Jesus in Old Testament Prophecy — Class Handout

Preface for blog: As part of a series summarizing some talks from a 2020 Christian apologetics conference, I plan to post an article describing talks dealing with treatments of the Old Testament. In order to off-load some material from that planned post, I wanted to first publish a listing of some passages that are commonly cited in this area. Below is a set of notes for a church discussion of Christian interpretation of certain Old Testament passages. I drew these up several years ago, and am posting them here now, unedited, primarily to serve as reference material for the planned subsequent article.

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Making Essene Bread: Uncooked, Sundried Sprouted Wheat

INTRODUCTION: INITIAL SETBACKS WITH SPROUTS

A couple of weeks ago I tried sprouting a medley of sprouting seeds. This was partly a project to do with my grandson. Instead of just sticking to alfalfa, I was seduced by enthusiastic discussions and reviews online about sprouting a variety of plants. So, I got some mesh jar lids and purchased a suite of seed mixtures on Amazon. Each mixture, sized for one jar-load, came in its own little plastic bag.

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Confirmatory Coincidences Among the Gospels – Timothy McGrew [2020 NCCA Confc, 6]

The Ring of Truth: Undesigned Coincidences in the Gospels [Oct. 14, 2020] was presented by Professor Timothy McGrew of Western Michigan University at the 2020 annual National Conference on Christian Apologetics (NCCA). Prof. McGrew discusses a number of cases where something which is perhaps puzzling in one gospel is explained by a passing observation in a different gospel. These instances support the view that substantial eyewitness testimony lies behind each of the four gospels. I will summarize his case in mainly his words, and reserve my commentary until the end.

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Condo Building Collapse in Miami: Causes and Consequences

Everyone has heard of the terrible tragedy in Surfside, a suburb of Miami, where a large portion of a twelve-story beachfront condominium building suddenly collapsed. As of July 5, 32 people were confirmed dead, with over 100 still missing and likely dead in the rubble. As an engineer (not a structural engineer) I am interested in what caused this structural failure. I’ll share what seems to be the latest intelligence on that. I will also offer a speculation on possible economic ripples of this event: what if confidence is lost in the structural integrity of other Miami beachfront condos?

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Tracking Young Earth Creationist Organizations by Joel Duff at Naturalis Historia

Joel Duff has done several deep dives into the numbers regarding Young Earth (YE) creationist organizations. Around 2012, he presented a table of their finances and noted the traffic on their respective web sites. In February of 2021 he tabulated their social media followings. He includes many insightful observations. Here I will summarize some of his findings, but his original articles should be consulted for background and details.

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Scientists’ Responses to Stephen Meyer’s “Return of the God Hypothesis”

Every couple of years, some author with the Discovery Institute (DI) releases a big new book, to help keep the Intelligent Design (ID) story alive. These books place the scientific community in a dilemma regarding how to respond. If scientists don’t produce a reply, the ID folks can say, “They don’t respond, because they can’t respond, because we are right.”

On the other hand, if scientists do respond, the DI will say, “See, this response by scientists proves what we have been saying, that there is a serious ‘controversy’ here, which merits more public discussion.” Furthermore, the typical scientific response to these books is in the form of editorials or short articles, which cannot possibly address every issue in full depth. Such necessarily incomplete critiques give ID proponents grounds to claim that they have been misunderstood or misrepresented, and become the occasion for ID proponents to publish article after article in response. This all serves to create its own story which mainly benefits the DI.

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Biologos and Peaceful Science Forums Address Timely Evolution/Creation Issues

There are a number of on-line resources for finding information on the technical issues raised by opponents of evolution such as proponents of young earth creationism and of Intelligent Design (ID). The venerable TalkOrigins archive has a well-indexed set of many articles on creationist claims, but this site has had few new articles or revisions since around 2005. Reddit has a wide variety of discussion threads on different, sometimes obscure topics. For instance, when I wrote an assessment of a recent presentation by Sanford, Reddit was the only place I found detailed current critiques of John Sanford’s claims that the course of the “Spanish flu” pandemic was evidence against evolution, and of the validity of his “Mendel’s Assistant” program which tends to show that populations always crash due to accumulation of harmful mutations. Panda’s Thumb has an ongoing series of relevant articles, and knowledgeable commenters. On Reddit and Panda’s Thumb, the original postings (while overall civil) sometimes have an element of sneering towards opponents of evolution (who are nearly all conservative Christians), and the comment threads may get downright nasty. This all may be off-putting for inquiring religious folks, who are the audience which most needs to engage this material.

Two sites which are perhaps more believer-friendly are Biologos and Peaceful Science. 

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John Sanford Disputes Evolution [2020 NCCA Apologetics Confc, 5]

This continues our coverage on the  2020 annual National Conference on Christian Apologetics (NCCA), hosted by Southern Evangelical Seminary (SES) in Charlotte, NC. We focus mainly on faith-and-science and other natural theology issues. Previous posts in this series are:

Ken Wolgemuth on Preparing Homeschool Students for University Science, and on Grand Canyon and Noah’s Flood [2020 NCCA Apologetics Conference, 1]

Richard Howe: How Do I Know That I Know?; Defining the Good [2020 NCCA Apologetics Confc, 2]

Fazale Rana Disputes Evolution [2020 NCCA Apologetics Confc, 3]

Brian Huffling: Science Cannot Prove the God of Christianity But Philosophy Can [2020 NCCA Confc, 4]

 Here we discuss a talk presented by John Sanford, titled Genetic Entropy – We are Going Down, Not Up!    In this presentation it is claimed that deleterious mutations accumulate in populations faster than they can be removed by natural selection, and so all populations are degenerating at some significant rate. Not only is “upward” evolution impossible, but the implication is that life cannot possibly have existed on earth for millions of years. (This supports a young earth creationist perspective).

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Brian Huffling: Science Cannot Prove the God of Christianity But Philosophy Can [2020 NCCA Confc, 4]

This continues our series on the 2020 NCCA apologetics conference. Dr. Huffling is director of the PhD program at Southern Evangelical Seminary (SES) in Charlotte, NC, which hosted this conference. He brings SES’s trademark Thomistic philosophical approach to bear on arguments for the existence of God. He asserts that natural science (e.g. the fine tuning of cosmological constants) cannot provide clear proof for the God of Christianity. Such a demonstration can be made, however, within the framework of Aristotelian philosophy.

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Fazale Rana Disputes Evolution [2020 NCCA Apologetics Confc, 3]

This continues our series on the 2020 NCCA apologetics conference. Dr. Rana is with Reasons to Believe, (RTB) which was founded by Canadian-American astrophysicist Hugh Ross. Some distinctives of RTB are an evangelical faith, a clear presentation of the evidence that the earth is old (billions of years), and rejection of naturalistic evolution. Rather than denying the experimental evidence that points to the sudden origin of our universe over 13 billion years ago, they celebrate it; they tie the stages of the physical development of the earth and solar system into their stage-wise interpretation of the “days” in Genesis 1. Hugh Ross’s books were very helpful to me when I was trying to sort out old earth/young earth issues some years back. Another distinctive of RTB is a gracious attitude toward those they disagree with, which came across in Dr. Rana’s presentation.

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