Grand Canyon Stratigraphy

Grand Canyon Stratigraphy

Over the years, this ministry has taken groups of people on what we call the “Canyonlands Tour” more than 30 times. A highlight of that trip is visiting the Grand Canyon. Looking into the Canyon, we see the various layers of rock, with each layer having a different set of properties. The study of Grand Canyon stratigraphy shows God’s design that allows us to live on this planet.

The materials in the layers (strata) of Earth all come from the molten material that made up the planet at its origin. Molten material solidified into granite. The red orthoclase material weathered out of the granite first, producing clay. Feldspars containing vital elements like iron, magnesium, calcium, and potassium came out of the granite, leaving quartz behind. The quartz became sand, and the other elements became soil, limestone, and all the other materials we see in the strata today.

As we stand on the edge of the Canyon, we can see the alternating layers of the Grand Canyon stratigraphy. We see sandstone (made of quartz), shale (made from mud), conglomerate (made from gravel), and limestone (a chemically precipitated rock made slowly in an area of quiet water). Deep within the canyon, we see layers tilted at an angle, indicating catastrophic geologic activity. Below that, we see rocks that have been altered by heat and pressure (metamorphic rocks). At the very bottom, we see the original volcanic granite from which all of this was formed.

We gaze in awe at the history of Earth before our eyes, and we marvel at God’s wisdom in design to prepare this incredible planet on which we live.

— Roland Earnst © 2020

The Cords of Orion – What Are They?

Orion Nebula
Orion Nebula – NASA
cords of Orion

In the book of Job, God asks the character Job, “Can you loose the cords of Orion? Can you bring forth the constellations in their seasons?” What are the cords of Orion?

Since ancient times, people imagined that the asterism in the Orion constellation resembles a hunter holding a sword. The sword appears to consist of three stars. However, if you look closely, you can see that the central star is a little “fuzzy.” With a telescope, you can see that it’s not a star, but a nebula.

The picture of the Orion Nebula was taken by NASA’s Hubble space telescope. Nebulae are star factories, where clouds of dust and gas are collapsing to form stars. At “only” 1344 light-years from Earth, Orion is our closest star factory. Astronomers have observed about 700 stars in various stages of formation in the Orion Nebula.

There are many more nebulae where stars are being made today, as they have been since the universe began. These star factories are responsible for creating the billions of stars in our Milky Way galaxy and beyond. They show that God is not a magician who pulls a universe out of his sleeve. God is an engineer who has designed an amazing system that makes possible everything we can see, and much more that we can’t see.

As we look at the cords of Orion, here is something to consider. God, who is outside of time, created a star factory in time, which then generated a star we call the Sun. Then He provided a home for us on the third planet from that star where we can look up and see star factories, like the Orion Nebula, at work.

— Roland Earnst © 2020

Skin Healing Process by Design

Skin Healing Process by Design

You get a cut or scrape on your skin, and what happens? Except for applying antibiotic or a bandage, you probably think little of it. It heals, and life goes on. But the skin healing process is something we should not take for granted.

Our bodies perform a complex healing process for even a small wound. Granulation tissue consists of new connective tissue and microscopic blood vessels. Your body generates granulation tissue from the base of the wound growing until it closes the wound. It may be light red to dark pink because of the new blood capillaries, and it’s usually moist and bumpy, or “granular.”

Cells surrounding the wound secrete molecules called extracellular matrix (ECM) to provide structural support. Cells called fibroblasts secrete collagen, the main structural protein of connective tissue. Collagen is resistant to bacteria, so it helps prevent infection while promoting healing. Fibroblasts are stem cells, meaning that they can morph into various kinds of cells as needed for the part of the body that’s being healed.

Epidermal growth factor (EGF) is a protein that stimulates cell growth. It’s found in blood plasma, and blood is supplied to the new tissue through the new capillaries. An interesting sidenote is that EGF is also found in the saliva of all mammals. When an animal licks its wounds, it’s not just cleaning the area, it’s also helping to promote the healing of the wound.

This is a greatly oversimplied explanation of the skin healing process, but it shows a glimpse of a very complex system that we can’t believe was an accident. Even before the healing begins, another complex process causes the blood to clot. We think that the ability of our bodies to heal is another example engineering design by the Master Designer.

— Roland Earnst © 2020

Largest Art Gallery in the Universe

The largest art gallery

The Louvre in Paris is the largest art gallery museum in the world. The building began as a twelfth-century fortress and became a museum at the time of the French Revolution in the late eighteenth century.

