There lies deep within each one of us an innate, unquenchable desire for significance, a yearning to immortalize ourselves. This desire to eternalize our existence is almost insatiable. Our nature recoils at the prospect of dying and sinking into obscurity; being forgotten and becoming lost into the blurry dust of antiquity. To mitigate this fear we strive to make an indelible impact on history, to ensure that future generations will have the opportunity to share in our legacy. This is what usually drives us to achieve our highest potential in life. We cultivate immortality symbols such as altruistic projects, academic achievements, and ideologies which outlive us particularly when they are preserved in writing, or made manifest in architecture, etc. We attach labels to our names in relation to our accomplishments to distinguish us from the rest of the crowd. We long for our children to keep our memory alive to successive generations. This inherent aversion toward death, and the incessant craving for immortality attests to the fact that we were created for another world. “He has put eternity in our hearts,” (Ecclesiastes 3:11). We are princes and princesses in exile, as it were; constantly being haunted by rumors of our other world.
Death came into this world as an intruder, a consequence of sin, hence our deep revulsion and fear of it. Satan has diligently used this and other diabolical strategies to try and eclipse our significance and spiritual heritage. He has endeavored to emphasize the transience of our physiology so that we can be plunged into a death-terror neurosis. But Jesus has annulled Satan’s plans for mankind. In Him our longing for immortality has been secured. Jesus, not our achievements or accomplishments, becomes the source of our immortal identity and significance. We no longer have to flail about, grasping at the thin straws of worldly accolades to find our worth or significance. In Christ our original luster has been restored.
Of course, this is not say that we should be idle or that we should not desire to excel in our endeavors. After all, “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might…” (Ecclesiastes 9:10) is the counsel from Scripture. Furthermore, in the Parable of the Talents, the individuals who doubled their talents were commended and abundantly rewarded. The point is that we do not draw our worth from what we do, but from who we are as children of God by creation and by redemption through the blood of Jesus Christ. This is what gives us eternal significance.
The wonders of our natural world.
So, does nature influence how we think? According to recent research out of the Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand, connectedness with nature may influence cognitive styles. The research team, led by Carmen Lai Yin Leong, conducted two studies with Singaporean secondary students as participants. In the first study, Leong and her team examined how connectedness with nature correlated with innovative and holistic cognitive styles. The second study explored connectedness with nature and its potential to predict cognitive styles.
The first study consisted of 138 adolescents (46 percent female) with an average age of 15 years. Participants completed an online survey consisting of questionnaires that measured connectedness to nature, nature relatedness, analytic versus holistic thinking preference, and creative style (innovative or adaptive). The results showed statistically significant correlations between connectedness with nature and innovative and holistic thinking. Innovative thinkers are open-minded, whereas, adaptive thinkers, at the opposite end…
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Here is a wonderful opportunity to make a difference in an author’s life.
The centrality of the person of Jesus Christ to the Christian faith is an indubitable fact. Jesus is the foundation upon which the Christian faith stands. He is the pillar that holds up the faith; the epicenter around which every Christian tenet and doctrine revolves. He is the essence of Christianity. Accepting and confessing Him as Lord and Savior is the prerequisite for conversion to Christianity.
However, the post-enlightenment era had reservations about the above proclamations about Jesus. This was a period that saw the rise of what became known as the Life of Jesus movement, which was an attempt by some historians to research and investigate who the historical Jesus really was. These people did not believe the accounts of the Gospel writers whom they suspected to have somewhat embellished the image of the “real” Jesus to deify Him. They were intent on “pulling the mask off” the image of Jesus portrayed by biblical authors, particularly the gospel writers of the New Testament and “exposing” the historical Jesus for who He really was. Some of the individuals who doubted the authenticity and accuracy of biblical testimony include David Friedrich Strauss who rejected the gospel accounts as mere reiterations of Old Testament stories and not facts drawn from the life of the real Jesus. He dismissed the miracles as plain myths. Albert Schweitzer, the renown medical missionary who spent a considerable part of his life in Africa indicated that “Jesus may have been psychologically deranges; hence his eschatological expectation and suicidal course of action” (Craig, 2008, 3rd ed.). Similar sentiments were share by Hermann Samuel Reimarus, Adolf von Harnack etc. The tendency has been to dismiss the testimonies of the gospel writers as mere superfluities of a group of “primitive” fishermen steeped in superstition.
The fact is that Jesus does not need to rely on the authentication of human minds to be who He is for He originated from God the Father and not in a sin-saturated mind. Only God can validate His Son. That He is LORD forever can never be shaken by any form of historical investigation. It is one immovable, unshakable, permanent foundational truth. The Jesus that could be subjected to human dissection never existed. The real Jesus was 100% man and 100% God, simultaneously, and not subject to temporal conditions. How do you dissect a being like that? He creates history and steers the events of the nations to their final destiny. His towering image continues to fascinate not just historians but musicians, theologians, movie directors and authors throughout history. The book that testifies of His life, the Bible, continues to be the world’s best seller, according to Guinness World Records. He is the living Lord and not some concocted abstraction by some historians. How in the world could all eleven disciples opt to risk their lives and be martyred than stop proclaiming Him as the Son of God if this was a hoax? Scripture tells us that 500 more people saw Him after His resurrection. Are all these minds inferior to those of a couple of historians of the 19th and 20th centuries??? This is what Josephus, a non-Christian writer says about Jesus “And when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him [Jesus] to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him; for he appeared to them alive again the third day; as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him. And the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day.” Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus (69-130 AD) confirms the Christian faith as being founded in Jesus the Christ… and so do many other notable historians.
