Posted in A Walk to Remember, Memoirs of a Christian College Student

No One Is Exempt

World-Flag-Buttons-Globe“Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes.” Ephesians 1:4 NLT

 

For the first time, perhaps ever, I read Ephesians chapter 1 verse 4 and really read it in the way I truly believe it was intended to be read. I used to always read the verses as “God loves us (those who have surrendered their lives to Christ) and chose us (those who have and who will surrender their lives to Christ) to be holy and without fault in his eyes.

Now I understand that what it really means is God loves US (the entire Human Population that has ever lived, currently lives, and will ever live) and chose US (the entire Human Population that has ever lived, currently lives, and will ever live) to be holy and without fault in his eyes.

This means that there is no one here on earth that is exempt from receiving the love of God, the grace and forgiveness of God, the redemption and salvation of God, all of which has been purchased by his Son Jesus who shares Godship with his Father and the holy Spirit, and died on the cross so that Wicked, Sinful, Broken Humanity could be made New, made Whole, and made Righteous and share in the inheritance of Jesus christ and enjoy eternal life with Him in heaven forever.

This also means that the only way to be exempt is to, in your free will which is also a gift from God, choose to exempt yourself.

Its like an invitation to a party. Everyone on the entire earth, every culture, language, age, gender, and status is invited. Some will be excited and prepare themselves in hopeful anticipation. Others will be excited and get ready, until something comes up and they end up canceling party plans. Others will stick it on their fridge and forget about it, others will throw it away or by other means discard it. Still there will be those who want to go, but feel inadequate, and for one reason or another, choose not to show up. In the end, only a handful of people show up and they end up having the time of their lives, but at the end of the day who was invited? Just the people who show up? No! EVERYONE!

Its this reality that God doesn’t exclude people from salvation, redemption and forgiveness that needs to fuel the way we–those who have already received the forgiveness, mercy, and grace of God and have surrendered our ideas of how we should live our lives to accept the path God, through Jesus, has set at our feet and prepared and purposed for each of us in advance–treat others as we live on this earth.

If you’re the kind of Christian who has set up a hierarchy for themselves…Tear it down!!! We have all fallen short of the glory of God! Jeremiah 17:9-10 reminds us of the wickedness of the human heart; Isaiah 64:6-7 tells us of our sinful nature, Galatians 5: 19-21 spells out what our sinful nature craves, and Romans 3:23 reminds us of what following the desires of our sinful, wicked heart has earned ALL OF HUMANITY!!  So when Jesus died he died for All of Humanity not just the ones who accept his invitation. He exempted no one, so we, as christ followers, should follow his example and treat everyone with the love, mercy, forgiveness, patience, and grace of God which he has extended to each of us, though we do not deserve it.

 

If you are not a Christ follower, have no desire for God, don’t care about him, don’t feel like you need him, are curious about him but don’t want to give up your life, etc. If you do not have a rich relationship with Jesus, but maybe, you heard of him–and still, maybe you haven’t. Here’s some good news.

It doesn’t matter!

It doesn’t matter how far you are from God. Jesus didn’t die for you because you thought you were worth his time. He didn’t die for you because you were righteous and awesome and perfect. He didn’t die for you because you are rich and important. He didn’t die for you because you understand the ways of God and are so devout. He didn’t die for you because you wanted him to. For this reason, and this reason alone he died for you: because he loves humanity and chose humanity in advance to be reflectors of his glory and to share in his inheritance–that we all will be, in Christ, holy and without fault in His eyes, and NO ONE is exempt. Including you.

In your free will you can choose to ignore him, reject him, despise him, over and over again as long as you live, but He will never stop pursuing you and extending you an invitation of his grace, forgiveness, and redemption, even unto your final breath on this earth.

In my journal this morning I wrote this, and with this I will close.

All of OUR COLLECTIVE SINS are what Jesus carried to the cross, and he has forgiven them all–the very root sin, deep within the human heart which desires its will over God’s, its way over God’s, its dreams over God’s, its authority over God’s, its world over God’s, itself over God.

He has forgiven that, and in Christ, revealed the true purpose, power and authority of the human race. That we are to create, build, interact with others, and shape our world as an act of worship to the Lord God who created us, as we reflect His glory to the world so that they will know his name above all other names and come to worship him!

Its not that our names, our lives, our hopes and dreams and aspirations, and human desires don’t matter. Its that they all find a greater purpose and have a deeper meaning when we dedicate them to the glory of Jesus Christ and his Father, through the holy Spirit, as an act of wholehearted worship to Him.

