A major benefit claimed for the evolutionary theory is its explanatory power. However this is also a philosophical illusion. The problem with the theory of evolution is that it can explain anything. If a bird has dull plumage, it is for camouflage against predators. If the bird has bright plumage, it for attracting mates. It does not matter what type of plumage a bird may have, evolution can explain it. If a bird was discovered with wings make of iron, an evolutionary explanation would quickly emerge.
A theory that can explain anything might be useful, if you have rejected God and need a theory to explain life on earth. A theory that can explain anything is useful because, it can never be proved wrong. A theory that proves too much is dangerous, if you are seeking the truth.
Atheists have to believe in evolution because they are unwilling to accept the alternative. They have not choice. Christians have an alternative, so they are not compelled to believe in evolution.
The theory of evolution is a theory of change and not a theory of origins. It explains how one thing changes into another. It purports to explain why a horse changed into a giraffe, but it cannot explain how life came out of nothing. Genesis One explains the origin of life. This is the important question, far more important than understanding why change may occur.
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
A major benefit claimed for the evolutionary theory is its explanatory power. However this is also a philosophical illusion. The problem with the theory of evolution is that it can explain anything. If a bird has dull plumage, it is for camouflage against predators. If the bird has bright plumage, it for attracting mates. It does not matter what type of plumage a bird may have, evolution can explain it. If a bird was discovered with wings make of iron, an evolutionary explanation would quickly emerge.
Monday, September 29, 2008
The theory of evolution has a couple of serious philosophical problems too. The first is that plausibility is not the same as proof. Evolutionary changes cannot be repeated in a laboratory, so they cannot be proved using the scientific method. This means that evolutionary explanations for life are never proved. Therefore, all that scientists seek is plausible explanations. Nothing more is expected.
When a new phenomenon is discovered, someone come up with an evolutionary reason why the phenomena might have occurred. A plausible explanation is all that is required to settle a matter. For example, if a bird has bright feathers on it head, someone will suggest that these evolved to attract mates. Provided the explanation is plausible, it is accepted. No one bothers trying to prove that this was the actual reason, because such proofs are impossible, because the processes that happen randomly over thousands of years cannot be repeated in a laboratory.
Plausibility on its own is a very low standard of proof. The fact that something is plausible does not mean that it actually happened. Many plausible events have never happened, so plausibility is not the same as proof. Evolutionary science has settled for plausibility as a standard, because it cannot work with anything stronger, but this means that evolution can never be more than a theory.
Sunday, September 28, 2008
The fourth serious problem with the big bang cosmology is that the universe is too empty. Given the estimated size of the universe, there are not sufficient physical objects in the universe to explain the observed gravitational forces. This problem was solved with a theory that up to 90% of the matter in the universe is dark matter with huge mass that does not emit light. However, dark matter has never been observed.
There are two reasons for this problem. First, there is the problem of observation. Astronomers looking out into space observe electromagnetic radiation covering the entire spectrum, from light to gamma waves. However, this data is absolutely meaningless without a theoretical framework through which to interpret what is observed. If the theoretical framework is wrong, the conclusions made from any observations are like to be flawed.
Any theoretical framework must deal with the fact that humans can only observe space from a single point in space. That makes distant objects difficult to measure. For example, it is difficult to guess the height of a mountain, if you do not know how far away it is. Likewise, it is difficult to assess the speed of a distant plane, if you do not know how large it is. We resolve these problems by observing from two points, but this is not really possible when observing space.
Scientists use a theoretical framework to decide on the size, distance and speed of objects, based on their intensity, but if this framework is flawed, their view of the universe will be distorted. The danger is that observers will reach conclusions that were buried in their theoretical assumptions. The fact the cosmological framework requires the existence of dark matter suggests that it is flawed. The universe might be much smaller than they think.
The second issue is that that modern scientists use a theoretical framework that leaves out God and ignores the spiritual dimension to life. This is a serious weakness. The spiritual dimension of life is intertwined with the physical universe, so it will have an impact on what is physically observed. The spiritual forces at work in this universe are good and evil. The dark matter that it shaping the universe may actually be the presence of evil spiritual forces, either operating freely or shut up by God (in an abyss).
I saw George W Bush announcing his financial bailout to the American people. I am not sure if the is afraid, but he certainly oozed fear. Woe after woe stumbled out of the teleprompter. I presume that many Americans breathed in the fear that he spread about.
Human political powers thrive on fear, because fear brings forth increased power. The Beast will be born in an age of fear.
Saturday, September 27, 2008
The second problem with the big bang is explaining how exploding energy expanded unevenly and formed into clumps of matter that would eventually become stars and planets. The accepted explanation is a disturbance at the beginning of the big bang, but this had to be exactly right to produce the universe that we live in.
The first chapter of Genesis avoids this problem, because God created space on the second day, his second burst of activity. We do not know how he did it, but many biblical passages speak of his stretching out the heavens.
It is I who made the earth and created mankind upon it. My own hands stretched out the heavens; I marshaled their starry hosts (Is 45:12).This suggests that God did stretch out the stars in an expansionary process, like the one that astronomers have observed.
He made the earth by his power; he founded the world by his wisdom and stretched out the heavens by his understanding (Jer 51:15).
God stretched out the heavens in divine day. We do not know what that means in terms of human time. Scientists say that the big bang occurred many millions of year ago. However, they are not really talking about time, but the immensity of the change that has occurred since. They are saying that if things changed at the same rate as they are changing now, the universe would have taken millions of years to change from a compressed point of singularity into it its current state. The emphasis is on the immensity of the change.
However, God is not limited by the way that change is currently occurring. He could have spread out the heavens instantly, if he wanted. On the other hand, he may have started with a few stars and planets and then gradually added more and more, like a juggler throwing up additional balls. The important thing is that he created space and all it contains in a single action. What a God! God saw that it was good. I think he was saying, “Wow, that looks amazing!”
