Saturday, April 21, 2018

OUT WALKING...


Out Walking With the Lord

With a happy spring in my step I bob along a riverbank in heavy rain, as full of the Spirit of Christ as a balloon with air. Breaking the water’s surface tension are pearls innumerable rattling down from heaven. Lord, do You hear what I hear? Do You see what I see? Indeed You do! For, ‘The hearing ear and the seeing eye the LORD has made them both.’ Proverbs 20:12. Yes Lord, but are You able to hear through my ears and see through my eyes? Do You feel the cool sharp tingle of a raindrop as it hits the back of my exposed neck? Do You smell the earthy fragrances of the freshly baptised earth as its aromas rise to meet with my nostrils? Do You hear the gurgling rushing river as it rolls over boulders in its rush to gush over falls? Do You see the rugged beauty of it all – through my eyes? Lord, are You really in me?

If You, Lord, are with me, how with me are You? I know, ‘The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.’ Romans 8:16. And, I know that I am one of Your adopted children, for, praise Your holy name, I have been redeemed by the life, death and resurrection of my elder Brother, Your only begotten Son, Jesus Christ. I trust Him alone to save me from Your coming judgment at the Last Day. Therefore, I don’t trust in my own feeble attempts at being good. But Lord, do You know the very thoughts and intents of my heart? Indeed You do! For, ‘The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it? I, the LORD, search the heart, I test the mind, even to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings.’ Jeremiah 17:9&10. Then I thank You, Lord, for giving me a new heart, just as You promise in Your Word. Yes, thank You Father and Son for giving me Your Spirit who now leads me in the ways revealed in Your written Word. I used to suppress Your truth in unrighteousness, but now like a bubbling spring, praise for You gushes up from within me at worship, rest, and play! Yes, the clouds are Your chariot and You do walk on the wings of the wind!

Each Lord’s Day, in fellowship with others, I hear a portion of Your Word read, explained and applied to me. Your Word washes over me. I am a little pebble whose sharp edges are being made smooth as I roll down the river of life. As a mountain stream after rain I want to gush forth Your praises! Yes, ‘Let the rivers clap their hands; let the hills be joyful before the LORD, for He is coming to judge the earth. With righteousness He shall judge the world, and the peoples with equity.’ Psalm 98:8&9. Father, I say with David, the sweet Psalmist of Israel, ‘Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.’ Psalm 139:23&24.

‘God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, even though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though its waters roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with its swelling. There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacle of the Most High.’ Psalm 46:1-4. Lord, plant me next to Your river that my leaf might not wither, that I might bring forth fruit in its season.

Now that the Word has become flesh and has tabernacled with us, may the Holy Spirit be pleased to tabernacle with me. For You, Lord, have opened my tent-flaps and have let Yourself in. Forgive the mess I have made of the perfect abode You had given me in the beginning along with Adam. Since Adam our representative rebelled against You in the Garden, our tabernacles have been in tatters, letting in rain and night creepers. I have feared darkness. I have feared death, but now fear these no longer forever. For, ‘Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.’ Psalm 23:4.  In the gushing words of St Patrick, ‘Christ be with me, Christ within me, Christ behind me, Christ before me, Christ beside me, Christ to win me, Christ to comfort and restore me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ in quiet, Christ in danger, Christ in hearts of all that love me, Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.’

You have permitted me a glimpse through Your eyes as Your Father had You nailed to a tree to pay the penalty I owe for my sins. Lord, You said, ‘I am poured out like water, and all My bones are out of joint; My heart is like wax, it has melted within Me.… For dogs have surrounded Me; the congregation of the wicked has enclosed Me. They pierced My hands and My feet; I can count all My bones.’ Psalm 22:14&16. ‘For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.’ Hebrews 2:10.

Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

TREASURE TROVE


Treasure Trove

‘One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.’ I remember as a teenager struggling to understand why gold, silver and jewels were considered precious. The sun glinting on gold was so much polished brass to me. Diamonds? Glorified glass! Rubies and pearls? Trinkets and baubles. Then as a mature adult, when I looked more closely I began to see what all the fuss was about. You could say that was when I lost my marbles, for ‘when I became a man, I put away childish things.’ You see, as an undiscerning youth I had likened the Bible to other books and Jesus to other men. Foolishness!


‘Happy is the man who finds wisdom, and the man who gains understanding; for her proceeds are better than the profits of silver, and her gain than fine gold. She is more precious than rubies, and all the things you may desire cannot compare with her.’ Proverbs 3:13-15. The Bible is the Book of Wisdom and Jesus is that Wisdom in the flesh! To see the difference between a real ruby and a piece of worthless glass one must hold them up to the light. And while we’re at it, speaking of light, there’s candlelight, lamplight, moonlight and sunlight. And then there’s the God/Man Jesus, ‘the light of the world’ (John 8:2). Cubic zirconia may look very much like a real diamond in romantic candlelight, but everything fake and phony is exposed when held up to the light of the world. God shines His light through the prism of Jesus. In Him are all the colours of God’s covenant rainbow. Only at His feet is the crock of gold to be found.

The Bible is THE treasure trove and Jesus is THE pearl of great price! ‘The kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it’ Matthew 13:45-46. Some think this ‘pearl of great price’ refers to the Church, i.e., the ‘bride of Christ’,’ rather than Jesus, and that it was Jesus who gave up all He had to buy her. Either way, like a husband and his wife, the two are one. As He has given His life for her, so she is to forsake all others for Him. For Jesus says, ‘Whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses His life for My sake will find it’ Matthew 16:25. Find what? The ‘pearl of great price.’ For He is the life! (John 14:6).

Jesus is also the truth. Therefore, it is against Him that we measure all truth. He prayed that His Father would do the following: ‘Sanctify them by Your truth, Your Word is truth’ John 17:17. Therefore, we are to use His Word to discern the truth from the lie, the fact from the fiction, the ruby from the rubbish, the treasure from the trash. Indeed, even light itself needs to be examined in God’s light, for the Psalmist says, ‘In Your light we see light’ Psalm 36:9b. The triune God is ‘the Father of lights’ from whom comes ‘every good gift and every perfect gift’ including the ‘pearl of great price.’

Jesus is the spade we use to dig for hidden treasure. He is the water we drink to quench our thirst. He is the lever we use to prise open the lid of the chest. He is the light we shine to see the jewels. He is the magnifying glass through which we view their authenticity.

Dear reader, do not trash treasure, for ‘The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone’ 1 Peter 2:7b.

Friday, April 6, 2018

WINDOWS TO THE SOUL


WINDOWS TO THE SOUL

I grew up in the same hometown as my friend Billy Scobie, (a.k.a. Alexander Tait, author of Whisky in the Jar, The Cup, Mightier Than the Sword, Upon This Rock). The town, the Vale of Leven, is located just north of Glasgow, where the River Leven flows out of Loch Lomond and into the River Clyde at Dumbarton Rock.

Billy posted the following on his Facebook page:

INFLUENCE FOR GOOD

Every day I look across the river and see the (apparently now derelict) Dalmonach Hall.

Those distinctive church-like windows remind me that, although originally built as a schoolhouse, it was in the Victorian era used as a Sunday School and Church Hall. I get to thinking about all these well-meaning generations of folk who tried to raise children to live Christian lives. I find myself wondering if their endeavours really made the world a better place. I am almost surprised to conclude that, all said and done, they probably did.

W. Scobie

The following is some of the thoughts Billy’s Facebook post inspired me to write:

Billy, (I’ll try to be brief as I know you’re not a fan of long-winded comments), but it is patently obvious that “all these well-meaning generations of folk who tried to raise children to live Christian lives … really made the world a better place.” (See what I did there?) 
The world is a better place because of Christ and the influence of Christianity, i.e., Christian (as in Christ’s) teachings. It’s as Jesus says, “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal till it was all leavened.” Matthew 13:33. Sure, there’s a big difference between someone being influenced by Christianity and someone being converted to Christianity. However, either way, both make for a better society. Whether the butcher, the baker, or the candlestick-maker, all strive to deal honestly and fairly with each other because they have been taught that selfishness is bad for self and for society and “loving your neighbour as yourself’ is good.

The secret for social governance is in self-governance. The influence of Christianity meant that we as individuals, and society as a whole, were all on the same (Bible) page. We were all singing from the same hymnbook. This is what we mean by freedom, both personal and public.

