"Christian Apologetics"

(Changing the World: Engaging the Culture)

Part XXVII

 

November 2017

  

     Jesus answered questions about life, death, the resurrection, marriage, paying taxes, and many other subjects. Jesus, who is God, knows everything. "But Jesus did not commit Himself to them, because He knew all men, and had no need that anyone should testify of man, for He knew what was in man." (John 2:24&25) We're not God and we need to know what we're talking about, before we make assertions. "He who answers a matter before he hears it, It is folly and shame to him." (Proverbs 18:13) Nicodemus defended Christ before the religious leaders. "Nicodemus (he who came to Jesus by night, being one of them) said to them,   “Does our law judge a man before it hears him and knows what he is doing?" (John 7:50&51) Let's look at astounding statements made by the most prominent Atheists, Agnostics, Skeptics, Evolutionists, and Naturalists. Nobody wants to be taken out of context; that's why these pronouncements are stand alone declarations that need no qualifiers. As followers of Jesus Christ, we should never use deceptive means to make our case for God and creation. "But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God." (II Corinthians 4:2) We wouldn't want someone to misrepresent the word of God. Someone might take, "the fool has said in his heart," out of Psalm 53:1 and only say the next four words, "There is no God," to prove the bible says there is no God: which it doesn't.

 

     Charles Darwin, founder of modern evolutionary thought, lamented in his origin of species: "Why if species have descended from other species by fine gradations, do we not everywhere see innumerable transitional forms? Why is not all nature in confusion, instead of species being, as we see them, well defined? As by this theory innumerable transitional forms must have existed, why do we not find them embedded in countless numbers in the crust of the earth? Not one change of species into another is on record, we cannot prove that a single species has been changed." Darwin was baffled by the absence of transitional forms: because he expected numerous connector fossils would be found on a wide scale. This must have given him pause concerning his theory of evolution. He kept repeating the word, why. Theoretical Physicist Steven Hawking, an atheist, and some say the smartest person in the world, said: "It would be very difficult to explain why the universe should have begun this way, except of an act of God who intended to create beings like us, The universe and the laws of physics seem to have been specifically designed for us. "You wouldn't associate this statement with an atheist, for these words belie his claim to be an atheist; because an atheist says there is no God. An atheist's position is untenable: since to know there is no God, means you've been everywhere there's a where and beyond, and you know there's no God. That's inconceivable and nonsensical! "The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament shows His handiwork. Day unto day utters speech, And night unto night reveals knowledge. There is no speech nor language Where their voice is not heard." (Psalm 19:1-3)


   Well known and famed British evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins states: "Biology is the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose." Concerning the appearance of life in the Cambrian explosion he further said: "And we find many of them (fossils) in an advanced state of evolution, the very first time they appear. It is as though they were just planted there, without any evolutionary history." He also commented on the appearance of fully developed life: "Much to the delight of creationists. "He further said:" We don't need evidence, we know it (evolution) to be true." Francis Crick, an evolutionist and co discoverer of the double helix of DNA wrote: "Biologists must constantly keep in mind that what they see was not designed, but rather evolved" Dawkins admitted that complicated things give the appearance of being designed for a purpose, and Crick said we must constantly remind ourselves that things weren't designed, but rather evolved. It seems they're denying the obvious. Albert Einstein remarked: "The deeper one penetrates into nature's secrets, the greater becomes one's respect for God. I cannot conceive of a genuine scientist without a profound faith in God." Dawkins was perplexed that life was complex when it first appeared. He commented: "It is as though they were just planted there, without any evolutionary history." The word appear means: to become visible, come into view, come into sight, materialize, pop up, without visible agent or apparent cause. The means whereby fully formed living creatures came about is a mystery to these naturalists. They were created and designed for a purpose! These complex fossilized life forms were discovered without any precursors, predecessors, forerunners, or antecedents. "So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being." (Genesis 1:27&2:7)

                                          Evangelist Mike Manuel

  


"Christian Apologetics"

(Changing the World: Engaging the Culture)

Part XXVI

 

October 2017

  

      In the next few months I would like to answer some questions posed to me in the debate back in August.  The moderator's questions, and questions from the audieence; werre fair, pertinent, and to the point.  Jesus answered letitimate questions.  "The officers answered, "No man ever spoke like this man!" (John 7:46)  It's important that we give a rationale for what we believe.  After our opening statements, Professor Lewis and I were asked a series of questions. He was asked to give a brief explanation of why he was fully convinced that Darwinism was the best model of explaining the origins of life?  I was asked the same queston of why I believed creation was the best model of explaining the origins of life?  Spontaneous generation,  which states that life came from an inanimate non living matter, is unscientific.  It's never been observed or known that life came from dead matter.  Dr. Harold Urey, noted evollutionist and Nobel Prize Winner in Chemistry, said: "All of us who study the origin of life find that the more we look into it, the more we feel that it is too complex to have evolved anywhere.  We believe as an article of faith that life evolved from dead matter on this planet.  It is just that its complexity is so great, it is hard for us to imagine that it did"  He and his colleagues believe in spontaneous generation and evolution, as an article of faith.  It's amazing that scientists would believe in something they can't imagine or substantiate.

 

 

      Biognesis, which states that life comes from preexxistent life is scientific.  Life begets life.  "For I raise, My hand to heaven, And say, "As I Live forever."  (Deuteronomy 32:40) "In Him was life and the life was the light of men." (John 1:4)  World famous physicists have calculated that the probability of arranging a simple protein moleule by chance is estimated to be one in 10/161 power.  That would be a 1 followed by 161 zeros.  By comparison, one in 10/80 power, is a number greater than all the aroms in the entire known universe.  Furthermore, it's been calculated that the odds that all functional proteins necessary for life to originate by chace is one in 10/40,000 power. That's one followed by 40,000 zeros.  It's beyond me to comprehend numbers of that magnitude: it's infinitesimal, it's impossible.  "Ah, Lord God!  Behold, You have made the heavens and the earath by Your great power and outstretched arm.  There is nothing too hard for You."  (Jeremiaah 32:17)  "All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made."  (John 1:3)  "He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.  For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers.  All things were created through Him and for Him.  And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist." (Colossians 1:15-17)

 

      Francis Crick, codiscoverer of the doublehelix of DNA, and an evolutionist, said "An honest man armed with all the knowledge availavle to us now, could only state that, in somme sense the origin of life appears at the moment to be almost a miracle, so many are the conditions which would have had to have been satisfied to get it going."  That's the naturalist's dilemma: How did anything come about?  Complicated systems and processes that depend on each other for purpose and functionality, don't just happen.  They're designed at the smallest level: which requires a designer!  Charles Darwin, founder of evolutionary thought admitted, "If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down."  He further said, "To suppose that the eye, with all its inimitable contrivances for adjusting the focus to different distances, for admitting different amounts of light, for the correction of spherica and chromatic aberration, could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I freely confess absurd in the highest degree.  "I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well."  (Psalm 139:14)

 

      When I was in college at Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia in the early 1970's,  I was taught evolution in the Science classes I took.  Even in high school evolution was taught.  In a college science class, a professor spoke about the evolution of eyesight.  He said sightless fish swam out from under rocks, and sunlight caused sensitive membranes to develp on the front lobe of the fish's head.  I wonder why the sensitive membranes didn't form on the back of the fish?  I guess it was just a fortuitous occurrence.  Another thing., if I'm a fish without eyes, and I get a headache when I swim out into the sunlight, I'll stay under the rocks.  How would a sensitive membrane know what needed to happen next, for each part of the eye to develop, so eyesight would come about?  For eyesight to occur; the complete eyeball has to be intact:  the optic nerve, pupil, iris, and cornea.  Since eyesight had never existed, how and why did these things progress at a minute level in such an intricate pattern?  "Then God said, "Let the waters abound with an abundance of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the face of the firmament of the heavens.  "So God created great sea creatures and every living thing that moves,  with which the waters abounded, according to their kind, and every winged bird according to its kind.  And God saw that it was good."  (Genesis 1:20&21)  Irreducible Complexity: breaking something down to the smallest level,  at which it can't function without all the necessary parts, overwhelmingly reveals intenton, purpose, and intelligence!

 

                                          Evangelist Mike Manuel

  


"Christian Apologetics"

(Changing the World: Engaging the Culture)

Part XXV

 

September 2017

  

      Last month I had the privilege of participating in a debate in Durham, North Carolina at Bethel Christian Center. Dr. Zachary Lewis, who is a professor at North Carolina State; and an advisor for the Secular Student Alliance Club; represented the Evolutionist community. I spoke in favor of the Intelligent design, creationist view. You can listen to the debate by going to: Bethel Christian Center-Durham, North Carolina and click on Creation/Evolution debate. In a week or so, you can go to my website: mikemanuel.org and watch the debate. I want to thank Dr. Lewis for being at this event. It was a great honor to be asked to champion the creation cause. The apostle Paul wrote about defending the faith. "But the latter out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel." (Philippians 1:17) "Therefore he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and with the Gentile worshipers, and in the marketplace daily with those who happened to be there." (Acts 17:17) The subtitle to the Christian Apologetics series I've been writing about for the last two years is, changing the world by engaging the culture. The word engage has several meanings: but the relevant definitions to this subject are: committed to or supportive of a cause; to induce to participate; to begin and carry on an activity; to do or take part in something: and to enter into conflict or battle. According to the Pew research poll, the number one reason young people turn from God and faith, is that they're taught evolution when they go to college.

 

      When the psalmist David surveyed the battlefield situation, where no battle was being waged: because no Israelite was willing to face Goliath's challenge, he said "Is there not a cause?" (I Samuel 17:29b) What will we do? Will we cede the next generation to atheism and naturalism? Real, legitimate, bona tide science, supports God, Creation, and the Bible. "For thus says the Lord, Who created the heavens, Who is God, Who formed the earth and made it, Who has established it, Who did not create it in vain, Who formed it to be inhabited: “I am the Lord, and there is no other." (Isaiah 45:18) A painting requires a painter; a building requires a builder; and creation requires a creator. "For every house is built by someone, but He who built all things is God." (Hebrews 3:4) It's important to teach the validity and relevancy of Intelligent design to young people, before they go to college. Once they see science substantiates and corroborates the word of God: they'll never be swayed from the truth. They'll be able to articulate intelligently, why they believe what they believe. "But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear." (I Peter 3:15) These well informed young Christians will be able to persuade some classmates, and maybe some professors as well, of the truth of creation. Creationists celebrate science, because it reveals the intelligence necessary in all the workings of nature. It's the speculations, suppositions, and conclusions of men that we may differ with. It will require time, effort, and energy, in preparing young folk with information they need to effectively share their faith. There are great resources available concerning creation science; that parents, ministers, and fellow believers can access.

 

      Before we move on, I want to address the second reason why young people abandon God and faith, according to the Pew research poll: hypocrisy. When people act one way in church and another way at home, it doesn't go unnoticed by children. "They profess to know God, but in works they deny Him, being abominable, disobedient, and disqualified for every good work." (Titus 1:16) "Therefore the Lord said: “Inasmuch as these people draw near with their mouths And honor Me with their lips, But have removed their hearts far from Me, And their fear toward Me is taught by the commandment of men." (Isaiah 29:13) "Therefore by their fruits you will know them." (Matthew 7:20) In an earlier article, I pointed out that some of the most ardent  atheists, agnostics, and skeptics, came out of religious homes. In ranking the fifty greatest minds in history; forty six believed in God; forty two were Christians; and four were atheists or agnostics. This determination and assessment, wasn't made by religious Christians, but by secular historians. The four people who claimed to be atheists or agnostics; had two things in common: they were men, and they were preacher's sons: who came out of dysfunctional homes. It wasn't that they couldn't believe in God; they didn't want to believe in God; because if God was anything like their father, they didn't want to have anything to do with Him. "You are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read by all men." (II Corinthians 3:2) We need to teach and live the truth. It's important to think right, talk right, and walk right. After church on Sunday morning, a little boy asked his father, who was pastor of the church; Daddy, what you said this morning, was that true, or were you just preaching? On the way home from church a little girl asked her parents; Daddy and Mommy what abomination do we belong to? Our actions speak louder than our words. What we do is so loud, people can't hear what we're saying. People don't' care how much we know, until they know how much we care. We're not perfect, but we can live a life that honors God, and brings glory to his name.

