Does The Bible Say That Practicing Homosexuality Is Sinful?

The Bible totally and uncompromisingly rejects the act of homosexuality and same-sex marriage from cover to cover, just like it condemns adultery, fornication, and even unchaste thoughts. 

The first indication of this can be found in the creation story, which occurs in the first book of the Bible, Genesis: 

“So, God created man in his own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” (Genesis 1:27) 

It can be clearly seen that God created man male and female. He did not create two men or two women. And He commanded them to multiply. (Genesis 1:28) 

So, God’s plan for man has been that two people of the opposite sex, as male and female only, marry and multiply, that is, procreate. There was no intention of homosexuality, for He did not create other men or women for Adam and Eve to marry. Another confirmation of this arrangement is found in the following verse: 

“Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” (Genesis 2:24). 

Here it is said a man and his wife and not his husband, and wife is understood to be a female, since Adam only had Eve as his companion. 

And, in marriage, God says that these two form one flesh, that is, one unit. So the idea of polygamy is also against the arrangement of God as described in this verse. 

The following Bible passages clearly establish that God rejected homosexuality (the act, the idea, etc…) and even punished the people who practiced it. 

a.   The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah and the rescue of Lot from the coming judgment in Genesis 19:1-13. 

Not only did God destroy the people of Sodom and Gomorrah because of their homosexual practice, but He also burned their cities outright. A judgment from God! 

b.       The laws that God gave to the Jewish people in the book of Leviticus: 

“Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is an abomination.” (Leviticus 18:22; KJV) 

“If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination.” (Leviticus 20:13) 

The New Testament is consistent with the Old Testament in condemning homosexual practice. In the Epistle to the Romans, St. Paul states: 

“Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshiped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.” (Romans 1:25-27) 

Since God does not change, homosexuality is still a sin and therefore against God’s will to this day. 

c.   The Bible teaches that such have no part in eternal life 

Don’t you know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-10) 

“Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers. For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine. According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust.” (1 Timothy 1:9-11) 

The Bible teaches here in several places not only that homosexuals but also child molesters and those who disregard and do not obey the law (outlaws) including homosexuals. For the commandment is unequivocally clear that homosexuality is against God’s will and purpose for man. 

d.       Homosexuality and gay marriage are against God’s will and intention 

“And He answered and said to them, Have you not read, that He which made them at the beginning made them male and female.” (Matthew 19:4) 

From the above Bible verse it can be shown very well that Jesus (God as man) clearly states that the intention of man’s marriage and procreation was intended to be between a man and a woman. 

e.       Homosexual behaviour (clothing, etc…) 

The woman shall not wear that which pertains to a man, nor shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are abominations unto the LORD your God. (Deuteronomy 22:5) 

Even homosexual behaviour, such as dressing like the opposite sex, is an abomination and forbidden in God’s eyes. 

Does Homosexuality in Animals Mean That It Is Morally Ok?

Regardless of one’s view about the origin of humans, whether intelligently designed or blindly evolved, one can easily notice that humans are intellectually superior to other creatures (animals). It can happen that some animals are stronger, faster, and bigger than humans. But of all creatures, humans are the most intelligent. It is humans who founded civilizations, write poetry, build rockets, and save lives through medical operations. 

Now, can animals be our moral reference when it comes to sexual behaviour?  

Not really! As the National Geographic has once stated: “we should be wary of referring to animals when considering what’s acceptable in human society For instance, infanticide as practiced by lions and many other animals isn’t something people gay or straight generally approve of in humans.” There are many other behaviors that animals practice that we don’t accept as morally correct. We, therefore, don’t take animals as our moral compass. 

The Bible teaches that nature, including animals, became corrupt after Adam and Eve had sinned. It is natural that humans and animals have sexual desire. Yet, not only is practicing homosexuality sinful, but even unchaste thoughts by a heterosexual are sinful. It is only in the Bible where we can find the moral compass that directs us to purity and the saintly life that God intended for us to live, as creatures in His image and likeness.  

Origin of Life: Information within Life

In efforts done by origins of life studies, the simplest protocell that could be the source of living cells as we know it should contain DNA (or RNA), proteins & enzymes, all enclosed in a membrane. As simple as it may seem, this system, however, includes an advanced communication system. In the previous article, Origin of Life: Irreducible Complexity within the Cell we discussed the chicken-egg problem in that protocell. Now we will discuss the information evolution problem within this protocell, and generally in life as we know it. 

Information 

As per Webster’s dictionary: information is “the communication or reception of knowledge or intelligence.” 

In any communication system we find the core components: sender, receiver, communication medium, and the message or information to be communicated. Information is something imposed over the medium. It’s using the medium but it’s not the medium.  

Example: someone sent a message through morse code to another one, who broadcasted it over radio signals, which was heard by another one who transferred that message to an end user through mobile call, which was finally broadcasted through TV. The message or the information was sent multiple times using different materials. However, the information itself is non-materialistic. 

Similarly any software – which is an algorithm of saved instructions – is totally non-materialistic. Software is always running on top of hardware and relying totally on the hardware when communicating information or instructions between different nodes to perform certain functions. These nodes could be persons using the software or could be non-conscious machine parts that are programmed to send and receive information. The point about software is that: it’s designed and coded by human intelligence. 

Keeping these definitions in mind will help in the next part. 

Biological information 

DNA 

When looking at the DNA, most scientists like Richard Dawkins, Paul Davies, and John Lennox – regardless of their beliefs – admit that the DNA is a real code string. 

  • Molecular sequence in DNA is not trivial or repetitive information (like ACACAC or GTGTGT, etc) 
  • As DNA is a very long string of nucleotides, it could store an immense amount of information 
  • The information within DNA is not merely Shannon information, but it’s meaningful and functional information 
  • There’s great resemblance between the DNA codes, and computer software programs 
  • There’s also great resemblance between the biological information flow and any modern IT communication system. 

