Apologetics

Why Second Chances Are Impossible in the Afterlife

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Can a person die and have a second chance for salvation? If somebody dies and they either never had the chance or were unwilling in their lifetime to accept God’s love and forgiveness, could after they die God still accept them into the kingdom of heaven?

There is no one who desires a relationship with God who will ever be turned away. But that does not mean that the Bible in any way teaches postmortem evangelism or salvation. It does not. It is appointed unto man once to die and after that the judgment (Heb. 9:27).

Here is the situation. In this life we have the light of creation, we have the light of conscious, in other words the knowledge of God written upon the tablet of our consciousness, and if we respond to the light we have been given, then we will receive the light of Christ. Paul makes that clear in Romans 1-3.

The problem is as Jesus said to Nicodemus: “Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil” (John 3:19).* It is not that men do not have enough light; instead, it is they love darkness rather than light because their deeds are evil. It is not the absence of knowledge that damns us, it is the despising of knowledge that damns.

Those that do not have a relationship with God in eternity are those who do not want a relationship with God in time. That those who live a life apart from Christ now are not going to want to be dragged into His presence in eternity. In other words, this is what they want now, and God ratifies their choices. There is no gospel of the second chance in the Scripture at all, and again there’s a reason for it—the reason that I just explained. Those that live apart from Christ here will wish to do that in eternity as well. They’re hearts are hardened against the Savior and His message.

God does not impose Himself on them in eternity; rather, what He does is continue to sustain them in existence, albeit apart from His loving goodness and grace.

The biblical idea is always that God makes salvation available to all. He woos us all through the power of the Holy Spirit. We have to respond to that wooing, or we can reject the wooing of the Holy Spirit. Those who respond to the wooing of the Holy Spirit have everlasting life, those who reject it have precisely what they want. That is why I’m fond of quoting C.S. Lewis at this point, wherein he makes it clear that:

There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God ‘Thy will be done,’ and those to whom God says, in the end, ‘Thy will be done’ All that are in Hell, choose it. Without that self-choice there could be no Hell” (C.S. Lewis, The Great Divorce [New York: Harper Collins, 1946], 75).

If you do not want a relationship with God in time, God will not force Himself on you in eternity. Think about it this way: If God did force people to enter into heaven against their will, heaven would not be heaven, heaven would be hell. The righteous would inherit a counterfeit heaven, and the unrighteous would be incarcerated in heaven against their will, which would be a torment worse than hell.

Now there is one other thing I would add this to the equation: The biblical text in Acts 17, where Paul is at the Areopagus, and he sees a monument to an unknown God, and he begins to preach. In that sermon, he makes this incredible statement. He says,

From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us (Acts 17:26-27).

In saying that, Paul is making abundantly clear that God puts all of us in unique circumstances so that we can respond to His goodness and to His grace. There will be none in eternity that says, “You know God if only…” No, people get what they want. If they want a relationship with God, God did all that could be done to facilitate that. He suffered more than any man. He suffered more than the cumulative sufferings of all human kind so that we can be reconciled to Him for time and for eternity.

The one God revealed in three persons who are eternally distinct has given us every opportunity to know to love and to receive Him or to reject Him.

It is very clear in Scripture that this our opportunity to receive Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior of our life (Matt. 4:17; 10:5; Mark 1:14; Rom. 13:11-12; Eph. 5:12-14). This is the opportunity to say Jesus is Lord not Caesar or the world is Lord. If we don’t take that opportunity in this life, we are not going to want to take that opportunity in the life to come either. What we want now is indicative of what we want for all eternity.

—Hank Hanegraaff

For further related study, please see the following:

Is Jesus the Only Savior? The Answer to Religious Pluralism (Ronald H. Nash)

Is Belief in Jesus Necessary? The Answer to Religious Inclusivism (Ronald H. Nash)

Is There Salvation After Death? The Answer to Postmortem Evangelism (Ronald H. Nash)

Universalism Isn’t for Everyone(Doug Geivett)

What about Hell? The Doctrine of Hell (Douglas Groothuis)

The Dark Side of Eternity: Hell as Eternal Conscious Punishment (Robert A. Peterson)

C.S. Lewis on Hell (Louis Markos)

What Happens to a Person who has Never Heard of Jesus? (Hank Hanegraaff)

How were People who lived Before the Time of Christ Saved? (Hank Hanegraaff)

Why Should I Believe in Hell? (Hank Hanegraaff)

Abandon Hope, All Ye Who Enter Here (Hank Hanegraaff)

Blog adapted from “Is there a chance for salvation after death?” and the June 4, 2013 Bible Answer Man broadcast.

