SECTION 1: Introduction
SECTION 2: Faith
SECTION 3: Life After Death
SECTION 4: Scientific Proof of Godís Existence
SECTION 1: Introduction
The Bible says, ďall have sinned and fall short of the glory of GodĒ (Romans 3:23), meaning everyone has done something wrong. We all need Godís forgiveness.
In this world, so many things cost, but Godís love and forgiveness are free.
SECTION 2: Faith
Faith to some may seem intangible and unreachable, but the Bible says it is accessible to all through God. Through faith and Godís providence, we accomplish much in life. Jesus taught His disciples and believers that through faith in God anything is possible. It is a principle that remains today - faith in God and Jesus being the most important, as it is through this faith that we have eternal life. It is also a faith that gives us hope to live each day with the assurance that God loves us and that even in difficult times He is with us. He will never abandon us. With God we can make it through any difficulties. Wonít you put your faith in God today:
PRAYER OF FAITH
Say this prayer:
BELIEVE AND CHANGE
You may have never heard the Gospel, which is in the book called the Bible, so all of this may be new to you. However, donít be discouraged. We all have to start somewhere.
I recommend that you get a Bible and read the word of God contained in its text. Study it for yourself. It will be a blessing to you and help you become a better person. Develop a relationship with God through prayer. Tell Him your hopes and dreams and all that troubles you. Ask Him to guide you each day Ė not just with the big decisions in your life, but the small ones as well. He is never too busy to hear your prayer, anytime day or night.
The Bible tells us to believe, change our unethical ways (referred to in the Bible as ďrepentanceĒ) and be baptized. There are many reputable churches around the world that perform baptisms.
God wants us to become the best people we can be. The best people we can be doesnít mean having the most money or the most material things, though He will provide for your needs. God looks at the heart and soul. The Bible says ďman looks at the outward appearance,Ē meaning how you look on the outside, but God looks at what is in your heart and soul. He seeks to make you a better person. By learning His Word contained in the Bible and changing your bad ways, you become a better person.
SECTION 3: Life After Death
You may have heard Christians use the word ďsavedĒ by saying ďIím saved,Ē and not understood what it meant. It comes from the Bible and is a term that means saved from eternity without God and heaven. A person is saved through asking Jesus for forgiveness of their sins and accepting His sacrifice of dying on the cross as atonement for our sins (bad deeds/actions).
The Bible speaks of life after death and a heaven and a hell. When each person dies, they go to one of the two places depending upon whether or not they had faith in Jesus and changed their unethical ways before they died.
People who have faith in Jesus and change their unethical ways during their lifetime, go to heaven when they die and are ďsavedĒ from hell. This is where the term ďsavedĒ comes from. The Bible writes that the ones who do not place their faith in Jesus and change their unethical ways during their lifetime, lose their souls and are sent to a place called hell for eternity, which lasts forever.
The Bible describes Jesus as the only way to heaven. Without faith in Jesus a person will not make it to heaven when they die for it is written in the Bible that:
Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me" (John 14:6).
In that verse Jesus was referring to God as the Father. Both God and Jesus live in Heaven. Therefore, to not believe in God or to only believe in God alone and not Jesus is not acceptable. According to the Bible, you must believe in God and Jesus in order to make it to heaven when you die.
Here are Bible descriptions of heaven and hell:
THE BIBLE DESCRIBES HEAVEN AS:
The New Jerusalem (Revelation
he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the
Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. 11It shone
with the glory of God, and its brilliance was like that of a very precious
jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal. 12It had a great, high wall
with twelve gates, and with twelve angels at the gates. On the gates were
written the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. 13There were three
gates on the east, three on the north, three on the south and three on the west.
14The wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the
names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.
THE BIBLE DESCRIBES HELL AS:
The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of
his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. They will throw them
into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth
(Matthew 13: 41-42).
Cast into hell, into the fire that shall never shall be quenched: where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched (Mark 9:45-46).
Do not be afraid of those who
kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can
destroy both soul and body in hell (Matthew 10:28).
WORDS OF ENCOURAGEMENT
Here are words of encouragement from the Bible to give you hope:
"And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shall be saved, and thy house." (Acts 16:31)
"He who comes to me I will in no wise cast out." (John 6:37)
"Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God." (John 1:12)
"That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved." (Romans 10:9-10)
Some people feel that they have done too many wrong or terrible things in life for God to forgive them, which is not true. In the Bible Jesus said:
ďHe who comes to me I will in no wise cast outĒ (John 6:37).
That means anyone who puts their faith in Jesus, asks to be saved and changes their bad ways, He will not turn away. Godís love is so great that He can save you whoever you are and wherever you are. There is hope for you in Jesus.
Bible scripture text transcription courtesy of Bible Gateway www.biblegateway.org
SECTION 4: Scientific Proof of Godís Existence
PROOF OF GODíS EXISTENCE
The use of the following has been granted by its author Elizabeth Hensley:
Copyright 2003 Elizabeth Hensley. I hereby give permission to anyone to reproduce my pamphlet providing the words are not changed and my name, address and pamphlet list remain attached. firstname.lastname@example.org www.proofgodexists.org
THE ANTHROPIC PRINCIPLE: SCIENTIFIC PROOF THERE IS A CREATOR
THE GAIA AND HYPER-GAIA HYPOTHESES
WHY CHRIST/GOD/HYPER-GAIA IS UNAVOIDABLE AND SOME SCRIPTURE VERSES THAT CAN BE INTERPRETED AS PRO-FUTURE EVOLUTION.
