Thinking About Thinking by Allan Turner


Thinking About Thinking

(Originally published in The Bulletin on June 17, 1990.)

On the pages of this bulletin we have called upon our readers to out-think, out-live and out-die the pagans round about them. In an effort to bring "every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ" (II Corinthians 10:5), we have not hesitated to attack the very foundations of "philosophy and vain deceit" (Colossians 2:8). To do this, we have sometimes used the long names of these various philosophical constructs. We have written about Relativism, Existentialism, Marxism, Radical Feminism, Scientism, Behaviorism, Hedonism, Rationalism, Humanism, Occultism, and various other isms. In order to familiarize our readers with these philosophies and their biblical critique, we have sometimes used the words and definitions of these philosophies. We have done this not because we wanted to sound intellectual, but because these world views shape both the content and context of most of our experiences. We wanted you to know what these philosophies were saying, and we wanted you to be able to answer them with the truths taught in God's Word. If you occasionally have to resort to a dictionary, or if you have to read some of these articles more than once, then so be it. We never said it was going to be easy. Sin is deceitful (Hebrews 3:13) and Satan is tricky (II Corinthians 2:11); therefore, we must not be ignorant of his devices. We are convinced that one of Satan's often used wiles has been to convince folks like you and me that thinking God's thoughts after Him is not worth it. How about it? Is it worth the effort it takes to think the way the Lord wants us to think? These seductive philosophies are all around us. They compete with the true gospel not just in academia or the market place, but even in our own homes. We will either confront and defeat these philosophies with the truth of God's Word or we and our children will be conquered by them.
It has been said that some people make things happen, others watch things happen, and some wonder, after everything is said and done, just what happened. We are afraid there are too many Christians that make up these last two categories. So many of the battles are being lost today because of default. Christians either do not show up for the battle or, when they do, they are not prepared. The apostle Paul said: "Beware lest anyone cheat you [plunder or take you captive] through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ" (Colossians 2:8). To Timothy, he wrote: "Guard what has been committed to your trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge—by professing it, some have strayed concerning the faith" (I Timothy 6:20,21). Does it sound to you like Paul was saying this was going to be easy?
If one forgets that Paul was inspired by the Holy Spirit, he might be tempted to say, "But Paul was an educated man who was acquainted with philosophy and would, therefore, be more concerned with these things than we need be." Well, one wouldn't get very far pursuing that line of argument. Peter, an unlearned fisherman, taught that as obedient children we ought to be "sober" and "gird up the loins" of our minds and never return to our former ignorance (I Peter 1:13,14). He also said we need to "arm" ourselves with the mind of Christ (I Peter 4:1). Of course, both of these men were inspired by God and were teaching what Moses and Jesus had taught: "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind" (Deuteronomy 6:5; Matthew 22:37).
It worries me that so many Christians think that thinking can be neutral. Thinking is never neutral. Human thoughts have religious roots. Either we will worship God as Creator and Lord, or we will turn away from Him. We will either be for God or against Him. This is exactly what the Lord said: "He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad" (Matthew 12:30). What this means, quite frankly, is that there is a battle going on in our world for the minds of men and women. Either we will serve God with our minds or we will serve Satan.
The kingdom of light-kingdom of darkness dichotomy taught in the Bible has been lost on many 20th Century Christians. Seduced by pluralism, which says ultimate truth doesn't matter, too many of us have thought that moral virtue can be separated from knowledge. We send our children to state-run schools where anything that resembles Bible-based religion has been effectively expunged, and then we ignorantly wonder why such a system has produced so much functional, cultural and moral illiteracy. We must not be deluded, the current educational crises is directly attributed to the removal of Bible-based morality (virtue) from the educational process. Unless there is a restoration of a transcendent, universal moral order to current education, its walls will continue to crumble. Unless we realize that the development of the intellect and moral character are intimately related, all will be lost.
There is no such thing as a moral vacuum. The intellect will either be guided by that which comes from above or by that which comes from below (cf. James 3:15-4:10). We currently live in a society where teachers, judges and politicians seek to separate virtue from knowledge. Consequently, we are paying a terrible price for such folly. Our families are falling apart as adultery, fornication and pornography run rampant. While homosexuality is sanctioned and protected by the government, drug users and pushers are openly active in our cities and towns. Instead of using "Thou shall not covet" as a guideline, greed has become the supreme ethic of the market place. In other words, "Justice is turned back, and righteousness stands afar off; for truth is fallen in the streets, and equity cannot enter. So truth fails, and he who departs from evil makes himself a prey" (Isaiah 59:14,15).
Dear reader, "there is nothing new under the sun" (Ecclesiastes 1:9). Man will either serve God with all his heart, soul and mind or he will serve Satan. Man will either pull down every stronghold, cast down every argument and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ (II Corinthians 10:4,5), or he will develop a debased mind filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness, uncleanness, greediness, envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, adultery, fornication, drunkenness, heresies, revelries, jealousies, etc. (Romans 1:28; Galatians 5:19-21; Ephesians 4:19). As Paul said in Romans 8:6, "...to be carnally minded is death." In other words, one will either out-think, out-live and out-die the pagans, or he will spend an eternity in a devil's hell.
How about you? Are you going to put on your thinking cap so that you can develop a transformed and renewed mind that will direct you to perform those things that are the good and acceptable and perfect will of God (Romans 12:1-2)? Well, then, instead of complaining about the deep or lofty intellectual level of the articles in this bulletin (incidentally, the eight and ninth grade levels are about as lofty as we get), gird up the loins of your mind and get ready to think things out and think things through. We are convinced that the Christian must be ready for the most strenuous mental activity. He or she must never be satisfied with an unexamined faith. The Christian's faith must not consist only of those things that are easy and superficial. If it does, it will be woefully lacking. Didn't Peter tell us that Paul sometimes wrote those things that were hard to understand, things which the untaught and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures (II Peter 3:16)? The Christian's faith must be thoroughly thought out, and in doing so he may have to discard something; but that which remains—his faith—will be his in such a way that nothing (philosophy and vain deceit) nor anyone (angels, powers and principalities) will be able to take it away from him. Then, and only then, will the Christian be able to give an answer for the hope that is in him with meekness and fear (I Peter 3:15).
Remember, the Christian is commanded to love God with all his mind. Consequently, a mind is a terrible thing to waste!

