Following the Disciple's Trail

Following the Disciple's Trail

Monday, March 25, 2013

Defending Genesis

The Question of Authorship and Dates of Writing

It has been traditionally believed that the first five Books of the Bible are the Torah (or Pentateuch) of the Jewish Faith which were written by Moses. The belief is that Moses was the Author of the Book of Genesis, as well as all of the Books of the Law, that was at least, until the Enlightenment period (from approximately 1650-1800). This period saw a number of criticism about Biblical text, as to whether or not they were factual accounts and could be taken as truth. One of the criticism's was that the Book of Genesis was not written by Moses, but was the creation of a number of scribes the critics have identified as J=Jahwist, E=Elohist, D=Deuteronomistic, History, P=Priestly Code. 

Here is the problem with J.E.D.P. Theory.

There has never been any kind of evidence given or provided to prove the theory true. The critics main argument is based on literary analysis, that the style of writing does not match with the other Books of the Pentateuch, but no one can say without a doubt that Moses did not write the book of Genesis or the entire Pentateuch. More traditional scribes believe Moses likely used records handed down from previous Patriarchs, such as Abraham and others. This would account for some of the difference in the writing style and scholarship of the Book of Genesis in comparison to other books of the Pentateuch. Again, no one has been able to dispute, without a doubt, that Moses was not the author of Genesis. Until proof can be provided to say otherwise, the traditionally held view of Moses authorship stands.

Another argument of the Book of Genesis is that it has been rewritten numerous times, losing its original textual structure and meaning. With the finding of the Dead Sea Scrolls, we now only have to look to them to prove this argument completely invalid. When the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered, we found they were hundreds of years older than any text we had available to us at the time of their discovery. When the books of the Bible found in those clay jars were laid side by side with the scripture we had on hand, they read word for word, almost identical except for a few grammatical errors. This attests to the practice of the Jewish scribes who were meticulous in their work in copying manuscripts throughout the centuries. They prove that the Genesis of antiquity, we believe to be written by Moses, is the Genesis we have today.

Not far behind the
criticism of the authorship of Genesis by Moses is the argument that earlier followers of God, such as Abraham, could not have left written records for Moses because they did not the ability to read or write. They say writing had not been invented at the time of Abraham. What was believed, until very recently, is that writing was not developed by ancient man until the Sumerians in Mesopotamia around 3100 BC.

A newer discovery, however, makes this old news, and the critics haven't keep track of recent developments and discoveries in Archeology. That, or else they knowingly ignore the facts because they don't want to believe the Bible could be true...or both.

The first known examples of writing may have been unearthed in Pakistan in 1999. Fragments of pottery were found with markings that could be a much older language than that of the Sumerians. The symbols and writing discovered dated back 5500 years, or 400 to 500 years, before the Sumerians. It should be noted that a year before the finding in Pakistan, another discovery was made in Egypt, which was shown to be from around the same time period, or just slightly before the time of the Sumerian writings, by about 200 years.

I bring this to light because of the creation and flood story that the Sumerians wrote about. Many critics of the Bible have tried say the writers of Biblical scripture copied, and took for their own records and beliefs, the stories of the Sumerians. They say the Sumerian writings prove the book of Genesis is a copied story. But now, with the writings found in Pakistan and Egypt, we know that earlier man did have systems of writing and it is very possible that the Sumerians copied their story from another source and not the other way around. Perhaps the Sumerians got their story from Biblical sources. With these new discoveries, that isn't a far fetched theory.

Even if those findings just mentioned do not change the mind of those who believe the Sumerian theory, even older writings have been discovered called the Tartaria Tablets. These tablets were found in Romania and may be up to 1,000 years older than the Sumerian and Egyptian writings. To make it even more impressive, they were found in a location of the world where it was believed writing did not come into existence until around 1,000 B.C.

Accurately knowing when ancient man had the ability to read or write, or even pass on written history, is not really possible. So much of what was known in the ancient world has been lost through the centuries. This is because much of the materials used for writing at that time was made on natural substances that may not have survived to present day to be found, such as wood, leaves, etc. The Tartaria Tablets were found inscribed on stone, and the findings in Pakistan were in pottery. This may be the only reason those writings now survive.

No matter what they were written on, these findings clearly shows the Sumerians were not the first to read or write or to even have a written record. The Biblical Patriarchs could have kept written records of their history, and these discoveries in Pakistan, Egypt and Romania prove it. Until proven otherwise, I choose to believe Moses wrote Genesis and may have possibly used older manuscripts himself, from men such as Abraham, to write the record of the beginning of time, that was given to them from the God of Heaven Himself.

