Sunday, October 18, 2015

Oh, of Course it Had to Be Women

One interesting tidbit about the resurrection is that in all four gospels, it was women who discovered the empty tomb of Jesus. I bring this up for a similar reason as my blood post. If someone were to make up this story, would they use women to discover the most important part of the entire Bible?

No, no they wouldn't. And yet Matthew 28, Mark 16, Luke 24, and John 20 all write that some group of women was involved in the discovery of the tomb. John says Mary Magdalene, Mark says Mary/Mary/Salome, Luke says a group of women, and Matthew says Mary/Mary. Is that a contradiction? No. It has to do with who wrote what how, who told who which, and who went where why. Okay.

Now, in 2015, the courts basically trust the testimony of either gender.

Was that the case in 33 A.D. (or in the following half-century when the gospels were written)?

No, no it wasn't.

What a woman witnessed did not matter in legal issues. Men dealt with law, and women's role was largely within the house (although they were greatly respected as keepers of the home and of religious life). They were not even approached by respectable Jewish men in the street.

So, if someone were to fake a resurrection story, would they say that women discovered an empty tomb? No. That would be like me saying I saw a yellow-bellied sapsucker floating above a coniferous pine tree during my daily constitutional --- I have no idea what a yellow-bellied sapsucker looks like, or if it's even real, and I certainly don't know if pine trees are coniferous, and I definitely don't know if a yellow-bellied sapsucker would be caught dead floating above a coniferous pine. Probably, if it was shot.

Anyways, they weren't trusted. If I were to make up a story about a resurrection, I'd say, "The esteemed doctor, who also worked as a detective and had the eyesight of a hawk, witnessed the empty tomb, recorded the scene in great detail on the spot, and carefully delivered the message to me, making sure there was no error." I definitely wouldn't say, "Yeah, a couple of women told me that Jesus came back to life." I would only say that if I was absolutely sure they were speaking the truth and I was willing to die for the heresy.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Hey, Speaking of Blood

Hey, if you want, you can play the song of the day while reading the post! That way its not like, "Aww... I just read this, now he wants me to listen a song? Man..."

Let's talk about blood!

Okay, here's a word I'm sure you've all heard of. I mean, its practically common knowledge at this point. Hematidrosis. You know that one, right?

Hematidrosis is an extremely rare medical condition --- in fact, spell-check is currently telling me it's not a word. It is, though (check http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8982961) if you don't believe me.

It is an extremely rare condition that is characterized by sweating blood, or sweat tinged with red blood cells. It is caused by acute fear and intense mental contemplation. The kind of things someone may feel if they were, say, going to be ripped apart with a whip then hung on a cross.

Luke 22:44 takes place on the Mount of Olives, just before the betrayal, and Jesus is praying earnestly, because he knows what is about to take place. It reads: "And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground."

This detail is only found in Luke. I suspect this is because Luke was a physician, and he would have been particularly intrigued by this phenomenon. There is almost no chance whatsoever than he would have seen this happen before; the page I linked above says "Hematidrosis is an extremely rare clinical phenomenon with only few instances reported to have occurred within the twentieth century." The likelihood that someone would have made up that detail is minute; it would have been regarded as ridiculous... unless someone actually saw it happen.

Now, more blood! (Well, this time the water is important.)

Okay, lets say I pierce the side of a dead guy with a spear. What kind of things do you expect to come out.

Blood, maybe some guts, right? If you're in the medical field, you may know more, but hey, blood and guts sounds about right. If I were to make up a story about a guy getting stabbed in the side after he was dead, I'd say blood and guts spewed out.

And yet, in John 19:34, he writes, "Instead [of breaking his legs], one of the soldiers pierced Jesus' side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water." Now, this is not as rare as hematidrosis, but it isn't something that you would just make up. John certainly wouldn't have had extensive knowledge about why stabbing a dead guy with a spear would bring out blood and water.

(side note: another reason this passage is important is because it fulfills a prophecy written hundreds of years earlier, one that Jesus could not possibly have control of)

The water is because of a thing called plueral effusion (or possibly pericardial effusion). Plueral effusion is a build-up of fluid around the lungs, and pericardial effusion is a build up of fluid around the heart. This build up can be caused by several different factors present leading up to Jesus' death (you can google them if you wish, this is getting a bit long for my taste). Basically, fluid can build up around the lungs and heart under certain conditions.

