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Atheism and Gnosticism: 

Denying the Truth about God

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Question #1:   

Peace be with you. I trust you will be able to enlighten me using scriptures on the following questions.

It there a perfect church or doctrine that is in line with Gods perfect will?

Thank you in advance

Kindest Regards

Response #1: 

Good to make your acquaintance. I will give you short answers to the questions below (as short as I am able to give), but please do feel free to write back about any of this. There is a wealth of information at Ichthys on all of these topics.

As to the existence of "perfect churches", no, not in my opinion. Of course, perfection is impossible to achieve, but in my view there are very few churches which are even attempting to do what it is a church is meant to do, namely, further the spiritual growth of those who come through in-depth and orthodox teaching of the Word of God. Here is one good site besides Ichthys: "Bible Academy".

Question #2:  

Does hell exist? The Jehovah witness told me it does not exist.

Response #2: 

The lake of fire has already been prepared according to scripture (Matt.25:41), so yes, absolutely hell exists (see the link). It is no wonder that the JW's teach error on this point since they teach error on all other major points of truth of which I am aware.

Question #3:   

What is death according to God?

Response #3: 

There are three aspects of death, spiritual, physical and eternal (see the link). Man's fate, absent salvation, is to be born spiritually dead (dead to God), to die physically (the body is buried and the spirit goes to Torments), and to end up in "hell" (the lake of fire, the so-called "second death" of Revelation chapter twenty which follows the last judgment). But by putting our faith in Christ our spiritual death turns to life as we are born again. And, as a result, our physical death is merely the means of transition into an eternal life in the presence of Jesus Christ forever afterwards.

Question #4:   

When was hell created?

Response #4: 

Scripture does not say, but the two extremes of Hades and the third heaven must have been created no latter than the point of the devil's revolt (however long ago that took place); that is my view (see Dan.7:10); alternatively, they may be part of original creation, but as I say this is not made absolutely clear in scripture because their existence predates the creation of mankind in any case. Here is a chart at the link which makes the "geographic" relationship clear: "The Waters Above".

Question #5:  

Does our spirit live forever.

Response #5: 

Yes. When God creates a spirit, He creates it to be eternal. That is true of unbelievers as well as believers (see the link).

Question #6: 

What happens to people who never came across Christianity? When they die, will God raise them from the death to be taught Christianity?

Response #6: 

As to the question of "what about those who didn't hear", one has to start by remembering that God is omniscient, all powerful, all wise, all good, all righteous – i.e., that He truly is "God". Every detail of every human life – indeed, every detail of everything that has or will ever happen within the material universe – was decreed by Him before He initiated creation. In other words, God put everyone where they belonged. If a person in his/her heart of hearts had no intention of accepting Christ, there was no need to provide that person the gospel. On the other hand, consider also that God is and always has been capable of moving heaven and earth to bring the gospel to one person no matter where on earth, or of bringing that one person to the gospel, through means beyond our comprehension. Suffice it to say that there has never been a case of a person who would have been saved, if only he/she had been told about Christ, being lost for lack of information. Also, scripture assures us that there will be representatives in eternity "from every nation, tribe, people and language" (Rev.7:9), and one of the more obvious ways this will be true is through the principle that anyone who never had a fair chance to decide (through mental difficulties or else through dying before reaching an accountable age) is automatically saved. But this life is the time of decision; afterwards, there will be no going back, from salvation or condemnation. And it is not as if everyone did not know enough about God to be able to express what was in their heart about wanting a relationship with Him (or not):

(1) The heavens recount the glory of God, and the firmament tells of the work of His hands. (2) One day after another pours forth [His] words, and one night after another declares [His] knowledge. (3) There is no tongue or culture that cannot understand their voice (i.e., of the heavens/firmament). (4) Their design has gone out into (i.e., "is visible throughout") the entire earth, and their words to the end of the world. He has set a tent for the sun within them (i.e., hidden it in the heavens'/firmament's night sky), (5) and from this it goes forth like a [resplendent] bridegroom from his [wedding] canopy. [The sun] exults to run its course like an athlete [does]. (6) Its starting line is at one end of the heavens, and its circuit [takes it] to the ends [of the sky]. And nothing is hidden from its view.
Psalm 19:1-6

[God] has made everything beautiful in its [foreordained] time; but He has also placed [the notion of] eternity in the hearts of mankind – and [He has done this], moreover, without Man being able to discover the work which God has done from the beginning unto the end.
Ecclesiastes 3:11

(18) God's wrath is about to be revealed from heaven upon all ungodliness and unrighteousness – on men who suppress the truth [in their hearts about God] in their unrighteousness. (19) For that which can be known about God [from everyday experience] is obvious to them, because God has made it obvious. (20) His nature, though invisible, is nevertheless plainly apparent, and has been since His foundation of the world, for it may be clearly inferred from this creation of His – [this is true of] both His eternal power and His divinity – so that they are without any excuse: (21) they knew about God, but they neither honored Him as God nor thanked Him. Instead, they gave themselves over to [the] vanity [of this world] in their speculations, and their senseless hearts were filled with darkness.
Romans 1:18-21

I hope these responses are helpful to your spiritual growth in Jesus Christ.

Do feel free to write back about any of the above.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #7:  

Hello Dr. Luginbill, I hope life is serving you well, as always.

Several friends and I were having a discussion about what the future might entail for our generation. Most of them are atheist or agnostic, and we have all mutually agreed not to talk about religion (any more). I have presented faith in Christ as my motivation, and they "faith in humanity." We differ positionally, but we both want similar things: a brighter future for our world (which we all agree is rather broken though for different reasons I would think). This has always been something that rather puzzles me, for I see little logical motivation to be "moral" outside of compelling belief in divine judgment. I guess I haven't ever really been "outside the faith" so to speak (blessedly), so I can't precisely understand why they want the things they want or do the things they do. Anyway, our discussion ran over quite a few things, but the subjects that I have questions about mostly pertain to technology and our future. Now I haven't even made it all the way through SR part 1 (much less all the material you have about the coming tribulation), but I do recall seeing the millennial age timeline (from browsing some of the email postings) placing the tribulation's start at ca. 2026 or so. Many of my secular compatriots believe that technology is on the verge of breakthroughs that will revolutionize humanity, claiming pseudo-immortality through technological fortification, neural microchip implants that will make learning more like downloading data, and the ability to colonize other planets as distinct possibilities for the coming years. Like any other sane person (I would think), I have problems really seeing these things come into fruition. However, they have come up with quite the altruistic society that would be possible with a universe of infinite resources where everyone has genius level data processing capabilities. I tend to doubt socialism from a logical basis because we as humans are so greedy, but they said that the universe's "boundless resources" would eliminate scarcity and everyone's enhanced intelligence would make exploitation a thing of the past. Again, I took their ideals with eyebrows raised and some objections, but I digress.

