Monday, December 22, 2014

The Evidence for Christmas

Everyone has an opinion about Christmas:  how it should be celebrated, should it be celebrated, fresh tree or "silk", if fresh, long needles or short, tinsel or not, and on and on it goes.  I LOVE Christmas music and yesterday we enjoyed a recital held in a lovely old church in town.  Many young people shared their vocal and instrumental skills.

Besides being preoccupied with the usual preparations of gift buying, wrapping gifts and cooking I tend to get very sentimental.  I observe and celebrate Christ's first coming with my heart fully engaged.

But yesterday's sermon offered another look, a perspective that fully engaged my mind and out of that experience, I want to share some scientific, historical and archaeological facts...the "evidence for Christmas".  Faith is a wonderful thing, a gift from God. But He also wants us to KNOW...with our minds, that He is as real as can be.

I am attempting, with my very unscientific brain, to net out a bit of the information I pondered yesterday morning.  I am much more relationally oriented and science, math and history were subjects I had to get through, "back in the day".  Let me quickly say, just because my brain does not get stimulated by science, doesn't mean there isn't good science; it is not about me!  I didn't originate this information but I love learning about the amazing ways God reveals Himself through science, history, archaeology, etc.

Let's begin at the beginning.....with God.  The very scientific law of cause and effect establishes that material (key word) effect must have an adequate cause that existed before the effect.  So the universe could not have created itself from nothing.  Nothing comes from nothing right?  Stay with me here: the scriptures say God created the heavens and the earth (see Genesis or Psalm 90:2).  So, the question begs to be asked: who created God?  Let's go back to the word, material.  The Bible tells us that God is Spirit (John 4:26).  There was a "first cause" and God was/is the only One suitable for the job.  The very "material" universe needed a non-material cause - God!

God's Word/Scripture:  Now that we have figured out "God" (ha!), how do we know  His Word has validity?  I loved hearing, once again how science, archaeology and history support the Bible.  For example, in the story of the battle of Jericho, the walls came down because of an act of God. Those same walls were excavated 3 times over the last century and all 3 times it was concluded that they all fell at the same time....outward....on top of themselves.  It would not have happened that way if those walls had been attacked.

The Bible has been proven to be the most historically accurate book ever found.  Two 20th century archaeologists, William F. Albright and Nelson Glueck, both lauded the Bible (even though they were non-Christian and secular in their training and personal beliefs) as being the single most accurate source document from history.

The names of over 40 different kings mentioned in the Bible have all been found in contemporary documents and inscriptions outside the Old Testament and are always consistent with the times and places associated with them in the Bible.

And get this!  The hydrological cycle of water is described back in the book of Job (36: 27-28).  And....the roundness of the earth (way back before the time of Columbus) is found in Isaiah 40:22.  Ocean currents are referred to in Psalm 8:8.

And finally, what about Jesus?  There are hundreds of ancient prophecies about Jesus in the Old Testament - ALL fulfilled with total accuracy.  Just a couple: Isaiah 7:14 fulfilled in Matt: 1:18, 25; Micah 5:2 in Matt. 2:1; Isaiah 40:3 in Matt. 3: 1,2.

Using the modern science of probability in just 8 prophecies, we find that the chance for 1 man to have fulfilled just those 8 from the OT to the NT is 1 in 10 to the 17th power.  That would be 1 in 100,000,000,000,000,000!  (This makes my head spin!)

In the interest of keeping this blog readable (just scratching the surface today), I will wrap it up.  We have a very real God Who loves us so much that He wrote us a love letter (Bible) and provides us with a way to Him (Jesus).  At this special time of year, we can "take that to the bank" (as the saying goes).

In closing, C.S. Lewis once wrote: "I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: 'I'm ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don't accept His claim to be God.'  That is the one thing we must not say.  A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher.  He would either be a lunatic - on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg - or else he would be the Devil of Hell.  You must make your choice.  Either this man was, and is, the Son of God; or else a madman or something worse."  And then Lewis adds: "you can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon, or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God.  But let us not come up with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher.  He has not left that open to us.  He did not intend to." (Quotes from More Than A Carpenter.)

Friends, the evidence is irrefutable.  We can worship the
Christ child with the full knowledge and assurance that He did indeed come and that He is coming again!  Hark, the herald angels sing!  Glory to the newborn King!

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