Monthly Archives: February 2015

The Power of Spiritual Vision

When the servant of Elisha saw that the king of Syria had surrounded the city of Dothan in order to capture Elisha, he trembled in fear, not knowing what would become of them. But Elisha comforted him by assuring him that “they that be with us are more than they that be with them.” He must have been uncertain as to what they meant until, when the servants’ eyes were opened, he saw “the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha” (II Kings 6:13-18).

Much too often we fail to see things in the right way, as they really are. The truth is, “the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart” (I Sam. 16:7). While we might be clean in our own eyes, the Lord looks at us as we really are and weighs our spirits (Prov. 16:2). The way we look at an issue, will determine how we will address it.

The story is told of two rival shoe salesmen who went to a very backward country. When the first man got off the plane and looked around, he immediately went to the nearest phone and called his office. “Buy me a ticket and bring me back home. No one wears shoes here. There is no market!” The second shoe salesman got off the plane and looked around. He, too, went immediately to the nearest phone and called the home office. “Send me all the shoes we have. The market is wide open. Everyone needs shoes here!” How we look at the situation determines how we respond.

Some look at their own sin-filled life and wonder how they can ever straighten it out. Like the rich young ruler, they look at it as an impossible task (Luke 18:18-30). “Who then can be saved?” they wonder (v. 26). As long as we focus on our possessions, which is what the rich young ruler did, then we will not see the greater issues involved. For “what is a man profited if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matt. 16:6).

When Jesus came to the apostles by walking on water while they were in the boat, Peter wanted to walk to Jesus on the water, too. And, at first, he did. But when he took his eyes off of Jesus and focused only on the wind and the boisterous sea, he began to sink (Matt. 14:25-33). When we take our eyes off of Jesus, when we lose focus in life, when we don’t see things as they really are, we will sink in the boisterous waves of life. That is why we must ever look to Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith (Heb. 12:1,2).

Sometimes how we look at things is betrayed by our speech. Some say, “I have to go to church Sunday” or “I have to go to Bible study.” But one who has the right attitude will sincerely say and mean “I get to go to worship” or “I get to go to Bible study.” They will see it as a privilege and a blessing instead of a burden and a chore. Some look at giving in the same light: “I have to give to the church…” instead of “I get to give back to the Lord…”

How we sincerely look at things makes a big difference in our life. If our eyes are opened and we see things as they really are, when we see that sin is real (Rom. 3:23), and when we see that God’s love is manifested to us in the gift of His Son (John 3:16), when we see and understand that Jesus’ sacrifice was necessary (Heb. 9:17-22), and when we see that there is a judgement day coming (Acts 17:30,31), it will make a difference in the way we live our life.

Eric L. Padgett

Back-up Your Info In Your DNA!

The January 23 issue of Nature reported that some information–in this instance all of Shakespeare’s sonnets, a photograph of a building, two science articles, and an mp3 clip of a Martin Luther King, Jr. speech–had been stored in a short strand of DNA. The resultant DNA was just a barely visible speck on the bottom of a small test tube. The scientists who brought about this experiment tout it as a possible means of storing massive amounts of information in the future for long periods of time.

However, scientists already knew about the nature of genetic information stored in DNA and creationists have long pointed to this as evidence that there is an intelligence behind it’s design, only to have evolutionists ridicule the idea. Now that scientists have managed to store non-genetic data in DNA it is even more obvious that information creation and storage require intelligence.

According to the article, it took over two weeks to read the information encoded in the DNA and cost $10,000 using the best technology known to man. To store the world’s existing data would cost more money than is even available on our planet! Yet DNA is read every minute of the day with ease in living things and the evolutionists expect us to believe this just happened by natural selection without any intelligence behind it.

If, later, someone were to sequence a strand of DNA and find a book of Shakespeare or an audio file or an image embedded in the DNA, would anyone think that this just happened by natural selection? Wouldn’t this be even greater evidence of intelligence and design than finding a watch on a beach, an illustration offered by William Paley back in 1802? And yet, the genetic material in DNA is even greater than any work of Shakespeare or photo or human speech. These genes produced the minds that create these works of art.

