Tag Archives: keith mathison

Legal Schizophrenia

If we found on mars what we find in the womb, there would be no doubt life was discovered. – Garrett Kell

The inconvenient truth to Atheism is David Attenborough’s conclusion: Humans are [a] plague on Earth.

Let that sink in

The law of (un)intended consequences of this kind of thinking says old people should hurry up and die (Taro Aso, Japan’s deputy prime minister), not to mention Roe v. Wade.

Humans are viewed as enhanced animals

Humans are not viewed as made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-27; Genesis 9:6). Man as enhanced animals precludes human rights simply because the survival of the fittest rules, and if the survival of weak people relies on large numbers, then the largest group will overcome the weak who are alone and outcast. No one wants to admit this, of course, but the reality is, no one has a right to life if others deem them inferior and unwanted.

We are plagued with Societal Schizophrenia

Google defines Schizophrenia “(in general use) as a mentality or approach characterized by inconsistent or contradictory elements.”

Abortion is Legal Schizophrenia

John Piper explains,

It is illegal to take the life of the unborn if the mother wants the baby, but it is legal to take the life of the unborn if she doesn’t. In the first case the law treats the fetus as a human with rights; in the second case the law treats the fetus as non-human with no rights. Humanness is defined by the desire of the strong. Might makes right. We reject this right to define personhood in the case of Nazi anti-Semitism, Confederate race-based slavery, and Soviet Gulags. When we define the humanness of the unborn by the will of the powerful we know what we are doing.

The website Case for Life nails the whole point of this discussion: What is the unborn? They write, “If the unborn are not human, no justification for elective abortion is necessary. But if the unborn are human, no justification for elective abortion is adequate.”

Science

Keith Mathison makes an important point: “Every embryology textbook states that a new genetically distinct human being begins its life at conception.”

C. Ward Kischer, Ph.D., expresses this point in more detail in his article When does human life begin? The final answer (HT),

Every human embryologist and every major textbook of Human Embryology states that fertilization marks the beginning of the life of the new individual human being. The reason why this is true is the following:

From the moment when the sperm makes contact with the oocyte, under conditions we have come to understand and describe as normal, all subsequent development to birth of a living newborn is a fait accompli. That is to say, after that initial contact of spermatozoon and oocyte there is no subsequent moment or stage which is held in arbitration or abeyance by the mother, or the embryo or fetus. Nor is a second contribution, a signal or trigger, needed from the male in order to continue and complete development to birth. Human development is a continuum in which so-called stages overlap and blend one into another. Indeed, all of life is contained within a time continuum. Thus, the beginning of a new life is exacted by the beginning of fertilization, the reproductive event which is the essence of life.

Herein lies the importance of distinguishing between the science of developmental biology and the science of Human Embryology. Within the science of Human Embryology, the continuum of life is more fully appreciated. The fact that development and developmental principles do not cease with birth becomes more fully realized. So, the continuum of human development does not cease until death, whenever that may occur, in utero or at 100 years of age.

In other words, We know what an apple really is.

 

Updated 6/17/2016

Surprise! Life Does Begin at Conception:

It seems that sometimes, when it serves the story, the fact that life begins at conception is perfectly clear to both scientists and the media. Sarah Knapton, Science Editor at the UK Telegraph, writes in an article titled “Bright Flash of Light Marks Incredible Moment Life Begins When Sperm Meets Egg”:

Human life begins in bright flash of light as a sperm meets an egg, scientists have shown for the first time, after capturing the astonishing ‘fireworks’ on film.

An explosion of tiny sparks erupts from the egg at the exact moment of conception.

Scientists had seen the phenomenon occur in other animals but it is the first time is has been also shown to happen in humans.

Update: 1/23/2017

The Gospel Coalition:

Here we have the core of the pro-choice argument: You are not a human person if I don’t want you to be. And I have the power to make it so.

The pro-choice regime has nothing deeper, nothing more rational, nothing more humane. That’s the whole argument. I don’t want you to be a person.

https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/why-abortion-makes-sense

 

The Gospel Coalition:

How did Psalm 102 change Rosaria Butterfield‘s mind about abortion?

