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Saturday, January 02, 2010

Upon conundrums, fools and thought processes

Preface: A man cannot escape this fact: His entire understanding of the world around him is contained in and emits from his own mind. All sensory perceptions are simply tiny electrical impulses that pass through nerves to the brain, where they are converted into what we refer to as smells, tastes, sights, sounds and touches hard and soft, hot and cold. No one knows how any other person actually perceives the world around them fully nor does he know that his perception of reality is actuality. We all depend upon the world contained within our minds to tell us of the world that exists beyond our own skin boundaries.

I find it odd that man is perfectly content to believe what his brain tells him about the world around him but finds it difficult to perceive the Maker of both the world and his brain. Some of us discover that God is all around and seeks to communicate with us. Others will not accept a God who has not erected neon signs in his own front yard proclaiming His existence.

~




According to Merriam-Webster's online dictionary:
Main Entry: co·nun·drum
Pronunciation: \kə-ˈnən-drəm\
Function: noun
Etymology: origin unknown
Date: 1645
1 : a riddle whose answer is or involves a pun
2 a : a question or problem having only a conjectural answer b : an intricate and difficult problem

~

We all run across conundrums. For some, a conundrum could be as common as which invitation to a Senior Prom to accept or whether to offer to host a surprise birthday party for a friend. Some conundrums are questions of personal morality, such as whether one should report a neighbor when it appears he is abusing his family or whether he should remain neutral to the people around him. For others, the matter of the very existence of a Creator God is a conundrum. Naturally, such a person would also find the existence of the Universe and in fact their own existence to be yet another conundrum and then the conundrums multiply exponentially from there. Atheistic scientists have massive difficulties with which to deal, as Douglas Wilson explains beautifully during a dialogue with Christopher Hitchens in the book, "Is Christianity Good for the World?" To quote Wilson:

"...I quite agree with you that we ought not to "resist evidence that may at first sight seem unwelcome or unsettling," but this is not a deep agreement, for we immediately differ over which one of us is failing to honor this quite obvious principle. I have shown that you have refused to consider evidence for the fact that your assumption of what the Universe actually is does not allow for valid descriptions of that Universe to arise from within it. If one were to spill milk accidently on the kitchen floor, and someone came in and wanted to know what had happened, the one thing we would be sure of is that such an enquiring mind wouldn't ask the milk. The milk wouldn't know. It's the accident!"

You see, the existence of the Universe is not a conundrum to those who accept the idea of a Creator God. If God created the Universe, then the existence of said Universe is not unreasonable. That the Universe obeys sets of laws and that the systems within said Universe seem to follow logical patterns is to be expected, since a Logical Mind thought it up in the first place. That living creatures would all carry the imprimateur of their Maker (DNA) would also be unsurprising. In fact, great scientific minds such as Newton and Mendel and Lord Kelvin were certain that God had created the Universe and all things within it and were therefore willing to study said Universe with a reasonable expectation that they would find logical answers to their questioning minds.

The milk doesn't know, but the one who held the glass would have the answers. Correct? Capiche? Comprende? If the Universe is an accident, by what right would anyone expect it to be comprehensible or logical? If the Universe simply happened by random circumstance as a side effect of chaotic existence, then order would be unexpected and logic would be rare if not impossible. Order comes from order, chaos arises from chaos. This is why we expect tornadoes to destroy houses rather than build them, why hurricanes wreck ships rather than construct them and why one does not throw pieces of glass to the floor in the hopes that a vase will be made thereby.



I was reminded of a post from some time ago, this one about natural selection and canards, because some spammer posted an ad in the comments and I had to go erase it (the spam).


Excerpt in italics:

"I have done the due diligence to understand the basics of Darwinism, although I now disagree with the concept. I have studied hopeful monsters, punctuated equilibrium, phylogenitic trees and bushes, natural selection in conjunction with mutation, the whole big mess. In fact, I was once a believer in it, and that is one reason why I know it pretty well and also why the absurdity of the concept is so obvious to me now.

One commenter admitted his prejudices up front, at least, although he himself is blind to his own handicap:

Commenter: "Naturalistic materialism is of course the default setting for scientific work, regardless of whether it's carried out by an atheist or a member of any religion you care to name."


Gee, I bet Copernicus and Newton and Lord Kelvin and most of the great scientists of the last millenium would be surprised to learn that they just didn't understand science and made the awful mistake of believing that, since the Universe was created by a logical being, it would have consistent and logical laws of operation that could be discovered and used by mankind to understand and utilize nature better.


No God, no basis for even being certain that there is a real creation. Could we not be a dream within a dream? Those who do not believe that a logical God created a logical Universe, by what line of thinking do they come to the idea that natural laws exist and can be discovered? In point of fact, scientists who believed in God dominated science in the last one thousand years and it is they who came up with the scientific method and made the foundational discoveries of science that today's scientists take as givens."


