The Importance Of A Biblical Worldview by Allan Turner


The Importance Of A Biblical Worldview
by Allan Turner

All of us see ourselves and our world through a particular set of beliefs, attitudes, and values. These operate as a filter or grid through which we process all information. For the Christian, this filter or grid is shaped by the truths taught in the Bible. The Bible, of course, has a beginning and an end. Although this may seem obvious, it isn’t. Many believers, who either ignore, or are ignorant of, the beginning-to-end continuity and theme of the Bible, think they can pick up the Bible, begin reading just anywhere and, as a result, conjure God-given answers to every little personal problem they think they have. In other words, they believe there is something mysterious, even magical, about reading the Bible. They are unaware that the same rules for understanding other kinds of literature are to be applied to the Bible as well. Then, on the other hand, there are many serious critics of the Bible who have never read it, know very little of its stories, and absolutely nothing of its general theme. Consequently, they have no appreciation at all for the superb nature of the book they criticize. However, the sincere student of the Word, the one who is willing to study to show himself approved of God, is capable of rightly dividing the Bible (2 Timothy 2:15). Not only does he know it has a beginning and an end, he also knows that in between are many different biblical stories, all of which mesh into one grand theme—the scheme of redemption. As he learns these biblical stories and comes to grips with the great scheme of redemption, the sincere student develops a biblical way of looking at himself, and everything else in the world. It is this biblically based way of looking at things that I am calling a biblical worldview. Therefore, a worldview can be likened to a pair of eyeglasses through which one looks at the world—eyeglasses that focus, shape, and color all one’s experiences.
Different Worldviews And Their Consequences
Every person, whether he realizes it or not, has a worldview. The modernist, for example, sees (we’re talking worldview here) humans as purely physical machines. Blinded to the spiritual dimension of God’s creation, he believes nothing exists beyond what he can perceive with the five senses. On the other hand, the Christiansees (again, we’re talking worldview) humans as the only beings on earth who are made in God’s image. Like the modernist, he is aware of man’s physical nature; but, unlike the modernist, he is not blinded to man’s spiritual dimension.
It is true—“Ideas have consequences.” The Bible says, “[As a man] thinketh in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7). This means that worldviews exercise tremendous influence on behavior. Because the modernist believes this physical world is all there is, he is convinced there is no life beyond the grave. Therefore, eating, drinking, and making merry is the central meaning of his life. If he can’t see it, hear it, touch it, taste it, or smell it, then it’s just not important to him. Believing “you only go around once,” and convinced that he must do just what the now famous beer commercial commanded, he uses all his energy trying to get “all the gusto” he can out of life. According to the modernist, that so-called “pie in the sky by and by” that preachers talk about is just a bunch of religious gobbledygook. Reflecting the hedonism inherent in his worldview, the modernist wants, even demands, his dessert right now, and he wants it with chocolate fudge and a cherry on top. Putting others before himself makes absolutely no sense, therefore, he aggressively goes through life looking out for “Number One.”
In contrast to this, the Christian, who knows who and what he is, realizes the meaning of life (i.e., “the whole duty of man”) is to fear God and keep His commandments (Ecclesiastes 12:13). He knows that life on this physical plane is not all there is to living. By faith, he understands there is life beyond the grave, and this, he realizes, is associated with Christ Jesus (1 John 5:11). His “living hope” (1 Peter 1:3) is based on his heavenly citizenship (Philippians 3:20). Hence, he views himself as a stranger or pilgrim while here on this earth (Hebrews 11:3; 1 Peter 2:11). Instead of storing up his treasures “where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal” (Matthew 6:19-20), the Christian is laying up treasures for himself in heaven . As he develops the “mind of Christ” (Philippians 2:5), he learns to humbly put others before himself (James 4:10; 1 Peter 5:6) and gladly bears their burdens (Galatians 6:2).
Americans Have Changed Their Worldview
As recently as 50 years ago, the majority of Americans never really questioned biblical ethics or morality. Back then, most people looked upon divorce as disgraceful. They thought pregnancy outside marriage was a disaster; that chastity was a good thing; that an honest day’s work was the responsibility of any respectable and dependable man; that honesty was the best policy. But, not today. Things have changed.
Americans no longer view themselves and their world through the truths taught in the Bible. As a result, Americans teach their children that evolutionary theory is to be believed unquestionably. They teach them that there remains no objective standard for judging what is right or wrong. Spawned by the modernistic worldview, these ideas have produced the current decline of moral standards being evidenced in America. As our countrymen have learned to think in their hearts, so they have become (cf. Proverbs 23:7).
And So Has The Modern Church
This change in worldviews has profoundly affected the modern church. As a result, the modern church has become an intellectual and spiritual disaster area. It no longer knows how to out-think, out-live, and out-die the unbeliever, and its members are certainly not the alien residents the Lord has called upon them to be (cf. 1 Peter 2:8-11; Philippians 3:20). Instead of being different, modern church members blend in nicely with the materialistic world. They yearn for and fret over the same things the modernists do.
In order to “make ends meet,” members of the modern church have abandoned their small children to strangers while they (both father and mother) go off to the work-place. They believe that “wanting what’s best for their children” equates to the accumulation of as much of this world’s goods as possible. The children of these members are forced to fend for themselves without the help and guidance of a parent in those long hours after school before their parents return from work. This ever-growing number of children has even been given its own special name. Consequently, the “latchkey” children of these modern church members learn to fend for themselves at an early age. It should be no surprise that when these abandoned children—and that’s what they are—get older, they can hardly wait to reject true religion, wrongly thinking it to be that hypocritical mumbo-jumbo their parents practice.
In addition, modern church members are always ready to assert their “right” to personal happiness, as if this were a spiritual birthright from the Lord. Bent on building their own personal kingdom, rather than enlarging the Lord’s Kingdom, modern church members are primarily interested in newer cars,  larger homes, and nicer clothes. In their minds, the once-honored biblical virtues of sacrifice and conservation have been replaced with the hedonistic idea that “he who has the most toys when he dies, wins.” On such, the warnings of Colossians 2:8 fall unheeded. Instead, such warnings are viewed as the shrill voice of one who has simply gotten “too fanatical” about his religion.
Because the modern church has abandoned its biblical worldview, “preaching as entertainment” is the only kind of preaching acceptable to its members. Like those spoken of in Ezekiel 33:31-32, members of the modern church are enchanted with spectator-worship. “Make me laugh, make me cry, make me happy, and make me want to sing,” they say, “but don’t you ever try to make me think, and don’t you ever ask me to change!” These twist and mold the Bible to fit the “felt needs” of their “itching ears” (2 Timothy 4:3). To the modern church member, discerning God’s will simply means learning about the things God has approved that they have already decided they want to do. Without a biblical worldview, the idea that one should submit his or her will to the Sovereign of the universe falls on deaf ears. Self-abasement and putting others before oneself  have given way to pure selfishness. Without the proper focus, the modern church member looks inward rather thanupward. Instead of being in an intimate relationship with the Lord, he thinks himself to be in a “limited partnership” with Jesus. This enables him to call himself a Christian, while being totally absorbed with the pursuit of “Self.” Unless he can be “massaged” with “preaching as entertainment,” then he is unhappy, uncomfortable, and will soon be involved in some effort to get the preacher to move. Or else, he himself will be moving to a church that will meet his “felt needs.” In the modern church, the spiritual pygmies are giants, and they always win.
The Remedy
Despite what may be observed in the modern church, and in the personal lives of many who claim to be New Testament Christians, the gospel of Jesus Christ is truly a dynamic force that lives in the hearts of all true believers. Its effect is so totally radical, and the transformation it makes is so revolutionary, that the Christian is actually called a “new creature,” who, from a spiritual standpoint, has been “born again” (1 Corinthians 5:17; 1 Peter 1:23). It is this life-changing gospel that provides the only life-giving remedy for that which ails the modern church.
The Bible makes it clear that the one who has been truly converted—i.e., the one who has been renewed and transformed in his mind (Romans 12:1-2)—will have no trouble understanding the absolute seriousness of his spiritual and intellectual quest. Accordingly, this true disciple of Christ will be willing to “gird u p the loins of  [his] mind” (1 Peter 1:13). As he diligently pursues his study of the Word (2 Timothy 2:15), he will learn to consistently and effectively apply to his life the Bible’s eternal truths . In doing so, he will be both “salt” and “light” to a lost and dying world (Matthew 5:13-16). Apart from this, nothing else matters. This, the Bible says, “is the whole duty of man” (Ecclesiastes 12:13). Consequently, this alone is the ultimate importance—dare I say,  focus—of developing a biblical worldview.

