New Report On Future of Global Religion

Pew Research Center has released its latest report on the future of religious demographics, and it is time to analyze them.

Atheism

Some time earlier, I wrote a post on whether or not atheism was taking over the world, and concluded that it “Atheism is simply dying”. Technically, we can generalize atheism here with the entire non-religious population. And in fact, I was entirely correct, according to the latest statistics from Pew Research, the irreligious global population is literally dying off. We will see that the competition of Christianity has nothing to do with the atheists and non-religious, the only religion in the world that will be competing with Christianity for global dominance is Islam.

So, let’s take a look at the facts.

In 2015, 33% of all births in the world were Christian, whereas 37% of all deaths were Christian. For Islam, it’s 31% and 21%, and we can see just how dauntingly bad it is for the non-religious segment of the world.

Only 10% of all people born in the world, are born to mothers without a religion. On the other hand, 15% of all deaths in the world are people without a religion. This means that the deaths of the non-religious outpace their births by a third, a rather very significant and large figure. And, it will only get worse. By 2050, only 9% of all people born in the world will be born to irreligious mothers, whereas 16% of all deaths (nearly double) will be of the irreligious world population. On the other hand, it will be much better for Christians in 2060. The births of Christians in the world will increase from 33% of the worlds births to 35% of the worlds births, whereas our deaths will plummet from 37% of the world deaths to only 31% of the world deaths.

Another thing you can see about the non-religious segment of the world population is that by 2060, their share of the global population will dwindle from 16% of the world to 13% of the world, making them more irrelevant than they already are on the global scale. Indeed, the only place in the world where they seem to be relevant is Europe, the northern part of North America (as in excluding Mexico), Australia, New Zealand, and portions of East-Asia. Everywhere else is dominated by religion, except for small exceptions here and there (like Uruguay, a country in South America).

In fact, growth of Christianity will outpace growth of the non-religious segment of the world population in the next 45 years by over 700,000,000.

So, the only real competitor is Islam. And indeed, it is a real competitor, mostly because Muslims usually have a crazy number of children. The first graph reveals that in 2015, Muslims make up 31% of all births and 21% of all deaths, and by 2050, they will make up 36% of all births (1% higher than Christians) and still only 25% of all deaths. Which means, if these predictions are correct, the number of Muslims will probably surpass the number of Christians in the world by around 2070. Just to note however, Pew does not take into account the high level of Christian conversion in Muslim countries such as Indonesia or Iran, but even if they did, it probably would not significantly affect the results in any way.

There are some positive results (aside from the death of atheism), however, which I will touch up upon in another post.

The Bible and the Shape of the Earth

Truly, idea that the Bible claims that the Earth is flat has always been a common lie by the atheists against the true and holy scriptures that we bear witness too — here, we will see how all their claims that the Bible claims a flat Earth are utterly false, and we will study our scriptures and reveal that the Bible unequivocally tells us that the Earth is actually spherical. This should shed some light onto those who do not accept our scriptures as truth because of these unfortunate misunderstandings, that do not originate from pure intentions.

First, let us address common verses quoted by the unbelievers who deceive that they use to attempt to show that the Bible claims the Earth is flat. We will explain them away with ease. Let us begin.

[Isaiah 11:12] He will lift up a banner for the nations and gather the dispersed of Israel; He will collect the scattered of Judah from the four corners of the earth.

One of the first verses quoted will be one that has the Bible saying that the Earth has four corners — which thus somehow translates to a flat Earth. However, it is clear to note that these ‘four corners’ are simply referring to North, South, East and West. We can confirm this by seeing that the Bible later affiliates the four corners of the Earth with the four winds of the Earth. Behold:

[Revelation 7:1] After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, restraining the four winds of the earth so that no wind could blow on the earth or on the sea or on any tree.

As we can see, the first attempt to show the Bible invokes a flat earth is utterly inconsequential. Moving forwards…

[Job 38:13] That it might take hold of the ends of the earth, And the wicked be shaken out of it?

[Daniel 4:11] The tree grew large and became strong And its height reached to the sky, And it was visible to the end of the whole earth.

This verse implies the existence of “the ends of the earth”. However, all “ends of the earth” means is simply the “entire Earth”, nothing more. There is one more type of verse that these people try to use to show the Bible claims the Earth is flat, and it is the following:

[Job 26:11] The pillars that hold up the sky tremble, astounded at His rebuke.

If the Earth has pillars, it must be flat! It might be somewhat confusing what the ‘pillars’ of the Earth in the Bible mean, but this problem simply disappears when we take a look at the Scholarly commentaries on Job 26:11 and understand what these verses truly mean.

Cambridge Bible Commentary:

The “pillars” of the heavens, if the conception be not wholly ideal, may be the lofty mountains on which the heavens seem to rest, and which, as they are lost in the clouds, are spoken of as belonging to heaven. At God’s rebuke, when His voice of thunder rolls, or when earthquakes shake the earth, they tremble with terror of His majesty,

Benson Commentary:

The pillars of heaven tremble — Perhaps the mountains, which by their height and strength seem to reach and support the heavens. And are astonished at his reproof — When God reproveth not them, but men by them, manifesting his displeasure by thunders or earthquakes.

Pulpit Commentary:

The pillars of heaven tremble. The “pillars of heaven” are the mountains, on which the sky seems to rest. These “tremble,” or seem to tremble, at the presence of God (Psalm 18:7; Psalm 114:4; Isaiah 5:25) when he visits the earth in storm and tempest, either because the whole atmosphere is full of disturbance, and the outline of the mountains shifts and changes as rain and storm sweep over them, or because the reverberations of the thunder, which shake the air, seem to shake the earth also. And are astonished at his reproof. To the mind of the poet this “trembling” is expressive of astonishment and consternation. He regards the mountains as hearing the voice of God in the storm, recognizing it as raised in anger, and so trembling and cowering before him.

So, these ‘pillars’, after thorough examination of the biblical evidence, simply mean the the mountains of the Earth.

Now that we have seen any attempts to coincide the Bible with a flat Earth turn out to be very disappointing, we will show that the Bible very clearly explains that the Earth is actually round. The Bible gives us three descriptions of the shape of the Earth that will allow us to piece this puzzle.

[Isaiah 40:22] God is enthroned above the circle of the earth; its inhabitants are like grasshoppers. He stretches out the heavens like thin cloth and spreads them out like a tent to live in.

The Bible tells us that the Earth is circular in some sense.

[Ephesians 4:9] But what does “He ascended” mean except that He descended to the lower parts of the earth?

The Bible tells us that there are ‘lower parts of the earth’, in other words the Earth has multiple layers/regions. It has thickness.

[Matthew 12:40] For as Jonah was in the belly of the huge fish three days and three nights, so the Son of Man will be in the heart of the earth three days and three nights.

The Bible tells us that the Earth has a ‘heart’ or perfect center.

Now that we have collected this information, let us list the three criteria of a shape needed in order to qualify as the Biblical Earth.

  1. It must be circular in some sense
  2. It must be a thick object, with the capacity of having multiple layers (three dimensional)
  3. It must have an absolute center or ‘heart’

The fact is, the only shape in the world that fits all the criterion for the Biblical shape of the Earth is a sphere. Flat circles do not qualify for the second criterion, and cylinders do not qualify for the third (as if the Bible could imply the Earth is a cylinder). However, a sphere is circular, is a thick three dimensional object that can have layers, and has a center in the middle of it. This means that there is no possible way the Bible says the Earth is flat, it evidently and very clearly necessitates the Earth to be a sphere, based on the evidence we have just seen.

Atheism: A Growing or Dying Ideology?

Atheists are quick to congratulate themselves for their intellectual achievement of joining the worlds fastest growing ideology — the one that has simply cut through thousands of years of religious trends, and is now on its way to conquering the world, as the entire world undergoes a global shift towards skepticism and secularism…

Or is it?

In this world, you have two types of atheists: One that claims religion and Christianity is a dying tradition (which we saw was a statistically  false claim here), and one that claims their own movement is not only growing, but is on a ways to literally inheriting the world. We shall now examine the following topics in defined order;

  1. Is the non-religious population growing?
  2. Will the non-religious simply die off?

Let us begin.

1. Is the non-religious population growing?

The answer is, at the very moment, frighteningly slowly, however this growth will be, in the next few decades, ensued by a simple eventual death of the non-religious.

The truth is, in 2010, there are about 1,100,000,000 people adhering to no religion. According to Pew Research — this will increase by about 100,000,000 from 2010 to 2050, and the global population adhering to non-religion will have around 1,200,000,000 followers.

Now, why is this laughable?

This is because although 100,000,000 seems like a big number, that’s almost nothing. Pew Research also predicts that between 2010 and 2050, the global population will overall increase by more than 2,000,000,000 (or 2 billion) people. This means that although the non-religious currently make up about 16.4% of the world population, or about 1 in 6 people in the world, their growth will only account for 1 in 20 of the growth of the worlds population. This is considerably less than the growth Islam and Christianity will undergo — both Islam and Christianity are projected to grow extraordinarily faster than the non-religious global population, both religions may each get about a billion more followers each by the year 2050. In fact, here’s another fact to account for. The non-religious are currently the third biggest group in the world. The biggest group is Christianity, with perhaps 2,300,000,000 followers right now, the second biggest group is Islam, with about 1,700,000,000 followers, and then come the non-religious with 1,100,000,000 today. However, even though they make up the third biggest group today, they will make up the fourth biggest group by 2050. Why?

Hinduism.

The Hindu religion currently has around 1,000,000,000 (or a billion) followers, and that will increase to 1,400,000,000 followers by 2050 — or a growth of about 400,000,000 people, which means that Hinduism, that Indian thing very little of us in the West think about, is growing 4 times faster than the non-religious population, and yet, is still is growing very slow in comparison to Islam or Christianity.

This means that on the global level, the non-religious fad will get even more irrelevant. The fact is, atheists tend to cherry pick Western countries where this group is growing, like Australia or the United Kingdom or Canada, ignoring the rest of the world, where it is overall dying. That leads us to the following…

2. Will the non-religious simply die off?

Oooooh boy.

