Darwin with Cataracts

Charles Darwin lacked modern scientific tools. Compared to the instruments we have today, Darwin was like an old woman with cataracts attempting to spot earthworms from a hot air balloon. You’d have a better chance of spotting golf balls on the moon using binoculars than Darwin had in interpreting the cosmos with his scientific instruments.

As a student of biological sciences, and holding a minor in it, I can give proper regard to the impact of the work of Darwin, and how he dedicated his energies to understanding the cosmos through biology. His work has echoed through the halls of almost every school in the modern world, and his research was exemplary for its time.

Like I said, his scientific instruments were crude and primitive, therefore limiting the accuracy and types of data he could gather. When Darwin looked through his “modern” microscope at a cell, he saw a simple circle or square with some fuzzy stuff in the middle. Today when we look at the cell, we see a complex – that’s an understatement – machine which operates with perfect internal grace and majesty. The levels of interdependence, precision, and artistic beauty within the organelles blow away anything ever created by man. If my memory serves me correctly, Darwin made remarks to the effect that if in the future of science we became able to study and conclude that there were parts within a cell which are complex and interdependent beyond what he was able to see, that then we would have to allow for the possible deconstruction of his theories.

Holy cow.

You see, if 2 different parts within a cell must have the other one to operate, then they would have both had to have been there to start with (in the first cell which existed). The problem for Darwin and his descendants is not 1 pair of interdependent organelles, but multiple groups in each type of cell, organism, animal, plant, etc. The “odds,” if we can even use such silly terms, of such an outcome from a random, unguided macro-evolution are virtually, and realistically 0.

Yet the Darwinian view persists. A house must have a foundation, and the house that Darwin built was founded on the theory that from simple forms of life much more complex, intricate life could arise by random accident. In itself that is unproven to this day, and further is illogical – (order from chaos?) Yet the house that Darwin built is inhabited by the brightest minds in academia, and I would wager it is held by the majority of educated people worldwide. What happened here? Now that we can see the brilliant design within just one cell, how could it be that so many people would still hold to an idea which posits completely random, unguided mutation in millions of species, each of which has become a whole, perfect organism able to reproduce within its own kind? Think of a simpler example: take an iPhone or a Toyota Prius and imagine that it could arise from accidental melding of parts over millions of years. Have we gotten absurd enough yet? But wait! There’s more… try to make the leap of unfounded faith that a living cell, almost infinitely more complex and intricate could arise from this same unproven process?

For an idea to be scientifically proven, it must be testable. Naturalistic evolution is anything but testable. To be fair, Darwin’s theory of the origin of species is interesting, but ultimately it is simply a guess based on an interpretation of evidence. It barely qualifies as a true scientific theory if it even does.

Ultimately, each of us will be required to place faith in something… because none of us was there “in the beginning!”

This is the juncture where the agnostics, atheists and antitheists part ways from the theists and creationists. We are forced to ask where it all started, and therefore, what or who was there before the start?

Try on this logic for size: If we put forward an eternal, creating, sentient being, then the cosmos can be as it is. If there is no eternal, creating, sentient being, then nothing can possibly exist because matter and energy cannot create themselves. Why is that so difficult to grasp? Yet if I were a professor at an average university, I could lose my job for publishing an article like this. Something beyond raw science and research is at stake here. When professional scientists’ jobs are threatened and lost (as they are) for asking legitimate questions like this, we can be sure some political motive is afoot. What is at stake?

Now I will make the (logical, informed) leap to the biblical worldview in order to answer the question.

What is at stake is the implications of an interpretation of the cosmos as an orderly, harmonious whole which is created, governed, and at the service of the Creator and Sovereign.

The so-called “Big-Bang” theory of a causeless cosmos is devoid of a logical premise, and accordingly the entire story from that point falls flat. There had to be an Originator, or there would be no origin. It is that simple. So, I’m back to the question. Why is this such a difficult, heated debate with such entrenched, militaristic ideology on all sides?

What is at stake is the implications of an interpretation of the cosmos as an orderly, harmonious whole which is created, governed, and at the service of the Creator and Sovereign.

Even if we say for sake of argument that the Bible is not supernatural, and we set it aside as irrelevant, we are still in need of a coherent explanation of our origin. Stephen Hawking, the genius scientist of international acclaim, recently wrote in his book The Grand Design that we actually can explain the cosmos as having arisen ex nihilo, out of nothing and without a creator. The universe created itself. If one of the most brilliant astrophysicists in history could come out with an illogical, sad, and ridiculous statement like that, there must be something driving him away from the axiomatic reality of an eternal *something*. To state with a serious face that there was a beginning point to everything as if everything within the cosmos is self-created is to blind yourself, say that up is down, to say that squares have 5 sides, to say that we exist and do not exist simultaneously. It is foolish. It is openly foolish. It is indicative of something going on at the heart of the issue.

There must be an intellectual fear of an interpretation of the cosmos as an orderly, harmonious whole which is created, governed, and at the service of the Creator and Sovereign.

Do you fear that conclusion?

Let’s be honest. Our scientific instrumentation has matured and grown in precision and has revealed a magical, fantastical micro and macro cosmos which consumes the mind with wonder. Yet still with all of our knowledge and calculation of the universe, the conclusions to which our most intellectual class is coming are even more anti-creator, anti-truth, and anti-Bible than ever before. This is a tragedy (another understatement). God has gifted men with such an awesome wisdom in science and investigation. We have these brains which can conceive of ideas which are so much bigger than any of us individually or as a whole. We are driven to search for meaning and cohesion in the cosmos. We are designed to find our Maker.

He has spoken, He means to be heard, and He wants to be known… check it out:

In testing the Bible for divine origin, it stands as the definitively different and unique book. Its explanations of origins and history are quite logical, perfectly consistent with the cosmos as we see it, and a perfectly beautiful tapestry of divine revelation. Why is it not good enough for people to see and believe?