                                          Evangelist Mike Manuel

  


 "Christian Apologetics"

(Changing the World: Engaging the Culture)

Part XXIV

 

                                                                                                                                                       August 2017

  

   Two thousand seven years ago, the bible proclaimed earth was round. "It is He who sits above the circle of the earth." (Isaiah 40:22a) Before science could verify it, the word of God revealed earth was a sphere. This was long before man believed earth was round. The Hebrew word for circle in this verse is chuwg: It's also translated as circuit and compass. From Saint Augustine to Saint Thomas Aquinas the church taught the earth was round. It was secular philosophy that posited the flat earth concept; and when the church abandoned biblical revelation for secular reasoning; they went awry. The hydrologic cycle was mentioned in the bible three thousand years ago. "All the rivers run into the sea, Yet the sea is not full; To the place from which the rivers come, There they return again. If the clouds are full of rain, They empty themselves upon the earth." (Ecclesiastes 1:7&11:3a) "He who builds His layers in the sky, And has founded His strata in the earth; Who calls for the waters of the sea, And pours them out on the face of the earthThe Lord is His name." (Amos 9:6) It wasn't until the seventh century AD before man fully understood the complete water cycle. These scriptures, in vivid detail, describe condensation, precipitation, and evaporation. The ocean currents were discovered by Matthew Maury, considered the founder of oceanography. He was a strong believer in God: and read about sea currents in the bible. "The birds of the air, And the fish of the sea That pass through the paths of the seas." (Psalm 8:8) In 1855 he wrote the Physical Geography of the sea, the text book of modern oceanography, and subsequently prepared charts of the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean between the US and Europe. This demonstrated the practicability of submarine cables. We owe to him the detection of the warm and cold continental currents.

 

   Jeremiah wrote something profound twenty six centuries earlier."As the host of heaven cannot be numbered, nor the sand of the sea measured." (Jeremiah 33:22a) On a clear night around 1,100 stars can be seen. We didn't' have the capability of probing the universe until recent times. Now we know more about the vastness of the universe. The Hubble telescope reveals an estimated 100 billion galaxies, but this number is likely to increase to 200 billion as telescope technology in space improves. Some astronomers believe there are 2 trillion galaxies. Earth belongs to the Milky Way galaxy. Scientists estimate there are tens of billions of solar systems in our galaxy, perhaps 100 billion. Solar systems contain suns, planets, moons, meteors, asteroids, and debris. I was teaching a Christian Apologetics course for Bishop Darlingston Johnston at Bethel World Outreach in Olney, Maryland in September 2015. In one of the sessions we discussed this matter. A professor from Howard Universality, who was a member of the church, commented on my presentation relating to innumerable celestial bodies in the universe. He said in the Milky Way alone, there were multiplied billions of solar systems, and some astronomers, if not most, believe there are more cosmic stuff than all the grains of sand on planet earth. Now we understand the import of God's question to Jeremiah: The stars are too many to enumerate. "Yours, O Lordis the greatness, The power and the glory, The victory and the majesty; For all that is in heaven and in earth is Yours; Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, And You are exalted as head over all." (I Chronicles 29:11)

 

     The diversity of creation speaks to the greatness of God. "All flesh is not the same flesh, but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of animals, another of fish, and another of birds. There are also celestial bodies and terrestrial bodies; but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another.  There is one glory of the sun, another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for one star differs from another star in glory." (I Corinthians  15:39-41) Creations of God have similarities and differences; and this speaks to God's mode and creativity. You would expect similarities, since everything was created by God, and by the same token, we should also expect differences, because of the genius and imagination of the creator. Paul's statement about the different kinds of flesh has been borne out by modern biology. In the zoological realm there is more differentiation than uniformity, the corporeity of life reveals the distinctness of species. "And God made the beast of the earth according to its kind, cattle according to its kind, and everything that creeps on the earth according to its kind. And God saw that it was good." (Genesis 1:25) Paul focuses on the different glories of the celestial bodies. The Greek word translated for glory is doxa, which has several shades of meaning. (1) external conditions: dignity, splendor, and glory. (2) external appearance: luster, brightness, and dazzling light. (3) internal character: glorious moral attributes, excellence, and perfection. (4) exalted state of blissful perfection. When stars are seen by the naked eye from earth, they seem alike, they seem to have a close resemblance. In reality, stars differ in many ways, and to a large degree.  This couldn't have been known two thousand years ago, unless God revealed it, which He did.

                                                                                                        Evangelist Mike Manuel


    

"Christian Apologetics"

(Changing the World: Engaging the Culture)

Part XXIII

 

                                                                                                                                                       July 2017

  

      "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."(Genesis 1:1) The Hebrew word in this verse for created is bara: which means to bring into existence, ex nihilo, or out of nothing. This word is mentioned seven times in Genesis chapters 1&2. It's used in reference to the material world, and biological and spiritual life. The Hebrew word asah means to make. After God brought everything into existence, He made things. The beginning is when time began. God is outside of time, since He made time, and creation is subject to, and regulated by time. "To everything there iss a season, A time for every purpose under heaven." (Ecclesiastes 3:1) God created the heavens. "I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago whether in the body I do not know, or whether out of the body I do not know, God knows such a one was caught up to the third heaven." (II Corinthians 12:2) The Greek word for heavens is ouranos: which means the visible realm, what can be seen; and the spiritual realm, what can't be seen. The first heaven encompasses the air from the ground ninety six miles up to the vacuum of space. The second heaven consists of the celestial realm, outer space. The third heaven is the abode of God: also known as paradise. "How he was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter." (II Corinthians 12:4)

 

   Primarily outer space is a vacuum: but you'll find planets, suns, moons, asteroids, meteors, solar systems, constellations, and galaxies. Consider what Job wrote over three millennia ago. "He stretches out the north over empty space; He hangs the earth on nothing." (Job 26:7) Amazingly, the earth's axis is aligned with Polaris, the North Star, where there is a large void of other stars. It's a large empty space. Some religions taught the earth was on the back of a camel. My ancestors, the Greeks, thought Atlas held the earth on his shoulders; he tricked Hercules into holding the earth; and Hercules tricked Atlas into taking the earth back. The vacuum of space wasn't discovered until the seventeenth century A.D. Only in recent times would the capability to search the vastness of space be possible. How could Job have known this without divine revelation? He couldn't have. Job wrote about other matters of significance. "Have you commanded the morning since your days began, And caused the dawn to know its place, That it might take hold of the ends of the earth, And the wicked be shaken out of it? It takes on form like clay under a seal, And stands out like a garment." (Job 38:12-14) Job is asked by God if he (Job) could cause the sun to rise? The turning clay under the seal refers to earth's rotation. The seal refers to the rotating cylinder used by potters in ancient times. This analogy appropriately expresses the rotating motion of the earth, causing the sun to appear to rise and set, as the cycles of day and night alternate with precision.


    To further substantiate the biblical revelation of continuous rotation, and day and night; ponder this passage of scripture. "In that day, he who is on the housetop, and his goods are in the house, let him not come down to take them away. And likewise the one who is in the field, let him not turn back. I tell you, in that night there will be two men in one bed: the one will be taken and the other will be left. Two women will be grinding together: the one will be taken and the other left.  Two men will be in the field: the one will be taken and the other left." (Luke 17:31&34-36) When this event takes place it will be day and night on earth. Where it's day people will be working out in the field, and where it's night they'll be sleeping in bed. The word of God revealed three thousand years ago that the sun revolves. "Its rising is from one end of heaven, And its circuit to the other end; And there is nothing hidden from its heat." (Psalm 19:6) It takes the sun two hundred million years to complete one revolution. The sun is hurtling through space at six hundred thousand miles an hour. The planets in our solar system are along for the ride through gravitational pull. It's mind blowing to see statements in the bible proven true, through scientific research and archaeological finds.

   The Christian faith and holy writ isn't based on fable, folklore, legend, myth, or superstition. It's corroborated by factual, empirical data. The bible is a book man could not have written, had he wanted to: nor would have written, had he been able to. No man would have information only God knows. Predicting the future is a haphazard guess at best. Bible writers wrote about their own failures. They didn't minimize their sin. The Holy Ghost moved upon them to write what God wanted us to know. "Great is our Lord, and mighty in power; His understanding is infinite." (Psalm 147:5)

 

                                                                                                        Evangelist Mike Manuel

 


"Christian Apologetics"

(Changing the World: Engaging the Culture)

Part XXII

 

                                                                                                                                                       June 2017

  

      The Bible contains information only the creator of the universe would know: because the Bible is the word of God. "Knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation,  for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit." (II Peter 1:20&21) Some people are shocked and amazed to find that legitimate bona fide science, substantiates the Bible. Consider these facts. "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters." (Genesis 1:1&2) The big bang theory is almost universally accepted by cosmologists, and the steady state theory has been totally discredited. The steady state theory posits everything has always existed. The universe is losing heat energy and dying a slow heat loss death: so if the universe has always existed; it would have lost its heat energy an eternity ago. "Of old You laid the foundation of the earth, And the heavens are the work of Your hands. They will perish, but You will endure; Yes, they will all grow old like a garment; Like a cloak You will change them, And they will be changed.  But You are the same, And Your years will have no end." (Psalm 102:25-27) Three thousand years ago the Bible revealed the universe was dying. "Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea." (Revelation 21:1) The second law of thermodynamics (heat energy is lost in a closed system) supports the Holy Word of God.

 

     The big bang theory posits the universe had a beginning, when a sub atomic atom exploded and cosmic inflation brought everything into existence. The universe is radiating out from a central location, where the explosion occurred. No doubt, great energy was released when the universe came into existence, but it wasn't an explosion. Detonate dynamite in your living room and see if it makes any improvements. Explosions destroy things: they don't create things. The universe has order, design, and symmetry: which doesn't come from chaos and randomness. Logic requires a cause for the big bang event. Something can't come out of nothing, and nothing can't produce something. Common sense requires something to produce something. The law of causation requires a cause to produce an effect. For every cause there is an effect, and there is no effect without a cause, and no effect is greater than its cause. There must be an uncaused first cause, or nothing would exist. "Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding. Who determined its measurements? Surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it? To what were its foundations fastened? Or who laid its cornerstone?" (Job 38:3-6) "All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made." (John 1:3)

 

      "And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist." (Colossians 1:17) The Greek word sunesteken, for consist, in Colossians 1:17, is an interesting word. It means held together. The physics law of charge interactions stipulates that opposites attract, and likes repel. The atom is the building block of everything: it contains protons, neutrons, and electrons. Protons have a positive charge; neutrons have a neutral charge; and electrons have a negative charge. The nucleus of an atom contains protons and neutrons. Electrons revolve around the nucleus. There is a great distance between the nucleus and the revolving electrons. Protons and neutrons are compacted together in the nucleus. Scientists are perplexed because the protons don't repel each other as they should, according to the law of charge interactions. There's an invisible force that holds everything together: otherwise everything would be scattered throughout the universe. God holds everything together. "For in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring." (Acts 17:28) It's interesting that a flash of light occurs at the moment of conception. Recently they've been able to film this wonderful event, and you can search for flash of light at the moment of conception, and watch this wonderful phenomenon. When a sperm fertilizes an egg, a burst of light flashes. "That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world." (John 1:9)

    

     The first law of thermodynamics, also known as the law of conservation of energy and matter, states that energy and matter can neither be created or destroyed, but can be transformed from one form to another. "Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished." (Genesis 2:1) God's creation was finished, as the law of conservation of energy and matter discovered. Nothing can be added to God's finished work. The total sum of everything He made still exists, so if you burn wood, it's essence hasn't been destroyed, only it's form has changed. Science describes the universe in five terms: Time; energy; space; matter; and motion. Those five elements are found in the first two verses of the Bible. "In the beginning (time) God created (energy) the heavens (space) and the earth. (matter). The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering (motion) over the face of the waters." (Genesis 1:1&2)

    

                                                                                                        Evangelist Mike Manuel

 


"Christian Apologetics"

(Changing the World: Engaging the Culture)

Part XXI

 

                                                                                                                                                       May 2017

  

      Right and wrong are more than concepts: they're universal truths. If everything was random, nebulous, and chaotic, nothing could be understood. There would be no such thing as science; they're wouldn't be a frame of reference to discover the unknown, because nothing would be known. Albert Einstein said the universe had laws and patterns that allowed investigation into the mysteries of nature. Without these laws and patterns, nothing could be known. Belief in religion would be necessary for order and design to exist. "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good testimony. By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible." (Hebrews 11:1-3) Notice the word framed was used in explaining how the celestial bodies were made. Framing requires a plan or blueprint. Intelligence is necessary in constructing anything. Einstein said as much when he stated scientific inquiry required a belief that things could be understood, because of orderly processes. The Greek word Kosmos, used in the Bible, is an architectural term. It implies the universe was constructed.

