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How do you see?
In Open Forum
ekrause1406
Commentator
Commentator
Jan 25, 2021
Stephen Hawking’s point in Brief Answers to Big Questions seems to be that God is unnecessary. He describes his theory that the Big Bang could make something out of nothing because of “negative energy”. If I have understood correctly, it works something like this: If we represent the energy and space before the Big Bang as “0”, the universe after the Big Bang could be “-1+1”, where the +1 is the energy/matter in the universe and -1 is empty space (a vast store of negative energy). -1+1=0, so Hawking theorized that the universe did not require any being to create matter, because there was no net change. For support he uses quantum physics, in which subatomic particles can appear and disappear without cause. The Big Bang would have started with an extremely small particle (a singularity), so quantum physical laws would apply to it. Naturally, I wonder how the quantum physical laws could have been in place without anything causing them. Hawking also theorized that it was impossible for the Big Bang to be caused because there was no such thing as time before the event in which a cause could exist. He uses the way time distorts and slows around black holes as evidence that this is possible. I thought it was fascinating reading these ideas in the words of someone who actually believed them. It gives me a better idea of what interests those who don’t believe in God. I was especially interested to see Hawking’s idea that there was no creator because there was no time before the universe began. We know a few things from the Bible about the relationship between God and time. “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” - Revelation 22:13 Here, God directly claims to be eternal, living before time and even beyond when time will end. It is one of the truths of the Christian faith that is equal parts wonderful and incomprehensible. Just try to imagine what it would be like living without time! The sense of wonder you experience when thinking about physics and the subconscious sounds similar to the wonder I experience when I think about God. “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” - Genesis 1:1 This is the very first verse of the Bible. It seems true that time as we know it began when the universe began. However, God is indeed there to create it. His eternal nature means that he did not need time in order to exist. “But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” - 2 Peter 3:8-9 In this passage, Peter reminds believers waiting for Jesus’ second coming of an important truth about God: he is not bound to time. He is free to act whenever he knows is best. “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” - Romans 6:23 From the verses we have just seen, we can tell that God is eternal and beyond time. From this passage in Romans we learn something incredible: God has made a way for us to spend eternity with him. By trusting in the power of Jesus’ death and resurrection to redeem us from what we do wrong, we receive God’s gift of eternal life, for free. God doesn't need us, and we have wronged him, yet he still wants to spend eternity with us. Now there is another wonderful mystery to think about. Take care Windar12q, and thanks again for the book.
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How do you see?
In Open Forum
ekrause1406
Commentator
Commentator
Jan 22, 2021
I finally picked up the book!
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Dinosaur DNA?
In Open Forum
ekrause1406
Commentator
Commentator
Oct 10, 2020
Hello everyone! Thank you for telling us about the documentary, @burrawang. I just watched some of it. ****This post contains spoilers!**** Some of it was information I had learned about before, such as the description of why evolution will never have enough time to produce enough mutations to form a new species, especially given the frequency of harmful mutations. However, one of my favorite parts was about the discovery of Y-Chromosome Adam and Mitochondrial Eve. Researchers have been able to trace the DNA in the Y-chromosome of people around the world to one male ancestor and the DNA in their mitochondria to one woman ancestor. This is consistent with the Biblical account of Adam and Eve being the first humans. Both evolutionists and creationists agree that Mitochondrial Eve and Y-Chromosome Adam existed; the only debate is about what this means. I looked at several other online sources about the evolutionary view, and they believe that these individuals are our most recent common ancestors, but not our only ancestors. The evolutionary interpretation is that genetic drift caused the other mitochondrial DNAs and Y-chromosomes to die out (coalescent theory). However, according to the video this assumption is based on random mating (all humans having an equal likelihood of marrying all other humans), which is probably not a true assumption because humans live in separate population groups. According to the other sources I looked at, evolutionary scientists believe that the diversity in our non-sex chromosomes should be explained by a population of about 10,000 ancestors, not just two. However, as the video describes, humans can be extremely heterozygous, which means that one person can carry alleles for many different traits in their DNA all at once. If we make the very reasonable assumption that both Adam and Eve were created as heterozygous individuals, it is a good explanation of the diversity that we see today. I also loved the quote at the end from Dr. Robert Carter (from 1:29:00 - 1:30:18) about how the evolutionary model keeps getting closer to what the Bible says. Are you going to watch it, @windar12q? I would be interested to know your thoughts since you don't follow the mainstream interpretation of evolution.
