"THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW" Who Will Enter The Kingdom Of Heaven? (7:21-23) INTRODUCTION 1. Most people believe they will go to heaven when they die... a. Their hope is fostered by the comforting words of many preachers, priests, and rabbis b. Their hope is based upon the idea that heaven is for all believers, or for those whose good works outweigh the bad 2. But are such hopes well-founded? a. Will most people go to heaven when they die? b. Is salvation based upon good works? Is it based upon faith only? 3. In His sermon on the mount, Jesus gave some ominous warnings... a. Few, not many, would be saved - Mt 7:13-14 b. Many religious people, including some believers in Jesus, will learn that they too will be lost! - Mt 7:21-23 4. With Mt 7:21-23 as the spring board for our study, I wish to address the question: "Who will enter the kingdom of heaven?" [Before considering this question, perhaps this is good opportunity to answer another one first...] I. WHAT IS THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN? A. THE TERM "KINGDOM OF HEAVEN"... 1. Is synonymous with the "kingdom of God" - cf. Mt 4:17 with Mk 1:14-15 2. Refers to God's kingship, or rule, from heaven -- The kingdom of heaven is focused in the Person of Jesus Christ, and is especially manifested where He rules in the hearts of men - Lk 17:20-21 B. IN BRIEF, THE "KINGDOM OF HEAVEN"... 1. Is spiritual in nature - Jn 18:36; Ro 14:17 2. It began when all authority (rule) was given to Jesus - Mt 28: 18; Ac 2:36; Ep 1:20-23 3. Today, it includes the Lord's church on earth (for those who submit to the Will of Christ are added to the kingdom) - Col 1: 13; Re 1:9 4. In the future, it will involve the "new heavens and new earth," where we will be with God and Jesus for eternity! - Mt 13:40-43; 2Pe 3:10-13; Re 21:1-22:5 -- The kingdom of heaven was "inaugurated" on the Day of Pentecost, and will be "culminated" when Jesus returns to deliver it back to God - cf. 1Co 15:23-28 C. THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN IN OUR TEXT... 1. Appears to have the future aspect of the kingdom in view a. Note that Jesus says "in that day..." - Mt 7:22 b. An apparent reference to the day of judgment - cf. 2Ti 1: 12,18; 4:8 2. Thus Jesus is talking about who will enter the kingdom in its future aspect a. Of which He spoke on other occasions - Mt 25:31-34 b. Of which Peter wrote in 2Pe 1:10-11 [What a wonderful blessing, to have an abundant entrance into "the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ"! But this leads me back to our text (Mt 7:21-23), and to the main question of our study...] II. WHO WILL ENTER THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN? A. NOT EVERYONE WHO PROFESSES JESUS... 1. "Not everyone who says to Me, `Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven" 2. There are some who teach that as long as one believes in Jesus, they will be saved a. That salvation is by "faith only" b. Even though the only time "faith only" is found in the Scriptures, it says: "You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only." - Jm 2:24 3. But there is such a thing as "an unsaved believer"... a. The demons believe, but are not saved - Jm 2:19 b. There were some who believed in Jesus, but were not saved - Jn 12:42,43 c. Jesus described a true disciple as one who not only believes in Him, but does what He says - Jn 8:30-32 -- Let no one think that just because they "believe" in Jesus, they have a free ticket into heaven! B. NOT EVERYONE WHO DOES MANY GOOD WORKS... 1. "Many will say to Me in that day, `Lord, Lord, have we not..." - Mt 7:22 2. Here were people who not only believed in Jesus, but believed they had: a. Prophesied in His name! b. Cast out demons in His Name! c. Done many wonders in His Name! -- I.e., they thought they had been empowered to do such wonderful works! 3. Such good works certainly did not earn their way to heaven a. Indeed, salvation is by grace, not meritorious works - cf. Tit 3:3-7 b. Good works had not saved Cornelius, he still needed to be told what to do to be saved - Ac 10:1-5; 11:14 4. Indeed, sometimes what we may think is a good work is without any authority... a. Jesus condemns these as those "who practice lawlessness" - Mt 7:23 b. Literally, those who act without authority 1) It was not that they did something condemned by Jesus 2) It was that they did things for which they had no authority! -- We might be very religious, and do many things in the name of Jesus, yet He might still say: "I never knew you; depart from Me..." [Who then will be saved?] C. ONLY THOSE WHO DO THE FATHER'S WILL... 1. As Jesus said, "...he who does the will of My Father in heaven." - Mt 7:21 a. Here is the dividing line: those who DO the Father's will! b. As James would write later, it is the "doer of the work" who is blessed in what he does - cf. Jm 1:22-25 2. Is this legalism? a. No! Legalism is salvation by perfect law-keeping, believing that one earns salvation by the merit of what they have done b. Salvation by grace does not preclude the necessity of obedience 1) We simply need to recognize that our obedience does not earn or merit salvation 2) When all is said and done, we are still unworthy! - cf. Lk 17:10 3. The Father's will, while it offers salvation by grace, does require obedience! a. Only those who obey from the heart will be delivered from sin - Ro 6:17-18 b. Christ is the author of salvation to all who obey Him - He 5:9 c. Christ will come in judgment against those who obey not the gospel - 2Th 1:7-9 CONCLUSION 1. Who will enter the kingdom of heaven? a. Not those who profess to believe, but do not obey b. Not those who think they are doing many religious things, but without authority c. Only those who do the Father's will! 2. This is why we must take an earlier statement in Jesus' sermon so seriously... a. "Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness..." - Mt 6: 33 b. We must make the finding of God's will and rule the number one priority in our life! 3. What is the Father's will? It begins with... a. Repentance toward God and faith in Jesus Christ - Ac 20:21 b. Confessing Jesus as Lord - Ro 10:10 c. Being baptized into Christ for the remission of sins - Ac 2:38 -- Followed by a life of faithful service to Christ, confessing our sins along the way - Re 2:10; 1Jn 1:9 Are you doing the Father's will?
"THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW" Watch Out For Wolves! (7:15-20) INTRODUCTION 1. Many people like to think that you can trust religious leaders... a. Ministers normally rank high in polls concerning people you can trust b. People will often accept whatever a preacher, priest, or rabbi says as the truth 2. Yet Jesus told His disciples to beware of false prophets - Mt 7: 15-20 a. They may appear like sheep, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves b. We need to be able to identify them, knowing what to look for 3. Are you concerned about false prophets today? You should be! a. The great diversity of teaching suggests that many are being misled b. We need to be reminded of the danger, and know how to spot any "wolves" that might come our way! [With the words of our Savior in Mt 7:15-20 fresh on our mind, I wish to use this opportunity to remind us to "Watch Out For Wolves!" Let me first re-emphasize the point that...] I. THERE WILL BE FALSE PROPHETS A. AS PAUL WARNED ON SEVERAL OCCASIONS... 1. To the Ephesian elders - Ac 20:28-31 a. Telling them to take heed b. For even from among themselves would men arise, misleading people 2. To the church at Corinth - 2Co 11:13-15 a. Referring to false teachers present even then b. Appearing as ministers of righteousness, even as Satan appears as an angel of light 3. To the young preacher Timothy - 1Ti 4:1-3; 2Ti 3:1-9 a. Warning of the apostasy that would come b. Describing the character and tactics of those who would mislead others B. AS DID OTHER NEW TESTAMENT WRITERS... 1. Peter, in telling of the rise of false teachers - 2Pe 2:1-3 2. John, in calling for people to "test the spirits" - 1Jn 4:1 3. Jude, in writing of some who had already come - Jude 3-4 [With so many warnings, this is not a subject to take lightly! But how can we spot such "wolves" when they appear so disarming (like sheep)? Thanks to Jesus and the Word of God...] II. WE CAN IDENTIFY FALSE PROPHETS A. BY EXAMINING THE FRUIT OF THEIR LIFE... 1. We can know them by their "fruit" - Mt 7:16-20 a. What is truly in their heart will eventually come out b. For from the heart proceeds any sin that may be there - cf. Mk 7:21-23 2. Thus false teachers and false prophets are often betrayed... a. By their greediness (e.g., as manifested by their lavish lifestyles) b. By their immorality (e.g., as manifested by adulterous relationships) c. By their lust for power (e.g., as manifested by religious empires) -- Given time, the true character of many false prophets will be exposed by the fruit of their life! B. BY EXAMINING THE FRUIT OF THEIR TEACHING... 1. Taking notice of their methods a. Working secretly - cf. 2Pe 2:1 1) Their ministries (especially finances) will be shrouded in secrecy 2) Rather than being open to one and all - cf. 2Co 8:20-21 b. Appealing to covetousness - cf. 2Pe 2:3 1) They draw people with an appeal to what people often covet (such as health and wealth) 2) Rather than preparing people for what Christians can expect - cf. Ac 14:23; 2Ti 3:12 c. Using deceptive words - cf. 2Ti 3:13; 2Pe 2:3 1) Twisting the scriptures to support their message (just as Satan did in trying to tempt Jesus) 2) Rather handling the word of God rightly - 2Ti 2:14-16 2. Taking notice of their doctrine a. How they twist and pervert the scriptures - cf. Ga 1:8-9 1) Their gospel may start out right, but becomes twisted along the way 2) Their teaching often expressed in the terms of man, not Scripture b. How they teach that which is clearly contrary to the scriptures - cf. Deut 13:1-4 1) Even if they appear able to perform signs and wonders! 2) The final test is how their teaching compares to the word of God and that of His apostles - cf. 1Jn 4:1,6 CONCLUSION 1. It is not necessary to judge the hearts of those who claim to speak for God... a. We need only to be "fruit-inspectors" b. The fruit of their life and teaching will become apparent soon enough -- This is how we can "Watch Out For Wolves!" 2. Of course, this presumes that our knowledge of God's word is sufficient... a. To know what to look for in the life of a false prophet b. To know what to listen for in the teaching of a false prophet -- Otherwise we will be no different than Israel, of whom God said: "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge..." - Hos 4:6 Are you equipped to identify a wolf in sheep's clothing if you saw one?
"THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW" The Difficult Way To Life (7:14) INTRODUCTION 1. In His sermon on the mount, Jesus spoke of two ways... a. The way to destruction - Mt 7:13 b. The way to life - Mt 7:14 2. In describing these two ways, He pointed out the contrasts... a. The way to destruction is broad, and many chose to follow it - Mt7:13 b. The way to life is difficult, and there are few who find it - Mt7:14 [If we desired to be saved, to experience eternal life, there will be hardship along the way. As we use this lesson to contemplate "The Difficult Way To Life", we note first that...] I. WE SHOULD NOT BE SURPRISED A. WE HAVE BEEN WARNED... 1. By Jesus in our text and elsewhere - Mt 7:14; Jn 15:18-20; 16:33 2 By Paul to his fellow disciples - Ac 14:22; 2Ti 3:12 3 By Peter in his epistle - 1Pe 4:12 -- Jesus and His apostles have given full disclosure that the way to life is difficult B. WE HAVE MANY ENEMIES... 1. Satan himself, who seeks to devour - 1Pe 5:8-9 2. People who think us 'strange', who may ridicule and ostracize us - 1Pe 4:3-4 3. The lust of the flesh, with its bad habits - 1Pe 2:11 -- Without and within, there are forces at work making the way to life difficult [Forewarned, what should our attitude be? Though the way to life is difficult...] II. WE SHOULD NOT BE RESENTFUL A. WE ARE TOLD TO REJOICE... 1. By Jesus in His sermons - Mt 5:10-12; Lk 6:22-23 2. By James in his epistle - Jm 1:2 3. As did the apostles, when persecuted - Ac 5:41 -- Jesus and His apostles say that we should rejoice. Why? B. BECAUSE IT MAKES US STRONGER... 1. Which is why Paul gloried in his tribulations - Ro 5:3-4; 2 Co12:10 2. Which is why James told us to rejoice in our trials - Jm 1:2-4 3. "In the difficult are the friendly forces, the hands that work on us." - Rainer Maria Rilke -- Can we begin to see why God would allow the way to life to be so difficult? [So rejoice, not resent, when trials and tribulations befall us on the way to life. What may appear to be stumbling blocks may in fact be stepping stones to victory. Especially as we consider why...] III. WE SHOULD NOT BE DEFEATED A. WE HAVE GOD ON OUR SIDE... 1. He will not allow us to be tempted beyond our ability to endure - 1Co 10:13a 2. He will provide a way of escape, enabling us to endure - 1Co 10:13b 3. This includes strength to stand strong a. His Spirit to empower the inner man - Ep 3:16; cf. Ro 15:13 b. His armor to protect, and fight the good fight - Ep 6:10-13 -- Through God's providence and provision, we have the ability to be victorious! B. WE HAVE JESUS TO INSPIRE US... 1. He provided an example of suffering, for us to follow - 1 Pe 2:21 2. We should look to Him, as we seek to endure - He 12:1-4 3. Even as Stephen did, emulating His forgiving spirit - Ac 7: 54-60; cf. Lk 23:34 -- Through Jesus' example, we have the inspiration and motivation to succeed! CONCLUSION 1. This is not to say we will never misstep along the way to life... a. As Christians we sin - 1Jn 1:8,10 b. When we stumble, we have mercy and forgiveness - 1Jn 1:7,9 2. So as we travel on the way to life, finding it at times to be difficult... a. Let's not be surprised b. Let's not be resentful c. Let's not be defeated But as the writer to the Hebrews penned in his epistle... "Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed." "Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord:" "Looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled;" - Heb 12:12-15 And as Paul confessed in his epistle... "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." - Php 4:13 Note: The idea and main points for this study came from a daily devotional written my cousin and brother in the Lord, Gary Henry. Visit his website at WordPoints.com to find lots of good material!