We must stop exempting ourselves and others. Ask yourself this question: Are you human? Regardless of whether or not you understand what it means to be human, the answer is yes (otherwise you would not have been able to comprehend what you just read, or read it at all for that matter. Or, if you are blind, what someone else has just read to you) so find hope and relief in the fact that God is calling you, inviting you to accept the love, forgiveness, and redemption of Jesus Christ so that you can become His and be a complete, whole, purposed human being who is no longer lost and broken and empty, but found, healed, and has received the fullness of life.

No one is exempt!! All are invited!

Accepting or declining the invitation is purely your choice, but He never stops asking. Even unto your last breath.

What will your answer be?

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Posted in Memoirs of a Christian College Student, WORD of the Day

Why Take A Stand? A brief study.

Take-A-Stand

So here is the bible study I mentioned in my post Confidence for those of you who were unable to open the file I uploaded. The title says it all, and this image was just perfect. This study doesn’t just explain that as Christians we should take a stand, it also explores why and how.  Enjoy!

Disclaimer: This works well for personal study time, but may be more profitable in a group setting. I highly encourage doing this brief study with a friend for the maximum benefit. Maybe meet over coffee??

 

Taking a Stand: Why and How?

Daniel chapter 1; 2:1-23 & 28-30; 3:10-30. Hebrews 12:1-2; Isaiah 61:10; 1 Peter 1:3-7; and Jude 24-25.

Daniel 1: 1-5

  • What do you think King Nebuchadnezzar’s plan was in verses 3-5?
  • Why do you think he chose to shape and mold the “good-looking” youths of Israel?
  • How is this similar to how the secular world in our time functions today? (think Media, music, school…)

Daniel 1:6-17

  • What was Daniel determined not to do, and how do you think it relates to the King’s plan?
  • Daniel remained firm in his convictions, as did his friends, what was their reward? (15-17)

Daniel 1:18-21

  • In light of the gifts God had given the four young men, and of the decision the king had made, how do you think God planned to overrule the king’s agenda?
  • What’s one reason why, according to the preceding passages, we should remain firm in our faith?

Daniel 2:1-13

  • What was King Nebuchadnezzar’s problem, and how did the wisemen answer him?
  • What is the conviction of the king in verse 9, and why do you think its important?
  • How did the king respond to the wisemen and enchanters’ reply in verse 10? In what ways is this the perfect set-up for God to reveal himself?

Daniel 2:14-23

  • How did God answer Daniel’s prayers?
  • Do you think God intentionally planned to reveal himself to the king of Babylon this way?
  • What does Daniel say about God in verses 20-23, and why does he praise Him?

*As you read on through the rest of the chapter, Daniel approaches the king and tells him both the dream and its meaning. *

  • In verses 28-30, what does Daniel reveal to the king about God?
  • Why did God allow the king to have the dream, and have Daniel interpret it?
  • According to all we’ve read so far, why do you think its important for us to stand in our faith in Christ, even in a polytheistic, atheistic, and anti-theistic culture?

**Application question: Daniel was determined to remain firm in God, and setup boundaries in his life that kept him from losing his grip on God. How can we learn from Daniel’s example and begin to see the seriousness of the state of the world? What boundaries do we need to setup in our lives as American citizens today? What boundaries do you need to setup to remain firm in your faith in Jesus considering the temptations and pressures you face daily? **

Daniel 3: 10-18

  • What were the circumstances Daniel’s friends were faced with, and how did they respond?
  • Why?

(verses 19-30)

  • How were the three men rewarded for their faith?
  • How did their firm conviction affect the king, and the kingdom, of Babylon?
  • Why is it important to remain in Christ when faced with opposition and persecution?

**Application Question: Mishael, Azariah, and Hananiah were all very close friends and encouraged each other to continue on in their faith in God, even though they were a minority. What friendships do you have that help you stand firm in your faith? What friendships do you have that distract you from your faith? How can you be a friend who encourages others in their faith? **

Hebrews 12:1-3

  • According to these verses, what is the race and what trips us up as we run?
  • Where should our focus be on this endurance race?

Isaiah 61:10; 1 Peter 1:3-7; Jude 24-25

  • According to these passages, why should we keep our focus on Jesus and not be held down by sin?

**Application Question: How can you remain firm in the Gospel, and accurately represent Christ, when faced with the reality of your own personal sin-nature, and what step do you need to take today to make that happen? **

Posted in A Walk to Remember, Memoirs of a Christian College Student

Confidence

No, the title does not refer to that one song by Teddy Geiger which has the same name. (How many people remember that? o.o) But I am referring to spiritual confidence, the undeniable and unshakable proof that we are His, He loves us, and that this truth will never change.

