The Treasury of the Snow

A Red Fox and The Treasury of the Snow
A Red Fox Detecting Prey Under the Snow

“Have you entered the treasury of the snow…?” (Job 38:22”. “For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and do not return there, but water the earth, and make it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater…” (Isaiah 55:10). “He gives snow like wool …” Psalms 147:16).

That is just a sampling of the Old Testament understanding of the importance of snow. Many of us don’t view snow as a treasure, not realizing how snow does things that rain cannot do. The fact is that snow is essential to humans as well as many forms of animal and plant life. We couldn’t live without the treasury of the snow.

Snow on the mountains locks up water during winter and releases it gradually during the summer. Rain comes all at once and is quickly gone, as many of us have experienced flooding in the past year. If that moisture came as snow, there would be no flooding, and melting snow would gradually provide water for plants and animals. Falling snow also has a cleaning effect, as Job 9:20 suggests.

In the winter, snow allows small animals like vols, moles, chipmunks, and field mice to feed on plants and insects they would not have access to in summer. They can even raise their young under the protection of snow. When the snow melts, larger animals can feed on these smaller ones, preserving the balance of the food chain. Even in winter, the larger animals can catch some of them because the snow does not block the sound of their scurrying. The whole food chain is affected by the treasury of the snow.

Snow formation is due to the water molecule’s design and not some accident. The polarity of the water molecule means it has positive and negative ends. That creates the beautiful snowflake shapes. As water freezes, the molecules latch onto each other, and the volume of the water expands. This allows lakes to freeze on the surface since the density of ice is lower than that of liquid water. Non-polar materials do not expand as they freeze.

Romans 1:20 tells us we can know there is a God through the things He has made. The treasury of the snow is an essential part of God’s design to allow life to survive.

— John N. Clayton © 2023

The Journey to Safety

The Journey to Safety of a Sea Turtle
Hatchling Sea Turtle Journey to Safety of the Ocean

We have often talked about the design of animals. Various animals act on what we often call “instinct.” Programmed into sea turtles is a journey to safety. When baby sea turtles hatch on the beach, they instinctively and quickly head to the ocean to escape the predators on land. Their mothers didn’t teach them to do that. It is programmed into them. When a kangaroo is born, it will instinctively journey to safety by climbing into its mother’s pouch. She does nothing to assist the tiny creature. Programming a specific action is very efficient, so we program computers to do specific tasks.

In contrast to programmed actions, there is free will. When we tell our children what to do, they may do something entirely different. The child can understand our instructions but still refuse to follow them. The reason is that the child finds other things he wants to do are more appealing.

The bottom line is that commanding actions is less efficient than programming those actions. A baby sea turtle, kangaroo, or robot will act in the way it is programmed. If you are a parent, you have realized that your child will not always do what you command. The question, then, is why didn’t God program humans to do what He wanted? Why did He give us free will? Programming us to act as He desired would have been much more efficient.

God commands us rather than programming us to do His will because He wants to have a relationship with us. Robots can be very efficient because they have specific functions programmed into them and will do what their designer intended. That is not true of humans. However, you can never have a real relationship with a robot. God wants to have a relationship with us. He knew what would happen when He created the first humans, but He did it anyway. We have rebelled and made a mess of our lives and our world. Hatred, war, and mayhem have been the results.

Why, then, did God choose to create us? To Him, having a relationship with us was worth the price. Jesus Christ came to Earth to restore the broken relationship. He was the perfect man, but at the same time, He was God in the flesh. He showed us how to have a loving relationship with God and each other. Then, He bore the punishment for our disobedience to restore the broken relationships.

We are not robots. We are God’s creation, in His image, with free will. We can choose the journey to safety or ignore God and choose our own path. God has made the journey to safety and peace available to us. Why choose the path to destruction?

— Roland Earnst © 2023

Seaweed as a Food Source

Seaweed as a Food Source - Giant Kelp
Giant Kelp

God has given us a food source that so far humans have been unwilling to tap – seaweed. It is super fast growing, with some species like giant kelp growing 50 centimeters a day. Seaweed doesn’t need land or pesticides and doesn’t have to be watered. Furthermore, it is packed with protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. With over 800 million people starving worldwide, one answer might be seaweed as a food source.

Oceans cover roughly two-thirds of our planet, yet they contribute less than three percent of humans’ total food calories. Asian recipes have used seaweed for centuries, and its cultivation is limited mainly to Asia — large areas of the sea could be seaweed farms. There are 12,000 different types of seaweed, and humans have only learned how to cultivate fewer than 30.

