Unfold the Evangel before your eyes!

Are you lost?
Are you worn out?
Are you overwhelmed?
Are you rational?

Only rational, non-dogmatic persons can understand and accept this message. Give yourself a try. Nothing will be like before, I promise!

sábado, dezembro 24, 2005

The Origins of our Christmas Traditions

by Chuck Missler

[Leia este artigo em português]

Each year at Christmas we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. After the New Year, we struggle to remember to add a year as we date our checks, which should remind us that the entire Western World reckons its calendar from the birth of the One who changed the world more than any other before or since.

Yet, it is disturbing to discover that much of what we have been taught about the Christmas season seems to be more tradition than truth.

When Was Jesus Born?

Most serious Bible students realize that Jesus was probably not born on December 25th. The shepherds had their flocks in open fields,1 which implies a date prior to October. Furthermore, no competent Roman administrator would require registration involving travel during the season when Judea was generally impassable.2

If Jesus wasn't born on December 25, just when was he born? Although the Bible doesn't explicitly identify the birthday of our Lord, many scholars have developed diverse opinions as to the likely birthday of Jesus. (It reminds one of the rabbinical observation: with two Jews, you have three opinions!) See our briefing, The Christmas Story: What Really Happened for more information.

Then Why December 25th?

The early Christian church did not celebrate Jesus' birth, and therefore the exact date was not preserved in festivals. The first recorded mention of December 25th is in the Calendar of Philocalus (A.D. 354), which assumed Jesus' birth to be Friday, December 25th, A.D. 1. This was subsequent to Constantine's Edict of Toleration in A.D. 313, which enabled the persecuted Christians to exchange the rags of hiding for the silks of the court. But the predictable expediency to adopt the inevitable cultural changes caused many of the former pagan rituals to be adapted to their new "Christian" trappings.

The date of December 25th, which was officially proclaimed by the church fathers in A.D. 440, was actually a vestige of the Roman holiday of Saturnalia, observed near the winter solstice, which itself was among the many pagan traditions inherited from the earlier Babylonian priesthood.3

Babylonian Traditions

All forms of occultic practices have their origins in the original city of Babylon. Isaiah Chapter 47 clearly brings this out. Most of what we associate with pagan Rome had its origins in ancient Babylon. Babylon is mentioned in over 300 references in the Bible; it is even alluded to three times in Christ's own genealogy.

The Tammuz Legend

Tammuz, the son of Nimrod and his queen, Semiramis, was identified with the Babylonian Sun God and worshipped following the winter solstice. As the days became shorter and shorter through the winter, they become the shortest at the winter solstice, about December 22-23. Tammuz was thought to have died during the winter solstice, and was memorialized by burning a log in the fireplace. (The Chaldean word for infant is yule. This is the origin of the "yule log.") His "rebirth" was celebrated by replacing the log with a trimmed tree the next morning. Sound familiar? (Jeremiah 10 contains an interesting verse which talks about trimming trees, etc.)
There are numerous other examples. The wassail bowl, the mistletoe (a fertility rite), and others are documented in such works as Alexander Hislop's, The Two Babylons. When Babylon was conquered by subsequent empires, this entire religious system was transplanted, first to Pergamos under the Persians, and then to Rome. As the pagan Roman (Babylonian) religious system was integrated with Christian ceremonial observances, many of our current traditions surrounding Christmas emerged. And it appears that an "ecumenical" integration of all the world's religions, including the ancient Babylonian occult forms that presently masquerade as the "New Age," is destined to be the final religious climax.

The Throne of David

There is another aspect to keep in mind this Christmas season. As we recall the prophecy in Micah that prescribes that the Messiah was to be born in Bethlehem, notice the entire verse:

But thou, Bethlehem ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.
Micah 5:2

Also, as we recall that other familiar prophecy in Isaiah, note again the whole verse:

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the Throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever.
Isaiah 9:6-7

The "Throne of David" is not just an Old Testament concept. Remember the Angel Gabriel's promise to Mary:

And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.
Luke 1:31-33

But did Jesus ever actually sit on David's throne? He couldn't have. It didn't exist at that time. Jeconaiah was the last of David's line to sit on the throne. (Remember, the blood curse on his line.4) Herod, appointed by the Romans, was an Edomite ("Idumean"). He wasn't even Jewish.
At the moment, Jesus is sitting on His Father's Throne. The question is, will He ever sit on David's throne? Will the promise that Gabriel announced to Mary also be fulfilled? Of course. (And it may be sooner than we think.)

Keeping Christ in Christmas

Christians today tend to fight the ongoing secularization of their holidays. Some have rejected anything to do with them, saying they are not Biblically ordained. Others have tried to go back to keeping the Jewish feasts instead. It should be pointed out that the New Testament doesn't really ordain anything other than the Lord's Supper. But it does not prohibit it either, and under grace Christians are free to honor different days if they wish.

Those families who want to keep Christ as the center of Christmas may find it easier to do by understanding the various symbols that have been used to celebrate Christ's birth through the ages and using them to retain the uniqueness inherent in the mystery of the incarnation: the birth of the Son of God. For instance, at Christmas we remember the gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh presented by the Magi.5 These prophetic gifts celebrated his deity, priesthood, and death. When He returns to establish His kingdom, He will be presented only with gold and frankincense.6 There will be no myrrh: His death is now behind Him.

Let's make this season a real celebration. What are you giving Him this Christmas? Is there something in your life He would like to see you part with?

* * *


1. Luke 2:8.
2. Matthew 24:20.
3. Alexander Hislop, The Two Babylons, Loizeaux Brothers, Neptune NJ, 1916.
4. Jeremiah 22:30.
5. Matthew 2:11.
6. Isaiah 60:6.

Happy Hanukkah

by Chuck Missler

[Leia este artigo em potuguês]

Each year, around the time we prepare to celebrate Christmas, our Jewish friends celebrate Hanukkah. This year it falls on December 25th and continues for eight days through January 2nd.

It may come as a surprise to many of our readers that this holiday is alluded to in the New Testament. (Whereas Christmas is not: the observation of Christmas began in 354 A.D. from an adaptation of established pagan holidays. While there are several defendable estimates regarding the birthday of Christ, we know it was not in winter: the flocks were in open field, indicating sometime prior to October.)

In fact, Hanukkah highlights an historical event that Jesus Himself pointed to as the key to understanding the prophecies concerning His return!

The Mystery in John 10

John Chapter 10 is, of course, the famous Good Shepherd discourse. It clearly speaks for itself and won't be dealt with here. Verse 22, however, seems to be a strange inclusion: right in the middle of this chapter the Holy Spirit notes the following:

And it was at Jerusalem the feast of dedication, and it was winter.
John 10:22

Why is this reference here?

The Importance of our Approach

The most important discovery of my life was the insight that the Bible is an integrated message system. Although these 66 books were written by over 40 authors over thousands of years, we discover that they are a unified whole. Every word, every number, every place name, even the implied punctuation, appear to be the result of supernatural engineering. The rabbis in Israel have a quaint way of expressing this. They say that we won't really understand the Scriptures until the Messiah comes. But when He comes, He will not only interpret the passages for us; He will interpret the very words; He will interpret the very letters; He will even interpret the spaces between the letters!

I used to think this was just a colorful exaggeration. Until I re-read Jesus' own comments on the Scripture:

Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets; I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one yot or one tittle shall in no way pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.
Matthew 5:17-18

A "yot" or a "tittle" are Hebraisms: a "yot" is one of the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet that we might mistake for an apostrophe, or a blemish on the paper. A "tittle" is a tiny notation that distinguishes some of the letters. The phrase that Jesus used is equivalent to our "dotting of an 'i' or the crossing of a 't.'" These words, from our Lord Himself, seem to verify the rather extreme view of the rabbis.

Thus we discover that every detail of the Bible is there by design. This insight opens an entirely new dimension of Bible study. Every time you find a "mistake" or "contradiction" in the Bible, rejoice: there is a discovery behind that ostensible discrepancy.

The Feast of Dedication

Since we have concluded that nothing in Scripture is accidental or trivial, why does this detail in John 10:22 exist? What is the "feast of dedication"? The dedication is of the Temple, of course. But let's explore this further.

There have been only two Temples: the original one built by Solomon, which was ultimately destroyed by the Babylonians; and Nehemiah's, which was built when the captives returned after the Babylonian Captivity. (This "Second Temple" was subsequently expanded by Herod and was the Temple in place during the New Testament period.) Solomon's Temple was dedicated in the month of Ethanim, or Tishri.1 This can't be the reference we're looking for since this was in the autumn. John 10:22 alludes specifically to a feast of dedication in winter. Nehemiah's Temple was dedicated in the month of Adar.2 So this can't be it either since Adar is in the spring. Now we're really puzzled! The key to this riddle requires some important historical background.

An Historical Reference

A century earlier, in 168 B.C., the Seleucid ruler Antiochus IV ("Epiphanes")3 son of Antiochus the Great, became the successor of his brother, Seleucus IV, who had been murdered by his minister, Heliodorus, as king of Syria (175-164 B.C.). Antiochus was an eccentric, cruel and tyrannical despot. He undertook the total eradication of the Jewish religion and the establishment of Greek polytheism in its stead.

The observance of all Jewish laws, especially those relating to the Sabbath and to circumcision, were forbidden under penalty of death. Representatives of the crown everywhere enforced the edict. Once a month a search was instituted, and whoever had secreted a copy of the Law or had observed the rite of circumcision was condemned to death. He pillaged the city of Jerusalem, took 10,000 captives, stripped the Temple of its treasures, and built a pagan altar on the Great Altar of Burnt Sacrifices.4

On the 25th of Chislev (Antiochus' birthday), sacrifice was brought on this altar for the first time.5 He required a swine to be offered in every village.6 (If you know how the Jews feel about pork, you can imagine how that went over! But that's not all…)

He also erected an idol to Zeus in the Holy of Holies.7 This desecrating sacrilege has a technical name: "the abomination of desolation."