“Here was the line of my undoing: ‘And peoples yet uncreated shall praise and magnify the LORD’ (Ps. 102:18). I got it: abortion is not a right or an entitlement. Abortion steals praise from God by denying image-bearers the opportunity to live through and for him. Abortion despises and attacks and destroys the image of God.”

https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/i-thought-planned-parenthood-protected-family-values

 

Crossway:

https://www.crossway.org/blog/2016/05/10-things-you-should-know-about-abortion/

 

National Review:

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/430152/abortion-roe-v-wade-unborn-children-women-feminism-march-life

 

 

Do The Promises Made To The Nation of Israel Still Stand?

The heart of all theology revolves around this question,

“Do the promises made to the Nation of Israel still stand?”

As my friend, Bobby Grow expresses it,

“I would say yes, … But qualified in a way that sees Jesus as the ground and fulfillment of what it means to be Israel. The Nation of Israel has the same purpose, in Christ (cf. Eph. 2:11ff) as every other nation. The promises made to Israel are indeed irrevocable (cf. Rom. 11:29), but Israel was always intended to be understood through her ground and purpose and fulfillment, ‘in Christ’. This is the key, that is, Christ is the key to sourcing an understanding of a properly constructed ‘literal’ method of biblical interpretation. The New Testament authors thought so, and thus; so should we. … this is where this whole debate really dwells. That is, how it is that we conceive of our philosophies of biblical interpretation?”

Guy Davies shares this about the Gospel of Matthew:

“Time and time again, the First Gospel bears witness to the fact that Jesus is the true Israel. He is the seed of Abraham and David, Matthew 1:1-17. The exodus is reenacted when he returns from Egypt to the Promised Land, Matthew 2:13-15. His temptation for forty days in the wilderness echoes Israel’s temptations during the forty wilderness years, Matthew 4:1-11. Jesus is the Servant of the Lord who brings light and salvation to the nations in a way that Israel failed to do, Matthew 12:18-21 cf. Isaiah 42:1-4, 18-20. In the Gospel According to Matthew, Jesus recapitulates Israel’s history and as he does so, fulfils Israel’s destiny.”

Others have seen a similar undercurrent of meaning in the Gospel of Matthew. Kim Riddlebarger explains it this way:

First, in Matthew 12:15-21, for example, when Jesus withdrew from the crowds who had followed him, Matthew reports that this event fulfilled what had been spoken in Isaiah the prophet. This event serves to demonstrate that Jesus is the true servant of the Lord.

Second, as Jesus cast out demons and healed the sick, Matthew saw in this the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecies of a suffering servant who would take upon himself our infirmities and carry our diseases (Matthew 8:17 with Isaiah 53:4).

Third, in Luke’s gospel, Luke speaks of both Israel (cf. Luke 1:54) and David as the servant of God (Luke 1:69). Yet in Acts, Luke pointedly speaks of Jesus as the servant of God (Acts 3:13). After his crucifixion, God raised Jesus from the dead so that people everywhere might be called to repentance (3:26).

Fourth, when the Ethiopian eunuch hears a reading from Isaiah 53:7-8 and asks Philip about whom this prophecy refers, Luke tells us that Philip informed the Ethiopian that this passage does indeed refer to Jesus (Acts 8:34-35).

But this is not all that is in view here. In Hosea 11:1, Hosea predicted a time when “Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son.” But in Matthew 2:15, the evangelist tells us that Hosea’s prophecy was fulfilled when his parents took Jesus to Egypt to protect him from Herod’s “slaughter of the innocents” (Matthew 2:3-18). Yet, after Herod had died, God called Jesus and his family to return to Nazareth. Matthew takes a passage from Hosea, which clearly refers to Israel, and tells his reader that this passage is now fulfilled in Jesus Christ! He does this to prove to his largely Jewish audience that Jesus is the servant of the Lord, foretold throughout the Old Testament (especially Isaiah).

By now it should be clear that according to many New Testament writers, Jesus is the true servant, the true son and the true Israel of God. Recall too that it was Isaiah who spoke of Israel and the descendants of Abraham as the people of God. It as through the seed of Abraham that the nations of the earth would be blessed.

