March 2, 2012
Tattoos, beards, and consuming blood is mentioned in the Bible in Leviticus 19.26-28. These verses prohibit tattoos, trimming the edges of one’s beard, and consuming blood. Christians often find themselves puzzled as to what we should do with these types of verses. Are we allowed to have tattoos today? Well, that’s important for me since I’m covered in tattoos. Are we allowed to trim the edges of our beards? Should we let them grow out? Have you ever had a medium-rare steak with just a little bit of blood in it? I’ve provided an exegesis of this passage of Scripture in hopes to help others understand how we should understand this passage and provide insight as to how the Old Testament Law applies to us today.
Leviticus is the sequel to Exodus. At the heart of Exodus is the Sinai Covenant, though it is rarely mentioned in Leviticus. Leviticus explains how covenant worship should be conducted (chs. 1-17), how the covenant people should behave (18-25), and then closes with a section of blessings and curses, entirely appropriate to a covenant document (26). The book enshrines the laws by which the religious and civil organization of the primitive theocracy in Canaan was to be regulated.  Leviticus is given in a treaty format consisting of naming the suzerain, giving a historical prologue explaining the background of the treaty, stipulations, a document clause (covenant context), blessings and curses, and the divine witness[es].
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February 1, 2012
The young earth creationist interpretation is internally inconsistent; it just doesn’t make sense. Both earth and life exist before the sun, moon, and stars. This leaves a person to wonder where heat, light, gravity, and earth’s rotation and orbital features came from prior to the fourth creation day. Let’s look at the sixth day. How in the world did Adam do so much? Here’s a list of the events of day six:
- God creates the various living creatures along with wild animals and animals that become domesticated [nephesh/soulish creatures] (Genesis 1:24-25).
- God creates Adam in the divine image (Genesis 1:26-27; 2:7).
- God gives Adam a mandate of dominion over creation (Genesis 1:28).
- God makes the plants available as a food source for man (Genesis 1:29-30).
- God plants a garden and puts the man in it (Genesis 2:8).
- God gives Adam instruction concerning obedience to God’s specific commands (Genesis 2:9, 16-17).
- God commissions Adam to cultivate the garden (Genesis 2:15).
- God commissions Adam to name or classify the animals (Genesis 2:19-20).
- God declares Adam’s need for a suitable helper (Gen. 2:18, 20).
- God induces sleep and performs surgery on Adam (Genesis 2:21).
- God creates Eve (Genesis 2:22).
- God ordains that Adam and Eve enter into a divinely constituted marriage relationship (Genesis 2:23-25).
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February 1, 2012
To answer the question, “Is it surprising that scientific evidence supports a young earth perspective?” I would respond saying that I would almost consider this a loaded question. I don’t think I can find no evidence for a young earth; however, I find the record of nature to support the proposition that the universe is old (billions of years) by overwhelming evidence. There is hardly any evidence for a young earth, if indeed there is any at all.
Before getting to the geologic record of nature one needs to address the cosmological record of nature (the earth cannot be older than the universe). I initially gained my interest in cosmology (and I must say I really enjoy discussing cosmology) was the Kalam cosmological argument, which is an apologetic argument for a beginning of the universe. I’ll put aside the mathematical and philosophical arguments for a beginning of the universe for that would be off topic and I’ll stick with the scientific evidence. If one were to analyze an extrapolation of space and time then that initial singularity for the universe would take us back 13.73 GYA (giga, billion years ago). There are many models of the universe such as the steady state, oscillating, quantum fluctuation, and other string theory models that coincide with former. The most prominent model with the most philosophical, mathematical, and scientific evidence is the standard model (due to cosmic inflation, the big bang). Prominent cosmologist Paul Davies comments,
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December 29, 2011
Norman Geisler has recently released a new addition to his “Licona Letters” condemning Mike Licona. Geisler is very emphatic that there be a differentiation between inerrancy and interpretation. Under this Geislerian understanding of inerrancy, interpretation and inerrancy simply have a formal distinction but are essentially conflated.
[Such] a disjunction of interpretation from inerrancy as Licona makes is contrary to the nature of truth itself…. So, a formal distinction between interpretation and inerrancy does not mean there is an actual separation of the two.
