The Proven-Miracle Paradox

Suppose a certain miracle does, in fact, happen. Now, every skeptic that hears of this miracle wants proof. So the miracle is repeated and proved. If the miracle is repeated to every skeptic that ever exists, is it still a miracle, considering that a miracle is a rare event?

I call this the “Proven-Miracle Paradox.”  After searching my mental database and Google’s, I cannot find this paradox; if you do find it elsewhere, please let me know.  When setting up a story-line in a previous post The God You Can See, I noticed this paradox creeping up.  Proving a miracle presents a problem by nature of a miracle.

tough questionThe problem is that miracles are defined to be an “unusual event.” Therefore, if enough people see it happening enough times, it is no longer unusual. It could even be argued that it is now a natural occurrence or phenomenon. But miracles are thought to supernatural, not natural! The Proven-Miracle Paradox reveals something about the skeptic, something about the miracle, and something about God.

About the Skeptic

For the skeptic, the Proven-Miracle paradox begs another question. Why did the skeptic ask for proof of a miracle in the first place, when universal proof only diminishes the miracle? The skeptic has not thought out the entire process. Is it fair that everyone gets to see the miracle, or does that one skeptic have a privileged advantage? But while giving proof to the one skeptic, he cannot confirm it to others without making the miraculous disappear. The skeptic is correct in saying, “I will believe in the supernatural when I see a miracle.”  But he cannot say, “I can prove to others that I have seen something besides a hallucination.”  Nor can multiple skeptics have a fair share in saying “I believe in the supernatural because I see a miracle.”  Perhaps the skeptic had already dismissed the possibility of a miracle, by making a predetermined, biased judgment. Perhaps the skeptic really did not want to accept a real God, so he devised a test that would knowingly fail.

About That Miracle

Let’s conclude that the miracle cannot be proven on a universal level. Then, in order for sensible people to accept the miracle, there must be something else about it that carries weight. One way for this to happen is to have enough witnesses gathered within the vicinity of a single rare event. Also, the miracle has to have significance; it cannot be arbitrary. If a skeptic demands to see a wooden desk float, what does it mean? Does it mean that the law of gravity is inconsistent, leading to the conclusion that physical laws are not always consistent? Does it mean that a demon is making the desk float, or a god? And which god? The god of wooden desks? Rather, if the miracle is said to be a sign, it should point to other facts or statements in a meaningful way, much like a traffic sign does. It should “connect the dots.”

Now About God

The Proven Miracle Paradox seems to be a problem for God. How can He prove Himself to be miraculous in a fair, universal way? And yet we’ve seen that miracles can carry weight through other means. If a real God arranged a miracle, how could that miracle be the most advantageous? We’ve ruled out universal proof with our paradox. Take the case of Jesus as God. The miracle of His resurrection was directly observable by more than 500 witnesses. (1 Cor. 15:3-8). Rather than dying again and again until everyone in existence could see, Jesus accomplished this miraculous feat once. The effective means was taking 500+ good witnesses, people who would testify even through the pains of death. We know for certain that the witness of the resurrection spread globally and continued to be accepted for 2000 years.

The miracle of the virgin birth of Christ takes the effectiveness of significance. It puts the “sign” in “sign-ificance.” We are not asking “What is the significance of any virgin birth,” but rather “What is the significance of the virgin birth of Jesus Christ?”

Isaiah 7:14 “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.”

This verse is one of many prophecies.  The “sign” points not only to a virgin birth, but to the name Immanuel, meaning “God with us.”  So this was one sign pointing to Jesus as God revealed.

Luke 2:12 “And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.”

The significance of shepherds coming to see Jesus is two-fold.  Bethlehem was known as the city of David, the shepherd who became king, an ancestor king of Jesus.  The shepherds were also looking upon the one to be called “Lamb of God,” who would take away the need for animal sacrifices.

