Author: Benjamin

Did Jesus Rise From The Dead?

Did Jesus Rise From The Dead?

Did Jesus Rise from the Dead? Is there good historical evidence for the resurrection of Jesus? Are miracles really possible? Explore the evidence for yourself in this video from Impact 360.

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Is There Evidence for God? Dr. William Lane Craig debates Dr. Kevin Scharp

Is There Evidence for God? Dr. William Lane Craig debates Dr. Kevin Scharp

William Lane Craig and Kevin Scharp discuss the validity of reasons given for God’s existence at The Veritas Forum: “Is There Evidence For God?” at the Ohio State University, 2016. William Lane Craig is a Christian philosopher and research professor at Talbot School of Theology. Kevin Scharp is an Associate Professor of Philosophy at the Ohio State University and identifies as an atheist.

Credit to The Veritas Form, William Lane Craig, Reasonable Faith.

How did the first life originate?

How did the first life originate?

One of the greatest questions continuously asked is that of the origin of life. It is impossible to imagine that life on Earth always existed and does not have a beginning, therefore, we inquire to develop a reasonable explanation about how the first life formed on Earth.

In order to discover an explanation that is both plausible and coherent, we need to refer to scientific skills of experimentation and inquiry to come up with the best hypothesis. At the same time, we must not ignore scientific laws such as the law of biogenesis. This law states that all life must come from preexisting life. In other words, the cells that make you a multi-cellular organism came from cells carrying genetic information from each one of your parents. Without your parents’ cells, you would not be alive today reading this article.

All life on Earth shares common characteristics. One of the characteristics of life is that all living things come from preexisting organisms. All cells, even our own, come from preexisting cells. The process of mitosis ensures that cell nuclei divide in order to create offspring with identical genetic material resulting in the continuation of that life form or species. So the question arises: if all organisms came from preexisting organisms, then how did the first organism come into existence?

When one thinks about this question, it seems as if we slam right into a wall, for if all things are contingent of preexisting forms of life, then how did the first life originate at all? We know that organisms are not eternal and have a point of existence; it is essential for the code of life, DNA, to be present for life to even begin to take form.

Hypothesis Formulated

In 1952, Stanley Miller and Harold Urey conducted an experiment known today as the Miller-Urey experiment which led to the Primordial Soup hypothesis. These two scientists simulated the believed conditions of Earth prior to the existence of photosynthetic organisms. Without the constant process of photosynthesis, Earth’s environment lacked the presence of oxygen. Miller and Urey used water vapor, methane, ammonia and hydrogen and introduced a “sparks” of electricity that would then form amino acids, the building blocks of proteins. Proteins are extremely important to the creation and sustenance of living things. In fact, Enzymes, the protein catalysts of our bodies, are essential for many if not all life processes. So having created amino acids, Miller and Urey’s experiment seemed to have proved that life can arise from nonliving, inorganic elements.

So what is the problem?

The conditions that Miller and Urey created for the experiment were not the exact same conditions thought to be present on early Earth. Not only did Miller and Urey introduce gases that are highly thought of by the scientific community to have not been present in early Earth, their experiment contained a simulation of lightning that did not present a justifiably believed spark that would be present in early Earth. Not only would real lighting have destroyed any amino acids that may have been present, if they had not separated the amino acids once they were made, then it is possible that more lightning would have changed the properties of those same molecules.

Which came first: protein or DNA?

DNA, which stands for Deoxyribonucleic acid, is the chemical blueprint for life. Its four nitrogen bases which serve as letters, code for the physical traits found in an organism. In order for a DNA strand to form, proteins are needed. Proteins are an important part to DNA synthesis and replication, yet the information for protein synthesis is found only in DNA. Amino acids, the subunits of proteins, do not hold the information for life, DNA does. This fact brings us back to the age-old question: which came first, the chicken or the egg? It is rational to believe that a DNA molecule, that is rich in its own genetic code, no matter how simple, would have to exist before any complex life forms.

Today we have scientists stating that DNA was not necessary for the origination of life but rather it may have been RNA, ribonucleic acid, which was created first. The reason presented to us is that it appears that the RNA molecule does not need the same assistance that DNA requires for replication. Still, this fails to show any real answer since RNA still requires protein functioning to help assemble its own genetic code, showing that this information would have to be initially found in RNA.

In his book, The Signature of the Cell, Dr. Stephen Meyer explains how RNA would still need an input of information to begin its process of replication. “The information contained in an English sentence or computer software does not derive from the chemistry of the ink or the physics of magnetism, but from a source extrinsic to physics and chemistry altogether. Indeed, in both cases, the message transcends the properties of the medium. The information in DNA also transcends the properties of its material medium.” Scientists felt that they had a moment of eureka when able to create an RNA molecule that was capable of replicating ten percent of its own information. The very obvious issue in this lies not only in the fact that the RNA molecule was programmed with an initial sequence in order to begin replication but the information had to be programmed by scientists with minds.

So what is the best conclusion?

The Primordial Soup and RNA replication experiments show not only a manipulation of settings to render certain results that scientists have presupposed before experimentation, but that without their own intelligent involvement, desired products cannot be self-formed nor self-replicated. Ironically, many non-theists claim that the scientific community of faith is guilty of the God-of-the-Gaps fallacy, yet it seems they find themselves in greater error having accepted a larger lack of evidence to unjustly support and accept their own hypotheses. As scientists, we must follow the evidence wherever it may lead and in this case, the biological evidence available today leads to the belief that an Intelligent Mind is necessary for the explanation of complex information leading to the formation of complex life forms.

