Atheism does not follow from a lack of evidence for God’s existence

A great post by Jason Dulle, especially the conversation in the comments section. Check it out.

Theo-sophical Ruminations

No evidence equals atheism When you ask an atheist why they are an atheist, it’s not uncommon for them to respond, “Because there is no good evidence that God exists.”  If that is their only justification for atheism, they have made a gross logical blunder.

In the case of genuine dichotomies (such as God’s existence: God exists, or God does not exist), the lack of evidence for A is neither evidence against A, nor evidence for B.  In order to conclude that A is true or B is true, one must have positive evidence for the truth value of A or B.  The absence of evidence for both A and B simply means that we must suspend judgment.

Applied to the debate over God’s existence, even if one wants to argue that there is no good evidence for theism, it does not follow that theism is false, and it certainly does not follow that…

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We’re Moving!

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WhateverForeverAmen will be relocating to http://www.apologiesaccepted.org. Here’s the description:

We are dedicated to glorifying Jesus Christ and the promotion and defense of the Christian Gospel, Apostolic doctrine, and Biblical theology. We address a variety of issues included abortion, atheism, culture, evolution, Islam, politics, relativism, universalism, (and much more) with a Christian apologetics approach. We use the Bible as the final standard of truth in order to defend and promote Christianity.

Christian apologetics (from Greek ἀπολογία, “speaking in defense”) is the discipline of defending the Christian position through the systematic use of logic, reason and information. And that’s exactly what we offer, a “Decisive Defense to Scoffing Skeptics”. Once you hear our apology (offer of defense) we will be glad to accept your apology (acknowledgement of offense). Let the apologizing begin.

All of our contact and your comments have been transferred to the new location.

Thanks for reading here at WhateverForeverAmen, join us at Apologies Accepted.

 

The 2nd Amendment and The Bible: A Historical and Theological Look at the Natural Right of Self-Defense, Part 2

Now that we have established that the historical purpose and intention of the 2nd Amendment was that of self-defense (Part 1), we will analyze the foundation of the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the 2nd Amendment; The Declaration of Independence.

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The right of self-defense can be traced back to the earliest recorded human history. The justification for this right is the simple notion that any rational being, no matter what culture he lives or upon what tradition he draws, will conclude that if is acceptable to defend himself when his life is in danger. No civil law is needed to help us understand this. As Roman philosopher and statesman Marcus Tullius Cicero posits:

[This] is a law . . . not written, but born with us,–which we have not learnt, or received by tradition, or read, but which we have taken and sucked in and imbibed from nature herself; a law which we were not taught, but to which we were made,–which we were not trained in, but which is ingrained in us,–namely, that if our life be in danger from plots, or from open violence, or from the weapons of robbers or enemies, every means of securing our safety is honourable.

Thus Natural Law is the foundation of this right of self-defense.

In its opening paragraph, the Declaration of Independence appeals to “the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God,” or, as we will refer to it, Natural Law. The Founders viewed Natural Law as the highest order of law. In his De re publica (On the Republic), Cicero defines this concept of Natural Law:

True law is right reason in agreement with nature; it summons to duty by its commands, and averts from wrongdoing by its prohibitions. And it does not lay its commands or prohibitions upon good men in vain, though neither have any effect on the wicked. It is a sin to try to alter this law, nor is it allowable to attempt to repeal any part of it, and it is impossible to abolish it entirely. We cannot be freed from its obligations by senate or people, and we need not look outside ourselves for an expounder or interpreter of it. And there will not be different laws at Rome and at Athens, or different laws now and in the future, but one eternal and unchangeable law will be valid for all nations and all times, and there will one master and ruler, that is, God, over us all, for he is the author of this law, its promulgator, and its enforcing judge. Whoever is disobedient is fleeing from himself and denying his human nature, and by reason of this very fact he will suffer the worst penalties, even if he escapes what is commonly called punishment . . .” (emphasis mine).

To simplify Cicero’s definition of Natural Law we will break this statement down into a few primary components:

  1. Natural Law is foundational and universal. Natural Law is not derived from any other laws; rather, it consists of directives that ought to be easily understood by all.
  2. Natural Law is a regulation of reason. Every rational individual can formulate the dictates of Natural Law. Instinct is just the beginning, rationalization is a necessary next step toward the formulation of the understanding of Natural Law. Thus it is distinguishable from mere animal instinct and unique to the human species.
  3. Natural Law is a commanding. It directs the rational human mind and imposes moral obligations to do or to abstain from doing.

Natural Law According to The Romans

One of the first Natural Law thinkers that typically comes to mind is Saint Thomas Aquinas, and for good reason. But Natural Law philosophy goes back far beyond Aquinas. The Greek Stoics and Aristotle were the first to contemplate the truths of Natural Law, which influenced the Roman jurists and Cicero. After that, Justinian the Great (or Justinian I) began outlining a jus gentium or “law of nations”:

Those rules which a state enacts for its own members are peculiar to itself, and are called civil law: those rules prescribed by natural reason for all men are observed by all peoples alike, and are called the law of nations.

These early Natural Law theorists relied heavily on empirical observations but their ideas were still important. One very solidly established commonality was the idea that human reason was an essential aspect of Natural Law. And one of the earliest reasonable conclusion at which they arrived was the inherent nature of the right of self-defense. Cicero’s defense of Milo on the charge of murder is perhaps his most famous discourse. He based his case of self-defense firmly on the principle of Natural Law as opposed to any contemporary or historical civil statutes.

As logical as their conclusions were, the Achilles’ heel of the Roman understanding of Natural Law was their empirical observation. Often Natural Law would be used to justify very immoral ends, as was the case with Cicero’s defense of Milo. Milo was a low-life street thug whose violent crimes were indeed unlawful and immoral. The result was an concept of Natural Law that illustrated the effect but failed to explain the moral foundational cause.

