“Why Are Children Born Blind?”

I have asked the question of why children are born blind. I get no satisfaction from any of any religious explanation. The fact of the matter is that the Almighty can see but these little children cannot. It is cold comfort to hide behind some doctrine when an innocent child will spend his or her life in darkness.

It’s a great question. In fact, God considered it such a good question that it is included in the Gospel of John:

As [Jesus] went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”

“Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. . . .” (John 9:1-3)

So the first answer of why babies are allowed to be born blind is so that God can put His goodness and His power on display through the person’s life.

I can imagine that an immediate response might be, “How sadistic and egocentric can you get? Why would a good and loving God allow such pain and distress just to set Himself up to get glory?”

And my response would be, “When we start to understand God as He really is, as majestic and powerful and beautiful and most of all GOOD, we stop pushing back at His actions that reveal His character. Just like we don’t raise a fist at the sun and scream, ‘How dare you shine so brightly that I can’t look at you without hurting my eyes?! How dare you pour such radiant light into the world that it lights everything up? Stop being so shiny and bright!'”

Another answer is that in the scope of eternity, there are many worse things than being physically blind. It would be far worse to live a life disconnected from God, refusing His invitation to the abundant life Jesus came to give, and enter hell with perfectly working eyes.

I do realize that this may seem callous, which is why I need to tell you that as a survivor of polio paralysis since I was eight months old, I have lived my entire life handicapped. I may as well have been born with a disabled body like a baby born blind. So this question is not a hypothetical, theoretical question. This is my daily life. And I have seen God “display His works in me” (John 9) in many ways not despite my handicap, but because of it. My very weakness is what allows His strength and joy to shine through me in the weak places.

Jesus went on to say immediately after the above statements that He was the light of the world. The juxtaposition of these two details, I believe, is making a statement: that things that exist in the physical realm point to corollaries in the spiritual realm. Blindness comes in various forms, physical and spiritual and emotional and intellectual, but Jesus is the light that makes all the difference with those kinds of blindness.

I do think it’s easier to grasp this truth when we cultivate an eternal perspective, remembering that our life on earth is but a short breath compared to the bulk of our existence that will happen on the other side of death. Blindness, for believers in Jesus, is limited to life on earth. All physical maladies will be restored to perfection in the New Heavens and the New Earth, which means no blindness, no lameness, no illness of any kind in the next stage of life.

You might ask, “But what about babies born blind who don’t become believers in Jesus? What is the point of their blindness then?” It seems to me that the promise of healing and wholeness through a relationship with Jesus could be even more appealing to someone born blind. It might be the very best way for them to come to the place where they trust in Christ.

One final comment, addressing your statement that “the Almighty can see but these little children cannot.”

There was a time when the Almighty restricted Himself to a human body while living on earth, leaving all His power and privileges behind in heaven when He took up residence in a young girl’s body. I believe He experienced an even worse kind of blindness than merely physical blindness as He hung on the cross, absorbing all the sin, all the dysfunction, all the sickness, and all the brokenness of life in a fallen world into Himself for three hours. He was so immersed in the horror of a sin-sick world, I believe, that He could no longer “see” or sense His Father—because that’s what sin does, it separates us from God, and the Bible tells us that He actually BECAME sin for us (2 Corinthians 5:21). No wonder He felt lost in sin’s blindness. (Thus crying out “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?“)

So I would respectfully submit that Jesus, the Almighty, very much knows what the deepest kind of blindness feels like. He is Emmanuel, God with us—God who understands what it’s like to be human and live in a broken world. Including blindness.

I do hope you find this helpful.

Sue Bohlin

Posted November 2018
© 2018 Probe Ministries




“Where Are the Rest of Jesus’ Teachings?”

I have been searching for text/documents/anything that Jesus taught. He had over three years of anointed ministry, and only a few lines in the Gospels are recorded. Where is the rest of His teachings? I doubt that He wrote them down to a great extent, but surely some of his followers wrote down His teachings.

It’s great to hear about your excitement for the teachings of Jesus! May the Lord increase your tribe!