On a deeper level, the internal law that rules my heart matches the external law that rules society. (Both of which are based on a correct understanding of the Ten Commandments, justice and mercy etc., (i.e., the law of His Kingdom). Social cohesion and all of that.  However, social morals, (like the buildings in your picture above), whether obeyed in gratitude to God’s mercy or obeyed in fear of civil or criminal punishment or eternal, have been neglected and have become rundown, even dilapidated. However, the good news is that one can still make out “those distinctive church-like windows”, the ones through which we can see an encouraging past as well as a glorious future – if society moves in the right direction.

Like the Maid of the Loch paddling full-steam ahead towards Balloch Pier after an excursion up the loch, would suddenly stop those great paddlewheels and slam them into reverse, yet the boat still moved forward, so Vale society, (and indeed Western society) is still drifting forwards towards its destination. But society’s engines have slowed things down and the great paddles have churned the water into the foam and froth of social confusion.

I’m an optimist, a Biblical optimist! Though the Maid of the Loch has been out of commission for so many decades collecting rust, she will sail again. People cannot stand standing
idly by and watching our great heritage, the things that made us great and the envy of others, sink into oblivion. They will rally together. They will donate their cash and their time. They will advertise. They will refurbish. The will join with each other and form a community of hope. The community will expand, growing into a great tree from a tiny mustard seed.

God bless the Maid of the Loch and all who sail in her! And God bless His Kingdom and all who enter in – till the shadows flee, till all is leavened, the Vale, the whole world.

Just as individuals on social media brought to my attention (here in Australia) the sorry state and plight of the Maid of the Loch (– which now looks like it has been revived to the point of present and future happy days), so individuals, such as yourself, by your postings (such as the one above), may serve to revive a great interest in our Christian heritage.

May God be pleased to use you mightily in this endeavour.

Addendum: Neil, Thank you most sincerely for that wonderfully uplifting piece of spiritual writing ... It really has done me good to read it. I liked your use of the Maid of the Loch. Not only did I serve as assistant purser aboard her (season 1970), but she was launched the year I was born (1953), so I have a special feeling for that wee steamer. What seeds you sow with your words!

Sunday, April 1, 2018

COVENANT SIMPLIFIED (Introduction)


INTRODUCTION (From my wee eBook Covenant Simplified)

The Covenant of Grace is the Gospel by another name. Immediately after Adam had broken the Covenant of Works (by instead covenanting with Satan and eating the forbidden fruit) God began to reveal the Covenant of Grace. This He did by giving the Gospel promise, cursing the serpent Satan, and also saying to him, “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel” Genesis 3:15. God then clothed Adam and Eve in animal skin, presumably from a sacrificed lamb, symbolizing what Jesus “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29) would do. 

As per the Gospel promise, in time the Seed of the Woman figuratively inflicted a fatal head-wound when He bruised or crushed the serpent’s head at Golgotha, the Place of the Skull. In this He had His own heel (as opposed to His head) bruised, thus receiving at the cross a fatal (but temporary) physical wound.

Christ is “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Revelation 13:8b), meaning that this was decreed by God in eternity past. Therefore it was actually God who sacrificed His own Son (as pre-figured by Abraham’s almost sacrifice of his (only) son Isaac, when he, under direction from God, substituted a ram caught in a thicket (Genesis 22). The promised Seed, i.e., Christ, was to come from the loins of the aged Abraham and his (barren) wife, Sarah (Genesis 18).

The Gospel promise was made earlier to Abraham where God says, “In you all the families of the earth shall be blessed” Genesis 12:3b. This blessing flows through Christ, the Word, who is the promised Seed, Galatians 3:16. It is also worth noting at this point that “The Word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision, saying, ‘Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward” Genesis 15:1. And, as the pre-incarnate Christ, i.e., “the Word of the LORD” that came to Abram, his “shield and exceedingly great reward” says after He had become flesh, “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad” John 8:56. The outpouring of the Holy Spirit on all peoples is toward the fulfilment of all the families or nations on earth being blessed.

Abraham behaved very much like a man who had heard Good News, i.e., the Gospel. Indeed Scripture testifies that Abraham heard the Gospel, e.g., “And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the Gospel to Abraham beforehand saying, ‘In you all the nations of the earth shall be blessed’” Galatians 3:8.

