50th Anniversary of Apollo 8 – NASA & Creationism

© Original content written by James R. Carlson

Lunar Earthrise Apollo 8

Earth as seen from the Apollo 8 spacecraft on 24 December 1968.

(This is how the astronauts actually saw it!)

Did you know that 50 years ago on Christmas Eve the Apollo 8 crew read from the Book of Genesis, chapter 1? They were orbiting the moon in 1968 and took photos of the earth as they cleared the horizon of the moon’s dark side. They not only read scripture verses from the Bible, they also gave a prayer for peace on earth.

Madalyn M. O’hair sued NASA and lost. There is nothing in the constitution to prevent people in space from sharing passages of the Bible or Praying publicly. A creation story, told not as myth, was presented from people who accept God as Creator. Clearly, the foundation of creationist views of the world were accepted as true and presented from NASA personnel.

Everyone knows that NASA has virtually accepted the creation story of evolution. Creationists and Creationism are under attack at NASA and academia. People who speak publicly about their biblical beliefs and the lack of science behind evolution are targeted for dismissal. This has occurred many times in the past and it is a sad commentary about people who claim to pursue all avenues of exploration in science and space.

The fact that in 1968, NASA astronauts prayed in orbit around the moon, read Bible verses, and later upon landing on the moon a year later had Holy Communion, is a fact that the record of history has established. Again, it is sad that people who believe in evolution claim their religious freedom while they deny the religious freedoms others have. In other words, religious and political atheists who seek to secularize American society and government do not have priority over those they disagree with or those that disagree with them. The separation of church and state means everyone is free to have their views without government compulsion or penalty. To establish one set of religious views as the only acceptable science (aka, evolution) over other views is a violation of the No Establishment clause of the U.S. First Amendment.

Most Americans believe in God and trust in His Divine leadership throughout their lives. The Apollo 8 astronauts were no exception. Using a KJV Bible provided by the Gideons, the 3 NASA astronauts orbiting the moon on Christmas Eve 50 years ago, read from Genesis 1:1-10. Let’s read what they had to say 50 years ago and pray with them their prayer for peace on the good earth.

William Anders

(He took the photo above and noted its orientation)

We are now approaching lunar sunrise, and for all the people back on Earth, the crew of Apollo 8 has a message that we would like to send to you.

1:1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

1:2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

1:3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.

1:4 And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.

 James Lovell

1:5 And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.

1:6 And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.

1:7 And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.

1:8 And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.

 Frank Borman

1:9 And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.

1:10 And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.

And from the crew of Apollo 8, we close with good night, good luck, a Merry Christmas – and God bless all of you, all of you on the good Earth.

Frank Borman also prayed the following prayer on the Apollo 8 mission. Again, let’s add our Amen!

Give us, O God, the vision which can see thy love in the world in spite of human failure. Give us the faith to trust thy goodness in spite of our ignorance and weakness. Give us the knowledge that we may continue to pray with understanding hearts, and show us what each one of us can do to set forth the coming of the day of universal peace. Amen.

Happy Anniversary Apollo 8. And Merry Christmas America. Jesus still loves us and we celebrate His birthday on Christmas Day. Happy birthday to the Prince of Peace.

Solved – 400-Year-Old Mystery

© Original content written by James R. Carlson

Scrupulosity

Buy This Book on Amazon.com

Most people in the Christian Church are familiar with the question, “Can you lose your salvation?” The answer requires research into the history of Christian theology that goes back 400 years. From 13 November 1618 – 9 May 1619, a meeting was held in Holland over theological issues that continue to affect us today. The questions raised then are the source of a heated debate today. While many argue a simple binary of Yes or No, the truth is found in a theological doctrine called, Sanctification by Grace.