HEAVEN IS A BUILT PLACE
SOME SCRIPTURE VERSES THAT SUPPORT EVOLUTION
THE NEW TESTAMENT MENTIONS EVOLUTION
THE TRINITY AND THE HUMAN BRAIN: A COMPARISION
LIFE AFTER DEATH EXPERIENCES: FACT NOT FICTION
ANIMALS DO HAVE ETERNAL LIFE
ARE YOU BRAVE ENOUGH TO TRY AN IMPORTANT EXPERIMENT?
THE ANTHROPIC PRINCIPLE: SCIENTIFIC PROOF THERE IS A CREATOR
The Anthropic Principle points out that there are over one hundred variables to this universe, that would have made life as we know it impossible, if they were even slightly different. This Universe had to be finely tuned to the conditions that make the evolution of life possible. Could this have happened by chance? Consider the following analogy.
If you went down the street and saw a quarter on the sidewalk, you would think, naturally, "someone dropped a quarter." If you went down the street and saw a handful of quarters on the sidewalk, you would think, "Someone had a big hole in their pockets, or dropped a roll of quarters."
But if you went down the street and saw one hundred quarters on the sidewalk, and they were all carefully balanced precariously on their edges, you would have to think somebody did this deliberately." The Universe as we know it, is that carefully balanced. This theory is known as the Strong Anthropic Principle. The only other possibility other than that this Universe was created, is that there are so MANY universes, that the equivalent of one hundred quarters falling out of someone's pocket and ALL of them ending up balanced on their edges occurred, completely by random chance. This theory is known as the, "Weak Anthropic Principle. So if you are a rational thinker here are your only two choices. Believe this Universe was created, or that there are multitudes of universes.
Now here is what I call the Modified Weak Anthropic Principle. If there are that many universes, then the chances of a Being like God evolving would also be equally increased by all that abundance. Ecological niches tend not to stay empty. You could, of course, call such a Being something else other than "God." But if it quacks like a Cosmic Duck and it waddles like a Cosmic Duck and it builds little universe nests and lays eggs that turn into baby Cosmic Ducklings, why not it call it a Cosmic Duck? Paul did say we grow into Christ! (Ephesians 4:15).
The Blind Watchmaker may have started out blind, some universe somewhere some when, but He/She/It evolved eyes right along with the rest of Life, and you can be quite sure, He/She/It will do whatever is necessary to guarantee His/Her/Its own development and continued survival, just the same as any other Life Form would. God does not play dice. He plays poker, and He continually stacks the deck in His favor!
"Gravity is roughly 1039 times weaker than electromagnetism. If gravity had been 1033 times weaker than electromagnetism, stars would be a billion times less massive and would burn a million times faster." Leslie, page 5.
"The nuclear weak force is 1028 times the strength of gravity. Had the weak force been slightly weaker, all the hydrogen in the universe would have been turned to helium (making water impossible, for example)." Leslie, page 34. Leslie got this information from P. C. W. Davies 1980 (Other Worlds), pp.176-177.
"A stronger nuclear strong force (by as little as 2 percent) would have prevented the formation of protons-- yielding a universe without atoms. Decreasing it by 5 percent would have given us a universe without stars." Leslie, page 4, quoting Hawking, Physics Bulleting: Cambridge, vol. 32, 1980, pp 9-10.
"The charges of
the electron and proton have been measured in the laboratory and have been found
to be precisely equal and opposite. Were it not for this fact, the resulting
charge imbalance would force every object in the universe--our bodies, trees,
planets, suns--to explode violently. The cosmos would consist solely of a
uniform and tenuous mixture not so very different from air." "Greenstein's The
Symbiotic Universe as quoted by
"The very nature of water--so vital to life--is something of a mystery. Unique among the molecules, water is lighter in its solid form than its liquid form: Ice floats. If it did not, the oceans would freeze from the bottom up and earth would now be covered with solid ice. This property in turn is traceable to unique properties of the hydrogen atom." Leslie ,p 30 quoting Barrow and Tipler, 143- 144, 524-541. Cf. Denys Wilkinson, Our Universes (New York: Columbia University Press, 1991), pp 171-172.
The Gaia Hypothesis states that all the life forms on the planet Earth work together to keep the planet life-bearing. There is much evidence for this. The heat output of the Sun has changed much down through the ages, and yet the temperature of our planet has maintained the narrow range necessary to maintain Life.
The level of atmospheric gasses has also remained, for the most part, a steady constant despite changing conditions. This is extremely important. If there were not enough oxygen in the atmosphere, fauna would die. If there were too much oxygen and not enough carbon dioxide and methane, plants would die and the atmosphere would be so flammable, fires would overrun the Earth.
Too much of both oxygen and carbon dioxide would also be fatal. But a third gas, methane, (produced by termites and digestion ), is just abundant enough to keep the oxygen and carbon dioxide levels in check.
Some kind of biological feedback system must be working, to keep all this balanced. As of yet, there is no evidence Gaia is sentient, but She is biological. I strongly suspect that any sufficiently advanced Gaia would evolve into Sentience.
More about the Gaia Hypothesis at:
Great Article in December 2001 Reader's Digest on page 141 on brain scan images of people experiencing the Divine. We are hard-wired to interact with God.
WHY CHRIST/GOD/HYPER-GAIA IS UNAVOIDABLE AND SOME SCRIPTURE VERSES THAT CAN BE INTERPRETED AS PRO-FUTURE EVOLUTION.
