January 20, 2015

Love is the Strongest Adhesive - Christian Wedding Song (Lyrics/Chords)

All along this space we're movin
Bm         Em
Galaxies unfold
A                                  G              A
There are times when we think that we are all alone
Though the outer space be empty
Bm                        Em
There's a rhythm in this soul
A                      G            D
You and me will always have an open door

D      F#m                   A
Love is the strongest adhesive
Em                        D
Joining hearts beyond all worlds
     F#m                        A
Love speaks though the world be silent
Em               A     D
Depths of hearts to unfold

Love is not a passing feeling
Bm                Em
It's a gift from above
A                             G                A
See the love of Jesus that brought Him to this earth
D                            Bm          Em
Not just a matter of falling deeply into love
A                  G             D
It goes on to give everything it got

D      F#m                   A
Love is the strongest adhesive
Em                        D
Joining hearts beyond all worlds
     F#m                        A
Love speaks though the world be silent
Em               A     D
Depths of hearts to unfold

One day the heav'ns will open
Bm                   Em
We'll see fire from above
A                        G                 A
With fiery angels He'll come back for His love
D                          Bm             Em
So may our lives be a reflection of this infinite love
A                  G             D
A wedded life is a blessing from above

D      F#m                   A
Love is the strongest adhesive
Em                        D
Joining hearts beyond all worlds
     F#m                        A
Love speaks though the world be silent
Em               A     D
Depths of hearts to unfold

January 13, 2015

The Kings of the East in Biblical Prophecy and the Clash of Civilizations

In Green, Arab World
The Biblical pointer to the Kings of the East (Rev.16:12) arising in the last days has been often interpreted as fulfilled in the rise of the far-east nations such as China and Japan, but while Sinim (China) has been used once in Isaiah 49:12, the phrase "of the east" in the Bible usually refers to the nations of Iraq, Iran, and Arabia; no doubt, these are the nations where beheadings are most prominent, and these are also the avowed enemies of Israel.

Sam Huntington's "Clash of Civilizations" may not be baseless after all, though he has identified at least 3 blocks, the Asiatic, the Islamic, and the Western.

But, it seems more cogent that "of the east" refers to the Islamic nations where not only Israel is hated but also conversion to Christianity is a death-penalty.

Yet, the phrase doesn't rule out any far-eastern nation that is averse to the Christian faith and is anti-semitic as well, for "east" remains "east" of Israel after all. Also, "of the east" doesn't mean "Islamic" only, though the signs indicate they are the only ones who would first wish the elimination of Israel above all.

Also note that the Arab countries in the present time, post-Islamic invasions, aren't just places east of Israel.

Gen 29:1 Then Jacob went on his journey, and came into the land of the people of the east.
Num 23:7 And he took up his parable, and said, Balak the king of Moab hath brought me from Aram, out of the mountains of the east, saying, Come, curse me Jacob, and come, defy Israel.
Jdg 6:3 And so it was, when Israel had sown, that the Midianites came up, and the Amalekites, and the children of the east, even they came up against them;
Jdg 6:33 Then all the Midianites and the Amalekites and the children of the east were gathered together, and went over, and pitched in the valley of Jezreel.
Jdg 7:12 And the Midianites and the Amalekites and all the children of the east lay along in the valley like grasshoppers for multitude; and their camels were without number, as the sand by the sea side for multitude.
Jdg 8:10 Now Zebah and Zalmunna were in Karkor, and their hosts with them, about fifteen thousand men, all that were left of all the hosts of the children of the east: for there fell an hundred and twenty thousand men that drew sword.
1Ki 4:30 And Solomon's wisdom excelled the wisdom of all the children of the east country, and all the wisdom of Egypt.
Job 1:3 His substance also was seven thousand sheep, and three thousand camels, and five hundred yoke of oxen, and five hundred she asses, and a very great household; so that this man was the greatest of all the men of the east.
Isa 11:14 But they shall fly upon the shoulders of the Philistines toward the west; they shall spoil them of the east together: they shall lay their hand upon Edom and Moab; and the children of Ammon shall obey them.
Jer 49:28 Concerning Kedar, and concerning the kingdoms of Hazor, which Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon shall smite, thus saith the LORD; Arise ye, go up to Kedar, and spoil the men of the east.
Eze 25:4 Behold, therefore I will deliver thee to the men of the east for a possession, and they shall set their palaces in thee, and make their dwellings in thee: they shall eat thy fruit, and they shall drink thy milk.
Eze 25:10 Unto the men of the east with the Ammonites, and will give them in possession, that the Ammonites may not be remembered among the nations.
Dan 11:44 But tidings out of the east and out of the north shall trouble him: therefore he shall go forth with great fury to destroy, and utterly to make away many.
Rev 16:12 And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared.

