Symbols: Anarchy

The anarchy symbol is a very popular symbol among students today. The problem, however, is that most of these students have no idea what the symbol means. Webster defines anarchy as: (1a) absence of government (1b) a state of lawlessness or political disorder due to the absence of governmental authority (2a) absence or denial of any authority or established order.

At its base, this symbol represents a belief or ideal that there be no government involving itself in the affairs of the general public. Those who truly believe in anarchy (in my experience at least) are usually actively involved in rebelling against the government. This is a natural reaction when you think about it. They believe that there should not be any form of government, yet there is. The natural thing for them to do is to take steps toward removing government so that things move more in-line with their belief system.

There is a fundamental problem with this belief system though. There can never truly exist anarchy. There will never be a community where there exists no “governmental figure.” Even in the smallest community of all—the family unit—there will invariably exist one who is the head-honcho. The parents will always exert control over their children, patriarchs will always exert control over the “tribe,” there will always exists rules in small community that must be enforced somehow, etc. There can never truly be a state of anarchy. Can there be a state where there is no formal government, absolutely. And to be fair, it is this goal I think many anarchists would like to see achieved.

From a biblical point of view, there is also never the possibility of anarchy. This is because the universe is under the control of the Creator. Creation itself answers to God (Hebrews 4:13, Revelation 3:14). The Bible also makes it clear that in the grand scheme of things, God is the only real authority in the life of a Christian: “For you granted him [Jesus] authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him” John 17:2, NIV (cf. John 5:27, Daniel 7:13-14).

The fact that God is the ultimate authority in the life of Christian does not mean that we should actively be rebelling against the government. In fact, the Bible makes it clear that Christians are to submit to the authority of the ruling government (Romans 13:1-2, 1 Peter 2:13, Titus 3:1). On the other hand, we are not to continue to submit to the rule of the government to the point of breaking the commands of God. God does not honor rebellion that is unwarranted (1 Samuel 15:22-23). The rebellion that God honors is when the government would require us to be disobedient to the commands of Scripture—such as Daniel (Daniel 1:8, 6:6-10) or Mordecai (Esther 3:1-3). At this point, it would echo the sentiment of the apostles when they proclaimed in Acts 5:29 “We must obey God rather than men!”

So this symbol runs counter to the very core of Christianity. We do not believe that there should be the absence of any governmental authority, much less the absence of all authority. We believe that God is the highest authority in our lives, but that there are also many other authorities that we must submit to as well. And as long as the government that rules over us is not asking us to submit to rules and regulations that are counter to the Word of God, we should be submissive. Can we disagree with our government? Absolutely. Can we try to change the laws (in America anyways)? Absolutely. But we should go about doing so in a lawful manner and in a manner that displays the love of Christ to the world around us.

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Book Review: Church Nanny SOS

Gigi Schweikert. Church Nanny SOS: Teaching Discipline Essentials for Preschool Ministry Volunteers. Birmingham, Alabama: New Hope Publishers, 2007, 198 pp.

Church Nanny SOS is a book aimed at helping preschool ministry volunteers navigate the many hurdles of ministering to young children. Volunteers often have lots of questions about how to handle the different aspects of the ministry. Gigi Schweikert takes up the task of answering many of those questions. This book begins by explaining how to prevent many of the problems that seem to plague preschool ministries. It does not, however, neglect how to handle problems when they do arise. In fact, the last chapter in the book contains a quick-reference guide to help understand and properly address some of the common behavioral problems of preschoolers.

This book obviously does not cover all of the problems of preschool ministry nor does it cover them in an in-depth manner. The best way to characterize this book is to liken it to a primer or somewhat of a handbook. It gives a great introduction and overview on preventing and handling the common problems of ministering to preschoolers. It is organized into chapters that cover the “essentials” of ministering to preschoolers. What I found, however, was that many things were repeated throughout the book. Perhaps this is because those are things that are important. Perhaps it is because some of those things are part of several of the essentials, consistency for example. This book consistently mentions consistency in several of the essentials. There must be consistency in the routine, there must be consistency in enforcing the rules, there must be consistency in pick-up and drop-off, etc. The other thing I found particularly distracting were the many lists. These lists often broke the flow of the text and interrupted the thought stream. I believe many of these lists could have been placed at the end of the chapters and referred to in the text of the chapter. This would have been far less distracting. On the other hand, the content was solid and the advice was helpful. I would certainly recommend this book to anyone struggling with how to address problems in their preschool ministry.