Maccabean Revolt

In the village of Modein, an aged priest named Mattathias lived with his five sons. When officers arrived to carry out Antiochus' decrees, Mattathias killed both the first Jew who approached the pagan altar to offer sacrifice and the royal official who presided, and Mattathias and his sons fled to the hills. This spontaneous revolt grew into a full-scale uprising: Mattathias and his five sons became the nucleus of a growing band of rebels against Antiochus.

Mattathias died soon after, leaving leadership in the hands of his son Judas, whose nickname "Maccabeus" ("the hammer") became the source of the popular name given to the family and its followers. Under Judas' brilliant leadership, what had begun as a guerrilla war turned into full-scale military engagements in which the smaller Jewish forces managed to defeat the much more powerful Syrian armies, and they succeeded in throwing off the yoke of the Seleucid Empire.

On the third anniversary of the desecration of the Temple, on the 25th of Kislev, 164 B.C., the Temple worship was reestablished. The altar and all of the vessels used in the earlier sacrilege were destroyed and replaced with new ones, and the Temple was rededicated. It is this rededication that is still celebrated among the Jews to this very day as Hanukkah.

A Key Technical Term

The desecration of the Temple in 167 B.C. included the definitive event known as the "abomination of desolation." The term "abomination" in the Bible is a common term for idol worship. The "abomination of desolation" refers to the ultimate extreme form of idol worship: placing an idol on the most sacred spot on Planet Earth: in Jerusalem, in the Temple precincts, in the Holy of Holies itself!

So why did the Holy Spirit highlight Hanukkah by alluding to it in the New Testament? Because Jesus Himself pointed to this specific historical detail as the key to understanding prophecy concerning the Last Days.

A Private Briefing

Four disciples came to Jesus privately, asking Him about His "Second Coming." His response is so significant that it is recorded in two of the Gospels: Matthew and Mark.8 (A similar account in Luke actually focuses on some different elements.)

He opened this briefing with a series of "non-signs": certain things that will occur "but the end is not yet." Then He highlighted a critical event as the key to the prophecy:

When you, therefore, shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place (whosoever readeth, let him understand), then let them who are in Judea flee into the mountains; Let him who is on the housetop not come down to take anything out of his house; Neither let him who is in the field return back to take his clothes. Matthew 24:15-18

In other words, when this event happens, it will be essential for them to get out Judea immediately! (You are also "on the spot": if you read that verse you are under His orders to "understand"!)

An Essential Insight

Jesus did us all an enormous favor in verse 15. He saved each of us many hours of tedious library research! He attributed the Book of Daniel to Daniel the prophet. (It happens that Daniel is one of the best-documented books of the Old Testament, but Jesus gave us a great short cut. Anyone who believes in Jesus Christ has no problem with authorship of Daniel...anyone who doesn't believe in Jesus Christ has much bigger problems than the authorship of the Book of Daniel!)

Jesus' reference to the "abomination of desolation" was, of course, made two centuries after the historical event now commemorated at Hanukkah. He was speaking of a similar event yet future.

Other Attempts Frustrated

In about 40 A.D. Caligula ordered his image to be installed in the Holy of Holies. Petronius, his general in Judea, realizing how vehement the Jews' reaction would be, declined to execute the order. When Caligula found out, he ordered the death of Petronius. But Caligula died a few weeks later, and due to a mix-up at sea, the message that Caligula had died preceded the order for Petronius' execution, so he got off the hook.

It is interesting how God intervened to prevent another desecration of the Temple from happening. Has it happened yet?

The Destruction of the Second Temple

Just as Jesus had predicted, in 69 A.D. the 5th, 10th, 12th, and 15th Roman Legions, under Titus Vespasian, laid siege to Jerusalem. Over a million men, women and children were slaughtered in that terrible war. Finally, on the 9th of Av, 70 A.D., the Temple was destroyed.9 It was this event that Luke's account focuses on. Both Luke and Matthew highlight a group of signs, which Matthew dubs as "the beginning of sorrows":

And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.
Matthew 24:6-8

Matthew's account focuses on what follows this group of signs.10 Luke focuses on the what precedes these signs.11 He warned his audience that when Jerusalem was surrounded by armies, they were to get out of town and don't let any in the hills go back to town. Luke tells his audience that "this generation will not pass until all be fulfilled,"12 and 38 years later - the same length of the generation that died in the wilderness - Jerusalem fell in 70 A.D.

A Critical Hiatus

The Emperor Nero had ordered his general, Vespasian, and his son Titus, to use force to get things in Judea under control. They had conquered the towns in the Galilee and were preparing to take Jerusalem next. But then Nero died. In Rome, Galba, Otho, and Vitelius vied for the throne; in the subsequent confusion and ambiguity, Vespasian went to Rome and succeeded to take the throne as Emperor. His son Titus was left to complete the siege of Jerusalem.
During the hiatus, Christians, following the warnings in the Luke account, escaped to the mountains in Pella in Perea, and not one perished.13

A Misleading View

There are those who view the destruction of the Temple in 70 A.D. as the "abomination of desolation." There are several problems with this view.

First, there was a war going on. There was no opportunity for the Romans to install false worship of any kind inside the Temple. The Temple was inadvertently set on fire, and the interior, which was wood overlaid with gold, burned thus melting the gold. The soldiers were ordered to take it apart stone by stone to recover the gold, just as Jesus had predicted.14 All of this was well documented by an eyewitness, Flavius Josephus, whose classic works are readily available. 15

The view that the abomination of desolation has already occurred, in addition to being historically inaccurate, also requires the bizarre allegorization of the rest of Jesus' presentation. (Matthew 24:29-31 hasn't happened yet; at least, not so you'd notice!)

The abomination of desolation didn't happen in 70 A.D., and it couldn't have happened over the subsequent 1900 years because there has been no Temple in Jerusalem to be thus defiled. It remains the key milestone to trigger the exodus of those believers remaining in Jerusalem at that time. Every year at the celebration of Hanukkah we need to recall this background and reflect on its prophetic significance!

A Third Temple Needed

When will it happen? When there is, once again, a Temple in Jerusalem. Three times in the New Testament there is reference to the rebuilding of the Temple prior to the Second Coming of Christ.16

Despite an untenable political climate on the Temple Mount, there are preparations underway in anticipation of a rebuilt Temple. In Yeshivas in Jerusalem, over 200 priests are presently in training. Almost all of the required implements have been fabricated by the Temple Institute.
There is a search going on for the right marine snails to yield the Levitical blue and the royal purple. Ground-penetrating radar and infrared recordings are being used to find the precise foundations of the original Temples. The preparations continue despite the political uncertainties.

The scientists and archaeologists will be giving us an update at the Jerusalem Temple Conference being held this coming March. (Pray about joining us. See here.)

The Holiday Message

The Holy Spirit put John 10:22 in the New Testament to highlight Daniel's famous prophecy and to focus our attention on this key milestone in the end-time scenario. So as your Jewish friends celebrate Hanukkah this year, let this commemoration also remind you that preparations are presently underway to set the stage for the final countdown. What an exciting time to be alive!

Behold ye among the heathen, and regard, and wonder marvelously: for I will work a work in your days, which ye will not believe, though it be told you.
Habakkuk 1:5

Happy Holidays!

* * *

1. 1 Kings 8:2. Ethanim is the same as Tishri, or September-October
2. Ezra 6:15, 16. Adar is typically in early March.
3. "Epiphanes" is an abbreviation of Greek: theos epiphanes, a designation he gave himself: "the god who appears or reveals himself."
4. Josephus, Antiquities, XII v 4.
5. 1 Maccabees 1:54,59.
6. Josephus, Antiquities, XII v 4.
7. 1 Maccabees 1:54; 2 Maccabees 6:1-7.
8. Matthew 24, 25; Mark 13, 14; Luke's similar account was given to a different audience on a different occasion and did not focus on the same issues.
9. The very day on the Jewish calendar that Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the Temple in 537 b.c.
10. Matthew 24:8,9.
11. Luke 21:12.
12. Luke 21:32.
13. Eusebius, Book III, 5.1.
14. Luke 19:43,44.
15. Josephus, Wars of the Jews, VI, vi, 1.
16. Matthew 24:15; 2 Thess 2:4; Revelation 11:1-2.

quarta-feira, dezembro 21, 2005

Finding Treasure in Trash

Chuck Missler
from the December 13, 2005 eNews issue

[Leia este artigo em Português]

It has been just over fifty years since the discovery of DNA - a discovery which has radically transformed modern science and changed how many look at the origin of life. The Human Genome Project has mapped our entire genetic code, which consists of a sequence of over 3 billion chemical nucleotide bases. DNA research has lead to the discovery of genetic cures for diseases. It has also resulted in faster and more accurate diagnosis of diseases, and assisted doctors in developing customized treatment plans for patients.

Although scientists have learned a great deal about the human genome, the overwhelming majority of DNA remains a complete mystery. For all the new advances made in genetics, we are constantly discovering how complex the DNA really is and how much more we have to learn. Scientists still do not know the exact number of genes, their exact locations, or their functions. Nor do they know much about gene regulation, DNA sequence regulation, chromosomal structure and organization, or non-coding DNA. The list of things we have yet to learn about DNA goes on and on. What we do know about DNA is that it is a digital, error-correcting, and self-replicating code. Within its complicated and elegant structure is held the blueprints of every living thing on the planet.

