Saturday, April 30, 2011

Science and Religion

... unfortunately, nineteenth-century scientists were just as ready to jump to the conclusion that any guess about nature was an obvious fact, as were seventeenth-century sectarians to jump to the conclusion that any guess about Scripture was the obvious explanation. Thus, private theories about what the Bible ought to mean, and premature theories about what the world ought to mean, have met in loud and widely advertised controversy, espe­cially in the Victorian time; and this clumsy collision of two very impatient forms of ignorance was known as the quarrel of Science and Religion.

―G.K. Chesterton

Friday, April 29, 2011

Science and Philosophy

Physical science is like simple addition: it is either infallible or it is false. To mix science up with philosophy is only to produce a philosophy that has lost all its ideal value and a science that has lost all its practical value. I want my private physician to tell me whether this or that food will kill me. It is for my private philosopher to tell me whether I ought to be killed.

―G.K. Chesterton

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Science and Original Sin

How could physical science prove that man is not depraved? You do not cut a man open to find his sins. You do not boil him until he gives forth the unmistakable green fumes of depravity. How could physical science find any traces of a moral fall? What traces did the writer expect to find? Did he expect to find a fossil Eve with a fossil apple inside her? Did he suppose that the ages would have spared for him a complete skeleton of Adam attached to a slightly faded fig-leaf? I am honestly bewildered as to the meaning of such passages as this, in which the advanced person writes that because geologists know nothing about the Fall, therefore any doctrine of depravity is untrue. Because science has not found something which obviously it could not find, therefore something entirely different—the psychological sense of evil—is untrue.... To me it is all wild and whirling; as if a man said—"The plumber can find nothing wrong with our piano; so I suppose that my wife does love me."

―G.K. Chesterton

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Chesterton On Science

I will be traveling to California with my wife to visit my daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter this week and so, planning ahead, The Feast of Booths will leave behind some daily Chestertonian delights on the subject of “science.”

  • “To say that the moderns are half-educated may be too complimentary by half.” 
  • “We can use science to predict how the physical world will behave. But we cannot use it to predict how we will behave, or if we will behave.”
  • “Science must not impose any philosophy, any more than the telephone must tell us what to say.”
  • “So far the result would painfully appear to be that whereas men in the earlier times said unscientific things with the vagueness of gossip and legend, they now say unscientific things with the plainness and the certainty of science.”
  • “To the scientific eye all human history is a series of collective movements, destructions or migrations, like the massacre of flies in winter or the return of birds in spring.”
  • “The man of science has always been much more of a magician than the priest; since he would "control the elements" rather than submit to the spirit who is more elementary than the elements.”

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Seeing More Clearly

A good friend and faithful servant of the Lord, Pastor David Givler (Christ Covenant Church in San Antonio, TX), wrote some of us the other day to give us an update on some trials he and his family have been through recently. The last part of his letter updated friends and family concerning some personal matters but the first part was a general exhortation that I thought would be useful to many. So, here it is…

I am reminded that when God led the children of Israel into the desert, they grumbled, murmured, and complained. In their new surroundings, they saw only rocks, dirt, undesirable neighbors, and inconvenience. They equated these things to hopelessness and they took that hopelessness as license to challenge God’s wisdom and his right to rule. 

If they had seen more clearly, they would have realized that the stuff of the wilderness and its despair was a background for displaying God’s grace. The difficulties and challenges should not have been the focus, but should have served as a contrast that heightened their perception of God’s kindnesses to them. After all, who appreciates a gift more, a rich person or a poor person? Who appreciates a feast more, a full person or a hungry person? It only makes sense that it was in the face of the Egyptian army that God parted the Red Sea for Israel’s deliverance. It was in a parched place where he miraculously gave them water. It was in a barren place where he gave them manna, that miraculous bread from heaven. It was in a deserted place where he gave them more quail than they could eat. And it was in a land of endless toil where he gave them one day out of seven to rest with a clear conscience. 

