Friday, December 28, 2007
Some people believe the evidence for evolution is overwhelming so it must be true. They then somehow try to reconcile their beliefs with the “facts.” When people see the Bible contradict "science" then it's usually the facts of the Bible - not "science" - that become suspect. People then are using "science" to interpret the Bible rather than trusting the plain words of the Bible. This attitude is actually encouraged by staunch evolutionists. Consider this quote from Nature Magazine (as quoted on the NCSE Website):
"Scientists would do better to offer some constructive thoughts of their own. For religious scientists, this may involve taking the time to talk to students about how they personally reconcile their beliefs with their research. Secular researchers should talk to others in order to understand how faiths have come to terms with science. All scientists whose classes are faced with such concerns should familiarize themselves with some basic arguments as to why evolution, cosmology and geology are not competing with religion. When they walk into the lecture hall, they should be prepared to talk about what science can and cannot do, and how it fits in with different religious beliefs."
Well that certainly sounds reasonable, doesn't it? DON’T BE FOOLED!! These same people who try to assure you that evolution and Christianity are perfectly compatible are telling a completely different story out of the other side of their mouth. Here are a few other quotes about what evolutionists really think of a Creator (I've added some bold for emphasis):
The obvious implication is that THE DESIGNER OF LIFE IS INCOMPETENT. We all know it; no amount of gushing over how "perfect" life is can cover up the fact that everything here can be improved upon. Let's stop making up excuses and admit that the Creator did a half-assed job. (http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Rhodes/3991/index.html)
...It makes sense if every feature of an organism is the product of its history, but it doesn't make sense if you want to argue independent design with appropriate reuse of common elements. Unless, that is, you're willing to argue that the Designer is wasteful, incompetent, and lazy. (Talkorigins.org/feedback)
Another problem when considering a designer in nature is that of disuse or elimination of parts of the design. I must ask myself why a designer would go to the trouble of creating a certain model of living organism, only to have that organism, over time, throw away much of the creative handiwork. Many parasitic organisms have done just this.
Evolutionary theory provides answers to such questions. I can't seem to find satisfactory answers anywhere else. (Talkorigins.org/feedback)
In human males, the urethra passes right through the prostate gland, a gland very prone to infection and subsequent enlargement. This blocks the urethra and is a very common medical problem in males. Putting a collapsible tube through an organ that is very likely to expand and block flow in this tube is not good design. Any moron with half a brain (or less) could design male "plumbing" better. (Talkorigins.org)
God's omnibenevolence usually goes along with claims that He is all-knowing and all-powerful. But the three qualities are not compatible with the observation that there is suffering in the world. (Talkorigins.org)
If we conclude that living organisms are designed, and we know that some of these organisms reproduce by laying eggs within a living organism, so that their newly-hatched young can quite literally eat the helpless creature from the inside out, how can we infer that the designer of this system is a kind and benevolent one? (Talkorigins.org)
I guess the "Biblical Creator" in his infinite wisdom could not design eyes any better than natural selection could. (Talkorigins.org)
These same evolutionists who claim it’s OK to believe in both God and evolution must themselves believe in some other god – not the God of the Bible. If evolution were true, then the god of evolution would be a clumsy, incompetent, lazy, moronic creator who couldn’t create his way out of a wet paper bag. He is not the all-powerful Creator who spoke the universe into existence.
It escapes me why so many Christians will associate themselves with such devout God-haters. Why do they trust the opinions of finite men (especially godless men) over the infallible words of the Bible? Science is not the gospel. What evolutionists consider “true” today will most assuredly be found wrong later – just read any “science” text book from 50 years ago and see how much garbage we once believed was true. If you wed your faith to science today, you will be widowed tomorrow. But the Scripture cannot be broken.
Let me give you one quote from the Bible, “But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female” (Mark 10:6). So, Jesus said that God created Adam and Eve at the beginning of creation (on day 6 of our 6,000 year history to be precise). Yet evolutionists say God created man (or rather, man evolved with or without God) around 16 billion years after the Big Bang. Who are you going to believe?
Now don't get me wrong: I believe a person can be a Christian even though he believes in evolution. I just think the two beliefs are strange bedfellows.
Thursday, December 27, 2007
When God delivered His people out of Egypt, He established an unusual form of government. They did not have an earthly king; instead, God was their ruler. He gave them the Law through Moses and appointed judges whose job it was to interpret the Law. This lasted from the time of Moses until Samuel.
Now when Samuel was old, his sons had turned away from God (1 Samuel 8:3). Since there were no other judges, the people came to Samuel and asked him to give them a king like other nations (1 Samuel 8:5). It grieved God that they rejected Him as their ruler and He gave some stern warnings about what it would be like having an earthly king:
“… This will be the manner of the king that shall reign over you: He will take your sons, and appoint them for himself, for his chariots, and to be his horsemen; and some shall run before his chariots. And he will appoint him captains over thousands, and captains over fifties; and will set them to ear his ground, and to reap his harvest, and to make his instruments of war, and instruments of his chariots. And he will take your daughters to be confectionaries, and to be cooks, and to be bakers. And he will take your fields, and your vineyards, and your oliveyards, even the best of them, and give them to his servants. And he will take the tenth of your seed, and of your vineyards, and give to his officers, and to his servants. And he will take your menservants, and your maidservants, and your goodliest young men, and your asses, and put them to his work. He will take the tenth of your sheep: and ye shall be his servants.” [God ended with this most dire of warnings:] “And ye shall cry out in that day because of your king which ye shall have chosen you; and the LORD will not hear you in that day.” (1 Samuel 8:11-18)The people persisted and God appointed Saul as their king. Sure enough, everything God had warned them about came true.