Additionally, Geisler argues contra Licona that the grammatico-historical hermeneutic is neutral. Geisler argues:
[The grammatico-historical] method does not approach the Bible with a historically neutral stance. After all, it is not called the “literal” method for nothing. It assumes there is a sensus literalis (literal sense) to Scripture. In short, it assumes that a text should be taken literally unless there are good grounds in the text and/or in the context to take it otherwise. As a matter of fact, we cannot even know a non-literal (e.g., allegorical or poetic) sense unless we know what is literally true. So, when Jesus said, “I am the vine” this should not be taken literally because we know what a literal vine is, and we know that Jesus is not one. Further, the literal [grammatico-historical] method does not reject the use of figures of speech or even symbolic language. It only insists that the symbols have a literal referent. For example, John speaks of literal angels as “stars” (Rev. 1:20) and a literal Satan as a “red dragon” (Rev. 12:3). However, the literal [grammatico-historical] method does not allow one to take a literal historical persons (like Adam) or events (like a resurrection) as not literal history.
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December 26, 2011
I have been reviewing, critiquing, and commenting on the controversy between Norman Geisler and Mike Licona for a few months now and I haven’t commented on it for a while hoping that all of this would soon pass. With much dismay I was terribly wrong and it appears to have gotten much worse. There are several happenings I would like to reveal and discuss some new critiques of the situation. For my previous posts please see:
My Support and Endorsement of Mike Licona
The Disputatio–A Response to Norman Geisler in Defense of Mike Licona
In Promptu Ponere–A Response to Norm Geisler’s Petition Against Mike Licona
A Response to Tim Rogers and the Geisler Camp
Caveo Cavi Cautum–A Second Look at Geisler’s Petition Against Licona
Tekton’s Geisler Carol Cartoon
Tekton Ticker recently released a satirical version of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol depicting Licona as Bob Crachit and Geisler as Scrooge adopting a plot driven towards this controversy over inerrancy rather than Scrooge’s distain for Christmas. I’m not going to offer much critique on this simply because this shouldn’t have warranted the response from an SES alumnus as it did. You can see Tekton’s response here. However, I cannot ignore its absurd response completely but here are the six reasons why Tekton should/would be brought before the school for review:
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December 13, 2011
The following is a guest blog post by Mike Burnette. Mike “MoonDog” Burnette is a newly retired U.S. Air Force veteran who has worked 30 years for American Forces Radio & Television and commercial radio stations. Mike has a Bachelor’s in Telecommunications from Liberty University and an M.A. in Public Administration from Bowie State University. He is now a media consultant and creator of “MoonDog’s Media House.” He has proven success increasing the attractiveness and effectiveness of communication, awareness, understanding, participation, and production of key themes and messages for television, radio, and social media. You can view his website at moondogsmediahouse.com.
We now live in an over-communicated global society where, as the great philosopher Harry Nilsson said, “Everybody is talking, but I don’t hear a word they’re saying.” Language has become so abstracted in popular culture that quite often our words have no logical relationship with objective meaning or purpose. In our conversations we give nearly no thought to this deeper meaning or purpose. Our communication today is so riddled with self-stylized, relativistic blathering that we have no idea what we’re hearing. Francis Schaffer warned us of this in his book, The God Who Is There; however, most of us continue to speak as though the listener should understand our meaning—and we should understand theirs–that’s the danger!
Communication expressed by a person, relative to their own self-created truths is an unfounded bridge to relativism–in their attempt to say something of objective meaning–they’ve said absolutely nothing.
I believe there is objective meaning and purpose founded in God’s natural and special revelation. It is in God’s Word that we discover objective truths–that there is one God, the world was created, and that it’s wrong to lie, steal, kill, etc. It is from that foundation we can communicate that “this is good” or “this is bad” and “I know what you mean.” All other serious attempts for a universal communication may be, at times, illuminating, but ultimately is a bridge to nowhere.
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November 26, 2011
I have to give credit to someone else for the post. I never went back through Norm Geisler’s petition to check if his reference to the ICBI statement was accurate. I guess most of us simply took him to be honest and quoted it accurately. To much disappointment it appears that we have been mistaken and Geisler conveniently left out important statements from the ICBI statement. Below is the comparison between the ICBI statement and Geisler’s use of it. For complete transparency, please view the ICBI document here. (What appears in black is taken from the ICBI statement, what appears in red is Geisler’s use of the statement, and what appears in blue is a note of comment).
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November 25, 2011
I was quite encouraged when someone forwarded an email to me containing this blog post by Pastor Tim Rogers. I’ve recently been defending Mike Licona along with several other scholars, i.e. Paul Copan, William Lane Craig, Gary Habermas, et al. from unwarranted accusations from Norman Geisler. (You can see my posts listed at the end of this response). The reason why I was encouraged was because it seemed that the Geisler camp wasn’t really listening or paying attention to our responses and arguments (contra Geisler’s refusal to read footnotes). To much disappointment, my enthusiasm was quickly squandered when I read the response offered by Pastor Rogers. You can view his response on his website pastortimrogers.com.
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