Apologetics

Islam’s Two Qur’ans

Islam’s Two Qur’ans

Q: You are familiar with what happened here in Orlando, Florida at Pulse, the gay bar. What happened is the Islam community took a page add in the Orlando Sentinel apologizing and said they had nothing to do with that shooting. Part of the add went, “We affirm that the mass murder that took the lives of so many innocent people was a vicious aggressor whose actions do not represent Islamic values. The Qur’an says, ‘Do not be brutal or commit aggression, for surely God does not love aggressors’ (Surah 2:190)” Are they missing the part where the Qur’an says that all people must be converted to Islam and the teachings of Muhammad, and that all those who do not believe in him will be either eliminated or killed? Isn’t that too part of what Islam teaches?

Hank Hanegraaff: Well, absolutely. I think what’s important to realize is that you really have two Qur’ans as opposed to one. You have a “Meccan” Qur’an and you have a “Medinian” Qur’an. When Muhammad was in Mecca, he was a struggling itinerate preacher. He had a very long road to hoe. As a result of being a struggling preacher, he said things—part of the Qur’an—that were peaceful at the time because he was in a great minority. He had very few followers. When you get to Medina, Muhammad was a bloodthirsty warlord. Therefore, the tenor of what he communicated was far different from when he was a struggling preacher in Mecca.

So, you have two Qur’ans. You can pick and choose between the two, but if you want to know what Islam is all about, conceding that there are peaceful Muslims, you can never concede that Islam is a religion of peace. It has always advanced by the sword.

If you look at the history of Christianity it has advanced by the Word not the sword. You don’t find suicide bombers in the Christian faith. If you do, they are an aberration.

Inevitably, when you hear of a suicide bombing, you can immediately deduce that it must be Islamic. The fact remains that all of history has been a history of violent jihad within Islam. Look, for example, at Muhammad’s life and then the four Caliphs that followed him, a twenty-nine-year reign collectively. These were very violent years whereby Islam advanced by the sword. Look at the Umayyad Caliphate, again a bloody one, if there ever was one. The Abbasid Caliphate, often times considered the greatest of all of the Muslim caliphates, advanced by the sword. Look at the Ottoman or Turkish Empire throughout the world, and you find violence, destruction, and death. In some cases, there was complete genocide. Now you have the Islamic State following in the footsteps of previous Caliphates, calling themselves a Caliphate, wanting to unite all of Islam under their ghastly reign, and they are inspiring a whole host of people based not on some weird radical theology, but on the essence of what was taught to them and modeled for them by their leader Muhammad, modeled for them in the Qur’an, the Al-Hadith, the Surah, the Sunna, Sharia law, and interpreted even by those today who are the experts.

You find nothing in the history of Islam but a legacy that either says that you submit, and if you happen to live in a Muslim country then you become a dhimmi, which is a proposition whereby you are inferior and you have to pay a protection racket to stay alive, or you say the Shahada, which is the means of saying, “I have just converted to Islam,” or you face the sword. Those are the three options you have. What Muhammad taught and what Islam has always taught is that there are only two houses—the house of Islam and the house of war. If you’re not part of the house of Islam, you’re part of the house of war.

Now do I concede that there are many Muslims that do not understand their own legacy, their own history? Of course. But, this is very akin to what you ultimately put your trust in. The founder of Christianity or the founder of Islam, as two primary sources. You have the two fastest growing religions in the world, although Islam now is the fastest growing religion in the world. If you look at the legacy of Christ, He told to put up your sword, if you advanced by the sword, you will die by the sword (Matt. 26:52). Muhammad did exactly the opposite, beheading Jews—very much like the Islamic State does today. Calling People of the Book the vilest of all creatures (Surah 98:6).

There are Muslims that know what they’re doing, CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations) is a great example. They are simply playing off the ignorance of people within the American community who think that Islam is a religion of peace. It isn’t even a religion in the Western sanitized sense of the word. It is a socio-political economic system that rides on the rails of Sharia, and in the process subjugates people. Look at how women are subjugated under Islam and wonder how Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton can speak of Islam in breathless terms with soaring rhetoric. You have Obama denouncing Scripture, but revering the Qur’an, and you find in that there is either duplicity or ignorance. I don’t know which but one or the other. This kind of duplicity is being communicated over and over again, particularly in the wake of the kinds of tragedies experienced in Orlando.

