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Existence of God

This Category will serve to provide many arguments for the existence of God mostly from a philosophical standpoint. It will also be used to post debates between Christians Apologists and Athiests.

Prophecies

This category will serve to document all the prophecies Christ fulfilled from scripture while he was on earth. It will also serve to analyze prophesy in terms of history altogether.

Manuscripts

This category will serve to document manuscript evidence in order to support scripture showing their reliability compared to other ancient documents. It will also serve as a place to clear up much misunderstanding regarding biblical manuscripts.

Why I Believe In Christianity

After writing My Life Story and Testimony I thought it would be a good idea to write a post as to why I believe in the things I do. At this point I am sure at least half of you think I’m absolutely crazy after everything I wrote, especially the very shameful parts about my past. I’m fine with that. In some ways it was intentional. It helps weed out who my true Christian friends are; the ones who understand the concept of grace.  It also in some ways creates a sort of accountability on my part. There’s no hiding the fact at this point; I am a certified Jesus Freak. And in that I stand with The Apostle Paul: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ”

     But why is it that I believe the things I do? Why do people go to church and sing, worship and lift their hands in praise of a man who was crucified on a cross some 2000 years ago? Is it blind faith? Was Jesus even a historical figure? Are there any references to him outside of the bible from 1st and 2nd non-Christian sources? These are questions I will attempt to answer. In the first half of this blog I will say why I believe in Christianity from the apologetic side. The second half will be from a personal and experiential perspective.

     In todays advanced age of mass communication we have become bombarded with endless amounts of misinformation when it comes to Christianity. Documentaries by liberal scholars dominate the history channel. Theories get thrown out in the form of books and articles only to be circulated by news media and end up going viral on the internet. Videos are put out on Youtube which are so masterfully done that unless someone knows the truth they are easily deceived. Mountains of books have been written by many different scholars defending Christianity and taking on much of this misinformation. But who really reads books anymore? The mass majority of people are on Facebook, Youtube, and watching cable television. The funny thing though about most of this misinformation is that it is too easy to refute if you know where to look.

     So what does the word Apologetics mean? From the Greek it basically means “Speaking in Defense” It’s the branch of theology Christians use to study the evidence for Christianity. Many in the church disagree whether it is needed or not, and I’m sure some of you reading this fall in that camp and are only reading to see how much I am wasting my time. I wholeheartedly disagree with your position though. I agree that for many people they never needed to hear a defense or any evidence. However, the amount of testimonies historically about people who came to the faith after hearing or studying it simply proves that position wrong.

The foundational scripture verse for the use of apologetics is found in 1st Peter 3:15-16

“Always be ready to give a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you.  However, do this with gentleness and respect…”

     The apostles themselves used a form of apologetics; eyewitness evidence repeatedly saying many times in many different places what they saw “We are witnesses of these things” Acts 5:32

     But then you say: “Wait a minute, none of that matters to me because I believe that myth developed about Jesus by people hundreds of year later” It really frustrates me to hear people say this, or even worse, when some people actually say that Jesus Christ may have never existed. These two simple myths have become a stumbling block for many people when they hear anything about Christ, which causes them to not believe anything about him. So I wish to utterly destroy these two without a shadow of a doubt. How will I do that? By citing 1st and 2nd century historians and writers, all of whom were not Christians and were harsh critics of Christianity themselves. The fact that these writers were critical gives them more credibility. I have all the books of these writers as part of the Harvard Loeb Classical Library, and one from the Britannica Great Books of the Western World collection.  All together I have over 700 books in my entire collection. I don’t like having to quote from other historians. I use original source material. A few of these are a bit lengthy so I edited some of the material out to only the more relevant parts.

