Stretched Beyond Our Capacity to Self-Orchestrate 1

One of the all-time classic themes of the Bible…that is a main theme explored in this book…is that the God-composed journeys of faith recorded in the narrative stories of faith in the Bible…must be above and beyond our capacity to contrive…or even to imagine ahead of time.

As the Creator of everything and everyone, God alone knows our individual attributes and abilities…and thus has the singularly unique starting point for divinely composed life-scripts for an Abraham, Joseph, Moses, David, Peter, and Paul.

Walks of faith, journeys of faith, and adventures of faith…because of their supernatural origin…stretch people to achieve more than they could have imagined possible.

God-composed adventures of faith are purposely designed to be beyond our reach to invent or self-orchestrate.

Adventures of faith reveal that God knows us inside and out…by the uncannily precise matching of our challenging adventure of faith that brings out talents and abilities…and nobly moral characteristics…that we did not even know ahead of time we possessed.

If we could go back in time and interview the people of faith in the Bible, they would tell us to a person that they initially had no idea they had the innate ability to go as far as God took them…through their individually crafted adventures of faith.

I think it would be reasonably safe to say that Abraham did not see himself as the future “father of faith” as he walked from the city of Haran toward the land of Canaan (Gen. 17:18).

Although Joseph probably had a good sense of his innate leadership talents, it is doubtful that he ever imagined that he would someday become governor of Egypt while he labored in Potiphar’s house and languished in Pharaoh’s prison.

Moses certainly has no way of seeing into the future the great deliverance of the Israelites from Egypt, as he tries unsuccessfully to talk God out of the immense calling at the burning bush that Moses now feels he is no longer a qualified candidate for (Ex. 3:11).

Gideon objects to God’s calling for him to deliver Israel from the oppressive occupation by the Midianites, saying that he is the least even within his own family (Jud. 3:15)…and comes up with his proverbial “fleece-test” to confirm that he indeed is correctly understanding God’s intentions.

As Ruth the foreigner follows her mother-in-law Naomi back to Naomi’s native country Israel, Ruth has no idea that she will capture the attention and affection of the wealthy, noble, and godly Boaz, and be included within the royal lineage that produced King David and culminated…roughly a thousand years later…in the birth of Jesus Christ the eternal King and Savior.

Elijah complains to God that he is all alone in his opposition to the evil king and queen…Ahab and Jezebel (1 Ki. 19:14).  Jeremiah protests to God that he is too young to be a prophet (Jer. 1:6).  We detect in both Ezra and Nehemiah an underlying, suspenseful trepidation just below the surface…in their difficult callings to rebuild the walls around Jerusalem, and to rebuild the temple.

Certainly Peter is utterly clueless as he goes out of the courtyard of Caiaphas to weep bitterly over his failure to courageously stand by Jesus during His night trial…which would possibly result in Peter occupying a fourth cross on Calvary the next day…not realizing that the crucifixion of the Son of God for the sins of the world was preordained before the creation of the universe (1 Pet. 1:20)…and that Peter’s role was not at that time to be a martyr for the faith, but to instead be a leader of the early church in Jerusalem.

Being a leader of the early church required a quality of courage and fidelity that Peter painfully discovered in the courtyard of Caiaphas that fateful night…that Peter did not possess on his own without the power of the Holy Spirit (Acts 4:8-12).

Certainly as Saul/Paul approached the city of Damascus to arrest Christians, he had no idea that he would soon become the foremost champion of the very faith that he started out opposing with such fearsome persecution.

At that precise moment…before the supernatural light of Jesus Christ shined down from heaven upon him…Paul had no idea that he possessed the inner capacity to become the missionary evangelist to the first-century Greco-Roman world, to be able to compose the divinely inspired letters to the early Christian churches he helped form, to develop the love for other people that could write First Corinthians 13:4-8…now famous throughout the modern world…and to develop the people skills that would produce the intimate relationships revealed in Romans chapter 16.

All of these people…along with every person of faith recorded in the Bible…would testify that the higher plans that God had for them in life stretched them beyond anything they could or would have imagined (Psalm 23).

This difficulty component of biblical faith…that is a stretch beyond our ability to imagine or contrive…is an element that argues for the divine origin of the Bible.  This is not armchair philosophy, because no human could or would invent it through contemplative imagination.

Atheistic critics of Christianity and the Bible today completely miss this biblical faith component in the narrative stories of faith…incorrectly interpreting as myth what in actuality is beyond the inventive imagination of humanistic conventional thinking.

Blinded by materialistic and naturalistic philosophy, skeptical critics of the Bible entirely miss the “cross of Christ” difficulty component of biblical faith…which validates its divine, supernatural origin because it falls so far outside of human creative invention.

From A Popular Defense of the Bible and Christianity.

On Thursday 1/10 and Friday 1/11 my book Inspirational Thoughts for Christians is a free Kindle ebook promotion on Amazon.

He that Doeth the Will of God Abideth Forever

1 John 2:15-17 reads:

15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world.  If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

“He that doeth the will of God abideth forever.”  This present world passes away.  The allures of the lust of the flesh and the eyes…of the pride of life…are temporary.  They do not exist in heaven.  They are not of the Father.  And the kingdom of God is forever.

The reality of God is the one that lasts forever.  The reality of this world is the one that passes away.

One compelling piece of evidence that argues for the divine origin of the Bible is the complete break…the worldly inexplicable departure from conventional normalcy and thinking…that is an integral component of every biblical narrative story of faith.

The distinctive novelty of unworldliness in Christian discipleship is what is expressed in these three classic verses penned so beautifully by the apostle John at the dawn of the Christian era in the first century.

As has been said already many times and will be repeated a few more times in this book…because it is a key concept for understanding the cross of Christ…as Abraham walks from the city of Haran to the Promised Land of Canaan…inaugurating a uniquely biblical walk of faith…with each step he takes God is displacing the normative conventional life Abraham would have lived with a new and innovative life-script that Abraham could never have dreamed up in his wildest imagination.