God is Absolute
The only constant in modern cosmology is the speed of light. I find this slightly odd. The truth is that God is the only unchanging absolute in this universe. Therefore, there is no reason why we should assume that the speed of light is absolute. Some scientists are beginning to explore the possibility that the speed of light is slowing over time. I am not sure where that will lead, but I know that any cosmology that assumes the speed of light and absolute is constant is flawed.
Friday, September 26, 2008
On the first day, God created light and darkness, but light is just a special form of energy. This suggests that God created all the energy in the universe on the first day. I don’t how long he took to create this energy. Humans did not exist and human time had not begun, so God’s action cannot be measured in terms of human concepts. The important thing is that he created all the energy in the universe in one unbroken action (a divine day). He did not need to pause for a break while he regathered his strength. He did not need to recharge his batteries for a second go at the job. He did not need to take a breather. The fact that God achieved this mighty task in one single action demonstrates his omnipotence. Only an infinitely powerful being could accomplish this alone during one divine day.
Darkness is the absence of light. It cannot be created directly, but appears when light is withdrawn. (A room becomes dark when the light is turned off). This implies that light and energy were not spread evenly through space when God created them. He must have gathered the light together into clumps leaving some parts of space in darkness. Genesis does not explain how God did this. He may have spread light though space and then drawn it together to cause darkness to emerge. Or he may have created all the energy at one point of singularity and let it go, just for the fun of it, or so the angels could watch the fireworks. (The microwave radiation that scientist have detected might be the remnant of this event).
We do not know how God created energy and light. We should just be glad that he did. The really important thing is that when he had finished, God said that it was good. I suppose in this context, good really means “Wow! That was fun!”
Thursday, September 25, 2008
The big bang people have several big problems. The first is that the theory only takes us back so far. The big bang begins with all the energy in the universe concentrated at infinite density in a point of singularity. It cannot explain where all that energy came from or how it was concentrated in on point. It is actually a theory to describe change in the universe, not a theory of the origins of the universe.
The basic philosophical question that needs to be answered by every philosophy is the following.
Why there is something rather than nothing?There are three possible answers to this question.
Although it is the most likely possibility, the first answer is clearly wrong, because I exist and the universe I live in exists. The second answer implies an eternal universe. This does not make sense. The big bank theory seems to require an external universe, but it cannot explain why the universe is eternal. The third possibility is the most plausible, but it needs a creator.
Genesis resolves this problem, because it begins with God Creator, who is eternal. An eternal God is more plausible than an eternal universe. God is the reason there is something and not nothing.
This full series is here.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Christians seem to think that because they have revelation from God, they should know more about the origins of the universe than others. Their frustration with knowing so little is often solved by taking the latest scientific position and blending it in with God’s revelation. The danger is that when science changes, Christians are left stranded with out dated ideas.
Medieval Astronomy illustrates this danger. The early Roman Catholic Church taught that the sun moves around earth. This doctrine did not come from the scriptures, but was imported from Aristotle, whose philosophies were considered to be the best description of the way the world operated. When Copernicus and Galileo demonstrated that the earth moves around the sun, the church had a problem. It had yoked its horse to a scientific bandwagon that was going in the wrong direction. The church eventually had to back down and ditch its Aristolean dogmas. However, it would never have got into that embarrassing position, if it had not used a secular source to fill out God’s revelation.
Many modern Christians are running the same risk, by trying to merge the modern scientific cosmology with God’s revelation. The problem is that secular science uses an incomplete theoretical framework, so it will always get some things wrong. As these flaws emerge, the science must change. Christians who have linked to a particular view find themselves stranded, locked into a scientific view that has dropped out of fashion.
The fact that I am unwilling to commit to seven literal 24-hour days, does not mean that a have accepted the big bang or evolution. These theories have far more problems than seven-day creation. Christians who hitch their horse to these bandwagons will be left stranded as these flaws are exposed.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
A fourth fundamental truth in Genesis is that mankind was created good. This is a serious blow to any theory that humans evolved from another species. If these theories are true, there is no point of development when we stopped being chimpanzees and became human. The change was gradual. A species that is evolving is not perfect, because it can get better in the future. In theory, an evolving species could evolve to be closer to the image of God in the future. The truth is that God created mankind in his image.
This is essential for understanding Jesus ministry. If we evolved from the apes, we have never been totally good and cannot be expected to be good. People who behave like animals are just being true to their nature. If we are evolving into a more advanced species, we do not need a saviour. We just need more of the right kind of evolution.
Animals cannot sin. Only people who are created good can fall into sin. If sin is not real, Jesus had no reason to die, and the cross was a terrible blunder. However, God does not make mistakes. Jesus died, because sin is real. Sin is real, because humans were created good, before falling into disobedience. Jesus came to restore things back to the way they were before that fall, when all things were good as Genesis One describes.
Monday, September 22, 2008
The other implication of this truth is that the universe we observe is seriously distorted by sin. Human sin tainted everything. Sin set the devil free to do enormous damage in God’s creation. Not only did this affect the earth, the entire universe was affected at the same time. Christians have not fully grasped the impact of this truth. While Satan was attacking mankind, other demonic forces went to work in the universe creating evil species, working havoc and spoiling the God universe that God created. This was not the gradual change over time that scientists assume, but instantaneous change caused by spiritual forces that cannot be observed.
Astronomers peer into space through their telescope. They assume that they can use their observations to understand the origins of the universe. The problem is that they are not looking at the universe as it was created in the beginning. They are looking at the universe, which has been seriously damaged by sin and evil. This is an unbreakable barrier that science cannot overcome. The impact of the fall is that we cannot see the universe the way it was when God created it, not matter how powerful our telescope. Humans cannot observe the universe as it was at the beginning. All that scientists can observe is a universe distorted by sin.
Some Christians have used the Genesis flood to explain some of the physical phenomena that are found on earth. This is interesting, but it misses an important point. The fall had far greater impact on the creation than the flood.
Sunday, September 21, 2008
A third fundamental truth in Genesis One is that when God had finished his creative activity everything was good. This is a critical point, which Christians must never let go. When God finished his work, it was good. This means that there were no earthquakes, no volcanoes, no droughts, not tornados, no tsunamis, no fatal diseases and no floods. People like to blame God for evil. When people are killed by an earthquake or famine, people like to play the blame game and say, “Why did God allow it”.