Natural Law According to Saint Thomas Aquinas

When Thomas Aquinas appeared onto the Natural Law scene, he brought with him the solid moral foundation of the Christian Bible upon which he restructured the ideas of the Roman Natural Law philosophers. Embedded within his Summa Theologica was a “Treatise on Law,” in which Aquinas argued that, “The natural law is promulgated by the very fact that God instilled it into man’s mind so as to be known by him naturally.” Cicero falls just shy of this understand, and Plato and Aristotle were even farther away

Aquinas posits that reason exists in two forms, speculative and practical. Then he explains that:

“[G]ood” is the first thing that falls under the apprehension of the practical reason, which is directed to action: since every agent acts for an end under the aspect of good. Consequently the first principle of practical reason is one founded on the notion of good, viz. that “good is that which all things seek after.” Hence this is the first precept of law, that “good is to be done and pursued, and evil is to be avoided.” All other precepts of the natural law are based upon this: so that whatever the practical reason naturally apprehends as man’s good (or evil) belongs to the precepts of the natural law as something to be done or avoided.

In other words, good is good and evil is not good, so abstain from evil and do good. And in order to apply this reasonable conclusion, one must establish those things which are accepted by all men as “good”.

Aquinas suggests that “all those things to which man has a natural inclination, are naturally apprehended by reason as being good.” With that basis, Aquinas states that:

[I]n man there is first of all an inclination to good in accordance with the nature which he has in common with all substances: inasmuch as every substance seeks the preservation of its own being, according to its nature: and by reason of this inclination, whatever is a means of preserving human life, and of warding off its obstacles, belongs to the natural law (emphasis added).

If this seems simple, that’s because it is. That’s the whole point of Natural Law. Every individual processes a strong predisposition to the preservation of his own life. The compelling feeling known as “fight or flight” is Natural Law in action. Thus, the very essence of self-defense comes from the Natural Law. This, I believe, is echoed as the foundation for the Declaration of Independence, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life. . . .”

To establish the superiority of the Natural Law Aquinas argues that, “every human law has just so much of the nature of law, as it is derived from the law of nature. But if in any point it deflects from the law of nature, it is no longer a law but a perversion of law.” This is similar to Cicero’s position which we quoted earlier, “It is a sin to try to alter this law, nor is it allowable to attempt to repeal any part of it, and it is impossible to abolish it entirely.”

Self-Defense According to Saint Thomas Aquinas

So far, Aquinas’ argument goes a little something like this:

  • Premise 1: The Natural Law is a command to protect the good.
  • Premise 2: Self-preservation is the highest for of good.
  • Conclusion: Therefore, self-defense is justified.

And not only is it justified, but Aquinas goes one step farther and considers it to be moral. “[M]oral acts take the species according to what is intended, and not according to what is beside the intention.”

This idea of intention is vitally important to Aquinas’ Natural Law under standing of self-defense. In a self-defense killing, the intent is not to kill. Rather, the intent is to preserve one’s own life, and the killing is the only way to do so.

Self-Defense According to Other Natural Law Thinkers

In 1625, Hugo Grotius, a jurist in the Dutch Republic, wrote his De jure belli ac pacis, “On the Law of War and Peace,” in which he uses Natural Law as the basis of self-defense, “Now right reason and the nature of society which claims the second, and indeed more important place in this inquiry, prohibit not all force, but only that which is repugnant to society, by depriving another of his right.” And he ultimately concludes that defending one’s life and property is a “private war [which] may be considered as an instantaneous exercise of natural right.”

In 1651, political philosopher Thomas Hobbes presented his doctrine of the foundation of governments in his Leviathan or The Matter, Forme and Power of a Common Wealth Ecclesiasticall and Civil. In it, Hobbes suggests that “If a man by the terrour of present death, be compelled to doe a face against the Law, he is totally Excused; because no Law can oblige a man to abandon his own preservation.” Hobbes also argues that if a government were to make self-defense illegal, it would not prevent its citizens from relying on it: “supposing such a Law were obligatory; yet a man would reason thus, If I doe it not, I die presently; if I doe it, I doe afterward; therefore by doing it, there is time of life gained.”

William Blackstone, English jurist, judge and politician of the late 1700s, was most known for writing the Commentaries on the Laws of England, which was the legal textbook, of sorts, for the Founders. Blackstone was a proponent of the Natural Law right of self-defense. Blackstone called the right to self-defense “the primary law of nature, so it is not, neither can it be . . . , taken away by the law of society.”

A favorite Natural Law philosopher of the Founders’ was John Locke. It was from Locke that the idea of tabula rasa, “government with the consent of the governed” was derived, and most scholars trace the phrase “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” to Locke’s theory of rights.

In regard to self-defense, he stated:

And thus it is that every man in the state of Nature has a power to kill a murderer, both to deter others from doing the like injury (which no reparation can compensate) by the example of the punishment that attends it from everybody, and also to secure men from the attempts of a criminal who, having renounced reason, the common rule and measure God hath given to mankind, hath, by the unjust violence and slaughter he hath committed upon one, declared war against all mankind, and therefore may be destroyed as a lion or a tiger, one of those wild savage beasts with whom men can have no society nor security. And upon this is grounded that great law of nature, “Whoso sheddeth man′s blood, by man shall his blood be shed.” And Cain was so fully convinced that every one had a right to destroy such a criminal, that, after the murder of his brother, he cries out, “Every one that findeth me shall slay me,” so plain was it writ in the hearts of all mankind.

Interestingly, Locke connected this idea of Natural Law back to the Old Testament and the Noahide Law. We will pursue this connection next week.

It it my hope that I have been able to make a clear connection between Natural Law and self-defense. I would be very interested to hear from any pacifists out there that take a contrary position. Is there a Natural Law case for pacifism?

Ex-Gay, No Way?

