Donald R. Fox

People radiate what is in their minds and in their hearts. If a man feels kindly and obliging, his neighbors will feel that way, too, before long. But if he scolds and scowls and criticizes—his neighbors will return scowl for scowl, and add interest!” (Eleanor H. Porter, 1868-1920)

An interesting word, scowling. It is defined in part as To wrinkle or contract the brow as an expression of anger or disapproval. To scowl is defined in part as “an angry or bad-tempered expression.I bet most of us have observed a person scowling. It isn’t a pretty sight to behold. It turns one off, does it not?
According to the quote by Eleanor H. Porter, we radiate what is in our minds and hearts. A scowl is a dead giveaway to one's overall outlook. Akin to the tendency of scowling is a scoffer. This is one who jeers or mocks, thus treating something and/or people with contempt and has an expression of mockery and derision. The attitude of derision is part of a scowling stance. People with dispositions of contempt cannot be team workers. We have observed many politicians and media commentators during the period of USA governmental shutdown, October 2013. During this period of hyper party loyalty, scowls were a bare give away for many from the top to the bottom in our governmental structure.
In debating the right/wrong about any proposition one must have a gentleman and/or lady-like attitude. Our demeanor coupled with the desire to do the right thing is a must. Rudeness and scoffing must never be part of the solving of problems. Strong negative attitudes joined with my-way or else have to be avoided.
Even though it is becoming a rare character trait among many, the great need is a Christian deportment. Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17 KJV)
Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts,” (2 Peter 3:3 KJV)
How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? and the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge?” (Proverbs 1:22 KJV)
NOTE: For a similar study see essay titled “STATESMAN VS. POLITICIAN”.

Christian Growth and the Apostle Peter By Andy Robison


Christian Growth
and the Apostle Peter

By Andy Robison

The apostle Peter had humble beginnings as a follower of Christ.  Introduced to the Lord by his brother (John 1:40-42), Peter embarked on a three year quest that would change his life, as well as impact the history of Christianity and the world.  But it started from humble beginnings.  Luke records his call to discipleship in the first eleven verses of Chapter Five.  On Simon’s (Peter’s) fishing boat, Jesus instructed that the nets be cast for a catch.  Peter’s skepticism was overcome by obedience.  After a night of fish-less efforts, at the word of the Lord the nets were so full they were breaking.  Peter realized the Lord’s power and admitted his rather humble position.  “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!” He then left everything and followed Jesus.
 Learning from the Master proved challenging for impetuous Peter.  Eager to walk on water with the Lord, he soon had to learn a lesson in faith and complete dependence (Matthew 14:22-33).  Even after confessing Jesus as the Son of God (Matthew 16:13-19), he had so much more to learn about Christ’s mission.  He, in error, rebuked Jesus for his self-sacrificing prediction of death (Matthew 16:21-23). He wanted to equally honor Moses, Elijah and Christ (Matthew 17:1-13).  He slept while Jesus prayed in agony (Matthew 26:36-46), then fought in a way Jesus did not intend to fight (John 18:10-11). Appropriately rebuked on all of these occasions, Peter learned that learning can be painful. Still, he boasted of his undying allegiance, then repeatedly denied association with the Lord (Matthew 26:31-35, 69-75).  The crowing of the rooster and the look from his Divine Friend cut him to the core of the soul  (Luke 22:60-62).
 Peter, though, was not one to give up (as Judas, who hanged himself [Matthew 27:3-5]).  Following a post-resurrection restoration talk with Jesus (John 21:15-19), Peter got about the business of boldly proclaiming the risen Lord’s message (Acts 3-10).  Never afraid to charge even authorities with their wrongs, (Acts 2:23,36; 3:14,15; 5:29-32), he no longer constantly wavered in faith.  His impetuousness was now directed toward on the spot defenses of Christianity (Acts 2, 3, 10).  Although not perfect (Galatians 2:11-21), he had grown to become the “rock” Jesus said he would (John 1:40-42).
 The drama of Peter’s life is singular, but his growth pattern indicative of so many.  Introduced by family and friends to the Lord’s teachings, so many overcome faithlessness and faults to grow into great servants of the Master.  It starts with humility, though, and a willingness to learn.  May we together humbly obey the Savior’s will.

He That Will Love Life, And See Good Days By W.A. Holley


He That Will Love Life,
And See Good Days

By W.A. Holley

[Bible Light, Vol. 18, No. 4, July-August 1999, pp. 3, 7]
“Finally, be ye all likeminded, compassionate, loving as brethren, tenderhearted, humbleminded: not rendering evil for evil, or reviling for reviling; but contrariwise blessing; for hereunto were ye called, that ye should inherit a blessing.  For, he that would live life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile: and let him turn away from evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and pursue it.  For the eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and his ears unto their supplication: but the face of the Lord is upon them that do evil” (1 Peter 3:8-12, ASV).
The foregoing quotation is addressed to those who are Christians; they had already heard, believed and had been baptized into Christ for the remission of sins (Acts 2:36-38, 47; 1 Peter 3:20-21).  In the verses here quoted, we have Peter discussing the duties of Christians one to another.  Note these traits of Christian character:  Likeminded, compassionate or sympathetic, humbleminded or humility (not stuck-up), no doing evil for evil; it is better to suffer wrong than do wrong.  Let’s remember that “the eyes of the Lord” are looking down upon us each day.  We shall make the following suggestions: A.  Don’t be too concerned about “just desserts.”  Leave such matters in the Lord’s hands.  “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place to wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord” (Romans 12:19).
B.  Learn to pay little attention to destructive and personal attacks against you (Titus 2:7-8).  Set such a personal Christian example of real Christianity that those who may hear of unjust criticism against you will not be easily persuaded (1 Peter 2:11-12).
C.  Where other people are concerned, manifest a compassionate and understanding affection toward them as is possible (Matthew 5:43-44; Luke 6:27-35).  This is Jesus’ way to win friends and influence people.  Visit and humor uttered at the expense of others can never be worth the effort.
D.  Permit your virtues and accomplishments to speak for themselves, and adamantly refuse to discuss the shortcomings of others (Proverbs 25:16, 27; Ecclesiastes 7:16-18).  Thus, living a life of moderation is far better than going to the extremes.  What we have in mind here is longsuffering.  What is longsuffering?  It is that quality of self-restraint in the face of provocation which does not hastily retaliate or promptly punish.  Matthew Arnold called “moderation” “sweet reasonableness.”
E.  If you would “love life, and see good days,” learn to keep an open mind on all debatable subjects (1 Peter 3:15-16).  Discuss, but do not fuss.  To become angry while discussing the Bible is to turn the other person off.  “Reprove, rebuke and exhort,” but do it in the spirit of Christ (2 Timothy 4:1-8).  It is the mark of a true Christian to be able to disagree with your opponent, yet remain friendly still.
F.  Be cheerful and bright in your outlook on life.  “Smile” is the longest word in the English language.  Cover the “S” and you will see.  Doom and gloom never help.  Be a ray of sunshine rather than a gathering storm.  Hide your worries and disappointments under your “smile-umbrella.”
G.  Manifest an interest in each person whom you meet.  Talk with them about their homes, their pursuits and their religion.  These subjects can open doors.  If you cannot talk with sinners, you can never convert them.  Paul wrote, “Condescend to men of low estate” (Romans 12:16).  What does this mean?  Conybeare and Howson has “suffer yourselves to be borne along with the lowly.”  James MacKnight has “associate with lowly men.”  The Cambridge Greek Testament says, “put yourselves on a level with, accommodate yourselves to.”  An egotist can hardly convert anyone to Christ!  Jesus Christ, the Son of God, talked with all kinds of people, from the lowest to the highest.
H.  Make promises sparingly and keep them faithfully, no matter what the cost.  Vows once made were considered compulsory; but, if the vow is a rash one, it should be corrected through repentance (Numbers 30:2; Deuteronomy 23:21; Ecclesiastes 5:4).  Two examples of rash vows are Jephthah’s vow concerning his daughter and Herod Antipas and his vow concerning John the Baptist (Judges 11:1ff; Matthew 4:1ff).  This writer knew well two sisters, whose father had been an elder in the Lord’s church, but who had apostatized from the truth.  On his deathbed, he made his daughters vow never to become members of the church.  This writer approached them many times urging them to change their minds, but they refused, saying, “We promised our father and we will keep our promise.”  How tragic!
I.  Use your opportunities to speak a kind and an encouraging word to those whom you meet along the way (Galatians 6:10).  This word refers to “a fixed and definite period, a time, a season.”  Many opportunities are lost never to return.  Life is so short.  Why not send a card, make a telephone call, write that friend, that son or daughter, or grandchildren.  Here is one means of doing evangelical work.  How long has it been since you have tried to win a lost soul to Christ?  The Mormons try, the Jehovah Witnesses try, but most of us do very little.  There is a soul to be saved or lost; a heaven to be gained or a hell to be endured.  Which shall it be?  Do we really fear God? (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14).
J.  Initiate a desperate effort to control your tongue.  It is unruly and needs to be bridled (James 3:1-18).  The most difficult mistakes to avoid are those that involve the tongue.  James refers to putting bits in the horse’s mouth.  The lesson is:  Control the mouth and you are in control!  A small helm can control a great ship.
The tongue is very destructive.  It is a “world of iniquity” and “it defileth the whole body.”  A small spark can destroy a house or a forest.  The tongue is inconsistent; it is used to bless God and to curse men.  The phrase, “the tongue can no man tame” is here used metaphorically, but with the help of God almighty, we can do a far better job than most of us are doing.  When James refers to the fountain, the fig tree and vine, he is showing the necessity of the proper use of them.  The tongue is a great blessing when properly used; for with it we preach the unsearchable Gospel of Christ and encourage others to climb higher and higher.
“For he that would love life and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile” (1 Peter 3:10).

