• Samuel at Gilgal

    This year I will be sharing brief excerpts from the articles, sermons, and books I am currently reading. My posts will not follow a regular schedule but will be published as I find well-written thoughts that should be of interest to maturing Christian readers. Whenever possible, I encourage you to go to the source and read the complete work of the author.

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  • March 2023
    M T W T F S S
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James M. BoiceJames Montgomery Boice:

The virgin birth is important in regard to our world view. When I speak of a world view, I mean a total world philosophy. The most important issue in philosophy is whether we are living in a closed universe or an open universe. When we look about at the visible universe, when we see matter and the laws that govern it, the basic question is whether that is all there is. If it is, we have a closed universe. That is the dominant view of our time. On the other hand, when we look at the universe of things and ideas, do we confess that we are not dealing with a closed universe but with a universe in which God lies above and beyond what we see? That is an open universe, and that is the Bible’s view.


C. S. LewisC. S. Lewis:

“If there lurks in most modern minds the notion that to desire our own good and earnestly to hope for the enjoyment of it is a bad thing, I submit that this notion has crept in from Kant and the Stoics and is no part of the Christian faith.  Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.” (The Weight of Glory, 1-2)

Christian Philosophy

thinking capDid you know you have philosophy of life? It influences the way you see the world. It is made up of your prejudices, personal and cultural experiences, education, the influence of family and friends, ideas and beliefs, your approach to religion, and reasoning skills. Your philosophy is like a lens through which you see the world. Through our personal philosophy we, consciously or unconsciously, make decisions about reality. People are often unconscious of it, but everyone has a personal philosophy through which they interpret why good and bad things happen, and the meaning of life.

Christians should approach life from a Biblical philosophy. This means that Christians should interpret life and reality through the lens of God’s Word. Christians need to understand that we are immersed in the culture of this present world and that it is not neutral. It’s a part of fallen creation. We may become so enamored of fitting in with the world system around us that we become captive to it. Then our philosophical view begins to lose touch with reality – God’s reality.

Escaping this condition requires you to base your philosophical view on something outside of popular culture. God, through Scripture, speaks to us from outside of human time, space, and popular ideology. He unveils to us a paradigm shift through which we can see what is good and real and true. We may begin to view all of life through the lens of God’s Word.

The Christian must be a life long student of the Bible and make a personal commitment, with the help of the Holy Spirit, to place God’s Word above every other view of life. Only then will he develop a personal philosophy which is compatible with God’s Word and being a Christian.

Are you seeing the world through the lens of Scripture, or do you allow popular culture to decide that view? Only Scripture can be the source of a true Christian Philosophy.

Samuel at Gilgal

Christianity and the Mind

The Christian MindFor those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. (Romans 8:5-6 ESV)

According to Harry Blamires, “The Christian mind is the prerequisite of Christian thinking, and Christian thinking is the prerequisite for Christian action.” (The Christian Mind: How Should a Christian Think?) It does not require awe-inspiring intelligence to become a Christian. Nevertheless, we are called to use our minds to the glory of God in His service. “Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy Him for ever.” (Westminster Shorter Catechism)

Most Christians have stopped thinking in a Christian way outside the church. We think one way in the church and another as we navigate daily through the problems of life. However, it was not planned to be this way. Paul declared to the Roman Christians, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:2) C. S. Lewis said, “If you are thinking of becoming a Christian, I warn you, you are embarking on something which is going to take the whole of you, brains and all.” Renewing the mind requires the grace of God, reading, careful study, and listening to God’s Word. Through the Scriptures, the Holy Spirit teaches us to think in a Christian manner. God is glorified through us when we use our minds to make sound Christian decisions. Therefore, we should develop an informed Christ-centered worldview.

We live today in a world whose pattern of thinking is anchored in Post-modern philosophy. Relativism, “personal truth”, and the subversion of moral norms holds sway over our media addicted culture. Ignoring that such a philosophy is self-destructive, most Christians are intellectually unwilling to oppose this secular worldview in the public forum. Perhaps, this is because too many Christians accept the secular premise of a vast divide existing between faith and reason.

Ordinary Christian faith actually sharpens the intelligence; such faith does not make the mind a dull instrument. Christianity enhances reasoning skills. Augustine wrote, “A Christian is a person who thinks in believing and believes in thinking.” True Christianity requires the Christian to think systematically about the revelation of Jesus Christ and its application to us in our world, culture, and time. Jesus told his disciples, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” (Matthew 22:37) It is important to love God with your entire mind. As Christians, we must not confine our faith to the inside of a church. We are to use our minds to glorify God in every area of reason and life.