Last year was the absolute most difficult year of my life, and I refer to it as a “recovery” year, or, “the Aftermath of 2014.” Why? Because from August 2013 to August 2014 I endured one of the most difficult circumstances of my life, that didn’t just test my faith, but completely transformed me altogether. I wasn’t just molded for God’s glory either, but in the midst of the hardest spiritual battles ever (forgive the vague language), in my vulnerability, the enemy dealt a striking blow that pierced my heart, and shattered my soul. No kidding.

In 2015 I made so many backtracks into sin that I hadn’t touched in 4 years, and never thought about touching, as well as sin I had been wrestling with forever. My mind was (and still is) a mess. One day I could see God clearly, and even remember who He was, our life together, and all the crazy journeys we’ve been through, but most days my heart was frozen and untouchable. I didn’t trust God, at all, and things that were easy to see, even in the midst of battle in 2013 and 2014, I couldn’t get myself to believe even if I tried.

I cried for so many days, frustrated with myself that I couldn’t change me, and unable to accept the Gospel message–unable to accept God’s love.

In the midst of my frustrations, I asked Him, bitterly at times, so many questions. Some of these I posted in “Memoirs of a Christian College Student” and most are written in journals.

I had (have) a friend I love dearly (perhaps more than they care at the moment) who walked away from God early 2013, and there’s been a decent sized rift in my heart since, and I often feared (mistakenly believing that such a thing is easy or even possible for long) that if he could abandon God, then what’s stopping me? That one thought made a pathway for fear that was impossible to dislodge from my heart and mind. What’s stopping me? (Well, God! My friend leaving Jesus and His church was not a spur of the moment decision, it was the product of what was festering in his heart for a long time, much longer than I ever got to know him.)

In one of these frustrated episodes where I really needed reassurance of the importance and reliability of Jesus and the message he lived and died for (and rose again to secure!) I asked some serious questions and made up a bible study. This study is brief (meaning its not a series) and I wrote it because of the theme in the bible study I attend at that time. The theme was questions. Basically we would think of a question, and try to find an answer in the bible. It sounds simple, but it was harder because such a thing requires actual time in the bible with God, and that year seemed like I was hardly doing that.

However, God put something in my heart, three or four main questions, and I searched in the book of Daniel to find those answers. I did find them. My question was: Why Take a Stand? As in “why should we stand in our faith, and stand up for our faith? What is the benefit? Is it worth enduring all of this pain and hardship? Is it worth being mocked and ridiculed? Is it better than what the world could ever offer me?

The answer is: YES!!

However, you can check it out for yourself and see whether or not you agree.

P.S. I apologize, it will only let me upload the .odt format, which I will post here: Bible Study Daniel however, I plan on uploading the study as a post that way you can access that as well. Apologies (might be due to some kind of protection on my laptop….I’ll figure it out.)

Happy readings, and have a great Sunday!

~Angelique

Posted in A Walk to Remember, Memoirs of a Christian College Student

In the Womb

There are a lot of debates about abortion and whether or not it should be legal. There are a lot of trials and debates about Planned Parenthood, and whether or not their service is needed, and if it helps women.

Is it about a woman’s rights?

If so, should a woman’s rights come at the cost of sacrificing innocent lives?

If its not about a woman’s rights, then what is it really about?

I find that one woman really answers this question beautifully, and she makes an account against Planned Parenthood and the horrific things they do. I warn you that this is not an entirely easy read, and please…read it slowly and carefully.

I am always baffled by the audacity of that particular organization, but will further restrict my comments on my feelings, and will simply say this: the facts speak for themselves, and also, this woman’s testimony is amazing to the point of blowing your mind away….you can read her story here.

Please don’t let her faith in Jesus deter you, because what she says is absolutely vital.

On the other hand, I titled this post “In the Womb” because I am very much against abortion; no matter how you spin it, its murdering someone’s life. I know, I know, I’ve stepped on some toes, but its the truth, and the truth can be offensive–mostly because it challenges our sovereignty.

That being said, I don’t believe in belittling someone, or attacking them simply because they have had an abortion, or committed another type of sin. In light of all the sins I have committed, and how God my Father has forgiven me through Jesus’s life and testimony, how could I refuse the same for others.

This is not a post to bash people, but on the contrary, to make people think.