In this opening introduction in human history…of the insertion of divinely crafted walks of faith into the experiences of mankind…God is displacing the worldly conventional lust of the flesh and the eyes, and the pride of life…which are temporal and pass away…with instead doing the will of God according to a life-script divinely composed for our benefit…at the higher level of the thoughts and ways of God that abide forever (Isa. 46:9-10, 55:8-9; Lk. 16:15; Eph. 3:16-19).

What has also been said previously in this book…that is uniquely distinctive about the biblical narrative stories of faith…of extreme importance justifying repeating again…is that the end-goals of the journeys from point-A to point-B…are at their initial inception beyond the reach of human beings to imagine, invent, or resolve. 

God-composed journey of faith life-scripts are nothing like self-energized journeys of discovery within the limited paradigm of self-realization.

The brilliantly imaginative introduction of point-B’s into the biblical narrative stories of faith that are unreachable and unsolvable by humanistic means…separates human experience into two diametrically opposed worldviews…the first being the lust of the flesh and eyes and the pride of life…and the second worldview doing the will of God which abideth forever.

This is an ingenious dichotomy of optional worldviews that could only be engineered by God.  It is a reality that defies any plausible explanation using the philosophy of naturalistic materialism based on the physical properties of matter and energy alone.

Intelligent design is the only rational explanation for the existence of highly complex and originally imaginative point-B goals that create the unique context for biblical faith (Heb. 11:1) to actualize…such as the promised birth of Isaac to Abraham and Sarah, Joseph interpreting Pharaoh’s dream, Moses parting the Red Sea, Joshua bringing down the walls of Jericho, Ruth entering the divine lineage of King David, Esther and Mordechai outmaneuvering Haman to save the Jews in exile, the three young Hebrews withstanding the flames in the fiery furnace, Daniel surviving the night in a den of lions, Peter becoming a powerful leader of the early church, and Paul becoming the premier missionary evangelist to the first-century Greco-Roman world.

The two-worldview dichotomy is brilliantly ingenious because it separates self-sovereignty from God-sovereignty at the one point that is clearly demonstrable in both theory and in action…point-B goals and outcomes that not only fall outside of worldly conventional normalcy and thinking as described above in 1 John 2:15-17…but also outside of the contemplation of human literary invention…and entirely missing in literary history…except in the Bible.

The point-B goal that is at the peak of the argument for the divine origin of the Bible…totally above and outside of the lust of the flesh and eyes, and the pride of life…and in the realm of doing the will of God perfectly that abideth forever…is the life-script for Jesus the Son of God to become the Passover Lamb of God atoning sacrifice for the sins of the world.

John 15:13 records Jesus saying: “Greater love hath no man than this: that a man lay down his life for his friends.”  Jesus did not come to be served, but to serve.  This is in direct contrast to the “me, myself, and I” agenda of worldly conventional normalcy and thinking.

In the Garden of Gethsemane the night before His crucifixion, Jesus utters the words that are at the core of God-composed journey of faith life-scripts throughout the Bible starting with Abraham’s walk of faith to Canaan: “Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done” (Lk. 22:42).

This amazingly tells us that God has the brilliantly imaginative capacity to write a life-script for Himself that challenges Himself in the precise area that we need the most help…in the transition from self-sovereign self-rulership…to God-sovereignty walking through an adventure of faith following Jesus Christ according to this worldly unconventional concept of Luke 22:42.

Jesus Christ being stretched to the limits of His divine capacity (if that is possible) in taking upon Himself the massive volume of mankind’s sin on the cross of Calvary…to the point of asking the Father to remove this cup and come up with an alternate plan…yet surrendering Himself to the original larger plan devised before the foundation of the world…without skipping a beat in perfect faith…is so far above humanistic contemplation and imaginative invention…that a naturalistic explanation using material particles and energy can only be described as nonsensical (Jn. 3:31).

This is one of the fundamental apologetic arguments for the divine origin of the Bible and its message…because it goes to the very heart of the biblical narrative stories of faith.

The element of the cross of Christ integrally embedded within every biblical narrative story of faith…to a greater or lesser degree…is the distinctively validating proof of “God with us” of the Immanuel of Isaiah 7:14 and 9:6…and God inside us of Jeremiah 31:31-34, John 14:23, and Revelation 3:20.

This element of the cross of Christ…which divides human experience into two distinct worldviews on opposite sides of the spectrum of sovereign control, purpose, and direction in our lives…from an apologetics standpoint is unexplainable coming solely from within the paradigm of worldly conventional normalcy and thinking…the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the pride of life of 1 John 2:16.

The “he that doeth the will of God abideth forever” of 1 John 2:17…describes a worldview reality depicted in the biblical narrative stories of faith…which is too original…too imaginatively innovative…too complex, specified, and sophisticated in its information content…to be anything other than divinely inspired out of the mind and heart of God.

From A Popular Defense of the Bible and Christianity.

Two Distinct Worldviews Argue for the Divine Origin of the Bible

One obvious yet subtle observation about the narratives stories of faith in the Old and New Testaments of the Bible…touched upon briefly in the Introduction…that strongly argues for their divine origin…is that it is God who takes the initiative in calling people into their varied missions.

In the biblical narrative stories of faith…people uncharacteristically respond to God’s enlistment into unique storyline callings…rather than the other way around.

The life-script agenda of premeditated, purpose-saturated events are proactively set by God…not engineered by the actors themselves.

This enlistment by God into the dynamic vehicle of a journey of faith…composed and introduced outside of human imagination and invention…is the diametric opposite of a worldly typical journey of self.

Journeys of faith composed by God as recorded in the Bible… actually displace our free-will tendency to stubbornly go in our own direction…to do things our way (Isa. 55:8-9)…instead with the novel alternative concept of a life-script having an entirely new trajectory of events and circumstances…that now include faith and trust in God’s higher ways and thoughts…above and to the exclusion of our own.

By what stretch of the imagination would this unconventional dynamic be the sole product of human literary invention?

Obviously, we have the capacity within our human nature to respond to God and to enter into a walk of faith…otherwise there would be no narrative stories of faith in the Bible at all.