DNA alone is not enough for life without being part of a context or a system that can read the embedded code and translate that into functional proteins in a process called translation. This exists in all life forms regardless their complexity: 

  • each 3 DNA nucleotides or letters (called codons) translated through mRNA into 1 amino acid (out of 20 possible types) 
  • a strain of a minimum of 50 amino acids are called Proteins 

Proteins 

All scientists today know that protein molecules perform most of the critical functions in the cell. Proteins build cellular machines and structures, they carry and deliver cellular materials, and they catalyze chemical reactions that the cell needs to stay alive. To accomplish this critical work, a typical cell uses thousands of different kinds of proteins. And each protein has a distinctive shape related to its function, just as the different tools in a carpenter’s toolbox have different shapes related to their functions. So Proteins look like the hardware used by the DNA software. The more complex the software is, the more complex is the hardware. 

  • The average size of a protein increases from Archaea to Bacteria to Eukaryotic (283, 311, 438 respectively) 
  • The rate of protein synthesis is higher in prokaryotes than eukaryotes and can reach up to 20 amino acids per second 
  • Viruses typically encode (from DNA) a few to a few hundred proteins, archaea and bacteria a few hundred to a few thousand, while eukaryotes typically encode a few thousand up to tens of thousands of proteins 
  • It has been estimated that the average-sized bacteria contains about 2 million proteins per cell. Smaller bacteria contain fewer molecules, on the order of 50,000 to 1 million. Yeast cells have been estimated to contain about 50 million proteins and human cells in the order of 1 to 3 billion. 
  • A short protein of 150 amino-acids can have 20150 =  1.4 x 10195 possible combinations. 

Design appearance 

Definition of design: The purposeful or inventive arrangement of parts or details. Or simply: the purposeful arrangement of parts.  

All scientists agree that life appears to be designed, even if some reject the design idea calling it an illusion, trying to find other alternatives. For example, Dawkins R. 1986. The Blind Watchmaker. New York: Norton.  

  • P.1 “Biology is the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose” 
  • p.21 “we may say that a living body or organ is well designed if it has attributes that an intelligent and knowledgeable engineer might have built into it in order to achieve some sensible purpose, such as flying, swimming, seeing … any engineer can recognize an object that has been designed, even poorly designed, for a purpose, and he can usually work out what that purpose is just by looking at the structure of the object.” 

In fact, the information system within life seems to be not just a product of engineering, but brilliant engineering. 

  1. Communication within life appears to be designed like a fully integrated information system: 
  • Within the cell itself, between different parts 
  • Between organs 
  • Information flow within living organisms is bottom-top and top- bottom as well 
  1. Analogy between the information flow within the cell and any modern IT communication system: 
  • DNA is Quadruple digital system (A, C, G, T), while in IT systems, it is mainly Binary (0, 1) 
  • Codons (3 letters) , vs data bus in IT (8-bits, 16-bit, 32-bit, 64-bit, depending on the system) 
  • start and stop codons, vs. header bits in IT standards to indicate the start and end of a message. 
  1. The synchronization between senders and receivers within the cell implies a preexisting design, like: 
  • codon length & DNA quadruple system to produce enough possibilities (64), versus the produced amino acids (20). If a smaller codon was used, we will have only 16 possibilities. That’s a mathematically pre-designed system. 
  • The length of coded genes, mRNA and length of functional proteins, are all matching together. That’s an additional design aspect. 
  • The “analog” 3D shape of protein which is critical to perform the required function depends on the amino acids formed by digital DNA codes. It is like any digital to analog converter. That requires a fully designed end-to-end system, correlating the desired function with the software codes in DNA. 
  • Reversely, not every mutation in DNA or software random modification can lead to meaningful or successful protein, as functional protein formation is extremely rare (1 correct sequence for each 1077 incorrect sequence – as mentioned by the molecular biologist Dr. Douglas Axe in his studies), thus the software code in DNA should be extremely precise to match the hardware (reference 7) 

Different opinions 

As evolution can’t explain how the first information system in life evolved (as mentioned in the previous article), Origin of life (or Abiogenesis) scientists made some trials to explain how information within cell might have evolved, however they are far away from reaching any possible explanation, and it all relies on imagination without observed experience supporting this imagination. Some of the hypotheses: 

  • self-replication: that will lead to trivial information, while life is surely non-trivial, even in the simplest known or assumed form. 
  • Pure chance: which is mathematically extremely improbable and was rejected later. 
  • Necessity or Biochemical predestination, which was rejected as well as it leads to very simple information 
  • Prebiotic natural selection, which is a self-contradicting hypothesis about the source of information, as it requires the existence of information in the first place so that natural selection can favor it 
  • RNA world hypothesis, which still lacks the source of information – the source of the meaningful arrangement of nucleotides – within this primitive RNA, even if it is capable of partial self-replication. This will be discussed in the following articles in detail. 

The alternative idea is that information in life is really designed. 

  • We never observed any communication system to evolve on its own. There’s always design and intelligence behind. 
  • We infer design whenever parts appear arranged to accomplish a function or purpose, and we see definitive purposes and functionalities within cells and living organisms a lot. 
  • Based on the analogy with computer codes and IT systems, it is more logical to think that this was intelligently designed, like what we do in computers and IT networks, than to just “imagine” a complete communication system – software & underlying hardware – emerging by itself out of nowhere. 

Conclusion 

Abiogenesis can’t explain till now how information evolved, nor how that advanced communication system within cells came into existence by natural processes. 

Based on observations, it’s more logical and scientific to conclude that information in life is the result of Intelligent Design. 

To read more about the “Origin of Life” series check: Darwin and the Origin of Life , Origin of Life: Irreducible Complexity within the Cell and What Is Life .

References: 

  1. Richard Dawkins: Genes Are Digital Information – Evolution Podcast 01 – YouTube 
  1. Paul Davies – “The Origin of Life” (C4 Public Lecture) – YouTube 
  1. Origin of life and information – YouTube 
  1. Stephen Meyer: DNA and Information – Science Uprising Expert Interview – YouTube 
  1. Can Self-Organization Explain the Origin of Biological Information? – YouTube 
  1. Can Pre-Biotic Natural Selection Explain the Origin of Life? – YouTube 
  1. Information Enigma: Where does information come from? – YouTube 
Origin of Life: Irreducible Complexity within the Cell

Introduction 

According to Abiogenesis, it is assumed that the first life form was a simple cellular organism, which can evolve by itself during the prebiotic era, and then as time goes by, this simple cell starts to get more functions, being more complex, and forming more complex life forms.  

