Thursdays With Spurgeon—Mercy Finds The Loophole

This is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Charles Spurgeon. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Spurgeon” in the search box to read more entries.

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Mercy Finds The Loophole

And the Lord smelled a soothing aroma. Then the Lord said in His heart, “I will never again curse the ground for man’s sake, although the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; nor will I again destroy every living thing as I have done.” (Genesis 8:21) 

     To begin, then, with the text, we have here a most painful fact that man’s nature is incurable. ‘The imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth.’ You will remember, before the flood, in the fifth verse of the sixth chapter, it is written, ‘Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually’ (Genesis 6:5). After the flood it was just the same. … 

     You might have hoped that after so terrible a judgment, when only a picked and peculiar few, that is, eight, were saved by water, that man began anew with better stock.… It is not one wit so. The same God who, after looking at men, declared that his imagination was evil before the flood, pronounces the very same verdict upon them afterward. …

     I believe that God might justly have condemned the whole race of Adam on account of Adam’s sin and their own guilt. But I do think that this was a blessed loophole through which His mercy could, as it were, come fairly to the sons of men. ‘No,’ He says, ‘I made them not distinct individuals but a race. They fell as a race; they will rise as an elect race. “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive” (1 Corinthians 15:22). And ‘For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous” (Romans 5:19).’ … 

     I must have more than nature can give me. More than my mother gave me, more than my father gave me, and more than flesh and blood can produce under the most favorable circumstances. I must have the Spirit of God from heaven.

From Human Depravity And Divine Mercy

When Adam and Eve sinned, God wasn’t scrambling to come up with a Plan B. Jesus is described as the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world (Revelation 13:8), meaning that God had His merciful plan of redemption ready before He even created humans! 

The atoning sacrifice Jesus made on the Cross was the “loophole” that God’s mercy used to pardon our sins. We can never earn our salvation because we are still people with evil hearts. But we can put our faith in the One who took our punishment upon Himself so that His righteousness can be our righteousness. 

O what a Savior! O what mercy God has shown! O how great is His love for us! How shall we escape appropriate retribution if we neglect and refuse to pay attention to such a great salvation…? (Hebrews 2:3)

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9 Quotes From “Starlight And Time”

Starlight And Time by Dr. Russell Humphreys is a fascinating read for Creation apologists! Check out my full book review by clicking here. 

“The Creator, who sees the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10, Revelation 22:13, John 8:58, and more) is outside of time. Time is a created feature of His universe, like matter and space. It is interesting that the equations of GR [general relativity] have long indicated that time itself had a beginning.” 

“The Bible lays a good foundation for a young-earth relativistic cosmology.” 

“In this new picture of the cosmos, gravity and black hole physics play a central role. In particular, an experimentally-measured general relativistic effect, called gravitational time dilation by some authors, causes clocks (and all physical processes) to tick at different rates in different parts of the universe. … By this effect on time itself, God could have made the universe in six ordinary days as measured on earth, while still allowing time for light to travel billions of light-years to reach us by natural means. The theory also appears to explain the two other major cosmological phenomena we see: the red shifts of light from distant galaxies and the cosmic microwave background radiation. Thus, this biblical foundation appears to lead to a young-earth cosmology which is consistent with Einstein’s general theory of relativity and astronomical observations. As measured by clocks on earth, the age of the universe today could be as small as the face-value biblical age of about 6000 years.” 

“We don’t study Genesis in order to know the mind of Moses; we study to know the mind of God.” 

“We now have very good scientific reasons to think that the amount of carbon dioxide in the pre-flood atmosphere was many times greater than today. That would produce a strong greenhouse effect, a warm climate, and as a bonus, stimulate plant growth to produce the large amount of plant life we find in the fossils. The additional ordinary carbon in the biosphere would dilute carbon 14, so that the pre-flood 14C/12C ratio would be considerably lower due to that effect alone, thus explaining the “old” post-flood radiocarbon dates. In addition, we have evidence suggesting that the earth’s magnetic field was at least ten times greater before the flood than now. That would enable the geomagnetic field to be a very effective shield for cosmic rays, thus greatly reducing the production of carbon 14, making the pre-flood world a healthier place, and further explaining post-flood radiocarbon dates.” 

“Gravitational time dilation causes clocks (and all physical processes) to tick at different rates in different places. This means we must consider which set of clocks the Bible is referring to when it makes statements about time.” 

“[God’s] intention, among other things, was to give markers in the sky which would allow us to clearly measure periods of time in terms of the earth’s rotation and the earth’s movement around the sun, and thus he further defines ‘days’ and ‘years’ [Genesis 1:14-15]. In other words, God quite reasonably tells us periods of time in terms of our own frame of reference, not in terms of some otherworldly frame of reference, as some authors would have it. So Genesis 1, Exodus 20:11, and other passages are telling us that God made the universe in 6 days E.S.T.—Earth Standard Time.” 

“According to the best physics and cosmological knowledge we have today, these ideas lead directly to the conclusion that our cosmos expanded out of a white hole (a black hole running in reverse). As a consequence, gravitational time dilation caused clocks (and all physical processes) both inside and outside the event horizon (the border of the white hole) to tick at vastly different rates from one another in different places.” 

