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Archive for October, 2014

Some Christians “participate” in Halloween and some do not.  But whether you do or don’t, I think all Christians should at least know that today is “Reformation Day,” and seek to understand what it is.

Christians on both sides of this issue have strong feelings about Halloween: avoid it completely or be involved in a redemptive way (rather than, I hope, participating in its evils and recognizing that for the occult, this is considered a “high, holy day”).

At the very least, I would strongly recommend that for a foundation or principle to examine about your stance with others regarding Halloween, read Rom. 14-15 and seek to apply principles with your convictions and practices.

What you read below is an article that I’ve modified slightly.  I hope it educates and informs you.  Here is the link for the original article:

http://www.christianity.com/christian-life/art-and-culture/the-connection-between-halloween-reformation-day.html

Halloween (October 31) is celebrated by millions each year with costumes and candy. Halloween’s deepest roots are decidedly pagan, despite its Christianized name.

Its origin is Celtic and has to do with summer sacrifices to appease Samhain, the lord of death, and evil spirits.

Those doing the pagan rituals believed that Samhain sent evil spirits abroad to attack humans, who could escape only by assuming disguises and looking like evil spirits themselves.

Christians tried to confront these pagan rites by offering a Christian alternative (All Hallows’ Day) that celebrated the lives of faithful Christian saints on November 1.

In medieval England the festival was known as All Hallows, hence the name Halloween (All Hallows’ eve) for the preceding evening.

All Saints’ Day

Held on Nov. 1, this day was first celebrated on May 13, 609, when Pope Boniface IV dedicated the Pantheon in Rome to Mary, the virgin mother of Jesus.

The date was later changed to November 1 by Pope Gregory III, who dedicated a chapel in honor of all “saints” in the Vatican Basilica.

In 837, Pope Gregory IV (827-844) ordered its church-wide observance. Its origin lies earlier in the common commemorations of Christian martyrs.

Over time these celebrations came to include not only the martyrs, but all “saints.”

During the Reformation the Protestant churches came to understand “saints” in its New Testament usage as including all believers (Paul writes to “the saints at Ephesus” – Eph. 1:1, for example) and they reinterpreted the feast of “All Saints” as a celebration of the unity of the entire Church.

 All Souls’ Day

All Souls’ Day, or the Day of the Deadis normally celebrated primarily by Roman Catholics, on November 2.

This is a day dedicated to prayer and almsgiving in memory of ancestors who have died.

People pray for the souls of the dead, in an effort to hasten their transition from purgatory to heaven by being purged and cleansed from their sins.

Reformation Day

Reformation Day (October 31) commemorates Martin Luther’s posting of his 95 Theses on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany on October 31, 1517.

This was done to protest blatant abuses of sound doctrine and practice of the Christian faith by the Roman Catholic Church.

To do this was a customary way of announcing the desire to debate and akin to posting something very important on a community bulletin board – or for us today, posting something online – like Facebook J

It should be remembered that Luther was a Roman Catholic priest, professor of theology and a monk, who deemed himself a “loyal son” of the Church and who sought its reformation to abide by Scripture – not by the oral tradition of Church leaders.

This act triggered what would become the Protestant Reformation, as the 95 Theses were immediately translated into German (they were originally written in Latin – the language of scholars) and distributed across Germany in a matter of weeks.

This ignited a revolt from the Church among the poor German peasants, who were funding the building of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, through their purchase of the sale of indulgences (in order to get their loved ones out of “Purgatory”).

The Protestant Reformation was the rediscovery of the doctrine of justification by faith — salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone—and the protest against the corruption within the Roman Catholic Church.

The century before the Reformation was marked by widespread dismay with the moral and theological corruption of the leaders in the Roman Catholic Church and with its false doctrines, biblical illiteracy, superstition, and corruption.

Monks, priests, bishops, and popes in Rome taught unbiblical doctrines like the selling of indulgences, the treasury of merit, purgatory, and salvation through good works.