The biggest leap forward in evolution occurred when different life forms learned to COOPERATE with one another. We went from being single celled organisms, to multicellular organisms and from that major change grew all the variety we see around us. Love, and cooperation, not competition, is what drives much of evolution, and among other things, "Christ is Love." (First Epistle of John 4:8).
I propose that the term, "Supernatural." does not mean, "antinatural." God is as natural a Being as any other life form. I propose as Teilhard De Chardin did, that if the evolutionary process really is so strong, that Humans and Whales can evolve from pond scum in just five billion or so years, God is perfectly capable of evolving in ten billion or so years. The pond scum did not even know where it was going, and it had no will. We at least have a vague idea of where we are going, and we have the desire. Some will not like this idea, but I can quote the Bible to prove my point. I theorize that the thirty or so times Christ called Himself, "The Son of Man," He meant it. I propose that He really did mean God is the Offspring of the Human race. As Ephesians 4:15 teaches, "Rather speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up, in every way, into the Head, into Christ." "Every way," must include evolution too. 1 Corinthians 12:27 teaches us, that, "We are the Body of Christ." and the Gospel of John teaches us that there will come a time when we will know that Christ is in the Father, and we are in Him, and He is in us: John 14:20. Of course evolution has not stopped yet,! And God is the natural result of this perfectly natural process we CAN understand. Every link in the long evolutionary chain is the natural result of the link right before it, one stair step after another, one long but reasonably gentle climb.
Here is a perfect example of the evolutionary process: Gospel of John chapter 15:1: 1"I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinegrower. 2He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make it bear more fruit. 3 You have already been cleansed by the word that I have spoken to you. 4Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. 5I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit because apart from me you can do nothing. 6Whoever does not abide in me is thrown away like a branch and withers; such branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. This is a perfect description of any kind of guided evolution, whether it is being guided by God, Humankind, or even pure natural selection. Life forms (the vine) breed. The ones that God/Humankind/natural selection, want to continue to live, survive. The rest are "pruned" (destroyed). Then the remaining branches continue to grow and bud (reproduce), and these buds are pruned, thus shaping those Life forms in the direction that God/Humankind/natural selection wants them to go. The Life forms (branches), that God/Humankind/natural selection, don't want to reproduce are "thrown away" and they "wither," (fail to survive and reproduce).
The pressure to survive will make this evolution necessary. The Universe we live in will not last forever. And when it dies you can be sure Life will not peacefully roll over and play dead. That is not the nature of Life. So Life will, "grow into the Head which is Christ," (Ephesians 4:15), in order to survive the end of this Universe, (if we haven't already done it sooner). Life will either have to find or make another Universe, a, "new Heavens and a new Earth," or repair this one. Either way we can't do it at our present level of development. Life will have to grow into Christ, just to survive.
Why not Buddha instead of Christ? Read their words. It should be obvious to anyone, Buddha doesn't want the job, Jesus Christ does.
Maybe in a way, the Kingdom of Heaven, is a cosmic democracy. Whatever the Man from Galilee was originally in some alternate time line, long extinct, Humankind, or Hyper-Gaia has chosen to make Him evolving Humanity's Head, and He has been given all the skills and powers necessary to hold down the job.
Once Christ exists, He will expand to fill all of time and space plus every part of all the other dimensions Quantum Physics has discovered. It is the normal nature of Life to overflow whatever container its kept in. Once Life escapes from the time/space bubble, it is no trick to reenter it again at any point. This is how a Being whose Body is made up of us, (1 Corinthians 12:27), can make the Universe that evolved Him. the Universe is a warm starry nest in which god raises himself, for the earth is a kind of egg. The Lord creates the Universe evolves the Lord. Outside the time space bubble God is changeless. Inside the time space bubble we grow into God.
As Ephesians 4:10 says, "He who descended is Himself, also who descended far above the Heavens so that He might fill all things."
You can also be sure when it comes to the creation of the Universe, and the evolution of Life, Christ continually, "stacks the deck" to guarantee His permanent existence. Besides the proof of this the Anthropic Principle provides, the laws of biology teach us that survival of the fittest favors a nurturing God. A God who did not multiply enormously and nurture His "children" would be selected against by the natural laws of evolution.
Mother sea turtles abandon their eggs. Mother alligators guard theirs. Sea turtles are very endangered. Alligators are prospering. We can be sure Christ did not, "wind up the Universe," and abandon it, as some Deists claim. He is too smart for that. He sticks around to guard His, "nest." That is why prayer has been proved to affectorganic tissue in double blind experiments.
But He must not remove all suffering. Molly-coddling would weaken us, and thus Him. Death must occur so there is room for evolution. Suffering must occur so we may learn compassion for our fellow, "cells of God." It is more important that we learn love and compassion than any other lesson we could possibly learn. Without love and compassion we cannot evolve into He Who Is Love.
MORE PROOF An ecological niche is the part of an ecological system that a particular life form occupies. There are predator niches, prey niches, plant niches, etc. Ecological niches tend not to stay empty, For example on the Galapagos Islands, the ecological nice of, "woodpecker" was empty. So a little bird called the, "Darwin's Finch" moved in and took that niche. We can be sure if the ecological niche of , "Christ," really was empty for some reason some Life Form would move in to fill the empty niche. As a friend of mine admitted, "There is probably a waiting line."
HEAVEN IS A BUILT PLACE
HEAVEN IS SUCH A GOOD IDEA...It would be built if it didn't exist. The Body of Christ prepares it. After all if YOU could, YOU would, wouldn't you? Why would people a billion years, or five billion years from now be any different? A mind really is a terrible thing to waste! Every scientist working to improve computers is trying to build Heaven. Every Doctor working to extend the Human Life span is struggling towards immortality. The Human race gets what it wants eventually. We saw birds fly, we learned to fly. We saw the Moon, we went there. It is the nature of most life to desire permanent existence. Certainly Christ WILL prepare a place for us! (John 14:2).
