With this article, we reach the milestone of five years with more to come on DoesGodExist.today. In our daily posts during that time, we have covered many topics. We have dealt with current events, moral issues, and design in the natural world. In addition, we have attempted to show evidence for design that demands a Designer.
You can find articles on a subject that interests you by using the “Search” box on this page. You can select all articles on a category topic using the “Categories” list. Our “Recent Posts” list allows you to go to any of the last dozen articles we published. Below that, you can go to the “Archives” to read articles we published in any month back to 2017. If you scroll to the bottom, you will find a form where you can choose to enter your email address to receive our weekly “Best Of” email. We send it out each Monday morning with links to our most popular postings from the previous week. The “Best Of the Week from DOES GOD EXIST?” email includes not only the three best articles from this website but also the three best from our daily Facebook postings. Our Facebook page concentrates on design evidence in plants and animals. We often feature animals or plants that many people have not even heard of. We also bring out little-known design facts about the very familiar living things we see every day. You can find our page on Facebook at facebook.com/evidence4god. We have been doing daily posts on Facebook for seven years, ever since 2015.
You can help us continue this ministry in two ways. First, pray that we may reach people worldwide with the message that God exists and He loves us and has sent His Son to redeem us. Secondly, please share our posts on this page and our Facebook posts with your friends and acquaintances. We look forward to great things in 2022.
Can you imagine a giant millipede almost nine feet long? Most of us have seen inch-long millipedes under a rock or in a rotting log. Like centipedes, millipedes get their name from their many legs. “Mille” means thousand, and “ped” means foot, so a millipede could have a thousand feet.
Some 10,000 species of millipedes live today, and they are related to lobsters, shrimp, and crayfish. Australian researchers recently announced finding a three-inch-long millipede with 1,306 legs, which stirred up great interest among biologists. But that is nothing compared to a new fossil discovery.
Now researchers from the University of Cambridge have found the fossil of a true giant millipede in England. This specimen is 8.6 feet long and would have weighed about 110 pounds. Named Arthropleura, this is the largest invertebrate ever found, replacing giant sea scorpions that previously held the record. This animal lived before the dinosaurs and was an omnivore eating plants, nuts, seeds, and other invertebrates.
The importance of a find like this giant millipede is that it tells us that large animals, insects, and plants existed in the past. In addition, it reminds us that the ecology of the early Earth, as it was being prepared for later life forms, was very different from what we see today. At that time, England was a tropical area where massive quantities of resources like coal, limestone, and various minerals were being produced. Therefore, the plant and animal life in that ecology had to be large. The Bible does not describe all of the processes because even today, we have a hard time comprehending how that ancient world functioned. Genesis 1:1 simply tells us that God created the Earth, not how or when or what processes He used to prepare the planet for humans. But because God used a process, we can locate resources far underground. If He had simply “zapped” the planet into existence, we would have no clue about where to look for oil or coal or various minerals.
Proverbs 8 talks about the wisdom that allowed the production of all we see and use today. When we hear about a find like this giant millipede, it underlines how carefully God planned for our existence. Today, our challenge is to take care of the planet by preserving what God has given us rather than wasting it.
They are microscopic plants. You may never see them individually, but they exist by the millions on or near the surface of oceans, lakes, and rivers, even in polar regions. Scientists call them phytoplankton which comes from two Greek words that mean “plant drifter.” We call them oxygen generators.
You can see masses of green phytoplankton on the water surface because of the green chlorophyll they contain. Chlorophyll enables them to use sunlight and nutrients from the water to produce the nourishment they need to live. In the process of photosynthesis, they are oxygen generators. Of course, humans and all animals must have the oxygen to breathe, and phytoplankton play an essential role in our climate by controlling the balance between oxygen and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
In the ocean, tiny animals called krill eat phytoplankton. In turn, the krill provide the diet for many fish and even for huge baleen whales. Those whales stir up the ocean, bringing to the surface minerals which the phytoplankton need. As whales eat and grow, they take in large amounts of carbon. When they die, their bodies containing the carbon sink to the bottom of the ocean. This well-engineered system helps prevent the build-up of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
Phytoplankton are incredibly diverse, with thousands of different species. The microscopic photo shows members of one class of phytoplankton known as diatoms. The carcasses of phytoplankton, algae, and other marine plants deposited on the sea beds long ago became the petroleum we use today.
Diatoms produce silicon shells, and when they die, those shells form deep deposits on the ocean floor. People mine those microscopic shells and use them for what we call diatomite or diatomaceous earth used in industry for fine polishing and for filtering liquids. In addition, gardeners sprinkle diatomaceous earth around their plants to protect them from insect pests. Scientists are also exploring uses for those microscopic shells in nanotechnology.
