Did Pharoah Have Horses?

Did Pharoah Have Horses?

Biblical minimalists and skeptics are always looking for ways to discredit the Bible and support their claim that it is a useless collection of ancient myths. For example, skeptics claimed that the mention of horses in passages like Genesis 47:17, Exodus 9:3, and 14:9-23 could not be accurate because horses had not been domesticated at that time. So, did Pharoah have horses or not?

Previous studies had shown that domesticated horses arrived in Mesopotamia around 2000 BC, so they considered any claim of horses before that time to be in error. Recently, researchers from the Jaques Monod Institute in Paris led by paleogeneticist Eva-Maria Geigl have laid that claim to rest.

Sumerian scribes wrote about “kungas”–a type of horse in the equid family, but unlike today’s domesticated horses. Researchers had not studied these animals until recently when they sequenced the genomes of kunga skeletons found in Syria. They discovered that kungas were a hybrid of an extinct wild ass called a “hemippe” and a female domesticated donkey. Dr. Geigl explained that the ancient Mesopotamians deliberately hybridized these animals to create “fast, strong equids that they could train to carry soldiers into battle.”

This is another case where skeptics have taken erroneous understandings of the practices of ancient people. The use of equids by people at the time of Joseph and the Egyptians was accurate. Breeding animals for specific purposes involved high levels of understanding, and this is “the earliest known evidence of animal hybridization.”

Did Pharoah have horses? Yes, he did, but they may have been different from modern horses. The historical accuracy of the Bible continues to be verified by discoveries using new techniques that science makes available.

— John N. Clayton © 2022

Reference: Archaeology Magazine for May 2022 page 12 and archaeology.org.

Attitude Toward the Existence of God

Attitude Toward the Existence of God

One of our readers sent us a quote that contains a great piece of advice we want to share with you. The statement was made by preacher and author Chuck Swindall. It has been quoted many times on the internet and elsewhere, but we see it as relating to a person’s attitude toward the existence of God:

“The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company…a church…a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past…We cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude….I am convinced that life is 10 percent what happens to me and 90 percent how to react to it. And so it is with you. We are in charge of our attitudes.”

As Jesus talked to the people of His day, He frequently said, “how do you think” or “what do you think.” He wanted them to look at what they believed and why. The parable Jesus told of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector in Luke 18:9-14 dealt specifically with attitude and how it affects how we think and act. A person’s attitude toward the existence of God determines whether or not they are willing to examine the evidence. Furthermore, believing in God’s existence and accepting His love through Jesus Christ can change our attitude toward others and toward life itself. How is your attitude?

Faith and Evidence Go Together

Faith and Evidence Go Together

We get mail from people who suggest that if you accept science and evidence, you have demeaned God. “You just have to have faith,” one person wrote, “and saying that you need evidence devalues God.” I take strong exception to this claim on many levels, but my main objections are that it contradicts the Bible and eliminates evangelism in today’s world. Hebrews 11, “the faith chapter,” describes the faith of heroes of the Old Testament, including Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, and Rahab. Let’s consider the connection between their faith and evidence.

For example, how did Moses get his faith? Did he come out of a vacuum and just have faith? Remember that his mother raised him and taught him about his people. What about the evidence of the burning bush and the staff that became a snake? Remember his discussions with God that gave him the courage to confront Pharaoh. What about the plagues in Egypt, the crossing of the Red Sea, the brass serpent, and receiving the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai? Were those not evidence?

Also, read the story of Abraham and notice how many times God reassured him and how much evidence he saw before that near-sacrifice of Isaac. Using Hebrews 11 to justify violating the teachings of the New Testament is not only unwise, but it is also a violation of the teachings of the apostles. Faith and evidence are closely tied together in the New Testament.

For example, 1 Peter 3:15 tells Christians to “be ready to give an answer for the hope that is within us to anyone who asks.” Romans 1:20 tells us we can “know there is a God through the things He has made.” Jesus set the example with Thomas, who at one time had been the strongest of the apostles (See John 11:16) but saw his faith collapse at the death of Christ. How did Jesus deal with this incredible failing in Thomas? Did He condemn him or cast him off as a weakling? Read John 20:24-29 and see how Jesus encouraged Thomas to examine the evidence.

Someone might refer to Acts 2-3, where people, in less than a day, gave their lives to God.
Realize that God had been preparing that “soil” for thousands of years, and Jesus had been planting and nurturing it for three years. Today the voices of atheism, agnosticism, skepticism, materialism, and paganism are louder than ever. We cannot withdraw into our cocoon of church buildings and not do what God has called us to do.