As we are discussing the origin of life, we should be more concerned about that assumed simple cell: how simple the cell could be? And what is the minimum abstraction that can be assumed for a cell to be alive? That is, what are the minimum required biological components to have a living organism? 

Basic components 

As described by Dr. Nita Sahai about The Origins of life (reference 1), the minimum basic components of Extant Life are: 

  • Heritable, Mutable Genes (i.e. DNA) 
  • Metabolic Cycles (i.e. Proteins and enzymes) 
  • Boundary Membrane (i.e. lipids) 

However, the relationships between DNA, proteins, enzymes, and the cell’s membrane present a biological conundrum. 

Here we face multiple Chicken or Egg problems. 

  • which came first: replication or metabolism? DNA or DNA polymerase Enzyme?  
  • DNA/RNA coded information, or Cell Machinery that is capable of reading this information to perform all cell functions? 
  • Enzymes are necessary for the timely formation of proteins, but these enzymes are built, in part, with proteins. 
  • Proteins are required to create Ribosome Machines, but Ribosome Machines are required to create Proteins. 

The idea of having all of these components at once, at the same time, in the same place, joining together perfectly the first time, is extremely, EXTREMELY improbable. In addition to that, still multiple other issues are yet to be explained like: 

  • The prebiotic chemical formation for the lipids, carbohydrates, proteins and Amino acids by natural processes (like chance, time and necessity) 
  • The information, the instructions or the software encoding within DNA/RNA 

Irreducible complex system 

That leads us to a concept proposed by famous biochemist Dr. Michael Behe called “irreducible complexity”, which refers to a system that has a number of components, which interact with each other, to produce a function, that the components can’t do by themselves, and if you take one or more components away, the system doesn’t work, so it is irreducible. 

That concept can be applied to very simple cells, to larger Eukaryotes (organisms with cells with nucleus enclosed), organs, and entire organisms. This idea can be applied to machinery and equipment as well, as most devices are built from components, and there are core components that can’t be eliminated or otherwise the device will not function. Sometimes the overall idea is used to counter argue Darwinian evolution, but we are focusing here on the origin of life, showing how the biology of primitive cells exhibit irreducible complexity. 

The simplest forms of life are single-cell bacteria. Viruses are simpler than the simplest known cell and they lack the structures required to be alive as they reproduce only when their genes take over the host cell’s reproduction machinery. Nonetheless, even viruses require a minimum number of parts to function. 

It’s also getting clear that the living cell contains a lot of nano machinery, and using the term “machines” induces automatically: 

  • The composition of parts (in which some are irreducibly complex) 
  • Purposely functioning 
  • Maintenance and correction and, accordingly, 
  • Design 

Conclusion: 

Scientists have no proposal yet as to what the simplest cell should look like, or how the least required components come together to start that assumed cell. 

The living cell looks like it was designed, functions to achieve a certain purpose as if designed, and contains parts working together in harmony as if designed. That’s because it really is designed. 

Some further examples: 

  • Bacteria Flagellum (reference 3) 
  • Microtubules (reference 4) 
  • DNA copying machines (reference 5) 

That term “machines” has been widely used in a lot of articles with titles like: 

  • The cell as a collection of protein Machines: preparing the Next Generation of Molecular Biologists, Bruce Alberts 
  • Polymerases and the Replisome: Machines within Machines, Tania A Baker and Stephen P Bell 
  • Eukaryotic Transcription: An Interlaces Network of Transcription Factors and Chromatin-Modifying Machines, James T Kagonaga 
  • Mechanical Devices of Spliceosome: Motors, Clocks, Springs, and Things, Jonathan P Staley and Christine Guthrie 
  • Molecular Movement inside the Translational Engine, Kevin S Wilson and Harry F Noller 
  • The Hsp70 and Hsp60 Chaperone Machines, Bernd Bukau and Arthur L Horwitch 

References 

  1. “The Origins of Life: From Geochemistry to Biochemistry” – YouTube 
  1. Irreducible Complexity – YouTube 
  1. Amazing Flagellum : Michael Behe and the Revolution of Intelligent Design – YouTube 
  1. Ron Vale (UCSF, HHMI) 1: Molecular Motor Proteins – YouTube 
  1. Drew Berry: Animations of unseeable biology – YouTube 

For more articles about faith and science check: Origin of Life: Synthetic Life and Darwin and the Origin of Life

Origin of Life: Synthetic Life

Were scientists able to “create” life?  

In May 2010, a team of scientists led by Dr J. Craig Venter became the first to successfully create what was described as “synthetic life”.  

Dr. Venter is an American biotechnologist and businessman, known for many remarkable contributions in the field of genetics. 

The experiment to create life was done by synthesizing a very long DNA molecule containing an entire bacterium genome, and introducing this into another cell. The single-celled organism contains four “watermarks” written into its DNA to identify it as synthetic and to help trace its descendants. The watermarks include 

  • Code table for the entire alphabet with punctuations 
  • Names of 46 contributing scientists 
  • Three quotations 
  • The secret email address for the cell 

The synthetic life project went through multiple phases 

  • First, the team edited an existing DNA and inserted it into another living bacterial cell 
  • In 2010, they created & designed the complete DNA and introduced it to genomically emptied bacterial host cells. The host cells were able to grow and replicate. The resulting new organism was called: The Mycoplasma laboratorium 
  • In 2014, they extracted the E-coli genome, and replaced it with a chromosome that has an artificial expanded genetic code 
  • The team is still continuing the efforts to create new synthetic forms of life, as variants of the bacteria E-coli. 

These efforts provide massive applications like manufacturing pharmaceuticals and detoxifying polluted land and water. 