You can purchase this book at Amazon.com, the WMU by clicking on the above photo of the cover, or by clicking HERE.
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Walking in Circles

There was a DiscoveryNews article last week that I thought was rather interesting. The article was entitled “People Naturally Walk in Circles.” As someone who loves the outdoors, I found this a very intriguing article. The second sentence in the article read, “Without landmarks to guide us, people really do go around and around, found a new study.” The article went on to explain that people without any directional cues (such as the sun or moon) walked around in circles. Those that had those directional cues available to them did not walk around in circles but “managed to travel fairly straight.”

This made me begin thinking. It reminded me of the “spiritual circles” in which people often find themselves walking. What do I mean by spiritual circles? The most common spiritual circle today (in my opinion) is relativism. This is the belief that proposes there is no set rule or standard when it comes to religion, morality, or anything in general. The religious relativist might say that Christianity is “right” for most people in America, but Hinduism is “right” for most people in India. In other words, there is no single religion (such as Christianity) that has the exclusive position of being the only true religion.

What I really began thinking about though in this context of relativism and walking in circles with no directional cues was more specific to my cultural context (a Christian in the United States). It seems to me that all too often people abandon the morals they held as children and adopt the “better” position of relativism as they pass through adolescence and enter into adulthood. What happens that creates this dramatic shift in the lives of so many people? I don’t know that I have the answer to this question, but it is something that more people than just me have noticed. Otherwise, there would be not “the statistic” (or some variation) that is quoted so often in religious circles—7 out of 10 teenagers who grew up in a church will quit attending by age 23. This statistic is the focus of a recent article in USA Today.

Some have attempted to answer why this occurs (such as Ken Ham). But I think this DiscoveryNews article answers this question better than most Christians might realize. Just as an average person off the street would not know how to navigate in the wilderness without some training, neither does a Christian know how “to navigate life” if they were never taught how to use their “directional cues.”

I think many churches fail to equip their students (and adults) for life and just spend most of their time entertaining them. I know there are a lot of great student ministries out their, but the majority are notoriously known for not teaching their youth. Why else do so many find the Ignatius video so hilarious (see below)? It is because there is some truth to the video. There needs to be more churches who are teaching their youth how to think through their faith for themselves. They need to teach them how to think critically about issues that arise in society. This is a difficult task, but it is something we cannot afford to neglect. Otherwise, we are dropping our students in the middle of a forest with no idea how to find their way out it.




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Book Review: Directionally Challenged

Collins, Travis. Directionally Challenged: How to Find and Follow God’s Course for Your Life. Birmingham, Alabama: New Hope Publishers, 2007, 214 pp.

There is often a question that lingers in the minds of many Christians: How can I know God’s will for my life? Many Christians desire to be obedient to the will of God in their lives, but often times struggle with how to determine what his will is. In this book, Travis Collins takes up the task of helping Christians discern the will of God in their lives. He begins by pointing out that there is no passage in Scripture one can always turn to, there is no formula for determining the will of God, and there is no checklist to making sure we are in the will of God.

A statement Travis made on page 21 really stuck out at me. He wrote, “The Bible doesn’t talk a lot about ‘God’s will for our lives.’ It does talk a lot about how people find great fulfillment and make great contributions by finding their place within God’s mission.”

Overall, I think Travis does an excellent job helping people to understand how to find the will of God in their lives. He explains this in terms of a “call.” In other words, finding the will of God for your life is almost synonymous with answering the unique call God has placed upon your life. To help locate both of these, Travis proposes a “COMPASS” to help navigate. This serves as the illustration to help readers understand the many aspects of finding and staying in the will of God, which he discusses in this book.

