A Look at the Medical & Empirical Evidence for Miracle Healing.

Fantastic post. Thanks.

James Bishop's Theological Rationalism

wc The World Christian Doctors Network, Spain, 2016.

In order to provide some context for this article, please keep in mind that this is a small excerpt from my thesis project. The general response is to Hume who once argued that miracles go against human experience, as well as to make the positive case for the miraculous.

We shouldn’t look past doctors themselves, since it is they who are, far more often than others, so involved in the process of diagnosing illnesses, prescribing treatments and witnessing survival or death. Perhaps they have a thing or two to say about inexplicable cases of healing? In fact, they do. We shall refer to several lines of evidence (also note that this is not intended to be exhaustive).

One study proved quite informative concerning the relationship between religious practices such as prayer, personal beliefs, as well as testimony of miracles, and medical professionals (1)…

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Pontius Pilate and the Gospels

Pontius Pilate is someone in whom many Christians are reminded of during their remembrance of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, governor of Judea. But Pontius Pilate was also a historical figure, and a man who has a lot more history to his name. We will examine how the historicity of Pontius Pilate ties in with the historical reliability of the New Testament, in specific, the Gospel of Luke.

[Matthew 27:22-24] Pilate asked them, “What should I do then with Jesus, who is called Messiah?” They all answered, “Crucify Him!” Then he said, “Why? What has He done wrong?” But they kept shouting, “Crucify Him!” all the more. When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but that a riot was starting instead, he took some water, washed his hands in front of the crowd, and said, “I am innocent of this man’s blood. See to it yourselves!”

Before 1961, there was no concrete archaeological evidence of the existence of Pontius Pilate, and many historians and laymen at the time proclaimed that this figure was merely mythological and did not actually exist in history, thus contradicting the word of the New Testament. Scholarship has gone a long way since then, and in 1961, this rock was found.

It translates to reading as follows:

To the Divine Augusti [this] Tiberieum…Pontius Pilate…prefect of Judea…has dedicated [this]

As you can see, many parts of the quotation are missing because the stone itself is only a remaining fragment of the entire thing. Historians have dated it contemporary to the time of Pontius Pilate, between 26-36 AD.

Furthermore, Pontius Pilate is recorded by the early historian Josephus (Jewish Antiquities 18.3.2), Tacitus whom was also an early historian of the time (Annals 15.44), and a contemporary historian named Philo of Alexandria in the 38th chapter of On The Embassy To Gauis. Add all this to the fact that Pilate is mentioned by the four Gospels as well (all first century documents) and in 1 Timothy 6:13, and it becomes immediately clear that Pontius Pilate is one of the most attested governors in the history of the Roman Empire, easily validating yet another Biblical fact on top of the countless that have presided before it.

But Pontius Pilate was perhaps, a different man then you may imagine. He was also unbelievably brutal, enraging the Jews and threatening to kill them at the start of his governorship and raiding the temple treasury when he needed some quick cash to build an aqueduct and develop a water supply in Jerusalem. Of course, the Jews were enraged by this and protested in masses. Pilate’s response? He hid some of his soldiers amongst the protesters, and then cause them to attack. Many people were killed.

There are few people who recognize this, but Pontius Pilate is mentioned in the narrative of the Gospels outside of the crucifixion narrative. In fact, it happens in Luke’s Gospel:

[Luke 13:1] At that time, some people came and reported to Him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices.

According to Luke, Pilate slaughtered some Galileans whilst they were making sacrifices, perhaps in fear of a riot they could potentially give rise to. Luke corrects Pilate in his gruesome nature, consistent with the historical record, and the story itself is consistent with Pilate’s negativity against the Jews. The way Luke paints Pilate is consistent with the historical record, and thus historical credence and reliability is given to the Gospel of Luke, and overall the New Testament. These two evidences for the New Testament and its historicity (existence of Pilate as well as his character and the things he does) are further reason why we accept the true faith of Christianity.

 

I’d hate to post a blog telling people about the horrific nature of Pilate on Christmas, but perhaps we can remember the things Jesus went through on this day. Furthermore, check out this fantastic video by the YouTube channel Bible Project also relating to Luke’s Gospel! God Bless and have a very merry Christmas! Hopefully these proofs for the Bible can suffice as my Christmas gift to you, but your appreciation in what I post is all I need in return.