The truth is that God created a good world. He did not create a world where floods, earthquakes and droughts kill people. These things came into the world after the fall. When mankind sinned, Satan was freed to do his harm in God’s creation. Earthquakes and, viruses, dangerous animals and destructive forces were released on earth.
Sin and evil totally changed the way that the earth functions. Earthquakes, floods, droughts, tsunamis, tornados and volcanoes appeared on earth for the first time. Animals, insects and plants changed into dangerous forms that had not existed when the world was good as God crated it. Bacteria and viruses the cause sickness and disease emerged and began to spread. All these things that marred God’s good earth were the work of the devil
We should not be asking why God allowed these things. We should be asking why mankind allowed the devil to bring these things into our good world.
Christians have been so busy defending seven literal days that they have given up on the goodness of creation without realising. They play the same game, asking why God allows evil on the earth, without understanding that their question denies the truth of Genesis One
The economic crisis in America is bringing about two critical changes.
Labels: Economic Situation
Saturday, September 20, 2008
The second important truth that comes out of Genesis One is that God created humans in his image. Any attempt to understand human nature that ignores this fact is bound to fail.
This truth blows the theory of evolution out of the water. If man slowly evolved from an apelike species, then he cannot be considered to be made in the image and likeness of God. I am not willing to give up the truth that I was made in the image of God for some claim that I am more closely related to a chimpanzee. This is my stake in the ground.
The fact that humans and apes share common genes proves nothing. There is no reason why God should not use common designs for different specifies. If something works well in one species, a sensible designer would use the same design for another species. Common genes just show that apes are actually partly made in the image of man.
The strange truth is that when I look at men who hate the idea that God created man, I see of the image of God in them than I see of the image of the apes. Okay, the image of God has been marred by sin, but it is so strong that it remains obvious. When I look at them I see the following:
All these things are evidence of the image of God in man, and they are sometime most evident in people who hate him.
When commenting about the current economic situation in July, I wrote.
Most depressions are caused when unexpected events are exacerbated by political leaders. The credit crunch is the result of a foolish response to the dotcom crash. The capabilities of our political leaders have not improved with time. They still have the ability to stuff things up. Unexpected events are inevitable. Mistakes by political leaders are even more inevitable.We are watching this happen now.
The subprime crisis and the credit crunch are the result of the "easy money" policies of governemnt regulators over the last two decades. Now everyone wants more regulation to resolve the problems.
This is like feeding a laxative to boy who has fouled his bed.
Labels: Credit Crunch
Friday, September 19, 2008
Humans will never fully understand how the universe was created and formed. We can learn more and more about the universe as it exists now, but understanding its origins is largely beyond human understanding.
Christians can never know how these worlds were made, because although God knows, he has chosen not to reveal this information to us. All we have is one page of fairly poetic language and a few references in other parts of the Bible. A full technical account of the creation of the universe and everything in it would take a million pages, but we just do not have them. Christians should be much more realistic about how little we know about the origins of life. About all that we know is that we were created by God. We do not help our cause by pretending that we know a lot more, just because we love God.
Scientists will never fully understand how this world was made. Science works by developing theories and then undertaking repeatable experiments to test the theories. This works well for understanding things as they exist now, but the method is not so using for understanding the origins of the universe and the origins of life.
Scientists can conduct experiments to test little parts of their theories, but they cannot design an experiment to test the entire process. Putting some energy under the appropriate conditions and observing whether a universe emerges is simply not possible. It is not possible to put a few atoms together and observe whether human life evolves. Therefore all theories about the origins of the life and the universe must remain as theories.
Christians and scientists get into great arguments about who knows the most about the origins of this world. The truth is that neither group knows much at all. Both sides of this debate would benefit from a great dose of humility.
Obama and McCain are arguing about how they will do it, but they agreed that it is their job to rescue the American financial system. They have both promised that they will rescue the American auto industry.
When everyone wants to be saved by the state, socialism always follows.
Usually reliable sources report that Obama has suggested that the name of the nation should be changed to United Socialist States to reflect this new direction. The same reports claim that McCain has agreed, provided the word Republic is put on the end to remind people that the nation is still a republic.
United Socialist States (Republic) has an interesting ring. I wonder how it will be abbreviated.
Thursday, September 18, 2008
My approach is not a sell out. Genesis One contains some important truths that cannot be ignored. The first is that God created everything. This universe and human life cannot be understood apart from God.
This is a serious warning to modern scientists.
By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God's command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible (Heb 11:3).Modern science works on the assumption that this world can be understood by observing the physical dimension of life. This is not true. Any study of this world that ignores God and ignores the spiritual dimension will produce a distorted view of reality. We cannot fully understand the nature of human life or animal life, unless we understand that they were created by God. We will never fully understand their behaviour, if we ignore the spiritual dimension to reality.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Human categories of thought are just not up to the job of describing what happens in the spiritual dimension. We get this right through the Bible. When John tried to describe his vision of heaven, he wrote of lightening, rainbows, gold, jewels, glass and crystal. We should not assume that he saw these things. The vision John received was so amazing he could not describe it in human words
The problem is that a word like “rainbow” does not mean anything until you have seen a rainbow. Because very few people have seen what John saw, we do not have the shared words to describe it. Even if we had the words, most of us would not understand their meaning, because we have never seen the objects they refer to. So instead of using heavenly words that no one would understand, John used the words for the most beautiful things on earth to paint a poetic picture of what he had seen. His description of the heavenly realm is not a literal description of what he saw, but a desperate attempt to convey and understanding given the limitation of human words.
The same applies to Genesis One. God has given us the privilege of seeing the creation of the universe from his perspective, but human words are inadequate for this purpose. However, they can be used to paint a limited, but nevertheless useful, picture of what God was doing.
