Are We Physical Matter and Nothing More?

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Are We Physical Matter and Nothing More?

Some would have us believe in naturalism, that physical matter is all that there is and everything can be explained in natural terms. But while we continue to learn more and more about how nature works, does that mean that that explains everything? Does that mean that there is nothing more than nature and physical matter? Let’s consider the implications of that idea.

Of course, most significantly, as my title suggests, if there is nothing more than physical matter in the universe, then you and I and everyone you know are nothing more than physical matter. We would each just be a complicated combination of chemicals and chemical reactions and nothing more. Does that seem to be the case to you? Does that seem to line up with what you have experienced in your life and from the lives of others? Do you believe that that’s all that we are, or is there something more?

Does Mere Physical Matter Do These Things?

Have mere combinations of chemicals learned and figured out all that we have about how the universe works? Have mere combinations of chemicals learned so much about how to advance the length of the functioning of these combinations of chemicals we call human beings? Have mere combinations of chemicals produced all the beautiful and inspiring artwork that has been created? Have mere combinations of chemicals produced all the music that so moves our hearts? Have mere combinations of chemicals produced such meaningful relationships with one another? Is a mere combination of chemicals writing this to try to get you to consider these ideas, which probably have a bigger impact on how we view our lives and the lives of those around us than you might realize?

More Than Matter

Personally I believe that you are much more than just a combination of chemicals, more than just physical matter. When I look at all that we are, all that we create and how we relate to one another,I believe that simple chemicals just can’t explain it all. I believe that the Biblical worldview explains it all much better. I believe that a living God, who is spirit, created human beings in his image. In many ways we are like him. We are creative because he is creative. We long for meaningful relationships because he made us to have a loving relationship with him. And while we are physical beings, he has also created us with a spiritual component. In addition to our physical bodies we have souls.

I believe this is why we experience life as we do, and why we want to know what our lives are about. This is why every human life is valuable, no matter the person’s age, gender or race, because we aren’t just complicated combinations of chemicals. I believe each human being is an amazing combination of the physical and the spiritual. Maybe you aren’t ready to go that far, but do you really believe that we are nothing more than just the physical? If not, then naturalism can’t explain it all.

In coming posts we’ll explore some further aspects of this.

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Earth-like Planet Found Orbiting Nearest Star

Posted on by Reasons for Hope 315 in Design | Leave a comment

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Earth-like Planet Found Orbiting Nearest Star

You may have heard a couple of weeks ago about the discovery of the closest Earth-like planet we have found. It’s orbiting the nearest star to us after the Sun, Proxima Centauri. The planet has been dubbed Proxima b. It’s just 4.2 light years away, meaning it takes just over four years for light to travel from there to here. That’s quite a ways away, but in astronomy that’s pretty close, compared to how far away other stars are.


Is it Habitable?

Of course the big question with this planet is, Is it Habitable? It has been said that the planet is in it’s star’s Habitable Zone. This means that the planet is the right distance away from it’s star for water to be able to exist in liquid form. It’s not too close and hot where water would boil and it’s not too far and cold where water would freeze. This is important because liquid water is essential to life as we know it for many reasons.

Proxima b is only 4.3 million miles from it’s star, compared to Earth’s 93 million miles from the sun. But that’s ok because Proxima Centauri is a cooler red dwarf star so it’s habitable zone is closer to it than our Sun’s. So it is in the water habitable zone and that’s good. But of course there are many other factors to whether life could exist there.

The Reaction to the Discovery

This is certainly an exciting finding. What I found almost more interesting, though, was the reaction to it. You probably did hear about it. It was all over the news. There was a lot of excitement and optimism that life might be found there.

One article in particular caught my attention. It was on, a site that I frequent, as, if you don’t know, I’m a Geek. The article described the finding this way, “For now, Proxima b represents one of the most important discoveries we’ve ever made. Finding another Earth-like planet, on top of the hundreds of others we’ve seen over the past few years, could mean that our universe really is teeming with life.”

We wonder, rightly so, if we are alone or if there is more life in the universe. We’ve yet to find any other life but the possibility exists. It just seems to be quite a jump to go to a universe “teeming with life”.

Finding other life would certainly be interesting. I just get a sense with some that they want life to be so common and ordinary, that it just pops up and evolves all over the place, at the drop of a hat. To me this seems to diminish the miracle of life.

Is Life Special?

The article also said, “This is huge. Massive. Proxima Centauri is the closest star to Earth (besides the Sun, obviously), and given that we’ve already found hundreds of exoplanets, this could mean that the universe really is littered with life. After all, just about every star we turn to seems to have a few planets, often with at least one in the habitable zone — a region around a star that could be just the right temperature to allow for liquid water on the surface.”