Prophecies preceded the virgin birth, and signs led the shepherds and later the wise men to worship the baby.  Then, when the baby had grown to maturity, he spoke of such things as being “born of the Spirit.”  Jesus’ many miracles were not discounted by witnesses, but they were not accepted by all.  The miracles of healing were not good enough for the more religious people.  Some were too legalistic to accept what Jesus’ miracles signified; others would have preferred a ‘miracle’ of victory in war.  Jesus’ miracles focused on life – by means of healing, feeding, and resurrection.  So the virgin birth of Jesus is not any random virgin birth.  It is not the first freak incident of parthenogenesis in humans.  Neither is it a miracle simply for the point of proving the existence of the supernatural.  The virgin birth is the birth of a sinless, immortal human fashioned in the original image of God.  Jesus would go on to exhibit his incredible trait of being immune to staying dead.  And He would make this trait available to be transferred to any who accept.  Who is the giver of life?  Who originally made a man without the use of a man?  The God of the Bible, who creates with His word. (See John chapter 1.  The perfect will of God is shown to be active both in the original creation and the special creation through the virgin birth.) This God is the supernatural agent to which all signs of Jesus point.

Summary

Let’s recap.  Based on the Proven-Miracle Paradox, we get the following conclusions.  If you repeat a miracle enough times in front of enough people, it’s no longer unusual.  A skeptic, hoping to provide proof of a miracle, would never accumulate enough empirical evidence.  A God who relies solely on miracles for proof of His existence is apparently doomed to fail in His revelations.  A God who ties miracles with logic, history, and meaning is the God who will succeed.  The God of the Bible uses all these to prove His existence.

The God You Can See

god in sky2

A young man named Josh sat on a park bench with his frazzled head in his hands. “If only I could see God right now. Then I’d believe in Him.”

A gentle voice responded. “I can do that for you.” The flustered man sat up. An old lady had taken a seat next to him. “I have good connections. If you want to see God, just let me know how.”

Josh laughed at first, but noticed the woman was serious. “Heck, I’ll give it a try.” He thought for a moment. “Lightning. I want to see a good lightning show, in my backyard, tonight.”

“Very well. Consider it done.”

Josh was still laughing later that evening as he eased in his recliner; still, he couldn’t help but pause and check out the back window. “Yeah, right,” he told himself after an hour. Just as Josh was about to fall asleep right there, he heard a rumble and jerked his head around. His back yard was pitch-black. CRACK! He ran to swing open the back door. CRACK! BANG! BOOM! For a good half hour, lightning danced in earth-shattering power. Josh’s jaws hung open for most the show. For the next half hour, he called everyone he knew, friends, family, neighbors, waking everyone he knew in the middle of the night just to tell them what he’d seen. “I must say, I do believe in a God,” he added. Very tired, Josh went to sleep and dreamed that lightning resumed its show for the rest of the night.

The next morning, Josh turned on the news as usual. There was quite the story. “Dan Smith reporting here from Europe. What started in Ohio has spread across the globe in a matter of hours. Lightning has covered the world. Some people think it’s because they’re asking God to put on a lightning show – This is obviously an unfounded claim. Meteorologist Steve has determined that there is a new weather phenomenon, called global lightning chains, where all lightning storms join into one global network. Steve can see the friction in the clouds, the electricity in the lightning, but he can’t see God. Psychiatrists believe that a coincidence happened in Ohio where one man linked lightning to God. After that, everyone coincidentally linked these lightning storms to God. It’s now been scientifically proven; whether you pray to God or not, there is 99% chance you’ll see lightning within two hours.” Just as Dan said this, lightning struck in Josh’s back yard.

Back at the park, Josh sat on the same bench with his head in his hands. A voice next to him inquired, “So what happened, my friend?”

Josh wouldn’t sit up this time. “I don’t understand. Lightning should have proved God’s existence, but now there’s lightning all the time. Lightning is a natural, normal, common event now. Noone thinks it has anything to do with God.”

“You couldn’t help but tell all your friends, could you? I’ll tell you what happened next. Your friends, thinking it only fair that God should answer their same prayer, demanded He put on a lightning show for each one of them. As God complied, the news spread to their friends, relatives, and neighbors. It didn’t take long for lightning to cover the world.”

“I thought I dreamt it went on all night.”

“Those rocket scientists on the news don’t see our hearts speaking to God. All they can see is the movement of water droplets and the movement of people’s mouths.”