Scientists have spent years studying our genes. The human genome contains over 3 billion chemical nucleotide bases, of which the total number of genes is estimated at 30,000 to 35,000. The average gene consists of 3000 bases, but sizes vary greatly, with the largest known human gene containing 2.4 million bases. Most scientists believe the really crucial part of DNA is the genes - which codes for proteins - the so-called "building blocks of life.” A few other sections that regulate gene function are also considered useful, but the vast majority of DNA is considered simply “excess baggage.” In fact, when the Human Genome Project began some scientists only wanted to map the sections of genome that coded for protein. Mapping the rest was considered a “waste of time.” What most people don’t realize is this: not only does the function of over half our genes remain unknown, but less than 5 percent of the genome encodes for the production of proteins

So if the coding part of our DNA makes up less than 5 percent of our entire genome, what about the other 95 percent of our DNA? The other 95 percent of our DNA, which scientists have dubbed non-coding DNA, has no known function and is also referred to by scientists as “junk DNA.” Within a chromosome or a genome, the junk DNA is those portions of the DNA for which no function has been identified or intuited. In the genomes of most plants and animals, an overwhelming percentage of the DNA serves no known biological role. There are some non-coding DNA that are known to be important. These include origins of replication, which define the starting points of DNA replication and regulatory sequences, but the overwhemling majority of junk DNA remains a mystery.

One hypothesis about the junk is that these chromosomal regions are trash heaps of defunct genes, sometimes known as pseudogenes, which have been cast aside and fragmented during evolution. Some scientists believe it is the accumulated DNA of failed viruses. Yet another hypothesis is that the junk DNA provides a reservoire of sequence from which potentially advantageous new genes can emerge.
Junk DNA May Not Be Junk

However, new evidence suggests that junk DNA may not be junk after all. In recent months scientists have made several discoveries that suggest some of this previously overlooked DNA has a very specific and vital role. Scientists have found evidence to suggest that sections of non-coding DNA actually contribute to healthy limb and heart muscle development. Other sections have been found to regulate the secretion of insulin in the pancreas - a discovery which could help in developing treatments and cures for diabetes. The study of junk DNA may also help scientists understand birth defects and fight disease.

Instead of being a trash heap of failed evolutionary attempts, evidence suggests that non-coding DNA may serve a distinct and vital purpose. The patterns found in non-coding DNA are not random after all, as some scientists suspected. A study conducted last year by David Haussler of the University of California, Santa Cruz, compared the genome sequences of a man, mouse and rat. They found - to their astonishment - that several great stretches of DNA were identical across the three species. To be certain that the patterns were not simply a coincidence, they looked for sequences that were at least 200 base pairs in length. Statistically, a sequence of this length would almost never appear in all three by chance. However they did not find just one, they found 481. No less than 481 distinct sequences, each consisting of at least 200 base pairs, that were common, not only to rats, mice, and humans, but were also found in DNA samples from chickens, dogs, and fish.
Common Ancestor or Common Creator?

Most of our so-called junk DNA still remains a mystery. But whatever the function is, it is clearly of great importance. According to Professor Haussler, “the most likely scenario is that they control the activity of indispensable genes and embryo development. Nearly a quarter of the sequences overlap with genes and may help slice RNA, and the conserved elements that do not actually overlap with genes tend to cluster next to genes that play a role in embryonic development.” Researchers have begun to refer to these sequences of non-coding DNA as “conserved elements” or “ultra-conserved” DNA. They call it “ultra-conserved” because according to the evolutionary theory it has been about 400 million years since humans, rodents, chickens, and fish have shared a common ancestor, and despite 400 million years of evolution these sequences have resisted change, suggesting that any alteration of the DNA would damage the animal’s ability to survive.

Secular scientists may see these new discoveries as additional evidence that humans and animals share a common ancestor, rather than a common Creator, but we believe random chance cannot account for the complex design of DNA. It is statistically and mathematically impossible. The chances of winning the state lottery every week of your life from the age of 18 to 99 are better than the odds of a single-celled organism being formed by random chance. The probability of spontaneous generation is about the same as the probability that a tornado sweeping through a junkyard could assemble a 747 from the contents therein. It’s impossible. The evidence all points to the unavoidable conclusion that we not the product of chance or evolution, but the result of intelligent design.

quarta-feira, novembro 30, 2005

The Kitchen Laboratory

by Chuck Missler

[Leia este artigo em português]

The holidays are upon us. It's now a special time of treats and seasonal goodies, so most of us find ourselves hanging around the kitchen more than usual at this time of year!
The next time you open a brand-new jar of jam, jelly, or peanut butter, let's find out how good of a scientist you are!

Do you carefully follow the evidence, or do you blindly accept the prevailing folklore? Are you a victim of the myths and legends of our time, or do you think critically for yourself?
Our entire culture - our science, our social structure, and our educational system - is based on the specious premise of biogenesis: that

matter + energy = new life (at least on rare occasions)

Let's conduct an experiment. Take a new (unopened) jar of jam, jelly, or even peanut butter - direct from the supermarket shelf - and examine it carefully.

Notice that it is an "open" thermodynamic system: energy can enter and leave the container as it is exposed to different temperatures. (In fact, the container is probably also optically transparent, but that is incidental to our purposes here.)

According to the dogmas of the current high priests of biology (and other venerated elders of our society), occasionally, if you combine matter and energy, it is possible to yield new life forms. The accepted theory is that even inorganic matter, subjected to totally random processes, originally combined itself into an initial life form, from which all subsequent life evolved.

Let's now open the sealed jar and carefully examine the contents inside. Did you find any "new life"?

Of course not! (And aren't you glad!) Our example even contains organic material, which contributes an unfavorable bias to our null hypothesis (a handicap, as it were), but even that, too, helps establish our basic point. To attempt to use inorganic materials in such a container further clinches our conclusion: did we really evolve from a rock and some water?
The equation implied by our current priesthoods of science is erroneous: the underlying equation is incomplete.

matter + energy ≠ new life

matter + energy + information = new life

Unless there is introduced information, from an external source - a spore, or some other essential contaminant - no "new life" will ever be found. Ever.

Every day, for over a hundred years, we have continually conducted billions of experiments analogous to the one above and we never find any "new" life forms. Our entire food industry depends upon the fact that, unless an impurity is introduced, no "new life" is ever found. The Darwinists cannot explain the origin of life because they cannot explain the origin of the information necessary!

Take a leaf off a tree or a flower from the garden; examine almost any living thing under a microscope, and you are inescapably confronted with the evidence of design: elegant, skilled craftsmanship that remains virtually unparalleled by man.

As we enjoy the variety of treats over the holidays, consider the complexity of our digestive system: how we can intake such a variety of foodstuffs, and yet our body will selectively take precisely what it needs and pass the unneeded on through (along with the refuse from its own internal processes) and dispose of the excesses. It is a process so complex that it is still only partially understood and continues to defy attempts at comprehensive simulation on the most elaborate computers available.

We now know that even the "simplest" cells are more complex than a city filled with automated factories-building, manipulating, adjusting, growing. And they can do something that our factories cannot do: they can replicate their entire complexity in a matter of a few hours! We are just beginning to understand the nature of the three-out-of-four, error-correcting, digital coding structure used to coordinate the entire operation: the DNA code.

Virtually every field of science - except biology - has recognized the entropy laws which refute the possible emergence of design in the absence of external input. Microbiology has now put the final nails into Darwin's coffin.

Every time you open a fresh, new jar of some food item, and don't find evidence of "new life," you have conducted an empirical experiment which refutes the common superstition which continues to be promoted by the orthodox witch doctors of biogenesis: that life occurred without the involvement of a master designer. This, of course, also exposes the real motives of the vested priesthood: prostituting their avowed "seeking of truth" to their committed resolve to avoid any accountability to a Creator.

Think about it. And follow the evidence, not the prevailing superstitions. Pursue evidence-based education in lieu of the contrary-to-fact dogmas inculcating our youth and bankrupting their understanding of the miracle of their origin, thus denying them the majesty of their destiny.

* * *

For further study, see our audio briefing packages,In the Beginning Was... Information, Beyond Coincidence, and Genesis and the Big Bang.


Behe, Michael J., Darwin's Black Box, Simon and Schuster, New York NY, 1996.
Dempski, William, The Design Inference, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge UK, 1998.
Denton, Michael, Evolution: A Theory in Crisis, Adler & Adler, Bethesda MD, 1986.
Gitt, Werner, In the Beginning Was Information, Christliche Literatur-Verbreitung e.V., Postfach Bielefeld, Germany, 1997. (Trans. of Am Anfang war die Information, Hänssler, Neuhausen-Stuttgart, Germany 1994.)
Missler, Chuck, Cosmic Codes: Hidden Messages From the Edge of Eternity, Koinonia House, 1999.
Johnson, Philip, Darwin on Trial, Regnery Gateway, Washington D.C., 1991.
Perloff, James, Tornado in a Junkyard, Refuge Books, Arlington MA, 1999.

This article was originally published in the
December 2002 Personal Update NewsJournal.

Why a Virgin Birth?

by Chuck Missler

[Leia este artigo em português]

Every Christmas season our thoughts turn to the birth of Christ and to his mother, Mary. To some extent, we all take the nativity for granted. But why was Jesus born of a virgin? One answer, of course, is to fulfill the prophecy of Isaiah 7:14: "Behold the virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel."

But that's more descriptive than causal: why was it necessary in the first place? There are, of course, many profound theological issues inherent in the virgin birth. One way to view this issue is to address one of the problems it solves.

