It is no secret that I’ve supported the Republican nominee for President: But some people take it a bit too far. This week I was at a rally in Los Angeles for Travis Allen, who is running for Governor of California. There after the rally a lady was going around saying that everyone should read a certain book. Naturally, because of the way I am, I ask why? The interaction went like this:
He says ” You go to Church on Saturday?!”
I say: “Yeah”he then says: “Why”?“I’m a Seventh-day Adventist Christian, I believe that all of Christ’s Commandments are still applicable to Christians. We also believe that Jesus Christ is the Messiah and He is coming soon!”“When does Sabbath start?”“Friday night to Saturday night!”he then says: “Wow i’m Jewish and that’s when the Sabbath starts!”Because we were about halfway there, I had to cut to the chase:“So what is stopping you from becoming a Christian?”He then says:“You know i’ve grown up Jewish and my parents are Jewish”I then say:“You know your parents are Jewish, but you need to find God for yourself. You can’t get by on the faith of your parents. Faith is something that you need to have when you can have confidence in God. The Bible–especially in the book of Daniel– can give you confidence in God based on what He has done in the past”
He’s like: “yeah I see”
For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. –Matthew 6:21
The Christmas Holy Day should be banned. The gifts, the celebrations, the parties, the whole nine years, Santa included, should be thrown out and buried. At least that is what the Puritan Christians proposed and accomplished in America the Land of the Free.
For preventing disorders arising in several places within this jurisdiction, by reason of some still observing such festivals as were superstitiously kept in other countries, to the great dishonor of God and offence of others, it is therefore ordered by this Court and the authority thereof, that whosoever shall be found observing any such day as Christmas or the like, either by forbearing of labor, feasting, or any other way, upon such accounts as aforesaid, every such person so offending shall pay for every such offence five shillings, as a fine to the country. — Records of the Governor and Company of the Massachusetts Bay in New England 1659
This was passed in 1659, before the founding of The United States of America, during a time where the majority of people were not only Christians, but a good portion of these were legalistically devout Christians. The Christmas Ban was enacted because of certain reasons given here:
- Preventing disorder.
- Christmas is a superstitious festival that brings dishonor to God.
These two ideas are linked, but lets explore them.
Today there is a practice of singing songs about Christmas door to door. This we know as Caroling. In the past, in Europe and in America, people would go door to door singinging, but they would be drunk, and they would go into rich people’s neighborhoods and houses and demand that they be fed . I know I would not like it if a bunch of people came into my house demanding that I give them food. This practice around Christmas time was known as wassailing. Christmas was a festival that would be wrought with people acting crazy. This led to lots of disorder. The very act of drunkenness goes back much much further to pagan Roman times, the wassail was just carried forward into Christmas .
The Puritans were not the first group to ban Christmas. In 1583, the Scottish Presbyterians had already concluded that there was no biblical reason to celebrate Christmas . Identifying it as a baptized pagan holiday. Christmas, which means the Mass (Celebration) of Christ, was associated with the Roman Catholic Church, and because the Protestant Christians viewed Catholicism as the Antichrist, they called Christmas “Antichrist’s Mass” . It is true that there is no biblical command to celebrate Christmas. The day itself comes from pagan origins, many think that the Christians began celebrating it in Europe on that day because while the Romans had something to celebrate, the Christians would do their own celebration. During this time of the year, the pagans would dress up as animals and go door to door. When the Church came into power, this practice was banned under pain of excommunication . (it looks like this pagan practice switched over into Halloween)
Things like the Yule Log, Pagan. Mistletoe, Pagan. These things were taught to ward off demons. People had the belief that someone who was born on Christmas day had the power to see spirits and demons and was able to remove them . The entire season was filled with things taken straight out of unchristian festivals and made Christian. The Christmas season lasted twelve days and during those days no type of work was to be performed, it was a Sabbath. Maybe the idea was to give people something to look forward to during the winter time, it became a season of much celebration and ungodly disorder. The Twelfth day of Christmas was supposed to be the day the Wise Men came to Baby Jesus and brought Him the gifts. By the time the custom got to the seventeenth century, the Twelfth day of Christmas became the largest party ever, with an incredible amount of alcohol being used . The entire time and customs lend reasoning to why the Puritans and the Presbyterians banned it.