The first reference is from the Roman Senator Gaius Cornelius Tacitus who was born in 56 AD. Tacitus was a lawyer, orator, historian and Senator. Because of this he had access to the imperial records of the senate on decisions made by the empire. The Annals and the Histories are his most famous writings which tell of the history of the Roman Emperors Tiberius, Claudius, and Nero, spanning from the death of Augustus to the first Roman-Jewish war. Jesus lived during the reign of Tiberius which is recorded in the New Testament. The following is an excerpt from his Annals book 15 chapter 44 on the burning of Rome during the reign of Nero:   

XLIV “…But neither human help, nor imperial munificence, nor all the modes of placating Heaven, could stifle scandal or dispel the belief that the fire had taken place by order. Therefore, to scotch the rumor, Nero substituted as culprits, and punished with the utmost refinements of cruelty, a class of men, loathed for their vices, which the crowed styled (named) Christians. Christus,(Christ) the founder of the name, had undergone the death penalty in the reign of Tiberias, by sentence of the procurator Pontius Pilate, and, only to, the pernicious superstition was checked for a moment, only to break out once more, not merely in Judaea, the home of the disease, but in the capitol itself, where all things horrible or shameful in the world collect and find a vogue. First then, the confessed members of the sect were arrested… And derision accompanied their end: they were covered with wild beasts skins and torn to death by dogs; or they were fastened on crosses, and, when daylight failed were burned to serve as lamps by night. Nero had offered his gardens for the spectacle, and gave an exhibition in his circus, mixing with the crowd in the habit of a charioteer, or mounted on his car. Hence, in spite of a guilt which had earned the most exemplary punishment, there arose a sentiment of pity, due to the impression that they were being sacrificed not for the welfare of the state but to the ferocity of a single man.”

From this passage we get these facts:

  • The leader of the Christians was executed during the reign of Tiberius Caesar

  • He was executed under the order of the Roman Procurator Pontius Pilate

  • the pernicious superstition was checked for a moment” (Followers of Christ were demoralized and scattered after the Crucifixion)

  • “only to break out once more” (3 days later Christ raised from the dead and Christianity exploded throughout the world)

The ironic thing about these facts is that they are all found in the New Testament of the Bible including the references to Tiberius and Pontius Pilate. If this alone were the only source we had it would be enough to scotch any rumors about whether or not he lived and was crucified during when scriptures claim he was.

The second source is a short reference by Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus. Suetonius was born in 69 AD and was of the aristocratic class of the Roman Equestrian order. He was a historian and wrote the De Vita Caesarum (The Twelve Caesars) containing biographies of Roman rulers all the way from Julius Caesar to Domitian. In his biography of Claudius Suetonius writes:

“It now became illegal for foreigners to adopt the names of Roman families and any who usurped the rights of Roman citizens were executed in the Esquiline Field. Tiberius had converted the provinces of Greece and Macedonia in to a private domain of his own…Because the Jews at Rome caused continuous disturbances at the instigation of Chrestus, he expelled them from the city.”

So here we have another Roman historian born in the first century who corroborates the history of the biblical narrative; “the instigation of Chrestus”   This reference also supports the history in the Book of Acts in the New Testament 18:2:

“There he met a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had ordered all Jews to leave Rome.”

     The next quote comes from Gaius Plinius Caecilius Secundus, better known as Pliny The Younger. Pliny was born in 61 AD and became an Imperial Magistrate under Emperor Trajan. He wrote hundreds of letters which have served as a critical source of history for the time period of Rome.

    XCVI “It is my custom to refer all difficulties to you, Sir, for no one is better able to resolve my doubts and to inform my ignorance. I have never been present at an examination of Christians. Consequently, I do not know the nature or the extent of the punishments usually meted out to them, not the grounds for starting an investigation and how far it should be pressed…I have asked them in person if they are Christians, and if they admit it, I repeat the question a second and third time, with a warning of the punishment awaiting them. If they persist, I order them to be led away for execution; for, whatever the nature of their admission I am convinced that their stubbornness and unshakeable obstinacy ought not to go unpunished…Among these I considered that I should dismiss any who denied that they were or ever have been Christians when they had repeated after me a formula of invocation to the gods and had made offerings of wine and incense to your statue (which I had order to be brought into court for this purpose along with the images of the gods), and furthermore had reviled the name of Christ: none of which things, I understand, any genuine Christian can be induced to do…They also declared that the sum total of their guilt or error amounted to no more than this: they had met regularly before dawn on a fixed day to chant verses alternately among themselves in honour of Christ as if to a God, and also to bind themselves by oath, not for any criminal purpose, but to abstain from theft, robbery and adultery…

     So here again you have a source from a high Roman official born in the first century. The importance of this source dispels the myth that followers worshipped him as a God only hundreds of years later after myth developed about Christ. Pliny says that Christians of that time would gather to “chant verses alternately among themselves in honour of Christ as if to a God” Hundreds of years later? I think not.