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Pascal's Wager
In Open Forum
ekrause1406
Commentator
Commentator
May 21, 2020
Good evening, windar12q! I didn't know you were also a public speaker. Have you been able to read any of your poems recently? I don't really know how to explain how I know my inspiration was from God. It is something that is such a unique experience that it's hard to put into words for someone who hasn't experienced it. This passage from Psalm 139 shows a bit of what it feels like to be known and loved by God in this way. 1 You have searched me, Lord, and you know me. 2 You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. 3 You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. 4 Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely. 5 You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me. 6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain. 7 Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? 8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. 9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, 10 even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. 11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,” 12 even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you. 13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. 15 My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. 16 Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. 17 How precious to me are your thoughts,[a] God! How vast is the sum of them! 18 Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand— when I awake, I am still with you. Psalm 139: 1-18 I would also suggest reading 1 Corinthians 1:18-31. This passage has meant a lot to me as well.
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Pascal's Wager
In Open Forum
ekrause1406
Commentator
Commentator
May 19, 2020
Hello winda12q! What I see as one of the key premises of the Wager is the idea that the non-existence (or existence) of God cannot be proven by rational evidence. Though we both have evidence to support our views we come to very different conclusions because of how we interpret that evidence. This is why evidence alone cannot determine what we decide to believe about God. When Pascal says that we have infinite gains if God exists and we believe in Him, he refers to the benefits of eternal life and a relationship with God. However the only "gains" you can earn by not believing in God are having fewer religious rules to follow in this lifetime; and if God exists and you don't believe then you face infinite losses (I don't mean that in a mean way, but it's the responsible thing to give warning). Pascal does not make his wager on the toss of a coin. He does so by choosing the option most likely to have a beneficial outcome. By the way, I noticed your last line of your post. I don't know if the reference was intentional but the phrase "ye of little faith" is from Matthew 8:26, when Jesus was admonishing His disciples for their lack of trust in Him. Jesus demonstrated that He was worthy of trust when He stopped the storm that threatened to drown them. Another passage that came to mind: Matthew 17:20. "Truly I tell you, if you have faith through size of a mustard seed you will be able to say to this mountain 'move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you." It turns out a little faith is quite powerful. That has been my experience. The times I am weakest are the times I forget to trust in God. I need Him, no question about it. Have a great evening !
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Just for Fun - Coloring Pages!
