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Monday, September 18, 2017

Leaping and Bible Inspiration

by Dave Miller, Ph.D.

One of the marvelous confirmations of the inspiration of the Bible is the existence of hundreds of prophecies in which the writers predicted events far into the future from their day. This phenomenon is particularly fascinating with regard to the “Messianic” prophecies, i.e., those that anticipated the coming of the Messiah, Jesus the Christ.
One such prophecy uttered by the “Messianic prophet” Isaiah is the one found in chapter 35 of his oracles. Specifically, consider the following:
Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened,
and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped.
Then the lame shall leap like a deer,
and the tongue of the dumb sing.
For waters shall burst forth in the wilderness,
and streams in the desert (35:5-6).
This passage, believed to have been uttered in the 8th century B.C., predicted that in the Messianic age to come, i.e., the Christian era, as a result of the miraculous empowerment that would accompany the initial introduction of the Gospel, the blind, the deaf, the lame, and the dumb (“mute,” NASB) would experience healing. Interestingly, one would expect as a result of their healing, the blind would be able to see and the deaf would be able to hear. And, comparably, one might expect the prophet to indicate that the lame would walk and the dumb would speak. However, instead, the dumb would not merely talk; they would sing. And the lame would not merely walk; they would “leap like a deer.” This latter detail is intriguing. The prophet might merely have been speaking figuratively, simply highlighting the concept that the lame would no longer be confined to his immobility.
However, when one turns to the New Testament and reads the inspired account of the launching of Christianity in the form of the establishment of Christ’s church after His ascension into heaven—a fact which He fully predicted (Matthew 16:18-19; 18:17; 26:29; Acts 1:3)—one sees the unfolding of the presentation of the Gospel to the Jerusalem Jews. Luke was given the responsibility of reporting for all time the first 30 years of the history of Christianity. Early in his record, he reports an incident that confirms Isaiah’s prophetic prediction:
Now Peter and John went up together to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour. And a certain man lame from his mother’s womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms from those who entered the temple; who, seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, asked for alms. And fixing his eyes on him, with John, Peter said, “Look at us.” So he gave them his attention, expecting to receive something from them. Then Peter said, “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.” And he took him by the right hand and lifted him up, and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength. So he, leaping up, stood and walked and entered the temple with them—walking, leaping, and praising God. And all the people saw him walking and praising God. Then they knew that it was he who sat begging alms at the Beautiful Gate of the temple; and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him (Acts 3:1-10).
Observe that the lame man was told by Peter to “rise up and walk.” The lame man walked alright, but Luke meticulously reports that the man also “leaped.” This minute detail cannot be coincidental. By divine assistance, Isaiah peered across more than seven centuries into the first century A.D. to see an unnamed man, who had been lame from birth, leaping up as a beneficiary of the confirmatory (Mark 16:20)1 miracles that accompanied the advent of Christianity, “walking, leaping, and praising God.” How in the world could a mere man have predicted such a minute detail so many centuries in advance? He could not have done so on his own ability. Indeed, as Peter stated: “[P]rophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:21).

ENDNOTE

1 Dave Miller (2003), “Modern-Day Miracles, Tongue-Speaking, and Holy Spirit Baptism: A Refutation—EXTENDED VERSION,” Apologetics Press, http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=11&article=1399&topic=293.





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Monday, August 28, 2017

Where Did the Different “Races” Come From?

“Where did the different ‘races’ of men upon the earth come from?”

The Evolutionary View

At the commencement of this discussion, we must insist that the so-called “racial” developments did not result from an evolutionary ascendancy, with certain “races” being lower than others on the animal-to-human scale.
For many years this was the evolutionary propaganda line, though most modern disciples of Darwin shrink back from it because of changing social values. But the sub-title of Charles Darwin’s book, The Origin of Species (1859) was: By Means Of Natural Selection: Or, The Preservation Of Favored Races In The Struggle For Life.
One writer has observed:
“After 1859, the evolutionary schema raised additional questions, particularly whether or not Afro-Americans could survive competition with their white near-relations. The momentous answer [in the evolutionary community] was a resounding no . . .The African was inferior — he represented the missing link between the ape and the Teuton” (John C. Burnham, Science, Vol. 175, February 4, 1972, p. 506).
Henry Fairfield Osborn was a professor of biology and zoology at Columbia University. For a quarter of a century (1908-33), he also served as the President of the American Museum of Natural History’s Board of Trustees. Osborn once wrote:
“The Negroid stock is even more ancient than the Caucasian and Mongolians, as may be proved by an examination not only of the brain, of the hair, of the bodily characteristics . . .but of the instinct, the intelligence. The standard of intelligence of the average adult Negro is similar to that of the eleven-year old youth of the species Homo sapiens” (“The Evolution of Human Races,” Natural History, January/February, 1926; reprinted in the April, 1980 edition, p. 129).
Those who view “race” development through evolutionary “colored lenses” do not compliment themselves.