* All Scripture cited from The Holy Bible: New International Version (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1984), unless noted.

Apologetics

Politicians Reflecting a Devolved Culture

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“If anyone wonders what the costs of discrimination are, just ask the people and businesses of North Carolina. Look at what’s happening with the NCAA and the ACC. This is where bigotry leads and we can’t afford it, not here or anywhere else in America” —Hillary Clinton | Campaign speech, Greensboro, North Carolina, September 15, 2016

“My full, complete, unconditional support for marriage equality is at odds with the current doctrine of the church I still attend. But I think that’s going to change too. I think that’s going to change too. And I think it’s going to change because my church also teaches me about a creator in the first chapter of Genesis, who surveyed the entire world including mankind and said, ‘It is very good,’ ‘It is very good.’ Pope Francis famously said, ‘Who am I to judge?’ And to that I want to add: Who am I to challenge God for the beautiful diversity of the human family? I think we’re supposed to celebrate it, not challenge it” —Tim Kain | Human Rights Campaign dinner speech, Washington, DC, September 10, 2016


Hillary Clinton was in North Carolina. North Carolina, of course, is one of the battleground states. She had a huge rally and made a big issue out of gender fluidity.

What was interesting, as you listen to Clinton, was that she left no room or place for anyone who wants to thoughtfully consider whether or not gender is determined by biology as opposed to being determined by feelings. No room whatsoever for what the civilized world has always believed prior to her recent dogmatism. If you have the temerity—the reckless boldness to think—that gender might be determined by biology, she has a name for you and its certainly not pleasant. She renders you a bigot. All those who hold to the opposite position are guilty—she stamped it—they are guilty of bigotry. Pure and simple.

If you, for example, you think that perhaps, you are just considering this, perhaps a person with male genitalia should not shower in a public facility with females, well then you rightly belong in her infamous basket of deplorables. You can’t even think about this anymore. It’s a settled issue. You don’t hold her point of view, you are in the basket. You are deplorable. Perhaps even irredeemable.

It is truly astonishing unspeakably radical just a short while ago is now considered to be beyond debate. Any opposition to Hillary Clinton’s point of view is now rank bigotry.

On top of all of that you have Clinton’s running mate, Tim Kain, just a few days ago, addressing America’s largest pro-gay lobby group, and pontificating that the Bible is in full support of same sex marriage. His slight of mind in this regard is simply breathtaking. Says Kain, the “creator in the first chapter of Genesis…surveys the entire world including mankind and said ‘It is very good’” “Who am I to judge,” says Tim Kain, “Who am I to challenge God for the beautiful diversity of the human family? I think we’re supposed to celebrate it, not challenge it.”

Now here again it is kind of interesting because Kain has changed his point of view ant that quite recently (See “Kain cites Genesis 1…”). I suppose if you have not followed along with Tim Kain, if you are not lockstep with him now, you belong in Hillary’s basket of deplorables as well.

If what Tim Kain believes to be true is true, then the Bible is internally incoherent. When God created male and female to be fruitful and multiply (Gen. 1:28; 9:1,7), He made a mistake because this self-evidently cannot happen through same-sex unions. Not only that but also God’s affirmation of creation (Gen. 1:31), contra Tim Kain, occurred prior to the fall (Gen. 3). If it applies, as Kain supposes, to that which happened post fall, or after the fall, then God not only affirms homosexuality but He would be affirming everything else—murder, incest, bestiality, adultery, and everything that makes a fallen world desperate for redemption.

When you think about this a little further, here you have a person who potentially could be the second most powerful man in the entirety of the free world who misses the basic message of Scripture. I am not talking about minutia or complex matters. I am talking about the basic message of Scripture. Worst still, he purposefully seeks to mislead a biblically illiterate nation as to what the grand metanarrative of Scripture actually is! We are not just talking about any book here; we are talking about Tim Kain missing the most basic message of the most significant book in the history of humanity. The Bible, of course, has been read by more people, it has been translated in more languages, it has been sold in more copies than any book in the history of humanity, in the history of the world. In fact, it is the very book by which Western Civilization has determined its ethos, its morays, its civil liberties, its art, its language, its science, its jurisprudence, and he can’t understand its basic message or purposefully misleads people.

