So the last day or two I have been out looking at some atheist forums. I wanted to see what atheists thought about laminin. For a quick recap…Laminin is the glue that holds our body together, oh and the molecular structure is in the shape of a cross. Anyway…back to the forums. I went out to some atheist forums to see what they think. Aside from the usual insults and superiority that most atheists had to offer the general consensus is that Laminin is merely a coincidence.
Chance or Design?
For an atheist to believe that laminin is a coincidence would make sense because it fits into their world view. For an atheist everything in life would have to be the result of coincidence or chance. There is no reason for things happening, they just happen. This is their world view. So it would make sense that they would look at something like laminin and believe that Christians see what they want to see, not what is real.
So is it chance….or design? That is what it really comes down to. For an atheist’s argument to hold true everything would have to be about chance.
When your eyes were created one million nerve endings left your eye to match with one million nerve ending in your brain. This match up has to be perfect or you would not be able to see. Think about the incredible statistic that allows you to see! For every optic nerve there is a 1 in 1 million chance that it misses its match. That is just the beginning…I found this little tid bit…from here:
The 500 amino acids that make up an average-sized protein can be arranged in over 1 x 10^600 different ways (that’s the number ONE followed by 600 zeros)! This number is vastly larger than the total number of atomic particles that could be packed into the known universe. If we had a computer that could rearrange the 500 amino acids of a particular protein at the rate of a billion combinations a second, we would stand essentially no chance of hitting the correct combination during the 14 billion years evolutionists claim for the age of the universe. Even if our high-speed computer were reduced to the size of an electron and we had enough of them to fill a room measuring 10 billion light years square (about 1 x 10^150 computers!), they would still be exceedingly unlikely to hit the right combination. Such a “room” full of computers could only rearrange about 1 x 10^180 combinations in 300 billion years. In fact, even if all the proteins that ever existed on earth were all different, our “room” full of computers would be exceedingly unlikely to chance upon the combination of any one of them in a mere 300 billion years!
Chance or Design?
How about the ribozyme? The ribozyme is an enzyme responsible for creating a chemical reaction. Fairly important to the creation of life…meaning that it couldn’t happen without it. Now let’s assume that each ribozyme is 300 nucleotides long and each position there could be 4 nucleotides present. The chances of that ribozyme assembling are 4^300. What to see what that number looks like?
That is 1 in that number above that the ribozyme would form.
Chance or design?
How about the probability of the occurrence of a universe in which life can form? According to Roger Penrose the probability of the occurrence of a universe in which life can form is 1010123 . Want to see what this looks like numerically?
1 chance in
Keep in mind that according to mathematic principle a probability of 1 in 1050 means zero probability.
Chance or Design?
Robert, Is part of the point of the Laminin illustration that it looks like the shape of a cross? What happens if it is proved historically that the cross on which Christ died was the shape of a “T” versus what is shown above. The Bible does not say what the cross looked like on which Christ died.
While this is interesting, I am not sure the similarity is significant.
(This may not even be your point, but I have heard of others who do make this point.)
To be honest I am not a big fan of the “what if” game. When I hear the word cross I figure it to mean that it is in fact two (or multiple) lines intersecting. A “T” would not represent a cross. The fact that the Bible said cross is significant to me.
Historically it is accepted that Jesus was crucified on a a traditional cross. I will grant you that Romans did use both the cross and the “T” for their crucifixions…
I am also amazed with this laminin thing discovery!
Praise God for giving us this type of Molecules in our body to support every living cells we have.
But have you ever heard about Laminine too? the one with “e”?
The new Science Breakthrough
Laminine, the Stem Cell Enhancer
more info at: http://lamininestemcell.com
Thanks and God Bless!
the significance actually ( all according to Gods will) is the current accepted standard reference of the crucified cross appears as a lower case ” t “. You are actually historically correct that it most likely WAS an upper case T but again its a GOD thang. What has been established as a “standard” reference-able symbol to day in all of our eyes was long established by God before the event we refer to even occurred. That’s the significance… And that’s REALLY REALLY DEEP !!
its real nomatter what jesus was nail to all i know is that he die for our sin, and when he come back i will be ready, jah is love i have a lot of it.
The cross shape as opposed to the T-shape is nearly insignificant at this point in the equation, in that God would have foreknown that the discovery of Laminin and it’s structure wouldn’t be discovered until the common symbol for Christs’ death by crucifixion would be the cross symbol as we know it. Either way it is still historically possible that He was crucified on the cross shape we know as well, and depending on how much His body hung downward, it may have been necessary to form a cross for Christ as we know it in order to post the sign above His head as described by the scriptures.
How do you believe that amino acids are ‘arranged’ in the cell when a protein is being formed? Randomly? Or with the help of hundreds of other proteins and cellular organelles and structures? Just curious as to your take on this. Thank you.
Reesa, thanks for stopping by. First let me just start by saying that I am not a molecular biologist. I enjoy reading about this stuff, and that is really what spawned this article.
What I can say to answer your question is that the word arranged lends itself to organization. Similar to the hundreds of way you could arrange the furniture in your house or apartment. I do not believe in randomness. I believe the universe, and life are the by products of organized creation where everything is arranged. The stat I cited (1×10^600) becomes even more impressive if the arrangement is based on other outside factors, in my humble…non-molecular opinion.
Let me begin by saying that I am not an atheist, just a medical student and a scientist. I don’t deny the existence of God, but I also don’t take every word in the Bible literally (since it was translated several times and written down by men, who are flawed). The Bible says God created man from the earth, but doesn’t tell you each and every detail of how he did it. All I’m saying is that maybe God was so smart that instead of just blinking man into existence, he developed a system that would ultimately lead to man’s existence, as well as provide a wonderful amount of diversity and wonder to our planet and universe.
The point that your explanation of chance and probability misses is that the universe is essentially infinite. Meaning that anything and everything that can happen will happen. I will use a simple scenario to explain. If a population of individuals is, say, 5,000 in number and there is a 1 in 10 billion (or even lesser) chance that one person will have a disease, then yes, it is very unlikely that a person would have this said disease by chance. But if that population is infinitely large in number, then no matter how small the chance of someone having a disease is, someone (if not more than one) will have it.
