IBRI Research Report #38 (1990)
*affiliation listed for indentification purposes only
Copyright ©1990 by B. D. McLaughlin. All rights reserved.
|This article is intended to make Christians stronger apologists and non-Christians re-examine their beliefs. Ten questions are addressed with classical logic; supplementary material has been relegated to the references so the reader can focus entirely on the critical arguments. This article is not a source of original thought; instead, it is a compendium of critical arguments uncluttered by supplementary material and excessive personal opinion. The reader must consciously refute these arguments in order to reach conclusions which differ from those given.|
|Although the author is in agreement with the doctrinal statement of IBRI, it does not follow that all of the viewpoints espoused in this paper represent official positions of IBRI. Since one of the purposes of the IBRI report series is to serve as a preprint forum, it is possible that the author has revised some aspects of this work since it was first written.|
For Additional Information:
An expanded (book length) version of this Research Report, entitled:
"Christian Handbook of Reason and Insight for Scientists and Technologists"
may be found at Dr. McLaughlin's web site ChristianApologetic.Org
In this article, answers are given to 10 questions. A sound, logical basis has been provided for each answer. If you read this article and question the logical basis for one or more of the answers, try to formulate convincing counter-arguments. If, ultimately, you cannot reject my logic, then reading this article will accomplish one of two things. If you are a Christian, you will become a stronger apologist. If you are not a Christian, you will re-examine your beliefs.
Only classical logic, as opposed to Hegelian dialectic reasoning, is used in this article: (a) x is x, (b) x is not non-x and (c) y is either x or non-x. This can be stated another way by writing a sentence called the thesis (y is x) and another sentence called the antithesis (y is non-x). Given any thesis and its antithesis, one is true, the other is false. This is the logic of absolutes and does not permit y to be something which is neither x nor non-x.
In addition, thesis A can be connected to thesis B to form the complex sentence "if A then B." In such a sentence, A and B may be different ways of stating exactly the same idea. If so, the sentence "if A then B" is called a tautology and is always true. Conversely, A and B may express different ideas. In that case, the sentence "if A then B" cannot be regarded as true unless the truth of B can be independently established whenever the truth of A can be verified.
The 10 questions, with which this article is concerned, are given in the following list:
1. THE BEGINNING
Is the Christian description of the beginning of the universe consistent with the scientific description? This question can be answered with certainty. To answer it, examine the basic scientific and Biblical facts about the beginning.
2. THE ANTHROPIC PRINCIPLE
Does the universe exist primarily to serve as a home for us? This question cannot be answered with certainty. However, considerable evidence can be amassed in support of a "yes" answer. Consider the following facts.
Life is possible only because the universe has been expanding and is continuing to expand at essentially the critical rate required to avoid recollapse. If it had been expanding any faster, even regions which had slightly higher than average densities would have continued to expand indefinitely and would not have formed stars and galaxies. If the universe had been expanding any slower, it would have recollapsed long before the elements of life could have been generated in stars by nucleosynthesis. The numerical value of expansion rate is called the Hubble constant (H) and is currently 15km/sec/million light years.
Life is possible only because the gravitational constant (G), the quantum of angular momentum (h), the speed of light (c) and the elementary unit of electrical charge (e) have the precise values required for the evolution of a very particular kind of universe. This universe contains short-lived, metal scattering blue stars and long-lived, evenly burning, slowly turning stars like the sun.
Life is possible only because of the delicate balance between the strong force that binds nuclei together and the enormous repulsive force between protons.
Life is possible only because the electromagnetic coupling constant and the ratio of electron mass (m) to proton mass (M) are precisely what is required to allow the formation of chemical compounds.
Life is possible only because the weak-interaction coupling constant has precisely the proper value. If it were slightly smaller or larger, helium production would either be 100% or zero. In one case there would be no water, in the other an entirely variant stellar evolution.
Since H and c have precisely the proper values to permit life, it follows that the characteristic length or "radius" of the universe (c/H) could not be changed without precluding our existence.
