Troubleshooting Truth – Step 5 Keep Common Items In Stock

When I was working in the field as a service electrician, I hated going to the supply house. If I was on a job site, I wanted to finish and move onto the next job. How did I prevent a trip to the supply house? I kept common times in stock. From receptacles to switches and ballasts, I knew what items I used on a regular basis and I kept them in stock. This helped me to avoid the supply house and be more productive. If I found a switch that needed replacing, for example, I had one on my truck that I could quickly use to remedy the situation. If our employees would only learn this lesson, my job would be a lot easier.

Let’s consider the claims of Christianity. Are there any “common items” we have “in stock” that we can use? Has God built into us anything that we can readily access in the pursuit of truth? I believe there are. Let’s look at three supplies God had placed on our shelf.

Logic.

The first item we find in our stock is logic. Merriam-Webster defines logic as “the science of the formal principles of reasoning.” We all use various forms of logic every day without even thinking about it. It is just built into us. It can be a complex topic and universities offer degrees in logic, so we’ll just cover one of it’s laws. The law of non contradiction is a law of logic that we all intuitively know is true. It says that that contradictory propositions cannot both be true in the same sense at the same time. It’s like trying to imagine a square circle or a married bachelor. They cannot logically exist together. We all know this law is true without even thinking about it, and to deny it is to affirm it. Think about that for a minute!

But where did this law come from? Logic concludes that every law must have a law-giver. Even if no humans existed in the universe, logic would still exist. But, this system of reasoning must be based in a mind. It is based in the ultimate mind. It comes from the mind of God.

The following quote from C. S. Lewis sums this up nicely:

“Supposing there was no intelligence behind the universe, no creative mind. In that case, nobody designed my brain for the purpose of thinking. It is merely that when the atoms inside my skull happen, for physical or chemical reasons, to arrange themselves in a certain way, this gives me, as a by-product, the sensation I call thought. But, if so, how can I trust my own thinking to be true? It’s like upsetting a milk jug and hoping that the way it splashes itself will give you a map of London. But if I can’t trust my own thinking, of course I can’t trust the arguments leading to Atheism, and therefore have no reason to be an Atheist, or anything else. Unless I believe in God, I cannot believe in thought: so I can never use thought to disbelieve in God.”

Morality.

Murder. Cowardice. Betrayal. Lying. These are things that are universally recognized as wrong. The moral argument for God says:

1. If God does not exist, objective moral values do not exist.

2. Objective moral values do exist.

3. Therefore, God exists.

Basically, if one thing is objectively wrong, then God exists. Deep down inside, we all know that this is true. It is even confirmed to be the case in the Bible. Romans 2:14-15 says “14 For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves:

15 Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;)” God has written the moral law on each of our hearts.

My favorite quote on morality also comes from the great C. S. Lewis. He famously said:

“My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of just and unjust? A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line. What was I comparing this universe with when I called it unjust?”

Nature.

Psalm 19:1-3 says “1 The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.

2 Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge.

3 There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard.”

From biology to cosmology, the fingerprint of God is clearly seen. Many try to deny this but the Bible says that it is clearly seen and that we are all without excuse. The following are a couple of the arguments for God that we see in nature:

A. The Kalam Cosmological argument. It says:

1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause of its beginning.

2. The universe began to exist.

3. Therefore, the universe has a cause of its beginning.

The cause of the universe must be timeless, spaceless, immaterial, powerful, personal, and intelligent. This is a pretty good description of God. And, coupled with the other arguments we’ve discussed in previous posts, the Christian God appears to fit the bill.

B. The Fine Tuning Argument

This argument is summed up nicely in William Lane Craig’s book “On Guard.” He writes:

“1. The universe is fine-tuned for life.

2. Fine-tuning can potentially be explained by chance, necessity or design.

3. Not by chance or necessity.

4. Therefore, the fine-tuning of the universe is the result of design.

Why not chance?

The odds are literally astronomically high. According to Robert Penrose, an atheist, the odds are one part in 10^10^123. Even if you wrote a 0 on every proton and neutron in the entire universe you would not be able to write this number down! To persist in asserting chance as a legitimate explanation against overwhelming odds like this is irrational. To do so would completely undermine statistics and any other rational predictions (e.g., weather forecasting, stock projections, etc.).

Why not necessity?

Because the constants are independent of the laws of nature and independent of one another. And because there are no intrinsic reasons to, say, why the weak force is the strength it is. These are contingent (could have been otherwise) values. If all of these constants and laws are explainable in terms of some unified super-theory, this simply pushes back the problem one level: why is the unified super-theory so tightly and elegantly composed so as to produce each of these constants and laws so as to produce life?

This leaves design as the only viable explanation for the fine-tuning of the universe”

The other day I was working on a home standby generator at a customer’s house. It had failed to start during a power outage. A coworker of mine had diagnosed the problem as a bad starter, so we ordered the starter and I had returned to replace it. After replacing it, it still failed to start. I was puzzled. Upon further investigation, I found that it had a bad start relay switch. I was 45 minutes away from a supply house so I said a quick prayer that I would have something on my truck that could solve the problem. I looked through my stock and found a relay that worked perfectly. I was thankful it was in my stock.

As we investigate the truth of Christianity, we can also be thankful that God placed the common items of logic, morality, and nature in our stock.