Even though it was banned, Christmas did not die out. In 1679 four young men invaded the house of a farmer and began to sing Christmas songs. They then asked for alcohol, were pushed out then began terrorizing other people. People kept Christmas indoors and out of sight. In the year 1681 under pressure from England, the ban was lifted. Reforms were made to take out much of the debauchery that had plagged the holiday.
Today, Christmas might be banned under a different pretense. The holiday has lost much of its meaning as people focus on the exchanging of Gifts more than the Birth of Christ . Even though everyone in the 1600’s went to Church on Christmas morning, they seemed to like the other parts of the celebration more than reflection upon Jesus. Christians today seem to be following in the same path. Many Christians also see no problem with the idea of Santa Claus, injecting the very idea of earthly, temporary gifts as a substitute for the eternal, infinite gift of Eternal Life; even lying to their kids about it instead of telling their kids about the One who is Truth Himself, and basing it on works-righteousness (“Knows when you’re sleeping and awake”).
Many people like to get into debates about the day, no one knows the day of the Birth of Christ and I don’t think it matters. The fact that a pagan holiday was used to celebrate the Birth of Jesus is unfortunate. I am glad that Christianity did eventually win out, but history shows that many of the unchristian rituals were baptised into the Celebration (Mass) of Christ.
Maybe we need to thinking about banning Christmas, until we can reform it to be the day where people think not of their own selves, but on the One who is the reason for the season. If not, then history will repeat itself.
— Merry (Mighty) Christmas.
On this the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, a new document, called the Reforming Catholic Confession has been created as a sort of summary of what it means to be a protestant.
The Word “catholic” (small c) means Universal. The catholic Church consists of the visible Church that is the bride of Christ that includes all believers. The Reformation was seen as an attempt to protest the Roman Catholic Church of teachings that were seen as a departure from the catholic Faith once delivered to the saints. It was seen as universal and as a correction.
I would venture to guess that today most protestants don’t know why they are protestant. Most pastors might not even know. In this age of nondenominational Churches, I suspect that most do not care. The document was produced by many different faith traditions and churches, and they were able to agree on a set of fundamental beliefs that are the mere essence of Christianity.
But what is a protestant? I was asked this on a plane and the question is a lot more loaded than it sounds. Quite simply, a Protestant is one who protests against the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.
What were they protesting? And Why?
The Five Solas of the Reformation
There are five basic ideas behind the reformation. I originally had planned to publish this article back in October, but I was confused about one of the ‘Solas’ (Latin for ‘alone’) so I went to Germany to learn more:
- Sola Scriptura – By the Scriptures Alone: Before the Reformation, the Roman Catholic Church had restricted access to the Bible. It was written in Latin, read only by the priest, and not available to the common people. John Wycliff, born a century and a half before Luther, noticed some things wrong with what the Roman Catholics were teaching, so he translated the Bible into English, laying the seeds for the reformation. With the Bible in the Language of the People, they could now directly access the Word of God and not have to rely only on the Priest to know what God has said. Sure there wasn’t pocket-sized bibles, but the Romans wanted to keep the Scriptures away from the people as way to ensure their authority over them. Wycliff helped to break that. In modern times you’ll find that a Roman Catholic will defer to Early Church Fathers or Councils or Canons when attempting to justify a doctrine. The Teachings of the Church should be based on the Scriptures alone and not on people’s opinion or of Church Councils or Traditions. They are rooted and grounded in the Scriptures Alone.
- Solus Christus – By Christ Alone: Roman Catholics taught that other people that the Church had declared blessed could intercede to the Father on behalf of people who prayed to them.
For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; (1Ti 2:5)
These people who could intercede for others were called “Saints” and status were made for them. The Roman Church even teach that Mary was sinless and that she is the “Queen of Heaven”. Such doctrines can only arise if the Bible isn’t the basis for all teachings. By the Blood of Jesus Christ alone we are made right and declared Just in God’s sight. Atonement can come by none other than Christ. This also means that Christianity alone can bring salvation.
