I have written an e-book, Does the Bible Really Say That?, which is free to anyone. To download that book, in several formats, go here.
Creative Commons License
The posts in this blog are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. You can copy and use this material, as long as you aren't making money from it. If you give me credit, thanks. If not, OK.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Prayer Born of Compassion, part 8

Jesus Christ was altogether man. While He was the Divine Son of God yet at the same time, He was the human Son of God. Christ had a pre-eminently human side, and, here, compassion reigned. He was tempted in all points as we are, yet without sin. At one time how the flesh seems to have weakened under the fearful strain upon Him, and how He must have inwardly shrunk under the pain and pull! Looking up to heaven, He prays, “Father, save me from this hour.” How the spirit nerves and holds—“but for this cause came I to this hour.” Only he can solve this mystery who has followed His Lord in straits and gloom and pain, and realised that the “spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.”

All this but fitted our Lord to be a compassionate Saviour. It is no sin to feel the pain and realise the darkness on the path into which God leads. It is only human to cry out against the pain, the terror, and desolation of that hour. It is Divine to cry out to God in that hour, even while shrinking and sinking down, “For this cause came I unto this hour.” Shall I fail through the weakness of the flesh? No. “Father, glorify thy name.” How strong it makes us, and how true, to have one pole star to guide us to the glory of God!

- From The Essentials of Prayer, by E. M. Bounds.

Although E. M. Bounds died in 1913, this book was first published in 1925, by an admirer of the author's life. Bounds was known for praying from four until seven each morning.

This post is one of a series, taken from The Essentials of Prayer, by Bounds. Found through the Christian Classics Ethereal Library, here. The Essentials of Prayer is in the public domain. The previous post in the entire series on the book is here. Thanks for reading. Read this book, and, more importantly, practice, prayer.

Friday, April 26, 2013

C. S. Lewis on the goodness of creation

C. S. Lewis, in his Reflections on the Psalms, notes that the goodness of God's creation should not be understood solely for what it does for the good of humans. He writes, about Psalm 104, one of the finest nature poems ever written:

[This Jewish poem, and the Jews that used it in worship,] embraces things that are no use to man. In the great Psalm especially devoted to Nature, from which I have just quoted . . . we have not only the useful cattle, the cheering vine, and the nourishing corn. We have springs where the wild asses quench their thirst (11), fir trees for the storks (17), hill country for the wild goats and “conies” (perhaps marmots, 18), finally even the lions (21); and even with a glance far out to sea, where no Jew willingly went, the great whales playing, enjoying themselves (26). (The parentheses are references to the verses in Psalm 104.) 

The Kindle citation is: Lewis, C. S. (1964-10-07). Reflections on the Psalms (Harvest Book) (pp. 83-84). Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Kindle Edition.

Lewis said it well. Psalm 104 describes not only living things that were of great importance to the ancient Jews, but it also praises the diversity of God's creation, specifically mentioning aspects of that creation that advanced the interests of non-human animals, including some that the Jews would rarely or never be associated with.

Lewis didn't refer to it, but I'll quote part of that Psalm: 
24 Yahweh, how many are your works!
In wisdom have you made them all.
The earth is full of your riches.
25 There is the sea, great and wide,
in which are innumerable living things,
both small and large animals. (World English Bible, public domain)

Lewis, nor the Psalmist, knew about some of the remarkable discoveries in astronomy, over the last couple of decades. Surely galaxies, stars, and planets that humans have yet to discover, even from long range, also show forth the goodness and glory of God's creation! But they aren't useful to us now, and won't be for the forseeable future. Did Eris, a dwarf planet in our own solar system, which was not even discovered until 2005, ever do anything good for you? How about the Horologium Supercluster, which is about 700 million light years away? But they, too, are part of the good creation that God brought into being.

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Were religious beliefs/was Islam responsible for the bombings in Boston?

In case you didn't realize it, some people would answer both of the questions above with a resounding "yes!" They would claim that militant intolerance, even violence, are the inevitable consequence of deeply held religious belief.

The Panda's Thumb blog, not exactly a friend of conservative Christian beliefs, at least beliefs on origins, has blasted biologist Jerry Coyne, who, in addition to being an important scientist, is a militant atheist, for his "yes!" responses, and given evidence to show that Coyne, and other people who want to make religious belief the root of all of violence, and other problems, are wrong. There are some pertinent links in the Panda's Thumb post.