In 1 Corinthians 1:18 – 25 we are confronted with the irony and tragedy of the wisdom of this world which only leads to intellectual and spiritual darkness. Stephen Hawking may have an intensely powerful brain, but his rejection of divine Sovereignty and revelation in the Scriptures has lead to his becoming a public fool. Never forget, my friends, that God chooses the weak things of this world to shame the wise. Once we have rejected the Bible as the inspired, inerrant Word of God, we set ourselves adrift into a dark morass of ignorance and eternal suicide. I weep for my family, friends, and neighbors who see but don’t see, who hear but are deaf, who are alive yet dead.

Darwin made just one example of how man finds any way possible to break free of the Sovereignty of the Creator. Romans 1:18 – 32 details the regression of man in rejecting the Creator and so being turned over to a darkened, foolish mind. Here in Romans we see that with or without the special revelation of God, people refuse to acknowledge and thank Him, choosing instead to follow their own desires. Even more sad is when someone concludes that the God of the Bible cannot be the truth and the true God, leaving them nowhere left to turn other than to the darkened, limited sense of reality outside of knowing the Creator. The interpretation of the cosmos minus the lens of Scripture leads men to invent anything but truth, ranging from the universe as being on the back of a turtle all the way up to the sophisticated, pseudo-scientific ideas of naturalistic Darwinism.

I suppose that even if God Himself were to appear among us, work miracles, speak as no one ever spoke, and was able to even predict the future perfectly, that even then we would not listen and would even kill Him… like we did.

I offer to all who read this, the revelation of reality as it is from the breath of the One who created in unfettered freedom. There are stacks of books which will enlighten the mind and heart concerning the harmony between the Bible and the visible cosmos. The only question is, will we see our need of God, accept Him on His terms according to His reality, or will we venture into the swamps of fallen logic to attempt an autonomous reconstructing of the cosmos?

Thanks for reading,

-Justin

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46 thoughts on “Darwin with Cataracts

  1. Blog Reader

    I don’t like Darwin and find it laughable that anyone would regard his ideas as facts. But here is something else that is not a fact: “Once we have rejected the Bible as the inspired, inerrant Word of God, we set ourselves adrift into a dark morass of ignorance and eternal suicide.” That’s a bit much. One can believe in God, love God, believe that Jesus is God who came to earth in human form to save our souls, worship and serve the Lord, love his or her neighbors, repent of sins, BUT NOT ACCEPT EVERY BIT OF THE BIBLE AS GOD’S WORD and that person is not going to be adrift in darkness the way you say.

    Many people worship the bible when they should be worshiping God.

  2. As you may be able to tell from my blog posts, I try not to pretend to be more educated or intelligent than I am, but even so I think I know where the flaws in your argument are located. First, it is a bit of a false dichotomy to set believing in the entire Bible as inerrant, infallible, and sufficient as necessarily “worshiping” the Bible. What if the Bible is perfectly inspired and accurate, and believing that is simply recognizing a truth, such as “the sun brings warmth to the earth”?

    Second, how could one “believe in God, love God, believe that Jesus is God who came to earth in human form to save our souls, worship and serve the Lord, love his or her neighbors, repent of sins” without accepting every bit of the Bible as God’s Word? The thing about that is, Jesus is the focus of the entire Old and New Testaments, and Jesus clearly vocalizes belief in the literal historicity of the entire Bible. Paul writes as a believer in the literal historicity of the Bible, as do the other Apostles… and if you will point to this passage or that to say they are not the inspired parts, what criterion will you be using?

    Thanks for thinking out loud!

    • Blog Reader

      When Jesus returns and says anything you don’t recognize as meshing with your (literal) interpretation of the bible, I pray you’ll use your God given instincts and listen.

      And I don’t think everyone who takes the bible as 100% inerrant, infallible, etc. is a bible-idol worshiper, but I know there are many people who have abandoned that God given instinct and can’t commune with the Lord because the Book is their only God.

      Translation / language issues alone pose problems. Anything left in man’s hands will be corrupted. I would even give you that the original bible as God intended it was the perfect word of the Creator. But there is still the question of whether God ever intended the Bible to be read 100% literally.

      How can someone believe all the important stuff but have an icky feeling about the bible? God given instinct. The same innate feeling you reference that let’s us all know there is more than meets the eye. Discernment. Prayer. Thought. Study. That’s how.

      And I want an explanation of the darkness you accuse me personally of living in. If I love God, believe Jesus is God and came to earth to purchase me with his blood, if I turn from sin and acknowledge I am a sinner yet and sincerely pray for forgiveness, if I love my neighbor, and know the only way to heaven is through Jesus Christ, but the bible gives me a wary, icky feeling – how dark is the darkness I’m in? I’m being serious I want you to tell me how lost you really think I am and what I can expect for consequences.

      • Concerning your observations about the translation and transmissional issues of the Bible, I will wait to comment as my post will hopefully address some of that and we can discuss in that article.

        As far as the bad feelings which you have gotten from reading the Bible, it is obviously just that; a feeling. I do not dismiss your feelings, but I ask you to consider weighing them in the balance. Perhaps God does not intend you to feel comfortable in reading His Word? I agree there are some difficult, trashy, graphic parts of the Bible, but that is because it is an historical depiction of sinful humanity. The history of redemption is fraught with murder, adultery, idolatry, and every other filthy human behavior. Part of the reason that stuff is recorded in Scripture is because God desires to demonstrate His all-powerful redeeming love, a love which is made all the more glorious and bright by being placed against the backdrop of absolutely unworthy people who have in every way undone themselves in sin.

        And as far as an “explanation of the darkness” that I “accuse [you] personally of living in”, I would rather we shift the language a bit. I am not personally accusing you of anything, heavens know I don’t even know your name! Also, with all that you are confessing in these comment boxes concerning your personal faith in Christ and repentance of sin, I personally would encourage you in the faith!