“I bet if they saw God’s face sharp across the sky, they’d have to believe.”

“Tomorrow they will.”

“Really? You can really do that?”

Sure enough, the next day, God’s face was on the news. “I guess we have to believe in God now.” Josh jumped and clapped his hands for joy. “Thank you, God. That should shut them up for a long time.”

Josh went about town, whistling and proudly wearing a new cross necklace. The evening news would change his tune. “Dan reporting…” The somber anchorman could not seem to face the screen in the background. From a war-zone, a reporter spoke in between bombings. “It all started when one ethnic group said … God looked more like… them. The other group claimed… they saw God’s lips say… ‘No, they don’t.’ This is Amber… coming to you from Cuba.” Then another reporter came on. “What you’re seeing in this Japanese sky is another god. Some believe a new kind of hologram has been developed, a 3D hologram that puts a giant face in the sky. If this were true, it would cast doubt on the other famous ‘face of God.’”

The next day found Josh back on the park bench. He looked like the Thinker statue. “Why doesn’t it work? You’d think God showing his face would solve everything. Instead, epic fail, global backfire. Maybe I just need a god that makes me happy. Who cares what anyone else thinks?”

“Here you go. Rub it and make as many wishes as you’d like.” She placed an ancient oil lamp into his hands.

The next day, Josh came back, frustrated as ever. “You told me to rub this lamp and make wishes. Nothing happened. Nothing at all. I’m beginning to really doubt this God thing.”

The old lady seemed to be holding back a burst of laughter. “Are you looking for a God, or are you looking for a genie? Anyone with that much power isn’t going to serve at your beck and call. I knew the lamp wouldn’t work when I gave it to you. God is real, but genies are a myth.” A dog sniffed Josh’s hand, startling him for a moment. The old lady had brought a stray dog with her. “I brought something else today.”

“A dog?”

“And two choices. Two choices for our buddy Rusty here.” She handed Josh a paper bag with two items inside. One was a hunk of steak, the other a paper-back book. Josh held out an item in each hand, and Rusty didn’t take a whole second to decide on steak. The woman smiled. “As far as Rusty is concerned, you’re his God. He can see you, and you give him good things. Rusty has used the highly scientific tool of direct observation.”

“Oh, I get it. I’m just like a dog, because I want to see my Master and get my wishes granted.”

“No. God wouldn’t treat you like that. Yes, Rusty has a good sense of sight, a better sense of hearing, and a fantastic sense of smell. You, on the other hand, have been given other heightened senses. Your senses of conscience and rationality have been designed so that you can perceive God. And somehow I feel that you’re looking to God for more than a steak for satisfaction.” She nodded toward the book.

Josh held up the book. “The Case for Faith. We’ll just have to see how good this is. That steak didn’t look all too bad.” He shared a smile with her.

For a month, Josh didn’t return to the park. Five weeks after receiving the book, Josh came back with a woman and two small children. The old lady sat contentedly with Rusty. Josh got her attention. “Ahem. I never got your name.”

“Just call me Florence.”

“Well, Florence, I’d like you to meet my wife, Kate, and my children Ethan and Emma. Family, this is Florence. This wonderful woman helped me see God. I thought I would find him in the bright flash of lightning, or smiling across the sky, or in magical wishes. Come to find out, God did reveal Himself in human history, but it was the way He wanted to reveal Himself – when and how He wanted. The people who saw Him back then found their own crazy reasons to reject Him. So then I used my heart, mind and soul. I discovered the greatest power ever known to me, my own will-power. It was selfish but strong, inward but unchanging. If my own will could be changed, if God is indeed more powerful than that, it would be proof to me that a higher power exists. When I gave my life to Christ, I saw generosity replace selfishness. Joy replaced depression. Hope replaced fear and doubt. Passions, choices, and old habits changed. I saw God do the impossible.”

As old Florence spoke, you could hear the years of experience in her voice. “God is more concerned you know who He is than you know that He is. You find Him by developing a relationship and understanding His character. You, Josh, saw God in a way that can never be erased by anyone else. Of course, God is infinite. You’ve only seen the tip of the nose on his face, so to speak.”