"THE EPISTLE TO THE PHILIPPIANS" Chapter Two by Mark Copeland

                    "THE EPISTLE TO THE PHILIPPIANS"

                              Chapter Two


1) To appreciate the importance of unity, and how it can be maintained
   by following Jesus' example of humility

2) To understand what is involved in "shining as lights in the world"


The first chapter included an exhortation to stand fast in one spirit,
with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel (1:27).  
Paul continues with the call for unity, providing reasons why we should
desire unity, the nature of our unity, and attitudes necessary to 
maintain unity (1-4).  Stressing the need for humility and sacrificial 
service towards others, Paul appeals to the example of Christ and
expounds upon how far Christ was willing to go to save us (5-11).

He continues with another exhortation to "shine as lights in the world"
as they work out their own salvation with fear and trembling.  Doing 
all things without complaining and arguing, while holding fast the word
of life, they will prove themselves to be children of God in the midst
of a crooked and perverse generation.  This will also prove to Paul 
that his labors have not been in vain, and any persecution he endures 
is viewed as a sacrifice in the service of their faith and a cause for
mutual rejoicing (12-18).

He then writes of his plans pertaining to Timothy and Epaphroditus.  He
will send Timothy shortly, that he might know of their condition.  But 
Epaphroditus is coming at once in order to set their hearts at ease
about Epaphroditus' brush with death due to a recent illness. (19-30)



      1. The consolation we have in Christ
      2. The comfort found in love
      3. The fellowship we have in the Spirit
      4. The affection and mercy we can enjoy

      1. Being of like mind, having the same love
      2. Of one accord, of one mind

      1. Do nothing through selfish ambition or conceit (3a)
      2. With lowliness of mind let each one esteem others better than
         himself (3b)
      3. Be concerned for the interest of others (4)
      4. Let the mind that was in Christ be in you (5)

      1. Though He was Deity, He was willing to come in the likeness of
         man (6-7)
      2. As a man He humbled Himself in obedience to the point of dying
         on the cross (8)
      3. Therefore God highly exalted Him so that at His name all
         should bow and confess Him to be Lord (9-11)


      1. Doing so with fear and trembling (12)
      2. Remembering that God is at work in them (13)

      1. Doing all things without murmuring and complaining (14)
      2. Blameless and harmless in the midst of a crooked and perverse
         generation (15)
      3. Holding fast the word of life, so that Paul may rejoice in the
         day of Christ (16)

      1. He views it as a "sacrifice", offered in the service of their
         faith (17a)
      2. For this he is glad, and calls upon them to rejoice with him


      1. That Paul might be encouraged when he learns of their 
         condition (19)
      2. His commendation of Timothy, as one who seeks the things of
         Christ, and who serves with Paul in the gospel as a son with
         his father (20-22)
      3. He will be sent at once, as soon as Paul knows how things will
         go with him, and he himself hopes to come shortly (23-24)

      1. Because of his longing for them and his distress when they
         heard he was sick (25-27)
      2. So he is coming that they might rejoice, and Paul himself will
         be less sorrowful (28)
      3. Therefore receive him in the Lord with all gladness, and hold
         such men in high esteem for their sacrificial service to 
         Christ and others (29-30)

1) What are the main points of this chapter?
   - Exhortation to unity (1-11)
   - Exhortation to shine as lights in the world (12-18)
   - Plans involving Timothy and Epaphroditus (19-30)

2) What four things should serve as a motivation for unity? (1)
   - The consolation we have in Christ
   - The comfort found in love
   - The fellowship we have in the Spirit
   - The affection and mercy we can enjoy

3) What should be the nature of our unity? (2)
   - Being of like mind, having the same love, of one accord, of one

4) What four things are necessary to maintain unity? (3-5)
   - Do nothing through selfish ambition or conceit
   - With lowliness of mind let each one esteem others better than
   - Be concerned for the interest of others
   - Let the mind that was in Christ be in you

5) What is said about Christ that proves Him to be a prime example of
   humility? (5-8)
   - Though in the form of God, He did not consider it "robbery" to be
     equal to God
   - Made Himself of no reputation, becoming a servant and coming in
     the likeness of men
   - He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of dying on
     the cross

6) Having been highly exalted, what should every person do at the name
   of Jesus? (9-11)
   - Every knee should bow
   - Every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the 
     glory of God the Father

7) What did Paul want his beloved brethren to do in his absence? (12)
   - To work out their own salvation with fear and trembling

8) What is said about God working in the Christian? (13)
   - He works in us both to will and to do for His good pleasure

9) What two things are necessary if we are to be children of God 
   without fault, harmless and blameless, shining as lights in the 
   world? (14-16)
   - Do all things without murmuring and disputing
   - Hold fast the word of life

10) How did Paul view his imprisonment? (17)
   - As being poured out as a drink offering on the sacrifice and 
     service of their faith
   - As a reason to be glad and rejoice

11) What two things are said about Timothy? (20, 22)
   - Paul had no one like-minded, who would sincerely care their state
   - He had proven character, having served with Paul in the gospel as
     a son with his father

12) How does Paul describe Epaphroditus? (23)
   - A brother, a fellow worker and fellow soldier, their messenger,
     and the one who ministered to Paul's need

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2016

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Don't Muslims and Christians Both Believe in Jesus? by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


Don't Muslims and Christians Both Believe in Jesus?

by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


“In a Muslim seminar, an Imam stated that both Christians and Muslims believe in Jesus, but of different faiths. What say you?”