Without the in-built, internal ability to answer the callings of God and to follow His lead into adventures of faith…there would be no biblical narrative stories about Abraham, Joseph, Moses, David, Ruth, Hannah, Esther and Mordecai, Daniel, Peter, or Paul…to name only a few.

But the fundamental question is: where did this singular capacity for God-sovereignty in our lives originate from?

Who or what actualized it into the reality of recorded experience…that it enters into the rational realm of human phenomenon to the point of being recorded in the Bible as an orderly and intelligible alternative worldview to the conventional worldview of going our own way…if not by or from God?

Discussion of either a divine or a human origin in this area…rises above mere uninformed circular reasoning and speculative conjecture…when the worldly unconventional element of God displacing our ways in our lives with His ways…is introduced as the main factor into the equation.

There is no frame of reference…no known reality of experience…within worldly conventional normalcy and thinking…that could possibly inspire the utter originality of either a real or even a literary fictional journey of faith…following the leading of God.

This concept of hearing the voice of God in the Spirit and following His leading into a walk of faith…does not exist anywhere outside of the biblical narrative stories of faith…or outside of the biographies of Christians living in the church age…in either ancient history or today in the 21st century.

This provocative concept will not be found in Shakespeare, Twain, Steinbeck, Hemingway, Agatha Christie, or in the recent historical fiction novel A Column of Fire by Ken Follett about the growth of religious tolerance in the middle to late 1500’s in Europe.

The concept of hearing God’s voice and following His lead…after the pattern given in the Bible…is not part of the great philosophical ideas of the Enlightenment…nor will it be found as a current topic of discussion in world history, sociology, anthropology, philosophy, or even in religious studies classes in secular universities and colleges around the world.

Yet this concept…of God displacing our thoughts and life-plans with His higher thoughts and ways…starting with Abraham the “father of faith” as he walks from Haran to Canaan…is one of the most ancient, innovative, and brilliantly imaginative ideas in all of human experience.

Our capacity within human nature to follow God into a walk-of-faith life-script that displaces our way with God’s way…differentiates two distinctly opposing worldviews that separate out into the extreme ends of the spectrum-line…self-sovereignty on one end and God-sovereignty on the other.

Atheists and skeptical critics of the Bible assert that the biblical stories of faith are fiction…are part myth and part literary imagination…historically because these stories run contrary to the philosophy of naturalism which excludes the miraculous.

This is a paradigm in recent past centuries that was predominant in philosophy…but is now debunked by the theistic implications of the incredibly large amounts of complex and specified information in DNA, the Cambrian Explosion, the Anthropic Principle, and the Big Bang…complex and coherent systems of information inexplicable by gradualistic natural processes alone.

The big question here is how would a concept…of following God into a walk-of-faith life-script…which is so contrary to our other innate, natural tendency to go our own way…to do things our way…to be independent, autonomous self-rulers…how would this ever get started?

Within the closed-system of worldly conventional life that we observe and experience every day…what could and would introduce this second alternative side of our nature that brings to life this novel and innovative game-plan of a journey of faith?

As Abraham the biblical “father of faith” travels from the city of Haran to the Promised Land of Canaan…with each step he takes God is displacing whatever normative life Abraham would have lived in Haran according to its culture and conventions…with a life-script containing the critically new element of faith in God…a life-script Abraham would never have imagined in his wildest dreams.

And with each step Abraham takes towards Canaan and away from Haran…the atheistic starting hypothesis that this story is human invented fiction…that God does not exist and therefore could not have spoken to Abraham…is a door that is closed by reason of the sheer innovative novelty of the setting aside of autonomous self-sovereignty…that this storyline introduces into the marketplace of great historical ideas.

The start-up initiative here…the through-line in every narrative story of faith in the Bible…is with God.

People of faith in the Bible react positively to God’s enlistment of them into a scheme of events and circumstances that stretch them…in terms of a relationship with God and in self-sacrificing service to others…and that measures their souls…far beyond anything they could have invented or contrived on their own.

The creative origin of this concept…along with the imaginative unconventionality of the concept itself…is supernatural.

The concept of the cross of Christ (Lk. 22:42) embedded within the life-scripts of the people of faith in the Bible…starting with Abraham…that reveals our innate capacity to follow God into a walk-of-faith…is inexplicable within the atheistic philosophies of naturalistic materialism and scientism.

From A Popular Defense of the Bible and Christianity.

The Gap between the Cross and the Resurrection

“For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness, but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.”                (1 Cor. 1:18)

            The largest gap…the largest vertical displacement in terms of distance…that has ever occurred in human redemptive history…on the continuum graph-line of goodness and light…is the space between the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and then His resurrection from the dead three days later.

The event of the cross was so catastrophic for the disciples of Jesus that it sent them into a tailspin of doubt and despair…beyond comprehension to these followers of Jesus during the three-day gap in time until the resurrection.

The previously unimaginable gap between spiritual darkness exhibited through hatred, prejudice, and stubborn unbelief producing the rejection of Jesus on the cross…and the incredible jump up the continuum of light of the glorious resurrection of Jesus exhibiting the complete acceptance, validation, and approval of God the Father…of the sinless performance of Jesus Christ the Son of God…subsequently transformed the disciples and changed the world.

Even though Jesus forewarned the disciples in advance of His upcoming death in Jerusalem at the hands of the Jewish leaders, and His rising from the dead three days later…worldly conventional thinking was so strong within the still-to-be-spiritually reborn disciples (Jn. 20:22)…that the gap beginning with the unprecedented depth of spiritual darkness leading up to the crucifixion of Jesus…took these disciples by surprise and sent them scattering at the arrest of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane.

The challenge of overcoming the accumulated spiritual darkness of mankind’s sin…even tested the Son of God Jesus in Gethsemane the night before Calvary…as we read about Jesus having to go back and pray a second time…incomprehensible to us in the divine, perfect Son of God…sweating drops of blood…and requiring the aid of an angel from heaven (Lk. 22:39-44)…saying “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful unto death” (Mk. 14:34).

