spoilers Movies always have a point, it isn’t an explicit point, but movies do make a decision of how to portray humanity in a display of what is good and evil.
As it is, there are many members, yet one body… . Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.
I Corinthians 12.20,27
As Christians we have an interesting phrase as a reminder of our personhood as Christians: “you are the hands and feet of Christ in the world.” And this is true because we know that Christ is no longer in the world today and we are ambassadors for Christ, God…
I am a creationist
These are my thoughts on the recent debate between Ken Ham and Bill Nye
I am a creationist. I agree with the central premise that Ken Ham put forth: God created the world by the breath of his mouth and the work of his hands. But not just that! I am also a…
- 2 months ago
These are my thoughts on the recent debate between Ken Ham and Bill Nye
I am a creationist. I agree with the central premise that Ken Ham put forth: God created the world by the breath of his mouth and the work of his hands. But not just that! I am also a…
What does it mean to be human? This is the question at the core of the Christian treatment of all people and, hopefully, the core of interpersonal ethics for Christians that attempt to remain true to their beliefs. Indeed it is this vision of what it means to be human that characterizes the importance of living a life that shows a heart of charity towards all people and because we are all human, it is important to understand a Christian perspective of humanity as a whole. I think that the state of humanity can be divided into two parts, within the Christian worldview: (1) How people should be viewed and (2) what is the current state of humanity. It is the interplay of these two parts that form the foundation of all Christian ethics and is guided by the principles we gather by studying the Holy Scriptures and through reason and philosophy of thought.
What does it mean to be human? Christianity has the most powerful and positive vision of the answer to this question, an answer it has inherited from Judaism. People, all people, are created in the image of God. The Bible tells us “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” This statement has, within Christian philosophy and ethics, profound implications. Because each and every person was created by God, we are connected to him, and because we have his image, we are imbued with an eternal soul, a rational mind, a will, and with a knowledge of good written in our hearts. But more than that, the implication that we are all in God’s image gives to every person intrinsic worth and dignity in all functional circumstances. This means to say that no matter what we have done, or how we have lived life, we are all of equal worth. The person with a mental disability is thus equal to the person who leads a nation in worth and dignity, deserving of life, and able to receive the love of God. This vision of the equal dignity of all people is a great equalizer, destroying the foundation for racism .
Christianity records God as making all things, and though there is some large measure of debate within the Christian community, it is universally acknowledged that all things were created good. And how can we not marvel at the universe at large. It’s beautiful, from the incomprehensible size of the universe filled with stars and nebulae, to the opening of a flower every day, to the intricate webs of life that surround us invisible, to the smallest atom being made of more than the sum of its parts. It’s. all. beautiful. But, people, having been made in the image of God, are the most beautiful of all. The sum of the diversity of thought and action, of expression in art and word, and of form and colour reflects the creative aspect of God, and it is both amazing and a daily struggle to recognize this in every person. After all, it is far often too easy to say “my best friend is beautiful” but difficult that “my greatest enemy (or constant annoyance) is equally as beautiful and filled intrinsic worth.” It is this very approach to humanity that should lead all Christians to value all people, no matter how they may disagree, no matter what they may do, and to always treat people with respect, and love.
So we were made in the image of God, a beautiful and not always appreciated image, but something intrinsically beautiful and worthy of love and dignity, yet for what end? The answer to this is that humanity has been made to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever . This answer is what should provide the Christian with a profound sense of meaning and significance because in this, no matter what we do, we are more than our mere function in human terms. Indeed, it has certainly given me much peace in that no matter what may happen to me, my life means more than the failure I encounter daily. Our lives have significance in the light of eternity, beyond the mere shortness of this life. However, while it is amazing that all people have been and are created in the image of God, it is also visible that the image of God has been marred and deformed. By this I mean that, while it was intended that people act in the fullness of good, people often act in evil and depraved ways. We need only to look at the news to see that evil exists, and that people often carry out that evil. Indeed every person, at some point, has knowingly gone against the natural law, fighting against their conscience to do wrong. This is what, in Christian theology, is called sin. It is, at its very core, saying that though we have been created to glorify God, we have instead chosen to put our own desires and wants as the first priority in our life, destroying the order wanted by God to exist, causing evil and harming others — all within the scope of the will and personhood God has granted to all people. This wrong that we have all done, has harmed our eternal souls in that it has destroyed our fellowship with God and predisposed all people towards seeking our own interests over God.
