Issue 27 - Aug 24-28

If you do not want to be on my email list, please reply back to this message with REMOVE in the subject, and you will be removed.

***All photos are thumbnail versions of larger photos. To view the full photo, click on the thumbnail.***

Odds and ends

During the time off from preaching, I have been very busy. I have been splitting my time between Penn State and Mansfield, PA. I was able to go out a couple of times a week to preach later in the summer. The crowds were very small and quiet, so there is not a whole lot to report. Such is the nature of the summer sessions.

I worked with Kingdom Communities in Mansfield, PA. For the most part, we spent our time in a community setting, setting out what the Spirit of the Lord laid on our hearts concerning the coming revival and restoration of the church in Tioga county and environs. It has been a fruitful summer, and I expect I will be sharing more on what is going on in the future. The summer was spent talking. Now we are going to start concrete steps.

My part of the effort is to preach, and to teach others to do so. This coming week, I am going to be talking to many of the pastors in the area to share with them what happens when the Gospel is preached. Then we will be going door to door to talk to the people in Blossburg in preparation to an open air crusade in the township park, next to the Tioga river. I will be reporting more about our effort in the future.

One of the two other tasks I will be involved with in the future is the formation of The Aggelos Society, an organization to support, strengthen, and equip those who venture out on the streets with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I wrote about this previously. A little more detail on the Society can be read at this post.

The other is to start the planning and building of a Christian community villa, patterned after several other community efforts down through history. The villa will provide living facilities for couples and single people who are in training for the ministry. Our hope is that it will be a self-sufficient self-contained extended family community.

Over the last couple of days, I have been corresponding with another preacher about some philosophical questions that come up when trying to preach to atheist. I am including the conversation in the hope that it may help someone else.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Bro:

Most scientists and students these days seem take a view of radical empiricism which teaches that if a thing doesn't exist in the physical universe it, doesn't exist. This would rule out the soul or the "person", concepts, propositions..... This is why these neo-Nazis find it so easy to destroy an unborn child or kill an elderly person.

What would be a simple way to show a student the metaphysical baggage that comes with this view? I would ask them: What about mathematical truths which are the most certain truths? What about light? What about color? None of these concepts have any physical existence, yet we cannot deny mathematical truths or explain the reality of light...

Does light physically exist or is the concept of a "photon" a term used to describe a theory that attempts to describe what we know very little about?

BTW I take a semi-platonic view with regards to concepts and propositions and believe that there is more to the universe than mere brick and mortar and an empiricist view fails to take into account the most basic concept viz. existence...

Thanks,

John


John,

I have tried to use the argument that points out that the rules of logic have no material existence, therefore are supernatural. Same goes for the laws of physics, the rules of geometry, quantum mechanics. Further, all of material existence, everything that exists, is governed by rules or laws which themselves do not have material existence. Light is one. It is energy but it is also a particle which itself has no mass. When studied, it will behave as a wave. But when a camera is set up to record the behavior, the act of observing it causes it to behave as a particle.

In Heisenberg's uncertainty principle, coupled with quantum physics, it can be shown that particles do not actually exist continually. They appear instantaneously at one point, only to disappear and reappear in another location. Think about it. If you had the ability to do that, and you had a broom, you could as a single person take on the appearance of a wall sweeping the ocean back. Superman did it all the time. Move fast enough and you appear solid. Such is the nature of reality.

Matter is just a collection of microscopic energy balls that effectively preclude any other energy balls from occupying the same space. Energy in and of itself has no substance, but when the balls of energy known as protons, neutrons, and electrons force other balls of energy away (bounce off), at the same frequency as the rotation of an electron around a nucleus (I'm talking about the entire universe is in a state of constant vibration), then these balls of energy appear to have substance. The speed of an electron is 10**8 cm/sec. The diameter of a hydrogen atom is 10**-8 cm. Therefore, an electron orbits around the nucleus of the atom about 10**16 times per second. At that speed, the atom assumes the appearance of a solid, even though the atom is just a tiny ball of energy.

But all of these various balls of energy all behave toward each other in the infinite combinations between them in very fixed specific ways. The relationships between every elementary and higher particle obey the laws of physics (either classical or quantum) and chemistry. Those laws have no existence in a material sense, they exist apart and distinct from the particles they control. It is axiomatic in science that that which is created can not be it's own creator.