So, here we are in our wilderness journey. And, lest we sound too pious, let me confess that we have had our share of focusing on the wrong things, having bad attitudes, and having moments of downright depression. But, as we remember Israel’s journey, we are moved to remind each other how the difficulties have been like that desert backdrop. The real story in the foreground is about how God carries us through the difficulties. He has given us springs of unexpected joy. He has given us sustenance in the encouragement of friends. And He has energized us with a hope that is even better than that old promised land, Canaan. So, when we really open our eyes, we see that God is very good to us, even in the most difficult of times.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Christin's Quote Book

  • Bravery is being the only one who knows you’re afraid. – Franklin P. Jones
  • You can get much further with a kind word and a gun than you can with a kind word alone. – Al Capone
  • Asking a working writer how he feels about critics is like asking a lamppost how it feels about dogs. – Christopher Hampton
  • Nothing is certain but death and taxes. – Unknown
  • To be a poet is a condition, not a profession.  – Robert Frost

Sunday, April 24, 2011


We sometimes loose the proper perspective on life due to various trials. Life can seem futile and vain. We can grow cold and fearful—un-energetic and pessimistic. Certainly, this describes the disciples of Jesus just prior to the resurrection. But the reality of the resurrection of Jesus Christ turns that on its head—or at least it should. On that first Easter morning, the disciples were met with surprise, astonishment, fear and confusion. Jesus had said something like this would happen, but still, we are not sure what is going on, what it all means, what will happen next. Easter is always a surprise, whether we meet it in celebrating the feast itself, or in the work of God’s grace overturning tragedy in our own lives or in the world.

No doubt, our own resurrection will surprise us as well. From the beginning the gospel is the GOOD NEWS! It dares to tell us things we didn’t expect, weren’t inclined to believe, and couldn’t understand. Did we really expect that the gospel would be something obvious, something we could have dreamed up for ourselves? “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes…” Romans 1:16. The implications of the resurrection of Jesus Christ should quicken our hearts and fill us with joy. Salvation from what and to what? How easily we lose sight of the meaning of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Herein is Love

The Father love a lost world: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8). The Son gave Himself for love: “And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma” (Eph. 5:2). In the crucifixion we see God’s love: “In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins(1 John 4:9-10).

By His death Jesus demonstrated what true love is; it is sacrifice for the beloved. “By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren (1 John 3:16). “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends” (John 15:13).  His love serves as the pattern for our love: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34-35). “This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you” (John 15:12). May our contemplation of the crucifixion remind us of the high standard of love we are called to show toward one another: “Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another”(1 John 4:11).

Friday, April 22, 2011

Good Friday Prayer

O Savior of the world, who by Your cross and precious blood has redeemed us: save us and help us, we humbly ask You, O Lord. Forbid, O God, that we should forget, amid our earthly comforts, the pains and mortal anguish that our Lord Jesus endured for our salvation. Grant us this day a true vision of all that He suffered, in his betrayal, His lonely agony, His false trial, His mocking and scourging, and the torture of death upon the cross. As you have graciously given yourself utterly for us, may we give ourselves entirely to you, O Jesus Christ, our only Lord and Savior. AMEN

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Beautiful Bulbs

It's hard to imagine civilization without onions.
―Julia Child

The onion and its satin wrappings is among the most beautiful of vegetables and is the only one that represents the essence of things. It can be said to have a soul.
―Charles Dudley Warner

If you hear an onion ring, answer it.

It was for bringing the cook tulip-roots instead of onions.
―The reason the Queen of Hearts wants to behead the Seven-of-Spades in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

Mine eyes smell onions: I shall weep anon.
All's Well that Ends Well by William Shakespeare

Banish (the onion) from the kitchen and the pleasure flies with it. Its presence lends color and enchantment to the most modest dish; its absence reduces the rarest delicacy to hopeless insipidity, and dinner to despair.
―Elizabeth Robbins Pennell

My final, considered judgment is that the hardy bulb [garlic] blesses and ennobles everything it touches - with the possible exception of ice cream and pie.
―Angelo Pellegrini

Shallots are for babies; onions are for men; garlic is for heroes.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A Multi-Front War

We are always connected to everything. We are neither rocks nor islands. And while there is a cosmic war, there are, within that war, many personal battles to be fought and won. Dr. Cornelius Van Til wrote: “The war between Christ and Satan is a global war. It is carried on, first, in the hearts of men for the hearts of men….There is not a square inch of ground in heaven or on earth or under the earth in which there is peace between Christ and Satan…. It is of the nature of the conflict between Christ and Satan to be all-comprehensive.”

