Thursday, April 20, 2017

Luke 16: Should We Believe in Hell?



Here are a few characteristics of hell set forth in the New Testament:

* It is a place of weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matthew 8:12).
* It is a place where people scream for mercy, have memories, are tormented, feel alone, cannot escape (Luke 16:23-31).
* It is a place of unquenchable fire (Mark 9:48).
* It is a place of darkness (Revelation 9:2).
* It is a place of eternal damnation (Mark 3:29 KJV).
* It is a place where God's wrath is poured out (Revelation 14:10).
* It is a place of everlasting destruction (2 Thessalonians 1:9).

Friday, October 23, 2015

Links to my other blogs

I continue to work on and add to each one of these to keep them active and up to date. Constantly adding my old material and adding fresh content.

Title: Click on the title below to go to blog Brief description of each blog
Off-The-Church-Walls Humor blog
Real Life Quotes Growing Quote collection.
Real Life Enrichment Practical information for everyday life.
Parable Inspiring devotional illustrations
Preacher Points Place for sermon outlines and resources
Kevin Rayner's Ministry to God @ The Edmond Church of Christ Many current resources currently being used at the Edmond Church of Christ
Edmond Oklahoma SAM's Information for helping Seniors
Rayner Resources Hub for my information online
Magnify Jesus A look at the Christ's life and teachings
Christ's Church Reflecting on the followers of Christ
Real Life Conversion How lives are changed by Christ
Oaks of Righteousness Where to focus on becoming more fully devoted followers of Christ
"Overtime Church" More challenging thoughts for the disciple that is most serious about Jesus. Theology for the night owl, weekend worker, or Bible student who wants to learn more.
Kevin's Komment Online commentary and resources to better understand scripture.
Real Life Servant Maker For the Christian growing with a Christ-like servant attitude toward others.
Becoming Great Neighbors Encouragement to love and serve your neighbor
Edmond Church of ChristHospitality Helping each Christian become more hospitable.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Genesis

Look at Genesis by Chapter.



Just click on the chapter number below. I will continually update and add notes, sermons, etc. as work through the book.

For an introduction to Genesis, go to Intro


Final Summary of Genesis

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Genesis 0 - Introduction


Our first lesson in Genesis will review 14 concepts that originate in this foundational book.


Authorship of Genesis




Friday, September 11, 2015

Genesis 1


Read Genesis & See Chapter Headings
Read Genesis 1


Creation Bible Story Book for Children

Genesis is the story of families: Look at the chapters
1 Creation
2-5 Family of Adam and Eve
6-10 Family of Noah
12-25 Abraham and His family.
25-28 Isaac and His family.
28-36 Jacob and His family.
37-50 Joseph and His family.

Genesis means "Beginning" Look at the Introduction to Genesis.

The Foundational Verse of the Bible. In this lesson we will demonstrate how the very first verse of the Bible refutes the major philosophies that try to explain man's existence without reference to God.

Days of Creation
1 - The heavens, the earth, light and darkness.
2 - Heaven
3 - Dry land, the seas, and vegetation.
4 - The sun, the moon and the stars.
5 - Living creatures in the water, birds in the air.
6 - Land animals and people.
7 - God Rested
Old Earth vs. Young Earth. In this lesson we will discuss the major arguments supporting the Young ( 6000 - 10,000 yrs. ) vs. the Old ( Millions to Billions of years ) age of the earth.


What is the Gap Creationism Theory? This lesson will begin a review of various alternative interpretations of the creation portion of the book of Genesis.



Problems with the Day/Age Theory. In this section we will examine another attempt to harmonize the Evolution theory with the Creation story in the Bible.


Day #2 and #3 The lesson describes the creation of the "heavens" and the peculiar atmosphere that existed in the pre-flood era.


Day #3 and #4


Day #5



Day #6 The Creation of Man. This lesson examines the Divine Council and the similarities between the natures of God and man.


God's Rest and Man's Creation. This lesson continues to describe in greater detail the creation of human beings as well as the nature of the "rest" God takes after His creative activity.



