Posts Tagged ‘Science’

Psalm 8:3 – Image Created by Ross Cochrane

Psalm 8:2 – INTERVIEW WITH AN ATHEIST ON PSALM 8 – Part 2 

The scene takes place on the top floor of a Skyscaperin a luxury apartment belonging of a millionaire Atheist. From here the entire city can be viewed. It is breathtaking. The Atheist picks up a Bible and randomly turns to Psalm 8. Alarmingly, he finds King David, (author of Psalm 8) is transported to his apartment. A conversation ensues. (Disclaimer: This is my imagination and my own thoughts imposed upon the characters below as to what might have been said as I personally relate to Psalm 8. Both characters describe my own journey with seeking to understand and apply God’s Word, the Christian Bible, in the world in which I live). 

DAVID: (picks up Bible that the Atheist has been reading and turns to the New Testament). Nothing comes close to who God is and His character. When I wrote Psalm 8, I was also talking prophetically about a coming Messiah. I notice the writers of the New Testament, written many years after my writings recognise Him to be Jesus. Jesus shares the glory of God. John 1:14 (NLT) says, “So the Word became human and made His home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen His glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.”  

Colossians 1:15 (NLT) says “Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation,…  

ATHEIST: In our world He is mostly a swearword used on many building sites and general conversation, although I grant you that He is also recognised as an historical figure who made an impact on the world with His teachings. 

DAVID: Nothing can rob God of His glory. Not using His Name as a swearword. Carelessly profaning His name makes no difference to who His is and the impact He still makes in the earth.  Look at this. This was written to Christians in Philippi. Philippians 2:5-11 (NLT) says, “You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Though He was God, He did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, He gave up His divine privileges; He took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When He appeared in human form, He humbled Himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross. Therefore, God elevated Him to the place of highest honor and gave Him the name above all other names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” 

ATHEIST: I have no intention in bowing down to Jesus just because your Bible, not mine, says He is God and that He existed before the world was created and is supreme over all creation. There are many Scientific explanations as to how the world came into being and none of them include God. 

DAVID: Scientific theories may exclude God but then Science is not concerned with God, only the physical world. I like what your Bible says in Romans 1:20 (NLT), “For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see His invisible qualities—His eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.” I remember as a child looking up to the stars and trying to fathom how they came into existance and the eternity of space, and coming to the conclusion, though I didn’t know Him then, that there must be a Creator.  

ATHEIST: A child is easily susceptible to such beliefs. And it is childish to maintain such a stance. 

DAVID: In Psalm 8:2 you noticed that I wrote as I prayed, You have taught children and infants to tell of Your strength, silencing Your enemies and all who oppose You.  

ATHEIST: What is that supposed to mean?  Your childish faith will oppress me? 

DAVID: No, not at all, but it takes a childlike, but not childish faith to believe in Christ and to trust Him in the face of opposition. 

For me the very life of a child itself is evidence of the almighty power and wonder of God. I realise that not everyone is going to be impressed by God’s strength, excellence and majesty, but they are often silenced by the simplicity and miracle of the birth of a child and the faith of a child. 

I notice that in your Bible, in the New Testament, Jesus quoted me (from Psalm 8:2) when His enemies, the religious leaders, confronted Him. The children were shouting praises when Jesus entered Jerusalem on a donkey on Palm Sunday.  

Matthew 21:14-16 (NLT) says of Jesus, “The blind and the lame came to Him in the Temple, and He healed them. The leading priests and the teachers of religious law saw these wonderful miracles and heard even the children in the Temple shouting, “Praise God for the Son of David.” But the leaders were indignant. They asked Jesus, “Do you hear what these children are saying?” “Yes,” Jesus replied. “Haven’t you ever read the Scriptures? For they say, ‘You have taught children and infants to give you praise.’” 

Jesus misses out the second part of the verse I wrote in Psalm 8:2 about silencing enemies of God, however the Pharisees would have known this verse and would not have missed what Jesus was saying – that they were the enemies. 

I notice that earlier, in Matthew 18:2-3 (NLT), Jesus calls a little child to Him and puts the child among crowd. Then He says, “I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven.” 

Even at the birth of Jesus Himself, He is called Saviour. The babe in the manger became the Saviour of the world. 