If we fail to see the connection between our own struggles with sin and Satan, then we cannot hope to make progress in the cosmic war. We sometime gather with others to storm a beach or take a hill, but we most often labor from our own foxholes where our Commander has called us to do our duty for the sake of His kingdom. Dr. Jay Adams wrote:

But though it is the same war, common in many respects, the battles fought in the soul of man each have their own peculiar elements, take on their own character, and call for special consideration, ac­cording to each individual involved. Moreover, from time to time the enemy shifts his point of attack and varies his tactics according to events transpiring in the global or cosmic theaters.

But the fact that the two wars are in reality but one war does not make the war within any less impor­tant. The war without is dependent on the war within. As battles are won or lost within the individ­ual, so the overall war succeeds or fails. That is why it is so important to recognize the inner war as only one part of the larger campaign. Battles are won only as individuals fight valiantly on each chunk of battle field turf. Wars are fought by individuals. And how they fight outwardly depends on their successes and failures in fighting within. So the importance of the inner war is obvious.

[Jay Adams, The War Within]

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

A Toothache

C. S. Lewis: “Let me explain. When I was a child I often had toothache, and I knew that if I went to my mother she would give me something which would deaden the pain for that night and let me get to sleep. But I did not go to my mother—at least, not till the pain became very bad. And the reason I did not go was this. I did not doubt she would give me the aspirin; but I knew she would also do something else. I knew she would take me to the dentist next morning. I could not get what I wanted out of her without getting something more, which I did not want. I wanted immediate relief from pain: but I could not get it without having my teeth set permanently right. And I knew those dentists; I knew they started fiddling about with all sorts of other teeth which had not yet begun to ache. They would not let sleeping dogs lie; if you gave them an inch they took a mile.” (Mere Christianity)

Monday, April 18, 2011

Christin's Quote Book

  • It is the mark of an educated man to be able to entertain an idea without accepting it. – Aristotle
  • No matter what side of an argument you’re on, you always find some people on your side that you wish were on the other side. – Jascha Heifetz
  • The worst thing about a bore is not that he won’t stop talking, but that he won’t let you stop listening. – Lawrence J. Peter
  • High heels were invented by a woman who had been kissed on the forehead. – Christopher Morley
  • Good conversation is a stimulating as black coffee, and just as hard to sleep after.  – Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Worth Beyond Price

People often quote Oscar Wilde's dictum, that a cynic knows the price of everything and the value of nothing. We live in an age of cynics, where 'worth' means 'price' and `price' means money and money means power. But the gospel of Jesus Christ puts worth back into the world, worth beyond price, worth beyond worldly power; for the gospel of Jesus Christ summons us to worship, to worth-ship, to lay our lives before the one true and living God, to worship him for all he's worth. Give to this great and loving God the honour, the worship, the love, due to him; celebrate the goodness, the worth, the true value, of the created order, as his gift, his handiwork; and allow that celebration to lift your eyes once more to God himself, to his glory and beauty.

This is, of course, precisely what we do in the Eucharist. Symbols of the natural world become vehicles of the heavenly world, of which we are called to be citizens. And it is utterly fitting that we should surround and celebrate this moment of intense beauty with carved stone and coloured glass, with soaring music and solemn ritual. Worship is what we were made for. Worship is what build­ings like churches and cathedrals were made for. If we get this right, we will go to our tasks of mission and manage­ment in the right spirit and for the right reason. Worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness; let the whole earth stand in awe of him.

[N. T. Wright, For All God’s Worth]

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Easter Feasting

Feasting is the central expression of celebration in Scripture and history. As God promised the messianic future in the book of Isaiah, He promises that He will “wipe away tears from all faces” (Isa. 25:8; Rev. 21:4). His picture of redemption is not the serene scene of floating on clouds, but of extravagant feasting. Isaiah 25:6, “And in this mountain shall the LORD of hosts make unto all people a feast of fat things, a feast of wines on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of wines on the lees well refined.” Feasting is a means of giving thanks to God for His blessingsa sort of wallowing in His blessingsthe blessing of marriage, the blessing birth, the blessing of graduation, the blessing of harvest, etc.—all should be occasions of feasting.