Muslims are quick to emphasize that they, too, believe in Jesus. Their claim is correct. After all, the Quran alludes to Jesus in a favorable light several times (e.g., Surah 3:45-51; 5:110; 21:91; et al.). But this claim is misleading, since it fails to own up to the fact that Christianity and Islam are in hopeless contradiction with each other regarding the most crucial contention of New Testament Christianity: the divinity of Christ. On this solitary point, Islam and Christianity, the Bible and the Quran, can never agree. This disagreement is of such momentous import and great magnitude as to make the inexorable incompatibility permanent.
You see, while the Quran speaks favorably of Jesus as a prophet of God, it vehemently denounces the deity of Christ. For example, consider Surah 18:1-5 (as translated by Muslim scholar Mohammed Pickthall)—
Praise be to Allah Who hath revealed the Scripture unto His slave…to give warning of stern punishment from Him…and to warn those who say: Allah hath chosen a son, (A thing) whereof they have no knowledge, nor (had) their fathers. Dreadful is the word that cometh out of their mouths. They speak naught but a lie.
And read Surah 19:88-93—
And they say: The Beneficent hath taken unto Himself a son. Assuredly ye utter a disastrous thing, whereby almost the heavens are torn, and the earth is split asunder and the mountains fall in ruins, that ye ascribe unto the Beneficent a son, when it is not meet for (the Majesty of) the Beneficent that He should choose a son. There is none in the heavens and the earth but cometh unto the Beneficient as a slave.
Or Surah 23:91—
Allah hath not chosen any son, nor is there any God along with Him (also 25:2; et al.).
These references demonstrate that the Quran depicts Jesus as a mere man—a prophet like Muhammad—who was created by God like all other created beings (Surah 5:75; cf. 42:9,13,21). Indeed, when Jesus is compared to any of the prophets (listed as Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, and Jacob), Allah is represented as stating: “We make no distinction between any of them” (Surah2:136; 3:84). Though the Quran seems to accept the notion of the virgin conception (Surah21:91), to attribute divinity to Jesus, or to assign to Jesus equal rank with God, is to utter a “dreadful” and “disastrous” thing—to formulate “nothing but a lie”!
Here, indeed, is the number one conflict between Islam and Christianity—the deity, person, and redemptive role of Christ. If Christ is Who the Bible represents Him to be, then Islam and the Quran are completely fictitious. If Jesus Christ is Who the Quran represents Him to be, then Christianity is baseless and blasphemous. On this point alone, these two religions can neverachieve harmony. But the New Testament is very, very clear: the heart, core, and soul of the Christian religion is allegiance to Jesus Christ as God, Lord, and Savior. Jesus identified Himself as the “I AM” of the Old Testament (John 8:58; cf. 20:28-31). In Colossians, Paul forcefully affirmed regarding Jesus—
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist (1:15-17). For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily (2:9).
Such depictions of Jesus are frequent in the New Testament. Jesus was certainly a prophet, as the Quran affirms (Surah 4:163); but Jesus was not just a prophet. He was God in the flesh. In fact, oral confession of the deity of Christ is prerequisite to becoming a Christian (Romans 10:9-10). This singular point makes Christianity and Islam forever incompatible. One must be a Christian to be saved (John 14:6; Acts 4:12), and yet one cannot be a Christian without believing in, and verbally confessing, the deity of Christ, and then being immersed into Christ (Romans 6:1-4; Galatians 3:27). The Bible declares that Jesus was the final revelation of God to man (Hebrews 1:1-3). There have been no others.

The Imprecatory Psalms by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


The Imprecatory Psalms

by Dave Miller, Ph.D.

The book of Psalms in the Old Testament contains 150 separate psalms written by David and various other individuals inspired by the God of the Bible to write them, initially, for the nation of Israel. Critics of the Bible, who question its divine inspiration, insist that the “imprecatory” psalms are proof of the human origin of the Psalms. For example, Psalm 5:10 states: “Pronounce them guilty, O God! Let them fall by their own counsels; cast them out in the multitude of their transgressions, for they have rebelled against You.” Psalm 18:40-42 declares: “You have also given me the necks of my enemies, so that I destroyed those who hated me…. Then I beat them as fine as the dust before the wind; I cast them out like dirt in the streets.” Psalm 35:1-8 asserts:
Plead my cause, O LORD, with those who strive with me; fight against those who fight against me. Take hold of shield and buckler, and stand up for my help. Also draw out the spear, and stop those who pursue me…. Let those be put to shame and brought to dishonor who seek after my life; let those be turned back and brought to confusion who plot my hurt. Let them be like chaff before the wind, and let the angel of the LORD chase them. Let their way be dark and slippery, and let the angel of the LORD pursue them…. Let destruction come upon him unexpectedly, and let his net that he has hidden catch himself; into that very destruction let him fall.
Psalm 58:6-10 is equally graphic:
Break their teeth in their mouth, O God! Break out the fangs of the young lions, O LORD! Let them flow away as waters which run continually; when he bends his bow, let his arrows be as if cut in pieces. Let them be like a snail which melts away as it goes, like a stillborn child of a woman, that they may not see the sun. Before your pots can feel the burning thorns, He shall take them away as with a whirlwind, as in His living and burning wrath. The righteous shall rejoice when he sees the vengeance; He shall wash his feet in the blood of the wicked.
And Psalm 55:15 exclaims: “Let death seize them; let them go down alive into hell….”
Critics of the Bible claim that the imprecatory psalms are proof that the Bible is not inspired (e.g., McKinsey, 2000, p. 394; Vjack, 2009). They say that the psalms are hateful, vindictive, and manifest an unchristian spirit. They say such “hate speech” demonstrates that the author(s) of the Psalms could not have been inspired by a divine Being. Atheists say these psalms prove that the Hebrew God is a blood thirsty, tribal deity like all the other pagan deities conjured up by mere men. Of course, the New Testament is not exempt from this same accusation, since Old Testament words of imprecation are quoted in the New Testament approvingly. For example, John 15:25 quotes Psalm 109:3, Acts 1:20 draws from Psalm 69:25 and Psalm 109:8, Romans 11:9-10 quotes Psalm 69:22-23, and Romans 15:3 refers to Psalm 69:9.
What’s more, the New Testament contains its own imprecations that are comparable to those in the Old Testament. Paul declared: “Alexander the coppersmith did me much harm. May the Lord repay him according to his works. You also must beware of him, for he has greatly resisted our words” (2 Timothy 4:14-15). When hauled before the Jewish authorities, Paul suffered when “the high priest Ananias commanded those who stood by him to strike him on the mouth. Then Paul said to him, ‘God will strike you, you whitewashed wall! For you sit to judge me according to the law, and do you command me to be struck contrary to the law?’” (Acts 23:2-3; cf. Dungan, 1888, p. 319). Such sarcastic exclamations by Paul are also seen in his suggestion that the Judaizers be castrated (Galatians 5:12), and his remarks to the Corinthians:
For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works…. For you put up with fools gladly, since you yourselves are wise! (2 Corinthians 11:13-15,19, emp. added).
And when Simon attempted to bribe the apostles in hopes of receiving miraculous ability,
Peter said to him, “Your money perish with you, because you thought that the gift of God could be purchased with money! You have neither part nor portion in this matter, for your heart is not right in the sight of God. Repent therefore of this your wickedness, and pray God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you. For I see that you are poisoned by bitterness and bound by iniquity” (Acts 8:20-23, emp. added).
Further, Paul minced no words when he denounced his fellow Jews:
For you also suffered the same things from your own countrymen, just as they did from the Judeans, who killed both the Lord Jesus and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they do not please God and are contrary to all men, forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they may be saved, so as always to fill up the measure of their sins; but wrath has come upon them to the uttermost (1 Thessalonians 2:14-16, emp. added).
And the faithful martyrs of persecution “cried with a loud voice, saying, ‘How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?’” (Revelation 6:10).
Are such Bible passages inappropriate, unkind, unchristian, and unloving? Does the Bible contradict itself in this regard? Is the inspiration of the Bible writers compromised by the imprecatory psalms? How are we to make sense of this seeming disparity? Consider the following seven observations.


