"GOSPEL PREACHING IN THE FIRST CENTURY" Peter In The Home Of Cornelius INTRODUCTION 1. Thus far we have considered four examples of gospel preaching in the first century... a. Peter on the day of Pentecost c. Philip in the city of Samaria b. Peter at Solomon’s porch d. Philip in the Gaza desert 2. The gospel preaching in each case followed a similar pattern... a. Proclaiming the death, burial, resurrection and lordship of Jesus Christ b. Calling for a response involving faith, repentance and baptism [Till now, the gospel was shared only to Jews or those closely related (Samaritans). Jesus intended His gospel to be proclaimed to all nations (Mt 28:19; Mk 16:15), and now we consider the example of the first Gentile (non-Jew) who was given the gospel message...] I. THE SETTING A. CORNELIUS HAS A VISION... 1. Cornelius, a centurion, is introduced as very religious - Ac 10:1-2 2. In a vision an angel appears to him - Ac 10:3-6 a. With an announcement that his prayers and alms have been noticed by God b. With instructions to send for Peter; please note: 1) The angel said, "He will tell you what you must do." - Ac 10:6 2) As Peter recounts it, "...who will tell you words by which you and all your household will be saved." - Ac 11:14 3. Cornelius then sends two servants and a devout soldier to Peter - Ac 10:7-8 B. PETER HAS A VISION... 1. While the three men are traveling toward Peter, he has a vision - Ac 10:9-16; 11:4-10 a. A sheet descending from heaven, containing all sorts of creatures b. A voice tells Peter to "kill and eat" c. Peter objects, for he has never eaten anything common or unclean d. He is told, "What God has cleansed you must not call common." 2. Three times the vision is repeated C. THE SPIRIT INSTRUCTS PETER... 1. The men from Cornelius arrive as Peter contemplates the vision - Ac 10:17-18; 11:11 2. The Spirit tells Peter to go, "doubting nothing, for I have sent them" - Ac 10:19-20; 11:12 3. Peter receives the men and takes six with him as they go to Cornelius - Ac 10:21-23; 11:12 D. PETER ARRIVES AT CORNELIUS’ HOUSE... 1. Cornelius has gathered his family and close friends - Ac 10:24 2. Peter deflects attempts by Cornelius to worship him - Ac 10:25-26 3. Peter explains his presence a violation of Jewish custom, but now understands "I should not call any man common or unclean" - Ac 10:27-28 4. Asked by Peter to explain why he was called, Cornelius recounts the appearance and instructions of the angel - Ac 10:29-32; 11:13-14 5. Cornelius and his household were ready "to hear all things commanded you by God" - Ac 10:33 [Similar to Acts 2, miraculous events prepared both the preacher and his audience for "things commanded...by God" (Ac 10:33) and "words by which you...will be saved" (Ac 11:14)...] II. THE SERMON A. PETER PROCLAIMS GOD... 1. He begins with a full perception that God shows no partiality - Ac 10:34-35 2. A perception started with the vision of the sheet and unclean beasts 3. A perception continued with the Spirit’s instruction to go with the messengers 4. A perception confirmed with the Spirit falling upon the Gentiles - Ac 10:44-47; 11:15-17 B. PETER PROCLAIMS JESUS... 1. As Lord who was anointed with the Holy Spirit and power - Ac 10:36-38 2. Who was killed, raised from the dead, seen by witnesses who knew Him well - Ac 10:39-41 3. Who has commanded the apostles to proclaim Him as ordained by God to be the Judge of the living and dead - Ac 10:42 4. Through Whom remission of sins is offered to those who believe - Ac 10:43 C. PETER PROCLAIMS BAPTISM... 1. After the Spirit fell upon Cornelius and his household - Ac 10:44-46 2. The purpose of which was to show Peter and his fellow Jews that Gentiles could be recipients of the gospel and saved in the same way - cf. Ac 10:45; 11:17-18; 15:7-11 3. How then could anyone forbid water to those who had received the Spirit just as the apostles did? - Ac 10:47; 2:1-4 4. So Cornelius and his household were commanded to be baptized in the name of the Lord - Ac 10:48; 2:38 CONCLUSION 1. Once again, preaching the gospel followed the pattern seen before... a. Proclaiming the death, burial, resurrection, and lordship of Jesus Christ b. Calling for a response involving faith and baptism 2. Of course, other important observations can be made... a. Religious people need to be saved (it is Jesus’ blood that saves, not religion per se!) b. The gospel is for everyone, for God desires all men to be saved - cf. 1Ti 2:3-6; 2Pe 3:9 c. The gospel requires of all the same response: faith and baptism - cf. Mk 16:16; Ac 15:11 How about you? You may be a good moral person, religious, even like Cornelius; but without Jesus there is no hope of salvation (cf. Jn 8:24; 14:6). Have you received the remission of sins through an obedient faith in Jesus Christ? Are you ready to stand before the One ordained to be the Judge of the living and the dead (Ac 10:42)...?
The Claim of Inspiration
|by||Eric Lyons, M.Min.|
Do biblical claims of divine inspiration really mean anything? Should we stress the fact that thousands of times in the Bible a person can find sentences prefaced by the words “God said…” or “Thus said the Lord God…”? Recently I received a letter that read: “To say that ‘all scripture is by inspiration of God’ is pointless double-speak that proves nothing!” Is this an accurate statement?
Admittedly, the mere claim that a certain document is inspired of God does not mean He actually inspired it. If a person attempts to defend the inspiration of the Bible solely on the premise that the Bible claims inspiration, likely his efforts to convince an unbeliever will fail. Simply because a particular book claims to be from God does not mean that it is from God. However, to say that the claim of inspiration “is pointless double-speak” greatly diminishes the importance of such a claim.