 
    
By the way there's not as many atheists as we might think. Atheism is an untenable position. To be an atheist, you're sure there's no God anywhere there's a where and beyond, even though you haven't been everywhere and beyond. Agnosticism which states God's existence can't be known, would be more plausible: except for the overwhelming evidence of design, which refutes that view. "Knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation." (II Peter 3:3&4) Naturalists, believe in gradualism, incrementalism, and uniformitaranism: that everything happened slowly over long periods of time. We in the intelligent design community believe in catastrophism: that there have been upheavals and catastrophies from time immemorial. It's quite interesting that most cosmologists and paleontogists believe in one great catastrophe: that an asteroid hit the Yucatan peninsula and destroyed the dinosaurs. Fossils of sea creatures have been found on some of the highest mountains: and land animal have been discovered in the deepest oceans. "And the rain was on the earth forty days and forty nights." (Genesis 7:12) "And the waters receded continually from the earth. At the end of the hundred and fifty days the waters decreased." (Genesis 8:3)

  
    
 I was raised at 84 High Street in Logan, West Virginia. Our house was located on a hillside. 250 feet or so above our house, is a large rock with an imprint of a fish, approximately 15 inches long. I went to my 8th grade earth science teacher and baseball coach, Jim Bailey, and asked him how the large rock with a fish imprint, ended up on the hillside? He said at one time the hill must have been covered by water. There are sand deposits on our hills in southern West Virginia. Sedimentary rocks are formed by water action. Large rocks, known as igneous rocks, are formed by volcanic activity. At that time, there was no thought in my mind about God, Noah, or the flood. "Because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them.  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." (Romans 1:19&20) I now know the significance of the fish fossil and sand deposits I saw as a boy.

 
  
"In 1915, the German geologist and meteorologist Alfred Wegener first proposed the theory of continental drift, which states that parts of the Earth's crust slowly drift atop a liquid core. The fossil record supports and gives credence to the theories of continental drift and plate tectonics." Continental drift also explained why look-alike animals and plant fossils, and similar rock formations are found on different continents. "To Eber were born two sons: the name of one was Peleg, for in his days the earth was divided; and his brother’s name was Joktan." (Genesis 10:25) This is another upheaval that most scientists believe happened. The Bible records this catastrophic event. The word of God is accurate in all its statements, including matters of history and science. The scriptures contain information only the creator would know. "Open my eyes, that I may see Wondrous things from Your law." (Psalm 119:18)

 

                                                                                                        Evangelist Mike Manuel

 


"Christian Apologetics"

(Changing the World: Engaging the Culture)

Part XX

 

April 2017

    

     Is there such a thing as right and wrong, or good and bad? Can there be right without wrong, or good without bad? If everybody is right, does that mean nobody is wrong: and if nobody is right, does that mean everybody is wrong?  If everything is good, does that mean nothing is bad: and if everything is bad, does that mean nothing is good? These questions need to be answered. "He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?" (Micah 6:8) We'll examine this later. The dictionary definition of right is: being in accordance with what is just, good, or proper; conforming to facts or truth; suitable, appropriate. The definition of wrong is: an injurious, unfair, or unjust act; something immoral, or unethical; principles, practices, or conduct contrary to justice, goodness, equity, or law; not according to truth or facts; sinful, immoral. These definitions are vague generalizations, without specificity or precise meaning.

  
 
   We hear people say: you're wrong or I'm right. Even relativists speak with certitude about right and wrong: which is a self contradiction. People innately know right from wrong. How can this be? "And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat;  but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die." Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings." (Genesis 2:16&17-Genesis 3:4-7) Mankind went from a state of innocence to a state of guilt. They wholeheartedly fulfilled their creative purpose until the fall. Adam and Eve had free will, and exercised it in disobedience to God. Prior to the fall, it never crossed their mind to violate God's plan. One meaning of iniquity is to twist something from its intended purpose. After the fall, sin began to infect the human race.

  
    
It was an act of mercy that God didn't allow them to eat of the tree of life in their sinful condition. "
So He drove out the man; and He placed cherubim at the east of the garden of Eden, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life." (Genesis 3:24) Had they eaten of the tree of life in their fallen state, they would've been that way forever. We're candidates for salvation: which means man needs redemption. Psychology is the science of mind and behavior. Psychologists try to explain man's behavior, but are baffled by concepts of conscience and quilt. In remote areas of the world, aboriginal people know right from wrong. There is a universal understanding of what's good or bad. They know it's wrong to lie, cheat, steal, and murder. Likewise, they know its right to tell the truth, help the hurting and weak, and protect the innocent. How can this be explained? "For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves,  who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them)  in the day when God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel." (Romans 2:14-16)

  

     Some people seem to have no conscience, but they do. "Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons,  speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron." (I Timothy 4:1&2) "Who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness." (Ephesians 4:18)  You might start using a hammer to pound nails: if you do it long enough, a blister will start to form; which is painful. If you continue, a callous will form: which hardens and thickens the skin. You can reach a point where you feel no pain. There was a man who could drink hot coffee out of the coffee pot. He didn't start out that way, but started drinking warm coffee over a period of time. Eventually he could drink hot coffee like it was ice tea. In process of time, he singed his throat and couldn't feel the hot coffee. It hurt when he first started, but after his throat was seared, he didn't feel a thing. Likewise, when people violate their conscience, they feel regret. But when they keep doing the same thing over and over, they reach a point where they have no remorse. As Ephesians 4:18 says, they go past feeling, and give themselves over to sin. There are some folk who say they don't believe in right and wrong, or good or bad. There was a man back in the 1960's, in my hometown of Logan West Virginia: who said he believed in euthanizing the elderly. He said they were no longer benefiting society, and it would spare them the aches and pains of aging. Of course, he was a young man. A friend of mine worked with him and said they should start with his grandmother. He was upset at the thought of killing his grandmother. People change their mind when their ox is being gored. "In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes." (Judges 17:6

 

                                                                                                        Evangelist Mike Manuel

 


Christian Apologetics"

(Changing the World: Engaging the Culture)

Part XIX

March 2017

 

     "Hear this now, O foolish people, Without understanding, Who have eyes and see not, And who have ears and hear not." (Jeremiah 5:21) The popular saying: There are none so blind, as those who will not see, came from scripture. Some people choose to not know. "For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished." (II Peter 3:5&6) Some critics of creation science object to the use of scripture by its proponents. But why should people limit their sources when searching for truth? The Bible contains scientific information. In fact, it contains facts that only the designer of the universe would know. Look for truth wherever it's found. Evolutionists cite information from varied sources. It's interesting they use the phrase; the theory of evolution. A theory is an unproved assumption, conjecture. That's an accurate description of evolution. Former evolutionary biologist Gary Parker said: "In most people's minds, fossils and evolution go hand and hand. In reality fossils are a great embarrassment to evolutionary theory and offer strong support for the concept of creation." There are many scientists who have left their belief in evolution and have embraced intelligent design. In 2004 legendary British philosopher and champion of atheism, Anthony Flew, renounced his atheism. "The argument to intelligent design is enormously stronger than it was when I first met it."


       "He who answers a matter before he hears it, It is folly and shame to him." (Proverbs 18:13) A person who speaks about what he doesn't know isn't wise. My journey to faith illustrated that. As a young boy I had a sense of God. I was fascinated by praying mantises, lizards, and other creatures. As I observed them, I would talk and ask how they were made, and why they were made? My mother would ask me who I was talking to, and I would shrug my shoulders and say I don't know. When children talk, and there's nobody around, it's cute and we think they're amusing themselves. It could be they're talking to God, because they have an innate awareness of his presence. "I was alive once without the law, but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died." (Romans 7:9) "For until the law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law." (Romans 5:13) We're born with a fallen nature. " For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:23) The sin nature is activated when it comes in contact with the law of God. You can walk into a room that's just been painted and the paint's still wet, but if you didn't know there was a fresh coat of paint on the walls, you wouldn't think about it. If there was a sign that said: wet paint don't touch, seemingly, out of nowhere, there comes an urge to touch the wall. You don't have to teach kids to do wrong, you have to teach them to do right. It's like a dormant volcano: which is inactive. When the volcano comes out of its state of dormancy, and becomes activated, it explodes and molten lava with ash is spewed out. The hot lava was deep inside the volcano all along; but when it became activated, it manifested through an explosion. When we're sleeping, we're unconscious, free from self-awareness. When we're awakened, we become conscious and aware: then our senses are reactivated. "Awake, you who sleep, Arise from the dead, And Christ will give you light." (Ephesians 5:14) Children operate in a state of innocence until they become aware of right and wrong. As Romans 5:13 states, sin isn't charged when there's no knowledge of right and wrong. The power of sin is the desire to break the law of God, and do what you're not supposed to do. It's the taboo aspect of life. A taboo is: banned on grounds of morality or taste; A prohibition against touching, saying, or doing something; A prohibition imposed by social custom or as a protective measure. The basis of our fallen nature is rebellion to God. Adam and Eve didn't do what the Lord told them to do, and did what He told them not to do. Sociologists and psychologists study reasons why people are the way they are, and why they do what they do. The Bible is the manual of life. "But Jesus did not commit Himself to them, because He knew all men,  and had no need that anyone should testify of man, for He knew what was in man." (John 2:24&25)

 

     Man's estimation of himself is that he's inherently good, and that education and a favorable environment will cure him from doing bad things. This is demonstrably false. God says man is inherently evil, and needs a change of heart."So He said to them, “Are you thus without understanding also? Do you not perceive that whatever enters a man from outside cannot defile him, because it does not enter his heart but his stomach, and is eliminated, thus purifying all foods?” And He said, “What comes out of a man, that defiles a man.  For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders,  thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within and defile a man." (Mark 7:18-23) Regeneration is the answer to man's plight. Real change occurs in the heart. In some societies, if you look at something you shouldn't, they'll gouge your eyes out. If you listen to something you shouldn't, they'll cut your ears off. If you steal something, they'll cut your hands off. If you say something you shouldn't, they'll cut your tongue out. But that doesn't affect the heart. "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh." (Ezekiel 36:26)

 

                                                                                                        Evangelist Mike Manuel

 


"Christian Apologetics"

(Changing the World: Engaging the Culture)

Part XVIII

 

February 2017

 

     Creation Science is science. Some people think its religion: a system of worship; but it's not. Science is systematized knowledge or a branch of it. Science is based on empirical data; verifiable proof. Throughout this series we've presented bonafide, legitimate science. The case for God and creation is substantiated by the laws of science and logic. "But if anyone is ignorant, let him be ignorant." (I Corinthians 14:38) Paul was referring to close minded people. If we're not careful we can waist a lot of time on folk who've already chosen to believe what they want to believe, in spite of the facts. "So when they did not agree among themselves, they departed after Paul had said one word: “The Holy Spirit spoke rightly through Isaiah the prophet to our fathers,  saying, ‘Go to this people and say: “Hearing you will hear, and shall not understand; And seeing you will see, and not perceive; For the hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, And their eyes they have closed, Lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, So that I should heal them.”  “Therefore let it be known to you that the salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles, and they will hear it!" (Acts 28:25-28) On the first day of school, a fourth grade teacher announced she was an atheist. She asked if any of her students were atheists. Most fourth graders don't know what an atheist is, but they want to be like their teacher. Every child but one girl raised their hand. The teacher went to the girl who didn't raise her hand, and asked her what she was? The girl said she was a Christian: so the teacher inquired as to why she was a Christian? The girl responded that her father and mother were Christians. The teacher said that was the most ridiculous excuse she had ever heard. She said, if your father was an idiot, and your mother was an imbecile, what would you be? The little girl replied, in that case, I guess I would be an atheist!

     Contrary to popular opinion, ignorance isn't bliss. Ignorance is a curse, and what you don't know can destroy you. "Then they will call on me, but I will not answer; They will seek me diligently, but they will not find me. Because they hated knowledge And did not choose the fear of the Lord." (Proverbs 1:28&29) When people reject light, they walk into darkness. The dark ages, which occurred from 500AD-1000AD, was a time of regression and deterioration in the culture and economy of Europe. This backwardness happened because people rejected the nobility of life for the baser aspects of existence."Whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame who set their mind on earthly things." (Philippians 3:19) "To the pure all things are pure, but to those who are defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure; but even their mind and conscience are defiled." (Titus 1:15) Primarily this came about when religious leaders withdrew from society. They didn't want to be contaminated by interacting with sinners. While the world was going to hell, they debated theological questions like, how many angels could stand on the head of a pin? How could the answer to that question help anybody?