Treasury of Merit

Spiritually earnest people were told to justify themselves by charitable works, pilgrimages, and all kinds of religious performances and devotions.

They were encouraged to acquire this “merit” (which was at the disposal of the Church), by purchasing certificates of indulgence.

This left the people (who had no Bible; the Church controlled who had Bibles and who did not) wondering if they had done or paid enough to appease God’s righteous anger and escape His judgment.

This was the context that prompted Luther’s desire to refocus the Church on salvation by grace through faith in Christ — by His imputation of righteousness to us.

To those spiritually oppressed by indulgences and not given assurance of God’s grace, Luther proclaimed free grace to God’s true saints:

God receives none but those who are forsaken, restores health to none but those who are sick, gives sight to none but the blind, and life to none but the dead. He does not give saintliness to any but sinners, nor wisdom to any but fools. In short: He has mercy on none but the wretched and gives grace to none but those who are in disgrace. Therefore no arrogant saint, or just or wise man can be material for God, neither can he do the work of God, but he remains confined within his own work and makes of himself a fictitious, ostensible, false, and deceitful saint, that is, a hypocrite (Luther W.A. 1.183ff).

Instead of the treasury of merit that was for sale, Luther protested, “The true treasure of the Church is the Most Holy Gospel of the glory and the grace of God” (Thesis 62).

In celebration of Reformation Day, you should seriously read all 95 Theses—they’re really good.

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In less than a few weeks now, I’ll be leading my third trip to Israel, this time with a group of 40 wonderful, spiritual pilgrims.

To prepare us for our trip (“The Footsteps of Jesus”), I’ve written commentary notes on biblical passages for every site we’ll visit and taught these things to our group for 12 weeks, to prepare us as well as possible to absorb this unique blessing.

Along with my wife, we’re also leading an extension trip to biblical Jordan.  One of the areas we’ll visit in Jordan is Mt. Nebo, where Moses saw the Promised Land of Israel, but was not permitted to enter.

The Bronze Serpent

At that place, there is a replica of the bronze serpent that Moses lifted up in the wilderness, in order to extend the LORD’s merciful healing and forgiveness to the nation that had so reprehensibly rebelled against Him.

The rest of this blog will explain the background to this, as well as an additional meaning to the event, given by Jesus.            

Why would God have Moses make a bronze serpent as a means of saving the Israelites in the wilderness from further judgment for their rebellion (Num. 21:4-9)?

Moreover, it seems surprising that Jesus would point us back to this tragic event and teach than in it, there was a reference to His crucifixion (John 3:13-15, but note also John 3:1-12).

And, we should keep in mind the context of Jesus’ teaching in John 3: it was to Nicodemus, “a ruler of the Jews” (John 3:1).

What does this all mean?  For those of us who are going to Jordan, it’s important and relevant; a likeness of this bronze serpent lifted up on a pole stands atop Mt. Nebo, where the LORD allowed Moses to see into the Promised Land, but not to enter it.

We begin by studying Jesus’ words first, in John 3:14-15 (although it is important to keep in mind the broader context of John 3:1-13).

In comparing John 3:13-15 with Num. 21:4-9 and Jesus’ allegorical interpretation of the event described in Numbers, it is critically important  when interpreting Scripture to understand that we cannot read into God’s Word any allegorical meanings other than what Jesus or for example, the apostle Paul gives us allegorically in Galatians 4.

In Jesus’ conversation with Nicodemus, the focus is upon Nicodemus’s inability to understand spiritual things. Jesus even chides him for being the “teacher of Israel,” yet not understanding simple spiritual things (John 3:10).

In fact, Jesus is the Teacher of Israel, and He shows Nicodemus His divine authority over Scripture and an insight that no teacher in the history of Israel could ever give.

Thus, He takes Nicodemus back to Num. 21:4-9 and shows him yet a deeper meaning from that event.[1] Nicodemus likely expected the Messiah to be a military, conquering Messiah.

