Psalms 22 – Inspiration or Coincidence?

Psalms 22 and the Crucifixion

One of the convincing arguments for the inspiration of the Bible is the Old Testament prophecies of Jesus that were fulfilled hundreds of years later. We see that evidenced in parallels between statements in the Old Testament and the New Testament. Psalms 22 is an example of this. Consider these statements:

STATEMENT FROM THE CROSS-

Psalms 22:1, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

Matthew 27:46, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me.”

ATTITUDES AND WORDS OF THOSE WHO WITNESSED THE CRUCIFIXION-

Psalms 22:7, “All who see me mock me; they hurl insults, shaking their heads.”

Luke 23:10-39 describes those who mocked Christ: the religious leaders, the soldiers, and one of the criminals. Matthew 27:39-40 tells about the crowd mocking him.

Psalms 22:8, “He trusts in the Lord; let the Lord rescue him. Let him deliver him, since he delights in him.”

Matthew 27:43, “He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him.”

DESCRIPTIONS OF THE CRUCIFIXION-

Psalms 22:16, “Dogs have surrounded me; a band of evil men has encircled me, they have pierced my hands and my feet.”

John 19:15-18 describes the crucifixion in the same way, and we know that in crucifixion, the Roman soldiers drove nails through the wrists and feet of the victim.

Psalms 22:17, “I can count my bones; people stare and gloat over me.

John 19:31-33 describes how the Jewish leaders asked Pilate to have Jesus’ legs broken to ensure his death. They didn’t do it because he was already dead, and they pierced his side to prove it. Zechariah 12:10 and Isaiah 53:5 predict the piercing of Jesus.

Psalms 22:18, “They divide my garments among them casting lots for my clothing.”

Matthew 27:35, “When they had crucified him, they divided up his clothes by casting lots.”

No one contests the date of Psalms 22. It was not written after Jesus died. Some of these things, such as the actions of the Roman soldiers, were certainly not controlled by the early Christians or by Christ. How did the Psalmist get the facts right a thousand years before Christ? This is an apologetic for the validity of the Bible as God-given and not the work of humans.

— John N. Clayton © 2020

Salt and Water Chemical Bonds and Life

Salt and Water Chemical Bonds and Life

We see a correlation between salt and water chemical bonds and life. One of the first things students learn in chemistry class is that elements bond to form compounds in two different ways. One is called “covalent,” and the other is called “ionic.”

In an ionic bond, two elements transfer an electron. An excellent example of ionic bonding is sodium chloride, common table salt. The sodium in salt has a loosely-held electron in its last orbital. Chlorine, on the other hand, needs an electron, because its last orbital is one electron short of the most stable configuration. When sodium and chlorine combine, the sodium gives up its last electron, and the chlorine absorbs it.

A classic example of a covalent bond is water. Hydrogen needs an electron to produce the most stable possible form of the hydrogen atom. Oxygen needs two electrons to give it the most stable arrangement. Oxygen can share two of its electrons with two hydrogen atoms. The result is that two hydrogen atoms are attached to the one oxygen atom, producing water.

Water and salt are very different kinds of compounds. Water is tough to break apart into its component atoms. Salt is very easy to break apart. Just dumping salt into water will tear the salt molecule apart into sodium and chlorine. The design of these atoms is amazing. The salt molecule is polar because only two atoms are involved. The water molecule is also polar because of the location of the two electrons that are shared with the hydrogen. An electron by itself is not stable. The spin of the electrons and their magnetic properties require pairing to be stable, and that pairing forms compounds such as water and salt.

In teaching high school chemistry, I would use boy-girl relationships to help kids understand chemical bonding. The Bible tells us in Genesis 2:18 that God said, “It is not good that man should be alone, I will make a helper suitable for him.” Verse 24 says, “A man shall leave his father and his mother and shall cleave unto his wife, and they shall be one flesh.” All of life reaches stability in a shared relationship. Just as water is more stable than salt, so too humans who are in a committed relationship of oneness and sharing are more stable than when isolated and alone. The same Designer of salt and water chemical bonds gave us each other for the best of life.

— John N. Clayton © 2020

Scientism, Literalistic, Literal

Scientism, Literalistic, Literal -Definitions

As you read articles written by creationists, atheists, and apologetics authors, you sometimes see words that need an explanation. We must understand the meaning of the terms and what the author intends to convey. There are three words that you should understand the meaning of: Scientism, Literalistic, Literal.