Therefore, even as Jesus is the true Israel, he is the true seed of Abraham. This is the point that Paul is making in Galatians 3:7-8, when he says “know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham. And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, `In you shall all the nations be blessed.’”

Paul’s words here, are important for several reasons. First, Paul tells us that Abraham believed the very same gospel that he preached to the Gentile Galatians. There has only been one plan of salvation and one gospel from the very beginning. This, of course, raises very serious questions about the dispensational notion of “clearly distinct” redemptive purposes for national Israel and the Gentiles, as is evident when Paul goes on to say in Galatians 3:29, that “if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.”

Second, the one gospel promise from the very beginning of redemptive history is that the true children of Abraham, whether they be Jew or Gentile, are heirs of the promise, if they belong to Jesus Christ, the true seed of Abraham. But as Robert Strimple points out, an important word of clarification is certainly in order. “We [amillennarians] say: `Yes, the nation of Israel was the people of God in the old covenant. Now in the new covenant the believing church is the people of God.’ And thus we quickly run past (or we miss the blessed point entirely) the fact that we Christians are the Israel of God, Abraham’s seed, and the heirs to the promises, only because by faith, we are united to him who alone is the true Israel, Abraham’s one seed.” (See Strimple, “Amillennialism,” in Bock, ed., Three Views of the Millennium and Beyond, 89).

The ramifications for this upon one’s millennial view should now be obvious. If Jesus is the true Israel of God, and if the New Testament writers apply to Jesus those Old Testament prophecies referring to Israel as God’s son or servant, then what remains of the dispensationalist’s case that these prophecies remain yet to be fulfilled in a future millennium? They vanish in Jesus Christ, who has fulfilled them!

Martin Downes concludes his thoughts on Matthew 2:

“He [Matthew] is saying that Jesus, God’s Son, is Israel, the true Israel. And that Jesus will retrace Israel’s steps. They went down to Egypt and so will He. They were tested in the wilderness and so will He be (Matt. 4:1-11). But where the nation of Israel failed, Jesus the true Israel, the obedient Son, will prevail. This is the biblical background to the doctrine of the active obedience of Christ. He was born under the law to redeem those who were under the law. Whereas Adam and Israel were law-breakers, Christ was the true law-keeper and this not for His own sake but for ours.”

Read all of Downes’ The Great Escape: Matthew 2 as the Remake of a Classic Story.

Justin Taylor shares a good, concise summary of the Israel/remnant theme from a New Testament perspective in Jesus as the New Israel:

“The New Testament authors understood Jesus to be the culmination of the Old Testament. He is the Last Adam, true Israel, the suffering servant, the son of David, the faithful remnant, the ultimate prophet, the reigning king, the final priest.

“. . . Jesus had become a remnant of one. He was the embodiment of faithful Israel, the truly righteous and suffering servant.

Unlike the remnant of the restoration period, he committed no sin (Isa. 53:9; 1 Pet. 2:22).

As the embodiment of the faithful remnant, he would undergo divine judgment for sin (on the cross), endure an exile (three days forsaken by God in the grave), and experience a restoration (resurrection) to life as the foundation of a new Israel, inheriting the promises of God afresh.

As the remnant restored to life, he becomes the focus of the hopes for the continued existence of the people of God in a new kingdom, a new Israel of Jew and Gentile alike.

As the nucleus of a renewed Israel, Christ summons the “little flock” that will receive the kingdom (Dan. 7:22, 27; Luke 12:32) and appoints judges for the twelve tribes of Israel in the new age (Matt. 19:28; Luke 22:30).

The church is viewed as the Israel of that new age (Gal. 6:16), the twelve tribes (James 1:1), “a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession” (Ex. 19:6; 1 Pet. 2:9).

A sinful nation, Israel could not suffer vicariously to atone for the sins of the world. The sinfulness of the nation made it unacceptable for this role, just as flaws would disqualify any other offering. Only a truly righteous servant could bear this awful load.”

