Retiring Early – Good Idea or Not

Retiring Early – Good Idea or Not
Some people dream of retiring early and spending the rest of their lives in pleasure-filled relaxation. That may not be a good idea.

Relaxing for a few days is a good thing, but studies show that when we stop doing anything constructive and challenging, both our mental and physical health decline. The Washington Post reported that studies “have shown a strong correlation between early retirement age and diminished cognitive function.”

Not only can too much leisure be bad for our physical and mental health, it even has an adverse effect on our happiness. Humans were designed to be productive and creative. Without physical stimulation, our bones and muscles become weak. Without mental stimulation, our brains lose their sharpness. The saying, “If you don’t use it, you’ll lose it,” contains a lot of truth.

All this doesn’t mean that we have to keep working at an occupation for our entire lives. Retiring early can open the door to new opportunities of service. For those who retire from a paying job, volunteering for some service which is mentally, and even physically challenging can be rewarding in many ways. It can keep us physically stronger and more mentally alert. It can give us enjoyment and even help us to live longer. It can also be rewarding for those we are able to serve.

God created us to work. Even in the paradise of the Garden of Eden, God gave Adam and Eve work to do. (See Genesis 2:15.) If you want to live a long, healthy, and happy life, find a way to be productively stimulated while serving others. It’s what God designed us to do.
–Roland Earnst © 2018

Why We Have Fingerprints

Why We Have Fingerprints
Fingerprints are often associated with identification because the police use them in criminal investigations. Nobody else has your fingerprints, so finger touch-pads are sometimes used instead of passwords to access computers or to allow entrance to secure sites. Fingerprints are used for those purposes, but have you ever wondered why we have fingerprints?

Long before anyone thought of those identification uses, fingerprints served a primary purpose in our sense of touch. The raised ridges are actually friction ridges that increase the sensitivity of our fingers to touch. Each fingertip has thousands of touch receptors, and with the aid of the friction ridges, we can feel a particle many times smaller than a human hair.

Run your fingertip lightly over a surface and notice how those fingerprint ridges detect even the smallest surface imperfection, right down to a speck of dust. Look closely, and you will see that those ridges are also present on the entire surface of the palm-side of your hand, and they are on your feet as well.

What about the case of identical twins? Do they have the same fingerprints? The answer is “No.” They are similar, but not the same. Your fingerprints are the product of genetics plus environment within the womb. Fingerprints form between six and thirteen weeks after conception. Factors that influence the formation of the prints may be blood pressure, nutrition, or the position of the hand in the womb. A finger pressing against the amniotic sac, another part of the body, or the body of a twin can cause the print to form with subtle differences. If only genetics determined the fingerprint pattern, the fingers on your left and right hands would be identical. They are not, and that’s why the police will take all ten of your fingerprints.

Your fingerprints formed as you developed in the womb long before you were born, and they will remain the same for your entire life. Fingerprints show that you are unique while at the same time helping you to explore and interact with the world around you. That’s why we have fingerprints. The psalmist David wrote, “…(God), you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalms 139:13, 14).
–Roland Earnst © 2018

Breathe Easy with Oxygen

Breathe Easy Oxygen Molecule
Life requires certain elements–one of which is oxygen. To live, we must have energy and our life-energy is produced by chemical reactions requiring oxygen. Because of the oxygen level of Earth, we can breathe easy.

When oxygen combines with other elements and compounds, we call the process oxidation or combustion. Oxidation results in the release of energy. Oxidation can be slow as when oxygen combines with iron to form rust. Oxidation can be fast, as when oxygen combines with chemicals in wood, producing fire.

The rapid combustion process releases energy in the form of heat and light. In our bodies, oxygen combines with other chemicals more slowly. As oxygen combines with sugar (glucose) in our cells, energy is released warming our bodies and powering our cells. The by-products of this oxidation are carbon-dioxide and water, which can be safely eliminated from the body.

The design of the oxygen molecule with its ability to pull off electrons from other elements makes combustion possible. Are there other chemicals which can produce combustion? Yes, chlorine, fluorine, and bromine can also produce combustion. However, the by-products of that combustion, such as hydrochloric acid, would be harmful or fatal to living cells. Oxygen has just the right properties to combine with carbon-based sugars in our cells to release energy and sustain life without producing compounds harmful to life.

