May the Force Be With You

When we think of God, we may imagine the powerful Creator sitting on his throne in heaven. We may think of him in human form as Jesus, the Savior of the World. But do we view him as the Holy Spirit? Just who is God in the person of the Holy Spirit?

Some people believe the Holy Spirit is simply the influence of good—like the “good force” of the universe. But the Holy Spirit is actually a person—the third person of the Trinity (God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit). Jesus referred to the Spirit as a person when he said, “I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth” (  John 14:16-17).

The Holy Spirit is one of the three persons of God. He has a mind and feelings. He makes choices. Scripture says, “He who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit” (Romans 8:27 niv). Scripture also tells us that the Spirit can feel. We are not to “bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live” (Ephesians 4:30). He makes choices as to who will receive what spiritual gifts. “It is the one and only Spirit who distributes these gifts” (1 Corinthians 12:11). Also, the apostle Peter told a man named Ananias, “You lied to the Holy Spirit” (Acts 5:3). Ananias wasn’t lying to an influence; he was lying to a person. Peter added, “You weren’t lying to us but to God” (Acts 5:4).

continue reading

Is God Male or Female?

To ask the question, “Is God male or female?” is somewhat like asking if God is right- or left-handed. Or is his first language English or Spanish? Truth is, he is not confined by our human or material world. He created us in his image, but he is unlike us in many, many ways.

Jesus said, “God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth” (  John 4:24). It is true that God took on human form in the person of Jesus, who of course was male, yet God does not exist as a material or physical being. So in that sense he is neither male nor female as we know the human sexes.

At the same time, God has chosen to create and use imagery of himself that is both masculine and feminine. Of course he refers to himself as Father and Jesus as the Son of God, which are both masculine imagery. Yet Jesus spoke of himself in feminine imagery when he said, “How often I have wanted to gather your children together as a hen protects her chicks beneath her wings, but you wouldn’t let me” (Matthew 23:37).

continue reading

Book Review: Cold Case Christianity by J. Warner Wallace

Let me put my cards on the table.  J. Warner Wallace (Jim to those who know him personally) is one of my best friends.  For almost 10 years, we’ve been invested in each other’s life.  We’ve done ministry together.  We’ve served in the local church together.  We’ve led student mission trips together.  Our families have spent time together (my teenage daughter regularly crashes at his house and gets spoiled by Jim’s wonderful wife, Susie).  And now we’re speaking together, as colleagues at Stand to Reason.  Jim is a close friend, partner, and ally.  

So yes, as I offer a review of Jim’s book, Cold Case Christianity (CCC), you could argue that I’m biased.  However, if you dismiss my book review as unreliable on the sole basis of bias, then you need to read Jim’s book!  In chapter 14, he deals with a similar charge of bias against the disciples.  And had you read it already, you’d know bias does not preclude one from being reliable, as Jim’s “Mark Hillian” illustration demonstrates (see page 246).  So, don't dismiss this review before you consider the reasons why I think you need to read Jim’s book. 

continue reading

My Debate on the Grounding of Morality

Was I nervous? Yes, absolutely. Of course, this wasn't my ordinary speaking event. On April 5, about 170 people packed a room at Weber State University, to watch my formal debate with professor of philosophy Dr. Richard Greene. The question: Can there be objective moral values and obligations without God? Each debater had 20 minutes for opening arguments, a 10-minute rebuttal, about 40 minutes of joint Q & A from the audience, and a 5-minute conclusion.

Dr. Greene had home field advantage. He has been teaching classes at Weber State for about eight years and a number of his students came out for the debate. About 65% of the attendees indicated on a pre-debate survey that they held Dr. Greene’s view, that morality is best explained without God.

continue reading

The Genetics of Adam and Eve, The Difficulty with Genesis 1:27-28

Passage:

God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. Then God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it” (Genesis 1:27-28).

Difficulty: Doesn’t the science of genetics refute the concept that the entire population of the world came from just one couple?

Explanation: Over the past couple of decades researchers have used “population genetics” to estimate initial population size of the human species. By studying human genetic diversity in the present day, they have tried to extrapolate back to determine the minimum size of the original population of humans necessary to produce the diversity we observe today. Some have argued that it is impossible for civilization to have come from one human couple.

continue reading

The Difficulty with Genesis 2:1-4 - Creation

Passage:

The creation of the heavens and the earth and everything in them was completed. On the seventh day God had finished his work of creation, so he rested from all his work. And God blessed the seventh day and declared it holy, because it was the day when he rested from all his work of creation. This is the account of the creation of the heavens and the earth (Genesis 2:1-4).