Cosmology's Holy Grail By Hugh Ross
Author: Hugh Ross
Date: 12/12/94
Copyright (c) 1994 Christianity Today, Inc./CHRISTIANITY TODAY Magazine
Text: Gen 1, Gen 2, Job 9:1-12, Job 38, Job 39, Ps 8:1-9, Ps 19:1-6, Ps 148, Isa 40:26*, Isa 42:5, Isa 45:8-18, Acts 14:15, Rom 1:20, 1 Cor 13:9-12, Eph 3:9, Col 1:16, Rev 4:11

How recent scientific breakthroughs are helping us see Creation in a new way.

In the past two years, a set of breakthrough discoveries has stirred waves of exuberance from the scientific community.  Carlos Frenk, of Britain's Durham University, exclaimed to reporters, "[It's] the most exciting thing that's happened in my life as a cosmologist."  Cambridge University's Lucasian Professor of Mathematics, Stephen Hawking, a master of theoretical physics and of understatement, described just one of the several breakthroughs as "the discovery of the century, if not of all time."  Michael Turner, University of Chicago and Fermilab astrophysicist, said researchers have found "the Holy Grail of cosmology."

What is this "holy grail" to which Turner refers?  The answer is perhaps best stated by George Smoot, University of California at Berkeley astronomer and leader of one of the breakthrough projects: "What we have found is evidence of the birth of the universe.  ... It's like looking at God."  According to science historian Frederic B. Burnham, many scientists have suddenly come to consider God's creation of the universe "a more respectable hypothesis today than in any time in the last 100 years."

This set of discoveries brings cause for celebration not only among scientists, but also among Christians.  There is substance here for encouraging our faith and for developing a more effective outreach to the unbelieving.  God has revealed his glory in new and dramatic ways.  Until April 1992, astronomers knew only of ordinary matter, the stuff that we and these pages are made of - protons, neutrons, electrons, and a small host of other fundamental particles that strongly interact with radiation.  The stuff that researchers have just found evidence for is different.  It is called "exotic" matter, for it does not strongly interact with radiation.  The reason this discovery generated so much excitement among astrophysicists is that it constitutes a significant piece of the nearly completed puzzle of how the universe came to be.  Perhaps another reason is that exotic matter actually makes up a sizable proportion (no less than 60 percent and maybe as much as 90 percent) of the matter in the universe.

Since 1990, astronomers had been certain that the universe must have erupted from some kind of extremely hot, extremely compact creation event.  Evidence for this scenario came from measurements of the entropy of the universe. What is the connection between entropy and this cosmic big bang?  Entropy describes how efficiently a system radiates energy and how inefficiently it performs work.  A burning candle illustrates a highly entropic system.  The candle is effective in radiating heat and light but relatively ineffective in propelling an engine or performing any other type of work.  Physicists designate the entropy of a system by a number that indicates the amount of energy degradation per proton.  A burning candle has a specific entropy measure of about two, and that is considered high.  Compare that number with what astronomers have discovered about the universe.  It has a specific entropy measure of one billion.  Let the impact of that number sink in.  Only an explosion can generate an entropy measure significantly higher than that of a candle.  But none of the explosions produced by humans comes anywhere close to one billion.  Only an explosion from an incomparably hot, incomparably compact source could generate such an enormous specific entropy.

But a troubling hitch remained in the big-bang creation models.  The radiation left over from the creation event, radiation that permeates the cosmos, appears smoothly distributed throughout the cosmos.  This smooth distribution would lead us to expect that matter, too, would be smoothly distributed.  But as we see even with our naked eyes, it is not.  Some radiation ripples have been found, but they are much too tiny to account for the clumpiness of matter.  Matter is very clumpy.  It is densely clumped in galaxies and galaxy clusters.  If the radiation is so smoothly dispersed, why isn't the matter also smoothly distributed?

The discovery of evidence for the reality of exotic matter solved the problem.  Since exotic matter only weakly interacts with radiation, it is free to clump under the influence of gravity, regardless of the distribution of the radiation.  Once the exotic matter has clumped, it will gravitationally attract ordinary matter to it.  Thus, the radiation from the creation event can be smoothly distributed while the galaxies and galaxy clusters are clumped - providing that the universe contains about three to ten times as much exotic matter as ordinary matter.

This ratio is exactly what researchers have found, and not just from one study, but from many.  Several probes with the Hubble Space Telescope, two with the 400-inch Keck telescope, four with other ground-based telescopes, one with the Roentgen Satellite, and one with the Cosmic Background Explorer satellite all have measured evidence for exotic matter since April 1992.  And the measurements all corroborate each other.  This fitting together of various pieces of research, both theoretical and observational, is what thrilled the scientists.  It is the kind of thing scientists dream of.