"THE BOOK OF ECCLESIASTES" Concluding Thoughts by Mark Copeland

                       "THE BOOK OF ECCLESIASTES"

                          Concluding Thoughts

People have often searched for the meaning of life.  From philosopher to
the common man they have asked questions like: "Why am I here?" or "What
is my purpose for life?"

Presuming there is no God nor life after death, many have concluded
there is no purpose for living, and fallen into despair or hedonism. 
But a search that begins with wrong assumptions invariably leads to
wrong conclusions.  If what we see in this life is all there is, then
truly "vanity of vanities, all is vanity!"

The Preacher, with his personal experiences and God-given wisdom, has
demonstrated that, yes, life from an earthly perspective alone ("life
under the sun") is truly vanity!  But he has also declared that by
fearing God and keeping His commandments one can endure the many
vanities and perplexities of life, all the while enjoying the good
things in life that God give us!  As expressed by the Preacher himself:

   "What profit has the worker from that in which he labors? I have
   seen the God-given task with which the sons of men are to be

   "He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put
   eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the
   work that God does from beginning to end."

   "I know that nothing is better for them than to rejoice, and to
   do good in their lives, and also that every man should eat and
   drink and enjoy the good of all his labor--it is the gift of God."

                                       Ecclesiastes 3:9-13

May we like the Preacher, then, continue to seek out "acceptable words",
"words of truth" (12:10) that will serve as goads to direct us, and as
well-driven nails with which to build our lives.

Especially those truths from Jesus, who has come and spoken words
designed to help us weather the storms of life:

   "Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them,
   I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock:"

   "and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and
   beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on
   the rock."
                                       Matthew 7:24-25

With the help of the Preacher and the Savior, we can find meaning and
hope in this vain world in which we live!

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2015

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"THE BOOK OF ECCLESIASTES" Chapter Twelve by Mark Copeland

                       "THE BOOK OF ECCLESIASTES"

                             Chapter Twelve


1) To consider what further counsel the Preacher offers to the young

2) To note what happens to the spirit when the body dies

3) To hear the Preacher's conclusion after his search for the meaning of
   life "under the sun"


The final chapter begins with a continuation of advice directed to the
young.  They are told to remember God in their youth, before difficult
days come in which there will be found little pleasure.  Such days are
described through a series of illustrations that depict the feebleness
of old age and eventual death.  When the inevitable happens, the body
will decay back to dust, and the spirit will return to God who gave it

The Preacher brings his "sermon" to a close by restating his theme: 
"Vanity of vanities, all is vanity."  An epilogue is added that informs
the reader of the work the Preacher continued to do after concluding his
search for the meaning of life.  Because of his wisdom, he still taught
the people and sought to set in order many proverbs.  He sought to find
acceptable and upright words, words of truth.  Such words of the wise
and scholarly are described as goads and well-driven nails, given by one
Shepherd.  One is to be admonished by these words, yet be aware that
there is no end to the making of many books, and much study is wearisome
to the flesh (8-12).

