Wednesday, May 31, 2006


According to the Hebrew Bible, Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt, and received the Torah of Judaism from God on Mount Sinai. The Torah contains the life story of Moses and his people until his death at the age of 120 years, according to some calculations in the year 2488, or 1272 BC. Consequently, "may you live to 120" has become a common blessing among Jews.

Moses's greatest legacy was probably expounding the doctrine of monotheism, which was not widely accepted at the time, codifying it in Jewish religion with the 1st Commandment, and punishing polytheists. He is revered as a prophet in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.


Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Ken Ham

Kenneth Alfred Ham (b. October 20, 1951) is the president of Answers in Genesis USA and Joint CEO of Answers in Genesis International. He is a well-known young Earth creationist.

Ham was born in Queensland, Australia but moved to the United States of America in 1987. He has a bachelor's degree in applied science (with an emphasis on environmental biology) from the Queensland Institute of Technology. He also holds a Diploma of Education from the University of Queensland. Jerry Falwell, a Baptist preacher and chancellor of the Baptist Liberty University, granted Ham an honorary doctorate of literature.


Occam's Razor

In the philosophy of religion Occam's Razor is sometimes used to challenge arguments for the existence of God: if there is no need for a "God" (to explain the universe), then the God construct is subject to elimination via Occam's Razor.

Occam's Razor is a scientific principle that says we should not multiply causes beyond what is necessary to explain the effect. Since one Creator is sufficient to explain the effect, you would be unwarranted in going beyond the evidence to posit a plurality.

An example of such an argument would take this form: we have a set of models which does a good job of predicting various aspects of our experience (theories from physics, biology, psychology, etc.). Taken together these constitute a larger model of our overall experience, call it a World model. Elements (sub-models) of this World model which do not contribute to the precision or improve the accuracy of the model should be "cut away" with Occam's Razor. Given this foundation it can be seen that World models including God have an extra element that does not improve accuracy or precision.

A common response is that God can "simplify" the world model, for instance by providing a less complex explanation of the origin of species via creationism (i.e. even though we are adding the God-submodel we are removing a more complicated "evolution" model achieving a simpler theory). Concurrently, some over-simplify Ockham's principles as meaning "the easiest explanation must be correct" and argue that given the complexity of the Universe and the extremely small chance that it would have developed this way simply by a series of accidents, there must be a driving force that built the universe to be so complex. However, such arguments are problematic on at least two counts (aside from describing natural processes as "accidents").


Monday, May 29, 2006

Intelligent Design

More and more of the scientific community are beginning to view intelligent design as a valid scientific theory.

When asked about the Miller experiment, Jonathan Wells said,

"I'll tell you this: you do not get amino acids, that's for sure... Some texbooks fudge by saying, well, even if you use a realistic atmosphere, you still get organic molecules, as if that solves the problem." -Jonathan Wells, A Case for a Creator, Lee Strobel, pg. 37

Stephen C. Meyer said,

"...if it's true there's a beginning to the universe, as modern cosmologists agree, then this implies a cause that transcends the universe. If the laws of Physics are fine-tuned to permit life, as contemporary physicists are discovering, then perhaps there's a designer who fine tuned them. If there's information in the cell, as molecular biology shows, then this suggests intelligent design. To get life going in the first place would have required biological information; the implications point beyond the material realm to a prior intelligent cause." -Stephen C. Meyer, in A Case for a Creator, Lee Stobel, 74


Constantine the Great

Gaius Flavius Valerius Aurelius Constantinus (Latin: IMP CÆSAR FLAVIVS CONSTANTINVS PIVS FELIX INVICTVS AVGVSTVS) (February 27, 272–May 22, 337), commonly known as Constantine I, Constantine the Great, or (among Orthodox Christians) Saint Constantine, was proclaimed Augustus by his troops on July 25, 306 and ruled an ever-growing portion of the Roman Empire until his death. Constantine is famed for his refounding of Byzantium (modern Istanbul) as "Nova Roma" (New Rome) or Constantinople (Constantine's City).