Going back to that time reminded me of an entire set of commenters who have since moved on to other things. Getting on with his life, I suppose, and hopefully still drawing breath is a blogger who authored the Pooflingers blog. There have been no posts there since November so perhaps Matt has given the project a rest. After all, there is a time in a boy's life when saying "poop" in public is hilariously funny, maybe until second grade or so (much older if marijuana is involved) and then the boy eventually becomes a man. Matt at Poofllingers was quite good at congratulating himself for having slain the so-very-stupid radar at the game of logic when writing on his own blog. However he was quite unable to carry on a serious discussion for long in the comments page on my blog because unfortunately his condition prevented him from seeing his own folly. In the world of the atheistic scientist, the Law of Abiogenesis and the laws of thermodynamics and in fact many laws of operational science are abandoned for a game of what ifs and just supposes. The fool is inevitably drawn back to his folly.

The Folly

First, there is a big difference between idiocy, ignorance and folly. Someone who has an insufficient mental capacity might be described as an idiot. However, someone who is capable mentally but does not care to learn about a particular subject could be described as ignorant. I am not an idiot, but I do not know a great deal about floral gardening. I do not know which flowers are annuals and which are perennials nor do I much care. I leave that aspect of the appearance of our home to my wife so I am willingly ignorant about flowers. My wife does know which will spring up again and which she must purchase and plant each year, so she is not ignorant in this area of expertise.

Folly is the particular condition of fools. The man with the highest intellect living on the planet today may well be a fool. There are plenty of people at all levels of intelligence who are fools and plenty who are not. Matt the former Pooflinger may well be more intelligent that I am but at least back in those days he was also a fool. The Bible describes a fool thusly:

Psalms 14:1 (NKJV) The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.”

So by Biblical standards, an atheistic scientist is a fool. He cannot believe that God created the Universe nor can he believe that God created all life. He is unable to conceive of the Noahic Flood as a real event nor does he take the Book of Genesis as history. So he must concoct long and unreasonable and incredibly and absurdly complex explanations for how everything came from nothing (in complete opposition to the findings of operation science), how life came from non-life (again disputed by operational science) and how there happen to be millions of different forms of life that all use the same basic blueprint to reproduce and exist.

In one way, I was sorry to see most of the foolish commenters leave because they provided a foil for my posts and sometimes actually had an actual point to make that caused me to review my beliefs on a particular matter. I did toss out all of Russ Humphrey's and Josh Hartnett's conjectures concerning God-driven big bangs and white holes in part due to commenter feedback and thereby simplified and solidified my stance on light and the week of creation.

I am most sorry that so many scientists are fools because so many resources are devoted to foolish pursuits like attempts to prove evolution (macroevolution), stifle creationism and locate alien intelligence. There are entire agencies devoted to keeping any teaching of creation science out of schools, for instance. Is this not darkness raging against the light? Think of all the radio telescopes pointed outwards towards the stars continually searching for an intelligent pattern amongst the noises of outer space? Suppose these people and these billions of dollars and hours had been devoted to finding more uses for the noses of dogs besides tracking and sniffing for explosives and drugs, more cures for diseases drawn from plants and animals, better and more efficient energy usage and et cetera? What if time and effort was being spent studying how weather patterns are driven by the sun and the oceans and clouds rather than trying to prove that mankind is artificially warming up a planet that has been cooling for the last nine years?

What shall we therefore do?

Most of us can have little or no effect on the ruling paradigm but we can make sure our own thinking is logical and anyone that we may mentor or teach is taught logically and honestly. For this to be true requires us to be true to ourselves and make sure our own thinking is logical and honest.

This brings me to yet another life experience. Most jobs have shortcuts and specialized knowledge that is particular to the job. Before the invention of the air-powered nail gun I could have determined whether a man was a carpenter or not by simply listening to the sound of him pounding in a normal construction grade nail into a couple of two-by-fours. Before nail guns, no carpenter worth his salt took more than two or at the most three strokes to drive a nail. Most could do it with one small stroke to set the nail and one to drive it in. Amateurs might take five, six or seven hits with a hammer to drive in the same nail.

I might still be able to sort carpenters from non-carpenters by simply asking one to measure something with a 25 foot tape measure and then observing how he retracts the tape. Anyone who does not put his index finger under the lip of the opening to absorb the shock of the metal tape-end retracting into the measure is obviously not a carpenter. A person who does this is at least used to using the tool and therefore might be a carpenter.

A person who works in the field of steel tubing production would know what a turkhead is and also what a floop is whereas the typical man in the street would have no idea. Because I have worked in many fields working jobs that got me covered in grime from head to foot and also working jobs that required that I wear a suit and tie I have had the opportunity to learn a lot of things that I have been able to apply to life lessons for my children, my grandchildren and my students. Which brings me to the first job I ever worked that issued me a paycheck...as a charcoal grill steak chef.


The administration of meats


Without going into long, boring detail, a steak in the possession of the grill chef had two possible destinations - a plate or the garbage. While in process said steak would be kept in one of four possible places - the meat locker, the small refrigerator next to the grill, the front part of the grill where the coals were hot and the back portion where the coals were simply warm. To simplify the discussion we can call the last two spots the front burner and the back burner.

Steaks kept too long in the meat locker would begin to go stale after a long time. Steaks kept in the upstairs fridge went bad quickly. Steaks cooked on the front burner were prepared to order and served. Any steak put aside on the back burner temporarily while another steak for the same table was being cooked would remain in the same state for a short period of time. But if a steak was put back there and forgotten it would get overcooked and dried out and suitable only for the garbage.

