"DISCIPLINES FOR THE DISCIPLE" The Discipline Of Fellowship INTRODUCTION 1. Thus far in our study of spiritual disciplines we have looked at... a. Prayer - especially the value of secret, simple, and steadfast prayer b. Meditation - contemplating God, His works, His words, and things worthy of virtue c. Fasting - a means of humbling one's self before God when joined with sincere prayer d. Singing - which edifies the singer as well as praises God 2. Let's now take a look at the spiritual discipline of fellowship... a. The Greek is koinonia and means "to share in, fellowship with, participation" - CWSD b. The early church continued "steadfastly in...fellowship" - Ac 2:42 3. The idea is that Christians did things together... a. They assembled together for worship b. They spent time together in such activities as prayer, singing,etc. c. They valued the time together as something beneficial [To grow spiritually, we need to exercise ourselves unto godliness (1 Ti 4:7), and fellowship with other Christians is an important spiritual exercise. To appreciate why, consider...] I. THE NEED FOR FELLOWSHIP A. THE PROBLEM OF SELF-CENTEREDNESS... 1. Many Christians do not value their time with other Christians 2. As evidenced by their: a. Sporadic attendance of regular church services b. Failure to visit and support gospel meetings elsewhere c. Lack of interest in home Bible studies d. Unwillingness to extend or accept offers of hospitality 3. The main reason is the problem of self-centeredness 1) Interested only in things pertaining to themselves 2) With little concern for the needs of others -- Self-centeredness is a real problem for many Christians today B. THE REASON FOR SELF-CENTEREDNESS... 1. Many of us lived through the "Me Decade" a. The 1970's, distinguished by self-centered attitudes and self-indulgent behavior b. A time in which there was... 1) A rapid rise of crime against others - rape, theft,assault, murder 2) An increased use of drugs and alcohol as a way of escape 3) A turn to philosophies and religions which involve preoccupation with self: a) "Looking Out For #1" b) Transcendental Meditation (TM) and Yoga 4) An emphasis on consumerism and materialistic gain c. A decade followed by the "Greed Decade" (the 1980's) 2. Cultural trends today have produced many self-centered people a. We live in a highly mobile society 1) New families move in, and others move away 2) Many live great distances from the place of worship and from each other b. Technology designed to bring us closer together, can easily move us apart 1) Phones, email, etc., greatly increase our ability to communicate 2) But we can become stretched out so thin through such technology that we do not develop meaningful relationships -- Such things have made it much easier to become isolated from one another [The problems of self-centeredness and isolation can be greatly reduced through the spiritual discipline of fellowship. Allow me to explain what I mean by describing...] II. THE PRACTICE OF FELLOWSHIP A. THROUGH ASSEMBLIES OF THE CHURCH... 1. We assemble regularly to exhort one another - He 10:24-25 2. This we do through worship services and Bible classes 3. Each time we assemble, we have fellowship with one another 4. A main goal in such assemblies is mutual edification - 1Co 14:26 -- Faithful attendance of all the services of the church contributes greatly to fellowship B. THROUGH BIBLE STUDIES IN THE HOME... 1. Early Christians often met in their homes for Bible study - Ac 5:42; 20:20 2. Such settings allow for personal attention and application of Scripture -- Involvement in home Bible studies provides wonderful opportunity for fellowship C. THROUGH VISITING OTHER BRETHREN... 1. Area churches often have special events like gospel meetings 2. This provides the opportunity for fellowship with brethren in other places - Php 1:5 -- Attending gospel meetings is a great way to experience fellowship [Any occasion to be with brethren to praise God and study His word is an opportunity to practice the discipline of fellowship. To encourage such practices, let me conclude by briefly mentioning...] III. THE BENEFIT OF FELLOWSHIP A. TO FULFILL OUR DUTIES TO ONE ANOTHER... 1. To have a care for one another - 1Co 12:26 2. To teach and admonish one another - Col 3:16 3. To serve one another in love - Ga 5:13 4. To pray for one another - Jm 5:16 5. To restore one another - Jm 5:19-20 6. To be hospitable to one another - 1Pe 4:9 -- When we fellowship frequently, such duties are more likely met B. TO RECEIVE HELP FROM ONE ANOTHER... 1. We need encouragement to remain faithful - He 3:12-14 2. We need comfort in times of tribulation - 2Co 1:3-5; 1Th 5:11 a. Note that comfort comes from two sources: from God and each another b. Thus God comforts both directly and indirectly -- When we fellowship frequently, we are blessed by one another's faith and comfort CONCLUSION 1. As we think of the various "Disciplines For The Disciple"... a. Let us not limit such spiritual exercises that can be done alone b. Let us also value spiritual exercises that we can do together 2. In our desire to exercise ourselves unto godliness... a. Beware of the danger of self-centeredness and isolation b. Be aware of the value of assembling together in our churches and in our homes Through such fellowship with other Christians, along with private prayer, meditation, fasting, and singing, we will grow in grace and godliness as disciples of Christ...
Does Inspiration Imply Dictation?
|by||Eric Lyons, M.Min.|
Sometimes honest and sincere people apparently believe that God dictated every jot, every tittle, and ever word in the Scriptures, thus making the Bible writers little more than mechanical robots that dutifully copied down the Scriptures—verse by verse, as it were. If God had dictated the Bible, however, the style and vocabulary of each book of the Bible would be the same throughout. Yet, a simple reading of the Scriptures proves that the mechanical dictation viewpoint is incorrect. The fact is, the personality and style of each author are evident in every book of the Bible. Paul’s writings are different from Peter’s, and John’s are different from Luke’s. At times, Bible writers even used different words to teach the same story or to give the same commands.