The main thing to draw form my long winded way of saying I know people who dream too big is that I am still unsure as to what I should go on and do with my life. Here is my way of looking at it: let's say the tribulation is really just 15ish years away. Would I want to be off designing some rocket so that we can get to an inhospitable planet? Messing around with biology to try to make humanity more like computers? These things are too big, too grandiose, too chimerical to be of practical attainability. What I have thought about more is helping people on a real level. People still die every day from contaminated drinking water and lack of food in third world countries. Obviously some of this is a political problem (i.e. corrupt totalitarian governments make true aid impossible), but this is something we should strive to combat..... right? The bible has commands to help the poor and widows, those who are needy, but sometimes I fear we miss the point. From my perspective, mission trips "help" people in need, but it always seems to me that for the amount of money people spend flying halfway across the world they could have paid an effective charity organization and gotten many times more done for their money (not to mention doing work in their own communities as well). I have discussed this at length with my father, and we both agree that it seems that the people who get true benefit from the "visit a third world country to feel like you are helping people" type of mission work are those who go on the trip themselves; those that they are helping are kind of tacked on as an afterthought. I always got the impression that our charity in the bible was almost on an as needed basis, as in God will present plenty of opportunities for us without us having to go seek them out on our own accord. What do you think about this whole thing? Should Christians try to solve world hunger, world peace, natural disaster relief, relief for this war and that war, relief for these refuges, and so on? I am certainly not suggesting that we just hold on to our money and do nothing, but rather that we try to take things as they come rather than trying to fix a broken world. I am still trying to decide what to do, and I know God doesn't do the whole "maximum people helped=best path to take" type thing, but I do want to major in something impactful that will genuinely help the world.

Response #7: 

Very good to hear from you. Let me say from the start that I commend your clear thinking and your wise, spiritual approach to these difficult issues. This will stand you in good stead and save you from a lot of unnecessary pain. Don't let anyone else or anything else subvert your conscience. Cleave to what you know is good, regardless of what the world has to say about it. It is always better to listen to the Spirit's voice; He doesn't force us to act, but we are always forced to decide between what the flesh wants and what He wills.

As to technology and world peace, in my opinion, if the world lasted much longer, it wouldn't last much longer. Truth is rapidly evaporating from this world, and all the prosperity and technology the mind of man might imagine would be a poor substitute. Without truth, mankind would quickly destroy itself. When the Lord removes the restraining influence of the Holy Spirit (at the commencement of the Tribulation) and the world receives the "empowerment of error" (2Thes.2:11-12), the pace of this degeneration will accelerate even more rapidly. But even today we see that "the mystery of lawlessness is already at work" (2Thes.2:7), and that lawlessness, that removal of the restraint of the conscience in more and more human beings around the world, is paying great dividends – to the evil one. In the prior Church era, even though the number of unbelievers was probably of the same dominant proportion we see today, at least there was a general regard for God's overarching principles of truth contained in law and nationalism (see the link). Today, even these basic restraints are being cast aside, and I would venture that if the end times were not to occur for several hundred years yet, the world would suffer something akin to what it suffered on the plains of Shinar after the flood when Nimrod's one-world conspiracy – likewise connected to the confluence of technology and religion – nearly destroyed any possibility of worshiping the One true God (see the link). I say technology and religion (including all such humanistic ideologies are you report), because religion (as opposed to faith in Jesus Christ on the part of the true Church) has been teaming up with technology to form a consensus that incorporates all manner of evil; and by evil, I mean precisely the sorts of things your friends are so excited about: seemingly "good things" which actually compromise true individual choice and make salvation and following Jesus Christ in a godly way very much more difficult. And that is the best definition I have ever found for evil: doing something that is really bad (because it harms someone else) for the sake of "the greater good" . . . and then calling this bad thing "good": that is evil, and the world is becoming awash in it. All of the above, while useful to ponder in my view, is nevertheless somewhat academic, because the Tribulation will begin very soon ("soon" being within the lifetime of most of your generation, at any rate). Most of these "good" things imagined by your friends – and the actual horrors that would instead take their place – will not be realized because the time is too short. Satan will push forward his one world state to its natural conclusions during the Great Tribulation, and by the looks of things at present there will be plenty of technology at hand for him to be able to do so through the agency of his son, antichrist, the beast.

All of this is considered in the Coming Tribulation series – which I know you will get to when you have the chance.

Here are some other links on this subject:

Satan's Tactical Doctrine (in SR 4)

Satan's System of Propaganda (in BB 2A)

The three satanic lies (in BB 3A)

Progression of the three lies (in CT 3A)

The three lies at the last judgment (in CT 6)

Synopsis of the three satanic lies

In Him,

Bob L.

Question #8: 

Hello again Brother,

I got a question: why did God harden pharaohs heart in Ex. 4:21? Was it for the simple fact that the pharaoh was hard from the beginning in his rule over others and it was either his way or no way? Can you help?

God Bless

Response #8: 

What these passages in Exodus mean is that God gave Pharaoh special ability to do what he really wanted to do. Human beings are limited in what we do in many ways, and one of these limitations has to do with what we are capable of enduring. Without special help, if a person were to see God in all His glory face to face, that person would die. If a person were allowed/helped to live and see God in all His glory, that person would fall down on his/her face and worship Him – even if the person were a rabid atheist or a Satanist or involved in all manner of opposition to the Lord. Our God is "a God who hides Himself" (Is.45:15), at least in the sense of allowing human beings the leeway to disbelieve in what natural revelation tells them is true, that is, that He exists, is perfect, is absolutely righteous, and is all-powerful (and He does this so that mankind may choose for or against Him and His truth in genuine free will; please see the link in BB 4B: "God's Plan to Save You").