(As an aside, steaks that began to go bad were scraped and cooked when a well-done steak was ordered. In other words, I was told to use the oldest meat for well-done steaks, since these were the ones that were frankly being overcooked anyway and it was thought the customer would not notice any problems with the meat. They never did. So if you like steaks well-cooked, you would be wiser to order a steak medium-well rather than well done just in case that particular steakhouse has a similar policy.)

Steaks, like conundrums, eventually went one of two places. They were either served to consume or they wound up in the garbage. Yes, sometimes a top steak had been left unused for so long it was obviously too spoiled to cook and it would have to be thrown out. Before a steak was served it would be in the meat locker, the fridge, the front burner or the back burner (actually the hot part of the grill or the warm part of the grill)

People like to think that they do one of two things with conundrums, either solve them by thinking them through or that they put them aside "on the back burner." But that is not true. The back burner is where you put steaks that are about ready and there they are kept warm until the rest of the order is ready to be served. When a thought is put on the back burner it is sitting there waiting to be addressed while your mind deals with an immediate problem and it is then moved right back to the front burner for processing.

What people actually do with conundrums is put them back in the fridge, where they remain. If meat stays in the fridge for a long period of time it spoils. When people put conundrums aside for long periods of time, much of the information and thought processes that went along with that conundrum are forgotten and that conundrum is never again placed on the front burner but rather it is eventually tossed aside. The world is full of people who have tossed aside difficult issues, preferring not to think of them at all. It is rather interesting to note their reactions when you bring up something that is for them a conundrum. You often get angry or evasive answers from them and often they will say something like "I put that on the back burner because I just don't know what to think" and what follows is an explanation that boils down to "I don't know so I am just going to go along with what the group thinks."

Groupthink is most often stupid, witness the current US Administration and the steady media drumbeat for the faked global warming 'threat' which is in fact a pack of deliberate lies and misapprehensions. Actors appear in commercials asking for donations to save the Polar Bears when the population thereof is actually growing and thriving. How many statisticians saw the "hockey stick" graph and knew that it was a fake but kept quiet because they did not wish to go against the flow? Shame on all of you who knew better but kept quiet!

Cook your conundrums!

Those who are wise do not allow conundrums to be forever placed in the fridge, nor do they cast them aside to seek out new thoughts from the meat locker of life. A conundrum should be placed on the grill and cooked until done. If you set it aside for a more pressing matter you had best address it again and soon. Meat left on the back of my grill unused would get overdone and dried out and would be fit only for the garbage. Why allow the challenging questions of the day to go unanswered? Is ignorance actually bliss? I think not. Ignorance tends to lead people to make bad choices. People who are ignorant about driving on snow and ice wind up in the ditch if not the morgue. People unaware of dangerous neighborhoods wind up getting mugged and their goods taken from them.

Most times when someone tells me that they have put a concept "on the back burner" I know they frankly do not wish to think about it at all. People have the right to be willfully ignorant. But it is irresponsible of them to assert that they believe what the group believes and yet be unwilling and unable to defend their position.

Application to Science

As I have pointed out many times, there are various canards that are passed off as good science. There is no scientist alive today who can fully explain and defend a Big Bang scenario that fits the evidence. There is no scientist who can tell you how life might have come from non-life and not one of them can demonstrate a single creature that has evolved observably from a different kind of creature. Macroevolution, the beginning of life and the beginning of all material existence - all of these are explained by fairy tales that are both untestable and unproven and yet the majority of the scientists in the world at least profess to believe in them. That it is career suicide to assert a belief in God as Creator of all things means that quite a few scientists who actually believe in God keep it on the down low, at least until they either have tenure or enough grant money or fame to withstand the censure of their peers. Go watch the movie, EXPELLED (no intelligence allowed), with an open mind before you assert otherwise.



Christians are among the worst offenders when it comes to back burner thinking. How ironic that Jesus declared Himself (in the book of Revelation) to be "Alpha and Omega" and yet it is the first and last books of the Bible that are most often subject to mindless groupthink and contain the major back burner issues of Christianity. Perhaps the two most controversial subjects amongst normal Christians are how to apply what God says in the first book of the Bible and in the last. There are few points of view more groundless than that of a theistic evolutionist who claims to be a Christian, for instance. If God had allowed death to go on for millions of years and man to have evolved, then the story of Adam and Eve and The Fall would be a fairy tale and Jesus Christ would have no basis for ever being born into the world, no reason to say what He said, no point in allowing Himself to be crucified and no benefit to anyone else when arising alive from death three days later. But Christians who believe in evolution are unwilling to carefully study the matter and back burner their questions.

Christian friend, lets be brutally honest. Do you put more trust in the views of Charles Darwin and Richard Dawkins and a host of secular scientists who assert that evolution surely happened or do you believe the Word of God? You cannot have it both ways. God asserted that He created in six days, that Adam and Eve were real people and that the Flood destroyed and remade the environment. The lineage of Christ begins with Adam and includes Noah. Jesus spoke on and believed in the books compiled by Moses, preached that Adam and Noah were real people, referred to the Flood and quoted from virtually every book of the Old Testament. Jesus believed that the world was created in six days and in fact eventually asserted that He was the one who did the actual creating. John also declares this in the first chapter of his gospel. You will find references to the Flood and other Old Testament events in the writings of Peter and Luke and Paul and Mark and Matthew. The Bible says that you cannot serve God and Mammon. It is also true that you cannot believe both Christ and Darwin. Not without being completely illogical and deceptive in your own mind. Decide whether you will put your trust in God or men and then follow through accordingly but don't try to mix them together.

