The existence of another dimension. A character with the ability to influence and change the physical world without physical force. A powerful evil monster out to kill. These are the elements of a science fiction narrative. But what if there is truth in them?
The message of the Bible is pretty strange. It talks of a spiritual dimension – angels and demons and an all powerful, all knowing God in control of it all. This spiritual dimension is generally unseen by us ordinary humans with our physical eyes. But the Bible records a special time in history when the supernatural burst into the world in the very natural form of a new born baby. Jesus’ birth, life and even His miracles are recorded in numerous ancient historical accounts. Turning water into wine. Healing a paralysed person with only His words. Bringing a man who has been dead for four days back to life. This is not the kind of thing we see outside of science fiction and fantasy. (more…)
When a maternity hospital is bombed; when a 55 year old woman with multiple sclerosis has to be carried from her home to escape shelling; when a 5 week old baby is shot dead with his family as they try to drive to safety… What words are there?
Whatever our political views, whatever our beliefs or our circumstances, in all of us something cries out in protest against the horror of the vulnerable and innocent people of Ukraine suffering. (more…)
A common view is that there is a perceived conflict between Christianity and science. But this is erroneous because Christians discovered and invented science.
This post is based on a book by Dominic Statham.
Scientists seek to gain knowledge of the laws which govern how the natural world works. They describe these laws rather than explain them. For example, we don’t know what gravity is or why there is attraction between positively and negatively charged particles although we can describe these behaviors. And science can’t tell us where these laws come from. (more…)
This post comes from Lisa M Samra of Our Daily Bread.
In the 1901 hymn “This Is My Father’s World” (Appendix), pastor and poet Maltbie Babcock wrote of the delight he felt on his frequent outdoor walks, where he was captivated by breathtaking panoramic vistas. Writing of his fascination with the skies, seas, and creatures, he described sensing God’s presence and concluded, “He speaks to me everywhere”.
Although creation doesn’t have an audible voice, as His handiwork it’s one important way we learn about the One who “made the heavens and the earth and the sea and everything in them” (Acts 14:15). In creation we see evidence of God’s glory (Ps. 19:1), as well as aspects of who God is, such as His “eternal power and divine nature” (Rom. 1:20). (more…)
This 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.
Do you agree love hurts? Should it hurt? Is something wrong if it hurts? If we understand love as an unrelenting concern for another’s well-being, love does open us up to grief and pain in this broken world. When we love, we feel our loved ones suffering with them. When we love we are vulnerable to being hurt by our loved one’s words and actions. When we love we hurt. (more…)
Though 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…)
With 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?
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…)
“You’re as good as Bluey’s dad”. It is the highest compliment our young children can give my husband. I’ve given a similar compliment to one of our humorous friends and father of four. Bandit, more commonly known as Bluey’s Dad, is an animated Australian cattle dog daddy who has captured the hearts of children and parents the world over with his dry wit, playfulness and love for his two doggy daughters. The show has won an Emmy and Bandit has been declared a dad-idol by celebrities and dedicated fan groups. (more…)
This post comes from Dr Tom Murphy who lives in Sydney, Australia.
What feature most differentiates Christianity from any other religion? What makes it special? Is it the crucifixion? The resurrection? The belief that Jesus was divine? Or something else?
It 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…)
In March 2021 a developer was given an order to fix serious defects in a 16-storey apartment tower in Auburn in New South Wales. The defects included waterproofing, fixing of wall tiles to bathroom and ensuite walls, and falls to bathroom and ensuite floors. Following the structural flaws in Sydney’s Opal and Mascot towers, there has been increased attention on weeding out shoddy work. The risk assessment done by the builder was something like this. I can make more money by not doing everything properly. What could go wrong that could harm my profit? I could get caught by the NSW Building Commissioner. What would be the consequence of this happening? Is it minor, or moderate or major? Besides the extra cost it would be bad publicity and so the impact would be “major”. What is the likelihood of this happening? Is it unlikely (rare), or possible, or likely (common)? Because he thought he could get away with it, he thought it was “unlikely” (rare). What is the risk level? The risk matrix (table), says that a “unlikely” likelihood and a “major” consequence give a “medium” risk ranking, which is tolerable. That’s why he went ahead with the shoddy work. But he erred – the likelihood was actually “possible”, which gives a high risk. And he suffered the consequences. (more…)
Forgiveness is hard. It is painful. It can be slow and gruelling. Yet there are no relationships in which forgiveness is not necessary.