This really caused a reaction with me. Not only could the universe be “teeming” with life, it could be “littered” with life. I don’t want to make more of this choice of words than was intended, but I can’t imagine using the word “littered” when talking about life. Life is precious and from what we’ve seen and know so far, it is exceedingly rare.

Not only is the water habitable zone important, but, according to astrophysicist Hugh Ross of Reasons to Believe, there are nine different habitable zones necessary for life and a planet must reside in all nine habitable zones for life to exist. For example there is also the ultraviolet habitable zone. A planet has to receive a little bit of ultraviolet light for life but not too much. And for 97% of the stars in the universe, the water habitable zone and the ultraviolet habitable zone do not overlap, meaning there is no place where both conditions for life can be met at the same time.

According to Hugh Ross, of the 3500 exoplanets we’ve discovered so far, including Proxima b, only one exists in all nine habitable zones, and that’s the one you’re sitting on right now.

To the writer’s credit, he does give a few caveats to his optimism and says that Earth, as far as we know, is still unique and it may be that Earth truly is special.

Earth and Life is Special

Proxima b is a long ways away. Traveling by the space shuttle it would take about 165,000 years to get there. A yet to be develop technology may allow us to send small probes that would take 20 years to get there. So it may be quite a while before we know all there is to know about it, but I feel safe in saying that Earth truly is special and so is the life that exists here.

I’m not saying that life couldn’t exist anywhere else but it certainly doesn’t just pop up accidentally. I believe that the reason you and I are here is because God designed an amazing universe and he put an amazing planet at just the right spot to be in all nine of those nine habitable zones. And then after creating a planet where life could exist, God went farther to bring about the incredible miracle of life. The odds are so against all of that happening by chance that I just can’t believe that.

Your life is special. You are not an accident. There is a meaning and purpose to your life here on Earth. I believe that, first and foremost, God gave you life so that you could know him. He wants to have a personal relationship with you and he sent his Son Jesus to come and die on the cross for your sins and mine so that we could be forgiven of all we’ve done wrong and know him and his love for us. Our sins come between us and God but because of what Jesus did for us and rose again, we can have the relationship with him that we were created to have.

Give this some thought. If you’d like to know more about it, use the contact link here on the page.

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How Will You Answer the Questions?

Posted on by Reasons for Hope 315 in Case Making, How to Share, Loving God with your Mind, Questions | Leave a comment

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How Will You Answer the Questions?

Not long ago the lead singer of a Christian metal band told the world how he had become an atheist and this caused quite a stir on the internet. The band is The Order of Elijah and the singer is Shannon Low. He explained his deconversion on the band’s Facebook page. One of the things that bothers me the most about the story is how the Christian friends around him responded to some questions he began to have about God, Jesus and the Bible.

question-marks-300x300Rather than helping him with answers to these legitimate questions he was having, he says that his Christian friends would literally get furious with him for even addressing the questions. He says that sometimes he would actually lose Christian friends by simply pondering certain questions. Certainly this should not happen in the family of Christ.

God is Not Afraid of Questions and Neither Should We Be

As I have written here several times, I don’t think God is afraid of our questions. It’s natural that we have some questions about our faith and we should not fear asking them. Many of the initial questions Shannon Low had were about some of the prophet’s behavior, and the behavior of God himself in the Old Testament. These are valid questions, ones which many of us who follow Christ may not have great answers for off the top of our heads. However, a lot of good Christian thinkers have given a lot of thought and have written a lot about these questions over the years and there are answers. How much better would it have been if Shannon’s Christian friends had said, “You know, those are  good questions. Let’s read and work through them together.”

Without Answers from Christian Friends He Went Looking Elsewhere

Because his Christian friends weren’t prepared to answer his questions, or even to look for answers with him, he looked elsewhere and found Richard Dawkin’s book The God Delusion. He says that he learned things about the history of the Bible that he didn’t know before. He says, “I never knew that the earliest gospel wasn’t written until half a century after Christ supposedly died, or that Paul never read any gospels, or that there isn’t even any evidence from that time that Jesus existed.”

The reason he didn’t know those things was because they are untrue or misleading misinformation. It’s too bad that in his years as a Christian he didn’t learn more about how the New Testament came together so that he wouldn’t be swayed by this kind of misinformation.

Though a gap of 50 years would be very good by historical standards when it comes to ancient documents, evidence is good that the first Gospel was written well before that and the letters of Paul were written even earlier, about 25 years after Jesus’ death. What’s more, he quotes material that scholars have dated to as early as 5 years after the crucifixion. That’s why Paul didn’t read the Gospels, because he wrote even earlier, closer to the events. Paul was familiar, though, with the eyewitness sources of the Gospels to follow soon after. And the idea that there isn’t any evidence from the time Jesus existed is just plain untrue, as you can read here.

