Thursday, November 20, 2014

The Case For Spontaneous Generation

Spontaneous generation is the now debunked theory that living organisms can arise from non-living things. I was so disappointed in middle school when I was taught that fruit flies don't just appear out of nowhere. I was convinced they did. Even today, I sometimes wonder. It sure seems like they just spontaneously appear when there's fruit around. And before I found out the truth, I was fascinated by the theory. Perhaps my level of my disappointment didn't quite rival the sad news that Santa doesn't exist, but certainly another one of my bubbles was busted. What I thought was really cool turned out to be just another myth. O the humanity!

Centuries ago, everyone believed in spontaneous generation. It was taken for granted. For example, it was the common belief that rotten meat produced maggots, dust produced fleas, and mud generated frogs. That is, until people became too scientifically intelligent. Although, in reality, the experiment to disprove spontaneous generation was quite basic. It just required a little logic. It wasn't until the 17th century that a man named Francesco Redi did a simple experiment. Essentially, he put meat in 2 jars, one of them covered. Eventually, maggots appeared on the meat in the uncovered jar, and no maggots appeared on the meat in the covered jar. This showed the maggots didn't come from the rotting meat, but from outside sources, namely fly eggs.

I personally like the fantasy of spontaneous generation. And still, I wish it were true. But wait! I've got good news! To my  delight, I have come to realize that spontaneous generation is indeed a reality! That's right! There have been actual, documented cases that happened long ago. We can find them right in the Bible.

The first documented case of spontaneous generation involves creation itself. The power of God is so great that He just spoke and the whole universe was created! Spontaneous generation!

"They deliberately forget that God made the heavens long ago by the word of his command, and he brought the earth out from the water and surrounded it with water." (2 Peter 3:5)

What's incredible and so difficult to grasp is the fact that God spontaneously generated physical matter out of absolutely nothing. He created a physical realm when only the spiritual realm existed. He created a visible reality when there was only an invisible (to us) reality in existence. Spontaneous generation!

"By faith we understand that the entire universe was formed at God’s command, that what we now see did not come from anything that can be seen." (Hebrews 11:3)

Not only did God create the universe, the sun, the moon, the stars, and the planets out of nothing, He created all living things from nothing. And He did it true to the definition of spontaneous generation - creating living things from non-living things. Namely, He generated man from dust, spontaneously. Centuries ago, people thought dust generated fleas. Well, God blew that away with something way over the top. Out of dust He generated man! Spontaneous generation!

"Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being." (Genesis 2:7)

If you think what God did in creation was amazing, there's another case of spontaneous generation that surpasses even creation itself. It's the case of Jesus entering into the physical realm from the spiritual realm. Jesus was not created. Jesus was God in the human form. Jesus pre-existed as "The Word", then at just the right time, spontaneously generated into the womb of Mary. That, in itself, is a miracle. Many call it the incarnation of Jesus. Incarnation literally means taking on flesh. Spontaneous generation!

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." (John 1:1)

"The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth." (John 1:14)

So, yes, there is such a thing as spontaneous generation. It may not be true in the case of fruit flies, but in a much bigger realm of things it's true. And to go even one step further, you and I, if we are in Christ, are going to be personally involved in our own case of spontaneous generation! It's going to occur on the final day, when Jesus returns. We are going to go through a spontaneous transformation, in a twinkling of an eye. The dead will be raised and we will be transformed from perishable, mortal bodies into eternal, imperishable spiritual beings. Wow! Spontaneous generation!

"Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed." (1 Corinthians 15:51-52)

I always liked the idea of spontaneous generation, and I've come to realize that it indeed does exist, and that God is a God of spontaneous generation! And that is a trustworthy statement.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Does God Speak To People Today?

Does God audibly speak to people today? I know I've heard people say, God told me to do this, or God told me to do that. It's never happened to me, so I can't give a first hand account. It's just that when someone tells me that God "spoke to me", I have this uncontrollable, automatic reflex involving one of my eyebrows raising up higher than the other.