The authors also propose that in a decade, when technology has much improved, this might become a way to store information for long periods of time without decay. Normal digital storage media quickly become obsolete (remember 8-Track tapes and cassettes?) and degrade over time. It is said, however, DNA lasts much longer.

It is interesting that in the  article on the subject, reference was made to Woolly Mammoth DNA being preserved for “tens of thousands of years.” However no reference was made to dinosaur DNA being found in T-Rex fossils. This was not mentioned perhaps because scientists also know it is not possible for DNA to last for 65 million years. Yet, according to Dr. Mary Schweitzer “material consistent with DNA” has been found in dinosaur fossils of that age. This caused quite a stir when announced. However, undaunted, Evolutionists never even considered re-thinking their view of when dinosaurs lived but, instead, changed their view of how long DNA could survive even though the experimental evidence is against it!

Nevertheless, while man-made digital tape degrades and is limited, God’s storage methods are permanent and unlimited.  That is especially true of God’s revealed word.  It will never pass away (Matt. 24:35).

But the bottom line is DNA is information that God stored in our cells to build our physical bodies. Anyone of normal intelligence would be impressed with both the design and intelligence exhibited not only in our bodies but in the world itself.

Eric L. Padgett

Christ is God’s Spokesman

(This is a letter to the editor of the Evansville Courier I sent in this week. It is in response to a letter, published February 15, by a Presbyterian preacher who defended sodomy. I do not know if it will be published, so I publish it here myself.)

In the Evansville Courier and Press last Sunday, Kevin Fleming, a preacher for a liberal Presbyterian church in Evansville, argued in a letter to the editor that “there is no such thing as a single spokesperson for Christianity.”

However, contrary to Fleming’s assertions, the Bible teaches that God has indeed “spoken to us by His Son” (Heb. 1:1). The Lord is The Spokesman!  Jesus said, “He that rejecteth me and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the words that I have spoken, the same judge him in the last day” (John 12:47).

What prompted Mr. Fleming to write was his irritation at another letter to the editor which condemned the kind of people that, at least partly, comprise the group which he leads, people who have “different faith traditions,” those that avoid a “literal interpretation of scripture,” and especially those who change the natural use of the body to that which is against nature.

Mr. Fleming ignores, and wants others to ignore, what Jesus said about marriage.  While Fleming “utterly rejects” the view that “singles out LGBTQ people as particularly deserving of condemnation and shame,” Jesus said “Have ye not read, that He which made them at the beginning made them male and female and for this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife…what God hath joined together let not man put asunder” (Matt. 19:4-6).

The Lord’s Word clearly teaches that all perversions of that divine order are sinful.  When women lust after women and men after men that is “vile,” “against nature,” “unseemly,” and is an “error” deserving of “recompence” (Rom. 1:26-32).

“Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolators, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind…shall inherit the kingdom of God” (I Cor. 6:9,10).

“Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire” (Jude 1:7).

Fleming says that those who do such things as the Son of God and His word clearly condemns are “exemplary” and “light in darkness.”  That is what Fleming says.  That is his “opinion.”  Mr. Fleming is free to hold whatever opinions he chooses to hold, of course, but they certainly aren’t those of the Lord as found in His word, the word that shall judge us at the last day!

Eric L. Padgett

The Holy Spirit and the Day Of Pentecost

A passage that is usually offered in support of the view that the Holy Spirit literally and personally dwells in the body of the Christian in a non-miraculous fashion is Acts 2:38: “Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” The expression “and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” is said to constitute scriptural proof of the non-miraculous, personal and literal indwelling position. It is said that this passage proves that the Holy Spirit is given to those who are baptized for the remission of sins at the time of their baptism. But let us look at the context of this passage further.

Imagine, first of all, being a Jew in first century Jerusalem on the first Pentecost after the Lord’s resurrection. You would have as a knowledge base the Old Testament scriptures. The first thing you know of the Spirit of God is His work in creation (Gen. 1:2; Job 26:13). You would also know of His inspiring the prophets (e.g., Num. 11:25,26,29, et. al) and men who wrote the Old Testament, such as David (II Sam. 23:2). You would know of His empowering men such as Sampson, whom the Spirit of the Lord began to move at times (Jud. 13:25). In short, you would know of the miraculous power conferred by the Spirit of God upon His people. Please investigate further the knowledge that first century Jews would have had of the Spirit’s work in their history through the Old Testament Scriptures. Also, they would have understood that the Spirit had not spoken by the prophets for 400 years!

