Category Archives: FACQ

Can the Bible be Trusted?

The Bible has been the object of ridicule, scorn, and attack for almost since it was finalized.  Despite the many efforts of God’s enemies, His Word, the Bible, has continued to thrive and be available to all of us.  Can we really trust it though?  Other articles have been written about the translators, prophecy, and archaeology.  This new creation ministry gives a great overview of how we can know for sure the Bible is trustworthy and the Word of God, and they have also produced a great DVD showing the fatal flaws of evolution.  Read this great article about the trustworthiness of the Bible here.

Can you be Gay and Christian?

Before you read on, please understand that we at RTG truly love those who identify as LGBT etc.  We do not hate you, and we never will.  Please read on.

Those who identify as gay face many struggles.  There is a high suicide rate and many difficulties they face from day to day including rejection from family, being ostracized in the church/community/workplace, and many mental health and substance abuse issues.

The causes of homosexuality are multi-faceted, and there is no “one answer” to the causation because it is a case-by-case basis.  This post is not written to discuss causations, but I have researched this topic for well over a decade if not longer, and from my findings, homosexuality is not genetic and it is not something you are born with  However, in scientific journal, “The New Atlantis” ( August 2016), an interesting and undoubtedly controversial article stated there was no genetic cause to homosexuality and:  

  • The belief that sexual orientation is an innate, biologically fixed human property – that people are “born that way” – is not supported by scientific evidence.
  • The belief that gender identity is an innate, fixed human property independent of biological sex – so that a person might be a ‘man trapped in a woman’s body’ or ‘a woman trapped in a man’s body’ – is not supported by scientific evidence.
  • Only a minority of children who express gender-atypical thoughts or behaviour will continue to do so into adolescence or adulthood. There is no evidence that all such children should be encouraged to become transgender, much less subjected to hormone treatments or surgery.
  • Non-heterosexual and transgender people have higher rates of mental health problems (anxiety, depression, suicide), as well as behavioral and social problems (substance abuse, intimate partner violence), than the general population. Discrimination alone does not account for the entire disparity.

You can read the article in full here.

At the bottom of this page, along with this the same topic, is information about those who were formerly identified as transgender but found salvation in Christ, turned back to their original gender, and are living a joyful life.

I encourage you, whether you are gay, straight, or unsure, to watch these videos at YouTube where people tell their stories of how they became gay, and how they left the lifestyle:









There are many more videos out there, but this is a start.

I would like to list ministries that help people struggling with same-sex attraction:

http://desertstream.org/

http://www.ha-fs.org/ (Homosexuals Anonymous)

http://peoplecanchange.com/

https://www.sbmworldwide.com/tools/lp/sbm

I also want to list a few of the many books on this topic that can be found on Amazon.com:

“Is God Anti-Gay,” by Sam Allberry

“What does the Bible really Teach about Homosexuality,” by Kevin DeYoung

What you will find is that people identifying with LGBT grew up with rejection issues, child molestation, early exposure to pornography, and other harmful things that shaped their identity.  Yet, through the power of Jesus Christ, they were able to overcome it and leave the lifestyle. You won’t hear about this type of healing in the mainstream media for many reasons, however the truth is out there if you seek it.

All sinners have a chance of redemption and salvation.  Change is possible, and we read about this very thing in the New Testament:

1 Corinthians 6:9-11 tells us that homosexuality, drunkenness, swindlers, and a list of other types of sin were present even then.  But, they were justified by God and abandoned their sins.

Such were some of you, but you were you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”

God changes people every day.

God tells us in both the Old and New Testaments that homosexuality is a sin  Some have tried to reinterpret these passages, but by doing so they take the verse out of context and it no longer means what the author intended. Romans 1 gives us a clear picture of homosexuality:

“The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.  Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.

Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another.  They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.

Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones.  In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.

Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy.  Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.”

In summary, Paul tells us in this first chapter of Romans that homosexuality is a judgement on mankind resulting from people rejecting God.  Because of the rejection, God gave them over to their shameful lusts and unnatural sexual relations.  The chapter finishes out describing the other sins committed by people who reject God.

Now, the question has yet to be answered: Can you be a Gay Christian?  The short answer is “no.” You CAN be a Christian struggling with same-sex attraction.  Similarly, you can be Christian struggling with alcohol abuse, anger, hatred, fornication, lust, pornography, resentment, unforgiveness…the list goes on.  But, we cannot identify ourselves as Christian Alcoholics, Christian Spouse Abusers, etc.

When we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, and repent of our sins, we are Born Again.  We are no longer the same person. We are Christians, and although we will still struggle with sins, we are not sold out to those sins.  We don’t live in the very sins that separate us from God.  The Holy Spirit convicts us when we sin, and that is how we recognize our failure and are prompted to go back to the Cross to repent yet again.

This is the normal Christian life.  We don’t live in our sin, but when we fail, we pick ourselves up, humbly repent, and try again.

In conclusion, I want to again remind you that I never hate gay people and I never will.  You are experiencing a specific struggle, but the healing power and grace of Jesus Christ can intercede for your life and make you new.  Please visit the above listed ministries and watch the videos of those who have left the gay identity.

People can change.   Do not be misled by the media as the media will not always tell you the truth.  I close the post with this encouraging video from a former homosexual:

Transgender links and videos

http://www.ibelongamen.com/  (website of former transgender/homosexual who was miraculously cured of a life threatening illness).

https://www.focusonthefamily.com/lifechallenges/promos/transgender-resources   (Various resources to help understand gender dysphoria)

Here are video testimonies from those who were former transgender.  Visit these websites for more information:

 




Are you Good Enough to go to Heaven?

Are you Good Enough?

Take the Test!

Statistics show that 100% of all people will die. That includes you and me. We will all die, and after that, we face eternity. God tells us through his Word that some will face an eternity in paradise with Him, and others will face an eternity of torment without Him. Heaven or Hell. Where is your eternal destination?

Do you think you are good enough to go to heaven? How do you measure goodness? If you look at yourself in the mirror, you may see the good in yourself. You don’t kill people, you don’t beat your spouse, you volunteer, you donate blood, you try to treat everyone nice…the list goes on of good deeds most of us do on a regular basis. But, how does this match up to God’s standard of goodness?

In Romans 3:11-12, we read that there are none who seek for God, and there are none who do good. We read this also in the Old Testament in Psalm 53:3. God’s standard of goodness is found in the Ten Commandments (the Law). In Romans 3:20, we find that the Law makes us conscious of our sin. The Law shows us that we have sinned. Let’s demonstrate this with a few questions:

Have you ever told a lie? A person who tells a lie is a liar.
Have you ever stolen anything? A person who steals is a thief.
Have you ever lusted after a man or woman? Jesus tells us our lustful thoughts are adultery. (Matthew 5:28)
Have you ever used God’s name as curse word? Doing so makes you a blasphemer.
Have you ever hated someone? God tells us through His Word that the mere thought of hating another person is equal to murder (1 John 3:15).

The above are just five of the Ten Commandments. How did you do in answering them? If you are like every other person on earth, you can now identify yourself as a liar, thief, blasphemer, an adulterer at heart, and a murderer.

As stated earlier, you will die one day, and you will stand before God for judgement. Being a liar, thief, blasphemer, adulterer, and murder, how do you think God will judge you? Innocent or Guilty? You may say, “But I’ve done other good things!” While it may be true you have done good things, the crimes against God remains.

Consider the case of Jessica Lunsford (http://crime.about.com/od/current/a/lunsford.htm). Clicking the link on her name will lead you to the story of her brutal rape where she was afterwards buried alive. Her deceased body was found clutching a stuffed toy. The criminal was a sex offender by the name of John Couey. This was indeed a horrific crime.

Imagine this hypothetical scenario: John Couey goes to court and the judge convicts him of rape and murder. Before the judge hands down a sentence, John says, “But judge, since then I have changed my life around! I’ve committed my life to doing charity work and I donated all my money to a children’s hospital!” If the judge were to dismiss the case based on John’s good deeds, would he be a good judge? Absolutely not! Regardless of the good a criminal does, there was still a crime committed, and justice has to be served. (As a side note, John Couey died of natural causes while waiting on death row.)

