Purgatory

March 4th, 2021

Is there a purgatory?

Thank you for your question. Although the doctrine of purgatory is valid, I don’t hold to it in the Roman Catholic sense, as a process of purification where believers acquire the holiness necessary to enter heaven. This doctrine is somewhat complex, but I’ll try to summarize it here.

When Old Testament people died, their bodies went into a grave, but apparently, there was a temporary holding place for their souls. The Bible uses a term called hell, such as in Matthew 5:22, but the terminology is slightly different than what we normally use. Hell is the lake of fire where all unbelievers will spend eternity (Revelation 20:14-15). Apparently, however, the temporary holding place (sometimes called Sheol, or Purgatory) had separate compartments for believers and unbelievers. (This is where the Catholics (mistakenly) built their doctrine of purgatory.) Those who died were taken to one of these temporary chambers, awaiting their transaction: either from Paradise to heaven; or from Hades to hell. We learn more about this in the story of the rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16. Unbelievers spent this period in the part called Torments, or “Hades” (Luke 16:23), which is where the rich man was. However, the believers spent this time in a place called Paradise (Luke 23:43), or “Abraham’s bosom” (Luke 16:22), which is where Lazarus was.

However, with the resurrection of Jesus (the first resurrection), these Old Testament believers were transferred from paradise to heaven. This is apparently what was going on in Matthew 7:53, which is a very difficult passage. Now, for us, it’s completely different. Since the resurrection of Christ has already occurred, and He has ascended to heaven, when believers die today, our bodies go to a grave, and our spirits go straight to heaven (2 Corinthians 5:1-8) to be with Christ.

I hope this helps.

Thanks,

Owen

Faith amidst Questions

February 9th, 2021

How Can We Have Faith in God and the Bible When We Have So, Many Questions About Reconciling Science to the Bible?

In the first 37 chapters of Job, Job asked many questions. In chapters 38 through 41, God answers Job’s questions with questions.

For example: Job 38:2-12: “Who is this that obscures my plans with words without knowledge?  Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me.  Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand.  Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! Who stretched a measuring line across it?  On what were its footings set, or who laid its cornerstone—  while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy?  Who shut up the sea behind doors when it burst forth from the womb,  when I made the clouds its garment and wrapped it in thick darkness,  when I fixed limits for it and set its doors and bars in place,  when I said, ‘This far you may come and no farther; here is where your proud waves halt?’  Have you ever given orders to the morning, or shown the dawn its place?”

He goes on like this for five chapters, then we finally see Job’s reply in chapter 42:1-6: “Then Job replied to the LORD:  ‘I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted.  You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my plans without knowledge?’ Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know.  You said, ‘Listen now, and I will speak; I will question you, and you shall answer me.’  My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you.  Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.”

In other words, God’s thoughts are far above man’s thoughts. Consequently, there are many things that man cannot understand, although we continue to learn more through scientific study. So, God was telling Job that even if He answered Job’s questions, Job wouldn’t be able to comprehend. God was saying, “OK, I’ll be glad to answer your questions, but first, in order to qualify yourself as one who will be able to understand the answers, let me ask you some questions. Then, after you answer My questions, I will answer yours.” Then Job had to admit, “Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know… Therefore, I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.”

This makes perfect sense to me because I realize that there are so many things that I do not understand. These things strengthen my faith, rather than weakening it, because they remind me of how big God is, and how small I am. My lack of knowledge actual brings me comfort rather than anxiety, knowing that God is taking care of the things that I cannot even comprehend.

Why Does God Allow Congenital Diseases?

January 14th, 2021

If we believe that that Psalm 139:13-16 is true, then why do we have inherited diseases? The issue is the omnipotence and omniscience of Jehovah. If he knows that a person and / or animal will be born with a congenital disease, why not stop him if he can do so? Psalm 139:13-16 says, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful. I know that full well. 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. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be.”

Sickness and disease are some of the results of sin. Instead of obeying God, and living forever without toil, struggle, sickness, and death, Adam chose to disobey God. When he sinned in the Garden of Eden, he brought death upon himself, and all mankind (Genesis 2:17, Genesis 3). He would now be subject to toil and struggle; aging; sickness; and, death (Genesis 3:17-19). God is indeed omnipotent, and He is just. If He had decided to let man die in his sin, with no hope of redemption, justice would have been served, as there would have been no payment for man’s sins. However, He put into place a plan of grace by which man can be redeemed through the blood of Christ on the cross (John 3:16). Believers will indeed live forever with God in eternity. However, meanwhile, we still have to finish this life in a sinful world, subject to sickness and disease.