In the first place, some of these psalms are merely prophetic: the psalmist announces what the enemies of God deserve and what, in fact, will come upon them—without conveying the actual desires of the psalmist (Barnes, 2005, 1:xxx). Second, some of these psalms may be expressions of the feelings that would be felt by those who would take vengeance on the enemies of God—those armies that God would use to punish the wicked (Barnes, 1:xxxi). Third, the English reader must understand that Hebrew poetry used extravagant language that is often exaggerated, passionate, and picturesque—not intended to be taken literally (cf. Barnes, 1:xxix-xxx). The oriental mind often expressed itself in terms that the Western mind might consider disrespectful when, in fact, the speaker was not being disrespectful (e.g., Jesus referring to Mary as “woman”—John 2:4; cf. Lyons, 2004).


While these first three observations (identified by Barnes) have merit, a fourth clarification, one that is more to the point, concerns the fact that most humans fail to realize just how heinous sin is, and the need for human sin to be denounced for its extreme ugliness. We humans simply do not have a handle on the gravity of sin. In a day when merely stating that a certain act is sinful is regarded as “hate speech,” “mean-spirited,” and “intolerant,” it is increasingly difficult for Americans to grasp the heinousness of sin. It is absolutely imperative that people train, shape, and mold their moral sensibilities to mimic God’s. They must strive to “have the mind of Christ” so that they have the right balance and the correct assessment and attitude toward every human action. An accurate assessment of spiritual reality requires that we must “abhor what is evil” (Romans 12:9) and “hate every false way” (Psalm 119:104). We must possess the same righteous revulsion that God possesses for those things that are spiritually repulsive and harmful.
The case of the Israelites at Peor provides a proper example of what it means to approximate the proper, righteous reaction to sin. When Phinehas followed a fornicating couple into their tent and, with a single thrust, drove a spear through the two of them, God’s assessment of his action is seen in the following words:
Phinehas the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, has turned back My wrath from the children of Israel, because he was zealous with My zeal among them, so that I did not consume the children of Israel in My zeal. Therefore say, “Behold, I give to him My covenant of peace; and it shall be to him and his descendants after him a covenant of an everlasting priesthood, because he was zealous for his God, and made atonement for the children of Israel” (Numbers 25:11-13, emp. added).
One prominent reason atheists and the like are disturbed by the imprecatory psalms is because their spirits have been shaped by their own flawed conceptions concerning the nature of an infinite, eternal God who is perfect in all of His attributes. If such a God exists (and He does), the imprecatory psalms capture the essence of perfect love in harmony with perfect justice. This thought brings us to a fifth clarification.


God is righteous. The very nature of God is contrary to evil. God’s very character and essence—His justice, His goodness, His holy hatred of all that is evil—demands that He take two actions: (1) express His love by atoning for sin in order to make a way for people to be forgiven, and (2) then punish those who choose not to avail themselves of that love. Since we humans have indulged in sin, we lack a proper perspective for offering a correct assessment of the righteous nature of God. Hence, we lack a clear understanding of why the psalms of imprecation are spiritually pure.


A sixth clarification concerns the fact that punishment is right and good—and not in conflict with true compassion. Current culture has difficulty conceptualizing the fact that retribution is a godly, righteous principle that applies to individuals as well as groups of individuals (e.g., nations). All laws from God have attached to them appropriate, just penalties—which are right and good to invoke. In fact, laws without penalties would be a farce! Consider the inspired historian’s report regarding the reign of Zedekiah:
And the Lord God of their fathers sent warnings to them by His messengers, rising up early and sending them, because He had compassion on His people and on His dwelling place. But they mocked the messengers of God, despised His words, and scoffed at His prophets, until the wrath of the Lord arose against His people, till there was no remedy. Therefore He brought against them the king of the Chaldeans, who killed their young men with the sword in the house of their sanctuary, and had no compassion on young man or virgin, on the aged or the weak; He gave them all into his hand (2 Chronicles 36:15-17, emp. added).
Observe that God “had compassion” on people in that He provided them with warnings and information that would enable them to be happy and righteous. But they spurned that instruction (even as Americans are spurning God’s moral framework today), which naturally and rightly elicited the “wrath of the Lord.” That wrath manifested itself in the form of enemies wreaking havoc on the people. The enemy “had no compassion,” which implies that God’s perfect compassion does not mean that He will exempt people from the punishment that is due them because of their own behavioral choices.
Interestingly, we humans have built into our nature a realization of this spiritual principle (that cannot be accounted for on the basis of naturalistic evolution). We, in fact, approve of punishment when properly inflicted—from the proper discipline of children to the punishment of a mass murderer. We are no more to be blamed for approving the punishment of the guilty than we are for approving the acquittal of the innocent. God authored both the law and the properpenalties of law (the “curse” of Galatians 3:10). Peter implied the appropriateness of punishment when he asked Christians: “For what credit is it if, when you are beaten for your faults, you take it patiently?” (1 Peter 2:20). Corporal punishment for certain faults is right (cf. Deuteronomy 25:2; Psalm 89:32; Luke 12:47-48). Indeed, the Bible insightfully affirms: “Blows that hurt cleanse away evil, as do stripes the inner depths of the heart” (Proverbs 20:30). [NOTE: Parents who refuse to spank their children, mistakenly buying into current culture’s warped assessment of what constitutes proper discipline, fail to grasp God’s own directives on the matter (e.g., Proverbs 13:24; 19:18; 22:15; 23:13-14; 29:15,17).]
God’s nature defines sin and punishment. Law was given by God to define crime and designate its just penalty. The more our society moves away from firm commitment to law and punishment, the more our society will be crime-ridden and filled with anarchy and bloodshed. Liberals—in both the church and society at large—continually chip away at the divinely bestowed power of law and its due punishment. This incessant dissolution has been transpiring in the penal system of America for over 50 years. It is associated with the significant shift from focus on the rights of the victim to the rights of the criminal.

