The Influence of Christian Parents

How important is a Christian education to a child? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I recently read J. Gresham Machen’s Christianity in Conflict. This is being read for school and if I read something for school, I don’t really want to do a book plunge on it for the most part. Machen in his day was one of the most influential New Testament scholars and was revolutionary here in America.

Machen wrote about the virgin birth, which I do affirm, especially and so much that even a 100 years later, we’re still talking about what he wrote. He was a man of great learning and one of the great Princeton Theologians. He also went and studied abroad in Germany.

The book is largely an autobiography of his and he does touch lightly on the education he got in the secular schools growing up, but if there’s one aspect of his life that was influential on him remaining a strong Christian, it was his parents. His parents were devout Christians and also very learned Christians. His father was a lawyer who in his 80’s started learning Italian and reading Italian authors just for the fun of it. I don’t think as much was said about his mother, but her character shone through and through.

Both of them encouraged Machen to read and learn and both of them encouraged him to ask questions. They were not people who shied away from doubts and Machen did often times have doubts. However, as time goes by, he gets more and more help in getting a higher education, but one can see throughout his life, the great influence his parents had.

When he studied abroad in Germany, he was not in a conservative environment at all. He was in one where he was challenged every day and yet, he held on and argued his case well and read all he could of his opponents. What really helped him so much? The preparation he had at the feet of his parents.

Christian parents. This is for you. Please never lose sight of the influence that you can have on your children. For all you know, you could have another Machen growing up in your household.

That means that you do take them to church regularly, but don’t just do that. Educate them in your home. Make Christianity something you live seven days a week and not just on church days. Do not be afraid of your kids having questions and if you don’t know the answer, go and find it.

I am sure some atheist readers could say something about indoctrination, but the reality is I expect most parents will somehow raise their children up with their values. I suspect Muslim parents, Mormon parents, Jewish parents, and atheist parents all do this. You don’t really want to force your kids, but if what you believe about ultimate reality really matters to you, you will pass that on to your children.

If you’re wondering some on how to do that, I have a resource for you. I recommend you check my friend Elizabeth Urbanowics’s program Foundation WorldviewHer work is aimed to help extremely young children start to learn about the Bible and how to think and about what it means to be a Christian.

Raise your children well. Welcome their doubts and questions. Be there to support them. Our world is not a safe place and you will have more influence than anyone else.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Can God Be A Moral Monster

Is it possible for God to be morally wrong? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

He told me that it the flood was wrong. I wanted to know why. The reply was that it brought about a lot of agony. I’m sure it did, but on what grounds does that mean it was wrong? There are plenty of events that bring about agony. Sometimes, it’s needed. I had a lot of agony after my back surgery. Still glad I went through it.

One of the big problems with this kind of objection is that it carries in it a built-in idea about God that many Christians hold to as well. The book Is God A Moral Monster? is a great book and I’m not saying Copan holds the view I am critiquing, but it could be asked if the claim is even possible. Can God be a moral monster?

When objections are raised about what God does, the claim often comes up that it is wrong for God to do X. Why? On what grounds? I am not going the presuppositionalist route here. This is not asking by what authority one can condemn God. It’s asking if questions of morality can even apply to God.

Consider how this works. If God is capable of being moral or immoral, then that means there is a moral law that is objective. Christians agree at this point, but does this mean that it applies to God? God is under the law and is to be held accountable to it? Who could hold God to account for it?

So if God takes a life, for example, on what grounds has He done something wrong? He is the Lord and source of all life. If He wants to take a life, He can. Is there anyone that He owes a life to? Is there anyone that God is in debt to?

Now one objection I can think of to this is that God has made promises. Doesn’t God keep His promises? Doesn’t He have an obligation to do that?

God does keep His promises, but it’s not because He’s moral, doing what He ought to do as there is no ought above Him. It is because He is good. All moral acts are good, but not all good acts are moral. Sometimes, we go above and beyond what we ought to do and that is a good act that is not required upon us.  I may have a moral requirement to help my neighbor in need. It’s going above and beyond if I can somehow pay all of his bills for a year.

If you ask me then if God is moral, I will say no. The question doesn’t apply. If you ask me if God is good, I will say absolutely. The question does apply. This is not because goodness is something outside of God He submits to. It is because goodness is His very nature. He is good because He cannot deny Himself or be untrue to Himself.

