Do We Need Friends?

Can you make it through life without friends? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

In asking the question of friendship, let’s ask now if we really need friends. Now this could be something that could be true of the whole and not any individual member. You will not read on anyone’s death certificate that the cause of death was celibacy, but if the whole of the human race decided to practice celibacy and succeeded, we would die out within 100 years.

As I try to ponder this question of if we need friends, the obvious answer to me is, “No”, but at the same time, it seems unthinkable to go through life without them. We want to have those people around that we can depend on and whose company we can enjoy and who we can be there for as well.

When I am going through a hard time, I am thankful for the friends I have. I have said my wife is ultimately my best friend, but many times it’s also good to have a male friend around. These are guys that understand in a more personal way what I’m going through. If Allie and I are having marriage issues, these are also good guys to talk to, particularly if they are married themselves.

Actually, forming friends seems just natural. I remember having friends even in kindergarten. I don’t think anyone told me to. I just started interacting with some people and I liked them for whatever reason. Forming friendships just seems to be something that we do naturally.

When I got on Facebook, I remember seeing all these people after awhile start sending me friend requests. Now I have over 3,000. Do I know them all? Of course not. Still, it just seemed natural. We all seem to do this on social media. We’ve come to know people we never would have met otherwise.

For we who are Christians, this is not a surprise. As much as I am an introvert, there is still a part of me that is a social animal. If I didn’t want to connect to anyone, I wouldn’t have got married after all. Most of my time, I prefer to be alone, but I do enjoy the company of my friends when the time comes.

Why are we creatures who are like this? Because we serve a deity who exists in community, the Trinity. God is relational in Himself so we too are relational. We were made to live in community and such community living was the mindset before modern individualism showed up.

So as I conclude, I ask again, do we need friends? No. Still, our lives, including mine, are all greatly enriched because of them.

What Is A Friend?

What do we mean when we say someone is a friend? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I am continuing the look at friendship that was requested by asking what a friend is. Some people come into our lives and we count them friends, but only for a time. These are people you meet when you go to a common group that you share or a job, but they never contact you outside of that place.

For some people, that’s fine for the most part. I can go to a social meeting and generally, I still like to stick by myself. Sometimes friendships can come from these meetings, but it isn’t common. My wife, meanwhile, is much more social than I am and wants to be included in events and things of that nature.

These are also the friendships that you have with people that you work with and then when one of you leaves the establishment, you lose touch and you don’t speak again. While I am friends on Facebook with people I went to high school with, it’s not like I really know them that well. I did enjoy getting to go to my 20th reunion with them, but we don’t really speak afterward.

C.S. Lewis spoke of something different. He said many friendships begin with “You too? I thought I was the only one.” These are friendships of pleasure at least at first that are built on a shared interest. If people connect over nothing else, then when the shared interest is gone, the friendship is gone as well.

The shared interest could be sports, movies, video games, comic books, anything in the world. It could be sadly an interest in something sinful that leads to the tearing down of people. On the other hand, a group of friends could hold themselves accountable for holiness reasons.

Some of these could bond however into deeper friendships where you value the other person for the sake of the other person, though it doesn’t rule out the other interests. When I worked in Wal-Mart in Knoxville, I had a friend there who was in ministry as I was except I would say really hyper-fundamentalist. We also shared a common interest in video games. Years later he contacts me suddenly needing my apologetics ability that he had dismissed for his own self. He was in a storm of doubt. Fortunately, I was able to help him. Today, he’s a strong Christian learning apologetics well and the friendship has continued.

When I lived in Charlotte, I also had a pair of friends I met at work who are identical twins. We used to get together every Sunday night. We would play Super Smash Brothers for awhile and then we’d go out with their Dad to play bowling. When I visited, I never knocked on the door. I just walked in. They were like a second home to me. They were also groomsmen in my wedding.

My closest male friend, however, seeing as my wife is my best friend, is my former roommate. Today, we mainly talk politics, apologetics, and Final Fantasy. When it came time to choose a best man for my wedding, he was the only choice that I would have considered and he thankfully agreed. When Allie even found out she was low on her medications on our honeymoon, he sent us priority mail some of the medications that were in the apartment so we could continue our honeymoon together.

I have to talk about my examples here because those are the ones I know about the most. You know about your own examples. In all of this, it’s still difficult to define what a friend is, but I think it would be something like someone who’s company you enjoy for the sake of that person and who inspires you to be a better person and you do the same for them.