I’m not saying that I no longer have any questions about Christianity. There are still some things that can bring some tension. But when I consider all the evidence and put the whole case together, I believe that the case for Christianity is a strong case and makes the most sense of all the evidence there is.

Just “Giving Them to God”

Sadly, I think there’s one more way Shannon’s Christian friends may have failed him. Through a good portion of his life he struggled with an addiction to alcohol. He says, “I stopped trying to pray my alcoholism away and began combating it with real methods. I began confronting my problems head on rather than ‘giving them to god’” Now of course, I believe we should give our problems to God, we should trust in him and ask for his help. But that doesn’t mean that we should just pray and not combat them with real methods with God’s help. Maybe this is what he was hearing in his Christian circle, but prayer is not a substitute for getting counseling and therapy.

I think most of us would not say that prayer is a substitute for going to the doctor when you’re sick. It’s also not a substitute for getting counseling help when you need it. Yes, we pray and ask God to bring healing, physical, mental or emotional, but that doesn’t mean we don’t gratefully take advantage of the ways he’s provided to help with that healing.

Going along with that, I’d like to make one more application. I sometimes hear in the church that we don’t really need apologetics, we don’t really need to share the evidence for Christianity because people come to faith by the Holy Spirit and he can overcome any faulty opposing ideas they have. And while God can certainly do that, he often works through normal means.

If my daughter is sick, if her health is under attack by some disease, I could think, “I don’t need to take her to the doctor, after all God can overcome whatever is attacking her without any help.” But I wound’t do that because God has provided the doctors and all the knowledge that can be brought to help make her well, and I believe that making use of that knowledge is part of his plan.

Likewise, God has provided the knowledge that combats the attacks that are brought against him and against Christianity, and I totally believe that using that information is part of his plan to bring people to himself. But in order for that to happen we need to be sharing the evidence with them. Let’s not just sit back while God and Christ are under attack, as people around us are being fed misinformation that leads them further from him. Let’s be prepared to answer their questions and let’s be used by God in dispensing the truth, the evidence for the Gospel, the case for Christianity.

Thanks to William Lane Craig for his Reasonable Faith podcast on this.

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Evidence for a Creator: No DNA, No Cell; No Cell, No DNA

Posted on by Reasons for Hope 315 in Design, Evolution | Leave a comment

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Evidence for a Creator: No DNA, No Cell; No Cell, No DNA

We have long known that DNA is critical for life. It carries and preserves the genetic information that makes up an organism. It is essential to the growth and reproduction of life forms because DNA has to be carefully copied for cell division to occur. So cells are dependent on DNA, but it turns out DNA is also dependent on cells or it would quickly break down. It has been learned that DNA is inherently unstable. The complicated interdependent relationship of DNA and cells means that neither could have risen independently of the other.


The Cell’s Role in Preserving DNA

Three scientists won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2015 for their research into DNA. Their findings make it even harder to believe that life came about on it’s own by accident, without any intelligent direction.

Tomas Lindahl demonstrated that DNA decays at such a rate that the development of life on Earth should have been impossible. The Nobel Committee put it this way, “you ought to have been a chemical chaos long before you even developed into a fetus.” So why doesn’t our genetic information break down completely? Only because of the genetic repair systems in the cell. In one mechanism that Lindahl discovered, called base excision repair, an enzyme will detect an error that will break the DNA chain and other enzymes will repair it so that the DNA can replicate properly.

DNAPaul Modrich discovered another molecular mechanism called mismatch repair. As DNA is copied, replication errors happen and Modrich found that enzymes continually detect most of these and other enzymes repair them. The Nobel Committee said this “reduces the error frequency during DNA replication by about a thousandfold.”

The third scientist, Aziz Sancar, found how cells deal with mutations that can damage DNA. Because of radiation, two DNA base pairs might bind to each other incorrectly, but through nucleotide excision repair, enzymes will cut out and replace such damaged DNA strands.

The Implications

As Hugh Henry and Daniel Dyke say, “We have long known that the cell could not reproduce without DNA, but we now know that DNA would self-destruct without the cell. It is this complex symbiotic relationship between a cell and its DNA that makes the modern evolutionary theory more difficult to defend.”

DNA and a cell’s complex ability to monitor and repair it would have had to have come about at the same instant. If random, unguided processes brought them about, they had to bring them both about the same time and had to have anticipated the inherent instability of DNA and built into the cell the variety of enzymes to prevent the self-destruction of DNA.