"THE BOOK OF ACTS" The Ascension Of Christ (1:9) by Mark Copeland

                          "THE BOOK OF ACTS"

                     The Ascension Of Christ (1:9)


1. Forty days following His resurrection, Jesus ascended to heaven...
   a. Watched by His disciples, until a cloud received Him out of their sight - Ac 1:9
   b. Which took place near Bethany, while Jesus blessed them - Lk 24:50-51

2. Following His ascension to heaven....
   a. What happened next?
   b. What's happening now?

[Jesus' ministry as Lord and Savior did not end with His life here on
earth.  Important to our faith and hope is understanding what happened
after Jesus ascended to heaven, beginning with...]  


      1. Despite efforts by rulers and kings against God's anointed 
         - Ps 2:1-7; cf. Ac 4:23-28
      2. Spoken of the Suffering Servant - Isa 52:13; 53:12
      3. Seen in a vision by Daniel - Dan 7:13
      -- The psalmist and the prophets foretold that the Messiah would be exalted

      1. Jesus told disciples He was about to enter His glory - Lk 24:25-27
      2. He is now seated at the right hand of God - Mk 16:19
      3. He has been exalted to be Prince and Savior - Ac 2:33-35; 5:31
      4. He has been given a name above every name - Php 2:9
      5. He has obtained a more excellent name than the angels - He 1:3-4 
      -- Jesus and His apostles proclaimed the exaltation of Christ in glory

[So Jesus has been exalted in glory.  But what is He doing at the right
hand of God?  Biding His time until His return?  No!  For there is much revealed about...]

      1. To rule the nations with a rod of iron - Ps 2:8-12
      2. To rule in the midst of His enemies, till they are made His footstool 
           - Ps 110:1-2,5-7
      3. To have a government of peace, judgment, and justice - Isa 9:6-7
      3. That all peoples, nations, languages, should serve Him - Dan 7:14
      -- The psalmist and the prophets foretold that the Messiah would
         reign over His enemies

      1. Jesus has all authority in heaven and on earth - Mt 28:18
      2. He is above all principality, power, might, dominion, and every name - Ep 1:20-22
      3. Angels, authorities, and powers have been made subject to Him - 1Pe 3:22
      4. He must reign until all enemies are put under His feet,
         including death - 1Co 15:24-26
      5. He is the ruler over the kings of the earth - Re 1:5
      6. He rules them with a rod of iron - Re 2:26-27
      7. Thus He is King of kings, Lord of lords - Re 17:14; cf. 1Ti 6:14-15
      -- Jesus and His apostles proclaimed the present reign of Christ from heaven!

[Just as God reigned over kingdoms of men (Dan 2:21; 4:17), so now His
Son reigns in the midst of His enemies (Ps 110:1-2) until the last enemy
is defeated (1Co 15:25-26).  In the meantime, there is also...]


      1. To serve as a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek - Ps 110:4
      2. To be a priest on His throne - Zec 6:13
      -- The psalmist and the prophet foretold of One who would be both
         king and priest!

      1. Jesus has become a merciful and faithful High Priest - He 2:17-18
         a. To make propitiation for the sins of the people
         b. To aid those who are tempted
      2. He is a sympathetic High Priest - He 4:14-16
         a. Sympathizing with our weaknesses, having been tempted
         b. Making it possible to obtain mercy and grace to help in time of need
      3. According to the order of Melchizedek - He 5:10; 6:19-20; 7:20-28; 8:1
         a. Called by God
         b. In the Presence of God beyond the veil
         c. Made a priest by the oath of God
         d. The surety of a better covenant
         e. An unchangeable priesthood because He continues forever
         f. Able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him
         g. Who always lives to make intercession for them
         h. A High Priest holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from
            sinners, higher than the heavens
         i. Does not need to offer daily sacrifices, His own sacrifice offered once suffices
      4. He is a better High Priest - He 8:1-2; 9:11-15; 10:11-14,19-22
         a. Seated at the right hand of God
         b. Minister of the sanctuary and true tabernacle erected by the Lord, not man
         c. Having obtained eternal redemption, even for those under the first covenant
         d. Offering the promise of eternal inheritance
         e. Sitting at the right hand of God, till His enemies are made His footstool
         f. By one offering perfecting forever those who those being sanctified
         g. Giving us boldness to draw near to God with assurance of faith  
      -- Jesus is truly the perfect and better High Priest for us in heaven!


1. Thus we have seen that with the ascension of Jesus...
   a. He was highly exalted above all things in heaven and earth
   b. He began His reign as King and ministry as High Priest
   c. Thus we have nothing to fear, and everything to hope for! - cf. Ro 8:31-38

2. Jesus will one day return; until then, what will you do...?
   a. Freely volunteer in the day of His power! - cf. Ps 110:3
   b. Submit to His kingly authority as Lord, obey the gospel! - cf. Ac 2:36-38
   c. Enjoy the blessings with Him as your High Priest in heaven! - cf. 1Jn 1:7-9

If we do not, then as His enemy we will eventually be crushed under His
feet, and experience His wrath for having despised God's grace when we
had ample opportunity... - cf. Ro 2:4-11; 2Th 1:7-10
Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2012

"THE BOOK OF ACTS" Witnesses For Christ (1:8) by Mark Copeland

                          "THE BOOK OF ACTS"

                      Witnesses For Christ (1:8)


1. Before Jesus ascended to heaven, He gave His disciples a promise and a charge...
   a. "you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you"- Ac 1:8
   b. "you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and
      Samaria, and to the end of the earth" - ibid.

2. The charge to be "witnesses" for Christ has been appropriated by many...
   a. In their efforts to share the gospel of Christ with the lost
   b. That in doing so they are "witnesses for Christ"
   c. In so doing, they use "witnessing" as a synonym for evangelism

[But is "witnessing" an accurate term for our evangelistic efforts?  Can
we "witness" today like the apostles did in carrying out their charge? 
Let's first review...]


      1. After telling others how to receive Christ, one is encouraged
         to share their own experience in "accepting Christ as their 
         personal Lord and Savior"
         a. This sharing of experiences of one's own conversion is called "witnessing"
         b. Used to convince a prospect of the power of the gospel to transform one's life
      2. New converts are often encouraged to quickly develop their own "witness"
         a. That is, a personal testimony proclaiming how their lives were changed
         b. For example, their testimony or "witness" might describe:
            1) Their actions and attitudes before they accepted Christ
            2) Circumstances that surrounded their conversion
            3) Changes that took place in life after receiving Christ
         c. Of course, the more remarkable one's story (witness), the better

      1. The New Testament speaks of people being witnesses
         a. E.g., in our text:  "you shall be witnesses to Me" - Ac 1:8
         b. This passage is taken to mean that all Christians were to "witness" for Christ
      2. Yet consider the following questions:
         a. Are the "witnesses" in our text referring to all Christians, or a select few?
         b. What were they to bear witness to?  Their own conversion, or something else?
         c. Does the text imply that all Christians are to be "witnesses"?

[To help answer this question, let's examine more closely...]