Eventually, in all probability the answer is yes.

We’ve already discussed that although the people practicing no religion (non-religious) are only going to account for 1/20 of the growth of the population, even though it makes up 1/6 of the world population. That means, statistically speaking, it will have its share of the global population decline significantly. In fact, although these people account for 16.4% of the world population today, that will only be 13.2% of the world population in 2050. They will make up just over 1 in 8 people by 2050. After 2050, it simply gets worse. By the year 2100, this percentage will drop to around 9% of the global population, or about 1 in 11 people.

In other words, from now until the end of the century, the non-religious will go from making up 16.4% of the world population and about 1 in 6 people, to around 9% of the world population and about 1 in 11 people. This significant decline is frightening for the non-religious, but something that I take delight in.

Now, we’ve already gone over how the global non-religious will increase by 100,000,000 or so by 2050. But what about after 2050? This is where it gets juicier. After 2050, their numbers will start declining, as Christianity and Islam both undergo continuous major growth. Why are they going to begin declining? Very simple, babies. The non-religious have an extremely low fertility rate, and thus they do not reproduce enough in order to grow — they reproduce so little their numbers will disappear. Let’s examine the baby and fertility rate department of the non-religious, and how it will contribute to the death of the non-religious.

Today, in the world, the second biggest non-religious country on Earth is Japan — which means that only one country in the world (China) has more non-religious than Japan does. Japan’s population is currently about 126,000,000, and about 57% of these people adhere to no religion. This means that Japan contributes 72,000,000 to the non-religious population. Now, Japan also just so happens to have one of the lowest fertility rates in the world, with the country clocking in at 1.41 children per women (you need about 2.1 to maintain a stable population, not growing or shrinking). The fertility rate of Japan is so low, that by the year 2100, the population of Japan will shockingly decline from 126,000,000 to a diminished 83,000,000 (according to a major released study in 2050 by the United Nations Population Division). So, assuming that the non-religious population of Japan grows all the way to 75% of the Japanese population by 2100 from 57% now (which is gracious to say the least), there will only be around 62,000,000 Japanese without any religion — a decline of about 10,0000,000 adherents to the global non-religious population. Now that we’ve seen Japan, let’s take a look at the biggest shareholder in no religion, China. Out of the 1,100,000,000 people without any religion in the world, more than half of them (700,000,000) live in China). Unfortunately for the non-religious, China also has an extraordinarily low fertility rate, with each women having about 1.56 children on average. China’s population is currently around 1,400,000,000 right now, and will be around the same by 2050, but between 2050-2100, the same United Nations study we referenced a second ago estimates that the Chinese population will decline by hundreds of millions, to about 1,000,000,000 people, meaning that the population will decline by about 400,000,000 people. Now, because about half of the Chinese population has no religion (52.2%), and that number is not expected to increase at all (rather decrease slightly), we will assume about half of the lost people of China by 2050 (200 million) will be directly declining from the non-religious sector of the population — meaning that China alone will result in a global decline of the non-religious population of 200 million people. That is insanely high in relation to the overall number of non-religious people that will even exist by 2050. Europe is the third biggest holder of the non-religious, and just as you guessed, the fertility rate in Europe is also… Very low (at about 1.6 kids per women). From today to 2100, the European population, even accounting for immigration, will have its population decline by 100,000,000 people.

In other words, it cannot be estimated by exactly how much, but the non-religious will very likely have less people then they do today by the year 2100. The world population will overall increase by as much as four billion, and yet the non-religious will only decline. Once people in the West finally stop joining its delusional forces (which has already happened in the United Kingdom), its death will become even more imminent.

In conclusion, Atheism is simply dying. Tell your friends who deny this otherwise.

Christianity: A Growing Or Dying Religion?

Christianity, as of today, is the worlds largest religion by far. It has over 2,300,000,000 adherents right now, and is the majority of almost all the continents and countries in the world, as well as representing over 30-33% of the world population. Christianity only had 600,000,000 adherents just over a century ago, and so we can see that it underwent an overwhelming rate of growth from 1900 to today, in 2016, in order to exceed 2 billion adherents, and be the first religion to do so as well. The question put forth by a lot of people right now however, is whether or not Christianity, after much increase, is actually declining as of now.

When we speak of the decline of a religion, we mean that it is undergoing a net loss of adherents. This means if we look at the future there will be less Christians overall than there are today. When we speak of a religion dying, we mean that it is undergoing such a fast decline that it is actually set to enter into non-existence or near non-existence in the future. Now, the idea that Christianity is dying is usually put forth by Atheists and Agnostics. Let us not generalize all Atheists and Agnostics, but it is quite definite to say that the ones who put forth this claim have conducted virtually zero research involving demographics.

Our study will look at things in the following order;

  1. Are the number of Christians increasing or decreasing in the world?
  2. Is everyone leaving Christianity?
  3. Christian conversion

Let us begin.

1. Are the number of Christians increasing or decreasing in the world?

The answer to this question is yes. And it is a big yes. Christianity is rapidly growing, and we will look at the statistics to establish this. The two biggest and most reliable recent reports to have come out on the future of religion is the report by Pew Research, and the Center for the Study of Global Christianity. First, we will examine what Pew Research report has to say about the future of Christianity, which was released in 2015 based on 2010 figures, and then we will look at what the Center for the Study of Global Christianity has to say, which is based off of 2012 figures.

a. Pew Research

According to Pew Research, this is the future of Christianity by the number of people who are Christians, by decade, from 2010 to 2050.

2010: In 2010, Christianity had 2,168,330,000 people following the religion.

2020: In 2020, Christianity will have 2,382,750,000 people following the religion.

2030: In 2030, Christianity will have 2,578,790,000 people following the religion.

2040: In 2040, Christianity will have 2,756,390,000 people following the religion.

2050: In 2050, Christianity will have 2,918,070,000 people following the religion.

According to the massive and in-depth Pew Research report, Christianity, from 2010-2050 will grow from having approximately 2.17 billion followers to 2.92 billion followers, which means that this report predicts that the number of Christians will increase by more than 700,000,000 in 40 years.

b. Center for the Study of Global Christianity

The CSGC also has predictions on the number of Christians in the future, but it is not organized in a decade-by-decade manner like it is in the Pew Research report. Rather, across two separate reports, it gives us figures on the number of Christians in 2010, 2020, and 2050. Or maybe I just don’t know how to find 2030 and 2040 figures, who knows. The first report tells us about 2010 and 2020, whilst the second report, being much more recent, tells us about 2015, 2025, and 2050.

2010: In 2010, Christianity had 2,262,586,000 people following the religion.

2015: In 2015, Christianity had 2,419,221,000 people following the religion.

2020: In 2020, Christianity will have 2,550,714,000 people following the religion.

2025: In 2025, Christianity will have 2,727,172,000 people following the religion.

2050: In 2050, Christianity will have approximately 3,310,498,000 followers.

The CSGC reports that in 2010, Christianity had about 2.26 billion followers, and this this will rise to 3.31 billion by 2050, representing an increase by over a billion members in 40 years, and thus the CSGC also predicts an incredibly fast and high rate of expansion of the Christian religion in the future, and that it is growing.

One might question why the Pew Research and CSGC reports differentiate by about 400,000,000 regarding the total number of Christians by the year 2050 — this is because in regions like India and China, where acquiring reliable reports on the number of people following each and individual religion is extraordinarily hard, the CSGC relies on on-the-ground data, and un-official statistics, whilst Pew simply resorts to the safe (but just as potentially inaccurate) official statistics in places where acquiring an accurate share of the population adhering to a single religion is very hard. Thus, when it comes to China, these reports differentiate on the number of Christians by 80,000,000, and that number is about 30,000,000 regarding India. Furthermore, the CSGC predicts that the world population will be considerably higher than Pew Research does by 2050, and with a higher world population, you naturally get more Christians.

c. Extra Considerations

So far, we’ve already seen enough information to completely dispel the myth that Christianity is a dying religion, on the other hand, it is rapidly growing, but there is an extra consideration to take into account for both of these reports.

The Pew Research report presumes that the world population will be about 9.37 billion people by 2050, whilst the CSGC predicts about 9.55 billion people by 2050. However, according to a major 2015 report by the United Nations Population Division from the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, the most recent and updated revised statistics put the world population at 9,725,148,000 (or 9.73 billion) people by 2050, meaning that according to the most recent factually compiled data, Pew Research is missing almost 400 million people from its report to account for their religion, and the CSGC is missing about 200 million. If the world population is hundreds of millions higher than these reports presume, this means that there are hundreds of millions of people whom do not have their religion accounted for, and because Christianity is currently the worlds largest religion, it is very safe to assume that tens of millions of these unaccounted for people, if not over a hundred million, will be themselves Christian. This means that, at the very least, if the Pew Research data is correct, there will be considerably more than 2.92 billion Christians by 2050, and if the CSGC data is correct, there will be considerably more than 3.31 billion Christians by 2050. Christianity will thus grow much more than previously assumed.

2. Is everyone leaving Christianity?

We have all heard about the reports — everyone is leaving Christianity! The churches are empty! Christianity is a dying religion! The boogie man is real! So, is it true?

No.

The people who claim this is true will cherry-pick their sources. They will only look at what is happening in Western countries, and declare that this is therefore happening globally. This could not be further from the truth. In reality, there is in fact a very, very large number of people leaving Christianity in first-world Western countries, but that’s really the only place it’s happening. Pew Research predicts Europe will decline from being about 74% Christian in 2010 to 65% Christian in 2050,  but just because the French and Swedes are turning their backs on Christianity, does not mean the same is happening in Brazil, the Democratic Republic of Congo, or the Philippines. In fact, the West is the only place on the planet where Christianity is declining. Christianity declining in the West of course, does not mean it is declining in general — these Atheists who claim this seem to think that the country they live in is actually the whole world. And sadly for them, even if it was, Christianity still wouldn’t die. Why? Because, if you look at the facts, Christianity WILL RISE AGAIN in the West. This is not me flaunting out of desperation, and from what you are about to see, it is actually a statistical fact.

