Total Solar Eclipse and the Matthew 27 Account

Total Solar Eclipse and the Matthew 27 Account

We received comments from two men who related the recent total solar eclipse and the Matthew 27 account of darkness coming over the land when Jesus was crucified. One of the enquirers was a Christian who wondered about it, and the other was from an atheist who tried to use it in his attack on the Bible. Here is what we read in Matthew 27:45: “Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour.”

This is an age-old skeptic attack, suggesting that later Christian writers manipulated the account to transform a natural phenomenon into a religious miracle. These critics also argue that the miracles of Jesus, as described in the Bible, are not historical events but rather fictional tales concocted by later Christian writers.

The first point we need to make is that the duration of a total solar eclipse and the Matthew 27 account have no common ground. The sixth hour to the ninth hour would indicate about three hours. The most extended duration of a total solar eclipse is three to four MINUTES. History records an eclipse near the traditional time of Jesus’ crucifixion, but the scriptures do not give us the date of the crucifixion.

The second point we must make is that the miracles Jesus performed are not just fiction written by Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Many Christians and opponents of Christianity recognized that Jesus performed miracles. You can try to explain them scientifically, but they are beyond any scientific explanation. A total solar eclipse and the Matthew 27 account are not compatible.

In an era rife with fake news, skepticism, atheism, and secularism, the role of evidence in substantiating the miracles recorded in the Old and New Testaments becomes paramount. While we don’t claim to possess all the answers, evidence supporting the Bible’s accuracy and the historical facts of Jesus’ life is readily accessible to those who seek it. Our video series, “Beyond Reasonable Doubt,” meticulously examines the evidence for biblical accuracy. You can view it free of charge on, or purchase it with a study guide from We also offer a free correspondence course of the same name upon request.

— John N. Clayton © 2024

The Nature of Time Is a Mystery

The Nature of Time Is a Mystery

The nature of time is one of the great mysteries of life. Time is not three-dimensional; in other words, we can’t describe it as left-right, up-down, or back-front. Time is a created thing, and thanks to Einstein’s relativity theory, we know that it is not constant. At very high velocities, time changes.

In quantum mechanics, we discuss things that happened “before time began.” In Proverbs 8:22-23 Wisdom speaks about being with God before the world began, and 2 Peter 3:8 tells us that “with the Lord, a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like one day.” Acts 1:7 tells us, “It is not for you to know the times or the dates the Father has set by His own authority.”

Many questions arise because people fail to understand the relationship between time and God. The way God answers prayers is radically affected by time. Humans tend to want our requests instantly gratified, but God frequently acts in a different time frame than we desire. God also does not answer prayers or produce actions that would violate our freedom of choice. We can pray for someone to do a certain thing, and God may make it possible, but He will not violate a person’s ability to choose. We are here for a purpose in the war between good and evil, and we can choose what we will do. God makes it possible but does not force us to accept His will.

Those who try to predict the time of Christ’s second coming fail to understand that all things are embedded in God’s independence from time. The question of the Earth’s age is also rooted in a poor understanding of the nature of time. Changes in stars and galaxies take very long periods of time, including how long it takes for the light from distant stars to reach the Earth.

How long did it take to produce the land masses we live on, and by what method did God make them? Those who want instant gratification have God miraculously zapping the entire geologic column instantly. That is not what the evidence from geology tells us. The record in the rocks of our planet tells of God’s careful preparation of the natural resources He knew we would need. God could zap oil into existence in an underground storage formation, but the evidence is that He has taken a long time with many different agencies to produce the fossil fuels of coal, oil, and gas, as well as the minerals we depend on.

The nature of time is a mystery to us, and we create conflict when we force our concept of time on a God who created time and is not limited by it.

— John N. Clayton © 2024

Unidentified Anomalous Phenomena AARO Report

Unidentified Anomalous Phenomena AARO Report - Dr. Sean Kirkpatrick
Sean Kirkpatrick speaking to Senate Armed Services Committee

One of the most repeated false media reports is the claim that aliens in spacecraft regularly visit Earth and want to affect human history. In our day of conspiracy theories, there are stories that the United States government has been hiding alien contact. Dr. Sean Kirkpatrick was the director of the U.S. Department of Defense’s All-Domain Anomaly Resolution Office (AARO). Congress charged that agency in 2022 with bringing scientific evidence and clarity to the UFO and UAP (Unidentified Anomalous Phenomena) mystery.