Friday, May 26, 2006

Intelligent design

Intelligent design (ID) is the concept that "certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection." Its leading proponents, all of whom are affiliated with the Discovery Institute, say that intelligent design is a scientific theory that stands on equal footing with, or is superior to, current scientific theories regarding the origin of life.

More and more of the scientific community are beginning to view intelligent design as a valid scientific theory.


Thursday, May 25, 2006

Doctrine of the Trinity

God is a single being existing simultaneously as three distinct persons: The Father, The Son, and the Holy Spirit. The doctrine of the trinity is a reference to the "tri-unity" of God. There is only one God, but this God is a unity of one (Deuteronomy 6:4; Isaiah 44:6-8; 45:5-6; 1 Tim 2:5; 1 Cor 8:4). This God is also a complexity within unity (Gen. 2:24; 11:6; 1 Cor 3:6-8).

Scripture and tradition
The word "Trinity" comes from "Trinitas", a Latin abstract noun that most literally means "three-ness" (or "the property of occurring three at once"). Or, simply put, "three are one". The first recorded use of this Latin word was by Tertullian in about 200, to refer to Father, Son and Holy Spirit, or, in general, to any set of three things.


Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Dan Brown

Dan Brown (born June 22, 1964) is an American author of thriller fiction, best known for writing the controversial 2003 bestseller, The Da Vinci Code.

Early lifeDan Brown was born and raised in Exeter, New Hampshire, the oldest of three children.

His mother Constance (Connie) was a professional musician, playing organ at church. Brown's father Richard G. Brown taught high school mathematics at Phillips Exeter Academy from 1962 until his retirement in 1997. Richard was a prominent mathematician -- he wrote the bestselling mathematics textbook Advanced Mathematics: Precalculus with Discrete Mathematics and Data Analysis, and had been offered a job at the National Security Agency, but declined because he did not want to move his family out of New Hampshire. Richard was also chosen by President George H.W. Bush to receive the "Presidential Award for Excellence in Science and Mathematics Teaching."


Tuesday, May 23, 2006

First Council of Nicaea

The First Council of Nicaea, convoked by the Roman emperor Constantine the great in ad 325, was the first ecumenical conference of bishops of the Christian church.

The purpose of the council (also called a synod) was to resolve disagreements in the church of Alexandria over the nature of Jesus in relationship to the father: in particular whether Jesus was of the same or of similar substance as God the Father. St. Alexander of Alexandria took the first position; the popular presbyter arius, from whom the term arian controversy comes, took the second. The council decided against the Arians.

Another result of the council was an agreement on the date of the Christian Passover, now called Easter, the most important feast of the church's life. The council decided in favour of celebrating passover on the first Sunday after the Spring Equinox, independently of the bible's Hebrew calendar, and authorized the Bishop of Alexandria (presumably using the Alexandrian calendar) to annually announce the exact date to his fellow bishops.


Monday, May 22, 2006

Josephus on Jesus

In 93, the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus published his work Antiquities of the Jews. The extant copies of this work, which all derive from Christian sources, even the recently recovered Arabic version, contain two passages about Jesus. The one directly concerning Jesus has come to be known as the Testimonium Flavianum, and its authenticity has been disputed since the 17th century. The other passage concerns James the brother of Jesus.
Testimonium FlavianumGreek versionThe passage appears in Antiquities of the Jews xviii 3.3, which, in the translation of William Whiston, reads:

3. Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him
a man; for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive
the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews and many of
the Gentiles. He was [the] Christ. And when Pilate, at the suggestion of the
principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him
at the first did not forsake him; for he appeared to them alive again the third
day; as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful
things concerning him. And the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not
extinct at this day. As usual with ancient texts, the surviving sources for this
passage are Greek manuscripts, all minuscules, the oldest of which dates from
the 9th century. It is likely that these all derive from a single exemplar
written in uncial, as is the case with most other ancient Greek texts
transmitted to the present in medieval copies, and have come down through the
hands of the church. The text of Antiquities appears to have been transmitted in
two halves — books 1–10 and books 11–20. But other ad hoc copies of this passage
also exist. However, other manuscripts existed which did not contain this
passage, and one such was known to Isaac Vossius.