Since the universe is expanding at the critical rate to avoid recollapse, its density must be equal to 3c2H2/8©G. The quantities c, H and G have precisely the correct values to permit life; therefore, the density of the universe is exactly what is required to permit our existence.
This list could be continued but it is already long enough to justify a conclusion: not one of the fundamental properties of the universe could be changed without eliminating the possibility of life. Could this be what the Bible refers to when it says God's eternal power and divine nature are clearly evident in the things He has made (Rom 1:20)? Did a Supreme Being deliberately create the universe in such a way that the slightest change in any one of its properties would preclude our existence? To date, the only serious alternative offered is based on the idea that not just one but rather an enormously large ensemble of universes exists; each member of the ensemble is self-contained and unaffected by the rest. In this ensemble of universes, only our universe and those similar to ours contain living creatures. The rest are lifeless. The ensemble concept makes our universe just one of many and thereby avoids the need for us to occupy a special place. Aside from the fact that no supporting evidence exists for the ensemble concept, is it really more difficult to believe in God than in such an ensemble of universes?[3,4,5]
3. THE MORAL LAW
What is the origin of the moral law written on each of our hearts? This question presupposes that you and I have identical codes of conduct embedded deep in our subconscious minds; we can try to suppress or ignore this code but it is there nonetheless. This deeply embedded code of conduct is the little voice inside which, for example, tells you not to:
(1) The words "moral law" encompass certain types of behavior which have developed in us by the process of biological evolution. The details of this development process are covered by such theories as "kinship" and "reciprocation" and may even employ the principles of game theory. The types of behavior classified as "moral law" accomplish no purpose other than to enhance the survivability of the human race.
(2) The "moral law" is learned social behavior passed from adults to children; collective human experience has recognized that certain restrictions on social behavior result in a more pleasant society for all.
(3) The "moral law" is really God's commandment to love your neighbor as yourself (Matt 22:36-40). This commandment embodies the sum total of the law given to us by God (Rom 13:8-10; Gal 5:14). To make sure no one missed the instructions, he wrote his law on everyone's heart (Rom 1:19,32; 2:14,15).
Which of these explanations is consistent with the facts? Consider, for a moment, the following groups of people in our society; assume these people are institutionalized with no means of support beyond public charity.
Collective human experience has clearly recognized that certain restrictions on social behavior result in a more pleasant society for all; the existence of civil and criminal law reflect this recognition. However, in your daily life, cheating would often be more pleasurable than truthfulness. On those occasions when you know you won't be caught, do you really refrain from cheating because you know, in the long run, society will be a better place for it? If so, you are an unusual person. Cultures which use the "good of society" as a basis for morality are generally rife with crookedness. If confronted with opportunities to:
This leaves God as the most likely source of that little voice telling you right from wrong.
4. BIOCHEMICAL EVOLUTION
Did life arise spontaneously from non-living matter? This question can be answered with certainty.
Every living creature contains at least one blueprint which furnishes instructions for making all the creature's biochemicals. This blueprint is a long chain of chemical units called nucleotides. The chain is neither ordered nor random but is, instead, complex; information is stored by means of a linear sequence. In a living creature, a complex polynucleotide is never constructed from nucleotide building blocks without the assistance of another kind of chemical called an informed enzyme. The informed enzyme is a long chain of chemical units called amino acids. This chain is also complex and also stores information by means of a linear sequence. In a living creature, an informed enzyme is never constructed from amino acid building blocks without a complex polynucleotide to provide the code. Thus, we are faced with the catch-22 of life's origin. The complex polynucleotide, which is the blueprint for all the biochemicals of a living creature, cannot be constructed without an informed enzyme; but the informed enzyme cannot be constructed without a complex polynucleotide to code for it! If life developed spontaneously in a primordial soup of nucleotides, amino acids and nutrients, then either the first complex polynucleotide or the first informed enzyme was formed purely by random chance. The probability of such an event is virtually zero.
