Science and Sola Scriptura – Since You Asked Q.6

Question: If Protestants believe in Sola Scriptura which means follow the Bible only, how can Protestantism explain stuff like Gravity and Physics? That stuff isn’t in the Bible. Please help.

To answer this, understand that true science and true holy scripture will connect. It is all from God, the one Creator, so true science will not contradict the Bible. I do say “true science” because there are many things in today’s world that passes itself off as science, but really is hokey nonsense.

However, from a scientific standpoint, there are many theories that either stand because it is true or stand because we haven’t gone far enough to find the next thing in the linear series of human discovery.

Take gravity for instance. Yes, it is not called out directly in the Bible, but things like Goliath falling after being hit by a rock shows that gravity exists. Other things, such as the dinosaurs, aren’t called out in the Bible text. However, inference made from a well formed conscience tells us that dinosaurs and the creation narrative can indeed square up as true because of God’s transcending of time. The Bible says in 2 Peter that a day is like a thousand years and a thousand years is like a day to God.

We look to the Bible for our way of living and interacting with God and man. Science is one of the ways that God has chosen to reveal certain aspects of our world to us, just like the scriptures. That being said, when science tries to contradict scripture, don’t be too quick to throw one away for the other. In those cases, our scientific observations have not caught up with the real truth yet. Jesus is the truth and revealed himself as such. If something contradicts the teaching of Jesus Christ, then one has to be wrong, and God is not wrong.

If you see a book, you may deduce that there was a creator behind it who wrote that book. When you see things like DNA strands that contain billions of gigabytes of information, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to deduce that there must be an intelligent Creator God behind that creation. And that’s just one creation!

The natural world is all from the Lord’s own creativity. The masterpiece bears the soul of the artist.

Romans 1:19-20 “For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. Ever since the creation of the world his eternal power and divine nature, invisible though they are, have been understood and seen through the things he has made. So they are without excuse.”

Keep searching for the truth. True science shall lead back to our Heavenly Creator.

God’s blessings to you.

DH

What is the Best Bible to Use? – Since You Asked Q.5

“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” – Psalm 119:105

With numerous translations of the Bible out there, it can be pretty confusing as to which one to use. Is one better than another?

In short, the best Bible to use… is one you use! In other words, find a Bible and pick it up. Some of you may have to knock the dust off of it, but pick it up and start reading.

Remember that every translation is a little deficient in some ways, but still points towards one thing, Jesus Christ. There is an old saying that says “the translator is a traitor”. Not on purpose, but it is not easy to translate faithfully and still keep the original wording. In every translation you lose a little something from the original. Some are closer than others however.

I was raised on the King James Version and still read it as my main source of scripture. If you are just starting out or find it hard to understand all of the older style of language, then a newer translation like the New Living Translation or the Contemporary English Version may be more to your liking. Still yet, if you want the closest thing to the original Greek and Hebrew wording, an Interlinear Bible would be great. They are all good in their own ways, but some are more akin to your understanding, especially at different points in your Christian journey.

For most Christians, it is easier to start reading in the New Testament so that you gain an understanding of Jesus and His thoughts and actions. if you start in the Old Testament, especially around the Leviticus and Numbers areas, it tends to bog down and not flow very well due to it being deeper in history and details. That being said, once you gain more and more understanding of Jesus in the New Testament, the Old Testament is more understandable. The whole of scripture points towards Jesus Christ, and you can see Him in different situations in the Old Testament. Either way, get a Bible and read. Like the Apostle Paul said, all scripture is good for teaching, for correction and for training in righteousness.

Also, don’t worry about memorizing Bible verses. You will naturally pick up some verses that speak more clearly to you for a given situation. Instead, just focus on truly listening to what is contained in the Bible. If you wonder about God and what He has to say, then just start reading. You aren’t going to understand it all, but you’ve got to start somewhere. In fact, before even picking up the Bible, pray to God that He will help you really get what He has to tell you. He will help you, I promise. Who better to help you read the Bible than the one who wrote it?

If you are interested in somebody, you will want to know more and more about them. God loves you. He loves you so much that he sent His Son Jesus to die on the cross for you and your sins. Get interested in God. Your faith and understanding will grow the more that you listen to Him and read the Bible, the Holy Word of God.

God’s blessings to you.

DH

Easter Eggs and Other Supposedly Pagan Items – Since You Asked Q.4

“Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” – 2 Corinthians 5:17

There are questions occasionally as to whether a Christian should have Easter eggs, Christmas trees, Halloween costumes, and other such things because they may have been adopted from historically pagan rituals. While there is some evidence to show that we have inherited some things from summer and winter festivals, for instance, we need to look at what they represent now.