But Pharaoh saw the power of God revealed directly to him in the ten plagues and various miracles in a way true of no other human opponent of God in the history of the world. Any other human being – and Pharaoh too – would have buckled under this pressure, not because of piety but because of human psychological and emotional limitations. This is not necessarily obvious to us as we read this account in the comfort of our easy chairs, but if we had really seen with our own eyes and experienced first hand the complete devastation of that country, none of us could have been so resistant as to not let Israel go. Pharaoh did not want to let Israel go, but without God's making special provision for him in his heart to be able to bear up under such pressure of divine intervention, he would have been forced to do so well before the tenth plague, the death of the first-born (and he certainly would not have pursued Israel again after the fact). Thus, this "hardening of Pharaoh's heart" is something God does (in the sense of intervening therein), but what God did is to give Pharaoh a special ability to choose against God and exert his human will against the divine WILL in absolute denial of everything that was happening around him (which is why it also says throughout this section that Pharaoh hardened his own heart: Ex.8:15; 8:32; 9:34).

For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, "For this very purpose I raised you up, to demonstrate My power in you, and that My name might be proclaimed throughout the whole earth."
Romans 9:17

As this verse shows, the special provision of divinely enabled hardening, that is, a special provision from the Lord for Pharaoh to harden his own heart beyond normal human limits so as to be able to defy the Lord in the face of such a terrifying demonstration of undeniable divine power, makes it possible for us all to see not only what evil really exists in the hearts of those who have chosen for the devil against the Lord, but also the incontestable power of God. This will happen again on a grand scale during the Tribulation when the Lord sends upon all such the "empowerment of error" spoken about in 2nd Thessalonians 2:11 (for a corrected translation of "strong delusion" and interpretation, see the link: "the causes of the Great Apostasy"), to enable unbelieving mankind to bring about the events prophesied to take place in the Tribulation at break-neck speed.

Answering this question is one of the main themes/objectives of the "Exodus 14" series (please see the link).

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #9:  

I write all of this to say, I am extremely susceptible to atheism. Not because I doubt the existence of God, but because I'm like a dog with a bone on some subjects. Like Calvinism, for example. I'm not even Calvinist and I pour over the belief system seemingly endlessly. I know Calvinism 10x better than I do Arminianism. All I know about Arminians is that they believe salvation can be lost. Can you picture how much I obsessed about atheism? I'm afraid that any college I go to, the science classes will pull me right back down to where I started. I do not want to travel the road again. It also seems like no one really follows God anymore. I would be alone on a college campus with a majority of people who don't care to acknowledge the existence of God. Even if my faith isn't directly challenged, it would be easy for my beliefs to slowly drift in directions they wouldn't go if I was surrounded by Christians.

Response #9: 

Good to hear from you. As to atheism, there are very few of us who don't experiment with "wrong track" versus "right track" behaviors and movements and "isms" of one sort or another when we are young. The fact that this particular false trail was instrumental in helping you get onto the right track of "earnestly seeking" God (Heb.11:6) means and shows that God does "work everything out together for good . . . for those who love Him". The answer to all such fears of being dragged back into previous mistakes and going backward is to make the primary focus of one's life going forward with and for the Lord, something that is only accomplished by attention to the truth of the Word of God.

So as in all things, the answer is God's truth. If His truth is your first priority, finding it, learning it, believing it, living it, and eventually helping others do likewise, then everything else will fall into place in its own way and in God's good time. If not, then there really are no "tactics" sufficient to prevent more false starts and false trails.

I certainly encourage you to keep on with this very good start you have made with the Lord, and would be happy to answer any particular questions you may have.

In the meantime, I wish you the best in making good decisions on all these things, keeping the Lord Jesus first and foremost in your thinking and in your priorities. That is the only way to be safe, and in truth the only way ever to be truly happy (especially for a believer).

Here are some links on atheism which may also be helpful:

Confronting Atheism

Proving the Existence of God

Unbelief and its Consequences

Dealing with Atheism in the family

*Atheism: Putting Truth to Death

In our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #10:  

http://collegeinsurrection.com/2013/06/college-imitates-seinfeld
-tennessee-psych-prof-orders-students-to-wear-the-ribbon/

Is it just me, or is there a deeper connection between atheism and homosexuality? I remember that when I read Romans 1, I was shocked that 2000 years ago someone wrote the most damning prose against our modern society.

Sincerely,

Response #10: 

So college professors are seeking to politically indoctrinate their students? Color me not so surprised.

As to your question, I think the passage you cite, Romans chapter one, speaks for itself. Directly after explaining the process unbelievers go through in rejecting the truth of natural revelation which God has woven throughout the entire created universe (see the link), Paul uses two examples of behavior that demonstrate the hardening of heart that results from turning away from God. The first is idolatry (Rom.1:23); the consequences of idolatry are then described as God abandoning such individuals to just such illicit behavior (Rom.1:24-26). This is described as "exchanging the truth about God for a lie" in verse twenty-five. So while I would imagine that it certainly possible to be involved in such behavior and not be an atheist in the strictest definition of that term, this chapter does seem to me to provide a definite nexus between the two. That is not at all surprising given the spiritual reality that disinterest in the truth leads to rejection of the truth and then to perversion of the truth; when that final stage of hardening is reached, all manner of anti-God behavior is possible (please see the link: in BB 4B: "The phases of the hardening of the heart").

Hope you are doing well.

Yours in Jesus our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L. 

Question #11:   

Hi Bob,

If these college professors were keeping their disgusting habits to themselves, and their wicked lies as well, I wouldn't have a problem. The unsaved are like people running into traffic. The problem is that they try to pull as many bystanders as possible. Their freedom ends where the victim's begins, and this prompts me often to reply to their comments in public forums. Often they say some of the most disgusting thoughts, which only infuriates me some more.

Life is not going too well. I just had to attend a funeral of a very influential figure in my life. This was the first open-casket funeral I've ever been to, and quite frankly, it was disturbing. Death brought on a good amount of anxiety, and it is a horrible thing for anyone to die. I would consider it a great relief if I were spared of death during the second coming. If it doesn't happen in my lifetime, I wouldn't mind living until 120 like Moses.

There always seems to be this low-level anxiety in the background in my life, and a number of other problems.

I loved your email explaining theism, agnosticism, and atheism. It was basically the perfect summary of each respective belief system, and ever since I understood it, I have been seeing these truths everywhere I go.