“This paper covers a great deal of scientific territory unfamiliar to many readers. But the bottom line is simple: God used relativity to make a young universe.” 

5 Quotes From “Praying For Muslims”

Sobhi Malek put together an extremely helpful guide for praying for Muslims. Each week has a prayer, but there are also several helpful insights which Sobhi shares. Here are a few of those insights.

“This warfare is not against people of any religion or affiliation. Christ, who died for all human beings, instructed us to love our neighbors. Rather, this war is against the evil powers which control people and hinder them from seeing the light of the Gospel of Christ (Ephesians 6:12). In other words, we are warring against satan who ‘has blinded the minds of unbelievers.’ His goal is to keep people from seeing ‘the light of the Gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God’ (2 Corinthians 4:4). When we pray and ask others to pray, this does not mean that we feel superior. We do not think we are better than Muslims or any other people.  Rather, we believe we are fallen human beings like all others, but we have been saved by God’s grace.”

“When Muslims say, ‘In the name of God the merciful, the compassionate,’ all Muslims and many Christians do not know that this is taken from the Bible. This phrase demonstrates the early influence of Judaism and Christianity on Muhammad. Here are some occurrences of this combination in the Bible: compassionate and gracious (Exodus 34:6, NIV); compassionate and merciful (Psalm 86:15, GW; 103:8, NLT; James 5:11, GW); merciful and tender (Luke 1:78, TEV).”

“There are many teachings in Islam that we, believers in Christ, can use as bridges to help Muslims draw near to and enter the Kingdom of God. The Qur’an states that God created Adam and Eve, that He sent the flood but rescued Noah, that He spoke to Abraham, that He gave the Torah (Pentateuch) to Moses, that He sent Jesus who was born of a virgin. All these narratives, common to both Muslims and Christians, can be used as bridges to bring Muslims closer to the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. This does not mean that all the details of these stories in Islam are in full agreement with the biblical accounts, but they can work as starting points. It is also rewarding to establish friendships with Muslims as you seek to share with them the Gospel of Christ. Friends trust each other, depend on each other and desire each other’s wellbeing. Building bridges of common narratives and friendship pays dividends.”

“The Qur’an, Islam’s holy book, is a collection of jumbled statements and stories in a random arrangement. Most of its stories are fractured and lack consistency. Subjects and themes are not connected. So fractured are narratives in the Qur’an that only one story has a clear beginning, middle, and end: the story of Joseph. All the other stories pick up in the middle, or else they are never carried to their conclusion. The Qur’an admits that satan sometimes intervened and gave Muhammad ‘inspiration.’ It also states that Muhammad forgot some parts of it. Several chapters start with meaningless three-letter words such as alr, alm, etc. Even great quranic interpreters cannot find a meaning for such words. In one place the Qur’an states that no changes occurred in its text, and in another it says changes to it indeed took place.”

“In the past few decades, millions of Muslims have migrated to the West. Some seek jobs, others pursue freedom and a better living, and still others hope to conquer the West by converting Westerners to Islam or by sheer reproduction and numerical growth! I personally take this migration to mean the Lord wants to help the Church win large numbers of Muslims to Christ by bringing them to her doorstep.”

Next week I will share a few of the prayers Sobhi leads us in each week. I would also recommend that you check out my review of Praying For Muslims.

12 Quotes From “In Light Of Genetics”

Dr. John SanfordDr. John Sanford’s ebook In Light Of Genetics is fascinating reading. It’s a bit technical in certain places, but I think Dr. Sanford does a good job making the genetic concepts accessible to almost anyone. Check out my book review by clicking here. Below are some quotes from this work.

“Forensic evidence is never conclusive, and so scientific claims about the distant past must always contain an element of belief. The direction of genetic change is down, not up. Humanity is devolving due to mutation.”

“We feel biological similarities between different kinds of life are better explained by a Common Designer than by common descent.”

“We are unique and alone now in the world. There is no other animal species that truly resembles our own. A physical and mental chasm separates us from all other living creatures. There is no other bipedal mammal. No other mammal controls and uses fire, writes books, travels in space, paints portraits, or prays. This not a question of degrees. It is all or nothing; there is no semi-bipedal animal, none that makes only small fires, writes only short sentences, builds only rudimentary spaceships, draws just a little bit, or prays just occasionally.” —Juan Arsuaga, writing in The Neanderthal’s Necklace

“Man is a singular creature. He has a set of gifts which make him unique among the animals: so that, unlike them, he is not a figure in the landscape—he is a shaper of the landscape.” —Jacob Bronowski

“From a genetic point of view, the genes that enable our unique capabilities, gifts, and talents (i.e., science, art, love, relation to God) could not arise by any series of random mutations filtered by natural selection—not in any amount of time. There is no credible mechanism that could lead to spontaneous origin of mind, consciousness, intelligence, soul, or spirit. Indeed, while these human traits are found within a biological context (i.e., within an animal-like body/brain), they clearly transcend mere biology. We are exquisitely programmed to be more than animals, and our bodies are well-designed vessels that house our immaterial being: mind, soul, and spirit.”

