Category Archives: The BIG Questions

The BIG Questions — # 7 “Did Jesus Rise from the Dead?”(Last in the series)

Dr. Timothy Johnson is a physician and medical reporter for ABC News. A no-nonsense type of guy, he states, “I do believe that if you choose to follow Jesus, you will eventually believe in the resurrection.” (Finding God in the Questions, p. 130)

The resurrection of Jesus is the event that compels a person to take seriously His claim to be God in the flesh, Savior of humanity, and Lord of all. Is the evidence for His resurrection compelling? I believe so, as have countless others. Here’s why.

The records of Jesus’ resurrection appearances are in documents written within a few years of the event. It wasn’t enough time for a legend to form; legends take much longer to evolve.

Women are recorded as the first eyewitnesses of Jesus’ resurrection. In that time women weren’t considered credible witnesses. This gives the accounts the ring of authenticity. No one would make up a story with women as the first eyewitnesses.

The apostles are portrayed in the resurrection accounts as having been resistant to believing that He was alive. Fabricated accounts would never have portrayed the respected apostolic leaders of the early church in such a bad light.

And then there’s the amazing transformation of these first disciples, the apostles. They changed from a fearful and timid group hiding behind closed doors to a bold bunch courageously proclaiming His resurrection.

The evidence is substantial. In fact, it could be argued it takes more faith to believe that Jesus did not rise from the dead than to believe that He did!

“I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection.” (Paul in Philippians 3:10)

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The BIG Questions — #6 “Can’t All Religions Be True?”

1 + 1 = 2. Always has, always will. It doesn’t matter that I feel like 1 + 1 = 3. Never has, never will. Feelings don’t change facts.

It’s the politically correct view to believe that all religions are equally true. Whatever you feel is true is true for you, so goes the sentiment. Logic makes this an impossibility. Feelings don’t change facts. The fact is, all religions make exclusive claims and hold exclusive beliefs. They can’t all be true.

Hinduism and Buddhism don’t believe in a personal God whom we can relate to. The Jewish, Muslim and Christian faith believe in a personal God. Both views can’t be right for either God is a personal being or He is not.

Muslims believe Muhammad is the greatest, Christians believe Jesus is the greatest and is God incarnated. Jews believe neither of these views. All three can’t be right.

Some religions believe in reincarnation while others believe you’re only in this life once and then there’s a judgment. Both views can’t be right.

The great thing about living in a free country is that people can believe what they want. All of us should defend to the death the right for anyone to believe how they want to believe. But just because I want everyone to have the freedom to believe how they want does not mean I have to agree with what they believe. It’s often suggested that true tolerance accepts all religious views as being equally true. In reality, it shows greater tolerance to respect and love a person who holds a view which you believe not to be true!

I believe that Jesus is the unique Son of God, God come to earth in human form. I’m not going to be intolerant of people holding other religious views that exclude this unique claim about Jesus. I respect their views, even God allows people to believe as they want! However, this doesn’t mean that I’m not going to winsomely and lovingly try to convince someone to follow Jesus. In fact, I am compelled by love for the person to try and do so!

“What is truth?” (Pilate to Jesus in John 18:38)

The BIG Questions — #5 “Who Can Say What’s Right or Wrong?”

I heard of a cartoon that shows Satan greeting people at the entry to hell. He says to them, “You’ll find that there’s no right or wrong here – just what works for you.”

It’s common to hear people say, “To each his own.” This has been called the age of relativism, meaning that truth can be different for different people. It’s also been called the age of pragmatism, meaning whatever works for you is right for you. Mark Chan, a Christian philosopher from Singapore, states, “The modern mindset is allergic to universal and absolute truth.” (Christianity Today, Feb. 2010, p. 46)

This is not surprising when the existence of life is explained in a purely naturalistic, evolutionary process with no divine involvement. Dostoevsky stated, “If there is no God, everything is permitted.” If there is no ultimate lawgiver, there can be no ultimate law, no ultimate right or wrong. Our moral feet are then firmly planted on thin air! Without a belief in a holy God no one can say something is right and something else is wrong. It all becomes a matter of personal preference.

But, if God created all that exists then there is an outside standard, a transcendent standard by which we should live. Who can say what’s right or wrong? God can, and does, and we should be listening! With His gracious help we can live more and more as He would have us live. We can choose what’s right over what’s wrong.

“Hate evil, love good.” (Amos 5:15)

The BIG Questions — #4 Can We Trust The Bible?

“I believe the Bible is true because the Bible says it is.” People sometimes make a statement like this. They mean well, but it’s an illogical statement, a piece of circular reasoning. It’s like saying “I believe Bubba is an honest guy because he says he is.” I don’t know about you, but I’d want more proof than Bubba’s word!

I do believe the Bible is true and is God’s Word for us. The line of reasoning I follow is stated briefly in the next series of statements. Sorry it has to be so brief, but it gives you the general idea.