Finally, we are told the "grand conclusion" of the whole matter.  The
Preacher ends his search for meaning by concluding that the whole
purpose for man's existence is to fear God and keep His commandments. 
That is because God will bring into judgment everything we have done



      1. Before the difficult days come
      2. Before the years come in which you find little pleasure
      3. While the sun, moon, and stars are not darkened
      4. While the clouds do not return after the rain

      1. The day is coming in which:
         a. The keepers of the house tremble (the arms weaken)
         b. The strong men bow down (the legs become frail)
         c. The grinders cease because they are few (the teeth fall out)
         d. Those that look through the windows grow dim (the eyes lose
            their sight)
         e. The doors are shut in the streets (the ears become hard of
         f. The sound of the grinding is low (the mouth and speech
            become unintelligible)
         g. When one rises up at the sound of a bird (the elderly easily
         h. And all the daughters of music are brought low (the voice no
            longer able to sing)
         i. They are afraid of height (the fear of falling)
         j. And of terrors in the way (no longer feeling invincible)
         k. When the almond tree blossoms (the wakefulness of old age
            setting in)
         l. The grasshopper is a burden (an old man, bowed like the
            insect, able to move only with some difficulty)
         m. And desire fails (fleshly desires wane)
         n. Man goes to his eternal home, and the mourners go about the
            streets (death)
      2. Remember your Creator before:
         a. Before the silver cord (the spinal cord) is loosed
         b. The golden bowl (the skull) is broken
         c. The pitcher (the heart) shattered at the fountain
         d. The wheel (the pelvis) broken at the well
         -- Figures alluding to decay of the body
      3. When finally:
         a. The body returns to the dust
         b. The spirit returns to God who gave it


   A. THE EPILOGUE (8-12)
      1. The grand theme restated:  "Vanity of vanities, all is
      2. The Preacher's ongoing work (because he was wise)
         a. He continued to teach others
         b. He pondered and sought to find many proverbs, upright words
            of truth
      3. The value of such words of truth
         a. The words of the wise are like goads
         b. The words of the scholars are like well-driven nails
         -- Such truth comes from One Shepherd
      4. It is good to be admonished by such words
         a. Though there is no end to the making of many books
         b. Though much study is wearisome to the flesh

      1. The conclusion of the whole matter
         a. Fear God and keep His commandments
         b. This is man's all (the whole duty of man)
      2. For God will bring every work into judgment
         a. Every secret thing
         b. Whether good or evil


1) What are the main points of this chapter?
   - Advice to the young (1-7)
   - Epilogue and conclusion (8-14)

2) What advice does the Preacher give to the young person? (1)
   - Remember God in the days of your youth
   - While things are going well, before the difficult days come

3) What thirteen illustrations are used to depict one growing old and
   feeble? (3-5)
   - The keepers of the house tremble (the arms weaken)
   - The strong men bow down (the legs become frail)
   - The grinders cease because they are few (the teeth fall out)
   - Those that look through the windows grow dim (the eyes lose their
   - The doors are shut in the streets (the ears become hard of hearing)
   - The sound of the grinding is low (the mouth and speech become
   - When one rises up at the sound of a bird (the elderly easily
   - And all the daughters of music are brought low (the voice no longer
     able to sing)
   - They are afraid of height (the fear of falling)
   - And of terrors in the way (no longer feeling invincible)
   - When the almond tree blossoms (the wakefulness of old age setting
   - The grasshopper is a burden (an old man, bowed like the insect,
     able to move only with difficulty)
   - And desire fails (fleshly desires wane)

4) How is death depicted at the end of verse 5?
   - Man goes to his eternal home
   - Mourners to about the streets

5) What four illustrations are used to depict the decaying of the body?
   - Before the silver cord (the spinal cord) is loosed
   - The golden bowl (the skull) is broken
   - The pitcher (the heart) shattered at the fountain
   - The wheel (the pelvis) broken at the well

6) What occurs at death as described in verse 7?
   - The dust returns to the earth as it was
   - The spirit returns to God who gave it

7) What is the recurring theme throughout this book, as restated in
   verse 8?
   - "Vanity of vanities, all is vanity."

8) What did the Preacher continue to do? (9-10)
   - He taught the people knowledge
   - He pondered and sought out and set in order many proverbs
   - He sought to find acceptable and upright words, words of truth

9) What are the words of the wise and scholarly like? (11)
   - Goads and well-driven nails
   - Given by one Shepherd

10) What did the Preacher encourage his son? (12)
   - To be admonished by the words of wisdom and truth

11) Yet what two things should one keep in mind? (12)
   - There is no end to the making of many books
   - Much study is wearisome to the flesh

12) What does the Preacher offer as the conclusion to his search for
    meaning? (13)
   - Fear God and keep His commandments
   - This is the whole duty of man

13) Why is this his conclusion? (14)
   - For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret
     thing, wither good or evil

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2015

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How Many of Jacob's Descendants Moved to Egypt? by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


How Many of Jacob's Descendants Moved to Egypt?

by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


Did Stephen contradict Moses regarding the number of people who moved to Egypt?


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 Science: The Laws of Probability by Jeff Miller, Ph.D.


God and the Laws of Science: The Laws of Probability

by Jeff Miller, Ph.D.


A typical misconception about science is that it can tell us what will definitely happen now or in the future given enough time, or what would certainly have happened in the past, given enough time. The truth is, science is limited in that it does not grant absolute truth, but only yields degrees of probability or likelihood. Science observes the Universe, records evidence, and strives to draw conclusions about what has happened in the past, is happening now, and what willpotentially happen in the future, given the current state of scientific knowledge—which is often times woefully incomplete, and even inaccurate. The late, prominent evolutionist George Gaylord Simpson discussed the nature of science and probability several years ago in the classic textbook,Life: An Introduction to Biology, stating:
We speak in terms of “acceptance,” “confidence,” and “probability,” not “proof.” If by proof is meant the establishment of eternal and absolute truth, open to no possible exception or modification, then proof has no place in the natural sciences. Alternatively, proof in a natural science, such as biology, must be defined as the attainment of a high degree of confidence (Simpson and Beck, 1965, p. 16, emp. added).
In other words, science observes and attempts to answer for mankind such things as: what could have happened in the past; what most likely happened; what is probably happening now; what could happen in the future; or what will likely happen in the future. Science does not necessarily tell us what will certainly always be or has always been the case. Rather, it tells us what has always been observed to be the case and what will almost certainly always be the case, without exception, and which coincides with logic, intuition, and mathematics. When enough evidence is gathered and all that evidence points to some truth and therefore yields an extremely high level of confidence in that truth (i.e., the probability of the same truth always being the case is considered so high that it is beyond doubt), the truth is made a law. Such a step is not taken lightly. Extensive observation must be conducted before doing so. Therefore, the laws of science are highly respected and considered to be essentially beyond doubt. However, there is always the slightest potential that a law could be broken in the future by some unknown event. Thus, probability is intimately intertwined with science. Mark Kac, famous mathematician and professor at Cornell and Rockefeller Universities, said, “Probability is a cornerstone of all the sciences, and its daughter, the science of statistics, enters into all human activities” (as quoted in Smith, 1975, p. 111, emp. added).
Many evolutionists understand the significance of probability in science and yet go too far in their use of the laws of probability, presumptuously claiming that they can do more than they profess to do. These assert that anything—no matter how far-fetched—will inevitably happen, given enough time, as long as it does not have a probability of zero. Supposedly, objects will pop into existence, and eventually, those things will come to life and transform into humans. Many evolutionists have long cited the principles of probability in an effort to support such unscientific dogmas (e.g., Erwin, 2000). As far back as 1954, George Wald, writing in Scientific Americanconcerning the origin of life on Earth, penned the words:
However improbable we regard this event, or any of the steps it involves, given enough time, it will almost certainly happen at least once. And for life as we know it, once may be enough.Time is the hero of the plot…. Given so much time, the “impossible” becomes possible, the possible becomes probable, and the probable becomes virtually certain. One has only to wait; time itself performs miracles (Wald, p. 48, emp. added).
There are at least four problems with such assertions about the laws of probability.