Personally, it’s too hard for me to believe that these kind of complex things come about on their own, and what’s more, that they come about right at the same time so that such seemingly miraculous advances aren’t immediately lost because they can’t be preserved. Such complex, interdependent systems point to an intelligent creator who knew just what he was building and put it together just as was needed.

Source: Hugh Henry and Daniel Dyke of Reasons to Believe



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Evidence for a Creator: Design Convergences

Posted on by Reasons for Hope 315 in Design, Evolution | Leave a comment

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Evidence for a Creator: Design Convergences

Evolutionary theory holds that all forms of life on earth today evolved from the first single-celled life form through unguided natural selection. An evolutionary tree has been developed that shows how various species are supposed to have evolved from other species. Species on the same branch of the tree are supposed to have had a common ancestor. So while all species are supposed to  have a common ancestor in the first life form, species on one branch of the tree did not evolve or descend from species on another branch of the tree. Each branch is said to have evolved randomly and independently. So then why is it that unrelated species, that evolved independently, have some of the same features? These common features are known as Design Convergences. Let’s explore the implications of this.



Design Convergences

It can be observed that species unrelated in the evolutionary tree often manifest identical anatomical and physiological features. So if these features were supposed to have come about by random, beneficial, mutations, why do two unrelated species have the same features?

According to the evolutionary tree, bats and flying lemurs didn’t come from the same common ancestor, so why is it that they each have the same limb structure? We’re to believe that the same independent mutations came about randomly, just coincidentally, in different areas of the evolutionary tree?

Naturalists attempt to explain such design convergences as the result of nearly identical environmental, predatory and competitive pressures on unrelated species. So because these unrelated species faced similar challenges to survival, they propose that natural selection shaped these species in identical ways. Now, that might make sense if natural selection was a designing intelligence, but remember it’s mindless and totally unguided.

Here are two problems Hugh Ross of Reasons to Believe sees with this. First, given that naturalistic evolution supposedly happened in response to a large number of unpredictable and dissimilar events, design convergence resulting from natural process should be extremely rare, yet design convergence outcomes permeate the fossil record. Second, design convergence appears in species from radically different habitats facing widely diverse survival stresses. Different habitats and survival stresses would imply dissimilar bases for natural selection.


The chameleon (a reptile) and the sandlance (a fish) are another example. Both have eyes that move independently; when one eye is in motion, the other eye can remain motionless. Both use the cornea rather than the lens of the eye to focus on objects. Both have skin coverings for their eyes that make them less conspicuous to prey and predators. Both have the same kind of tongue and the same kind of tongue-launching mechanism for snagging prey. Yet these creatures exist in drastically distinct habitats and remain far apart on any workable evolutionary chart.

Paleontologist Simon Conway Morris has described dozens of such design convergences at the organism level and Biochemist Fazale Rana offers over a hundred examples at the molecular level. So if we are to believe in evolution by unguided natural selection, we must believe that many identical random mutations all came about independently, just by chance.

The Aliens Look Just Like Us

On a larger scale it would be like if life did evolve on Earth and on another planet somewhere in the galaxy, and when those aliens showed up to visit us, we saw that they looked just like us: same body structure, walking upright, two arms, two legs, two eyes, two ears, one nose, one mouth. Life evolved randomly, by chance, against the odds, on two different planets with different environments, and both look the same.

This would help with Sci-Fi movie budgets because the aliens would look just like humans – but if life came about somewhere else by chance, we know they wouldn’t be just like us. Likewise, two unrelated species on earth, evolving by chance in different environments, shouldn’t have such similarities, not unless there was a common intelligent designer behind both.

Common Descent or Common Designer?

Random, unguided mutations aren’t going to produce the same result in different cases. But an intelligent creator might well use some of the same designs and features in different cases. As a computer programmer I reuse good code in different programs all the time when I have a similar need.

Some commonalities we see in the life on earth could be evidence of common descent, but they could also be evidence for a common designer. And then there are these design convergences that are quite a problem for the idea of common descent. So as you think about what we see in all the amazing life around us, which explanation do you think makes the most sense?

Source: More Than a Theory by Hugh Ross

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Do You See The Resurrection Like The Easter Bunny?

Posted on by Reasons for Hope 315 in Evidence for the Resurrection, Hope, Misconceptions | Leave a comment

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Do You See The Resurrection Like The Easter Bunny?

With Easter being tomorrow, is the way you see the resurrection of Jesus like the way you see the Easter Bunny? The Easter Bunny is a nice idea meant to give those who don’t know any better something to look forward to and to be happy about. As we grow older we come to see that this couldn’t be real. (Santa Claus at least seems more believable to me now, at least he’s a man not a bunny who does this!) We come to see that the Easter Bunny was made up, with good intentions to be sure, but made up nonetheless.  So what about the resurrection? Is that really any different?