There is, unfortunately, a lot of nonsense written about Jesus—both at the scholarly and popular level (though doubtless more at the popular level). The fact of the matter is that the earliest and best historical evidence concerning Jesus and his teachings is to be found in the New Testament. Nothing else even comes close.

Of course, Jesus is mentioned in some ancient non-Christian sources. I have written a brief article about it here: probe.org/ancient-evidence-for-jesus-from-non-christian-sources-2/

Additionally, the Gospel of Thomas appears to contain some of Jesus’ actual sayings. According to New Testament scholar Bart Ehrman, probably about 1/3 of this gospel contains actual sayings of Jesus (or something close), about 1/3 of the sayings are full-blown Gnosticism (espousing things that Jesus never taught), and the final 1/3 are somewhere in between these two.

But here’s the thing. The Gospel of Thomas is an early second century production. The other apocryphal and pseudepigraphical gospels are later still. By contrast, all of the New Testament documents (including the four gospels) are first century productions. So bottom line: if you want to know what Jesus really taught, you need to read the New Testament (and the NT gospels in particular). Indeed, the reason scholars think that some of the sayings in the Gospel of Thomas are probably authentic sayings of Jesus is because they are consistent with sayings we find in the New Testament Gospels—the earliest and most historically trustworthy documents we have concerning the life and teachings of Jesus.

A few other books you might enjoy by good, solid, evangelical Jesus scholars:

1. Fabricating Jesus: How Modern Scholars Distort the Gospels, by Craig A. Evans:
www.amazon.com/Fabricating-Jesus-Scholars-Distort-Gospels/dp/0830833188/

2. Reinventing Jesus: How Contemporary Skeptics Miss the Real Jesus and Mislead Popular Culture, by Komoszewski, Sawyer, and Wallace: www.amazon.com/Reinventing-Jesus-J-Ed-Komoszewski/dp/082542982X/

3. The Historical Jesus: Ancient Evidence for the Life of Christ, by Gary R. Habermas: www.amazon.com/Historical-Jesus-Ancient-Evidence-Christ/dp/0899007325/

May the Lord greatly bless you in your studies!

Shalom in Christ,

Michael Gleghorn

Posted April 27, 2017
© 2017 Probe Ministries




“I Stopped Believing After Visiting an Atheist Webpage; Can God Forgive Me?”

I accepted Christ but then I went to the atheistic page that convinced me and I stopped completely believing for a few days. Later, I realized it was a mistake and repented. Can God forgive me? Am I apostate? Hebrews 6:4-6 is why I’m afraid.

Thanks for your letter. Hebrews 6:4-6 is a highly disputed passage with a variety of interpretations on offer. Fortunately, however, I do not think that we really need to delve into any of these in your case. The sort of sin that is in view in Hebrews 6:4-6 appears to be a very willful and determined apostasy from Christ. It appears to picture someone who, in spite of numerous spiritual benefits experienced, nonetheless turns his back on Christ and utterly rejects Him forever. In other words, the passage seems to suggest that anyone who has committed this sin will never turn to God again in repentance. Their heart has been (or is) irrevocably hardened against God and they will not repent.

But this is clearly not you! As you say in your letter, you realized that you had made a mistake and you thus repented and turned back to God. Sometimes atheist websites can seem convincing and a believer might be temporarily fooled by them, so to speak. But for a true believer, this will be very temporary indeed (as again, your own case shows). For the true believer has the witness of the Holy Spirit within him (or her) self—and this witness testifies to the truth of Christ with all of the authority of God himself!

The bottom line, I think, is this: anyone who is willing to repent of their sin and turn to Christ for forgiveness and salvation cannot have committed this sin. For the person who has committed this sin is irrevocably hardened against God and will never again be brought to repentance.