This is an epic moment in human history. I suppose to some degree it is fair to say that people like Tim Kain simply reflect the culture. The culture has devolved; therefore, now we get people running for the highest office in the land that resort to twisting the biblical text, misunderstanding the biblical text, or even worst, calling those that disagree with their vaunted positions “bigots.”

Hillary Clinton was very, very clear. You keep this up, you keep thinking that biology determines gender—which is what the free world has always thought, in fact what the world has always thought period, even pagans thought that—but if you believe that now, we are going to see that you are punished. These politicians, of course, are pointing out that North Carolina has lost millions and millions and millions and millions of dollars as the result of the NBA, which has put down its iron boot, and now the ACC and other groups pulling their tournaments from North Carolina. She says you keep this up, you are going to pay the economic price. If you do not want to pay the economic price, you do not think, that is not permitted, you follow me lockstep or else.

—Hank Hanegraaff

For further related study, please see the following:

Cultural Free-Fall (Hank Hanegraaff)

The Transsexual Dilemma: A Dialogue about the Ethics of Sex Change (Joe Dallas)

This blog adapted from the monologue on the September 16, 2016 Bible Answer Man broadcast.

Apologetics

Adam: From One Man Came All Men

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“Let us make man in our image, in our likeness…So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them” (Gen. 1:26, 27).*

“The Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being” (Gen. 2:7)

Is Adam the first man God created or were other humans created prior to Adam?

Well this is a great example of how we should always read Scripture in light of Scripture, because the Scriptures actually interpret the Scriptures for us.

I think it’s clear when you read Genesis chapter 1 and Genesis chapter 2 that the man, as in first man, is Adam. Jesus says that specifically,

Haven’t you read…that at the beginning the Creator “made them male and female,” and said, “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh?” So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.” (Matt. 19:4-6; cf. Gen. 1:27 and 2:24)

Paul says that specifically: “ So it is written: ‘The first man Adam became a living being;’ the last Adam, a life-giving spirit.” (1 Cor. 15:45). In fact, in Acts chapter 17, Paul says that:

From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live.  God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us (Acts 17:26-27)

So, again, we have the Bible commentating on the Bible. So, once you demonstrate that the Bible is the Word of God, you can now take the words of Paul on Mars Hill in Athens and see that Paul is telling us that Adam was the first man as he does elsewhere in passages like Romans chapter 5.

Genesis 4:17 indicates “Cain lay with his wife, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Enoch.” Is he marrying one of his relatives so to speak?

Yes. That is what is going on there. You have to recall that the Bible also tells us how long Adam lived. He lived 930 years (Gen. 5:5). So he had plenty of time to propagate children. Think about 930 years, almost 1000 years. Half the time between the time of Christ’s crucifixion and today! This is a tremendously long period of time and whole civilizations can come into being in that period of time.

Cain goes out from the Lord’s presence and he would have married either a sister or a niece.

Now, it is also important to note that there are no genetic imperfections. They accumulate gradually over time. The law against incest (Lev. 20:17), wherein today we could not marry a sister or niece, that prohibition was not in vogue until the time of Moses.

—Hank Hanegraaff

For further related study, please access the following:

Who Was Cain’s Wife? (Hank Hanegraaff)

Did Adam and Eve Really Exist? (Hank Hanegraaff)

Do Genesis 1 and 2 Contradict Each Other? (Hank Hanegraaff)

Adam and Eve Redux (Ann Gauger)

Paul, Second Adam, and Theistic Evolution (Garrett J. DeWeese)

Creation Accounts and Ancient Near East Religions (John A. Bloom and C. John Collins)


Blog adapted from “Is Adam the first man God created?

* All Scripture cited from The Holy Bible: New International Version (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1984), unless noted.

Apologetics

Making Sense of Peaceful Muslims and Violent Islamic Ideology

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Hank Hanegraaff: Good to have you back on the broadcast Raymond.

Raymond Ibrahim: Hi, Hank. Good to be with you again.

Hank: I want to set something up for you and then have you give a perspective that all of us need to have.