Thus, in a debate, I make it a point that my opponent has to demonstrate why God is supposedly in the wrong for anything. It’s not mine to assume God’s actions have to be defended. My opponent needs to show me why they need any defense at all.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

On Coffee and Slavery

What does one of the latest statements on slavery have to tell us about our knowledge of history? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Those who know me know I can’t stand coffee. I am a tea guy. I remain loyal to my beverage of choice. However, that doesn’t mean that anything said against coffee is right automatically. Consider this, one example of how ridiculous our culture is getting thinking they are making a powerful point by resisting something.

So let’s consider a few points here.

First off, let’s be clear that slavery is wrong. I can’t believe I have to say this, but unfortunately, I do. If I don’t say it, someone is going to think that I am defending slavery. They’re going to think that anyway, but I fully agree with the wrongness of slavery.

However, that being said, it’s time to list other facts.

For one, if we were to eliminate anything that has anything to do with slavery at any point in time, we will have to likely eliminate nearly everything that there is. (Which could include those tennis shoes you’re wearing.) Pyramids of Egypt? Gone. Great Wall of China? Gone. How many other great monuments from history would vanish?

Second, slavery has happened with every race out there practically and every race has enslaved every race and every race has even enslaved their own race. The word slave itself comes from the Slavs. Who were they? White Europeans. Who were white Europeans and others buying slaves from in Africa? Other Africans.

Third, the only slavery most people know of today is the slavery in antebellum America. Outside of that, no clue. It’s ignored that it was the West that ultimately did so much to end slavery.

Fourth, many people today who are against slavery, and rightly so, could likely not give a good defense of why they are. If you went back to the Roman Empire and asked anyone if slavery was wrong, even the slaves themselves, they would likely look at you stunned as if society could be any other way. Today, it’s the exact opposite.

Fifth, no matter what we do today, we can never erase history. Not buying coffee today will not change that slavery took place. There is no need to punish the industry today for something that happened before anyone in the industry today was even born. We are living with a fool’s errand if we think we can redeem ourselves this way.

Sixth, we can be redeemed, but only by Jesus. Our nation can make things right best by turning to the God who bought all of humanity for a price in the person of His Son. We will not do it by any other action.

Finally, today, we need to learn history again. So many people think they’re being activists by not buying coffee or something like this. Want to do something about slavery? It still exists in some parts of the world. Go there and do something about slavery in those parts of the world. Our ignorance of history leads to repeating it. Learn instead from slavery that we do have scars in our past, but the good news is we have changed the way we used to do things and become a beacon of freedom for the world.

Real change will take more than this. Avoiding anything that has anything to do with slavery, even antebellum slavery in America, will not do anything. It will only hurt people today who had nothing to do with what happened and are just trying to provide for themselves and their families.

As a tea lover, there are plenty of good reasons for not buying coffee. This is not one of them.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Can Jesus Be Non-Miraculous?

Is it really possible to remove the miraculous element from Jesus? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Jesus is the figure that stands out in all of history. It’s really hard at times to find someone who has a bad word to say about Jesus, even from a non-Christian persepctive. Such does exist, but even a negative word is still there in an abundance of praises for his teachings and character.

However, is there any reason these should stand out? Jesus was a great moral teacher. As Lewis said, we have had enough of those. We didn’t listen to them. Why listen to Jesus? Our world right now shows us that we are not.

New Testament scholars often seek to go through the New Testament and separate the fact from the fiction. What is true about Jesus in this? Can we move past all this miraculous stuff such as the miracles that He did and the idea that He was God or some divine being of some kind? Surely that stuff got added on later.

The moment you say this, you have to ask why it was added on. First off, why was He crucified? I find many a New Testament scholar who presents a case for how Jesus lived gives me no reason to think He would ever be crucified. Their Jesus is more akin to a Mr. Rogers figure. Adolf Harnack used to say Jesus was teaching about ideas like the brotherhood of all men. Okay. Why would this Jesus be a threat to anyone? Not only is He not a threat, He’s not someone you would give the worst death sentence of all to.

The disciples were convinced He rose from the dead? Why? Even assuming He had risen from the dead, is there any reason for them to say “Jesus rose from the dead! He is the Son of God, Messiah, and God Himself!?” No one ever thought that before in Judaism about anyone they thought came back from the dead. Even if the Jews were convinced Moses came back from the dead, would they say such a thing about him?