Why is Christianity right?

Why is Christianity right?

Published on Mar 12, 2016
Join Ravi Zacharias and Vince Vitale for an open forum at the Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall in downtown Pittsburgh.

Credit to Dr. Ravi Zacharias and Ravi Zacharias International Ministries.

Did Jesus claim to be God?

Did Jesus claim to be God?

Recently I bumped into an old friend that I had not seen for many years. Our friendship began in church where his father would regularly bring him to participate in the youth events at that time. Upon catching up with each other, he mentioned to me that he is no longer a Christian but had decided to convert to Islam due to the “false” information found in the Bible. When I asked him what was one of the leading points that drew him away from Christianity he quickly answered that “Jesus never claimed to be God.”

I was a bit perplexed and taken back with his response because I believe that are so many sources made readily available to the public to easily understand that belief to be false. I asked him to study the Gospel of John believing that he would see that what drew him away in reality was incorrect. He quickly responded with the notion that “those were John’s words writing about Jesus.” He was simply stating that we could not verify that Jesus actually said those words since that was written by someone else rather than Jesus Himself, therefore they could not be proven true.

Clearly, someone who has read and studied the Bible would not claim such a thing. I was saddened to see how my old friend’s answers were so unjustifiably wrong and naïve and even more saddened to see that he would allow himself to be so easily deceived into accepting claims without conducting the right research through reliable, unbiased sources. If one truly studies scripture, they will see that Jesus never denied His identity but rather further confirmed his deity in many ways.

Jesus: The Great I AM

When Moses was before the burning bush and asked who should he say sent him to free the Israelites, God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM…Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, I AM has sent me.” (Genesis 3:14) In fact, in the next verse, God tells Moses that I AM will forever be His name and even until today, God’s people identify Him as I AM. It is a name that is considered extremely holy and reverent.

Now with that in mind, let us consider what occurred in the gospel of John 8. In this passage, Jesus is confronted by the religious leaders of his time, questioning His authority:

53“Are you greater than our father Abraham? He died, and so did the prophets. Who do you think you are?” 54 Jesus replied, “If I glorify myself, my glory means nothing. My Father, whom you claim as your God, is the one who glorifies me. 55 Though you do not know him, I know him. If I said I did not, I would be a liar like you, but I do know him and obey his word. 56 Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad.” 57 “You are not yet fifty years old,” they said to him, “and you have seen Abraham!” 58 “Very truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!” (John 8:53-58, emphasis added)

Jesus did not answer in a manner to hide His identity. By Jesus stating that Abraham was waiting to see His day, He was explaining that His existence did not begin with His physical birth but instead specified His eternality. In verse 58, He uses “I am” not to show some existence in a particular time, but rather His identity, the same I AM that was used by God to reveal Himself to Moses and the Israelites. In this part of scripture, we can see how Jesus identifies Himself as the Great I AM, the eternal name of God.

Jesus: One with the Father

The disciples walked with Jesus for approximately 3 years. During this time, they witnessed the many miracles performed by Christ (yet, another proof of His deity). On one occasion, Jesus spoke to His disciples telling them that if they know Him, they know the Father. Phillip responds with a request asking Jesus to show them the Father. Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?” (John 14:9) Many have taken this verse and given it a meaning that is not a correct interpretation. Some have said that Jesus is simply telling His disciples that His actions give a better understanding to God’s nature. Jesus’s humility, goodness and mercy are those that the Father has and therefore, the disciples can see the Father in Him. That is partially true but not the main point found in the verse. Jesus is once again asserting His identity by showing, not only His relationship with the Father, but even more His divine nature as God.

In John 10, Jesus states that He gives eternal life, something that all Israelites knew that only God could do, and those that receive this eternal life are in His Father’s hands. But in verse 30, Jesus says, “I and My Father are one.” It is plain to see that Jesus is claiming that He and the Father are equal, similar and the same. These verses, and many more, show that Jesus never hid His identity but would make it known through His words and actions that He is God. The Jews clearly understood what Jesus meant when purposely using such words. In fact, in John 8:33, the Jews intended to stone Jesus for clearly understanding His claim of deity, His claim to be God.

John: An Eyewitness to Jesus

When I was told that these verses do not provide any justification because it was John who wrote them in his gospel and not Jesus, I found that to be a very big contradiction on his part. First, if my friend could not believe John, being an eye witness to Jesus’s life, ministry and miracles, then how could he believe another source that had no encounter with Christ? John’s gospel was written about 40 years after Jesus’ death and resurrection while the Quran was believed to have first been revealed 600 years later and then written a few decades after by a number of people who claim to have memorized different parts of Mohammed’s revelation.

Second, John, along with the other disciples and witnesses, were all willing to die for what they believed. All of the disciples, except John, are believed to have all been martyred for their faith. Why would someone die for something they knew was a lie? Even more, this does not explain why the many disciples and other followers were willing to die (and many did die) for their belief. If it were not true, many would have denied Jesus knowing that it would save their lives and the lives of their families and friends. So why admit to it, knowing that it would certainly lead to death? It had to have been true if they were willing to die for it.

Jesus himself said that He is the Bread of Life, the Way, the Truth and the Life, and the Light of the world. The Jews knew that such descriptive claims were only unique to and reserved for God the Father, so as Jesus used these metaphors as declarations about Himself, He was not shying away from telling others who He was but rather giving a clearer description of who He is and why we should believe in Him as God.