The positive outcome three days later of the resurrection of Jesus having a newly restored body…reaching across this vertical gap…this displacement in distance from death to life…completed the connection within the God-composed journey of faith life-script for Jesus of Nazareth to bridge this gap between our deserved damnation as rebels…to our salvation by grace through faith…unachievable and incomprehensible while we are lost within the confusion of the zone of mixed light-and- darkness in worldly conventional normalcy and thinking.

Even to this day, people within the zone of worldly conventional normalcy and thinking go about their lives without even recognizing this enormous gap in history between the cross and the resurrection…as if it never happened at all.

The two most important events in all of human history…the cross and the resurrection…and the enormous gap between them in terms of spiritual light that only God Himself could bridge through Christ…in restoring our broken relationship with Him…is not only brushed aside as unimportant but is totally obscured by our self-centered pursuit of the cares of this world for the benefit of “me, myself, and I” (Lk. 8:14).

A critically important point for Spirit-born Christians to understand in terms of biblical faith…is that the gospel message of Christ goes into the zone of worldly conventional normalcy and lifts people up and out…unto a higher place on the vertical graph-line continuum of light and goodness (Jn. 10:10; 11:25-26).

Even though we by necessity live our lives partially within conventional normalcy…pay our bills, show up for work, eat well and exercise…a God-composed adventure of faith life-script falls above and outside of worldly conventional normalcy.

Worldly conventional thinking…without God as our King and Ruler…as junior gods sitting atop the thrones of our lives…is where the “blind lead the blind…both falling into a ditch” (Mt. 15:14).  This is where a man can gain the whole world yet lose his own soul (Mt. 16:26).  Worldly conventional normalcy is where the “woman at the well” resides before she meets Jesus (Jn. 4:5-30).

The blindness of worldly conventional thinking explains the townspeople of Nazareth attempting to throw Jesus off a cliff to His death…unable to reconcile the humbleness of His station in life as a local carpenter…with the enormous yet perfectly true statement in their synagogue that the prophecy of Isaiah 61:1-2 was being fulfilled that very day.

Worldly conventional thinking explains the family of Jesus not believing in Him (Mk. 3:21; Jn. 1:5, 7:5).  Worldly conventional normalcy and thinking sadly results in: “From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him” (Jn. 6:66).  Worldly conventional thinking results in everyone forsaking Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane.

Worldly conventional normalcy and thinking produces the blindness and ignorance that has Jesus saying from the cross: “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Lk. 23:34).

Worldly conventional normalcy and thinking will produce the bewildering opposition to the gospel message (Acts 14:22)…a gospel that Christians lovingly and selflessly bring to this world.

As Spirit-born Christians walking with Jesus…we are in the world…but not of the world (Heb. 11:16).

From A Popular Defense of the Bible and Christianity

The Narrow Bandwidth of Definition 3

Why is all of this discussion important for Christians today? 

Why is this topic of the narrowness of the bandwidths of characteristics that define the essence of things living and non-living in the natural world…included at the beginning of a book entitled…A Popular Defense of the Bible and Christianity?

This argument for the necessity of an independent agent…a thinking Creator God…as the active Designer behind the invention of the narrow bandwidths of characteristics that define each and every living thing on this planet…in terms of their complex, highly specified, and coherently integrated body-plan architectures and lifestyle habits…crosses over seamlessly and beautifully…for the same reasons…into the equally compelling argument…that the biblical narrative stories of faith likewise must have a divine origin.

Certainly the storylines of the biblical narrative stories of faith like those of Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, David, Ruth, Hannah, Esther and Mordecai, Elijah, Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah, Joseph and Mary, John the Baptist, Peter, James, John, and Paul…to name a few…are not the product of accidental invention.

The letters, words, sentences, and grammatical structure of the biblical narrative stories of faith did not self-assemble by random-chance trial-and-error…any more than computer software language codes self-assemble to produce debugged and error-free applications such as word processing and financial accounting spreadsheets.

The narrow bandwidth of the characteristics and details of the life-script calling of Abraham…the “father of faith” as defined in the New Testament in Hebrews 11:1 and 11:6…cannot be the product of blind, mindless, unguided, indifferent, trial-and error, random-chance iterations of human experiences.

We see no trial-and-error, unguided natural selection of variant traits in the storyline of the life of Abraham.  Even when factoring-in human error and imperfect character…the God-composed journey of faith life-script for Abraham…is the epitome of being well-defined and narrowly bounded top and bottom by horizontally limiting graph-lines.

The same can be said for the narrow bandwidths of the characteristics of the individual personalities of each and every positive character in the biblical narrative stories of faith.

We correctly marvel at the information content that is placed within the seed of an apple tree…that when placed in the ground to die as a seed…it then rises-up with incredible directional momentum, intent, and energy…to become a large tree bearing a very definite type of edible fruit…apples.

So it is with the God-created human personality…that has an upper and a lower horizontal graph-line that uniquely defines who and what we are…but also what we are not.

I do not have the innate capacity to be an Abraham, Joseph in Egypt, Moses, Joshua, David, Peter, or Paul.  Their personalities and unique life-scripts…are simply not me.

Our uniquely divine callings…as modern-day new covenant Christians…is to first die as a seed in the ground (Jn. 12:24)…to pick up our cross to follow Jesus Christ…into individualized journeys of faith to match our optimum sweet-spot arrangement of innate personal characteristics and abilities.

This is what separates and differentiates…in the most subtle yet profound way…the virtue of faith in Jesus Christ on the one hand (Gen. 22:8; Num. 21:8-9; Isa. 53:4-5)…and on the other hand the condemnation of going our own way in unbelief (Isa. 53:6; Jn. 7:7, 8:24)…in choosing to be our own junior gods living in the self-sovereignty of autonomous individualism.

Hebrews 11:6 says that without faith it is impossible to please God…because only God can connect the narrow bandwidth of the characteristics that define who and what we are individually capable of achieving…with a matching, God-composed, life-script calling and mission-plan that fulfills our created destiny…the human equivalent of the brilliantly diverse lifestyle habits we see in the enumerable living things in the natural world…like the apple tree mentioned above.