One final note. As believers it is important for us to grow in our understanding of the riches of our faith. Although some believers are called by God to engage with the material on atheist websites, the Lord always prepares such believers exceedingly well beforehand. Personally, I would encourage you as a brother in Christ to stay away from the atheist websites. The fact is, these sites are utterly wrong in their denial and rejection of God. They will not encourage nor build you up in your faith. Instead, I would recommend daily reading (and actually studying) your Bible, getting involved with a good Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church (and small group), and reading good works of theology and Christian apologetics. Take the time to carefully read something like John Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion, for example. And for apologetics, read the articles on the Probe website (www.probe.org) — and check out the material as well on William Lane Craig’s site, Reasonable Faith (www.reasonablefaith.org). Don’t waste your time—I say this in all seriousness—with atheist websites. Rather, go deep in your study of the Bible, Christian theology, and Christian apologetics. You won’t regret it!

Shalom in Christ,

Michael Gleghorn

Posted April 27, 2017
© 2017 Probe Ministries




“How Do Dinosaurs Fit Into the Bible?”

My nephew and I recently saw a giant T-rex skeleton on exhibit. He was so fascinated and started asking a lot of questions. It really made me wonder, How do dinosaurs fit into the biblical story? There is no denying they exist, but when and where and why did God make them and then take them away? I want to make sure I am prepared to answer this question if he ever asks.

My husband and I have an article “How to Talk to Your Kids About Creation and Evolution,” where we discuss dinosaurs in this section: www.probe.org/how-to-talk-to-your-kids-about-evolution-and-creation/#dinosaurs

Also, please read Ray’s article “Christian Views of Science and Earth History,” [www.probe.org/christian-views-of-science-and-earth-history/] which covers the three perspectives on the age of the earth that most Christians hold. From a young earth perspective, dinosaurs existed before the flood (Noah probably would have taken juveniles on the ark) and likely went extinct after the flood because there wasn’t sufficient food to support their large body size. From an old earth perspective, dinosaurs died out 65 million years ago at the end of the Cretaceous Period and so there is no reinterpreting of anything. They don’t appear in the biblical account because by the time God created Adam and Eve, they had been gone for millions of years.

Hope you find this helpful.

Sue Bohlin
Probe Ministries Webmistress

Posted March 2017
© 2017 Probe Ministries




“Are ‘Twinflame’ Relationships Real, From God, or Demonic?”

Does the term “twinflame” come from God? Does it come from a “divine” source? Would this be considered demonic due to its telepathic tendencies and reincarnation belief? I have a family member who thinks they have found their “twinflame” and believes that he has a “higher” connection with this person then his wife. I have been brought up in a Christian home, and feel that this goes against everything that I have been taught. Did Jesus himself preach about reincarnation? What can I say to this person to let them know that “twinflames” do not exist?

I had never heard of the word “twinflame” (and I assure you it is not a biblical concept so no, it doesn’t come from God), but as I researched it, I had to chuckle with rueful recognition of the relational dynamics. Websites addressing this supposed “twinflame” phenomenon describe the breathtaking rapture of an immediate and intense connection with another person that often overshadows actual real-life relationships (such as a spouse, as in your family member’s case). What’s really happening is that a person becomes infatuated with their perception of someone else, imbuing the object of their intense affections with a kind of “magic” fueled by their imagination and fantasy; in their mind, the other person is more beautiful, smarter, more eloquent, more sensitive and more of an amazing match than the all-too-real known quantity of the flesh-and-blood people they do life with. As Focus on the Family’s Dr. James Dobson said early in the days of the internet when we were discussing the ugly downside of online relationships, of course the fantasy wonderfulness (my words, not his) of the other person is going to overshadow the spouse who leaves socks or towels on the floor!

Emotional Dependency bookletSomeone has put a New Age spin on an old, old temptation of relational idolatry. Putting another person or the relationship up on a pedestal as the most important thing in life is idolatry, and it is sin. Lori Rentzel nailed this concept in her excellent essay “Emotional Dependency.” (You can find the essay online here. It is also available published as a little booklet by InterVarsity Press.)

Interestingly, as I read about “twinflame” to a friend who spent decades as a lesbian activist, her comment was, “Oh, there’s the beginning of a lesbian relationship!” The intensity of relational idolatry is a counterfeit to true intimacy no matter the gender of the people involved. (Consider my blog post The Dark Underside of Female Friendships.)

