GI-11: MIRACLES: FACT OR FICTION

The Bible is filled with miracles. From the creation to the second coming, from Moses at the burning bush to Daniel in the lions’ den to the Virgin Birth and the resurrection, miraculous happenings seem to fill the pages of Scripture. To the believer, these are a wonderful confirmation of the power and message of God, but to the unbeliever, miracles are a stumbling block—a proof that religion is just a bunch of fairy tales after all. In the world that he lives in, there is no divine intervention, no interruptions to the normal order; there is only natural law. Fire consumes when it burns; lions eat whatever is available; pregnancy only happens when male sperm unite with female ova, and the dead stay dead. As far as they are concerned, the miracles of the Bible could no more be true than Mother Goose. WHAT ARE MIRACLES? A miracle is divine intervention into, or interruption of, the regular course of the world that produces a purposeful but unusual event that would not have occurred otherwise. According to this definition, natural laws are understood to be the normal, regular way the world operates. But a miracle is a specific act which […]

GI-10: ARE THE GOSPELS RELIABLE EYEWITNESSES OF JESUS? Part 2

In the last article we explored the question of whether the alleged eyewitnesses of Jesus’ life were really present in the first place. In this article I’m going to investigate the question: “When were the gospels written?” There are many pieces of circumstantial evidence that form a compelling case for the early dating of the gospels. I’m going to give you seven, but the first two are especially powerful. Keep reading. Seven Evidences for the Early Dating of the Gospels: 1.  The New Testament Fails to Describe the Destruction of the Temple. A hugely significant event in Jewish history was the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem by the Romans in AD 70. Led by general Vespasian, who later became emperor, the Roman army was sent to Jerusalem to put down a Jewish rebellion in AD 66. It was an extremely brutal war with an estimated 100,000 Jews killed or taken into slavery in the northern region of Galilee alone. But even before the temple was destroyed, Jerusalem was put under siege and surrounded by Roman soldiers. After many battles and skirmishes, eventually the soldiers broke through the city walls and set fire to the city and the temple. You […]

GI-9: ARE THE GOSPELS RELIABLE EYEWITNESSES OF JESUS? Part 1

In the last article I looked at some non-Christian and Christian extra-biblical sources that all mention Jesus. There are ten non-Christian sources who mention Jesus within 150 years of his life, death, and resurrection. By way of contrast, over that same 150-year period, there are only 9 non-Christian sources that mention Tiberius, the Roman emperor at the time of Jesus. So, Jesus is mentioned by one more non-Christian source than the emperor Tiberius. Some of the non-Christian sources are not just non-Christian, they are anti-Christian, such as the writings of Tacitus and the Jewish Talmud (the Babylonian Talmud). Whenever those writers mention Jesus or Christians, it is clearly with an anti-Christian tone. However, we learn from the ten non-Christian sources that they admit to a number of facts about early Christianity that help us piece together a storyline that is strikingly similar to what we learn in the New Testament. A few months ago, I was an eyewitness to a car accident. A pick-up truck going south on a four-lane city street turned left in front of a northbound car which struck the truck broadside. I immediately pulled over to help anyone who might have been injured and stayed around […]

GI-8: WHAT IS GOD LIKE? (Part 1)

How would you answer the question, “What is God like?” If someone sincerely asked, how would you answer them? For Christians, that’s an important question because in order to answer it, we must at least have an idea of who God is and what he is like. Attempting to answer that question will be the topic of the next few articles. Obviously, that’s a huge undertaking and I will barely make a very tiny scratch in the surface of this topic. A.W. Tozer, a pastor and Bible scholar from a century ago, wrote in his classic book, “The Knowledge of the Holy,” “Were we able to extract from any man a complete answer to the question, “What comes into your mind when you think about God?” we might predict with certainty the spiritual future of that man.” He continues, “That our idea of God corresponds as nearly as possible to the true being of God is of immense importance to us. Compared with our actual thoughts about Him, our creedal statements are of little consequence. Our real idea of God may lie buried under the rubbish of conventional religious notions and may require an intelligent and vigorous search before it […]

GI-6: IS JESUS FOR REAL? (Part 1)

Introduction In previous articles I gave three arguments for the existence of God. So, it seemed to me that the next logical step would be to talk about Jesus. It seems hard to believe, but there are still some people who believe that Jesus never existed. So, in the article I will explore the question, “Is Jesus For Real?” Did he really exist? For the overwhelming majority of historians, Christian and non-Christian, atheist and agnostic, there is no doubt that the man named Jesus (or Yeshua) from a village called Nazareth did, in fact, live in 1st century Israel. Many may not agree that he was born of a virgin, did miracles, that he rose from the dead or that he was the Son of God. But they would agree that he existed. Case closed, right? Not so fast. Today, due to the rise of the internet and a generation of people who gather much of their information from there, a growing number of people now claim that Jesus never existed. Even though the medium is new, this is an old argument that has been answered many times before. It’s just in a new package. The works of Jesus deniers […]