Now, back to the scene in Heaven that we will all face one day. Knowing that you have broken the Law, and knowing that a good judge must execute justice for the crimes committed, what should your punishment be? If you have violated God’s commandments as we all have done, then we all deserve Hell. What on earth can you do to meet God’ standard of goodness?

There is nothing you can do. It’s already been done for you.

When God created the world, it was all perfect, but he allowed man to have free will. When Adam chose to sin, he created the problems for the rest of mankind. All of us, since we are descendants from Adam, have inherited the sin nature. Proof of this is in children. Have you ever had to teach your child to lie, or be selfish, or be disrespectful, or to steal? No, because these are part of the inherited sin nature. God, knowing that Adam would sin, created a way in the Old Testament for people to be forgiven their sins. They had to sacrifice unblemished animals. It would have been easier for someone to sacrifice a sickly animal because it would be no loss to them. Instead, God ordered the best and healthiest of animals to be sacrificed. Doing so would reflect the high price to be paid for sin. However, these sacrifices had to be repeated as they were only effective for a short term.

The animal sacrifices were a foreshadowing of Jesus’ sacrifice. Jesus never sinned although he was tempted the same way we are tempted. He was unblemished, just like the animals that were sacrificed. God saw that a permanent sacrifice was needed to redeem mankind for their sins. Two-thousand years ago, when Jesus offered himself on the cross “as a lamb being led to slaughter,” (Isaiah 53:7), he did so willingly. His human nature did not want to go through the physical and emotional torment of crucifixion, but His divine nature and the love Jesus has for us is what allowed Him to endure the agony of such a horrible death.

Consider this illustration: Imagine you invite your friend to your house. During the visit, he accidentally knocks over a lamp causing it to break. He apologizes. You say, “I forgive you, but give me $10 to pay for the lamp.” Is that true forgiveness? No, because forgiving someone cancels their debts and offenses. In true forgiveness, who is left to pay for the replacement of the lamp? It would be you. Who is your friend’s sin against? You. Who forgave him? You did. Who paid? You did.
The illustration is meant to show that when someone truly forgives, he cannot require a payment, otherwise, it is not true forgiveness. When we sin, whom do we sin against? We sin against God. Who forgives? God forgives. Who pays? God pays.

We have all sinned against God. We have lied, lusted, hated others, stolen, disobeyed our parents…these are things we have all done. It’s a natural part of the human experience; you don’t have to learn how to do these things, but regardless they are in violation of God’s laws. If God were to forgive us but then require us to do acts of service in order to pay back our debt, then that would not be true forgiveness. How much would we have to pay back for an offense to an infinitely holy God? There is no amount we could ever pay. Instead, God the Father, as prophesied, came in the form of Jesus Christ, God the Son, and 2,000 years ago, God paid the price for our sins by dying an excruciating death on a cross. We deserve death as punishment for violations against God, but instead God took the punishment upon himself for us. That act of selfless loved opened the door for us to receive full forgiveness.

What now?

Romans 3:23, “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”

Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Romans 5:8, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

Romans 10:9, “that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”

Romans 10:13 says it again, “for everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

Romans 5:1, “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

And finally, Romans 8:1, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”

What separates Christianity from all other religions is this: God paid the price for our crimes against Him, but all other religions require you do to the work for your redemption. So, when you face God on judgement day, He will judge you based on the debt you owe. Did you pay back your debt with good works and kind gestures but not repent of your sins and put your faith in Christ? God will say, “Depart from me, I never knew you” (Matthew 7:23). Did you repent of your sins and place your trust in Jesus Christ for the debt He paid? If so, you will enter into heaven.

(Partially adapted from carm.org and gotquestions.org)


Jesus is the Only way to Heaven!

 

How can I know God is Real? 

 

A building has a builder and a painting has a painter.  Although we may not have watched the building be constructed or the painting be created, we know an intelligence was behind it all, and we would never consider the option that the building or painting were formed through natural processes.  From the smallest life form to the vast expanse of the universe, we see design, and such design could only come from a designer.  In Romans 1:20, we read that God’s eternal power and divine nature have been clearly seen since the creation of the world, and it is understood from the creation.  Creation is our evidence of God.