“And, thanks to God’s changing power, I got back what I really wanted deep inside. The wholeness of getting my family back, and this time I really care about them more than myself. Thank you so much, Florence.”

“Oh, no problem. I’m just passing along the vision of God.”

God-is-more-concerned QUOTE


This story is mostly hypothetical – a thought experiment.  The moral of the story is found by comparing two Gods: a “seen” God who consequently bends to our will, and an “unseen” God who is more powerful than even our will.

Intro – How Did We All Miss It?! (Jesus & DNA)

Friends, thank you for following apoloJetics – apologetics with a capital ‘J’.  You might also enjoy a new blog I’m starting that discovers the amazing connection between Jesus and DNA.  At first, the two don’t seem to mix in any rational way.  My background in both Bible studies and Mathematics gives me a unique vantage point.  I’d like to challenge each of you to go beyond your memes and bounds.  There’s more to Jesus than a nice teacher giving fishing tips.

Intro – How Did We All Miss It?!.

In Christ,

Tim

Memes and Anti-Memes

Two Face

One of the claims of the New Atheists is that church-goers get disillusioned by a type of mirage called a “meme.”

According to merriam-webster.com, a meme is:

“ an idea, behavior, style, or usage that spreads from person to person within a culture”

Let’s take, for instance, an image where God is a father.  In this meme, we might have an image where God looks like a smiling father with a child sitting comfortably in His lap.  This image becomes a meme when we freeze the bounds, where God can be nothing other than this picture.  Yes, God is certainly like an earthly father, but he is not constrained to those characteristics.  So when we find God to be something other than that meme, we have a set of choices to make.  The options I can see are four-fold.

  1. Unwaveringly hold on to the meme. God is a charming earthly father and nothing more.
  2. Study to find what else God might be. What might a Heavenly Father look like?
  3. Replace the meme with another meme. God is not a charming earthly father, but rather an impatient, abusive father.
  4. Study to find out whether God is a product of fiction. Perhaps we cannot find a rational description of God.

Notice the other meme in option 3.  This is done by sloppy study of the God of the Bible.  By cherry-picking verses out of the Bible rather than doing serious study, we can make God out to be a very angry father.  I call this other meme an anti-meme.  Rather than taking a hard, honest look at what a Heavenly Father entails, we take a quick glance and end up with another false image.  Now we have a “raging father” meme rather than a “charming father” meme.  And if we make a false assumption that we have honestly and diligently studied Biblical history, we could skip to step 4 and state, “Perhaps we cannot find a rational description of God.”  So a false set of options would look like this:

  1. Unwaveringly hold on to the meme. God is a charming earthly father and nothing more.
  2. Study to find out whether God is a product of fiction. God is not a charming earthly father, but rather an impatient, abusive father. Perhaps we cannot find a rational description of God.

Coincidentally works out for the atheist, doesn’t it?  And yet the other options are subtly out of view.

So what happens if we explore option 2 out of the 4 options?  I’ve been reading a book by Paul Copan, “Is God a Moral Monster?”  If we read books like this in light of the new atheists’ claims, we’ll at least have a balanced view.  Taking this in addition to my own study of the Bible, I can consider what a Heavenly Father might look like.  For starters, He’s got billions of children over the course of thousands of years in various cultures of various ages.  Consider that some of His children are tyrants, while others cry out for deliverance.  A Heavenly Father’s patience may last for hundreds of years, and yet cries for help cannot be ignored.  And how did ancient Biblical people view things?  From my own research, ancient Middle-Easterners would look at modern Westerners as a bunch of softies.  But don’t take my word for it; do your own research and find for out yourself.  You’ll find their situation is no easy picture, no quickly-forming meme.

The word ‘antimeme’ or ‘anti-meme’ does not have a definition according to the latest Merriam-Webster results.  By ‘anti-meme’ I refer to:

“a fresh meme that is invented to replace another diametrically-opposed meme”

This meme will probably not behave like the original meme, since it is new or falsely presented as new.  Therefore, it will not appear mindless or viral, rather as fresh and original.  Like a meme, an anti-meme will have some reasoning behind it, reasoning that supports the opposing viewpoint.  However, like the meme, the anti-meme will depend on assumptions and caricatures.