 

[Luke 2:11] Today in the City of David a Savior has been born to you. He is Christ the Lord!

 

God, Jealousy and Sin

As I go around the internet reading about God, Christianity, and encountering the disbelievers, I usually notice they always come up with the most ridiculous of accusations against our faith. Recently, one of them has tried to come up with the claim that the Bible invokes God as one who sins! So, how did they come up with such a claim? Well, let’s take a look.

God told Moses that when He was giving the Ten Commandments, He was a jealous God.

[Exodus 20:4-6] Do not make an idol for yourself, whether in the shape of anything in the heavens above or on the earth below or in the waters under the earth. You must not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the fathers’ sin, to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing faithful love to a thousand generations of those who love Me and keep My commands.

This is the Third Commandment. Now, the disbeliever that I encountered had also known of a text in the New Testament which condemns jealousy.

[1 Corinthians 3:3] because you are still fleshly. For since there is envy and strife among you, are you not fleshly and living like unbelievers?

This verse condemns envy, however jealousy and envy are two synonymous words. Paul also outright condemns jealousy in Galatians 5:19-21, so the challenge that is given is not fictional. So what is the solution? God simply does not commit the fleshly of course, and so the solution bears down to the meaning of jealousy in the two passages. There is a difference between sanctified jealousy and sinful jealousy, and that is what we are going to be looking at to solve this discrepancy.

  1. Sanctified jealousy. Sanctified jealousy is the natural response one has when an established relationship is violated — if a husband or wife find out that the other has committed adultery with another person, the husband or wife would experience jealousy, as a negative response to the violation of their relationship.
  2. Sinful jealousy. Sinful jealousy is when one covets another possession from another, such as if you know someone who is quite wealthy, and you are jealous that they bear possessions that you do not. Sinful jealousy involves no relationship, rather when one takes a look at another unrelated person and feels as if they should have or bear what that person possesses, even though they have no claim to such possessions. This is similar to what is condemned in the Tenth Commandment.

As we can see here, God’s jealousy of us breaking our covenant with Him, of us made in His image worshiping false man-made idols, is sanctified, whilst is of course not sinful whatsoever. Thus, we can see this discrepancy being solved once we take a much deeper look at the issue at hand, and we realize that we should never doubt God — who are we to doubt God’s glory when His knowledge is infinitely greater than our own?

[Psalm 139:17-18] God, how difficult Your thoughts are for me to comprehend; how vast their sum is! If I counted them, they would outnumber the grains of sand; when I wake up, I am still with You.

Was The Earth Created In 6 Days?

Do Christians need to believe that the Earth was created in a few days? Let’s examine that question.

There are truly many young-earth creationists out there, and it’s perfectly fine to maintain such a belief, but I want to argue that it is possible to accept a literal interpretation of Genesis and yet not accept six-day creationism. Now, I’d like no one to throw a spear at me just yet — examine what I have to say about the Bible first, and then decide if my head comes off or not. If you have any objections, comment below and we shall discuss them.

Classically, there are the obvious “first day”, “second day”, and so forth passages in Genesis 1.

[Genesis 1:5] God called the light “day,” and He called the darkness “night.” Evening came and then morning: the first day.

Pretty clear, right? There’s just one thing to point out — and that is the meaning of the word ‘day’ in the original Hebrew. This word has four independent meanings in the original Hebrew, and one of them is merely ‘a period of time’.