So, in addition to being oxygen generators, these tiny plants produce energy sources for humans and food for creatures of the ocean and freshwater lakes. Without them, our climate would be much different, and life would be difficult, if not impossible. Chance evolution doesn’t seem to be an adequate explanation for diverse phytoplankton. We see them as another example of design by the Master Designer of life.
We receive many interesting questions from our readers, and recently we received this one about the big bang and creation:
“Dr. John Mather, head of the new telescope project, explains that the ‘Big Bang’ is not correctly understood as the universe having one exact beginning point. Rather that its beginning was everywhere at once as evidenced by galaxies all moving away from each other, and residual heat of the “big bang” being somewhat uniform everywhere we look.”
We could blame this misunderstanding on Dr. Fred Hoyle, who coined the term “big bang,” but as teachers of physics and astronomy, we are probably guilty of contributing to it. When we hear the term “big bang,” we think of an explosion. An explosion assumes some material existed, and it blew up like a bomb. That is a mistaken perspective. The big bang didn’t start with a singularity that already existed. The modern understanding of the big bang is that space and time came into existence in a form we call “spacetime.” We struggle with the concept of the big bang and creation because we cannot envision a condition where neither space nor time existed. We live in a three-dimensional universe and are familiar with X, Y, and Z on a cartesian graph. We know that we can plot any of these dimensions against time. If we move along the ground in direction X at a certain speed, we can plot the distance moved against the elapsed time. When a rocket goes straight up, you can plot Y against time. There is a third direction at right angles to both X and Y that we call Z, and we can plot it against time. But what is time? It’s a fourth-dimensional quantity that you can’t define. You can say it is “what keeps everything from happening at once,” but that is not a definition but a consequence of time.
The big bang concept agrees with Genesis 1:1 that space and time began, but not as an explosion. If space was created, then everything embedded in space was also created. Only action from dimensions beyond our own (X, Y, Z, and time) could do that. So as we consider the big bang and creation, we must ask what could be the source of creation that existed outside of space and time?
You can argue that it wasn’t God, but that doesn’t hold much water. We must account for the design we see in the cosmos, and chance doesn’t even try to do it. The big bang is an excellent proof of creation by God. The Bible describes God as an intelligence outside of space and time who created space and time. We don’t need to understand everything about creation to have faith in God. However, science strongly reinforces the adage that “the more you know of the creation, the closer you get to God.” As science advances in its understanding of the design of the cosmos, the existence of God becomes more and more evident.
We have often reported on how design in nature has helped human “inventors” develop new products or improve old ones. It seems that lowly mollusks can teach humans some lessons from pearl beauty and design.
When a grain of sand or a tiny bit of debris enters the mollusk’s shell, such as an oyster or mussel, the creature goes into a defensive action to protect itself from the irritating particle. The oyster deposits a crystalline form of calcium carbonate known as aragonite. Limestone is primarily calcium carbonate, but it lacks the iridescent appearance of this crystallized form. The smooth layers of mineral and protein which the mollusk deposits on the foreign particle is called nacre (pronounced NAY-ker). The layers of nacre take on a beautiful, iridescent, and shiny appearance that gives pearls their beauty.
The question that has bothered scientists for more than a century is how the oyster can change a jagged or lopsided fragment of grit into a perfectly round and smooth pearl. However, pearl beauty and design remained a mystery until recently when a research team studied pearls from Akoya pearl oysters (Pinctada imbricata fucata) in Australia. First, they used a diamond wire saw to slice pearls in half. Then they polished the cut surfaces and used various electron microscopes to study them more carefully than anyone had done before.
The researchers refer to the layers of nacre as “tablets.” For example, one pearl they studied had 2,615 tablets deposited over 548 days, or 4 to 5 tablets per day. The pearl was only 2.5 mm in diameter, so the tablets were extremely thin. However, the mollusk modulates the thickness of the nacre layers according to “power-law decay across low to mid frequencies, colloquially called 1/f noise.” That means the mollusk uses some math to adjust the thickness of the layers to compensate for irregularities. Where one layer is thin, the next is thicker to self-correct, so irregularities heal themselves in the following few layers.
One of the researchers, Laura Otter, a biogeochemist at the Australian National University, said: “These humble creatures are making a super light and super tough material so much more easily and better than we do with all our technology.” Using calcium carbonate and protein, oysters make nacre 3,000 times tougher than the materials from which they make it. Another research team member, Robert Hovden, a materials scientist and engineer at the University of Michigan, said that understanding how mollusks make pearls could inspire “the next generation of super materials.” That might include materials for better solar panels or for use in spacecraft.