If we took some real gold and jewels and made a model of the New Jerusalem based on John’s description in Revelation 21, we would end up with something quite bizarre. The model would give a totally distorted understanding of what God was revealing through John. The reason is that human words and concepts simply cannot do justice to the heavenly or spiritual dimension of life. We will not understand what John saw by reading his descriptions as we would a blueprint, but instead we should try and catch a glimpse of the wonder of what John saw, a wonder that inspired him to use such amazing words.
In the same way, we should not read the first chapter of Genesis of an historical description of some events that occurred on earth or as a script from which a film of creation could be made. Rather we should see it as a description of what happened in the heavenly realm and how things in the spiritual dimension impacted the physical dimension. Reading the passage through the normal earthly meanings of the words will produce a limited view of what they are describing. Our aim should be to gain a glimpse of the wonder of who God is and what he did, given that such majestic human words are needed to describe it.
Human words can never fully describe God. The best they can do is portray a limited view of his greatness. We should grab every revelation that God gives us, but we should never imagine that we see clearly. Genesis One gives a wonderful description of God’s creative activity, but we should never think that we can fully understand what happened. When reading the chapter, we should expect to be inspired more than we will be informed.
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Genesis One describes creation from God’s perspective. God existed in the heavenly or spiritual dimension before the earth was created. He created the earth and everything in the universe by speaking and commanding from his place in heaven. His words and their consequences are described in Genesis One from a heavenly perspective. Genesis 2 switches to a more human perspective.
The seven days of creation describe how God’s activity was punctuated. Given that we are being given a glimpse of God at work, we should be careful about saying that it can be understood in terms of human concepts of time and activity. When God does something in a day, we cannot know what that means, because we do not understand how God works. I am reluctant to say that days of creation were seven 24-hour days, as we know them, because my human mind can only partially understand what a day looks like in heaven.
Seven literal 24-days cannot be my stake in the ground with respect to creation. Genesis One gives a description of what God was doing in the heavenly dimension, so it cannot be interpreted in the same way as written description of a human baker baking bread. Genesis One is not the beginning of history on earth, but a description of what happened with God in the heavenly dimension, but using human categories of thought.
Monday, September 15, 2008
Most Christians feel a need to put a stake in the ground with regard to the truth of Genesis One. Defending the truth is important, but we must be careful when defending Genesis that we do not defend something that is not there. An interesting example is the seven days of creation. Belief in literal days has often been used as a test for an authentic Christian.
When defending Genesis, we must be careful that we are defending something that is really in it. Before putting a stake in the ground for the “literal days”, we should be sure that we understand the message of Genesis One. The first thing to note is that for the first three days of creation, the sun and moon did not exist (these were created on the fourth day), so Genesis is not describing days as we understand them. This points to an important truth.
Days existed before man or the sun or the moon existed. This means that a pattern of time being marked off into days existed in God’s nature and character, before the existence of the sun and moon. The pattern of day and night that we experience is not derived by human experience, but is comes from the nature and personality of God himself. The concept of a day is not a human category, but existed with God, before humans existed.
The days of creation are divine days, whatever that means, and not human days. Understanding the meaning of a divine day is almost impossible for a human mind. This is confirmed in 2 Peter 3:8.
With the Lord a day is like a thousand years.Peter was not giving a mathematical formula for deriving one from the other. He was not saying that God’s days are longer than human days, but explaining that our human days are totally different in nature from God’s experience of days. Our understanding of time is a shallow and superficial copy of God’s concept of time.
This full series is here.
Sunday, September 14, 2008
To cope with the collapse of human government, churches will have to become fourth generation entities. Our weapons are spiritual and our goal is different, but our structures and organisation will have to be more like 4GW entitities.
Many years ago, I shared a vision of a the church as a commando army. I did not fully understand this at the time, but I now realise that if Christians are willing to take up this challenge, the the legitimacy of the state will be undermined. We can get ready for the time when,
the saints of the Most High will receive the kingdom and will possess it forever—yes, for ever and ever (Dan 7:18).
Saturday, September 13, 2008
Daniel’s great insight is that all human government is evil. All human political power will have to be swept away, before the Kingdom of God. The good news in his message is that first three beasts are signs that the collapse of human government is getting close. The time when the the Holy Spirit is able to bring in the Kingdom of God is also near.
The collapse of the fourth beast will be very messy. The Bible refers to this as the Time of Distress. This will be a very short period of time, but it will be quite unpleasant. The world economy will go into decline causing much pain for everyone. Christians will rejoice in these trials, because will they see the fullness of the Kingdom of God springing fourth.
Christians do not need to fight human political power. God will sweep away human political power by bringing judgment against it. The four winged leopard will contribute to the destruction of the fourth beast.
William Lind recently commented about the impact of economic troubles on fourth generation warfare on the legitimacy of the state.
We must remind ourselves that the root and origin of Fourth Generation war is a crisis of legitimacy of the state. One of the functions the state is now expected to perform, in free market as well as socialist countries, is to ensure that the economy functions as well. A world-wide financial panic followed by a world recession or depression would mean the state was failing in one of its core functions. That in turn would further diminish the legitimacy of the state.He notes that a state’s legitimacy is a not a function of elections, but depends on the ability of the state to provide vital services. Fourth generation warfare will play an important role in undermining human faith in human government.
Intelligent Fourth Generation entities, ranging from some drug gangs through organizations such as Hezbollah, are competing directly with the state for people’s primary loyalty. If those Fourth Generation entities can provide basic services, including food, when the state can no longer do so, they will gain the legitimacy that state is losing. In Fourth Generation war, that is a bigger win than any potential military victory.The four winged leopard will undermine the empire set up to defeat it by undermining its legitimacy. People will wake up and realise that their governments are not delivering the security that they promised. They will resent paying taxes to a government that does not deliver. Human government will eventually collapse when people no longer trust it to care for them.
