Viking Travel Journal––Day 7

Alesund & Giske–Home of Rollo?

Alesund, Norway is one of the most beautiful towns I’ve ever seen.

It sits on a peninsula among a number of islands connected by tunnels under the water.

Apparently they did not want the eyesore of bridges obscuring the natural beauty of the islands and water.

The desire for beauty above mere functionality is a Kingdom impulse.

“Out of the ground the Lord God caused to grow every tree that is pleasing to the sight and good for foodGen. 2:9 (emphasis added). The place God created for Adam and Eve was beautiful first and then functional. We have it backwards. We build for functionality and beauty is often an afterthought, if even that. 

We took an excursion out to Giske island this morning in search of Rollo the Viking. Rollo (c. 860-c. 930 A.D.) , like most Vikings of his age, was a pagan raider, raiding villages in Europe and England and looting churches. He even attacked Paris via the Seine (885-886 A.D.).  Continue reading “Viking Travel Journal––Day 7”

History v. Fantasy

In response to Christianity’s claims regarding Jesus’ resurrection many critics argue first century people were just naive and prone to believe fantasy and myth. Not hardly.  Consider the following.

This from Peter:  “For we did not follow cleverly devised tales when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty.” (2 Peter 1:16).

From the blind man whom Jesus healed, responding to a disbelieving crowd: “Since the beginning of time it has never been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a person born blind.” (John 9:32).

Thomas, after hearing initial reports of the resurrection: “Unless I see in His hands the imprint of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.” (John 20:25).

Jesus’ miracles validated his authority and His resurrection validated His identity, and He hid neither in clever theological arguments but instead planted them firmly in history, in space and time, where they could be observed by all who would attempt to answer Jesus’ question, “Who do you say that I am?” GS

Visible Evidence Of The Invisible

As a trial lawyer, I make my living in evidence. So, when I ran across this passage this morning it immediately caught my attention.

Jesus has just told a man his sins are forgiven. The Pharisees, knowing something about theology and realizing only God could forgive sins, quickly understood Jesus had just impliedly claimed to be God. Jesus understanding what the Pharisees were thinking, called them on it and said,

“Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins have been forgiven you’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? But, so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins–He said to the paralytic–“I say to you, get up, pick up your stretcher and go home.”

(Luke 5:23-24).

Jesus understood the Pharisees were questioning His authority to forgive sins. Authority is something you cannot see. You can see symbols of it–a badge, a uniform, a seal–but authority itself is unseen.

Jesus could have told the Pharisees to accept on blind faith that He had the authority to forgive sins. Instead, Jesus offered them something more–“But, so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins…”–and then gave them visible, tangible evidence of His authority by healing the paralytic.

Pretty good evidence. GS

On Miracles

The Apostle Paul said the kingdom of God was not a matter of talk but power. (I Cor. 4:20).  In other words, the Kingdom is not merely a theological proposition but a realm in which the power of God is manifested.

I firmly believe in miracles, and I’m not talking about the I-lost-my-keys-prayed-and-found-them type.  I’m talking about healings from incurable diseases, people being instanteously set free from drug addictions and the like.  I believe in such things because of what I’ve witnessed, the testimony of others who have witnessed miracles and the testimony of the Bible.

As a trial attorney, I don’t think it arrogant of me to suggest I know something about evidence.  I also like to believe I’m a rational person.  It’s surprising to me then that Christians are so often accused of believing in miracles because of their dogma, while materialists’ disbelief is asserted as being based on reason.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  As G.K. Chesterton has noted, Christians believe in miracles because of the testimony of persons who have witnessed them throughout history.  Materialists disbelieve in miracles because their materialist dogma prohibits it.

Ask a materialist why he disbelieves the testimony of persons who have witnessed miracles and he will say those persons are not credible.  Ask why he believes those persons are not credible and he will answer, “Because miracles are not possible.”  His objection to miracles does not spring from evidence, or the lack of it, but from his a priori belief against them.  Chesterton said it like this, “It is we Christians who accept all actual evidence–it is you rationalists who refuse actual evidence being constrained to do so by your creed.”

I’m glad I’ve thrown my lot in with those who are open-minded. GS