Good for the Panda's Thumb!

The Panda's Thumb also posted a reaction to a believer in Intelligent Design, who claimed that "Darwinists" are incapable of showing proper compassion.

Most any tragedy can be used to reinforce our prejudices, and often gets used as such by people with a wide variety of such prejudices. Sigh. 

Sunspots 415

Things I have recently spotted that may be of interest to someone else:

Christianity: A most interesting description of what a church, based on the New Testament pattern, should be like. (Not much like most of the churches I am familiar with.)
J. I. Packer gave a brief, but important discussion of the question, "Won't heaven's joy be spoiled by our awareness of unsaved loved ones in hell?" in 2002. Christianity Today has re-posted it.

Ken Schenck's series on Practical Theology continues with a post on "God as Eternal." Readable and thought-provoking. 

Computing: Gizmo's freeware has found a Firefox add-in that can extract and save the audio from a YouTube video, and also has found an on-line tool that can remove unwanted beginnings and ends from MP3 files.

Science: A demonstration of how a wet washcloth behaves when you wring it out, on the space station.
Image source (public domain)

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Prayer Born of Compassion, part 7

What a comfort and what hope there is to fill our breasts when we think of one in Heaven who ever liveth to intercede for us, because “His compassion fails not!” Above everything else, we have a compassionate Saviour, one “who can have compassion on the ignorant, and on them who are out of the way, for that he himself is compassed about with infirmity.” The compassion of our Lord well fits Him for being the Great High Priest of Adam’s fallen, lost and helpless race.

And if He is filled with such compassion that it moves Him at the Father’s right hand to intercede for us, then by every token we should have the same compassion on the ignorant and those out of the way, exposed to Divine wrath, as would move us to pray for them. Just in so far as we are compassionate will we be prayerful for others. Compassion does not expend its force in simply saying, “Be ye warmed; be ye clothed,” but drives us to our knees in prayer for those who need Christ and His grace.

- From The Essentials of Prayer, by E. M. Bounds.

Although E. M. Bounds died in 1913, this book was first published in 1925, by an admirer of the author's life. Bounds was known for praying from four until seven each morning.

This post is one of a series, taken from The Essentials of Prayer, by Bounds. Found through the Christian Classics Ethereal Library, here. The Essentials of Prayer is in the public domain. The previous post in the entire series on the book is here. Thanks for reading. Read this book, and, more importantly, practice, prayer.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Sunspots 414

Things I have recently spotted that may be of interest to someone else:

Christianity: Ken Schenck continues his readable and concise series on practical theology with thoughts on "God as All-Powerful."

(and Sports) An opinion piece in USA Today says that Jackie Robinson and Branch Rickey were both men of deep faith.

Computing: Gizmo's Freeware has an extensive, annotated, up-to-date (almost) list of the best free Android Apps, for phone and tablet.

Gizmo also has eight tips on how to make your smartphone battery last longer.

Science: (and politics) National Public Radio reports on the issues involved in a Supreme Court case, on whether two human genes, involved in breast cancer, are patentable. NPR also reported on what the Supreme Court justices, and advocates, had to say before the Court.

Image source (public domain)

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Prayer Born of Compassion, part 6

The ingathering of the harvests of earth for the granaries of heaven is dependent on the prayers of God’s people. Prayer secures the labourers sufficient in quantity and in quality for all the needs of the harvest. God’s chosen labourers, God’s endowed labourers, and God’s thrust-forth labourers, are the only ones who will truly go, filled with Christly compassion and endued with Christly power, whose going will avail, and these are secured by prayer. Christ’s people on their knees with Christ’s compassion in their hearts for dying men and for needy souls, exposed to eternal peril, is the pledge of labourers in numbers and character to meet the wants of earth and the purposes of heaven.

God is sovereign of the earth and of heaven, and the choice of labourers in His harvest He delegates to no one else. Prayer honours Him as sovereign and moves Him to His wise and holy selection. We will have to put prayer to the front ere the fields of paganism will be successfully tilled for Christ. God knows His men, and He likewise knows full well His work. Prayer gets God to send forth the best men and the most fit men and the men best qualified to work in the harvest. Moving the missionary cause by forces this side of God has been its bane, its weakness and its failure. Compassion for the world of sinners, fallen in Adam, but redeemed in Christ will move the Church to pray for them and stir the Church to pray the Lord of the harvest to send forth labourers into the harvest.