So this is the state of humanity. We are all intrinsically worthy of dignity and respect, no matter our present state because we are all made in the image of God with a rational mind, an eternal soul , and with the knowledge of right in our hearts . However, being left to the liberty of the will, we have chosen to deviate from the designed purpose of humanity – to glorify God and enjoy him forever – for our own purposes, driving us away from God. This low state of humanity, a state of estrangement from God and the purpose of all people, must be overcome and Christianity boldly proclaims that we all can find reconciliation with God in Jesus Christ, finally bringing us to part two of this series, “who was Jesus Christ, the man that started the whole of Christianity.”
 Though I note that Christianity has used the Bible to sometimes justify slavery in the past, I don’t understand how anyone can, within the scope of a proper understanding of the image of God, be racist. Indeed this very idea has helped
 Romans 11.36, John 17.21-23, Westminster Greater Catechism Question 1
 Genesis 2.7
 Romans 2.14-15
- 1 year ago
We all have specific presuppositions that influence how we view the world. Some might suppose that the world came about by entirely naturalistic processes without the need or existence of a God. Others might not consider the idea of theism at all and look at the world with a central belief that all people are equal and should be treated as such apart from any driving force from religion of faith. In Christianity, the central presupposition, the central thing that it claims to be true is that God exists. Indeed this is the central premise of all theistic religions, but especially the monotheistic Abrahamic religions. Who then is this Christian God? Can we, humans, ever understand him? And if we can, then what is God like?
Christians often rush at the first question to say “yes! We can know God” but I would like to tell all those that read this, that no, that’s not a complete picture of who the Christian God is. Indeed we can never have a full picture of this God within our finite minds. I have stated in the previous post that God is the necessary being upon which all things in this world are contingent. This implies that he is no mere thing, for anything plus another is something greater. Anslem put forth the ontological argument for God’s existence which, roughly, states that God is that which no greater can be conceived. This very nature of God as something beyond all thought and reason and natural evidence (for all natural evidence is contingent on the creative power of God) brings us to the central pillar of the Christian theology: God is incomprehensible.
God is incomprehensible to humans because, by necessity, if we could comprehend him in fullness, he would not be God. This reasoning backs up what is shown to humanity in the Bible. God is called ‘unsearchable,’ ‘inscrutable’ and ultimately that our thoughts are not his thoughts, and our ways are not his ways because his ways are higher than our ways, and in being higher, incomprehensible to us people . However, this incomprehensibility isn’t always a bad thing ndeed, it is because we recognize that God is incomprehensible that Christians can rest solidly on things they do not understand including some of the central thoughts of the Christian faith: the nature of Jesus, the unity of God in trinity, and the nature of our salvation. Indeed, God keeps secrets from humans, in that he acts as the sovereign father in wisdom protecting his children from harm . For Christians, this incomprehensibility of God is deeply humbling in that, much as the scientist opening the door to the natural world, theology can never fully know God and that there is always more about him to know.
However, this is not to say that we cannot know God. The second major presupposition, the second major truth the Christians should proclaim always, is that we can know God and that we can know him truly, personally, and sufficiently . We know him truly in that while we can know him fully, we can know him truly in that while incomprehensibility leads the Christian to conviction in matters which are beyond human comprehension, the knowability of God leads the Christian to conviction in the nature and character of this God. Indeed, the knowledge of God is the center of joy for a Christian  and it is the basis of our hope for the future  and it allows us to love other people with the same love that God shows to humanity .
So of what character is this God Christians worship? While the scope of this question is too large for any single post, I find one of the greatest summations of the Christian belief of the Character of God in the historical church document, the Westminster Larger Catechism. Indeed when we ask ‘What is God’ it tells us:
God is a Spirit, in and of himself infinite in being, glory, blessedness, and perfection; all-sufficient, eternal, unchangeable, incomprehensible, everywhere present, almighty, knowing all things, most wise, most holy, most just, most merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth. 