Response #11: 

I'm sorry to hear that you're going through a rough patch. Any time we try to engage with the world, whether through direct Christian ministry (a good thing) or through some sort of political action (a questionable thing), we are going to get "bumped" and we are going to have our faith tested. All the more reason to keep learning the truth and believing it as our number one life priority. That is the only way to draw nearer to Jesus, and to have the ammunition and fortitude to combat these sorts of pressures.

As to your loss, my own "salvation experience" was related to a similar situation. My beloved paternal grandfather died when I was quite young and I remember being terrified of the idea of graves and the like – until all of a sudden I had complete peace in the idea of God's deliverance. I believe that I was saved at that point, though I knew very, very little. The death of those we love is always a challenge, but it can be a focusing event as well, especially once the immediate pain of loss passes a bit, and if we meet the challenge with the truth that the heavenly realities are so much better than anything in this temporary world.

I will keep you in prayer.

Your friend in our dear Lord Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #12:  

Hello Brother

I am sending this to you to ask a question how to answer in a way to say God is real. You see I was contacted buy a friend that has a brother who's been watching too many things on how God is not real. I ponder on how in the simplest way to explain to them God is real. Could you help explain it in a way for him to understand?

Thanks  

Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why we exist, says Stephen Hawking. God did not create the universe, the man who is arguably Britain's most famous living scientist says in a forthcoming book. In the new work, The Grand Design, Professor Stephen Hawking argues that the Big Bang, rather than occurring following the intervention of a divine being, was inevitable due to the law of gravity. In his 1988 book, A Brief History of Time, Hawking had seemed to accept the role of God in the creation of the universe. But in the new text, co-written with American physicist Leonard Mlodinow, he said new theories showed a creator is "not necessary". The Grand Design, an extract of which appears in the Times today, sets out to contest Sir Isaac Newton's belief that the universe must have been designed by God as it could not have been created out of chaos. "Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing," he writes. "Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist. "It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the universe going." In the forthcoming book, published on 9 September, Hawking says that M-theory, a form of string theory, will achieve this goal: "M-theory is the unified theory Einstein was hoping to find," he theorises. "The fact that we human beings – who are ourselves mere collections of fundamental particles of nature – have been able to come this close to an understanding of the laws governing us and our universe is a great triumph." Hawking says the first blow to Newton's belief that the universe could not have arisen from chaos was the observation in 1992 of a planet orbiting a star other than our Sun. "That makes the coincidences of our planetary conditions – the single sun, the lucky combination of Earth-sun distance and solar mass – far less remarkable, and far less compelling as evidence that the Earth was carefully designed just to please us human beings," he writes. Hawking had previously appeared to accept the role of God in the creation of the universe. Writing in his bestseller A Brief History Of Time in 1988, he said: "If we discover a complete theory, it would be the ultimate triumph of human reason – for then we should know the mind of God." Hawking resigned as Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge University last year after 30 years in the position

Response #12: 

Stephen Hawking is a famous atheist. It apparently takes a brilliant person to be able to so outwit his/her own common sense so as to convince him/herself that God does not exist. Most people of average intelligence understand that "of course" God exists – even if they are not willing to accept Jesus Christ so as to be saved. Natural revelation (please see the link for a complete discussion of this issue) is the theological principle which states that nature itself makes very clear the existence of God, since the complexity of the construction of the world can only be rationally explained by positing a Creator. That is obvious. It is so obvious that everyone who does not accommodate to that Creator in the way He has ordained – by accepting the sacrifice of His Son and believing in Him – will have no excuse at the last judgment:

(18) God's wrath is about to be revealed from heaven upon all ungodliness and unrighteousness – on men who suppress the truth [in their hearts about God] in their unrighteousness. (19) For that which can be known about God [from everyday experience] is obvious to them, because God has made it obvious. (20) His nature, though invisible, is nevertheless plainly apparent, and has been since His foundation of the world, for it may be clearly inferred from this creation of His – [this is true of] both His eternal power and His divinity – so that they are without any excuse: (21) they knew about God, but they neither honored Him as God nor thanked Him. Instead, they gave themselves over to [the] vanity [of this world] in their speculations, and their senseless hearts were filled with darkness.
Romans 1:18-21

Of course atheists and other "men of science" claim that all this is nonsense, but we have from scripture above that they are lying: they do know (or did know at one time, before they so completely hardened their hearts so as to blot these truths from their memory) that there is a God. That is because it is obvious "from the things He created" (v.20). The fact that they now claim the opposite merely makes them more culpable, not only for their lies and their blasphemy but also for the influence they have on lesser lights who draw comfort from these "great minds" in turning to darkness (Lk.17:2).

I suppose if I were ever forced to have a conversation with someone like this, I should like to know where the universe came from; not how it developed (big bang or otherwise) but where the original matter of this world originated and how it came to be, how time came into being, and how space took on its shape or lack thereof. None of their fine theories really answers the question of where things came from in the first place. These people are like someone who comes in halfway through a movie, watches it for about five minutes, and then opines that it has an end. This movie does have an end, and also a beginning – and most importantly a Someone who made it (which is the real point).

According to scripture, everyone who attains mental maturity (i.e., does not die young or suffer from mental retardation) comes to understand that God exists, that He made everything, that He is righteous, and that we are not – hence our need to adjust to His righteousness in the way He has prescribed: accepting the gracious Gift of His one and only dear Son our Lord Jesus. For those who claim disingenuously they "never knew/believed" in God, that is clearly a lie, according to scripture.

Thus, it is largely pointless, in my view, to argue with people who are not even willing to be honest about their most basic life experiences – or who have so hardened and darkened their hearts that they really do not remember. Such people are far gone, spiritually speaking, and generally beyond the ability of those like you and I who know and believe the truth to persuade them otherwise. Of course nothing is impossible for God. But if such people are going to be converted, it will be because God, who knows every aspect of their hearts, has chosen to revive the last spark of light therein through His Spirit. God may use us in this process, but arguing with such people by trying to adduce "proof" is largely a waste of time, because 1) our proof is deductive (observation of the universe and deducing a Maker) while they have concocted elaborate false theories to explain away these common sense observations; and because 2) the real issue is faith: God has left these matters deliberately as He has left them so that those who are not interested in living with Him for all eternity may choose their own ways and their own destiny instead (the lake of fire). If proof so clear that it could not be denied could be offered for the truth of His existence, then faith would not be the issue it is. As it is, faith is the device God has constructed to allow the human race to separate itself into those who love Him and those who do not. Faith is the essential expression of our free will, who we are, those who possess the image of God. It takes far more faith to believe evolution and theories of cosmogony advanced by contemporary physics than it does to believe in the existence of the One who gave us (and all things) our existence – precisely because the creation shouts His existence with its every fiber, while on the other hand there is no proof of evolution or "the big bang" beyond scientific speculation (which changes as to the precise particulars with every passing week and year). For these reasons, atheists have to be more "religious" than most Christians in order for them to believe the nonsense they believe (while run-of-the-mill unbelievers just don't care very much either way).