Do I think this is a perfect definition? No. Like Socrates in the Lysis, I doubt I can define it entirely. I suspect it’s one of those things like time. We all know what it is until we have to say what it is. Despite not knowing, I am still thankful for the friends that I do have, including ones mentioned in this blog. There are many others who were also in my wedding and some who could have been. This is not to slight anyone. If I went over all of my friends, this would be too long a blog post.

So why not think about those friends that you have? I can write later about how many friends I recommend having and things like that, but for now, just be thankful. Your friends would probably like to know you appreciate them.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

A Response To Jim Staley On Halloween

Is Halloween an unholy day? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Kudos first off to Michael Brown. I managed to get in touch with him about the Halloween meme. Which one am I talking about? The one I have written about here and here. Dr. Brown thanked me for the information and has said if they cannot find a source for the quote, they will not put up the image next year. I have to say I think such intellectual humility is quite gladdening. Dr. Brown is someone I have much more respect for as a result.

However, someone else in the comments asked me to watch this video instead. This one is Jim Staley. I have encountered Staley’s work before when some old friends from church were trying to convince me Christmas and Easter was pagan. These are claims I am used to. Why?

When you deal with the Jesus mythicist crowd, paganism rears its head. After all, pagans have virgin births and turning water into wine and feasts with eating the body of the deity and resurrections and all the other stuff. Naturally, the Christians ripped off the pagans and put it together and attached it to a man named Jesus who never even existed.

When you hear those claims and see how bogus they are after doing basic research, after awhile, you start to question a lot of the claims of things coming from pagans. Not only that, but when you see claims that are common knowledge, such as Columbus sailing to prove the Earth was round or that the Middle Ages were the dark ages and you see those are nonsense, you start questioning so-called common knowledge. It is more often common ignorance.

So now I have reached the point that if you want to convince me of this stuff, you had better have some really good evidence of it.

Jim Staley does not. Most of the time he gets up with a powerpoint that has a paragraph on there that looks really nice, but there are no citations given. There are no sources cited. Things that you would think by Staley’s speaking all historians agree with are not agreed with.

Some of this is an anti-Catholicism. He mainly references traditions of praying to the saints and connects that with Halloween and communicating with the dead. Now I as a Protestant could even say I disagree with praying to the saints and with purgatory and all these other things. I would ask my friends who are Catholics and Orthodox to please put this stuff to the side for now as best as possible.

Staley still doesn’t have a case either way. Kids who dress up as a power ranger for Halloween are not trying to talk to someone who’s dead anyway. Kids are not going out and engaging in rituals to try to bend demonic powers to their will. They are just going to get candy.

So what are some of the problems Staley has? For one, he says Saturnalia was extended to twelve days, which goes with the twelve days of Christmas. Hardly. Saturnalia at most from what I understand lasted seven days and not on the 25th at all. As expected, Staley gives no source for his claim.

Staley, of course, believes that Easter and Christmas are pagan holidays. He does say he explains those in other videos and works and if he doesn’t want to reinvent the wheel in a Halloween lecture, that’s fine. I, in turn, will point people to references by my ministry partner on this. The Christmas one is here and the Easter one is here. Videos on Christmas can be found here and one on Easter is here.

He tells a story of a Kenyan man who visits and gets scared saying that all of this material comes from his culture and that the treats are involved with a witch doctor and preventing curses. For one thing, I could find nothing like that and this is just anecdotal evidence at best. From what I could find, Kenyans celebrate Halloween like we do.

Second, I could have sworn Staley was saying this stuff comes from the Celts and others. Now he jumps over to Kenya? What’s going on with this?

Third, supposing they do celebrate it in Kenya this way. So what? Perhaps some people celebrate weddings by having huge orgies take place. Does that mean we cannot celebrate a wedding here? Kids going door to door for candy are not trying to make a deal with a witch doctor to avoid a curse. They are eating candy.

Naturally, he switches for a bit to speak about Christmas trees and goes to Jeremiah 10. Obviously, Jeremiah was addressing an issue that wasn’t going on in ancient Israel, but was rather going to be going on in Europe around the sixteenth century. I have written about this here.

He also has a picture of Egyptians with a tree. Of course, it makes sense that 16th century Europeans would go and find obscure pictures of what Egyptians did and take their practices from that. Trees have always been pictures of life and things to beautify. Evergreens are just easier because they stay green all year round.