As Genesis is a difficult book for Christians who do not have this question settled in their minds, so too is the book of Revelation. Groupthink lately has made the attempt to convert the prophetic language and cryptic message of the Revelation of John into a literal description of a bizarrre future end-times world where stars literally fall to the earth and strange creatures torment men who are quite unable to resort to death as an escape from the pain and confusion. Thousands, no, tens of thousands of phony prophetic teachers have sucked millions of dollars from the wallets of ignorant masses by using false doctrines to obtain donations and vows and pledges from the masses. Perhaps the two most powerful weapons used by such men have been the prosperity gospel (Jesus wants you to be rich and completely healthy above all else!) and the use of the language of prophetic books for evil ends (God has given me the meaning of these passages and only I can tell you what it means and what you should do and when the end of the world shall be).

Guys, Jesus Christ Himself said that no man knows the day or the hour of His Coming or the end of the world. Yet Christ did proclaim that a certain end was about to come, an event that would take place within the generation of hearers as he spoke in Matthew chapter 24. Logically the events he foretold would have to be within about forty years or so of the day that he spoke the words or else Jesus would have been mistaken. Could Jesus have been wrong? Or was he speaking about events that actually would "soon" take place?

Within about forty years of the day of the death of Jesus on the cross, the city of Jerusalem was largely destroyed by Roman soldiers and the temple was thrown down stone-by-stone as the soldiers sought to collect any gold that might have melted down between the cracks of the massive stones by which the temple had been made. Only a small section of the foundation of the temple remains, all of the temple itself was torn down just as Jesus had predicted. There is a lot of good evidence that Revelation is a message from God through John to all Christians living in and around Jersusalem to flee the area before the events of AD 67-70 would take place.

Prophetic language used by John in Revelation is often an echo of language used in Daniel and Jeremiah and Ezekiel and other prophets and signified a fulfillment of the Words of Jesus that was about to take place. The language and numbers were familiar to those who had studied the Old Testament but would be gibberish to an untutored Roman so John's message was one that both Christians and Jews of the time could understand and served to warn many believers away from the slaughter to come. The destruction of Jerusalem was the most important event of the first century AD and the impact of the event was far more shattering to the world at that time than the events of 9/11 were to the 21st century world. As I have blogged previously, the idea that any New Testament books were authored any later than about AD 66 is highly unlikely because not one of them mentions the martyrdom of either Paul or Peter nor do any of them describe the fall of Jerusalem. These momentous events would not have been ignored by the New Testament writers had they happened. Would the stoning of Stephen be recorded but the crucifixion of Paul ignored? Highly unlikely.

If you are determined to be an atheist and a fool, I cannot stop you, I can only alert you to your condition. If you are a Christian willingly ignorant because you do not wish to take the time and effort to study a matter or are unwilling to go against the flow of your circle of friends, then you are not obedient to the urgency of the message of Paul, who wrote:

2 Timothy 2:14-16 (New King James Version)

Approved and Disapproved Workers

14 Remind them of these things, charging them before the Lord not to strive about words to no profit, to the ruin of the hearers. 15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 16 But shun profane and idle babblings, for they will increase to more ungodliness.


I would assert that bad jokes and lewd pictures would be covered in verse 16. Some believe that making an attempt to understand and believe what God says in Genesis and Revelation is covered in verse 14 in that such things are to no profit. But my response is that God authored them, so they must be for our learning and are to our profit, as Paul also wrote to Timothy:

2 Timothy 3:16
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

Therefore it is both wise and profitable for someone who is a dedicated Christian to study and to understand both the first and the last books of the Bible and not simply accept conclusions drawn by others that you do not understand, cannot defend and prefer not to consider.

As to you who deny God and prefer not to consider His existence, I leave you with these words:

Isaiah 40:21-23 (New King James Version)

21 Have you not known?
Have you not heard?
Has it not been told you from the beginning?
Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth?
22 It is He who sits above the circle of the earth,
And its inhabitants are like grasshoppers,
Who stretches out the heavens like a curtain,
And spreads them out like a tent to dwell in.
23 He brings the princes to nothing;
He makes the judges of the earth useless.

As usual, though, I wish to remind you all that God continues to extend His hand to all:

John 3:15-17 (King James Version)

15That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.

16For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

17For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.



May I add that the first order of business for those of you who do not believe in God is to seriously review your point of view and ask yourself if you can explain to your own satisfaction who you are, where you came from and what meaning is found in your existence? Have you any absolute standards to which you adhere? From whence have they come?

Happy New Year!

15 comments:

Hawkeye® said...

Hi Radar,

Good article! Thought-provoking as usual. I am intrigued by one of your statements: "Jesus believed that the world was created in six days." Please send me an e-mail with chapter and verse. Debbie has my e-mail address. Thanks.

Also, as I hope you know by now, I am neither a "fool" nor "ignorant" regarding matters of eschatology. Modesty prevents me from claiming to be an expert, but I have studied the subject for 35 years now. I hope we can "agree to disagree" on some points.

