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I found this interesting: http://ift.tt/eA8V8J I’ve been reading various cultural critiques of the mess we’ve gotten ourselves into, and several put the blame on the Reformation.  The Reformation gave us radical individualism!  The Reformation gave us the notion that truth is whatever we interpret it to be!  The Reformation drained the physical world of its spiritual significance!  The Reformation drained [Read More...]

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This is what I’m reading. I recommend you do the same. Check it out! “One of the proofs of God has been how the universe has been incredibly finely-tuned for the existence of life. I’ve written on this in several differentposts, and highlighted Robin Collins’ argument that given the extremely improbability of a single universe coming into existence without a God, it is irrational to believe in a such an atheistic universe.

Most atheists have responded to this problem in one of two ways. The first is to claim that while the values of several dozen parameters are indeed uniquely positioned for life, this isn’t a problem because there are an infinite number of universes that exist—all with different parameters—and we just happened to live in the one that will sustain life. I’ve already shown why this claim fails. But it’s the second response that I’ve been hearing more often lately. Many atheists to day simply claim that our universe just isn’t designed for life. Many Internet atheists have made such arguments, but I will use the one Richard carrier presented in our debate as typical of them:

With regard to the nature of the universe and it supposedly being finely tuned for life, it really isn’t. I want you think about the cosmology in astrophysics for a moment.  99.9999 percent (a large percentage) is filled with a lethal radiation-filled vacuum. Life can’t exist in it. That means that a vast quantity of the universe is inhospitable or lethal for life. That aside, if you look at the other material in the universe, 99.9999 percent consists of stars and black holes in which life cannot live. So, a vast amount of the material in the universe is inhospitable for life. And even if you look at the remaining stuff, most of that also is inhospitable for life. In fact, if you were to put the entire observable universe into a house and do the math, the amount of volume in that house that would be hospitable for life would be smaller than a proton. Now, if you walked into a house and there was only one proton in there that was hospitable for life, you would not conclude that the house was designed for life. The universe is clearly not designed for life.1

Missing the Point

First off, objections like this miss the point of a universe designed for life. The claim of not only theologians but scientists such as John D. Barrow and Frank J. Tipler, Paul Davies, and Martin Rees2 is not that the majority of the universe is set up so that life could thrive, but that the parameters that govern all aspects of the universe are set precisely with life permitting values. Robin Collins breaks this down into three areas: The fine-tuning of the laws of nature, of the constants of nature, and of the initial conditions of the universe.3 Collins goes on to use the gravitational force as one example, explaining that if there were no force attracting bodies at long ranges, no stars would ever be able to form, there would be no heat for life, there would be no way for a planet to hold water or an atmosphere, and thus life would be absolutely impossible no matter where you are in the universe. It isn’t the ratio of inhabitable verses uninhabitable space is great or small, the fine-tuning question centers on a binary answer: Can life exist anywhere at all ever? With just one or two minor changes to any of 20 or more constants or laws, the universe becomes unable to put forth any life at all.

Large, Uninhabitable Areas Don’t Disprove Design

While Atheists like Carrier are misunderstanding the argument, their responses may still provoke another question. After all, if the universe is designed for life, then wouldn’t one expect God to create more than a miniscule area able to support life? However, this objection also draws the wrong conclusion. One cannot argue that simply because there are vast areas that are lethal for life that therefore the universe was not designed with life in mind. That doesn’t follow. In my debate, I answered Carrier with this example:

Now Richard asks, “Why make the universe so lethal in so many parts? This obviously argues against God.” Well that doesn’t follow at all. Picture a rancher in Texas—a man who lives alone and has 5,000 acres of land and a 100,000 head of cattle. Why would one man need so much land that’s arid, desolate, and one where he can’t survive in? How can you imagine that there is a 5,000 acre ranch only dedicated for one man? Well maybe it’s there because that’s what he desired. That serves his purposes. So just because the universe is vast, it is not an argument against God. People will move great mounds of earth to get to one diamond. You see, it’s the value of the thing that matters and not how much space is taken around it.4 

Thus, the conclusion is shown to be false from the premises. Simply because the majority of the universe is not life supporting doesn’t mean that supporting any life wasn’t the original purpose for the universe. It could be that God wanted to support life, but He also wanted to give us the beauty of the stars for our enjoyment. Of course scientists like Stephen Hawking have argued that the rate our universe expanded is actually just right for life, thus implicating that vast uninhabitable areas are part of what it takes to allow life to exist.5  Or God could have had another purpose for the expanse of space. But no matter. It’s clear that the expanse of life-prohibiting space is not an argument against the universe’s design. It only shows that we are rare and therefore highly valuable.