Christ is a God of science, not magic, except in the Clarkian sense that, "any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." He/We have billions of years to succeed. Sentient Life has nothing better to do with our time than evolve into God and build Heaven, and the Future is as real as the Past. Gallup polls show eight million Americans have had near death experiences. Most of these are convinced there is life after death. In the 21st century, the Afterlife is no longer the sole possession of Theologians. Scientists have taken it over and they are studying it. We are SUPPOSED TO LEARN TO BUILD THINGS, so science is good. After all our Head is a Carpenter! He set an example we are supposed to follow.
John 14:2 2"In my Father's house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also. 4And you know the way to the place where I am going."
Maybe ancient Man did not know the way to the place, "where I am going," but Jesus spoke for the ages. He knew we would know the way eventually.
SOME SCRIPTURE VERSES THAT SUPPORT EVOLUTION
All over the Gospels, Christ calls himself, "The Son of Man." So Christ is the offspring of the Human race. To name just some of the places: Matthew 9:6 Matthew 11:19 Matthew 12:40 Matthew 20:28 Matthew 25:31 Mark 2:10 Mark 10:45 Mark 14:62 Luke 6:22 Luke 9:22 Luke 19:10 Luke 21:27 Luke 21:36 Luke 24:7 The Gospel of John 1:51 John 3:13 John 3:14 John 5:27 John 8:28 John 12:23
1 Corinthians 12:27 says: "Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. Ephesians 4:15 adds: 15But speaking the truth in love, we must grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by every ligament with which it is equipped, as each part is working properly, promotes the body's growth in building itself up in love."
Ephesians 4:9 says. 9(When it says, "He ascended," what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower parts of the earth? 10He who descended is the same one who ascended far above all the heavens, so that he might fill all things.) Another nice pro evolutions scripture verse. John 4:20 20On that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you.
Just as a single celled life form can join up with other life forms and make a multicellular life form, each one of us can evolve into a piece of Christ by asking Him into our, "hearts." We do not lose our individuality by doing so. Indeed we gain some. For every amoeba must be exactly like every other amoeba because each must do all the functions necessary for life. But a multicellular being can have its cells specialize and each do what it does better and more uniquely than the others, Each cell keeps its own nucleus, its own center, its own consciousness, but by becoming one with many survival chances are increased. Matthew 18:20 For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them."
The New Testament Mentions Evolution
Moses was a genius! Faced with the problem of keeping several thousand former slaves alive and healthy in an environment that would barely support a few goats, he not only succeeded in keeping them alive, he also made a nation of them. He wrote laws and established traditions of religious practice that were far superior to anything on the Earth before his coming and which are still today, far superior to most of what passes for religion and law on this planet. There is plenty of biblical evidence for evolution. We are all descended from one woman, a fact DNA studies have confirmed. But where did all the different races come from? If skin color and facial features had changed suddenly, this bizarre event would certainly have been recorded somewhere! Since no one mentioned a sudden change, we can assume skin color and facial features changed so gradually nobody realized this was occurring. That is all evolution is, the gradual changing of a species into a slightly different form.
It is timely to point out here that the Hebrews often used the word day to mean more than just a twenty four hour length of time. When Christ made reference to The day of Solomon. He was not implying, and was not thought to be implying that King Solomon ruled only one day. St Peter also pointed out concerning the Most High, that One day is as a thousand years and a thousand years is as one day. (2 Peter 3:8).Of course the Universe is considerably older than a few thousand years, but the point made still remains true.
Also where should Moses have stopped? Maybe he should have set a blackboard up in the shadow of Mount Sinai and using his rod as a pointer gathered the people around him and lectured, OK now this is DNA and this is RNA... In all seriousness, he didn't have the time or the need for that! He was too busy founding a nation. But if the Old Testament is someone lacking in information about evolution, the New Testament, especially the parables of Christ, hint at it, sometimes rather obviously. Jesus compared the Kingdom of Heaven to a mustard seed, which though the smallest of all seeds, grows up to become a tree so big that the birds of the Heavens can nest in its branches. The word evolution originally meant growth or unfolding as in the way a seedling emerges from its seed casing and grows to become an adult plant, so in a way Jesus Christ actually teaches that the Kingdom of Heaven evolves!
Following is a list of Christ's sayings that hint at evolution. Of course God meant these parables to teach us about the coming of the Kingdom of Heaven, but taken in their literal sense it is obvious that Jesus understood the concept of the struggle for survival and how limited resources lead to only a few organisms successfully reproducing out of the abundance of life forms that had their chance to try. What is more, He expected at least some of His audience to be familiar with the concept. Christ taught for the ages, not just for the few precious years He walked the dust of the Earth.
Matthew 13: to Matthew 13:9. A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop-- a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. He who has ears, let him hear.
This parable definitely teaches that out of an abundance of life forms, only a few manage to adept to their environment enough to survive to reproduce.
Another example. Matthew 7.13. to 7:14. Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
Again Jesus Christ teaches that out of an abundance of life forms only a few succeed in life.
The Kingdom of Heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemies came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared. The owners servants came to him and said, 'Sir didn't you sow good seed in your field? Where then did these weeds come from? An enemy did this, he replied. The servants asked him, Do you want us to go and pull them up? No because while you are pulling the weeds, you may root up the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.