First of all, we are not “given enough time” for macroevolution to have occurred. We at Apologetics Press have documented this fact time and time again (cf. Jackson, 1983; Thompson, 2001). Years ago, in his article “The Young Earth,” Henry Morris listed 76 scientific dating techniques, based on standard evolutionary assumptions, which all indicate that the Earth is relatively young (Morris, 1974). Donald DeYoung documented extensive, compelling evidence for a young Earth as well, in the book Thousands…Not Billions (2005). This fact alone dispels the preposterous contention that we are the descendants of ape-like creatures.


The second problem with the assertion of evolutionary inevitability is implied by the work of the renowned French mathematician, Emile Borel, for whom the lunar crater, Borel, is named (O’Connor and Robertson, 2008). In 1962, Borel discussed in depth the law of probability known as the Single Law of Chance—a law that he said “is extremely simple and intuitively evident, though rationally undemonstrable” (1962, p. 2). This principle states that “events whose probability is extremely small never occur” (1965, p. 57). He further stated that we “at least…must act, in all circumstances, as if they were impossible” (1962, p. 3, italics in orig.). The law, he said, applies to
the sort of event, which, though its impossibility may not be rationally demonstrable, is, however, so unlikely that no sensible person will hesitate to declare it actually impossible. If someone affirmed having observed such an event we would be sure that he is deceiving us or has himself been the victim of a fraud (1962, p. 3, italics in orig., emp. added).
To clarify the meaning of “extremely small” probabilities, he defined different categories of events in which the probabilities are so small that they are “practically negligible,” including events from the human, terrestrial, and cosmic perspectives (1965, p. 57).
In his discussion on the probabilities of certain cosmic events, he argues convincingly from mathematical calculations and intuition that reasonable human beings consider probabilities of chance cosmic events that fall below one in 1045 to be negligible (1965, p. 59). In other words, if the probability of a certain event happening in the Universe is less than one in 1045 (i.e., a one with 45 zeros after it), human beings intuitively categorize that event as so unlikely that we consider it to be an impossible event.
Several years ago, evolutionist Harold Morowitz of Yale, and currently professor of biology and natural philosophy at George Mason University, estimated the probability of the formation of the smallest and simplest living organism to be one in 10340,000,000 (1970, p. 99). A few years following Morowitz’s calculations, the late, renowned evolutionist Carl Sagan made his own estimation of the chance that life could evolve on any given single planet: one in 102,000,000,000(1973, p. 46)! Note also that these calculations were made before the last several decades have revealed with even more clarity the complexity of life (cf. Deweese, 2010). These probability estimations for the formation of life, made by the evolutionists themselves, are, of course, so far beyond the limit articulated for cosmic events by the Single Law of Chance that we must respond in shock, rather than humor, at the big lie that has been perpetrated on the world at large by so many in the scientific community in thrusting macroevolution on the masses. The distinguished British astronomer, Sir Fred Hoyle once said regarding evolution, “the chance that higher forms have emerged in this way is comparable with the chance that a tornado sweeping through a junk-yard might assemble a Boeing 747 from the materials therein” (1981b, 294:105). He further stated:
At all events, anyone with even a nodding acquaintance with the Rubik cube will concede the near-impossibility of a solution being obtained by a blind person moving the cubic faces at random. Now imagine 1050 blind persons each with a scrambled Rubik cube, and try to conceive of the chance of them all simultaneously arriving at the solved form. You then have the chance of arriving by random shuffling at just one of the many biopolymers on which life depends. The notion that not only biopolymers but the operating programme of a living cell could be arrived at by chance in a primordial organic soup here on the Earth is evidently nonsense of a high order (1981a, 92:527, emp. in orig.).
Borel’s Single Law of Chance certaiGod and the Laws of Science: The Laws of Probability

by Jeff Miller, Ph.D.
nly lays plain the impossibility and incredibility of the evolutionary proposition. However, Borel tried to distance himself from the implications of his findings and their application to the spontaneous emergence of life by noting that the laws of chance do “not seem possible to apply” to some evolutionary events (1963, p. 125, emp. added). He further stated:
[I]t is generally held that living beings are the result of a slow process of evolution, beginning with elementary organisms, and that this process of evolution involves certain properties of living matter that prevent us from asserting that the process was accomplished in accordance with the laws of chance (1963, p. 125).
In other words, evolutionary processes are not considered a succession of random, chance events. Instead, it seems that they are considered intentional events that somehow occur without intention. However, since non-living matter has no mind of its own, the progression of events that would have to occur to lead to the optimal arrangement of that matter allegedly to bring about life would have to be just that—a succession of random, chance events. In making the assertion that the laws of chance do not apply to evolution, he tacitly acknowledges the fact that the evolutionary model would actually require multiple, successive random events taking place gradually over time in order to bring even the pre-living “organism” to a place in which life could allegedly burst into existence. And as if to further drive the tombstone into the grave, according to Borel, himself, “[i]t is repetition that creates improbability” (1962, p. 3). Such almost endless successive random events would actually create more of a problem for evolution. “[I]t is their [the successive repetition of improbable events leading towards significant complexity—JM] almost indefinite repetition that creates improbability and rightly seems to us impossible” (1962, pp. 3-4, emp. added). After all of these successive evolutionary events leading towards life, the final random, chance event in which all the circumstances happen to be “just right” to bring about the jump from non-life to life is so improbable, according to the evolutionists themselves, that the Single Law of Chance would consider the event impossible and not worthy of human attention. [NOTE: We are not suggesting that it is possible for life to be spontaneously created from non-life, no matter what the circumstances or arrangements of matter may be. We are only noting the implications of the evolutionists’ own arguments and their application to the laws of science.]


