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!

terça-feira, novembro 28, 2006

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Chuck Missler

Originally published in September 19th, 2006.


(why are so many against the visit of the Pope Benedict XVI to Turkey? Find out here).

Pope Benedict XVI has received heavy criticism for quoting a 14th century Byzantine emperor's remarks on Islam. In a speech to an academic audience in Germany, the Pope spoke about spreading faith through reason, rather than through violence. During the speech, he quoted Byzantine Emperor Manuel II Palaeologus, saying, "Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached."

The Pope also quoted the emperor's argument that, "Whoever would lead someone to faith needs the ability to speak well and to reason properly, without violence and threats... To convince a reasonable soul, one does not need a strong arm, or weapons of any kind, or any other means of threatening a person with death."

The Pope's comments roused great resentment in the Islamic world. Most Muslims expressed their anger without resorting to violence. However Muslim protesters in Iraq and Kashmir burned the Pope in effigy, as many as 1,000 Muslims rallied to protest in Indonesia, and Al-Qaeda militants in Iraq vowed war on "worshippers of the cross." Following the Pope's comments 2,000 Palestinians protested in Gaza City, accusing the Pope of leading a new Crusade against the Muslim world. The following day five churches were attacked in the Palestinian territories, according to an Associated Press report:

"Firebombings left black scorch marks on the walls and windows of Nablus Anglican and Greek Orthodox churches. At least five firebombs hit the Anglican church and its door was later set ablaze. Smoke billowed from the church as firefighters put out the flames. In a phone call to The Associated Press, a group claimed responsibility for those attacks, saying they were carried out to protest the Pope's remarks in a speech this week in Germany linking Islam and violence."

Muslim leaders worldwide have demanded that the Pope make amends, and he has since apologized publicly for his comments.

The Root of the Problem

Over the past few days many commentators have weighed in on the controversy. Some say the Pope's apology was inadequate. Others say his comments were taken out of context. However very few people seem to have stopped to ask the obvious question: is it true? Does the Koran advocate the use of violence as a means of spreading the Islamic faith?

Most Americans - and even most Christians - have no real awareness of the nature of Islam: its origin, its agenda, and its methods. There are, of course, "moderate" Muslims throughout the world that are peace-loving and do not share the views of "extremists" and "fundamentalists." But we also need to recognize that the root teachings of the Koran are anything but peace-loving:

"Fight and slay the pagans (infidels) wherever ye find them, and seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem of war." - Sura 9:5

"Prophet, make war on unbelievers and hypocrites, and deal rigorously with them." - Sura 9:73

"Let not the unbelievers think they will ever get away. They have not the power to do so. Muster against them all the men and cavalry at your command, so that you may strike terror into the enemy of God and your enemy... Prophet, (Muhammed) rouse the faithful to arms! If they (the non-Muslims) incline to peace (accept Islam) make peace with them." - Sura 8:59

"If they reject your judgement, know that it is Allah's wish to scourge them for their sins." - Sura 5:49

"Believers (Muslims), take neither Jews nor Christians to be your friends: they are friends with one another. Whoever of you seeks their friendship shall become one of their number, and God does not guide (those Jewish and Christian) wrong-doers." - Sura 5:51

Don't let yourself be blinded by misleading propaganda and politically-correct generalities. The cause of Islamic terrorism is not the quest for social justice. It is not freedom for a specific group of subjugated people. The goal of Islamic terrorism - ultimately - is to bring the whole world into subjection to their version of fundamentalist Islam. No amount of appeasement will stop them. They do not want peace unless it comes on their terms.


segunda-feira, novembro 27, 2006

The Speed of Light Exceeded

Chuck Missler

Some scientists now claim they have broken the ultimate speed barrier: the speed of light.1

Particle physicists at the NEC Research Institute at Princeton apparently have indicated that light pulses can be accelerated to up to 300 times their normal velocity of 186,282 miles per second.

In work carried out by Dr. Lijun Wang, a pulse of light was transmitted towards a chamber filled with specially treated cesium gas. Before the pulse had fully entered the chamber, it had gone right through it and traveled an additional 60 feet across the laboratory. In effect it appeared to exist in two places at once, a phenomenon that Dr. Wang explains by saying it traveled 300 times faster than the normal velocity of light.

(Exact details of the findings remain confidential because they have been submitted to the international scientific journal, Nature, for review prior to possible publication.)
The implications would appear to be staggering. It could shatter Einstein's Theory of Relativity, since it depends in part on the speed of light being a constant and unbreachable. Needless to say, this research is destined to cause continuing controversy among physicists. (Barry Setterfield's controversial suggestions that the speed of light is not a constant have been highlighted in our Personal Update journal for many years.)

One interpretation of the Princeton experiment suggests that light arrived at its destination almost before it has started its journey: In effect, it appeared to be leaping forward in time. One of the possibilities is that if light could travel forward in time, it could carry information. This would breach one of the basic principles in physics-causality, which says that a cause must come before an effect.

In Italy, another group of physicists has also succeeded in breaking the light speed barrier. In a recently published paper, physicists at the Italian National Research Council described how they propagated microwaves at 25% above normal light speed. The group also speculates that it could prove possible to transmit information faster than light.

Dr. Guenter Nimtz, of Cologne University, recently gave a paper to a conference in Edinburgh describing how information can be sent faster than light. He believes, however, that this will not breach the principle of causality because the time taken to interpret the signal would fritter away all the savings. "The most likely application for this is not in time travel but in speeding up the way signals move through computer circuits," he said.

Dr. Raymond Chiao, professor of physics at the University of California at Berkeley, who is familiar with Wang's work, said he was impressed by the findings. Separate experiments carried out by Chiao indicate simultaneous multiple localities. He has shown that in certain circumstances photons-the particles which constitute light-could apparently jump between two points separated by a barrier in what appears to be zero time. The process, known as "tunneling," has been used to make some of the most sensitive electron microscopes.

The implications of Wang's experiments will, of course, arouse fierce debate. Many will question whether his work can be interpreted as proving that light can exceed its normal speed-suggesting that another mechanism may be at work.

Wang emphasizes that his experiments are relevant only to light and may not apply to other physical entities. But some scientists are beginning to accept that man may eventually exploit some of these characteristics for interstellar space travel.

The Nature of Reality

Wang's experiment is the latest and among the potentially most important evidences that the physical world may not operate according to the presently accepted conventions. In the new world that modern science is beginning to perceive, subatomic particles can apparently exist in two places at the same time-making no distinction between space and time.

The problem, according to Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity, is that nothing can travel faster than the speed of light. Any instantaneous communication implied by the view of quantum physics would be tantamount to breaking the time barrier and would open the door to all kinds of unacceptable paradoxes.

Einstein and his colleagues were convinced that no "reasonable definition" of reality would permit such faster-than-light interconnections to exist. (Their argument is now known as the Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen paradox, or EPR paradox for short.)

Rather than believing that some kind of faster-than-light communication was taking place, Niels Bohr offered another explanation: If subatomic particles do not exist until they are observed, then one could no longer think of them as independent "things."

Thus, Einstein was basing his argument on an error when he viewed twin particles as separate. They were part of an indivisible system, and it was meaningless to think of them otherwise. In time, most physicists sided with Bohr and became content that his interpretation was correct.

The Cosmos as a Hyper- Hologram?

There seems to be evidence accumulating to suggest that our world and everything in it are only ghostly images, projections from a higher level of reality so beyond our own that the real reality is literally beyond both space and time. The main architect of this astonishing idea includes one of the world's most eminent thinkers: University of London physicist David Bohm, a protégé of Einstein's and one of the world's most respected quantum physicists.