The fact is, the claim of inspiration at the hand of God is extremely rare. Many books assert special importance, while others claim to be a kind of “creed book.” But, as Kenny Barfield noted in his book,Why the Bible is Number 1, only seven documents exist in the whole world that openly claim divine inspiration (1997, p. 186). Sadly, misguided devotees of various religions clamor about, defending books and various writings as allegedly being “inspired of God” when, in fact, the books themselves do not even make such a claim. Take for instance, the many Hindu writings. Of their six most notable “sacred” texts, including the Vedas, the Laws of Manu, and the Puranas, only the section of the Vedas known as the Rig Veda claims inspiration. Similarly, the Christian Science group has led many to believe that the writings of Mary Baker Eddy are inspired. Yet, even though her writings claim special importance, they never openly claim divine inspiration (Barfield, p. 186). Why would anyone want to follow a creed book and claim it is from God when the book itself does not even make such a claim?
I repeat: the claim of inspiration at the hand of God is extremely rare. For this reason, one of the best places to begin a Bible study with someone concerning the Bible’s divine origin is with these claims of divine inspiration (cf. 2 Samuel 23:2; Acts 1:16; 2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:20-21; etc.). Such claims are only “pointless double-speak” if we never continue to give evidence proving that the Bible truly is a book from Almighty God.
Are there other books in the world that claim inspiration? Yes, but they are few and far between. And none of them exhibits such amazing qualities as the predictive prophecy and scientific foreknowledge that can be found in the Bible. Furthermore, the unity of the Bible and its accurate historical documentation of biblical people, places, and events is unparalleled in human history and bears testimony to the fact that the very existence of the Holy Scriptures cannot be explained in any other way except to acknowledge that they are the result of an overriding, superintending, guiding Mind.
Barfield, Kenny (1997), Why the Bible is Number 1 (Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock Publishers)
Morphing Flight: Beyond Irreducible Complexity
|by||Jerry Fausz, Ph.D.|
[EDITOR’S NOTE: A.P. auxillary staff scientist Dr. Fausz holds a Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering from Georgia Tech.]
Researchers and observers have long recognized that birds and various other flying creatures change the positioning of their body structures in flight in order to perform specific maneuvers or adjust their aerodynamic profile to accommodate changing flight conditions. This adaptive orientation of body shape has been dubbed “morphing” in the popular literature. The words “morph” and “morphing” are actually digressive forms of the word “metamorphosis,” which derives from the Greek “meta” (to change) and “morfe” (form). This is an apt description of the ability that birds possess to change the form or geometry of their bodies for increased maneuverability, as well as for stable flight in a wide variety of ambient conditions.
This eagle is pulling its feet against its body to reduce aerodynamic drag. Note also the craning of the wings (normally used to slow descent speed) and the spreading of the wing feathers to break up wing tips vortices that increase drag.
This capability has always been respected and often mimicked by aircraft engineers to the extent that it has been technologically possible to do so. Furthermore, bird observations have often inspired technological advancement in aircraft design and development. The Wright brothers incorporated morphing into their first successfully powered aircraft design. In a letter, Wilbur Wright described the biological observation that was the basis for this morphing design:
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 (Wright, 1900, Image 4).
Consequently, the Wright brothers designed their first aircraft to be able to “twist” its wings for lateral stability and control, mimicking bird capability. Another well-known example of morphing in aircraft design is retractable landing gear which serves the same purpose for aircraft as when a bird pulls its feet up to its body in flight. That is, this type of morphing dramatically decreases aerodynamic drag which, in turn, increases energy efficiency for the bird of prey—which translates to fuel efficiency in aircraft. Additional “low-tech” examples of morphing include movable control surfaces used to impart forces and torques on the aircraft for maneuvering and stability, wing “slats,” “slots,” and “flaps” that extend to change the shape of the wing, providing higher lift at lower speeds for takeoff and landing, and variable “sweep” wings that allow aircraft to fly efficiently at dramatically differing flight speeds, such as in transitioning from subsonic to supersonic flight. In contrast with these examples of “low tech” morphing designs of the past, a morphing aircraft has been defined as “one that utilizes innovative actuators, effectors, or mechanisms to adapt its state substantially in order to enhance behavior and performance in addressing multiple environments” (Love, et al., 2007, emp. added). These past examples of morphing technologies were certainly innovative in their time, but are now fairly commonplace—not even considered “morphing” by some.
Nonetheless, research in new innovation for morphing aircraft is once again looking to birds for inspiration and guidance. NASA Administrator Dan Goldin stated:
NASA will open the door to a bold and revolutionary era by using technology to mimic nature. The seemingly effortless flight of birds provides the inspiration for new aircraft utilizing wings that reconfigure in flight. The vehicle changes—or morphs—from a low-speed configuration to one more suited for high speed (as quoted in Levine, 2001).
NASA is not the only organization actively pursuing aircraft morphing technology, however. A recentarticle described an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) currently under development, called “Roboswift” as “a small, remote-controlled aircraft that changes shape to mimic the aerodynamic profile of a swift” (Simonite, 2008). A researcher at the University of Florida, also studying morphing technology for UAVs, commented:
Despite the past century of innovation in aircraft technology, the versatility of modern aircraft remains far worse than airborne biological counterparts. The shape changing accomplished by birds and bats in flight stands as one of the few examples of true morphing. As such, the aircraft community is devoting considerable attention to the study of biological systems and how they might be implemented on a flight vehicle (Abdulrahim, 2005, emp. added).
Clearly, research in aircraft technology and design continues to draw ideas and inspiration fromnature’s flyers. It is also clear that our technical capabilities seriously lag behind their naturalabilities.
In spite of the fact that aerospace researchers have birds and other flying creatures to show them “how it’s done,” morphing aircraft design poses some very daunting technical challenges. This fact was discussed in an article describing the Morphing Aircraft Structures (MAS) project being carried out by the Lockheed Martin company with funding from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA):
Morphing technology development requires integrated research in materials, smart structures, multi-functional airframe, and adaptive control. It is necessary to evaluate these constitutive technologies in a morphing vehicle to establish requirements and assure readiness for technology implementation (Love, et al., 2007).