So where is the humor? The name “Saul” is a Hebrew word meaning, “asked for.” Every time we read about the failings of Saul, God reminds us that this was the king the people asked for.
A lot of people call Jesus, "Lord" but won't let Him be Lord of their lives. They think they know what’s best so they live their lives however they want – not how God wants. When things don’t turn out like they planned, they sometimes blame God. I think God, in His own gentle way, reminds them, “Don’t blame me - this is what you asked for.”
Who then is rejoicing? I think the answer is obvious: It is God, in the Person of the Trinity, who is rejoicing.
In the entire chapter of Luke 15, Jesus gives us three parables: The parable of the lost sheep (v. 3-6), the parable of the lost coin (v. 8-9), and the parable of the prodigal son (v. 11-32). The person who rejoices in each account respectively is the shepherd of the sheep, the owner of the coin, and the father of the prodigal son. All of these are pictures of God.
God is patient toward us, and long suffering. It is His will that everyone should repent (2 Peter 3:9). He waits expectantly, longingly, like the father of the prodigal son hoping to see his son return to him. Then, when one sinner repents, God rejoices; His child has literally come back from the dead (John 5:24). Perhaps the angels rejoice also. Perhaps the saints who have lived before us rejoice as well. But none are as happy as Jesus!
Homology might sound convincing when animals are assumed to be closely related, but what about similar features in animals not considered closely related? Both octopi and humans have similar eyes yet are very far removed according to the evolutionists’ nested hierarchy. So why do they have similar eyes? In that case, evolutionists evoke the term, convergent evolution.
According to Wikipedia, "convergent evolution is the process whereby organisms not closely related,... independently evolve similar traits as a result of having to adapt to similar environments or ecological niches." Oh that’s right – octopi and humans live in virtually the same environments!
Darwin recognized that the eye was immensly complex. He even made this quote in his book, On the Origin of Species:
To suppose that the eye, with all its inimitable contrivances for adjusting the focus to different distances, for admitting different amounts of light, and for the correction of spherical and chromatic aberration, could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest possible degree.Of course, Darwin still believed the eye evolved and went on to explain how he thought it could have happened via gradual steps. Richard Dawkins later said, "the time needed for the evolution of the eye... turned out to be too short for geologists to measure! It's is a geological blink." And, "it is no wonder the eye has evolved at least forty times independently around the animal kingdom" (River Out of Eden).
Therefore, all these different eyes we see in nature supposedly came about via convergent evolution. So, we go from “the eye is so complex it’s hard to imagine how it evolved” to “it’s so easy it happens all the time.”
Wings are another example of this. When we think of flying, birds immediately come to mind. However, wings also are found among insects, reptiles (pterosaurs), and mammals (bats). There are also examples of “flying fish” which use their pectoral fins to “fly” long distances out of the water. Even among plants there are examples of wings such as seen in maple seeds. Evolutionists still haven’t nailed down exactly how the incredible feat of flying evolved in birds. Yet as difficult as it is to explain in birds, they still insist it happened again and again and again in other animal kingdoms as well.
And then there is abiogenesis. The odds of random chemicals coming together to create life are astonishingly small. However, evolutionists argue that in such a large universe even something very improbable will eventually happen. Later, Carl Sagan said, “... the time available for the origin of life seems to have been short, a few hundred million years at the most. Since life originated on the earth, we have additional evidence that the origin of life has a high probability.” Convinced that there is a high probability of the origin of life, then it's no great leap to imagine that other life began in space as well. His faith in extra-terrestrial life inspired groups like SETI to search for signs of life beyond our planet. Today, with NASA’s interest in exploring Mars, people speculate that life could have evolved on Mars as well. Imagine two people, living next door to each other, winning separate power-ball lotteries and you can see how ridiculous that sounds; only the odds of abiogenesis happening among next door neighbors are billions of times more unlikely. So even though we’ve NEVER observed abiogenesis, evolutionists suffer under the delusion it happens everywhere.
Evolutionists are somewhat cavalier about what is credible. They waive their theory around like it’s a magic wand and suddenly the impossible becomes commonplace. There’s an old saying that lightning never strikes twice in the same place. That's actually not true; it's an expression meaning that if you ever witness something improbable, it's unlikely you'll see it happen again. Evolutionists, on the other hand, would have us believe that lightning strikes in the area of the improbable like a timpani.
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
Brittany McComb was one of three valedictorians at Foothill High School in Las Vegas, NV. Before the graduation, June 15, 2006, schools officials had reviewed her speech and demanded she remove certain references to God. McComb correctly recognized this as a violation of her free speech rights and, in an uncharacteristic act of rebellion, decided to include the censored material. While delivering her valedictorian address, school officials turned off her microphone.
This isn't a case where school officials are compelling students to recite the pledge including the words, "Under God." This isn't about school officials leading a prayer. This is a private individual who, in reflecting on her personal achievments, discussed the role of faith in her life. The school officials (and an ACLU lawyer who was in the audience) decided that a person should not be allowed to discuss her personal beliefs if they included a belief in God. I guess if she had credited Tony Robbins for her success, that would be OK. But give credit to Jesus and off goes the mic.
I see what’s going on here. There’s a subtle argument that’s become mainstream. We see it in the frequent use of “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas.” The argument then is that non-Christian people might be offended by a reference to Christ. If non-religious people are offended by even hearing a reference to God, how much more offensive it is to a Christian student to have her microphone turned off when she makes a reference to God?
A few weeks back, I blogged about an elected school official and public school teachers petitioning against Answers in Genesis’s new Creation Museum. In that case, you had representatives of the state openly condemning a private, religious organization in the name of free speech. In the McComb case, you have state officials specifically censoring a private individual’s free speech in the name of “separation of church and state.” Somehow schools have gotten things exactly backwards!
It’s bizarre really. The state is supposed to remain neutral toward religion. However, in a supposed pursuit of neutrality, the state is openly engaging in censorship of anything religious. I guess the state believes that its objective of neutrality trumps our individual liberties. Since they can't see how we can express our faith and they still be seen as neutral, whenever the two seem to clash it's our rights that get quashed.
Can no one see the danger in agressive neutrality? "Johnny, I can't believe you used that bad word. We don't say 'God' here - it's offensive. Now go stand in the corner!" Johnny begins crying and promises never to say 'God' again. The religious views of parents are being undermined and replaced with the "tolerant" religion of the state. The freedom of religion has become the freedom from religion.
It was supposedly while Darwin was reading Principles of Geology, by Charles Lyell that he got his idea for evolution. Lyell promoted the priniciple of uniformitarianism to explain the geological record; That is, the same geological processes that operate today also operated in the distant past. In the case of rock layers, each layer was laid down in succession over vast amounts of time. Darwin saw how tiny processes accumulating over millions of years could amount to enormous changes. So, when he observed the tiny changes in the beaks of finches, he believed that, given enough time, these tiny changes could eventually change the finch into an entirely different animal.
But is it true that long periods of time are needed for rock layers to be formed? Actually, we have seen layers form right before our eyes!
During a beach restoration project (see my blog on erosion) in Queensland Australia, 8,000 cubic meters of sand was drugged from the Tweed River. It was shipped by barge and pumped onto the southern Gold Coast beach through a pipe in a mix of water and sand. It only took about 1 hour, yet it was later noticed that the sand had been laid down in fine layers (see photo).
In Louisiana, a new flow line pipe for natural gas (combined with condensate and salt water from the host rock) became almost completely chocked off in only 3 months. Attempts to use high-pressure air to clear the pipe were unsuccessful. When the pipe when inspected, they found that an enormous amount of scale had accumulated in the short amount of time. The photo shown here shows a cross section cut from the pipe: notice the fine layers evident in the rock.
Perhaps the most remarkable example of rapid layers occurred in 1980 with the eruption of Mt. St. Helens. 18 billion cubic feet of rock, ash, dirt, steam, and melted snow flowed down the side of the mountain at estimated speeds at 90 mph. In a few short days, this and subsequent ash flows laid down as much as 600 feet of sediment on the north face of the mountain slope. In this photo, we once again see the fine layering remarkably similar to the formations claimed by evolutionists to take millions of years to form.
Monday, December 24, 2007
"And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.
And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men."
Friday, December 21, 2007
Edwards said he "didn't want to impose" his views on his 9-year-old and 7-year-old… Nobody made me God,” said the former North Carolina senator. “I want my children to be able to make that decision on behalf of themselves, and I want them to be exposed to all the information, even in - did you say second grade? Second grade might be a little tough, but even in second grade.Can he be serious? He doesn't want to “impose his views” on his own children? Remember, we’re talking about 7 and 9 year old kids! I thought teaching our kids values is one of the responsibilities of being parents. Does he, for example, expose them to white supremacists so they can make up their own minds on racism? Has he given them copies of Mein Kampf? Does he read Das Kapital to them so they can form an opinion on socialism?
Of course he doesn’t do any of these things [actually, I wouldn’t be surprised if he reads Marx to them]. I think what he means to say is that he doesn’t want to impose Judeo-Christian morals on them but wants them to be raised in the new morality of the state. Where better to do that than in public schools?
I think this is the real motive behind the liberals’ opposition to school vouchers. Aren’t liberals supposed to be “pro-choice”? You know, let the parents decide what’s best, yada yada. Well, that only applies to letting the parents decide to have an abortion. If the parents don’t want to send their kids to a public school, then they don’t have a choice (See my blog on Clinton-Speak).
Not only are they opposed to school vouchers, some liberals can’t stand it that some parents can home school their children – safe from indoctrination by the state. For example, in another blog, I discussed a particular op-ed piece where an evolutionary scientist said, “One other change needs to occur to keep home-schooled children from being misled by creationists. The Kentucky home-school statutes are terribly vague…. These statues should be changed so that science education, real science education, is a requirement in all home schools.” You can almost hear his teeth gnashing he’s so angry about it.
So, as long as liberals have breath, they will do what they can to force our kids into public school where they can be brought up in the religion of the state with minimal parental influence. Hillary even wants universl pre-K schools so they can sink their hooks into our kids even sooner. Public schools are the breeding grounds of future liberals. You want a place completely void of God? They’ve got it! Want to hear why Heather has two mommies? All over it! Want your kids taught that people are descended from an amoeba? Look no further! Do you want your kids to learn to read, write, and do arithmetic? Well… um… you see… they’re not so hot at that.
“Whales may be related to deer-like beast.” Isn’t it amusing they call it deer-like? Wouldn’t that by itself suggest it is more like a deer than a whale?
“For years, the hippo has been the leading candidate for the closest land relative because of its similar DNA and whale-like features.” Once again, we see a bias in evolutionary research. Scientists have already decided that whales have evolved from terrestrial mammals. They’re just looking for a candidate to fit the bill: maybe it’s the hippo, maybe it’s the indohyus, or maybe it’s something else. There’s no obvious “progression” observed in the fossils. They’re trying to create one.
“The animal is a "missing link" to the sister species to ancient whales.” Have you even wondered what is meant by the term, “missing link”? It is used to describe animals that scientists expect to find but don’t (that's why they're called "missing"). It’s odd when you have scientists running around claiming evolution is a fact (!) while they’re still trying to find the evidence for it. “Whales evolved from land animals; as soon as we find the missing link I’ll prove it to you!” Has it occurred to them that maybe they're "missing" because they don't exist?
“An examination of its teeth showed that the land-dwelling creature spent lots of time in the water and may have fed there, like hippos and whales.” And like otters. You forgot to mention that otters spend a lot of time in the water. I think this animal looks more like an otter so I would be more inclined to believe it’s the ancestor of modern otters than whales.
“From [a] cache of bones he created a composite skeleton of a 48 million-year-old creature… [T]he specific positioning and shape of certain molars connects Indohyus to the earliest whales, which are about 50 million years old.” That’s curious. Am I to believe that a 48-million-year-old creature is the ancestor of a 50-million-year-old creature?
“The key finding connecting Indohyus to the whale is its thickened ear bone, something only seen in cetaceans.” I laughed out loud when I read this one. Couldn’t this also be interpreted as evidence the thickened ear bone is also found in other animals besides cetaceans? Indeed, if this animal is rejected as a relative of whales, it can no longer be said that the thickened ear bone is "found only in cetaceans."
“When danger approaches, it jumps in the water and hides.” How do we possibly know this? Did someone dig up a 48-million-year-old video of the indohyus along with its fossils? This is 100% speculation and 0% science.
“Thewissen said there are problems with not enough well preserved fossils, but he said what's left makes a strong case for Indohyus as the closest land ancestor.” Of course he still sees it as “strong” evidence; scarce fossil evidence has never deterred scientists in the least. See my previous blog on the fossil record.
This is a prime example of how many evolutionary theories are formed. It's their new "scientific method": 1) Have an idea how evolution happened. 2) Find a fossil. 3) Make up stories about how the fossil fits your idea from step #1. 4) Scientists then tie all the different stories into one great big story called the Theory of Evolution.
"Countering the widespread view of evolution as a process played out over the course of eons, evolutionary biologists have shown that natural selection can turn on a dime -- within months -- as a population's needs change. In a study of island lizards exposed to a new predator, the scientists found that natural selection dramatically changed direction over a very short time, within a single generation, favoring first longer and then shorter hind legs." Sciencedaily
Here’s the gist of the Sciencedaily’s article. On a group of 12 islands, there were indigenous lizards that had no predators. On 6 of the islands, scientists introduced a larger, predatory lizard that would eat the smaller ones. To escape being eaten, the smaller lizards would climb into trees and bushes. After 6 months, scientists compared the smaller lizards on the 6 islands with the predators to the smaller lizards on the 6 predator free islands; lo and behold the lizards on the islands with the predators had shorter legs than those on the islands without predators. It seems those with shorter legs were better able to climb and escape being eaten. Now, I ask you: is this evolution?
Suppose I have a population of mice – some white, some gray. Being the heartless soul that I am (just ask any of my critics) I want to see if this population can evolve so I do an experiment - I arbitrarily kill every gray mouse. Wow, it’s true! Evolution does happen! I now have a population of white mice in only one generation!
Now back to the lizards: on the islands with the predators, the lizards that climbed well (short-legged ones) survived and those that climbed poorly (long-legged ones) were eaten. After 6 months, there are more short-legged lizards left. Duh! I hope these scientists aren’t getting a government grant for this stuff because I’d hate to see my tax dollars supporting such a sophomoric experiment. If they had said that the lizards had sprouted wings and flew off the island, then they might have my attention. But this is ridiculous.
But wait, there’s more. The short-legged lizards are more likely to produce short-legged offspring. So, the future population will more likely be shorter-legged than the previous population (this would better fit the definition of descent with modification). The researchers said however, “Evolutionary biology is by its nature an historical science, but the combination of microevolutionary experimentation and macroevolutionary historical analysis can provide a rich understanding about the genesis of biological diversity” [emphasis added]. In case you miss the irony let me point it out. The researchers believe this process leads to “biological diversity.” Did it not occur to them that the daughter population (containing only short-legged lizards) is less diverse than the parent population (containing long-legged and short-legged lizards)?
Let me leave you with one last quote; in response to the complaint that evolution has never been observed, Talkorigins.org says the following:
“Biologists define evolution as a change in the gene pool of a population over time [I thought it was descent with modification?]. One example is insects developing a resistance to pesticides over the period of a few years. Even most Creationists recognize that evolution at this level is a fact. What they don't appreciate is that this rate of evolution is all that is required to produce the diversity of all living things from a common ancestor” [emphasis added].
Thursday, December 20, 2007
It’s no secret that Christianity is not welcome in public schools. The phrase, “One nation under God” for example, might make some students uncomfortable so Michael Newdow sued to have all students stop saying. His daughter didn’t have to say it herself, mind you, but he didn’t want her to even hear it. Well, now some public schools are reading and promoting pro-gay books in an attempt to make homosexuality normal, even mainstream. Never mind how the parents might feel about it.
A few candidates were asked “Should teachers read the book to second graders as part of the school curriculum? Would you read it - or have read it - to your own children?” Here are some responses:
ROMNEY: “This is a subject that should be left to parents, not public school teachers,” the former Massachusetts governor said in a statement. “We need to strengthen our families by passing a federal marriage amendment and also insisting on marriage before having children.”
THOMPSON: “The answer is no,” Thompson's chief campaign spokesman told Cybercast News Service. “He's very clear. There is no wishy-washiness.”
OBAMA: Said he and his wife have already talked to their 9-year-old and 6-year-old about same-sex marriage. “One of the things I want to communicate to my children is not to be afraid of people who are different, because there have been times in our history where I was considered different.”
CLINTON: “I think that obviously it is better to try to work with your children, to help your children understand the many differences that are in the world and to really respect other people and the choices that other people make," she said. "And that goes far beyond sexual orientation.” [?? - I tried to translate that on Babblefish.com to figure out where she stands but it doesn’t translate Clinton-Speak].
But the winner of the most outrageous statements goes to Sen. Edwards.
EDWARDS: “Yes, absolutely," Edwards said. "What I want ... is my children to understand everything about the difficulties that gay and lesbian couples are faced with every day; the discrimination that they're faced with every single day of their lives.” Edwards said he "didn't want to impose" his views on his 9-year-old and 7-year-old [No, he wants to impose them on our kids]. “Nobody made me God,” said the former North Carolina senator. “I want my children to be able to make that decision on behalf of themselves, and I want them to be exposed to all the information, even in - did you say second grade? Second grade might be a little tough, but even in second grade.”
There used to be an old saying that you can’t legislate morality. I guess it depends on whose morality you’re legislating. It doesn’t matter to liberals that, in election after election, 2/3 of the voters always oppose gay-marriage. It doesn’t matter to liberals that many parents don’t want their kids being told gay is OK. It doesn’t matter that public schools are failing miserably at what they're supposed to be doing - teaching our kids basic English, math, & science. Public schools are effective in indoctrination and that’s all that counts.
What if, at Easter time, Mike appeared on TV, actually sitting next to a cross (!), and said something like, “At Easter, Christians all around the world celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord. My warmest regards to all families as you celebrate this special time.” I suspect someone watching might say, “You know what? That fireplace in the background looks like an empty tomb! Why, how could he do something like that? He has to know it's there - these things don't just happen by accident. How dare he use the Resurrection for his political gain!”
Exactly how ridiculous can we be?
“We three kings of orient are
“Bearing gifts, we’ve traveled so far.
“Field and fountain, moor and mountain,
“Following yonder star.”
We’re all familiar with the coming of the wise men described in Matthew 2. In our minds, we usually picture three kings riding on camels, traveling by night, looking up at an especially bright star. I believe this common perception is completely wrong. There has been much speculation about what the Star really was. It just so happens that I have my own theory as well.
Some people have speculated that the Star was an astronomical phenomenon like a nova or a certain arrangement of the planets. These certainly could have caused a bright and unusual “star” to appear. Along those same lines, others suggest it was a comet. They then use the dates of known astronomical events to estimate the time of Jesus’ birth. But I believe any natural, astronomical event could not possibly explain the details given in Matthew. For example, how can anyone “follow” a star? The earth rotates so a star in the east in the evening will be in the west by the morning – all except for the North Star, but the wise men weren’t heading north.
There are theologians who suspect the star was similar to the pillar of fire that led the children of Israel (Exodus 13:21). This is far more likely than any astronomical phenomenon but I don’t think it quite explains everything. For example, if they were following a pillar of fire, why did they end up in the wrong city (Jerusalem instead of Bethlehem) asking where the King was? If they were following a pillar of fire, it should have led them right to Him. Besides, the Bible doesn’t even say they followed the star. The magi told Herod, “we have seen His star in the east.”
Here then is my theory. The “star” is actually an angel. The angel appeared to the wise men in the east and announced the birth of Jesus to them in the same way the angel announced the birth of Jesus to the shepherds in Luke 2:10. When the angel announced the birth to the shepherds, the shepherds said, “Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.” I believe the magi would have said the same thing - only the magi thought the “city of David” (Luke 2:11) was Jerusalem while the shepherds would have known it was Bethlehem.
The shepherds were in the same country and were able to visit Jesus the same night of His birth. The wise men traveled for 2 years to see the Savior the angel had told them about. When they arrived in Jerusalem they said, “Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him” (Matthew 2:2) Now this took Herod completely by surprise. The Bible says that Herod, “when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared” (Matthew 2:7). Isn’t that curious? It seems to me if this were truly an astronomical event, everyone in the world would have seen this star. Yet Herod acted like he didn’t even know what they were talking about.
The Jewish scholars had told Herod the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem (Matthew 2:4-6) so he sent the wise men there. He told them that when they find the Child, come and tell him where He was so that he could come worship Him (Matthew 2:8). Of course, Herod was intending to kill Him instead. But again, couldn’t Herod have just sent his soldiers to follow the star once the magi had pointed it out to him? This further suggests, to me, there was no star in the sky that they were following.
Matthew 2:9-10 says, “When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.” So, after they left Herod, the angel appeared to the magi again. When they saw it, they were extremely glad. This clearly suggests they had not seen the star since it had appeared to them in the east. And further, it came and stood directly over the house where Jesus was. There is no way a comet or nova could point out an individual house.