Bohm's work in plasma physics in the 1950s was considered a landmark. Earlier at the Lawrence Radiation Laboratory, he noticed that in plasmas (gases composed of high density electrons and positive ions) the particles stopped behaving like individuals and started behaving as if they were part of a larger and interconnected whole. Moving to Princeton University in 1947, there too he continued his work in the behavior of oceans of particles, noting their highly organized overall effects and their behaving as if they knew what each of the untold trillions of individual particles were doing.

Bohm's sense of the importance of interconnectedness, as well as years of dissatisfaction with the inability of standard theories to explain all of the phenomena encountered in quantum physics, left him searching. While at Princeton, Bohm and Einstein developed a supportive relationship and shared their mutual restlessness regarding the strange implications of current quantum theory.

One of the implications of Bohm's view has to do with the nature of location. Bohm's interpretation of quantum physics indicated that at the sub-quantum level location ceased to exist. All points in space become equal to all other points in space, and it was meaningless to speak of anything as being separate from anything else. Physicists call this property "non-locality."

The Bell Inequality

Bohm's ideas left most physicists unpersuaded, but they did stir the interest of a few. One of these was John Stewart Bell, a theoretical physicist at CERN, the center for atomic research at Geneva, Switzerland. Like Bohm, Bell had become discontented with the quantum theory and felt there had to be some alternative.

When Bell encountered Bohm's ideas, he wondered if there was some way of experimentally verifying non-locality. Freed up by a sabbatical in 1964, he developed an elegant mathematical approach which revealed how such a two-particle experiment could be performed - the now famed Bell Inequality.

The only problem was that it required a level of technological precision that was not yet available. To be certain that particles - such as those in the EPR paradox - were not using some normal means of communication, the basic operations of the experiment had to be performed in such an infinitesimally brief instant that there wouldn't be enough time for a ray of light to transit the distance separating the two particles. Light travels at about a foot in a nanosecond (thousand-millionth of a second). This meant that the instruments used in the experiment had to perform all the necessary operations within a few nanoseconds.

As technology improved it was finally possible to actually perform the two-particle experiment outlined by Bell. In 1982, a landmark experiment performed by a research team led by physicist Alain Aspect, Jean Dalibard, and Gérard Roger at the Institute of Theoretical and Applied Optics, in Paris, succeeded.

They produced a series of twin photons by heating calcium atoms with lasers, allowed each photon to travel in opposite directions through 6.5 meters of pipe and pass through special filters that directed them toward one of two possible polarization analyzers.
It took each filter 10 nanoseconds to switch between one analyzer or the other, about 30 nanoseconds less than it took light to travel the entire 13 meters separating each set of photons. In this way Aspect and his colleagues were able to rule out any possibility of the photons communicating by any known physical process.

The experiment was a success. Just as quantum theory predicted, each photon was still able to correlate its angle of polarization with that of its twin. This meant that either Einstein's ban against faster-than-light communications was being violated, or the two photons were non-locally connected.

This experiment demonstrated that the web of subatomic particles which comprise our physical universe-the very fabric of "reality" itself-may possess what appears to be a "holographic" property.2

Is Reality Only Virtual?

One of Bohm's most startling suggestions is that the tangible reality of our everyday lives is really a kind of illusion, like a holographic image.

Underlying it is a deeper order of existence, a vast and more primary level of reality that gives birth to all the objects and appearances of our physical world in much the same way that a piece of holographic film gives birth to a hologram. Bohm calls this deeper level of reality the implicate ("enfolded") order and he refers to our level of existence the explicate (unfolded) order.3

Many physicists remain skeptical of Bohm's ideas, but among those who are sympathetic, however, are Roger Penrose of Oxford, the creator of the modern theory of black holes; Bernard d'Espagnat of the University of Paris, one of the leading authorities on the conceptual foundations of quantum theory, and Cambridge's Brian Josephson, winner of the 1973 Nobel Prize in physics. Josephson believes that Bohm's implicate order may someday even lead to the inclusion of God within the framework of science, a view which Josephson supports.4

The holographic paradigm is still a developing concept and riddled with controversies. For decades science has chosen to ignore evidences that do not fit the standard theories. However, the volume of evidence has now reached the point that denial is no longer a viable option.
(The recent entertaining movie, The Thirteenth Floor, explores a "simulation within a simulation," with a plot involving virtual people inhabiting a virtual world with the participants transferring between levels.)

These notions are not very distant from the Biblical presentation of the physical world as being subordinate to the superior reality of the spiritual world.5

The Bible, incidentally, is also unique among all religious books in that it also presents a universe of more than three dimensions, 6 reveals a Creator that is transcendent over His creation,7 and who entered time and space to create the ultimate paradox by fulfilling our future!

* * *
This article was originally published in the
July 2000 Personal Update NewsJournal.
For a FREE 1-Year Subscription, click here.

1. Jonathan Leake, "Eureka! Scientists Break The Speed of Light," Science Editor, Sunday Times, June 4, 2000. Internet: http://www.sunday-times.co.uk
2. It may come as a surprise to learn that the first direct technological implementation of these strange principles of quantum mechanics is in cryptology: British researchers have constructed a device for quantum key encryption and decryption. The device allows a key to be secretly distributed in such a way that should the key become known to an unintended listener, both the transmitter of the key and all designated recipients of it will instantaneously know it. (Paul D. Townsend, "Quantum Cryptography on Multi-user Optical Fibre Networks," Nature, No. 385, 1997, pp.47-49; Richard J. Hughes, "Quantum Security is Spookily Certain," Ibid. See also Cosmic Codes .)
3. This is reminiscent of the Red King's dream in Through the Looking Glass, in which Alice finds herself in deep metaphysical waters when the Tweedle brothers defend the view that all material objects, including ourselves, are only "sorts of things" in the mind of God.
4. The Reach of the Mind: Nobel Prize Conversations, Saybrook Publishing Co., Dallas TX, 1985, p.91.
5. 2 Corinthians 4:18.
6. Ephesians 3:18.
7. Eastman & Missler, The Creator Beyond Time and Space, The Word for Today, Costa Mesa CA, 1996.

domingo, novembro 26, 2006

Lebanon's Political Unrest

Chuck Missler,
from the November 21, 2006 eNews issue


On Tuesday, Pierre Gemayel, an influential member of the Lebanese government, was gunned down in the capital city of Beirut. Gemayel was a Christian who was opposed to Syria's involvement in Lebanese politics. Gemayel's assassination has received prompt condemnation from the international community, and it has further complicated an already tense situation. In the past two years at least five other prominent Lebanese figures have been assassinated, all of which were outspoken critics of Syria.

If Syria is responsible for Gemayel's death, then clearly it hasn't learned from past mistakes. In February of last year another prominent critic of Syria was assassinated. Rafik Hariri, an influential leader and former Prime Minister of Lebanon, was killed in a massive explosion which took the lives of 21 people. It is widely believed that Syria is directly responsible for the bombing, however their plan backfired. Instead of silencing an influential critic, Syria made Hariri a martyr and brought international attention to the situation in Lebanon. Under immense pressure from the international community, Syria was forced to withdraw its troops from Lebanon, putting an end to its 30 year military presence in the war-torn nation.

It has yet to be seen what effect Pierre Gemayel's death will have on Lebanese politics, however his supporters have already begun to rally against Hezbollah and its pro-Syrian allies. Meanwhile, there is mounting evidence to suggest that Syria, Iran, and Hezbollah may attempt to topple the fragile Lebanese government. In recent weeks, Hezbollah has been consolidating its power in Lebanon, even going so far as to demand more seats in the parliament. Hezbollah's leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah has said that the current Lebanese government would "go" and a new one would take its place. He did not say how or when it would happen. Then, following Nasrallah's comments, six pro-Syrian members of the 24-seat Lebanese cabinet resigned.