This Sunday J Michael McKoy (a.k.a. “Mac”) starts his new, nationally-syndicated show, Restoring Hope Live. This show will air on XM/Sirius Radio and focuses on “Helping people Restore Hope within their Families, Friends and Relationships in the wake of Hurts, Habits and Hangups.”Restoring Hope Logo

For their first show, Mac, who rarely shies away from controversial topics, asks this question: “Can Jesus restore a gay person to a Life that God had Created for him?” Mac’s guest for this topic is Jack Morlan, former Iowa Civil Rights Commissioner and Author of Breaking the Chains. During the 70s Morlan was heavily involved in the gay scene.

Until one day, Moran met a man that changed his life. This man’s name was, and is, Jesus.

Stories like Moran’s are a mortal blow to those that want to perpetuate the gay agenda. Their fundamental premise is that homosexuality, like race, is an inborn trait. In which case, issues like gay marriage are a civil rights issue. If homosexuality is actually a behavior there is no legal or constitutional justification for their positions on anything, especially marriage.

Moran’s incredible testimony also shows that those that feel trapped in this sinful lifestyle don’t have have to stay that way forever. There is a way out! And that way is The Way, The Truth, and The Life.

The show will air live this Sunday at 12:00 noon (CDT) on XM/Sirius Christian Talk Channel 131, and WebcastOneLive.com, where they will take phone calls following the live broadcast portion of the show. If you are in church during the live broadcast you can catch the podcasts on the WebcastOneLive website.

Listen in and hear his story as Jack Moran explains how it all happened and how his life has changed. You do not want to miss this incredible testimony!

#PrayForBoston #RepentForAmerica

repentWhen a tragedy like yesterday’s bombing at the Boston Marathon strikes our nation one of the first reactions is to pray. One of the top trending hashtags on Twitter was #PrayForBoston. Facebook and Twitter accounts went up within minutes of the breaking news (some fake, some genuine) that were calling for prayer for Boston. The President echoed these sentiments, saying, “the America people will say a prayer for Boston tonight, and Michelle and I send our deepest thoughts and prayers to the families of the victims in this senseless loss.” But I have to wonder, does God even hear those prayers.

The prophet Isaiah told the people of Israel:

Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened,
That is cannot save;
Nor His ear heavy,
That it cannot hear.
But your iniquities have separated you from you God;
Your sins have hidden his face from you
So that He will not hear.
For your hands are defiled with blood,
And your fingers with iniquity;
Your lips have spoken lies,
Your tongue has muttered perversity.
No one calls for justice,
Nor does any plead for truth.
They trust in empty words and speak lies;
They conceive evil and bring forth iniquity.

Their feet run to evil,
And they make haste to shed innocent blood;
Their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity;
Wasting and destruction are in the paths.
The way of peace they have not known,
And there is no justice in their ways;
They have made themselves crooked paths;
Whoever takes that way shall not know peace (Isaiah 59:1-4; 7-9, NKJV).

As I read these words of the Old Testament prophet, I can’t help but think of the moral state of our nation. Our hands are defiled with the blood of over 3,000 babies every day. Our lips speak the lies by calling good evil, and evil good. Our tongues are muttering perversities by promoting sexually immorality. No one is calling for genuine justice, we’ve actually perverted justice by calling theft “justice”. No one is pleading for truth, rather we are perpetuating lies. There are empty words spoken every day and evil thoughts that lead to sin on a regular basis.

It’s really no wonder that we have been at war for over a decade now. As we continue to ignore God’s Word and travel down crooked paths leading us farther and farther away from God, we will not know peace. Neither will God hear our cries for deliverance.

I wonder if we even believe in this God to whom we are praying? James said that we are to “ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways” (James 1:6-7). Hebrews 11:6 says that “[W]ithout faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” If we do not believe in Him, He cannot be pleased with us, and if we do not seek Him, He will not reward us.

In the words of our President, “We are no longer a Christian nation.” This accepts the fact that we once were a Christian nation. If we are no longer, that necessarily implies that at one point we were. But if we have now rejected God, why would God accept us?

After the nation of Judah rejected Yahweh and went after other gods they were punished and taken into Babylonian captivity for 70 years. While they were in captivity they prayed and fasted. After their return home, the prophet Zechariah records the words of God:

“Say to all the people of the land, and to the priests: ‘When you fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh months during those seventy years, did you really fast for Me—for Me? When you eat and when you drink, do you not eat and drink for yourselves? Should you not have obeyed the words which the Lord proclaimed through the former prophets when Jerusalem and the cities around it were inhabited and prosperous, and the South and the Lowland were inhabited?’” (Zechariah 7:5-7).

So, when we pray and mourn for Boston, are we really praying and mourning for God, or are we praying and mourning to make ourselves feel better? Should we not have obeyed the words of the Lord before these tragedies started happening?

If we would have listened to the preachers of righteousness during the sexual revolution of the 60s and 70s, would we have to pray for a cure for HIV/AIDS and other STDs? If we did not have immoral war policies, would 9/11 have happened and would we need to pray for our soldiers? If our tax policies were not a violation of the 8th Commandment (Thou shalt not steal), would we have this economic crises. If we had not undermined the institution of marriage with no-fault divorce, would our drug, alcohol, and crime problems be as severe? Could it be that obedience to the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God would result in blessings rather than cursings?

We were once a Christian nation. We did at one time honor God and His Law. And there were blessings that followed. It was when we, like Israel, began to forget God and disregard His Law that the problems began.

Zechariah continues:

“But they refused to heed, shrugged their shoulders, and stopped their ears so that they could not hear. Yes, they made their hearts like flint, refusing to hear the law and the words which the Lord of hosts had sent by His Spirit through the former prophets. Thus great wrath came from the Lord of hosts. Therefore it happened, that just as He proclaimed and they would not hear, so they called out and I would not listen,” says the Lord of hosts. “But I scattered them with a whirlwind among all the nations which they had not known. Thus the land became desolate after them, so that no one passed through or returned; for they made the pleasant land desolate” (Zech 7:11-14).

It’s time we start heeding, and stop shrugging our shoulders at God. We need to open our ears and hear, soften our hearts and listen to the words of God.