Solid evidence for the big-bang creation event has been available for some time, but because of their typical caution, most scientists have been reluctant to make public pronouncements.  This narrowing in on a specific subset of big-bang models made possible by the solution to this matter mystery has finally pushed them to acknowledge the big bang with more certainty.

(Recently, many newspapers and news magazines have carried stories on how one group of scientists, while measuring the expansion of the universe, has demonstrated that the oldest stars are about twice as old as the cosmos.  For a free article explaining the nature of these measurements and how the age of the oldest stars can be reconciled with the creation date of the universe, write Reasons to Believe, P.O. Box 5978, Pasadena, CA 91117).

THE BIG BANG AND JESUS CHRIST

But what does the big bang say about the existence of God - more specifically, the God of the Bible?  Many Christians have been taught that the big bang contradicts their faith in the Creator.  Such teaching must be based on a misunderstanding of the event and what it implies.  Here is what a noted scientist, Geoffrey Burbidge, has to say on the subject.  A few days after the initial detection of exotic matter, the University of California at San Diego astronomer loudly complained in a radio interview and to newspaper reporters that his colleagues were rushing off to join "the First Church of Christ of the Big Bang."

The scientific underpinning for correlating the big bang with Jesus Christ lies in a set of mathematical equations, the equations of general relativity. Albert Einstein, the developer of these equations, worked out some of the solutions to them between 1917 and 1930.  To the surprise (and dismay) of many scientists, his solutions showed that the universe is expanding.  It is expanding, and at the same time, its expansion is slowing down - losing steam, so to speak.  What physical phenomenon is described by simultaneous expansion and deceleration?  An explosion.

And if the universe is "exploding," there must have been a start and Starter to that explosion.  As Genesis reveals, the universe had a beginning - hence, an Initiator, one who existed before and outside of the universe, as the Bible uniquely declares.

These results sent the scientific community, even Einstein, scrambling for loopholes.  Many imaginative origins models were proposed and some ancient ones dredged up, but all fell apart as observational data accumulated.  The only set of models that withstood the test of time and observations was the big bang set, based on general relativity.

In 1970, three British astrophysicists, George Ellis, Stephen Hawking, and Roger Penrose, took the solution of Einstein's equations a step further. These three developed the space-time theorems of general relativity.  Their work showed that if general relativity truly describes the physical dynamics of the universe, not only did matter and energy have a finite beginning, but so did space (the dimensions of length, width, and height) and time have a beginning.  Such a finding carried profound ramifications not only for cosmology, but also for theology.

The if attached to general relativity took on enormous importance.  How firmly could general relativity be trusted?  The confirming evidence was not quite strong enough in 1970 for astronomers to rest their weight confidently upon it and replace the if with since.  By then, astronomers had determined the accuracy of general relativity only to the second place of the decimal (that is, 1 percent precision).  The skeptics wanted a stronger limb to hold them, and they did not have to wait long.  Thanks to the efforts of the NASA space program, confirmation to five places of the decimal (to 0.007 percent precision) was achieved in 1980.  In 1993, Russell Hulse and Joseph Taylor received the Nobel Prize for Physics for their study confirming general relativity to one part in a hundred trillion.

Thus, with considerable confidence, astronomers now affirm to the theologians and anyone else interested that the cause of the universe resides beyond (thus, independent of) matter, energy, space, and time.  How does this fact help us in identifying the Cause?

Of all the holy books of the world's religions, only the Bible unambiguously states that time is finite, that God created time, that God is capable of cause-and-effect operations apart from the universe's time dimension, and that God did cause many effects before the time component of our universe came to be.

Some holy books other than the Bible allude to extra-dimensional or trans-dimensional phenomena and to transcendent reality, but these allusions are vague and inconsistent - inconsistent with each other and with the facts of nature.

Only the God of the Bible is revealed as a personal Creator who can act independently of the cosmos and its space-time dimensions.  The God of the Bible is neither subject to nor contained within the limits of our space and time.  He is the one who brought these features of the cosmos into existence. And no other God besides the God of the Christian Bible claims attributes that defy explanation in the context of four dimensions.  For example, only the biblical God is simultaneously singular and plural (a tri-unity) and simultaneously accommodates both humanity's freedom of choice and God's sovereign choice (that is, predetermination).