- Sola Fide – By Faith Alone: Many people get tripped up into thinking that there is something that they must do to be saved. Some action to be performed. Luther was a Roman Catholic Monk, and he was performing actions/penance in order to be restored unto God. People would do things like whip themselves, sleep on hard benches with no blankets, lick up other people’s spit, and other acts in order to show that they were truly sorry for their sins. Luther became a monk as an act of penance, to show God how sorrowful he was. The Romish Church taught that confession of the sin before a priest had the power to forgive sins (make one right with God). The Roman Church taught that this power was given to the Church by Christ. As you can imagine, this elevated the Church to have significant influence over people’s lives. The Pope could offer a penance for traveling to a certain town, for example. Luther uncovered that through Christ Alone we have access to the One with Infinite Power through Faith (Trust) in Christ Alone.
“In Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love.” -Galatians 5:6 “Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law” -Romans 3:28 “Having suffered, he will reflect on his work,he will be satisfied when he understands what he has done. My servant will acquit many, for he carried their sins.” – Isaiah 53:11
- Sola Gratia – By Grace Alone: God Saves us completely as a result of His Love and Mercy, apart from anything that we can do. Grace is Unconditional Favour.
“Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches; but let him that glorieth, glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth Me, that I am the Lord which exercise loving kindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth; for in these things I delight, saith the Lord.” – Jeremiah 9:23, 24
You cannot boast. There is nothing inside of you that can say “Yeah I…”. It is God who initiates the process of Salvation. There is no natural ability for anyone to choose God, that desire that impetus is given to all people by God. This Prevenient Grace is given by God to anyone before any choice is made. God’s grace alone does that and nothing that humans can do or have done can do that.
“He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.” –Titus 3:5-7 NIV
- Soli Deo Gloria-To God Alone be the Glory: This sola really stumped me and was something I had to travel to Germany in order to get this question answered. Turns out that this was not really a big deal in the Protest. This phrase was used by artists like Handel and Bach to signify that the work was made for the praise and glory of God alone. God, who is the creator and giver of all that we have is the one who gets all of the credit. It made its way as the fifth point in the summation. In one way it could be seen that people were glorifying man in their ability to achieve their own salvation. Glory was being given to the Roman Church, which used the sale of Indulgences to build St. Peter’s Basilica.
These phrases were used to describe the ideas of the Reformation. They developed over time and do intersect and overlap one another. This article was difficult to write because I could write an entire article for every one of the Solas. To summarize, the very point of the Protestant Reformation is that we are Made right in God’s sight by Grace Alone, through Faith Alone, apart from Works, on the account of Christ Alone; according to the Holy Scriptures alone, All to the Glory and the Honor of God Alone!
Welcome back to Eyes of Reason! This blog has been dormant since 2012, and is now restarted starting today. Many things have happened since 2012, we have Uber, Bitcoin, a new President, intersectionality; but more importantly today, its a new year in my life. I would like to share with you a self-reflection of how I have evolved in my thinking about Christianity in the early 21st century.
The main difference as I think about it is less of an emphasis on esoteric questions and more of an interest in the practical procedure in a person coming to have Faith in Christ. During University, most if not 90% of the people I knew were saved, now, that isn’t so much the case.
It’s easy to travel the world and preach Christ; much harder to live out near home.
A Faith that doesn’t cause your heart to yearn for the lost, isn’t much of a Faith.
Lots of things have changed in the last six years, but one thing has not changed: Christ is still on the throne, doing everything He can to save each of us. It is my prayer that this blog and the writers on it may play a part in helping someone know Jesus for themselves.
We Believe our God is Jesus
We Believe that He is Lord
We Believe that He has saved us from Sin and Death Once and For All
These three lines is the basic narrative of Christianity. It took thousands of years to realize and it takes a lifetime to put into practice. The following is not a detailed explanation of the nature of Jesus Christ…that will come later; this is a simple look into why if you miss the fact that God is Jesus (or a better way to put it, that Jesus is God) then you miss out on why Jesus (and only Jesus) is important.
Jesus, only Jesus
Who has the Name above all names? Who is Holy, King Almighty? Who is the one that Angels all adore? Jesus, Only Jesus. (Philippians 2:8-11, Mark 1:24, Revelation 5:6 Hebrews 1:6)
Who is the one that every human shall acknowledge? Its Jesus. (Philippians 2:8-11)
From the above we can easily see that Jesus is indeed a special person, and He is a unique person.
