God is NOT Dead (pt. 2)

In a previous article entitled “God is Dead,” I pointed out how the church is in decline in North America, and all but dead in Europe. People often get upset whenever numbers are presented about the decline of religion in our country.

I ended the article with an allusion to the title stating: “The church is not God.”

I also said that the decline in religion, or church attendance is good news. Not only is it good news, it is something that God is happy about, because He is causing it.

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God is DEAD

The April 8, 1966, cover of Time magazine was the first cover in the magazine’s history to feature only type, and no photo.[4] The cover – with the traditional, red border – was all black, with the words “Is God Dead?” in large, red text. The question was a reference to Friedrich Nietzsche‘s much-quoted postulate “God is dead” (German: “Gott ist tot“),[5] which he first proposed in his 1882 book The Gay Science.
(quoted from Wikipedia)

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Does God Exist?

The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.”

Discovery Channel is running a summer series entitled “Curiosity.” It is a forum for celebrity types to discuss their views on something about which they are curious. The initial program aired August 7, 2011 featuring famed physicist, Stephen Hawking asking, “Does God Exist?”

Anyone who recognizes Hawking’s name knows where he stands on the question. “Curiosity” gave him a television opportunity to discuss his views and why he holds them.

I watched the program with great curiosity to see how he would or could encapsulate a lifetime of work into a one-hour tv program. The program was designed (as are most) to reach a general audience whose education level was at least the eighth grade. The biggest and most difficult word used was “infinitesimally,” which goes quite beyond the average eighth-grade level of understanding.

He followed a logical course of continually asking, “Where, then, did that originate?” as he took us back through time to the beginning. That is ultimately the question that thinkers seek to answer. Those who follow a religious path answer with “God.” Those who do not believe in God answer with the current scientific explanation, “Big Bang.”

Hawking’s explanation of how the Big Bang occurred leaves much to be desired. His logical progressions are filled with major assumptions. This master of quantum physics made quantum leaps in logic that left me wondering if he had ever studied even the rudiments of logic.

His premise is that “laws can be understood by the human mind, and these laws tell us whether we need a god.”

The beginning of his presentation was a masterful deception designed to equate himself with other great scientists such as Aristarchus and Galileo. By association, he used his victim status of being persecuted by the church for his views as similar to the persecution of Galileo. It follows that since the church persecuted Galileo and he was later proven to be correct, then since the church has persecuted me, I must be correct. Subtle. Effective.

It appears that he has taken his great mind to argue against very weak religious views. Before he begins presenting his major assumptions, he makes one subtle assumption about God’s purpose. After his premise statement, his argument is that God’s purpose is only to set and reset natural law, but natural laws are universal and need no governance. Therefore, God is not necessary.

When he discusses black holes, we are led through a series of major assumptions that are posed as facts, but only after presenting some commonly known “facts” about black holes. Black holes are the result of extremely massive stars imploding upon themselves. (We have accepted that as fact, though no one has ever seen a star implode.) Nothing exists within black holes. (Though no one has ever gone into one to see. Just because we cannot see something, does not mean it doesn’t exist.) Time ceases within a black hole. (That has got to be a major assumption.)

We know, understand, and accept that scientific advances are made because of theories and propositions. No problem. But, please do not attempt to present a theory as a fact.

He states that it only takes three things to make a universe: matter, energy and space. Then Hawking brings in Einstein’s E=Mc², to show that only two ingredients are necessary: space and energy.

And, following the reasoning, he asks once again, “Where did space and energy come from?”

We now know that space and energy were created by the Big Bang.”

Really? We know that? How? Were you there?

No, sir. You might theorize, postulate, propose, or assume that; but you do not KNOW that.

Hawking then follows with yet another assumption: “We know the universe was incredibly small.” This assumption is that the universe has always existed, which is similar to Carl Sagan’s assumptive statement: “The cosmos is all there is, all there ever was, and all that ever will be.”

Returning to the black holes, he states that these phenomena reveal “how the universe created itself.”

(In 1976, Hawking demonstrated under the rules of quantum physics that black holes begin to evaporate away taking all their information with them. But now, according to his latest revision (2004), Hawking argues that eventually some of the information about the black hole can be determined from what it emits.)

I realize that most of what I have presented so far can be reasonably argued against, expecially by those who have more knowledge and experience with these aspects of science. However, there was one glaring fallacy presented that even the weakest of minds could grasp.

In his initial explanation of black holes, Hawking stated that they were “massive” having come from massive stars much larger than our sun. Then, as he traced our knowledge backward to the beginning of time, and asked the question of where it all began, he boldly declared, “an infinitesimally small black hole.” The obvious contradiction should be more than most people can tolerate.

Mr. Hawking concluded, “We now know where the universe came from, and we are quite pleased with ourselves for having obtained this knowledge.”

God’s Home

Revelation 21:3-4  And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying: “Look! The residence of God is among human beings. He will live among them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them.

Yesterday (or two days ago if you are on the other side of the date line) millions of Christians heard something along the lines of, “Isn’t it wonderful to be in the house of the Lord?” And many of those same millions know–at least intellectually–the statement is untrue.

It is those kinds of things that we do and say out of habit that continue to perpetrate incorrect thoughts to the Body of Christ. It is those incorrect thoughts that help to weaken us in our pursuit of the Lord.

