"THE GOSPEL OF JOHN" Two Kinds Of Food (6:27) INTRODUCTION 1. Among the miracles of Jesus that attracted great attention was the feeding of 5000 with five loaves of bread and two fish - Jn 6:1-13 a. Many came to believe in Him as the Prophet to come - Jn 6:14; cf. Deut 18:15 b. Some wanted to take Him by force and make Him king - Jn 6:15 c. People sought to follow Him - Jn 6:22,24-25 2. Jesus, who knew the hearts of men (Jn 2:25), perceived their selfish motives... a. They were interested only in the food, not what the miracle indicated - Jn 6:26 b. Prompting Jesus to warn them about the food for which they labor - Jn 6:27 [The words of Jesus in our text (Jn 6:27) reveal there are "Two Kinds Of Food", one that perishes and another that endures. As we seek to apply Jesus' admonition to our own lives, let's consider...] I. THE FOOD WHICH PERISHES A. WHAT FOOD IS THIS...? 1. Literally, it is the food we eat a. It quickly perishes, even with the benefit of preservatives b. It fails to satisfy for long, soon we are hungry and thirsty again - cf. Jn 4:13 2. Figuratively, there are other "foods" which soon perish a. The food of human wisdom b. The food of folly c. The food of mirth and pleasure d. The food of great wealth and industrious labor -- Which Solomon found to provide no lasting fulfillment - cf. Ec 1:17; 2:1-2,3-11 B. DO NOT LABOR FOR SUCH FOOD... 1. This does not mean we are to make no effort to supply our needs a. A Christian is to provide for his family - 1Ti 5:8 b. If a man does not work, neither should he eat - 2Th 3:10-12 2. But that we not do so to the neglect of food which endures a. The "food" which perishes should not be our priority in life - cf. Mt 6:33 b. A lesson that Martha needed to learn - Lk 10:38-42 [Sadly, many people expend much time, energy, and money for "food" which soon perishes. Jesus would have people direct their life's efforts toward...] II. THE FOOD WHICH ENDURES A. WHAT FOOD IS THIS...? 1. In other texts, it is the Word of God a. By which man truly lives - cf. Mt 4:4 b. Which Job treasured more than necessary food - Job 23:12 c. Which David valued more than gold and fine food - Ps 19:10; 119:72,103,11 d. Which Jeremiah found to be the rejoicing of his heart - Jer 15:16 e. Which causes rebirth, and endures forever - 1Pe 1:22-25 2. In our text, it is Jesus, the Word of God a. Jesus, the Logos (Word) of God - Jn 1:1,14,18 b. He is the true bread from the Father in heaven - Jn 6:31-35 c. He is the bread of life who offers everlasting life - Jn 6: 47-51 B. LABOR FOR THIS FOOD... 1. Jesus must be the primary focus of our labors, in which we strive: a. To believe in Him, for therein is everlasting life - Jn 6: 28-29,40 b. To follow Him, for He has the words of eternal life - Jn 6: 66-69 c. To know Him, for that is eternal life - Jn 17:1-3 d. To obey Him, for to those who obey He is the author of eternal life - He 5:9 2. Are we laboring for the food which endures to everlasting life? a. Let Paul's attitude be our example - Php 3:7-15 1) Seeking to know the Lord more and more 2) Never content with our current understanding, always pressing further b. Let Peter's exhortation to diligence in growing in the knowledge of Jesus Christ set the standard - 2Pe 1:5-8; 3:18 1) Seeking to become like the Lord more and more 2) Always abounding, always growing in grace and knowledge CONCLUSION 1. Dear friends and brethren, for what "food" do you labor...? a. Is your focus in life on that which is temporary? b. Do you strive for that which cannot truly satisfy? -- If so, consider what Isaiah wrote 700 years before Christ came - Isa 55:1-4 2. Jesus is the true bread of life, the living water, who truly satisfies... a. He alone provides the hope of eternal life - Jn 6:40 b. He alone offers the abundant life even now - Jn 10:11 Though written by Isaiah, these words may serve as the invitation Jesus offers to all... "Why do you spend money for [what is] not bread, And your wages for [what] does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat [what is] good, And let your soul delight itself in abundance. Incline your ear, and come to Me. Hear, and your soul shall live; And I will make an everlasting covenant with you - The sure mercies of David." (Isa 55:2-3)
"THE GOSPEL OF JOHN" The Insufficiency Of The Scriptures (5:37-40) INTRODUCTION 1. The all-sufficiency of the Scriptures is an important doctrine... a. For the Scriptures are completely adequate - 2Ti 3:16-17 b. God has provided all that we need for life and godliness - 2 Pe 1:3 c. We do not need further revelation, we have the faith delivered "once for all" to the saints - Jude 3 -- Thus we have that which is able to build us up and give us our inheritance - Ac 20:32 2. Yet there can come a time... when the Scriptures are insufficient... a. When despite its power, the Word of God is unable to save b. When despite diligent study, it does not benefit those who search through it -- There can be a time when the Scriptures are insufficient! 3. We find such an occasion in the gospel of John... a. When Jesus was confronted by unbelieving Jews - cf. Jn 5:16-18 b. Who had rejected various sources bearing witness to Jesus - cf. Jn 5:33-36 [In what serves as our text (Jn 5:37-40), we learn when and how the Scriptures can be insufficient, as it proved to be in the case of the Jews...] I. HOW THE SCRIPTURES PROVED INSUFFICIENT FOR THE JEWS A. THEY DILIGENTLY SEARCHED THE SCRIPTURES... 1. As indicated in our text - Jn 5:39 a. The KJV has Jesus commanding them to search the Scriptures b. The ASV, NKJV, NASB has Jesus acknowledging their study of the Scriptures c. "The form here can be either present active indicative second person plural or the present active imperative second person plural. Only the context can decide. Either makes sense here, but the reason given 'because ye think' (clearly indicative), supports the indicative rather than the imperative." - Robertson's Word Pictures 2. The Jews were diligent students of the Scriptures a. Moses was read in the synagogues every Sabbath - cf. Ac 15: 21 b. "Hillel used to say, 'More law, more life...He who has gotten himself words of law has gotten himself the life of the world to come' (Talmud). In their zeal for the Scriptures the Jews had counted every letter of them, expecting to find life in the laws and precepts..." - McGarvey's Fourfold Gospel -- One could hardly be a more diligent student of the Scriptures than the Jews! B. YET THE SCRIPTURES DID NOT BENEFIT THEM... 1. They were unwilling to believe in Him of whom the Scriptures testified - Jn 5:39-40 2. Failing to believe in Jesus led to the Father's Word not abiding in them - cf. Jn 5:38 -- Unwilling to believe in Him of whom the Scriptures testified, the Scriptures proved insufficient to be the Word of life for them! [How sad that many Jews who had the benefit of receiving "the oracles of God" (Ro 3:1-2) and studied them so diligently fell short of receiving their true benefit. Yet the same occurs often today...] II. HOW THE SCRIPTURES CAN BE INSUFFICIENT FOR US TODAY A. WE MAY BE DILIGENT STUDENTS OF THE SCRIPTURES... 