Another Virus Is Spreading

Another Virus Is Spreading - Monkeypox

Here we go again! Another virus is spreading and has begun to infect large numbers of people, and the LGBTQ community has borne the brunt of those infections. That data has led to hatred and polarization. This reminds us of the situation with AIDS in 1984 when over 7,700 people became infected with AIDS, and over 3,500 died. There was a great deal of finger pointing and some violence, as vividly displayed in the 2005 movie “Brokeback Mountain.”

On May 7, 2022, British health officials discovered the monkeypox virus and announced it occurred primarily in LGBTQ men. In July of 2022, infections have been found in 42 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. At this time, infections approach 1500, with California and Illinois having more than 100 cases and New York with more than 400. The virus spreads from person to person through direct contact with rash lesions or body fluids. Men having sex with men provide an easy pathway for the virus, so as another virus is spreading, some blame the LGBTQ community.

Those who delight in attacking Christianity have claimed that Christians are fueling hatred against the LGBTQ community, but that claim is simply incorrect. It is true that the Bible teaches us not to engage in sex outside of marriage, but it also tells us not to use alcohol or other substances harmful to the body. Christians are concerned about people doing things that hurt themselves or others. For Christians, the human body is the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 3:16 and 6:15-20; 2 Corinthians 6:14-18). Therefore, we urge everyone not to engage in destructive lifestyles, including the use of all recreational drugs and the practice of aberrant sexual activity.

We also oppose any violence against others. Anyone who abuses, brings harm to, or verbally condemns others is not following Christ’s teaching. Instead, he told us to love our enemies, go the second mile, and turn the other cheek. (See Matthew 5:38-48.)The teachings of Christ are unambiguous, but not everyone who claims to be a Christian follows them.

Another virus is spreading as people engage in the activities of the LGBTQ community, putting themselves and others at risk. There is no question about the wisdom of the Bible’s teaching about sexual conduct. But unfortunately, every alternative to God’s way has caused injury to the participants and others, and monkeypox is just one more evidence of that truth.

— John N. Clayton © 2022

Reference: USA Today by Boris Q’va for July 18, 2022. SouthBendTribune.com

Every Discovery that Answers One Question Raises a Dozen More

Every Discovery that Answers One Question Raises a Dozen More - James Webb Telescope
James Webb Telescope

As technology progresses, we get better and better pictures from outer space. We are now seeing images from the Webb space telescope showing previously unknown details. The new information also challenges some of the assumptions of astronomy and cosmology. Researchers have an old saying: “Every discovery that answers one question raises a dozen more.” The general public may feel that we have a complete understanding of the cosmos and creation itself, but nothing could be further from the truth.,

A classic example of that is the red spot on Jupiter. Giovanni Cassini saw and made note of it 357 years ago. Astronomers have studied and analyzed that mysterious massive storm on Jupiter over and over ever since. Yet, here we are in 2022, and we still have no idea why it is red.

We are now detecting rapid radio bursts from outer space
, but we don’t understand them. Interestingly, they have a pattern similar to a beating human heart. The cosmos is full of challenges we are still trying to understand. Many of them have been brought to our attention by advances in technology.

Voyager 1 left the Earth 45 years ago and has added more to our solar system knowledge than any other probe. However, scientists still cannot understand many of its discoveries. Every discovery that answers one question raises a dozen more.

As the Webb telescope sends incredible pictures like never seen before from deep space, it’s an exciting time to be alive and view areas of the creation that human eyes have never witnessed. Every new observation and discovery tells us more about the magnitude of God’s power, wisdom, and design.

Despite all this, the primary cosmological proof of the existence of God remains. Our discoveries continue to show us that there was a beginning to time, space, and matter/energy. Since the cosmos could not have come from absolute nothingness, we know that beginning had a cause, and the nature of that cause was an intelligence – not blind opportunistic chance.

The ancient words of the psalmist in Psalms 19:1-2 continue to ring true: “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament shows His handiwork. Day after day, they utter speech, and night after night, they show knowledge.”

— John N. Clayton © 2022

Reference: apodnasa.gov for 7/17/22.

The Biblical Gospels and Apocryphal Gospels

The Biblical Gospels and Apocryphal Gospels

The message of Christ threatens many people, including some scholars and parts of the general public. To counter this threat, skeptics have written many books trying to deny that Jesus was anything more than a strange aberration of history. Some of these books are written by authors who claim to be experts, and many of the writings have been promoted in the tabloids or on television as revealing some new discovery about Jesus from sources outside of the biblical gospels known as the apocryphal gospels.

We have seen claims that Jesus was a peasant cynic philosopher, a leader of a hallucinogenic cult, or married to Mary Magdalene. The authors base those claims on the so-called apocryphal gospels such as the Gospel of Peter, the Gospel of Thomas, The Gospel of Hebrews, The Infancy Gospel of Thomas, the Gospel of Judas, and the Gospel of Philip. It is essential to understand that none of these apocryphal gospels have any validity compared to the biblical gospels we have in the New Testament.