      1. The context of Ac 1:8 reveals it was the apostles - Ac 1:1-11
         a. They are specifically mentioned in verse 2
         b.  Note the pronouns used throughout the text (to whom, them, they, you)
         c. They were "Men of Galilee" (many disciples were from other regions)
      2. To be such a witness required very specific qualifications  - cf. Ac 1:21-22
         a. One had to have been with the apostles
         b. From the time of Jesus' baptism until His ascension to heaven
         c. Because of what they were to bear witness

      1. They bore witness to Jesus' resurrection - cf. Ac 1:22; 2:32;3:15;
          5:30-32; 13:30-31
      2. They also bore witness to His life - Ac 10:38-42
      3. The apostle Paul was a special witness - Ac 22:14-15; 26:16,22
      4. The focal point of apostolic witness is the resurrection of Jesus from the dead!

      1. The Greek word for witness (martus) is also used as a
         designation for those who have suffered death in consequence of
         confessing Christ - Complete Word Study Dictionary
      2. Used of Stephen, Antipas, and others - Ac 22:20; Re 2:13; 17:6

[But the term "witness" is never used of one who simply tells others
about Christ, or of their own conversion experience.  Is this a
distinction without a difference?  Does it really matter, along as Jesus is glorified...?]


      1. The modern witness:  provides testimony involving one's own conversion
         a. Personal testimony that describes the change in one's life
         b. The more dramatic, the better
            1) Prone to exaggeration, even fabrication
            2) Especially if one can "sell" their testimony through appearances, videos, books
      2. The apostolic witness:  provides testimony concerning the resurrection of Jesus
         a. Eyewitness accounts based on empirical evidence - e.g.,1Jn 1:1-2; Ac 10:40-41
         b. Evidence that has been confirmed by:
            1) The number of witnesses
            2) The credibility of the witnesses (their life, teaching, suffering, even death)
      -- The former is subjective evidence, the latter provides objective evidence

      1. The modern witness:  to have you place your faith in Jesus on
         the basis of another's conversion experience and manner of life
      2. The apostolic witness:  to have you place your faith in Jesus
         on the basis of historical facts that Jesus was raised from the
         dead and thereby declared to be the Son of God - Ro 1:4
      -- The former produces faith based on emotional appeals, the
         latter produces faith based on historical evidence

      1. The modern witness:  what if those upon whose "testimony" we
         came to believe later disappoint us?
         a. Whose "conversion" proves to be less than real or short-term?
         b. Will not our own faith be shaken?
      2. The apostolic witness:  their testimony forever remains unchanged
         a. Sealed by their manner of life, their exemplary teachings, their own blood!
         b. Faith based on their testimony is therefore more durable!
      -- The former leaves one open to great disappointment, the latter
         provides the foundation for a life of strong faith in Christ


1. Jesus acknowledged that people would come to believe in Him through
   the words of His apostles...
   a. As He mentioned in His prayer - cf. Jn 17:20
   b. Therefore He equipped them with infallible proofs and the power
      of the Spirit - Ac 1:2-3,8

2. As impressive as many modern day testimonies may sound...
   a. Beware of those who may be improperly motivated to enhance their story
   b. Be aware that "remarkable transformations" take place in many
      different religions (they can't all be true)

Place your faith instead in the witness Christ Himself has given to you
and all:  the testimony of His specially chosen witnesses, the apostles! - 1Jn 1:1-4

Just as important, have you heeded what they proclaimed...? - cf. Ac 2:36-39
Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2012

How Can a Person Know Which God Exists? by Jeff Miller, Ph.D.


How Can a Person Know Which God Exists?

by  Jeff Miller, Ph.D.

Poseidon: Greek god of the sea
Several decades ago, the United States was overwhelmingly Christian in its religious persuasion. When naturalism and Darwinian evolution picked up speed in the U.S. and challenged the biblical story of man’s origins—the perspective most held by Americans—apologists sprang up in response, dealing a death blow to the naturalistic religion in the minds of many. Once evolutionary theory had been dealt with, both biblically and scientifically, it was natural for many Americans to recognize that they had always been right—Christianity is the true religion.
Sadly, under the banner of “tolerance,” the “politically correct” police have made significant inroads in compelling the American public, not only to tolerate, but to endorse and encourage pluralism and the proliferation of false religion in America. What was once an understood conclusion—that if evolution is wrong, then biblical Creation must be true—is now heavily challenged in America.
Nisroch: Assyrian god of agriculture
It has become a popular tactic among atheistic scoffers to mock Bible believers by sarcastically arguing that there’s just as much evidence for the Flying Spaghetti Monster as there is for any god. Therefore, if intelligent design doctrine deserves time in the classroom, so does the doctrine of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster—the Pastafarians (cf. Langton, 2005; Butt, 2010, p. 12). At the University of South Carolina, a student organization made up of Pastafarians was responsible for sponsoring the debate held between A.P.’s Kyle Butt and popular atheist, Dan Barker (Butt, 2010).
One such scoffer approached me awhile back after one of the sessions of my evolution seminar—a biology professor from the local university in the city where I was speaking. His quibble was a fair one: “Even if you’re right that naturalistic evolution/atheism is false, you still haven’t proven which God exists. You haven’t proven it’s the God of the Bible. Why couldn’t it be Allah? Or [sarcastically] the Flying Spaghetti Monster?”
It is true that many times when apologists discredit naturalism and show that the evidence points to supernaturalism, they do not necessarily always take the next step and answer how we arrive specifically at the God of the Bible as the one true God. Perhaps the main reason, again, is because the answer was once so obvious that the additional step did not need to be taken. People already had faith in the Bible, and they only needed someone to answer an attack on its integrity. Upon answering it, they went back to their faith in Christianity comfortably. But as naturalism and pluralism have eroded the next generation, and Bible teaching—the impetus for developing faith (Romans 10:17)—has declined, Christianity is no longer a given.
Jupiter: Roman god of light and sky, and protector of the state and its laws
Many in Christendom would respond to the professor’s questions by saying, “You just have to have faith. You just have to take a leap and accept the God of the Bible. You don’t have to have tangible evidence.” That reaction, of course, is exactly how scoffers want you to answer. Their response: “Aha! You don’t have proof that God exists. So why should I believe in Him? I might as well pick one that suits me better or make up my own god to serve.”
The Bible simply does not teach that one should accept God without evidence. We should test or prove all things, and only believe those things that can be sustained with evidence (1 Thessalonians 5:21). We should not accept what someone tells us “on faith,” because many teach lies; they should be tested to see if their claims can be backed with evidence (1 John 4:1). The truth should be searched for (Acts 17:11). It can be known (John 8:32). God would not expect us to believe that He is the one true God without evidence for that claim.
While there are different ways to answer the question posed by the professor, the most direct and simple answer is that the Bible contains characteristics which humans could not have produced. If it can be proven that a God exists and that the Bible is from God, then logically, the God of the Bible is the true God. It is truly a sad commentary on Christendom at large that the professor, as well as the many individuals that are posing such questions today, have not heard the simple answer about the nature of God’s divine Word.
After taking a moment to recover from the fact that he clearly had never experienced anyone responding rationally to his criticisms, the professor said, “Really? [pause] I’d like to see that evidence.” I pointed him to our book that summarizes the mounds of evidence that testify to the inspiration of the Bible (cf. Butt, 2007), and although he said he did not want to support our organization with a purchase, he allowed an elder at the church that hosted the event to give it to him as a gift.
Ganesh: Hindu god of wisdom, knowledge, and new beginnings
If you have not studied the divine qualities of the Bible, or are not prepared to carry on a discussion with others about the inspiration of the Bible, might I recommend to you that you secure a copy of Behold! The Word of God through our Web store immediately. Consider also getting the free pdf version in the “PDF-Books” section of our Web site, browsing the “Inspiration of the Bible” category on our Web site, or at the very least, order a back issue of our Reason & Revelation article titled “3 Good Reasons to Believe the Bible is from God” (Butt and Lyons, 2015). Consider also those friends, loved ones, and even enemies that might benefit from a copy. The professor’s question is one of the most pivotal questions one can ask today, and the Lord’s army must be armed with the truth to be able to aid those seeking it.


Butt, Kyle (2007), Behold! The Word of God (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press).
Butt, Kyle (2010), A Christian’s Guide to Refuting Modern Atheism (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press).
Butt, Kyle and Eric Lyons (2015), “3 Good Reasons to Believe the Bible is from God,” Reason & Revelation, 35[1]:2-11.
Langton, James (2005), “In the Beginning There Was the Flying Spaghetti Monster,” The Telegraph, September 11, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/1498162/In-the-beginning-there-was-the-Flying-Spaghetti-Monster.html.

