Monday Musings for August 28, 2017

Good morning, Musers,

Since we pop into September this week, I’m featuring a devotional rather than my usual Q & A. This article takes a look at Jesus’ power to heal, but it also looks at why we must see other people as related to God… and the world could use more of that!

So, what does it mean to see men as trees walking? What does it mean when Jesus heals a blind man in steps? I’m not sure… and you should know that up front. But what I find interesting is that both of these phenomena show that our lives are journeys. We are always moving towards our next adventure with God.

Nicodemus (who does not make an appearance in this devotional) was on a spiritual journey when he visited Jesus secretly at night. But even with his incomplete view of who Jesus was, he — and the other Pharisees, too — understood that Jesus was sent from God because of the miracles he did. Notice the term “we” in the following verse… because there was a lot of knowledge about Jesus and God going around.

“…. “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.” (John 3:2, NIV, emphasis mine)

The end of John’s Gospel shows Nicodemus completing his journey of faith in a positive fashion… but that is not true for the “rulers of the Jews.” They rejected Jesus in spite of the word “we” in the above passage, meaning that many who rejected Jesus either saw the miracles first hand or understood that they occurred. Yet, they stuck with their dried-up religious precepts rather than embrace the Lord of Life.

Naturalists believe that these miracles did not occur because they believe that miracles cannot occur categorically. This is a philosophical position — and not a religious one. But note this about the religious leaders of Jesus’ day: they weren’t taking a philosophical position against miracles; they were taking a practical position against Jesus.

You see, although they would have loved to throw off Roman rule, they had an interest in maintaining the status quo when it came to influencing their own people — and they were so invested in their own power that they chose to ignore God’s miracles. They didn’t miss the signs… they dismissed the signs… and their condemnation is on their own shoulders.

The naturalists dismiss God in the face of three revelations — the physical world, the historical Jesus and the human conscience. But the embedded religionists of Jesus’ time had the testimony of the Lord himself — God’s revelation in the flesh! Yet, their hearts remained as hard as Pharaoh’s.

I didn’t grow up as a believer. I became one — abandoning the faithless malaise of my secular life. But I test this decision continually. In fact, I try to talk myself out of the faith as one of my main (and never-ending) apologetics projects. As such, I lay down my presuppositions, consider faith’s challenge-du-jour, give the issues a pretty good shake and see where things land. It’s always the same. Neither the data nor the analyses warrant stepping away from Scripture.

If a philosophical naturalist pursued the truth in the same manner — that is, lay down presuppositions, consider the case for Christ, give it all a shake… I think he would find the data and analyses overwhelmingly in favor of Christ.

It is no small irony that the Jews chose blindness by ignoring a man who was made to see… and we are in the same boat today. We have no lack of miracles, no lack of revelation, no lack of analysis …. but we do have a lack of abandoning embedded positions for the truth. Remember, it is a philosophical position that miracles cannot occur… not a scientific one… and choices must be made.

It is also no small irony that, by dismissing non-physical data a priori, today’s naturalists are also today’s embedded religionists. You see, it is we believers who have responded to the new data in the New Testament… and have bowed to the best explanation of the empirical. It is the naturalists who follow the old-time religion that says non-material or metaphysical causes do not exist. Since existence/non-existence is an area for philosophy and not science, what one believes about that can only be a statement of faith.

Choose you this day whom ye will serve… because it is a choice… and enjoy the musing.

To read the article referenced above, visit the link below.

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