Another research team, funded by the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) and Northrup Grumman, further stated: “Significant design challenges require advances in smart structures and materials (skins), actuation and power distribution, and feedback control of the morphing structure” (Ghandi, et al., 2007). The implication here is that morphing design is highly multi-disciplinary (structures, aerodynamics, control, etc.) and that all of these areas require additional research before the technology readiness level will be sufficient to actually build a true morphing aircraft. These examples only scratch the surface of the extreme levels of government funding and human resources that have gone into morphing aircraft research, yet there is still much work that must be done before a viable design can be realized, mainly due to the multi-disciplinary nature of the problem.
Given the substantial resources that have been poured into morphing aircraft research without yet achieving the final objective, it seems inconceivable that researchers would look at their biological inspiration and assume that the capabilities they are striving to emulate were derived from an unprompted, undirected natural process. That is, however, what often occurs. Consider what one evolutionist insisted:
This provides a cautionary note for those pursuing biomimicry, direct replication of biological features: essential aspects of those biological features may be driven by secondary characteristics or functions unrelated to the features’ primary functions. The bat wing, with all of its elegant modifications for flight, is an obvious example. It is derived from a typical vertebrate forelimb with all of the associated musculature, skeletal, and neuronal architectural characteristics that were originally developed for terrestrial or aboreal locomotion. That is, it was not designed for propulsive flight a priori as an engineered device might be, but was modified from other structures that originated for other functions (Evers, 2007, p. 10).
Dr. Evers issued a warning here to all those engaged in morphing aircraft research that are proceeding from the perspective of biomimicry (copying nature)—that they may be in fact designing structures that are not optimally suited to their purpose because they are copying from organic structures that, presumably, were not designed for the purpose they serve. Note, however, that Dr. Evers states that the bat wing was “modified from other structures that originated for other functions” (p. 10, emp. added). One might wonder how the bat wing “was not designed for propulsive flight a priori,” but the “typical vertebrate forelimb,” from which it supposedly derived, “originated for other functions.” This type of “doublespeak” is not uncommon, however, in Darwinist writings, and it belies an underlying difficulty with Darwinian thought. Nature’s machines are so good at what they do that it is difficult for even die-hard Darwinists to accept that they all arose as a result of an undirected process even while arguing that they did.
Dr. Evers’ comments also illustrate how Darwinists will often focus on the structural aspects of animal functionality when comparing characteristics of different animals. As we have already noted here, however, morphing flight is an example of a capability that involves so much more than just the structural configurations that give animals such as bats, birds and butterflies the ability to fly. Indeed, morphing flight is a highly multi-disciplinary skill. The different disciplinary facets of morphing may be broken down as follows:
Flying creatures and machines must be able to detect or sense the condition of the atmosphere around them, as well as their own position and structural configuration, in order to be able to carry out the activity of flying in a given environment. Examples of the types of data that must be gathered include air speed, altitude, air pressure, position relative to other objects, and the position and shape of their wings at each moment (especially true if morphing is being employed). This capability can involve highly specialized sensors in aircraft such as angular rate gyros for measuring orientation, and ports along the wing for measuring air pressure. Flying animals are able to make use of typical animal sensing capabilities such as vision, hearing, and smell, but must also rely on some very special sensor systems. Examples of these special sensors in animals include echo-location in bats (Colley, 2004), a bird’s ability to sense linear and angular acceleration with its ears (Pennycuick, 2008, p. 307), and highly sensitive hair-like mechanoreceptors that allow insects to sense the approach of potential predators (Vaidyanathan, et.al., 2001). It has even been suggested, in recent research, that birds can sense the magnetic field of the Earth, providing valuable information for navigation (Brahic, 2008).
The sensor inputs from eyes, ears, etc., as well as specialized sensor systems, must be integrated and processed in the brain for biological flyers, or alternatively, the flight computer if one is considering the sensor systems of flying machines. The processing that must be carried out includes specialized algorithms for flight stability, guidance, navigation, and control. Flight stability is arguably the most important of these functions, since without stability it is impossible to remain in flight, and lack of stability in flying can easily lead to tragic results. In aircraft, flight stability algorithms are executed at the highest possible processing speeds and given top priority for processor usage. Guidance is the function that determines, to the highest possible accuracy, where the flyer is currently located, particularly with respect to where it needs to go. On the other hand, navigation compares guidance information with known geographical waypoints to compute the “best” course for the flyer to follow to end up where the guidance function wants it to go. The control function takes guidance and navigation information and generates commands for the actuation system to steer the flyer along the computed course. In biological flyers, these commands are electrical impulses from the brain that stimulate specific muscles and organs. In aircraft, the commands are also electrical signals that activate electric motors or trigger hydraulic actuation. Given the computational requirements of flight locomotion, it may not be surprising that the size of a bird’s brain with respect to its body size is, on average, 10 times that of the reptiles with whom they are assumed to share common ancestry (Jerison, 2004).
Morphing flight requires highly specialized structures, but it also requires equally specialized actuators to move and position those structures. The very definition of morphing aircraft, given previously, describes an aircraft that “utilizes innovative actuators, effectors, or mechanisms” (Love, et al., 2004). Natural flyers, as well, require a specialized skeletal structure and attached musculature to perform their amazing feats of aerial acrobatics. Mujahid Abdulrahim discussed the wing craning actuator on his morphing aircraft design and the specialized bird structure that it was modeled after:
The wing craning (gull-wing) mechanism is loosely modeled after a set of parallel bones connecting the shoulder and elbow joints of a bird wing. A rotation of the shoulder joint in the vertical plane results in an extension or contraction of the entire wing. The skeletal mechanism provides a geometric ratio between the extension of the inner and outer bones. Such a mechanism allows the bird to morph into a variety of positions using a single movement. Each of the positions is largely stable and affords a unique capability within the flight envelope (2005).
The specialization of this “skeletal mechanism” for morphing flight is clearly illustrated in this narrative, and the muscles that actuate these motions would be expected also to be specialized for the task in their attachments to the skeletal structure, as well as their configuration.
