For a long time, scientists thought the universe was eternal and static. By eternal, they meant the universe had no beginning and likely would have no end. It just always was. This meant the universe would not need a creator. By static, they meant the universe would neither expand nor contract. It would stay the same size.
Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity suggested the universe had a beginning. This was confirmed by the American astronomer Edwin Hubble who in 1929 captured the red-shift of light far out in the universe. This proved that the universe was still expanding at an ever-increasing pace. All this pointed to the universe having a beginning. In other words, there was a time when the universe did not exist.
This begged the question, what caused the universe to come into existence? Philosopher William Lane Craig advanced an argument known as the kalam cosmological argument. His argument had three premises:
- Everything that begins to exist has a cause.
- The universe began to exist.
- Therefore, the universe has a cause.
(Craig, William Lane and James D. Sinclair, “The Kalam Cosmological Argument”, The Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology, edited by William Lane Craig and J.P. Moreland. West Sussex, UK:Wiley-Blackwell, 2009)
This is indeed consistent with our experience. Everything in our universe has a cause. At least so far as we can determine. There are things we have not yet discovered the cause of but we are certain there is a cause. So then, what about God? Did God have a cause? The answer is no. God had no cause because God never began to exist (see premise #1 above). God has always existed. He is without beginning or end. God is eternal. In other words, God is uncaused. This makes logical sense. If everything has to have a cause, to come into existence, then something, in the beginning, had to be without cause. Without that, nothing could come into being.
Science has confirmed the universe had a beginning. It had a cause. Therefore, the universe had to be caused by something. Since Hubble’s discovery, science has been trying to find a naturalistic explanation for the origins of the universe. Naturalism, in this context, means the material universe alone exists. Nothing exists outside of it. If true, then how did the universe come to be?
According to physicist Stephen Barr, naturalism is the view that “nothing exists except matter, and that everything in the world must therefore be the result of strict mathematical laws of physics and blind chance.” (Barr, Stephen. Modern Physics and Ancient Faith. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 2003)
If we dissect that statement, Barr is positing that matter is eternal. Matter is uncaused. Yet he states that matter was acted upon by “strict mathematical laws of physics.” Where did those laws come from? We know what the laws of physics are very exacting. They have to be exactly what they are in order for the universe to exist and life in it. Furthermore, the conditions at the beginning of the universe had to be very, very precise. Physicists call this the fine-tuning of the universe. Math is not a force. Math cannot cause anything to happen. Mathematical laws only describe how things behave once caused. If matter was eternal, mathematical laws could not cause that matter to form a universe. He also states that it was not just mathematical laws of physics but also blind chance. Chance also cannot cause anything to happen. Chance is a term we used to describe a mathematical probability. If you flip a coin, the chances of it coming up heads are 50%. Chance cannot flip the coin. Chance can only state the odds of the flip resulting in heads or tails. Blind chance is a non-sensical term. Chance neither sees nor is blind. Chance is a cold mathematical probability unbiased by anything. If chance were not blind, it would not be chance.
This all points to matter being a mere building block much like a brick. It can be used to create things and behaves when acted upon according to the laws of physics. Matter itself is not intelligent. If matter were intelligent then blind chance would not be necessary. Scientists like Barr want a naturalistic explanation of the universe yet have to make up causes like mathematical probability and blind chance neither of which are or can cause. They are trying to assign causal effects to something that can’t act.
This blind devotion to naturalism is what brings us other modern naturalistic theories like Multiverse Models, String Theory, Quantum Cosmology, and so on. Each of these theories fails to explain the origins of our universe. They all fail to identify the cause of it. If one limits themselves to naturalism then they will forever miss the answer. The first words of the Bible provide the answer. Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” God is the uncaused agent that caused the universe. While science purports to “follow the data” it violates that principle when it comes to the origins of the universe. I would suggest a reason.
Humanity does not want there to be a God. If we concede there is a God then we have to answer to that God. Coupled with the fact that God has identified Himself through the Bible such that we know what He requires from us, we now have to consider our actions and their morality. If, on the other hand, the universe is the product of blind chance with no creator, then we can decide for ourselves what is right and wrong. We can live however we want. Ever notice how people are generally accepting of philosophies or beliefs that are non-propositional? These are philosophies or beliefs that do not make any demands or believe in absolute truth. The Romans conquered many lands. They had their gods and many of the peoples they conquered had gods of their own. The Romans were happy to let them continue to worship their gods. They detested the Jews precisely because the Jews were monotheistic (the belief there is only one God). Jewish beliefs were an affront to the Romans because the Jews only worshipped Yahweh and thus rejected all the Roman gods. As soon as anyone insists on one truth, that offends people who want to be their own gods and decide right from wrong. Science is committed to atheism. There are non-atheist scientists but they are the exception in modern times. Science is biased but has convinced most people that they are not and only consider the facts. More on this…
You see ads from time to time from people claiming to be psychics. A psychic is a person who claims to be able to identify information hidden from the normal senses, particularly involving telepathy or clairvoyance, or who perform acts that are apparently inexplicable by natural laws. People sometimes go to psychics to inquire about a love interest, a business matter, or some aspect of their future. Some claim such powers come from hidden spiritual knowledge taping into spiritual energy. Some even claim Biblical prophets were examples of such knowledge and power and it can be available to you and I if properly trained.