        Paul says “Therefore I tell you that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus be cursed,” and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.” 1 Cor 12:3 (NASB)

        If you are from your spirit truly a person who has placed full trust in Jesus for your salvation, then I would not dare lay a finger on that faith in accusation. I would only say, my friend, that you should carefully pray about your aversion to the Bible. When I was a baby Christian 8 years ago, I didn’t know a Bible from a bicycle pump, and after over a year of having been saved, it dawned on me one day that the Scriptures seemed to be indicating that Jesus is at once a man and yet fully God. I was shocked and confused, but I immediately prayed that He would enlighten me to whether or not I was mislead in my thinking. Within that day and for at least 2 weeks, it seemed every time I opened the Bible I was confronted with the lightning strikes of deity in Jesus Christ. Since then I am a sold-out lover of the deity of Jesus, a defender of His eternal nature, and a worshiper of Him.

        All that to say, that I would only gently encourage you to not draw a hard line against the Bible and reject it as even being possible that it is entirely God’s Word, and entirely preserved for you to read and believe. After all, God is able to preserve His Word against the folly and corruption of men, hm?

        -J

  3. Looking Up

    @Blog Reader
    Just listening in on the conversation here folks. If I may, I have a question for Blog Reader. What specifically about the Bible gives you a, “…wary, icky feeling” ? Apparently you have taken literally a lot of what is written in it to profess the beliefs you hold about Jesus.
    Respectfully,

    • Blog Reader

      You know when you are watching a movie or television show and everything’s going fine and then out of nowhere comes the gratuitous graphic violence, or unnecessarily ‘under-dressed’ female character, etc. and you’re like “why did they have to put that in there?” I felt that come up a lot when I was reading the bible.

      I also noticed sometimes the things I was reading in the bible smacked of something so obviously written by men. (I don’t mean humans, I mean males.) Like “oh well isn’t that convenient for guys!”

      I found certain parts salacious, trashy, pornographic, disturbing, gruesome, etc. I remember there was something I believe in the new testament that talked about how nothing is clean or unclean but if something causes one to sin, let that person stay away from it. What if the bible is that thing for some people? The reading of it actually leads them into sinful thoughts or behaviors?

      I do not regret reading the entire bible, but once was enough. People who obsess over it miss that oft forgotten third part of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit. They go to the Book over and over and over when all the while a still, small voice is speaking to them but can’t be heard over the din of memorized verses.

      • Thanks for clearly presenting your ideas. I already had planned on a post on this subject, but perhaps now I will have a slightly different focus and try to make some points which will further help any of us to understand and appreciate the nature of the Bible.

      • Looking Up

        Would you agree that if the Bible is given to us by God, and that if God is really God (ie. omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent and all that), and if we’re really separated from Him by sin which is rooted more deeply in us that we can know, that there would naturaly be things in the Bible that would make us feel uncomfortable (even icky)?

        Regarding, “I found certain parts salacious, trashy, pornographic, disturbing, gruesome, etc.” Sounds like a pretty accurrate description of the human condition doesn’t it? For me the uncensored nature of it actually makes me more inclined to believe it rather than less. I’m thinking if it were just written by men they would have made mankind, and the Jewish people in particular, seem much more noble, as most other ancient literature does.

        • Excellent points there brother. Thanks for participating!

        • Blog Reader

          Yes, I have been instructed this way before. That the bible is just giving an accurate history and description of the human condition so of course it is going to have some trashy parts. And I get that. Like I don’t care to read about David peeping, but I can accept that it is just basically like a news report. (And makes me feel… wrong the same way I might feel about a news report sort of sensationalizing a story of a similar nature.)

          The parts that really concern me are when God himself says something that just doesn’t seem right. (Again, that Holy Spirit, God given innate knowledge / instinct thing). For example I remember reading this one awful part way toward the beginning of the bible where God supposedly tells men if they see a chick they like the looks of and can’t help but rape her, go for it but then make sure you marry her after. And around that same part I think there was another passage where God tells men at war to take whatever cute girls they find and keep them for a month to try them out and then if you don’t like ’em kick ’em out. In fact the emphasis on physical attractiveness in the bible is shocking and sick come to think of it.

          So then I’m told “but Jesus came to override all that nasty old testament stuff.” (Like the animal sacrifice upsets me too.) But then THEY pick and choose which things Jesus overrides and which O.T. stuff stands.

          I look forward to getting some info. regarding how the Bible could possibly have survived language translations and Catholic church captivity. I am open to the possibility that the Bible might be 100% all God.

          Most interesting point to me so far is this idea that the bible is SUPPOSED to make me feel bad. Nobody has ever brought that to my attention! I could see that being the case. Like I said I am open.

  4. Blog Reader,

    I am just observing the conversation and I would like to add that I am blessed to see that you are open to learning. Keep that humility and teachable spirit that you have, it’s refreshing to see that you’re not just arguing to arguments sake, but in order to learn.

  5. Looking Up

    @Blog Reader

    When attempting to reconcile accounts in the Bible that seem strange or even utterly ridiculous to me I’ve found it helpful to consider that the Bible was revealed in and to a culture that I am greatly separated from racially, religiously, and geographically. Not only that, but the Bible has been around for literally thousands of years while I’ve only been around for tens. Meaning, my perspective is strongly influenced by my age, race, background, culture, and generation; as is anyone’s perspective as they come to this ancient book. Certainly there are things in it that I find appauling that would seem quite natural to other cultures (ex. polygamy, slavery, sacrifices), while at the same time there are things in it that I would find normal that someone from another culture would find ridiculous (ex. personal property, explicit moral laws, prohibitions against drinking blood). My adverse reaction to something I read in the Bible (you’ve described this as innate knowledge/instinct) is very likely based in my particular cultural bent and not necessarily an indication of an ultimate truth.