So, each of these “subsystems” require specialized components to fulfill their part in enabling the wonders of morphing flight. The manner in which these subsystems interact, however, is equally critical to the success of morphing in providing a positive contribution to flight capability. The sensory outputs have to provide specific information to be useful for stability, guidance and navigation, and the computational capability has to have sufficient processing capacity and be “wired” in such a way as to operate effectively on that information. Similarly, the computation function has to possess information about actuator configuration and dynamics in order to output appropriate command signals to achieve the objective of flight stability and to successfully execute the desired motion in flight. Finally, the actuators have to possess the dynamic range, as well as force and torque magnitudes, to achieve the necessary changes in body shape and position in a timely fashion.
Multiple components of bird anatomy have been studied in the literature with respect to the irreducible complexity they possess regarding the bird’s ability to fly. For example, Matthew Vanhorn discussed the amazing complexity of bird feathers (Vanhorn, 2004), Caleb Colley pointed out how bats use their ears (hearing) for echolocation (2004), and irreducible complexity has been examined in general terms with regard to various components of bird physiology (Fausz, 2008). These discussions of the various elements of bird physiology are compelling irreducible complexity arguments when one considers the specialized requirements of flight systems (cf. Miller, 2006, 5:5-R).
This block diagram illustrates the interconnection and interdependence of the major subsystems involved in achieving advanced flight capability.
When these physical components are considered in a system context, however, the arguments of irreducible complexity are taken to a whole new level. As discussed, the bird’s brain must have sufficient capacity to carry out the required computations, but this capacity is useless for flight without the required sensor information or the appropriate actuation systems for carrying out the computed commands. Likewise, without the necessary brain capacity the specialized sensing and actuation components would serve no purpose, and would likely be detrimental to survival. Useful flight capability is not possible without flight stability, at a minimum, and this is only possible if the necessary sensor, computer, and actuator components are all in place. Indeed, attempting flight without stability will, with high probability, result in the death of the flyer.
The multi-disciplinary nature of morphing flight has already been discussed, but is further reflected in the following:
To lay the foundation for a truly multi-role aircraft, multidisciplinary research efforts are currently focusing on technologies that enable substantial changes to the wing configuration.... Aerodynamics analysis [sic] (including unsteady and transient aerodynamics) are also important to accurately characterize the vehicle for control surface sizing, engine compatibility, and flight-control design. Despite significant strides to develop wing structure and actuation systems, much work remains to effectively control both the morphing planform as well as the entire morphing aircraft (Ghandi, et al., 2007).
This discussion illustrates that, even in focused research, it is difficult to make sure that all aspects of a significant multi-disciplinary problem are given adequate attention. This is no less true when it comes to biological creatures capable of morphing flight.
The irreducible complexity associated with bird feathers and other components of bird physiology are enough of a challenge to the Darwinian notion of natural selection to render it impractical. However, when one considers the system level implications of morphing flight, and the necessity of simultaneous development of multiple combinations of these physical components, natural selection as an explanation for morphing flight capability is seen to be absolutely irrational. Furthermore, the difficulty of achieving this capability in flying machines, even with substantial resources focused within a significant research effort, illustrates that birds are the product of, not just design, but of an incredibly capable Designer with an unparalleled understanding of the multi-disciplinary nature of the problem. That Designer, of course, is God, who spoke to Job on this subject:
Does the hawk fly by your wisdom,
and spread its wings toward the south?
Does the eagle mount up at your
command, and make its nest on high?
On the rocks it dwells and resides,
on the crag of the rock and the stronghold.
From there it spies out the prey; its
eyes observe from afar (Job 39:26-29).
Here God describes the computational capability inherent in a hawk flying by “wisdom” and an eagle by “command.” He also indicates the tremendous acuity of the eagle’s eyes for sensing prey, as well as several other facts about the behavior of these birds. Truly, only an omniscient, omnipotent God would possess this knowledge and the ability to apply it in such wondrous works of design and creation. Few birds have more impressive morphing flight capability than birds of prey, such as hawks and eagles, making them perfect examples of the amazing design ability of the Creator.
Abdulrahim, Mujahid (2005), “Flight Performance Characteristics of a Biologically-Inspired Morphing Aircraft,” 43rd AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting and Exhibit, January 10-13, Reno, NV.
Brahic, Catherine (2008), “Birds Can ‘See’ the Earth’s Magnetic Field,” New Scientist, [On-line], URL:http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn13811-birds-can-see-the-earths-magnetic-field.html.
Colley, Caleb (2004), “Bat ‘Vision’,” Apologetics Press, [On-line], URL:http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/2633.
Evers, J.H. (2007), “Biological Inspiration for Agile Autonomous Air Vehicles,” Platform Innovations and System Integration for Unmanned Air, Land and Sea Vehicles (AVT-SCI Joint Symposium). Meeting Proceedings RTO-MP-AVT-146, Paper 15: 1-14. Neuilly-sur-Seine, France: RTO, [On-line],URL: http://www.rto.nato.int/abstracts.asp.
Fausz, Jerry (2008), “Designed to Fly,” Reason and Revelation, 28:9-15, February, [On-line], URL:http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/3599.
Ghandi, N., Jha, A., Monaco, J., Seigler, T.M., Ward, D. and Inman, D.J. (2007), “Intelligent Control of a Morphing Aircraft,” 48th AIAA/ASME/ASCE/AHS/ASC Structures, Structural Dynamics, and Materials Conference, April 23-26, Honolulu, Hawaii.
Jerison, Harry J. (2004), “Dinosaur Brains,” Encyclopedia of Neuroscience (CDROM: Elsevier), third edition.
Levine, Jay (2001), “The Morphing Aircraft,” The Dryden X-Press, NASA Dryden Flight Research Center, [On-line], URL: http://www.dfrc.nasa.gov/Newsroom/X-Press/stories/043001/new_morph.html.
Love, M.H., Zink, P.S., Stroud, R.L., Bye, D.R., Rizk, S. and White, D. (2007), “Demonstration of Morphing Technology through Ground and Wind Tunnel Tests,” 48th AIAA/ASME/ASCE/AHS/ASCStructures, Structural Dynamics, and Materials Conference, April 23-26, Honolulu, Hawaii.
Miller, Dave (2006), “Bee Flight Physics,” Reason & Revelation, 5:5-R, February, [On-line], URL:http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/2839.
Pennycuick, Colin J. (2008), Modelling the Flying Bird (San Diego, CA: Academic Press), first edition.
Simonite, Tom (2008), “Morphing Aircraft Mimics a Bird on the Wing,” New Scientist, March 6, [On-line], URL: http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn13419-morphing-aircraft-mimics-a-bird-on-the-wing.html.
Vaidyanathan, Ravi, Roger D. Quinn, Roy E. Ritzmann, and Troy S. Prince (2001), “An Insect-Inspired Endgame Targeting Reflex for Autonomous Munitions,” International Conference on Intelligence Robots and Systems, October, 2001, Wailea, Hawaii.
Vanhorn, Matthew (2004), “Words of a Feather,” Apologetics Press, [On-line], URL:http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/2610.
Wright, Wilbur (1900), “Letter to Octave Chanute,” The Wilbur and Orville Wright Papers, May 13, Library of Congress, [On-line], URL: http://tinyurl.com/ybropwa.
Did the Ancients Base Their Dinosaur Drawings on Fossils?
|by||Eric Lyons, M.Min.|
The presence of antiquated dinosaur carvings, figurines, paintings, etc. around the world leaves no doubt that the ancients knew what dinosaurs looked like long before man began excavating dinosaur bones and reconstructing their skeletons in modern times. Creationists believe that the ancients’ illustrations of dinosaurs serve as one of the proofs (along with the Bible and history; see Lyons, 2001; Lyons, 2007a; Lyons, 2007b) that dinosaurs and humans previously cohabited Earth. Some have suggested, however, that people living hundreds or thousands of years ago may have simply drawn pictures of dinosaurs based upon fossils they found in rocks. Similar to how modern man creates illustrations, recreations, and CGI movies of dinosaurs based upon the fossil record, ancient man supposedly did the same thing. Is this conclusion reasonable in light of the available evidence?
There actually are several lines of reasoning against interpreting the worldwide, antiquated dinosaur carvings as artwork made only from dinosaur fossils. First, unlike dinosaur drawings made in the 21stcentury, the dinosaur petroglyphs (carvings), pictographs (paintings), and figurines of antiquity are deeply embedded in a historical context of men living with dinosaur-like reptilian creatures often called dragons (see Lyons, 2007a). If there were no stories or references from history of men living and interacting with dinosaurs, the ancient dinosaur artwork would be less impressive testimony for the coexistence of dinosaurs and humans. If the setting of the world thousands of years ago was like today (where men excavate dinosaur bones, reconstruct them, and attempt to draw what they believe the creatures once looked like), then certainly the ancient artwork would be interpreted very differently. However, the historical context of hundreds and thousands of years ago was exactly the opposite of what it is today in reference to dinosaurs. History records how people all over the world told stories of living with “dragons” (i.e., dinosaurs; see Lyons, 2007a).
The evidence [for dragons/dinosaurs—EL] is not confined to works of natural history and literature but appears in everyday chronicles of events.... And such eyewitness accounts are not derived from hearsay or anonymous rumor; they were set down by people of some standing, by kings and knights, monks and archbishops, scholars and saints (Hogarth and Clery, 1979, pp. 13-14).
If this world continues for another 1,000 years, historians in A.D. 3000 should be able to distinguish between humans drawing pictures (or making movies) of dinosaurs in A.D. 2000 (which history would clearly indicate were based on fossil reconstructions and not cohabitation with dinosaurs), and those who made dinosaur art in A.D. 500 (and professed to live with dinosaurs).
Second, we know according to the Bible that only a few thousand years ago, man lived with one animal that had bones “like beams of bronze,” “ribs like bars of iron” (Job 40:18), and that moved its tail “like a cedar” (40:17). Another real dinosaur/dragon-like animal on Earth in Job’s day had “terrible teeth” (41:14), a powerful neck (41:22), and could breathe fire and smoke (41:18-21). What’s more, if God made “the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them” during the six days of Creation (Exodus 20:11), man obviously lived with dinosaurs, as well as every other animal that has since become extinct. Thus, ancient dinosaur artwork based on living dinosaurs agrees with both history and the Bible.
Third, locating, excavating, reassembling, and illustrating dinosaur fossils is an extremely painstaking, complex, time-consuming process. We know of no evidence of the ancient people around the world excavating dinosaur fossils, reconstructing their skeletons, and then drawing them accurately, as scientists carefully attempt to do in the 21st century. Modern-day illustrations of dinosaurs are not done simply by illustrators going to a fossil bed and drawing what they think the dinosaur looked like. Most of the dinosaur bones discovered around the world are not even articulated (aligned in the same arrangement as in real life). According to James Powell, director of the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History, “in spite of the intense popular and scientific interest in the dinosaurs and the well-publicized efforts of generations of dinosaur hunters, only about 2,100 articulated dinosaur bones” exist in museums around the world (1998, p. xv, emp. added; see also Dodson, 1990, 87:7608; Lewin, 1990). Scientists have spent billions of dollars over the past 150 years persistently locating and excavating dinosaur fossils, and yet relatively few have been found aligned as they were in life. Furthermore, considering that almost half (45.3%) of all dinosaur genera are based on a singlespecimen, and 74% are represented by five specimens or less (Dodson, 87:7608), the suggestion that the ancients merely saw dinosaur fossils and drew accurate pictures of these animals seems very unreasonable. Furthermore, as previously stated, the historical context of ancient times is not of mendigging up dinosaur bones, imagining what they looked like, and then carving them onto rock; it simply is of men carving what they saw in real life.
Fourth, ancient dinosaur artwork repeatedly is found surrounded by real-life, extant animals. In the Ta Prohm temple near Siem Reap, Cambodia, the Stegosaurus carving is surrounded by animals still alive today, including monkeys, parrots, swans, and water buffalo. At Natural Bridges National Monument in Utah the Apatosaurus-like dinosaur is near a depiction of a human and a wild goat. At the Havasupai Canyon in northern Arizona, the dinosaur-like artwork is on the same wall with an elephant, a human, and an ibex. On Bishop Bell’s tomb in Carlisle, England, long-neck dinosaurs are engraved next to a bird, a pig, a fish, and a dog. The Ica stones of Peru have many other animals besides dinosaurs on them. Contrast these contexts with how modern dinosaur illustrations depict evolutionary, “scientifically accurate” settings: they show so-called “pre-historic” creatures, and not with humans, monkeys, giraffes, bears, or other large mammals, which supposedly evolved millions of years after dinosaurs became extinct. Once again, ancient dinosaur artwork is repeatedly found in a context of coexistence with humans and extant animals.