The Messiah at Qumran by Garry K. Brantley, M.A., M.Div.


The Messiah at Qumran

by  Garry K. Brantley, M.A., M.Div.

Since the Dead Sea Scrolls first were discovered, there has been much speculation about the relationship between the early Christians and the Qumran community. Due to the striking similarities between the theological vocabulary of the Dead Sea texts and the New Testament documents, some scholars have suggested that the first Christians either were heavily influenced by, or an outgrowth of, the Qumran sect (see Vanderkam, 1992). The recognition of an important Messiah figure, or figures, espoused in the Qumran materials is a case in point.
Scholars currently disagree whether the people of Qumran believed in one Messiah, or more. One document, called the “Manual of Discipline,” reflected their anticipation that “the Prophet and the Messiahs of Aaron and Israel” shortly would come. From this somewhat obscure text (as most are at Qumran), scholars concluded that the Qumran community looked for both priestly and royal Messiahs. The priestly figure would preside in matters of the Law and ritual, while the royal figure would be a Davidic descendant and lead God’s forces into battle. Other scholars have argued that the Dead Sea community believed in only one messianic figure (see Wise and Tabor, 1992). They do generally agree, however, that the role of Messiah at Qumran involved a militaristic element apparently directed against Rome.
Interestingly, one fragment from Cave 4 speaks of a Messiah whom “the heavens and the earth will obey” (see Eisenman and Wise, 1992, pp. 21-23). This language closely parallels the statement by Jesus: “All authority has been given to me in heaven and in earth” (Matthew 28:18). Further, this text from Qumran apparently describes this Messiah as one who heals the sick, resurrects the dead, announces to the poor glad tidings, and serves as a shepherd for the holy ones. Clearly this language is strikingly similar to the New Testament’s description of Jesus’ ministry (cf. Matthew 11:4-6; John 10:11).
These parallels, however, do not imply that early Christians either were influenced directly by, or grew out of, the Qumran sect. These texts simply provide an example of a common messianic hope that the royal Messiah would free Israel from Roman oppression. It appears that before His resurrection, Jesus’ disciples defined His Messiahship from such a perspective—one that did not incorporate His vicarious death (Matthew 16:21-23). Jesus, however, rejected this common view. He redefined His role of Messiah as One Who came to free humanity, not from national tyranny, but from the oppression of sin, which is the root of all injustice (John 8:30-36). Further, early Christians clearly believed in a singular Messiah (Jesus) in Whom the distinct Old Testament roles of prophet, priest, and king would coalesce (Hebrews 1:1-3). While there may be striking parallels between concepts espoused in the New Testament and the Qumran materials, the arresting differences attest to Christianity’s unique understanding of the Messiah.


Eisenman, Robert and Michael Wise (1992), The Dead Sea Scrolls Uncovered (Rockport, MA: Element Books).
Vanderkam, James (1992), “The Dead Sea Scrolls and Christianity,” Understanding the Dead Sea Scrolls, ed. Hershel Shanks (New York: Random House).
Wise, Michael O. and James D. Tabor (1992), “The Messiah at Qumran,” Biblical Archaeology Review, 18[6]:60-65, November/December.

The Creativity of the Creator Declares His Glory by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


The Creativity of the Creator Declares His Glory

by  Eric Lyons, M.Min.

Much of mankind loves to classify and sort things. We like to sort socks by color and shirts by kind. We categorize books topically. We arrange files alphabetically. We organize tools by their function. We take pictures of people by their size (“tallest in the back, shortest up front”) and then arrange them chronologically in “properly” labeled albums. We like things certain ways; we want things “just so”; and when things do not fall in line with our ideas and expectations, we wonder what happened.
Sometimes we just need to “sit back, relax, and enjoy the view” of God’s handiwork. The Lord says, “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). Sometimes we need to press the pause button and take a page out of God’s Creation revelation (Romans 1:20). Recognize that not everything fits neatly in a systematic filing system, and be thankful that God filled the Earth with His glorious, “manifold…works” (Psalm 104:24; Isaiah 6:3)—that He created all manner of creatures, some of which do not fit neatly in a sorting system, but certainly declare their Maker’s majesty.
Take the duck-billed platypus, for example. It is unlike any other animal on Earth. Scientists classify the platypus as a mammal, but it hardly fits neatly into this category. It is about the size of a house cat with fur thicker than a polar bear’s. It can store food in its mouth like a chipmunk. It has a beaver-like tail and webbed feet like an otter. It has spurs like a rooster, lays eggs like a turtle, and produces venom like a snake. Last, but not least, it has a clumsy-looking, duck-like bill with a complex electro-receptor system in it that allows the platypus to sense weak electric impulses in the muscles of its prey (Scheich, et al., 1986, 319:401-402). The platypus’ modern scientific name (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) means “duck-like, bird snout,” yet we call it a mammal. Truly, if there was ever an animal to call “unique,” it would be the platypus.
Consider also the seahorse. It is one of the most curious-looking animals on the planet. Though it has a head like a horse, eyes like a lizard, a tail like an opossum, and can swim like a submarine, the seahorse is considered a fish. Scientists refer to the seahorse as Hippocampus, a name derived from two Greek words: hippo, meaning “horse,” and campus, meaning “sea creature.”
Most fish swim horizontally by moving their bodies back and forth, from side to side. Seahorses, on the other hand, live in an upright position and swim vertically—like a submarine that can go up and down. The seahorse can properly maintain its balance as it goes up and down in the water because of the gas within its swim bladder (“Sea horse,” 1997, 10:579). Like a well-designed submarine that manipulates gas in order to submerge and resurface, the seahorse can alternate the amount of gas in its bladder to move up and down in the water (Juhasz, 1994). The life of the seahorse is dependent on a perfectly designed bladder. With a damaged bladder (or without a bladder altogether) a seahorse would sink to the ocean floor and die. How do evolutionists logically explain the evolution of this swim bladder if the seahorse has always needed it to survive? If it has always needed it, then it must have always had it, else there would be no seahorse.
Perhaps the most puzzling feature of the seahorse, which does not neatly file away in a normal animal fact folder, is that seahorses are the only known animals in which males actually become pregnant, carry young, and give birth. The male seahorse is designed with a special kangaroo-like pouch near its stomach. At just the right time during the courtship, the female seahorse deposits hundreds of eggs into the pouch of the male. The male fertilizes the eggs, and for the next few weeks carries the unborn seahorses, before squirting the fully formed babies out of the pouch (Danielson, 2002). If nothing like this process is known in the animal kingdom, why would anyone think that evolution can logically explain it? How do undirected time and chance stumble across a different and better way for a particular kind of fish to have babies? Did the first male seahorse to give birth simply have an irritable mate who refused to have babies unless he carried and birthed them? Suffice it to say, seahorses are as baffling to the theory of evolution as are duck-billed platypuses. These unusual animals cry out for a creative Creator, Who cannot be contained in the naturalistic box of evolution. As the patriarch Job asked, “Who…does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this, in whose hand is the life of every living thing?... Ask the beasts, and they will teach you…and the fish of the sea will explain to you” (Job 12:9-10,7-8).


God’s creation is full of variety and complexity. The natural world testifies to a masterful Maker, a creative Creator. He made an animal with the bill of a duck and the tail of a beaver. He gave a sea creature the head of a horse and the tail of an opossum. He made furry animals (i.e., bats) that fly on membranous wings, while making flightless birds (i.e., penguins) that live on land and “fly” through frigid waters. He made the prickly porcupine, the puffer fish, and a sloth so slow that it makes the tortoise look like a cheetah. As much as God’s creation testifies to His omniscient, omnipotent, sovereign nature (Job 38-41; Romans 1:20), I respectfully suggest that our great God seems to have had a lot of fun at the foundation of the world. At the very least, His amazing creativity has provided man a lot of laughs and entertainment since the beginning of time.
Oh come, let us sing to the Lord! Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving; let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms.
For the Lord is the great God, and the great King above all gods.
In His hand are the deep places of the earth; the heights of the hills are His also.
The sea is His, for He made it; and His hands formed the dry land.
Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord our Maker (Psalm 95:1-6).
O Lord, how manifold are Your works! In wisdom You have made them all.
The earth is full of Your possessions….
I will sing to the Lord as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have my being.
May my meditation be sweet to Him; I will be glad in the Lord (Psalm 104:24,33-34).


