Roosters are loud! They can hit volumes as high as 140 decibels which is the level of sound on an aircraft carrier deck. For humans, a noise above 120 decibels, about the level of a chainsaw, can cause permanent hearing damage. So you may wonder why roosters don’t go deaf.
Belgian researchers writing in the journal Zoology have the answer. They examined the skull structure of the birds. The researchers found that they have a built-in defense against loud sounds in the form of a sound barrier. When a rooster adjusts its head and neck to crow, small flaps of tissue close the ear canal. They effectively act as earplugs to dampens the noise significantly.
On top of that, the study reveals that roosters can regenerate the tiny hair cells deep within the ear that can become damaged by loud noises. Humans can’t do that, which is why deafness caused by loud sounds is permanent for us. For roosters, a degree of deafness would likely only be temporary if it happened at all.
“Micro-CT scans of a rooster and chicken head show that in roosters the auditory canal closes when the beak is opened,” the researchers wrote. “In hens the diameter of the auditory canal only narrows but does not close completely. A morphological difference between the sexes in shape of a bursa-like slit which occurs in the outer ear canal causes the outer ear canal to close in roosters but not in hens.”
Since coming to power in 2012, President Xi Jinping has launched a drive to subjugate both Islam and Christianity to government control and to limit their activity. China forces atheism by installing Chinese flags wherever there is a minaret or a cross and pressuring people to embrace the Atheist Communist Party. There has been a dramatic expansion of China’s surveillance apparatus using facial recognition and artificial intelligence to weed out religious leaders and to reward loyalty to the Atheist Communist Party.
It is going to be important for religious leaders and missionaries in China to use apologetic material like ours to combat the government propaganda machine. The volume of mail we are getting from Chinese students has dramatically increased. One student suggested that if we would learn Chinese, we couldn’t handle all of the opportunities there would be to teach the gospel. As China forces atheism, we are working on that idea.
Our experience has been that once atheists see the evidence for God’s existence, they are eager to become Christians. An atheist doesn’t have the baggage of someone who is already a member of some religious body or cult, so there is nothing for them to unlearn.
Pope Francis has resurrected an old debate by declaring the death penalty inadmissible in all cases. The Pope says that the death penalty “attacks the inviolability and the dignity of the person, a dignity that is not lost even after having committed the most serious crimes.”
Romans 13:4 describing rulers says: “For he is the minister of God to you for good. But if you do that which is evil, be afraid: for he does not bear the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon he who does evil.” Some have argued that the sword is a symbol of justice, not execution, so there has been a debate on execution for many years.
One of the major theological issues is that when you execute a person who has not become a Christian you have condemned them to hell. Another problem is that courts cannot always determine guilt worthy of the death penalty in a fool-proof way. In the United States in the past 45 years, 1,479 people were executed. There were 162 people scheduled for execution who were found to be innocent before the death penalty was carried out. How many of those executed were actually innocent? The New York Times says the death penalty “is an arbitrary and hugely expensive barbarism whose victims in the United States are often black, poor, or mentally disturbed.”
One of the questions people ask about God’s creation is why so much stuff in space? If humans are the focus of God’s creation, why did He create so many planets, galaxies, and stars? If God’s purpose was to have the human race as the battlefield for the struggle between good and evil, surely He didn’t need to create 100 billion other stars in our galaxy and billions of other galaxies.
There are so many assumptions involved in this question that it would take many more pages to explore them all. First, this question assumes that God’s creation of life only happened here. It assumes that there are no other planets anywhere in the creation that have sentient beings living on them. You can argue that forever, but the Bible doesn’t give an answer. The Bible only describes Earth because it presents a message for our planet and its people.
The question also assumes that God only intended for us to live on the surface of this planet. I get letters regularly from people who suggest that we have no business going into outer space because God intends for us to live here and nowhere else. That is a massive assumption, and one that I suggest is misguided. One recent discovery has given another possible answer to why so much stuff in space. Humans are rapidly exploiting the mineral wealth of planet Earth. We know that the Earth contains a finite amount of iron, nickel, cobalt. If we should survive on Earth for much longer than the 21st century, we are going to run out of resources.
