Day 214: A Couple of Things to Remember

Jeremiah 52:12-23

Now in the fifth month, in the tenth day of the month, which was the nineteenth year of king Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard, who stood before the king of Babylon, came into Jerusalem. He burned Yahweh’s house, and the king’s house; and all the houses of Jerusalem, even every great house, he burned with fire. All the army of the Chaldeans, who were with the captain of the guard, broke down all the walls of Jerusalem all around. Then Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard carried away captive of the poorest of the people, and the rest of the people who were left in the city, and those who fell away, who defected to the king of Babylon, and the rest of the multitude. But Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard left of the poorest of the land to be vineyard keepers and farmers.

The Chaldeans broke the pillars of bronze that were in Yahweh’s house and the bases and the bronze sea that were in Yahweh’s house in pieces, and carried all of their bronze to Babylon. They also took away the pots, the shovels, the snuffers, the basins, the spoons, and all the vessels of bronze with which they ministered. The captain of the guard took away the cups, the fire pans, the basins, the pots, the lamp stands, the spoons, and the bowls; that which was of gold, as gold, and that which was of silver, as silver.

They took the two pillars, the one sea, and the twelve bronze bulls that were under the bases, which king Solomon had made for Yahweh’s house. The bronze of all these vessels was without weight. As for the pillars, the height of the one pillar was eighteen cubits; and a line of twelve cubits encircled it; and its thickness was four fingers. It was hollow. A capital of bronze was on it; and the height of the one capital was five cubits, with network and pomegranates on the capital all around, all of bronze. The second pillar also had the same, with pomegranates. There were ninety-six pomegranates on the sides; all the pomegranates were one hundred on the network all around.

It’s pretty obvious that the Chaldeans wanted the gold, silver and bronze more than they wanted the presence of the God of Israel to be near to them. That’s what I discern when I consider the fact that they broke the columns up into pieces. It says here that they took “that which was of gold, as gold, and that which was of silver, as silver.” It’s as if the gold and silver were more important than the God whose temple the gold and silver was used for.

There is an apparent difference between the numbers of pomegranates on the capitals on the columns between Jeremiah 52 and 2 Chronicles 4. Jeremiah says that there were only 100 pomegranates per network and Chronicles says that there were twice as many. I believe that the problem is solved when you consider the difference between “rows” and “networks” in the two passages. Jeremiah may have been referring to each row as a network, whereas Ezra may have been referring to two rows as a network. So, there would have been 200 in Ezra’s network and 100 in Jeremiah’s. This is actually a powerful confirmation of the perspectives of two witnesses. It’s unclear to me what Jeremiah meant by saying that there were 96 pomegranates on a side. That depends on how much you could see from any one side. I am not willing to worry about doing a computer model of the column to see how much could be seen, but I would imagine that someone in Jerusalem has. It may tell us more about the curvature of the column than anything else.

I see to things to remember from this. First, God is always more important than any earthly thing. Materialism is a serious form of idolatry, especially here in the United States. Remember what Jesus said:

Matthew 23:16-17

“Woe to you, you blind guides, who say, ‘Whoever swears by the temple, it is nothing; but whoever swears by the gold of the temple, he is obligated.’ You blind fools! For which is greater, the gold or the temple that sanctifies the gold?

The second is to remember that the Bible claims to define the truth. Before we assume that there is a mistake in it, we must consider it as a standard, which means that we need to see if there is a way in which apparent differences actually fit together. In this case, it would make sense for there to be two separate perspectives of the same information from two witnesses. This may give us a better understanding of the facts when we put the two testimonies together. If you have watched or read a court case mystery before, you probably know what I’m talking about. Missing information is often the thing that causes us to make a poor assumption based on mere evidence.

Day 193: Conquered but not Destroyed

Jeremiah 49:23-27

Of Damascus:
“Hamath and Arpad are confounded,
for they have heard evil news.
They have melted away.
There is sorrow on the sea.
It can’t be quiet.
Damascus has grown feeble,
she turns herself to flee,
and trembling has seized her.
Anguish and sorrows have taken hold of her,
as of a woman in travail.
How is the city of praise not forsaken,
the city of my joy?
Therefore her young men will fall in her streets,
and all the men of war will be brought to silence in that day,”
says Yahweh of Armies.
“I will kindle a fire in the wall of Damascus,
and it will devour the palaces of Ben Hadad.”

Damascus is one of the oldest populated cities in the world today. We have been reading about God’s judgment against many nations and cities at the time of Nebuchadnezzar. Here we read that the city of Damascus was also to be defeated, but it doesn’t appear that the prophesy is telling us that Damascus was to be completely destroyed. After Nebuchadnezzar took over the area, he decided not to destroy this city. For some reason, God decided to allow this one to continue to stand.

God has predicted the complete destruction of Damascus through other prophets, but this was not the right time. Since all of these other civilizations were wiped out, it would have been easy to assume that Damascus would have been wiped out too. It reminds us that our ideas of what will or should happen are not accurate at all without first consulting God’s word.