January 6, 2015

The Neo-Polytheism of Hubert Dreyfus: A Rational Fideist Analysis

Hubert Lederer Dreyfus (b. Oct 1929) is an American philosopher and professor of philosophy at the University of California, Berkeley. He has contributed much to the interpretation and analysis of Heidegger's philosophy. In recent times, his choice of an experience-based epistemic methodology has tended more towards a very pluralistic, anti-nihilist view; in fact, a reveling in Homeric polytheism as an inspiration for modern, revisited, or neo-polytheism.

In Epistemics of Divine Reality, the conflict between reason and experience in the history of  the philosophy of religion has been identified. The conflict usually results in reason's tending to expel the empirical categories and choose a very metaphysical and, usually, monist or via negativa view of God. On the other hand, it also results in experience's tending to expel the rational categories and choose a very concrete, plural, this-wordly view of self and the universe.


Dreyfus' studies in Husserl's phenomenological method and Heidegger's existentialism in addition to Merleu Ponty's filling-in-the-gaps of what Heidegger failed to address, viz a philosophy of being in body, seems to culminate in a celebration of Homeric polytheism and Melville's Moby Dick view of self and the divine. Dreyfus considers Protestantism's departure from the Catholic metaphysical God of the philosophers (of Plato, Aristotle, and Descartes) as a major contribution which paved the way for the Nietszchean annunciation of the death of that "non-biblical" philosophical God. To the metaphysicians, God seemed to always be in the present and objectified. But, to him God is like the whale of Moby-Dick that is not as much available to philosophical exegesis as the seeming hieroglyphics on the whale's body. According to Dreyfus, the God of the Bible is not that Pure Being that the intuitionists or mysticists (similar to the rationalist monists) talked about; He was the God of the burning-bush.  But, Dreyfus fails to notice that this same God who appeared in the burning-bush also announced His name as being "I AM THAT I AM". In All Things Shining, Hubert Dreyfus and Sean Dorrance Kelly collaborate to introduce the new polytheism of empirical metaphysics. Samuel Goldman from Harvard makes the following observations:1
In All Things Shining, philosophers Hubert Dreyfus (of Berkeley) and Sean Dorrance Kelly (of Harvard)...claim, “The gods have not withdrawn or abandoned us: we have kicked them out.” This expulsion, they say, is by no means permanent. The gods are ready to come back if only we are willing to “hear their call.” The first thing to note about this startling claim is the plural. Dreyfus and Kelly urge us to open ourselves to the return not of the God of the Bible but of gods. And not just any gods. On their view, the revival of the Greek pantheon offers the most promising alternative to nihilism. ......
...Dreyfus and Kelly....also contend that in recognizing the role of gods, we gain access to sources of meaning that would otherwise be obscured. Polytheism relieves us of the burden of choosing what we should do. In place of the modern struggle to establish one’s freedom, polytheism encourages an attitude of joyous gratitude. Like the Greek, they argue, we can experience our lives as a succession of unasked gifts that we do not need to earn or understand to cherish and enjoy. All things are “shining” with divinity and promise once we are open to living that way.
..... Rather than confronting this objection, Dreyfus and Kelly subtly revise Heidegger’s account of nihilism. The problem is not so much that “God is dead” as that the Judeo-Christian God is reduced to one option on the cultural menu. Many people do find meaning in Biblical monotheism. On the other hand, there at least some are who can’t or won’t. Polytheism, therefore, turns out to be a specialized product for a niche audience rather than a solution to the decline of the West. It is the spiritual equivalent of the pseudo-antique espresso machines sold to people who just aren’t satisfied with their old percolators.
Goldman considers All Things Shining's goal as failing in not being able to provide what it promises:
Polytheism, then, is a provocative way of describing one way of experiencing the world. But it fails to provide the access to meaning or values that Dreyfus and Kelly promise. This failure is the consequence of their rejection of the philosophical tradition on the one hand and biblical religion on the other. For all their disadvantages, both recognize that access to the meaning of life involves separating ourselves from our own moods and actions and evaluating them from an external standpoint. This isneasy. But at least it acknowledges that what we regard as the most admirable actions are not only shining with intensity, but also morally right.
It is worth remembering that Homer depicts the Greeks engaged in war of conquest and that his characters express profound gratitude to the Olympians when they have successfully taken their enemies’ lives, women, and property. Even in a disenchanted world, theirs are not the gods that we are looking for.
One can't attempt to find meaning once one has obliterated the existence of the possibility of the transcendent absolute. As Wittgenstein submitted in his Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, "The sense of the world must lie outside of the world." Plato's Euthyphro pronounces the problem very well when it argues that ethics cannot be absolute if we turned to the pluralistic gods for a deontological answer. The Euthyphro dilemma was: "Is the pious loved by the gods because it is pious, or is it pious because it is loved by the gods?" To which the answer was that a plurality of gods with their finite experiences cannot determine the nature of the good. The resolution consisted in a turning towards reason. The Platonic argument cannot be dismissed. In fact, Plato considered Homer (his stories of the gods) as dangerous to politics and ethics. In his Republic, Plato argues for the outlawing of the Homer that Dreyfus looks to for inspiration. To Plato, a strong republic cannot be built on false stories and flawed personalities as depicted by Homer and Hesiod. And, while Plato does understand the practical importance of the narratives, he doesn't allow these narratives to claim authority above reason: which is, of course, also impossible for cogency demands that the rational be intact, without ignoring the empirical.