1. Indeed we should be diligent students of the Word! a. The gospel is God's power to save - Ro 1:16 b. The Word of God is living and powerful - He 4:12 c. The Word is able to save our souls - Jm 1:21 d. The Word is able to make one born again - 1Pe 1:22 e. The Word is able to help us grow - 1Pe 2:2 f. The Word is able to give us that inheritance among those sanctified - Ac 20:32 2. Many people are diligent students of the Word! a. Every denomination has its scholars, people well-versed in the Word b. People read the Bible daily, study it in church frequently c. Some can even quote entire sections from memory -- Many are like the Berean Jews in their study of the Scriptures - Ac 17:11 B. YET THE SCRIPTURES WILL NOT BENEFIT US... 1. If we do not have faith - He 4:1-2 a. We may come short of our promised rest b. Like the Israelites who fell in the wilderness 2. If we are not doers of the Word a. If we are only hearers, we deceive ourselves - Jm 1:21-25 b. If we are only hearers, we will not stand in times of trial - Mt 7:24-27 -- Unless we believe and obey the Word of God , it remains insufficient to save us! CONCLUSION 1. The Word of God is truly all-sufficient.. a. To do the work God designed it do - Isa 55:10-11 b. To bear fruit in the noble and good heart - Lk 8:11,15 2. Yet "people of the Book" (as the Koran calls Jews and Christians) should take heed... a. The Word cannot bear fruit in some hearts - Lk 8:12-14 b. We must let the Word lead us to Him Who is the giver of life - cf. Jn 5:40 Indeed, "the all-sufficiency of the Word" must be understood in its context, for the Word alone does not save. To be saved we also need faith (Jn 8:24), we need blood (Ep 1:7), we even need water (Ep 5:26), the last being an allusion to baptism where the Word, God's grace, Christ's blood and our faith comes together to provide remission of sins! - cf. Ac 2:38; 22:16
"THE GOSPEL OF JOHN" All Should Honor The Son (5:16-30) INTRODUCTION 1. The ministry of Jesus was not without controversy... a. One reason was because He healed on the Sabbath - Jn 5:16 b. Another reason was because He made Himself equal with God - Jn 5:17-18 -- Prompting the Jews to seek to kill Him 2. Yet He they sought to kill, they should have honored - Jn 5:22-23 a. Even as one should honor the Father b. For failing to honor the Son, they did not honor the Father who sent Him -- Indeed, all should honor the Son! [Do we honor the Son today? Truly honor the Son? We certainly should, and in our text we note several reasons why Jesus should be held high in our estimation of Him...] I. WHY WE SHOULD HONOR THE SON A. THE SON WILL RAISE THE DEAD... 1. Among the "greater works" Jesus would do included raising the dead! - Jn 5:20-21 2. We have record of Jesus raising three people from the dead a. The daughter of Jairus - Mk 5:21-43 b. The son of the widow of Nain - Lk 7:11-17 c. The brother of Mary and Martha, Lazarus - Jn 11:1-44 3. One day, Jesus will raise all from the dead! - Jn 5:28-29 a. Those who have done good, to the resurrection of life b. Those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation -- Just as in Adam all die, so in Christ all shall be made alive! - cf. 1Co 15:22 B. THE SON WILL JUDGE THE WORLD... 1. The Father has committed judgment to His Son - Jn 5:22 a. Jesus has authority to execute judgment, because He is the Son of Man - Jn 5:27 b. Jesus will exercise righteous judgment, because He seeks the Father's will - Jn 5:30 2. One day, Jesus will judge all mankind! - cf. Ac 10:42; 17:31 a. His words will judge us in the Last Day - Jn 12:48 b. We will all stand before the judgment seat of Christ - Ro 14:10; 2Co 5:10 -- Knowing we will one day stand before the Judge, should we not honor Him now? C. THE SON OFFERS EVERLASTING LIFE... 1. To those who hear His Words, and believes in the Father who sent Him - Jn 5:24 a. They shall not come into judgment (i.e., condemnation) b. They shall pass from death (spiritual) to life (eternal) 2. The time for this offer is now ("the hour is coming, and now is") - Jn 5:25 a. When those who are dead (spiritually) will hear the voice of the Son of God (via the gospel) b. Those who hear (obey) will live (be saved) 3. The Son has power to give life - Jn 5:26 a. Because the Father has life in Himself b. And the Father has granted the Son to have life in Himself -- That Jesus offers the gift of everlasting life is certainly reason to honor Him! [Many other reasons to honor the Son could be given, but these certainly suffice. How should we honor Him? From our text, we can glean at least three ways...] II. HOW WE SHOULD HONOR THE SON A. BY HEARING HIS VOICE NOW... 1. One day, we will hear His voice - cf. Jn 5:28-29 a. Whether alive or dead b. Whether we want to or not c. Either to a resurrection of life, or to a resurrection of condemnation 2. How much better that day will be, if we hear His voice now - cf. Jn 5:24-25 a. We can have everlasting life! b. We will not come into judgment (condemnation)! c. We can pass from death to life! -- Will we honor the Son by listening to His words of life? B. BY OBEYING HIS VOICE NOW... 1. It is not enough to simply "hear" His Words a. We must be "doers" of His Words - Mt 7:24-27 b. Otherwise, why bother to call Him "Lord"? - Lk 6:46 c. Only by abiding in His word are we truly His disciples - Jn 8:31 2. Jesus is the author of eternal salvation to all obey Him - cf. He 5:9 a. Obeying His call to believe in Him - Jn 8:24 b. Obeying His call to repent of sins - Lk 13:3 c. Obeying His call to confess Him before others - Mt 10:32-33 d. Obeying His call to be baptized - Mt 28:19; Mk 16:16 e. Obeying His call to remain faithful - Re 2:10 -- Will we honor the Son by heeding His voice now, today? C. BY SEEKING THE FATHER'S WILL NOW... 1. Jesus sought His Father's will in all that He did - Jn 5:30 a. His "food" was to do the Father's will - Jn 4:34 b. He came down from heaven to do the Father's will - Jn 6:38 c. He glorified the Father by doing the work He was given to do - Jn 17:4 2. Jesus wants us to do His Father's will a. Otherwise we will not enter the kingdom of heaven - Mt 7: 21-23 b. Otherwise we will not be part of His family - Mt 12:46-50 -- We can best honor the Son by emulating His example in doing the Father's will! CONCLUSION 1. All should honor the Son today... a. He is certainly worthy of honor - cf. Re 5:12 b. Just as the Father (He who sits on the throne) is worthy - cf. Re 5:13 2. All will honor the Son one day... a. By responding to His voice at the resurrection - Jn 5:28-29 b. Every knee will bow, and every tongue will confess - Ro 14:10-11; Php 2:9-11 For those willing to honor Him today by heeding His voice, they will be honored together with Him in That Day! - cf. 2Th 1:10-12
Christianity, Islam, and Science
|by||Trevor Major, M.Sc., M.A.|
The Roman Empire was terminally ill by the end of the second century A.D. It had used its skills in administration, engineering, and military strategy to dominate a region spanning three continents. But its heart was weakened by the rise of an absolutist monarchy led, all too frequently, by weak, ineffectual emperors. Slowly, the Roman armies abandoned the most distant outposts and could not prevent the Vandals, Goths, and Huns from penetrating the innermost parts of the Empire. The Goths sacked major Greek cities in 268, gave the same treatment to Rome in 410, and in 476 deposed the last Western Roman Emperor. Deprived of Roman law and economy, much of the region plunged into disorder and poverty.