A popular anti-meme says that Jesus’ crucifixion was a form of cosmic child abuse.  What images come to your mind when you think of ‘child abuse?’  The first image I get is a child in elementary school that wears long sleeves in summer to cover her bruises.  I confirm the moral injustice, the unethical treatment within the situation.  Abusing a child is certainly wrong.  So does the crucifixion fit this profile?  Let’s read from Jesus’ own words to His Father before the crucifixion:

John 17:1 Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You, as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him. And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do. And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was…”

From an eternal perspective, the focus shifts from the word ‘child’ to the word ‘cosmic.’  Jesus is a child to God only in the sense that He is a Son; not in the sense of being younger or less mature.  Often the Biblical reference to the word ‘child’ is misinterpreted due to the strength of family tradition.  You could be 70 years old and be the ‘child’ of a 100-year-old, because your father would always be your father.  On top of this, we have an infinite son of an infinite father.  How meme-shattering the ‘cosmic child’ proves to be!

So should we hastily throw away all our memes?  No.  Memes are a good starting point, like intuition to a child.  Think of memes like icons on your computer.  What If instead of small pictures that represented the entire programs on your computer desktop, you had the entire programs all running simultaneously on your screen?  Actually, this would waste a ton of memory and keep the other icons out of sight.  I suggest that instead of totally blowing all our memes away, we should investigate them one by one.  We might just enrich each one.  God is a very loving Heavenly Father, one that has an eternal plan in mind for each one of us.  Yes, it is more complicated and sometimes quite bewildering.  It ties in a multi-dimensional love woven through times and cultures.  It defies a simple explanation, and yet ultimately becomes a reality in a future world.  Let’s be careful not to hastily adopt memes or anti-memes.  For the serious Bible student, this means to “be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”

Copyright 2014

WHO is this Doctor?

The deepest mystery of the universe stepped into time.  He called himself a Doctor, and healing flowed from his touch.  Though alien from the high heavens, this bright star traveled to planet Earth.  His vessel disguised as a wooden box, otherwise a feeding trough, contained in its tiny place more than time-space revealed to the eye.  Frequently grabbing companions for his worthy quests, this Doctor seemed determined to save humanity.  The non-human invaders who sought to take over the human form, the darkness that greedily swallowed the life-giving light, stood no match against the Doctor.  And no matter what fate pursues the universe, though sun, moon, and stars collapse, he offers us salvation through immortality.  He’s seen your future, your appointments in time, the choices you hold in the recesses of your heart.

So WHO is this Doctor?

From Heaven’s throne to our dirt roads comes Jesus.  The Great Physician offers to save your heart and your planet.  New creation on a New Earth.

Luke 2:16 (NKJV)” And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger.” (manger/wooden box)

Mark 6: 56 “Wherever He entered, into villages, cities, or the country, they laid the sick in the marketplaces, and begged Him that they might just touch the hem of His garment. And as many as touched Him were made well.”

Rev. 21:1 “[ All Things Made New ] Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea.”  (No more sea or no more darkness of the sea)

See also Matt. 4:19 (companions) and Luke 5:31 (physician) and Romans 8:21-24

Why are we intrigued by the Dr. Who character on television?  Could it be that something inside us cries out for a healer, a rescuer from our devastated or mundane lives, or even from our disappointing highs?  So we look into colorful fantasies like Dr. Who.  But wait – just keep him on that side of the galaxy; he’ll do well to help those aliens; I don’t need him stepping into my business; I don’t mind help, but not some self-righteous, imposing lifestyle change.  The Doctor stays on the tip of our imagination but away from our heart.  Jesus gets way too close for comfort.  And yet our imaginations betray us; we long for better and we dream for higher.