Additionally, your assumption that atheists believe that everything is a result of coincidence or chance without reason is not entirely correct. No evolutionist ever claimed that everything happened by chance alone. In fact, almost every evolutionary step happens for a reason. Evolution is the result of natural selection pressure on a population over large periods of time. To use another scenario to illustrate my point, if a population of tortoises (such as those in the Galapagos islands) was stranded on an island where the only edible fruit necessary for sustaining their population was suspended in the air from a bush or tree, rather than on the ground, those tortoises with slightly longer necks would be more able to get food for themselves and their young, and would be more likely to survive and reproduce than those that were not able to get to the fruit. This is an example of selection pressure wherein the long-neck tortoises are more fit to survive than the short neck tortoises. Over many generations, the population of tortoises stranded on that island would all resemble the long-neck tortoises. This is the basic concept of evolution. How did the short neck tortoises ever become long-neck tortoises you might ask? Because our DNA recombines and mutates ever so slightly every time we reproduce. New mutations occur by chance, but only those that are favorable allow their carriers to survive and reproduce, while unfavorable mutations lead to weakness or unattractive traits that make survival and reproduction difficult. Just like you and I are varied ever so slightly in characteristics like height, weight, eye color, etc., so were the Galapagos tortoises. If you and I lived in a world where food were only accessible to people who were tall enough to reach it (meaning no machines, no help from anyone else, no tools, just you) then the taller people would get all the food for them and their children, and the shorter people would die off because they would be unable to feed themselves and their children, such that after several thousand years, the entire population would be taller.
To extrapolate this example to both laminin and the ribozyme, organisms that made inappropriately or poorly functioning laminin and ribozyme were quickly left behind, while others that gained functional advantages through new mutations (like a better, stronger laminin, or a faster, more selective ribozyme) won, so to speak. In this way, our DNA, the building blocks of all life on this planet, allows for improvement through mutation. While mutations do occur by chance, whether or not those mutations are passed on to the offspring and become a permanent part of a species’ DNA depends on if the mutation adds or improves function and/or the ability to survive. Thus, there is most certainly a reason for everything.
Matt, thanks for stopping by. Before I respond to all of your comment…I am curious. Is the only reason that you don’t believe in the Bible literally because you believe that man translated it several times and man is flawed? What if I could prove to you that the New Testament is the most historically reliable document in ALL of antiquity, and that our Bible is 99% accurate to those scripts?
I feel that a discussion of the validity and accuracy of the New Testament is not really related to the points I brought up and should have no impact on them. The only part of the Bible I referenced, however indirectly, was Genesis, which is from the Old Testament. I’d really rather hear your perspective on the topics at hand than another seemingly related, but ultimately irrelevant, topic.
The New Testament…no. But i was just curious. I hope that at some point you will answer my question. BTW the reliability of the Old Testament is equally astonishing and impressive.
Genesis was mentioned directly by you (by quote). Your world view will play an important role in our discussion here. I’ll retrieve my response and post it here pretty quickly.
Again…Thanks for stopping by. Specifically to your points.
The Bible should be taken literally. Read this post and this post let me know your thoughts. The creation event does account for some detail. God did not blink Adam into existence, He created Adam from the dirt. The key part you skip is…in His own image. Now unless God is a microbe or micro-organism (which we can confirm through the Bible that He is not), Adam was created as a man. There is an additional flaw in your argument. Lets say that God did create Adam through evolution. How do you account for the creation of Eve? The Bible specifically states how Eve was created….from Adam. The evolutionary creation process you describe cannot account for the creation of Eve separate from the creation of Adam. God did create the wonderful existence with the diversity and wonder on our planet and universe. The great thing about it all…the God that is responsible for that…knows you better than your parents. He loves you, and sacrificed his only child for you as a demonstration of that love.
To your point about the universe being infinite. Infinite is a mathematical number that is unrealistic. To imply that the universe is essentially infinite implies that there is no creation of the universe. It simply….is. This is completely unrealistic as something cannot be created from nothing. Your point about the population being infinitely large is factually incorrect in the context of Earth and creation. The truth is that the population is in fact limited to Earth. I can say this because Earth does have space limitations.
The evolutionary steps that you define are micro-evolution. I have no problem with that. You argument using the tortoises is acceptable and understandable. But the problem that you run into is that at the end of the day…it is still a tortoise.
Evolution….by definition…is random. It has to be because there is no design…no creation… everything just….happens. If evolution wasn’t random…then it could be created, predicted, and even reproduced. The fact that it cannot be simply proves that evolution is random. Your “every evolutionary step happens for a reason” would have to denote some sort of design logic that would allow an organism to adjust on the fly. If there is no logic in the design of a creature that says “adjust the length of the neck of the turtle if the food is too high” then how does it happen? By chance? I would argue that micro evolution is built into the logic of the design of the creature. Macro evolution (of the creative kind) all involves chance. Your example begins with life created. Provide an example with no life created.
To address your point about laminin and the ribozyme. Okay…the bad laminin and ribozyme are quickly left behind…however, the statistics that the ribozyme assembles is still 4^300. That doesn’t change. In order for your argument to hold true…the ribozyme statistic would have to dip below 10^50 to even be a mathematical probability…
You end your comment by saying that there is most certainly a reason or everything. I would only agree if there is a God, and He created us. If God doesn’t exist…then there is no reason for anything. If the Bible is fantastical and too difficult to believe as written…what parts are real and which ones aren’t?
written down by men , transcribed blah blah .. The inspired word of God ,, either accept it in its entirety or risk piecemeal-ing the parts you like out here and there see where that gets you …
Hot or cold pick one black or white HE wont accept the fence riding middle ground no stand taking maybe sayers … He wants your all
1. Your statement that the bible should be taken literally is opinion. There are two major schools of thought on the Bible shared by devout Christians the world over. While many believe that the Bible should be taken word-for-word, an equally great number of faithful Christians believe that the Bible is a series of parables constructed to teach people how to live their lives. As such, the idea of parables, rather than historically factual events, makes the values and teachings of the Bible timeless and applicable to the lives of people living today, thousands of years after the Bible was written.
2. Given my previous statement, I will not comment on your supposition that my argument is flawed based solely on your literal interpretation of the Bible, except to say that, given that God is omnipotent and all-knowing, is it not possible that, if God did decide to create man through evolution, that he already knew that it would ultimately lead to the birth of humanity in his image? Let me further confirm that I don’t think, nor did I ever imply, that God is a microbe.
