Friday, October 29, 2010

Was the Universe created with a "Big bang"?

The Universe, and everything in it, is real. That is a fact, But how did it all come into existence? There are only two possible explanations. Either Someone created it (i.e. God). Or, it must have all made itself.

Our common sense tells us that everything we see (e.g. our clothes, shoes, watch, pet dog etc.) must have been made (created) by someone. That is why most people believe in God - the Creator of the Universe, earth, and the first of all the different types of living creatures).

Some people, however, deny the existence of God. This is usually because THEY DO NOT WANT TO BELIEVE IN HIM. For to do so means that if they admit that God made them, it follows that He owns them, and has a right to tell them how they should behave. These people don't like that idea, so deny that God exists, mistakenly thinking that therefore they can set their own rules for life and basically live however they choose.

People who deny the existence of God (Atheists) need therefore to try and explain how everything came into existence without a Creator. Simply put, they have to believe that the Universe created itself out of nothing. (To believe that actually requires a lot more faith than to believe in a Creator!). So how then do atheists explain how the Universe, and everything in it formed? The only idea they have come up with is called Evolution, which was first made popular by Charles Darwin about 150 years ago.

Evolutionists use the idea of a 'big bang' to try and explain the beginnings of the Universe, even though none of them were there to see what actually happened! They say that first of all there was absolutely nothing. Then, around 15 billion years ago, the universe was born in a searing hot fireball which we call the 'big bang'. Everything - all matter, energy, space, time - came into being at that precise instant. As the fireball expanded it formed lots of hydrogen gas, which spread out and filled the universe. Then the clouds of hydrogen gas started to pull themselves together by gravity. These clouds got hotter and hotter until they formed stars. Then some of these stars exploded and formed all the other elements like carbon and oxygen, These elements cooled and began to "freeze out." growing into galaxies, containing stars such as our sun. Then about 4 billion years ago the earth was formed. About 500 million years ago life began spontaneously on earth.

However nobody can explain how all the energy and matter contained in the billions of stars in the universe was somehow there, condensed into a single point, which suddenly 'exploded'. Where did the first energy come from? How could it all have been contained in a single point? What made this point explode? And who ever heard of an explosion making order and design? What happens when fireworks explode? You certainly get a bang, but all you have left is a big mess!

There are lots of sound scientific reasons why the big bang idea is wrong, could not work, and simply did not happen.

It is far easier, in fact, to believe that Almighty God made the sun, the moon, the stars and everything in the universe the way He says He did in the Bible.

(Click to enlarge)

Did people evolve from monkeys?

There are only two explanations for how you, and all other human beings, came into existence.

The Bible tells us that an eternal, all wise, all powerful Creator made the first of every different kind of living creature, pretty much as we find them today.

The second explanation says that mankind started out thousands of millions of years ago when some kind of accident caused non-living material to change into a very tiny living animal. This tiny animal (which despite its size, we now know to have been extremely complex), then changed slowly over the years to become every living thing that has ever lived, including you. This theory is called evolution (See Diagram).

Suppose for a moment that a 'big bang' did result in the production of a lot of non-living chemicals. (See "Was the universe created with a big bang?) How did these then turn into living creatures? No human has ever created something living from something not living, but evolutionists must believe that this actually happened at least once by random, chance processes.

Can we test these two contrasting ideas as to how we all came to be here? There are two ways we can test which one is more likely to be true.

1. Ask "Is evolution happening today?" The answer is obviously "No." We never observe one kind of creature changing into a different kind. Thus, cats always give birth to cats, dogs give dogs, potatoes give potatoes and carrots give carrots etc. etc.

2. Is there any evidence to show that evolution ever happened in the past? Again the answer is "No." Fossils are a collection of 'dead things' - creatures and plants that lived and died in the past. But the fossil record shows clearly defined species, with no evidence of one type of creature changing into a different type. If evolution were true, we would expect to find billions of transitional (intermediate) forms. But they are just not there.

There have been a number of claims that 'intermediate' forms have been found (e.g. ape-men), but on further inspection they have proved to be false. So-called ape-men, for example, have subsequently been shown to be really either apes, men, or fraudulent hoaxes (e.g. Pilkdown man).

.Science is concerned solely with what is happening in the present. It cannot tell us anything about what happened in the past. So when it comes to the origins of things, we move into the realm of speculation and personal faith.