So fluid built up around Jesus' lungs and heart, and then the soldier pierced his side (likely in the heart area). The fluid would have looked like water to the average observer, and it would have been accompanied by blood from the heart. And so, the only reason someone would write "blood and water" would be if they actually saw blood and water flow out of Jesus' side.

Now, to the overall point of this post. These little details are just two of the details that can help prove that what is attested to in the Gospels was actually witnessed, and that the authors did not make up the things they wrote about Jesus' life. It helps prove that the Gospels are an eyewitness account, and not, as some would say, the product of rumor-mongering and storytelling.

WOOHOO SCIENCE!

Song of the Day: At the Cross (Love Ran Red) by Chris Tomlin




Sunday, October 11, 2015

Did Jesus Claim to be God?

Some people pose the idea that "Jesus never claimed to be God."
Yeah, and I never claimed my name was Ryken.

Check out John 10:28-33, from BibleGateway.com

28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all[c];no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”
31 Again his Jewish opponents picked up stones to stone him, 32 but Jesus said to them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?”
33 “We are not stoning you for any good work,” they replied, “but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.”
1st, Jesus claims to give eternal life. Then, He says that God is His father. THEN He goes so far as to say, "I and the Father are one." He's outright saying He is one with God. And the Pharisees (with whom he is speaking) clearly acknowledge this.
Jesus' claims to be divine were the reason He was crucified. He was killed for claiming that He was the Son of God.
"I am the way, the truth, and the life."
"I am the vine"
"I am the gate"
"I am the the light of the world"
"Before Abraham was born, I am"
In 1st century Jewish culture, the only people who would say things like that are people who would be insane enough to be killed for blasphemy in order to get some attention, those that are actually mentally deluded, or those that are actually God. There was no misconception about what Jesus was claiming to be. Your average rabbi didn't go around saying, "Before Abraham was born, I am". That's a sign of either lunacy or Lordship.

Song of the Day: This Is What You Do - Bethel Music

Friday, October 9, 2015

The Space/Time Bubble

Ok, so this is basically just a mental activity for me. It probably won't make sense to you, and it certainly isn't supposed to be absolute truth. That's ok.

If you want to go ahead and read this nonsense anyways, that's great!

So here's the thing. I feel like people are really bad at explaining how God is "outside of time". And that makes sense. It's like Donald Miller says in Blue Like Jazz: "I can no more understand the totality of God than the pancake I made for breakfast understands the complexity of me".

Here's how I put it.

Space and time are a bubble. So you have this bubble, which is all of the universe, as well as all of the events in the universe (ok, I already lost myself). It's all one big bubbly mess. Picture a bubble floating through the air --- that's space and time. Not just space, but space and time. At one end of the bubble, you have the Andromeda galaxy just beginning to form, while in the middle, I'm writing this blog.

God is outside of this bubble, looking in, seeing all that happens at once, as the bubble floats around. Yet He is the bubble, and is inside the bubble, directly affecting the events within.

If He acts upon the bubble, the effects will be felt at a certain point in space and time. Yet to Him, that space/time is just a bubble, and He can act on any part of it that He wishes. He is bound bound by the restrictions that bind those inside the bubble.

He can prod at one end of the bubble, causing Isaiah to prophesy about Jesus, while simultaneously watching me doing my thing down at the bottom left of the bubble. We inside the bubble perceives these actions happen at a specific time in the history of our bubble, but God operates outside of that time.

You get what I'm saying? No? Me neither. Ah well.

There's not really a greater 'message' in this post, I'm just doing my best to explain how I believe God interacts with space and time.

Also, remember this is all my random thoughts. It's most definitely not the way God views the situation, it's just a way for me to understand it, and maybe hopefully explain it a bit to you.

TL;DR

Space/time is a bubble. God is around the bubble, is the bubble, is within the bubble, and acts upon the bubble as He desires.

DOUBLE SONG OF THE DAY WOOHOO CAUSE I FORGOT TO PUT ONE ON "SMART TALK" YEAAAAAAAH!!!! DOUBLE THE SONGS!!!

First: Come as You Are, by David Crowder

Secondly, a song that is not intended for congregational worship, but one that is much more musically intricate: When Death Dies, by Gungor