This is the God that Christians believe in, a God infinitely worthy of praise and glory, a God sovereign over all things, immutable, and (quite simply) awesome. This is not a God of mere weakness, but one that is strong beyond all measure, and loving with abounding steadfast love . This is the God I worship, and the God I seek to understand, and the God I wish all people to know and love also. Finally, to return to the Nicene Creed this is the God that is Almighty, maker of heaven and earth and of all things visible and invisible.
(Post 1b in a series explaining Christian theology in the framework of the Nicene Creed)
 Psalm 145.3, Romans 11.33-34, Isaiah 55.8-9
 Deuteronomy 29.29
 2 Peter 1.3
 Jeremiah 9.24, Galatians 6.14
 1 John 1.1-2
 1 John 4.7
 Westminster Larger Catechism, Question 7
 John 4.24, Exodus 3.14, Job 11.7-9, Acts 7.2, 1 Timothy 6.15, Matthew 5.48, Genesis 17.1, Psalm 90.2, Malachi 3.6, 1 Kings 8.27, Psalm 139.1-3, Revelation 4.8, Psalm 147.5, Romans 16.27, Isaiah 6.3, Revelation 15.4, Deuteronomy 32.4, Exodus 34.6
 Exodus 34.6
The Westminster Confession of Faith gives a longer discription of the Christian God that I do so like.
Is there a god and if there is what and who is god? This is the central topic of theology and Christianity as a whole, and ultimately, for the Christian, this question should always be at the forefront of the mind as it represents the center of our belief, lives, and practices of faith. I would first like to begin with this post, ‘Can we know God?’ And I shall seek to do this first by addressing the question of whether or not a god exists, and if one exists can we know this god.
I must first tell everyone that, contrary to popular opinion, faith is not blind. Indeed, blind faith is not any faith at all. Faith is, rather, a belief in that which we have reasonable assurance for. By this I mean that the Christian’s faith in God is not irrational, it has, rather, been thought through by some of the greatest minds in human existence, from Augustine and Origen, to Anselm and Aquinas, and Calvin and Barth. God is believed by some prominent scientists such as Francis Collins, former head of the genome project and current head of the NIH and another 40% of scientists are theistic, against the loud shouts of people such as Richard Dawkins . Christians have a reasonable faith in God, and I hope to be able to show at least a little of that in this series.
Why do I believe there is a God? There is no one reason, even though I suppose you can say I have inherited my faith, but at the same time, I haven’t because I have thought deeply about this question, and I have made the Christian faith, my own faith and I, today, accept its core tenets without reservation, the same core tenets that this series will seek to present to the world at large. I have come to the conclusion that I believe in a god for three main reasons: the argument from contingency, the teleological argument , and an argument from morality , but I will only seek to show one here, the argument from contingency, the one I myself find most powerful .
The argument from contingency is one classical proofs of God drawn up by one of the greatest medieval thinkers, Thomas Aquinas. This is a variation on the cosmological argument and states (1) everything that exists contingently has a reason for its existence, (2) the universe is contingent, therefore (3) the universe must have a reason for its existence, (4) if the universe has a reason for existing, then that reason is god. Therefore (5) god exists. This is to say that because the things in the universe do not exist for the purpose of existing, a necessary existence, they are contingent on the existence of other things. Ultimately all things in this universe is made of matter, and this argument finds that the source of matter, ultimately, is god, who in the Christian tradition made the world out of nothing, ensuring that everything in the universe is contingent on himself. God himself, however, is a non-contingent being whose existence is necessary allowing him to be the causative agent of this universe .
These arguments are merely some of the few that theistic philosophers have used to logically justify the existence of a god, but I also recognize that for each of these arguments, philosophers have come up with counter arguments, and counters ad nauseam. There remains at some point where we must switch from mere argumentation to belief. Indeed, argumentation alone is not sufficient for a complete set of evidences for Christianity; it is merely the basis for our reasonable belief in the existence of a god. However, I hope this does show that the argument for a god is not merely a thoughtless belief, but it is a belief that has been defended logically from Plato to the present day.