Japan’s robotic spacecraft Hayabusa 2 visited asteroid 162173 Ryugu (pictured) in June of 2018. Data from the spacecraft indicates that this asteroid is composed almost entirely of nickel and iron. The spacecraft was returning a sample to Earth for analysis. This asteroid is one kilometer wide, and at the current market value, the iron and nickel in the asteroid are worth over 80 billion dollars. God’s plan for us may be far greater and longer than we realize. Space contains a wealth of mineral resources. God has provided for us in many ways, and we always seem to have just enough of a resource to get us to the next source. We had just enough wood to get us to hydrocarbons, and just enough hydrocarbons to bring us to nuclear and solar power.
While more and more Americans are denying faith in God, belief in astrology, witchcraft, and sorcery is growing. Astrology academies and internet users of natal charts have produced thousands of podcasts, Facebook pages, YouTube channels, mobile apps, newsletters, and streaming videos. Data crunchers tell us that there are more than two million websites on astrology, and entrepreneurs are using astrological signs as a means of attracting business. There are sun-sign PJs, hotels with a zodiac theme, and offers for foods like a “cuppa zodiac coffee.” There is indeed a growing interest in astrology.
Richard Smoot speaking for the International Society for Astrological Research said, “So much is going on in people’s lives these days, so much pressure to act or react, and they simply want to sort things out.” Astrologers claim that people in crisis are drawn to astrology because they want guidance in matters of love, finance, and career. The astrology site Co-Star says “This generation is wrapping itself in the blanket of the zodiac to try and make sense of a world that seems to be coming apart at the seams.” The most highly rated astrological site in recent months has been “How to find the perfect dog based on your zodiac sign.” There is a growing interest in astrology among millennials who make up seventy-three percent of those visiting that site.
In the ancient world, astrologers and magicians were a major factor in helping people make decisions. In Exodus 7:11 Pharaoh used secret arts to duplicate what Moses did. God condemned the use of astrology, magic, and sorcery from the beginning. In Leviticus 20:6 we read, “If a person turns to mediums and necromancers, whoring after them, I will set my face against that person and will cut him off from among his people.” Fortune telling was condemned in Micah 5:12 and in the New Testament every confrontation between the apostles and a sorcerer or magician reveals a rejection of those practices. (See Acts 8 and Acts 13:6.)
Is astrology a harmless game or joke, or is there a reason to reject the mystic arts? The first point we need to make is that there is no scientific support for any of these mystic arts. Studies of astrological claims indicate no support for any connection between the stars and what happens in people’s lives on Earth.
Magic is entertaining, but honest magicians will tell you that even their most amazing acts are sleight of hand and visual tricks. It is enjoyable to watch these talented performers, but we need to realize that they are not using supernatural abilities. Sorcery and witchcraft are dangerous and destructive activities and have a long history of tragedy. The bottom line is that all mystic arts draw people away from the real solutions to their problems.
We recently presented a public lectureship in Chester, California. Some preachers who attended all lamented the number of young adults who no longer attended their congregations. We have also received emails from church leaders complaining about the loss of young people and worrying that their congregations are “graying” with most of the members being senior citizens. Fifty years ago DOES GOD EXIST? predicted this crisis with atheism winning the day in the media and on our college campuses. Unfortunately, the Church has done nothing to counteract this trend. We still have congregations where the leaders present no lessons of any kind on how we know God exists, how we know the Bible is His Word, and how we can answer the challenges of secular humanism, evolutionism, modernism, and materialism. The Church needs practical apologetics.
The apostle Peter wrote, “…always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is within you…”(1 Peter 3:15). Because we have refused to do what Peter told us to do, our young people assume that we have no answer to the major challenges they face each day. Many of our preacher-training schools teach their students that they should believe, and if God says it that settles it. Neither Jesus, the apostles, nor the early Church practiced that mentality. Romans 1:18-25 explains the progress of modern atheism, and in Acts 17:16-34 Paul addressed the kind of challenges today’s Church faces.
Young people today need to know why we believe what we believe. Many of us are not prepared to answer the questions that kids have. While kids may stay “in church” while they are at home, their reason for staying, in their words which I regularly hear, “It’s a small price to pay for peace at home.” The Church seems to think that entertaining kids will answer their questions, but the truth is that we can not out-entertain Disney. When kids return from a trip to Gatlinburg or Six Flags, they have the same questions they had before. When kids leave home and no longer have to appease their parents, they no longer attend any congregation of the Church. The university or the armed services will not push them to attend. Even kids who attend a Christian college frequently do not attend any congregation of the Lord’s Church.