Is this Biblical? Does God give men such powers and approve of it’s use? Where did the Prophets (of the Bible) get their power and how did they use it?
27 “A man or a woman who is a medium or a necromancer shall surely be put to death. They shall be stoned with stones; their blood shall be upon them.”
First a few definitions. A medium is a person who uses “his or her psychic or intuitive abilities to see the past, present and future events of a person by tuning into the spirit energy surrounding that person. This means mediums rely on the presence of non-physical energy outside of themselves for the information relevant to the person being read.”
A psychic is a person who “tune into the energy of people or objects by feeling or sensing elements of their past, present and future. Simply put, psychics rely on their basic sense of intuition and psychic ability to gather information for the person being read.”
As the above cited article states, “a psychic is not necessarily a medium, but a medium is a psychic.” According to our passage from Leviticus a medium was to be put to death.
10 There shall not be found among you anyone xwho burns his son or his daughter as an offering,5 anyone who ypractices divination or ztells fortunes or interprets omens, or aa sorcerer 11 or a charmer or ba medium or a necromancer or cone who inquires of the dead, 12 dfor whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord. And ebecause of these abominations the Lord your God is driving them out before you. 13 You shall be blameless before the Lord your God,
Once again we see that those who practice divination, tells fortunes, interprets omens, is a sorcerer, a charmer, or a necromancer should be driven out and are an abomination before the Lord. It doesn’t matter what they claim the source of their ability is. No exception is given for those who claim their power comes from God.
How did the Apostles respond when they came upon someone with the power of divination?
16 As we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit of divination and brought her owners much gain by fortune-telling. 17 She followed Paul and us, crying out, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to you the way of salvation.” 18 And this she kept doing for many days. Paul, having become greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And it came out that very hour. (Acts 16:16-18)
While this slave girl apparently was able to foretell the future, they cast a demon out of her. The true source of her power was demonic. While she presumably had some ability it was demonic in it’s source and a violation of God’s law. In the book of 1 Samuel, Saul consults with a medium. He wanted to know what his future would be and why he was being pursued. What did God think about his consorting with a medium?
13 “So Saul died for his breach of faith. He broke faith with the Lord in that he did not keep the command of the Lord, and also consulted a medium, seeking guidance. 14 He did not seek guidance from the Lord. Therefore the Lord put him to death and turned the kingdom over to David the son of Jesse.”
Notice a contrast is made between Saul consulting with a medium versus seeking guidance from the Lord. Saul should have sought the Lord. Instead he disobeyed God and sought a medium and God took his life from him. Clearly God did not approve.
What about the Prophets? First, we need to understand who the Prophets were. They were men, called by God, to speak messages from God to the nation of Israel. If you read the words of God spoken through the Prophets you will find that the vast majority of what they spoke was not prophetic (future telling) but rather God confronting Israel with a message of judgement and deliverance. At times they did speak of future events but only a minority of the time.
The signs of a true prophet were these:
In Deuteronomy 18:15-22 and Deuteronomy 13:1-5 God listed five certifying signs by which a true prophet of God could be recognized: (1) a prophet must be an Israelite, “from among [his] own brothers” ( Deut 18:15 ) (Balaam is the exception that proves this rule); (2) he must speak in the name of the Lord (“If anyone does not listen to my words that the prophet speaks in my name” [ Deut 18:19 ]); (3) he must be able to predict the near as well as the distant future (“If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the Lord does not take place or come true, that is a message the Lord has not spoken” [ Deut 18:22 ]); (4) he must be able to predict signs and wonders ( Deut 13:2 ); and (5) his words must conform to the previous revelation that God has given ( Deut 13:2-3 ).
Notice they were all Israelites. Anyone today, claiming to be a modern-day prophet, cannot claim to be in the line of the OT Prophets if he’s not a Jew. Secondly, he must claim to speak in the name of the Lord and his prophecies can never fail to come true. One false prophecy and he is to be considered a false prophet. His message must not ever contradict God’s past revelations.