The Problem

God announced very early that His plan for redemption involved the Messiah being brought forth from the tribe of Judah 1, and specifically from the line of David 2. The succession of subsequent kings proved to be, with only a few exceptions, a dismal chain. As the succeeding kings of Judah went from bad to worse, we eventually encounter Jeconiah (also known as Jehoiachin), upon whom God pronounces a " blood curse" : "Thus saith the Lord, Write ye this man childless, a man that shall not prosper in his days: for no man of his seed shall prosper, sitting upon the throne of David, and ruling any more in Judah."(Jeremiah 22:30)

This curse created a rather grim and perplexing paradox: the Messiah had to come from the royal line, yet now there was a "blood curse" on that very line of descent! (I always visualize a celebration in the councils of Satan on that day. But then I imagine God turning to His angels, saying, "Watch this one!")

The Solution

The answer emerges in the differing genealogies of Jesus Christ recorded in the gospels. Matthew, as a Levi, focuses his gospel on the Messiahship of Jesus and presents Him as the Lion of the Tribe of Judah. Thus, Matthew traces the legal line from Abraham (as any Jew would) through David, then through Solomon (the royal line) to Joseph, the legal father of Jesus 3.
On the other hand, Luke, as a physician, focuses on the humanity of Jesus and presents Him as the Son of Man. Luke traces the blood line from Adam (the first Man) through to David -- and his genealogy from Abraham through David is identical to Matthew's. But then after David, Luke departs from the path taken by Matthew and traces the family tree through another son of David (the second surviving son of Bathsheba), Nathan, down through Heli, the father of Mary, the mother of Jesus 4.


One should also note the exception to the law which permitted inheritance through the daughter if no sons were available and she married within her tribe 5.
The daughters of Zelophehad had petitioned Moses for a special exception, which was granted when they entered the land under Joshua.

I believe it was C.I. Scofield who first noted that the claims of Christ rely upon this peculiar exception granted to the family of Zelo-phehad in the Torah. Heli, Mary's father, apparently had no sons, and Mary married within the tribe of Judah. Jesus was born of the virgin Mary, of the house and lineage of David and carrying legal title to the line, but without the blood curse of Jeconiah. [I believe that every detail in the Torah -- and the entire Bible -- has a direct link to Jesus Christ. "The volume of the book is written of me." (Psalm 40:7) [For a more detailed discussion, watch for our new book, Cosmic Codes -- Hidden Messages from the Edge of Eternity, presently in publication.]

Earlier Glimpse

This was no afterthought or post facto remedy, of course. It was first announced in the Garden of Eden when God declared war on Satan: " I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel."(Genesis 3:15)

The "Seed of the Woman" thus becomes one of the prophetic titles of the Messiah. This biological contradiction is the first hint -- in the early chapters of Genesis -- of the virgin birth.
John also presents a genealogy, of sorts, of the Pre-Existent One in the first three verses of his gospel6. The Prophet Micah also highlights this: " But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting."(Micah 5:2)
Another Christmas question:
Why Bethlehem? It is the Book of Ruth that links the line of David to Bethlehem. (See our audio book Ruth: The Romance of Redemption ) And who were the Magi? Very few really know the background of this famous-- yet misunderstood -- visit. Find out in The Christmas Story:What Really Happened.

This article was originally published in the
December 1998 Personal Update NewsJournal.
For a FREE 1-Year Subscription, click here.


1. Genesis 49:10.
2. Ruth 4:22; 2 Samuel 7:11-16.
3. Matthew 1:1-17.
4. Luke 3:23-38.
5. Numbers 26:33; 27:1-11; 36:2-12; Joshua 17:3-6; 1 Chronicles 7:15.
6. John 1:1-3.

quarta-feira, novembro 23, 2005

Bible Study: Mark 16

July 12, 2002

[Leia este artigo em português]

We began with discussion concerning the last part of the chapter, where the note "the earliest manuscripts and some other ancient witnesses do not have Mark 16:9-20" or a similar notice is given. It was shared that some did not include the last part because they felt this passage was not Mark's original text. Other scholars felt that Mark could have written this part years later, thus explaining an apparent conflicting writing style.
Was the original ending lost? We don't know -- but the account obviously shouldn't end at verse 8! As to the authenticity of verses 9 to 20, we could see that nothing in this passage contradicts the ending in the other gospels. Therefore these should be trustworthy words to us also.
The angel said in verse 7, "But go, tell His disciples and Peter". Why was Peter mentioned separately? We recall that Peter went back to fishing after Jesus' death, ashamed at himself for denying the Lord. Here, it was as if the angel was saying, 'make sure you include Peter!'. It is comforting to know of God's infinite mercy and His willingness to forgive.
After His resurrection, our Lord Jesus first appeared to Mary Magdalene (v.9). Of all the people He could have appeared first -- His disciples, His mother and father -- He chose Mary the sinner, the one possessed by seven demons until the Lord casted them out of her. Why Mary?
Maybe because Mary Magdalene loved the Lord more than any other at the time. She was the woman who poured the expensive perfume over the Lord's head (14:3-9), she looked on helplessly as Jesus was hung on the cross (15:40), and she was the first one to be at the tomb (John 20:1). In fact, she was there while it was still dark, looking to do something for the Lord, even if there was only His body.
How sad she was when she found the tomb empty! "But Mary was standing outside the tomb weeping;" (John 20:11). This truly showed her love for Jesus. And the Lord knew; He appeared first to her, called her name and instructed her to spread the news of His resurrection.
In this we see some lessons. In her deliverance, Mary felt more love and more forgiveness from the Lord, and she responded as best she could. What about ourselves? Often time we feel we are "not that bad" -- does it make us less appreciative of His love? We need to remember that a sinner is a sinner -- no one's a 'bigger' sinner than the other. The other point is that those who pursues the Lord will find Him -- just as Mary did. This means keeping watch, and keep pursuing even if the time spent on the Bible seem to be dry or empty.
"Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you." -- Matthew 7:7
"And they went out and preached everywhere," (v.20). In effect, the end of Mark is the beginning of the book of Acts, a book still ongoing with us today. But we hardly go out to preach today, and we don't see signs like those in verses 17 and 18. Why is that?
A brother shared that when he was in Hong Kong years ago, his entire fellowship would go out on the streets on Chinese New Year to pass around evangelical tracts and share with passerbys who would listen. The geography settings and attitudes in Asia did make such 'street preaching' more viable, compared to North America.
'People will think you're crazy if you go out to the street corner and start preaching', someone else shared. The fact is, this North American society has little tolerance for God in the public place, while appearing to be tolerant to everything. This is a society pushed by science and technology, where everything can be calculated and explained scientifically. We are caught up in this attitude of unbelief, when we really need child-like faith.
In DeVern Fromke's book, "Stories that open God's Larger Window", there is an account of a believer being made to drink poison by his communist interrogators, because he refused to discount God's Word, specifically of Mark 16:18. The dog who drank the poison died almost immediately. But this believer got permission to pray for God's will to be done, then drank the entire glass. The officer and the doctor waited for the inevitable. And waited. But nothing happened after several minutes. Stunned, the doctor took his pulse, examined him, but couldn't find any symptoms. The doctor tore up his Party card and proclaimed his faith in the Bible on the spot.
So why don't we see these miracles today? Perhaps it is our purpose for demanding a miracle -- we want something done for ourselves, not for God's glory. We are not to test the Lord, but we are promised of His protection when we do go out to preach. God is always looking for those who are willing -- but do we know what He wants us to do? If we don't, shouldn't we find out?


terça-feira, novembro 22, 2005

Beloved Numerologist

by Chuck Missler


[Leia este arigo em português]

The numerical structure of the Bible has been studied closely, being the subject of numerous volumes in the past.1 But none are more provocative than the works of Dr. Ivan Panin.2
Ivan Panin was born in Russia on December 12, 1855. Having participated in plots against the Czar at an early age, he was exiled and, after spending some years studying in Germany, he came to the United States and entered Harvard University. After graduation in 1882, he converted from agnosticism to Christianity.

In 1890 he discovered some of the phenomenal mathematical designs underlying both the Greek text of the New Testament and the Hebrew text of the Old Testament.

He was to devote over 50 years of his life painstakingly exploring the numerical structure of the Scriptures, generating over 43,000 detailed, hand-penned pages of analysis (and exhausting his health in the process). He went on to be with the Lord in his 87th year, on October 30, 1942.

The Heptadic Structure

The recurrence of the number seven - or an exact multiple of seven - is found throughout the Bible and is widely recognized. The Sabbath on the seventh day; the seven years of plenty and the seven years of famine in Egypt; the seven priests and seven trumpets marching around Jericho; the Sabbath Year of the land are well-known examples.

Also, Solomon's building the Temple for seven years, Naaman's washing in the river seven times, and the seven churches, seven lamp stands, seven seals, seven trumpets, seven bowls, seven stars, and so on in the Book of Revelation, all show the consistent use of the number seven.

But there turns out to be much more below the surface. Ivan Panin noted the amazing numerical properties of the Biblical texts - both the Greek of the New Testament and the Hebrew of the Old Testament. These are not only intriguing to discover, they also demonstrate an intricacy of design which testifies to a supernatural origin!


One of the simplest - and most provocative - aspects of the Biblical text is the vocabulary used. The number of vocabulary words in a passage is normally different from the total number of words in a passage. Some words are repeated. It is easy, for example, to use a vocabulary of 500 words to write an essay of 4,000 words.

An Example

The first 17 verses of the Gospel of Matthew are a logical unit, or section, which deals with a single principal subject: the genealogy of Christ. It contains 72 Greek vocabulary words in these initial 17 verses. (The verse divisions are man's allocations for convenience, added in the 13th century.)

The number of words which are nouns is exactly 56, or 7 x 8.
The Greek word "the" occurs most frequently in the passage: exactly 56 times, or 7 x 8. Also, the number of different forms in which the article "the" occurs is exactly 7.
There are two main sections in the passage: verse 1-11, and 12-17. In the first main section, the number of Greek vocabulary words used is 49, or 7 x 7.

Why not 48, or 50?

