6 thoughts on “The heart of the matter”

  1. FASCINATING FACTS CONCERNING THE BIBLE

    William Albright (1891 – 1971). Once a director of the School of Oriental Research at Johns Hopkins University, William Albright wrote more than 800 books and articles, mostly on the validity of biblical manuscripts. He is best known for his work in confirming the authenticity of the Old Testament, and especially the authentication of the Dead Sea scrolls.

    Albright also researched and confirmed the dating of the writings of the New Testament. His conclusion was that there was “no longer any solid basis for dating any book of the New Testament after about A.D. 80.” Early in his professional life, Albright had some doubts about the validity of biblical claims about Jesus. These, however, were answered conclusively in favor of the authenticity of the Bible as he conducted his research.

    Sir William Ramsay (1852-1916). Sir William Ramsay was, arguably the greatest archaeologist of his day. He had rejected much of the written New Testament account and was determined to prove it false based on other writings of the day that contradicted the Bible. Ramsay believed that the books of Luke and Acts were actually written in about A.D. 150 and therefore did not bear the authenticity that first-century document would. His archaeological journeys took him to 32 countries, 44 cities, and 9 islands. Throughout some 15 years of intensive study, he concluded that “Luke is a historian of the first rank, this author should be placed along with the very greatest of historians.”

    What Critics Thought
    • There was no Roman census (as indicated in Luke 2:1).

    What Ramsay Discovered: There was a Roman census every 14 years, beginning with Emperor Augustus.

    • Quirinius was not governor of Syria at the time of Jesus’ birth (as indicated in Luke 2:2).
    What Ramsay Discovered: Quirinius was governor of Syria in about 7 B.C.

    • People did not have to return to their ancestral home (as indicated in Luke 2:3).
    What Ramsay Discovered: People did have to return to their home city, verified by an ancient Egyptian papyrus giving directions for conducting a census.

    • The existence of the treasurer of the city of Corinth, Erastus (Romans 16:23), was incorrect.
    What Ramsay Discovered: A city pavement in Corinth bearing the inscription “Erastus, curator of public buildings, laid this pavement at his own expense.”

    • Luke’s reference to Gallio as proconsul of Achaia was wrong (Acts 18:12).
    What Ramsay Discovered: The Delphi inscription that reads, “As Lucius Junius Gallio, my friend and proconsul of Achaia.”

    Time and time again Ramsay’s search to find evidence that Luke’s writing was in error turned up evidence that it was, in fact, accurate. As a result, Sir William Ramsay eventually converted to Christianity proclaimed Luke as “one of the greatest historians” of all time.

    Simon Greenleaf (1783-1853) Greenleaf, (former Atheist), one of the principle founders of the Harvard Law School, and a world-renowned expert on evidence, originally set out to disprove the biblical testimony concerning the resurrection of Jesus Christ. He was certain that a careful examination of the internal witness of the Gospels would dispel all the myths at the heart of Christianity. But this legal scholar came to the conclusion that the witnesses were reliable, and that the resurrection did in fact happen. Being a man of conviction and reason, and in accordance with his conclusions, Greenleaf converted from Agnosticism to Christianity.

    Ralph Muncaster, (former atheist) in his book: Examine the Evidence, presents extensive evidence to validate the truth-claims of Christianity. He provides compelling arguments from science, biblical prophecy, history, and archaeology. This former skeptic points out that of all religions and philosophies on earth, only one, Christianity is verifiable and testable.

    1,456 hours of Sunday school and church turned Ralph Muncaster into a hard-core atheist. Then he was challenged to honestly investigate the Bible and the facts of modern science. He was stunned. Fact after fact, from biology, history, archaeology, physics, lined up with the Bible’s account!

    The Bible Itself Argues Against the Possibility of Its Corruption

    The charge that the Bible has been corrupted, contradicts what the Bible itself teaches. After all, in Isaiah 40:8 we read, “The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands for ever.” In the New Testament Jesus says, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away” (Matthew 24:35).

    The Almighty God who had the power and sovereign control to inspire the Scriptures in the first place is surely going to continue to exercise His power and sovereign control in the preservation of Scripture.

  2. Science and the Bible: Cosmos and Creator

    By Mark Eastman, M.D.

    They have been called the two greatest questions that face mankind: Does God exist, and if He does, what is His nature? Since the time of the ancient Greek philosophers, the answer to these questions have been sought by examining the nature of the universe and its life forms.

    The Cosmos

    When Albert Einstein published the first of his relativity theories in 1905, he shocked the physics community with a staggering new view of space, time, matter and energy. Though he did not know it at the time, his theories provide dramatic insights into the attributes of the Creator of the cosmos.

    Among other things, what Einstein’s theories revealed was that the flow of time and the structure of space were relative to the velocity, mass and acceleration of the observers. That is, their observed values were not fixed: they were relative.

    For thousands of years, scientists and philosophers believed that time was nothing more than an abstract notion, conceived in the minds of men, and used to describe the change seen in the physical world. Time, it was believed, was not a thing, it was a mental contrivance. Einstein showed that this was wrong. Time, Einstein showed, was “plastic.” That is, it is a physical property of the universe, and that the observed rate that time flows depends on the physical conditions present at the measuring device.

    Several years after Einstein’s theories were published, astronomer Willem de Sitter found a mathematical error in Einstein’s equations. When corrected, he found a startling mathematical prediction buried within his equations: The universe was finite! Space-time, matter, and energy had a beginning.

    In his book, It’s About Time, popular author and physicist Paul Davies remarks on this incredible discovery.

    Modern scientific cosmology in the most ambitious enterprise of all to
    emerge from Einstein’s work. When scientists began to explore the
    implications of Einstein’s time for the universe as a whole, they made
    one of the most important discoveries in the history of human thought:
    that time, and hence all physical reality, must have had a definite origin
    in the past. If time is flexible and mutable, as Einstein demonstrated, then
    tt is possible for time to come into existence, and also to pass away again;
    there can be a beginning and an end of time. (Paul Davies, It’s About Time,
    Touchstone Books/Simon and Schuster, 1995, pg. 17.)

