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  • Samuel at Gilgal

    This year I will be sharing brief excerpts from the articles, sermons, and books I am currently reading. My posts will not follow a regular schedule but will be published as I find well-written thoughts that should be of interest to maturing Christian readers. Whenever possible, I encourage you to go to the source and read the complete work of the author.

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  • February 2010
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Life After Death

Dinesh D'Souza

From the pen of Dinesh D’Souza:

Life after death seems at first glance to be an outlandish, ridiculous idea, but today it is an idea that is supported by the latest findings in modern physics and astronomy. Preposterous? Well, let us see. Let’s begin by asking what has to be true for life after death to occur. . . .

Right away we see that in order for life after death to be viable, a formidable set of conditions is required. In the Abrahamic religions—Judaism, Christianity and Islam—the afterlife occurs in eternal realms beyond the universe and beyond space and time. So this conception requires the existence of realms or universes not limited by the constraints of space and time. . . .

The real significance of the Big Bang—the primordial explosion that brought the universe into existence—is not that nature had a beginning. It is that space and time also had a beginning. Modern astronomy shows that the universe didn’t begin in space and time; it began with space and time. In Newtonian physics, space was presumed to extend indefinitely in all directions, and time to stretch infinitely into the past and the future. The evidence of modern science is that these presumptions are wrong. Space and time are properties of our universe. “Before” our universe, there was no time. “Beyond” our universe, there is no space. Suddenly the Jewish and Christian concept of eternity—which is to say, of existence outside of space and time—becomes scientifically coherent. . . .

The universe is expanding at an accelerating pace. The Big Bang can account for the expansion, but it cannot account for the acceleration. To see why, imagine a big blast that sends a stone flying into the air. However fast it goes, it can be expected over time to slow down. But what if it goes faster and faster? Well, some other force must be pushing it. Scientists say that dark energy is the force that explains the increasing pace of the universe’s expansion.

So how much of all the matter and energy in the universe is dark? The figure is an astounding 95 percent. Ordinary matter and energy make up a mere 5 percent of all the matter and energy in the universe. Dark matter and dark energy cannot be observed or detected by any instruments and have qualities radically different from any matter or energy that we can see or measure. . . .

Other realms: String theory is a powerful new approach to physics that seeks to unify Einstein’s relativity with quantum mechanics. In its most famous form, so-called M theory, scientists tell us that reality is divided not into four but rather eleven dimensions, ten of space and one of time. So where are the other dimensions? Well, string theorists say they are hidden dimensions, somehow positioned so they are invisible and inaccessible to us. While we can’t see them, they help to account for the things that we do see. . . .

The proposed scenarios for life after death are entirely consistent with respectable science, and stand proudly alongside the most important and cutting-edge ideas and discoveries, from relativity to quantum physics to dark matter to multiple universes.

Atheists can no longer ridicule as unscientific the idea of eternal places beyond time, or of invisible matter that isn’t like any matter we know, or of realms that have their own laws and their own modes of being. Heaven? Incorruptible bodies? They all make sense today in a way that they didn’t before. Modern physics has expanded our horizons and shown how life after death is possible within an existing framework of physical reality.

Read this entire article. . . .

George Muller On Prayer

George Muller

Quoting George Muller:

“It is not enough for the believer to begin to pray, nor to pray correctly; nor is it enough to continue for a time to pray. We must patiently, believingly continue in prayer until we obtain an answer. Further, we have not only to continue in prayer until the end, but we have also to believe that God does hear us and will answer our prayers. Most frequently we fail in not continuing in prayer until the blessing is obtained, and in not expecting the blessing. Those who are disciples of the Lord Jesus should labor with all their might in the work of God as if everything depended upon their own endeavors. Yet, having done so, they should not in the least trust in their labor and efforts, nor in the means that they use for the spread of the truth, but in God alone; and they should with all earnestness seek the blessing of God in persevering, patient, and believing prayer. Here is the great secret of success, my Christian reader. Work with all your might, but never trust in your work. Pray with all your might for the blessing in God, but work at the same time with all diligence, with all patience, with all perseverance. Pray, then, and work. Work and pray. And still again pray, and then work. And so on, all the days of your life. The result will surely be abundant blessing. Whether you see much fruit or little fruit, such kind of service will be blessed.”

