Judgement Day

Have you ever wondered what Judgement Day will be like?

Look around you, for you are living in it. The decisions you make today, the choices to follow Christ in word and deed, or to deny Him with your actions, will be the action replay you will see as your fate is decided.

In Eastern thought, there is the saying that “there is only one moment, and it is now“.

And there is only one salvation…and it, too, is now.


Of Mice, Men, and God

I have a friend with a “mouse problem”.

Extraordinary weather has swelled the rodent population, and they have come into his house in search of food. They are quite brazen, and, since they carry disease, they must be killed.

My friend is no stranger to killing. He does not speak of his military service in time of undeclared war, but I know enough to know that he has done the necessary.

But he is troubled by this, the killing of mice.

“I have to look into their faces when I remove them from the traps,” he said. “And I see something I would rather not contemplate. I see individuality of expression that leads me to think that God lovingly created each mouse, not in His image, but in His delight.”

I tried to address this. “They are merely mice.”

“And are we merely men, Surpreet? Or did God breathe something special into us?”

“Of course He did. He gave us souls.”

“And how are we to know that the mouse is not possessed of a soul?”

“Scripture says…” But there I had to stop, because it is an issue on which Scripture is silent. We men have souls, but to ue that positive to define a near universal negative – to say that we are specifically said to have souls because we are unique – does not logically follow.

My friend will continue to kill the mice, and He will continue to be troubled. I suspect he says a short prayer for every rodent he kills.

And I will think long and hard on this question. We judge our inferiors and casually kill them when their presence is inconvenient.

Inferiors created with obvious care and love by God, Who may have been charmed by their antics.

We may have much to learn, and we may not have as long as we would like to learn it.


Is Grace a Free Pass?

As Christians, we are saved. Grace has covered us, and has delivered us from the sins we have committed, and from those we may yet commit.

But what is this Grace? Is it a free pass that allows us to do as we like, with no worry of the consequences?

Before answering “no, of course not!”…check your own heart, and your history.

If you are a man, here is the simplest question – did you make the choice to look lustfully on a woman, not your wife, since you accepted Christ?

Did not the act of making the choice treat Grace, and Christ’s sacrifice, as a free pass, meaning you could step over the line without worry?

Is this the kind of behaviour for which your Saviour was tormented?

What do you think?


Is Tithing an Investment?

It has become popular to think of tithing as something of an investment – for every dollar we give to God, He will give us some kind of return.

There is Scripture that seems to support this. The Parable of the Sower is most often invoked, in connection with “seed giving”.

We are also reminded that we will be given as we give, and that God loves a cheerful giver.

I am afraid that the use of the Parable of the Sower can be disposed of quite easily; a careful reading indicates that the “seed” is the Word of God. To extend it to money is insupportable.

But the Scriptures on giving are quite plain, and they do promise a return – of some kind – for giving.

But tithing is not giving. The closest analogy is a tax that we owe God.

Giving beyond the tithe is a choice, and in making this choice, we may decide how much to give, and we choose our demeanor – cheerful or grudging.

But the in rendering the tithe, our feelings are unimportant. It is an obligation, and while a cheerful heart would surely be to our benefit, it is not a requirement.

The act, itself, is.

And it is not, therefore, any more of an investment that is an income tax. The tithe is a sacrifice.

Inferring, even slightly, that there is something material to be gained from the tithe is to undermine its purpose, and to defeat its intended meaning in our lives.


Christian Sex – Second Part

Paul said it is better to marry than to burn, though there are some, I am sure, who would have preferred literal immoslation…

But I digress.

Paul’s point in Corinthians, when he discusses physical intimacy, is that it is something without which no marriage is complete, and that faith and perceived ‘holiness’ cannot be used as an excuse for the decorous avoidance of sex.

He is quite clear – a husband and wife can have periods ‘apart’ for mutually agreed prayer and fasting, but they must come together again.

Willingly and wholeheartedly. There is no alternative given.

It is often quoted that “our bodies are not our own, but belong to our spouses”, but that rather misses the point. Our bodies are ideally a channel through which an aspect of God’s love can flow between wife and husband.

The three legs of a marriage are the spiritual, the emotional, and the physical. As for a stool, three legs give stability.

And yet, this analogy also falls short, because it implies a separateness of components. It is much more like water, whose three components are two atoms of hydrogen, and one of oxygen.

Take away an atom of hydrogen, and you have hydrogen peroxide. It is wet, but it is not water.