There are really only two critiques I could offer. A few times The Message is quoted in the book as though it is Scripture. I would have preferred this translation not have been used as a Scriptural source because it is a paraphrase translation. Aside from that, the only other thing is that I felt like there was no cohesiveness among chapters four and following. The first three chapters flowed beautifully together. Each successive chapter covers an important aspect of the journey to finding and following God’s course for our lives, but doesn’t flow as well as the first three chapters.

In short, this book is well worth reading for those who might be struggling with the question of determining God’s will or even the question if one is still following God’s will in their lives. You can click the image in this post to purchase this book from the WMU or you can purchase it from Amazon.com if you prefer.
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Symbols: The Yin-Yang

The Yin-Yang symbol is the next to cover in the "Symbols" series. I’m going to be honest up front about this one—I am not going to be able to cover every aspect of what this symbol represents on this blog. The Yin-Yang could be compared to the cross of Christianity. It is almost emblematic of Taoism the way a cross is emblematic of Christianity. Therefore, I will summarize (in the greatest amount of detail possible) what this symbol represents.

At its core, the Yin-Yang represents the dualistic nature of the universe as understood in Taoism. There is light and dark, male and female, good and evil, positive and negative, warm and cold. Yin is representative of the dark side of the symbol—female, cold, negative, earth, etc. On the other hand, Yang is representative of the light side of the symbol—male, warm, positive, heaven, etc.

The two shapes come together to form a perfect circle. There are some other interesting geometrical relationships in the symbol. The dividing wavy line is exactly half of the outside circumference of the circle. This means that the total perimeter of each individual half equals the circumference of the entire circle. There is also a dark dot on the light side and a light dot on the dark side. These two small dots represent the understanding that the seed of the other is contained in each side.

This symbol comes to represent what could be called the balancing natural law. Shih-Toa’s poem “The identity of relative and absolute” expresses this understanding rather beautifully.

Within light there is darkness,
but do not try to understand that darkness.
Within darkness there is light,
but do not look for that light.
Light and darkness are a pair,
like the foot before and the foot behind in walking.
Each thing has its own intrinsic value
and is related to everything else in function and position.
Ordinary life fits the absolute as a box and its lid.
The absolute works together with the relative,
like two arrows meeting in mid-air.

This understanding gives rise to the notion that the two opposites must exist. There cannot be male without female, good without evil, warmth with coldness, etc. Each contains the essence of the other.

So the question naturally arises (to a Christian at least), is there a natural balancing law? Does this exist? Can we find this in the Scriptures? The Bible declares and proclaims in many places that God alone is Creator and Ruler of the universe. Isaiah 37:16 is just one example of this: “O LORD Almighty, God of Israel, enthroned between the cherubim, you alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth.” The first two chapters of the book of Job make it clear that Satan is not a “balancing force” to God Almighty. No, it makes it clear that Satan answers directly to the God of the universe.

Maybe there’s not a natural balancing law, but couldn’t there be a seed of bad in God and a seed of good in Satan? 1 John 1:5 answers this question clearly: “This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.” The Bible makes it clear that God is completely light, good, etc. There is no seed of darkness or evil or the like.

You might be thinking, “Okay, maybe there is no natural balancing law and maybe there is no evil in God, but surely evil must exist for good to exist. Otherwise, we would have no concept of the other (i.e. evil is necessary to understand what is good and vise-versa).” I would answer that by explaining that this incorrectly understands what evil is. Evil is not a substance (by the way, this means God didn’t create evil); it is a corruption of good. The Old Testament often conveyed a mental picture of what sin was. It called forth the image of an archer standing down-range from a target. The goal of the archer was to shoot a bulls-eye. Sin wasn’t hitting the target God had intended—it was “missing the mark.” It was a failure to live according to God’s standard. This is clearly seen from the beginning in the Garden of Eden. God had given one rule, one standard, one target—no to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Adam and Eve fell short, they missed the mark.

