May 21st (Things That Are Hard to Believe) – OMG –
For some people “faith” is very simple…for them, they know the reality of God’s presence in my life, so it’s easy for them to accept, trust ,and believe. Other people, who equally love God, do not find faith on specific issues to be that easy. You also have the people that love digging and discussing and are just naturally curious. We will never be able to fully and truly know what happened 2000 or 4000 years and observe it for ourselves. So, what we are looking at today is how the church, theologians, scientists and others have investigated these miracles.
We share all this this morning, 1, for those that want to speak to friends and skeptics that struggle with a larger knowledge, and 2, for those people that do struggle, and the unbelievable nature of these stories have become stumbling blocks to their own progress in faith and journey with the scriptures.
We are going to show you how people process and let you decide for yourself.
Abraham and Sarah Conceived at Old Age
“Sarah became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the very time God had promised him.” Genesis 21:2
What seemed utterly impossible at the old age of 100 for Abraham and 90 for Sarah, God blessed this special couple with their son Isaac.
CBS News Daljinder Kaur, who’s believed to be at least 70 years old, gave birth to a son named Arman (meaning “wish” in Hindi) on April 19. The baby was the first for Kaur and her 79-year-old husband, Mohinder Singh Gill, after nearly five decades of marriage.
10 Mothers between 60 and 70 years old
Moses Parts the Red Sea
“Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and all that night the Lord drove the sea back with a strong east wind and turned it into dry land. The waters were divided, and the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left.” Exodus 16:21
Just before the entire army of Pharaoh was about to encroach on the Israelites, God delivered them by allowing Moses to part the waters so they could safely pass through the dry ground of the Red Sea. As soon as they made it through, the Lord commanded Moses to stretch out his hand over the sea again so the waters could flow back into their proper place, thus killing the entire army chasing them. (Exodus 14:13-28)
A top U.S. research center, the National Center for Atmospheric Research, Carl Drews, explores the scientific possibility. Many think it did not occur in the actual “Red Sea” that we see on a map today. Rather, that the original phrase from the Hebrew translates as “Sea of Reeds”– and much historical and archaeological research has gone into determining exactly where and what that could have been. It is thought that it would have been to the north of the modern day Red Sea in the Eastern Nile Delta region, just south of the Mediterranean Sea. The “Red Sea” or “sea of reeds” of Exodus was actually the Lake of Tanis. The lake “was a shallow brackish lagoon, and that was the ideal place for these papyrus reeds to grow. Then, there’s the meteorology and oceanography. The biblical text (Exodus 14:21) reads as follows: “Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and
the Lord drove the sea back by a strong east wind all night and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided.” By any stretch, a weather event strong enough to move water in this way would involve some unusually powerful winds. What atmospheric phenomenon could make this occur? A coastal effect called a “wind setdown,” in which strong winds — a little over 60 miles per hour — create a “push” on coastal water, which in one location, creates a storm surge. But in the location from which the wind pushes — in this case, the east — the water moves away. Such occurrences have been observed in the past in Lake Erie, among other places — and, also in the Nile Delta itself in the year 1882. If this theory is true it would have given Moses 4 hours to get across.
So, for some this explains what the writers of Exodus have recorded as a miracle. For others, the parting of the Red Sea was a miracle, an extraordinary act of God, and there is no need to come up with a natural explanation of a supernatural event.
Jonah and the Whale
Jonah 1:17 (TNIV) Now the LORD provided a huge fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.
When Jonah stubbornly ran away from the Lord upon His command to preach in Nineveh, the Lord sent a giant fish to swallow him and keep him for three days and nights. After hearing Jonah’s prayer, God miraculously spared him from the belly of the fish, where Jonah was then able to carry out God’s message to Nineveh. (Jonah 1-4)
The reasons are many but a small number readily come to mind. First, critical scholars dismiss the idea that a fish could swallow Jonah and he could miraculously survive. However, there are cases in which fish have swallowed men who were later found alive (see R. K. Harrison’s Old Testament Introduction, pp. 907-908; A. J. Wilson’s “Sign of the Prophet Jonah and Its Modern Confirmations,” in the Princeton Theological Review [25 (October 1927): 630-642]; and George F. Howe’s “Jonah and the Great Fish,” in the Biblical Research Monthly, January 1973, pp. 6-8). Yet, even if these cases can stand the test of responsible scrutiny they need not necessarily have to do so. The reality is that the Hebrew text of Jonah 1-2 does not require that Jonah lived for three days and three nights in the belly of a great fish. It may be that he did in fact die, and that the miracle is not that he survived three days and three nights in such an unusual submarine vessel, but that he was resurrected after having died from drowning or being consumed. Such a notion would certainly give more weight to Jesus’ statements about Jonah’s time in the fish being a sign of his own death and resurrection (cp. Matthew 12:39-42).