He asks if we can see Jesus giving out candy on Halloween. This comes with added claims to it such as Jesus celebrating a day that belonged to satan and that the people took and tried to redecorate and claim for Jesus. That part is begging the question about what Halloween is, but can I see Jesus giving out candy on Halloween? Yes. I can actually see Him going out to the kids and giving them candy directly if anything.

A brief note here also. Luther didn’t nail the theses in 1511. He nailed them in 1517.

Staley also is one who insists we go back to the Old Testament feasts. You can’t help but wonder if he ever heard of this guy named Paul. The old covenant was not made for all people for all time. It was made for the people of Israel and as the writer of Hebrews says referencing Jeremiah, it had disappeared.

Staley will also regularly say that this day did not originally belong to God. Not at all! Satan can’t create a single day. All days belong to God. If a pagan took a day for his own purposes, that doesn’t mean we can’t take it back for the purposes of God. The calendar belongs to Him after all.

So why do I care about this so much?

First off, facts matter. We can’t rewrite history to make it something else. Christians especially need to be discerning with what they take in. When someone says something just ask “Why should I believe that?” The people that made Zeitgeist sound just as authoritative as Jim Staley.

Second, this kind of information as I implied does give more credibility to Jesus mythicists and makes it more likely that some Christians will go down that route. After all, will it be “Well we stole this and this from the pagans, but not this and this.” If you want your children to be more prone to abandoning Christianity, keep following people like Staley.

Finally, this puts a burden of legalism on several Christians. The overwhelming majority of people on Halloween are dressing up in fun costumes and just going door to door for candy. You give them a picture of a God who is ready to judge them for anything like that. Been there. Done that. God the T-shirt.

For another perspective on this, I recommend this article written from the perspective of a Christian in the Orthodox tradition.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Opening Thoughts On Friendship

What does it mean to be a friend? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Someone recently wrote to me and said they would like me to write on the topic of friendship. This is just an opening to get my initial thoughts out. As it stands, friendship has always been a big part of my life even to this day. Friends are fellow travelers on the journey. They are often something different from family, although they can be family. I consider my wife my best friend, for example.

Yet friendship is often difficult to define. This is even more so in our day and age of Facebook. Sometimes Allie will get a friend request from someone and ask if I know them. I say I don’t and she says “Well you’re friends on Facebook.” I tell her that (As of this time) I have over 3,000 friends on Facebook. I don’t know all of them.

That brings a new dynamic also. I am sure I am friends with people I have never met, but how is that possible? It’s interesting when I think about it that some people I know I met for the very first time and only time at my wedding.

Why are we friends with someone? What do we really want with them? How do we view the relationship? Can friends drift apart and then come back together again? At our wedding shower, my wife and I were greeted by a friend I had had during my childhood that was a best friend then and yet we fell apart, but it was great to reconnect again.

Are there some friends that are only friendships of convenience of a sort? Think of people you work with at times and then when you leave the job, the relationship goes away as well. You can enjoy working with them, but you don’t have them come over to your house normally.

Do you really have to have friends? Everyone by nature has family, even if it is not a good family. Someone gave birth to you. Someone is your mother and father regardless of how they treat you. What about friends? Are friends something different?

Plato wrote many dialogues and in the Lysis he talked about friendship. In the end, Socrates does something odd. He tells the boys he is talking with that they are not sure what friendship is. It’s again left undefined as happens in a lot of dialogues. However, Socrates surprised me at the end when he said anyway, “I hope we depart this conversation as friends.”

Aristotle likewise wrote a lot about friendship. This could be the virtue that he wrote about more than any other. Isn’t it interesting to consider friendship as a virtue? We usually think of behaviors we should do to be virtuous. How is it that having friends counts as being virtuous?

I really don’t know where this series will go and I could get distracted from time to time. Friendship is something that it’s really hard to think about because it’s so hard to define. I hope this will be a good journey to open us up to what friendship means and how we are to treat friends here.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Deeper Waters Podcast 10/26/2019

What’s coming up? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Truth is said to be stranger than fiction, but fiction sure can be pretty strange. If you interact with a lot of fiction, it can contain some stranger things. Let’s consider for example, Stranger Things, the hit series on Netflix. This series has been a mega-hit for Netflix and has a huge fan following. My wife and I are hoping we have enough to get Netflix again before the new season comes out next year.