There is yet another problem with the assertion that macroevolution will happen, given enough time, as long as it does not have a probability of zero. Several of the events that are necessary in order for the theory of evolution and the Big Bang Theory to be true, indeed, have a probability of zero, according to the scientific evidence. The whole question is not really even one of improbability, but impossibility. How can one calculate the probability of something happening for which there is zero evidence that such a thing can even occur? Chance applies only to events or circumstances wherein possibility is present.
For instance, before the Big Bang was allegedly a small, condensed sphere comprised of all of the matter in the Universe [see May, et al., 2003]. Consider for a moment the spontaneous generation of that sphere of matter. Its appearance and subsequent organization, being a random, chance event, would fall under the guidelines of the Single Law of Chance as well. Unfortunately for evolutionists, since all scientific evidence indicates that matter cannot spontaneously generate (according to the First Law of Thermodynamics; see Miller, 2007), the probability of such an event would be much less than the “one in 1045” barrier set by the Single Law of Chance, namely, zero.
Also, what proof is available that leads to the idea that life could spontaneously generate (i.e., abiogenesis)? What scientific evidence is available that would lead to the idea that abiogenesis has a probability of anything but zero? Speculation abounds concerning the sequence of events that could cause precisely the right conditions for it to occur. However, there is zero scientific evidence to support the idea that it could happen even if those improbable conditions were ever in effect. In actuality, the scientific evidence is not “neutral” on the matter, as though there is no evidence for or against abiogenesis. Rather, the scientific evidence is not only unsupportive of abiogenesis, but all experimental scientific results are contrary to it! The experiments of renowned 19th-century scientist Louis Pasteur long ago killed the possibility of the spontaneous generation of life, and recognition of the well-respected law of science known as the Law of Biogenesis (i.e., life comes only from life and that of its kind) drove the nails into its coffin (cf. Thompson, 1989).
These truths alone create impenetrable barriers for evolutionists—non-traversable, gaping chasms that would have to be crossed in order for the theory of evolution to be plausible. According to the scientific evidence, there is a probability of zero that abiogenesis can occur. According to the laws of probability, specifically Kolmogorov’s first axiom, when the probability of an event is zero, the event is called an “impossible event” (Gubner, 2006, p. 22, emp. added). Since several events that are necessary in order for the theory of evolution and the Big Bang Theory to be true have a probability of zero, according to the laws of probability, these atheistic theories are impossible.


Further, even if there were not a probability of zero when it comes to macroevolution, it is important to note as was discussed earlier that probabilities do not guarantee that an event will or will not happen, regardless of how much time is allotted. Sproul, Gerstner, and Lendsley correctly observed:
The fact is, however, we have a no-chance chance creation. We must erase the “1” which appears above the line of the “1” followed by a large number of zeroes. What are the real chances of a universe created by chance? Not a chance. Chance is incapable of creating a single molecule, let alone an entire universe. Why not? Chance is no thing. It is not an entity. It has no being, no power, no force. It can effect nothing for it has no causal power within it, it has no itness to be within. Chance…is a word which describes mathematical possibilities which, by a curious slip of the fallacy of ambiguity, slips into discussion as if it were a real entity with real power, indeed, supreme power, the power of creativity (1984, p. 118, emp. in orig.).
We certainly agree. There is only one causal Power capable of creating the Universe, and there is certainly nothing random about Him.


Recall what Borel said of events prohibited under the Single Law of Chance—that sensible humans “must act, in all circumstances, as if they were impossible” (1962, p. 3, italics in orig.). Unfortunately, so many scientists today do not act sensibly. They do not follow this simple and intuitive truth when it comes to the matter of origins. Rather, they hold to the impossible, pouring thousands of hours and billions of dollars into researching it, writing on it, speaking on it, thrusting it into the minds of people of all ages, and attacking anyone who contradicts them. They, themselves, admit that the spontaneous generation of life from non-life has never been observed and that the odds are shockingly against it, and yet, since they start with the presumptuous assumption that there is no God, they believe the existence of life is proof enough that spontaneous generation occurred. But if the scientific evidence is so strongly against it, how can it be considered scientific? Even if there was a 0.0000…1% chance that macroevolution could happen, why would a scientist stake his/her name and entire career on such astronomical, outrageous odds when, if biased assumptions are dropped, there is a much more plausible explanation for the origin of this Universe? Prominent evolutionist, Richard Dawkins, himself admitted, “The more statistically improbable a thing is, the less we can believe that it just happened by blind chance. Superficially the obvious alternative to chance is an intelligent Designer” (1982, p. 130, emp. added). We certainly agree, and sadly, the implication of that alternative is the very reason so many people irrationally hold onto impossibilities—the intelligent Designer has expectations to which this rebellious generation refuses to submit.
Nevertheless, in the words of Emile Borel:
When we calculated the probability of reproducing by mere chance a work of literature, in one or more volumes, we certainly observed that, if this work was printed, it must originally have emanated from a human brain. Now the complexity of that brain must therefore have been even richer than the particular work to which it gave birth (1963, p. 125, emp. added).
And if we might add another line to Borel’s statement: “And further, the complexity of the Mind that gave birth to that brain must be truly incomprehensible!”