3. The scientific community is still largely at debate on whether the universe is infinite or finite. Your argument that infinity is a mathematically unrealistic number is only mathematically unrealistic in that it is difficult for the human brain to comprehend. And if you believe that you will one day spend eternity in heaven, then you already believe in the existence of an infinite length of time.
4. “But if that population is infinitely large in number…” – from my initial response
I never said the population is infinite. I described a hypothetical situation (through the use of the word ‘if’) within an infinitely large population in order to make an example of your misuse of statistics and probability. I certainly don’t think the population of humanity on earth is infinite or ever could be.
5. Micro-evolution and macro-evolution are not separate entities. The “micro” evolutionary changes that occur over relatively short periods of time (thousands of years) become “macro” evolutionary changes when summed over millions of years. Macro-evolution does not mean that one species spontaneously and randomly gives birth to a whole new species. The idea is simply ludicrous. “Micro” changes like the development of higher brain functions, such as speech and abstract thought, in addition to changes such as increases in body size and decreases in body hair, are ultimately the types of micro-evolutionary changes that result, over millions of years, in macro-evolution to a completely different looking, acting, and functioning species. So yes, while at the end of one thousand or so years the tortoise is still a tortoise, after millions of years the descendants of that tortoise may barely resemble it and ultimately make up a new species.
6. When I say there is a “reason” for everything, I do not mean to imply that someone or something decided why a change should occur and what that change should be. Rather, the “reasons” that evolution occurs are natural selection pressures on populations. While the outcome of adaptations (evolution) to a given selection pressure may be hard to predict and certainly somewhat random (because of the random nature of mutation), the adaptations that allow the species in which they occur to successfully survive and reproduce would not have been maintained without the selection pressure. In summary, the outcomes of adaptations to a given selection pressure are hard to predict, however, retrospectively, it is easy to understand why a species adapted to a given selection pressure in the way it did. So, while chance is largely responsible for how a species adapts, only the chance adaptations that allow the species to survive and reproduce are maintained. And that is not chance.
7. Finally, in response to your statements that the incredibly unlikely chance that the ribozyme or laminin would spontaneously assemble themselves, given the number of amino acids in these proteins, somehow implies that there is a guiding hand in assembling them, I would echo the previous comment by Reesa. Proteins do not spontaneously form from amino acids. There are hundreds of chaperone proteins and cellular organelles that are responsible for the appropriate synthesis of proteins. You responded to Reesa by saying that the interplay of these factors only decreases the likelihood that the ribozyme and laminin would form by chance, since there are so many factors involved. This only holds true if you have no understanding of the way our DNA provides highly specific instructions for the assembly of proteins. There is no chance involved in the way DNA is transcribed into mRNA, spliced, transported out of the nucleus and into the cytoplasm, translated into a protein made of amino acids, and then folded and modified to form a fully functioning protein. DNA specifies the order of the amino acids and the ways in which they should be modified on their way to becoming a protein. Saying chance is involved in this is like saying that when your boss gives you very specific instructions on how to complete a task, that it is complete chance that dictates whether or not the task is completed properly. If your boss gave you all the steps for a process in no specific order and told you to figure it out, then there would be chance involved in what order you carried out the steps. This is certainly not analogous to the way DNA provides instructions.
8. To address your final comment, I have not said that God does not exist. Your opinion that there is no reason for anything if God does not exist is simply that, opinion. It implies that things only happen because God wants them to and has a reason for them to, but this brings us to a completely separate argument about free will. I have reasons for getting out of bed in the morning, brushing my teeth, and going to school, just like animals have reasons for avoiding predators and migrating to reproduce or find food. What parts of the Bible are real and which ones aren’t isn’t really important… it’s the lessons the Bible teaches about life, morality, and how to treat your fellow man that are important, regardless of the origin of those lessons.
At this point I have spent too much time explaining to you the concepts of natural selection, evolution, probability, and microbiology. Grab some texts from your local library or a reliable source on the internet (meaning not Wikipedia) and then we can continue.
It is not opinion that the Bible should be taken literally. The Bible says that scripture is breathed by God. God is truth, and thus anything breathed by God must be truth. The thought process that a Bible can be written with good “moral” truths is an illogical argument. For example, is it moral for a man to claim he is God, convince many hundreds of people that he is God, and basically condemn them to death when they go out into the world to proclaim it? Christ is the CENTRAL figure in all of the Bible. The Old Testament prophesies His coming, and theNew Testament documents that coming. What moral value can be gained from a liar and a lunatic? Additionally, if the events in the Bible are just “stories” then I would argue that there is as much to be gained from it as a work of fiction. There is no middle ground here. Either the Bible is truth and thus historical accurate, or false and just another work of literature no different than any fiction book you have read. The problem that those Christians that those Christians run into is this…If the Bible is just good moral stories to which they live their lives…then how do they know the Jesus even existed? Who is to say that Jesus wasn’t another “moral” story. Thus calling themselves Christians would have no more value than calling themselves Galtians (after John Galt) or Gandalfians (after Gandalf). I will challenge you as you did at the end of my comments. I claim that the Bible can be proven to be historically accurate. Grab some texts (or read some of my other posts) from your local library or reliable source on the internet. I would recommend a book called “More than a Carpenter”. I however am willing to continue even if you do not do this.
On your second point…For the sake of argument lets say that you are correct. you still haven’t accounted for the second, specific account of creation of woman…specifically from Adam…with a rib. Believe me, I used to believe in evolution creation…but the Bible does not support it. And by believing in something that the Bible does not support you violate the First Commandment by creating a God that does not exist.
My argument stating that there is no reason for anything if God does not exist is simple logic. If God does not exist, there is no logic or reason to the universe. Everything happens by chance, including your own existence. People are fleeting, and nothing is certain. Natural laws of science (gravity, etc…) just…appeared out of nowhere. This is what I mean. You say that you don’t deny a God exists, you just deny that the God of the Bible doesn’t exist.
Looking at point 7, yeah I am not sure what any of that means. But you do mention the instruction of DNA several times. Where did those instructions come from? How is it that DNA always knows how to create a person? Who is the boss of DNA? As a scientist don’t you find it odd that macro evolution has not been able to stand up to the scientific method? Why are there no transitional forms today of monkey’s to humans? Too many questions to be considered science if you ask me. But then again…what do I know?