However, that new “synthetic life” was not made by humans out of non-living components, because: 

  • In the process of assembling the DNA molecule, a lot of enzymes and components were taken from other living cells 
  • The information within the DNA itself, a lot of it was learned, copied or replicated from existing DNA codes 
  • The host cell is still a living cell with pre-existing capabilities of reading the codes in the DNA and producing protein accordingly, so it’s more like replacing its original software by another customized one 
  • All these efforts are still focusing on simple single cellular organisms, as other forms of life are extremely complex 

In other words, a living “artificial cell” has been defined as a completely synthetic cell that can capture energy, maintain ion gradients, contain macromolecules as well as store information and have the ability to mutate. Nobody has been able to create such a cell. 

On the other hand, these scientific efforts actually point to a couple of conclusions: 

  • That the digitally designed information that’s encoded into our DNA proves that life is much more than just chemistry and physics, with highly fine-tuned information on top controlling who we are. This information should come from intelligence. 
  • That with the help of advanced computing and laboratories, existing purpose and knowledge, and existing life to copy from, it was still very hard to design and produce a functioning DNA, so how hard can it be to imagine that these complex systems were created on their own just by random or unguided natural processes with no tools or intention to create living organisms. 

If you want to read more about faith, science and evolution, check: Darwin and the Origin of Life

Darwin and the Origin of Life

Darwinian evolution and origin of life 

Did Darwin explain how life came into existence?  

Darwin’s theory of evolution explains how species of organisms arise and develop through natural selection and, later proposed by Neo-Darwinists, random mutation. These mutations occur during reproduction of new offspring. The theory of evolution therefore deals with how life developed into multiple forms and species, not how life originated in the first place, or defining what life is. Even with the assumption that all creatures are descendants from a single common ancestor, that first living organism couldn’t be developed through biological evolution because biological evolution requires reproduction. 

Darwin himself avoided discussing the origin of life. 

  • in the 1861, in the 3rd edition of The Origin of Species, he stated that «…it is no valid objection that science as yet throws no light on the far higher problem of the essence or origin of life» 
  • in a letter he sent to his close friend Joseph Dalton Hooker on March 29, 1863, he wrote that «…it is mere rubbish thinking, at present, of origin of life; one might as well think of origin of matter» 

So if Evolution’s mechanisms like random mutation and natural selection are not applicable when it comes to the origin of life, what should be?  

Abiogenesis 

Abiogenesis is defined as the origin of life from nonliving matter. 

To construct any convincing theory about abiogenesis, we must take into account the condition of the Earth about 4 billion years ago. Abiogenesis takes place before biology and before biological evolution can begin, hence it is prebiotic or pre-biology. The attempts to explain abiogenesis rely purely on chemistry and physics. However in reality, molecules and chemistry don’t care about life. Molecules have never demonstrated to evolve towards life. 

The main assumption by scientists in explaining abiogenesis is the possibility of matter to self-assemble, and self-replicate, given a long time horizon. This assumption tries to eliminate any source for the non-materialistic information within life and biology. However, and after so many years using the latest advanced technology, trying to explain abiogenesis using chemistry and physics alone has not been successful.  Attempts to create a living cell using perfect lab conditions have failed so far. Needless to say, it has never been observed in nature that a living thing can evolve from non-living matter. 

Summary 

  • Darwin’s theory of evolution and biological evolution in general has nothing to do with explaining the origin of life 
  • Origin of life is prebiotic, before biology, so it’s pure Chemistry (for the material aspect) 
  • Chemistry of life is very hard to figure out 
  • For non-materialistic aspects like information coding within the living organisms, there’s almost nothing to explain how information can evolve on its own from chemistry. 

References: 

1 Charles Darwin and the Origin of Life (nih.gov) 

2 Make a cell, win the Nobel! / Dr Tour critiques current life research – YouTube 

Weekend Top

1

Is there a proof that God exists? The cosmological argument

Modern scientific theories and hypotheses around the origin of the universe fully support the necessity of a non-material first cause, a “creator”, for the universe. For instance, both the Standard Big Bang Model, and the various proposed Past-extended Big Bang Models, necessitate a beginning of the universe and of time itself. As such, the argument for the existence of a creator from cosmology proceeds as follows: 

  1. The universe, as everything bound by physical laws, has a beginning. Therefore,  
  1. infinite regression of physical causality to explain the existence of the universe is not possible, because of the conclusion in (a) that everything bound by physical laws already has a beginning, Therefore, 
  1. There is either nothing, or something not physical, that caused the universe to exist; but 
  1. Nothing is not capable of causing anything into existence. Therefore, 
  1. the universe was brought to existence by a non-material creator 

The first condition in (a) is proven by modern scientific theories explaining the origin of the universe. Thanks to the Big Bang theory, we now know that the universe and time had a beginning. Whether that beginning was a point of singularity, or an uncertain event (similar to a rounded beginning point of a cone), both possibilities necessitate a beginning to the universe. Alternative Past-extended Big Bang Models such as the bouncing universe or eternal inflation would put the beginning of the universe before the Big Bang, but still necessitate an overall beginning for the universe. This is due to the Second Law of Thermodynamics, the Radiation Paradox and the Borde-Vilenkin-Guth Theorem. For example, the Second Law of Thermodynamics stipulates that all physical events evolve from order to disorder (i.e. low entropy to high entropy), so the universe couldn’t have been eternally bouncing or eternally inflating because entropy cannot decrease, it can only increase or,  stay the same. Our universe started with very tiny entropy. If the universe was eternally bouncing by expanding, then collapsing, then expanding, and so on, then how can our current universe have such a tiny entropy after all these infinite cycles? Of course, this is not possible and would necessitate a beginning to the universe; it couldn’t have been around since eternity given the low entropy that we are observing. Another evidence is the Bore-Vilenkin Guth Theorem which stipulates that as long as matter has positive pressure and density called the average Hubble expansion rate – which it does – then all alternative models for the Past Extended Big Bang such as the bouncing universe or multiverses or higher dimensional cosmologies will all need a boundary for past time, that is, a beginning. 