The Biblical View

The Bible does not classify human beings along the “racial” lines that are common to modern thought. The Greek term that is rendered “race” — several times in the American Standard Version of the Bible (cf. Mk. 7:26; Acts 4:36; 18:2,24) — finds a variety of translation expressions in the old King James Version.
The word genos occurs 21 times in the Greek New Testament. In the KJV, it is rendered by such terms as “kind” (Mt. 13:47; 17:21; 1 Cor. 12:10; 14:10), “kindred” (Acts 4:6; 7:13,19), “country” (Acts 4:36), “offspring” (Acts 17:28-29; Rev. 22:16), “nation” (Mk. 7:26; Gal. 1:14), “stock” (Acts 13:26; Phil. 3:5), “born” (Acts 18:2,24), “countryman” (2 Cor. 11:26), “generation” (1 Pet. 2:9), “diversity” (1 Cor. 12:28).
As the careful student can see, in not a single passage is the term used of a pigmentation distinction, e.g., white race, black race, yellow race, etc. The Scriptures speak of nations, tribes, tongues [languages], and peoples, but they do not focus upon color shades. Geographical regions or close cultural associations are the usual applications of the word.
The following facts are most relevant to this issue.
All human beings are from a solitary human couple, Adam and Eve, who were fashioned by the hand of God himself (Gen. 1:26-27; 2:7,21-23). In his discourse to the Athenians, Paul declared that God “made of one every nation [ethnos] of men to dwell on all the face of the earth” (Acts 17:26 – ASV).
The expression “of one,” as it appears in the Greek Testament, is ex henos, literally “out of one male.” The allusion clearly is to Adam, out of whose side came Eve (Gen. 2:21-23), and, ultimately all humanity (Gen. 3:20). From the divine vantage point, there is no diversity of ethnicity.
In Acts chapter 10 there is the record of the first instance of Gentiles being admitted into the kingdom of Christ. The case involved Cornelius, a Roman centurion who worshipped the true God (v. 2), but who had not been proselytized to the Jewish system (cf. Acts 2:11). By a vision, the Lord instructed the Roman officer to send for Peter, who would provide the necessary information for conversion (vv. 3ff; cf. 11:14).
Similarly, Peter was supplied with a supernatural “nudge,” motivating him to go to this Gentile dignitary with the gospel (vv. 9ff). When all the respective parties made their connection, the apostle explained why this unusual event was transpiring. It was because “God is no respecter of persons: but in every nation he who fears [reverences] him, and works righteousness, is acceptable to him” (vv. 34-35).
The phrase “respecter of persons” is quite interesting. In the Greek text it constitutes a single word, prosopolemptes, literally to “lay hold on a face” (see W.E. Vine, Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words under “Persons (respect of)).”The Lord does not look at the color of a person’s face; he looks at the quality of his soul (cf. 1 Sam. 16:7; Gal. 2:6).
From a biological standpoint, it is obvious that from the commencement of the human family, mankind was designed with the potential for ethnic expansion.The mechanism for variation was packaged within the human genetic reservoir.
Each human cell contains that marvelous chemical substance known as DNA (short for deoxyribonucleic acid). DNA is the code that has been programmed by the Creator for the productions of different “kinds” of biological organisms, which includes the potential for variability within those kinds. It has been estimated that the DNA in a single human cell, if decoded and translated into English, would fill a 1,000 volume set of encyclopedias of some 600 pages each (Rick Gore, National Geographic, September, 1976, p. 357).
Another element that must be factored into this scenario is the historical circumstance of the dispersing of the human family in the days of the post-Flood era. Early humanity largely had neglected the Creator’s charge to “fill the earth” (Gen. 1:28). In fact, a significant portion absolutely refused to do so (see Gen. 11:4).
Accordingly, God “confounded” their speech and “scattered them abroad” (Gen. 11:6ff). The subsequent separations created the circumstances that accommodated the physical variations of the human family. It is a well-known fact that in tight-knit societies, “dominant” genes tend to produce a more static set of traits, whereas in smaller populated groups “recessive” genes are allowed greater freedom to flourish, hence, more variable physical characteristics flourish.
The combined factors, therefore, of an incredibly rich genetic pool, together with an eventual dispersal of the human family, found just the right set of environments for the development of varying physical features.

Conclusion

In spite of the many minute differences between certain groups of humankind, overall each of the culturally segmented groups of the family of man is remarkably similar. In fact, note the following concession from a prominent evolutionist. Dr. Ashley Montagu has written:
“The members of all ethnic groups are far too much alike in their structural and functional characteristics for them to have originated from different apelike forms. And that is precisely the point, the more we study the different ethnic groups of man the more alike they turn out to be. The likenesses by far outnumber the differences” (Human Heredity, New York: The New American Library, 1960, p. 184).
Those “likenessness” separate human beings from the animal “kinds,” and yet the “differences” reveal God’s infinite wisdom in creative design! We should give thanks unto him, for we have been “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psa. 139:14).
SCRIPTURE REFERENCES
Mark 7:26; Acts 4:36, 18:2, 24; Matthew 13:47, 17:21; 1 Corinthians 12:10, 14:10; Acts 4:6, 7:13, 19; Acts 4:36; Acts 17:28-29; Revelation 22:16; Galatians 1:14; Acts 13:26; Philippians 3:5; Acts 18:2, 24; 2 Corinthians 11:26; 1 Peter 2:9; 1 Corinthians 12:28; Genesis 1:26-27, 2:7, 21-23; Acts 17:26; Genesis 2:21-23; Genesis 3:20; Acts 2:11; Galatians 2:6; Genesis 1:28; Genesis 11:4; Genesis 11:6; Psalm 139:14
CITE THIS ARTICLE
Jackson, Wayne. "Where Did the Different "Races" Come From?" ChristianCourier.com. Access date: August 28, 2017. https://www.christiancourier.com/articles/679-where-did-the-different-races-come-from

Evolution: Irrational and Unnatural--Video 
While many evolutionists and naturalists/atheists believe that Christians have a blind faith, in actuality, it is the naturalist who holds to a blind faith. Christianity is the option that follows from the scientific evidence.
  Watch >>  

"Islamophobia"?

by Dave Miller, Ph.D.