I challenge you (readers) to re-think your perspective concerning human life, and to be amazed at how wonderfully complex, and yet infinitely precise God has designed us. These are the feelings and thoughts that were birthed in me as I watched the following documentary of the formation of a fetus in the womb. I watched this in class last semester in Human Growth and Development, and am so glad I did. I certainly did not agree with everything I saw and heard in the class, nor with my professor’s convictions, but I learned and saw old things in a new way…

I will leave you with this: Life does not begin at birth, it begins at conception.

Please watch the following video, and please read the article posted above. I promise, you wont regret it, but you will be changed…

Posted in A Walk to Remember, Memoirs of a Christian College Student

Intrinsic Value

I bet you could look at this page of different gems and find some that you like over others. You could go to different Jewelers in different countries and discover that these gems have a varying value depending on where you are, the difficulties of refining them/mining them etc, as well as the country’s preference.

The question I want to ask though, is not how precious something or someone is to you, but rather, how can you define what value is in the first place, and what does it mean?

Let me post my disclaimer now before I need to insert my foot in my mouth; I want you to understand what my purpose–that is, the way in which I intend to achieve my purpose–for writing. I am not going to enter into a deep theoretical, methodological, philosophical debate about value and worth. Rather, I am going to bypass all of that, mostly because I don’t have years of intense study, knowledge, and…tact to be able to present the “how you can be confident and why its this over that….” I’m going to allow you the option to explore this deeper.

What I AM going to do, is discuss my personal struggles, the answers I found, and how this is far better than what is offered “out there.” I am going to do this, by using myself, certainly my most recent experiences and thoughts, to illustrate, and if needed I’ll also use an outside source.

I know I posted….two disclaimers? (Really, just one, with an overly detailed explanation of what I mean, because…I’m wordy like that.) However, it may be just as prudent to restate the point of this blog in general, specifically, this particular section for College students (current and future). I want you to think, and I want you to know that you have the freedom to think, to disagree, and to LOOK for truth! Search for truth! Every post, is basically, my inward struggle, a conflict I face as a Christian student, and citizen in general, the traps and puzzles I have encountered and/or have seen in College courses, etc, as well as what resources I have found, the answers I have found, etc.

You don’t have to believe it, I only ask that you think about it. That’s it.

Let’s begin.

What is Intrinsic Value. 

This is a difficult question, and it is important enough to where it cannot be ignored.

In the past I was blessed with an opportunity to share God’s love and truth with wonderful women who were apart of Rethreaded’s program. These women came out of prostitution, and/or some other form of sex trafficking. These women were hurting, but so was I. I was in a very sensitive and difficult time in my life, certainly in my walk with Christ, and I had been just learning–over the span of….perhaps a year–about my Identity as a Christ-follower, and what it meant to be His, and how I should live, and move, and operate now that I had been made new and no longer needed to yield to the ways in which I used to live.

The questions I asked were, who am I now? What does this mean? What should I do, and how should I live? Where do I find my worth, and my value? Why does this matter? and how do I function in Your family? Where is my place there?

I asked these questions in late 2012 to early 2013, and later that year I went through a bible study by Mark Drischol titled “Who Do You Think You Are?” I highly recommend this as he addresses some very important issues. (Another forewarning, Mark Drischol is Very, truthful–much like Matt Chandler–but I greatly respect his love for God, and God’s design for him.)

I won’t address every single thing here, but I will tell you this:

You have a value that cannot be taken away from you BECAUSE, this value does not come from how skillfully you play the Violin, or how well you perform in school. This Value is not limited to how you see yourself when you wake up, how other people treat you, or how you feel throughout the course of the day. There will be people who see something precious in you, and will selfishly attempt to wrest it from you for their benefit. Rest assured, no matter what happens to you, what you do to yourself, what you think about yourself, what others think of you, how well you perform or how many times you fail…YOU HAVE VALUE THAT NO ONE CAN TAKE AWAY FROM YOU.

Period. 

Why? Because God designed us in such a way that we have value from before we are even conceived in the womb. Why again? Because our worth and value, are imputed to us, and is contingent only on the reality that God loves us, and made us in His image that we may be receptors of His love for the purpose of reflecting His love and glory throughout all of creation. That is why (and forgive me nonbelievers because this portion is not for you and I will explain why shortly,) when it is written in Romans 8, that nothing can seperate us from God’s love, that is true. God has chosen to love us, and has demonstrated that love when he sacrificed his ONLY Son (who humbled himself into a broken and weak form of man so that He could die; becuse Jesus is the son of God, but He’s also God the Son) to die in our place and in doing so purchased our freedom, our forgiveness, and opened the way to His Father, that we may be reconciled to Him…

Let me assure you that we don’t deserve that. At all!

The first point is this: How our Creator sees us determines our worth, it is how He values us that determines whether or not we have value.