Difficulty: Did God create the world in six 24-hour days, or is the world billions of years old as the standard scientific dating suggests?

Explanation: There is a wide variety of theories Christians have presented and understood for the duration of creation in Genesis. Here are a few of the more common explanations:

The gap theory postulates that eons passed between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2—possibly leaving plant and animal remains in the fossils we now find. Part of this theory postulates that Satan was cast down to earth and destroyed it, rendering the earth “formless and empty” as described in Genesis 1:2. This is partially based on the assumption that God would never create something as chaotic as is described in the second verse of the chapter. The time then between verses 1 and 2 could have been millions of years. This view has grown out of favor in scholarly circles.

continue reading

The Difficulty with Genesis 1:1

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1:1).

 

Difficulty #1: Doesn’t science claim the universe is eternal? If so, how can it have a beginning?

 

Explanation: The First Law of Thermodynamics states that matter and energy can be changed from one form to another, but it cannot be created or destroyed. For centuries scientists believed the universe was uncaused and eternal.

 

In the early part of the twentieth century the scientific community was confronted with the ramifications of Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity. Like most scientists of the day, Einstein assumed the universe was static and eternal. Yet his mathematical equation of relativity pointed strongly toward a universe that was either expanding or contracting. While this seemed to unsettle him, Einstein later accepted that the universe had a finite past. Why did he change his mind?
continue reading

What is God Really Like?

The Bible says that God is Spirit (John 4:24) and that no one has ever seen him and lived (Exodus 33:20). So then how can we, being human and not spirit, ever know what he is like?

While it is true that God is hidden from us in many ways, he has still to a great extent revealed himself to us. He has revealed himself in all of creation. When we see the world around us we get a glimpse of God’s creative nature, his infinity of tastes, and his incomprehensible immenseness.

God has also revealed himself to us in Scripture. Through the reliable written Word of God we get deep insights into:

his infinite characteristics

his relational heart

his holy nature

And because he has revealed himself to us in the person of Jesus Christ we see God with skin on.

Don’t Just Doubt Your Faith, Doubt Your Doubts

Students need space to share their doubts.  We all do.  If serious questions about Christianity and uncertainty toward God are not recognized and explored, they remain in the heart and mind, only to surface farther down the road and often with greater force.  Simplistic Christian responses will not suffice.  “Do extra devotions” or “just have faith” don’t do justice to a student’s real struggle with doubt. 

I encounter student doubt all the time.  My work actually helps to surface doubts, as I raise challenges to Christianity and then explore answers in my talks.  I remember when Helia, a freshman at a Christian college in Southern California, approached me after the talk I gave at a Summit Ministries student conference this past summer and shared her struggle with doubt.  I was glad for her honest questions and told her as much.  Why?  I want students to get their doubts on the table while they’re with me.  So I always allow space for questions, the starting point for dealing with doubt. 

continue reading

If God Caused Everything, Then Who or What Caused God?

Although there may be credible evidence for God’s existence, a major question still remains: Who or what caused God? It seems everything that exists had to have a beginning sometime,so when did God begin, and who or what caused him to begin?

In our discussion of the first-cause argument for the existence of God, you may remember it has three premises:

Whatever begins to exist has a cause.

The universe began to exist.

Therefore the universe has a cause.

It is important to clarify that we did not assert that everything that exists needs a cause. Rather, everything that begins to exist must have a cause.

So the short answer to “Who or what caused God?” is “Nothing.” God is eternal, which means he has life without beginning or end. There was never a moment that God didn’t exist, nor will he ever end. And because God has always existed, he doesn’t need a cause. This is not special pleading by Christians, for the very definition of God implies a being that is self-existent. If God could be caused to exist, then he would not be God! You see, we can only consistently ask what caused things that can in principle be caused, such as chairs, books, and computers. But God, since he is by definition uncaused, is not the type of entity that can be caused. Therefore, the question “What caused God?” is actually meaningless.

continue reading
Syndicate content

Bloggers in Belief


Sign-up for the Newsletter
Sign-up for the Newsletter
Get the latest updates on relevant news topics, engaging blogs and new site features. We're not annoying about it, so don't worry.