Housed in the Louvre are some of the world’s most outstanding artworks, including the Mona Lisa. Visitors number over nine-million per year. If you visit the Louvre, you will be overwhelmed by the enormous building and the vast number of paintings and statues.

Similarly, as we look at the enormous universe around us, we are overwhelmed by the galaxies, stars, and planets–and the life we see on this planet. Rice Broocks, in his book “God’s Not Dead,” writes, “There is evidence for an intelligent Creator everywhere you look. To say that there is no evidence for this Creator is like saying the thousands of paintings in an art museum couldn’t have been painted because there are no artists visible in the gallery.”

Nobody would visit the Louvre and make such a ridiculous statement. How can anyone look at the amazingly complex universe and not recognize that they are seeing the largest art gallery displaying the work of the greatest Artist? Some examples are butterfly wings, colors, structural color, and beauty in Earth’s diversity. The largest art gallery in the universe is the universe.

— Roland Earnst © 2020

Why Do Birds Have Eyes?

Why Do Birds Have Eyes?

Why do birds have eyes? That sounds like a silly question. Suppose you said, “So they can see,” you would be correct. But that’s not the only purpose for a bird’s eyes.

Bird’s eyes also serve to cool the bird’s body. People sweat, dogs pant, but birds have another cooling system. Flying is a high-energy activity, and it can raise a bird’s body temperature so much that the heat could damage its central nervous system. A bird’s eyes are designed to eliminate this problem.

As the wind rushes past the eyes of a flying bird, it evaporates water from the surface. This evaporation cools the blood in the nearby veins. The cooler blood prevents the temperature of the bird’s brain from going too high. Scientists proved this by putting hoods over the heads of some birds. If the eyes were covered, the brain temperature rose dramatically. If the eyes were uncovered, the brain temperature stayed constant.

So now you know. If someone asks you, “why do birds have eyes,” you can tell them, “To keep their brains cool.” We see many other amazing designs in birds. (Why do they fly north in spring? Why don’t they have ears? Why do some birds stand on one leg?) The design we see in all of life truly shows the wisdom of God.

— Roland Earnst © 2020

X-Ray Vision and X-Ray Destruction

X-Ray Vision and X-Ray Destruction

The fictional character Superman is supposed to have x-ray vision. That super-ability to see through objects is shown in the comics and movies as something coming out from his eyes. As everyone knows, vision doesn’t come out from our eyes. We see because of the light coming into our eyes.

X-rays are electromagnetic radiation similar to visible light, but at a higher energy level and shorter wavelength. Then why can’t we see x-rays? For one thing, our eyes use a lens to focus light on the retina. X-rays can’t be focused by the lens in our eyes, or even by glass lenses. X-rays are focused by using metal tubes to guide the rays because metal is one thing X-rays can’t penetrate.

However, x-rays can penetrate flesh and destroy the molecules by tearing them apart. Even if the lenses of our eyes could focus x-rays on the retina, the x-rays would destroy the retina. Medical and dental x-rays use low doses for short durations, so they don’t pose a health risk. Your body can easily repair the slight damage that occurs.

Another reason we can’t see x-rays is that we are not normally exposed to them, and that’s good news. On Earth, radioactive minerals and radon gas emit x-rays in small amounts. From space, the Sun, other stars, and black holes emit x-rays, but we are protected by our atmosphere. X-rays from space arrive at the upper part of our atmosphere called the ionosphere, where they are absorbed. If all of the x-rays reached Earth’s surface, they would destroy living things and eventually sterilize the planet. The ionosphere makes life on Earth possible.

We don’t think this is just another coincidence. We believe it’s part of the divine design of this planet. X-ray vision is only for comic-book characters and movies.

— Roland Earnst © 2020

Self-Destruction Defense

Self-Destruction Defense in the Exploding Ant
AntWeb.org image of Order:Hymenoptera Family:Formicidae Genus:Camponotus Species:Camponotus saundersi Specimen:casent0179025 View:profile

How can an ant defend against a predator by blowing itself up? The worker ants of a species (Camponotus saundersi) that lives in Malaysia and Brunei use self-destruction defense. Let me explain.

These ants have two glands filled with toxic glue running the length of their bodies. When the ant seems to be losing its battle with a predator, it makes the ultimate sacrifice. By violently contracting its abdominal muscles, the ant ruptures its body. The explosion scatters sticky poison in all directions disabling the predator.