The laws that control all matter can not have been created at the same time as those things that those laws control. The laws that control had to exist before the things that are controlled came into existence. The existence of huge volumes of laws controlling all of material existence and being separate and distinct from those things that are controlled, proves there must be existence separate and distinct from the material world we observe.

All of the material world is controlled by laws that have no material existence, yet we know they exist because we can see the material world controlled by them. The conclusion is that there must be a supernatural realm containing the rules, or the material realm, being uncontrolled, could not exist. If not, then the rules themselves would have to manifest a material existence, because we know for a fact those laws exist. The question is where.

Bro


Great letter thanks Bro,

What if someone were to argue that these laws are not prescriptive but descriptive and are not laws per se but labels that we assign to the behavior of matter; could they dodge the issue of these laws preceding creation and subsisting in the realm of "conceptual space"? I have had the empiricist argue that logic and math are true on pain of definition instead of conceptual analysis; so they deny that concepts, forms, propositions, and universals exist all together. Sounds to me as though they are stubbornly ignorant to limit this universe to brick and mortar; especially since matter isn't even what most people think it is... I would argue that logic and math are too descriptive of the behavior of the universe to merely write off as the conventions of man; what say you?

After thought:

One thing to add that I think might be paramount: The question I asked you about are the laws of the universe being prescriptive vs. descriptive; the answer to this question will ultimately be derived from someone's ontological commitments. Therefore, the most basic premises of our science is grounded in our "dogma" or ontology and NOT empirical science... Does this make sense and would this be a good way of showing the know-it-all student who puts so much faith in "empiricism" that what he trusts in is no more objective than our beliefs about God?

You are probably asking: why all the questions? My wife and I have bee preaching at ASU for a few years now and the atheist club has been out there taunting us (helping us draw a crowd) and I usually use philosophy as by platform to debate, my wife who is an MD uses science. My goal is to show the students that ultimately, all knowledge and science is grounded in our basic beliefs which are dogmatic, require faith and represent our world view. If we don't ground our knowledge in a basic belief, self-evident truth, or coherent system - we will fall prey to circular reasoning, infinite regress, and of course the problem of the criterion. Once I have shown them that their knowledge is no better than mine- I have pried their minds a bit to receive the gospel...

Thanks for answering my questions,

John

PS my friend Richard in China has been receiving your newsletter


John,

If they were only descriptive, then they could be easily modified. But the laws regulating the behavior of matter are not easily changed. It takes massive amounts of energy to make two elements that won't normally join to join. In some instances to get some elements to behave in different ways, you have to put them in an atom smasher. The fixity of the natural laws can only be understood to indicate prescriptive laws.

If the natural laws were descriptive, then in other places, under other environmental conditions, or in another galaxy, then they could change to describe behavior that was different. The natural laws (physics, chemistry, quantum physics) as far as we have been able to determine are universally the same. The only way that can be explained is by the laws being prescriptive. If not, then somewhere in the universe matter would be free to behave differently. We have found no such place. The natural laws with which we are familiar on earth work everywhere else.

If you can get them to admit they exist, the next step is to ask them where they exist. Anything that exists must have a presence somewhere. Supernatural is defined as outside the natural realm. If they can not show the existence in the material realm, then the only other place the laws can exist is outside the natural realm. Once they admit that the entirety, the totality of all material behavior is controlled, you are halfway there. There are rules that are followed every time two hydrogen atoms meet an oxygen atom. They usually start to scramble to conflate the laws with the matter itself. That which controls the matter must exist apart from the matter. If it were a tangible part of matter, it could be isolated, separated from the matter, modified, and returned to the matter. All of creation could be restructured in any way we want. We could create a machine to convert old polyester leisure suits into cranberry yogurt.

Press them hard. "Show me the laws." They must scramble to try to keep the laws and the objects of the laws together. As soon as they admit that the laws that regulate all material behavior are not in the matter itself, you have them. The one thing that they absolutely have to do is to deny there is anything outside of the material realm. But it is certain the laws exist. It is certain that the laws can not be distilled from the matter. Therefore it is impossible for there to NOT be a supernatural realm.

Getting an atheist to admit that the material is not all there is, is sort of like picking up liquid mercury with your finger tips.

After thought

Every system of thought, every philosophy can be traced back to it's foundation. That foundation ALWAYS is a set of presuppositions that are not empirically tested, nor can be. There are some presuppositional arguments that are glorious to listen to. The greatest presuppositional debate I ever listened to Greg Bahnsen vs Stein. You can listen to it on Youtube. Do a search on "Greg Bahnsen Vs Stein - The Great Debate". There are others. Bahnsen is the master of presuppositionalism.