Samuel at Gilgal

Criticizing Neo-Darwinism

THOMAS NAGELAtheist philosopher, Thomas Nagel, has dared to criticize neo-Darwinism in his new book Mind and Cosmos. Of course, the Darwinists have not taken his opinions very kindly. According to tothesource:

Fact one: Thomas Nagel is an atheist. As he’s made clear on many occasions, he wants to be an atheist. As he said, famously, in The Last Word, “I want atheism to be true and am made uneasy by the fact that some of the most intelligent and well-informed people I know are religious believers. It isn’t just that I don’t believe in God and, naturally, hope that I’m right in my belief. It’s that I hope there is no God! I don’t want there to be a God; I don’t want the universe to be like that.”


Fact two: Thomas Nagel is brave enough to have a clear and critical look at one of the great intellectual supports of modern atheism, the neo-Darwinian account of nature. He has found it “prima facie highly implausible that life as we know it is the result of a sequence of physical accidents together with the mechanism of natural selection.”

Continue reading this interesting article by Dr. Benjamin Wiker. . . .


Joseph HallJoseph Hall:

Sorrows, because they are lingering guests, I will entertain but moderately, knowing that the more they are made of the longer they will continue: and for pleasures, because they stay not, and do but call to drink at my door, I will use them as passengers with slight respect. He is his own best friend that makes the least of both of them.

Spending too much Time looking in the Mirror

AtheismIn the pride of his face, the wicked does not seek him; all his thoughts are, “There is no God.” (Psalm 10:4 ESV)

Atheism is like spending too much time looking in the mirror; in the reflection, there is only room for one person – self. Life without God is the kingdom of self. I must admit here that I was an atheist for many years before becoming a Christian. I can testify that I once lived a life centered totally on myself and I am still a work in progress.

Let us take a moment to define “atheism”. The American Heritage Dictionary defines “atheism” as “Disbelief in or denial of the existence of God …” Disbelief in God is driven by the overwhelming desire to be personally in control and accountable to no one. It is a powerful motivation for suppressing the truth of God. (Romans 1:18) The natural (sinful) man prefers to set up his own standards of righteousness.

The sin of atheism is all bound up in the wickedness of irrational pride. We wish to be the center of all things. Therefore, as the center of my universe, I cannot tolerate a god more powerful than I am. A self-centered man cannot abide a deity to whom he is accountable. William E. Henley spoke of such a person when he penned the words, “I am the master of my fate. I am the captain of my soul.”

Thus, the pride of life drives men to “suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.” (Romans 1:18-21) Atheism requires a cycle of censorship to support its self-assurance. The sin of pride is the impetus to deny any truth that supports the existence of God.

Therefore, atheism is not a morally neutral position. To deny God, is to deny the moral foundation of the rights and dignity of man. Think about this quote from Alexander Solzhenitsyn: “If I were asked today to formulate as concisely as possible the main cause of the ruinous revolution that swallowed up some sixty million of our people, I could not put it more accurately than to repeat: ‘Men had forgotten God; that is why all this has happened.’”

In John Milton’s 17th-century epic poem, Paradise Lost, Satan attempts to seize control of heaven from God. Satan claims that the angels are “self-begot” (Evolution?) and he denies God’s authority as Creator over them. Because of his rebellion, Satan and his followers are cast down to hell. Here, Satan speaks that often quoted line: “Better to reign in Hell than to serve in Heaven.” Is it, really? Atheism demands the answer, “Yes!” This viewpoint, however, has led to very unhappy consequences in Russia, China, and North Korea – among many other nations. For the individual, the consequences are reaped in this world and the next when men forget God.

Atheism will be humiliated and abandoned one day before the terrifying judgment of the one holy omnipotent God. His justice will demand that, “The haughty looks of man shall be brought low, and the lofty pride of men shall be humbled, and the Lord alone will be exalted in that day.” (Isaiah 2:11)

Samuel at Gilgal

God can and does Speak

Paul CopanPaul Copan:

God can and does speak to unbelievers through reason, beauty, moral failure, and the existence of evil. As a cloud of apologetical witnesses can testify, God has used philosophical arguments for his existence, scientific supports for the universe’s beginning (Big Bang) and its fine-tuning, and historical evidences for the resurrection of Jesus to assist people in embracing Christ—just as God uses the preaching of the gospel (Romans 1:16) or the loving character of a Christian community (John 13:35). These are all part of the holistic witness to the reality of God and the gospel, all of which the Spirit of God can use to lead unbelievers to embracing Jesus Christ.

The Scriptures of God

Isaac NewtonIsaac Newton, English mathematician and scientist:

“We account the scriptures of God to be the most sublime philosophy. I find more sure marks of authenticity in the Bible than in any profane history whatsoever.”

To Doubt is to Know?