Although we can see the evidence of God, sometimes we may feel like He’s not there.  Our belief in God should never depend on our emotions.  When things are going well for us, we can find ourselves thanking God and be content.  During these times we would rarely if ever doubt His existence.  But what about the hard times?   Sickness, bankruptcy, failed relationships…does your belief in God then become questionable?

As Christians, we are not guaranteed happiness, prosperity, health, or our “best life now.”  In fact, we are more likely to encounter struggles, friends and family abandoning us, job loss, persecution, mockery, and other problems.  It is true that Christians go through a “spiritual desert” where we feel like God has abandoned us.  That happens to many believers and it is a beneficial problem although it may be painful and difficult at first.

God knows what happens to you, whether good or bad, and God is never surprised by such things.  Romans 8:28 tells us that God works for the good of those who love him and have been called according to his purpose.   There is a theological term called “sanctification.”  This is a process where, after you have repented of your sins and put your trust in Jesus Christ, you will now go through a “cleaning process,” for lack of a better word.  Most likely, for the rest of your time here on earth, you will experience sanctification.  When we died to our old selves and became born again, we experienced spiritual rebirth, but God continues to work through our lives to help us exemplify the life of Christ.  You will still have times when you fall back into sin, the old habits, and the old way of thinking.   God will discipline you, or, hopefully at the very least, your conscience will remind you of your offense against God.  God works in us, and he takes us where we are at and makes us more Christ-like.  It can be a painful process, but we learn a lot through bad experiences.

As a Christian, the one sure thing you know is eternal bliss with our Savior awaits you after death.  We will also have good times while here on earth, our temporary home.  Remember that with good also comes bad, and with bad eventually comes the good.  Let your faith be in the almighty creator God who knows all things planned for you and is never surprised by what happens.  He’s got the whole world in his hands.  I encourage you to rest in those hands where you will be carried by the one who gave you life by dying for you.

Are you Good Enough to go to Heaven?

Does the Bible Condone Slavery?

The idea of forcing a fellow human being to work for you is repulsive, even more so when history shows us that this barbaric behavior actually happened in our country. Today, slavery still exists in the form of forced labor, sex trafficking, and others.

Slavery is mentioned many times in the Bible, so how can God be good when slavery exists? Does God condone slavery?

Before diving into this topic, we need to understand terminology. When the term “slave” is used in the Bible, it is not the same type of slavery as that which Americans did to Africans in the past few centuries.  That type of slavery was forced.  People in Africa were removed from their homeland and brought to America to do manual labor.  Refusal to work for the White Americans resulted in punishment.  What’s worse is that certain people of African descent were specifically bred so as to allow the procreation of stronger and healthier offspring who would later be sold into slavery.  There strong bodies would bring a higher price at the auctions.  There is no argument that this was a dark time in America’s past, and it is a shame that a human could do this to another person.

The idea of “man-stealing,” which is what White Americans did to the Africans, is condemned in the Bible (Exodus 21:16). In the New Testament, “man-stealing” is comparable to sins such as patricide, matricide, murder, adultery, and lying (1 Timothy 1:8-10).  There is no way the Bible could have been used to support the slave trade.

So what kind of slavery was the Bible talking about? Slavery is mentioned many times, but this refers to a different type of slavery.  The word for slavery is better defined as “bond-servant.”  A bond-servant is a person who owed a debt to another person, and if they had no assets with which to pay that debt, the bond-servant would work off his debt.  The bond-servant did this willingly, as opposed to being forced against his will or stolen from his homeland.

Slavery, as we read about in the Old Testament, was not based on race or nationality. People chose to be bond-servants so as to pay off their debts and provide for their own families.  The bond-servant would work, and in return he had food and shelter.  In addition, a person could choose to remain a bond-servant even after the debt was paid because they would continue to have their needs provided.  If a land owner was abusive, which was forbidden by Mosaic Law, the bond-servant would not want to choose to remain with him.  If the land owner was kind and protective, continued servant hood would be an appealing option.