ATHEIST: Childlike faith or simply foolishness? Do you really believe that you must turn from your sins, believe that Christ died for your sins, and that you must do this to get into some mythical realm called heaven? To me that sounds ludicrous. 

DAVID: I notice in your Bible in 1 Corinthians 1:27-28 that it says, “God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And He chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful. God chose things despised by the world, things counted as nothing at all, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important.” 

What amazes me is that the majestic, famous, omnipotent, and worthy God, whose creative fingerprint can be found in all the earth, loves me. As one of God’s creative brushstrokes, with Him I can find the greatest expression of who I am.  

When I look at the night sky and see the work of Your fingers—the moon and the stars you set in place—what are mere mortals that You should think about them, human beings that You should care for them? (Psalm 8:3 NLT). 

(to be continued) 

Pastor Ross  

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Genesis 27:1-27 – RIGHT PRESENT, WRONG SON

TO ESAU?

To make a Christmas analogy, it was as if Isaac was wrapping up a Christmas present and giving it to the wrong family member. It was as if Rebekah was shoplifting to try to bless her son. It was as if Jacob was impersonating Santa Claus to be liked.

It is wrong for Isaac to secretly seek to bless Esau with the blessing God intends for Jacob. It is wrong for Rebecca to seek to bring about God’s will by deceptive means. It is wrong for Jacob to seek to impersonate someone else and expect to be blessed. Such mistakes will have serious consequences for this dysfunctional family in the future, but God still has a way of turning cursing to blessing.

If he was able to discern the voice of God Isaac would not forge ahead to bless Esau in the first place but now he blunders onto the set where he becomes the unknowing, though not innocent, performer in the first act of Jacob’s starring role as Esau. Although he is physically and spiritually blind, he suspects that he is not speaking with Esau, and he is left to initiate his own process of verification, based entirely upon his own reasoning and his other senses. Without God’s help all that is left is crude science.

QUESTIONS

Twice Isaac asks directly who it is. Jacob, prodded to deception by his mother, replies,“It’s Esau, your firstborn son. I’ve done as you told me. Here is the wild game. Now sit up and eat it so you can give me your blessing” (Genesis 27:19, 24 NLT).

REASONING

Not entirely convinced, Isaac asks, “How did you find it so quickly, my son?” Jacob is quick, “The Lord your God put it in my path!” (Genesis 27:20 NLT). Who can question the Lord? But Isaac is no fool. Perhaps he knows Esau would not give an answer that involves God. Esau seems to have left God out of his life. Why would he even mention God?

THE SENSES

Being blind he employs other available senses and says “Come closer so I can touch you and make sure that you really are Esau” (Genesis 27:21 NLT). Jacob comes closer to his father, and Isaac touches him. “The voice is Jacob’s, but the hands are Esau’s,” Isaac says (Genesis 27:22 NLT). Goat skin has been freshly stretched upon Jacob’s neck and arms. Isaac believes the hairy arms and hands of the goat deception, despite the dissonant chords of Jacob’s voice.

Over the meal, Isaac thinks of one more test. He says “Please come a little closer and kiss me, my son” (Genesis 27:26 NLT). So Jacob comes over and kisses his Dad. And when Isaac catches the smell of his clothes, he is finally convinced, and is willing to give his blessing. Isaac says, “Ah! The smell of my son is like the smell of the outdoors, which the Lord has blessed!” (Genesis 27:27 NLT). Jacob foresaw the need to wear Esau’s clothes (If Hugo Boss had been around he would have made a new men’s fragrance called “Fresh Air The smell of the great outdoors. Receive the Blessing” – expensive and deceptively alluring).

ANALYSIS

Jacob and Rebekah teach me that Deception cannot procure God’s spiritual blessings and purposes. Isaac teaches me that when I seek to defy God’s purposes then I am limited to my own resources, to my own reasoning and the senses. The senses will never plumb the depths of spiritual truth. The senses don’t make sense when faith and obedience are required.

God invites me to “…live by faith, not by sight.” (2 Corinthians 5:7 (NIV). He wants me to (excuse the sensory analogy) hear His voice, smell the fragrance of His Presence, touch the Hem of His garment, taste the very bread of life, see with the eyes of faith, perceive and receive His blessings for my life and for my family this Christmas.