It has often been quipped, referencing the way that life and death circumstances have a way of concentrating the mind, that "there are no atheists in foxholes". Soon enough the entire world will find itself under more such pressure than has ever been the case in human history (the Tribulation). At that time, many will change their opinions. However, most will worship the false god, Satan, and his false Messiah, antichrist. Sadly, one third of believers will also abandon their faith in Jesus Christ under these pressures (the Great Apostasy), but we can expect that at least some unbelievers and perhaps even a few atheists will be led to repent from the unremitting wave of supernatural activities that admit of no other possible origin. Then again, there is nothing harder than a human heart hardened by a willful rejection of the truth.

Here are some links which may be helpful:

Science and the Bible

The problem of science and the Bible

Charles Hodge and Charles Darwin

I will say a prayer for your friend's brother's acceptance of the truth.

In our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #13:   

A Thought on Atheism: If everything came from nothing, then everything ultimately amounts to nothing.

Response #13: 

I'm not up on all the variations of modern theoretical physics, but I was under the impression that materialists believed (note the verb) that matter did exist, in a big glob or something of the sort (ylem), then exploded to produce the known universe – which begs the question of where that big glob came from (the biblical position is of course ex nihilo creation:  creation of time and space and the entire universe by God from nothing in the blink of an eye).

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #14:   

They still do, largely motivated by the fact that the Einstein Field Equations can be interpreted as a series of 'evolution equations' describing how the universe evolves from initial conditions.

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Initial_
value_formulation_%28general_relativity%29

There are interesting philosophical consequences of these ideas. For instance, if these equations describe evolution of the universe, then are we justified in – just from these equations alone – interpolating biological evolution?

Response #14: 

OK,

But the premise that "everything came from nothing" is not one I've heard before as an atheistic take-off point.

Question #15:  

Prepare to be shocked

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Universe_from_Nothing

Response #15: 

Actually, I'm not terribly shocked that someone would try to make hay off this sort of thing. I've not read the book, but I will say, based upon the Wiki link, that a "quantum vacuum" is obviously not "nothing", nor would any sort of process that turned that "quantum vacuum" (the Greeks and later Roman philosophers called it "chaos") into a "something" be "nothing". No amount of technical obfuscation can change the fact that the world we see either came from something or nothing – and if it came from something (even if clever and sophistic definitions are used to describe that something as almost nothing), then where did the something come from in the first place? Human beings are built to ask that question – and to draw the obvious conclusion (Ps.19:1ff.; Eccl.3:11; Rom.1:21-23; see the link). Science as religion no doubt is tending to stifle such quibbles, as all satanic religions have always sought to eradicate heresy (see the link: Nimrod).

Yours in our dear Lord Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #16: 

Hi Bob,

Here's a rather disgusting article I found:

http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_
politics/fighting_words/
2007/12/bah_hanukkah.html.

Although it's expected, it's rather surreal watching an antichrist defend a much bigger antichrist. It's important to read it, though, because the relief that Epiphanes offered from 'theocratic darkness' may be the same selling point for the Antichrist.

Sincerely,

Response #16: 

Thanks,

Christopher Hitchens is dead – and he knows better now.

Yours in Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #17:  

Hi Bob,

Now and again I come across the writings of people who concentrate wonderfully on the attributes of God. Some of which are quite fascinating. But the one which fascinates me the most is the one of Omniscience. That is an attribute impossible even for a god to possess.

For how can any god know his own future?

Response #17: 

I begin to see the problem. We are not talking about a god. We are talking about GOD. God is bigger than the universe (an insufficient word to use, perhaps, but words fail here). He exists outside of time and space; time and space are puny compared to Him – if one could even make the comparison. God could have created a trillion universes a trillion times larger than ours in the blink of an eye, but this is the only one He made, and all He made is perfect. Part of that perfection entails the divine decree of absolutely everything that has and will happen in the short span of what we call "time". The future is no mystery to Him because He has already decreed it in the smallest imaginable detail (and much more so), knowing even "the smallest swerve of the smallest quark at the fringe of the universe at the end of time". Nothing could happen at all unless it were first decreed by Him, because action, especially moral action and choice, would never have been possible without this framework of time, space and history He has set up for it. Choice, free will choice, is still taking place, but it only can do so because He has decreed it, allowed it, enabled it. Knowing everything is an attribute of God, but it is really a small thing compared to the majesty of His being. Today, finite creatures that we are, we have no true experiential idea of the wonder of Him. We shall. But it is right and proper and fitting that this is veiled from us now, because if a person actually saw the glory of God – who He really is and how infinite He really is and how perfect He really is and how great He really is – well, there would not be any room left for free will at that point. Our God is a God who hides Himself (Is.45:15), precisely so that the choice for or against Him in this life – through our acceptance or rejection of the Person and Work of Christ – may be a genuine one (see the link: "God's Plan to Save You"). We are being allowed to self-select to an eternal future of either heaven or hell, depending upon whether or not we really do want to be with Him and worship Him for all eternity, or be without Him, preferring to worship ourselves.

Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.
2nd Corinthians 5:20 NASB

Here is a link on this: BB 1: Theology: the Study of God

In Jesus' holy Name,

Bob L.

Question #18: 

One more thing on atheism (and you can publish this response if you wish): I think that your comment regarding the search for materialistic explanations in areas where there clearly aren't any being a Satanic religion is spot-on. Without a doubt, I have found that the level of dogma, strictness of behavior, zeal, and pain of the adherents to be far greater than those of most normal religions. In fact, if I were to group which type of false religion atheism is, it would be far away from more respectable false religions (Traditional Judaism, Aristotelian paganism, etc.) and far closer to the more overt Satanic cults (Witchcraft, Jonestown, Scientology, Nazi mysticism) in terms of its anti-God deposition.