Political correctness is running amok in American civilization. This irrational, self-contradictory ideology is virtually ensconced in culture. Millions have been victimized by this propaganda and intimidated into silence when confronted by ideas and behaviors that are immoral or destructive. This sinister ideology began to assert itself with a vengeance during the turbulent 1960s. In seemingly conspiratorial fashion, socialistic forces strategized means by which to bully mainstream Americans into silent passivity. As Cuban producer, director, and author Agustin Blazquez explains: “Change their speech and thought patterns by spreading the idea that vocalizing your beliefs is disrespectful to others and must be avoided to make up for past inequities and injustices” (2002). While accusing the status quo of censorship, attempting to stifle free speech, and oppress the left, ironically, the left now uses the very tactics they mistakenly imagined in their opponents. Hence, the social liberals in politics, education, and beyond launched “a sophisticated and dangerous form of censorship and oppression, imposed upon the citizenry with the ultimate goal of manipulating, brainwashing and destroying our society” (Blazquez). They have worked their agenda with a shrewd precision that would be the envy of the most sinister dictators of human history—from Nero to Hitler to Stalin.
Strangely, the effort to silence the traditional Christian values that have characterized America from the beginning has been accompanied by inconsistent and self-contradictory accommodation of Islam. Immediately after 9-11, the forces of political correctness sought to minimize the obvious connection between Islam and the attack by insisting that Islam is a peaceful religion, and by promoting Islam in public schools and encouraging the construction of Mosques throughout the country. Even as Christmas cards, Christian prayer, and allusions to Christianity in American history were being challenged across the country, an elementary school in Texas permitted a girl to present an overview and show a video about her Muslim religion to her classmates; a public middle school in San Luis Obispo, California had its students pretend to be warriors fighting for Islam; and a school near Oakland, California encouraged 125 seventh-grade students to dress up in Muslim robes for a three-week course on Islam. Consider the attack by Islamic gunmen that killed 12 people at the offices of a French satirical newspaper in Paris. The event evoked reactions that sought to lay blame on “disrespect for religion on the part of irresponsible cartoonists” and “violent extremists unrelated to Islam,” rather than placing blame on Sharia law, Islam, and the Quran (McCarthy, 2015; Packer, 2015; Kristof, 2015; “All in With…,” 2015; Tuttle, 2015).
The open promotion of Islam across the country has become widespread as footbaths are being installed in universities and other public facilities, traffic in New York City is disrupted by Muslims performing prayer rituals in the streets, public school classrooms and extracurricular activities are altered to accommodate Ramadan and daily prayer rituals, and the capitol lawn is given over to a Muslim prayer service involving hundreds. Any who dare even to question these proceedings are instantly pummeled and castigated as intolerant and “Islamophobic.”
As an example, consider the nationwide brouhaha that surrounded the construction of a mosque near ground zero. Despite what the left alleged, participating in a public rally to voice opposition to the construction of a mosque was not “bashing Islam” or being intolerant and “Islamophobic.” In 1941, the World War 2 generation was not being “Japophobic” when they went to war with Japan because Japanese aircraft bombed Pearl Harbor, killing some 2,400 of our young men, and wounding a 1,000 more. Nor were they “Naziphobic” when they sought to deter Germany from its attempted conquest of Europe and eventually America. Even to suggest such is ludicrous. They were merely facing reality—an ability today’s social liberals seem to lack, coupled with their complete naiveté regarding the sinister threat posed by Islam. What if Japanese living in America had sought to erect a Buddhist temple or Shinto shrine over the wreckage of the USS Arizona?
Make no mistake, true Christians do not hate Muslims, nor harbor prejudice or ill will against them. Rather, informed Christians and Americans simply recognize the fundamental threat that Islam poses to the freedom to practice one’s Christian beliefs without fear of reprisal. Indeed, taking steps to minimize the spread of Islam is itself the exercise of First Amendment rights. It is a sincere attempt to discourage the spread of religious views that are antithetical to liberty and the Christian principles on which America was founded—and on which her perpetuation depends. The American Founders recognized this fact.