Read Acts 17 and see how Paul dealt with the philosophers and skeptics of his day. He didn’t call them to blind faith. Instead, he gave them evidence of “the God in whom we live and move and have our being.” Faith and evidence go together. We must use evidence as Jesus and the Apostles did, or our numbers will continue to shrink as we lose our children and grandchildren to Satan.

— John N. Clayton © 2022

Cryonic Eternal Life

Cryonic Eternal Life

One of the byproducts of naturalism is the desire to achieve immortality. If you believe this life is all there is to your existence, the logical thing is to try to make this life eternal. One way to do that could be to have your body frozen when you die until science can find a way to make you live forever. Organizations such as the Cryonics Institute in Michigan are offering cryonic eternal life.

When you pay the fee for cryonic eternal life, technicians will prepare your body. When you are declared dead, technicians cool the body with ice water and keep the tissues oxygenated using CPR and an oxygen mask. Then, they fly the iced body to a laboratory and connect it to a heart-lung bypass machine that circulates the blood. Next, they pump in a solution to act as an antifreeze to prevent cell tissues from being destroyed by ice crystals. Finally, they cool the body to minus 320 degrees F in a tank of liquid nitrogen.

The idea is that when medical science advances and finds a cure for whatever caused the person’s death, they can revive the body, reverse the aging process, and give the person another shot at life. This is obviously a very theoretical idea. However, Shannon Tessier, a cryobiologist at Harvard University, points out that when scientists attempt to freeze a sample of human tissue, “the tissue is completely obliterated, the cell membrane is completely destroyed.”

Atheists have responded to our material by saying that they are going to be cryonically treated at death so they can live forever. However, it is obvious that the technology to make that possible is a very long way off and probably will never happen. More to the point, the only reason to do this would be a desperate attempt by people opposed to God’s plan to bypass the biblical injunction “it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27).

Even if the proposed ideal of cryonic eternal life became real, think of the problems it would cause. Population issues would be astronomical, and all of the limitations placed upon us by our physical situation would still be present. How much greater would it be to accept a better eternal existence that God offers for free through Jesus Christ.

— John N. Clayton © 2022

Reference: Discover magazine March/April 2022, page10.

What Does Your Faith Do For You?

What Does Your Faith Do For You?

No matter who you are, you live your life based on faith. I don’t mean just religious faith, but belief in things that are the foundation of how you live and make decisions. We must determine whether that faith is justified no matter what we put our faith in. So what does your faith do for you?

In our age, many people have rejected faith in God, but what has replaced that faith? The longer I live, the more times I have found my faith in something or someone was not justified. People I have had faith in have let me down. When the object of their faith crashes, including stock markets and marriages, some people take their own lives.

We all must ask if the things we have faith in relieve our fearfulness. It is hard not to be fearful when we see the political chaos in America and war in the world. If we have faith in the dollar, the effect of inflation can challenge that faith. Faith in a person can sometimes be ill-advised because people are prone to failure. Sometimes a marriage ends in divorce because faith in a person’s mate is destroyed by behaviors.

What does your faith do for you? The history of Israel was disastrous, and Deuteronomy 32:16-20 indicates it was because they failed to have faith in God. Jesus talked about the power of faith in Matthew 17:16-20 when He said that faith the size of a tiny seed could move the mountains we face in life. In Mark 4:34-41, when Jesus calmed the sea, He asked His followers why they were fearful. “How is it that you have no faith?” He asked.

If we base our faith on people or emotions, we are likely to fail. Instead, we must build our faith on evidence. A study of Thomas’ faith in John 11:16 and 20:24-28 shows that he based his faith on evidence. The purpose of this site is to help searchers find faith. I don’t mean just emotional faith but faith based on the evidence of God’s creation and design in all aspects of life.

No philosophy or belief system other than Christianity can produce stability in life and the ability to do things you never thought would be possible. Hebrews 11 gives us a picture of the role faith played in the lives of biblical people. Let me ask, “What do you place your faith in, and what does your faith do for you?”

— John N. Clayton © 2022

Teachings of Mohammad and Jesus Christ

Teachings of Mohammad and Jesus Christ - Bible and Quran

One of the ongoing struggles in the world today is the conflict between the followers of Mohammad and the followers of Jesus Christ. When science forced me to realize there is a God, I had no compelling reason to believe that the God who created time, space, and matter/energy was the God of the Bible. Looking for answers, I examined the teachings of Mohammad and Jesus Christ.