Right after watching Season three this year, I went on Amazon to see if anyone had written anything about Christianity and Stranger Things. Sure enough, I found what I was looking for. Not only did I find it, I found it was by someone who had been on the show before.

So I send out a few emails and before too long, things are in the works. I’m really pleased to get to do a show on such a popular series. While it is doubtful the authors want to spread anything Christian in the series, that doesn’t mean we can’t see Christian themes in there. After all, it’s been said wherever you have a hero and a villain, you have the gospel.

We are almost to the day. It’s possible that Allie could be joining me on this show. While she hasn’t read the book, that could be to her advantage in this case so she could ask questions that anyone wondering about Christianity and Stranger Things could answer. We’re still waiting to see what she’ll do.

So Allie may or may not be present, but I can tell you who will be present besides myself. It will be our guest who is an Old Testament scholar who does a lot of work with Logos. He’s written a lot on the unseen realm and is now bringing that knowledge to Stranger Things. His name is Michael Heiser.

Who is he?

“A scholar in the fields of Biblical Studies and the Ancient Near East, Dr. MichaelS. Heiser is a Scholar-in-Residence at Faithlife Corporation, the makers of Logos Bible Software. Heiser studied at Dallas Theological Seminary, has a master’s degree in Ancient History from the University of Pennsylvania, a master’s in Hebrew Studies and a PhD in Hebrew Bible and Semitic Languages from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He has published hundreds of essays and peer-reviewed papers in scholarly journals and popular periodicals such as Bible Study Magazine.┬áHe has taught at the collegiate level for well over a decade, specializing in the┬áHebrew Bible, Northwest Semitic languages (biblical Hebrew, biblical Greek, Syriac, Aramaic, Ugaritic, Egyptian, Akkadian, Sumerian, Phoenician, and Moabite), biblical theology, the history and religions of the ancient Near East and Second Temple Jewish literature.”

What hath Stranger Things to do with Christianity? What are the themes in the show that point to Christian ideas? What about moral problems in the show like pre-marital sex and other such issues? How should Christians approach a work like Stranger Things?

I hope you’ll be watching for this episode and that you’ll be watching your podcast feed. We are working on putting up new episodes more and more. Please also leave a positive review on iTunes for us.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Book Plunge: Primal Screams

What do I think of Mary Eberstadt’s book published by Templeton Press? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Wolves are not solitary animals. They travel in packs. They form families. They have tribes. They work together in a community. People might have believed the lone wolf was typical some time ago, but today those who know animals know that that is a myth.

People also tend to travel in tribes. For most of us, the first tribe is the family, but what happens if the family isn’t a tribe? What happens if the family is in disarray? What happens if you don’t know who your Dad is and you don’t have siblings to relate to and Mom is bringing home a new man on a regular basis?

Our culture has changed drastically since the sexual revolution, which is what Mary Eberstadt is writing about in this book. In the past, it was the norm for sexual behavior to take place between a husband and a wife in marriage. Today, no more. In the past, you used to see a man and a woman go into a room in a movie and heard a lock click and you knew what was going on. Today, you have to see them taking each other’s clothes off because that’s the only way you can know what is happening.

This leaves men and women wondering what it means to be a man and a woman, especially our young people. Is it any wonder there’s so much confusion? If I don’t know who I am, I will jump at any chance to have a rock I can put my identity on. I need something stable. This also assumes that God is not there properly understood. We are alone in a universe adrift and we have to figure out how we’re going to make it.

So here comes individualism and identity politics. Why do we have so many people running to safe places and talking about being offended and cultural appropriation? Because they really feel unsafe, they are offended, and they do think their culture is being taken from them. We’ve heard them complain about this and we have called them snowflakes, but how many of us have considered that while we disagree with what they’re saying, they really are convinced of it?

After all, if your culture defines you, what happens if someone tries to take your culture for themselves? They are really attacking your identity. How can that make you you if I can take it for myself? You thnk you need a safe place because you think you as a person are under attack. You see yourself being offended because you think you again are being attacked.

In this culture, men don’t know what it means to be men. Men don’t really know how to approach women and how to treat them. Big shock that they’re trying to just demonstrate their manhood and they think the best way to do that is to conquer as many women as possible, which leads to women becoming notches on bedposts. Pornography isn’t such a big deal then if women are just bodies to bring about pleasure.