“Leading human geneticists agree that in mankind deleterious (bad) mutations are accumulating faster than they are being selected away, and so the human genome is degenerating. … The data are highly consistent. The coefficient of determination (matching the curve to the data) is very high: 0.96. Due to the consistency of the decay rate, we can also rule out the idea that there were hundreds (or thousands) of missing generations that were not recorded. We conclude that the genealogical record must either be complete or very nearly complete. This validation of the genealogical record very powerfully points to the historicity and reliability of the book of Genesis.”

“Mounting evidence shows that natural selection is not a creative force, but is a stabilizing force that helps preserve the various kinds of life (i.e., it culls out the most dysfunctional individuals). It is very clear that natural selection cannot create our genome, let alone our mind and soul. At best, natural selection can only slow down the rate of genetic degeneration. … Because of the great abundance of deleterious mutations and the extreme rarity of beneficial mutations, it is not possible for mankind to achieve a net gain of genetic information.”

“Our latest numerical simulations show that in the type of pre-human population that supposedly gave rise to modern man, billions of years would be required just to create and establish a new genetic text string as small as six or seven letters, such as ‘GTCGCT’ or ‘GAGTTCA.’ Yet such a string would be just a drop in the ocean of new information needed to transform an ape into a man.”

“In the biblical model, humanity begins with Adam and Eve, who descendants rapidly multiply, and then, went through a one-generation bottleneck at the time of the Flood, then the population once again rapidly increased, followed by rapid divergence at the Tower of Babel event, creating today’s people groups.”

“If Adam’s genome was intelligently designed, it would obviously have had a great number of designed genetic variants. Otherwise all people would essentially be clones of Adam and Eve, which would be bad design, for many obvious reasons. … Even though many mutations have accumulated in the genome during human history, it is reasonable to conclude that most observable human genetic variation was created by God. The biblical perspective has unique explanatory power in terms of giving a credible explanation for the amazing range of human traits and abilities. There is no single ‘superior genotype.’ We all have unique sets of gifts and talents, which very reasonably reflect good design, and for which we can give thanks to God.”

“We have statistically analyzed over 800 human mitochondrial sequences and have been able to reconstruct and publish a very close approximation of Eve’s mitochondrial sequence. We found that the average human being is only about 22 mutations removed from the Eve sequence, although some individuals are as much as 100 mutations removed from Eve. Can we account for this amount of mutation in a biblical timeframe? Easily. The most recent estimate of the mutation rate in human mitochondria is about 0.5 per generation. Thus, even for the most mutated sequences, it would only require 200 generations (less than 6,000 years) to accumulate 100 mutations.”

“Now, by God’s grace, we do not have to choose between faith in God’s Word vs. faith in science, we can embrace both. There is now very strong genetic evidence that strongly supports Scripture and refutes evolution.”

In Light Of Genetics (ebook review)

Dr. John SanfordWhen I went to college, I went as a biomedical chemistry major. I began my collegiate education at a Christian liberal arts university, and then transferred to a very secular state university. Ever since that time, I have always been deeply interested in the scientific fields, especially biology. So I was excited to read Dr. John Sanford’s paper In Light Of Genetics: Adam, Eve and the Creation/Fall.

In my Christian education experience, the scale was slightly weighted in favor of a biblical view of Creation. In my state university experience, the scale was overwhelming tipped toward an evolutionary paradigm. At both universities, I had rather intense conversations with my professors and classmates about hard science viewed through a biblical paradigm. Dr. Sanford’s paper was an encouraging study to read because of its balance between science and the Bible.

You can read Dr. Sanford’s full paper by clicking here, but here are a few highlights for me:

  • Genetic evidence is pointing more and more toward the biblical description of Creation.
  • The “junk DNA” claim that Darwinists need to support their theories of evolution are being proven invalid.
  • There is clearly a “Mitochondrial Eve” whose DNA sequence is evident in living human beings today.
  • There is also a “Y Chromosome Adam” whose DNA sequence is equally as evident.
  • Molecular clocks point to a young genome for biological life.
  • The Y chromosomal differences between man and chimp are far greater than evolutionist theories predicted.
  • The genetic differences/similarities seen today fit perfectly with the account of the biblical Flood.

For all my geeky science friends, I will post some quotes from this paper soon.

Whether you are a geek or not, this is fascinating reading! I encourage my friends who hold Darwinist views to read this, and then let’s talk. I also encourage my Creationist friends to read this too, and use these studies to strengthen your apologetics.

Read more about Dr. Sanford and his work here.

Links & Quotes

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These are links to articles and quotes I found interesting this weekend.

Donald Miller posted why he doesn’t attend a local church service. I found his arguments shaky. Here are a couple of good rebuttals: What We Talk Like When We Talk About God

The importance on not picking fights in church: The Problem With A Rigid View Of God

How did dinosaurs become extinct? Here’s one view (although I’m not sure it is any more plausible than the account of the biblical Flood): Did Dark Matter Kill The Dinosaurs?

“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” —Helen Keller

Great apologetics piece: How The Principle Of Causality Points To God

Great questions from my friend Tim Dilena: Who Is Running Your Church? Really?

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