Digging in Deeper: Hebrews 11:3

“By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was made from things that are not visible.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Where did we come from and how did we get here? There aren’t many questions of greater worldview significance than these. While it may not seem like it at first glance, there is incredible philosophical weight to the answer we embrace. For instance, if everything was created merely by chance, then there is no objective purpose to our lives beyond what we construct for ourselves. On the other hand, if an intelligent being created it all, then this being acted with a specific purpose meaning that while we may debate and search for what exactly it is, our lives definitively have meaning. Here, as he starts to offer a series of examples of what faith is, the author of Hebrews begins at the beginning. Let’s think about what we think about when we think about where we came from and why that matters.

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Digging in Deeper: Romans 1:21

“For though they knew God, they did not glorify him as God or show gratitude. Instead, their thinking became worthless, and their senseless hearts were darkened.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

I recently had the chance to visit a traveling exhibit about Auschwitz, the most infamous of the Nazi concentration camps. The exhibit was powerful and moving. It did not shy away from any of the grisliest details of what happened there. And what happened there was the systematic extermination of more than a million Jews and others the Nazi leadership believed to be unfit for life in the Third Reich. This kind of sobering encounter with the absolute worst of human evil ever unleashed on the world is something everyone should experience. That being said, the exhibit was not without its problems. Allow me to highlight one that kept it from being fully what it could have been.

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Irreducible Complexity

With one more week to go in our series, Being Useful, we are starting to get a lot more clarity on what the picture of a life that is useful to Jesus looks like. And what does it look like? Love. This week and next we are going to wrap up this powerful series by talking about the role love plays in the church and in the life of a follower of Jesus. Don’t miss a single part of it.

Irreducible Complexity

Some of the fiercest and most significant debates happen in places where nobody sees them.  These are often inner-disciplinary debates among scholars on a single topic.  And the stakes for these are a lot higher than it would seem.  For instance, a debate among mathematicians about the best way to solve certain kinds of math problems may look from the outside like a bunch of geeks arguing about esoteric philosophies that have nothing to do with the daily lives of normal people.  But, the winning side may very well have their ideas appear in textbooks—do they even use textbooks anymore?—and curricula for elementary students and, all of a sudden, a whole new way of thinking about math will be planted in the culture.  All of a sudden, what was once abstract academic jargon begins to have a profound impact on the lives of regular people who are far removed from the ivy-covered campus buildings of elite universities.  Hello: Have you tried helping your kids with their math homework lately?  Case in point. 

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A Fount of Injustice?

One of the challenges many critics of the church have used to write it off is the fact that we have some skeletons in our closet.  There have been several times in the last 2,000 years when the church got its mission not just wrong, but devastatingly so.  Still, are things really as bad as our critics allege?  A sharper look at history suggests perhaps not.  In this fourth part of our series, Reasons to Believe, we take a look at the church’s supposed dark past and discover that there may be a good deal more light there than most folks might think.  Read on for more.

A Fount of Injustice?

There is a story about the interactions between a powerful institution and a particular scientist from the 17th century that has come to define much about how many people view the church today.  The institution was the Roman Catholic Church.  The scientist was a man named Galileo Galilei.  Galileo, as the story usually goes, by carefully following the scientific method, discovered that the sun does not revolve around the earth as was widely believed in his day.  Instead, the truth is the exact reverse: the earth revolves around the sun.  For espousing this scientific fact which violated not only their false explanations of how the universe worked, but also the theological explanations undergirding them, the Church set out on a campaign to persecute this courageous scientist into silence.  When this didn’t work, Galileo was excommunicated—a social death sentence in that day—and placed under arrest.  He spent the remaining years of his life in prison where he died a martyr for the cause of science. Read the rest…