Daniel, Babylon, and the Ancient Primordial Soup

I’ve been doing some reading about Daniel (from the Bible) in a book by the great Oxford University mathematician, philosopher of science, and Christian apologist, John Lennox entitled, “Against the Flow, The Inspiration of Daniel in an Age of Relativism.” While studying the history, it is pointed out that in order to draw parallels with the Babylonian society of Daniel with today’s Western society, we must first understand the worldview of the ancient Babylonians.

Ancient Babylon was an ultra-modern, polytheistic, yet secular society. The people found meaning and salvation through science and technology, much like many people do today. After all, the Bible says there is nothing new under the sun (Ecc 1:9). At this time of great prosperity and ultra-modern secularism, Jerusalem was conquered by the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar. He ordered many of the young men of Jerusalem back to Babylon to be stripped of their old way of life and be socially engineered into being a Babylonian and serving the king in various capacities. Daniel and three of his friends were just a few of the young men who were ripped from their families and taken to a foreign land to learn a new language, new literature, and all new customs.

Daniel found out real quick that these people did not believe in Yahweh, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Daniel believed that Yahweh was the one true God, creator of heaven and earth. But after studying in Babylon (think about being away at college) he obviously had to study their gods. While they had many gods, the very beginning of the long line of gods began with a goddess named Nammu. She was the goddess who gave birth to all other goddesses.

I have three points I have learned about the time period, Nammu, and the view the ancient Babylonians had about her. I’ll share them and parallel it all with today’s world.

  1. Nammu was dubbed the “Primordial Sea Goddess.” This name for her gives us some great clues related to how the ancient people viewed their gods. In all of ancient Sumerian and Greek mythology, the gods all seem to be dependent on a pre-existing form of matter. These gods seem to originate inside an already existing cosmos (in this case, the sea). This is hugely important in drawing the distinction between these phony gods and the God of the Bible. The God of the Bible clearly exists outside of the cosmos. He created the cosmos and therefore He transcends it altogether, just as the Bible teaches. This leads me into my next point.
  1. The most vocal and militant evangelist of the New Atheism movement, Richard Dawkins, has been quoted many times saying this line: “We are all atheists about most of the gods that humanity has ever believed in. Some of us just go one god further.” The problem with this is that Judeo-Christian monotheism is not some streamlined version of pagan polytheism. Christians believe in a God that cannot be compared to the gods Dawkins speaks about. They are two totally different categories and I’ll show why this is the case.

John Sacks, the Chief Rabbi of the UK puts it nicely when he says, “We make a great mistake if we think of monotheism as a linear development from polytheism, as if people first worshiped many gods and then reduced them to one. Monotheism is something else entirely. The meaning of a system lies outside the system. Therefore the meaning of the universe lies outside the universe. Monotheism, by discovering the transcendental God, the God who stands outside the universe and creates it, made it possible for the first time to believe that life has a meaning, not just a mythic or scientific explanation.”

So this argument that atheists simply believe in one god less than a Christian sounds very clever but fails miserably to make its point. While all the other gods that humanity has ever believed in which Dawkins speaks about are products of heaven and earth, our Christian God actually created heaven and earth and exists wholly apart from them.

  1. The third point I want to make draws a connection between the mythical goddess Nammu and the idea of macro-evolution. Remember from above that Nammu was called the “Primordial Sea Goddess.” Anyone with a basic familiarity with macro-evolution probably has ears that perk up when they hear the word “primordial.” Today’s evolutionists will use this word to form the term “primordial soup.” According to Webster, primordial soup is a mixture of organic molecules in evolutionary theory from which life on earth originated. Today’s evolutionary theorists, despite all the advances in science, et al, are still thinking the same way the ancients of Babylon thought thousands of years ago! Like today’s evolutionary theorists, the Babylonians thought life itself emerged from a primordial sea as evidenced by the primordial sea god, Nammu. Their old philosophy was much like that of today’s evolutionists in that they deified the basic forces of nature without ever knowing how to explain how the basic forces of nature could possibly originate on their own. While they derived all life from somehow pre-existing matter, the Christian God created the matter, it did not create Him!

Lennox notes in his book that “this idea that mass-energy is primitive, and all else derives from it, is the essence of the materialistic reductionism that tries to dominate Western society. On this view, mass-energy is subject to the laws of nature…and must have latent capacity to produce all we see around us…

Isn’t it amazing that there truly is nothing new under the sun?

“History merely repeats itself. It has all been done before. Nothing under the sun is truly new.” –Ecclesiastes 1:9.

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Michael Shermer is Confused

I’m watching a live debate between Frank Turek (a Christian) and Michael Shermer (an atheist). Before the debate, Shermer was peddling (he retweeted it) the photo in this blog post.  

 

The problem is that Shermer thinks this is a good argument against God. Thinking Christians will actually agree with the statement in the photo! Indeed, no one needs religion to be moral or to determine right from wrong. I don’t know of a single person who would argue such a silly position. 

A person can be far away from God and be a good, moral person. 

The difference is that they have no way to ground a standard of morality without stealing it from God. 

An atheist has no way to justify the fact that lying or stealing is actually wrong. On an atheistic worldview, these things are based on social constructs and mere opinions. What if opinions change? 

I’m surprised someone like Shermer would be so shallow in his thinking to not realize this kind of silliness. I have written in more depth on this subject on this website if you want to read more on it. 

Evolution Cannot Adequately Explain Human Value

In the book, “Love Your God With All Your Mind,” J.P. Moreland tells the story of his daughter asking him about stereotypes and bigoted attitudes. He asked his daughter why she though everyone should be valued equally. Her reply was to say because everyone is the same. J.P. correctly explained that people are certainly not the same. Some people are taller, some shorter. Some are fast, some are slow. Some are good at math, some aren’t. No two people are the same.