The main reason Jesus comes into the picture is because He is the only one that can take away sin. The blood of Lambs, goats and doves could not do what Jesus’ sacrifice did. This makes Jesus integrally important because without His blood, sin could never be removed from the one who committed it. This means that without Jesus, and only Jesus we would all be lost. (1 John 3:5, Hebrews 10:4)
The Bible (Which, FYI, you should have access to when you are reading my articles!) describes Him as the Holy Lamb that was killed. Because of that sacrifice He has achieved blessing and honor, glory and power and is described as the only wise king.
There are some people out there that want to claim Jesus but reject what the Bible says about Him.
Worthy is the Lamb
Revelation 5 is perhaps one of the most graphic images the Bible paints about the worth of Christ. The book of Revelation tells us more about Heaven than any other place in Scripture. It describes an immense scene…millions upon millions of galactic beings and every intelligent mammal on Earth are intensely curious about who is able to unlock the book/scroll. The throne is surrounded by a sea of glass, everywhere there is worship, singing and praise. God himself was there sitting on the throne. John saw the throne-room of the most powerful being in the universe. In verse 1 a scroll was in the hand of God. Scrolls were made of papyrus Scrolls could be up to 30ft long. For official documents, wax was dropped along the seams which was the way the paper was sealed and protected. The scene is so intense for the search and it becomes obvious that no one can open it. Whatever is inside of the book is of obvious importance, and the fruitless efforts by the authorities of heaven to look inside of it causes much sadness in heaven, and causes John to cry. Notice that the text doesn’t say that no one was willing, but no one was worthy. The Fact that no one was worthy enough to open the scroll made John cry.
But John is told that everything is going to be alright…there is someone who was found to unlock the book!!! (Revelation 5:5)
6 Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing at the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders. The Lamb had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. 7 He went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who sat on the throne.8 And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of God’s people.
There is much to take in here. Lets break it down together.
First of all John must have been confused. He is told that the Lion of the tribe of Judah was the one who is able to unlock the seals. But he did not see a roaring lion, or a ferocious beast with claws and teeth. He did not see a lion who would rip the seals with his great claws, but he saw a harmless and innocent lamb. As if that was not shocking enough, the lamb was ALSO WOUNDED. This lamb does what is no one is able to do. The main question here we really need to ask is: “Who is the lion, that is a lamb?”
- John says that the Lamb was standing. It doesn’t take a genius to know that a lamb that has been slaughtered can’t stand. There is only one way a slain lamb can stand…unless he has been raised from the dead. (Jesus was Resurrected and that Jesus has the power to take up His life again)
- The lamb had been slain. How did John know that had been slain if it had been standing? He can only know if his death wounds were still visible. (Jesus has wounds in his hands and feet and side, He had a brand new body but his old wounds were still there)
- John said that he saw the lamb standing in the center of the throne. He did not say that the lamb stood in front of the throne, or next, or behind but in the center. Remember that God the Father is sitting on the throne, the throne is not empty, when the question is asked, “Who is worthy to open the scroll?” No one moves a muscle. But a lamb comes from the same place that God is sitting. They both are on the same throne. What this tells us that the lamb that has been slain is equal to God the father
- John says the Lamb has seven horns and eyes. Combine this from what you know from prophecy. After all, John is writing with prophetic symbols in mind. The horn is a symbol for power (Daniel 8:22) .Seven is God’s perfect number. Thus Seven Horns indicates Perfect Power (or all powerful omnipotence). Likewise, Seven eyes points to perfect Knowledge and Wisdom (or all knowing omniscience), the symbols of God’s presence is His Spirit which means that He is ever-present throughout the earth (omnipresent). These described qualities are none other than the attributes of than God Himself.
Jesus’ Dual Natures
Jesus is very interesting to say the least. Look at this Lion/Lamb combination:
|Belongs in a cage.||Belongs in a petting zoo.|
|Is a great hunter||Is hunted.|
|King of the Universe||Servant of All|
|Mighty, Glorious||Meekest of the Meek, non-pompous|
|Victorious in battle||Sacrifices Himself|
No wonder His praise and glory shall not fail throughout eternity (the paradoxes are numerous . Look at the Song they sing about the Lamb.