4-5 resurrection investigate


Historical Reality or a Made-Up Nice Idea?

At this point in your life how do you really view the resurrection of Jesus? Is it a historical reality or just a nice idea that was made up, with good intentions likely, to give those who don’t really know better something to look forward to and be happy about?

Like we did with the Easter Bunny when we didn’t know better, did some people in the past believe something when they didn’t know better, that we today, with all that we’ve learned scientifically, can no longer believe to be real? Could a man rising from the dead be real to an intelligent person today?

I think a lot of people might wonder that today and some have already decided that it isn’t really believable. Sure it might give some hope to those who don’t know better, but it isn’t real.

Challenging Some Assumptions

We might be tempted to think that the people in the ancient past who believed and passed on the idea of the resurrection were kind of like us as children believing in the Easter Bunny. They didn’t know any better. Without having learned the things we’ve since learned, they were more gullible. We might think that it was easy for them to believe that Jesus rose from the dead. They were just told it and believed it without even questioning it.

But were they really like that? Were they so gullible and easily swayed? I say that they were not. Yes, we’ve learned some things about how things really work but they were no less intelligent people than we are. It’s a bit arrogant for us to believe that they were so gullible. Even Jesus’ inner-most circle of disciples didn’t believe it easily at all.

Even 2000 years ago people didn’t believe that people could just rise from the dead. Before going to the cross Jesus repeatedly told them that he was going to die and rise again. But did they believe it? No, this went in one ear and out the other. When he was crucified they were disillusioned. This man they had followed and thought was the Messiah was dead and gone. They didn’t wait expectantly by the tomb, waiting for his resurrection like he had told them. No, they fearfully went into hiding, wondering what they were going to do with their lives now.

The women went to the tomb on Sunday morning, not expecting to see Jesus risen, but to prepare his body for it’s final resting there in the tomb. But they found the stone rolled aside and Jesus’ body was gone. They were told that he had risen just as he said. So the women ran back to tell the disciples the news.

And did the disciples just easily accept this, after all it’s what Jesus had said would happen? No. Luke 24:11 says, “But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense.” Do you still think they were gullible? Some of us today might believe it easier than they did, having seen Jesus do miracles and having told them this is what would happen.

Many Convincing Proofs

Thankfully God knows that we can find things hard to believe, whether thousands of years ago or today. Jesus knew this. He knew that people don’t just easily believe that someone rose from the dead. And while he would have been pleased if they had just taken him at his word, he provided the evidence that they needed to be able to believe.

He appeared to them and let them examine the nail holes in his hands and feet and where the spear had been thrust into his side. He ate food with them. He walked with them. And it didn’t just take one appearance to convince them. You may not realize this but he spent forty days with them convincing them.

Acts 1:3 says, “After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God.

They didn’t believe easily. They wouldn’t find the Easter Bunny to be any more believable than you or I do, and they wouldn’t have found the resurrection to be any more believable than people today would, except, Jesus appeared to them and presented evidence that their intelligent minds could no longer deny.

And because they were so convinced in this way, their lives could never be the same again. God had entered the world in Jesus Christ. He had died n the cross for their sins and for ours, and he had risen from the dead! And so they went from hiding, cowering in fear, to going out and boldly telling everyone what had happened, because how could you keep news like this to yourself?!

The Evidence is There for Us Today

Jesus doesn’t appear to you and I today to convince us, but the historical evidence is there for us to explore. I encourage you to read a series of posts I presented on this evidence a couple of years go.  There are five minimal facts of the resurrection that almost all scholars accept, even the skeptical ones. 1) Jesus Died By Crucifixion, 2) Jesus’ Disciples Believed that He Rose and Appeared to Them, 3) The Church Persecutor Paul was Suddenly Changed, 4) The Skeptic James, the Brother of Jesus, was Suddenly Changed, and 5) The Tomb was Empty.

Put together these facts of evidence present a case that I cannot deny. I believe that no other explanation can explain the facts other than that Jesus Christ did indeed rise from the dead.  See what you think.

Happy Easter! He is Risen! He is Risen, Indeed!

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Reflections on the Risen Movie

Posted on by Reasons for Hope 315 in Evidence for the Resurrection | Leave a comment

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Reflections on the Risen Movie

Last week I saw Risen. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s a movie about the resurrection of Jesus told from a unique perspective, that of an unbelieving Roman military tribune. As the trailer says, it’s the most important event in human history seen through the eyes of a non-believer. This unique take may help some people to look at it through fresh eyes of their own. I myself would say that this perspective was interesting and thought provoking.  It’s a good movie and I enjoyed it. I do encourage you to see it and to think about inviting a friend.