CREATION, SPACE, AND TIME

We can speak confidently of God's operating in dimensions beyond those we experience.  Both Scripture and general relativity place the cause of the universe outside the time dimension of the universe.  This placement tells us something about the Creator's relationship to time - and to us.  Since time is that dimension in which cause-and-effect phenomena take place (according to the physicists' definition), and since the universe was caused from outside its own time dimension, the Creator must operate within at least two dimensions of time, or the equivalents thereof.Passages such as John 1:3 ("Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made"), John 17:24 ("You loved me before the creation of the world"), Ephesians 1:4, 2 Timothy 1:9, Titus 1:2, and Hebrews 11:3, among others, describe God's cause-and-effect activities before the beginning of time in our universe.

From particle physicists we learn that the events within the first split second of the universe's existence (literally within the first 10-10 second) require the existence of at least nine (and perhaps many more) dimensions of space.Powerful particle accelerators like the one at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Illinois, enable scientists to re-create the extremely high temperatures that existed in the first split-second after the universe was created.  Particle physicists can thereby observe how the four fundamental forces of physics emerged from three.  They can get a glimpse of how the three emerged from two and a hint at how the two emerged from one. They have discovered many of the fundamental particles and building blocks of such particles that the emerging of forces, namely, unified field theory, predicts.

The discovery of the top quark (the last of the six building blocks of fundamental particles to be found), announced in April 1994, is a case in point.  The only reasonable explanation for these observations and discoveries is that the universe experienced a collapse of dimensionality some time previous to the 10-34 second.  Initially, the universe was composed of nine or more dimensions of space.  But sometime between the moment of creation and the 10-34 second, six or more of these dimensions collapsed into infinitely small circles, leaving us with the fundamental forces of physics, fundamental particles, and the three dimensions of space we experience today.  Since God controls the beginning, he controls all these dimensions, and his reality encompasses them all.

WORKING IN MULTI-DIMENSIONS

Now, we cannot say that God is limited by any dimensions since he is the Creator of these dimensions, but we can speculate how God might work through multi-dimensions when he interacts with his creation.Perhaps the Bible illustrates God's operation in extra dimensions of space when Jesus seemingly passes through the walls of the upper room after his bodily resurrection (Luke 24; John 20).  We can understand this by speculating that Jesus' physical, post-resurrection body had access to at least a fourth, fifth, and sixth spatial dimension (dimensions we cannot possibly visualize, though they are undoubtedly real).  It may be that he transferred his physical body into those dimensions, passed through the wall, then re-entered dimensions one, two, and three, wherein the disciples could see, hear, and touch him.  He assured them they were not seeing a ghost.

Many difficult biblical doctrines over which we struggle now, truths we can only fully comprehend in that day when we "know as we are known," can be better understood, integrated, and embraced in light of this extra-dimensional reality.  Our four-dimensional attempts to resolve them have led to needless strife and even bloodshed despite God's explicit statement that his ways are above our ways, and his thoughts above our thoughts.  Such mysteries as salvation, the Trinity, and atonement clearly require dimensions of space and time beyond our own, or perhaps super dimensions that encompass space and time capacities.

How awesome to consider that God caused the big bang and all its components, including exotic matter and over 10 billion trillion stars, for the sake of knowing and being known by us in an eternal love relationship.  The thought both reduces me to a speck of dust and lifts me up to the heavens.


********************
Hugh Ross, an astronomer, is the author of "The Fingerprint of God" (Promise, 1991), "The Creator and the Cosmos" (NavPress, 1993), and "Creation and Time" (NavPress, 1994).  Dr. Ross is president of Reasons to Believe, a ministry founded to develop new tools for demonstrating the factual basis for faith in God and confidence in the accuracy of the Bible.






Thursday, September 10, 2015

Genesis 2



Read Genesis & See Chapter Headings
Read Genesis 2


The Moral Choice. This lesson will examine how God created the impulse in man that is his will as well as his sense of need.

The Creation of Woman. In this section the writer of Genesis not only describes the unique creation of woman but also sets forth God's foundational principles for marriage and the family unit.