Dr. Kirkpatrick explained what the AARO found in the April 2024 issue of Scientific American. Here is a brief summary of his report:

#1) There is no record of any president, Department of Defense official, intelligence community leader, or congressional committee knowing about any such conspiracy.
#2) The claims started when “UFOlogist” Robert Bigelow, founder of Bigelow Aerospace, persuaded some senators to call on the Department of Homeland Security to set up an agency to investigate claims.
#3) The people advancing the idea of a government coverup conspiracy are part of a small group, and many of them worked for Bigelow Aerospace.
#4) Dr. Kirkpatrick said of the claims, “Some are misrepresentations; some derive from pure, unsupported beliefs. In many ways, the narrative is a textbook example of circular reporting…”

You can read the report released by Kirkpatrick’s group of qualified scientists, “Report on the Historical Record of U.S. Government Involvement with Unidentified Anomalous Phenomena (UAP),” online HERE.

All attempts to tie alien claims to the Bible or alien explanations of history are not supported by evidence or real scientific investigation. We see claims that biblical figures, including Jesus, were aliens and that miracles described in the Bible were the actions of aliens. There is no evidence to support those claims.

The evidence is massive that Jesus lived as the Bible says and that His spiritual promises are real. Our salvation comes from the work of Jesus, and we must study and apply His teachings to our lives. You can see some of that evidence in our videos, including the Beyond Reasonable Doubt series and our correspondence course by the same name. Send us your name and address for the correspondence course, and we will mail you lesson #1 at no cost. You can watch the video series for free on our website,

— John N. Clayton © 2024

Reference: “Observations from a Government UFO Hunter” in Scientific American magazine for April 2024 (pages 67-68)

AI Can Be Used or Misused

AI Can Be Used or Misused

Artificial Intelligence is the latest marvel of science flooding every part of human life – for good or evil. On November 39, 2022, a company known as OpenAI launched an artificial intelligence application, a chatbot called ChatGPT, making it available to anyone wanting to use it. Since ChatGPT can write papers, students started using it to meet course requirements. Religious groups have trained chatbots to use religious texts. More than 200,000 people worldwide have used QuranGPT. Other chatbots such as Bible.AI, Gita GPT, Buddhabot, and Apostle Paul AI have appeared. Chatbots have been trained to give answers, imitating Martin Luther, Confucius, and even the Delphic oracle. Like everything else, AI can be used or misused.

Alarmists have suggested hypothetical scenarios in which AI could take over the planet. The adage “garbage in leads to garbage out” applies to AI. However, innovators can do many very positive things with this new technology. One example is the ability to read ancient documents that have previously been unreadable.

Pyroclastic flows from Mount Vesuvius buried a library in the ancient Roman town of Herculaneum in AD 79. Those volcanic flows generated temperatures of 900 degrees and buried the scrolls under 60 feet of debris, baking them into charcoal. The process preserved the scrolls, but scholars could not unroll and read them because they would crumble. Using high-energy scans, scientists created a 3-D image of the scrolls and used AI to analyze the ink patterns and determine the words on the scrolls.

AI will allow scholars to study documents and other materials that were previously unreadable. This process can potentially be applied to biblical scrolls to verify the integrity of the Bible manuscripts. AI and its related tools like ChatGPT can expand our knowledge of the past and solve insoluble problems. AI offers medical advances at all levels to improve human life. Like everything else, AI can be used or misused, but the notion that it can take over all technology and eliminate the human race is science fiction and not something we should fear.

— John N. Clayton © 2024

Reference: “What We’re Learning From AI” in Scientific American for April 2024

Clayton Apologetics Reading Room

Clayton Apologetics Reading Room
John and Cynthia Clayton in the Clayton Apologetics Reading Room

A recent ceremony at York University in York, Nebraska, dedicated a new facility for students of Christan apologetics. John Clayton accumulated a library of books and materials published by Christians and skeptics over the past fifty years. He was concerned about what to do with his apologetics library and wanted the books, magazines, and pamphlets to be available for reference and study by future students. John donated his entire library to York College where it is now in the Clayton Apologetics Reading Room.

At the ceremony, York vice-president Jared Stark introduced John and revealed that he became a Christian due to one of John’s lectures. John Clayton has been speaking to people in public assemblies for over fifty years, showing evidence for God’s existence. During that time, many lives have been changed as a result of John’s message.

The new Clayton Apologetics Reading Room is adjacent to the Clayton Museum of Ancient History at York University. They are open to the public by appointment. You can watch a video of the dedication statements by Jared Stark and John Clayton on our website, Click HERE and then scroll down to see that video and others featuring John Clayton and John Cooper.