Lost from the scene was a significant portion of classical Greek science, including Ptolemy’s astronomy, Euclid’s mathematics, Galen’s anatomy, and Aristotle’s naturalistic writings. But it hardly could be said that nothing was going on in these “Dark Ages,” as some are inclined to characterize the next few hundred years. In particular, the establishment of monasteries in the sixth century provided a means for religious training. Literacy improved because instruction depended on readings from the Bible, commentaries, and works of the church Fathers.
Monasteries also provided access to the relatively scant classical works available in Latin. Through the writings of Augustine (354-430), scholars were especially familiar with Plato’s Timaeus. This work lent itself to Christian interpretation because it argued that the Universe had a first cause—an eternal self-mover—that created motion and order. Further, because Plato’s god was good, he created a world that was good for us, the creature. Unlike the Christian God, this self-mover was not a personal god; he did not love man, he was not omnipotent, and he was not the object of worship. However, Plato’s arguments for a Creator-God, combined with biblically based expectations of seeing God’s handiwork in creation (e.g., Psalm 19:1, Romans 1:20), encouraged medieval theologians to affirm the fundamental intelligibility of God’s creation. Although Augustine frowned upon the systematic study of nature, the concept of nature’s basic orderliness provided an important key to the development of modern science (Jones, 1969, p. 133).
During this same period, Arabic-Islamic science had reached tremendous heights. It led the world in mathematics, physics, optics, astronomy, and medicine. The stability and wealth brought by the spread of Islamic power in the seventh and eighth centuries fostered patronage of higher learning. In 762, al-Mansur established Baghdad as his new capital, and “cultivated a religious climate that was relatively intellectual, secularized, and tolerant” (Lindberg, 1992, p. 168). Over the next few generations, Arab scholars enhanced their own knowledge with medicine from Persia, mathematics from India and China, and the classical Greek heritage preserved in Byzantium. Much emphasis was given to knowledge that had special utility for Islamic culture. For example, the Chinese abacus, and the Hindu system of numbers and place-valued decimal notation, were used to advance trigonometry and Ptolemy’s astronomy. These, in turn, could be used to determine the direction to Mecca and the times of prayer for any town in the Muslim world.
Crucial to the development of Arabic science was a massive translation program begun by Hunayn ibn Ishaq (808-73), a member of the Nestorian Christian sect. Arabs filled their numerous libraries with tens- or hundreds-of-thousands of books, whereas the Sorbonne in Paris could boast of a paltry two thousand as late as the fourteenth century (Huff, 1993, p. 74). Despite this clear superiority, why did modern science arise in Western Europe, and not in the Islamic world?
Some Muslim leaders, like some of their counterparts in early medieval Europe, had a low regard for the study of nature. Academic pursuits were tolerated, but learning was divided into traditional studies based on the Qur’an, and “foreign” studies based on knowledge obtained from the Greeks. Although there were Arabic rationalists, there were also those who saw in this rationalism a threat to the authority of the holy writings. A conservative reaction in the late tenth century, together with a decline in peace and prosperity, impeded further scientific advance in the Muslim world (Lindberg, 1992, pp. 180-181). According to the emerging Islamic orthodoxy, man was not a fully rational creature, and no room was allowed for a purely rational investigation of God’s creation (Huff, 1993, pp. 100,115).
It was in this very early period of decline that the baton of science began to pass gradually into the hands of the Europeans, especially those who came into contact with the wealth of Islamic knowledge in Spain. Perhaps the next most significant event was the fall of Muslim-held Toledo in 1085. Many important Arabic and classical works from its vast library were translated into Latin. Within a century, these had begun to filter into centers of learning all over Europe. They arrived at a time when scholars such as Anselm (1033-1109) already were reviving the role of reason in faith. Their arrival coincided also with the development of the university as a legal entity with political and intellectual autonomy (Huff, 1993, p. 335). No similar institution appeared in the Arabic world until the twentieth century due, in part, to the orthodox Muslim concept of nature and reason. Religious constraints also played a role in late medieval Europe, but an academic world committed to the biblical views of man’s rationality and freedom of choice provided a fertile ground for the rise of modern science.
Jones, W.T. (1969), The Medieval Mind (Fort Worth, TX: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, second edition).
Lindberg, David C. (1992), The Beginnings of Western Science (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press).
The Fall of Tyre
|by||Trevor Major, M.Sc., M.A.|
Like Sidon, its “mother” city twenty-five miles to the north (Isaiah 23:12), Tyre straddled both island and mainland. Although barren and rocky, the offshore portion occupied a seemingly impregnable position, and may have supported as many as forty thousand inhabitants (Pfeiffer, 1966, p. 591). A small bay on the northern end of the island formed one of the best natural harbors along this stretch of the Mediterranean coast. Most important, the city stood at the crossroads of a worldwide trading network stretching from Europe to the Far East, and from Asia Minor to Egypt. Home-grown products included glassware and a fine purple cloth (which was favored by royalty and dyed with an extract of the local Murex marine snail).
Tyre began its rise to prominence with the plundering of Sidon by Philistines around 1200 B.C. The influx of refugees and the temporary loss of competition spurred a period of great growth. Dealers and shipping merchants grew fabulously rich (Isaiah 23:8). They used their wealth to create a “stronghold of Tyre” (2 Samuel 24:7; see also Joshua 19:29), and bought peace by paying hefty tributes to whatever superpower was in control at the time.
Hiram I of Tyre (c. 979-945 B.C.) ushered in a “golden age” by uniting the Phoenician city-states under one rule, building temples to the deities of Melqart and Astarte, constructing a breakwater to create a harbor on the southern side, and connecting the two ports with a canal. In between periods of foreign influence, Tyre continued to expand its economic reach, including the founding of Carthage in 814 B.C.
This growth coincided with the reigns of Israel’s most powerful kings, David and Solomon, so it is not surprising that we should find considerable contact between these neighbors. After all, little more than a hundred miles separated Tyre from Jerusalem. (Facts like these are hard to keep in mind, given the larger-than-life significance of the events played out in this tiny corner of the world.) In fact, the Phoenician port crops up frequently in biblical history, poetry, and prophecy. David relied on Tyre’s resources for the building of his royal palace in Jerusalem (2 Samuel 5:11). Solomon went further, drawing on its materials and skilled workmen for the construction of the great temple in exchange for territory (1 Kings 7:11), and on their seafaring prowess for the founding of a fleet at the Red Sea port of Ezion-Geber (1 Kings 9:27). It is to Tyre that the repatriated exiles turned for the rebuilding of Jerusalem under the grant of Cyrus (Ezra 3:7). Of all the rulers, Ahab went the farthest by establishing a political alliance with Tyre. This he confirmed by a marriage to Jezebel, daughter of Ethbaal (1 Kings 16:31), Tyre’s ruler/high priest who had overthrown King Phelles. As biblical history makes quite clear, this unholy compact had disastrous consequences for Samaria (1 Kings 13:31-33).