The Reasons To Believe ministry (their website receives almost 200,000 monthly viewers), argues that there are good reasons to believe that this is the meaning of the verse. For example, this ministry argues that the events of the ‘sixth day’ could not possibly be relegated to a 24-hour period. Travis Campbell, a member of the ministry and a PhD in Philosophical Theology notes nine events that took place during the seventh day, in which some could be quite lengthy;

  • created a host of creatures to live and flourish on the land (Genesis 1:24–25);
  • created human beings (Genesis 1:26–29)—albeit in two stages, the first one being the formation of the man (Adam) out of the dust of the ground (Genesis 2:7);
  • planted a garden in Eden (Genesis 2:8);
  • caused trees and plants to grow in the Garden of Eden in accordance with the same ordinary providence He exercised over creation from the beginning (Genesis 2:9; cf. Genesis 1:11–12, 2:5);
  • placed Adam in the Garden (Genesis 2:15) and appointed him as its keeper;
  • made a covenant with Adam (Genesis 2:16–17; cf. Hosea 6:7);
  • recognized that Adam was alone and noted that this was not a good state of affairs (Genesis 2:18);
  • introduced Adam to the animals, and allowed him to name them (Genesis 2:19–20);
  • put the man to sleep, made a woman (Eve) from a part of Adam’s side, and then brought her to Adam (Genesis 2:21–22).

Take a look at the eighth point, for example. This point regards the following passage;

[Genesis 2:19-20] So the Lord God formed out of the ground every wild animal and every bird of the sky, and brought each to the man to see what he would call it. And whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name. The man gave names to all the livestock, to the birds of the sky, and to every wild animal; but for the man no helper was found as his complement.

In other words, Adam named all the livestock, all the wild animals and all the birds of the sky. There are no doubt, thousands upon thousands of all of these three organisms. Not only does he name them, but he even takes the time to decide that not a single one of them was a viable helper for him in the Garden! How long would this take? This really all occurred in a single day? Remember, this entire point here is completely Biblical.

Now, a second point to make. After Adam names all the livestock, wild animals and birds of the sky, God puts Adam into a deep sleep in order to take out his rib.

[Genesis 1:21-22] So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to come over the man, and he slept. God took one of his ribs and closed the flesh at that place. Then the Lord God made the rib He had taken from the man into a woman and brought her to the man.

If Adam was sleeping, that event must have taken a bit of time itself. Remember, to say I am wrong is to say that all of this fits into a single day. There is one third point that can be made to show that this did not all take place in one single day.

[Genesis 1:23-24] And the man said: This one, at last, is bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh; this one will be called “woman,” for she was taken from man. This is why a man leaves his father and mother and bonds with his wife, and they become one flesh.

Adam, in reaction to finally finding a suitable helper or partner for him after rejecting all the livestock, wild animals and birds of the sky, in relief, says “at last”, implying that this entire course of events all recorded in the sixth day alone lasted quite the amount of time to say the very least. All this, including the fact that the word in the original Hebrew is not limited to the meaning of an actual 24-hour day, may go well to imply that it does not actually mean a single actual 24-hour day at all. These are all Biblical reasons to take such an interpretation into account.

One last point I want to make — regarding a debate that I highly recommend everyone should watch here. If you have not already seen it, watch the debate between Hugh Ross and Kent Hovind. This is one of the best debates I’ve ever seen, and if you still bear that I am false in my claims and position, give this debate an opportunity to change your mind. This is the debate that entirely changed my view. Just to inform, Hugh Ross is also a Christian and he is a PhD in Astronomy. God Bless everyone, and remember, if you think I made any errors here, tell me in the comments.

[Psalm 24:7-8] Lift up your heads, O gates, And be lifted up, O ancient doors, That the King of glory may come in! Who is the King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, The LORD mighty in battle.

HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS DOWNLOAD BIBLE

The Bible, which of course is the most sold book in reality, also conquers the digital world. It’s recently been reported (two days ago if I’m not mistaken) that the Bible App (YouVersion) has hit a new landmark, with 250,000,000 downloads. Click HERE to read about it.

That’s a quarter of a billion downloads.

It has been released for less than 10 years, and in the last year alone has gained another 50 MILLION downloads.. A good piece of news to know about, in a world where people are leaving the faith… Just kidding, people only leave Christianity in certain Western countries.

I personally have the app on two different devices. It’s AMAZING, as you can go through the Bible in it in hundreds of languages with over a hundred different versions, you can search up verses with certain phrases and you can even cross-examine different translations. (not a paid adverisement lol)

God Bless!

[Psalm 95:3] For the LORD is a great God And a great King above all gods,

Does Genesis 1 Contradict Genesis 2?