Matthew 13:36 to Matthew 13:43 Then he left the crowd and went into the house. His disciples came to him and said, Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field. He answered, The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels . As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. They will throw them into the fiery furnace where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.
As life forms evolve, the fittest survive and increase while the less fit decrease. Christ hinted at this in Matthew 25:29. For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him.
In John 15:1 Jesus Christ taught. I Am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. ..Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If any one does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up and thrown into the fire and burned." This is a perfect description of any kind of guided evolution, rather it is being guided by God, Humankind, or even pure natural selection. Life forms (the vine) breed. The ones God/Humankind/natural selection, want to continue to live, survive. The rest are "pruned" (destroyed). Then the remaining branches continue to grow and bud (reproduce), and these buds are pruned, thus shaping those Life forms in the direction that God/Humankind/natural selection wants them to go. The Life forms (branches), that God/Humankind/natural selection, don't want to reproduce are thrown away and they wither, (fail to survive and reproduce).
Being part of Christ definitely has survival value. Born Again Christians are much less likely to abuse alcohol, tobacco, illegal drugs or even legal drugs. They are more likely to eat right and take supplements. They believe quite correctly that their body is the temple of the Holy Spirit and they are thus more motivated to take care of themselves. They are less likely to gamble or abuse their kids. In fact they are much less likely to have any kind of bad habits that threaten their survival or the survival of their children. So abiding in the vine does result in much successful evolution.
The great Christian writer C.S. Lewis stated in his book, Mere Christianity that everyone has been told that man has evolved from lower types of life. Consequently, people often wonder what is the next step? When is the thing beyond man going to appear?. . .Now if you care to talk in these terms, the Christian view is precisely that the Next Step has already appeared. And it really is new. It is not a change from brainy men to brainier men: It is a change that goes off in a totally different direction--a change from being creatures of God to being sons of God."
Christ hints at an incredible future for Human kind. Often Christ referred to Himself as "the Son of Man." If He means this literally to be true, there is a strong possibility, that God Himself is our Offspring. We are the missing link between Animal and God! He is not only our Father, He is our Son!
How can both of these startling and seemingly conflicting scenarios be true? Easy. It is the nature of life to escape any container it is placed in. Time and space are only two of the dimensions that exist. Once life escapes from the time space bubble, it is easy to enter it again at any point. Thus Life can direct its own evolution, as the Anthropic Principle indicates.
Saint Paul pointed out that Christians are part of One Living Organism. In fact the word "church" means "Body of Christ." Jesus Christ was the "first fruits" of this Organism, (Corinthians 15:20 to 15:28), indicating that a New Life form had come into being. All Christians are various parts of this Organism. Just as single celled life forms joined together to form multicellular beings, Humans are now being bound together by the Holy Spirit to form a multi brained Being. And yet this joining together leads to more individualism, not less. One amoeba is very much like any other amoeba because each must do all the tasks that lead to its own survival. But the cells within a multicellular being can specialize and be different from their neighbors because they can depend on their neighbors to perform the functions that they cannot or will not do.
Just as multicellular beings are controlled by the Brain of the organism, The Body Of Christ is gently controlled by the Holy Spirit. That does not mean we do not have free will. Indeed we do, but truly Born Again Holy Spirit filled Christians are aware of a Presence within them that (when we listen), guides us in the right path to take. Alas often He is not listened to, or heard. (He is a still small voice 1 Kings 19:11 to 19:12), and even the most spiritually gifted Humans are quite spiritually hard of hearing. We are a very young Organism as yet, only about 2 thousand years old, hardly in eye blink in the history of the Universe.
Thousands of years from now, indeed billions or zillions of years from now, we will reach our full maturity. Ephesians 4:14 to 4:16 speaks of this future evolution. "Then we will no longer be infants tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into Him who is the Head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work." It is interesting that the Body of Christ is said here, to be "tossed back and forth by the waves." The most primitive of life forms are tossed back and forth by waves. Here is an indication of just how far we have to go yet.
You can be part of this evolution by going through a conversion process commonly called "being Born Again." It is a quick and painless change in ones psyche, that results, over a period of a great amount of time to have extremely beneficial eternal consequences. The best way to explain it is to borrow from computer terminology. Our brains are like a computer's hardware system. Our souls are like the programs that the brain-computers run. Just as a computer cannot run without a program in it, our brains can not operate without a soul-program in it. Also just as a program cannot save itself, or debug itself, a soul-program cannot save or debug itself. Debugging and saving must be done by the Creator of the Program. A program that tries to debug or save itself will not succeed but will instead make a mess of things. God has given us freewill so that we can choose to refuse His help if we so chose. Most people do try to debug and save themselves without asking Him for His input.
That is reason number one why this World is in the shape that it is in! God just won't go where He is not invited! But the only true way to be saved and debugged is to give the Fellow that wrote the program the chance to do His stuff. To do that all you have to do is, thank God for taking His anger about our faults, out on Himself, not us, ask Him to forgive you, invite Him to come into your soul-program and start debugging it, and ask Him to become Lord and Savior of your life. It's that simple. Eternal life cannot be earned. It is a gift, paid for by God with His own blood, sweat, life and tears!
The Trinity and the Human Brain: A Comparison
Many experts on
the Human brain have noticed that the Human psyche has three parts to it. Freud
called them the id, superego and ego. Practitioners of transactional analysis
call the three parts of the human psyche, the child, parent, and adult.
These days many experts believe that the three parts of the Human psyche actually have a biological basis. There are three parts to the Human brain itself, the reptile brain, the mammal brain and the neocortex.
