"THE GOSPEL OF MARK" Cursing And Cleansing (11:12-19) by Mark Copeland

                          "THE GOSPEL OF MARK"

                    Cursing And Cleansing (11:12-19)


1. In our previous study, we saw where Jesus and His disciples arrived
   in Jerusalem...
   a. Together with a large crowd coming to observe the Passover week
   b. With the first day of their visit (Sunday) beginning with the
      triumphal entry and ending with a quick visit to the temple - Mk 11:1-11

2. On the next day (Monday), two things occur which may seem out of
   character for Jesus...
   a. The cursing of the fig tree - Mk 11:12-14
   b. The cleansing of the temple - Mk 11:15-19

[The two may be related, so let’s consider them together beginning


      1. Having spent the night in Bethany, Jesus and His disciples make
         their way back toward Jerusalem - Mk 11:11-12
      2. Hungry, Jesus sees a fig tree with leaves from a distance and
         approaches to see if there is anything on it - Mk 11:12-13
      3. There is nothing but leaves, Mark noting that it was not the
         season for figs - Mark 11:13
      4. In response, Jesus says to the tree, "Let no one eat fruit from
         you ever again" - Mk 11:14
      5. Mark commented that it was heard by His disciples - Mk 11:14

      1. In Palestine fig trees produced crops of small edible buds in
         March followed by the appearance of large green leaves in early
         April. - Bible Knowledge Commentary
         a. This early green "fruit" (buds) was common food for local
            peasants - ibid.
         b. An absence of these buds despite the tree’s green foliage
            promising their presence indicated it would bear no fruit
            that year - ibid.
         c. Thus this fig tree gave the appearance of offering edible
            food, but did not
      2. The way in which Mark organizes his material in these verses
         (fig tree/cleansing of temple/fig tree) suggests a connection
         between the cleansing of the temple and the cursing of the fig
         tree - ESV Study Bible
      4. The incident of the fig tree both interprets the cleansing of
         the temple and is interpreted by the latter incident - New
         International Biblical Commentary (NIBC)
         a. Jesus’ disappointment with the fig tree is like his
            disappointment with Israel and the temple, her chief shrine
            - ibid.
         b. His judgment pronounced upon the tree is like the threat of
            God’s judgment soon to fall upon the city of Jerusalem,
            which Jesus’ words and actions in Mk 11:15-19 prefigure
            - ibid.
      5. The cursing of the tree (v. 14) is known as a prophetic
         sign-act, familiar to readers of the OT, an action in which a
         prophet demonstrates symbolically his message (e.g., Isa 20:1-6;
         Jer 13:1-11; 19:1-13; Ezek 4:1-15) - NIBC
      6. The act is not to be taken simply as a rash act of anger, but
         as a solemn prophetic word pronounced for the benefit of the
         disciples (and for the readers) - ibid.

[Seeing that the two events (the cursing of the fig tree and the
cleansing of the temple) appear related, let’s now look more closely


      1. Jesus returns to Jerusalem and enters the temple - Mk 11:15-16
         a. Driving out those who bought and sold in the temple
         b. Overturning the tables of the money changers, the seats of
            those who sold doves
         c. Not allowing any to carry wares through the temple
      2. He teaches in the temple - Mk 11:17-18
         a. "Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of
            prayer for all nations’ ? But you have made it a ‘den of
            thieves.’" - cf. 1Ki 8:41-43; Isa 56:7
         b. The scribes and chief priests heard this and wanted to kill
         c. They feared Him, for all the people were astonished at His
      3. At evening, He left the city, spending the night on Mt. Olivet
         - cf. Lk 21:37

      1. The "temple" was the court of the Gentiles, an outer court
         where non-Jews were permitted
         a. Tables were set up to enable pilgrims to change their
            respective currencies into coins for the annual temple tax,
            as well as to purchase pigeons, lambs, oil, salt, etc., for
            various sin and thanksgiving sacrifices - ESV Study Bible
         b. The business activity turns the house of prayer into a den
            of robbers (Jer 7:11); Gentiles in particular were hindered
            by the temple commerce in the outer court - ibid.
      2. This may have been the second time Jesus cleansed the temple
         a. John records a similar incident at the beginning of Jesus’
            ministry - Jn 2:13-17
         b. Many commentators think it happened only once; but with
            Jesus’ zeal for His Father’s house, there is good reason to
            believe He did it twice
         c. The cleansing of the temple may have been to fulfill
            prophecy - Mal 3:1-3
      3. Was the act of cleansing the temple "out of character" for
         Jesus?  No!
         a. Jesus had been angry before, and would be again soon - cf.
            Mk 3:5; Mt 23:13-36
         b. Jesus was filled with righteous indignation, consistent with
            the qualities of deity - cf. Ro 2:4-6; 2Th 1:7-9
      4. It may helpful to remember...
         a. When it came to personal affront, Jesus bore it meekly - cf.
            Isa 53:7; 1Pe 2:23
         b. But when God or His temple were maligned, especially by
            hardhearted and self-righteous religious leaders, then
            Jesus acted with righteous indignation in defense of God’s
         c. We tend to defend selves rather than God, displaying
            self-righteous indignation


1. The moral and religious depravity of the religious leaders prompted
   Jesus’ actions

2. Both the cursing of the fig tree and the cleansing of the temple were
   prophetic sign acts that foretold the impending judgment upon the
   nation of Israel that would occur with the destruction of Jerusalem
   (fulfilled in 70 AD) - cf. Mk 13:1-2
Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2016

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"THE GOSPEL OF MARK" The Triumphal Entry (11:1-11) by Mark Copeland

                          "THE GOSPEL OF MARK"

                     The Triumphal Entry (11:1-11)


1. From chapter eleven forward, the events of Mark’s gospel take place
   in or near Jerusalem...
   a. From His triumphal entry to His resurrection from the dead
   b. Occurring within the time span of eight days

2. The first day is often remembered as "Palm Sunday"...
   a. In which Jesus made a triumphal entry into the city
   b. Accompanied by crowds who laid branches on the road before Him as
      He road into town on the colt of a donkey

[The significance of this event was not understood by His disciples
until later (Jn 12:16).  With the benefit of hindsight and further
revelation, let’s first take a closer look at...]


      1. Jesus and His disciples draw near to Jerusalem - Mk 11:1
         a. By way of Bethany ("house of dates") and Bethphage ("house
            of unripe figs")
         b. Two small villages near the Mount of Olives between Jericho
            and Jerusalem
      2. Jesus arranges for two disciples to get a colt - Mk 11:1-3
         a. A colt on which no one sat
         b. By foreknowledge or previous arrangement, Jesus knows the
            owner will consent
      3. The disciples get the colt just as Jesus predicted - Mk 11:4-6

      1. Jesus mounts the colt - Mk 11:7
         a. It is brought to Him, clothes placed on it, and He sits on
         b. Matthew mentions two animals, likely the mother to calm the
            colt - Mt 21:2,7
      2. Many spread their cloths on the road, others cut leafy branches
         and place them on the road before Jesus on the colt - Mk 11:8
         a. The significance of the clothes placed before Him might be
            found in 2Ki 9:12-13
         b. John mentions palm branches - Jn 12:13
      3. Many praise Jesus as He rides the colt - Mk 11:9-10
         a. Crying "Hosanna!" ("Save!" or "please save!") - Ps 118:25
         b. "Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!" - Ps 118:26
         c. "Blessed is the kingdom of our father David that comes in
            the name of the Lord!"
         d. "Hosanna in the highest!"
      4. Jesus enters Jerusalem - Mk 11:11
         a. He goes straight to the temple, and looks around
         b. But the hour is late and so He does not stay

      1. Jesus returns to Bethany with the twelve - Mk 11:11
      2. Where He likely stays each night during the week (until the
      3. Likely at the home of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus - Jn 12:1-2

[With this brief look at the narrative, let’s offer...]