For further study, please see the following:

Will the Real Islam Please Stand Up? (David Wood)

Jihad, Jizya, and Just War (David Wood)

Muhammad and Messiah: Comparing the Central Figures of Islam and Christianity (David Wood)

The Rise of the American Jihadist (David Wood)

Ambiguous Islam (John Ferrer)

Submit or Die: The Geostrategic Jihad of Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaeda (Part One) (Charles Strohmer)

Submit or Die: The Geostrategic Jihad of Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaeda (Part Two) (Charles Strohmer)

Did Muhammad Believe in Women’s Rights? (Mary Jo Sharp)

Blog adapted from the July 8, 2016 Bible Answer Man broadcast.

Apologetics

First Fruits, Tithes, and Revering the Lord

Hanegraaff, Hank-First Fruits, Tithes,

“Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine” (Prov. 3:9-10)*

Q: Quite a few pastors today are asking for firstfruits, which is an offering that is above the tithe and regular offerings. Sometimes they ask for a whole week’s salary. I know under the Mosaic Law there was firstfruits, but is that for today?

Hank Hanegraaff: We should not understand firstfruits in the sense which it is being used by certain televangelists. You know the Rod Parsley and Paula White types of the world. That’s just sheer manipulation.

First of all, we do not go back to types and shadows when the substance has come. I think a lot of people have no clue about biblical typology, and how the types and shadows are fulfilled in Jesus Christ.

There is certainly is a sense in which we want to give our first fruits to the Lord as designated by the Apostle Paul (2 Cor. 9:6-15; 1 Cor. 16:1-4; Rom. 12:8). And we also have to realize that the tithe in the Old Testament meant something, it was a way of demonstrating your reverence for the Lord. And we are, according to Moses in the Old Testament to revere the Lord our God always. So learning to reverence the name of God is a timeless principle as crucial today as was in the days of Moses. And I think it’s very important to learn through tithing how to give.

Q: What about Proverbs 3:9-10?

Hank: I think certainly when you look at Proverbs 3:9-10 you see that if you give that God is going to reward you for your giving. I think that principle is important. Again, what you are doing when your honoring the Lord with your wealth and with the first fruits of all your crops, then “your barns are going to be filled to overflowing, you vats will brim with new wine.” It’s true. When you “trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight” (Prov. 3:5-6). If you do that, you will be blessed.

Now that blessing does not mean you are going to be rich. If you trust in the Lord, God will be your source and your provision. He will give you everything that you need.

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

Is the tithe for today? (Hank Hanegraaff)

What is the Biblical View of Wealth? (Hank Hanegraaff)

What Does the Bible Teach about Debt? (Hank Hanegraaff)

Tithing: Is it in the New Testament? (Revisited) (Elliot Miller)

Short-Term Recession of the Long Winter? Rethinking the Theology of Money (William F. High)

What is the Significance of Biblical Typology? (Hank Hanegraaff)

Christianity in Crisis 21st Century: Wealth and Want (Hank Hanegraaff)

Christianity Still in Crisis: A Word of Faith Update (Bon Hunter)

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

Blog adapted from Is the giving of first fruits for today?

Apologetics

Jesus Christ: Fully Divine, Fully Human, One Person.

Hanegraaff, Hank-Jesus Christ Fully Human Fully Divine

Q: I was talking to a friend about the two natures of Jesus Christ. He was telling me that Christ had a human spirit and a divine spirit. Does Christ have two spirits or just one?

A: Remember that Jesus Christ was one person with two natures—fully man and fully God. What does it mean to be fully man? When a woman gives birth, she gives birth to a body/soul unity. Jesus Christ was fully man. We also recognize from Philippians that He was not divested of a single attribute of deity. So, in the incarnation, while He took on the limitations of humanity, He was fully and completely divine.

How that is communicated, I think, is most safely put in the Creed of Chalcedon or in some of the other biblical creeds, like the Creed of Athanasius. This is important in that the church fathers wanted to codify this in language that’s consistent and correct.