You asked about supposed “telepathic tendencies and reincarnation belief.” There can certainly be a demonic component to this kind of relationship because there are layers of deception going on, including belief in previous lives. Probe has several articles and answers to email about reincarnation you might find helpful (and no, Jesus didn’t preach about reincarnation because it’s not real):

The Mystery of Reincarnation – A Christian Perspective
Does the Bible Talk About Reincarnation?”
“Was Reincarnation Ever in the Bible?”
“You Should Research Reincarnation and the Lost Words of Jesus”
Reincarnation: The Christmas Counterfeit

What can you say to your family member to let them know that “twinflames” don’t exist? How about something like, “I am very concerned that you are buying into a deceptive lie about this other relationship that threatens to wreck your marriage and your spiritual life. I’ve done some research; please consider that the concept of ‘twinflames’ is a made-up idea to justify illegitimate attractions to another person. I can give you more information if you want it.”

I send this with a prayer that God will open the eyes of your family member before he drives his marriage off a cliff.

Blessing you,
Sue Bohlin

Posted March 2017
© 2017 Probe Ministries




“Is It True That Adam Was 90 Feet Tall?”

My question may sound funny at first. So I was witnessing to a Muslim that I know and we got into a discussion on the book of Genesis, more specifically on Adam and the garden of Eden. So the Muslim man I was discussing with claims that Adam was 90 feet tall in the Koran!? He said that this is a known historical fact of science. This seems just crazy talk, so my question may seem crazy but is there any historical/scientific proof for such a claim? Sounds more like a fairy tale and scientifically impossible. Just wanted to know your thoughts.

Good for you for witnessing to our Muslim friend! No, it’s NOT a known historical fact of science. Just ask him for the evidence of this claim. (And remember that the Koran is a man-made book with no divine inspiration. We shouldn’t be surprised that it would have statements like this in it.)

Here’s a page that references the claim: answering-christianity.com/adam_90_feet_tall.htm And here’s a page that responds to the claims: www.answering-islam.org/Responses/Osama/90feet-adam.htm Hope you find this helpful.

Sue Bohlin

Posted January 26, 2017
© 2017 Probe Ministries




“How Do We Respond to the Charge That We’re on the Wrong Side of History?”

When I present my view on the LGBT issue, the Biblical view, people say I’m on “the wrong side of history.” What say you? I know this is an empty PC mantra but how should I answer?

When we’re smack dab in the middle of history-making, from a biblical perspective it’s waaaaay too early to declare what is “the wrong side of history.” We have already received revelation about how things will go toward the end of the world in the book of Revelation and other biblical books, so we can have an idea of where we’re headed. And it’s not pretty.

When Prohibition was enacted in the United States, there might have been people declaring that those objecting to it were on “the wrong side of history.” Except that they weren’t, because things change.

I can tell you personally, as one who has been involved in homosexual ministry (to those with unwanted same-sex attractions) for 18 years, God’s “thou shalt nots” of all sex outside of marriage are given out of love for us and a complete knowledge of how He designed us for male-female complementarity. Those insisting that the LGBT agenda (see the book After the Ball, which spells it out) is right and we hopelessly outdated dinosaurs are wrong, will still run into the fact that God made us male and female to reflect the beauty and glory of unity in diversity. Even if it’s un-PC.

Frankly, I think we will have to get used to being misunderstood and judged. And we can take comfort in the fact that Jesus knows a whole lot about that.

Thanks for writing,

Sue Bohlin

Posted Jan. 26, 2017
© 2017 Probe Ministries




“Is It OK for Christians to Dance?”

What about Christians and dancing. Is it OK to dance?

Well generally I say yes, within reason.

First, I see no specific prohibition against it in the Scriptures. That means it is an area of freedom for us as believers in Christ. Now as Paul discussed our freedoms in Christ in Romans, Galatians, and Corinthians, we exercise our freedoms IN Christ. That is to say to His glory, with all appropriate considerations due. Does it edify? Does it offend others? Will it serve my witness for Christ or hinder it?

As with all choices, examining one’s motive is essential. If someone dances in order to arouse and seduce a person they’re not married to, that would be wrong. (There is a place for that kind of dance, in the privacy of a married couple’s bedroom, per the Song of Solomon.) The way one dresses while dancing matters too; a number of people can’t watch Dancing With the Stars because of the revealing costumes.