The apocryphal gospels appeared in the second half of the second century, influenced by pagan gnostic philosophy competing with the true gospel. By comparison, consider how much has changed in the past 200 years in secular writing about people’s views of race, homosexuality, the rights of women, and beliefs about democracy? Even in the past two decades, there has been a massive change.

In contrast to those late manuscripts, the biblical gospel writers lived during the lifetime of Christ and in the formative years of the Church. Archaeology has verified the characters and many of the events described in the gospels. Things described in the gospels fit the known historical facts that can be verified from various other sources.

Perhaps the clearest demonstration that the biblical gospels are reliable while the apocryphal books are not is the writers’ motives. Modern books are written and marketed in a way that brings financial gain to the authors. Cult writings, books on UFOs like the Roswell incident, claims about Nostradamus, and claims of alien visitation to Earth have all been money-makers for their authors. The biblical gospel writers not only didn’t make money or fame from what they wrote, but they even risked losing their lives.

You can trust the biblical gospels and believe they are accurate and contain the Word of God. Any attempt to discredit them fails in the face of the evidence and the weakness of claimed alternatives to the message they contain.

— John N. Clayton © 2022

Note: We have a video series on this subject called “Beyond Reasonable Doubt” with John Cooper. You can purchase the series on DVDs with a study guide at this LINK or watch them for free on doesgodexist.tv
An excellent reference on this subject is On Guard by William Lane Craig, David C Cook Publisher Chapter eight. ISBN 978-1-4347-6488-1.

Flower Crab Spiders and Camouflage

Flower Crab Spiders and Camouflage

An unlimited number of features in the world around us speak of God’s design and wisdom. Consider flower crab spiders with the scientific name Misumena vatia. They earn the “crab” name because they resemble crabs and can walk forward, backward, and even sideways like crabs. Their two front legs are longer and extend out for grabbing prey, which they immobilize by injecting venom. Misumena vatia spiders don’t build webs to catch prey. Instead, they sit on a flower and capture incoming prey with their legs.

Another unique feature of these flower crab spiders is they can change color. The females, which are much larger than the males, have the options of white, yellow, or pale green. White is the baseline color. If they eat colorful prey, they can temporarily take on the prey’s color. For example, their abdomens will turn pink after a meal of red-eyed fruit flies. More commonly, if they sit on a yellow flower, they can secrete a yellow fluid into their outer body cells to give them a yellow color. Unlike chameleons that can change color in seconds, it takes days for Misumena vatia spiders to change their color.

When these spiders sit on yellow flowers, they are difficult for humans to see. However, they become highly visible to humans when they are white and perched for hunting on pink or red flowers. On the other hand, the arthropods that are both predators and prey for flower crab spiders have vision tuned for ultraviolet and blues. To them, the red in the flowers and the white of the spider appear dark to provide camouflage.

Flower crab spiders fill a unique ecological niche. They provide balance for the many life forms that feed on spiders and for the pollinators and plants. God has given us a diverse and beautiful natural world. Unfortunately, we take all this for granted, but when we look carefully, we see design in living things.

— John N. Clayton © 2022

Reference: The Spokane, Washington, Spokesman-Review for July 13, 2022, page A01, and Wikipedia.

Christ Confirmed His Message by Miracles

Christ Confirmed His Message by Miracles
Jesus raising Jairus’ daughter from the dead

Many things are unique to the life and teaching of Jesus Christ. Among those is the fact that He never endorsed force or war and established no power structure for humans to follow. Also, the fact that Christ confirmed His message by miracles is another unique feature of the teachings and life of Christ. Unfortunately, some people look for miracles today to solve life’s problems, but they misunderstand the purpose and nature of Christ’s miracles and those of the apostles.

The miracles of the apostles were meant to establish who spoke for God and who was a fraud. Neither Christ nor His followers sought to remove the reality of life and death. If becoming a Christian would solve all of life’s problems, people would come to Christ solely to solve physical or emotional pains. New Testament Greek used two words to indicate the nature of a miracle. One was “dunamis” used to show power (Mark 9:39, Acts 2:22). The other was “semeion” dealing with a sign (John 2:11, 2:23, 3:2, 4:54, 6:2, etc.) Christ confirmed His message by miracles.