      1. Matthew explains that all this was in fulfillment of prophecy
         - Mt 21:4-5; Zech 9:9
      2. Some view the short visit to the temple as fulfilling prophecy
         - cf. Mal 3:1

      1. The actions and words of the crowd reflect Messianic
         anticipation - Mk 11:10; Jn 12:12-13
      2. Earlier some had tried to force Jesus to become a king, but He
         refused - Jn 6:15
      3. Many were looking for the Messiah to be a physical king, but
         Jesus made it clear that His kingdom was not of this world
         (i.e., a spiritual kingdom)
         a. To the Pharisees - Lk 17:20-21
         b. To Pilate - Jn 18:36
      4. Paul made it clear that the kingdom was spiritual, not physical
         - Ro 14:17; 1Co 15:50
      5. Jesus’ selection of the colt indicated the spiritual nature of
         His kingdom
         a. Normally kings would ride on a horse, symbolizing war and
         b. But the donkey symbolized peace, befitting the nature of His
            kingdom - cf. Isa 9:6

      1. How exciting it must have been on that day!  The anticipation!
         The joy!
      2. The praise of Christ reached eternal heights after His
         ascension - Re 5:8-14
      3. Today, we can join in the praise of Christ each Lord’s day!
      4. And we can look forward to praising Jesus when He returns, when
         we will be glorified together with Him! - 2Th 1:10


1. What a triumphal entry that will be when Jesus returns...!
   a. Not to offer Himself for sin, as He did with His first coming
   b. But to offer eternal salvation for those who believe! - He 9:27-28

2. But that will be a day of salvation for those who eagerly await
   a. For others, it will be a day of condemnation - 2Th 1:7-9
   b. For others, it will be a day of destruction - ibid.

As we await His "triumphal entry" at the last day, let us faithfully
serve Him today in His spiritual kingdom of righteousness, joy, and

      "Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the LORD!
             Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!"
                              Luke 19:38
Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2016

The "Twelve"? by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


The "Twelve"?

by  Eric Lyons, M.Min.

Numerous alleged Bible discrepancies arise because skeptics frequently interpret figurative language in a literal fashion. They treat God’s Word as if it were a dissertation on the Pythagorean theorem rather than a book written using ordinary language. They fail to recognize the inspired writers’ use of sarcasm, hyperbole, prolepsis, irony, etc. Such is the case in their interpretation of 1 Corinthians 15:5. Since Paul stated that “the twelve” (apostles) saw Jesus after His resurrection, these critics claim that Paul clearly erred, because there were not “twelve” apostles after Jesus’ resurrection and before His ascension. There actually were only eleven apostles during that time. [Judas already had committed suicide (Matthew 27:5), and Matthias was not chosen as an apostle until after Jesus’ ascension into heaven (Acts 1:15-26).] Skeptics claim Paul’s use of the term “twelve” when speaking about “eleven” clearly shows that the Bible was not given “by inspiration of God.”
The simple solution to this numbering “problem” is that “the twelve” to which Paul referred was not a literal number, but the designation of an office. This term is used merely “to point out the society of the apostles, who, though at this time they were only eleven, were still called the twelve, because this was their original number, and a number which was afterward filled up” (Clarke, 1996). Gordon Fee stated that Paul’s use of the term “twelve” in 1 Corinthians 15:5 “is a clear indication that in the early going this was a title given to the special group of twelve whom Jesus called to ‘be with him’ (Mark 3:14). Thus this is their collective designation; it does not imply that all twelve were on hand, since the evidence indicates otherwise” (1987, p. 729, emp. added).
This figurative use of numbers is just as common in English vernacular as it was in the ancient languages. In certain collegiate sports, one can refer to the Big Ten conference, which consists of eleven teams, or the Atlantic Ten conference, which is made up of twelve teams. At one time, these conferences only had ten teams, but when they exceeded that number, they kept their original conference “names.” Their names are a designation for a particular conference, not a literal number. In 1884, the term “two-by-four” was coined to refer to a piece of lumber two-by-four inches. Interestingly, a two-by-four still is called a two-by-four, even though today it is trimmed to slightly smaller dimensions (1 5/8 by 3 5/8). Again, the numbers are more of a designation than a literal number.
Critics like Steve Wells, author of the Skeptic’s Annotated Bible, misrepresent the text when they claim Paul taught: “Jesus was seen by all twelve apostles (including Judas) after Judas’ suicide and before Jesus’ ascension” (2001, emp. added). Paul did not teach that Jesus was seen by all twelve of the original apostles (including Judas). The text says simply that Jesus “was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve.” As already noted, skeptics reject the explanation that Paul used the term “twelve” in a figurative sense (yet they must admit that such numbers can be, and frequently are, used in such a way). These critics also disregard the possibility that the twelve may have included Matthias, the apostle who took Judas’ place (Acts 1:15-26). Although in my judgment Paul was using “the twelve” in a figurative sense, it is possible that he was including Matthias with “the twelve.”
Matthias had been chosen as one of the apostles long before Paul wrote 1 Corinthians, and we know he was a witness of the resurrection of Christ (Acts 1:21-22). In fact, it is very likely that he was part of the group that “gathered together” with the apostles when Christ appeared to them after His resurrection (Luke 24:33). When Paul wrote of “the twelve,” it may be that he was using a figure of speech commonly referred to as prolepsis (the assignment of something, such as an event or name, to a time that precedes it). Thus no one can say for sure that Matthias was not included in the twelve apostles mentioned by Paul.
Does Paul’s reference to “the twelve” in 1 Corinthians 15:5 contradict Jesus’ appearances to ten of the apostles on one occasion (John 20:19-23) and eleven on another (John 20:26-29)? Not at all. Either he simply used a figure of speech common to all languages—where a body of persons (or groups) who act as colleagues are called by a number rather than a name—or he was including Matthias.


Clarke, Adam (1996), Adam Clarke’s Commentary (Electronic Database: Biblesoft).
Fee, Gordon D. (1987), The First Epistle to the Corinthians (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).
Wells, Steve (2001), Skeptic’s Annotated Bible [On-line], URL: http://www.skepticsannotatedbible.com/1cor/index.html.

Natural Attenuation: Proof of Divine Design by James Spencer, M.S., P.G.


Natural Attenuation: Proof of Divine Design

by  James Spencer, M.S., P.G.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: The following article was written by one of A.P.’s auxiliary staff scientists. James Spencer holds a B.S. degree in Environmental Geology and an M.S. degree in Geology from the University of Mississippi. He has 24 years of technical services in the geosciences, including six years with the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality, as well as 18 years with private environmental consulting firms. Accredited as a Professional Geologist in three states (Mississippi, Tennessee, and Arkansas), Mr. Spencer holds membership in the Association of Environmental and Engineering Geologists. He presently serves as Senior Hydrogeologist with EcoScience Resource Group.]
As a working hydrogeologist, I am constantly reminded of God’s handiwork. From the stratigraphic layers examined during drilling operations, to the calculation of groundwater velocities and contaminant transport based on complex governing equations, it is evident that a pre-planned, intentional system is in place. Evolutionists would have us believe that these natural processes have occurred by chance. Nevertheless, I have no doubt that these systems are the work of God. I am reminded of Deuteronomy 3:24—“O Lord God, You have begun to show Your servant Your greatness and Your mighty hand, for what god is there in heaven or on earth who can do anything like Your works and Your mighty deeds?”


In 1984, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) named a hazardous waste site in the state of Louisiana to the National Priority List (NPL). It was estimated at the time that the site held approximately eight million cubic feet of contaminated materials. A computer model was constructed for the site that would simulate the contaminant movement in the subsurface. Modeling efforts resulted in a successful negotiation with the EPA for monitored natural attenuation as the accepted remediation alternative. (“Natural attenuation” refers to the reduction, weakening, and eventual elimination of toxic substances in the soil and groundwater by nature’s own processes.) This EPA determination was a milestone for the site. Previously a pump-and-treat system, which was based on an initial groundwater model developed to simulate hydraulic containment, had cost millions of dollars to install, operate, and maintain. A carbon absorption system was used to treat the contaminated water recovered. By July 1998, over 170 wells were operational.
During this time of recovery well installation in the mid-1990s, field investigations continued in the direction the contaminants were anticipated to flow. Laboratory analysis of water samples discovered the presence of vinyl chloride (VC)—a compound not present in the parent (original waste) material. At the time, the presence of vinyl chloride confused investigators. After consultation with other governmental agencies, it was assumed that degradation (chemical breakdown) of the parent material was producing vinyl chloride as a daughter product. However, the driving agent of this degradation process, known as reductive dechlorination, was not fully understood. Natural attenuation was discussed, but was not yet an accepted environmental remedial alternative (i.e., clean-up solution) with the regulatory agencies. Change came with the release of a 1999 directive by the Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response (OSWER), titled “Use of Monitored Natural Attenuation at Superfund, RCRA Corrective Action, and Underground Storage Tank Sites.”
As research continued at this site (and others throughout the United States), the degradation process became better understood. Reductive dechlorination is a biological process that is used to describe certain types of biodegradation of chlorinated solvents in groundwater. For example, tetrachloroethene (PCE), trichloroethene (TCE), and other chlorinated aliphatic hydrocarbons in groundwater, can be biodegraded by naturally occurring anaerobic bacteria (i.e., bacteria that are able to live without oxygen), most commonly of the genera dehalococcoides through a sequential degradation process. PCE degrades to TCE, TCE to dichloroethene (DCE), DCE to vinyl chloride (VC), and VC to ethene. This biodegradation occurs when anaerobic bacteria present in the contaminated site take electrons from organic compounds (called “electron donors”) and produce H2. The dechlorinating bacteria use the electron in the H2 to replace a chlorine atom.
Scientists wanted to substantiate these degradation processes, as well as develop rate constants for the reactive transport model (a computer model to simulate the transport of chemical compounds in groundwater, including the degradation of parent compounds and generation of daughter compounds). With the goal of observing the potential for natural attenuation of the chlorinated ethanes and ethenes present at the site, hydrogeologists conducted microcosm experiments to determine both the pathways and rates of contaminant transformation under natural conditions. The results indicated that the microbial population necessary to dechlorinate contaminants was naturally present in the site sediments. With this fact in hand, researchers could now define the degradation pathway.
Researches then developed a three-dimensional reactive transport model (RT3D—a multi-species reactive flow and transport simulation computer software) for the site, utilizing the results of the microcosm experiments to develop a site-specific reaction package to simulate the degradation processes. The model was calibrated to current conditions in order to make future predictions. Results indicated that the contaminant plume would stabilize over time and no sensitive receptors (i.e., drinking water aquifer, surface water body, etc.) would be impacted. Consequently, the EPA approved monitored natural attenuation as the selected remedial alternative.

