Monthly Archives: April 2015

Smith: Are our origins coincidental or intentional?

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By David R. Smith
Special to Inside The Pew

Ms. Eloise heard a knock at the door one afternoon, and shuffling her way over to it, opened it to find Kyle, a sweet-but-hyper little boy, standing on her porch

David R. Smith

clutching a baseball glove. The elderly woman, a grandma many times over in her own right, immediately noticed the sheepish look on the little boy’s face.

Kyle looked up at Ms. Eloise and politely said, “Umm…there’s something that belongs to me in your garage and I’d like it back.” Ms. Eloise walked him around to the garage door and as soon as she opened it, noticed two recent additions: a baseball lying in one corner…and a destroyed window with a baseball-size hole in it.

Ms. Eloise crossed her arms, looked down at Kyle, and asked, “How do you suppose that ball got in here?” Kyle looked at the ball, then the window, and then back at Ms. Eloise. Thinking quickly, he said, “Wow! I must have thrown it right through that hole!”

Kyle’s response required Ms. Eloise to believe an extremely coincidental explanation: that the baseball-size hole in her window and his missing baseball had nothing to do with one another. Yes, it was an explanation…but it probably wasn’t the best explanation. In fact, Kyle’s explanation sounded downright unlikely.

Interestingly, the scientific community is continually uncovering evidence that makes the current theory of our origins – known as the Big Bang theory – sound just as unlikely when it comes to the tedious task of explaining us. In layman’s terms, the Big Bang theory states that the Universe we now inhabit started as a very hot, dense nothingness that underwent radical expansion about 14 billion years ago forming planets, stars, and whole galaxies.

But this theory has intrinsic problems beginning with the observation that Epicurus made over 2,000 years ago: “Something never came from nothing.” And what are the chances that a completely random expansion – what is often called the “explosion” part of the Big Bang – could yield Earth…let alone this magnificent Universe? After all, when we analyze our celestial home, we all note the same realities about this shared rock:

  • It’s the only planet known to have water in liquid form.
  • Earth has a perfect balance of water and land.
  • We’re located in “the habitable zone,” the perfect distance between Earth and the sun ensuring our planet is neither too hot nor too cold.
  • Earth has an atmosphere that shields its inhabitants from dangerous radiation and (most) of the debris flying through space.
  • We have a moon of perfect size and proximity to us that ensures life-giving tides to the creatures of the seas.

These are just a few of the requirements our planet must meet to shelter life. However, there are other necessary attributes for sustaining life – scores and scores of them, in fact – each one more awe-inspiring than the last. For example, we need a very precise balance between the four known forces of nature – strong nuclear, weak nuclear, gravity, and electromagnetism – and we have it! But for life to exist on our planet we also need a “sweeper planet” located nearby to clean comets and asteroids from our orbital pattern. Ours is known as Jupiter.

In light of these criteria, the Big Bang theory – the idea that these absolutely perfect conditions for life sprang from a completely random explosion of nothingness – is starting to sound as unlikely as Kyle’s explanation to Ms. Eloise. That little boy and proponents of the Big Bang theory have something in common: holes they can’t explain.

Consequently, a different theory for explaining us, known as the Fine-Tuned Universe, is gaining traction. This line of thinking states that the Universe didn’t come about by chance, or by necessity, but by intentional design. In short, the Fine-Tuned Universe theory rejects the notion that a world as calculated and precise as ours could be generated by accident.

But the modern world has a problem with this theory: a fine-tuned Universe requires a Tuner.

In the opening chapter of my latest book Christianity…It’s Like This, I make the simple case that all of us acknowledge that a spectacular building requires a builder and a beautiful design requires a designer. So why wouldn’t a brilliant creation require a Creator?

In reality, this is hardly groundbreaking. Three thousand years ago, the king of a relatively small nation said, “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge.” (Psalm 19:1-2) King David knew how to explain us: God created us.

In the end, there will always be those who want to dismiss a Creator in spite of such a marvelous creation. They’d have us believe that our world is the way it is because of a series of completely random events that have never been repeated, not even once, even though there are billions and billions of other planets.

When it comes to explaining us, the biblical explanation isn’t the only explanation…but it’s certainly the best explanation.

Though he’s earned two undergraduate degrees and one advanced degree, David R Smith prefers to have simple conversations about faith and life. He pastors First Baptist Church in Linden, Florida, where he lives with his wife, Jenn, and their son, Josiah. When he’s not preaching, he’s usually looking for great BBQ joints or his errant golf shots. David was recently named as one of Vyrso’s top authors to watch in 2015. Smith’s latest title Christianity…It’s Like This is available now!