One thing I try to do is to show the atheists that in order to even argue that there is no God, they have to first assume the worldview that God exists in order to argue against His existence. They must assume that logic exists, and that the laws of logic are consistent and reasonable. They have to believe that there is truth and error. If there is no God, truth and falsehood are indistinguishable. When they try to press for a moral position, in order to assume the position, they have to first believe there is an objective good and evil, truth or lie. No atheist can argue from a pure materialistic perspective. If so, they can't use things like logic and reason that have no material existence.

Here is the link. I think you will really enjoy it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6iEUanJbsw&feature=PlayList&p=75F2FF36C0ECC4A2&index=0&playnext=1

Bro


One more question Bro;

If someone pulls the old "It is logically possible that the laws evolved and are still evolving but we just cant observe this slow process" would a good come back be that often logical possibility is vacuous truth for it is logically possible that I will grow a pair of wings as I am typing this letter; however, we have no known occurrences of this happening, therefore the probability is zero.

John


John,

You remind them that science deals with that which is observable, reproducible, and falsifiable. What they are doing is supplanting what we DO know with a speculation. What they are suggesting has no evidence that it even could exist. It may be religion, or it may be philosophy, but it certainly can't be science.

Are you familiar with Anselm's ontological proof of God. That says that since we can conceive of a perfect being therefore he must exist somewhere in the universe. Try this on them. When they make such speculative statements, ask them if they will accept Anselm's argument for the existence of God. Of course they won't. Then point out to them that that is the exact "proof" they are trying to use on you, with one small twist. They think that if they can imagine some scenario that could discredit the Bible, then it must exist somewhere in the universe. Then they put forth their imaginative story as if it is scientific evidence. All of evolution's proof ultimately is reducible to this: they think that their ability to imagine something happening in the far distant unknowable past means that it must have happened in just that way. Then they say we won't listen to science, that we reject the evidence. Such story tellers those evolutionists and atheists are.

Bro


Bro,

That Bahansen debate is great. I paid to download it and will listen to it several times (I am one of those guys that reads my books 3 times before I really understand them); he tears the atheist to shreds, I wonder though if his view of natural law will allow for a coherent view of free will? I noticed he is an Orthodox Presbyterian and on a site many of his sermons are Calvin this and Calvin that; I heard D'sauza do a good job and it went like this: There are natural laws and physical necessity in the universe and man does encounter these causes; however, with regards to man, when his mind is presented with these "motive objects" he can suspend volition, subject the motives to reflection and judgment, and then either not respond, or choose a response (effect) that he has freely chosen (paraphrases). He then goes on to say that there are certain laws that man must obey such as gravity... but when it comes to certain issues such as moral decisions; man is a free moral agent capable.

John


Bro,

I enjoyed so many parts of the debate but what I found was key is what you and I have been discussing: the Atheist (A) said that science is impossible without reliance on laws, however, B pointed out that these laws are necessary truths and this regularity is essential for science to continue. The atheist then tried to get out of this by saying that the laws were merely descriptive of how atoms behave (the descriptive view of law) but B called him on it by using Hume's Problem with Induction which states that we do not have the right to assume that anything in the physical universe will be the same tomorrow as it was yesterday, we have no right to assume regularity because induction does not imply necessity but mere probability and science needs necessary laws to establish other laws.

So the atheist who claims that laws are descriptive will have to sacrifice the superstructure of the scientific method or else acknowledge that science is no knowledge at all (which is the view of most philosophers - they call scientific knowledge "inferences to the best explanation")

John


John,

The strength of Bahnsen was that he understood the role that bed rock assumptions have on our world view. Every system of thought is traceable ultimately to assumptions we make and never challenge. We assume them to be true, and that assumption colors every conclusion after that. So true is the verse that the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. He may not be the end all, but his presuppositionalism is very crucial in confronting the world.

Many years ago, I was preaching with Jed at Ohio State. It began to rain, so we took shelter in the student union. Several students recognized us and sat down to talk to us. The one student got onto the supposed "budget cuts" that were going on in the Reagan administration. He went on and on about all these people suffering, and suffering, and suffering, blah, blah, blah. He finally broke from his diatribe and asked me "Well, what do you think about all this suffering that is going on?"