However, Jesus shows Nicodemus yet another critical insight into Scripture: that the Messiah had to suffer and die first, before ruling the nations.

Jesus Crucified

This can already be seen in Is. 52:12-53, but Jesus shows us a remarkable passage that no one could have surmised would relate to the crucifixion of Israel’s Messiah.

In fact, Moses — in whom so many Israelites trusted — pointed to a greater “Moses” — the crucified Messiah.

Moreover, Jesus deliberately uses the expression “some of Man” (John 3:13), to point Nicodemus to Daniel’s prophecy of the Messiah in Dan. 2, 7 and 9, primarily.

Very likely at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, Jesus wants one of the most important teachers and all of Israel to understand that the Messiah must be crucified (12:32-33).

In one of many episodes of gross sin against God, the Israelites paid a dire price for their sin of grumbling against Him (Num. 21:4-9).

Rejecting His repeated goodness — expressed through so many miracles for them in delivering them from the horrific bondage of slavery in Egypt and in providing supernaturally for them in the wilderness — they would forfeit His protection against so many poisonous snakes that hid in the sand.

These rebellious Israelites at the very least suffered extremely painful physical death as a result of their sin (likely why the snakes were referred to as “fiery,” because of severe pain and inflammation).

But God, in His mercy, used the very thing that killed so many of them to bring them back to Him in contrition and repentance.

He would show them that He – not Moses — had authority over those snakes. Much more importantly, Jesus would show not just Israel, but the entire world that He alone is the only antidote for sin’s poison and death.

As the serpent, lifted up on the pole, was an image of the very thing which had poisoned the Israelites, even so, Christ had in Himself no sin, and yet was made sin (2 Cor. 5:21) and crucified “in the likeness of sinful flesh” (Rom. 8:3).

The brazen serpent was a serpent without poison, and Christ was a man without sin. In reality, the Israelites understood that the serpent on the pole was only a symbol; by faith, they were looking to Yahweh, who alone could save them from sin and death.

Modern Day Mt Nebo

Likewise, Jesus — being God, who alone can save people from sin and death — was also teaching Nicodemus of His deity.

Jesus’ words to Nicodemus also proved prophetic to this “teacher of Israel.”  Looking back after His crucifixion, this conversation that he had with the very Son of God must have greatly stirred and stung Nicodemus.

Incidentally, the Greek word translated “to lift up,” is used of Jesus in two senses: it is used of His being lifted up upon the cross, and it is used of His being lifted up into glory at the time of His Ascension into heaven (8:28; 12:32; Acts 2:33; 5:31; Phil. 2:9).

Excursus: The Serpent in Num. 21:4-9

 

The Israelites’ complaining of the manna — yet again (Num. 21:3) — is now their most vitriolic attack on this miraculous food that their covenant-keeping LORD had provided for them.

Because Yahweh had done miracle after miracle to provide for them in the wilderness and yet they still sinned greatly against Him — He must judge them severely. He could not allow the Israelites into His Holy Land with their degree of rebellion and unbelief.

So, the irony of this event is that they “receive something from the desert rather than from heaven; they received a sting instead of a blessing.  They find themselves dying instead of being preserved alive by ‘that miserable bread.’”[2]

Biblical commentator Ronald Allen writes of this tragic rebellion against the LORD:

There is a pattern to complaining; it is habit-forming. The tendency among people is to go beyond where one left off the last time, to become ever more egregious, ever more outspoken. Rarely does a complaining person become milder in his complaints. Finally, complaining becomes self-destructive.[3]

Moses with the Bronze Serpent

There is great irony here in God’s judgment of His people: While they were never to make an image of an animal or other life form because of the dangers of idolatry so inherent in graphic art in the biblical period, now Yahweh commands Moses to do something that seemingly violated His own commandments.[4]

But when the Lord judges, He often does unusual things. For example, note that when the people complained of not having enough meat, He overwhelmed them with meat (Quayle) to show them their greed and unbelief (Num. 11:31-34).

