"THE GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM" The Righteousness Of The Kingdom INTRODUCTION 1. To enter the kingdom of God one must be born again... a. Involving faith, repentance and immersion in water on man's part - Jn 3:3-7; Mk 16:16 b. Involving grace, mercy, and the renewal by the Spirit on God's part - Tit 3:5-7 -- Such are conveyed into the present kingdom of God's dear Son - cf. Col 1:12-14 2. To enter the kingdom of God one must make their calling and election sure... a. With a righteousness that surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees - Mt 5:20 b. With diligence in growing in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ - 2Pe 1:5-9 -- Such will receive an abundant entrance into the everlasting kingdom of Jesus Christ - cf. 2Pe 1:10-11 2. In this lesson, we focus our attention on the righteousness of the kingdom... a. That surpasses the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees - Mt 5:20 b. That produces holiness without which no one will see the Lord - He 12:14 -- Though required, still makes us dependent upon God's mercy - cf. Lk 17:10; Tit 3:5 [In His sermon on the mount, Jesus had much to say about the righteousness of the kingdom. Beginning with "The Beatitudes" (Mt 5:3-12), we learn of the...] I. NECESSARY ATTITUDES (Mt 5:3-12) A. THESE ATTITUDES INCLUDE... 1. Poverty of spirit (i.e., humility) - Mt 5:3 2. Mourning (e.g., over sin) - Mt 5:4 3. Meekness toward God and others - Mt 5:5 4. Hungering and thirsting for righteousness - Mt 5:6 5. Merciful toward others - Mt 5:7 6. Purity of heart (i.e., desire for holiness) - Mt 5:8 7. Makers of peace - Mt 5:9 8. Willingness to endure persecution for the kingdom and for Jesus - Mt 5:10-12 B. THESE ATTITUDES CAN LEAD TO... 1. The kingdom of heaven - Mt 5:3,12 2. Comfort (e.g., from the burden of sin) - Mt 5:4 3. Inheriting the earth (i.e., living a blessed life) - Mt 5:5; cf. Ps 37 4. Being filled with righteousness - Mt 5:6 5. Obtaining mercy - Mt 5:7 6. Seeing God - Mt 5:8 7. Being called children of God - Mt 5:9 8. A great reward in heaven, i.e., the kingdom of heaven! - Mt 5:10-12 [With these necessary attitudes, we are more like to display the conduct necessary for the kingdom. Which Jesus describes as He continues His sermon on the mount...] II. NECESSARY CONDUCT (Mt 5:13-6:18) A. LETTING YOUR LIGHT SHINE... 1. You are the salt of the earth - Mt 5:13 2. You are the light of the world - Mt 5:14-15 3. Let your light shine, that men might glorify your Father - Mt 5:16 B. WITH A HIGHER STANDARD OF CONDUCT... 1. Avoiding not just murder, but anger - Mt 5:21-26 2. Avoiding not just adultery, but impure thoughts as well - Mt 5:27-30 3. Avoiding divorce because of what it does - Mt 5:31-32 4. Avoiding flippant oaths by speaking truthfully - Mt 5:33-37 5. Responding to evil with good - Mt 5:38-42 6. Loving your enemy and those who mistreat you - Mt 5:43-48 7. Doing charitable deeds to be seen of God, not men - Mt 6:1-4 8. Praying to be seen of God, not men - Mt 6:5-15 9. Fasting to be seen of God, not men - Mt 6:16-18 [This higher standard of righteousness can appear daunting. Yet it helps to have the right priorities which Jesus also discusses...] III. NECESSARY PRIORITIES (Mt 6:19-34) A. REGARDING WHAT IS YOUR TREASURE... 1. Let your priority be laying up treasure in heaven - Mt 6:19-20 2. For where your treasure is, there your heart (emotions, devotions) will be - Mt 6:21 3. If you have an evil eye (i.e., covetous, Pr 23:6), you walk in darkness - Mt 6:22-23 4. You cannot serve both God and mammon (earthly treasure) - Mt 6:24 B. REGARDING WHAT COMES FIRST... 1. Don't worry about life, food, clothing, for God will provide - Mt 6:25-32 2. God's kingdom and righteousness (i.e., His will) must take priority - Mt 6:33-34 CONCLUSION 1. We could continue on into the next chapter, where Jesus... a. Details additional aspects of the righteousness of the kingdom - Mt 7:1-12 b. Exhorts us to be diligent and use caution - Mt 7:13-20 2. But let's conclude by noting carefully what Jesus says... a. About doing the will of His Father in heaven - Mt 7:21-23 1) It is not sufficient to be religious, or even active in doing things for Jesus 2) What is crucial is that we do the Father's will as revealed by Jesus b. About being doers of His word, and not hearers only - Mt 7:24-27 1) It is not sufficient to be good listeners (e.g., good churchgoers) 2) We must be doers of the Word as well! 3. In view of such warnings, we should seek to be diligent in developing... a. The necessary attitudes (that will make us receptive to the Father's will) b. The necessary conduct (that is harmony with the Father's will) c. The necessary priorities (that will make the Father's will number one) 4. The necessary conduct (i.e., righteousness of the kingdom) may seem daunting and beyond our ability... a. But if we have the necessary attitudes b. And are willing to set the necessary priorities -- God will help us with the necessary conduct! - cf. Ep 3:16,20; Ph 4:13 Can it be said that our righteousness surpasses the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees...?
http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=12&article=4790Microcomputers in the Brain Tabulate Design
|by||Kyle Butt, M.A.|
I’m typing this article on a personal computer. You are most likely reading it on some form of one, whether a desktop, laptop, smartphone or tablet (which are really just small computers). These amazing devices are all around us. Brilliant researchers have spent billions of dollars designing the most functional computers to help people all over the world achieve their goals. You may well know, however, that one computer is more powerful than any that humans have been able to design—the human brain. As LiveScience writer Charles Choi stated, “The most powerful computer known is the brain” (2013).
But a fresh look into the brain has revealed something amazing. This supercomputer is even more “super” than we thought. Inside the brain are short branches of cells called dendrites. These dendrites have long been thought to be simple transporters of nerve signals to brain neurons. Recent discoveries by neuroscientist Spencer Smith and his team of researchers suggest, however, that dendrites do more than passively transfer information (Choi, 2013). It appears that dendrites are actually minicomputers that process information instead of simply transferring it. Because of this discovery, Smith stated: “Suddenly, it's as if the processing power of the brain is much greater than we had originally thought” (as quoted in Choi, 2013).
To what did Smith compare this remarkable discovery? He illustrated the results in this way: “Imagine you’re reverse engineering a piece of alien technology, and what you thought was simple wiring turns out to be transistors that compute information” (as quoted in Choi, 2013).
The implication of Smith’s statement about alien technology could not be clearer—the brain is comparable to (but surpasses) any technology humans have designed. Therefore, if we were to realistically compare it to something, it would have to be technology produced by brilliant aliens whose mental capabilities must be far superior to that of humans. But wait, the technology that we at first recognized to be superior, we discover to be even more advanced than we originally thought. What does that say about the brain? It must have been designed by a Being with incomprehensible intelligence. The idea of mindless evolution simply cannot account for the computer, no, the supercomputer filled with minicomputers, we call the brain. It really is a no-brainer, there must be a God.
Choi, Charles (2013), “‘Minicomputers’ Live Inside the Brain,” LiveScience,http://news.yahoo.com/minicomputers-live-inside-human-brain-113240564.html.
