5/27/14

From Jim McGuiggan... Christian Advantage? (5)


Christian Advantage? (5)

Does the Christian have an advantage over the non-Christian in the war against personal sin? Yes! But the advantage has nothing to do with some magical divine energizing! Yes! But the advantage doesn’t mean the non-Christian is left without help from God against the power of evil. Yes! But the advantage must be freely appropriated by the Christian. Yes! But the advantage doesn’t function as an immediate transformation from a sinner to a “non-sinner”. Yes! But the advantage is experienced within an ongoing relationship.

God entered into a peculiar relationship with Israel (Exodus 19:5-6 and Amos 3:2) and Moses thought that was a profound privilege and advantage over the nations (Deuteronomy 6:4-8 and see). Psalm 119 is one long song of praise thanking God for the covenantal Torah which opened the eyes and hearts of people, which thrilled and energized people, which inspired and comforted people and gave them life. But the psalmist makes it clear that all this is true about the Torah because it was an expression of God’s gracious relationship with Israel and with him. The Torah wasn’t some abstract moral code with wonderful principles—it was God profiling himself and reminding Israel of how he had chosen them, how he had redeemed them, how he had adopted Israel as his son. No one else had experienced rescue from Egypt and the Passing Over, or the Red Sea crossing or the sustenance in the wilderness or the coming settlement in the land. Israel’s Torah, their national Faith was how the already redeemed and presently sustained people related to God. How could that not be a source of strength? Individuals would not have appropriated that empowerment to the same degree or at the same speed. The internalizing of that strength took place in a faith relationship and a faith relationship varied in degrees of intensity and consistency and gladness. And that relationship could be despised and finally rejected by believers.

But what was Israel empowered to do? What exactly [or at least "centrally"] were they called and enabled to do/be?

Christians need to think carefully about this!

Most of us know how strengthening a great friendship is. Some of us have had friends who strengthened us and brought us through times when we were sure we’d perish. There was nothing mechanical about the power they brought, no “magic” of the magician’s kind, but they brought inspiration and assurance, challenge, rebuke and a ceaseless calling us upward. We weren’t plugged into some wall-socket to feel the physical power surge through us, but we can swear on bended knees that since meeting such people we grew in integrity and grace and vision and endurance. We’re certain of this: to have or to have had them as friends was one of the greatest gifts of our lives and we feel sure that if others had had friends like these that they too would have been empowered to better and finer things.

Spell out that lovely mystery how you will, explain the psychological aspects of it if you can, teach us how their truth became our truth and their character formed our character. But even if you can’t do any of that you know beyond debate that they were all those grand things to you. They made you strong!

It doesn’t matter that you still had flaws. The reality of these still existing flaws does not deny that these friends made you strong! Strong! And there wasn’t an element of coercion in sight; there wasn’t anything mechanical about it; there was no infusion of their personal power into you. There was always that free and mutual receiving one of another, always that chosen relationship and that deepening love that at times made you think you’d gladly lay down your life for them as you knew they would for you. A relationship with that person generated that kind of moral power!

It is in this way that the Christian is advantaged over non-Christians. The advantage is the strength of a relationship with the Lord God in Jesus by his Spirit. And the strength of the relationship involves the understanding of who it is we’re related to and what he has called us to and what we are on his behalf for the world.

This is why Paul prays fervently that the Ephesians might have their eyes and hearts opened to the truth that what God has done in Jesus he is continuing to do in them by the same exercise of power that raised Jesus from the dead (Ephesians 1:16-20). He prays for them to know, he says, who and what they are and what their mission is in the world and what their destiny is. That sense of calling and destiny is an aspect of the nature of the Christian's empowerment. It keeps sinful Christians on their feet and keeps them returning to the Holy One in covenant renewal.

Read Ephesians 1:16-20 through a time or two! He gets carried away with the profoundly rich truths he has in mind and only returns to the issue of what he prays for them in 3:14-21. Again he says he prays that they might be empowered to understand, to be strengthened with power that they might know.

Who Christians are should leave them dumbstruck.

To truly understand—not just intellectually but emotionally and otherwise—who they’re related to what it is that he has eternally purposed and has publicly manifested in raising Jesus of Nazareth—to grasp that will galvanize them.

But who is it that God empowers by this calling and inexpressible privilege? Christians, of course! Yes, but who are they? They are members of the human family that has been made ruinously “ill” by a “virus” more savage and deforming than any known to man. God didn’t go throughout the world looking for impressive specimens, those with immunity to the “disease,” in the hope that their immunity would halt the pandemic! There was only One and this One was all he needed to produce a “vaccine”.

“Oh, but God, I’m sick with the virus! Look at my ulcers and the marks of my inner deformity!”

I know better than you how ‘sick’ you are, God would say, but I’m not calling you to save the world. I’m calling you to proclaim to the world that there is healing and health and life in the One!

“But God, if I’m not free of the ‘sickness’ how will I make them believe the One has healing power?”

God would say something like: I had a servant called Moses who asked me the same sort of question (Exodus 3:11-13; 4:1-9). I gave him some signs and I haven’t left you completely without “proofs” though “proofs” don’t work well for those who have no wish to believe. Your business is not to make them believe—your business is to tell about the One and his coming to right all wrongs and reign in righteousness. 

“But Lord you did give him signs that you were with him.”

I have also given you signs. I have given you Baptism and Holy Communion; I have given you The Scriptures and a place in the New Covenant People; I have given you Jesus and my Spirit that indwells the covenant people and I have given you faith by the gospel.

“But God I need you to remove my moral weaknesses if I am to do your job well.”

All you need is my grace for my power is perfected in weakness. (Reflect on the truth of 2 Corinthians 12:1-10 though it has a context of its own.)

“But Lord, many of those outside of Jesus seem to be morally as good as I am; they’ll hardly be impressed by me.”

Many of them who are not yet related to my Son by faith are morally better than you. Did you think I left them without help because I have called you to a peculiar relationship with me? Do you think I restricted my gifts of truth and kindness and empowerment down the generations only to the people I elected as peculiar servants?

They too are sin-sick though they compare favorably morally with you. The issue isn’t their moral excellence or yours and your business is not to impress them with you—you’re to impress them with the One. Your business is to remain faithful to my calling despite your continued illness. It is the One that your faith is in that I want them to see—not you. But the closer you and I come to be to one another your vision and your strength for your mission will grow and you’ll discover that despite your ulcers and your inner wrestling that you are able in Christ to do all I want you to do (Philippians 4:13).

“Lord, I long to be free from this ‘sickness’ of which I’m ashamed and which makes me reluctant even to speak of the glory of the One. Sometimes I grow weary of the struggle and wonder if I’ll ever be free. Will I be free?”

You will! The longing for freedom is my work in you. Your feeling of shame when you engage in sin is healthy—it’s my work in you. In longing for freedom you are already experiencing my empowerment. One day you will experience a depth of freedom that was beyond your imagining but not beyond my power to give you. The power I’m speaking of is not brute force or “magic”—it's the power that’s inherent in my good news (Romans 1:16); it's the power of the relationship we have one with another. Learn of me as you do my bidding as a witness to Jesus for the world’s benefit and watch what happens to your ulcers and your inner deformity.

I haven't called sinless people to further my grand enterprise! I have called sinful people but I have fully equipped and empowered them to be able to fulfill their destiny and their mission. Their destiny and mission is not that they should gain moral perfection in this life, but that they be my witnesses to a world in dire need about my purpose in Jesus Christ my Son on behalf of the human family.

God's moral influence in the world is real but as simple moral power it is extended toward and is available to the entire human family and not only to Christians. What is peculiar and exclusive to those in the Lord Jesus is their place in the Community of Faith in Jesus, it is their being part of the NT Elect, it is their being bearers of the Story, it is their being witnesses to God's eternal purpose in the Lord Jesus, it is their being the embodiment of and the visible witness to God's faithfulness.

THAT is what Christians have and are empowered to be and do that no others in the world have. THAT is what NT empowerment by the Spirit of Christ is all about.

From Bert Thompson, Ph.D. ... The Bible and the Laws of Science: The Laws of Genetics





http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=12&article=454

The Bible and the Laws of Science: The Laws of Genetics

by  Bert Thompson, Ph.D.

INTRODUCTION

One of the newest, and certainly one of the most exciting, of the sciences is that of genetics. After all, every living thing—plant, animal, or human—is a storehouse of genetic information, and therefore a potential “laboratory” full of scientific knowledge. Studies have shown that the hereditary information found within the nucleus of the living cell is placed there in a chemical “code,” and that it is universal in nature. Regardless of their respective views on origins, all scientists acknowledge this. Evolutionist Richard Dawkins, in his book, The Blind Watchmaker (1986, p. 270), stated what all scientists today know to be the truth of the matter when he noted: “The genetic code is universal.... The complete word-for-word universality of the genetic dictionary is, for the taxonomist, too much of a good thing.” Creationist Robert Kautz, in his book, The Origin of Living Things (1988, p. 44) agreed when he wrote: “It is recognized by molecular biologists that the genetic code is universal, irrespective of how different living things are in their external appearances.”
However, it is not simply the fact that the genetic code is universal in nature which makes its study so appealing. The function of this code is equally intriguing. A.E. Wilder-Smith, an eminent scientist with the United Nations, observed: “The construction and metabolism of a cell are thus dependent upon its internal ‘handwriting’ in the genetic code. Everything, even life itself, is regulated from a biological viewpoint by the information contained in this genetic code. All syntheses are directed by this information” (1976, p. 254). Since all living things are storehouses of genetic information (i.e., the genetic code), and since it is this genetic code that regulates life and directs all its syntheses, the importance of the study of this code (genetics) hardly can be overstated. The renowned British geneticist, E.B. Ford, in his work, Understanding Genetics, provided an insightful summary in this regard:
It may seem a platitude to say that the offspring of buttercups, sparrows and human beings are buttercups, sparrows and human beings.... What then keeps them, and indeed living things in general, “on the right lines”? Why are there not pairs of sparrows, for instance, that beget robins, or some other species of bird: why indeed birds at all? Something must be handed on from parent to offspring which ensures conformity, not complete but in a high degree, and prevents such extreme departures. What is it, how does it work, what rules does it obey and why does it apparently allow only limited variation? Genetics is the science that endeavours to answer these questions, and much else besides. It is the study of organic inheritance and variation, if we must use more formal language (1979, p. 13).
We know, of course, that sparrows, buttercups, and human beings give rise only to sparrows, buttercups, and human beings. But we know this today because of our in-depth knowledge of genetics—the study of inheritance. However, it has not always been so. The history of how we stumbled upon this knowledge, and thus this new science, provides an interesting, and profitable, case study.

THE ORIGIN AND HISTORY OF GENETICS

There can be no doubt that genetics is deeply rooted in antiquity. While the ancients did not understand the genetic principles involved, or their basis in such a complex chemical code, evidence exists which documents that they knew enough to use selective breeding, various forms of hybridization, etc. Eldon Gardner, in his classic work, The History of Biology, suggested:
Tablets of stone prepared by the Babylonians some 6,000 years ago have been interpreted as showing pedigrees of several successive generations of horses, thus suggesting a conscious effort toward improvement. Other stone carvings of the same period illustrate artificial cross-pollination of the date palm as practiced by the early Babylonians. The early Chinese, many years before the Christian era, improved varieties of rice. Maize was cultivated and improved in the western hemisphere by the American Indians, beginning at an early period in their history. In another era, Hippocrates, Aristotle, and other Greek philosophers made observations and speculations suggesting genetic principles (1972, pp. 399-400).
Various writers have chronicled early attempts at hybridization, selection, etc. (see Suzuki and Knudtson, 1989, pp. 32-35). But it is agreed unanimously that the true origin of the science we call genetics had its beginnings in 1865, as the result of studies performed by an Augustinian monk, Gregor Mendel (1865). In 1857, Mendel began a series of experiments in the garden of the abbey in Brünn, Austria, using edible peas (Pisum sativum). For eight years he worked with these peas. The story of Mendel’s research is too lengthy to recount here in its entirety. It has been recorded, however, by numerous writers (see: Edey and Johanson, 1989, pp. 108-122; Suzuki and Knudtson, 1989, pp. 35-38; Asimov, 1972, pp. 366-368; Gardner, 1972, pp. 401-403).
Mendel carefully self-pollinated the peas. He collected the seeds from one generation and replanted them. He studied the height (stem length), color, and seed texture of the peas. He also cross-pollinated the peas, to further study these traits. He kept meticulous mathematical records of each generation’s activity—records upon which the “laws of genetics” ultimately would be based. Prior to Mendel, it was commonly believed that traits were transmitted along blood lines as unseen and undefined substances which somehow intermingled to produce offspring. In addition, scientists accepted the idea that traits “blended” as they were passed from generation to generation. Mendel’s work proved otherwise. He discovered that traits were transmitted by some kind of “particles”—borne by both members of the species—which retained their own specific identity even while being shuffled into new combinations during reproduction. Mendel called these particles by the German word, Anlagen. Today we know these as “genes” which are constructed of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA).
Mendel’s accomplishments were impressive. Richard von Mises observed that Mendel’s work “...plays in genetics a role comparable to that of Newton’s laws in mechanics” (1968, p. 243). Edey and Johanson echoed that same sentiment: “Mendel was certain that his hypothesis was correct: hereditary traits of living things come in separate packages; they do not blend; they behave according to simple mathematical laws; some are dominant and ‘show,’ while others are recessive and lie ‘hidden’ unless present in the pure state. This was a momentous insight. It became the keystone for the great edifice of genetic knowledge that would be erected in the following century” (1989, p. 114). In summary, Davis and Kenyon listed what we now refer to as “Mendel’s laws.”
He [Mendel—BT] brilliantly concluded that inheritance is determined by six principles:
1. The inheritance of traits is determined by (what were later termed) genes that act more like individual physical particles than like fluid.
2. Genes come in pairs for each trait, and the genes of a pair may be alike or different.
3. When genes controlling a particular trait are different, the effect of one is observed (dominant) in the offspring, while the other one remains hidden (recessive).
4. In gametes (eggs and sperm) only one gene of each pair is present. At fertilization gametes unite randomly, which results in a predictable ratio of traits among offspring.
5. The genes controlling a particular trait are separated during gamete-formation; each gamete carries only one gene of each pair.
6. When two pairs of traits are studied in the same cross, they are found to sort independently of each other.
While Mendel’s principles have been expanded and refined, they still remain basically sound today (1989, p. 60).
In 1866, Mendel’s work was published in the Transactions of the Natural History Society of Brünn. For thirty-five years that work sat on library shelves, unknown to all but a few, and causing no great interest among them. Then, in 1900, three scientists, working independently of one another, rediscovered Mendel’s works. Hugo de Vries (a Dutchman), Karl Correns (a German), and Erich Tschermak (an Austrian) simultaneously read Mendel’s works and published their own papers on similar matters, each crediting Mendel. De Vries is credited with discovering genetic mutations (changes in the genes and/or chromosomes, producing offspring unlike the parents). In 1902, Theodor Boveri (German embryologist), and W.S. Sutton (American cytologist), building on the work of another German embryologist, Wilhelm Roux, documented that Mendel’s Anlagen (genes) were distributed throughout the body on chromosomes. In 1903, Wilhelm L. Johannsen, a Danish botanist, coined the term “gene,” which is still in use today. In 1906, at a meeting of the Royal Horticultural Society, the English biologist, William Bateson, offered the term “genetics” as the name for this new science. Finally, Mendel’s works were bearing fruit.
Mendel died in 1884, never realizing that he was to become the “father of genetics.” Many scientists since him have added to the knowledge he gave us about this important science. It would be a futile task to try to mention, or give credit to, all of them. But certainly the science of genetics was greatly advanced by the discovery, in 1953, of the chemical code that provides the genetic instructions. It was in that year that James Watson and Francis Crick published their landmark paper about the helical structure of the DNA molecule (1953). In 1962, they were awarded the Nobel Prize in medicine and physiology for their achievement in elucidating the structure of DNA. Thaxton, Bradley, and Olsen, in their book, The Mystery of Life’s Origin, remarked:
According to their now-famous model, hereditary information is transmitted from one generation to the next by means of a simple code resident in the specific sequence of certain constituents of the DNA molecule.... The breakthrough by Crick and Watson was their discovery of the specific key to life’s diversity. It was the extraordinarily complex yet orderly architecture of the DNA molecule. They had discovered that there is in fact a code inscribed in this “coil of life,” bringing a major advance in our understanding of life’s remarkable structure (1984, p. 1).
Space prevents an in-depth examination of the inner workings of the DNA molecule. Excellent summaries, however, are available (Kautz, 1988, pp. 43-47; Davis and Kenyon, 1989, pp. 62-64; Suzuki and Knudtson, 1989, pp. 41-45). Just how important is this “coil of life” that is represented in the DNA molecule? A.E. Wilder-Smith reminds us that “the information stored on the DNA-molecule is that which controls totally, as far as we at present know, by its interaction with its environment, the development of all biological organisms” (1987, p. 73). Professor E.H. Andrews explained how this can be true: “The way the DNA code works is this. The DNA molecule is like a template or pattern for the making of other molecules called ‘proteins’.... These proteins then control the growth and activity of the cell which, in turn, controls the growth and activity of the whole organism” (1978, p. 28). Thus, the DNA contains the information that allows proteins to be manufactured, and the proteins control cell growth and function, which are ultimately responsible for each living organism. The genetic code, then, as found within the DNA molecule, is vital to life as we know it.

THE LAWS OF GENETICS AND THE BIBLE

There are at least two important points that relate genetics directly to the Bible, and which will be discussed here. First, the genetic code’s chemical instructions are copied faithfully time after time. In other words, to use Dr. Ford’s earlier examples, sparrows produce only sparrows, buttercups produce only buttercups, and human beings produce only human beings. Sparrows never produce robins; buttercups never produce tulips; human beings never produce anything but other human beings. Second, the genetic code—with its complexity, orderliness, and function—provides the most powerful kind of evidence for intelligent design, which requires a Designer. Let us examine briefly these two important points.
The biblical record is quite clear when it comes to the first of these two points—that the genetic code was designed to copy itself faithfully. In Genesis 1:11-12 we read: “And God said, let the earth put forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after its kind, wherein is the seed thereof upon the earth, and it was so. And the earth brought forth grass, the herb yielding seed and the fruit tree yielding fruit after its kind whose seed was in itself.” This same wording—after its kind—is repeated in such passages as Genesis 1:20,21 and Genesis 1:24,25. A comparison of similar passages (e.g., Leviticus 11:13-23) provides additional dramatic emphasis of the importance of this phrase. Byron Nelson, author of the classic work, After Its Kind, offered the following commentary on these statements of Scripture:
In the first chapter of Genesis, however, because it is a matter of the greatest religious importance, the Bible speaks clearly and finally on a matter of biology. After its kind is the statement of a biological principle that no human observation has ever known to fail. The most ancient human records engraved on stone or painted on the walls of caves bear witness to the fact that horses have ever been horses, bears have ever been bears, geese have ever been geese, reindeer have ever been reindeer. The most desperate and subtle efforts of man in modern times have been unable to alter this divine decree. The Bible teaches that from the beginning there have been a large number of types of living things, man included, which were so created as to remain true to their particular type throughout all generations.... The latest results of modern biological research, Mendel’s Laws, agree exactly with what was written by Moses three thousand years ago—and they also elucidate it... (1967, pp. 3,103, emp. in orig.).
Even evolutionists are hard pressed to avoid the implications. In his presidential address to the British Association for the Advancement of Science, William Bateson, the English biologist who first coined the term “genetics,” made this startling admission: “Descent used to be described in terms of blood. Truer notions of genetic physiology are given by the Hebrew expression ‘seed.’ If we say he is ‘of the seed of Abraham,’ we feel something of the permanence and indestructibility of that germ which can be divided and scattered among nations, but remains recognizable in type and characteristic after 4,000 years” (1914, emp. in orig.). Seventy-five years later, not much had changed. Suzuki and Knudtson noted, for example:
Yet long before the concept of the “gene” crystallized in human consciousness early in this century, human beings felt compelled to search for ways to make sense of at least the most visible evidence of biological inheritance that surrounded them. For they could not help noticing the recurring pattern of reproduction in the natural world by which every form of life seemed to generate new life—“according to its own kind.” The keen-eyed agriculturalists among them could not have missed the similarity between successive generations of livestock and crops. Nor was it possible to ignore the sometimes uncanny resemblances between members of one’s own immediate family or ancestral lineage (1989, p. 32).
Suzuki and Knudtson, however, suggested that these poor humans lived in a state of “scientific innocence” and that they thus could be excused for not knowing any better. But is it a state of “scientific innocence” to accept what is today a fact of science? Listen to John Gribbin, himself an evolutionist, when he says that “...once a fertilized, single human cell begins to develop, the original plans are faithfully copied each time the cell divides (a process called mitosis) so that every one of the thousand million million cells in my body, and in yours, contains a perfect replica of the original plans for the whole body” (1981, p. 193). Did Dr. Gribbin say that these original plans (i.e., the genetic code) are faithfully copied so that every one of the trillions of cells in the human body ends up with a perfect replica of that genetic code? Indeed he did! Dr. Wilder-Smith spoke to this very point when he observed:
The Nobel laureate, F.H. Crick has said that if one were to translate the coded information on one human cell into book form, one would require one thousand volumes each of five hundred pages to do so. And yet the mechanism of a cell can copy faithfully at cell division all this information of one thousand volumes each of five hundred pages in just twenty minutes (1976, p. 258, emp. added).
Why do sparrows produce nothing but sparrows? Why do buttercups produce nothing but buttercups? Why do human beings produce nothing but human beings? The reason is simple: all organisms reproduce faithfully copies of their own genetic code. Dr. Bateson spoke of the permanence and indestructibility of the “seed.” Dr. Gribbin says the code is faithfully copied. Suzuki and Knudtson comment on the recurring pattern of reproduction. It matters little what terms these evolutionists use: they still are doing nothing more than mimicking, and acknowledging, what the Bible writer said thousands of years ago—that all living things reproduce “after their kind.”
Today, of course, evolutionists offer up a vain attempt to get around the laws of genetics, and thus provide a mechanism for evolution, by postulating hundreds or thousands of “good” mutations that can alter the genetic code in a way beneficial to evolution. I have dealt with this elsewhere (Thompson, 1985), and have shown the paucity of such a system. The simple truth of the matter is that the Bible has been right all along. The genetic code ensures that living things reproduce faithfully—after their kind—exactly as the laws of genetics state that they should.
There is good reason why organisms should reproduce “after their kind”—the complexity of the genetic code. It is doubtful that you will ever hear anyone cognizant of the facts speak of the “simple” genetic code. A.G. Cairns-Smith explained why:
Every organism has in it a store of what is called genetic information.... I will refer to an organism’s genetic information store as its Library.... Where is the Library in such a multicellular organism? The answer is everywhere. With a few exceptions every cell in a multicellular organism has a complete set of all the books in the Library. As such an organism grows its cells multiply and in the process the complete central Library gets copied again and again.... The human Library has 46 of these cord-like books in it. They are called chromosomes. They are not all of the same size, but an average one has the equivalent of about 20,000 pages.... Man’s Library, for example, consists of a set of construction and service manuals that run to the equivalent of about a million book-pages together (1985, pp. 9,10, emp. in orig.).
It is no less amazing to learn that even “simple” cells like bacteria have extremely complicated “libraries” of genetic information stored within them. For example, the bacterium Escherichia coli, which is by no means the “simplest” bacterial cell known, is a tiny rod only a thousandth of a millimeter across and about twice as long, yet “it is an indication of the sheer complexity of E. coli that its Library runs to a thousand page-equivalent” (Cairns-Smith, 1985, p. 11).
It does not take much convincing, beyond facts such as these, to see that the genetic code is orderly, complex, and adept in its functions. The order and complexity themselves are nothing short of phenomenal. But the functioning of this code is perhaps most impressive of all. Dr. Wilder-Smith explained why when he commented that the coded information:
...may be compared to a book or to a video—or audiotape, with an extra factor coded into it enabling the genetic information, under certain environmental conditions, to read itself and then to execute the information it reads. It resembles, that is, a hypothetical architect’s plan of a house, which plan not only contains the information on how to build the house, but which can, when thrown into the garden, build entirely of its own initiative the house all on its own without the need for contractors or other outside building agents. Such a plan could, when thrown into the garden, build the house—providing it finds the correct conditions and energy supply for the “internal” contractors who build the house. It does this construction work entirely autonomously, working on the pure information which it contains. Thus, it is fair to say that the technology exhibited by the genetic code is orders of magnitude higher than any technology man has, until now, developed. What is its secret? The secret lies in its ability to store and to execute incredible magnitudes of conceptual information in the ultimate molecular miniaturization of the information storage and retrieval system of the nucleotides and their sequences (1987, p. 73, emp. in orig.).
Kautz followed this same line of thinking when he wrote:
The information in DNA is sufficient for directing and controlling all the processes which transpire within a cell including diagnosing, repairing, and replicating the cell. Think of an architectural blueprint having the capacity of actually building the structure depicted on the blueprint, of maintaining that structure in good repair, and even replicating it (1988, p. 44).
Little wonder, then, that Kautz concludes: “The DNA molecule is something utterly unique and had to have an unnatural or supernatural origin.... The information in the DNA molecule had to have been imposed upon it by some outside source just as music is imposed on a cassette tape. The information in DNA is presented in coded form as explained previously, and codes are not known to arise spontaneously” (1988, p. 44, emp. in orig.).
Many people, perhaps, have not considered the terminology with which evolutionists describe the genetic code. Lester and Bohlin suggest that this provides a major clue as to DNA’s origin:
The DNA in living cells contains coded information. It is not surprising that so many of the terms used in describing DNA and its functions are language terms. We speak of the genetic code. DNA is transcribed into RNA. RNA is translated into protein. Protein, in a sense, is coded in a foreign language from DNA. RNA could be said to be a dialect of DNA. Such designations are not simply convenient or just anthropomorphisms. They accurately describe the situation (1984, pp. 85-86, emp. in orig.).
Further, consider that human beings have learned to store information on clay tablets, stone, papyrus, paper, film, cassettes, microchips, etc. Yet “human technology has not yet advanced to the point of storing information chemically as it is in the DNA molecule” (Kautz, p. 45, 1988, emp. in orig.). Professor Andrews was correct when he stated:
It is not possible for a code, of any kind, to arise by chance or accident. The laws of chance or probability have been worked out by mathematics... A code is the work of an intelligent mind. Even the cleverest dog or chimpanzee could not work out a code of any kind. It is obvious then that chance cannot do it.... This could no more have been the work of chance or accident than could the “Moonlight Sonata” be played by mice running up and down the keyboard of my piano! Codes do not arise from chaos (1978, pp. 28,29).

CONCLUSION

Dr. Wilder-Smith offered this important observation:
Now, when we are confronted with the genetic code, we are astounded at once at its simplicity, complexity and the mass of information contained in it. One cannot avoid being awed at the sheer density of information contained in such a miniaturized space. When one considers that the entire chemical information required to construct a man, elephant, frog or an orchid was compressed into two minuscule reproductive cells, one can only be astounded. Only a sub-human could not be astounded. The almost inconceivably complex information needed to synthesize a man, plant, or a crocodile from air, sunlight, organic substances, carbon dioxide and minerals is contained in these two tiny cells. If one were to request an engineer to accomplish this feat of information miniaturization, one would be considered fit for the psychiatric line.... To maintain that it all arose by chance and non-planning is to deny human common sense. Pole has become antipole.... The almost unimaginable complexity of the information on the genetic code along with the simplicity of its concept (four letters made of simple chemical molecules), together with its extreme compactness, imply an inconceivably high intelligence behind it. Present-day information theory permits no other interpretation of the facts of the genetic code (1976, pp. 257-259, emp. in orig.).
Isn’t this, after all, exactly what the Bible stated all along? The Hebrew writer (3:4) put it in these words: “Every house is builded by someone, but he that built all things is God.” From the microcosm to the macrocosm, the handiwork of the Creator is evident. The genetic code, and the laws of genetics based upon that code, speak eloquently to the existence of the great Creator-God of the Bible. Things still reproduce “after their kind” just as He designed them “in the beginning.” Man’s genetic laws express little more than what God set into motion from time immemorial.

REFERENCES

Andrews, E.H. (1978), From Nothing to Nature (Hertfordshire, England: Evangelical Press).
Asimov, Isaac (1972), Isaac Asimov’s Biographical Encyclopedia of Science and Technology (New York: Avon).
Bateson, William (1914), Nature, August 20.
Cairns-Smith, A.G. (1985), Seven Clues to the Origin of Life (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press).
Davis, Percival and Dean Kenyon (1989), Of Pandas and People (Dallas, TX: Haughton).
Dawkins, Richard (1986), The Blind Watchmaker (New York: W.W. Norton).
Edey, Maitland and Donald C. Johanson (1989), Blueprints: Solving the Mystery of Evolution (Boston: Little, Brown).
Ford, E.B. (1979), Understanding Genetics (New York: Pica Press).
Gardner, Eldon J. (1972), The History of Biology, (Minneapolis, MN: Burgess Publishing), third edition.
Gribbin, John (1981), Genesis: The Origins of Man and the Universe (New York: Delacorte Press).
Kautz, Darrel (1988), The Origin of Living Things (Milwaukee, WI: Privately published by the author).
Lester, Lane and Raymond Bohlin (1984), The Natural Limits of Biological Change (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan).
Mendel, Gregor (1865), Experiments in Plant Hybridization, reprinted in J.A. Peters, ed. (1959), Classic Papers in Genetics (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall).
Nelson, Byron (1967), After Its Kind (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker).
Suzuki, David and Peter Knudtson (1989), Genethics (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press).
Thaxton, Charles, Walter Bradley, and Roger Olsen (1984), The Mystery of Life’s Origin (New York: Philosophical Library).
Thompson, Bert (1985), Neo-Darwinism: A Look at the Alleged Genetic Mechanism of Evolution [Research Article Series] (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press).
von Mises, Richard (1968), Positivism (New York: 1968).
Watson, J.D. and Francis H. C. Crick (1953), “Molecular Structure of Nucleic Acids: A Structure for Deoxyribose Nucleic Acid,” Nature, 171:737-738, April 25.
Wilder-Smith, A.E. (1976), A Basis for a New Biology (Einigen: Telos International).
Wilder-Smith, A.E. (1987), The Scientific Alternative to Neo-Darwinian Evolutionary Theory (Costa Mesa, CA: TWFT Publishers).

From Mark Copeland... Walking In The Comfort Of The Holy Spirit (Acts 9:31)

                          "THE BOOK OF ACTS"

            Walking In The Comfort Of The Holy Spirit (9:31)

INTRODUCTION

1. In writing about the early church, Luke recorded:

"Then the churches throughout all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria had peace
and were edified. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort
of the Holy Spirit, they were multiplied." - Ac 9:31

2. In our previous lesson, we considered "walking in the fear of the
   Lord"...
   a. The need for having a proper fear of the Lord
   b. The role of the Word of God in producing this fear

3. With this lesson, we shall consider "walking in the comfort of the
   Holy Spirit"...
   a. What it meant to the apostles and the early church
   b. What it likely means for us today

[The phrase "comfort of the Holy Spirit" should naturally remind us of
Jesus' promise regarding...]

I. THE HOLY SPIRIT AS COMFORTER

   A. PROMISED TO THE APOSTLES...
      1. As another Helper (parakletos, comforter) for them - Jn 14:16-18
      2. To teach them all things, reminding them what He said - Jn 14:26
      3. Who Himself will testify of Jesus, together with the apostles -
         Jn 15:26-27
      4. To guide them into all the truth - Jn 16:12-13
      -- We should not presume what was promised the apostles was for all
         Christians

   B. PROMISED TO ALL BELIEVERS...
      1. As something new, to be given after His resurrection - Jn 7:37-39
      2. As a gift to those who obey God in repentance and baptism - Ac 2:38-39; 5:32
      3. When they become sons of God through faith and baptism - Ga 3:26-27; 4:6
      4. As an earnest, a down payment toward their full inheritance - Ep 1:13-14
      -- The Spirit has a significant role in the lives of all Christians

[While the role the Spirit in the lives of the apostles and believers
was varied, He was certainly a source of great comfort to all 
Christians...]

II. THE COMFORT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

   A. AS GIVEN TO THE APOSTLES...
      1. The Spirit came while they were in Jerusalem - Ac 1:4-5; 2:1-4
      2. Empowering them to be witnesses of Jesus' resurrection - Ac 1:8;
         2:32-33
      3. Confirming their word through signs, wonders, miracles, gifts -
         He 2:3-4
      4. Which they passed on to some through laying on of hands - Ac8:14-18; 19:6
      -- Again, we should not presume the apostles' experience was
         normative for all believers

   B. AS GIVEN TO ALL BELIEVERS...
      1. When baptized into one body, the church - 1Co 12:13
      2. Filling hearts with love, hope, and other fruits of the Spirit 
         - Ro 5:5; 15:13; Ga 5:22-23
      3. Though not all possessed the miraculous spiritual gifts then
         - 1Co 12:27-31
      4. Such were temporary, while faith, hope, and love would continue
         - 1Co 13:1-13        
      -- The Spirit did provide a degree of comfort for all believers 
         then

[With an appreciation of the Spirit's role in the life of the early
church, here are thoughts on what it meant then and what it means today
to be...]  

III. WALKING IN THE COMFORT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

   A. FOR THE APOSTLES AND EARLY CHURCH...
      1. The direct guidance of the Spirit in their lives - e.g., Ac8:29; 10:19; 13:2-4; 16:6-7; 20:23; 1Co 12:11; 1Ti 4:1
      2. All related to revealing and confirming God's Word - cf. Mk16:17-20; He 2:3-4
      -- The early church certainly enjoyed walking in the comfort of the
         Spirit as He guided them through the early years of establishing
         the church and revealing all truth to them

   B. FOR CHRISTIANS AND THE CHURCH TODAY...
      1. We have the benefit of God's Word completely revealed and
         confirmed
         a. Scriptures all-sufficient to instruct and guide us - 2Ti 3:16-17
         b. Providing all we need for life and godliness - 2Pe 1:3
         c. Revealed once for all, for which we must contend - Jude 3
      2. We enjoy the comforting presence of the Spirit today through
         the Word
         a. Which is the sword of the Spirit, an instrument used by the
            Spirit - Ep 6:12
         b. A source of great comfort and patience, creating hope - cf.
            Ro 15:4
      3. We enjoy the comforting presence of the Spirit today through
         His indwelling
         a. For our bodies are a temple of the Holy Spirit Who is in us
            - 1Co 6:19
         b. And the Spirit serves as God's instrumental agent to bless us
            - Ep 3:16,20-21
         c. For empowerment, comfort, bearing spiritual fruit - Ro8:12-13; 15:13; Ga 4:6; 5:22-23
      -- With the Spirit's indwelling in conjunction with the Word, we 
         can walk in the comfort of the Holy Spirit!