The last detail given about the wise men says that God warned them in a dream not to return to Herod and so they returned to their country by another way (Matthew 2:12). But the next verse says that Joseph also was warned by the angel of the Lord to take the Child and escape to Egypt because Herod was about to kill Him. I believe the same angel had warned the wise men and that it was this angel that had led them to Jesus in the first place.
I believe that if the “star” were an angel it explains the details in Matthew very well. In Revelation 1:20, there are seven angels which are represented by seven stars so there is Scriptural evidence of angels being called stars. Of course, I can’t be dogmatic about what this particular star was; Instead, I only suggest it as food for thought. I may not be exactly sure how God made the birth of the Son known to the wise men, but I believe the message delivered by the angel to the shepherds was meant for all of us:
“Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”
Have a Merry Christmas!
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
“We, the undersigned scientists at universities and colleges in Kentucky, Ohio, and Indiana, are concerned about scientifically inaccurate materials at the Answers in Genesis museum. Students who accept this material as scientifically valid are unlikely to succeed in science courses at the college level. These students will need remedial instruction in the nature of science, as well as in the specific areas of science misrepresented by Answers in Genesis.” From NCSEThis is commonly called an appeal to emotion. The argument seems to be, if we teach our kids creation according to Genesis, they will be stupid and need remedial education when they go to college. Is there any truth to this at all? Let’s look at the facts.
First, it’s no secret that US students are falling behind their peers in other countries in both math and science. Consider this quote from The Washington Post:
“The average science score of U.S. students lagged behind those in 16 of 30 countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, a Paris-based group that represents the world's richest countries. The U.S. students were further behind in math, trailing counterparts in 23 countries.”That’s pretty alarming. Of course, there could be some bias built into the tests toward evolution: Question 1): “Do you believe in the descent of all present biodiversity from a common ancestor via evolution/natural selection?” Answer: “No.” >>>BUZZ<<< Sorry, Johnny, you’re wrong. Never mind the rest of the test - you need remedial education.
Besides that though, could it be true we score poorly because so many of our kids believe in the Genesis creation? After all, polls vary but around half of the US population believes the Biblical account of creation (USA Today). But wait a minute! After decades of legal haggling, only evolution has been taught in public schools since the late 60’s. I myself remember well being told in the second grade (1972/1973) that dinosaurs lived millions of years ago. I also remember the cheesy ape-to-human charts in my public school science textbooks. Perhaps you’ve seen them too.
So we have a generation of public school kids who have been taught evolution ONLY. If a teacher even suggests there may have been a Designer, he might as well hire a lawyer – he’s going to court (complements of the ACLU). If our students perform poorly on tests, I blame the public schools themselves, not the fact that some of the kids believe in creation. Indeed, if the students aren’t performing well, who should we blame BUT the schools? Does a belief in creation cause them to fall behind in math as well?
Now, a cunning evolutionist might argue that the public schools’ teachings are being undermined by zealous parents or by religious groups like Answers In Genesis. This may be a clever ploy but it does not hold water. I ask you 2 simple questions: 1) Where is special creation taught more often – in home/private schools or in public schools? 2) Who scores higher on standardized tests –home/private schooled students or public school students? The answers to both are obvious – home schooled students and private school students are taught special creation at rates higher than the population at large. Yet their education doesn’t suffer as evidenced by the fact they continuously out perform public school students who are taught evolution exclusively.
Here are some statistics:
“[H]omeschoolers, on the average, out-performed their counterparts in the public schools by 30 to 37 percentile points in all subjects. A significant finding when analyzing the data for 8th graders was the evidence that homeschoolers who are homeschooled two or more years score substantially higher than students who have been homeschooled one year or less. The new homeschoolers were scoring on the average in the 59th percentile compared to students homeschooled the last two or more years who scored between 86th and 92nd percentile” [emphasis added, source here]
“Private school students generally perform higher than their public school counterparts on standardized achievement tests… Private high schools typically have more demanding graduation requirements than do public high schools…. 1998 private high school graduates were more likely than public high school graduates to have completed advanced courses in science and mathematics. Advanced science courses include chemistry, physics, and advanced biology; advanced mathematics courses include trigonometry, precalculus, and calculus” [emphasis added, source here]
The claim that students who are taught creation suffer academically does not have a shred of truth. It would seem to me, if they really want what’s best for students, these scientists would be encouraging parents to home school their children. Perhaps what they meant to say was, “students who are taught Biblical creationism need to have intensive brainwashing when they enter college to make them believe evolution.”
LifeNews.com has reported that Planned Parenthood has made available pro-abortion holiday cards (even I won’t call these things “Christmas cards”) with the message, “Choice on Earth.”
The cards are obviously meant to be a blasphemy of Luke 2:14, often paraphrased as, “Peace on Earth.” Planned Parenthood is being pretty in-your-face about it too. The article quotes former PP President, Gloria Feldt, as saying group supporters were “energized by the vicious criticism of our holiday card.”
This belies the true attitude of Planned Parenthood. They aren’t a caring organization trying to “help women.” They are a godless organization, obsessed with infanticide and driven by greed and liberal ideology.
Apparently, PP does this kind of stuff every year but the attention paid to them has waned as of late. I guess that’s encouraging news. I’m just thankful PP wasn’t around in Bethlehem! If they had found a young, unmarried girl like Mary, engaged to a poor carpenter, displaced from her home and sleeping in a stable - they would have fallen all over each other to make her have an abortion!
Ordinarily, Keyes would mop the floor with anyone he debated. He’s able to articulate the conservative message like no one I’ve ever seen. But due to the strange debate format (no doubt arranged by the same folks who aired a debate while most honest folks are working) no candidate was able to stand out. The general consensus among pundits was that at least no one made any major blunders.
I’ve always been a big fan of Keyes and, in elections past, I voted for him in the primaries. This time around, though, I wish he would step aside. He came in late (even after Fred Thompson) and is not even appearing in most national polls. Keyes pointed out that he was tied with Ron Paul in the most recent Gallup Poll [albeit for last place].
If Keyes had a shot in this election, I’d be all for it. But he doesn’t. My fear then is that he will siphon off conservative voters from more popular candidates like Huckabee, Romney, or Thompson and we end up electing the not-so-conservative Giuliani.
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
“And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship, and to go before him unto the other side, while he sent the multitudes away. And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone. But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary. And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear. But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid. And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water. And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased.” Matthew 14:22-32The miracle of Jesus walking on the water is well known. Also well known is that Peter walked on water but, in a moment of doubt, began to sink.
I’ve heard preachers in the past chide Peter for his lack of faith. Admittedly, Jesus rebuked him and asked why he doubted. Even so, I don’t believe we should be too hard on Peter. Look at the other 11 disciples who didn’t even get out of the boat! I consider it a great marvel that Peter, in the midst of a raging storm, would even consider stepping out of the safety of the boat. Were I in the same situation, I’m not sure I would have.
Perhaps too many people are afraid of the consequences to fully trust God. One person might say, for example, “If I tithe this month, how will I pay my bills?” Another might say, “How can I leave the security of my job to start a ministry?” I think sometimes God has great things planned for us. But instead of stepping out in faith and receiving them, we sit in the security of our boat. We’re not going anywhere in our boat, mind you, we just feel safe here. I wonder what joys and experiences I’ve missed out on due to my own lack of faith?
I think the danger comes when we take our eyes off Jesus and begin worrying about what’s going on around us. The Bible says of Peter, “when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.” When he looked at Jesus, he walked on water. When he looked at the waves, he began to sink.
Peter should be our example. We should step out in faith, trusting the Lord to do miracles in our lives AND we should call out to Him and trust Him to save us when our faith wavers.
First, the pratice of grouping plants and animals into certain classifications was begun long before Darwin. Classic categorization first came from Plato where animals were grouped by their similar characteristics. Aristotle expounded on this by applying certain narrowing questions, “"Is it an animal or vegetable?", "How many feet does it have?", "Does it have fur or feathers?", "Can it fly?", etc.” We can see, for example, that birds can be grouped together by the simple fact they have wings, lay eggs, and have feathers. These can be broad categories (warm blood, live birth, & hair = mammals) or narrow ones (a snout for a nose; small eyes; a small tail, which may be curly, kinked, or straight; a thick body; short legs; four toes on each foot, with the two large middle toes used for walking = pig).
Today, evolutionists draw a nested hierarchy of organisms which groups them according to their evolutionary relatedness. But their classification system assumes an evolutionary relationship – it doesn’t establish one. So, taxonomy, a field within biology, is NOT dependent on evolution. Immediately the phrase, “Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution,” is shown false. But there’s more.
Louis Pasteur is a highly regarded pioneer who paved the way for microbiology. He was also a contemporary of Darwin. In his day, scientists no longer believed in the spontaneous generation of higher life forms (such as maggots from decaying meat). However, some still clinged to the idea that simple life forms could arise spontaneously. Indeed, for evolution to have happened at all, there must have been a first living organism that arose from non-living chemicals (also called abiogenesis). To them, a cell was little more than an unsophisticated blob of matter. Pasteur believed life could only come from life and, through experimentation, proved the existence of microbes. Pasteur was a devout Christian and is credited with having said, “The more I study nature, the more I stand amazed at the work of the Creator.” Pasteur, then, was also able to conduct his work in microbiology without understanding or relying on the overarching tenets of ToE.
Gregor Mendel is credited as being the father of genetics. By studying the plants in his garden, this Augustinian Priest was able to discern that traits aren’t distributed randomly but are inherited in predictable patterns. His work was largely forgotten for 40 years but was later adopted by evolutionists. This is strange since genetics should be a killer blow to evolution. Mendel’s studies, for example, could explain how there could be a recombination of traits in a population (such as light and dark moths) but it cannot explain the rise of novel features (such as feathers on reptiles). Even so, Mendel’s observations were not dependent on, nor are they “made sense of,” by evolution.
Twenty years before Darwin published On the Origin of Species, a creationist by the name of Edward Blythe wrote in the Magazine of Natural History, 1835, the following:
There has been, strangely enough, a difference of opinion among naturalists, as to whether these seasonal changes of colour were intended by Providence as an adaptation to change of temperature, or as a means of preserving the various species from the observation of their foes, by adapting their hues to the colour of the surface; against which latter opinion it has been plausibly enough argued, that "nature provides for the preyer as well as for the prey." The fact is, they answer both purposes; and they are among those striking instances of design, which so clearly and forcibly attest the existence of an omniscient great First Cause [italics in original].
There has been much speculation that Darwin actually plagiarized his idea of natural selection from Edward Blythe. Evolutionists claim natural selection is the driving force of evolution. Blythe recognized the ability of a creature to adapt to its environment as evidence of design so Blythe was able to make perfect sense of adaptation without evoking evolution to explain it.
But as far as evolutionists go, consider this quote from Larry Witham (as cited on AiG):
While the great majority of biologists would probably agree with Theodosius Dobzhansky’s dictum that ‘Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution,’ most can conduct their work quite happily without particular reference to evolutionary ideas”, the editor wrote. “Evolution would appear to be the indispensable unifying idea and, at the same time, a highly superflous one.” The annual programs of science conventions also tell the story. When the zoologists met in 1995 (and changed their name to the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology), just a few dozen of the 400 academic papers read were on evolution. The North American Paleontological Convention of 1996 featured 430 papers, but only a few included the word “evolution” in their titles. The 1998 AAS meeting organized 150 scientific sessions, but just 5 focused on evolution—as it relates to biotechnology, the classification of species, language, race and primate families.So it seems not even all evolutionistic scientists believe evolution is integral to their fields.
The next time you hear Dobzhansky’s famous quote (which, if you discuss evolution often, will be any moment now), you’ll spot it for what it is: rhetoric, pure and simple. It’s a sound bite – not an argument.
Monday, December 17, 2007
When Kerry ran against Bush in 2004, I was surprised at the number of times Kerry said he agreed with John McCain on some particular issue. I thought this was a curious strategy: I mean, I know why he kept saying it – he wanted people to think his ideas weren’t radically liberal because he agreed with a Republican about something. But as far as I know, McCain was backing Bush that year.
Anyway, I heard on Fox News this morning that former VP hopeful, Joseph Lieberman (Independent Senator – CT) was endorsing John McCain for president. Not just in the primaries, but for the 2008 election as well.
Now, I know Liebermann is a lot more moderate than most Democrats. For example, he does back our presence in Iraq and the War on Terror in general, which has earned him the scorn of many Democrat colleagues. In his last Senate race, the Democrat Party backed his opponent causing Liebermann to switch from a Democrat to an Independent. But as I listened to him on Fox News, he continuously referred to himself as a Democrat.
So now McCain has the endorsement of a self-proclaimed Democrat. Not a conservative Democrat like, say, Zel Miller - but Al Gore’s running mate in 2000. Doesn’t this speak volumes about how conservative McCain is (or rather, is not)?
Now I know he co-authored that radically unconstitutional campaign finance reform bill known as the McCain-Feingold Act (I can’t believe Bush didn’t veto this and it has even held up in court). Besides that though, he seemed fairly conservative on most other issues. Even so, I’ve always had an uneasy feeling about McCain. And after hearing Liebermann’s endorsement of him this morning, it just reaffirms what I’ve already felt.
I think maybe Liebermann should have waited until the general election to support McCain. His endorsement might help McCain in NH where there are a lot of independent voters, but it’s going to cost him conservative votes everywhere else. When you have liberal Democrats like Kerry siding with McCain on several issues, and now a moderate Democrat like Liebermann actually endorsing him, then there’s something the matter. If McCain should win the Republican primaries, I guess I’d rather have him then Hillary. But for now, I’ll stick with Huckabee.
“So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs. He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep. He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.” John 21:15-17 (KJV)
This is an interesting exchange between Jesus and Peter, which occurred after Jesus’ Resurrection. If you remember, when Jesus had been arrested, Peter denied 3 times even knowing Him. Here, Jesus asked Peter 3 times if he loved Him. Perhaps then it was not coincidental that Jesus asked 3 times.
But there’s another part of the story that many English readers miss. In the Greek account, there are 2 different words being used for “love.” One is ἀγαπάω (agēpaō). This is an unconditional love. It is the same word used in John 3:16 where the Bible says, “For God so loved the world...”(Οὕτως γὰρ ἠγάπησεν ὁ θεὸς τὸν κόσμον). God’s love is unconditional because of who He is - not because of how good we are.
The other word for love is φιλέω (phileō). The word φιλέω is found in the city’s name, Philadelphia, the city of "brotherly love" (ἀδελφός (adelphos) is the Greek word for “brother”). This is a reciprocal love. It is a fondness we have for the people to whom we are close; therefore, it is conditional. I might love my friend while we are close. But if he makes me angry, he might not be my friend anymore and I won’t love him.
So Jesus asks Peter, does he ἀγαπάω Him. Peter answered that he does φιλέω Him. He asks a second time and Peter answers the same way. But when Jesus asks the third time, He asks Peter, does he even φιλέω Him. This makes Peter grieve because this time Jesus used φιλέω instead of ἀγαπάω.
Then a revised version of the account might read so:
Jesus: “Do you love me, Peter?” ἀγαπάω
Peter: “I’m fond of you, Lord.” φιλέω
Jesus: “But do you love me?” ἀγαπάω
Peter: “Yes, I’m fond of you.” φιλέω
Jesus: “Are you even fond of me, Peter? φιλέω
Peter grieves: “Lord, you know I am fond of you.” φιλέω
I’m not sure why Peter was so reluctant to say he loved Jesus unconditionally. Maybe the recollection of his recent denial of Jesus was still too fresh in his mind. Perhaps he was afraid to say he loved Jesus unconditionally fearing he may too soon deny Him again. But what strikes me most about the passage is the seeming desire of Jesus to hear Peter say he loved Him. He seemed to ask over and over, longing for Peter to say it.
I think Jesus feels the same way about us. He gave His life so that we might have eternity with Him. The Church is the bride of Christ (Revelation 19:7-9). What kind of marriage is it if the bride never tells the groom she loves him? Day after day, Jesus pours out His blessings, showing us His unconditional love for us. Have we told Him how much we love Him?