If there is any ambition in life that might rise above any other ambition as being the greatest one we could hold, I would say that being a person of love would be the highest. In the Bible we are given as the greatest commandment that of love. It comes in two passages.
"Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your mind, and with all your strength" (Deuteronomy 6:5). Jesus called this the greatest commandment. He said there was a second commandment like it. "You shall love your neighbor as yourself" (Leviticus 18:19). So, how are we commanded to love God and others? With all of our heart, mind, and strength. This encompasses the whole person in every thought, feeling, and action. But there is a problem with these commandments.
I recently had an interesting exchange with a young woman who attended a church event where an evangelist claimed that hundreds of people were healed. As I was watching the event myself I knew that the claim was false.
The young woman, whose sincerity I do not doubt, was adamant that hundreds of people were healed. When I asked her for evidence so that I could rejoice with her, what I received instead were seven statements that could only be described as denying all reality. In fact, these statements are common among Christians who have a tendency to over-super-naturalize their experiences. When you hear these objections to a request for evidence of something then you can identify a person whose understanding is divorced from reality and scripture.
Recently, someone wrote to me after reading my article on "Preach It Teach It," Teleportation Is Not A Spiritual Gift. He wrote to ask me if I was familiar with John 14:12 where Jesus says, “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do.” The implication of the question was that when Jesus said this, couldn’t it apply to teleportation? This question actually brings up other passages where Jesus seems to tell us that Christians will do remarkable things if they have enough faith to believe—things like moving mountains (Matthew 17:20), withering trees (Matthew 21:18-22), make trees fly (Luke 17:6), walking on water (Matthew 14:22-33), or even controlling the weather (James 5:17), all by faith. There is only one problem with this line of reasoning. In the nearly 2,000 years since Jesus walked the earth, no one has ever moved a mountain, instantly withered a tree, made a tree fly, or walked on water. So, what is going on here? If we are Christians and believe in Jesus, the cross, and the resurrection, why can’t we do these things? Is this a matter of, as some would say, faulty faith?
Can America be great again? Yes. America can be great again. If we steel our determination and apply the right principles we can fix our economy and be economically great again.
If we take a sobering look at the evils in the world and be resolute about defeating our enemies then we can be militarily great again. If we will take a common sense look at what we are teaching our children and be determined to fix our failing education system, we can be educationally great again.
Yes, America can be great again. But that's not really the issue, is it? Any country can be great. Greatness is not hard to achieve if we are committed to it. So greatness is not the issue. The issue before us as a nation is more fundamental than that.
What are the hard things of Scripture? Are they things like God being accused of genocide in the Old Testament? Things like sacrificing everything you own? Choosing Jesus over your parents, siblings, friends?
These are all hard things to deal with. Remember Jesus' injunction to one man, "Let the dead bury their own dead" (Matthew 8:22). That's a hard thing. But I don't think it is the hardest of things that scripture presents us with.
I identify myself as an Old Earth Creationist (OEC), holding to the day-age view. This means that I believe the earth and the universe are old in the extreme and that the days of creation listed in Genesis 1 are best understood as long periods of time, or epochs, in which the Lord exercised his creative acts. This stands in contrast to Young Earth Creationists (YEC), who believe the earth and universe are geologically young, between 6,000 and 10,000 years and the days of Genesis 1 are literal 24 hour days.
It is not my intention, in this article, to write an apologetic for OEC. Rather, I would like to address one issue within OEC that YECs say helps disprove the case for OEC, and is a persistent problem for OEC advocacy. Is there a case for death prior to the fall into sin? To state my belief up front, I believe that human death was possible prior to the fall. However, as a religious view (not a scientific view), this is religious speculation. What is possible is not always actual. Nevertheless, I believe human death was possible before the fall because such an idea, to me, seems to be a reasonable explanation for certain difficulties in the biblical text about primeval history.
Have you seen those memes on social media about the one true religion? They usually go something like this: “Out of the thousands of religions that exist, the only one you were exposed to as a child is the only ‘true’ religion? What an amazing coincidence!” Reality check. All over the world, people are abandoning their ‘true religion’ for Jesus Christ.
Have you ever heard someone say, or a preacher preach that Jesus can be found in every book of the Bible, but you wonder if that’s really true? I’d like to help you a little with that problem by showing you just how prevalent Jesus is in the Old Testament. And to make my point I want to show you six ways Jesus is pre-figured in the Old Testament. But not the whole Old Testament, just the book of Genesis. But not the whole book of Genesis. Just the first three chapters. You see, if Jesus is really pre-figured in the Old Testament, we ought to find him in many places, and the first three chapters of Genesis set this stage with six instances.
Where do I find Jesus in Genesis 1-3? Try this on for size:
In my early radio career I was once engineering a live talk show. The host was taking live calls. One woman said, "You sound like a man of God." My friend, the host, suddenly became very solemn. During the commercial break he said to me,"Did you hear what she said? She called me a man of God. I've never been paid a greater compliment." He was truly humbled by the experience.
Just what does it mean to be a man or woman of God? Has anyone ever thought of you in that fashion? Do you think you have the qualifications to be a man or woman of God?
There is difficulty for some to accept the idea of the supernatural because, in their understanding, the supernatural is akin to magic. So when a skeptic hears a report of a miracle or healing such a report is easily dismissed. Magic makes for good fairy tales, but it doesn't really exist. Thus, the supernatural doesn't exist.
This is all a matter of definitions. The biblically grounded Christian knows that the supernatural exists, but as long as his reports are bound by the definition of the skeptic he can never see a skeptic acquiesce that the miraculous might be possible. Perhaps what we need is a new term unsullied by notions of magic, superstition, and the flamboyant preacher who puts on an episode of his miracle and healing show.
I'd like to suggest that we may want to stop using the term supernatural and instead one possible term might be, Above Natural. Here's why.