There are a few absurd accusations of Biblical contradictions made, but probably the most popular one is regarding whether or not Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 contradict.

One must truly ask the unbelievers — how exactly do they devise a contradiction between two chronological texts that are not talking about the same thing? Let’s take a look, starting with Genesis 1.

[Genesis 1:20-27]  Then God said, “Let the water swarm with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the sky.” So God created the large sea-creatures and every living creature that moves and swarms in the water, according to their kinds. He also created every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. So God blessed them, “Be fruitful, multiply, and fill the waters of the seas, and let the birds multiply on the earth.” Evening came and then morning: the fifth day. Then God said, “Let the earth produce living creatures according to their kinds: livestock, creatures that crawl, and the wildlife of the earth according to their kinds.” And it was so. So God made the wildlife of the earth according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and creatures that crawl on the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness. They will rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, the livestock, all the earth, and the creatures that crawl on the earth.” So God created man in His own image; He created him in the image of God; He created them male and female.

Let us now see what Genesis 2 has to say.

[Genesis 2:8-19] The Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there He placed the man He had formed. The Lord God caused to grow out of the ground every tree pleasing in appearance and good for food, including the tree of life in the middle of the garden, as well as the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. A river went out from Eden to water the garden. From there it divided and became the source of four rivers. The name of the first is Pishon, which flows through the entire land of Havilah, where there is gold. Gold from that land is pure; bdellium and onyx are also there. The name of the second river is Gihon, which flows through the entire land of Cush. The name of the third river is the Tigris, which runs east of Assyria. And the fourth river is the Euphrates. The Lord God took the man and placed him in the garden of Eden to work it and watch over it. And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree of the garden, but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for on the day you eat from it, you will certainly die.” Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper as his complement.” So the Lord God formed out of the ground every wild animal and every bird of the sky, and brought each to the man to see what he would call it. And whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name.

They are in fact quite long quotations of each chapter, but in Genesis 1, we see plants and animals are made first, and then man — however in Genesis 2, man appears before plants and animals! A clear contradiction, right??

Now that you’ve finished laughing off that statement, let us answer this accusation. For one, Genesis 2 does not have anything to do with re-describing the creation all over again — it’s talking about something completely different. If Genesis 2 were completely re-describing all of creation, which had just been explained in the earlier chapter, why doesn’t it mention the creation of the heavens and earth, sun and moon, sky, etc?

In reality, Genesis 2 is describing what God is creating in the Garden of Eden. Not the whole world or even the whole universe, just the Garden of Eden — independent of the rest of the world. In the rest of the world, God had already created plants and animals before Adam and Eve were formed. God was not wholesale creating animals and birds in Genesis 2:19, He was just placing them in the Garden of Eden. The funny thing is, Genesis 2:19 is likely past-tense in the original Hebrew, so in fact there would be no creation going on here at all — it is stating how God had already formed the plants and animals. So not only is Genesis 1 and 2 not both talking about the creation of the world, and thus not contradicting, not only does Genesis 2 specifically reference the Garden of Eden, but it doesn’t state when the animals and plants had been created either way, as the Hebrew is past-tense and so it would simply be stating God had already previously formed them, rather than that He was forming them during that moment.

Rather than having a Bible contradiction on our hands, it looks like this is nothing more than a simple misunderstanding. A strange one to presume against the Bible in the first place, but a misunderstanding nonetheless. A laughable one as well.

Everything That Begins To Exist Has A Cause

This world is rather large, isn’t it? We live in a world that has various fundamental rules, in which cannot be broken. Some of these rules apply to the entire universe, and are even used as arguments for the existence of God. One of these rules is that everything that begins to exist has a cause.

In the past, between the 19th century and early 20th century, it was originally assumed that the universe was past-eternal, and that it had always existed forever. However, due to recent advancements in cosmology, astronomy and physics — it is now known and understood that the universe is not in fact past-eternal, rather is something that had an absolute beginning some finite amount of time ago. Space, time, matter and all of energy in existence, as well as any quantum principles, information, and anything else you may think of that exists in the natural world — even the natural world itself began to exist. It is commonly assumed that this beginning took place some 13,000,000,000-14,000,000,000 years ago, in a cataclysmic event known as the Big Bang.