Pastor Ross

BREAKING THE CHAINS OF SUPERSTITION – Part 1

Superstition – Photo Creation by Ross Cochrane using Paint.net and MorgueFile.com

The 2nd Friday in January was Friday the thirteenth, 2012. For those who believe in SUPERSTITION an unlucky day – a bad day for a journey, to marry, to make any investment. One woman I spoke with yesterday reads the stars each morning in the paper and prays that God will allow it to happen. Lets add to that walking under a ladder, a black cat, crossing your fingers, touching wood, reading the stars, petals plucked to discover if she loves me, she loves me not.

RELIGION especially can be the hive of superstitious nonsense. One man wears a cross as a kind of rabbits foot against bad luck, while another wears it as a symbol of what Christ did for us on the Cross in dying for our sins. One person prays as a meaningless ritual while another uses prayer as an expression of relationship with Christ.

SUPERSTITION is evident when I have a belief or practice resulting from ignorance, fear of the unknown, trust in magic or chance, or a false conception of cause and effect. Many people would add that a belief in the supernatural, in miracles, in God, in the resurrection and ascension of Christ is also SUPERSTITION.

I’ve been reading a lecture (blog) by Robert G. Ingersoll (1833-1899), an Atheist. I love his ability to express himself but I am amazed by the arrogance of his assertions and how he intentionally associates SUPERSTITION WITH FAITH. He is particularly scathing about regarding the Bible as the inspired Word of God and proclaims SCIENCE AS OUR SAVIOUR, which will “destroy bigotry in all its forms… It will abolish poverty and crime, and greater, grander, nobler than all else, it will make the whole world free.” (Ingersoll lecture on Superstition)

And years after his death in the scientific age in which we live we are still mesmerised by the superstition of believing that science is the saviour of the world. Yet far from freeing the world, the evidence suggests we are destroying it by the very discoveries we have made. Science hasn’t lived up to the arrogant claims and promises Ingersoll makes because it keeps limiting us by ignoring the very things that truly set us free.

If I was not willing to accept Christ for who He is I guess I would be forced to come up with some fanciful explanation that allowed my atheism or superstition some credence and would not obligate me to come under God’s authority – scientific or religious – it wouldn’t matter much which.

In delivering a series of messages based on The Truth Between Us, Erwin McManus, founder of Mosaic, recently said that true atheists and followers of Christ both want to rid themselves of SUPERSTITION. Thankfully, both atheists and followers of Christ ask us “Is that really the truth?” and if we were honest sometimes the answer is “No, it’s more connected with superstition and rituals and our own biased desires.” It may even be based on our self imposed limits.

Arnold (not his real name) has worked so long as a scientist that he has allowed his empirical rationalism to limit his ability to discern truth by relying only on his SENSES. Allowing for a multiplicity of ways to discern truth and not simply restricting discernment to the five senses allows me to exercise FAITH as a valid system of perception. When Arnold, shackled and restricted to the evidence of the senses as he must be for his scientific research to be meaningful, refuses to acknowledge any OTHER pathways to truth but it’s own self imposed world of choices, then far from practicing science he is involved in “SCIENTISM” (as my geologist friend Bob calls it). Closing itself up to other possibilities outside the field of it’s own restricted measures of obtaining truth, scientism arrogantly seeks to cut us off from the possibilities of discovering a more holistic range of truth for our lives and from the divergent thinking that leads us to new discoveries. Should I restrict myself to my senses as the ONLY means to living life I could never be accountable to anyone but myself, limited by my “INGROWN THINKING”.

Erwin McManus speaks about the impossibility of trying to see something with the sense of smell or hear something with the sense of sight. It’s not that faith and science are diametrically opposed. They are not. It’s that we sometimes apply the wrong apparatus of perception when seeking truth.

It isn’t Jesus who is responsible for leading me to believe in superstition. No-one should be more committed to pursuing truth than a follower of Christ, who says He is the way, TRUTH, and life and that the TRUTH will set us free (John 14:6, John 8:32). He will never take me anywhere where truth is not.