The reptile brain, also known as the reptilian complex, or r complex for short, evolved first. This corresponds roughly to the idea of an id, or child. From the reptile brain we get our instinct to survive, fight, flee, gain territory and reproduce. From the reptile brain we get our most basic emotions. The dragon within is very much alive and well, and necessary. Humans wouldn't be Human without the reptile brain.
The mammal brain, also known as the limbic system, evolved next. This corresponds roughly to the idea of a superego, or parent. From our mammal brain, we get our urge to nurture, to love, and to join with others. From the mammal brain comes our ability to follow laws and rules. Much of what is best in the Human psyche comes from the mammal brain.
The neocortex evolved last of all. It corresponds roughly to the idea of an ego, or an adult. From the neocortex we get the skills necessary to make peace between the reptile brain and the mammal brain. From the neocortex comes the ability to forgive and to temper justice with mercy. From the neocortex come reason, and memory, and logic. From the neocortex comes intellect. We need the neocortex to understand the Universe.
Because of circular time, the Most High is both the Son of Man and our Parent. Like child, like Parent. The Most High also has a Triune Psyche. We call it the Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit is the Id of God. From the Holy Spirit comes the wonder of worship. From the Holy Spirit comes the most basic and deep Power of God. From the Holy Spirit comes the urge to reach out and engulf the Human race with His Love.
The Father is the Superego of God. From the Father we get The Ten Commandments. From the Father we get the Majesty of God. From the Father we get the ability to tell right from wrong.
Jesus Christ is the Ego of God. From Christ we get the ability to temper the justice of the Father with mercy and compassion. From Jesus Christ we learn to bring harmony and control to the Holy Spirit. Christ is the Peace Maker.
Different congregations emphasize different parts of the Trinity and have different styles of worship that reflect the different parts. Some churches have solemn "traditional" ceremonies that honor the Father most beautifully. Some churches have loud, emotion charged, "Holy Spirit" filled ceremonies where people stick up their hands and yell "Praise the Lord" and sometimes speak in tongues. Some congregations aim more toward the middle ground. Each congregation looks askance at what the other styles of worshipers are doing and claim they have the only "right" way. But people, too, are all different from one another. Some are feelers, some are thinkers, some go half and half. For that reason the Body of Christ needs ALL the different styles of worship that are available so that all may eat at the Table of God and be satisfied. If you have gone to a church and felt uncomfortable with the way that congregation worships, try another. But rest assured. All Christians are part of the Body of Christ, no matter what kind of people they are, or how they like to worship.
LIFE AFTER DEATH EXPERIENCES:
FACT NOT FICTION
Medical science has advanced to the point where people can enter a hospital DOA (Dead On Arrival) and leave it alive! Cardiac Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and other medical procedures are restoring the life functions of many who would have been considered irreversibly dead in earlier times. According to a recent Gallup poll at least eight million people in the United States have had Near Death Experiences (NDEís). Most of these people now have an unshakable belief that there is something beyond this earthly life of ours.
There has been some attempt by scientists to clarify whether these experiences are real or hallucinatory. Their attempts have lead to some intriguing statistics. Dr Kenneth Ring found out quite early that a patient who receives anesthesia is less likely to report a NDE than one who has not. Thus drugs do not seem to be the cause of NDEíS. World wide researchers have found that NDEíS do not vary from country to country or culture to culture. An Australian Aborigine will report the same kind of experiences as a New York taxi driver (but not using the same language of course). Also the number of reported incidences is amazing. Thousands have entered their names into the database of the International Association of Near Death Studies. There is disagreement about what NDEís are, but that they have occurred to millions of normal people, is beyond doubt.
Some of the evidence is anecdotal. One lady found herself floating up to the hospital roof, where she noted a red shoe in the gutter. Upon her return to life, she told the doctor, who laughed and laughed. The Doctor told the janitor who also laughed, but he went up on the roof and looked for himself, and sure enough, there was a red shoe in the gutter! Another lady told her doctor she had watched her medical procedure while floating above the operating table. To prove it she mentioned that there were several coins on top of a cabinet in the operating room. The doctor got a chair, stood on it, and looked, and sure enough the money was there in the denominations the patient had mentioned.
Some evidence is more scientific. Dr. Michael Sabom, a cardiologist connected with the Atlanta Veterans Administration Medical Center, divided patients into two groups; thirty-two patients who had reported NDEís while being resuscitated, and twenty-five who didnít. He asked the thirty-two patients to describe what the resuscitation attempt had looked like to them. He asked the twenty-five patients who had not reported any such experience to imagine as accurately as possible what they thought their resuscitations had been like.
Twenty out of the twenty-five of the imaginers made major errors in their attempts to report what had happened. None of the thirty experiencers made any major errors. Six of the thirty-two were able to recall very specific events during their resuscitation, such as the gurneys they were riding on, the shape of the paddles used to revive them and which family members were or werenít waiting for them in the waiting area. This is not a big study and many more of a larger nature need to be done to confirm the matter on a scientific level, but it is an intriguing start. It certainly indicates the experience is more than just a hallucination brought on by a part of the brain being stimulated and that the out of body viewpoint is real.
There are several stages typical of a NDE. Not all experiencers report every stage. The early stages are reported more often than the later stages. Among those stages reported are, feelings of peace and quiet, finding oneself out of oneís body, going through a dark tunnel, meeting up with a Being of Light, having oneís life reviewed, coming to a border of some kind and being told if one goes through the border, one canít return, and making the decision to return.