As you also probably know, I have been documenting my understanding of this subject at...

http://jjprzy.envy.nu/testimonium/

It is not yet finished, and I have to go back and clean up one or two articles, but I would like to think that I have provided a sound scriptural interpretation of prophecy based on accepted principles of exegesis.

I would appreciate if you could review my work and suggest where I might have erred, but as Debbie will tell you... I am not easily swayed. Thanks again.

(:D) Keep up the good work...

radar said...

Testimonium...I had forgotten about that! But comments are not allowed and it appears that some people have (unfairly) rated your site as dangerous by Web of Trust standards. I suppose you made a few worldly folks mad. But I was not aiming any remarks at you specifically, Hawkeye.

Debbie especially would love to be able to comment and dialogue with you at Testimonium were that to become available. We have been studying Revelation together and I can quickly make a couple of points.

1) The temple was destroyed as Jesus said. The Veil was torn from the top down and the Glory of the Lord left the temple when Christ died. God had abandoned the temple built by the hands of men for the temple of flesh, which would be believers such as you and I.

2)Sacrifices and offerings ceased and the old Jewish tradition was done. Rabbinical Judaism, which is a kind of pharisitical legalistic system, has continued but the Bible tells us that we are the true Jews of the heart who become saved.

3)Why would God rebuild a temple and re-establish sacrifices after the Lamb of God had banished them? Jesus taught that one does not use old wineskins to hold new wine. Such things are nonsensical in the light of what Jesus accomplished with His life and at the cross.

4)Furthermore the language of Revelation is prophetic and poetic and follows the ways of Old Testament prophetic books. No one believes that the language of Ezekiel and Isaiah and Jeremiah is always literal. Do you really believe a star can fall to earth? A star would burn up the planet should it make it to the vicinity of earth. Do you really think that such language was figurative everywhere else in the Bible but literal only in Revelation?

radar said...

As to the six days? First since Jesus is identified as having been the Word at the beginning in John chapter one and that He was with God and was God then obviously Jesus believed He created in six days since He is the Word and that is what is written. You have to give Him credit for being consistent. If He said He did it in six days in Genesis...I hardly think he would have forgotten what He Himself had done!

Second, Adam is the first man in the genealogy of Jesus. Noah is also listed in the genealogical list. Furthermore Jesus mentioned Noah and the flood. Therefore Jesus is identified with Genesis and confirms Genesis as a historical record. Jesus criticizes those who do not believe the testimony of Moses so that settles that, does it not? One must assume that Jesus did not lie and was not ignorant of scripture.

Beyond that, the days of creation are covered in great detail by me in previous posts concerning the meaning and usage of the word "yom." Since one must study the Bible by comparing scripture with scripture the only reading of the word "yom" at the start of Genesis is a literal 24 hour day.

If "yom" does not mean a literal day then the order of things created and the spaces between are nonsensical if each day is 3 billion years or however you try to dice them up.

Going beyond this, God created the light before He created the sources of light and also He says that he "stretched out" the Universe. So millions of light-years worth of light is not a problem for either God or man. As I have said, there is no "Creating Universes for Dummies" in which the order of creation has been planned for God. He said He did it and when He did it and it is up to us to fill in the blanks. But denying the written Word for the sake of agreement with secular scientists does not appeal to me or to my logic.

If God was going to make a massive Universe but not allow the light to stretch to where man could observe it then man would be ignorant of the emormity and magnificence of creation and also would have far less knowledge of the makeup of matter and light.

radar said...

Hawkeye, I first should have said that you being a believer cannot therefore be a fool. I don't think you are ignorant, either. It is only a matter of whether you are mistaken that we get to a place of disagreement.

Hawkeye® said...

Radar,

A couple of points in response to your couple of points:

1) I agree with your assessment wholeheartedly.

2) You say: "the Bible tells us that we are the true Jews of the heart who become saved." Again I agree with you wholeheartedly, but the portion of the "Bible" to which you refer is the New Testament. The Jews don't believe in the New Testament, therefore it is not a part of their "Bible". Since Jews don't believe in the New Testament, they don't believe that Jesus is their Messiah, or that He was the ultimate sacrifice for sins. Instead, they believe that the Temple must be rebuilt in order to re-establish the animal sacrifices.

3) You ask: "Why would God rebuild a temple and re-establish sacrifices?" But it is NOT God who rebuilds the Temple... it is the Jews. There is a difference. Yes, God allows the Temple to be rebuilt, and that falls under His "permissive" will. God permits people to sin every day. But that is not part of God's sovereign will (His ultimate desire).

Clearly, the Jews do not understand God's desire in this matter, primarily because they are not Christians. They proceed under the guidelines of the Mosaic covenant.

After the Temple is rebuilt, Revelation tells us that God sends two "lampstands" (men who have the traits of Moses and Elijah) to "enlighten" the Jews. They preach for 3-1/2 years. I believe these two men use the 3-1/2 years to explain: a) the Bible in general, b) why Jesus is the Messiah, and c) why animal sacrifices are no longer needed. Revelation suggests that even though these two men will preach in Jerusalem, it will be a world-wide event (Rev 11:10). These two men will fulfill the prophecy of Jesus in Matthew 24:14 which says, "And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, as a testimony to all nations; and then the end will come."