    The Skeptic

    I recently had an opportunity to speak on the origin of life at a major public university in Southern California. In attendance were a number of professors who are self-described agnostics. During the question period, one of the professors admitted that the evidence is compelling that the universe was indeed finite. He said that while he could not believe in God (because he couldn’t see Him, or study Him scientifically) he said he did believe that someday scientists would discover a law that would explain the origin and order of the universe and its life forms.

    After pointing out that he had just expressed faith, the belief in things unseen, but hoped for, I asked him if he believed that the laws of physics, which work in our space-time domain, also had a beginning. He was forced to concede that they did because they would have no place to act before the space-time domain existed.

    The final blow came when I asked him if he then believed that some “law” of physics could explain the origin of the laws of physics! He saw the point: The laws of physics cannot be the cause of the laws of physics! The cause of the universe and its laws must be independent of the space-time domain, exactly as the Bible claimed 3,500 years earlier!

    Apostle Paul’s statement regarding the attributes of God being discerned by an examination of the nature of the universe is quite staggering, considering the state of scientific knowledge in the first century A.D. At that time it was commonly believed that the universe was eternal. In the face of that commonly held bias, the Bible clearly taught that the universe was finite, and the Creator is independent of time and space, exactly as 20th century cosmology suggests.

    In the Beginning God created the heavens and the earth… Genesis 1:1
    …God, (v.9) who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not
    according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace
    which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began.
    2 Timothy 1:8-9

    …in hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before
    time began. Titus 1:2

    The finiteness of space-time not only points to a Creator who is independent of the cosmos, but it also gives us insight into the minimum resume of such a Being.

    The Uncaused Cause

    In my discussion with the agnostic professors, I asked them to give me the caveat, for the sake of my next argument, that God did indeed exist. They agreed. I then asked them what would be the minimum “resume” of such a Being. Remarkably, they were quite insightful in their deductions. They quickly recognized that such a Being would not only have to be independent of space-time, but must also be incredibly powerful, incredibly intelligent and able to act unencumbered, simultaneously inside and outside the time domain. Remarkably, without recognizing it, they had described the resume of the Creator as revealed in the Biblical text!

    Among other things, the law of cause and effect asserts that a cause is always greater than its effect. Applied to the cosmos it means that the Creator must be more powerful than all the energy stored in all the stars in all the galaxies in the entire universe. Physicists believe that there are at least 1080 particles in the universe. Einstein’s famous equation, E=mc2 indicates that the energy stored in the mass of the universe is equal to the mass times the speed of light squared! From this perspective, the Creator must be an all-powerful, omnipotent Being. This very attribute is credited to God throughout the Bible’s text.

    Ah Lord GOD! Behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy
    great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for
    thee. Jeremiah 32:17

    Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh: is there anything too hard
    for me? Jeremiah 32:27

    In my discussion with the professors even they admitted that all the chemists, molecular biologists and physicists in the world combined have been unable to create a DNA molecule from raw elements: hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, carbon, phosphorus, etc. Moreover, molecular biologists admit that living cells are metabolic machines which are vastly more complicated than any machine made by mankind. They agreed in principle that the nature of these cellular “machines” would require a Being possessing unfathomable intelligence. Such a Being would be, from our limited perspective, an all-knowing, omniscient Creator. Throughout the Bible’s text God is described in such terms. For example, in Jeremiah 1:5, God’s omniscience is illustrated in his foreknowledge of the prophet even before he was born:

    Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I
    sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations. Jeremiah 1:5

    The infinite knowledge of God is proclaimed in 1 John 3:20 and in Psalm 147:5:

    For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knows
    all things 1 John 3:20

    Great is our Lord, and mighty in power; his understanding is infinite.
    Psalm 147:5

    Finally, if our space-time domain is the direct creation of God, then once he created the cosmos, in order to organize and uphold the galaxies, solar systems and its life forms, the Creator must be able to act simultaneously, inside and outside the space time domain. This attribute we call omnipresence. This too is an attribute that is ascribed to God throughout the Bible’s text.

    Am I a God near at hand,” says the LORD,”And not a God afar off? Can
    anyone hide himself in secret places, So I shall not see him?” says the
    LORD; “Do I not fill heaven and earth?” says the LORD. Jeremiah 23:23-24

    For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in
    the midst of them. Matthew 18:20

  3. Positive Defense of the Christian Perspective

    The Trustworthiness of the New Testament

    1 The New Testament has better manuscript evidence than any other ancient book.

    a. There are over 5,000 New Testament manuscripts and portions of manuscripts. By comparison, the majority of classical works have less than 20 manuscripts.

    b. The dates of the New Testament manuscripts are close to the original writings. One Gospel fragment (Ryland’s) dates about 25 years after the Gospel of John and most of the New Testament (Chester Beatty and Bodmer Papyri) from 50-150 years after the originals. Most classical works date from 700 – 1400 years after the originals.