Response #18: 

Thanks for the vote of confidence.

And your other words here are well-said.

In Jesus our Lord,

Bob L.

Question #19:  

This is my father's memorial, we're coming up on Father's Day which is tough. I often wonder if he's with The Lord as my stepmother was (and still is) an avid atheist.

Response #19: 

I prayed for you dad daily after you brought him to my attention. I do hope to meet him in the next life. Perhaps your step-mom will get with it eventually. I'll put her on the list. In my observation and experience, most atheists are filled with doubts – deep in their hearts they knew (or once knew) the truth – trying desperately to convince others in the nutty belief that if they can do so their "truth" will become the truth. That was Satan's warped thinking as well, and it just goes to show you how a hardened heart can make one plus one equal thirty-seven – or whatever number one wants – every time.

Yours in our dear Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #20:  

Hello Dr. Luginbill,

I often hear a verse from the bible of how God has placed "eternity in our hearts". What exactly does that mean? Sometimes I am at a rooftop of a very tall building and look down at the cement below, and it's impossible for me to grasp going into "non-existence" or annihilation if I were to dive off and hit the pavement below (of course I wouldn't do that). As a conscious being, I don't see that being possible and I don't know why. I had a surgery a while back and they put me under. I woke up 9 hours later and it seemed as if it was a second later. This is how I feel about eternity. I, as a conscious being cannot begin to imagine being non-existent – it just doesn't seem possible. What does "God has placed eternity in our hearts" mean?

I forgot to add in my previous email about a Pastor who taught annihilationism. He said the state of non-existent is far more terrifying than eternal punishment. He said that that is the most terrifying thought to him, to be annihilated. That doesn't make sense to me. If annihilation were true, than it would be the opposite of terrifying. The very fact that it seems impossible to be terrified of annihilation if we don't exist. How does a nonexistent being be terrified of anything? I keep thinking about a passage of how God breathed into man a "living soul" and that man goes on to eternity with God, or eternal punishment away from God. What are your thoughts on this?

God Bless you and your ministry,

Response #20: 

Always good to hear from you, my friend. To begin, you are absolutely correct that there is no annihilation of the spirit; once created, it will endure for all eternity; we are here in this life to decide where we want our spirit (in the coming eternal body) to be forever, namely, with the Lord or without Him (in the lake of fire). As to being terrifying, that is a personal thing. But I should point out that historically the person who said this is dead wrong. Whole religions and philosophies base their comfort on just this, namely, the supposed "peace" of not having anything to worry about or any more pain (the Epicureans, for example); what is really terrifying is the notion that we sinful human beings are going to be judged by a perfect God (absent standing on the work of Christ instead). Here are some links on this:

Annihilationism, Universalism, Hell and Judgment

Literal Hell

The Eternal Nature of the Last Judgment

The Problem of Unbelievers (in BB 4B)

The Last Judgment (in CT 6)

Against Universalism I: Free Will and the Image of God.

Against Universalism II: Only Believers are Saved.

Against Universalism III: Unbelievers in the Plan of God.

As to "eternity in our hearts", in my view the meaning of Ecclesiastes 3:11 is that part of how God made us "inside" is with the ability to realize the truth and reality of the spiritual dimension, specifically, God's existence, His power, and His righteousness. These truths are obvious from the universe He has made (natural revelation), but as this scripture tells us, our heart is also formed to accept these truths, just like a glove is fit for a hand. So all of the nonsense one hears (including annihilationism and universalism and atheism and materialism) is not only a lie but a lie that in our heart of hearts we know to be a lie – or at least did at first before hardening those same hearts to the point of accepting and embracing the lie instead of the truth. You will find this passage and others covered at the link in BB 4B under "God's Plan to Save You".

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #21:   

You wrote: God's Kingdom is one of eternal life (Rev.21:6-7); but in the devil's kingdom, fear of death is an important element in Satan's continued control.

Hi Robert, don't mean to be a pest but I'm wondering what this is referring to. How does the fear of death work to Satan's advantage? If that's the case would it be safe to assume that fear (other than fear of God) is his most powerful weapon? I'd like to have a better understanding of this because this is something I was scared of for a long time and still am, although to a lessor extend.

I try to stay away from atheists but it's getting harder and harder to do that. As I'm sure you've noticed, they are the largest growing religious group (for lack of a better word) No atheist will ever talk me out of my beliefs; once you've felt the presence of the Holy Spirit, there is no denying God's power. As I've said before, it makes perfect sense to me why God sent his only Son to die for our sins: how else could he have justified saving us (humans)?

In Jesus Christ

Response #21: 

This is what Paul says explicitly in Hebrews:

Therefore since these children (i.e., of v.13) have a common heritage of flesh and blood, [Christ] too partook of these same [common elements] in a very similar fashion (i.e., not identical only in that He was virgin born and so without sin), in order that through His death He might put an end to the one possessing the power of death, that is, the devil, and might reconcile those who were subject to being slaves their whole lives long by their fear of death.
Hebrews 2:14-15

Death is the shroud that hangs over the whole human race, and until a person has that fear removed through hearing and believing the good news of Jesus Christ, the devil is able to use that fear to manipulate people to do all manner of things in order to avoid death. As in the case of the Babylonian officials who bowed down to the golden statue of Nebuchadnezzar for fear of being thrown into the fiery furnace – though Daniel's three friends were willing to face death out of fear of God – or those during the Tribulation who will bow down to the image of antichrist out of fear of being put to death – though much of the true Church will be willing to be martyred instead, fearing God more than anyone or anything on earth – Satan uses fear (which is ultimately the fear of death) to coerce human beings into all manner of wrongful conduct. Whether it is a case of getting into religion as an insurance policy out of fear of what is coming next, or whether it is getting involved in all manner of dissolute behavior as a sop or opiate against the coming darkness, or whether it is getting involved in a frantic search for security such as scrambling for ever more money or possessions – as if these could ward off death – unbelievers are ever ordering their lives on the basis of this principle of fear. After all, they have rejected the only true source of security and deliverance, and in their heart of hearts they understand very well just what is coming (judgment from a righteous God after a death they cannot avoid: Ps.49:7-14).