Borel, Emile (1962), Probabilities and Life (New York: Dover).
Borel, Emile (1963), Probability and Certainty (New York: Walker & Company).       
Borel, Emile (1965), Elements of the Theory of Probability (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall).
Dawkins, Richard (1982), “The Necessity of Darwinism,” New Scientist, 94:130-132, April 15.
Deweese, Joe (2010), “Has Life Been Made From Scratch?” http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/240389.
DeYoung, Donald (2005), Thousands…Not Billions (Green Forest, AR: Master Books).
Erwin, Douglas (2000), “Macroevolution is More Than Repeated Rounds of Microevolution,”Evolution and Development, 2[2]:78-84.
Gubner, J.A. (2006), Probability and Random Processes for Electrical and Computer Engineers(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press).
Hoyle, Fred (1981a), “The Big Bang in Astronomy,” New Scientist, 92:521-527, November 19.
Hoyle, Fred (1981b), “Hoyle on Evolution,” Nature, 294:105,148, November 12.
Jackson, Wayne (1983), “Our Earth—Young or Old?,” http://www.apologeticspress.org/rr/reprints/yng-old.pdf.
May, Branyon, et al. (2003), “The Big Bang Theory—A Scientific Critique,” Reason & Revelation, 23[5]:32-34,36-47, May, http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/2635.
Miller, Jeff (2007), “God and the Laws of Thermodynamics: A Mechanical Engineer’s Perspective,”Reason & Revelation, 27[4]:25-31, April, http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/3293.
Morowitz, Harold J. (1970), Entropy for Biologists (New York: Academic Press).
Morris, H. (1974), “The Young Earth,” Acts & Facts, 3[8], http://www.icr.org/article/young-earth.
O’Connor, John J. and Edmund F. Robertson (2008), “Felix Edouard Justin Emile Borel,” The MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive, http://www-history.mcs.st-andrews.ac.uk/Mathematicians/Borel.html.
Sagan, Carl, ed. (1973), Communications with Extra-terrestrial Intelligence (Boston, MA: MIT Press).
Simpson, George G. and William S. Beck (1965), Life: An Introduction to Biology (New York: Harcourt, Brace & World).
Smith, Anthony (1975), The Human Pedigree (Philadelphia, PA: J.B. Lippencott).
Sproul, R.C., John Gerstner, and Arthur Lendsley (1984), Classical Apologetics (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan).
Thompson, Bert (1989), “The Bible and the Laws of Science: The Law of Biogenesis,” Reason & Revelation, 9[6]:21-24, June, http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/330.
Thompson, Bert (2001), “The Young Earth,” http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/1991.
Wald, George (1954), “The Origin of Life,” Scientific American, 191:45-53, August.

Afterlife and the Bible by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


Afterlife and the Bible

by Dave Miller, Ph.D.

We human beings find it very easy to live life as if we will be here forever. On occasion, we come face to face with death when a loved one or friend passes away. But the essence of daily living is such that it is easy to ignore the reality of death and the certainty of existence beyond the grave. Numerous ideas exist in the world regarding life after death—from annihilation to reincarnation. Islam speaks of “paradise” while Catholicism speaks of “purgatory.” While it does not answer all of our questions, the Bible nevertheless speaks definitively and decisively regarding afterlife.
The Bible teaches that human beings are composite creatures. Humans possess a fleshly body that is composed of physical elements made from “the dust of the ground” (Genesis 2:7). Unlike animals, humans also possess a spiritual dimension—made in God’s own image—that transcends the body and physical life on Earth (Genesis 1:26-27). God places within each prenatal person at conception a spirit that makes each individual a unique personality that will survive physical death, living on immortally throughout eternity (Zechariah 12:1). At death, the spirit separates from the body and exists in a conscious condition in the spirit realm (Genesis 35:18; 1 Kings 17:21-22). Thus the Bible defines “death” as “separation”—not “extinction” or “annihilation” (Thayer, 1901, p. 282; Vine, 1940, p. 276). Since “the body without the spirit is dead” (James 2:26), the separation of one’s spirit from one’s body results in the physical death of the body. But what about the spirit?
The clearest depiction of existence beyond physical death is seen in Luke 16:19-31. In this account, both men are said to have died. Wherever Lazarus went, angels transported him there. The rich man’s body was buried—but his person was in Hades where he was tormented in flames. The rich man could see and recognize Lazarus and Abraham. Abraham referred to the rich man’s former existence as “your lifetime.” Abraham made clear that their respective locations were irreversible. The rich man’s brothers still occupied their father’s house on Earth. The rich man’s plea to send Lazarus to his living relatives would require Lazarus to “rise from the dead” (vs. 31).
The term translated “hell” in verse 23 (KJV) is the Greek word hades, and is not to be confused with the term gehenna. “Gehenna” (found twelve times in the New Testament) refers to the place of eternal, everlasting punishment—the “lake of fire” where Satan, his angels, and all wicked people will be consigned after the Second Coming of Jesus and the Judgment. Gehenna is hell. On the other hand, “hades” (occurring ten times in the New Testament and paralleling the Hebrew Old Testament term sheol) always refers to the unseen realm of the dead—the receptacle of disembodied spirits where dead people await the return of the Lord (Revelation 1:18). Hades isnot hell.
Observe further that Luke 16 depicts Hades as including two regions: one for the deceased righteous, and a second for the deceased wicked. The former is referred to as the “bosom of Abraham” (meaning “near” or “in the presence of ” Abraham—cf. John 1:18). Jesus referred to this location as “paradise” (Luke 23:43; cf. Acts 2:25-34). The term “paradise” is of Persian derivation, and referred to “a grand enclosure or preserve, hunting-ground, park, shady and well-watered” (Thayer, 1901, p. 480). The Jews used the term as “a garden, pleasure-ground, grove, park,” and came to apply it to that portion of Hades that was thought “to be the abode of the souls of the pious until the resurrection” (p. 480). The word is used in three senses in the Bible: (1) In the Septuagint (Genesis 2:8,9,10,15,16; 3:2,3,4,9,11,24,25), the Greek translation of the Old Testament, it refers to the literal Garden of Eden on Earth where Adam and Eve lived (Septuagint, 1970, pp. 3-5). It normally is translated “garden” in English versions; (2) It is used one time, in a highly figurative New Testament book, to refer to the final abode of the saved, i.e., heaven (Revelation 2:7); and (3) It is used in connection with the Hadean realm.
While Jesus, the thief, and Lazarus went to the paradise portion of Hades, the rich man went to the unpleasant area that entailed torment and flame—tartarosas, or Tartarus (2 Peter 2:4; Jude 6). The occupants there await “the judgment of the great day.” Thus, Hades is a temporary realm that will be terminated at the Judgment (Revelation 20:13-14).
God gives people only their earthly life to prepare their spirits for their eternal abode (Hebrews 9:27). When a person dies, his or her body goes into the grave, while the spirit enters the Hadean realm to await the final Judgment. At the Second Coming of Christ, all spirits will come forth from Hades and be resurrected in immortal bodies (John 5:28-29; 1 Corinthians 15:35-54). All will then face God in judgment, receive the pronouncement of eternal sentence, and be consigned to heaven or hell for eternity.
[NOTE: For an audio sermon on this topic, click here.]