I’ll give a quick example…..

Let’s say I’m a sculptor and I just got finished constructing some sort of small statue out of marble. This staue is small, and as I was working on it, I screwed it up somehow, fixed it, but didn’t like how it turned out. I decide to sell it anyway, but because I didn’t like it as much, I sold it for a lower price than the ones that I did like. The amount of money I sold it for, depicted how I felt about its worth.

Now let’s put it in another scenario….let’s say this same statue I made, I decided not to sell. It wasn’t as good as all the others and wasn’t “sell worthy” but it had a certain charm and I decided to keep it for myself. Now, let’s say this staue was worth about $150, and one day it was stolen from me by someone who hates me and wants to make my life miserable. (I’m sure I have those somewhere….) This enemy of mine decides to sell it at an auction, and it sells for $1500.

In this time, I have learned of who now has posession of my $1500 statue, and I tell them that this was mine, it was stolen from me, and I would like it back. They laugh, not buying my story (though its true) and tell me that if I want it, I will have to pay them twice the amount they paid, plus interest. Now I’m a college student….so I’m broke, but I want my statue back desperately…so….I sell whatever I can, even the most precious things to me that are sellable, like my laptop and my tablet, and my keyboard, so that I can get this staue back. I do garage sales, wash cars with “suggested donations” and mow lawns so that I can make up extra money I need on top of the doubled fee. After many months and hard work, and perhaps a bit of overtime, and much sacrifice (because I am now a student with lots of homework and no laptop at home) I finally make up the funds and then some, return to the new owner of my statue, and fork over an amount equivalent to about two full paid for semesters of college including the purchase of all materials require, even lunch. So about 4500 dollars. After that, I get to happily walk home with my statue returned to its proper place in my home.

Even though this statue was, in the beginning, worth perhaps a small amount as far as meterial and laborcosts go, in the end because I was so willing to buy back what already belonged to me for such high a cost, I demonstrated, that really, that statue was worth far more to me than simple material costs, to the point that I was willing to humble myself and work hard to buy back what was already mine. This simple illustration is why God’s action shows us how great our value really is. We belong to Him because He created us, but then we rebelled against Him and decided to go our own way because He was not good enough for us, and His ways were not in our best interest. God could have left us there to suffer his wrath, which we justly deserve, but instead He chose to love us, and buy us back, when we were already His because he made us. 

So, why am I saying all of this?

College is hard, and every semester is, in one way easier, and in another harder. The higher I go in the ranks, the more difficult to digest the material, the more opportunities I will have to encounter people, and subjects that are against what I believe, and at the same time, I have noticed how fragile my mind is.

I am weak. I am susceptible to forgetting obvious truths, overlooking what’s in front of me, and living and treating myself very much like the robot that school seems to want me to be. I am overloaded with work (and I know I’m preacing to the choir here,) and somehow my mind is supposed to be capable of digesting four or five different subjects, read innumerable amounts of material and understand the content beyond simple regurgitationn, and somehow work as close to fulltime as I can because I have bills to pay, and somewhere find time to remind myself that I am human and NOT a machine. There is a person attched to the mind, a heart attached to the body, and soul that dwells within. Those things matter. 

I have been very tempted, and have really seen, how easy it is to really, at the end of the day, buy into the lies of the world around us simply because its easy to do, or to shut up the noise, and even worse, to be so mixed up that you can’t tell up from down, flying from falling, and the difference between your own personal thoughts and that of someone else’s.

May I encourage you, and may I have the privilege of encouraging myself also, that the “system” does not define you, the God of Heaven who created you does, and He loves you to the point of sacrificing the most precious and priceless person to Him; his Son, who loved His Father, trusted His Father, and cared for you–anticipating the desired result–so much that He willingly came as both a perfect sacrifice before his God, and our Saviour.

This is what I meant when I said “this is not for nonbelievers.” I, to put things into context, was referring to a particular verse that was written specifically for those who have acknowledged their need for God, and have accepted Jesus’ sacrifice to God–ackowledging that He did it for them and that there is no longer any need for them to continue sacrificing. It is Done. It is Finished. 

Does this mean, then, that God does not love nonbelievers, those who hate God, and are not followers of Christ? No. He loves them. In fact, Romans 5 verse 8 states (NLT version):

But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.

The term “sinners” in this text is referring not to the act of sinning, but to our position in God’s eyes. I make this distinction, because Christ followers are NOT perfect, we still sin…the fundamental difference is what cannot completely be seen by the eye, and that is the reality that we are spiritually reborn in Christ by His Spirit. We are now indwelled by Christ, and as such, are marked as His, but are also raised to “new life.”