Well, you might say, you make it sound like we ought to be feasting all the time. In one sense, we should: Proverbs 15:15, “All the days of the afflicted are evil: but he that is of a merry heart hath a continual feast.” In another sense, feasting is reserved for special occasions, we just need to have more special occasions, or at least learn how to make those occasions more special. It’s always to be done with thankfulness to the Lord, just as we always give thanks for our food before we eat. 1 Corinthians 10:31, “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” We should have a good time to the glory of God!

God tells us that celebration is central to pleasing Him; it is central to leading a good life. We have forgotten that celebration isn’t just an option; it’s a call to full Christian living. (Deut. 6:5; Mk. 12:30). We are to show our love for God not just with one portion of our being, the spiritual aspect; we are to love God with our whole body, heart and strength and legs and lips. “Although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful” (Rom. 1:25). Yet by grace, God’s redemption and creation ought to keep us in a perpetual state of thanks which bursts out in celebration at every opportunity. Easter is just one more occasion to celebrate the victory of the gospel over the world!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Celebrating Easter!

Anonymous wrote to rightly instruct us that:

“…pascha NT:3957 mistranslated "Easter" in Acts 12:4 , KJV, denotes the Passover (RV). The phrase "after the Passover" signifies after the whole festival was at an end. The term "Easter" is not of Christian origin. It is another form of Astarte, one of the titles of the Chaldean goddess, the queen of heaven. The festival of Pasch held by Christians in post-apostolic times was a continuation of the Jewish feast, but was not instituted by Christ, nor was it connected with Lent. From this Pasch the pagan festival of "Easter" was quite distinct and was introduced into the apostate Western religion, as part of the attempt to adapt pagan festivals to Christianity. See PASSOVER. (from Vine's Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words).

16 As for the word that thou hast spoken unto us in the name of the LORD, we will not hearken unto thee.
17 But we will certainly do whatsoever thing goeth forth out of our own mouth, to burn incense unto the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto her, as we have done, we, and our fathers, our kings, and our princes, in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem: for then had we plenty of victuals, and were well, and saw no evil.
18 But since we left off to burn incense to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto her, we have wanted all things, and have been consumed by the sword and by the famine.
19 And when we burned incense to the queen of heaven, and poured out drink offerings unto her, did we make her cakes to worship her, and pour out drink offerings unto her, without our men?
Jeremiah 44

This is a form of the “genetic fallacy,” which is committed when an idea is either accepted or rejected because of its source, rather than its merit. We ought not to reject an idea just because of where it comes from. For example, bad people sometimes have good ideas and visa versa. Proverbs 18:17 reminds us that “The first one to plead his cause seems right, until his neighbor comes and examines him.” So, the question is not, “What did the root of the word “Easter” mean when the translators of the KJV misused it, but rather, what does is mean now? As Christians, we celebrate the resurrection of the Lord every day, but especially every Lord’s Day when we gather corporately to worship Him; this is required (Heb. 10:24-25). Nevertheless, we are permitted to voluntarily set aside special days of celebration and feasting.

Our anonymous friend asserted that the reason Easter “was introduced into the apostate Western religion,” was “part of the attempt to adapt pagan festivals to Christianity.” Now I’m not sure how he/she knows that this was the reason, but I would suggest there was a different reason. As the gospel spread into pagan lands it not only conquered pagan hearts, it also conquered pagan culture; it redeemed individuals and societies. An old pagan festival was transformed into a Christian victory celebration (victory over the pagans). A similar argument is out there concerning the pagan roots of Christmas. A friend of mine said that we do not worship pagan Christmas Trees. What we do is go out and cut down pagan trees, bring them home, decorate them and sing Christian victory songs around them.

The Easter celebrations of the Christian Church have no hint of “burning incense to the pagan queen of heaven,” nor of “pouring out drink offerings unto her.” If they did, they would indeed be pagan celebrations and would deserve God’s judgment and our disapproval. Of course we are not required to celebrate Easter as a “special day,” any more than we are required to celebrate birthdays.

