One of the many things that make our planet uniquely well designed is the atmosphere. Our atmosphere has the right density to burn up the 10,000 plus meteors that speed into it every year. It’s also dense enough to scatter the cosmic rays and X-rays from space, so we are protected from this deadly radiation by our Earth’s atmospheric design.
Also very important, the atmosphere is thin enough to allow light to penetrate so plants can grow. It contains the proper mix of gasses for all living things to use. There is enough oxygen for us to breathe, but not enough to cause dangerous, uncontrolled combustion. It has the right amount of carbon dioxide to allow plants to live and give us the right amount of the “greenhouse effect.” This proper amount prevents too much heat from radiating off into space, keeping Earth at a temperature that promotes life.
The atmosphere is mostly nitrogen, which is relatively inert, but plants need it to grow. Because nitrogen is inert, it’s released to the soil by bacteria and certain plants, such as legumes or by lightning or tectonic activity. The atmosphere is topped off with a layer of ozone that absorbs ultraviolet energy from the Sun to keep us from being overexposed to the harmful effects of UV rays.
I am amazed by the lack of understanding of our planet and how it works. It is astounding how the public refuses to take the cause and treatment of the current pandemic seriously. Politicians worldwide are promoting distrust of just about everything, making progress on any level almost impossible. The Bible is the one thing that we can trust, but since atheism and false religions have taken over the planet, people reject the Bible’s teachings and create chaos all around us. Are we doomed?
Proverbs 8:32-33 quotes wisdom as saying, “…hearken unto me…hear instruction and be wise and refuse it not.” Romans 1:17-32 tells us that we can know God by understanding the creation. The meaning of those passages is more evident today than ever before. We now have the means of seeing the vastness of the cosmos, and understanding how fragile Earth is. We see pictures of polluted skies, contaminated lakes and rivers, and plastic-filled oceans. When we see images of starving people around the world, that should motivate us to make changes. You can see evidence for global warming if you will look. There is no debate possible about pollution or water shortages. Look at the evidence and “hearken to wisdom.”
Scientific American (September 2020, pages 74-81) published an article by Peter Brannen titled “The Worst Times on Earth.” Brannen surveys the evidence of mass extinctions and the implications for the future. He offers logical solutions to likely future catastrophes. If we believe that God created the cosmos, we understand that wisdom and design went into every corner of the creation. We know that God told us to “take care of the garden” (Genesis 2:15). As Christians, we are told to serve others as if our salvation depended on it, because it does. (See Matthew 25:31-46.)
Are we doomed? We know that God will ultimately destroy the creation (2 Peter 3:10), but He will not allow humans to do it. We may make the planet uncomfortable to live on. We may pass on a contaminated, overheated Earth to future generations. Hopefully, we will heed the words of Proverbs 8 and Romans 1 and be wise in what we believe about the creation, how we use our money and energy to make this physical world better, and how we vote.
Are we doomed? As Christians, the answer is loud and clear. NO!!We have hope no matter what happens here in the physical world. We know that we have a spiritual existence beyond the grave that is totally free of all human ignorance, selfishness, greed, and stupidity. The God whom wisdom describes in Proverbs 8 has promised it to us.
The Chinese government has started taking religious leaders to “re-education camps.” The State Department of the United States reports that the religious leaders are beaten and tortured in the camps until they are willing to say, “There is no God, there is only the Communist Party.” Since 2016, seventeen-thousand Buddhist monks and nuns have been placed in these camps.
The Chinese government has forced Catholic churches to accept new bishops appointed by the Communist party. Pictures of President Xi have replaced portraits of the Virgin Mary. The government has ordered online bookstores not to sell Bibles. The Communist Party is preparing its own Mandarin Bible, which will say that “the state leads and the church follows.”
Christianity in China dates back to ancient times. Since President Xi Jinping took office, he has instituted religious re-education in China. He has overseen the destruction of most, if not all, church buildings. Bibles have been burned, and any structure with a cross on it has been destroyed. Christians should pray for our Chinese brothers and sisters as the destruction and persecution are only getting worse.