Perhaps we are to find a principle here in what the Lord may do with stubborn, rebellious, unrepentant people who overtly break covenant with Him (Ps. 18:25-27):

With the kind You show Yourself kind; with the blameless You show Yourself blameless; 26 with the pure You show Yourself pure, and with the crooked You show Yourself astute. 27 For You save an afflicted people, but haughty eyes You abase.

The word translated “astute” (v.26) may more literally be translated “twisted.”  We should also note the following verses: Lev.26:23-24, 27-28; Prov. 3:34.

In addition, there is further irony: the snake, of course, was associated with Satan (Gen. 3).  Thus, it appears that Yahweh is further demonstrating to the people their utter evil.

And yet, He equally shows them His mercy; hidden in this miracle lies the mercy displayed in the crucifixion of Jesus: people may receive His mercy, or they may reject it to their everlasting peril.

Moreover, only one thought to be accursed of God was crucified. The miracle of the bronze serpent and the faith it engendered had to have been utterly humiliating to the people.

And, the same is true for one putting his or her faith in a crucified Man; it humbles that person.  But, this act of faith is the only remedy for one’s sin.

“The curse becomes the basis for salvation.  This is a paradox that spans the testaments.”[5]

What are the lessons for us to learn from Num. 21:4-9 and John 3:13-15?

[1] See my Excursus for more from this event, described for us in Num. 21:4-9.

[2] Ronald B. Allen, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, vol. 2 (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1990), 876.

[3] Allen, op. cit., 876.

[4] Sadly, a later generation of Israelites – growing increasingly apostate – presented incense offerings to this relic (2 Kings 18:4).

[5] Allen, 878.

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Here is an important update to my post from Oct. 21, 2014, which I am thrilled to post:

In my original post a few days ago, I stated in two places in this blog that I wrote this in part to correct a clear statement in one of Brian Houston’s sermons this year that Muslims and Christians worship the same God.

Someone graciously pointed out to me that Pastor Brian later issued a statement clarifying his position and stating categorically that he does NOT believe this and gave clear reasons why.  So, I’ve deleted the two sentences where I mentioned his name (which I rightly did, because he has worldwide influence) in this blog, below.

How grateful I am to Pastor Brian for issuing a clarification on this matter!  Now, on with the blog:

The answer to the question in the title above is an unequivocal “no,” and it isn’t even close (and Muslims would strongly agree with this assessment).

Here is why: while both Christians and Muslims are “monotheistic” (both groups believe in one God), they are in entirely different universes, theologically.

celtic-cross-images-monasterboice-2

Christians worship one God, eternally existent in three Persons – Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  This triune God has revealed Himself to us as one throughout Scripture.

Humans may have difficulty understanding the Trinity, but only if they lean on human logic, instead of through the aid of the Holy Spirit.

Muslims DO NOT believe Jesus is God; in fact, they decidedly reject the deity of Jesus because the Koran rejects His deity!

Moreover, Muslims believe Christians worship three Gods.  Neither do they believe in the deity of the Holy Spirit.  And, to refer to God as “Father” – as Jesus called Him and taught us to call Him – is blasphemous to a Muslim.

Muslims just do not compromise on their doctrine; it continually amazes me that Christians do.

The Temple in Jerusalem

Historically, this complete diversion between Islam and Christianity came about when Mohammed was trying to get Christians to agree with his “new” and heretical teachings about Jesus’ lack of divinity.

However, the historical, Orthodox Church had already dealt vigorously with heresies about Jesus’ divinity and humanity, for at least two centuries.

Both essentials of the Christian faith were settled forevermore in the Nicene Creed, through the Councils of Nicaea (325 A.D.), Constantinople (381) and Chalcedon (451).

So, for some Christians to claim that Christians and Muslims worship the same God is entirely unbiblical and even heretical.

On another note, isn’t the Arabic name for “God” Allah?  There are various views on this point, but my best research thus far seems to suggest that a “generic” name in Arabic to refer to “God” is the word “Al-ilah.”