1Dawn of the Idols, The American Conservative, May 2, 2011.

January 5, 2015

Why Was Jesus Baptized by John?

Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him.
And John tried to prevent Him, saying, "I need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me?"
But Jesus answered and said to him, "Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness." Then he allowed Him. (Mat 3:13-15 NKJ)

The Baptism of Jesus Was

1. NOT Anointing of Jesus for the Office of Priest, Prophet, or King. Christ is the Anointed One, and His Anointing is eternal. He is the Anointer.
2. NOT identification with sinful humanity as if Jesus were being baptized in the same manner as others--not, at all. Jesus identified with humanity by partaking of human nature in His Incarnation. John didn’t baptize Him with the baptism of repentance like he baptized others. In fact, John recognized Jesus as the Lamb who takes away the sin of the world (Jn.1:29); in other words, it was not the waters of baptism but the Lamb who saves us from our sins.

It Was

To fulfill all righteousness (Matt.3:15). Not for the remission of sins but for the fulfillment of all righteousness; in other words, in order to finish the work of the Kingdom of God, for the Kingdom and righteousness are inseparable. John confessed that he needed to be baptized by Jesus (for the remission of sins); but, Jesus indicated that His baptism was in order to fulfill all righteousness. The work of righteousness is the dispensational work of God in human history. It is the work of the Kingdom and is also known as the Mystery of Godliness (1Tim.3:16). Its opposite is the unrighteousness, darkness, and disobedience (the Mystery of Iniquity) that characterizes the kingdom of the Satan whose anti-christ is known as the man of sin or the lawless one--unrighteous deception marks the reign of the devil (2Thess.2:7-12).

1. PROPHETIC IDENTIFICATION & TESTIMONY. The Baptism by John Sealed Old Testament Prophecy of Jesus. In fact, all the Law and Prophets bore testimony to Jesus (Heb.1:1,2; 1Pet.1:11) and the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy (Rev.19:10). The Law and the Prophets prophesied until John (Matt.11:13). In other words, John was the last of the Old Testament line of prophets. He was the last of the OT Prophets to bear testimony of Jesus. John was distinct in that he personally bore witness of Jesus by identifying Him as the Messiah. By being baptized by John, Jesus not only recognized the baptism of John as authoritative but also sealed up Old Testament prophecy as fulfilled in Him (Matt.5:17). As the Forerunner of Jesus, John’s prophetic testimony was crucial.

2. DISPENSATIONAL DIVISION. The Baptism of Jesus by John also marked the fading of the Old and the beginning of the New. Thus, later John will say, "He must increase, but I must decrease. (Jn.3:30). The advent of Christ was the advent of the Kingdom and Jesus remarked later that “among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist; but he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force.” (Mat 11:11-12). John rejoices as the friend of the Bridegroom and (though spiritually member of Christ's Church, yet dispensationally-i.e. in relation to historical timeline) distinguishes himself from the Bride, i.e. the Church. The Baptism did two things:
   a. It revealed Christ to Israel. In fact, John came baptizing in order for Jesus to be revealed to Israel (John 1:31).
   b. It divinely confirmed Christ’s messiahship through the sign of the descent of the Spirit on Him and the voice from heaven that announced, “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased” (Matt.3:17).