Designed To Fly
|by||Jerry Fausz, Ph.D.|
[EDITOR’S NOTE: The following article was written by A.P. staff scientist Dr. Fausz, who holds a Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering from Georgia Tech and serves as liaison to the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center.]
I have a wonderful story to tell you—a story that, in some respects, out rivals the Arabian Nights fables.... God in his great mercy has permitted me to be, at least somewhat, instrumental in ushering in and introducing to the great wide world an invention that may outrank the electric cars, the automobiles, and all other methods of travel.... I am now going to tell you something of two...boys.... Their names are Orville and Wilbur Wright, of Dayton, Ohio.... These two, perhaps by accident, or may be as a matter of taste, began studying the flights of birds and insects.... They not only studied nature, but they procured the best books, and I think I may say all the papers, the world contains on this subject.... These boys (they are men now), instead of spending their summer vacation with crowds, and with such crowds as are often questionable, as so many do, went away by themselves to a desert place by the seacoast.... With a gliding machine made of sticks and cloth they learned to glide and soar from the top of a hill to the bottom; and by making not only hundreds but more than a thousand experiments, they became so proficient in guiding these gliding machines that they could sail like a bird, and control its movements up and down as well as sidewise.... When they became experts they brought in, as they had planned to do, a gasoline engine to furnish power, and made a little success with their apparatus before winter set.... At first they went only a few hundred feet; and as the opportunity for practice in guiding and controlling it was only a few seconds at a time, their progress was necessarily very slow.... This work, mind you, was all new. Nobody living could give them any advice. It was like exploring a new and unknown domain.... Other experiments had to be made in turning from right to left; and, to make the matter short, it was my privilege, on the 20th day of September, 1904, to see the first successful trip on an air-ship, without a balloon to sustain it, that the world has ever made, that is, to turn the corners and come back to the starting point.... [T]o me the sight of a machine like the one I have pictured, with its white canvas planes and rudders subject to human control, is one of the grandest and most inspiring sights I have ever seen on earth; and when you see one of these graceful crafts sailing over your head, and possibly over your home, as I expect you will in the near future, see if you don’t agree with me that the flying machine is one of God’s most gracious and precious gifts (Root, 1905).
Photograph of the Wright brothers’ historic first flight at the moment of takeoff
|Credit: Library of Congress, LC-W861-35|
The sense of wonder expressed by Mr. Amos Ives Root at witnessing success in the Wright brothers’ struggle to achieve flight may be difficult to fathom. Air travel has become so commonplace in our society, the sight of modern flying machines “sailing over” our heads and homes catches our attention only for a moment, if at all. Though the first public account of the Wrights’ achievement was reported only in a humble beekeeping journal and drew little public notice, the invention described here led to nothing less than a revolution in transportation, a complete transformation in military strategy and tactics, and ultimately, the technological impetus to reach not only for the skies, but for the stars. And it all began, as Mr. Root notes, with “studying the flights of birds and insects.”
The Wright brothers’ methodical research and testing formally established the discipline of aeronautical engineering, but they were not the first aeronautical engineers. In fact, there were many, three of whom were Sir George Cayley, Otto Lilienthal and Samuel P. Langley. The Englishman Cayley, described as the “Father of Aerial Navigation,” like the Wrights, experimented with gliders and tested the lift characteristics of airfoils (wing cross-sections). Cayley’s airfoil testing apparatus, however, moved the airfoil rotationally which, after a few turns of the mechanism, caused the surrounding air to rotate with it, significantly decreasing the lift and reducing the accuracy of the measurements (Anderson, 1989, pp. 6-12). The Wright brothers used wind tunnels for airfoil testing, which is the preferred testing method even today (though modern wind tunnels generally are much larger).
Otto Lilienthal could be considered the world’s first hang glider expert, due to the way his gliders were configured and operated. Lilienthal, like Cayley, used a rotational device to measure aerodynamic forces on airfoils. He died in 1896 when the glider he was flying hit a gust of wind that pitched the nose of the vehicle upward causing it to stall, or lose lift, and plummet to the ground (Anderson, pp. 17-19). Hearing of this accident, the Wright brothers decided to put the “elevator” (control surface that regulates vehicle pitch) on the front of their flying machine. The elevator on most modern aircraft is at the rear, just below the vertical tail fin.
Samuel Pierpont Langley was contemporary with the Wright brothers, serving at that time as secretary of the Smithsonian Institute. Langley was one of the first to experiment with powered flight, successfully flying two small, unmanned vehicles—outfitted with steam engines—that he called aerodromes. When the Department of War commissioned him to develop a manned air vehicle, he decided to switch to a gasoline engine, which he attached to a larger version of one of his aerodromes. Unfortunately, the two test flights attempted by Langley with his manned aerodrome were miserable failures. The second of these failures occurred on December 8, 1903, just nine days prior to the Wright brothers’ first flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina (Anderson, pp. 21-26).
It is notable that all of these pioneers of aviation shared a fascination with the observation and study of flying creatures. Consider the following conversation with Samuel Langley, as recalled by Charles Manly, who piloted Langley’s ill-fated experiments:
I here asked Mr. Langley what first attracted his attention to aerial navigation. “I can’t tell when I was not interested in it,” he replied. “I used to watch the birds flying when I was a boy and to wonder what kept them up.... It finally occurred to me that there must be something in the condition of the air which the soaring birds instinctively understood, but which we do not” (Manly, 1915, Image 62).
In 1900, Wilbur Wright wrote a 17-page letter to Octave Chanute, a prominent mechanical engineer who, like Lilienthal, experimented with hang gliders. In this letter, Wilbur outlined the program of aeronautical research that he and his brother were about to undertake. He began the letter with a discussion of his affinity for flight and flying creatures, as follows:
Dear Sir:For some years I have been afflicted with the belief that flight is possible to man.... My general ideas of the subject are similar [to] those held by most practical experimenters, to wit: that what is chiefly needed is skill rather than machinery. The flight of the buzzard and similar sailors is a convincing demonstration of the value of skill, and the partial needlessness of motors. It is possible to fly without motors, but not without knowledge & skill. This I conceive to be fortunate, for man, by reason of his greater intellect, can more reasonably hope to equal birds in knowledge, than to equal nature in the perfection of her machinery (Wright, 1900, Image 1, emp. added).
These and numerous other references to bird observations attest to the fact that birds were a dominant source of inspiration for these early aeronautical researchers.
In fact, mankind has observed birds and dreamed of flight throughout recorded history, as evidenced by the ancient Greek myth of Daedalus and Icarus. Daedalus is said to have fashioned wings of wax and bird feathers so that he and his son, Icarus, could escape imprisonment on the isle of Crete. The legend says that Icarus, in spite of his father’s warnings, flew too close to the sun, the wax in his wings melted and he perished in the Mediterranean Sea below. While this story is fictional, it certainly reflects the imaginative desire of its author to “take to the air” as a bird. As John D. Anderson, Jr., stated in his foundational text on the aerodynamics of flight: “All early thinking of human flight centered on the imitation of birds” (1989, p. 3). Having no flying experience, it is only natural that man, in his desire to fly, would seek to imitate the readily observable creatures who openly display their capability.
And capable they are! Birds are highly specialized both physiologically and instinctively to perform their marvelous feats of flight. Flying birds are uniquely configured for flight in their structure, musculature, profile, metabolism, and instinctive knowledge. Wilbur Wright accurately characterized this in his letter to Chanute when he referred to flying birds as “nature in the perfection of her machinery”—a feature which he said man could not reasonably hope to equal (Wright, 1900, Image 1). It is most interesting to study, as did the pioneers of aviation, the specific qualities of birds that make them wonderfully adept at riding the wind.
Perhaps the most visible feature of bird flight is the motion (i.e., “flapping”) of the wings. A bird’s wings move in such a way as to produce both lift and thrust simultaneously. Man has never successfully imitated this capability, either in the manipulation of artificial wings in the manner of the Daedalus myth (though many have tried), or mechanically in the tradition of Leonardo DaVinci’s “ornithopter” concepts, prompting Anderson to state that “human-powered flight by flapping wings was always doomed to failure” (1989, p. 4). Indeed, it was the observation that birds sometimes flew without moving their wings, via gliding and soaring, that ultimately led to the success of heavier-than-air flight, through the realization that “fixed wing” flight was also a possible design solution.
|An eagle’s long, broad wings are effective for soaring. To help reduce turbulence as air passes over the end of the wing, the tips of the end feathers are tapered so that when the eagle fully extends its wings, the tips are widely separated.|
Birds do fly by flapping their wings, however, and the “secret” lies in the wing’s two-part structure. The inner part of the wing is more rounded in shape and moves very little, thus providing the majority of the lift. The outer part of the wing, on the other hand, is flatter, has a sharper edge, and executes most of the “flapping” motion, by which it produces both thrust and some lift. The outer part also serves another important purpose in flight. In his letter to Chanute, Wilbur Wright further stated:
My observation of the flight of buzzards leads one to believe that they regain their lateral stability when partly overturned by a gust of wind, by a torsion of the tips of the wings (1900, Image 4).
That is, birds turn the outer part of their wing to a higher angle relative to the wind to generate more lift on one side, and to a lower angle, reducing the lift, on the other side. This causes the bird to “roll,” in modern aerodynamic vernacular, in order to restore its lateral balance. Wilbur went on to explain his “wing-warping” design for accomplishing lateral stability based on this “observation of the flight of buzzards.” Modern aircraft use “ailerons,” small hinged surfaces on the back side of the wing and near the tip, to provide this lateral balancing, but the aerodynamic principle is the same. [NOTE: The next time you fly, try to sit just behind the wing and note the ailerons moving up and down frequently—keeping the aircraft balanced.] It should be no surprise that the muscles of a bird are specially configured, in size and positioning, to perform the motions of flapping and wingtip torsion. Clearly, the wing of a bird is highly specialized in both structure and musculature to provide the lift, thrust, and lateral equilibrium required for flight.
In the early pursuit of human flight, it was a challenge to design a machine that was light enough to fly, but strong enough to survive the flight. All of the Wright brothers’ aerodynamic research to optimize lift would have meant very little had they been unable to design a structure that weighed less than the lift their wings were able to produce. The Wrights used spruce, a strong, lightweight wood, for the frame of their aircraft and covered the frame with muslin cloth. Had they used significant amounts of metal in their structural design, as in modern aircraft, they would not have succeeded. They also had to design and build their own engine since existing designs did not provide satisfactory power-to-weight ratios. Sufficiently strong, lightweight, structural materials, and an engine that maximized power for minimal weight, were critical factors in the Wright brothers’ success.
Birds are light enough to fly due in large part to several properties of their body structure, including bones that mostly are hollow, and an impressive covering of feathers. The mostly hollow structure of bird bones provides a light, yet strong, framework for flight. Solid bones, like those possessed by other creatures and humans, would render most birds much too heavy for flight. As evolutionist and noted ornithologist Alan Feduccia stated:
The major bones are hollow and pneumatized [filled substantially with air—JF].... [S]uch bones as the lightweight, hollow humerus are exemplary of this structural complexity (1999, p. 5).
Bird beaks also are made of lightweight horn material instead of heavier jaw and teeth structures. Feduccia noted, “[I]t is dogma that the avian body is characterized by light weight” (p. 3), and points out that even the bird skin is “greatly reduced in weight and is paper-thin in most species of flying birds” (p. 10). By far however, the most innovative structural feature contributing to the general flightworthiness of birds is the feather.
The phrase “light as a feather” has to be one of the oldest and most-used clichés in the English language. Yet, light as feathers are, their unique structure makes them sufficiently strong to stand against the aerodynamic forces that a bird’s wings routinely experience. The central shaft or “rachis” (Feduccia, 1999, p. 111) of a feather is an amazing structure, incredibly strong and stiff considering its negligible weight. Feather vanes are composed of fluffy strands, called barbs, that protrude from the shaft. Each barb has small hooks that attach to ridges on adjoining barbs. This characteristic allows feathers to maintain their shape to keep airflow around the bird as streamlined as possible. In fact, Feduccia observes that because of their asymmetry, “flight feathers have an airfoil cross-section” (p. 111), so they must maintain their shape to keep the bird aloft. When these hooks become detached, they have to be carefully aligned to reattach, which is accomplished in remarkable fashion by a bird’s instinctive preening (Vanhorn, 2004). Without a doubt, the feather is one of the most amazing and highly specialized structures in nature.
Illustrated by Thomas A. Tarpley
© 2004 AP
Cross-section of two barbs showing how their barbules “hook” together.
KEY: A. Shaft (Rachis); B. Vane; C. Barbs; D. Hooked barbules; E. Ridged barbules.
The magnitude of the Wright brothers’ accomplishment was due to the fact that it involved powered flight of a heavier-than-air vehicle. They had to design their own engine to obtain a sufficient power-to-weight ratio. Likewise, the musculature of birds, which provides their “power” for flight, also is specially configured. First, “the major flight muscles [comprise] a disproportionate amount of the body’s weight” (Feduccia, 1999, p. 3). Feduccia also observed:
The main muscle arising from the keel and responsible for raising the wing for the recovery stroke in modern birds is the large supracoracoideus, and it has unusual features that allow it to perform this function (p. 10).
Feduccia further notes that the bird’s sternum is “keeled,” meaning that it has a forward protrusion to accommodate attachment of the “extensive flight musculature” (p. 10). Indeed, the bird’s muscles and its skeletal structure are uniquely built for flight.
Birds are not only structurally specialized for flight, however. The almost constant flapping of wings requires a tremendous amount of energy. Significantly, flying birds possess a metabolic rate that is much higher than most other creatures. This allows them to consume high-energy foods and convert that food efficiently enough to supply the large quantity of energy required for flight. Feduccia comments that “birds are highly tuned metabolic machines” (1999, p. 1). High-energy fuel is not the only requirement for a high metabolism, however. Such high-rate energy conversion also requires significant amounts of oxygen. A bird’s lungs are unlike those found in any other creature. Birds do not have to breathe out, as do other vertebrates. It is not difficult to see how breathing out would be detrimental to flight; this would be much like the thrust reversal mechanisms used on modern aircraft to slow them down after landing, though on a smaller scale. Instead, the lungs of a bird are configured to allow air to flow through and out the other end, after it has acquired oxygen from the air much more efficiently than the lungs of other animals (Feduccia, p. 388). The oxygen obtained is sent to sacs throughout the bird’s body, helping to maintain balance and supply the oxygen as directly as possible to the hard-working flight muscles. The metabolic system of the bird is unique in the animal kingdom, and perfectly suited to a flying creature.
The Wright brothers could not have known all of these facts regarding bird metabolism or the specifics of the structural specializations that make birds flightworthy. They were, however, highly impressed with the ability of birds to manipulate their physiology to control their speed and direction of flight, and to perform amazing acrobatic feats in the air. A critical piece of the Wrights’ success in developing the first practical aircraft is the “three-axis” control system that they devised. The wing-warping that controlled the “roll” orientation of their aircraft has already been discussed. The wing-warping, however, also provided steering control of the aircraft, working with the rudder (the Wrights had observed that gliding/soaring birds would generally “roll” into turns). The steering orientation of an aircraft is known as “yaw.” Finally, the elevator control surface provided regulation of the “pitch” (nose up/down) orientation of their aircraft. While it did provide full control of all three of these “axes,” the Wright design was “statically unstable,” meaning that if the pilot let go of the controls, even for a very brief period of time, the machine would crash. In contrast, most modern passenger aircraft are designed to be statically stable.
This constant expenditure of control effort was physically exhausting; nonetheless, the Wright brothers became highly skilled pilots as a result of practicing with their machines. This pursuit to control the aerodynamics of their machine is consistent with Wilbur Wright’s stated belief that “man, by reason of his greater intellect, can more reasonably hope to equal birds in knowledge” (Wright, 1900, Image 1, emp. added). Eventually, the “fly-by-wire” concept was developed whereby computers came to perform many of the flight control functions that the Wrights had to actuate manually. Coupled with statically stable aircraft designs, fly-by-wire made flying much less strenuous for the pilot. Human beings, unlike birds, have the ability to analyze and understand concepts like aerodynamic forces and, in turn, manipulate that understanding to their own benefit.
Though birds certainly do not come close to man in intellect, they are quite masterful in controlling their bodies and wings to achieve remarkable maneuvers in the air. Human beings in aircraft have never duplicated many of the flight maneuvers that birds perform with apparent ease. This fact is illustrated by recent, and ongoing, research studying how birds use vortices (regions of rotating air) that are created at the front (leading) edge of their wings to create lift (Videler, et al., 2004), as well as how they turn sharply at high speed (Muller and Lentink, 2004). Leading edge vortices are used in supersonic aircraft with small, delta-shaped wings to provide additional lift while landing, but Muller and Lentink suggested that the principle can be further exploited to increase significantly the maneuverability of these aircraft.
A V-22 Osprey can rotate its engines to transition from hovering to forward flight and vice versa.
Credit: ©Boeing 2008
How is it, though, that birds know precisely when to flap, twist the tips of their wings, pull their head back to change their center of gravity, fan out their tail feathers, sweep their wings back to manipulate leading edge vortices, glide, soar, preen, etc.? Langley was addressing this very question when he said, “It finally occurred to me that there must be something in the condition of the air which the soaring birds instinctively understood, but which we do not” (Manly, 1915, Image 62). Birds must instinctively know how to control properly their physiology for flight, because they certainly do not have the reasoning ability of humans that would allow them to hypothesize about the nature of air movement and verify their reasoning experimentally, as did the pioneers of human aviation. Yet in spite of this reality, a bird coming to rest lightly on top of a fence post eclipses everything humans have been able to accomplish in 100+ years of concentrated flight design. Even aircraft with vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) capability like the AV-8 Harrier and the V-22 Osprey cannot pinpoint a landing that accurately. How did birds arrive at this instinctive knowledge?
Evolutionary theories of how bird flight might have evolved fall generally into two groups. The first group involves the so-called “ground-up” theories. This is the idea that dinosaurian reptiles evolved the ability to fly, after being lucky enough to sprout rudimentary wings, presumably driven by the desire to catch flying insects for food. Feduccia himself does not subscribe to the ground-up theories, but is instead a proponent of the other group, the so-called “arboreal” theories of bird evolution. These theories suggest that tree-dwelling reptiles (dinosaur ancestors in Feduccia’s view) learned to fly after first learning to glide, most likely in order to escape predators (see Feduccia’s chapter titled “Genesis of Avian Flight,” pp. 93-111). Even the gap between gliding and flying is enormous, however. Sir George Cayley is known to have successfully flown a manned glider as early as 1853, but it would be over 50 years before the first successful powered flight at Kitty Hawk, in spite of the intense efforts of many including, most notably, Samuel Langley.
Suppose for a moment, though, that either theory of bird flight evolution might be true. It is not difficult to imagine that vast multitudes of these creatures would have perished in the early process of learning to use their rudimentary flying equipment, just as many humans, like Otto Lilienthal, have died as mankind has slowly learned the intricacies and hazards of flight. If true that evolving birds had struggled through a similar process, then one would expect to find large numbers of “transitional” animals, possibly with developing wing structures, prototype feathers, or some other underdeveloped birdlike features in the fossil record. Feduccia admitted the lack of such fossils, and tries to excuse it stating, “Most bird bones are hollow and thin walled...and are therefore not easily preserved” (p. 1). He went on to suggest:
One could, technically, establish a phylogeny [evolutionary ancestry—JF] of birds, or any other group, exclusively of the fossil record, and perhaps have a reasonably good idea of the major lineages using evidence from such diverse areas as anatomy and biochemical and genetic (DNA) comparisons. Yet, even then, problems are legion. Not only is there considerable argument about the methodology that should be employed, but the search for meaningful anatomical features (known as characters) that elucidate relationships is laden with problems because, beneath their feathers, birds tend to look very much alike anatomically (p. 1).
Amazingly adept fliers, birds provide mankind with the inspiration and impetus to pursue the ability to fly.
In other words, birds look like birds, and the fossil evidence suggests that they always have. This dilemma is particularly troubling for evolutionists when it comes to feathers, where according to Feduccia, “Feathers are unique to birds, and no known structure intermediate between scales and feathers has been identified. Nevertheless, it has generally been accepted that feathers are directly derived from reptilian scales...” (p. 113). Even the feathers of theurvogel (literally, “first bird”), known asArchaeopteryx, are said to have a pattern “essentially that of modern birds” (p. 111).
Speaking of the urvogel, Feduccia at one point stated, “The Archaeopteryx fossil is, in fact, the most superb example of a specimen perfectly intermediate between two higher groups of living organisms” (p. 1, emp. added). Ironically, however, he later came very close to contradicting himself when he counters the “ground-up” theories of flight origin by observing that “most recent studies have shown Archaeopteryx to be much more birdlike than previously thought” (p. 103). [NOTE: For a refutation of the evolutionist’s erroneous claims regarding Archaeopteryx as a “missing link,” see Harrub and Thompson, 2001, 21:25-31.] So, how does evolution explain the lack of fossil evidence for the evolution of birds? Feduccia explained, “All these known facts point to a dramatic, explosive post-Cretaceous adaptive radiation” (p. 404). In other words, it happened very fast in evolutionary terms (as little as five million years according to Feduccia)—supposedly too fast to leave behind any transitional fossils. Five million years is a very long time for the total absence of a transitional fossil record (all of human history could unfold more than 830 times in five million years). How convenient for evolutionists to assert that evolution occurred quickly during those periods that lack transitional fossils. Their theory depends on missing links—yet these links are still missing. As if explaining the evolution of bird flight was not difficult enough, though, evolutionists still need to explain the evolution of flight in insects, pterosaurs, and bats as well—also with no transitional fossil evidence.
It is unanimously acknowledged that the Wright brothers designed and built the first practical heavier-than-air flying machine. The contributions of Cayley, Lilienthal, Langley, and others leading to that event, are also readily recognized. However, many, like Feduccia, observe birds just as these aviation pioneers once did, but see it as the end result of millions of years of accidental, unlikely random mutations refined by a process of natural selection. Considering the complexity and multiplicity of specializations required to give flying birds their ability, this viewpoint is very difficult to swallow (pardon the pun). The structure of a bird’s feather, alone, is sufficient evidence of irreducible complexity (Vanhorn, 2004), but taking all of the bird’s specializations into account, the irreducible complexity becomes absolutely overwhelming. Even if we suppose that some animal could obtain “nature in the perfection of her machinery” by accident (an accident of miraculous proportions to be sure), how would it survive long enough to learn to use that machinery? Further, assuming it was fortunate enough to develop the physical attributes of flight and managed to learn how to use them, how could it pass that knowledge to future generations of avians without intellectual understanding? It took man, with his far superior intellect, around 6,000 years to make the first halting leaps in flight, and he has not even come close to equaling, much less surpassing, a simple bird’s mastery of the skies. No, the evolutionary explanation is quite inadequate and unscientific.
In the Old Testament, God asked Job: “Is it by your understanding that the hawk soars, stretching his wings toward the south?” (Job 39:26). Clearly, God’s question is rhetorical and assumes that Job would have had ample opportunity to observe birds in flight and marvel at their ability. Job may never have dreamed that man would one day share the skies with birds, so he most assuredly acknowledged that the flight of the hawk was well beyond his own understanding. All of our achievements in flight, however, have only served to underscore the meaning behind God’s question to Job. In spite of all we have accomplished in flight design, we still do not fully understand how birds, insects, and bats do what they do. We do understand, however, that they did not design themselves, we certainly did not make birds capable of flight, nor did we teach them how to fly. In fact, we must humbly admit that they taught us.
Notice that even evolutionists like Feduccia cannot avoid using words like “optimized,” “fine tuned,” “invented,” and “designed” when speaking of birds and flight. For example, Feduccia called the feather a “near perfect aerodynamic design” (p. 130, emp. added), and attributes to them an “almost magicalstructural complexity” (p. 132, emp. added). He further stated that “the shape and size of wings have been optimized to minimize the energy required to fly” (p. 16, emp. added), and that a bird’s metabolic system is “fine tuned” (p. 1, emp. added). And he asserted, “In order for flight to be possible, flight architecture was invented early on” (p. 1, emp. added). Feduccia also suggested:
Flight is, in a morphological sense, the biomechanically and physiologically most restrictive vertebrate locomotor adaptation permitting little latitude for new designs.... As an analogy, an engineer can construct a terrestrial vehicle in diverse configurations, but there is really only one basic design for a fixed-wing aircraft (p. 3, emp. added).
He meant for this suggestion to explain why there is little divergence, or differences in characteristics, among bird species. But he unwittingly made the point, instead, that this lack of divergence points most naturally to design. Since flight is such a “restrictive adaptation,” random processes, which depend by definition on probabilities, are much more likely to “select away” from the ability, regardless of the benefit it might hold for the animal. Thus, evolution is simply at a loss to explain the abundance, diversity, and very existence of the flying creatures that we observe. Furthermore, optimization, invention, design, and fine-tuning are not processes that occur naturally, randomly, or by accident. They occur only through focused application of intellectual ability.
Likewise, the accomplishment of December 17, 1903 was no accident. The Wright brothers could not have designed their flying machine carelessly, much less randomly, and their airplane would not have flown as it did in the absence of their skillful piloting. They did not develop piloting skills naturally or by chance, either, but through arduous, disciplined experimentation and practice. Neither could the specializations and instincts that allow birds to navigate the skies have happened by accident. No, the hawk does not fly by our understanding. Instead, the hawk, sparrow, owl, thrush, swallow, etc., fly by instinct, possessing an inherent “fly by wire” control computer designed by One whose capability far exceeds that of Orville and Wilbur Wright, Samuel Langley, Otto Lilienthal, George Cayley, or any other human being. The Wright flyer required strenuous exertion by the pilot to be able to fly, but God designed His flying machines, not only to have the capability of flight, but also to know inherently how to use it to incredibly impressive effectiveness.
It has been said, “If God had wanted man to fly, He would have given him wings.” Actually, He did. God, the Master Designer, both created the wondrous flying creatures that we observe, and gave His crowning design, man, the ability to observe, reason, and imitate. Thus, He provided both the inspiration and the means for man to achieve everything he has accomplished in his brief history of flight. So, with regard to either birds or the airplanes we see passing over our heads and homes, as Amos Ives Root observed so long ago, “the flying machine is one of God’s most gracious and precious gifts” (1905).
Anderson, Jr., John D. (1989), Introduction to Flight (New York: McGraw-Hill), third edition.
Feduccia, Alan (1999), The Origin and Evolution of Birds (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press), second edition.
Harrub, Brad and Bert Thompson (2001), “Archaeopteryx, Archaeoraptor, and the “Dinosaurs-To-Birds” Theory—[Part I],” Reason & Revelation, 21:25-31, April.
Hedrick, Tyson L., James R. Usherwood, and Andrew A. Biewener (2004), “Wing Inertia and Whole Body Acceleration: An Analysis of Instantaneous Aerodynamic Force Production in Cockatiels (Nymphicus hollandicus) Flying across a Range of Speeds,” The Journal of Experimental Biology, 207:1689-1702.
Manly, Charles M. (1915), “Legal Cases—Wright Co. v. Curtiss Aeroplane Co.—Affidavits: Manly, Charles M.,” The Wilbur and Orville Wright Papers, January 19, Library of Congress, [On-line], URL:http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/ampage?collId=mwright&fileName=04 /04109/mwright04109.db&recNum=61&itemLink=r?ammem/wright:@ field(DOCID+@lit(wright002721)).
Muller, U.K., and D. Lentink (2004), “Turning on a Dime,” Science, 306:1899, December 10.
Root, Amos Ives (1905), “First Published Account of the Wright Brothers Flight,” Gleanings in Bee Culture (Medina, OH: A.I. Root Company), [On-line], URL:http://www.rootcandles.com/about/wrightbrothers.cfm.
Vanhorn, Matthew (2004), “Words of a Feather,” Apologetics Press, [On-line], URL:http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/2610.
Videler, J. J., et al., (2004), “Leading-Edge Vortex Lifts Swifts,” Science, 306:1960-1962, December 10.
Wright, Wilbur (1900), “Octave Chanute Papers: Special Correspondence,” The Wilbur and Orville Wright Papers, May 13, Library of Congress, [On-line], URL: http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/ampage?collId=mwright&fileName=06/ 06001/mwright06001.db&recNum=0&itemLink=r?ammem/wright:@field( DOCID+@lit(wright002804)).
Is America Doomed? [Part I]
|by||Dave Miller, Ph.D.|
[EDITORS’ NOTE: This article is the first installment in a three-part series based on the author’s seminar and soon-to-be-released book—“The Silencing of God: The Dismantling of America’sChristian Heritage.” Part II will follow next month.]
The dark, sinister clouds of political correctness have been steadily gathering over America for some 50 years now. The result? A drastic recasting of American culture from what it was (for the first 185 years) to what it is now. In the words of one of the current presidential candidates:
Whatever we once were, we’re no longer just a Christian nation; we are also a Jewish nation, a Muslim nation, a Buddhist nation, a Hindu nation, and a nation of non-believers. We should acknowledge this and realize that when we’re formulating policies from the state house to the Senate floor to the White House, we’ve got to work to translate our reasoning into values that are accessible to every one of our citizens, not just members of our own faith community (Brody, 2007, emp. added).
Nevertheless, the Founders and architects of the American Republic insisted that Christianity must be thoroughly embedded in the citizenry in order for their grand experiment to be perpetuated (see Miller, 2006a). But America has strayed far afield from that initial intention in the last half-century. If something drastic is not done, the future of the Republic is in question.
WHAT CAN BE DONE?
If Christians do not rise up and act, the downward spiral will continue, eventually resulting in inevitable catastrophe. So what may be done? What would God have Christians to do? “If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?” (Psalm 11:3). Consider the following succinct listing of seven recommended actions that could turn the nation around if enacted by a sizable number of Americans:
I. Self-examination and rededication of one’s own life to serious devotion to God, Christ, and the moral principles on which the Republic was founded.
II. Diligent dedication of one’s own family to God and Christ. Consider homeschooling to shield children from the subversion of political correctness that has enshrouded public schools. Return to modeling the home according to the Bible’s directives, including:
And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up (Deuteronomy 6:6-7).Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4). Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them. Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged (Colossians 3:18-21, NIV).He who spares his rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him promptly. Chasten your son while there is hope, and do not set your heart on his destruction. Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; the rod of correction will drive it far from him. Do not withhold correction from a child, for if you beat him with a rod, he will not die. You shall beat him with a rod, and deliver his soul from hell. The rod and rebuke give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother. Correct your son, and he will give you rest; yes, he will give delight to your soul (Proverbs 13:24; 19:18; 22:15; 23:13-14; 29:15,17).
III. Pray fervently, consistently, and continually that God will help us. Hold public prayer meetings. That’s what the Founders did. In fact, during the seven years of the Revolutionary War, the Continental Congress issued no fewer than nine public proclamations to the American people, calling upon the whole nation to set aside entire days in which no labor would be performed so that the citizens could devote themselves to praying to God (Miller, 2006b). [NOTE: See the Resources section of this issue for two examples.]
The Founders were merely echoing the Bible’s own teaching regarding the necessity of petitioning God for national assistance and protection:
Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence (1 Timothy 2:1-2).
And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them? I tell you that He will avenge them speedily (Luke 18:7-8, emp. added).
However, keep in mind that a sufficient number of Americans may have so rejected God that He intends to punish America. The Founders were poignantly aware of this very possibility, as expressed by them in a proclamation they released to the American public on March 20, 1779: “Whereas, in just punishment of our manifold transgressions, it hath pleased the Supreme Disposer of all events to visit these United States with a destructive calamitous war” (Journals of..., 1909, 13:343-344).
The time has come to face the fact that America may have plummeted too far in its departure from God’s will to be recalled. Young King Josiah came to a similar realization when, having discovered the Book of the Law which had been lost amid temple debris, its precepts largely neglected by the nation, in panic he announced: “[G]reat is the wrath of the Lord that is aroused against us, because our fathers have not obeyed the words of this book, to do according to all that is written concerning us” (2 Kings 22:13). Though God was pleased with Josiah’s humility and tender heart, disaster was inevitable:
Thus says the Lord: “Behold, I will bring calamity on this place and on its inhabitants...because they have forsaken Me.... Therefore My wrath shall be aroused against this place and shall not be quenched” (2 Kings 22:16-17).
If this be the precise predicament of America, we ought humbly to embrace the attitude of the psalmist when he said:
O Lord God, to whom vengeance belongs—O God, to whom vengeance belongs, shine forth! Rise up, O Judge of the earth; render punishment to the proud. Lord, how long will the wicked, how long will the wicked triumph? ... Understand, you senseless among the people; and you fools, when will you be wise? He who planted the ear, shall He not hear? He who formed the eye, shall He not see? He who instructs the nations, shall He not correct, He who teaches man knowledge? The Lord knows the thoughts of man, that they are futile (Psalm 94:1-3,8-11, emp. added).
The nations have sunk down in the pit which they made; in the net which they hid, their own foot is caught. The Lord is known by the judgment He executes; the wicked is snared in the work of his own hands. The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.... Arise, O Lord, do not let man prevail; let the nations be judged in Your sight. Put them in fear, O Lord, that the nations may know themselves to be but men(Psalm 9:15-20, emp. added).
When we plead with God in behalf of the nation, our every petition must be tempered with the same resignation Jesus manifested in the Garden: “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will” (Matthew 26:39, emp. added; cf. James 4:15).
IV. Learn the Bible—deeply and thoroughly. Delve into God’s Word. Show respect for His thinking by pouring over its contents. Encourage family and friends to do the same. The Founders viewed the Bible as absolutely indispensable and integral to the survival of the Republic, citing it in their political utterances far more often than any other source (see Lutz, 1988, pp. 140-141). Indeed, consider the eloquent testimony to this fact, as expressed by a few of the Founders. For example, Constitutionsigner and Secretary of War, James McHenry, insisted:
The Holy Scriptures...can alone secure to society, order and peace, and to our courts of justice and constitutions of government, purity, stability, and usefulness. In vain, without the Bible, we increase penal laws and draw entrenchments around our institutions. Bibles are strong entrenchments. Where they abound, men cannot pursue wicked courses(as quoted in Steiner, 1921, p. 14, emp. added).
Patrick Henry believed that the Bible “is a book worth more than all the other books that were ever printed” (as quoted in Wirt, 1818, p. 402). John Jay wrote to Peter Jay on April 8, 1784: “The Bible is the best of all books, for it is the word of God and teaches us the way to be happy in this world and in the next” (1980, 2:709). Noah Webster asserted: “The Bible is the chief moral cause of all that is good and the best corrector of all that is evil in human society; the best book for regulating the temporal concerns of men” (1833, p. v). He further claimed: “All the miseries and evils which men suffer from vice, crime, ambition, injustice, oppression, slavery and war, proceed from their despising or neglecting the precepts contained in the Bible” (1832, p. 339). Constitution signer, Gouverneur Morris, observed: “The reflection and experience of many years have led me to consider the holy writings not only as the most authentic and instructive in themselves, but as the clue to all other history. They tell us what man is, and they alone tell us why he is what he is” (1821, p. 30). Declaration signer, Dr. Benjamin Rush, declared that the Bible “should be read in our schools in preference to all other books from its containing the greatest portion of that kind of knowledge which is calculated to produce private and public temporal happiness” (1798, p. 100). In a letter to Thomas Jefferson on December 25, 1813, John Adams stated that “the Bible is the best Book in the world” (1856, 10:85).
Indeed, Americans need a strong dose of the absolutely critical essentiality of the Bible to both national and private life, as stated by the Bible writers themselves:
I will never forget Your precepts, for by them You have given me life. Oh, how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day. You, through Your commandments, make me wiser than my enemies; for they are ever with me. I understand more than the ancients, because I keep Your precepts. How sweet are Your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! Through Your precepts I get understanding; therefore I hate every false way. Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path (Psalm 119:93,97-98,100,103-105, emp. added).For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart (Hebrews 4:12, emp. added).If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, andthe truth shall make you free.... He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him—the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day.... Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth (John 8:31-32; 12:48; 17:17, emp. added).
The future of the Republic is inextricably linked with and inherently dependent on the extent to which Americans are willing to return to an intimate acquaintance with the Bible.
V. Petition politicians, school board members, and the media regarding spiritual (not political) issues, focusing simply and solely on morality—not money. As one steps back and evaluates the moral and spiritual condition of America, it is self-evident that our nation has strayed far from its moorings. America is now unquestionably characterized by rampant divorce, widespread sexual impurity, gambling, drunkenness, thievery, and the list goes on. Prisons are full to overflowing with more being built as swiftly as possible, in conjunction with early release programs. Crime statistics are at an all-time high in virtually every category. Yet, while sin (i.e., violations of God’s will—1 John 3:4) has increased in the land, two sins stand out from all others in our day. Two sins, particularly repugnant in God’s sight, have swept over America. These two sins have been politicized—instead of being left in the moral and religious arena where they belong. These two premiere moral issues facing the country are abortion and homosexuality. A nation can survive for a period of time even when murder, theft, adultery, and the like are rampant. (After all, sin is sin. All sin is destructive and eventually will be addressed by a perfect God.) However, history shows that when some sins become pervasive in a given civilization, its demise is imminent. The killing of children and sexual perversion are just such sins. Ultimately, America’s drifting from its spiritual moorings is climaxing in imminent moral implosion and inevitable retribution from God, based on these two critical moral matters. Please consider them briefly.
Who could have imagined (the Founders most certainly could not have done so) that America would ever give legal sanction to a woman to kill her unborn baby? Yet, the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court did just that by ruling that “the word ‘person’ as used in the Fourteenth Amendment, does not include the unborn” (Roe v. Wade). Who could have imagined one day that more than 48 million babies would be butchered in the United States of America? And that figure does not include the millions more being sacrificed in the name of “embryonic stem-cell research,” as well as the millions more lost from selective reduction due to the use of fertility drugs. The killing of the innocent (Exodus 23:7), and the shedding of innocent blood—a thing that God hates (Proverbs 6)—are widespread in the land. If the voice of Abel’s blood cried out to God from the soil on which his brother had shed it (Genesis 4:10), the blood of millions of babies shrieking and screaming to God must be deafening.
If you care what God thinks, I urge you to read Exodus 21:22-25, Ecclesiastes 11:5, Psalm 139:13-16, Isaiah 49:1, Jeremiah 1:4-5, Zechariah 12:1, and Galatians 1:15. Read the three phases of human life in Hosea 9:11—conception, pregnancy, and birth. Read where God used the same word (brephos) to refer to John in his mother’s womb, and to refer to the baby Jesus lying in the manger (Luke 1:39-45; 2:12,16). God also used “son” to refer to John in utero (Luke 1:36). Read what is essentially an ancient description of the heinous practice of partial-birth abortion in Exodus 1:15-22. Read about God’s outrage at the Israelites for sacrificing their children to pagan deities—a reprehensible act that never entered God’s mind to enjoin (Jeremiah 19:5; 32:35). The Bible clearly teaches that God possesses personal regard for human life from the moment of conception. Our own medical science verifies the same thing. Samuel Armas was a 21-week, unborn baby when doctors at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee performed spina bifida surgery on him while he was still in his mother’s womb. During the surgery, his little hand flopped out of the incision opening and rested on the doctor’s fingers. Eyewitness photo journalist Michael Clancey insists that Samuel’s fingers gripped the doctor’s finger (see Clancey, 2001). In any case, Samuel was born 15 weeks later. Nothing about his exit from his mother’s body, suddenly transformed him from a nonhuman into a human. He was a human throughout his pre-birth circumstance (see Lyons, 2007; Imbody, 2003; Solenni, 2003).
A terrible and tragic inconsistency and incongruity exists in America. Merely taking possession of an egg containing the pre-born American bald eagle—let alone if one were to destroy that little pre-birth environment and thus destroy the baby eagle that is developing within—results in a stiff fine and even prison time. Yet one can take a human child in its pre-born environment and not only murder that child, but also receive government blessing to do so! Eagle eggs, i.e., pre-born eagles, are of greater value to American civilization than pre-born humans (see Miller, 2004)! What has happened to our society? This state of affairs cannot be harmonized in a consistent, rational fashion. The ethics and moral sensibilities that underlie this circumstance are absolutely bizarre (Miller, “Abortion and...,” 2003).
The combined population of the above red states is equivalent to the number of reported abortions in America since 1973.
The number of known abortions in America since 1973 is nearing 50 million—approximately 50 times more than all Americans lost in all of our wars. That figure is staggering, if not incomprehensible, to the human mind. That figure constitutes essentially one-sixth of the present U.S. population. If we awoke in the morning to face the terrifying news that terrorists had detonated nuclear devices in major urban areas, that resulted in the death of 50 million Americans, we would be shocked, panic-stricken, and heartsick. Or, imagine a deadly virus released by unconscionable terrorists that wiped out the populations of the above red states. Yet, Americans have tolerated the wholesale slaughter of that many of its children—entire generations of young people who will never see the light of day. I wonder if one of those would have found the cure for cancer. What untold potential and productivity has been snuffed out by a calloused, cruel, self-centered people! At least the pagans of antiquity killed their children for religious purposes, thinking they were pleasing a higher authority. We do it mostly forconvenience—to evade the consequences of the sexual anarchy that runs rampant across our civilization.
The ethical disharmony and moral confusion that reign in our society have escalated the activity of criminals who commit a variety of heinous crimes—from murdering and maiming fellow citizens on a daily basis, to raping women and molesting children. Yet, a sizeable portion of society is against capital punishment. Many people feel that these wicked adults, who have engaged in destructive conduct, should not be executed (a viewpoint that flies directly in the face of what the Founders believed and what the Bible teaches [Romans 13:1-6; 1 Peter 2:13-14], since God wants evildoers in society to be punished—even to the point of capital punishment). So we rarely execute guilty, hardened criminals. But we daily execute innocent human babies! How can one possibly accept this terrible disparity, the horrible scourge of abortion? The latest polls verify our deteriorating morality. AnABC News/Washington Post Poll conducted in June of 2008, reveals that 53% of adult Americans believe that abortion should be legal in all or most cases, while a May 2008 Gallup poll found that 82% believe that abortion should be legal under any or certain circumstances, with only 17% maintaining that abortion should be illegal under all circumstances (see “Abortion and Birth Control”). The nation has embraced moral insanity. Abortion is a glaring manifestation of the expulsion of God from American culture. Mark it down: THE GOD OF THE BIBLE WILL NOT ALLOW THIS MONSTROUS ATROCITY TO GO UNCHALLENGED AND UNPUNISHED.
As if killing the unborn were not enough to condemn a civilization to eternal punishment, America is experiencing another horror of seismic proportions. Charles Haynes, a senior scholar at the First Amendment Center in Arlington, Virginia, commented on the issue of gay rights in the face of a nationwide contest over religious and civil rights: “Everyone’s talking about it, thinking about it. There are a lot of different ideas about where we are going to end up, but everyone thinks it is the battle of our times” (as quoted in Gallagher, 11, 2006; cf. Haynes, 2006). A sobering realization. Think of it: the battle of our times. Of those living today in America who were alive 50 years ago, few could have imagined, let alone predicted, that homosexuality would encroach on our culture as it has. In fact, it would have been unthinkable. The rapidity with which homosexual activists continue successfully to bully the nation to normalize what once was universally considered abnormal is astonishing. And toleration has not satisfied them. Allowing their views to be taught in public schools has not appeased them. No, they insist that societal endorsement extend to redefining marriage to include same-sex couples.