4) I agree. The language of Revelation IS prophetic and poetic. It is a mixture of symbolisms, metaphors and very literal statements as well. The key to understanding Revelation is in knowing what is literal, what is metaphor, what is symbolism, and what the symbols stand for. You ask: "Do you really believe a star can fall to earth?" Of course not, and I assume you are being sarcastic. Meteors have been called "falling stars" for hundreds of years and that is a well known metaphor, a figure of speech that achieves its effect by comparison or resemblance to something else.

However, that does not mean that ALL statements in Revelation are symbols or metaphors. For example, when an angel explains to John in Revelation 17 what some of the symbols mean, he says: "The woman that you saw is the great city which has dominion over the kings of the earth." Or again: "they will make her desolate and naked, and devour her flesh and burn her up with fire." The only logical interpretation then, is that a "great city" will be looted (made "naked"), evacuated (made "desolate") and burned up ("with fire"). [I don't beleive that God would be so mischevious as to explain one symbol with another symbol or metaphor.]

Or, when it says: "there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth, the full moon became like blood," I believe that there will be a literal earthquake, the sun will become darkened, and the moon will look red like blood... very literally. Trying to force everything in Revelation to be pure symbolism is simply ludicrous, and smacks of a "putting things back in the frig" mentality. People who say everything in Revelation is symbolic, and therefore always open to interpretation, and therefore not worth spending any time on... are being purposely "ignorant" (in your words).

(:D) Best regards...

Hawkeye® said...

Regarding the six days, thanks for your explanation. I had assumed that you were referring to a specific verse when you said that "Jesus believed..."

Your deductive reasoning is somewhat flawed, but essentially correct I think. In other words, Jesus (in the flesh) didn't say that He was the "Word of God" in the beginning of John's gospel... it was John who said that. But of course, if we assume that John was moved by the Holy Spirit to say it, then it was "God" who actually said it. And since Jesus is part of the "Trinity", then Jesus also "said it". I was hoping for something a bit more direct like "Jesus said unto them..."

Also, to say that Jesus referred to Noah gives historical credence to Adam is a bit of a stretch. And I don't know where Jesus "criticizes those who do not believe the testimony of Moses" unless you are referring to Luke 16:31. That's about the closest I could come to such a verse. Were you thinking of another?

I guess it really comes down to a matter of faith. If you believe that God moved men through His Holy Spirit to write down the scriptures, then everything in the scriptures is the "Word of God", and therefore indisputable.

I don't deny the written Word "for the sake of agreement with secular scientists", but as we continue to learn that more and more of the Old Testament DOES agree with history and science, it is nice to imagine that perhaps ALL of it does.

I continue to keep an "open mind" on the subject.

Hawkeye® said...

I guess that means I'm putting it "back in the frig".

(:D) Best regards...

radar said...

Hawkeye, the prophetic language in Revelation that you refer to is similar to much of the language of the prophets in the Old Testament and yet Bible scholars have no problem accepting the language as prophetic/poetic. Therefore I find it quite simple to believe the same of the language of Revelation.

As to Jews, Jesus presented Himself as the Lamb of God to them and they rejected Him. Or rather, the unbelieving Jews did. The first Christians were almost entirely Jews and when Paul began to preach to the Gentiles it came as a surprise to the Christians of the day. Peter required a special vision to understand that Gentiles were also able to become Christians. So I would say that the Jews who were true believed in Jesus at the time and those who were not abandoned the faith and invented something new.

There is no modern Judaism that compares to the faith of the Pre-Christian Jews. No temple, no firm genealogy, no Ark, no Holy of Holies, no sacrifices and offerings.

Finally, modern science IMO needs to consider Genesis as the first historic record of mankind and be benfitted thereby.

radar said...

Finally, I come from the position that the Bible is correct and science needs to adjust to IT. I believe God told us truth and atheistic scientists spend much of their time working on fairy tales and foolishness.

DogMaBlog said...

Hawkeye, in response to your comment,

"Clearly, the Jews do not understand God's desire in this matter, primarily because they are not Christians. They proceed under the guidelines of the Mosaic covenant."

Yes that is the point! Jews have rejected Jesus Christ THE FULFILLMENT OF GOD'S COVENANT! Therefore only the Jews who had received the fulfillment can be considered God's covenant people. Jesus is very clear that only those who believe in Him are His covenant people.

Even before the Temple was destroyed Jesus called them children of the devil. John 8:12 to end. You know this passage. Read it over and over. Jesus is saying that the children of Abraham believe in Me. If you don't believe in me you are not his children. You know all the verses in the New Testament that say that there are no differences between Jew and Greek, male and female, slave and free in Christ. I don't have to point out all the curses Jesus calls down on the Jews who have rejected Him.