Nasrallah has threatened to call for protests in opposition to the government, but experts believe Hezbollah won't make any move without the express permission or backing of Iran and Syria. In addition to mass protests, Hezbollah may attempt to topple the country's weak democratic government by organizing boycotts and strikes - paralyzing the country. They could even attempt to shut down electrical power, water, and government services in an attempt to further destabilize the region. If Hezbollah is successful in seizing power in Lebanon, then the nation would undoubtedly become a staging point for Iran's war with Israel and the West.

According to the UN Security Council resolution that ended the Israeli-Hezbollah war this summer, Hezbollah was supposed to be disarmed. But, not surprisingly, that never happened. The Security Council has passed at least 7 resolutions going back 28 years that have demanded the same thing - none have been successfully put into action. Iran and Syria are now taking advantage of the current calm to re-arm the terrorist organization. Iran does not yet have the military strength to carry out a direct attack on Israel, thus it uses Hezbollah as its proxy. Hezbollah is an important player in Lebanon's politics and a major provider of social services to thousands of Lebanese Shiites. It operates hospitals, schools, orphanages and a television station. Its base is in Lebanon's Shiite-dominated areas, including parts of Beirut, southern Lebanon, and the Bekaa Valley. In addition, US intelligence reports say that Hezbollah cells operate in regions including Europe, Africa, South America, and North America.

Experts attribute much of Hezbollah’s widespread popularity to its claim that it forced Israel to retreat from territory it held, something no Arab government or group had ever accomplished. Hezbollah waged a violent, 18-year campaign against Israel’s control of a self-declared “security zone” in southern Lebanon, which Israel had established after the 1982 invasion of Lebanon by forces under then-Defense Minister Ariel Sharon. In 2000, after suffering mounting casualties, then-Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak ordered Israeli troops to unilaterally leave the security zone. For millions of Arabs, Hezbollah achieved heroic status, and many Palestinian militants at war with Israel cite Hezbollah as an inspiration.

quinta-feira, novembro 09, 2006

Ted Haggard and The Importance of Accountability

Chuck Missler
from the November 07, 2006 eNews issue


Ted Haggard admitted to "sexual immorality" this week - without going into detail - and has been removed from his position as president of the National Association of Evangelicals and as pastor of New Life Church in Colorado Springs. The news of his relationship with a homosexual male has shocked and deeply saddened the evangelical community in America, and - like David with Bathsheba - "hast given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme (2 Samuel 12:14)."

Haggard wrote a letter to his congregation, apologizing for his actions and accepting all responsibility for what he had done. He said,

…There is a part of my life that is so repulsive and dark that I have been warring against it all of my adult life. For extended periods of time, I would enjoy victory and rejoice in freedom. Then, from time to time, the dirt that I thought was gone would resurface, and I would find myself thinking thoughts and experiencing desires that were contrary to everything I believe and teach.

Through the years, I’ve sought assistance in a variety of ways, with none of them proving to be effective in me. Then, because of pride, I began deceiving those I love the most because I didn’t want to hurt or disappoint them.

The public person I was wasn’t a lie; it was just incomplete. When I stopped communicating about my problems, the darkness increased and finally dominated me. As a result, I did things that were contrary to everything I believe.

He did not make excuses. He did not say, "Oh, my behavior wasn't so bad." He recognized the depth of his sin and failure, and willingly agreed to step down from his positions of leadership.

Aside from his apology, however, Haggard said something in his letter that every church leader in the country, and indeed every Christian, should take note of. He said, "when I stopped communicating about my problems." In other words, when he stopped being honest, when he stopped making sure he stayed accountable to somebody, that's when he lost the fight and slid into the pit.

James 5:16 says, "Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much."

Ted Haggard was a major Christian leader in America, a public figure, and a spokesperson for the evangelical community. Not only did his position require great responsibility, it also required great protection. The Enemy of our souls knows how to exploit our weaknesses to his advantage, and we as Christians, and especially Christian leaders, must have people praying for and with us constantly in order to defeat the efforts of that Enemy.

Every single one of us has an area of vulnerability through which we can easily be tempted to sin. We may struggle with anger, or laziness, lust, or pride. We all have our Achilles heel, our thorn in the flesh that keeps us humble and aware of our need to totally depend on Christ. But, if we do not communicate with one another about the areas where we struggle the hardest, then we won't get the prayer and assistance we need.

Christian leaders are not more holy and immune to temptation than the common Christian man or woman in the pew. This is a reminder that all of us need to pray for our pastors on a regular basis, and for any Christian leader in our lives. We need to keep careful watch of ourselves and make sure that we have trusted, mature Christian brothers or sisters (men should meet with men, women with women) with whom we regularly gather to share our struggles with temptation and the areas in which we need prayer. We need to pray with our spouses on a regular basis, and remain transparent. As the body of Christ, we must take care of one another - we need each other (1 Cor 12:12-27).

Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.
Galatians 6:1-2

Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed. Follow peace with all [men], and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; Hebrews 12:12-15a
But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.
Hebrews 3:13

The news of Ted Haggard's sin grieves the Christian community, but it also serves as an important reminder; Christ alone is holy, and only he gave us a perfect example. Christianity depends on faith in Jesus Christ, not in evangelical leaders. Christ is the solid rock on which we stand, and we can have confidence in Him alone.


quarta-feira, novembro 08, 2006

Comentário sobre a Batalha pela Bíblia

Manoel José de Miranda Filho*

Muito interessante esta questão da Batalha pela Bíblia, irmão.

Mas, como sempre, quero tecer um comentário. Jesus passou pelos problemas, ou por cima deles como querem os liberais que acreditemos? Vou usar a maiêutica de Sócrates e pedir
que eles me provem que Jesus não andou por sobre as águas.

As muitas ciências hoje tentam provar que Deus não existe, que Jesus é apenas um mito ou alguém que veio para a sua terra como um profeta como osoutros profetas vieram e que o processo da criação é meramente religioso.

Sobre a existência de Deus, as mais lisonjeiras teorias dos homens em relação ao que a razão humana se "orgulha" de ter conseguido provar é que estes assuntos não passam de meras hipóteses e conjecturas. Em período algum da história humana há exemplo de filósofo, cientista ou seja lá o que for, que manifestasse a pretensão de ter adquirido a idéia primitiva da existência de Deus por meio de investigação pura e simplesmente racional. Ou seja, em todos os casos em que se trata de raciocínio destinado a demonstrar a existência de Deus, não é possível chegar ao conhecimento do fato como verdade original e sim simplesmente se consegue fortalecer e confirmar verdade já conhecida e admitida. Se pudéssemos admitir que o homem estivesse colocado em situação tão absolutamente privada da luz da Revelação que ficasse sem a idéia de Deus, seria difícil admitir que ele tivesse capacidade, por si só, através do raciocínio, de chegar à conclusão da existência do que lhe era totalmente desconhecido (você é filósofo e sabe do que estou falando, até melhor do que eu). Nestas condições ele andaria apalpando-se no meio das mais densas trevas, (lembra sobre a caverna e a luz que se achou dentro dela? As densas trevas são essa caverna e a luz que outrora se achou por dentro dela é JESUS CRISTO, luz do mundo), sem adiantar nem sequer um passo na aquisição do conhecimento da existência ou da natureza do Criador, conservando-se nesta ignorância até que tombasse morto como as bestas (as feras selvagens) que perecem. Entretanto, é evidente, à vista do que afirmam as Escrituras, que rodeados como nos encontramos pela luz da Revelação em todo o seu esplendor, ou mesmo, como em geral acontece com as nações pagãs, apenas auxiliadas pelo vislumbre da TRADIÇÃO, podemos ver nas obras da natureza através das nossas "faculdades racionais", no mundo que nos rodeia, numerosas provas que demonstram a existência de Deus.

Sobre o processo de criação, vamos por partes. A Antropologia nos ensina que o homem foi criado através de uma sublime "intervenção milagrosa" na natureza, refutando a sabedoria e glória divina da criação. Têm-se que o homem foi criado de uma derivação de seres orgânicos ou de alguns tipos primitivos e, graças ao desenvolvimento e aperfeiçoamento de plantas e animais tornou-se o homem. Até hoje esta evolução de Darwin não foi comprovada, pois na ciência o que vale é quando se comprova através de dados verídicos.