THE FOUNDERS ON ISLAM

Father of American Jurisprudence and New York State Supreme Court Chief Justice James Kent noted that “we are a Christian people, and the morality of the country is deeply ingrafted [sic] upon Christianity, and not upon the doctrines or worship of those imposters”—referring to “Mahomet and the Grand Lama” (The People…, 1811, emp. added). Did you catch that? The moral fabric of America is “deeply engrafted” on Christianity—not the false religion of Islam. Labeling founders of false religions “imposters” is not “hate speech;” it is simply describing reality.
James Iredell, appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court by George Washington, felt sure that Americans would never elect Muslims, pagans, or atheists to political office when he demurred, “But it is never to be supposed that the people of America will trust their dearest rights to persons who have no religion at all, or a religion materially different from their own” (1836, 4:194, emp. added). Father of American Geography, Jedediah Morse, explained the intimate connection between America’s freedom and the Christian religion:
The foundations which support the interests of Christianity, are also necessary to support a free and equal government like our own. In all those countries where there is little or no religion, or a very gross and corrupt one, as in Mahometanand Pagan countries, there you will find, with scarcely a single exception, arbitrary and tyrannical governments, gross ignorance and wickedness, and deplorable wretchedness among the people. To the kindly influence of Christianity we owe that degree of civil freedom, and political and social happiness which mankind now enjoy (1799, p. 14, emp. added).
Here is an extremely wise, insightful, and sobering admonition—if we will listen and learn. The portrait that Morse painted has not changed in the intervening 200+ years. Muslim nations across the world are still “very gross and corrupt,” with “tyrannical governments” and “deplorable wretchedness among the people.” Is that what Americans desire for their own lifestyle? Does even the politically correct crowd wish to live in such a country? They do not. Yet, they foolishly hasten the deleterious transformation of our country.
In his masterful refutation of Thomas Paine’s Age of Reason, Elias Boudinot, who served as one of the Presidents of the Continental Congress, offered a blistering assessment of Islam in its contradistinction to Christianity:
Did not Moses and Christ show their divine mission, not only by the nature and effects of their doctrines and precepts,...but also by doing good, in the presence of all the people, works, that no other men ever did…? But Mahomet aimed to establishhis pretensions to divine authorityby the power of the sword and the terrors of his government; while he carefully avoided any attempts at miracles in the presence of his followers, and all pretences [sic] to foretell things to come…. [The laws] of Mahomet and other impostors have generally been compiled by degrees, according to the exigencies of the states, the prevalence of particular factions, or the authority who governed the people at his own will. Mahomet made his laws, not to curb, but humor the genius of the people; they were therefore altered and repealed from the same causes…. [W]here is the comparison between the supposed prophet of Mecca, and the Son of God; or with what propriety ought they to be named together? The difference between these characters is so great, that the facts need not be further applied (1801, pp. 36-39, emp. added).
Ethan Allen exposed a fallacy of Islam in his discussion of the fact that the providence of the God of the Bible “does not interfere with the agency of man,” whereas
Mahomet taught his army that the “term of every man’s life was fixed by God, and that none could shorten it, by any hazard that he might seem to be exposed to in battle or otherwise,” but that it should be introduced into peaceable and civil life, and be patronized by any teachers of religion, is quite strange, as it subverts religion in general, and renders the teaching of it unnecessary… (1854, p. 21, emp. added).  
He also warned against being “imposed upon by imposters, or by ignorant and insidious teachers, whose interest it may be to obtrude their own systems on the world for infallible truth, as in the instance of Mahomet” (p. 55, emp. added).
When Thomas Jefferson and John Adams were appointed and authorized by Congress to negotiate a treaty with the Muslim terrorists who continually raided American ships off the coast of North Africa, they met in London in 1786 with the Ambassador from Tripoli. On March 28, they penned the following words to John Jay, then serving as Secretary for Foreign Affairs, reporting their conversation with the ambassador:
We took the liberty to make some inquiries concerning the grounds of their pretentions to make war upon nations who had done them no injury, and observed that we considered all mankind as our Friends who had done us no wrong, nor had given us any provocation. The Ambassador answered us that it was founded on the laws of their Prophet, that it was written in their Koran that all nations who should not have acknowledged their authority were sinners, that it was their right and duty to make war upon them wherever they could be found, and to make slaves of all they could take as prisoners; and that every Musselman who should be slain in battle was sure to go to Paradise. That it was a law that the first who boards an enemy’s vessel should have one slave more than his share with the rest, which operated as an incentive to the most desperate valour and enterprize [sic], that it was the practice of their corsairs to bear down upon a ship, for each sailor to take a dagger, in each hand, and another in his mouth, and leap on board, which so terrified their enemies that very few ever stood against them, that he verily believed that the Devil assisted his countrymen, for they were almost always successful (“Letter from the…,” emp. added).
While the Founders were supportive of “freedom of religion,” they were not for encouraging false religions (i.e., all non-Christian religions) to spread in America, or to be given “equal time” with Christianity, or allowed to infiltrate civil institutions (see Miller, 2013). Consider U.S. Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story who was appointed to the Court by President James Madison in 1811, and is considered the founder of Harvard Law School and one of two men who have been considered the Fathers of American Jurisprudence. In his Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States, Story clarified the meaning of the First Amendment as it relates to religious toleration and Islam:
The real object of the [First—DM] [A]mendment was not to countenance, much less to advance Mahometanism, or Judaism, or infidelity by prostrating Christianity; but to exclude all rivalry among Christian sects and to prevent any national ecclesiastical establishment which should give to a hierarchy [of one denomination—DM] the exclusive patronage of the national government (1833, 3:728.1871, emp. added).
Samuel Johnston, Governor of North Carolina and Member of the Constitution ratifying convention in 1788, attempted to allay fears that anti-Christian ideologies may infiltrate our elected officials:
It is apprehended that Jews, Mahometans, pagans, &c., may be elected to high offices under the government of the United States. Those who are Mahometans, or any others who are not professors of the Christian religion, can never be elected to the office of President or other high office, but in one of two cases. First, if the people of America lay aside the Christian religion altogether, it may happen. Should this unfortunately take place, the people will choose such men as think as they do themselves (as quoted in Elliot, 1836, 4:198, emp. added).
John Quincy Adams, son of John Adams and distinguished for his significant contributions to the Founding era and thereafter, summarized the attitude of most Americans and Founders toward Islam in his brilliant “Essays on the Russo-Turkish War” written in 1827. In these essays, we see a cogent, informed portrait of the threat that Islam has posed throughout world history:
In the seventh century of the Christian era, a wandering Arab of the lineage of Hagar, the Egyptian, combining the powers of transcendent genius, with the preternatural energy of a fanatic, and the fraudulent spirit of an impostor, proclaimed himself as a messenger from Heaven, and spread desolation and delusion over an extensive portion of the earth. Adopting from the sublime conception of the Mosaic law, the doctrine of one omnipotent God; he connected indissolubly with it, the audacious falsehood, that he was himself his prophet and apostle. Adopting from the new Revelation of Jesus, the faith and hope of immortal life, and of future retribution, he humbled it to the dust, by adapting all the rewards and sanctions of his religion to the gratification of the sexual passion. He poisoned the sources of human felicity at the fountain by degrading the condition of the female sex, and the allowance of polygamy; and he declared undistinguishing and exterminating war, as a part of his religion, against all the rest of mankind. THE ESSENCE OF HIS DOCTRINE WAS VIOLENCE AND LUST: TO EXALT THE BRUTAL OVER THE SPIRITUAL PART OF HUMAN NATURE. Between these two religions, thus contrasted in their characters, a war of twelve hundred years has already raged. That war is yet flagrant; nor can it cease but by the extinction of that imposture, which has been permitted by Providence to prolong the degeneracy of man. While the merciless and dissolute dogmas of the false prophet shall furnish motives to human action, there can never be peace upon earth, and good will towards men. The hand of Ishmael will be against every man, and every man’s hand against him [Genesis 16:12—DM]. It is, indeed, amongst the mysterious dealings of God, that this delusion should have been suffered for so many ages, and during so many generations of human kind, to prevail over the doctrines of the meek and peaceful and benevolent Jesus (1830, 29:269, capitals in orig., emp. added).
Observe that Adams not only documents the violent nature of Islam, in contrast with the peaceful and benevolent thrust of Christianity, he further exposes the mistreatment of women inherent in Islamic doctrine, including the degrading practice of polygamy. A few pages later, Adams again spotlights the coercive, violent nature of Islam, as well as the Muslim’s right to lie and deceive to advance Islam:
The precept of the koran is, perpetual war against all who deny, that Mahomet is the prophet of God. The vanquished may purchase their lives, by the payment of tribute; the victorious may be appeased by a false and delusive promise of peace; and the faithful follower of the prophet, may submit to the imperious necessities of defeat: but the command to propagate the Moslem creed by the sword is always obligatory, when it can be made effective. The commands of the prophet may be performed alike, by fraud, or by force (29:274).
No Christian would deny that many Christians in history have violated the precepts of Christ by mistreating others and even committing atrocities in the name of Christ. However, Adams rightly observes that one must go against Christian doctrine to do so. Not so with Islam—since violence is sanctioned:
The fundamental doctrine of the Christian religion, is the extirpation of hatred from the human heart. It forbids the exercise of it, even towards enemies. There is no denomination of Christians, which denies or misunderstands this doctrine. All understand it alike—all acknowledge its obligations; and however imperfectly, in the purposes of Divine Providence, its efficacy has been shown in the practice of Christians, it has not been wholly inoperative upon them. Its effect has been upon the manners of nations. It has mitigated the horrors of war—it has softened the features of slavery—it has humanized the intercourse of social life. The unqualified acknowledgement of a duty does not, indeed, suffice to insure its performance. Hatred is yet a passion, but too powerful upon the hearts of Christians. Yet they cannot indulge it, except by the sacrifice of their principles, and the conscious violation of their duties. No state paper from a Christian hand, could, without trampling the precepts of its Lord and Master, have commenced by an open proclamation of hatred to any portion of the human race. The Ottoman lays it down as the foundation of his discourse (29:300, emp. added; see Miller, 2005).
These observations by a cross-section of the Founders of the American Republic represent the prevailing viewpoint in America for nearly 200 years. Only with the onslaught of “political correctness” have so many Americans blinded themselves to the sinister threat posed to their freedom and way of life.
When General George S. Patton was waging war against the Nazis in North Africa during World War 2, he had the opportunity to observe what Islam does for a nation, particularly the female population. In his monumental volume War As I Knew It, writing from Casablanca on June 9, 1943, Patton mused:
One cannot but ponder the question: What if the Arabs had been Christians? To me it seems certain that the fatalistic teachings of Mohammed and the utter degradation of women is the outstanding cause for the arrested development of the Arab. He is exactly as he was around the year 700, while we have kept on developing. Here, I think, is a text for some eloquent sermon on the virtues of Christianity (1947, p. 49, emp. added).
The Founders of the American republic were hardly “Islamophobic.” Rather, they wisely recognized the fundamental threat posed by the teachings of the Quran to the American way of life. As pursuers of truth, they believed Islam to be a false religion that should no more be encouraged to thrive in society than belief in Peter Pan’s Neverland. They viewed Christianity as the one true religion (see Miller, 2010). Indeed, mark it down, if Islam is given free course to alter the laws and public institutions of America, it logically follows that America will become just like the Islamic nations of the world. It is naïve and foolish to think that Islam can eventually become widespread in America and America remain the same country she has been. It is only logical and obvious to conclude that when America’s institutions are altered to accommodate Muslims, Islamic influence will, in time, dominate the nation. Then how will Christians be treated? The answer is self-evident. Look at how Christians are treated even now in Muslim countries around the world. Ask yourself this question: “Is there any Muslim country on Earth where I would choose to live?”
When clear thinking Americans examine Islam’s doctrines, and assess the behavior of its adherents over the centuries, they are merely doing what any rational person does every day with respect to a host of ideas. The honest heart naturally desires truth. Truth has nothing to fear. The God of the Bible wants truth contrasted with error so that all sincere persons can discern the truth and distinguish truth from falsehood (1 Kings 18:21; Acts 17:11; 1 Thessalonians 5:21). Christianity is inherently a religion of truth, reason, and logic (John 8:32; cf. Miller, 2011).