Ultimately, the question is "Who are we going to believe? Fallible men who weren't there in the beginning, or God who is the only one who was there?"

For more teaching on Creation and Evolution, see my 'Creation' Blog at

If Adam and Eve were white skinned, how did dark skinned people come about?

The Bible doesn't tell us what colour God created Adam and Eve, but they would have almost certainly been mid-brown. God is a God of variety. He created the first two humans and gave them the ability to be able to reproduce a great variety of people - as we see in the world today. In the same way God only created (for example) two dogs, but gave them the ability through breeding to produce all the different types of dogs that we see today. But, of course, they are all still dogs, just as people are still people!

The differences between black and white skinned people are actually very small, and all due to a brown pigment (coloring) in our skin called "Melanin". If you have a lot of melanin, you will have very dark skin, if you have a moderate amount, you will have a mid-brown skin, and if you have a small amount, you will have "white" skin.

The amount of melanin you have will be dependent on your parents. If both your parents are dark skinned, you will (probably) also be dark skinned. If both your parents are fair skinned, you will (probably) also be fair skinned. However, if your parents are mid-brown skinned, or if one is dark skinned and the other white, then the colour of your skin will be less predictable. You are most likely to be mid-brown, but actually you could be anywhere between "white" and "black", depending on which parent has passed on to you the genes (information) that determine skin colour.

The picture above is of twin girls born in England in 2005. Their parents could both be described as mid-brown but, as you see, one twin inherited a "white" gene (very little melanin) , and the other a "dark brown" gene (a lot of melanin).

Thus it is clearly seen that only a few generations after Adam and Eve, there could easily have been a great variety of people on the earth, with many different shades of skin colour.

Why is water essential to life?

God certainly made us a lot of water. In fact 70% of the earth's surface is covered with it, although only about 1% of it is ready to drink.

The vast amount of water on the Earth's surface helps keep Earth's temperature fairly steady. This is because it takes a lot more of the sun's energy to warm water than it does to warm land. So the land heats up during the day and cools down during the night more quickly than the ocean does. This gives different air temperatures over the land than over the sea, and this generates winds. Winds keep the air we breathe fresh, as well as bringing clouds and rain to the land.

Without water we would die in a few days. This is because it plays a part in almost every process that occurs in our bodies. Our bodies are mainly water, and water is a major part of our blood.

One of the most important things about water is that it can dissolve many other substances. Because of this, the water in our blood can carry vitamins and minerals from the food we have eaten to the rest of our body, where they are needed for growth, repair and energy.

Water also flushes our bodies of waste products, one of which is carbon dioxide produced by our cells. The water in our blood dissolves this and carries it back to our lungs where we breathe it out. When water evaporates, it absorbs heat from its surroundings. This is why sweating cools us down.

Water contains dissolved oxygen from the air, enabling fish and other water-animals to live in it.

One of the most unusual but important properties of water is that it expands when it freezes (other liquids contract). This is why icebergs float, and why ice forms first on the top of water instead of on the bottom. This means that fish can swim underneath the ice. Otherwise, all the water in a river or lake could freeze and the fish would be killed.

God certainly knew what He was doing when He designed water to be the way it is.

As liquid water is essential for life, that is why space probes have been sent to other planets to search for it. They haven't found any yet, but even if they did, that would not mean that there was life there. Water cannot produce life. Rather, life is the result of a special creation by God.

Did God make cavemen?

Some people believe that long ago there were ape-men, and then the first humans were dumb cavemen. This is not true. There never were any ape-men. And the first people weren't dumb either. They were very clever.

The Bible says that a man named Jabel was the first of those who live in tents and look after livestock - cattle, horses, etc. His brother Jubal invented the harp and the flute. It takes a lot of intelligence to do that, as well as to play them.

Another man, Tubalcain, invented all kinds of tools out of bronze and iron. This meant he knew how to extract copper, tin and iron from their ores.

All of this culture, such as farming, making music, and using tools, is proof that the very first people on earth were not ape-men, and not dumb cavemen either. Civilization existed from the very first.

Later on, after God scattered the people from the tower of Babel (see Genesis, chapter 11), some groups lost their abilities and degenerated to become simple cave dwellers, but others continued to live civilised lives, using their various skills.

What proof is there that God exists?

Many of our prominent political leaders today say that they do not believe in God, citing "lack of proof" of God's existence as the reason for their unbelief. I have tried to put myself "in the shoes" of these people and asked myself that if I genuinely was seeking proof of God's existence, what proof could God give me that would convince me that He is real? I came up with the following four proofs that God could give to convince me of His existence.