Danielson, Stentor (2002), “Seahorse Fathers Take Reins in Childbirth,” National Geographic News, June 14, http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/pf/90683716.html.
Juhasz, David (1994), “The Amazing Seahorse,” Answers in Genesis, June 1, http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/cm/v16/n3/seahorse.
Scheich, Henning, et al. (1986), “Electroreception and Electrolocation in Platypus,” Nature, 319:401-402, January 30.
“Sea horse” (1997), The New Encyclopaedia Britannica (Chicago, IL: Encyclopaedia Britannica).

Is There Any Evidence that Christ's Return is Imminent? by Wayne Jackson, M.A.


Is There Any Evidence that Christ's Return is Imminent?

by  Wayne Jackson, M.A.


A major advertisement has appeared recently in newspapers around the country. It is titled: “Christ Is Coming ‘Very, Very Soon.’ ” The piece begins: “The evidence for the soon return of Christ is overwhelming.” Several “clues” are then offered whereby one may calculate that Jesus’ return is near. Would you comment on this?


I have the advertisement before me. I will review the so-called “clues” as to the time of Christ’s return.
  1. It is alleged that the nation of Israel was “miraculously reborn on May 14, 1948,” and that this is “God’s time clock” indicating that the end is near. Amazingly, not one passage of scripture is cited to prove this baseless assertion—the reason being, there is none.
  2. It is argued that 2 Timothy 3:1ff.,which describes a “plummeting morality,” reveals that Jesus’ return is imminent. First, there is not a word in this context about the Lord’s second coming. Second, the verb in verse 5, “turn away,” is, in the original language, a present, middle, imperative form. The imperative mood reveals that it is a command to Timothy. The middle voice suggests that Timothy is to personally turn himself away from the evil persons thus described. The present tense “be turning away,” reveals that Paul’s young companion was living in the time of this corruption, the “last days” (vs. 1), at that very moment. The expression does not focus, therefore, on an age 2,000 years in the future.
  3. It is contended that the “signs” of Matthew 24:6-8 (e.g., famines, wars, and earthquakes) indicate that Jesus is coming “very, very soon.” But the “signs” of Matthew 24:6ff. had to do with the fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70, not this modern era. Christ plainly taught that “this generation” (vs. 34)—i.e., the generation contemporary with Him (Arndt, 1967, p. 153)—would witness these signs. There is historical evidence aplenty to document the presence of such events in the forty-year interval between the time of Christ’s death and the fall of Jerusalem. There were conflicts in the administrations of Caligula, Claudius, and Nero (Josephus, Antiquities, 20.1.6). Josephus penned a work designated, The Wars of the Jews. The title itself is a commentary on these tumultuous times. It is well known that famines were frequent during these four decades (cf. Acts 11:28). Suetonius, a Roman historian, described the administration of Claudius as characterized by “continual scarcity” (Claud., c.18). As for earthquakes, they were devastating during this era. They are recorded by historians Josephus (Wars, 4.4), Tacitus (Annales xii.58; xiv.27; xv.22), and Seneca (Epistle 91). It is thus futile to apply the predictions of Matthew 24 to this current period of history (see Jackson, 1998). Is it not strange that Christ, Who gave these signs, did not know when the “end” would be (Matthew 24:36), but modern “prophets” can read them and provide us with the precise schedule?
  4. It is suggested that Daniel 12:4 prophesies an increase in travel and education at the end of time, and that such is clearly characteristic of our age. This passage is quite ambiguous, and various views are entertained by good scholars—e.g., that “run to and fro” really means to “read thoroughly,” and thus encourages a careful study of this inspired book (Rose and Fuller, 1981, 6:392). At any rate, there is nothing in the passage that can identify a particular age. The fact is, transportation and knowledge have accelerated in every period of human history, and will continue to do so until the end of time. That is the nature of human genius. It is useless to cite Daniel 12:4 as a clue to the end of Earth’s history.
  5. The advertisement under review alleges that the current explosion of “cults and the occult” is detailed in biblical literature; we therefore can know that the end is near on this basis. Two passages are cited as proof-texts—Matthew 24:24 and 1 Timothy 4:1. Again, though, Matthew 24:24—a prediction of false Christs, prophets, etc.—has to do with that period prior to Jerusalem’s demise (cf. 34). Josephus recorded that the administration of Felix, a Roman procurator in Judea (A.D. 52-60), was known for its “impostors (Antiquities 20.8.5). Justin Martyr, an early Christian apologist, said that Simon Magnus went to Rome, where he deceived many with his magic and was honored as deity. He cited an inscription that bore these words: “To Simon the holy God” (Apology, I.26).

    The reference in 1 Timothy 4:1ff. is a general allusion to the apostasy that would defect from the apostolic faith throughout the Christian age. The expression “latter times” likely is equivalent to “latter days” (cf. 2 Timothy 3:1), i.e., the final dispensation of time, the Christian era. Though Paul intended to warn regarding the future, he nonetheless saw the apostasy as already in operation (cf. White, 1956, 4:120). In fact, this point is made quite clear in 2 Thessalonians 2:7 where the “mystery of lawlessness” is “already at work.” This context contains no clue as to the end of time.
  6. It is asserted that the Bible predicts the rise of a “new world order” involving a “centralization of world financial and political power” in the end times, and that these conditions are current. Daniel 7 and Revelation 13 are cited vaguely as proofs. The truth is, both of these contexts have to do with developments out of the ancient Roman empire (see Jackson, 1995, pp. 48-71). They do not refer to America!
  7. Finally, it is claimed that just as angels announced Christ’s first coming (Luke 1:26), even so, angels recently have visited a number of folks, reporting that the end is near. This testimony is about as reliable as those who declare that they have been abducted by space aliens. There is no evidence whatever that angels are appearing to, or communicating with, people today.
There is no biblical information regarding the time of the Lord’s return. The end will occur unexpectedly (Matthew 24:36ff.).


Arndt, W.F., and F.W. Gingrich (1967), A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago).
Jackson, Wayne (1995), Select Studies in the Book of Revelation (Stockton, CA: Courier Publications).
Jackson, Wayne (1998), At His Coming, ed. David Lipe (Henderson, TN: Freed-Hardeman University), in press.
Rose, H.J., and J.M. Fuller (1981), The Bible Commentary, ed. F.C. Cook (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker).
White, N.J.D. (1956), The Expositor’s Greek Testament, ed. W. Robertson Nicoll (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).

Did Jesus Rise “On” or “After” the Third Day? by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


Did Jesus Rise “On” or “After” the Third Day?

by  Eric Lyons, M.Min.