CONCLUSION

"Islamophobia” is an irrelevant, concocted notion. It is a prejudicial, “red flag” word created by the left to stifle any hint of an inherent threat posed by Islam to the American way of life. In the words, again, of Agustin Blasquez: “It’s one thing to be educated, considerate, polite and have good manners, and another to be forced to self-censor and say things that are totally incorrect in order to comply with the arbitrary dictums of a deceiving and fanatical far-left agenda” (2002). As the deterioration and complete breakdown of traditional American (Christian) values climax, the destructive perpetrator—the left—is strangely eager to enable Islam to trample underfoot any Christian vestiges that remain. [NOTE: Ironically, if Islam were to take over America, many of the pluralistic ideologies championed by the left would be the first to be eliminated—from feminism to homosexuality.] To borrow the title of James Burnham’s book (1964), the suicide of the west is nearly complete. Or as D.T. Devareaux’s disturbing political cartoon depicts, Islam is happy to serve as the hammer finger on the weapon of Liberalism used by Uncle Sam (who upholds Western Civilization) to terminate his own existence (“The Art of…,” n.d.).

REFERENCES

Adams, John Quincy (1830), “Essays on Russo-Turkish War,” in The American Annual Register, ed. Joseph Blunt (New York: E. & G.W. Blunt), 29:267-402, http://www.archive.org/stream/p1americanannual29blunuoft.
Allen, Ethan (1854), Reason, the Only Oracle of Man (Boston, MA: J.P. Mendum).
“All In With Chris Hayes” (2015), “Terror Attack in Paris,” MSNBC, January 7, http://www.msnbc.com/all-in/watch/terror-attack-in-paris-381379651841.
“The Art of D.T. Devareaux” (no date), http://plancksconstant.org/es/blog1/2009/06/the_art_of_dt_devareaux.html. See “The Study of Revenge: The Polemical Artwork of D. T. Devareaux,” http://plancksconstant.org/es/blog1/2008/02/devareax.html.
Blazquez, Agustin (2002), “Political Correctness: The Scourge of Our Times,” NewsMax.com, April 8, http://archive.newsmax.com/archives/articles/2002/4/4/121115.shtml/.
Boudinot, Elias (1801), The Age of Revelation (Philadelphia, PA: Asbury Dickens).
Burnham, James (1964), Suicide of the West (New York: John Day Company).
Elliot, Jonathan, ed. (1836), Debates in the Convention of the State of North Carolina, On the Adoption of the Federal Constitution (Washington, D.C.: Taylor & Maury), second edition, http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/amlaw/lwed.html.
Iredell, James (1836), The Debates in the Several State Conventions on the Adoption of the Federal Constitution, ed. Jonathan Elliot (Washington, D.C.: Jonathan Elliot).
Kristof, Nicholas (2015), “Is Islam to Blame for the Shooting at Charlie Hebdo in Paris?” The New York Times, January 7, http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/08/opinion/nicholas-kristof-lessons-from-the-charlie-hebdo-shooting-in-paris.html?_r=0.
“Letter from the American Peace Commissioners (Thomas Jefferson & John Adams) to John Jay March 28, 1786” (1786), The Thomas Jefferson Papers Series 1. General Correspondence. 1651-1827, http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.mss/mtj.mtjbib001849.
McCarthy, Andrew (2015), “Don’t Blame the Charlie Hebdo Mass Murder on ‘Extremism,’” National Review, January 7, http://www.nationalreview.com/article/395876/dont-blame-charlie-hebdo-mass-murder-extremism-andrew-c-mccarthy.
Miller, Dave (2005), “Violence and the Quran,” Apologetics Press, http://www.apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=8&article=1491&topic=44.
Miller, Dave (2010), Christ and the Continental Congress (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press).
Miller, Dave (2011), “Is Christianity Logical?” Reason & Revelation, 31[6]:50-59, June, http://www.apologeticspress.org/apPubPage.aspx?pub=1&issue=977.
Miller, Dave (2013), “Were the Founding Fathers ‘Tolerant’ of Islam?” Reason & Revelation, 33[3]:26-28,32-35, http://apologeticspress.org/apPubPage.aspx?pub=1&issue=1116&article=2128.
Morse, Jedidiah (1799), A Sermon, Exhibiting the Present Dangers and Consequent Duties of the Citizens of the United States of America (Hartford, CT: Hudson and Goodwin), http://www.archive.org/details/sermonexhibiting00morsrich.
Packer, George (2015), “The Blame for the Charlie Hebdo Murders,” The New Yorker, January 7, http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/blame-for-charlie-hebdo-murders.
Patton, George (1947), War As I Knew It (New York: Houghton Mifflin).
The People v. Ruggles (1811), 8 Johns 290 (Sup. Ct. NY.), N.Y. Lexis 124.
Story, Joseph (1833), Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States (Boston, MA: Hilliard, Gray, & Co.).
Tuttle, Ian (2015), “The Rush to Blame the Victims in the Charlie Hebdo Massacre,” National Review Online, January 7, http://www.nationalreview.com/article/395912/rush-blame-victims-charlie-hebdo-massacre-ian-tuttle.