Muse: ‘Behold I stand at the door …’

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he-is-risen-from-the-dead

Editor’s note: This is a reprint of a column run March 30, 2013.

By Grelan Muse Sr.
Inside The Pew

BATON ROUGE, La. – Easter is one of the most sacred holidays to Christians.

On Sunday, take a moment and remember the reason we celebrate it. I remember Easter Sundays vividly growing up. It wasn’t the Easter

Grelan Muse Sr.

Grelan Muse Sr.

egg hunt after service, but the message of His death, burial, and resurrection.

With a change in priorities by many people, it is important to continue to tell the story of Jesus beyond Easter. As believers, we must be consistent and resonate that message because it is His death that we are saved.

According to Revelation 3:20, the author said, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with Me” (ESV).

No matter how we live our lives, Jesus is the door. To make any strides to get to heaven, it goes through Him. Therefore, we have to learn all we need to know about Him and teach His words to the next generation. If Easter means dressing up to the 9s and Easter baskets, we are doing the Lord and our children a great disservice. Be accurate and tell the truth. The secular world has tried its hardest to take Him out of the holiday (Christmas too); believers won’t deny Him.

If you take a look at the sacrifice He made for us, we don’t need flashlight Christians. These are the people who cut His word on when they want to cut it on. Instead of flicking His word on and off, become a spotlight for God. My favorite scripture on this is 2 Corinthians 4:6: “For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.”

He didn’t die for Himself. He died for all mankind.

Grelan Muse Sr. is founder of Inside The Pew and Pew Talk Radio. Email him at pewnews@aol.com.

 

Round: Why did He remain silent?

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Jesus before Pilate

By Carol Round
Special to Inside The Pew

“As soon as it was morning, the chief priests held a consultation with the elders and scribes and the whole council. They bound Jesus, led him away, and handed him over to Pilate” (Mark 15:1 NRSV).

What if you knew tomorrow would be your final day on earth? How would you prepare? Would you spend time eating a meal—or maybeCarol Round two—with those you love? Would you prepare them for your death? What would you say?

During Jesus’ final day on earth, beginning with the last meal He ate with His disciples and ending with His death and burial, those 24 hours changed our world.

Jesus had been betrayed by Judas, deserted by the rest of His disciples, denied by Peter—not once, but three times—and put on trial by the Sanhedrin. Jesus knew what was ahead. But did that make it any easier?

When the chief priests handed Jesus over to Pontius Pilate, he asked Him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” How did Jesus answer? “You say so.”

And when those chief priests continued to accuse Jesus of many things, Pilate asked Him again, “Have you no answer? See how many charges they bring against you.”

Mark tells us in his gospel that “Jesus made no further reply, so that Pilate was amazed (15:5).

In Adam Hamilton’s book, “24 Hours That Changed the World: 40 Days of Reflection,” he tells us more about Pilate. “Philo of Alexandria described Pilate as cruel, corrupt and violent.”

Yet, Pilate saw through the Jewish ruling council’s apparent interest in attempting to uphold Rome’s authority. Hamilton says, “There they presented Him to the governor, charging Him with the capital offense of claiming to be a king—a crime tantamount to treason and insurrection.”live streaming film Life 2017

Hamilton adds, “He knew they tolerated Rome’s authority and accommodated to it, but their presentation of Jesus to him was not out of a concern for Rome. Pilate knew they were jealous of this man who had challenged not Rome’s authority, but their own.”

Why did Jesus remain silent when questioned by Pilate? Why didn’t He defend Himself against the accusations? Hamilton says, “Some see His silence as another occasion when Jesus was intentionally fulfilling the words of the prophets, in this case Isaiah 53:7:

He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,
yet he did not open his mouth;
like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,
and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent,
so he did not open his mouth.

Hamilton asks his readers to picture the expressions that might have crossed Jesus’ face as He listened to the charges against Him?

Hamilton says, “I picture dignity; resolve; a certain righteous disdain for the high priest; and an awareness that the trial will end in His own death, regardless of what He says, and that God will use His death to change the world forever.”

Born in a stable, sought out by shepherds from the fields and wise men from the east, Jesus was born for just this moment. That’s why He remained silent.

Email carolaround@yahoo.com for information about speaking at your next event.

 

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