CSI: Jerusalem

You could also say that it’s the resurrection story told as a detective story, something that’s quite popular today. The events portrayed from the Roman perspective make sense. Jealous of Jesus, the Jewish leadership pushes the Roman governor to put him to death, claiming he is a revolutionary that’s a threat to Caesar. His body is placed in a tomb and put under Roman guard. But then three days later the body is gone and people are starting to say that he’s risen from the dead. For both the Jewish and Roman leaders this is worse than when Jesus was alive. Both wanted to put an end to this right away.

The Jewish leaders make up the story that the disciples came in the night and stole the body while the Roman guards were sleeping. Not a likely story as Roman guards who slept on duty could be put to death. But what happened to the body? If they could just produce the body of Jesus that could put an end to it all. And so Roman Tribune Clavius, portrayed by Joseph Fiennes, is tasked with investigating what happened to Jesus’ body.  Assisted by his aide Lucius (Tom Felton from the Harry Potter movies), Clavius searches the tomb for clues and questions witnesses and the guards in an all out search for the body.

Coming to Grips with the Evidence

Through his investigation, this unbelieving Roman must try to make sense of what he’s uncovered. He has to try to reconcile what he’s seen and heard with what he has believed to be true about life and the world. This movie is good in that it reminds or makes people aware that Christianity isn’t about some rules that we’re supposed to follow. It isn’t about nice sayings and stories that have an inspiring meaning but that really couldn’t have happened. Rather it’s based on a historical event that can be and was investigated.

An open-minded  investigation of the historical evidence of the resurrection of Jesus forces an intellectually honest person to come to grips with the evidence. In his love for us in his amazing plan to save us, I believe that it was God’s intention to to cause all of us to do what Clavius has to do, to reconcile the risen Jesus with what we believe to be true about life and the world. It’s easy to blow off a storybook Jesus if you want, but what do you do with a man who died on a cross and really rose again from the dead? That’s not someone you can just blow off. You must make a choice about him. You must either accept him or reject him.

Thankfully this one we must come to grips with loves us more than anyone else and only wants the best for us. Yes, he forces us to make a decision about him but it’s only because he loves us and longs for us to come to know and love him as he knows and loves us.

Some Concluding Thoughts

If you have haven’t yet come to grips with who Jesus is, know that I’m praying for you. I pray that you will investigate this for yourself. Open a Bible. Read the New Testament and see Jesus for who he is.  See what he does and says and see what he does for you in dying on the cross. Then investigate the resurrection and see what you think of the historical evidence. I would be happy to hear what you think.

And then for those of us who know Jesus and wish to share him with others, if coming to grips with the evidence of the resurrection of Jesus was so key to God’s plan for the spread of Christianity, why is it that often today it seems to be an afterthought at best? Yes it’s important to share our stories about how Jesus has changed out lives but let’s also be sure to gently and respectfully help them to confront the evidence of the one who “was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord“.(Romans 1:4).





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Is the Virgin Birth Believable?

Posted on by Reasons for Hope 315 in Christmas, Design, Evidence for the Resurrection | Leave a comment

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Is the Virgin Birth Believable?

Is it possible in today’s age to believe that the virgin birth of Jesus Christ actually happened? Is it scientifically possible? Many have reason to be skeptical of such things, as we just don’t see things like this happening every day. While  I don’t have any evidence to present that specifically supports the virgin birth, because of much of the other evidence  I have been presenting here on the blog, I find the virgin birth very believable.


The Evidence of Creation Makes it Easy for Me to Believe

As I have presented in many posts, I believe that there has to be a satisfying reason why the universe, in it’s amazing complexity, exists. The evidence strongly favors the idea that there was a beginning to the universe, meaning there was a time when there was nothing, and then the universe (time, space and matter) came into existence. This had to have a cause. What’s more, this cause had to be outside of time, space and matter and it had to have the power to bring the universe into existence. It, or he, also had to have the intelligence to design the universe in the way that would make life in it possible. As I have presented before, there is a slim set of possible conditions that all have to be met for life to be possible.

And then, as if that wasn’t enough to show the need for a creator, this creator also had to be able to bring life into existence from non-life. Everything we know from science tells us that life does not just spontaneously generate from non-life. What’s more, reason tells us that the amount of information in DNA, the instructions for the building of all living things, could not have come about from a non-intelligent source. The evidence is clear to me that there was a designer and creator of life.