Before the time of Moses, i.e., from Adam onward, God’s people saw the Gospel when they made animal sacrifices to God (Genesis 4:4; Hebrews 11:4). By the time of Moses the people of God were seeing the Gospel depicted in the Ceremonial Law, i.e., the sacrificial system, the Ark of the Covenant, the Tabernacle and then the Temple etc. Jesus Christ is the fulfilment of everything depicted by, in, and through all of these. These all were types. He is the great antitype. Thus the Old Testament is full of the Gospel! Says Edmund P Clowney,

Christ revealed Himself in the types of Old Testament symbolism. Through the Old Testament story we hear not only about the presence of the Lord but also about the coming of the Servant of the Lord, foreshadowed in those who served in His covenant. The elaborate symbolism of the ceremonial law no longer offers a handbook for ritual since Christ has come. Rather, we are drawn from the shadows into His light, the light of His presence.[1]

If we are going to carry Bibles and not simply pocket Testaments, we should surely be using the Old Testament more than we do. The missionary Bible of the apostolic church was the Old Testament Scripture. Our Lord in the synagogue of Nazareth (Luke 4), Peter at Pentecost (Acts 2), Paul in the synagogues of Asia Minor and Greece – these all preached the gospel from the Old Testament. During the time which the apostolic witness to Christ was still being recorded, the Old Testament was the Scripture from which the church preached Christ.[2]

The Covenant of Grace was differently administered in the Old Testament. Thus Circumcision and Passover were pictures of the Gospel, the Good News. These blood sacraments became the unbloody New Testament sacraments of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper respectively. Circumcision and Baptism have the same Covenantal meaning, (i.e., regeneration, the removal of sin, cleansing  by the shed blood, etc.) And Passover and the Lord’s Supper both speak of “the Lamb that takes away the sin of the world.”

The saints (i.e., true believers) in both the Old and the New Testaments looked to the Messiah, the Christ, the One who would be covenantally anointed in His baptism with water and with the Holy Spirit (John 1 etc.), the One who, at His last Covenant Meal transformed the Passover into the Lord’s Supper (Luke 22:19-20). Thus God’s eternal Covenant was differently administered at different periods throughout the Old Testament, but all of it spoke of Christ, the Seed of the Woman.

This is what we call the Covenant of Grace. It is the promise of God in which He says that He shall be our God and that we shall be His people. In our own day the shorthand way of speaking of the Covenant of Grace is to use the word “Gospel” or “Good News.” The Seed of the Woman was as it were conceived in Genesis 3:15 and was born in the New Testament. However, this was no unplanned pregnancy, but had been planned from eternity as per God’s eternal Covenant. He is our God and we are His people!

Ravi Zacharias speaks of the centrality of Christ in all things,

From the Christian perspective we see the finger of God in all of history, and Christ as its central figure. The Christian explains history through the eternal eyes of Christ.[3]

In the following we shall develop, reiterate, and reinforce the covenant themes (and more) précised above.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

ATHEISM & CREATION

Atheism & Creation (From my wee eBook Why I Am Not An Atheist)

Having seen that Atheism is the belief that God does not exist and that Atheism forms a life and world view from this presupposition, and that it is this Atheist life and worldview that we are calling the Atheist religion, and as such this Atheistic religion is deficient in that it has no moral grounding, and that on account of the fall of mankind the whole human race is Atheistic, and as such has a faulty view of salvation, we are now ready to consider what is wrong with the world of nature.

Charles Darwin popularised the interchangeable terms “survival of the fittest” and “natural selection.” These terms describe how biological life adapts or evolves to cope with and exist in various and sometimes hostile environments. A simple example of this might be that a fit and healthy wildebeest has a better opportunity to survive against predatory lions than a wounded or deformed wildebeest. There is no argument forthcoming from the Christian against the idea of “the survival of the fittest” or “natural selection.” However, following Darwin’s lead, the Atheist has taken this idea and has extrapolated from it a fantastic theory!