References

1. The Great Debate: Does God Exist? Dir. Come Reason Ministries. Perf. Lenny Esposito and Richard Carrier. Come Reason Ministries, 2012. DVD. Available at http://ift.tt/1yKcImK
2. For books on this subject by these authors see The Anthropic Cosmological Principle (Oxford: Oxford UP, 1986) by Barrow and Tipler, The Goldilocks Enigma: Why Is the Universe Just Right for Life? (London: Allen Lane, 2006) by Paul Davies, and Just Six Numbers: The Deep Forces That Shape the Universe (New York: Basic, 2000) by Rees.
3. Collins, Robin. "The Teleological Argument." The Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology. By William Lane. Craig and J.P. Moreland. Chichester, U.K.: Wiley-Blackwell, 2009. 211. Print.
4. The Great God Debate, ibid.
5. Hawking, Stephen. A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes. Toronto: Bantam, 1988. 128. Print.

from Come Reason’s Apologetics Notes http://apologetics-notes.comereason.org/2014/10/a-mostly-lethal-universe-does-not.html
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Not all sin is the same. While every sin places you under the wrath of God, and while any sin is sufficient to create an eternal chasm between God and man, not every sin is identical. In chapter 9 of his work Overcoming Sin and Temptation, John Owen wants you to think about that besetting sin in your life to consider if it is an “ordinary” sin, or if it is one that is particularly deadly and that, therefore, requires something more than the usual pattern of putting sin to death. The deadliness of a sin is not related so much to the category of that sin, but to how deeply-rooted it is in your life, and to how you have responded to God as he has revealed it to you.

Here are seven marks of a deeply deadly sin.

1. Your sin is deep-rooted and habitual. There may be some sins that have been in your life so long and with such prevalence that you no longer find them shocking or particularly bothersome. Your mind and conscience have grown hard to the sin and it is now deeply ingrained in your thoughts and habits. You, my friend, are in a dangerous place when you have grown ambivalent to that sin. “Unless some extraordinary course be taken, such a person has no ground in the world to expect that his latter end shall be peace.”

2. You proclaim God’s approval, but without battling sin. You know that a certain sin is prevalent in your life, and yet you continue to proclaim that you are accepted in Christ. Even though God has revealed that sin to you, and even though you have made no real attempt to put it to death, still you recount God’s grace to you in the gospel and still you take comfort in the peace of the gospel. Owen wants you to know that you cannot preach God’s peace to yourself while you embrace that one great sin. The gospel offers no comfort to those who slow-dance with their favorite sin.

3. You apply grace and mercy to a sin you do not intend to put to death. You cannot proclaim that the gospel has covered your sin if you do not intend to battle that sin. “To apply mercy to a sin not vigorously mortified is to fulfill the end of the flesh upon the gospel.” Sometimes your heart longs for peace with God, but at the same time it longs for the satisfaction of that sin. In these cases you may rashly look to the gospel to assuage your conscience even though you have no intention of stopping your sin. But the gospel does not allow you to apply God’s mercy and grace to a sin you love and intend to cling to.

4. Sin is frequently successful in seducing your desires. There are times when your heart takes delight in a sin, even though you do not actually commit that sin outwardly. If a sin becomes your delight and has a great hold upon your soul, it is a dangerous sign of a particularly deadly sin. This is true even if you do not commit that sin. If your delight is in sin, not God, your soul is being drawn away from your Savior.

5. You argue against sin only out of fear of impending punishment. It is a sign that sin has taken significant possession of your will when you argue against sin or fail to commit sin only because you fear punishment. In this case you do not delight to do God’s will, but only fear the consequences of disobedience. A true Christian battles sin out of a desire to please God and to find his delight in God.