The most frequent reference to Jesus’ resurrection reveals that He rose from the grave on the third day of His entombment. Matthew, Mark, and Luke all record Jesus as prophesying that He would arise from the grave on this day (Matthew 17:23; Mark 9:31; Luke 9:22). The apostle Paul wrote in his first epistle to the Corinthians that Jesus arose from the grave “the third day according to the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:4). What’s more, while preaching to Cornelius and his household, Peter taught that God raised Jesus up “on the third day” (Acts 10:40, emp. added). The fact is, however, Jesus also taught (and Mark recorded) “that the Son of Man” would “be killed, and after three days rise again” (Mark 8:31, emp. added). Furthermore, Jesus elsewhere prophesied that He would be in the heart of the Earth for “three days and three nights” (Matthew 12:40). So which is it? Did Jesus rise from the dead on the third day or after three days?
While to the 21st-century reader these statements may initially appear to contradict one another, in reality, they harmonize perfectly if one understands the different, and sometimes more liberal, methods ancients often used when reckoning time. In the first century, any part of a day could be computed for the whole day and the night following it (cf. Lightfoot, 1979, pp. 210-211). The Jerusalem Talmud quotes rabbi Eleazar ben Azariah, who lived around A.D. 100, as saying: “A day and night are an Onah [‘a portion of time’] and the portion of an Onah is as the whole of it” (from Jerusalem Talmud: Shabbath ix. 3, as quoted in Hoehner, 1974, pp. 248-249, bracketed comment in orig.). Azariah indicated that a portion of a 24-hour period could be considered the same “as the whole of it.” Thus, as awkward as it may sound to an American living in the 21st century, a person in ancient times could legitimately speak of something occurring “on the third day,” “after three days,” or after “three days and three nights,” yet still be referring to the same exact day.
The Scriptures contain several examples which clearly show that in Bible times a part of a day was often equivalent to the whole day.
  • According to Genesis 7:12, the rain of the Noahic Flood was upon the Earth “forty days and forty nights.” Verse 17 of that same chapter says it was on the Earth for just “forty days.” Who would argue that it had to rain precisely 960 hours (40 days x 24 hours) for both of these statements to be true?
  • In Genesis 42:17 Joseph incarcerated his brothers for three days. Then, according to verse 18, he spoke to them on the third day and released them (all but one, that is).
  • In 1 Samuel 30:12,13, the phrases “three days and three nights” and “three days” are used interchangeably.
  • When Queen Esther was about to risk her life by going before the king uninvited, she instructed her fellow Jews to follow her example by not eating “for three days, night or day” (Esther 4:16). The text goes on to tell us that Esther went in unto the king “on the third day” (5:1, emp. added).
  • Perhaps the most compelling Old Testament passage which clearly testifies that the ancients (at least occasionally) considered a portion of a twenty-four hour period “as the whole of it” is found in 2 Chronicles 10. When Israel asked King Rehoboam to lighten their burdens, he wanted time to contemplate their request, so he instructed Jeroboam and the people of Israel to return “after three days” (2 Chronicles 10:5, emp. added). Verse 12, however, indicates that Jeroboam and the people of Israel came to Rehoboam “on the third day, as the king had directed, saying, ‘ Come back to me the third day’ ” (emp. added). Fascinating, is it not, that even though Rehoboam instructed his people to return “after three days,” they understood this to mean “on the third day.”
  • From Acts 10, we can glean further insight into the ancient practice of counting consecutive days (in part or in whole) as complete days. Luke recorded how an angel appeared to Cornelius at “about the ninth hour of the day” (approximately 3:00 p.m.; Acts 10:3). “The next day” (10:9) Peter received a vision from God and welcomed visitors sent by Cornelius. “On the next day” (10:23) Peter and the servants of Cornelius departed for Caesarea. “And the following day they entered Caesarea” where Peter taught Cornelius and his household the Gospel (10:24). At one point during Peter’s visit,Cornelius spoke about his encounter with the angel of God. Notice carefully how he began the rehearsal of the event. He stated: “Four days ago to this hour, I was praying in my house during the ninth hour…” (10:30, NASB, emp. added). Although the event actually had occurred only 72 hours (or three literal days) earlier, Cornelius spoke of it as taking place “four days ago to this hour.” Why four days instead of three? Because according to the first-century method of reckoning time, a part of the first day and a part of the fourth day could be counted as whole days. Surely one can see how this information aligns itself perfectly with Jesus’ burial taking place on Friday and His resurrection occurring on Sunday. A part of Friday, all day Saturday, and a part of Sunday would be considered three days in ancient times, not one or two.
Even though in modern times some may find this reasoning somewhat confusing, similar idiomatic expressions frequently are used today. For example, we consider a baseball game that ends after only completing 8½ innings a “9-inning game.” And even though the losing pitcher on the visiting team only pitched 8 innings (and not 9 innings like the winning pitcher from the home team), he is said to have pitched a complete game. Consider also the guest at a hotel who checks in at 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, and checks out at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday—less than 24 hours later. Did the man stay one day or two days at the hotel? Technically, the guest was there for less than one full day (24-hour period), yet the hotel legally can charge him for two days since he did not leave before the mandatory 11:00 a.m. checkout time. Considering how flexible we are in measuring time, depending on the context, perhaps we should not be surprised at how liberal the ancients could be in calculating time.
Further evidence proving that Jesus’ statements regarding His burial were not contradictory centers around the fact that even His enemies did not accuse Him of contradicting Himself. No doubt this was due to their familiarity with and use of the flexible, customary method of stating time. In fact, the chief priests and Pharisees even said to Pilate the day after Jesus was crucified: “Sir, we remember, while He was still alive, how that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise.’ Therefore command that the tomb be made secure until the third day” (Matthew 27:63-64, emp. added). The phrase “after three days” must have been equivalent to “the third day,” else surely the Pharisees would have asked for a guard of soldiers until the fourth day. Interesting, is it not, that modern skeptics charge Jesus with contradicting Himself, but not the hypercritical Pharisees of His own day.
The idiomatic expressions that Jesus and the Bible writers employed to denote how long Jesus would remain in the grave does not mean that He literally was buried for 72 hours. If we interpret the account of Jesus’ crucifixion, burial, and resurrection in light of the cultural setting of the first century, and not according to the present-day (mis)understanding of skeptics, we find no errors in any of the expressions that Jesus and the gospel writers used.


Hoehner, Harold W (1974), “Chronological Aspects of the Life of Christ—Part IV: The Day of Christ’s Crucifixion,” Bibliotheca Sacra, 131:241-264, July.
Lightfoot, John (1979 reprint), A Commentary on the New Testament from the Talmud and Hebraica (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker).

God and the Laws of Science: Genetics vs. Evolution [Part 2] by Jeff Miller, Ph.D.


God and the Laws of Science: Genetics vs. Evolution [Part 2]

by  Jeff Miller, Ph.D.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Part 1 of this two-part series appeared in the January issue. Part 2 follows below and continues, without introductory comments, where the first article ended.]
In answer to the question, “Can new information originate through mutations?” Gitt responded, “This idea is central in representations of evolution, but mutations can only cause changes in existing information. There can be no increase in information, and in general the results are injurious. New blueprints for new functions or new organs cannot arise; mutations cannot be the source of new (creative) information” (Gitt, 2007, Ch. 11, emp. added, parenthetical item in orig.). Meyer explains,
“[N]atural selection can ‘select’ only what random mutations first produce. And for the evolutionary process to produce new forms of life, random mutations must first have produced new genetic information for building novel proteins” (2009, Ch. 9). And  again, that simply does not happen.
[M]utations of the kind that macroevolution doesn’t need (namely, viable genetic mutations in DNA expressed late in development) do occur, but those that it does need (namely, beneficial body plan mutations expressed early in development) apparently don’t occur. According to Darwin (1859, p. 108) natural selection cannot act until favorable variations arise in a population. Yet there is no evidence from developmental genetics that the kind of variations required by neo-Darwinism—namely, favorable body plan mutations—ever occur.... [M]utations in DNA alone cannot account for the morphological changes required to build a new body plan (Meyer, 2004, emp. added).
Mutation simply “does not constitute an adequate causal explanation of the origination of biological form in the higher taxonomic groups” (Meyer, 2004).
Meyer summarized the problem for neo-Darwinism:
Neo-Darwinism seeks to explain the origin of new information, form, and structure as a result of selection acting on randomly arising variation at a very low level within the biological hierarchy, namely, within the genetic text. Yet major morphological innovations depend on a specificity of arrangement at a much higher level of the organizational hierarchy, a level that DNA alone does not determine. Yet if DNA is not wholly responsible for body plan morphogenesis, then DNA sequences can mutate indefinitely, without regard to realistic probabilistic limits, and still not produce a new body plan. Thus, the mechanism of natural selection acting on random mutations in DNA cannot in principle generate novel body plans (2004, italics in orig., emp. added).
In the words of Sanford:
[E]ven when ignoring deleterious mutations, mutation/selection cannot create a single gene within the human evolutionary timescale. When deleterious mutations are factored back in, we see that mutation/selection cannot create a single gene, ever. This is overwhelming evidence against the Primary Axiom.In my opinion this constitutes what is essentially a formal proof that the Primary Axiom is false (2008, p. 139, emp. and italics in orig.).
Michael Behe, biochemist and Professor of Biological Sciences at Lehigh University, points out that some microorganisms have been shown to be able to rapidly adapt to new environments. However, in doing so, those organisms never develop new internal functions. According to Behe, their adaptations amount, not to innovation, but merely fine-tuning (2007).
So in the words of Gould, mutations do not “produce major new raw material.” They simply change something that already exists. They alter what is already present. They are variations within types of already existing genes. They might cause a fly to have extra wings, a fish to have extra eyes, or a person to have an extra toe; but mutations cannot create a new kind of creature. A mutation would not cause a wing to appear on a creature unless the creature already had wings in its genetic code. If a fish does not already have antlers in its genes, it is not going to grow them. If a dog does not have webbed duck feet or feathers in its genes, neither it nor its descendants are going to grow them. If a person does not have tank treads in his genes, he will never be able to roll over to his neighbor’s house, regardless of how long he (or his progeny) lives and mutates. Neo-Darwinian evolution simply cannot happen. Sanford lamented:
Very regrettably, evolutionists have treated two very different phenomenon, adaptation to environments and evolution of higher life forms, as if they were the same thing. We do not need to be geniuses to see that these are different issues. Adaptation can routinely be accomplished by loss of information or even developmental degeneration (loss of organs). However, development of higher life forms (representing more specified complexity) always requires a large increase in information (p. 202, italics in orig.).
And Darwinian evolution cannot provide it.