A pernicious plague of sexual insanity is creeping insidiously through American civilization. Far more deadly than the external threat of terrorism, or even the inevitable dilution of traditional American values caused by the infiltration of illegal immigrants and the influx of those who do not share the Christian worldview, this domino effect will ultimately end in the moral implosion of America. Indeed, America is being held captive by moral terrorists. The social engineers of “political correctness” have been working overtime for decades to restructure public morality. In 1973, the American Psychiatric Association deleted homosexuality from its official nomenclature of mental disorders, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), and the American Psychological Association followed suit in 1975 (see “Gay and Lesbian...,” 2002; Herek, 2002). Large corporations and businesses across the country have been subjecting their employees to mass propaganda under the guise of “sensitivity training.”
Among those who are attempting to coerce the country into altering its longstanding code of Christian moral values are activist judges. Their tortured interpretation of constitutional law demonstrates that they have no respect for God, existing laws, America’s history, or the will of the people. Instead, they apparently see themselves as qualified social architects to redefine marriage and morality by usurping their constitutional role and legislating from the bench. They have placed themselves at odds with the history of Western civilization. With no regard for American legal history and the body of constitutional law that has remained largely intact from the beginning of the nation until the mid-20th century, they essentially have brushed aside over 150 years of American judicial history with a flippant wave of the hand. They are literally restructuring the American moral landscape with an unflinching vengeance that is undaunted by the widespread national outrage to the contrary. Those who characterized governmental control and Christian morality in the 1960s as equivalent to Orwell’s “Big Brother” are now living a self-fulfilled prophecy—they are “Big Brother.”
These judicial junkies are aided by politicians from the left coast to the east coast, who have taken it upon themselves to issue marriage licenses for homosexual partners. Additionally, the public school system is being transformed into an incubator for nurturing the next generation of Americans, breaking down any resistance toward the impropriety of homosexuality that they might otherwise have had. These developments were inevitable in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s historically and constitutionally unprecedented elimination of state sodomy laws (Lawrence..., 2003). The high court’s decision was a reversal of its 1986 decision that upheld State sodomy laws and reinforced the historic stance that homosexuality is not a constitutional right (see Bowers...). What’s more, no bona fide scientific evidence exists to demonstrate any genetic cause of homosexuality—even as no genuine genetic linkage will ever be forthcoming to legitimize pedophilia, bestiality, polygamy, or incest (Harrub and Miller, 2004, 24:73-79). Indeed, homosexuality is nothing more than a behavioral choice.
The Founders on Homosexuality
The Founding Fathers of these United States would be incredulous, incensed, and outraged. They understood that acceptance of homosexuality would undermine and erode the moral foundations of civilization. Sodomy, the longtime historical term for same-sex relations, was a capital crime under British common law. Sir William Blackstone, British attorney, jurist, law professor, and political philosopher, authored his monumental Commentaries on the Laws of England from 1765-1769. These commentaries became the premiere legal source admired and used by America’s Founding Fathers. In “Book the Fourth, Chapter the Fifteenth,” “Of Offences Against the Persons of Individuals,” Blackstone stated:
IV. WHAT has been here observed..., which ought to be the more clear in proportion as the crime is the more detestable, may be applied to another offence, of a still deeper malignity; the infamous crime against nature, committed either with man or beast.... But it is an offence of so dark a nature...that the accusation should be clearly made out....I WILL not act so disagreeable part, to my readers as well as myself, as to dwell any longer upon a subject, the very mention of which is a disgrace to human nature. It will be more eligible to imitate in this respect the delicacy of our English law, which treats it, in its very indictments, as a crime not fit to be named; peccatum illud horribile, inter chriftianos non nominandum [“that horrible sin not to be named among Christians”—DM]. A taciturnity observed likewise by the edict of Constantius and Constans: ubi fcelus eft id, quod non proficit fcire, jubemus infurgere leges, armari jura gladio ultore, ut exquifitis poenis fubdantur infames, qui funt, vel qui futuri funt, rei [“When that crime is found, which is not profitable to know, we order the law to bring forth, to provide justice by force of arms with an avenging sword, that the infamous men be subjected to the due punishment, those who are found, or those who future will be found, in the deed”—DM]. Which leads me to add a work concerning its punishment.THIS the voice of nature and of reason, and the express law of God, determine to becapital. Of which we have a signal instance, long before the Jewish dispensation, by the destruction of two cities by fire from heaven: so that this is an universal, not merely a provincial, precept. And our ancient law in some degree imitated this punishment, bycommanding such miscreants to be burnt to death; though Fleta says they should beburied alive: either of which punishments was indifferently used for this crime among the ancient Goths. But now the general punishment of all felonies is the fame, namely, by hanging: and this offence (being in the times of popery only subject to ecclesiastical censures) was made single felony by the statute 25 Hen. VIII. c. 6. and felony without benefit of clergy by statute 5 Eliz. c. 17. And the rule of law herein is, that, if both are arrived at years of discretion, agentes et confentientes pari poena plectantur [“advocates and conspirators should be punished with like punishment”—DM] (1769, 4.15.215-216, emp. added).
Here was the law of England—common law—under which Americans lived prior to achieving independence. That law did not change after gaining independence. To say the least, such thinking is hardly “politically correct” by today’s standards.
How many Americans realize that while 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:
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).
|Click images to enlarge|
Images courtesy of Library of Congress, Manuscript Division
Observe that the Father of our country viewed “sodomy” (the 18th-century word for homosexual relations) “with Abhorrence and Detestation.”
Homosexuality was treated as a criminal offense in all of the original 13 colonies, and eventually every one of the 50 states (see Robinson, 2003; “Sodomy Laws...,” 2003). Severe penalties were invoked for those who engaged in homosexuality. In fact, few Americans know that the penalty for homosexuality in several states was death—including New York, Vermont, Connecticut, and South Carolina (Barton, 2000, pp. 306,482). Most people nowadays would be shocked to learn that Thomas Jefferson advocated “dismemberment” as the penalty for homosexuality in his home state of Virginia, and even authored a bill to that effect (1781, Query 14; cf. 1903, 1:226-227).
Where did the Founding Fathers and early American citizenry derive their views on homosexuality? The historically unequivocal answer is—the Bible. “Traditional” (i.e., biblical) marriage in this country has always been between a man and a woman. In the words of Jesus: “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?” (Matthew 19:4-5, emp. added). He was merely quoting the statement made by God regarding His creation of the first man and woman (Genesis 1:27; 2:24). God created Adam and Eve—not Adam and Steve, or Eve and Ellen. And throughout the rest of biblical history, God’s attitude toward same-sex relations remained the same (Miller, et al., 2003).
In the greater scheme of human history, as civilizations have proceeded down the usual pathway of moral deterioration and eventual demise, the acceptance of same-sex relations has typically triggered the final stages of impending social implosion. America is being brought to the very brink of moral destruction. God’s warning to the Israelites regarding their own ability to sustain their national existence in the Promised Land is equally apropos for America:
You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination.... Do not defile yourselves with any of these things; for by all these the nations are defiled, which I am casting out before you. For the land is defiled; therefore I visit the punishment of its iniquity upon it, and the land vomits out its inhabitants. You shall therefore keep My statutes and My judgments, and shall not commit any of these abominations...lest the land vomit you out also when you defile it, as it vomited out the nations that were before you (Leviticus 18:22-28, emp. added).
Mark this down, too: THE GOD OF THE BIBLE WILL NOT ALLOW THE ABOMINATION OF HOMOSEXUALITY TO GO UNCHALLENGED AND UNPUNISHED. Unless something is done to stop the moral degeneration, America would do well to prepare for the inevitable, divine expulsion.
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