I got a copy of the Koran translated into English by N. J. Dawood, a Muslim, and published by Penguin classics. My Muslim friends have told me that no English translation is valid, but recent events in Pakistan have shown that my reading was the same as the mobs in Pakistan.

In addition to some scientific errors, the Koran has teachings that denigrate women. (See Women 4:34 and the Confederate Tribes 33:51-52.) It also commands violence. For example, The Spoils 8:37-41 commands Muslims to “make war on the Christians and Jews.” In Repentance 9:4-7, 9:14, and 9:122-125, Mohammad says to “make war on the Christians and Jews who dwell among you.” Let me hasten to say that my Muslim acquaintances are as disturbed as I am with these teachings and would never participate in them. The problem is with the teachings of Mohammad, not what all Muslims do.

However, recent events in Pakistan have shown that Muslims in that part of the world follow those teachings of Mohammad. On February 14, 2022, the Associated Press reported that a mob stoned a man named Mushtaq Ahmed, whom the accused of burning a Koran. When police tried to intervene, they were stoned and injured, and Amed was killed.

In a separate incident, a couple with four children in Punjab, Pakistan, were accused of sending written text messages criticizing Mohammad. Neither of them can read or write, but the mob tortured the husband and threatened his wife with sexual assault. They put the couple in prison for seven years and gave their four children to relatives.

As a man convinced that God exists, I could not embrace a book that taught things I knew were destructive and untrue. When I read the teachings of Jesus Christ, I saw a plea for peace, love, and non-violence. He elevated women and refused to return evil for evil. I saw the striking contrast between the teachings of Mohammad and Jesus Christ.

If you have doubts about the teachings of Christ and Mohammad, I would encourage you to get a copy of the Koran and read all of it. Then read Matthew through at least chapter seven. Compare the teachings of Mohammad and Jesus Christ. I am thankful that most Muslims I know do not accept Mohammad’s call for violence, his embracing of polygamy, or the abuse of women. Although there are many good things in the Koran, it also calls for a cultural dependence on violence and servitude. It fails to deal with what can change the world and make it a better place.

We have a chart listing difficult passages in the Koran, which you can read or download HERE.

— John N. Clayton © 2022

Reference: Associated Press for 2/14/22 reported in the South Bend Tribune, page 8 A.

The Biblical Description of God

The Biblical Description of God

It is amazing to see the level of ignorance of the nature of God displayed in the media and cartoons and by prominent entertainment figures. It is no wonder young people are turned off by religion. People need to see the Biblical description of God.

It’s easy to see the poor understanding of God in statements about where God is, when He does things, if He is dead, what sex God is, what race God is, what politics God has, what nation God supports, or who created God. A good part of this comes from religious systems outside of Christianity that portray God in nationalistic, racial, or pantheistic terms.

The biblical description of God is radically different from what you may hear. The biblical concept of God is not physical in any way. God created time and space, so He must be outside of time and space. Jeremiah 23:23-24 talks about God “filling heaven (space) and Earth.” Acts 17:28 describes God as an entity “in whom we live and move and have our being.” In 2 Peter 3:8, Psalms 90:4, and Palms 102:27, we read that God is outside of time. Numerous passages talk about things that God did before time began. (See Proverbs 8:22-23, John 1:1-3, Revelation 1:8, etc.)

God has created our three-dimensional world from an existence outside of the three dimensions in which we live. It is no longer possible for skeptics to deny the existence of dimensions beyond our familiar X, Y, and Z cartesian coordinates. Quantum mechanics clearly shows dimensions beyond our own, and theories like string theory propose up to eleven spatial dimensions. The only way we can even remotely comprehend these dimensions is to study their properties.

That is precisely what we see in the biblical description of God. The Bible explains God by His properties. For example, the Bible says God is light (1 John 1:5), God is the Word (John 1:1), God is unseen (1 John 4:12), God is not a man (Numbers 23:19), God is not flesh and blood (Matthew 16:17), God is love (1 John 4:8 & 16), and God is spirit (John 4:24).

In the same way that the Bible gives properties of God, it also gives properties of heaven and hell. Hell is not a hole in the ground or a big cave with little men in red suits running around jabbing people. The Bible symbolically describes hell as darkness and flaming sulfur (brimstone). Hell is a spiritual condition separated from God and all of His properties. Unfortunately, cartoon pictures of hell are steeped in ignorance and often mock the concept of spiritual responsibility.

