depression. People are working from home. Closed businesses are struggling to survive with reduced cash flow. There is reduced family income. Some are unemployed. There is a reduction in some health services. But our needs are increased because of the stress. How do we get through such tough times? Is social media the answer? Can prayer help us trust God in times like this? (more…)


Beware of the bias

If you change the bias in lawn bowling, the ball curves in the opposite direction and finishes in a different positionEveryone is biased

If you change the bias in lawn bowling, the ball curves in the opposite direction and finishes in a different position. Similarly, if you change the bias (assumptions) in a scientific investigation you may obtain a different outcome.

In this post we look at the occurrence of bias in scientific investigations. (more…)


The historical Adam

The historical AdamTheological conundrums and scientific implications

Adam is an important historical figure in the Bible. But if Adam is historical, should we see evidence for him in the genetics of modern humans? And how does the Table of Nations in Genesis 10 relate to what we see in human genetics worldwide?

This post is based on a presentation by Dr Robert Carter of Creation Ministries International (CMI). It deals with many questions about human races and human history.

Why is Adam important?

There are profound theological implications for the existence or non-existence of a man named Adam early in human history. According to the Bible he is the person from whom all human beings descend. For example, the genealogy of Jesus (His human nature) goes back to Adam (Lk. 3:38). And Luke is the most historian-like writer of the authors of the gospels. (more…)


The dangers of theistic evolution

How the foundations of a building can be affected The foundations of a building can move and crack due to expansive soils such as clay, poor soil compaction, plumbing leaks, poor drainage, or tree roots. Did you know that the theory of biological evolution destroys the foundation of the Christian gospel?

This post is based on a presentation by Dr Mark Harwood of Creation Ministries International (CMI). (more…)


Extrabiblical evidence of 83 people in the Bible

Sennacherib - King of Assyria - 2 Kings 18:13Did you know that ancient history and archaeology have confirmed the existence of 83 people mentioned in the Bible? In articles in the Biblical Archaeology Review, Purdue University scholar Lawrence Mykytiuk presented documentary evidence of this (see References).

PEOPLE IN THE OLD TESTAMENT

These include Israelite kings and Mesopotamian monarchs as well as lesser-known figures. Their names appear in inscriptions written during the period described by the Bible and in most instances during or quite close to the lifetime of the person identified. (more…)


Building the church – Acts 1-12

Foundation of the church

Recently there have been marches and rallies against violence against women, abuse of power and injustice. The ongoing nature of these issues shows that human relationships are flawed, and we can’t repair them. This is a symptom of our rebellion against God. But in Jesus the justice we long for can be found. By having a right relationship with God through Jesus, a new life can be ours. And churches are where we can learn to live with others. Where we can develop healthy human relationships. (more…)


Following Jesus: Our purposes

Queen Esther in Ahasuerus' palace at Susa - Edwin Long, 1878  Esther was a Jewish girl in the palace of the king of Persia in about 460 BC. When the lives of all the Jews in Persia were threatened, her cousin Mordecai told her that she alone could save all their lives if she spoke to the king. He said, “perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this?” (Est. 4:14NLT). What would she do? Bravely she spoke to the king and the Jews lives were saved. This is a great example of how God can give us a purpose in life. God used Esther to fulfill His purposes. She was in the right place at the right time. That’s an example of God’s providence (His wise and purposeful sovereignty); it wasn’t an accident. And she made the right decision. That’s an example of human responsibility.

As human beings we want our lives to be meaningful and significant. How can we make our life count? The Bible implies that God made us for a purpose. And as we live for that purpose, we will find fulfilment. (more…)