A ciência já admite hoje que o homem pode ter vindo do barro ou da terra devido a quantidade de minérios que existem dentro do corpo humano, fósforo, ferro, cálcio e etc., com isso, a ciência diz que o homem pode ter aparecido no mundo repentinamente, não por evolução de seres inferiores, mas repentinamente. Os crânios dos homens primitivos mostram claramente que estes tinham a mesma organização cerebral que o homem possui hoje e podemos portanto supor que tinham a mesma natureza intelectual e moral.

A Geologia harmoniza-se com a Bíblia da forma como o homem entrou no mundo. Em ambos os
relatos (geologia e Bíblia), o homem é visto como geologicamente moderno e as ossadas encontradas até hoje mostram acerca de uma identidade e origem comum de todos os homens. A capacidade cerebral dos mais antigos homens testificam que eram os senhores da criação e pouco aliados de animais, o que nos lembra as passagens de gênesis sobre o homem dominar a terra. Visto que existimos e não somos a causa primária da nossa existência, visto que a natureza existe através de mim e em mim, eu existo, mas não em mim, mas em Deus, que não existe em ninguém e somente Nele mesmo, sendo este SER a causa primária de todas as coisas (você é fera nisso: Existencialismo).

Visto também que a teoria da evolução pressupõe um germe criado e que este germe pressupõe um criador e visto ser impossível que a matéria originasse o movimento, posso concluir que a causa primária do movimento criador deve ser uma mente independente e acima da matéria, que a nossa existência é obra desta mente independente e que como seria coisa impossível que essa mente agisse sem que primeiramente existisse, logo vemos a existência de Deus demonstrada como causa primária de nossa própria existência. Desculpe se estou lhe perturbando a paciência dizendo essas coisas que você já sabe.

Sobre nosso querido e amado Jesus (na sua natureza humana), primeiramente os gnósticos diziam que a divindade entrou em Jesus logo após o batismo efetuado por João Batista, que era baseada num princípio da filosofia dos antigos gregos de que "a matéria está inseparavelmente relacionada com o mal". Esta teoria levou Marcião no início do século II a reformar ensinos dos gnósticos, sustentando que Cristo em lugar de nascido de mulher, desceu com aparência de um corpo humano a Cafarnaum, para anunciar aos homens a existência do princípio do bem, até desconhecido. Os marcionistas diziam que o corpo de Jesus não era real, não passando de um fantasma ou sombra e que Jesus o usava para conversar com os homens.

As diferentes formas de gnosticismo não negavam as afirmações às escrituras da humanidade
de Cristo, mas afirmavam que elas só existiam de forma aparente, por isso chamados docetas ou fantasistas. Mais tarde Eutíquio caiu num erro semelhante, ensinando que a humanidade de Cristo foi absolvida na divindade e que seu corpo não tinha existência real. Enquanto esse povo negava a existência real do corpo de Cristo, a heresia apolinária rejeitou a existência de uma alma humana em nosso Salvador. Na sua natureza divina, três teorias distintas foram adotadas.

Socino ensinava que o Salvador começou a sua existência ao nascer de Maria, se bem que "possuído" de santidade e excelências extraordinárias. Ário ensinava que ele era o primeiro e o mais exaltado dentre os seres que Deus criou em qualquer tempo, mas que apesar disso, foi
"criado". Os trinitários, ao contrário, ensinam que ele possui duas naturezas distintas: A humana, nascida por Maria e crucificada no madeiro, e a divina, unida com a humana (visão mórmon hoje). Então, esses ataques ao nosso Senhor e Salvador são antigos. Sua natureza humana (Gal 4:4; Hb 2:14-17; Lc 2:52; Mt 4:2; Jo 19:28; Jo 11:35) e sua natureza divina
(Jo 1:1-3,10,11; Cl 1:15-17; Cl 1:17; 2Tm 4:1; Is 40:3) e outras mais.

É por isso que eu te falei sobre a maiêutica, não tenho medo de forma nenhuma de ser levado por eles, pois tanto na vida prática (empirismo), como na ciência (lógica, matemática) como na Palavra do Senhor (a nossa querida Bíblia), temos grandes argumentos para crermos que o Senhor existe e que podemos refutar qualquer coisa que seja contra DEUS e NOSSO QUERIDO REDENTOR SENHOR JESUS CRISTO. Quem tem que me provar o contrário são eles. E vai ser
muito difícil!!!!!!!!!

Fica com Deus meu irmão. Espero não ter tomado o teu tempo.

*Manoel José de Miranda Filho é estudante de teologia na FAEPI (Faculdade Evangélica do Piauí), em Teresina, Brasil.

Bibliografia pesquisada:

  • Manual Prático de Teologia (Eduardo Joiner)
  • Introdução à Teologia Sistemática (J. Millard Erickson)
  • Teologia Sistemática (Louis Berkhof)
  • História da Igreja Cristã (Jesse Lyman Hurlbut)
  • História da Teologia Cristã (Roger Olson)
E alguns grifos existentes no texto, pertencem a mim (Miranda) também.

terça-feira, novembro 07, 2006

Chance and Intelligent Design (Part 4)

James A. Choury
WorldVenture missionary to North Brazil

[Leia este artigo em português]

One common misconception regarding probability is that enough time makes even highly improbable events almost certain. This misconception may be a result of confusing two different types of circumstances. These circumstances are known as independent and dependent events. To illustrate this difference we can use coins and cards since this makes possible fairly simple mathematical calculations.

Two events are independent when the result of one has absolutely no effect on the other. Tossing one coin twice or tossing two coins at the same time are independent events. Drawing one card from a deck and replacing and shuffling the deck and then drawing the second card are two independent events. The odds remain unchanged when dealing with independent events. For example, the odds of tossing a head on any given toss of a coin are 50%. If I have tossed the coin three times and never have gotten a head the odds on the fourth toss of getting a head are still just 50%. This is a simple example of how our natural tendency is to think that the odds get better when, in fact, they do not.

However, drawing one card from a deck and not replacing it definitely affects the odds on the next draw of a card. The deck has been modified! This is an example of dependent events.

The odds of drawing a spade from a deck of cards on the first draw are 13/52 or .25000 or 25%. If the first card was not a spade, and the card is not replaced, the odds of drawing a spade on the second draw are 13/51 or .25490 or 25.4%. Note that the odds improved. After drawing 8 cards and never getting a spade and not replacing the cards the odds of getting a spade on the ninth draw would be 13/44 or .29545 or 29.5%. If no spade is drawn in 39 draws and the cards were not replaced then the odds of drawing a spade just before the 40th draw would be 13/13 or 1.000 or 100% because at that point there would only be spades in the deck and drawing a spade would be a certainty.

In discussions concerning the origins of the universe and of life, we can begin talking of independent events where the odds remain the same with each new “trial” (i.e. they never improve) and slip into treating the independent events as though they were dependent. From there it is easy to conclude that the desired event must eventually occur because the odds continually improve until becoming a certainty.

One example might be the thought that life originated when lightning struck a pool with slime in it. (Seldom is the question of where the slime came from addressed). Lightning strikes the pool. The odds of life being formed in this way are highly unlikely and in this case nothing happens. (By the way, it is much more probable that any “incipient” life be extinguished in this way than produced). But some time later another pool of slime is struck by lightning. Again nothing happens but sometime later another pool of slime is struck by lightning, etc. Clearly these are independent events and the odds never improve. Yet we are tempted to think that given billions of years it has got to happen eventually. Given enough time it becomes a certainty. Actually the probability never gets any better. (Perhaps it would improve the odds if lightning were to strike the same pool of slime many times but that only brings in more highly unlikely events).