Think of it like this. Evil is like rust. Rust is not actually a substance (though we often times think of it like that). Rust is actually a lack of what was previously there. It occurs through a process known as oxidation. This is a process where electrons are actually lost. When things start to rust, they start to disappear. Evil is like this—it is a lack of good where it should be. It is a lack of wholeness or completeness. When God created everything, he declared that it was good and creation was completed.

I am completely aware that this symbol has been adopted by teenagers simply because it looks cool. But the Yin-Yang (by its very name) symbol represents some deep spiritual understandings that really do not line-up with what the Bible says about God or creation.

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Symbols: The Skull and Crossbones

This symbol is almost universally associated with piracy. It has had other meanings over the centuries, but there is always one meaning that comes to mind when one sees this emblematic symbol. Therefore, in this post I am only going to focus on the meaning of this symbol in the context of piracy.

The skull and crossbones is also known as “the Jolly Roger.” No one seems to really know for sure where this nickname originated, so I will not join in the speculation. The purpose of flying a flag with the skull and crossbones was to strike fear into the hearts of those aboard the ship, which the pirates were attacking. There is some historical information that also seems to indicate that this flag (or some variation) was flown in order to make it expressly clear that they were pirates and not simply some hired mariners running a privateer. This was important because those sailing under the authority of a government (i.e. privateers, buccaneers, etc.) were not allowed to execute those whom they were attacking if captured. Pirates, on the other hand, had no such restriction and often times would not offer quarter (capture without execution) once met with resistance.

The flag was a visual way to communicate their threat to the other ship—surrender or die. Pirates plundered ships, and even towns, in order to steal whatever they wanted. It wasn’t always gold or some form of treasure like that. There is historical evidence that records Edward Teach (Blackbeard) once capturing a ship sailing out of Charleston, South Carolina with several wealthy passengers on board. After taking the passengers prisoner, he demanded as ransom a chest containing medical supplies. Also, it is highly unlikely they would be able to gain supplies such as ammunition through any reputable source; therefore, they would have had to capture merchant vessels containing these supplies in order to restock.

With all this in mind, there is an important question to ask—does this have a place in the life of a Christian? The way-of-life this symbol conveys has absolutely no place in the life of a Christian. The very essence of a pirate’s livelihood was stealing, a concept that is directly opposed by God in the 10 Commandments.


You shall not steal…You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor. (Exodus 20:15, 17; NIV)
However, this not simply an Old Testament commandment, Jesus himself reinforced this understanding. After being asked by a Pharisee which was the greatest commandment, Jesus gave this answer:


‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments. (Matthew 22:37-40, NIV)
Pirates certainly were/are not practicing those commandments, particularly loving your neighbor as yourself. Something very interesting is that while pirates were stealing from other people, if you were caught stealing from another pirate aboard the same ship you risked being marooned. So it was okay to steal from those not aboard the same pirate ship, but it was considered a crime to do so among the crew. The main point here is that the very essence of what pirates are and do has no place in the life of any Christian. Therefore, it is my opinion that Christians should not be wearing, displaying, or attaching themselves to this symbol. Please note: I am not proclaiming that the Bible says we should avoid wearing this, but I am basing my opinion upon biblical principles that make it clear that we are not to be involved in the actions this symbol represents.

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Would you watch an abortion being performed?

Over the weekend, Newsweek magazine posted an article by Sarah Kliff entitled, "Watching My First Abortion." She is a journalist who has covered the abortion debate in America for some time now. The main focus of the article is her journey to Omaha, Nebraska where she visits and witnesses, first-hand an abortion being performed. I must admit, that I am impressed overall with her article. She seems to be genuinely reporting her reaction to witnessing this event that few people (other than those undergoing the procedure) will ever witness.

In the fifth paragraph of her article, she writes something I think deserves a little more attention. It is worth quoting in full.


A first-trimester abortion, from my vantage point behind the glass window, looked like an extended, more invasive version of a standard ob-gyn exam. A woman with her heels in stirrups, clothes traded in for a hospital gown, a speculum holding the cervix open. Carhart used a suction tube to empty the contents of the uterus; it took no longer than three minutes. The suction machine made a slight rumbling sound, a pinkish fluid flowed through the tube, and, faster than I'd expected, it was over. Women spent less than a half hour in the operating room. I'd anticipated some kind of difficulty watching an abortion; it wasn't there.