The good news is that “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” If we start listening to God, God will start listening to us. But it has to start with repentance.

So, next time you send out a tweet with the #PrayForBoston hashtag, add a #RepentForAmerica hashtag. If we will humble ourselves, and pray, and seek God’s face, and turn from our wicked ways, then God will hear from heaven, and will forgive our sin and heal our land. Let it so be, Lord Jesus.

The 2nd Amendment and The Bible: A Historical and Theological Look at the Natural Right of Self-Defense, Part 1

With all the recent talk about gun violence and the 2nd Amendment, the question that many Christians are asking is, “Does the Bible have anything to say about all of this?” This series is my attempt to answer that question. I hope it helps you answer that question and encourages healthy dialogue.

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Clinging to guns and religion?

Allow me to first precede my statements by saying that I have spent a good deal of time over the past few months researching the information I will be presenting. My goal was to find an honest answer to the question of where a Christian ought to stand on the issue of gun control. With that as my guiding desire, as I researched, I tried to approach the question with as few biases as possible. That being said, if anyone finds any flaws in my logic, please, by all means, feel free to bring them to my attention in the comments section below.

This week, we will look at the Historical Context of the 2nd Amendment.

I begin with the premise that the Constitution was written on the contextual foundation of the principles and ideals of the Declaration of Independence. The foundational premise of the Declaration of Independence is of course:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Thus the Bill of Rights could be considered a list of laws that secure the God-given, unalienable Rights of Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness (or property).

With that in mind, let’s examine the Second Amendment itself. The text of the Second Amendment states:

A well regulated Militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed.

It is important to note that the Second Amendment did not grant the right to keep and bear arms. That right existed prior to the writing of the Bill of Rights as is implied in the text. The amendment clearly states that the right to keep and bear arms “shall not be infringed.” There is no establishing of this right, the right is already there, thus the 2nd amendment is, again, a law that secures a right that already exists.

It is often argued that the historical context of the Second Amendment — namely the Revolutionary War period and the establishment of a new nation, one without a standing army — negates the validity of the Second Amendment today. Second Amendment opponents claim that because the U.S. has an Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps, and because state and local governments provide a National Guard, a Coast Guard, and state and local police forces who are all supplied with firearms by their respective governments that employ them, the necessity of a “well regulated militia” has been met and the right to keep and bear arms does not apply to individuals. That argument, however, completely ignores other historical contexts surrounding the Second Amendment.

In his popular edition of Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws of England (1803), St. George Tucker, a lawyer, Revolutionary War militia officer, legal scholar, and later a U.S. District Court judge (appointed by James Madison in 1813), wrote of the Second Amendment:

The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed, and this without any qualification as to their condition or degree, as is the case in the British government.

In the appendix to the Commentaries, Tucker elaborates further:

This may be considered as the true palladium of liberty… The right of self- defense is the first law of nature; in most governments it has been the study of rulers to confine this right within the narrowest limits possible. Whenever standing armies are kept up, and the right of the people to keep and bear arms is, under any color or pretext whatsoever, prohibited, liberty, if not already annihilated, is on the brink of destruction (emphasis mine). In England, the people have been disarmed, generally, under the specious pretext of preserving the game: a never failing lure to bring over the landed aristocracy to support any measure, under that mask, though calculated for very different purposes. True it is, their bill of rights seems at first view to counteract this policy: but the right of bearing arms is confined to protestants, and the words suitable to their condition and degree, have been interpreted to authorise the prohibition of keeping a gun or other engine for the destruction of game, to any farmer, or inferior tradesman, or other person not qualified to kill game. So that not one man in five hundred can keep a gun in his house without being subject to a penalty (emphasis mine).

Tucker’s words offer pretty solid historical context that proves that the so-called “militia clause” was not intended to limit this amendment to militia members. His use of the phrase “The right of self-defense…” in the appendix shows the proper understanding of the Founders. Self-defense and national defense are clearly contrasted here.

Also, Tucker’s reference to “the first law of nature” confirms that the Founders saw the 2nd amendment and the right to self-defense as a God-given, natural right.

In his work, “A View of the Constitution of the United States of America” (1829), which became a constitutional law textbook at West Point and other institutions, U.S. Attorney for Pennsylvania, William Rawle, describes the scope of the Second Amendment’s right to keep and bear arms:

The prohibition is general. No clause in the constitution could by any rule of construction be conceived to give congress a power to disarm the people. Such a flagitious attempt could only be made under some general pretence by a state legislature. But if in any blind pursuit of inordinate power, either should attempt it, this amendment may be appealed to as a restraint on both.

Seems pretty straightforward. Neither a state nor the federal government has any constitutional authority to disarm its citizens. If the Army training facility’s textbook on constitutional law takes the position that the government cannot disarm the people, the argument that the Second amendment is negated by the existence of a standing army is completely fallacious!

A personal favorite, Justice Joseph Story (my home county is named for him), who was appointed to the Supreme Court as an Associate Justice by James Madison in 1811, wrote a constitutional commentary in 1833. In his comments on the Second Amendment, he writes:

The next amendment is: “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”
The importance of this article will scarcely be doubted by any persons, who have duly reflected upon the subject. The militia is the natural defence of a free country against sudden foreign invasions, domestic insurrections, and domestic usurpations of power by rulers. It is against sound policy for a free people to keep up large military establishments and standing armies in time of peace, both from the enormous expenses, with which they are attended, and the facile means, which they afford to ambitious and unprincipled rulers, to subvert the government, or trample upon the rights of the people. The right of the citizens to keep and bear arms has justly been considered, as the palladium of the liberties of a republic; since it offers a strong moral check against the usurpation and arbitrary power of rulers; and will generally, even if these are successful in the first instance, enable the people to resist and triumph over them.

The Supreme Court of Tennessee summed it up best in Andrews v. State (1871) when they stated that:

[T]his passage from Story, shows clearly that this right was intended, as we have maintained in this opinion, and was guaranteed to, and to be exercised and enjoyed by the citizen as such, and not by him as a soldier, or in defense solely of his political rights.