Take, for example, one of the differences between Mark’s gospel and Luke’s gospel. When writing about how difficult it is for a rich man to enter heaven, Mark said it is “easier for a camel to go through a needle’s eye” (Mark 10:25). Mark uses the Greek word rhaphis (needle), which means a sewing needle. On the other hand, when Luke used the same analogy (Luke 18:25), he employed the Greek word belone, which frequently was used when speaking of a surgeon’s needle. The same principle is taught in both texts, yet different words are used. Luke was a doctor (Colossians 4:14), and so he used the kind of needle with which he was most familiar. Likewise, Mark used the term for a seamstress’s needle, most likely because that was the kind of needle he was most accustomed to seeing. Is this a contradiction? No. Two different personalities are reflected in the words, but the idea is the same. Although the concept may be somewhat difficult to understand, inspiration involves the selection of the exact words, yet allows room for the personality of the individual to be reflected in the writing. And while inspiration extends to every word of Scripture, it does not rule out either human personality or human personal interest. Simply put, when the Bible writers claimed inspiration (cf. 2 Peter 1:20-21 and 2 Timothy 3:16-17), they did not have mechanical dictation in mind.
The correct view is to understand that the Bible’s inspiration is verbal and plenary. This means that the Bible writers penned exactly what God wanted them to write, without errors or mistakes, yet with their own personalities evident in their writings. By “verbal,” we mean that every word in the Bible exists because God permitted it (via the direction of the Holy Spirit). King David clearly recognized the validity of this kind of inspiration when he said: “The Spirit of the Lord spoke by me, and His word was on my tongue” (2 Samuel 23:2, emp. added). By “plenary,” we mean that each and every part of the Bible is inspired, without anything being omitted. (“Plenary” means full).
By employing the verbal and plenary view of inspiration, God ensured that the independent Bible writers penned only that which was correct and consistent with His will.
Can Quantum Mechanics Produce a Universe from Nothing?
|by||Jeff Miller, Ph.D.|
According to the First Law of Thermodynamics, nothing in the Universe (i.e., matter or energy) can pop into existence from nothing (see Miller, 2013). All of the scientific evidence points to that conclusion. So, the Universe could not have popped into existence before the alleged “big bang” (an event which we do not endorse). Therefore, God must have created the Universe.
One of the popular rebuttals by the atheistic community is that quantum mechanics could have created the Universe. In 1905, Albert Einstein proposed the idea of mass-energy equivalence, resulting in the famous equation, E = mc2 (1905). We now know that matter can be converted to energy, and vice versa. However, energy and mass are conserved, in keeping with the First Law. In the words of the famous evolutionary astronomer, Robert Jastrow, “[T]he principle of the conservation of matter and energy…states that matter and energy can be neither created nor destroyed. Matter can be converted into energy, and vice versa, but the total amount of all matter and energy in the Universe must remain unchanged forever” (1977, p. 32). The idea of matter-energy conversion led one physicist to postulate, in essence, that the cosmic egg that exploded billions of years ago in the alleged “big bang”—commencing the “creation” of the Universe—could have come into existence as an energy-to-matter conversion.
In 1973, physicist Edward Tryon of the Hunter College of the City University of New York published a paper in the British science journal Nature titled, “Is the Universe a Vacuum Fluctuation?” He proposed the idea that the Universe could be a large scale vacuum energy fluctuation. He said, “In answer to the question of why it happened, I offer the modest proposal that our universe is simply one of those things which happen from time to time” (246:397, emp. added). Does it really? Cosmologist and theoretical physicist Alexander Vilenkin, Director of the Institute of Cosmology at Tufts University, said:
Now, what Tryon was suggesting was that our entire universe, with its vast amount of matter, was a huge quantum fluctuation, which somehow failed to disappear for more than 10 billion years. Everybody thought that was a very funny joke. But Tryon was not joking. He was devastated by the reaction of his colleagues… (2006, p. 184).
Though he was originally scoffed at, Tryon’s theory has gained traction among many prominent evolutionary scientists. After all, if true, according to Vilenkin, “such a creation event would not require a cause” for the Universe (pp. 184-185).
SPECULATION VS. OBSERVATION
The fact is, the idea that such an event could happen is pure speculation and conjecture. No such phenomenon—the conversion from energy to matter of an entire Universe—has ever been remotely observed. It is a desperate attempt to hold to naturalistic presuppositions, in spite of the evidence, when a supernatural option that is in keeping with the evidence is staring us in the face. Evolutionary physicist Victor Stenger said,
[T]he universe is probably the result of a random quantum fluctuation in a spaceless, timeless void.... So what had to happen to start the universe was the formation of an empty bubble of highly curved space-time. How did this bubble form? What caused it? Not everything requires a cause. It could have just happened spontaneously as one of the many linear combinations of universes that has the quantum numbers of the void.... Much is still in the speculative stage, and I must admit that there are yetno empirical or observational tests that can be used to test the idea of an accidental origin (1987, 7:26-30, italics in orig., emp. added.).
No evidence. No scientific observation. Just speculation.
Writing in the Skeptical Inquirer in 1994, Ralph Estling voiced strong disapproval of the idea that the Universe could create itself out of nothing. He wrote:
I do not think that what these cosmologists, these quantum theorists, these universe-makers, are doing is science. I can’t help feeling that universes are notoriously disinclined to spring into being, ready-made, out of nothing, even if Edward Tryon (ah, a name at last!) has written that “our universe is simply one of those things which happen from time to time....” Perhaps, although we have the word of many famous scientists for it, our universe is not simply one of those things that happen from time to time(18:430, parenthetical item in orig., emp. added).