Of all the prophets, the book of Ezekiel devotes the most attention to Tyre (chapters 26-28). The revelation begins by citing the city’s notorious opportunism as one reason for its ultimate demise (26:2-3). As noted previously, Tyrian merchants had much to lose by an interruption of regular commerce, and could afford to buy peace with their enemies. Frequently, these treaties brought the city-state into alliance with other nations against Israel (Psalm 83). Despite the mutual respect that existed in the time of Hiram, the king’s successors took advantage of God’s people in their moments of weakness (Joel 3:4-6; Amos 1:9). Of course, divine condemnation would come on all nations, including Tyre, that acted against the people of God (Jeremiah 25:14-29). One of Tyre’s rulers also claimed to be a god, and this individual’s transgression constituted a further indictment against the city (Ezekiel 28:2).
What is most notable about Ezekiel’s prophecy is the accuracy of its fulfillment. Although secular records are not sufficiently complete to provide an independent confirmation of every detail, chapter 26 makes at least seven definite predictions that can be tested against historical data (see table below).
|1. Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon shall destroy the mainland (“field” KJV) portion of Tyre (Ezekiel 26:7-8).||1. Nebuchadnezzar II laid siege to Tyre for thirteen years beginning in 585-586 B.C. During this time, the inhabitants transferred most of their valuables to the island. The king seized Tyre’s mainland territories but returned to Babylon, finding himself unable to subdue the island fortress militarily (cf. 29:18). Tyre, weakened by the conflict, soon recognized Babylonian authority, which effectively ended the city’s autonomy and any aspirations for a greater Phoenicia.|
|2. Other nations are to participate in the fulfillment of the prophecy (vs. 3).||2. Following the Babylonian period, Tyre remained in subjection to Persia from 538-332 B.C. Alexander the Great besieged and captured the port in 332 B.C., and Ptolemies, Seleucids, Romans, and Muslim Arabs all had their turn at rule. After passing briefly into the hands of the Crusaders, the city was destroyed completely by the Mamluks (former Muslim soldier-slaves) in A.D. 1291.|
|3. The city is to be flattened, like the top of a rock (vss. 4,14).||3. Like Nebuchadnezzar, Alexander was stymied by Tyre’s natural moat. The brilliant Macedonian was not so quick to give up, however. He used the building materials of the mainland city, and any other rocks and soil in the immediate vicinity, to build a causeway to the island. His complete conquest of Tyre took only seven months.|
|4. It is to become a place for the spreading of nets (vss. 5,14).||4. The waters around Tyre were renowned in ancient times for their fishing (Liverani, 1988, 5:932). This was all the fame the city could claim after its complete decimation by Alexander.|
|5. Its stones and timbers are to be laid in the sea (vs. 12).||5. As noted in item 3 above, the building of the causeway came from the remains of the mainland city. Sands carried by currents have built up a spit or tombolo around the causeway, forming a permanent connection between the island and the mainland.|
|6. Other cities are to fear greatly at the fall of Tyre (vss. 15-18).||6. Many fortified cities in the region capitulated to Alexander after they saw the genius and relative ease with which he captured Tyre.|
|7. The city will not be inhabited or rebuilt (vss. 20-21).||7. Alexander sold almost all of Tyre’s inhabitants into slavery, and the city forever lost its importance on the world stage. Any vestiges of strength and power disappeared with the destruction of the Crusader fortress. Soûr, as it is known by Arabs today, is a small town in southern Lebanon with a population of about 14,000 (1990 estimate; refugees have inflated that number significantly in the last several years).|
|Table comparing the prophecy of Tyre with available historical information|
Pfeiffer, C.F. (1966), The Biblical World (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker).
Stoner, Peter W. and Robert C. Newman (1976), Science Speaks (Chicago, IL: Moody).
|by||Eric Lyons, M.Min.|
Advances in the science of biomimetics increasingly are reported in major scientific journals around the world. Scientists have attempted to mimic various designs or processes in the biological world for centuries, and 21st-century scientists show no signs of slowing down. In fact, it appears that now, more than ever, scientists are looking to nature for inspirations for their inventions. In June 2007, the journal New Scientist announced a new self-healing glue inspired by human bones (see Butt, 2007). In July 2007, MIT’s Technology Review reported the flight of a robotic fly at Harvard University, and how the government hopes eventually to use such “flies” in surveillance missions (see Ross, 2007; cf. Lyons, 2007). Nature, an international, weekly science journal, recently highlighted another impressive, life-inspired product—a biomimetic adhesive called “geckel,” that can adhere to both dry and wet surfaces (Haeshin, et al., 2007, 448:338-341).
The term “geckel” is derived from the names of the two creatures that inspired the new versatile adhesive: geckos and mussels. (Gecko + mussel = geckel.) Scientists closely examined the gecko’s “foot pads composed of specialized keratinous foot-hairs,” which “allow the gecko to cling onto vertical and even inverted surfaces” (Haeshin, et al., p. 338). By developing “nanotubes” that mimic “the bundles of fibers that make up the hairs on gecko feet” (Bullis, 2007), scientists have produced small tape samples that can be reused dozens of time. One obstacle to “gecko tape,” however, is water. Re-usable tape that mimics “gecko adhesion is greatly diminished upon full immersion” (Haeshin, et al., p. 338). Thus, scientists turned to the mussel.
Mussels have the ability to adhere to wet or fully immersed surfaces. Northwestern University biomedical-engineering professor Phillip Messersmith observed: “Mussels can stick to anything.... They adhere to a piece of wood, which is organic. They also adhere to the skin of whales” (as quoted in Patel-Predd, 2007). Their astounding stick-to-itiveness comes from a secretion of “specialized adhesive proteins” (Haeshin, et al., p. 338). After years of study, scientists have been able to manufacture a polymer that imitates the adhesive proteins of mussels.
Now, by combining what they have learned from gecko and mussel adhesion, researchers have developed a new adhesive, complete with nanotubes and a sticky protein polymer. Geckel is sticky, reusable, and can attach both to dry and wet surfaces. Scientists foresee it being used in many things, including medical tape and electronic equipment.
Sadly, many of the same scientists who spent thousands of hours studying the marvelous qualities of geckos and mussels believe these animals just evolved over millions of years. They believe that a big bang, plus spontaneous generation, plus time, plus chance equals awe-inspiring animals that hold the key to the invention of many impressive products. Researchers are designing new products based on living creatures that supposedly were not designed. Does this make any sense? None at all. The fact is, design demands a designer. Geckos and mussels, which scientists still cannot fully imitate, were designed by an intelligent Being—“The everlasting God, Jehovah, the Creator of the ends of the earth” (Isaiah 40:28, ASV). “O Lord, how manifold are Your works! In wisdom You have made them all...living things both small and great” (Psalm 104:24-25).
Butt, Kyle (2007), “Nature Sticks to Design,” Apologetics Press, [On-line], URL: http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/3413.
Haeshin, Lee, Bruce Lee, and Phillip Messersmith (2007), “A Reversible Wet/Dry Adhesive Inspired by Mussels and Geckos,” Nature, 448:338-341, July 19.
Lyons, Eric (2007), “Who Makes the World’s Best Fliers?,” Apologetics Press, [On-line], URL: http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/3436.
Patel-Predd, Prachi (2007), “Nanoglue Sticks Underwater,” Technology Review, July 18, [On-line], URL: http://www.technologyreview.com/Nanotech/19061/.
Ross, Rachel (2007), “Robotic Insect Takes Off for the First Time,” Technology Review, July 19, [On-line], URL: http://www.technologyreview.com/Infotech/19068/.