Justice Story would have lamented the fact that we now have a large military establishment and would likely be sounding the alarm against tyranny and the alienation of our unalienable Rights. And I can’t say that I disagree with his logic or his conclusion.

Another of the ideologies in the Declaration of Independence that made these United States possible was the understanding that “whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it”. Upon this revelation Alexander Hamilton bases the idea that the right to self-defense is the “original right” in Federalist Paper No. 28:

If the representatives of the people betray their constituents, there is then no recourse left but in the exertion of that original right of self-defense which is paramount to all positive forms of government, and which against the usurpations of the national rulers may be exerted with infinitely better prospect of success than against those of the rulers of an individual State. In a single State, if the persons intrusted with supreme power become usurpers, the different parcels, subdivisions, or districts of which it consists, having no distinct government in each, can take no regular measures for defense. The citizens must rush tumultuously to arms, without concert, without system, without resource; except in their courage and despair (emphasis mine).

We can conclude, based upon the historical evidence, that the Founders thought that this “original right” was necessary for the securing of the God-given “unalienable rights” listed in the Declaration of Independence. In order to enjoy the rights of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness, we must be able to secure and defend those rights. Thus the right to defend one’s self is central to the philosophy of the Founders and the 2nd Amendment and directly connected to the idea that these rights are apart of Natural Law.

Another beneficial aid to interpreting the Bill of Rights are the various state constitutions that were written contemporaneously. These documents are especially insightful when in comes to the Second Amendment on numerous levels. Provisions for the right to bear arms are contained in 44 of the 50 state constitutions, making the Second Amendment one of the most reiterated right of the Bill of Rights. And often, the language used in the state constitutions is less ambiguous, giving us a clear understanding of the thought behind the Second Amendment and the right to bear arms.

The present-day Pennsylvania Constitution, using language adopted in 1790, declares in article 1, section 21:

The right of the citizens to bear arms in defence of themselves and the State shall not be questioned.

Compare that to Pennsylvania’s first constitution, adopted in 1776, stated in its Declaration of Rights:

That the people have a right to bear arms for the defence of themselves and the state; and as standing armies in the time of peace are dangerous to liberty, they ought not to be kept up; And that the military should be kept under strict subordination, to, and governed by, the civil power.

Adopted in 1777, the Vermont Constitution closely resembles the Pennsylvania Constitution. It states:

That the people have a right to bear arms for the defence of themselves and the State — and as standing armies in time of peace are dangerous to liberty, they ought not to be kept up; and that the military should be kept under strict subordination to and governed by the civil power.

Based upon this historical look we can reasonably conclude that the 2nd amendment was of vital importance to the framers of the Constitution and that it was originally about individual self-defense.

Next week, we will look beyond the Founders at the Natural Law context of the 2nd Amendment and self-defense in order to better understand where and how the concept of the 2nd Amendment was derived.

#Gosnell: What The Media Doesn’t Want You To See

Why are the major media outlets not covering this story about Kermit Gosnell, a West Philadelphia abortionist that is on trial for the murder of seven babies? Watch this 20 minute documentary and find out:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J7YmrsY4KSY

Marriage, Homosexuality, and The Bible, Part 2

Is Conservative Theology on Homosexuality Clear or Queer?

This is part 2 of a series on what the Bible has to say about marriage and homosexuality (Part 1 is available here).

Christians that hold to a conservative interpretation of what the Bible says about marriage and homosexuality are often labeled as backwards, archaic, and on the wrong side of history. Is this the case? Or are conservative Christians correct when they say that their reading of the Biblical texts about marriage and homosexuality are timeless and not subject to social evolution?

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If you can’t beat ’em, ad hominem!

What Does The Bible Say About Homosexuality?

First and foremost, nowhere does the Bible single out homosexual activity as a sin that is worse than any other sexual sin. Homosexual activity is included in the prohibitions against all sexual activity outside of marriage. Incest in any form, adultery, homosexuality, beastiality, polygamy and fornication are all prohibited in the Bible.

Some would argue that such teachings are archaic and should be ignored, just like we ignore other laws of the Bible. The argument looks something like this:

  • Premise 1: Eating of shellfish is an abomination according to the Bible.
  • Premise 2: Homosexuality is an abomination according to the Bible.
  • Premise 3: Christians ignore the laws about eating shellfish.
  • Conclusion: Therefore, Christians ought to be able to ignore the laws about homosexuality.

The website godhatesshrimp.com exists to expose this perceived hypocrisy in a satiric way. For a more in-your-face example of this argument, watch this video of gay-activist Dan Savage as he bullies high school students at an anti-bully conference (Warning: Contains offensive language).

The problem here is a misunderstanding of the context of the Law, specifically the Levitical Law. Not all of Leviticus is written to everyone. There were laws and abominations that were specific for the Jews. The law against the eating of shellfish (Lev 11:9-12) is one of those laws. This is made clear by the context. God says, “Speak to the children of Israel, saying…” (Lev. 19:1, NKJV). Additionally, in Lev. 11:9-12, the dietary abominations are declared to be “abominations to you.” Three times God says, “They are/shall be an abomination to you.”

Contrast that with what God says about the sexual abominations in Lev. 18:

You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination. Nor shall you mate with any animal, to defile yourself with it. Nor shall any woman stand before an animal to mate with it. It is perversion.
Do not defile yourselves with any of these things; for by all these the nations are defiled, which I am casting out before you. For the land is defiled; therefore I visit the punishment of its iniquity upon it, and the land vomits out its inhabitants. You shall therefore keep My statutes and My judgments, and shall not commit any of these abominations, either any of your own nation or any stranger who dwells among you (for all these abominations the men of the land have done, who were before you, and thus the land is defiled), lest the land vomit you out also when you defile it, as it vomited out the nations that were before you. For whoever commits any of these abominations, the persons who commit them shall be cut off from among their people.
Therefore you shall keep My ordinance, so that you do not commit any of these abominable customs which were committed before you, and that you do not defile yourselves by them: I am the Lord your God’” (Lev. 18:22-30, NKJV).