There is a simple explanation for why they believed such things. Jesus said and indicated such about Himself. Of course, this is the claim the liberal New Testament scholar does not want to admit at all. It wouldn’t be rational to think something like that after all!

So the attempt is made to remove those miraculous elements again and yet even still, Jesus is hard to escape. Jesus makes grandiose claims about Himself. In the Q document, which has never been found and is purely hypothetical, you can still see Jesus speaking about the house built on the rock. Where does this put His view of Himself? “If you hear my words and obey them, you are a wise man.” Nothing about God in there. The very Sermon on the Mount is filled with this high view. Jesus speaks of what we call the Old Testament quoting it and then saying “But I say to you.” These are the Ten Commandments sometimes, the ones written by the finger of God, and Jesus is attempting by His own authority to speak even stronger than they are? Who does He think He is?

Despite this, we look at these claims that Jesus makes about Himself and say “Isn’t He the picture of humility?” If what He says about Himself is true, then He can be, but if it isn’t, Jesus is certainly suffering from delusions of grandeur. Jesus is the greatest narcissist who ever lived in that case. There is a real condition known as Jerusalem Syndrome where someone goes to Israel and becomes convinced they’re the Messiah. We know immediately such people are insane to that extent at least. Do we think that about Jesus? There are many ideas of who the historical Jesus was. I have not seen a New Testament scholar arguing for “Insane lunatic.”

Not only this, but we have the ethical teachings of Jesus and these are not the teachings of someone who is insane. Most everything about Jesus shows a well-balanced individual. At the same time, this individual never asks for help, never apologizes, never admits a wrong, etc. Some of you may recognize shades of Tom Gilson’s Too Good To Be False in here, which is influential, but I’m also talking about the miracle aspect as well. I definitely urge you to read that book on the character of Jesus.

Assuming this figure is somehow made up as the mythicists would like us to think, who did this making up? This puts us in an even more difficult position in many ways. People who foisted a lie on the world also gave an immensely brilliant ethical system if not the greatest one of all?

Some could say it’s not that hard to create a Jesus, such as Lewis’s Aslan as an example, but the difference is Lewis had a model to work with. That is the Jesus who is already in the New Testament. Anyone who did this originally did not have such a model. Whoever could create this figure would be someone practically worthy of worship himself or themselves.

Notice in all of this, I have not once argued that the text we have is perfectly reliable or accurate. I have no need to. I am asking even to go with the data that will be granted by skeptical scholars. If we take all of this still, can we present a coherent picture of Jesus? Can we explain His teaching, His crucifixion, what claims did He make about Himself, and why the belief He rose again?

I seriously urge skeptics of Christianity to try to do so.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Applying Communal Passages Today

How do we apply passages to a community to us today? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

One of my friends read my blog on Friday and asked about how some matters apply. If something only applies to the audience at the time, how do we work it out in our own lives? This is a good question and one that relies on our hermeneutic.

In John 13, Jesus says that since He washed the feet of His disciples, they ought to wash one another’s feet. However, when I arrived at church yesterday, I found no one there to wash my feet. Not only that, it never occurred to me that I should. Today, a visitor at a church would find it bizarre if he was told to take off his shoes and socks so someone could wash his feet.

In the days of Jesus, this made sense since people walked on dusty roads and didn’t have socks and their feet would get dirty. For us, it’s different. What could we do instead? We can supply people with a breakfast meal waiting for them at the church. If we want to get as close as possible, maybe even set up a car washing place for them or give first time visitors a coupon to a local car wash. The idea at root is hospitality.

A few places in the New Testament encourage us to greet one another with a holy kiss, a passage which many a teenage boy would like to take literally. Not just them. I used to remind my wife of that passage in greeting time at church when it took place. Never worked. However, the message is again to greet and this time, it is done more often with a handshake. Of course, there are cultures where a kiss is acceptable and that can take place.

Let’s consider the passages discussed last time. What about Philippians 1:6. He who began a good work in you will carry it to completion? That means the church should take confidence that God is at work in them and He will see through to the end what He desires. The church can take comfort in knowing God doesn’t just start something and then change His mind.

This can then relate to 2:12-13. Why do you work our salvation with fear and trembling? Because God is at work in you. This means the church should be actively involved not just in the salvation of the lost, but that of their own church members. This can be done with accountability programs and other such ideas. As a Protestant, I do think our Catholic and Orthodox friends are right with the idea of having a priest to confess your sins to, not because the priest can forgive you of your sins as God does that, but because that helps build up accountability. Are you going to be more prone to do XYZ if you know you have to face a real human being who you hopefully respect and tell them about it?