Your Sanctification is your Preservation. Many people are familiar with the ideas of “Let go and let God”; “Trust and obey for there is no other way to be happy in Jesus than to trust and obey.” Sanctification by Grace, also called Sanctification by the Spirit (Holy Spirit), means we grow in the goodness and grace of God. This process of maturing in Christ means we surrender our righteousness, submit to the righteousness of God, and follow the leadership of the Spirit in our day to day life. This process of Sanctification, means we are maturing in God’s righteousness. And it is this life lived by faith in Christ that is preserved by God, not ourselves.

Problems arise when we seek to establish ourselves in our own goodness. We witness the failure of our efforts and the depravity of our human nature, which is sin. Surrendering to God’s goodness requires an act of faith in Christ where we abandon our own goodness and surrender to God’ goodness. Many of us in our Christian lives understand that we are led to the end of our own ability to do good things, so that we may be raised by the Spirit of God into His goodness to do good things. This cycle of life-death-new life is a process that comes easy to some and hard to others. When it gets hard, people suffer needlessly.

Some people fight with everything they have to be good and get better in their own ability. They never realize that they have to surrender their goodness to God’s ability. It is like hanging on to the end of a rope for dear life when the ground is only inches below our feet; just let go and trust that God will be there to catch you. We need to trust God, in His goodness, that he will help us live a life apart from sin, not by our strength but by His. When we are weak, He is strong. When we refuse to die the death to self, we linger in our own weakness and fail to receive God’s grace to grow in His goodness. Such is the problem of scrupulosity – the fear of losing one’s salvation because our lives still have sin in them.

I wrote a book called Scrupulosity showing my own personal journey to surrender. I also present a journey to the answer that provides a theological solution to scrupulosity. Sanctification by the Spirit is the answer to this 400-year-old problem. All one needs to do is trust God for their growth in Christ. Allow God to bring you to the end of your self and learn to lean on God’s goodness and grace for your Christian growth and preservation. Truly God loves you. If Jesus died to pay for your sins, he’s still dying to bring you into a life of fellowship with Him by the leadership of His Holy Spirit. Lean on God; He won’t let you down.

Please pray:

God, I have trusted Jesus for my salvation. Now I want to trust in Him for my sanctification. I know you are working in my life by the leadership of your Holy Spirit. I surrender my life to your leadership. I surrender my goodness to follow yours. I thank you for your love and I know that I can trust you each and every day. You are a good God. And I thank you that you are a loving Father. I surrender my all to you. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.

Hotel California

© Original content written by James R. Carlson

Hotel California

Camp Fire in Paradise, CA

The recent blaze in California has been responsible for nearly 100 deaths and 1000 missing persons. The environmentalists have blamed this fire on global warming but have not taken responsibility for it themselves. We are witnessing the result of the propaganda of environmentalism that results in the destruction of the natural environment and the lives of people. We as a nation needs to abandon the left and their environ-mania. But as the song once said, you can check in any time you like but you can never leave; welcome to the hotel California.

Environmentalists have been parroting global warming for a few decades. Self-deceived, they are stunned when people do not agree with their established faith. As I have written in previous articles, we do not have global warming whose cause is manmade CO2; instead we have polar warming whose cause is nature made CO2. Unable to correctly define the problem, these environmentalists are unable to solve the problem.

Environmentalists have also decided to do nothing about wildfires. As noted in previous articles, these environ-maniacs refuse to allow people to clear the underbrush in forests and cut roads for fire trucks. This refusal permits the kindling of fires in the underbrush and prevents fires from being extinguished by firefighters. This is a tragedy that kills people, destroys property, and rapes the environment. In the past, environmentalist have said that this is just nature taking its course. That is insane given the fact that we can prevent these forest fires. Remember Smokey?

Now, the environ-maniacs are dismissing any responsibility and are projecting it onto those who disagree with their global warming beliefs. Double down the guilt that these environ-maniacs share given that they prevent the fighting of forest fires and that they miss the mark on the cause of them. It isn’t global warming, it is environ-mania.

We will continue to see the mismanagement of our natural environment when these environ-maniacs are in charge. They are drunk on their power. However, they do not use their power for the good of humanity or nature and are irresponsible with their power. They are in fact enemies of anyone who dares to disagree with them. But as Smokey once said, “Only you can prevent forest fires.” Its time we stop giving these people the power they need to ignore the problems Californians are facing.