- From The Essentials of Prayer, by E. M. Bounds.

Although E. M. Bounds died in 1913, this book was first published in 1925, by an admirer of the author's life. Bounds was known for praying from four until seven each morning.

This post is one of a series, taken from The Essentials of Prayer, by Bounds. Found through the Christian Classics Ethereal Library, here. The Essentials of Prayer is in the public domain. The previous post in the entire series on the book is here. Thanks for reading. Read this book, and, more importantly, practice, prayer. 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Sunspots 413

Things I have recently spotted that may be of interest to someone else:

Christianity: ". . . if we think we have truly understood God, even if we think so because we can quote a bunch of Bible verses, we are most likely making a fool of ourselves without knowing it. We know what God is like.  We know how God has chosen to act in this universe. Anything more requires poetry and quotation marks." Ken Schenck, "Practical Theology 3: God as Other."

Computing: I don't have an iPhone, but, for those who do, and there are a lot of you, check out Gizmo's Freeware's list of the best free iPhone Apps.

Humor: (Not really, but I don't have a category for this!) Fox News has an article, with photos, on 7 record-breaking tunnels, all used for transportation. Interesting, indeed.

Science: A solid piece of writing, at the BioLogos Forum, on the question of whether scientists are biased by their worldviews. It can happen, of course.

Image source (public domain)

Monday, April 08, 2013

How things started, and the first and second laws of thermodynamics

The laws of thermodynamics rank as among the most important, perhaps the most important scientific laws. There are four such laws, but I will concern myself with only the first and second ones. These two are most obviously important in biology, and Im a biologist.

The Wikipedia article that the paragraph above links to says this in describing the First Law of Thermodynamics: . . . energy can be neither created nor destroyed. However, energy can change forms, and energy can flow from one place to another. The total energy of an isolated system remains the same. Energy changes forms in many ways. For example, the energy stored, in chemical form, in gasoline changes form to motion, heat, light and sound in an automobile. Matter is a form of energy, as Einstein indicated in his famous equation, E = mc2.

The First Law indicates that the universe has always been in existence. The Second Law of Thermodynamics is a little harder to explain and define, but it says that all natural processes are irreversible. . . The reason is that entropy, which is a measure of the disorder of an system, is always increasing in an isolated system.

Heres an illustration of the Second Law:

Order and disorder

The lower half of the graphic shows a situation where entropy/disorder has increased, such that it is not possible to extract resources, including energy and various forms of matter, from the system, because the components are randomly dispersed. Suppose, for instance, that all the oil in the world was thoroughly mixed into the ocean. (Oil and water dont mix well, of course, but this is a thought experiment.) There would be no incentive to extract (or drill for, or mine) that oil, because it would take more energy to do so than we would gain from such extraction.

If the First Law has always been true, the universe (as an isolated system) has always been here. However, if the Second Law has always been true, and the universe has always been in existence, the entropy/disorder of the universe (as an isolated system) would have reached its maximum, because entropy, in an isolated system, increases with time, and always is so much time that this would have happened. It would not be possible for life to exist in such a universe.

But we do! How?

There are these possibilities:
1) The laws of thermodynamics have not always been true.
2) The universe is not an isolated system.
3) We have misinterpreted the effects of the First and Second Laws of Thermodynamics.

I shall ignore the third possibility. I dont think many scientists would take it seriously.

If either, or both of the first two possibilities are true, then the universe, or these two important laws, describing how the universe works, came into existence at some time in the past -- the universe, or these laws, or both, have not always been in existence. Let me put it another way. The First Law tells us that the universe has always been in existence. The Second Law tells us that, if the universe has always been in existence, it would be at a state of maximum entropy/disorder. It isnt.

This means that science has no good explanation for the origin, or the continued existence, of a livable universe. Stephen Hawking, and a co-author, have made an attempt. It is possible that Hawkings Grand Design will turn out to be true, but the Wikipedia article on Hawkings ideas has plenty of criticism of that attempt, including criticism by scientists who do not believe that there is a God.