Because the narrow bandwidths of the storylines of the biblical narrative stories of faith cannot possibly be the product of accidental invention…the aim of this book is to make the arguments that these stories of faith cannot also plausibly be the product of worldly conventional normalcy and thinking…and like the complex inventions of lions, elephants, and zebras in the natural living world…must have a divinely created origin.

The narrow range of the storyline details contained within the bandwidths of the biblical narrative stories of faith…which have supernatural callings, goals, missions, and outcomes…coupled with dependence upon God to successfully complete these missions…places these stories at the zenith, the pinnacle, the peak of human moral capacity.

Do any other stories in the history of human experiences and literature exceed the themes of moral character found in the God-composed life-scripts for Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, Ruth, Hannah, David, Elijah, Esther and Mordecai, Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah, Joseph and Mary, John the Baptist, Peter, James, John, Philip, Paul, Barnabas, Silas, Aquila and Priscilla, Apollos, and Timothy…to name a few?

The journey of faith life-scripts for Abraham through Paul recorded in the Bible…not to forget Enoch and Noah…are on the top-most shelf of the optimum sweet-spot potential for human experienced and actualized moral character…in the same way that we cannot conceptually improve upon the lifestyle habits of lions, elephants, falcons, dolphins, or hummingbirds.

The fact that every living thing today is at their individual points of optimum development…with no actual large-scale, in-progress change apparent…and no further conceptual change in body-plan architectures and lifestyle habits imaginable…combined with the top-most examples of moral character to be found in all of human history, experience, and literature…in the biblical narrative stories of faith…this then makes a compelling argument against the naturalistic, evolutionary program of incremental gradualism…as the explanation…as the mechanism…for how we got to this point.

If incremental gradualism is the mechanism that produced the diversity of life…then incremental gradualism would still be in operation today…would still be the observable paradigm of reality today and going forward.

The narrow bandwidth of a well-defined living thing…renders this concept of achieving functional coherence through a step-by-step development…using the accumulation of incrementally gradual random-chance accidents…to be an invalid theoretical program…refuted by empirical human observation today.

The narrow bandwidths of definition for living and non-living things…and for the biblical narrative stories of faith…remove the option for these things to be lost within the vast space of raw possibilities (to borrow a phrase from the book Undeniable by Douglas Axe, page 160).

The undermining of the narrow bandwidth definitions of truth…by the philosophy of post-modernism that says that all truths are relative…is the equivalent in the field of biology of saying that the genetic borders around development are wide-open to big changes…that the defining characteristics of living things are not absolute.

The science of taxonomic classification would counter by saying that the well-defined characteristics of living things in their completed, end-point definitions…universal across-the-board without exceptions…is inconsistent with the Darwinian notion of continuous and ongoing change…propelled by the relativity of open-ended, unstoppable random-chance…rather than the premeditated stopping-point parameters of intelligent design.

Satan attempted to lure Jesus Christ with the open-ended and non-specific ambiguity of the temptation of “all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them” (Mt. 4:8)…during the temptation in the wilderness.

Jesus rejected this offer in favor of the more complex, highly specified, and coherently integrated life-script…written before “the foundation of the world” (Rev. 13:8)…to become the Passover Lamb of God atoning sacrifice for mankind’s sins…starting with His birth in a manger in Bethlehem.

If the storyline plots of the biblical narrative stories of faith are accurately defined as the zenith, the pinnacle, the peak of human moral character in action…amidst the otherwise vast space of raw possibilities…this then identifies and separates out the optimum, sweet-spot end-points for the purpose and meaning of human life…similar to the information content that is pre-programmed into the seeds for apple, orange, and olive trees.

The dovetail match between our created abilities…and our unique God-composed life-scripts…is the connection that raises the biblical narrative stories of faith up into the elevated bandwidth of precise definitions that is the reality of the billions of complex living things in the natural world…each of which is well-defined in terms of functional coherence…rather than being a random-chance assemblage of developing parts taken from the vast space of raw possibilities…the main tenet of accidental creation that is central to naturalistic materialism.

This is why Hebrews 11:6 says that it is impossible to please God without exercising faith in Him…and why Jesus said in Mark 8:36 “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?”

This top-most level of moral character contained within the narrow, well-defined bandwidths of the biblical narrative stories of faith…that argue for their divine origin…is the popular defense of the Bible and Christianity I want to pursue…from many different angles and directions…in this book.

From A Popular Defense of The Bible and Christianity.

The Narrow Bandwidth of Definition 2

In this current, modern Age of Information…it is not just that Darwinian macroevolution is incapable of getting us to the point of high-level, complicated inventions like human beings through the naturalistic process of accumulating and coordinating unguided, random-chance accidents…which is one of the huge and unanswerable holes in the theory of macroevolution…but also that there are logical stopping points in the design of every living and non-living thing…that do not continue along further pathways of development…beyond the parameters of the well-defined function and purpose of their uniquely specified arrangement of features.

In other words…the informational programs that describe the uniqueness of every living thing…are well-defined, fully debugged, and complete…without wiggle-room for major change.

In the modern, empirical science of taxonomic classification…there is no wiggle-room for the introduction of the philosophic post-modernism of the idea of truth being relative.

The clarity of the characteristics of living things that enables taxonomic classification…is inconsistent with the wide-open genetic borders required to produce the massive diversity of the living world…wide-open generic borders producing big changes that should be in evidence today in an ongoing process.

As we look out upon the natural world…this reality of the narrow bandwidths that define the unique characteristics of living things…should not be the case…if the atheistic philosophy of naturalistic materialism…if Darwinian macroevolution…was and is true.

If the enormous and complex diversity of the living world is the product of mindless and unguided processes…of randomly coordinated accidents large and small…then the horizontal demarcation graph-lines above and below the defining essence of every living thing…should not be static, settled, and at their optimum end-points of completion as we see today…but instead would be ever-moving, dynamic, still in the midst of further development…and therefore in most cases…seen across-the-board as recognizably universal phenomenon…being not specific and definitive enough to be amenable to taxonomic classification…or not existing at all.