BBC News "Earliest Writing Found"

Tataria Tablets, The Possibility of Neolithic Writing

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Calvinsim Vs. Wesleyanism

While I was studying Scriptural Counseling in Colorado, we had a class on Calvinism vs. Wesleyanism. The differences are not complete polar opposites on some points, but other points have some stark contrast between them.

Calvinism uses the Acronym TULIP to describe their doctrine.

Total Depravity (also known as Total Inability and Original Sin) -  Human beings are so affected by the negative consequences of original sin that they are incapable of being righteous, and are always and unchangeable sinful; human freedom is totally enslaved by sin so we can only choose evil.

Unconditional Election - Since human beings cannot choose for themselves, God by His eternal decree has chosen or elected some to be counted as righteous, without any conditions being placed on that election.

Limited Atonement (also known as Particular Atonement) -  The effects of the Atonement, by which God forgave sinful humanity, are limited only to those whom He has chosen.

Irresistible Grace - The grace that God extends to human beings to effect their election cannot be refused, since it has been decreed by God.

Perseverance of the Saints (also known as Once Saved Always Saved) - Since God has decreed the elect, and they cannot resist grace, they are unconditionally and eternally secure in that election.

What troubled me about the doctrine of Calvinism is that many take this doctrine to mean that once saved, always saved allows a person to become a Christian and then continue to live life as they choose with no thought of repercussion spiritually. While Calvinist would tell you that is not the case, and there are spiritual consequences to our actions, they will still tell you that if you are saved, you will not be turned away from Heaven in the end because of your eternal salvation.

The most troubling part, for me, was that Calvinist had found a 5 point acronym to use to explain their doctrine clearly, while I felt that Wesleyan doctrine was left without a clear and easily understood acronym of their own...So I created one.

As far as I know, I am the only one to have made this acronym applicable to Wesleyan Doctrine. I do not say that as some boastful statement, but just a statement of fact. I have not seen this used in any number of articles I have read pointing out the differences in the two theologies. Not only is the acronym I developed a good way to remember the 5 fundamental points of Wesleyanism, but it also runs parallel with Calvinism's 5 points as well.

I offer to you the Wesleyan PEARL.

Prevenient Grace (Depraved with Freewill) - Human beings are sinful and without God, incapable (deprived) on their own of being righteous; however, they are not irredeemably sinful and can be transformed by God’s grace; God's prevenient grace restores to humanity the freedom of will.

Election By Freewill - God has chosen that all humanity be righteous by His grace, yet has called us to respond to that grace by exercising our God-restored human freedom as a condition of fulfilling election.

Atonement For All - The effects of the Atonement are freely available to all those whom He has chosen, which includes all humanity, "whosoever will."

Resistible Grace - God’s grace is free and offered without merit; however, human beings have been granted freedom by God and can refuse His grace.

Limited Security - There is security in God’s grace that allows assurance of salvation, but that security is in relation to continued faithfulness; we can still defiantly reject God.

I pray that this will help people who are in study of these two theologies understand the foundational points better, not for my own gain or pride, but towards the glory of God the Father.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

If God Is A God Of Love, Why Does He Allow Suffering In The World?

This is a question that is probably as old as religion itself. I have heard it many times from people who are Agnostic, Atheist and even some Christians struggling with that part of their faith. If God is a God of love, who in His own Word proclaims His love for us, how can He allow evil to exist and allow suffering of innocent people?

CS Lewis, the great Christian writer once stated "The problem of pain" was atheism’s most potent weapon against the Christian faith (Paraphrased). So why does it happen? Why does a loving God allow these things to be in the world? Babies dying of starvation, good people having everything destroyed by catastrophe, millions of people suffering from incurable diseases, broken homes, murder, corruption...

To fully be able to answer that question, one would have to fully have the mind of God. While that is impossible for us in our finite minds, we can look at His word, the Bible, and understand completely why these things take place. The first thing that must be understood is that God did not bring these things upon us, we brought them upon ourselves.

God created man to have feeling, emotion, desire and a mind to think independently for themselves. When God created man, He gave us dominion over all the creation.

"Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth. So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” (Genesis 1:26-28)

It was God's desire to see us be the rulers of the creation He had made for us. God's purpose for our creation was not to make us robots that served without question, but He created man to be a friend to Him, to walk with Him and enjoy the gifts that had been given. (Genesis 3:8) Because we had the option of freewill, of free thought, God had allowed us the ability to make choices, for good or for bad. Sadly, we made a choice that brought corruption not only upon ourselves, but upon all creation that we were given dominion over.