Women also don’t know how to handle men. What does a woman think is going to happen when any man invites her to a hotel room for the night? The MeToo movement has shown that many women are not aware of how to handle things. Could women have come forward en masse because women didn’t know they were allowed to do that? Did women think this is par for the course with men? Did they also think that because men failed to be protectors and instead solely became predators? After all, in many of these stories about women being assaulted in some way, where are the good men?

This thinking also leads to transgenderism. Why not? The lines between the sexes have blurred so much that there is now getting to hardly be any distinction between them. As it turns out, now men are truly superior at everything. Men are superior at being women.

So it is that we have a culture that does not know who it is and Eberstadt’s book is sounding the alarm. The wolves normally don’t travel alone. Sometimes they leave the tribe for whatever reason and then you hear their primal screams of abandonment.

The culture is screaming.

Let’s do something about it.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Book Plunge: Mommy. Why Don’t We Celebrate Halloween?

What do I think of Linda Winwood’s book published by Destiny Image? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

This is a book that is written for preschoolers obviously to be read to them. It’s answering a question why some parents don’t let their children celebrate Halloween. The story is told in a narrative format with two kids, Jerry and Sarah, talking to their mother and her dispensing her, um, wisdom.

Let’s start that right at the beginning, even if I disagree with some parents’ decision to not have their children celebrate, that is their decision and I think the children should honor that. At the same time, I am allowed to give my input. My thinking is you will really alienate your children further away from Christianity this way.

Something else that struck me about this book is there is no mention of a Dad anywhere in the story. I did a Kindle search to make sure and found no mention of one. The only mention of a father was when talking about the Trinity.

Another problem is there are no sources in this book. I have no idea where Winwood got her information. I can understand her not putting the names of authors and scholars in the middle of the book since this is to be read to preschoolers, but there should be a bibliography for the sake of the adults who are reading this.

Anyway, Linwood makes several claims about how all of these activities that are associated with Halloween came from pagans and gave reasons why this was done. Since the pagans did this, we should not take on those customs. Right? Well, not exactly.

Honestly, it doesn’t matter why the pagans put out jack-o-lanterns at all if they even did. What matters today is why we do it. The example I give with this is wedding rings. Some people I think have said that wedding rings come from a pagan custom. Let’s suppose they do. So what? When I gave my wife one, I know why I gave it to her.

You see, Jesus is in the midst of redeeming that which is pagan and using it for His glory. That includes any day of the year. If anyone thinks pagans are considering it a victory when we take one of their days and use it to put on goofy costumes and give candy to one another, they have a weird idea of victory.

This approach also has another danger. What happens if children later on here a claim about Christianity having pagan origins, which is out there everywhere on the internet? These kids will be set to be deconverted upon hearing such a claim.

The story also ends with the mother telling her children that instead of Halloween, they’re going to the church for a harvest party to thank God for the bountiful harvest. After all, if you want to avoid doing things that the pagans do, a harvest party is a great idea. Pagans never had any harvest celebrations after all.

Also, in the story behind the book located at the back, Linwood makes it clear that she is sure God told her to write this book and that she was specifically chosen to write a book on Halloween. I suppose this explains the lack of sources. I mean, if God is telling you to write this, what need do you have of other sources? Well, maybe to convince others who think that claim is nonsense….

I instead urge parents to not be anti-Halloween. You have children that will be coming to your house. Be the most loving and generous house on the block to children and try to have the best candy in town and please, don’t just give out a tract without anything like candy.

There are plenty of other concerns for our children. One of the most concerning is a society claiming sexual liberation. Too few of our children are prepared for that. Please try to choose the battles worth fighting.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

What Is Necessary For Christianity?

What should really be the emphasis of our worldview? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Yesterday I wrote about the topic of evolution and why I don’t debate it. It looks like a lot more people responded to that one and it sparked some debate. Some people were concerned about other doctrines that we just had to have in Genesis or else there would be no Christianity.

Note also that this usually relies not just on Genesis being true, but a specific interpretation of Genesis being true. This is not to say those interpretations are always wrong, but it just looks like it creates another barrier to belief for some people. I have a hard enough time convincing people Jesus rose from the dead. Do I have to convince them of several other things as well?

Usually when I deal with Christians in doubt, I always jump straight back to the resurrection. They’ll present me with some concern and I’ll ask “Did Jesus rise from the dead?” “Yes, but….” There is no but there. That’s not to say the objection isn’t important, but let’s put it in perspective. We’re not dealing with a dealbreaker.