The question can be asked…is there anything notable in the natural living world today…large enough in numbers to be categorized as a phenomenon…that have the unmistakable appearance of being in the process of going beyond their well-defined point of functional performance…that fall outside of the narrow bandwidth of horizontal lines top and bottom that establish their unique definition?

Are there incremental variations of lions that can run up to 60, 80, or 100 mph in short bursts?  Are there Great White sharks that can swim after prey at the speed of 75 knots…underwater?  Do we find some variations of owls at night that can fly twice faster than the current, typical owl top-speed?

There is a reason why we cannot artificially select through human breeding…to create dogs as large in size as elephants.

There is a reason why I am not an 8-foot tall, superstar athlete…on a championship basketball team…in the NBA.

There is a reason why I do not have an IQ of 300…and figured-out before lunchtime today…the cure for cancer and the formula for world peace.

In order for mindless and unguided accidents to reach the point of the massive amount of functionally coherent diversity we see in action in the natural living world…composed of billions of unique, high-level inventions having physical characteristics and life-style habits as brilliantly conceived as human beings, cheetahs, salmon, harpy eagles, oak trees, tomato plants, rose bushes, corn fields, honeybees, and golden retriever dogs…to reach this point…the reproductive borders around genetic variation would have to be wide-open, fluid, and dynamic…to even hypothetically be able to achieve the required ongoing revolution of big changes that the radically creative, philosophical equation of naturalism needs…in order to be considered plausibly achievable.

But what we observe in the natural living world is exactly the opposite.

The genetic boundaries around the putting-out of variant traits to be chosen by natural selection…have constraining limits…have horizontal graph-lines above and below the defining characteristics of each and every living thing…without the massive variation required for progressive big changes to occur over any length of time…and this reality has no exceptions.

The objection by Darwinists that evolutionary change occurs too slowly to be observable over the span of a human lifetime…is not valid.

To propose that all of observable life today has reached…in billions of individual examples…their functionally optimum sweet-spots of development for survival and reproduction…all at the same time…so as to render Darwinian macroevolution undetectable to the modern observer…is again nonsensical.

From A Popular Defense of the Bible and Christianity.

Even the Life-Script for Jesus has a Gap

“And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”      (Phil. 2:8)

In the Sermon on the Mount, when Jesus says in Matthew 5:13 that Christians are the salt of the earth…Jesus is that very salt that makes Christians salty.

In the next verse, Matthew 5:14…Jesus says that Christians are the light of the world.

As He is speaking at that precise moment…Jesus is the eternal Light of the world…He is our light (Jn 8:12)…and the light that will illuminate the new heavenly city of Jerusalem (Rev. 21:23).

Jesus the Son of God is absolute goodness and brilliant pure light.

Yet when Jesus became incarnate in a human body…by necessity He became part of worldly conventional normalcy.  Jesus had a mother, step-father, half-brothers and sisters as a human family.  Jesus worked as a carpenter…in a small rural town…as part of the nation of Israel.  Jesus was intimately engaged in His ministry to the Jews in the first-century…with all of the political, social, and religious issues that entails.

Yet Jesus emphatically declined the offer of Satan in the temptation in the wilderness to have “all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them” (Mt. 4:1-11; Mk. 1:12-13; Lk. 4:1-13).

When the people came to attempt to forcibly make Jesus a king…He resisted this temptation…the scripture recording that “he departed again into a mountain himself alone” (Jn. 6:15).

There is therefore a boundary line in the life-script of Jesus…regarding worldly conventional normalcy and thinking…beyond which He will not go.

The gap…the space…the distance to traverse for Jesus was to be the Passover Lamb of God…the atoning sacrifice for mankind’s sins.

Jesus the Word of God wrote His own life-script along with God the Father and the Holy Spirit.

The perfect life-script of Jesus did not lead to the coronation crown of Isaiah 9:6-7, but instead to the crown of thorns of rejection and the cross on Calvary Hill…of Psalm 22 and Isaiah 53.

This is the ingenious gap that God inserted into the life-script of Jesus the Son of God, that challenged Him in a similar way that we are challenged…in where we are now to where we need to go…requiring the help of God…yet Jesus is operating at the top-end of the goodness continuum of brilliant pure light…while we have a ways to travel up the continuum line from imperfection and sin toward more needed light.

Listen to what Jesus says leading up to the experience of the cross of Psalm 22 and Isaiah 53…compared to the coronation crown of Isaiah 9:6-7:

”But I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how I am straightened till it be accomplished” (Lk. 12:50).

In the Garden of Gethsemane the night before His crucifixion, Jesus prays “Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me; nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done” (Lk. 22:42).

We cannot understand what it would be like to be the sin-sacrifice for all of mankind’s shortcomings.

God wrote into the journey of faith life-script for the perfect Son of God Jesus this incredible gap…to take our place on the cross…to be our substitute…to be our Savior through the cross and the resurrection…because that is exactly what we needed at that point in human history…and not the coroneted king of Isaiah 9:6-7…although Jesus was the brilliant pure light and absolute goodness of a divine King during His entire life and ministry…especially so…as He hung on the cross for our sakes.

My point here is that Jesus is the perfect blend of worldly conventional normalcy and at the same time the higher ways of God…because Jesus followed His journey of faith life-script to be the Savior of the world…perfectly.

What is critical for Spirit-born Christians to consider as we enter the end-times…is that the divinely composed life-script for Jesus led directly to such a lethal conflict with worldly conventional normalcy…that it ends with Jesus being rejected and murdered in the one and only way that would procure the liberty and redemption from sin…as the Passover…that only God alone could imagine, set in motion, and flawlessly guide to its tragic yet glorious outcome.

This is the living God.  This is the biblical faith.

This gap between Isaiah 9:6-7 and Isaiah 53 in the life of the promised messiah…confirms the divine origin of the Bible from another angle…because this gap between imperfect people and a perfect God…which only Jesus Christ could fill…is a concept too complex and intellectually sophisticated for the non-existent contemplation of material particles and energy…as the explanation for its origin.