Family Matters

© Original content written by James R. Carlson

She Said Yes

I have been working on relationships lately. Please forgive my absence in blogging. I’ve not stopped my work in presenting viewpoints from a Christian Conservative perspective. I’ve put a pause in the work of writing to build new family ties.

In January this year I met a new girlfriend, Nancy, on the website www.christianmingles.com. We spoke via the website, text, and phone for a month before meeting. I live in El Paso, Texas and she lives in Tucson, Arizona. I drove to Tucson for our first date on 17 February this year; this was our Valentine’s date. We continued to date for four months and had a wonderful time.

Nancy suggested that since we are both Christian, we begin working together on a devotional for dating couples. She gave me four books to look through online and I chose one of them; it was a nine-week course where we were led to grow closer to God and then with each other. We agreed that after we finished the devotional, we would make a decision about our relationship.

On 16 June, we finished our devotional and I proposed to her, to which she said yes. After 4 months of dating, we got engaged. After 3 months of our engagement, we’ll get married. We are busy planning our wedding, which puts other work on the back burner. We are also going through another devotional for engaged couples. It is challenging but worth the effort and I highly recommend you do this too.

In January this year, I also reconnected with a cousin of mine whom I had not seen in decades. We had a great conversation and said it would be good to put together a family reunion. We used to have them in the 1980s and 1990s but have not had one in 20 years. We decided to put one together, even before I met Nancy, and we just finished with our reunion in Austin, Texas on 14 July 2018.

We had a good turnout but numbers are not the issue. Meeting family members whom we haven’t seen in years is good for the soul. It helps everyone to find their place in a community and family is the first community we belong to. There are other groups we associate with and they give us meaning and purpose for our lives. As humans we need our society to help us gain an identity and purpose.

So please forgive the absence in writing. I will be working to finish our wedding and honeymoon plans and then get back to life and living. I’m enjoying making new and reconnecting with old relationships. That is the stuff of life and I encourage you to live on.

Public Morality

© Original content written by James R. Carlson

public morality

We are in an epidemic of sin. We have seen our nation degenerate into a country where lawlessness is the law and lawfulness is illegal. This dive into a spiral of death is the result of untamed sin. Society is almost out of options as our nation’s legal system is run to ruin by the judiciary where the will of the people and the Will of God are both dismissed by the higher authority of the bench. We need to remember the rule of old where morality was not publicly scorned but publicly displayed.

Daniel Webster, in a speech on July 4, 1802 said,

Ambitious men must be restrained by the public morality: when they rise up to do evil, they must find themselves standing alone. Morality rests on religion. If you destroy the foundation, the superstructure must fall.

We know God has given us His Will through His Word. We find in the Bible the truths of right and wrong, which echo our conscience, our God given conscience. We must recall the voice from within and present it without to those who need a reminder, a refresher, on what is right and wrong. We need to portray those who deceive, either willingly or by their own self-deception, the truth of morality and our need to follow it.

We live at a time when it is popular to be immoral. We find any number of comedians leading us to laugh about ungodly behavior. We are cheered on by them and cheer them on when they portray the disgusting as something humorous. There will be little to laugh about if we mock God in the temporal and find ourselves separated from God in the eternal.

Look at pornography (but don’t look at it). It destroys men’s concept of sex and relationships. Children and women are victims of untamed sinful activity that rape their bodies and maim their souls for life. Men who abuse women, and consider it acceptable due to consenting sex, leave a trail of broken hearts and lives behind them. How many people have been abused by heterosexual partners who then turn to alternate forms of sex like homosexuality to avoid the abuse they once suffered, only to find new forms of abuse in perverted sexual relationships!