Now that slavery has been defined, we know it is not the same as the slavery that once existed in America. But, what about the Mosaic Laws pertaining to punishing bond-servants?  Before answering this, think about your position at your place of employment.  You are under the supervision of someone above you in rank.  You may be a front-line worker, and you have to answer to a foreman or supervisor.  If you don’t perform your job duties as you were hired to do, you will be reprimanded, corrected, retrained, disciplined, or terminated.  These options are in place for corrective action.  Such administrative decisions would be a justified result of an employee not doing what they were hired and agreed to do.

With that being said, a bond-servant in Old Testament times had the duty to fulfill his obligations to the land owner in order to pay back his debt. Failure to work, laziness, or lack of commitment by the bond-servant would justify in a punishment.  Could the bond-servant’s wages be reduced?  No, because he had no wages.  Could he have property removed?  No, because he had no property.  The only way to punish (correct) a person was through physical discipline.  The Mosaic Laws were made to limit the amount and degree of punishment.

While some may think the laws were cruel, let us remember a few things. First, we are only told about the laws.  We do not find references in the Old Testament where bond-servants were actually beaten.   Second, this was written to a different culture in a different time.  Judging them by today’s standards would make one ethnocentric.  To reiterate, the law gave limits as to what could be done, not what was already being done.  Let us remember that there are heinous things done by historical figures in the Bible, but that does not at all mean God condoned it.

Compare the Mosaic laws for slavery to that of the Egyptian brutality placed upon the Israelites prior to their release from bondage. The Egyptians were very cruel to the slaves.  When the Israelites were freed from slavery, they very well could have had the same mindset that beating another person to death was okay, because that is what they themselves experienced.  God put the laws in place to prevent this.  God limited the degree of punishment thereby separating the Israelites from the cruel Egyptians.  In fact, God ordered the death of a master if he beat his slave and the slave died as a result (Exodus 21:20)  In addition, if a land owner was to cause injury to his servant, he would have to set that servant free, and this would result in the land owner not only losing a worker but also not getting his debt paid back.  If a land owner broke one of the laws, the results would be devastating to himself, his business, his finances, and his reputation.  Because of these laws, it is likely the case that slaves were rarely, if ever, abused.

In this sinful, fallen world, there is a great amount of suffering. It was never God’s plan for people to fall on hard times and have to sell themselves to be bond-servants.  When sin entered the world through Adam, the downfall started and spread exponentially.  The groaning of this world is even worse today (Romans 8:22).

Are you a slave? The Bible tells us we are a slave to sin.  We naturally do that which is sinful.  Jesus came to take away our sin.  He cancelled out the certificate of debt so that we no longer have to be slaves to sin.  He paid the price for our sins, and we who repent of our sins and confess Jesus Christ as Lord become free from sin’s bondage.

We have only scratched the surface of this topic.  One needs to understand the culture, the economy, the ethics, the terminology, the era of time, and the original languages to fully understand this issue.  Please visit this blog/podcast by a former atheist who goes into much more detail on the topic.

Freed Thinker Article # 1

Freed Thinker Article #2

Freed Thinker Article #2

Does God Hate Women?

The term “misogyny” is thrown around by skeptics who claim God treats women worse than men. Let’s look at the Bible to see why that’s not true.

First, women were not commanded to work. Adam was the first creation, and from Adam, Eve was made. Adam was commanded to take care of the garden thus providing for himself, Eve, and their children. Eve’s job was to be a mother. We see in Scripture where men are the workers while women provide for the home, such as caring for the family and keeping the home orderly (Proverbs 31:10-31). So while men even today are commanded to work and provide (1 Timothy 5:8) women do not have that obligation, although women are more than welcomed in the workforce. Men are instructed by God to be the head of the household and to have authority. Men are given greater responsibility. Unfortunately many men have fallen to the wayside in this area, and our culture is seeing more women taking the roles of leadership that were originally designed for men. Men are to honor their wives and put them first (after God, of course).

Second, laws were made to establish protection and provision for women. See the article “Does the Bible condone rape?

