8/28/15

From Mark Copeland... "GIVE ME THE BIBLE" How I Read The Bible




                          "GIVE ME THE BIBLE"

                          How I Read The Bible

INTRODUCTION

1. In this series ("Give Me The Bible"), thus far we have covered...
   a. The Problem Of Biblical Illiteracy  d. Why I Love The Bible
   b. Why I Read The Bible                e. Why I Obey The Bible
   c. Why I Believe The Bible             f. Why I Study The Old Testament

2. In the final two lessons, I want to share thoughts related to...
   a. How I Read The Bible
   b. How I Study The Bible

3. For many years I have engaged in daily Bible reading...
   a. Most years, reading through the Bible entirely
   b. Every time I find reading the Bible a pleasurable and beneficial
      experience

[You might say that I have developed the habit of daily Bible reading.
I'll go further and say that I am positively addicted!  How does one
read the Bible with such enjoyment?  First, it helps to remember...]

I. WE NEED TO CREATE A GOOD HABIT

   A. THE ROLE OF HABITS...
      1. We either have good habits or bad habits
      2. If we have not developed the good habit of daily Bible
         reading...
      3. Then we have developed the bad habit of NOT reading the Bible daily!

   B. THE REALITY OF TIME...
      1. As illustrated by James, our time on earth is brief - Jm 4:14
      2. If we have not developed the good habit of daily Bible reading...
      3. ...our time on this earth will one day catch up with us
         a. We will have spent our lives on this earth without utilizing
            the benefits provided by daily reading of God's Word
         b. Many will have to face God having never read through His
            Word once!

[Assuming that we all desire to develop the good habit of daily Bible reading...]

II. WE NEED TO CREATE A POSITIVE ADDICTION

   A. WHAT IS A POSITIVE ADDICTION...?
      1. Usually when we hear the word addiction, we think of negative addictions
         a. Which is simply another phrase for bad habits
         b. Such as smoking, swearing, drinking, gambling
         c. When something bad for us:
            1) Becomes "second nature"
            2) We do it without much effort or thought
         d. We become dependent on it, either emotionally or physically
         e. When we try to do without it, we experience various degrees
            of discomfort
      2. Positive addiction is when you become dependent upon a good habit
         a. For example, exercise can become a positive addiction
            1) Those who have made exercise a pleasurable and frequent
               experience soon become "addicted" to it
            2) So that if they go a few days without exercise, they feel
               uneasy, depressed, irritable
            3) Of course, if they go without exercise long enough, the
               discomfort will eventually pass
         b. So a positive addiction is a habit which is:
            1) Good for you, either physically, mentally, or spiritually
            2) A source of pleasure and satisfaction
            3) One that should you neglect it, begins to give you
               "withdrawal pains"

   B. WHY CREATE A POSITIVE ADDICTION TO BIBLE READING...?
      1. It will help you maintain the practice of reading the Bible
      2. Should a few days go by without reading the Bible, the
         "discomfort" experienced will help motivate you to get "back on track"
      3. Most people who have tried to read the Bible daily and did not
         keep it up...
         a. Never experienced a positive addiction to reading God's Word
         b. Rather than a pleasurable experience, it was a chore
         c. So when they fell behind in their goals, there was little
            motivation to catch up

[Having explained what I mean by "positive addiction", here are some
thoughts on...]

III. HOW TO CREATE A POSITIVE ADDICTION FOR BIBLE READING

   A. PRINCIPLES ARE THE SAME FOR CREATING ANY ADDICTION...
      1. You must make the experience a pleasurable one
         a. This is where many people fail when it comes to "exercise"
         b. Going about it the wrong way, the daily workouts are painful
            and miserable
         c. Therefore any excuse not to exercise prevents them from
            keeping it up
      2. The same applies to reading the Bible
         a. To many, they try to do too much too soon
         b. The experience soon becomes little more than "marking a checklist"

   B. SUGGESTIONS RELATED TO BIBLE READING...
      1. Make Bible reading a pleasurable experience
         a. An addiction requires a pleasurable habit
         b. The goal: "I rejoice at Your word As one who finds great
            treasure." - Ps 119:162
      2. Start slow, with small goals
         a. Many try to start by reading through the Bible in one year
            1) An admirable goal, but most never make it past Exodus or Leviticus
            2) Before Bible reading has become a positive addiction,
               they run into difficult passages of Scripture
            3) They are like beginning joggers who try to run a mile the
               first time out
         b. I would recommend starting with making the New Testament a
            yearly goal
            1) This requires no more than a chapter a day
            2) The material is easier, more edifying at the outset
         c. Once you have read the New Testament in a year a couple of times
            1) You might read through the Old Testament one year
            2) Then begin reading through the entire Bible each year
      3. Begin each session with prayer
         a. Like that found in Psa 119:18:  "Open my eyes, that I may
            see wondrous things from Your Law."
         b. This puts us in the most receptive frame of mind - cf. Jm 1:21
      4. Read slowly, carefully
         a. This prevents reading without comprehending what you read
            - cf. Ps 1:1-2; 119:15-16
         b. Reading out loud, as though you were reading to someone
            else, often helps
      5. Make use of Bible study aids
         a. Especially a Bible dictionary, and Bible maps
         b. Don't observe the "pass over", passing over...
            1) Words you don't understand
            2) Names you don't know
            3) Places unfamiliar to you
         c. Every time you do, there is that much more of the Bible you
            don't understand, don't get anything out of it
         d. Take a moment to look them up in the references
      6. Discuss what you read with others
         a. Encourage others to follow the same program of reading
         b. Share your discoveries, the passages that encourage you
      7. Read with the intention to do what it says
         a. Otherwise, you are wasting your time! - Jm 1:22-24
         b. The true joy comes in the application of God's Word (another
            "positive addiction" to develop) - Jm 1:25
      8. End each session with prayer
         a. Like that expressed in Ps 119:5-6
         b. Or the one found in Ps 119:10-11

CONCLUSION

1. Following these suggestions, the practice of reading the Bible
   becomes one of great joy:

     "I rejoice at Your word as one who finds great treasure."
                                                  - Ps 119:162

2. Done on a regular basis, a positive addiction for daily Bible reading
   quickly develops which helps one to keep up this wonderful habit

3. I hope that in some way I have encouraged everyone...
   a. To begin if they have never done so
   b. To continue if they are doing so
   c. To try again if they tried in the past and failed

For there is so much to gain, and there is so much to lose...!


Pagan Mythology and the Bible by Garry K. Brantley, M.A., M.Div.


https://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=13&article=462

Pagan Mythology and the Bible

by  Garry K. Brantley, M.A., M.Div.

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God...” (2 Timothy 3:16). What an affirmation! This verse claims that the Bible is the unique literary product of divine origin, not the results of mere human genius. As such, it rightfully would serve as humanity’s ultimate standard of moral and religious authority. But, is this claim true? Through the years, conservative scholars have marshalled evidence to support the Bible’s claim of inspiration, while liberal theologians have attempted to discredit its avowed divine authorship. The debate continues.
Archaeological discoveries have played a significant role in this ongoing controversy. Some scholars feel that the discoveries of ancient pagan literary texts provide effective ammunition with which to attack the biblical claim of inspiration. Why? Philologists have identified language and literary forms common to both extra-biblical and biblical texts, which suggests to some that the Israelite religion—rather than being the product of divine guidance—was adapted from surrounding pagan religions. In particular, the texts uncovered at Ras Shamra, which date to the fifteenth century B.C., are at the heart of this contention.

RAS SHAMRA TABLETS

Ras Shamra is the modern name of the ancient city Ugarit. Prior to 1928, archaeologists did not know the exact location of this city. In the early spring of that year, a Syrian peasant was plowing in a field just east of Ras Shamra. His plow accidentally struck a rock, which proved to be a tombstone. The presence of this ancient cemetery suggested to archaeologists that a city was nearby, probably hidden in the tell (mound). Further investigations proved this assumption true.
Claude F.A. Schaeffer of the Strasbourg Museum, and his associate George Chenet, began the systematic excavation of Ras Shamra under the auspices of the French government. In May 1929, their team uncovered the first clay tablets bearing unfamiliar cuneiform (wedge-shaped) writing. Schaeffer, who was not a linguist, entrusted the texts to Charles Virolleaud, an expert in the ancient languages of that area. Virolleaud immediately recognized the significance of these texts. The cuneiform on these newly discovered tablets was unlike any which he had seen previously. Extant cuneiform texts prior to this discovery contained several hundred different symbols. The Ugaritic tablets, however, contained fewer than 30 distinct characters, which suggested to Virolleaud that the tablets displayed a kind of cuneiform alphabet.
Virolleaud made little progress in deciphering the text in the first few weeks. However, as a service to scholars, he published the texts, providing both photographs and copies of inscriptions that his colleagues examined. Hans Bauer, Professor of Oriental Languages in the German University of Halle and skilled in the art of cryptanalysis (code-breaking), succeeded in assigning phonetic values to about eighty percent of the signs after only five days. Other scholars refined his work, and from the summer of 1930 the Ras Shamra tablets recovered by Shaeffer’s team could be translated and read (for a discussion of the archaeological finds at Ras Shamra, see Craigie, 1983; Jackson, n.d.; Kapelrud, 1962; Pfeiffer, 1975).

HEBREW/UGARITIC STUDIES

The archives of Ugarit have yielded literally thousands of tablets containing several diverse languages and types of literature. The texts which captured scholastic attention, however, were those containing the alphabetic cuneiform. Linguists call the language of this script Ugaritic, after the ancient city in which it was used. Ugaritic is a Northwest Semitic language, closely related linguistically to Biblical Hebrew. These Ugaritic texts have had a profound affect on religious studies. Their significance arises, not only from linguistic relations, but also from the literary forms common to both Ugaritic and Biblical Hebrew.
Scholars almost immediately began to emphasize these similarities. In 1934, only four years after Virolleaud published the texts, J.W. Jack cautiously highlighted parallels between the Ugaritic texts and the Hebrew Bible. Other scholars followed suit. Such comparative literary analyses eventually gave birth to a new discipline: Hebrew-Ugaritic Studies. This discipline has had both positive and negative effects on biblical studies.

Positive Effects

On the positive side, Ugaritic texts have illuminated our understanding of obscure words, and pagan religious practices appearing in the Hebrew Bible. For instance, these texts have assisted our understanding of the term “shepherd” applied to Amos (Amos 1:1). The common Hebrew word for shepherd is ro’eh. However, the word describing Amos’ occupation is noqed, which appears only one other place in the Hebrew Bible (2 Kings 3:4; see Harris, 1980, 1:1410). In Ugaritic texts, the cognate word nqd appears approximately ten times, and designates one in the sheep business rather than a simple shepherd. It may be, therefore, that Amos’ occupation took him to the market places of northern Israel (to sell wool or mutton), where he became involved in his prophetic ministry (Craigie, 1983, 9[5]:73). Such linguistic insights help answer the question of why Amos, from the southern kingdom of Judah, was intimately familiar with the social injustices of Israel (cf. Amos 2:7; 4:1; 8:5).
Additionally, the Ras Shamra tablets have increased our knowledge of Baalism, frequently mentioned in the Bible. These mythological texts associate Baal with rain, storm, and fertility, and proclaim him as “[the god] Haddu, lord of the Stormcloud” (Cross, 1973, p. 147; see Kapelrud, 1962, 4:729; Pritchard, 1958, 1:92-118). Through rain, Baal allegedly provided fertile ground which produced crops on which both animals and men depended. Thus, Baal’s worshipers sought to maintain his supremacy so that their life-sustaining crops could continue. Such insights into Baalism provided by Ugaritic texts illuminate several biblical narratives, particularly Elijah’s debate with Baal’s prophets on Mt. Carmel (1 Kings 18; see Long, 1990). There, Yahweh (i.e., Jehovah)—not Baal—proved to be the controller of rain and storm (in the form of lightning which “fell as fire”). These Ugaritic insights into Baalism increase our understanding of that historical debate.

Negative Effects

Along with these valuable Ugaritic contributions to biblical studies have come some negative results. Particularly, liberal scholars have placed undue significance upon the linguistic and literary similarities between Ugaritic mythical texts and certain portions of the Hebrew Bible. This has led some scholars to object that “...in comparative studies of Ugaritic mythology and Old Testament literature in general too much emphasis has been given to similarity or ‘fact’ of sameness in form...” (Tsumura, 1988, 40:27). Such inordinate emphasis has prompted some scholars to conclude that the Israelite religion was a mere “Yahwization” of pagan religions (i.e., attributing to Yahweh what pagan religions attributed to their gods). These scholars argue that proof of such adaptation appears in the Hebrew Bible, particularly in certain poetic sections (cf. Cross, 1973, 1992; Malamat, 1988).

PSALM 29, A CLASSIC EXAMPLE

A particular biblical text—Psalm 29—has been subjected to extensive Hebrew/Ugaritic comparative analyses. As early as 1935, H.L. Ginsberg posited a Canaanite or Poenician background to this psalm (Malamat, 1988, 100[sup]:156). The present scholastic consensus is that Baal worship, as portrayed in Ugaritic texts, served as the background for Psalm 29 (Craigie, 1983, 9[5]:73). For instance, the late Mitchell Dahood, who used Ugaritic extensively in his classic, three volume commentary on the Psalms, argued that Ginsberg’s “recognition that this psalm is a Yahwistic adaptation of an older Canaanite hymn to the storm-god Baal...” has been “...corroborated by the subsequent discovery of tablets at Ras Shamra and by progress in the interpretation of these texts” (1966, 1:175, emp. added). More recently, A. Malamat, with the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, concluded that this psalm “...is derived from traditions harking back beyond Late Bronze Age Ugarit, to Old Babylonian, or rather Amorite, times...” (1988, 100[sup]:160). Also, Frank Moore Cross suggested that Psalm 29 was a “lightly revised Ba’al hymn...” and that it is representative of biblical texts in which “raw mythology” survives (1992, 8[5]:19).

Similarities

Scholars base such conclusions regarding the background of Psalm 29 on similarities between it and Ugaritic (and other) mythical texts. Archaeologists have uncovered several small fragments of tablets containing poetic mythological texts in which Baal and Anath (the war goddess) play the feature roles. In one section, the pagan lyricist mentioned that the building material for Baal’s palace came from “...Lebanon and its trees, From Sirion its precious cedars” (Pritchard, 1958, 1:104). In another section, Baal appears as the storm-god, sending lightning with thunder (i.e., “his holy voice”) to the Earth, which causes his “enemies to quake.” This text emphasizes the power of Baal’s voice, which “convulses the earth” and causes the “mountains to quake” (Pritchard, 1958, 1:106).
Similar language appears in Psalm 29. This psalm, like the Baal hymn, mentions the cedars of Lebanon and Sirion (v. 6). Further, the psalmist emphasized Yahweh’s voice, which had a similar effect on the Earth as that attributed to Baal (vv. 3-5,7-9). Psalm 29 states that Yahweh’s voice “breaks the cedars” (v. 5), “shakes the wilderness” (v. 8), and “strips the forests bare” (v. 9).

HELPFUL CONSIDERATIONS

Obviously, some similarities exist between Psalm 29 and the Baal hymn. But, do such similarities imply literary and religious dependence of Israel upon contemporaneous pagan religions? The following considerations might be helpful in addressing this issue. These suggested principles also will apply to other biblical texts in which similarities to pagan myths exist.

Similarity, Not Dependence

First, the fact that some similarities exist between the Hebrew Bible and some pagan myths implies neither dependence of the former upon the latter, nor synonymous meaning. John Wheeler correctly observed:
The basic danger in comparing the Hebrew Bible...with religious texts from other cultures is that the Bible uses similar language to describe different things. The Bible has the right to be interpreted by its own context, just as any other literary work.... When one examines Psalm 29 carefully in light of the rest of Scripture, the subtle errors that arise from using an extra-Biblical framework to interpret the Bible can be seen (1992, 5[1]:28, emp. added).
It is improper exegesis to force pagan beliefs into the biblical text simply because of linguistic similarities. Further, as Leupold accurately concluded: “One need not be alarmed by such discoveries if one bears in mind that two slightly different types of Canaanite (or Hebrew) language are involved. Least of all is the dependence of the Hebrew production in such a case established” (1959, p. 17). The Bible has the right to define its own words and concepts; pagan myths are not the controlling factor of biblical interpretation.

No Single Parallel

Second, the parallels drawn between biblical and Ugaritic texts cover a wide range of literary forms. No single Ugaritic text parallels Psalm 29 in full. Some scholars leave the impression that an extant poem to Baal parallels exactly Psalm 29, except that Baal’s and Yahweh’s names are exchanged. For instance, Theodor Gaster argued that this psalm was initially Canaanite, but the psalmist modified it by replacing the name Baal with the personal name of Israel’s God (1946-1947, 37:55-65).
However, Psalm 29 cannot be traced to one, particular Ugaritic text. Similarities of language, vocabulary, and literary forms exist between Hebrew and Ugaritic literature in general. But, the idea that Psalm 29 is a Yahwization of a hymn to Baal emerges from a comparison of texts from different cultures, each with its own variation on the same pagan theme (see Wheeler, 1992, 5[1]:28). In fact, the late Ugaritologist P.C. Craigie observed that “...virtually all Hebrew-Ugaritic comparative studies involve comparison of different literary forms” (as quoted in Tsumura, 1988, 40:25, emp. in orig.). Thus, to suggest that Psalm 29 (or any other biblical text) is an adaptation of a pagan myth has no evidential basis.

Common Cultural Milieu

Third, we should expect some similarity of language and literary style between extra-biblical and biblical texts due to common cultural milieu (see Redford, 1987, 13[3]:27). In fact, if biblical language and style were entirely unlike the literature of its secular contemporaries, the Bible’s authenticity would be suspect. Further, familiar figures and literary style would facilitate Gentile nations’ understanding of the truth. Consistent with this observation, Alexander Heidel argued that “since the Old Testament was intended also for the gentile world, it is but natural that the biblical authors availed themselves of figures of speech and imagery with which also Israel’s neighbors were familiar, or which were at least easily understandable to them” (1951, p. 138).
Additionally, the existence of these similarities argues eloquently for the Bible’s integrity. In this vein of thought, John Wheeler observed that such similarities “...provide one of the chief evidences that the bulk of the Psalms were not written after the Babylonian exile. Their language fits that used by Israel’s neighbors in the very time our Hebrew Bible says the Psalms were written” (1992, 5[1]:28, emp. in orig.) Thus, rather than militating against the Bible’s credibility, these similarities buttress its integrity.

Polemic Possibility

Finally, we may explain some of these similarities as inspired polemics against pagan beliefs. In other words, rather than adapting pagan myths to Israel’s own flavor of religious bias, inspired writers consciously rejected pagan ideas, and argued Yahweh’s case (see Frymer-Kensky, 1978, 4[4]:37). Scriptural evidence indicates that the Israelites were familiar with pagan religions. For instance, the Pentateuch contains prohibitions from such specific idolatrous practices as human sacrifices (Deuteronomy 12:31), and boiling a kid in its mother’s milk (Exodus 23:19; 34:26; Deuteronomy 14:21; see Ackerman, 1993). In fact, Ugaritic texts mention that the rite of boiling a kid in its mother’s milk was an acceptable means of approaching a god (Archer, 1974, p. 179). The mention of such specific religious rites indicates the Israelites’ familiarity with pagan practices, from which they were to abstain.
However, almost immediately upon occupying Canaan, the Israelites became infatuated with Baal and worshipped him (see Judges 3:7). Such apostasy occurred repeatedly in Israel’s history. Amos, for instance, reminded Israel of her long history of flirtations with pagan deities, which led to her foreign captivity (5:25-27). With Israel’s perennial proclivity to abandon Yahweh, we would expect to find polemics against these false deities in Israel’s religious literature. Such a polemical statement directed against false gods appears in Psalm 96:5: “For all the gods of the peoples are idols (’elilim); but Jehovah made the heavens.” The Hebrew word ’elilim (idols) describes that which is worthless and deficient—in contradistinction to the creative power of Yahweh, the true God (see Harris, 1980, 1:95). Further, Yahweh’s demonstrated supremacy over Baal on Mt. Carmel is a vivid example of such polemics in Israel’s sacred literature (1 Kings 17-18). Thus, the inspired psalmist may have fashioned Psalm 29 as a polemic against Baalism. This, however, does not imply that the psalmist Yahwized a hymn of Baal. He simply may have been reacting to commonly known concepts associated with that pagan deity.

CONCLUSION

We need not deny that some similarities exist between pagan and Hebrew literature. But, these similarities do not imply that pagan mythical texts directly influenced biblical writers. The literary quality of biblical poetry argues against such dependence. To illustrate, scholars have identified at least one pagan modification of a Hebrew Psalm (an Egyptian adaptation of Psalm 20, dating to ca. 125 B.C.), whose literary quality is far inferior to the original. This Egyptian document (written on papyri) was discovered sometime before the turn of the century. Egyptian philologists soon identified the script as demotic—a cursive kind of hieroglyphic writing which came into use around 650 B.C. For years, however, its contents remained an enigma to experts.
Progress in deciphering the text occurred in 1940 when Professor Raymond Bowman and Egyptologist George R. Hughes discovered that, though the text was written in demotic script, the actual language was Aramaic. The Egyptian document contains Jewish words such as YHWH (i.e., Yahweh) and ‘adonay, but it also mentions an assortment of pagan gods (e.g., Horus, Sahar, Mar, and Baal). These features, and its familiarity of language and composition to Psalm 20, indicate that it was adapted from the Hebrew Psalm. The text, however, is riddled with scribal errors of such nature that indicate the scribe did not understand what he transcribed (see Shanks, 1985). Such is not characteristic of biblical poetry. Its literary quality, according to some scholars, is far superior to that of pagan stock (see Wheeler, 1992). This certainly would be one indication of its originality.
Further, along with its distinguished literary quality, the Bible’s ethical and spiritual concepts are unparalleled by pagan sacred literature. For instance, the gods of pagan myths are guilty of degenerate behavior of all sorts; the true God is infinite in purity. Practitioners of pagan religions constantly worked to pacify their angry gods; worshipers of Yahweh, Who was quick to forgive, received undeserved blessings from His gracious hands (Psalm 32:1-5). Thus, the similarities between biblical and pagan literature are eclipsed by the enormous differences. Actually, there is no better indicator of the Bible’s inspiration than to put it side by side with its pagan counterparts. Such comparative literary analyses bolster our conviction that “all scripture is given by inspiration of God...” (2 Timothy 3:16).

REFERENCES

Ackerman, Susan (1993), “Child Sacrifice: Returning God’s Gift,” Bible Review, 9[3]:20ff., June.
Archer, Gleason, Jr. (1974), A Survey of Old Testament Introduction (Chicago: Moody).
Craigie, Peter (1983), “The Tablets From Ugarit and Their Importance for Biblical Studies,” Biblical Archaeology Review, 9[5]:62-69, September/October.
Cross, Frank Moore (1973), Canaanite Myth and Hebrew Epic (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press).
Cross, Frank Moore (1992), “The Development of Israelite Religion,” Bible Review, 8[5]:18-29,50, October.
Dahood, Mitchell (1966), “Psalms,” The Anchor Bible (Garden City, NY: Doubleday).
Frymer-Kensky, Tikva (1978), “What Babylonian Flood Stories Can and Cannot Teach Us About the Genesis Flood,” Biblical Archaeology Review, 4[4]:32-41.
Gaster, Theodore (1946-1947), “Psalm 29,” Jewish Quarterly Review, 37:55-65.
Harris, R.L., G.L. Archer, and B.K. Waltke, eds. (1980), Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (Chicago:Moody).
Heidel, Alexander (1951), The Babylonian Genesis (Chicago: University of Chicago Press).
Jackson, Wayne (n.d.), Archaeology: The Ras Shamra Discovery, Research Article Series (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press).
Kapelrud, A.S. (1962), “Ugarit,” Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible (Nashville, TN: Abingdon) 4:724-732.
Leupold, H.C. (1959), Exposition of the Psalms (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker).
Long, Jesse, Jr. (1990), “God Doesn’t Always Thunder,” Gospel Advocate, 132[12]:32, December.
Malamat, A. (1988), “The Amorite Background of Psalm 29,” Zeitschrift fur die Alttestamentliche Wissenschaft, 100[sup]:156-160.
Pfeiffer, C.F. (1975), “Ugarit,” The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan), 5:837-842.
Pritchard, James B., ed. (1958), The Ancient Near East: An Anthology of Texts and Pictures (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press).
Redford, Donald (1987), “Similarity Between Egyptian and Biblical Texts—Indirect Influence?,” Biblical Archaeology Review, 13[3]:18-32, May/June.
Shanks, Hershel (1985), “Bible’s Psalm 20 Adapted for Pagan Use,” Biblical Archaeology Review, 11[1]:20-23.
Tsumura, David (1988), “Ugaritic Poetry and Habakkuk 3,” Tyndale Bulletin, 40:24-48.
Wheeler, John (1992), “Who Wrote Psalm 29: David or a Canaanite?,” Archaeology and Biblical Research, 5[1]:23-31, Winter.

Have Synthetic Biologists Created Life From Non-Life? by Jeff Miller, Ph.D.


https://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=12&article=4581

Have Synthetic Biologists Created Life From Non-Life?

by  Jeff Miller, Ph.D.

You may have heard of the field of science known as synthetic biology. In this highly advanced area of science, engineers utilize their understanding of biology to “create” new life forms not found in nature. According to SyntheticBiology.org, synthetic biology involves “the design and construction of new biological parts, devices, and systems” and “the re-design of existing, natural biological systems for useful purposes” (“Synthetic Biology,” 2012). Perhaps this conjures up in your mind, as it does in the minds of many others, images of Dr. Frankenstein sewing pieces of dead tissue together into a monster on his laboratory table and bringing it to life. Is this what goes on in synthetic biology? Can scientists create life?
In a word: no. Life cannot come from non-life without supernatural help (cf. Miller, 2012). God alone “gives to all life” (Acts 17:25). Notice that a careful reading of what synthetic biology involves reveals that these engineers are designing and constructing new biological parts, not life; re-designing existing biological systems, not bringing systems to life. Earlier this year, The New York Times ran an article highlighting the remarkable work of Craig Venter, a synthetic biologist who is working on a project involving designing custom bugs. According to the article,
Each of the bugs will have a mission. Some will be designed to devour things, like pollution. Others will generate food and fuel. There will be bugs to fight global warming, bugs to clean up toxic waste, bugs to manufacture medicine and diagnose disease, and they will all be driven to complete these tasks by the very fibers of their synthetic DNA (Hylton, 2012).
There is no doubt that such feats of engineering would be worth high accolades and recognition from the scientific community but, again, Venter is not creating life itself.
Though the authors might wish to “accidentally” convey that idea, since such a feat would certainly attract more attention to the article, a careful reading of the fairly lengthy story reveals the truth. Venter’s methods involve manufacturing DNA and injecting it into a host cell. “It means taking four bottles of chemicals—the adenine, thymine, cytosine, and guanine that make up DNA—and linking them into a daisy chain at least half a million units long, then inserting that molecule into a host cell” that they hope will be able to reproduce. “[T]he DNA was modeled on a natural organism and was inserted into a natural cell.” So a cell is already alive and in existence, and the man-made (i.e, man-mixed) DNA is injected into the living cell. Venter, himself, notes that his team is constructing the DNA, not the cell. “It is just the DNA. You have to have the cell there to read it” (Hylton).
Notice also that the life forms being developed are not completely new designs. According to the article, “the DNA was modeled on a natural organism” (Hylton). Nobel laureate David Baltimore, commenting on Venter’s work, said, “He has not created life, only mimicked it” (Hylton). In other words, this is another example of biomimicry—an act of plagiarism, in a sense, when carried out by atheists.
So, life has not been created. The cell is already alive when it is manipulated by engineers using their DNA designs. A new life form is being designed, but life itself has not been created from non-life. The Law of Biogenesis stands. In nature, life comes only from life of its kind. God is needed in the recipe in order to arrive at life from non-life. [NOTE: For more on Venter and synthetic biology, see Deweese, 2010]

REFERENCES

Deweese, Joe (2010), “Has Life Been Made From Scratch?” Apologetics Press, http://www.apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=9&article=3597.
Hylton, Wil S. (2012), “Craig Venter’s Bugs Might Save the World,” The New York Times, May 30, http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/03/magazine/craig-venters-bugs-might-save-the-world.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0.
Miller, Jeff (2012), “The Law of Biogenesis,” Reason & Revelation, 32[1]:2-11, January, http://www.apologeticspress.org/apPubPage.aspx?pub=1&issue=1018&article=1722.
“Synthetic Biology” (2012), OpenWetWare, http://syntheticbiology.org/.

Cracking the Code—The Human Genome Project in Perspective [Part I] by Bert Thompson, Ph.D.


https://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=9&article=203

Cracking the Code—The Human Genome Project in Perspective [Part I]

by  Bert Thompson, Ph.D.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Immediately after the July issue of Reason and Revelation had gone to the printer, the non-profit Human Genome Project in the United States and its international analogue, the non-profit Human Genome Organization, along with Celera Genomics, a for-profit corporation, announced that working together they had deciphered, for all practical purposes, the genetic code contained in the human genome. We were not able to “stop the presses” on the July issue in order to discuss this momentous feat, but hope that R&R readers will enjoy our two-part series on this amazing scientific accomplishment and its implications for humankind. The reader may find it useful to have on hand the “Genetic Glossary,” since some terms in that glossary are employed here for the first time.]
On Monday, June 26, 2000, the President of the United States and the Prime Minister of Great Britain jointly called a press conference that not only received instantaneous, worldwide news coverage, but also captured the attention of people around the globe (see Office of Technology Policy, 2000). As the ambassadors of Japan, Germany, and France watched (along with some of the planet’s most distinguished scientists, who had joined them either in person or via satellite), the two world leaders announced what one science writer called “the greatest intellectual moment in history, bar none!”—the deciphering of the genetic code contained in the entire human genome.
The news media—both popular and scientific—had a field day. The (July 3, 2000) bright red cover of Time magazine screamed in huge, yellow letters—“Cracking the Code!” Upon opening the magazine to read the text of the cover story, the reader was met with an audacious headline in giant type that announced: “The Race Is Over!” The July 3 issue of U.S. News & World Report covered the story under the heading, “We’ve Only Just Begun” (Fischer, 2000, 129[1]:47). One week later, in its July 10 issue, U.S. News & World Report assigned its highly touted editor-at-large, David Gergen, to write an editorial that was titled “Collaboration? Very Cool” about the success of the joint effort (2000, 129[2]:64). The July 3 issue of Newsweek contained a feature article, “A Genome Milestone,” discussing the project (Hayden, 2000, 129[1]:51). The June 30 issue of Science, the official organ of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (Marshall, 2000, 288:2294-2295), and the June 29 issue of Nature, the official organ of its counterpart in Great Britain, the British Association for the Advancement of Science (Macilwain, 2000, 405:983-984), each devoted in-depth stories to the “cracking of the code.” The July 2000 issue of Scientific American also weighed in (Brown, 2000, 283[1]:50-55), as did numerous other professional journals in countries on almost every continent.
Emotional exhilaration ran high, and descriptive adjectives flowed freely. Professional writers, as well as some of the scientists directly involved in the events that led to the decoding of the human genome, variously described the results as the “holy grail” of biology and “the most important scientific effort that mankind has ever mounted”—and did not hesitate to compare the saga to the Manhattan Project that developed the atomic bomb in the mid-1940s or the Apollo Project that landed men on the moon on July 20, 1969. Time’s cover story authors remarked authoritatively: “It’s impossible to overstate the significance of this achievement” (Golden and Lemonick, 2000, 156[1]:19).
Amidst all the hoopla, important questions are bound to arise. For example, what, exactly, is the human genome? What do scientists mean when they say they have “decoded” it? What do these events mean for mankind—either now or in the future? What are the potential benefits and/or drawbacks associated with such research? When can humanity expect to experience them? Are there any scientific, biblical, ethical, or moral implications to be considered? If so, what are they and how should we handle them? These kinds of questions often accompany the invention and development of major new scientific technologies, and deserve a well-reasoned, informed response.

THE SCIENCE OF GENETICS

One of the newest (and certainly one of the most exciting) sciences is that of genetics. After all, every living thing—plant, animal, or human—is a storehouse of genetic information and therefore is a potential “laboratory” full of scientific knowledge. Genetics had its origin in 1865 as the result of studies performed by an Augustinian monk, Gregor Mendel, whose accomplishments certainly are worthy of recognition. Philosopher Richard von Mises stated, in fact, that Mendel’s work “plays in genetics a role comparable to that of Newton’s laws in mechanics” (1968, p. 243).
Gregor Mendel died in 1884, never realizing that eventually he would be known as the “father of modern genetics” (see Considine, 1976, p. 1155). Many scientists since have added to the knowledge he provided in regard to this important new science. For example, in 1902, German embryologist Theodor Boveri, and in 1904, American cytologist W.S. Sutton, building on the work of another German embryologist, Wilhelm Roux, documented that what Mendel had referred to as Anlagen (genes?) were distributed throughout the body in the nucleus of every cell in sausage-shaped bodies that Roux called “chromosomes” (from the Greek meaning “color body,” because early geneticists had to stain them with brightly colored dyes in order to view them under a microscope).
The effort to locate a gene, determine what it does, and discover how it functions was launched in 1906 when American scientist Thomas H. Morgan began his famous studies on the chromosomes of fruit flies. That same year, at a meeting of the Royal Horticultural Society, English biologist William Bateson suggested the term “genetics” as the name for this new science (see Asimov, 1972, p. 516). In 1908, Morgan identified “invisible heredity units” (that later would come to be known as genes) as being associated with portions of chromosomes. Then, in 1909, Danish botanist Wilhelm Johannsen coined the term “gene” (from the Greek for “giving birth to”) as the name for these “heredity units”—a term still in use today (see Bishop and Waldholz, 1999, p. 23). [Johannsen also coined the two terms “genotype” and “phenotype” to describe an individual’s inner genetic make-up, and the outward expression of that make-up, respectively.]
The physical location of the gene, therefore, has been known only since the beginning of this century. Shortly thereafter, it became clear that almost every biochemical characteristic in all living creatures was determined by genes. In 1911, scientists produced the first chromosome maps. In the 1940s, O.T. Avery showed that traits could be passed from one bacterium to another by a chemical known as DNA (see Avery, et al., 1944, 79:137-158). The eminent taxonomist of Harvard, Ernst Mayr, wrote concerning this event: “A new era in developmental genetics was opened when Avery demonstrated that DNA was the carrier of the genetic information” (1997, p. 166). By 1941, two Americans, George W. Beadle and Edward L. Tatum, had discovered that the genes’ function was to produce proteins—which serve both as structural components of all living matter and as enzymes that assist in the infinite variety of chemical reactions that make life possible. Yet, as Bishop and Waldholz noted:
Despite these remarkable discoveries, the exact nature of the genes remained a mystery. No one knew what a gene looked like, how it worked, or how the cell managed to replicate its genes in order to pass a complement on to its offspring. By the 1940s, however, a series of discoveries began suggesting that the genes were composed of an acid found in the nuclei of cells. This nucleic acid was rich in a sugar called deoxyribose and hence was known as deoxyribonucleic acid, or DNA (1999, p. 23).
The still-new science of genetics was advanced greatly by the discovery, in 1953, of the chemical code within cells that provides the genetic instructions. It was in that year that James D. Watson of the United States, and Francis H.C. Crick of Great Britain, published their landmark paper about the composition and helical structure of DNA (1953, 171:737-738). Nine years later, in 1962, they were awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine or Physiology for their stellar achievement in elucidating the structure of DNA (a subject about which I will have more to say later in this article, as well as in part two of this series). British geneticist, E.B. Ford, in his book, Understanding Genetics, provided an insightful summary when he wrote:
What then keeps...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).

A LOOK AT THE WORKINGS OF THE CELL

As scientists have studied what Dr. Ford called “organic inheritance and variation,” we have come to realize that the basic unit of life is the cell. Genes, chromosomes, nucleic acids, and the chemicals that compose them are found within the cells of every living organism on Earth. It is quite appropriate, therefore, that an investigation into matters such as those being discussed here should begin with an examination of the structure and nature of the cell.
Anatomist Ernst Haeckel, Charles Darwin’s chief supporter in Germany in the mid-nineteenth century, once summarized his personal feelings about the “simple” nature of the cell when he wrote that it contained merely “homogeneous globules of plasm” that were
composed chiefly of carbon with an admixture of hydrogen, nitrogen, and sulfur. These component parts properly united produce the soul and body of the animated world, and suitably nursed became man. With this single argument the mystery of the universe is explained, the Deity annulled, and a new era of infinite knowledge ushered in (1905, p. 111).
VoilĂ ! As easy as that, simple “homogeneous globules of plasm” nursed man into existence, animated his body, dispelled the necessity of a Creator, and ushered in a new era of “infinite knowledge.” In the end, however, Haeckel’s simplistic, naturalistic concept turned out to be little more than wishful thinking. As Lester and Hefley put it:
We once thought that the cell, the basic unit of life, was a simple bag of protoplasm. Then we learned that each cell in any life form is a teeming micro-universe of compartments, structures, and chemical agents—and each human being has billions of cells... (1998, pp. 30-31).
Billions of cells indeed! In the section he authored on the topic of “life” for the Encyclopaedia Britannica, the late astronomer Carl Sagan observed that a single human being is composed of what he referred to as an “ambulatory collection of 1014 cells” (1997, 22:965). He then noted: “The information content of a simple cell has been established as around 1012 bits, comparable to about a hundred million pages of the Encyclopaedia Britannica” (22:966). Evolutionist Richard Dawkins acknowledged that the cell’s nucleus “contains a digitally coded database larger, in information content, than all 30 volumes of the Encyclopaedia Britannica put together. And this figure is for each cell, not all the cells of a body put together” (1986, pp. 17-18, emp. in orig.). Dr. Sagan estimated that if a person were to count every letter in every word in every book of the world’s largest library (approximately 10 million volumes), the total number of letters would be 1012, which suggests that the “simple cell” contains the information equivalent of the world’s largest library (1974, 10:894)! Stephen C. Meyer suggested:
Since the late 1950s advances in molecular biology and biochemistry have revolutionized our understanding of the miniature world within the cell. Modern molecular biology has revealed that living cells—the fundamental units of life—possess the ability to store, edit and transmit information and to use information to regulate their most fundamental metabolic processes. Far from characterizing cells as simple “homogeneous globules of plasm,” as did Ernst Haeckel and other nineteenth-century biologists, modern biologists now describe cells as, among other things, “distributive real-time computers” and complex information processing systems (1998, pp. 113-114).
So much for the “simple” cell being a little lump of albuminous combination of carbon, as Haeckel once put it.
Eukaryotic cell diagram
Figure 1 — Simplified representation of a typical eukaryotic cell as rendered by Gabriela Weaver of Colorado University at Denver. Used by permission of Dr. Weaver and The Food Zone.
Cells are filled with a variety of organelles such as ribosomes (which aid in protein production), Golgi bodies (which package proteins), the endoplasmic reticulum (the transport system of the cell), mitochondria (which manufacture energy), vacuoles (which aid in intracellular cleaning processes), etc. Furthermore, cells are absolute marvels of design when it comes to reproducing themselves. Cellular reproduction consists of at least two important functions—duplication of the cell’s complement of genetic material and cleavage of the cell’s cytoplasmic matrix into two distinct yet separate parts. However, not all cells reproduce in the same manner.
Speaking in general terms, there are two basic types of cells found in organisms that procreate sexually. First, there are somatic (body) cells that contain a full complement (the diploid number) of genes. Second, there are germ (egg and sperm) cells that contain half the complement (the haploid number) of genes. Likely, the reason that germ cells (gametes) contain only half the normal genetic content is fairly obvious. Since the genetic material in the two gametes is combined during procreation in order to form a zygote (which will develop first into an embryo, then into a fetus, and eventually into the neonate), in order to ensure that the zygote has the normal, standard chromosome number the gametes always must contain exactly half that necessary number. As Weisz and Keogh explained in their widely used textbook, Elements of Biology:
One consequence of every sexual process is that a zygote formed from two gametes possesses twice the number of chromosomes present in a single gamete. An adult organism developing from such a zygote would consist of cells having a doubled chromosome number. If the next generation is again produced sexually, the chromosome number would quadruple, and this process of progressive doubling would continue indefinitely through successive generations. Such events do not happen, and chromosome numbers do stay constant from one life cycle to the next (1977, p. 331).
Why is it, though, that chromosome numbers “do stay constant from one life cycle to the next?” The answer, of course, has to do with the two different types of cellular division. All somatic cells reproduce by the process known as mitosis. Most cells in sexually reproducing organisms possess a nucleus that contains a preset number of chromosomes. In mitosis, cell division is “a mathematically precise doubling of the chromosomes and their genes. The two chromosome sets so produced then become separated and become part of two newly formed nuclei” so that “the net result of cell division is the formation of two cells that match each other and the parent cell precisely in their gene contents and that contain approximately equal amounts and types of all other components” (Weisz and Keogh, 1977, pp. 322,325). Thus, mitosis carefully maintains a constant diploid chromosome number during cellular division. For example, in human somatic cells, there are 46 chromosomes. During mitosis, from the original “parent” cell two new “daughter” cells are produced, each of which then contains 46 chromosomes.
Germ cells, on the other hand, reproduce by a process known as meiosis. During this type of cellular division, the diploid chromosome number is halved (“meiosis” derives from the Greek meaning to split or divide). So, to use the example of the human, the diploid chromosome complement of 46 is reduced to 23 in each one of the newly formed cells. As Weisz and Keogh observed: “Meiosis occurs in every life cycle that includes a sexual process—in other words, more or less universally.... It is the function of meiosis to counteract the chromosome-doubling effect of fertilization by reducing a doubled chromosome number to half. The unreduced doubled chromosome number, before meiosis, is called the diploid number; the reduced number, after meiosis, is the haploid number” (p. 331, emp. in orig.). In his book, The Panda’s Thumb, evolutionist Stephen Jay Gould discussed the marvel of meiosis.
Meiosis, the splitting of chromosome pairs in the formation of sex cells, represents one of the great triumphs of good engineering in biology. Sexual reproduction cannot work unless eggs and sperm each contain precisely half the genetic information of normal body cells. The union of two halves by fertilization restores the full amount of genetic information.... This halving, or “reduction division,” occurs during meiosis when the chromosomes line up in pairs and pull apart, one member of each pair moving to each of the sex cells. Our admiration for the precision of meiosis can only increase when we learn that cells of some ferns contain more than 600 pairs of chromosomes and that, in most cases, meiosis splits each pair without error (1980, p. 160).
And it is not just meiosis that works in most instances without error. Evolutionist John Gribbin admitted, for example, 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, emp. added, parenthetical comment in orig.).
Regarding the “perfect replica” produced in cellular division, the late United Nations scientist A.E. Wilder-Smith 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).
Information scientist Werner Gitt remarked:
The DNA is structured in such a way that it can be replicated every time a cell divides in two. Each of the two daughter cells has to have identically the same genetic information after the division and copying process. This replication is so precise that it can be compared to 280 clerks copying the entire Bible sequentially each one from the previous one, with at most a single letter being transposed erroneously in the entire copying process.... One cell division lasts from 20 to 80 minutes, and during this time the entire molecular library, equivalent to one thousand books, is copied correctly (1997, p. 90).
But as great an engineering triumph as cellular division and reproduction are, they represent only a small part of the story regarding the marvelous design built into each living cell. As Wilder-Smith also noted, the continued construction and metabolism of a cell are “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., within the genetic code), and since it is this cellular code that regulates life and directs its synthesis, the importance of the study of this code hardly can be overstated.

THE GENETIC CODE—ITS FUNCTION AND DESIGN

Faithful, accurate cellular division is critically important, of course, because without it life could not continue. But neither could life sustain itself without the existence and continuation of the extremely intricate genetic code contained within each cell. Scientific studies have shown that the hereditary information contained in the code found within the nucleus of the living cell is universal in nature. Regardless of their respective views on origins, all scientists acknowledge this. Evolutionist Richard Dawkins observed: “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” (1986, p. 270). Creationist Darrel Kautz agreed: “It is recognized by molecular biologists that the genetic code is universal, irrespective of how different living things are in their external appearances” (1988, p. 44). Or, as Matt Ridley put it in his 1999 book, Genome:
Wherever you go in the world, whatever animal, plant, bug or blob you look at, if it is alive, it will use the same dictionary and know the same code. All life is one. The genetic code, bar a few tiny local aberrations, mostly for unexplained reasons in the ciliate protozoa, is the same in every creature. We all use exactly the same language.
This means—and religious people might find this a useful argument—that there was only one creation, one single event when life was born.... The unity of life is an empirical fact (pp. 21-22, emp. added).
It is the genetic code which ensures that living things reproduce faithfully “after their kind,” exactly as the principles of genetics state that they should. Such faithful reproduction, of course, is due both to the immense complexity and the intricate design of that code. It is doubtful that anyone cognizant of the facts would speak of the “simple” genetic code. A.G. Cairns-Smith has 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.).
Wilder-Smith concurred with such an assessment when he wrote:
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 (1976, pp. 257-259, emp. in orig.).
It is no less amazing to learn that even what some would call “simple” cells (e.g., bacteria) have extremely large and complex “libraries” of genetic information stored within them. For example, the bacterium Escherichia coli, which is by no means the “simplest” 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, p. 11). Biochemist Michael Behe has suggested that the amount of DNA in a cell “varies roughly with the complexity of the organism” (1998, p. 185). There are notable exceptions, however. Humans, for example, have about 100 times more of the genetic-code-bearing molecule (DNA) than bacteria, yet salamanders, which are amphibians, have 20 times more DNA than humans (see Hitching, 1982, p. 75). Humans have roughly 30 times more DNA than some insects, yet less than half that of certain other insects (see Spetner, 1997, p. 28).
It does not take much convincing, beyond facts such as these, to see that the genetic code is characterized by orderliness, complexity, and adeptness in function. The order and complexity themselves are nothing short of phenomenal. But the function of this code is perhaps its most impressive feature, as Wilder-Smith explained when he suggested 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 any other outside building agents.... 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.).
This “ability to store and to execute incredible magnitudes of conceptual information” is where DNA comes into play. In their book, The Mystery of Life’s Origin, Thaxton, Bradley, and Olsen discussed the DNA-based genetic code elucidated by Crick and Watson.
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).
How important is the “coil of life” represented in the DNA molecule? Wilder-Smith concluded: “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 summarized 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 ultimately are responsible for each organism. The genetic code, as found within the DNA molecule, is vital to life as we know it. In his book, Let Us Make Man, Bruce Anderson referred to it as “the chief executive of the cell in which it resides, giving chemical commands to control everything that keeps the cell alive and functioning” (1980, p. 50). Kautz followed this same line of thinking when he stated:
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).
Likely, many people have not considered the exact terminology with which the genetic code is described in the scientific literature. Lester and Bohlin observed:
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.... Such designations are not simply convenient or just anthropomorphisms. They accurately describe the situation (1984, pp. 85-86, emp. in orig.).
Kautz thus concluded:
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.... Further, consider that human beings have learned to store information on clay tablets, stone, papyrus, paper, film, magnetic media such as audio and video cassettes, microchips, etc. Yet human technology has not yet advanced to the point of storing information chemically as it is in the DNA molecule (1988, pp. 44,45, emp. in orig.).
How, then, did this complex chemical code arise? What “outside source” imposed the information on the DNA molecule? And where does the Human Genome Project fit into all of this?
[to be continued]

REFERENCES

Anderson, Bruce L. (1980), Let Us Make Man (Plainfield, NJ: Logos International).
Andrews, E.H. (1978), From Nothing to Nature (Welwyn, Hertfordshire, England: Evangelical Press).
Asimov, Isaac (1972), Isaac Asimov’s Biographical Encyclopedia of Science and Technology (New York: Avon).
Avery, O.T., C.M. MacLeod, and M. McCarty (1944), “Studies on the Chemical Nature of the Substance Inducing Transformation of Pneumococcal Types,” Journal of Experimental Medicine, 79:137-158.
Behe, Michael J. (1998), “Intelligent Design Theory as a Tool for Analyzing Biochemical Systems,” Mere Creation, ed. William A. Dembski (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press).
Bishop, Jerry E. and Michael Waldholz (1999), Genome: The Story of the Most Astonishing Scientific Adventure of Our Time—The Attempt to Map All the Genes in the Human Body (Lincoln, NE: toExcel Publishers).
Brown, Kathryn (2000), “The Human Genome Business Today,” Scientific American, 283[1]:50-55, July.
Cairns-Smith, A.G. (1985), Seven Clues to the Origin of Life (Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press).
Considine, Douglas M. (1976), Van Nostrand’s Scientific Encyclopedia (New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold), fifth edition.
Dawkins, Richard (1986), The Blind Watchmaker (New York: W.W. Norton).
Fischer, Joannie Schrof (2000), “We’ve Only Just Begun,” U.S. News & World Report, 129[1]:47, July 3.
Ford, E.B. (1979), Understanding Genetics (New York: Pica Press).
Gergen, David (2000), “Collaboration? Very Cool,” U.S. News & World Report, 129[2]:64, July 10.
Gitt, Werner (1997), In the Beginning Was Information (Bielefeld, Germany: Christliche Literatur-Verbreitung).
Golden, Frederic and Michael D. Lemonick (2000), “The Race Is Over,” Time, 156[1]:19-23, July 3.
Gould, Stephen J. (1980), “Dr. Down’s Syndrome,” The Panda’s Thumb (New York: W.W. Norton), pp. 160-176.
Gribbin, John (1981), Genesis: The Origins of Man and the Universe (New York: Delacorte).
Haeckel, Ernst (1905), The Wonders of Life, trans. J. McCabe (London: Watts).
Hayden, Thomas (2000), “A Genome Milestone,” Newsweek, 136[1]:51, July 3.
Hitching, Francis (1982), The Neck of the Giraffe (New York: Ticknor and Fields).
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).
Macilwain, Colin (2000), “World Leaders Heap Praise on Human Genome Landmark,” Nature, 405:983-984, June 29.
Marshall, Eliot (2000), “Rival Genome Sequencers Celebrate a Milestone Together,” Science, 288:2294-2295, June 30.
Mayr, Ernst (1997), This is Biology (Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University).
Mendel, Gregor (1865), Experiments in Plant Hybridization, reprinted in J.A. Peters, ed. (1959), Classic Papers in Genetics (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall).
Meyer, Stephen C. (1998), “The Explanatory Power of Design: DNA and the Origin of Information,” Mere Creation, ed. William A. Dembski (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press).
Office of Technology Policy—The White House (2000) Remarks by the President—The Entire Human Genome Project, [On-line], http://www.whitehouse.gov/WH/EOP/OSTP/html/00628_2.html.
Ridley, Matt (1999), Genome: Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters (New York: HarperCollins).
Sagan, Carl (1974), “Life on Earth,” Encyclopaedia Britannica (New York: Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc.), 10:894ff.
Sagan, Carl (1997), “Life,” Encyclopaedia Britannica (New York: Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc.), 22:964-981.
Spetner, Lee M. (1997), Not By Chance (Brooklyn, NY: Judaica Press).
von Mises, Richard (1968), Positivism (New York: Dover).
Watson, James D. and Francis H.C. Crick (1953), “Molecular Structure of Nucleic Acids: A Structure for Deoxyribose Nucleic Acid,” Nature, 17:737-738.
Weisz, Paul B. and Richard N. Keogh (1977), Elements of Biology (New York: McGraw-Hill).
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).

General Pace and General Washington by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


https://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=7&article=790

General Pace and General Washington

by  Dave Miller, Ph.D.

General Peter Pace, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff—America’s top military figure—recently evoked a storm of angry protests from gay-rights advocates and liberal politicians (Jelinek, 2007). The reason? He made the following statement: “I believe homosexual acts between two individuals are immoral and that we should not condone immoral acts. I do not believe the United States is well served by a policy that says it is okay to be immoral in any way” (Madhani, 2007).
General Pace is in good company. After all, when serving as the Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War, the Father of our country was apprised of a homosexual in the army. The response of General Washington was immediate and decisive. He issued “General Orders” from Army Headquarters at Valley Forge on Saturday, March 14, 1778:
Courtesy Library of Congress: www.loc.gov
At a General Court Martial whereof Colo. Tupper was President (10th March 1778) Lieutt. Enslin of Colo. Malcom’s Regiment tried for attempting to commit sodomy, with John Monhort a soldier; Secondly, For Perjury in swearing to false Accounts, found guilty of the charges exhibited against him, being breaches of 5th. Article 18th. Section of the Articles of War and do sentence him to be dismiss’d the service with Infamy. His Excellency the Commander in Chief approves the sentence and with Abhorrence and Detestation of such Infamous Crimes orders Lieutt. Enslin to be drummed out of Camp tomorrow morning by all the Drummers and Fifers in the Army never to return; The Drummers and Fifers to attend on the Grand Parade at Guard mounting for that Purpose (“George...,” underline in orig., emp. added).
Observe that the Father of our country viewed “sodomy” (the 18th century word for homosexual relations) “with Abhorrence and Detestation of such Infamous Crimes.” All General Pace said was that “we should not condone immoral acts”—and many want to hang him!
The nation continues its headlong plunge into the abyss of perversity, immorality, and degradation. The “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy implemented under the Clinton presidency would be viewed by the Founders of the Republic as a mockery of morality, decency, and military decorum. The Commander-in-Chief of America’s first military would be aghast if he were here today to witness the moral decline that has infiltrated the military and the nation. He was simply reflecting the nation’s commitment to the Christian moral framework on which the Republic was based. He embraced God’s own assessment of the sin of homosexuality: “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites...will inherit the kingdom of God?” (1 Corinthians 6:9-11).

REFERENCES

“George Washington, March 14, 1778, General Orders” (1778), The George Washington Papers at the Library of Congress, 1741-1799, from ed. John C. Fitzpatrick, The Writings of George Washington from the Original Manuscript Sources, 1745-1799, [On-line], URL: http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/r?ammem/mgw:@field(DOCID+@lit(gw110081)).
Jelinek, Pauline (2007), “No Apology From Gen. Pace for Gay Stance,” Fox News, March 14, [On-line], URL: http://www.foxnews.com/wires/2007Mar14/0,4670,MilitaryGays,00.html.
Madhani, Aamer (2007), “Top General Calls Homosexuality ‘Immoral’,” Chicago Tribune, March 12, [On-line], URL: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/chi-070312pace,1,4954133.story? ctrack=1&cset=true.

From Jim McGuiggan... The prophet


The Prophet

Amos prophesied during the Assyrian Period about forty years before the fall of Samaria to Assyrian forces. He was a southerner, from a little town south of Jerusalem, who prophesied to northerners and he did it during the days of Israel's prosperity (both north and south) and in the midst of their religious fervor. He had an ally in the prophet Hosea though he did his work a bit earlier than Hosea. Both of them proclaimed the word of God during the reign of the powerful Jeroboam II but Hosea continued his ministry on into the days of Joash and Hezekiah king of Judah (Hosea 1:1).
Samuel Goldwyn the movie-maker of an earlier generation is quoted as saying he would like to make a movie that began with a hurricane and worked up to a climax. Amos began his work as a prophet two years before a memorable earthquake (1:1) and pointed toward a climax in 722/21, which is when Samaria went under and to an even greater climax centuries later in the reestablishment of the throne of David in the person of the Messiah. But before either of these events would take place Jeroboam would take advantage of a weakened Syria just north of him and an internally busy Assyria to regain territory and make Israel prosper (while Uzziah in the south expanded Judean borders and brought in wealth and success). See 2 Kings 14:23-29 and 2 Chronicles 26. A mere reading of Amos reveals the corruption that showed itself during economic prosperity when the moneyed people drove the poor into abject slavery, committed the vilest immorality as part of their religion and lived in luxury caring nothing about the religious, moral and social ruin of the nation (6:6).

From Gary... Bible Reading August 28, 29, 30



Bible Reading  

August 28, 29, 30

The World English Bible


Aug. 28
Psalm 11-15

Psa 11:1 In Yahweh, I take refuge. How can you say to my soul, "Flee as a bird to your mountain!"
Psa 11:2 For, behold, the wicked bend their bows. They set their arrows on the strings, that they may shoot in darkness at the upright in heart.
Psa 11:3 If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?
Psa 11:4 Yahweh is in his holy temple. Yahweh is on his throne in heaven. His eyes observe. His eyes examine the children of men.
Psa 11:5 Yahweh examines the righteous, but the wicked and him who loves violence his soul hates.
Psa 11:6 On the wicked he will rain blazing coals; fire, sulfur, and scorching wind shall be the portion of their cup.
Psa 11:7 For Yahweh is righteous. He loves righteousness. The upright shall see his face.
Psa 12:1 Help, Yahweh; for the godly man ceases. For the faithful fail from among the children of men.
Psa 12:2 Everyone lies to his neighbor. They speak with flattering lips, and with a double heart.
Psa 12:3 May Yahweh cut off all flattering lips, and the tongue that boasts,
Psa 12:4 who have said, "With our tongue we will prevail. Our lips are our own. Who is lord over us?"
Psa 12:5 "Because of the oppression of the weak and because of the groaning of the needy, I will now arise," says Yahweh; "I will set him in safety from those who malign him."
Psa 12:6 The words of Yahweh are flawless words, as silver refined in a clay furnace, purified seven times.
Psa 12:7 You will keep them, Yahweh. You will preserve them from this generation forever.
Psa 12:8 The wicked walk on every side, when what is vile is exalted among the sons of men.

Psa 13:1 How long, Yahweh? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?
Psa 13:2 How long shall I take counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart every day? How long shall my enemy triumph over me?
Psa 13:3 Behold, and answer me, Yahweh, my God. Give light to my eyes, lest I sleep in death;
Psa 13:4 Lest my enemy say, "I have prevailed against him;" Lest my adversaries rejoice when I fall.
Psa 13:5 But I trust in your loving kindness. My heart rejoices in your salvation.
Psa 13:6 I will sing to Yahweh, because he has been good to me.
Psa 14:1 The fool has said in his heart, "There is no God." They are corrupt. They have done abominable works. There is none who does good.
Psa 14:2 Yahweh looked down from heaven on the children of men, to see if there were any who did understand, who did seek after God.
Psa 14:3 They have all gone aside. They have together become corrupt. There is none who does good, no, not one.
Psa 14:4 Have all the workers of iniquity no knowledge, who eat up my people as they eat bread, and don't call on Yahweh?
Psa 14:5 There they were in great fear, for God is in the generation of the righteous.
Psa 14:6 You frustrate the plan of the poor, because Yahweh is his refuge.
Psa 14:7 Oh that the salvation of Israel would come out of Zion! When Yahweh restores the fortunes of his people, then Jacob shall rejoice, and Israel shall be glad.
Psa 15:1 Yahweh, who shall dwell in your sanctuary? Who shall live on your holy hill?
Psa 15:2 He who walks blamelessly does what is right, and speaks truth in his heart;
Psa 15:3 He who doesn't slander with his tongue, nor does evil to his friend, nor casts slurs against his fellow man;
Psa 15:4 In whose eyes a vile man is despised, but who honors those who fear Yahweh; he who keeps an oath even when it hurts, and doesn't change;
Psa 15:5 he who doesn't lend out his money for usury, nor take a bribe against the innocent. He who does these things shall never be shaken.


Aug. 29
Psalm 16-19

Psa 16:1 Preserve me, God, for in you do I take refuge.
Psa 16:2 My soul, you have said to Yahweh, "You are my Lord. Apart from you I have no good thing."
Psa 16:3 As for the saints who are in the earth, they are the excellent ones in whom is all my delight.
Psa 16:4 Their sorrows shall be multiplied who give gifts to another god. Their drink offerings of blood I will not offer, nor take their names on my lips.
Psa 16:5 Yahweh assigned my portion and my cup. You made my lot secure.
Psa 16:6 The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places. Yes, I have a good inheritance.
Psa 16:7 I will bless Yahweh, who has given me counsel. Yes, my heart instructs me in the night seasons.
Psa 16:8 I have set Yahweh always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.
Psa 16:9 Therefore my heart is glad, and my tongue rejoices. My body shall also dwell in safety.
Psa 16:10 For you will not leave my soul in Sheol, neither will you allow your holy one to see corruption.
Psa 16:11 You will show me the path of life. In your presence is fullness of joy. In your right hand there are pleasures forevermore.
Psa 17:1 Hear, Yahweh, my righteous plea; Give ear to my prayer, that doesn't go out of deceitful lips.
Psa 17:2 Let my sentence come forth from your presence. Let your eyes look on equity.
Psa 17:3 You have proved my heart. You have visited me in the night. You have tried me, and found nothing. I have resolved that my mouth shall not disobey.
Psa 17:4 As for the works of men, by the word of your lips, I have kept myself from the ways of the violent.
Psa 17:5 My steps have held fast to your paths. My feet have not slipped.
Psa 17:6 I have called on you, for you will answer me, God. Turn your ear to me. Hear my speech.
Psa 17:7 Show your marvelous loving kindness, you who save those who take refuge by your right hand from their enemies.
Psa 17:8 Keep me as the apple of your eye. Hide me under the shadow of your wings,
Psa 17:9 from the wicked who oppress me, my deadly enemies, who surround me.
Psa 17:10 They close up their callous hearts. With their mouth they speak proudly.
Psa 17:11 They have now surrounded us in our steps. They set their eyes to cast us down to the earth.
Psa 17:12 He is like a lion that is greedy of his prey, as it were a young lion lurking in secret places.
Psa 17:13 Arise, Yahweh, confront him. Cast him down. Deliver my soul from the wicked by your sword;
Psa 17:14 from men by your hand, Yahweh, from men of the world, whose portion is in this life. You fill the belly of your cherished ones. Your sons have plenty, and they store up wealth for their children.
Psa 17:15 As for me, I shall see your face in righteousness. I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with seeing your form.
Psa 18:1 By David the servant of Yahweh, who spoke to Yahweh the words of this song in the day that Yahweh delivered him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul. He said,>> I love you, Yahweh, my strength.
Psa 18:2 Yahweh is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge; my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower.
Psa 18:3 I call on Yahweh, who is worthy to be praised; and I am saved from my enemies.
Psa 18:4 The cords of death surrounded me. The floods of ungodliness made me afraid.
Psa 18:5 The cords of Sheol were around me. The snares of death came on me.
Psa 18:6 In my distress I called on Yahweh, and cried to my God. He heard my voice out of his temple. My cry before him came into his ears.
Psa 18:7 Then the earth shook and trembled. The foundations also of the mountains quaked and were shaken, because he was angry.
Psa 18:8 Smoke went out of his nostrils. Consuming fire came out of his mouth. Coals were kindled by it.
Psa 18:9 He bowed the heavens also, and came down. Thick darkness was under his feet.
Psa 18:10 He rode on a cherub, and flew. Yes, he soared on the wings of the wind.
Psa 18:11 He made darkness his hiding place, his pavilion around him, darkness of waters, thick clouds of the skies.
Psa 18:12 At the brightness before him his thick clouds passed, hailstones and coals of fire.
Psa 18:13 Yahweh also thundered in the sky. The Most High uttered his voice: hailstones and coals of fire.
Psa 18:14 He sent out his arrows, and scattered them; Yes, great lightning bolts, and routed them.
Psa 18:15 Then the channels of waters appeared. The foundations of the world were laid bare at your rebuke, Yahweh, at the blast of the breath of your nostrils.
Psa 18:16 He sent from on high. He took me. He drew me out of many waters.
Psa 18:17 He delivered me from my strong enemy, from those who hated me; for they were too mighty for me.
Psa 18:18 They came on me in the day of my calamity, but Yahweh was my support.
Psa 18:19 He brought me forth also into a large place. He delivered me, because he delighted in me.
Psa 18:20 Yahweh has rewarded me according to my righteousness. According to the cleanness of my hands has he recompensed me.
Psa 18:21 For I have kept the ways of Yahweh, and have not wickedly departed from my God.
Psa 18:22 For all his ordinances were before me. I didn't put away his statutes from me.
Psa 18:23 I was also blameless with him. I kept myself from my iniquity.
Psa 18:24 Therefore Yahweh has rewarded me according to my righteousness, according to the cleanness of my hands in his eyesight.
Psa 18:25 With the merciful you will show yourself merciful. With the perfect man, you will show yourself perfect.
Psa 18:26 With the pure, you will show yourself pure. With the crooked you will show yourself shrewd.
Psa 18:27 For you will save the afflicted people, but the haughty eyes you will bring down.
Psa 18:28 For you will light my lamp, Yahweh. My God will light up my darkness.
Psa 18:29 For by you, I advance through a troop. By my God, I leap over a wall.
Psa 18:30 As for God, his way is perfect. The word of Yahweh is tried. He is a shield to all those who take refuge in him.
Psa 18:31 For who is God, except Yahweh? Who is a rock, besides our God,
Psa 18:32 the God who arms me with strength, and makes my way perfect?
Psa 18:33 He makes my feet like deer's feet, and sets me on my high places.
Psa 18:34 He teaches my hands to war, so that my arms bend a bow of bronze.
Psa 18:35 You have also given me the shield of your salvation. Your right hand sustains me. Your gentleness has made me great.
Psa 18:36 You have enlarged my steps under me, My feet have not slipped.
Psa 18:37 I will pursue my enemies, and overtake them. Neither will I turn again until they are consumed.
Psa 18:38 I will strike them through, so that they will not be able to rise. They shall fall under my feet.
Psa 18:39 For you have girded me with strength to the battle. You have subdued under me those who rose up against me.
Psa 18:40 You have also made my enemies turn their backs to me, that I might cut off those who hate me.
Psa 18:41 They cried, but there was none to save; even to Yahweh, but he didn't answer them.
Psa 18:42 Then I beat them small as the dust before the wind. I cast them out as the mire of the streets.
Psa 18:43 You have delivered me from the strivings of the people. You have made me the head of the nations. A people whom I have not known shall serve me.
Psa 18:44 As soon as they hear of me they shall obey me. The foreigners shall submit themselves to me.
Psa 18:45 The foreigners shall fade away, and shall come trembling out of their close places.
Psa 18:46 Yahweh lives; and blessed be my rock. Exalted be the God of my salvation,
Psa 18:47 even the God who executes vengeance for me, and subdues peoples under me.
Psa 18:48 He rescues me from my enemies. Yes, you lift me up above those who rise up against me. You deliver me from the violent man.
Psa 18:49 Therefore I will give thanks to you, Yahweh, among the nations, and will sing praises to your name.
Psa 18:50 He gives great deliverance to his king, and shows loving kindness to his anointed, to David and to his seed, forevermore.
Psa 19:1 The heavens declare the glory of God. The expanse shows his handiwork.
Psa 19:2 Day after day they pour forth speech, and night after night they display knowledge.
Psa 19:3 There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard.
Psa 19:4 Their voice has gone out through all the earth, their words to the end of the world. In them he has set a tent for the sun,
Psa 19:5 which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, like a strong man rejoicing to run his course.
Psa 19:6 His going forth is from the end of the heavens, his circuit to its ends; There is nothing hidden from its heat.
Psa 19:7 Yahweh's law is perfect, restoring the soul. Yahweh's testimony is sure, making wise the simple.
Psa 19:8 Yahweh's precepts are right, rejoicing the heart. Yahweh's commandment is pure, enlightening the eyes.
Psa 19:9 The fear of Yahweh is clean, enduring forever. Yahweh's ordinances are true, and righteous altogether.
Psa 19:10 More to be desired are they than gold, yes, than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and the extract of the honeycomb.
Psa 19:11 Moreover by them is your servant warned. In keeping them there is great reward.
Psa 19:12 Who can discern his errors? Forgive me from hidden errors.
Psa 19:13 Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins. Let them not have dominion over me. Then I will be upright. I will be blameless and innocent of great transgression.
Psa 19:14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, Yahweh, my rock, and my redeemer.






Aug. 30
Psalm 20-22

Psa 20:1 May Yahweh answer you in the day of trouble. May the name of the God of Jacob set you up on high,
Psa 20:2 send you help from the sanctuary, grant you support from Zion,
Psa 20:3 remember all your offerings, and accept your burnt sacrifice. Selah.
Psa 20:4 May He grant you your heart's desire, and fulfill all your counsel.
Psa 20:5 We will triumph in your salvation. In the name of our God, we will set up our banners. May Yahweh grant all your requests.
Psa 20:6 Now I know that Yahweh saves his anointed. He will answer him from his holy heaven, with the saving strength of his right hand.
Psa 20:7 Some trust in chariots, and some in horses, but we trust the name of Yahweh our God.
Psa 20:8 They are bowed down and fallen, but we rise up, and stand upright.
Psa 20:9 Save, Yahweh! Let the King answer us when we call!
Psa 21:1 The king rejoices in your strength, Yahweh! How greatly he rejoices in your salvation!
Psa 21:2 You have given him his heart's desire, and have not withheld the request of his lips. Selah.
Psa 21:3 For you meet him with the blessings of goodness. You set a crown of fine gold on his head.
Psa 21:4 He asked life of you, you gave it to him, even length of days forever and ever.
Psa 21:5 His glory is great in your salvation. You lay honor and majesty on him.
Psa 21:6 For you make him most blessed forever. You make him glad with joy in your presence.
Psa 21:7 For the king trusts in Yahweh. Through the loving kindness of the Most High, he shall not be moved.
Psa 21:8 Your hand will find out all of your enemies. Your right hand will find out those who hate you.
Psa 21:9 You will make them as a fiery furnace in the time of your anger. Yahweh will swallow them up in his wrath. The fire shall devour them.
Psa 21:10 You will destroy their descendants from the earth, their posterity from among the children of men.
Psa 21:11 For they intended evil against you. They plotted evil against you which cannot succeed.
Psa 21:12 For you will make them turn their back, when you aim drawn bows at their face.
Psa 21:13 Be exalted, Yahweh, in your strength, so we will sing and praise your power.
Psa 22:1 My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from helping me, and from the words of my groaning?
Psa 22:2 My God, I cry in the daytime, but you don't answer; in the night season, and am not silent.
Psa 22:3 But you are holy, you who inhabit the praises of Israel.
Psa 22:4 Our fathers trusted in you. They trusted, and you delivered them.
Psa 22:5 They cried to you, and were delivered. They trusted in you, and were not disappointed.
Psa 22:6 But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised by the people.
Psa 22:7 All those who see me mock me. They insult me with their lips. They shake their heads, saying,
Psa 22:8 "He trusts in Yahweh; let him deliver him. Let him rescue him, since he delights in him."
Psa 22:9 But you brought me out of the womb. You made me trust at my mother's breasts.
Psa 22:10 I was thrown on you from my mother's womb. You are my God since my mother bore me.
Psa 22:11 Don't be far from me, for trouble is near. For there is none to help.
Psa 22:12 Many bulls have surrounded me. Strong bulls of Bashan have encircled me.
Psa 22:13 They open their mouths wide against me, lions tearing prey and roaring.
Psa 22:14 I am poured out like water. All my bones are out of joint. My heart is like wax; it is melted within me.
Psa 22:15 My strength is dried up like a potsherd. My tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth. You have brought me into the dust of death.
Psa 22:16 For dogs have surrounded me. A company of evildoers have enclosed me. They have pierced my hands and feet.
Psa 22:17 I can count all of my bones. They look and stare at me.
Psa 22:18 They divide my garments among them. They cast lots for my clothing.
Psa 22:19 But don't be far off, Yahweh. You are my help: hurry to help me.
Psa 22:20 Deliver my soul from the sword, my precious life from the power of the dog.
Psa 22:21 Save me from the lion's mouth! Yes, from the horns of the wild oxen, you have answered me.
Psa 22:22 I will declare your name to my brothers. In the midst of the assembly, I will praise you.
Psa 22:23 You who fear Yahweh, praise him! All you descendants of Jacob, glorify him! Stand in awe of him, all you descendants of Israel!
Psa 22:24 For he has not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted, Neither has he hidden his face from him; but when he cried to him, he heard.
Psa 22:25 Of you comes my praise in the great assembly. I will pay my vows before those who fear him.
Psa 22:26 The humble shall eat and be satisfied. They shall praise Yahweh who seek after him. Let your hearts live forever.
Psa 22:27 All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to Yahweh. All the relatives of the nations shall worship before you.
Psa 22:28 For the kingdom is Yahweh's. He is the ruler over the nations.
Psa 22:29 All the rich ones of the earth shall eat and worship. All those who go down to the dust shall bow before him, even he who can't keep his soul alive.
Psa 22:30 Posterity shall serve him. Future generations shall be told about the Lord.
Psa 22:31 They shall come and shall declare his righteousness to a people that shall be born, for he has done it.

 
Aug. 28
Romans 9

Rom 9:1 I tell the truth in Christ. I am not lying, my conscience testifying with me in the Holy Spirit,
Rom 9:2 that I have great sorrow and unceasing pain in my heart.
Rom 9:3 For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brothers' sake, my relatives according to the flesh,
Rom 9:4 who are Israelites; whose is the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service, and the promises;
Rom 9:5 of whom are the fathers, and from whom is Christ as concerning the flesh, who is over all, God, blessed forever. Amen.
Rom 9:6 But it is not as though the word of God has come to nothing. For they are not all Israel, that are of Israel.
Rom 9:7 Neither, because they are Abraham's seed, are they all children. But, "In Isaac will your seed be called."
Rom 9:8 That is, it is not the children of the flesh who are children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as a seed.
Rom 9:9 For this is a word of promise, "At the appointed time I will come, and Sarah will have a son.
Rom 9:10 Not only so, but Rebecca also conceived by one, by our father Isaac.
Rom 9:11 For being not yet born, neither having done anything good or bad, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him who calls,
Rom 9:12 it was said to her, "The elder will serve the younger."
Rom 9:13 Even as it is written, "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated."
Rom 9:14 What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? May it never be!
Rom 9:15 For he said to Moses, "I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion."
Rom 9:16 So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who has mercy.
Rom 9:17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, "For this very purpose I caused you to be raised up, that I might show in you my power, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth."
Rom 9:18 So then, he has mercy on whom he desires, and he hardens whom he desires.
Rom 9:19 You will say then to me, "Why does he still find fault? For who withstands his will?"
Rom 9:20 But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed ask him who formed it, "Why did you make me like this?"
Rom 9:21 Or hasn't the potter a right over the clay, from the same lump to make one part a vessel for honor, and another for dishonor?
Rom 9:22 What if God, willing to show his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath made for destruction,
Rom 9:23 and that he might make known the riches of his glory on vessels of mercy, which he prepared beforehand for glory,
Rom 9:24 us, whom he also called, not from the Jews only, but also from the Gentiles?
Rom 9:25 As he says also in Hosea, "I will call them 'my people,' which were not my people; and her 'beloved,' who was not beloved."
Rom 9:26 "It will be that in the place where it was said to them, 'You are not my people,' There they will be called 'children of the living God.' "
Rom 9:27 Isaiah cries concerning Israel, "If the number of the children of Israel are as the sand of the sea, it is the remnant who will be saved;
Rom 9:28 for He will finish the work and cut it short in righteousness, because the LORD will make a short work upon the earth."
Rom 9:29 As Isaiah has said before, "Unless the Lord of Armies had left us a seed, we would have become like Sodom, and would have been made like Gomorrah."
Rom 9:30 What shall we say then? That the Gentiles, who didn't follow after righteousness, attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith;
Rom 9:31 but Israel, following after a law of righteousness, didn't arrive at the law of righteousness.
Rom 9:32 Why? Because they didn't seek it by faith, but as it were by works of the law. They stumbled over the stumbling stone;
Rom 9:33 even as it is written, "Behold, I lay in Zion a stumbling stone and a rock of offense; and no one who believes in him will be disappointed."



Aug. 29
Romans 10

Rom 10:1 Brothers, my heart's desire and my prayer to God is for Israel, that they may be saved.
Rom 10:2 For I testify about them that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge.
Rom 10:3 For being ignorant of God's righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, they didn't subject themselves to the righteousness of God.
Rom 10:4 For Christ is the fulfillment of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.
Rom 10:5 For Moses writes about the righteousness of the law, "The one who does them will live by them."
Rom 10:6 But the righteousness which is of faith says this, "Don't say in your heart, 'Who will ascend into heaven?' (that is, to bring Christ down);
Rom 10:7 or, 'Who will descend into the abyss?' (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead.)"
Rom 10:8 But what does it say? "The word is near you, in your mouth, and in your heart;" that is, the word of faith, which we preach:
Rom 10:9 that if you will confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
Rom 10:10 For with the heart, one believes unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
Rom 10:11 For the Scripture says, "Whoever believes in him will not be disappointed."
Rom 10:12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, and is rich to all who call on him.
Rom 10:13 For, "Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved."
Rom 10:14 How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in him whom they have not heard? How will they hear without a preacher?
Rom 10:15 And how will they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: "How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the Good News of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things!"
Rom 10:16 But they didn't all listen to the glad news. For Isaiah says, "Lord, who has believed our report?"
Rom 10:17 So faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
Rom 10:18 But I say, didn't they hear? Yes, most certainly, "Their sound went out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world."
Rom 10:19 But I ask, didn't Israel know? First Moses says, "I will provoke you to jealousy with that which is no nation, with a nation void of understanding I will make you angry."
Rom 10:20 Isaiah is very bold, and says, "I was found by those who didn't seek me. I was revealed to those who didn't ask for me."
Rom 10:21 But as to Israel he says, "All day long I stretched out my hands to a disobedient and contrary people."




Aug. 30
Romans 11

Rom 11:1 I ask then, did God reject his people? May it never be! For I also am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.
Rom 11:2 God didn't reject his people, which he foreknew. Or don't you know what the Scripture says about Elijah? How he pleads with God against Israel:
Rom 11:3 "Lord, they have killed your prophets, they have broken down your altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life."
Rom 11:4 But how does God answer him? "I have reserved for myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to Baal."
Rom 11:5 Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.
Rom 11:6 And if by grace, then it is no longer of works; otherwise grace is no longer grace. But if it is of works, it is no longer grace; otherwise work is no longer work.
Rom 11:7 What then? That which Israel seeks for, that he didn't obtain, but the chosen ones obtained it, and the rest were hardened.
Rom 11:8 According as it is written, "God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear, to this very day."
Rom 11:9 David says, "Let their table be made a snare, and a trap, a stumbling block, and a retribution to them.
Rom 11:10 Let their eyes be darkened, that they may not see. Bow down their back always."
Rom 11:11 I ask then, did they stumble that they might fall? May it never be! But by their fall salvation has come to the Gentiles, to provoke them to jealousy.
Rom 11:12 Now if their fall is the riches of the world, and their loss the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fullness?
Rom 11:13 For I speak to you who are Gentiles. Since then as I am an apostle to Gentiles, I glorify my ministry;
Rom 11:14 if by any means I may provoke to jealousy those who are my flesh, and may save some of them.
Rom 11:15 For if the rejection of them is the reconciling of the world, what would their acceptance be, but life from the dead?
Rom 11:16 If the first fruit is holy, so is the lump. If the root is holy, so are the branches.
Rom 11:17 But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive, were grafted in among them, and became partaker with them of the root and of the richness of the olive tree;
Rom 11:18 don't boast over the branches. But if you boast, it is not you who support the root, but the root supports you.
Rom 11:19 You will say then, "Branches were broken off, that I might be grafted in."
Rom 11:20 True; by their unbelief they were broken off, and you stand by your faith. Don't be conceited, but fear;
Rom 11:21 for if God didn't spare the natural branches, neither will he spare you.
Rom 11:22 See then the goodness and severity of God. Toward those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in his goodness; otherwise you also will be cut off.
Rom 11:23 They also, if they don't continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again.
Rom 11:24 For if you were cut out of that which is by nature a wild olive tree, and were grafted contrary to nature into a good olive tree, how much more will these, which are the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree?
Rom 11:25 For I don't desire you to be ignorant, brothers, of this mystery, so that you won't be wise in your own conceits, that a partial hardening has happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in,
Rom 11:26 and so all Israel will be saved. Even as it is written, "There will come out of Zion the Deliverer, and he will turn away ungodliness from Jacob.
Rom 11:27 This is my covenant to them, when I will take away their sins."
Rom 11:28 Concerning the Good News, they are enemies for your sake. But concerning the election, they are beloved for the fathers' sake.
Rom 11:29 For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.
Rom 11:30 For as you in time past were disobedient to God, but now have obtained mercy by their disobedience,
Rom 11:31 even so these also have now been disobedient, that by the mercy shown to you they may also obtain mercy.
Rom 11:32 For God has shut up all to disobedience, that he might have mercy on all.
Rom 11:33 Oh the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and the knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past tracing out!
Rom 11:34 "For who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?"
Rom 11:35 "Or who has first given to him, and it will be repaid to him again?"
Rom 11:36 For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things. To him be the glory for ever! Amen.