The fact that one-fifth of our atmosphere is oxygen enables us to breathe efficiently. A lower level of oxygen would make breathing difficult. A higher oxygen level would lead to a greater danger of rapid-combustion fires. Replacing oxygen in the air with other combustive elements would be destructive to life. Oxygen has the right properties and is available in the right amount to allow us to breathe easy and live. We think a Master Engineer designed this system.
–Roland Earnst © 2018

Permanent Solution to a Temporary Problem

Permanent Solution to a Temporary Problem
Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. At the lowest point in a person’s life, suicide takes away any future blessings.

Some would say, “The problem has been with me for a long time and is not going away.” If that’s the case, someone needs to step in to address the problem and help to find a solution. As God’s people, Christians need to love and care for others.

Whether you believe in God or not, you have to admit that the desire to live is built into our DNA. Every living thing wants to live. If that were not true, all life on Earth would have ended long ago. No animal commits suicide. No, not even lemmings. (We dealt with that yesterday.) No animal willingly submits to a predator. No wildebeest surrenders to the lion. The predator wins only when the creature has no more ability to go on or to run faster. Why is the predator so desperate to catch that prey? It’s the predator’s will to live.

Why do animals resist death with every fiber of their being until their very last breath? Some would say it’s an evolutionary development that life has evolved to want to live. But that can’t be right because life must have had a strong desire to live from day one. I think the desire to live is evidence of a Creator who put that desire into the very first life—even those living things without conscious understanding. The drive to live built into every living thing, even plants, is another evidence that life is not an accident.

It’s only humans that have the ability to chose. Only humans can choose right or wrong. Only humans KNOW right from wrong. We can choose to make bad choices. We can even choose a permanent solution to a temporary problem. That ability to choose is evidence that we were created by God. The desire to choose right over wrong is evidence that we were created in God’s image. The failure to always choose the right is evidence that we are merely human. God’s willingness to redeem us from our bad choices is evidence that God is love. (1 John 3:1, 16; 4:7)
— Roland Earnst © 2018

Lemming Suicide Myth

Lemming Suicide Myth
Lemmings are small rodents with long, soft, colorful fur and short tails that live in the Arctic tundra. They reproduce rapidly, and their population varies dramatically, usually over a four-year cycle. Scientists have studied the variation in lemming populations for many years, but they don’t entirely understand it. However, the lemming suicide myth is not an explanation.

Contrary to popular stories, lemmings do not commit mass suicide by jumping off cliffs into the sea to drown. False lemming legends are not new. In the sixteenth century, because of their rapid population increases, a story was started that they fall out of the sky when it rains. That idea was proven to be false.

The story of the mass suicide has been depicted in songs, movies, video games, stories, and a 1985 Apple TV commercial until most people accept it as true. The worst case of deception was in the 1958 Disney movie “White Wilderness.” The film won an Academy Award for best documentary, but it spread false information with a staged lemming suicide jump. It was later revealed that the lemmings were forced off the cliff by the camera crew.

When their population density becomes too high, lemmings migrate to find food. Since they can swim, they sometimes migrate across bodies of water. Occasionally some may drown in the crossing, but it’s not mass suicide. In 1980, Gary Larson’s “The Far Side” comic showed a group of lemmings jumping into the water. The last lemming in line was wearing a life preserver. Following the principle of natural selection, that lemming would have been the one to survive and reproduce. We would presume that its offspring would inherit the caution and be smart enough not to follow the crowd. Then we would assume that lemmings would evolve into creatures who would no longer take the plunge. It’s a matter of survival of the fittest, or perhaps the smartest.

The lemming suicide myth is persistent, but false, like the myth that we use only ten percent of our brains. The bottom line is, God didn’t create lemmings to be suicidal. He also didn’t create humans to be gullible.
–Roland Earnst © 2018

Wreck of the SS Cedarville

Wreck of the SS Cedarville
Between the upper and lower peninsulas of Michigan, there is a stretch of water known as the Straits of Mackinac. (Pronounced mack-in-awe) This narrow channel connects Lake Michigan and Lake Huron. Nearby is a museum which tells the story of shipwrecks in the Straits. One of those was the wreck of the SS Cedarville in the early morning of May 7, 1965.