Third, God tells us women are to be honored and respected. She is called the “weaker vessel” (1 Peter 3:7). This term is not an attack on the character of women, but rather, in some ways, women are much weaker than men. It goes without saying that men are typically physically stronger than women, but women can be subject to crimes against them that wouldn’t normally affect men (rape, mugging, etc.). It was Eve, not Adam, who was deceived by Satan, so this is another factor to consider. Being called “weaker” doesn’t mean women are less valuable.

Men, understanding that women have weaknesses, are to be more understanding, patient, and tender with them. None of this is to say that men are all-superior. Men fail often, and men have many weaknesses. Women have many strengths that men lack. They are more capable of being nurturing, caring, having organizational skills, and having a servant’s heart. Most importantly, God designed women especially for the honorable ability to give birth to children.

What about women pastors? 1 Timothy 2:11-15 specifically states women are not to be pastors. The reason has nothing to do with gender, culture, or misogyny. This is instead a spiritual issue. A pastor executes authority over his church. Authority, as we see above, is a role given to men because of federal headship. That is, Adam was the first created, and then Eve. Man is the head of the family, and in this case, the church. Man, therefore, has the responsibility to properly exegete the Scriptures.

This is not to say that women cannot serve in different ministries. Women are very useful in the church. They can pray, prophesy, minister (serve) others, and proclaim the gospel. The only issue pertains to them having spiritual authority over men. Statistically, in churches where women are pastors, there is a decline in following doctrine and an increase in liberalism, both of which leads people away from the faith. That is not to say male pastors don’t lead people astray, because some have done this. Much more on this topic can be found at this website.

As we see throughout scripture, God commands the man to be the leader and provider for women. Man is to love, honor, and cherish the woman. Women have many strengths that fill in the gaps of man’s weaknesses. This is the beauty of marriage. Have you ever noticed how “opposites attract?” Husbands and wives bring their opposing strengths to the relationship, and when putting their strengths together and accommodating for the weaknesses, they form a strong and effective team.

Does the Bible Condone Rape?

The very idea of forced sexual intercourse is disgusting, and it’s even worse for the victims whose rapist is never brought to justice. Many skeptics claim the Bible condones rape.  A closer inspection of the Bible concludes this could not be farther from the truth.

The Mosaic Laws of the Old Testament were written to the ancient Israelites after they were freed from slavery in Egypt. These laws were created to allow order, define priestly duties, to set Israelites apart from other cultures, and to enforce punishment on those who do wrong.  There are many laws put in place that some would say are inhumane, but what they are not seeing is that this is just the law.  The Bible is not telling us these things happened; rather, the Bible is telling us the punishment for those who do such things.  In other words, the phrase “A speeding ticket will cost you $100” simply means you will be punished for speeding—not that you are actually speeding at this moment.

Let us consider the issue of rape:

In Deuteronomy 22:13-29, we read the Mosaic Law stating that forcing a woman into a sexual encounter against her will was forbidden. This law was put into place in order to protect women.  We also find in this passage that the punishment for men who raped women was death by stoning.   There were only a few of the laws that required death, and many of them were sexual in nature (bestiality, incest, etc.).   The rapist earned his death through his horrible crime.

There have been many attacks against this passage as it orders a rapist to marry his victim. Actually, the rapist had to pay the father the “bride price” (50 shekels of silver) before he could marry her.  The father had the ultimate authority in this scenario, and he could refuse the marriage, but the rapist was still required to pay the hefty financial cost.

While we could all agree that if we were raped, being married to such an evil person would be an awful arrangement. However, we can’t be ethnocentric but instead we should consider the culture at that time.  The laws were written to the Israelites a few thousand years ago.  This was a different time and a different place.  Virginity was held in high esteem, and men would not want to marry someone who lost their virginity prior to marriage.  Women who did lose their virginity outside of marriage were frowned upon.  Women would anticipate marrying a man who would provide for them, so if a woman was deemed unworthy of marriage due to her previous sexual involvement, who would provide for her?  She would be the outcast of the whole community and would struggle to even find a meal for the day.  That being said, the rapist, who chose to violate the innocent victim, would be required to provide for her needs since the rapist’s actions significantly decreased her chances of being married.