I said, "Suffering? I'd have to say that I am an advocate of suffering. I don't think we have enough of it." You can imagine the high state of dudgeon he entered into.

"How can you say such a thing?" he asked.

I responded by saying that suffering has a beneficial side to it. I pointed out that the great depression was followed by 50 years of the greatest economic explosion in the history of man. The reason for such was the suffering of the depression. People vowed that they would never be in a soup line again. Savings went up. Investment went up. Prosperity exploded.

I went on to point out that we as a society do not honor those who are born with a silver spoon in their mouth and a wagon load of money growing up. We look down on the profligates. We honor those who face great adversity and overcome - Helen Keller, Martin Luther King, etc.

Suffering brings with it it's own solution - the pain. When we are subjected to suffering, we take steps to correct it. It is the suffering that motivates many people to start businesses, invent things, go to school, get a better job... Mankind is predictable in that we go for things that are pleasurable, comfortable, and easy. We shy away from anything that is painful, suffering, or sorrowful.

The problem with government trying to alleviate everybody's suffering is that they are removing the driving engine of progress. Take for example welfare. The damage that welfare does is that it does not bring anyone up out of poverty, instead it makes staying in poverty a bearable thing. Without welfare, people would be forced to take action to end their plight. But welfare payments make the poverty easier, make it endurable. So they stay in poverty. We are now in many cities into the 4th and 5th generations of welfare families. The children follow in their parents steps onto the welfare roles. Welfare only perpetuates poverty.

I challenged his base assumption - that all suffering is bad - and when he realized what I was saying was true, he switched so fast my head began to spin. In seconds, he was planning how to dismantle welfare. "We'll just close it down, no wait, that won't work. There are too many addicted to it. I know, we'll just start to constrict entry onto the roles, and do away with it by attrition." He was even energized. His assumption crumbled, and everything built on that assumption began to crumble.

So it is on the streets. If we can get them down to their base assumptions and can show them that their assumptions are wrong, we can start them thinking in constructive directions. It is hard to do, but understanding presuppositionalism is key to tearing down every vain thought that exalts itself against God. If the foundation can be disrupted, the walls of their intellectual fortresses will start to come down.

Bro


Bro;

Just to clarify my thinking, Bahsen is stating that the laws of logic are from God and proven redicio ad absurdum. He outright denies that they simply exist as part of the constitutional make up of matter (the laws are descriptive) - Is there a way to deny this with a bit more force? An atheist would say that electrons spin around a nucleolus just because they do and those are the properties inherent to them, therefore excluding any law.

I can refute the laws of logic based on the fact that they are too universal to be mere conventions and are necessarily true in describing reality. This would exclude them from being merely true on pain of definition.

So the atheist would view is that matter behaves in orderly ways that we perceive as laws but there is no law governing them; this order is just the way matter evolved since the big bang.

I guess one way of refuting scientific laws is to say that if they are not necessarily true; then there is no guarantee that what science observes today will be true tomorrow ---BUT isn't this true of science in that it is always subject to revision?

John


John,

Whether or not they are part of the constitutional make up of matter is important. If they are, then that constitutional makeup existed before the matter came into existence. It is the constitutional make up rules that controlled the creation (whether by fiat or big bang) of the matter. So since something can not create itself, the constitutional make up had to preexist the matter that is so controlled. They could not come into existence at the same time, that violates the logical constraint that that which controls can not come after or at the same time as that which is controlled. The old chicken and egg conundrum. Something that is controlled can not come into existence with the controlling thing.

On the other hand, if they are not part of the constitutional make up, you already have them. They have admitted to the existence of an immaterial thing that preexisted matter, i.e. the rules that govern the matter itself. Once anything is admitted to that is immaterial and necessary, materialism as a philosophical constraint must collapse.

As far as the electron argument is concerned, it is interesting that the atom even holds together at all. Like charges repel, so the nucleus should explode. But it doesn't. Their response is "strong nuclear force holds it together". This is true, but it is only provable by the fact that atoms do not explode. There is no physical evidence for it's existence. There is no material existence for the strong nuclear force. All we have is the unexploded atoms. Challenge them to produce physical evidence for the strong nuclear force. Ultimately they will be forced to go back to "we know it exists because we can see it's result". Turn that around by substituting "God" for "it" in that sentence, and ask them if they will accept your argument. We know God exists because we can see His results. They will not. Then try to nail them on the inconsistency of their position. The strong nuclear force is something we know exists, but has no physical material existence whatsoever. A little stronger than saying that about logic, because it does have a semblance of material existence (however inferred). The strong nuclear force - we do not know what it is. The existence of nuclei is an illogical thing without it. Since the Bible says that Jesus upholds the existence of all things, or holds everything together, by the power of His word, the strong nuclear force may just be the only physical evidence for the existence of God. But they won't buy it.