    c. None of the canonical New Testament is lost or missing. By comparison, 107 of Livy’s 142 books of history have been lost and about one half of Tacitus’ 30 books of Annals and Histories is missing.
    2. Good arguments can be given that each of the Gospels was either written by an eyewitness, or significantly influenced by firsthand testimony, as recognized by many contemporary scholars.
    3. Even without proving eyewitness authorship, the Gospels measure up well by normal historical standards used in ancient historiography.
    4. The Gospel are trustworthy sources, as explained by A.M. Hunter
    a. These Christian authors, like their Jewish counterparts, were careful to preserve traditional material.
    b. The Gospels are close to eyewitness sources.
    c. The Gospel authors were honest reporters.
    d. The picture of Jesus presented in the four Gospels is virtually the same (see Archibald M. Hunter, Bible and Gospel, pp. 32-37).
    5. The Gospels and Acts exhibit a specific interest in reporting historical facts, not mythology. This is especially the case when the life of Jesus is reported.
    6. Contemporary historians frequently opposed the application of radical criticism to New Testament studies. According to A.N. Sherwin-White and Michael Grant, such attacks fail at a number of crucial points (see A.N. Sherman-White, Roman Society, pp. 186-193; Grant, Jesus: An Historian Review, pp. 179-184, 199-201).
    a. Numerous ancient works exhibit intentions and methodologies similar to that of the New Testament authors, and yet these ancient works are well accredited as historical works.
    b. There are no ancient writings in the category that radical critics place the Gospels.
    c. New Testament books such as Acts have been largely confirmed by external test of historicity.
    7. The Gospel and Acts were recognized as inspired books almost immediately after being written (see J.B. Lightfoot, The Apostolic Fathers).
    a. 1 Timothy 5:18 quotes Luke 10:7 and refers to it as “Scripture.”
    b. Clement of Rome (about AD 95) speaks of the “Gospel” and quotes portions found in all three synoptic Gospels, referring to them as the words of Jesus (Corinthians 13,46).
    c. Ignatius (Smyrnaeans 3) and Polycarp (Philippians 2, 7), both writing about AD 115, refer to verses in the synoptic Gospels as the words of Christ.
    8. Paul’s epistles were also recognized as inspired Scripture almost immediately after being written.
    a. 2 Peter 3:15-16 calls Paul’s epistles “Scripture.”
    b. Clement of Roman (Corinthians 47), Ignatius (Ephesians 10; to Polycarp 5), and Polycarp (Philippians 1,3-4, 6) all refer to Paul’s writings as inspired.

    B. The Historicity of Jesus

    1. The trustworthy Gospels (A above) exhibit much interest in the historical Jesus and give accurate accounts of his life, death, and resurrection.
    2. Numerous pre- and extra biblical sources record much ancient testimony concerning Jesus within 125 years after his death.
    a. Early Christian creeds that pre-date the New Testament, as well as the historical facts that virtually all critical scholars admit, provide an extremely strong case for the death and resurrection of Jesus.
    b. Archaeology contributes a few finds that illuminate and provide background for Jesus’ career, such as the crucifixion victims investigated by archaeologist Vasilius Tzaferis, “Jewish Tombs At and Near Giv’at ha- Mivtar,” Israel Exploration Journal 20 (1970), pp. 38-59.

    Also the Shroud of Turin (Historically proclaimed to be the actual burial garment of Jesus). See Ian Wilson, The Shroud of Turin (New York: Doubleday, 1978, also see John Heller, Report on the Shroud of Turin (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1983), especially chapters 12-14.

    d. Secular historians (e.g. Cornelius Tacitus, Gaius Suetonius Tranquillas), government officials (e.g. Piny the Younger, Emperor Trajan), religious works (e.g. The Talmud, Toledoth Jesu, and other sources report many details about Jesus from non-Christian viewpoints.
    e. Ancient Christian sources preserve a number of historical statements about Jesus (e.g. Clement of Rome, Ignatius, Justin Martyr).
    4. To reject Jesus’ miracles a priori is to ignore correct inductive procedure where all the facts are investigated before a decision is made.
    5. To reject Jesus’ doctrinal teachings a priori as valid for today is to pick and choose portions of the Gospels. Further, If Jesus was raised from the dead, there is, at a minimum, some implied significance for Jesus’ teachings, as well.
    6. Without a significant historical basis in the life of Jesus, Christianity would have had no impetus for its origins.
    7. Jesus died on the cross, as indicated by several facts.
    a. The nature of crucifixion, including the discovery of Yohanan’s skeleton, reveals both the nature and assurance of death by this method.
    b. The explanation of Jesus’ heart wound indicates that it would have killed him even if he had been alive.
    c. The death of Jesus is the most recorded event in ancient, non-Christian history.
    d. The trustworthy Gospels give accurate accounts of Jesus’ death.
    8. After his death, Jesus was raised bodily and appeared to his followers.
    a. Naturalistic hypothesis that have sought to explain in normal terms the supernatural element of Jesus’ resurrection have failed to do so, chiefly because they are refuted by the known historical data. Several other reasons also indicate this failure.
    b. There are numerous positive evidences for the resurrection that indicate that Jesus rose from the dead and appeared to many of those who followed him.
    c. A case for the resurrection can be built by using only those minimal facts that are clearly established by the historical method. On a smaller scale, these facts can refute the alternative hypotheses and provide the best evidences for the resurrection.
    d. The Shroud of Turin may supply some additional scientific evidence of Jesus’ resurrection.
    9. Jesus’ message was not changed by Paul or by other followers.
    a. In both the synoptics, as well as in John, Jesus claimed to be deity. Often this was done by his words, such as his claims to be Son of God and Son of Man (c.f. Mark 2:10-11; 10:45; 13:32; 14:36). At other times he showed his deity by his actions, such as forgiven sin, fulfilling Old Testament messianic prophecy and by claiming authority much greater than that of the Jewish leaders (see Mark 2:1-12; Matthew 5;20-48; cf. Isaiah 9:6-7).
    b. Numerous pre-Pauline creeds such as Philippians 2:6-11, Romans 1:3-4, 1 Corinthians 11:23, and many from the book of Acts designate Jesus by the loftiest titles, thereby indicating the early teaching of his deity. These show further that this doctrine definitely did not originate with Paul.
    c. Neither Jesus nor Paul taught that Christianity was a new religion. Both held that Christianity was a fulfillment of Judaism (see Matt. 5:18; Luke 16:16-17; Romans 10:4:9-11; Colossians 2:16-17).
    d. Jesus’ central teaching of the Kingdom of God and its entrance requirements of faith in his person and teachings in found in all four Gospels (c.f. Mark 1:14-15; Matthew 18:3-6; Luke 18:28-30; John 1:10-13) and in Paul’s epistles (c.f. Romans 6:23; 1 Corinthians 15:1-4).
    f. Paul was known as the apostle to the Gentiles (see Acts 9:15;16; 22:21; Romans 11:13-14). Not only did Jesus command his disciples to take the gospel to the Gentiles (see Matthew 28:19-20; Luke 24:47; John 10:16; Acts 1:8), but this was actually a fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy, not a new doctrine (see Genesis 12:3; Isaiah 19:18-25 for two examples).
    g. Since Jesus literally rose from the dead, any verification of the truthfulness of his teachings would even extend to Paul’s message and writings, since they are in agreement with the Gospels at these points.
    10. Jesus was not an international traveler during his “silent years” or after his death.
    a. There is no viable historical evidence for such international ventures.
    b. The swoon theory fails and is rejected by critical scholars.
    c. These endeavors almost always involved a long trail of illogic and incredibly mysterious connections.