How Many of Jacob's Descendants Moved to Egypt?
|by||Dave Miller, Ph.D.|
Q.Did Stephen contradict Moses regarding the number of people who moved to Egypt?
A.In his great speech, Stephen referred to the number of Jacob’s family members that moved down to Egypt as 75 (Acts 7:14). Yet in Genesis 46:27, Moses recorded the number as 70. Critics of the Bible claim to have found a discrepancy. If they would have only studied the matter a little more closely, they would have seen that Moses and Stephen were simply approaching the matter from different perspectives. Genesis 46:26 numbers Jacob’s children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren as 66. To that number, which does not include Jacob’s son’s wives, Moses added Jacob, Joseph, and Joseph’s two sons to arrive at the number 70. Stephen, on the other hand, did not include Joseph and his wife and two sons since they were already in Egypt and Joseph is mentioned as sending for Jacob and the relatives from Egypt. Stephen names Jacob separately from the 75 relatives. Thus Stephen’s number includes the 66 mentioned in Genesis 46:26 plus the nine wives of Jacob’s sons (Judah’s and Simeon’s wives being already deceased). The Bible harmonizes perfectly and there is no discrepancy.
God and the Laws of Thermodynamics: A Mechanical Engineer’s Perspective
|by||Jeff Miller, Ph.D.|
[EDITOR’S NOTE: The following article was written by A.P.’s staff scientist. He holds M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Texas at Arlington and Auburn University, respectively, with emphases in Thermal Science and Navigation and Control of Biological Systems.]“[T]he principles of thermodynamics have been in existence since the creation of the universe” (Cengel and Boles, 2002, p. 2, emp. added). So states a prominent textbook used in schools of engineering across America. Indeed, these principles prove themselves to be absolutely critical in today’s engineering applications. Much of the engineering technology available today is based on the foundational truths embodied in the Laws of Thermodynamics. As the writers of one engineering thermodynamics textbook stated: “Energy is a fundamental concept of thermodynamics and one of the most significant aspects of engineering analysis” (Moran and Shapiro, 2000, p. 35). Do these laws have application to the creation/evolution debate as creationists suggest? What do they actually say and mean? How are they applied today in the scientific world? Let us explore these questions.
The word “thermodynamics” originally was used in a publication by Lord Kelvin (formerly William Thomson), the man often called the Father of Thermodynamics because of his articulation of the Second Law of Thermodynamics in 1849 (Cengel and Boles, p. 2). The term comes from two Greek words: therme, meaning “heat,” and dunamis, meaning “force” or “power” (American Heritage..., 2000, pp. 558,1795). Thermodynamics can be summarized essentially as the science of energy, including heat, work (defined as the energy required to move a force a certain distance), potential energy, internal energy, and kinetic energy. The basic principles and laws of thermodynamics are understood thoroughly today by the scientific community. Thus, the majority of the work with the principles of thermodynamics is done by engineers who simply utilize the already understood principles in their designs. A thorough understanding of the principles of thermodynamics which govern our Universe can help an engineer to learn effectively to control the impact of heat in his/her designs.
THE FIRST AND SECOND LAWS OF THERMODYNAMICS
The First LawThe First Law of Thermodynamics was formulated originally by Robert Mayer (1814-1878). He stated: “I therefore hope that I may reckon on the reader’s assent when I lay down as an axiomatic truth that, just as in the case of matter, so also in the case of force [the term used at that time for energy—JM], only a transformation but never a creation takes place” (as quoted in King, 1962, p. 5). That is, given a certain amount of energy in a closed system, that energy will remain constant, though it will change form (see Figure 1). As evolutionist Willard Young says in defining the First Law, “Energy can be neither created nor destroyed, but can only be converted from one form to another” (1985, p. 8).
the principle of the conservation of energy is considered to be the single most important and fundamental ‘law of nature’ presently known to science, and is one of the most firmly established. Endless studies and experiments have confirmed its validity over and over again under a multitude of different conditions (p. 165, emp. added).This principle is known to be a fact about nature—without exception.
The Second LawIn the nineteenth century, Lord Kelvin and Rudolph Clausius (1822-1888) separately made findings that became known as the Second Law of Thermodynamics (Suplee, 2000, p. 156). The Second Law builds on the first, stating that though there is a constant amount of energy in a given system that is merely transforming into different states, that energy is becoming less usable. Extending our wood burning illustration above, after the wood is burned, the total amount of energy is still the same, but transformed into other energy states. Those energy states (e.g., ash and dissipated heat to the environment) are less retrievable and less accessible (see Figure 2).
Another way of stating the Second Law then is “The universe is constantly getting more disorderly!” Viewed that way we can see the Second Law all about us. We have to work hard to straighten a room, but left to itself it becomes a mess again very quickly and very easily. Even if we never enter it, it becomes dusty and musty. How difficult to maintain houses, and machinery, and our own bodies in perfect working order: how easy to let them deteriorate. In fact, all we have to do is nothing, and everything deteriorates, collapses, breaks down, wears out, all by itself—and that is what the Second Law is all about (1970, p. 6).Entropy is simply a fact of nature. Entropy can be minimized in this Universe, but it cannot be eradicated. That is where engineers come in. We must figure out ways of minimizing energy loss and maximizing useful energy before it is forever lost. Thousands of engineering jobs are dedicated to addressing this fundamental fact of the Second Law of Thermodynamics. Your energy bill is affected directly by it. If the Second Law was not fixed, engineers could not develop the technology necessary to maximize usable energy, thereby lowering your energy costs.
This concept is analyzed and quantified by engineers using what thermodynamics textbooks call “efficiencies.” Efficiencies reduce to “energy out” (desired output) divided by “energy in” (required input) (Cengel and Boles, 2002, p. 249). For instance, a turbine is the “device that drives an electric generator” in steam, gas, or hydroelectric power plants (p. 188). By taking the actual work done by the turbine and dividing it by the work required to operate the turbine, an engineer can calculate the turbine’s efficiency. Discovering or designing ways to maximize that ratio can be lucrative business for an engineer.