9 And they sang a new song, saying:
“You are worthy to take the scroll
and to open its seals,
because you were slain,
and with your blood you purchased for God
persons from every tribe and language and people and nation.
10 You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God,
and they will reign on the earth.”
What is it that makes the lamb so worthy? It is His death and Resurrection that makes him worthy (Revelation 5:8-14) Every creature in heaven worships the Lamb. It is His death (Revelation 5:9) that makes Him worthy. In verse 12 the focus of their worship is on the fact that the lamb was slain. His is worthy due to His victory of the cross. The Cross is at the center of it all in heaven. It is Christ who is able to take the scroll, whom they are shouting about, whom they are singing about, it is him who is worthy.
God’s strength is appears as weakness through the cross. Was there every any greatest display of apparent weakness on God’s part than what the cross looked like? This bloodied, naked, dying being was performing an act that was greater than the creation of the world and ending it. Christ’s redemptive work on the cross was God’s most powerful moment. Notice that is the subject of the Angel’s adoration. Its quite amazing to think that the “mote of dust, suspended in a sunbeam” would be the place where the King of Glory would perform such an act. Through that one action the devil was shamed, humans were reconciled. Christ and Him Crucified is the Glory of All of Heaven (Revelation 5:9,10)
“HOLY, HOLY, HOLY is THE LORD GOD, THE ALMIGHTY, WHO WAS AND WHO IS AND WHO IS TO COME.” – Revelation 5:8
It is not enough to say that Jesus is simply a good person. Or that He was a prophet. it is not even enough to say that Jesus was God’s first work. Revelation 5 alone must motivate you to say “I believe that Jesus is God”. The entire Bible is testifying about Jesus. The Angels and Elders and Living Creatures in Heaven are all talking about Him. He is the center of attention, and what He did at the Cross for sinners is the prime subject.
The song by Chris Tomlin has the line “We Believe our God is Jesus” Which is a great song, but incomplete. God is interconnected with the Father, Spirit and Son: They are One. This article does not touch the trinity, but Revelation 5 has revealed to us one part of that puzzle, that Jesus is God.
What do you think about Jesus Christ in Revelation 5, Is He that Worthy? Comment Below!
Many today ask the question “Are We Alone” and we look toward the sky. Hollywood has even given us some perspective as to what that question would entail if answered in the affirmative. Will the response be more of an “Independence Day” type of situation or a more “Men in Black” reality. Whatever the outcome, whether they be peaceful or not, Christians already have all the answers as to what will happen (or rather, how we’ll respond) when undeniable extraterrestrial contact is made.
The Non-Christian Perspective
Those who believe that humanity appeared on earth without any guidance, point to the immense odds of life developing on earth. Someone had said that a 747 had a better chance of crashing into millions of pieces and rearranging itself back together in midair than the chance of life developing randomly on earth. If we look at the “fine-tuning” argument, which states that our planet is ‘tuned’ in such a way as to promote the development of life, we have to then consider the immense number of stars in existence that fit into this criteria. We can be liberal and take a more generous route and say that life doesn’t have to even be organic. If we then identify a trillion planets that fit into the condition to support any type of life, will that be enough? No. We must then drill down and look at how many of these trillion planets can pull off the miracle of spontaneously generated life. If macroevolution is true and one planet can pull it off, then many parts of Christianity would immediately come into question. However, Christians can easily write this off by explaining that the Bible describes life not for every planet, but for Our planet. There would still be debate as to if humanity evolved from other life forms. If the life was intelligent enough to communicate then it stands to reason that they could not even attest to how they originated.
For independently evolved life to reach the “Independence Day” level stage, many things would have to happen. Besides the above, this life would have to manage to acquire philosophy (which is needed in order to develop mathematics and reasoning to develop technology in the first place), develop technology, and develop the will to pull of long-term space exploration. The will to do this is important for any species willing to travel out of their solar system. Humans still haven’t traveled to another planet, not because of technology or finances, but because of will . (We feel better sending robots to do that kind of thing). Also, this life would have to develop some kind of military. (So we can keep this like “Independence Day”).