    C. Miracle-claims

    1. Although many would place miracle-claims completely in the realm of faith, such is to ignore their possibly objective theistic and historical nature.
    a. If it is taught that miraculous events have occurred in history, as in the case with New Testament miracle-claims, then at least the objective, historical side of such a claim can be investigated. In other words, if it actually happened, at least the portion of the event that touched the space-time world can potentially be examined.
    b. In the New Testament, the resurrection of Jesus is not only the central tenet Christianity, but it is asserted that if Jesus did not rise from the dead, then faith in actually in vain (1 Corinthians 15:1-20). Paul even supports his point that Jesus was raised by citing eyewitnesses, historical testimony to this fact (vv. 5-8). Under these circumstances, one could hardly claim that objective, factual interests in the resurrection are foreign to the New Testament.
    c. This objection also commits errors that are associated with the “leap of faith.” If carried to its logical conclusion, it provides no objective basis for faith, including any reasons why faith should be exercised at all. As such, it is difficult to distinguish between belief and credulity.
    2. Alternative theories that have been proposed to account for Jesus’ resurrection on naturalistic grounds have failed to account for the known historical facts.
    3. There are many strong historical reasons to believe that Jesus was raised from the dead.
    a. The disciples’ experiences
    b. The transformation of the disciples into bold witnesses
    c. The empty tomb
    d. The resurrection of Jesus was the very center of the apostolic message.
    e. The Jewish leaders could not disprove their message.
    f. The very existence and growth of the church.
    g. In this resurrected physical body Jesus appeared to more than five hundred of his disciples on twelve different occasions over a forty-day period and conversed with them (see Luke 24:13-49, 1 Corinthians 15:5-7, Acts 1:4-8, Matthew 28:1-10, John 20:24-31).
    This was the greatest of all miracles since the creation itself, and could have been accomplished only if Jesus indeed is God, as He had claimed to be.

    D. Predictive Prophecies

    Consider the following predictions made centuries in advanced that Jesus would be:
    1. born of a woman (Genesis 3:15; cf. Galatians 4:4);
    2. born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14; cf. Matthew 1:21);

    3. “cut off” (die) 483 years after the declaration to reconstruct the city of Jerusalem in 444 B.C. (Daniel 9:24);

    4. of the seed of Abraham (Genesis 12:1-3 and 22:18; cf. Mathew 1:1);

    5. of the tribe of Judah (Genesis 49:10, cf. Luke 3:23);

    6. of the house of David (2 Samuel 7:12; cf. Matthew 1:1);

    7. born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2; cf. Matthew 2:1);

    8. anointed by the Holy Spirit (Isaiah 11:2; cf. Mattthew 3:16-17);

    9. that Jesus would performed miracles (Isaiah 35:5-6; cf. Matthew 9:35);

    10. would cleanse the temple (Malachi 3:1; cf. Matthew 21:12);

    11. would be rejected by Jews (Psalms 118:22; cf. 1 Peter 2:7);

    12. die a humiliating death (Psalms 22; cf. Matthew 9:35);

    13. that he would rise from the dead (Psalm 2:7 and 16:10; cf. Acts 2:31)

    14. ascended into heaven (Psalm 68:8; cf. Acts 1:9);

    15. and sit at the right hand of God (Psalm 110:1; cf. Hebrew 1:3).

    It is important to understand that these prophecies were written hundreds of years before Christ was born. No one could have been reading the trends of the times or just making intelligent guesses, like the “prophecies” we see in the checkout line at the supermarket.

  4. 22 Important Questions for the Buddhistic Worldview

    coldcasechristianity.com/2014/22-important-questions-for-the-buddhistic-worldview/

    Philosophical Questions
    Let’s begin with some questions springing from basic philosophical concerns:

    1. If Buddhists themselves cannot agree on which scriptural writings or traditions for practice are actually true statements from Buddha, how can Buddhism as a system claim any truth?

    Even within Buddhism, there are contradictory claims related to the validity of a variety of late appearing religious texts, all of which claim to accurately represent the words of Buddha. None of these texts stands unchallenged as having come from the time in which Buddha lived. Many have very questionable origins. How are we to know which are authoritative? Many scholars believe it is impossible to say with confidence, “This is what Gautama Buddha said.” How can anyone make a claim for the truth without first establishing the foundation for Buddhistic truth?

    2. If life is just suffering, as Buddhism claims, why is it some of us don’t see it this way? Why do some of us see life as wonderful rather than filled with suffering?

    Buddha’s observations about the world seem to come from his direct experience; the entire religious system is built on the notion life is filled with suffering with no positive value on the individual. But what if the individual doesn’t see the world in this way? What if the individual, even though he or she experiences hardship, understands the value of this experience and does not see it as suffering?

    3. If our present suffering is the result of bad karma from a prior life, what is the real present remedy for suffering in this life?
    Can all suffering be alleviated in this life through our efforts with the Eight Fold Path? Why engage in any effort related to the Eight Fold Path, if the only true benefits are to be realized in the next life?

    4. Who is the Karma Judge?

    If, as Buddhism teaches, there is no personal God interacting with His creation, who determines whether or not a person has done something to merit either “good” or “bad” Karma? If this decision is made at the end of one’s life, who is actually making the decision? How can an impersonal force “decide” anything? Who is the final judge of Karma, and mustn’t this judge by necessity be a personal being (capable of making a decision)?