When discussing issues dealing with probability we must remember that if the events are independent the odds do not improve with time.

Here is a less controversial example to illustrate the point. Let’s imagine a large tray with 50 coins in it. The odds of all the coins being “heads” by chance are 1/250 or 8.88 to the negative 16th power. There is only one way all the coins can come up heads. There are 1,125,899,907,000,000 ways for the coins to come up not all heads. If the tray were “bumped” every second allowing the coins to fly into the air and land again in the tray they would never “by chance” come up all heads because the odds never improve. The odds at each trail would still be 8.88 to the negative 16th power against it. It is ever more probable that at least one coin will be “rebellious” to our wishes and insist on coming up tails.

In discussions of the origin of the universe and of life we are often encouraged to think that given enough time it would have to happen simply by chance. Understanding the difference between independent and dependent events helps us see the error of this way of thinking. The point is the odds never get any better no matter how much time is allowed.

In this brief, four part, study of logic and probability we have seen that the debate concerning the origin of life and of the universe quite naturally and of necessity falls into two camps, i.e., chance or intelligent design. The Law of the Excluded Middle forces the debate into those two, mutually exclusive, options. We have also seen though our rapid lesson on probability that joint, complex, interrelated and highly improbable events are extremely unlikely so as to border on the impossible. These logical and mathematical realities should lead the unbiased inquirer to conclude that the universe and life itself came into being by means of intelligent design.

Why then do so many cling so tenaciously to the “by chance” explanation of the origin of the universe and of life? One reason may be the Law of the Excluded Middle combined with rejection of the concept of a designer. Remember, if it wasn’t by chance then it must have been by “not chance”. But “not chance” is equivalent to saying design and that means intelligent design. One must either accept intelligent design or insist that everything that exists and life itself happened by chance. Those with a philosophical commitment which excludes design are left with chance as the only logical choice available to them. The problem lies in that often this philosophical presupposition is believed to be science and is proclaimed as science. The actual scientific evidence and logic lie on the side of intelligent design.

segunda-feira, novembro 06, 2006

Sou Um Fundamentalista?

Dave Hunt

[Saiba mais sobre esse assunto]

"Você é um fundamentalista!" A acusação me foi dirigida quando ainda era um calouro da universidade, recém-saído do serviço militar, em 1947. Da maneira como ela foi feita, com tamanho desprezo, nenhuma explicação foi necessária para compreender que ser rotulado de "fundamentalista" era um dos mais terríveis insultos no orgulhoso mundo acadêmico. Respondi algo como: "Se ser fundamentalista significa aderir aos sólidos fundamentos da matemática, da contabilidade, da química ou de qualquer outra ciência, então aceito alegremente o título. E já que a Bíblia é literalmente a Palavra de Deus e é inerrante (sem erros), a única escolha inteligente é aceitá-la e permanecer fiel aos seus fundamentos". Essa resposta apenas aumentou a frustração e a ira dos que debatiam acaloradamente comigo já por duas horas.

A ocasião foi o primeiro encontro da "Hora dos Críticos", uma novidade que havia sido criada recentemente por alunos e professores da universidade para ridicularizar e desacreditar a Bíblia. Entre os espectadores havia um bom número de crentes que eu conhecia do grupo cristão do campus, mas nenhum deles disse uma palavra sequer. Fiquei sozinho naquele auditório, sendo alvejado com argumentos de todos os lados, todos favoráveis à evolução e ao ateísmo. Sendo um ingênuo jovem de 21 anos, fiquei chocado com a animosidade tão abertamente demonstrada contra a Bíblia e contra o Deus da Bíblia.

Naquele ponto da minha vida, mal ouvira falar de Harry Emerson Fosdick, pastor da Primeira Igreja Presbiteriana de Nova Iorque, uma pessoa-chave no liberalismo/modernismo americano. Tampouco fazia idéia da crescente rejeição da infalibilidade da Bíblia entre muitas pessoas que se chamavam cristãos. O nome de J. Gresham Machen era-me completamente desconhecido. Portanto, nada sabia acerca da batalha perdida que ele sustentara no Seminário de Princeton, na década de 1920, contra as heresias que levaram aquela escola a tornar-se completamente liberal e que alcançaram a maioria das igrejas presbiterianas.

Cristianismo com "roupagem" moderna

Os servos mais eficientes de Satanás são mestres em ambigüidades. Fosdick reivindicava honrar a doutrina, mas ao mesmo tempo advertia sobre o "perigo de dar ênfase demais à doutrina..." Ele afirmou que "nada realmente importa na religião, a não ser aquelas coisas que fomentam o bem individual e público... e o progresso social."1 Fosdick foi reconhecido naquele tempo pela maioria dos cristãos verdadeiros como o incrédulo que realmente era. Mas, Norman Vincent Peale, não menos herege que Fosdick, conseguiu achar aceitação virtualmente em toda parte, bem como seu famoso discípulo Robert Schuller.

O modernista toma as últimas idéias do mundo secular e enganosamente as veste com linguagem cristã. Ninguém tem feito isso com maior perfeição do que os atuais psicólogos cristãos, que de algum modo tomam teorias anticristãs de inimigos declarados do Evangelho e as "integram" à teologia. Peale foi o primeiro a fazer isso. Em 1937, ele fundou uma clínica "cristã" de psiquiatria em sua igreja. A clínica tornou-se modelo para numerosas outras semelhantes, as quais têm gerado fortunas para seus fundadores.

Machen foi exato ao demonstrar que a intimidação pela ciência e o desejo de obter aceitação e respeito na comunidade acadêmica têm resultado em comprometimentos, que na prática descaracterizam o Evangelho. Essa ânsia tem influenciado cada vez mais os seminários e faculdades cristãs. Machen acusou os liberais de "tentar remover do cristianismo todas as coisas que não possam ser aceitas pela ciência."2

Muitos dos evangélicos de hoje em dia parecem pensar que os cientistas sabem mais sobre o Universo do que o próprio Criador. Será que a Bíblia é frágil devido à ignorância de Deus? O resultado é um comprometimento fatal para a verdadeira fé. Temos observado isso na aceitação da evolução teísta por parte da revista "Christianity Today" (Cristianismo Hoje), dos "Promise Keepers" (Guardadores de Promessas) e de muitos seminários e universidades cristãs, mesmo que ela contradiga plenamente a Bíblia e subverta o Evangelho. O mesmo comprometimento ocorre quando se questiona a narrativa bíblica do dilúvio.

Billy Graham, que há décadas abandonou sua posição fundamentalista, recentemente disse não estar certo se o dilúvio de Noé foi realmente de âmbito mundial. O New Bible Commentary da InterVarsity também afirma: "A narrativa (bíblica) não relata diretamente um dilúvio universal..." A Bíblia, ao contrário, não deixa espaço para tais devaneios: "...tudo o que há na terra perecerá" (Gn 6.17). "...e da superfície da terra exterminarei todos os seres que fiz" (Gn 7.4). "...e os montes foram cobertos. Pereceu toda carne..., ficou somente Noé, e os que com ele estavam na arca" (Gn 7.20-23). As instruções de Deus para Noé, de que trouxesse um par de cada espécie para a arca, só têm sentido se o dilúvio atingiu o mundo inteiro. Deus prometeu não voltar a destruir a terra por água novamente (Gn 9.11), todavia têm havido muitas enchentes regionais desde aquele tempo. A destruição futura do mundo, conforme profetizada por Pedro, seria apenas um incêndio localizado, se o dilúvio com que é comparado foi limitado (2 Pe 3.6-7). Finalmente, Jesus compara Seu futuro julgamento da humanidade ao dilúvio (Mt 24.38-41).