In Open Forum
ekrause1406
Commentator
Commentator
May 13, 2020
Hello windar12q! I think the reason that each religion claiming to have a personal relationship to God is so much more of an obstacle to you than it is to me is a different understanding of how valid the claim is. In my view, someone can claim to have a relationship with God all they want, but it's only a claim (however deeply they believe it) unless they are actually following the real God. A more tangible explanation of this concept is an analogy: I could claim to be a personal friend of a famous person all I wanted (I am not), but that claim wouldn't be evidence against the famous person's existence (even if I sincerely believed I was a friend, even if I believed things about the person that weren't true, and even if many other people also held this false belief). Then that brings up the question, how do we know that the Jesus I follow is the true understanding of God, and not one of the misrepresentations of His identity? I have mentioned in previous posts the various historical writers who agree with the Bible on key facts of Jesus' life. So, I wondered, do other religions also have strong historical evidence? Here is what I found in my research. Islam: Scholars have difficulty studying the Quran because of the belief that it must not be questioned, and also because there are few early texts. However, many of those who have studied the earliest copies and compared them to non-Islamic contemporary sources believe that Islam evolved from Christianity and Judaism, not a fully-formed revelation to Mohammed (researchers do believe that Mohammed existed, they just don't believe the accounts of how he developed his teachings are accurate). https://www.nytimes.com/2002/03/02/arts/scholars-are-quietly-offering-new-theories-of-the-koran.html https://mag.uchicago.edu/arts-humanities/islams-origins Hinduism: The Hindu religion is extremely diverse with many different gods, holy books, and philosophies, which often seem contradictory to one another. The identity of the Hindu gods is viewed differently by different groups: some believe that the different gods are all manifestations of the one substance of nature or that one should relate to the god that suits you best without denying the existence of others. The sources of Hindu beliefs date back thousands of years B.C, it's founding documents being a collection of teachings by anonymous sages. I searched for quite a while but did not find any specific pieces of evidence, scientific or historical, that the gods of Hinduism are true. https://www.ancient.eu/hinduism/ https://www.cnn.com/2017/03/03/world/believer-hinduism-nine-myths-debunked/index.html As you can see from this information and that provided before, the Christian beliefs about God are more clearly supported by what we know from history than two of the other most popular religions. Just because God has been misrepresented in other religions does not mean He doesn't exist. Thankfully the God I know is compassionate and forgiving. Salvation by God's grace (and not by rules you have to follow) is something unique to Christianity.
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Just for Fun - Coloring Pages!
In Open Forum
ekrause1406
Commentator
Commentator
May 10, 2020
Hello windar12q. I highly frown on the idea that teaching children to follow Jesus is "mental abuse". I am grateful that my parents and teachers have taught me about God. Their encouragement and example in faith has helped shape me into the person I am today. Think about it this way: if what the Bible says is true, then the worst possible thing a parent could do to a child is refrain from teaching them about Jesus, and the greatest gift a parent can give is teaching that child all about Him. I count myself incredibly blessed to have been given this gift; and one of the reasons I want to share my faith is because I want you to have the same opportunity. The fact that there are many different religions in the world, all of which profess to know the truth, is not as problematic to me as you might think. Even though God wants everyone to follow Him, He does not force us. God did not design us to be machines unthinkingly following Him because we have no other choice, He made us in His image with the ability to make decisions and gave us the freedom to act on them. An analogy may be helpful to understand a possible reason why: Would you rather have a robot say it loved you or a child say he loved you? I assume you would prefer the child. While the robot only says that because that is what it is programmed to say, the child says it of his own free will because that is how he genuinely feels. God created us to be children, not robots. But do children always behave? Of course not! As humans we often misuse the freedom that God has given us by worshiping other gods and disobeying what He says. Most people who follow other religions are probably unaware that they are disobeying God, but being unaware of God's rules does not mean the rules doesn't exist. "14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry,“Abba! Father!”" - Romans 8:14-15
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Just for Fun - Coloring Pages!