Charles Darwin speculated that through the process he called “natural selection” that a bear, for example, could become a very different creature such as a whale. The Live Science website gives a basic summary of what is commonly meant by the term “Darwin’s Theory of Evolution.” The following words are included in the Live Science website’s description,

Natural selection can change a species in small ways, causing a population to change color or size over the course of several generations. This is called “microevolution.” But natural selection is also capable of much more. Given enough time and enough accumulated changes, natural selection can create entirely new species. It can turn dinosaurs into birds, apes into humans and amphibious mammals into whales.[14]

Again Christians have no trouble with the “microevolution” idea of the first half of the above quote. This is observable, scientifically observable. However, it is that which is unobservable, scientifically unobservable that the Christian objects to. Contrary to much popular belief it is simply pure and unsubstantiated speculation that “Given enough time and enough accumulated changes, natural selection can create entirely new species. It can turn dinosaurs into birds, apes into humans and amphibious mammals into whales.” With regards to turning “dinosaurs into birds, apes into humans and amphibious mammals into whales” natural selection is not scientifically demonstrable! It is simply a leap from microevolution to macroevolution, a leap of faith!

It is at this point that an insecure Atheist might start jumping up and down exclaiming that the Theory of Evolution is settled science. The Christian would grant that it is a popular theory among many scientists but not that it is “settled science. One only has to consider the “Punctuated Equilibrium”[15] of the Evolutionist Stephen Jay Gould versus the idea of “enough time and enough accumulated changes” as espoused by the Evolutionary Live Science people. Indeed for the reasoning mind there ought to be something unsettling about the idea of “settled science”, especially when it involves the idea of origins of the type found in Darwin’s “Origin of Species”!

The Bible has a lot to say about origins (including the origin of species), especially in its opening chapter. In Genesis 1:1 we read the following majestic words, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” I once quoted this verse to an Atheist and then asked if I had understood correctly his opposing view which I said was, “In the beginning there was nothing. And this nothing exploded in the Big Bang!” This summarises the leap of faith the Evolutionist makes from microevolution to macroevolution.

Because something (such as biological life) can adapt (evolve) and become stronger and more survivable does not mean that nothing can adapt (evolve) and become something! This is not science. This is philosophy! (including at the quantum level). Nay, it is religion! Says Eugene Clingman,

Evolution is held by faith; in other words, evolution is religiously held; evolution is a religion. Humanism, the belief that there is nothing higher than man, is held by faith; humanism is a religion.[1]

What is wrong with God designing and then creating land, sea, and air creatures which adapted to their particular local environments? Nothing – if you believe in God the Creator as revealed in the Bible. But everything – if you do not believe in the Triune God! Thus, the current debates between Evolutionists and Creationists. Notice that I did not say debates between Science and Evolutionists or Science and Creationists. Rather the debates are between two types of science, Evolutionary Science versus Creation Science.

Both Evolutionary Scientists and Creation Scientists are looking at the same things, i.e., creation and the things contained therein. Therefore, the debates are not about science, per se, but rather which view best interprets scientific data, i.e., Evolutionism or Creationism? Did the Triune God in the beginning form various kinds of (prototypical) animals, birds and sea creatures which adapted to their local habitats or did something come from nothing, and then did the organic come from the inorganic, the sentient and the animate from the inanimate as per Atheistic Darwinian Evolution?

Darwin wondered about the cruelty he observed (scientifically) in creation and wondered how a good and benevolent god could have created such an environment. A cat toying with a mouse? Cruelty! A wasp laying its eggs in a live caterpillar which eggs hatch and the larvae eat the caterpillar from the inside out? Cruelty! Blindness in children caused by bacteria? Cruelty! And so forth.

The Bible tells us, therefore the Christian believes, that the world we live in now is not the same world God created in the beginning. Sin, misery and death entered God’s “good” creation when Adam, the first human being, disobeyed God. Therefore, if Charles Darwin had realised that he was studying a fallen or corrupted creation (which has become a cruel and harsh environment on account of man’s rebellion against the Creator) he may not have drawn such (erroneous) conclusions and rejected his Maker. All he (and everyone else for that matter) had to do was take the opening chapters of Genesis at face value. God created. Man rebelled. All creation suffered. Then he would have seen what was wrong with creation. And if he had read on he would then also have seen what God has done to fix it!

Summary: Atheism has a faulty view of creation.

[1] Rebuilding Civilization on the Bible: Proclaiming the Truth on 24 Controversial Issues, Nordskog Publishing, Ventura, California, 2014, p. 179.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

ATHEISM & SALVATION


Atheism & Salvation (From my wee eBook Why I Am Not An Atheist)

Having seen that Atheism is the belief that God does not exist and that Atheism forms a life and world view from this presupposition, and that it is this Atheist life and worldview that we are calling the Atheist religion, and as such this Atheistic religion is deficient in that it has no moral grounding, and that on account of the fall of mankind the whole human race is Atheistic, we are now ready to consider how we might, in this life, escape our present demise.