    Here’s an example. God told Abraham in Genesis 22 to kill his son Isaac. Abraham took Isaac up a mountain to an alter, tied him down, raised the knife, and was about to kill his son when God, by and angel, stopped him. God then basically says, “Now that I’ve seen you were willing to kill your son, I know you love me.” This story bothered my for a long time and made me feel “icky” to say the least, until I read an explaination this very week that I had never before considered. It goes like this. Abraham was living in a culture where people were sacrificing their first born sons to gods all the time. It was a culturally acceptable thing to do if you will. When God told Abraham to sacrifice his son, Abraham would not necessarily have heard this as an unusual demand. He would actually have considered it typical. When God stopped him from going through with it He accomplished two things in the life of Abraham. He confirmed to Abraham that he had actually heard from him, and He distinguished Himself from the false gods of Abraham’s day that would have caused him to go through with it. Through this dramatic event, God taught Abraham what it is like to hear from Him and revealed Himself to be merciful and gracious, unlike all the other gods of Abraham’s time. He did one more thing through this scene as well. He provided a ram (a male lamb) with its head caught in a thorn bush (remind you of anyone?) for Abraham to offer as the sacrifice to God and as a form of worship instead of his son; thus prefiguring the ultimate Lamb of God who would wear thorns for us and offer Himself a sacrifice for us all. I feel much less uncomfortable with this story now that I’m able to see it from another perspective.

    This example is not the first time I’ve had my perspective profoundly shifted by seeing something from the Bible in a different light. It would be a shame to not receive the Bible as 100% word of God because parts of it seem wrong to you at this time in your life. Where would faith come in if everything in the Bible seemed perfectly reasonable and acceptable to us the first time we read it? We’d have to already have the mind of God to 100% receive the Bible first time through. Who would be so arrogant to say they have a truly unbiased view and are able to perfectly understand a book like the Bible after reading it one time through? I’m sure you see what I’m saying here.

    I would encourage you to take the love you have for Jesus (who you only know about because of the Bible) and allow Him as much time as He wants to take to reveal to you the truthfulness of His inspired word. Place your faith in the Bible even though there are parts that you have trouble with today, and pray for Him to help you see His wisdom in it. I realize that would be a very humble position to take, but if God is as powerful, and good, and merciful, and gracious, and loving, and patient as He’s shown Himself to be in Jesus Christ, there’s really no risk in it at all.

    Respectfully,

    • Blog Reader

      I do see what you are saying, LookingUp. And I want to reopen my bible now… but I am actually afraid that what I read might turn me away from God rather than draw me closer. I know that sounds really stupid but I mean it and it is a real concern I have.

      • Might I make a simple suggestion to that end? Perhaps picking out one section to deal with for a while would help you to slowly, carefully work through the text. I personally love and cherish the gospel of Matthew as I had to help teach through it a few years ago. Any place I got a little stuck or confused, I would pray for wisdom and look to some good commentaries. It turned out to be one of the more blessed years of my life. So maybe Matthew and a Psalm or two a day? Just a thought. Keep honest, keep open. Take care.

        • Blog Reader

          I want to clarify that while I’ve read the entire bible through only once, there are parts I’ve read multiple times. The 4 books of the Gospel (if I remember correctly I liked Luke and John best), Psalms, and Proverbs made for such wonderful reading. And I read the book of Job more than once – wow that was a story!

          I got my bible down off the shelf for the first time in years. Have not read anything yet, just refamiliarized myself with where everything is. I even prayed last night about my bible issues and listened hard. The answers I sensed from God are hard for me to explain in writing but one I can share is that I had a strong feeling of guilt that came on while I was praying.

          I love God and I am truly afraid that reading bad things about God in the bible will change that love into disdain.

      • Looking Up

        @Blog Reader

        I hear you, but I have to say, if you really love God, and you start reading your Bible again prayerfully asking Him to reveal His true nature to you through it, you won’t end up turning away from Him. It’s just not possible. Jesus said in the New Testament, in John 5 and near the end of Luke (and other places as well), that the Old Testament was about Him. He told His apostles in John 14 that He would send the Holy Spirit who would bring to their rememberance all that He taught them so they could accurately report it to us. In this way Jesus endorsed the Old Testament, and all that was written about Him in the New Testament. According to Jesus, the whole Bible is about Him. If you love Jesus, and pray that He would give you grace, and wisdom, and insight as you commit to learning of Him through the Scriptures He claimed were inspired by the Holy Spirit, I can’t see how you could end up disdaining Him. The only way this could happen is if there is sin in your life that you love more than Him, and you’re unwilling to confess it and repent of it to walk with Him forgiven of it. Jesus came to die on the cross for our sin. This means that we are sinners in need of salvation. If you’ve never been convicted of sin, or if you have and you are not willing to turn from it, you will have a hard time accepting what the Bible says about it and therefore what it says about a lot of other things. Confessing sin and truly repenting of it (turning from it) results in humilty of heart. A humble heart is a heart made ready for God to dwell in.

        The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy of understanding. Proverbs 9:10

        Humble yourself in the sight of the Lord and He will lift you up. James 4:10

        Though I don’t know your name I’m praying for you to find peace regarding this issue of God’s word.

  6. ronkrumpos

    The debate between evolutionary theory and intelligent design may never end to the satisfaction of either side. Hawking’s book, with it seemingly inappropriate title, does not deal with that argument.

    In “The Grand Design” Stephen Hawking postulates that M-theory may be the Holy Grail of physics…the Grand Unified Theory which Einstein had tried to formulate, but never completed. It expands on quantum mechanics and string theories.

    In my free ebook on comparative mysticism, “the greatest achievement in life,” is a quote by Albert Einstein: “…most beautiful and profound emotion we can experience is the sensation of the mystical. It is the sower of all true science. To know that what is impenetrable to us really exists, manifesting itself as the highest wisdom and most radiant beauty – which our dull faculties can comprehend only in their primitive form – this knowledge, this feeling, is the center of all religion.”

    E=mc², Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity, is probably the best known scientific equation. I revised it to help better understand the relationship between divine Essence (Love, Grace, Spirit), matter (mass/energy: visible/dark) and consciousness (f(x) raised to its greatest power). Unlike the speed of light, which is a constant, there are no exact measurements for consciousness. In this hypothetical formula, basic consciousness may be of insects, to the second power of animals and to the third power the rational mind of humans. The fourth power is suprarational consciousness of mystics, when they intuit the divine essence in perceived matter. This was a convenient analogy, but there cannot be a divine formula.

    http://www.peacenext.org/profile/RonKrumpos

    • Ron, having read your profile, I am appreciative of your input (even with the plug for your book (-; ) That is why I made this blog: to foster open discussion from different perspectives than my own.