Estling’s comments initiated a wave of controversy and letters to the Skeptical Inquirer, eliciting a response by Estling to his critics. Among other observations, he said, “All things begin with speculation, science not excluded. But if no empirical evidence is eventually forthcoming, or can be forthcoming, all speculation is barren.... There is no evidence, so far, that the entire universe, observable and unobservable, emerged from a state of absolute Nothingness” (1995, 19:69-70, emp. added). Therefore, by naturalists’ own definition of science, such an idea is unscientific. There is no evidence that could prove such a thing. The creationist platform is in keeping with observational science and has positive evidence of a divine Being (e.g., the presence of intelligent design in nature, the existence of objective morality, the existence of a Universe which demands a cause, and the existence of a Book that contains supernatural characteristics). However, unlike the creationist platform, those who believe in Tryon’s theory are holding to a blind faith.
WHENCE CAME ENERGY?
Second, even if such a thing were possible—that energy could be converted to matter in the way that Tryon has suggested—one must ask, “Where did the energy come from?” Alan Guth, professor of physics at M.I.T., wrote in response to Tryon: “In this context, a proposal that the universe was created from empty space is no more fundamental than a proposal that the universe was spawned by a piece of rubber. It might be true, but one would still want to ask where the piece of rubber came from” (1997, p. 273, emp. added).
Energy could not have popped into existence without violating the First Law of Thermodynamics. So in reality, when scientists argue that quantum mechanics creates something from nothing, they do not really mean “nothing.” The problem of how everything got here is still present. The matter generated in quantum theory is from a vacuum that is not void. Philip Yam of Scientific American wrote, “Energy in the vacuum, though, is very much real. According to modern physics, a vacuum isn’t a pocket of nothingness. It churns with unseen activity even at absolute zero, the temperature defined as the point at which all molecular motion ceases” (1997, p. 82, emp. added). Prominent humanist mathematician and science writer, Martin Gardner, wrote: “It is fashionable now to conjecture that the big bang was caused by a random quantum fluctuation in a vacuum devoid of space and time. But of course such a vacuum is a far cry from nothing” (2000, p. 303, emp. added). Amanda Gefter, writing in New Scientist, said, “Quantum mechanics tells us that the vacuum of space is not empty; instead, it crackles with energy” (2010, p. 29, emp. added). Physicist Richard Morris wrote:
In modern physics, there is no such thing as “nothing.” Even in a perfect vacuum, pairs of virtual particles are constantly being created [i.e., by briefly “borrowing” energy already in existence—JM] and destroyed. The existence of these particles is no mathematical fiction. Though they cannot be directly observed, the effects they create are quite real. The assumption that they exist leads to predictions that have been confirmed by experiment to a high degree of accuracy (Morris, 1990, p. 25, emp. added).
Astrophysicist Rocky Kolb, chairman of the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics at the University of Chicago, wrote: “[A] region of seemingly empty space is not really empty, but is a seething froth in which every sort of fundamental particle pops in and out of empty space before annihilating with its antiparticle and disappearing” (1998, 26:43, emp. added). Estling continued his extensive observations in response to his critics (mentioned above), saying:
Quantum cosmologists insist both on this absolute Nothingness and on endowing it with various qualities and characteristics: this particular Nothingness possesses virtual quanta seething in a false vacuum. Quanta, virtual or actual, false or true, are not Nothing, they are definitely Something, although we may argue over what exactly. For one thing, quanta are entities having energy, a vacuum has energy and moreover, extension, i.e., it is something into which other things, such as universes, can be put, i.e., we cannot have our absolute Nothingness and eat it too. If we have quanta and a vacuum as given, we in fact have a pre-existent state of existence that either pre-existed timelessly or brought itself into existence from absolute Nothingness (no quanta, no vacuum, no pre-existing initial conditions) at some precise moment in time; it creates this time, along with the space, matter, and energy, which we call the universe.... I’ve had correspondence with Paul Davies [eminent atheistic theoretical physicist, cosmologist, and astrobiologist of Arizona State University, who advocates the supposition that the Universe created itself from nothing—JM] on cosmological theory, in the course of which, I asked him what he meant by “Nothing.” He wrote back that he had asked Alexander Vilenkin what he meant by it and that Vilenkin had replied, “By Nothing I mean Nothing,” which seemed pretty straightforward at the time, but these quantum cosmologists go on from there to tell us what their particular breed of Nothing consists of. I pointed this out to Davies, who replied that these things are very complicated. I’m willing to admit the truth of that statement, but I think it does not solve the problem (1995, 19:69-70, emp. added).
No wonder Jonathan Sarfati said:
Some physicists assert that quantum mechanics…can produce something from nothing…. But this is a gross misapplication of quantum mechanics. Quantum mechanics never produces something out of nothing…. Theories that the Universe is a quantum fluctuation must presuppose that there was something to fluctuate—their “quantum vacuum” is a lot of matter-antimatter potential—not “nothing” (1998, 12:21, emp. added).
Vilenkin, while explaining the problems inherent in Tryon’s work, said:
A more fundamental problem is that Tryon’s scenario does not really explain the origin of the universe. A quantum fluctuation of the vacuum assumes that there was a vacuum of some pre-existing space. And we now know that “vacuum” is very different from “nothing.” Vacuum, or empty space, has energy and tension, it can bend and warp, so it is unquestionably something (2006, p. 185, ital. in orig., emp. added).
He went on to propose that quantum tunneling could be the answer to the creation of the Universe out of nothing. However, quantum tunneling starts with something and ends with something as well. Particles that can jump or tunnel through barriers still must initially exist to do so. Bottom line: according to renowned atheist, theoretical physicist, and cosmologist of Cambridge University, Stephen Hawking, in order to create a Universe, “you need just three ingredients”: matter, energy, and space (“Curiosity…,” 2011). These three ingredients must exist in order to create a Universe, according to Hawking. So, the problem remains. Where did the ingredients for the Universe soup come from? There must be an ultimate Cause of the Universe.
NON-EXISTENT QUANTUM LAW-MAKER?
Third, even if one were to irrationally accept the premise that quantum theory allows for the possibility that Universes could pop into existence, in the words of astrophysicist Marcus Chown:
If the universe owes its origins to quantum theory, then quantum theory must have existed before the universe. So the next question is surely: where did the laws of quantum theory come from? “We do not know,” admits Vilenkin. “I consider that an entirely different question.” When it comes to the beginning of the universe, in many ways we’re still at the beginning (2012, p. 35, emp. added).
Martin Gardner said,
Imagine that physicists finally discover all the basic waves and their particles, and all the basic laws, and unite everything in one equation. We can then ask, “Why that equation?” It is fashionable now to conjecture that the big bang was caused by a random quantum fluctuation in a vacuum devoid of space and time. But of course such a vacuum is a far cry from nothing. There had to be quantum laws to fluctuate. And why are there quantum laws?... There is no escape from the superultimate questions: Why is there something rather than nothing, and why is the something structured the way it is?(2000, p. 303, emp. added).
In “Curiosity: Did God Create the Universe?” Stephen Hawking boldly claimed that everything in the Universe can be accounted for through atheistic evolution without the need of God. This is untrue, as we have discussed elsewhere (e.g., Miller, 2011), but it seems that Hawking does not even believe that assertion himself. He asked the question, “Did God create the quantum laws that allowed the Big Bang to occur? In a nutshell, did we need a god to set it all up so that the Big Bang could bang?” (“Curiosity…,” emp. added). He then proceeded to offer no answer to the question. In his critique of Hawking, Paul Davies highlighted this very fact, saying, “You need to know where those laws come from. That’s where the mystery lies—the laws” (“The Creation Question…,” 2011). Quantum mechanics, with its governing laws, simply do not leave room for the spontaneous generation of Universes.
But what if quantum theory could allow for spontaneous generation at the quantum level? What if the First Law of Thermodynamics does not apply at the unobservable molecular world of quantum mechanics but only to the macroscopic world that we can actually see? Even if that were the case (and there is no conclusive evidence to support the contention that there are any exceptionswhatsoever to the First Law of Thermodynamics—see Miller, 2010a), according to the Big Bang model, the quantum level cosmic egg eventually became macroscopic through expansion or inflation. Such an event would have been the equivalent of a breach of the First Law, even under such a speculative definition.
But isn’t it true that “one usually assumes that the current laws of physics did not apply” at the beginning (Linde, 1994)? Assumptions must be reasonable. What evidence could be used to back such a grandiose assumption? And again, who would have written the laws at the moment they became viable? And further, if the laws of physics broke down at the beginning, one cannot use quantum law to bring about matter, which is precisely what the quantum fluctuation theory attempts to do. [NOTE: See Miller, 2010b for more on this contention.]
Can quantum mechanics create Universes from nothing? No. Quantum particle generation requires pre-existing energy—a far cry from nothing. Could quantum mechanics spontaneously create Universes from pre-existing (i.e., created by God) energy? There is no scientific evidence to support such a proposition. So it is speculation and conjecture—wishful thinking on par with postulating that aliens brought life to Earth (which some irrationally believe). Tiny quantum particles fluctuating—bouncing around—is one thing. The creation of the entire Universe through a quantum fluctuation? That’s another.
One who wishes to avoid acknowledging the existence of God should be expected to do almost anything to deny it. Reason will be thrown aside, and acceptance of far-fetched theories—theories that are so speculative that they belong in the fiction section of the library along with the The Wizard of Oz—will be latched onto as fact. The Bible gives the rationale for this irrational behavior by explaining that such a person has “itching ears” (2 Timothy 4:3). Such a person will “heap up…teachers” who will tell him what he wants to hear, who sound smart, and therefore, will make him feel good about the blatantly irrational position that he holds (vs. 3). He will turn his “ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables” (vs. 4). Thus, “professing themselves to be wise, they became fools” (Romans 1:22). The quantum fluctuation idea is simply another example of this same mentality, and the admonition to Christians is the same as it was in the first century: “But you be watchful in all things” (vs. 5). “Guard what was committed to your trust, avoiding the profane and idle babblings and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge” (1 Timothy 6:20).
Chown, Marcus (2012), “In the Beginning,” New Scientist, 216:33-35, December 1.
“The Creation Question: A Curiosity Conversation” (2011), Discovery Channel, August 7.
“Curiosity: Did God Create the Universe?” (2011), Discovery Channel, August 7.
Einstein, Albert (1905), “Does the Inertia of a Body Depend Upon Its Energy-Content?” Annals of Physics, 18:639-643, September.
Estling, Ralph (1994), “The Scalp-Tinglin’, Mind-Blowin’, Eye-Poppin’, Heart-Wrenchin’, Stomach-Churnin’, Foot-Stumpin’, Great Big Doodley Science Show!!!,” Skeptical Inquirer, 18:428-430, Summer.
Estling, Ralph (1995), “Letter to the Editor,” Skeptical Inquirer, 19:69-70, January/February.
Gardner, Martin (2000), Did Adam and Eve Have Navels? (New York: W.W. Norton).
Gefter, Amanda (2010), “Touching the Multiverse,” New Scientist, 205:28-31, March 6.
Guth, Alan (1997), The Inflationary Universe (New York: Perseus Books).
Jastrow, Robert (1977), Until the Sun Dies (New York: W.W. Norton).
Kolb, Rocky (1998), “Planting Primordial Seeds,” Astronomy, 26:42-43.
Linde, Andrei (1994), “The Self-Reproducing Inflationary Universe,” Scientific American, 271:48, November.
Miller, Jeff (2010a), “Couldn’t There Have Been Exceptions to the Laws of Science?” Apologetics Press, http://www.apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=12&article=3713.
Miller, Jeff (2010b), “Did the Laws of Science Apply in the Beginning?” Apologetics Press,http://www.apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=12&article=3710.
Miller, Jeff (2011), “A Review of Discovery Channel’s ‘Curiosity: Did God Create the Universe?’”Reason & Revelation, 31:98-107, http://www.apologeticspress.org/apPubPage.aspx?pub=1&issue=1004&article=1687.
Miller, Jeff (2013), “Evolution and the Laws of Science: The Laws of Thermodynamics,” Apologetics Press, http://www.apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=9&article= 2786.
Morris, Richard (1990), The Edges of Science (New York: Prentice Hall).
Sarfati, Jonathan D. (1998), “If God Created the Universe, Then Who Created God?,” Creation Ex Nihilo Technical Journal, 12:21.
Stenger, Victor J. (1987), “Was the Universe Created?,” Free Inquiry, 7:26-30, Summer.
Tryon, Edward P. (1973), “Is the Universe a Vacuum Fluctuation?,” Nature, 246:396-397, December 14.
Vilenkin, Alex (2006), Many Worlds in One: The Search for Other Universes (New York: Hill and Wang).
Yam, Philip (1997), “Exploiting Zero-Point Energy,” Scientific American, 277:82-85.
All the Smart People
|by||Kyle Butt, M.A.|
Even though any person who has ever dealt with logic understands that a groundless appeal to authority or “those on the bandwagon” carries no legitimate weight; it does not change the fact that at the popular level, many individuals have been persuaded to believe false ideas based on the argument that “the authorities” believe a certain way, or that “most people” believe something. Such is the case with the hypothesis of evolution. Richard Dawkins once stated: “It is absolutely safe to say that if you meet somebody who claims not to believe in evolution, that person is ignorant, stupid, or insane (or wicked, but I’d rather not consider that)” (1989, p. 7). The implied argument in Dawkins’ statement is that smart, sane, knowledgeable, and noble people believe in evolution. In fact, one of the most powerful arguments used by evolutionists to convince the populace of evolution’s alleged truthfulness is the false idea that “all smart people believe in evolution,” or that “all scientists” believe in evolution.
To set the record straight, it should be noted that such a notion is false in every sense of the word. From ages past to the present, literally thousands of brilliant minds have recognized the falsity of organic evolution, and have embraced the truth that this Universe was created by a divine Designer. The following litany is but a scratch on the surface of names that would fall into this category.
|SCIENTIST||CONTRIBUTIONS TO SCIENCE|
|Lord William Kelvin||Absolute temperature scale; study of thermodynamics; transatlantic cable|
|Sir Isaac Newton||Calculus; reflecting telescope; dynamics; law of gravity|
|Louis Pasteur||Bacteriology; law of biogenesis; vaccination and immunization|
|Joseph Lister||Antiseptic surgery|
|Michael Faraday||Electric generator|
|Johannes Kepler||Celestial mechanics|
|Wernher von Braun||Space program; NASA (for list see Huse, 1997, pp. 159,184-185)|
Added to this list could be hundreds of names of contemporary scientists such as Dr. John Baumgardner, whose theory on plate tectonics was reported in Nature. Dr. Raymond Jones was described as one of the top scientists in Australia. Dr. Brian Stone has received numerous awards in his engineering field. Raymond Damadian invented MRI [magnetic resonance imaging] (Sarfati, 1999, pp. 26-27). Dr. A.E. Wilder-Smith held three earned doctorates from three European universities. Dr. Melvin A. Cook won the 1968 E.G. Murphee Award in Industrial and Engineering Chemistry from the American Chemical Society. Dmitri Kouznetsov, M.D, Ph.D., D.Sc., won the Komsomol Lenin Prize in 1983, distinguishing himself as one of the two most promising scientists in Russia at the time (Gish, 1995, pp. 13-14).
While creationists may be in the minority when it comes to the sciences, they certainly are leaving a most impressive mark. With names such as Kepler, Newton, and Pasteur on the side of creation, it is a marvel that anyone would suggest that “all smart people” believe in evolution. On the contrary, a host of credentialed thinkers, past and present, have held firmly to, and continue to believe in, the statement: “In the beginning God….” (For a more exhaustive list, see Gish, pp. 13-15 and Huse, pp. 157-162.)
This discussion is in no way intended to sway anyone to believe in creation based on the views held by the “smart people” mentioned above. It is intended to report the truth that many intelligent thinkers have found “holes” in the hypothesis of evolution. Truly smart people do away with any faulty appeals to authority, and simply look at the evidence.
Dawkins, Richard (1989), “Book Review” (of Donald Johanson and Maitland Edey’s Blueprint), The New York Times, section 7, p. 34. April 9.
Gish, Duane T. (1995), Evolution: The Fossils Still Say No! (El Cajon, CA: Institute for Creation Research).
Huse, Scott M. (1997), The Collapse of Evolution (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker), third edition.
Sarfati, Jonathan (1999), Refuting Evolution (Green Forest, AR: Master Books).
Another Significant Sign of Moral Decline
|by||Dave Miller, Ph.D.|
The government organization that monitors health issues in America, the National Center for Health Statistics, has reported the latest dismal stats on the state of marriage (“Almost 40%...,” 2006). Whereas in 1950 the average age for people to marry was 23 for the man and 20 for the woman, now the ages are 27 and 25 respectfully. It is true that some people are now waiting longer to get married. But in many cases, they have chosen to live together without getting married. In 1970, the number of unmarried-couple households with children was under 200,000. That figure now has soared to 1.7 million and climbing.
Most alarming, out-of-wedlock births in the United States have climbed to an all-time high. Indeed, 37% of the babies born last year—nearly 4 in 10—were born to unmarried parents. Such a figure is seismic in its implications—not to mention absolutely shameful and disgraceful (Proverbs 14:34). If we were to contemplate that 10% of the babies born in America were without married parents, that figure would be tragic. Or if we were to consider that 20%, one fifth, of all babies, or even 25%, one fourth, of all babies were without married parents, our forefathers would not believe it. But no, the figure is now at nearly 40%! Forty percent of the children in this country are born to people who are not married to each other! And that figure is just for one year; the stat has been nearly that high each year for quite some time. No doubt, much of the population of our nation is so morally and spiritually desensitized that they do not consider such stats to be a problem: “what’s the big deal?”
The “big deal” is that the God of the Universe established the home at the beginning of the Creation. The home as God created it consists of a man and woman married to each other for life (Genesis 2:24). Hence, by divine design, the very fabric of human civilization, the basis of any nation, is the home. In order for society to function in a civil fashion, its citizens must be raised in stable homes consisting of both scriptural parents. The home is the incubator for developing mature, unselfish people. As the number of such homes decline, society itself will destabilize and unravel. Lack of concern for others manifests itself in cold, cruel apathy, and treating others discourteously and rudely. Crime rates inevitably will increase and prison populations will expand. The list of aberrant behaviors goes on and on.
Few Americans are aware that the Founders of the Republic warned against neglect of the Christian principles of morality—including those pertaining to marriage—principles they deemed indispensable to national survival. Consider one sampling from the pen of one acclaimed as a “Father of American Jurisprudence,” Joseph Story, who was appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court by President James Madison where he served from 1811-1845:
The promulgation of the great doctrines of religion, the being, and attributes, and providence of one Almighty God; the responsibility to him for all our actions, founded upon moral freedom and accountability; a future state of rewards and punishments; the cultivation of all the personal, social, and benevolent virtues;—these never can be a matter of indifference in any well ordered community. It is, indeed, difficult to conceive, how any civilized society can well exist without them. And at all events, it is impossible for those, who believe in the truth of Christianity, as a divine revelation, to doubt, that it is the especial duty of government to foster, and encourage it among all the citizens and subjects (III.44.1865:722-723, emp. added).Indeed, in a republic, there would seem to be a peculiar propriety in viewing the Christian religion, as the great basis, on which it must rest for its support and permanence, if it be, what it has ever been deemed by its truest friends to be, the religion of liberty (III.44.1867:724-725, emp. added).
Indeed, since Bible teaching on marriage and the family is being ignored by a sizeable percentage of Americans as they reject the responsibility to God for their actions, how can America as a civilized society continue to exist? By rejecting the moral principles of Christianity, how can the Republic be perpetuated? According to those who founded this nation, it cannot.
But the solution to our nation’s ills is available:
- He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God? (Micah 6:8).
- Therefore know this day, and consider it in your heart, that the LORD Himself is God in heaven above and on the earth beneath; there is no other. You shall therefore keep His statutes and His commandments...that it may go well with you and with your children after you, and that you may prolong your days in the land (Deuteronomy 4:39-40).
- See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil, in that I command you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments, His statutes, and His judgments, that you may live and multiply; and the LORD your God will bless you in the land which you go to possess. But if your heart turns away so that you do not hear, and are drawn away, and worship other gods and serve them, I announce to you today that you shall surely perish; you shall not prolong your days in the land.... I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; that you may love the LORD your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days (Deuteronomy 30:15-20).
- And now...what does the LORD your God require of you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments of the LORD and His statutes which I command you today for your good? (Deuteronomy 10:12-13).
If America does not wake up and recover its moral sanity, only one possible fate awaits the nation: “The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God” (Psalm 9:17).
“Almost 40% of Children Born in the U.S. in 2005 Were Out of Wedlock, an All-Time High” (2006),Associated Press, November 21, [On-line], URL:http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,231183,00.html.
Story, Joseph (1833), Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States, Boston, MA: Hilliard, Gray, & Co.), [On-line], URL: http://www.constitution.org/js/js_344.htm.
IF IT HAD NOT BEEN GOD...
1. If it had not been the LORD who was on our side,
Let Israel now say—
2 If it had not been the LORD who was on our side, when men rose up against us:
2 If it had not been the LORD who was on our side, when men rose up against us:
3 Then they would have swallowed us alive, when their wrath was kindled against us.
4 Then the waters would have overwhelmed us, the stream would have gone over our soul:5 Then the swollen waters would have gone over our soul.
6 Blessed be the LORD, who has not given us as a prey to their
7 Our soul has escaped as a bird from the snare of the fowlers: the snare is broken, and we have escaped.
8 Our help is in the name of the LORD, who made heaven and earth.
Some of us, praise God, have never felt we were on the brink of disaster, never teetered on the edge of the abyss, never felt the loss was too great to bear, never lost sight of comforting landmarks as we sailed beyond familiar waters.
But many of us have!
We had heard this psalm of David read to us, may even have read it ourselves many times and thought how fine it was. We may even have heard a good sermon on it [or preached one] and thought it assuring so we tucked it away in our hearts as something fine to tell others who were in trouble.
Then imminent disaster stared us in the face, calamity smashed through the doors of our happy homes and obliterated all sense of comfort and all our good answers, handy quips, fine verses and great sermons vanished like vapor and we knew we were doomed.
But God was magnificent!
We survived. Were saved, and now we were stronger and braver having come through the horror.
Psalm 124 was a familiar song from a psalmist, a lovely-sounding text but now it was a throbbing personal experience. It was no longer just David’s song; it was ours.
We knew that such a deliverance was the work of God. Now we read the text with new eyes and tell our families and friends and fellow-strugglers, “Were it not that the Lord was on my side I would have been swallowed up alive. The swollen waters would have gone over my soul.”
How God worked that deliverance is a complex matter though it isn’t vague or obscure. It’s simply too rich, too multi-faceted, too deep for us to follow all the ways he carries out his acts of rescue.
Friends already in place, truths already stored away in the heart, sights and sounds of brave people around us, bearing their awful losses in a gallant spirit, prayers offered on our behalf—these and so many other things are the already-in-place instruments of God who delivers us.