In reality, the divergence from Christianity is only a temporary ordeal that my end by 2050 all together. In fact, it has already ended in the United Kingdom. A major study released shows that Christianity has actually, according to the most recent statistics, even had a small increase in the share of the British population in recent years from 42% of the population to 43% of the population (and a 3% increase among younger people). The ones without religion declined from 49% of the population to 48% of the population. How long will it be until this atheist fad ends in other Western countries as well? It probably will not continue for too long. In fact, in 2014, more churches opened in America than were shut down for the first time in several decades. 4,000 opened, whilst 3,700 closed, meaning in 2014, the number of American churches increased by 300. Even though the decline of American Christianity is still continuing today, church membership decline seems to have also halted.

In fact, if you look at the statistics, in many Western countries, the number of Christians is actually increasing, even though the Christian share of the population is decreasing. These countries include, according to Pew Research, Canada, America, Norway, Iceland, and perhaps others. Some countries like Denmark have a very small overall decline in the number of Christians. Once the population stops leaving Christianity in Western countries, mass-Christian immigration will end up sinking the non-religious when it comes to the share of Western population countries. The only possible thing that could make Christianity die is if the end of the world literally comes in the next few decades (which I am not denying) and Christians get persecuted into near extinction by the antichrist, or if some kind of nuclear war happens killing off most Christians (although this would also annihilate the atheists and agnostics).

The final thing to mention is, in reality, Christians aren’t leaving Christianity, white people are leaving Christianity. Now, I’m a white guy myself (I’m also an Arab dude, and yes, Arabs are Caucasians too), so I don’t mean to insult my own race, but this is the statistical fact. For example, let us take a look at America. In America, amongst the older population, about 70% of all people are white Christians, although 25% of millennials are white Christians, even though 60-70% of millennials are Christian. So, what’s going on? This 40% or so disparity, which is virtually non-existent amongst the older population, is non-white Christians. That means, for the most part in respect to the American population, Latinos. Latinos aren’t really leaving Christianity. Nor are blacks or Asians. Some are? Sure, but not on any serious level. Once a certain number of white people have left Christianity, there will be no more white people to leave Christianity, either because they already have or the decline simply has had its history (like in Britain, white people aren’t leaving Christianity there anymore, because no one is leaving Christianity there anymore as we have seen). This means that any future growth of the non-religious population of the West is limited, and again, will be eventually overrun by immigration.

The next time you hear someone as uneducated in demographics as Richard Dawkins or Sam Harris tell you that God is dead, just remember that philosopher Fredrick Nietsczhe said the following statement;

God is dead.

The only problem is of course, he said that almost 200 years ago.

3. Christian Conversion

So, now that we’ve seen that people are only leaving Christianity in the West, let us ask about what is happening with Christianity in the rest of the world? This is, unfortunately, where the atheistic/agnostic thesis entirely breaks down. The fact is, since the year 1900, so many people have converted to Christianity that it is simply tremendous. First, let us look at Africa.

a. Africa

affiliation-since-1900

From the year 1900-2010, the Christian share in Africa rose from 9% of the population, to 57% of the population. This means that half of Africa converted to Christianity. One in two men, women, and children in an entire continent, in about two to three generations, converted to the Christianianity. What about South Korea?

b. South Korea

ft_14-08-04_religion-in-south-korea_1christianshare310px

In about two to three generations, Christians increased from 1% of the South Korean population to 29% of the South Korean population — meaning that nearly a third of the entire country converted to Christianity in two or three generations. What about Nigeria?

c. Nigeria

I do not have any graphics for you guys on this one, but in Nigeria, Christianity increased from 21.4% of the population in 1953 to 48.2% of the population in 2003. A report by the United States Agency for International Development puts the share of Christians in Nigeria at 47% in 2015, re-affirming the overwhelming conversion into Christianity that occurred under a single generation, where about a third of the entire population converted to Christianity. What about Russia?

d. Russia

russia-1

In the span of under 20 years after the collapse of the USSR, a staggering 41% of the entire Russian population converted to Christianity, representing an utter collapse of atheism and agnosticism in the country. Indeed, atheists and agnostics represented 61% of the population before the USSR, and once people stopped inhaling all the communistic propaganda they were gorging, Christianity immediately explodes. Not only are atheists and agnostics converting to Christianity, but something that confirms the massive Christian explosion is the fact that 2,000,000 Muslims also converted to Christianity during the last 20 years in Russia. This affirms that this was not simply people no longer having the USSR on their backs for being Christian that lead to the resurgence of Christianity, but it was a miraculous Christian revival in the Russian country. Nowadays, over 1,000 churches open in Russia per year. What about China?

e. China

China is the worlds most populous nation. In 1950, there were about one million Protestants in total, as many as 4,000,000 Christians overall. China has become the most hyped up region in the world when it comes to the exploding of Christianity today, and the hype is real. Christianity is growing so fast in China, that some estimate that China, even though it had almost no serious number of Christians in 1950, will become the worlds largest Christian nation by 2030, some estimates put conversion figures to Christianity in China at  10,000-25,000 per day. Exactly how many Christians are in China? Well, there is an international Christian ministry called Asia Harvest, and they took on a very large project. They conducted a massive study, and gathered over 2,000 sources from every city and province in the entire Chinese nation on religious population statistics, and found that 105,000,000 Chinese now adhere to the Christian faith. That’s more than a hundred million conversions to Christianity in China in one generation — a miracle, one could say. These figures are simply overwhelming, Christianity has blown up so fast in China that the government now no longer reports on the official church statistics regarding the number of people who are affiliated with the only legal church in China after the number started going quite insane, and in fact in the last few months, have even attempted to BAN CHILDREN from attending Church to counter-act this growth. The officially Atheist communist party of China doesn’t realize however, that Christian persecution is what lead to Christianity taking over the Roman Empire in the first place. What about Indonesia?

f. Indonesia

Indonesia represents perhaps the greatest number of Muslims converting to Christianity from any country in the world. It also just so happens to be the biggest Muslim country in the world as well. In 2015, a major study was released and published called Believers in Christ from a Muslim Background: A Global Census, and it estimates that 6,500,000 Muslims, in this country, have converted to Christianity. This is a shockingly high figure. It also found that numerous other countries had hundreds of thousands of Muslims converting to Christianity, such as Nigeria, Ethiopia, Iran, Bangladesh, America, Tanzania, Burkina Faso, and Iran. Speaking of Iran…

g. Iran

Iran is today’s biggest Christian conversion engine by far. Perhaps it isn’t in overall numbers, but by rate, there is no question Iran comes out on first. The CSGC released a report saying that Christianity is growing in Iran at the rate of 20% per year, and this is a country where being Christian is illegal. There are reports that now say that there are several thousand thousands to even over a million Iranian Christians. Why is this such a tremendous feat? Because, a few decades ago, there were less than 600 Christians in the country. I personally e-mailed the Asia Harvest international ministry about where Christianity is growing the fastest, and this was their response to me;

The answer (though not strictly Asia) would have to be…. Iran. There is an intense hunger there for the Bible and to learn about Jesus.
Next would be rural areas of India, especially central India, where Hindus and tribals are coming to the Lord in multitudes. However there is little progress in the cities where Muslims and high caste Hindus live.
Good things are happening in patches in China, Laos and, Cambodia and Indonesia. Other parts of Asia are stagnant like Vietnam and Nepal, while others still are going backwards, South Korea being the worst, where the revival of generations ago is in reverse and people are leaving the churches by the hundreds of thousands.

There you have it, folks. Christianity is not dying. On the other hand, it’s rising. Very quickly.

____________________
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Well, it’s another day of Biblical Archaeology and the archaeologists have found more archaeological evidence for the Bible! Check it out!

Read it in this link right here:
http://www.jns.org/latest-articles/2016/10/26/earliest-reference-to-jerusalem-found-in-rare-ancient-papyrus#.WBUlE_orLIU

Here’s a picture of it to prove it!

download.jpg

It’s 2,700 years old. A reference to Jerusalem 2,700 years old. So, this is the earliest reference to Jerusalem in history, correct?
NO.

As much as I love Biblical archaeology, and this does in fact help corroborate the Bible, this is just not the very first reference to Jerusalem. A ton of outlets are claiming that it is even though it isn’t. Jerusalem is recorded 3,300-3,400 years ago, at least 600 years before this reference, in the Amarna Tablets. Technically, it’s spelled Urusalim in the Amarna Tablets, but Scholars still know it means Jerusalem. I suppose, because of this variant spelling, technically this manuscript is the first unequivocal reference to Jerusalem, or perhaps the earliest reference in Hebrew, even though it isn’t the earliest in general. This discovery was made a few days ago. Like 3 days or something. At least we have even more evidence for the Bible know (even though there have been around 4-5 major discoveries in the last three months alone that each verify a serious major Biblical narrative to be historical… you can send me an e-mail if you want to know about them, that are of course much more serious than this one).

You might be thinking as well, that these kind of posts aren’t what I usually do. Whatever, I’ll have a real post later today or tomorrow.

EXTRA POINT:

If you wanted me to respond to any objection to Christianity (the Bible or anything), or prove anything about Christianity being true, just post a comment and I may add it to a list of some of my posts coming to the future. For example, if you want to see me prove that the Gospels were written by Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John — just post a comment! (although I already did that here, but a part two and three will eventually be posted i guess) Thanks for the read!

God and Pharaoh’s Free Will

Graciously, God has given us free will. God has free will, and thus we also have free will for we are made in God’s image.

[Genesis 1:26] 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.”

God blessed humanity with free will. Those who stand against Christianity on the other hand, deny God’s gracious gift of free will even existing, thereby love to point out how God hardened Pharaoh’s heart in the Book of Exodus in his decisions, forced him to besiege Israel, even though he was not going to do so himself. Based on this, they conclude there is no free will. Inside the Holy Bible, the following verse are what give rise to such charges against God.

 [Exodus 10:16-20] Pharaoh urgently sent for Moses and Aaron and said, “I have sinned against Yahweh your God and against you. Please forgive my sin once more and make an appeal to Yahweh your God, so that He will take this death away from me.” Moses left Pharaoh’s presence and appealed to the Lord. Then the Lord changed the wind to a strong west wind, and it carried off the locusts and blew them into the Red Sea. Not a single locust was left in all the territory of Egypt. But the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he did not let the Israelites go.