Take away the oxygen atom, and you have hydrogen gas. At room temperature, it is not water, nor is it wet. It is, however, explosive.

God designed us carefully indeed, that we might delight Him, but also that we might delight His created consorts.

People such as the spouses we have chosen, and from whom we cannot withold ourselves, in any way.


Christian Sex – First Part

Christianity has some fairly simple guidelines for sexual behaviour – much easier to navigate than the maze of modern morals.

If you are married, you are obligated to have sexual relations with your spouse (except for brief and specific periods of prayer and fasting which have been mutually agreed upon).

If you are unmarried, sexual activity is forbidden.

While there are those who would try to paint this as a sort of ‘holiness’, it is really quite practical, and based in sound psychology that benefits the individual, the couple, and society.

Today, let us speak of sex outside marriage. *We will leave out the arguments concerning STDs and out-of-wedlock births, as they are so obvious and so well known as to need no further exposition here.)

Sexuality invokes both the body and the soul, and has the potential, even at brief exposure, to completely change a relationship. A casual friendship which becomes sexual can never return to its previous state, and someone is probably going to get hurt along the new path.

Modern thinkers will point to this, and say that we have not yet been well-indoctrinated – we should treat sex as a base physical appetite, and partake to slake that appetite, with no repercussions.

This can be done; I have spoken with those for whom sex is essentially meaningless outside a momentary enjoyment.

However, they have lost the capacity to enjoy a physical relationship on a deeper basis. Those that have married speak of a dissociation from their spouse, and a sense of dissatisfaction at being limited to one partner.

One hates to use the term perverted…but this is a way to pervert the sexual gift that God has given us.

The ban on sex outside marriage is not meant to take away ‘fun’. It is intended to protect individuals from sorrow, and from the destruction of a unique physical bonding that can and should best be enjoyed exclusively in marriage.


Can We Lose Salvation?

This question has been debated for centuries…so I suppose I may be permitted a brief opinion.

The commonly held view is that we lose salvation by apostasy, and certainly that is supported in Scripture – a deliberate turning away from Christ is a fatal act.

However…I would posit that while we may not deliberately renounce Christ, our daily actions often amount to a total renunciation of all that He is.

So many of us lie. We exaggerate our successes or our hurts to gain accolades or attention.

We cheat. We may sell some items for more than their purchase price on eBay, but as long as the sums are modest, the IRS does not typically question our figures…so we may invent a loss, or a more modest profit that we actually derived.

We lust. The television programmes we watch cater to the development of lustful thoughts, but we do not turn away.

Would we do this if Christ were watching?

No, but we assume He isn’t watching. It’s a tacit assumption that He isn’t there, at least when we’f rather He not be.

I think we are denying Him, far more seriously than we know.

And we risk much.


God’s Strange Choice

There is no accounting for taste. Even that of God.

He created a world chock-a-block with wilful, wayward, and contentious people who would reject Him at the drop of a hat.

Why would He do such a thing? Why did he not create a creature with a preference for meekness, a habit of holiness, and a heart for generosity?

Perhaps it is the difference between cubic zirconia and diamonds. Cubic zirconia is man-made, cheap, and optically flawless. It is beautiful, and virtually indistinguishable from diamond even at close inspection.

Diamonds are rare, and often flawed. They must be worked, with the attendant risk of fatal fracture.

Diamonds are expensive. Cubic zirconia is not.

Perhaps the rarity of our good qualities, our obvious faults, and the difficulties in working us to “gem quality” are precisely why we are here. Perhaps the ordeal we must face as we go from a raw crystal hidden in dirt to Heaven’s consort is that which is needed to turn something little better (and often worse) than an animal into a fit companion for God’s eternity.

Perhaps part of that gemcutting process is the use of a “diamond saw” on the raw diamond. Perhaps it is the help that we flawed gems must offer one another.

God could have made it all perfect and holy.

But He wanted us.


Answers to Atheists

One of the interesting – and disconcerting – things about atheists is their position that believers are credulous of events and concepts that are both unlikely and unproven, while the main tenet of their belief – that there is no God (or any supernatural presence) is fundamentally and forever beyond proof.

This does not seem to trouble them. They live in a ‘rational’ world that is explained by science, logic, and simple observation. The supernatural can safely be ignored, as it does not register on their senses.

Unfortunately, they are living in a lie, or at least a grave misconception.

Let us begin by asking an atheist about the nature of the chair in which he sits. What, pray tell, is it?

A chair. Made of wood.

Ah. Is it solid?

Of course.