Matthew 12:39-40 He answered, ‘A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
The Immaculate Conception
Isaiah 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.
“This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit.” Matthew 1:18
““I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.” Luke 1:38
God chooses Mary, a virgin betrothed to Joseph, for the divine conception of Jesus Christ.
Can you have a baby without having sex? Yes.
The process is called parthenogenesis (literally ‘virgin creation’). The animals that practice it (most commonly…snakes, sharks and lizards) don’t have to worry about genomic imprinting, which does not occur in egg-laying animals. But mammals require active genes and proteins found only through sexual reproduction. And in most rare asexual births the offspring is 99% of the time a female. So, yes, but however, No. Not with mammals and not producing a male.
Yet, we can create life in a lab. We have to remember…just because we can recreate it, or analyze it in a lab, or understand it at a deeper level than an original account…doesn’t make it less a miracle. For many women a doctor becomes involved, uses artificial insemination, and life is created. The biblical account requires the Holy Spirit functions as the doctor. We can create life in a test tube…yet still, try telling a woman that feels a baby kick for the first time that it’s not mind blowing, and very much a miracle.
Jesus Walks on Water
“Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. ‘It’s a ghost,’ they said, and cried out in fear. But Jesus immediately said to them: ’Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.’” Matthew 14: 25-27
Jesus knew his disciples still held doubt about Him, so in a test of faith, Jesus appeared to them doing what no man had done before—walk on water. As he lead his disciples through their doubt and fear, he proved to them that He is truly who He said he was…the Son of God. (Matthew 14: 25-32)
The Unbelievable is around us all the time.
1935 – Bertrand Russell Book “Religion and Science” Said at a subatomic level classical nuclear physics had explained the mysteries of the atom. And quantum physics had taken it a step farther. At the cosmic level Einstein’s theory of relativity was expanding Newton’s explanation of the workings of the universe. At a planetary level, Darwin had explained the existence and development of life. Some even declared that science had neared the end of it’s journey. THAT was 1935….But experimentation proved many flaws and gaps in these theories and then the Big Bang! Staggering proof that the earth had a beginning. Science had opened the door again to believing the Genesis account and the existence of God.
What the Bleep Clip
According to Miceal Lcdwith: If I believe that I can walk on water, and I scream and shout to myself I’m going to walk on water, usually what I’m emphasizing is a disguise on the doubt that I have, so if you go out with that divided focus in your mind to walk on water, you’re going to sink. But if you had absolutely and fully accepted it, yes, it would happen because reality accommodates precisely to our intent. Likewise, if you can focus and thoroughly accept that you’re healed, it will happen, but what we don’t really accept is the degree of doubt that hides behind those affirmations.
Matt 17:20 If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.’
Use Kara Cole’s Science Thing
Vanderbilt’s Agenda…but my experience has held me.
We think if God did “big stuff” we would have more or stronger faith, or that we wouldn’t forget God, but that’s not historically the case. Israel as the prime example. Several books in the Old Testament are written specifically to help Israel remember the miracles they experienced. They experience, they forget, they wander, they experience, they forget, they wander, etc.
We get caught up in the details, the science, the validity of these recordings, and while there are at times benefit to that…we can miss the real miracle. The real “OMG”, what work God has done in our own lives. A couple of weeks ago we showed about 20 miracles that have happened here in our own church family…marriages healed, lives changed, addicts recovered, Roger Dabio physically experiencing healing in his body…It wasn’t GodWhy that did that. It wasn’t Pastor John. We get to be vessels. It was the work of God and the movement of the Holy Spirit. God is very much still in the business of miracles, but you have to ask yourself if you are willing to see them.