How would you describe what you see to a man who has been blind from birth? How would you explain color? How can you talk about music to a person totally deaf from birth? This is the kind of problem the Bible writers have in describing God, heaven, hell, and the whole concept of spiritual awareness.

If you reject God, that is your prerogative, but at least do so on the level He claims to exist. Don’t reject God based on your own concept or the false concept of someone else. Instead, examine the biblical description of God. For more on this, go to our doesgodexist.org website and read the two booklets titled “A Help In Understanding What God Is” and “Who Created God?

— John N. Clayton © 2022

What Christianity Is Not

What Christianity Is Not and What It Is

It is interesting to read atheist websites and realize the basis for their atheism. In many cases, atheists say the reasons they don’t believe in God are the same reasons I had when I was an atheist. If those reasons were valid, I would still be an atheist today. Let’s consider what Christianity is not:

JUDAIZED CHRISTIANITY: Many of us do not care for ritual or ceremony. We also have little or no use for those who claim their position in life makes them of greater importance than others. The biblical concept of Christianity also rejects those things. In Acts 15:5, some wanted to force religious rituals on the gentile Christians. Verse 10 tells us the leaders rejected that idea. In Matthew 15:1-9, Christ soundly rejected human caste systems and traditions. In 1 Corinthians 7:17-24, we read that God takes us wherever we are in life. Galatians 3:26-28 makes it clear that in authentic Christianity, everyone is equal no matter what their race, sex, or ethnicity.

LEGALIZED CHRISTIANITY: As an atheist, I saw Christianity as a long list of “don’ts.” Everything I wanted to do was a “no no,” and if you engaged in it, you had massive piles of guilt heaped upon you. It took me a long time to understand that you don’t earn salvation in the Christian system. It is a gift of God (Ephesians 2:8). In 1 Corinthians 13, we find that there are three things a Christian should have – “faith, hope, and love but the greatest of these is love.” Legalism is what Christianity is not.

LAWLESS CHRISTIANITY: Closely related to legalized Christianity is “lawless Christianity,” in which a person or a group of persons spell out what is okay and what is not okay. There is no written authority in lawless Christianity. Instead, the rules are laid down and interpreted by a religious leader. The “clergy/laity” system is not logical or biblical. Humans are not only selfish and ignorant, but they are prone to power struggles. In many cases, lawless Christianity has turned the Christian system into an entertainment business. I can get better entertainment in the secular world than any human or group of humans can produce in a church building.

Don’t reject God because of what Christianity is not. Read James 1:27, Matthew 25:31-40 ,and Acts 2:38-47. There you will see that Christianity changes people, makes the world a better place to live, and fulfills one of the most important needs we all have. That is the need for a reliable and functional spiritual experience, because we are created in the spiritual image of God.

— John N. Clayton © 2022

Deliberate Denial of Evidence

Deliberate Denial of Evidence

One characteristic of many people today is the deliberate denial of evidence. In a recent discussion with a big-name pro-abortion politician, I asked when he believed a fetus became a human – conception, birth, or somewhere in between. He responded that he had not considered the question. I asked if he would be willing to consider scientific evidence that could answer the question. Again, he responded that he would not.

Some of my female friends who are loud proponents of “a woman’s right to choose” have given me a similar response. How can you make a decision about abortion if you don’t know when a fetus is a human?

This deliberate denial of evidence is not new. People in Jesus’ day watched Him perform miracles, but still rejected and even killed Him. I have presented many atheists with credible evidence that the God of the Bible is real. In a recent discussion with a young college student, she proudly declared she was an atheist. When I presented a series of facts to show there is a God, she jumped up and screamed at me, “I just don’t want to believe!” There was a deafening silence, and I saw tears streaming down her face. She was desperate to justify her disbelief.

Jesus was aware of the human tendency toward deliberate denial of evidence that we don’t want to accept. Mark 9:17-24 tells the story of a man who brought to Jesus, his son who had a convulsive spirit. The man said that Jesus’ disciples could not drive out the spirit, and Jesus indicated the reason was a lack of faith. The father said to Jesus, “If you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.” Jesus responded by repeating the man’s words, “If you can?” Then he told the father that he needed to have faith, to which the father replied, “I do believe, help me overcome my unbelief.”

Humans want to maintain control over what they believe, even if it requires a deliberate denial of evidence. Like the father who brought his son to Jesus, a person must be open to the evidence and willing to accept it, rather than denying the evidence and even refusing to hear or see it.

— John N. Clayton © 2022

Christmas Facts and Fiction

Christmas Facts and Fiction
What’s wrong with this picture?

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.

— John N. Clayton © 2021