Let’s finally consider one that is really misused. How many graduation cards have Jeremiah 29:11 on them? God knows the plans He has for you after all. He wants to make you prosper. Most people ignore that that’s said to Israel in the Babylonian exile and the majority of them would die in Babylon.

Does that mean it’s useless to us today? Not at all. We can say “God was faithful to the covenant He made with Israel even when Israel sinned, therefore, we can be sure God will be faithful to us in the covenant He made with us.” Not only do we get a good usage out of the passage, the passage rightfully then returns its emphasis not to the recipients, but rather to the person of God who is behind it.

Ultimately, in each passage, find the principle that is being taught. The principle is what needs to be followed. The method might be different in fulfilling it, but the heart should be the same.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

What Does Scripture Mean By You?

Is there a problem with our language? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

What does Scripture mean by you? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

One of the great weaknesses of English can be our limited vocabulary. Consider that we have only oneword for love. A man can say he loves Jesus, his wife, his best friend, football, and pizza. He can be true in saying all of this and still mean something vastly different for each.

Another example is the word “you.” Here in the South, we have tried to correct this with the term, “Y’all.” (English was invented overseas, but we perfected it in the South.) Whatever you think of that term, it does clarify if you mean one person or a group of people.

So consider a passage like Philippians 1:6. In this, we read that He that began a good work in you will carry it to completion jn Christ Jesus. Readers who are more Calvinistic can see this as a statement on soteriology.

“See? When God begins His work in a man, He will bring it to completion. You are eternally secure.” Even those who hold to eternal security without going the way of Calvinism will use this to emphasize that.

However, that’s not what’s going on. This is about the church. The you refers not to an individual, but to the church as a whole. This doesn’t mean Calvinism and/or eternal security are false. It just means that this isn’t the right usage of the passage.

Now let’s go to the other side. In Philippians 2:12-13, we are told to work out your salvation in fear and trembling for it is God that works in you. At this, Arminians think they have a point.

“See? Your salvation isn’t secure. You have to work it all out.”

Unfortunately for them, it’s not the case again. This is the church needing to work out its own salvation. It’s not about individuals. This doesn’t mean Arminianism is true or false. It just means this isn’t the verse.

The problem is our culture is individualistic. We read the text as speaking to us as individuals, and sometimes it does, but we don’t need to assume that for a text. It requires work, but it’s worth it. It’s only looking at the word in the original language and/or careful study of the passage that can help us know what is meant.

Notice also that in all of this, no one viewpoint on soteriology was held to be true or false. I have my own opinions on that debate, but I choose to not enter into it. If anything, I chose this passage because that way I can’t be seen as going after one side and supporting another. I hold that both of them who use these passages use bad argumentation.

Next time you see you in the text, and I mean that individually now, check and see how it is used. Misread the text and you miss what God has for you in it and hold a false view instead.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth.)

Concluding Seminary Thoughts

What’s the sum of the matter on seminary? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

My writing on seminary has been for those of you wondering if you should go to Bible College or seminary. I am sure I have said some matters that are surprising, such as my not placing a lot of weight on the idea that someone is called to preach or something of that sort. I have instead pointed to the way you function and the abilities you have and to see if you’re qualified for ministry and able to take it on.

Of course, when I say concluding thoughts on a matter, that’s going to be somewhat subjective as I might have something more to say later on. For now though, I don’t want to go on forever. Here are some final points I want to make about seminary.

First, it’s a lot of hard work. I don’t care if you’re working on an undergrad or a Master’s or a Ph.D. Be prepared to work. I am someone who has a natural bent towards matters of the intellect, but I also do have to work.

Second, it’s expensive. This is one reason you should push for a scholarship. It costs a lot of money to go through seminary and I have a strong aversion to taking out any student loans. I do have a Patreon set up, but I’m also trying to find other ways to make more income.

However, the most important thing I want to stress is really that seminary is a lot of fun. What makes it great here is the people that are here. I have only been here for a month and I have been treated already like I am an honored guest and many people know me by name. That doesn’t mean I’m known well yet, but I am known. Right now, I’m in a gaming group on campus that I helped start even and we’re working on planning the first of our gaming nights right now.