We urge adults to pray about how to bring practical apologetics into the thinking of their young people. There are many good books and studies out there, but there are also some really bad ones. Ninety-percent of all printed apologetic material in the United States is written by denominational speakers who are supporting their denomination’s doctrine (according to Ronald Numbers in his book The Creationists). This includes all of Ken Ham’s material as well as Henry Morris and the Institute for Creation Research.
We have reported on the Pew Research Center’s survey in the United States which indicated that those who list their religious affiliation as “none” are increasing. (See more about that HERE.) New research indicates that those nones can be more religious than Christians.
In May of 2018, the Pew Research Center released a study of religious beliefs and practices in western Europe. Some of the things they learned are very surprising. The survey involved 25,000 people in 15 countries of Western Europe. Since Pew had previously gathered similar data in the U.S., they were able to make comparisons. In comparing the results in the U.S. and Western Europe, the Pew researchers found that:
1-Americans are more religious than Western Europeans. That isn’t too surprising. The questions asked included “Do you believe in God with absolute certainty?” and “Do you pray daily?”
2-American “nones” are more religious than Western European “nones.” This is more surprising since you would think that those who have no religious affiliation would be equally lacking in faith. However, many Americans who have given up on organized religion still believe in God, and they even pray to Him.
3-American “nones” are as religious as or more religious than Christians in France, Germany, and the United Kingdom. That is the most surprising finding of all that nones can be more religious than Christians. Only 23 percent of European Christians say they believe in God with absolute certainty. In the United States 27 percent of “nones” have that much faith. Only eighteen percent of Christians in Western Europe pray daily. Twenty-percent of the “nones” in the United States say that they have daily prayer. In Western Europe, fourteen percent of Christians say that religion is very important in their lives. Religion is almost as important to U.S. “nones” where thirteen percent say that religion is very important.
According to Pew Research, even though Western Europeans identify as Christians, for them it is a cultural or ethnic identity rather than a genuine religious faith. Eleven percent of Western Europeans say they are “spiritual but not religious.” That allows them to keep the traditions of Christianity without a commitment to the doctrines and things they don’t like.
One of the amazing things that we see in the natural world is that animals are designed so that they do not get wiped out by predators. A classic example is a caterpillar, which has no easy defense against birds who can find them even though camouflage is one of their primary defenses. The North American walnut sphinx moth caterpillar employs an unusual defense mechanism that gives it the nickname accordion worm.
This caterpillar is about two inches long and has air holes in its sides. It can compress its body to force air out through the holes. The accordion worm does this when threatened by a bird predator. The holes are spaced and designed so that the air passing through them sounds like the alarm calls of the particular bird species that threatens them. The whistle is not just a little squeak. The sound level is more than 80 decibels compared to a normal conversation which is around 50 to 60 decibels. When the caterpillar makes the sound, the birds that would eat the caterpillar scramble out of the area. Researchers from the University of Washington tell us that this is the first incidence of a deceptive alarm call between an insect and a bird.
God provides for all of life on our planet, and the complexity of keeping things in balance is remarkable. As we see the balance of nature becoming upset by human actions, we have to be impressed with what a delicate system of life the Earth contains. Romans 1:18 tells us that we can know God exists through the things He has made. Proverbs 8:1-6, 22-31 reminds us that wisdom has been a part of God’s creative process from the beginning.
1-SATAN WORKS BY BRUTE FORCE. In the Genesis account, God tells us how the battle between good and evil will progress. “I will put enmity between you and the woman and between your seed and her seed. It will bruise your head and you will bruise His heel.” The blow to Satan will ultimately be fatal–evil will die. The damage to the heel will be bad in this life, but not eternally.
The Bible is full of descriptions of Satan’s brute force–the repeated captivity of Israel, the slaying of the babies by Herod, the crucifixion of Jesus, etc. Satan frequently enters his workers to make brute force happen. In John 13:27 Satan entered Judas. In Matthew 16:23 he attempted to enter Peter, but Jesus rebuked him. In our world today he enters people, especially when invited or not resisted. Every day we see examples of this on the front page of our newspaper.