The next source comes from the Greek writer Lucian of Samasota born in 125 AD. Lucian was a satirical writer having over 80 works attributed to him. In The Death of Peregrine Lucian mocks early Christians:

“Indeed, people came even from the city of Asia, sent by the Christians at their common expense, to soccour and defend and encourage the hero…The poor wretches have convinced themselves, first and foremost, that they are going to be immortal and live for all time, in consequence of which they despise death and even willingly give themselves into custody, most of them. Furthermore, their first lawgiver persuaded them that they are all brothers of one another after they have transgressed once for all by denying the Greek gods and by worshipping that crucified sophist himself and living under his laws. Therefore they despise all things indiscriminately and consider them common property…”

     So here is a Greek writer criticizing Christians in the second century for worshipping their leader who was crucified. Still not hundreds of years later, and attested to by a non-Christian source.

If I quoted all the other sources this blog would be much too long and people would lose interest. In the future I plan on putting those out individually in my apologetics category on this site. But I just mainly wanted to put to death for all time those two myths about Christ. Other important sources include Titus Flavius Josephus the Jewish historian who became a full Roman citizen after surrendering at the Siege of Jerusalem. He was born in 37 AD and is a critical source of Jewish history. Yet he also mentions Jesus, James, and gives a short history of John The Baptist and his execution by King Herod. There are also early references to Christ or to New Testament events in the Babylonian-Jewish Talmud Sanhedrin 43a, Mara bar Sarapion, Thallus, Celsus, and then there are the early Church Fathers. You can reconstruct virtually the entire New Testament just from quotations of the writings of those who knew the disciples themselves, to those who continued the church afterward. I also own the entire Early Church Fathers set which is a massive 38 volume collection. Many Christians even have no idea that we have the epistles of some who were discipled by the Apostles themselves such as Clement of Rome and Polycarp. It is from the ECF that we know how the Apostles were martyred.

     Archaeology has confirmed numerous biblical-geographical sites which led Australian archaeologist Clifford Wilson to proclaim: “Those who know the facts now recognize that the New Testament must be accepted as a remarkably accurate source book” I have massive volumes of books documenting Archaeological evidence. Then there’s the issue of manuscript support. When you compare the New Testament surviving manuscript copies with those of other ancient documents there is absolutely no comparison. Take for instance Thucydides or Herodotus; each of their writings contain only 8 surviving manuscripts. The memoirs of Julius Caesar only have 10 copies surviving. The New Testament was written in Greek, and in that language alone we have 5,664 copies. And if you combine the languages it was translated into including Latin Vulgate, Ethiopic, Slavic and Armenian it puts it at a total of around 24,000 manuscripts. They also come from many different geographical areas and yet agree with each other minus small grammatical errors. For example if you take a verse that has an error and compare it with other manuscripts it is very easy to get the original meaning:

  • “I am the w#y, the truth, and the life” Jesus                                                                                                      

  • “I am the way, the tr#th, and the life” Jesus                                                                                          

  • “I am the way, the truth, and the l#fe” Jesus

Obviously # didn’t exist back then but I think you get the point. Still very readable even with one manuscript.

So we have concluded that Christ was historical, that he was crucified, and that his followers worshipped him as God in the first century. But what about the resurrection story? Are there any supporting arguments for the fact that scripture claims he rose from the dead? Several in fact. The foundation of Christianity rests on the fact that Jesus Christ rose from the dead and that the tomb was indeed found empty. This is seen all over the New Testament. The Apostle Paul proclaimed:

 “…Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. Then last of all He was seen by me also…” 1 Corinthians 15:3-8.

Of all the writings that exist of the time, there is no one who wrote that Jesus’ body was still in the tomb. The Jewish leaders only came up with the excuse that the disciples stole his bodies while the guards slept. There’s very good reason to believe these were Roman guards since it was a Roman centurion escorting Roman guards under the direction of Jewish leadership when they came to arrest Jesus. Rome became interested when they accused him of speaking against Caesar and wanting to incite revolution against the empire. This is another reason Christians faced so much persecution from Rome for the next few hundred years. But if Roman guards were found asleep, they were put to death. There’s no way the disciples rolled away a huge stone while they slept, and if they had killed the guards, that would have been recorded as to what happened. Historically, the tomb was found empty, which is why there is so much silence from critics on the issue.