I guess one way of refuting scientific laws is to say that if they are not necessarily true; then there is no guarantee that what science observes today will be true tomorrow ---BUT isn't this true of science in that it is always subject to revision?

No, the laws must always be true, or nothing can be know at all. Science is founded on the principle that the laws are immutable, therefore the universe is ordered and able to be understood. If the laws are not necessarily true, science, and all knowledge, are impossible. Interpretations can change, but the laws themselves do not. Ice will always float, hydrogen will always burn, evolutionists will always lie.

Bro


Thanks Bro;

I will leave you alone and stop the pestering questions; two easy questions 1. the axiom that you told me "That which is created cannot be its creator" will most hold to this even evolutionist? and secondly I have heard some philosophers say that the "Grand Laws" of the universe are necessarily true; but the theorems and other laws of science like Brunelli's principle, Newton's law of gravity, Einstein's theory of relativity... are contingent in that they cannot be verified by inspecting every single situation and are arrived at by induction.

Could you live with this statement? I suppose the problems come in when we try to demarcate between Grand Laws and Laws of Science. I know that the "Law of Cause and Effect" cannot be verified because we have not observed every single cause and effect nor can we ever subject this theory to observation; and all it takes is one counter proof to blow the whole theory - additionally I would believe that as you and I believe in free will; we would consider that the human mind is not subject to cause and effect (even though Jonathan Edwards the Determinist did) and we can actually be the first cause of our effects and sovereign over certain aspects of our lives (sovereign with a little s of course).

Thanks, John

Over the weekend of August 21st, I had a family function. My sister Liza's son married in a wedding the size of a small circus. The guest list was over 300. It was a beautiful wedding with a clear gospel message and even an altar call! My sister's home once belonged to a governor of Pennsylvania. The picturesque setting was perfect, and the reception was under a 4 post circus tent. What a glorious day.

The wedding was performed under this Gazebo.

Reception under a 4 post circus tent.

The tossing of the bride's bouquet.

Me and my wonderful daughter

Penn State University


Even an hour after we stopped preaching, the Willard steps had
a small crowd of atheists and Christians pleading their causes.

Monday, August 24th, the students returned in a flood. The streets were packed and the sidewalks were awash with pink cheeked freshmen. Since I had my daughter with me, I went to Willard fully intending to just watch, and show my daughter what a preach is like. A fresh faced freshman sitting next to Heather leaned over and asked somewhat incredulously, "Is this a class or something?" "No", I said, "it is preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

As soon as I was given an opening, I jumped into the fray. One of the ubiquitous atheists made a statement that I could not let slip. He said if evolution were not true, we would not find the fossils all neatly stacked up in increasing complexity from the bottom to the top. That was more than I could bear.

Evidently the educational bureaucracy doesn't see fit to actually tell the truth. This issue is called "a nonconformity" and occurs when an older fossil is found above a younger fossil (in geological time). It happens all over the world in every dig. It happens tens of thousands of times. It covers hundreds of thousands of square miles. But since the "theory" of evolution is more important than the actual physical evidence, rather than admit that what the evolutionary theory predicts is not seen in the fossil record, the evidence is simply redefined out of existence.

There are several popular theories to explain away how those tens of thousands of "out-of-place" fossils are where they should not be. One is that erosion eroded down through the younger layer, and down further through the older layer underneath, all the way down to the next layer and the fossil kind of fell into the hole and was reburied. And all this happened without leaving any trace of the process in the rocks. It is quite imaginative, but not my favorite.

My favorite was told me by a geologist in Colorado State in Boulder. In order to explain a nonconformity that covered about 100,000 square miles in the center of our continent, I was told, as if it were fact, that an older layer of rock was uplifted and slid down hill over top of the younger layer. WOW. Here was a slab of rock up to a mile thick in places, covering 100,000 square miles, sliding downhill over a 4% grade. And GET THIS! It just-so happened that the sliding slab did not leave any of the rock crushed, nor left any sliding marks, nor left any grinding marks, no scrapes. And surprise upon surprise, when it was done, the junction plane looked just like the older layer had been laid down right over top of the younger layer. I pointed out to that geologist that I was driving a Chrysler Cordoba with ball bearing wheels and IT wouldn't coast down a 4% grade. Nonetheless, he insisted that his explanation was indeed fact, and expected me to buy it.