Is Satan "Lucifer"?
|by||Bert Thompson, Ph.D.|
Q.Isaiah 14:12 mentions the name of "Lucifer." I’ve heard it said that this is Satan. Are Lucifer and Satan one and the same?
It is sad, but nevertheless true, that on occasion Bible students attribute to God’s Word facts and concepts that it neither teaches nor advocates. These ill-advised beliefs run the entire gamut—from harmless misinterpretations to potentially soul-threatening false doctrines.
Although there are numerous examples from both categories that could be listed, perhaps one of the most popular misconceptions among Bible believers is that Satan also is designated as “Lucifer” within the pages of the Bible. What is the origin of the name Lucifer, what is its meaning, and is it a synonym for “Satan”? Here are the facts.
The word “Lucifer” is used in the King James Version only once, in Isaiah 14:12: “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!” The Hebrew word translated “Lucifer” is helel (or heylel), from the root, hâlâl, meaning “to shine” or “to bear light.” Keil and Delitzsch noted that “[i]t derives its name in other ancient languages also from its striking brilliancy, and is here called ben-shachar (son of the dawn)... (1982, 7:311). However, the KJV translators did not translate helel as Lucifer because of something inherent in the Hebrew term itself. Instead, they borrowed the name from Jerome’s translation of the Bible (A.D. 383-405) known as the Latin Vulgate. Jerome, likely believing that the term was describing the planet Venus, employed the Latin term “Lucifer” (“light-bearing”) to designate “the morning star” (Venus). Only later did the suggestion originate that Isaiah 14:12ff. was speaking of the devil. Eventually, the name Lucifer came to be synonymous with Satan. But is Satan “Lucifer”?
No, he is not. The context into which verse 12 fits begins in verse 4 where God told Isaiah to “take up this parable against the king of Babylon, and say, ‘How hath the oppressor ceased! the golden city ceased!’” In his commentary on Isaiah, Albert Barnes explained that God’s wrath was kindled against the king because the ruler “intended not to acknowledge any superior either in heaven or earth, but designed that himself and his laws should be regarded as supreme” (1950, 1:272). The chest-pounding boast of the impudent potentate was:
I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; and I will sit upon the mount of congregation, in the uttermost parts of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High (vss. 13-14).As a result of his egotistical self-deification, the pagan monarch eventually would experience both the collapse of his kingdom and the loss of his life—an ignominious end that is described in vivid and powerful terms. “Sheol from beneath is moved for thee to meet thee at thy coming,” the prophet proclaimed to the once-powerful king. And when the ruler finally descends into his eternal grave, captives of that hidden realm will taunt him by saying, “Is this the man that made the earth to tremble, that did shake kingdoms?” (vs. 16). He is denominated as a “man” (vs. 16) who would die in disrepute and whose body would be buried, not in a king’s sarcophagus, but in pits reserved for the downtrodden masses (vss. 19-20). Worms would eat his body, and hedgehogs would trample his grave (vss. 11,23).
It was in this context that Isaiah referred to the king of Babylon as “the morning star” (“son of the morning”; “son of the dawn”) to depict the once-shining-but-now-dimmed, once-lofty-but-now-diminished, status of the (soon to be former) ruler. In his Bible Commentary, E.M. Zerr observed that such phrases were “...used figuratively in this verse to symbolize the dignity and splendor of the Babylonian monarch. His complete overthrow was likened to the falling of the morning star” (1954, 3:265). This kind of phraseology should not be surprising since “[i]n the O.T., the demise of corrupt national powers is frequently depicted under the imagery of falling heavenly luminaries (cf. Isa. 13:10; Ezek. 32:7), hence, quite appropriately in this context the Babylonian monarch is described as a fallen star [cf. ASV]” (Jackson, 1987, 23:15).
Nowhere within the context of Isaiah 14, however, is Satan depicted as Lucifer. In fact, quite the opposite is true. In his commentary on Isaiah, Burton Coffman wrote: “We are glad that our version (ASV) leaves the word Lucifer out of this rendition, because...Satan does not enter into this passage as a subject at all” (1990, p. 141). The Babylonian ruler was to die and be buried—fates neither of which Satan is destined to endure. The king was called “a man” whose body was to be eaten by worms, but Satan, as a spirit, has no physical body. The monarch lived in and abided over a “golden city” (vs. 4), but Satan is the monarch of a kingdom of spiritual darkness (cf. Ephesians 6:12). And so on.
The context presented in Isaiah 14:4-16 not only does not portray Satan as Lucifer, but actually militates against it. Keil and Delitzsch firmly proclaimed that “Lucifer,” as a synonym, “is a perfectly appropriate one for the king of Babel, on account of the early date of the Babylonian culture, which reached back as far as the grey twilight of primeval times, and also because of its predominate astrological character” (1982, p. 312). They then correctly concluded that “Lucifer, as a name given to the devil, was derived from this passage...without any warrant whatever, as relating to the apostasy and punishment of the angelic leaders” (pp. 312-313).
Coffman, James Burton (1990), The Major Prophets—Isaiah (Abilene, TX: ACU Press).
Jackson, Wayne (1987), “Your Question & My Answer,” Christian Courier, 23:15, August.
Keil, C.F. and Franz Delitzsch, (1982 edition), Commentary on the Old Testament—Isaiah (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).
Zerr, E.M. (1954), Bible Commentary (Bowling Green, KY: Guardian of Truth Publications).
Can We Prove Jesus Was a Real Person?
|by||Eric Lyons, M.Min.|
You may find this surprising, but there are many people in the world today who actually think that Jesus is nothing more than a fantasy figure that various secret societies created 2,000 years ago. Allegedly, His name belongs in the same fictional writings that contain such fairy-tale characters as Peter Pan, Hercules, and Snow White and the seven dwarfs. Gerald Massey, in his book, Gnostic and Historic Christianity, has “informed” us that “[w]hether considered as the God made human, or as man made divine, this character [Jesus—EL] never existed as a person” (1985, p. 22). Skeptics like Massey, Acharya (1999), and others believe that Christians have been deceived into thinking that there really was a man named Jesus, when, in fact, He never lived.
How do those of us who believe in the historicity of Jesus Christ respond to such allegations? Can we really know that there was a sinless, miracle-working, death-defying man named Jesus who lived upon the Earth approximately 2,000 years ago, or have we accepted His existence blindly?
Even though the New Testament proves beyond the shadow of a doubt that Jesus actually lived, it is by no means the only historical evidence available. Around the year A.D. 94, a Jewish historian by the name of Josephus mentioned Jesus’ name twice in his book, Antiquities of the Jews. In section 18 of that work, Josephus wrote: “And there arose about this time Jesus, a wise man, if indeed we should call him a man; for he was a doer of marvelous deeds, a teacher of men who receive the truth with pleasure” (emp. added). Then, in section 20, Josephus documented how a man named Ananus brought before the Sanhedrin “a man named James, the brother of Jesus who was called the Christ, and certain others” (emp. added).