Most people agree Jesus was a good teacher and a great religious leader. His teachings and life are documented in what we call the four gospels, all written within the lifetime of Jesus. There’s no reason to doubt that they give an accurate account of the words and work of Jesus.

The gospels report Jesus teaching that the “scriptures” He knew, our Old Testament, was God’s Word. He quoted it as authoritative.

Jesus is also recorded as having said that His disciples would be giving further truth to expand what He would tell them. This became the rest of our New Testament, everything after the gospels.

Furthermore, the gospel accounts all quote Jesus as saying He always existed and had come from heaven and that He was the way to connect with God. All four gospels also give detailed accounts of Jesus’ death and resurrection.

It seems reasonable to me that the great God of the universe would have no trouble giving us a written account of His actions and words, His thoughts and His heart’s desire that is trustworthy. I, for one, want to take that document seriously!

“All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.” (2 Timothy 3:16)

The BIG Questions — #3 Why Is There Suffering?

I have a little ventriloquist buddy named Ricky. We look like we have an interesting relationship: I’m patient and he has an attitude. Actually, we have no relationship at all. He says only what I have him say. If I have him say, “I really think you’re a great guy, Dave,” it will mean nothing to me, for I made him say it.

God’s given us as His people the power of choice. He’s done this because He wants to have a personal relationship with us based on love. If He forced us to be the way He wants us to be we would be nothing but puppets and any words or acts of love would only appear to be so.

Humans, from the beginning, chose to go against what God wants. What He wants is only good and so the opposite of that is evil. We are a broken people, which leads to all kinds of brokenness in relationships, what has to be the greatest source of pain in our lives. This also, in some mysterious way, has led to a broken world, resulting in pain and suffering from illness and disease, and maybe even crazy weather conditions and such things as earthquakes and volcanoes that cause destruction and death.

Because God could stop all the pain in the world but chooses not to we can presume He has His good purposes in mind in it all. It does seem that we learn our best lessons in life, become more of who we should be, and draw closer to God in tough times more than in easy times. We’ll find no pleasure in the pains of life but we can know there’s a purpose in it all.

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

The BIG Questions — # 2 What about Evolution & Creation?

There are dog lovers and cat lovers. I wonder if they ever get into a fight and the dog lover chases the cat lover up a tree?

Special breeding over the centuries has provided both dog and cat lovers with a vast array of breeds from which to choose. You can have a chihuahua or a great Dane and it’s still a dog, or a short hair or Persian and it’s still a cat. But no one has yet bred a cross between a dog and a cat. What would you call it, a cog or a dat?

In all of our expertise with breeding better plants and animals we’ve never created a new species. (Even if we did, it would only prove that it takes intelligence and intention to do so.) There seems to be a giant barrier between the species. Yet, it’s interesting that the theory of evolution largely depends on the belief that life has evolved countless times from one species into another.

Author Philip Johnson writes, “That Darwinian evolution can gradually transform one kind of creature into another is merely a biological hypothesis, not a fact.” (Darwin on Trial, p. 10) Why is this theory accepted when it takes such a giant leap of faith to do so? Probably because those who hold to it so tenaciously don’t believe there’s another alternative.

But many have come to the conclusion that there is a valid alternative, that God created the great diversity of species, that this is more believable then the theory of evolutionary change. In this cause and effect cosmos where we believe every cause has an effect why not hypothesize, propose, conjecture, yes, believe that there is an outside cause?

The ancient Biblical record describes the creation of the various species. “Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: livestock, creatures that move along the ground, and wild animals, each according to its kind. And it was so.” (Genesis 1:24)

The BIG Questions — #1 Is God for Real?

If I walk into what I think is an empty house and observe a rocking chair still rocking, I look for a cause. Is someone in the house? Is there a cat or dog around that just jumped down from the rocker? Is there a window open that allows a breeze to rock the chair? Something has to have rocked the chair! No one could come to the conclusion that nothing caused the chair to rock, that it did it all by itself.

Where did the universe come from? Evidence now seems to indicate that the universe had a beginning in what has been called The Big Bang. According to the prevailing view, everything in the universe exploded out of an infinitesimally small spot in a “singularity” nearly 14 billion years ago. Scientists are not clear on how or why this happened.

Nothing makes more sense than to postulate, hypothesize, and believe that something outside of space and time made space and time. In this universe where everything operates by cause and effect it seems very probable that the great cause of the amazing effect we call the universe exists outside, and beyond, the universe.

We can’t know for a fact that God exists! It takes faith. If you know something for a fact, there’s really no room for faith. Faith is built on what you don’t know for sure, something that’s not a fact, but probable. It may not be a provable fact that God created everything, but it is a plausible view, many believe the most plausible view. In fact, it could be argued that it takes less faith to believe that God made it all than to believe that it came into existence on its own!

“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge.” (Psalm 19:1-2)