1. Creation. If God is real, I would ask Him to create something, out of nothing, that I could see with my own eyes and touch with my own hands.

2. Communication. I would ask God to communicate with me, perhaps by sending someone, or even writing to me, to tell me things like what He is like, why He made me, what His plans are for me, and if there is there is life after death.

3, Revelation. I would ask God to reveal Himself to us by visiting planet Earth in person. When He was here, I would ask Him to prove His power by doing things we humans cannot do, and that defy the natural laws of the universe. Things like multiplying matter, defying gravity, commanding nature (such as storms) to obey Him, commanding the sick to be healed and the dead to come back to life.

4. Finally, if God were real, I would ask Him if He really loved us humans, and to do something to demonstrate how much He loves us.

I cannot really think of any other proofs that God could give to convince us that He is real. But surely those I have listed above are more than enough. If God did all that, surely nobody could still doubt His existence. The proof would be irrefutable! But then I remembered - GOD HAS ALREADY GIVEN US THOSE FOUR PROOFS!

1. We only have to look around us to see the vast number of wonderful things that have been created (If there is no Creator, they must have created themselves, beginning with nothing. And to believe this requires an unreasonable faith!). - "The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands." Psalm 19.1.

2. God has sent us many messengers to tell us about Himself - they were usually called Prophets. And He has written us a letter that tells s all me need to know to live our lives the right way. It is called the Bible. - "In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways." Hebrews 1.1. "All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness." 2 Timothy 3. 16,17.

3. Two thousand years ago, God did visit this planet in person. We called Him "Jesus". And while He was with us, He did stop or suspend the natural physical laws that govern the universe. We called these mighty acts "miracles". "Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples." John 20.30.

4. God did demonstrate how much He loves us by allowing Himself to be crucified on a wooden cross. "God demonstrates his love for us in this. While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5.8.

I must conclude that God has given us many proofs of His existence. Enough, I would suggest, to convince any person genuinely seeking the truth. Yet many still deny His existence. No, the problem is not with God, it is not a lack of proof. Rather, the problem is with people. Many refuse to believe. To do so would mean that they would have to admit that they were responsible to a Higher Authority, and our selfish nature naturally rebels against that. Jesus put it like this "You refuse to come to me that you may have life (John 5. 40). Or, as the old proverb says. "There are none so blind as those who do not want to see."

So let us continue to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ to all who will listen, and pray to God to open the eyes of the (spiritually) blind.

Is Jesus really God?

The belief that Jesus Christ is the God-Man, i.e. completely God and completely human in one Person is the basis of the Christian faith. Most people believe that Jesus was human, but some doubt that he was also God. So why then do we believe that Jesus is God Himself? Here are a number of reasons.

1. His self-centred claims. The self-centredness of Christ's teaching marks Him out from other religious teachers. He clearly thought of Himself as distinct from man and one with God.

a. Intimacy with God. Jesus made some astounding claims. For example He said, "I and the Father are one." (John 10.30). and "Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father." (John 14.9). Jesus also called Himself the 'Son of God.' In those days the word 'son' implied 'the same as' rather than 'dependent upon' or 'derived from' as it does today. This oneness that Jesus claimed with God was both unique and eternal (John 8.58).

b. Authority over men. Jesus did not think or speak of Himself as an ordinary man among men. He set Himself apart from the rest of mankind and claimed authority over them - to teach about God (Matthew 7.28,29) - to call men to Himself (Matthew 7.24-27; 10.37) thus making Himself the object of their faith, love and obedience - to forgive repentant sinners (Mark 2.5) - to judge the unrepentant (Matthew 7.21-23, Matthew 25.31-33).

Faced with these claims we cannot dismiss Jesus as just a good man or a great teacher. He was either deluded, a liar or divine. As C.S. Lewis the author of "The lion, the witch and the wardrobe" put it "Jesus was either mad, bad or God."

2. His balanced and humble conduct. Jesus did not behave like a person with delusions His character confirms His claims. Consider this paradox:-

His claims sound like a madman's, yet his conduct was poised and balanced.

His teaching appears proud, ("I am - - - the way, the truth and the life - - - the bread of life - - - the light of the world - - - the resurrection and the life") yet He was humble.

His words were thoroughly self-centred ("Come to me - - - ") yet His deeds were absolutely unselfcentred.