Due Punishment

One sample of this malady is seen in the liberal media’s attempt to paint punishment as somehow mean, cruel, and barbaric. As an example, the media tried to create public sympathy for a woman convicted in 1984 of murdering two people in Houston, Texas. Karla Faye Tucker participated with her boyfriend in the brutal, horrifying death of a couple lying in bed when she used a pickax to puncture her victim with multiple stab wounds. After sitting on death row for nine years, her lawyer and other supporters insisted that “she has now undergone a startling change. She has found religion, has pursued an education and does not deserve to die” (“Texas Set…,” 1992). Tucker, herself, contended that she is “a changed woman who has found God and can serve as a resource for others if her death sentence is changed to life in prison” (“Woman’s Texas…,” 1998). Observe that by accentuating the perpetrator as a woman—and the first woman to be executed since the Civil War—as well as stressing that she has “found religion,” the media sought to divert attention away from the gravity and heinousness of her behavior by playing on emotion and pointing to completely irrelevant information. The transparent assumption is that due punishment for flagrant crime is somehow inherently evil, unmerciful, or unforgiving.
Such notions are fraught with misconception and spiritual confusion. They betray the critical realization that such people are unacquainted with the infinite, perfect God; they lack an accurate assessment of the nature of deity. They fail to understand that God’s forgiveness of sin extends to the guilt of sin—not its physical consequences. Contrast Karla Faye’s uninformed, biblically illiterate attitude with that of Paul who, when he stood before Porcius Festus, the Roman procurator of Judea, to give account of accusations made against him, declared: “If I am an offender, or have committed anything worthy of death, I do not object to dying” (Acts 25:11, emp. added). Here is inspired, tacit acknowledgement of the validity of capital punishment—due punishment for behavior that is worthy of death. Imagine if Karla Faye had known her Bible well enough to announce to the world that, while she now understood the Gospel and had submitted herself to Christ, nevertheless, she fully recognized her guilt and was perfectly willing to receive the proper punishment due for her crimes against society. The liberal media, no doubt, would have immediately silenced her by refusing to report such a statement—a statement that would have immediately “taken the wind out of the sails” of their propaganda.
God has always harnessed civil government to take vengeance on those who need to be punished. As Paul explained to Christians in Rome: “For he [the civil government—DM] is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil” (Romans 13:4). For the government to “bear the sword” (i.e., utilize capital punishment) is “good” and it is not “in vain,” i.e., it is not an inappropriate or useless action. It is God’s will for those who perpetrate crimes on society to be confronted and properly processed in accordance with righteous principles. God requires each person to bear responsibility for his or her own actions. This principle was articulated repeatedly by God in the civil law code He gave to the Israelites by means of the phrases “his blood shall be upon him” (Leviticus 20:9,13,27; Deuteronomy 19:10; Ezekiel 18:13; 33:5) and “his blood be on his own head” (Joshua 2:19; 2 Samuel 1:16; Ezekiel 33:4; Acts 18:6).

Misdefined Compassion

Much of American society has been severed from the moral framework God gave to nations to make sense of human behavior. Most people merely make their moral and ethical decisions based on their personal opinions, rooted largely in their emotions and feelings—how things seem to them. They misdefine “compassion.” Only Deity is capable of defining compassion, and harmonizing it with justice and punishment. The Law of Moses provides God’s delineation of appropriate punishment in the broad, summarizing declaration of the lex talionis: “Your eye shall not pity; but life shall be for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot” (Deuteronomy 19:21). This prescription was neither unloving nor immoral. It was intended to promote just and fair punishment.
By altering God’s laws, thinking we are being compassionate and merciful (i.e., allowing our “eye to show pity”), we can be guilty of circumventing and frustrating the purposes of God. Indeed, many arrogant politicians and judges are guilty of thinking they are more loving than God. They redefine love to mean sentimentality, subjective feelings, and an attitude of “tolerance” that insists on all people being allowed to do anything they desire—without question or condemnation. They are unable or unwilling to grasp the idea that God will continue to love every person consigned to hell—even as loving parents reluctantly inflict pain on their children in the form of proper discipline. True compassion does not and cannot exclude the application of just punishment. Indeed, genuine love embraces it.
The wholesome blending of compassion and justice is actually seen in the imprecatory psalms themselves. For example, in Psalm 109 David explains that the wicked had exchanged the love and goodness that he had extended to them for hatred and evil: “In return for my love they are my accusers, but I give myself to prayer. Thus they have rewarded me evil for good, and hatred for my love (vss. 4-5, emp. added). Psalm 83 couples the psalmist’s call for the shame and dismay of the wicked with a desire that they come to their senses, abandon their evil behavior, and get themselves right with God: “Fill their faces with shame, that they may seek Your name, O LORD. Let them be confounded and dismayed forever; yes, let them be put to shame and perish, that they may know that You, whose name alone is the LORD, are the Most High over all the earth” (vss. 16-18, emp. added). The psalmist even prayed for his enemies (35:12-14), even as Christians are admonished to do (Matthew 5:44). Following through with appropriate punishment of the one who spurns love is, in reality, a further extension of love—love for good and right, love for God, and yes, love for the wicked. Today’s distorted understanding of these eternal principles would imply that those who would condemn Satan himself ought to be derided as “intolerant,” “unloving,” and guilty of “hate speech.”

Justifying the Wicked

The same malady has infected the criminal justice system, which has been transformed into a bargaining establishment in which prosecutors and defense attorneys barter with each other over the guilty—the prosecutor seeking to get as stringent a punishment as possible for the accused, while the defense attorney seeks to get his client minimal punishment. The premiere and ultimate concern of guilt or innocence has been swept aside. How many murderers have received prison sentences—some of which even permit eventual release? The words of God spoken through the Law of Moses desperately need to be heard today: “Moreover you shall take no ransom for the life of a murderer who is guilty of death, but he shall surely be put to death” (Numbers 35:31). The justice system has come to specialize in “plea bargaining”—another expression for taking ransom for the life of the murderer. How dare any judge or jury spare the life of a person that God demands to be executed! God warned the Israelites: “Keep yourself far from a false matter; do not kill the innocent and righteous. For I will notjustify the wicked” (Exodus 23:7, emp. added). God declares that He will not justify the person who kills an innocent person. Yet, how many lawyers seek to acquit their guilty clients, thereby justifying the wicked? [NOTE: For the Bible view of capital punishment, see Miller, 2012.]
Writing over a century ago, Moses Lard commented on the negative impact on American society of the crime of murder (listed in Romans 1:29), and predicted a frightful reaction from God for America’s failure to address the crime in accordance with His will—
This crime, according to the Bible, should always be punished with death. But in our day, especially in our country, it generally brings with it only a good deal of notoriety, and not death. But we may rest assured of this, that God will one day visit on the people of this country a fearful retribution for the indulgence which they show to the crime. Take the life of him who willfully and with malice takes the life of his fellow man—do this surely, do it in all cases, and murder will cease. Fail to do this, and you breed mobs; for the world is apt to feel that a murderer hung by a mob is a less evil than a murderer turned loose by a corrupt court of law, to murder again at will. That is a morbid and most pernicious sentiment which forgets what is due to God, to society, and to the murdered, through sickly sympathy for the murderer. It is devoid of justice; nor is it any proper expression of mercy (1875, p. 64, emp. added).
Writing 70 years later, R.L. Whiteside echoed similar sentiments:
It is foolish to expect anything but an increase of murders…. Three things will decrease murders—: namely, (1) quick and sure punishment of the killer, (2) impress upon the growing generation higher regard for human life, and (3) teach them a deeper reverence of God and his word by impressing upon them that God is the rightful ruler and that we must give account to him. And it would do a lot of good for people to be reminded that a lot of foolish speculation does not abolish hell (1945, p. 42, emp. added).
These observations suggest that American society has been traveling down a road for over a century in which a healthy, sensible, indispensable view of crime and punishment has been steadily eroding. We are now reaping the whirlwind (Hosea 8:7).


A final clarification that establishes the legitimacy and divinity of the imprecatory psalms is seen in the fact that pronouncing a person’s dire spiritual predicament is holy, right, and good(Proverbs 27:5). The current “politically correct” portion of society, no doubt desiring to justify their own sins (Luke 10:29), claims that pinpointing misconduct is “mean-spirited,” “judgmental,” “intolerant,” and “hate speech.” But the spiritually-minded person, the one who has sought to emulate the spirit and temperament of Deity, understands the value and the necessity of being forthright in the condemnation of behavior that endangers society and souls. That is why Peter, quoted earlier, reacted so abruptly to Simon’s attempt to bribe the apostles with money. That is why Paul could write by inspiration concerning the Judaizing teachers who sought to subvert souls: “I could wish that those who trouble you would even cut themselves off!” (Galatians 5:12). And it is why, in Matthew 23, Jesus Himself pronounced seven “woes” on the Pharisees, labeling them “hypocrites,” “sons of hell,” “blind guides,” “fools and blind,” “whitewashed tombs,” “full of hypocrisy and lawlessness,” and “serpents, brood of vipers.” Imprecations were designed to signal a spiritual state of emergency in which the righteous person is fighting desperately for God’s honor and reputation—while attempting to reclaim the recalcitrant. Imprecations even provide encouragement and reassurance for the faithful, motivating them to take courage and press the spiritual battle.


All of these observations point to the fact that it cannot be inherently wrong to desire the downfall and appropriate punishment of God’s enemies. Those who are intensely interested in seeing God’s will done on Earth (Matthew 6:10), will yearn and pray for God’s justice to be done for all—with punishment inflicted on those who deserve it. This may be done without personal malice, or a vindictive or revengeful spirit. Indeed, the imprecatory psalms are—
  • Pure, unselfish zeal for the honor of God;
  • Holy hatred of that which is contrary to the nature of God and His divine purposes;
  • Righteous indignation—anger without sin (Ephesians 4:26);
  • A desire to see the righteous character of God vindicated;
  • A desire that those who hold God in contempt be held accountable;
  • A desire to give glory to God’s justice and goodness.

One Question

But what are we to make of the apparent tension between the exclamations of the “imprecatory psalms” and the passages that warn the faithful not to glory in the death of the wicked? For example, Obadiah 12 warns: “But you should not have gazed on the day of your brother in the day of his captivity; nor should you have rejoiced over the children of Judah in the day of their destruction; nor should you have spoken proudly in the day of distress.” Proverbs 24:17 states: “Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles.” [NOTE: Jonah was wanting in this regard (Jonah 4:1).] Jesus commanded love for enemies (Matthew 5:44; Luke 6:35). Paul said Christians are to bless those who persecute them, overcome evil with good, and never render evil for evil (Romans 12:14,21; 1 Thessalonians 5:15). Peter said the same (1 Peter 3:9).
The answer lies in the fact that, like God, we do not desire that anyone be lost eternally. We take no joy or delight in those who die lost and face eternal torment. We hold no ill will or desire for personal vengeance against those who wrong us. Concerning this feature of the divine nature, Ezekiel 33:11 quotes God as saying: “I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die?” Paul alluded to this feature of divinity as well when he said that God “desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4, emp. added). Peter added that God is “not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9, emp. added).It is God’s will that no human being go to hell! Hence, all who are consigned to hell will have chosen to be there, based on the choices they made during their one and only probationary period on Earth. They cannot logically or justly blame anyone else for their own choices.
In perfect harmony with this principle is the fact that we should desire that those who refuse to turn from their evil ways be held accountable accordingly (cf. Moses’ attitude in Numbers 14:13-23). What person in his or her right mind does not want to see a child rapist—say one who has sexually assaulted a five-year-old girl—be caught and punished for his foul deeds? While we should not harbor hatred in our hearts for such a degraded individual, we should possess a righteous desire that he be called to account for his heinous behavior and properly punished. This rational, righteous desire is one critical principle that is reflected in the imprecatory psalms.
For all wicked behavior (as defined by God Himself), we should desire to see His righteous character vindicated. Like the psalmist, we should be content to trust God that He will render suitable vengeance in His own way, in His own good time. Though God does not want anyone to be lost; though He loves—with a perfect love—every single person who has lived on Earth throughout the thousands of years of human history; nevertheless, He has plainly declared that He will consign the vast majority of them to a place of unending torment (Matthew 7:14; cf. Butt, 2012). We must respect this logical principle—and urge all humans to emulate it.


The imprecatory psalms cannot rationally be used by atheists and skeptics to disprove the divine origin of the Bible. Indeed, such material is precisely what we would expect to encounter in a document produced by a holy, infinite God. No logical argument, using the imprecatory psalms, may be set forth that proves that the Bible is not inspired by God.
All people on Earth are under obligation to face spiritual reality before it is too late. The ultimate imprecation looms before us. Hear the words of Jesus: “And I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I say to you, fear Him!” (Luke 12:4-5, emp. added). The threat of, and consignment to, hell is neither unloving nor unholy. All persons of accountable age and mind have the ability to choose the right course in life that will terminate in the heavenly home (Revelation 21:10-27). The God of the Bible earnestly desires and expects us to exercise that ability. Each individual decides his own eternal destiny by his own actions while on Earth.


