Archives For Apologetics

The following was shared today by a friend on FB. He cited  www.guadaluperadio.com as its source. If you do not know Spanish, see the translation below (I used GoogleTranslate and Spanishdict.com to do the initial translation and then I tried to smooth it out as best as I could). This is a tremendous analogy!

En el vientre de una mujer embarazada se encontraban dos bebés. Uno pregunta al otro:

 – ¿Tú crees en la vida después del parto?

 – Claro que sí. Algo debe existir después del parto. Tal vez estemos aquí porque necesitamos prepararnos para lo que seremos más tarde.

 – ¡Tonterías! No hay vida después del parto. ¿Cómo sería esa vida?

 – No lo sé pero seguramente… habrá más luz que aquí. Tal vez caminemos con nuestros propios pies y nos alimentemos por la boca.

 – ¡Eso es absurdo! Caminar es imposible. ¿Y comer por la boca? ¡Eso es ridículo! El cordón umbilical es por donde nos alimentamos. Yo te digo una cosa: la vida después del parto está excluida. El cordón umbilical es demasiado corto.

 – Pues yo creo que debe haber algo. Y tal vez sea distinto a lo que estamos acostumbrados a tener aquí.

 – Pero nadie ha vuelto nunca del más allá, después del parto. El parto es el final de la vida. Y a fin de cuentas, la vida no es más que una angustiosa existencia en la oscuridad que no lleva a nada.

 – Bueno, yo no sé exactamente cómo será después del parto, pero seguro que veremos a mamá y ella nos cuidará.

 – ¿Mamá? ¿Tú crees en mamá? ¿Y dónde crees tú que está ella ahora?

 – ¿Dónde? ¡En todo nuestro alrededor! En ella y a través de ella es como vivimos. Sin ella todo este mundo no existiría.

 – ¡Pues yo no me lo creo! Nunca he visto a mamá, por lo tanto, es lógico que no exista.

 – Bueno, pero a veces, cuando estamos en silencio, tú puedes oírla cantando o sentir cómo acaricia nuestro mundo. ¿Sabes?… Yo pienso que hay una vida real que nos espera y que ahora solamente estamos preparándonos para ella…’

English translation from GoogleTranslate and Spanishdict.com, which I have attempted to smooth out:

In the belly of a pregnant woman were two babies. One asks the other, “Do you believe in life after birth?”

“Of course. Something must exist after delivery. Maybe, we’re here because we need to prepare for what will be later.”

“Nonsense! There is no life after birth. What would that life be?”

“I do not know but surely … there will be more light than here. Maybe we will walk on our own feet and nourish ourselves through our mouths.”

“This is absurd! Walking is impossible. And eating by mouth? That is ridiculous! The umbilical cord is where we eat. I tell you one thing: life after delivery is excluded. The umbilical cord is too short.”

“Well, I think there must be something. And maybe it’s different from what we are used to here.”

“But no one has ever returned from beyond postpartum. Delivery is the end of life. And, after all, life is but a harrowing existence in the darkness that leads nowhere.”

“Well, I do not know exactly how it will be after delivery, but I’m sure we’ll see our mom, and she will take care of us.”

“Mom? Do you believe in mom? And, where do you think she is now?”

“Where? All around us! We are in her and through her is how we live. Without her, the whole world would not exist.”

“Well, I do not think so! I’ve never seen mommy, therefore, it is logical that she does not exist.”

“Well, but sometimes when we are silent, you can hear her singing or feel her caressing our world. Do you know? … I think there is a real life that awaits us and only now we are preparing for it … “

First Samuel 28:6 says that Saul did inquire of the Lord, but 1 Chronicles 10:14 says that he did not:

1Sa 28:6 And when Saul enquired of the LORD, the LORD answered him not, neither by dreams, nor by Urim, nor by prophets.

1Ch 10:13 ¶ So Saul died for his transgression which he committed against the LORD, even against the word of the LORD, which he kept not, and also for asking counsel of one that had a familiar spirit, to enquire of it; 14 And enquired not of the LORD: therefore he slew him, and turned the kingdom unto David the son of Jesse.

How should we understand these seemingly contradictory statements?