Atheism portrays Christianity as a “pull yourself up by the bootstraps” type of a religion. This is attested to by the 2008 Atheist Bus Campaign in England which involved double-decker buses with the following words written on their sides, “There’s probably no god. Now stop worrying and start enjoying life.”[11] Apparently the idea is that some people might be too worried God might be looking over their shoulders to enjoy life. No one likes to look in their rear-view mirror and seeing a police car tailing them – even when innocent! But is this the God of the Bible?

It should be noted that it is the Atheist version of God that is being portrayed here. Suddenly their “flying spaghetti monster” has flown out of the window here and has been replaced by a version of God slightly more in line with what the Bible teaches. Yes, the God of the Bible claims He will ultimately judge each one of us. For example, “It is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment.” Hebrews 9:27 (cf. Acts 17:31). However, this does not mean that the Christian does not or cannot enjoy life on account of God. Truth be known, the Atheist Bus Campaign advert is the polar opposite to the teaching of the Bible! It is as Jesus says, “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” John 10:10b.

The Bible-believing Christian has been set free by God from worrying about whether they are good enough for God. How? We have already noted that the Bible has already told us that none of us is good enough (e.g., Romans 3:12; 23), and that we do not get right with God by trying to be good. Hence the “stop worrying” statement on the side of the Atheist bus. To be sure, the Atheist is correct. It would be a very worrying state to be in, not knowing if you have done enough good to please God. Indeed, the notion that we have to earn our place in Heaven is part of our human make-up! However, we have already established that the Bible teaches us that there is something inherently wrong with each of us.[12]

Humanity has been corrupted (1 Corinthians 15:42), and an aspect of this corruption is that we think that God will be pleased with us if we do some “good deeds.” However, Isaiah speaks for fallen humanity when he says, “We are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags.” Isaiah 64:6. Therefore, the Atheist is correct. We should stop worrying about whether we have done enough “good deeds” because that is not how we get right with God!

The true Christian enjoys life because he/she has been set free from, a) Trying hard all his/her life to ignore God (as does the Atheist!) and b) Trying to be good enough for God. The Bible says, “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1a. No condemnation means no judgment for the Christian. Therefore, the Christian is free to get on with enjoying this life!

Indeed, the Christian enjoys bringing glory to God in all things. “Whether you eat or drink, whatever you do, do all things to the glory of God” 1 Corinthians 10:31. To be sure, this is not the Atheist’s idea of enjoying life but it is the Christian idea!

God is not Santa Claus. As fallen human beings we do not receive the reward of everlasting life by trying to be nice not naughty! That way of salvation is closed to us.[13] The Bible teaches that God grants everlasting life to those who keep on believing in Jesus Christ and His works.

Summary: Atheism, like the rest of fallen humanity, has a faulty view of salvation.

Monday, March 26, 2018

IS THE WHOLE HUMAN RACE ATHEISTIC?

Is the whole human race Atheistic? (From my wee eBook Why I Am Not An Atheist)

Having seen that Atheism is the belief that God does not exist and that it forms a life and world view from this presupposition, and that it is this Atheist life and worldview that we are calling the Atheist religion, and as such is deficient in that Atheism has no moral grounding, we are now ready to explore the source of morals.

The following verses provide us with the Biblical take on the human condition, “The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.’ They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none who does good.” Psalm 14:1.

We see then that the Bible is claiming that there is something morally wrong with these “fools” that say there is no God. To whom is this referring? The Psalm goes on to say, “The LORD looks down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there are any who seek God. They have all turned aside. They have together become corrupt; there is none who does good, no, not one.” Psalm 14:2-3.

We see that the Bible is saying that it is the “children of men” who are corrupt and that of these human beings there is none who does good. This is reiterated in Romans chapter three. It becomes clear that the “children of men” is referring to every single human being. In other words, according to the Bible all humanity has become immoral.

“There is none who seeks after God … They have all turned aside …. There is none who does good, no, not one … There is no fear of God in their eyes.” Romans 3:11b;12;18. Therefore, according to the Bible it does not matter what your religion is, or whether you have gods or non-gods, if you are not worshipping the Triune God revealed in the Bible, then you are an Atheist!