Barnes, Albert (2005 reprint), Notes on the Old Testament: Psalms (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker).
Butt, Kyle (2012), “Why Did God Create People—Knowing That Many Would Go to Hell?” Apologetics Press, http://www.apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=12&article=4194.
Dungan, D.R. (1888), Hermeneutics (Delight, AR: Gospel Light).
Lard, Moses (1875), Commentary on Paul’s Letter to Romans (Lexington, KY: Transylvania Printing and Publishing).
Lyons, Eric (2004), “How Rude!?” Apologetics Press,http://www.apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=6&article=770.
McKinsey, Dennis (2000), Biblical Errancy (New York: Prometheus Books).
Miller, Dave (2012), “Capital Punishment and the Bible,” Reason & Revelation, 32[7]:62-64,68-71.
“Texas Set to Execute First Woman Since 1863” (1992), The New York Times, June 21,http://www.nytimes.com/1992/06/21/us/texas-set-to-execute-first-woman-since-1863.html.
Vjack (2009), “Psalm 109:8 Reveals Christian Extremist Hate,” Atheist Revolution, November 23,http://www.atheistrev.com/2009/11/psalm-1098-reveals-christian-extremist.html.
Whiteside, R.L. (1945), A New Commentary on Paul’s Letter to the Saints at Rome (Denton, TX: Inys Whiteside).
“Woman’s Texas Execution to Proceed” (1998), CNN, February 2,http://www.cnn.com/US/9802/02/tucker/index.html.

The RNA World Hypothesis Explained and Unexplained by Kathleen Hamrick Will Brooks, Ph.D.


The RNA World Hypothesis Explained and Unexplained

by Kathleen Hamrick
Will Brooks, Ph.D.