That may not be the best arrangement, but remember, no one wins when there is crime. For instance, a person may burn down a house, get arrested, and then go to prison for the crime of arson.  Although justice was served, the family who lost their home still suffers.  They lost their cherished possessions and are now homeless.  Or consider the family who lost a relative to murder.  The murderer gets arrested and is sentenced to life in prison, but the family is still without their loved one.  Sin has quite a trickle-down effect.

What about the passages in the Bible where Israelites took virgins from others during wartime? There are a few events in the Old Testament where the Israelites were at war with other people groups, and in some instances, the Israelites put to death everyone except the virgin women.  The following passages discuss two such events: Judges 21: 10-24 and Numbers 31: 7-18.

If you read those passages, you will never see where the virgin women were raped. The Israelites knew rape was punishable by death.  In addition, in verse 19 of Numbers 31, the soldiers were ordered to purify themselves and their captives, so they could not do that and also rape a person.   What most likely happened here is the virgin women were taken into the Israelite community to live, marry, and to have someone to take care of them.  If they were left in the country where all the men were killed in the war, who would take care of them?  They would perish from starvation, or perhaps another nation would take them captive as slaves or rape them.  The Israelites took the women to protect them and marry them.  By being their husband, they were obligated to provide for their daily needs.

Let me pause here and discuss some cultural issues. The people groups with whom Israel went to war with were quite evil.  They sacrificed their children in fire.  They were known for doing horrendous and perverse activity.  They were idol worshippers and committed atrocities.  Because of their sexual depravity, there is little doubt many of them, including the children, carried sexually transmitted diseases (STD).  What if the Israelites also brought the children back with them?  The children would have that violent and perverse nature with which they were raised.  In addition, if disease was widespread, the children would bring the disease into the Israelite land.  Many theologians believe children who die before a certain age go to heaven, so those children who were killed in battle got to be with the Lord immediately, thus ending their earthly suffering.  For the same reason, the virgin women would not have had the STDs, so they would be suitable as wives.

God forbids rape. Rape is a horrible crime, and in the end no one wins, even if the rapist is in prison for life.  The victim carries the trauma from having been violated.  It is no wonder God ordered rapists to be put to death.  The Bible does not condone rape.  Women are held in high esteem.  They are to be protected, and laws were put into place so they would be protected.

Was soft tissue found in a Dinosaur Fossil?

Source: Real Science Radio

In 2005, the Science journal published an article and photos of flexible blood vessels, red blood cells, and soft & stretchy ligaments from a supposedly 68-million year old T. Rex bone.  This discovery was made by paleontologist Dr. Mary Schweitzer.  

Why is this even an issue?  If a fossil is millions of years old, it should not have any blood cells or soft and flexible tissue.  However, after repeated tests with different samples, the same startling results were found, and this was disturbing to those who hold to the belief that fossils are millions of years old.  Skeptics claimed it was not dinosaur tissue but actually bacterial biofilm contamination.  However this was later found to be false.

Not only has that T. Rex fossil been found to have soft tissue, but many others have been found as well.  An alleged 80-million year old Hadrosaur and an alleged 70- million year old Mosasaur have also been found to have soft tissue.  These wonderful finds are consistent with the Young Earth Creation viewpoint, which states the earth was created about 6,000 years old, and about 4400 years ago there was a worldwide flood that destroyed all life except for 8 people and two of each animal kind on the ark.  The fossils found today are most likely no more than 4400 years old, so along this time frame of earth history, there is no room for millions of years, therefore the T. Rex and all other fossils found with soft tissue should not be a surprise to creationists, but it throws a curve ball to those who hold to old.

Bob Enyart of Real Science Radio has a great web page dedicated to this soft-tissue phenomenon as well as many other creation science topics.  You can read more about it and see some great pictures at his webapge here: http://kgov.com/dinosaur-soft-tissue   You will also find reference articles at the bottom of that page.

Was the Genesis Flood copied from the Babylonian Epic of Gilgamesh?