Of these 49 words, the number of those beginning with a vowel is 28, or 7 x 4. The number of words beginning with a consonant is 21, or 7 x 3.
The total numbers of letters in these 49 words is 266, or 7 x 38 - exactly! The number of vowels among these 266 letters is 140, or 7 x 20. The number of consonants is 126, or 7 x 18 - exactly.
Of the 49 words, the number of words which occur more than once is 35, or 7 x 5. The number of words occurring only once is 14, or 7 x 2. The number of words which occur in only one form is exactly 42, or 7 x 6. The number of words appearing in more than one form is also 7.
The number of the 49 Greek vocabulary words which are nouns is 42, or 7 x 6. The number of words which are not nouns is 7. Of the nouns, 35 are proper names, or exactly 7 x 5. These 35 names are used 63 times, or 7 x 9. The number of male names is exactly 28, or 7 x 4. These male names occur 56 times or 7 x 8. The number which are not male names is 7.
Three women are mentioned - Tamar, Rahab, and Ruth. The number of Greek letters in these three names is 14, 7 x 2.
The number of compound nouns is 7. The number of Greek letters in these 7 nouns is 49, or 7 x 7.
Only one city is named in this passage, Babylon, which in Greek contains exactly 7 letters.
And on it goes. To get an indication of just how unique these properties are, try the example in the inset.


There are even more features in the numerical structure of the words themselves. As you may know, both Hebrew and Greek uses the letters of the alphabet for numerical values. Therefore, any specific word - in either Hebrew or Greek - has a numerical value of its own by adding up the values of the letters in that particular word. The study of the numerical values of words is called gemetria.
The 72 vocabulary words add up to a gametrical value of 42,364, or 7 x 6,052. Exactly. If one Greek letter was changed, this would not happen.
The 72 words appear in 90 forms - some appear in more than one form. The numeric value of the 90 forms is 54,075, or 7 x 7,725. Exactly.
We will defer other examples of gametrical properties of the Biblical text for subsequent articles, but it becomes immediately obvious that hidden below the surface are aspects of design that cannot be accidental or just coincidence. Remember, the rabbis say that "coincidence" is not a kosher word!

Other Implications

There are words in the passage just described that occur nowhere else in the New Testament. They occur 42 times (7 x 6) and have 126 letters (7 x 18). How was this organized?
Even if Matthew contrived this characteristic into his Gospel, how could he have known that these specific words - whose sole characteristic is that they are found nowhere else in the New Testament - were not going to be used by the other writers? Unless we assume the absurd hypothesis that he had an agreement with them, he must have had the rest of the New Testament before him when he wrote his book. The Gospel of Matthew, then, must have been written last.

It so happens, however, that the Gospel of Mark exhibits the same phenomenon. It can be demonstrated that it would have had to be written "last." The same phenomenon is found in Luke. And in John, James, Peter, Jude and Paul. Each would have had to write after the other in order to contrive the vocabulary frequencies! You can demonstrate that each of the New Testament books had to have been "written last."

There is no human explanation for this incredible and precise structure. It has all been supernaturally designed. We simply gasp, sit back, and behold the skillful handiwork of the God who keeps His promises.

And we are indebted to the painstaking examinations and lifetime commitment of Dr. Ivan Panin for uncovering these amazing insights.
Isn't God - and His remarkable Word - fun?

This article was originally published in the
February 1995 Personal Update NewsJournal.


1. McCormack, R., "The Heptadic Structure of Scripture," Marshall Brothers Ltd., London, 1923; E.W. Bullinger, Numbers of the Scriptures; F.W. Grant, The Numerical Bible (7 vols.); Browne, Ordo Saeculoreium, et al.
2. Ivan Panin (various works), "Bible Numerics," P.O. Box 206, Waubaushene, Ontario, L0K 2C0.

quarta-feira, novembro 16, 2005

O Deus que Funciona e 3 Comentários

Por Renato Modernell
(Publicado originalmente no site da AOL Brasil em 30/05/2005)

Jornalista e escritor. Autor de “Sonata da Última Cidade”, “Che Bandoneón”, biografia romanceada do músico argentino Astor Piazzolla, e de “Viagem ao Pavio da Vela”, título premiado na Itália que tem Marco Pólo como protagonista.

Pergunta à queima-roupa, e das brabas. Respondo com o que me vem à cabeça: “Não creio na existência de Deus, mas gosto de ver o goleiro do meu time fazer o sinal-da-cruz”. Sim, parece uma contradição, talvez seja, mas vamos em frente. As contradições têm algo de sagrado; são um fogo interior que nos impulsiona; sem elas, nossa vida seria previsível e banal. Aquela frase entre aspas (verdadeira, mas nem tanto, como o leitor verá) me serve para desenvolver algumas idéias que julgo oportunas, porque incômodas, nos parágrafos seguintes.

Em primeiro lugar, quando digo que não acredito na existência de Deus, refiro-me àquele Deus em que me ensinaram a acreditar numa época em que outros, não eu próprio, julgavam saber o que era bom para mim, começando pela marca do xarope que eu devia tomar quando tinha tosse. Aquele era o Deus com D maiúsculo, Dominador, Drástico, pesaDo, do qual eu era um devedor pelo simples fato de ter nascido com o pecado original, como um time já que entrasse em campo perdendo de três a zero. Isso sempre me pareceu injusto, embora dissessem: “Deus é justo”.

As religiões mais poderosas da banda ocidental do mundo – o cristianismo, o judaísmo e o islamismo – brigam entre si a despeito de compartilharem suas raízes, ou talvez mesmo por causa disso. Na base, elas têm o mesmo princípio ativo, a culpa. Isso as diferencia das doutrinas orientais (pelo menos daquelas que conheço melhor, como o zen-budismo, o taoísmo, o hinduísmo e o zoroastrismo, tida como a primeira religião “ecológica”). Estas últimas, em vez da culpa, baseiam-se no autoconhecimento, e por isto as considero mais saudáveis e evoluídas. São algo a meio-caminho entre uma religião convencional, que implica submissão, obediência, dogma, e um sistema de pensamento aberto, oxigenado, que integra a ética e a sensibilidade como ferramentas primordiais para uma existência mais elevada.

Transitei, sem vestir a camisa, por cada uma dessas doutrinas que alguns consideram exóticas. Descobri que sou capaz de acreditar em deus, mas num deus assim, com letra minúscula, que não me cobra nem intimida com o D enorme de sua cateDral, ou de sua cáteDra, sob a qual eu deveria me curvar para receber instruções e segui-las ainda que não as compreenda. Não posso conceber uma divindade tão cruel que, tendo-me dotado de inteligência, me condenasse o uso desse atributo no campo mais nobre da existência, que é o contato com a eternidade e o mistério.

Mas dizem que não, que é pecado pensar. As grandes religiões ocidentais se tornaram enormes máquinas políticas e publicitárias. Tirando partido do desamparo do homem contemporâneo, e valendo-se da platitude da mídia, impõem a idéia de um ser superior que deve ser a mesma para todos, gregos e troianos. Cometem, a meu ver, o que seria o mais pretensioso de todos os pecados: descrever Deus. Dizer aos ingênuos: Deus é assim, Deus é assado, quer isto de você, quer aquilo outro etc.

Abro parênteses para evocar um episódio folclórico, mas instrutivo, do mundo do futebol. Seu protagonista é o Anjo das Pernas Tortas. Mané Garrincha, durante a preleção do treinador antes de um jogo contra a Bélgica, farto de ouvir os detalhes do plano tático, e de como os brasileiros deveriam proceder para envolver os adversários, teria tomado a palavra para perguntar: “Mas vocês já avisaram aos belgicanos?” Esta tirada genial (pela perspicácia, pela ironia, e também pelo fato de ser uma resposta em forma de pergunta) veio de um homem cuja inteligência era considerada inferior. Cito-a porque me lembro dela cada vez que vejo alguém, com ar sapiente, falar de algo que não pertence o seu campo de experiência direta, ou que envolve um grau de abstração tão grande quanto traçar o desdobramento de um jogo sem levar em conta a presença dos adversários. Portanto, quando alguém sobe ao púlpito moderno, ou seja, o rádio e a televisão, e afirma aos quatro ventos: “Deus é assim”, “Deus é assado”, pergunto a meus botões, como Garrincha o fez em voz alta no vestiário: “Será que esse sujeito já avisou Deus para ser assim ou assado?”.

Já disse que, embora não acreditando em Deus, sou capaz de acreditar em deus, mas assim, com minúscula. Porém mesmo isso não é exato. Agora eu colocaria no plural: acredito em deuses. Pronto, vejo leitores torcendo o nariz. Alguns já clicam o mouse para mudar de página, indignados por algo que, à primeira vista, parece blasfêmia, provocação. Parece, mas não é. Peço que me acompanhem pelo menos por mais dois parágrafos, sem clicar, e que compartilhem comigo uma pergunta para a qual não tenho resposta.

Sempre ouço pensadores dizer que, em linhas gerais, a humanidade passou do politeísmo ao monoteísmo, e isso teria representado um salto de qualidade. Bem, nunca entendi por quê. Se seguimos pelo bom caminho, se cumprimos nossa missão, se damos aos outros o melhor de nós, que diferença faz que nosso procedimento ocorra sob a batuta de uma ou mais entidades divinas? Todo o desenvolvimento humano nos últimos séculos, pelo menos desde o Renascimento, tem sido em direção à pluralidade, em vez da unificação. Isso se expressa muito bem, aliás, na divisão clássica do sistema de poder que forma a base da democracia. Se nos assuntos temporais já não queremos mais um soberano autocrático, se um dia até lhe cortamos a cabeça à guilhotina, para dividir suas funções em três entidades distintas a que chamamos “poderes”, por que preferimos, no plano imaterial, dever obediência a um único senhor em vez de vários?