      The simple thing about it is this: your views on reality (for sake of simplicity) are mystical, and I am familiar with the writings of mystics such as Aldous Huxley, Thomas Merton, etc. I notice something which happens in mysticism wherever it appears, and in whatever century or generation. That is, a relegating of Jesus down from eternal, uncreated Being of the only God, as He is revealed in Scripture, to being a sort of “man among men” with not much of a greater ontology. Sure, the mystics revere Him as a man particularly gifted and in touch with the divine, but to say that He is truly the Way, the Truth, and the Life is to, shall I say, “spoil the party” for people who would prefer things a little more murky and mysterious.

      I respect you as a thinking individual, and I welcome any and all mystics or otherwise eastern religions to represent their beliefs in the discussions on this blog. Just know that as we discuss, that as the author of this site I am convinced and convicted of the exact identity of Jesus which He gives in (what I believe is) the only truly divine Scripture the Bible, and am therefore obligated to reproof teachings which downgrade Him. You are welcome to offer a point of view which paints a picture of a modified Jesus, and an interpretation of the cosmos which does not see Him at the center of it all. We will discuss!

      Thanks for sharing ronkrumpos!

  7. Justin, in your profile you wrote I can daily see the same creek, tree, building, or sky and feel a rush of amazement every time. If I lose almost everything I have, I hope and pray I never lose my sense of wonder in living in this mighty, majestic, magical, mysterious cosmos.

    You certainly view the world in many respects as a true mystic does. Mystics vary in their approach, beliefs and writings. There have been millions of mystics, in every era, country and faith, from every background and occupation, most of whom we never heard of, so generalities seldom apply.

    I was raised a Christian (Congregationalist) so I understand and respect your beliefs. The cosmos is a big place and Earth is a tiny part of it. We humans share in the infinite here and eternal now, regardless of our differences. Divine love, grace and spirit are pervasive…as Jesus taught. We have to put aside our ego and individuality – at least temporarily – to accept them.

    • Blog Reader

      ronkrumpos, Do you think most mystics are kind of born mystics or do you think someone who naturally has an impatient, frantic kind of personality can learn to become a mystic?

    • I love a thinking man – stick around Ron!

    • I wanted to mention one other thing for sake of mutual respect and understanding: I did not intend to over-generalize in a negative/pejorative sense in referring to the beliefs of mystics. I am a happy mystic in a specific sense concerning my wonder and perception of the cosmos as an orderly, harmonious whole which is filled with seemingly dissonant parts but which all operate as a unit. The question is, is there a unifying principal which is governed by something, or someone? We I believe would both say yes, but then part ways from there.

      I wouldn’t want to impute something to you which you do not believe – but I think you (at least others of similar beliefs whom I have read or known) would say that the “intelligence” or “operator” of the cosmos is more of an energy than a Person(s), and an existence which is dimensionally too high and transcendent for any one religion/philosophy let alone human individual to define, set apart, and write about in black and white terms. Thus you would welcome the input from any religion as at least partially adding to the revelation of that which can only be intuited, not grasped. Is that close?

      On my part, I would challenge the notion that I myself or someone similar to me (as an evangelical Christian), is necessarily hindered by personal ego and identity in the holding to a particular, exclusivistic truth. I would posit that in fact my ego is dashed upon the rocks once the true, living Lord of the cosmos has revealed Himself to me by Word and Spirit.

      It seems plain to me, as one man who believes in the importance of thinking and discussion, that in every religion and philosophy created by or maimed by human beings, there is a single, unifying thread of tell-tale falsehood at its core: a requirement upon the individual to willingly produce some sort of growth, work, understanding, charity, emptying, or a host of other forms of the same idea; I must do something in order to gain something. Quid pro quo.

      It also seems plain to me, again as one who believes that God has given us brains to understand so as to hear Him, perceive His majesty in the cosmos, and have personal relationship with Him in Jesus the Son… that only in the gospel of Jesus as it is clearly enunciated in the Scriptures, that herein is rest for the human soul. There is no “do” to “gain”. There is only “done” because of grace. The cosmic treason of sin and worship of other things besides God has caused all the pain, suffering, and chaos (I use that term lightly) in our world, and God, in His monergistic majesty, has decided to re-create the cosmos and bring all things under the sovereignty of Jesus Christ. Nothing having to do with me – I am in essence a passive recipient of this gracious regeneration. God became a man in order to preach a clear Word about God so as to undercut the temptation to “intuit” our way to Him, and that God-Man Jesus the Messiah also laid down His perfect, unique life as an atoning sacrifice for my personal sin debt against the holy, all-just God of the cosmos. How about that? I have only to be graced with the will and desire to trust Him – also a work of God! The entirety of this saving work and awakening work is determined in eternity before the cosmos, it is carried out temporally before my lifetime, and it is applied monergistically to those upon whom He will have mercy. There is nothing earned, nothing realized, no fighting with my ego, nothing to prove, nowhere to run and meditate in order to complete it. God began it, He finishes it, I am a vessel of mercy. Jesus is King.

      With all that said, I again thank you for your comments thus far. I would be bored and tired very quickly without the input of serious thinkers like yourself. I will do my best to carefully listen to and ponder the viewpoints of any and every respectful person who makes comments on this blog 🙂

      Please do visit often!

  8. Blog Reader, you don’t show a profile. Are you speaking about yourself when you mention an impatient, frantic kind of personality? Perhaps visit a shrink before seeking a guru (just joking).

    In a general answer we are all born mystics…each with the essence of the divine. We gradually learn how not to be aware of it. As St. John of the Cross wrote:
    “The soul lives by that which it loves rather than in the body which it animates. For it has not its life in the body, but rather gives it to the body and lives in that which it loves.”