The “Does God Exist?” program is an effort to show that science and faith are friends and not enemies. At this time of year, atheists and skeptics criticize the celebration of Christmas and say the facts are not consistent with scientific evidence. Most of the complaints we see are about things that show up in TV shows and Christmas cards but are not actually in the Bible. The biblical account of the birth of Christ comes from two sources. They are the Jewish writer Matthew (Matthew 1:18-2:23) and the gentile writer Luke (Luke 1:26-2:20). Mark and John do not record the birth of Christ. We need to separate Christmas facts and fiction.
Many of the complaints about the Christmas story revolve around the star of Bethlehem. The shepherds of Luke 2:8-20 never saw a star, nor did Herod. Matthew 2:1-12 tells about the star and the “wise men from the east.” The “wise men,” or “magi” in the original language, were Persian astronomers or priests. Magi were present in Arabia, India, Assyria, and Persia, and they were most likely astrologers. We don’t know how many there were, nor do we know their names. They went first to Jerusalem, not Bethlehem. The Jewish priests knew from Micah 5:1-2 where the Messiah would be born, but they didn’t know when, nor did Herod.
In Matthew 2:9-10, the star led the magi to a house (verse 11), not a stable. A celestial star would not lead to a particular house, and the Christ child was no longer in a manger but a house. The Bible records several times when people were led by what the Bible calls a “Shekinah,” which was a pillar of fire or cloud. (See Exodus 13:21, 24:17, 40:38; Ezekiel 1:28,10:18-19, 11:23). This was a purposeful miracle of God, not a celestial event. In other words, the image on your Christmas card is almost certainly not accurate.
Separating Christmas facts and fiction, there are two uncontested facts in the biblical account. One is that Jesus Christ came to save all people, and the magi were Gentiles, so this was not just a Jewish event. The second is that Christ fulfilled prophecies written long before His birth. Isaiah 7:14 repeated in Matthew 1:23 and Micah 5:2 repeated in Matthew 2:6 are clear. The prophecy of Hosea 11:1 was repeated in Matthew 2:15. Jeremiah 31:15 was repeated in Matthew 2:18. Isaiah 40:3 was repeated in Matthew 3:3.
When we separate Christmas facts and fiction, it takes considerable faith to believe that the fulfillment of those Bible prophecies was just a hoax. Trying to find ways to reject what the Bible says and live in defiance of God offers no reward and no incentive to live constructively. However, believing in Jesus and acting on that faith can bring blessing and purpose to our lives.
Christmas should be a time of joy, love, celebration, and family. Unfortunately, for many of us, the glitz and color of Christmas are dimmed by the loss of a loved one during the previous year. The family traditions of the holiday season are painful reminders of lost loved ones at Christmas.
For me personally, this Christmas has an empty feeling. Christmas was my son Tim’s favorite time of year. He couldn’t see the decorations because of his blindness, but he enjoyed remembering the trees we had when he was a child and could see. He was in his fifties but still wanted to have his large stocking full of the usual Christmas foods and small toys like a squeeze ball or a bottle of perfume. He loved Christmas music and could sing all of the familiar songs. His sisters frequently sent him singing cards which he played until the batteries wore out.
I share that with you because I know that many of our “regulars” have had a tough year and are missing their lost loved ones at Christmas. Christmas will bring some pain for them, knowing that the usual things we did together can no longer happen. Someone who shared this experience was Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, who wrote the words to a great Christmas song in 1863. Longfellow’s first wife died in childbirth in 1859. In 1861 his second wide died from burns. In 1863 his son joined the Union army and was very severely wounded and near death.
As Christmas approached in 1863, Longfellow composed the poem that is one of our Christmas standards:
“I heard the bells on Christmas Day. Their old familiar carols play, and wild and sweet the words repeat of peace on Earth, good will to men. And I thought how, as the day had come, the belfries of all Christendom, had rolled along the unbroken song of peace on earth good will to men. Still ringing, singing on its way, the world revolved from night to day, a voice, a chime, a chant sublime of peace on earth, good will to men. And in despair I bowed my head, there is no peace on earth I said; for hate is strong and mocks the song of peace on earth, good will to men. Then peeled the bells more loud and deep: God is not dead, nor does He sleep; the wrong shall fail, the right prevail with peace on earth good will to men.”
If you, like me, are staring at an empty stocking this Christmas, stem the tears by remembering that the story of the baby in the manger ended with an empty tomb. So too will we one day be reunited with the lost loved ones at Christmas we miss so terribly now. With that in mind, have a great Christmas holiday.
In my radio debate with Jon Murray, he said that he didn’t believe in God for the same reason he didn’t believe in Santa Claus. I understand where he is coming from because many folks equate Santa Claus and Jesus Christ. The sad commentary is that many who claim to be Christians cannot tell you why they believe what they believe because they have only a shallow, inherited faith.
