Thursday, 14 October 2010

Mopping up session from Sullivan

I will now try to address the remaining questions from Sullivan's SU.

"What do Christians believe about demons?"  "What role do you think the devil plays?"
Christians believe in the reality of the spirit world, that there is a real devil and he has angels (Matthew 25 v 41), called demons.  They afflict and affect the mind, and are the originators of anti-Christian teachings (called "doctrines of demons" in 1Timothy 4 v 1).  They fell from their heavenly position where they were once servants of God.  Ezekiel 28 v 12-19 seems to be speaking (at least in part) about the fall of the devil, and it addresses him under the name of the king of Tyre.  We gather this because there are things said to this king which couldn't be said about a literal king.  It is clear in Scripture that the devil and demons are involved in certain political events at certain times, inspiring people and engineering circumstances, and in the book of Daniel we read that the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood the angel who was sent to Daniel - this prince is obviously a demonic personage (Daniel 10 v 12-13).  Their activity also involves possessing people who open themselves up to them.  In areas in which the Gospel has had a deep influence it appears this overt demonic manifestation is largely restrained. 

"If Adam and Eve were black, how come there are white people?"
I'm not sure what colour Adam and Eve were, but that doesn't really matter, the question is how did all the different racial groups come about.  For that, I will refer you to the article here, and the online videos here.  Hope it helps.

"What of those who repent just out of fear and repent just to be saved?"
This question is a little bit confusing because it uses the word "repent" but I get the feeling the questioner is wanting to know about people who lack sincerity.  Taking the question literally and changing the words a wee bit we end up with the question saying this, "What of those who sincerely turn from their sin to Christ without being sincere?"  You see the problem?  If someone repents then they are sincere; if they aren't sincere they haven't repented.
Now the motivations the questioner has stipulated are actually legitimate reasons to lead someone to repent, i.e. someone should fear.  It is a fearful thing to sin against God (Hebrews 10 v 31).  Hell is a fearful thing (Hebrews 10 v 27).  Someone should repent because they want to be saved.  But the point is that if someone is scared of going to hell and they think that saying a prayer or something like that will save them then they are sadly mistaken.  The root meaning of the word translated "repent" indicates a change of mind or a change of attitude.  Unless someone changes their attitude towards their sin - to see it as something serious, damnable and filthy, and changes their attitude to themselves - to see themselves as helpless and hell-deserving rebels in need of Christ, they will not be saved.  So we ought to fear, we ought to want to be saved from the danger we are in, but we must repent - agree with God about our sin and about ourselves, and then receive the provision of salvation through Christ.

"Do you think there is other life out there?"
Er, no.  This is not something I give a whole lot of thought to, but certainly there is no scriptural reason to suppose there is, and from what I hear I understand there is no scientific reason to suppose it either.  It seems that the more the universe is investigated the more scientists are amazed at the fact that life exists at all.  Astronomers look at our position in the universe and are amazed at how we are balanced on this razor's edge, and the slightest difference in any one of a multitude of things would have made the existence of life impossible.

I'll have to leave it there for now - there are three or four questions left that I will come to soon.