The Seven Last Words of Christ

December 10th, 2020

The Seven Last Words of Christ

1: “Father, Forgive Them”

2: “Today you Shall be with Me in Paradise”

3. “Here is your Mother. / Here is your Son.”

4. “My God, My God, Why have You Forsaken Me?”

5. “I am Thirsty”

6. “It is Finished”

7. “Into Thy Hands I Commit My Spirit”

8. Enslavement to Sin and Spiritual Death

9. The Sin Nature of Man

10. Regeneration, No. 1

11. Regeneration, No. 2

12. God’s Holiness

13. Man is Saveable

14. Imputation, Absolute Righteousness, and Justice

15. Justification by Faith

16. Seven Grand Results of Justification

17. Our Position in Christ

18. Positional Truth

19. Position in Christ

20. Victory over Satan

21. With Reconciliation:  “It is Truly Finished”

Does the Bible Violate the 1st and 2nd Laws of Thermodynamics?

November 11th, 2020

Does the Bible violate the 1st and 2nd laws of thermodynamics? Does the sudden creation of the stars; plants; animals; and, man from the dust of the earth (Genesis 2:7, Ecclesiastes 12:7), and the woman from the rib of him (Genesis 2:21) violate the 1st and 2nd law of thermodynamics? 

I don’t think that we can answer your question with certainty; i.e., whether or not the biblical account of creation violates the first and second laws of thermodynamics. In simplistic terms, these laws of thermodynamics state that the total amount of energy and matter in the universe is constant, so matter cannot be created or destroyed, which would seemingly conflict with the biblical account of creation (the creation of matter). However, I can offer some suggestions that might reconcile this aspect of biblical truth with science.

– It could be that the current laws of the universe were not always in effect. Before creation, perhaps other laws were in effect. Then the universe was created, along with a constant amount of energy and matter, as well as even the laws of thermodynamics. In this respect, yes, creation would have indeed violated the laws of thermodynamics, but these laws did not exist at the time.

– It could be that the (man-made) laws of thermodynamics are simply incorrect. In this respect, yes, creation would have indeed violated the laws of thermodynamics because these laws are invalid.

– The second law of thermodynamics implies that both energy and matter in the universe are becoming less useful as time goes on, and that perfect order in the universe occurred the instant after the big bang when energy and matter and all of the forces of the Universe were unified. Perhaps God used the big bang in His creation, and (in agreement with the biblical account) the world was in a perfect state when Adam and Eve were created in the Garden of Eden. Furthermore, it was sin that put in place the degradation that we now see. In this respect, creation does not violate the laws of thermodynamics. Does 1 Kings 7:23 make an error in the calculation of Pi? 1 Kings 7:23 says, “He made the sea of cast metal, circular in shape, measuring ten cubits from rim to rim and five cubits high. It took a line of thirty cubits to measure around it.”

The key to finding the answer to this question is the phrase, “and five cubits high.” The object being described is a cylinder–not a circle. Think of it as a three-dimensional object, like a drinking glass–not just a two-dimensional object like a circle drawn on a piece of paper. The diameter of the mouth of this “drinking glass” is ten cubits, but the drinking glass is five cubits tall. So, to measure around the outside of it, we would add ten (across the top), five cubits (down one side), ten cubits (across the bottom), and five cubits (up the other side), for a total of thirty cubits.

How to Avoid Being Censored

October 19th, 2020

Many recent news articles have described the censorship that Twitter, Facebook, and even Google are using to suppress certain stories of interest, usually based upon political bias. Some are calling for an Orwellian “Ministry of Truth” to ensure a free press, but the government has not proven to be any more trustworthy or to have any more integrity than these web giants. How can you avoid being censored?

Well, you can avoid using these popular websites. For example, you can search the web using Microsoft Bing instead of Google. You can avoid Twitter and Facebook altogether, and just send e-mails instead.

However, the best way to escape such censorship is to simply host your own website, like this one. Granted, you may get only a few thousand pageviews per month, but I can write whatever I want on this site without it being censored by any large corporation. With fewer pageviews, you’ll have less chance of anything going viral, but at least your own truth is sure to be published.

Why People Don’t Vote

October 18th, 2020

I voted this week. I decided to do so when there were only about 20 people waiting in the line outside when I arrived (all conveniently socially distanced, of course). Through the windows, I could see that there were about 20 voting machines inside, but only about 6 of them were in use. As I got closer, a man offered for me to pick a (presumably, but questionably, clean) stylus from a box of styluses (to use on the voting machine), and I chose one. They looked more like a box of kid’s crayons, and about as sterile.

