Avery Foley and Ken Ham – Atheism: Hopeless, Meaningless, Purposeless

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In our secular Western culture, the religion of atheism is on the rise, especially among the millennial generation. Young people are increasingly abandoning the religion they grew up with and turning to life without God. But all they’ve done is replace one religion with another one — the religion of atheism.

The Religion of Atheism

Now, when I call atheism a religion on social media, many atheists get very upset. They hate having atheism referred to as a religion or a belief system. But that’s exactly what it is. One of the definitions of religion is:

A cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith.1
Atheism is a system of beliefs that atheists cling to with both ardor and faith. Below are some of the tenets of this belief system. Notice that none of them are scientifically proven (and even go against science!)—that’s where atheists’ faith comes in. They accept these assertions based on faith that they are true.

– There is no God or gods.
– There is no supernatural.
– Everything is the result of naturalistic processes over time.
– Life evolved from a single-celled organism.
– Death is the end — when you’re dead, that’s it.

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Avery Foley – Ancient Shopping Lists Confirm God’s Word

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When soldiers at a remote desert fortress in Judah penned their shopping lists (or, more accurately, their provisions lists) over 2,600 years ago, they probably did not think that archaeologists would be poring over their handwriting years later!

Using a computer algorithm, researchers from Tel Aviv University have been studying these ancient lists of military provisions written on pieces of pottery (called ostraca). By analyzing the handwriting, they were able to deduce that at least six individuals were involved in writing these inscriptions. The inscriptions themselves are rather mundane, merely featuring instructions on what supplies to send to a remote desert fortress; but the writing is accurate and well done. Much of the writing was penned by rather low-ranking officials, suggesting that even humble soldiers serving in a remote corner of the country could both read and write.

Literate or Illiterate?

Scholars have long disputed the level of literacy among ancient Israelites. Many believe only the educated—scribes, priests, royalty, and the bureaucracy — were literate and that the general populace was unable to read and write. But Scripture implies that literacy would be a necessity, even among the general populace.

Genesis 5:1 mentions the “book of the generations of Adam” (using the normal Hebrew word for book or scroll), suggesting that Adam was created with the ability not only to speak but also to write. It also seems reasonable that the genealogical information in Genesis 5 and 11 was also written down. And given that Noah and his family built the Ark, is it likely that they could not write? The Israelites were commanded to write the commands of the Lord on their doorposts and bind them on their hands and foreheads (Deuteronomy 6:4–9, 11:18–20). If they could not read or write, what would be the point of these commands? When Joshua prepared to allot the inheritance to seven of the Israelite tribes, he asked each tribe to send out three men to survey the land. These men “wrote the survey in a book” (Joshua 18:9); they could read and write. And in Joshua’s farewell address, he commanded the people to obey everything written in the Book of the Law of Moses, implying they could read (Joshua 23:6). When King Hezekiah made the decision that Israel and Judah would again keep the Passover, he sent letters across the land to inform the people. This would have been useless if they could not read his letter (2 Chronicles 30:1). Other passages also suggest literacy among the ancient Israelites (Judges 8:14; 2 Kings 17:37; Psalm 102:18; Habakkuk 2:2).

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Avery Foley – Did Adam Step on an Ant Before the Fall?

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Often Christians, pastors, and theologians who try to fit millions of years into Genesis 1 object to a literal, recent six-day creation by arguing, “So Adam never stepped on an ant in the Garden of Eden? That can’t be true. There had to be death before sin.” But is such an objection valid?

Aside from the possibility that ants, and other insects, are not even alive in the biblical sense,1 the question to ask first is why the idea of death before sin is so important that the accidental death of an ant would be an objection.

The issue of death before sin is significant because it’s a question of biblical authority and because the idea undermines the very foundation of the gospel. If we take God at His Word, it is abundantly clear that death, and this would include animal death, is the consequence and byproduct of sin and was not part of the original creation. Here are just a sampling of verses that clearly make this point.

A Perfect Creation

Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day. (Genesis 1:31).

Would God call a creation full of death and suffering “very good”? Certainly not! Death is “the last enemy” (1 Corinthians 15:26) that Jesus Christ came and died to defeat! And this would include animal death. The God who cares for the sparrows (Matthew 6:26) and who promises that someday animals will once again live in harmony (Isaiah 11:6) would not call animal death and suffering “very good.” Saying that God called death and suffering “very good” accuses God of being a monster responsible for all the evil we see in the world. But Scripture is clear—it’s our fault in Adam.

Both the animals and people ate plants before the Fall, so both animal and human death was not God’s plan for His creation; it was unnecessary and did not occur.

Death — Sin’s Consequence

But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die. (Genesis 2:17)
Death was the clear consequence for Adam and Eve’s sin. But if death already existed why was death given to them as the consequence for sin? They would have died anyway. Clearly death was not present in the world before sin. If Genesis doesn’t make it clear enough, Romans emphasizes the point; death is the direct result of the sin of Adam: “therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned” (Romans 5:12).

Of course, this is referring in context to human death, but Romans 8:22 tells us that it is this sin that makes the whole creation groan. If death existed before sin, then creation was already groaning, waiting for liberation from the Messiah, before sin had even entered the world. But it was sin that resulted in Christ’s coming to Earth to die as the last Adam so that Adam’s descendants could live (1 Corinthians 15:21–22) and so that creation could be restored (Romans 8:19–22).

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Avery Foley – Understanding the Planned Parenthood Videos from a Biblical Worldview

planned-parenthood-videos Many across America were shocked and revolted when investigative journalists with the Center for Medical Progress released the first in a series of videos featuring Planned Parenthood executives and employees describing how they sell aborted baby body parts. These journalists plan to release around a dozen subsequent undercover videos, and so far each video has been increasingly disturbing and horrific. They show the callousness of Planned Parenthood—and America—to the taking of a child’s life by a federally and state-funded organization.