By way of illustration, consider a racemic mixture of all 20 L-amino bio-acids and the corresponding 19 optical isomers. What is the probability that these 39 different kinds of amino acids will assemble themselves into a particular kind of primitive complex amino acid chain called cytochrome-c? This particular chain has 101 amino acid sites. If each of the 39 types of amino acid has the same probability of being incorporated into the chain, then the number of sequences which can be formed is simply 39 raised to the 101st power or 4.98 x 10160. Given a more than generous estimate of the number of synonymous amino acid residues for each site in the cytochrome c chain, the number of cytochrome c sequences which can be formed has been estimated to be 1.2 x 1064. Therefore, the probability of producing a cytochrome c chain by random chance is 2.4 x 10-97. If the primordial soup contained 1044 amino acid molecules (a gross overestimate) which combined, broke-up, and recombined in groups of 101 every second for a billion years, the probability of finding one molecule of cytochrome-c during that period is (2.4 x 10-97)(3.15 x1058) or 7.56 x 10-39. This is the probability that a sequence of honest coin tosses will produce 126 heads in a row. Keep in mind that cytochrome-c is only a primitive protein which contains nowhere near the information found in an informed enzyme.
The cytochrome-c illustration was based on the assumption that amino acid chains were formed in a prebiotic soup by a specific chemical process: random formation and destruction of full length chains each second for a billion years. If the illustration had been based on path independent thermodynamic concepts, the computed probability would have been virtually the same.
The only way to achieve probabilities significantly larger than zero is to assume that spontaneous generation of life did not occur by random chance. In other words the chemical bonding preferences of nucleotides or amino acids caused them to spontaneously form complex sequences. Unfortunately for those who would prefer to view first life as the inevitable consequence of nature's laws at work over vast spans of time, the concept of "directed chance" or "biochemical predestination" has neither experimental nor theoretical support.
A conviction that complex amino acid or nucleotide chains appeared spontaneously in the primitive milieu on earth is clearly based more on faith than science. The scientific answer to the question "Did life arise spontaneously from non-living matter?" is "no."7,8
Biological evolution presumably functions by mutation, genetic drift, migration and natural selection. Natural selection is supposed to operate through differential reproduction or "survival-of-the-fittest." Is "survival-of-the-fittest" a rational basis for the concept of biological evolution? This question can be answered with certainty.
Consider the following two theses:
A = a creature is the most fit.
B = the creature will, all things being equal (ceteris paribus), live the longest and have the most offspring.
The principle encompassed by the phrase "survival-of-the-fittest" can be expressed using the sentence "if A then B." In such a sentence, A and B may be different ways of stating exactly the same idea. If so, the sentence "if A then B" is called a tautology and is always true. Conversely, A and B may express different ideas. In that case, the sentence "if A then B" cannot be regarded as true unless the truth of B can be independently established whenever the truth of A can be verified.
If the particular sentence with which this section is concerned is viewed as a tautology, then it is just as devoid of scientific content as the sentence "if a man is married then the man is a husband." Conversely, if A and B express different ideas, then circumstances must be found such that the truth of A and the truth of B can be independently tested before the truth of "if A then B" can be evaluated. Herein lies the problem. The truth of "a creature is the most fit" cannot be tested for any creature under any circumstances because the overall "fitness" of the creature can neither be measured nor computed. Since the truth of A is untestable, it follows that the truth of "if A then B" is likewise untestable. Therefore, the answer to the question addressed in this section is "no."
Although deficiencies fatal to the theory of biochemical evolution are gradually being recognized by the scientific community, our inability to measure or compute the "fitness" of a creature has not yet been viewed as fatal to the theory of biological evolution. Investigators generally settle for measuring small numbers of morphological, physiological or behavioral "traits" and insinuate that, if all other aspects of "fitness" are fixed, these traits alone will suffice. Unfortunately, no theory is available which shows how the vast majority of aspects may be fixed while a chosen few are free to vary. A change in a single trait may alter 1000 aspects important to the overall "fitness" of an organism. What sort of interfering parameters might exist cannot even be imagined due to the absence of a theory for reducing the organism to a calculable whole.