Through our choice to not heed the word of God, through partaking of the fruit of the tree God commanded us not to partake of, we allowed sin to enter into the creation. Because we were placed in the position of being over what God had created, when we brought sin into us, as the head of creation, we brought it into creation itself.

The Apostle Paul spoke of the fall of man and how it has effected the creation as we know it. the Creation "groans and labors" because of the corruption we brought forth into it. (Romans 3:18-24) Some would say, "Well, if God knew this would happen, why didn't He stop it". For the same reason He does not stop us from making our own decisions for our own lives and existence. God wants us to CHOOSE HIM, not be subjected to being forced to do it, but to do it because we desire to do it.

To understand this fully is to understand that God is fully a God of love. He loves us enough to allow us to make choices, but just as He allowed Adam and Eve to make their own choice, and that choice allowed sin to enter into the world, He also allows us to deal with the consequences of our choices and actions because of it. If we choose to do wrong, to do evil, God is not required to save us from ourselves from the things we have freely chosen to follow after or perform. Does God intervene into the lives and existence of mankind? Absolutely He does. Then why does He not intervene at all times? Because again, we cannot in our finite minds fully understand the mind of God.

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts." (Isaiah 55:8-9)

This may actually be the hardest part to understand in this entire discussion. But I will try to illustrate what this means to us as the creation, not the Creator.

Imagine if you will the work of a tapestry on a loom. The loom runs the thread, each different colors, each moving into the work of the tapestry through the looming process and by the work of the One who is controlling the loom and creating the tapestry. We are each a threat on that loom. Each of us are a color being added into that tapestry. Our colors may be bright, they may be dark, but whatever the color of our lives, the One who is creating the tapestry uses each of us in the work He is doing. We can only see the part of the tapestry where our thread is being used, but the Creator sees the entire tapestry that He is weaving on the loom. Our colors, whatever they may be, fit perfectly into the creation of that eternal tapestry. Not because we chose it to be, but because the Creator chose it to be. What we see only in the small area of our lives, God sees in the completed work.

Should God step into our decisions and change what we do? Then we would not have the freewill he has given us to make those decisions. It is fully because God does love us that we have the ability to have freewill and make our own choices, and yet, because of the evil of our own hearts, we choose to follow those things that bring death and corruption instead of those things that bring life and blessings. This is not speaking of us as individuals, though we all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23), but as mankind as a whole.

There is also the question of Satan being in the world, leading us to temptation, leading us to do those things that are against God. The Bible calls him the Accuser, Deceiver, The Father of Lies, The Lawless One, and many others, but it also calls him an Angel of Light. He can come to us, and entice us, just as he did Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, and paint a story and picture that is almost too good to resist. So why does God allow him to exist? This is the same Being the Word of God clearly states was the highest of the Angels that rebelled against God and His authority and caused war in Heaven. The same individual that was cast down with a third of the Heavenly Host who followed after him to war against God. (Revelation 12:7-9) (Ezekiel 28:11-19)

The question of God allowing Satan to exist is really not that hard to answer. Why does God allow us to exist? When He created the Angels of heaven, they were created to be Servants to God, not to be Friends to God or the Children of God. But does that mean that God does not still love them? God loves all of His creation. Satan made a choice, showing that Angels also have the ability of freewill.

Some would say, "Why didn't God give Satan a chance to repent?" How do we know that He has not done so? Perhaps God has given that choice to Satan, not through Christ, for He came for mankind, to deliver us from our bondage under the sins of mankind, but through another means that God had for Him? Perhaps He has, and Satan in his pride and rebellion refused. But we do know that Satan's fate is sealed and that hell was created for him and for the angels that followed him. (Isaiah 14:12-15) We also know that mankind that lives in rebellion towards God shall find his place there as well. But it is not because God has desired for us to have a place of eternal separation from him, we, again, make that choice for ourselves through either our acceptance of him, or our denial of Him. It was never His intention for us to be under his judgement (John 3:16-17) (Revelation 21:7-8)

The honest answer is that we just don't know that God did not give Satan an opportunity to repent. Although the Bible gives us descriptions of certain things, and we have all we need to understand about God and the place He should be in our lives, we are not given a panoramic view of all things from the beginning til the end. Again, I refer you to the tapestry of God in the analogy I have given previously.