During the 33rd anniversary of the overthrow of the Shah (Mohammad Reza Pahlavi), I personally experienced a portrait of peace and tolerance vis–à–vis Islam. I waited in line to board a United Emirates flight from Dubai to Tehran. While I was in line I had a conversation with a man and his father. The father happened to be 100 years old. I had a very, very pleasant conversation. Both of them were Iranians. Then on the plane I sat next to a very accomplished Persian woman with two masters degrees and she offered me assistance if I needed it while I was in Tehran. When I deplaned I was kissed by two Muslim men and I heard the word “salaam” [peace]. The following morning I met a translator named Fatima and she was absolutely delightful. She was amused when I told her that I had not ventured out of the hotel, and she told me that I could walk the streets out in the middle of the night with complete confidence. Turns out she was right. When I spoke at the universities of Tehran and Allameh Tabataba’i (the sociology university in Tehran), students and faculty were more than polite and engaging.

All that, Raymond, seems to fit into a narrative that we hear in the West about Islam being a religion of peace. Now, obviously, my experience tells me that there are perhaps millions and millions of very peaceful Muslims but is Islam really a religion of peace and tolerance?

Raymond: Yes. What you bring up is very important. It is useful for us to make a distinction. The short answer, the quick answer, which I will then elaborate, is that, even listening to you, what you basically delineated is what everyone does. They tell me of Muslims and they say that is a reflection of Islam. I think that’s the fallacy. Islam is an objective ideology. Muslims are regular humans like the rest of us who can to varying degrees subscribe or not subscribe this ideology. To elaborate I often use an analogy that I came up with a few years ago. The analogy—which I find very helpful and some others do—is as follows:

Today all of us would condemn and denounce the ideology of Nazism. We call it supremacist. It’s inherently violent towards those deemed inferior, and so forth. There is no controversy about this. Everyone will agree to that. At the same time, we know historically that there were many Germans including officials in the Nazi Party who were actually good people and went to great lengths to help Jews and others, and often to their own danger, putting their own life on the line. For example, popularized by the movie Schindler’s List, Oskar Schindler was an actual ranking Nazi member, yet at no little risk to himself, he put his neck on the line, and he helped a lot of Jews and others escape. What do we make of this basic contradiction?

Obviously if you ask someone, “Well, what about Oskar Schindler and these people, these other Germans and so forth, were they moderate Nazis?” I think the answer is “No.” They were Nazis in name and maybe they adhered to certain tenants of Nazism, but when it came to the really nasty stuff, they just said no to it, they didn’t subscribe to it, and they did the opposite of it. That neither means that Nazism is now exonerated, nor that there is a radical Nazism verses a moderate Nazism. It just means that in all ideologies and religions you are going to have people to varying degrees will subscribe to varying tenants of set religion.

I think that is the most useful way to understand those many Muslims that you alluded to and I, in fact, agree with you, there are many people who identify as Muslims, or we think of them as Muslims, and they’re very good people, they don’t subscribe to the sorts of things that we discussed in the last show and so forth (i.e. the September 1, 2016 Bible Answer Man broadcast), but in no way, shape, or form in my mind does that suggest that there is a valid moderate form of Islam. That simply tells me—just like Oskar Schindler and so forth in that analogy—these people are just not buying into and working in that supremacist aspect of Islam for whatever reason. That is why they are the good people that they are, but Islam is still Islam.


Learn more on Islamic ideology in Raymond Ibrahim’s Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War on Christians, which is available through CRI.

Raymond Ibrahim, Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and an associate fellow at the Middle East Forum, has appeared on MSNBC, Fox News, and Al Jazeera and testified before Congress on the plight of persecuted Christians. Ibrahim is the author of The Al Qaeda Reader, and his writing has appeared in a wide variety of media including the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Times, Jane’s Ilsamic Affairs Analyst, the Middle East Quarterly, the World Almanac of Islamism, the Chronicle of Higher Education, and United Press International, as well as his own website, RaymondIbrahim.com.

This blog adapted from the September 8, 2016 Bible Answer Man broadcast.

Apologetics

Freedom of the Will in an All-Knowing and Sovereign God’s World

cri-blog-hanegraaff-hank-divine-sovereignty-human-responsibilityHow can God be sovereign when humans have freewill?

I think the fact that God can work out His sovereign plan using genuinely free creatures really shows how sovereign God really is. We have genuine freewill. This is against the idea that we fatalistically determined or determined by God in some way, which is not biblical.