Notice her description of the aborted fetus…”a pinkish fluid flowed through the tube.” This brings up the point that many pro-choice supporters will point to—fetuses are only blobs of undifferentiated tissue. I know not all pro-choice supporters would agree with that statement, but it is a statement that I have regularly heard when encountering people of the pro-choice position. In fact, somewhat recently I engaged some commenters at Unreasonable Faith (an atheist blog), where one commenter described an embryo in the following manner: “embryos are not children, any more than blueprints are houses or my clipped fingernails are me. An early embryo is little more than a cell” and later “Embryos are not people. They might become people, but they are not people.” You can read that full post and comment stream here.

Is this understanding correct; are embryos just blobs of undifferentiated tissue? Part of understanding the answer to this question comes in understanding what a first-trimester embryo undergoes in the abortion process. The machine used to extract the embryo exerts some strong forces in order to pull the embryo down the tube. In fact, those forces are so strong they can collapse a paint thinner container. I witnessed this in a live demonstration by an ob-gyn as you can watch in the clip below (entire abortion demonstration can be viewed here and here). This doctor travels around the country presenting what he has entitled “God’s Miracle of Life.” It is an excellent presentation that details development up to birth and then presents the different methods of abortion during each of the trimesters. You can preview the abortion part of this presentation at the link above. If you are interested in him coming and speaking, you can contact him through his website prolifedoc.org.



With a full understanding of what the embryo undergoes during the abortion procedure, it is no surprise that it looks as though it is simply a blob of tissue or a “pinkish fluid.” However, Newsweek also produced a video clip (below or click here) of the same story for those who may prefer video to reading.



In the video, Dr. Carhart made some statements that are important to note. He made the statement that he would like to see the need for abortion to go down and go away, better contraceptives, an increase in sex-education, more affordable birth control, better empowerment of the women so that the “number of abortions would spontaneously reduce on their own.” I have some trouble with this statement by Dr. Carhart. I do not disagree with the points he made. I too would like to see better sex-education, more affordable and better birth control, and the reduction of abortions. However, I think he is being a little dishonest. Think about it, he is a doctor who makes his living from performing abortions. Does he truly want to see the number of abortions reduced and thereby his income? I have trouble believing that. It is possible that he genuinely means his statement, but I find it improbable. It’s like a coal company CEO saying he would like to see the use of coal reduced—any honest person listening to a coal company CEO make that statement would take it with a grain of salt. So I take Dr. Carhart's statement with a grain of salt.

Overall, the article is worth reading (or watching the video) because it resounds with the many people on both sides of the abortion debate. This is particularly the case since President Obama’s speech at Notre Dame University. There is a desire by many (pro-life and pro-choice) to move toward a middle ground on this issue—to find some common ground between the two camps. Before that can happen though, there needs to be clarity about the facts. To be fair, that was not her intention in this article; however, the story adds nothing to clarifying the facts concerning abortion (such as development, high-risk pregnancies, etc.). On the other hand, I commend her for finding out first-hand what truly happens during an abortion.

What is your reaction to her description of an abortion?

If more people watched an abortion, do you think it would change the tide concerning the abortion debate?
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Symbols in Society

Symbolism permeates every area of our lives as human beings. It doesn’t matter what neck of the global woods you live in you encounter symbols every day. Businesses adopt logos—symbols to represent their companies. Roadsides abound with traffic signs and signals—symbols to communicate traffic laws.

All it takes is a stroll through your local mall to realize just how much symbols permeate life. Because of this, I have decided to begin an indefinite series of posts to address some of the more commonly encountered symbols.

This post will become “Grand Central Station” where I will list all links to the symbols discussed. Therefore, this may be a post to revisit as more symbols are discussed and links are added here. If you have a symbol you would like to suggest, please feel free to leave it in the comments section or email it to me at MrHydesBlog@gmail.com (email also availble on my profile).