A couple of days ago, I accidentally sliced the tip of my finger with a sharp knife. It bled a lot for a while, but in a short time, the bleeding stopped. The bleeding probably helped cleanse any debris from the wound, but I didn’t want the bleeding to continue. If our blood did not clot, we could bleed to death from even a small injury. Blood clotting design, or coagulation, is a very complicated process that scientists have studied for years.
The process begins when a puncture to your skin injures a blood vessel exposing blood platelets to the collagen beyond the blood vessel’s lining. The platelets immediately bind to the collagen and each other, forming a temporary plug. This starts a whole series of complex chemical reactions involving proteins and enzymes called clotting factors.
A cascading series of a dozen steps must take place for coagulation to complete. The result is the creation of fibrin strands which strengthen the platelet plug and stop the bleeding. If any single factor of the clotting process is missing, the clot does not form, and the bleeding continues.
Hemophilia is a genetic defect that omits a clotting factor. It disrupts the process of blood clotting design such that people with hemophilia may bleed uncontrollably from even a small wound. This is an extremely simplified summary of the coagulation process involving a dozen factors requiring specific proteins and enzymes that must happen in a particular order. For more details, click HERE.
Without blood clotting, humans and other mammals could not have survived. All of the clotting factors had to be present at the beginning of mammal and human life, meaning that the coagulation process could not develop gradually by chance. The fact that our blood clots when we are injured is another evidence of design by an intelligent Creator.
Second Timothy 3:16-17 says that all Scripture is inspired by God, and God uses it to prepare and equip His people to do every good work. One of the major evidences that the Bible is not a human creation is the Old Testament prophecies fulfilled. The correlation between the prophecies of the ancient books and the historical documentation of Jesus fulfilling those prophecies is fantastic.
Atheists and biblical minimalists have tried to use all kinds of explanations to deny the proof from prophecies. We have a list of 44 prophecies that were fulfilled by Christ. Many of these prophecies were beyond the ability of any human to fulfill. You have a hard time saying that Jesus made special arrangements to fulfill them all. Here are 20 examples:
*Christ would be born in Bethlehem Ephrathah. Micah 5:2 (There were two Bethlehems.) -Fulfilled in Matthew 2:1 and Luke 2:4-6
*Christ would be a descendant of Jacob and Isaac. Numbers 24:17, Genesis 17:19 and 21:12 -Fulfilled in Matthew 1:2 and Luke 3:34
*Christ would spend time in Egypt. Hosea 11:1 -Fulfilled in Matthew 2:14-15
*A massacre of children would happen at Christ’s birthplace. Jeremiah 31:15 -Fulfilled in Matthew 2:16-18
*A messenger would prepare the way for Christ. Isaiah 40:3-5 -Fulfilled in Luke 3:3-6
*Christ would be preceded by “Elijah.” Malachi 4:5-6 -Fulfilled in Matthew 11:13-14
*Christ would be rejected by his own people. Psalms 69:8 and Isaiah 53:3 -Fulfilled in John 1:11 and 7:5.
*Christ would be declared the Son of God. Psalms 2:7 -Fulfilled in Matthew 3:16-17
*Christ would speak in parables. Psalm 78:2-4. Isaiah 6:9-10 -Fulfilled in Mathew 13:10-15, 34-35.
*Christ would be a priest after the order of Melchizedek. Psalms 110:4 -Fulfilled in Hebrews 5:5-6.
*Christ would be praised by little children. Psalms 8:2 -Fulfilled in Matthew 21:16
*Christ would be sold for 30 pieces of silver. Zechariah 11:12 -Fulfilled in Matthew 26:14-16.