But that’s the crucial issue for this moment—it is God who delivers us through these lovely realities. We don’t thank the antibiotics or the EKG machine of the surgeon’s scalpel; we thank the people who produce and use such things to bring us health.
In the end it's about persons and in the end it's a Person we turn to and applaud and thank for his gracious power when we are delivered.
In the end it's about persons and in the end it's a Person we turn to and applaud and thank for his gracious power when we are delivered.
For believing people, prayers may well be for deliverance from social, economic, family and other calamities—that’s no surprise, believers are as human as any other humans. When they’re hurt do they not groan, when we cut them do they not bleed, when they’re thirsty do they not need to drink?
But down below their felt need for these basic human necessities there's the desire to stay on their feet in the matter of faith.
Some years back when asked what their greatest fear was when first going into actual combat a great number of soldiers agreed that the overriding fear was not about dying but about failing to live up to expectations, fear of shaming themselves under pressure. That’s no surprise either.
What is true of soldiers is true of those who name the name of the Lord. Their social or physical agony matters but for them the fundamental thing is to stay on their feet as soldiers and servants of God. Understandably, under the burden of pain or loss or bewilderment there is the appeal for God to remove the burden but it is to God the believer turns for help and it is to God they bring their tears and agony if the calamity wrecks all around them.
Standing, perhaps stunned, in the middle of the debris of a life in social ruins they maintain their faith in God and that is a magnificent deliverance. It isn’t just things or relationships—however precious they are—that are under attack, it's their souls, their personhood, their very being.
Then with hearts broken, chests heaving and eyes streaming they realize they're still on their feet. They might once have thought they’d fold or fall apart under disaster, they might have thought that calamity would obliterate their trust in God but now they know better.
But they know this also:
If it had not been the LORD who was on our side,
Let Israel now say—2 If it had not been the LORD who was on our side,
when men rose up against us: 3 Then they would have swallowed us alive,
When their wrath was kindled against us: 4 Then the waters would have overwhelmed us,the stream would have gone over our soul: 5 Then the swollen waters would have gone over our soul. 6 Blessed be the LORD, who has not given us as a prey to their teeth. 7 Our soul has escaped as a bird from the snare of the fowlers: the snare is broken, and we have escaped. 8 Our help is in the name of the LORD, who made heaven and earth.
©2004 Jim McGuiggan. All materials are free to be copied and used as long as money is not being made.
The World English Bible
Ruth 3, 4
Rth 3:1 Naomi her mother-in-law said to her, My daughter, shall I not seek rest for you, that it may be well with you?
Rth 3:2 Now isn't Boaz our kinsman, with whose maidens you were? Behold, he winnows barley tonight in the threshing floor.
Rth 3:3 Wash yourself therefore, and anoint yourself, and put your clothing on yourself, and go down to the threshing floor, but don't make yourself known to the man, until he has finished eating and drinking.
Rth 3:4 It shall be, when he lies down, that you shall mark the place where he shall lie, and you shall go in, and uncover his feet, and lay down; then he will tell you what you shall do.
Rth 3:5 She said to her, All that you say I will do.
Rth 3:6 She went down to the threshing floor, and did according to all that her mother-in-law told her.
Rth 3:7 When Boaz had eaten and drunk, and his heart was merry, he went to lie down at the end of the heap of grain: and she came softly, and uncovered his feet, and laid her down.
Rth 3:8 It happened at midnight, that the man was afraid, and turned himself; and behold, a woman lay at his feet.
Rth 3:9 He said, Who are you? She answered, I am Ruth your handmaid: spread therefore your skirt over your handmaid; for you are a near kinsman.
Rth 3:10 He said, Blessed are you by Yahweh, my daughter: you have shown more kindness in the latter end than at the beginning, inasmuch as you didn't follow young men, whether poor or rich.
Rth 3:11 Now, my daughter, don't be afraid; I will do to you all that you say; for all the city of my people does know that you are a worthy woman.
Rth 3:12 Now it is true that I am a near kinsman; however there is a kinsman nearer than I.
Rth 3:13 Stay this night, and it shall be in the morning, that if he will perform for you the part of a kinsman, well; let him do the kinsman's part: but if he will not do the part of a kinsman for you, then will I do the part of a kinsman for you, as Yahweh lives: lie down until the morning.
Rth 3:14 She lay at his feet until the morning. She rose up before one could discern another. For he said, Let it not be known that the woman came to the threshing floor.
Rth 3:15 He said, Bring the mantle that is on you, and hold it; and she held it; and he measured six measures of barley, and laid it on her: and he went into the city.
Rth 3:16 When she came to her mother-in-law, she said, Who are you, my daughter? She told her all that the man had done to her.
Rth 3:17 She said, These six measures of barley gave he me; for he said, "Don't go empty to your mother-in-law."
Rth 3:18 Then she said, "Sit still, my daughter, until you know how the matter will fall; for the man will not rest, until he has finished the thing this day."
Rth 4:1 Now Boaz went up to the gate, and sat him down there: and behold, the near kinsman of whom Boaz spoke came by; to whom he said, Ho, such a one! turn aside, sit down here. He turned aside, and sat down.
Rth 4:2 He took ten men of the elders of the city, and said, Sit down here. They sat down.
Rth 4:3 He said to the near kinsman, Naomi, who has come back out of the country of Moab, is selling the parcel of land, which was our brother Elimelech's:
Rth 4:4 I thought to disclose it to you, saying, Buy it before those who sit here, and before the elders of my people. If you will redeem it, redeem it: but if you will not redeem it, then tell me, that I may know; for there is none to redeem it besides you; and I am after you. He said, I will redeem it.
Rth 4:5 Then said Boaz, On the day you buy the field from the hand of Naomi, you must buy it also from Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of the dead, to raise up the name of the dead on his inheritance.