#1 SCIENTISM. Scientism is the idea that science is the only reliable way to determine truth. It is used to exclude any consideration of the supernatural or metaphysical. Because they can not be falsified, scientism rejects miracles or claims about the divinity of Christ. Those of us who argue that science and faith support each other are sometimes accused of preaching scientism. The fact is that the scientific method prevents any consideration of many questions that are important in life. The Winter 2020 issue of God and Nature published an article by Terry Defoe titled “A Pastor’s Journey in Search of Consensus.” He wrote that, “Science can be compared to a fisherman’s net that can’t catch small fish because the holes in the net are too large.” Science is NOT the only source of truth.

#2 LITERALISM. Literalism is the approach of reading ancient documents and merely reading the words on the page in their most basic sense, not considering the context. Long ago, Augustine warned against Christians presenting their literalistic interpretations of Scripture as if they were experts in areas where they are ignorant.

“The shame is not so much that an ignorant individual is derided, but that people outside the household of faith think our sacred writers held such opinions, and, to the great loss of those for whose salvation we toil, the writers of our Scripture are criticized and rejected as unlearned men.” Augustine of Hippo (A.D. 354-430) (Read more HERE.)

In literalism, there is no attempt to ask what the author intended his message to be, or to apply modern knowledge in understanding the documents.

#3 LITERAL. Literal means to understand a text as the original author intended. Here is an example of how a literal interpretation of a passage might differ from a literalistic interpretation. In Revelation 7:1, John writes, “And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth …” If you just lift the passage off the page (literalistic), you would maintain that Earth has four corners, and therefore it is flat. Some groups actually support that view and use this passage to prove it. A literal translation would ask, “What is John attempting to say?” If you look at the context of the passage, the answer is obvious. We have a Lamb opening seals and displaying wrath in chapter 6 and 144,000 people sealed in chapter seven. Obviously, the passage is not written to give scientific data on the shape of the Earth.

We maintain that this ministry takes the Bible literally. Much of the Christian community takes selected passages such as Genesis 1 literalistically. The result is they present the Bible in a way that makes it look foolish and ignorant. Scientism is not our approach. We use all of the tools God has given us to understand His Word. That approach is essential when talking to young men and women growing up in the 21st century. One of the tools we use is science, and that is not Scientism.

— John N. Clayton © 2020

Alternatives to Abortion

Alternatives to Abortion are Available

As we enter an election year, the issue of abortion once again rises to the attention of politicians, women’s rights activists, Christians, religious fundamentalists, and the medical establishment. The issue is complicated, but we must not overlook the alternatives to abortion.

We can understand the rhetoric that a woman should have control of her own body. But from a scientific standpoint, there is no question–a baby is NOT just an extension of the mother’s body. Morning sickness is the body’s reaction to an invasive foreign object that has entered the woman’s body. When the sperm meets the egg, a unique individual is produced. It is not a dog or a cat or something unknown–it is a human. Mountains of evidence exist that show the baby does human things long before birth. The preborn child hears, feels, reacts, and responds to outside influences on its environment.

Do we, as a culture, wish to sanction infanticide? Is a baby better off dead than born to a mother who doesn’t want it? Is infanticide a slippery slope to horrible misuse–harvesting organs or paying for organs from a baby not yet conceived? These questions are complicated, and in an election year, inflammatory literature abounds on all sides. Working together to provide alternatives to abortion can help to settle this issue. Here are three points to consider:

*Easy abortion as a method for birth control is foolish. Abortion does physiological and psychological damage to most women. Repeated abortions can lead to serious health problems even when the abortion is done in an ideal environment by competent doctors.

*Reproductive healthcare is needed for all women, and abortion is not the sum total of that care. This healthcare can and should include modern contraception methods, moral teaching about sexual relationships, prenatal care, family planning, and options about alternatives to abortion. Adoption is an option that is used far too infrequently. Abortion should not be the first or only choice given to women.

*World population growth is also an issue. Every day the world population grows by 225,000, adding up to 82 million per year. God has told us to “take care of the garden, dress it and keep it” (Genesis 2:15). He also gave us the family as the proper vehicle to populate the Earth. Dumping unwanted children into the world without family, love, care, or the physical things they need to survive violates God’s commands (James 1:27). However, abortion (infanticide) is a poor alternative to education and moral teaching.


We need to join hands and work for alternatives to abortion and solutions to this issue on this 47th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision by the US Supreme Court.

— John N. Clayton © 2020

A footnote from Roland Earnst: An organization that is doing a great job in providing abortion alternatives and helping families is LifePlan of Niles, Michigan. You can visit their website HERE.