Thursday, April 14, 2011


“The choice before us seems to be this: either we will discriminate against homosexuals, or we will discriminate against the Word of God. We will either aim to convert the homosexual and have him transformed into the image of Christ, or we will aim to convert the church's thinking about God's Word and transform the Christian ethic into the image of homosexual values. The discussion has brought us to the ques­tion of ultimate priorities and standards, and here the choice for the Christian ought not be difficult.”

[Greg L. Bahnsen, Homosexuality, a Biblical View]

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Parable for Procrastinators

This is a story about four people named Everybody, Somebody, Anybody, and Nobody. There was an important job to be done, and Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it. Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it. Somebody got angry about that because it was Everybody's job. Everybody thought Anybody could do it, but Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn't do it. It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have done.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A Closer Look

Perhaps in no other area of modern biology is the challenge posed by the extreme complexity and ingenuity of biological adaptations more apparent than in the fascinating new molecular world of the cell. Viewed down a light microscope at a magnification of some several hundred times, such as would have been possible in Darwin's time, a living cell is a relatively disappointing spectacle appearing only as an ever-changing and apparently disordered pattern of blobs and particles which, under the influence of unseen turbulent forces, are continually tossed haphazardly in all directions. To grasp the reality of life as it has been revealed by molecular biology, we must magnify a cell a thousand million times until it is twenty kilometers in diameter and resembles a giant airship large enough to cover a great city like London or New York. What we would then see would be an object of unparalleled complexity and adaptive design. On the surface of the cell we would see millions of openings, like the port holes of a vast space ship, opening and closing to allow a continual stream of materials to flow in and out. If we were to enter one of these openings we would find ourselves in a world of supreme technology and bewildering complexity. We would see endless highly organized corridors and conduits branching in every direction away from the perimeter of the cell, some leading to the central memory bank in the nucleus and others to assembly plants and processing units. The nucleus itself would be a vast spherical chamber more than a kilometer in diameter, resembling a geodesic dome inside of which we would see, all neatly stacked together in ordered arrays, the miles of coiled chains of the DNA molecules. A huge range of products and raw materials would shuttle along all the manifold conduits in a highly ordered fashion to and from all the various assembly plants in the outer regions of the cell.

We would wonder at the level of control implicit in the movement of so many objects down so many seemingly endless conduits, all in perfect unison. We would see all around us, in every direction we looked, all sorts of robot-like machines. We would notice that the simplest of the functional components of the cell, the protein mol­ecules, were astonishingly, complex pieces of molecular machinery, each one consisting of about three thousand atoms arranged in highly organized 3-D spatial conformation. We would wonder even more as we watched the strangely purposeful activities of these weird molecular machines, particularly when we realized that, despite all our accum­ulated knowledge of physics and chemistry, the task of designing one such molecular machine—that is one single functional protein mol­ecule—would be completely beyond our capacity at present and will probably not be achieved until at least the beginning of the next century. Yet the life of the cell depends on the integrated activities of thousands, certainly tens, and probably hundreds of thousands of different protein molecules.

We would see that nearly every feature of our own advanced machines had its analogue in the cell: artificial languages and their decoding systems, memory banks for information storage and retrieval, elegant control systems regulating the automated assembly of parts and components, error fail-safe and proof-reading devices utilized for quality control, assembly processes involving the principle of prefabrication and modular construction. In fact, so deep would be the feeling of deja-vu, so persuasive the analogy, that much of the terminology we would use to describe this fascinating molecular reality would be borrowed from the world of late twentieth-century technology.

What we would be witnessing would be an object resembling an immense automated factory, a factory larger than a city and carrying out almost as many unique functions as all the manufacturing activities of man on earth. However, it would be a factory which would have one capacity not equalled in any of our own most advanced machines, for it would be capable of replicating its entire structure within a matter of a few hours. To witness such an act at a magnification of one thousand million times would be an awe-inspiring spectacle.

[Michael Denton, Evolution: A Theory in Crisis]

Monday, April 11, 2011

Christin's Quote Book

  • Travel is glamorous only in retrospect. – Paul Theroux
  • No matter what happens, somebody will find a way to take it too seriously. – Dave Barry
  • We believe the sun is in the sky at midday in the summer not because we can clearly see the sun (in fact, we cannot) but because we can see everything else. – C.S. Lewis
  • Middle age is when a man is warned to slow down by a doctor instead of a policeman. – Sydney Brody
  • Having your book turned into a movie is like having your oxen turned into bouillon cubes. – John LeCarre

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Speaking of Love...