Rth 4:6 The near kinsman said, I can't redeem it for myself, lest I mar my own inheritance: take my right of redemption on you; for I can't redeem it.
Rth 4:7 Now this was the custom in former time in Israel concerning redeeming and concerning exchanging, to confirm all things: a man drew off his shoe, and gave it to his neighbor; and this was the manner of attestation in Israel.
Rth 4:8 So the near kinsman said to Boaz, Buy it for yourself. He drew off his shoe.
Rth 4:9 Boaz said to the elders, and to all the people, You are witnesses this day, that I have bought all that was Elimelech's, and all that was Chilion's and Mahlon's, of the hand of Naomi.
Rth 4:10 Moreover Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of Mahlon, have I purchased to be my wife, to raise up the name of the dead on his inheritance, that the name of the dead not be cut off from among his brothers, and from the gate of his place: you are witnesses this day.
Rth 4:11 All the people who were in the gate, and the elders, said, We are witnesses. Yahweh make the woman who has come into your house like Rachel and like Leah, which two built the house of Israel: and treat you worthily in Ephrathah, and be famous in Bethlehem:
Rth 4:12 and let your house be like the house of Perez, whom Tamar bore to Judah, of the seed which Yahweh shall give you of this young woman.
Rth 4:13 So Boaz took Ruth, and she became his wife; and he went in to her, and Yahweh gave her conception, and she bore a son.
Rth 4:14 The women said to Naomi, Blessed be Yahweh, who has not left you this day without a near kinsman; and let his name be famous in Israel.
Rth 4:15 He shall be to you a restorer of life, and sustain you in your old age, for your daughter-in-law, who loves you, who is better to you than seven sons, has borne him.
Rth 4:16 Naomi took the child, and laid it in her bosom, and became nurse to it.
Rth 4:17 The women her neighbors gave it a name, saying, There is a son born to Naomi; and they named him Obed: he is the father of Jesse, the father of David.
Rth 4:18 Now this is the history of the generations of Perez: Perez became the father of Hezron,
Rth 4:19 and Hezron became the father of Ram, and Ram became the father of Amminadab,
Rth 4:20 and Amminadab became the father of Nahshon, and Nahshon became the father of Salmon,
Rth 4:21 and Salmon became the father of Boaz, and Boaz became the father of Obed,
Rth 4:22 and Obed became the father of Jesse, and Jesse became the father of David.
Jun. 3, 4
Joh 10:1 "Most certainly, I tell you, one who doesn't enter by the door into the sheep fold, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.
Joh 10:2 But one who enters in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.
Joh 10:3 The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name, and leads them out.
Joh 10:4 Whenever he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.
Joh 10:5 They will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him; for they don't know the voice of strangers."
Joh 10:6 Jesus spoke this parable to them, but they didn't understand what he was telling them.
Joh 10:7 Jesus therefore said to them again, "Most certainly, I tell you, I am the sheep's door.
Joh 10:8 All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep didn't listen to them.
Joh 10:9 I am the door. If anyone enters in by me, he will be saved, and will go in and go out, and will find pasture.
Joh 10:10 The thief only comes to steal, kill, and destroy. I came that they may have life, and may have it abundantly.
Joh 10:11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
Joh 10:12 He who is a hired hand, and not a shepherd, who doesn't own the sheep, sees the wolf coming, leaves the sheep, and flees. The wolf snatches the sheep, and scatters them.
Joh 10:13 The hired hand flees because he is a hired hand, and doesn't care for the sheep.
Joh 10:14 I am the good shepherd. I know my own, and I'm known by my own;
Joh 10:15 even as the Father knows me, and I know the Father. I lay down my life for the sheep.
Joh 10:16 I have other sheep, which are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will hear my voice. They will become one flock with one shepherd.
Joh 10:17 Therefore the Father loves me, because I lay down my life, that I may take it again.
Joh 10:18 No one takes it away from me, but I lay it down by myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. I received this commandment from my Father."
Joh 10:19 Therefore a division arose again among the Jews because of these words.
Joh 10:20 Many of them said, "He has a demon, and is insane! Why do you listen to him?"
Joh 10:21 Others said, "These are not the sayings of one possessed by a demon. It isn't possible for a demon to open the eyes of the blind, is it?"
Joh 10:22 It was the Feast of the Dedication at Jerusalem.
Joh 10:23 It was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple, in Solomon's porch.
Joh 10:24 The Jews therefore came around him and said to him, "How long will you hold us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly."
Joh 10:25 Jesus answered them, "I told you, and you don't believe. The works that I do in my Father's name, these testify about me.
Joh 10:26 But you don't believe, because you are not of my sheep, as I told you.
Joh 10:27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.
Joh 10:28 I give eternal life to them. They will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.
Joh 10:29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all. No one is able to snatch them out of my Father's hand.
Joh 10:30 I and the Father are one."
Joh 10:31 Therefore Jews took up stones again to stone him.
Joh 10:32 Jesus answered them, "I have shown you many good works from my Father. For which of those works do you stone me?"
Joh 10:33 The Jews answered him, "We don't stone you for a good work, but for blasphemy: because you, being a man, make yourself God."
Joh 10:34 Jesus answered them, "Isn't it written in your law, 'I said, you are gods?'
Joh 10:35 If he called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture can't be broken),
Joh 10:36 do you say of him whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, 'You blaspheme,' because I said, 'I am the Son of God?'
Joh 10:37 If I don't do the works of my Father, don't believe me.
Joh 10:38 But if I do them, though you don't believe me, believe the works; that you may know and believe that the Father is in me, and I in the Father."
Joh 10:39 They sought again to seize him, and he went out of their hand.
Joh 10:40 He went away again beyond the Jordan into the place where John was baptizing at first, and there he stayed.
Joh 10:41 Many came to him. They said, "John indeed did no sign, but everything that John said about this man is true."
Joh 10:42 Many believed in him there.