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Sunday, August 20, 2017

Don’t Judge Me!

One of the most frequent rebukes that we receive from irate readers is this: “Oh, you are judging!” If there is one passage in the Bible with which the critics are familiar, surely it is this one: “Judge not, that you be not judged” (Mt. 7:1). They have no clue as to what the text means, but they know that it is there!
It is an unfortunate thing that those who so flaunt this passage, in such a careless fashion, have not studied the broader biblical theme diligently. The truth is, this quibble, more often than not, is a mere defense mechanism that “judges” the alleged “judge”!
The most common word for “judge” in the Greek Testament is the verb krino, found 114 times. It is rendered into English by a variety of terms, e.g., “judge,” “determine,” “condemn,” “call in question,” etc. The word means to “select”; then to “come to a conclusion, make a determination” — sometimes with the added idea of relating that conclusion to a specific act or a certain person. The basic term is neutral in its character; only the context can suggest either a positive or negative connotation.
That “judging” is not intrinsically evil is demonstrated by the fact that God judges (Heb. 12:23), and so does Christ (Acts 10:42; 2 Tim. 4:8). The common retort to this observation, though, is this: “Yes, God and Christ have the right to judge; but we, who are but mere mortals, do not.” While that may sound noble, it is not under-girded with scriptural evidence.
The truth of the matter is, “judging” is both condemned and commended in the Bible. It is prohibited and commanded. But how can this be, if, as Christians commonly claim, the Scriptures are inspired of God, and thus do not contradict one another? The answer is a very simple one. The concept of “judging” is employed in different senses in sacred literature.

Judging Condemned

There are several New Testament passages in which “judging” is cast into a sinister light. Let us consider but three of these for illustrative purposes. In the Sermon on the Mount Christ spoke thusly:
“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you shall be judged: and with what measure you use, it shall be measured unto you. And why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, Let me take the speck from your eye; when there is a log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye; and then you will see clearly how to take the speck from your brother’s eye” (Mt. 7:1-5).
Appropriate judging must be done sincerely, and for the welfare of the individual. Obviously the individual who pronounces judgment upon another, when he is personally guilty of equal (or even greater) transgressions, is not genuine in his censures. Many of the Jews were of this hypocritical nature. While they condemned the gross wickedness of the pagans, they practiced identical breaches of fidelity (see Rom. 2:1-3).
Does this imply that one must be “sinless” before he can declare a “judgment” concerning another’s conduct? It does not. Paul was not sinless (Rom. 7:14ff; 1 Cor. 9:27; Phil. 3:12ff), yet he did not hesitate to “judge” the flagrant fornicator who was disgracing the Corinthian church (1 Cor. 5:3). The person who presumes to judge, however, must be a truly spiritual person (cf. 1 Jn. 1:7), with the good of others genuinely in view (cf. Gal. 6:1).
On another occasion, the Lord warned the Jews: “Judge not according to appearance?” (Jn. 7:24). [Note: For the fuller context of this admonition, see below.] Superficial judging is condemned. To judge someone, strictly on the basis of race, cultural background, unsubstantiated rumor, appearance, financial standing, etc., is wrong (cf. Lk. 10:25ff; 15:1ff; Gal. 2:11ff; Jas. 2:1ff). In his sermon at Caesarea, Peter declared that God is no “respecter of persons.” The Greek term denotes an opinion formed on the basis of the “face,” i.e., appearance. The Lord does not do that (cf. 1 Sam. 16:7), and neither should we.
Finally, James cautions:
“Speak not one against another, brethren. He who speaks against a brother, or judges his brother, speaks against the law, and judges the law: but if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law, but a judge. One only is the lawgiver and judge, even he who is able to save and to destroy: but who are you to judge your neighbor?” (Jas. 4:11-12).
Here the inspired writer places “judging” within the framework of harsh, wounding language. The expression “speak against” renders the Greek katalaleo, which means to slander, degrade, or insult. Some scholars suggest that it hints of being critical of the person in his absence (cf. William Barclay, The Letter of James, p. 13). Certainly there are back-stabbers who do not have the courage to confront an adversary face-to-face (unlike Paul — Gal. 2:11). The malady rebuked in this context reflects an attempt to tear down, rather than to help.
Let it be made clear. The type of judging that is condemned in the New Testament is not the righteous exposure of error or wickedness, or even the rebuke of a particular false teacher (see 1 Tim. 1:20; 2 Tim. 2:17-18). Rather, it consists of that which is done hypocritically, superficially, and in hostility.