The first Arabic translation of the Bible was made about the 9th century.  Nowhere is the name Allah found in the Old or New Testament as a name for God.

holy-spirit-wallpaper-pic-0107

Instead, the generic name for God in the Old Testament is Elohim and in the New Testament, Theos.

When Islam became the dominant political force throughout the Middle East, people were coerced into using the name Allah for God or suffer the consequences from the hands of militant Muslims.

Because of Islam’s eventual dominance in the Middle East, Allah became the common name for God.  Eventually, translators of the Bible into Arabic gave in to religious pressures and substituted Allah for Yahweh in the Arabic Bibles.

Perhaps it may be conceded that in modern use in the Middle East, Allah is now the commonly accepted, generic name for God (but I must stress: Muslims see Allah in an entirely different light than the God of the Bible), but this is not the name of the God of the Hebrews.

However, these are two entirely different issues; for any Christian to say that Christians and Muslims worship the same God is frankly heretical to the Christian and to the Muslim.

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vernal-fall-350w

Throughout our lives as believers in Jesus Christ, we are always going to be confronted with this choice: “Will I trust God? Will He come through for me?”

Maybe you’re in that place today, and maybe — in His kind providence — you’re reading this blog at just the right time for Him to bring His encouragement to you.

When God gives His people a promise, that promise is perfectly rooted in His nature and in His character.

A very strong indication of this comes from Ps. 138:2: “For You have exalted above all else, Your name and Your word.”

Think carefully about that verse with me, and let me point out to you part of the title of this blog: “Deeper and Devotional.”

My intent in this blog is to take you deeper in your relationship with the LORD, but also to help you – to ask you – to make this time a devotional time with Him. Will you do this?

Here is how: Simply say that verse above back to Him, in order to fellowship with Him, to praise and worship Him, to honor Him and to get His word more deeply into your heart.

So, we could say it this way: “Father, I thank You that You have exalted above all else, Your name and Your word. This verse tells me that You are faithful; You are reliable; I can put my trust in You and by Your grace, I will put my trust in You.”

Now, I’ll end this blog by taking you deeper once more with one more verse, which will take you back to the remainder of the title and answer the question: “Will God Come Through for You?”

Here is that verse, from Heb. 13:5: “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you” (NASB). Unfortunately, the English translation of this verse in Greek just lacks the “punch” or power of the original wording!

So, allow me to translate it as well as I can to how it reads in the original Greek: “There is NO WAY that I will EVER leave you without support; there is NO WAY that I will EVER leave you in distress or desert you!”

Now, as I mentioned earlier in this blog, it is up to us (but the Holy Spirit is here to help us) to believe God’s promise to us. But how?

The “deep” part of this time is the power of God’s word, but the “devotional” part of this is what we do with His word – and once again, we must apply it, in faith.

Will you do that with me now? Please say these words with me, out loud: “Father, thank You for the truth and power of Your Word and promise; thank You that there is NO WAY that You will EVER leave me without support; there is NO WAY that You will EVER leave me in distress or desert me!”

Now, to get this more deeply into your heart, loved one, I urge you to memorize Heb. 13:5 and quote it back to the Lord continually, along with other verses He gives to you.

Please let me know if you’re encouraged today by this.

May His presence and power be with you, in Jesus’ name, amen!