What Is Wrong With…?

What Is Wrong With...?

We get a lot of questions that contain the phrase, “what is wrong with?” The idea seems to be that there is a religious issue involved in the social practices of today, but many people don’t understand what it is. Parents have asked me to tell them how to explain to their child that tattoos are biblically wrong. Others have written that being overweight is a sin and that eating foods that are not healthy is biblically wrong. Another question involves whether the Bible condemns vaping. The use of alcohol has been an issue for a very long time.

The current mantra of our culture is, “What I do with my body is up to me. What is wrong with…?” The Apostle Paul wrote something about that:

“Do you not know that you are God’s sanctuary, and that God’s Spirit has his home in you? If anyone desecrates the temple of God, God will bring him to ruin. For the temple of God is sacred, and that is what you are.” 1 Corinthians 3:16-17.

When we use the Bible to decide a moral or religious issue, it is essential to look at the context of the passage. Paul wrote 1 Corinthians 3 to a congregation of people whom he says are carnal, not spiritual (Verses 1-3). Verse 9 finds Paul telling these carnal people that as Christians, they should be fellow-workers with God and that Christ must be their foundation (verse 11). What is wrong with the way they were acting? Paul’s chief complaint with the Christians in Corinth is that their carnal nature has produced a power struggle (verses 3-8).

The message here is spiritual, not physical. Paul is not saying that if you vape, God will send cancer to destroy you. God’s message and outreach to a lost world come through His workers here on Earth. In Acts 2:38, Peter promised God’s Spirit to Christians. Engaging in things that defeat God’s outreach to others can cause them to be lost. We need to take care of our bodies and do so in a way that enables us to be God’s workers to reach others.

Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 8 that we sin against others when we do something or eat something that causes them to be lost. I can’t be the influence that God calls me to be if I am immersed in the excesses of the culture in which I live. How I dress, what I eat or drink, and what I do is essential to my witness. I implore Christians to avoid vaping or drinking alcohol or eating unwisely for that reason.

— John N. Clayton © 2020

Making Molecules on Jupiter

Making Molecules on Jupiter

In recent years we have come to understand how God formed many of the elements that make up our world and our bodies. We watch stars producing new elements, and we realize that this system was designed by God to take the hydrogen produced in the beginning and continually make heavier elements by thermonuclear fusion. It is incredible to witness the power and design in a nova or supernova and to understand that this is God’s forge to make new elements. Now we have another picture of a design God has used for making molecules.

Molecules are combinations of atoms put together to produce a compound. Simple compounds like water and methane are difficult enough to produce. The huge molecules, such as amino acids that make up living materials, require a particular environment to form. Many of them have been found in space debris, but their origins are not clear.

The latest NASA report on Jupiter has given us some new understanding of making molecules. NASA’s robotic Juno spacecraft orbits only 15,000 kilometers above Jupiter’s cloud tops. Using new data from this spacecraft, astronomers have announced that Jupiter is apparently mostly liquid. It is not a ball of rock with a blanket of liquids and gases, as Earth-based observations seemed to indicate.

It’s hard to realize the size of Jupiter (2.5 times the mass of all other planets combined), its rapid spin rate (more than twice as fast as Earth’s), the amount of lightning that we observe, and the extreme temperatures are all working in a liquid. It indicates an environment similar to what we can create in our laboratories here on Earth to produce complex molecules. The Miller-Urey experiment of 1953 earned a Nobel prize for producing an environment in the lab capable of making molecules of amino acids. Now we see a location in space that duplicates much of Stanley Miller’s famous experiment. To be facetious, perhaps God should get a Nobel Prize for something that was operational long before any human existed.

The more we know of the creation, the closer we get to the Creator. Knowing His methods just increases our wonder at His power and wisdom.

— John N. Clayton © 2020

Data from apod.nasa.gov. January 6, 2020.

Where Are the Christians?

Where Are the Christians?

We sometimes hear people say that America is a “Christian Nation.” That statement today is wrong in several ways. The facts show that only 9% of all people in the world who call themselves “Christians” live in North America (the U.S. and Canada). So, where are the Christians?

The home of 51% of the world’s Christians is in Africa and Latin America. Africa alone has 26%. The report shows that 23% live in Europe, 16% in Asia, and 1% in Oceania. Realize that these numbers only tell us people who claim the religious identity of “Christian.” That doesn’t mean a person attends any worship services.