John W. Haley argues,

It is sufficient to notice that two different Hebrew words [שָׁאוּל֙  vs. דָרַ֥שׁ ] of diverse meaning are employed here. Or, it may be correctly remarked that Saul’s attempts at inquiry were of so unworthy a nature that it would be an abuse of language to speak of him as really “inquiring of Jehovah.” (Alleged Discrepancies of the Bible, 360)

Matthew Henry comments on 1 Samuel 28:6,

In this distress Saul enquired of the Lord, v. 6. Need drives those to God who in the day of their prosperity slighted his oracles and altars. Lord, in trouble have they visited thee, Isa. 26:16. Did ever any seek the Lord and not find him? Yes, Saul did; the Lord answered him not, took no notice either of his petitions or of his enquiries; gave him no directions what to do, nor any encouragement to hope that he would be with him. Should he be enquired of at all by such a one as Saul? Eze. 14:3. No, he could not expect an answer of peace, for, 1. He enquired in such a manner that it was as if he had not enquired at all. Therefore it is said (1 Chr. 10:14), He enquired not of the Lord; for he did it faintly and coldly, and with a secret design, if God did not answer him, to consult the devil. He did not enquire in faith, but with a double unstable mind. 2. He enquired of the Lord when it was too late, when the days of his probation were over and he was finally rejected. Seek the Lord while he may be found, for there is a time when he will not be found. 3. He had forfeited the benefit of all the methods of enquiry. Could he that hated and persecuted Samuel and David, who were both prophets, expect to be answered by prophets? Could he that had slain the high priest, expect to be answered by Urim? Or could he that had sinned away the Spirit of grace, expect to be answered by dreams? No. Be not deceived, God is not mocked. (Commentary on the Whole Bible, 431; bold is in italics in original)

On 1 Chronicles 10:14, he remarks,

It is said (1 Sa. 28:6) that Saul did enquire of the Lord and he answered him not: but here it is said, Saul did not enquire of God; for he did not till he was brought to the last extremity, and then it was too late. (Ibid., 567; bold is in italics in original)

Robert Jamieson comments on the words and enquired not of the Lord in 1 Chronicles 10:14,

He had done so in form (1 Sam. xxviii. 6), but not in the spirit of a humble penitent, nor with the believing confidence of a sincere worshipper. His enquiry was, in fact, a mere mockery, and his total want of all right religious impressions was manifested by his rushing from God to a wretched impostor in the service of the devil. (JFB, 1:475).

These sources provide satisfactory explanations that resolve the apparent contradiction between 1 Samuel 28:6 and 1 Chronicles 10:14.

These passages should warn us about inquiring of God in a manner, in a way, or at a point in time such that He would regard our doing so as our not inquiring of Him at all.

“Let’s take the more than 500 witnesses who saw Jesus alive after His death and burial and place them in a courtroom. Do you realize that if each of these 500 people were to testify only six minutes each, including cross-examination, you would have an amazing 50 hours of firsthand eyewitness testimony? Add to this the testimony of many other eyewitnesses and you could well have the largest and most lopsided trial in history.”

—Josh McDowell, The Resurrection Factor, 71-72

What are the main lines to emerge in this study of Jesus outside the New Testament? The non-Christian evidence uniformly treats Jesus as a historical person. Most non-Christian authors were not interested in the details of his life or teaching, and they saw him through the Christianity they knew. They provide a small but certain corroboration of certain New Testament historical traditions on the family background, time of life, ministry, and death of Jesus. They also provide evidence of the content of Christian preaching that is independent of the New Testament. . . . Our study of Jesus outside the New Testament points at the end of the day to Jesus inside the New Testament.

–Robert E. Van Voorst, Jesus Outside the New Testament: An Introduction to the Ancient Evidence, 217

In his fascinating book, In the Beginning was Information, Werner Gitt “describes a new way of understanding creation and the Bible.” He powerfully argues for the matchless greatness of the Bible from an information science perspective:

— The Bible contains the most important information conceivable. It is divine in essence, and indicates the way to our Father’s house.

— The relevance value of the information of the Bible for every person is r = 1, the highest possible value. It comprises the best advice for this life, and is the only compass that guides us to heaven.

— The information of the Bible is always up-to-date (t = 1). Whereas most scientific publications become outdated after ten years, the Bible can never become outdated.

— We can readily access the information of the Bible (a = 1). It can be obtained all over the world, and the contents are easy to understand.

— The information of the Bible is comprehensive and complete (e = 1).

— No false information is contained in the Bible; it is the only Book of Truth (John 17:17).

— We find the highest semantic density of information in the Bible, as well as the best pragmatic information (commandments, rules of living, and our relationship with God and other people). It comprises the highest possible apobetics, namely an invitation to enter heaven!

— 161; bold text is in italics in the original; (r = relevance; t = timeliness; a = accessibility; e = existence)

Praise God for His goodness in giving us His Word! Let us all read our Bibles with a continuous awe of its matchless greatness.