There is a mysterious aspect to it; therefore, the language is important. We recognize even with the language that we don’t fully comprehend it, but this is our apprehension of God’s condescension in the pages of Holy Writ. I think we need to be very careful with the language; therefore, once again, I’ll refer you to the creeds that say,

One and the same Christ, Son, Lord, Only-begotten, to be acknowledge in two natures…the distinction of natures being by no means taken away by the union, but rather the property of each nature being preserved, and concurring in one Person and one Subsistence, not parted or divided into two persons, but one and the same Son.1

I don’t know if I can say it any better than that. From a historic Christian standpoint, therefore, we are well served to emulate the language of the creeds in communicating what it means that we have one person with two natures fully God and fully man.

For further related study, please access the following:

Does the Bible Claim Jesus is God? (Hank Hanegraaff)

Did Jesus Claim to be God? (Hank Hanegraaff)

What Credentials Back Up Jesus’ Claim to Deity? (Hank Hanegraaff)

Is the Incarnation Incoherent? (Hank Hanegraaff)

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


Notes:

  1. Philip Schaff, The Creeds of Christendom: With a History and Critical Notes, sixth edition, vol. II (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House) 62

Blog adapted from “Did Christ have two spirits or just one?”

Apologetics

Does the Bible Permit Homosexual Activities?

Hanegraaff, Hank-Homosexuality Parameters

Q: Can you be a practicing homosexual in good standing with God? Was Leviticus 18 really condemning the ritualistic sex done by Baal worshippers? Was not this prohibition really against pagan idolatry as opposed to modern homosexuality?

A: I think the whole passage, Leviticus 18, has to do with unlawful sexual relations and not only talks about homosexual relationships, but also it says “Do not have sexual relations with an animal and defile yourself with it” (Lev. 18:23).* Leviticus 18 is then talking about all kinds of sexual improprieties.

Leviticus 18 is not an isolated passage. If it were, maybe you could try to make the case that you can’t have homosexual relationships in the sense of worshiping at the altar of Baal or something like this; however, the Bible in general warns against these kinds of practices.

If you look at Romans, Romans aptly describes not only the perversion of these kinds of relationships but the penalties that are associated with them. When Paul says, “their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion” (Rom. 1:26-27).

So I think the point is God has set parameters around our lives so that our lives would indeed be full. I don’t think that it takes someone with an advanced degree in physiology to appreciate the fact the human body is not designed for homosexual relationships.

Homosexuality is not an identity it’s a behavior. It’s a behavior that has associated with it all kinds of attendant problems. But, you know, you have to ask yourself the question: How could God have made this point any clearer? There’s not a single unambiguous passage in Scripture that affirms homosexuality, but what you find is the Bible universally condemns it. So the Bible is as clear as it can be on this particular subject.

—Hank Hanegraaff

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

Does Homosexuality Demonstrate that the Bible is Antiquated and Irrelevant? (Hank Hanegraaff)

Speaking of Homosexuality: A Christian Response to the Arguments of the Gay Rights Movement (Joe Dallas)

Answering the Gay Christian Position (Joe Dallas)

Is Arsenokoitai Really that Mysterious? Homosexual Sin in 1 Corinthians 6:9 (C. Wayne Mayhall)

Is There a Gay Gene? (Donald F. Calbreath)

The Bible and Homosexual Practice: Texts and Hermeneutics (Robert A. J. Gagnon)

The Gay Gospel? How Pro-Gay Advocates Misread The Bible (Joe Dallas)

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

Blog adapted from “Can you be a Christian and actively practice homosexuality?

Apologetics

When is it Proper to Tell Mormons the Truth?

JAM200-Mormon Tell Truth

Review: JAM200 | by Bill McKeever and Eric Johnson

Book review: David L. Rowe, I Love Mormons: A New Way to Share Christ with Latter‐day Saints (Baker Books, 2005). This review first appeared in the Christian Research Journal, volume 29, number 6 (2006). For further information or to subscribe to the Christian Research Journal go to: http://www.equip.org

David L. Rowe, a professor at Salt Lake Theological Seminary and a Utah resident since 1975, has pooled his ministry experiences into a “how to” manual for Christians who are interested in sharing their faith with members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter‐day Saints (LDS, Mormons). Rowe describes Mormons as having “their own culture, lingo, and worldview” (back cover).

