The Story of the Flood

Noahs Ark

In light of the upcoming movie “Noah” I felt it would be helpful to write an article concerning different historical and theological aspects of the flood so as to dissipate any confusion that may exist or be caused by Hollywoods attempt. I also want to stimulate your mind concerning this time in history as the Flood carries a lot of scientific questions and statements as well as theological truths that can resonate with today. Along with the direct information that God’s Word gives us, many educated Bible scholars and scientists have proposed different theories. These theories attempt to connect the dots about what we do know and in this blog I will include speculation so please remember that.

Article outline:

  1. What does the Bible tell us?
  2. Common misconceptions
  3. The Flood in other cultures
  4. The times of Noah
  5. Why did God do it?
  6. The Promise

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Three “Problems” with Christianity

Shellfish, women’s rights, and slavery. What do these three thing have in common?

Well I recently had a discussion with an old friend from highschool who has gained a sudden interest towards spiritual living and towards “god”. Though not a Christian we had an interesting discussion about which way to approach God (Hinduism, Christianity, none of the above etc.) and he listed quickly 3 big problem he has with Biblical Christianity. They were shellfish (or dietary laws), the value of women, and the acceptance of slavery. I did not want to get in to a huge debate or waste his time if he was busy so I let them slide. But the more I got to thinking about it these three issues often come up with people who do not see Christianity as a wholesome or true way to God. And I wanted to cast some light on these little problems that are blown out of proportion and misunderstood.

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How Can a Loving God Send People to Hell?

1st, Fix the question – Most questions that confused or unbelieving people ask about Christianity are full of assumptions and erroneous statements. For example:
“Have you stopped beating your wife?” Whether you say yes or no you are an abusive husband! This question is made on the assumption that you are an abusive husband; if you are not how can you answer the question without first fixing the question?
“Did you like your sandwich?” also presumes that you ate a sandwich, what if you have not? How much more so must we fix a question before we ask it about something so deep and important as God’s character.


Who’s fault?

  • People only go to hell because they do not believe in Christ as Savior (remember belief means more than mental acknowledgment)
    • Jhn 3:36 – “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”
    • Jhn 5:24 – “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.
    • Jhn 6:47 – “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life.
    • Mat 25:41 – “Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels:
  • By having faith in Christ as your Savior your name is written in the book of life
    • Rev 3:5 – “He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.
    • By not believing in Christ you opt out of having your name in the book of life
  • Not being in covenant with Christ is what sends you to Hell
  • Individuals who purposefully ignore God express their desire to live without God. In hell your wish is perfectly granted.
  • Therefore: God does not send anyone to Hell, they send themselves. God is just obeying the spiritual laws that have existed since before time that darkness cannot dwell in the light, and that sin incurs wrath.
    • Laws like gravity, fire, and water can kill or injure you but when you know of the consequence of jumping off a cliff etc. who’s fault is it when you get hurt or die? Can you blame God for not breaking the laws He set up and holds you accountable by?
  • Sin cannot exist in God’s fullness in Heaven, it must be washed away.
    • Isa 59:2 – Behold, the LORD’s hand is not shortened, That it cannot save; Nor His ear heavy, That it cannot hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden His face from you, So that He will not hear.
    • Rev 21:27 – But there shall by no means enter it anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.
    • Rev 1:5 – and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth. To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood,
  • “God doesn’t send his children to hell” correct, because His Children believe in and surrender to Christ.
    • You are only a child of God if you are born again by Christ, else you are still subject to sin and God’s wrath aka a child of Satan
    • Jhn 8:44 – “You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.
    • 1Jo 3:1 – Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.
    • 1Jo 5:2 – By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments.
    • He gave salvation for free at the cost of His Son
    • He warned and informed us of the consequences of sin & unbelief
    • He convicts us of sin by the Holy Spirit
    • He forgives us of sin and sees us as righteous via Christ’s righteousness

God has actually worked to keep us out of Hell!

  • The one thing God can’t do is control us against our will
    • We are accountable for our own actions and we can’t hold God responsible for them
    • Jam 1:13-14 – Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.
    • 2Pet 3:9 – The Lord is … not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.
    • If someone does not want to be with God in this life they will be totally separated from Him in the next.
    • “This life is a dress rehearsal for the next”.


A great resource on sin:
http://www.answering-islam.org/Nehls/Alkitab/alkit7.html

How Do You Know Christianity is Right?

This is part one of my new “Big Questions” series where I am addressing common questions and disagreements with the Christian faith in a simple and dialogue oriented way.