    5. If achieving “nirvana” means that we will be liberated from the illusion of consciousness, how then will we know (be conscious of) our achieving this “nirvana”? How can we be “conscious” of this, if “consciousness” will no longer exist?

    Our existence outside the material, physical world, presumes a conscious existence in which we can “realize” or enlightened condition. How can we be conscious of this if consciousness will no longer exist?

    6. If there is no transcendent “self” or “soul”, how do we transcend this life in order for reincarnation to be possible?

    If reincarnation is true, it makes sense something of our true identity would move from one life to the next. What is this “something” if not a soul? Who (or what) moves on from this life to the next?

    7. What real evidence do we have that reincarnation is true?

    Why is there not consistent evidence for the notion of reincarnation? On what evidence is this idea based, aside from the writings of Buddha? While we have good philosophical reasons to believe in the existence of the soul, what philosophical reasoning brings us to the conclusion that reincarnation is true?

    8. If all of us are re-incarnations of prior human beings, how do we account for the growing population? Where do “new” humans come from?

    Reincarnation implies all of us were here before, in a prior life. But if humans can only be reincarnated from prior humans, how is it the global population is growing? If humans can be reincarnated from other animals, does this mean the total animal population on earth has always been constant?

    9. If “buddhas” and “boddisatvas” exist to help others in achieving “nirvana” what is the true value of “self-effort”?

    If, as a Buddhist, I rely on the help of a “buddha” or “boddisatva” how can my assisted work be accredited to me as Karma (or even as true obedience to the Eight Fold Path)? Doesn’t assistance negate the self-effort required to establish Karma in the first place?

    10. If “buddha-hood” is actually achievable in this life, how are we to know we are talking to a true “buddha” or “boddisatva”?

    If there are those in our midst who have actually achieved this level of enlightenment, how are we to identify them? Why should we trust their own proclamations of “buddha-hood”? How will we recognize them or even distinguish them from non-Buddhist people who display all the attributes consistent with “buddha-hood”?

    11. If a person’s present suffering is the result of bad karma from a prior life, why should we try to do anything to change their present condition? Aren’t they simply getting what they deserve?

    Why help those who are simply paying the price for an evil prior life? Passivity and apathy seem to be a common problem within Buddhism, largely in response to a concept known as “samsara”. Take a look at this article from an online Burmese magazine:

    “This passivity is largely due to the promotion of samsara. Taken from the Pali word sam (succession) sara (going, wandering), it refers to the cycle of human existence, or the cycle of life and death. Samsara poses that people are mere guests in this life, and life is just a transit point. Samsara is the flux of mind and body, of mental and physical phenomena. Humans are travelers in the realm of samsara, where nothing holds permanent. Moments of sadness and misfortune, as well as glory and happiness, are accepted as part of the natural ups and downs of life. Burma’s political and religious elite has affirmed samsara as the only indisputable Buddhist doctrine, and the public has meekly signed on. Because so many Burmese Buddhists tend to see themselves against the backdrop of samsara, it has wide reach over existing social structures, even though Burma is not religiously homogenous. Every experience, even a bad one, is seen as part of life and the impermanent nature of the world. Rather than being angered or aggrieved by unfortunate experiences, Burmese Buddhism preaches that it is best to let them go.”(by Min Zin, Engaging Buddhism for Social Change, March, 2003 Irrawaddy.org)

    12. If our present existence is the result of something we could not control (from a prior life), what hope can we have related to our present situation in this life?

    How do we hold on to hope for this life if our situation was predetermined for us and our present behaviors have more impact on the next life than on the present one? Doesn’t this view of our present life lead to an inevitable hopelessness? As it turns out, heavily Buddhist countries like Japan, Korea, and Sri Lanka have some of the highest suicide rates (from young to old). The top twenty most suicidal countries are almost all countries with strong Buddhist or Communist (atheist) histories.

    Biblical Issues
    Now let’s examine some questions related to topics directly addressed in the Bible. Buddhism makes a number of claims about the way in which the world operates. Let’s compare these ideas directly to the claims of Christianity:

    1. You don’t believe in the existence of a personal God. As a Christian I do believe that God exists, and I believe Him to be a personal creator:
    Genesis 1:1
    In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

    Romans 1:19-20
    because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.

    Psalm 14:1

    The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God”
    2. You don’t seem to have an answer for the origin of the universe or for us as human beings. As a Christian, I believe the universe (and all of us) were created by God and that we are therefore real:

    Acts 17:24-31
    The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things; and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we also are His children.’ Being then the children of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and thought of man. Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.”

    Isaiah 45:18
    For thus says the LORD, who created the heavens (He is the God who formed the earth and made it, He established it and did not create it a waste place, but formed it to be inhabited), “I am the LORD, and there is none else.”
    3. You seem to deny the reality of our material existence and you also deny the existence of the soul and spirit. As a Christian, I believe humans are real in body, soul and spirit:

    Genesis 2:7
    Then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.

    1 Thessalonians 5:23
    Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

    Zechariah 12:1
    The burden of the word of the LORD concerning Israel. Thus declares the LORD who stretches out the heavens, lays the foundation of the earth, and forms the spirit of man within him

    4. You seem to devalue our present life as fleeting and illusionary. As a Christian, I believe this physical life may be temporary, but it is valuable and worth living:

    Isaiah 40:6
    A voice says, “Call out.” Then he answered, “What shall I call out?” All flesh is grass, and all its loveliness is like the flower of the field.

    Isaiah 40:21
    Do you not know? Have you not heard? Has it not been declared to you from the beginning? Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth?

    1 Peter 1:22-2:3
    Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart, for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God. For,
    “ALL FLESH IS LIKE GRASS, AND ALL ITS GLORY LIKE THE FLOWER OF GRASS. THE GRASS WITHERS, AND THE FLOWER FALLS OFF, BUT THE WORD OF THE LORD ENDURES FOREVER”

    And this is the word which was preached to you.

    5. You believe the goal of good living is all about the personal reward of enlightenment. As a Christian, I believe the goal of good living is to honor God and demonstrate His worth so others would desire to know Him:

    Ephesians 2:10
    For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.