Further, we want to consider what kind of dancing is in view. I take my wife swing dancing and country dancing from time to time. We find it great exercise, a fun way to express ourselves and get to know each other better. Further it is an expression of art. That glorifies God doesn’t it?

Last, we have examples in the Bible of those who danced. David is probably the most famous, but there are others.

If you want to read more, consider this article by Probe founder Jimmy Williams: The Christian and the Arts.

It is a more broad examination of the believer to the arts in general – as you can see by the title. But there is a section on music and dance. It should help, I think, in getting you in a good framework from which to approach the question for yourself.

Thanks for writing!

At your service,

Paul Rutherford
Research Associate

Posted Dec. 2016
© 2016 Probe Ministries




“Would You Answer Some Questions About Hate and LGBT?”

I am a high school student writing a paper for English over some hatred issues across America and I was wondering if you would answer some questions about marriage equality, gender issues, etc.

Why do you, personally, dislike homosexual behavior?

For the same reason I dislike heterosexual behavior (like using pornography or unmarried or extramarital sex) that is outside of God’s plan and purpose for our bodies and souls: it is harmful to the person(s) engaging in it. Sex is so powerful, like electricity, that it needs to be contained within the safe confines of marriage between a man and a woman who have committed to each other for life. Outside of that containment, the power of sex is more like lightning, which does damage instead of being channeled into serving us.

But homosexual behavior is not just about sex. There is also a lot of emotional dependency in same-sex relationships, especially between girls and women, when their friendship has overflowed the banks of what is healthy. Emotionally dependent relationships are intense (which becomes exhausting), chaotic (which drains people further), controlling and manipulative (which is hurtful to the people and to the relationship). I dislike this behavior because it is harmful to the people engaging in it as well. I love people and hate to see them get hurt. That’s why I dislike the behavior that contributes (eventually) to heartache.

If anyone of your family members became homosexual, how would you react?

That already happened, when one of my relatives was seduced into lesbian relationships and started seeing herself as part of the LGBT community. I continued to love her, encourage her, delight in her . . . even though we don’t talk about her relationships or her involvement in LGBT.

I have two grown sons, though, which is the closer kind of family I think you may be thinking of. If either one of them announced they were gay, I would weep that he had been deceived by our spiritual enemy into thinking falsehoods about himself, and I would pray every day for his eyes to be open to the truth, even as I continued to love him like I do now.

Why do you think God doesn’t love homosexual people and their behaviors?

I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God dearly and tenderly loves those who struggle with same-sex attraction, those who have embraced a gay identity, and even those who have fully immersed themselves in the LGBT world. I’m thinking of one young man in particular who went on a two-week bender, prostituting himself for gay sex so he could buy drugs and keep himself high. I know that his decisions grieved God’s heart deeply (especially when he became HIV+ during that 2 weeks), but He never left the man or stopped loving him, and was there waiting patiently for him to come to his senses . . . which he did. And now their relationship is stronger than ever.

If God loved people, ALL people, enough to send His only Son into the world to be nailed to a cross, taking our place and paying the penalty for our sin and then raising Him from the dead, then I think He continues to love all of us in our messy, sinful rebellion. But He never endorses or accepts our sinful behavior, though He fully accepts US. Acceptance and approval of choices and behaviors are not the same.

You may have noticed I went from talking about homosexuals to US . . . because we are all in the same predicament: messy, sinful, rebellious people who desperately need God. There is no us/them differentiation—we are all alike in our need for God, and we are all alike in the fact that He loves us more than we can imagine.

Do you believe in abortion, and why?

I think it is a heinous thing to murder a baby, whether he or she lives inside the mother or outside the mother. Abortion is taking the life of an innocent child, and it’s wrong to murder.

And do you consider Probe Ministries a hate group?

Absolutely not! We were tagged a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center because we don’t agree with the LGBT agenda. We align ourselves with the Bible’s standards that all sex outside of marriage violates God’s commands for human sexuality. Unfortunately, these days mere disagreement is called hate. I have repeatedly invited people to identify the hate-filled words on our website so I can change them, but no one has ever identified any. I believe that is because you won’t find words of hate on our website, or our podcasts, or any of our recorded messages. (And I do know what hate sounds like. Westboro Baptist Church makes me sick.)

I’m the primary writer and speaker about homosexuality and gender issues for Probe. It might be helpful for you to know that for 18 years I have also served with Living Hope Ministries, which is a Christian organization that helps people deal with unwanted homosexuality, and the family members of those who have chosen to embrace a gay identity. I have known and grown to love more people than I can count, people who are my heroes as they fight their feelings and instead, pursue intimacy with Jesus Christ. I have watched so many people’s hearts change over time, and I have walked with a lot of women as they process the reasons for their attractions and experience a shift in their beliefs and attitudes (and sometimes attractions as well, though not always). They are so very dear to me, and I love being their cheerleader and encourager.

That’s the opposite of hate. That’s what love looks like, and that’s what is the foundation of everything I write and say on this issue.

It might also be helpful for you to know that I have run everything I write and say through the filter of trusted friends who were once part of the LGBT community, asking them to identify anything that is unintentionally hurtful or rude or even untrue so I can change it before it becomes public.

I’m glad you asked, and I am thankful for the opportunity to provide you with some answers.

Have a good day.

Warmly,
Mrs. Bohlin

Posted Oct. 2016
© 2016 Probe Ministries




What About an Inter-racial, Inter-faith, Same-sex Marriage?

Dear Mrs. Bohlin,

What is your position and/or your church’s position on inter-racial marriage? And the same on marriage between religious faiths? How would you advise me to respond to a relative who has stated intentions to marry an atheist, of the same sex and of a different racial and ethnic background?

I agree with my church’s position on inter-racial marriage, which is that biblically there is no prohibition against it—the prohibition is about believers in Christ marrying unbelievers. realtruthrealquick.com/interracial-marriage-christian/

Concerning inter-faith marriage, that depends on your definition of inter-faith. Some make a distinction between Christian denominations and say, for example, that Presbyterians shouldn’t marry Episcopalians. I don’t think that is inter-faith, that would be intra-faith marriage. But when we’re talking about, for example, a Christian marrying a Hindu, that is clearly prohibited in scripture, in both the Old and New Testaments. The children of Israel were instructed never to marry any pagan neighbors, and we are told in 2 Cor. 6:14 not to be unequally yoked, believer to unbeliever.

Concerning your relative: is s/he a believer in Jesus? Then I would ask them how they are dealing with the Bible’s teaching not to marry a unbeliever, and the Biblical pattern of marriage as strictly between husband and wife (with no exceptions). Most of the time, people who do what they please regardless of what the Bible says, do so because they don’t know what God has said in His word . . . or if they do, they dismiss it for a variety of reasons, all because they want what they want. There is a heart of rebellion there. If your relative is a believer, the biggest issue is the authority of the Bible and their refusal to submit to it.

If the relative is not a believer, God’s standards and commands are STILL given “that it may go well with you,” (stated 8 times in Deuteronomy)—they function like guardrails on a treacherous mountain road. If we stay inside of the guardrails, we are protected from careening off the cliff to disaster below. But this person’s relationship with God—or rather, the lack of one—is the most important issue. If they’re not a believer, they probably don’t care what God has said, mistakenly thinking that the Bible’s commands and restrictions don’t apply to them. But that’s like thinking, “If I don’t believe in gravity, I can do what I please and get away with it.” No. No one gets away with trying to violate the law of gravity . . . and eventually, they discover they can’t get away with violating the law of God either. Their biggest need is salvation. They need to know that God’s Son, Jesus, died for his/her sins, was buried and rose from the dead three days later so s/he could be reconciled to God. That need overshadows questions about who they want to marry.

I send this with a prayer that you will be able to speak the truth in love (Eph. 4:15) to your relative, and he or she will have ears to hear.

Blessings,
Sue

Posted Nov. 22, 2015
© 2015 Probe Ministries