The Bible records miracles of Christ that show His power over the problems humans face. Studying these miracles demonstrates the absolute ability of Christ to meet all the needs of humans. Look at this list:

Power over things in the natural world: Matthew 8:23-27
Power over disease: Matthew 8:1-1, Luke 17:11-19
Power over spiritual forces: Mark 1:23-26 Matthew 9:32-33 and 12:22-29
Power over human disabilities: John 5:1-16, Matthew 9:1-7, John 9
Power over mental issues: Matthew 8:28-34 Power over death: Luke 7:11-17 and 8:40-56, John 11:1-46


Notice that Jesus didn’t randomly remove all of these things from human existence. Each miracle had a purpose, and it was not to eliminate all human problems on the planet. In today’s world, all of these problems still exist because people still have illnesses and die. However, Christ has provided a way for everyone to deal with the maladies in this life and ultimately be free of them. Christ confirmed His message by miracles. The Bible spells out the war between good and evil and the purpose for our existence. God helps us in this life in many ways, but the perfection of heaven is not yet available to us while we live in the flesh.

— John N. Clayton © 2022

Lunar Soil Flunked the Test

Lunar Soil Flunked the Test

University of Florida researchers conducted an interesting experiment comparing plant growth in Moon soil and Earth soil. Unfortunately, the lunar soil flunked the test. NASA provided the researchers with small soil samples from three Apollo missions. After placing one gram of the precious lunar soil in each of twelve pots, they planted thale cress (Arabidopsis thaliana) seeds in each pot. They also planted similar seeds in sixteen pots of volcanic Earth soil.

The researchers placed both groups of plants under LED lights and fertilized them with the same nutrients. Plants grew in all of the soil samples, but the lunar soil plants grew more slowly and were smaller and scrawnier than the plants grown in Earth soil. Some of them also had a purplish color typical of plants under stress.

Analysis of the soils showed that the lunar soil was full of metallic iron and tiny glass shards, both toxic to plants. The soil also lacked nitrogen, phosphorus, and trace elements that plants need to grow.

This experiment is of great interest to those wanting to colonize the Moon or Mars. Experiments have shown that space debris pelting their surfaces has altered all planets and moons. To farm on the Moon or other planets, astronauts would have to carry soil from Earth or genetically modify the plants to accept the alien soil. For now, lunar soil flunked the test. Of course, lunar farmers would also have to provide an atmospheric environment allowing plant growth.

The Genesis account tells us that God “planted a garden eastward in Eden” (Genesis 2:8). One part of planting a garden is to prepare the soil and Earth’s environment to support the three kinds of plant life (simple plants, gymnosperms, and angiosperms) mentioned in Genesis 1:10-12.

You might not think that dirt has to be specially designed, but lunar soil flunked the test. This experiment and our knowledge about plants and the solar system shows us that God designed the soil on our planet with the just-right properties to grow the plants we need for survival. Everywhere we look on Earth, and in space, we see that a wonder-working hand has gone before.

— John N. Clayton © 2022

Reference: Science News, July 2, 2022, page 4.

Brain Power and Einstein’s Brain

Brain Power and Einstein’s Brain

One of the challenging questions we face is why some people seem to be smarter than others. We may think that intelligent people have brain power because their brains are somehow different from the rest of us. Most people would probably say that Einstein was more intelligent than they are, and perhaps because his brain was different from theirs.

When Einstein died in 1955, the pathologist who conducted the autopsy removed his brain. The University of Pennsylvania dissected Einstein’s brain and made slides and sections available to scientists so they could look for the secret to Einstein’s brain power. They found nothing in those studies showing anything unique about Einstein’s brain.

The whole question of intelligence is very complicated because there are different kinds of intelligence. Some people have musical intelligence, some can create poetry and literature, others use mathematics creatively, and still others can handle mechanical processes. My son Timothy was labeled “retarded” because a Stanford-Binet intelligence test showed his I.Q. was under 50. When he was given the Wechsler-Bellevue test, his I.Q. was measured to be 120, which is considered normal intelligence. That test is based on literary intelligence, while the Binet test measured mechanical association intelligence.

In teaching physics for 41 years, I had students who did poorly in English class but did marvelous work in my class. When I started teaching, people believed that physics was for boys because girls could not do physics. I battled the guidance department and even some parents as I encouraged girls to take physics, and some of them did very well. In my son’s case, my wife read to him constantly before he could walk or talk, and his love of books and literature continued throughout his life. My daughter excelled in science and became a science teacher, but she grew up under my influence and encouragement.

The point here is that intelligence is not a matter of brain power. Barring brain damage, we all have equal intelligence. The difference is shaped by how we are raised, what happens in our lives, who we are exposed to, and what we learn from those around us. God created all of us with the ability to think, understand, reason, and respond to Him. We may do it in different ways, and we can overcome our limitations, but God tells us that we are responsible for what we do with what we have. “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12) is within reach of all of us.

— John N. Clayton © 2022

Reference: Parade Magazine for July 10, 2022, page 10.