Truly, can one not see? Pharaoh wanted to repent to the Lord, Yahweh, but the Lord ended up hardening his heart, forcing him to continue his pursuit of the Israelite’s. Do such verses cast doubt on free will? The heathen say so. For how can there be free will if God forces humans to do things they otherwise would not have done? In fact, God does this more than once to Pharaoh…

 [Exodus 14:8l The Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and he pursued the Israelites, who were going out triumphantly.

Verily, in order to understand this, we must investigate the Book of Exodus in its entirety and not only a few verses, because I tell you, the charges are false. Let us all bear witness to the following verse from the Holy Bible…

[Exodus 7:22] But the magicians of Egypt did the same thing by their occult practices. So Pharaoh’s heart hardened, and he would not listen to them, as the Lord had said.

Interesting, is it not? “Pharaoh’s heart hardened”, Pharaoh hardens his own heart in this passage because this time God has nothing to do with it. The solution became clear to me from here on out during my investigation and study of these passages, and it has to do with a pattern in the Biblical narrative of the Book of Exodus, involving Pharaoh and his pursuit of Moses and the Israelite’s. The discovery of this pattern makes it clear to understand how this is not a problem with free will at all, and I will now show it for you all. It is important to note something. The verses where Pharaoh hardens his own heart include Exodus 7:137:228:158:198:329:79:349:35. On the other hand, the verses in the Holy Bible where Pharaoh hardens his own heart include Exodus 9:1210:110:2010:2711:10, 14:8. Do you notice something? Entirely, with the exception of Exodus 9:12, the narrative of when Pharaoh hardens his own heart COMPLETELY PREDATES when God starts hardening Pharaoh’s heart. Somewhere in Exodus 9, the narrative suddenly shifts from who is doing the hardening. What does this mean?

Very simple. Pastor Greg Laurie has recently pointed out that a better translation of the word ‘hardened’ could be ‘strengthened’, so in these verses God would be strengthening Pharaoh’s heart, in other words, he would be strengthening the decisions that Pharaoh has chosen to make. When Pharaoh was hardening his heart, he was of himself denying God. This is why very soon after Pharaoh continued doing this, God starts to begin hardening his heart instead of Pharaoh hardening his own heart, deciding that He shall make Pharaoh go through with his own decisions. Never did God make Pharaoh do something he otherwise would not have, God knew that Pharaoh was going to continue denying Him and besieging the Israelite’s, and so God strengthened Pharaoh’s heart and his decisions to do what he was already going to do. Thus, God did not take away Pharaoh’s free will, for Pharaoh was never going to stop besieging the Israelite’s in the first place. In fact, we see that God hardens Pharaoh’s heart after Pharaoh already has decided to persecute and besiege the Israelite’s and Moses.

[Exodus 14:5-8]  When the king of Egypt was told that the people had fled, Pharaoh and his officials changed their minds about the people and said: “What have we done? We have released Israel from serving us.” So he got his chariot ready and took his troops with him;  he took 600 of the best chariots and all the rest of the chariots of Egypt, with officers in each one. The Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and he pursued the Israelites, who were going out triumphantly.

In Exodus 10:16-20, Pharaoh had already decided not to let Israel go and continue besieging and persecuting Israel, even before God hardened his heart. God then strengthens Pharaoh’s decision to besiege Israel. Thus, God never took away Pharaoh’s free will, God simply strengthened Pharaoh’s decision in what he was already going to do. God has graciously given us free will.

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READ MORE:

Scientific Miracle in the Qur’an Debunked

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Matthew, Mark, Luke and John – Authors of the Gospels?

5431649-the-gospel-according-to-john-grungy-background-stock-photo-bible

Matthew, Mark, Luke and John – Authors of the Gospels?

Truly, the knowledge of the authors of the documents of the Holy Bible, especially those of the four Gospels in the New Testament, has been included in some of the most important discussions and debates involving the historicity of the New Testament documents in recent centuries. Christian Scholars, Bible Scholars and Historians have gone back and forth on this issue, coming to the four proposed authors for the Gospels in the Holy Bible, being Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. If the four Gospels are not ascribed to these four men, then the Gospels are anonymous. Now, we shall begin examining the extensive historical record and much evidence confirming the authors of the Gospels are Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

To begin with, one must note that the Holy Bible says absolutely nothing about who wrote the four Gospels. From the beginning to the end, there is not a single verse throughout the entire Holy Bible that says anything about Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John writing any of our Gospels. This claim is not a religious belief, it is not a Christian belief, it is not a doctrine of Christianity by the slightest conceptual idea, it is a claim of antiquity, one of history. In knowledge of this, any claim that these people wrote the Gospels is a historical claim, not a theological one. Secondly, we shall also define who these figures are, before establishing their authorship of the Gospels.

Historically speaking, Matthew was a tax collector, meaning he was both literate in the Greek and Hebrew languages, and he is also the only author we are talking about who is actually mentioned in his own Gospel, in Matthew 9:9. He was also of the twelve disciples. Mark was the interpreter of Peter. Luke was both a historian and physician, and John, as far as we know of, was just a disciple whom Jesus loved. To note, only Matthew and John knew and saw Jesus, whilst Luke and Mark are not eyewitnesses, but were merely historically associated with the twelve disciples to some degree, such as Peter and Paul (although Paul himself wasn’t a disciple either). Now, let us begin with the evidence. To confirm the authorship of these men, we shall behold both external and internal evidence.

Matthew

External Evidence

Throughout the early ages of the expansion of Christianity, the ancient authors who confirmed the historicity of Matthew’s writing of a Gospel, and thus establish much sources and records showing Matthew wrote the Gospel attributed to him, are very great. We will now document them.

Papias, writing from 95-110 AD, says this:

“Matthew compiled the sayings in the Hebrew language and each interpreted them as best he could”

-preserved in Church History, Book 3, Chapter 39, Verse 16

Papias tells us about his reliability as well in the following manner;

“But I shall not hesitate also to put down for you along with my interpretations whatsoever things I have at any time learned carefully from the elders and carefully remembered, guaranteeing their truth. For I did not, like the multitude, take pleasure in those that speak much, but in those that teach the truth; not in those that relate strange commandments, but in those that deliver the commandments given by the Lord to faith, and springing from the truth itself.”

-preserved in Church History, Book 3, Chapter 39, Verse 3

Irenaeus, writing in 180 AD, whom knew a student of the disciples named Polycarp, writes;

“Matthew also issued a written Gospel among the Hebrews in their own dialect, while Peter and Paul were preaching at Rome, and laying the foundations of the Church. After their departure, Mark, the disciple and interpreter of Peter, did also hand down to us in writing what had been preached by Peter.”

Against Heresies, Book 3, Chapter 1

Tertullian, in 200 AD, writes about how the Matthew, Mark, Luke and John wrote the Gospels and the variation of the order of the narratives of the Gospels by these men;

“Of the apostles, therefore, John and Matthew first instill faith into us; while of apostolic men, Luke and Mark renew it afterwards. These all start with the same principles of the faith, so far as relates to the one only God the Creator and His Christ, how that He was born of the Virgin, and came to fulfill the law and the prophets. Never mind if there does occur some variation in the order of their narratives, provided that there be agreement in the essential matter of the faith, in which there is disagreement with Marcion…

… Inasmuch, therefore, as the enlightener of St.Luke himself desired the authority of his predecessors for both his own faith and preaching, how much more may not I require for Luke’s Gospel that which was necessary for the Gospel of his master.”

Against Marcion, Book 4, Chapter 2

Origen, writing from 185-254 AD, writes;

“In his first book on Matthew’s Gospel, maintaining the Canon of the Church, he testifies that he knows only four Gospels, writing as follows: Among the four Gospels, which are the only indisputable ones in the Church of God under heaven, I have learned by tradition that the first was written by Matthew, who was once a publican, but afterwards an apostle of Jesus Christ, and it was prepared for the converts from Judaism, and published in the Hebrew language.”

preserved in Church History, Book 6, Chapter 25, Verses 3-4

Internal Evidence

Now, we shall attest to the great internal evidence confirming this. To note, Matthew is this mans Greek name, whilst his Hebrew name was Levi, and so he is also mentioned and historically confirmed as a tax collector in passages that you may not have known of, such as Mark 2:14 and Luke 5:27. Matthew was also a Palestinian Jew, and as a tax collector, would have known both Hebrew and Greek (for to maintain this occupation, he would need to be working for Greek-speaking Romans and collecting taxes from Hebrew-speaking Jews). We have attested this, as it is important information for showing the internal evidence that proves Matthew wrote the Gospel of Matthew.

For one, is the fact that in Matthew’s own Gospel in verses we have already shown, such as Matthew 9:9 and Matthew 10:2-4, he used the name for himself Matthew, whilst outside his Gospel in Mark 2:14 and Luke 5:27, the name Levi was used. This is because Matthew believed his apostolic name was nobler than his other name, Levi, and so it was common for authors to use their nobler names in their own writings. For example, in Paul’s epistles, he always refers to himself as Paul, even though his previous name was Saul [of Tarsus]. Paul viewed his apostolic name as nobler, and thus he used it. Another example is Peter, in 1 Peter 1:1, Peter uses his apostolic name (Peter), instead of his common name which was Simeon (or Simon), even though outside of Peter’s writings, he was referred to as Simeon, such as in Luke 7:43 or Acts 15:14 (although at times ‘Peter’ was also used). Likewise, the fact that in the Gospel of Matthew, the apostolic name for Matthew is used, whilst the other Gospels use his apostolic name as well as his common name when referencing him, shows Matthew was composing this document and attributing to himself what he viewed as his nobler name.

Furthermore, as Matthew is a tax collector, we would expect him to be very knowledgeable  and interested in financial manners. Indeed, we see in numerous Matthean passages (17:24-27; 18:23-35, 20:1-16, 26:15, 27:3-10, 28:11-15) the discussion financial manners, which attests to Matthew being the author of the Gospel of Matthew. Furthermore in regards to financial manners, let us read another of Matthew’s passages on this, not mentioned above.