Start with porn again as a root of abortion where the pleasure of sex (a gift from God) is perverted into the right to have sex without a responsibility to care for children. Abortion is linked to pornography, yet our society has allowed this stain on our public soul to persist. What can be done about it? Public morality can lead to the dismissal of false media like porn that promotes sin, and sex as sin, when sex is godly, Holy, and pure (God’s gift to mankind for pleasure and reproduction in marriage).

Public Morality is more than just decrying the woes of sin. It is also a praise of the values of virtue. We must live lives that show the merit of the just and virtuous. Living it in front of people is perhaps the best way to expose the lies of sin by showing a public example of moral living that produces the fruit of peace and happiness in one’s life. Temptations will come but by the leadership of the Holy Spirit, with faith in Christ Jesus, we can overcome sin and live a life of righteousness. Someone once said, ‘You can’t keep the birds from flying over your head but you can keep them from building a nest in your hair.’ thoughts come and go but living a moral life is a commitment made first by faith in Christ Jesus.

The more we surrender to the fatigue of the media’s constant bombardment against righteousness and their portrayal of sin as a virtue, the more likely it will be that persecution will come our way. We cannot hide from the evil that tests our generation. We must stand against it both in how we live and what we say. Public Morality is one way in which we can help rescue our nation from the snare of sin.

LatteDa – $1

© Original content written by James R. Carlson

LatteDa

Two young Black men entered a coffee shop in Philadelphia recently and planned to hold a meeting without buying anything at the coffee shop. The management of the coffee shop, and later the police, asked them to leave but they refused in both instances. They claim that are victims of racism. Instead of going to Court where this kind of a claim belongs, they accepted a symbolic award of $1. Sadly, the lack of adjudication in Court of a false claim of racism will only set the Civil Rights movement backwards. Dr. King must be rolling over in his grave right now!

Can anyone see the crime here? Was it that Black people were asked to either buy something or leave? The crime is that people (yes, they’re black) were treated correctly according to the rule of law and that was later apologized for. Apologize for what? For doing business selling coffee? For asking them to buy something or leave? For arresting them when they refused a lawful order from the police? They would never have won their case in Court. Well congrats for winning a dollar – LatteDa.

What was the supposed racism? That two young men refused to buy anything while using the business facility as a meeting place for their own business? That is not how business is run. And when the police are called by management to remove people who are not customers, the customers either leave or get arrested. There is no color issue here except in the minds of these two young Black men.

As I’ve written before, BLM has no solutions, only problems. Dr. King had both problems and solutions. Dr. King taught that Jesus is for all the people regardless of color; the rule of law is supposed to be applied to all the people regardless of color; and people are supposed to take people as people regardless of color. Peeps are peeps. And the police arrested two peeps who committed a minor crime; the perp so minor it was silly – buy a latte. How hard would it be for them to either buy a cup of coffee or leave when told to?

The police did absolutely nothing wrong but these two young men did what everyone else in the news has done lately, which is to disobey the law and law officers to make the headlines. People (black or white) have no right to dismiss the law or the police because they think they have the moral high ground. The outcome may not be as expected if that’s what you do.

Remember the woman who videoed the death of her husband who didn’t obey the policeman? He was in his car with a gun and refused to obey the police officer. She has her video footage but he’s dead. Or how about the young man who hit the policeman in the face and was shot and killed. I’m sure he’s happy about the outrage that followed. ‘Stop, don’t shoot’ or ‘stop, don’t hit the cop’; what should we emphasize? Not one Black man or woman has had a run in with the police that went bad unless they disobeyed the police first. Show me someone who actually did everything they were supposed to do according to the law and the police then is mistreated. I’ll show you something that you can take to Court and win more than $1.

Dr. King didn’t fight the law or the police even when the law and police fought him. He advocated the peaceful nonviolent use of protests and declared that the law should be applied equally to all people. And when the law was applied without respect to color with these two young Black men, we were seeing the Dream come true. It’s time for peeps of all color to recall the message of Dr. King and find solutions more than problems. Can society handle living the Dream?

Disclaimer:

Truth told, there is a problem in our nation. Bigotry is everywhere and if so, racism can be anywhere. Black people especially know this to be true; White people are often oblivious to it. So, while BLM cannot accurately define the problems or solutions, please remember, there are still problems that need to be adjudicated one case at a time in a Court of Law. That is because Black lives DO matter!

In God We Trust

© Original content written by James R. Carlson

Kim Hand Shake

The national motto of the United States is “in God we trust”. The nation of North Korea, however, has Mr. Kim as their object of veneration. A state cult is based upon Mr. Kim, which for some time has prevented religious freedom from flourishing in that nation. If Mr. Kim wants his nation to blossom, religious freedom has to be a part of the society and culture of North Korea. In God We Trust has to be the national motto of North Korea.

I applaud the efforts of Mr. Kim to reach out to the leadership of South Korea. He has reached out to the people of Korea in an attempt to unite the people of the peninsula as one. This is a vision of his grandfather; although he attempted to use communism as the means of unity. Mr. Kim, in rescuing the vision of his great-great grandfather, can still unite the Korean people based upon religious freedom.

The gospel of Jesus Christ is what his family once stood for. Uniting the people of north and south begins with a spiritual unity. This unification of the people of Korea based upon a common faith in Jesus Christ will open all doors for society, community, economy, and polity. The work that Mr. Kim has ahead of him is spiritual, which can only be accomplished by the leadership of the Holy Spirit. Mr. Kim has to reach his hand out to God if he wants to succeed.

The leader of Egypt once refused to allow the people of Israel to leave and worship God according to God’s leadership. Instead, Pharaoh saw himself as a god and was the center of the Egyptian national cult. This prevented Pharaoh from being the great leader of Egypt. His leadership should have allowed the Israelites to briefly leave their homes to worship God and come back as they said they would. Fear led the Pharaoh to persecute the Israelites, which led to his own death and the permanent separation of the Israelis from Egypt.

God extends his hand to the leader of North Korea and wants to bless this people. Religious freedom is the means by which Mr. Kim can reach out his hand and open the doors of heaven for his people. This connection with God, for the benefit of the North Korean people, is a first step to the full restoration of the Korean people, both north and south.

He That Restraineth

© Original content written by James R. Carlson

He that Restrains

The Bible tells us in 2 Thessalonians 2:7 New King James Version (NKJV)

For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way.

Who is He that restrains?

The traditional interpretation of this verse places the Holy Spirit in the role of the restrainer. The work of the Spirit in the life of the believer of Jesus is to enable one to live a life of sincere righteousness. A righteousness not born of one’s self (self-righteous) but of God. Believing in Jesus gives us God’s righteousness and we are to grow in the goodness and grace of God. This is sanctification by grace or by the Spirit. It is the work of the Spirit of God in the life of the believer that retrains us from continually practicing sin and enables us to do good.

But what restrains us from sin if we don’t believe in Jesus? Here, God gave all mankind a conscience to know right from wrong. This gift of God retrains us but it works through our free will to be responsible for what we do. This works for most people. Religion enhances the natural revelation of God’s law in our conscience with God’s revealed law. Once again, choice is required to do what is right and we are responsible for the good or bad things we do.

Romans 2:11-15 New King James Version (NKJV)

11 For there is no partiality with God.

12 For as many as have sinned without law will also perish without law, and as many as have sinned in the law will be judged by the law 13 (for not the hearers of the law are just in the sight of God, but the doers of the law will be justified; 14 for when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves, 15 who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them)

But what about the evil work of sin in society? Is there one that restraineth here? For this, God gave mankind the institution of government (Romans 13) to restrain bad works (not bad people).

Romans 13 New King James Version (NKJV)

1 Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience’ sake.

The government doesn’t care what you believe in; they care about what you do. They are supposed to leave you to your conscience to serve God. You are responsible for your actions before God. And you are also supposed to be responsible for your actions before the government. You can serve God and your fellow man with a clean conscience. He who restrains is God through the institution of government.