The second condition (b) flows from the first condition simply because any universe or physical causation for our current universe will itself have to have a beginning. As such, an infinite regression of physical causality is not possible. We are, therefore, left with either nothing causing the universe to exist or something not physical, which is the argument in (c). But nothing can’t cause anything, otherwise nothing will itself be something, which is not nothing! We are only left with something to have caused the universe to exist, but that something can’t be physical because it would be bound to condition (a) of needing a beginning. That non-physical something is the creator of the universe. 

2

Did the Old Testament and Judaism allude to a Triune God?

Many claim that the doctrine of the trinity was introduced only in the third century when the ecumenical councils had been held to put a framework for orthodox apostolic faith against the Arian and Nestorian heresies which led to the drafting of the creed of faith. However, when examined closely, the doctrine of the trinity was introduced way before that in the Old Testament.

The name that is used for God in the Old Testament is “אֱלֹהִ֔ים” pronounced “’ĕ·lō·hîm” and is usually referred to in the plural, although a singular verb is used sometimes. For example, the first chapter of Genesis states: “Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness” (Genesis 1:26) The hebrew translation of “let us make” is “נַֽעֲשֶׂ֥ה” pronounced “na·‘ă·śeh” which indicates a plural subject. The same phrase was used when God decided to confuse the builders of the tower of Babel: “Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.” (Genesis 11:7) the word “נֵֽרְדָ֔ה” pronounced “nê·rə·ḏāh,” means “let Us go down”. It has been also noted in some other books in the Old Testament like the Book of Isaiah, “Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: “Whom shall I send, And who will go for Us?”” (Isaiah 6:8) using the word “לָ֑נוּ” pronounced “lā·nū”; which means “Us”. This has been always noted as an indication of the hypostasis of the trinity nature of God that is of one will.

Jewish Rabbis used the “Logos” or the word “Memra” also “Ma’amar” or “Dibbur,” in Hebrew, as well as the Holy Spirit “Ruach Ha Kodesh”, in their interpretations to the Old Testament .  

“Memra” also “Ma’amar” or “Dibbur,” meaning “Logos” 

In the Book of Jubilees 12:22, the word of God is sent through the angel to Abraham. In other cases it becomes more and more a personified agency: “By the word of God exist His works” (Ecclus. [Sirach] 42:15); “The Holy One, blessed be He, created the world by the ‘Ma’amar'” (Mek., Beshallaḥ, 10, with reference to Psalm 33. 6). Quite frequent is the expression that “You who have made the universe with Your word and ordained man through Your wisdom to rule over the creatures made by You” (Wisdom 9:1). The same expression is repeated in the Jewish daily  prayers: “Who by Your words cause the evenings to bring darkness, who opens the gates of the sky by Your wisdom”; . . . “who by His speech created the heavens, and by the breath of His mouth all their hosts”; through whose “words all things were created” (Singer’s “Daily Prayer-Book,” pp. 96, 290, 292). So also in 4 Esdras 6:38: “Lord, You spoke on the first day of Creation: ‘Let there be heaven and earth,’ and Your word has accomplished the work”. “Your word, O Lord, heals all things” (Wisdom 16:12); “Your word preserves them that put their trust in You” (Wisdom 16: 26). Especially strong is the personification of the word in Wisdom 18:15: “Your Almighty Word leaped down from heaven out of Your royal throne as a fierce man of war.”  

The Mishnah, with reference to the ten passages in the first chapter of Genesis beginning with “And God said,” speaks of the ten “ma’amarot” (= “speeches”) by which the world was created (Abot 5:1; comp. Gen. R. 4:2: “The upper heavens are held in suspense by the creative Ma’amar”). Out of every speech [“dibbur”] which emanated from God an angel was created (Ḥag. 14a). “The Word [“dibbur”] called none but Moses” (Lev. R. i. 4, 5). “The Word [“dibbur”] went forth from the right hand of God and made a circuit around the camp of Israel” (Cant. R. i. 13). 

In the Targum: 

In the Targum the “Memra” (i.e. “the Word”) figures constantly as the manifestation of the divine power, or as God’s messenger in place of God Himself, wherever the predicate is not in conformity with the dignity or the spirituality of the Deity. 

Instead of the Scriptural “You have not believed in the Lord,” Targ. Deut. i. 32 has “You have not believed in the word of the Lord”; instead of “I shall require it [vengeance] from him,” Targ. Deut. 18:19 has “My word shall require it.” “The Memra,” instead of “the Lord,” is “the consuming fire” (Targ. Deut. 9:3; comp. Targ. Isa. 30:27). The Memra “plagued the people” (Targ. Yer. to Ex.32:35). “The Memra smote him” (II Sam. 6:7; comp. Targ. I Kings 18:24; Hos. 13:14; et al.). Not “God,” but “the Memra,” is met with in Targ. Ex. 19:17 (Targ. Yer. “the Shekinah”; comp. Targ. Ex. 25:22: “I will order My Memra to be there”). “I will cover thee with My Memra,” instead of “My hand” (Targ. Ex. 33:22). Instead of “My soul,” “My Memra shall reject you” (Targ. Lev. 26:30; comp. Isa. 1:14, 42:1; Jer. 6:8; Ezek. 23:18). “The voice of the Memra,” instead of “God,” is heard (Gen. 3: 8; Deut. 4:33, 36; 5:21; Isa. 6: 8; et al.). Where Moses says, “I stood between the Lord and you” (Deut. 5:5), the Targum has, “between the Memra of the Lord and you”; and the “sign between Me and you” becomes a “sign between My Memra and you” (Ex. 31:13, 17; comp. Lev. 26:46; Gen. 9:12; 17: 2, 7, 10; Ezek. 20:12). Instead of God, the Memra comes to Abimelek (Gen. 20:3), and to Balaam (Num. 23: 4). His Memra aids and accompanies Israel, performing wonders for them (Targ. Num. 23:21; Deut. 1:30, 33:3; Targ. Isa. 63:14; Jer. 31:1; Hos. 9:10 [comp. 11:3, “the messenger-angel”]). The Memra goes before Cyrus (Isa. 45:12). The Lord swears by His Memra (Gen. 21:23, 22:16, 24:3; Ex. 32:13; Num. 14:30; Isa. 45:23; Ezek. 20:5; et al.). It is His Memra that repents (Targ. Gen. 6:6, 8:21; I Sam 15:11, 35). Not His “hand,” but His “Memra has laid the foundation of the earth” (Targ. Isa. 48:13); for His Memra’s or Name’s sake does He act (Isa. 48:11; II Kings 19:34). Through the Memra God turns to His people (Targ. Lev. 26: 9; II Kings 18:23), becomes the shield of Abraham (Gen. 15:1), and is with Moses (Ex. 3:12; 4:12,15) and with Israel (Targ. Yer. to Num. 10:35, 36; Isa. 63:14). It is the Memra, not God Himself, against whom man offends (Ex. 14:8; Num. 14:5; I Kings 8:50; II Kings 19:28; Isa. 1:2,16; 45:3, 20; Hos. 5:7, 6:7; Targ. Yer. to Lev. 5:21, 6:2; Deut. 5:11); through His Memra Israel shall be justified (Targ. Isa. 45:25); with the Memra Israel stands in communion (Targ. Josh. 22:24, 27); in the Memra man puts his trust (Targ. Gen. 15: 6; Targ. Yer. to Ex. 14:31; Jer. 39:18, 49:11). 

