Monday, March 27, 2017
Paul lists six appearances of Jesus in 1 Corinthians 15. At the outset, I want to note that I'm not aware of any inconsistency between Paul's list and the material in the gospels and Acts, which is significant, given how easily these sources could have come into conflict. Having said that, let's look at each of the six appearances:
Sunday, March 26, 2017
Life requires carbohydrates, nucleic acids, lipids, and proteins. What is the chemistry behind their origin? Biologists seem to think that there are well-understood prebiotic molecular mechanisms for their synthesis. They have been grossly misinformed. And no wonder: few biologists have ever synthesized a complex molecule ab initio. If they need a molecule, they purchase molecular synthesis kits, which are, of course, designed by synthetic chemists, and which feature simplistic protocols.
Polysaccharides? Their origin?
The synthetic chemists do not have a pathway.
The biologists do not have a clue.
Those who think scientists understand the issues of prebiotic chemistry are wholly misinformed. Nobody understands them. Maybe one day we will. But that day is far from today. It would be far more helpful (and hopeful) to expose students to the massive gaps in our understanding. They may find a firmer—and possibly a radically different—scientific theory.
The basis upon which we as scientists are relying is so shaky that we must openly state the situation for what it is: it is a mystery.
When I survey the wondrous cross,
On which the Prince of Glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.
Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast -
Save in the death of Christ my God.
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to his blood.
See from his head, his hands, his feet,
Sorrow and love flow mingled down!
Did ere such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?
Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were an offering far too small!
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul,
Demands my soul,
Love demands my soul,
My life, my all.
Saturday, March 25, 2017
10 And as for their appearance, the four had the same likeness, as if a wheel were within a wheel. 11 When they went, they went in any of their four directions without turning as they went, but in whatever direction the front wheel faced, the others followed without turning as they went (Ezk 10:10-11).
10 A river flowed out of Eden to water the garden, and there it divided and became four rivers.
19 Now out of the ground the Lord God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. 20 The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field.
24 He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life.
Friday, March 24, 2017
What I'll be citing is agreement between two or more resurrection accounts in a way that's consistent with the others. Since some of the accounts, like the closing of Mark's gospel and Paul's material on the resurrection at the beginning of 1 Corinthians 15, are so brief, there's a lot they don't address. If two or more other accounts agree with each other on a point, but that point isn't discussed in Mark or 1 Corinthians 15, the agreement among those other accounts is significant anyway.
There are good reasons to accept material that's only found in one resurrection account. For example, when Matthew (28:9-10) and John (20:14-7) narrate resurrection appearances to one or more of Jesus' female followers before any appearances to his male disciples, that prominence given to female disciples in such a male-dominated society provides us with some good evidence for those accounts. Likewise, the earliness of the material Paul cites referring to an appearance to more than five hundred people (1 Corinthians 15:6) and Paul's knowledge of the ongoing status of those witnesses give us good reason to accept the historicity of that resurrection appearance. There's good evidence for the appearances in Matthew 28:9-10, John 20:14-7, and 1 Corinthians 15:6, even if each appearance is only mentioned in one source. But my focus in this post will be on material found in multiple resurrection accounts.
There are more agreements among the accounts than what I'm going to list. These are just some examples.
Since the resurrection accounts in the gospels start with the tomb of Jesus, I'm starting there as well:
|Deposing a heretical pope|
Is “Pope Francis” a heretical pope?
I appreciate Jonathan McLatchie's ministry Apologetics Academy including his interviews with various guests on various topics. Starting around the 35 minute mark, Doug Axe explains what he thinks is a limitation with Michael Behe's irreducible complexity and instead argues for what Axe terms functional coherence:
Thursday, March 23, 2017
There's this general confusion over what probabilities mean, and that if...something has a probability and it's not zero, then that means it's not impossible.
Some people want to say, if the probability is not zero, then that means it can happen. What it really means is that if there are enough opportunities for a very small probability to become a large probability, then it can happen.
So, if something is one in a million, but you have a million shots at it, then it becomes probable. If something is one in a trillion, you're going to need a trillion shots at it for it to become probable. A million won't be enough; it's still vastly improbable.
If you push that number far enough, you reach an improbability that is so extreme that there is no way for this physical universe to give you the number of opportunities that would raise that extraordinary small probability to something that can happen, that's like, 50-50 or better.
It turns out that in these sorts of problems where you have to arrange lots of thing and get lots of things right, the improbability of each step multiples and you can get just extraordinary improbability.
So, I use the term "fantastic improbability" to refer to this sort of boundary where it's now beyond the point where this physical universe could possible overcome the improbability. That, I call "physical impossibility," distinguishing it from mathematical impossibility...One in a google [sic] is the dividing line where I say, once it's that improbable, there is no way for any real process in this physical universe to overcome that kind of improbability. That's why I call it "physically impossible."
From Craig Blomberg (Jesus and the Gospels: An Introduction and Survey, 2nd ed., pp 121-2):
What, then, is encoded in the texts of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John to help us know how to interpret them on the "macro-scale"? Are they unadorned works of history or biography? Are they extended myths? historical fiction? In short, how do we assess the genre or literary form of an entire "gospel"?
Likewise, in opera, the singer is an instrument of the story. By playing a role, he discharges the dramatic function of the character.