Um cristianismo sem inerrância

Temos que crer na Bíblia inteira. Isto é fundamentalismo bíblico. Se Gênesis não é exato em cada detalhe, em qual parte da Bíblia poderemos confiar, então? Se a Bíblia está errada quanto à origem do homem e seu pecado, como poderemos confiar no que ela diz sobre a sua redenção e seu destino eterno? Na verdade a Bíblia está absolutamente certa em tudo que declara.

Se as últimas descobertas da ciência concordam ou não com a Bíblia, isso não deve inquietar ao fundamentalista. Como confiamos em Deus, não somos intimidados pelos homens. Só um tolo trocaria a Palavra infalível de Deus pelas opiniões mutáveis e falíveis dos homens. Os cientistas cometem erros e muitas vezes são condicionados por preconceitos. No seu livro Great Feuds in Science, o historiador Hal Hellman documenta que até os maiores cientistas têm sido "influenciados por orgulho, ambição, cobiça, inveja e até por evidente impulso de estar certo".3

Tragicamente, diminui gradativamente o número de cristãos que ainda defendem a inerrância bíblica e a sua suficiência, como Harold Lindsell documenta em The Battle for the Bible. O Seminário Teológico Fuller é um exemplo citado por ele. Podemos dizer com certeza que para as multidões envolvidas no atual movimento evangélico a inerrância raramente se constitui num problema, pois tais pessoas se apóiam em experiências e emoções mais que em doutrina. Para muitos atualmente, o amor por Jesus é um maravilhoso sentimento, divorciado completamente da verdade que Jesus afirma ser. No livro The Bible in the Balance, Lindsell confessa que "a palavra 'evangélico' tem se tornado tão desonrada que perdeu sua utilidade... Talvez seja melhor adotar a palavra 'fundamentalista', mesmo com todos os ataques depreciativos que tem sofrido por parte dos seus críticos".

Motivos de rejeição do fundamentalismo

O fundamentalismo tem sido estigmatizado por duas razões: (1) alguns cristãos fundamentalistas são fanáticos e afastam-se de outros cristãos de uma forma insensata e anti-bíblica; e (2) por causa do exemplo do fundamentalismo muçulmano, que apregoa que todos precisam adotar as mesmas roupas e costumes que Maomé adotou no século VII. Consagrados que são ao alvo islâmico de conquistar o mundo pela força, esses muçulmanos fundamentalistas são responsáveis por muitos dos atuais atos de terrorismo. Por conseqüência, também os cristãos fundamentalistas, cuja lei maior é o amor, são freqüentemente retratados com estas mesmas cores de fanatismo.

Um cristianismo de popularidade

Todos que desejam confiar e obedecer à Palavra de Cristo e que querem ser Seus verdadeiros discípulos (Jo 8.31-32), precisam estar prontos a permanecer sozinhos, como Daniel e seus amigos. Com medo de serem diferentes, muitos cristãos seguem a multidão. Famintos pelos louvores deste mundo, eles amam "mais a glória dos homens, do que a glória de Deus" (Jo 12.43). C.H. Spurgeon ficou virtualmente sozinho, abandonado mesmo pelos seus ex-alunos e amigos, quando foi censurado pela União Batista Britânica, por sua indisposição em tolerar a apostasia dentro daquele grupo. A. W. Tozer declarou, pouco antes de morrer: "por causa do que tenho pregado não sou bem recebido em quase nenhuma igreja na América do Norte." Que acusação contra aqueles pastores e igrejas!

Cristo advertiu: "Ai de vós, quando todos vos louvarem! porque assim procederam seus pais com os falsos profetas" (Lc 6.26). Ele afirmou que a verdadeira fé em Deus é impossível quando nós aceitamos "glória uns dos outros", e, contudo, não procuramos "a glória que vem do Deus único" (Jo 5.44). John Ashbrook escreve que o "novo evangelicalismo está determinado a impressionar o mundo com seu intelectualismo. Ele tem estado a buscar o respeito da comunidade acadêmica. Determinou ganhar glória nas fontes do ensino secular."4 Carl Henry observou que "em conseqüência da crescente atitude de tolerância... a fé cristã foi embalada de forma a facilitar sua comercialização."5

O único inimigo do liberalismo é a firme adesão do fundamentalismo à autoridade e suficiência das Escrituras. D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones lamenta o fato de que muitos evangélicos mudaram de "pregar" para "compartilhar" a Palavra de Deus, o que sutilmente transfere a autoridade da Palavra de Deus para a experiência e opinião humanas.6 Tal comprometimento, além de não ajudar o incrédulo a enxergar a luz; ainda o deixa mais cego. Essa tolerância estimula a resistência dos homens em se submeterem à autoridade de Deus. O liberalismo, inevitavelmente, endurece cada vez mais contra a verdade. Podemos ver isso atualmente em todo o mundo.

A tolerância quanto ao homossexualismo

A aceitação de homossexuais, em nome da tolerância e do liberalismo, tem produzido uma intolerância cada vez maior contra qualquer outro ponto de vista. O mundo inteiro, que por milhares de anos considerou o homossexualismo como antinatural e vergonhoso, agora está sendo forçado a abandonar tal convicção. Os homossexuais, que reivindicavam tolerância, têm se mostrado totalmente intolerantes na medida em que conquistam poder. Eles atacam com malícia, verbal e fisicamente, qualquer pessoa que queira manter uma opinião independente. O mundo tem sido coagido a garantir privilégios especiais aos homossexuais, apesar do estilo de vida "gay" ser cheio de práticas nocivas, levando à proliferação de doenças que ameaçam a sociedade em geral e reduzem pela metade a expectativa de vida das pessoas. A incurável AIDS, embora se propague em proporções epidêmicas, afetando inocentes e sendo fatal para todos que a contraem, é tratada com um sigilo perigoso e um status privilegiado, devido à sua penetração entre os homossexuais.

A tolerância quanto ao evolucionismo

Vemos a mesma intolerância nos evolucionistas que acusam os criacionistas de pensamento bitolado. A ciência deve promover a liberdade de investigar e aceitar os fatos. Mas, em nome da ciência, a teoria da evolução é ensinada às crianças nas escolas públicas como fato, enquanto as evidências contra ela são omitidas e a alternativa bíblica e racional da criação de Deus não é admitida nem considerada.

A situação na Rússia

Numa recente viagem a Rússia, um dos principais responsáveis pelo sistema educacional nos disse o seguinte: "Por setenta anos vimos os frutos da imposição dogmática de apenas uma opinião aos alunos. Estamos cheios disso e ansiosos para considerar as alternativas". O colapso do comunismo deixou um vácuo moral que a Rússia está tentando preencher com os ensinos da Bíblia. Paradoxalmente, as escolas da Rússia agora acolhem os mesmos ensinos morais e da criação que estão banidos das escolas americanas! Não podemos saber quanto tempo isso vai durar. A Igreja Ortodoxa Russa, intolerante e firmemente contrária ao Evangelho, está procurando retomar o monopólio da religião - e alguns evangélicos americanos estão cooperando com esse sistema anticristão. Oremos pela Rússia.

O "cristianismo" foi introduzido em 988 d.C. no país que mais tarde se tornou a Rússia, pelo príncipe Vladimir. Antes ele havia considerado o islamismo, já que suas vinte esposas não causavam problema para aquela "fé". Mas como o islamismo proíbe o álcool, ele acabou abraçando o "cristianismo" da Igreja Ortodoxa, onde o álcool corria livremente (muitos monges e sacerdotes bebem intensamente) e onde a opulência dos rituais tem um apelo misterioso. Ele decretou uma esposa como "oficial", mantendo as outras dezenove como concubinas, enquanto usava o álcool livremente. Foi assim que a Rússia "converteu-se" ao "cristianismo". Em 1988, o milésimo aniversário desse evento foi celebrado com pompa e ritual. Billy Graham esteve presente para trazer suas congratulações. Na ocasião, ele disse: "Sinto-me profundamente honrado em congratular-me com vocês nesta histórica e alegre ocasião em que se comemora o milésimo aniversário do batismo da Rússia, proporcionado pelo batismo do príncipe Vladimir, de Kiev..."7

A Igreja Ortodoxa, assim como o catolicismo romano, é inimiga jurada do Evangelho. Ela tem mantido o povo russo na escravidão e na superstição, ensinando-o a buscar nela a salvação, beijando seus ícones, pagando por orações e sacramentos. Embora rejeite o purgatório do catolicismo, ensina que, através de nossas orações, as almas podem ser resgatadas do inferno para o céu.