The Evidence of the Resurrection Makes it Easy for Me to Believe

As I have also presented in many posts, the evidence is strong that Jesus Christ actually died by crucifixion, was buried, and rose again from the dead. This idea isn’t just wishful thinking, a nice myth that makes us feel better and more hopeful. When you examine the historical evidence with an open mind, it presents a very strong case. To me it’s a convincing case. The alternative theories fail to account for the five minimal facts of the resurrection. If the evidence was just that the tomb was empty, for example, the theory that his body was stolen might be satisfying. But that’s not the sole piece of evidence. You also have to explain why the disciples clearly believed that they had witnessed the risen Jesus, and gave their lives defending that belief. You also have to explain why an enemy and a skeptic also came to believe in the risen Jesus, and give their lives for their new found belief.

Dead men don’t often come back to life, but a God who can bring life out of non-life can certainly handle bringing a human body back to life.

The God of Miraculous Life

If God can bring life into existence from nothing and bring a dead human body back to life, then why should we find it difficult to believe that he could bring about a virgin birth? Just as God brought hope to the world through the miraculous child who has been born for us, he can bring new life to you when life seems hopeless. He came for you. God loves you so much that, even though we have all turned out backs on him and thought we could do life just fine without him, he sent his only Son to come for us. Jesus is God and he was born miraculously all so that he could give his life for you and I. Jesus died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins so that we can be forgiven and enjoy life as God intended it, in relationship with him. And then after he died for us, he rose again from the dead and forever lives as the bridge between God and man.

That’s what we celebrate at Christmas. It’s my prayer for you that, if you haven’t yet, you will receive God’s Christmas gift to you, the gift of new life in Christ. Tell him that you believe and that you want to be forgiven and know him, both now and for eternity.  Merry Christmas to All!

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Thankful for a God Who Has Given Us Evidence

Posted on by Reasons for Hope 315 in Case Making, Misconceptions, Questions | Leave a comment

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Thankful for a God Who Has Given Us Evidence

This Thanksgiving weekend one thing that I am definitely thankful for is having a God that doesn’t just say, “Believe, even if there’s no evidence, believe in me blindly.” Some people have the impression that being a Christian in today’s world means checking your brain at the door and believing things in spite of evidence to the contrary. Like Christians are holding on to something which may have been believable in a past day when we just didn’t know enough. However, I believe that the Christian worldview is something that you can come to by a logical, rational examination of the evidence, if you’re willing. And this is so because God has provided us with a lot of evidence that we can examine.

Images for Case

I Am Thankful God Did This for Me

God didn’t have to provide us with evidence. He could have just demanded blind faith and obedience. That would be his right as creator, but I’m thankful that what I see in the Bible is a God who understands the human beings he has created. He knows that we have questions and don’t want to believe something just because we’re told to. We don’t want to believe something that isn’t true. We don’t want to get taken. God has given us minds to think and reason with and so he’s not surprised when we have questions and want to see evidence. I think this is true of all of us to some extent, and for people like me, who think like I do, this is VERY important. So I’m thankful that God understands this and isn’t threatened by it. How have I come to this conclusion? Because time and again in the Bible I see God providing evidence to help people believe.

I see God providing evidence of his existence and power to the Egyptians through Moses with the plagues. I see God providing evidence that he is the true God to Ahab and the prophets of Baal through Elijah on Mount Carmel. And while there are many more examples I could site, ultimately God gave evidence of who he is and his incredible love for us through Jesus Christ. Jesus performed many miracles to validate who he was and he even said, “Do not believe me unless I do the works of my Father. But if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father.”” (John 10:37-38)

God understands me and, because he loves me, he has provided evidence to help me believe. Even when those moments of doubt come, when I ask myself, “Is it really all true?” and I wonder, “Is it worth living this Christian life, following after Jesus? Maybe it would be easier to just abandon it all and live however I want.” — when those moments occasionally come, the evidence is still there and I can’t escape the rational conclusion that it is all true and it makes the most sense to me when looking at all the evidence. God is real, he made us. Jesus is real and he is God in human flesh, shown by his resurrection from the dead. And Jesus loves me, in spite of my sins and failures and wants the best for me and wants me to know him and live in his love.

I Am Thankful God Did This So I Can Share with Others

I’m thankful that when I think of all God has done for me and I want to share that with others, that he has given me something solid and objective that I can share with people who have questions like I did. It’s important for us to share our stories of what God has done for us. As some have rightly said, people can’t argue with what we say has been meaningful and helpful for us, but that doesn’t stop them from just saying, “Well that may have helped you but that doesn’t mean it’s true for me.” So thankfully there’s more that we can share, along with our testimonies, that is objective and can’t just be easily brushed aside.