Septuagint Version of the Old Testament (1970 reprint), (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan).
Thayer, J.H. (1901), A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1977 reprint).
Vine, W.E. (1966 reprint), An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words (Old Tappan, NJ: Revell).

Did Jesus Go to Hell? Did He Preach to Spirits in Prison? by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


Did Jesus Go to Hell? Did He Preach to Spirits in Prison?

by Dave Miller, Ph.D.

A significant misconception that has prevailed through the centuries within Christendom has been the idea that Jesus went to hell after His crucifixion, prior to His resurrection. The creedal statements of historic Christianity are largely responsible for generating this notion. For example, the Apostles’ Creed affirmed belief in Jesus on the following terms: “Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and buried; He descended into hell, the third day He rose again from the dead” (emp. added). The Athanasian Creed states: “He suffered death for our salvation. He descended into hell and rose again from the dead” (emp. added). “Church Fathers” and Reformers toyed with this viewpoint. John Calvin, in his voluminousInstitutes of the Christian Religion, treated the subject at length (1599, II.16.8-12). Calvin cited earlier theologians who agreed with him, including Hilary in his On the Trinity (IV.xlii; III.xv). The renowned medieval Catholic theologian, Thomas Aquinas, held a similar view (Summa Theol. III. 52. 5). The apocryphal Gospel of Nicodemus, which dates from the fifth century A.D., claims that Jesus descended into hell and retrieved all the Old Testament saints, including Adam, David, Habakkuk, and Isaiah (see James, 1924, pp. 125ff.).
Further impetus for confusion was generated by the English translations of the 16th and 17thcenturies, due to translator confusion regarding the technical distinctions that exist between the pertinent Greek terms. Specifically, the Greek term hades generally was equated with gehenna.Hades refers to the intermediate state of the dead (disembodied spirits) who are awaiting the Judgment. Gehenna, on the other hand, refers to the location of the final state of the wicked after the Judgment. This confusion culminated in the King James Version’s rendering of hades as “hell” in all ten of its occurrences in the New Testament (Matthew 11:23; 16:18; Luke 10:15; 16:23; Acts 2:27,31; Revelation 1:18; 6:8; 20:13,14). Rendering hades as “hell” in Acts 2:27,31 leaves the reader with the impression that when Jesus exited His physical body on the cross, He went to hell. The first English translation to maintain the distinction between hades and gehennawas the English Revised Version and its subsequent American counterpart, the American Standard Version of 1901 (Lewis, 1981, p. 64).
In 1 Peter 3:18-20, a most curious reference appears on the surface to be an affirmation that Jesus descended into the spirit realm and preached to deceased people. However, a close consideration of the grammar will clarify the passage. First, the preaching referred to was not done by Jesus in His own person. The text says Jesus did the preaching through the Holy Spirit: “…the Spirit, by whom…” (v. 18-19). [“My Spirit” (Genesis 6:3) = the Spirit of God = the Spirit of Christ (Romans 8:9; Ephesians 2:17).] Other passages confirm that Jesus was said to do things that He actually did through the instrumentality of others (John 4:1-2; Ephesians 2:17). Nathan charged King David: “You have killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword” (2 Samuel 12:9), when, in fact, David had ordered it done by another. Elijah accused Ahab of killing Naboth, using the words, “Have you murdered and also taken possession?” (1 Kings 21:19), even though his wife, Jezebel, arranged for two other men to accomplish the evil action. Paul said Jesus preached peace to the Gentiles (Ephesians 2:17), when, in fact, Jesus did so through others, since He, Himself, already had returned to heaven when the first Gentiles heard the Gospel (Acts 15:7). So the Bible frequently refers to someone doing something that he, in fact, did through the agency of another person.
In fact, within the book of 1 Peter itself, Peter already had made reference to the fact that the Spirit “testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow” (1 Peter 1:11). But it was the prophets who did the actual speaking (vs. 10). Then, again in chapter 4, Peter stated that “the gospel was preached also to those who are dead” (1 Peter 4:6). Here were individuals who had the Gospel preached to them while they were alive (“in the flesh”), and who responded favorably by becoming Christians. But then they were “judged according to men in the flesh,” i.e., they were treated harshly and condemned to martyrdom by their contemporaries. At the time Peter was writing, they were “dead,” i.e., deceased and departed from the Earth. But Peter said they “live according to God in the spirit,” i.e., they were alive and well in spirit form in the hadean realm in God’s good graces.
Second, when did Jesus do this preaching through the Holy Spirit? Notice in verse 20, the words “formerly” (NKJV) and “when”—“when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah.” So the preaching was done in the days of Noah by Jesus through the Holy Spirit Who, in turn, inspired Noah’s preaching (2 Peter 2:5).
Third, why are these people to whom Noah preached said to be “spirits in prison”? Because at the time Peter was writing the words, that is where those people were situated. Those who were drowned in the Flood of Noah’s day descended into the hadean realm, where they continued to reside in Peter’s day. This realm is the same location where the rich man was placed (Luke 16:23), as were the sinning angels (“Tartarus”—2 Peter 2:4). However, Jesus did not go to “prison” or “Tartarus.” He said He went to “Paradise” (Luke 23:43).
Fourth, why would Jesus go to hades and preach only to Noah’s contemporaries? Why would He exclude those who died prior to the Flood? What about those who have died since? Since God is no “respecter of persons” (Acts 10:34; Romans 2:11), Jesus would not have singled out Noah’s generation to be the recipients of preaching in the spirit realm.
Fifth, what would have been the content of such preaching? Jesus could not have preached the whole Gospel in its entirety. That Gospel includes the resurrection of Jesus (Romans 4:25; 1 Corinthians 15:4). However, at the time the alleged preaching was supposed to have occurred, Jesus had not yet been raised!
The notion of people being given a second opportunity to hear the Gospel in the afterlife is an extremely dangerous doctrine that is counterproductive to the cause of Christ. Why? It potentially could make people think they can postpone their obedience to the Gospel in this life. Yet the Bible consistently teaches that no one will be permitted a second chance. This earthly life has been provided by God for all human beings to determine where they wish to spend eternity. That decision is made by each individual based upon personal conduct. Once a person dies, his eternal destiny has been cinched. He is “reserved for judgment” (2 Peter 2:4; cf. vss. 9,17). His condition will not and cannot be altered—even by God Himself (Luke 16:25-26; Hebrews 9:27).