Government is made up of people and like people, government can rebel against God. The government does not always base law upon the moral laws of God. Occasionally, the laws of man supercede God’s Laws. The Declaration of American Independence says that God gave us our rights and showed us the value of what is right in the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God (Romans 2). God gave all mankind a conscience to know right from wrong. And God gave us His divine revelation to see moral truth from a better perspective, His Word. Government based upon divine principles of morality should protect people who do what is right. Today, however, with a misinterpretation of the separation of church and state, sin is being legalize while righteousness is being criminalized.

Early in the 19th century, Daniel Webster told us that to preserve our republic we need to practice public morality. We should be outspoken about the sins we find in society; in private and in public places. Today, however, we are seeing the practice of public immorality. Gay parades, medicinal marijuana laws, and unbridled abortions characterize our society today. Speak out against it and you’re labeled a homo-phobe (same-fear?), a prude, or a nazi. We who practice right from wrong need to tell it like it is because there will be a day when we can no longer talk truth. As more and more people talk trash, stand up for the truth and the right way of doing things. Here then, we are they that restraineth as we stand up for God’s principles.

Who else could be called to restrain? The Church? Paul spoke of a list of sins people commit that included false religion.

2 Timothy 3 New King James Version (NKJV)

1 But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!

In this list of debased characteristics is a practice of false religion. This too is on the rise and is even seen in the Church. Where the Gospel is truly preached, sin is called sin. Often, the love of God is preached without mention of sin or the person of God – Jesus. The Love of God is the person of Jesus who loved us enough to pay for the penalty of our sin on the Cross. There is a false religion in the Church that wants the love of God without the person of Jesus or the forgiveness of sin; having a form of godliness but denying the power therein. The power of Christ’s Spirit to live a life apart from sin is what God’s love is for.

The mystery of iniquity will continue without restraint one day. During the great tribulation, He that restraineth with be removed – the Spirit, you/me, the Church. Societies all over the globe will suffer from unrestrained sin and we will witness what happens to mankind when God no longer hinders the unbridled passions of mankind. Sin will rule and man will fail. And it will take less than 7 years for all this to happen. Sin is that dangerous!

Throughout time and history, mankind has suffered from the wages of sin. God has always provided for a sacrifice for our sins to make a way through the darkness to His glorious light; this is the chief way our sin is restrained. The first sacrifice was in the Garden of Eden when God slayed animals to make coverings of skin for them. God also prophesied of a coming Seed of the Woman (Messiah) who would pay for the penalty of sin by His sacrifice on the Cross. Jesus is the promise in the Garden for our redemption. We can be forgiven of our sin and live a life apart from sin through him.

Pray this prayer and receive God’s forgiveness of sin.

God of heaven, I believe in Jesus Christ who died on the Cross for me. I believe that he paid for the penalty of my sin, which I admit I have done. I ask for your forgiveness of my sin and thank you for your love. Please bring me closer to you so that I may know you. By your Holy Spirit, please make in me a clean heart, a renewed spirit, and a right mind that I may do those things that are pleasing to you. Thank you, God, Father of the Lord Jesus Christ, and now my Father in Heaven. Amen!

 

Afterword

Please understand your role in these ‘last days’. We are to pray for the lost; we are to serve those who do not know God. We are to share the Gospel with them and not condemn them; their sin already condemns them. We are to stand for a moral government; we should work to preserve God’s good institution and not let it become perverted.

And as a Church, while we reach out with a social gospel of love, please know that the real Gospel of Jesus Christ is the only true answer to mankind’s sin. Jesus understood sin as the chief problem of mankind. He died to give us the forgiveness of sin and a renewed relationship with God through Him. Blessings be upon you in His name – Jesus!

Mystery of Iniquity

© Original content written by James R. Carlson

mystery of iniquity

Everyone loves a mystery. The ‘who done it’ theme captures the imagination of us all. But what if the ‘who’ in this question is not a person but something we cannot point to directly. What if the ‘who’ is actually ‘sin’? This is the mystery of iniquity.