The Cedarville was carrying a heavy load of limestone and traveling through the straits in dense fog. In spite of low visibility Captain Martin Joppich kept the ship moving at top speed. He even ordered the wheelsman to cut corners off the official shipping channel to save time. Radar detected two oncoming vessels. One of them was identified as the Norwegian freighter Topdalsfjord. Captain Joppich ordered the crew to reduce speed and steer starboard to pass the Topdalsfjord on the port side. In doing that, the Cedarville steered directly into the path of the Topdalsfjord. The Norwegian ship sliced a large hole into the side of the Cedarville.

Captain Joppich ordered the crew to stop the engines and drop anchor. The crew prepared the lifeboats, but no order was given to abandon ship. The ship was starting to list to port, so the crew began to fill the starboard ballast tanks. The captain then ordered the crew to raise anchor and steer the ship to shallow water six miles (10 km) away. By the time they had gone just over two miles (3.3 km), the ship rolled over and sank.

Of the 35 crew members, ten of them died in the wreck of the SS Cedarville. What mistakes did the captain make? The Cedarville was going too fast for foggy conditions. The ship steered the wrong way into the path of another vessel. The crew was not given orders to abandon ship. There was another area of shallow water only two miles (3.2 km) away that they might have reached before sinking. All of these things were caused by the captain making bad decisions.

A plaque at the Straits of Mackinac Shipwreck Museum says, “To some degree, all wrecks in the Straits of Mackinac were avoidable. Someone exercised bad judgment or performed their duties incorrectly. In many instances, several people made many small errors, each individually, but momentous when combined with others. As a result, ships went down while passengers and crewmembers died.” The wreck of the SS Cedarville is only one example.

The plaque says the real cause of wrecks is people. How often do people cause wrecks and destruction to their own lives or the lives of others and then blame God for the pain? Does God allow us to make bad choices? Yes, but when we make those bad choices, we should put the blame where it belongs, and not on God.
–Roland Earnst © 2018

Why Two Genders?

Why Two Genders?
The simplest one-cell life forms can reproduce by dividing, but advanced life requires both a male and a female to procreate. We wonder why two genders are needed. How can naturalistic evolution explain sexual reproduction?

Science has discovered that sexual reproduction is much more complicated than we ever would have expected. Various plants and animals use different processes involving two genders to reproduce. The processes involved vary dramaticly between species. Would it not have been simpler for evolution to result in creatures with the ability to conceive a new life within themselves and give birth to that life without the need for another of the same species?

Think of how much more complicated the evolution of a new species would be if two genders had to evolve at the same time. If a male of a new species evolved with no female, that new species would become extinct when the male died. You must have two genders of the new species at the same moment in time with the same genes and the corresponding reproductive organs. Otherwise, reproduction would not be possible.

Genesis 1:27 says, “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” God created humans in His image spiritually, but He gave them a physical morphology complimentary to each other. He made the man first and then showed him all of the animals. (Genesis 2:19, 20). Surely Adam noticed that there were males and females in the animal world. As a result, Adam would have realized that something was missing from his life. He needed someone like himself, but different.

After the sex education lesson, God took some of Adam’s physical body to create his complimentary half. Adam’s reaction, “(At long last) this is now bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh.” This was God’s design for love and reproduction. Why two genders? God intended for us to have two genders to complete each other. It didn’t happen by accident. It couldn’t have.
–Roland Earnst © 2018
F. LaGard Smith has written an excellent book which goes into great detail on this topic. The title is Darwin’s Secret Sex Problem and we highly recommend it.

Law We Must Obey

Entropy - A Law We Must Obey
Have you noticed that things wear out? Whether it’s your clothes, your car, or your favorite easy chair, they all decay over time. Iron rusts, wood rots, food spoils, and everything becomes disordered. We think of it as a normal part of life, and we refer to it as getting old. People get old too, and our bodies are not what they used to be. There is a law for this, and it’s called the Second Law of Thermodynamics. It’s a law we must obey!

The principle of increasing disorder or decay is called entropy. It is unavoidable. More than that, it’s necessary for the world in which we live. Because of the principle of entropy, heat energy can be transformed into mechanical energy to perform work. That’s what happens in the engine in your car. It’s also what happens in the muscles of your body. In other words, without entropy, you would not be able to move, or digest food, or breathe. Your heart could not beat. Every process that sustains life requires work and work requires entropy.

Decay is the inescapable result of entropy. The principle of entropy proves that there was a beginning to the universe, as the Bible says from the very first verse. If the universe were infinitely old—if it did not have a beginning—it would be completely disordered today, and no life would exist. Because of entropy, we know that the universe will end. “The creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the ONE WHO SUBJECTED IT (God), in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God” (Romans 8:19-21, emphasis added).

The Second Law of Thermodynamics was part of the physical laws God created in the beginning. “We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to the sonship, the redemption of our bodies” (Romans 8:22, 23).

In other words, for now, we must obey the Second Law of Thermodynamics and its resulting entropy. But, here’s the good news, the law we must obey, will be abolished! “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away…” (Revelation 21:1).
–Roland Earnst © 2018

Does Your GPS Work?

Does Your GPS Work?
Does Your GPS work? If so, you can give credit to Albert Einstein. In 1905 Einstein published the Special Theory of Relativity which said that nothing can travel faster than the speed of light. This presented a problem because gravity acts between objects instantly and thus it seems to be faster than the speed of light. It was a problem that needed a solution.

Ten years later, in 1915 Einstein revealed his General Theory of Relativity which resolved the problem. The explanation was that the Sun and planets cause space to curve around them and this warped shape of space influences the motion of other objects passing by them. That’s why the Moon orbits the Earth, and it’s why Earth and the other planets orbit the Sun.

This warping of space also bends light beams that pass through space. In 1919 British astrophysicist Arthur Eddington confirmed that Einstein was correct. Eddington observed the bending of light from distant stars as the light passed by the Sun during a total solar eclipse.

The understanding of how gravity bends space and light beams has given us methods of making measurements in space and detecting planets orbiting other stars. Einstein also said that time is warped by gravity causing time to move more slowly near massive bodies like the Earth. The effect of gravity on time allows Global Positioning Satellites to determine the exact position of the GPS receiver you use in your car.

Does your GPS work? If it does, it works because brilliant minds have discovered many of the amazing details of God’s creation. We have been able to apply the things we have learned, but science has only scratched the surface of understanding the work of the Creator.
–Roland Earnst © 2018

Why Plants Grow Up

Why Plants Grow Up
Have you ever wondered why plants grow up instead of down? Take a bean, a grain of corn, or any other seed and lay it on top of wet soil until it germinates. The root will grow out of the seed and turn downward into the soil. The shoot will go upward. It doesn’t matter which direction you position the seed when it germinates. Even if the seed germinates in a place where there is no light, the root still goes down, and the stem goes up.

After the root and stem are growing, take the seed and turn it upside down with the root pointing straight up. The root will turn around and head back down into the soil. Take a potted plant and lay it on its side so that it’s horizontal. If the dirt doesn’t fall out, the plant will make a turn and go upward and its roots downward.

Trees on a hillside don’t grow perpendicular to the slope. They grow upward, and the roots grow downward. If there is a landslide and the tree is left horizontal, it will turn and start growing upward again. Amazing, isn’t it?

This ability of plants to know up from down is called gravitropism. Only in recent years has science begun to learn the secrets of how it works. In the cells of the plant, there are particles called statoliths. They normally sit on the bottom of gravity sensing cells. When the plant is tipped, they move and send a message to the growth regulating cells that the direction of gravity has changed. The roots react positively and go toward the source of gravity. The stem responds negatively and goes in the opposite direction.

This explanation is an oversimplified description of why plants grow up. How a plant with no brain or central nervous system communicates the message of which way to grow from one cell to another is still not fully understood. Little by little, science is uncovering the mysteries of life. We still have much to learn, but it’s obvious that plants show evidence of design by a Master Engineer.
–Roland Earnst © 2018