I enjoy walking around the campus and getting to meet the people. I go out in the evenings and have Pokemon Go on my phone and do some walking around with the daily incense feature and try to greet people that I run into. The fact that we all share a shared faith in Jesus Christ is really great for us. I also enjoy interacting with my professors.

Along those lines, yes, I am starting to get very well known on campus as the guy who affirms the virgin birth, which I do affirm. Someone has told me they like to read my Facebook because I put so much on there that is funny. For me, I try to do everything I can seriously. When I debate and argue a case, I do that seriously, but when it’s time to play and to try to get people to laugh, I do that seriously as well.

I hope this has been helpful for you on your path to deciding if you want to seek higher education in ministry or not. The church could bear to have more people who are ably equipped to do the work of ministry. Check and see if that could be you.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Safe Christianity

How can you be safe in Christianity? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

As a resident of New Orleans, I imagine what I would think if I heard a couple together one day talking in their house if a major hurricane was coming.

Wife: Honey. There’s a level 5 hurricane heading towards New Orleans.

Husband: Predictions for us?

Wife: Likely to destroy the entire city and leave few survivors.

Husband: Sounds terrible. What do you want to do that evening?

Wife: Thought we’d stay home and watch TV.

Husband: That sounds good.

It seems nonsensical to think about it. If there is that disaster situation coming, shouldn’t you do something about it? I thought about that today reading J. Gresham Machen’s book Christianity and Culture. The book is inexpensive on Kindle and you can read it in less than an hour easily.

In the last section, he speaks about how the time might seem dark, but this is the time that we can shine the brightest and where we can rise up with excitement knowing the grand task before us and that God is with us. He has also spoken in the book about how you can be safe instead. Is it possible, for instance, to be a soldier and find a definite way to avoid dying in combat? Machen tells us that there definitely is.

Don’t go into combat.

Sure, you’ll be safe, but you won’t do anything to the enemy really. Now today, we understand someone could operate a drone from a distance or something of that sort, but we can all understand Machen’s point. The easiest way to stay safe is to just not do anything risky. That is how many of us approach Christianity.

How many of us talk about people who are dying without Christ and then go about our lives like it’s not a big deal. The atheist Penn Gillette even said that he encourages Christians to proselytize. After all, how much do you have to hate someone to know that there is an eternal judgment for them somehow and yet not want to do the work of evangelism?

Now keep in mind, I’m not saying our whole lives are 24/7 doing evangelism. Not even Jesus did that. I am saying that we should consider doing more for the lost and for our fellow Christians who need encouragement and yes, that means we are putting ourselves in dangerous situations at times.

However, that’s part of the deal of Christianity. We have Christians who are afraid to share the gospel because they might hurt someone’s feelings or someone might make fun of them. Our earlier ancestors would not be afraid to go to the lions for Jesus and in Muslim nations today, as just one example, getting baptized can practically be a death sentence, and they do it anyway.

If you want to know why our country is the way it is, it’s because we are a people who value safety so much that we don’t do anything. Picture the semis on the interstate that say “Safety is my goal.” No, it isn’t. If safety was your goal, you wouldn’t even be out here driving. The surest way to stay safe is to not drive. Your goal is to get your goods to their destination. The means you want to do is a safe means, but your goal is not to be safe.

This doesn’t mean that we knowingly go into dangerous situations just because they’re dangerous. If a hurricane is heading towards you and is likely to kill you if you stay, it is just foolish to not move. You can’t reason with the hurricane after all. Even those skilled in martial arts are told to only use it as a last resort.

Being safe hasn’t even kept us safe in the long run. It’s put us even more on the defensive. Why does the world listen so much to Muslims and to the LGBTQ community? Because they know these people have power and will speak out and go after them if they disagree. They know they can’t run roughshod over these people. What do they know about us? They can say whatever we want and we’ll just stay there and take it. No. This is not what turning the other cheek is about. It’s not about being a doormat. It’s about not escalating tension in the private sphere, not the public one.

Years ago, before the 2016 election, my former father-in-law asked me what I think it will take to change America. My answer has always been the same. The church has to be the church. The gospel doesn’t need America, but America needs the gospel. If we believe Jesus is the only one who can change society and save the souls of men and we do nothing, we either do not care about Jesus, the souls of men, or both.