One such objection often raised is the question of a historical Adam and if he was historical, was he the only human being around? At this point, I am inclined to think he was historical, but that there were others around. Adam and Eve were just especially chosen for this. There is much that can be debated about this and evolutionary creationists can hold to inerrancy and do their own studies of the text to see how it works together for them. This is not to say that their arguments will be sound, but if you’re going to take down a position like that, just one question will rarely do it.

A few years ago I was at the debate between Craig Evans and Richard Carrier on the existence of Jesus. Now Jesus mythicism in my mind is a completely bankrupt position. Still, I don’t think there’s any one question I could have asked Carrier that would have totally destroyed his position. It was multi-faceted. Personally, if you have a worldview that can be toppled by just one question, you don’t have a good worldview, or at least you haven’t thought about it.

But for what is necessary, I consider it simple. Jesus is the Messiah whom God raised from the dead. It is not inerrancy that is essential. It is not the age of the Earth. This is not to say those are not important. I consider myself an inerrantist and have two ebooks on the topic. It’s not a hill I’m going to die on. My Christianity is not built on old creation either, Genesis, but on new creation, the resurrection.

Again, this is not to say the other questions are unimportant. It is to say they need to be put on the proper level. Some skeptics have said before if there is no Adam and Eve there is no original sin and thus no need for Jesus. I consider this highly simplistic thinking. If I need a doctrine of sin, I can just turn on the evening news and see that it exists, or even better, just look inside myself.

By the way, for the question of God, I normally do start my apologetic with a case for classical theism and then move to the resurrection, but if the conversation starts at the resurrection I can do that. If it can be shown Christ rose, attempts for anyone other than God as the agent behind that are usually pretty weak from what I see.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Why I Don’t Debate Evolution

Is this an issue really worth debating? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Over the weekend, I saw some Christian friends arguing on Facebook about evolution. One is open to it if not supportive of it and the other is skeptical. I have also been reading through Richard Dawkins’s Outgrowing God who seems to be of the opinion that if you prove evolution, then you have put God out of a job.

Here I sit then thankful that I don’t debate the issue at all.

Let’s start with Dawkins. Dawkins regularly in his book when he talks about anything outside of science gets things stupendously wrong. I don’t want to be like that. When I get to the science section of his book, it sounds impressive, but then I think that he really blundered earlier. How do I know he didn’t do the same here? I try to give the benefit of the doubt because this is his area, but it can be difficult.

Yet here I am, someone who has not studied science. Do I want to make the same mistake in the opposite direction? Do I want to risk saying embarrassing things about science in a way that when it comes time to the areas I do know something about that people will not listen to me?

Keep in mind this is me saying this is what works for me. If you are someone who has studied science seriously and reads both sides, I have no problem if you want to debate evolution really. I think there are better areas to debate, but I’m not going to stop you.

But what about Genesis? For Genesis, I go with John Walton’s interpretation. In this one, Genesis is not describing the formation of creation in material terms, but in terms of function. It is telling how everything works together in the making of sacred space. The days can then be literal because this is just God making declarations over what He has made.

As it stands then, I have no hill to die on. My worldview then does not depend on modern science. Evolution is true? Cool. I move on. Evolution is false? Cool. I move on.

In my opinion, both Christians and atheists who think evolution is the dealbreaker are misinformed. For one thing, none of this has impact on if Jesus rose from the dead. At the most, it can damage inerrancy. The case for the resurrection of Jesus does not depend on Genesis.

It’s also sad that in some sense, atheists are right when they say we have God of the gaps and science keeps filling in those gaps. The early scientists who were Christians did their science to see how God did something. It was not assumed that He had to do something a particular way and if He didn’t, then He didn’t exist.

Let’s take our own formation. We all believe thanks to Psalms that we are fearfully and wonderfully made and the Psalmist says we are knit together in our mother’s womb. At the same time, many of us do not balk at the idea that we are formed through a process of gestation that takes place in nine months and don’t think this means God micromanages our DNA. God can still form us and a natural process can be involved.

Why not with our original creation?

Also, the existence of God is not on scientific terms, since science can never prove or disprove something immaterial. It’s in the area of metaphysics and here the question goes deeper. It is the question of existence itself. What does it mean to be? It’s not just how the universe came into being, but how does the universe stay in being? What about goodness, truth, and beauty? Where do they come from?