This combination of self-centredness and humility is unparalleled in the history of the world.

3. His divine works. The miraculous works that Jesus did do not prove His divine (Godly) nature, but they are in accordance with it, and support His claims that He is God.

4. His bodily resurrection. The evidence for the resurrection of Jesus was considered in the last (April) edition of Kidzone. His resurrection - like His divine works - do not prove His deity, but it is in accordance with it.

5. The claims of scripture. The scriptures clearly portray Jesus as God. Some passages (e.g. John 1.1-3 and Colossians 1.15-19) cannot be explained if Jesus is not God.

Summary. The 'acid test' of Christianity stands or falls on the position we give to Jesus Christ. If Jesus is not God, then His death on the cross cannot possibly bring salvation to us. If He is God, His coming to earth, and supremely His death and resurrection is, for every person, by far the most important event in the history of mankind.

Did Jesus really rise from the dead?

Christianity stands or falls on the resurrection of Jesus. As Paul expressed it "If Christ was not raised from the dead, our faith is useless - - - - and we are to be pitied more than all men." ( 1 Corinthians 15. 14,19 ). Conversely, if Christ did rise from the dead, what He said and did is of vital importance to everyone who has ever been born onto this planet. So why do we believe that Jesus really did rise? There are three main reasons.

1. The disappearance of His body.

It is generally acknowledged that after Jesus was crucified and buried, His body disappeared. Three theories have been proposed by doubters to try and explain this.

A. Jesus didn't really die on the cross.

It is suggested that Jesus only fainted and later recovered in the tomb. However, this theory fails to explain how the experienced Roman soldiers at the cross became convinced that Jesus was dead, or how, after such a horrendous beating, Jesus became strong enough to roll away the stone sealing His tomb, and walk out unnoticed by the guards.

B. Jesus' enemies stole His body.

If this were true then, when the disciples later claimed that Jesus had risen from the dead, they would have easily been able to stop such talk by producing the dead body. This they were unable to do.

C. Jesus' disciples stole His body.

This theory fails to explain why the disciples would later risk their lives (by proclaiming that Jesus had risen from the dead) for something they knew to be a lie.

Such theories do not fit the facts or satisfy human reason. The only feasible explanation is that He rose!

2. The reappearances of Jesus.

The Bible records that after His death, Jesus appeared to more than 500 people on at least eleven occasions in a number of different places over a period of six weeks. These appearances were not hallucinations - for these arise from wishful thinking. In fact the disciples were at first sceptical. After the crucifixion of their leader, they were completely disillusioned and defeated. The last thing they expected to see was Jesus alive again.

3. The change in the Disciples.

This, and the consequent emergence of the church, is regarded as the most convincing evidence of the resurrection of Jesus. Shortly after the crucifixion, something happened to the disciples to change their disillusionment, defeat and fear to courage and conviction. From hiding behind locked doors for fear of the Jews, these early disciples suddenly began to risk their lives by going out to preach the Gospel to a hostile world. Only the resurrection of Jesus could explain this turn around.

People will always argue over the resurrection of Jesus, but the Bible says "Without faith it is impossible to please God." (Hebrews 11.6). The only way anyone can discover for themselves whether Jesus really did rise and is alive today is to personally turn from their sins and put their trust in Him. Then they will "know" that Jesus is still very much alive!

When is Jesus coming back to earth?

Jesus' Disciples once asked Him this very question. His reply was very interesting. He stated that only Father God knew the answer to that. This response reminds us that although Jesus was still God, He left behind some of His Godly qualities - such as knowing everything, and being everywhere all at the same time - when He left heaven to come to earth.

However, Jesus did then on to give us a clue. He said that just before His return (sometimes called His 'second coming') to set up His everlasting Kingdom on earth, conditions here would be very much like they were in the days of Noah. What was it like then in the days of Noah? Well, people were very wicked. They had forgotten about God and His eternal laws, and just did whatever they wanted so that the earth became "full of violence."

Most people would agree that the earth today is becoming more and more like it was in the days of Noah. Each year it seems to get worse with more wars, more violence, more murders, more greed etc. Therefore many Christians believe that the return of Jesus to earth cannot be too far away.

Having given His Disciples this clue, Jesus basically told them that they were really asking the wrong question. He went on to tell them that the really important question in life was not when He was returning to earth, but were they really ready for His return? In other words, are we really trusting in Jesus? Do we really know Jesus as our personal Saviour? If the answer is "Yes" then we are ready for His return, and should be hoping that He comes very soon.