Já disse que sou capaz de acreditar em um deus minúsculo, e por isso grandioso, que está nas pequenas coisas; e posso aceitá-lo também no plural. Vários deuses e semideuses cruzam suas influências numa dimensão que não conheço, e por isso não simplifico. E agora vou mais longe: não penso nos deuses como algo que “existe”, mas que “funciona”.

Se os deuses existissem, da mesma forma como eu próprio creio existir (pelo menos não tenho fortes motivos para duvidar), eu os estaria imaginando à minha semelhança, o que seria uma forma de ingênua presunção. Fora dos domínios da culpa – esse enorme shopping center, cheio de escadas rolantes que sobem e descem – não consigo conceber a divindade de um modo personalizado, como alguém que distribui prêmios e castigos, ou que esteja preocupado com o meu destino individual. No entanto, não me sinto desamparado. Não sou ateu. Creio que precisamos de uma espiritualidade, de um saber transcendente, mas não necessariamente de uma religião que impõe dogmas e regras de conduta padronizadas.

Digo isso num momento de apreensão, no qual vejo esta parte do mundo onde vivo toldar-se de um fundamentalismo primário, como se fôssemos um monte de parafusos, e não espíritos pulsantes. Uma coisa dessas não havia por que renascer das cinzas, senão por imitação temerosa ao impulso totalitário de povos distantes. Esse fenômeno, que envolve multidões manipuladas, ameaça triturar a maior relíquia do Ocidente, que é o pensamento liberal, leigo, autônomo (antes o bafo de Nietzsche; hoje os trovões e relâmpagos de Saramago) e que para nós representa um sopro vital, tão importante quanto o ar que respiramos no interior do Mosteiro de São Bento.
Qualquer coisa nos nutre – menos a culpa. Por isso acredito na divindade (se assim posso chamá-la) como sendo o conjunto de forças que atuam no universo, num plano insondável, mas com o qual, por meio da intuição, podemos estar alinhados ou contrapostos, assim como um velejador em relação ao vento. Vale lembrar: o vento, a rigor, não é uma coisa que existe. Mas funciona. Isto é, passa a existir na medida em que circunstâncias complexas provocam o movimento de algumas coisas que, estas sim, existem o tempo inteiro: as moléculas de ar.
Vou tentar um exemplo menos etéreo. Pensemos no papa e no Papai Noel, figuras paramentadas que pertencem ao nosso acervo de imagens, “ícones” da nossa cultura, para usar o clichê do momento. Pois bem, não se discute que o papa existe, é um ser único, como cada um de nós, embora numa situação especial: está no comando da Igreja. Se o meu vizinho se vestir de papa, e vier bater na minha porta, saberei de imediato que se trata de uma impostura, ou de uma brincadeira, pois não há hipótese de que o sumo pontífice, por algum motivo, venha me procurar pessoalmente. Só existe um papa, eu sei quem é, e ele está em Roma.

Com o Papai Noel, é diferente. Se o vejo na rua, numa loja, onde quer que seja, sei que aquela figura é autêntica, na medida do possível, pois não pode ser cópia de algo que não está em lugar algum, ao contrário do papa. E é este fato, o “não existir”, que permite o “funcionamento” do Papai Noel em tantos lugares ao mesmo tempo, em todo o planeta, e não apenas na Lapônia, onde nasceu essa lenda, se não me engano. O fato de eu, adulto, saber que por trás daquela roupa vermelha e das barbas brancas está um homem comum, como eu, suando (literalmente) para ganhar uns trocados, em nada altera a eficiência daquela figura carismática que se reporta a uma parcela relevante da humanidade, as crianças, ainda distantes dos nossos padrões de racionalidade. Ele funciona, portanto. Funciona porque não existe, como o vento, como deus. Como o deus das pequenas coisas, capaz de estar em todos os lugares e em lugar nenhum.
Se isto é uma contradição, que seja bem-vinda. Estamos bem-acompanhados. Os maiores físicos modernos, que no início do século XX deram um passo além dos místicos e poetas, depararam no interior do átomo com certas partículas que, para usar uma linguagem clara, nunca estavam onde eles as procuravam. Entidades sutis, leves, voláteis, eram capazes de “existir” e “não existir” a um só tempo. E esses cientistas usaram uma expressão interessante: disseram que tais partículas, detectáveis apenas por seus efeitos, tinham um atributo diferente do resto das coisas, uma “tendência a existir”.

Com essa idéia, voltemos aos nossos deuses mínimos. Eles tendem a existir cada vez que alguém se supera; ou se abre ao inesperado; ou destrava sua inteligência rendida a pregadores baratos, que atuam por catarse e intimidação. Nada deve ser cobrado de ninguém, no teatro de seu foro íntimo. Até porque uma coisa me parece clara: a fé não depende da vontade. Os profetas obtêm-na por revelação; os simples, pela submissão; os sensitivos, por aquele “sentimento oceânico” a que Freud se referiu, lamentando não ser capaz de experimentá-lo. Mas e o restante da humanidade, que não conta com tais situações privilegiadas, como túneis secretos de acesso à fé que todos gostaríamos de poder usar?

Ainda que eu acreditasse naquele Deus com D maiúsculo, em letras góticas, aquele que distribui prêmios e castigos de forma justa, não acharia plausível que esse ser superior me cobrasse pela fé na mesma medida em que cobra outros homens aos quais se revelou de modo mais intenso e definitivo. Seria injusto. Fora dessas situações especiais, a fé é uma construção lenta, uma empreitada para toda a vida. Lenta e dolorosa. Deus precisa morrer, para que os minúsculos deuses – os que não existem, mas tendem a existir – comecem a surgir nas pequenas coisas, muito longe do púlpito, do altar e do andor. E sobretudo da TV.

Em outras palavras, eu diria que os deuses dependem de nós. São construções mínimas, íntimas, intransferíveis, e por isso eficientes como o Papai Noel. Mesmo o Deus maiúsculo e soberano, aquele da primeira frase, existe para quem acredita – nisto, creio sinceramente. Portanto, se a mim não foi dada a vantagem de ter fé, ao menos me consola ver o goleiro do meu time fazer o sinal-da-cruz. E que o faça logo, antes do atacante adversário. Pois a hora do pênalti já é um pouco como a hora da morte.



30/05/2005 - 22:38 PM

Ainda bem que é um Jornalista

Ainda bem que o Sr.Renato Modernell é um jornalista pouco letrado na história, na filosofia e na teologia. Mas, achei interessante sua concepção, apesar da "morte de Deus" ser pouco original como idéia. Ofereço uma correção: "Pensar nunca foi pecado, já que ninguém (a não ser "Deus") sabe o que pensamos. Quanto a revelar o que se pensa, aí já é outra estória!

(Santa Catarina)

31/05/2005 - 00:13 AM


Agora que terminei de ler a coluna do sr. Renato, estou estupefato com a grande erudição, com a autoridade, a competência, o despojamento, a disponibilidade, a magnitude, e ainda com a imensa humildade, a capacidade de carregar tamanha quantidade de belezas do raciocínio humano. É um ser divino, é um ser que ao escrever desperta em todos o grande senso de grandeza, seus escritos são tão imensamente profícuos, tão magistralmente honoráveis, que não se pode conceber o mundo antes dele, não se pode entender como o mundo se privou de tamanhas conclusões, e certamente suas sagradas letras serão o benefício para a humanidade daqui para os próximos milênios, pois o conteúdo libertador que passa é algo, é o ALGO que todos precisamos. Suas palavras refinadíssimas de desprezo e de afronta ao deus ou Deus, ou deuses que ele julga em sua eterna cabeça, pois certamente ele existe já desde sempre. Desde há muito estávamos procurando senão a explicação para tudo que há, pelo menos alguém que nos fornecesse uma pista, algo de concreto e bom, e sempre é bom que não se perca a esperança, pois eis que surge aqui, sim aqui, bem em nosso tempo e no site da AOL, este SER, este que é o iniciador, o escolhido, o Messias, o Profeta, o que vai nos conduzir mesmo que tão humildemente não queira conduzir ninguém e por esta razão mais devemos ser-lhe gratos e submissos, vamos então comprar-lhe os livros, pelo menos assim ficará com mais dinheiro, pois não sabemos se deseja ser rico. O altruísmo, a verdade, a vida, o caminho tem um nome, Rogério é o nome... Quantos séculos mais durarão suas exortações... não podemos nem imaginar, quantas maravilhas vai realizar, provavelmente deve haver por aí escrituras anunciando seu nascimento, seu local de nascimento, sua vida, seu ministério, sua morte e sua ressurreição, e no futuro uma nova religião haverá... o Rogerianismo, sim agora sim... Estamos diante de uma grande líder mundial, o Rogério é simplesmente fantástico em seus escritos, todos devem adorá-lo, nós os que ousamos crer em um Criador, que não somos pessoas despreparadas, desprovidas de bom senso, nós os que ousamos acreditar na Bíblia, apenas porque ela cumpre todas as suas profecias, só porque na Bíblia temos todos os fatos históricos comprovados, só porque na Bíblia temos a explicação para a desgraça do ser humano, por ele mesmo ter escolhido seguir sem Deus, só porque nós acreditamos na Bíblia que nos promete a volta para Deus através das ações dEle mesmo, prometendo e cumprindo tudo que disse a respeito de Cristo, em cada detalhe, somos pessoas religiosas e fanáticas apenas por crer em tudo que a história apenas comprova, somos uns mal esclarecidos em acreditar que Jesus ressuscitou, embora não haja qualquer documento antigo que mencione dúvida sobre isso, e que em todos os documentos do primeiro século, documentos esses não cristãos, apenas confirmam este fato da ressurreição, somos uns mal esclarecidos em acreditar nisso, ao invés disso deveríamos crer no Rogério, o Grande, e suas grandes teorias sobre a validade de acreditar nos nossos criativos deusinhos pessoais, e ainda mais quando tem jogo... estamos todos pasmados diante de tamanha sabedoria ! ! !