Visitamos, nas proximidades de Moscou, o centro da Igreja Ortodoxa, com seu seminário e muitas igrejas. Monges com quem falei explicaram que a morte de Cristo possibilitou a nossa entrada no céu, desde que fôssemos batizados, participássemos dos sacramentos e "vivêssemos o Evangelho". Para eles, a porta que Cristo abriu está no cume duma alta escada que precisamos subir pelos nossos próprios esforços, obedecendo à Igreja e auxiliados por ela.

Fui um dos preletores numa conferência em Moscou que atraiu pastores e membros de igrejas de toda a Rússia. Havia uma indisfarçável expectativa de que a Palavra de Deus fosse ensinada. Eu expus abertamente os ensinos e práticas não-bíblicas da Igreja Ortodoxa Russa que (como a Igreja Católica no Ocidente) perseguiu e assassinou multidões de verdadeiros cristãos. A Igreja Ortodoxa, que estabeleceu parceria tanto com os czares como com os comunistas que os sucederam, pressionou o presidente Yeltsin a favor da nova lei que suprime a liberdade religiosa (essa lei está sendo atualmente implementada em pequenas cidades fora de Moscou). Centenas de fitas de vídeo e de áudio de nossa conferência estão sendo distribuídas por toda a Rússia. Oremos para que dêem frutos!

Fundamentalismo é não negociar o inegociável

Como avisamos aos irmãos e irmãs da Rússia, o verdadeiro "crer no Senhor Jesus Cristo" para a salvação tem que ser uma profunda convicção e não apenas uma mera preferência. E esta corajosa convicção certamente será seguida de grande oposição e terrível violência da parte de Satanás e da carne. Lembrando que a eternidade nos espera em breve, jamais devemos trocar o eterno "muito bem, servo bom" de Deus pela aprovação dos homens nesta vida tão curta. A plenitude de vida, tanto agora como por toda a eternidade, tanto para nós mesmos como para as pessoas a quem temos a oportunidade e a responsabilidade de influenciar, depende desta verdade inegociável.

(TBC 8/98 - publicado anteriormente em português no Jornal Fundamentalista - União Bíblica Fundamentalista - Cx. Postal 567 - 60001-970 FORTALEZA CE 0 ++ (85) 214-1412)


© Copyright CACP 2003

Pr. João Flávio & Presb. Paulo Cristiano

quinta-feira, novembro 02, 2006

Did Jesus Really Perform Miracles?

Daniel Morais and Michael Gleghorn

[Leia este artigo em português]

What Do Modern Historians Think?
“I can believe Jesus was a great person, a great teacher. But I can’t believe He performed miracles.” Ever hear comments like this? Maybe you’ve wondered this yourself. Did Jesus really perform miracles?

Marcus Borg, a prominent member of the Jesus Seminar{1}, has stated, “Despite the difficulty which miracles pose for the modern mind, on historical grounds it is virtually indisputable that Jesus was a healer and exorcist.”{2} Commenting on Jesus’ ability to heal the blind, deaf, and others, A. M. Hunter writes, “For these miracles the historical evidence is excellent.”{3}
Critical historians once believed that the miracles attributed to Jesus in the Bible were purely the product of legendary embellishment. Such exaggerations about Jesus’ life and deeds developed from oral traditions which became more and more fantastic with time until they were finally recorded in the New Testament. We all know how tall tales develop. One person tells a story. Then another tells much the same story, but exaggerates it a bit. Over time the story becomes so fantastic that it barely resembles the original. This is what many scholars once believed happened to Jesus’ life, as it’s recorded in the Gospels. Is this true? And do most New Testament historians believe this today?

The answer is no. In light of the evidence for the historicity of Jesus’ miracles in the Gospels, few scholars today would attempt to explain these events as purely the result of legend or myth. In fact, most New Testament scholars now believe that Jesus did in fact perform healings and exorcisms.{4} Even many liberal scholars would say that Jesus drew large crowds of people primarily because of his ability to heal and “exorcise demons.”{5} But because many of these liberal scholars don’t believe in spiritual beings, they also don’t believe that these healings should be attributed to the direct intervention of God in the world. Instead, they believe that Jesus’ miracles and healings have a purely natural explanation. Many of them think that Jesus only healed psychosomatic maladies.{6} The term psychosomatic means mind-body, so psychosomatic maladies are mind-body problems. The mind can have a powerful impact on the health of the body. Under extreme distress people can become blind, deaf or even suffer paralysis. Since psychosomatic problems typically go away on their own, many liberal scholars think that faith in Jesus’ ability to heal might help to heal some people suffering from these conditions. But is there good reason to believe that Jesus could cure real sicknesses?

Could These Miracles Be Legendary?

Often, historians who tried to explain away stories of Jesus’ miracles as purely the result of legendary developments believed that the “real” Jesus was little more than a good man and a wise teacher. The major problem with this theory is that legends take time to develop. Multiple generations would be needed for the true oral tradition regarding Jesus’ life to be replaced by an exaggerated, fictitious version. For example, many historians believe that Alexander the Great’s biography stayed fairly accurate for about five hundred years. Legendary details didn’t begin to develop until the following five hundred years.{7} A gross misrepresentation of Jesus’ life occurring one or two generations after his death is highly unlikely. Jesus was a very public figure. When He entered a town, He drew large crowds of people. Jesus is represented as a miracle worker at every level of the New Testament tradition. This includes not only the four Gospels, but also the hypothetical sayings source, called Q, which may have been written just a few years after Jesus’ death. Many eyewitnesses of Christ would still have been alive at the time these documents were composed. These eyewitnesses were the source of the oral tradition regarding Jesus’ life, and in light of his very public ministry, a strong oral tradition would be present in Israel for many years after his death.

If Jesus had never actually performed any miracles, then the Gospel writers would have faced a nearly impossible task in getting anyone to believe that He had. It would be like trying to change John F. Kennedy from a great president into an amazing miracle worker. Such a task would be virtually impossible since many of us have seen JFK on TV, read about him in the papers, or even seen him in person. Because he was a public figure, oral tradition about his life is very strong even today. Anyone trying to introduce this false idea would never be taken seriously.

During the second half of the first century, Christians faced intense persecution and even death. These people obviously took the disciples’ teaching about Jesus’ life seriously. They were willing to die for it. This only makes sense if the disciples and the authors of the Gospels represented Jesus’ life accurately. You can’t easily pass off made-up stories about public figures when eyewitnesses are still alive who remember them. Oral tradition tends to remain fairly accurate for many generations after their deaths.{8}

In light of this, it’s hard to deny that Jesus did in fact work wonders.

Conversion from Legend to Conversion Disorder

It might be surprising to hear that Jesus is believed by most New Testament historians to have been a successful healer and exorcist.{9} Since His miracles are the most conspicuous aspect of his ministry, the miracle tradition found in the Gospels could not be easily explained had their authors started with a Jesus who was simply a wise teacher. Prophets and teachers of the law were not traditionally made into miracle workers; there are almost no examples of this in the literature available to us.{10} It’s especially unlikely that Jesus would be made into a miracle worker since many Jews didn’t expect that the Messiah would perform miracles. The Gospel writers would not have felt the need to make this up were it not actually the case.{11}

Of course, most liberal scholars today don’t believe Jesus could heal any real illnesses. But such conclusions are reached, not because of any evidence, but because of prior prejudices against the supernatural. Secular historians deny that Jesus cured any real, organic illnesses or performed any nature miracles such as walking on water.{12} They believe He could only heal conversion disorders or the symptoms associated with real illnesses.{13} Conversion disorder is a rare condition that afflicts approximately fourteen to twenty-two of every 100,000 people.{14}

Conversion disorders are psychosomatic problems in which intense emotional trauma results in blindness, paralysis, deafness, and other baffling impairments.