Index of Symbols:
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Proving the Existence of God, Part 6

This will be my final post of this series. I have covered three major points of interest with regard to the existence of God—the universe, evolution, and the resurrection of Christ. I have briefly presented you the evidence concerning these three points; now it is time to answer the question of whether or not the evidence is in favor or opposition to God.

So, can we reasonably conclude that God exists? Looking collectively at the evidence, and after our somewhat brief examination, the absence of contradictory or dissenting evidence validates the hypothesis that God does exist as true according to scientific standards. Therefore, it is reasonable to accept the evidence as proving that God exists.

If one is still unsure of what to conclude, consider this wager. Imagine a loved one lying on their deathbed. About this time someone approached and offers you a new “wonder drug” that will give the dying person a 50% chance of living. The other option is to do nothing and let the person die. What would you choose? Any reasonable person would choose to try the wonder drug because the chances of surviving are greater than without the drug. This is known as Pascal’s Wager. God either exists or he does not. If he exists and you choose to believe in him, then one only stands to gain if correct and lose nothing if wrong. However, if one chooses to believe that God does not exist, one stands to suffer eternally if the choice is wrong. Based on these options, the rational choice is to believe he exists.

I hope that many of you have found and will continue to find this series of posts helpful. If there is anyway to make this series more useful, please leave a comment or email me and let me know what would make this series more helpful. Please remember that I wasn’t writing a book, but a series of blog posts so there is a lot of information that I simply had to leave out concerning the universe, evolution, and the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Because I had to leave so much information out, if anyone has a question about something in any of the posts, please ask me and I will answer in a supplemental post if necessary. As always, if anyone would like to discuss these points further, I am more than happy to do so. Likewise, I didn’t cite any of my sources in the posts, but I will happily supply them upon request.

Links to other posts in this series:

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Come Check Out the New Look!

I know a lot of you recieve my posts in your readers and email, so I would like for you to visit the blog and let me know what you think about the new look. There is a poll on the right side of the page where you can voice your opinion or, as always, you are welcome to leave a comment and tell me exactly what you do/don't like about the new look.

Thanks in advance for your input--Mr. Hyde!
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Book Review: I Don't Have Enough Faith to be an Athiest

This book is excellent overall. It covers a wide range of issues that frequently arise in discussions among Christians, Atheists, and everyone in between. It begins discussing truth—particularly, is it knowable and objective or not? It moves forward into discussing the universe and how it came into existence. Some time is spent discussing evolution. Other important topics are covered as well, such as: the reliability of the Bible, the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and are the things we read about Jesus and the things he taught as recorded in the New Testament reliable and trustworthy.

Norman Geisler and Frank Turek do a good job of covering these issues with some depth in only 388 pages. The only critiques I would offer is that in some places they use some technical language (without explanation) that the average person reading wouldn’t understand without going and looking-up the meaning of the word(s). Other than that, this book really covers a good chunk of issues that Christians face and some questions that non-Christians ask. It is certainly worth reading.
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Proving the Existence of God, Part 5

We have now covered the two of the three points—the universe and evolution. Finding that the evidence was not able to falsify the existence of God, we now turn to the third line of falsification—the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

The resurrection of Jesus Christ is currently a subject of debate, and the debate has raged since the occurrence of the event around 2,000 years ago. This is important because of what is at stake. Jesus claimed to be God in the flesh, and therefore, his prediction of his death, burial, and resurrection is necessary to substantiate his claim to Deity.

The first subject of debate about the circumstances of the resurrection is whether or not he actually died on the cross. His death is a necessary prerequisite to the resurrection because if he did not die then he did not come back to life. It is prudent then to discuss the evidence that supports the actuality of Jesus’ death on the cross. Many, especially the Roman soldiers who conducted the crucifixion and were familiar with death, witnessed his death and concluded that he, in fact, died. His side was pierced to ensure that he was dead and Pilate double-checked to make sure he was dead after receiving Joseph’s request. Based upon this it is reasonable to conclude that Jesus in fact died physically and that he did not faint, pass out, or go into a comatose state.