Why does God answer some prayers but not others?

That is a very good question, and one that many people, including Christians, are puzzled over. It is certainly true that some prayers are answered and others are not. For example, one person may be miraculously healed and another not. One person may have his needs totally met, and another not.

Why is this? Some Christians will talk about the importance of having faith, not having any unconfessed sin, forgiving those that have hurt us, honouring your parents, etc. All this is very important as we need to remove any obstacles which might prevent God from answering our prayers. But it is not the complete answer. Some people may truly be "right" before God, but still don't get their prayers answered. Others may not be totally "right" with God, but still see Him answer their prayers.

Other Christians will say that it is not God's will that a particular person be healed - that overall, it would be "bad" for them, or God can use their sickness to keep them humble, enable them grow spiritually, or to encourage others to persevere. Others will say that God may not have healed the body, but He has done an "inner healing" However, these ideas contradict the plain teachings of Jesus. God wants us to be well and prosper in all areas of our lives.

To understand this problem, we need to understand the times we are living in. The Bible teaches that there are three time periods that this earth has or will experience.

1. The Beginning.

God created a perfect earth. Everything (including the first people) was "Very Good." There was no pain, disease, sorrow, suffering, or even death. God used to visit the first people in person. They were the best of friends, and people didn't upset or annoy each other. Everyone got on well together. There were no hurricanes, tsunamis, earthquakes, or volcanic eruptions. Animals didn't hunt, fight, kill and eat each other. Weeds, thorns and thistles didn't grow amongst the flowers and crops. In summary, all of Creation was in perfect harmony.

2. "This present evil age."

The first people, Adam and Eve, disobeyed God. Consequently, God put a curse on His creation, and absolutely everything went bad. Thus began what the Bible calls "This present evil age". Every once perfect relationship that people had - with God, with each other, with the rest of creation - was now spoiled.

But God had a plan. He chose a special people called the Israelites, to whom He kept giving some amazing promises. He promised that "This present evil age" would come to an end when He sent His Messiah (Anointed one of God) to earth. The Messiah would usher in "The Kingdom of God", when every "bad" and evil thing would cease, and the earth would be restored to it's original perfect state. God's special people believed His promises and looked forward with expectation to the coming of the Messiah. However, this did not prevent them from suffering great hardships, slavery and persecution in the meantime.

3. The Kingdom of God.

This began about 2,000 years ago when the Messiah, Jesus Christ, died for our sins and then rose again from the dead. You are now probably thinking "Wait a minute. If the Messiah brought in the Kingdom of God 2,000 years ago, why is there still so much badness and evil in the world?" The answer is because we are now living in overlapping time periods. Jesus did bring in the Kingdom of God, but "This present evil age" is still here for the time being. However, the Bible tells us that Jesus will return to earth in the future and bring in the Kingdom of God in it's fullness, doing away with "This present evil age" for ever.

In that day, everything will once again be perfect, just as it was in the beginning. No more getting old, sick, or dying, No more arguments, fights and persecution. No more animals killing each other, weeds in our gardens, or working hard to grow our crops. No more hurricanes, tsunamis, earthquakes, etc. And everyone will know and love God for themselves.

Meantime, because of the present overlapping time periods, we experience a mixture of them both. Some people pray and get healed or have other needs met. Others do not. Some experience many of God's blessings - restored relationships with Him and with each other, joy, peace, health, prosperity etc. Others do not. Some people experience no problems following Christ. Others are still persecuted for their faith in him. Most people alive today will experience a mixture of the blessings of God's Kingdom and the hardships of "This present evil age."


Until Jesus returns to earth and brings in God's Kingdom in it's fullness, we will always experience a mixture of "good" and "bad". However, the good news is that we don't have to wait until then to have our relationship with God completely restored. We can know and enjoy that today. And there is nothing in life more important than that.

A personal comment.

Shortly after I became a Christian in 1980, I believe that God spoke into my spirit and told me that He had called me to be an apologist. I really believe this was God because at the time I didn't know what an apologist was. I had to look the word up in the dictionary! An apologist is someone who explains why they believe in the Christian faith.

