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Archive for the ‘Opinion’ Category

I really enjoy listening to J. Warner Wallace and his podcast called Cold Case Christianity.  You can find him at Please Convince Me or Cold Case Christianity.  I enjoy apologetics and listening to thinkers reason about faith and cultural issues.  I was recently listening to J Warner Wallace discuss the issue of abortion with an atheist.  Wallace mentioned to the atheist that his objections to abortion were not based on the Bible but based on pure reason.

I understand that you can’t reason with an atheist using the Bible.  You must use reason.  However, as a Christian I believe that the foundation for our convictions must be the Bible and not reason.  Reason and logic are a reflection of God’s character and the order that He has created.  On the other hand the Scriptures are direct revelation from God.  As 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (ESV) says:

“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”

God’s Word is profitable for teaching, reproof, correction, training in righteousness that we may be complete and equipped for good works.  How can we use anything else as the foundation for our convictions?  Only God’s Word is without error.  I agree that when we are in “arguments” with non-Christians we should use reason but that is not the foundation for our convictions.  It is what we use to convince others of the reasonableness of our positions.  God’s Word is His revelation to us and should be the foundation on which we stand.  Reason is a reflection of his character and we must use reason as we look to His Word and apply it.  We should use reason in the public square but may we never say that Scripture is not the foundation for our beliefs and convictions.

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I work as an engineer.  I think I am pretty good at what I do for a living but it is just that; what I do for a living.  It is not something that I am necessarily passionate about.  It is what I do in order to fulfill my biblical responsibility to work and provide for my family.  There are other things such as various ministries in which I am involved that are really my passion.  I can’t tell you how many times I have heard statements similar to the following from Christians.

“I am an accountant but my real passion is apologetics.”

“I work as a salesman in order to make money but what I really enjoy is the work I do at church.”

“I am an engineer by profession but my passion is preaching the Word.”

Have you heard this from many people?  I hear it frequently in the circles in which I am involved.  I am left with the question, “Are we supposed to enjoy our jobs or are we called to endure whatever it is we need to do in order to bring home a salary?”  Is it wrong to wish I was doing some other kind of work related to ministry?  I know the Bible tells us that we should be content in our situation.  Does this mean that it is wrong to desire to be doing something else more fulfilling or even some sort of full time ministry?  I have been thinking about this and do not have the answer quite yet but for now this is what I think.

1. Work is a blessing from the Lord.  It was something that was given to Adam and Even before the fall and is therefore a gift and a blessing.  We can do work to provide for our families while at the same time enjoying the work.  I believe that God even intends the work to benefit us and even society as a whole, especially if your job provides employment opportunities for others.

2. Work became less enjoyable after the fall.  I don’t think I need to cite verses about the curse on humanity after Adam and Eve sinned.  I believe that after the curse, work became less enjoyable and became hard.  By God’s grace some people can still do things they enjoy for the job but I don’t think that this is the norm to be expected.  For those of us who long to be involved in ministry on a full time basis we long for the new heaven and new earth but until then we are called to labor in secular work as well as in ministry.  The grass is not greener on the other side although we think it might be.  We are where God want us for now.

3. For those of us who want to be involved in full time ministry and are stuck in secular careers, we need to understand that there is not enough money to go around.  The economic times are tough.  God can use us as lay people in ministry while we keep our secular professions.  This allows us to have some income that is not dependent on the generous giving of other Christians.  It frees up money for the kingdom and it also allows us to not be beholden to those who give.  In other words, you can spend your ministry time and effort as you want and you are not accountable for what ministry you want to devote your energy to.  You also don’t have to worry about people withholding funds from you because of a controversial stand against something like homosexuality.  You have income and it is based on your work, not on what you teach.

This is where I am for now.  I am an engineer who loves to excogitate.  I would rather be out there teaching or reaching or defending the faith.  But wait, I am doing that.  I am just not doing it on a professional basis and I have an engineering job that pays my bills.

Just to add another comment.  By having a non-ministry job, we are able to come into contact with lost people and people who need to be confronted with the gospel on a daily basis.  If you were a ministry professional you would be in a Christian bubble and would only have limited access to lostness.  But as a member of the secular workforce we have ready-made relationships that are in place.  All we need to do is use those in order to share the message of hope we have within us.

What say you?

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I have been noticing a very interesting phenomena in engineering known as biomimicry.  According to the Biomimicry Guild the definition of biomimicry is:

“Biomimicry is an innovation method that seeks sustainable solutions by emulating nature’s time-tested patterns and strategies—for example, a solar cell inspired by a leaf. The goal is to create products, processes, and policies—new ways of living—that are well-adapted to life on Earth over the long haul. Biomimicry follows life’s principles, such as build from the bottom up, self-assembly, optimize rather than maximize, use free energy, cross-pollinate, embrace diversity, adapt and evolve, use life-friendly materials and processes, engage in symbiotic relationships, and enhance the biosphere. By following these principles you can create products and processes that are well-adapted to life on Earth.”

One really interesting example of biomimicry I learned at ASME.org.  There is an article that explains how a Japanese engineer used biomimicry to eliminate the sonic boom caused by the Japanese bullet train.  When the bullet train emerges from a tunnel at 200 mph, it created a sonic boom.  Japanese engineer Eiji Nakatsu copied the beak of a kingfisher because this beak allows the bird to fly at high speeds into water without making much noise and creating only a small splash.  You can see the similarity in the pictures below.

biomimicry

Amazingly the sonic boom has been eradicated but the new design made the bullet train more energy efficient and allows it to travel at greater speeds.

Scientists will tell you that they are learning from nature’s millions of years of evolution.  Well, this is actually counter-intuitive.  I think this idea of biomimicry points to a creator rather than evolution.

First, engineers are copying from nature what phenomena already exist.  For example, would one say that the bullet train was the result of evolution?  No.  It took the hard work of engineers to design.  What is more complex: a bullet train or a kingfisher, a living animal?  I believe that the existence of complex life forms points to a creator.  The creator is the master-engineer and engineers like Nakatsu who use biomimicry are copying what the master-engineer already engineered.

Second, could the bullet train come into being by chance?  Even if all of the parts were put in a warehouse together what are the chances that someone could put the parts together to make a bullet train without drawings and instructions?  Furthermore, what are the chances of the the bullet train parts putting themselves together or by chance falling into place.  The thought is crazy.  How much crazier is it to think that the kingfisher came into being by chance by evolution over millions of years.

Third, some of the best engineers of our day are copying engineering feats found in nature.  Do we really believe that these feats are a result of chance?  If they are by chance, are our best engineers so dumb that they have to copy things that happened by chance rather than ideas that they can come up with on their own?  No, they are copying the work of a greater engineer — the creator God — who knows everything and to whom there is nothing new under the sun including engineering ideas.

So, biomimcry points to God.  God is the creator.  God is the master designer.  God is the greatest engineer.  It is his designs that the brightest engineers are copying.  May we give glory to God and not to dumb chance.

 

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