6. You realize that God is allowing one sin in your life to make you aware of another sin. There are times when God allows you to battle one sin in order to expose a deeper sin. “A new sin may be permitted, as well as a new affliction sent, to bring an old sin to remembrance.” In such a case God is exercising fatherly discipline. If God is disciplining you by allowing another sin or by bringing some kind of affliction, he is sending a message about the hardness or your heart and the depth of your sin. Heed the warning!

7. You have hardened your heart against God as he has exposed your sin before you. God graciously reveals your sin through his Word, through conscience, through other Christians, and through many other means. When he reveals your sin, he also prompts you to take action against it. If you continually reject his help and harden your heart against that sin, you are in a dangerous, dangerous state. “Unspeakable are the evils which attend such a frame of heart. Every particular warning to a man in such an estate is an inestimable mercy; how then does he despise God in them who holds out against them! And what infinite patience is this in God, that he does not cast off such a one, and swear in his wrath that he shall never enter his rest!”

Christian, evaluate your sin, and battle hard against it. It is God’s grace that he reveals your sin, and it is God’s grace that he gives you everything you need to put it to death.

Next Time

Next Thursday we will continue with the tenth chapter of the book. You can still get the book and read along if that is of interest to you.

Your Turn

I would like to know what you gained from this chapter. Feel free to post comments below or to write about this on your own blog (and then post a comment linking us to your thoughts). Do not feel that you need to say anything shocking or profound. Just share what stirred your heart or what gave you pause or what confused you. Let’s make sure we’re reading this book together.

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Mohler

Long before the start of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission’s 2014 (ERLC 2014) conference on marriage, sexuality and homosexuality, the fiery darts were thrown. Cultural and religious analysts and Twitter pundits alike hurled their accusations of hatred and bigotry with the hopes internet bullying would silence discussions of biblical sexuality. But had critics waited to watch the ERLC 2014 live stream, they might have been surprised by the Southern Baptists’ compassionate, almost self-deprecating opening notes.

“When we come to an event like this we have to have our hearts broken, not about their sin but about ours,” said Dr. Albert Mohler, President of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and ERLC 2014’s opening keynote speaker. Mohler even shared, “I repent of denying that sexual orientation was legitimate.”

During the first panel discussion moderated by Phillip Bethancourt, topics covered beyond same-sex marriage included divorce and cohabitation. But one of the most compassionate statements made was directed at the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBTQ) community when Dr. Russell Moore, President of the ERLC, recognized the LGBTQ youth kicked out of their parents’ homes as a human dignity issue and the called on the Church to step in and care for these homeless LGBTQ youth in need.

Though displaying a compassionate tone, opening notes were not deficient of moral, biblical truths.

“It is a slander against the gospel for us to redefine sin in any way,” explained Dr. Mohler. To the Twitterverse’s surprise (had they watched), Mohler did not direct his statement solely at the topic of same-sex sexual sin. He applied this biblical truth to the consequences of the sexual revolution and couples’ decimation of the sanctity of marriage, explaining, “The divorce revolution has done far more damage to marriage than same-sex marriage will ever do.”

With a continued tone of compassion and truth, Mohler encouraged all Christians to not judge their same-sex attracted neighbors. He recounted I Corinthians 6:11 which states, “And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”

He concluded, “We really do know what the Bible teaches. What we’re trying to figure out is how to apply that in this time.”

After hearing that faithful Christians cannot redefine sin and must engage the culture without becoming a part of it, what should be done? Mohler’s answer: lots of prayer and lots of “agonizing conversations” with a sense of urgency because “we can’t’ take a hiatus from history. It’s too late.”

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ebola trainingThe Center for Disease Control (CDC) has been criticized recently for its handling of the Ebola cases in the United States, and for its lax suggestions regarding travelers from countries where Ebola is rampant. In today’s City Journal, Heather Mac Donald suggests that the CDC’s lack of leadership has more to do with political correctness in the public health arena and their version of “social justice” than with science.

Read more on Public Health: Is ‘Social Justice’ More Important Than Sound Science?…

The post Public Health: Is ‘Social Justice’ More Important Than Sound Science? appeared first on Acton Institute PowerBlog.

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A good read. Check it out! G.K. Chesterton once quipped that "Freethinkers are occasionally thoughtful, though never free." His point was that the materialistic atheist has bound the scope of his considerations to the natural world. He is free as long as he remains her prisoner. Nothing could be on the other side of the natural world, regardless of any contrary Continue reading

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