In terms of 4GW theory, the lessons here are two. First, a global economic crisis is likely to lead to a much deeper crisis, a widespread existential crisis of the state itself. Second, the Fourth Generation entities that benefit from this crisis will be those that provide basic services more effectively than can the state. Once again, just as from a military perspective, we see that the "Hezbollah model" is the most promising model for Fourth Generation, non-state organizations. That model includes a highly competent military that can defeat state armed forces. But it employs its military capability sparingly, fighting only when attacked or when a low-risk, high-payoff military opportunity presents itself, which will be seldom.
For 4GW entities, the outcome of wars will remain unpredictable. Instead, the Hezbollah model focuses day-to-day on providing services to the people, building its legitimacy vis-à-vis the state and gaining the population’s primary loyalty. At some point, that loyalty will become so strong that not even military defeat by a state’s armed forces will destroy it.
Friday, September 12, 2008
The fear and uncertainty created by the first three beast opens up the way for the emergence of the fourth beast. This beast is different from the rest because it represents the climax of human poltical power. The people of the world hand over their freedom to human governments in the hope of finding peace in a troubled world. Political leaders submit to its ways, because they believe it can protect them.
At the moment, the American government is doing its best to become the Beast of Daniel. The American people believe that their form of democracy is the best method of government that exists. George Bush is tramping round the world, try to impose American methods of democracy and government wherever he can. This sounds like the angel that spoke to Daniel.
He gave me this explanation: 'The fourth beast is a fourth kingdom that will appear on earth. It will be different from all the other kingdoms and will devour the whole earth, trampling it down and crushing crushing it’ (Dan 7:23).John McCain and Barack Obama both want to expand America’s leadership role in the world, so there is no sign that these efforts will end.
Political leaders in countries like Georgia, Ukraine and Poland are submitting to American leadership, believing that this will protect them from the first three beasts. Unfortnately their submission is helping to create a more dangerous empire to emerge.
Daniel’s message is telling. The first three beasts are bad, but the fourth beast worst. Althought it is started by good men to resist the first three beasts, it actually strengthens human political power and becomes an opponent of the Kingdom of God. America is in danger of becoming a greater obstacle to the Kingdom of God than Islam, Russia, or fourth generation warfare. Many Christians support American leadership of the world, because they see it as the only way of the resisting the first three beasts.
Fighting evil human government with better human government is dangerous, because it produces greater human government. The greater the evil confronted, the greater the human government becomes. Evil cannot be overcome evil.
Two angels were discussing the rumour going around heaven that the second coming has been deferred indefinitely.
I am not surprised. I was at the democratic convention in Denver Colorado and saw the music, the theatre, the speeches and the razzmatazz. The spectacle was absolutely amazing. “Lighting up the sky from one end to the other” just would not cut it as a spectacle any more.Angel2:
You are right. I was there too. Obama’s speech was amazing. His platform makes the messiah’s promises look pitiful.Angel3 (joining the other two).
Don’t worry guys, I have just returned from America. They have now got Sarah Palin. She is amazing and the church is in raptures over her. She is going to do everything that the messiah promised, plus some more, while still looking good. The church has Sarah Palin, so the messiah does not need to return any more.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Fred Reed explains why the United States military is poorly equipped to deal with 4GW.
The US military is the military of World War II, but with better technology. The Navy still consists of carriers surrounded by ships intended to protect the carriers. The heart of the army is still armored and infantry divisions with artillery and close-air support. The Air Force too. All are designed to fight enemies like themselves. However, there are no enemies like themselves, and WWII forces do not well fight the enemies they do have, such as ragtag dispersed guerrillas, because they are not intended to fight them. The United States military is struggling in Afghanistan, because it is using third generation methods against a 4GW enemy.
Why a World War II military? Because of institutional inertia, because men delight in fast, powerful things that make loud and stirring noises, because the ships and tanks and submarines are magnificent. Relinquishing them is too painful to contemplate. Instead of changing its forces to suit present needs, the Pentagon keeps them as they are and tries to use them where they do not work well.
WWII militaries are intended to destroy expensive point targets and to conquer crucial territory. For example, they try to destroy the enemy’s aircraft and conquer his cities. This America does this very well indeed. The difficulty is that dispersed guerrillas do not have any expensive point targets, crucial territory, or cities. The Pentagon is using baseball bats to fight mosquitoes. The absurdity of using a B1 intercontinental bomber for close air support is manifest. But you’ve got the plane, the pilots don’t want to miss the war, and so you find something for them to bomb.
The Lebannon War is an interesting example. Military strategists who can take off their Israel good, Iran bad glasses are studying the 30 day war very carefully. Hezbollah did not win the war against Israel, because they had support from Iran. Israel actually received far greater supply of military weapons from the United States. They won the war because they organised and fought using 4GW methods. Israel bombed Beirut and shelled southern Lebanon for two weeks, destroying roads and bridges and smashing telecommunications systems. However when the sent in their army with tanks and armoured vehicles, Hezbollah came out of their holes and caves with handheld rocket launchers and stopped the best equipped and best trained army in the Middle East.
The irony is that Israel was was using a Willowcreek-Saddlebank model, but the were defeated by some small groups of committed Moslem’s organised in a way much closer to the New Testament model.
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
William S. Lind is an ex-marine and one of the best military thinkers of our time He describes the most important features of fourth generation warfare.
One major change is that strong nations find themselves fighting against a variety of ambiguous and shadowy non-state entities that blend into the background like a leopard.
Traditional military forces are poorly equipped to deal with 4GW.
A 4GW is likely to be widely dispersed and largely undefined.
Tuesday, September 09, 2008
What is behind the failure of Fanny Mae and Freddie Mac. Nothing very complicated really. Just old fashioned greed and stupidity, with a bit of government hubris thrown in.
Because they are government sponsored, lending to the FMs was considered to be risk free, enabling them to borrow at lower rates of interest than others in their business. This advantage allowed them to squeeze out their opposition, so they now control half the housing mortgages in the US.
Partly because the government forced them and partly due to bad management, the FMs made loans to many people who could not afford them. While house prices were going this seems like a great business to be in. Borrow cheap and lend on assets rising in price. The shareholders did well and the management creamed it.