As ironic and sad as the unbeliever's fear of death is, what is even worse is the fact that so many of our brothers and sisters in Christ tend to be acting the same way – out of spiritual immaturity. It does take spiritual growth to get to a point of not fearing death, and even then it takes a good deal of growth and testing to come to the point of being able to do what Daniel's three friends did – and what the Tribulational martyrs will have to do – namely, to look death square in the face and to do what is right despite every fleshly instinct to the contrary. But for those who do persevere in the truth, there is absolutely nothing to fear in death, and much of the testing and suffering that comes our way in this life is designed to teach us just that – and to demonstrate just how well we are willing to grasp hold of that truth through faith.

"If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty's hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up."
Daniel 3:17-18 NIV

They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.
Revelation 12:11 NIV

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #22:  

I only wish I had more teachers and professors like you in HS and college. Thanks Bob. Excellent job at explaining that and I will pass that along to my mother as well. Also wanted to say that I continue to pray for you and hope that your life challenges are manageable, possibly things have gotten better for you. If that's the case I'd be very happy.

Paul is my favorite Apostle.

In Jesus Christ

Response #22: 

You're most welcome. And thanks so much for your prayers. I am hopeful of things improving over the course of the summer. In the meantime, God is all sufficient, and Jesus Christ is my chief joy.

In Him,

Bob L.

Question #23:   

G'Day Brother

Hope your keeping well.

Can you explain this passage please.

Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.
Colossians 2:8

Is Paul talking about Pagan philosophy or Judaizers philosophy?

Your Loving Brother In Christ

Response #23: 

Good to hear from you, my friend. This is a difficult distinction to make, in my opinion. That is because in the first century Gnosticism seems to have originated primarily from a Jewish milieu at first; it then became very popular with the gentile pagans too. But then unbelievers are unbelievers, whatever their background. The main distinction Paul draws when speaking of these issues is between legalism and philosophy (specifically, incipient Gnosticism). As I say, both stemmed from Jewish sources, and, specifically, from false interpretations of the Law (the former more obviously than the latter), but the two are distinctive enough to differentiate. Here Paul is speaking of the latter, but makes it clear that Gnosticism too was rooted in Jewish tradition as applied (or misapplied) to natural phenomena (i.e., in this passage the "elemental principles" or stoicheia; cf. Gal.4:3; 4:9; Col.2:20; 2Pet.3:10; 3:12).

O Timothy! Guard what was committed to your trust, avoiding the profane and idle babblings and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge (Gnosis: γνῶσις) – by professing it some have strayed concerning the faith.
1st Timothy 6:20-21a

Here are a few things I have written about these issues in the past:

Gnostics and aeons

Gnosticism and the Johannine comma

Gnostics and doxai

Gnostics and the pleroma

*Visions of angels in Colossians 2:18 (this one deals with the context you ask about)

Reviling angelic beings

Combating Gnosticism

Adoration of angels

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #24:   

Hi Bob,

I deeply appreciate that excellent response, especially what you explained about the meteorites was very helpful to me. I basically only follow your teachings now (95% of the time) and rarely any other teachers since the time that the Lord has led me to your site. I used to like a few teachers out there, but in short order I would normally discover that they also had some very "off" teachings which were normally charismatic in nature, or belief in universalism and so on. Once I discover that, then I no longer want to take a chance with their other teachings.

Also I have a concern. Today a person whom I have never heard of posted:

"A consideration of the context of Colossians 2:9 clearly shows that having "divinity," or "divine nature," does not make Christ the same as God the Almighty. In the preceding chapter, Paul says: "God saw good for all fullness to dwell in him." (Col 1:19) Thus, all fullness dwells in Christ because it "pleased the Father" (KJ, Dy), because it was "by God’s own choice." (NE) So the fullness of "divinity" that dwells in Christ is his as a result of a decision made by the Father. Further showing that having such "fullness" does not make Christ the same person as Almighty God is the fact that Paul later speaks of Christ as being "seated at the right hand of God."—Col 3:1."

He also wrote:

"The Son’s share in the creative works, did not make him a co-Creator with his Father. The power for creation came from God through his holy spirit, or active force. (Ge 1:2; Ps 33:6) And since Jehovah is the Source of all life, all animate creation, visible and invisible, owes its life to him. (Ps 36:9) Rather than a co-Creator, then, the Son was the agent or instrumentality through whom Jehovah, the Creator, worked. Jesus himself credited God with the creation, as do all the Scriptures."

Plus he posted 2 other comments that could confuse newer believers, since he wants to say that God the Father created the Son of God. I just don't know how you get the patience to respond to people like this, but I am glad you have that excellent gift. I used to respond to people like this, but I believe now I am simply going to delete these sorts of comments to keep the confusion level down. I was concerned if that is the right way to deal with some of these comments from people and what your thoughts were. I can normally recognize the truth from deception, but I am just not gifted like you are to patiently try to reason with these individuals, even though I do feel the need to contend for the faith in the best way I can.

Thank you again dear friend for your ever helpful answers to my questions. I am always very very grateful! Also I will continue to pray about your present crisis and I know the Lord is with you every step of the way through this difficult time.

Your friend in Christ Jesus our Lord who is our strength and guide,

Response #24: 

It is always good to hear from you, my friend. I think your approach (namely, of deleting posts which in your estimate "go beyond the pale" and might mislead some from the truth) is an excellent policy for your particular ministry. We all have our own gift, our own ministries, and the effects for them which the Father works out. Apologetics is different from Bible teaching is different from evangelizing – and of course there is a veritable "rainbow" of diversity in the actual "texture" of the individual gifts/ministries/effects which comprise the Church militant of Jesus Christ (1Cor.12:4-6; see the link in BB 5: Pneumatology: "Spiritual Gifts"). While it is true that these things are interrelated and I do engage in both, I don't get overly involved in apologetics or evangelism as the main thrust of this ministry. In the same way, while I know of many other believers who do have one or the other of these gifts, I would not expect them to engage in Bible teaching in the same manner and to the same degree that I do. And just as I do not feel bad for not doing what I am not called to do, I don't think they should feel bad for not doing what others are called to do either.