[Matthew 22:19]  Show Me the coin used for the tax.” So they brought Him a denarius.

Now, what is interesting about this verse? When the term ‘coin’ comes up, we do not see the simple Greek word used for this, being δηνάριον (dēnarion), but rather a more precise term,  νόμισμα (state coin). In contrast, the other Gospels, such as in Mark 12:15 and Luke 20:24 when they describe this same event, they never use the more advanced financial term νόμισμα, rather they only use δηνάριον. This provides further confirmation of Matthew, as a tax collector, being the author of the Gospel of Matthew, because as as Keith Thompson notes;

“This lends more evidence towards the position that we are dealing with Matthew the tax collector who was familiar with and concerned about accuracy regarding financial terminology”

Moving forth, as Thompson continues to note, Matthew’s Gospel is the only one to mention Jesus saying ““give no offense to them [tax collectors]”, and also to pay the temple tax in the region of Capernaum when they are asked to. This phrase concerns tax collectors, so Matthew himself being a tax collector would feel the need to mention this saying of Jesus. Matthew’s Gospel is also the only Gospel to refer to gold, silver, and copper (such as in Matthew 10:9).

Moving forth, let us re-note that the historical Matthew was a Palestinian Jew. As David Malick notes, whom has a Masters in Bible Exposition and has received honors from Dallas Theological Seminary, Matthew’s Gospel bears great knowledge in Palestinian geography  (Matthew 2:1,23; 3:1,5,13; 4:12,13,23-25; 8:5,23,28; 14:34; 15:32,39; 16:13; 17:1; 19:1; 20:29; 21:1,17; 26:6), Matthew’s Gospel is very familiar with Jewish tradition, customs, and classes of people (Matthew 1:18-19; 2:1,4,22; 14:1; 26:3,57,59; 27:2,11,13), is familiar with Old Testament scriptures (Matthew 1:2-16,22-23; 2:6,15,17-18,23; 4:14-16; 8:17; 12:17-21; 13:35; 21:4-5; 27:9), and even his terminology is Jewish (Matthew 2:20,21; 4:5; 5:35,47; 6:7,32; 10:6; 15:24; 17:24-27; 18:17; 27:53). David Malick has thus provided us with great substantiation that the author of the Gospel of Matthew is indeed Matthew.

Donald Guthrie concludes;

“there is no conclusive reason for rejecting the strong external testimony regarding the authorship of Matthew”

-Donald Guthrie, New Testament Introduction, [InterVarsity Press, 1990], p. 53

Matt Slick, whom has a Masters in Divinity, notes the following

“The early church unanimously held that the gospel of Matthew was the first written gospel and was penned by the apostle of the same name”

Mark

External Evidence

Moving forwards, we shall now list the documentation of the authorship of the Gospel of Mark, showing that Mark is indeed the man who wrote the Gospel of Mark.

Papias writes, in 95-110 AD;

This also the presbyter said: Mark, having become the interpreter of Peter, wrote down accurately, though not in order, whatsoever he remembered of the things said or done by Christ. For he neither heard the Lord nor followed him, but afterward, as I said, he followed Peter, who adapted his teaching to the needs of his hearers, but with no intention of giving a connected account of the Lord’s discourses, so that Mark committed no errorwhile he thus wrote some things as he remembered them. For he was careful of one thing, not to omit any of the things which he had heard, and not to state any of them falsely.

-preserved in Church History, Book 3, Chapter 39, Verse 15

Irenaeus, writing in 180 AD, states;

“After their departure, Mark, the disciple and interpreter of Peter, did also hand down to us in writing what had been preached by Peter.”

Against Heresies, Book 3, Chapter 1

Tertullian, writing in 200 AD states;

“that which Mark published may be affirmed to be Peter’s whose interpreter Mark was.”

Against Marcion, Book 4, Chapter 5

Clement of Alexandria, writing in 180 AD, states;

“The Gospel according to Mark had this occasion. As Peter had preached the Word publicly at Rome, and declared the Gospel by the Spirit, many who were present requested that Mark, who had followed him for a long time and remembered his sayings, should write them out. And having composed the Gospel he gave it to those who had requested it.”

-preserved in Church History, Book 6, Chapter 14, Verse 6

Origen, writing from 185-254 AD writes;

” The second is by Mark, who composed it according to the instructions of Peter, who in his Catholic epistle acknowledges him as a son, saying, ‘The church that is at Babylon elected together with you, salutes you, and so does Marcus, my son.’ ”

-preserved in Church History, Book 6, Chapter 25, Verse 5

According to an anti-Marcionite Prologue from 160-180 AD;

“Mark declared, who is called ‘stump-fingered’ because he had short fingers in comparison with the size of the rest of his body. He was Peter’s interpreter. After the departure of Peter himself, he wrote down this same gospel in the regions of Italy.”

-Anti-Marcionite Prologue to Mark quoted in Adam Winn, The purpose of Mark’s Gospel: An Early Christian Response to Roman Imperial Propaganda, [Mohr Siebeck, 2008], p. 47

David Malick writes;

“EXTERNAL EVIDENCE strongly supports John Mark as the author of the Gospel of Mark in association with the Apostle Peter”

Justin Martyr, writing in 150 AD, affirms Mark’s writing based on Peter’s memoir;

And when it is said that He changed the name of one of the apostles to Peter; and when it is written in the memoirs of Him that this so happened, as well as that He changed the names of other two brothers, the sons of Zebedee, to Boanerges, which means sons of thunder; this was an announcement of the fact that it was He by whom Jacob was called Israel, and Oshea called Jesus (Joshua), under whose name the people who survived of those that came from Egypt were conducted into the land promised to the patriarchs.

Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho, Chapter 106

Internal Evidence

According to Philemon 1:24, the actual Mark was placed to be residing in Rome, and we know this is where Peter lived during the latter of his life [1], meaning that Mark was in the correct location to receive the Christian traditions from Peter in order to write a biography. Furthermore, in 1 Peter 5:13, Peter refers to Mark as his son (Keith Thompson notes this likely is meant to be taken in a ministerial sense, not biologically).

This is confirmation that Mark was associated with Peter, and evidence that the author of the Gospel of Mark utilized Peter as an authority is very strong, especially because of the fact that the author of the Gospel of Mark utilizes inclusio in regards to Peter. What inclusio is, is a literary device, in this case, where someone would reference the inspiration of their work in the beginning and ending of the document. We do indeed see Peter (or as we noted earlier, his other name being Simeon/Simon) being mentioned in the Gospel of Mark around the beginning of this Gospel (Mark 1:16) and around the ending of it (Mark 16:7), showing that Peter was the authority witness that was used by the author of the Gospel of Mark, which perfectly fits with the extensive historical records that confirm above that Mark was the interpreter of Peter, and transcribed his Gospel by Peter’s sayings to him.

Further confirming Peter as the authority behind the Gospel of Mark, F.F. Bruce says this in his book The New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable;

“Further confirmation of the Petrine authority behind Mark was supplied in a series of acute linguistic studies by C.H. Turner, entitled ‘Marcan Usage’, in the Journal of Theological Studies for 1924 and 1925, showing, among other things, how Mark’s use of pronouns in narratives involving Peter seems time after time to reflect a reminiscence by that apostle in the first person. The reader can receive from such passages ‘a vivid impression of the testimony that lies behind the Gospel: thus in 1:29, “we came into our house with James and John: and my wife’s mother was ill in bed with a fever and at once we tell him about her” ”

In consideration of all this information, it is greatly evident that the author of the Gospel of Mark, is indeed Mark.

Luke

External Evidence

We shall now see the lengthy historical records affirming that Luke has indeed authored the Gospel of Luke.

Irenaeus, writing in 180 AD states;

“Luke also, the companion of Paul, recorded in a book the Gospel preached by him.”

Against Heresies, Book 3, Chapter 1

An early canon written in 170 AD documents;

“The third book of the gospel is according to Luke. This Luke was a physician who Paul had taken after the ascension of the Christ to be a legal expert. Yet he had not seen the Lord in the flesh. So, as far as he could, he begins his story with the birth of John.”

The Muratorian Canon

According to an anti-Marcionite Prologue written in 160-180 AD;

“Luke, a Syrian of Antioch, doctor by profession… Luke, under the impulse of the Holy Spirit, wrote his gospel in the region of Achaia.”

-Anti-Marcionite Prologue to Luke quoted in Vincent P. Branick, Understanding the New Testament and its Message: An Introduction, [Paulist Press, 1998], p. 138

Tertullian, writing in 200 AD states;

“the evangelical Testament has apostles for its authors, to whom was assigned by the Lord Himself this office of publishing the gospel… therefore, John and Matthew first instill faith into us; while of apostolic men, Luke and Mark renew is afterward… Now, of the authors whom we possess, Marcion seems to have singled out Luke for his mutilating process.”

Against Marcion, Book 4, Chapter 2

Origen, in 185-254 AD states;

“And the third by Luke, the Gospel commended by Paul, and composed for Gentile converts. Last of all that by John.”

Church History, Book 6, Chapter 25, Verse 6

Internal Evidence

As we shall see, the internal evidence is also greatly favoring Luke as the man who transcribed the Gospel of Luke.

First of all, it is important to note that the author of the Gospel of Luke is also the same man who is the author of the Book of Acts. Scholars entirely agree on this, as there the confirmation is simply undoubtable, as we can see when we contrast Luke 1:1-4 with Acts 1:1-3. Moving on, Paul makes it clear to us that he is with Luke, in various places, including  very notably Colossians 4:14Philemon 1:24 and 2 Timothy 4:11. Allow us to quote just one of these passages;

[2 Timothy 4:11] Only Luke is with me. Bring Mark with you, for he is useful to me in the ministry.

Paul claims only Luke is with him here, thus we can know that Paul associated himself with Luke.