Allan Ribeiro
(Teresina - PI)

31/05/2005 - 11:50 AM


E eu ia comentar o texto do Modernell!
Caramba, comentário é esse que fez Xtol, e o do Cesar acima também. Calo a boca!
Só uma coisinha...
cara, eu fui católico também. Eu sei o que você quer dizer com culpa e falta de sentido. É assim mesmo que a gente se sente. Eu fui ateu, Renato. Não agüentei a barra de ser católico. Virei Positivista, assim mesmo, com maiúscula. Mas a Ciência foi um deus infiel e fraco. Virei agnóstico. Um dia comecei a ouvir a Palavra. Pessoas pregando, pessoas dando testemunhos, coisas assim. Ai, Renato, eu pensei: "se Deus existir deve ser como essas pessoas (esses fanáticos) dizem. Eles não são muito inteligentes, mas a mensagem deles é coerente, faz sentido, é... racional!"

Que choque! Racional? Mas como? Todo mundo não sabe que ser religioso é ser irracional? Que fé e razão não se misturam?

Foi aí que eu eliminei os intermediários. Peguei a Bíblia que eu tinha ganho e comecei a ler. Veja bem, Renato, eu não fui atrás de ler "Totem e Tabu" do Freud, ou "O Anticristo" de Nietszche ou os comentários de Feuerbach sobre Deus, ou "Deus e os Homens" de Voltaire para saber o que eu deveria pensar sobre Deus. Eu fui direto à fonte. Claro que você vai dizer que existem também o Corão e o Veda que podem ser considerados "fontes". Eu comecei pela Bíblia e, se você não quiser perder tempo pode começar também. Na minha primeira leitura eu não entendi muita coisa, mas as coisas que eu entendi me fizeram tentar de novo. Foi bem aí que as coisas começaram a acontecer. Foi aí que eu comecei a entender Deus. Como Jó disse, eu conhecia Deus de ouvir falar, mas passei a vê-lo com meu próprio entendimento. Minha fé é inteiramente racional. Fui racional no momento em que aceitei Jesus e continuo sendo racional a cada vez que eu ouço meu pastor pregar e comparo o que ele diz com o que está escrito na Bíblia. Ele já errou, a Bíblia nunca!

Renato, futebol é legal, mas não vai durar para sempre. Uma vez eu ouvi uma frase que me deixou pasmo e me fez entender o mundo melhor. É assim "O universo está em expansão (sic) e não há nada que você possa fazer a respeito". Eu quero deixar você com uma no mesmo sentido, mas mais profunda: cara, você tem um espírito imortal e não há nada que você possa fazer a respeito! Já que o seu espírito vai viver para sempre cabe a você decidir onde, (esta a beleza do livre arbítrio). Veja o raciocínio de Blaise Pascal:

1) Se Deus não existe eu não tenho com o que me preocupar.
2) Mas se Ele existe e eu não creio Nele e existe um inferno, para onde irão os que não fizerem uma decisão por Ele, eu tenho tudo a perder.
3) Se eu creio Nele e Ele não existe, eu não tenho nada a perder.
Mas se Ele existe...

Eu simplifiquei para você entender, mas é mais ou menos assim. Foi este mesmo raciocínio que me levou a aceitar Jesus dez anos atrás. Eu decidi dar a Deus 6 meses. Uma espécie de estágio probatório. Se Ele não me decepcionasse nesse período eu continuaria crente. Nesse tempo todo eu decepcionei Deus muitas vezes, mas Ele sempre me acolheu e perdôou todas as vezes que eu pedi e eu não sinto mais culpa, somente gozo. Nunca me arrependi de ter escolhido crer.

Meu desejo sincero é de que você não feche sua mente, não tenha medo do desconhecido.
Tente, Renato, tente!

quinta-feira, outubro 27, 2005

Halloween - An Invitation to the Occult?

by Chuck Missler

[Leia este artigo em português]

This is always a difficult time for Christians, especially those with children. It has been suggested that for a Christian to be asked to celebrate Halloween is like asking a Holocaust survivor to celebrate Hitler's birthday!

It is also a dangerous time for some, since many of the seemingly "harmless" involvements associated with Halloween can also be "entries" for the occult, and can prove very tragic for the unwary.

Pagan Background

In ancient Britain and Ireland, the Celtic festival of Samhain was observed on October 31, the end of summer. November 1 was the new year for both Celtic and Anglo-Saxon calendars and was one of the most important and yet sinister calendar festivals of the Celtic Year.
Settling in northern France and the British Isles, the Celtic people engaged in occultic arts and worshiped nature, giving it supernatural, animistic qualities. (Much like our Federal government is attempting to enforce today.)

The ancient Druids were the learned priestly class of the Celtic religion. Many of their beliefs and practices were similar to those of Hinduism, such as reincarnation and the transmigration of the soul, which teaches that people may be reborn as animals. The Druids believed that on October 31, the night before their New Year and the last day of the old year, Samhain, the Lord of Death, gathered the souls of the evil dead who had been condemned to enter the bodies of animals.

The Druids also believed that the punishment of the evil dead would be lightened by sacrifices, prayers and gifts to the Lord of Death. (This begins to reveal the strange link between this holiday and the non-Biblical concept of purgatory.)

The souls of the dead were supposed to revisit their homes on this day, and the autumnal festival acquired a sinister significance, with ghosts, witches, hobgoblins, black cats, fairies, and demons of all kinds said to be roaming about. It was the time to placate the supernatural powers controlling the processes of nature.

And, on October 31, 1517, Martin Luther drove a stake into the heart of many of the prevailing non-Biblical concepts by nailing his famous 95 theses to the Castle Church door in Wittenberg, Germany, which started the movement known today as the Reformation-the single most important event in modern history.1 Appropriately, he did this on Halloween.

Modern Halloween Traditions

In early American history, Halloween was not widely practiced until the 20th century, when it was introduced by the Irish Catholic settlements. Gradually, Halloween became a secular observance, and many customs and practices developed. The carved pumpkin may have originated with the witches' use of a skull with a candle inside to light the way to coven meetings.

Since 1965 UNICEF, an agency of the United Nations, has attempted to incorporate into the Halloween observance the collection of money for the United Nations Children's Fund. This exploitation by the ungodly United Nations of this pagan holiday seems strangely appropriate.

The Occult is Increasingly Popular

Halloween is, for many, a "crossover" involvement in which innocent games can lead to serious entanglement with real witches, neo-pagans, New Agers, and other occultists.2 A common pastime is the use of a Ouija board to attempt to contact ghosts or spirits that are believed to be roaming about. This can lead to serious consequences including demon possession.3 Demons have a vested interest in Halloween because it supports the occult, and it also offers novel and unexpected opportunities to control and influence people.

Forms of the occult can include mediums, channelers, clairvoyants, psychics, spiritists, diviners, mystics, gurus, shamans, psychical researchers, Yogis, psychic and holistic healers, astral travel, astrology, mysticism, Ouija boards, Tarot cards, contact with the dead, UFOs, and thousands of other practices which almost defy cataloging.

Occultism includes Satanism, astrology, Kabbalah, Gnosticism, theosophy, witchcraft and many forms of serious magic. It includes activities seeking the acquisition of "hidden" things-which are expressly forbidden by God in the Bible.

The Biblical View

Halloween practices can open the door to the occult and can introduce forces into people's lives that they are not equipped to combat.4 There is genuine power in the occult, but it is demonic power.5

Any serious study of Biblical demonology will reveal Satan as the power behind false religion, witchcraft, idolatry and the occult.6 The Word of God makes it clear that these are all to be shunned as dangerous. There were many superstitions and false concepts in ancient Israel about which the Bible is silent. However, occultism, in any form, was punishable by death! Why?
The spiritual power and reality behind idols involves demons.7 The Bible commands us to shun occult practices. Mediums and spiritists are expressly prohibited.8 Nowhere are such practices acceptable.

A Halloween Project?

Every year, many people are perplexed as to how to deal with the children's celebrations surrounding Halloween. On the one hand, participating in the perpetuation of the usual pagan (and occultic) rituals are hardly the enterprise of a Biblical Christian. On the other hand, creating constructive alternatives can be challenging.

Many churches and families organize a "Harvest" festival with games, prizes, etc., as an alternative party opportunity. These are gaining widespread interest and are to be encouraged.
Organizing a drama event to involve the older children is an alternative candidate; such an effort could include Saul and the Witch of Endor, from 1 Samuel 28, as a play.

[The winning scripts resulting from a play-writing contest held a few years ago are available through K-House.]

Your Protection

Intellect alone is insufficient. "If it were possible, it would deceive the very elect." This is another example of the necessity to truly understand the Armor of God as outlined in Ephesians 6. This brief review was excerpted from our featured briefing package, Halloween: Invitation to the Occult?

* * *


Missler, Chuck, Signs in the Heavens, The Mysteries of the Planet Mars Halloween: Invitation to the Occult? (briefing packages), Koinonia House, 1991-6.
Ankerberg, John, and Weldon, John, The Facts on Halloween, Harvest House, Eugene OR, 1996. A key reference for this article.
Sykes, Egerton, Who's Who in Non-Classical Mythology, J.M. Dent, London, 1993.
Patten, Donald Wesley, Catastrophism and the Old Testament, Pacific Meridian Publishing Co., Seattle WA, 1995.
Encyclopedia of New Age Beliefs, Harvest House, Eugene OR, 1996.
Also the video, Halloween: Trick or Treat, Jeremiah Films, Hemet CA
This article was originally published in the
October 1997 Personal Update NewsJournal.
For a FREE 1-Year Subscription, click here.