About 20 years later, Tacitus, a Roman historian, wrote a book surveying the history of Rome. In it he described how Nero (the Roman emperor) “punished with every refinement the notoriously depraved Christians (as they were popularly called).” He went on to write that “their originator, Christ, had been executed in Tiberius’ reign by the governor of Judea, Pontius Pilatus” (Annals 15:44, emp. added). Even though Tacitus, Josephus, and other historians from the first and second centuries A.D. were not followers of Christ, they did have something to say about Him—and they even verified that Jesus was a real person Who was so famous that He even attracted the attention of the Roman emperor himself!
Another obvious reason to believe that Jesus was a real person is because our entire dating method is based upon His existence. The letters “B.C.” stand for “before Christ,” and the letters “A.D.” (standing for Anno Domini) mean “in the year of the Lord.” So when a history teacher speaks of Alexander the Great ruling much of the world in 330 B.C., he or she is admitting that Alexander lived about 330 years before Jesus was born.
Even though this is only a sampling of the evidence relating to the man known as Jesus, it is enough to prove that He was a real person, and not just some imaginary character. We do not accept His existence blindly—it is a historical fact!
REFERENCESJosephus, Flavius (1957 reprint), The Life and Works of Flavius Josephus, trans. William Whitson (Philadelphia, PA: John Whitson).
Massey, Gerald (1985), Gnostic and Historic Christianity (Edmond, WA: Holmes Publishing Group).
Acharya, S. (1999), The Christ Conspiracy: The Greatest Story Ever Sold (Kempton, IL: Adventures Unlimited Press).
Tacitus, Cornelius P. (1952 reprint), The Annals and the Histories, trans. Michael Grant (Chicago, IL: William Benton), Great Books of the Western World Series.
Evolution's "New" Argument—Suboptimality
|by||Bert Thompson, Ph.D.|
|Premise #1||If the Universe evinces purposeful design, there must have been a designer.|
|Premise #2||The Universe does evince purposeful design.|
|Conclusion||Thus, the Universe must have had a Designer.|
At least that is the way it used to be. But, evolutionists apparently are beginning to recognize that they simply cannot explain away what the “man on the street” can so easily see as evidence of design in the Universe. Now, as unbelievable as it may seem, even evolutionists are finally admitting that design does, in fact, exist. Douglas Futuyma, for example, admits: “We look at the design of organisms, then, for evidence of the Creator’s intelligence, and what do we see? A multitude of exquisite adaptations to be sure; the bones of a swallow beautifully adapted for flight; the eyes of a cat magnificently shaped for seeing in the twilight” (1983, p. 198).
Does this mean, then, that evolutionists like Dr. Futuyma are admitting defeat, and becoming committed creationists in light of these new revelations? Hardly. Rather than abandon their sacrosanct theory of evolution, they have decided to “put their heads together” in an effort to explain all of this. The resulting argument is, admittedly, unique. It goes something like this.
THE ARGUMENT FROM SUBOPTIMALITY
|Premise #1||If the Universe evinces traits of non-design, there is no Designer.|
|Premise #2||The Universe does evince non-design.|
|Conclusion||Thus, the Universe had no Designer.|
As a result of all this attention to the matter of design versus non-design, a new term has even been coined to express the evolutionary argument. It is called the argument from suboptimality. That is to say, if all design were considered perfect, everything would be optimal. However, since there are items in nature that (allegedly) are imperfect, there is suboptimality in nature. [NOTE: The argument sometimes is known as the argument from dysteleology.] It is my contention that the argument is flawed for several reasons.
First, in arguing the case for design, creationists are not obligated to show obvious design in every single feature of the Universe. It is necessary to produce only a reasonable number of sufficient evidences in order to establish design. For the evolutionist to produce an example of something which, to him, evinces either non-design, or poor design, does not somehow magically negate all the other evidences of obvious design!
Second, it is possible that an object possesses purposeful design, but that it is not recognized by the observer. Consider the following two cases. Percival Davis, in the book he co-authored with Wayne Frair, A Case for Creation, gives the following story.
My daughter was playing with her pet rat one day when a question occurred to her. “Daddy,” she said, “why does a rat have scales on its tail?” “You know perfectly well,” I replied. “The reptiles that were ancestral to rats and all other mammals had scales on their tails as well as on the rest of their bodies. Because there was no particular disadvantage to having them, they persisted in rats to this day.”Dr. Davis has raised two very important points with this simple story. First, we may not presently know why an organism is designed the way it is. To us, the design is either not yet recognizable, or not well understood. Second, with further research, the heretofore unrecognizable design eventually may be discovered. And, in the case that follows below, that is exactly what happened.
“Quit putting me on, Daddy. I know you don’t believe that!”
You cannot win, it seems. But it is true that one is hard put to discern the reason for the manifold adaptations that organisms possess. What I should have said to my daughter (and eventually did say) was that God had put the scales there for reasons He knew to be perfectly good ones but which may take us a lot of research to discover, since He has not told us what they are. Still, the fact was that I could not explain the presence of those scales... (1983, pp. 30-31).
In his 1980 book, The Panda’s Thumb, Dr. Gould (one of suboptimality’s most vocal supporters) presented what he believed to be perhaps the finest known example of non-design ever to be found in nature—the panda’s thumb. After providing an exhaustive explanation of how the panda has 5 other digits in each “hand,” which function quite well in the panda’s everyday life, Dr. Gould then provided an equally exhaustive explanation of the panda’s “thumb.” It is, he says, “a somewhat clumsy, but quite workable” appendage which “wins no prize in an engineer’s derby.” His whole essay was intended to portray this as good evidence of suboptimality—non-design in nature. In fact, lest the reader miss his point, Gould says that “odd arrangements and funny solutions are the proof of evolution—paths that a sensible God would never tread, but that a natural process, constrained by history, follows perforce” (pp 20-21).
Interestingly, while Dr. Gould was writing about the non-design that he felt was so evident, research (the same kind of research Dr. Davis said would be needed to elucidate the purpose of design in certain structures) was ongoing in regard to the panda’s thumb. And what did that research show? The panda’s thumb now has been found to exhibit design for very special functions, as the following information attests.
First, the San Diego Zoo’s Giant Panda Zoobook states: “In fact, the giant panda is one of the few large animals that can grab things as tightly as a human can” (n.d., p. 6). Second, in 1985 Schaller et al. authored The Giant Pandas of Wolong, in which they state: “The panda can handle bamboo stems with great precision by holding them as if with forceps in the hairless groove connecting the pad of the first digit and pseudothumb” (p. 4).
Do these kinds of statements seem to describe the panda’s thumb as a “jury-rigged” device? Does being able to grasp something tightly, with great precision, using a “pseudothumb” that is compared to surgical forceps seem to convey non-design? Such statements remind us of the point originally being made: an object may possess purposeful design, but that design may not be immediately evident to the observer. Dr. Gould could not see (for whatever reasons) the design in the panda’s thumb. Nevertheless, such design now is known to be present.
|The panda’s “thumb” is an enlarged and extended wrist bone covered by a thick pad. It is separated from the pads of the five digits by a furrow that the panda uses to hold bamboo stalks.|
These points have not escaped the evolutionists. For example, S.R. Scadding of Guelph University in Canada has commented that the suboptimality “argument is a theological rather than a scientific argument, since it is based on the supposed nature of the Creator” (1981, p. 174, emp. added). That is to say, the evolutionist sets himself up as the Creator, presupposes to know the mind of the Creator, and then presumes to say what the Creator did, or did not, do. Observe how one evolutionist does just that:
The case for evolution then has two sides; positive evidence—that evolution has occurred; and negative evidence—that the natural world does not conform to our expectation of what an omnipotent, omniscient, truthful Creator would have created (Futuyma, 1983, p. 198, emp. added).Notice the phrase, “that the natural world does not conform to our expectation of what an omnipotent, omniscient, truthful Creator would have created.” The evolutionist looks at the creation, sees that it does not fit what he would do if he were the Creator, and then suggests on that basis that evolution is true. And all of this is from someone who does not even believe in a Creator in the first place! Such thinking makes for an extremely weak argument. As Frair and Davis have remarked: “It could be considered arrogant to assume knowledge of a design feature’s purpose in an organism, even if it had a purpose” (1983, p. 31). But such arrogance does not stand in the way of the evolutionists.