Now, there is something very interesting about the Book of Acts. Michael A. Reynolds says the following about what are called the ‘we’ passages in the Book of Acts;

The “we” passages are found in the second half of Acts in 16:10-17, 20:5-15, 21:1-18,and 27:1-28:16As introduced above, these passages are ones in which Luke uses the first-person plural pronouns “we” and “us” unexpectedly and without explanation. They all take place in the context of a voyage (especially 27:1-28:16) or a travel narrative, and all include sea travel in particular.

Biblical Scholars and Historians of the New Testament have recognized a set of passages in the context of a voyage in the work of the Book of Acts, in which the author employs the term “we”, in which he is suddenly accompanied by an un-identified traveler on his voyage. One must simply ask, who is this traveler, accompanying the author of the Gospel of Luke and Book of Acts? We know the author of Luke-Acts is one of the men on this voyage, but just who is this other figure with him? The answer is… Paul.

 [Acts 16:10-17] After he had seen the vision, we immediately made efforts to set out for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to evangelize them. Then, setting sail from Troas, we ran a straight course to Samothrace, the next day to Neapolis, and from there to Philippi, a Roman colony, which is a leading city of that district of Macedonia. We stayed in that city for a number of days. On the Sabbath day we went outside the city gate by the river, where we thought there was a place of prayer. We sat down and spoke to the women gathered there. A woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth from the city of Thyatira, who worshiped God, was listening. The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was spoken by Paul. After she and her household were baptized, she urged us, “If you consider me a believer in the Lord, come and stay at my house.” And she persuaded us.  Once, as we were on our way to prayer, a slave girl met us who had a spirit of prediction. She made a large profit for her owners by fortune-telling. As she followed Paul and us she cried out, “These men, who are proclaiming to you the way of salvation, are the slaves of the Most High God.”

In this passage, the author of Luke-Acts identifies himself as on part of the trip with several uses of the word ‘we’, and we are also made abundantly clear that Paul was also on this trip. So, the author of Luke-Acts was travelling with Paul, according to the author of Luke-Acts, and Paul was travelling with Luke, according to Paul as we have seen. The other we passages that confirm Paul being associated with the author of Luke-Acts in the Book of Luke including Acts 20:5-15Acts 20:1-18 and Acts 27Acts 28:16, giving us astonishing confirmation of this. Thus, to sum up, Paul claims to be travelling with Luke, the author of the Gospel of Luke claims to be travelling with Paul. This is unambiguous confirmation of Luke having authored the Gospel of Luke. In fact, Irenaeus in 180 AD, whom we have already quoted several times so far, has called Luke and Paul “inseparable companions” [2]. Michael A. Reynolds thus concludes;

“The conclusion that Luke was present in the “we” passages and was writing as an eyewitness to the events at hand is the most reasonable conclusion to arrive at in the midst of the current arguments.”

John

External Evidence

Irenaeus, writing in 180 AD, states;

“John, the disciple of the Lord, who also had leaned upon His breast, did himself publish a Gospel during his residence at Ephesus in Asia… those who were conversant in Asia with John, the disciple of the Lord, [affirming] that John conveyed to them that information. And he remained among them up to the times of Trajan… Then, again, the Church in Ephesus, founded by Paul, and having John remaining among them permanently until the times of Trajan, is a true witness of the tradition of the apostles.”

Against Heresies, Book 3, Chapter 1, Verse 1

Tertullian, writing in 200 AD writes;

“The same authority of the apostolic churches will afford evidence to the other Gospels also, which we possess equally through their means, and according to their usage — I mean the Gospels of John and Matthew…”

Against Marcion, Book 4, Chapter 5

Clement of Alexandria, writing from 180 AD says;

“John, perceiving that the external facts had been made plain in the Gospel, being urged by his friends, and inspired by the Spirit, composed a spiritual Gospel.”

-preserved in Church History, Book 6, Chapter 14, Verse 7

Origen, from 185-254 AD writes;

“Last of all that by John”

-preserved in Church History, Book 6, Chapter 25, Verse 6

An anti-Marcionite Prologue from 160-180 AD writes;

“John the apostle, whom the Lord Jesus loved very much, last of all wrote this gospel, the bishops of Asia having entreated him, against Cerinthus and other heretics…”

Anti-Marcionite Prologue to John quoted in Ben C. Smith, The Latin Prologues (textexcavation.com/latinprologues.html)

Theophilus of Antioch affirms John as the author of the Gospel of John when he writes the following;

“And hence the holy writings teach us, and all the spirit-bearing [inspired] men, one of whom, John, says, In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, showing that at first God was alone, and the Word in Him.”

Tu Autolycus, Book 2, Chapter 22

An early canon from 170 AD writes;

“John, one of the disciples, wrote the Fourth Gospel. When his fellow disciples and the bishops urged him to do so, he said, ‘Join me in fasting for three days, and then let us relate to one another what shall be revealed to each.’ The same night it was revealed to Andrew, one of the apostles, that John should write down everything in his own name, and they should all revise it.”

The Muratorian Canon

Internal Evidence

In the Gospel of John, the author identifies himself as the “disciple whom Jesus loved”.

 [John 21:20-24] Then Peter, turning about, seeth the disciple whom Jesus loved following; which also leaned on his breast at supper, and said, Lord, which is he that betrayeth thee? Peter seeing him saith to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man do? Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me. Then went this saying abroad among the brethren, that that disciple should not die: yet Jesus said not unto him, He shall not die; but, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? This is the disciple which testifieth of these things, and wrote these things: and we know that his testimony is true.

So, can it be shown that “the disciple whom Jesus loved” was John? Before this is done, we must first note that in this passage, John 21:20-24, the author identifies himself as an eyewitness either way. However, can it be shown that this is John in specific? F.F. Bruce argues for this very fact, in the following manner;

“… of the twelve, there were three who were on occasion admitted to more intimate fellowship with the Master – Peter, James and John. It was these three, for example, whom he took to keep watch with Him during His vigil in Gethsemane after the Last Supper (Mk 14:33). We should naturally expect that the beloved disciple would be one of the number. He was not Peter, from whom he is explicitly distinguished in John 13:24, 20:2, and 21:20. There remain two sons of Zebedee, James and John, who were included in the seven of chapter 21. But James was martyred not later than AD 44 (Acts 12:2), and therefore there was little likelihood that the saying should go abroad about him which went abroad about the beloved disciple, that he would not die. So we are left with John.”

-F. F. Bruce, The New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable?, [Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1981], p. 45

Bruce seems to provide us with very good evidence and argumentation that this eyewitness who wrote the Gospel of John, is in fact John. Thus, it may seem that we have thoroughly shown that true authors of the four Gospels, are the traditional authors that we hold to today — that being Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

Indeed, we have endless early attestation of the original authors of these four writings. Furthermore, there exists no competing tradition on who truly wrote these documents, meaning that as any Scholar would admit, the entire early Church was in complete agreement that Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John wrote these four Gospels. Thus, Christians can understand that our scriptures are written by eyewitnesses to the events that they write of, whom are Matthew and John, and that one of the other authors of our Gospels is both a Historian and physician, being Luke, whom was greatly associated with Paul, and the last of our authors of scripture was a student and interpreter of Peter, whom himself was one of the twelve apostles of Jesus Christ, our God, Lord, and Savior. Concluding, our scriptures are very reliable, and are in fact evidence for Christianity, for the Gospels were written by those who were directly associated of the Christian miracles, such as the Resurrection. Just to note, John was John the Elder, not John son of Zebedee. John son of Zebedee was one of the actual twelve disciples of Jesus, whereas John the Elder was a different John but still knew Jesus. John the Elder wrote the Gospel of John, 1 John, 2 John and 3 John, whereas John son of Zebedee wrote Revelation. This thesis, that the Gospels can be traced to eyewitness testimony, is supported by the book Jesus and the Eyewitnesses, a book published in 2006 by the world-class scholar Richard Bauckham, described by academics in the field as the most important contribution to the entirety of New Testament scholarship in perhaps the last century.

Note : Good credit to Keith Thompson,  whoms work greatly helped me find many sources in which I used to produce this blog from this link that I cited earlier.

  1. Keith Thompson writes; “Writing to the Christians in Rome in the 1st century Ignatius of Antioch states “I do not command you, as Peter and Paul did” (Ignatius, Letter to the Romans, Ch. 4). In the 2nd century Irenaeus reports that “…the greatest and most ancient church known to all, founded and organized at Rome by the two most glorious apostles, Peter and Paul…” (Irenaeus, Against Heresies Book 3 Ch. 3). Eusebius reports a tradition provided by Dionysius (A.D. ? – 171) bishop of Corinth: “And that they both suffered martyrdom at the same time is stated by Dionysius, bishop of Corinth, in his epistle to the Romans, in the following words: You have thus by such an admonition bound together the planting of Peter and of Paul at Rome and Corinth. For both of them planted and likewise taught us in our Corinth. And they taught together in like manner in Italy, and suffered martyrdom at the same time” (Eusebius, Church History, II.25.8).”
  2. https://books.google.ca/books?id=xHU93Uevss4C&pg=PA8&lpg=PA8&dq=irenaeus+says+luke+and+paul+were+inseparable+companions&source=bl&ots=7XJlv_LOe4&sig=NxIDzQ4MPkbhhltg5Qzqv-jxses&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiR-7L_0ODPAhVDw4MKHRdcBlgQ6AEIJTAB#v=onepage&q=irenaeus%20says%20luke%20and%20paul%20were%20inseparable%20companions&f=false

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READ MORE:

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God and Pharaoh’s Free Will

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Jesus Claimed To Be God

It’s a well known Christian doctrine that Jesus was God, and part of the Trinity. However, dissidents from both Islam and Atheism have come to claim that the historical Jesus did not actually claim to be the Son of God, God in the flesh. Rather, they propose — He merely claimed to be an apocalyptic prophet and the Messiah. As decades passed by, His theology evolved over time much like how Hercules (a once real historical figure) was deified after his death into a God. Therefore, the Christian doctrine bears no historical validity on who Jesus was! Unfortunately for these sappy conspiracy theorists, it is simply false that Jesus did not claim to be God.

We will start with the Gospel of John. The evidence for the divinity of Jesus in the Gospel of John is, on its face, irrefutable and undeniable.