This is a very timely and relevant message for our cultures today. We are tempted to think that God’s word should be considered based on scientific evidence. Some believe that if the evidence appears to disagree with God’s word, then God’s word should be reinterpreted to fit the evidence, but the fact that Damascus stands today, reminds us that God’s word decided what the evidence would be, not the other way around. If the evidence appears to go against the Bible, then the evidence is the thing that should be doubted. Most likely, we are interpreting it incorrectly. It is possible to incorrectly read the Bible, but when the Bible is clear, then man’s ideas should be doubted rather than God’s word.

Believing in Science

The evidence for God’s existence is everywhere.  The same evidence is used by both atheists and evolutionists.  This evidence is found in biology, geology, chemistry, astronomy, paleontology, physics and everything else.  The most obvious evidence for God’s existence is the Bible.  It’s hard to top a written document that explains things, but somehow, this most obvious evidence, is often ignored.  This demonstrates that the problem isn’t evidence, it’s how that evidence is being interpreted.  Because evidence has to be interpreted, there is absolutely no way to do science without a faith.  Allow me to restate that.  If you must interpret scientific evidence, then your method of interpretation, or faith, is a prerequisite.

Let’s consider “faith” in “the law of cause and effect.”  We must “believe” in the law of cause and effect, or doing experiments wouldn’t be possible.  When we do an experiment, we naturally “believe” that the experiment is the cause and that the result is the effect.  If we didn’t then we couldn’t do any science at all.  We must also “believe” in the existence of “laws of nature.” Isn’t that what science discovers?  If there were no laws in nature, why do science?   Somehow, we “know” that nature has laws.  We make these assumptions and these assumptions form our faith.  The sum of all of the things we believe or “take for granted,” is what we call a “worldview.”

Requiring evidence for a worldview is not rational because your worldview tells you how to interpret evidence.  The Bible provides us with a worldview.  Requiring evidence for it would never prove it, because any evidence would simply be reinterpreted by the worldview of the person considering the evidence.

Did you know that there is a mathematical model for the geocentric (earth is the center instead of sun) view of the solar system?  I am told it is possible to chart the movement of objects in the sky using this model with success.  The model, however, is extremely complicated.  If one insists on the fact that the earth is the center of the solar system, the evidence can be interpreted that way.

I am also told that at one time, Galileo tried to convince the skeptics of his day that the moon wasn’t a perfect sphere, as Aristotle had stated.  He had them look into his telescope and see that the moon was covered with craters and valleys.  They refused to believe their own eyes!  They stated that there must be an invisible crystalline sphere that  covered the moon, filling in its valleys and craters.

These examples demonstrate the limit of evidence.  It cannot prove anything, ultimately.  It can confirm a person’s ideas but it is amazingly inconclusive when faith is involved, and faith is always involved.  Why couldn’t the earth be the center of the solar system?  Why couldn’t there be an invisible crystalline sphere around the moon?  Evidence alone won’t prove the point!  If you try to live by evidence without faith, you will always be easily confused.  I tend to believe the simplest answer, if God doesn’t say otherwise.  The Bible tells us that God is a God of love and hides things for us to discover.  It makes sense that God’s science would be fascinatingly simple.

The faith problem explains why so many evolutionists and atheists disregard the best evidence of God.  They find ways, based on their faith, to disregard things, like the Bible.  It is consistent with their faith to re-interpret evidence, but to so and then act like others shouldn’t, is very inconsistent.  I find that, in general, evolutionists and atheists don’t actually want evidence for God or the Bible, they already have faith in something else that causes them to use the evidence the way that they want.  They may think they are being “neutral,” even though that doesn’t exist, but they are merely holding to their worldview.  If something disagrees with their worldview, they simply create a new possibility, based on the unknown, and reinterpret the evidence.

Bible believers actually have a more strict position.  Unlike evolutionists, I can’t just make things up.  God’s words are pretty clear and never change, and I have to stay consistent with them.  It is true that when I don’t understand something I use conjecture, just like the evolutionists, but I try to stay within the confines of what God has said.  I’m not asking evolutionists for evidence, though, because I am aware that the real issue is that evolutionists have an opposing faith.

I have a good reason to believe in God and science.  Evolutionists and atheists don’t have a good reason to believe what they believe.  The demand for evidence is just being used as a way to suppress the fact that what they believe doesn’t make sense.  Take the “law of cause and effect” for instance.  How can evolution explain the existence of a law like that?  If things change randomly, what’s to stop the law of cause and effect from changing randomly?  As far as I can tell, evolution doesn’t provide a rational framework for the existence of any law.  In order for an evolutionist to believe in science at all, they must irrationally rely on biblical assumptions.  The Bible says that the earth was created by a Person who never changes and makes laws.  Because of that, I have a real reason to believe in science.  Evolution, however, cannot rationally support the worldview that must be assumed in order for science to exist.


Monkeying with the Truth

I’ve been finishing my next devotion book… Stay tuned.

I want to address one of Bill Nye’s supposed pieces of evidence about evolution he offered in the recent debate between he and Ken Ham from Answers in Genesis.  He showed a slide with a bunch of skulls on it and suggested that it was some kind of proof for evolution.  In this video, Dr. David Menton, who is actually an expert in these things.  Explains the real issue and does so in a very enjoyable way.

I’m sure the video is easily worth the money (I have his whole “Body of Evidence” set) but the trailer is educational in itself.  Check out: 3 Ways to Make an Ape Man.  By the way, Answers in Genesis has linked the video to articles explaining away other things that Bill said as well.