Does God love people who hate Him? Yes! At one point or another, WE ALL DID! Some still do, and some of them always will. However, God gives us an opportunity to choose, and the process of choosing begins at hearing and responding.

Let me make this clear, because its a bit difficult….

God loved you before you ever entered the world we reside in, however it is your acceptance or rejection of that love that will determine where you find your TRUE worth, and whether or not you will actually find it. I promise you its there, and no one can take it away…..but do you see yourself the way He does?

I dare you to try. I dare you to consider…..

Forgive me if I have confused you at all. I will reread this later on my laptop to double check any spelling errors and such, and reread to make sure the content makes sense. I will update accordingly.

Some passages of scripture, if you’re interested, is Ephesians 1 (and really, the entire book of Ephesians is all about Identity), Genesis 1, 2, and 3 (the last chapter is the fall of man, but I find God’s response amazing. In fact, the reality that there is another chapter is a testimony in itself to God’s love), Romans 1-8, and perhaps even 5-8 but this is a tough read.

Edit: I would like to include a link to RZIM, which is an amazing organization founded by Ravi Zacharias. He talks about so many important subjects and studied this kind of thing for the majority of his life. This is his profession, and I greatly appreciate his position and his sensitivity to the value of human life, and healthy fear of God. I have found a lot of his resources helpful, but it can be a bit tricky to digest some of it, maybe even most.

Here is a link to a particular podcast that pretty much addresses the question of what it means to be human. I encourage you to listen, even if you disagree with it afterward, and I encourage you to check out the site.

I will not be upset if you don’t.

This concludes my edits, and I appreciate your patience for sticking through my rough illustrations and thoughts. Thanks for reading, I love you all, and have an awesome rest of the day!

~Angelique

Posted in Memoirs of a Christian College Student

The Question of Proof: Theory of Evolution

Have you ever been afraid of asking questions about what you believe because you were afraid of finding your belief misplaced, or false in some way, and you would be required to change?

I know, its a big question, right? The reality is that I find a lot of christians, myself included, can be very intimidated by the questions the world asks, and the reality that we don’t have all the answers. If we don’t go to Jesus and ask Him those questions searching for the Truth, then we can find ourselves beginning to doubt our very faith which we profess. It is healthy, and very necessary, to consider the questions that the world has regarding life, and to see what the Truth is. I will further encourage you, that you can ask questions about your faith that perhaps you were/are afraid to ask, and still hold on to your faith at the same time. Put God to test in the right ways, and you will actually benefit from the experience, and others will benefit from you.

I was faced with such a challenge spring semester of college, which was my first time back in about 4 years, as I was taking Principles of Biology. While going through the course material I kept hearing about Evolution, over and over again. In some ways it seemed to be correct, but in other ways it seemed to be wrong, and I found myself quite confused and bothered by the whole concept. I found myself asking, “What bothers me about the Theory of Evolution?” (And by the way, they don’t even teach Evolution as a theory anymore, and you are looked to as crazy or stupid if you don’t believe its true–whether you are a Believer or not.)

This question wouldn’t be answered until we have the Evolution Lab during…I believe it was the 12th week of class, maybe the 13th (out of 16 weeks.) I won’t lie to you when I say I was bored out of my mind during the lab, and was seriously contemplating leaving the class not even half way through, something I never do. The lab made no sense to me, and I could tell by the questions of my class mates that I was not the only one. I wondered then if I was the only Christian in the class, and if so, then I wondered what the problem was with Evolution that both Believers and nonBelivers were stumbling over the concepts.

Luckily, I was able to get our of class early that day, and I didn’t have to abandon the class to do it. I thought about it on the walk home, and determined that what bothered me most about Evolution was the idea that it excludes the possibility of a Creator, and instead looks to creation as an explanation as to why it exists. That night I determined to research it and get some answers to my questions. If that is what Evolution is about, I reasoned, then how should I respond as a Christian? So, I decided to check out a website that my friend told me about perhaps two years prior, and have found that place to be absolutely amazing and helpful.

Its called Stand to Reason, and the articles I read are here, here, and here.

What I learned really helped reveal and resolve the questions I had within me, and I will do my best to simplify them here.

First.The main confusing thing, is that the word “evolution” actually is attached to three different definitions and is used in three different ways. The first two are simplified as microevolution and the last one is called macroevolution.