Now, having provided a basis for the existence of a god, can we then know this god? Christianity says yes and that while the world and universe can explain that there is a god, God himself has revealed himself to us in his Word to humanity, the Bible . The Bible is then, necessarily, the basis for orthodox Christian theology and main work I will be using throughout the remainder of this series exploring the basics of Christian theology, the study of God through his Word, the Bible.
A final note, this post hardly covers any of the reasons Christians believe in God, or the character of God and I merely wish to present a cursory glance at the rationality of Christianity and a beginning of the understanding of God. Countless books have been written on these topics, and I can hardly do justice to them all. I would highly recommend Tim Keller’s Reason for God, and C.S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity, as helpful introductions to Christianity, its basis, and its rationality.
 http://usminc.org/images/MereChristianitybyCSLewis.pdf, http://www.philosophy.ucsb.edu/faculty/anderson/moral_arguments_for_the_existence_of_God.html
 I am not a philosopher, though I at times wish I could have had more training in philosophy. I have just found these arguments to be most convincing for me in showing that the existence of a god is, at the very least, not merely a thoughtless argument, a god of the gaps thrown in so that I may not have to wrestle with deeper issues.
I am skipping over the other two arguments for brevity in this first post.
 I think the best example on youtube showing this argument is http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W_Yjue8MXAI
 I also fully realize that this is a rather large leap, but I hope to show the basis of that leap throughout this series
What is God? Who is Jesus? These were among the central questions of Christianity during the 4th century. Indeed the 4th century was pivotal for the formation of Christianity as it is known today in that the nature of the namesake of Christianity, Jesus Christ, was established. From this century emerged the Nicene Creed, one of the marks I believe to be a standard of what a Christian should always affirm as true. These things include the existence of God, the nature of Jesus, and the existence of the Church, and it is these basic tenets of Christianity that I want to explore with this series through the Nicene Creed.
The Nicene creed was written during the first council of Nicea and first council at Constantinople, the first two ecumenical councils of the church, that is councils that considered the opinions of bishops from all corners of the Roman Empire. These councils occurred in the years AD 325 and AD 381, almost immediately after Christianity was finally legalized under Emperor Constantine in AD 313. They were conducted to help smooth over some of the divisions the occurred in the church and to promote unity in a newly legalized religion. What resulted was the Nicene creed, the most widely held standard of right Christian thought in both Eastern and Western branches of the historical Church.
Throughout this series I hope to explore a Christian understanding of God, of humanity, and of the world to come. I welcome questions and comments throughout this series, and I invite anyone with a desire to know more about Christianity to join me. My goal is to have this be finished by the end of Lent and while I can’t promise that however given the busyness of school, I still hope that I can and I also hope that these posts may be of interest to any that may come across them. I must also recognize that I am doing this to both expand my understanding of what I hold to be true, and that these posts do not encompass even a fraction of the historical understanding of God, but I hope to share what I do understand so that others may also under stand a little better.
The text of the Nicene Creed, 381 is as follows
(Latin additions to the greek form in brackets, post content in italics)
I believe in one God the Father Almighty,
Maker of heaven and earth,
And of all things visible and invisible:
Post 1c: What is humanity?
Post 2: Was Jesus divine?
And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God,
Begotten of the Father before all worlds,
[God of God,] Light of Light,
True God of true God,
Begotten, not made,
Consubstantial with the Father,
By whom all things were made;
Post 3: Was Jesus Man?
Who for us humans, and for our salvation came down from heaven,
And was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the Virgin Mary,
And was made man,
Post 4a: Why did Jesus Die?
Post 4b: How should humans respond to God?
And was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate.
He suffered and was buried,
And the third day he rose again according to the Scriptures,
Post 5: Where is Jesus now?
And ascended into heaven,
And sits at the right hand of the Father.
And he shall come again with glory to judge both the quick and the dead:
Whose kingdom shall have no end.
Post 6: Who is the Holy Spirit?