Second, the record of the first eye witness accounts of Jesus resurrection were of women. The testimony of women was not even admissible in court in ancient history among Jews and many other nations. This establishes what is known in the study of historical records as the Criterion of Embarrassment. Many embarrassing facts were recorded about Jesus and the apostles themselves. Most fictional historical accounts do not record such details in order to give more credibility. The virtue of honesty being taught by Christ himself dictated that they did not fudge the facts.

Lastly, it would be virtually impossible for a worldwide movement to have started in a city based on the resurrection if the tomb wasn’t empty. People do not go to their death for something they know to be a lie, especially when faced with torture or death. All the apostles, including many of their own disciples, suffered horrible deaths, except John. And as is recorded earlier, they were always given a chance to revile Christ.                                                                                                                                                                       

  • Paul was beheaded

  • James the brother of John was killed by the sword                                                                    

  • Peter was crucified

  • Mathew was killed by the sword                                                                                

  • Mark was dragged through the streets by horses until he was dead                         

  • James son of Alpheus was thrown off the temple at Jerusalem and then clubbed to death

  • Bartholomew was tortured and then beheaded                                                           

  • Andrew was crucified                                  

  • Thomas was stabbed with a spear                                                                                               

  • Barnabas was tortured and then stoned to death                                                                                   

  • Phillip was crucified

  • Simon was crucified

  • Jude was killed by an axe

People don’t willingly die for what they know to be a lie. What possibly could convince these people to endure all of this when they all had the chance to renounce his name? Can anyone explain this to me? They saw the resurrected Christ. Here are the words of Paul The Apostle about conviction for Christ:

“…we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead…we are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed, always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body…For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh…To the present hour we both hunger and thirst, and we are poorly clothed, and beaten, and homeless. And we labor, working with our own hands. Being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we endure; being defamed, we entreat. We have been made as the filth of the world, the offscouring of all things until now… But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in watchings, in fastings; by pureness, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned, by the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armor of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, by honor and dishonor, by evil report and good report: as deceivers, and yet true; as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and, behold, we live; as chastened, and not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things… in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequently, in deaths often. From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeys often, in perils of waters, inperils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, imperils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness…”

 Hebrews 11:35- 38…and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection…

The difference between Muslims dying for their faith is that they believe in something for which there is no evidence. Muhammad went into a cave and claims God revealed the Koran to him. As Dr. J.P. Moreland puts it “Someone easily could have had ulterior motives in following Muhammad, because in the early years Islam was spread mainly by warfare. Followers of Muhammad gained political influence and the power over villages that were conquered and converted to Islam by the sword.” Muhammad in fact slaughtered many people. On just one occasion recorded by witnesses Muhammad sieged the Jewish neighborhood of Banu Qurayza and had somewhere between 600-900 men slaughtered, and then enslaved the women and children. This is just one occasion. Islam was on the war path from that point on conquering, killing and converting. I plan to write a blog on The Crusades because it was much more political and strategic than it was religious. A few people used religion to inspire people to go to war. It was mostly a counter crusade to stop Islam from spreading before they took over everything, which in fact they ended up doing during the Ottoman Empire. But that is a different story.

The Jewish people have the longest history when it comes to religious practice and they have the strongest long lasting traditions. Many heretical movements came and went and had no effect upon Jews religious practice or beliefs. But as J.P. Moreland puts it “How can you possibly explain why in a short period of time not just one Jew but an entire community of at least ten thousand Jews were willing to give up these five key practices that had served them sociologically and theologically for so many centuries? My explanation is simple: they had seen Jesus risen from the dead.” Christianity itself triumphed over a number of competing ideologies and ended up overwhelming the entire Roman Empire.

Speaking on the resurrection Dr. Gary Habermas says “Here’s how I look at the evidence for the resurrection: First did Jesus die on the cross? And second, did he appear later to people? If you can establish those two things, you’ve made your case, because dead people don’t normally do that”  The evidence and influence of Christianity was so strong during the time that even the Roman Emperor Constantine converted to Christianity, claiming to have seen a vision and put an end to the killing of Christians after “The Great Persecution” of Diocletian.