Anyway…Have a great day. I really appreciate the conversation. If you have questions related to the historicity of the Bible…I am more than will to answer to the best of my ability.
Loved your article on Laminin and responses to the atheists comments
Interesting how this guy (Matt the Molecular scientist) says the universe is infinite,
then you answer him and show him his argument fails and he quickly back tracks to “Scientists dont know if its infinite or finite”
Moving the Goal posts for his theories
it can’t be Finite cause that
would that Null their own Big Bang theory !
God is so amazing and HUGE ,
watch Louie Giglio how great is our God
to see how Puny we are,and especially the foolish arguments Atheists try to put up,are so Lame in comparison to the Creator of the Universe(Known and Unknown)
makes you Laugh !!
Glory be to God
All I can really say about this is one thing. I believe because I have seen in nature and the universe the great wonders that all point to ONE thing: What the Bible says about God is TRUE. Matt seems to be on the right track, he does not deny the existence of God. He is seeking evidence that proves it. The existence of God for me does not need proof. Look into Space at night, all that can be seen did in a sense go “bang” because God spoke light into existence with WORDS from HIS mouth.
“Let there be LIGHT and it was so” the POWER is in the WORD (Bible) from God’s mouth light came out and all the stars. I encourage you to look up the comparison chart for our largest star in our Galaxy it’s called Canis Majoris, sorry may not be spelled correctly. Compare it’s size to the earth it goes like this. Canis would be like 15 feet across in diameter the Earth like a golf ball. It takes 15 Quadrillion golf balls to equal Canis. No imagine that comparison to the rest of our universe there are 10,000 others out there each one different from our little world that we know and cam see. Wrap your mind around that God takes up our universe and the other 9,999 then remember the golf ball then remember that as a human on that golf ball how small, smaller than a speck and then remember how small a laminin molecule is. Tell Matt to wrap his brain around that and tell you or me that he still needs PROOF. I don’t NEED proof. I already know and see and feel inside me that PROOF. The Holy Spirit was present at Creation. What was said when man was created was: “let us create” God The Father, God The Son, God The Holy Spirit where present and created Man and then Women from Man’s rib which explains why man had one less than a women. So many things point back to God there’s more than enough “evidence” who needs PROOF?
Again Matt…I do feel compelled to ask…
What prevents you from believing that the Bible is inerrant?
First, let me say that I was raised in the church. I’m not someone who has no knowledge of the contents of the Bible or of their interpretation.
I don’t deny that the Bible was inspired by God, nor do I deny Christ. I never said that he was an imposter. I said that some of the things in the Bible should not be taken literally.
Unless you believe that God willed the Bible into existence and a copy was just thrown into someone’s hands one day from the sky, then you have to admit that men wrote it. This point is obvious, given the blatant sexism of the Old Testament, along with the varying points of view provided by different gospels. Men are not perfect. They make mistakes and they superimpose their own opinions and bias into everything they produce whether they mean to or not. Which books to keep and which to leave out of the Bible was not even decided until at least 500 years after the death of Christ. And it was decided by men… with motivations and biases of their own.
Additionally, the translation from the ancient Hebrew provides a very different interpretation from the original, considering that translations are not word for word.
I’m compelled to ask, how can you say you used to believe in evolution creation when you clearly do not understand evolution?
Also, do you believe that men have one less rib than women because God removed one to make Eve?
This entire discussion boils down to whether you have blind faith or not. I can’t have a logical argument with you that draws from factual evidence because the only source that you cite is a book written over 1000 years ago. Additionally, you have misinterpreted at least 60 % of my arguments, so I’m not going to repeat myself. I hope you have a great day, but please don’t waste your time responding. I’m unsubscribing from this thread.
There are not interpretations, or opinions or whatever. There is only the Bible.
You say that some of the things should not be taken literally….like creation? You cannot reconcile evolution and the Bible. They are a contradiction to each other. Read Genesis and tell me if it describes evolution or creation.
You are correct that each of the Gospels provide a very unique point of view. But a point of view that is factually correct. Mark, Matthew and Luke is from an earth up perspective. John is from heaven down. But different view points create a fuller picture not a false one.
Sexism? Where is the Bible is there sexism? I see a natural order to marriage and relationships. I see a Godly hierarchy. I see no sexism. If you are referencing the “sexism mentioned in the New Testament, perhaps you should read the verses in context. You will see there is nothing sexist about it.
Yes, God made Eve, by removing a rib from Adam. This is one of the reason’s that evolution and the Bible are at odds. That and the fact the God created Adam in his own image. And God..as you mentioned…is not a microbe.
Believing that the Bible is inerrant is not blind faith. There is more historical evidence to support the Bible than there is to support evolution. The books, were not written 1000 years ago. The oldest Old Testament scripture dates back to 500 BC. The Old Testament that you read today was 95% accurate to that original text. The translation issue you have is simply not accurate. I would like to see your source for this because it is patently false. Please provide an historical event in the Bible and prove it is false.
your statement about the Bible not being decided on until after 500 years after the death of Christ is also completely false. The Old Testament was recognized as scripture during the time of Jesus. The letters of Paul were referenced as scripture by Peter’s letters (this is before 70 AD). Also you must consider the following evidence:
– 1 Clement (96 AD) cited Acts, 1 Corinthians, Phillipians , titus, Hebrews, 1 Peter.
– Polycarp (69 – 155 AD) – referenced Romans, 1 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, 1 Timothy and 1 Peter.
– Papias (60-130 AD) – referenced books from matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
– The Muatorian Canon (dated late second century lists 22 of the 27 NT books.
This shows there was a recognized Bible during the time of Jesus and within 50 years of the death of Christ (perhaps earlier). This is all historical fact.
What you are saying, when you say that the Bible not even decided on until at least 500 years after Christ is just wrong. You might as well say that the battle of bunker hill was the turning point in World War II. It is that wrong. Of course I would encourage you to look this stuff up. As a scientist…wouldn’t you want to know if you were wrong? I am telling you that what you have been told/taught/read is false. Do your own research.
BTW any day where you get to take your kids to Disney on ice and watch them smile for an hour and a half…is a great day. Have a great weekend.
Did you know that there are no other historical documents, in all of history, that are as accurate as the Old Testament and the New Testament?