     The story of the good Samaritan shows how the sanctimonious adherence to religion, can blind us to the plight of our fellowman. A man traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho was robbed, beaten, and left for dead. "Now by chance a certain priest came down that road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. Likewise a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion." (Luke 10:31-33) It just dawned on me, the religious men passed on the other side of the road. They may have walked over to the other side, to get as far away as they could from the dying man. At least we know they didn't cross over to help the man. The Samaritan came along and bound up his wounds, poured in oil and wine, and took him to an inn. He paid the innkeeper and told him to take care of the man, and whatever else it cost, he would pay him for his help. The Samaritan did the work of the Lord. The priests either ignored the situation, or were too busy to get involved. Let's not become jaded to suffering. People don't care how much we know, until they know how much we care. Wherever the gospel is preached and demonstrated, it elevates the status of humanity. Look at nations that have embraced or rejected the word of God; and you will see a stark contrast.  "Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, The people He has chosen as His own inheritance." (Psalm 33:12) "The wicked shall be turned into hell, And all the nations that forget God." (Psalm 9:17)

                                                                                                        Evangelist Mike Manuel


"Christian Apologetics"

(Changing the World: Engaging the Culture)

Part XVII

 

January 2017


        Is there meaning to our existence, or is everything meaningless? The definition of meaning is: design, intention, and significance. Meaning gives life value. Meaning speaks to purpose, purpose speaks to will, will speaks to intellect, and intellect speaks to being. "What is man that You are mindful of him, And the son of man that You visit him? For You have made him a little lower than the angels, And You have crowned him with glory and honor. You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet." (Psalm 8:4-6) There are only two explanations for life and existence. Randomness or Determinism. Random means happening without any definite plan, aim, or pattern. Determinism means belief that what happens is caused for a purpose. I would state it this way: Randomness-things happen. Determinism-things happen for a reason. The randomness explanation for existence and life, doesn't make sense. It's an untenable proposition. "The fool has said in his heart, There is no God.” They are corrupt, and have done abominable iniquity; There is none who does good. God looks down from heaven upon the children of men, To see if there are any who understand, who seek God." (Psalm 53:1&2) Throughout the universe and down to the smallest level, there's order, design, sequence, and symmetry. As mentioned earlier, there's more complexity at the cellular, and micro cellular level, than the composite macro level.

       Science is knowledge about the world, especially on examining, testing, and providing facts. Systematized knowledge. Without patterns and laws there wouldn't be any basis for science. Science requires the known to compare to the unknown. Consider what Albert Einstein said. "Science can only be created by those who are thoroughly imbued with the aspiration toward truth and understanding. This source of feeling, however, springs from the sphere of religion. To this there also belongs the faith in the possibility that the regulations valid for the world of existence are rational, that is, comprehensible to reason. I cannot conceive of a genuine scientist without that profound faith." What we know about the universe, compels us to believe a supreme intelligence must have created it. "Then God said, “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years." (Genesis 1:14) The movement of celestial bodies is so precise that we can chart their course in the future. Astronomers have created a cosmic time machine to project what the universe will look like 10,000 years from now. Observations from the Hubble Space Telescope, allow scientists to calculate how stars in the globular cluster Omega Centauri will move for millennia to come. "Known to God from eternity are all His works."  (Acts 15:18) Astronomers can look back in time to see what the universe looked like in the past. Regular patterns of motion make this possible. Aeronautical and Navigational movements are possible because of the predictable course of celestial bodies. "To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven." (Ecclesiastes 3:1) Mathematics, Algebra, Geometry, and Trigonometry, to some degree were developed because of astronomy.

  

     It all comes back to cause and effect. An uncaused intelligent first cause is necessary for the universe to exist as we know it. Randomness doesn't have a leg to stand on. Nihilism believes nothing has any meaning or value. Then why would there be complexity in everything that exists. The evidence is overwhelming. It's not so much a matter that people can't believe in God: they don't want to believe in God. "The wicked in his proud countenance does not seek God; God is in none of his thoughts." (Psalm 10:4) If there is no God or meaning to life, what's the rationale for human behavior? Existentialism is the philosophy that people are responsible for their own actions and experiences, and that the world has no meaning. That's an absurd statement. If there's no meaning to anything; how can you believe in responsibility? Responsibility to who and for what? To the nihilist there is no good or bad, right or wrong. Remember, it doesn't matter. But the fact is, matter does matter. "In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes." (Judges 17:6)

 

                                                                                                        Evangelist Mike Manuel

 


"Christian Apologetics"

(Changing the World: Engaging the Culture)

Part XVI

                                      

December 2016

       The October 2015 encounter I had with the Atheist in New Port Richey, Florida; had a dramatic conclusion.  As the scientific and logical case for God and creation was presented, he was stunned.  He began to sober up from his inebriated condition. "They drank wine, and praised the gods of gold and silver, bronze and iron, wood and stone. In the same hour the fingers of a man’s hand appeared and wrote opposite the lampstand on the plaster of the wall of the king’s palace; and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote.  Then the king’s countenance changed, and his thoughts troubled him, so that the joints of his hips were loosened and his knees knocked against each other." (Daniel 5:4-6)   During our conversation, the Atheist went from being relaxed and laid back, to being agitated and combative.  When people get angry, that means the Holy Ghost is convicting them. I would rather people get mad, than be laid back and calm, when they hear the good news.  "Without conviction there's no conversation.   For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death." (II Corinthians 7:10)

 
     This man had two sons.  One was in his early twenties, the other in his late twenties.  The youngest son listened intently to our discussion.  Some people like net fishing.  The added bonus is when you catch the fish you want, you might catch other fish.  After presenting the cosmological (existence) and teleological (design) case for God and creation:  I began to make the axiological (moral) reason for belief in God and the bible.  The moral argument for God is persuasive. "Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are well known to God, and I also trust are well known in your consciences." (II Corinthians 5:11)  I said to the man; you're an evolutionist, which means you believe in survival of the fittest.  If somebody is wiser, shrewder, more cunning and crafty than others, they should be celebrated. "Now there was also a dispute among them, as to which of them should be considered the greatest.   And He said to them, "The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those who exercise authority over them are called ‘benefactors.’ But not so among you; on the contrary, he who is greatest among you, let him be as the younger, and he who governs as he who serves.  For who is greater, he who sits at the table, or he who serves?  Is it not he who sits at the table? Yet I am among you as the One who serves." (Luke 22:24-27)   God's estimation of greatness is different than the world's view of greatness. God's way up is down.


    
I told him if survival of the fittest brought us to where we are; we should have award ceremonies honoring those who have fought their way to the top: whether by hook or crook.  I mentioned two hypothetical situations.  The award for the greatest liar in 2015 goes to Randy.  Randy told 15,437 lies in 2015.  He bilked people out of $24,637,000. Give Randy an ovation for his accomplishment.  Come on down and receive your trophy and check.  At this point, the atheist's demeanor changed.  Now we're ready to congratulate the greatest mass murderer of the decade 2001-2010. Max slaughtered 12,894 people.  He exterminated 3,721 babies that we're going to breath air, eat food, and take up space.  He liquidated 5,194 elderly people who were no longer useful to society.  Let's give Max a big applause.  The atheist clinched his fist and shouted!  You can have right and wrong without God!  I replied: no you can't!  If there is no God, there's no right or wrong.  Random processes have no meaning.  If somebody likes torturing babies for fun, who are you to say it's wrong?  Your truth is your truth, but it may not be someone else's truth.  Why would you want to impose your value system on others?


   
 He was shocked.  He told me I defended my position well, and I told him my purpose was to present truth.  He got up and his sons followed him as he threw his beer can into the trash bin.  After walking 25 or 30 feet away, he turned around and came back.  There was an ashen look on his face.  He said he had never heard anything like this.  Then he remarked that he might have to reconsider some of his positions.  "But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them." (II Corinthians 4:3&4) "And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, Felix trembled, and answered, Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee." (Acts 24:25)   Light dispels darkness. Hallelujah! 

 

                                                                                                        Evangelist Mike Manuel

  "Merry Christmas"

 

           


 "Christian Apologetics"

(Changing the World: Engaging the Culture)

Part XV

                                      

November 2016

 

      Back in June I mentioned a conversation I had with an Atheist in Florida last October.  He was raised by Atheist parents, who headed up an Atheism society in Tennessee. Some of the information we looked at in the last few months was discussed in our conversation.  When he started talking to me, he had no idea I was a Christian minister. We should pay attention to what people say.  "The hearing ear and the seeing eye, The Lord has made them both." (Proverbs 20:12)  That doesn't mean we have to waist our time listening to drivel.  Several years ago, Cathy was trying to help a lady that kept calling her on a weekly basis.  She gave this woman sound scriptural advice. But the lady wasn't applying the word of God to her situation.  "But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.  For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was.  But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does." (James 1:22-25)   This had been going on for a year or so. I asked Cathy how are you going to help her; if she won't do what the Bible says she should do?  The next time she called, Cathy gently let her know if she wasn't going to act on God's word, she couldn't help her.  She needed to spend time helping people who would respond to the word of God.

     
Back When Nehemiah was rebuilding the wall; Sanballat, Tobiah, and Geshem asked him to come down and meet with them.
"So I sent messengers to them, saying, “I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down. Why should the work cease while I leave it and go down to you?" (Nehemiah 6:3)  The devil would love to run us ragged, putting out brushfires. "But shun profane and  idle babblings, for they will increase to more ungodliness." (II Timothy 2:16)   Let's keep our focus on God's plan and purpose.  "Now it came to pass, when the time had come for Him to be received up, that He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem." (Luke 9:15)  I felt it necessary to put things in context, so people wouldn't think they have to listen to everything anybody says. The Holy Spirit will let us know what to do.  "Redeeming the time, because the days are evil." (Ephesians 5:16)   Ironically, two months after Cathy told the woman she couldn't help her if she wouldn't obey God: she got serious about the Lord, and turned her life around. Sometimes the best thing we can do is stand still and know He is God. 
"A time to keep silence, And a time to speak." (Ecclesiastes 3:7b)


    
When the man finally told me he was an Atheist, I asked him how he came to believe in Atheism. If we ask the right questions, we can learn a lot about people.  "Then He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men." (Matthew 4:19)   Fishing is an art. Jesus was the master fisherman. To catch fish, you have to acquire some basic information.  There are different kinds of fish; which live in different water locations. Certain fish prefer certain food: which means the right bait must be used to catch the fish you want.  Different fish might eat at different times.  Many fish will swim away if it's noisy.  Water conditions affect the ability to catch fish.  The strength of the fishing rod and reel must be taken into consideration, when fishing for large or small fish.  When the fish takes the bait, the fisherman has to learn how to reel it in. If he gives too much slack, the fish might be able to work itself free from the hook.  If the fisherman pulls the line in too fast, he might pull the hook through the fish's  jaw. It's amazing that Jesus likened soul winning to fishing.  There are so many parallels between the two.  Jesus will teach us everything we need to know about fishing for souls. "For He knows our frame; He remembers that weare dust." (Psalm 103:14)  "And had no need that anyone should testify of man, for He knew what was in man." (John 2:25)  
Jesus took twelve men, from diverse backgrounds, and used them to change the world. Religion and society would have rejected them, because they didn't have the right pedigree.  But God's touch made all the difference. Don't sell yourself short, God can use you.

 

Evangelist Mike Manuel 


"Christian Apologetics"

(Changing the World: Engaging the Culture)

Part XIV

                                      

October 2016

 

     "You shall take with you seven each of every clean animal, a male and his female; two each of animals that are unclean, a male and his female; also seven each of birds of the air, male and female, to keep the species alive on the face of all the earth." (Genesis 7:2&3)   How did life begin?   Evolutionists believe in spontaneous generation, that life came from inanimate, non living matter. An amoeba, a single cell life form, came into being by blind chance.  Through mitosis, cell division, it divided itself into two undifferentiated cells.  That's unscientific.  There's not been one observance of life coming from non living matter.  Life comes from pre-existent life, which substantiates biogenesis.  About ten years ago I was discussing this with an atheist evolutionary microbiologist from Morehead State University.  I asked him how two undifferentiated cells knew which would become the male and which would become the female.  Some naturalists say it would take a long time for the male and female to develop: maybe 500,000 years or more.  Then they would jettison asexual reproduction, and reproduce sexually.  He told me to go to hell, as he stormed out to his car and peeled off the parking lot. A couple of young people looked at me, and I told them it made me feel good. Think of it. If an atheist tells you to go to hell, he must believe in an afterlife. That's progress. Follow Christ's example. "Who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously." (I Peter 2:23) Some people won't like what we say. If we wear our feelings in our front pocket, we'll get them hurt and start feeling sorry for ourselves. "If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you." (John 15:18&19) "But, speaking the truth in love." (Ephesians 4:15a)  Remember, if they don't receive you, it's not a personal matter. They're rejecting the one who sent you. "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who receives whomever I send receives Me; and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me." (John 13:20) We need to represent the Lord with dignity and grace. It's just as important how we say what we say, as it is what we say. Civility goes a long way in persuading people to believe in God and the Bible. Boldly presenting the case for creation is effective. Fearlessly challenging the fallacies of naturalism will rock the boat. If we're afraid of criticism, it will stifle our ability to change hearts and minds. Is our comfort zone more important than the next generation? "Then they said to one another,  “We are not doing right. This day is a day of good news, and we remain silent. If we wait until morning light, some punishment will come upon us.  Now therefore, come, let us go and tell the king’s household." (II Kings 7:9)

       