Those that defend the Canaanites as innocent victims of Israeli savagery fail to recognize the theology of extermination. To charge the Old Testament as being sub-Christian because of this divine order to kill all the Canaanites is to deny the holy justice of God. . . . In addition to the manifold evidence of the Old Testament about the heinous sins of these doomed people, the book of Hebrews gives some insight that silences every accusation against God and any defense of the inhabitants of Jericho: they perished because the did not believe (Heb. 11:31). What Rahab heard and believed about the God of Israel all the city heard (see Joshua 2:9-11). What they heard, however, they did not mix with faith. From every perspective they were without excuse before the Lord. . . . God’s judgments are always righteous; no sinner, whether from ancient Jericho or modern America, can claim innocence before the most holy Lord.

—Michael P.V. Barrett, Complete in Him: A Guide to Understanding and Enjoying the Gospel, 277

"The Witness of the Ordinances"

September 10, 2011

Henry M. Morris makes an excellent argument for the authenticity of the New Testament based on the testimony provided by it and history concerning the two major Christian ordinances:

Christian churches everywhere, of almost all denominations, practice two of the most remarkable ceremonies. Though the particular form of the observance of each may have changed in some respects with the passing years, the very fact of the observance is itself a strong testimony to the authenticity of the New Testament and Christianity. These two ceremonies are what are known as the ordinances of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper.

According to the Gospel records (e.g., Matthew 28:19) Baptism was commanded by Jesus Christ as an integral part of His Great Commission, to be given each new convert . . . Similarly observance of the Lord’s Supper was commanded by Him as a regular observance . . . (e.g., Matthew 26:26-28).

It is known, of course, from the literature of the church through the ages that the churches have always practiced these two ordinances in one form or another. The authority for doing so comes from the New Testament. However, the ordinances do have a peculiar witness of their own, not shared by the other events recorded in the New Testament.

As a matter of fact, they antedate the New Testament since they were established by Christ Himself and have been practiced ever since. It is clear from the book of Acts that converts always were baptized soon after conversion (Acts 2:41; 8:12; etc.). Also the churches regularly observed the Lord’s Supper (1 Corinthians 11:20-26), even before they had the New Testament Scriptures which commanded them to do so.

To appreciate the significance of this fact, one should try to imagine what it was like to be in one of these first century churches when they first began to receive copies of the epistles and other writings which eventually were to be the New Testament. Say, for example, it was a church which had been established as the result of the preaching of the Philip the evangelist. This church continued to exist, for, say, about twenty years after its founding before it began to receive copies of some of Paul’s epistles and perhaps another ten years before it obtained a copy of one of the four Gospels.

During this time it was guided in its practice by the teachings of its founder and perhaps also by other teachers whom God sent its way or raised up from its own members. Among the instructions they were following were, of course, those pertaining to Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. Philip, who had been one of the original seven deacons, would certainly have been careful to emphasize the basic importance of these two ordinances in the life of the church. When they finally received the actual written accounts of how those ordinances were first established, this would merely strengthen and confirm them in what they were already practicing and knew to be in accordance with the verbal teachings they had received at first.

But, now, just suppose neither Philip nor any of their other teachers had ever told them anything about either ordinance and they had not practiced either Baptism or the Lord’s Supper before, and neither had any of their sister churches with whom they had contact. Suddenly they receive a document purporting to be from an apostle (say, the Gospel of Matthew, or Paul’s first Epistle to the Corinthians) in which these ordinances are discussed in such a way as to indicate they had been established by Christ and practiced by the churches ever since.

The obvious reaction by the church would be to assume the documents were fraudulent and to reject them forthwith. Their authors obviously could not have been the real apostles, because they were proposing two ceremonies as having existed in the churches since the days of Christ Himself, which the church receiving the documents knew, from their own previous contacts, did not exist in the churches. Thus, these documents would have been rejected as spurious by this church and by any other churches to which they came.

Thus, at no time after the days of Christ, could any such writings ever have gained acceptance as authentic records at all, unless these ordinances which they described were actually being practiced in the churches at the time of their writing and circulation. In this way the very existence of the two simple ceremonies of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper, both picturing and commemorating the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus in obedience to His commandment, is in itself a powerful witness to the authenticity of the New Testament documents which describe their establishment and perpetuation. There is no way of accounting for the initiation of either of the ordinances except as described in these documents. The churches could never have been persuaded to begin practicing them by books or teachers who told them they had already been practicing them since the days of Christ, if in fact they knew otherwise. Therefore, the ordinances were established by Christ, and the New Testament writings which tell them about them are authentic.

Many Infallible Proofs: Evidences for the Christian Faith, 32-34; bold text is in italics in the original