There is yet another flaw in this “suboptimality” argument. And, like the one just discussed, it has to do with theology, not science. First, the evolutionist sets himself up as the Creator and proceeds to note that since things weren’t done as he would do them, there must not be a Creator. Second, when the real Creator does try to explain the evidences of “non-design” in the world (as the evolutionist sees them), the evolutionist refuses to listen. Consider the following as an explanation of this point.
It is at least possible that an object once clearly reflected purposeful design, but as a result of a process of degeneration, the design has been clouded or erased. Consider the following analogy:
Suppose a gardener, digging in a pile of rubbish, discovers an ancient book. Its cover is weathered, its pages are mostly stuck together, the type has faded, etc. It is, for all practical purposes, completely illegible. Does the current condition of the book mean that it never had a message—that it never evidenced design? Of course not. Though the book is in a degenerative condition, and the message has faded with time, there is no denying that the book was at one point quite communicative (Jackson, 1989, p. 2, emp. added).The evolutionist surveys the Earth and finds examples of what he believes are evidences of “suboptimality.” Yet in many cases he may be witnessing simply degeneration instead. In fact, that is exactly what the Creator has stated. When man sinned, and evil was introduced to this planet, a state of progressive degeneration commenced. The whole creation suffered as a result of man’s sin (Romans 8:20-22). The Hebrew writer, quoting the psalmist, observed that “the earth, like a garment, is wearing out” (Hebrews 1:10-11).
Also consider this important point: the fact that the product of an orderly mechanism is flawed does not necessarily reflect upon either the initial design or the designer.
For example, if a machine which manufactures tin cans begins to turn out irregular cans, does this somehow prove the machine had no designer? Must one postulate that the machine’s inventor intended for mutilated cans to be produced, or that the machine was imperfectly designed? Surely we can conceive that the failure could be on the part of those who failed to follow the correct procedures for maintaining the machine, or who abused it in some fashion. When man rebelled against his Maker, the Lord allowed, as a consequence of that disobedience, degenerative processes to begin, which eventually result in death (Romans 5:12). But the fact that we have eye problems, heart failure, diseases, etc., does not negate the impact as a whole that the human body is “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14). We will not assume, therefore, that because our critic’s reasoning ability is flawed, this proves his brain was not designed. The “design” argument remains unscathed! (Jackson, 1989, p. 3, emp. in orig.).Evolutionists, of course, ignore all of this. After all, they already have set themselves up as the Creator, and have determined that none of this is the way they would do it. When the real Creator speaks, they are too busy playing the Creator to hear Him. Here is a good example. Futuyma says:
The creationists admit that species can undergo limited adaptive changes by the mechanism of mutation plus natural selection. But surely an omniscient and omnipotent Creator could devise a more foolproof method than random mutation to enable his creatures to adapt. Yet mutations do occur, and we have experimental demonstration that they are not oriented in the direction of better adaptedness. How could a wise Creator, in fact, allow mutations to happen at all, since they are so often degenerative instead of uplifting? According to the creationists, there is “a basic principle of disintegration now at work in nature” that we must suppose includes mutation. But why should the Creator have established such a principle? Didn’t He like the perfection of His original creation (1983, p. 200)?Dr. Futuyma acknowledges that creationists have tried to get him to see that there is “a basic principle of disintegration now at work in nature.” Then he asks, “But why should the Creator have established such a principle? Didn’t He like the perfection of His original creation?” This is why we say that the problem is rooted in theology, not science. Dr. Futuyma questions why the Creator enacted this “principle of degeneration,” then makes it clear that he has no intention whatsoever of accepting the answer provided by the very Creator he questions. If Dr. Futuyma had studied what the Creator did say, he would have the answer to his question. Yes, the Creator liked His original creation, so much so He pronounced it “very good” (Genesis 1:31).
It was not God’s fault that the principle of degeneration became a reality. It was man’s fault because the first man wanted, like evolutionists today, to be the Creator. Is there a “principle of degeneration” at work? Indeed there is. Might it cause some organisms or structures to have their original message (i.e., design) diminished, or to lose it altogether? Certainly. But does that mean that there never was any design? Or, does it reflect poorly on the Designer, proving somehow that He does not exist? In the eyes of the evolutionists, the only possible answer to these questions is a resounding “yes.” As Scadding says:
Haeckel makes clear why this line of argument was of such importance to early evolutionary biologists.... It seemed difficult to explain functionless structures on the basis of special creation without imputing some lack of skill in design to the Creator (1981, p. 174).So, God gets the blame for man’s mistakes. And, the evolutionists get another argument for their arsenal. Here, in a nutshell, is that argument, as stated by British evolutionist Jeremy Cherfas:
In fact, as Darwin recognized, a perfect Creator could manufacture perfect adaptations. Everything would fit because everything was designed to fit. It is in the imperfect adaptations that natural selection is revealed, because it is those imperfections that show us that structure has a history. If there were no imperfections, there would be no evidence of history, and therefore nothing to favor evolution by natural selection over creation (1984, p. 29).Henry Morris, speaking specifically about the comments made by Cherfas, made an interesting observation:
This is an amazing admission. The main evidence against creation and for evolution is that natural selection doesn’t work! If there were no “imperfect” structures in nature, the evidence would all favor creation. No wonder evolution has to be imposed by authority and bombast, rather than reason, if this is its only real evidence! (1985, p. 177).Yet this is exactly what Gould has suggested: “Odd arrangements and funny solutions are the proof of evolution...” (1980, p. 20, emp. added).
The creationist, however, is not willing to usurp the Creator’s prerogative and, like the evolutionist, tell Him what He can (and cannot) do, or what is (and what is not) acceptable. As Frair and Davis noted:
Yet the creationist lacks the option (open to the evolutionist) of assuming purposelessness. Human curiosity being what it is, the creationist will be motivated to inquire concerning the purpose of the universe and all its features. The purpose for most things will not be found. What we do find may, nonetheless, be sufficient justification for the endeavor (1983, pp. 31-32).
Davis, Percival, and Dean H. Kenyon (1989), Of Pandas and People (Dallas, TX: Haughton Publishing).
Dawkins, Richard (1986), The Blind Watchmaker (New York: W.W. Norton).
Frair, Wayne A. and Percival Davis (1983), A Case for Creation (Chicago, IL: Moody).
Futuyma, Douglas (1983), Science on Trial (New York: Pantheon).
Giant Panda Zoobook (undated), (San Diego, CA: San Diego Zoo).