The odds of life reaching that stage are as close to zero as you can get. Because evolution hasn’t been demonstrated to occur without some purpose driving it, the odds simply become too great. Combined with the sheer lack of planets that can even support life, and the distances those planets are from one another, the chances of an apoloptyptic type event with an independently evolved intelligent life form are nil.
But what would happen if that life didn’t evolved, but was purposed?
The Christian View
A peculiar problem for Christians
Many of the world’s other religions will adjust easily to a realization of other intelligent civilizations. Islam could teach that other prophets such as Muhammad were sent in a similar fashion to other planets. Hinduism could teach that there are other deities to watch over other civilizations.
But Christianity has a particular problem…
Colossians 1:13-18 For He delivered us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. And He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities– all things have been created by Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the first-born from the dead; so that He Himself might come to have first place in everything.
God Himself has arrived on earth to save the human race (us). This deliverance will be later shown to be a unique event. This of course assumed that other civilizations are like us….sinners.
Christians are OK with Extraterrestrial Life
Extraterrestrial life isn’t an unknown entity in Christianity. Christians have proclaimed for centuries that this planet have been visited numerously by beings from outer space.
KJV Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
God lives outside of this Earth, as a matter of fact it was created by Him. But this isn’t the only time where the Bible records beings from space visiting Earth.
Genesis 11:5-7 5 And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men had built. 6 And the LORD said, “Behold, they are one people, and they all have the same language. And this is what they began to do, and now nothing which they purpose to do will be impossible for them. 7 “Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.”
The Ancient world was visited by Extraterrestrial creatures, and they have influenced human history. Most of these beings have been messengers from God sent to earth not for destruction, but to transmit information or comfort.
Job 1:6-7 6 Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them. 7 And the LORD said to Satan, “From where do you come?” Then Satan answered the LORD and said, “From roaming about on the earth and walking around on it.”
The Bible tells a story of a group of beings stationing themselves in array before Yahweh. Imagine the scene: thousands upon thousands are gathered in a structure for a presentation. The sight might resemble the Parade of Nations from the Olympics. The difference here is that instead of nations presenting themselves before the world, its worlds presenting themselves before the universe. The sight is amazing.
But then something interesting happens. Satan (the accuser) walks down the parade/presentation line. The one who caused war in Heaven is now in the presence of God representing Earth. Notice how the LORD does not challenge the claim of Satan, for the Earth was the authority of Satan. This can be seen from the answer that Satan gives “From roaming about on the earth and walking around on it.” (Verse 7)
Satan clearly thought that the world was his. Even though God owns everything in the universe, He did not contest the fact with Satan.
If we do have a parade of nations, or in this case a parade of worlds situation that does indeed occur, then this would require the existence of other civilizations. These would have to represent unfallen worlds. These worlds could not have been fallen, or in the same situation of sin as Earth is in for a number of reasons:
- Satan doesn’t respond by saying he is from both Earth and Planet X. If the existence of Planet X was true, then it is certain that Satan would have mentioned that planet also.
- Satan doesn’t mention any other planet that he has control over. From Genesis thru Revelation, no other type of civilization is mentioned that Satan also controls.
- If the existence of another fallen world existed, then that would present numerous problems with how salvation is applied to these worlds.
a. Hebrews 9:25-28 25 nor was it that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the holy place year by year with blood not his own. 26 Otherwise, He would have needed to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now once at the consummation of the ages He has been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. 27 And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment, 28 so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, shall appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him.
The writer of Hebrews makes the assertion that Christ is better than the blood of Lambs and Rams in part because unlike them, Christ was only sacrificed once. His blood can be applied often and continuously, unlike the animals.
It also says that once at the consummation of the ages that He gave himself. Hebrews doesn’t hint at any other possible way of paying the penalty for sin except through the single sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the Cross.
If another fallen world existed, it would be without God’s grace. Would such a world be better off destroyed? If it was not destroyed, and God allowed that world to come into contact with the one humanity is on, then what would that signify?
There would be a couple of lessons learned.
- A prime example of what sin would look like unchecked, without the possibility of redemption. To have a world like that in existence would serve as a warning to those on earth.
- Their contact with us would represent one of two plans:
- They want to destroy God’s people by force.
- They want to transform the earth into a place like theirs, free of the influence of God. This may be the most likely of the two plans.
So, what happens when they arrive?