—Tremper Longman III and Raymond B. Dillard, “Isaiah,” An Introduction to the Old Testament, 2d ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2006), 315.

The two best books I’ve read on this fulfillment theme are Hans LaRondelle’s The Israel of God in Prophecy: Principles of Prophetic Interpretation and David Holwerda’s Jesus and Israel: One Covenant or Two? (Keith Mathison has a good review of Holwerda’s volume here.)

Jesus is the true Israel, and the church becomes the Israel of God as it unites to True Israel. The same is true for ethnic Israel, whom God has not abandoned. But their only hope is to be united with Jesus, the ultimate suffering servant.”

RT France explains:

“Matthew also seems to present this idea that Jesus himself is the true Israel. Perhaps it is already implicit in his presentation of Jesus as ‘King of the Jews’, but it comes to more obvious expression in some of the typological references to the Old Testament. The use of Hosea 11:1 in 2:15 makes sense only if Jesus, as God’s son, is equated with Israel as ‘God’s son’. The same typology underlies the references to Deuteronomy 6-8 in the account of Jesus’testing in the wilderness (4:1-11). The parable which most clearly speaks of the failure and replacement of Israel (21:33-43 concludes with Jesus’ reference to Psalm 118:22, a passage about Israel’s unexpected vindication but now transferred to Jesus in his vindication over against Israel’s rebellion.

In discussing Matthew’s typology above we noted his remarkable concentration in chapter 12 of Jesus’ sayings about ‘a greater than the temple/Jonah/Solomon’, the effect of which is to place Jesus as the ‘fulfillment’ of the main pillars of the institutional life of Old Testament Israel. The implication is that the focus of the true Israel is not now in the cult, the prophet, or the king, but in Jesus.

But the theme of Jesus as the true Israel is not the dominant one in the Gospel. For the result of Jesus’ ministry was the creation of a community of those who responded to his message. There is evidence in Matthew that it was not only in Jesus himself, but also in this disciple group, in distinction from unbelieving Israel, that the true people of God was now to be found.

Jesus seems to have thought of them as a sort of ‘righteous remnant’ of Israel, such as the prophets often spoke of. Thus in 13:10-17 he speaks of the majority of his hearers in words taken from Isaiah’s call to preach to unresponsive Israel, but contrasts them with his disciples, to whom the privilege of understanding God’s secrets has been given. They are the ‘meek’ who in the Psalms represent God’s true servants (5:5). They are called to fulfill the special calling of Israel to be holy, as God is holy (see on 5:48). They are the true flock of God as described in Zechariah (26:31). They will constitute Jesus’ ekklesia, a prominent Old Testament word for the congregation of God’s people (16:18).

The focus of Israel’s national life in the Old Testament had been the covenant made at Sinai, but now Jesus’ blood will seal a new covenant such as Jeremiah had predicted (26:28); and a new covenant means a new basis of existence for the people of God. In speaking of the temple destroyed and rebuilt (see on 26:61, and cf. the implications of the saying of 12:6 and the repudiation of existing temple worship in 21:12-13) Jesus looked forward to a new basis of worship for the true people of God, and one which envisaged the literal destruction of the old order (24:2).

Such pointers towards a new people of God are given further substance by Jesus’ deliberate choice of twelve disciples as the leadership of his new community, and the implication is spelt out in 19:28, which envisages them sitting ‘on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel’.

Matthew records no explicit description of the disciples as ‘Israel’, ‘the true Israel’ or the like, but the indications listed above point unmistakably towards the idea, as do a number of passages where Old Testament prophecies relating to Israel are applied to the disciples of Jesus (8:11;24:31).

Through its rejection of God’s final appeal the nation as such has forfeited its claim to be the people of God. Jesus now represents all that Israel should have been, and in those who belong to him the purposes of God for Israel find their fulfillment.”

“Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ” Colossians 2:16-17.

This is why the promises made to the nation of Israel still stand. Jesus (literally) fulfills the promises and is the True Israel. And any ethnic Israelite (or gentile) who believes in Jesus takes part as joint heirs of Christ.

“Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands—remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit” Ephesians 2:11-22.