These powerful truths lift up and glorify the name and character of God…likewise beyond human invention and creative imagination.

From A Popular Defense of the Bible and Christianity.

The Narrow Bandwidth of Definition 1

In the now 160 year-old evolution/creation debate…following the 1859 publication of Charles Darwin’s worldview changing book On the Origin of Species…most of the scientific focus has been placed upon a search for how complex and well-defined living creatures and plants…through a purely naturalistic process without any help from an outside Creator God…could reach…could get to the advanced point of having enough functional development to be able to survive in a competitive environment…and to be able to successfully reproduce.

An equally important question to consider…as profound as any other issue in this area of the human search into the understanding of the origin of life, our world, and our purpose in it…is how conceptually and in actuality…would this development appear to “stop on a dime” in our present day?

In a Darwinian macroevolutionary program…that by pragmatic necessity must have wide-open genetic boundaries for variant traits and natural selection to produce the incredibly complex and well-defined diversity we see in the natural world…of substantial physical changes which theoretically should be able to freely progress forwards but also regress backwards and sideways in all directions…unguided…then what purely naturalistic law, entity, or “good sense” would “tell” the human heart when it has reached the optimum sweet-spot in size, architectural design, and performance…and then stay there fixed at that one optimum point…once achieved?

In a naturalistic program…what would tell the human liver, the two kidneys and the pancreas…when to stop growing in size…and when they had achieved optimum function in their physical architecture, capacity, and performance?

What would tell the human eyes to develop to the point of normal “20/20” vision…then stop there at this fixed point of utility for human usage…and not instead develop further to the point of eagle-eye vision…far beyond the performance quality of 20/20 vision?

What mechanism…in naturalistic materialism…puts up the decisive “stop sign” in the enumerable features in the human body…from the density-to-strength ratio of bones, the tensile strength of muscles and tendons, the pressure, viscosity, and temperature of blood, to the electrical impulses that generate all coordinated movements and functions…from balanced upright walking to formulating understandable speech.

What processes in a naturalistic origin and development of the vast diversity of life…would set the current boundaries around human lifespans at between 80 to 100 years?  Why not 200, or 400, or 500 years?

Why would not a blind and mindless naturalistic process of forwardly improving progress…being indifferent and unguided in the area of purposeful intention…continue on in the same direction on a gradual upward incline…to add more years on to the length of human lifespans?

Why would something as important as human lifespans come to an abrupt stop at 80 to 100 years…when the unguided and mindless program of naturalism is supposed to be entirely indifferent to such things?

And if we are allowed to be brutally honest, blunt, and frank here…what purely naturalistic mechanism would invent…by random-chance, trial-and-error accident…the ardor of human sexual anticipation affecting both our bodies and our brains…then limit the time-duration of the pleasurable muscle contractions and fluids production that defines the human sexual climax…to somewhere around 10 seconds…give or take a few seconds?

Why would not the theoretical paradigm of naturalistic materialism…be working to further increase the time-duration and intensity of the human sexual climax to 20 or 30 seconds?

Why are people not out in the streets with protest signs…picketing congress to spend more research funds to discover the genetic means to lengthen our lifespans…and to improve sexual performance?

The logically satisfying sweet-spot in the high performance levels of virtually everything we observe in the natural living and non-living world…confirms our commonsense assessment that the world we live in…and indeed our very selves…are the product of the most brilliant, intentionally well-defined, creatively discriminating, intellectually thoughtful design…and not the random-chance result of complex things like elephants, lions, salmon, eagles, redwood trees, and honeybees blindly falling into individually discreet body-plan architectures and lifestyle habits…through the unguided self-assembly of naturalistic causes alone.

To propose that these decisively governing stopping points…occupying universal and unchallenged precedence for the billions of living things…that are at the centerpiece of the defining characteristics that determine what each of these living things are and are not…that these intelligently arrived-at stopping points are the creation of blind, unguided, mindless, indifferent, trial-and-error, random-chance processes…is nonsensical.

One of the explanations for why we look at the marvels of the living world with awe and respectful wonder…yet take for granted the speed of the cheetah, the power of the lion, and the cunning hunting skill of the leopard…is that we perceive no room for further development in the architectural body-plans and lifestyle habits of the billions of individual life-forms…all performing at the highest optimum end-points of their completed, actualized, conceptual definitions.

We do not look at the African elephant and think that it should be larger, that the giraffe should be taller, that the Labrador puppy should be cuter, or that human babies should be up and walking at 3-weeks old.

The realization of the required role of functional coherence in the successful formulation of complex systems…of completed definition that describes the essence of one thing and by doing so excludes the definition of something else…can be seen in one prime example of computer software language code that facilitates the application for word processing…but not for financial accounting spreadsheets.

From A Popular Defense of the Bible and Christianity.

I welcome your comments.

The Gap that Creates the Space for a Knowledge of Good and Evil 2

Looking back with the benefit of hindsight…from the vantage point of living in the middle of what is being called the Information Age…doesn’t commonsense Christian apologetics tell us that the oddity of the variableness of faith in the personal relationships between people…should have been an obvious offsetting fact to Charles Darwin when he wrote his famous book The Origin of Species?

Should not the high quality of the variableness of faith be a compelling counter-argument against a naturalistic explanation for the origin of human intelligent decision-making, moral reasoning, qualitative judgment, free-will choice, and communication skills…all coordinated into a functional coherence that cries out for an Intelligent Designer and a Master Craftsman of sublime ability?

On the surface, establishing and maintaining faith in our relationships with other people should be much easier and simpler than it is.

As Christians, it should be easier to place our faith in God in the middle of attacking the current, temporary life-crisis at hand…the current life-lesson for ourselves…and for others in need.

But this is one reason why faith is such an important moral reality…such a central factor in personal relationships.

In our Christian journeys of faith, the challenging issues always seem to come back around to the same successful strategy of centering our trust in God, releasing our faith, relinquishing self-sovereignty over the control of our lives, listening in the Spirit, and patiently waiting…for the answer to our prayer…for the inspirational solution needed…or for the one right path of action to follow…all of which have an element of built-in difficulty.