Pastor Ross

Matthew 14:1-2 – BREAKING THE CHAINS OF MY LIMITATIONS

Breaking the Chains of My Limitations

One hundred and one years have passed and he still believes in a SUPERSTITION that once haunted Herod Antipas almost 2000 years ago. The centenarian I spoke with yesterday doesn’t like the idea of the afterlife, of heaven and hell, of continuing to live on past death, nevertheless he clings to a belief in REINCARNATION, that the soul is recycled. It is recorded that Herod Antipas also believed you could return and inhabit a different living person (Matthew 14:1-2). Reincarnation with a twist.

In delivering a series of messages based on The Truth Between Us, Erwin McManus, founder of Mosaic, recently said that true atheists and followers of Christ both want to rid themselves of SUPERSTITION. Thankfully, both atheists and followers of Christ ask us “Is that really the truth?” and if we were honest sometimes the answer is “No, it’s more connected with superstition and rituals and our own biased desires.” It may even be based on our self imposed limits for discovering half truths.

Religion especially can be the hive of superstitious nonsense. But then again science and rationalism can also limit our ability to discern truth by relying only on our senses. Allowing for a multiplicity of ways to discern truth and not simply restricting and limiting discernment to the five senses allows me to exercise faith as a valid system of perception. When science refuses to acknowledge that we know things beyond our senses it becomes scientism. It cuts us off from the possibilities of discovering a more holistic range of truth for our lives.

No-one should be more committed to pursuing truth than a follower of Christ, who says He is the way, TRUTH, and life and that the TRUTH will set us free (John 14:6, John 8:32). Sometimes the only verifiable truth I have is the truth evidenced by a changed life. It isn’t Jesus who is responsible for leading me to believe in superstition. He will never take me anywhere where truth is not.

When Herod hears that some people think that Jesus is John the Baptist risen from the dead (Luke 9:7-9), with superstitious fear and a guilty conscience, he readily grasps at this explanation (2 Timothy 4:4). This is weird because he claims to be a Sadducee, and Sadducees don’t believe in life after death.

Years later Herod meets Jesus face to face when Jesus is on trial to be crucified (Luke 23:8–12) but even then He misses his opportunity to discover who Jesus really is and examines Him as a curiosity.

Strange that all the conclusions about Jesus that people come up with don’t include what John has been telling them all along. God has promised to them a Redeemer. Jesus is the promised Messiah, the Saviour. Instead they come up with a quasi reincarnational theory.

Where does imagination stop and truth start? Children mix imagination and truth, but discerning that which is imaginary and that which is a possibility is the process that allows me to discover truth.

If I was not willing to accept Christ for who He is I guess I would be forced to come up with some fanciful explanation that allowed my atheism or superstition some credence and would not obligate me to come under God’s authority. Scientific or religious. It wouldn’t matter much which. There’s a downward trend here in Herod’s life that must tear him to pieces inside. He can’t explain away the miracles of Jesus and he desperately wants to maintain control of his world, so he must grasp at staws.

The invitation that both Herod and John the Baptist gives to us is to seek the truth. In the palace Herod entertains the truth but allows superstition and pride to reject Christ for who he really is. In the dungeon John the Baptist speaks the truth and though he is beheaded by Herod, it is the Truth about Jesus that sets him free.

Perhaps the questions worth asking are “What superstitions am I willing to embrace when it comes to seeking for the truth about Jesus? Am I simply applying limited constructs in a desire to eradicate Christ and His authority in my life? Am I really willing to seek the truth about who Jesus is? Am I willing to act on truth that I perceive beyond my senses and beyond my superstitions?”

John 16:13 (NLT) speaks about God the Holy Spirit as “THE SPIRIT OF TRUTH” who “will guide you into all truth” John 16:8 (NLT) says “… He will convict the world of its sin …” of unbelief. Am I willing to look beyond myself for the answers I need in life?

Pastor Ross

Part 4 – Matthew 12:1-14 – ANCIENT MYSTERY UNLOCKED!

Ancient Mystery Unlocked!

Talk about SUSPENSE AND INTRIGUE! Subatomic anti-matter threatens the existence of Vatican city in Rome. Key Cardinals from the Roman Catholic church vanish. And it all points to the ILLUMINATI, a secret society that has re-emerged from history. I watched the movie by Dan Brown called “Angels and Demons” a couple of nights ago. Throughout the movie there’s a battle with science and religion.