Consequently, I have always concentrated on teaching the Bible, rather than applying (or ministering) it. Over the last 30 years, I can't actually say that I have prayed for that many people in a "one to one" situation. However, I did spend about 12 years in Ayrshire, Scotland involved in "Door to door" evangelism. Of the many people that I encountered, some did ask me to pray for them - for a healing, or some other need. I always agreed, and some stated afterwards that God had met their needs. However, the majority appeared to be unaffected.

This state of affairs used to trouble me greatly. I began to think that there must be something wrong with me - that I was doing something (or not doing something) that prevented God from answering my prayers and meeting the needs of my contacts. Consequently, I became even more reluctant to pray for others.

It was not until I really began to understand the consequences of the fact that we are living in overlapping time periods, that I began to realise that we will not always receive the full benefits of God's Kingdom. But I know that one day, when "This present evil age" is done away with, that we will. Although my understanding of this area is still far from complete, at least I now no longer blame myself when "nothing" appears to happen following prayer.

So be encouraged, if you don't see answers to some of your prayers, it is probably not you that is at fault - it is a consequence of the overlapping time periods that we are living in. Don't give up. Keep on pressing through to God. Forget the times when "nothing" appeared to happen, and remember the times when you were successful.

Where is heaven?

Jesus came from heaven to earth, so He knows all about heaven. Actually Jesus didn't say very much about where heaven is, or what it is like. He was more concerned with warning people about the dangers of rejecting him, and so missing out on heaven altogether.

We do know, however, that heaven is beautiful, permanent and that we won't ever die, get old, get sick, hungry, tired, etc. Because everything there is "very good". The best thing about it is that Jesus will be there.

As to heaven's location, the Bible describes heaven as being "Upward", "To the North" and "Beyond the stars". Many Christians believe that heaven is on another planet in another part of, or beyond, our Universe. Other Christians believe that heaven is located right here, but in another dimension, so that we are completely unaware of it. If you have seen the film "The Lion, the witch and the wardrobe" it may be rather like that, when the children passed through a "Door" (in the wardrobe) into a new world existing in another dimension.

We don't need to worry about how we will be transported to heaven. Jesus will take care of that. Just make sure that you are really trusting in him.

Did God write the Bible?

The Bible claims to be the inspired Word of God. In other words it was written by God, Himself. (See for example 2 Timothy 3.16 and 2 Peter 1.21). Christians believe that to be true. Here are seven reasons why we believe this.

1. The Bible does not contradict any scientific fact.

The Bible claims to be the TRUTH - and all its scientific statements have proved to be correct! Here are a few examples.

In ancient times, the earth was generally thought to be supported by huge pillars. But this conflicts with what Job said of his Creator 4,000 years ago: "He spreads out the northern skies over empty spaces; he suspends the earth over nothing. " (Job 26.7).

At the time of Christopher Columbus, navigators were concerned that by travelling too far they might fall of the edge of the world. Scientific observation had shown that the earth was flat - water finds its own level, so the sea must be flat! However, some 2,700 years ago Isaiah said of his Creator, "He sits enthroned above the circle (literally ball) of the earth." (Isaiah 40.22).

Nearly 2,000 years ago, Jesus referred to a future event that would happen in a split second (the blinking of an eye). In the same passage (Luke 17) Jesus said that it would be day with people working in the field (verse 31) and night with people asleep in bed (verse 34). How was this possible? It used to be thought that when it was daytime, it was daytime all over the world. We now know, however, that when it is daytime at one longitude, it may be night at another - thus enabling us to understand Jesus' statement.

And so we could go on. The Bible has proved to be remarkably accurate in all of its scientific statements. The people that God used to write down these statements doubtless believed, along with their contemporaries, many unscientific notions. However, God ensured that no such untruths came to be included in His Word,

2. The fulfilled prophecies.

A prophecy is usually a prediction about a future event. Hundreds of prophecies in the Bible have been fulfilled, exactly as foretold, often hundreds of years later.

Biblical prophecies are not vague and rambling such as those of Nostradamus and other supposed prophets. Bible prophecies deal with specific places, people and events. Their fulfilments can be verified by reference to subsequent history. For example Isaiah (chapter 53) foretold the death of Christ with minute accuracy more than 700 years before His crucifixion. In fact, over 300 Biblical prophecies about the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus have been completely fulfilled.

Biblical prophecy can only be explained by divine inspiration. God, the Creator of time, is outside of time. He is the One who controls the future and, therefore, the only One who knows the future.