We know, and say a hearty Amen! when the truth of God’s temple is taught. Yet, we continue to use language that goes against the assimilation of that truth into the core of our being. Why?

Are we not willing to bring a conscious awareness to our speech? The tongue is a small yet strong member, according to James 3:5. It is difficult to control. Some would say even impossible to control. But, we should not buy into that negative thinking. We should try to make controlling the tongue of primary importance.

Am I making a mountain out of a molehill? Don’t we all know that when the preacher or worship leader asks if it’s good to be in the house of God, that we mentally make the transition to correct thinking? No, because if we did, then we would all shout out, “NO! It is good that the house of God is among us!”

The building that we call church is neither a church nor God’s house.

We are God’s temple. The other translations render this verse with the words residence, tabernacle, dwelling, and dwelling place. We are God’s house.

While there are other verses that teach the individual aspect of being the Lord’s temple, this verse specifically teaches that it is the corporate expression of the Body of Christ where God chooses to dwell.

I get the sense that the Lord is speaking to the Church in this hour about this aspect of our life together. Everywhere I read, as I listen to others, I hear about the corporate expression, community, or koinonia. It is the current emphasis of the Holy Spirit.

Do you sense the same importance? Why is this word coming now?

Sin is NOT The Problem

1 John 1:9    But if we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous, forgiving us our sins and cleansing us from all unrighteousness. (NET)

Sin seems to be a problem for most Christians.

Now that I have overstated the obvious, let’s look a little more deeply into the apostle’s teaching about sin.

John’s epistle is sort of circular in that he returns more than once to a particular thought or theme. His two main emphases are sin and love, both of which he discusses from various aspects more than once.

Many evangelical Christians claim to be “a sinner saved by grace.” Their focus is on their sin. Their testimony is about their sin. Their prayer request is for strength to stand strong against sin. They will remind anyone who will listen that we all sin on a regular basis.

That’s too bad. It certainly is not my experience.

2 Corinthians 5:17 says that I am a new creature. The old creature was a sinner. The new creature is a saint.

1 John 2:1 says that he wrote those things so that I might not sin. John thought it possible to not sin.

Are you sinning this very moment? Probably not. What about the next moment? Can you not sin for the next five minutes? If so, then why not for the next 10? 30? An hour? A day? Will you stretch with me for a week? A month?

If it is possible for one minute to not sin, then it is possible for more than one minute. Take the focus off sin and put it on grace and love.

BUT…if you DO fail…confess, and the Lord cleanses from all unrighteousness. (1 John. 1:9)

BUT…if you DO fail…we have an advocate with the Father who will plead our case and cause (1 John 2:1).

Just because John wrote, “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8), does not mean that we must continually say that we have sin.

We should confess our sin and move on, never to mention it again, but totally trusting in the cleansing blood of Jesus and testifying to His love and forgiveness.

It’s So Easy!!

Galatians 5:16       But I say, live by the Spirit and you will not carry out the desires of the flesh.

Here we have the formula for success in the Christian life and walk: Live by the Spirit and you won’t fulfill the desires of the flesh.

Nothing could be more simply stated than this; yet the struggles to not sin in the Christian life are tremendous–and for some, seemingly insurmountable.

The problem is that too many of us spend our time trying to NOT sin. This will only yield weak and temporary results at best. Following this method usually ends as an exercise in futility.

One of the main reasons this occurs is called the Law of Focus: what you focus on is what you get.

When you go on a diet, and you decide (for instance) that you will not eat banana splits anymore, it seems that the opportunity for a banana split is everywhere more accessible than ever. Just like when you buy a new car–all of a sudden, you see the same car on the highway in numbers you had never noticed before. It’s the Law of Focus. You will eventually cave in and eat that banana split you were so determined to avoid.

Safety courses in driving teach the same thing, especially when in dangerous situations. Do not look at the thing you want to avoid, because you will most likely hit it. Look, rather at where you want to go. (Does that not remind you of Hebrews 12:2—Looking unto Jesus?)

The exact same thing is true with sin–whatever its particular appearance may be in our life. Trying to not sin, to avoid committing that particular sin, almost always ends in failure at some point. Then we must throw ourselves on the mercy of God yet again.

Thank God for His mercy. Without it, we would all be totally lost and undone without remedy.

But, there is a better way. And Paul tells us what it is in this verse from Galatians.

Utilizing the Law of Focus, let us decide to live by the Spirit. Make that your ambition, your matter of prayer for help in time of need.

The one whose focus is on living in, with, by, through, and for the Spirit will find himself doing the will of God more easily and readily than the one who is trying to avoid offending the Lord.

Ephesians 5:10 tells us that we should be trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord–not trying to learn what offends Him.

If you can see this Law of Focus as it applies to pleasing the Lord, and begin to apply it on a moment-by-moment basis, your life will change dramatically for the better.

Try it. You’ll like it.

Only Of God

2 Corinthians 1:21-22   But it is God who establishes us together with you in Christ and who anointed us,

It is God….

Let us never get away from that fact of our existence, our life, our daily activities…whatever: It Is GOD.

Apart from Him we can do nothing.

In Him, I can do all things.

It is not of our strength, intelligence, looks, gender, status, wealth, health, or any other thing that we get anything accomplished.

It is all of God.

I am established by God.

I am anointed by God.

I am joined with you by God.

You are established by God.

You are anointed by God.

You are joined with me by God.