Fifth, though scientists since the early to mid-1800s have been excavating dinosaur fossils and attempting to reassemble what they think the dinosaurs looked like, so often they have been wrong in their recreations of these animals (see Potter, 2007). For example, Don Patton noted:
When the bones of Iguanodon were discovered in the early 1800’s, scientists had a very poor idea of their appearance in life. By the late 1800’s [nearly 70 years later—EL] the conception had improved considerably. Now we know much more. For example, ossified tendons in the tail indicate that the tail did not droop but stood out straight (n.d., emp. added).
Impressively, this scientifically accurate position is how the Iguanodon-like dinosaur in the Acambaro figurine collection is positioned. Consider also how scientifically accurate the sauropods with dermal spines were depicted in the Ica stone collection. Modern man was unaware that some (many?) sauropod dinosaurs possessed dermal spines, even though scientists had been studying the dinosaur fossils around the world for more than 150 years. This characteristic of sauropods was not learned from the fossil record until 1992. The ancient Peruvians had it right long before 1992: are we to believe they carefully examined, excavated, and reconstructed fossilized sauropod bones and skin—intricate scientific recreations that history simply does not record the ancients performing? Is it not more reasonable to conclude that man once lived with the animals that they illustrated? Modern-day paleontologists have the luxury of researching dinosaur data from all over the world and as far back as the 1820s. Our present knowledge and illustrations of dinosaurs come from their composite research. The ancients had no such comparable science, yet they still depicted dinosaurs accurately. The only logical conclusion is that the ancients actually saw living dinosaurs.
Sixth, although some have supposed that the ancients may have based their illustrations of dinosaurs on the fossil record, even various skeptics have alluded to the improbability of dinosaur art from countries like Peru, Mexico, and England being based on fossils. Evolutionist Adrienne Mayor addressed the figurines from Acambaro, and asked: “Could the reptile figures from Acambaro be amazingly accurate ancient restorations based on observations of dinosaur fossils?” Her answer: “Unlikely: the fossils in the state of Guanajuato belong to Pleistocene mastodons and horses, and not to Mesozoic dinosaurs of 250-65 million years ago” (2005, p. 337). And what about the dinosaurs engraved on the stones from Ica? Could they be based on fossils from around that area? Mayor concluded: “No: the fossil remains of that area are of Oligocene to Pleistocene mammals, with no Cretaceous dinosaur remains” (p. 339). What about the long-neck dinosaur engraved on Bishop Bell’s tomb around A.D. 1500, that even some critics admit looks “more like a quadrupedal dinosaur than any other sort of animal, past or present” (“Bishop Bell’s...,” 2007)? Do skeptics believe Englishmen excavated a long-neck, long-tail dinosaur in the 15th century, without leaving behind any trace or record of their paleontological work, and then had an artist engrave the animal onto Bishop Bell’s tomb? Although skeptics have noted that “[t]his hypothesis...is at least possible,” they admit that it is “whimsical” (“Bishop Bell’s...,” 2007). Whimsical indeed! Statements like these really just show that more people, even evolutionists, are conceding that the ancients knew what dinosaurs looked like.
Seventh, although history does not record the ancients meticulously excavating and reconstructing dinosaur bones, and then accurately drawing how these creatures looked in real life, there are hints throughout history of how prior to modern times people misinterpreted fossils. For example, Dr. Donald DeYoung noted that “in 1677 a large bone was found in England. It was initially attributed to the giant humans described in Genesis 6:4. However, surviving drawings of this bone look similar to a dinosaur femur” (2000, p. 39). Moreover, it has long been thought that the Cyclops legend originated from the Greeks’ discovery of a young, dwarf mammoth skull, which has a nasal cavity in the middle of the skull that the ancients may have mistaken for the creature’s eye socket (cf. “Meet the Original...,” n.d.). No one argues about the ancients’ misinterpretation of various bones and fossils. We simply are curious: where are all of the examples of them accurately finding, identifying, excavating, and reconstructing dinosaur fossils?
Finally, unlike today, when scientists and scientific illustrators often recreate the skeletons of dinosaurs based on the fossil record, the ancients depicted the actual bodies of these creatures. If the ancients’ knowledge of dinosaurs came from the fossil record, we would expect that they, at least occasionally, would have drawn dinosaur skeletons. Instead, we find example after example of dinosaurs as they would be seen in real life—exactly what one would expect to find if the ancients really lived with dinosaurs.
The case for the coexistence of dinosaurs and humans is cumulative. As creationists, we admittedly and unashamedly believe that the coexistence of dinosaurs and humans is based upon what God’s Word teaches about the creation of man and animals (Genesis 1-2; Exodus 20:11). However, the coexistence of dinosaurs and humans is also supported by history (in the form of ubiquitous, antiquated dinosaur stories; see Lyons, 2007a) and physical evidence (in the form of dinosaur artwork that ancients in various countries around the world produced centuries ago). Truly, if man once lived with dinosaurs, such artwork, stories, and biblical testimony would be expected.
“Bishop Bell’s Dinosaurs” (2007), Skepticwiki, June, [On-line], URL:http://skepticwiki.org/index.php/Bishop_Bell’s_Dinosaurs.
DeYoung, Donald (2000), Dinosaurs and Creation (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker).
Dodson, Peter (1990), “Counting Dinosaurs: How Many Kinds Were There?” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 87:7608-7612, October.
Hogarth, Peter and Val Clery (1979), Dragons (New York: Viking Press).
Lewin, Roger (1990), “Science: Dinosaur Count Reveals Surprisingly Few Species,” New Scientist Archive, 128, December, [On-line], URL:http://archive.newscientist.com/secure/article/article.jsp?rp=1&id=mg 12817452.700.
Lyons, Eric (2001), “Behemoth and Leviathan—Creatures of Controversy,” Reason & Revelation, 21:1-7, January.
Lyons, Eric (2007a), “Historical Support for the Coexistence of Dinosaurs and Humans—Part I & II,”Reason & Revelation, 27[9-10]:65-71,73-79, September-October.
Lyons, Eric (2007b), “Why Are Dinosaurs Not Mentioned in the Bible?” [On-line], URL:http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/3350.
Mayor, Adrienne (2005), Fossil Legends of the First Americans (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press).
“Meet the Original Cyclops” (no date), The Classics Pages: Homer’s Odyssey, [On-line], URL:http://www.users.globalnet.co.uk/~loxias/cyclops02.htm.
Patton, Don (no date), “The Photogallery of the Dinosaur Figurines of Acambaro, Mexico,” [On-line],URL: http://www.bible.ca/tracks/tracks-acambaro-dinos.htm.
Potter, Ned (2007), “Rediscovering the Dinosaurs,” [On-line], URL: http://www.abcnews.go.com/Technology/story?id=3027863&page=1.
Powell, James (1998), Night Comes to the Cretaceous (New York: Harcourt Brace).
Is Punishing Evildoers Unloving?
|by||Eric Lyons, M.Min.|
It is not uncommon to hear Americans (and others) verbalize contempt for corporal or capital punishment (cf. Delgado, 2008). Supposedly, “Loving parents wouldn’t strike their children” (for disciplinary purposes). “Christians can’t logically be pro-life and pro-capital punishment.” “The Bible says to repay no one evil for evil.” Modernists utter these and similar phrases frequently in hopes of doing away with all forms of corporal and capital punishment. Make a child stand in the corner, give a student detention, lock a murderer up for life with three square meals a day, air conditioning, cable television, etc., but never physically harm or kill a person for his or her unauthorized actions.
What does the Bible say about love and the physical punishment of evildoers? First, God is innately and infinitely good and loving (Mark 10:18; 1 John 4:8). Yet, from killing untold thousands (or millions) of wicked individuals during the Flood (Genesis 6-8) to striking Ananias and Sapphira dead for lying just after the establishment of the church (Acts 5:1-11), God repeatedly has punished evildoers physically.
Second, God warned Adam of the death sentence before sin ever entered the world (Genesis 2:17; cf.Lyons, 2002). After Adam disobeyed God, He drove him from the garden and the tree of life “lest he...live forever” (Genesis 3:22-24). Thus, man not only separated himself spiritually from God when he sinned in the Garden, experiencing spiritual death for the first time (cf. Isaiah 59:1-2; Ephesians 2:1), man was also sentenced to die physically.
Third, long before the commencement of the Mosaic and Christian dispensations, God’s universal law for mankind included capital punishment. God directed Noah and his sons, saying, “Whoever sheds man’s blood, by man his blood shall be shed; for in the image of God He made man” (Genesis 9:6). The same God Who sentenced mankind, save eight souls, to death for wickedness one year earlier, commanded man to put murderers to death. Of all the regulations God could have revealed to man in Genesis 1-11 (from the time of Adam to Abraham), He chose to include the law to put murderers to death.
Fourth, further proof that loving-kindness and corporal or capital punishment are not antithetical comes from the Law of Moses. God commanded the Israelites, saying,
You shall not hate your brother in your heart.... You shall not take vengeance nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself.... And if a stranger dwells with you in your land, you shall not mistreat him. The stranger who dwells among you shall be to you as one born among you, and you shall love him as yourself (Leviticus 19:17-18,33-34; cf. Romans 13:9).
The faithful Jew was expected, as are Christians, to “not resist an evil person” (Matthew 5:39) but rather “go the extra mile” (Matthew 5:41) and “turn the other cheek” (Matthew 5:39). “Love,” after all, “is the fulfillment of the law” (Romans 13:10; cf. Matthew 22:36-40). Interestingly, however, the Israelite was commanded to punish (even kill) lawbreakers. Just five chapters after commanding the Israelite to “not take vengeance,” but “love your neighbor as yourself” (Leviticus 19:18), God said:
Take outside the camp him who has cursed; then let all who heard him lay their hands on his head, and let all the congregation stone him. Then you shall speak to the children of Israel, saying: Whoever curses his God shall bear his sin. And whoever blasphemes the name of the Lord shall surely be put to death. All the congregation shall certainly stone him, the stranger as well as him who is born in the land. When he blasphemes the name of the Lord, he shall be put to death. Whoever kills any man shall surely be put to death. Whoever kills an animal shall make it good, animal for animal. If a man causes disfigurement of his neighbor, as he has done, so shall it be done to him—fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth; as he has caused disfigurement of a man, so shall it be done to him. And whoever kills an animal shall restore it; but whoever kills a man shall be put to death. You shall have the same law for the stranger and for one from your own country; for I am the Lord your God (Leviticus 24:13-22, emp. added).
A faithful Israelite was commanded (and thus expected) to be loving, kind, and non-vengeful, while at the same time be a punisher of evildoers, including both corporal and capital punishment. Similarly, God commanded Christians to “not avenge yourselves” (Romans 12:19), but rather “overcome evil with good” (12:21) and “love your neighbor as yourself” (13:9). Yet, fathers are commanded to bring their children up “in the chastening and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4, ASV, emp. added). What’s more, Paul wrote that “governing authorities” are God’s servants for good, yet they also “bear the sword” and “execute wrath on him who practices evil” (Romans 13:1-4).
Although the politically correct continue to protest the physical punishment of evildoers, based upon their feelings that such is unkind, unloving, inhumane, etc., Scripture is abundantly clear on the subject. God has indicated that individuals can be loving, kind, considerate, evangelistic, non-vengeful, etc., and yet still expect the authorities to punish evildoers physically.
Delgado, Raimundo (2008), “Let’s Kill Capital Punishment,” Sun Coast Today, January 16, [On-line],URL: http://www.southcoasttoday.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080116/OPINION/801160320/-1/NEWS.