The Bible says, in the classic words of the King James Bible, In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. (Genesis 1:1) There is no attempt to prove anything. The statement just assumes it. This is a way out of the dilemma posed by the First and Second Laws. The universe was, as it were, jump-started by supernatural, God-caused, God-directed, creation from nothing. It hasnt always existed.

Most scientists believe that there was a Big Bang -- an initial act in the existence of the universe as we know it, at some definite time in the past. Such a belief does not rule out the existence of an all-powerful Creator. In fact, that belief is compatible with a belief in such a Creator. It may well be that God began the universe in that way.

It is not possible to scientifically prove, or disprove, the existence of God. (Even Stephen Hawking, who does not believe in God, has said so). But it is possible to believe it. Hebrews 11:3 says By faith, we understand that the universe has been framed by the word of God, so that what is seen has not been made out of things which are visible. (World English Bible, public domain)

Thanks for reading.

Sunday, April 07, 2013

Prayer Born of Compassion, part 5

We have an interesting case in Matthew which gives us an account of what excited so largely the compassion of our Lord at one time:
“But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few. Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.”

It seems from parallel statements that our Lord had called His disciples aside to rest awhile, exhausted as He and they were by the excessive drafts on them, by the ceaseless contact with the persons who were ever coming and going, and by their exhaustive toil in ministering to the immense multitudes. But the multitudes precede Him, and instead of finding wilderness-solitude, quiet and repose, He finds great multitudes eager to see and hear, and to be healed. His compassions are moved. The ripened harvests need labourers. He did not call these labourers at once, by sovereign authority, but charges the disciples to betake themselves to God in prayer, asking Him to send forth labourers into His harvest.

Here is the urgency of prayer enforced by the compassions of our Lord. It is prayer born of compassion for perishing humanity. Prayer is pressed on the Church for labourers to be sent into the harvest of the Lord. The harvest will go to waste and perish without the labourers, while the labourers must be God-chosen, God-sent, and God commissioned. But God does not send these labourers into His harvest without prayer. The failure of the labourers is owing to the failure of prayer. The scarcity of labourers in the harvest is due to the fact that the Church fails to pray for labourers according to His command.

- From The Essentials of Prayer, by E. M. Bounds.

Although E. M. Bounds died in 1913, this book was first published in 1925, by an admirer of the author's life. Bounds was known for praying from four until seven each morning.

This post is one of a series, taken from The Essentials of Prayer, by Bounds. Found through the Christian Classics Ethereal Library, here. The Essentials of Prayer is in the public domain. The previous post in the entire series on the book is here. Thanks for reading. Read this book, and, more importantly, practice, prayer.

Thursday, April 04, 2013

The moral universe of Game of Thrones, as seen by Elizabeth Moon and Christianity Today.

George R. R. Martin is perhaps the best-selling author of fantastic literature of the last 25 years. His most popular work is a series, still incomplete, entitled “A Song of Ice and Fire.” That series is the basis for the popular HBO TV series, “Game of Thrones.” Martin has won several awards for his writing.

I try to deal with important works of fantastic literature in this blog, although I haven’t tried to touch on  vampire literature. Some years ago, I decided not to cover Martins work. My reason was that it didn’t affirm anything. Although there were sympathetic characters, their fate was often terrible, and there were some extremely evil characters, who seemed to be unpunished. (I’m sure that the series hasn’t suffered because I’m not following it!)

Two recent articles, not by me, bear on this matter.

The first is an excellent blog post by Elizabeth Moon, who has won awards in fantastic literature herself. Although it doesn’t directly consider Martin's creation, what triggered Moon’s post was a review of Martin’s work. Moon points out that there is a difference between moral complexity and moral ambiguity, and that although, say, Tolkien’s characters experienced moral complexity, what should have been done was clear. (See here for a discussion of Galadriel, for example.) But, says Moon, we are coming to the point where there's a lot of moral ambiguity:

“Moral ambiguity requires that there be no general good and bad–a chaotic, or amoral, universe–a universe in which the concepts of good and evil are absent, immaterial, and have no effect on characters’ motivation.

As indicated above, I haven’t read all of Martin’s series, but Moon has succinctly put my unease about the series into words.