Dried seaweed retains its nutrients and has a long shelf life, so it doesn’t have to be refrigerated or frozen. The reluctance to use seaweed as a food source has primarily come from misconceptions about it. Many of us have only seen water plants growing in a freshwater pond and have no idea what ocean-grown seaweed is like. In addition to food and the replacement of environmentally polluting agents, seaweed can be a significant carbon sink, absorbing massive amounts of carbon dioxide.

Seaweed can also be used as a natural fertilizer for land plants and as feed for animals. It can even be a cotton alternative in textiles and, in some cases, as a biodegradable replacement for plastics. Like most human problems, the solution is there, but we aren’t using all of the wealth of resources God has given us. One solution God has provided may be seaweed as a food source and more.

— John N. Clayton © 2023

Reference: Opinion article by Vincent Doumeizel on

Some Questions Mortals Cannot Answer

Some Questions Mortals Cannot Answer

In a group discussion recently, a person asked why God instructs babies to be baptized. That led to a series of questions from the group about things such as why God has angels and whether or not angels can sin. Many questions like these are based on misunderstandings. The Bible gives us guidelines and some help in understanding, but we are not God and don’t speak for God. There are some questions mortals cannot answer.

However, the question about infant baptism is a failure to understand the purpose of baptism. No Bible passage tells anyone to baptize babies. Acts 2:38-41 says that the purpose of baptism is “for the forgiveness of sins and to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” According to tradition, the purpose of infant baptism is to forgive “original sin.” The Bible does not tell us that we inherit the sin of Adam and Eve or our relatives. Acts 2:40 tells us that baptism is to “save yourselves.” It is not to free ourselves from previous sins by someone else.

Our concept of angels is often rooted in traditional artistic pictures. According to the Bible, angels are God’s messengers and workers. They are not physical beings but can temporarily appear in the physical world to accomplish God’s purposes. For example, in the Old Testament, they announce to Abraham that Sarah will bear a son (Genesis 18), visit Lot in Sodom (Genesis 19), wrestle with Jacob (Genesis 32:24-29), and speak through a donkey (Numbers 22:28-33).

Angels are outside of our time dimension, so they cannot die or repent because those things depend on time. They also do not act in a way that deprives humans of the capacity to make their own choices. When the angel Gabriel told Mary she would be the mother of the Son of God, she willingly replied, “Let it be to me according to your word.”

Turning angels into human-like vehicles that take away the free moral choices of humans is a misunderstanding and distortion of God’s Word. There are some questions mortals cannot answer, but even though we may not have all the answers to why God does things, we know that God is God, and He has a purpose in all He does.

— John N. Clayton © 2023

Syphilis Epidemic and Its Costs

Syphilis Epidemic and Its Costs

When people fail to follow God’s rules for sexual behavior, the result is always pain and suffering for themselves and collateral damage for innocent people. The clearest case in the United States is Nevada, which had a 44% jump in congenital syphilis from 2021 to 2022. The largest growth in adult syphilis cases has been in gay men having sex with men. This amounts to a syphilis epidemic.

In 2021, there were 77.9 cases of congenital syphilis per 100,000 live births. The problems documented in these cases included blindness, bone damage, and stillbirths. In many cases, the mother did not know she had syphilis until it showed up in her baby. Mississippi and Arizona had the nation’s highest rates of syphilis infections, with Arizona having the highest rate of birth defects – 232.3 cases per 100,000 live births.

The damage syphilis does to adults is less severe than infants, but we are all financially affected by this problem. The data on the financial cost in various states is astounding. The money came mainly from the federal government to combat sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), with Louisiana receiving 8.6 million dollars, Mississippi 9 million, and Houston slated to receive 10.7 million.

The real beauty and value of sex are lost when the sex industry takes over or when it becomes a recreational activity. The biblical concept of the sexual relationship is to form a unique bond between husband and wife, with each partner being concerned about the well-being of the other. Abandoning God’s plan leads to a syphilis epidemic as well as other STDs. In 1 Corinthians 7:1-5 Paul writes:

“Let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband. The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife does not have sole authority over her own person, for she belongs to her husband, and likewise also the husband does not have power of his own body, but the wife. Do not withhold sexual intercourse from one another unless it is only temporary and by mutual consent so that your minds can be free for prayer, but afterward you should resume relations as before lest through your fleshly passions Satan should tempt you to sin.”

The pain of misusing sex is massive in our society today. As people drift further from God and the teaching of His Word, the syphilis epidemic will only get worse, and the cost in dollars and misery will increase.