Indeed, the standard big bang inflationary model, commonly accepted by cosmologists, purports an absolute beginning, and this is part of accepted and established modern science nowadays. Previously, because the universe was thought to be past-eternal, it was also thought not to need a cause. This is because anything that is past-eternal, is necessarily self-existing and requires no external factors/causation to exist, it exists entirely on its own. Like God. However, now that it is known that the universe has an absolute beginning of its own, it must also necessarily have a cause — because everything that begins to exist has a cause. There are several reasons as to why this is true.

For one, the Law of Causality necessitates that it is true. Causality is a well understood and necessary principle, which states that any occurrence whatsoever at all, such as an action or event, must have a cause to allow it to happen. A beginning of the entire universe definitely qualifies as an occurrence, and thus the Law of Causality (which is a law of logic) must then apply to the universe. In fact, the beginning of the existence of anything at all requires a cause, as it is an occurrence and therefore the Law of Causality applies to it. The Law of Causality is perhaps, the most well established principle in all of existence. To say that something can come from nothing without any reasons, is worse then magic. Dr. William Lane Craig, who is a world-class philosopher says the following:

… something cannot come from nothing. To claim that something can come into being from nothing is worse than magic, when you think about it. When a magician pulls a rabbit out of a hat, at least you’ve got the magician – not to speak of the hat!

-William Lane Craig

There are of course, some who actually try to deny this claim! Some people truly believe something can come from nothing. Usually, they actually try to cite the idea that virtual/subatomic particles can randomly pop in and out of existence from nothing, an din fact without cause as well. These claims are merely a skewing of science, and Dr. Craig goes on to make the following statement in the same speech in regards to these claims:

I think that this response represents a deliberate abuse of science, to be frank. The theories in question have to do with particles’ originating as fluctuations of the energy in the vacuum. And you need to understand that in physics, the vacuum is not what the layman means by a vacuum, namely, nothing. In physics, the vacuum is a sea of fluctuating energy, a sea of violent activity, having a physical structure and governed by physical laws. Similarly, in these models of the universe, the universe comes into being out of the vacuum; it doesn’t come into being from nothing. The vacuum is definitely something, which is this sea of fluctuating energy. And to tell lay people that in this case something comes from nothing is simply a distortion of these theories and, as I say, an abuse of science by those who appeal to them. [Emphasis added.]

-William Lane Craig

The fact is, these subatomic/virtual particles do not come into existence from nothing, rather they are merely quantum fluctuations that occur in and out of the quantum field.

There’s a popular book called A Universe From Nothing by physicist Lawrence Krauss, where Krauss (who is also an atheist populist) claims that the universe can come into existence from nothing. Something that was more surprising to me is that the book was actually listed as a non-fiction. Krauss, to prove something can come from nothing, merely played a little game where he simply redefines the word ‘something’ to mean ‘nothing, and voilà, Krauss concludes you can get a universe from nothing. In reality, what he means by ‘nothing’ is really a vacuum filled with energy and quantum fluctuations. Sound familiar to what we just discussed? The funny thing is the existence of quantum mechanics (which ‘creates’ these subatomic/virtual particles) only is dependent on space, and so the cause of space (as well as time and the rest of universe) couldn’t have anything to do any quantum effects in the first place.

Now, because of mathematics, we can now it is an established criterion of the universe, and basically anything at all, that something cannot come from nothing. Allow me to explain.

Nothing, in mathematics, is represented by 0. Something, in mathematics, would be represented by any positive value above zero, like 5. In other words, for it to be possible to get something from nothing, it would also be possible to get 5 from 0 on its own. Unfortunately for any materialist of course, it isn’t. There is no possible way to extract the positive value of 5 from 0, because 0=0 and 0 =/= 5. Something cannot come from nothing. That means that everything that begins to exist has a cause — as something (5) coming into existence from nothing (0) is a mathematically incoherent idea. To Atheism, the fact that everything begins to exist has a cause is definitely frightening — and that is because it means that the universe has a cause. I wonder what caused the universe. God?