     We'll resume with the matter at hand. A bird can't fly with two percent of a wing. It would be an impediment to the survival of the creature, slow it down, and make it easy prey for predators. If a bird did evolve: who would it mate with? Why would an organism develop a mouth if it were surviving without one? If the mouth formed, where would the food go without an esophagus? What good is a mouth and esophagus without a stomach? And where would the waste go without a colon? Gradual change wouldn't bring this about. What would be the impetus behind each system, dependent on each other, developing on its own? How would the next system know to develop to complete the entire system? It doesn't make sense. "The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God." (Psalm 53:1a)  For blood to clot, 12 chemical reactions have to work simultaneously in the first generation, or nothing would survive. Charles Darwin said: "If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down." This is found in his Origin of Species. Even the most basic biological mechanisms that we know are irreducibly complex. Nothing can be removed without disabling the mechanism. The individual parts are useless without the whole. The bacteria flagellum is an example. It has a whip like part that allows it to move much like an outboard motor; except this motor is water cooled. It features a universal joint; has gears for forward and reverse. It can reach speeds of 100,000 rpm's, and can do self assembly and repair. It has precision and economy of construction, which necessitates intelligence. All the parts have to be present and working or the organism is useless. Evolution says we go from the simple to the complex, but we go from the complex to the simple. There is more complexity at the cellular and micro cellular level; than at the macro composite level. "Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; And His greatness is unsearchable." (Psalm 145:3)

Evangelist Mike Manuel 


"Christian Apologetics"

(Changing the World: Engaging the Culture)

Part XIII

                                      

September 2016
 

       Market all things; hold fast what is good. (I Thessalonians 5:21)   It's important to verify information. We should thoroughly examine every matter, before we accept or reject it. It's folly to embrace an idea without scrutiny. There's a commercial that illustrates this point. A young lady is walking out of an apartment building, when she sees a friend using his cell phone. She asks him what he's doing. He answers I'm comparing car insurance, and he asks her what she's doing. She replies I have a date with a French model. Then he asks her where she met him. So she responds she met him on the internet. He then asks her how she knows he's a French model, and she retorts it was on the internet. Of course, everything on the internet must be true! The supposed French model walks over to her, in an uncoordinated way, and he says bonjour in an obviously NON French accent. Some people are gullible enough to believe almost anything they hear. "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge." (Hosea 4:6a)


     Christians who aren't well informed, fall prey to specious arguments. Information is power.  "Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves." (Matthew 10:16) The scriptural portrayal of ravenous wolves searching for sheep that have strayed from the fold, is well known in scripture. We can be intelligent and astute, as well as sincere and harmless. As stated earlier, the greatest minds are people who believe in God. The field of science presupposes an orderly system of laws and patterns that can be understood and examined. Albert Eisenstein said: "I want to know how God created this world. I am not interested in this or that phenomenon, in the spectrum of this or that element. I want to know his thoughts. The rest are details." (The Expanded Quotable Eisenstein, Princeton University Press, 2000 pg 202) I might add, those details point to a supreme intelligence.


     Sir Arthur Keith, who wrote the forward to the 100th edition of Darwin's Origin of Species said: "Evolution is unproved and unprovable. We believe it because the only alternative is special creation, and that is unthinkable." I have to agree with Mr. Keith, if you won't go where the evidence leads you, you're not thinking. "Professing to be wise, they became fools." (Romans 1:22) Dr. Harold Urey, evolutionist and Nobel Prize Winner in chemistry, opined: "All of us who study the origin of life find that the more we look into it, the more we feel that it is too complex to have evolved anywhere. We believe as an article of faith that life evolved from dead matter on this planet. It is just that its complexity is so great, it is hard for us to imagine that it did." He stated that he and his colleagues believed in evolution, as an article of faith. It takes more faith to believe in Naturalism, than it does to believe in Intelligent Design. "For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.  And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist." (Colossians 1:16&17) "For every house is built by someone, but He who built all things is God." (Hebrews 3:4)


     Frauds have been foisted upon the scientific community and the general population. These hoaxes caused great embarrassment to those who embraced them. Piltdown man was alleged to be 500,000 to a 1,000,000 years old. It turned out to be a 600 year old woman's skull; and a 500 year old orangutan's jaw. The bones were doctored to give it the appearance of age. It fooled people for decades, before the scheme was exposed. Nebraska man was purported to be a link between humans and apes. The so called ape man was reconstructed from a tooth. In actuality, it was a pig's tooth. Java man was reconstructed from a piece of a skull, three molar teeth, and a fragment of a thigh bone. Some paleontologists have a fertile imagination. "Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ." (Colossians 2:8)


     Creationists have no disagreement with legitimate, bonafide science. We eagerly look forward to understanding God's amazing and wonderful creation. "It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, But the glory of kings We celebrate truth and reality; but reject falsehood and illusions. It's the speculations, suppositions, and conclusions of men that we might differ with. "For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men." (I Corinthians 1:22-25)

Evangelist Mike Manuel 

 


"Christian Apologetics"

(Changing the World: Engaging the Culture)

Part XII

                                      

August 2016

 

     The next matter we dealt with was the fossil record. Biologist and former atheist evolutionist Gary Parker said: "In most people's minds, fossils and evolution go hand in hand. In reality, fossils are a great embarrassment to evolutionary theory and offer strong support for the concept of creation." "And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being." (Genesis 2:7) The soil contains 14 elements. Those 14 elements constitute the human body. As stated earlier, evolutionary paleontologists are baffled by the absence of transitional fossils. Look around; you don't see 3/4 of a man and 1/4 of an ape; or 3/4 of an ape and 1/4 of a man. "And God made the beast of the earth according to its kind, cattle according to its kind, and everything that creeps on the earth according to its kind. And God saw that it was good." (Genesis 1:25) There's variation and adaptation within every species; but no cross over between any species. Modification of existing structures; but no new structures or appendages.
 

     Charles Darwin, founder of evolutionary thought, lamented in his origin of species: "Why if species have descended from other species by fine gradations, do we not everywhere see innumerable transitional forms? Why is not all nature in confusion, instead of species being, as we see them, well defined? As by this theory innumerable transitional forms must have existed why do we not find them embedded in countless numbers in the crust of the earth? Not one change of species into another is on record, we cannot prove that a single species has been changed." Evolutionist Rudolf Raff said: "All known animal body plans seem to have appeared in the Cambrian Radiation." Notice that mister Raff said they seem to have appeared. To appear means: to start to be seen, to arrive, or to exist in a place, especially suddenly. "This is the book of the genealogy of Adam. In the day that God created man, He made him in the likeness of God. 2 He created them male and female, and blessed them and called them Mankind in the day they were created." (Genesis 5:1&2)  Prominent British evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins states: "Biology is the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose." Concerning the appearance of life in the Cambrian explosion he further said: "And we find many of them (fossils) in an advanced state of evolution, the very first time they appear. It is as though they were just planted there, without any evolutionary history. Needless to say, this appearance of sudden planting has delighted creationists." He further said: "We don't need evidence, we know it (evolution) to be true." These well known naturalists have conceded there aren't any intermediate connector fossils: which refutes the theory of evolution.

 

     There's variety in every species. In the human family, there is the Watusi and the Pygmy: the tall and short end of the spectrum. In the dog world, there's the Saint Bernard and the Chihuahua: the large and small range of their type. But a man is a man: and a dog is a dog. Man has 23 pair of chromosomes; for a total of 46. Dogs have 39 pair of chromosomes for a total of 78. Reproduction only occurs within each species. Genetics is a dead end street to evolution. "And He answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female." (Matthew 19:4) We're told that humans and apes are 98% connected. That's no big deal: We're 93% connected to earthworms. Clouds, watermelons, and jellyfish are 98% water. But there's a big difference between them. There's a commonality of substance, but not arrangement. You can have a one and six zeros. They can be expressed as 1,000,000 or 0000001. That's a big difference. God made everything from the same material. "Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth the living creature according to its kind: cattle and creeping thing and beast of the earth, each according to its kind”; and it was so." (Genesis 1:24)

 

     Evolution says we go from the simple to the complex. Actually, we go from the complex to the simple. There's more complexity at the cellular, micro cellular level: than at the macro composite level of the human body. The human genome, also called the book of life, was decoded in 2000. "I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, The days fashioned for me, When as yet there were none of them." (Psalm 139:14-16)   In the first instance of life, when a sperm fertilizes an egg, there's enough information to fill 100 complete sets of encyclopedias. Information speaks to intelligence; intelligence speaks to being; and being speaks to life; and life speaks to God. Which came first, the chicken or the egg? That's the evolutionists dilemma. The fossil record indicates creation. The earliest fossil remains came from the Cambrian period. There was an explosion of life during that time. Complex life forms abruptly appear with no precursors, predecessors, forerunners, or antecedents. This would comport with the creation model.

 

     "For thus says the LORD, Who created the heavens, Who is God, Who formed the earth and made it, Who has established it, Who did not create it in vain, Who formed it to be inhabited:  “I am the LORD, and there is no other." (Isaiah 45:18)  Francis Crick, co discoverer of the double helix of DNA, an evolutionist, remarked: "An honest man armed with the knowledge available to us now, could only state that, in some sense the origin of life appears at the moment to be almost a miracle, so many are the conditions which would have had to have been satisfied to get it going." Richard Leakey, noted paleoanthropologist evolutionist, commented: "If pressed about man's ancestry, I would have to unequivocally say that all we have is a huge question mark. To date, there has been nothing found to truthfully purport as a transitional species to man....If further pressed, I would have to state that there is more evidence to suggest an abrupt arrival of man rather than a gradual process of evolving." Empirical data points to God and creation.

 

Evangelist Mike Manuel

 

  


"Christian Apologetics"

(Changing the World: Engaging the Culture)

Part XI

                                      

July 2016

 

        My discussion with the atheist in Florida was civil.   As Christians we shouldn't be abrasive, belligerent, combative, or confrontational. "But, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ." (Ephesians 4:15)  On the other hand, we shouldn't be afraid of spirited debate. Sometimes believers are too docile and deferential when engaging unbelievers. "And for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel." (Ephesians 6:19) The Greek word for boldly is parrhesia. It means: outspokenness, frankness, unreservedness in speech, plainness, freely, openly, publicly, courage, assurance, boldness, and fearlessness. There is a difference between arrogance and confidence. "Then Jesus went into the temple of God and drove out all those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves. And He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a ‘den of thieves." (Matthew 21:12&13)

  
  
  Back to the conversation I had with the atheist from Tennessee. I remember telling him circumstantial evidence is admissible in a court room proceeding. A policeman might be investigating a crime scene. He sees muddy footprints on the doormat. He walks through the open door into the house, and smells the lingering smell of cigarette smoke. There's a cigarette in the ash tray. The strong scent of cologne is wafting through the air. A sandwich with a bite taken out of it, is on a plate. A glass, with lip prints on it, is on a table. There's nobody in the room: but somebody was in the room. "Or speak to the earth, and it will teach you; And the fish of the sea will explain to you. Who among all these does not know That the hand of the Lord has done this." (Job 12:8&9)  "Because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them." (Romans 1:19) 
The earth is 93 million miles away from the sun. Any closer, and we would burn up; any farther away, and we would freeze to death. We have the right mix of carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, and oxygen in our atmosphere. Any more or less of these gases, and life wouldn't exist. There is a 1/4 inch ozone layer above the stratosphere. Without the ozone layer, there would be no life on our planet. The deadly ultraviolet sun rays would destroy us. If the moon was a little larger, or the same size and a little closer to the earth: the ocean currents would turn into tidal waves and wash over the land masses; and all air breathing creatures would die. If the moon was a little smaller, or the same size and a little farther away from the earth: the oceans would stagnate, and life would vanish. Without the earth's 23 1/2 degree tilt on its axis: there would be no seasonal change, and life would come to an end. "While the earth remains, Seedtime and harvest, Cold and heat, Winter and summer, And day and night Shall not cease." (Genesis 8:22)

  
    
There is a fine balance to the universe. If electrons were one millionth more of a negative charge; or one millionth less of a negative charge; everything would break down. There wouldn't be any living organism. If protons were one millionth more of a positive charge; or one millionth less of a positive charge; the same thing would happen. "Then God said, “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years." (Genesis 1:14) The movement of the celestial bodies in concert with each other is amazing. The word of God reveals the shape and movement of the earth. "It is He who sits above the circle of the earth, And its inhabitants are like grasshoppers, Who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, And spreads them out like a tent to dwell in." (Isaiah 40:22) 2,700 years ago the bible declared the earth was round. From Saint Augustine to Saint Thomas Aquinas, the church taught the earth was round. The idea that the church started the misconception of a flat earth isn't true. Secular philosophers started the notion of a flat earth. The church embraced that erroneous belief, when it rejected biblical revelation. The rotation of the earth is reveled in scripture. "It takes on form like clay under a seal, And stands out like a garment." (Job 38:14) Clay on a potter's wheel turns. The revolution of the sun is mentioned in the bible. "Its rising is from one end of heaven, And its circuit to the other end; And there is nothing hidden from its heat." (Psalm 19:6)   It takes the sun 200 million years to complete one revolution. The sun is hurtling through space at 600,00 miles an hour. The planets and moons in our solar system are along for the ride, through gravitational pull from the sun.