The hero is Robert Langdon, a renowned symbologist, who has to follow a TRAIL OF CLUES left by the bad guys, the Illuminati, to find the kidnapped Cardinals and SAVE THEM from being executed each hour and stop an anti-matter bomb from wiping out Vatican City. In true suspense thriller style, no-one is who they seem to be.

In Matthew 12, the PLOT IS SIMILAR. I have been kidnapped by my legalistic thinking. Jesus is the hero who leaves me a whole lot of CLUES worth following. If I follow the clues, I begin to see a picture of WHO JESUS REALLY IS and how I can be SAVED. Colossians 1:26 (NLT) says “This message was kept secret for centuries and generations past, but now it has been revealed to God’s people”

It all hinges on the question the Pharisees (Illuminati) ask Jesus “Is it lawful to harvest grain and heal on the Sabbath?” (Matthew 12:2,10) and Jesus uses their legalistic lack of compassion to give me the first clue.

Clue 1 – KING DAVID – In answer to their question Jesus says that king David went into the house of God and ate sacred bread which was not lawful (Matthew 12:3-4). That’s a CLUE in itself because Jesus is a DESCENDENT of king David (Matthew 1:1). As I search through the holy books I discover an ANCIENT COVENANT made between God and David that establishes the throne of David forever (2 Chronicles 13:5). I discover that Jesus is called the KING OF KINGS (1 Timothy 6:15). And strangely enough I discover that I am also created to EXERCISE AUTHORITY over the earth responsibly as His representative (Genesis 1:28). Apparently rulership is part of the deal as I come under the authority of Christ (Revelation 20:4).

Clue 2 – PRIESTS – Jesus says that priests worked on the Sabbath day (Matthew 12:5). Dig a little, and I find that Jesus is called the GREAT HIGH PRIEST (Hebrews 4:14) and if you are a follower of Christ, you and I are collectively called a KINGDOM OF PRIESTS (Exodus 19:6 and Revelation 1:6) and HOLY PRIESTS (1 Peter 2:5). I have direct access to God, no SECRET KEYS for the door required (Ephesians 3:12).

Clue 3 – THE TEMPLE – Jesus says He is GREATER than the Temple (Matthew 12:6), the place where God chooses to REVEAL HIMSELF (Habakkuk 2:20 and Acts 7:46-50). In fact if I search through the ancient document of Colossians 2:9-10 (NLT) I find that it says “For in Christ lives all the FULLNESS OF GOD in a human body. So you also are complete through your union with Christ, who is the Head over every ruler and authority.” And something else – Christians, as they gather together are collectively called the TEMPLE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT (1 Peter 2:5 and 1 Corinthians 6:9. Note the “your” is plural in the original Greek). It is where Christ dwells and expresses His life. The pieces are coming together.

Clue 4 – LORD – In Matthew 12:8 (NLT) Jesus gives the final clue. He says, “For the Son of Man is LORD, even over the Sabbath!” Jesus can do whatever He wants, on any day He wants. Not just Lord of the Sabbath but I discover that He is the LORD OF LORDS (1 Timothy 6:15) and He doesn’t have to go through an ENCLAVE to elect Him to that office. Philippians 2:9-11 (NLT) says “… God elevated Him to the place of highest honour and gave Him the Name above all other names, that at the Name of Jesus EVERY KNEE SHOULD BOW, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is LORD, to the glory of God the Father.”  

JESUS CHRIST IS LORD! It’s written in the ANCIENT TEXTS. It is obvious when you piece the CLUES together that He is saying that He has authority to rule and reign over every aspect of my life. I don’t obey a set of coded laws. I obey a living person who has all authority. Not a Lord who compels me to obey but One who invites me to COME UNDER HIS AUTHORITY so my life will have meaning and purpose and a hope for the future. Not a king of RITUAL, but a King of RELATIONSHIP. Not a Priest who is RELIGIOUS, but One who is PERSONAL. Not a Temple where we GO to Church, but we ARE the Church, THE TEMPLE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.

God bless you Church as you UNRAVEL THE MYSTERY (Colossians 1:26-29) and reach out to Jesus like the man with a deformed hand. All of a sudden things are no longer twisted and distorted and misshapen. The clues are plain to see and you will see Him for who He is and worship Him with all your heart and mind and soul.

Pastor Ross