Interesting discussion guys. With most of these kinds of discussions, words mean things and sometimes they mean different things to different people. Let me take a stab and some of your topics and see if I clear or muddy the waters??? There are SO many topics thrown in here, I don’t know that I can keep my brain on track for all of them . . . but I will try, if possible. And be gentle with me, this is my first post to a blog in my entire lifetime, other than a “like” button – LOL.
1. The topic of taking the Bible literally is a wording that I simply do not understand. I am a committed Christian and try my best to take the Bible “accurately!” Some passages are historical and I believe history happened exactly as it says it did. Many Christians talk about taking the book of Proverbs “literally” as though it were a book of promises, while the title of the book itself describes universal truths that happen and exist most of the time, but are NOT promises. But when the Bible speaks doctrine, it is truth whether I like it or not, and I must change MY thinking to align with it. The KEY to proper Bible interpretation (hermeneutics) is to understand WHAT GOD MEANT when HE took the time to say something.
1a. While you bring up some good points Mark in your discussion on the Bible, here is the bottom line. IF God were wanting to communicate with man, then it does not seem to be implausible that He would inspire men to write what HE wanted. Also, if HE went to all of that trouble to control their hearts and thinking to write down exactly what HE wanted, couldn’t HE also control the compilation and protection of HIS words. I believe so. And to be honest, if we could assemble 12 TRULY objective people as a jury in a court of law, I believe that there is enough objective, historical evidence to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that a.) Jesus was raised from the dead and that b.) He was who He said He was, and that c.) He validated the O.T., while there are d.) vast more reasons to believe the N.T. as inspired. The bottom line is, any objective, rational person will come to the same conclusion. Most people reject the Bible as being inspired, because if they believed it, they would have to respond.
1b. The comment that you made Mark that many “faithful Christians believe that the Bible is a series of parables constructed to teach people how to live their lives” is the one that bothers me the most. Christianity, as defined by the Bible is NOT about how we live our lives, that is a bi-product of being a Christian. Biblical Christianity is about WHAT WE BELIEVE ABOUT JESUS, nothing more, nothing less. If someone reads the Bible and chooses to see it as a few parables and stories that help them make better decisions and live, loving their fellow man better, and that is all . . . they are in NO WAY a Christian from the Bible’s perspective. The Gospel is what makes a person a Christian, not how they act.
2. I agree that there is NO scientific proof of the universe being finite or infinite, so the bottom line there is that it takes as much faith to believe one situation over the other.
3. While the evolutionary discussion is interesting, I am NOT a scientist of any kind, but here is what I know. Evolution – in the term of species adapting and changing DOES exist. Even in my lifetime, Americans have gotten fatter and other changes taken place for a myriad of reasons. However, there is NO scientific evidence or proof that a species has changed into another species. This too, is a matter of “faith.” If you want to say this group of Americans is fatter than the Americans of 100 years ago (I’m not THAT old) and want to describe them as Homo Gigantus, you can, that doesn’t mean they are a different species.
My brain cells are weary after my first blog post. If no one reads this, perhaps this should be my last. LOL
Okay this my second post. What we BELIEVE about GOD is inspired by the Holy Spirit who dwells in us as those who have Come to Believe in what the BIBLE says because we BELIEVE it to be “The Very Word Of God”. As for evidence look at all the places named in the Bible that exist today or the ones that have been discovered, they are all right where the Bible has placed them to be. Look at Nature our Universe, can’t look at any of that and just say “it just happened and what I see is the result of it, because what caused it to happen?” And then say “Who is the what?” For there to be a “cause” someone had to Start it. Besides what would the Mathematical equation and or numbers you would plug into the formula to prove or disprove the EXISTENCE OF GOD. THERE ARE NONE. I tell anyone that they can’t disprove God to me anymore than I really can prove Him. But Who dwells within is all the Proof I Need. Let me prove it by Living the sermon not just preaching it for others to see the Truth then they will SEE the evidence of what I BELIEVE IN. That evidence is “Christ living in me through His Spirit” the very Proof of His Word through divine inspiration the same Who inspired men to Write the Words of God on paper, as we know it THE BIBLE.
I didn’t say anything about sexism in the new testament. Again, I’ve become very tired of repeating myself and correcting your misinterpretations and misquotings. Most men with a limited point of view wouldn’t recognize the blatant sexism in the old testament. Ask a woman how she feels about being told that she shouldn’t speak in church.
Secondly, I like some of your points Pastor Michael, but my name is Matt, not Mark.
Lastly, and to both of you, I rely on factual arguments from real theologians, not just my opinions. I do like to know when I’m wrong, but its easier for me to figure out when I am because I don’t base my understanding of things on blind faith. By the way, kcbob, research means reading peer-reviewed and critiqued articles, not other people’s opinions on Wikipedia or other forums. You should both check out this article:
Also, Americans getting fatter isn’t evolution, it is the result of changes to our culture. You can’t see the results of evolution over your own lifetime… As I said before it takes thousands and millions of years. That is why you don’t see species evolving around you or any drastic examples in our history — our written history isnt long enough. Fossil evidence, on the other hand, does show these changes… There are multiple examples in which a fossil of a species resembles a fossil of a species that became extinct before it as well as a fossil of a species that became extinct after it. But the fossils from before and after don’t resemble each other… This shows the slow change that defines evolution. If you observe sequential developments in a species over short periods of time, then yes, it looks like there are only small changes, but the same doesn’t hold true if you look over a long period of time and take out the middle steps. I don’t know how to explain this more simply.
Matt…good to see you again.
Before I say anything else can I ask you a question? What evidence (peer reviewed) can I offer to you to show you the historicity of the New Testament? What would you need to see that the events documented are 100% accurate? Please let me know. I will work to find you what you need. Of course I have written many posts in regards to this topic, all of it based on research from text books, peer reviewed articles and the like.
First to clear up some confusion. Here is your quote on sexism from your previous comment in context:
You are correct. Your comment mentioned the OT. However, my response was an “if” statement. I included this because charges of sexism from atheists and agnostics normally point to the NT and specifically the Corinthian letters. It is clear (from your new comments) that your sexism issue does fit that scenerio. Again, I would urge you to read the actual text form the Bible in its context (intent of the letter, time frame it was written), and not take someone else’s word for it. I would suggest that you would see (in both the OT and NT) that God presents a natural order for the family and by extension the church.