Lyons, Eric (2002), “Why Didn’t Adam Die Immediately?” [On-line], URL:http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/611.
The World English Bible
Psa 121:1 I will lift up my eyes to the hills. Where does my help come from?
Psa 121:2 My help comes from Yahweh, who made heaven and earth.
Psa 121:3 He will not allow your foot to be moved. He who keeps you will not slumber.
Psa 121:4 Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.
Psa 121:5 Yahweh is your keeper. Yahweh is your shade on your right hand.
Psa 121:6 The sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night.
Psa 121:7 Yahweh will keep you from all evil. He will keep your soul.
Psa 121:8 Yahweh will keep your going out and your coming in, from this time forth, and forevermore.
Psa 122:1 I was glad when they said to me, "Let's go to Yahweh's house!"
Psa 122:2 Our feet are standing within your gates, Jerusalem;
Psa 122:3 Jerusalem, that is built as a city that is compact together;
Psa 122:4 where the tribes go up, even Yah's tribes, according to an ordinance for Israel, to give thanks to the name of Yahweh.
Psa 122:5 For there are set thrones for judgment, the thrones of David's house.
Psa 122:6 Pray for the peace of Jerusalem. Those who love you will prosper.
Psa 122:7 Peace be within your walls, and prosperity within your palaces.
Psa 122:8 For my brothers' and companions' sakes, I will now say, "Peace be within you."
Psa 122:9 For the sake of the house of Yahweh our God, I will seek your good.
Psa 123:1 To you I do lift up my eyes, you who sit in the heavens.
Psa 123:2 Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master, as the eyes of a maid to the hand of her mistress; so our eyes look to Yahweh, our God, until he has mercy on us.
Psa 123:3 Have mercy on us, Yahweh, have mercy on us, for we have endured much contempt.
Psa 123:4 Our soul is exceedingly filled with the scoffing of those who are at ease, with the contempt of the proud.
Psa 124:1 If it had not been Yahweh who was on our side, let Israel now say,
Psa 124:2 if it had not been Yahweh who was on our side, when men rose up against us;
Psa 124:3 then they would have swallowed us up alive, when their wrath was kindled against us;
Psa 124:4 then the waters would have overwhelmed us, the stream would have gone over our soul;
Psa 124:5 then the proud waters would have gone over our soul.
Psa 124:6 Blessed be Yahweh, who has not given us as a prey to their teeth.
Psa 124:7 Our soul has escaped like a bird out of the fowler's snare. The snare is broken, and we have escaped.
Psa 124:8 Our help is in the name of Yahweh, who made heaven and earth.
2 Corinthians 11
2Co 11:1 I wish that you would bear with me in a little foolishness, but indeed you do bear with me.
2Co 11:2 For I am jealous over you with a godly jealousy. For I married you to one husband, that I might present you as a pure virgin to Christ.
2Co 11:3 But I am afraid that somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve in his craftiness, so your minds might be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.
2Co 11:4 For if he who comes preaches another Jesus, whom we did not preach, or if you receive a different spirit, which you did not receive, or a different "good news", which you did not accept, you put up with that well enough.
2Co 11:5 For I reckon that I am not at all behind the very best apostles.
2Co 11:6 But though I am unskilled in speech, yet I am not unskilled in knowledge. No, in every way we have been revealed to you in all things.
2Co 11:7 Or did I commit a sin in humbling myself that you might be exalted, because I preached to you God's Good News free of charge?
2Co 11:8 I robbed other assemblies, taking wages from them that I might serve you.
2Co 11:9 When I was present with you and was in need, I wasn't a burden on anyone, for the brothers, when they came from Macedonia, supplied the measure of my need. In everything I kept myself from being burdensome to you, and I will continue to do so.
2Co 11:10 As the truth of Christ is in me, no one will stop me from this boasting in the regions of Achaia.
2Co 11:11 Why? Because I don't love you? God knows.
2Co 11:12 But what I do, that I will do, that I may cut off occasion from them that desire an occasion, that in which they boast, they may be found even as we.
2Co 11:13 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as Christ's apostles.
2Co 11:14 And no wonder, for even Satan masquerades as an angel of light.
2Co 11:15 It is no great thing therefore if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.
2Co 11:16 I say again, let no one think me foolish. But if so, yet receive me as foolish, that I also may boast a little.
2Co 11:17 That which I speak, I don't speak according to the Lord, but as in foolishness, in this confidence of boasting.
2Co 11:18 Seeing that many boast after the flesh, I will also boast.
2Co 11:19 For you bear with the foolish gladly, being wise.
2Co 11:20 For you bear with a man, if he brings you into bondage, if he devours you, if he takes you captive, if he exalts himself, if he strikes you on the face.
2Co 11:21 I speak by way of disparagement, as though we had been weak. Yet however any is bold (I speak in foolishness), I am bold also.
2Co 11:22 Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? So am I.
2Co 11:23 Are they servants of Christ? (I speak as one beside himself) I am more so; in labors more abundantly, in prisons more abundantly, in stripes above measure, in deaths often.
2Co 11:24 Five times from the Jews I received forty stripes minus one.
2Co 11:25 Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I suffered shipwreck. I have been a night and a day in the deep.
2Co 11:26 I have been in travels often, perils of rivers, perils of robbers, perils from my countrymen, perils from the Gentiles, perils in the city, perils in the wilderness, perils in the sea, perils among false brothers;
2Co 11:27 in labor and travail, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, and in cold and nakedness.
2Co 11:28 Besides those things that are outside, there is that which presses on me daily, anxiety for all the assemblies.
2Co 11:29 Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is caused to stumble, and I don't burn with indignation?
2Co 11:30 If I must boast, I will boast of the things that concern my weakness.
2Co 11:31 The God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ, he who is blessed forevermore, knows that I don't lie.
2Co 11:32 In Damascus the governor under Aretas the king guarded the city of the Damascenes desiring to arrest me.
2Co 11:33 Through a window I was let down in a basket by the wall, and escaped his hands.