Prophets spoke as God directed up until the coming of Christ. John the Baptist was the last of the Prophets though Jesus was a prophet but much more than a prophet. We have no more need of prophets because:
God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son (Hebrews 1:1)
These “last days” refers to the time period between Christ’s first coming and his future second coming. We are in the last days now. The need for the Prophets has been done away with as we now have Christ. The Prophets did not speak by their own will or for their own purposes. They never prophesized for financial gain nor to answer man’s inquiry.
But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God. (2 Peter 1:20)
Another thing to note about the prophets is that prior to their calling by God they never prophesized. The also never did it outside of God’s express will and only when God had a message for them to speak.
Now let’s consider those who are modern-day psychics. One such person is Gary Spivey. On his official website his title is “Psychic, Medium Spiritual Healer.” His own claim to be a medium is clearly in violation to our passage from Leviticus. His bio goes on to describe how his prophetic gifts began as a child. Yet none of his predictions were said to be “from the Lord.” Later he appeared on radio and television which lead him to be “ doing private sessions with people where he could help them with any problem they might have from love and relationship questions to channeling a passed love one, or miraculously healing people from physical ailments.”
Once again we find necromancy (talking to the dead) and speaking not as God commanded (in the age where there are no more prophets). He also does so for financial profit. None of these things are consistent with the Bible.
How do such people ever have any insight or correct predictions? The answer is by the power of demons.
“Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness” (1 Corinthians 11:14-15)
While demons do not know the future (beyond what God has revealed), they are able to gather vast amounts of information and have lived for all of human history so have tremendous insight into human thinking and activity. This gives them the ability to make predictions that have far greater chances of coming true than anything we could make. Why would they do so? Satan’s highest aim to is keep us from God. He is a master of deception and one of his greatest deceptions is selling us a brand of spiritually that we find appealing, and almost Christian, yet is far from it. Anything to keep us from following as true disciples of Christ. It is appealing to man to have spiritual power. Organizations like the Masons have gained members for centuries by appealing to their possession of hidden knowledge. Our egos want us to possess something others don’t. We want to have special powers that only those who are “enlightened” can possess. Make no mistake. Satan can heal so not all healing is of God. If it will further his purposes he will heal.
Does God heal today? Of course, he does but generally quietly and without fanfare. He also only does so when it is His will. We have no ability to bring about God’s healing. While we are told to pray and ask in faith, not doubting, our prayers are always subject to God’s sovereign will. God never puts His power at our disposal to wield as we will. Faith can move mountains but only when God wills.
It should be clear that no Christian should ever consult with a psychic or medium. We should never “channel” or consort with the dead or those who have “passed over.” Once again Satan can make us think such things are happening. He can appear as anything, or anyone, he wants and having existed since before mankind he knows all about our passed love ones and specific knowledge only they and us share. He can easily deceive us into thinking we are hearing from a loved one. We should never trust such experiences when they clearly contradict the revealed will of God. We are not to seek the future nor expect special powers simply by special knowledge. God instructed us to pray for the sick and call the elders to pray for them but not to seek a psychic or medium to heal them.
We have all we need and all God has revealed to us in His Word. We need not nor should not seek other knowledge and should avoid those who claim to know “secret things” hidden from us. If you can read the Bible then you can know all things that God has made available to man to know.
One final note. In 1 Corinthians 12:10 and Romans 12:6 the gift of prophecy is listed among the spiritual gifts. What is this gift of prophecy? As noted earlier, the gift of prophecy was far more about “forth-telling” than “fore-telling.” Forth-telling was when a Prophet declared the will of God, gave messages of warning or deliverance, and in other ways spoke to influence the people of God. Only on occasion did it include fore-telling (i.e. predicting the future). In that sense a modern-day pastor can be considered a “prophesier” as he is speaking forth the counsel of God. With the completion of the NT canon, prophesying changed from declaring new revelation to the completed revelation God had already given.
“Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.” (Jude 3)
Jude speaks of the faith that was “once for all delivered”, meaning the revelation has been made complete. The modern gift of prophecy is that of teaching and proclaiming those things already revealed by God. There are some Christians and churches today who believe God speaks special messages of revelation to individuals. Whether you believe that or not we know a few things. First, any such message must be tested against the Word of God. God never contradicts Himself and would never give a message contrary to His revealed will. Second, such messages when given in the Bible were never for personal gain or financial use. God forbids us to seek out the counsel of those who claim to be able to channel spirits, energy, or fore-tell the future. Personal experience is not a substitute for the revealed will of God. I will not personally judge someone who claims a word from God but I will test that word against Scripture and understand that such “words” are still subject to human frailty and error and not on par with the verbally inspired written Word of God. They never take the place of Scripture nor are on par with it. The focus of our faith should be God’s written revelation not ours or someone else’s personal experiences. There is not hidden meaning or spiritual powers yet to be discovered.