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Craig, William L. (2008, 3rd ed.). Reasonable Faith: Christian Truth and Apologetics, pp. 290. Crossway, Wheaton, IL.
Guinness World Records (2014). Best Selling Book of Non-Fiction. Accessed August 2014. http://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/records-1/best-selling-book-of-non-fiction/
While some societies are striding forward in leveling the socioeconomic, health and political ground for all their populace, others continue to violate human rights.
Did you know that there are people who believe in God but they do not believe in miracles? They are known as Deists. Their attack against the credence of miracles started during the era we know as the Enlightenment or the Age of Reason. These individuals believe that God is the Creator and that He sustains His creation, but that He cannot and has not revealed Himself in any miraculous manner to the world. Their argument is predicated upon their understanding that God has placed within nature an unchangeable order or regularity. They equate nature to a world-machine that runs harmoniously, not susceptible to interruption of any kind. This unchangeability or immutability of nature is what attests to the existence of God, according to Deists. The argument escalates with the claim that if we accept the occurrence of miracles we violate the laws of the orderliness of nature which raises doubts about the existence of God. To acquiesce to this type of reasoning is a highway to relinquishing the foundational tenets of the Christian faith, namely, that Jesus was a product of an immaculate conception, that He was God incarnate and that He arose from the dead on the third day and is alive forevermore.
Christians argue that the laws of nature are not only known to God, they are dependent on Him and are subject to His will. The same God on whom the course of nature depends can interpose into its regularity. That is how omnipotent He is. Nature is subordinate to Him. In His hands nature cannot be said to be invariable as He can cause it to either accelerate or decelerate in its course. God can even reverse the course of nature as was the case in the miraculous raising of Lazarus-four days after death and decomposing. Whenever it is necessary God can make an exception to the course of nature. If He can create life ex nihilo, why would He fail to infuse life into a dead body? By claiming that nature is immutable we run the risk of equating it with God so that a violation of nature’s laws becomes a violation of God’s own nature. This, of course, is absurd. Skepticism against miracles is really insisting on believing in one’s senses and doubting the inspired Word of God because it challenges a priori assumptions. The glory of the Christian faith is that we serve a living Savior who miraculously arose from the dead, never to die again. The gift of eternal life has been extended to those who believe in Him.
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What makes the Christian faith distinctive are its claims that it can be verified by evidence extracted from historical accounts, both biblical and extra-biblical. But a body of thinkers founded on historical relativism has been challenging the veracity and objectivity of historical records and even history itself as a discipline. Historical relativism denies the reliability of historical records including biblical accounts. The protagonists of this worldview have two main objections: a) that it is not possible for anyone to know exactly what took place in the past since it can no longer be directly observed by anyone, having disappeared into the dusty trails of memory; b) that there is no neutrality in historical accounts; that since there is a lack of direct access to past events our perception of them is inevitably molded by our culture, environment, and passage of time. Relativists argue that no one is able to reconstruct historical events without bias and that historical accounts are mere personal interpretations of what is assumed to have happened in the past. Therefore, the reality of past events and their truth and relevance are otiose and should be treated as such. Historical relativists further contend that unlike scientific investigation which has, at hand, the objects of experimentation that allow the scientist to repeatedly test his hypothesis and experiment, the historical objects that are needed for observable experimentation and investigation of past events are no longer in existence for the historian.
Historians and apologists have not taken this intellectual assault lying down, as it were. They have come back swinging with stinging critiques against relativists. Although they concede that past events are no longer observable, they reject the contention that they are merely biased reconstructionists of historical events and that there is no credence in their reports. Historians assert that just as the scientist is dependent on reports, evidence, and findings of previous research by his peers, the historian is also dependent on archaeological reports of his peers and other evidence and reports of eye-witnesses of past events. For example, it would be folly to reject the historicity of the assassination of President James A. Garfield, the 20th president of the United States on July 2, 1881 at the Baltimore and Potomac Railroad Station less than four months into his term as chronicled by eyewitnesses although this is no longer an observable event! History can be evidence-based and this is what gives it credibility. Regarding the relativists’ objection that historians are not able to objectively reconstruct past events due to being shaped by their personalities and environments and culture, historians argue that there is a plethora of commonly-held and indubitable records of historical facts that are not influenced by cultural or personality bias. For example, the Emancipation Proclamation of January 1, 1863, the epidemic of the Spanish flu of 1918, the defeat of Napoleon Bonaparte at Waterloo in Belgium at the hands of the Duke of Wellington on June 18, 1815 are all factual historical events. The objectivity of these historical events has nothing to do with the personalities of the historians who reported them. They are just there…plain facts. The content of the accounts is what matters. In the same manner the accounts of the birth, life, ministry, death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ were chronicled by Gospel writers who were eye-witnesses to these events. This is what gives them credibility. Probably the relativists’ confusion is between historical propaganda and factual historical accounts. The apostle John says that “these things are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God…” John 20:31. He wrote what he witnessed for the sake of future generations just like any other eyewitness of other historical events. The relativists’ attempts to discredit history as a discipline is really a covert attack on the foundational tenets of the Christian faith.
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