The definitions are, in my best paraphrase, 1. Evolution is a change over a period of time.
I hate to say it, but it would be quite foolish to argue with that. People change over a period of time, weather changes over a period of time, ideas change, lifestyles change, the color of tree leaves change, time changes, years change….things change! A baby grows into a toddler over a period of time, then into an adolescent, then an adult. Our very cells change, and the way we eat can effect the way our body functions which in the long term can make us healthier, or more susceptible to diseases, etc. I believe you get the picture…

2. Evolution is the change within the characteristics of a species over a period of time.

Ok, now we’re starting to get a bit uncomfortable, and I’ll explain why that is in a moment. First let me briefly clarify this definition. The changes within the characteristic of a species, is simply that. This is NOT the same as the change from one species to the next, but is confined to simply the characteristics of a species. The Gallapagos finches are famous….two different finches within the same species living in two different climates learn to eat and function in different ways. At the end of the day, they are still finches, they never stop being birds, but one finch, I believe in Africa, dies off when the weather and vegetation is no longer harsh and desert like, while the South American finch will die when the vegetation and fruitful trees are gone. A good way to summarize this definition is “adaptation,” changing to survive.

The first two definitions are microevolution, so what is macroevolution?

Macroevolution, the final definition, is the idea that over a certain period of time, in certain circumstances, a species could go through a series of changes that enable it to become a different species.

There are many things wrong with this, but the main reason is actually my second and third points. I will simply name them and briefly describe, allowing you to do the research on your own.

Insufficient proof. Every  idea, theory, and concept has to answer the question of proof; evolution is no exception. “Humans evolved from monkeys.” Okay, prove it!

The problem is this, there are two roots in their proof and both are insufficient. The first is the idea that because the first and second definitions of evolution are true, that is, microevolution, then the third is, by extension true. Why is this a problem? Because there are immeasurable amounts of proof on all levels for microevolution, but absolutely none that sustains the idea that one species can “evolve” into another.

But the fossil records are proof right? Well…no. In one of the articles on Stand to Reason (which I linked above), the author addresses this question, and I will paraphrase his answer as I understood it.

In order for the fossil records to be counted as proof of macroevolution, there would need to be records of fossils that show the original creature, the transformed creature, and (this part is key) the transitional stages from one organism to another…and we would need them in the thousands. That is something we don’t have, proof in the fossil records of macroevolution, and certainly not on a grand scale. What we do have: infinite proof of microevolution….infinite.

So why can’t the reality that microevolution is true be proof of macroevolution?
Mostly because the jump between microevolution and macroevolution are huge, and that’s a pretty big gap to gloss over. This is like saying Captain Kirk and the Enterprise are real because there was a show about it in the 60s. (I’m sorry, its the best example I could think of at the time…) The reason we believe that each aspect of microevolution is true is because each aspect has proof, endless proof, that sustains it. Once again, we don’t have this proof for macroevolution.

Unfortunately. Most of the time, evolution on all three definitions is used so interchangeably, you’ll have to listen to the context in which its being used in order to decide whether or not you should be concerned. If its microevolution, then you can rest a bit easier and examine the claims, but if its macroevolution in the guise of microevolution, be on alert, and as always, ASK questions.

I hope this has been helpful in some way, and I apologize if I offended any Trekkies out there. I have a soft spot in my heart for the enterprise…don’t tell my mother!

My hope, however, is that you all will really read the resources I have provided, and, if you’re an over achiever, or have other questions, research on your own. I also encourage you to ask questions here. I may not have the answers, but I am willing to do a bit of research on the topic. My goal for this post, and others within this category (and really the blog as a whole) is not to change your mind, but to challenge it in a productive way. I want to be a good thinker, and a good skeptic–one that is searching actively for truth, but rests when its found. I am posting this to help aid your thought process, question asking, and because, mostly, I found the answer to my question, or if not, then a good resource that gave me a clear direction.

I hope this makes sense.

Have a good one, and if you’re a college student…hang in there. Honestly, it’s worth the hard work and sacrifice.

See you all next post,

~Angelique

Posted in A Walk to Remember, Memoirs of a Christian College Student

Memoirs of a Christian College Student: Introduction

Hello,

I have come to a place in my life where I find I am transitioning into what many of my friends are transitioning out of, namely college. I have attended college before but never got a degree for various reasons I shall avoid detailing due to the bitter remnants and the reality that such information is irrelevant to my purpose for writing. This aside, I have begun my journey to attain first an AA at my local college here in Jacksonville, and then on to ultimately my masters, which I hope to pursue at UNF.

What I noticed almost immediately is that I am completely ill-prepared for school. College was happening right after coming out of a difficult time, upon difficult time, upon completing a missions opportunity, and deeply nestled amidst a sea of unknowns. I learned that I could not be my guide through school, and that I needed God’s leadership, and I learned it the hard way.