If the concept of natural selection is clearly untestable, why does the theory of biological evolution continue to dominate the field of biology? Partly because the concept's untestability makes it immune to falsification. Partly because the concept has become integrated into the common working knowledge of the biological community and has become the context within which that community understands the world. Partly because the alternative appears to involve God.
6. BASIS OF CHRISTIAN BELIEFS
Are Christians supposed to think about the basis for their beliefs? This question can be answered "yes" with certainty because not every basis provides a suitable foundation for the Christian faith.
Beliefs are generally based on:
If the dentist informs you that one of your fillings is cracked and you allow him to replace it even though you don't have a toothache, then your belief in his truthfulness is based on blind faith in a learned person. In our complex technological society, we must base some decisions on blind faith because we can't become experts on everything. However, we don't generally use blind faith as a basis for our beliefs if a mistake could be life threatening or financially ruinous. When a false belief can have grave consequences for ourselves or our loved ones, we may consult available experts or "learned persons" but, ultimately, we weigh the evidence ourselves and personally make a decision about what is true or what represents the best course of action. Consider, for a moment, the interesting possibility that you, as a person, may continue to exist after the death of your physical body. Consider the additional possibility that this existence may be either meaningful or meaningless depending on what's in your heart when you die. Given these premises, a false belief about what should be in your heart will have grave consequences. If you deal with this possibility like you deal with other important issues, you will not blindly accept the opinion of a learned person. You might consult a parent, teacher, pastor, priest, rabbi, mulla or guru but, ultimately, you will personally weigh the evidence and personally make a decision. Blind faith in a learned person is not an acceptable basis for any religious belief because the stakes are too high.
Intuition or "feeling" is equally unacceptable as a basis for Christian beliefs because a very basic Christian belief is that the human heart is too deceitful to be trusted (Ps 14:1; Prov 12:15, 14:12; Isa 32:6; Jer 17:9). The Bible never encourages us to trust our emotions. On the other hand, a personal experience is quite acceptable as a basis for certain Christian beliefs provided the experience is real and consistent with scripture.
What about "thinking?" Many people believe the Bible teaches us to replace thinking with blind faith. If that were the case, the Bible would be encouraging us to do something inconsistent with our own common sense. In truth, the Bible encourages us, from cover to cover, to think! The following examples will illustrate this point.
Deut 18:21-22 -- We are encouraged to use simple logic to distinguish between a false prophet and a prophet of God. "If a prophet makes one mistake then the prophet is not getting his or her information from God" or, what is the same thing, "If a prophet is of God then the prophet always speaks the truth."
Isa 1:18 We are told God wants to reason with us.
Hos 4:6 We are informed that we can be destroyed by lack of knowledge.
Luke 7:19-23 John the Baptist sends two of his followers to Jesus with the following question, "Are you the Expected One, or do we look for someone else?" Instead of saying, "Yes, I am the one you have awaited," Jesus performs miracles in full view of John's followers. After a while, Jesus sends the followers back to John with information obtained by first hand observation. Jesus says for them to tell John what they've seen so he can deduce the answer for himself.
Rom 1:20 We are invited to look carefully at each of the things around us an incredible level of information stored in the most primitive DNA, a universe expanding at the critical rate to avoid recollapse, abstract thought along with love in the mind of man and try to explain these things without invoking the existence of God.
1 Cor 14:20 Christians are advised to think like adults.
1 Thes 5:21 Christians are advised to carefully examine everything.
1 Pet 3:15 Christians are advised to always be ready to defend their beliefs by providing a sound basis.
1 John 4:1-4 Christians are advised to test every prophet to determine if he or she speaks for God.
Jude 3 Christians are encouraged to contend earnestly for the faith.
The fundamental beliefs of Christianity should be based on sound thinking supplemented by personal experience. Christian beliefs should never be based on blind faith or intuition. What about your beliefs? What exactly do you believe and why do you believe it?
7. PURITY OF NEW TESTAMENT TEXT
Are each of the known Greek manuscripts and manuscript fragments, of a particular New Testament book, "pure" representations of a unique autograph? This question cannot be answered with certainty since no autographs have been found. However, the available evidence supports a "yes" answer.
By 1968, the existence of approximately 5358 Greek New Testament manuscripts and manuscript fragments had been documented by scholars. Among these, more than 200,000 variants have been detected. To put this in perspective, the following facts should be considered:
--The more than 200,000 variants can be assigned to about 10,000 locations in the New Testament; serious controversy exists concerning the legitimacy of words found at approximately 400 of these locations.
8. ACCURACY OF NEW TESTAMENT TEXT
Did the New Testament autographs provide an accurate account of what a man named Jesus said and did? This question will be addressed with the help of an inverted logic tree. At the top of the logic tree is a thesis (A) "Jesus did exist" and its antithesis (not-A) "Jesus did not exist." One is true, the other is false. This initial thesis bifurcates into a subsidiary thesis (B) and its antithesis (not-B). Using classical logic: "A if and only if either B or not-B." This process, which may be continued indefinitely, adds no new information but merely provides a structure for analyzing the problem.
One and only one of the four statements located at branch tips must be true.
The subsequent paragraphs of this section will examine the likelihood that statements (1), (3) and (4) represent truth. The falsity of these three statements and, therefore, the truth of statement (2) cannot be established with certainty. However, so much evidence can be amassed in support of this position that a final step of faith is small and guided as opposed to large and blind.
- Jesus did not exist.
- The New Testament autographs provided an accurate account of what a man named Jesus said and did.
- The New Testament autographs accidentally provided an inaccurate account of what a man named Jesus said and did.
- The New Testament autographs deliberately provided an inaccurate account of what a man named Jesus sa
id and did.
(1) Jesus did not exist.
The existence of a man named Jesus was claimed by:
(3) The New Testament autographs accidentally provided an inaccurate account of what a man named Jesus said and did.
Consider the following:
--The New Testament autographs must have pre-dated the oldest known manuscript fragments.
The idea that New Testament autographs accidentally provided an inaccurate account of what a man named Jesus said and did is viable only if the events in the life of Jesus had been recorded long after the death of all eye-witnesses. For example, if the events in His life had been handed down by word of mouth until 300 A.D. and then finally began to be written down in what we now refer to as New Testament autographs, it is reasonable to believe that what He said and did could have become distorted. What was recorded would have been consistent with the beliefs of the Christian community of 300 A.D. but those beliefs would have been erroneous.
(4) The New Testament autographs deliberately provided an inaccurate account of what a man named Jesus said and did.
This means the New Testament autographs contained deliberate lies set forth by certain individuals in the first century Christian community. Since eye-witnesses were alive to challenge these lies, the hoax could not have been perpetrated without the "clout" of the disciples. The disciples must have been at least willing conspirators if not the actual originators of the fraud. Since individuals do not usually conspire to defraud without anticipating some kind of gain, it is reasonable to ask, "What did the disciples get for their trouble?" There is no record to indicate they achieved wealth or political power. Instead, the disciples, along with the rest of the first century Christians, received persecution, torture and death as a reward for their beliefs. Yet no disciple ever recanted his story. When, in recorded history, have sane men ignored personal gain and freely chosen persecution, torture and death to preserve what they knew to be a lie?
If you can rationalize the idea that eleven men, and their associates, risked their lives, with no hope of personal gain, to promulgate what they knew to be a lie, then another question must be asked. Why did anyone believe them? History confirms that Christianity became a powerful evangelical force during the first century. Were all the converts more gullible than you? Were they so dumb they could be convinced without evidence that a poor carpenter rose bodily from the dead after spending three days in a tomb? If these converts were only of average intelligence, they would have demanded something more than the claims of a rag-tag bunch of amateur preachers. Surely they would have demanded something like the personal word of a trusted friend who witnessed a miracle or even saw the resurrected Jesus with his own eyes.
Some autographs even offered bold challenges daring skeptics to refute the lies (Acts 2:22; 26:24-28; 1 Cor 15:3-7). These challenges were thrust in the face of Jew and Roman alike. Yet no one stepped forth to unmask the hoax. Why?