But the truth is, God has put forth a way of not only escape for us, but for His creation as well. Through Jesus Christ and the sacrifice He made, we will have and end to the sufferings of this world. Christs sacrifice was eternal, as He was and is eternal, it was for the sins of man that caused the fall of creation, and just as Adam fell, Christ has redeemed, and all things will be brought under His rule. (1 Corinthians 15:20-28)

So why do good people suffer? Why does evil exist in the world? Because we allow it to. Our choices, our sin desire, brings these things into being and have brought these things upon us. God has made a way for us to have escape from these things, yet we make the choice not to follow or believe. The corruption of the creation brought death under Adam. Disease, poverty, war...But God, through Jesus Christ, brings life, richness and peace, and in the end, not only will it apply to mankind and the state we have brought upon ourselves, but it will apply to the creation as a whole as God sets those things right that are wrong today.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Don't Expect The World To Receive You

Don't expect the world to understand your faith, it won't. Don't expect people who do not believe to not mock or ridicule you, they will.

Even those who say they have lived a Christian life before but are now turned away won't understand it. The truth is, they never understood it when it was right in front of them. There is a difference in having the head knowledge of knowing who Jesus Christ is
and the heart knowledge of actually knowing Jesus Christ. This is made clear in the parable of the seeds. (Matthew 13:1-23) There are thousands of people right now who sit on a church bench every Sunday and have the head knowledge, but will never come to the heart knowledge.

The point is, they are in darkness. They cannot see the truth because there is no Light shown on it for them, and until they are ready to see that Light, to admit their need for that Light, they will remain in the darkness. 

"You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you."
- The Words of Jesus, John 15:16

“If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also." - The words of Jesus, John 15:18-20

Monday, December 5, 2011

The Gifts Of The Wise Men To The Christ Child

It is the Christmas Season once again! I love the celebrations, the lights, the sounds and the smells of Christmas. It is my most favorite time of year, as it is for most people. I believe that sometimes we get so caught in the commercialism of it all, that we do not reflect nearly enough on what the real Reason for the Season is.

Some, I am sure, roll their eyes. the usual, "Blah, blah, blah" comes forth. "I know, it is about the Christ child and the baby in the manger". We have heard it all so many times that we have truly become somewhat desensitized to it.

We do not fully comprehend during this season, that there was a great price being paid. A King has left his throne to dwell among His own creation, in their flesh, in their sufferings, in their feeling of joy and angst. We forget that he was born sinless, that he was most unique of all children ever born, even to this day, in that during his life, there would come a time that he would be asked to carry the weight of the sins of the entire world on his back. Also is true that we fail to remember had it not been for the manger, there would never have been a cross, and without the cross, no resurrection.

So this season, I am going to post a few things that, I hope, will help us once again, refocus on just what Christmas really is about and what it should mean to each of us.

In this post, I will just touch on the gifts given to the Christ Child by the Wise Men. Many do not know that each of those gifts were symbolic of many aspects of Christs birth, life, death and Kingship. Though this subject alone could fill a book of hundreds of pages, I will be brief and give you the "Reader's Digest" condensed version.


The Gift of Gold to the Christ Child is said to have come from Melchior, a king from Arabia, who, legend has it, was one of the Three Wise Men. His contribution is said in legend to have financed the Holy Family's flight into Egypt when Herod sought the life of the Messiah. Gold, as valuable then as it is today, symbolizes the immortality, divinity, purity, and the kingship of Jesus Christ.


Tradition maintains that Balthasar, the second of the Three Wise Men who came from the East to find the Christ Child, presented frankincense to the baby as a gift. By honoring him in this way, Balthasar fulfilled the prophecy that gold and frankincense would be brought from the Gentiles (Non-Jews) to honor the Heavenly King (Isaiah 60 and Psalm 72). Frankincense, a sweet gum resin from the Boswellia tree, is the purest of incense, was used in the worship of the temple. When burned, it produces white smoke and a sweet smell, symbolizing the prayers and praises of the faithful rising to the Lord. In the case of Christ, it symbolized his life, lived sinless, and His life, through His Divinity, being the sacrifice and propitiation for all our sins.


Caspar, a king from Tarsus and the last of the Three Wise Men, is believed to have been the one who gave the gift of myrrh to the Baby Jesus. Myrrh is known for its medicinal value and was used in ancient times for cleaning wounds and sores, as an analgesic, and for embalming the dead as well as anointing kings. Myrrh is actually an aromatic gum resin that oozes from gashes cut in the bark of the commiphora tree. It hardens into teardrop-shaped chunks and is then pounded into powder or mixed to make ointments and perfumes. It is named for its bitter taste and symbolizes not only the life of Christ, in the natural, that put forth healing to the sick and those suffering, but symbolizes also His death and suffering as the Savior, on the cross that was to come to the child. As the myrrh was to relieve the sores and pain, Christ refused the drink to dull his senses that was offered to Him on the cross. When he died that day, they anointed His body in death, but they also anointed Him as the Coming King, that would rise in Kingship to sit at the right hand of the Father in Heaven.