The fact that we have freewill and that God knows what we are going to do is biblical. Even we can see this by way of human analogy. We can look backwards on our lives and see things in our past and know them exhaustively and recognize at the same time the fact that we know them exhaustively did not mean that we determined them. We cannot think about our future being fatalistically determined, but we can know that God who is omniscience knows the beginning from the end, and yet works through genuinely free creatures to accomplish His purposes.

There is no real philosophical problem in saying that God is sovereign and omniscient yet we are genuinely free with the ability to act or act otherwise.

Without choice, love would be rendered meaningless. God is neither a cosmic rapist who forces his love on people, nor is he a cosmic puppeteer who forces people to love him. Instead, God, the personification of love, grants us the freedom of choice. This freedom provides a persuasive polemic for the existence of hell (Hank Hanegraaff, Resurrection [Nashville: Word Publishing, 2000], 79.)

The fact that God knows the outcome does not mean that the outcome is fatalistically determined. Once you go down that road you can start saying, “Well, God knows if my hands will be clean tomorrow, and therefore, they’ll be clean whether or not I wash them!” God ordains the means as well as the ends, so you have to pick up the bar of soap and wash your hands.

For further related study:

Why pray if God already knows what we need? (Hank Hanegraaff)

How Could Pharaoh Be Morally Responsible If God Hardened His Heart? (Hank Hanegraaff)

How Should Christians Approach the Problem of Evil? (E. Calvin Beisner and Chad Meister)

Reformed Theology Resurgence: New Calvinists and the Future of Evangelicalism (Warren Nozaki)

The Divine Sovereignty/Human Responsibility debate: Part 1 (James White and George Bryson)

The Divine Sovereignty/Human Responsibility debate: Part 2 (James White and George Bryson)

Between Radical Freedom and Total Determinism (John S. Hammett)

Video:

What Does Calvinism Teach? (Hank Hanegraaff)

Blog adapted from “How can we be genuinely free if God is sovereign?

Apologetics

How to Pray in the Midst of Spiritual Warfare

CRI-Blog-Hanegraaff, Hank-Spiritual Warfare Prayer“But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not dare to bring a slanderous accusation against him, but said, ‘The Lord rebuke you!’” (Jude 9).*

I’ve been in situations wherein someone is sick and another decides to pray for that person. Then the one praying starts addressing the Devil, “You foul creature from the pit of hell! You take your hands off this person!” The praying goes on in that manner. Now the Scripture in Jude 9 indicates Michael disputed with the Devil about the body of Moses, and my recollection is that Michael did not bring a railing accusation against the Devil. Is rebuking the Devil an inappropriate way to pray? What is the biblical way to pray when dealing with spiritual warfare? How do I reconcile this contradiction?

You do not. It is an absolutely improper way of praying. In fact, there is no sense to address Satan in prayer. We must address the Lord. It is the Lord who protects us. The power in spiritual warfare comes from the Lord. We need to “be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes” (Eph. 6:10-11).

Now in Jude, we are told that that we should never feel that we have the wisdom or the power to engage Satan apart from complete dependence on the Lord. Therefore, rather than making railing accusations against Satan, I think we are much better served to learn how to put on the full armor of God so that we can take our stand in spiritual warfare.

I wrote The Covering: God’s Plan to Protect You from Evil because spiritual warfare is something that we are all engaged in. It is not a matter of whether or not we will engage, we are engaged in spiritual warfare. I have often said that if we have not learned to put on the full armor of God, what I call the covering, we are guaranteed casualties in spiritual warfare. If we do learn how to put on the full armor of God, we are invincible in spiritual warfare.

—Hank Hanegraaff

For further related study, please see the following equip.org resources:

Is the “Binding and Loosing” of Demons Biblical? (Hank Hanegraaff)

The Armor (Hank Hanegraaff)

Q & A: What is Spiritual Warfare? (Hank Hanegraaff)

Territorial Spirits and Spiritual Warfare (Eric Villanueva)

Spiritual Warfare—God’s Way (Elliot Miller)

How to Win the War Within (Elliot Miller)

Deliverance Ministry in Historical Perspective (David Powlison)

The Covering: God’s Plan To Protect You From Evil (Lee Stroble interviews Hank Hanegraaff on The Covering)

* All Scripture cited from The Holy Bible: New International Version (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1984), unless noted.

Blog adapted from “What is the biblical way to pray when dealing with spiritual warfare?