Assessing the Situation

It was a warm Friday afternoon and I was just finishing a long day at work. I was working at the local Ford dealership when I saw the clouds rolling in. I could tell by the way they looked that a bad storm was rolling in. The high clouds were moving in a different direction than the lower clouds. We took cover as the storm hit.

Shortly after the storms passed, my boss was on the phone with our local power company. He was always quick to volunteer our services after a bad storm. We grabbed a quick bite to eat and then we were off to work. Trees and limbs were down everywhere and there was a lot of damage to the electrical infrastructure.

I had only been doing electrical work for a little over a year and I had no idea what I was getting into. We spent all night out rebuilding people’s electrical services where the power company could reconnect their power. I would wind up working 22 hours nonstop. The temperature was in the 70’s when the storms rolled in, and, by the time I finished working the next morning, it was snowing. It was a long night.

There are many steps to repairing electrical damage, but the first one is to assess the situation. Without doing this, we wouldn’t know what the problem was, what needed to be done to remedy they situation, what material to go pick up, and how long it would take. We would begin the demolition work while my boss went to get material. But none of it would be possible if we didn’t assess the situation.

It seems like assessing the situation would be common sense. It certainly is in the electrical field, but when it comes to the Bible, some people never seem to take this first step. They reject the Bible and Christianity before they even assess the claims it makes. They take what others say, and things they have read and never investigate it for themselves.

Such was the case for Lee Strobel, an investigative journalist for the Chicago tribune and a staunch atheist. He rejected Christianity before even giving the evidence a chance. The conversion of his wife to Christianity led him on a journey to attempt to debunk her newfound faith. The evidence he found was so overwhelming, that he converted to Christianity and is now one of its most fearless defenders.

But none of this would have taken place had he not assessed the situation.

What is the situation in the Bible that we must assess? On it’s most basic level, the situation is there is a man who claims to be God. Jesus Christ of Nazareth, son of a carpenter made the most extraordinary claims that anyone has ever made. He claimed to forgive sins, be one with God, and that he would resurrect from the dead. If someone made claims like this today, they would be labeled a madman, yet the world’s largest and most influential religion sprang forth from this carpenter.

May I challenge you to take this first step. Assess the situation. Read Jesus’ words. Start with the book of John and see what the claims are. Then do some investigating to see if these things are true. It may change your eternal destiny.

This is the first in a series of posts I will be writing entitled “Troubleshooting Truth.” In the electrical field, we troubleshoot problems in an attempt to repair a problem. The first step is to assess the situation. Even the Bible gives examples of those who investigated the claims. “And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews. These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” Acts 17:10,11

Come along with me as we troubleshoot the truth of Christianity.

Dusty Boots

20130427-212845.jpg

“That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,” – Ephesians 5:26

I was so excited when my new work boots arrived. I had purchased them online and saved a lot of money in doing so. I even wore them to church the Sunday after they arrived. I was so proud of them.

Then the inevitable happened. They got dirty. Yes, it’s true. Work boots get dirty.

What made matters worse was that I bought these boots in the spring and it was full blown pollen season in the south. Northerners have snow. Southerners have pollen. Every step I took stirred up a storm cloud of pollen. They were coated every day when I came home. No matter how careful I was, they still got dirty.

I then took the step that made the most sense. I read the manufacturer’s instructions for care and maintenance. They said to wipe them down with a wet cloth to remove the dust and then apply mink oil. It’s a process that I have to go through daily to keep the boots in good shape. I usually wipe them down daily, then apply the oil as needed.

God told us in His Word that He would cleanse us by the water of His Word. As we go into the world from day to day, we accumulate dirt and filth with each step we take. From the provocative magazine on the grocery store shelf, to the profanity from the lips of a coworker, we pick up the filth of this world whether we like it or not. We need to be cleansed every day.

Just as my boots will dry out and fall apart without cleaning, we will eventually succumb to the filth of this world if we don’t wash ourselves daily.

We hear it so much that it seems to simple. Read your Bible and pray. This is the basic instructions for the Christian walk, but how many of us fail in these simple tasks? Martin Luther said, “I have so much to do that I shall spend the first three hours in prayer.” Most us of don’t even spend three minutes in prayer.

We must combat the filth of this world with the Word of God. Have lustful thoughts pressed upon your mind because of the revealing images plastered everywhere we go? Find a verse to cleanse you. Try Job 31:1: “I made a covenant with mine eyes; why then should I think upon a maid?” Maybe some thoughtless person has filled you with anger. “Be ye angry, and sin not” Ephesians 4:26. God has a word for every situation.

Then we must be led by the Holy Spirit of God. The Holy Spirit is represented in the Bible by oil. Jesus said in Luke 4:18, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,” Anointing was done with oil.

Oil was used for anointing. The Holy Spirit anoints us for the tasks God wants us to perform. Oil was also used for lighting lamps. We need the Holy Spirit to keep our lights shining brightly in this world. We are filled by the Spirit by prayer and Bible reading. You are filled with what you pour into yourself. We need more of Bible than world inside of us.

The Word keeps us clean, the Holy Spirit keeps us soft and useable. If we are to be effective in this filthy world, we must apply the water and the oil to our lives. Combined with prayer, God can work through us day by day.