There are positive aspects to I Love Mormons. The catchy title may prove to be a stumbling block, however, at least for some readers. Many Latter‐day Saints, after all, dislike being called “Mormons” and often complain that this term is only a nickname. The book’s subtitle, A New Way to Share Christ with Latter‐day Saints, may be problematic as well because many Latter‐day Saints think Christ already is the central figure of their religion. The subtitle also might be puzzling to Christians who have been witnessing to Mormons long before this book was published. Rowe’s “new” evangelism model centers on creating relationships with Mormons, which appears to be simply an offshoot of the “friendship evangelism” model that was popularized several decades ago. Is the subtitle implying that Christians who use the “old” model have failed to share their faith with Mormons? Or is it implying that those who use tactics other than relational evangelism hate Mormons, or that they have failed to “learn and respect LDS culture,” as the back cover puts it?

Rowe’s main point in the book is that Christians should avoid the “traditional way” of evangelism, which utilizes what he calls a “warrior saint” approach that uses “jousting games,” because it results in the three‐part sequence of “‘discussion,’ recoil, and shutdown” (17). He seems to jab mainly at the few vocal Christian street preachers who frequent Salt Lake City during the LDS Church’s general conferences, which are held twice a year. He wonders if these “wannabe zealots” may be exhibiting “unharnessed anger hurling imagined God‐bombs at people with a smug pride” (129). He adds, “Generally, ‘Bible bash’ evangelism with its heresy‐hunting rationalism simply squashes the life out of relationships and builds walls, not bridges” (154).

The impression Rowe gives, however, is that anyone who uses tracts or any other “confrontational” methods is not evangelizing using the recommended “wiser, gentler” tactic. If Rowe is merely trying to highlight the fact that Christians can be insensitive by cramming Bible verses down a Mormon’s throat and using inappropriate tactics, then we are in full agreement. Rowe does a disservice, however, to many Christians who practice bolder evangelistic methods while simultaneously exhibit‐ ing a sweeter spirit than those to whom he specifically refers.

Rowe states that Christians generally should not initiate theological discussions with Mormons, but he does not mean that we should not discuss doctrine. In fact, Rowe wants to hammer home” the idea that Christians “need to prayerfully seek and sensitively seize the doors of opportunity God grants us in which our theological knowledge truly counts” (68). We agree wholeheartedly; but there are occasions when there is not enough time to develop long‐lasting relationships, such as when sitting next to someone on a plane or talking to a clerk in a store. Do we set aside our sense of urgency to share important biblical truths merely because we do not have a relationship with the person? The mistaken message Rowe conveys—whether intentionally or unintentionally—is that successful evangelism can take place only after years of friendship.

Culture vs. Cult. One of the more controversial emphases in I Love Mormons is that Mormonism is a culture rather than a cult. Rowe practically apologizes for having his book listed under the category of “cults” that is printed above the barcode on the back cover. He writes, “As an author I have no control over this practice and the institutional bias that drives it. I’m arguing it’s high time we rethink this bias” (29).

This is where we have our sharpest disagreement with Rowe: Mormonism certainly has its own cultural characteristics, but this does not diminish the fact that Mormonism has characteristics that historically have warranted categorizing it as a cult. This designation historically has been applied to groups that insist that they truly represent Christianity while they deny or distort the basic biblical tenets that historically have defined Christianity. We should not intentionally use the designation “cult” as a pejorative, but it does apply to modern‐day Mormonism.

It may surprise some to know that LDS leaders have used this label to describe other groups. For instance, 10th LDS president Joseph Fielding Smith used it to refer to the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter‐day Saints (later changed to the Community of Christ) based in Independence, Missouri (Doctrines of Salvation, 1:284). Twelfth president Spencer W. Kimball described fundamentalist polygamists as cultists (Conference Report, October 1974, 5). Mormon apostle Bruce McConkie even went so far as to say that all Trinitarian Christians had a “false system of worship” with “a false Christ” and were therefore “a false church” and “a false cult” (The Millennial Messiah: The Second Coming of the Son of Man, 48).