Jesus is the Doctor that hits home.  He arrived in a state of poverty and yet with veins of royal blood.  Temptations of every kind, on every side, offered him “better than.”  Ignorant ridicule, flesh-and-blood suffering, quenched dreams, put Him at our epicenter.  Now He knocks at the door of your heart.  He diagnoses your sinful condition.  The Lord of all time offers you the cure that restores the immortality you were intended to bear.  The question is, will you open that door – will you welcome the Doctor?

The City of Crosses

city crossesA man living in a third-world country got the opportunity to move to America. Before becoming a citizen, he had certain stipulations. Upon arrival, he talked to the mayor of the town he wished to live in. “I don’t mind enjoying the freedom and opportunity America has to offer. Just don’t push your religious ideas on me.”

The mayor assured him. “America is a melting pot of ideas and religions. You will have opportunities to learn of different ideas, but we will not push anything on you.”

One week later, the foreigner stormed into the mayor’s office. “When will your town stop pushing your religious symbols on me?” The mayor sat down and tried to understand what the foreigner meant by this; however, things got lost in translation. Feeling ignored and patronized, the foreigner stormed out, promising to write the president a letter.

A week later, the president opened the letter from the foreigner. The spelling and grammar had been done by a secretary for the president to clearly understand.

Dear Mr. President,

I appreciate the welcoming arms and great opportunities your country has to offer. Unfortunately, I must complain about a certain town. This town has erected a large wooden cross, a symbol of religious belief. I thought I could avoid this symbol to embrace my own beliefs. Instead, I found another wooden cross in front of a library, another at the theatre, and more crosses at every turn. When speaking to the mayor, he said this cross was a symbol of great power. Horrified, I demanded these intolerant symbols be taken down, or replaced with a universal symbol. The mayor told me it would be dangerous and costly to take the symbols down. That it would leave many in the dark.

How, Mr. President, could you allow such an atrocity? I will consider leaving this country if something is not done immediately!

Sincerely,

Mr. Foreigner.

The president did not hesitate to call the mayor. Without letting the mayor speak, the president strictly ordered the mayor to cut down the offensive wooden crosses immediately. One month later, the president got another letter, this time from the Mayor.

Dear Mr. President,

I respect the fact that you are the head of this country. We have followed your orders completely. I hope you will at least send emergency aid. Since we have cut down every last telephone pole in our town, every last citizen is without power. Businesses suffer, traffic has halted, food is scarce, and people are literally in the dark.

Sincerely,

Mr. Mayor

Immediately the president flew in to the town to see the wreckage himself. The mayor met him at the airport. The president froze. “Isn’t that a telephone pole in the distance?”

The mayor grinned. “I did think about carrying out your orders, Mister President. But then, I thought about the one pole that carried electricity to the fire house where we keep the voting machine. I thought you might want that one standing.”

The president seemed more relieved, but still ghostly pale.

“Oh, and we thought about last year, when you came and visited the plant to offer more jobs. We thought you might like that to be running as well. Honestly, we wondered if every potential voter in this town would think better of a president that offered electricity. I lied when I said we took down every last telephone pole. We did not take down any. I hope you don’t mind my foresight in this matter.”

“Mister Mayor, of course I would never hurt anyone in this great country. You must know that I feared a great offense of another kind, imposing its values on innocent bystanders. But, this foreigner, how is he taking this?”

“After the whole town pitched in to get him a refrigerator, television, and juicer, we haven’t seen or heard of him.  I guess you could say he’s seen the light.”

The news cameras had gathered by this time, aiming their sights on the president.  He tried in vain to form a diplomatic response.  Involuntarily he choked up the word “Thanks.”

“Oh, don’t thank me. It looks like you’ve been saved by a large wooden cross, one that carries more power than your or I.”

 

As in Heaven

As in Heaven

 

As I’ve been reading Heaven by Randy Alcorn, somehow I harbored the feeling Heaven would be this exciting.  Actually, the Bible brings the excitement home to Earth, as in the New Earth.   No, I couldn’t possibly imagine what this place will look like ( 1 Cor 2:9), but that doesn’t stop me from trying.  Every time I think of something awesome, every bright colorful vision, is a tiny glimpse of something better and more enduring.