Microbial Population

Researchers conducted laboratory experiments in an attempt to identify, define, and quantify the microbial population present within the site subsurface (see Bae, et al., 2006; Bowman, et al., 2006). These efforts resulted in the identification of several unique microscopic bacteria, known as 16S rRNA gene sequences, that are closely related to Dehalococcoides ethenogenes. In addition, two new anaerobic bacterial strains were isolated and identified for the first time, and subsequently named after the site. The data demonstrated that a large number of novel bacteria were present in groundwater within the source zone, and the population appeared to contain bacterial components necessary to carry out reductive dechlorination.

Evolution of Thought

As noted in the above discussion, the “expert” thought has evolved from a pump-and-treat-solution to monitored natural attenuation as the accepted remedial alternative at this site. A computer model to simulate the degradation processes was developed for the site to simulate groundwater flow and contaminant transport with a site-specific reaction package. With a better understanding of the degradation processes and bacteria populations providing the driving force, natural attenuation has become an accepted remedial alternative at this site and many contaminated sites throughout the country. Despite increased understanding, scientists have yet to provide a complete and adequate definition of the microbial populations naturally present at all remedial sites.


To recap, in order to develop a computer model to simulate groundwater flow and contaminant transport, scientists must come to a proper understanding of the geologic, hydrologic, and biological processes occurring at the site. This understanding is fundamental when the goal is to develop a defensible strategy for monitored natural attenuation for presentation to regulatory agencies. Most importantly, the biologic processes at the Louisiana NPL site have been shown to be active and sufficient for reductive dechlorination of contaminants. But where did these microbial populations come from? Did they evolve to serve this purpose? Impossible, since, in direct contradiction to the evolutionary hypothesis, they would have had to evolve over a short period of time. After all, the contaminants present were not in existence millions of years ago. For example, PCE is a manufactured chemical compound widely used to dry clean fabrics and degrease metals. Michael Faraday first synthesized it in 1821 by heating hexachloroethane until it decomposed into PCE and chlorine. Since evolution cannot account for their presence, where did these microbes come from?
For creationists, the answer is simple and obvious. God created these bacteria. Humans did not create this built-in method of breaking down and neutralizing the artificial/synthetic toxic chemicals introduced by humans into the environment. All the efforts of feeble man to decontaminate the hazardous waste site were secondary, perhaps even superfluous, to the naturally occurring attenuation processes already present in the environment. The only logical explanation is that the Creator of the Earth deliberately embedded restorative properties in the environment in order for it to sustain itself for the Creator’s purpose. Essentially, all we “educated” humans can do is observe, monitor, document, and assign sophisticated jargon to what nature does automatically. God created His earthly creation to be self-sustaining, restorative, and resilient.


In the beginning, God created the Earth to be inhabited by man, and for man to rule the Earth and its resources (Genesis 1:26-30; Psalm 8:6-8). In addition, God placed within the dynamics of the Earth the processes by which He sustains it. The microbial populations that we scientists are just now identifying, and whose purpose we are just now beginning to understand, were created by God to sustain His creation. It is certainly true that man has made mistakes that have been detrimental to God’s Earth. However, it is also true that God is in control, and no matter what humans do—accidentally or purposefully—that may be harmful to the environment, God will sustain this Earth until it has served His purpose! “By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible” (Hebrews 11:3).


Bae, H.S., Moe, W.M., Yan, J., Tiago, I., da Dosta, M.S., and Rainey, F.A. (2006), “Brooklawnia Cerclae Gen. Nov., Sp. Nov., A Propionate-Forming Bacterium Isolated From Chlorosolvent-Contaminated Groundwater,” International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology, 56:1977-1983.
Bowman, K.S., Moe, W.M, Rash, B.A., Bae, H.S., and Rainey, R.A. (2006), “Bacterial Diversity of an Acidic Louisiana Groundwater Contaminated by Dense Nonaqueous-Phase Liquid Containing Chloroethanes and Other Solvents,” FEMS Microbiology and Ecology, 58:120-133, Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
U.S. EPA (1999), “Use of Monitored Natural Attenuation at Superfund, RCRA Corrective Action, and Underground Storage Tank Sites.” United States Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response, Directive Number 9200 (Washington, D.C.: OSWER).

In Defense of...God's Plan of Salvation by Bert Thompson, Ph.D.


In Defense of...God's Plan of Salvation

by  Bert Thompson, Ph.D.

“And Jehovah God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul” (Genesis 2:7).
Of all the living beings that dwell on planet Earth, one solitary creature was made “in the image of God.” On day six of His creative activity, God said: “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.... And God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them” (Genesis 1:26,27).
Mankind was not created in the physical image of God, of course, because God, as a Spirit Being, has no physical image (John 4:24; Luke 24:39; Matthew 16:17). Rather, mankind was fashioned in the spiritual, rational, emotional, and volitional image of God (Ephesians 4:24; John 5:39-40; 7:17; Joshua 24:15; Isaiah 7:15). Humans were superior to all other creatures. No other living being was given the faculties, the capacities, the capabilities, the potential, or the dignity that God instilled in each man and woman. Indeed, humankind is the peak, the pinnacle, and the apex, of God’s creation.
In its lofty position as the zenith of God’s creative genius, mankind was endowed with certain responsibilities. Men and women were to be the stewards of the entire Earth (Genesis 1:28). They were to glorify God in their daily existence (Isaiah 43:7). And, they were to consider it their “whole duty” to serve the Creator faithfully throughout their brief sojourn on the Earth (Ecclesiastes 12:13).


Unfortunately, the first man and woman used their volitional powers—and the free moral agency based on those powers—to rebel against their Maker. Finite man made some horribly evil choices, and so entered the spiritual state biblically designated as “sin.” The Old Testament not only presents in vivid fashion the entrance of sin into the world through Adam and Eve (Genesis 3), but also alludes to the ubiquity of sin within the human race when it says: “there is no man that sinneth not” (1 Kings 8:46). Throughout its thirty-nine books, the Old Covenant discusses time and again sin’s presence amidst humanity, and its destructive consequences. The great prophet Isaiah reminded God’s people: “Behold, Jehovah’s hand is not shortened that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy that it cannot hear: but your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, so that he will not hear” (59:1-2).
The New Testament is no less clear in its assessment. The apostle John wrote: “Every one that doeth sin doeth also lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness” (1 John 3:4). Thus, sin is defined as the act of transgressing God’s law. In fact, Paul observed that “where there is no law, neither is there transgression” (Romans 4:15). Had there been no law, there would have been no sin. But God had instituted divine law. And mankind freely chose to transgress that law. Paul reaffirmed the Old Testament concept of the universality of sin (1 Kings 8:46) when he stated that “all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
As a result, mankind’s predicament became serious indeed. Ezekiel lamented: “The soul that sinneth, it shall die” (18:20a). Once again, the New Testament writers reaffirmed such a concept. Paul wrote: “Therefore, as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin; and so death passed unto all men, for that all sinned” (Romans 5:12). He then added that “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). Years later, James would write: “But each man is tempted, when he is drawn away by his own lust, and enticed. Then the lust, when it hath conceived, beareth sin: and the sin, when it is full-grown, bringeth forth death” (1:14-15).
As a result of mankind’s sin, God placed the curse of death on the human race. While all men and women must die physically as a result of Adam and Eve’s sin, each person dies spiritually for his or her own sins. Each person is responsible for himself, spiritually speaking. The theological position which states that we inherit the guilt of Adam’s sin is false. We do not inherit the guilt; we inherit the consequences. And there is a great difference between the two. Consider, as an illustration of this point, the family in which a drunken father arrives home late one evening, and in an alcoholic stupor severely beats his wife and children. His spouse and offspring suffer the consequences of his drunkenness, to be sure. But it would be absurd to suggest that they are guilty of it! The same concept applies in the spiritual realm. People die physically because of Adam’s sin, but they die spiritually because of their own personal transgression of God’s law. In Ezekiel 18:20, quoted earlier, the prophet went on to say: “the son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.”