Who were the first fruits? The Bible is clear. In the Book of Rev. the 144,000 are called the "first fruits". James 1 explains, (18He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.) James under inspiration of the Holy Spirit claims that "we" meaning the people that he is writing to who he describes as, " To the twelve tribes scattered among the nations:" (verse 1)

So also the same firstfriuts are those Jews who repented in the book of Acts to whom the fulfillment had come. Read the book of Acts and underline all the times fulfillment is used. Then please explain to me what is yet to be. Read the book of Hebrews and show me another covenant. The book of Revelation says in the beginning
" 1The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, 2who testifies to everything he saw—that is, the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ. 3Blessed is the one who reads the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near." What do the words SOON and NEAR mean? Not 2000+ years!!!! This fulfillment has passed. The firstfruits were those Jews who accepted Jesus as Messiah and went out to proclaim the gospel through out the world in the first century. Their word was confirmed by the destruction on Jerusalem, all those false teachers who were trying to get Christians to go back under the Jewish law were shown to be antichrists. When the temple was destroyed as Jesus predicted those false teachers had nothing to link them to God.

Hawkeye® said...

Radar,

When you say that the language in Revelation is "prophetic/poetic", I am not exactly sure what you mean. If you mean to imply that "prophetic" = "poetic", then I have to strongly disagree. "Prophetic" actually means "to speak for". It comes from the Greek word prophētēs, "pro" (meaning 'for') + "phanai" (meaning 'to speak'). As Christians use the term, prophecies are given to men by a "prophet", that is, someone who "speaks for" God.

In general usage today, the word "prophetic" is understood to mean "predictive". Although every single word spoken by a prophet could be termed as "prophetic", it is generally understood that the term "prophecy" refers to a statement by a prophet that is predictive in nature. Predictive prophecies throughout the Old and New Testaments employ a combination of symbolic, metaphoric and literal statements. There is no difference between the prophecies that predicted the first coming of Christ, and the prophecies that predict the second coming of Christ.

You say: "the Jews who were true believed in Jesus at the time and those who were not abandoned the faith and invented something new." That's quite a novel idea. Actually it was Jesus that created something new... that is, the New Covenant. Those Jews who followed Jesus accepted the New Covenant and applied it to their lives. Those Jews who did not follow Jesus chose to remain under the Old Covenant, the Mosaic Covenant.

And by the way, the Mosaic Covenant did not end the moment the New Covenant was created. God's covenants are everlasting and eternal. God's covenants with Noah, Abraham, Moses and Jesus are all still in effect. God does not go back on His promises. He does not break His Word. "I will establish my covenant between me and you, and your offspring after you throughout their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you." --Genesis 17:7

In Galatians 3:17 Paul tells us... "This is what I mean: the law [of Moses], which came four hundred and thirty years after [Abraham], does not annul a covenant previously ratified by God, so as to make the promise void." Likewise, the New Covenant of Jesus does not annul the Old Covenant of Moses.

(To be continued...)

Hawkeye® said...

(...continued)

The New Covenant is clearly better. God was clearly angry that most Jews rejected His Son. God certainly chose to show the Jews His displeasure with them. But He was merely fulfilling His own promises that were ratified in the Mosaic Covenant...

"But if you will not obey the voice of the LORD your God or be careful to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command you this day, then all these curses shall come upon you and overtake you. Cursed shall you be in the city, and cursed shall you be in the field... The LORD will cause you to be defeated before your enemies; you shall go out one way against them, and flee seven ways before them; and you shall be a horror to all the kingdoms of the earth... The LORD will bring you, and your king whom you set over you, to a nation that neither you nor your fathers have known; and there you shall serve other gods, of wood and stone. And you shall become a horror, a proverb, and a byword, among all the peoples where the LORD will lead you away." --Deuteronomy 28:15,25,36-37

However, this is not the first time that the Jews have been without a Temple. The Temple that was destroyed in 70AD was actually the second Temple. God was angry with the Jews once before and the first Temple was destroyed. But God never completely abandoned the Jews. Thus, a second Temple was built. Despite what is quoted in Deuteronomy above, God also promised the Jews that He would never forget the covenant which He made with Moses...

"'Yet for all that, when they are in the land of their enemies, I will not spurn them, neither will I abhor them so as to destroy them utterly and break my covenant with them; for I am the LORD their God; but I will for their sake remember the covenant with their forefathers, whom I brought forth out of the land of Egypt in the sight of the nations, that I might be their God: I am the LORD.' These are the statutes and ordinances and laws which the LORD made between him and the people of Israel on Mount Sinai by Moses."
--Leviticus 26:44-46

I wouldn't be so quick to write off the Jews. God hasn't. The Jews have clearly "broken the covenant" they made with God, therefore God's curses have come upon them as God promised they would. However, if they choose to "remember the covenant" they made with God, then God will not "spurn them". God will accept the rebuilding of the Temple as a sign that the Jews are trying to "remember the covenant". He will then send Moses and Elijah to educate them to a better covenant... the New Covenant of Jesus Christ. Many Jews will in fact be converted to Christianity before the Great Tribulation begins.

Hawkeye® said...

DogMaBlog,

I agree with you that Jesus is the "fulfillment" of the Mosaic Covenant. I also agree with you that only Christians can be considered the "covenant people" of Jesus. However, I have to disagree with you when you talk about "God's covenant" and "God's covenant people". You make it sound as if there is only one covenant, while there are actually multiple covenants -- all of which are still in effect (see my comments to Radar above).