The events after his death also ensure that he was dead. Upon receiving the body, Joseph, with the help of Nicodemus, wrapped it in about one hundred pounds of spices and linen cloth. After they completed this task, the tomb was officially sealed and placed under guard at the request of the Jewish authorities to ensure no one tampered with or stole the body. The stone would have required several men to remove it from the entrance and so rules out the possible accusation that the disciples stole the body because the commotion would have alerted the guards. Furthermore, the inability of the authorities to produce the body, which would have effectively ended the Christian movement, indicates that the tomb truly was empty; no one could dispute that fact.

The credibility of the New Testament documents is also raised as an objection to the events surrounding the resurrection of Jesus. The accounts of the New Testament documents, however, are substantiated by many extra-biblical sources. These sources include: Polycarp, Ignatius, Cornelius Tacitus, Lucian of Samosata, Flavius Josephus, Suetonis, Plinius Secundus (Pliny the Younger), Tertullian, Thallus (The Samaritan-born Historian), Phlegon (A First Century Historian), Letter of Mara Bar-Serapion, Justin Martyr, the Jewish Talmuds, Julius Africanus, Emperor Trajan, Hadrian, and Toledoth Jesu. All of these confirm the biblical account that Jesus lived, was crucified, died, and was buried. Not all confirm that he was raised to life, but all confirm the notion.

Yet this is not enough credible evidence to convince some of the resurrection of Christ. Even the credibility of the extra-biblical sources is called into question. The basis of this questioning is that historians of that time period were not concerned with getting the facts of historical events correct and often times skewed them to support their personal bias. This is not supported by what is known of the ancient historians. They often criticized one another for producing inaccurate accounts or accounts that could not be verified by witness testimony. It can reasonably be assumed that if the New Testament accounts of the events of Christ’s death were inaccurate that they would have incurred such criticism.

If Jesus’ resurrection is not sufficiently confirmed by the empty tomb, his post‑resurrection appearances supply this much-needed confirmation of the reality of his resurrection. There are twelve distinct recorded instances occurring over a forty-day time period in which Jesus collectively appeared to more than 500 people.

This collective evidence still causes problems for some atheists. This is demonstrated by Dawkins when he wrote, “Although Jesus probably existed, reputable biblical scholars do not in general regard the New Testament (and obviously not the Old Testament) as a reliable record of what actually happened in history, and I shall not consider the Bible further as evidence for any kind of deity.” This is following the absurd assertion that historical evidence is minimal that Jesus claimed any sort of divine status. The problem with the statement that Jesus never claimed to be God is directly opposed by Jesus and by his enemies. Both his enemies and his disciples understood him to be claiming deity. Likewise, no one ever produced Jesus body. Think about that for just a second. Don’t you know that the Jewish authorities would love to have produced Jesus body to prove that he was dead and, therefore, he was not “God” as he had claimed.

The current evidence supports the biblical account that Jesus was resurrected back to life. Jesus’ prediction about his death, burial, and resurrection was proved correct by the evidence. Therefore, this possible point of falsification also fails. In my next post I will summarize the evidence we have discussed and conclude this series.

Links to other posts in this series:

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Proving the Existence of God, Part 4

The last post in this series discussed the universe. Particularly, whether the universe is eternal or if it had a beginning. The evidence led to the conclusion that the universe did have a beginning. That left us with only two possible explanations as to what brought about that beginning: (1) It brought itself about and developed into what we see today, which is evolution or (2) it was created, which is intelligent design. It is to this point we turn in this post. Does the evidence support evolution or intelligent design?

Evolution is the theory that the origin of life and the progressive change of that life arrived through purely naturalistic means. The first and earliest requirement placed upon Darwin’s Theory of Evolution was by his colleagues. They deemed it necessary to provide empirical evidence to support the sequential pattern of nature proposed by Darwin. Even with all of the evolutionary work that has persisted since the nineteenth century, the hierarchal pattern of nature persists regardless of the infusion of the spirit of sequence and continuity. The argument has, therefore, come about that the hierarchal pattern of nature supports the evolutionary view. This simply is not the case. It is much easier to argue for organic evolution if nature presented itself in sequential patterns.