The reality of sin is all around us, is it not? Consider the ways in which mankind has been affected by sin.
Physically—Disease and death were introduced into this world as a direct consequence of man’s sin (Genesis 2:17; Romans 5:12).
Geophysically—Many features of the Earth’s surface that allow for such tragedies as earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, violent thunderstorms, etc. can be traced directly to the Great Flood of Noah’s day (which came as the result of man’s sin, Genesis 6:5ff.).
Culturally—The numerous communication problems that man experiences, due to the multiplicity of human languages, are traceable to ambitious rebellion on the part of our ancestors (Genesis 11:1-9).
Psychologically—Man generally is without the peace of mind for which his heart longs (look at the number of psychiatrists in the Yellow Pages of any telephone book!). Isaiah opined: “They have made them crooked paths; whosoever goeth therein doth not know peace” (59:8; cf. 57:21).
Spiritually—By sinning, man created a chasm between himself and God (Isaiah 59:2). Unless remedied, this condition will result in man’s being unable to escape the “judgment of hell” (Matthew 23:33), and in his being separated from God throughout all eternity (Revelation 21:8; 22:18-19).
The key phrase in the discussion above is that man’s sin will result in an eternal separation from God unless remedied. The question then becomes: Has God provided such a remedy? Thankfully, the answer is: Yes, He has.


Regardless of how desperate, or how pitiful, man’s condition has become, one thing is for certain: God had no obligation to provide a means of salvation for the ungrateful creature who so haughtily turned away from Him, His law, and His beneficence. The Scriptures make this apparent when they discuss the fact that angels sinned (2 Peter 2:4; Jude 6), and yet “not to angels doth he give help, but he giveth help to the seed of Abraham” (Hebrews 2:16). The rebellious creatures that once inhabited the heavenly portals were not provided a redemptive plan. But man was! Little wonder the psalmist inquired: “What is man, that thou art mindful of him?” (Psalm 8:4, emp. added).
Why would God go to such great lengths for mankind, when His mercy was not even extended to the angels that once surrounded His throne? Whatever answers may be proffered, there can be little doubt that the Creator’s efforts on behalf of sinful man are the direct result of pure love. As a loving God (1 John 4:8), He acted out of a genuine concern, not for His own desires, but instead for those of His creation. And let us be forthright in acknowledging that Jehovah’s love for mankind was completely undeserved. The Scriptures make it clear that God decided to offer salvation—our “way home”—even though we were ungodly, sinners, and enemies (note the specific use of those terms in Romans 5:6-10). The apostle John rejoiced in the fact that: “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us” (1 John 4:10).
God’s love is universal, and thus not discriminatory in any fashion (John 3:16). He would have all men to be saved (1 Timothy 2:4)—if they would be (John 5:40)—for He is not willing that any should perish (2 Peter 3:9). And, Deity’s love is unquenchable. Read Romans 8:35-39 and be thrilled! Only man’s wanton rejection of God’s love can put him beyond the practical appropriation of heaven’s offer of mercy and grace.

God’s Plan In Preparation

Did God understand that man would rebel, and stand in eventual need of salvation from the perilous state of his own sinful condition? The Scriptures make it clear that He did. Inspiration speaks of a divine plan set in place even “before the foundation of the world” (Ephesians 1:4; 1 Peter 1:20). After the initial fall of man, humankind dredged itself deeper and deeper into wickedness. When approximately a century of preaching by the righteous Noah failed to bring mankind back to God, Jehovah sent a worldwide flood to purge the Earth (Genesis 6-8). From the faithful Noah, several generations later, the renowned Abraham was descended, and, through him, eventually the Hebrew nation would be established. From that nation, the Messiah—God-incarnate—would come.
Some four centuries following Abraham, the Lord, through His servant Moses, gave to the Hebrews the written revelation that came to be known as the Law of Moses. Basically, this law-system had three purposes. First, its intent was to define sin and sharpen Israel’s awareness of it. To use Paul’s expression in the New Testament, the Law made “sin exceeding sinful” (Romans 7:7,13). Second, the law was designed to show man that he could not, by his own merit or efforts, save himself. For example, the Law demanded perfect obedience, and since no mere man could keep it perfectly, all stood condemned (Galatians 3:10-11). Thus, the Law underscored the need for a Savior—Someone Who could do for us what we were unable to do for ourselves. Third, in harmony with that need, the Old Testament pointed the way toward the coming of the Messiah. He was to be Immanuel—“God with us” (Matthew 1:23).
Mankind was prepared for the coming of the Messiah in several ways. Theophanies were temporary appearances of God in various forms (see Genesis 16:7ff.; 18:1ff.; 22:11ff., etc.). A careful examination of the facts leads to the conclusion that many of these manifestations were of the preincarnate Christ. In addition, the Old Testament contains types (pictorial previews) of the coming Messiah. For example, every bloody sacrifice was a symbol of the “Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). Finally, there are more than 300 prophecies containing countless minute details that speak of the coming Prince of Peace. These prophecies name the city in which He was to be born, the purpose of His earthly sojourn, and even the exact manner of His death. The simple fact is, Jehovah left no stone unturned in preparing the world for the coming of the One Who was to save mankind.

God’s Plan In Action

One of God’s attributes, as expressed within Scripture, is that He is an absolutely holy Being (see Revelation 4:8; Isaiah 6:3). As such, He simply cannot ignore the fact of sin. The prophet Habakkuk wrote: “Your eyes are too pure to look on evil; you cannot tolerate wrong” (1:13). Yet another of God’s attributes is that He is absolutely just. Righteousness and justice are the very foundation of His throne (Psalm 89:14). The irresistible truth arising from the fact that God is both holy and just is that sin must be punished!
If God were a cold, vengeful Creator (as some infidels wrongly assert), He simply could have banished mankind from His divine presence forever, and that would have been the end of the matter. But the truth is, He is not that kind of God! Our Creator is loving (1 John 4:8), and “rich in mercy” (Ephesians 2:4). Thus, the problem became: How could a loving, merciful God pardon rebellious humanity?
Paul addressed this very matter in Romans 3. How could God be just, and yet a justifier of sinful man? The answer: He would find someone to stand in for us— someone to receive His retribution, and to bear our punishment. That “someone” would be Jesus Christ, the Son of God. He would become a substitutionary sacrifice, and personally would pay the price for human salvation. In one of the most moving tributes ever written to the Son of God, Isaiah summarized the situation like this:
But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and Jehovah hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all (53:5-6).
Jehovah’s intent was to extend grace and mercy freely—through the redemptive life and death of His Son (Romans 3:24ff.). As a member of the Godhead, Christ took upon Himself the form of a man. He came to Earth as a human being (John 1:1-4,14; Philippians 2:5-11; 1 Timothy 3:16), and thus shared our full nature and life-experiences. He even was tempted in all points, just we are, yet He never yielded to that temptation (Hebrews 4:15).
But what has this to do with us? Since Christ was tried (Isaiah 28:16), and yet found perfect (2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Peter 2:22), He alone could satisfy heaven’s requirement for justice. He alone could serve as the “propitiation” (atoning sacrifice) for our sins. Just as the lamb without blemish that was used in Old Testament sacrifices could be the (temporary) propitiation for the Israelites’ sins, so the “Lamb of God” (John 1:29) could be the (permanent) propitiation for mankind’s sins. In the gift of Christ, Heaven’s mercy was extended; in the death of the Lamb of God, divine justice was satisfied; and, in the resurrection of Christ, God’s plan was documented and sealed historically forever!