  9. Justin, wow! Well said. You are a true Christian. Your path is Jesus Christ. Stay with it.

    One of my personal mentors once wrote:
    “The universal religion has no location in time or space. Its area is infinite, like the God it preaches. Krishna, Christ, Buddha, and Moses all have honored places in it. Its sun shines upon all spiritual seekers: Hindu, Christian, Buddhist, or Muslim. There is no room in it for persecution or intolerance. Recognizing the potential divinity of all men and women it devotes its entire force to aiding men to realize their true divine nature. The real universal religion is not a creed or doctrine; it is an experience. It is God-consciousness.”

    The world would be a better place if all people had God-consciousness.

    • Blog Reader

      ronkrumpos, I am interested in this idea of paths. You say Jesus is Justin’s path. Maybe just because one person’s path is to evangelize does not mean their target’s path is to convert?

  10. Looking Up

    @Ron Krumpos

    Ron, forgive me, but I’m going to have to be a little bit more direct than our gracious host, Justin. I’m sure you can handle it or I would be more delicate. I have a few serious questions in regard to your last post, specifically regarding the quote from your personal mentor. Referring to “the universal religion,” the quote states, “…Krishna, Christ, Buddha, and Moses all have honored places in it.”

    How can this be true when the writings of Moses and the words of Christ both condemn any religion, or doctrine, or philosphy that promotes the worship of another god(s) beside the One True God who manifested Himself in Jesus?

    If you received any genuine Christian instruction as a Congregationalist, which I trust you did, you know that Moses wrote of the One True God who would come to save His people from their sin, and Jesus uniquely claimed to be that God. In John 10, Jesus delcares that all who came before Him (claiming to be the way or more specifically attempting to lead His sheep to themselves or to anyone but Him) were thieves and liars. Jesus laid claim to divine identity like no one had before Him or anyone has since. He did not point to a way He said He IS the way. He did not offer life, He said He IS life. He claimed to be the Creator. He claimed to have personally sent the prophets of Israel to His people. He claimed to have seen Satan fall from heaven. He was born of a virgin. He led a sinless life. He said He is the True Vine and that any branch that did not abide in Him would wither and die. He rose bodily from the dead by His own power and ascended bodily into heaven. He claimed to be God Almighty in many ways and leaves no room for any other God or any valid worship of anything or anyone but Him. He declared that He would judge the living and the dead at the end of time as we know it. He said He would receive His followers to Himself and would send His detractors off to everlasting darkness separated from Him. He is perfectly intolerant of anyone who would teach any other doctrine but what He Himself came to preach. He is certainly intolerant of Islam which claims He is not the only begotten Son of God and that He did not die on His cross for our sin. He is perfectly intolerant of Buddhism which claims there is no such thing as a personal God and therefore no such thing as sin against a righteous lawgiver and judge. He is perfectly intolerant of Hinduism which causes its followers to revere and worship hundreds of thousands of other so-called gods leaving them trapped in a hopeless spiritual condition and at risk of being eternaly separated from Him.

    On what basis do you believe and suggest that Jesus belongs in a list with anyone else as if anyone else is comparable to Him?

    Lastly, given that the Bible is essentially the only first-hand source of information about Jesus, what other information are you referring to when you suggest anything about Jesus that is inconsistent with the Bible? And why do you trust it rather than the words of Jesus Himself?

    Respectfully,
    Frank

  11. Let me respond to all three of you and intend no offense to your beliefs. I comment on many blogs: secular, Christian (of various denominations), Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, and Buddhist. There are bloggers and commentators among them who say “only my religion is true” or, at least, “my faith is the best way.”

    While most of them agree to dismiss (or oppose) other religions, they often do not agree with followers of alternative divisions of their own faith. Many (but not all) secularists are atheists, only have faith in science, and say that all religion is nonsense. There are 38,000 denominations of Christianity, primarily because they interpret the Gospel differently. Many Hasidic and Orthodox claim that Conservative and Reform movements are not true Judaism. Sunnis often clash with Shi’ites, each has discordant schools, and both ignore smaller Islamic sects. Some Shaivites, Vishnuites and other Hindus say that Vedantists and Smartas do not worship properly. The Theravada of S.E. Asia believe that Mahayana and Vajrayana stray from teachings of the Buddha. The mystical tradition of all five faiths is sometimes at odds with their orthodox, institutional doctrines.

    PeaceNext is the website I am most active on. It is the social network of the Parliament of the World’s Religions which began in Chicago in 1893. Its members include those of many faiths and, almost without exception, they are pluralists…respecting the diversity of beliefs among religions. Most are social activists who are convinced that through cooperation they can advance the cause of peace in the world. I am not suggesting you should join them and be a pluralist yourself, just that you recognize that not all Christians are proponents of exclusivity.

  12. Looking Up

    @Ron Krumpos

    I appreciate your comments, and respect your right to hold a different opinion. However, if you’re going to include a remark about Jesus in your comment, as a Christian I feel compelled to pursue with you the basis for this remark. The question is not, “Are all Christians proponents of exclusivity?” The question is, “Was Jesus a proponent of exclusivity?” The answer, from all the most reliable information we have, that being the Bible and more specifically the New Testament, is that, yes, indeed He was most undeniably a proponent of exclusivity. He declared Himself to be God and He forbid worship or devotion to anyone or anything else. To suggest anything otherwise is prepsterous and intellectually indefensible.

    In your previous post you included Jesus Christ in the following list: “Krishna, Christ, Buddha, and Moses all have honored places in it. Its sun shines upon all spiritual seekers: Hindu, Christian, Buddhist, or Muslim.” Once again, on what basis do you believe and suggest that Jesus belongs in a list with anyone else as if anyone else is comparable to Him? And given that the Bible is essentially the only first-hand source of information about Jesus, what other information are you referring to when you suggest anything about Jesus that is inconsistent with the Bible? Why do you trust it rather than the words of Jesus Himself?

    • There are Christians far more competent than I am who might better respond to you.