Second… Matt, I am a little perplexed. You condemn me for using non-peer reviewed, non critiqued articles, that are other people’s opinion on wikipedia or other forums (The information I cited came from a text book). Then you create a link for me to read that points at a non-peer reviewed, non-critiqued article based on someone’s opinion that could have used Wikipedia…for all I know. The huffington post is a blog… that is non peer reviewed or critiqued. The only conclusion I can draw from this is that this is a joke, and you are not serious about the topic at hand, or this was a major oversight on your part as I would hope that you wouldn’t intentionally chide me for one thing, and do the exact same thing you chide me for within the same sentence. (BTW I have intentionally broken the link as No Apologizing will not endorse virtually anything that comes from the huffington post).
Matt, in all sincerity…have you read any books or posts or anything that supports and provides factual evidence of authorship of the NT? I am getting the distinct feeling here that your research is one sided. Which is contrary to what science should be…if I am not mistaken.
In regards to evolution, can you please…provide for my readers an example of the following:
Thanks in advance.
You either believe in ALL of the Bible or none at all. You can’t just pick and choose parts of the Bible that isn’t right. Oh, and I’m a Christian and i DO believe in the Trinity. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Believing in the Book that was written a few years after the events happened, as most of the books in the Bible were, that is faith. Believing in the textbooks written by contemporaries about what happened , as you said, “thousands and millions of years ago”, THAT is “blind faith”.
I praise God for His indescribable majesty and power. His words changed my life 3 years ago. Those textbooks I read for 3 decades just messed me up.
I dare you to read the whole Bible, for no reason, just read it. If you have read several textbooks about science, you will have no problem reading it. It is actually worth it.
God loves you Matt. (John 3:16)
May God bless you.
Finally! A normal, adult conversation in a forum. Though not everybody agrees with every point, I am glad to see that nobody is throwing out insults, or name calling, or common issues that are in other forum posts. I enjoyed this thread because everyone spoke in grammatically correct sentences and they just stated their points. There was no bashing of someone’s ideas or opinions. Like I said, one didn’t necessarily agree with another one’s points, but there was no bashing.
I know there are many people who have issues with “sexism” in the Bible. I know it can seem like it is with women who are harlots and prostitutes, and men who are unclean if they’ve been with certain “evil” or “unclean” women, but like kcbob said, reading the context and knowing the culture and the times will help clear up a lot of confusion.
I enjoyed reading this blog. First, I am an engineer that was raised as a christian missionary. I strayed away from my faith during my college days intrigued by science. I think Pastor Mike cleared up a lot of the issues at hand. I would like to touch on the evolution versus creation topic. As a scientist I can not disregard evolution there are fossils and evidence of the changes that have occurred on earth. The probabilities seem small but the universe is large so all of it can be fully accepted through the eyes of logic. One issue with the evolution is that it does not give purpose but Christianity beyond believing in Jesus does not give purpose either. Why would God care to create a universe in the first place? What came before God? Although I suppose that God is eternity in it’s self and that second question is muted by the realization that I can not understand things without time. My point is that if God is all powerful He could have created a world with perfect evidence of evolution. Therefore both could be true but if you are christian you must believe that God created evolution in a state at a particular point with a particular history along with the rest of the universe.
Hi Mark! Thanks for coming by. I wanted to point you to one of our earlier posts that shows how flimsy the fossil evidence is for evolution. It is cited to make it somewhat scholarly. But at the very least, you can see where we get our information.
I take the position that evolution and God cannot coexist. If you believe that the Bible is inerrant…then you must believe in creation.
Mark it would appear (based on your first two sentences) that your god has become science as opposed to the God of the Bible. The unfortunate thing is that the science that you worship (evolution) is more flimsy than the evidence for God. There is nothing proven about evolution. It is not fact. The transitional forms…or evidence of them…don’t exist. They have been proven to be hoax’s. Don’t take my word for it though. Read my post above. The evidence against evolution is very powerful.
Spencer, I also enjoy being able to discuss differences in a considerate and healthy “adult” forum.
Mark, good post. Two things I do want to comment on. Your comment – “One issue with the evolution is that it does not give purpose but Christianity beyond believing in Jesus does not give purpose either. Why would God care to create a universe in the first place?” Let me make two points, first, Christianity DOES give purpose, in fact, I would suggest that it IS what GIVES purpose to my life. Understanding Christianity and the place that I hold in God’s kingdom and His purpose for my life gives me a reason to get up in the morning, a reason to do the things that I do, and it gives meaning to every single area of my life. The second is your question, “Why would God care to create a universe in the first place?” While I do not have a Biblical answer for this (God doesn’t answer all questions), I think I got some insight into this question when I became a father. It was pretty cool when my daughter began to talk and I could tell her to say, “I love you, daddy,” and she did it. But the REALLY COOL thing was when she got old enough to CHOOSE to say that all on her own. Her choice to love me and express that did something to my heart that I previously could not comprehend. I remember thinking at that moment, THAT’S why God created the universe AND why he gave us the choice to love Him or reject Him. It just may warm God’s heart when people whom He created, CHOOSE by their own will to love Him . . . . just a thought.
Thanks Pastor Micheal I have a lot to learn about love and I can not understand everything. I will look forward to having the opportunity to discover that feeling for myself. I understand your point about how Christianity gives you life purpose and I feel that way now as well. I just want the answers that I will have to wait until the next life for now. As for your comment Robert I don’t mind if you judge me but if you could do it a little less frankly maybe I wouldn’t feel like disregarding your comments so quickly. I believe that God created the evidence of evolution when he created the world. Your right in saying that the evidence is not perfect but we would have trouble proving the sun was real if we need perfect evidence. Besides the mere reason to belief in the Christ is given off of authority not hard facts and evidence something I had much more trouble with. Keep in mind that I never claimed to believe in evolution I believe in creation but a creation that gives a history. The bible doesn’t say that God created a new born Adam. I feel that he did not have to create a new born earth either. He gave the earth stratification which shows the history of the earth to up to 4 billion years. Although from the Bible the age of the earth would be somewhere around 14 thousand years old (just off of memory a little less I think). There is a vast amount of details that seem to be correct that disagree with a biblical time line. Shall I throw my hands in the error and start claiming that the whole scientific community is wrong. I feel that God is all powerful and capable of anything even creating a history to give biological reasons why we are who we are. It is my choice and there is nothing I have found in the Bible that completely upsets any of this thought. The short biblical time line gives no opportunity for man to have ever been a monkey.