How can that benefit the ant? Obviously, that ant dies, but its action spares the rest of the colony from the predator. Humans sometimes sacrifice their own lives to save others. But, unlike humans, ants are not conscious of the fact that they are sacrificing themselves for their colony. How can we explain this by natural selection? Self-sacrificing ants would not reproduce to pass on that trait to their descendants. It must have been designed into the ants by the Master Designer of life.

These ants practice self-destruction defense even though they don’t understand the concept of self-sacrifice. However, I believe their Creator does. It’s expressed beautifully in the Bible. (See John 15:13 and John 3:16.)

— Roland Earnst © 2020

Earth’s Atmospheric Design

Earth's Atmospheric Design

One of the many things that make our planet uniquely well designed is the atmosphere. Our atmosphere has the right density to burn up the 10,000 plus meteors that speed into it every year. It’s also dense enough to scatter the cosmic rays and X-rays from space, so we are protected from this deadly radiation by our Earth’s atmospheric design.

Also very important, the atmosphere is thin enough to allow light to penetrate so plants can grow. It contains the proper mix of gasses for all living things to use. There is enough oxygen for us to breathe, but not enough to cause dangerous, uncontrolled combustion. It has the right amount of carbon dioxide to allow plants to live and give us the right amount of the “greenhouse effect.” This proper amount prevents too much heat from radiating off into space, keeping Earth at a temperature that promotes life.

The atmosphere is mostly nitrogen, which is relatively inert, but plants need it to grow. Because nitrogen is inert, it’s released to the soil by bacteria and certain plants, such as legumes or by lightning or tectonic activity. The atmosphere is topped off with a layer of ozone that absorbs ultraviolet energy from the Sun to keep us from being overexposed to the harmful effects of UV rays.

When we look at Earth’s atmospheric design and compare it to that of other planets, we realize that God has given us just what we need for life on this planet.

— Roland Earnst © 2020

Blood Clotting Design

Blood Clotting Design

A couple of days ago, I accidentally sliced the tip of my finger with a sharp knife. It bled a lot for a while, but in a short time, the bleeding stopped. The bleeding probably helped cleanse any debris from the wound, but I didn’t want the bleeding to continue. If our blood did not clot, we could bleed to death from even a small injury. Blood clotting design, or coagulation, is a very complicated process that scientists have studied for years.

The process begins when a puncture to your skin injures a blood vessel exposing blood platelets to the collagen beyond the blood vessel’s lining. The platelets immediately bind to the collagen and each other, forming a temporary plug. This starts a whole series of complex chemical reactions involving proteins and enzymes called clotting factors.

A cascading series of a dozen steps must take place for coagulation to complete. The result is the creation of fibrin strands which strengthen the platelet plug and stop the bleeding. If any single factor of the clotting process is missing, the clot does not form, and the bleeding continues.

Hemophilia is a genetic defect that omits a clotting factor. It disrupts the process of blood clotting design such that people with hemophilia may bleed uncontrollably from even a small wound. This is an extremely simplified summary of the coagulation process involving a dozen factors requiring specific proteins and enzymes that must happen in a particular order. For more details, click HERE.

Without blood clotting, humans and other mammals could not have survived. All of the clotting factors had to be present at the beginning of mammal and human life, meaning that the coagulation process could not develop gradually by chance. The fact that our blood clots when we are injured is another evidence of design by an intelligent Creator.

— Roland Earnst © 2020

Advantages of Cold Blood

Advantages of Cold Blood - Frog

Ectotherms are animals that are often described as “cold-blooded.” This group includes amphibians (such as frogs) and reptiles (such as snakes). These animals absorb heat from their surrounding environment instead of generating it internally from the food they eat. For that reason, they don’t need as much food to survive as a “warm-blooded” (endotherm) mammal or bird needs. That is one of the advantages of cold blood.

The food required for one mammal could feed 20 reptiles of the same size. So when food is in short supply, reptiles can survive when mammals may not be able to. Another advantage for ectotherms is that when the weather is cold, and food is scarce, they become inactive and don’t need to eat. This design allows for the efficient use of natural resources.

Also, ectotherms generally lay eggs and allow their young to hatch and survive on their own. The young can get their own food and even defend themselves. When temperatures are lower, frogs produce a larger number of females, and when it’s warmer, there are more males. This design considers the fact that cold weather makes the survival of the young less likely, so the larger number of females to lay eggs keeps the population steady. When survival is more likely because of warmer weather, not as many females are needed.

Without this system and the advantages of cold blood, the populations would vary widely. Cold-blooded animals are well designed to conserve resources and maintain the balance in nature. Design suggests a Designer.

— Roland Earnst © 2020