Lastly, I would like to end the case for the resurrection with one more thought from Dr. Moreland, and it is this fact that is very compelling to me “It’s the ongoing encounter of the resurrected Christ that happens all over the world, in every culture, to people from all kinds of backgrounds and personalities, well-educated or not, rich and poor, thinkers and feelers, men and women. They all will testify that more than any single thing in their lives, Jesus Christ has changed them.”

The possibility of the existence of God makes it possible for miracles such as the resurrection. But then you say “I don’t believe in God” I will address the evidence for God in many separate blog posts from the areas of astronomy, physics, biochemistry, DNA information, human consciousness, and the utter lack of any evidence in evolutionary theory. But just to give you a preview, I would like to state the Cosmological Argument and a few supporting scientific facts:

In this universe we live in a closed system that is bound by the laws of physics. It is almost irrefutable of the fact that this universe had a beginning and didn’t always exist. Einstein’s own theory of General Relativity demanded it, and he later said he was “irritated” by the fact that the Universe had a beginning because he knew what the implications were. The cumulative scientific and philosophical evidence demands that there must have been a non- physical origin of the physical universe. Agnostic astronomer Robert Jastrow admitted “That there are what I or anyone would call supernatural forces at work is now, I think, a scientific fact”

The cosmological argument states that: 

1.      Anything which begins to exist must have a cause

2.      The universe began to exist

3.      Therefore the universe must have a cause

     If you suddenly heard a loud bang outside of your house you would ask “What caused that?” If someone told you that nothing caused it, it just happened, you would not accept that. Something had to cause it. A bomb exploding, a tree fell on your house, something. The same is true for the “Big Bang” Something had to cause it. It is accepted logically and scientifically that the only thing which could cause our closed system to come into existence would be something that exists outside of our system; there must be an “uncaused first cause” Something that transcends time and space, because time and space itself were created when the universe came into existence. The only possible explanation which fits this description is God. He transcends time and space and exists outside of it according to scripture. Now, it has always been argued that, “if everything has to have a cause then how did God become exempt?” That misses the point of the argument which actually is: “WHATEVER BEGINS TO EXIST must have a cause” God never began to exist therefore he doesn’t need a cause because he is the “uncaused first cause” The same laws don’t apply to the spiritual realm. For anything in this Universe to exist, logically, there has to be an uncaused first cause. The rabbit hole just gets deeper and deeper…

I would now like to end this part of the blog with the issue of Prophesy from the Old Testament. The entire Old Testament contains many prophesies of the Messiah which was to come. It’s not even disputed about the fact that the Old Testament books predate Jesus by hundreds of years. Ever since the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls that has been virtually laid to rest. The Old Testament prophets foretold his coming in numerous passages. The Apostle Paul proclaimed “But the things which God announced beforehand by the mouth of all the prophets, that Christ should suffer, He has thus fulfilled”

The most important prophesy ever made about Jesus is found in the book of Isaiah 53:3-12 which was found among the dead sea scrolls and predates Christ.

“He is despised and rejected by men,
A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.
And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him;
He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.                                                                                                                                                                Surely He has borne our griefs                                                                                                                                                                                              
And carried our sorrows;

Yet we esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten by God, and afflicted.
But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray;
We have turned, every one, to his own way;
And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.                                                                                                                                                            
He was oppressed and He was afflicted,                                                                                                                                                                    Yet He opened not His mouth;

He was led as a lamb to the slaughter,
And as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
So He opened not His mouth.
He was taken from prison and from judgment,
And who will declare His generation?
For He was cut off from the land of the living;
For the transgressions of My people He was stricken.
And they made His grave with the wicked—
But with the rich at His death,
Because He had done no violence,
Nor was any deceit in His mouth.                                                                                                                                                                                  

Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him;
He has put Him to grief.
When You make His soul an offering for sin,
He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days,
And the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand.
He shall see the labor of His soul, and be satisfied.
By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many,
For He shall bear their iniquities.
Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great,
And He shall divide the spoil with the strong,
Because He poured out His soul unto death,
And He was numbered with the transgressors,
And He bore the sin of many,
And made intercession for the transgressors”

     Anyone who reads the Gospel narratives of Christ can easily conclude this matches the life of Christ. It even defies statistical probability that someone could even arrange their own murder to match those events so precisely. Many Jews have been converted by studying their scriptures and seeing that Christ fulfilled the attributes of the Messiah. The rest of the Prophesies are quoted throughout the New Testament gospels. You will just have to go read them for yourself 😉

From this point I want to shift to the second part of this post: The personal and experiential reasons why I believe in Christianity. I was tempted to turn this into two separate blog posts, but I think it will be much more beneficial to have it all as one. If you get tired of reading, just keep the browser open and come back later.