St Augustine, in a famous passage, rightly denies that our loves for the material world are the same thing as love for God. Yet, he says, our loves for the material world give us both a sign of, and the vocabulary for, our love for God. And we don't have to apologize for speaking of this love in this way. The world is God's creation, and its beauty is the steady, quizzical pointer to the beauty of God. This is what he wrote:

What do I love when I love my God? Not physical beauty, or the splendour of time; not the radiance of earthly light, so pleasant to our eyes; not the sweet melodies of harmony and song; not the fragrant smell of flowers, perfumes, and spices; not manna or honey; not limbs such as the flesh delights to embrace. These are not the things that I love when I love my God.

And yet, when I love him, I do indeed love a certain kind of light, a voice, a fragrance, a food, an embrace; but this love takes place in my inner person, where my soul is bathed in light that is not bound by space; when it listens to sound that time never takes away; when it breathes in a fragrance which no breeze carries away; when it tastes food which no eating can diminish; when it clings to an embrace which is not broken when desire is fulfilled. This is what I love when I love my God. (Confessions 10.6)

Saturday, April 9, 2011


My grandchildren―the six old ones, the three new ones, and the two whose arrival we are anticipating this year, are all obvious sources of joy and jubilation for our household. No doubt, your life is also full of many obvious sources of joy. We should seize these moments and make the most of them. But life is also full of challenges and trials. Things don’t always go the way we would like. People and circumstances can throw sand in our gears. Yet, when we comprehend the work of our Savior, even in these we can and must find joy.

O Lord, like our fathers before us, we are often malcontent. We live in the lap of luxury. We are surrounded by Your grace. And yet we are sapped of our spiritual strength for a lack of joy. We are dissatisfied with our jobs, our possessions, our spouses, our children, our parents, our church, and our nation. We often take You and Your gifts for granted and find reason to complain.

Deliver us, O Lord, from joyless dispositions. Teach us to see You and Your gifts with new eyes. Help us to believe and obey what You Word has taught us about joy. Renew our strength and the joy of our salvation. AMEN.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Fainting Fits

Charles Spurgeon writes in his book, Lectures to My Students, in a chapter titled: “The Minister’s Fainting Fits,”:

As it is recorded that David, in the heat of battle, waxed faint, so may it be written of all the servants of the Lord. Fits of depression come over the most of us. Usually cheerful as we may be, we must at intervals be cast down. The strong are not always vigorous, the wise not always ready, the brave not always courageous, and the joyous not always happy. There may be here and there men of iron, to whom wear and tear work no perceptible detriment, but surely the rust frets even these; and as for ordinary men, the Lord knows, and makes them to know, that they are but dust. Knowing by most painful experience what deep depression of spirit means, being visited there­with at seasons by no means few or far between, I thought it might be consolatory to some of my brethren if I gave my thoughts thereon, that younger men might not fancy that some strange thing had happened to them when they became for a season possessed by melancholy; and that sadder men might know that one upon whom the sun has shone right joyously did not always walk in the light.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Easter People

N.T. Wright tells about a lecture concerning the scientific conquest of death, the speaker observed that progress in this pursuit was rendered very difficult by the fact of death. Men often die before their hard-earned wisdom can be applied to the problems of man. The speaker continued: “It is hard to plan intelligently for the future when we know that the men we are planning with will soon be dead and that the task of education must be repeated with a new generation.” Someone in the audience commented: “It’s even harder to plan for a decent future if the people now living will never die.”

Well now, we are the Easter people, and we have a different story; one that is not contingent on scientific discovery or the longevity of man, nor is it frustrated by death. The resurrection of Jesus Christ changed everything. Behold! All things are new!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Ultimate Reference Point

“Increasingly, the history of philosophy is making it obvious that all philosophy now has either a reference point in man as ultimate, or in God as ulti­mate. It is apparent also that if the Scripture is right in asserting that "the heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork" (Ps. 19:1), then every fact in creation witnesses to man concerning God. Man thus is not in a world with a neutral witness nor is he himself a neutral observer. If he fails to acknowledge this witness of creation it is because he deliberately suppresses that witness. And since he himself is a created being, he suppresses also the witness of his own nature and arrogates to himself an independent principle of interpreta­tion, one in which he becomes his own god. Instead of recog­nizing that he is created, man assumes that he is ultimate; as such, he refuses to tolerate an independent and ultimate being such as God: God can at best exist only as another god among gods, with a senior status perhaps, but an unquestionably emer­itus rank.”