Why does the foreign missionary find themselves in the difficult situation of trying to make do with limited resources in their balanced evangelical effort to bring the light and the transforming power of the gospel message to the lost…along with the help that is needed in terms of financial and material support to alleviate poverty…and in the process discover what is the elusive sweet-spot balance…which only real-life events and circumstances can define and delineate…between the eternally valuable and the temporally practical needs of people?

Why does the local church pastor find themselves frustratingly short of finances, church member volunteers, and community support to solve the many social problems and desperate needs they confront on a daily basis?

Why does the heart-broken grandmother find herself investing many hours on her knees as a prayer warrior on behalf of a wayward grandchild…temporarily lost in drug or alcohol addiction and walking along the dangerous edge of falling into the abyss of oblivion at any moment?

Why does the calling of Abraham in the Bible involve a time-period of waiting for the birth of his son Isaac?

Why does Moses, part-way through the ten miraculous plagues in Egypt, find himself waking up each morning without Pharaoh relenting and releasing the Israelites from bondage?

Why does David have to walk through the valley of the shadow of death as penned in his beautiful and famous Psalm 23?

Why does Jesus the divine Son of God say in the Garden of Gethsemane the night before His crucifixion: “Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me”…then without missing a beat says in perfectly executed faith: “nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done” (Lk. 22:42).

            Why is there this curious space…this interval…this gap…in time and in outcomes…between where we are and where we want to get to…for ourselves or on behalf of others in need…that creates the opportunity…the space…for free-will choice and biblical faith to operate together in tandem?

Certainly within the vast region of secular pursuits there is an equivalent gap between where people are and where they would like to get to.

This reality is what motivates people to pursue a college degree, advance in their careers, save up money for a European vacation or their future retirement, explore the natural world through scientific investigation, and search for the cure for cancer.

This curious space…this interval…this gap…in time and in outcomes…insightfully observed and brilliantly described in Hebrews 11:1…is the underlying, fundamental reason for the creation of this physical universe having the temporal aspects of time, space, orderliness, and intelligibility.

If we are looking for a reason for why our physical world is the way it is…and why we are here…this curious space…this interval…this gap…in time and in space to create the context for a Hebrews 11:1 adventure of biblical faith to actualize…this may be the answer (Heb. 11:6).

A thesis of this book is that the reality of the universal existence of this space…this gap…between where we are and where we want to go…is a necessary condition for the variableness in degrees of faith to exist…to match the unique variableness of the challenges of our individual callings.

Without this space or gap…as universal and as real as anything we observe and experience…on the vertical continuum scale of good and evil…with absolute good at the very top…the free-will choice to exercise faith in God that defines and differentiates variable degrees of righteousness…cannot exist (Heb. 11:1).

            For righteousness to be eternally sustainable for created, non-divine human beings having the moral reasoning capacity for free-will choice…a broad understanding of good and evil…spread-out along this vertical continuum scale of reality…must be fully in-play in our daily experiences in this world environment.

It is also a theme of this book that the exercise of biblical faith…that of enlisting God’s help and participation in closing this space or gap in some particular scenario of circumstances…whatever that may be…is singularly unique in all of human thought and experience.

In my opinion, this is an intellectually plausible and heart-satisfying answer to the universal question of why we are here…in combination with the fact that we are not robots…but instead possess the mental faculties to process and evaluate the deepest of theoretical and philosophical issues (1 Cor. 2:6-12)…such as we are doing in this book.

In my opinion, this is the logical, rational, and reasonable place where we end up after drilling down into the reasons why the world is a rough-and-tumble reality of life for most people.

This curious dynamic of the interaction of faith between the living God and people…in mutually working together through an adventure of faith journey to close the gaps from where we are to where we want or need to go…falls so far outside of worldly conventional normalcy and thinking…so far above self-sovereignty and autonomous self-reliance…that this requires an adequate and satisfactory explanation for believers and unbelievers alike.

This explanation is found within the biblical narrative stories of faith…and nowhere else.

My book…A Popular Defense of the Bible and Christianity…is a free Kindle e-book giveaway on Amazon on Thursday 12/27 through Saturday 12/29.

The Gap that Creates the Space for a Knowledge of Good and Evil 1

 “This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.” (1 Jn. 1:5)

It is time to consider a basic question…why can faith be so difficult for us?  Why is it faith of all possible things…that separates self-sovereignty from God-sovereignty…in determining the all-important course and direction of our lives?

Why does the Bible characterize placing faith in ourselves alone…as self-autonomous kings and queens sitting upon the thrones of our lives…as reprehensible…but instead placing faith in God within a journey of faith as righteousness (Heb. 11:7)…again a concept that is as far removed from the autonomous individualism of conventional thinking as is imaginable?

Why is faith the central element…the most important thing…in our personal relationship with God that is tested and put at risk…that is the bonding agent that connects us…that is being twisted and pulled and stretched by the challenging events and circumstances of our lives?

The issue of difficult challenge…inherent in a faith-journey following God…is a central theme in every positive person of faith throughout the Bible (Rom. 4:3; Ex. 3:11; Josh. 1:5-7; Jud. 6:14-17; Lk. 22:42; Acts 23:11; Heb. 11).

In our current cultural and social exploration into the question of the existence of God…the spot-on accuracy of the biblical description of the variableness of faith in our personal relationships…especially in a relationship following the leading of God…beginning thousands of years ago at the start of the book of Genesis…should give us momentary pause.

Is it rational and plausible to think that material particles and energy…according to the philosophy of naturalism…could conceivably be the source and origin of the incredibly complex value judgment system that is an inseparable part of the variableness of faith in our relationships with other people…and with our Creator God?

Does the sheer existence of this thing called faith…which exists only within the personal interactions between moral beings having the capacity for free-will choice and cognitive thinking…place the reality of the entire framework of the natural world above and outside of any naturalistic explanation?

My book A Popular Defense of the Bible and Christianity is a free Kindle giveaway on Amazon Thursday 12/27 through Saturday 12/29.

%d bloggers like this: