Translations

Friday, December 09, 2022

CHRISTIAN EVIDENCES (APOLOGETICS): the Nature of God (published 12-9-2022; article #377; series article #5)

4/7/2017 Photo by Joshua Earle on Unsplash. Free to use under the Unsplash License.

Introduction

Greetings, once again, to all national and international readers and students, to this series on Christian Evidences (Apologetics). Greetings, especially to you, dear student. I pray that you are doing well. This is my fifth article in the series.

Two days ago marked the 81st remembrance of Pearl Harbor Day. The infamous date was December 7th, 1941. I remembered. I trust that many other Americans did also.

This article will first summarize the four previous articles in this series. The main purpose of this article is to address what we can know about the character of God through natural revelation.

Secondarily, this article will state and refute the so-called “problem of evil.” It will also address the everlastingness of hell. I have included those sections, as replies to two standard criticisms by atheists.

This article begins to answer the second topic question in this Christian Evidences series: What is the nature of God? Natural revelation provides certain understandings of God's character.

The full answer to this question, however, will be incorporated in future articles on the third and final topic questions in this series: Is the Bible the solely-inspired written word of God? Is Jesus the Son of God?

Summary of First Four Articles

The first article, on 10/28/2022, introduced and explained the purpose of this series. The series will encapsulate my lifelong study of apologetics – in hope that it is read and shared widely. I welcome all relevant comments (in agreement or disagreement) and questions.

The topic question on the existence of God is answered in three articles: on 11/4/2022 by the moral argument, on 11/16/2022 by the teleological argument, and on 11/26/2022 by the cosmological argument. We have three “strong poles” that support the “bright street light.” God exists. The proof cannot be denied logically. It is fact. It is truth. It is faith based on knowledge.

The Nature of God - Natural Revelation

Without referencing the Bible, what can we know about God, through natural revelation? Later articles will prove the inspiration of the Bible. The Bible provides supernatural revelation about God's character.

We can understand aspects of God's nature, by logical reasoning, as we observe His creation. (Supernatural revelation, in the Bible, provides a more full and sufficient understanding of God's character.) This section will list what we know about God, based on the three arguments that prove His existence.

First, from the moral argument, we learn that God is intrinsically moral and that His absolute moral law – which flows from His nature – transcends (is before and above) all moral laws of human origin. We know that God is good, righteous, and wise. God wants us to be good. He despises and must punish human immorality. This is His wisdom. We should follow His wisdom, by doing good.

Next, from the teleological argument, we learn that God is vastly powerful and intelligent. The design in the universe, the earth, and the human body evidence that God's supernatural power and intellect created all that exists. He fashioned each and every intricate design – of the immense and countless designs in the universe. Such great power and intellect stagger and overwhelm the mind.

Finally, from the cosmological argument, we learn that God is eternal, spirit, powerful, intelligent, intrinsic, self-sufficient, essential, and transcendent. God is the essential and eternal First Cause. God, the Creator, has always existed, above and before the material universe.

These characteristics of God are known through natural revelation. There is a God, and we can know much about him, simply by considering the evidence in His natural creation.

The So-Called “Problem of Evil”

Initially, I had thought to include this section in my 11/4/2022 article on the moral argument. I decided to place it here, since it transitions better into the third (upcoming) topic question on the inspiration of the Bible.

Those who deny the reality that God exists (atheists) rely on the so-called “problem of evil” argument – in attempt to convince theists that the God of the Bible does not exist. This section will present that argument and refute it. I place “problem of evil” in quotations, since the argument is not really a problem for the theist. In fact, the “problem of evil” can be used to prove that God exists.

The classic form of the “problem of evil” argument, as often stated, is:

If God is omnipotent (all-powerful), omniscient (all-knowing), and perfectly good, then evil would not exist. Evil exists. Therefore, God (as described) does not exist.

That classic form, however, is incomplete. It assumes but does not state that God would eliminate all evil immediately. The atheist must admit this.

The complete form of the argument should be:

If God is omnipotent (all-powerful), omniscient (all-knowing), and perfectly good, then He would eliminate all evil immediately. Evil continues to exist. Therefore, God (as described) does not exist.

The atheist must define his terms. Specifically, how does he define evil? Upon what basis does the atheist determine what is evil? Theoretically, if God did not exist, then evil is defined by the subjective thoughts of mankind. (My complete statement on this is in my 11/4/2022 article on the moral argument.)

The atheist must affirm that there is no absolute evil. He cannot define evil absolutely. He must affirm that he thinks that there is no absolute moral law.

How can the “problem of evil” be used to prove that God exists? I will explain. Afterward, I will reply to the complete form of the “problem of evil.” The argument from the “problem of evil” that proves that God exists is:

If evil is absolute, then an absolute Moral Lawgiver must exist. Evil is absolute. Therefore, an absolute Moral Lawgiver exits.

The atheist, when pressed, will have to admit that certain types of evil are always wrong. Examples include murder, rape, abuse of children and the elderly, adultery, intent to harm, and so forth. The atheist will vacillate subjectively on certain other types of evil – thinking that what once was wrong now is right (or vice versa).

How does the atheist know that, for example, murder is always evil? He cannot appeal to societal standards. The Nazis thought that it was right to murder Jews. Does the atheist critique the Nazis? He should. If so, how? My 11/4/2022 article on the moral argument relates that the Nuremberg Trials convicted the Nazis of absolute evil, by appealing to a “higher law” – God's absolute moral law.

If the atheist admits that certain types of evil are absolutely wrong, then he will prove (perhaps not to himself yet) that an Absolute Moral Lawgiver, God, exists. The fact that absolute evil exists, however, proves that God exits, as the Absolute Moral Lawgiver.

Turning the “problem of evil” argument against the atheist, as I have done, is the first answer to the “problem.” The complete answer, which follows, is based on the concept of “faith seeking understanding” (the motto of Anselm of Canterbury, 1033 – 1109, in Proslogion). This is rational faith, based on knowledge, seeking understanding. The Christian theist is at liberty to reference biblical concepts in his complete answer, since he is defending the existence of the God of the Bible. (Proof that the Bible is the solely-inspired word of God will be established, in future articles on that topic.) The complete answer is in nine parts.

First, God is all-powerful (omnipotent), all-knowing (omniscient), and perfectly good. Any reply to the so-called “problem of evil” that limits God's power, knowledge, or goodness is incorrect. God's omnipotence, however, applies to powernot to the illogical. Logical impossibilities are absurdities that are imagined. For example, God cannot create a round square, a ball that is 100% red and 100% blue, or a rock so heavy that He can't lift it. Those examples are called logical contradictions. A logical contradiction is an impossible fallacy that is not subject to power. This is an important point to remember. (See fifth, below.)

Second, God acts according to His nature, and He will not violate His nature. See Numbers 23:19; James 1:17. God's nature is good, holy, and just. God will not, for example, lie, deny himself, make a mistake, be unjust, commit evil, and so forth.

Third, God created a perfectly good world, with no moral or natural evil. Evil was not a part of God's originally perfect world. See Genesis 1:31.

Fourth, God created mankind in His image. We are everlasting souls, and we have free will – to act and decide on our own. See Genesis 1:27; 2:4-25. God is sufficiently distant and close to us, to allow us complete free will. He is not so close as to overwhelm us by His presence, forcing us to do good. He is not so distant that we cannot grasp His presence, encouraging us to do good. Consider Acts 17:27-28.

Fifth, God cannot force mankind to freely choose to do good always. That is a logical contradiction, not subject to power. For example, God could not have forced the 18-year-old female to freely choose not to turn directly into my right of way, which almost killed me (on 3/29/2016).

Sixth, moral evil exists, in abundance, due to the immoral freewill decisions that mankind makes. This is intrinsic evil. Moral evil started when mankind freely chose to sin (violate God's moral law). See Genesis chapter 3. All (of age to know right and wrong) have sinned. See Romans 3:23; 5:12. The consequence of sin is death. See Romans 6:23.

Seventh, natural evil – distinct from moral evil – includes physical suffering and death, due to aging and disease. It also includes natural disasters, such as fires, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, blizzards, extreme heat or cold, droughts, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, and so forth.

Physical suffering and death exist, as the consequence of the first sin and since all (who understand good and evil) choose to sin. See Genesis chapter 3; Romans 5:12. We age, are afflicted with various illnesses, and die. Infants (unborn and born) and children – who do not yet understand good and evil – have never sinned. Their deaths are due to illness, injury, natural disaster, or the immorality of someone. When infants and children die (the separation of soul from body), they (as everlasting souls) live everlastingly with God, since they never sinned.

Natural disasters exists, due to the worldwide flood, as God's punishment for mankind's sin. See Genesis chapters 6 - 9. The worldwide flood was God's judgment on the world's evil population (except Noah and his family). God's original creation did not include natural disasters – until mankind chose to sin. Before the worldwide flood, mankind had become rife with sinful choices. The earth was damaged, and still suffers damage, due to the worldwide flood. See Romans 8:19-22.

I will pause, to consider two questions. Why did God create mankind, with free will – knowing that sin would enter the world, that His creation would suffer terrible moral and natural evils due to sin, that mankind, in minority, would be rewarded in heaven everlastingly, but that mankind, in majority, would be punished in hell everlastingly? Would it have been better if God had not created?

I have pondered those questions many times. I have concluded that it is better that I exist than not exist. Since I exist, I can speculate my non-existence. If I did not exist, then I would not be here to consider my non-existence. Since I exist and have saving faith in God, then I will exist everlastingly. It is better, therefore, for me to exist than to not exist.

Revelation 4:11 states that God “created all things” by His “will” (θέλημά, in Greek). The King James Version translates “θέλημά” as “pleasure.” θέλημά, in English, is “will, decision, desire.” God willed, decided, and desired to create – knowing that His eternal Scheme of Redemption would result in everlasting salvation or punishment. Consider 2 Peter chapter 3.

I do not question why God made me. I am the clay. He is the Potter. Consider Romans 9:20-21 in context. The Potter formed me as perfect clay. My sin made me imperfect; however, I have accepted the Perfect Gift and live by faith in God's promise. This is my purpose and duty (Ecclesiastes 12:13).

Eighth, God, ultimately, will reward good and punish evil, according to His eternal Scheme of Redemption. See Romans 3:23-24; 5:6-9; 6:23. John Keats, the poet, described the earth, filled with both evil and good, as a “vale of soul-making” (in his April 1819 letter to his brother and sister). God's circumstantial will allows moral and natural evil to exist – for while. God has given us the choice – to freely accept or reject His eternal Scheme of Redemption. Ultimately, God will not allow evil to continue to exist. He, however, is granting mankind time, in this temporal “vale of soul-making,” to choose good over evil.

Ninth, God has three wills, as I will explain.

1. The intentional will of God was for mankind in the Garden of Eden. Perfect humans had a perfect world, in which to live everlastingly. See Genesis 1:26-31.

2. The circumstantial will of God is His eternal Scheme of Redemption, from Genesis to Revelation. God always knew that He would create, that mankind would sin, and that He would sacrifice Himself to save mankind. The biblical record, from Genesis to Revelation, unfolds God's eternal Scheme of Redemption. This article is written during the period of God's circumstantial will. God allows moral and natural evil to continue, during this period.

3. The ultimate will of God will be the culmination of His eternal Scheme of Redemption. Christ will return. All mankind, who have lived or are living, will be judged righteously. The unsaved will be punished everlastingly. The saved will be blessed everlastingly. God will eliminate all moral and natural evil completely and finally.

In summary, the complete answer is that God – all powerful, all knowing, and perfectly good – does not eliminate all evil immediately. His grace is allowing us time and freedom to accept or reject Him. God, however, will eliminate all evil completely.

Imagine if God eliminated all moral evil completely as it happens. No person would have the time, freedom, or grace to repent of his or her evil and to turn to God in saving faith. Grace would not exist. I am glad that God does not eliminate all moral evil completely as it happens! Thank you, for your grace, Lord!

By living in the temporal realm, during God circumstantial will, we face and endure moral and natural evil. If we freely choose God's grace, by our faith, then our everlasting reward awaits us. If we freely deny God's grace, then our everlasting punishment awaits us.

The so-called “problem of evil,” therefore, is not a problem to the theist. It can be used to prove that God exists. The complete answer is accomplished by the concept of “faith seeking understanding,” as I have explained. God, in His grace, does not eliminate all evil immediately. He, however, will eliminate all evil everlastingly.

The Everlastingness of Hell

The atheist, however, struggles with the concept of everlasting punishment in hell. Some theists do also. How could a perfectly good and loving God punish people in the fires of hell everlastingly? Imagine a person enduring the intense heat and fire of a blow torch, blasting against his body everlastingly. An atheist and some theists do not accept that a perfectly good and loving God would allow an everlasting hell to exist. Some theists argue, incorrectly, that hell is not everlasting but that is the permanent annihilation of the soul.

Heaven and hell are both everlasting. Heaven rewards the saved everlastingly. Hell, originally prepared for the devil and his angels, punishes the sinful everlastingly. Consider Jesus' words in Matthew 25:31-46.

Yes, God is perfectly good, merciful, and loving. He is, however, also perfectly holy, just, righteous, and angered. God created a perfect world for mankind, and created mankind in His image. Mankind, however, has sinned and continues to sin. God, in His eternal Scheme of Redemption, sacrificed Himself to save mankind. God will reward everlastingly all who accept His grace. He, however, will punish everlastingly all who reject His grace. Consider, among many passages, John 3:16-21.

Physical death is the separation of body and soul. Spiritual death is the separation of the human soul from God. Everlasting life is in heaven. Everlasting death is in hell. Our existence, in either location, will not be the same as in our physical existence now. We will have spiritual bodies. Consider 1 Corinthians chapter 15 and 2 Thessalonians 1:6-10, especially verse 9. The “fires of hell” express the spiritual torment of everlasting separation from God, which is far worse than physical fire.

All people – the saved and the unsaved – are connected to God, while alive physically on earth. God grants life and provision to all. See Matthew 5:43-48. Those who reject God's grace, by continuing to live in sin, must face everlasting separation from Him.

Yes, God is infinitely good. He is also infinitely just. In His infinite goodness, God rewards the saved everlastingly. In His infinite justice, God punishes the unsaved everlastingly. Could God's infinite justice punish the unsaved one minute in hell? If so, then what about a year, a decade, a century, a thousand years, or a million years? What about everlastingly? As a sinner, saved by grace, I have no right to judge the Righteous Judge, by critiquing His infinite justice.

God's infinite goodness and justice are perfectly fair. The atheist's critique of hell will not protect him from what I call “the ultimate acknowledgment of truth.” We will each stand before God at the final judgment. I am ready – not by my righteousness, but because of Christ's righteousness. See Romans 3:21-26 and 2 Corinthians 5:14-21. The atheist will believe and know God at the final judgment, but it will be too late.

Conclusion

The main purpose of this article has addressed what we can know about the nature of God through natural revelation. Secondarily, this article has stated and refuted the so-called “problem of evil” and has addressed the everlastingness of hell.

The psalmist David wrote:

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. (Psalms 19:1, NIV)

As I have stated, supernatural revelation, in the Bible, provides a more full and sufficient understanding of God's character. The full depth of God's nature may be beyond our temporal understanding. The apostle Paul wrote:

Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! “Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?” “Who has ever given to God, that God should repay them?” For from him and through him and for him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen. (Romans 11:33-36, NIV)

The saved, however, will know the fullness of God's nature, once we are in heaven. The apostle John wrote:

Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. (1 John 3:2, NIV)

Natural revelation is sufficient to understand that God will not excuse sin. The apostle Paul wrote:

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. (Romans 1:20, NIV)

The third and final topic questions will be:

Is the Bible the solely-inspired written word of God?

Is Jesus the Son of God?

In those sections, I will expound further on God's nature and continue to encourage non-believers to believe, so that God's grace will excuse (forgive) their sins, as they turn to Him in salvation.


Tuesday, December 06, 2022

Fearghail Clan Nieces - Homecoming Princess & Basketball Updates (published 12-6-2022; article #376)

Introduction

Greetings, dear reader! Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day is tomorrow. It marks the 81st remembrance of the infamous date – December 7th, 1941. I hope, a midst the frenzied commercialization of Christmas, that folks in this once great nation will pause to remember. I know that I will.

This article is about family and honors the two daughters of my youngest brother and his wife. Their school-aged accomplishments are placed in the context of everlasting accomplishment, at the conclusion. So, sit back, warm up that cup of coffee, and enjoy spending some time with me, by reading. Your visits here are always welcome.

Homecoming

About a month or two ago, my youngest brother had told me that his youngest daughter had been selected as the Seventh Grade Princess, at Bulls Gap Middle School. The Rogersville Review, the hometown newspaper, however, had not published an article about it – yet.

Lo and behold! The newspaper finally got around to printing an article! A subscription is required to read the article. I have a subscription. The article is: “Bulls Gap School 2022 Homecoming,” The Rogersville Review, Weekend, 11/26-27/2022, by Jim Beller, Sports Editor. The article names the Homecoming Queen and her Court. Our niece was the Seventh Grade Princess! The photograph, below, shows our niece as the Candidate, who became the Princess. (The caption, below her photograph, is from the article. Jim Beller took the photograph.)

7th Grade Candidate Lilliana Ferrell, daughter of Doug & Stacy Ferrell

Mrs. Appalachian Irishman and I are proud of our princess niece! We are also keeping up with your basketball games, on the Bulls Gap Middle School Lady Bulldogs basketball team. Your Dad tells me about them. I wish that the hometown newspaper would include articles and photographs of some of the games.

Basketball

The oldest daughter of my youngest brother and his wife, in her junior year, is still a member of the Cherokee High School Lady Chiefs basketball team. My brother and The Rogersville Review keep us informed on the games.

I will highlight three articles from The Rogersville Review, as follows. The basketball team was introduced in the article: “2022-23 Lady Chiefs are veteran, versatile bunch,” The Rogersville Review, Weekend Edition, 11/12-13/2022, by Jim Beller, Sports Editor. (I excluded the caption in the photograph, below, since each person is named. The photograph is by Bobby Vaughn. Our niece is standing, second player from the right.)

The next article reports the loss, in the first game of the season, on 11/15/2022. Our niece is mentioned in the article: “Lady Trailblazers spoil Cherokee opener with strong 2nd half,” The Rogersville Review, Weekend Edition, 11/19-20/2022, by Randy Ball, Review Contributor. The photograph, below, is one of four in the article.

Ariel Ferrell grabs a rebound. Photo by Randy Ball.

The third article reports the win, in the fourth game of the season, on 11/28/2022. Our niece isn't mentioned in the article, but she is included in one of the eight photographs. The article is: “Gilliam, Howe guide Cherokee to victory over C-Gap,” The Rogersville Review, Weekend Edition, 12/3-4/2022, by Randy Ball, Review Contributor. The photograph is below.

Ariel Ferrell battles a Lady Panther. Photo by Randy Ball.

The newspaper does not list team schedules, scores, and rankings – as it did years ago. Those listings would be beneficial to readers.

I have found, however, the CoachT.com website that lists the Cherokee Chiefs, 2022-23 Girls' Basketball Schedule, which shows that the Cherokee Lady Chiefs are 4 - 3 so far this season. They play Cocke County today, at 6:30 PM. Mrs. Appalachian Irishman and I are proud of our niece! We'll be there in spirit at tip-off!

Conclusion

The school-aged accomplishments of our nieces are points of temporal pride and honor to the Fearghail clan. They are growing up well. They both are saved by God's grace, through their faith.

Their everlasting accomplishment, as they continue to grow in their faith, will bear much fruit in the kingdom of God, to the glory of His Son, our Savior. Their final score will be an everlasting victory!


Monday, December 05, 2022

Fightin' the System Victory - New Plate on Truck! (published 12-5-2022; article #375)

Dodge Charger in window from Dukes of Hazzard,” by Sean Foster, on Unsplash, Gatlinburg, TN, 10/7/2021. Free to use under the Unsplash License.

Introduction

Greetings, local, state, national, and international readers! This article is mostly of interest to local readers. All y'all, however, may enjoy the humor!

This article expresses my sarcastic humor. In a way, it is a follow up to my articles of 9/21/2021 (RATE THE PLATES IS ON!) and of 3/20/2022 (TENNESSEE “BLUE PLATE SPECIAL” LICENSE PLATES – 180 OPTIONS!). Both articles still draw views.

The Fight

Mrs. Appalachian Irishman and I disdain the new “blue plate special” Tennessee license plates. The base color should have remained white, not changed to dark blue! On 4/22/2022, she selected a particular specialty license plate – paying extra to avoid a “blue plate special.”

My new, ol' truck (2006 Nissan Frontier) needed a new license plate this month. On 11/25/2022, the day after Thanksgiving, I ordered on the correct Tennessee Department of Revenue website, the Appalachian Trail specialty plate. For a few dollars more, I decided to personalize it with “LIKE2” – to indicate that I'd still like to hike the Appalachian Trail all the way. (I've hiked a few miles of it only, in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.) I used a credit card to pay the Department of Revenue for my new plate.

On 11/30/2022 – Granny Ferrell's birthday anniversary, mentioned in my 11/30/2022 article – I checked the state website and saw that my personalized specialty plate was approved. The website, however, does not state how much time is required until the plate is ready. My calls to a Knox County Clerk office and the State of Tennessee informed me that 30 to 45 are required! I was shocked! My truck's plate expires on 12/31/2022. From 11/25/2022, 30 days is Christmas (12/25/2022), and 45 days is 1/9/2023.

The fight was on! I would not wait until or past “crunch time,” to get that new plate! The “My Letter” section, below, has all the “rich, full” details.

By the way, don't try the State of Tennessee's Citizen Inquiry (Contact) or Chat. The robot chat is useless. I received no reply to my “contact.”

My Victory

I'm just an educated country boy – with Irish dander! I would not wait around, fretting, 30 to 45 days, to see when my new plate would be ready!

On Friday, 12/2/2022, my ol' truck and I visited a Knox County Clerk office. In about 30 minutesnot 30 days – I was able to acquire my new plate. It is a specialty Appalachian Trail plate – with random numbers on it. I like it. It's not a “blue plate special.”

Before the sun was up this morning, I placed in our mailbox, with flag up, my letter to the Tennessee Department of Revenue Commissioner. I saw the mailman get it. About noon, I decided to swap out the old plate for the new one, on my truck.

The following section contains my postal letter to the Commissioner. I hope that he enjoys it. I expect and require the $35.80 refunded on my American Express card. If not, then I will send a bill to the Commissioner for $35.80. American Express has assured me, however, that the charge should be reversed.

My Letter

December 5, 2022

David Gerregano, Commissioner
Tennessee Department of Revenue
500 Deaderick Street
Nashville, TN 37242

Commissioner Gerregano:

Greetings. I trust that you are well. I write to you directly, to complain and to require a refund.

My complaint is as follows. On Friday, 11/25/2022, I ordered, via American Express, a personalized Appalachian Trail plate, at https://personalizedplates.revenue.tn.gov/#/. The website does not state that the online order takes 30 to 45 days. The bill was $35.80 total.

On Wednesday, 11/30/2022, I searched the website (above), by my receipt number. My personalized plate was approved. I did not know when I could pick up my plate (at a Knox County Clerk office). My call to a Knox County Clerk office informed me that my plate would be ready in 30 to 45 days! I was amazed! My current plate expires on 12/31/2022. From 11/25/2022, 30 days is Christmas (12/25/2022), and 45 days is 1/9/2023.

Later, on 11/30/2022, I reached Jackie, at 888-871-3171. Jackie, very conscientiously, called me back the next day (12/1/2022). Jackie stated that she had emailed the “plate and supply department” on my behalf. Apparently, that mysterious department told Jackie, who told me, that my 11/25/2022 plate order could not be canceled, could not be expedited, would take 30 to 45 days, and could not be refunded. I appreciate Jackie, for being a professional and courteous state employee.

On 12/1/2022, I asked Jackie to inform the mysterious “plate and supply department” that I, verbally, on that date, cancel my 11/25/2022 plate order and require a $35.80 refund to my American Express card. Jackie stated that she would do so. I informed Jackie of my 12/2/2022 action (see next).

On Friday, 12/2/2022, I bought my new Appalachian Trail plate (not personalized, expires 12/31/2023), at a Knox County Clerk office. I, therefore, neither need nor want the plate (ordered on 11/25/2022)!

I require a refund. If the website (listed above) had stated clearly that 30 to 45 days were required to complete an online plate order, then I would not have ordered on 11/25/2022. By standard business practice, I require the Tennessee Department of Revenue to refund $35.80 charged to my American Express card. My 12/1/2022 call to American Express challenged the charge. American Express should force the refund.

Conclusion

I'm just a good ol' (educated and country) boy “fightin' the system like one modern-day Robin Hood” – with apology to the The Dukes of Hazzard (TV series, 1979 - 1985).

Yee haw!

Yes, I hear you. The next time the state changes out the plates, I'll just go get a plate at the County Clerk's office – without personalizing it by an online order. With my personality, why do I need a personalized plate?


Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Thanksgiving 2022, Granny & Papaw Ferrell's Marriage License - 1908, Mom's Birthday - 1932 (published 11-30-2022; article #374)

Introduction

Greetings, to my national and international readers! I trust that you are each doing well.

Mrs. Appalachian Irishman is about to get over the “CHV” (Children's Home Virus) that she contracted, on 11/16/2022. She still has a little cough. My wife laid up sickly until 11/22/2022, when she went back to work. The Children's Home does not need to send sick children to school! I had only mild symptoms of the “CHV,” which my wife tried not to give me. To those who are still obsessed with “Corona Myopia Psychosis,” no, my wife did not contract the China virus again! She did not take a made in China test, to see if she had contracted the China virus again! (See my first 5/1/2022 article, under section “3/28, Monday: China Test Kits for China Virus.”)

This article is about family heritage, on November 24th, for three select years. I'll highlight Thanksgiving 2022, Granny and Papaw Ferrell's marriage license in 1908, and Mom's birthday in 1932.

First, however, I have to share my power outage restoration “murakle” of Sunday morning! It's funny!

My Gift of Restoring a Power Outage

To my readers in northeast Tennessee, did you survive the heavy rain overnight Saturday into Sunday? On Sunday, our power went off at 4:58 AM. I called the power company, at 7:23 AM, to check the status of the outage. I could only speak with a robot (which is the “new normal” of “outstanding” customer service). While I was on the phone, answering “yes” or “no” to the robot's questions, the power came back on, at exactly 7:25 AM!

It was a “KUB reboot murakle!” (A “miracle” is God's action that sets aside natural law, such as raising the dead. A “murakle” is my way to describe a serendipitous coincidence!)

So, when any reader in the KUB electric area has power go off, just call me! I'll call the KUB robot for you. Your power will be back on, while I'm on the phone with the robot! I “promise,” believe me or not!

Now, let's get back to family heritage, on November 24th, for three select years.

Thanksgiving, Thursday, 11/24/2022

For recent Thanksgivings, either my youngest brother and his family came down here, or we drove up there. At times, other family had joined us. On this Thanksgiving, my youngest brother and family visited his brother-in-law, who recently took a wife. They spent time with them. My brother and family didn't have time to stop by here, on their way to or from west Knoxvegas. I think that I heard him honk his horn, on I-640.

Mrs. Appalachian Irishman and I had a good Thanksgiving gathering with her folks – her father, her two sisters, our niece, and her good first cousin. After the fixins were ready, I led a prayer to the Good Lord, and we sat down to eat. “Favorite” sister-in-law was sickly and stayed in bed. (She'd done a “no good deed goes unpunished” a few days before and was “rewarded” by coming down with a case of the snots.) We all talked and joked on several topics. Pepper, our niece's ol' puppy, enjoyed the droppings that I gave her.

My youngest sister-in-law (who is also my “favorite”) had traded cars. She needed to swap out the temporary license plate for the permanent plate. It's a nice looking, silver 2019 Kia Niro (not Nero) hybrid SUV. After the Thanksgiving meal, youngest sister-in-law, our niece, and I went outside, to change the tag. It should have been a one-man job that takes about three minutes.

Wrong! The rear bumper, at the plate attachment, must have been designed by an outer space alien! What should be a simple design requires an advanced degree in engineering to figure out!

Over the course of about twenty minutes or so, my father-in-law, my wife's cousin, and my wife came outside, to check on the progress that the three of us were making and to offer “insightful tips and suggestions.” At one point, all six of us were at the rear end of the car! Yes, it takes six people to change one license plate on one Kia.

To make a long story a little shorter, eventually, we got the permanent plate on the car. The right side screw holds tightly enough (if it doesn't wiggle loose), but the left side holds firmly. Just don't hit too many potholes on the interstate, sister-in-law! I'd take that Kia back to the dealer and have them fix the right side “intricate fastening device!” The left side device is holding.

Tuesday, 11/24/1908

Let's go back “through the mists of time,” 114 years ago, to Tuesday, November 24th, 1908. Thanksgiving was two days later, on the 26th, that year. (Kia vehicles didn't exist then.)

As the image (below) shows, on 11/24/1908, Papaw Marion Ferrell (4/13/1880 - 11/21/1970), at age 28, obtained the marriage license. Eli Jones, the minister, performed the wedding ceremony the next day, on 11/25/1908.

My paternal grandmother, Molly Gertrude Archer Ferrell (11/30/1892 - 6/11/1971) was five days away from turning age 16, when she married Papaw. My 6/13/2021 article includes the image (below), explains the Ferrell, Lype, Archer, and Carter family connections, and shares three memories of Granny Ferrell.

Source: "Tennessee Marriages, 1796-1950," database, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:X8Y4-BLV): 27 January 2020), Marion Ferrell, 1908.

Granny and Papaw Ferrell were blessed with eight children. Listed in birth order, their children were: Carrie E. Ferrell Davis (12/5/1909 - 1/28/2000), Lula Mae Ferrell Absher (1/14/1912 - 10/9/1995), James William “Bill” Ferrell (8/20/1914 - 6/21/1999), Roy Palmer Ferrell (6/9/1917 - 9/13/1991), George Charles Ferrell (1/14/1920 - 12/1/1995), Paul Edward Ferrell (3/16/1922 - 12/4/1983), Robert Carson Ferrell (4/30/1925 - 12/1/1999), and my Dad, Earl H. Ferrell (9/17/1927 - 1/25/2008).

I have records on the parents and siblings of both Granny and Papaw Ferrell. I may write an article or two, eventually, on the Ferrell and Archer ancestral lines. Papaw Ferrell's line is more detailed.

Thanksgiving was the day after Granny and Papaw Ferrell were married. Oral tradition has not passed down how Granny and Papaw spent their first Thanksgiving together. I can only imagine the joys that they must have shared.

Thanksgiving, Thursday, 11/24/1932

Going back 90 years ago, my Mom, Betty Lou Wood Ferrell (11/24/1932 - 12/27/2000) was born on Thanksgiving day, in 1932. Her parents were Aby William Wood (9/4/1901 - 3/14/1983) and Lula Frank Amos Wood (6/16/1901 - 8/12/1991). Her younger brother, Robert Allen Wood (5/14/1939 - 1/18/1941), lived to be only a year and eight months old.

Searching this website by “Mom,” “Granny and Papaw Wood,” and “Uncle Bobby” finds several articles that I have published over the years, to honor them. I look forward to meeting Uncle Bobby.

I scanned the photograph (above) on 1/3/2021. The original photograph is still in one of Mom's photograph albums, which I have. The photograph is not dated, but it had to have been taken around the time that Mom graduated high school.

Mom was born in Indiana, but she grew up in Morristown, Tennessee. As a boy, I remember humoring Mom by calling her a Yankee. Her usual reply was that she'd become a “southern transplant.”

Mom and Dad (Earl Ferrell, 9/17/1927 - 1/25/2008) were wed, on 9/3/1959. They were blessed with four sons. (Well, as boys, we aggravated Mom and Dad enough.) I am the oldest of us four brothers. Searching my website by “Mom and Dad,” “Mom,” and “Dad” will open articles that I've written over the years.

Growing up, with Mom's birthday falling on or near Thanksgiving, Dad sometimes happened to not remember Mom's birthday on time. I must admit, as a boy, that I had the same failure a few times. Mom, in her grace, never did let on that we'd forgotten her birthday. Granny and Papaw Wood usually drove up from Bean Station, Tennessee, for Thanksgiving with us. (Sometimes, we'd drive down there.) Granny and Papaw Wood always remembered Mom's birthday! Dad would say, “We let your mother's birthday slip this year, boys!” Dad would find Mom a birthday present (often a box of chocolate covered cherries, which she loved). Mom would always have a birthday celebration, even if it might have been a few days late! Mom's graciousness always forgave us. Thanks, Mom!

Conclusion

I am publishing this article on Granny Ferrell's birthday, in 1892. It is fitting. This is another article on family heritage. Before this article, 111 previous articles have been on or have included the topic of family. Eighty-six articles have been on or have included heritage.

Earlier today, I looked through Granny and Papaw Wood's Bibles, which are kept safely in our home. Granny Wood had written ancestral records for Papaw and her, in Papaw's Bible. I know oral family tradition. The records in Papaw's Bible may inspire future articles, about Granny and Papaw Wood and their ancestors. I pondered a while, about what life was like for all my ancestors.

My eyes of faith see several generations of ancestors gathering together in heaven, where the circle is unbroken. Those of us here, who are ready, will join them, in the blink of an eye, when it's our turn to go Home. Our ancestors will not even know that time passed, awaiting us, once we join them.

I hope that future generations of Ferrells will keep the family heritage going – in the right way. That's how I was raised. I honor the biblically-based heritage of the Ferrell and Wood families. Happy birthday, in heaven, Granny Ferrell!