Saturday, May 01, 2021

Religious And Occultic Aspects Of The Enfield Poltergeist

In a conversation in 1978, Margaret Hodgson told Guy Playfair that she'd seen an apparition in the context of using a Ouija board a few years earlier, apparently in 1974, and that she'd recently seen the same apparition in the context of the Enfield case. See the relevant section of my post here for more about what Margaret and her sister reported regarding their use of a Ouija board leading up to what's typically considered the poltergeist's onset in August of 1977. Margaret's experience in 1974 could be identified as the start of the poltergeist instead, depending on what standards you apply. And both the use of a Ouija board leading up to late August of 1977 and the girls' impression that their Ouija board use was connected to the poltergeist make it relevant to an evaluation of the case. But it doesn't get discussed much.

There are many other aspects of the case that are of an occultic or religious nature that have likewise been neglected. More research needs to be done on the subject, but I want to provide an overview of what I know at this point. Some of what I'll be citing comes from Maurice Grosse and Guy Playfair's Enfield tapes. I'll make reference to them by using "MG" to designate a tape from Grosse's collection and "GP" to designate one from Playfair's. MG32A is Grosse's tape 32A, GP41B is Playfair's 41B, etc.

Thursday, April 29, 2021

Drifting Off Course Into Comforts

"Is this not a beautiful thing, when a man has a great, worthy, single passion in life and burns for it all the way to the end?...I would rather see a man die abruptly, on his way to one last conquest, than to see him drift off course into the comforts of old age." (John Piper, Why I Love The Apostle Paul [Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway, 2019], 28)

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

A Good Resource On The Virgin Birth

Nick Peters just started a new web site on the subject. It features collections of material supporting the virgin birth in written, audio, and video form. If you have any ideas about other material to include, he's taking suggestions.

Monday, April 26, 2021

Death for Life

I have often heard the charge from atheists that the idea of divine justice requiring the death of Christ in order for us to be saved is simply a ludicrous belief to hold to. Of course, this conundrum isn't limited to atheists as there are many non-Christian theists (and even some who call themselves Christian) who have issues with substitutionary atonement as well, but I am most familiar with the atheist objections given the circles that I run in. Regardless of who makes the complaint, the objection seems to boil down to the fact that it seems to be illogical for someone to gain eternal life at the expense of the life of an innocent person.

What has struck me is that not only is it not illogical to have this understanding, but it's actually the way things already are in our everyday life. Recently, I've been in some discussions regarding diet. Specifically, I had surgery on my feet back in November, and through the recovery process I need to maintain a lot better control over blood sugar levels in my diet. As a result of this need, the wound care clinic that provides the post-op care required me to attend a diabetes nutrition class. Ironically enough, the dietitian in that class came to the conclusion that I need to eat even more carbohydrates. In fact, she recommended that I have upwards of 250 grams per day. I think anyone who's ever had to control their blood sugar ought to realize just how ridiculous following that advice would be. (Incidentally, I usually maintain around 50 grams of carbohydrates per day and still have fasting blood sugars that are a tad higher than they want.)

Anyway, the point is that I've been thinking about diet lately, so it was natural for my brain to consider that topic when I thought about the objection that penal substitution makes no sense. I made a simple observation, one that is obvious, but which most of us do not think about. That is, whether you are consuming meat products or vegetable products, you are eating things that were, at one point, alive.

We do not consume inanimate objects, like dirt. Our food is the product of living beings. And it's not just byproducts—some of which we can eat (e.g., milk, honey, fruit, etc.), but none of which provide enough nutrients on their own to sustain life. To live, we need to eat animals and entire plants, killing those creatures in the process.

In other words, to consider that eternal life requires the sacrifice of an eternal living Person is somehow incomprehensible is to ignore the fact that our mortal life already requires the sacrifice of mortal beings. We live every day because animals and plants have died. It didn't have to be this way. Plants, after all, can use photosynthesis and get their energy directly from the sun. In that aspect, there's no reason why God couldn't have created human beings, and even all other animals, with photosynthesis. So I have to think that the very fact that we consume plants and animals was already meant as a picture for us of the coming sacrifice Christ would make on our behalf as well.

Which, as a further thought exercise for the future, might also have some bearing on the supralapsarian vs. infralapsarian debate too. I leave that thought exercise up to the reader.

Sunday, April 25, 2021

Jesus' Career Reflected In His Teachings And Early Christianity

In a 2005 article ("What was Jesus' occupation?", Journal Of The Evangelical Theological Society, vol. 48, no. 3 [September 2005], 501-19), Ken Campbell argued that Jesus and Joseph should be thought of as builders rather than carpenters. They would have worked with wood, but mostly with other materials. What I want to highlight here, though, are some points Campbell makes about the characteristics of Jesus' teachings and how consistent they are with a traditional Christian view of Jesus' background. They're what you'd expect from somebody like Jesus. I wouldn't go as far as Campbell does (e.g., referring to his conclusion about Jesus' occupation as "incontrovertible"), but the information Campbell cites is useful. You'll have to read his entire article to get the full picture, but what's below is a portion of what he wrote. I'll follow his comments with some of my own: