God At The Front Door…

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But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” ~2Pet 3:8-2Pet 3:9 NIV

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Time is meaningless to God, as it was God who created time. It was God who invented/created (call it what you wish)  all of the physical laws we now use to limit ourselves, and others use to limit their Creator. Time creates meaning and points of reality to each of us through our memories, they also are causations  of milestone moments (not just memories) in our lives, the lives of communities, societies, and whole races. But, again, time is meaningless to God. God sees everything from beginning to end, much as we would see a re-run on television; such as “I Love Lucy,” “MacGyver,” “Friends,” etc.

You, like I, probably have said to yourself: Why doesn’t God judge these people, already? Or more to our level, where is a cop when you need one? (when someone zips on by doing 15-20 miles over the limit.) We want closure on this grave wrong that has been committed! Or like in Jonah’s situation, Jonah wanted God to judge the Ninevites, and he wanted them judged harshly and the city to be destroyed. Why else would Jonah have gone away to purposely flee from such a task that God set before him? Truth be told, there is a lot of Jonah in each and every one of us; whether you choose to accept that assertion, or not, that is on you. If you reflect on yourself, objectively, you would see it. After all, Jonah did know God well enough to know that if he went to Nineveh and preached the word of God and warned the Ninevites; Jonah knew that they would have turned from their ways and would have repented. More importantly, if they repented and did not mean it God would have seen into their hearts and would know they did not mean it; after which, God would have judged them. However, had they repented and they did mean it, God would have seen that in their hearts, as well and would have forgiven them.

This is how God is with each of us. God wants us to repent, or change our minds and gods-hand-of-judgment1change the direction of our hearts and follow His will and His word! He gives us all the time in the world that we need to change our moral direction. But change our hearts, or not, doesn’t matter; eventually, we each will draw our final breath and after that we will be judged. We are guaranteed one human life span to make our changes and follow God’s will and word. But eventually death and judgement will come our way. And many of us will be quite surprised! So many of us, yes even we Christians, will be judged, too. We have been set as watchmen over our fellow man, to warn him and to teach him and to guide him. However, it is the Holy Spirit who is to stir in their hearts to make them seek true repentance and to change their ways. God warned us all to do such things:

watchmen

So you, son of man: I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore you shall hear a word from My mouth and warn them for Me. When I say to the wicked, ‘O wicked man, you shall surely die!’ and you do not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand. Nevertheless if you warn the wicked to turn from his way, and he does not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered your soul. ~Ezekiel 33:7-9 NKJV

The brother of Jesus, the Apostle James told us:

faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead…James 2:14-26 NKJV

How will our fellow man be warned if we do not follow the mandates placed before us? Will not their blood be on our hands if they do not hear of the word of God, or the good news of Jesus and the gift of salvation that is offered to them? Consider this: You or I might be the only person who knows Jesus that may be willing to inform them, to teach or guide them.  Out of this whole wide world there are roughly 7 Billion people, and of that number about 30% are Christian. Most Christians have a mindset that “that’s not my job,” or “someone else will handle that,” etc. Guess what…and YES that includes me…IT IS OUR JOB TO TELL EVERYONE WE COME IN CONTACT WITH!

Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.~Matthew 28:19-20 NKJV

So, the next time you, and the next time that I, see another on the wrong path, or just a fellow soul…we each need to remember that it is our job, our purpose, God’s will, that we speak to them about Jesus, salvation, being reborn a new man…and to live a new life with a grand purpose in Jesus.

May God Richly Bless You, My Beloved!

MK Murphy, PhD, DD

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Thomas Aquinas vs. Richard Dawkins

aquinas2  richard-dawkins

In the advent of the Five Proofs of St. Thomas Aquinas, back in the 13th century, and the publishing of Richard Dawkins book in 2006, “The God Delusion” which I also read & reviewed back in February of 2015; I believe this would be a good venue to discuss the topic of God’s Existence and these two eminent people of their respective fields, one on the topic of God & Theistic knowledge and the other on the topic of Atheism and the lack of an all powerful Creator.

First off, I find it odd that a man of the stature of Richard Dawkins considers the explanations of Thomas Aquinas to be, of all things, “vacuous.” As Mr. Dawkins has essentially brushed off anything stated by the 13th century philosopher as “having or showing a lack of thought or intelligence; mindless“. Let us delve into topics of Thomas Aquinas in his Five Proofs:

  1. The Unmoved Mover of all things that Move;
  2. The First Efficient Cause in all things that Exist, or the Un-caused Cause;
  3. The cosmological argument;
  4. The Argument from Degree of Being; and
  5. The Teleological Argument, or the Design Argument.

While Richard Dawkins did do a fair job of summing up each of these thoughts, he did do a lousy job of assessing their overall value. Of course, this is not just my opinion but also of many others. However, it is the position that the science of evolution began with the Big Bang (which is but a theory based solely upon assumptions) and yet, even now with the Hubble Telescope, scientists believe they are picking up on things that date back to prior to the Big Bang. Christian believers have believed that something did cause the Big Bang. The un-moved mover, the first efficient cause, and/or the cosmological argument. In essence the Big Bang was ultimately caused by something that caused the super heating of the first atom that has now become the universe in which we live. But Christians are deemed to be kooks and scientists to be the brilliant minds.

The classic Christian beliefs are not against science, but rather they can explain many things which are unexplained by science. The classic Christian beliefs are steadfastly holding to the science of reason, or Logic. We as Christians are called to:

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ ~Matthew 22:37

To love God with all of our mind is to form an understanding through reasonable and logical argumentation. While the many Atheists, Agnostics, and others out there in the world would disagree with me, based solely upon their belief that there is no God out there or the fact that there is no absolute proof of there being a God out there.

Back to Dawkins, he states in his book on the first three proofs that

“…these arguments rely upon the idea of a regress and invoke God to terminate it. They make the entirely unwarranted assumption that God himself is immune to the regress.” ~THE GOD DELUSION, page 101

It is understood that ‘Creators’ have power over their ‘creations.’ If there is a God and He exists and He created all that we presently call our universe, then He also created all of the physical laws that rule over us and through reason and logic is immune to that which He created. The classical Christian belief is that God is uncaused, and is the first cause in all other things that exist in this, and all other, plane(s) of reality. Essentially, according to non-believers prior to the Big Bang there was nothing; believers, on the other hand, believe there was only God prior to the Big Bang.

Aquinas on the Three Elements of a Causal Series

FIRST CAUSE   —->   CAUSED CAUSE    —->   EFFECT

(Principle Cause)         (Instrumental Cause)        (Final Effect)

We can summarize our argument this way:

  • If everything is caused by something else, then there would be an infinite regress
    of causes.
  • But an infinite regress of causes is impossible
  • Therefore not everything is caused by something else.

Through our power of reason and logic we can make these assertions, because they make reasonable sense to us. Do they, in fact, prove what we desire; perhaps not, but they do follow reason and logic and are theoretical proofs of what we assert. They help us to understand and grasp certain concepts that we may better understand.

Consider these examples of the infinite regress, from Scott M. Sullivan, Ph.D.:

You ask a friend for a dollar ($1.00). Unfortunately, he does not possess one, but he can barrow one from another friend. Of course, as luck would have it, he too does not possess a dollar; but that is alright, he can barrow one from yet another.  You cannot get your dollar from an infinite number of broke people!

>OR<

How does the caboose of a train move? Because the box car (1) moves it. And how does box car (1) move? Because box car (2) moves it. And how does box car (2) move? Because box car (3) moves it… It is impossible for a box car to move anything if it does not possess the power to move itself, it is the engine which moves all of the successive cars, including the caboose.

god-is5All Richard Dawkins has done was to disparage Thomas Aquinas to be a mindless boob in his ramblings. When you cannot fight against the logic, attack the character; after all, it works in politics…why not in philosophy?

Furthermore, Richard Dawkins makes a grave error with respect to the attributes of God, namely: Omnipotence, Omnipresence, & Omniscience. In his book he states the following:

“…it has not escaped the notice of logicians that omniscience & omnipotence are mutually incompatible. If God is omniscient, he must already know how he is going to intervene to change the course of history using his omnipotence. But that means he can’t change his mind about his intervention, which means he is not omnipotent.” ~THE GOD DELUSION, page 101

There is no way Dawkins could possibly know this, as it is not logically following…a non sequitur, if you will! The thing Mr. Dawkins does not take into account is that man possesses free will and changes his mind constantly based upon new information, moral dilemmas, etc. Consider this:

And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not. ~Jonah 3:10 KJV

In the Book of Jonah, Jonah fulfilled his task and brought the word of God and His warning to the city of Nineveh. And the Ninevites changed their ways and repented seeking God’s forgiveness. Because God saw their hearts and that they changed their ways, God repented…in other words, he changed His course of action by changing His mind. God was able to see all things and knew that they would change their path, seeking His forgiveness. God finds the ways that will work with us to change our direction and our staunch path onto the road of sinfulness. God desires all of us to enter into His kingdom, but we have to change…it is not God who needs to change, but we do!

Richard Dawkins goes on to say further:

“To return to the infinite regress and the futility of invoking God to terminate it, it is more parsimonious to conjure up, say, a ‘big bang singularity’, or some other physical concept as yet unknown. Calling it God is at best unhelpful and at worst perniciously misleading.” ~THE GOD DELUSION, page 101-2

I find it rather foolhardy to conjure up something that is dependent upon other thing(s) to be the first cause in any chain of events. Seems to  be very lackluster with respect to a philosophical argument, which carries no weight or power behind it. This is also where Dawkins runs astray from one of the attributes of God, that He is “Immaterial”. Meaning that He is not made up of or consisting of anything that has a physical composition of parts. To be so would make God dependent upon those parts and would thus degrade His ability, or abilities, of omnipotence, omnipresence, & omniscience.

Following on to the Argument from Degree of Being, in essence ascribes our goodness, greatness, morality, or even our righteousness is based upon God, or our emulation of Jesus, the Christ. That God is the basis of such things within each of us and if we should exercise our freewill and discard the notion of God and become evil in our base desires; hence our badness, poorness, immorality, or even our unrighteousness is based upon the opposite of what God is. We cannot blame God for our decisions, because, after all, we chose to do those things; permitting ourselves to be tempted and allowed ourselves to be swayed from the goodness of God. Whereas, if we truly relied on God, He could & would have guided us toward His righteousness.

Dawkins chose to follow the path of nominalizing the argument to the point of cartoonizing it through a caricature of the idea. In essence, he used a straw-man argument and then acted in a manner as though he defeated the argument in its original version.

And finally we move on to the Teleological Argument, or the Design Argument. In his book he wrote,

“The argument from design is the only one still in regular use today, and it still sounds to many like the ultimate knockdown argument. The young Darwin was impressed by it when, as a Cambridge undergraduate, he read it in William Paley’s Natural Theology. Unfortunately for Paley, the mature Darwin blew it out of the water. There probably has never been a more devastating rout of a popular belief by clever reasoning than Charles Darwin’s destruction of the argument from design.” ~THE GOD DELUSION, page 103

First of all, what did Charles Darwin really prove? Anyone? Anyone? Nothing, he set forth a theory. His theory has never truly been proven to be truthful and factual as there has been no way to scientifically prove such a thing.

Scientific evidence

Scientific evidence is evidence which serves to either support or counter a scientific theory or hypothesis. Such evidence is expected to be empirical evidence and interpretation in accordance with scientific method.

Scientific method

The scientific method is a body of techniques for investigating phenomena, acquiring new knowledge, or correcting and integrating previous knowledge. To be termed scientific, a method of inquiry is commonly based on empirical or measurable evidence subject to specific principles of reasoning.

To empirically observe and use measurable evidence you must be able to recreate the theoretical in a controlled environment into an actual reality. Therefore, it is only theory  until such a time as it is produced into a reality. So, Mr. Dawkins failed on this point.

Religion does not denigrate science, nor does science disprove religion or any of its tenets. Science does observe the natural order of things and just because it does not observe something does not prove its non-existence. Religious tenets are guides, or mandates, to live by; but does not discount science in any way, shape, or form. But is able to posit, based upon reasonableness and logic, explanations where science fails to yield one.

While, again, I found Mr. Dawkins’ book a worthwhile read from an apologetic standpoint and from the standpoint of learning what many atheists believe; I found it to leave one wanting for a more better answer. In my opinion, he makes outlandish claims of Christians and runs amuck from their classic beliefs. He seems to have, in many instances, set-up “straw man” arguments by caricaturizing the original arguments and then minimalizes the accuracy of the Christian standpoint. His arguments in some instances are disingenuous, in that, he rails on a point or tenet for something it was not arguing for and fails to see his point addressed in another segment.

Of course, there is probably much more information to be gleaned from THOMAS AQUINAS’ “Summa Contra Gentiles“, but that is one of my next projects to read that piece of work.

I hope you enjoyed and were able to glean something from this piece. Godspeed, my friends! Consider the study of Logic and the study of Apologetics, there are vast resources for you to gain much knowledge from…books, courses, video, web sites, etc. Again, Godspeed to you!

May God Richly Bless You, My Beloved!

MK Murphy, PhD, DD

Giving Your Best

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Then King David said to Ornan, “No, but I will surely buy it for the full price, for I will not take what is yours for the Lord, nor offer burnt offerings with that which costs me nothing.”~1 Chronicles 21:24

Then the king said to Araunah, “No, but I will surely buy it from you for a price; nor will I offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God with that which costs me nothing.” So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver.~2 Samuel 24:24

It should cost us something in order to worship God properly. We should always strive to do our absolute best in all we do, even those tasks we hold absolute disdain towards! Because it is a task that God desires us to do, as it will be the preparation for something much bigger!

Think about this for just a little bit…

When we do something for God, anything, it should cost us something, don’t you think? After all, we are to emulate Christ as part of our purpose in this life of ours, but look at what it cost Jesus to follow His Father’s desire and command? It cost Him his life, His human life, in order to placed upon a cross, be crucified as a common thief – and between two thieves, to-boot!

Even though, Jesus was the final sacrifice for all of mankind…He took on all of mankind’s sin and guilt upon himself in order to be that final sacrifice. To be seen as a common thief, to be separated from God because of all that sin, as it was written in the Bible:

But your iniquities have separated you from your God;
And your sins have hidden His face from you,
So that He will not hear. ~Isaiah 59:2

Whether in actuality or in reality, imagine it…that our God and Creator turned His back upon His one and only Son because He was full of sin, just so we could be acceptable to God:

For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. ~2 Corinthians 5:21

justification-by-faithIt is a rather difficult idea, or concept, to truly grasp a hold of…isn’t it? But it is because of this ideology that we must ensure that what we do for God is done at a cost to ourselves. Because God has done so much for us. If we truly accept our full sonship to, and adoption  by, Our God and Father in heaven…everything we do for Him, Jesus, or the Holy Spirit will cost us. Out of obligation, out of love, and out of honor & respect! We have an obligation to do everything that we do in order to bring the glory to God, showing Him that He is, in fact, everything to us!

Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.                   ~1 Corinthians 10:31

I recently read and reviewed the book “RAISE YOUR LINE” by Robert Stevenson. An raise-your-lineexcellent book on the basics of raising one’s own line…that line in the sand you make upon, or to give a challenge (primarily to one’s own self.) Raising the bar in order to raise your self-esteem, control, or power over yourself. In either case, should we no do all that we can to do the best we possibly can…regardless of the circumstances? Once we gave our lives to Christ, we also said we would emulate Him in the very best way possible. We are obligated to do so and as children (adopted into sonship) of the Most High God, the only way we can show ourselves as His son or daughter is by emulating Jesus. The only way we can do such a thing is to read, comprehend, and understand all that His Son had done, believe the words written about Him, and then copy those same actions by living those very same word and actions in our lives. James said it best, the half-brother of Our Lord, Jesus:

Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. ~James 2:17 (in context read James 2:14-26)

Are we saved by our faith, no that is not what the bible teaches; however, once we have learned the word it is our works & actions that give credence to our faith. The old adage rings true, in this respect:

Actions speak louder than words!

Also, it is through our actions and by our works that others can tell we have truly changed for the better, or the worse. Consider this for a moment, when you turned your life over to Jesus:

  1. Did you decide to give Him YOUR best or worst?
  2. Have you been giving YOUR first-fruits, or YOUR leftovers to the church?
  3. Did you promise to give YOUR whole life over to God, or only part of YOUR life when it was convenient?

I believe you get the point…and do not take this as a personal affront to your character as everyone has struggled with this dilemma at some point in time in their lives.

Remember this that God blesses us daily with life, life anew! A new start to change our bad habits, improper conduct, etc. Will God bless you because you are giving your best? Yes and No. Yes, because you will…if it be His will, grant you another day to make necessary changes or do good as He wills it. No, because He is not in the habit of bribing anyone to do what is right and just in His sight! Remember what happened in the Book of Daniel:

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we briberyhave no need to answer you in this matter. If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up. ~Daniel 3:16-18

Look at what they said to the king, “…But if not…“meaning that even if God did not deliverBribery1 them from the burning fiery furnace, it didn’t matter to them. God can and will deliver you from all evils, but even if He doesn’t you and I are still obligated to follow His dictates. We shouldn’t expect to receive any special gifts, emoluments, or any other form of what would end up being bribes to do what is expected of His own children! What kind of God would you be serving if you were to be receiving something just because you fulfilled your obligation(s) and accomplished your task(s) that was expected of you? That would be like agreeing to do a job for a set price and then expecting more money because you did the job that you agreed to do in the first place…rather ironic, if you ask me.

Think on that for a bit…

May God Richly Bless You, My Beloved!

MK Murphy, PhD, DD