[R. J. Rushdoony, By What Standard?]

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Containing God

“To deny God as ultimate means to affirm man as ultimate. To make nature the container of God is finally to make man God's container. Whenever Christian philosophy has had any other starting point than the self-contained God, it has led, de­spite its protestations, to a man-contained God. In the morning, it finds itself in bed with Leah.

…The basic issue, therefore, has not changed since Eden. The temptation of man is "To be as God," knowing, that is, deter­mining for himself what shall be good and what shall be evil. Man establishes his own law and decrees his own righteousness and is not bound to a point of reference beyond himself. This is the original sin of man, the lust to be as God, and this is the constant drive of his being from which even the redeemed are not free. Man sees himself not as creature but as a god, not as dependent but as an independent and autonomous being. Not even the most devout are free in this life from traces of this rebellion…”

[R. J. Rushdoony, By what Standard?]

Monday, April 4, 2011

Christin's Quote Book

  • She is always married too soon who gets a bad husband, and she is never married too late who gets a good one. – Daniel Defoe, Moll Flanders
  • And I don’t know how it is, but one of the chief beauties of the sex seems banished from the faces of ladies in these days: for they not only don’t know how to blush to themselves, but they laugh at any innocent young creature that does as rustic and half-bred. – Samuel Richardson, Pamela
  • If you want to know what a man’s like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals. – J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
  • They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserves neither liberty nor safety. – Benjamin Franklin
  • When the only tool you own is a hammer, every problem begins to resemble a nail. – Abraham Maslow

Sunday, April 3, 2011

A Turning Point

A very fine young man told me something the other day; something powerful and profound. He said that he reached a turning point in his life; a point at which he moved from being a child to becoming an adult. That moment came, he said, when he decided (in his heart), to honor God with his money. I know this man, and I know this decision didn’t happen last week. He has had some time to see the results and he is very pleased with what he has seen. I too, am pleased.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Facing the Pain

“No one likes to admit being wrong. However, in many kinds of endeavors, the costs of not admitting to being wrong are too high to ignore. These costs force people to face reality, however painful that might be. A student who misunderstands mathematics has little choice but to correct that misunderstanding before the next examination and someone in business cannot continue losing money indefinitely by persisting in mistaken beliefs about the market or about the way to run a business. In short, there are practical as well as intellectual imperatives to see through fallacies. The difference between sound and fallacious economic policies by a government can affect the standard of living of millions. That is what makes the study of economics important—and the exposure of fallacies more than an intellectual exercise.”

[Thomas Sowell, Economic Facts and Fallacies]

Friday, April 1, 2011

Economic Fallacies Abound

“Fallacies abound in economic policies affecting everything from housing to international trade. Where the unintended consequences of these policies take years to unfold, the effects may not be traced back to their causes by many people. Even when the bad consequences follow closely after a given policy, many people may not connect the dots, and advocates of policies that backfire often attribute these bad consequences to something else. Sometimes they claim that the bad situation would have been even worse if it had not been for the wonderful policies they advocated.

There are many reasons why fallacies have staying power, even in the face of hard evidence against them. Elected officials, for example, cannot readily admit that some policy or program that they advocated, perhaps with great fanfare, has turned out badly, without risking their whole careers. Similarly for leaders of various causes and movements. Even intellectuals or academics with tenure stand to lose prestige and suffer embarrassment when their notions turn out to be counterproductive. Others who think of themselves as supporters of things that will help the less fortunate would find it painful to confront evidence that they have in fact made the less fortunate worse off than before. In other words, evidence is too dangerous— politically, financially and psychologically—for some people to allow it to become a threat to their interests or to their own sense of themselves.”

[Thomas Sowell, Economic Facts and Fallacies]