To help aid this blurry vision, I’ve started a Pinterest board ‘As in Heaven.’  Take a look and/or comment below.  Share your ideas and pics.  Don’t be content to let the vision crystallize, but don’t be afraid to imagine the possibilities.

 

 

 

The Undying Flame

torch_cover

Ever wonder what happens to the Olympic sites after the fact?  After all the cameras have pursued, dreams have taken flight, Olympian hearts pumped to the limit, medals and flags lifted high, tears and cheers shared within a common ground.  Then the curtain is drawn, performers and spectators looking toward the next site to carry tomorrow’s torch.   The Atlantic Cities gives us a peek into former Olympic host Sarajevo.

“…After taking second place in the giant slalom race on February 14, 1984, 21-year-old Jure Franko stood on this concrete podium as the first and only member of the home team to receive an Olympic medal when the city of Sarajevo, then of Yugoslavia, hosted the Winter Olympics. Eight years later, this same podium would be the site of a more grisly event, the executions of countless victims of the Bosnian War and Siege of Sarajevo… Touring through the mountainous Olympic venues, Pack (photographer) has noticed a number of signs warning of areas likely containing still-live landmines; they’re a unique legacy for a former Olympic site, and understandably disconcerting.”

Sarajavo

Sarajavo

We see the inevitable drama of mankind unfold. A place once celebrated as a place of peace, the unifying of many nations reaching for a prize, later torn by the divisive hatred and empty sorrows that set nation against nation. We envision, we inspire, we meet, we shake hands, and for the moment all is well. Then the camera drops, and from behind the curtain come jealousies, self-righteousness, greed, and oppression. We would be right to label such evils as the curse of mankind. Romans 8:19 says it this way: “For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God… For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.”

As a Christian, we find consolation in the promise of future peace, the end of the curse.  Even as we follow the Israelites through their times of rising and falling, we get glimpses of an ultimate future promise.

Isaiah 2:4 “And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.”

Sinful as we are, God continually speaks to the human heart, planting seeds of brighter dreams. Sometimes history itself presents us with a glimpse of future hope. China’s former Olympic site perhaps presents an example.

“China opted for a different approach with its National Aquatic Center.  The space, dubbed the ‘Water Cube’ and the venue where in 2008 Michael Phelps won eight gold medals, is now the Happy Magic Water Cube Water Park. It’s got water rides, spa pools and 13 water slides, according to CNN. The bright blues and oranges and pinks — intended to denote an underwater theme — look almost psychedelic.”  – Today.com

Someday, God, the great engineer, will remake our world the way He intended it to be. Imagine a new earth, inhabited by transformed men and women with incorruptible bodies. Incorruptible means they won’t break down under weather, stress, gravity, age… Incorruptible also means the spirit doesn’t give way to anger, pride, jealousy, spite… I wonder who will reach the peak of Mount Everest first, and who will get the best time skiing to its foot? No matter, we’ll have plenty of time to practice. All cheering from the sidelines, no shattered bones, no shattered hopes. Whatever medals we earn, we’ll lift them up to the One True King, our eternal burning light for unending venues, in our eternal home.

Until then, it’s up to us who know Christ, to continue passing the undying flame, one torch to another, one heart to another.

Copyright 2014

Copyright Info

Thank you for your interest in these articles.  As the sole contributing author, T. William Watts, I have exciting news for you.  This year has been the culmination of a quest for truth that has led me to publish my next book.  This book will delve into one of the hottest topics, Hell; on the other hand, we’ll map the route to Heaven’s reality.  Please pray with me as I carefully study God’s Word and church doctrine.  God’s Word is the ultimate authority, the church a pillar of respect, and I but a humble vessel.

While I love to share articles freely, I also ask that you credit me with any portions of the articles on this site.  One day, you might see that portion in my new book.  Simply include quotes and my author name, as shown here:

 

All cheering from the sidelines, no shattered bones, no shattered hopes.  Whatever medals we earn, we’ll lift them up to the One True King, our eternal burning light for unending venues, in our eternal home.”

– T. William Watts

 

I appreciate this simple courtesy, along with your prayers.  If you haven’t gotten a hold of my fictional work yet, I would encourage you to take the opportunity now.