The Santa character originated from a 4th century Greek Catholic bishop in Lycia. He came into the western culture in 1823, and a 1930 Coca-Cola ad popularized him as a man in a red suit. Here are some contrasts between Santa Claus and Jesus Christ:
1) Santa lives at the North pole and Christ is omnipresent (Acts 17:24-28) 2) Santa rides in a sleigh, and Jesus walks on water. 3) Santa is oblivious to our problems, and Christ has lived them (Hebrews 4:15). 4) Santa comes once a year while Christ is with us 24/7/365 (Matthew 28:20). 5) Santa gives us stuff we don’t need. Christ gives us everything we really need (Matthew 7:7). 6) Santa invades while Jesus stands at the door and knocks (Revelation 3:20). 7) You stand in line to see Santa. Jesus is always accessible (Acts 17:28). 8) Santa asks your name while Jesus knows your past (Psalms 139:15). 9) Santa chastises (better not cry) while Jesus offers help (Matthew 11:29). 10) Santa makes toys while Jesus makes new life (Romans 6).
This is not just a cute comparison. It is where we all live. Do we want new toys (a boat, car, TV, etc.), or do we need healing, an easier burden, and freedom from the problems our toys bring us? If you want an inflatable 15-foot Santa in your front yard, have at it, but remember, those are just toys.
The evidence for Jesus being the Son of God is massive, and you can see it especially in the effect it has had on the lives of men and women for many centuries. Santa is about physical things in a material universe. Jesus is about spiritual things in an eternal universe. Equating Santa Claus and Jesus Christ causes us to deny reality and miss a great answer to the real issues of life.
The Old Farmer’s Almanac for 2021 had some Christmas trivia listing the origins of some customs of Christmas. Here are a few of them:
XMAS – The New Testament was originally written in Greek. The Greek letter for “C” is “Chi,” written like our letter “X” and pronounced “kye.” The equivalent of our letter “R” was written like our lower case “p.” The Greeks represented the name Christ (Christos) using the first two letters, “X” and “p” superimposed. Many have assumed that writing Christmas as “X-mas” is a nod to universalism – that all faiths are equal. Actually, it was just the opposite.
CHRISTMAS TREES – Plants that stayed green all year had a special significance for people who lived in cold winter climates of northern Europe. They put evergreen boughs over windows and doors, believing that living plants would repel illness and evil. The Romans decorated evergreen trees with trinkets and topped the tree with an image of their sun god at the festival of Saturnalia. About 400 years ago, people in Germany used the evergreen as a sign of everlasting life with God.
GIFTS – Some cultures celebrated the winter solstice around December 21, which has the shortest daylight hours. Winter can be a depressing time, and the Romans brightened the worst of winter by giving each other gifts on what they called “calends,” the first day of January. Some early Christians began giving gifts to copy the actions of the “magi” (a Greek word referring to the “wise men” of the Bible).
In Europe, every country had traditions of gift-giving, usually involving children during December. For example, people thought of Santa Claus or Father Christmas on Saint Nicholas Day, December 6. In the Netherlands, children left clogs or shoes out on December 5 (Saint Nicholas Eve) to be filled with presents. In Germany, people thought an angel called the Christkind came on Christmas Eve. In Italy, it was an old witch named Befana who brought gifts. In Spain, children celebrated “Three Kings Day” on January 6. Since America was a melting pot of various cultures, these practices and many others came together. As we consider this Christmas trivia in today’s world of conflict, we need a time of peace and harmony to enjoy our friends and neighbors and share God’s love with them. Have a joyous holiday, however you celebrate it.
We get some interesting letters and emails. Even though some people may send them with an impure motive, we can always learn something from them. Recently, we received an email about turkeys that brings up an interesting point. Turkey meat is often on the menu for Thanksgiving and Christmas. This person was complaining because, at his house, turkeys don’t have enough dark meat to go around.
The difference between white and dark meat in turkeys and chickens is a lesson in how humans change what God created. If you have ever eaten a wild turkey, you know that it is all dark meat. This is because wild turkeys are very active, running and flying. Having the ability to do these two things means that wild turkeys require more oxygen-carrying blood vessels. With more blood vessels, the meat is darker.
Domestic and factory-raised turkeys don’t use their muscles as much, and with fewer blood vessels, the meat is whiter. The way a turkey is raised affects the nature of the meat. In our area of the country, turkey farms raise large numbers of birds that don’t fly and do very little running. Those are the turkeys you buy at the supermarket, and that will always be the case.
Hawaii has large numbers of chickens in the wild. They fly and run, and if people use them for food, they find very little white meat. In the area we visited in Hawaii, the local people would not eat those free-range chickens because they felt the dark meat was not as good.
I told my questioner that if turkeys don’t have enough dark meat for him, he should bring his shotgun to my house during turkey season. In that way, he could increase the amount of dark meat in his holiday meal. Many of our domestically produced meat products are different from their wild ancestors. God created creatures to survive in the natural world, not to please human preferences.