For years the word cult has clearly marked the boundary between orthodox and unorthodox groups. It has served as a warning sign to those who may not understand the sometimes confusing doctrines and ideologies of certain groups. Does it really serve the general public, or the Christian church for that matter, to insist that the designation does not apply to the LDS Church just because it might offend someone?

Is Mormonism Changing? Rowe believes that the LDS Church is moving “away from the unorthodox, radically Mormon claims we do not find in the Bible” (166). He insists that the “subject matter of these changes is not just trivial but deals with central, crucial teachings of the LDS Church.” To bolster his point, he compares the 1978 edition of the LDS Church manual Gospel Principles with the more current 1992 and 1997 editions. Rowe correctly notes that the rhetoric on doctrines such as the potential for men to become gods has been toned down.

We would like to share Rowe’s enthusiasm over these changes, but we cannot over‐ look the fact that Gospel Principles is a basic overview of LDS teachings that is used to instruct new converts and those who are investigating the church. The LDS Church often prints this manual in a new language even before they translate the complete set of the LDS standard into that particular language. It is meant to be an introduction to the Mormon faith, so it is not surprising that the LDS Church might deemphasize or even omit doctrines from the manual that might unnecessarily alarm potential converts. Church manuals meant primarily for the instruction of LDS members, on the other hand, fail to demonstrate a departure from Mormonism’s historically heretical positions.

For example, the idea that men may become gods still can be found in the Doctrines of the Gospel, Student Manual: Religion 430 and 431 (which carries a 2004 copyright date). The student manual cites President Spencer Kimball: “Man can transform himself and he must. Man has in himself the seeds of godhood, which can germinate and grow and develop. As the acorn becomes the oak, the mortal man becomes a god. It is within his power to lift himself by his very bootstraps from the plane on which he finds himself to the plane on which he should be. It may be a long, hard lift with many obstacles, but it is a real possibility” (52) (from The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, 28).

We would love to see the LDS Church leadership cease promoting heretical teachings, but the evidence from LDS conference speeches and church manuals is not encouraging. Just because a doctrine is not being emphasized fully does not mean it is being denounced.

Shared Concern. Despite our disagreements with I Love Mormons, we do believe that Rowe has a genuine concern for the spiritual welfare of the LDS people. His understanding of the Mormon mindset and the LDS belief system is, for the most part, accurate. Readers who plan to move to Utah or who have LDS friends or relatives certainly will benefit from Rowe’s personal experience of living among the LDS people.

It is unfortunate that the book comes across as offering the only legitimate method to evangelize Mormons. Christians, of course, should treat Mormons respectfully, but we should never think that friendship, apart from the truth of the Word, will convert anybody. Despite its many good points, I Love Mormons seems to be too cautious in this department. We personally know far too many ex‐Mormons who, after being confronted with the doctrinal errors of Mormonism, became Christians because someone who barely knew them spent the time and effort to share the truth in love. Different people and different circumstances sometimes demand different methods of sharing God’s love with the lost.


Bill McKeever lives in Utah and is the founding director at Mormonism Research Ministry (MRM). Eric Johnson is an associate at MRM and teaches high school, college, and seminary classes in Southern California. Together they wrote Mormonism 101 (Baker, 2000).

Apologetics

Job and the Power of Satan

Hanegraaff, Hank-Job and the Power of Satan

Q: Does the Devil have creative powers? Does the enemy Satan have no powers to cause infirmities and the like? Yet in the Book of Job it seems like Satan has the power to cause storms or cause armies to go out and kill people, can you help me on this?

A: I think, first of all, that it is Satan inciting God. “Though you incited me against him,” against Job, “to ruin him without any reason” (Job 2:3)* is the retort of God when Satan appears again in chapter 2. This is by the power of God.

Certainly Satan can take the Sabeans or the Chaldeans and tempt them. We are well aware that Satan has the power to sit on our shoulders, whisper into our ears and tempt us to do all kinds of things. It is not the physical ear, but the ear of the mind. There is mind to mind communication that takes place. We do not know how that works anymore that we can explain how the mind can cause the physical synapses of the brain to fire; however, it is biblically incontrovertible that temptation through mind to mind communication takes place.

What’s going on here in the Book of Job is that God is permitting Satan to do what he’s doing.