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1) Johannes Kepler (1571-1630), a Lutheran German astronomer, used mathematics to prove that the orbits of the planets were elliptical, not circular, and that their speed varied with their distance from the sun.
2) He formed the foundation of modern theoretical astronomy and was the father of modern satellites and space travel.
3) Kepler enthusiastically praised God for allowing him to discover these truths. And the significance of these discoveries was the emergence of a mechanistic view of the universe.
4) One author writes of Kepler that “astronomy provides a second means to see the power and glory of God, and thus it complements the goals of religion.”
5) Kepler saw God and the Bible as rational and hence concluded that science, coming from rational human beings made in His image, must be rational as well.
6) In 1596, Kepler published his Cosmographic Mystery, on the spacing of the planetary orbits. On the eve of its publication, he wrote to his astronomy teacher at the University of Tubingen, Michael Maestlin: “I am devoting my effort…for the glory of God, who wants to be recognized from the Book of Nature.”
7) Galileo Galilei (1564-1642), an Italian mathematician, also demonstrated mathematically that universal truths, or the laws of nature, governed the universe.
8) He reasoned that that since God is one, the universe must have unity. Thus, what was real was that which could be measured. His discoveries led to the inventions of modern machinery.
9) Galileo argued that the earth was not the center of the solar system; instead, it revolved around the sun. But the Roman Catholic Church (RCC) believed his assertion to be contrary to Scripture and accused him of heresy.
10) The RCC later had to admit its own mistaken interpretation of Scripture, while it was Galileo who held firmly to the Bible’s innerancy:

Holy Scripture could never lie or err, but its decrees are of absolute and inviolable truth. I should only have added that although Scripture can indeed not err, nevertheless some of its interpreters and expositors may sometimes err in various ways, one of which may be very serious and quite frequent, [that is,] when they would base themselves always on the literal meaning of words.

11) Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1727) was a British mathematics professor at Cambridge University in England and is well-known in history as one of the most remarkable scientists who ever lived.
12) Newton discovered the universal law of gravity, published in one of the greatest books ever written: The Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy (1687), or Principia.
13) Also regarded as the father of modern science, his Principia is still the foundation of modern scientific thought. He also developed the Binomial Theory, Calculus and he invented the first successful reflecting telescope.
14) His discoveries led to the development of modern physics. A very devout believer in the God of the Bible (by his own account, he spent more time studying the Bible than he devoted to the study of science), Newton wrote of the universe that

This most beautiful system of the sun, planets, and comets could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being. And if the fixed stars are the centers of other like systems, these being formed by the like wise counsel, must be subject to the dominion of the One…This Being governs all things…as Lord over all. The Supreme God is a Being eternal, infinite, absolutely perfect…He endures forever and is everywhere present.