 

“How Do You Know Christianity Is Right?”

 

Uniqueness

  • It deals with the human condition of sin unlike all other religions.
  • World religions don’t acknowledge sin or imperfection.
  • Christianity provides not only an explanation for our problems, for evil, and for imperfection but it provides a solution – Jesus Christ.
  • Because of Jesus we don’t have to work our way to God.

1Jhn 1:10 – If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.

Rom 3:24 – being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,

Eph 1:7, Col 1:14, 20

  • God came to us (relationship) not us searching for Him (religion)
  • God came to Earth and was born as a human so that He could come to our level and redeem us from our limitations that held us back from our destiny.

Jhn 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
Jhn 3:17 – For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

Rom 5:8

  • Our Savior can relate to our temptations because he was tempted, he can relate to suffering and struggles because he endured them also

Hbr 4:15 – For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.

  • God desires a personal relationship with us
  • Yahweh is not distant, impersonal, or absent.
  • He wants an intimate relationship with you similar to marriage.

Jhn 17:3 – “And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.

1Cr 2:12

 

Effectiveness

  • The God of the Bible works
  • If the God of the Bible were not real- miracles would not happen the way they do. When we say “In Jesus name get up and walk” and they walk it is evidence toward the God of the Bible.
  • When we obey the Word of God miracles happen, it works
    • It answers the questions
    • Purpose
    • Identity
    • Strength
  • It satisfies the soul
  • Christianity meets the psychological, emotional, and spiritual needs of mankind in a way that other lifestyles cannot imitate.
  • People have been set free from decades of drugs, addictions, sickness, and hurt because of Christianity. Other religions imitate this change.
    • It works for the good of mankind
    • Abolition of slavery
    • Equal rights – slavery doesn’t work when we’re all the same
    • Science – flourished under Isaac Newton, Galileo, Robert Boyle, Gregor Mendel, Kelvin, Planck,
    • Universities – Ivey League, Harvard, Oxford,
    • America

 

Exclusivity

  • The Bible does not allow for any other way to God or Heaven

Jhn 11:25 – Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.

Jhn 14:6 – Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

Act 4:12 – “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

  • Other religions don’t allow for other gods or paths to salvation
  • Hinduism says you must meditate and liberate yourself to Moksha
  • In Buddhism you perfect yourself until you reach Nirvana
  • With Islam you must serve Allah who the Quran says cannot have a son

Jhn 17:3 – “And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.

Blinded by the Dark

Why do people not choose Christ? I ask myself this question often when I meet people who are willfully unbelievers. Is it that they don’t see enough hard evidence? Is it that they have had a bad experience with Christians or church and avoid it altogether? Is it that they find the requirements of Christianity to heavy a burden? It is often a mixture of these, but ultimately the reason for continued unbelief is none other than the Devil. He has blinded those who continue in unbelief from Christ. Now I know that  this sounds quite radical and it also may sound as if I’m giving too much credit to Satan;’s abilities but I believe I am simply acknowledging his tactics. Satan simply does not want people to turn to God through Christ.  And when they are not born again they are more to Satan than to God being enemies of God. Let’s look in to this dynamic of the spiritual world and where it meets the minds of men.

Satan’s Agenda

2Corinthians 4:4 – whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.

The context of this scripture reveals who Paul is talking about – they are the people who “are perishing”. And who is perishing but those who do not heed to the Gospel and give their lives to Christ (John 3:16). So in verse 4 the unbelieving are identified as being blind to the truth of Christ, who blinded them? The Devil, and he did this so that “the light of the Gospel of Christ (would not) would shine on them”.

2Corinthians 3:14 – But their minds were blinded. For until this day the same veil remains unlifted in the reading of the Old Testament, because the veil is taken away in Christ.

Ever since Lucifer was defeated in battle and kicked out of Heaven he seems to be on an unstoppable mission to spoil anything and everything he can just to tick God off. And since he realized he could not win in against God and His army what was left? Us! From the very beginning Satan has been steering us away from God. Satan is using everything he has to keep us from realizing the truth which is God’s reality, love, and forgiveness. When a person allows Satan to deceive them (and the individuals free will does play the lead role in their becoming blind) they will not accept Christ for who He really is, they will remain alienated from God and unforgiven of their sin.

1John 2:11 – But he who hates his brother is in darkness and walks in darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.