Information: If It’s Not a Product of Naturalistic Processes, Then…

East German scientist J. Peil wrote, “Information is neither a physical nor a chemical principle like energy and matter, even though the latter are required as carriers” (as quoted in Gitt, 2007, Ch. 3). The late American mathematician Norbert Wiener, previously professor of mathematics at M.I.T., graduate of Harvard University, and considered to be the originator of the field of cybernetics, long ago said, “Information is information, not matter or energy. No materialism which does not admit this can survive at the present day” (1965, p. 132). What does that truth imply about information?
In the words of Gitt, in what he calls “Theorem 1,” “[t]he fundamental quantity information is a non-material (mental) entity. It is not a property of matter, so that purely material processes are fundamentally precluded as sources of information” (Ch. 3, emp. added). He further explains, “Information is always based on the will of a sender who issues the information…. Information only arises through an intentional, volitional act” (Ch. 3). “[I]t is clear that the information present in living organisms requires an intelligent source…. Any model for the origin of life (and of information) based solely on physical and/or chemical processes, is inherently false” (Ch. 4, parenthetical item in orig.). Gitt proposes Theorem 29 as a summary of that truth: “Every piece of creative information represents some mental effort and can be traced to a personal idea-giver who exercised his own free will, and who is endowed with an intelligent mind” (Ch. 8). In other words, “[n]ew information can only originate in a creative thought process” (Ch. 8).
What about the findings from computerized evolutionary algorithms and ribozyme-engineering experiments? Don’t they prove neo-Darwinian evolution could happen? Meyer responds:
[M]inds can produce biologically relevant structures and forms of information, but without mind or intelligence little, if any, information arises…. [I]ntelligent agents can produce information. And since all evolutionary algorithms require preexisting sources of information provided by designing minds, they show the power—if not the necessity—of intelligent design….
[R]ibozyme-engineering experiments demonstrate the power—if not, again, the need for—intelligence to produce information—in this case, the information necessary to enhance the function of RNA enzymes…. Undirected materialistic causes have not demonstrated the capacity to generate significant amounts of specified information. At the same time, conscious intelligence has repeatedly shown itself capable of producing such information. It follows that mind—conscious, rational, intelligent agency—what philosophers call “agent causation,” now stands as the only cause known to be capable of generating large amounts of specified information starting from a nonliving state (2009, Ch. 15).
Radiologist Henry Quastler, who pioneered the use of isotopes to study cell kinetics and “was one of the first to apply Information Theory to biology” (Ducoff, 2007), long ago stated, “[C]reation of information is habitually associated with conscious activity” (Quastler, 1964, p. 16). If this be the case—if all the evidence points to an intelligent Designer for the origin of information—why reject the evidence? “Whatever information is—whether thought or an elaborate arrangement of matter—one thing seems clear. What humans recognize as information certainly originates from thought—from conscious or intelligent activity” (Meyer, 2009, Ch. 1, italics in orig.).

But Still…Couldn’t it Happen?

Even if genetic mutation could sporadically provide new information, there are other, even more significant issues. Meyer explains, “[A]ny minimally complex protocell resembling cells we have today would have required not only genetic information, but a sizable preexisting suite of proteins for processing that information” (2009, Ch. 9). And what’s more,
scientists investigating the origin of life must now explain the origin of at least three key features of life. First, they must explain the origin of the system for storing and encoding digital information in the cell, DNA’s capacity to store digitally encoded information. Second, they must explain the origin of the large amount of specified complexity or functionally specified information in DNA. Third, they must explain the origin of the integrated complexity—the functional interdependence of parts—of the cell’s information-processing system (2009, Ch. 5).
Sanford points out further how Darwinian evolution would still not be possible with sporadic instances of new information:
I believe the “going down” aspect of the genome is subject to concrete analysis. Such analysis persuasively argues that net information must be declining. If this is true [and the primary focus of his book illustrates that it is—JM], then even if it could be shown that there were specific cases where new information might be synthesized via mutation/selection, it would still be meaningless since such new information would promptly then begin to degenerate again. The net direction would still be down, and complex genomes could never have arisen spontaneously. If the genome is actually degenerating, it is…bad news for evolutionary theory. If mutation/selection cannot preserve the information already within the genome, it is difficult to imagine how it could have created all that information in the first place! We cannot rationally speak of genome-building when there is a net loss of information every generation! Halting degeneration is just a small prerequisite step before the much more difficult question of information-building can reasonably be opened for discussion (pp. 105-106, italics in orig.).
Wells argues that
even if scientists eventually observe the origin of a new species by natural selection, the observation would not mean that natural selection can also explain the origin of significantly new organs or body plans. But the fact that scientists have not observed even the first step in macroevolution means that “evolution’s smoking gun” is still missing. Despite the lack of direct evidence for speciation [i.e., the origin of new species—JM] by natural selection, Darwin’s followers still assume that he was essentially correct and regard changes within existing species as evidence for their theory (2011, p. 13, emp. added).
Once again, speculation and conjecture without supporting evidence rule the day in evolutionary circles and textbooks. All the while, mounds of evidence exist which indicate that new information is not possible through genetic mutation. So neo-Darwinian evolution is not possible.