For starters, the ancient Egyptians, Persians, and Phoenicians all believed the world began from an enormous egg. That’s how they thought of life back then; eggs equaled life. We Christians adopted such metaphors as a simple to understand symbol for the life and rebirth of Jesus Christ.

The Christmas tree has a bit more shrouded origin, in that it may or may not have been used for a winter festival. In fact, the traditional celebration for the date of Christ’s birth was right around the same timeframe as the winter solstice. Pagan celebrations abounded around such times.

These kinds of things are historical, although maybe a bit cynical, to point out about some of the Christian celebrations we hold dear. However, the Christian shouldn’t shy away when a non-Christian brings these ideas up. These ideas are things to be embraced for multiple reasons.

First off, early Christians had a soft spot in their hearts for pagans. After all, the Great Commission given to us by Jesus Himself says to make disciples. It’s hard to make a disciple when you only hang out with other Christians. That holds just as true today. No Christian church or group should be a members only club! You are not trying to smuggle Jesus into Heaven or keep Him for yourself. There’s plenty of Jesus Christ for everybody. Go forth into the world, and as you are going, you’d better be sharing the Gospel.

Another thing to keep in mind about supposedly pagan celebrations is that God loves to turn evil on its back. The Bible is replete with bad things happening, only to have God, in His infinite wisdom and in His perfect timing, turn it into a time of joy. Just like Joseph told his brothers in Genesis 50:20, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people.” Or perhaps an even better example of this is the cross itself. Horrible torture and punishment, but through which God redeemed the world.

What the devil means for evil, Christ will turn it around and make it into a cause for real celebration.

So don’t worry and think too deeply on if you should let your kids put up the Christmas tree or go to an Easter egg hunt. Holidays are a time for fun and happiness with family. Focus on Jesus and the blessings He has given you and not the evil that this world sometimes fosters. Even the best of us Christians can say that, although we were once blind and lost, we are now a new creation through the finished works of Jesus Christ.

God’s blessings to you.

DH

Can God Use Me? – Since You Asked Q.3

“In Christ Jesus, then, I have reason to be proud of my work for God.” – Romans 15:17 (esv)

I see all that Jesus has done and what He continues to do for me and I know that I can never repay Him. I look at some of the old saints and heroes of the Bible and wonder if I could ever measure up to any of them. These things are so much larger than me. What could little me do for such a great big God?

The Catholic Saint Therese of Lisieux once said, “Holiness consists simply in doing God’s will, and being just what God wants us to be.” I like hearing that because it gives me perspective that God doesn’t want you and I and even the old saints to be all the same. Jesus isn’t looking for all of us to be Peter. Sometimes He needs a Paul, a James, or a John. He is looking for each of us to be just what He created us to be: ourselves.

In short, you need to work what you’ve got. Just think about David in the Bible. He didn’t start out as this big warrior or king. He was slowly shepherd boy with a sling, but that’s exactly what God needed him to be. However, when he eventually did become king, David didn’t issue slings to all of his army even though that’s what he used to slay Goliath. That’s what worked for David at that point in time. God used David just as he was.

God will use you and I just as we are. Nothing in your life, good or bad, is for nothing. Give it all to Jesus Christ and see what happens next. You don’t need to try and make some grand gesture of holiness to please God. You may be surprised at what becomes of little you and your seemingly simple life as long as you give yourself up to Him as a tool for the Master to use.

That being said, you can try to give your time, your money, and even your skills, but unless you first give your heart to Jesus all you do will fail. Anything Jesus did was with great love. And just as the Master does, we must do the same. I am not some rich and powerful politician or business man who can do huge things for thousands of people. I’m just me, but I do have a heart for Jesus. I can’t do great things, but I can do little things with great love. To paraphrase the Apostle Paul in 1st Corinthians, I can preach and give all I have, but without love I can do nothing.

So that’s how God can use you. Don’t be so focused on doing grand gestures for the poor or helpless. We’re all poor and helpless if our own way. What we need is to show love and to be shown love. Once your heart is in the hands of Jesus Christ, the rest of your own personal talents and skills will be used by Him in ways you would never expect. You are you. Nobody else ever has been you. So be the best you that you can be, because that’s exactly what God wants and needs. Your natural, plus God’s super, combines to make something supernatural and it all starts with your heart.

God’s blessings to you.

DH

Are Pictures of Jesus Graven Images?- Since You Asked Q.2

“I see Jesus everywhere in a bunch of paintings and statues. Doesn’t that break one of the Ten Commandments when it says not to make any graven images or idols?”

‘Do not turn to idols or make for yourselves any gods of cast metal: I am the Lord your God.’ – Leviticus 19:4

This is an excellent question and one that I hear frequently. If we aren’t to make graven images, why are there an enormous amount of statues and paintings of Jesus, the Virgin Mary, and etc.? Aren’t we making idols for ourselves to worship?