After about 20 minutes, it was my turn to vote (I thought). As directed, I stepped up to one of the six check-in stations and presented my voter’s registration card and my driver license. After about ten minutes of entering data on her computer and repeatedly waiting, the lady asked me to digitally sign the screen with my finger. I did, and she asked me to “select” a ballot and hand it to her. After another minute or so, she gave me the ballot, and returned my voter registration ID and my driver license. With that handful of stuff, plus my wallet, plus my stylus, I chose a voting machine, with no place to lay anything down. It probably took me about two minutes to vote, and I entered my ballot into the counting machine, and then I left.

Problem number one: I was there about 35 minutes, and over 30 minutes of it was spent just waiting (while standing, which is harder for senior citizens like myself). Although they had plenty of machines, it took the check-in lady so long to do whatever she did that the utilization of the machines was only about 30% at any point in time. What on earth was that lady doing, and waiting on? Why can’t I just walk up to a scanner (like at Walmart); scan my voter’s registration ID and my driver license; and, just vote? It should have taken about three minutes altogether, but instead it took over ten times that long: for me and everybody else (with 70% of the voting machines pleading, “Would someone come and vote on me?”). Why can’t the government step up to the kind of technology that Walmart had ten years ago? In fact, I could have saved over an hour of time if I could just vote from home (on a secure website).

Problem number two: So, they social distanced, and they may have even had clean styluses. Still, I had to sign a filthy (possibly COVID-infected) screen with my finger, with no offers of hand sanitizer, either after I signed, or after I voted.

Amy Coney Barrett

September 28th, 2020

I thank God for President Trump’s nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. Finally, here is someone who “loves the Constitution” and will interpret it instead of legislate and change it. Maybe now we can firmly uphold the First Amendment and the Second Amendment, and someday stop killing our unborn children.

Many babies, after being put through the screaming trauma of an abortion, nevertheless, are born alive. It is standard operating procedure for doctors and nurses to have to squelch every normal human compassion and feeling, and let that baby die in some dirty sink in some linen closet until it gasps out its last pitiful cry. All of this is described as a woman’s right to control over her own body. She has the right to control what is done for her, but her infant has no right for anybody to control his parents who want to slaughter him.

Amy Coney Barret has a child with Down Syndrome. Some parents decide that they want such a child to die. That often is no longer just abortion, but it’s infanticide. It’s letting the youngster die after he is born, and after he is a living, breathing human being in a living, breathing soul. They say that this is done because this child cannot have a quality of life. That is the same arrogance in the realm of psychiatry and the realm of the psychology: that we can look at you and tell so much about you. When they talk, they’re only revealing their crudity and their bestiality, trying to impose their degraded lifestyle on society in the world that they envision.

Some people frantically champion the protection of animals while they cruelly abort babies. It used to be that only in the most barbaric pagan societies where this kind of slaughter has been and practiced and permitted. It all started when the abortionists said, “We want to do this for the poor girl who’s been raped and has this child; this case of incest within the home; and, this pregnant girl who has this trauma.” It was wrong even in those cases, but now it has gone far beyond that, and it is used to fit circumstances into the conveniences of the lives of selfish parents.

We have now established that the nations of the world have committed themselves so extensively to the practice of abortion that, worldwide, more human beings are murdered every year (a million-and-a-half in the United States alone) than could be killed by our worst scenario of nuclear attack; and that, from military authorities. The worst case scenario nuclear attack would not kill as many human beings as are murdered by abortion each year in all the countries of the world put together.

Now we must pray for the timely confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court.

Why Trump Will Win Again

September 7th, 2020

In 2016, I correctly predicted that Trump would win, against the odds and the polls: 2016 Prediction. I am now predicting that he will win reelection in 2020. Again (as in 2016), I’m simply using history as our example.

First of all, history shows that it’s very difficult to defeat an incumbent president. In modern times, Bush 43, Carter, and Ford are the only incumbents who lost reelection, and (unlike Trump) they were all weak candidates.

Also, as you know, Joe Biden is a former vice president. No former vice president has ever defeated an incumbent president. Walter Mondale is the only former vice president to run against an incumbent president in recent years, and he lost in a landslide in 1984. Three others lost against non-incumbents in the past 100 years: Al Gore, Hubert Humphrey, and Richard Nixon (in 1960).