  
    
The universe is vast beyond imagination. God said: "As the host of heaven cannot be numbered, nor the sand of the sea measured." (Jeremiah 33:22a) On a clear night, you can count around 1,100 stars in the sky. Back in September, I was teaching a Christian Apologetics/Creation Science Seminar at Bethel World Outreach Church in Olney, Maryland. Bishop Darlingston Johnson and his wife Chrys, pastor the church. I pointed out that some astronomers believe there are more celestial  bodies, than grains of sand along all the sea shores on earth. A professor from Howard University was in the audience. He said that in the galaxy Milky Way, which our solar system belongs to, there are billions of solar systems. "Ah, Lord God!! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. There is nothing too hard for You." (Jeremiah 32:17)


 

"Christian Apologetics"

(Changing the World: Engaging the Culture)

Part X

                                      

June 2016

 

     Faith that isn't tried is weak faith. "And not being weak in faith." (Romans 4:19a) It's good to ask the question; why do I believe? Faith that's not exercised, won't grow and develop. "My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials,  knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.  If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him." (James 1:2-5) Some Christians are afraid to be questioned about their faith. Knowing why we believe, gives us confidence and boldness. The blast furnace purifies Iron ore, so the Iron can be separated from the surrounding material. "Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you." (I Peter 4:12) Our faith will be challenged. Notice Peter didn't say the fiery trial might come, or could come: but that it will come. Opposition give us opportunity to demonstrate the validity of our Faith. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego went into the furnace of fire; because they would not bow down and worship the Babylonian Idol. They were bound up, and cast into the fire. The fire was so hot, it killed the men who threw them in. "Then King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished; and he rose in haste and spoke, saying to his counselors, “Did we not cast three men bound into the midst of the fire?” They answered and said to the king, “True, O king.” “Look!” he answered, “I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire; and they are not hurt, and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.” (Daniel 3:24&25) Their ordeal brought glory to the Lord. "Because there is no other God who can deliver like this." (Daniel 3:29b)

     I want to share two situations that happened recently. Back in October I was preaching in Florida. While at the hotel I was staying at, a divine encounter occurred. A man and his two sons came over to where I was sitting. He was a man in his late fifties or early sixties. He was drinking a beer. His sons were in their twenties. They were carpenters working on a friends hotel. Not the hotel we were at, but a hotel about a mile away. They were from Tennessee and rarely worked outside their home state. This man started talking to me. Not long into our conversation he told me he was an atheist. His father and mother were atheists. They were prominent atheists, who headed up an atheism group. Though he said he didn't believe in God; he thought religion was good for society. I joking said; The fairytale of religion keeps people in line. He smiled and nodded his head. Some people erroneously believe medieval clergyman concocted the idea of heaven and hell, to get people to submit to their tenets of faith. "The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul; The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether." (Psalm 19:7-9)

  

    We began to discuss the reason why we believe what we believed. I brought up the cause and effect law. He couldn't come up with a reason why things came about, or why they developed into their current state. While we were talking, he told me he had been married a short time when he was young. He and his first wife divorced. Then he met his current wife in a restaurant. They've been married over thirty years. He said when they first looked at each othespan, across the restaurant, they knew they were meant for each other. Then I said: How can that be? How can random protons, neutrons, electrons, atoms, and molecules have meaning? What do you mean, you were meant for each other? His mouth dropped down and he said; you know what I mean. I said if you don't believe in God, how could you believe you were meant for your wife? Meaning speaks to purpose; and purpose speaks to will; and will speaks to intelligence. "For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope." (Jeremiah 29:11) The atheists position is untenable. To state there is no God: means you've been everywhere there's a where, and beyond, and you know there is no God. That statement is farcical. The agnostic view is more plausible. The agnostic says he doesn't know if there is a God. There is so much evidence for believing in God; agnosticism really doesn't make sense.)


     The next matter we dealt with was the design of the universe. He said, given enough time things could have came about by random chance. My response was that law, order, and symmetry never comes out of chaos and randomness. There is purpose with process. The universe is set up on a mathematical basis; Albert Einstein said, "All of my mathematical calculations point to the existence of a supreme intelligence." He further declared that "Science can only be created by those who are thoroughly imbued with the aspiration toward truth and understanding. This source of feeling, however, springs from the sphere of religion. To this there also belongs the faith in the possibility that the regulations valid for the world of existence  are rational, that is, comprehensible to reason. I cannot conceive of a genuine scientist without that profound faith." Without God there is no rhyme or reason, and therefore, no purpose. "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." (Romans 1:20)

  

 Evangelist Mike Manuel

 


 

"Christian Apologetics"

(Changing the World: Engaging the Culture)

Part IX

                                                                                                                                 May 2016

 

     The big bang theory postulates that a primeval atom exploded. Space, energy, and time all began with the big bang. After that, and incredibly sudden and rapid expansion called cosmic inflation occurred. The universe began from a single point to something astronomical in an instant of time. The universe continues to expand. It's illogical  to believe that everything came from a primeval atom. Explosions don't create things: they destroy things. Detonate dynamite in your living room; come back an hour later, and see if any improvements have been made. "You are worthy, O Lord,  To receive glory and honor and power; For You created all things, And by Your will they exist and were created." (Revelation 4:11) "For every house is built by someone, but He who built all things is God." (Hebrews 3:4) Famed atheist Steven Hawking said "It would be very difficult to explain why the universe should have begun this way, except as an act of a God who intended to create beings like us. The universe and the laws of physics seem to have been specifically designed for us." Just as a painting requires a painter, and a building requires a builder; creation requires a creator. "He has made the earth by His power, He has established the world by His wisdom, And has stretched out the heavens at His discretion." (Jeremiah 10:12)

 

     There was a time everything wasn't. There never was a time God wasn't; and never will be a time He won't be. "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End,” says the Lord “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty." (Revelation 1:8) Everything that exists, was brought into existence by God. "All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made." (John 1:3) Nothing we observe in the world was produced by itself. Something doesn't come out of nothing. It never could and never would. If nothing produced something, it would have had to create itself. It would have to exist before its creation. So it would have had to exist and not exist, at the same time: which is utterly ridiculous. We've been dealing with the cosmological argument for God's existence. There must have been an infinite, un-caused first cause or prime mover, who initiated a series of secondary causes and effects. Some people want to know where God came from. That would be like asking how long is the smell of a rose. Odor isn't determined by a tape measure; but by the sense of smell. You would only ask where something came from, that had a beginning. God had no beginning. The Lord questioned Job about this matter. "Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding." (Job 38:4)

    

     It's hard for finite beings to comprehend infinity. We live in space and time; God doesn't. He's before and outside of space and time. God stepped into space and time, when he was incarnated through the virgin birth. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth." (John 1:1&14) That's why the Lord Jesus Christ can relate to us. "Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people." (Hebrews 2:17) He understands everything we face. "For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust." (Psalm 103:14) "But Jesus did not commit Himself to them, because He knew all men, and had no need that anyone should testify of man, for He knew what was in man." (John 2:24&25) Everything we experience is related to time. That's why we have watches and plan our life around a calendar. Seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, and years are important to us. We're born, live, and die. Time is precious. In our realm, things begin and end; start and finish. The cause of this is both Lucifer's and Man's rebellion against God. Death entered the universe after these insurrections. All the struggles, pain, suffering, and death occurred because of the fall. "And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away." (Revelation 21:4)

 

     When you walk away from God; you're walking away from love, life, and light: and you're walking into hate, death, and darkness. I've had people tell me when they go to heaven, they're going to give Adam a what for; because of the curse resulting from his failure. I've told them to look in the mirror, and they'll see who's responsible. "Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned." (Romans 5:12) Everybody was in the loins of Adam and Eve when they disobeyed God. We are a product of our parents; and they of their parents; all the way back to Adam and Eve. Adam and Eve's sin had far reaching consequences. Adam was both the federal and seminal representative of the human race. The universe is dying from heat loss. This decay is known as the law of entropy. It was caused by the disobedience of Lucifer, and Adam and Eve. Once again the bible has the answer to our questions.

 

                                                                            Evangelist Mike Manuel


"Christian Apologetics"

(Changing the World: Engaging the Culture)

Part VIII

April 2016

 

     "All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made." (John 1:3) Logic requires an uncaused first cause. This uncaused first cause must be outside of creation. The uncaused first cause has to be self existent. Infinite regression is an untenable position. Infinite regression is the idea that there is no first cause in a series of causes. The law of causation nullifies infinite regression. Every cause has an effect. There is no effect without a cause. No effect is greater than its cause. "For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist." (Colossians 1:16&17) To think that something caused something, that caused something, that caused something, could have been going on forever, is absurd on the face of it. This uncaused first cause would have to be outside of time, energy, space, matter, and motion. You would no more ask where this first cause came from; than you would ask, how long is the smell of a rose? Odor isn't determined by length, but by smell. You only ask where something came from, that came into being. Only things that begin to exist have a beginning.


    
This uncaused first cause has to be self existent. "And God said unto Moses,
I Am That I Am and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I Am hath sent me unto you." (Exodus 3:14) "Before the mountains were brought forth, Or ever You had formed the earth and the world, Even from everlasting to everlasting, You God." (Psalm 90:2) This joke makes the point. Some scientists challenged God to a contest. They said: we can make a man just like you did. The Lord took them up on their challenge. The scientists reached over to get some dirt; when God said, OH NO, get your own dirt. God is over, above, and outside of creation. The universe had a beginning. If the universe was eternal; we wouldn't be in this moment. We would've had to cross over an eternal number of other moments, to get to this moment; which is impossible. The universe, as we discussed earlier, is dying a heat loss death. This is what the law of entropy, also known as the second law of thermodynamics, states. Since the universe is losing its heat energy; if it were eternal, it would have lost its heat energy an eternity ago.


    
With most cosmologists embracing the Big Bang Theory to explain the origin of the universe: it further substantiates that the universe came into existence. The Big Bang theory is the death knell to the steady state theory. Creation requires a creator. Saint Thomas Aquinas (1224-1274) said: Creation is the primary and most perfect revelation of the Divine. "Praise Him, sun and moon; Praise Him, all you stars of light! Praise Him, you heavens of heavens, And you waters above the heavens! Let them praise the name of the Lord, For He commanded and they were created. He also established them forever and ever; He made a decree which shall not pass away." (Psalm 148:3-6) In the 1990's I was preaching in Concord North Carolina. After service, I went to Pastor Rodney and Teresa Evans house for fellowship and food. I watched Ted Koppel host nightline. The topic concerned recent discoveries about the universe. A cosmologist was the main guest. He stated that the universe began when an atom exploded. Think of it, everything in existence came from an atom. Ted Koppel asked him where the atom came from. He said he didn't have an answer. Ted Koppel was stunned by his statement. In his book, God and the Astronomers, Robert Jastrow, a self proclaimed agnostic wrote, "For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak: as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries." "Professing to be wise, they became fools." (Romans 1:22) Albert Einstein said, "The more I study science the more I believe in God."


    
The Big Bang Theory correlates closer to the Genesis account, than other discredited theories that have been bandied about. We're told that everything came from a speck. It doesn't make sense. Remember, at one time the Steady State Theory was widely accepted. Cosmologists were able to look back in time, charting the expansion of the universe. It led them to a single location, where everything started. That once and for all debunked the Steady State Theory. They had to believe there was something there, from which everything came from. "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." (Genesis 1:1) The Hebrew word for create is Bara. It is used exclusively to refer to God's creative work;  it refers to creating things ex nihilo, or out of nothing. "Thus God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament; and it was so." (Genesis 1:7) The Hebrew word for made is Asah: which means, to make or do, to prepare. He made things from what He had already created. "Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; And His greatness is unsearchable." (Psalm 145:3)

 

                                   Evangelist Mike Manuel

 


"Christian Apologetics"

(Changing the World: Engaging the Culture)

Part VII

                                                                                        

March 2016

     Science describes the Universe in five terms: Time, energy, space, matter, and motion. All those elements are mentioned in the first two verses of the Bible. "In the beginning (time) God created (energy) the heavens (space) and the earth (matter). The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering (motion) over the face of the waters." (Genesis 1:1&2) Kosmos is the New Testament  Greek word for adornment, world, and universe. In classical Greek it meant building or construction. It was an architectural word. It indicates order, arrangement, and organization. There is no equivalent Hebrew word for Kosmos. New Testament use of Kosmos has an expanded meaning. It incorporates the earth and the universe. It also denotes the world system. Kosmos represents the fallen and rebellious state of man and nature. "Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.  For all that is in the world the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever." (I John 2:15-17) This scripture isn't talking about God's creation.  It's referring to the corrupt world system, resulting from man's fall in the garden of Eden.