Furthermore, being a Jew in first century Jerusalem you would no doubt have heard of the work of Jesus and His apostles. (This would have stood in stark contrast to the prophetic silence of four centuries.) You would know that, at the very least, He was reported to be a “doer of wonderful works.” You would have heard that it was reported that He had raised individuals from the dead. You may have even been among the great multitudes of people who were flocking to Him to be healed of some dreaded disease because His fame went abroad into all the land (Matt. 9:26; Luke 4:54; 5:15). Maybe you had even heard that He taught that His apostles would be empowered by the Holy Spirit to speak words they had not studied (Matt. 10:20). Perhaps you heard Him say that He cast out devils by the Spirit of God (Matt. 12:28). Possibly, if you had kept up on the news swirling about Jerusalem after Jesus’ arrest and crucifixion, you would have heard it said that Jesus had miraculously risen from the dead by the power of the Spirit and appeared to His apostles and told them that they would be baptized with the Holy Spirit and be endued with power not many days hence (Acts 1:4-8).

Moreover, if you were present in Jerusalem on the Day of Pentecost you would have heard of the commotion caused by the apostles of the Lord when they were astonishingly heard to be speaking in languages they had never studied (Acts 2:1-8).

Then, these apostles begin speaking and quoting the Old Testament prophet Joel: “And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit. And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the Lord come” (Joel 2:28-31).

After this Peter states unequivocally, “This is that.” “This” referred to their being able to speak in languages they had never studied and “that” was Joel’s prophecy that the Spirit would be “poured out.” The Spirit’s being “poured out” was initially fulfilled in the gift of speaking in unlearned foreign languages by the apostles. This was also the fulfillment of Jesus’ promise that the apostles would be baptized in the Holy Spirit and be endued with supernatural power (Acts 1:4-8). To be baptized in the Holy Spirit was to be endued with power from on high, according to Jesus!

Now, when Peter tells these Jews who were present in Jerusalem on the Day of Pentecost to “Repent and be baptized everyone of you for the remission of sins and you will receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” (2:38), what do you suppose they would have immediately understood? Do you think they would have thought, “Ah! Peter is promising us the non-miraculous personal and literal indwelling of the Holy Spirit!”? Why, they had never even heard of such a thing! It was not in their experience.

What would they have thought, really? They would have thought that they would receive the same kind of power the apostles had received because they would have remembered Joel’s prophecy just quoted by Peter that their sons and daughters and young and old men would prophesy, dream dreams and see visions. Which, by the way, is what subsequently happened in New Testament history.

Rather than supporting a non-miraculous, personal and literal indwelling of the Holy Spirit’s person, a doctrine nowhere taught unequivocally in scripture, this passage teaches that the reception of the Holy Spirit was an outpouring of miraculous power by the Spirit upon the apostles. They needed this to be reminded of the words of Christ and to bring to their knowledge all truth He had not yet taught them (John 14:26; 16:13). They then were able to impart the Holy Spirit, i.e., pass these miraculous gifts to others, by and only by the imposition of hands (Acts 8:8) in fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy.

Acts 2:38 is a fulfillment of what Jesus said in Mark 16:15-18:”And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.”

Acts 2:38 parallels Mark 16:15-18. In Mark 16:17 Jesus says that “these signs shall follow them that believe.” But He does not tell us how that would occur. The way some interpret Acts 2:38 they would have to reason that miraculous signs were given immediately at baptism. But we know that it was through the apostles laying their hands on an individual that this occurred (Acts 8:18).

Also, please notice this passage says nothing about the Holy Spirit inhabiting the physical body of the Christian. It says nothing about God’s Spirit literally or personally being in the body of the Christian. The passage says nothing about the Holy Spirit doing anything non-miraculously. So to offer this passage as proof that the Holy Spirit literally and personally inhabits the body of the Christian in a non-miraculous way is completely without warrant.

See also this entry.

Eric L. Padgett