Not all experiences are positive, though bad experiences seem to be rare. Some people report a place of blackness and doom. I was in a bookstore in St Petersburg. They had a copy of Raymond Moody Jr.ís "Life After Life," and I made a comment about it. A person overheard me and reported that she was a nurse. She had been involved in an attempted resuscitation of an individual that had been brought in with heart problems. They kept getting him back, and they kept losing him. Every time he came back he screamed, "Donít let me die, I was just in hell!" They kept trying to revive him over and over again but they eventually failed.
I heard of a similar case in the book "To Hell and Back" where a person who kept dying and being brought back to life had his apparent destination of hell switched to heaven when the doctor who was presiding over his resuscitation told him to shout. "Jesus is the Son of God, Keep me out of hell, and if I live, Iím yours!" The doctor did this only to quiet the very loud patient but to his amazement, it worked. The next time they got the patient back he was a lot calmer and reported that time the experience had been a positive one. This is a good thing to remember. If you have a near death experience and you find yourself being dragged to a not very nice place, try sincerely shouting "Jesus is the Son of God! Keep me out of hell, and Iím yours!" ! Even if you believe that NDEs are only illusions and you expect to cease to exist 30 seconds later surely you will want your last few moments of consciousness to be positive and not frightening, so make a note to remember this patientís experience. Pray "Jesus is the Son of God, Keep me out of hell and Iím yours!"
So do people who end up in hell suffer forever? I hope not! There is a scripture verse that indicates the suffering might not last forever. Matthew 10:28 says "Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell." If God destroys the soul it will not suffer anymore.
The word for hell was ĎGehennaí which originally was the name for a garbage dump where trash was burned. There is another scripture verse, (Mark 9:48), that says that in hell the worm does not die and the fire does not go out, but this is true in an ordinary garbage dump also. But trash that is put in a garbage dump is destroyed by burning, though the fire and worm are kept going, being continually fed by new garbage as it arrives.
How do we avoid hell? Certainly no one is good enough to earn an eternity of pure bliss. That it is a gift is certain. Christians believe the Being of Light that people see is Jesus Christ and that His sacrifice on the cross paid the price for mankindís sins, allowing us entry into Heaven. It is logical that He would take the blame for our faults Himself.
He made us, we did not make ourselves! Have you ever thanked Christ for dying on the cross for you? Have you ever asked Christ to come live inside of you and be your Lord and Savior? Have you ever asked Him to forgive your sins? If you havenít, you should. Itís the right thing to do. Then you will have a little piece of God inside of you, loving you from the inside out, from the deepest marrow of your being, outward. The Peace He brings is beyond description.
Most people have a big aching void inside of their emotional centers, and whether they know it or not, Christ is what they are searching for. That Heaven is a manufactured place is agreed upon by Christ. He said in the gospel of John chapter 14:2, "In heaven are many dwelling places, I go to prepare a place for you." The underlining is mine. Since the Bible also says in 1 Corinthians 12:27 that we are the Body of Christ and "individually members of it." and in Ephesians 4:15, "But speaking the truth in love we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ." mankind can be said to evolve into God and build Heaven.
There is science behind the building of Heaven, not magic, except in the Arthur C Clark sense of "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." Christ is the capstone of evolution, the future of all living things.
Indeed what else is ultimately worth doing with Humanityís future? Exploring space? Certainly, but the two goals are not in conflict with one another. Jesus said in Mark 13:27, "And then shall he send his angels, and shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven." So in the future Humanity goes everywhere, even to the ends of the heavens.
But weíll go nowhere that a loving God wonít find us.
Except for the meeting with the nurse in the bookstore, which was a personal experience, the sources of the material for this pamphlet came from "A Case For Heaven. Near Death Experiences as Evidence of the Afterlife," by Mally Cox-Chapman, and "Life After Life," by Raymond Moody Jr, and the Bible, Yahoo, and "To Hell and Back" by Maurice S. Rawlings, M.D.
ANIMALS DO HAVE ETERNAL LIFE
This chapter is dedicated to Suzanne Eggebrecht who inspired me to write it.
Psalm 36:6. states, Oh Lord, Thou preservest man and beast. The word preservest here, comes from the Hebrew word, Yasha. It is the root word from which we get the word, Savior.
In Mark 16:15, Jesus told his disciples to, Preach my gospel to all creation. The word gospel means good news, in Greek. The word creation is Ktisis in Greek. It is sometimes translated creatures. Now how could it be good news to all creation, all creatures, unless it applied to all creation, all creatures? How much good news would it be, for instance if you told an American Sign Language speaking gorilla, I've got good news for you. Humans go to a nice place called Heaven after they die, but you won't. In order for it to be good news for all creation, all creatures, it has to apply to all creation, all creatures. If Jesus had meant that His good news was to be preached only to all humans, He could very easily have said, to all humanity instead of, to all creation.
Do animals need to become Born Again? It is doubtful. Animals never were chased out of Eden, though their bodies are cursed by the fall, is as all creation. And the free will of animals is somewhat limited, especially in the lower ones. Much of what they do is pure instinct. God is neither illogical, nor is he cruel. It would be both illogical and cruel to, for instance, condemn a spider for eating its mate, the way one would condemn a Human who committed the same atrocity. In Deuteronomy 1:39, little children were considered innocent of the sins the rest of the Hebrew race were being condemned for, because they have no knowledge. So it is obvious God makes allowances for lack of knowledge.