Falling house prices changed the game. Many borrowers are now defaulting on their loans, but the FMs still have to continue making repayments to those they have borrowed from. Any losses are a hit on their capital. With the losses of the past year, both FMs had used up all their capital. One reason for this is that Congress had allowed them to reduce their capital during the good times. Once their capital is gone, further losses would throw the FMs into default, which would be a hit on those they have borrowed from.
Unfortunately, some of the largest lenders to the FMs are Asian governments, particularly the Chinese government. A superpower defaulting on its debt is not a good look, so the American taxpayer has stepped in and agreed to cover all futures losses of the FMs. They have no idea how big these losses will be, but this is better than losing face to the Chinese.
The government also hopes that keeping the FMs going will bring back the cheap mortgage finance, which will cheer up the housing market, but that is probably wishful thinking.
The shareholders in the FMs got the profits, provided they sold out in time, and the taxpayers will carry the losses. Not a bad business while it lasted.
This sorry incident also proves that human governments always overestimate their ability to eliminate risk.
Labels: Freddie Mac
Daniel’s third beast was leopard with four heads and four wings.
After that, I looked, and there before me was another beast, one that looked like a leopard. And on its back it had four wings like those of a bird. This beast had four heads, and it was given authority to rule (Dan 7:6).The leopard is an animal known for its agility and intelligence. It lies in wait near a town to tear to pieces anyone who ventures out (Jer 5:6; Hos 13:7). It is also very swift (Hab 1:8). The two pairs of wings are also an indication of swiftness and speed. This beast has four heads and it is given authority to rule. The number four represents the earth. A head stands for authority, so the four heads mean that this beast has authority throughout the earth. This suggests that the beast is not a nation, but a worldwide movement. The leopard is found in India, Asia and Africa, indicating that this movement will be based in the developing world.
When I first wrote about this leopard in the 1980s, I thought that this foretold the development of international terrorism. This is partly true, but it misses the point, because focussing on terrorism just produces fear. The leopard represents more than mindless terrorism.
The key to understanding the leopard is the word “four”. The four-headed leopard (4WL) represents groups using “fourth generation warfare”.
The doctrine of Fourth Generation Warfare (4GW) was first defined in 1989 by William L Lind and a team of American Marine Corp analysts. I am not stupid enough to think that Daniel was thinking about 4GW, but I do believe that when Walter Lind was working with his mates to describe this new phenomenon, the Holy Spirit popped the number four into their minds, as a clue for alert readers of Daniel.
4GW describes a return to a decentralized form war in which the state has lost its monopoly over combat forces. One of the major participants is not a state, but an ideological network that employs tactics that weaken a powerful state.
Prior to the Peace of Westphalia in 1648, wars were fought by families, tribes, religions, cities and business enterprises, not just with armies, but also with navies, Westphalia gave the state a monopoly over war. The first generation of state-controlled war used line and column tactics, where battles were formal and the battlefield was orderly. This created a military culture of order.
The second generation began in the middle of the 19th century when rifled muskets, breech loaders and machine guns made the old line and column tactics suicidal. The solution was mass firepower, most artillery fire. Order was restored by placing infantry in trenches and using centrally-controlled artillery according specific plans and orders. Obedience was more important than initiative and discipline was imposed from the top.
Third Generation warfare was developed by the German Army and is commonly known as Blitzkrieg or manoeuver warfare. The emphasis is on mobile firepower, speed and surprise. The aim is to get behind the enemy’s lines and destroying them from the rear.
The fourth generation marks a radical change in the nature of warfare, because the state loses its monopy over warfare. 4GW undermines the authority of human governments, by exposing their weakness.
My economic forecast was wrong. Britney Spears has just won some MTV awards. This incorrect forecast proves that I am a genuine economist.
The markets are excited by the rescue of Fannie and Freddie, however nothing of signicance has changed. The housing market was stirred up by a exuberant boom and the only solution is for prices to fall. House prices will not recover until the overhang of the housing glut has cleared.
The credit crunch is the result of bad decisions, loose leverage and bad judgments about risk. The Federal government cannot reverse these mistakes and is more likely to make the situation worse, just as it did when it created Freddie and Fannie.
Americans are now in the privileged positon of owning their own shonky mortgages.
Banks and investment funds that owned shares in Freddie and Fannie have just had their investment wiped out. The full impact of that has not yet been felt.
Labels: Credit Crunch
We do need hope and we do need a savior. Yet, when this natural longing for hope and salvation is directed toward anything or anyone other than God, the Bible calls it idolatry. Our hope is not to be placed in the eloquence of Obama or the heroism of McCain but in the loving self-sacrifice of Jesus on Calvary. We’re never to put “Country First” but are rather to “seek first the Kingdom of God” (Greg Boyd).
I hope in the power of the gospel that flows from God’s good graces toward us humans. I hope in the God who designs that gospel; I hope in the Christ who embodies that gospel; and I hope in the Spirit who empowers that gospel. And I hope also in the Church whose task it is daily to live out the gospel and draw all into its saving graces. I don’t hope in the next President. I think that is idolatrous. In fact, hoping in the next President is the first step toward idolizing empire (Scot McKnight).
Monday, September 08, 2008
Daniel saw for beasts rising out of the sea.
Daniel said: "In my vision at night I looked, and there before me were the four winds of heaven churning up the great sea. Four great beasts, each different from the others, came up out of the sea (Dan 7:2-3).The sea is a symbol of the multitudes of people living in the world (Rev 1715). These events happen at a time when the people of the world are all stirred up. The beasts represent strong human political powers. They are not imposed from above, but are raised up by the people themselves.
The first beast represents the struggle between the United States and Islam in the Middle East. This struggle began in 1978 with the Iranian revolution and is still going. Unfortnately the outcome is not good. Whether it wins or not, America will be changed. It began with a heart towards God, but when its power is challenged, it turns its heart towards human political power and military power. It will stand on its feet, but it will stand in human strength, rather than trusting in the power of God.
The first beast paves the way for the second. For a long time Russia’s power was in decline. Its strength has emerged toward the west and will grow in the future, because America is bogged down in the Middle East. The western powers will engage in endless pontificating and posturing but they are powerless to assist Georgia and any other ribs, because they need Russian support in Afghanistan and against Iran.