      Let me leave with another quote from that same mentor:
      “The nearer we are to God, the closer we shall feel toward other religions. In God we all meet. In order to promote religious harmony, let us deepen our religious consciousness. Let us come nearer to God by following our respective faiths and not by jumping from one faith to another. Let the Hindu, the Muslim, the Christian, the Jew emphasize the spirit and not the letter of their scriptures, and all religious quarrels will stop. All religions are challenged today by a common enemy: the rising tide of skepticism and secularism.”

      I am sorry to have upset you in any way.

      • Looking Up

        Ron,
        No apology necessary. What you’ve written does not upset or offend me personally. Knowing Jesus Christ and having received His forgiveness and promise of everlasting life through faith in Him alone has made me immune to offense from detractors and any ideas or doctrines that oppose the cross of Christ. If I’m upset it’s out of concern for you and anyone else following along, and it’s for the same thing that upset Jesus many times throughout His earthly ministry; that being the inconsistency, confusion, and downright lies sown by false teachers claiming to be enlightened who’s false phylosophies keep people in spiritual darkness heading toward a final judgement that will be their devistation. What you are sowing into this blog are ideas that have been around since the world began, which deny the truth revealed by God through the Jewish people and the Jewish Sciptures, which was ultimately fulfilled in the person of Jesus Christ. Even a casual reading of the Bible would show any interested seeker that the message revealed in the Bible is declaring a particular doctrine regarding a particular God who knows who He is and who has attempted to offer Himself to mankind through the ages, but mankind is determined, like your mentor, to define a different doctrine about a different god with a different nature. While I would agree with you that, “in God we all meet,” according to the The Revelation of Jesus Christ in the Bible, when we all meet at God it’s for a judgement, during which every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord of all to the glory of God. At that time, some will be continuing a declaration they joyfully began while still alive, and others will be making it for the first time in sorry recognition of the fact that they denied Jesus all their lives and are now doomed to an eternal existence separated from Him, His light, His love, and His joy. This conversation is an opportunity for you to reconsider your conclusions about Jesus and to repent of your sowing of seed that dishonors Him and suggests, in direct contradiction to His declaration that He is the only Truth, Life, and Way to reconciliation and communion with God our Father, that all religions are legitimate routes to communion with God. Jesus came to save us from our sin. He did it by dying on the cross and rising again. One area of sin is stubbornly holding religious doctrines and phylosophies that oppose the truth of Jesus. I share the truth of Jesus with you as a begger who, by the grace of God, has been given forgiveness and the promise of abundant life now and eternal life ultimately through faith in Jesus and His work on the cross for me. Please reconsider your attitude toward Jesus and the Bible, and embrace Jesus who said in the Gosple of Saint John, chapter 10, “I am the Good Shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine….My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand…I and my Father are one.” If you hear His voice, do not harden your heart. Beg Him for forgiveness and receive everlasting life by His grace. He is waiting for all who do not yet know Him to turn from their sin and receive the love, joy, and eternal life He is ever offering.

  13. Pingback: Interpreting the Cosmos Turns 1 « Interpreting the Cosmos

  14. just one thing. you cant really use the “you cant get something from nothing, it had to be created at some point” argument for the matter we observe in the cosmos. because Christians if fact claim that God is a real being existing of matter, eternal having no creator. people who reject God say the same thing about the cosmos. so you cant really say that theory is ludicrous or impossible when you in fact claim it has is true about God.

    • Well, brother, the Bible does not reveal God as existing of matter, so that is inaccurate. God’s essence is Spirit, not physical matter, and as such is uncreated; the cause of the beginning of all other things besides Himself. This is perhaps beyond our full comprehension, but by no means beyond the grasp of faith.

      • yes but it says that Christ also existed before there was anything too. the father son and spirit have always existed. whether they are matter beings from our physical world or not. from the perspective of a man without faith its the same belief but in the universe. we both acknowledge the same things but we just attribute it to different causes and give it different names. one side says a God invisible to common man created everything. he was not created and does not exist as we observe things physically in this world(unfathomable). is much like the modern science explanation that there are unseen, unknown forces that were always there and are not like the physical matter we see in our universe that dictate laws and forces.

        • Um, modern “science” hasn’t proven any such thing. The theory that there are eternal “forces” that unknowingly created this universe is as absurd as “blue sleeps faster than Tuesday.” Science is the method of proving a theory through experiment and observation – which does not describe the beliefs of origins. Nobody can test the beginning of the universe or observe it, so modern science has nothing to say here.

          The faith belief that there are unseen, unknown forces which created the universe begs the question of where these forces came from, since there is a cause for every effect. The Lord God eternal, however, does not beg the question of where He came from, as He is outside of all cause/effect completely – and as you know, Uriah, this is not a cop-out since in fact He is eternal and needs nothing to exist eternally.

          The great thing is, no person needs to be convinced of any of this. Any argument against the eternality and sovereign creatorship of God is immediately moot – finished by its own absurdity. Everyone knows God’s nature as eternal and omnipotent (Rom. 1:19-23). Everyone knows Him.

          The problem is not a lack of logic or evidence, but rather a lack of humility and trust, which is why Jesus said that the kingdom is made up of people like unto children. Children know by instinct, and trust without sinister denial of the very one standing before them.

          Every person born has the light of Christ in their conscience (John 1:9).

          Every person who grows into a conscious understanding of their sinfulness then by nature closes their mind and heart against God unless He graciously intervenes (John 1:4-5, 7, 9-13 [read those!]).

          I know you are just playing devil’s advocate and helping me think through these things, and for that I am grateful 🙂 Each Christian needs to know the arguments out there and how to short-circuit them in mercy for the sake of truth, for we are reminded that “the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (2 Cor. 10:4-5 NKJV).

          Isn’t God’s Word incredibly awesome at running circles around our supposed wisdom?