Memra also reflected Mediatorship. 

Like the Shekinah (comp. Targ. Num. 23:21), the Memra is accordingly the manifestation of God. “The Memra brings Israel nigh unto God and sits on His throne receiving the prayers of Israel” (Targ. Yer. to Deut. 4:7). It shielded Noah from the flood (Targ. Yer. to Genesis 7:16) and brought about the dispersion of the seventy nations (Genesis 11:8); it is the guardian of Jacob (Gen. 28:20-21, 35:3) and of Israel (Targ. Yer. to Ex. 12:23,29); it works all the wonders in Egypt (Ex. 13:8, 14:25); hardens the heart of Pharaoh (Ex. 18:15); goes before Israel in the wilderness (Targ. Yer. to Ex. 20:1); blesses Israel (Targ. Yer. to Num. 23:8); battles for the people (Targ. Josh. 3:7; 10:14; 23:3). As in ruling over the destiny of man the Memra is the agent of God (Targ. Yer. to Num. 27:16), so also is it in the creation of the earth (Isa. 45:12) and in the execution of justice (Targ. Yer. to Num. 33:4). So, in the future, shall the Memra be the comforter (Targ. Isa. 66:13): “My Shekinah I shall put among you, My Memra shall be unto you for a redeeming deity, and you shall be unto My Name a holy people” (Targ. Yer. to Lev. 22:12). “My Memra shall be unto you like a good plowman who takes off the yoke from the shoulder of the oxen”; “the Memra will roar to gather the exiled” (Targ. Hos. 11:5,10). The Memra is “the witness” (Targ. Yer. 29:23); it will be to Israel like a father (l.c. 31:9) and “will rejoice over them to do them good” (l.c. 32:41). “In the Memra the redemption will be found” (Targ. Zech. 7:5). “The Holy Word” was the subject of the hymns of Job (Test. of Job, 12:3, ed. Kohler). 

Philo of Alexandria was born 20 BC and died 50 AD had even interpreted Memra as the Logos before Saint John used this word in his Gospel “For there are, as it seems, two temples belonging to God; one being this world, in which the high priest is the divine word, his own firstborn son. The other is the rational soul, the priest of which is the real true man, the copy of whom, perceptible to the senses, is he who performs his paternal vows and sacrifices, to whom it is enjoined to put on the aforesaid tunic, the representation of the universal heaven, in order that the world may join with the man in offering sacrifice, and that the man may likewise co-operate with the universe. (1.216)” 

The Holy Spirit “Ruah” רֽוּחַ־

The Holy Spirit is mentioned more than 200 times in the Old Testament. In the book of Judges on Othniel, the son of Kenaz: “The Spirit of the Lord came upon him, and he judged Israel.” (Judges 3:10) and also on Samson: “And the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon him, and he tore the lion apart ” (Judges 14:6). “The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him, The Spirit of wisdom and understanding, The Spirit of counsel and might, The Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord.” (Isaiah 11:2). And also in the book of Isaiah “Until the Spirit is poured upon us from on high, And the wilderness becomes a fruitful field” (Isaiah 32:15). 

The Holy Spirit is mentioned more than 200 times in the Old Testament. In the book of Judges on Othniel, the son of Kenaz: “The Spirit of the Lord came upon him, and he judged Israel.” (Judges 3:10) and also on Samson: “And the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon him, and he tore the lion apart ” (Judges 14:6). “The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him, The Spirit of wisdom and understanding, The Spirit of counsel and might, The Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord.” (Isaiah 11:2). And also in the book of Isaiah “Until the Spirit is poured upon us from on high, And the wilderness becomes a fruitful field” (Isaiah 32:15). 

The Triune God revelations in the Old Testament  

God has been seen in revelations in the Old testament many times refuting the ideas that reject the capability of God to be seen and revealed. This of course supports the trinity doctrine because one of the hypostasis is the Word that became flesh.  

Revelation to Hagar 

For example, in Genesis 16, “Then she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, You-Are- the-God-Who-Sees; for she said, “Have I also here seen Him who sees me?”  Therefore the well was called Beer Lahai Roi;[g] observe, it is between Kadesh and Bered.” (Genesis 16:13-14) the scripture used the word “רָאִ֖יתִי” that means “have I seen”. 

Revelation to Abraham 

Genesis 18 “Then the Lord appeared to him” (Genesis 18:1) using the word “וַיֵּרָ֤א” pronounced “way-yê-rā” means appeared. 

Revelation to Jacob 

Genesis 32 “So Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: “For I have seen God face to face” (Genesis 32:30) 

Revelation to Manoah and his wife 

In the book of Judges “And Manoah said to his wife, “We shall surely die, because we have seen God!”” (Judges 13:22) using the word “רָאִֽינוּ׃” that means we have seen. 