Another foundational evidence Darwin cited as support for his theory was homologous structures. Darwin defines this term in The Origin to avoid any confusion. The definition he gave is as follows: “The relationship between parts which results from their development from corresponding embryonic parts.” Genetic and embryological research has demonstrated that homologous structures arrive at the end result through different routes as discussed by Sir Gavin de Beer. This demonstrates that homologous structures are not what Darwin defined them to be. This deals a swift blow to the theory because the lack of homologous structures deems descent by modification unnecessary.

Darwin recognized one major area of weakness in his theory. This area of weakness was the fossil record. It could not be ignored that the lack of intermediate species in the fossil record was a flaw to evolution. However, Darwin and those that followed after him believed that the fossil record was not complete enough and that in the future it would bear out the evidence to support the theory. This is such an important area because it is the only physical evidence that will either lend support to the theory or provide evidence that it is indeed false.

A few considerations will reveal that the fossil record does not lend support to evolution currently or in the foreseeable future. First, looking at the total number of fossil species compared to the scarce number of morphological sequences (intermediates) contained therein reveals the lack of any convincing evidence of major transformations in the fossil record. Secondly, the fossil record is nearly complete. When one realizes that 261 of the 329 living terrestrial vertebrates occur as fossils, which yields 79.1% completeness of the fossil record, it becomes apparent that there is not a great disparity in the state of the fossil record. Furthermore, when birds are excluded from the above numbers, since they are poorly fossilized, the percentage rises to 87.8% completion of the fossil record. The argument that the fossil record is not complete enough to conclusively determine whether or not it supports evolution is merely wishful thinking.

Another area often used to support evolution’s claims is vestigial organs. This is the claim that there are organs in the human body that serve no function and can be removed without harm to the body. This argument fails at several points. To simply assume that the lack of harm from the removal of an organ indicates that it is useless neglects the possibility that other organs may compensate for the removal of that organ and that it simply is not feasible to measure any loss of function. Consider the kidneys. A person can have a kidney removed and not suffer serious loss, but they serve a function. In fact, one could actually argue that the loss of function of organs indicates devolving of life, which is the opposite of evolution.

Modern genetics research and the discovery of DNA pose another problem for evolution. Take this along with problems associated with abiogenesis (spontaneous generation), and evolution virtually becomes impossible to argue as a viable hypothesis. The prebiotic soup so often referred to as fact actually has no evidence to support it and in reality has much evidence opposing it. The conditions of earth’s early atmosphere did not consist of the correct elements to produce life and had several factors which led to a “catch 22” situation because if life did happen to arise spontaneously it would have almost immediately been destroyed. Furthermore, the laws of nature clearly define that life arises from life, not that living things arise from nonliving things going against the laws of nature and universal.

The DNA problem has actually caused one atheist to purport that “life in bacterial form may have been transmitted to this planet in a missile from some other part of space.” This does not solve the problem because it still begs the question: “Where did that life come from?” Evolution attempted to show how proteins, the building blocks of the cell and therefore life, arise from purely natural reactions. However, with the discovery of the role of DNA in producing those proteins in the cell, it is more necessary to determine the origin of the information contained in DNA than to determine the natural processes the DNA controls. This presents a conundrum to the evolutionists.

Evolutionists, in general, make the mistake of letting preconceived theories shape the evidence rather than letting the evidence shape the theory. In other words, they are like a fisherman who upon catching a large fish returned the fish to the pond. After watching this happen several times, an onlooker asked the man, “Why do you only keep the small fish and return the larger fish to the pond?” The man responded to the onlooker, “I only have an eight-inch frying pan, and so the larger ones won’t fit!” Simply put, the evidence that proponents of evolution cite does not support the conclusions that are drawn by the evolutionist, or the atheist for that matter.

The evidence does not necessarily prove intelligent design, but it does demonstrate that it better fits the evidence that we currently have about the beginning of the universe and the current state-of-affairs today. The only point left to discuss in this series is that of Jesus’ resurrection. The next post will tackle this topic.

Links to other posts in this series:

What'd you think?