Epic of Gilgamesh Tablet
Epic of Gilgamesh Tablet

It has often been claimed that the flood account found in Genesis Chapters 6-9, and later referenced in the New Testament, was actually a legend borrowed from other cultures, namely the Babylonians in their “Epic of Gilgamesh.”  Is there any validity to this claim?

In the mid-1800s in modern day Iraq, excavations uncovered many Mesopotamian-era tablets.  Included among these was the Babylonian flood legend, “Epic of Gilgamesh.”  The 11th tablet of this series recorded the flood account, and many of the details were similar to the Biblical Flood.   However, there were also many differences found.

This legend in particular tells the story of Gilgamesh, who, after losing his friend Enkidu, seeks out Utnapishtim to give him the secret of immortality.  Utnapishtim tells him of the gods’ desire to flood the world because the gods could not sleep due to the noise man makes.  Ea, the god of wisdom, warned Utnapishtim to convert his house into a boat, take the seed of all living creatures, and tell the people he was building the boat to escape the wrath of the god Enlil.  Utnapishtim complied and built the boat in 7 days and took all the animals and craftsmen on board with him.  The flood came but it was so terrifying even the gods fled in fear.  The world was flooded for 6 days and the waters receded on the 7th day.  Afterward, the boat came to rest on Mt. Nisir, and Utnapishtim sent out a dove, then a swallow, and then a raven.  When the raven didn’t return, he made a sacrifice and the gods gathered together over the sacrifice.

As you can see, there are many similarities in this legend with Noah’s flood, but also, there are a great many differences.  Only Noah’s family survived the flood, not Noah and the craftsmen.  There is only one God who was grieved over the sin and evil of the world, and that was the cause of the flood.  It was not because multiple gods of questionable moral character were bothered by men making so much noise.  The flood lasted for about a year in the Bible, but in this legend it was only for a week.  Noah took two of every kind of animal, but Utnapishtim took the seed of the animals.  Noah sent out the raven before a dove.  This is because ravens are scavengers while doves are vegetarian, and one of the goals was to see if plant life was available.  In the epic, the dove was sent first and the raven was last.

The boat constructed in the Gilgamesh epic was cubical (the length, width, and height were all equal) and 7 stories tall.  A boat like this would not be seaworthy, especially in a cataclysmic flood.  Noah’s ark, which the Bible records to precise measurements in a rectangular shape, would be seaworthy in that it provided maximum comfort for its occupants and strength to protect those inside.  A study was done on this by Dr. Seon Won Hong.  You can read about it here.

Moses compiled and edited the Genesis Flood account during the wanderings in the wilderness in the 15th century B.C.  The Gilgamesh Epic was dated between the time frame of 2200 B.C. and 620 B.C.  At the most, the Gilgamesh Epic was written 800 years before Moses’ writings—assuming the dating is accurate.  It does not require that Moses copied from the Babylonians.  There are options that both cultures recorded the same event, but one had embellishments.  Given the fact that there are almost 300 other flood legends, many of which have biblical similarities, most likely this Babylonian legend was written after the flood and embellished like the others.

Moses’ account of the worldwide, biblical flood contains the most detail as to who would be saved, the specific measurements of the boat, what Noah was to bring on board, and especially, why the world was going to be flooded.  Although this Babylonia legend may have been written before Moses wrote about Noah’s flood, it does not demand that the Babylonia legend was correct.  Given the shape of the Babylonian boat and its inability to be seaworthy, and given the lack of details in this epic as opposed to the details given in Genesis, most likely this version of the story was copied from Noah’s Flood and later embellished.  Dating methods are not always accurate, and that is when the feasibility and reliability of the texts, such as in this instance, takes precedence.

For more information, RTG recommends the book “How do we know the Bible is True?”  You can find it in our book store.

Where did the flood waters come from?

There are varying models on the origins of the flood waters.  As with many theories, there are strengths and weaknesses.  This link explains the different flood models.  Some creationists believe in the Canopy Theory, where a canopy of water surrounded the earth prior to the flood.  During the flood, that water fell down as rain.  Another possibility is the Hydroplate Model.  The following the animation video below provided by Dr. Walt Brown of www.creationscience.com explains the Hydroplate Model.