It seems there were two stages of confirmation for John the Baptist about the identity of Jesus:
1. He knew that Jesus was Christ when Christ came to him and so said that it was he who needed to be baptized. Then, upon baptism when the Spirit descended on Christ, it was the fulfillment of a sign given to him. “And John bore witness, saying, "I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and He remained upon Him. I did not know Him, but He who sent me to baptize with water said to me, `Upon whom you see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ And I have seen and testified that this is the Son of God."(Jn. 1:32-34 NKJ)
2. When John was in prison, he sent his disciples to seek confirmation and Jesus told them (obviously hinting to Isaiah 61:1,2) "Go and tell John the things which you hear and see: The blind see and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them. (Mat 11:4-5). This second episode possibly seeks to confirm to John’s disciples while he was in prison that John was himself also awaiting the coming of Christ and His coming meant that the mission of John was over. It marked the end of the Old and the beginning of the New.

Line Art Source: Wikipedia /Baptism_Christ_immersion.jpg

December 27, 2014

Did Jesus Claim to Be God?

Did Jesus ever claim to be God? Did He ever use the words "I am God"?

Though Jesus didn't use the exact words "I am God", that doesn't mean that He never said that He is God. One doesn't need to use the same framing of words to convey a message; the same message can be communicated in different compositions of sentences. For instance, note the following sentences which all convey the message, "I am employed."

1. I work for a Company.
2. My boss pays me well for my work.
3. I am very busy at office during the day.
4. The staff had a picnic last Saturday.
5. I would like to change my job.

So, the right kind of question to ask with reference to the doctrine of Christ's divinity would not be "Did Jesus ever use the words "I am God"?" Instead, one should ask something like, "Did Jesus ever convey the message that He was divine?" To that question, the answer is a definite "Yes." In fact, the "Yes" is too clear, because the claim to divine sonship (which the Jews understood as a claim to divinity) was one reason why the Jewish leadership condemned Jesus as a blasphemer and demanded His execution. Let's look at some of Christ's related claims:

1. "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. (Joh 3:16 NKJ). Jesus claimed to be God's "only begotten Son"; but, that is not all, He states that God gave this only begotten Son so that whoever believes in the Son should not perish but have everlasting life. Now, some may object that this claim was a later theological construct; not a claim by Jesus but an interpolation by the apostles. This interpolation-theory, however, is because of the prejudiced made-up mindset that Jesus was not God. It is not based on proof but on prejudice.

2. When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, "Son, your sins are forgiven you." And some of the scribes were sitting there and reasoning in their hearts, "Why does this Man speak blasphemies like this? Who can forgive sins but God alone?" (Mar 2:5-7 NKJ). Evidently, here Jesus is doing something that the Jews were aware that only God can do. Not even a prophet or a priest could forgive a sin committed against others and against God. I can only forgive sins of those who sinned against me; but, I cannot forgive sins of those who have sinned against the Law of God; because if I do that I try to take the place of God. Jesus, obviously, knew this. But, He didn't stop just at that. He affirmed His authority to forgive sins by an act of divine power.

"When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, "Son, your sins are forgiven you." And some of the scribes were sitting there and reasoning in their hearts, "Why does this Man speak blasphemies like this? Who can forgive sins but God alone?" (Mar 2:5-7 NKJ)

3. Now behold, one came and said to Him, "Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?" So He said to him, "Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments." (Mat 19:16-17 NKJ) In this statement, Jesus not only conveys the message that no human can claim to be good or try to have eternal life by virtue of good works (for none is good), but He also forces the young rich man to reconsider his calling Jesus as the Good Teacher; for if he really believed Jesus was Good, it meant that he equated Him with God. Jesus foils the human quest for autonomy and desire to independently, by virtue of personal merit, inherit eternal life -- no one can be good apart from God. This He proves by asking the young man to sell all his possessions, distribute them to the poor, so that He will have treasures in heaven, and to follow Him,. But, the young man was not willing to part with his riches since he wished to have a life independent of God--that was impossible; it is not possible to be independent of God and have eternal life--for that would mean sin co-existing with life, which is contradictory to divine Justice:

Then the LORD God said, "Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil. And now, lest he put out his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever "-- therefore the LORD God sent him out of the garden of Eden to till the ground from which he was taken. (Gen 3:22-23 NKJ)

But, by answering the question of the rich young man, Jesus has affirmed that He could authoritatively show how one could have eternal life; authoritatively, because He had eternal life. It meant both that He was Good (which no man but God was) and that He knew how one could have eternal life. He tells him to do something beyond the Old Testament command, He asks him to sell all he has, distribute it to the poor (so that he will have treasure in heaven), and to follow Him (Matt.19:21). Obviously, by asking the young man to follow Him in relation to eternal life, He is making a claim that no human can make (for "no one is good but One, that is, God.")