    1 Thessalonians 2:11-12
    …just as you know how we were exhorting and encouraging and imploring each one of you as a father would his own children, so that you would walk in a manner worthy of the God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory.

    Colossians 1:9-10
    For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God

    6. You believe suffering is the result of desire (and attachment) and may even be the result of “bad Karma”. As a Christian, I believe suffering is the result of sin, our intentional rebellion against God. I believe sin is not an abstract notion or a relative concept. It is clearly defined:

    2 Chronicles 6:36
    “When they sin against You (for there is no man who does not sin) and You are angry with them and deliver them to an enemy, so that they take them away captive to a land far off or near

    Romans 3:23
    for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God

    Romans 5:12
    Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned

    Psalm 51:3
    For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.

    John 8:34
    Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin.”

    Galatians 6:7-8
    Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.

    Romans 6:23
    For the wages of sin is death

    Isaiah 3:11
    Woe to the wicked! It will go badly with him, For what he deserves will be done to him.

    Proverbs 21:4
    Haughty eyes and a proud heart, the lamp of the wicked, is sin.

    7. You believe suffering is something we should want to eliminate. As a Christian, I also want to eliminate sin, but I also see the positive value in suffering; it can teach, it can discipline, it can provide a contrast to joy. As a Christian, I know we can even find joy in the midst of suffering:

    Romans 5:3
    And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance

    James 1:2-4
    Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

    Hebrews 12:11
    All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.

    Psalm 30:5
    For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for a lifetime; Weeping may last for the night, but a shout of joy comes in the morning.

    2 Corinthians 8:2
    that in a great ordeal of affliction their abundance of joy and their deep poverty overflowed in the wealth of their liberality.

    1 Peter 4:13
    but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation.

    1 Thessalonians 3:7-9
    for this reason, brethren, in all our distress and affliction we were comforted about you through your faith; for now we really live, if you stand firm in the Lord. For what thanks can we render to God for you in return for all the joy with which we rejoice before our God on your account

    8. You believe we cease to exist after death. As a Christian, I believe we do not cease to exist after our physical death, but will instead live on to be judged for our actions:

    Revelation 20:12-13
    And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds.

    John 5:28-29
    “Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice, and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment.

    Hebrews 9:27
    And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment

    9. You believe humans can achieve perfection and reach “nirvana”. As a Christian, I believe we can never achieve perfection in this life, freedom from suffering, or any permanent more noble existence by self-effort:

    John 3:3
    Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

    Romans 3:10-12
    as it is written,

    “THERE IS NONE RIGHTEOUS, NOT EVEN ONE; THERE IS NONE WHO UNDERSTANDS, THERE IS NONE WHO SEEKS FOR GOD; ALL HAVE TURNED ASIDE, TOGETHER THEY HAVE BECOME USELESS; THERE IS NONE WHO DOES GOOD, THERE IS NOT EVEN ONE.”

    Galatians 2:16
    nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified.

    Titus 3:5
    He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit

    10. You believe we can escape the suffering of this world and the limits of our material existence by observing and practicing a set of practices. As a Christian, I know tat the way of “escape” is only through faith in Jesus Christ as we are spiritually reborn with God’s life through the Holy Spirit:

    John 3:3
    Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

    Galatians 2:20
    “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.

    Ephesians 2:1-9
    And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.

    Philippians 3:9
    and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith

    2 Peter 1:2-4
    Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.

    So, Could This Be True?
    Every worldview has to be both internally and externally consistent. The challenge for Buddhism is to account for a system of judgment and reward (Karma) without a personal judge who has the ability to decide whether an individual has achieved something noble or committed something despicable. The very judge required by a Karma system is, in fact, lacking from Buddhism altogether. In addition, there are many open philosophical questions related to the first question of all worldviews (“How did we get here?”), and the system seems to lead (in many formations) to a sense of despair and hopelessness. In addition to philosophical difficulties, Christians must recognize that Buddhism is incompatible with the Christian worldview (for all the reasons we’ve already discussed). As our culture embraces pluralism and tries to find similarities between every view of the world, we must be clear about the concepts and claims defining us and ask the tough questions differentiating Christianity from Buddhism.

    J. Warner Wallace is a Cold-Case Detective, a Christian Case Maker, and the author of Cold-Case Christianity

  5. What makes you think Christianity is the only way to God?

    The truth of Christianity rests completely in the person of Jesus. The Gospels are the written accounts by eyewitnesses of Jesus’ life and deeds. Jesus said that He alone was the way to the Father (John 14:6) and that He alone revealed the Father (Matt. 11:27, Luke 10:22). Jesus claimed to be God (John 8:58, Exodus 3:14), who forgave sins (Mark 2:5, Luke 5:20, 7:48) and who rose from the dead (Luke 24:24-29, John 2:19-21). Jesus said that He was the only way. Jesus is unique. He was either telling the truth, He was crazy, or He was a liar. But since everyone agrees that Jesus was a good man, how then could He be both good and crazy or good and a liar? He had to be telling the truth in order to be good. He is the only way.

    Furthermore, Christianity is not just a religion. It is a relationship with God. It is trusting in Jesus and what He did on the cross (1 Cor. 15:1-4) and not on what you can do for yourself (Eph. 2:8-9). It is the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies and dependence upon the One who died and rose from the dead (John 2:19-21).

    Buddha didn’t rise from the dead nor did Confucius or Zoroaster. Muhammad didn’t fulfill detailed prophecy or rise from the dead either, and though there is far less reliable information written, people believe in them.

    The Scripture is right when it says in 1 Peter 2:7-8, “This precious value, then, is for you who believe. But for those who disbelieve, ‘The stone which the builders rejected, this became the very corner stone,’ and, ‘A stone of stumbling and a rock of offense’; for they stumble because they are disobedient to the word, and to this doom they were also appointed.”

    It is Jesus to whom we look for the validity of Christianity. If Jesus is false, then Christianity is false. If Jesus is who He claimed to be, then Christianity is the only correct religion.