Science and Faith are Friends

 Science and Faith are Friends - Not Enemies

For the past week, we have explored the idea that science and faith are friends.
Both science and theology deal with the fundamental human desire to know. We are naturally curious because God made us that way. Science began with Christian believers who sought to learn more about God through His creation. A desire to learn about God through the things He has made motivated men like Roger Bacon, Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, Newton, and others to create what today we call “science.”

Faith in a loving and orderly Creator opened the door to a realization that the universe is orderly and not the chaotic product of the many gods of the ancient Greeks and Romans. As a result, theology and theologians developed many of the methods of modern science. Also, it was theologians who recognized that only natural causation is open to our direct study. They knew by faith that God was the ultimate cause of the universe. But since God is not a physical being, we can only study the secondary causation.

Even though we recognize that God is the only possible cause of the universe, all we can do is discover how He did it and marvel at the precision fine-tuning of the cosmos. If we say that God “zapped” these things into existence without a process, we deny God’s engineering and architectural skills. Science and faith are friends, and we can know there is a God through the things He has made (Romans 1:20).

Today, well-known scientists use books and TV programs to proclaim atheism, materialism, and scientism. At the same time, prominent and often highly-paid religious teachers debunk science and tell people to take off their “science glasses” and put on “Bible glasses.” It’s time to call a truce in the war between science and faith. Although the Bible is scientifically accurate beyond its time, it is not a science book. Although nature can tell us much about God, only the Bible can tell us everything we need to know about the Creator of the universe and how to have a relationship with Him. Good science and good theology go hand-in-hand because science and faith are friends.

We have seen that the scientific understanding of the Cause of the universe matches the biblical description of God. Since God is outside of time, He can hear the prayers of millions of people all over the world at the same time. We can’t imagine what it would be like to be outside of time because being locked into time is all we know. If we could step out of history’s timeline and see it from God’s perspective, we could understand why God allows things to happen. We could understand the things that make us ask, “Why doesn’t God prevent that?” We could see the conclusion of all things. We would know that because of God’s wisdom, justice, and love, the conclusion is good.

— Roland Earnst © 2022

Tracing the Process of Creation

Tracing the Process of Creation - James Webb Telescope
James Webb Telescope image of the early universe

As we said in our previous post, scientists have been tracing the process of creation back to almost the beginning. However, they hit a roadblock called Planck density (named for German physicist Max Planck) just before they reach the starting point. So, thus far, science finds it impossible to go back to the precise moment when the universe began.

Since tracing the process of creation back to BEFORE the cosmic creation event will probably never be possible, scientists can only study secondary causation. They can see the processes that lead to the universe we live in, but they can’t study the primary causation. Could God be the primary cause operating behind the secondary causation we can see? Science cannot say. The best science can do is to suspend judgment. Personal beliefs are not science.

Science today has set limitations on itself, confining its study to the physical realm. To go beyond that would be considered metaphysics or theology. However, some scientists don’t hesitate to make theological statements. An example is the late Carl Sagan opening the old Cosmos series on PBS television with the statement, “The cosmos is all there is or was or ever will be.” That is not a scientific statement. It is a materialistic, atheistic theological statement beyond what science can measure and examine.

Biologist Richard Dawkins is also not afraid to venture beyond science into theology when he states in River Out of Eden, “The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference.” Scientists such as Sagan and Dawkins contribute to the war between science and theology, and specifically science and the Bible. All the while, they fail to acknowledge that they are making faith statements.

If you have followed these discussions for the past week, I hope they help you understand why we say science and faith are friends, not enemies. We will have some final thoughts on that tomorrow.

— Roland Earnst © 2022

The Creation Process for the Universe

The Creation Process for the Universe involves Carbon

In the past week, we have looked at the fact that the universe had a beginning. Science can trace the creation process to learn many things about why we are here.

Because the universe was created by a process, scientists can study that process and follow it back in time. They have detected the residual cosmic background microwave radiation left over from the creation event. Astronomers can look back in time to see some of the earliest stars. Chemists can analyze the elements in the stars by examining the radiation spectrum. We can know how the elements originated in the stars as we study atomic reactions.

Life is built around the carbon atom, but for a long time, it was a mystery how carbon atoms could have formed. Finally, atheist Fred Hoyle solved the mystery and was shocked by what he found. He saw the fine-tuning required to create the carbon atom, and he expressed it this way:

“Some super-calculating intellect must have designed the properties of the carbon atom, otherwise the chance of my finding such an atom through the blind forces of nature would be utterly minuscule. A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a superintellect has monkeyed with physics, as well as with chemistry and biology, and that there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature. The numbers one calculates from the facts seem to me so overwhelming as to put this conclusion almost beyond question.” — Fred Hoyle

Studying the process of creation leads to the logical conclusion that there is intelligence behind it. What is the source of that intelligence? Science can trace the creation process back to almost the beginning. However, they hit a roadblock just before they reach the starting point. We will look at more on that next time.

— Roland Earnst © 2022