Judging Commanded

Earlier we cited John 7:24, where Christ cautioned: “Judge not according to appearance....” The balance of the verse (on the opposite side of an adversative particle) is seen in this command: “...but judge righteous judgment.”
The context has to do with an earlier miracle wherein Jesus had healed a lame man on the sabbath day, and subsequently commissioned him to take up his bed and walk (Jn. 5:8). On account of this alleged violation of the sabbath, and because the Lord claimed divine authority in the miraculous healing, the Jews sought to kill him (v. 18). While it might have “appeared” that Christ initiated a violation of the sabbath on that occasion, actually he did not. Jesus was “lord of the sabbath” (Mt. 12:8), and he had the perfect right to heal this man on that occasion. And a higher goal was to be achieved by his command to the healed man. The Jews, however, saw only the superficial (the man carrying his pallet), and thus did not make a correct “judgment” regarding the significance of the event.
And so Christ admonished, “...but judge the righteous judgment.” The verb, krinete, is present tense (sustained activity), imperative mood (command), thus, the sense is: “practice judging, of the righteous sort.”
There is a principle here set forth. Judging (drawing correct conclusions) is not merely an option; it is an obligation. “Righteous” depicts both the character, and the manner, of the one who does the judging. All of us make judgments regarding others; indeed, we are forced to every day. But those judgments should be rendered compassionately and in conformity with the facts.
Here is another example. With reference to church disciplinary matters, Christians are to “judge” erring members. In a case relating to a brother who needed to be disfellowshipped, Paul asked: “Don’t you practice judging those who are within [the church]?” (1 Cor. 5:12). The question is rhetorical, demanding a positive answer. The church is under obligation to “judge” its wayward members (1 Cor. 5:13b; Rom. 16:17; 2 Thes. 3:6ff). Elsewhere see our article on (“Church Discipline – A Tragic Neglect”,“Church Discipline”).

Judging by Example

Everyone “judges” — if he lives noble standards — regardless of how conscientiously he may claim otherwise. When one holds his conduct to a certain, divinely-prescribed standard, by his example, he judges those who refuse to yield to that standard. Note these points.
A strengthened form of the verb krino is katakrino, which signifies “to pronounce a sentence after a determination of guilt.” In Matthew 12:41-42, the term is used twice.
First, it is applied to the people of Nineveh; then it is used of the Queen of the South. In both instances, the example of these people “condemned” the Jews of Jesus’ day, i.e., cast them in a unfavorable light. In a sense, these ancient citizens stood as “judges,” of the rebellious Hebrews who crucified their own Messiah (see Danker, et al., Greek-English Lexicon, 2000, p. 519).
When Noah obeyed God by preparing the ark as he was commanded (cf. Gen. 6:22), he “condemned” (katakrino) the generation with whom he was contemporary (Heb. 11:7). He judged them by standing in vivid contrast to their disobedience!

Judging Self

There is a sense in which we even “judge” ourselves. In a letter to the Corinthian saints, Paul addressed some of the disorders associated with their observance of the Lord’s supper. For one thing, some were not focusing upon the meaning of this sacred event; they were not “discerning” (diakrino), i.e., making proper judgments about the significance of the elements (bread and fruit of the vine), thus, they were partaking in an “unworthy” fashion. Those who acted in this irresponsible way brought divine “judgment” (krima) upon themselves (see:1 Cor. 11:27-29).
It is out of this background that the apostle exhorts: “But if we judged ourselves, we would not be judged” (v. 31). The meaning is this. If the Christian would “judge” his own conduct, i.e., evaluate it in the light of Scripture, draw proper conclusions relative to any misdeeds, and thus alter his actions, he would not be subject to the disciplinary judgment that could issue from Christ.

Conclusion

An evaluation of the collected biblical evidence clearly demonstrates that the knowledgeable student of the Scriptures will not make such foolish statements such as: “It is wrong to judge.” There is a wrong way to judge (and surely the best of people err in this manner on occasion), but there also are right ways to judge, and these must not be neglected due to a misconception of what judging actually is.
SCRIPTURE REFERENCES
Matthew 7:1; Hebrews 12:23; Acts 10:42; 2 Timothy 4:8; Matthew 7:1-5; Romans 2:1-3; Romans 7:14; 1 Corinthians 9:27; Philippians 3:12; 1 Corinthians 5:3; John 1:7; Galatians 6:1; John 7:24; Luke 10:25; Galatians 2:11; James 2:1; James 4:11-12; 2 Timothy 2:17-18; John 5:8; Matthew 12:8; 1 Corinthians 5:12; 1 Corinthians 5:13; Romans 16:17; 2 Thessalonians 3:6; Matthew 12:41-42; Genesis 6:22; Hebrews 11:7; 1 Corinthians 11:27-29
CITE THIS ARTICLE
Jackson, Wayne. "Don't Judge Me!" ChristianCourier.com. Access date: August 20, 2017. https://www.christiancourier.com/articles/637-dont-judge-me

Friday, August 18, 2017

Did God Create Evil?

“If God is only good, how is it that the Bible says that he created ‘evil’ (Isaiah 45:7)?”
In order to get the feel of Isaiah 45:7, at least a slightly larger portion of the immediate context needs to be surveyed. The prophet, on behalf of the Lord, wrote:
“I am Jehovah, and there is none else; besides me there is no God. I will gird you, though you have not known me; that they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none besides me: I am Jehovah, and there is none else. I form the light, and create darkness; I make peace, and create evil. I am Jehovah, who does all these things” (Isa. 45:5-7).
Beginning in the previous chapter, and continuing into the present one, the Lord had argued the case for his sovereignty over the nations — particularly his right to deal with his chosen people, the nation of Israel. Jehovah had blessed the nation wonderfully, but his people had rejected him time and time again, giving themselves over to the worship of idols — dumb idols that had no power to bless. In this vain worship, the Hebrews had evinced an incredible lack of understanding. As a result, the kingdom of Judah would have to be punished (in the period of Babylonian captivity). Eventually, though, the Lord would forgive his people, and bring them back into their land again.
The providential instrument in accomplishing this momentous task would be a Persian king, Cyrus by name, whose presence upon the earth was yet a century and a half in the future. In was in connection with the role of Cyrus in the divine plan, that the dramatic declaration of 45:5-7 was made.
In this announcement several important truths are stated:
  • The Lord God is unique; no idol can begin to compare with him.
  • By his power, and in the utilization of the mysterious modes of providence, Jehovah would “gird” (i.e., empower) Cyrus. He would equip him for the task that he was to accomplish.
  • Though the Persian commander was unacquainted with the true God, that fact would not hinder the Lord’s use of the ruler.
  • As a result of Jehovah’s orchestration of this feat involving the release of his people, his holy name would be glorified from the east to the west, i.e., throughout the earth.
  • The Lord’s uniqueness would be apparent.
  • Jehovah’s creative and providential powers stand as evidences of his divine identity.
It was in association with this final declaration that God said: “I make peace, and create evil.” In order to understand this statement, it must be viewed in concert with the overall affirmations of Scripture relative to the character of the Lord.
Jehovah is absolutely holy (Isa. 6:3; Rev. 4:8), “his work is perfect,” “all his ways are just,” he is a Being of “faithfulness” who is “without iniquity,” and is both “just and right” (Dt. 32:4). Moral evil cannot be attributed to the Creator in any way (Hab. 1:13; Jas. 1:13-14).