In Open Forum
ekrause1406
Commentator
Commentator
May 10, 2020
Good evening windar12q! It is interesting that you use peoples' beliefs about religion to determine whether the religion is true (you believe God only exist because we think he does). Remember that God does not depend on what people think about Him to make Him exist. However, the Bible itself states that false religion, by nature, dies out. Here is what one pharisee said of the spread of faith in Jesus. His conclusion: let the apostles go spread Christianity and let God make them succeed or fail. 34 But a Pharisee named Gamaliel,a teacher of the law,who was honored by all the people, stood up in the Sanhedrin and ordered that the men be put outside for a little while.35 Then he addressed the Sanhedrin: “Men of Israel, consider carefully what you intend to do to these men.36 Some time ago Theudas appeared, claiming to be somebody, and about four hundred men rallied to him. He was killed, all his followers were dispersed, and it all came to nothing.37 After him, Judas the Galilean appeared in the days of the census and led a band of people in revolt. He too was killed, and all his followers were scattered.38 Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail.39 But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.” - Acts 5:34-39 So, is the declining population of European Christians evidence that Christianity is false, or are there other reasons? First of all, I decided to do a little more research on the state of the worldwide Christian population. According to Pew Research Center: There are an estimated 2.18 billion Christians (about 1/3 of the world population). This is nearly 4x how many there were 100 years ago, though they made up about the same percent of the world population then as now. While the Christian population in Europe and America has declined, the Christian populations of sub-Saharan Africa and the Asia-Pacific region have seen massive growth. https://www.pewforum.org/2011/12/19/global-christianity-exec/ It seems to me that Christianity has not declined, but the population distribution has shifted. I did some research on why this might be so. A significant percentage of the decline of Christianity in Europe and America can be attributed to the rising popularity of being religiously non-affiliated (not atheism. Religiously unaffiliated means incorporating beliefs from various religions into your own personal belief system). Being unaffiliated is especially popular among young people across all races and levels of education. One possible explanation for the decline of Christianity in America has to do with a shift in culture and what it means to be a "good American". There was once an expectation that you identify as a Christian whether your faith was actually important to you or not; now that expectation is no longer there. https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2019/november-web-only/future-of-christianity.html One reason for the growth of the African Christian population is that large families are common. The Christian faith has grown so much in Africa that churches there engage in "reverse missions" (sending missionaries to Europe). https://www.pewtrusts.org/en/trend/archive/summer-2016/how-africa-is-changing-faith-around-the-world In Asia, persecution of Christian churches may actually be contributing to the growth of those churches. Persecution is viewed as a sign that the persecuted have strong faith. https://www.scmp.com/week-asia/politics/article/2182800/christians-asia-persecuted-oppressed-keeping-faith This post got quite long, but I enjoyed researching it. Good night.
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Just for Fun - Coloring Pages!
In Open Forum
ekrause1406
Commentator
Commentator
May 08, 2020
@windar12q Good evening! It is certainly true that anyone can claim to have power. All religions (even science) make these claims. However, not all religions have the historical documentation from outside sources to support them. The God I follow, Jesus, is unique in this respect. The Bible describes Jesus doing something requiring unimaginable power: rising from the dead and never dying again. If the Bible were the only evidence this actually happened, you might be able to dismiss it as nothing more than a story. However, logic and historical documentation outside the Bible support a real, physical resurrection. Without a real resurrection Christianity would not have survived (see 1 Corinthians 15, Acts 5:34-39). Here are some common objections to the resurrection and why they fail logically. The disciples made up the resurrection: This one falls short for two main reasons. One, most of the disciples died for what they professed (why would anyone do that for something they knew was a lie?). Two, the story of the resurrection isn't something that anyone trying to invent a religion would want to make up. The women were the first to hear the good news, when men would have sounded more credible to ancient middle eastern culture. The disciples admit they cowered in a locked room and doubted the early reports of Jesus' resurrection (until they saw Him personally). Someone stole Jesus' body: If Jesus' body had been stolen by the disciples, then we run into all the problems above. If the Romans, the Jewish religious leaders, or any other opponent of Christianity had stolen the body, they could have refuted the disciples right away by proving that Jesus was still dead. 3. Many facts about Jesus' life are recorded in sources outside the Bible, such as the writings of Roman historian Josephus and Roman politician Tacitus. Here are some sources for point 3: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/apr/14/what-is-the-historical-evidence-that-jesus-christ-lived-and-died https://reasonabletheology.org/jesus-outside-the-bible-1-tacitus/
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Just for Fun - Coloring Pages!
In Open Forum
ekrause1406
Commentator
Commentator
Apr 24, 2020
Hello! I think I understand a bit better now how you feel about energy in the universe. It sounds beautiful. However, when I think of things that are beautiful, I am reminded of Ephesians 2. "And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.  But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them." - Ephesians 2:1-10 I heard someone say on Tuesday that those two words "but God" are the most hopeful two words ever known to man, and it really resonated with me. We may sin terribly, but God still loves us; we may feel powerless, but God still has plans for us.
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ekrause1406
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