    The Mathematical Odds of Jesus Fulfilling Prophecy

    “The following probabilities are taken from Peter Stoner1 to show that coincidence is ruled out by the science of probability. Stoner says that by using the modern science of probability in reference to eight prophecies, ‘we find that the chance that any man might have lived down to the present time and fulfilled all eight prophecies is 1 in 10 exp 17.” That would be 1 in 100,000,000,000,000,000. In order to help us comprehend this staggering probability, Stoner illustrates it by supposing that “we take 10 exp 17 silver dollars and lay them on the face of Texas (268,820 square miles) [(696,241 km (square)] . They will cover all of the state two feet deep. Now mark one of these silver dollars and stir the whole mass thoroughly, all over the state. Blindfold a man and tell him that he can travel as far as he wishes, but he must pick up one silver dollar and say that this is the right one. What chance would he have of getting the right one? Just the same chance that the prophets would have had of writing these eight prophecies and having them all come true in any one man.”

    Stoner considers 48 prophecies and says, “we find the chance that any one man fulfilled all 48 prophecies to be 1 in 10 exp 157 or 1 in 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000, 000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000, 000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,
    000,000,000,000,000,000,000.” 2

    The estimated number of electrons in the universe is around 10 exp 17. It should be quite evident that Jesus did not fulfill the prophecies by accident. He was who He said He was: the only way (John 14:6).

    • 1.Science Speaks, Moody Press, 1963.
    • 2.McDowell, Josh, Evidence that Demands a Verdict.

  6. SCIENTIFIC FACTS & FOREKNOWLEDGE OF THE BIBLE

    Science means knowledge, and true science always agrees with the observable evidence. Scientific research continues to unfold the wonders and mysteries of our universe. Interestingly, there is one book that has anticipated many of these scientific facts. That book is the Bible.

    The following are several scientific facts found in the Scriptures. Many of these facts were penned centuries before they were discovered. Scientific foreknowledge found only in the Bible offers one more piece of the collective proof that the Bible is truly the inspired Word of the Creator.

    The earth free-floats in space (Job 26:7), affected only by gravity. While other sources declared the earth sat on the back of an elephant or turtle, or was held up by Atlas, the Bible alone states what we now know to be true: “He hangs the earth on nothing.”
    Creation is made of particles, indiscernible to our eyes (Hebrews 11:3). Not until 19th century was it discovered that all visible matter consists of invisible elements.
    Oceans contain springs (Job 38:16). The ocean is very deep, almost all the ocean floor is in total darkness and the pressure there is enormous. It would been impossible for Job to have explored the “springs of the sea.” Until recently, it was thought that the oceans were fed only by rivers and rain. Yet in the 1970’s, with the help of deep diving research submarines that were constructed to withstand 6,000 pounds-per-square-inch pressure, oceanographers discovered springs on the ocean floors!
    Joy and gladness understood (Acts 14:17). Evolution cannot explain emotions. Matter and energy do not feel. Scripture explains that God places gladness in our hearts (Psalm 4:7), and ultimate joy is found in our Creator’s presence, “in Your presence is fullness of joy” (Psalm 16:11).
    The bible states that God created life according to kinds (Genesis 1:24). The fact that God distinguishes kinds, agrees with what scientists observe, namely that there are horizontal genetic boundaries beyond which life cannot vary. Life produces after its own kind. Dogs produce dogs, cats produce cats, roses produce roses. Never have we witnessed one kind changing into another kind as evolution supposes. There are truly natural limits biological change.
    Chicken or egg dilemma solved (Genesis 1:20-22). Which came first, the chicken or the egg? This question has plagued philosophers for centuries. The Bible states that God created birds with the ability to reproduce after their kind. Therefore the chicken was created first with the ability to make eggs! Yet, evolution has no solution for this dilemma.
    Which came first, proteins or DNA (Revelation 4:11)? For evolutionists, the chicken or egg dilemma goes even deeper. Chicken consist of proteins. The code for each protein is contained in the DNA/RNA system. However, proteins are required in order to manufacture DNA. So which came first: proteins or DNA? The ONLY explanation is that they were created together.
    The First Law of Thermodynamics established (Genesis 2:1-2). The First Law states that the total quantity of energy and matter in the universe is a constant. One form of energy or matter may be converted into another, but the total quantity always remains the same. Therefore the creation is finished, exactly as God said way back in Genesis.
    The first three verses of Genesis accurately express all known aspects of the creation (Genesis 1:1-3). Science expresses the universe in terms of time, space, matter and energy. In Genesis chapter one we read: “In the beginning (time) God created the heavens (space) and the earth (matter)…Then God said, Let there be light (energy).” No other creation account agrees with the observable evidence.
    The universe had a beginning (Genesis 1:1, Hebrews 1:10-12). Starting with the studies of Albert Einstein in the early 1900s and continuing today, science has confirmed the biblical view that the universe had a beginning. When the Bible was written most people believed the universe was eternal. Science has proven them wrong, but the Bible correct.
    The Second Law of Thermodynamics (Enthropy) explained (Psalm 102:25-26). This law states that everything in the universe is running down, deteriorating, constantly becoming less and less orderly. Enthropy (disorder) entered when mankind rebelled against God, resulting in the curse (Genesis 3:17). Historically, most people believed the universe was unchangeable. Yet modern science verifies that the universe is “grow old like a garment” (Hebrews 1:11). Evolution directly contradicts this law.
    Rejecting the Creator results in moral depravity (Romans 1:20-32). The Bible warns that when mankind rejects the overwhelming evidence for a Creator, lawlessness will result. Since the theory of evolution has swept the globe, abortion, pornography, genocide, etc., have all risen sharply.
    The fact that God once flooded the earth (the Noahic Flood) would be denied (2 Peter 3:5-6). There is a mass of fossil evidence to prove this fact, yet it is flatly ignored by most of the scientific world because it was God’s judgment on man’s wickedness.
    Vast fossil deposits anticipated (Genesis 7). When plants and animals die they decompose rapidly. Yet billions of life forms around the globe have been preserved as fossils. Geologist now know that fossils only form if there is rapid deposition of life buried away from scavengers and bacteria. This agrees exactly with what the Bible says occurred during the global Flood.
    The earth was designed for biological life (Isaiah 45:18). Scientists have discovered that the most fundamental characteristics of our earth and cosmos are so finely tuned that if just one of them were even slightly different, life as we know it couldn’t exist. This is called the Anthropic Principle and it agrees with the Bible which states that God formed the earth to be inhabited.
    Our ancestors were not primitive (Genesis 4:20-22; Job 8:8-10; 12:12). Archeologists have discovered that our ancestors mined, had metallurgical factories, created air-conditioned buildings, designed musical instruments, studied the stars, and much more. This evidence directly contradicts the theory of evolution, but agrees completely with God’s Word.
    The order of creation agrees with science (Genesis 1). Plants require sunlight, water, and minerals in order to survive. In the first chapter of Genesis we read that God created light first (v.3), then water (v.6), then soil (v.9), and then He created life (v.11).
    Strong and weak nuclear force explained (Colossians 1:17) Physicists do not understand what binds the atom’s nucleus together. Yet, the Bible states that “all things consist”, or are held together by the Creator, Jesus Christ
    Atomic fission anticipated (2 Peter 3:10-12). Scripture states that “the elements will melt with fervent heat” when the earth and the heavens are “dissolved” by fire. Today we understand that if the elements of the atom are loosed, there would be an enormous release of heat and energy (radiation).
    Animal instincts understood (Job 39; Proverbs 30:24-28). A newly hatched spider weaves an intricate web without being taught. A recently emerged butterfly somehow knows to navigate a 2,500 mile migration route without a guide. God explains that He has endowed each creature with specific knowledge. Scripture, not evolution, explains animal instincts.
    Pseudo-science anticipated (1 Timothy 6:20). The theory of evolution contradicts the observable evidence. The Bible warned us in advance that there would be those who would profess: “profane and idle babblings, and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge (science).” True science agrees with the Creator’s Word.
    Science confirms the Bible (Colossians 2:3). These insights place the Bible far above every man-made theory and all other so called inspired books. In contrast, the Koran states that the sun sets in a muddy pond (Surah 18:86). The Hadith contains many myths. The Book of Mormon declares that Native Americans descended from Jews, which has been disproven by DNA research. The Eastern writings also contradict true science.
    Love explained (Matthew 22:37-40; 1 John 4:7-12). Evolution cannot explain love. Yet, God’s word reveals that the very purpose of our existence is to know and love God and our fellow man. God is love, and we were created in His image to reflect His love.