There are three reactions on this that we can tackle. First, is the view that these space creatures are holy Angels. People who hold this view tend to because they will replace all instances of God in the Scriptures and replace them with these space creatures. They might even go on to worship these creatures. Worship of these beings would be expressly prohibited by Scripture.
Revelation 22:8-9 8 And I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I heard and saw, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed me these things. 9 And he said to me, “Do not do that; I am a fellow servant of yours and of your brethren the prophets and of those who heed the words of this book; worship God.”
Worship is an action that belongs only to God. It does not belong to anyone else. If these people who worship these aliens interpret these beings to be God, then it raises serious questions as how they relate to these verses.
Demons are simply fallen angels. Many in the Christian community will automatically arrive at this conclusion. Such passages of Scripture as the one below may help them in their cause.
2 Corinthians 11:13-15 3 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. 15 Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their deeds.
It is entirely possible that Satan will make himself known to the people of earth in public. When this occurs, many will declare him an Alien, others will declare him to be an Angel, and others will say he is some type of messiah. This could happen and the view is supported by the above scripture. It will be an illusion, but it is one that will work on some people.
Neither Angels nor Demons
This would be the most perplexing situation…if it were possible. God’s sovereign rule over the entire universe necessitates knowledge of Him in every civilization. (Philippians 2:10,11) Any other fallen world would therefore be under the control of Satan. Therefore, it is not possible that there could be a “secular” alien civilization.
An “independence day movie style” type event is prohibited by Christianity. It is prohibited because there isn’t a civilization that is “secular” in any sense of the word. The book of Job presents a clear view of not only the existence of other intelligent civilizations, but it shows that they have meetings in which they discuss matters of intergalactic importance. The current evidence reveals that out of these many intelligent civilizations that exist, only ours have pledged allegiance to Satan. The cross was the decisive moment in the battle for the universe in which God did what no other human could have done. It is apparent that these civilizations are barred from direct communication with humanity, so any contact with non-human intelligence would have to be those directly responsible in the process of salvation for humanity. When Satan is permitted by God to show himself to the world, it will most likely not be as the liar he truly is. He will come as an impostor.
Therefore it is important for Christians to realize how important it is to learn about these things. Yes, it may be classified as a theology of the edges…for now. Understanding that alien intelligences aren’t neutral in this battle between good and evil will give Christians the advantage when they arrive.
If a super-intelligent species was discovered, how would you respond? Respond in the comment section below.
As one who observes life’s happenings, it is not uncommon for one to feel like Solomon while he was writing the book of Ecclesiastes. In Ecclesiastes 9:11-12 Solomon says:
11 I have seen something else under the sun:
The race is not to the swift
or the battle to the strong,
nor does food come to the wise
or wealth to the brilliant
or favor to the learned;
but time and chance happen to them all.
12 Moreover, no one knows when their hour will come:
As fish are caught in a cruel net,
or birds are taken in a snare,
so people are trapped by evil times
that fall unexpectedly upon them.
We grow up hearing nice things like: “All men are created equal” and “if you work hard you will live a happy life” but it doesn’t take much living for one to realize that although these sayings sound good on paper, they are not always true. In my 20 years of life, I have come to the sad reality that the race is not always won to the swift but that chance, indeed, does happen to everyone. In this light, it is so easy for one to question if God cares for his creation. Why do bad things happen to good people? Why are there so many that die from starvation? Why are the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer? Why doesn’t God just intervene and make things perfect? These questions are very valid and they demand a logical response. We often are quick to point the finger to God for the issues of this world but the sad question that we must face is: what good would it do for God to intervene and make everything perfect if mankind will just mess it up again? Remember, in the garden, after all of creation was made God said it was good, but when man disobeyed God, sin entered and corrupted this perfect world. This is the root of the problem. The reason why there are so many issues in the world is because people are so unwilling to be obedient. In Matthew 22:37-40, when Jesus was asked what was the greatest commandment Jesus replied with two:
37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
38 This is the first and great commandment.
39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets
God’s greatest commands to man are to love Him and our fellow man but it is because we don’t love our fellow man that there is so much suffering in the world. If we kept just these two commandments, the world would be a better place. The thing I love about Ecclesiastes is that Solomon gets depressed about life because he realizes how vain it could be but the one thing he professes not to be vain is keeping God’s commandments. For he says in Ecclesiastes 12:13-14:
13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.