Many liberal scholars today would say that Jesus drew large crowds of people primarily because of his ability to heal. But if Jesus could only cure conversion disorders, then it’s unlikely He would have drawn such large crowds. As a practicing optometrist, I’ve seen thousands of patients with real vision loss due either to refractive problems or pathology. But only one of them could be diagnosed with blindness due to conversion disorder. Conversion disorders are rare. In order for Jesus to draw large crowds of people He would have had to be a successful healer. But if He could only heal conversion disorders, thousands of sick people would have had to be present for him to heal just one person. But how could He draw such large crowds if He could only heal one person in 10,000? Sick people would have often needed to travel many miles to see Jesus. Such limited ability to heal could hardly have motivated thousands of people to walk many miles to see Jesus, especially if they were sick and feeble. If Jesus was drawing large crowds, He must have been able to heal more than simply conversion disorders.

Did Jesus Raise the Dead?

“Did Jesus ever raise the dead? Is there any evidence to back this up?” Many secular historians, though agreeing that Jesus was a successful healer and exorcist, don’t believe that He could perform nature miracles. Due to prior prejudices against the supernatural, these historians don’t believe it’s possible for anyone to raise the dead, walk on water, or heal true organic diseases. These historians believe Jesus’ healings were primarily psychological in nature.{15} Is there any evidence that Jesus had the power to work actual miracles such as raising the dead?
Yes. It almost seems that the more fantastic the miracle, the more evidence is available to support it. In fact, the most incredible miracle recorded in the Gospels is actually the one which has the greatest evidential support. This miracle is Jesus’ resurrection.{16} Is there any reason to believe that Jesus may have raised others from the dead as well?/

There is compelling evidence to believe that He did. In John 11 there’s the story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead.{17} A careful reading of this text reveals many details that would be easy for anyone in the first century to confirm or deny. John records that Lazarus was the brother of Mary and Martha. He also says that this miracle took place in Bethany where Lazarus, Mary, and Martha lived, and that Bethany was less than two miles from Jerusalem. John’s gospel is believed to have been written in AD 90, just sixty years after the events it records. It's possible that a few people who witnessed this event, or at least had heard of it, would still be alive to confirm it. If someone wanted to check this out, it would be easy to do. John says this took place in Bethany, and then He tells us the town’s approximate location. All someone would have to do to check this out would be to go to Bethany and ask someone if Lazarus, the brother of Mary and Martha, had ever been raised from the dead. Villages were generally small in those days and people knew each other’s business. Almost anyone in that town could easily confirm or deny whether they had ever heard of such an event. If John just made this story up, he probably wouldn’t have included so much information that could be easily checked out by others to see if he was lying. Instead, he probably would have written a vague story about Jesus going to some unnamed town where He raised some unnamed person from the dead. This way no one could confirm or deny the event. John put these details in to show that he wasn’t lying. He wanted people to investigate his story. He wanted people to go to Bethany, ask around, and see for themselves what really happened there.

What Did Jesus’ Enemies Say?

“Sure, Jesus’ followers believed He could work miracles. But what about his enemies, what did they say?” If Jesus never worked any miracles, we would expect ancient, hostile Jewish literature to state this fact. But does such literature deny Jesus’ ability to work miracles? There are several unsympathetic references to Jesus in ancient Jewish and pagan literature as early as the second century AD. But none of the ancient Jewish sources deny Jesus’ ability to perform miracles.{18} Instead, they try to explain these powers away by referring to him as a sorcerer.{19} If the historical Jesus were merely a wise teacher who only later, through legendary embellishments, came to be regarded as a miracle worker, there should have been a prominent Jewish oral tradition affirming this fact. This tradition would likely have survived among the Jews for hundreds of years in order to counter the claims of Christians who might use Jesus’ miraculous powers as evidence of his divine status. But there’s no evidence that any such Jewish tradition portrayed Jesus as merely a wise teacher. Many of these Jewish accounts are thought to have arisen from a separate oral tradition apart from that held by Christians, and yet both traditions agree on this point.{20} If it were known that Jesus had no special powers, these accounts would surely point that out rather than reluctantly affirm it. The Jews would likely have been uncomfortable with Jesus having miraculous powers since this could be used as evidence by his followers to support his self-proclaimed status as the unique Son of God (a position most Jews firmly denied). This is why Jesus’ enemies tried to explain his powers away as sorcery.

Not only do these accounts affirm Jesus’ supernatural abilities, they also seem to support the ability of his followers to heal in his name. In the Talmud, there’s a story of a rabbi who is bitten by a venomous snake and calls on a Christian named Jacob to heal him. Unfortunately, before Jacob can get there, the rabbi dies.{21} Apparently, the rabbi believed this Christian could heal him. Not only did Jews seem to recognize the ability of Christians to heal in Christ’s name, but pagans did as well. The name of Christ has been found in many ancient pagan spells.{22} If even many non-Christians recognized that there was power to heal in Christ’s name, there must have been some reason for it.

So, a powerful case can be made for the historicity of Jesus’ miracles. Christians needn’t view these miracles as merely symbolic stories intended to teach lessons. These miracles have a solid foundation in history and should be regarded as historical fact.


1. Gary R. Habermas, "Did Jesus Perform Miracles?," in Jesus Under Fire: Modern Scholarship Reinvents the Historical Jesus, by eds. Michael J. Wilkins and J.P. Moreland (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1995), 124.
2. Marcus J. Borg, Jesus, A New Vision: Spirit, Culture, and The Life of Discipleship (San Francisco: Harper San Francisco, 1991), 61.
3. A.M. Hunter, Jesus: Lord and Saviour (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1976), 63.
4. Wilkins and Moreland, Jesus Under Fire, 124.
5. See Borg, Jesus, A New Vision, 60.
6. Wilkins and Moreland, Jesus Under Fire, 125.
7. Craig L. Blomberg, quoted in Lee Strobel, The Case for Christ (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1998), 33.
8. Grant R Jeffrey, The Signature of God (Nashville: Word Publishing, 1998) 102, 103.
9. Wilkins and Moreland, Jesus Under Fire, 124, 125.
10. Smith, Jesus the Magician: Charlatan or Son of God? (Berkeley: Seastone, 1998), 21.
11. Graham H. Twelftree, Jesus, The Miracle Worker: A Historical and Theological Study (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1999), 247.
12. Ibid.
13. Wilkins and Moreland, Jesus Under Fire, 125.
14. See the National Organization for Rare Diseases' official Web site at www.rarediseases.org/nord/search/rdbdetail_fullreport_pf (5/04/2006).
15. Wilkins and Moreland, Jesus Under Fire, 125.
16. William Lane Craig, "The Empty Tomb of Jesus," in In Defense of Miracles: A Comprehensive Case for God's Action in History, by eds. R. Douglas Geivett and Gary R. Habermas (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1997), 247-261 and Gary R. Habermas, "The Resurrection Appearances of Jesus," Ibid., 261-275.
17. John. 11:1-44.
18. See Alan Humm, "Toledoth Yeshu," at ccat.sas.upenn.edu/humm/Topics/JewishJesus/toledoth.html (2/17/1997).
19. Ibid.
20. Twelftree, Jesus, The Miracle Worker, 255.
21. Smith, Jesus the Magician, 63.
22. Ibid., 83.

© 2006 Probe Ministries