As wonderful as God’s gift of salvation is, there is one thing it is not. It is not unconditional. Mankind has a part to play in this process. While the gift of salvation itself is free (in the sense that the price levied already has been paid by Christ), God will not force salvation on anyone. Rather, man must—by the exercise of his personal volition and free moral agency—do something to accept the pardon that heaven offers. What is that “something”?
In His manifold dealings with mankind, Jehovah has stressed repeatedly the principle that man, if he would be justified, must live “by faith” (see Habakkuk 2:4; Romans 1:17; Galatians 3:11; Hebrews 10:38). Salvation has been available across the centuries, conditioned upon God’s foreknowledge of the atoning death of Christ upon the Cross at Calvary (see Galatians 4:4-5; Hebrews 9:15-17; 10:1ff.). Yet “living by faith” never denoted a mere “mental ascent” of certain facts. Instead, “living by faith” denoted active obedience.
Faith consists of three elements: (1) an acknowledgment of historical facts; (2) a willingness to trust the Lord; and (3) a wholehearted submission (obedience) to the divine will. Further, it should be remembered that faith has not always—for all men, in all circumstances—required the same things. It always has required obedience, but obedience itself has not always demanded the same response.
For example, in God’s earliest dealings with men, obedient faith required that those men offer animal sacrifices at the family altar (Genesis 4:4). Later, God dealt with the nation of Israel, giving them the Law at Mount Sinai (Exodus 20). Under that Law, animal sacrifices continued, along with the observance of certain feast days and festivals. Acceptable faith, under whatever law that was then in force, demanded obedience to the will of God.
The Scriptures are clear that the “obedience of faith” (Romans 1:5; 16:26) is based on the Word of God (Romans 10:13), and that both the faith and the obedience are demonstrated by action. Hebrews 11, in fact, devotes itself to an examination of that very concept. “By faith” Abel offered. “By faith” Noah prepared. “By faith” Abraham obeyed. “By faith,” Moses refused. And so on. Even the casual reader cannot help but be impressed with the heroes of faith listed in Hebrews 11:32-40, and the action they took because of their faith. Writing by inspiration, James observed that faith, divorced from obedience, is dead (James 2:26). What, then, is involved in this “obedience of faith” in regard to salvation? What must a person do to be saved?
Several critically important questions need to be asked here. First, where is salvation found? Paul told Timothy: “Therefore I endure all things for the elect’s sake, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory” (2 Timothy 2:10, emp. added).
Second, where are all spiritual blessings found? Spiritual blessings are found only “in Christ.” Paul wrote in Ephesians 1:3: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ” (emp. added).
Third, and most important, how, then, does one get “into Christ”? In other words, how does the alien sinner rid himself of his soul-damning sin? What “obedience of faith” is required to appropriate the free gift of salvation that places him “in Christ”?


The only way to find the “road home” to heaven is to follow God’s directions exactly. There are numerous things God has commanded that a person do in order to enjoin the “obedience of faith” and thereby receive the free gift of salvation. According to God’s Word, in order to be saved a person must do the following.
First, the sinner must hear God’s Word (Romans 10:17). Obviously, one cannot follow God’s commands if he has not heard them, so God commanded that people hear what He has said regarding salvation.
Second, one who is lost cannot be saved if he does not believe what he hears. So, God commanded that belief ensue (John 3:16; Acts 16:31).
Third, one who is lost cannot obtain salvation if he is unwilling to repent of his sins and seek forgiveness (Luke 13:3). Without repentance he will continue in sin; thus, God commanded repentance.
Fourth, since Christ is the basis of our salvation, God commanded the penitent sinner to confess Him before men as the Son of God (Romans 10:9-10).
However, this is not all that God commanded. Hearing, believing, repentance, and confession will not rid one of his sin. The overriding question is: How does one get rid of sin? Numerous times within the pages of the New Testament, that question is asked and answered. The Jews who had murdered Christ, and to whom Peter spoke on the Day of Pentecost when he ushered in the Christian age, asked that question. Peter’s sermon had convicted them. They were convinced that they were sinners, and desperately in need of salvation at the hand of an almighty God. Their question then became: “...brethren, what shall we do?” (Acts 2:37). Peter’s response could not have been any clearer. He told them: “repent ye, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of your sins” (Acts 2:38). Saul, who later would become Paul, the famous apostle to the Gentiles, needed an answer to that same question. While on a trip to Damascus for the explicit purpose of persecuting Christians, Saul was blinded (see Acts 22). Realizing his plight, he asked: “What shall I do, Lord?” (Acts 22:10). When God’s servant, Ananias, appeared to Saul in the city, he answered Saul’s question by commanding: “And now why tarriest thou? Arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins” (Acts 22:16).
What, then, is the correct biblical answer regarding how one rids himself of soul-damning sin? The biblical solution is that the person who has heard the gospel, who has believed its message, who has repented of past sins, and who has confessed Christ as Lord must then—in order to receive remission (forgiveness) of sins—be baptized. [The English word “baptize” is a transliteration of the Greek word baptizo, meaning to immerse, dip, plunge beneath, or submerge (Thayer, 1958, p. 94).]
Further, it is baptism that puts a person “in Christ.” Paul told the first-century Christians in Rome:
Or are ye ignorant that all we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him through baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we also might walk in newness of life (Romans 6:3-4).
Paul told the Galatians: “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ did put on Christ” (3:27, emp. added). Little wonder, then, that Peter spoke of baptism as that which saves (1 Peter 3:21).
Numerous New Testament writers made the point that it is only when we come into contact with Christ’s blood that our sins can be washed away (Ephesians 1:7-8; Revelation 5:9; Romans 5:8-9; Hebrews 9:12-14). The question arises: When did Jesus shed His blood? The answer, of course, is that He shed His blood on the Cross at His death (John 19:31-34). Where, and how, does one come into contact with Christ’s blood to obtain the forgiveness of sin that such contact ensures? Paul answered that question when he wrote to the Christians in Rome. It is only in baptism that contact with the blood, and the death, of Christ is made (Romans 6:3-11). Further, the ultimate hope of our resurrection (to live with Him in heaven) is linked to baptism. Paul wrote of “having been buried with him in baptism, wherein ye were raised with him through faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead” (Colossians 2:12). If we are not baptized, we remain in our sins. If we are not baptized, we have no hope of the resurrection that leads to heaven.
Baptism, of course, is no less, or more, important than any other of God’s commands regarding what to do to be saved (see Jackson, 1997). But it is necessary. And one cannot be saved without it. Is baptism a command of God? Yes, it is (Acts 10:48). Is baptism where the remission of sins occurs? Yes, it is (Acts 2:38; Acts 22:16; 1 Peter 3:21).
Some, who no doubt mean well, teach that a person is saved by “faith only.” In other words, people are taught simply to “pray and ask Jesus to come into their hearts,” so that they might be saved from their sins. This teaching, though widespread, is completely at odds with the Bible’s specific instructions regarding what one must do to be saved.
First, the Scriptures teach clearly that God does not hear (i.e., hear to respond with forgiveness) the prayer of an alien sinner (Psalm 34:15-16; Proverbs 15:29; Proverbs 28:9). Thus, the sinner can pray as long and as hard as he wants, but God has stated plainly how a person is to be saved. This makes perfect sense, since in John 14:6 Christ taught: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one cometh to the Father but by me.” The alien sinner cannot approach God on his own, and, as an alien sinner, has no advocate to do so on his behalf. That is one of the spiritual blessings reserved for Christians (Ephesians 1:3). Thus, it is fruitless for an alien sinner to pray to God to “send Jesus into his heart.” God does not hear (i.e., hear to respond to) such a request.
Second, the Scriptures plainly teach that man cannot be saved by faith alone. James, in his epistle, remarked that indeed, a man may be justified (i.e., saved), but “not only by faith” (James 2:24). This, too, makes perfect sense. As James had observed just a few verses earlier: “Thou believest that God is one; thou doest well; the demons also believe, and shudder” (James 2:19). It is not enough merely to believe. Even the demons in hell believe, but they hardly are saved (see 2 Peter 2:4). It is obvious, therefore, that mere faith alone is insufficient to save.
Also, where, exactly, in the Scriptures does it teach that, in order to be saved, one is to “pray to ask Jesus to come into his heart”? Through the years, I have asked many within various religious groups this question, but have yet to find anyone who could provide a single biblical reference to substantiate such a claim. Salvation is not conditioned on prayer; it is conditioned on the “obedience of faith.” Saul, as Christ’s enemy-turned-penitent, prayed earnestly. But the fact remains that his sins were removed (“washed away”) only when he obeyed God’s command, as verbalized by Ananias, to be baptized. Prayer could not wash away Saul’s sins; the Lord’s blood could—at the point of baptism (Hebrews 9:22; Ephesians 5:26).