Debate rages about the legality of Planned Parenthood’s actions, but what’s ultimately significant is that these films highlight the depravity among abortion providers. The first film features Dr. Deborah Nucatola, who has been with Planned Parenthood for over 10 years and acts as senior director of medical services, casually explaining over wine and lunch how to “crush above” or “crush below” parts of an unborn baby’s body, or even how to adjust the baby’s presentation prior to the abortion procedure, in order to harvest intact organs. In the second video, Dr. Mary Gatter, a former medical director for Planned Parenthood who now oversees a clinic in Pasadena, CA, haggles with the undercover journalists over the cost per specimen to avoid a “lowball” offer. She says that, in order to obtain intact organs, the doctors will have to use a “less crunchy” method of aborting the babies.

The gut-wrenching moments continue in the other films as viewers witness one medical professional picking apart an aborted baby—a so-called clump of tissue—and exclaiming ironically, “And another boy!” Another employee, when asked whether there are any “fresh specimens” (read, aborted babies) to see, laughs like it’s a joke and says, “We had a really long day and they’re all mixed up together in a bag.” And in what was probably the most sickening moment of the videos to date, Dr. Savita Ginde, vice president and medical director of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, admits that the clinic performs after-birth abortions: “Sometimes, if we get, if someone delivers before we are able to see them for a[n abortion] procedure, then we are intact.” These intact bodies can then be carved up and sold as individual line items to increase profit.

Commenting on these eye-opening videos, retired obstetrician-gynecologist Dr. Elizabeth Mitchell says,

One of the joys and awesome responsibilities of practicing medicine for me was the knowledge that I ordinarily had two living human beings entrusted to my care. The thought of dismembering and dissecting one of them to harvest his or her body parts is revolting. How can a physician join a daily ‘huddle,’ as one of the videos described, to plan how each unborn baby should be carved up? Once a doctor crosses the line of accepting as routine the willful destruction of an unborn human being, that doctor has abdicated his or her responsibility to one of those patients and chosen to view the baby’s life as irrelevant. It is a slippery slope from the rampant murder legalized by Roe v. Wade to premeditated butchery of the helpless. The fact that these babies are still attached to or hidden within their mothers’ bodies when their butchery begins currently robs them of their legal rights in this country, but it doesn’t rob them of their humanity and the protection they should have from their mothers and their doctors and a vocal American public.

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Avery Foley – Idolatry of the Bible

idolatry-of-the-bible It is becoming increasingly common to accuse those who hold to the inerrancy and infallibility of God’s Word of “bibliolatry,” otherwise known as “idolatry of the Bible.” Bibliolatry is defined as “excessive reverence for the Bible as literally interpreted.” Those who accept God’s clear words in Genesis as true history are often accused of worshipping the Bible and exalting it above Christ Himself. The president of American Baptist College recently applied this argument to those who believe that, according to Scripture, homosexual behavior is a sin.

American Baptist College, in Nashville, Tennessee, has allegedly been shrouded in controversy lately when the school invited Bishop Yvette Flunder, a California-based preacher and a lesbian “married” to her same-sex partner, to speak on her ministry to those with HIV and AIDS. Many pastors reportedly were upset by this acceptance of homosexual behavior and gay “marriage” on the part of the Baptist school. In response to the complaints, Dr. Forrest Harris, the president of the school, reportedly said that they would not reconsider the invitation and that he was “sad that people use religion and idolatry of the Bible to demoralize same-gender-loving people.” He reportedly defines “idolatry of the Bible” by saying, “When people say [the Bible] is synonymous with God and the truth . . . We can’t be guided and dictated by a first-century worldview.” So, according to Harris, viewing God’s Word as truth and submitting ourselves in obedience to it is idolatry!

Jesus Submitted to Scripture

In submitting to the authority of Scripture, we are doing no less than our Master, Jesus Christ, did. Throughout His earthy ministry He submitted in obedience to the Word of God even though He Himself is the Word (John 1:1).

When Jesus was tempted by Satan before beginning His public ministry, He responded with God’s Word. It was wrong for Him to turn the stones into bread, to jump from the highest place on the temple, and to bow down and worship Satan, because those are all contrary to Scripture. In response to Satan’s temptations, Jesus replied with Scripture (Matthew 4:1–11). He submitted Himself in obedience to God’s Word.

In obedience to God’s written word Jesus allowed Himself to be betrayed by Judas: “I do not speak concerning all of you. I know whom I have chosen; but that the Scripture may be fulfilled, ‘He who eats bread with Me has lifted up his heel against Me’” (John 13:18). In permitting Himself to be betrayed by Judas, Jesus was submitting to God’s purpose and plan as recorded in Psalm 41:9.

He also went to the Cross out of obedience to God’s Word revealed by the prophets: “How then could the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must happen thus? . . . But all this was done that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled’” (Matthew 26:54, 56). In submitting to His arrest and crucifixion, Jesus was fulfilling many Old Testament prophecies such as Isaiah 53 or Psalm 22.

While on the Cross, even while He was dying, Jesus was submitting Himself to the Scriptures: “After this, Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, ‘I thirst!’” (John 19:28).

Since Christ was sinless (2 Corinthians 5:21), no one can accuse Christ of idolatry of the Bible or of anything else. And yet He clearly submitted Himself to God’s written Word. Since we are to follow Christ’s example (1 Peter 2:21), we too are to submit ourselves to the authoritative words of God “which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:15). As fallible, sinful human beings, we certainly can do no less than our Master when it comes to obedience to His God-breathed Word (2 Timothy 3:16).

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