And I believe in the Holy Spirit,
The Lord and giver of life,
Who proceeds from the Father [and the Son,] 
Who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified,
Who spoke by the prophets.
Post 7: What is the Church?
And I believe one catholic and apostolic Church.
Post 8: What is the hope of a Christian?
I confess one baptism for the remission of sins.
And I look for the resurrection of the dead,
And the life of the world to come.
 In that this is a Christian series, I will hold to the AD/BC convention. I shall also note that, as AD is Latin, it come before the year in English writing
 For this series I have opted to use an English Translation of the Latin form of the Nicene Creed. This includes the filioque clause, which isn’t found in the Greek form
This is my Father’s world, truly it is. This hymn is by far my favorite of all hymns in that it reflects in totality how I view the world. What you may not know in reading this relatively anonymous blog post is that I am a student of science. I believe in reason; I believe in the human capacity to understand. But I also understand beauty, and in the words of John Keats, “beauty is truth, truth beauty,’ – that is all / Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.” And though I believe in reason and science, I revel in truth and this hymn truly shows my love of the beauty I find in the utter vastness of God’s creation and it moves me to tears whenever I hear this simple hymn.
All nature sings, and round me rings the music of the spheres. The incomprehensible beauty of creation stands before me and I can but only watch. It amazing to know that those stars in the sky are an incomprehensible distance away from me. It is mind blowing how complex that which we take for granted is. It is only but awesome that the wonders of this universe were imagined by an omnipotent God that has allowed us to strive to understand the universe.
Indeed, because God knows everything, we can ne’er forget that God is sovereign over all and that no matter what may befall us we can rest in the peace of God.
I know that likely I cannot instill the same sense of awe I have for God’s creation in you, but I hope to share some small sense of it. No words can ever convey the sense of awe I have for the creative power of God. Our God is stronger than anything else, and his creative power surpasses all and truly I can sing that this is my Father’s world and whatever my lot, it matters not, my heat is still at home.
This is my Father’s world, and to my listening ears
All nature sings, and round me rings the music of the spheres.
This is my Father’s world: I rest me in the thought
Of rocks and trees, of skies and seas;
His hand the wonders wrought.
This is my Father’s world, the birds their carols raise,
The morning light, the lily white, declare their Maker’s praise.
This is my Father’s world: he shines in all that’s fair;
In the rustling grass I hear him pass;
He speaks to me everywhere.
This is my Father’s world. O let me ne’er forget
That though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet.
This is my Father’s world: the battle is not done:
Jesus Who died shall be satisfied,
And earth and Heav’n be one.
This is my Father’s world, dreaming, I see his face.
I open my eyes, and in glad surprise cry, “The Lord is in this place.”
This is my Father’s world, from the shining courts above,
The Beloved One, his Only Son,
Came—a pledge of deathless love.
This is my Father’s world, should my heart be ever sad?
The lord is King—let the heavens ring. God reigns—let the earth be glad.
This is my Father’s world. Now closer to Heaven bound,
For dear to God is the earth Christ trod.
No place but is holy ground.
This is my Father’s world. I walk a desert lone.
In a bush ablaze to my wondering gaze God makes His glory known.
This is my Father’s world, a wanderer I may roam
Whate’er my lot, it matters not,
My heart is still at home.
by Maltbie D. Babcock Music: Terra Beata, traditional English melody, arranged by Franklin L. Sheppard
So if you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth, 3 for you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life is revealed, then you also will be revealed with him in glory. (Colossians 3.1-4)
Colossians is a grand exposition on what it means to follow the gospel. Having started out with a cosmic overview of the redemptive work of Christ in Chapter one, it moves into what it means to be alive in Christ in chapter two and here in chapter 3 it gives an overview of the eternal life of a Christian before moving into what it means to live this temporal life as one “raised in Christ.” Verses 1 to 4 show us where we came from, where we are, and where we are going as people renewed in Christ. Indeed all these are in Christ for we have been raised with Christ, we are hidden with Christ, and we will be revealed with Christ.