Finally, if you and your associates decided to concoct a hoax, focusing on a person claiming one-ness with God, would you agree to the fabrication of details that made this person seem susceptible to the same human frailties as you and I? If you personally were going to play the part of a disciple in this hoax, would you tolerate the fabrication of details that made you look selfish and petty? Such details were incorporated into the New Testament autographs:
I contend that statements (1), (3) and (4) on our logic tree must be viewed as false based on all available evidence. Therefore, the question asked at the beginning of this section can be answered "yes" with near certainty.[11,12,13]
9. THE IDENTITY OF JESUS
Who was Jesus? Once again, the question cannot be answered with certainty, but so much evidence can be amassed in support of a particular answer that a final step of faith is small and guided as opposed to large and blind.
Let us begin by trying to find out who Jesus claimed to be. Based on section 8, "who he claimed to be" was accurately recorded in the New Testament autographs. Based on section 7 we can learn the content of these autographs using the Greek text derived from more than 5000 manuscripts and manuscript fragments. Finally, if we consult a translation faithful to the Greek text, we don't even need to learn Greek.
The fifth chapter of John tells us Jesus broke the fourth commandment by healing a man on the Sabbath; He then encouraged this man to likewise violate the Sabbath by telling him to pick up his bed and carry it away. When confronted by the Jews, Jesus said He was working because his Father was working. To the Jews, this meant Jesus was making himself equal with God. In the eighth chapter of John, Jesus claimed to have existed as a person since before Abraham was born. The tenth chapter of John indicates Jesus claimed to be one with the Father; the Jews understood this to mean Jesus was making himself out to be God. When Jesus appeared to "doubting" Thomas, as recorded in the twentieth chapter of John, Thomas addressed him as God; Jesus accepted this greeting. Jesus healed a paralytic in the second chapter of Mark but, before the physical healing, He forgave the man's sins. Scribes in the audience asked themselves, "Who can forgive sins but God alone?" In the fourteenth chapter of Mark, the high priest asked Jesus if He was the Son of God. Jesus replied, "I am." These examples show who Jesus claimed to be; Jesus claimed to be God! He was executed, not for any crime against man, but for blasphemy. Was the claim of Jesus true or false? This question will be addressed with the help of a logic tree.
One and only one of the three statements located at branch tips must be true.
The subsequent paragraphs of this section will examine the likelihood that statements (2) and (3) represent truth. The falsity of these two statements and, therefore, the truth of statement (1) cannot be established with certainty. However, so much evidence can be amassed in support of this position that a final step of faith is small and guided as opposed to large and blind.
- Jesus' claim to be God was true.
- Jesus realized his claim to be God was false.
- Jesus didn't realize his claim to be God was false.
(2) Jesus realized his claim to be God was false.
This means Jesus was a blasphemous, pernicious, hypocritical, foolish liar!
(3) Jesus didn't realize his claim to be God was false.
This means Jesus actually believed He was God even though He really wasn't; in other words, Jesus was insane! I challenge you to read chapters 5, 6 and 7 in the Book of Matthew and conclude you have read the words of a madman. I challenge you to pick up a red-letter edition of the New Testament, read all the teachings attributed to Jesus and conclude you have read the ravings of a lunatic.
I contend that statements (2) and (3) on our logic tree must be viewed as false based on all available evidence. Therefore, statement (1) can be viewed as true with near certainty. The final step of faith required to believe that Jesus was God is small indeed.
Notice our logic tree offers only three alternatives: (1) Lord, (2) Liar and (3) Lunatic. One and only one of these three L's was an accurate description of the man Jesus. What about that other option selected by most people in the world today?
|"Jesus was clearly a fine, articulate fellow offering lofty principles, sound teaching and great leadership but, just as clearly, Jesus was not God."|
The fact that Jesus claimed to be God makes this belief irrational. Neither a deceitful liar nor a crazy person can be viewed as a great moral leader of men. Finally, if Jesus' claim to be God was true when He walked the earth 1960 years ago, then surely He is still God today.