Reagan On The “Left” And The “Right”

Quoting President Ronald Reagan:

“You and I are told we must choose between a left or right, but I suggest there is no such thing as a left or right. There is only an up or down. Up to man’s age-old dream — the maximum of individual freedom consistent with order — or down to the ant heap of totalitarianism. Regardless of their sincerity, their humanitarian motives, those who would sacrifice freedom for security have embarked on this downward path. Plutarch warned, ‘The real destroyer of the liberties of the people is he who spreads among them bounties, donations and benefits.’ The Founding Fathers knew a government can’t control the economy without controlling people. And they knew when a government sets out to do that, it must use force and coercion to achieve its purpose. So we have come to a time for choosing.”

John Murray On God’s Sovereignty

In the words of John Murray:

Divine sovereignty and human responsibility are often placed in sharp antithesis to each other. It is true that we are not able to comprehend how divine sovereignty as it comes to expression in the absolute foreordination of all events works harmoniously and consistently with the exercise of our responsibility. We have simply to recognize and accept both and believe that divine foreordination embraces our responsibility but does not in the least nullify its reality or exercise.

The divine sovereignty, moreover, has a manifoldness of aspect or expression, and the aspect with which we are now mainly concerned is that the sovereignty of God as absolute authority demands total subjection to His will in every sphere and activity of life. If God should require less it would be a denial of Himself and it is His glory that this one thing He cannot do. When man yields less than total subjection this is a denial of God’s supreme Lordship, repudiation of His authority, and contradiction of His glory. It comes, then, to this that the correlate in man of sovereignty in God is subjection wholehearted, undeviating and unceasing. It is the irreducible obligation of all men in all departments of life to bring the whole of life into subservience to the totality of God’s revealed will.

The implications of this truth are too frequently overlooked, if not virtually denied, by many Christians. By too many the revelation of God’s will, particularly His will as revealed in Holy Scripture, is regarded as having application merely to the private or, at least, religious relations of men. It is true that we may use the distinction between the private and the public as also the distinction between the religious and the secular. But these distinctions do not in the least imply that the public any more than the private or the secular any more than the religious can ever be removed from the domain of the divine sovereignty. No sphere is independent of religious demands. . . .

In the discharge of every function and in every detail of that discharge the will of God is supreme and obedience to it the controlling principle. The state, the school, industry, agriculture, science, and art come within the domain of responsibility to God, and therefore the statesman in the discharge of state-craft, the industrialist and mechanic in the promotion of industrial production, the farmer at his plough, the teacher in the school, and the scientist in his laboratory have no less an obligation to apply the revealed will of God to every detail of their respective vocations than the preacher in the pulpit or the mother in the home. It should, of course, be obvious that the scientist in his laboratory is not to discharge the same function as the preacher in the pulpit, nor the legislator the same function as the mother in the home. There are distinct spheres, and one sphere must not trespass upon the prerogatives of another. But all spheres come within one domain — the supreme government of God. And so, in the way appropriate to each sphere and to the full extent of the bearing of the divine will upon it, each sphere must bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. . . .

The goal or aim that the sovereignty of God has set for us is nothing less than complete subordination to, and fulfillment of, the whole will of God in the whole domain of the divine sovereignty, and the domain of the divine sovereignty as it concerns us is life in its broadest extent and minutest detail. It is this goal as the irreducible implication of the divine sovereignty that is epitomized in the prayer our Lord taught us to pray, “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven” (Matt. 6:10).

Read more. . . .

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