    The cause of suffering revealed (Genesis 3; Isaiah 24:5-6). The earth is subject to misery, which appears at odds with our wonderfully designed universe. However, the Bible, not evolution, explains the origin of suffering. When mankind rebelled against God, the curse resulted, introducing affliction, pain and death into the world.

    Death explained (Romans 6:23). All eventually die. The Bible alone explains why we die, “The soul who sins shall die” (Ezekiel 18:20). Sin is transgression of God’s Law. To see if you will die, please review God’s Ten Commandments (Exodus 20). Have you ever lied? (White lies an fibs count). Ever stolen? (Cheating on a test or taxes is stealing). Jesus said that “whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Matthew 5:28). Have you ever looked with lust? Then you’re an adulterer at heart. Have you ever hated someone or called someone a fool? If so, the Bible says you are guilty of murder (Matthew 5:21-2; 1 John 3:15). Have you ever used your Creator’s name (Lord, God, Jesus, or Christ) in vain? This is called blasphemy, and God hates it. If you have broken these commandments at any time, then by your own admission, you are a blasphemer, a murderer, an adulterer, a thief, and a liar at heart. And we have only looked at five of the Ten Commandments. This is why we die.

    Justice understood (Acts 17:30). Our God-given conscience reveals that all sin will be judged. Down deep we know that He who created the eyes sees every secret sin (Romans 2:16). He who formed our mind remembers our past offense as if it just occurred. God has declared that the penalty for sin is death. Physical death comes first, then second death, which is eternal separation from God in the lake of fire (Revelation 21:8). God cannot lie. Every sin will be judged. His justice demands it. But God is also rich in mercy to all who call upon His name. He has made a way for justice to be served and mercy to be shown.

    Eternal life revealed (John 3:16). Scientists reach in vain for the cure for aging and death. Yet, the good news is that God, who is the source of all life, has made a way to freely forgive us so that we may live forever with Him in heaven. “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners. Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). “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” (John 3:16). God desires a loving, eternal relationship with each person, free from sin, fear, and pain. Therefore, He sent His Son to die as our substitute on the cross. “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23). Jesus never sinned, therefore He alone qualified to pay the penalty for our sins on the cross. He died in our place. He then rose from the grave defeating death. All who turn from their sins and trust Him will be saved. To repent and place your trust in Jesus Christ, make Psalm 51 your prayer. Then read your Bible daily, obeying what you read. God will never let you down.

    The solution to suffering (Revelation 21). Neither evolution nor religion offers a solution to suffering. But God offers heaven as a gift to all who trust in His Son. In heaven. “God will wipe away every tear from their eyes, there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:4).

    The Bible offers the only remedy for sin, suffering, and death. God’s Word presents the only perfect, sinless Savior, one who died for our sins and rose from the dead. Jesus is the Creator (John 1: Colossians 1). He said, “I and My Father are one” (John 10:30). He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6). And He promises His followers: “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish” (John 10:28). Your eternal destiny will be determined by your choice. There is only one provision for sin. Jesus died in your place. Only faith in Christ’s finished work will you be saved. This is God’s free gift offered to all.

    Please do not let pride, religion, opinions, or love for sin separate you from God. No sin is worth an eternity in hell. Please heed Jesus’ words, “Repent, and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15). If you do, you will live in heaven with our awesome Creator forever!

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