In conclusion, the Word, the Holy Spirit, and the Triune God are all mentioned in the Old Testament and Jewish religious texts foreshadowing what Lord Jesus revealed in the New Testament about the Triune nature of God. 

3

Is the Christian Faith Founded on the Bible Only?

The Sola Scriptura doctrine means “Scripture alone,” that is relying on the Bible as the only source for the Christian faith. For the early Protestant Reformers, Sola Scriptura led to an implicit divorce from the tradition that was abused by the Roman Catholic Church in some practices and teachings such as the papal infallibility and the selling of indulgences. Sola Scriptura had served the reformers’ goal of attempting to recover the early Church from under the layers of the false Roman Catholic teachings which had accumulated on top of it. The Bible was the only certain, infallible witness to early Christianity that they knew as a kind of tether to the early Apostolic Church as described in the book of Acts. However, while the “traditions of men” established by the Roman Catholic Church are false, most false teachings can be based on the Scriptures as well. The true Christian faith, however, is established by the teachings of the Bible as interpreted and understood by the Apostles and early apostolic fathers. This interpretation has been ingrained in the Church’s liturgical practices as well as documented in the ante Nicene, Nicene, and post Nicene writings of the Church fathers.  

One key historical truth about the early Christian Church in the Book of Acts is that the apostles and early believers practiced the faith without a completely documented New Testament as we have it today. The gospels were written ten to forty years after the resurrection of Jesus, i.e. sometime between 40 and 70 AD. Jesus didn’t hand over His teachings and writings to the Church in written text. He didn’t ask His disciples to take notes of His sermons. However, He promised that “these things I have spoken to you while being present with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.” (John 14:25,26, NKJV). What Jesus did is basically this: He established a church of followers guided by the Holy Spirit. He gave this Church the authority to judge in matters of faith.  

Jesus Himself gave authority to the Church to resolve conflicts among believers. He taught the disciples that “if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.’ And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector.” (Matthew 18:15-17, NKJV). Jesus didn’t tell his followers to open the New Testament and keep arguing from it to resolve a conflict, simply because it is not practical. Unless a church council, guided by the Holy Spirit, establishes a doctrine, there will never be unity among what Christians believe. Jesus gave this authority to the Church, to always pursue the spirit of unity and maintain authority among believers.  

Early believers followed this teaching of Jesus when they were debating whether Gentile believers must be circumcised or not. The Book of Acts describes the event as follows: “certain men came down from Judea and taught the brethren, “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.” Therefore, when Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and dispute with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas and certain others of them should go up to Jerusalem, to the apostles and elders, about this question.” (Acts 15:1-2, NKJV). It has always been the role of councils from the very early church to determine the orthodox doctrines of the Church, starting with the council of Jerusalem in Acts 15. There was no New Testament available to the Church to judge on this matter, but there was the tradition which carried the true doctrine including the word of God which was documented later.  

Reformers challenged the individual infallibility of the Roman Pope as unbiblical. However, the Sola Scriptura doctrine converts every “believer” to a pope when interpreting the Scripture. The reformation definition of the church as just the congregation of believers begs the question: “who are the correct believers?”. For example, can someone who believes in Jesus as Lord, yet believes that He is of lower status than the Father, and that the Father, Son, be considered as a believer? Just resorting to the Bible in resolving this issue has led to many factions at the time of the Arian heresy. At one point in the Church’s history, the majority of Christians followed the Arian heresy. It is not only Arius who was able to mislead many believers. Anyone can use verses from the Bible to establish a false doctrine. However, the Church, established by Jesus and led by the Apostles and their successors, constitute the authority to judge in such matters through church councils. Sola Scriptura has created millions of popes out of one pope. That is why there are thousands of Protestant denominations with varying doctrines and teachings that are straying away further from the true Christian teaching handed over by Christ and the Apostles. 

Sola Scriptura is also introducing what is exactly a contradiction of what the Scriptures mention in regard to the tradition handed over by Jesus and His apostles. In the first epistle to St. Timothy, St. Paul mentioned the Church as the pillar for truth: “but if I am delayed, I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.” (1 Timothy 3:15, NKJV). St. Paul also taught that the Church must hold to traditions in the second epistle to Thessalonians as he commanded the believers to “stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle.” (2 Thess. 2:15, NKJV). This verse in particular was changed by the reformers as they introduced a new translation of the New Testament, the New International Version (NIV), that replaces some words to serve their goals. The NIV translates the Greek word paradosis “tradition” as “teaching”. Reformers have thus established a doctrine that suits their own taste, even removing some books from the Old Testament that are called the second Deuterocanonical books, such as Tobit, Judith, and the Wisdom of Solomon. Many verses from these books were quoted by Jesus Himself. We end up with a problem, what good is Sola Scriptura when you can change what constitutes Scripture? 

4

Is the story of Jesus just a recycled version of Ancient Myths?

Numerous people claim that the story of Christ is not only a fake story but also a recycled one from many ancient myths. This claim was mostly promoted by Gerald Massey, a self-proclaimed Egyptologist. He claimed that multiple gods share the virgin birth on 25th of December, and that it is not a Christian story. Massey concluded this based on his own translations of ancient texts, however, his translations were found to be inaccurate. His translations and studies have, therefore, been refuted by other Egyptologists. In his book “Did Jesus Exist? The Birth of a Divine Man”, Dr. Bart Ehrman, a New Testament scholar focusing on the history of Christ, refuted several claims of why and how the story of Christ is a recycled story. One of the researchers he refuted was Kersey Graves, who wrote a book named ‘’The World’s Sixteen Crucified Saviours’’ in the 19th century. Numerous self-proclaimed scholars blindly followed his work, without looking at his work critically. Graves mentioned 35 people, according to his own research, who had exactly the same story of Christ. Some of these people were Horus, Krishna, Mithras, and Apollonius.