Another type of efficiency is called “isentropic efficiency.” For a turbine, isentropic efficiency is essentially the ratio of the amount of work that is done by the turbine to the amount of work that could be done by the turbine if it were “isentropic,” or without entropy. Again, the closer an engineer can approach 100% efficiency, the better. However, engineers know they cannot reach 100% efficiency because of the Second Law of Thermodynamics. Energy loss is inevitable. As the engineering textbook Thermodynamics: An Engineering Approach states: “Well-designed, large turbines have isentropic efficiencies above 90 percent. For small turbines, however, it may drop even below 70%” (Cengel and Boles, p. 341).
Some engineers devote their entire careers to minimizing entropy in the generation of power from energy. All this effort is based on the principles established by the Second Law of Thermodynamics. These principles are established as fact in the scientific community. The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language defines “law” as “a statement describing a relationship observed to be invariable between or among phenomena for all cases in which the specified conditions are met” (2000, p. 993, emp. added). Since laws are invariable, i.e., unchanging and constant, they have no exceptions. Otherwise, they would not be classified as laws. Tracy Walters, a mechanical engineer working in thermal engineering, observed:
It has been my experience that many people do not appreciate how uncompromising the Laws of Thermodynamics actually are. It is felt, perhaps, that the Laws are merely general tendencies or possibly only theoretical considerations. In reality, though, the Laws of Thermodynamics are hard as nails, and...the more one works with these Laws, the deeper respect one gains for them (1986, 9:8, emp. added).Evolutionist Jeremy Rifkin stated that “the Entropy Law will preside as the ruling paradigm over the next period of history. Albert Einstein said that it is the premier law of all science; Sir Arthur Eddington referred to it as the ‘supreme metaphysical law of the entire universe’” (1980, p. 6). God designed it. Creationists believe it. Engineers use it. Evolutionists, as will be shown, cannot harmonize it with their theory.
ENGINEERING EXAMPLES EXHIBITING THERMODYNAMIC PRINCIPLES
A host of examples could, of course, demonstrate how mechanical engineers use the Laws of Thermodynamics in design today. Without these laws being fixed and well-understood by the scientific community, such designs would be impossible. As explained earlier, the vast majority of the work engineers do with the laws today is in their application to nature, rather than the study of the laws themselves. The laws already are thoroughly understood. To determine if creationists are “misinterpreting” the Laws of Thermodynamics or inaccurately applying them to the creation/evolution debate, consider three engineering examples that demonstrate the Laws in action.
Example #1. Perhaps one of the most celebrated—and appreciated—engineering designs of the 20th century pertaining to thermodynamics is the air-conditioning system. Briefly explained, an air-conditioning unit is a machine that was designed to acquire a large quantity of air from a system (e.g., a home or the interior of a car), remove heat from that air, and then release the cooled air back into the system, while disposing of the heat into a “heat sink” (e.g., the outdoors). Simply stated, this process occurs through what many engineers call a vapor-compression refrigeration cycle (Moran and Shapiro, 2000, p. 517)—a cycle heavily rooted in the Second Law of Thermodynamics. In this cycle, a fluid (called a “refrigerant”) in “super-heated” vapor form flows through a pipe and into a compressor where it is compressed into a hotter gas with a higher pressure. From the compressor, the gas moves into the next phase of the cycle, composed of a set of coils (a condenser). As the refrigerant flows through the condenser, some of the heat is removed, and the refrigerant condenses into a liquid. Moving through an expansion valve, the refrigerant is “throttled” into a colder, lower-pressure mixture of liquid and vapor.
One principle of thermodynamics, as noted originally in 1824 by the French physicist Sadi Carnot (Suplee, 2000, p. 156), indicates that in a system, heat will move from higher temperature sources to lower temperature sources until an equilibrium temperature is reached (Incropera and DeWitt, 2002, p. 2). This principle is directly utilized in the final step of the cycle. In this step, the low temperature refrigerant exiting the expansion valve moves through a set of coils called the evaporator that absorbs heat from the refrigerated area. At this point, the refrigerant has absorbed enough heat to return to its initial vapor state, and is ready to repeat the cycle.
In what way did the thermodynamic laws come into play in this process? One of the major responsibilities of the engineer is to take the principles stated by the laws of science and understand them enough to be able to apply them in new designs. In order to apply scientific laws, engineers must formulate ways to quantify the concepts articulated by those laws. In the case of the above example, engineers must take the principles stated in the Laws of Thermodynamics in particular and quantify them. To apply the First Law of Thermodynamics to design, engineers must first quantify the energy that is or will be present in a system (work, potential energy, kinetic energy, heat, internal energy, etc.). As the First Law states, the amount of energy present in the system remains constant during a closed system process—a system that “consists of a fixed amount of mass, and no mass can cross its boundary” (Cengel and Boles, 2002, p. 9). The engineer must calculate the amount of energy utilized within a system before a process and set it equal to the amount of energy present in the system after the process. The energy may change forms (i.e., work is partially transformed into heat), but the total amount of energy in the system remains constant.
Considering the above example again, engineers would quantify the energy that is being inserted into the system (such as the electrical energy required to run the compressor) and the energy that results from the processes in the system (such as the heat released into the “heat sink”). The energy would then be equalized, with a primary concern being to achieve the optimum usable energy as an output, understanding that there will be a certain amount of wasted energy due to the Second Law of Thermodynamics (see Figure 3). The more usable energy achieved in the system processes, the more financially desirable the process, and the less energy wasted.
Again, in the above example, in order to accomplish the refrigeration cycle, a compressor is used. To run the compressor, work (energy) must be used to compress the refrigerant to the right pressure to go through the condenser. Engineers must design these compressors to yield optimum efficiency, taking the Second Law into account, since the refrigeration/air conditioning process is not an isentropic one (i.e., a process with no entropy). The amount of energy required to operate the compressor to pressurize the refrigerant is more than the heat transfer that will occur from the hot room to the hotter outdoors due to the presence of the Second Law. In other words, usable energy is lost along the way (see Figure 4). This unalterable principle, which governs and permeates all of nature, will be shown to contradict the theory of evolution. Available energy is gradually being consumed. Engineers can slow the process, making the loss as efficient as possible, and maximizing energy usage. However, energy loss cannot be stopped due to the existence of the exceptionless Second Law of Thermodynamics.
IMPLICATIONS OF THE LAWS
If there is no God, the existence of the Universe must be explained without Him. The Big Bang theory claims that all matter in the Universe initially was condensed in a sphere the size of a period at the end of this sentence (see Thompson, et al., 2003, 23:32-34,36-47). However, this theory offers no explanation for the origin of that sphere. The only logical possibilities for its existence are that it popped into existence out of nothing (spontaneous generation), it always existed, or it was created (see Figure 7).