15) It appears, however, that Newton nevertheless may have held heretical views of Scripture: some hold that he was anti-Trinitarian and that he did not believe in the deity of Jesus.
16) Another Christian, Englishman Francis Bacon, formulated the modern scientific method in 1620.
17) Bacon wrote, “Knowledge is the rich storehouse for the glory of the Creator and the relief of man’s estate…A little philosophy inclineth man’s mind to atheism, but depth in philosophy bringeth men’s minds about to religion.”
18) Yet another believer in Jesus, William Harvey, founded the science of physiology, discovering the circulation of human blood in 1628.
19) He not only discovered that the blood circulates and learned the true purpose of the venous valves and the heart’s motion, but he also contributed to embryology and strongly influenced the next generation of medical researchers, setting the stage for modern medical science.
20) The London physician did this while acting as the resident doctor for the poor at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital, a lecturer at the College of Physicians, a private practitioner, and later court physician to James I and personal physician to Charles I.
21) Throughout his written works, Harvey reinterpreted the classical principle “Nature does nothing in vain” as a statement of God’s sovereign purposefulness in creating and sustaining the natural world (reflected in Is. 45:18).
22) Having realized that the tiny valves in our veins allowed blood to flow only one way, Harvey struggled to determine God’s purpose in their construction.
23) As he considered the size of the arteries and the position and uni-directionality of the veins’ valves, he concluded that the blood does not move back and forth in the veins and arteries, as once thought.
24) Rather, it moves in a life-sustaining circuit, flowing out from the heart into the arteries and then returning through the veins. Echoing Leviticus 17:11, 14, Harvey concluded, “life therefore resides in the blood (as we are informed in our sacred writings).”
25) In 1641, Blaise Pascal, a French mathematician and philosopher (and another devout Christian), invented the predecessor to the modern calculator.
26) He was converted through a supernatural vision of the crucifixion of Jesus in 1654, which he wrote about.
27) Moreover, Pascal was famous for his law of hydraulics, which states that pressure on the surface of a fluid is transmitted equally to every point in a fluid.
28) He added important papers on the vacuum, on the weight and density of air, and the arithmetic triangle.
29) He developed the theory of probability, which is still used today. He invented the syringe, the hydraulic lift, and is credited with inventing the wristwatch and mapping out the first bus route in Paris.
30) Famous for his Penses, a collection of Pascal’s “thoughts” he intended to present as a Christian apology, was published after his death. In it, he portrayed humanity as suspended between wretchedness and happiness, and helpless without God. People try to avoid the abyss by engaging in distractions.
31) Pascal denounced the idea that reason and science alone can lead a person to God. Only by experiencing Christ can people know God.
32) One of Pascal’s most insightful and memorable observations was “Reason’s last step is the recognition that there are an infinite number of things which are beyond it…The heart has its reasons, which reason does not know at all.”
33) This statement soon became the chief critique of rationalism and the starting point for a defense of the Christian faith that still influences people today.
34) English scientist Robert Boyle formulated the laws of gases (1662), earning him the title, “Father of Modern Chemistry.”
35) From early in his career he applied chemical knowledge to medical problems, publishing recipes for medicines in order to make such cures more widely available to the poor.
36) Along with a number of other men in Oxford, Boyle helped to found the Royal Society, the first scientific organization in the English-speaking world.
37) Noting that the Old Testament contained no “word that properly signifies Nature, in the sense we take it,” Boyle argued for what he called the “mechanical philosophy,” which explains natural phenomena from the purely mechanical properties and powers given to unintelligent matter by God at the creation.
38) Such an approach, he believed, more clearly underscored the sovereignty of God and located purpose where it properly belonged: in the creator’s mind, not in some imaginary “Nature.”
39) Boyle also advocated the argument for the existence of God from signs of design in nature. Indeed, he had a strong interest in apologetics generally, reflecting his lifelong conversation with his own religious doubts.
40) He wrote extensively on apologetic themes and in his will established a lectureship for “proveing the Christian Religion against notorious Infidels (viz) Atheists, Theists [that is, deists—people who believed God created the world, then stepped aside], Pagans, Jews and Mahometans.”
41) Although he often targeted “atheists” in his writings, he realized that genuine philosophical atheism was rare in his day. He was actually more concerned with what he called “practical atheists”—those “baptised infidels” who lived as if there were no God to judge them—and here he thought the design argument had its greatest value.
42) As he wrote in Disquisition about the Final Causes of Natural Things, Boyle wanted his readers not to “barely observe the Wisdom of God,” but to be emotionally convinced of it.
43) In 1665, English astronomer Robert Hooke became the first to observe microscopic cells.
44) In 1682, John Ray, an English and Puritan clergyman and naturalist, pioneered the science of taxonomy (classification) and originated the idea of categorizing species of animals.
45) The above geniuses – all Christians – praised God for the reason He had given them to discover what only He could reveal.
46) But as is so often the case with truth, others came along and distorted these discoveries to suit their own agendas.
47) These were the leaders of The Enlightenment: men who taught that if the universe is mechanistic, it was not necessary for God to be involved in creation, which led to Deism.
48) Sir Michael Faraday (1791-1867), a devout Christian who believed in the Bible’s inspiration, inerrancy and infallibility, discovered electromagnetic induction, without which we would have no motors or engines. He also invented the generator.
49) Lord Kelvin (1824-1907) was another strong Christian. He formulated a new temperature scale, named after him, which begins at “absolute zero” and is used in many different scientific fields.
50) In addition, Kelvin formulated the science of thermodynamics, giving us the first and second laws of thermodynamics, including entropy. He was the first scientist to use the concept of energy.
51) Joseph Lister (1827-1912) was an English surgeon who was integral in the development of antiseptic surgery and the use of chemical disinfectants, innovations that are still saving lives.
52) He said, “I am a firm believer in the fundamental doctrines of Christianity.”

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