The main claim from Graves is: ‘’It is argued that, as the story of the incarnation of the Christians’ Savior is of more recent date than that of these oriental and ancient religions (as is conceded by Christians themselves), the origin of the former is thus indicated and foreshadowed as being an outgrowth from, if not a plagiarism upon the latter-a borrowed copy, of which the pagan stories furnish the original’’1. Ehrman refuted this saying that there is no claim of a virgin birth of a god in neither any mythology or Eastern religion. Something that did happen is that the birth of several historical figures in itself was seen as a miracle, however, this was not linked to the virginity of the mother. Furthermore, the mothers of these figures had intimate relationships with (demi)gods.  Noteworthy is that Graves lived in a period right after the renaissance (18th century), which is known as a period wherein humanity started rebelling against the Christian faith. 

Let’s take a closer look at the story of Christ and the proposed parallels.  

Horus  

The claim is that Horus was born from a virgin, the god Isis, and that Horus was baptized by a person named ‘’Anup the Baptist’’. Anup was later on beheaded, just as John the Baptist was beheaded. Horus went for a certain time into the desert, where he was tempted by the devil, and he, furthermore, raised a person named Asar from death and that Asar means Lazarus. In addition, Horus is claimed to have had 12 disciples, just like Christ had.  

Horus, actually, was an Egyptian god of the heavens (the sun and the moon) and war. He is depicted as a human with a Falcon head. The real story of Horus goes as follows. Horus’ father, the god Osiris, died in a battle and Isis took his body and raised him from death for a certain time in order to get pregnant from him. Regarding Anup the Baptist, there has not been a person named Anup in Egyptian mythology. Massey just used this name in order to strengthen his case against Christ, and later research showed that he twisted the Egyptian God Anubis into Anup. Horus also did not enter into the desert to be tempted by the devil, actually, in Egyptian mythology Horus was poisoned by another god called Seth (who killed his father), and that the god Thot revived him. Regarding that Horus raised Asar from death; Asar is Greek for Osiris, who was his father. His father was, as previously mentioned, raised by his mother Isis to impregnate her. Horus also did not have 12 disciples, this is an inaccurate reference to his sons, who were not only less than 12 but also demigods.  

Krishna 

The claim is that Krishna was also born from a virgin, named Devaka/Devaki, on 25th of December and that Krishna was crucified for our sins, arose from death and ascended into heaven. In addition, he was crucified between two thieves.  

There are four main sources on the life of Krishna, namely: the Mahabharata (poems written by Krishna), the Harivamsha (seen as a sequel to the Mahabharata and resembles the Books of Chronicles from the Old Testament in its content), the Vishnu Purana (a work mainly concerned with cosmology) and the Bhagavata Purana (a work mainly concerned with worship and philosophy). Devaki was ‘’mentally’’ impregnated by Vasudeva, Krishna’s father, yet she was not a virgin as Krishna was their eighth child. Interestingly, the virgin birth is not mentioned in any work mentioning Krishna (the above mentioned works), and is seen as an addition from the 10th century. Krishna’s birthday is one of the most important Indian holidays, although it is not celebrated on 25th of December but at the end of the summer. Krishna has also not been crucified, he was murdered by a hunter named Jara who shot him in his heel. In ancient India, people were not crucified let alone being crucified between robbers. They dealt differently with robbers, based on their ideology. Also, Krishna did not die for our sins as he was cursed twice. At last, he did not ascend into heaven, as his body was cremated. 

Mithras  

The claim is that Mithras was also born from a virgin on the 25th of December and that several shepherds were present at his birth, and Mithras was a known teacher and the good shepherd for his people whom he served with his 12 disciples. Mithras died and resurrected after three days, and his followers kept celebrating Sunday as their lord’s day.  

Mithras, a god from the old Persian mythology, was actually someone who was worshipped by a subpopulation of the Romans, who practiced mysticism. The followers of Mithras lived side by side with Christians in Rome, in the first four centuries, and called themselves the ‘’followers of the Mysteries of Mithras’’. Later on, he was also worshipped by Zoroastrianism.  Mithras was not born on the 25th of December, and the shepherds who witnessed his birth were only mentioned centuries after the New Testament was written, thus likely copied from the New Testament. Mithras was also not seen as a shepherd, only as a mediator. Not a mediator between god and man, but between the ‘’good’’ and ‘’bad’’ gods known in Zoroastrianism. No Persian nor Roman tradition and/or writing about Mithras mentioned that he was a teacher nor shepherd for his people. Mithras did also not die for our sins, the only related story known about Mithras is a story in which he killed a bull. There is no source mentioning that Mithras had died, let alone been resurrected. Tertullian of Carthage (220 AD) mentioned that the followers of Mithras used to enact an Eastern play. 

Apollonius of Tyana 

Apollonius of Tyana is a man who lived around the same time as Jesus Christ. In his new testament textbook, Dr. Bart Ehrman states that he was also conceived by a virgin, was promised to be divine, and an Angel visited his mother before his birth, born miraculously, gathered many followers, and convinced them that he is divine by performing miracles. His opposition eventually delivered them to the Roman authorities and he was killed. There’s no record of the way he was killed however some historical documents claim that he rose from the dead and appeared to his followers and ascended to heaven where he lived eternally in heaven. The source of information is the book written by Sophist Philostratus. 

Now the similarity here is more obvious and compelling, but not the historical background. Apollonius is thought to have been born in 40 CE so his story comes after the death and  resurrection of Christ. It is therefore impossible for Jesus, or the apostles who documented the life of Jesus, to have copied from the life of Apollonius. The contrary might be true though. 

In addition, the life of Apollonius wasn’t documented by eyewitnesses. The earliest and most complete documentation has been developed by Philostratus around 218-238 AD, more than 120 years after Apollonius died. This biography was written to fulfill a request by Julia Domna, the wife of Septimius Severus and mother of Caracalla. It is therefore not a reliable source and begs the question of: where were Apollonius’s devout followers after knowing that he was raised from death and ascended to heaven? 

Conclusion 

Numerous people start stressing when reading stories that ‘’debunk’’ Christianity, yet if we would examine these stories more in depth we would conclude that the claims made are not historically correct. Several groups try to debunk our faith and the claims we make using false claims, and therefore we should always read about our faith and the authenticity of it.