Even though nonconformity's are well know in geology, the students acted as if they had never heard of them. I suspect they were never told about this pernicious problem because it so clearly undermines a theory in trouble.

Tuesday I didn't preach, but spent some time talking to a young man who had never seen anything like what Gary and I were doing. He was a new believer, but seemed to understand much about what was going on. I spoke with him for over an hour, and at the end of that time, he confessed that he was sensing a draw in his spirit to preach himself. Because he is so young in the Lord, I told him to test that leading, and to take some time to read the whole Bible and get a foundation from which to preach.

Wednesday I went out to breakfast with Heather's mother and stepfather. We had a wonderful time of fellowship at one of my favorite restaurants. Afterwards, I drove my daughter to Pittsburgh for her flight back to Salt Lake City, Utah. It was so good to see my daughter. I hadn't seen her is several years, even though we talk often on the phone.

If you would, could you pray for my daughter for two very pressing needs. She needs to get tenants in her house in Denver, and she is seeking a Christian roommate in Utah, to help her with expenses. She recently took a new job, and she had to take a pay in salary. A roommate would enable her to cut expenses. I am also hoping for a roommate with whom she can share her faith and spiritual growth. Thanks guys.

Thursday Gary preached first, and I preached later in the day. My subject was very general, trying to feel out the new freshmen students. I presented the gospel in ways that they had never heard. Most people, when sharing, try to present their faith in such a way as to not offend anyone or suffer rejection. Consequently what most people think the gospel is about is summed up as "God loves you" As a result most people never hear clearly what Jesus did for them. Instead what they think is that since God loves them, God has simply overlooked their sins.

But It was so much more than that. God said, "The soul that sinneth shall die." This is the entire problem with mankind. What people are not told is that when man sinned, Satan became the legal owner of all of mankind. What Jesus did was to come to earth to take back mankind from Satan. His death means more than that we can get our sins forgiven. His death means we can be set completely free from sin, and then can be made into precisely what He is. We can be like Him in every way. We can do all the miracles that He did and even more.

Friday I jumped into the arguments from science for the sake of the atheists, who are there every day, all day long. Some of them are getting softer. One girl after I finished preaching on the evidences from science for the truth of God's existence, asked me to explain the passage in the Bible when Jesus was presented with a woman caught in adultery. She seemed open and not the typical atheist mocker.

Joh 8:3 And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst,
4 They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act.
5 Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?
6 This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not.
7 So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.
8 And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground.
9 And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.
10 When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?
11 She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.

I explained to her that most people take this passage to mean that Jesus was against God's law, or that He thought it was too harsh. But that is a conclusion based on ignorance. There are many things behind this encounter.

(1) This part of the law had not been enforced for over 400 years. It would not have been just for Jesus to allow this woman to be executed under this law, without rounding up ALL adulterers and adulteresses and putting them to death at the same time.
(2) They brought the woman and said she was caught in the very act, but they did not bring the man. The law requires both the man and the woman to be stoned. It would be unjust for Jesus to allow her to be stoned and not the man also.
(3) The Romans had forbidden capital punishment to the Jews. To advocate capital punishment would have been a breach of the common law.
(4) The law states that the witnesses against the woman must be the first to cast the stones. But the law also requires that the witnesses had to be without guilt themselves. The witnesses had to be above reproach.
(5) Jesus would have qualified to cast the first stone but He was not a witness to the crime. He could not throw the first stone.
(6) Jesus did not disallow the judgment, He only forced them to follow the law completely.
(7) When the woman responded to Him, she called Him Lord. That is evidence of repentance, and Jesus forgave her.

In every way, Jesus manifested a greater respect for God's law than the Pharisees were. He was not a hater of the law, but one who elevated the law to it's proper place. The Pharisees wanted to use the law to condemn Jesus. Jesus elevated the law far above their intention.

The young atheist girl, usually adamant against the things of God, listened quietly and accepted what I had to say. I am very encouraged by her quiet demeanor.

 

Bro Cope
3598 N Atherton A , Apt 1
Port Matilda, PA 16870
814-883-9183

You can make a donation online!