Calvin, John (1599), Institutes of the Christian Religion, trans. Henry Beveridge (London: Arnold Hatfield).
James, M.R., trans. (1924), The Apocryphal New Testament (Oxford: Clarendon Press).
Lewis, Jack (1981), The English Bible From KJV to NIV (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker).

Bat “Vision” by Caleb Colley, Ph.D.


Bat “Vision”

by Caleb Colley, Ph.D.

Bats often fly speedily through stalactite-filled caves and seemingly impenetrable wooded areas. For bats, one wrong move or turn can mean serious injury or death. Contrary to popular opinion, most bats possess at least decent vision. However, bats’ hearing is so sensitive that, for navigational purposes, bats use their ears more than their eyes. Bats are capable of emitting a sound that humans cannot hear. Some species use this very high-pitched, shrill tone when flying to determine what is in front of them (see “Echolocation,” n.d.). The sound bounces off objects in a bat’s path, and the bat hears the echo. Amazingly, the bat is able to determine precisely the direction he should fly in order to avoid smashing into the looming object. This process is referred to as “echolocation.” Bats also use echolocation to find food, especially flying insects.
Bats make this sound from a few, to two hundred, times per second. Do not confuse this sound with the squeaky noise you hear when you stand next to the bat exhibit at your local zoo. That noise is made by bats when they are frustrated, excited, or mating. Bats use different sounds, along with their large ears, to perform echolocation. Scientists use bat detectors to transpose the sounds to a lower frequency—one that humans can hear (see “California Underground...,” 1999). Not all bats, however, use echolocation; approximately 200 species of fruit bats in Africa, Asia, and Australia have larger eyes and are able to use their sharp vision to quickly negotiate obstacles.
Other animals, including dolphins and orca and beluga whales, use echolocation under water, like sonar signals (see “Echolocation”). The process of echolocation also has been observed in terrestrial mammals such as rodents, insectivores, Megachiroptera, and in nocturnal cave-dwelling oil birds and cave swiftlets (see Uy, 1994, p. 1; Blackshear, n.d., p. 1.). In addition, scientific research over the past fifty years has revealed that the auditory system is a major tool employed by blind humans as a means of perception.
Did the complex auditory and navigation systems of bats evolve, as many would have us believe?


Blackshear, Jim (no date), “A Research Proposal: Echolocation—How Can We Best Teach It?,”Stephen F. Austin State University, [On-line], URL: http://hubel.sfasu.edu/courseinfo/SL02/jb2echolocation.htm.
“California Underground: Bat Echolocation Station” (1999), Oakland Museum of California, [On-line], URL: http://www.museumca.org/caves/onli_echo.html.
“Echolocation” (no date), National Parks Conservation Association, [On-line], URL: http://www.eparks.org/wildlife_protection/wildlife_facts/bats/echolocation.asp.
Uy, Christine (1994), “ ‘Seeing’ Sounds: Echolocation by Blind Humans,” ed. Bridget Wagner, Tony Chen, Harvard Undergraduate Society for Neuroscience, [On-line], URL: http://hcs.harvard.edu/husn/BRAIN/vol1/echo.html.

Clinton: No Creation of Embryos for Research by Trevor Major, M.Sc., M.A.


Clinton: No Creation of Embryos for Research

by Trevor Major, M.Sc., M.A.

In June of 1993, a Democrat-dominated Congress lifted former President Ronald Reagan’s 1980 ban on federal support for research on human embryos. Previously, scientists had to use private funds if they wanted to study “spare” embryos created by in vitro fertilization (IVF) procedures. This effectively curtailed laboratory experimentation on fertilized eggs. With the legal roadblocks removed, Uncle Sam, in the guise of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), now can pick up the tab for such research.
During 1994, a special NIH panel met to formulate funding guidelines. Following the lead of several other countries, the panel gave the green light for work on embryos until the fourteenth day. Embryos could come from IVF procedures, or could be produced specifically for research purposes. Either approach creates serious ethical problems, because it is extremely unlikely that the embryos in these experiments will be implanted after the two-week limit; they will die in the lab.
Fortunately, thirty-five congressmen, led by Rep. Robert Dornan (R-Calif.), have taken the initiative in challenging NIH policies. “Congress has not examined these initiatives,” they reminded NIH Director Harold Varmus in a June 16 letter, “and the American people are largely unaware that the NIH is even contemplating using their tax dollars to fund such bizarre experiments on living human embryos.” In particular, many conservatives were incensed that human embryos could be created specifically for research.
Apparently these concerns, bolstered by a change of guard on Capitol Hill, spurred President Bill Clinton to action. On December 2, 1994—only hours after the NIH accepted its panel’s guidelines—Clinton announced the following: “I do not believe that federal funds should be used to support the creation of human embryos for research purposes, and I have directed that NIHnot allocate any resources for such research.”
Thankfully, also, the panel advised against support for research on more advanced embryos, and ruled twinning and nuclear cloning unacceptable. However, comments from various panel members suggest that they did not base their decisions on ethical absolutes. Rather, they weighed pragmatic considerations against the feelings of people “out there,” to use the words of panelist Pamela Davis. The scope of eligible research may change when feelings change. Further, the policies adopted by NIH are guidelines, not laws or rules, and are limited to federally funded projects.
Even this is no guarantee of compliance. In early December, National Public Radio revealed the results of an inquiry by George Washington University into the controversial cloning work of Robert Stillman and Jerry Hall. Although not conducted with federal funds, Stillman and Hall’s project had not received timely approval from a review board, and they did not obtain informed consent from embryo donors. Clearly, there is no room for complacency.