3. There are no contradictions in the Bible.

This is quite remarkable when you consider that the Bible is a collection of 66 books written by at least 40 different people over a period of about 1,600 years. You would normally expect such a collection of different books to have many contradictory statements, but the unity of the Bible is extraordinary for every book agrees with all the others, like some gigantic jig-saw.

4. There are no proven errors in the Bible.

Because of its remarkable claims, no book has ever been scrutinised by its critics as closely as the Bible. Yet, despite this, there remain no proven errors in the Bible.

Much of the Bible concerns a record of the conflicts between the Israelites and neighbouring nations. For centuries there was no evidence for these wars outside of the Bible itself, and critics claimed they were a mixture of legend and invention. Today, however, 'myth' after 'myth' have proved to be true history. Archaeologists have discovered numerous cities beneath the sands of the Middle East, together with countless inscriptions, letters and other items all proving conclusively that the biblical accounts are an authentic record and that the characters referred to truly existed at the times stated.

5. The remarkable Mosaic Laws.

Our public sanitary laws date back less than 200 years. The Bible, however, contains a remarkably good sanitary code. Modern public health officers are concerned with public cleanliness, purity of water supplies, dispersal of sewage, clean food, education of the public, and control of infectious diseases. The Mosaic law (The Ten Commandments and other laws that God gave to Moses) covers all these aspects in Leviticus chapters 11 - 16.

When plagues such as the black death swept across Europe in the Middle ages, the Jews, in stark contrast to the other peoples, survived in large numbers. This was because of their healthy habits and high moral standards, as a consequence of their keeping the Mosaic laws. The Jews themselves did not know anything about germs or how diseases spread. Their motivation for keeping the laws was simply "The Lord said." And we know that it was essential for God's plan for the Jews to survive. Their survival and the subsequent formation of the state of Israel was a result of God's protection and the fulfilment of His promises as foretold in the Bible.

6. The Authority of Jesus.

Even a brief glance at the Gospels will convince anybody that Jesus Himself accepted the scriptures (what we now call the Old Testament) as directly from God. Jesus quoted from the scriptures frequently and always treated them as God's Word "which cannot be broken" (John 10.35).

As Jesus accepted the scriptures as God's Word, how can anyone who claims to follow Him not do likewise?

7. The life changing power of the Bible.

Amongst the countless thousands of books that have been written, the Bible is the only one that claims to be alive and have the power to change lives (see Proverbs 4. 20 - 22, Isaiah 55. 11, and Hebrews 4. 12). These amazing claims have been completely vindicated as down through the centuries countless multitudes have found them to be true for themselves. As people have READ, BELIEVED and OBEYED the Bible, their lives have been completely transformed.

The above was extracted from a Booklet "The Bible. The work of man or the Word of God?" that I wrote a number of years ago. If you would like a free copy of the complete booklet and you live in Britain, I understand they are still available from New Life Centre, Prestwick, KA9 2PA, Scotland. If you live in New Zealand, please email me your postal address, and I will send one on to you.

How do I know the Christian faith is true?

We are all exposed to a variety of different beliefs. This can be quite confusing to realise that there are many different religions, sects, denominations etc. You may ask "Do they all differ in what they teach, or do they have beliefs in common?" "How can I be sure of which one is true?" "Does it really matter which faith I choose to follow?"

Firstly, you need to understand the difference between Christianity and Religion. Religion is about us attempting to reach up to God through our own efforts, usually by observing certain rules or doing good works. Christianity is the exact opposite. It is about God reaching down to us through His Son, Jesus.

Whereas Christianity says we can only come to God through faith in what Jesus did for us on the cross, all religions and sects basically teach that in order to gain God's acceptance, we need to improve ourselves and reach God by our own efforts. The second difference from Christianity that religions and sects have in common is that they deny that Jesus is the GOD-MAN i.e. totally God, and totally man in One Person. Some deny Jesus' humanity, but most deny His divinity.

I think that 'religious' people must be the most unhappy people on earth. Their religion teaches them that they are 'sinners', but doesn't offer them the power to change their ways. Thus when they sin, they can't really enjoy it because they are aware that they are breaking God's rules!

Secondly, it is important to understand what a Christian really is. Christianity is not about following a certain set of rules, but rather it is about having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. A Christian is a "Christ-in-Person". In other words, a person in whom Jesus Christ is living - because He has been invited to do so, following repentance of sin and faith in His substitutionary death on the cross.