The biblical message—from Genesis 1 to Revelation 22—is that mankind is in a woefully sinful condition, and desperately in need of help in order to find his way “back home.” A corollary to that message is that God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked (Ezekiel 18:23; 33:11), and genuinely desires that all should be saved (John 3:16). But in order to be saved, one must do exactly what God commanded, in exactly the way God commanded it. When a person hears, believes, repents, confesses, and is baptized for the forgiveness of his sins, that person becomes a Christian—nothing more, and nothing less. God Himself then adds that Christian to His Son’s one true body—the church. The child of God who remains faithful unto death (Revelation 2:10) is promised a crown of life and eternity in heaven as a result of his faith, his obedience, God’s mercy, and God’s grace (John 14:15; Ephesians 2:8-9; Romans 1:5). What a joyous thought—to live the “abundant life” (John 10:10b) with a “peace that passeth understanding” (Philippians 4:7) here and now, and then to be rewarded with a home in heaven in the hereafter (John 14:2-3). What a joyous thought indeed!


Jackson, Wayne (1997), “The Role of ‘Works’ in the Plan of Salvation,” Christian Courier, 32:47, April.
Thayer, J.H. (1958 reprint), A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark).
AUTHOR’S NOTE: I would like to thank my friend and colleague, Wayne Jackson, for permission to employ in this article material on God’s plan of salvation from the Study Course in Christian Evidences that he and I co-authored (Apologetics Press, 1992).

Does Evolution Belong in Biomedical Curricula? by Will Brooks, Ph.D.


Does Evolution Belong in Biomedical Curricula?

by  Will Brooks, Ph.D.

In a recent issue of The Scientist, Leonid Moroz, a professor at the University of Florida’s College of Medicine, authored an article calling for the inclusion of courses on evolutionary biology in the curricula of medical schools and biomedical Ph.D. programs. He states: “Evolutionary theory, speciation, principles of biological classification, and biodiversity must be part of the required curricula not only for biologists but for medical students as well” (Moroz, 2010, 24(11):36). Dr. Moroz contends that natural selection and other evolutionary principles are fundamental biological concepts, which must be taught in such curricula. This call for biomedical educational reform is not new. In the January 26, 2010 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a collection of articles was Imagepublished in a special supplementary edition of the journal, which conveyed the thoughts of some scientists that medical school curricula needed a course on evolutionary biology (“Evolution in Health…,” 2010, 107[suppl. 1]:1691-1807). The question of whether medical school and biomedical graduate programs should require a course on evolutionary biology is complicated to say the least.
First, evolutionary biology must, as always, be defined. Microevolution (or the small genetic changes occurring in populations that lead to differences within a species) has relevance to medicine and medical research. Consider, for example, the idea of antibiotic resistance in bacteria and viruses. Over time and under the pressures of antibiotics, many strains of bacteria and some viruses will undergo genetic changes (mutations) that allow them to become resistant to the drug(s) that would otherwise be lethal. Additionally, bacteria have the amazing ability to transfer genes between one another, thereby passing antibiotic resistances from one bacterium to another. This problem of antibiotic resistance is a significant medical concern, especially for some diseases such as tuberculosis and HIVwhere multidrug-resistant strains of the infectious agent, which are difficult to treat, are causing disease. However, macroevolution (or the idea that over long periods of time species will evolve into new and distinctive species) does not have relevance in medicine. Macroevolution is the alleged process by which many, many small genetic changes accumulate over time to transform one organism into a new and different organism. For example, macroevolution is the alleged process by which evolutionists claim that bacteria evolved into mitochondria and eventually eukaryotes, how reptiles evolved into birds, and how apes evolved into humans. Even if true (and it is not), this description of evolution has no place in medical or biomedical curricula.


Modern medical (M.D.) programs are designed to give future physicians a foundational understanding of the biochemical and cellular basis of the human body, and then teach them about the body’s anatomy, physiology, and various disease states. The microevolutionary genetic changes that are attributed to antibiotic resistance and phenotypic variation (physical and biochemical differences between people) in the human population are currently not stressed in medical curricula. Nesse and colleagues stated: “[F]ew physicians and medical researchers have taken a course on evolutionary biology, and no medical school teaches evolutionary biology as a basic science for medicine” (2010, p. 1806). What the authors of this article fail to do is distinguish microevolution from macroevolution. It is likely that physicians could benefit from a better understanding of how small genetic changes lead to diversity in the human population and adaptations such as antibiotic resistance in pathogens. Macroevolution (also known as Darwinian evolutionary theory) is an attempt to explain the origin of life. It does not address disease states nor how we treat disease. Even if Darwinian evolutionary theory were a proven science, it would serve no purpose in the preparation of future physicians. The reality is that Darwinian evolution is simply an unproven hypothesis, which means that it certainly does not belong in medical school coursework.
Knowing that your doctor has only two years of coursework in his or her medical school program, would you want this person, who is going to be caring for the medical needs of you and your family, to spend less time learning about how the human body works, and more time learning about the monkeys from which humans supposedly originated? The idea is rather preposterous. Physicians obviously need to know everything possible about the human body and its diseases, not about how single-celled organisms allegedly evolved over millions of years into humans. The brief two years of required medical school coursework are a major hurdle in adding any form of evolutionary biology to the curricula, because if any course or set of material is added, then something else has to be removed. There is only so much time for medical educators to teach students in this two-year period. I, for one, would much rather my doctor spend time on medically relevant content than the unproven “science” of macroevolution.


In 2007, I received a Ph.D. in cell biology from a biomedical graduate program at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine. In that program I took no formal coursework in evolutionary theory or speciation, nor were such courses even an option. Instead, I took coursework in biochemistry, genetics, cell biology, virology, and the biology of disease, among others. Moroz claims that this kind of curricula is “sacrificing a deeper understanding of the fundamental laws of biology,” and students in such programs “lose some strategic advantage as well as a long-term perspective” (p. 36). I must disagree.
Modern graduate doctoral programs in the biomedical sciences are designed to train future scientists in how to conduct research that has the potential to lead to new medical discoveries, such as the origins of disease and the development of novel disease treatments and cures. This training requires a strong foundation in the scientific method and its direct application, as well as basic science coursework in human and pathogen biology. Just as was described above for physicians, an understanding of microevolutionary processes has benefit for future biomedical scientists. For example, to develop a new and improved drug to treat the HIV virus, one would need to know why current drugs are becoming less effective due to viral genetic changes. However, macroevolution does not belong in the curricula of future medical researchers for all of the same reasons that it does not belong in medical school programs: (1) Darwinian evolutionary theory is an unproven hypothesis, and (2) it has no application in medicine.


In his article, quoting Theodosius Dobhansky, Moroz stated: “Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution” (p. 36). What this means is that one cannot understand life and its intricacies unless it is looked at from the perspective of evolution. “Whether we like it or not, biology simply means evolution,” Moroz went on to observe (p. 36). Once again, I must strongly disagree.
I once had a conversation with my graduate Ph.D.advisor, a pediatric oncologist and scientist, about the similarities in DNAsequence and genome structure between humans and other organisms. He, believing in Darwinian evolution, and I, believing that God created each organism separately, had very different perspectives on biology. But, he concluded that no matter which stance you take on the origin of life, evolution or creation, the way in which we conduct biomedical research is unchanged. Common ancestry due to macroevolution would be expected to lead to organism similarities, just as common design due to a Designer would also lead to similarities in organism structure and function. The point is that biology does make sense in light of creation. Statements made by individuals such as Moroz or Dobzhansky regarding the need for evolution to understand biology are nothing more than evolutionist propaganda, intending to use the letters behind one’s name to sway the population into believing that macroevolution must be fact.
Moroz did write correctly in his article that “many, if not most, breakthroughs in biology and medicine have come by studying experimental models representing the entire spectrum of the diversity of life: from bacteria to yeasts, from infusorians to algae, from hydra to squid and sea slugs” (p. 36). Obviously, scientists cannot use humans as their lab animals, so we use other organisms instead. Indeed, biomedical research relies upon model organisms such as the mouse, fly, worm, and yeast to model what is going on in humans. This modeling of physiology and disease pathology works because of the similarities all organisms share—including humans. However, what is important to note, and what Dr. Morov does not say, is that Darwinian macroevolution need not be true, let alone understood or taught to medical students, for these similarities to be utilized for biomedical research. God created humans, mice, flies, worms, and yeast with both their distinctions and similarities. This common design allows scientists to maximize on the similarities for research purposes.