[John 1:1] In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

So, it is simply not debatable that the Word mentioned in John 1:1 is in fact God. A few verses later, it is made abundantly clear who the Word is.

[John 1:14] The Word became flesh and took up residence among us. We observed His glory, the glory as the One and Only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

There you have it, the Word is Jesus Christ, and Jesus is God. There are a few other verses in John’s Gospel which simply eliminate any possibility of Jesus somehow not claiming to be God, and this being the clear view of Jesus’ followers. Such would include the following claims made by Jesus:

 [John 20:30-31] Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of His disciples that are not written in this book. But these are written so that you may believe Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and by believing you may have life in His name.

[John 14:6-7] Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. “If you know Me, you will also know My Father. From now on you do know Him and have seen Him.”

[John 10:25-33]“I did tell you and you don’t believe,” Jesus answered them. “The works that I do in My Father’s name testify about Me. But you don’t believe because you are not My sheep. My sheep hear My voice, I know them, and they follow Me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish—ever! No one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all. No one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.“The Father and I are one.” Again the Jews picked up rocks to stone Him. Jesus replied, “I have shown you many good works from the Father. Which of these works are you stoning Me for?” “We aren’t stoning You for a good work,” the Jews answered, “but for blasphemy, because You—being a man—make Yourself God.”

[John 14:8-9] Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us.” Jesus replied, “Philip, I have been with you all this time, and still you do not know Me? Anyone who has seen Me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?

[John 8:58-59] Jesus said to them, “I assure you: Before Abraham was, I am.” At that, they picked up stones to throw at Him. But Jesus was hidden and went out of the temple complex.

In case you are not entirely sure where Jesus claims to be God in John 8:58-59, it’s when He says “I am”, which was how God identified Himself in Exodus 3:14 in the Old Testament. That’s also why the Jews tried to stone Him for saying it — because He made Himself equal with God. In fact, the Jews are outright said to be trying to kill Jesus, our Lord, for making Himself equal with God in John 5:16-18.

So really, John makes it indescribably clear that Jesus was God. However, this is where critics like Bart Ehrman jump in, and claim that John is the latest of the four Gospels, and thus obviously evolved from the other Gospels, and then Bart Ehrman claims that the other Gospels are the ones that do not identify Jesus as being God. Now despite this being irrelevant because of the extensive historical documentation that shows the author of John was indeed the historical John the Elder, meaning that the author of this Gospel was not writing of a developed theology, rather a first-hand experience and following of Jesus, let us play along with the claims of these deniers.

So, do the other Gospels make it explicitly clear that Jesus is the Son of God? Yes. Let us see some examples of Jesus clearly saying and being clearly said to be God or equal to God in the rest of the four Gospels.

[Matthew 11:27] All things have been entrusted to Me by My Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son desires to reveal Him.

[Matthew 28:19] Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,

[Matthew 16:13-17] When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” And they said, “Some say John the Baptist; others, Elijah; still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” “But you,” He asked them, “who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God!” And Jesus responded, “Simon son of Jonah, you are blessed because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father in heaven.

[Mark 1:1] The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

 [Mark 14:60-64] Then the high priest stood up before them all and questioned Jesus, “Don’t You have an answer to what these men are testifying against You?” But He kept silent and did not answer anything. Again the high priest questioned Him, “Are You the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?” “I am,” said Jesus, “and all of you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Power and coming with the clouds of heaven.” Then the high priest tore his robes and said, “Why do we still need witnesses? You have heard the blasphemy! What is your decision?” And they all condemned Him to be deserving of death.

In fact, all the Gospels, aside from John, even record God the Father in heaven declaring that Jesus is His Son.

[Matthew 3:17] And there came a voice from heaven: This is My beloved Son. I take delight in Him!

[Luke 9:35] A voice came from the cloud, saying, “This is My Son, whom I have chosen: Listen to Him!”

[Mark 1:11] And a voice came from heaven: “You are My beloved Son; in You I am well pleased.”

It is thus extraordinarily evident that all the Gospels record Jesus as God. Wait a minute! What about the rest of the New Testament? The Gospels are just four books of the New Testament, in which there are twenty-seven! Surely, if Jesus was God, all these other books would also record Jesus is God, correct?! Correct.

[Hebrews 1:7-8] And about the angels He says: He makes His angels winds, and His servants a fiery flame but to the Son: Your throne, God, is forever and ever, and the scepter of Your kingdom is a scepter of justice.

[Titus 2:13] while we wait for the blessed hope and appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.

[Romans 9:5] The ancestors are theirs, and from them, by physical descent, came the Messiah, who is God over all, praised forever. Amen.

 [2 Peter 1:1-2] Simeon Peter, a slave and an apostle of Jesus Christ: To those who have obtained a faith of equal privilege with ours through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ. May grace and peace be multiplied to you through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.

[Colossians 2:9] For the entire fullness of God’s nature dwells bodily in Christ,

[Phillipians 2:5-6] Make your own attitude that of Christ Jesus, who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God as something to be used for His own advantage.

[James 1:1] James, a slave of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ: To the 12 tribes in the Dispersion.

[Revelation 22:12-13]“Look! I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me to repay each person according to what he has done.  I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.

[Revelation 17:14] “These will wage war against the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, because He is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those who are with Him are the called and chosen and faithful.”

[Phillipians 2:10-11] so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow—of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth— and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

(these verses are written by Peter, James, the author of Hebrews, Paul, and John)

So, outside of the Gospels, Jesus is declaring Himself as Alpha and the Omega (which is a title that was used to describe God the Father), and Jesus was being declared as the King of kings and Lord of lords (which was another title used to describe God the Father).

Hold on! Surely, if Jesus, the prophesied Messiah was God, it would be attested to in the Old Testament as well? For if the coming Messiah, redeemer of all men was God, this MUST be something told to us in the Old Testament! Is this not true?

The question now is, does the Old Testament make it clear Jesus is God? Yes. For one, the Old Testament says the following about the coming Messiah:

[Isaiah 9:6-7] For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us, And the government will rest on his shoulders; And his name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. The dominion will be vast,
and its prosperity will never end. He will reign on the throne of David
and over his kingdom, to establish and sustain it with justice and righteousness from now on and forever. The zeal of the Lord of Hosts will accomplish this.

Furthermore, it is a well known fact that Jesus references Himself as the Son of Man, at least 80 times in the New Testament (despite conspiracy theorists on this issue like Bart Ehrman). Now, it may seem as if the title ‘Son of Man’ shows Jesus is not God, however we should not rest on our own understanding of the concept of the Son of Man, instead we must go to the Old Testament to understand who the Son of Man actually is.

[Daniel 7:13-14] I continued watching in the night visions, and I saw One like a son of man coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was escorted before Him. He was given authority to rule, and glory, and a kingdom; so that those of every people, nation, and language should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and His kingdom is one that will not be destroyed.

So, according to the Old Testament, the son of man is clearly a God-like figure, who approaches the Ancient of Days (the Father), and is given authority to rule a divine kingdom, eternally. This figure is clearly God! And Jesus CONSTANTLY references Himself as the Son of Man, over 80 time in the Bible, meaning Jesus is claiming to be in all four Gospels the figure of the Old Testament who will be given authority and dominion over all peoples of all nations of all languages, for all eternity. This is a clear case of Old Testament confirmation of the divinity of Jesus. Furthermore, the Old Testament possesses the full theology of the Trinity, so there’s that too. Continuing, we are told in the Old Testament that only God has the ability to forgive sins, as well as this being reiterated in the New Testament.

[Isaiah 43:25] “It is I who sweep away your transgressions for My own sake and remember your sins no more.

[Mark 2:7] “Why does He speak like this? He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?”

Although this, Jesus moves on to claim that He has the power to forgive sins as well, meaning He is God as Jesus is claiming a task of God upon Himself.

[Mark 2:10] But so you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins,” He told the paralytic,

The Old Testament obviously says Jesus is God. It is true that Jesus is the divine Son of God. The evidence for this continues piling up. Dissenters of this irrefutable Biblical concept also claim Jesus did not say to be worshiped, however Jesus accepted and received worship all the time.

[Matthew 2:11] Entering the house, they saw the child with Mary His mother, and falling to their knees, they worshiped Him. Then they opened their treasures and presented Him with gifts: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

[Matthew 28:9] Suddenly Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” They came to Him, grasped His feet, and worshiped Him.

This shows Jesus is God, as when an angel was worshiped, the angel stopped the person from worshiping him and said only God is to be worshiped.

[Revelation 22:8-9] I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. When I heard and saw them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who had shown them to me. But he said to me, “Don’t do that! I am a fellow slave with you, your brothers the prophets, and those who keep the words of this book. Worship God.”

However, Jesus accepted all worship. This would mean in accordance with the Book of Revelation (the final book of the New Testament) that Jesus is God. Now, I can cite many other verses in the Gospels and New Testament to continue proving that Jesus is God, such as Matthew 14:33, John 20:28, and 1 Timothy 3:16, but the point has been made obvious, Jesus is and claimed to be God. Now, we will look at the historical evidence for this claim and see that the earliest Christian writers outside of the authors of the New Testament, all thought Jesus was clearly God.

Clement of Rome, whom according to the historical evidence wrote as early as 70 AD, says this:

[1 Clement: Prologue 1] The Church of God which sojourns at Rome, to the Church of God sojourning at Corinth, to them that are called and sanctified by the will of God, through our Lord Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, from Almighty God through Jesus Christ, be multiplied.

As early as 70 AD, historical Christians have quickly recognized Jesus as God. This was likely before John even wrote his Gospel. Let us see some other writers. Polycarp, writing in 130 AD, says this in the Martyrdom of Polycarp, Chapter 14, Verse 1:

So they did not nail him, but tied him. Then he, placing his hands behind him and being bound to the stake, like a noble ram out of a great flock for an offering, a burnt sacrifice made ready and acceptable to God, looking up to heaven said: “O Lord God Almighty, the Father of Your beloved and blessed Son Jesus Christ, through whom we have received the knowledge of You, the God of angels and powers and of all creation and of the whole race of the righteous, who live in Your presence;

Justin Martyr, writing from anywhere between 100-165 AD, in First Apology writes:

For, in the name of God, the Father and Lord of the universe, and of our Savior Jesus Christ, and of the Holy Spirit, they then receive the washing with water.