Absolute TruthFrederick Copleston:

Everyone who doubts knows that he is doubting, so that he is certain of this truth at least, namely the fact that he doubts. Thus every one who doubts whether there is such a thing as truth, knows at least one truth, so that his very capacity to doubt should convince him that there is such a thing as truth.


The Incontrovertible Truth

Winston ChurchillWinston Churchill:

The truth is incontrovertible, malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end; there it is.

Man will occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of the time he will pick himself up and continue on [in ignorance].

A Rejection of Atheism

AtheismHaving once been an atheist myself, I find the accounts of those atheists who ultimately reject atheism and find faith in God very interesting. One such account is that of Andrew Norman Wilson, an English essayist, journalist, author of satiric novels of British society and of scholarly biographies.

Wilson attended New College, Oxford, began a teaching career, and spent a year training for the priesthood before deciding to concentrate on writing. During this time, he became an ardent atheist. He has composed essays on religion and contributed regularly to several London newspapers.

In April 2009, Wilson wrote a personal account, “Why I Believe Again”, in the New Statesman. In it, he explained his final rejection of atheism. The following contains excerpts from that article:

A materialist Darwinian was having dinner with me a few years ago and we laughingly alluded to how, as years go by, one forgets names. Eager, as committed Darwinians often are, to testify on any occasion, my friend asserted: “It is because when we were simply anthropoid apes, there was no need to distinguish between one another by giving names.”

This credal confession struck me as just as superstitious as believing in the historicity of Noah’s Ark. More so, really.

Do materialists really think that language just “evolved”, like finches’ beaks, or have they simply never thought about the matter rationally? Where is the evidence? How could it come about that human beings all agreed that particular grunts carried particular connotations? How could it have come about that groups of anthropoid apes developed the amazing morphological complexity of a single sentence, let alone the whole grammatical mystery, which has engaged Chomsky and others in our lifetime and linguists for time out of mind? No, the existence of language is one of the many phenomena – of which love and music are the two strongest – which suggest that human beings are very much more than collections of meat. They convince me that we are spiritual beings, and that the religion of the incarnation, asserting that God made humanity in His image, and continually restores humanity in His image, is simply true. . . .

When I think about atheist friends, including my father, they seem to me like people who have no ear for music, or who have never been in love. . . .

[O]ne thing that finally put the tin hat on any aspirations to be an unbeliever was writing a book about the Wagner family and Nazi Germany, and realizing how utterly incoherent were Hitler’s neo-Darwinian ravings, and how potent was the opposition, much of it from Christians; paid for, not with clear intellectual victory, but in blood. Read Pastor Bonhoeffer’s book Ethics, and ask yourself what sort of mad world is created by those who think that ethics are a purely human construct. Think of Bonhoeffer’s serenity before he was hanged, even though he was in love and had everything to look forward to.

My departure from the Faith was like a conversion on the road to Damascus. My return was slow, hesitant, doubting. So it will always be; but I know I shall never make the same mistake again. Gilbert Ryle, with donnish absurdity, called God “a category mistake”. Yet the real category mistake made by atheists is not about God, but about human beings. Turn to the Table Talk of Samuel Taylor Coleridge – “Read the first chapter of Genesis without prejudice and you will be convinced at once . . . ‘The Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life’.” And then Coleridge adds: “‘And man became a living soul.’ Materialism will never explain those last words.”


Like Chuck Colson, I believe that “Faith and reason are not enemies.” Reason is just as much a gift from God as faith. Many have simply found that Christianity is the most rational explanation of reality. A. N. Wilson seems to have discovered this in his life’s journey as I have in mine.


“Religion of hatred: Why we should no longer be cowed by the chattering classes ruling Britain who sneer at Christianity”


In the Face of Modern Nihilism

Francis SchaefferFrancis Schaeffer:

In the face of this modern nihilism, Christians are often lacking in courage. We tend to give the impression that we will hold on to the outward forms whatever happens, even if god really is not there. But the opposite ought to be true of us, so that people can see that we demand the truth of what is there and that we are not dealing merely with platitudes. In other words, it should be understood that we take the question of truth and personality so seriously that if God were not there we would be among the first of those who had the courage to step out of the queue.

The Proper Response to Evil

Ancient Roman bust (so-called "Bust of Ve...

Ancient Roman poet Virgil (70-19 BC):

“Do not give in to evil but proceed ever more boldly against it.”

Who has been Monkeying Around?

Sir Fred HoyleSir Fred Hoyle:

A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a superintendent has monkeyed with the physics, as well as chemistry and biology, and that there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature. I do not believe that any physicist who examined the evidence could fail to draw the inference that the laws of nuclear physics have been deliberately designed with regard to the consequences they produce within stars.

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