While I took no formal courses in evolutionary biology during my own graduate coursework, I was exposed to some evolutionary theory embedded in courses such as biochemistry. On one particular biochemistry exam, I was posed with observations about the similarities and differences between protein amino acid sequences among various species and asked, “How do you account for these observations?” My response on the exam read: “I account for this observation by believing that God created these proteins in this manner,” followed by, “The evolutionist accounts for this observation by.…” I received 80% credit for my response, but more interestingly, the professor wrote these words below my response: “This particular belief will make it more difficult for you to function as a professional biologist.” Did this statement turn out to be true? No. I have functioned well, perhaps excellently in my professional career. I have published research in top-tier journals and won awards. I do not mention these things to boast, but rather to prove that biology does not depend on evolution, just as medicine does not depend on evolution.
The topic of evolutionary theory in biomedical curricula is complex. The principles of microevolution would likely be beneficial for both future researchers and physicians if they can be worked into an already content-heavy curriculum. But, Darwinian evolutionary theory, biodiversity, and speciation do not belong in biomedical or medical curricula. As scientists, physicians, and medical educators make decisions regarding curriculum reform, let us hope that prudent wisdom will prevail over the biased agenda of many staunch macroevolutionists.


Moroz, Leonid (2010), “The Devolution of Evolution,” The Scientist, 24(11):36.
“Evolution in Health and Medicine Special Feature” (2010), Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 107(suppl. 1):1691-1807, January 26.
Nesse, Randolph M., et al. (2010), “Making Evolutionary Biology a Basic Science for Medicine,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 107[suppl. 1]:1806, January 26.

Marriage Vote in Maine by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


Marriage Vote in Maine

by  Dave Miller, Ph.D.

While the overall culture war being waged in America often seems bleak for the forces of righteousness, an encouraging moment occurred when the people of Maine rejected a law that had been passed by their legislature last spring which sought to legalize same-sex marriage (Glenn and Crary, 2009). To date, when Americans have been given the opportunity to define marriage via popular vote, they have overwhelmingly reaffirmed the biblical, traditionally American definition of one man and one woman. The citizens of 31 states have now done so. Those five states that have legalized homosexual marriage (i.e., Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut, and Iowa) did so through legislation or court rulings—not by a vote of the people.
Nevertheless, this monumental spiritual battle rages on as pro-homosexual forces have vowed to continue their hedonistic assault on morality and marriage. While the average American may not personally participate in the rising tide of sexual insanity, the incessant “diversity” propaganda that blankets American culture has blinded many to the inevitable outcome: America will gradually become like the pagan civilizations of world history wherein decent, moral citizens were terrorized, threatened, and bullied by the baser elements of society (cf. Sodom and Gomorrah—Genesis 19). As the Supreme Court of South Carolina articulated in 1848:
What constitutes the standard of good morals? Is it not Christianity? There certainly is none other.... The day of moral virtue in which we live would, in an instant, if that standard were abolished, lapse into the dark and murky night of pagan immorality (City Council of Charleston..., emp. added).


Adams, Glenn and David Crary (2009), “Big Victory for Traditional Marriage in Maine,” OneNewsNow, [On-line], URL: http://www.onenewsnow.com/Culture/Default.aspx?id=752804.
City Council of Charleston v. Benjamin (1848), 2 Strob. L. 508 (S. C. 1848).

One Little Word by Kyle Butt, M.Div.


One Little Word

by Kyle Butt, M.Div.

Some verses in the Bible seem to stand in such glaring contradiction to other Bible passages that reconciliation appears virtually impossible. But, after looking into the problem with only a small amount of diligence, the solution generally becomes apparent, and the supposed contradiction vanishes like a plate full of chocolate chip cookies in the midst of a group of hungry teenage boys. Such is the case with Hebrews 11:17: “By faith Abraham, being tried, offered up Isaac: yea, he that had gladly received the promises was offering up his only begotten son.” When this verse is compared to Abraham’s history as recorded in the book of Genesis, we immediately notice that Isaac was not the “only begotten son” of Abraham. In fact, we read that Abraham fathered Ishmael by Hagar (Genesis 16:16) more than a decade before the birth of Isaac. And following the death of Sarah, Abraham took Keturah as a wife, by which he begat at least six more sons (Genesis 25:1-2).

How is this seeming contradiction to be resolved? First, let us remember the general context of Hebrews 11:17. This verse comes near the end of a book whose writer has shown an intimate knowledge of the Old Testament. Even in the very chapter under discussion, we read a rather complete list of Old Testament heroes such as Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, et al. Furthermore, much more obscure characters like Barak and Jephthah make their way into the discussion. Add to this the numerous allusions to Melchizedek and the priesthood in earlier chapters, and one soon realizes that the writer of Hebrews was a true Old Testament scholar. To assume that he thought, or accidentally wrote, that Abraham had only one son would be to attribute to the writer a grievous, careless mistake of colossal proportions.
In truth, the problem has nothing to do with the writer of the book of Hebrews, but everything to do with the translators of the Greek into English. In the Greek text of Hebrews 11:17, the word translated as “only begotten son” is monogenes. While this word could possibly be used to refer to an only child, that certainly was not its sole use. Josephus used the word monogenes to refer to Izates, who had an older brother and several younger brothers (Antiquities, 20.2.1). The well-respected Greek-English Lexicon by Arndt, Gingrich, and Danker explains that the word can be used to denote something that is “unique (in kind), of something that is the only example of its category” (1979, p.527). This meaning fits perfectly the passage in Hebrews 11, where the writer was explaining that Abraham offered up his “only promised son.” Abraham had no other children that fit in the category of being promised by God. Isaac was the only “example of a category”—that category being a son who was promised to Abraham and Sarah. Although Abraham had many other children by other women, he had no other child “of promise.” Isaac was his unique son, the only one of promise: the “monogenes.”
Sometimes, clearing up a supposed contradiction in the Bible is as easy as looking up the possible meanings of a single word from the original language. Before we allow our faith to be shaken by superficial claims of contradiction, let’s resolve to give the Bible the benefit of the doubt that even an ancient secular document would deserve. It borders on comical to imagine that the Hebrews writer, with his commanding knowledge of the Old Testament, accidentally “slipped” when referring to Isaac as Abraham’s only son. Once again, we find that no contradiction exists; the honest Bible student has his or her question answered, the Bible skeptic has his or her allegation refuted, and the Bible remains the inspired Word of God.
Arndt, William, F.W. Gingrich, and Frederick Danker (1979), A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press).
Josephus, Flavius (1987 edition), “Antiquities of the Jews,” The Works of Josephus, transl. William Whiston (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson).

Near the Father by Beth Johnson


Near the Father
When our children were small, they used to love to be near their daddy no matter where he was or what he was doing. If he had some outside job to do, they were right behind him, following his every step. If he went somewhere in the car they would gladly stand next to him with their arms around his neck while he drove. (Those were the days before seat belts and car seats.)
When he came home late from Bible studies, they would sit by him while he ate his evening meal—just watching and waiting for any sign of affection. As they grew a little older they loved to accompany their dad on those evening studies. Road trips were the best. Sometimes they curled up in the back well of the car floor board as the thump, thump, thump of the tires on a cement road lulled them into slumber. They were content just to be wherever he was.
When I was a child, I remember seeing my mother sit for hours reading her Bible. Because I was a very active little girl, the concept of sitting in a chair seemed untenable to me, but surely my mother knew what it was like to be near her Heavenly Father. On her death bed, her continual request was that I sing the hymn 'Be with Me Lord'. Just the idea of being near her Heavenly Father gave her great comfort in her dying hours.
Seeing this kind of affection has often made me wonder why children in God's family don't have more desire to be near the Heavenly Father. Why would God's children not continually seek the Father in his Word, just to be near him?
How often do we draw close to our Father in study? Are we searching the scriptures daily (Acts 17:11)? Do we go to the Father in prayer just to be near Him, or do we wait until some crisis arises when we must have his help? Are we praying without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17)? Like children of a physical family, if we abide in close fellowship with our Father through prayer and study, we will be greatly blest. What comfort and love we are missing if we are not near to Him.
"For I considered all this in my heart, so that I could declare it all: that the righteous and the wise and their works are in the hand of God" (Ecclesiastes 9:1).
Beth Johnson