Ignatius of Antioch, writing in 96 AD, says this:

We have also as a Physician the Lord our God Jesus the Christ the only-begotten Son and Word, before time began, but who afterwards became also man, of Mary the virgin.  For ‘the Word was made flesh.’ Being incorporeal, He was in the body; being impassible, He was in a passable body; being immortal, He was in a mortal body; being life, He became subject to corruption, that He might free our souls from death and corruption, and heal them, and might restore them to health, when they were diseased with ungodliness and wicked lusts.

Irenaeus, writing in 180 AD, says in his book, Against Heresies, Book 1, Chapter 10:

The Church, though dispersed throughout the whole world, even to the ends of the earth, has received from the apostles and their disciples this faith: . . . one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are in them; and in one Christ Jesus, the Son of God, who became incarnate for our salvation; and in the Holy Spirit, who proclaimed through the prophets the dispensations of God, and the advents, and the birth from a virgin, and the passion, and the resurrection from the dead, and the ascension into heaven in the flesh of the beloved Christ Jesus, our Lord, and His manifestation from heaven in the glory of the Father ‘to gather all things in one,’ and to raise up anew all flesh of the whole human race, in order that to Christ Jesus, our Lord, and God, and Savior, and King, according to the will of the invisible Father, ‘every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth, and that every tongue should confess; to him, and that He should execute just judgment towards all

Other early Christian writers like Tertullian in 200 AD and Origen in 180-250 AD, Mathetes in 160 AD, the Shepard of Hermas as early as 80 AD, Tatian in 170 AD, Athenagoras in 177 AD, Theophilus of Antioch in 180 AD, amongst many others all record Jesus as being God.

So, as we have seen, the New Testament without doubt makes Jesus as God, the Old Testament says Jesus is God, and all the earliest Christians in the historical record think  Jesus is in fact God. It’s a common myth that Jesus’ divinity was made up in the Council of Nicaea, in 325 AD. In reality, people who claim this have no idea what actually happened at the Council of Nicaea — every single one of the hundreds of people that were present at the Council, except three Arians (whom were heretics) accepted the divinity of Jesus. If you want to know what really happened at the Council of Nicaea, click here. To be fair, there was indeed one early Christian who didn’t think Jesus was God — that would be Marcion. Although to be even more fair, Marcion was declared a heretic by almost the entire early Church. Some heathen also try to spuriously use some verses in the New Testament to try to claim Jesus says He was not God. One such example is:

[Luke 18:18-19] A ruler asked Him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” “Why do you call Me good?” Jesus asked him. “No one is good but One—God.

Contrary to the claims of the heathen, Jesus in no way denies His being God here. Rather, Jesus is simply instructing this man that if he were to call anyone good, it would be the same as calling them God. That is all Jesus was saying. In fact, this proves Jesus is God, because Jesus IS GOOD! Indeed, Jesus is entirely sinless (1 Peter 2:22, 2 Corinthians 5:21, Hebrews 4:15, 1 John 3:5), and thus Jesus is good. In fact, Jesus even called Himself good, which decimates this argument and shows Jesus is God.

[John 10:11] I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.

Some other heathen try to claim Jesus is not God, because of instances like when Jesus said only the Father knows the day and the hour and not Himself, when Jesus said that the Father was greater than Him, or when he had to eat and sleep (in which God doesn’t need to do), or that when He died for our sins (and God cannot die). However, all these people forget that according to the Bible, Jesus was temporarily lowered from Godhood to manhood when He came to Earth (Hebrews 2:91 Timothy 3:16), He became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14), and while temporarily lowered, He was temporarily below God, and thus did things like pray to the Father. However, after He rose from the dead, He ascended back into Heaven, at the right hand of the Father as God (Mark 16:19), and at the Ascension, once He ascended back into heaven, He was then again fully God and ceased doing all these things. In fact, Jesus even told us to pray to Him in His name, and we see people praying to Jesus in the Holy Bible.

[John 14:14] If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.

[1 Corinthians 1:2] To God’s church at Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus and called as saints, with all those in every place who call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord—both their Lord and ours.

Also remember you can also pray to the Father (Psalms 116:41 John 5:142 Chronicles 6:24Jeremiah 29:12). Anyways, this argument against Jesus being God entirely ignores that these things only applied to Jesus while He was temporarily man, but no longer any more from now and forever on. Some claim that Jesus becoming man shows He is not God, because God does not change (Malachi 3:6), however Christians have already solved this problem for centuries with the knowledge of Hypostatic Union, which is to say, Jesus was both fully God and fully man at the same time whilst on Earth. However, the heathen are not done here — they then claim the idea that Jesus was fully God and fully man at the same time is a self-contradiction! Saying Jesus is God and man is like saying a square circle can exist,  right? No. Remember, according to the Trinity, God is one being, three persons. Jesus is fully God in being, fully man in person, so there is no contradiction.

In conclusion, Jesus is God. The New Testament says so, the Old Testament says so, all the early Christians say so, Jesus says so, and we’ve seen all the arguments against this fail. Next time you hear someone claim that Jesus is not God, remember the following verse from the Holy Bible.

[1 John 2:22] Who is the liar, if it is not the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, who denies the Father and the Son.

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Matthew, Mark, Luke and John – Authors of the Gospels?

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Scientific Miracle in the Qur’an Debunked

One of the primary arguments that Muslims give to the critics of their religion Islam, in order to establish the authenticity of their religion, is to try to show that their Holy Book (the Qur’an) actually contains scientific miracles. One of their favorite examples of a scientific miracle in their Qur’an is to try to show that the Qur’an miraculously writes about the existence of the seven layers of the atmosphere hundreds of years before scientists discovered and verified the existence of the seven layers in the atmosphere. This claim by our Muslim friends is usually extrapolated from one of the two following verses in the Qur’an;

“It is He Who created everything on the earth for you and then directed His attention up to heaven and arranged it into seven regular heavens. He has knowledge of all things.”(Qur’an, 2:29)

“Then He turned to heaven when it was smoke. In two days He determined them as seven heavens and revealed, in every heaven, its own mandate.” (Qur’an, 41:11-12)

Indeed, you can see Muslims arguing for such a thing here and here. These seven layers of the atmosphere predicted by the Qur’an, according to the Muslims, are the troposphere, stratosphere, mesosphere, thermosphere, exosphere, ionosphere, and the magnetosphere. Because there are seven layers in the atmosphere, the Qur’an must be right and contain a scientific miracle.

Immediately, we can see a major error in this interpretation. For one, how exactly are the ‘seven heavens’ meant to be interpreted as seven layers in the Earth’s atmosphere? The idea that the Qur’anic heavens is meant to translate to the atmosphere levels of the Earth is a rather absurd idea from the get-go, and really, rather than a scientific miracle, it seems like a Muslim is trying to connect a rather vague verse in the Qur’an with modern science.

Secondly, according to NASA’s website, there are only six layers in the atmosphere. In other words, this connection is entirely non-existent in the first place. Unlike the diagram above, NASA does not include the magnetosphere. Indeed, what the magnetosphere actually is, is a region surrounding any astronomical body, such as our Earth, in which is dominated by the astronomical bodies magnetic field. It isn’t a later in the atmosphere.

Unfortunately for the Muslims, the problems don’t end there. On the off chance that the magnetosphere really is part of the atmosphere, Islam is actually a false religion, not a true one. Why Take a look at what else the Qur’an has to say about the seven heavens:

“So He ordained them seven heavens in two periods, and revealed in every heaven its affair; and We adorned the lower heaven with brilliant stars…” (Qur’an 41:12)

According to this verse, the Qur’an is telling us that the lower heavens possess the stars. So, according to the Muslims who believes that the seven heavens are the layers of the atmosphere, this verse must mean that the stars are actually located in the lower layers of our atmosphere — which is totally ridiculous. The nearest star is nowhere close to our atmosphere, let alone inside of it, for the nearest star to our Earth is the sun, which is nearly 150,000,000 kilometers away from Earth. If the stars were anywhere near the Earth, let alone right there in our atmosphere, we would all be incinerated. So, either the seven heavens in the Qur’an has nothing to do with the atmosphere, and Muhammad is off the hook, or the seven heavens is talking about the layers of our atmosphere, and Muhammad is a false prophet for revealing this fake information. The Muslim gets to choose which option he goes with.

Anyhoo, fact is, historians of ancient cosmology know what the Qur’an really means when it references the ‘seven heavens’, and that is because such a concept was actually common during the Qur’ans period, and more then a thousand years beforehand. The ancients believed that the universe had seven heavens, and these heavens were the moon, sun, Mercurcy, Mars, Venus, Jupiter, and Saturn (as in the seven astronomical bodies that the ancients were aware of existing). Indeed, these were the ‘seven heavens’ according to pre-Copernican theory. Sadly for Muhammad though, he had no idea about the existence of Uranus and Neptune, two planets he missed from his counting of heavens. In other words, we know that when the Qur’an is talking about the seven heavens, it’s actually talking about outdated cosmology that modern scientists laugh at, not the atmosphere or any sort of other scientific phenomenon.

Are we done? No, there’s still another nail that we need in this coffin. Indeed, we shall entirely concede that the concept of the seven heavens WAS INDEED a scientific miracle, only obtainable to the people that lived before this scientific discovery because of knowledge given to them by God. So, what do we do now? Convert to Islam? No. Why? Because the notion of seven heavens PREDATES Islam. Indeed, the Martyrdom of Isaiah, for example, possesses the concept of the seven heavens and dates several hundred years before the Islamic religion came about. In fact most of the Martyrdom of Isaiah revolves around the concept of the seven heavens. The polytheists are the ones who originally came up with the idea of the seven heavens, and so by Muslim logic, the polytheists are the true believers of God because God obviously gave them this miraculous scientific knowledge thousands of years before they could have possibly known it. Hallelujah!

Seriously, though, the idea of the seven heavens is just ancient cosmological fiction.. and now it’s in the Qur’an.