The events of the first and second beast will open the way for the third beast. Each beast is different from the others, but they are all based on human power. Their appeal as an option for peace will have to be smashed before people will seek the kingdom of God.
The other beasts had been stripped of their authority, but were allowed to live for a period of time (Dan 7:12).Each of the beasts will have their power and authority stripped away.
Sunday, September 07, 2008
The fulfilment of Daniel's vision is not a sign that the second coming is close. His vision has nothing to do with the second coming. Nor is it a description of the rise of the antichrist. The antichrist as we know him does not exist in the scriptures.
Daniel’s vision is a description of the collapse of human political power. For all of human history, the people of the world have been controlled by various kings, emperors and sundry political power. Over the last few centuries, various democratic demagogues have taken over this controlling role.
Before the Kingdom of God can come to fullness on earth, human political power will have to be swept away. Daniel’s vision describes how this will happen. God raises up first three beasts to bring this about. The fourth beast is the “last hurrah” of political power. Enormous political power will be accumulated into one institution in a united states in order to resist God’s shaking over the world. This terrible human empire will collapse into such a mess that the people of the world will never trust human political power again. Confidence in politics will crumble.
But the court will sit for judgment, and his dominion will be taken away, annihilated and destroyed forever (Dan 7:26).Once human political power is smashed, the Kingdom of God will emerge.
His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all rulers will worship and obey him (Dan 7:27b).God will replace human rulers will local judges applying his law.
Then the sovereignty, power and greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be handed over to the saints, the people of the Most High (Dan 7:27a).This is what we are all seeking. When political power is chopped up, pushed down and spread around ordinary people who trust and obey Jesus, the Kingdom of God has come.
Saturday, September 06, 2008
Christians in America are getting really wound up about the contest for the presidency. This is very, very sad.
The sad thing is that, although the struggle between the cultural conservatives and the cultural liberals is intense and uncompromising, it is a side show compared with the real struggle between the world and the Kingdom of God.
The really sad thing is that both you and they are fighting on the wrong side in the real struggle between the world and the Kingdom of God. Both Christian democrats and the Christian republicans are undermining the Kingdom of God by their compromise with the world system (Mark 10:35-44).
Talking to each other is not the solution. Both groups need to cast down their idols, so their eyes can be opened to a vision of the Kingdom of God.
Friday, September 05, 2008
The book of Daniel is not a description of events leading up to the second coming. This is confirmed in Daniel 7:13,14.
One like a Son of Man was coming,Jesus is the Son of Man. This is his ascension and enthronement. He came into the presence of the Father. He was given the power and authority he had earned through this death and resurrection. This is not the second coming. Daniel did not see a vison of the second coming.
And He came up to the Ancient of Days
And was presented before Him.
And to Him was given dominion,
Glory and a kingdom.
The purpose of Daniel ‘s revelation is to describe how God will remove all political power from both the world, and more importantly how he will drive it human hearts, so that the Holy Spirit can bring in the Kingdom of God. This is clear in Daniel 7. The climax of the chapter and the entire book is:
Then the sovereignty, power and greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be handed over to the saints, the people of the Most High. His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all rulers will worship and obey him (Dan 7:27).This is not a description of the second coming. It is actually reads like the fulfilment of the Great Commission.
All sovereignty in heaven on earth has been given to me. When the Holy Spirit has renewed the hearts of all the nations, teach them to obey what I have commanded you.Our commission was also the Holy Spirit’s commission. Daniel’s vision describes what must happen before the Holy Spirit can complete the commission he was assigned. It describes how opposition to the kingdom of God will be swept away.
Once we get this, we can understand what the vision is about. Human political power manifests in various ways that always lead to disaster. A great rush of hubris climaxes in an effort to create the ideal human government and spread its influence throughout the world. Unfortunately, for those who trust human political power, which is most people in the world, this last grand endeavour collapses into a chaos that leaves the world totally disillusioned with what man can do and opens their hearts to the better way of the kingdom of God.
When I see Daniel’s vision being fulfilled, I get excited because I know that we are getting close to the time when all political power will be swept away. That will be messy for those who have trust political power, but it will free up the Holy Spirit to complete his work and bring in the Kingdom of God.
I was reluctant to write yesterday that one of the beasts of Daniel has emerged, because most Christians will assume that this means that the second coming of Jesus is getting close. This is not what I am saying at all.
The problem is that most Christians have a totally distorted view of what is going to happen next. They believe that a few signs will be fulfilled, a nasty European Anti-Christ will pop up and then Jesus will return to rule as the divine demagogue. We just have to hang on a bit longer till he returns. Christians with these views love signs and they do not mind failure, because it means that Jesus is getting closer. Unfortunately, this end-time wishful thinking comes from the gospel according to Hal, Hag, Jeff and Tim and not from the scriptures.
The scriptures teach something quite different. Jesus had a mighty victory over evil on the cross. He rose again from the dead and ascended into heaven at the right hand of the Father. From there he poured out the Holy Spirit on the Church. The Holy Spirit is now working on earth through his Church to establish the Kingdom of God that Jesus inaugurated. Jesus will not return until that task is complete.
Jesus is not returning to rescue us. He is returning to receive a kingdom that we (the Holy Spirit and the church) have prepared form him. A little bit of evil will not bring Jesus back. He will not come back to rescue a struggling church. The only way to speed Jesus return is to allow the Holy Spirit to establish a Kingdom that is worth giving to Jesus as a gift.
The biggest obstacle to the kingdom of God is human political power. This comes in many forms, but it always opposes and undermines the Kingdom of God by offering the people of the world a false hope. Before the Holy Spirit can bring the kingdom of God to fullness, human political power in every form must be swept away.
The next climatactic event in human history is the collapse of human government and political power.
Thursday, September 04, 2008
Recent events in Georgia mark a shift in historical dimension. For the last thirty years since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia has been retreating. The Russian empire has been crumbling away. President Putin has turned Russia around. The red army has been revitalised and high oil prices have strengthened the Russian economy.