But, you see, a chair is anything but solid. It is made of atoms (mainly carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen) which are in turn made up of electrons, protons, and neutrons. These can be further subdivided, but we already have gotten small enough.

In comparison to the size of an atom, the particles which make it up are very, very small. An atom is far more than 99%…empty space.

What makes it “solid”, of course, are the bonds between the subatomic particles, and the bonds between the atoms themselves. Far stronger than magnetism, these nuclear forces give materials the properties that we observe, from solidity to texture to colour.

The chair is not solid, but unless we have the instruments to perform the analysis, we can never know.

A simpler example involves radio waves. A person ignorant of the electromagnetic spectrum, and not possessing a radio, would never know that the very air around him is filled with voices and music.

Our experience deceives us. Our experience is not ‘rational’; and neither is our science, because it butts up against limits in both knowledge and technology.

I think you can see from these examples the inherent fallacy in stating that there is no God, because His existence cannot be proven, and violates natural law.

To address the first point, we turn to logic, and the axiom that the absence of evidence can never be taken as evidence of absence.

To address the second point, we do not know natural law. We have theories, some of which fit the observed world quite well, but these are only models, and are not reality.

In the last post we looked at the issues involved with Newton’s Laws of Motion. Again, they work beautifully in the observed world, and can reliably be used to design everything from toasters to spaceships.

But drop to the atomic level, or expand to the galactic level…and investigate what happens near the speed of light…and a different picture emerges.

It is called Relativity.

Relativistic equations of motion accurately predict that space itself is distorted by gravitational forces, and bends light around a star (this distortion allow one to see a distant star hidden behind the Sun, and this has been observed). It predicts that time slows down as the speed of light is approached (also measured), and that the length of an object, measured in the direction of motion, decreases.

Yes, it really does get shorter near the speed of light.

We could use relativistic equations for everyday life if they were not so fearsomely complicated. As it stands, Newton’s equations work well enough…even though we know these ‘laws’ to be untrue.

And is relativity the end of the story?

Probably not. It is a model, after all, and not reality.

The atheist believes what he chooses to believe. But do not for a moment let him turn you head with talk of ‘facts’.

Answer him with the unprovable nature of his basic premise, and unmask his position for what it really is – and article of faith, a belief based upon a personal preference.


The Flaw in Secular Humanism

Secular humanism has received great media attention in the past few years, and has been used as a base point from which attacks on Christianity (and other religions) have been launched.

It’s therefore important for persons of faith to understand what the mission of secular humanists actually is…and how to refute their basic premise.

This ‘mission statement’ comes from the Facebook page maintained by the Evansville Secular Humanists:

Our mission is to promote secular humanism and related viewpoints; to develop and support a secular humanist community focused on individual, group, and societal betterment; to promote science and rational thought; to provide opportunities for learning, socializing, and activism; to encourage positive secular humanist culture; to defend the first amendment principle of church-state separation; to oppose discrimination against secular humanists (and the like); and to work with other organizations in pursuit of common goals.

The flaw is found in the middle of the paragraph, and that is the dependence on ‘science and rational thought‘.

Science is something of a moving target. That which was considered absolute scientific truth a century ago, or in some cases a decade ago, is now seen as untrue.

And many of today’s scientific ‘truths’ will be disproven.

Why? Because science is not truth. Science gives us a model of how the world works, but that model is not reality.

Sir Issac Newton developed laws of motion that we still use today, to describe how objects move. But his laws are wrong. At very high speeds, close to the speed of light, Newtonian mechanics breaks down.

It works at ‘our’ speeds because the answers it gives are close enough. But if it;s not applicable under all physical conditions, it’s fundamentally wrong. Period. Fullstop.

The theory of Evolution is another case in point – for evolution has never been observed save in the fossil record, which is very incomplete. The conditions which preserved fossils are rare, and while a model could be – and was – developed to allow evolutionary development, there is no unambiguous proof.

To depend on science is to build one’s house on a winter-frozen lake. The foundation will, assuredly, melt.

Rational thought is another rather attractive concept which does not hold up. Rationalism refers to discourse based solely on that which can be proved, without appeals to the supernatural.

The problem here is that it demands the a priori exclusion of the supernatural, which is an unprovable point. This exclusionary demand based on disbelief in the transcendent is in itself an article of faith.

Rational thought is therefore self-contradictory.

I do not have anything against atheists or secular humanists, as long as they hold their faith to themselves. I do pity them.

But I do not want to live in a society they have defined. They say they do not want to live in a theocracy, but that is a lie.

They want to be the gods.