It is important to notice the repeated use of the plural “abominations.” Homosexuality is not the only abomination God is warning against.

So, what abominations is God warning against? Contextually, chapter 17 is about blood atonement procedures, so that is for Israel, not for everyone. In Chapter 18 God says to Israel, “According to the doings of the land of Egypt, where you dwelt, you shall not do; and according to the doings of the land of Canaan, where I am bringing you, you shall not do;” (vs 3, NKJV).  So, now instead of it applying only to Israel, God mentions things that are done by Egypt and the land of Canaan. In other words, these sexual acts were already abominations before God gave the Levitical law. What were the things those other nations did?  The chapter contains the following:

  • Vs 6-18, don’t uncover the nakedness of various relatives.
  • Vs 19, don’t have sexual relations with woman on her period
  • Vs 20. don’t have intercourse with your neighbor’s wife
  • Vs 21, don’t offer children to Molech
  • Vs 22, don’t lie with a male as with a female
  • Vs 23, don’t have intercourse with animals

In essence, not all abominations are equal. There are abominations in Leviticus only for the Israelites, and there are abominations that were for non-Israelites that pre-existed the Levitical Law.  It is in the latter group that homosexuality is listed. To mix topics intended only for Israel with topics that included the non-Israelites is mistaken hermeneutics at best and blatant dishonesty at worst.

To further illustrate the point that these abominations pre-existed the Levitical Law we can look at Paul’s words in the first chapter of Romans:

The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in the thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, . . . For this reason God gave them up to file passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due (Rom 1:18-22; 24-27, NKJV).

There is no mention of the Law of Moses here. In fact, the context of the first three chapters of Romans clearly shows that Paul is specifically referring to those who did not have the special revelation of the Law of Moses. In the next chapter, Paul states:

[F]or when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves, who show the work of the law written on their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them (Rom 2:14-15, NKJV).

So, we can clearly see that sexual immorality was already part of the broader Natural Law that has existed from the foundation of the world. When God created the heavens and the earth, He also created the Laws of Nature. The Egyptians and Canaanites ought to have been able to understand that their sexual actions were immoral even without the special revelation of the Law of Moses.

Also, because the prohibition against sexual immorality (including homosexuality) is found in the New Testament as well as the Old Testament, we can conclude that God’s position never changes. God’s disdain against homosexual activity appears as early as the first book in the Bible:

Now before they law down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, both old and young, all the people from every quarter, surrounded the house. And they called to Lot and said to him, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us that we may know them carnally.”
So Lot went out to them through the doorway, shut the door behind him, and said, “Please, my brethren, do not do so wickedly! See now, I have two daughters who have not known a man; please, let me bring them out to you, and you may do to them as you wish; only do nothing to these men, since this is the reason they have come under the shadow of my roof” (Gen 19:4-8, NKJV).

Again, we see that Lot, who lived hundreds of years prior to the giving of the Law of Moses, understood that homosexual activity was wicked. The Law of Moses was not needed for this truth to be understood because it was evidenced through the Natural Law. God codified this Natural Law in the Law of Moses and this teaching was perpetuated with the New Testament church.

In addition to Paul’s teaching to the believers in Rome that we have already mentioned, Paul states to the church in Corinth:

Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God (I Cor 6:9-10, NKJV).

From the earliest record in the Bible to the some of the last, Scripture categorically condemns homosexual behavior. This is understood even by those in the gay community. Pim Pronk, a gay biologist, theologian, and philosopher states:

To sum up: wherever homosexual intercourse is mentioned in Scripture, it is condemned. With reference to it the New Testament adds no arguments to those of the Old. Rejection is a foregone conclusion; the assessment of it nowhere constitutes a problem. It obviously has to be repeated from time to time, but the phenomenon as such nowhere becomes the focus of moral attention. It is never condemned in isolation but always in association with other major sins; unchastity, violence, moral corruption, and idolatry.

Even glbtq.com, which claims to be “the worlds largest encyclopedia of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer culture,” acknowledges this fact:

The bad news from the Christian bible is that it condemns same-sex desire and same-sex acts without qualification of age, gender, role, status, consent, or membership in an ethnic community.

If the Bible is so clear, why are there so many so-called Christian leaders (like Rob Bell) and Christian churches (like the Episcopalian Church) that condone the same practice that the Bible condemns?

If our culture would take an honest look at what the Bible says about marriage and homosexuality, not only would we come to the conclusion that homosexual marriage should not be promoted, but also that homosexual practice should not be permitted and that both ought to be prohibited.

Marriage, Homosexuality, and The Bible, Part 1

Is Conservative Theology on Marriage Clear or Queer?

This is part 1 of a series on what the Bible has to say about marriage and homosexuality.

Christians that hold to a conservative interpretation of what the Bible says about marriage and homosexuality are often labeled as backwards, archaic, and on the wrong side of history. Is this the case? Or are conservative Christians correct when they say that their reading of the Biblical texts about marriage and homosexuality are timeless and not subject to social evolution?

Straw man, anyone?

What Does the Bible Say About Marriage?

The first mention of the institution of the family mentioned in the Bible is found in Genesis where God says, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make a companion for him who corresponds to him” (Gen 2:18, NET).

The Hebrew expression כְּנֶגְדּוֹ (kÿnegdo) that is translated as “corresponds to him” literally means “according to the opposite of him.” Translations such as “suitable [for]” (NASB, NIV), “matching,” “corresponding to” all capture the idea. (Translations that render the phrase simply “partner” [cf. NEB, NRSV], while not totally inaccurate, do not reflect the nuance of correspondence and/or suitability.) The man’s form and nature are matched by the woman’s as she reflects him and complements him. Together they correspond. In short, this prepositional phrase indicates that she has everything that God had invested in him (1).