Possibility 1: Spontaneous Generation of the UniverseConsider the entire physical Universe as a system consisting of all mass/matter/energy that exists in the Universe. Without a God, this Universe would have to be a closed system. Since our system encompasses the entire Universe, there is no more mass that can cross the system’s boundary, which necessitates our system being closed—without the existence of God. If mass, matter, and energy could enter and/or exit the system, the system would be an open system—which is the contention of a creationist. However, without a God, the entire physical Universe as a system logically would have to be a closed system. Atheists must so believe in order to explain the Universe without God.
The First Law of Thermodynamics states that in a closed system, the amount of energy present in that system is constant, though it transforms into other forms of energy, as in the case of the above compressor. So, if the Universe as a whole initially contained no mass/matter/energy (energy input is equal to zero), and then it spontaneously generated all of the mass/matter/energy in the Universe (energy output is unequal to zero), the First Law would be violated. Applying the earlier example of the compressor, this circumstance would be equivalent to saying that the sum total heat loss and compressor work is greater than the electrical input—which is impossible. Without intervention from an outside force, the amount of mass/matter/energy in the Universe would have remained constant (unchanged) at zero. As was mentioned earlier, there are no exceptions to laws, or else they would not be laws. The First Law of Thermodynamics has no known exceptions. As previously explained, the Law is accepted as fact by all scientists in general and utilized by engineers in particular. Therefore, the Universe, composed of all mass/matter/energy, could not have spontaneously generated (popped into existence on its own) without violating the exceptionless and highly respected First Law of Thermodynamics. The energy level of the Universe would not have been constant. Spontaneous generation would be the equivalent of a zero energy input to a system and a non-zero output (see Figure 8). The Universe could not have come into existence without the presence and intervention of a Force outside of the closed system of the entire physical Universe. The Universe therefore must be an open system that was created by a non-physical force (not composed of mass/matter/energy) outside of the physical boundary of this Universe (above nature, or supernatural) with the capability of bringing it into existence out of nothing. That Force can be none other than the supernatural God of the Bible. Scientifically speaking, the Universe could not and did not spontaneously generate.
Possibility 2: Eternal Existence of the UniverseAgain, considering the entire Universe as a system necessitates that it be a closed system. The Second Law of Thermodynamics states that though energy in a closed system is constant (First Law of Thermodynamics), that energy is transforming into less usable forms of energy (i.e., the Universe is “running down”). This process is irreversible. There is a finite amount of usable energy in the Universe (which explains the widespread interest in conserving energy). That usable energy is depleting according to the Second Law, as illustrated by the less usable heat output in the examples cited earlier. Engineers strive to slow this inevitable depletion of energy, but it cannot be stopped. If the Universe has always existed (i.e., it is eternal), but there is a finite amount of usable energy, then all usable energy already should be expended (see Figure 9). Yet, usable energy still exists. So, the Universe cannot have existed forever. It had to have a beginning. The eternality of matter would be the equivalent of a system with an energy input and 100% usable energy output (see Figure 10).
The lingering decline predicted by astronomers for the end of the world differs from the explosive conditions they have calculated for its birth, but the impact is the same: modern science denies an eternal existence of the Universe, either in the past or in the future (1977, p. 30, emp. added).In his book, God and the Astronomers, Dr. Jastrow reiterated this truth: “Now three lines of evidence—the motions of the galaxies, the laws of thermodynamics, the life story of the stars—pointed to one conclusion; all indicated that the Universe had a beginning” (p. 111).
Possibility 3: The Inevitable ImplicationTo repeat, there are only three possible explanations for the existence of matter in the Universe. Either it spontaneously generated, it is eternal, or it was created. Atheists use the theory of evolution in an attempt to explain the existence and state of the Universe today. In order for the theory of evolution to be true, thereby accounting for the existence of mankind, either all of the mass/matter/energy of the Universe spontaneously generated (i.e., it popped into existence out of nothing), or it has always existed (i.e., it is eternal.). Without an outside force (a transcendent, omnipotent, eternal, superior Being), no other options for the existence of the Universe are available. However, as the Laws of Thermodynamics prove, the spontaneous generation and the eternality of matter are logically and scientifically impossible. One possible option remains: the Universe was created by the Creator.
The inspired writer wrote in Hebrews 11:3, “By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.” Paul declared in Acts 14:17, “Nevertheless He did not leave Himself without witness, in that He did good, gave us rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness.” The psalmist affirmed, “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork” (19:1). Paul assured the Romans, “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse” (1:20, emp. added).
In closing, we return to Lord Kelvin, the Father of Thermodynamics, for fitting final thoughts.
I cannot admit that, with regard to the origin of life, science neither affirms nor denies Creative Power. Science positively affirms Creative Power. It is not in dead matter that we live and move and have our being [Acts 17:28—JM], but in the creating and directing Power which science compels us to accept as an article of belief.... There is nothing between absolute scientific belief in a Creative Power, and the acceptance of the theory of a fortuitous concourse of atoms.... Forty years ago I asked Liebig, walking somewhere in the country if he believed that the grass and flowers that we saw around us grew by mere chemical forces. He answered, “No, no more than I could believe that a book of botany describing them could grow by mere chemical forces”.... Do not be afraid of being free thinkers! If you think strongly enough you will be forced by science to the belief in God, which is the foundation of all religion. You will find science not antagonistic but helpful to religion (as quoted in Smith, 1981, pp. 307-308, emp. added).So, according to the Father of Thermodynamics, evolutionists are failing to “think strongly enough.” No wonder the psalmist asserted: “The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God’” (14:1).
Asimov, Isaac (1970), “In the Game of Energy and Thermodynamics You Can’t Even Break Even,” Smithsonian Institute Journal, pp. 4-10, June.
Cengel, Yunus A. and Michael A. Boles (2002), Thermodynamics: An Engineering Approach (New York: McGraw-Hill), fourth edition.
Guth, Alan and Paul Steinhardt (1984), “The Inflationary Universe,” Scientific American, 250:116-128, May.
Incropera, Frank P. and David P. DeWitt (2002), Fundamentals of Heat and Mass Transfer (New York: John Wiley & Sons), fifth edition.
Isaak, Mark (2003), “Five Major Misconceptions about Evolution,” The TalkOrigins Archive: Exploring the Creation/Evolution Controversy, [On-line], URL: http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-misconceptions.html#proof.
Jastrow, Robert (1977), Until the Sun Dies (New York: W.W. Norton).
Jastrow, Robert (1978), God and the Astronomers (New York: W.W. Norton).
Kenny, Anthony (1980), The Five Ways: St. Thomas Aquinas’ Proofs of God’s Existence (South Bend, IN: University of Notre Dame Press).