Apologetics

God’s Providence in Life, Death and Organ Donation

CRI-Blog-Hanegraaff, Hank-Organ Donation

See now that I myself am He! There is no god besides me. I put to death and I bring to life, I have wounded and I will heal, and no one can deliver out of my hand (Deuteronomy 32:39, NIV).

What does the Bible say about organ donation?

The Bible does not specifically talk about organ donation but there certainly is a principle. This is the principle: The province of life is the province of God and it is not the province of human beings. Therefore, we are not to take life, we are not to hasten the advent of death, and what we are to do is to leave that prerogative to God.

Organ donation is a very relevant question. According to Dr. Richard Poupard,

Although organ transplantation has saved many lives, there remain ethical issues especially regarding determining when a patient dies. Brain death has been widely accepted and changed the basis for determining death from biology to philosophy. Donation after cardiac death has evolved as an alternative method where a patient is allowed to die in a controlled manner in an attempt to save organs for donation. Both methods of determining death have the potential to decrease our human value at the end of life.1

I think therein lies the question. If you are trying to control the dying process so that you can harvest organs, there is an ethical problem with that in very much the same was as there is an ethical problem with harvesting baby parts by killing preborn children.

There is nothing wrong with organ donation it is just that you do not want to be involved in trying to play God with respect to the dying process so that you can harvest organs. It is a wonderful thing to donate organs. It would be something that is very, very valuable for another person. It is a demonstration of love. Given the right ethical considerations, it is a wonderful thing to do.

If we donate our organs will we still have fully intact bodies in the future resurrection?

When we talk about the resurrected body, what we’re talking about is continuity. There’s no necessity to believe that every single atom will be resuscitated in the resurrection. But, there’s continuity between the body that is and the body that will be.

The way you can look at that is by the analogy of DNA. You have a DNA that distinctly defines you, as I do as well. That DNA will flourish to complete perfection in a new heaven and a new earth where indwells righteousness. So, you’ll be the perfect you and I will be the perfect me. We do not have a body that is altogether different from the one that we now have, but the body that will be will be glorified. It will be immortal, and incorruptible. We will be like His resurrected body in the sense that our bodies will be restored to what they would have been had the fall not occurred.

—Hank Hanegraaff


1. Richard J. Poupard, “Postmodern Death: Organ Transplantation and Human Value,” Christian Research Journal, 36, 4 [2015]: 13.

Blog adapted from the Bible Answer Man broadcast September 23, 2015 and “If we donate our organs, how does that affect our resurrection?

Apologetics

Decoding the Lucy’s Death Narrative

CRI-Blog-Hanegraaff, Hank-Lucy's DeathI want to say just a word about a newspaper headline that caught my attention this morning. It was in USA Today written by Doyle Rice with the headline: “Cracking an ice cold case: Nearly 3.2 million years ago, Lucy died. Now we know how.” That last phrase really caught my attention. “Now we know how” Lucy died 3.2 million years ago.

The article purports,

Lucy, the iconic human cousin whose skeleton was discovered in Ethiopia in 1974, died shortly after she fell out of a tree, according to a new study published Monday in the peer-reviewed British journal Nature.

According to John Kappelman, the lead author of this study,

A hominid is a member of the evolutionary family that includes great apes—such as gorillas, chimps, and orangutans, humans, and their ancestors, some of which are extinct.

The article does mention that,

Scientists dubbed her Lucy from the Beatles song ‘Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,’ which was played at the archaeological camp the night of her discovery, according to Arizona State University (ASU) Institute of Human Origins.

This is the accepted narrative of what happened.

Scientists analyze the breaks in Lucy’s bones and they determine that she probably fell out of a tree. Again the headline indicates that’s how she died. So we now know how. But, you get towards the end of the article and you read that,

Other experts who are familiar with Lucy aren’t so sure of the findings. “I think the methodology falls short of providing a realistic explanation for the majority of breaks in Lucy’s bones,” said paleoanthropologist William Kimbel of ASU’s Institute of Human Origins. “We see this kind of damage frequently in a wide variety of animals that did not fall from trees,” he said.

This is a great example of how a narrative works. The headline offers a dogmatic assertion:  “3.2 million years ago, Lucy died. Now we know how.” But the text demonstrates that in all reality this is just a dogmatic assertion. It does not really comprise a defensible argument. As has been well said there is simply no business like the bone business.