Only God has creative power, and that’s why when the resurrection of Jesus Christ took place, the Lord was able to say, “a spirit does not have flesh and bone as you see that I have” (Luke 24:39). If Satan had creative power, he could have masqueraded as a flesh and bone substitute for the resurrected Christ. (If that is true about Satan, we would lose epistemic warrant for the central truth of Christianity.)

God can use Satan as His agent, but God is always the author. As I said so often, Satan is a lion on a leash the length of which is always determined by our Lord

— Hank Hanegraaff

For further related study, please see the following:

 Does Satan Have Access to Our Minds? (Hank Hanegraaff)

Is Satan Always the Cause of Sickness? (Hank Hanegraaff)

The Armor (Hank Hanegraaff)

Spiritual Warfare—God’s Way (Elliot Miller)

The Covering by Hank Hanegraaff

Spiritual Warfare in a Believer’s Life by Charles Haddon Spurgeon

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

This blog adapted from “How much power did Satan have in the book of Job?

Apologetics, In the News

Unproven Assumptions with the Story about the Universe Teeming with Life

Hanegraaff-Hank-Universe-Teaming-with-Life-Story

I wrote the forward to Doubts about Darwin: A History of Intelligent Design by Thomas Woodward. In the forward, I point out that it was Thomas Kuhn, who was the philosopher of science that popularized the concept of paradigms. A paradigm is a way of seeing reality. What Kuhn showed is that dominant paradigms, prevailing metanarratives, or master stories, appear to possess infallibility in their fields. The difficulty whether for scientist, philosophers, theologians or laypeople is that we do not think about our paradigms nearly as much as we think with our paradigms. In subtle, powerful, and almost always unconscious ways our paradigms filter and frame our perceptions, and that ends up blinding us to disconfirming data.

Imagine in this context the audacity of Michael Denton, who was the founder of what became known as the Intelligent Design Movement. He dared to attack Darwinian dogma as an empirically empty shell propped up by the sociological forces of a paradigm. The reality is this: neither pf the two fundamental axioms of Charles Darwin’s macroevolutionary theory—the concept of the continuity of nature and the belief that all of the adaptive design of life has resulted from a blind random process—neither have been validated by one single empirical discovery since 1859, the time of Darwin.

I say all of that because I was reading a guest blog in Scientific American. It was titled “Maybe Life in the Cosmos is Rare After All.” It got my attention because the narrative you read not only in academic journals but also in popular media is that life is teeming in the cosmos. But this piece written by Paul Davies, a theoretical physicists at Arizona State University, specializing in applied quantum physics, astrophysics, cosmology, and astrobiology, points out as the title of the article indicates that maybe life in the cosmos is rare after all. The conclusion being that the universe is teeming with biology only on the basis of theory and unproven assumptions. He is an agnostic, concerning the existence of God, he has no qualms whatsoever about Darwinian Evolution, once life begins, but he’s questioning how life can begin in the first place. He thinks that is a significant obstacle. He writes,

When I was a student in the 1960s almost all scientists believed we are alone in the universe. The search for intelligent life beyond Earth was ridiculed; one might as well have professed an interest in looking for fairies. The focus of skepticism concerned the origin of life, which was widely assumed to have been a chemical fluke of such incredibly low probability it would never have happened twice. “The origin of life appears at the moment to be almost a miracle,” was the way Francis Crick described it, “so many are the conditions which would have had to have been satisfied to get it going.” Jacques Monod concurred; in his 1976 book Chance and Necessity he wrote, “Man knows at last that he is alone in the indifferent immensity of the universe, whence which he has emerged by chance.”

Today the pendulum has swung decisively the other way. Many distinguished scientists proclaim that the universe is teeming with life, at least some of it intelligent. The biologist Christian de Duve went so far as to call life “a cosmic imperative.” Yet the science has hardly changed. We are almost as much in the dark today about the pathway from non-life to life as Darwin was when he wrote, “It is mere rubbish thinking at present of the origin of life; one might as well think of the origin of matter.”