Marriage, according to the Bible, was a creation of God. Marriage was not instituted by government, nor was it developed by a social organization. God had a plan (“I will make…) to provide a “companion” or, as other translations say, a “helper” for the man. The word for “companion” is עֵזֶר (’ezer) and is used elsewhere to describe God (Exodus 18:4; Psalm 121:1, 2). The implication here is that the wife, like God, is someone who does for the man what he cannot do for himself. In other words, the wife meets the needs of the husband. It also logically follows that the husband meets the needs of the wife. The two are an indispensable pair. This was God’s plan.

Then God gave Adam a job:

He brought them [the animals] to the man to see what he would name them, and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. So the man named all the animals, the birds of the air, and the living creatures of the field, but for Adam no companion who corresponded to him was found (Gen 2:19b-20, NET).

The point of the animals on parade is clear: none of the animals could meet Adams needs. A special creative act was required. So God made Eve. She was equal, but different. She was complementary. When Adam saw Eve, he knew she was perfect for him:

This one at last is bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
this one will be called ‘woman,’
for she was taken out of man (Gen 2:23, NET).

And then, Moses, the writer of Genesis explains this entire scene by telling us “That is why a man leaves his father and mother and unites with his wife, and they become a new family” (Gen 2:24, NET).

Here we find God’s definition of marriage: one man, one woman, for life. Heterosexual monogamy is the only approved marriage relationship in the Bible.

Jesus affirms this view. He actually quotes the words of Moses mentioned above. Matthew 19 records:

The Pharisees also came to Him, testing Him, and saying to Him, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for just any reason?”
And He answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate” (Matt 19:3-6, NKJV).

The only kind of marriage that Jesus endorsed was the same kind of marriage that was initiated at the beginning: one man, one woman, for life. Again, heterosexual monogamy is the only approved marriage relationship in the Bible. The Pharisees did go on and ask about Moses and his allowance for divorce, and Jesus again went back to the creation account and states, “from the beginning it was not so.” Jesus’ emphasis on the original intent of the Creator on the issue of marriage clearly shows that He would not have endorsed or condoned same-sex marriage. The very concept would have actually been unheard of in Jesus’ time. Although homosexual practice was normal and accepted, it was done for recreational purposes. Even the pagan Romans understood that marriage was and ought to be limited to a man and a woman.

The entire scene from Genesis of the creation of the man and the woman would have been incredibly radical at the time that Moses recorded it. No other ancient eastern religion honored the female as an equal partner to the man, and no other ancient eastern moral code commanded sexual fidelity for a husband and wife. In fact, the very opposite was the case. By the time the Torah was given to Moses and the Jews, religions taught unbridled sexual activity as worship to their gods. In Egypt, Mesopotamia, Phoenicia, Cyrus, Canaan and others, temple prostitution and ritualistic sexual acts were part of their laws and history. This practice became the norm in almost every religious system. The Babylonian goddess Ishtar had seduced a man. The Egyptian god Asiris had an incestuous relationship with his sister. Krishna, the Hindu god, was a polygamist. Zeus married his sister Hera.

Also contemporaneous with the early Jewish religious law was the practice of homosexuality. Gender, when it came to sexual activity, was a non-issue. This can be seen in the laws of Leviticus 18 where God warns the Hebrews against sexual immorality:

Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘I am the Lord your God. According to the doings of the land of Egypt, where you dwelt, you shall not do; and according to the doings of the land of Canaan, where I am bringing you, you shall not do; nor shall you walk in their ordinances. You shall observe My judgments and keep My ordinances, to walk in them: I am the Lord your God. You shall therefore keep My statutes and My judgments, which if a man does, he shall live by them: I am the Lord (Lev 18:1-5, NKJV).

They were obviously very familiar with the sexual practices of the Egyptians and would see the same things happening in the land which there were about to enter.

This is the historic and cultural context into which the Torah entered. And it was this kind of thinking that God was trying to get the Hebrews to unlearn. In the Hebrew religion, man was not conceived in a sexual act, but created in a supernatural one. Sex is not recreational activity or worship to their deity, but a sacred act reserved for a matrimonial union. Thus, any sexual activity outside of heterosexual monogamy was prohibited. This was contrary to the aforementioned religious ideologies and shows that the Judeo-Christian God is countercultural, and therefore not just some idea conceived in the mind of man.

Tomorrow we will look at what the Bible has to say about homosexuality.

Five Foundational F.A.C.T.S. About God

FACTSThe Bible tells us that we can know that God is by looking at the world around us. Paul makes this argument in Romans, “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse” (Rom 1:20, NKJV). The Psalmist David takes a similar position:

The heavens declare the glory of God;
And the firmament shows His handiwork.
Day unto day utters speech,
And night unto night reveals knowledge.
There is no speech nor language
Where their voice is not heard.
Their line has gone out through all the earth,
And their words to the end of the world (Psalms 19:1-4b, NKJV).

But beyond that general revelation of His existence can we know who God is? Can we know what He is like? Can we know HIs personality? The answer to all of these questions is, yes!

We will examine five of these traits of God using the acronym F.A.C.T.S.

F – God Is Forgiving

The forgiveness of God is possibly the most important and incredible aspect of who He is.

We are all sinners. And it doesn’t take very long for our sinfulness to come to the surface. As children, when mom told you not to eat the cookies in the cookie jar, you disobeyed and ate the cookies. Then, when mom discovered that there were cookies missing from the cookie jar, she asked if you ate the cookies and you, with crumbs falling from the corners of your mouth shook your head and said, “No, mommy. I did not eat the cookies from the cookie jar.” In one episode we have just broken four of the Ten Commandments; we coveted the cookies (commandment 10), we stole the cookies (commandment 8), we lied (commandment 9), and we dishonored our mother (commandment 5). Four out of ten, that’s 40% wrong. That’s a failing grade on any test. Thus, by the age of four or so, we are all dirty, rotten sinners and it gets worse after that.