Think back to 2009 when Darwinius masillae, which was affectionately nicknamed “Ida” was dubbed the eighth wonder of the world—the link between humans and the rest of the animal kingdom—the most important fossil discovery in 47 million years; but, what about today? Well, today, evolutionary scientists are uniformly convinced that Ida plays no role whatsoever in human evolution. In other words, Ida like Lucy was a dogmatic assertion and hardly a defensible argument.

The illustration of a knuckle dragging ape evolving through a series of imaginary transitional forms into modern man has appeared so many times in so many places and today the picture has evolved into the proof. We would do well to remember that past candidates have bestowed fame and fortune on their finders, but they have done very little to distinguish themselves as prime exemplars of human evolution.

Another point is that as the corpus of human fossil specimens continue its become increasingly evident that there is an unbridgeable chasm between hominids and humans in both composition and culture. The distance between and ape who cannot read or write and a descendant of Adam who can compose a musical masterpiece or send an astronaut to the moon is the distance of infinity. I would conclude by simply saying this: Evolution cannot satisfactorily account for the genesis of life, the genetic code, and the ingenious synchronization process needed to produce life from a single fertilized human egg. Neither can evolution satisfactorily explain how physical processes can produce metaphysical realities like consciousness and spirituality.

The insatiable drive to produce a missing link has sadly substituted selling, sensationalism, and subjectivism for solid science. Here’s the deal. You see an

Dave Einsel | Getty Images

Dave Einsel | Getty Images

article like this in the paper and immediately, if you don’t have discernment skills, you think, “Wow! Science has discovered something about our ancestor and exactly how she died,” and our ancestor is often times pictured. You know, she’s got that face with the eyes of a philosopher and that slightly worried look like she just seen her tax accountant. But, the picture again forwards the narrative. The narrative that this is our human ancestor, and that half-a-million years ago our father’s, father’s, father’s father was in fact an ape.

Now, there’s precious little, other than the picture, to substantiate these kinds of mythologies. We’ve been through this so many times we ought to have learned. Mental digestion should have gotten better. We had Pithecanthrous erectus, we had Piltdown man, we had Peking man, we have Nebraska man—one tooth found on a farm in Nebraska but with a little imagination the tooth was attached to a jawbone, the jawbone to a skeleton, and by the time the story hit the newspaper they not only had the Nebraska man but also the Nebraska mom. All of that from a single tooth. Then a year later—you don’t find this part of the story communicated very often—but a year later they find another tooth. This time attached to a jawbone, a jawbone to a skull cap, and the skull cap to a skeleton, and they find out that Nebraska man is in reality just the skeleton of an ancient pig. Here you have scientist trying to make a man out of a monkey and the monkey makes a laughing stock out of the scientist.

The sad reality is that people, particularly in universities, they fall for the skin of the truth stuffed with a great big lie over and over and over again. The narrative gets communicated so many times that the narrative takes on real flesh and bone. So we have to be those who exercise our discernment skills.

—Hank Hanegraaff

For further related study, please access the following equip.org resources:

Can We Be Certain that Evolution is a Myth? (Hank Hanegraaff)

Did Humans Evolve from Hominids? (Hank Hanegraaff)

Are Ape-Men Fictions, Frauds, and Fantasies? (Hank Hanegraaff)

Why Natural Selection Cannot Explain the Origin of Animal Development (Paul Nelson)

Adam and Eve Redux (Ann Gauger)

Evolution’s Achilles’ Heel? (R. Scott Smith)

Darwin vs. Beauty: Explaining Away the Butterfly (Jonathan Witt)

More answers to the most common and controversial questions about the origin of life can be found in The Creation Answer Book (B1056) by Hank Hanegraaff

Adapted from Hank’s prologue to the August 30, 2016 Bible Answer Man broadcast.

Apologetics

Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit and Good Spiritual Fruit Inspection

CRI-Blog-Hanegraaff, Hank-Blasphmey of HS

“All the sins and blasphemies of men will be forgiven them. But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; he is guilty of an eternal sin” (Mark 3:28-29).*

If someone blasphemes the Holy Spirit can they still be saved?

The blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is not an act; it’s a continuous willful ongoing rejection of the love and grace and mercy of God. So, it’s never something you do once or even twice, it’s an ongoing rebellion against God until the point of your death.

Jesus said, “No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit.  Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers” (Luke 6:43-44). What is he saying about being able to tell by their own fruit?

