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Monday, December 04, 2023

The problem of good

Christians are often asked to defend God, from attacks using the problem of evil: If God is good, and all-powerful, why are there things such as earthquakes, meteors, and Alzheimer's? Why does God allow human-caused evils, like global climate change, child sexual exploitation, and war? These can be serious questions, and hard ones to answer. This area of thought is often called "the problem of evil." C. S. Lewis answered that problem in his The Problem of Pain.

There are, then, problems for Christians. However, there are corresponding problems, much less frequently discussed, for atheists, namely the problem of good. As N. T. Wright put it in his Surprised by Scripture: Engaging Contemporary Issues, if the universe is here because of mindless chance, how is it that there is so much in our surroundings to appreciate and cherish: leaf colors, rainbows, music, innocent laughter, beautiful human constructions, unselfish good deeds, uplifting literature, and much more?

Thanks for reading.

Sunday, December 03, 2023

With Christ in the school of prayer, by Andrew Murray, excerpt 206

This post continues a series of excerpts from With Christ in the School of Prayer, by Andrew Murray. I do this, not because I'm a powerful prayer warrior, but because I'm not. Murray was. I thank the Christian Classics Ethereal Library for making this public domain work available. To see their post of the book, go hereHis book is based on Mark 11:22-24. The previous post in this series is hereAs usual in this blog, long quotations are in this color. Murray's book is based on Mark 11:22-24.

Prayer has often been compared to breathing: we have only to carry out the comparison fully to see how wonderful the place is which the Holy Spirit occupies. With every breath we expel the impure air which would soon cause our death, and inhale again the fresh air to which we owe our life. So we give out from us, in confession the sins, in prayer the needs and the desires of our heart. And in drawing in our breath again, we inhale the fresh air of the promises, and the love, and the life of God in Christ. We do this through the Holy Spirit, who is the breath of our life.

And this He is because He is the breath of God. The Father breathes Him into us, to unite Himself with our life. And then just as on every expiration there follows again the inhaling or drawing in of the breath, so God draws in again His breath, and the Spirit returns to Him laden with the desires and needs of our hearts. And thus the Holy Spirit is the breath of the life of God, and the breath of the new life in us. As God breathes Him out, we receive Him in answer to prayer; as we breathe Him back again, He rises to God laden with our supplications. As the Spirit of God, in whom the Father and the Son are one, and the intercession of the Son reaches the Father, He is to us the Spirit of prayer. True prayer is the living experience of the truth of the Holy Trinity. The Spirit’s breathing, the Son’s intercession, the Father’s will, these three become one in us.

Friday, December 01, 2023

Sunspots 960

Things I have recently spotted that may be of interest to others*

Environment: NPR discusses the decline in the axolotl population.

Health: (or something:) A Conversation writer discusses bullying.

NPR reports that there are no effective remedies for the common cold.

Politics: NPR reports that reporting on climate change can lead to harassment, even death threats, to government scientists and TV weather personnel.

A Conversation writer tells us about the different ethnic groups among Jews in Israel.

Science: ScienceAlert reports that we have not understood how bees keep warm enough in winter.

Gizmodo reports on research indicating that chinstrap penguins take thousands of very short naps every day, apparently a behavior that helps keep them safer.

*I try not to include items that require a password or fee to view

Thanks for reading.


Thursday, November 30, 2023

Ken Ham says, in The Lie, that evolution has not occurred. Really?

Ken Ham, leader of the Answers in Genesis (AiG) organization, doesnt believe evolution occurred:

Christians who say God used evolution to bring everything including man into being, have a real problem. If evolution is not occurring today (that is, if God is not creating through evolution), there is no basis to extrapolate into the past to say that evolution has ever occurred, as there is now no mechanism for it. - Ken Ham, Twenty Reasons Why Genesis and Evolution Do Not mix, which is excerpted from Hams book, The Lie. The book seems to have been published in 2012.

So evolution cant occur, because there is no mechanism for it? Well, maybe there is. AiG understands that it wasnt possible to house and care for all the types of animals on the ark, with only 8 people to handle this. So, AiG says, there were just a hundred or so types of animals, but, after the ark landed, these exploded into the variety we have today. (See here)

This statement contradicts Hams claim that evolution can't occur: God placed the potential for tremendous variety within the original created kinds. This original variation, altered by genetic mutations and other mechanisms after the Fall (such as natural selection), led to the great diversity of living things we see today. - Variety Within Created Kinds, from Answers in Genesis, probably published in 2010.

God used natural selection and genetic mutations, and probably other mechanisms, to make possible the variety we find in created organisms. Praise to Him! 

Psalm 104:24 Yahweh, how many are your works!
    In wisdom, you have made them all.
    The earth is full of your riches.
104:25 There is the sea, great and wide,
    in which are innumerable living things,
    both small and large animals. (World English Bible, public domain)

Thanks for reading.