The reason we have a sense of equality is precisely because of people being created in the image of God which is taught in the Holy Bible, the Christian scripture.  The entire civil rights movement is firmly based on the Holy Bible. The great civil rights leaders such as MLK and others taught this straight from the Word of God.

If macro evolution were actually true, this notion of equality should have been weeded out eons ago. On a naturalistic, evolutionary worldview, the fastest, strongest, and smartest should be expected to out-do the weaker among us. But no, evolutionists and atheists will fall right in line with biblical teaching that all people have equal value. This is a glaring inconsistentcy in their worldview. It simply doesn’t make sense much like homosexuality doesn’t make any sense on an evolutionary view, but many evolutionists and atheists are strong supporters of homosexual behavior. And they argue that equality is their grounds to support it, to boot!! The inconsistentcies are blinding!

Consistent atheists do exist. They say we should eat our young if they turn out sickly. Other atheists suggest we should be able to kill our children weeks after they are born if we don’t want them. But, most atheists cannot remain consistent and they constantly borrow from a biblical worldview in order to live peaceful, productive lives. 

All people have value as taught by the Bible and atheists the world over follow biblical teaching on this. 

More Silliness From Bill Nye 

I did not write the following article about Bill Nye, but I agree with all of it. I have written about Nye in other places on the blog page which you can search for and read. In the meantime, if evolution is your thing, read how Bill Nye is misleading his small audience.  

http://www.evolutionnews.org/2015/03/bill_nye_respon094591.html?utm_content=buffer8dd9c&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

Is the Resurrection True?

Is the resurrection of Jesus true and how important is this event to Christianity and all people of the world? 

The bible says this in 1 Corinthians 15: “Now, let me ask you something profound yet troubling. If you became believers because you trusted the proclamation that Christ is alive, risen from the dead, how can you let people say that there is no such thing as a resurrection? If there’s no resurrection, there’s no living Christ. And face it—if there’s no resurrection for Christ, everything we’ve told you is smoke and mirrors, and everything you’ve staked your life on is smoke and mirrors. Not only that, but we would be guilty of telling a string of barefaced lies about God, all these affidavits we passed on to you verifying that God raised up Christ—sheer fabrications, if there’s no resurrection.” (‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭15‬:‭12-15‬ MSG)
So is the resurrection an actual historic event? The evidence overwhelmingly says yes. But, let’s consider only the evidence that even the most liberal scholars (Bart Ehrman, et al) accept as true. There are 12 historical points compiled by Gary Habermas that liberal and conservative scholars all agree on. 
1. Jesus died by crucifixion. 
2. He was buried in a tomb. 
3. Jesus’ death caused his followers to despair and lose all hope. 
4. A few days after his death, Jesus’ tomb was found empty. 
5. Jesus’ followers had experiences which they believed were literal appearances of the resurrected body of Jesus. 
6. His followers, once doubters who were afraid to identify themselves with Jesus, began to proclaim his resurrection, even willing to die for their belief. 
7. The resurrection was the center of teaching for the early Christian church. 
8. Public testimony of the resurrection by Jesus’ followers took place in the same city where the public demanded that Jesus be killed. 
9. As a result, the literal overnight adoption of a new set of beliefs occurred.
10. Sunday became the new day to worship, previously unheard of in the Jewish community. 
11. James, Jesus’ brother, was converted to Christianity after he saw the risen Jesus. 
12. Saul of Tarsus was converted to Christianity after he saw the risen Jesus. 
Now those are twelve facts that nearly all historians agree are true. There are many other evidences for Jesus’ resurrection we can gain from the biblical accounts. 
Let’s look at five points to show the resurrection story is not made up. 
1. The first witnesses to the empty tomb were women. In the 1st century, women’s testimony was not considered admissible in a court. If the story was made up, you’d think the storytellers would have made their witnesses men. 
2. In 1st century Jewish culture, it was blasphemy to worship a human. Why would fellow Jews begin to worship a human who had died if they were making it all up?
3. All the apostles and early church leaders died for their beliefs. No one dies for something they know to be a made up story. 
4. In 1 Corinthians, Paul names 14 people who saw the risen Jesus and says over 500 other people also saw him and many of those people are still alive at the time. By saying many are still alive, Paul is telling his audience (the people in Corinth) to go ask those people if they don’t believe him. Wow. 
5. Some will say the disciples stole the body. Why would they steal a body knowing they would die for making up a story of a resurrection? That’s crazy. You only willingly die for something you actually think is true. 
There are so many other evidences for the resurrection. Comment or contact me if you want to discuss it further. 
Christianity hinges on whether Jesus rose from the dead. If he didn’t raise, then why care about what he taught? Even if you have a tough time believing the resurrection you should want it to be true. 
Tim Keller writes the following in his book, The Reason for God: “[Many skeptics] care deeply about justice for the poor, alleviating hunger and disease, and caring for the environment. Yet many of them believe that the material world was caused by accident and that the world and everything in it will eventually simply burn up in the death of the sun. They find it discouraging that so few people care about justice without realizing that their own worldview undermines any motivation to make the world a better place. Why sacrifice for the needs of others if in the end nothing we do will make any difference. If the resurrection of Jesus happened, however, that means there’s infinite hope and reason to pour ourselves out for the needs of the world.”
The Bible says faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. The best place to hear the Word of God is at church. This Easter make the decision to go to church and keep going to church. You may say, “church is full of hypocrites!” You’d be correct. Church isn’t about being perfect. Church isn’t a country club for saints. It’s a hospital for sinners.
See you Sunday.