When we correspond with our friends in Africa and South America, we find them talking about the stabilizing influence of Christ. They say that things are improving in their nations because of Christianity. As we look around in America, we see increasing violence and instability. Does anyone want to suggest a reason for that? Where are the Christians?

— John N. Clayton © 2020

Data from The Center for the Study of Global Christianity reported in Christianity Today, January/February 2020, page 25.

Government Easing Restrictions on Prayer in School

Government Easing Restrictions on Prayer in School

In 2003, the United States Education Department issued a document called “Guidance on School Prayer.” It contained very restrictive rules for prayer in a school setting. We have reported on some cases where a student was prohibited from giving a talk connected to an earned award because they insisted on including a prayer. Now, we see the government easing restrictions on prayer in school.

The 2020 release by the Education Department states that “student speakers can pray at assemblies or sports games as long as they were not chosen to speak based on their religious perspective.” Education Secretary Betsy DeVos says, “Our actions today will protect the constitutional rights of students, teachers, and faith-based institutions.”

The new rules also expand the ability of faith-based groups to participate in government programs, and it “aims to put religious groups on equal footing when competing for federal grants and other funding.” We have recently pointed out the problems with accepting government money when it means the government gets to decide what you can teach, preach, and do.

Since this new set of rules comes in an election year, some may impugn the motives of the government rule-makers. I am sure it will generate a lot of reaction from atheistic groups. At the very least, the government easing restrictions on prayer in school will move it away from a totally atheistic stance on the rights of young people.

— John N. Clayton © 2020

Data from Associated Press, January 17, 2020.

You can read the new guidelines HERE.

Fires in Australia and God

Fires in Australia and God

Not long ago, we were appalled at the horrendous fires in California, and now we hear about terrible fires in Australia. In our August 16, 2018, post we talked about the California fires, and we discussed why they happened. We pointed out that blaming God for the wildfires in California was not logical, scientifically correct, or biblical. (You can read that again by clicking HERE.)

Our primary resource for that discussion was Keith Crummer, whose whole career with the United States Forrest Service revolved around managing the forests in California. His main point was that the cause of the fires was mismanagement by people who thought they were protecting the forests. They were stopping the natural fire-preventing design from operating. Now we see this again with the fires in Australia.

Before we go any further, let us state that our hearts go out to our friends in Australia, who, like the victims in California, have suffered an unimaginable loss. To watch everything you own go up in flames is a heart-wrenching tragedy no matter what the cause. There are two points we want to make:

#1) The fires in Australia are not a retaliatory act of God. Some religious figures are saying the fires are God’s punishment for Australia’s movement away from belief in God and its immersion in secularism. There is no question about the contributing factors to the fires, and none of them include miraculous acts of God. That is also not the way God operates. If God retaliated every time a group of people deliberately defied Him, Washington D.C. would have gone up in flames long ago. Passages like James 1:13 tell us that God is not the source of the bad things that happen to us. The following eight verses identify the cause as human greed and selfishness.

#2) Like the California fires, the fires in Australia are a consequence of human mismanagement of resources. In its natural state, the environment prevents such massive fires. Water storage in the soil, small fires that clean up underbrush so it can’t erupt in huge, hot fires, plants that are resistant to fire and don’t burn well all reduce the fire hazard. Imported plants, inadequate management of water resources, and overuse of the land are the main contributors to massive fires
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Today you can go back to the areas in California that were scorched so severely in 2018 and see that the land is recovering. Hopefully, the bad management practices of the past won’t be repeated, but sometimes humans fail to learn from past mistakes. God doesn’t cause tragedies like this, but He also doesn’t force humans to manage intelligently, and He doesn’t take away the results of mismanagement.

— John N. Clayton © 2020

Year-End Report for 2019

Year-End Report for 2019

Our year-end report for 2019 is now available. One of the frequent challenges that atheists and skeptics bring against religion and those of us who publicly argue for the existence of God is that the only reason we do it is to make money.

There is no question that some have used religion as a money-making business or as a tool to promote some secular cause. Yes, there are TV preachers who have become millionaires by promoting their religious views. There are also atheists and skeptics who use their opposition to religion or to religious persons in the same way. The only way to know the truth is to look at what the religion or ministry does, and what is the personal gain for its leaders.

It’s with that objective in mind that the “Does God Exist?” ministry and John Clayton offer a year-end report at the start of each new year. If you would like to receive a copy of the four-page year-end report for 2019, send us your postal address or email address, and we will send it to you. Send your request to John Clayton, 1555 Echo Valley Drive, Niles, MI 49120, or email to jncdge@aol.com.

— John N. Clayton © 2020