  15. in response to the anonymous blog reader(hopefully you still check this). i could have swore every post you had was my own. everything you speak about im going through or have just gone through recently in my life. Satan is very real. he lies and deceives and perverts the truth. trying to cheat us out of our faith and God’s Grace. i had to learn that what my brain tells me isnt always coming from my brain. and when we realize where it comes from and defend against it. we get much more clarity on what is really truth. sometimes faith requires us to abandon what we think and just simply have faith! 😀 it sometimes sounds ridiculous and crazy, but that is exactly it. if it wasn’t ridiculous and preposterous everyone would believe it.

    as for you comment about the Jewish law that says if a man rapes a girl he has to marry her. i think if you do a word study on the word translated into “rape” you will find that it is not talking about forceful unwilling sex on another. rape is a really bad translation for that. in the cultural context of that age. if a woman was not a virgin no Jewish man would want to marry her. and if a woman did not marry and everyone knew she was not a virgin it was pretty much a curse. the law was basically stating that if a man finds out his daughter is sleeping with a man out of marriage that the man has to marry her because otherwise she will never get married. and pretty much the rest of her life would be spent in her fathers court doing nothing. and in that culture and time if a man and a woman slept together before marriage they must have really really really loved each other. because they were risking quite a bit to do so.

    • I would lend my viewpoint here that the person above by the handle of “Looking Up” gave perfect, biblical answers to these questions. The issue of rape in the OT is addressed to no other thing than actual, forcible rape. Uriah, what you said is true about fornication, but the passages in question are actually dealing with the issue of criminal rape – and as such Looking Up did a great job answering those questions.

  16. also i would encourage you to read John Bunyans testimony. it changed my view and perception of a lot. Satan uses the same things and same techniques he did 100’s and even 1000’s of years ago. he still uses them today, because they work! but not on those whom the Lord calls to be his own. it may distract us and get us sidetracked for a while. but He is faithful and just to fulfill what he started in us.

  17. “It is interesting to contemplate an entangled bank, clothed with many plants of many kinds, with
    birds singing on the bushes, with various insects flitting about, and with worms crawling through
    the damp earth, and to reflect that these elaborately constructed forms, so different from each other,
    and dependent on each other in so complex a manner, have all been produced by laws acting
    around us. These laws, taken in the largest sense, being Growth with Reproduction; Inheritance
    which is almost implied by reproduction; Variability from the indirect and direct action of the
    external conditions of life, and from use and disuse; a Ratio of Increase so high as to lead to a
    Struggle for Life, and as a consequence to Natural Selection, entailing Divergence of Character and
    the Extinction of less-improved forms. Thus, from the war of nature, from famine and death, the
    most exalted object which we are capable of conceiving, namely, the production of the higher
    animals, directly follows. There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having
    been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling
    on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful
    and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.”

    even Darwin admitted that there was a creator. 😀

  18. Um, modern “Religion” hasn’t proven any such thing. The theory that there is an “Eternal God” that knowingly created this universe is as absurd as “blue sleeps faster than Tuesday.”

    im using this as an example. my point was that the argument you use can be used both ways. people in the scientific community don’t need to prove everything they claim. they take what information they have and make the best guess as to what they think happens and dictates the universe. as they progress finding new things and creating new ideas their conclusions are always changing. they dont really care if what they claim can be proven “scientifically” or not. God creating the universe is just as absurd to them as the universe being randomly created is to us. like i dont disagree that there was a big bang in the beginning. i just disagree as to what created that big bang 😀

    • It may be absurd to the anti-theists, but at the end of the day, it is illogical to say that matter either created itself or is eternal, when in fact all known logic and science indicates otherwise. The revelation of the eternal God who needs no cause because He is outside of the realm of the natural laws which He effected… is logical. It may seem far-fetched, but it is not equivalent to the asinine notion of a self-creating cosmos. (Not trying to sound hard core or anything, I’m just trying to maintain the point).

  19. well i don’t think that any phenomena in this universe is going to make anyone believe in God. let alone Jesus Christ. the only thing that can make Christ known is Christ himself. a native american in 1175 AD wasn’t going to look at trees plants animals and the cosmos and go “man this stuff is so incredible it must only mean one thing… Jesus died for me.” its literally impossible. just like today the same thing is true. people are not going to repent and believe in Jesus because they cant explain/prove something in nature. even the ability to believe in him is a gift from God. you could make a case for God that was perfect in logic and reason and people would still reject it every time. God himself could come down and explain everything to people with all signs and wonders and they would still spit on the ground and turn away. Man is born dead. and unless he is regenerated he will reject God. or just create his own God that fits in his own little box.

    i have and do struggle often with the Bible. just as the person commented above. its very hard because much of what i read in the OT goes against my human logic and reason. but one thing i learned from prayer, is that God does not have to conform to our logic or our morals either.

    • Now we’re in clear agreement – as we were from the start I suspect, just with different wording. One last thing from me concerning your final sentence. I agree God does not have to conform to “our logic,” but the thing about logic is that it is a creation of God, as a part of His nature. By His very essence, He must be consistent – that is what truth is: a consistent reality in expression and comprehension.

      So when we talk about logic, it is His logic, not ours that we aim to use. We aim for consistency. I know I have too much to learn in these areas, but conversations like these sharpen me up. Thanks again Uriah.

      • It’s nice to talk with someone who wants to be sharpened :D. i miss our fellowship we had in Rochester. i find good fellowship where i am right now very frustrating and laborious! when i met you and the other guys at prayer i thought that all Christians were this way. boy was i in for a surprise. i had no clue what i was in for. HA! i have come a long way in my walk and faith. but i long for the simplicity i had when i lived in Rochester again. Satan is a very fickle being. I am glad the Lord is more powerful though. i don’t thank him enough for his protection and guidance. even sometimes it feels like he isn’t even there. Satan has sifted me pretty good and my perspective is changing. but i have hope for good fellowship and growth in Him as i am leaving the dessert.

  20. łającą gryzie słomę, kazali odpierać beczki i dodatkowo
    rozwierać skrzynie. sharper (Adam) Szczególnie
    pilnie sprawdzali ludzie o charakterze szewców, wszak i dodatkowo rycerzom potrafili wyrządzać
    trudne pytania. Udało się twoja osoba.

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