Lincoln Blogs

John Calvin and the Glory of God
January 16, 2009, 7:42 pm
Filed under: Books, Faith

To celebrate the 500th anniversary of John Calvin’s birth, I am reading his Institutes of the Christian Religion this year.

In Section 1.51-3 of the Institutes, Calvin states that the “clarity of God’s self-disclosure strips us of every excuse…. [H]e not only sowed in men’s minds that seed of religion of which we have spoken but revealed himself and daily discloses himself in the whole workmanship of the universe.” This is so true. From a tiny human cell, to the vast galaxies of outer-space, we see evidence of God. Consider a tiny human cell. Each individual cell contains more information than Encyclopedia Britannica. Christian author Lee Strobel writes that “one ‘simple’ cell is a high-tech factory, complete with artificial languages and decoding systems; central memory banks that store and retrieve impressive amounts of information; precision control systems that regulate the automatic assembly of components; proofreading and quality control mechanisms that safeguard against errors; assembly systems that use principles of refabrication and modular construction; and a complete replication system that allows the organism to duplicate itself at bewildering speeds.” Calculations indicate that if a person could write out all of the information that can be stored in a sample of DNA the size of a pinhead, the result would be a pile of books that is 500 times higher than the distance from the earth to the moon! In one microscopic cell, we see the work of God.

There are countless other examples. This video reveals it better than I could.

Psalm 19:1 proclaims, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.” Romans 1:20 says,  “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse.”

Calvin, however, goes on to say in Section 1.5.4-5 that “man turns ungratefully against God.”

Here, however, the foul ungratefulness of men is disclosed. They have within themselves a workshop graced with God’s unnumbered works, and, at the same time, a storehouse overflowing with inestimable riches. They ought, then, to break forth into praises of him but are actually puffed up and swollen with all the more pride…. How detestable, I ask you, is this madness: that man finding God in his body and soul a hundred times, on this very pretence of excellence denies that there is a God?… [T]hey set God aside, the while using “nature,” which for them is the artificer of all things, as a cloak. They see such exquisite workmanship in their individual members, from mouth and eyes even to their very toenails. Here also they substitute nature for God.

Calvin is brilliant. This was written centuries ago, but it still applies today. Now, people use evolution, or “nature,” as the explanation for the amazing things in the universe. The “pride” that Calvin mentions does not allow them to believe in a God. They want to be in control, but the idea of a God makes them feel small and powerless. So, they reject God, substituting nature for Him. But we should rejoice in what he has given us, life and salvation through His Son.

Oriental Sweetlips and the Glory of God
January 26, 2008, 10:24 pm
Filed under: Faith
Gary Bell/

Photo by Gary Coopers

Mutualism is a relationship between two or more organisms of different species where all benefit from the association. It is another example of God’s providence and glory, as well as a roadblock for evolution.

Consider the Oriental sweetlips and the blue-streak wrasse, both fish. The Oriental sweetlips, like many fish, have teeth. Just like with humans, they rot and fall out if they are not properly maintained. Thus, the Oriental sweetlips must have some means by which it cleans its teeth. So, after spending its day feeding on little fish, the Oriental sweetlips decides that it is time to get its teeth cleaned. To do this, it looks for a particular spot on the coral reef, which is often called the “cleaning station.” When it finds the cleaning station, it swims up to it with its mouth wide open, little blue-streak wrasses dart out of the coral and swim right into the mouth or up the gills of the Oriental sweetlips. These little fish proceed to eat all of the plaque and other problem-causing materials off the Oriental sweetlips’ teeth. This cleans the sweetlips’ teeth, and provides an excellent meal for the blue-streak wrasses. Again, this is a mutually beneficial relationship, because the Oriental sweetlips gets his teeth cleaned, and the blue-streak wrasses get food.

Dr. Jay Wile makes an excellent point in showing how this is great evidence against evolution.