As many of you know from reading My Life Story and Testimony, I was converted from a life of partying, drinking and drugs as a teenager. This was all due to Christ. I was radically changed and transformed. Many people throughout history have experienced this same thing as a result of coming to Christ and changing so drastically that it is almost a miracle in itself.

To much of the world, when they see people in church worshipping or praying, or just when they see Christians in general, they think they are that way only because of blind faith. If there is no God, then they are right. But if there is a God then that changes the possibilities entirely. It opens the door to the spiritual.

When I first saw the movie The Matrix, I drew a tremendous parallel between that story and being spiritually born again. In the movie, Neo lives out every day of his life with the realization that something is wrong with the world. He doesn’t know what it is, but it keeps haunting him. Neo is a computer hacker, and in that world he somehow comes across information about something called The Matrix. He doesn’t know what it is, but before long he is contacted by a group of people who claim to have the truth. When he finally meets with them he comes face to face with Morpheus, the leader of the group. The scene is unforgettable. They are inside of a quiet dark building with a storm going on outside. Morpheus has the persona of someone very dangerous because of what he knows. He has an undying conviction about him as he begins to try and explain to Neo what the matrix is. He goes on to say:

“The Matrix is everywhere, it is all around us, even now in this very room… it is the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth. Neo asks, “What truth?” Morpheus explains: “That you are a slave, Neo. Like everyone else you were born into bondage. Born into a prison that you cannot smell or taste or touch. A prison for your mind.”

     If you have seen the matrix then you know what this means. The entire world people were living in had become a virtual reality. Machines had taken over the planet and inserted human beings into a pod where they would plug their mind into a computer in order to keep them occupied while the machines fed off the energy produced from human bodies. So the entire life everyone was living was only a computer simulated dream world. Yet not everyone was captured. There was an underground resistance movement made up of people from the last human city; Zion. Their mission was to hack into the Matrix and try and convince people of the truth that the world they were living in wasn’t real. The only way they could do this though was by giving the person the free will to choose. Morpheus explains this to Neo:

“Unfortunately, no one can be told what the Matrix is. You have to see it for yourself. This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. You take the blue pill, the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.”

     Once someone took the red pill the group of hackers would be able to trace their body in order to rescue and relocate them to Zion. After this they would re-train their mind and body in order to join the fight against the very system they used to believe in.       

For those who aren’t Christians you’ve probably heard the term “born again” quite a bit among Church people. I would like to take this opportunity to explain what this means in the same way Morpheus explained to Neo what the Matrix was.

First, there is a reason why you can’t truly understand it or even scripture when you read it, unless you are born again. There is a reason most of the things of Christianity seem foolish, and there is a reason why you see the world the way you do:

“The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.” 1 Corinthians 2:14

     Just like when Morpheus said to Neo “No one can be told what the Matrix is” it is the same when it comes to being born again spiritually. When you repent and accept Jesus as your savior you receive the Holy Spirit of God. There are numerous verses throughout the New Testament that teach this; here is just a few:

“…he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you…” John 14:16-17

“And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” Acts 2:38

 …”God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. Romans” 5:5

 On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water”. But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believin] in Him would receive; for the Holy] Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.” John 7:37-38

     The Holy Spirit is mentioned in the New Testament probably over a hundred times. With all that said, I want to try and explain what happens to someone when they are spiritually born again. Being born again is an actual experience, and this is why it is so hard to convince anyone that there isn’t a God who knows the truth. It’s a spiritual revelation to us and nothing can convince us otherwise. Scripture teaches that when we are born again that we receive The Holy Spirit and we are actually born into the family of God. It is a type of spiritual rebirth and reconciliation. Once you receive the Holy Spirit you are never the same. You begin to see the world like you never did before. You begin to change. You suddenly have a conscience that you didn’t have before. Things you used to do before now start to bring conviction. Jesus said of the Holy Spirit:

“And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment” John 16:8

I want to make it clear to everyone reading this that there are many people in the church who are not spiritually born again. So please don’t base your view of Christians off someone you know that goes to Church and they don’t seem to act any different. For others, it just takes them a while to grow up and mature. But the fact also is that we are all imperfect and make mistakes. Big ones. So be patient with us. But for those who have the spirit of God, we are like those walking around the matrix who know the truth. We feel eternity in our spirits. We know the truth so deep down in our soul. But sometimes we let the darkness of the world overtake us and we begin to lose our way. It is a constant battle and struggle. But we still see the world differently. C.S. Lewis who was a skeptic in his early years describes his experience in a very telling way:

“I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”

Another one of my favorite quotes from Lewis which is quoted often by Christians is this one:

“If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.”

King Solomon, the wisest man to ever live, speaking on the mysteries of God once said: “He has also set eternity in the human heart”

We who are born of the spirit of God know a contentment and satisfaction that no one else knows. We know a peace that no one else does. It is very true of the human condition that nothing can truly satisfy. God created our hearts, and only until we turn our hearts back to the source of its creation will it ever be complete.

The curse and separation mankind has been under since the fall was the result of free will. Scripture teaches that “God is love” and that is one of his many attributes. If God wanted he could have made us obey him like robots. But love is not love if it is forced. That would make God a cosmic rapist or a cosmic puppeteer pulling the strings. The story of the first human beings created demonstrated free will in action, and they chose to rebel, just as I chose to rebel as a teenager, and just as Lucifer, Arch Angel of God chose to rebel. Ever since we have been spiritually separated from our creator and death and disease has taken over this planet.

But God came up with a plan of reconciliation. That plan was for God himself to come in human form and perform the final sacrifice to atone for our sins as a result of free will and rebellion. The reason it had to happen this way was because of Gods holiness and perfection. When Neo finally met “The Architect” of the matrix, he explained to him that the entire problem with the whole system was the result of an unbalanced mathematical equation. The architect itself was a machine and didn’t understand emotions such as love and free will. But in order to balance out the equation Neo had to battle the other side of the unbalanced equation which was his enemy Smith and sacrifice himself in order to destroy Smith and balance back out the equation.In the same way Christ was “The One” who had to sacrifice himself in order to destroy death and balance out the unbalanced equation of free will resulting in the curse of mankind and the separation of God from mankind.

     Now, before I get stoned by theologians, I want to make it clear that I’m not literally saying that the curse of sin resulted in an unbalance of mathematics. It’s merely an allegory. Something went wrong with the programming. It would be like if a computer software program suddenly began to do what it wanted instead of what it was created for. It would create chaos in the entire computing system. If we consider that an omnipotent perfect being exists who created everything, it makes logical sense that if he created human beings with free will, then he created the potential for evil. He did not create evil, only the potential for it. There is no way around the fact that love has to give free will or it is not love at all. From start to finish throughout the whole of scripture it teaches that God is love. It also teaches that he is holy and perfect. Before the fall, man walked with God together in spiritual unity. After the fall, a separation happened. There is much in scripture taught about “The Presence of God” Imperfection cannot enter perfection. They are mutually exclusive.  

     Scripture teaches that when we are born again we receive Christ’s perfection. When God looks at us he sees Christ the perfect one. We receive what is known in scripture as “The Robe of Righteousness” Jesus taught a parable about a man who showed up at the wedding of a son of the King without a wedding garment. All throughout scripture the return of Christ is compared to a great wedding where we who are born again are his bride. In the parable the King ordered that the man be bound hand and foot and cast into outer darkness. When Hell is described in the bible, in some places it is referred to as outer darkness. Hell is described in many ways. I’m going to say something many of you have probably never heard before; Out of all the people in the bible who mention Hell, Jesus Christ is the one who mentions it the most. God will not drag you into his presence on the day of Judgment kicking and screaming against your will. Of the many attributes of God, one that stands out on this issue is that God is just. Justice demands the existence of hell, just as justice in a society demands prison and punishment of wrong doing. My next blog post is going to be about Hell, and why God would send people there, but for now I will just give a few verses:

“…when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power,  when He comes, in that Day, to be glorified in His saints and to be admired among all those who believe,” 2 Thesalonians 1:8-10

 “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Jesus in Mathew 10:28

“Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels…” Jesus speaking in Mathew 25:41

Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life…Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire” Revelation 20:11-15

Hell is mentioned in so many other places in so many ways, but I will save that for my next post. You’ve probably heard it said among Christians that there is nothing you can do to earn salvation. This is true. It is a very common belief among most people in society that as long as they believe there is a God, and they are generally a good person that God would never send them to Hell. This simply is not taught in scripture. The main theme in all of Christianity is that we are all equally lost. There is good reason to believe in levels of punishment in Hell for different people, but when it comes to God’s standard, we are all guilty and stained with sin:

“But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags” Isaiah 64:6

“For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” Romans 3:23

Salvation is a free gift that is offered. Just as we have the free will to rebel, we also have the free choice to be reconciled with God. If I quoted all the verses in all the books of the New Testament pertaining to this then this post would never end. It must be taken as a whole though and not by verses out of context. The whole of scripture taken together from the words of Jesus to the disciples letters make the case emphatically clear so many times in so many places the method by which we are saved and receive salvation. Works will not save you. Only faith will. But mere belief in God also will not save you:

“You believe that there is one God? You do well. Even the demons believe and tremble” James 2:19

     But the only way to show your faith is by action. What action is that you ask? Confession. You must confess that you are guilty, that he died for your sin, repent, and receive him as your Lord and Savior. Scripture makes it clear: We are saved by grace. Grace is unearned favor:

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God”

“For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” Romans 10:10

     Many people have raised the question, “what if I just have trouble believing even though I want to?” There was once a man whom was talking with Jesus and in the conversation he said to Christ “Help my unbelief”  He was being very honest. Those words and that very action showed his faith because he wanted to believe. It is a very faithful saying in the New Testament, “All who call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” Much of the world believes that religion is man’s way of trying to reach out to God. Not in the Bible. From start to finish the story is about a God who longs to be reconciled to his creation. He wants us to call upon him. Just talk to him like he’s a real person. Even if you have a hard time believing, the mere act of talking to him shows that you believe, and he will honor that. Jesus said:

“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life” John 5:24

But he also taught:

“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

     If you have ever taken philosophy then you know about the law of non-contradiction. If what Christianity says is true, then whatever is opposed to what it claims is false. Either he is the son of God, or he isn’t. If he is, then he said that he is the only way. Are you willing to bet eternity on it? It’s quite a gamble. Ultimately there are only two great realities; either there is a God or there isn’t. Likewise: either there is an afterlife, or there isn’t. This life is so short, and there is so much at stake. To whoever is reading this, it would be wise to seek these realities out. Call upon him my friend. If you don’t know what to say then simply go somewhere you can be alone, and pray this prayer to him:

     God, I pray to you now asking that you forgive me of my sin, and of my life of rejecting you. I know I cannot save myself. I want to be reconciled to you; my Creator. I believe that you sent Jesus to die in my place and for my sin. I choose this day to believe what you say in your word, that if I believe and call upon your name that I shall be saved and forgiven. Send me your Holy Spirit Lord God and cleanse me of all unrighteousness. By faith this day I receive your forgiveness, I receive your free gift of salvation, and from this moment on I shall live for you. Thank you for saving me. Lead and guide my life from this moment on.  In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

     If you prayed that prayer, then welcome to the family of God. You are now my brother or sister in Christ. Please message me and let me know if you did. And please if you have any questions send me a message. You should start reading your bible. Start in the New Testament and go to the end. That is where you will find how we as Christians should begin to live. There is so much awesome stuff in there. After that, go to the Old Testament and read from the beginning. You should also seek accountability right away among other Christians. Find a good Bible believing Church that teaches the essential Christian doctrines of the faith. Message me if you do not know what that entails. There are many false doctrines out there. Pray to God and ask him to lead you to one, and also ask him to bring other Christians into your life.

I would like to end this with two verses:

“Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed— in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” 1 Corinthians 15:54  

“And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” Revelation 21:1-4