14 For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.
Therefore, rather than asking: “Does God Care?” We should ask, do we care enough to obey God’s commands?
When it comes to the word faith, people seem to have opposing interpretations. For instance, some often say, “according to my faith,” or “my faith tells me.” Similarly, when speaking of religion we sometimes use the phrase (though erroneously) “of the so-and-so faith,” as in the Jewish faith; Christian faith; Baha’i faith; Muslim faith; etc. In this sense, faith is seen as a religious system. So then, being a person of faith is synonymous with being a religious person. I have, however, heard some comment that they are not very religious but do have faith. That is, they believe in God but don’t trust religion. There is an obvious contradiction here. What makes matters worse when people talk about faith, religious or non-religious, is that scarcely can they articulate a definition that makes sense. Usually you hear some kind of fluffy answer about an ethereal, indescribable feeling.
Do you ever find it embittering, that when in church deep questions that really should be interesting like ‘What is worship?’ and ‘How do we worship?’ are always met with the same bible verses, the same yawn worthy cliches, and the same lack of ideas? There’s not even a second to blink before someone in any particular bible study spouts off Romans 1:1 and everyone’s agreeing ‘worship God in everything’, it’s not just singing… yadda yadda. Honestly, most of the discussion would read like a poorly written pamphlet from the Watchtower Society. (You know, those Jehovah’s Witnesses who come to your door?)
That said, I’d like to pose the same questions here. Rather than answering them though, or regurgitating some canned ‘lesson’ at you for compliance as if I were an outdated bible study manual, I’d like to share a perspective to engage, and some of my thoughts, to hopefully provoke some of your own.
What does it mean to ‘worship God with your mind?’ If you’re like most Christians, you instantly think ‘apologetics’. That’s what it is right? We worship God with our mind by being ‘ready to give an answer’, and being able to slap down those hordes of unreasonable, and fiendish atheists who are out to harass and proselytize you into losing faith. Or convince Muslims that they’re adhering to an oppressive and backward religion. If you’re really good, you can write a book with ‘proofs’ of Christianity, and go on a radio talk show.
Dialogue is important, so there might be more to some of that, but if all Christianity has to say for itself is a lame attempt to convince you that the Sunday preacher is right, then Christianity is all sale and no content. It would be intellectually dead.
So maybe worshiping God with our minds is exactly the same as worshiping God in the other areas of our lives. In the same way that someone who cleans can clean as an act of worship, perhaps we can think, reason, invent, and discover. (Proverbs 25:2)
But what does that really mean? What does it even mean to worship in anything at all?
Well, I’m really glad I fabricated that question for you.
It seems to be literally doing whatever it is you are doing for God. (obligatory bible verse: Col 3:23) You can consider this like a little child with a scribbled picture who looks up into their parent’s face with shining eyes and says “I made this for you.” hoping, and yearning deeply to hear their parent’s affirmation, ‘well done.’ I would imagine that there are many Christians who have a similar theological adherence as any of us have gone through their entire lives without that experience. But is it any wonder why Anselm’s Proslogion was addressed to God himself?
I really feel like a philosopher is akin to a little child sitting by a campfire with God looking up at the stars and asking if those are the campfires of angels that are posted watch in the sky.
The unfortunate tragedy of church culture is that unless you’re interested in proving outsiders wrong, you’re politely informed that your gifts of science and philosophy are undesirable. Theology when given to the congregation is a set of doctrines for adherence, not mysteries for discovery. The church want’s it’s door holders, it’s janitors, its Sunday school and music ministries, but for all else, you’re unwanted. You may also be informed that you’re not a Christian, or that if you are, you need to be fixed by learning to have correct theological adherence.
Is there anything left for that child to do, but to go to God all alone, with nothing but their little picture, and through their tears ask, “Are they right? Is my gift not good enough? Do I really not know you like they do? …do you still love me?”
Whatever intellectual projects we might endeavor to perform as worship appear as if they must be done outside the church. I really believe that if the church began to live up to it’s view of worship, it would support many other avenues of expression, and become a centerpiece of culture once again. But of course, it will never listen.