[Editor’s Note: The following article was written by A.P. auxiliary staff scientist Will Brooks and one of his students. Dr. Brooks holds a Ph.D. in Cell Biology from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and serves as Assistant Professor of Biology at Freed-Hardeman University.]
One of the goals within the discipline of biology is to define life. This goal, however, is no simple task. While we can have an intuitive understanding of what it means to be alive, forming this understanding into a precise definition of life poses a dilemma for scientists. Life comes in many shapes, sizes, colors, and forms, so placing all these variations of life into one nice definition is seemingly impossible. To circumvent this problem, scientists have defined life by stating characteristics shared by all life forms. To be considered “alive,” a system of molecules must possess each of these characteristics. Examples include (1) the ability to sense and respond to stimuli, (2) the ability to acquire and utilize materials for energy, (3) the ability to store genetic information in the form of DNA, and (4) the ability to self-replicate. All living organisms share these basic characteristics, and those systems of molecules which lack even one of these basic characteristics is not considered to be a living organism.
Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) is the genetic material used by all living organisms to code for life. DNA can be thought of as the genetic fingerprint of each organism because it is unique to each species of organism. During the process of self-replication, this genetic code is duplicated and identical copies (discounting rare instances of mutation) are given to each progeny of an organism, maintaining the fingerprint and thus the identity of that organism. The function ofDNA as the genetic material of an organism is to provide a code for the production of another group of molecules known as proteins. Proteins serve a host of functions for an organism. They are known, appropriately, as the workhorses of a cell, because they carry out the vast majority of organismal tasks, including catalysis.
A catalyst is any substance capable of increasing the speed of a chemical reaction. Within each living organism on Earth, millions of chemical reactions take place every minute. The majority of these reactions are prompted by a very large group of protein catalysts known as enzymes. These enzyme-mediated chemical reactions range from those used to synthesize various metabolites to those used to break down ingested foods. By serving as enzyme catalysts, proteins play a crucial role in all living organisms. For without enzymes, organisms would be both unable to break down the food that they ingest and unable to make the necessary metabolites needed to sustain life.
While the vast majority of functional enzymes within living organisms are proteins, scientists have discovered that another group of molecules, known as ribonucleic acids (RNAs), are also capable of catalyzing some chemical reactions (Kruger, et al., 1982). RNAs are very similar in structure to DNA, differing only in the type of sugar used to form the molecules—DNAutilizes deoxyribose and RNA utilizes ribose. While DNA is the vital genetic code that is passed down between parents and offspring, RNA also plays an important role. Ribonucleic acids are a messenger system that carries the DNA code from the cell’s nucleus, the home ofDNA, to the cellular cytoplasm where proteins are synthesized. These are known as messengerRNAs (mRNA). Furthermore, another group of RNAs, known as ribosomal RNAs (rRNAs), is used along with proteins to build the cellular structure known as the ribosome, which is the cellular location at which proteins are made. So, RNA plays several related roles in the process of protein production: (1) it carries the genetic code from DNA to the ribosome, (2) it helps form the structure of the ribosome, and (3) it functions in catalysis.
While there are a few other examples (reviewed in Fedor and Williamson, 2005), the catalytic properties of RNA are best seen in the ribosome. When proteins are synthesized by an organism’s cells, small units known as amino acids are chemically linked together to form a long, linear chain. This chain of amino acids is known as a polypeptide or protein. The chemical bond that links together each amino acid in the chain is called the peptide bond. Because each of the 20 amino acids are very similar in structure, the same peptide bond is formed between every unit of the polypeptide chain. The chemical reaction that forms this peptide bond requires catalysis. The protein-rRNA complex that we know as the ribosome has long been known to serve as the site as well as the catalyst in forming the peptide bond. But, scientists were surprised to discover that the protein component only serves as a structural element of the ribosome. It is the RNAcomponent of the ribosome that serves as the catalyst (Nissen, et al., 2000). This catalyticRNA has thus been termed a ribozyme.
Later it was discovered that yet another group of RNAs, the small nuclear RNAs (snRNA), were also capable of catalyzing a chemical reaction (Valadkhan and Manley, 2001). When produced by the cell, mRNA must undergo a series of maturation steps before it is fully functional as a genetic message (Alberts, et al., 2002, pp. 317-327). One of these steps toward maturity is the process of splicing. Newly synthesized mRNA contains large regions, spread throughout its length, that do not directly code for protein production. These non-coding regions are called introns. To make the mRNA mature and functional as a code, each intron must be removed from the mRNA and the remaining coding regions, known as exons, must be linked or spliced back together. These “cut-and-paste” events occur within the cell’s nucleus within a structure that we call the spliceosome. Like the ribosome, the spliceosome is a large complex of both protein and RNA, in this case snRNA. Amusingly, these protein-RNA complexes have been dubbed small nuclear ribonucleoproteins or “snurps.” Interestingly, scientists found that not protein, but RNAs were responsible for catalyzing the chemical reactions that take place during these splicing events. RNAs were carrying out chemical reactions on other RNAs.
Scientists were very excited by these revolutionary findings. Now, they had a single type of molecule, RNA, that possessed two very important properties. First, it was very similar in structure to DNA and thus theoretically could also store genetic information. Second, it could function as a catalyst like proteins. In 1986, Walter Gilbert coined the phrase “RNA World” and initiated what is now known as the RNA World Hypothesis (Gilbert, 1986). This hypothesis on the origin of life states simply that because RNA has the dual ability to both store genetic information and catalyze chemical reactions, it must pre-date DNA and proteins, both of which supposedly evolved after and perhaps from the RNA.
The RNA World Hypothesis is widely accepted by evolutionists, because it provides an alleged solution to a long-recognized problem in evolutionary theory. Consider how proteins are made by a cell. First, DNA which holds the genetic code is converted into RNA through a process known as transcription. This process is similar to how one would copy a letter from one piece of paper onto another sheet. The contents of the letter remain unchanged, only the medium—the paper—has changed.RNA carries this information to the ribosome, where it is read and used as a code to make a protein through a process known as translation. This process can be compared to translating the copy of the letter from one language into another. Nucleic acid (DNA and RNA) is changed into another molecule altogether: protein. This linear progression of DNA to RNA to protein is known in biology as the Central Dogma of Molecular Biology (Alberts, et al., 2002, p. 301). Of the three components in the path, only DNA has the capacity to be replicated. So, while DNA stores the genetic code and can be replicated, it cannot perform any chemical reactions. And, while protein can perform chemical reactions, it cannot store genetic information. So, in evolutionary thinking, which came first—DNA or protein? Making the problem even more difficult, DNA relies upon proteins during its own replication. DNA does not self-replicate of its own accord. It must have protein enzymes to facilitate this process. So, what came first—the chicken or the egg? DNA or protein? Each relies upon the other. You should begin to see howRNA might solve this problem. If RNA can both store genetic information and catalyze chemical reactions, and if it evolved first, we have a single molecule that stores information and can catalyze its own replication, a self-replicating genetic material.
In order to prove this theory plausible, a set of conditions must be created to favor the spontaneous formation of RNA molecules without the aid of a biological catalyst. This would have had to be the starting point for an RNA world. One necessary component for RNAformation would be a steady supply of nucleotides, the building blocks of RNA. Scientists speculate these nucleotides were created from other small molecules present, or were generated in space before arriving on earth. Ribose, the sugar used in RNA, is assumed to have arisen from formaldehyde via the formose reaction. The mystery of the addition of nucleotides onto a ribose backbone remains unsolved by scientists attempting to create conditions of a primitive Earth (Müller, 2006, 63:1279-1280). Once these RNA molecules were formed completely by chance, they would have to have possessed or evolved the ability to catalyze reactions leading to self-replication. After sustaining itself through several replications, the RNA would then need to gain the ability to create a barrier between the extraneous materials surrounding it, in order to isolate the beneficial products from those proving non-functional. Thus, a membrane of sorts would have had to evolve and be maintained (Müller, 63:1285-1286). These steps are only the basics, proving the task much too complicated to occur by mere chance.
In all known organisms living today, DNA and not RNA is the genetic material. DNA has advantages over RNA which make it a more suitable molecule to store the very important genetic code. First, DNA is a double-stranded molecule while RNA is single-stranded. The double-stranded nature of DNA gives it the ability to be replicated in a much simpler series of steps. When DNA is replicated, each of the two complimentary strands serves as a template on which to build another strand. The result is that in one step, each strand of DNA is replicated to produce four total DNA strands or two identical double helices. RNA, however, is single-stranded. In order for it to be replicated, two sequential rounds of replication would be required. First, a complimentary strand would need to be synthesized from the original parental strand. Only then could that new complimentary strand be used to re-make the parental strand. As stated before,DNA and RNA differ in the sugar which makes up the molecule’s backbone. Deoxyribose, the sugar used in DNA, differs from ribose used in RNA, by lacking one organic functional group known as alcohol. The absence of this alcohol group greatly increases the stability of DNA overRNA. In ribonucleic acids, this
–OH group is capable of initiating chemical reactions which favor breakdown of the RNAmolecule. For these and other reasons, DNA is a much more stable and preferable genetic material. This is made obvious by the fact that all living organisms use DNA, not RNA, as their permanent storage medium of genetic information. It also indicates that RNA would be an unsuitable medium by which to initiate life.
Evolutionists would have us to believe that non-living elements and molecules joined together and developed increasing biological capabilities. Those who believe in intelligent design reject this hypothesis, insisting that neither RNA nor living cells are able to evolve spontaneously. While some disagreement exists among those in the evolutionary community on the time frame for such alleged reactions to occur, the consensus is that, given large amounts of time, single-celled bacteria were formed. But all known biological principles militate against this notion. Even billions of years could not provide mechanisms for the reaction products to evolve advantageous characteristics and form DNA and cell proteins, let alone create strings of RNA nucleotides, arriving at just the right sequence in order to code for a functional protein. The four nucleotide bases that form RNA (adenine, guanine, cytosine, and uracil) can be arranged in an exponential array of combinations and lengths. For an actual, functional protein to be coded, a precise sequence of nucleotides must be obtained. Forming the code for even one protein by evolutionary means is impossible, without even considering the necessity of the number that work together in a single cell.
There is no scientific evidence to suggest that RNA is spontaneously being created and capable of forming pre-cellular life today. While some artificial ribozymes have been created in the laboratory (reviewed in Chen, et al., 2007), there are still significant holes in reproducing anRNA world to support the hypothesis. The ribozymes created artificially lack the abilities to sufficiently process themselves, and there is no evidence of them producing large quantities of advantageous nucleotide sequences. Moreover, no system has ever created cellular life. There is even significant debate among scientists over the conditions and constituents of a “prebiotic Earth” model.
The RNA World Hypothesis is simply another attempt by scientists to explain the origin of life to the exclusion of the divine Creator. Given the absolute impossibility of life originating from the reactions of non-living matter, it can be justified that RNA did not predate other biological molecules. All biological molecules were created together to work in concert. RNA was designed to be the essential intermediate between DNA and proteins, making our cells capable of sustaining life as it was created. The designer of this system must be the intelligent Designer, the God of the Bible.


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