All human beings are Atheist until and unless God turns to them in His grace and regenerates and converts them. The Psalmist sums it up where he says, “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me.” Psalm 51:5. That we are all sinners from the very moment of our conception on account of us being part of the human race is verified in the following, “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned…” Romans 5:12.

The Bible therefore is saying that the human race became morally corrupt through the actions of Adam. What did Adam do? He did something that the Old Testament people of God did on numerous occasions, “Like Adam they broke the covenant.” Hosea 6:7. Adam was unfaithful to God. Adam did his own thing.

According to the Bible God has written His Moral Law upon the heart of mankind when He created Adam and Eve from whom we all are descended. Scripture says that human beings, “show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them.” Romans 2:15. Says the great Church reformer, John Calvin (1509-1564),

Moreover, the very things contained in the two tables [of the Ten Commandments) are, in a manner, dictated to us by that internal law, which, as has been already said, is in a manner written and stamped on every heart. For conscience, instead of allowing us to stifle our perceptions, and sleep on without interruption, acts as an inward witness and monitor, reminds us of what we owe to God, points out the distinction between good and evil, and thereby convicts us of departure from duty. But man, being immured in the darkness of error, is scarcely able, by means of that natural law, to form any tolerable idea of the worship which is acceptable to God. At all events, he is very far from forming any correct knowledge of it. In addition to this, he is so swollen with arrogance and ambition, and so blinded with self-love, that he is unable to survey, and, as it were, descend into himself, that he may so learn to humble and abase himself, and confess his misery. Therefore, as a necessary remedy, both for our dullness and our contumacy, the Lord has given us his written Law, which, by its sure attestations, removes the obscurity of the law of nature, and also, by shaking off our lethargy, makes a more lively and permanent impression on our minds.[7]

Says historian Mary-Elaine Swanson,

The “Light of Nature” or “Natural Law” refers to God’s Moral Law as it has been written on our hearts. Many people today confuse the term [law of nature] with the laws of nature that govern plant and animal life. Rather, the term Law of Nature refers to the law that God implanted in man at the Creation, as a famous English jurist, Edward Coke (1552-1634), observed when he wrote that “the law of nature is that which God at the time of creation and the nature of man infused into his heart, for his preservation and direction; and this lex aeterna, the moral law, called also the law of nature.”[8]

Having the above understanding of the term Law of Nature, says the great philosopher, educator, government official, and theologian, John Locke (1632-1704),

’Tis plain in Fact, that human Reason unassisted, failed men in its great and proper business of Morality. It never from unquestionable Principles, by clear Deductions, made out an entire Body of Law of Nature. And that he that shall collect all the moral Rules of the Philosophers, and compare them with those in the New Testament, will find them to come short of the Morality delivered by our Saviour, and taught by his Apostles…”[9]

’Tis true, there is a Law of Nature; but who is there that ever did, or undertook to give it to us all entire, as a Law? … Where was there any such code that mankind might have recourse to, as their unerring Rule, before our Saviour’s time … Such a Law of Morality Jesus Christ hath given us in the New Testament …. By Revelation. We have from him a full and sufficient Rule for our direction, and conformable to that of Reason … Here Morality has a sure standard, that Revelation vouches and Reason cannot gainsay, nor question; but both together witness to come from God, the great law maker. And such an one as this out of the New Testament, I think the world never had, nor can any one say is any where else to be found.[10]

However, it is on account of our inherent corruption as human beings who are descended from Adam that we need the written revelation of God, i.e., the Bible. Thus God testifies to each individual’s conscience of who He is by way of the sixty-six books of the Bible and by the things He has made.

As the Bible puts it, “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.” Romans 1:18-23.

According to the Bible, then, we fallen human beings are fools because we all deny the triune God who reveals Himself to us by, 1) His written revelation (i.e., the sixty-six books of the Bible), and, 2) The things He has made (i.e., all of creation). Our accusing consciences testify to us as individuals that we are morally corrupt in that we do not even live up to our own low set of morals, let alone God’s Moral Law!

According to the Bible we need God to rescue us from ourselves and the consequences of our denying Him. 

Summary: The whole human race is Atheistic.