Just my thought.
Mark, my apologies for being so direct. Please know that I do not disregard yours or anyone’s comments to our blog and I am very pleased that you enjoy what Kevin, and myself have to offer.
You are right that God did not create a new born Adam. Adam, according to the Bible, was created from the dust. However, the contradiction between evolution, and the Bible comes with the creation of Eve. Eve, according to the Bible was created from Adam. This is not possible through evolution. Additionally, the Bible says that all animals create after their own kind. Again, this is a blatant contradiction to the Bible.
To be clear, and this will be direct, the evidence for evolution (macro that is) does not exist. I cannot afford to say that it is not perfect because that would imply that some of it is valid. I would argue that none of it is. The main “discoveries” that science touts for evolution have been proven to be a fraud or a forgery. I submit the following:
Java Man – Fraud/forgery
Piltdown Man – fraud/forgery
Neanderthal Man – Normal man with Rickets
Nebraska Man – Fraud/forgery
Dinobird – Fraud/forgery
It is a theory, which has not been and cannot be proven. Creation on the other hand (I believe) is proven every time a baby is born, or an animal is born because it bears the truth of the Bible as it states it. Women are born with one more Rib than man, and animals always create after their own kind. I am willing to concede an old earth timeline, and in fact many Christians do believe in an old earth timeline. I don’t believe that their belief (or yours) in an old earth contradict the Bible, but is a matter of interpretation. However, those same Christians should (and most do) deny evolution for the creation of Man. That is not to say that God is not capable of doing it, but the Bible says He did not.
Please know that I appreciate your honesty and your candor and that you take the time to comment on my blog. Please forgive my aggressiveness. I hope we can continue this conversation.
waaaaaaaaaw waaaaw waw in the world …God is good.
I know I’m coming in late, but wanted to add something.
The Bible says that the fall bought death into the world and Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross was because of the fall, right? If we were to believe in directed evoloution we can not believe in the fall – because people/ animals were already dying – if we don’t believe in the fall then Jesus didn’t die on the cross for our sins, making Him a liar. What’s left in tact in the Bible? Creation gone, the fall gone, salvation gone.
Either God did what He said He did and Jesus was who He says He was or everything is a fraud. You can’t pick and choose on this issue. Yeah, we can debate all day on whether some events are actual or parable but this one you can not.
As for asking women what they think about being told to be quiet in church, nope, no problem there! If he was saying no woman should speak in any church ever I might do, but he didn’t. He also didn’t say that all women should have their head covered in church. Paul was quite a radical feminist for his day!
Claire, I couldn’t agree with you more.
I have a question for you…What was the point to all this anyway? Not the topics on here…but to the creation of anything and everything. What was God trying to accomplish or do in creating humans in the first place?
Excellent question. I mean seriously….this is the God of the universe, creator of all things. Why would He need a rebellious creation that would much rather believe in pink dragons than in Him? Paul nailed this one while talking in Athens…”The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything.” So…indeed the question…Why? Because of love. To allow something to enjoy His creation. To allow us to enjoy Him. You see, God loves us with an everlasting love. He knew us before we were born.
To put it in a different context. Why do married couples have a child? Love! Think of all of the things parents of children get to enjoy that those who choose not to have children do not get to enjoy! I have three children, and always wanted to have children. I knew at some point that I would, and I loved my kids before they were born. So…(Once I found a girl to marry) we had those children. Even though they are rebellious and I knew they would be, I wanted them anyway. I love them and I get to enjoy them.
This is a very simple answer to a very complex question, but it is the best I can think of off the top of my head.
I am just going to say, for now, that you have been the first person to actually, 1. take the time to answer my thoughts, and 2. to give me an example that actually makes sense….I appreciate that…I will ponder your response deeply =)
What I have seen here is a failure to mention the fact that if Christ was crucified on a “T” , then how was a sign placed ABOVE his head with no room to put a sign ? Witnesses were there at the time when Jesus was put on a CROSS , to give history a perfect and clear picture of that very event .
Jeremiah 33:3 says … ” CALL UNTO ME , AND I WILL SHOW YOU GREAT AND MIGHTY THINGS WHICH YOU KNOW NOT ” .
Actually @Ben mentioned the need for space for the “sign”. See here…
Ben March 5, 2011 at 3:12 pm
The cross shape as opposed to the T-shape is nearly insignificant at this point in the equation, in that God would have foreknown that the discovery of Laminin and it’s structure wouldn’t be discovered until the common symbol for Christs’ death by crucifixion would be the cross symbol as we know it. Either way it is still historically possible that He was crucified on the cross shape we know as well, and depending on how much His body hung downward, it may have been necessary to form a cross for Christ as we know it in order to post the sign above His head as described by the scriptures.
Here is some further background on the crosses used in crucifixion:
The Greek word for “cross,” stauros, literally refers to an upright, pointed stake or pale. The word xylon is usually “wood” or “tree.” In the NT and in some other literature of the time both frequently refer to a particularly cruel and degrading form of capital punishment known as crucifixion. In both canonical and later Christian literature “cross” and “crucifixion” take on a particularly important significance because of their connection with the death of Jesus and his expectations of his disciples. Any understanding of crucifixion in the ancient world must include the facts related to the act itself, its effect upon the victim, and the sociocultural implications attached to it.
Method of Crucifixion
Crucifixion involved elevating the condemned upon a pole, some form of frame or scaffolding, or a natural tree, thus exposing him to public view and derision. In many cases the individual was put to death through some other means and all or a part of the body (usually the head) then elevated. In other circumstances it became the actual means of execution. Because of both the effect of crucifixion upon the body and the lengthy period which usually elapsed before death, it represented the most painful, cruel, and barbaric form of execution. Its roots are lost in history. In one form or another it is known to have been practiced by many groups (such as the Indians, Scythians, Celts, Germani, Britanni, and Taurians) but is most closely associated with the Persians, Carthaginians, Phoenicians, Greeks, and especially the Romans. Some evidence suggests that it may have been associated with religious human sacrifice as well as a means of punishment.