1. Manuscript by his son D. Paul Luther preserved in the library at Rudolstadt, quoted by F.W. Boreham in A Bunch of Everlastings or Texts That Made History, Judson Press, Philadelphia, 1920, p.20.
2. See Encyclopedia of New Age Beliefs, Harvest House, Eugene OR, 1996.
3. The case studies underlying William Blatty's The Exorcist indicate that the trouble all began with a child playing with a Ouija board.
4. Russ Parker, Battling the Occult, Inter-Varsity Press, Downer's Grove IL, 1990, p.35.
5. Isa 47:9; Mt 24:24; Acts 8:7; 13:6-11; 16:16-19; 19:18-20; 2 Cor 4:4; Eph 6:7-11, 22; 2 Tim 3:8.
6. Deut 32:16,17; Ps 106:35-40; Acts 16:16-19; 1 Cor 10:19-21; 2 Thess 2:9, 10; 1 Tim 4:1f.
7. 1 Cor 10:20; Ps 106:37.
8. Lev 19:31; Deut 18:10, 11, 14 2 Chr 33:6.

quarta-feira, outubro 26, 2005

What Holds the Universe Together?

by Lambert Dolphin

Is our universe expanding or static? If it is expanding, is there sufficient mass to cause it all to collapse back in upon itself under gravity's influence? If the universe is static and not now expanding, is it stable?

What holds it all together-if anything?

These are questions gaining more attention these days as our knowledge data base in astronomy and astrophysics increases, and old theories are brought into question. There is much that can be said about these questions from the Biblical revelation.

New Testament References

Several separate passages in the New Testament make reference to the creation of the universe. For example, John's gospel speaks of an earlier state of existence than is described in Verse 1 of Genesis:

"In the beginning was the Word, [logos] and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God; [i.e., before creation] all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made." John 1:1-3

This passage teaches that Jesus was eternally existent with God the Father prior to the creation of "all things." There was a time when our material and spiritual universe did not exist. It had a definite beginning. But before that, God was. In fact, God is-because time itself was created by God.

Chapter One of Paul's Epistle to the Colossians gives a further description of the role of Jesus in creation, consistent with that of John's gospel:

[Jesus] is the image of the invisible God, the first-born [prototokos] of all creation; for in him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or authorities [these words in Greek refer to the hierarchical angelic powers]-all things were created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. Colossians 1:15-17

The Holy Spirit, in giving us this inspired passage of Scripture, explains that all things (both visible and invisible) in the entire universe were created through this same Jesus, the eternal Word. We may think of the universe and its intricate design as being conceived in the mind of the Father, then spoken into existence by the Son (who makes the invisible, visible). The Holy Spirit is the One who energizes and supplies life to the creation, not only at the time of creation but also moment by moment after that.

We are also told that all things were created for Jesus. He is "the heir of all things." That means that we are house guests in Someone Else's universe! This implies a future accountability for all of us-history is headed somewhere-at the end of the road stands Jesus, to whom all power and authority has already been given (see John 5:22-29).

A. W. Tozer, Pastor at Moody Bible Church in Chicago some 50 years ago, once wrote of this as follows:

The teaching of the New Testament is that now, at this very moment, there is a Man in heaven appearing in the presence of God for us. He is as certainly a man as was Adam or Moses or Paul; he is a man glorified, but his glorification did not de-humanize him. Today he is a real man, of the race of mankind, bearing our lineaments and dimensions, a visible and audible man, whom any other man would recognize instantly as one of us.

But more than this, he is the heir of all things, Lord of all lords, head of the church, firstborn of the new creation. He is the way to God, the life of the believer, the hope of Israel, and the high priest of every true worshiper. He holds the keys of death and hell, and stands as advocate and surety for everyone who believes on him in truth. Salvation comes not by accepting the finished work, or deciding for Christ; it comes by believing on the Lord Jesus Christ, the whole, living, victorious Lord who, as God and man, fought our fight and won it, accepted our debt as his own and paid it, took our sins and died under them, and rose again to set us free. This is the true Christ; nothing less will do.

All Things "Hold Together"

One of the key words in the Colossians passage above ("...and in Christ all things hold together") is the Greek word sunistemi which means "to stand-together," "to be compacted together," "to cohere," "to be constituted with."

This passage can be applied to the structure of the atom, for example. The nucleus of every atom is held together by what physicists call "weak" and "strong" forces.
[Physicists today are familiar with four basic forces in the natural world: gravity and electrical forces, plus a "strong" and a "weak" nuclear force. The first two forces decrease in strength inversely with the square of the distance between two objects; the latter two forces act only at very short ranges.]

The nucleus of the atom contains positively charged and neutral particles-to use a simplistic model. Mutual electrostatic repulsion between the like-positive protons would drive the nucleus apart if it were not for the "strong force" which binds the nucleus together.

There is thus an active force imposed on the universe, which actively holds the very atoms of the material world together moment by moment, day by day, century by century.

Similarly, accelerated electrons circling the nucleus should quickly radiate all their energy away and fall into the nucleus unless there exists an invisible energy source to counteract this.

The third New Testament creation-related passage which talks about atomic structure and physics is found in the Apostle Peter's Second Epistle:

But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a loud noise [rhoizedon, a rushing roar] and the elements [stoicheion, atoms] will be dissolved with fire and the earth and the works that are upon it will be burned up. 2 Peter 3:10 The Greek word translated "elements" in the above mentioned passage from Colossians (and in 2 Peter also) is stoicheion, which can mean "the building blocks of the universe," or "the ordered arrangement of things." It can also mean the "atomic elements." The word translated "dissolved" in 2 Peter 3:10 is literally (in Greek) luo, meaning "unloosed." This language suggests that there will come a time in the future when God lets go of the nuclear forces which hold the atom together. This passage, like the one in Colossians, strongly suggests that the active power of God is behind the mysterious strong force that holds every atomic nucleus together. If this is so, all the other fundamental forces of nature are likewise forces that originate with Christ and His sustaining direction of the old creation.

Sustaining the Universe

If God "sustains the universe by His mighty word of power," moment by moment, were He to merely relax His grasp on the universe, every atom would come apart "by fire" (that is, by nuclear fire). It is inescapable that the Bible claims that God dynamically sustains the universe, including the very atoms themselves. Atoms, it would seem, are "stable" only because force and energy are being supplied into their physical nuclear binding fields from "outside" the system.
Whatever we may think of God and physics, the Bible leaves us with no room to doubt that God does care about the sparrow that falls to the ground, the widow, the orphan, and the homeless. He does not lose track of His children and watches over them with infinite, patient, intimate Fatherly care. Not only does He sustain the universe by His mighty word of power, God also alters the status quo from time to time and, in response to prayer, frequently changes the course of entire nations. In a future day his intrusive reinterven-tion will be very radical indeed.
Another important claim of Scripture about the old creation is that God is the present Sustainer of the universe. That is, He is not uninvolved, remote, detached and impersonal-leaving things to run by themselves by any means.

Among secular scientists today there are many who acknowledge that God exists. But He is usually considered as only a First Cause-the One who brought the universe into existence and set it into motion. But most of these same scientists assume God was not involved after the initial act of creation.

This is contrary to clear statements in the Bible that God is very much involved in every event that takes place in the ongoing history of the entire universe. Causality links everything together, because God "works (Gr: energizes) all things according to the counsel of His will." (Ephesians 1:11.)

The opening verses of the Letter to the Hebrews give us another New Testament picture of God's role in the creation:

[But] in the last of these days He has spoken to us in [the person of a] Son, Whom He appointed Heir and lawful Owner of all things, also by and through Whom He created the worlds and the reaches of space and the ages of time-[that is] [He made, produced, built, operated, and arranged them in order]. He is the sole expression of the glory of God-[the Light-being, the out-raying or radiance of the divine],-and He is the perfect imprint and very image of [God's] nature, upholding and maintaining and guiding and propelling the universe by His mighty word of power..." Hebrews 1:2-3 (Amplified Bible)

A fifth great New Testament passage concerning Jesus and His place in creation is found in Revelation Chapter 1:

"I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty. I John, your brother, who share with you in Jesus the tribulation and the kingdom and the patient endurance, was on the island called Patmos on account of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus. I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet... When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand upon me, saying, "Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one; I died, and behold I am alive for evermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades." Revelation 1:8-10,17-18

Here Jesus is called "the Alpha and Omega," "the First and the Last." Not only is Jesus the Son of God to be found at the beginning of history, He also stands at the end of history and at the end of every life. He is the Judge of all, and He is the heir of all things.

Science and the Bible

Truth from science must in the long run agree with Biblical revelation-if the Bible is true. If the Bible "says what it means and means what it says" (to quote Chuck Missler) then it is Jesus who holds the universe in his hands just as the old American folk spiritual says.

Our moment-by-moment existence depends on His gracious sustenance of every electron, every atom, every molecule and every spiritual entity as well. We are safe when we place our trust in Him and put our whole lives into His hands! Can we not then stand in awe of our great God and Creator, along with the Psalmist who wrote:

"O come, let us sing to the LORD; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation! Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise! For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods. In his hand are the depths of the earth; the heights of the mountains are his also. The sea is his, for he made it; for his hands formed the dry land. O come, let us worship and bow down, let us kneel before the LORD, our Maker! For he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. O that today you would hearken to his voice!" Psalm 95:1-7

Next month, God willing, we'll look further at this subject in a discussion of theories of the vacuum, and the interaction between the material creation and the invisible, intangible (but very real) spiritual world which God has also created around us and within which the material world is embedded.

This article was originally published in the
January 1997 Personal Update NewsJournal.