GI-5: THE ARGUMENT FOR GOD FROM THE EXISTENCE OF AN OBJECTIVE MORAL LAW

Introduction: “That’s Not Fair!” If you have ever been around kids at all you have, no doubt, heard this: “That’s not fair!” As a parent of four kids and now a grandparent, I’ve heard that many times. In fact, if we’re being honest, we have all said that. And more than likely you have heard, or said, this response: “Life’s not fair. Get over it.” But I honestly don’t recall sitting down and teaching my children a specific lesson on fairness. “Okay, kids, we’re going to talk about fairness and why it’s important to be fair.” But over the years all of us have taught our kids various lessons of morality at appropriate times. But where does that sense of fairness or unfairness comes from? Where did it begin? The moral argument begins with the fact that all people recognize some moral code. We all have a sense that some things are right and some things are wrong. In fact, we have learned that even the most remote tribes who have been cut off from the rest of civilization, observe a moral code. Although differences exist in some areas, there are some things that are universal. Where did that come […]

GI-4: THE ARGUMENT FOR GOD FROM THE FINE-TUNING OF THE UNIVERSE (Part 2)

One sunny Fall morning, my wife was driving home from a visit to our daughter’s house in Illinois and was admiring the beautiful fall colors along the interstate. It was an especially windy day with winds blowing study at 40 to 50 mph and gusts much stronger. As she was driving, her attention was drawn to one particular tree, kind of off by itself, decked out in beautiful colors. The bright sunlight backlit the beautiful gold and orange leaves. Suddenly a powerful gust of wind blasted all the leaves off in a few seconds. She described it as an explosion of color like she had never seen before. As I wrote in the last article, theoretical physicist, Stephen Hawking wrote: “The odds against a universe like ours emerging out of something like the Big Bang are enormous. I think there are clearly religious implications.” Elsewhere he said, “It would be very difficult to explain why the universe would have begun in just this way except as the act of a God who intended to create beings like us.” (Italics mine) Dr. Hawking did not believe in the God of the Bible. According to science there are 122 constants that are […]

GI-3: THE ARGUMENT FOR GOD FROM THE FINE-TUNING OF THE UNIVERSE (Part 1)

Introduction Who doesn’t enjoy watching a beautiful sunrise or sunset, a beautiful landscape, or a field of wildflowers in full bloom? Or how about majestic mountains, or the power of the oceans crashing against a rocky shore? Have you ever gotten away from the city lights to go out in the countryside and just look up and gaze at the stars on a clear night? And there’s nothing like watching a distant thunderstorm slowly roll toward you across Lake Michigan and the spectacular lightning show that accompanies it. Then there’s the tranquility of a quiet walk in the woods as you revel in the beauty all around you. It’s all just so spectacular and amazing. How did it get there? In the previous two articles I wrote about the existence of the universe as an argument for the existence of God. This is also known as the cosmological argument. I asked a number of questions, but two of them in particular are: first, does the cosmological argument provide us with evidence that God exists? And second, is God the most reasonable explanation for how the universe began? I concluded that there is powerful circumstantial evidence which points us in the […]

GI-2: THE ARGUMENT FOR GOD FROM THE EXISTENCE OF THE UNIVERSE (Part 2)

Does the existence of the universe provide us with clues that point in the direction of the existence of God? Of old you laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. (Psalm 102:25) The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. (Psalm 19:1) Do the heavens declare the glory of God? In the previous article, using the so-called “cosmological argument” for the existence of God, I addressed the first premise that whatever begins to exist must have a cause for its existence. This is consistent with the law of cause and effect. Nothing that has ever begun to exist did so without a cause. Science itself operates on the principle that all events need a cause, which brings us to Premise 2: The universe began to exist. To understand this premise better, I want to look at four scientific facts supporting the second premise: the universe began to exist. Do these four scientific facts offer evidence that the universe had a beginning? Scientific Fact #1: The Theory of General Relativity Over a century ago, Einstein discovered the general theory of relativity which stated that the universe—defined as […]

GI-1: THE ARGUMENT FOR GOD FROM THE EXISTENCE OF THE UNIVERSE (Part 1)

When you look around at the night sky, what do you see? Have you ever seen the Aurora Borealis? Imagine if you could travel through the universe and see it all like it really is. That would be amazing. Psalm 19:1-2 says, The heavens declare the glory of God,      and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours out speech,      And night to night reveals knowledge. Is there anyone out there? It there a Creator God? If the atheist is right about the non-existence of God, then there are no eternal consequences for what we do in this life. Let us eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die. If there is no God, as atheists argue, we’re just wasting our breath. But, if that’s true then for the Christian all that we have done in this life is point people to a source of love, forgiveness, mercy, hope, peace, well-being, joy, etc. In essence…a better life. What’s wrong with that? It’s my breath to waste, isn’t it? On the other hand, if there is a God…well, that changes things. I asked an atheist I know, “If you’re wrong about there being no […]