We have had only 14 vice presidents that became president. Of those 14 that became president, 13 of them did so in the term immediately following the term where they served as vice president, when the president was leaving office. The only exception to the rule was Richard Nixon, who didn’t become president until eight years after his term as vice president.

So, what was so unusual about Nixon’s victory in 1968? Well, President Lyndon Johnson had lost control of the Democratic Party, which was splitting into four fighting factions. The first consisted primarily of Johnson; Vice President Hubert Humphrey; and, labor unions, led by Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley. The second group consisted of anti-Vietnam war students and intellectuals, who rallied behind Eugene McCarthy. The third group was Catholics, Hispanics, and African Americans, who rallied behind Robert Kennedy. The fourth group was segregationist white Southerners, who rallied behind George C. Wallace and the American Independent Party.

We were deep into the Vietnam war, and it was one of many issues that splintered the party, and the nation. Johnson could see no way to win the war and no way to unite the party long enough for him to win re-election. Also, he had become more worried about his failing health, and was concerned that he might not live through another four-year term. In 1967, at the age of 59, he secretly commissioned an actuarial study that predicted he would die at 64 (which he did). Therefore, at the end of a speech on March 31, 1968, he shocked the nation when he announced he would not run for re-election.

So, logically (and statistically), Biden wouldn’t be able to unseat an incumbent president short of something shocking and historical. It would have to be something bad enough to make an incumbent president decide not to run — like the unpopular Vietnam War.

How Will He Do it?

Trump merely has to repeat his win in either Michigan or Pennsylvania.

Does Photosynthesis Contradict the Bible?

September 4th, 2020

Does the Bible Contradict Photosynthesis, Newton, and Snell? According to Genesis, Yahweh created the first light (Genesis 1:3); plants on day three (Genesis 1:11-13); the sun, moon, and stars on day 4 (Genesis 1:14-19); and, the rainbow as a sign of covenant with Noah after the Flood (Genesis 9:9-17). Does this not contradict the law of Snell (1621), the decomposition of light (Newton, 1671) and Photosynthesis?

You asked about a possible contradiction where God created plants on the third day, but he didn’t create the sun (required for photosynthesis) until the fourth day. We are not given the answer to this in the Bible, but I see a variety of possibilities:

– The Bible says that God created light on the first day, although He didn’t create the sun until the fourth day. However, it doesn’t explain what this light was on the first day. Perhaps it was simply the light of Jesus Christ illuminating the universe, or perhaps it was yet another source of light. Whatever it was, maybe it served (perhaps temporarily) in place of the sun in the photosynthesis process.

– Maybe we can view the Bible’s first reference to light as being a general reference, while the following verses give a more detailed explanation of the source of the light (the sun). In other words, perhaps the sun was actually created on the first day, but it is not named as the sun until the fourth day.

– The requirement of sunlight in the photosynthesis process is based upon how science currently understands this process. Perhaps the problem is our lack of understanding, and someday science will discover the (possibly simple) answer to this question. For example, perhaps there are, in fact, other alternative sources of energy (in place of sunlight) for the photosynthesis process, but our knowledge of science is still too limited to understand this.

– There is much debate on the use of the word “day” in Genesis 1. Some Bible scholars believe that it was a 24-hour day as we know it today, but others believe it was a longer amount of time. Perhaps this was simply a 24-hour day, so the plants were created only 72 hours before the sun was created, and the plants (and the entire ecosystem) were able to survive temporarily for those 72 hours without the photosynthesis process as we know it today (especially in a perfect ecosystem). In this scenario, maybe for a short time period: photoautotrophs survived without creating their own food; they were not using carbon dioxide, converting it into organic compounds such as sugars; they were not releasing oxygen for aerobic life; and, there was some other source of energy for nearly all life on earth.

– Expanding upon the above theory, perhaps the plants were initially created as seedlings, even buried underground, and able to do without the photosynthesis process for those 72 hours before they emerged from the ground. You also asked about possible contradictions between the Biblical account and the law of Snell and the decomposition of light (Newton). In particular, you asked about the rainbow as a sign of the covenant with Noah after the flood. However, the flood occurred some 1,600 years after creation. Because of this, I do not see a possible contradiction similar to that with the process of photosynthesis (where the order of creation within the first six days was a factor). Also, we cannot definitively say when and how the properties of light were created; i.e., decomposition, reflection, refraction, etc.

– Or, maybe they just survived for three days without sunlight.