The forgiveness the Bible speaks of is not turning a blind eye to the wrong committed against you, it is not pretending you are OK, it is not convincing yourself you deserved it or that the wrong doing wasn’t that big a deal. On the contrary, biblical forgiveness looks the offense in the eye, names it for what it is, acknowledges all its painful consequences, weeps over what has been done and lost, and in so doing says, “I love you still”. (more…)
Joe 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…)
He’s known you the longest!
Something bizarre was happening inside me. While I ate and slept and talked and went about life as usual, a tiny human was forming in my womb. A minuscule heart, tiny fingers, spec sized toenails, teeny lips were taking shape. I wasn’t directing what was happening. I didn’t make any conscious effort — “OK today we’re going to separate the left and right chambers of the heart … today we’re going to form eyelids.” The only way I knew what was happening inside me was by reading about it. I felt wonder at this most ordinary miracle taking place within my body. I felt humbled at how little control I had over this most significant life event. (more…)
Prerequisites 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…)
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…)
Life’s road is rarely straight. We often find ourselves in places we didn’t expect or want. How are you going with the uncertainty of life at the moment? Do you feel like you’re standing at a crossroads and not sure which direction to take? There are so many unknowns and what ifs. However, we don’t have to step into the uncertainty alone.
When Jesus was facing His violent crucifixion, He took the time to explain to His followers that although they couldn’t go with Him immediately they would one day be reunited with Him in His eternal kingdom. One candid follower verbalized his concern,
“Thomas said to him, ‘Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?’ Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life’” (John 14:5-6). (more…)
Approximately 15 million Indians have been made redundant in the economic slowdown during the coronavirus pandemic. The majority of these are women who were doing low-skilled work. In a similar way, is God unnecessary because science can now explain all we need to know about the universe?
The big-bang model and the theory of biological evolution are atheistic creation stories. They assume there is no divine influence by ruling out the supernatural. So it is often assumed that they do away with the need for a God. But we will see that these theories explain less than what most people think. They have not made God redundant.
The big bang model of the universe
According to the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), “The big bang is how astronomers explain the way the universe began. It is the idea that the universe began as just a single point, then expanded and stretched to grow as large as it is right now—and it is still stretching!” (see Appendix A). They also say, “It’s a theory of the origin and evolution of the universe”. (more…)
This post is based on the documentary movie “Against the tide” by Pensmore Films, in which the actor Kevin Sorbo interviews Professor John Lennox to test belief in God. In the previous post we looked at God and the cosmos, and God and biology. Now we look at the big questions of consciousness and suffering. In this post the tide of atheism in academia is represented by statements by Peter Atkins, Richard Dawkins, Michael Shermer and Peter Singer. (more…)
How clean do you keep your hands? Hand hygiene has certainly gotten a lot of attention lately. It reminds me of one of my favorite Shakespearean scenes — Lady Macbeth is sleepwalking after she has orchestrated the murder of her king. In her sleep she sees spots of blood on her hands and no amount of washing can remove them. She smells blood on her hands and “all the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten” them. Of course it is her conscience and not her hands that is really unclean. (more…)
Do you know you’re not the only one? We all have parts of ourselves we’d rather no one else knew about. Parts we may try to hide from even ourselves, to distract ourselves from with busyness or entertainment, to overcompensate for with gifts or acts of service. But they are there. Whether it’s memories of what we’ve done or what has been done to us, ugly thoughts and feelings we can’t bear to look in the face, the way we treat our family when no one else is around, secret addictions we believe render us unlovable… Oh they are there and they want to remain hidden in the dark where no one can see and judge them. (more…)
The overall theme of the book of Acts in the Bible is the growth of the early church. And the key verse is “you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (1:8NIV). That’s the mission of the church. Believers are to be God’s witnesses.