A common argument is that the universe is so vast that there just has to be life out there somewhere. But that argument is dwarfed by the odds against forming even simple organic molecules by random chance alone. “If the pathway from chemistry to biology is long and complicated it may well be less than one-in a trillion trillion planets ever spawns life,” thus concludes theoretical physicists Paul Davies, “If life really does pop up readily, as [Carl] Sagan suggested, then it should have started many times on our home planet” and “It would take the discovery of just a single “alien” microbe to settle the matter.” But, we don’t have that.

I salute Scientific American for publishing this guest blog by Paul Davies. It’s honest, forthright, and really calls into question the evolutionary paradigm. That’s one of the reasons we offer Doubts about Darwin: A History of Intelligent Design because Intelligent Design as a movement wants truth to lead wherever it will.

—Hank Hanegraaff

For further related study, please consider the following:

Ten Urgent Questions and Answers about Origins (Hank Hanegraaff)

JAF9351 – Would Extraterrestrial Intelligent Life Spell Doom for Christianity? (Guillermo Gonzalez)

Thinking Clearly About God and Evolution (Jay Richards)

Objections Overruled: Responding to the Top Ten Objections against Intelligent Design (William A. Dembski & Sean McDowell)

Unlocking the DNA Enigma (Stephen C. Meyer)

Darwin’s Doubt and the Case for Intelligent Design (Stephen C. Meyer)

God and the “Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics” (William Lane Craig)

See also these recommended e-store items:

The Creation Answer Book (Hank Hanegraaff)

Darwin’s Doubt: The Explosive Origin of Animal Life and the Case for Intelligent Design (Stephen C. Meyer)

Darwin’s Dilemma DVD (Illustra Media)

The Privileged Planet DVD (Illustra Media)

Unlocking The Mystery Of Life DVD (Illustra Media)

Icons of Evolution DVD (Illustra Media)

This blog was adapted from Hank Hanegraaff’s monologue on the May 27, 2016 edition of the Bible Answer Man broadcast.

Apologetics

Does God Speak to Us Through License Plates?

Does God Speak to Us Through License Plates

Q: I believe here that God speaks to you in many different ways. Now, recently I’ve been driving, and I’ve been asking God to speak to me, but somehow I’m drawn to the license plates of the cars that are in front of me…One day I was in the car, I was praying to God. I was like, “You know God, I really want my husband to be restored and I want him to be saved,” when I see a license plate that said, B-R-S, which I took it as “Believe in Restoration and Salvation.” Now is this just my mind?

A: Yes. It is your mind.

What you want to do is not look for God’s message on license plates, but rather to listen to God as He speaks to you though His Word. He gave us His Word and He gave us His words in the Bible. So what you want to do is not use subjective experiences as your guide, but rather use the objective Word of God as your guide.

There is no promise in Scripture that a marriage is going to be restored but there is a promise that if you live faithfully, you are going to follow a faithful God who ultimately will restore the years the locust have eaten. Ultimately God will give you complete satisfaction in His presence here and now. Although it’s not a panacea, He’ll give you peace in the midst of the storm. One day He’ll give you total peace in eternity.

Your goal is not to look for mystical meanings in license plates but to understand the Word of God, the precious 66 love letters that God has written to you etched in heavenly hand writing. Get to know the foundation of your faith in His Word and when you do all the pieces will fit together.

—Hank Hanegraaff

Adapted from Can God Speak to us Through License Plates?

Apologetics

About America Going to Pot

Hanegraaff, Hank-America Going to Pot

America’s downward spiral is nothing short of breath taking. Think of the popularization of “the pill,” i.e. birth control medications, in the 1960s, it had ramifications. It ended up paving the way to the horror of Roe v. Wade in the 1970s. Now we can think of the implications of that today—60 million lives is the number that comes to mind. Then acceptance of same-sex sexuality in the 20th century has mutated into legalization of same-sex marriage in the 21st century. Ideas have consequences. Today as I speak the legalization of medical marijuana in many, many different states has morphed into legalization of recreational marijuana in many other states as well, like Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington. I think there are very good reasons to reject the reefer culture

Put it plainly, when smoking or eating pot there is simply no objective way to control dosages of the psycho-active-chemical that’s inherent in marijuana. What people do, by in large, is partake until they achieve a subjective sense of “high,” the danger of course being that feel is hardly real.