— Roland Earnst © 2024

The Resurrection of Jesus Christ

The Resurrection of Jesus Christ

As Christians remember the resurrection of Jesus Christ, how do we know the story is true? Some unbelievers argue that the resurrection is a myth that arose many years later. The evidence against that idea is numerous and strong. The apostles carried the message of Christ’s resurrection to the ends of the Roman Empire for the rest of their lives, even though they had nothing to gain except a life of persecution ending in execution. They would not have done that unless they had seen the resurrected Christ.

Skeptics have often argued that the gospels were written years later to “prove” the resurrection of Jesus Christ was a myth that developed during those years. However, before any of the four gospels were written, Paul wrote to the church in Corinth in A.D. 57. he included an oral tradition that summarizes the gospel message.

In the first century, there were no computers, printed books, or pamphlets, and even simple writing materials were scarce and precious. People memorized important things by summarizing them efficiently and passing them on as oral traditions. The early Christians used that method. Here is the first part of an oral tradition that Paul wrote down in that first letter to the church in Corinth:

“For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures…”

The oral tradition then goes on to list some resurrection appearances of Christ. Then Paul adds himself to the list of those who saw the resurrected Christ. (You can read it for yourself in 1 Corinthians 15:3-8.) Of course, the “Scriptures” that Paul refers to are the Old Testament prophecies of Christ since the New Testament was not yet written.

When did Paul receive this tradition? He probably received it no later than A.D. 36 when he first visited Jerusalem. (See Galatians 1:15-18.) He possibly received it earlier than that in Damascus when, as Saul the persecutor, he encountered Ananias and received his sight. Ananias preached the gospel to him, and “Saul spent several days with the disciples in Damascus.” Whether in Jerusalem or Damascus, Paul received the oral tradition of Christ’s resurrection no more than five years after the event. That tradition was not a myth that developed years after eyewitnesses died.

We can trust the truth of the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. Although we have that oral tradition written down, we would do well to memorize it, as the early Christians did.

— Roland Earnst © 2024

Accusing God of Murder

Accusing God of Murder

Skeptics in the media constantly attack the Bible and the biblical concept of God. Writers in The New Yorker, The New Republic, and The Atlantic write as if they were authorities on the Bible while accusing God of murder and condemning Him as being immoral. Taking a Bible passage out of context, they fail to examine who wrote it, why it was written, and how the people to whom it was written would have understood it.

Skeptics make statements like “God murders indiscriminately” when referring to Noah’s flood and Sodom and Gomorrah. They overlook the fact that Noah preached to and taught the people of his age, warning them to avoid the coming disaster. The skeptics also ignore the fact that God agreed to spare Sodom and Gomorrah if ten people in those cities were not involved in the wicked violence and immorality. The people had rejected God, choosing actions that led to death and disease. (See Genesis 18:20-33). The statement by the media accusing God of murder shows a lack of biblical knowledge.

The fact is that God was incredibly patient with the violence and immorality of the nations that rejected Him, not only in ancient times but also today. The people suffered the consequences of their own actions. We see that in 1 Samuel 15:3, where God commands Saul to destroy the Amalekites and “slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.” Skeptics have called God’s actions a senseless act of genocide that was barbaric and immoral. They say that God murders indiscriminately, but a closer study shows a different picture.

God gave the hygienic laws of Leviticus 11-18 for a reason. The cultures surrounding ancient Israel engaged in disastrous practices involving drinking raw blood, eating poorly prepared meat, sexual practices with animals and each other that spread STDs, and many infections that shortened life expectancies at a time when there was no medical treatment. Archaeological evidence and genome studies have left no doubt about the conditions of these ancient people.

Following God’s strict hygienic laws, given through Moses, allowed Israel to avoid those problems. How was God to treat the situation when Israel moved into an area where these hygienic problems were running rampant? Even the animals and babies carried the viruses and bacteria that saturated the people of those cultures.

Accusing God of murder shows a lack of understanding the Bible. From the New Testament, we know how much human sin grieved God and left Him with no alternative. The big question is whether we are creating similar problems for ourselves while possibly destroying the planet God created for us.

— John N. Clayton © 2024

The Infinite Importance of Christianity

The Infinite Importance of Christianity

The quote by C.S. Lewis about the infinite importance of Christianity is true on several levels. When we use the term “Christianity,” we are not talking about human religions or denominations, usually named after humans or a particular philosophical or theological belief system. The word “Christian” literally means “Christ-like,” and that means doing and practicing what Jesus did and taught.

One thing that makes Christianity of “infinite importance” is what it offers to the poor and challenged. In Matthew 25:33-40, Jesus spoke about the Christ-like things His followers would do. Those things include feeding the hungry, giving water to those who don’t have it, providing clothing and shelter for those in need, and helping those in prison.