Published in The Old Paths Archive

Bible Reading February 15 by Gary Rose

Bible Reading February 15 (World English Bible)

Feb. 15
Genesis 46

Gen 46:1 Israel traveled with all that he had, and came to Beersheba, and offered sacrifices to the God of his father, Isaac.
Gen 46:2 God spoke to Israel in the visions of the night, and said, "Jacob, Jacob!" He said, "Here I am."
Gen 46:3 He said, "I am God, the God of your father. Don't be afraid to go down into Egypt, for there I will make of you a great nation.
Gen 46:4 I will go down with you into Egypt. I will also surely bring you up again. Joseph will close your eyes."
Gen 46:5 Jacob rose up from Beersheba, and the sons of Israel carried Jacob, their father, their little ones, and their wives, in the wagons which Pharaoh had sent to carry him.
Gen 46:6 They took their livestock, and their goods, which they had gotten in the land of Canaan, and came into Egypt--Jacob, and all his seed with him,
Gen 46:7 his sons, and his sons' sons with him, his daughters, and his sons' daughters, and he brought all his seed with him into Egypt.
Gen 46:8 These are the names of the children of Israel, who came into Egypt, Jacob and his sons: Reuben, Jacob's firstborn.
Gen 46:9 The sons of Reuben: Hanoch, Pallu, Hezron, and Carmi.
Gen 46:10 The sons of Simeon: Jemuel, Jamin, Ohad, Jachin, Zohar, and Shaul the son of a Canaanite woman.
Gen 46:11 The sons of Levi: Gershon, Kohath, and Merari.
Gen 46:12 The sons of Judah: Er, Onan, Shelah, Perez, and Zerah; but Er and Onan died in the land of Canaan. The sons of Perez were Hezron and Hamul.
Gen 46:13 The sons of Issachar: Tola, Puvah, Iob, and Shimron.
Gen 46:14 The sons of Zebulun: Sered, Elon, and Jahleel.
Gen 46:15 These are the sons of Leah, whom she bore to Jacob in Paddan Aram, with his daughter Dinah. All the souls of his sons and his daughters were thirty-three.
Gen 46:16 The sons of Gad: Ziphion, Haggi, Shuni, Ezbon, Eri, Arodi, and Areli.
Gen 46:17 The sons of Asher: Imnah, Ishvah, Ishvi, Beriah, and Serah their sister. The sons of Beriah: Heber and Malchiel.
Gen 46:18 These are the sons of Zilpah, whom Laban gave to Leah, his daughter, and these she bore to Jacob, even sixteen souls.
Gen 46:19 The sons of Rachel, Jacob's wife: Joseph and Benjamin.
Gen 46:20 To Joseph in the land of Egypt were born Manasseh and Ephraim, whom Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera, priest of On, bore to him.
Gen 46:21 The sons of Benjamin: Bela, Becher, Ashbel, Gera, Naaman, Ehi, Rosh, Muppim, Huppim, and Ard.
Gen 46:22 These are the sons of Rachel, who were born to Jacob: all the souls were fourteen.
Gen 46:23 The son of Dan: Hushim.
Gen 46:24 The sons of Naphtali: Jahzeel, Guni, Jezer, and Shillem.
Gen 46:25 These are the sons of Bilhah, whom Laban gave to Rachel, his daughter, and these she bore to Jacob: all the souls were seven.
Gen 46:26 All the souls who came with Jacob into Egypt, who were his direct descendants, besides Jacob's sons' wives, all the souls were sixty-six.
Gen 46:27 The sons of Joseph, who were born to him in Egypt, were two souls. All the souls of the house of Jacob, who came into Egypt, were seventy.
Gen 46:28 He sent Judah before him to Joseph, to show the way before him to Goshen, and they came into the land of Goshen.
Gen 46:29 Joseph made ready his chariot, and went up to meet Israel, his father, in Goshen. He presented himself to him, and fell on his neck, and wept on his neck a good while.
Gen 46:30 Israel said to Joseph, "Now let me die, since I have seen your face, that you are still alive."
Gen 46:31 Joseph said to his brothers, and to his father's house, "I will go up, and speak with Pharaoh, and will tell him, 'My brothers, and my father's house, who were in the land of Canaan, have come to me.
Gen 46:32 These men are shepherds, for they have been keepers of livestock, and they have brought their flocks, and their herds, and all that they have.'
Gen 46:33 It will happen, when Pharaoh summons you, and will say, 'What is your occupation?'
Gen 46:34 that you shall say, 'Your servants have been keepers of livestock from our youth even until now, both we, and our fathers:' that you may dwell in the land of Goshen; for every shepherd is an abomination to the Egyptians."


Feb. 14, 15
Matthew 23

Mat 23:1 Then Jesus spoke to the multitudes and to his disciples,
Mat 23:2 saying, "The scribes and the Pharisees sat on Moses' seat.
Mat 23:3 All things therefore whatever they tell you to observe, observe and do, but don't do their works; for they say, and don't do.
Mat 23:4 For they bind heavy burdens that are grievous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not lift a finger to help them.
Mat 23:5 But all their works they do to be seen by men. They make their phylacteries broad, enlarge the fringes of their garments,
Mat 23:6 and love the place of honor at feasts, the best seats in the synagogues,
Mat 23:7 the salutations in the marketplaces, and to be called 'Rabbi, Rabbi' by men.
Mat 23:8 But don't you be called 'Rabbi,' for one is your teacher, the Christ, and all of you are brothers.
Mat 23:9 Call no man on the earth your father, for one is your Father, he who is in heaven.
Mat 23:10 Neither be called masters, for one is your master, the Christ.
Mat 23:11 But he who is greatest among you will be your servant.
Mat 23:12 Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.
Mat 23:13 "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you devour widows' houses, and as a pretense you make long prayers. Therefore you will receive greater condemnation.
Mat 23:14 "But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! Because you shut up the Kingdom of Heaven against men; for you don't enter in yourselves, neither do you allow those who are entering in to enter.
Mat 23:15 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel around by sea and land to make one proselyte; and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much of a son of Gehenna as yourselves.
Mat 23:16 "Woe to you, you blind guides, who say, 'Whoever swears by the temple, it is nothing; but whoever swears by the gold of the temple, he is obligated.'
Mat 23:17 You blind fools! For which is greater, the gold, or the temple that sanctifies the gold?
Mat 23:18 'Whoever swears by the altar, it is nothing; but whoever swears by the gift that is on it, he is obligated?'
Mat 23:19 You blind fools! For which is greater, the gift, or the altar that sanctifies the gift?
Mat 23:20 He therefore who swears by the altar, swears by it, and by everything on it.
Mat 23:21 He who swears by the temple, swears by it, and by him who was living in it.
Mat 23:22 He who swears by heaven, swears by the throne of God, and by him who sits on it.
Mat 23:23 "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint, dill, and cumin, and have left undone the weightier matters of the law: justice, mercy, and faith. But you ought to have done these, and not to have left the other undone.
Mat 23:24 You blind guides, who strain out a gnat, and swallow a camel!
Mat 23:25 "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and unrighteousness.
Mat 23:26 You blind Pharisee, first clean the inside of the cup and of the platter, that its outside may become clean also.
Mat 23:27 "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitened tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but inwardly are full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness.
Mat 23:28 Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.
Mat 23:29 "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you build the tombs of the prophets, and decorate the tombs of the righteous,
Mat 23:30 and say, 'If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we wouldn't have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets.'
Mat 23:31 Therefore you testify to yourselves that you are children of those who killed the prophets.
Mat 23:32 Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers.
Mat 23:33 You serpents, you offspring of vipers, how will you escape the judgment of Gehenna?
Mat 23:34 Therefore, behold, I send to you prophets, wise men, and scribes. Some of them you will kill and crucify; and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues, and persecute from city to city;
Mat 23:35 that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zachariah son of Barachiah, whom you killed between the sanctuary and the altar.
Mat 23:36 Most certainly I tell you, all these things will come upon this generation.
Mat 23:37 "Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets, and stones those who are sent to her! How often I would have gathered your children together, even as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you would not!
Mat 23:38 Behold, your house is left to you desolate.
Mat 23:39 For I tell you, you will not see me from now on, until you say, 'Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!' "