To those who have heard voices, I guess the question is, was it real or imagined? Was it actually God's voice that they heard? Or was is the voice of some other spirit? Perhaps it was an angel, or maybe the Holy Spirit. Or perhaps it was a hallucination - a sensation that appears real but is created by your mind. Hallucinations involving the hearing of voices are the most common type.

I recall one person told me that God told him to quit his job, sell his house, and move to Chicago, a city where he had no connections at all, and no job lined up either. Hmmm. That was a little too much for me, so I didn't stick around long enough to extend the conversation too far.

It would be awesome though, if God could speak to me and I could hear His voice. Unless of course, it was only at times of scolding and rebuking me for every sin I committed. No thanks. But it would be nice to get some great advice from God's own mouth on occasion.  Just think how amazing it was for people like Moses and the Patriarchs and the Prophets to hear God speaking to them. It actually did happen! The God of the Universe, Creator, Almighty God talking out loud. Wow.

In the New Testament, there are only 3 times where God the Father actually speaks out loud from the invisible realm. All involved Jesus. Now there are several instances in the New Testament of angels speaking to humans, people being told in visions and dreams what to do, the Spirit guiding people, and even the case of Jesus talking to Saul on the road to Damascus in Acts 9. But as far as God the Father's voice, there are 3 instances in the New Testament.


1. The Baptism of Jesus

As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:16-17)

The Father in heaven talks to Jesus, the Son of God! What great encouragement for Jesus! What son does not want to hear those words from his father? Obviously, this was confirmation of the relationship Jesus had with His Father in heaven, and that He was doing the right thing.

2. The Transfiguration of Jesus

Jesus took Peter, James, and John, to a high mountain to be alone. As the men watched, Jesus’ appearance was transformed so that his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as light. It was like His spiritual state, His real spiritual identity, started to show through His physical body. Perhaps He was in the spiritual realm and in the physical realm at the same time! As this change of form, or transfiguration was occurring, Peter began speaking to Jesus. However, Peter was interrupted by guess who? God the Father!

But even as he spoke, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy. Listen to him.” The disciples were terrified and fell face down on the ground. (Matthew 17:5-6)

3. The Final Days of Jesus

Just after Jesus made His last triumphal entry into Jerusalem for His last Passover feast, Jesus knew His time was at hand, and shared that with His disciples. Then the Heavenly Father once again spoke out loud.

“Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour.  Father, glorify your name!” Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.” The crowd that was there and heard it said it had thundered; others said an angel had spoken to him. Jesus said, “This voice was for your benefit, not mine". (John 12:27-30)

Here's the question. Are we living in times that God is silent? But why would He be? His presence, providence, and influence is definitely real, and we are in reciprocal relationship with Him. Now, I may not have heard God talk, but I'm sure of this...God does speak to us today.


1. Through His Word
Certainly the Bible, the inspired word of God, is a powerful way that God speaks to us today. You want to hear what God has to say? Start reading the Bible everyday and you will come to know more fully who God is, what He does, and what He expects from us.

"For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart." (Hebrews 4:12)

2. Through Our Conscience
Now this is where it gets interesting. Yes, the Word of God infiltrates us and affects us, but there's more. That's because, as Christians, we have the gift of the Holy Spirit. To me, one of the obvious ways that the Holy Spirit works is through our conscience. I believe everyone is born with a conscience - a guide to what's right and wrong. The problem is, without God, everyone does what is right in their own mind. However, for Christians, the Holy Spirit uses our conscience to guide us. And I know this, once you sin, you know it!

3. Through the Spirit's Nudging
A nudge is a gentle push, especially in subtly trying to get someone's attention. I believe another way God speaks to us is through spiritual nudges. Something like a conviction - maybe to talk to someone, to help someone, or to make a decision. Something like an intuition. After all, His Spirit is in us.

So, those are 3 ways God speaks to me today, but you can be sure of one thing - if God does speak to me with words that I can hear, I will certainly let you know right away.