There is a tendency in the church-visible to "dumb-down" the multifariousness of spiritual gifts and the possibilities of ministry, and also to over-rate some and under-rate others. Paul's description of the Church as a Body which needs all of its parts in just the right proportion is the correct way to think about these things, of course, but at many "conferences" and "revivals" one could easily get the impression that only tent-evangelism and door-to-door witnessing are of any great worth in God's eyes (and that does much to explain the great dearth of biblical truth in our day). What you are doing is a wonderful ministry for Jesus Christ, and just as clearly the ministry you should be doing (as opposed to some other ministry to which you have not been called or for which you have not been gifted). We will be evaluated at Christ's judgment seat based upon what we did with the actual gifts we have been given and our engagement of them in the ministries to which Jesus has called us severally. I am quite confident that as you persevere in your good course you will solidify your hold on the "three crowns", and be adding more "gold, silver and precious stones" to your heavenly treasure day by day.

As to the substance of this person's remarks, I will only offer two short points (inasmuch as you clearly have evaluated the insufficiency of these posts in a solid and correct way):

1) By admitting that Christ is the Creator, this person has accepted the fact of His deity. Only God could possible exist outside of time and space so as to create time and space. By definition, anything and anyone existing inside of this creation only is a "creature", and only the Creator, God, could exist before there was a universe, that is, before time and space existed:

(1) The Word [Jesus Christ] existed at the very beginning, and there was reciprocity between the Word and God [the Father]. (2) This One both existed and enjoyed reciprocity with God from the very beginning. (3) Everything came into being through Him, and without Him, nothing has come into being which has in fact come into being. (4) In Him was life, and this life was the light of men.
John 1:1-4

2) Colossians 1:19 comes after Colossians 1:18 – an important point, because people like this are always trying to take things out of context. In the previous verse Paul explains that he is speaking about the preeminence of Christ's humanity here: He is the Head of the Church, the firstborn out of the dead (i.e., the first to be resurrected . . . in His humanity only because, obviously, deity cannot die nor be resurrected), the first in authority over all created things, and among all mankind/angelic kind. So verse 19 is still speaking of Christ's exalted status in His humanity. That is the sense of "fullness" which, very importantly, does not mean divinity or deity. What it means is that Christ is the "all in all" within the creation: "everything was created through Him and for Him. And He Himself is before everything, and everything subsists in Him" (Col.1:16b-17): this quote comes from just before verse 18, and extols the deity of Christ. So Paul, wanting to praise Christ, praises Him first as the Creator, and then as the God-Man. Focusing only on the latter would still indicate His deity, but it is a false argument to ignore the rest of the context, where His deity is clearly in evidence (how else can He be "before all things" and how else can "all things subsist in Him"?), and claim a lack of deity on the basis of one (wrongly interpreted) half verse.

"All fullness" seems to some a hard phrase, but it has to be interpreted based upon the time of writing (the "isagogic" principle of hermeneutics). Paul is writing to a congregation in Asia Minor which was embattled by Gnosticism, and the word "fullness" (Greek pleroma) is a Gnostic "buzz word". The Gnostics were essentially mystic materialists obsessed with angels and "super-creatures" called aeons which together constituted a kind of totality of divine power or divinity – which is an "in this creation" sort of not-quite deity (as we understand it). Paul is saying here, in effect, "there is nothing to that so called pleroma you are being tempted to believe in: in addition to being God, Christ also embodies whatever true pleroma there is within this created world, having been given first place by the Father in all things and over all things as the God-Man". Here are some links on this issue:

Gnosticism in Colossians

The Adoration of Angels (in SR 4)

Combating Gnosticism

Visions of Angels (Col.2:18)

Gnostics, Gnosticism and doxai

Reviling Angelic Beings

Thanks you so much for your prayers! I am keeping you in mine as well day by day, and I hope to have some good news on this front in the next few days or week. God is faithful!

In Jesus our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #25:  

Regarding 1 John 5:6 you wrote: John's purpose in this passage is to demonstrate to Gnostic opponents that Jesus was a true human being: John is also the one who reports that when Jesus' body was pierced by the lance "blood and water" came out (Jn.19:34) – and this could never have happened if He were an "aeon". This evidence of "blood and water" is joined by the testimony of the Spirit (who inspired John's gospel), so that together they constitute "the three" who give witness to the truth of Jesus' true humanity. It may seem odd to us in our day and age where heresies involving the doctrine of Jesus Christ tend to doubt His deity, but in antiquity there were many attacks on the genuine nature of His humanity, and that is what John is addressing here (we find similar defenses against Gnosticism in Peter chapter 2 and throughout Paul's corpus, in Colossians and Ephesians in particular).

In that case the "blood and water" should be taken as literal blood and literal water, as opposed to our Lord's sacrifice and the water of the word?

Response #25: 

The "blood and water" of John 19:34 are literal, and that is the best sense of 1st John 5:6 too (not that John wouldn't have been aware that blood and water have symbolic meanings too). John's purpose here is the refutation of incipient Gnosticism which claimed that our Lord was an "aeon" which/who did not have an actual, physical human body – but "the Spirit testifies" to the truth of His humanity, and this is strong evidence, John being himself an eyewitness to this event.

Question #26: 

Regarding 1 John 5:6 you wrote: The "blood and water" of John 19:34 are literal, and that is the best sense of 1st John 5:6 too (not that John wouldn't have been aware that blood and water have symbolic meanings too). John's purpose here is the refutation of incipient Gnosticism which claimed that our Lord did not have an actual, physical human body -- but "the Spirit testifies" to the truth of His humanity, and this is strong evidence, John being himself an eyewitness to this event.

Some present an argument against this interpretation that if both water and blood referred to the same witness of His corporeality, they wouldn't be used as separate arguments in the next passages:

This would be the obvious interpretation, and would be entirely clear, if John did not immediately speak of the "water" and the "blood" as "separate" witnesses, each as bearing witness to an important point, "as" separate as the "Spirit" and the "water," or the "Spirit" and the "blood;" whereas, if he refers to the mingled water and blood flowing from his side, they both witness only the same fact, to wit, his death.

What is your take on this?

Response #26: 

In the actual Greek, "Spirit" occurs also in verse 6a (see the link for discussion); but after the three are listed sequentially, in the second half of the verse, 6b, blood and water are separated out, then John adds, "and the Spirit is the One who gives [this] testimony". What testimony is this, if not that Jesus is truly human as evidenced by the water and the blood to which the Spirit testifies? John therefore encapsulates the two between two references to the three, and thus emphasizes the two in conjunction with the testimony of the Third, the Spirit. The objection does not, therefore, "hold water", and stems no doubt from misreading the genuine text. The whole "Johanine comma" corruption has made this particular passage and issue much more difficult than it needs to be (see the link).
 

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