 Evangelist Mike Manuel

     


"Christian Apologetics"

(Changing the World: Engaging the Culture)

Part VI

                                                                                          

 February 2016

      Several years ago I heard a minister preach on radio. His topic was human philosophy. "Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ." (Colossians 3:8) The preacher cited a conclusion reached by historians. This assessment, determination, wasn't reached by Christians, or religious folk: but by secular people. Their opinion concerned the greatest minds in history. Of the fifty greatest minds: 46 believed in God; and 42 were Christians. The 46 people who believed in God, comprised both men and women. The 4 people who claimed to be atheists or agnostics; had two things in common.  They were men, and they were preacher's sons. They came out of abusive and dysfunctional homes. Religion has produced some of the most ardent skeptics. Hypocrisy has turned many away from the faith. "They profess to know God, but in works they deny Him, being abominable, disobedient, and disqualified for every good work." (Titus 1:16) "Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea." (Matthew 18:6) The minister concluded his message by saying: these men chose not to believe. It wasn't that they couldn't believe in God: they didn't want to believe in God. Because if God was anything like their father; they didn't want to have anything to do with him. Sometimes people can't hear what we say; because they're watching what we do. I've talked to people who have turned from Christ. The overwhelming majority of them were offended by professing Christians. It's important to be a positive, not negative, influence on people. "You are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read by all men." (II Corinthians 3:2)


 
    Here are a few world renowned scientists that believed in God and the bible. I've selected these from an exhaustive list. Leonardo da Vinci, who some consider founder of modern science, strongly believed: "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." (Genesis 1:1) In the field of chemistry, Robert Boyle has no equal. He's the father of modern chemistry. He made the case for the biblical account of origins. Sir Isaac Newton, who discovered the law of gravity; wrote about bible prophecy. Louis Pasteur, discovered the pasteurization of milk process. Pasteur was a committed Christian. Francis Bacon advanced the scientific method. Blaise Pascal was a great mathematician. The basis of hydrostatics, hydrodynamics, differential calculus, and the theory of probability, was credited to him. The wager of Pascal is well known. How can anyone lose who chooses to be a Christian? If, when he dies, there turns out to be no God and his faith was in vain, he has lost nothing. In fact, he has been happier in life than his non-believing friends. If, however, there is a God and heaven and hell, then he has gained heaven and his skeptical friends will have lost everything in hell. "He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him." (John 3:36) Joseph Lister brought about antiseptic surgical methods. Outside of Louis Pasteur, more lives were saved because of his contributions to modern medicine, than anyone else. He was a devout believer in Jesus Christ. I'll mention a few more. Johannes Kepler (Astronomy), Carolus Linnaeus (biological taxonomy), Gregor Mendel (genetics), Michael Faraday  (electromagnetics), Henrietta Swan Leavitt (astronomy),  Clara Swain (medicine), Lord Kelvin (physics), Samuel F.B. Morse (telegraph), James Joule (thermodynamics), Henri Fabre (entomology of living insects), and Joseph Henry (electric motor). " For wisdom is better than rubies; and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it.  I wisdom dwell with prudence, and find out knowledge of witty inventions." (Proverbs 8:11&12) These outstanding people attributed their success to God. They rose to the top of their profession. They excelled above their peers; and gave God glory. "That, as it is written, “He who glories, let him glory in the Lord." (I Corinthians 1:31)

    

     Dr. Wernher Von Braun, father of space flight and exploration, may have been the greatest scientist of the 20th Century. He helped in the development of rocket science and aeronautics. Born in Germany, he was a pioneering inventor and engineer. After he was arrested, he fled Nazi Germany and came to the United States. Subsequent to his conversion to Jesus Christ: Dr. Von Braun became a strong proponent of the Christian faith and creationism. NASA was successful, to a great degree, because of his contribution. By profession, the highest percentage of people who believe in God; are astronomers. "The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament shows His handiwork.  Day unto day utters speech, And night unto night reveals knowledge. There is no speech nor language Where their voice is not heard." (Psalm 19:1-3) Astronomy is the study of heavenly bodies; the science dealing with their structure, size, distance, relative position and courses through space, and similar phenomena. As man probes the universe, he finds order, design, and symmetry. Naturally, it leads to intelligent design. Design reveals a designer. Randomness and chaos won't produce patterns and arrangements. There is a creator!

 

 Evangelist Mike Manuel

 


 

"Christian Apologetics"

(Changing the World: Engaging the Culture)

Part V

 

 January 2016

 

     A common fallacy is that Christians are uneducated and stupid. This misconception needs to be debunked. A recent survey indicated that the Evangelical community has a higher level of education than the general population. "The heart of the righteous studies how to answer, But the mouth of the wicked pours forth evil." (Proverbs 15:28) In 586 BC, the Israelites were taken into Babylonian captivity by Monarch Nebuchadnezzar. He commissioned Ashpenaz, master of the eunuchs, to find the wisest and strongest young men of Israel. "Young men in whom there was no blemish, but good-looking, gifted in all wisdom, possessing knowledge and quick to understand, who had ability to serve in the king’s palace, and whom they might teach the language and literature of the Chaldeans." (Daniel 1:4) Nebuchadnezzar wanted them indoctrinated in the Babylonian way of life. They were to eat and drink like their captors. Four young Jewish men: Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah; petitioned Ashpenaz to let them eat and drink as their custom was, for ten days. They were to be examined; and if they didn't measure up to those who followed Babylonian dietary laws; they would do as their peers. After ten days, they were found to be in better shape than those who complied with the Chaldean eating regimen. "As for these four young men, God gave them knowledge and skill in all literature and wisdom; and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams. Now at the end of the days, when the king had said that they should be brought in, the chief of the eunuchs brought them in before Nebuchadnezzar. Then the king interviewed them, and among them all none was found like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah; therefore they served before the king. And in all matters of wisdom and understanding about which the king examined them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers who were in all his realm." (Daniel 1:17-20)

  

     We'll find later in this series: What atheists, agnostics, and skeptics believe, is absurd and fanciful. Some folk erroneously believe all Christians are gullible. Willing to believe anything they're told: even if it requires suspension of critical thinking. That's not the case. The apostle Paul was one of the most scholarly and accomplished people of antiquity. He was knowledgeable and well versed in many areas. His abrupt and dramatic conversion to the Christian faith was remarkable. It shocked the world. Paul was persecuting the church right before he met the Lord. Paul used his education for the furtherance of the gospel. "Now as he thus made his defense, Festus said with a loud voice, “Paul, you are beside yourself! Much learning is driving you mad!” But he said, “I am not mad, most noble Festus, but speak the words of truth and reason. 26 For the king, before whom I also speak freely, knows these things; for I am convinced that none of these things escapes his attention, since this thing was not done in a corner." (Acts 26:24-26) The crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ was well known. "And that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time." (I Corinthians 15:5-8)

 

     People have died for many causes. Buddhist monks burned themselves in protest of the Vietnam War. They were pacifists. They believed this would end violence. On September 11, 2001, radical Islamic terrorists hijacked American commercial planes, and flew them into the World Trade Center buildings in New York City. Other planes were commandeered: one was flown into the pentagon in Washington D.C. Another jet crashed into the ground in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Those terrorists died thinking they were doing the right thing, because of what they believed. The Apostles of Jesus Christ were martyred because they wouldn't deny He rose from the dead. It wasn't something they were taught: it was something they knew by firsthand experience. They saw Jesus after he rose from the dead. They walked with him and talked with him. "And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty.  Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up if in fact the dead do not rise." (I Corinthians 15:14&15) It would be well worth it to check out Voice of the Martyrs in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. I have a great friend who works there. His name is Allen Walker. Go to: www.persecution.com Also, Foxe's book of martyrs has a lot of information concerning the Apostles martyrdom.

  

     What we believe is important. One of the dumbest things I've ever heard is: Just as long as you believe something. So I guess if you believe in crystals, tadpoles, good luck charms, a rabbits foot, or God; it's all the same. What if you went to a doctor, and he told you to go home and try something for your condition. What would happen if you took arsenic or strychnine? You would be dead. What if you tried leeching: which is the use of leeches for bloodletting. It would weaken you; maybe even kill you. Bloodletting has been totally discredited by medical science. "There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death." (Proverbs 14:12) Just trying something doesn't make sense. It's ridiculous. You need to know what to do. Believing something without reason is also preposterous. There are compelling reasons to believe the bible. There's information in the bible, that only the creator would know. It's based on history and science. The bible is the word of God. Who knows the future but God. Fulfilled bible prophecy attests to its validity and divine authorship. "Declaring the end from the beginning,  And from ancient times things that are not yet done, Saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, And I will do all My pleasure." (Isaiah 46:10)  "Known to God from eternity are all His works." (Acts 15:18)

 

 Evangelist Mike Manuel

 


"Christian Apologetics"

(Changing the World: Engaging the Culture)

Part IV

December 2015

      "Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the Lord, “Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool." (Isaiah 1:18) God invites us to reason with him. Reason is the ability to think, understand, and form judgments that are based on facts. Reasoning takes place in the mind. The mind is the intellectual or rational faculty in man, consciousness, intelligence, intellect, memory, and opinion. The mind operates in the brain. We can love God with our heart, soul, and mind. God can be known and experienced through these faculties. God places no premium on ignorance. "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge." (Hosea 4:6a) Ignorance is lack of knowledge. The cure for ignorance is information and education.

    Salvation is for the whole man. It will regenerate the spirit, renew the mind, and heal the body. The gospel appeals to every aspect of our being. "For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom;  but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness,  but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God." (I Corinthians 1:22-24) The Jews were looking for a sign. The Greek word for sign is semeion: which means; sign, token, signal, miracle, or portent. The Greeks were searching for wisdom. The Greek word for wisdom is sophia: which means; skill or wisdom. The Jews demanded evidence. Christ proved his identity. Nicodemus attested to this. "This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him." (John 3:2) Seeking miracles for their own sake is vain. Trying to use God as a genie lamp doesn't work. Seeking God will bring the miraculous into manifestation. The Greeks were proud of their intellectual prowess. They were master orators and academicians. They were absorbed in philosophical pursuits. Pursuing knowledge for knowledge's sake is futile. Jesus was knowledge personified. "The officers answered, “No man ever spoke like this Man!" (John 7:46) Desiring knowledge for truths sake, leads you to God.

     At the age of twelve, Jesus exhibited remarkable intelligence. "Now so it was that after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions.  And all who heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers." (Luke 2:46&47) The Greek word for astonished is existemi: which means; confuse, astound, amaze, to be insane, and be amazed. The teachers were amazed at his wisdom. They were overwhelmed with the revelation of divine glory. His perception was off the chart. It's often assumed Christ was endowed with His ability at birth. "And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men." (Luke 2:52) He was studious and observant throughout his life. He applied himself to spiritual and mental development. The Holy Spirit cultivated His growth.

     When Jesus was incarnated; he laid aside his divine attributes, but not His divine essence. "But made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.  And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross." (Philippians 2:7&8)  The Greek phrase no reputation is Kenoo: which means to empty, make void, or nullify. Jesus emptied himself of the expression of deity, not possession of deity. His humanity was genuine; yet His being was divine. Homoioma is the Greek word for likeness. It means likeness, image, copy, or appearance. He was truly human, not a phantom. He had to grow and develop like any other human being. Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil." "Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people." (Hebrews 2:14&17)

   Jesus Christ was the perfect union of God and man. Fully human and fully divine. "And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh, Justified in the Spirit, Seen by angels, Preached among the Gentiles, Believed on in the world, Received up in glory." (I Timothy 3:16) As we've seen, the Lord Jesus Christ reached maturation through hard work. He fulfilled His mission by discipline and commitment. If we're going to reach our potential; we'll need to follow Christ's example. "Therefore be imitators of God as dear children." (Ephesians 5:1) "He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked." (I John 2:6) Strong men and women of God must be developed. Believers with both anointing of the Holy Spirit, and the knowledge of God, can reach the next generation. People need truth, truth is reality.

 

  Evangelist Mike Manuel

 


"Christian Apologetics"

(Changing the World: Engaging the Culture)

Part III

 

November 2015

     Some people get confused about the term Apologetics or Apologist. It sounds like apology or apologize. But they're antonyms. They're opposite in meaning. An apology is something you say or write, to show you're sorry for doing something wrong. Apologize means: telling someone you're sorry you did something wrong. Apologetics explains or defends an idea. An Apologist is someone who defends or speaks in favor of a cause, making the case or vindication of a matter. In a recent creation event, someone brought this to my attention. "For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints." (I Corinthians 14:33) It's important to be clear and precise. That helps in convincing people of truth, and persuading them to act. "But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one." (Matthew 5:37) Pseudointellectuals engage in psychobabble, which is a misnomer. Psychobabble is language that sounds scientific; but really isn't. They say a lot of words; without saying much that matters. "In the multitude of words sin is not lacking, But he who restrains his lips is wise." (Proverbs 10:19) Some folk use nebulous terms such as: could have been, might have been, should have been, probably, most likely, we think, we feel, or the general consensus. There's nothing wrong discussing possibilities. But truth isn't vague or indistinct. It's based on empirical data.