*Christ’s price money would be used to buy a potter’s field. Zechariah 11:13 -Fulfilled in Matthew 27:9-10
*Christ would be spat on and struck. Isaiah 50:6 -Fulfilled in Matthew 26:67
*Christ would be crucified with criminals. Isaiah 53:12 -Fulfilled in Matthew 27:38
*Christ would be given vinegar to drink. Psalms 69:21 -Fulfilled in Matthew 27:34
*Christ’s hands and feet would be pierced. Psalms 22:16. Zechariah. 12:10 -Fulfilled in John 20:25-27
*Soldiers would gamble for Christ’s garments. Psalms 22:18 -Fulfilled in Matthew 27:35-36 and Luke 23:34.
*Christ’s bones would not be broken. Exodus 12:46, Psalms 34:20 -Fulfilled in John 19:33-36
*Soldiers would pierce Christ’s side. Zechariah 12:10 -Fulfilled in John 19:34
When you consider the Old Testament prophecies fulfilled, realize that they were written many hundreds of years before the New Testament historical events. To see our previous posts on Old Testament prophecies of Christ click HERE and HERE.
Ectotherms are animals that are often described as “cold-blooded.” This group includes amphibians (such as frogs) and reptiles (such as snakes). These animals absorb heat from their surrounding environment instead of generating it internally from the food they eat. For that reason, they don’t need as much food to survive as a “warm-blooded” (endotherm) mammal or bird needs. That is one of the advantages of cold blood.
The food required for one mammal could feed 20 reptiles of the same size. So when food is in short supply, reptiles can survive when mammals may not be able to. Another advantage for ectotherms is that when the weather is cold, and food is scarce, they become inactive and don’t need to eat. This design allows for the efficient use of natural resources.
Also, ectotherms generally lay eggs and allow their young to hatch and survive on their own. The young can get their own food and even defend themselves. When temperatures are lower, frogs produce a larger number of females, and when it’s warmer, there are more males. This design considers the fact that cold weather makes the survival of the young less likely, so the larger number of females to lay eggs keeps the population steady. When survival is more likely because of warmer weather, not as many females are needed.
Without this system and the advantages of cold blood, the populations would vary widely. Cold-blooded animals are well designed to conserve resources and maintain the balance in nature. Design suggests a Designer.
Researchers at Penn State University and the National Center for Science Education report that teaching human evolution in public schools has doubled since 2007. The study shows that the percentage of public school science teachers who teach evolution as established science has grown from 51% in 2007 to 67% in 2019. Simultaneously, the percentage of science teachers who discuss intelligent design has dropped from 23% to 14%.
The problem with data like this is that terminology is not defined. There is a difference between teaching human evolution according to neo-Darwinian theory and teaching the fact that living things can change. Nobody denies that new breeds of dogs, roses, corn, cattle, and fish have come into existence within recorded human history. There is also no doubt that racial variations of humans are happening as we watch. The Bible even describes evolutionary change as we read about what Jacob did with Laban’s flocks in Genesis 30:31-43. It is difficult to imagine a competent biology teacher not explaining how these changes come about, and how we can use them to solve the problems of hunger and disease today.
This ministry is based on the belief that science and faith in God are symbiotic. They support each other. It is bad science to teach theory as fact. It is also wrong to be selective in what valid data we use to make decisions about what we teach children. As a science teacher in public schools for 41 years, I know the pressure that teachers face. But avoiding bad science and bad theology is the answer to the evolution/creation controversy. The current pandemic may offer parents and teachers a unique opportunity to improve the education of our students and reduce the tension between science and faith in America today.
“500 + amazing facts you need to know about galaxies, black holes, Einstein’s Relativity, the Big Bang, Dark Matter, and more!” Those are the words on the cover of Astronomy magazine’s special issue titled “Cosmos – Origin and Fate of the Universe.” The magazine has a great listing of discoveries made in the last decade, and it’s full of photographs, artwork, and a variety of charts. David Eicher, the magazine editor, opens the issue by quoting Carl Sagan’s famous line, “The cosmos is all that is or ever was or ever will be.” That is Sagan’s religious view, and Eicher plugs it by ending with, “We pack it all in here, and hope you will enjoy reading, and thinking about all that ever was, or ever will be.”