The Liar

Other then trying to spoil everything God has made, Satan has also been a liar from the very beginning (John 8:44). Can you think of another story in the Bible that has to do with Satan, sin, and “vision”? The Garden of Eden.

Genesis 3:4 – Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die.
Genesis 3:5 – “For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

If you take everything Satan has ever said and flip it around to the opposite meaning you will almost always end up with God’s truth. Satan says “Look at you, you’re a terrible sinful person who can’t be used by God”. However, God’s truth is “In my eyes (the only ones that matter) you’re forgiven and perfected by Christ, people like you are exactly who I always use!”.

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Being Completed

God is “holy”.

But what does that even mean?
The Angels call their Creator holy, the Psalmist called God holy, the Spirit of God is holy.
It’s such a cliche and an overused word especially by worship leaders who may not even know what it means!

The aspect of God’s perfection creates an unavoidable separation between us who are imperfect and God who is perfect. Simply said holiness and perfection go hand in hand.

Mat 5:48 – “Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.
1Pe 1:15 – but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct,

Perfect

The Greek word we translate as “perfect” is hagios which means: Brought to its end, finished. Wanting nothing necessary to completeness. Full grown, adult, of full age, mature.
That is exactly what God is and what we are not. Have you ever noticed mankind always chasing after the next thing to fill, entertain, or enhance them? It’s quite obvious we are lacking something. The very fact that evil exists is evidence to our imperfect or fractured state.

Christianity (along with Judaism) stands alone amongst the religions of the world in that it recognizes the problem of the human condition – sin. No other religion says “Man is sinful, bad, and needs help to fix that eternal problem before he can get close to God”. Instead they say the opposite, many say “Man has everything he needs inside of him to get to God or to become perfect, he just has to try hard enough.” Broken man mustering up his own salvation from within his broken self is like trying to pull your own self out of sinking sand by pulling on your own arm! The only salvation man can author is broken salvation which is no salvation at all.

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Religious Truth and Jesus

To piggy back on my last post which focuses on the problem of pluralism and the unavoidable contradictions between mainstream religions here I want to focus on identity of Jesus Christ when it comes to the world religions. He is, after all, the stumbling block and the rock of offense!

Departure From Truth

The Bible tells us that there will be an increase of deception and lies as the days draw closer to Christ’s return. This will come through confusion of the truth (Rom 1:25, Gal 3, 1Tim 6:5, 2Tim 4:4, 2Pet 2:1-3) and by false prophets (Mat 24:11, 2Tim3:13, 2Pet 2:1-3). It is crucial that we be able to recognize an untruth when we hear one and separate it from the Truth so that we are not misled as many surely will be (Mat 24:24). When approaching this subject Biblically we must recognize that Satan is ultimately behind this global departure from the Truth and that he will use the intentions of wicked and innocent men alike as long as his goals are accomplished.

2Corinthians 11:4 – For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted–you may well put up with it!

Anti-Christ

The message of Christ is precisely what Satan has labored so intensely to get rid of so that we would not embrace the saving truth of Jesus Christ. The true gospel message of Christ has been pushed aside by entire religious movements claiming new deities and methods of redemption, it has been corrupted by false doctrines from within the church such as Unitarianism and Universalism, and it has been discredited by atheistic theories such as Agnosticism, Buddhism, and Atheism.

Galatians 1:6-8 – I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel,
7 which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ.
8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed.

1John 4:3 – and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.

Types of Truth

  • Absolute Truth- A truth or set of truths that is believed to remain true despite the circumstance, personal perception or personal opinion. Unalterable facts and inflexible reality.
  • Relative Truth   – What is considered truth is not consistently true but flexible depending on the circumstance or outcome.
  • Existential Truth – Truth is discovered personally and one must choose what is truth, what you choose to be true is true for you.

Types of Religious Truth

  • Pluralism – All major world religions lead to God and salvation. Thus, no one religion is inherently better or superior to any other major world religion. Pluralists acknowledge the differences among major religions but consider them minor and focus more on the “major” similarities such as love for God and love for others.
  • Inclusivism – One religion is best but salvation is possible in others. Inclusivists do not go as far as pluralists in that inclusivists do not claim that all religions are equal. They do believe, though, that truth and salvation can be found in other religions. Some Christian inclusivists claim that the salvation of Jesus is unknowingly applied to adherents of other religions who live good, moral lives.
  • Exclusivism – Salvation is found in only one religion which is uniquely and supremely true and all other religions are false. Christianity is an exclusive religion because of the many of the claims Christ made about Himself such as John 14:6.

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