     At the end of the 1982 school term, I resigned as a full time educator. I signed up to be a substitute teacher. The Evangelistic ministry was growing, and it gave me flexibility to travel. I left the teaching profession altogether in October, 1986. Now we're entering thirty years of full time ministry. While substituting at a local junior high school, I had an encounter worth mentioning. During the lunch break, I was witnessing to a faculty member. He was open to the gospel. Another teacher heard what I was saying; and interrupted me when I said Jesus was the only way to God. He said there were many roads to heaven. The Lord gave me an answer to his statement. "My heart is overflowing with a good theme; I recite my composition concerning the King; My tongue is the pen of a ready writer." (Psalm 45:1) I said, If what you're saying is true, then Jesus lied. He said he went to church. Christ said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." (John 14:6) Jesus excluded all other ways to heaven. "I, even I, am the Lord, And besides Me there is no savior." (Isaiah 43:11) "For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus." (I Timothy 2:5) "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.  I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture." (John 10:1&9) "Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved." (Acts 4:12) I was leaving on a trip to preach in Michigan. I asked him if all I had to do was start my car, get on any road, and it would take me to my destination. He began to stammer, and conceded that only certain roads would lead me to Michigan.

     Then I brought up the subject of absolutes. Two plus two is always four. It's not nine, twelve, or fifteen. That reminds me of a conversation between an absolutist and a relativist. The relativist declared there were no absolutes. The absolutist asked him if he was sure there were no absolutes. He said he was positive there weren't any absolutes. The absolutist ask him again, are you sure there aren't any absolutes? The relativist became angry and said, absolutely. Let's return to the Junior High School incident. The teacher, who had interjected himself in my conversation with the other instructor, said if people were sincere; that's all that mattered. I asked him if a person woke up at three o'clock in the morning; and they were sincerely sick, and they sincerely went to the medicine cabinet, and sincerely, accidentally, took poison; would they be sincerely dead? He didn't say anything after that. "There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death." (Proverbs 14:12) "For I will give you a mouth and wisdom which all your adversaries will not be able to contradict or resist." (Luke 21:15) What differentiates Christianly from religion is the person of Jesus Christ. Religion primarily is a system of rules and  regulations. The Christian faith revolves around The Lord Jesus Christ. Take the founders of religion out of their movements, and nothing is changed. Take Christ out of Christianity, and you have nothing left. Great men and women have lived and died. Jesus lived, died, and rose from the dead.

  Evangelist Mike Manuel

"Christian Apologetics"

(Changing the World: Engaging the Culture)

Part II

 

October 2015

     Another method of soul winning is street evangelism. And He called the twelve to Himself, and began to send them out two by two, and gave them power over unclean spirits."  (Mark 6:7) A multiplication factor takes place when believers work together. "Two are better than one, Because they have a good reward for their labor." (Ecclesiastes 4:9) When believers cooperate, a synergistic result occurs. Which means the total effect is greater than the sum of the individual effects. There is an acrostic for the word TEAM. Together Everyone Accomplishes More. "Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven." (Matthew 18:19) The key is agreement. The Greek word for agree is Sumphoneo. Sum means: together. Phoneo means: make a sound, speak. Christians working together can do great things. But even alone, much can be done. "Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria and preached Christ to them." (Acts 8:5)   Philip ministered to the Samaritans. He went among the people.

     Christian Apologetics gives a reason for our hope in Christ. What is the basis and rational of this ministry? I Peter 3:15 says we should be able to tell people the reason we believe in Jesus and the bible. Christ said: "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind." (Matthew 22:37) My heart can't rejoice in what my mind rejects. Telling people we believe in the bible, because our parents believed in the bible; and our grandparents believed in the bible, doesn't give a reason for our faith. There are religious people who believe in other books; because their parents believed in those writings; because their grandparents, believed those books. The Apostle Paul went to Mars Hill and declared the gospel to the Athenian philosophers. "For as I was passing through and considering the objects of your worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Therefore, the One whom you worship without knowing, Him I proclaim to you." (Acts 17:23) We're sent to the educated and uneducated. "I am a debtor both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to wise and to unwise." (Romans 1:14) Telling somebody you believe something, just because, won't be persuasive. Knowing why we believe what we believe, strengthens our faith and give boldness.

    As a young minister, I was envious of older preachers who had stories to illustrate their messages: I asked the Lord about this, but he didn't speak to me about the matter until 30 years later. I was ministering in South Carolina, and I was relating something that happened to me to make a point in my message. Deep in my spirit, God told me, now you have stories to share. Years before, I hadn't lived long enough to experience anything. "I have been young, and now am old; Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, Nor his descendants begging bread." (Psalm 37:25) David could speak from life's experiences. Tell people what the Lord has done for you. "Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, Whom He has redeemed from the hand of the enemy." (Psalm 107:2) God gives us what we need to answer the critics. Don't be afraid of facing opposition. It's par for the course. "For I will give you a mouth and wisdom which all your adversaries will not be able to contradict or resist." (Luke 21:15) Fear is a tool of Satan: who wants to paralyze our faith. My acrostic for fear is: False Evidence Appearing Real. Faith drives fear away. "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind." (II Timothy 1:7)

     Risk takers are movers and shakers. We're called to be world changers; not pew sitters. Pioneers blaze the trail and make things happen. Spectators watch things happen. Conversationalists talk about things that happen. Then there are those who wonder what happened. When Jesus commanded Peter to step out of the boat, and walk on water; it seemed like a daunting task. That first step was the most important. Each successive step became easier. It takes motivation to get started. Motivation comes from purpose. "Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work." (John 4:34) "For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost." (Luke 19:10)

     Christians in school, encounter strong opposition to their faith. Some professors think their mission in life is to de-christianize believers. Many Colleges and Universities are antithetical to Christianity. Most institutions of higher learning were founded by Christian organizations. Campus life and social mores, have undergone a dramatic shift away from biblical standards. What we believe determines how we live. "For as he thinks in his heart, so is he." (Proverbs 23:7a) The battle for the mind is underway. We need to rise to the challenge. The next generation is at stake. All it takes for evil to prevail, is for good men to do nothing. That statement was made by Englishman Edmund Burke. He was a noted author, orator, philosopher, and statesman. David answered the question of his older brother Eliab. "And David said, “What have I done now? Is there not a cause?" (I Samuel 17:29) Before David arrived; Goliath taunted Saul and his army, morning and evening, for forty days. David's purpose and motivation, was Goliath's insult to God and Israel. He didn't want his people to become slaves to the Philistines. Our purpose is to capture the next generation for Christ. We don't want them indoctrinated with secular humanism. That should move us to action. We shouldn't cede the public domain to the secularists. Science and logic substantiates creation and the bible: not naturalism and evolution.

  Evangelist Mike Manuel


"Christian Apologetics"

(Changing the World: Engaging the Culture)

Part I

 

September 2015

     "But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear." (I Peter 3:15) Peter encourages believers to know why they believe what they believe. Here, the Greek word for defense is apologian; which means: to speak in one's own defense, defend oneself, making a case, or vindication. Jesus never shied away from legitimate questions. In this scripture the Greek word for reason is logon. Which means: statement, declaration, speech, message, or proclamation. The Amplified Bible elucidates this scripture. "But in your hearts set Christ apart as holy [and acknowledge Him] as Lord. Always be ready to give a logical defense to anyone who asks you to account for the hope that is in you, but do it courteously and respectfully." (I Peter 3:15) The Christian faith isn't a blind leap into the dark. It is a reasoned faith based upon logical, historical, and spiritual truth. We don't commit intellectual suicide when we accept Jesus Christ as our personal saviour. The gospel appeals to our spirit (pneuma), soul (psuche), and body (soma). The word for soul, psuche, is the organ of intellectual activity and mental processes.  Some critics believe Christianity is based on superstition, fable, folklore, legend, and myth. Nothing could be further  from the truth. "For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty." (II Peter 1:16) The Bible contains information that only the Creator of the Universe would know.

     Christian Apologetics is one method of reaching the lost. We'll look at this in greater detail later. There are several methods of Evangelism. Personal Evangelism-telling people what God has done for you. The Samaritan woman told the Samaritans how Christ changed her life. "And many of the Samaritans of that city believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, “He told me all that I ever did." (John 4:39) The Gadarene Demonic was tormented, and no one could help him. Jesus cast out Legion, many demons, from the madman. After his deliverance; he was sitting, clothed, and in his right mind. He wanted to travel with Jesus: "However, Jesus did not permit him, but said to him, Go home to your friends, and tell them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He has had compassion on you.”" And he departed and began to proclaim in Decapolis all that Jesus had done for him; and all marveled." (Mark 5:19&20)      Power Evangelism-The supernatural manifestation of signs and wonders. "Then a great multitude followed Him, because they saw His signs which He performed on those who were diseased." (John 6:2) Miracles arrest the attention of people. God's presence and ability prove his love and care. In the early 1980's I was preaching a revival in a former beer tavern. The meeting helped to start a new church. A minister came out on Monday night. He was going to interrupt my preaching, and declare me a false prophets. Ten minutes into my preaching, the Holy Spirit led me to pray for this man about a heart condition. I had never met this man. He was startled, because the week before his doctor told him he had a serious heart problem. The Lord healed him. A few nights later he was filled with the Holy Ghost. He persuaded several fellow ministers to attend the revival; and they were filled with the Spirit. Also thirty nine people came to Christ that week. "For I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ has not accomplished through me, in word and deed, to make the Gentiles obedient  in mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God, so that from Jerusalem and round about to Illyricum I have fully preached the gospel of Christ." (Romans 15:18&19)

     Mass Evangelism-promulgation of the gospel on a wide scale. "The Lord gave the word; Great was the company of those who proclaimed it." (Psalm 68:11) This would include crusades, television, radio, books, internet, e-mail, facebook, texting, twitter, and any other way of communicating. In the last days the message of Jesus Christ will saturate the planet. "For the earth will be filled With the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, As the waters cover the sea." (Habakkuk 2:14) Jesus said this would happen before the end of the age. "And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come." (Matthew 24:14) We should use every means available to reach the lost. No doubt, there will be new ways of disseminating the word of God. Methods of broadcasting the good news may change: but the message is timeless. "Forever, O Lord, Your word is settled in heaven." (Psalm 119:89) "Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away." (Matthew 24:35)

    Marketplace Evangelism-making Christ known where we live and work. Sharing our faith in the daily concourse of life. People will see God, when Christians live out their faith. "You are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read by all men." (II Corinthians 3:2) Folk may not read the bible, or go to church: but they can see the love of God through us. "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven." (Matthew 5:16)  Moral relativism is rampant; while ethics are on the wane. Men and women dedicated to the Lord, and my wife and I know many who are, stand out in stark contrast by how they conduct themselves. Light is more perceptible during the darkest hour of the night. "That you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world,  holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain. " (Philippians  2:15&16)     
Click on Archive to read other articles Evangelist Mike Manuel

 


"A Heart Of Thanksgiving"

               

November 2017

     "Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift." (II Corinthian 9:15) The word unspeakable, in this verse, means indescribable. The unspeakable (indescribable) gift, is Jesus, who paid the ultimate price for our sins. "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:23) God purchased our redemption. "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8) That demonstration is: "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." (John 3:16) That’s unconditional love. God sent Jesus to supply our need, because God doesn’t need salvation, healing, deliverance, love, joy or peace; but we do. God sent Christ for you and me. "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning." (James 1:17) Bad things don’t come from God. Good things come from the Lord, because He's a good God. God’s word is straightforward and powerful. We have much to be thankful for: knowing Jesus as our personal savior; having a relationship with our Lord; and knowing God’s plan for our life. "For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope." (Jeremiah 29:11)

     Thank God we live in a country where we have freedom to worship God, and the right to share his love with others. Praise God he’s here for us. "Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart." (Jeremiah 29:12&13) We can enter God’s presence and worship him. "Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name." (Psalm 100:4) "In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." (I Thessalonians 5:18) "And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him" (Colossians 3:17) I exhort you to consider the Lord in all you say and do; keep your focus on Him, and you will have much to be thankful for. "Blessed be the Lord, Who daily loads us with benefits, The God of our salvation!"  Selah.” (Psalm 68:19)


Happy Thanksgiving In Christ, Sister Cathy

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