The magazine’s factual matter is impressive, but the philosophical and religious beliefs raise far more questions than they answer. The size of the cosmos has been a subject of intense study. Research shows that the number of galaxies in the cosmos is at least two-trillion –10 times greater than was previously thought. That amount of mass in the cosmos means that any explanation of how the creation happened is outside of current scientific understanding. It is becoming increasingly clear that only 4.9% of the universe is made of ordinary matter. The rest is mysterious dark matter (26.8%) and dark energy (68.3%).
The magazine presents the current scientific theory of the creation process with a “puffy giant dark star” made of weakly interacting massive particles (WIMPS). These WIMPS collided, annihilating each other and producing a halo of dark matter and black holes. This inadequate explanation makes it clear that the universe did not come into existence on its own. There was a beginning, and that beginning was caused. The cosmos is not self-existing. Those of us who believe in God would suggest that if these theories are correct, they are just God’s tools for creation. They may explain the methods He used, but it is clear that the cosmos we see is not all that is or ever was or ever will be.
This current scientific explanation of creation has implications for other scientific fields. For example, evolution depends on a religious belief called uniformitarianism, which says that no process has operated in the past that is not going on today. Much of what the magazine discusses is not going on today.
Two things are certain from this issue of Astronomy. We know little about the creation, and we deal poorly with what we do know. It’s evident that the cosmos is not all that is or ever was or ever will be. We suggest that a periodical like this one shouts again, “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork.” (Psalms 19:1).
Churches are seeing an exodus of young people. One reason is that many do not provide relevant teaching for building faith in God and the Bible. I recently received an announcement by a well-known preacher that he was beginning a series of lessons on reasons to believe in Jesus. I’m sure that the lessons will be outstanding, but will they address the things that are keeping young adults away from the Church?
The listing of evidences in the announcement included the empty tomb, the stone taken away, the grave clothes lying there, the eyewitness testimony, the faith of the apostles, and the conversion of James and Paul. Those are all evidences based on the Bible. Those of us with a long history of hearing sermons and being in Bible classes are familiar with the biblical teachings and believe them to be true. We still need to have our faith strengthened, so we are not denigrating this kind of teaching. But building faith in God and the Bible requires more than quoting the Bible. Where is the Church failing the unchurched, and, in many cases, failing the children of church members?
In recent postings, we have dealt with the popular teachings of Bart Ehrman, who devotes many of his books and articles to attacking the biblical account. We receive many letters from skeptics and atheists attacking the biblical account based on Ehrman’s material. Magazines like the Skeptical Inquirer and Skeptic Magazine are full of attacks on the Christ and the Bible. The leader of many attacks in these atheist publications is Michael Shermer, a former preacher, and graduate of Pepperdine University. The Freedom From Religion organization joins the attacks with advertisements in Scientific American and other popular scientific journals.
It is essential for church leaders to understand that young adults receive a heavy dose of attacks on the Bible. Quoting the Bible as proof of something only works for people who believe the Bible is 100% true. Most of our preacher training schools have a single course on apologetics. They pay very little attention to archeological evidence, historical support, and scientific answers to the skeptic attacks. Building faith in God and the Bible requires more than quoting the Bible.
Bible classes for young people must include evidence that does not depend on scripture alone.This ministry provides resources to do that, and we often review books that give this kind of support. We are in the process of completing a video series by John Cooper on archaeological support for the Bible. We have a museum in York, Nebraska, designed to show through artifacts the credibility of the Biblical account. Before we quote scripture to prove anything, we need to be sure that the person we are dealing with believes the Bible is from God. God has given us the tools to do that, and we must use them.
Yesterday, we talked about the Clayton Museum of Ancient History in York, Nebraska. To get more background on how that museum came to be, here is a five-minute conversation between John Clayton and Foster Stanback, the benefactor of the museum who assembled the collection of artifacts.