When Mikheil Saakashvili of Georgia foolishly decided to invade the independent enclave of South Ossetia, he was walloped by the Russian army. The Russians not only seized control of South Ossetia seized and the other independent enclave of Abkhazia, but Russian troops are now stationed throughout much of northern Georgia.
Western political leaders have done much grandstanding, but they are powerless to change things on the ground. They are concerned, because pipelines through Georgia provide important access to gas and oil from wells around the Caspian Sea.
Daniel foresaw these events in a dream. He saw four terrible beasts coming out of the sea. The first was an eagle attempting to get free from a lion. That has already been fulfilled. The second beast was a bear.
And there before me was a second beast, which looked like a bear. It was raised up on one of its sides, and it had three ribs in its mouth between its teeth. It was told, 'Get up and eat your fill of flesh (Dan 7:5).For a long time, I thought that Russia was too weak to be a fulfilment of this vision, but that now seems to be changing. Russia is now going in strength towards the west (one side).
With the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia lost territory on its western flank. Some of the ribs that protect its central organs were ripped out of its side. These ribs are now being recovered. The three ribs being crushed by the bear’s teeth probably represent three nations, with Georgia being the first. The other possibility is that the three ribs are Abkhazia, Georgia and South Ossetia. These territories are like three ribs in a row.
The bear was told to “Get up and eat”, so we can expect to more to follow. I am not sure which territories they are. One possibility is the Eastern Ukraine, which has many Russian speaking citizens. The other possibility is Crimea, which is important for control of the Black Sea.
NATO is currently intent on stirring up the nations on Russian’s western flank. In response to the Georgian saga, the union of states has established missile bases in Poland. NATO pressure leaves Russia vulnerable to attack, so it is not surprising that the bear is fighting back. NATO should be careful, because God has given the bear permission to “get up and eat its fill of flesh”.
God is allowing this to happen as judgement on the Western nations that have forgotten him and focused on feeding the flesh. He has allowed Russian control over a significant share of the world’s oil supplies to shake the western economy. This will lead to the third seal of Revelation. The solution is not belligerence towards Russia, but repentance towards God.
Wednesday, September 03, 2008
Political loyalties are very limiting for prophetic people. A person who is loyal to the right or to the left will be able to function as a prophet in their church or bring words to the people the meet, but they are unlikely to move on to the role of prophet to their state or nation. A prophet to the nation must be totally loyal to God and to his law.
Unless prophetic people understand that political parties and human politics are not part of God’s plan, very few real prophets to the nations will emerge. God’s revelation for rulers and governments is contained in his law, so prophets called to speak to their nation must understand and defend his law. They cannot afford to be blinded by loyalty to a party or political leader.
People with valid prophetic gifts become “court prophets” when their loyalty to a particular political leader or a political party takes precedence over their loyalty to God. The court prophets that led Jehoshaphat astray were not prophets of Baal. They were prophets of the Lord, trained among the sons of the prophets. They would have been brought to the palace when their ability to hear and speak the word of God was recognised. The problem was that they became too loyal to the king’s party. This prevented them from hearing God’s warning and left them vulnerable to a lying spirit (1 Kings 22).
The American nation does not have a clear prophetic voice. That is a dangerous place to be. I am sure that God is calling many of his people to be a prophet to the nation. Unfortunately most are so wrapped up in America that they cannot offer the total loyalty that God needs for this role. Blind loyalty to the left or right is blocking the prophetic flow at the national level.
Labels: Prophet to Nations
Tuesday, September 02, 2008
The most popular pages by far on my website Kingdom Watcher are the pages on prophetic ministry. In a way this is odd, because good teaching on the role of the prophet is two a penny.
If the interest is a sign that God is raising up prophetic people all over the world, I am glad. I presume that most are a prophetic voice in their church. Hopefully a few of these are being raised up to be prophets to their nation, but I am not certain.
The Old Testament prophets were the guardians of God’s law. They prosecuted kings for their failure to obey the law. Every prophet speaking at the national level must use God’s law as a standard for testing the behaviour and actions of rulers, kings and politicians. To be an effective voice to their nation, these prophets must have a sound understanding of God’s law.
The strange thing is that the least popular pages on my website (again by far) are those that deal with law and government. The most important revelations I have about God’s standards are on these pages, yet almost no one clicks the link from the pages on prophetic ministry to the pages on law and government. This is really disturbing. It suggests that those called to be a prophetic voice in their nation do not understand the connection between their ministry and God’s law.
A prophet who is not rooted in God’s law will end up following after some fashionable secular voice. They can easily become the servant of particular political party. Without a clear standard, these prophets will be blown around by every wind of change.
Monday, September 01, 2008
Some Christians say, “A prophet's job is to say what God says”. This is true, but it is only part of the truth. I would say, “A prophet's job is to say what God says in the right spirit”.
I have observed many occasions when a prophetic person has spoken a true word, but it was not heard. Sometimes the true word was not received because the listener’s heart was hard, but more often it was not heard, because the spirit of the prophet was not right.
I remember a woman who was really upset, because her pastor had not received a word that she and a friend had given to him. She could not understand why this had happened, because the word was true. Her word rung true to me too, but I could tell from the tone of her voice why she was not heard. She oozed frustration, hurt and bitterness.
The hard truth for prophets to understand is that being correct is not enough. A true word from God can be nullified by a wrong spirit. In the spiritual dimension, a true word spoken in the wrong spirit is exactly the same as a false word.
When God’s heart is “filled with pain” (Gen 6:6), he cannot be represented by just the truth. His truth must be spoken with a broken heart. Jeremiah was a powerful prophet, because he has lived the pain on God’s heart.
Most prophets put a lot of effort into hearing what God is saying, but few put the same degree of effort into keeping their spirit right, although the latter is actually the harder task.
A prophet can never just say, ”I spoke God’s truth, I have done my bit”. Every prophet should be asking, “Did I speak God’s word in God’s way.”