At some point in time, macroevolutionists would say, the sweetlips’ ancestors probably had no teeth. In a number of generations, however, teeth began to form in a few of the ancestor’s offspring. Now, in order for these teeth to avoid rotting and falling out, this new fish would have to develop the instinct for seeking out the wrasse, allowing the little fish to swim into its mouth, and not eating the little fish when it was done with its work. This instinct, of course, would have to evolve at exactly the same time that the Oriental sweetlips’ teeth evolved. That’s not enough, however. At the exact same time that the teeth and instincts evolved in the Oriental sweetlips, the blue-streak wrasse would have to independently develop the instinct to swim right into the Oriental sweetlips’ mouth without fear of being eaten. Remember, if all these things didn’t happen in the same exact generation [one generation in billions of years], the system would not work.

Obviously, it is ridiculous to believe in all of these coincidences occurring at the same time. Over and over again, however, this is what the scientist who believes in evolution must believe. When this scientist begins to look at the world around him, he sees far too many of these “happy coincidences.”

Besides these overwhelming odds, there is another way it demonstrates a strike against evolution. Evolution says that different species compete with one another for survival. The Oriental sweetlips and the blue-streak wrasse, however, work together to survive. At what point during its evolution did the blue-streak wrasse decide, “I know, I’ll swim into this predators mouth and clean his teeth. He probably won’t eat me.” God-given instinct is the only plausible answer. Mutualism is just one more example of creation providing witness for its Creator.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-11 Through the Thomas Kinkade Filter
January 9, 2008, 7:30 pm
Filed under: Faith

Ecclesiastes 3:1-11

Through the Tom Kinkade filter: 

“To some things there is a season, and a time to some purposes under heaven: A time to be born; a time to plant; always a time to be whole; always a time to be built up; always a time to laugh; always a time to dance; (stones have bad connotations, so just leave them out completely–nobody needs to get hurt); always a time to embrace; never a time to lose (we’re all winners deep down inside, no matter what the score says); always a time to keep; always a time to cross-stitch or knit; always have a quiet time and nothing more; always a time to love (that’s all we need), always a time for world peace…”

The Gospel in Everyday Life
April 21, 2007, 4:29 pm
Filed under: Faith

God has ingrained the gospel story into all of our lives. We can see the story in the seasons. In winter, all the plants are “dead”, but come spring they are “resurrected.” Each meal we eat proclaims to us the fact that life must be sacrificed so that we can live.

Lately I have been trying to see the gospel in everyday life. Here is one example I noticed: We bought my little brother Jack Henry a slush from Sonic, and after a few sips he dropped and spilled it. He did not deserve another one, but my mom showed him mercy and got him one more. We sinners sinned and did not deserve heaven, but Jesus showed us mercy and died for our sins.

I encourage you to see if you can find examples of the gospel in normal life, and I expect lots of comments with what you have found.

Human Nature
April 15, 2007, 9:36 pm
Filed under: Faith, History

I am currently reading The Early History of Rome by Titus Livius (Livy) for school. In the part of the book I read today, the common people (plebians) of Rome want land from the rich people (patricians), but there is none available because the patricians have it all. The plebians are mad at the patricians because of this. But then the Romans acquire more land, and they decide that the plebians can have it. “Human nature, however, does not change,” says Livy. “The mere fact that there was plenty for everyone blunted the edge of appetite and so few applied [for the land] that Volscian families had to be induced in order to bring the number of settlers to a satisfactory figure. The bulk of the plebian families preferred to demand [other] land.” Even Livy, who lived in the pagan ancient Rome, identified man’s nature to sin. He did not, however, realize that although sin will always dwell with us until we reach heaven, it will not reign over us if Christ regenerates us, and thus can be changed.

‘I Do Not Want to Believe in God’
March 7, 2007, 9:40 pm
Filed under: Faith

In the latest edition of Biblical Worldview Magazine, Gary DeMar has an interesting editorial. In it he points out the folly of a quote by Nobel Prize winner George Wald.