10. SOURCE OF THE BIBLE
Were the autographs, for the book referred to as the Christian Bible, inspired by God? By Christian Bible we mean the 39 books of the Old Testament (corresponding to the 24 books of the Jewish Scriptures) and the 27 books of the New Testament.
The autographs for the 39 Old Testament books were written over a period of approximately 1000 years by many different authors. If what these documents taught was not inspired by God then somewhere, among the high purity manuscripts existing in the first century, we would have expected God incarnate, who claimed to be inspired by the Holy Spirit (Luke 3:22; 4:1; 4:18), to identify at least one accidental or deliberate false teaching. Curiously, Jesus viewed the manuscripts to which he had access as being completely free of false teaching (Matt 5:18; 21:42; 22:29; Luke 24:44; John 5:39). The probability that the mere teachings of fallible, errant men could be judged infallible and inerrant by God must indeed be small. Clearly, in the opinion of Jesus, the Old Testament autographs were inspired by God. What about the New Testament autographs? Jesus implied that the teachings of the disciples and their colleagues "would be" inspired by God (Matt 28:18-20; John 14:26; Acts 9:15). What you believe about scriptural inspiration is determined by the importance you attach to the opinion of Jesus. If you believe Jesus is God and, during his incarnation, taught only what He learned from His Father (John 8:28; 14:24) then the answer to the question asked at the beginning of this section is "yes."
If, after reading the previous ten sections and studying the indicated references, you view my logic as flawed then I would appreciate an opportunity to examine your logic. I am not interested in protecting unsound thinking even it's my own; I am interested only in the truth. Conversely, if you accept my logic, please continue reading; particularly if the first five sections have shaken your trust in the materialistic/humanistic answers to important questions and the last five sections have shaken your rejection of Christianity. In the next few paragraphs I'm going to delineate some important truths growing out of the beliefs that Jesus is God and the Bible was inspired by God. These paragraphs are directed at your heart since I am assuming your head has already been reached.
The one true God, existing as three eternal distinct persons, created the universe as a home for man and then created a man and a woman to live on the earth. God loved the man and woman and wanted them to return that love. They chose to reject God and desired to become gods themselves. Their disobedience ushered them and all their descendants onto the path of sin. Humanity has paid a great price for their decision: aging, disease, suffering, hatred, despair, loneliness, war, jealousy, murder, grief, death and, worst of all, separation from our creator. You see, God is holy and cannot fellowship with sinful creatures like you and I.
God was faced with a dilemma. On one hand sin was preventing Him from fellowship with his creatures; on the other, God loved each individual so much He could not bear the thought of separation. But sin could not simply be overlooked; a price had to be paid for every crime. Unfortunately, if you and I paid the price for our own crimes, our souls would spend eternity in Hell. God found the solution to this dilemma.
Two of the three persons who are God have a Father/Son relationship. The Father sent the Son to earth to be incarnated as a man. If this man could live a sinless life culminating in execution for crimes He didn't commit, that punishment would pay the price for every sin throughout the history of the human race. This is exactly what transpired about 1960 years ago. Jesus paid the price for the sins of every man and woman who ever lived. But there's a catch. No one has been or will be simply handed the gift of redemption automatically. The gift cannot be received by you until your heart is right with God and getting your heart right with God is very difficult. You can't do it by joining a particular church, faithfully attending all church activities, tithing, dedicating your life to Christian service, becoming a pastor, living what you and your friends consider to be a holy life, making life-risking sacrifices for Jesus or exercising some spiritual gift. All these things are far too easy. To get your heart right, you must make something like the following statements to God and mean them to the depths of your soul:
(1) God, I am a sinner. Perhaps I have not murdered children or stolen
from the poor but, to a holy God, my heart is black as coal. I can never
stand before You justified by my own merit.
(2) I ask Your forgiveness for my sins.
(3) I believe You love me so much You chose to pay the price for my sins; I can stand before You justified only because Jesus Christ died on the cross for my redemption.
(4) I accept the gift of redemption and invite You to come into my heart, become Lord of my life and lead me down the path of repentance.
Think about it dear reader...Think about it.