Traditionally, iniquity is the willfulness we have in life to live apart from God. God’s Will for us represents the Law of God and our disobedience to His Will represents sin in our lives. Iniquity is different from sin when we live our lives without any respect for God’s Will for our lives; we’re doing our own thing! This is iniquity.

From a website definition, the Latin root for iniquity is iniquitas, meaning “unjust,” or “harmful” is:  in (not) + aequus (equal). But the Greek μυστήριον τῆς ἀνομίας (mysterion tes anomias) is probably best rendered, “Mystery of lawlessness.” It is not only a mystery of iniquity, but one of direct disobedience to the Law of God. Here, the mystery of iniquity is sin.

Paul writes about this mystery of lawlessness.

2 Thessalonians 2:7 New King James Version (NKJV)

For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way.

This mystery is the work of sin in the lives of every individual ever born on the earth. We are all found guilty before God for our sins and iniquity. Jesus, the sovereign Son of God, paid for the penalty of sin when he shed his blood and died on the Cross. Yes, He died for sin! Your sin and my sin. The Gospel first tells us that there is sin in our lives and we can be redeemed from sin by the work of Jesus on the Cross. The Gospel of Jesus has power over sin and the mystery of iniquity.

Paul also tells us of another mystery – the law of sin.

Romans 7 New King James Version (NKJV)

21 I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. 22 For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. 23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.

This law of sin keeps us from doing good even when we desire to do good. It pushes us to do bad even when we don’t want to do what is wrong. The law of sin is sinister, dastardly, evil, and vicious. It is not obvious to those of us who are subject to it. We can only recognize it by the revelation of the God. But we who used to be subject to this law of sin are freed, not by the law of good works, but by the law of faith in Jesus Christ. We cannot do enough good to make God happy but Jesus on the Cross made God happy when he paid for our sin.

Sin is not a toy as some imagine it to be. It destroys lives, families, and even nations. We have a nation today that seeks to remove godly laws that prohibit such sins as sodomy (homosexuality), abortion, and recreational drug use (pharmakeia; often translated as sorcery). We find in the United States today a drive to outlaw righteousness and legalize sin.

Paul spoke of the last days in which we would experience such things.

2 Timothy 3 New King James Version (NKJV)

1 But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!

We see this in our society today. Increasingly we see people who are turning away from God and serve their own appetites (lust). But where does the drive to practice such levels of depravity come from? Paul tells us about the root of where this begins.

Romans 1 New King James Version (NKJV)

20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, 21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.

24 Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, 25 who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

26 For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. 27 Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.

28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, 30 backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; 32 who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.

From the beginning, those who reject God in their lives are driven from the righteousness that comes from God to a life of sin. Evolution (denying the Creator and elevating the Creature) turns people’s hearts away from God to serve their own lusts. Sin becomes their master and their iniquity takes them away from the instruction God offers them.

In the first century of the Church, Paul told us about the work of sin that was already at work in society; and in the last century of the Church, John tells us that the work of sin continues to work in society.

Revelations 9:21 New King James Version (NKJV)

21 And they did not repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts.

The Book of Revelations reveals, among other things, the judgement of God on the earth during the last days of the great tribulation period. John shows us that people will continue to practice sin without repentance. Unremitting sin will characterize the generation who is without Christ Jesus; this is the same generation that follow the antichrist – the man of sin – the lawless one.

The mystery of iniquity or lawlessness characterizes the work of sin in our lives. Religion is not capable of saving us from sin; it only judges sin in us. God gave us His Son to redeem us from the law and sin. By faith in Jesus we can be forgiven of sin and live a new life apart from sin.

Do you realize the peril that sin offers you?! Do you know that you can be forgiven of sin? You can be free of the penalty of sin and more. You can have power over sin in your daily life. We are without ability to do good in God’s eyes apart from the ability that God will give us. God gave us His Son Jesus to pay for sin’s penalty and to give us a new life in Him.