I first learned that although I understood that I needed His help, I was still very self-assured that I could handle these things and make it through school. “You just attend class, learn something, do your work, and turn it in!” Right? Simple enough….unless you’re a student who worships Jesus at the foot of the cross, and desire to surrender your full life into his service…even your college experience. What I learned is that God has a purpose for me during my school years, and it won’t be as simple as just showing up, learning something, doing work, getting a grade and calling it a day. It won’t be as simple as getting a degree and then going my own way.

My first semester was in the Spring of 2015, so January through early May. My first courses were Public Speaking, Principles of Biology, Intermediate Algebra, and Cultural Geography (which I failed, not that it matters much.) I was very much overwhelmed by my first semester. The first college I went to and was seriously pursuing a degree, knowing what I wanted to do, was an art college on Baypine, which was very nicely structured. All of the classes there began and ended pretty much the same time–a full semester was 11 weeks long, and a half course was about 5-6 weeks long. I was very much used to having a structured schedule where the classes all began and ended at the same time, but this was not so in the spring at my current school.

I definitely noticed a difference in the students I was now surrounded with. There were many more students with a broad range of interests and goals from many different countries, beliefs, and cultural backgrounds. I was not in a small, narrow school anymore, where my degree pursuits may be different from another’s, but we were all art students. Now I was quite literally in a melting pot of ideas, and I could not tell which direction I needed to swim in.

The second thing I noticed as a full-time student, nearly full-time employee at a small business, are the many traps that are truly set-up for those who believe. I have also seen how those who do not believe (that is, In who Jesus is and what he lived and died for, let’s not forget overcame death for) fall into these traps, or by some miracle, avoid the traps, but fall into other ones.

There is a temptation I face daily that suggests that perhaps I am being overly religious, or taking things too seriously, and I need to slow down with the Jesus thing. Surely God expects me to learn something here, so what’s wrong with drinking the kool-aid to make the grade?

There is a temptation I face often of accepting everything someone says (a teacher that is) and the things written in books for what they are. The trouble is, not everything is right, and there are teachers who will scoff at students for disagreeing with what they teach, or with what the textbook says. There are students who do it too.

There seems to be a sort of cruel twist of a knife when someone dares to ask the question “why is that so?” to the point where you feel stupid for even have asked. This is not simply for christians, this is the college system here in America. You can truly feel the weight of the culture of the times in the universities, and other college campuses.

My apologies if this sounds heavy, but I want to point out that this is a big deal, and it is something we should be talking about more often. Too many times I find myself asking, especially as a science major, “Lord, what am I supposed to be learning here? What is alright to hold on to, what can I let go of? Why is this information wrong? Why is it right?”

I find that your faith will grow when tested, well college life is a test. You don’t have to go to seminary to be an apologist, the training is here in secular schools as well. The only difference is that God must be your constant teacher, there can be no middle man.

Although college life can be like a whirlwind where it seems you are not allowed to be human, and have a life outside school work because of the intense deadlines, the massive work loads, and the constant intake of information that prevents you from thinking straight, the most important thing is to continuously ask questions, and to know where to look for answers. If you’re a Christ-follower, then you know where to go and who to ask…are you ready to hear His responses?

If you’re a non-believer, and a skeptic, then you’re in the right place, I’m hoping you learn how to be a good skeptic. That is, one who is skeptical because they are pursuing truth, but knows when to rest when they find it.

I want to say now, before I close my intro, what my goals are for writing.

I am not here to give the perfect answer to your heart’s questions. I am afraid I am too finite and limited in understanding to undertake the task. Instead I will be sharing my college experiences, the questions I have asked, and the resources I have found that helped me navigate through the treacherous waters.

My goal is to be an encouragement to you; you are not swimming alone through waters that no one has faced before, many of God’s people have endured through similar circumstances and have overcome, we can too! I am a firm believer of the reality that we all struggle with the same things, we just struggle in different ways. We all have a common enemy, and we all have an opportunity to receive a hope that endures even beyond death to this world.

I hope you will find the posts as encouraging and edifying as I find them therapeutic and freeing. Also, because I want you all to live, and to not be afraid to ask questions (also because I have no intentions of being your Guru) I will go ahead and include one of the most prominent resources that was shared with me, and I have found it helpful, especially when you’re in college. Stand to Reason

Always ask questions; Never grow weary of walking the path of Truth.

See you next post.

~Angelique

p.s Here’s a post that you might find encouraging from Stand to Reason Do Not Fear Them