There is another issue that I want to bring to your attention, which is the psychological problems that have been well documented, problems like diminished cognitive function, memory impairment, psychotic episodes, and sleep deprivation. The physical maladies can range from cardio-vascular disease to detectable alterations in the structure and chemistry of the brain. That’s not just blowing smoke. The reason I bring that up is because The University of Western Australia News reports that scientist have identified how using cannabis can actually altar a person’s DNA structure causing mutations which can expose users to serious illness and not only that but be passed on to their children and future generations. Think about those implications.

The research of associate Professor Stuart Reece and Professor Gary Hulse from the University of Western Australia’s School of Psychiatry and Clinical Sciences “completed an extensive analysis of literary and research material to understand the likely causes and uncovered alarming information.” Reece indicates, “Through our research we found that cancers and illnesses were likely caused by cell mutations resulting from cannabis properties having a chemical interaction with a person’s DNA.” The researchers also found that “Although a person may appear to be healthy and lead a normal life, the unseen damage to their DNA could also be passed on to their children and cause illnesses for several generations to come.”

Think about the fact that “even if a mother,” as this research shows, ““has never used cannabis in her life, the mutations passed on by a father’s sperm can cause serious and fatal illnesses in their children,” and “mutations…can lie dormant” and as I said, “affect generations down the track.” This is an alarming consequence.

Marijuana use has serious implications for fetal development, you don’t know what is going to happen in the future, and yet we are legalizing marijuana not only just for medical use—there may be some warrant for medical use in controlled environments—but there is certainly no good reason for anyone thinking clearly to suggest that eating or smoking pot is like having a glass of wine. It is not. Research is just starting to open Pandora’s Box. There are some grizzly consequences in that box. Just because it is becoming legalized in America, don’t fall for it, there are all kinds of wacky things that are being mandated by law and by edicts in our country today that are severely detrimental. In some sense we can say if we don’t watch it America will not just be going to pot, but will have gone to pot.

—Hank Hanegraaff

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

What Should Christians Do As America Goes to Pot?” by Elliot Miller

Other recommended readings include:

“Is America going to P-O-T?” by Hank Hanegraaff in The Complete Bible Answer Book: Collector’s Edition Revised and Updated.

“Medical Marijuana: Miracle Drug or Spiritual Poison?” by Richard Poupard in 37-5 of the Christian Research Journal.

Apologetics

Faith that Works

Hanegraaff, Hank-FaithWorks

Are works required to keep your salvation?

The point in James, particularly, teaches that we are saved not by works but by the kind of faith that produces good works. And that’s why James says, “What good is it…if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him?” (Jas. 2:14).* The rhetorical response, of course, is absolutely not! Just “as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without deeds is dead” (Jas. 2:26)—Faith without deeds is dead.

James goes on to say that a person is not justified by faith alone (Jas. 2:24), and in saying that he means that a person is not justified by mental ascent alone. That’s why he says, “Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do” (Jas. 2:18). In other words, when you work, you are demonstrating that you have genuine faith, the kind of faith that produces good needs, not mental ascent alone, but faith that produces good works.

You are not saved by what you do, but saving faith does cause you to do good deeds in gratitude for what God has so freely given to us.

This is sort of with James when he says a “person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone” (Jas. 2:24), and then Paul says a man is justified by faith, apart from observing the law (Rom. 3:21ff; Gal. 3:11; Phil. 3:8-11). These words are in harmony because James is countering the false assertion that a said faith is a substitute for a saving faith—by “said faith” I mean someone just saying they believe—and Paul is countering an equally fallacious notion, and that is the notion that salvation can be earned by observing the Law. No it can’t be earned by observing the Law, but those who have genuine faith will observe the Law because they want to be pleasing to the Lawgiver Himself.

For further related study, please see the following:

What is the Biblical Definition of Faith? (Hank Hanegraaff)

Did James teach Salvation by Works? (Hank Hanegraaff)

Do Works Contribute to or Confirm Salvation? Philippians 2:12 in Perspective (Moyer Hubbard)

Do James and Paul Contradict Concerning Grace? (James White)

Robbing Paul to Pay Peter and James (James Patrick Holding)

Understanding the Lordship Salvation Controversy (Bob Lyle)

Adapted from “Are Works Required to Keep Your Salvation.”

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