2-SATAN WORKS BY SOWING BAD SEEDS. In Matthew 13:24-30 Jesus told a parable to explain a second way how Satan works. It is almost impossible to tell the difference between a tare seed and a wheat seed. Satan sows seeds that are not always obvious at the time. It is not always obvious who is sowing the bad seed as verse 25 says the sower of the bad seed comes at night.
3-SATAN WORKS BY IMITATING GOD’S GOOD THINGS. In 2 Corinthians 11:13-14 we read, “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And don’t be surprised for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.” In the parable, the tares were not removed until the harvest, because it would do too much damage to the wheat to rip them out. So also, evil will not be removed from our lives until the harvest when the fruit of our lives can be seen. God allows perverse forms of marriage and sex to continue to exist, but in the end, the results of these perverse things will be clear.
Once we understand how Satan works, we can know what comes from Satan and not from God. Mathew 7:15-20 tells us to “watch out for false prophets who will come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them … every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit … thus by their fruit you will recognize them.” The next three verses have these evil workers claiming miracles in the name of Christ. People can claim anything, but Jesus says, “Depart from me you workers of iniquity, I never knew you.” We find Paul reaffirming that in 2 Corinthians 11:15.
Jeremiah 23 gives five tests we can all make of religious leaders to see if they are good leaders or false prophets. 1-Vs 9-14 Do they have high moral standards? 2-Vs 16-17 Do they offer false hope? 3-Vs 21-22 Do they have integrity and oppose evil? 4-Vs 29-32 Do they speak where God has not spoken? 5-Vs 33-36 Do they state their opinions as God’s Word?
There are plenty of cheap imitations of the Lord’s Church out there as you can see by turning on your TV. The religious teachers that fail the tests Jeremiah laid out are Satan’s workers, and they are all around us. That is how Satan works.
When you think of Satan, what do you visualize? Do you see an image of a sinister, demonic-looking man with horns and a tail? Do you see a cartoon guy in a red suit with a pitchfork? The Bible refers to Satan by name more than 50 times and uses other descriptions such as “the enemy” or “the prince of this world,” or “the devil.” Is this opposing spirit adversary Satan real or an ancient construction of superstitious people?
The Old Testament Hebrew word and the New Testament Greek word translated “satan” literally mean “accuser,” “adversary,” or “opposing spirit.” In 1 Chronicles 21:1, Zechariah 3:1-2 and Job chapters 1 and 2 present Satan as appearing before God along with the angels as an accuser. The New Testament tells us that Satan entered into Judas as he betrayed Jesus (Luke 22:3). Christ even called Peter “Satan” when he opposed God’s plan (Luke 8:33). The Bible does not portray Satan as taking on a human form in the physical realm, but it does show the opposing spirit assuming a symbolic form as a serpent creature (Genesis 3:1). So we have an opposing spirit adversary in the spiritual realm.
There are two realms of existence–the physical and the spiritual. The physical realm that you and I live in is time-dependent. Our senses of sight, smell, touch, taste, and hearing enable us to comprehend the physical. The spiritual existence is time-independent, and we perceive that realm in other ways, but not through our senses.
The Bible tells us that beings exist in the spiritual realm. Ephesians 3:8-10 describes this for us: “God gave me the work of telling all people about the plan for his secret truth that has been hidden in Him since the beginning of time. He is the one who created everything, His purpose was that all the rulers and powers in heavenly places will now know many different ways He shows His wisdom. They will know this because of the Church.”
Ephesians 6:11-12 repeats this reference to the spiritual realm. “Wear God’s armor so that you can fight against the devil’s clever tricks. Our fight is not against people on Earth. We are fighting against the rulers and authorities of this world’s darkness. We are fighting against spiritual powers of evil in the heavenly places.”
As science probes more deeply into the origin of mass and electric charge, something becomes increasingly apparent. The physical realm’s source is from a dimension higher than the three-dimensional world we experience. String theory, for example, proposes 11 spatial dimensions in its mathematical analysis. We directly sense only three dimensions plus time, but the spiritual realm exists outside of the spatial dimensions that make up the physical world.
Most people don’t believe that when we die there is no further existence of any kind. We sense that there is something more. Revelation 21:3-5 tells us that when our physical life ends, we will be in a time-independent realm. For those who are in Christ “there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain so the old order of things is passed away.”
According to Revelation 20:10 the opposing spirit will be done away., but it is very active in today’s world. We will continue with more on that tomorrow.