The Flexible Nature of Words

Any serious student of language is aware of the fact that words are flexible vehicles of communication. This principle is no less true of the Bible than it is of any piece of literature.
For example, the term “God” may refer to a Being who is truly divine in nature (Jn. 1:1), or the same word may be employed of a false object of worship that is void of the essence of deity (1 Cor. 8:4-6). The verb “believed” may reflect nothing more than a superficial emotion (Jn. 12:42), or it may represent a genuine conviction that is expressed in obedience (Acts 2:41,44). There is none “righteous” (Rom. 3:10), yet Joseph, the husband of Mary was “righteous” (Mt. 1:19). It is wrong to “judge” (Mt. 7:1); it is right to “judge” (Jn. 7:24). One cannot be justified by “works” (Eph. 2:9), yet justification is obtained by “works” (Jas. 2:24).
Examples of this nature are almost endless. A word is defined, in great measure, by how it is used in a certain setting — in its context. This is a fundamental principle of language interpretation.

The Varied Use of “Evil” in the Scriptures

As with many other words, the term “evil” can have more than one meaning, depending upon the manner in which it is used. The Hebrew word for evil is ra’, which derives from a root meaning “to spoil” or “to break in pieces.”

Sin is evil

Obviously, the term “evil” may be used with reference to sinful activities. Ezekiel rebuked Israel for her worship of idols (20:39), which rebellion was characterized as “evil” (vv. 43-44). Jesus once spoke of “evil thoughts” that produce a variety of ungodly actions, e.g., fornication, theft, murder, etc. (Mk. 7:21-23).

Catastrophe or disaster is evil

On the other hand, “evil” may refer to a disaster of some sort. In discussing the punishment that would be visited upon Israel for her wickedness, Isaiah declared:
“For you have trusted in your wickedness; you have said, ‘No one sees me;’ [but] your wisdom and your knowledge, it has perverted you, and you have said in your heart, I am, and there is no one else besides me. Therefore shall evil come upon you; you will not know the dawning thereof: and mischief shall fall upon you; you will not be able to put it away: and desolation shall come upon you suddenly, of which you know not.” (Isa. 47:10-11; emp. supplied).
Observe the parallelism in this text. The “evil” of verse 11a becomes the “mischief” and the “desolation” in the latter portion of the passage. The “evil” of which the prophet spoke, actually was the impending Babylonian captivity (see also Jer. 18:8).
Similarly, when the prophet Amos warned the northern kingdom of Israel of its eventual doom, he referred to that time of temporal judgment as the “evil day,” which, of course, ultimately was the Assyrian invasion (722/21 B.C.).

Physicial illness or distress is evil

Sometimes “evil” can simply refer to physical infirmity. Solomon admonished those still in their youth to remember the Creator in the vigor of those early times of energy, because eventually the “evil” days come and the “years” take their physical toll (Eccl. 12:1). Some of those bodily ailments are then chronicled in the balance of the chapter (see vv. 3-7).
From the divine view point, therefore, such things as national judgments and physical degeneration are characterized as “evil” because all such hurtful human experiences ultimately are the result of humanity’s foolish choices to engage in “evil” (rebellion) against the Maker of men. Natural evils are the result of moral evil — not in every individual situation (consider, for instance, the case of the patriarch Job, and that of Christ as well) — but in a general, ultimate, cause-and-effect sense (cf. Rom. 5:12).

An Objection: Is God Responsible for All Evil?

Frequently it is alleged, however, that ultimately God is responsible for “evil” — for had he not created angels and men, the evil they have generated would not exist.
The logic employed in this objection is flawed, and the critic who makes it will scarcely stay with it in a consistent manner.
No greater compliment could have been paid to man than to have been created in the very image of God (Gen. 1:26-27). A part of that “creation package” was the gift of personal volition, that is, the ability to make moral choices. There are only two logical possibilities — one might be created with “free will,” or without “free will.”
Now which option is the obvious expression of love (cf. 1 Jn. 4:8). The former, of course. The Lord thus signally honored human beings by granting them the personal power of choice. Once such action was taken, the Creator is not morally culpable if the gift of choice is abused, and the possessor thereof elects to pursue the road of danger and destruction.
Is the designer or manufacturer of an automobile morally responsible for the drunk driver who runs down and kills an innocent child? And what of the godly mother who made every effort to raise her children in harmony with the Lord’s will; is she accountable for the actions of a wayward offspring who robs a bank or commits murder? These questions hardly need an expressed answer.
And so, while God is the Maker of men, he is not morally indictable for the follies of those upon whom he bestowed one of the greatest gifts possible — that of genuine freedom!
SCRIPTURE REFERENCES
Isaiah 45:7; Isaiah 45:5-7; Isaiah 6:3; Revelation 4:8; Deuteronomy 32:4; Habakkuk 1:13; James 1:13-14; John 1:1; 1 Corinthians 8:4-6; John 12:42; Acts 2:41, 44; Romans 3:10; Matthew 1:19; Matthew 7:1; John 7:24; Ephesians 2:9; James 2:24; Mark 7:21-23; Isaiah 47:10-11; Jeremiah 18:8; Ecclesiastes 12:1; Romans 5:12; Genesis 1:26-27; John 4:8
CITE THIS ARTICLE
Jackson, Wayne. "Did God Create Evil?" ChristianCourier.com. Access date: August 18, 2017. https://www.christiancourier.com/articles/676-did-god-create-evil