You said: "Even before the Temple was destroyed Jesus called them children of the devil." I assume of course that you are referring to the Jews. However, I must again disagree, because I believe that Jesus was not calling ALL Jews "children of the devil", but rather just the scribes and Pharisees. I know that is not clearly spelled out in John chapter 8, but you cannot take isolated passages out of context. You have to consider for example, the comparable Synoptic passages, particularly Matthew 23:13-39...

In this passage Jesus says "woe to you" at least 7 times. He is talking specifically to "scribes and Pharisees", the Jewish leaders and teachers. He calls them "blind guides" suggesting that they are bad teachers who lead their students on a path to destruction. Jesus says that these teachers make their students "twice as fit for hell" as they themselves are. He mocks their hypocrisy. He calls them a "brood of vipers" which is a metaphor suggesting that they are the offspring of "the serpent" or the devil. The target of Jesus' words here are NOT the Jews in general, they are specifically the leaders and teachers, that is, the "scribes and Pharisees". Because Matthew's gospel provides far more detail about what is probably the same incident as John Chapter 8, you have to synthesize the two when drawing any conclusions.

(:D) I'll be back with more comments.

Hawkeye® said...

DogMaBlog,

The 144,000? That sort of came out of left field. But as long as you brought up the subject, do you interpret the 144,000 as a literal group of 12,000 Jews from each of the 12 tribes as per Revelation 7? Is it EXACTLY 12,000 from each of the tribes? And are they all male virgins too (who have never lied in their life) as per Revelation 14:4?

If there is any symbolism in the Book of Revelation, it is here in the 144,000. As I have repeated over and over again in my articles at Testimonium, large numbers of people are symbolized as "many waters" or "seas" or "a flood" or "a river". In Revelation 14:2-3, John hears a "voice from heaven like the sound of many waters". The sound from this vast group of people then becomes transformed into the "sound of harpers" and "they sing a new song before the throne [of God]". John goes on to say that "No one could learn that song except the hundred and forty-four thousand".

In other words, the 144,000 is a symbolic group which represents a vast multitude which is actually much larger than exactly 144,000. In Revelation 7:9, John sees "a great multitude which no man could number". Not coincidentally, this group is mentioned immediately after John refers to the 144,000. The 144,000 is the same as the "great multitude". An angel tells John, "These are they who have come out of the great tribulation." Since the great tribulation has not yet taken place, the 144,000 do not yet exist.

You said: "Then please explain to me what is yet to be." Well, I've been trying to do that. Just read all my articles at Testimonium. (:D)

You said: "Read the book of Hebrews and show me another covenant." OK...

In Hebrews 7:22 we read: "This makes Jesus the surety of a better covenant". It does not say that the Mosaic covenant no longer exists, but rather that Christ's covenant is "better".

In Hebrews 8:13 we read: "In speaking of a new covenant he treats the first as obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away." It does not say that the Mosaic covenant no longer exists, but rather that it is "becoming obsolete" and "growing old" (present tense).

In Hebrews 10:1 we read: "For since the law has but a shadow of the good things to come instead of the true form of these realities, it can never, by the same sacrifices which are continually offered year after year, make perfect those who draw near." It does not say that the law has passed away, but instead speaks of sacrifices which are being offered (in the present tense). It says the law can "never... make perfect those who draw near" (again in the present tense).

The whole point of the Book of Hebrews is to reach out to Jews and show them the superiority of the New Covenant of Jesus Christ. It does not say that the Mosaic Covenant no longer exists, but rather that it is "obsolete", because there is a New Covenant which is far superior. And I don't disagree with that. I'm not trying to sell people on becoming Jews or following the Mosaic Covenant. OK?

(to be continued...)

Hawkeye® said...

(...continued)

You quoted Revelation 1:1, "The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place." You then said: "What do the words SOON and NEAR mean? Not 2000+ years!!!! This fulfillment has passed."

Again I beg to differ. In Revelation 1:7, we read: "Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, every one who pierced him; and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him." As far as I know, that prophecy has not yet occurred. Jesus has not yet returned to earth while coming on the clouds where every eye can see Him. Since that has not happened yet, it must be a future event. Therefore "near" and "soon" must be interpreted as very relative terms.

Furthermore, the Second Coming of Christ (when He returns to earth on the clouds) is the ultimate climax in human history. It is a moment when God again inserts Himself very publicly into the course of human events. It is when Christ will establish a very literal Kingdom of God on earth. He will set up a government and will rule and reign in person over the affairs of man. Why would God not want to give His people some clues about this momentous occasion? Especially if there is some danger associated with it (ie, false christs and false prophets, etc.)?

And we know that this prophecy about Jesus coming on the clouds is VERY literal because Jesus Himself spoke of it at least twice. In Matthew 24:30 He tells us: "then will appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory." And in Matthew 26:64 we read: "Jesus said to him [the high priest], "You have said so. But I tell you, hereafter you will see the Son of man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven."

Those were very literal statements about a very real event which will ultimately take place at the Second Coming of Christ. If you do not agree with that, then there is really nothing much more for us to talk about, because our views are radically different.

Look, I'm not trying to be mean or nasty. As I've written these comments, my attitude has been sort of "matter-of-fact". I'm only sharing what I believe. I'm sorry if I've offended anyone. I was only responding to Radar's article because it is an area that is of great interest to me.

Best regards...