Another reason for the infinite importance of Christianity is the effect it has on morality. Marriage is important, and how kids are raised is vital. No one can argue with how Christ taught His followers to deal with these institutions. In the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7), Jesus explains how Christians should treat each other and deal with the world in which they live. The wars and violence in our world today are rooted in people refusing to do what Jesus told us to do.

The most critical reason for the infinite importance of Christianity is that it provides hope for what happens after life in this world is done. For each of us, it is of infinite importance that we obey Christ and become “new creatures,” as described in Romans 6. No human religious goal is of infinite importance, whether it’s reincarnation, a harem of “black-eyed beauties,” or a return to Earth in some other space/time.

When our physical bodies return to the dust from which they came, we long for our souls to return to the God who created us. Christianity uniquely offers that hope, making it of “infinite importance.”

— John N. Clayon © 2024

Reference: “10 times C.S. Lewis made the case for Christ” on

Earthquake Catastrophe Risk

Earthquake Catastrophe Risk Map

The United States Geological Survey published a map showing the earthquake catastrophe risk in different parts of the country. This data comes from seismic records of 130,000 earthquakes of a magnitude on the Modified Mercalli intensity scale of six or higher, which is severe enough to frighten people, move furniture, and cause other damage, like falling plaster. Most of us know about some geologically unstable regions of the country, but other areas may be surprising.

The highest earthquake catastrophe risk within the next 100 years is essentially the whole western edge of California, the southern part of Alaska from Juneau through the Aleutians, and the eastern islands of Hawaii. Those areas with a 75 to 95% chance of a damaging earthquake include virtually all of California, the Yellowstone National Park area, and the intersection of Missouri, Arkansas, Tennessee, and Kentucky. The study says that 230 million people live in areas with a 95% chance of a damaging earthquake.

The point of this data is that there will be a massive earthquake sometime in the next 100 years, causing death and structural damage. Many people will blame this coming catastrophe on God. The fact is that earthquakes are a natural product of the uplift of the land. Without those forces, erosion would have brought all land masses to sea level. Despite the data, humans continue to build huge structures in areas where earthquake catastrophe risk is high. This can be added to a long list of situations where humans set themselves up for a catastrophe.

My wife and I were on Hawaii’s “Big Island” when Kilauea erupted in May 2018. In one of the places we visited, lava flow had destroyed many homes. We happened across a man who was working on a new house. I asked him if he was not concerned that another lava flow might destroy this house. He laughed and said, “God wouldn’t do that to me twice.”

We need to understand that God does not cause bad things to happen to us. If you eliminate what humans do to each other and the foolish acts humans engage in (like building a house in the path of a lava flow or on an earthquake faultline), much human pain and suffering would stop. Read James 1:13-17.

— John N. Clayton © 2024

Reference: U.S. Geological Survey HERE and HERE

A Conflict that Should Not Exist

A Conflict that Should Not Exist
Dr. John C. Lennox

We have said many times that science and the Bible are friends. We need both for an enjoyable life. Unfortunately, many believers reject science because they think it conflicts with faith, and many scientists reject faith because they believe it is contrary to science. Both of those are false ideas of a conflict that should not exist. The truth is that both science and the Bible testify to God’s existence.

Science helps us understand the physical world. Physics and chemistry give us new and better ways to do things. Medical science helps us live healthier and longer lives. We need science because it benefits us. Likewise, the Bible benefits us in many ways. It tells us how to live fulfilled lives in peace and harmony with each other and with the natural world. Most importantly, the Bible also tells us about Jesus Christ and how we can live beyond this physical existence.

Dr. John C. Lennox is emeritus fellow of mathematics and philosophy of science at Oxford University. In a debate with leading atheist scientist Richard Dawkins, Lennox illustrated the difference between science and biblical faith very simply. He said, “Science can tell you what will happen when you put arsenic in your Aunt Tilley’s tea, but it cannot tell whether or not you should.” That simple statement suggests why this is a conflict that should not exist.

Atheists insist that a person does not have to believe to live a moral life. It is true that sometimes atheists live lives that appear to be more morally upright than some who claim to be believers. However, without faith in God and His Word, what is the objective basis for deciding what is right or wrong? We can’t make valid moral choices without a moral compass to tell us which direction to go.

Science gives us many things that make our lives in this world better. The Bible and faith also improve our lives and the lives of those around us. But faith also gives us some things that science cannot. Our faith in God and the Bible gives us a purpose and reason to live and enjoy this life. Beyond that, it gives us hope for a better existence without the pain and suffering we face now. In science, we find solutions to make life more enjoyable. In the Bible, we discover a reason for our existence and hope for a better future. The animosity between science and faith is a conflict that should not exist.

— Roland Earnst © 2024