— John N. Clayton © 2023

Reference: South Bend Tribune/Associated Press by Kenya Hunter, October 10, 2023.

Demonstrate Our Thankfulness

Demonstrate Our Thankfulness by feeding the hungry

Last week, Americans celebrated Thanksgiving Day. I couldn’t help but think how blessed I am to live in the United States of America, where we have so much while people in many countries are born into poverty and turmoil. As Christians, we should demonstrate our thankfulness by our actions.

We spent the holiday in Texas with my daughters and our grandchildren. Living in Michigan and being able to travel to Texas impressed upon me the affluence that exists in some parts of our country compared to the circumstances in some other countries. One of my daughters lives in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, where there are groups of people living in what we call poverty.

We went by one of the churches in that impoverished area, where they conduct a ministry to feed those who don’t have enough to eat. Laid out on eight-foot tables were trays of whole turkey meat, stuffing, yams, green beans, and pies. A sign above the tables read, “No questions asked; come and enjoy a Thanksgiving meal from your Christian friends.” The reason for “no questions asked” is that most of those living in the area are illegal immigrants who have come to America with nothing but what they have on their backs.

I am involved with several Christian organizations that provide food and water to needy people in African countries. They have pictures of emaciated children holding a leaf, which is all the food they will have for that day. The Carter Foundation, begun by Jimmy and Roselyn Carter, has been drilling wells and providing medical help to people suffering from dirty water and unsanitary food. The Carters make it clear that their work is because of their Christian faith.

Jesus answered the question of who has truth and who does not by telling His followers, “By their fruits you shall know them.” I don’t see atheist organizations or skeptical groups supplying food for needy people. I have seen these groups push for social rights, but the basic need of most people on planet Earth is food and water. Atheists and skeptics are concerned with racism and various human rights, as we all are, while doing nothing to address the fundamental needs of most people.

I hope you enjoyed Thanksgiving and that you are genuinely thankful. Having an attitude of gratitude is fundamental to being a Christian. Seeing and acting on the needs of the less fortunate is a way to demonstrate our thankfulness.

— John N. Clayton © 2023

The Feel-Good Hormones

The Feel-Good Hormones

Hormones are chemical messengers that travel through our bloodstream. You can describe them as signaling molecules that work to set things in motion. The name comes from a Greek word meaning “setting in motion.” Hormones are produced in various areas of our bodies and are sent through the bloodstream to signal some action or response. Good health requires a balance of hormones, and proper diet, exercise, and rest help to keep them in balance. The feel-good hormones are four classes of hormones that, as you might guess, do things that make us feel good.

ENDORPHINS- Endorphins are the body’s natural painkillers. The pituitary gland, located at the base of the brain, synthesizes and stores them. Endorphins help to mask pain, reduce stress, and improve mood. When we push through a painful task or strenuous exercise, endorphins are there to help us. 

DOPAMINE- Two areas of the brain produce dopamine, and you can think of this hormone as the brain’s reward system. Exercise, eating a food we like, or accomplishing a task can cause the brain to release dopamine, giving us a pleasurable feeling. The use of some drugs and alcohol can release a flood of dopamine, giving us a sense of euphoria, a “high.” But coming down from that high can lead to depression and a desire for more of the drugs. Normal activities or exercise stimulate dopamine more slowly, and the effect of the hormone remains longer. Good stewardship of our bodies and health calls for avoiding harmful drugs and alcohol.

OXYTOCIN- Some people call this feel-good hormone the love hormone. Touching, hugging, or sexual activity can trigger the release of oxytocin. The brain’s hypothalamus produces it, and the pituitary gland releases it into the bloodstream. Oxytocin can help improve social interactions and give us a desire to develop stronger connections with others.

SEROTONIN- Serotonin is a natural mood booster, and depression can result from a low level of this hormone. Serotonin performs many functions and is produced by the central nervous system in various areas of the body. Serotonin improves memory and learning and promotes relaxation. Exercise, as well as exposure to sunshine and the outdoors, can increase the production of serotonin. Meditation and quietness in prayer can also reward us with this mood-boosting hormone.

The feel-good hormones are part of good health, and a healthy lifestyle boosts them. However, too much of a good thing too quickly is not healthy. Alcohol and drugs can give us a high but only lead to a letdown. A healthy lifestyle involves proper diet, exercise, rest, prayer, meditation, thankfulness, and balanced relationships with others. Incorporating those things into our lives is the best way to enjoy the blessings God has for us.

— Roland Earnst © 2023

Thankfulness Separates Us from the Animals

Thankfulness Separates Us from the Animals

As we celebrate a day of Thanksgiving in the United States, we are thankful to God for the blessings He gives us each day. Today, we want to share some links from the past that remind us of what Thanksgiving is all about:

Thankfulness separates us from the animals.

Thankfulness brings joy.

Gratitude is a Christian attitude.

Even in times of unrest, we have much to be thankful for. Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a day of Thanksgiving during the Civil War.

Thanksgiving syzygy encourages us to count our blessings.

We hope you will take time to thank God for His blessings as you express your love and gratitude to others who bless your life. We are thankful for our followers like you. Remember that thankfulness separates us from the animals and shows that we are created in God’s image.

— Roland Earnst © 2023

Biological Complexity in Living Organisms

Biological Complexity in Living Organisms compares to Moore's Law by Gordon Moore
Gordon Moore – The background is a magnified diagram of the complex layout of a microchip.

Those who advocate for naturalistic evolution have a problem. Well, they have more than one, but this one is a math problem. In a publication on the National Institutes of Health’s Pub Med website, Alexei A. Sharov presents a dilemma for evolutionists. Simply stated, the size of the genome indicates biological complexity in living organisms, while macro-evolution requires exponential growth to achieve that biological complexity.

Perhaps this will be easier to understand if we relate it to Moore’s Law in semiconductor technology. In 1965, Gordon Moore of Fairchild Semiconductors and Intel projected that the number of components in each integrated circuit would double yearly. In 1975, the prediction was revised to every two years. It took on the quality of a “law” as the semiconductor industry used it as their target for planning production. Moore’s Law has led to technological changes that produced economic growth and social change. The point is that doubling the complexity of electronic technology means a logarithmic increase in versatility, as we have seen over the years.

Alexei Sharov applied that principle to evolution based on the exponential growth in biological complexity. Using the exponential increase in biological complexity in living organisms as a guide, it is possible to go backward in evolutionary time to see when life began. If the exponential hypothesis is true, tracing back in time, the origin of life would have been ten billion years ago. That is how long it would take for the genome to evolve to its present complexity in mammals. No evolutionist or other scientist believes our planet is that old. That presents a math problem for naturalistic evolution.

So, what do Sharov and others propose as the solution? They call it “panspermia,” meaning that life came to Earth from outer space. Nobel Prize winners Fred Hoyle and Francis Crick were advocates for panspermia. However, most evolutionary scientists reject it. Perhaps there is a better way to explain the fact that naturalistic evolution does not fit into Earth’s timeline. The solution, soundly rejected by Hoyle and Crick, is the idea of a Creator outside of time and space who designed the universe and life and put us on this planet for a purpose.

— Roland Earnst © 2023

References: “Genome increase as a clock for the origin and evolution of life” on Pub Med, National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, National Institutes of Health, and Wikipedia

Afraid of the Facts

Afraid of the Facts - John Adams wasn't
President John Adams

We should never be afraid of the facts when they are accurately presented. U.S. President John Adams said, “Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.”

Last week, we looked at James Tour’s challenge to the leading origin-of-life scientists. None of them were willing to address even one of the five roadblocks to abiogenesis that he presented. The fact is that the study of abiogenesis, the origin of life from non-living matter, has progressed very little in the last 70 years. Science has found many barriers to abiogenesis since the Miller-Urey experiment of the early 1950s.

Quora is a social media question-and-answer website where people post questions and others respond with answers. A recent questioner asked, “Are scientists terrified of abiogenesis?” A person who said he was “45 years a physician” answered that he was not afraid of abiogenesis. Part of the response from the “physician” was:

“Abiogenesis is a process that occurred at least once in the history of the earth, and that single event (or handful of events) may have left no traces at all. The steps in abiogenesis were probably a series of unknown physical and chemical steps. So, the process may never be known.”

Saying that “unknown physical and chemical steps” in a “process may never be known” is a vague answer. He seems to be saying, “I’m not going to worry about that because it scares me.” As I said, people should never be afraid of the facts.

Genesis chapter one uses the Hebrew word “bara,” which is always used to describe something that only God can do. Verse one describes God creating the heavens and Earth out of nothing. Verse 21 uses that word again to describe the creation of the first animal life. Between those verses, the term “made” (Hebrew “asah”) or the words “let there be” describe God’s work.

Science has made significant progress in understanding the processes described by “made” and “let there be.” In some cases, scientists have even duplicated those processes in laboratories or particle accelerators. However, understanding how God created everything from nothing or life from non-living matter is beyond what science has accomplished or perhaps will ever understand. Christians should never be afraid of the facts because they point to a creator God.

— Roland Earnst © 2023