Pray this prayer and receive God’s forgiveness of sin.

God of heaven, I believe in Jesus Christ who died on the Cross for me. I believe that he paid for the penalty of my sin, which I admit I have done. I ask for your forgiveness of my sin and thank you for your love. Please bring me closer to you so that I may know you. By your Holy Spirit, please make in me a clean heart, a renewed spirit, and a right mind that I may do those things that are pleasing to you. Thank you, God, Father of the Lord Jesus Christ, and now my Father in Heaven. Amen!

Life in Our Solar System

© Original content written by James R. Carlson

planets

Since I was a little boy, I saw the solar system as a lifeless system where planets had incredible heat, no water, gaseous storms, etc.; all things that do not provide for an environment where life can occur. Look at the asteroid belt past Mars; was that once a planet that broke apart? Was Jupiter just the trash can for all the gasses in our solar system? Everything in our solar system shows a lack of conditions that favor life; except the planet earth.

The Bible tells us that God not only created all matter in the universe with his Word (“Let there be Light”), He also provided for a special creation on earth. Apparently, the waters of our planet once covered everything, so God separated the waters into 2 regions, those above and below the ‘firmament’ in the sky (those in the sky later flooded the earth). Then, God separated the waters on the earth from the land to make dry ground and the seas. He then created the plants on the earth; the sun, the moon, and the stars over the earth. He created life in the oceans, in the sky, and on the ground; the fish, the birds, and land animals were all created specially by God. Then God created mankind. So, the work of God was special in that it didn’t evolve but was the divine act of God in our solar system on one planet – earth.

This is the presentation of the creation week from the Book of Genesis. This outlines a special place for the earth that is unique in our solar system. The other planets around our sun are not suited for life; it is apparent that God did not create them for life or prepare them to support life. The idea that mankind can explore the solar system, or the galaxy, for new places to live is just fiction.

However, I do not object to space exploration or the pursuit of possible life elsewhere on other planets. I just don’t expect to find any.

Years ago, a professor at the UT School of Aerospace Engineering, Dr. Hans Mark, told us of a conference he had with religious leaders. They were given the question of whether or not there was life elsewhere in the solar system or galaxy and they routinely responded by saying no; but if there was life their response would be, ‘Praise God!’ This is why I do not object to exploring the possibility of life elsewhere because it is all the handy work of God and not of evolution. However, there are more important things on earth to be spending our tax dollars on.

Each and every planet in our solar system is a witness to lifeless environments. Mercury is so hot on one side we would fry a person and cold on the other such that we would freeze. Venus has toxic hot gasses under intense pressures that cannot sustain life. Mars has no real life of its own despite the science fiction movies. The gas planets, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune are all one big toxic storm. And if you consider Pluto and Eris as planets, they are so far away from the Sun that Eris is considered to have a frozen atmosphere incapable of supporting life.

But then there are the moons of the planets. If there was life on them, that would be interesting. But these are as inhospitable for life as the planets. Some conjecture that there could be life below the ice cap on Jupiter’s moons, Ganymede and Europa. There are plans to explore this planet in the future. One of Saturn’s moons, Enceladus, erupts icy plumes on a regular basis. These ice moons are not suited for life and it is unlikely that any will be found.

The idea of life on other planets is one of evolution; if it occurred here on earth then why not elsewhere in the universe. Remember the fundamental law of biology – biogenesis; life comes from life. Evolution denies this fundamental law of biology and advocates abiogenesis – life emerging from lifeless chemicals. This has never been witnessed or proven by experimental science but it is a belief held by many who search for life outside of our own planet.

As we see the creation record of the Bible telling us of special creation on the planet earth, it is hard to look past the fact that there is no life in our solar system beyond earth that we can find (try as we have) and that the rest of the solar system appears to be a random display of general creation during the creation week. It appears that once again, the Bible has the better explanation for the origins of life on our planet as the remaining planets are totally lifeless. Once again, the record of the Bible proves to be true.