[Wald said], “There are only two possible explanations as to how life arose. Spontaneous generation arising to evolution or a supernatural creative act of God…. There is no other possibility. Spontaneous generation was scientifically disproved 120 years ago by Louis Pasteur and others, but that just leaves us with only one other possibility… that life came as a supernatural act of creation by God, but I can’t accept that philosophy because I do not want to believe in a God. Therefore I choose to believe in that which I know is scientifically impossible, spontaneous generation leading to evolution.”If a theologian had argued this way, he would be accused of letting his religious assumptions interpret the facts, But when a scientist follows a similar methodology in defense of evolution, hardly anyone blinks a questioning eye because the declaration is made in the name of science.

I cannot help but laugh at what Socrates would do if he heard someone say, as Wald did, something like, “It is obviously true that God created the world, but I won’t believe it because I don’t feel like believing in God. Instead, I’ll believe the impossible. I will deny truth because I don’t want it to be true.” The great philosopher would probably die a second death after hearing that.

Roads Scholars
February 1, 2007, 8:46 pm
Filed under: Faith

I have basketball practice at a public elementary school in Edmond, and this is a sign on a wall inside the school. It is incorrect not only morally, but logically.

Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” Jesus says clearly that not all roads, or gates, lead to success. Even if we did not have Bible references to tell us how wrong this sign is, we can easily disprove the sign logically. For one thing, two opposite roads cannot both lead to success. Also, if all roads lead to success, their would be absolutely no failures, which of course, there are.

The one good thing about the sign: I always get a laugh before basketball practice.

Another Interesting Thought From ‘A House for My Name’
January 17, 2007, 8:11 pm
Filed under: Books, Faith

Here is another great excerpt from A House for My Name: A Survey of the Old Testament.

After the fall, cheribum are placed at the gate of the Garden, which is on the east side (Genesis 3:24). This means the entrance to the Garden is toward the east. If you want to return to the Garden, you have to travel west, and moving east is moving away from the Garden. All through the Bible, east and west have this meaning. Cain is cast out of the land and wanders in Nob, which is east of Eden (Genesis 4:16). Lot moves east and settles near Sodom (Genesis 13:11). When Israel enters the land from Egypt, they circle around to Moab and cross the Jordan from the east. This shows that entering the land flowing with milk and honey is like returning to the Garden. Later, when Israel goes into exile, they are taken to the east, away from the land, and to return they travel west. In the New Testament, the wise men come from east to west, seeking the Garden and Jesus, the real Tree of Life (Matthew 2:1).

An Interesting Analogy of Creation
January 9, 2007, 3:11 pm
Filed under: Books, Faith

This is an excerpt from A House for My Name: A Survey of the Old Testament, an excellent book by Peter J. Leithart.

It takes God six days to build his house … During the first three days, God makes a three-story house by dividing one thing from another. On the first day, He divides light and darkness; on the second, He divides waters in heaven from waters on the earth and puts the sky or firmament in between, and on the third day, He divides the waters on the earth to make the dry land and the sea. The next three days, He fills up the three stories of His house. On the fourth day, He puts the sun, moon and stars in the sky to fill up daytime and nighttime. On the fifth day, He creates birds to fly across the sky and fish to swim in the waters. On the sixth day, He makes Adam and animals that live on land. What’s interesting is that the first three days match the second three days.Dividing
Day 1: Light/dark
Day 2:Waters above/below
Day 3:Waters/land Filling
Day 4: Sun, moon, stars

Day 5: Birds and fish
Day 6:Land animals and man

And so, at the end of the six days of creation, God has finished a “three-story” house.

Wise Analogy
January 9, 2006, 4:46 pm
Filed under: Faith

In church and at home, one thing I’ve been studying is Calvinism. Something that is hard for many people to understand is how free will goes along with divine election. If God chooses us, and because of that we can’t help but choose Him, how is that free will? Our pastor gave a good illustration that helped clear this up.

A buzzard can eat whatever it wants. It can go to a strawberry patch rather than to roadkill if it chooses. It has complete freedom to eat whatever it wants. But its nature is to eat roadkill. Because of its nature, it won’t ever choose strawberries. We have free will, but we choose according to our nature. Without Christ first regenerating us, it is our nature to choose sin. Christ regenerates us, which changes our nature. Then, we choose Him, but it is always He who acts first. Unless Christ changes us, we will always choose roadkill (no offense, buzzards).