Genetic Entropy:
The Unavoidable Trend

Mutations are, by definition, “errors”—mistakes in the replication of DNA (cf. Ayala, 1978, 239[3]:56-69). There are three possible kinds of mutations: bad, good, and neutral (i.e., those that have no net effect on a species one way or the other)—none of which add new raw material or information to the genome. Evolution hinges on the idea that beneficial mutations must be the trend, since evolution requires a progression in species (and those mutations must simultaneously add new raw material in order to evolve a new species).
However, in truth, the scientific evidence indicates that this trend is not the case. Renowned geneticist of Stanford University, Luigi Cavalli-Sforza, head of the International Human Genome Diversity Project, said, “Genetic mutations are spontaneous, chance changes, which are rarely beneficial, and more often have no effect or a deleterious one” (2000, p. 176, emp. added). Prominent evolutionary taxonomist, Ernst Mayr (professor emeritus of Harvard), wrote, “[T]he occurrence of beneficial mutations is rather rare” (2001, p. 98, emp. added). In fact, it has long been realized that, after eliminating the neutral mutations from the discussion, 99% of the remaining mutations are said to be actually harmful—not beneficial (Crow, 1997; Cartwright, 2000, p. 98; Winchester, 1951, p. 228; Martin, 1953, 41:100; Ayala, 1968, 162:1436; Morris, 1984, p. 203; Klotz, 1985, p. 181). This was recognized as long ago as 1950, when Nobel laureate and geneticist, Hermann J. Muller said, “The great majority of mutations, certainly well over 99%, are harmful in some way” (1950, 38:35, emp. added). Famous evolutionary geneticist of Rockefeller University, Theodosius Dobzhansky, admitted that beneficial mutations make up less than 1% of all mutations (as quoted in Davidheiser, 1969, p. 209).
Several decades of further research did not help matters. The late evolutionary geneticist of the University of Massachusetts in Amherst Lynn Margulis, and her co-author, science writer Dorion Sagan, referenced Muller’s historic work, emphasizing that “as was pointed out very early by Hermann J. Muller (1890-1967), the Nobel prizewinner who showed X-rays to be mutagenic in fruit flies, 99.9 percent of the mutations are [still—JM] deleterious. Even professional evolutionary biologists are hard put to find mutations, experimentally induced or spontaneous, that lead in a positive way to evolutionary change” (2002, pp. 11-12, emp. added). According to theoretical evolutionary geneticist Philip Gerrish of the University of New Mexico and Richard Lenski, experimental evolutionary biologist of Michigan State University, it seems that the best estimates for beneficial mutations are now “roughly one in a million” (1998, 102/103:132). That’s one ten-thousandth of one percent. Thomas Bataillon, evolutionary biologist of Aarhus University’s Bioinformatics Research Centre, and Santiago Elena, molecular and evolutionary geneticist of the Institute of Molecular and Cellular Plant Biology in Spain, argue that the rate of beneficial mutations is so low that it cannot even be measured (Bataillon, 2000; Elena, et al., 1998). Behe even argues, based on a thorough examination of relevant evolutionary experiments over the last few decades, that those mutations which are considered to be “beneficial” for an organism still typically involved a loss of function (i.e., a loss of genetic information)—not a gain. In the summary of his 2010 article in the Quarterly Review of Biology, he says, “The results of decades of experi-mental [sic] laboratory evolution studies strongly suggest that, at the molecular level, loss-of-FCT [i.e., loss of function—JM] and diminishing modification-of-function adaptive mutations predominate” (2010, p. 441). In truth, this circumstance should be expected, since mutations are, by definition, deviations from what would have occurred in the replication of DNA, if everything worked in the way that it should.
So mutations do not provide the progressive, beneficial trend required by evolution, but rather, reveal a digressive trend. Mutations, by and large, are deleterious, not beneficial to the genome. That is what the scientific evidence indicates—an avalanche of harmful mutations sweeping all species on the planet down the slope of deterioration, decay, and digression. This trend is in keeping with the Second Law of Thermodynamics—entropy is inevitable (see Sanford, 2008 for a decisive treatise on the truth of genetic entropy). The genome will inevitably deteriorate, not evolve. This trend is also supported by information theory (Gitt, 2007).
“Error catastrophe” is the term used to describe what happens when natural selection cannot adequately counter the loss of information that occurs due to deleterious mutations—a situation we are currently facing. During the final phase of degeneration, “mutational meltdown” occurs (Bernardes, 1996)—the “rapid collapse of the population and sudden extinction” of the species (Sanford, p. 220). Kevin Higgins and Michael Lynch, evolutionary biologists of Indiana University and the University of Oregon, respectively, argue that extinction is currently a significant risk for many mammals and other animals because of the existing state of deterioration in the genome due to mutations. “Under synchronous environmental fluctuations, the acceleration of extinction caused by mutation accumulation is striking…. [F]or a large globally dispersing metapopulation with mutation accumulation, the extinction time is just slightly longer than 100 generations” (2001, p. 2932). There is no doubt that genetic entropy is the trend, not genetic organization.
Behe argues, “[N]ot only does Darwinism not have answers for how information got into the genome, it doesn’t even have answers for how it could remain there” (as quoted in Sanford, 2008, back cover, emp. added). Genetic entropy prohibits it. No wonder Sanford wrote, “Degeneration is the precise antithesis of evolutionary theory. Therefore the reality of Genetic Entropy is positively fatal to Darwinism” (p. 206, italics in orig., emp. added). Expounding on that idea, he said:
If the genome must degenerate, then the Primary Axiom is wrong. It is not just implausible. It is not just unlikely. It is absolutely dead wrong. It is not just a false axiom. It is an unsupported and discredited hypothesis, and can be confidently rejected. Mutation/selection cannot stop the loss of genomic information, let alone create the genome! Why is this? It is because selection occurs on the level of the whole organism. It cannot stop the loss of information (which is immeasurably complex) due to mutation, and is happening on the molecular level. It is like trying to fix a computer with a hammer (p. 147, italics and emp. in orig.).
Due to entropy, the genetic trend is downward. But evolution demands an upward trend—not good for Darwinian evolution.
Notice again, however, that while deterioration destroys evolutionary theory, the trend towards deterioration is in keeping with the Creation model, which argues that the genome was originally pristine in the Garden before sin entered the world, initiating the decay process (Romans 5:12; Psalm 102:25-27). The natural trend all around us is clearly that living creatures are being swept down the proverbial mountainside in an avalanche of entropy. Yet evolutionary theory irrationally postulates that the trend for the mindless, accidental evolution of species has actually been up the mountain-side against an oppressive wall of tumbling snow.

Mutations: Not the Evolutionary Mechanism

No wonder, like Gould and Hayward, Margulis and Sagan strongly expressed their disagreement with the idea that genetic mutations could be the mechanism for evolution, as neo-Darwinism contends. They said, “[R]andom mutation, a small part of the evolutionary saga, has been dogmatically overemphasized” (2002, p. 15). “Many ways to induce mutations are known but none lead to new organisms. Mutation accumulation does not lead to new species or even to new organs or new tissues…. We show here that the major source of inherited variation is not random mutation” (pp. 11-12, emp. added). Evolutionist Pierre-Paul Grassé, who was the chair of evolution at the Sorbonne in Paris for over 30 years, said, “No matter how numerous they may be, mutations do not produce any kind of evolution” (1977, p. 103, emp. added). Nobel laureate, Sir Ernst Chain, who is credited with having purified penicillin in such a way that it could be used as an antibiotic, said years ago, “To postulate…that the development and survival of the fittest is entirely a consequence of chance mutations…seems to me a hypothesis based on no evidence and irreconcilable with the facts” (1970, p. 25, emp. added). As we have seen, such profound statements are still relevant today.
Indeed, due to the nature of genetics, mutations simply do not provide a mechanism for Darwinian evolution to occur. In the words of Sanford, “The demise of the Primary Axiom leaves evolutionary theory without any viable mechanism. Without any naturalistic mechanism, evolution is not significantly different from any faith-based religion” (2008, p. 206; cf. Houts, 2007). [NOTE: “Faith” is used by Sanford here to describe those who believe in God without evidence—an idea which the Bible does not support (cf. John 8:32; 1 Thessalonians 5:21; Acts 17:11; 1 John 4:1; Miller, 2013).] Neo-Darwinism has no mechanism for progressing towards new species, and the origin of the genetic code remains a mystery for naturalists. Evolutionist Douglas Hofstadter, physicist and Distinguished Professor of Cognitive Science at Indiana University in Bloomington once said:
There are various theories on the origin of life. They all run aground on this most central of all central questions: “How did the Genetic Code, along with the mechanisms for its translation (ribosomes and RNA molecules) originate?” For the moment, we will have to content ourselves with a sense of wonder and awe rather than with an answer (1980, p. 548, emp. added).
Writing in Nature, evolutionist John Maddox said, “[I]t is disappointing that the origin of the genetic code is still as obscure as the origin of life itself” (1994, 367:111, emp. added). The unfortunate truth is that so many, both theists and atheists alike, have been steamrolled into believing Darwinian religion by the naturalist crowd. Evolution has been foisted upon the minds of children and touted as scientific fact for decades, when all the while, upon closer examination of the evidence, evolution is found to be baseless in its attempt to explain the origin of species. All along, an explanation for the origin of the kinds of creatures we see on Earth has been available that does not contradict the scientific evidence.

The Bible and Genetics

In the words of famous atheist, theoretical physicist, and cosmologist of Cambridge University, Stephen Hawking, “[T]he Universe is a machine governed by principles or laws—laws that can be understood by the human mind.... But what’s really important is that these physical laws, as well as being unchangeable, are universal. They apply not just to the flight of the ball, but to the motion of a planet and everything else in the Universe” (“Curiosity…,” 2011, emp. added). As with everything else in the law-abiding Universe, reproduction behaves in accordance with governing laws. Life produces according to its kind.
The Bible, which articulates the Creation model in simple terms, stated long ago a truth that has stood the test of time and continues to be verified by modern science. God made living creatures and then established the ordinances which would govern their reproduction. The phrase “according to its kind” is used repeatedly (Genesis 1:11,12,21,24,25), highlighting the fact that God created distinct creatures from the beginning. They did not evolve from previous kinds of creatures, and such passages further allude to the existence of barriers that God established between various forms of life—distinctions which evolutionary theory seeks to dissolve. God personally created life (i.e., “living creatures/things”—Genesis 1:21,24-25; 2:7) and further instituted the Law of Biogenesis by telling the natural realm (i.e., “Earth”) how life was to be multiplied: “bring forth the living creature according to its kind” (Genesis 1:24). [NOTE: The word “kind” was written in Genesis long before the modern taxonomic categories developed. While there may be no direct equivalent to the present taxonomic system, the “family” of a creature may be the best parallel in most cases (cf. Wood and Murray, 2003).] That general rule is precisely what we see occurring in nature. Indeed, “whatever a man sows, that he will also reap” (Galatians 6:7)—Paul’s articulation of a Universal law of nature. In the words of Jesus, “For every tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they gather grapes from a bramble bush” (Luke 6:44). That simple concept has profound implications and denies the theory of evolution, which requires inter-kind leaps—evolution across phylogenic boundaries—prohibited by the evidence from genetics. The Creation model, however, passes the genetics test with flying colors.


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