These are questions that are not scientific necessarily, aside from perhaps how the universe came to be. The rest are philosophical questions and God is something that can be studied through philosophy. This is where the real battle lies.

Furthermore, I get concerned that we could be keeping up a stereotype of science vs. religion. This is a big problem I have with Dawkins’s book. At the end, he can describe things like starlings in flight or chameleons catching insects with their tongues or anything like that. I read it and think “How marvelous the way God’s creation works.” Why? Because God is largely in my background knowledge and I see no contradiction between evolution and God.

Thus, if God is in that knowledge and I have no problem with evolution, I, like many others, will interpret knowledge I gain through the lens of what I already hold on what I at least think are good grounds. There are plenty of people who will not think that way, but religion is a deeply important part of their lives.

For those who have science as their background and are atheistic, this will get them to think science and religion are opposed, but the problem is a number of religious people could think the same way. Dawkins could wind up driving people away from science.

The reality is if you pit these two against each other, people will gravitate towards the one that means the most to them. Jesus means a lot more to a lot more people than, say, knowing how far away the Crab Nebula is from us. They will accept science on basic things, but not on things that really challenge their thinking.

My philosophy now on it is to just stay out of it. I do not know the field well enough to debate it and I could make blunders that would undermine me in other areas. It also does not impact my position on Genesis or Christianity at all. Once again, if you know the science and you think you can give someone a door to Christianity, have at it. God bless you. If you are not a scientist though or someone who seriously studies it, be careful about debating such a topic.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Book Plunge: Fallen

What do I think of Annie Lobert’s book published by Worthy Books? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Annie Lobert’s book is all about how she got caught in sex trafficking and wound up escaping that and coming to Jesus. Now she runs a ministry called Hookers For Jesus to help women escape the sex trafficking industry. Her story is her personal memoir and is quite gripping.

I remember having it with me when I went to get a pizza for my wife and I and while at Little Caesar’s I’m just on page 8 and thinking, “Control your emotions. This is not a place to get sad.” That’s interesting because very rarely does a book emotionally grip me like that.

Her story is something different. It starts off with the story of a little girl who was scared of her Dad. Let’s say this upfront. Fathers. Please do not underestimate the role you play in the lives of your daughters. It’s amazing how much it matters if Dad is there or if he isn’t. That means active interest. You will influence her relationship with men greatly by how you act.

Annie winds up loving what she sees in boys and has dreams of the Disney type of love and marriage. Before too long, she decides she’s willing to sleep with a boy she loves. Shortly after that, he leaves her. This kind of pattern seems to keep happening.

When she leaves home, she goes to the big city and tries to get attention with her body, and she succeeds. One guy comes in who she wants to impress and she winds up going to Las Vegas with him to be with another friend who lives there with her boyfriend. She gets a job as an escort which he strangely approves of.

Then the truth comes out.

He demands all her money from all her work and if she doesn’t respond as he wants, the beatings come. Annie is trapped. She is in the sex trafficking industry now and this man is her pimp. From there starts a train of abuse regularly.

Not only that, in her adventures in being an escort girl, she has trouble after trouble. Police arrest her or she gets raped or even violent activity such as being put at gunpoint. In all of this, she is with an abusive man and believe it or not, she is insistent she loves him.

Eventually, she has enough and plans her escape. Still, even after this, she has more trouble coming her way with drug addictions and sickness and other abusive relationships. Finally, she reaches a breaking point and decides to let God be God and comes to Him.

From there, her story takes off as she learns more and more about what it means to be a follower of Christ. I don’t agree with all her exegesis in this part, but it’s hard to argue against the way her life is lived. As much as the first part of the book started bringing me sadness, this part started bringing me joy.

Annie’s book is a story of redemption for all who need it, which is all of us. For all who want to know about being loved and forgiven, this book is for you. Keep in mind sex trafficking doesn’t just mean being a prostitute or something of that sort. If you are willfully using your body to get love, then you are trafficking your body in some means.

The book ends with some testimonials from Destiny House, her ministry. These are all about women who have been damaged through the misuse of sex. Many of them come to the proper use in the end. So did Annie as she is now happily married to Oz Fox, the lead guitarist in Stryper.

Get this book and cry and smile both.

In Christ,
Nick Peters