There are also citations in other writers of antiquity.


Sunday, May 21, 2006

Mount of Olives

The Mount of Olives (also Mount Olivet, Hebrew: Har HaZeitim הר הזיתים, sometimes Jebel et-Tur, "Mount of the Summit," or Jebel ez-Zeitun, "Mount of Olives") is a mountain ridge to the east of Jerusalem. It is named from the olive trees with which its sides are clothed. At the foot of the mountain is the Gardens of Gethsemane where Jesus stayed in Jerusalem. The Mount of Olives is the site of many important Biblical events.

In the Book of Zechariah the Mount of Olives is identified as the place from which God will begin to redeem the dead at the end of days. For this reason, Jews have always sought to be buried on the mountain, and from Biblical times to the present day the mountain has been used as a cemetery for the Jews of Jerusalem.


Saturday, May 20, 2006

Billy Graham

The Rev. Dr. William Franklin Graham, Jr. KBE (born November 7, 1918 in Charlotte, North Carolina), commonly known as Billy Graham, is an American Christian evangelist. He has often advised U.S. presidents and continues to be listed as one of the "Ten Most Admired Men in the World" in Gallup Polls. He is of Scottish descent.

Raised as a Presbyterian, Billy Graham switched denominations to Southern Baptist in 1934 during a Christian revival meeting conducted by Mordecai Ham. Graham was ordained a Southern Baptist minister in 1939.

After graduating from Sharon High School in May 1936, Graham attended Bob Jones College (now Bob Jones University) but found it to be extremely fundamentalist and, considering this disobliging, he transferred to the Florida Bible Institute, now Trinity College of Florida, in 1937 and graduated from Wheaton College in 1943. It was during his time at Wheaton that Graham decided to take the Bible as the infallible word of God. Henrietta Mears of the First Presbyterian Church of Hollywood was instrumental in helping Graham wrestle with the infallibility issue, which was settled at Forest Home Christian camp (now called Forest Home Ministries) southeast of the Big Bear area in Southern California. A simple memorial there still marks the site of Graham's decision. He also married Ruth Bell, whose parents were Christian missionary doctors in China. He and his wife have three daughters, two sons (including Franklin Graham, who now administers his organization), 20 grandchildren and 25 great grandchildren.


Friday, May 19, 2006

Da Vinci Code

The Da Vinci Code, a popular and controversial fictional novel by Dan Brown, generated criticism when first published in 2003. Many of the complaints center around the book's speculations and alleged misrepresentations of core aspects of Christianity and the history of the Roman Catholic Church, with additional criticisms being generated by the book's descriptions of European art, history, and architecture.

Though it is true that the book is a work of fiction, the book's opening claim that "all descriptions of artwork, architecture, documents, and secret rituals in this novel are accurate" has led some readers to consider The Da Vinci Code a genuine exposé of orthodox Christianity's past. As a result, the book has attracted a generally negative response from elements within the Catholic and other Christian communities, as well as from historians, arguing that Brown has distorted – and in some cases fabricated – history. At least ten books debunking its claims have been written, part of the cottage industry of books about The Da Vinci Code that have been written in the wake of the original novel's popularity.


Thursday, May 18, 2006

Lineage of Jesus

The lineage of Jesus is recorded in two places in the bible:

1) Matthew 1:1-17, and

2) Luke 3:23-38 (in addition to several other new testament references: Mark 10:47, luke 1:32, Acts 2:29-30, Rev. 5:5, 22:16).

The Matthew 1:1-17 and Luke 3:23-38 accounts differ because, Luke follows Mary's lineage (Jesus' blood mother), through David's son Nathan (Luke's genealogy focused on Jesus' descent from God through the virgin birth. It placed no emphasis on Jesus being the descendant of king David) and the Matthew genealogy follows Joseph's line (Joseph being the legal father of Jesus, see below) through David's son Solomon. God's promise to David (see: Davidic Covenant) was fulfilled because mary was the biological parent of Jesus.


Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Priory of Sion

The Prieuré de Sion, usually rendered in English translation as Priory of Sion or Priory of Zion, has, since the 1970s, been an elusive protagonist in many works of non-fiction and fiction. It has been characterized as anything from the most influential secret society in Western history to a modern Rosicrucian-esque ludibrium (Latin origin meaning "a plaything" or "a trivial game"), but has ultimately been considered a hoax. Most of the evidence presented in support of claims pertaining to its historical existence, let alone significance, has not been considered authentic or persuasive by established historians, academics and universities. There was a very small medieval monastic order known as the Priory of Sion, but it and all its assets were absorbed by the Jesuits in 1617.


The Plantard Plot

The Priory of Sion is an association that was founded in 1956, in the French town of Annemasse. As with all associations, French law required the association to be registered with the government. This took place at the Sous-Prefecture of Saint Julien-en-Genevois, in May 1956, and its registration was noted on 20 July 1956 in the Journal Officiel de la République Française. The founders and signatories are inscribed as Pierre Plantard (known as "Chyren"), André Bonhomme (known as "Stanis Bellas"), Jean Delaval and Armand Defago. The purpose of the association according to its Statutes deposited at St Julien was entered as, "études et entraide des membres" ("education and mutual aid of the members"). In practice, the originator of the association and its key protagonist was most probably Pierre Plantard, its General Secretary, although its nominal head ("President") was André Bonhomme.


Monday, May 15, 2006


The bible contains no definition of God, but contains many allusions to His being and attributes.



The Mennonites are a group of Christian Anabaptist (Re-baptizers) denominations named after and influenced by the teachings and tradition of Menno Simons (1496-1561). As one of the historic peace churches, Mennonites are committed to non-violence, non-resistance and pacifism (or refusal to go to war).

There are about 1.3 million Mennonites worldwide as of 2006. Mennonite congregations worldwide embody the full scope of Mennonite practice from old fashioned 'plain' people to those who appear no different in dress from other people. The largest population of Mennonites is in the United States but Mennonites congregrate in tight-knit communities in at least 51 countries on six continents as well.


Sunday, May 14, 2006

Presuppositional apologetics

Presuppositional apologetics is a school of Christian apologetics, a field of Christian theology that attempts to present a rational basis for the Christian faith, defend the faith against objections, and attack the alleged flaws of other worldviews. Presuppositional apologetics is especially concerned with the third aspect of this discipline, though it generally sees the trifold distinction as a difference in emphasis rather than as delineating three separate endeavors. Presuppositional apologetics developed in and is most commonly advocated within Reformed circles of Christianity.

The key discriminator of this school is that it maintains that the Christian apologist must assume the truth of the supernatural revelation contained in the Bible (that is, the Christian worldview) because there can be no set of neutral assumptions from which to reason with a non-Christian. In other words, presuppositionalists say that a Christian cannot consistently declare his belief in the necessary existence of the God of the Bible and simultaneously argue on the basis of a different set of assumptions (presumably those of the non-Christian) in which God may or may not exist.


Saturday, May 13, 2006

Kalam cosmological argument

The Kalam cosmological argument is a version of the cosmological argument derived from the Islamic Kalam form of dialectical argument. It attempts to prove the existence of God by appealing to the principle of universal cause. Similar arguments are found in the theologies of Judaism (for example, in the work of Maimonides) and Christianity (for example in Thomas Aquinas), where it is known as the "uncaused cause" or "first cause" argument.

The origin of the word "kalam" is Islamic. The word means "speech" or "doctrine," however "kalam" came to identify the entire movement of highly academic Islamic theology of the Middle ages, which later faded away.

The origin of the Kalam cosmological argument dates to fourth century Egypt. John Philoponus of Alexadria, Egypt, argued that the universe had a beginning. This view was contrary to that of the Greek philosopher, Arisotle, who believed that Godwas not the creator of the universe, but rather He interspersed order into it. Aristotle believed that God and the universe were eternal. Arisotle's view was/is contradictory with the Hebrew and Christian belief that God is the creator of the universe.





Blog Archive

Desiring God Blog

Youth for Christ International