You can know by the fruit of a tree, whether it’s an apple tree, or an orange tree, or a pear tree—by their fruit you can identify the tree. The same thing is true with the human being. The fruit of that human being identifies them. What you do and what you believe identifies you in terms of who you belong to. Do you belong to Jesus Christ? Are you a follower of the Lamb? Then, you are marked out by your thought life and what you do. Your worldview and what you do demonstrates to whom you belong.

Can you tell whether or not someone is saved?

By their fruit you can know them. Yes, if you have someone who says, “I am a follower of Jesus Christ,” which means that they recognize they’re a sinner, they’ve repented of their sin, they’ve received Jesus Christ and then they have visibly identified with Christ in his death, burial, and resurrection through baptism. You can know that that person is marked out for Jesus Christ. By the same token, you can know the difference between an authentic Christian and a person who says they believe but in reality they don’t.

Now, we aren’t absolutely perfect fruit inspectors. We can be wrong. There are people who would have looked at Judas and said, “You know what, there’s the real deal.” But, they would have been wrong. Their fruit inspection would have been deficient. So, we as human beings are fallible, but God is not. He knows who is marked out as bought by the Lamb, and who is marked out as the possession of Satan.

For further related study, please see the following:

How Can I be certain that I’ve not Committed the Unforgivable Sin? (Hank Hanegraaff)

Is Suicide the Unforgivable Sin? (Hank Hanegraaff)

What is the Unpardonable Sin?(Clay Jones)


* All Scripture cited from The Holy Bible: New International Version (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1984), unless noted

Blog adapted from “If someone blasphemes the Holy Spirit can they still be saved?

Apologetics

Do Wedding Ceremonies and Religious Beliefs Matter to God?

CRI-Blog-Hanegraaff, Hank-Marriage in ChurchQ: I never came across anything in the Bible that says to be married in a church by a pastor. I was wondering are you able to marry spiritually in God’s eyes?

The human condition is such that we need to make a commitment before man as well as before God. Now so many people think that marriage is just a feeling of love, but love has never been exclusively a feeling. The bedrock of love is commitment. Feelings ebb and flow, but a commitment never dies. If a commitment is the foundation of your love relationship, then that commitment should be made formally and publicly in the eyes of God but with a commitment to cherish, to honor and to take care of that loved one until “death do us part.”

Q: My fiancé is a Jehovah’s Witness and I’m a Christian. What does the Bible say about mixing religions?

“Do not be unequally yoked” (2 Cor. 6:14, ESV). This is unequivocal, clear, and direct.

A Jehovah’s Witness has a completely different Jesus. The Jesus of Christianity is the one who spoke and the universe leaped into existence. The Jesus of the Jehovah’s Witnesses is the archangel Michael, who was during his earthly sojourn merely human, and after his death recreated as an immaterial spirit creature. The Jesus of the Jehovah’s Witnesses is neither the Jesus of the Bible nor is their plan of salvation a biblical plan of salvation—it’s about what you do as opposed to what Jesus Christ has done for you. Jesus Christ, according to the Jehovah’s Witnesses, is not even the creator of all things. He was created by God and became a junior partner in the creation of all other things. Neither is the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ Bible nor their authority equivalent to the Christian Bible. The New World Translation is a perverted translation of the Bible. Christianity and the Jehovah’s Witnesses are two religious systems. One based in history and evidence and the other cultic that can never be harmonized.

I can tell you right now that if you go down that road (entering into marriage with an unbeliever) you are bringing yourself a life of sorrow.

—Hank Hanegraaff

For further study, please access the following equip.org resources:

Can an Unbeliever be Saved by Marrying a Believer? (Hank Hanegraaff)

The “Family” Quarrel: Defining and Defending the Biblical Concept of Family (Joe Dallas)

“You Shoulda Put a Ring on It:” Witnessing to Cohabiting Couples (Joe Dallas)

Sex, Lies, and Secularism (Nancy Pearcy)

Are Jehovah’s Witnesses Christian? (Hank Hanegraaff)

Is the New World Translation of the Bible Credible? (Hank Hanegraaff)

A Grossly Misleading Translation (New World Translation) (Julius Robert Mantey)

Jehovah’s Witnesses and John 1:1: New Evidence Advances the Discussion (Brian J. Wright and Tim Ricchuiti)

Deity vs. Humanity: A Closer Look at Philippians 2:6-7 (Kristen Forbes)

Blog adapted from “Do we need to be married in a church?