CONCLUSION

1. Returning to our text (Ac 9:31), we note that the churches
   multiplied when they walked both...
   a. In the fear of the Lord
   b. In the comfort of the Holy Spirit

2. If we desire to experience such growth today, then we also need to...
   a. Develop the fear of the Lord and walk in it
   b. Experience the comfort of the Holy Spirit as we walk in it

Hopefully this lesson and the preceding one may encourage us to do both,
for the glory of God and His Son's church...!

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2012

From Gary... Bible Reading May 27

Bible Reading  

May 27

The World English Bible

 
May 27
Judges 11, 12

Jdg 11:1 Now Jephthah the Gileadite was a mighty man of valor, and he was the son of a prostitute: and Gilead became the father of Jephthah.
Jdg 11:2 Gilead's wife bore him sons; and when his wife's sons grew up, they drove out Jephthah, and said to him, You shall not inherit in our father's house; for you are the son of another woman.
Jdg 11:3 Then Jephthah fled from his brothers, and lived in the land of Tob: and there were gathered vain fellows to Jephthah, and they went out with him.
Jdg 11:4 It happened after a while, that the children of Ammon made war against Israel.
Jdg 11:5 It was so, that when the children of Ammon made war against Israel, the elders of Gilead went to get Jephthah out of the land of Tob;
Jdg 11:6 and they said to Jephthah, Come and be our chief, that we may fight with the children of Ammon.
Jdg 11:7 Jephthah said to the elders of Gilead, Didn't you hate me, and drive me out of my father's house? and why have you come to me now when you are in distress?
Jdg 11:8 The elders of Gilead said to Jephthah, Therefore are we turned again to you now, that you may go with us, and fight with the children of Ammon; and you shall be our head over all the inhabitants of Gilead.
Jdg 11:9 Jephthah said to the elders of Gilead, If you bring me home again to fight with the children of Ammon, and Yahweh deliver them before me, shall I be your head?
Jdg 11:10 The elders of Gilead said to Jephthah, Yahweh shall be witness between us; surely according to your word so will we do.
Jdg 11:11 Then Jephthah went with the elders of Gilead, and the people made him head and chief over them: and Jephthah spoke all his words before Yahweh in Mizpah.
Jdg 11:12 Jephthah sent messengers to the king of the children of Ammon, saying, What have you to do with me, that you have come to me to fight against my land?
Jdg 11:13 The king of the children of Ammon answered to the messengers of Jephthah, Because Israel took away my land, when he came up out of Egypt, from the Arnon even to the Jabbok, and to the Jordan: now therefore restore those lands again peaceably.
Jdg 11:14 Jephthah sent messengers again to the king of the children of Ammon;
Jdg 11:15 and he said to him, Thus says Jephthah: Israel didn't take away the land of Moab, nor the land of the children of Ammon,
Jdg 11:16 but when they came up from Egypt, and Israel went through the wilderness to the Red Sea, and came to Kadesh;
Jdg 11:17 then Israel sent messengers to the king of Edom, saying, Please let me pass through your land; but the king of Edom didn't listen. In the same way, he sent to the king of Moab; but he would not: and Israel abode in Kadesh.
Jdg 11:18 Then they went through the wilderness, and went around the land of Edom, and the land of Moab, and came by the east side of the land of Moab, and they encamped on the other side of the Arnon; but they didn't come within the border of Moab, for the Arnon was the border of Moab.
Jdg 11:19 Israel sent messengers to Sihon king of the Amorites, the king of Heshbon; and Israel said to him, Let us pass, please, through your land to my place.
Jdg 11:20 But Sihon didn't trust Israel to pass through his border; but Sihon gathered all his people together, and encamped in Jahaz, and fought against Israel.
Jdg 11:21 Yahweh, the God of Israel, delivered Sihon and all his people into the hand of Israel, and they struck them: so Israel possessed all the land of the Amorites, the inhabitants of that country.
Jdg 11:22 They possessed all the border of the Amorites, from the Arnon even to the Jabbok, and from the wilderness even to the Jordan.
Jdg 11:23 So now Yahweh, the God of Israel, has dispossessed the Amorites from before his people Israel, and should you possess them?
Jdg 11:24 Won't you possess that which Chemosh your god gives you to possess? So whoever Yahweh our God has dispossessed from before us, them will we possess.
Jdg 11:25 Now are you anything better than Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab? did he ever strive against Israel, or did he ever fight against them?
Jdg 11:26 While Israel lived in Heshbon and its towns, and in Aroer and its towns, and in all the cities that are along by the side of the Arnon, three hundred years; why didn't you recover them within that time?
Jdg 11:27 I therefore have not sinned against you, but you do me wrong to war against me: Yahweh, the Judge, be judge this day between the children of Israel and the children of Ammon.
Jdg 11:28 However the king of the children of Ammon didn't listen to the words of Jephthah which he sent him.
Jdg 11:29 Then the Spirit of Yahweh came on Jephthah, and he passed over Gilead and Manasseh, and passed over Mizpeh of Gilead, and from Mizpeh of Gilead he passed over to the children of Ammon.
Jdg 11:30 Jephthah vowed a vow to Yahweh, and said, If you will indeed deliver the children of Ammon into my hand,
Jdg 11:31 then it shall be, that whatever comes forth from the doors of my house to meet me, when I return in peace from the children of Ammon, it shall be Yahweh's, and I will offer it up for a burnt offering.
Jdg 11:32 So Jephthah passed over to the children of Ammon to fight against them; and Yahweh delivered them into his hand.
Jdg 11:33 He struck them from Aroer until you come to Minnith, even twenty cities, and to Abelcheramim, with a very great slaughter. So the children of Ammon were subdued before the children of Israel.
Jdg 11:34 Jephthah came to Mizpah to his house; and behold, his daughter came out to meet him with tambourines and with dances: and she was his only child; besides her he had neither son nor daughter.
Jdg 11:35 It happened, when he saw her, that he tore his clothes, and said, Alas, my daughter! you have brought me very low, and you are one of those who trouble me; for I have opened my mouth to Yahweh, and I can't go back.
Jdg 11:36 She said to him, My father, you have opened your mouth to Yahweh; do to me according to that which has proceeded out of your mouth, because Yahweh has taken vengeance for you on your enemies, even on the children of Ammon.
Jdg 11:37 She said to her father, Let this thing be done for me: let me alone two months, that I may depart and go down on the mountains, and bewail my virginity, I and my companions.
Jdg 11:38 He said, Go. He sent her away for two months: and she departed, she and her companions, and mourned her virginity on the mountains.
Jdg 11:39 It happened at the end of two months, that she returned to her father, who did with her according to his vow which he had vowed: and she was a virgin. It was a custom in Israel,
Jdg 11:40 that the daughters of Israel went yearly to celebrate the daughter of Jephthah the Gileadite four days in a year.
Jdg 12:1 The men of Ephraim were gathered together, and passed northward; and they said to Jephthah, Why did you pass over to fight against the children of Ammon, and didn't call us to go with you? we will burn your house around you with fire.
Jdg 12:2 Jephthah said to them, I and my people were at great strife with the children of Ammon; and when I called you, you didn't save me out of their hand.
Jdg 12:3 When I saw that you didn't save me, I put my life in my hand, and passed over against the children of Ammon, and Yahweh delivered them into my hand: why then have you come up to me this day, to fight against me?
Jdg 12:4 Then Jephthah gathered together all the men of Gilead, and fought with Ephraim; and the men of Gilead struck Ephraim, because they said, You are fugitives of Ephraim, you Gileadites, in the midst of Ephraim, and in the midst of Manasseh.
Jdg 12:5 The Gileadites took the fords of the Jordan against the Ephraimites. It was so, that when any of the fugitives of Ephraim said, Let me go over, the men of Gilead said to him, Are you an Ephraimite? If he said, No;
Jdg 12:6 then said they to him, Say now Shibboleth; and he said Sibboleth; for he couldn't manage to pronounce it right: then they laid hold on him, and killed him at the fords of the Jordan. There fell at that time of Ephraim forty-two thousand.
Jdg 12:7 Jephthah judged Israel six years. Then died Jephthah the Gileadite, and was buried in one of the cities of Gilead.
Jdg 12:8 After him Ibzan of Bethlehem judged Israel.
Jdg 12:9 He had thirty sons; and thirty daughters he sent abroad, and thirty daughters he brought in from abroad for his sons. He judged Israel seven years.
Jdg 12:10 Ibzan died, and was buried at Bethlehem.
Jdg 12:11 After him Elon the Zebulunite judged Israel; and he judged Israel ten years.
Jdg 12:12 Elon the Zebulunite died, and was buried in Aijalon in the land of Zebulun.
Jdg 12:13 After him Abdon the son of Hillel the Pirathonite judged Israel.
Jdg 12:14 He had forty sons and thirty sons' sons, who rode on seventy donkey colts: and he judged Israel eight years.
Jdg 12:15 Abdon the son of Hillel the Pirathonite died, and was buried in Pirathon in the land of Ephraim, in the hill country of the Amalekites.




From Gary... Well DONE!!!



https://www.youtube.com/embed/_LpMB1OZ53g?feature=player_detailpage%22%20frameborder=%220%22%20allowfullscreen%3E%3C/iframe%3E&autoplay=1


This morning I was pleasantly surprised by a link that Bruce Arnold sent me. Surprised, because of the artistry of this Chinese fireworks display.  I watched it several times, and was still amazed by its excellence- and the highlighted words below, echoed in my mind- again and again!!!!

Mark, Chapter 7 (NASB)
Mar 7:31  Again He went out from the region of Tyre, and came through Sidon to the Sea of Galilee, within the region of Decapolis.
Mar 7:32  They *brought to Him one who was deaf and spoke with difficulty, and they *implored Him to lay His hand on him.
Mar 7:33  Jesus took him aside from the crowd, by himself, and put His fingers into his ears, and after spitting, He touched his tongue with the saliva;
Mar 7:34  and looking up to heaven with a deep sigh, He *said to him, "Ephphatha!" that is, "Be opened!"
Mar 7:35  And his ears were opened, and the impediment of his tongue was removed, and he began speaking plainly.
Mar 7:36  And He gave them orders not to tell anyone; but the more He ordered them, the more widely they continued to proclaim it.
Mar 7:37  They were utterly astonished, saying, "He has done all things well; He makes even the deaf to hear and the mute to speak."

Mark, Chapter 6 (NASB)
Mar 6:47  When it was evening, the boat was in the middle of the sea, and He was alone on the land.
Mar 6:48  Seeing them straining at the oars, for the wind was against them, at about the fourth watch of the night He *came to them, walking on the sea; and He intended to pass by them.
Mar 6:49  But when they saw Him walking on the sea, they supposed that it was a ghost, and cried out;
Mar 6:50  for they all saw Him and were terrified. But immediately He spoke with them and *said to them, "Take courage; it is I, do not be afraid."
Mar 6:51  Then He got into the boat with them, and the wind stopped; and they were utterly astonished,

After two millennia, the fullness of the impact of the the magnificent POWER of Jesus is hard to appreciate. It is one thing to read about the miracles of Jesus and quite another to experience the overwhelming POWER of someone who has done "all things well".  Somehow, as I read and reread the Markan passage, the phrase "utterly astonished" seemed to stand out and a concordance search showed that these two passages were the only occurrences of these two words together. Then the thought came to me- What is truly amazing is that someone who could do things like these two brief episodes listed above describe could love and sacrifice himself for me!!!!  Now, there is something to think about!!!!!! I am left... utterly astonished!!!!