Saturday, December 24, 2011
The first Christmas tree was quite different,
Very different than our own,
Though humble by all measures of man,
Displayed beauty, of man, unknown.
No stunning array of colors and shapes,
Yet, a few strips of silver were there-
With tiny ribbons of richest red,
Flowing down it's form so bare.
So plain, without a needle green.
And only one brilliant star, but yet,
Though not on top, clearly seen.
Twas not surrounded by presents below,
No packages stacked deep and wide.
It carried but one, priceless gift,
Secured so firm to it's side.
Adorned it with hues very bright.
Yet out from it holy radiance shined,
Out of darkness a singular light.
Not a wreath of nature's fir, or pine
Wrapped round it's peak in that way.
But indeed, a ring of man's design
Crowned it's lowly head on that day.
The first Christmas tree, you see, my friend,
Was our Savior's old rugged cross.
Where our Maker, Lord, and Sovereign died,
Our rescue from infinite loss.
With spikes of silver in hands and feet,
A crown of thorns in His brow.
Rivers of red flowed down His face,
Atoning for sins even now.
The Light of the world, the Son our sun,
Blackened by wicked Earth's strife.
Bearing our sin, rebellion, and pain,
By death bringing eternal life.
In stained glass, in cards, in pictures in frames,
Depicting Christ in a manger.
The world prefers to remember Him there,
For a baby thus poses no danger.
But you see, He's the gift, the marvelous gift,
Given so you could go free!
He died in your place, receive Him, my friend-
The cross is the real Christmas tree.
Christmas is not about a harmless baby lying in a manger, but rather, an innocent Savior dying on a cross.
Christmas is not about giving gifts UNDER a tree, but about receiving a gift that was ON the tree.
Christmas is not about what we give each other, but rather, what God gave to us in the person of His Son.
Christmas is not about friends and family only, rather, it is about the opportunity to become part of God's family.
Christmas is not about Mary, Joseph, shepherds, or wise men, it is about Jesus, the Lamb of God, who died to take away the sins of the world.
Christmas is not about stockings hung on a wooden mantle, but about our Lord Jesus hanging on a wooden cross.
Christmas is not about being naughty or nice, but rather, it is about realizing that we are sinners, and that Jesus was willing to die for us.
Now, that truly is a cause to be MERRY, merry indeed.
Posted by RMcWilson at 12:42 AM
Thursday, December 22, 2011
The famous mathematician and skeptical philosopher, Bertrand Russell, was once asked about what he would do if he died and had to stand before God, and God asked: "Why didn't you believe in Me?" The well-known atheist stated in a very matter-of-fact way (something to the effect of):
"I would say 'Why didn't you give us more evidence?'"
Imagine that. Astounding...or then again, is it? Perhaps even some reading this blog have a similar feeling or opinion. But did you notice that Russell didn't list out a diatribe of (worn out) arguments such as evil and suffering, or hypocrisy in religion, or "contradictions" in the Bible, or evolution, or other emotional appeals.
Russell even wrote a book about the reasons WHY he wasn't a Christian, but here, he responds with a concise and yet overly-broad observation: "Not enough evidence!"
No disrespect to the late logician, but I would make the following counter-offer:
I think that there is too much evidence for God.
You read that right. That's not a typo. I don't think that the skeptic's problem is that there is too little evidence for God, but rather, it is that we have been so inundated and surrounded and immersed in the evidence--that, well---we can't see the forest for the trees.
We are like fish in the ocean, so completely immersed that we can't find water no matter how hard we look.
I don't mean to bore anyone with the details, but, uh, have you ever thought about just these few evidences:
-a little thing called The Universe
-Big Bang cosmology
-The Law of Cause and Effect
-The fossil record
-Space, Time, Matter/Energy
-Irreducible complexity in nature
-The resurrection of Jesus Christ
-The deaths of the apostles
-The history of Israel
-Design in nature
-Love, compassion, kindness
-Selflessness and humility
This is by no means an exhaustive list of evidence, but it is a good start, and an undeniable basis for my assertion. Most of these, individually, would be enough evidence alone...then, when one considers all of them in totality, the weight of proof is overwhelming and the conclusion, inescapable.
Let's take just a couple of examples that will show just how overwhelming the evidence actually is. Just using chemistry and mathematics, both of which follow very precise laws, these disciplines create results and outcomes not subject to bias or "interpretation".
DNA: Recently, a couple of eminent scientists studied and calculated the probability of life occurring from completely natural (non-intelligent) processes. Their conclusion? Roughly, they estimated that there is less than 1 chance in 10 to the 40,000th power that life was formed by mere physical, random trials. To put this in perspective: that is a 1 with 40,000 zeros after it!
How can we even wrap our minds around such a large number? A few examples: Think of the entire Universe, with hundreds of billions of galaxies, contains hundreds of billions of stars and planets and moons. Now, imagine all of the ATOMS that it takes to make up all of the matter of the entire Universe. Physicists estimate that there are only 10 to 80th power atoms in the whole Universe total.
The odds AGAINST even simple life forming are many hundreds of orders of magnitude greater than that "little" number of atoms!
Would you arrive at even ONE combination that could be even the simplest one-celled creature? Not even close...not even remotely close, even if the Universe were billions and billions and billions of years older.
“At that moment, when the the DNA/RNA system became understood, the debate between Evolutionists and Creationists should have come to a screeching halt. …the implications of the DNA/RNA were obvious and clear. Mathematically speaking, based on probability concepts, there is no possibility that Evolution was the mechanism that created the approximately 6,000,000 species of plants and animals we recognize today.”
I.L. Cohen, mathematician/researcher
Even if one takes a step back from actual DNA itself, and just considers something far, far, far simpler, such as protein formation, how does the evolutionist/atheist stack up in those odds? A recent mathematical and chemical study examined the chance that undirected, random amino acids could ever come together to form even a very simple life-protein. (Most proteins in life processes are fantastically complex, but they just studied a very simple protein).
The odds against it forming purely naturally were less than 1 in 10 to the 67th power. This study even gave the protein every conceivable chance, including an ideal mix of components, in a simulated ideal atmosphere, and then given lots of time (over 100 billion years!).
Just in case any of you identify with Lloyd in Dumb and Dumber and make the statement: "So you're saying there's a chance..." statistically speaking, mathematicians say that any event with a chance less than 1 in 10 to the 50th power is statistically zero (meaning: will never happen no matter how much time).
"The notion that… the operating programme of a living cell could be arrived at by chance in a primordial soup here on the Earth is evidently nonsense of a high order. "
Hoyle went on to reveal scientific implications:
"A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a superintellect has monkeyed with physics, as well as with chemistry and biology, and that there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature. The numbers one calculates from the facts seem to me so overwhelming as to put this conclusion almost beyond question."
These are not the words, or mathematics, or the research of evangelists, pundits, or preachers---these are the findings of skeptics, research scientists, and probability experts. They all demonstrate that an intellect far, far beyond anything even imaginable must be responsible for the physical Universe and life.
The evidence for a Creator, for God, is overwhelming, and can be demonstrated, even mathematically.
Test yourself, are you still inwardly "compelled" to resist or deny the existence of God in spite of the facts, science, and probability mathematics? If so, then it is important to realize that you have an EMOTIONAL problem with belief in God, you do not have an INTELLECTUAL problem with theism.
Most atheists that I meet think that they cannot INTELLIGENTLY accept the idea of God, when, the actual truth is, they have an EMOTIONAL resistance to accepting the obvious.
Atheist philosopher Thomas Nagel was alarmingly honest when he admitted:
“I WANT atheism to be true. It isn’t just that I don’t believe in God and, naturally, hope that I’m right in my belief; It’s not that I hope there is no God! I don’t WANT there to be a God; I don’t WANT the universe to be like that.”
Are you that honest with yourself and your inner biases?
This position is a logical fallacy. Wanting, hoping, dreaming, and expecting something to be true, does not, in any way, cause it to be true.
But please, study the witnessing techniques of the apostle Paul in the book of Acts. Absent from any of his gospel and apologetic speeches are any "feel it in my heart" or "just because" statements. Paul used logic, history, and fulfilled prophecy as his primary arguments. You will read the entire New Testament in vain for any semblance of the "just because I feel it in my heart therefore I know it is true" theology.
Secondly, most of us are fairly lazy when it comes to spiritual matters, and learning how to properly defend and promote the gospel is not easy---it takes time, reading, study, and...um, practice. It's not something that you can tackle in one weekend, by watching an entertaining video, or by being spoon-fed from a pulpit. Like anything worthwhile...it's real work.
In fact, as Christians, we are commanded by the Lord to study apologetics. In I Peter 3:15 we are told that a Christian must be able to "give a reasoned defense of the faith to everyone who asks."
The apostle Paul said that we must "study to show ourselves approved...rightly dividing the word of truth."
It's not a suggestion, or an opinion, or a nominal request...it is a command.
The evidence is abundant, overwhelming, established, well-documented, and convincing. Sadly, most "atheists" and most "Christians" are unaware of even a few of these compelling and unavoidable physical billboards that cry out, day and night, to all of rational humanity:
"The Creator is real and powerful."
The truth is readily available, but there must be a desire for it, at all costs.
Our problem is not a LACK of evidence, rather, it is an unwillingness to see that which can be plainly demonstrated, mathematically computed, and logically deduced, far, far beyond any reasonable doubt.
It's your choice, either use your INTELLECT and acknowledge the Creator, or use your EMOTIONS and blind yourself from reality.
Posted by RMcWilson at 10:14 PM