Choose where you want to go. You can play it safe or live dangerously. If you play it safe, you might be safe indeed, but you sure won’t do anything to make a difference in the world.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Seminary Sundays

What do I do on a Sunday? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

It’s odd that in Tennessee, Sunday was the one day of the week I couldn’t sleep in. My work days were always from 2-11. Now, Sunday is one of the later days seeing as my alarm doesn’t go off until 7:30. It’s also the one morning that I don’t have breakfast at home seeing as I can get something at the church.

Right now, I’m still fitting in. I’m quiet in the Sunday School group because I’m not as well known, but I’m very pleased with how informed it looks like many of the fellow students are there. It’s worth pointing out that at my church, there are also a number of students there that are my classmates.

I chose this church also because I was told it was very disability friendly and so far, I have seen that to be the case. I am talking with the pastor in the hopes of becoming a pastor intern which could help cover my seminary education seeing as I can get a scholarship that way. My pastor also does have a Ph.D. which is important to me. His is in missiology.

After church, I pretty much have the day to myself. Sometimes, I might stop and do something like grocery shopping briefly. I have enough to make it by and I don’t starve, but I am also spendthrift. I always have been, but now all the more. Unfortunately, the Wal-Mart next to the seminary doesn’t have a clearance section.

Also, I can often catch up on schoolwork. Greek work for my classes is usually due on Sunday nights and that for me is the opportune time to do it. Other than that, much of my day is often spent the same way, except I do have more down time than I do other days. My church is now only about 10 miles away and a good portion of the time to and fro is on the interstate.

I’m also working on getting to know my new church family more and more which is hard for me. Around here, I still have students come and address me by name and I cannot remember who they are. Fortunately, none of them seem to be offended by any of this. I have also found acceptance with people understanding that I am different. If I am in the classroom with a laptop in front of me always, it’s not because I’m not paying attention. It’s because my mind will wander off if I am not doing something and I will lose focus entirely. Every time I have tested this, it has happened.

Also, I do want to stress that some people could be tempted to skip church and chapel in seminary. Don’t. You need that time of fellowship and worship. There will always be time to go and do your assignments later. I have already built into my life a regimen of reading the Bible regularly and doing prayer regularly so I have been safe from the temptation to cut those out. Others have it harder and I urge them to keep going.

Next time, we could start wrapping this up.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)


What’s it like being the meaning of life, the universe, and everything? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Today is my special day as today, I have turned 42, which we all know is the answer to life, the universe, and everything. Something I was thinking about last night was Chesterton’s idea that each of us is a great, “Might-not-have-been.” The odds of my being here as I am and your being here are infinitesimal, but yet here you are and here I am. Each of you being here is someone who is extremely unlikely.

Oddly though, had I never been at the same time, I would not have been missed. Now yes, I do realize parents miss children that they miscarry, but there is still something different as you have no idea for sure how the child would have turned out. No one around us knows how they would have either. This world could have had several people in it that never got the chance to be through whatever means.

I can’t help but think about abortion at this. Our world could be vastly different today had we not killed millions of people before they got to live outside the womb. Now I realize some could say we could have had another Hitler, but we could also have had someone who cured cancer. We don’t know.

The evolutionary paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould once said if you rewound the clock and started it up again, reality would not come out the same way. Unless you’re a strong determinist in theism, the same is true for us. Even with a God overseeing everything, many of us still believe in free-will and how matters could have been much more different.

I cannot speculate on the unknown like this. It could be interesting at times, but I would prefer to speculate on the known. I am here. That means that everything I have been through, I have survived, be it major back surgery, depression and panic attacks, and a super-painful divorce. I have gone through it all and I’m still kicking. Right now, I’m doing that so much that I’m at seminary living out my dream.

It was also a gift to see how matters went for me today. I don’t publicize my birthday on campus and I wondered if anyone would know. I opened my door and my first thought was that there was a spill of some sort and a stream of water falling out my door, but it wasn’t a stream of water. It was gold streamers. There was a gift card and a set of mini-cupcakes and my door area was thoroughly decorated. The names on a card were my RA and her husband.

All around campus, many people have been wishing me a happy birthday. It’s been something incredible to me. It tells me more and more that I do belong here. I am surrounded by people who actually notice me and care about me. I’m not saying no one else has, but I have only been here a little over a month and already I have found a place that I can fit in. It’s an academic environment, one that I thrive in.

Tonight, when I rest, I hope I will do so a year wiser and a year more mature. Well, the more mature part might be hard. Anyway, I also hope I go to bed thankful, thankful that through it all, I was allowed to be and realize that my life is a gift.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)