Gould, Stephen Jay (1980), The Panda’s Thumb (New York: W.W. Norton).
Jackson, Wayne (1989), “Some Atheistic Arguments Answered,” Reason & Revelation, 9:1-3, January.
Morris, Henry M. (1985), Creation and the Modern Christian (El Cajon, CA: Master Books).
Ricci, Paul (1986), Fundamentals of Critical Thinking (Lexington, ME: Ginn Press).
Scadding, S.R. (1981), Evolutionary Theory, May.
Schaller, George B., Hu Jinchu, Pan Wenshi, and Zhu Jing (1985), The Giant Pandas of Wolong (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press).
Politics and Apologetics Press
|by||Dave Miller, Ph.D.|
For over 27 years, Apologetics Press has endeavored to defend the Christian Faith against the challenges of evolutionists, atheists, agnostics, humanists, and skeptics. We remain committed to demonstrating the accuracy of the Bible and the truth of the Christian religion. We continue to challenge the false claims of scientists in their rejection of the biblical account of Creation. Apologetics Press is not a political organization and has no interest in becoming one. However, in Satan’s perennial ploy to disguise evil and subvert people through deceit and calumny, he has managed to politicize moral and spiritual issues. More than ever before in American history, fundamental moral/religious issues have been hijacked by the politicians—forcing Christians to grapple with the dissonance created by loyalty to political party on the one hand, and loyalty to God on the other. The old adage—“politics and religion don’t mix”—has become a nonsensical concept as Christians increasingly are being forced to face up to their responsibility to react to the political forces that have encroached on Christian morality. Specifically, the two premiere moral issues that have been politicized are (1) homosexuality and the definition of marriage, and (2) the treatment of the unborn via abortion and embryonic stem-cell research. Christians must face the fact that, on these two issues alone, the very survival of America is at stake (see Miller, 2005; Miller, 2006). On these two crucial matters, Apologetics Press must, and will, continue to speak out.
Same-Sex MarriageAssessing the November, 2006 elections from a spiritual/religious perspective cannot help but bring some alarm and sadness. True, seven more states (bringing the total to 26) passed state constitutional amendments that define marriage as a man and a woman (Colorado, Idaho, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia, and Wisconsin). Sadly, Arizona voters (by a narrow margin—51.4% to 48.6%) failed to pass a marriage protection amendment (“Marriage Protection...,” 2006). With elation, Victory, the nation’s largest LGBT [Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender—DM] political action committee reported: “In 15 years, Victory has helped the number of openly LGBT officials grow from 49 to more than 350. Roughly 22% of all Americans are represented by an openly LGBT elected official” (“Gay Candidates...,” 2006).
One bright spot: When Dr. Frank Kauffman, assistant professor of social work at Missouri State University, demanded that his class sign a letter affirming that homosexuals make healthy foster parents, student Emily Brooker refused. Pronounced in violation of the social workers’ code of ethics, she sued the school for violating its own policies regarding freedom of speech and expression on campus. Surprisingly, the case was settled when Brooker was offered a generous settlement (which included free school tuition and living expenses), and professor Kauffman was removed from the classroom (“Missouri State Settles...,” 2006).Nevertheless, the war over human sexuality remains at a high pitch.
Abortion & Embryonic Stem-Cell ResearchThose who are making war on the unborn scored unfortunate victories in the recent election (“Bad Night...,” 2006). By a narrow margin, Missourians authorized the legalized killing of human embryos for their stem cells. In South Dakota, the dignity of the unborn was dashed when citizens failed to uphold a ban against abortion. In both California and Oregon, teenage girls were given the “right” to have abortions without their parents’ knowledge or consent. Even now, the U.S. Supreme Court is considering whether to uphold the ban on the unbelievably barbaric procedure of partial-birth abortion.
These events are tragic circumstances for a nation that once openly avowed attachment to God and Christian virtue. The downward spiral into moral depravity stands in such stark contrast to the origins of America. The Founders would be horrified. After serving two terms as vice-president alongside President George Washington, on October 11, 1798, the second president of these United States, John Adams, delivered a speech to military officers of the First Brigade of the Third Division of the Militia of Massachusetts: “[W]e have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion.... Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other” (1854, 9:229). When Christian religion and morality no longer characterize the people and are therefore excluded from the political process, we can fully expect the nation, in time, to collapse.
While the ultimate solution to our nation’s woes is recommitment to God and the moral precepts of the Bible, one immediate strategy ought to be that Christians do more to control the political forces that are running amok. In the words of President James A. Garfield:
Now, more than ever before, the people are responsible for the character of their Congress. If that body be ignorant, reckless, and corrupt, it is because the people tolerate ignorance, recklessness, and corruption. If that body be intelligent, brave, and pure, it is because the people demand these high qualities to represent them in the national legislature.... [I]f the next centennial does not find us a great nation...it will be because those who represent the enterprise, the culture, and the morality of the nation do not aid in controlling the political forces (as quoted in Taylor, 1970, p. 180, emp. added).On Friday, June 20, 1788, in the Virginia convention assembled to debate ratification of the federal Constitution, James Madison reminded his colleagues of the only ultimate safeguard for national preservation:
But I go on this great republican principle, that the people will have virtue and intelligence to select men of virtue and wisdom. Is there no virtue among us? If there be not, we are in a wretched situation. No theoretical checks, no form of government, can render us secure. To suppose that any form of government will secure liberty or happiness without any virtue in the people, is a chimerical idea. If there be sufficient virtue and intelligence in the community, it will be exercised in the selection of these men; so that we do not depend on their virtue, or put confidence in our rulers, but in the people who are to choose them (Elliot, 1836, 3:536-537, emp. added).Judging by the recent nationwide elections, the virtue, intelligence, and wisdom of a sizable number of Americans has been called into question.
“Bad Night for Parents and Unborn Children” (2006), Traditional Values Coalition, November 9, [On-line], URL: http://www.traditionalvalues.org/modules.php?sid=2928.
Elliot, Jonathan, ed. (1836), The Debates in the Several State Conventions on the Adoption of the Federal Constitution (Washington, D.C.: Jonathan Elliot), [On-line], URL: http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/ampage?collId=lled&fileName=003/ lled003.db&recNum=547&itemLink=r%3Fammem%2Fhlaw%3A@field% 28DOCID%2B@lit%28ed0032%29%29%230030003&linkText=1.
“Gay Candidates Win in Record Numbers Across U.S.” (2006), Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, November 8, [On-line], URL: http://www.victoryfund.org/index.php?src=news&prid=183& category=News%20Releases.
“Marriage Protection Amendments Win In 7 of 8 States” (2006), Traditional Values Coalition, November 9, [On-line], URL: http://www.traditionalvalues.org/modules.php?sid=2929.
Miller, Dave (2005), “Is America’s Iniquity Full?” Apologetics Press, [On-line], URL: http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/305.
Miller, Dave (2006), “Destruction of Marriage Equals Destruction of America,” Apologetics Press, [On-line], URL: http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/3105.
“Missouri State Settles Lawsuit with Emily Brooker” (2006), Missouri State University Office of University Communications, November 8, [On-line], URL: http://www.news.missouristate.edu/releases/27833.htm.
Taylor, John (1970), Garfield of Ohio: The Available Man (New York: W.W. Norton).