Sunday, 26 February 2017

How Do We Know The Trinity Is True?

There isn't a passage in the Bible that specifically says anything like "Oh by the way, The Father, The Son a.k.a. The Word a.k.a. Jesus, and The Holy Spirit are three persons who make one being - Galapagos 13:69". In fact the word 'trinity' doesn't appear anywhere. But that doesn't mean that this doctrine isn't a clear truth of Christianity. The word 'trinity' perhaps came later to be a simple description of a recurring theme throughout both the Old and New Testament.
But still there are a large number of Christians who think that God and Jesus were separate beings, and have no idea what the Holy Spirit is about.
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. -- 2 Corinthians 13:14
Here we'll take a look at some of the several reasons that the Trinity is pretty much indisputable.

Firstly, without even looking at specific Scripture, let's take a moment to think about the atonement from the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ.
Basically, any human that sins must die. Sin can not enter heaven, so a human carrying it will not be able to go to heaven. That means everyone. Every human has a debt to pay. They owe a life for their sins. Potentially, one sinless human could pay the debt for them. If the sins of one human create a debt of one life, then the life of a sinless person could balance it out. It would have to be a sinless person, because if the second person had their own sins, they would have their own debt.
So given one sinful human, and one sinless one, either one could die for to pay the debt. One for one.
But if we have two sinful humans, and one sinless one, and the sinless one offers his life to save another, he can only pay for one. So we're still left with one debt not paid off.
So if Jesus was just a man who lived a perfect life, surely he could only give his life to save one other person. Maybe his favourite disciple.
But if Jesus was God, that means he has an infinite, eternal life, which is worth a whole lot more than one human life. His death, which cuts off eternity, is an easy trade off for however many humans (with an average of around a 70 year life span) have ever lived, with change to spare.
So Jesus in his infinite nature as God, having lived a sinless life is the only one who can afford to pay the debt of humanity.
Of course, everyone still dies, so it might seem confusing that Jesus died to save us all from dying, when we all still die. What Jesus' death saves us from is sometimes referred to as 'the second death'. So when our bodies die, our spirit can live on, until it is given a new body for the New Heaven in the future. But without Jesus' sacrifice, we would have no right to be given that new body and be brought back from death. The second death as described in Revelation is the destruction of the souls who are still carrying their own sin.

I simply can not see how Jesus being only a man and not the incarnation of God could work in this scenario.

No man can by any means redeem his brother or give to God a ransom for him, for the redemption of his soul is costly, and he should cease trying forever, that he should live on eternally, that he should not undergo decay. -- Psalm 49:7-9
One more point that shows that the Trinity is a necessary aspect of God without diving into Scripture. God is defined as the embodiment of love. (1 John 4:8 -- Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.) God is also described as having aseity, which means he exists fully without needing anything. (Acts 17:25 -- And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything.) But how could God be capable of loving, sharing love, and receiving love if he was alone? He would need someone else. But seeing as God does not need anyone else, and can embody love whether or not humans exist, it must be that the shared love is contained within himself, in his multiple persons. If he was alone, he would not be sufficient to embody love, but as three in one, he can be just that. A God who is not self sufficient, and needs something or someone else, is not the God Christianity describes. The Trinitarian God is sufficient, but a unitarian God is not.

But let's go on and look at the Scriptural support for the Trinity.
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. -- Matthew 28:19 

Friday, 17 February 2017

The Self-Contradicting Worldview of Atheism

That title alone is bound to set off some triggers. Which is a shame, because it would be nice to get into the meat of this without having to first lay down some grounding to explain where we're coming from.

That well-rehearsed scripted cry rings in my ears as I write, "Atheism isn't a worldview! It's just an answer to the God claim!"

I take this to mean that the atheist saying it is really an agnostic non-theist. As such, they are sat on the fence with an "I don't know if God exists or not and am withholding judgement until more evidence comes in".
An atheist on the proper definition either believes, or feels certain that the claim "God does not exist" is true.

Following from the belief in that claim is an obvious basis for a worldview. An atheist who believes there is no such thing as God, must necessarily believe that everything in existence operates without need for one. While a theist believes God created, moulded, designed, sustains, and has plans for the universe and everything in it, an atheist requires other explanations. Hence, worldview.

Going back to the agnostic non-theist for a moment. It would be smart for them to consider the logical implications of an atheistic worldview. Rather than solely look at the claim "God exists", they should study and apply similar scepticism to the alternative claim "God does not exist". Perhaps they'd then see a clearer picture of which worldview makes more sense.

So. The following will be going through various claims made by atheists about their worldview. These are common claims made by many. We will see that a number of them are incompatible. Fortunately not every atheist holds to all of the claims, and so not every atheist is living with incompatible beliefs, but for those who do spout these contradictory ideas, they should really re-examine their worldview, and at the very least, choose between the contradictions.
If you ever find that you believe two statements that are in contradiction with one another, you have no choice but to drop one.

Friday, 10 February 2017

Which Bible Is The Right Translation?

Like most people in my non-denominational group of Christians that I know, my go to English translation for the Bible is the NIV, the New International Version. It's easy to read and does a decent job of staying true to the text. And like most people in my non-denominational group of Christians that I know, as well as a wider spread of other Christians of various denominations that I do and don't know, none of us ever use The Message. 

But at other times, I prefer some of the translations in the ESV, the English Standard Version. There have been a fair few times where I think this one has nailed a verse, where the NIV doesn't quite hit the mark.
But then, other people have a fondness for the KJV, the King James Version. I personally like the old timey language with the thee's and thou's and such, but there are some things in this translation that put me off using it generally.
Sometimes specific denominations have their own preferred translation. Jehovah's Witnesses tend to stick to the NWT, New World Translation. Or it might be that a certain church pastor has their own favourite so that's what they keep in their pews.

But when you have all these different versions floating around, and various people saying they like this one, or that one, to an outsider it can look like the Bible is in a mess. How can we read and trust the Bible, if we don't know which one is the right one? Of all these versions surely we need to figure out which one is the one to stick to and then ignore the rest?