Earlier forms probably involved impaling the condemned on a single pole or suspending him by wedging the head between a “Y” at one end of the implement. By NT times there seem to have been several different forms of “crosses” commonly used by the Romans. In addition to the single pole (crux simplex), most involved the use of at least two separate pieces of wood to construct a frame. However, crucifixion gave executioners opportunity to use their most cruel and sadistic creativity; victims were occasionally hung in grotesque positions by a variety of means. The two cross forms most likely used for the execution of Jesus are the St. Anthony’s cross (crux commissa), shaped like a “T,” or the Latin cross (crux immissa), on which the vertical piece rises above both the horizontal cross-bar (patibulum) and the head of the victim; the statement in Matt. 27:37 (cf. Luke 23:38) that the inscription was placed “over his head” and most ancient tradition favor the latter.
Detailed descriptions of crucifixion are few; writers seem to have avoided the subject. Recent archaeological discoveries, including skeletal remains of a crucifixion in first century Palestine (at Giv’at ha-Mivtar in Jerusalem), have added considerably to knowledge of the act. It seems that the Gospel accounts of the death of Jesus describe a standard Roman procedure for crucifixion. After the pronouncement of sentence, the condemned was required to carry the horizontal piece to the place of execution, always outside the city. The leader of the four-man execution squad led the procession bearing a sign detailing the reason for the execution. There the victim was flogged (this seems to have preceded condemnation in the case of Jesus, possibly to elicit sympathy). The victim’s outstretched arms were affixed to the cross-bar by either nails or ropes. This was then raised and secured to the perpendicular pole (which in some areas may have been left in place permanently, both for convenience and as a warning). A small board or peg may have been provided as sort of a seat to bear some of the weight of the condemned (this actually may have prolonged suffering by prohibiting suffocation). The feet were then secured in a manner forcing the knees into a bent position. Contrary to popular contemporary opinion, crosses were not high; the feet were probably only a few inches above the ground. The sign describing the accusation was secured to the cross.
Death usually came slowly; it was not unusual for persons to survive for days on the cross. Exposure, disease, hunger, shock, and exhaustion were the usual immediate causes of death. Occasionally death was “mercifully” hastened by breaking the legs of the condemned. In Jesus’ case death came much more swiftly than usual. A spear was thrust into his side to assure he was really dead before the body was removed (John 19:31-37). Bodies of the crucified were often left unburied and eaten by carnivorous birds and beasts, thus adding to the disgrace.
The social stigma and disgrace associated with crucifixion in the ancient world can hardly be overstated. It was usually reserved for slaves, criminals of the worst sort from the lowest levels of society, military deserters, and especially traitors. In only rare cases were Roman citizens, no matter what their crime, crucified. Among the Jews it carried an additional stigma. Deut. 21:23, “A hanged man is accursed by God,” was understood to mean that the very method of death brought a divine curse upon the crucified. Thus, the idea of a crucified Messiah posed a special problem for such Jews as Paul (cf. Gal. 3:13; 1 Cor. 1:27-29).
Significance of the Cross
NT writers assume the historicity of the crucifixion of Jesus and focus their attention upon its significance. In it they understand that he, “who was in the form of God, did not consider equality with God a thing to be grasped at,” was willing to “humble himself,” take “on the form of a servant,” and endure “even the death on the cross” (Phil. 2:6-8). This demonstrates the ultimate of humiliation and degradation. Yet, they affirm, the crucifixion of Jesus, the Messiah (Christ), was the will and act of God with eternal and cosmic significance. At the simplest level, the crucifixion of Jesus was the means by which God provided salvation, the forgiveness of sins (cf. 1 Cor. 15:3). Christ crucified becomes the summary of the Christian message (1 Cor. 2:2). The cross of Jesus, the beloved Son of God, is the supreme demonstration of the love God has for sinful man (cf. John 3:16; 15:16). In Jesus’ death God deals concretely with the sin and guilt which offends his holiness and separates man from his Creator. Because of the cross God becomes both the righteous and just Judge and, at the same time, the one who makes forgiveness available and justifies believers (cf. Rom. 3:26). The condemning legal demands set against man have been “canceled,” nailed to the cross (Col. 2:14). The word of the cross is God’s word of reconciliation (II Cor. 5:19).
The cross is also the symbol of discipleship. To first century Palestinians, who often witnessed the condemned carrying the crossbar to the site of their final torture, Jesus’ word, “If any man will come after me, let him take up his cross and follow me” (Mark 8:34; cf. Matt. 10:38; Luke 14:27), must have come with a jolting, graphic impact. Jesus insists that the humiliation and suffering that culminated in his crucifixion were to characterize the experience of his followers. “It is,” he says, “for the disciple to be like his teacher” (Matt. 10:24). Crucifixion becomes a part of the identification between Christ and the believer who is “crucified with Christ” (Gal. 2:20). The negative side of the characteristics of the new life of the Christian consists in having “crucified” sinful natures and desires (Gal. 5:24).
When understood in its historical, social context, Paul’s statement that the proclamation of Christ crucified is a “stumbling block” or “scandal” (skandalon) to the Jews and “foolishness” (moria) to the Gentiles is both logical and clear. Yet for Christians it remains an act and demonstration “of the power and wisdom of God” (1 Cor. 1:23-24).
J J Scott, Jr. (Evangelical Dictionary of Theology – Elwell)
Bibliography – B. Siede et al., NIDNTT, I, 389-405; J. F. Strange, IDB Supplement, 199-200; M. Hengel, Crucifixion.
Lets face it, Laminin is a great ILLUSTRATION. It is not the Bible, but it is a way that we can point to God’s truth through the truth of His created world. The cross Jesus hung on was not made of laminin. But the life of Christ, the promise of forgiveness that the history revealed in the Bible answers all of life’s big questions of who am I, why am I here and where am I going (that is the big question we ask deep down, “what’s the purpose of all this?”) Personhood matters because God is a Person and He dwelled with us as a person. Guilt is real and can be taken away via the cross. Love is real and the desire to be in a good place like heaven is answered in the resurrection. The cross holds the world and my worldview. I am a pastor and I see families falling apart, marriages falling apart, and lives falling apart. But, I have seen the power of Christ bring these things together like no prescription, therapy, or government program can. So Laminin is a great way to illustrate that Christ holds it all together when you have Him in you.
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