4."I and My Father are one."
Then the Jews took up stones again to stone Him.
Jesus answered them, "Many good works I have shown you from My Father. For which of those works do you stone Me?"
The Jews answered Him, saying, "For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy, and because You, being a Man, make Yourself God."
Jesus answered them, "Is it not written in your law,`I said, "You are gods"'?
"If He called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken),
"do you say of Him whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world,`You are blaspheming,' because I said,`I am the Son of God '?
"If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me;
"but if I do, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, that you may know and believe that the Father is in Me, and I in Him."
Therefore they sought again to seize Him, but He escaped out of their hand. (Joh 10:30-39 NKJ)

There are a number of clauses here that convey Christ's claim to divinity: (a) He calls Himself one with the Father (b) They understand His claim as blasphemous because, as they say, "You, being a Man, make Yourself God."). (c) Jesus replies by quoting Psalm 82:6, where God calls humans as "gods"; so if He called them gods, to whom the word of God came, then why should they consider it blasphemous if the one whom "the Father sanctified and sent into the world" said not "I am God" but "I am the Son of God". Obviously, Jesus was evoking their understanding of His statements as conveying the idea of His affirmation of His divinity. They obviously knew that there was a difference between God saying "You are gods" in Psalm 82:6 and Jesus saying "I and My Father are one." The statement of Jesus clearly meant that He was claiming to be God. Secondly, He refers to Himself as the one "whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world". In other words, He was claiming pre-existence (His birth of the world was not the beginning of His life but the event of His being sent into the world). It also implies His greatness above every other human; for if those to whom the word of God came could be called "gods", then what is wrong the One who was sanctified and sent into the world calling Himself "the Son of God"? (d) Jesus also says that "the Father is in Me, and I in Him", which again provokes them to try to seize Him.

5.Then the Jews said to Him, "You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?" Jesus said to them, "Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM." Then they took up stones to throw at Him; but Jesus hid Himself and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by. (Joh 8:57-59 NKJ) The message here is too clear to miss. Jesus claims in the present tense "I AM" to exist before Abraham (i.e. before Abraham was born). In other words, His existence predates the Father of the Jewish race, Abraham. Thus, though He was the son of Abraham, according to the flesh, His existence is (not was) before Abraham. The I AM (the Name of God as revealed to Moses in Exodus 3:14) also affirms that His existence is trans-temporal, that is infinite and eternal. As such, He is not a creature but the Creator. No surprise, the Jews were infuriated again by this claim and wanted to stone Jesus. For them, no existing human could claim to be greater than Abraham, their father.

Several Scriptural proofs exist for the divinity of Christ. Following are some verses that corroborate the divinity of His Person:

1. Preincarnate
Pre-existence (Jn. 1:1; 1Jo. 1:1; Jn. 17:5).
Participation in creation (Gen. 1:26; Prov. 8:30; Col. 1:15; Jn. 1:3; Col. 1:16; 1Co. 8:6).
Christophanies (Gen.18,19; Hos.1:7; Gen.22,31; Exo. 3:2; Exo. 14:19; Num. 22:22; Judg.6).
2. Divine Nature
Divine Attributes (eternal- Jn. 1:1; Jn. 8:58; Jn. 17:5; omnipresent- Mt. 28:20; Eph. 1:23; omniscient- Jn.16:30;21:17; omnipotent- Jn.5:19; immutable- Heb. 1:12; Heb. 13:8)
Divine Offices (Creator- Joh 1:3; Col 1:16; Sustainer- Col. 1:17; Heb. 1:3)
Divine Prerogatives (forgives sin – Mt. 9:2; Luk. 7:47; raises dead- Jn. 5:25; Jn. 11:25; executes judgement- Jn. 5:22)
Identified with OT YHWH - I AM (Jn. 8:58; Jn. 12:41; Jn. 8:24; Jn. 8:50-58)
Divine Names (Alpha & Omega-Rev. 22:13; I AM –Jn. 8:58; Immanuel- Mt. 1:22; Lord-Mt. 7:21; Son of God- Jn. 10:36; God- Jn. 1:1; 2Pe. 1:1; Tit. 2:13; 1Jo. 5:20)
Divine Relations (Image of God- Col. 1:15; Hb.1:3; One with Father- Jn. 10:30)
Accepts Divine Worship (Mt. 14:33; Mt. 28:9; Jn. 20:28-29). Claims to be God (Jn.8:58; Jn. 10:30; Jn. 17:5 – in such case, He is either liar, lunatic, or the Lord that He claims to be, but never can be regarded as merely a good moral teacher)

Any quick perusal of the Gospels will clearly demonstrate to the unbiased mind that Jesus did claim again and again to be divine.