To begin this conversation, you need to know what an idol really is. An idol by definition is the object of worship. We never want to worship a created object in any way, thinking that the object is the source and origination of some godly power. However, having a picture of Jesus around is not a bad thing in and of itself.

Do you have any pictures of your mom or dad, or maybe some of your spouse and children? I know I do, a bunch of them in fact. Do I love those pictures? I may say that, but what I really love are the memories and the images of what they portray. I wouldn’t throw my kids away in favor of their picture, that would be insane. In truth, I love my wife and kids, but I keep their pictures around as a visible reminder of them.

The same thing can be said for a picture of Jesus Christ. I don’t truly love the picture. That picture didn’t die for my sins. That picture isn’t the son of the Most High God. That picture simply reminds me of a love that I share with my Creator and reminds me of the person and works of Jesus Christ.

We are both spiritual beings and physical beings all at once. We connect spiritually through such things as love, compassion, and other feelings. However, we also connect through the visible manifestations of those feelings. I can tell my wife I love her all day long, but she connects with it more when I do something to show her love, like a hug or a kiss. Does that mean the feeling is not needed? Certainly not. Once agin, we are souls and we are bodies, and one needs the other in this world.

One thing of note, and I touched on it before, is that when the visible object replaces the true and real object, that’s when you have an idol. We may look up to sports and movie stars, and that’s ok within reason. But you can eventually start to look to those stars as the end all-be all of your life. That’s when you have an idol problem. An idol is something, anything, that you can’t live without. That can be a person or a drug or even a feeling. Any creation that you raise above the Creator Himself is an idol.

To put it another way, if you are a Christian, you are housing the Holy Spirit within you. You are His temple. And just as I wouldn’t want some strange man in my house living there, God doesn’t want strange idols or anything ruling his house but Him. In short, God wants to be number one in the house.

In closing, a picture or a statue of our Savior is not a bad thing. It doesn’t mean we are worshipping a picture and making it into our idol. If you see something like a painting or even a Bible and it reminds you that you are loved by the God of the universe, that’s a good thing. Just don’t put that picture or that Bible above the Savior it refers to. Reminders are important, but the real thing is better by far.

God’s blessings to you.

DH

Salvation and Suicide – Since You Asked Q.1

A reader asks, “My cousin had a rough time in his life and committed suicide. I’ve heard there is no salvation for someone who ‘plays God’ like that. Did he go to hell?”

“But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.” – 2 Peter 3:8

A long time ago, a police officer friend of mine was going through incredibly hard times. Then, when trying to surprise his fiancée one night, he came home early and found her sleeping with another man. In his fit of depression and rage, he drew his sidearm and shot himself, committing suicide.

This was really hard for me. He was my friend, a fellow police officer, and a much better Christian brother than what I was. I looked to him for answers and stability. I was crushed when he did this and I couldn’t get through the fact that he was in a veritable hell in his earthly life and now was in Hell for eternity. I asked God to help me make sense of it all. Shortly thereafter, God showed me a something while reading Second Peter.

God is beyond time. He’s not only God over the millennia, but He’s God over the millisecond as well.

God has made it abundantly clear through the Bible that He wills not the death of any sinner and wishes for all to come to salvation. During the moments between the gun going off and the bullet striking my friend, Jesus provided that last and final chance for repentance. The same would go for any situation, whether a suicide or a car wreck or whatever it might be. Jesus Christ is Lord over everything, including time. You’d better believe that God would do everything to allow the opportunity of salvation and repentance to His beloved children.

Also, we are sentenced to Hell for our sins. To sin, there are a few things to consider. It must pertain to a serious matter that we have knowledge of, and it must be done of our free will in light of that knowledge. To put it in other words, we must know that there is a rule against doing something, then we must willingly break that rule. This is important because if we are forced to do a bad thing, we should not be held liable for our actions due to no free will. It can definitely be argued that somebody who commits suicide in a fit of depression is surely not in their right mind and therefore would not have full understanding of their actions. There is no unpardonable sin except final impenitence; denying salvation from the Lord.

To close, in short, I believe that Jesus gives every opportunity to us to be saved. Your cousin, my friend, or anyone else would have that opportunity. We can be shown the door to salvation, but it is up to us to choose to walk through it. I’m not sure if my friend accepted that last opportunity for salvation, but I like to believe he did. I suppose Heaven may be filled with people we didn’t expect to see there.

Please have hope that in those final moments of your cousin’s suicide, he too fell into the arms of Jesus Christ, the Savior of all mankind.

God’s blessings to you.

DH