Sermon: The Authority of Christ

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How God Visits Sins on the Third and Fourth Generation

by John Piper

Does God visit the sins of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation? Some texts seem to say he does and others seem to say he doesn’t. Our job is to figure out the sense in which he does and the sense in which he doesn’t.

On the one hand it seems as if he does:

The Lord…visits the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation. (Exodus 34:6-7= Deuteronomy 5:8-10)

“Because of their iniquity, and also because of the iniquities of their fathers they shall rot away like them.” (Leviticus 26:39)

On the other hand it seems that he doesn’t:

Fathers shall not be put to death because of their children, nor shall children be put to death because of their fathers.” (Deuteronomy 24:16)

[Amaziah] did not put to death the children of the murderers, according to what is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, where the Lord commanded, “Fathers shall not be put to death because of their children, nor shall children be put to death because of their fathers. But each one shall die for his own sin.” (2 Kings 14:6)

The son shall not suffer for the iniquity of the father, nor the father suffer for the iniquity of the son. (Ezekiel 18:20, cf. Jeremiah 31:30)

How do these passages fit together? This matters for the sake of God’s character, and the Bible’s coherence, and how we counsel those whose parents were wicked or just garden variety sinful.

Here are my two conclusions that helps me put them together…

Read full article here.

 

Polycarp: “Away with the atheists”

“Away with the atheists” the Pro-Counsel pressed him to say. By “atheists,” they meant Polycarp himself with all his fellow Christians. After all, they did reject the many Greco Roman gods of the day. Cleverly, Polycarp turns the phrase onto his accusers (because of their rejection of Christ). Then, upon being further pressed to swear by the genius of Caesar and revile Christ, Polycarp instead gives testimony of the faithfulness of Christ and of his own devotion to him as “King.”

…Now when Polycarp entered into the arena there came a voice from heaven: “Be strong, Polycarp, and play the man.” And no one saw the speaker, but our friends who were there heard the voice. And next he was brought forward, and there was a great uproar of those who heard that Polycarp had been arrested. Therefore when he was brought forward the Pro-Consul asked him if he were Polycarp, and when he admitted it he tried to persuade him to deny, saying: “Respect your age,” and so forth, as they are accustomed to say: “Swear by the genius of Caesar, repent, say: `Away with the Atheists'”; but Polycarp, with a stern countenance looked on all the crowd of lawless heathen in the arena, and waving his hand at them, he groaned and looked up to heaven and said: “Away with the Atheists.” But when the Pro-Consul pressed him and said: “Take the oath and I let you go, revile Christ,” Polycarp said: “For eighty and six years have I been his servant, and he has done me no wrong, and how can I blaspheme my King who saved me?”…

Read full account here.

The Circular Reasoning of Evolutionary Theory

From “Is Evolution True? Laying Out the Logic,” by Ann Gauger. See full article here.

To summarize, the key points of that evolutionary argument are:

  1. Evolution is true. That is, enzymes have evolved new functions by a process of random mutation and natural selection.
  2. Modern enzymes can’t evolve genuinely new functions by random mutation and natural selection but can only tinker with existing functions.
  3. Therefore, ancient enzymes must have been different, capable of carrying out a broad range of enzyme activities.
  4. Those enzymes underwent duplication and diverged from one another, becoming specialized.
  5. How do we know this happened? Because we now see a broad array of specialized enzymes. Evolution is the explanation.

This begs the question of whether evolution is true. It is a circular argument unsubstantiated by the evidence and unfalsifiable. No one can know what ancient enzymes actually looked like, and whether they really had such broad catalytic specificities.

In contrast, our argument is as follows:

  1. Is evolution true? Test case: Do enzymes evolve by a process of natural selection and random mutation?
  2. Modern enzymes are the only thing we can test.
  3. No one knows if ancient enzymes were different. They are lost in the deep past, so claims with regard to their promiscuity or ability to evolve are hypothetical and unfalsifiable.
  4. Modern enzymes can’t evolve new functions, based on our own experiments.
  5. We haven’t tested the universe of modern enzymes, so our result is qualified, but the nine most similar enzymes did not change function.
  6. Our estimate for the likely waiting time for an enzyme to evolve a new function is at least 1015 years.
  7. Therefore evolution of enzymes is likely to be impossible.
  8. Given the sophistication of enzymes and the way they work together, intelligent design is the best explanation for the origin and current diversity of modern enzymes.