A recent article in Christianity Today points out the same thing I saw in my earlier post -- nothing is affirmed. (I claim no great wisdom here. It’s easy to get Martin’s world view, or at least that part of it.)

As the article puts it: “For Martin, realistic means his characters are complex, ‘gray,’ and morally ambiguous. There are no heroes in Martins books like there are in The Lord of the Rings. There is no echo of Calvin's description of human beings as ‘glorious ruins — broken, but still able to bear the Image of God. Martin's image focuses on the ruin, not the glory.

Thanks for reading. Dont read George R. R. Martin, or watch the series. Or, if you do, do so carefully.

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Sunspots 412

Things I have recently spotted that may be of interest to someone else:

Christianity: R. C. Sproul's The Truth of the Cross (Orlando: Reformation Trust Publishing, 2008) "I wonder whether Jesus was even aware of the nails and the thorns. He was overwhelmed by the outer darkness. On the cross, He was in hell, totally bereft of the grace and the presence of God, utterly separated from all blessedness of the Father. He became a curse for us so that we one day will be able to see the face of God." 

Health: The New York Times reports on a Centers for Disease Control recommendation that babies should not be fed solid food until they are six months old.

Politics: (and maybe computing) A CNN opinion piece, arguing that unlocking your cell phone should not be a crime. (It is!)

Science: Wired discusses the possibility, and the sense, or lack thereof, of reviving the extinct Passenger Pigeon, using some tricks with DNA.

Image source (public domain)

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

An atheist philosopher concludes that materialism or naturalism doesn't explain everything, and can't

A splendid article (i. e., one that agrees with many of my biases), by one Andrew Ferguson, has been published in The Weekly Standard. The article is about a book by Thomas Nagel, prominent philosopher, and, by his own testimony, an atheist, who believes in the importance of natural selection, and an old earth. (The writer of the article agrees with Nagel on these points.) But the book's title is Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature Is Almost Certainly False. (If you need a refresher on materialism, here is the Wikipedia article on that subject.)

What the article in The Weekly Standard says that Nagel has done is to resurrect common sense. Here are two examples, quoted from Ferguson:
"Materialism . . . is a premise of science, not a finding."

"Reductive materialism doesn’t account for the 'brute facts' of existence—it doesn’t explain, for example, why the world exists at all, or how life arose from nonlife. Closer to home, it doesn't plausibly explain the fundamental beliefs we rely on as we go about our everyday business: the truth of our subjective experience, our ability to reason, our capacity to recognize that some acts are virtuous and others aren't. These failures, Nagel says, aren't just temporary gaps in our knowledge, waiting to be filled in by new discoveries in science. On its own terms, materialism cannot account for brute facts. Brute facts are irreducible, and materialism, which operates by breaking things down to their physical components, stands useless before them. 'There is little or no possibility,' he writes, 'that these facts depend on nothing but the laws of physics.'" [emphasis in original]

Science has not, and cannot, disprove the existence of a Creator.

Thanks for reading. Read Ferguson!

Monday, April 01, 2013

The Resurrection, Superstition, and the Second Law of Thermodynamics

Maple leaf on concrete
Death and the Second Law of Thermodynamics (The photo above is of a maple leaf. This post is not an April Fool joke!)

Ephesians 1:18b . . . that you may know what is the hope of his calling, and what are the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the exceeding greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to that working of the strength of his might 20 which he worked in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and made him to sit at his right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all rule, and authority, and power, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age, but also in that which is to come.  

The definitions of life and death are complex, and philosophical as well as biological. Generally, living things are in a constant battle with the second law of thermodynamics. So long as they can obtain enough energy, they win this battle. They can build themselves. They build themselves as non-random, ordered objects. Living things do this, however, only at the expense of order in the universe at large. We can expend energy to build, but, when we do, we are unbuilding something else -- we are causing entropy to increase. However, when we do so, we are taking energy from somewhere else.

For example, we can straighten the back seat of our car, or the dining room table. We change disorder to order. But, to do so, we must use energy that we have taken in in the food we eat, or, perhaps, electrical energy to run various cleaning devices. Starch, say, is an ordered food molecule, containing usable stored energy. Breaking it down changes the combinations molecules of starch into less ordered molecules of carbon dioxide and water, releasing energy in the process, and giving off wasted energy. Disorder arises through almost all natural processes, because of the unbending second law of thermodynamics. The only way to stave off that disorder is by having a source of energy to draw on. However, drawing such energy for use is related to increased disorder somewhere else. For example, the sun is gradually becoming more disordered.