This passage recalls what it means when we have been renewed in Christ by our baptism in the blood of the Lamb . Where we once were dead in our sin , we have now been “raised with Christ” and have crucified our old selves with him . Therefore our life is not our own but Christ’s in that we partake of the cross daily and in his defeat over death ibyour association him. Indeed, in verse 17 Paul writes saying that we must do all in “the name of the Lord Jesus” whether it be prayer, or helping the poor, or building the Church, all is done through the power of Jesus Christ and not our own power.
This infusion of the breath of life into we who were once dead brings us to this present day where we are to seek that which is above and to seek the one who is at the right hand of the Father, a position where Christ wields the same power and might of the Father. This seeking is what is described in the rest of the chapter. It is our current state as humans with a renewed spirit but a corrupted flesh, a state where we must always strive to put to death that which is earthly within us, and cleave to that which is good. We, as people have imperfect bodies, bodies still marred by sin and not yet resurrected from the dead, as will be in the final days. It is thus for us to continue to die daily  so that we may lose all markings of self that divide us from each other and fully immerse ourselves in Christ who is to be our new identity. The picture of this is as Christ, much as he shed his body for us so that we may live, we must shed all that is earthly in us, as in death, so that in life all that is in us will be Christ. It is only then that Christ is all, the full sum of all Christians identity, uniting all Christians under the singular banner of Christ, and in all working to make us more like unto himself in an act of reconciliation. It is also always encouraging to know that we are already called  and that we are already holy, that is set apart by Christ unto himself. We must always let the spirit work in us so that we may have the strength to deny ourselves daily in the name of Christ so that he may increase and we may decrease .
In this current age we are also hidden with Christ in God. This is not saying that we have our old selves covered, for it has been totally destroyed in the resurrection of Christ, a resurrection which destroyed the dominion of death. Rather it is to say that we are hidden as Christ is hidden in that where Christ was seen for a short while, he has now returned to heaven where he is hidden from the eyes of the world . And in considering how we, as people are hidden with Christ, we should consider Luke 8.17 “For nothing is hidden that will not be made manifest, nor is anything secret that will not be known and come to light.” How are we as Christians hidden with Christ? We are hidden in that our new selves have no visible appearance, and those that are not Christian cannot understand the joy and peace we find in Christ because “those who are unspiritual do not receive the gifts of God’s Spirit, for they are foolishness to them, and they are unable to understand them because they are discerned spiritually” . We are hidden from the knowledge of the world. They can never know the fullness of what we have in Christ and what we display outwardly should, if displayed in its fullness, not be understood by the world. Today, we are hidden with Christ, partakers of the divine nature  and awaiting the return of our King as we seek to make our life more like Christ.
This passage finally reveals the culmination of life as a Christian: our emergence in glory with Christ our saviour. Paul writes in 2 Corinthians that we “are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another” . This is our hope, that in this life we start to change from what was once dead to something alive and glorious, sharing in Christ by his death and our participation in the crucifixion our our old selves on that cross. All, so that in the new age we can get new, glorified bodies. Paul writes of our transformation and instills in us a glorious vision: “What is sown is perishable, what is raised is imperishable. It is sown in dishonour, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. It is sown a physical body, it is raised a spiritual body” . Thus, at the final day, when Christ comes again in glory, we too can be with him in glory with our inner selves no longer hidden, but as with Christ, revealed for all to see. This is our hope. Eternal life is only a small facet of our hope as a Christian, our greatest hope is that we can share in the glory of God, partake of the life he gives, and live forever in perfect communion with him, forever glorifying and enjoying him forever, world without end.
I earnestly hope that all Christians can come to a better knowledge of Christ so that in him we may all grow closer as a community united in the bond of peace, by love. It is always important to remember where we came from, where we are, but most of all the firm hope we have in where we are going. This life is not all there is, what we see is not all there is. We are forever hidden with Christ and one day we will be revealed with him, fully reconciled with him, and emerging with him in glory.
 Revelation 7.14
 Ephesians 2.1
 Galatians 2.20, Romans 6.6)
 Colossians 3.5
 Colossians 3.12
 John 3.30
 John 14.19
 1 Corinthians 2.14
 2 Peter 1.4
 2 Corinthians 3.18
 1 Corinthians 15.42b-44