There is evidence that we can and should share that people can examine objectively. For those who are open and seeking the truth, the evidence we share can be used by God to answer their questions and help bring them to faith. And for those who aren’t open, they can continue to write off Christianity, if they so choose, but they can’t do so making the claim that there’s nothing objective to it, that it’s just a bunch of non-sense that has been rationally disproved. You can’t argue someone into becoming a Christian, but by sharing the evidence God has provided — evidence of creation, evidence of the resurrection, evidence supporting the truth and reliability of the Bible — we can remove a barrier that stands between them and faith, or a barricade that they are hiding behind so as not to have to face God himself.

I’m thankful that God has provided us with truth, truth that I can stand on and truth that I can share.

“but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,” — 1 Peter 3:15 (ESV)

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Tacos, Timelines, Significance and Hope

Posted on by Reasons for Hope 315 in Design, Hope, Misconceptions, Why Jesus Came | Leave a comment

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Do you ever feel small and insignificant? I want to tell you that you’re not. I hope you’ll take a few minutes and read this.

BOGO Bonus

I went to Chipotle with my wife the other day for BOGO tacos. The tacos were great as I expected but I also got something I didn’t expect, something I want to share. Little did I know that BOGO would really stand for, Buy One taco and Get One blog post. You see Chipotle puts some writer’s thoughts on their drink cups, along with some artwork, something to think about while you eat your lunch. It’s their Cultivating Thought Author Series. The title “Two-Minute Entreaty” on my cup caught my eye. It was written by Anthony Doerr.

Anthony uses an illustration. He says, “Tattoo Earth’s 4.5-billion-year timeline onto your arm, shoulder to fingertip.” On this view of the Earth’s timeline your upper arm will only have meteorites, magma and acid rain. Life won’t begin until your bicep and it’s all single celled life until your wrist. He says that creatures that are finally big enough to see will crisscross the back of your hand and dinosaurs are around the joints at the end of your fingers. Human life fits on the sliver of fingernail at the end of your longest finger. He says…

“We are each no more than a spark, a mote illuminated for a split-second as it passes through a beam of light.

And you? Your grandma’s toffee bars, your CD collection, your treehouse, your best-ever Halloween costume, every regret you’ll ever have, every dream you’ll ever dream, every mouth you’ll ever kiss (or wish you had)—they’ll all ride the microscopic edge of your fingernail, a tattoo so thin you’d need an electron microscope to glimpse it.”

Further, he rather casually says,

“File your nail and you’ll wipe out your entire family tree, and Shakespeare and ancient Greece with it.”

He acknowledges that the picture he’s painting with his illustration might make us feel rather small and hopeless but he does have an encouraging message for us that he ends with…

“I say, Be big. Big-hearted, big-witted, big-eyed. See, try, love, read, make, paint, and taste everything you can while you can.
You still have some hours left. Go.”

I don’t know about you, but his encouragement didn’t do much to give me hope after the bleak, hopeless and purposeless picture he had just painted. You’ve still got some hours left. Go do some stuff while you still can, before your life falls away like nail filings. As insignificantly it started, your life will end. End of story.

What leads me to share?

I mean no disrespect to Anthony Doerr. He’s entitled to his view of the world and a lot of people agree with him. But after reading his entreaty I wanted to share one of my own because I believe that there is much more hope and purpose and significance for us in this life than what his view allows.

Now some of you might think that a big issue for me with his view is about the age of the Earth. The view that the Earth is 4.5 billion years old and humanity has only been around for the last little bit might make us feel small but I don’t think that’s the issue. That doesn’t matter that much to me. I don’t think the significance of our lives is dependent on whether the tattoo of Earth’s timeline goes back to the top of your hand or the top of your shoulder.

To see your significance you instead need to turn your hand over and look at your palm. Look at it right now and imagine that you’re looking at the palm of Jesus. What do you see there? I see the hole that was put there as he was nailed to the cross.

You and I can know that we are significant and so very valuable in the grand scheme of things because the one who made the earth, and us, was willing to come and even give his life for us so that we could know him. He loves us so much that he died for our sins so that we can be forgiven and have a personal relationship with the one who made us in his image.

My Entreaty

So here’s my entreaty. Don’t look at your finger nails, instead look at the nail holes in Jesus’ hands. That’s what shows you your significance and getting to know him gives us purpose and hope in life. And as we get to know him and his great love and hope, he wants to use us to share those with others.

I believe that you have a lot more than just some hours left and it’s my hope that you will find and live the life that God has given you in the love and hope of Christ.


If you haven’t read my blog before and you should think that I hold this view of the world that I do just because it makes me feel better than Mr Doerr’s view, I encourage you to read some more while you’re here because I have been presenting the reasons for the hope that I have in Christ. I believe that the evidence is convincing that God made the universe and life and that Jesus really came and died and rose again as the Bible says. I encourage you to explore the evidence and see what you think.

You can read Anthony Doerr’s full entreaty here.

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