The Gifts of the Wise Men, showing all that Christ embodied in his birth, life and death, as well as all showing his Divinity and Kingship.

The act of the Wise Men is also the main contributing factor of why we give gifts to each other during the holiday season today. What a wonderful tradition they started!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

2 Questions And The Truth On the Matter

1. "The Bible was written by men and is full of contradictions."

"Yes, the Bible was written by men, it is believed 42 of them wrote the 66 books we know today in the Protestant Bible. Written over a period of time around 1,500 years. But, it is not full of contradictions. As a matter of fact, when scripture is read and placed into the context of what is being said in the entire passage, and laid beside other scripture as confirmation, there are no major contradictions whatsoever, only minor spelling nuances and typically a misunderstanding of the scripture itself. This, in and of itself proves the validity of the Word of God being "Divinely Inspired", or dictated to men by the Holy Spirit of God.

2. "Nothing from the Bible can be proven to be true. It is a book of myths and fairy tales"

Actually, the bible has proven itself over and over in a number of ways and through different sciences and disciplines. There have been a number of skeptics and naysayers who went out of their way to prove the bible incorrect, only to have to come to the conclusion that they were the ones incorrect. As Archaeologist make more discoveries in the middle east and Israel, they are finding as they investigate the events of their finds, the Bible is being proved true in every case.

A couple of examples would be the City of Jericho, thought for years to be a myth. it was found in the early 1900's, and the evidence of the city revealed the walls of the city had not fallen out or in, but straight down, just as the bible stated they had. Also is the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. We know now that both cities actually existed and both were destroyed at the same time by a major disaster. Archaeologist have found the remains of where people had died in large numbers together within the cities and also recovered a number of items with sulfur on them, and digging has shown the buildings had been turned to ash in what could only be described as a fiery cataclysm. Again, the bible is proved correct.

Also, it must be taken into consideration that the Bible was sometimes hundreds and even a thousand years ahead of modern science. Here are just a few examples.

1 Corinthians 15:41 - There is one glory of the sun, another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for one star differs from another star in glory. (We know now that this verse is correct. Analysis of their light spectra reveals that each is unique and different from all others.)

Job 26:7 - He stretches out the north over empty space; He hangs the earth on nothing. (We know now that the earth is "Suspended in the emptiness of space. no one at the time of this writing had proven this scientific fact, but it was written in the Bible.)

Ecclesiastes 1:6 - The wind goes toward the south, And turns around to the north; The wind whirls about continually, And comes again on its circuit. (Before there was meteorologist and Doppler radar, the bible stated the circulation of the winds int he atmosphere.)

Leviticus 17:11 - ‘For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul.’ (nothing can survive without the blood, and there has been no substitute made that can replace it as a whole for the body. In 1616, William Harvey discovered that blood circulation is the key factor in physical life—confirming what the Bible revealed 3,000 years earlier.)

Job 36:27-29 For He draws up drops of water, Which distill as rain from the mist,Which the clouds drop down And pour abundantly on man. Indeed, can anyone understand the spreading of clouds, The thunder from His canopy? (Long before we understood the water cycle on earth with science, the Bible stated its process clearly.)

Isaiah 40:22 - It is He who sits above the circle of the earth, And its inhabitants are like grasshoppers, Who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, And spreads them out like a tent to dwell in. (300 years before Aristotle suggested the earth might be a sphere. Again, the Bible had it pegged)

And these are just a few example, there are many more.

My question is, for those who have stated the above two phrases before...have you even actually read the bible for yourselves, or are you taking someone else's word for what you are believing? Science cannot prove without a doubt the theory of evolution, yet, as I showed you here, in just this short writing, the Bible can prove it knew science before mankind knew science. God was way ahead of the plan.

No one, who truly takes a look at the facts, that investigates fully the bible and the facts that surround it, can come away and not be convinced of it's accuracy and reliability. Notice, I said no one who truly takes a look, because some do not want to truly take a look. They do not want to believe it to be true because if even these parts of it are true, then it bears witness that the rest of it also must be true. If it has been before and is being proven today, to be factual time and time again, then even those parts that have yet to be proven can be relied upon to be true because of the accuracy already shown to be there.

To discount the Word of God. To downplay the Bible as just another book. To refer to Christians who believe it to be the truth as crackpots or wacko's, is to be a fool. I do not call you that, the Word of God calls you that.

For the fool has said in his heart "there is no God". (psalms 14:1)

Make no mistake in it. the Bible is exactly what it claims itself to be. the Word of an Almighty and Sovereign God. If that is the case, then the unbeliever has some very big decisions to make regarding his eternity.