Our natural tendency is to do things our way instead of God’s way. Paul, quoting from the Old Testament tells us that:

“There is none righteous, no, not one;
There is none who understands;
There is none who seeks after God.
They have all turned aside;
They have together become unprofitable;
There is non who does good, no, not one.”
“Their throat in as open tomb;
With their tongues they have practiced deceit”;
“The poison of asps is under their lips”;
“Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness.”
“Their feet are swift to shed blood;
Destruction and misery are in their ways;
And they way of peace they have not known.”
“There is no fear of God before their eyes” (Romans 3:10-18).

This is a pretty grim picture of the human condition.

Paul goes on and says that “…all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 10:23), and that “…the wages of sin is death…” (Romans 6:23). God is prepared to judge and condemn us for our sin. But the good news is that He is also prepared to forgive us if we repent. Paul doesn’t stop with the bad news, in Romans 3, he goes on and says that we are:

Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus (Romans 3:24-26).

And in Romans 6, Paul contrasts the death wages of sin with the gift of God: eternal life.

God is so willing to forgive us that He became a human being and died for our sins. He paid the price for your sin with His death on the cross. He was buried. He rose from the dead. Thus He conquered death, Hell, and the grave. We can also beat death, Hell and the grave by identifying with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

A -God Is Approachable

During His time on the earth, Jesus taught that God was approachable. Luke records that Jesus said:

So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened (Luke 11:9-10, NKJV).

Not only is God approachable, He expects and wants us to approach Him. God invites us to talk with Him and express our concerns to Him. And, as the cliché goes, “You don’t have to get good to get God.” God does not care how we come to Him, He just wants us to come.

The Lord is near to all who call upon Him,
To all who all upon Him in truth.
He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him;
He also will here their cry and save them (Psalm 145:18-19).

C – God Is Creative

As humans, when we create something, we use previously existing matter. But God created that matter out of nothing by speaking everything into existence. Not only did God create the heavens and the earth and everything in them, He also continues to create life in us and create solutions to our problems. God wants to use His creative abilities for us. In Psalms 121 the psalmist asks and answers a rhetorical question:

From whence comes my help?
My help comes from the Lord,
Who made heaven and earth (Psalm 121:1b-2).

Because God had the power and ability to make everything, He has the power and ability to fix anything. We can put our trust in His creative power for our lives.

T – God is Transparent

As we’ve already mentioned God has revealed to us who He is. God tells us His thoughts and feelings, and He is honest and transparent about it. Everything God says about Himself is true and trustworthy. Psalms 92:15 states, “…the Lord is upright; He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.” Likewise, Numbers 23:19 declares:

God is not a man, that He should lie,
Nor a son of man, that He should repent.
Has He said, and will He not do?
Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?

This aspect of God is also reiterated in the New Testament. Paul states in his letter to Titus that “God, who cannot lie, promised [hope of eternal life] before time began” (Titus 1:2). Hebrews 6:18 says that “it is impossible for God to lie.” Also, James states that “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning” (James 1:17).

The prophecies of the Old Testament prove this. Everything that God said would happen before now has happened — just as God said it would. Some of these prophecies are predictions of future occurrences, some are warnings, some are instructions, some are revelations concerning the Divine character, and some are statements of simple fact. The common thread running through all of these prophetic statements is that they are all true. God has never reneged. He has never lied. He has never even made an “honest mistake”.

Not only is God incapable of lying, is is not tempted to lie. There is no such thing as a compromising situation for God. He does not need to make up false accomplishments or attributes.

Interestingly, Paul, who made the bold claim in his letter to Titus that God cannot lie, wrote to Titus who was ministering to the Cretans (Titus 1:5), who were known for their dishonesty. Cretans were polytheists, and their numerous gods had numerous personalities. Paul was giving Titus a clear contrast between those gods and the Christian God. Not only does this contrast exists between the Christian God and other gods, but it also exists between God and Satan, the father of lies.

We ought to be thankful that we serve a God Who does not, will not, and cannot go back on His word. This transparency and honesty means that we can trust God to fulfill His promise of eternal life for those who serve and obey Him.

S – God Is Self-Revealing

God’s desire is to have a two-way relationship with us. A prerequisite for any relationship is personal knowledge of the other individual in the relationship. So we must be able to go beyond the understanding that God exists and find out more about Him.

Hebrews 11:6 shows this progression of knowledge of God, “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” The first necessity is believing that God exists. That belief will lead us to seek Him in a diligent fashion. That search will subsequently be rewarded. Speaking through the prophet Jeremiah, the Lord said, “Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.” God wants to be found by us and has given us plenty of evidence for His existence and plenty of information about who He is.

In the Old Testament, God gave special revelations of who He is to certain individuals that sought Him. Abraham obeyed God and followed after Him, and as a result of His obedience God rewarded Abraham by showing him some of the divine attributes of God. The same thing happened with Jacob. Moses is also a great example. Moses witnessed the first written revelation of God on Mount Sinai where God gave His people the Law. The Bible records numerous conversations between God and Moses. Moses was even called the friend of God. The prophets of the Old Testament also received rewards of special revelation from God. To Jeremiah, whom we’ve already quoted, God also said:

Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom,
Let not the mighty man glory in his might,
Nor let the rich man glory in his riches;
But let him who glories glory in this,
That he understands and knows Me,
That I am the LORD, exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth.
For in these I delight,” says the LORD (Jeremiah 9:23-24, NKJV)

Thus not only does God declare to Jeremiah that He can be understood and known, God then proceeds to give Jeremiah some understanding and knowledge about the nature of God. When we believe that God exists and search for Him, we will likewise be rewarded with understanding and knowledge about Him.

Because of these F.A.C.T.S. we can echo the sentiments of David:

In You, Lord my God,
I Put my trust.
I trust in You;
Do not let me be put to shame,
Nor let my enemies triumph over me.
No one who hopes in You
Will ever be put to shame (Psalms 25:1-3a).