One of the things that happens as a result of death is that the ability of a living thing to stave off the inexorable increase of entropy is gone. Death leads to decay. As Polkinghorne puts it:
In our present world, change and decay are built into the fabric of the universe. The processes by which genetic mutations produce new forms of life are the processes by which cells become cancerous. Death is the necessary cost of life. In fact, a theological defense of the existence of physical evil is that it is not gratuitous but the inescapable price of an evolutionary world, free to make itself within the independence its Creator has granted to it. John C. Polkinghorne, Serious Talk: Science and Religion in Dialogue. Harrisburg, PA: Trinity Press International, 1995, p. 107.

Not only does death lead to decay, but this decay is, in the practical sense, irreversible. If I had the money, and offered some famous research institution a trillion dollars if they could bring one dead maple leaf back to life, I wouldnt lose my money. It is not humanly possible to reverse the decay in a dead organism, or part of an organism, and bring it back to life. The second law of thermodynamics makes that impossible.

The resurrection, of course, is miraculous, any way you want to look at it. It wasn’t, or isn’t, humanly possible. (That doesnt mean that it didnt happen!) We cannot reverse the effects of the second law on a dead leaf, much less a dead human. No wonder Paul called resurrection power immeasurable in Ephesians 1:19-20. God’s promise is that Christians have this power working in us.

The biology text I am currently using says this: The irrational belief that actions that are not logically related to a course of events can influence its outcome is called superstition. . . . different narratives, legends, fairy tales, and epics from all around the globe exist to help people understand the world around them. These stories explain everything from birth and death to disease and healing. (Jay Phelan, What is Life? Second Edition. New York: Freeman, 2013, pp. 5-6. Emphasis in original.) To be fair, Phelan is not particularly attacking religious belief here, but casts a wider net, including, among other things, the ritualistic actions of baseball players.

Phelan goes on to say that there are truths in religion that the scientific method doesn't reveal to us, and that these are based on personal faith, traditions, and mythology. (p. 6. Phelan put quotation marks around truths,” implying, I think, that hes not sure that they are truths.)

Phelan is mostly right. Beliefs that are not logically related to a course of events are sometimes believed to cause things that they dont. I classify the belief that vaccinations cause autism as one such superstition. There are religious beliefs that seem superstitious to me, and, no doubt, many of mine seem superstitious to, say, a Buddhist.

The resurrection, I claim (and Im not nearly the first!), is an event that there is evidence for. Of course some of my belief in the resurrection is based on personal faith, traditions, and perhaps even mythology. But I submit that there is evidence for the resurrection. In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul says: 3 For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, [Peter] then to the twelve. 6 Then he appeared to over five hundred brothers at once, most of whom remain until now, but some have also fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, [the half-brother of Christ] then to all the apostles, 8 and last of all, as to the child born at the wrong time, he appeared to me also. In other words, there were hundreds of people, in Pauls day, who had seen the living, resurrected Christ. Thats evidence.

There is other evidence for the resurrection. How else can we explain the transformation of Peter from a coward who didnt acknowledge that he was one of Christ's followers to a bold public speaker, proclaiming the gospel? How else can we explain the growth of the church? How else can I explain how a young lady of my acquaintance, with little interest in the things of God, living in sin with her boyfriend, and their child, had her life turned around, began attending church with her boyfriend and child, reconciled with her estranged mother, and was married to the boyfriend after the morning service on Super Bowl Sunday, 2013? (I know a similar story, about another young lady who married her boyfriend after church service in another place on the next Sunday. Both new wives said that they wanted to show others a life consistent with their faith. Both are living transformed lives.) I credit the power of the resurrection for these and other stories of transformation, and claim that such changes are evidence for the reality of the resurrection. I cannot prove, to the satisfaction of a confirmed atheist, that these events, in the First Century and the Twenty-First, are logically related to the Resurrection, but I submit that they are evidence for such a logical relationship.

Thanks for reading!