Is God concerned with animals? From the book of Genesis on, the Bible is full of instances where God was concerned with the well being of animals. Noah was instructed in Genesis 7:2, very carefully, that he was supposed to rescue seven pairs of all food animals and one pair of all nonfood animals so that they too, could continue after the flood. In Exodus 23:10, the habit of letting farm land lay unplowed and unused once every seven years was so that the poor among your people may get food from it, and the wild animals may eat what they leave.
In various verses in Deuteronomy 22, God commands the Israelites to return lost animals to their owners and to help animals who have fallen get back up on their feet. In Deuteronomy 24:4 God commands that one should not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain. This verse was later used in the New Testament (1 Corinthians 9:9), to refer to workers being allowed the fringe benefits and pay of their job. Paul thought it referred to Humans, not oxen. But for centuries it was used quite literally to allow oxen to have a taste of the grain they were treading. It must have been quite frustrating for an ox to smell all that delicious grain, and not be able to have any of it to eat for himself.
In Jonah 4:10 And 4:11 God rebukes Jonah for showing compassion for a plant but failing to show compassion for people and animals. You have been concerned about this vine, though you did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight. But Nineveh has more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left, and many cattle as well. Should I not be concerned about that great city?
In Psalm 50:8 to 50:15 God presents an idea, that for its time, was very radical; the idea that animal sacrifices were futile, "Hear O my people. And I will tell speak; O Israel, I will testify against you; I am God, your God. I do not reprove you for your sacrifices, and your burnt offerings are continually before me. I shall take no young bull out of you house, Nor male goats out of your folds. For every beast of the forest is Mine, The cattle on a thousand hills. I know every bird of the mountains, and everything that moves in the field is Mine. If I were hungry, I would not tell you; for the world is Mine, and all it contains. Shall I eat the flesh of bulls, Or drink the blood of male goats? Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving, and pay your vows to the Most High; And call upon Me in the day of trouble. I shall rescue you, and you will honor Me.
In Ecclesiastes 3:18 through 3: 21, King Solomon mentions that I said to myself concerning the sons of men, that God has surely tested them in order for them to see that they are but beasts. For the fate of the sons of men and the fate of beasts is the same. As one dies so dies the other; indeed, they all have the same breath and there is no advantage for man over beast, for all is vanity. All go to the same place. All came from the dust, and all return to the dust. Then Solomon asks the question this whole pamphlet is about. Who knows that the breath of man ascends upward and the breath of the beast descends downward to the earth? In Psalm 104:29 through 104:30, this question is answered. God is shown as destroying animals by taking away His spirit, and then creating them again by sending forth His spirit into animals to renew the face of the ground. The word spirit here is the same Hebrew word (Ruwach) that is translated breath in Ecclesiastes. It is the same word that God uses to describe the resurrection of the Hebrews in Ezekiel 37:9. which will be accomplished by blowing His breath/spirit back into them. So obviously God does blow His breath/spirit back into animals, to renew the face of the ground, giving them a resurrection of sorts too. If He didn't, Psalm 104 would not mention Him doing it.
The book of Job is full of many colorful animal descriptions. In Job 12:10 it states, "But ask the beasts and let them teach you; and the birds of the Heavens and let them tell you; and let the fish of the sea declare to you. "Who among all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this, in whose hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of all mankind? The word "life" here is the word nephesh which means breath, life, being, or soul. It is the same Hebrew word that was used in Genesis 2:7 when God breathed into Adam's nostrils and made Adam a living being. This is usually the passage that is quoted to prove that Human beings have a soul. If human beings have a soul, then animals must too, since the exact same word is used in reference to them.
Jesus mentions that Are not five sparrows sold for two cents? And yet not one of them is forgotten before God. Anything that God does not forget is eternal, for His memory is both eternal and complete. He remembers not just their appearance, taste, touch, sound and smell but their awareness of being as well.
Also, perhaps the best argument of all, a bit of compassionate logic: Heaven is paradise, but how can Heaven be paradise if it is without animals; the large, the small, the beautiful, the fierce, or the friendly that so enrich our lives in THIS existence?
Also people who have had death experiences often report seeing animals. One lady I know saw a dear and a sheep drinking together out of a stream.
ARE YOU BRAVE ENOUGH TO TRY AN IMPORTANT EXPERIMENT?
There is one way to know for YOURSELF that God exists and that Christ is God. Suspend disbelief for a few moments, and take a leap of faith and have the courage to pray the following prayer. Now you suspend disbelief for hours at a time to watch a movie or read a novel. You can surely do it for 60 seconds to perform an important experiment!
Leaps of faith are necessary in everything, even science. We wouldn't have made it to the Moon if Humanity hadn't taken a leap of faith that the technology to make it possible would be inventible and put in the effort to invent it. Nothing ventured nothing gained.
If Christ is not real, you will be no worse off than you were before. If Christ is real you will have gained eternal life.
Dear Lord Jesus, I have trouble believing in you. Please help my unbelief. if you are real, please forgive me for my faults and help me to forgive others. Thank you for taking responsibility for my faults yourself by dieing on the cross for me, and help me to overcome my faults. Please come live inside of me and enjoy life with me and through me. Be My Lord and Savior. Help me to live for you and help others find you, Amen.
If you pray that prayer, soon you will know for your that God is real, and that Jesus Christ is God, but if you don't pray it, you may or may not believe in Him, but you won't have his sweet Presence in your personal life. It is not enough just to believe. Even demons believe. No one learns anything without performing experiments. If you don't try to find God, you never will, because He won't go where He is not invited. Why should He waste His time on those that don't want Him, when there are millions that do? The Kingdom of Heaven is for volunteers. No one is ever dragged there kicking and screaming against their will.
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