King, A.L. (1962), Thermophysics (San Francisco, CA: W.H. Freeman).
Moran, Michael J. and Howard N. Shapiro (2000), Fundamentals of Engineering Thermodynamics (New York: John Wiley & Sons), fourth edition.
Rifkin, Jeremy (1980), Entropy: A New World View (New York: Viking).
Smith, Wilbur M. (1981), Therefore Stand (New Canaan, CT: Keats Publishing).
Suplee, Curt (2000), Milestones of Science (Washington, D.C.: National Geographic Society).
Thompson, Bert, Brad Harrub, and Branyon May (2003), “The Big Bang Theory—A Scientific Critique [Part 1],” Reason & Revelation, 23:32-34,36-47.
Thompson, Silvanus P. (1910), Life of Lord Kelvin (London: Macmillan).
Tryon, Edward P. (1984), “What Made the World?,” New Scientist, 101:14-16, March 8.
Walters, Tracy (1986), “A Reply to John Patterson’s Arguments,” Origins Research, 9:8-9, Fall/Winter.
Young, Willard (1985), Fallacies of Creationism (Calgary, Alberta, Canada: Detselig Enterprises).
Does God Hate Sinners?
|by||Kyle Butt, M.Div.|
Most religious people agree that God hates sin. Over and over, the Bible stresses the fact that God despises iniquity. God told the prophet Jeremiah to speak to the Israelites about their sin, saying: “Oh, do not do this abominable thing that I hate!” (44:4). The Proverbs writer listed seven sins the Lord hates (6:16-19). The prophet Zechariah declared that God hates a false oath and evil done to one’s neighbor (8:17). Jesus Himself said that He hated the deeds of the Nicolaitans (Revelation 2:6). The Bible emphasizes that the Lord hates sin.
Some have suggested that God takes His hatred one step further. They believe that God hates the sinner as well as the sin he or she commits. It has been suggested that God loves those who obey Him, and hates all who disobey. Those who teach this idea use various Bible verses to “prove” their case. For instance, Psalm 5:5 says that God hates “all workers of iniquity.” Proverbs 6:18-19 says that God hates “a false witness who speaks lies, and one who sows discord among brethren.” Is it true that God hates sinners and their sin?
Any person who has read the Bible understands that one of its greatest themes is love. The Bible says that God is love (1 John 4:8). It also explains that God showed His love to us while we were still sinners:
For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:6-8).An interesting aspect of this passage is that it stresses that lost sinners were not “righteous” or “good” when Christ demonstrated His love for them.
In the narrative of the rich young ruler, Jesus explained that the young man lacked something necessary to be pleasing to God. Yet even though the young man was lacking and lost, the Bible says that Jesus “loved him” (Mark 10:21). When Jesus mourned over lost Jerusalem, He cried:
O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! (Matthew 23:37).Jesus said His affection for the lost inhabitants of Jerusalem was like a mother hen’s affection for her chicks. Such a statement obviously denotes love for the sinners in Jerusalem.
In one of the most well-known “love” verses in the Bible, Jesus said: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). God’s love for the lost world was shown before the lost believed in Jesus. John further explained this when he wrote: “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:10). From these verses it is clear that God loves lost sinners, and proved that love by sending Jesus.
How, then, can one reconcile the verses that seem to suggest that God hates sinners, but loves them at the same time? One of the most plausible solutions is that the Bible writers are using a figure of speech called metonymy when they write that God hates sinners. Metonymy is defined as: “A figure by which one name or noun is used instead of another, to which it stands in a certain relation” (Bullinger, 1898, p. 538). Bullinger further explains that metonymy can be “of cause,” when the person acting can be put in place of the thing that is done (p. 539). For instance, in Luke 16:29, the text says: “They have Moses and the prophets, let them hear them.” In reality, they did not have “Moses” or the “prophets,” but they did have their writings. The name Moses is a metonymy that stood for his writings, since he was the cause of the writings. In modern times, that would be like saying, “I hate Shakespeare.” Would the person who said that mean that he hated Shakespeare’s personality? No. We understand he would be saying he does not like the writings of Shakespeare, with no comment on the playwright’s personality.
If we apply that same figure of speech to the passages about God “hating sinners,” we can see that the sinner is put in place of the sin. Thus, when God says He hates “a false witness who speaks lies” (Proverbs 6:19), if metonymy is being used, then God hates the lies, and the one who is doing the lying (the cause) is put in place of the lies (the effect). It is interesting to see how clear this feature can be in other contexts. For instance, Proverbs 6:17 says that God hates “a lying tongue.” Does that mean that God hates a physical tongue, made of muscle and body tissue? No. It means God hates the sin that a tongue can perform. In the same context, we learn that God hates “feet that are swift in running to evil” (6:18). Again, does that mean that God hates physical feet? No. It simply means that God hates the sin that those feet can perform. It is interesting that while few, if any, would suggest that God hates physical tongues or actual feet, they would insist that God hates actual sinners and not the sin done by them.
When studying the Bible, it is very important to keep in mind that the Bible writers often used figures of speech. When we look at the idea that God hates sin, but loves sinners, the figure of speech known as metonymy clears up the confusion. Just as God does not hate physical feet or tongues, He does not hate sinners. These nouns are put in the place of the things they cause—sin.
Did Jesus Dodge His Enemies' Challenge Regarding His Deity?
|by||Dave Miller, Ph.D.|
During the Feast of Dedication in Jerusalem, the Jews surrounded Jesus and challenged Him to come right out and state whether He is the Messiah/Christ (John 10). Of course, both His previous verbal affirmations as well as His demonstrations of miraculous power had already established the factuality of the point. “The works that I do in My Father’s name, they bear witness of Me” (John 10:25; cf. 5:36; “work” is a synonym for the key word of the book, “sign”). Jesus insisted that His miraculous acts verified and authenticated His messianic identity. Their failure to accept the solid evidence of that fact was due to their deliberate unbelief—their unmitigated refusal to accept the truth due to ulterior motives and alternate interests.
So Jesus pressed the point again very forthrightly by stating emphatically, “I and My Father are one.” Observe that Jesus was never evasive. He never showed fear or hesitation in the face of threats or danger. Instead, He gave them yet another explicit declaration of His divine identity, thereby rekindling their desire to execute Him for blasphemy (as per Leviticus 24:14-16; cf. 1 Kings 21:10). But Jesus short-circuited their intention to stone Him by posing a penetrating question: “Many good works I have shown you from My Father. For which of those works do you stone Me?” Since the Son and the Father are one, and the miraculous actions that Jesus performed were every bit as much from the Father as the Son who performed them, which sign evoked this violent intention to execute Him? Of course, Jesus knew that they did not desire to execute Him for His miraculous signs. But by calling attention to His ability to perform miracles, He was again “gigging” them with their failure to accept the evidence of His divine identity. Dismissing the obvious conclusion that would be drawn by any unbiased, honest person, they insisted that He was deserving of execution for the very fact that He claimed to be God: “For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy, and because You, being a Man, make Yourself God” (John 10:33, emp. added).
Such occasions illustrate vividly that Jesus unhesitatingly claimed to be God in the flesh. If not, here was the perfect time for Him to correct the Jews’ misconception by declaring to them that they had misunderstood Him. He could have explained that He was not, in any way, claiming to be God. On the contrary, consistent with His entire time on Earth, He proceeded to prove the point to them.
As was so often the case with His handling of His contemporaries, He drew their attention back to the Bible, back to the Word of God (which He, Himself, authored, cf. John 12:48; Miller, 2007; Miller, 2009). The Word of God is the only authority for deciding what to believe and how to act (Colossians 3:17). Jesus reminded them of Psalm 82:6—
Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your law, ‘I said, “You are gods”’? If He called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken), do you say of Him whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’?” (John 10:34-37).Why did Jesus allude to Psalm 82? Some suggest that His point was that since God could refer to mere humans as “gods,” Jesus’ accusers had no grounds to condemn Him for applying such language to Himself. But this line of reasoning would make it appear as if Jesus was being evasive to avoid being stoned, and that He likened His claim to godhood with other mere humans. A more convincing, alternative interpretation is apparent.
The context of Psalm 82 is a scathing indictment of the unjust judges who had been assigned the responsibility of executing God’s justice among the people (cf. Deuteronomy 1:16; 19:17-18; 2 Chronicles 19:6). Such a magistrate was “God’s minister” (diakonos—Romans 13:4) who acted in the place of God, wielding His authority, and who was responsible for mediating God’s help and justice (cf. Exodus 7:1). God had “given them a position that was analogous to His in that He had made them administrators of justice, His justice” (Leupold, 1969, p. 595). In this sense, they were “gods” (elohim)—acting as God to men (Barclay, 1956, 2:89). Hebrew parallelism clarifies this sense: “I said, ‘You are gods, and all of you are children of the Most High’” (Psalm 82:6, emp. added). They did not share divinity with God—but merely delegated jurisdiction. They still were mere humans—although invested with divine authority, and permitted to act in God’s behalf.
This point is apparent throughout the Pentateuch, where the term translated “judges” or “ruler” is sometimes elohim (e.g., Exodus 21:6; 22:9,28). Moses is one example. Moses was not a “god.” Yet God told Moses that when he went to Egypt to orchestrate the release of the Israelites, he would be “God” to his brother Aaron and to Pharaoh (Exodus 4:16; 7:1). He meant that Moses would supply both his brother and Pharaoh with the words that came from God. Though admittedly a rather rare use of elohim, nevertheless “it shows that the word translated ‘god’ in that place might be applied to man” (Barnes, 1949, p. 294, italics in orig.). Clarke summarized this point: “Ye are my representatives, and are clothed with my power and authority to dispense judgment and justice, therefore all of them are said to be children of the Most High” (n.d., 3:479, italics in orig.). But because they had shirked their awesome responsibility to represent God’s will fairly and accurately, and because they had betrayed the sacred trust bestowed upon them by God Himself, He decreed that they would die (vs. 7). Obviously, they were not “gods,” since God could and would execute them!
A somewhat analogous mode of expression is seen in Nathan’s denunciation of David: “You have killed Uriah the Hittite” (2 Samuel 12:9)—though it was an enemy archer who had done so (2 Samuel 11:24; 12:9). No one would accuse the archer of being David, or David of being the archer. Paul said Jesus preached to the Gentiles (Ephesians 2:17)—though Jesus did so through human agency (Acts 10). Peter said Jesus preached to spirits in prison (1 Peter 3:19), when, in fact, He did so through Noah (Genesis 6; 2 Peter 2:5). Noah was not Jesus and Jesus was not Noah. If Paul and Noah could be described as functioning in the capacity of Jesus, judges in Israel could be described as functioning as God.
JESUS’ POINTJesus marshaled this Old Testament psalm (referring to it as “law” to accentuate its legal authority) to thwart His opponents’ attack, while simultaneously reaffirming His deity (which is the central feature of the book of John—20:30-31). He made shrewd use of syllogistic argumentation by reasoning a minori ad majus (see Lenski, 1943, pp. 765-770; cf. Fishbane, 1985, p. 420). “Jesus is here arguing like a rabbi from a lesser position to a greater position, a ‘how much more’ argument very popular among the rabbis” (Pack, 1975, 1:178). In fact, “it is an argument which to a Jewish Rabbi would have been entirely convincing. It was just the kind of argument, an argument founded on a word of scripture, which the Rabbis loved to use and found most unanswerable” (Barclay, 1956, 2:90).
Using argumentum ad hominem (Robertson, 1916, p. 89), Jesus identified the unjust judges of Israel as persons “to whom the word of God came” (John 10:35). That is, they had been “appointed judges by Divine commission” (Butler, 1961, p. 127)—by “the command of God; his commission to them to do justice” (Barnes, 1949, p. 294, italics in orig.; cf. Jeremiah 1:2; Ezekiel 1:3; Luke 3:2). McGarvey summarized the ensuing argument of Jesus: “If it was not blasphemy to call those gods who so remotely represented the Deity, how much less did Christ blaspheme in taking unto himself a title to which he had a better right than they, even in the subordinate sense of being a mere messenger” (n.d., p. 487). Charles Erdman observed:
By his defense Jesus does not renounce his claim to deity; but he argues that if the judges, who represented Jehovah in their appointed office, could be called “gods,” in the Hebrew scriptures, it could not be blasphemy for him, who was the final and complete revelation of God, to call himself “the Son of God” (1922, pp. 95-96, emp. added).Morris agrees: “If in any sense the Psalm may apply this term to men, then much more may it be applied to Him whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world” (1971, pp. 527-528, emp. added). Indeed, “if the divine name had been applied by God to mere men, there could be neither blasphemy nor folly in its application to the incarnate Son of God himself” (Alexander, 1873, p. 351, emp. added).
This verse brings into stark contrast the deity—the Godhood—of Christ (and His Father Who “sanctified and sent” Him—vs. 36) with the absence of deity for all others. Jesus verified this very conclusion by directing the attention of His accusers to the “works” that He performed (vss. 37-38). These “works” (i.e., miraculous signs) proved the divine identity of Jesus to the exclusion of all other alleged deities. Archer concluded: “By no means, then, does our Lord imply here that we are sons of God just as He is—except for a lower level of holiness and virtue. No misunderstanding could be more wrongheaded than that” (1982, p. 374).