Christians may belong to many different types of churches, and these sometimes disagree on some minor issues, but if they accept the Bible as their Final Authority for what they teach, they will agree on the important doctrines (beliefs) such as :-

1.The divinity of Christ. (Jesus is God)
2. The substitutionary death of Jesus on the cross for our sins.
3. The bodily resurrection of Jesus.
4. Our need to be 'Born Again'. (God's Spirit changing us on the inside).
5. God accepts us on the basis of our faith in Jesus alone.
6. The Bible, as first given, is the divine and infallible 'Word of God'. (What the Bible says, is what God says).

Ultimately the important thing is not who is right or wrong about "little things", but whether Jesus is really living in you?

Conclusion. Amidst the great variety of faiths that abound today, how can we know that the Christian one is the true one? The Bible says "Taste and see that the Lord is good." Psalm 34 v. 8. Or to use a modern proverb, "The proof of the pudding is in the eating." If anyone sincerely tries Jesus out for themselves, then they will 'know' that His way is the true way. If you sincerely invite Jesus to come and take charge of your life, He will give you an assurance that that you are now really part of God's special family.

Do people have more than one life on earth?

Many Eastern religions teach that after a person dies he/she is then born into the world again and has another life. Then after they die a second time, they are reborn again, and so on and so on. This belief is known as reincarnation. Most people who believe this also believe that the type of life you are presently living determines the quality of your next life. Thus if you lead a good life, you will probably be born into a wealthy family next time. Conversely, if you lead a bad life, you may well be born into a life of poverty next time round. And if you lead a really bad life, you may come back as an animal, or even an insect next time!

Some people who have allowed themselves to be subjected to the ungodly practice of hypnotism appear to then remember a 'former' life on earth. The interesting thing is most of these people seem to remember being a famous person in the past. Many, for example, claim to have been King Henry V111, or Queen Elizabeth 1. However our common sense should be setting off alarm bells here - They can't all have been Henry V111 or Elizabeth1 !

The idea of reincarnation is attractive to some people because it means that if you make a mess of this life, you will always get a second chance. But the important question is not whether this is an attractive idea, but whether it is true?

The only person who knows everything is God. And He has written us a book called the Bible which tells us everything we need to know concerning our life and what happens afterwards. If you believe something that disagrees with the Bible - you are wrong! You need to change your beliefs so that they agree with the Bible. So is reincarnation true? Definitely not! Hebrews 9 verse 27 says "We die only once, and then we are judged." If reincarnation were true, that would obviously mean dying more than once, and that clearly contradicts the Bible. Therefore it must be wrong.

Thus the Bible makes it clear that we only have one life, and then we will stand before God in judgement. And at that time the only thing that will matter to God is whether we have accepted or rejected His free gift of the Lord Jesus Christ. That is why it is vital to accept Jesus Christ as our Saviour in this life. We won't get a second chance!

If God knows the future, does that mean that no matter what I do, it cannot be changed?

Most followers of Eastern religions believe this. They say that our lives are all planned out beforehand for us, and nobody can change their destiny. Thus, for example, if you are destined to have a road accident at age 35, you will have a road accident at age 35! Nothing can change that.

This fatalistic "What will be will be" attitude to life is shown up in many different ways. Thus people may not bother to take care when they are driving a vehicle because they think that if they are destined to arrive safely at their destination, they will arrive safely. But if they are destined to have a crash, they are certain to have a crash - even if they drive carefully. At the Bali bombings a few years ago, most of the native inhabitants of that island just stood back and watched the aftermath. They took the attitude "It must be God's will. If people are going to die, they will die, if they are going to survive, they will survive. Therefore no rescue attempt will make any difference."

God certainly does know everything, including our futures. However the Bible makes it perfectly clear that we are in control of our own destinies. The choices we make today will largely determine what our future lives will be like. However, our eternal, all-knowing God is outside of time as we know it, and is able see the choices we make in the future. They are, however, still our choices. For example, Jesus always knew that Judas was going to betray Him, but that doesn't mean that Judas was not responsible for his actions. No. He made a bad choice! Interestingly, it was actually the "Westerners" in Bali at the time who, after the bombings, rushed to the aid of the injured - thus outworking their belief that what we do can indeed influence the outcome of an event.

So make sure you make good choices in life. And the most important one we have to make is what we are going to do with God's gift of Jesus - to accept Him as our Saviour and Lord, or to reject Him. I hope that you make the right choice. It will affect your eternal destiny.