So Jesus was not attempting to dodge His critics or deny their charge. The entire context has Jesus asserting His deity, and He immediately reaffirms it by referring to Himself as the One “whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world” (vs. 36). Jesus spotlighted yet another manifestation of the Jews’ hypocrisy, bias, and ulterior agenda—their failure to recognize and accept the Messiah. Even if they were sincere, they were wrong in their thinking; but in truth they were doubly wrong in that they were not even sincere—a fact that Jesus repeatedly spotlighted (cf. Matthew 12:7; 15:3-6).
CONCLUSIONThe central doctrine of the New Testament is the deity of Christ. Indeed, with very little exaggeration, one could say that the doctrine appears on nearly every page. This foundational, life-saving doctrine is denied by the majority of the world’s population (e.g., one billion Hindus, one billion skeptics, one billion Muslims, etc.). Since sufficient evidence exists to know that the Bible is of divine origin (e.g., Butt, 2007; “The Inspiration…,” 2001; et al.), one can also know with certainty that Jesus Christ
being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2:6-11, emp. added).Having completed His task to atone for humanity, He has returned to heaven and is seated at the Father’s “right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come” (Ephesians 1:20-21; cf. Hebrews 8:1). No other avenue exists by which human beings can be acceptable to deity (Acts 4:12). Indeed, Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life, and no one comes to the Father except through Him (John 14:6). May all people humbly bow before Him.
REFERENCESAlexander, Joseph A. (1873), The Psalms Translated and Explained (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1975 reprint).
Archer, Gleason L. (1982), An Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties (Grand Rapids: Zondervan).
Barclay, William (1956), The Gospel of John (Philadelphia, PA: The Westminster Press), second edition.
Barnes, Albert (1949), Notes on the New Testament: Luke and John (Grand Rapids: Baker).
Butler, Paul (1961), The Gospel of John (Joplin, MO: College Press).
Butt, Kyle (2007), Behold! The Word of God (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press).
Clarke, Adam (no date), Clarke’s Commentary: Genesis-Deuteronomy (New York: Abingdon-Cokesbury).
Erdman, Charles (1922), The Gospel of John (Philadelphia, PA: Westminster).
Fishbane, Michael (1985), Biblical Interpretation in Ancient Israel (Oxford: Clarendon Press).
“The Inspiration of the Bible” (2001), Apologetics Press Introductory Christian Evidences Correspondence Course Lesson 8, http://www.apologeticspress.org/pdfs/courses_pdf/hsc0108.pdf.
Lenski, R.C.H. (1943), The Interpretation of St. John’s Gospel (Minneapolis: Augsburg).
Leupold, H.C. (1969), Exposition of the Psalms (Grand Rapids: Baker).
McGarvey, J.W. (no date), The Fourfold Gospel (Cincinnati, OH: Standard).
Miller, Dave (2007), “Jesus’ Hermeneutical Principles,” Apologetics Press, http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=11&article=2307&topic=75.
Miller, Dave (2009), “Christianity is Rational,” Apologetics Press, http://www.apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=11&article=684.
Morris, Leon (1971), The Gospel According to John (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans).
Pack, Frank (1975), The Gospel According to John (Austin, TX: Sweet).
Robertson, A.T. (1916), The Divinity of Christ (New York: Fleming H. Revell).
By the Numbers
|by||Trevor Major, M.Sc., M.A.|
In the feature article, I raised the issue of time, only to say that it does not need to be a problem. Whether differences built up between populations gradually, or rapidly at the beginning, or in occasional brief spurts of intense change, seems to be an empirical matter. The pattern of change should not be assumed ahead of time.
However, we do have to work within certain constraints. If James Ussher’s dates are anything to go by, the Flood occurred in 2348 B.C., and the dispersion from the Tower of Babel occurred in 2234 B.C. Even conservative writers do not agree on the exact dating (e.g., Morris, 1974, pp. 247-250) but, for the sake of argument, let us say that human variation began around the time of Ussher’s date for the Flood. This sets a time limit of approximately 4,350 years.
Next, we need to know the extent of variation. The commonly cited figure is 0.2%. In other words, if you were to compare your DNA with the DNA of a stranger picked randomly from anywhere in the world, you would find that two base pairs (the “rungs” of the twisted, ladder-like DNA molecule) in every thousand base pairs are different, on average. There are around 3 billion base pairs in human DNA, so 0.2% of this figure would equal 6 million base pairs.
Actually, the situation is a little worse than this. If ancient art is anything to go by, skin coloration was a significant feature at an early stage (again, for the sake of argument, I will not worry about the discrepancies between archaeological and biblical chronologies). We could assume that obvious physical variations were fairly well established by the time of Abraham (c. 2000 B.C.). Is there enough time to accumulate these changes in the first few hundred years after the Flood?
The situation is helped a little by the estimate that only 6% of the 0.2% variation represents differences across major groupings (Gutin, 1994, p. 72). Between, say, a European and an Asian chosen at random, we would expect to find a difference of only 360,000 base pairs. Of course, all we need are sufficient mutations in the genes that are most responsible for making us appear different to people in other places. In the case of skin color (see feature article), this could mean a few mutations among a handful of genes.
So far, this is just a sketch of where we need to go in terms of a biblical model. No one, including the evolutionist, has explained all the empirical data. Still, 6 million mutations in such a short time requires some explanation.
One solution may lie in much higher mutation rates. Most estimates have rested on molecular clocks which, in turn, have rested on evolutionary assumptions. Until recently, we have not had good empirical measures of the mutation rates in humans. The situation improved when geneticists were able to analyze DNA from individuals with well-established family trees going back several generations. One study found that mutation rates in mitochondrial DNA are 18 times higher than previous estimates (Parsons, et al., 1997). If this new rate were applied to the “mitochondrial Eve” research, it would turn out that this hypothetical woman lived 6,000 years ago. “No one thinks that’s the case,” science writer Ann Gibbons is quick to point out (1998, 279:29). Still, if these new estimates hold, evolutionary anthropologists will have to do some fancy footwork around their dates for key events in the development of modern humans. Most important, the new data may put a biblical empirical model in closer reach.
Gutin, Joann C. (1994), “End of the Rainbow,” Discover, 15:70-75, November.
Morris, Henry M. (1974), Scientific Creationism (San Diego, CA: Creation-Life Publishers).
Parsons, Thomas J., et al. (1997), “A High Observed Substitution Rate in the Human Mitochondrial DNA Control Region,” Nature Genetics, 15:363.