Do Neandertals Disprove Day Six Creation?

The evolutionary claim is that Neandertals split from the lineage of humans about 500,000 years ago, and are an ancestor of humans (homo sapiens) which constitute a link between us and ape ancestors. We can include the newly “discovered” lineage of Denisovans as well, a particular DNA from archaic man that appears to have fingerprints in modern DNA. The Neandertal DNA is found, too, in the modern human genome, which shows that interbreeding took place between them and us.

Let us look at three possibilities:

  1. Atheistic evolution is true, and these groups must be 500,000 year old links to our ape-like ancestral past.
  2. Progressive or ‘old-earth’ creation is true, which means these were pre-Adamic soulless non-humans, or that man existed, lived and died, long before the fall.
  3. Man was created on day 6 of creation, and these are simply humans.

1. If atheistic evolution is true, we would need to be confident in our ever-changing timeline based on each conflicting fossil discovery. But modern evolutionists such as Evolutionist Donald Johanson, discoverer of the “Lucy” Australopithecus, said this about Neandertal:

“From a collection of modern human skulls Huxley was able to select a series with features leading ‘by insensible gradations’ from an average modern specimen to the Neandertal skull. In other words, it wasn’t qualitatively different from present-day Homo sapiens.”

Prof. Clive Finlayson of the Gibraltar Museum, an evolutionist, says the scientific community will have to accept that the Denisovans, like Neandertals, were, like us, Homo sapiens.

If this is true, on an evolutionary timeline, we have broader acceptance of humans being humans, having interbred, and moved about the world as merely people groups of the same homo sapien species for the last 500,000 years, with still no connection to apes. Hence, we are only examining the genetic interbreeding of different people groups from different parts of the world.

But were Neandertals truly like us? Consider the archaeological evidence, discovered and corroborated regardless of belief in an intelligent designer:

Tools make of stone.

Leather working skills.

Ability to control fire, and make pitch.

They had jewelry.

They used make-up (cosmetics).

They had culinary skills, and used herbs to spice food.

Burial customs for the dead.

They had an understanding of music, and instruments.

They made glue.

Understanding of architecture, even building large structures underground.

Care for the disabled among them (evidence shows some members of the community living long past an injury).

Created shelters, much like native Americans, covered with animal skins.

Evidence of a voice box (they could speak to each other).

This to me does not sound like a group of evolving apes based on evidence, and there is no need to even assert biblical beliefs to conclude this.

2. If Old Earth creation or progressive creation is true, then we must ask of the timeline. Adding the dates of the bible, even with a liberal understanding of its chronology, you cannot add up the dates and get to 10,000 years, 100,000 years, or the 500,000 years that Neandertals supposedly lived. Stretching out the lineage in this case is of no help. The progressive creationist must accept secular dating. Therefore they must decide if Neandertal is a soulless non-human, (can’t be true based on their ability to breed with modern humans, making them the same created kind), or if they lived and died for half a million years to bring about God’s timeline in dealing with modern man.

I have mentioned Frank Turek many times in my writing, and he continues to be a wonderful apologist, well spoken, and so very smart. I have the utmost respect for him, and his Cross Examined ministry. But as he does not prescribe to a biblical timeline for the universe, I still find myself in conflict with him on this point. I bring him up now, because I just watched him in a debate with atheist Michael Shermer. Frank was amazing as always, articulate and logical, and only got backed into a corner at one point. And that was when Michael had the wherewithal to press Frank on the millions of years problem. Shermer asked, “…Christianity began about two thousand years ago, what was God doing that 99.99% of all that time, if this is all beautifully designed and elegant[ly], teleological and purposeful, and it’s all here for us so that we would be here, boom, here we are, why the 13.7 billion years of nothing, and then, I think I’ll send my son to this desert place in the bronze age culture… and I’ll give them the message?”

He goes on to ask of the supposed souls of Neandertals, of Australopithecus, all the way down to his dog. Frank, normally confident, was stymied, and forced to quip back with sub-par responses, because his world view on this point does not line up with scripture. Death before sin, of course. But Shermer’s point is obvious, and engaging, and yes, logical! Why indeed would an all-powerful God mill about for 13 billion years then finally deliver a message 2000 years ago. What a cosmic waste of time for a God who can create from nothing, who is love, who desires a relationship with us. From a biblical perspective it makes no sense.

Dr. Turek was forced to take a weak position, responded first with a joke, and say blandly that yes Christ died for the Neanderthals if they had a capacity to make moral decisions, as well as Lucy, and homo erectus. He is correct in asserting that Christ’s sacrifice was retroactive, and still based on faith retroactively, but now you have a sub-species of ancient man who didn’t make the morality cut off line, who perhaps didn’t have souls, and who were so far from homo sapiens that they would have no capacity for religion. More than that, you have now inadvertently implied that religion is a modern (aka man-made) construct that had no relevance to certain ancient groups. Apparently God was sitting back and watching them live, and die, until they became moral enough to start interacting with them, a process He decided to start only 6000 years ago.

God also revealed to us by special revelation (God-breathed word, the Bible) that by one man, Adam, sin entered into the world. A pre-Adamite group who suffered the penalty of sin (death) for millions of years before the fall would make this claim a lie, and would therefore be heretical. It would seem that once again, if man’s interpretation of data is accepted, based on the pre-supposition that we evolved, it would clearly undermine the authority of scripture. When even brilliant men like Dr. Turek, and Dr. Ross try to blend the two, it inevitably waters down the word of God.

3. Since Neandertal DNA is present in modern man, the interbreeding indicates they were in fact the same species, just a different people group. If these are robust post-flood, post Babel decedents of Adam, then all of the evidence fits perfectly. They lived and died as human beings, nomadic for a time, in a world that was just destroyed in deluge and was unsettled. They suffered from malnutrition, buried their dead, and exhibited normal tribal behaviors. Furthermore, they were alive at a time where the bible records long life (hundreds of years), which explains robustness of the skull and skeleton, and is backed by scientific understanding of the changing oxygen, air pressure, and magnetism of that time as compared to present day.

Once again we find that logic and evidence answers the riddle of Neandertal using a biblical framework with relative ease. The historicity of the word of God continues to be a tremendous source for understanding the ancient pre and post flood world.

Christian Despondency

If you have followed along on my Facebook page you have no doubt noticed that I celebrate the comfort and truth of God’s word, the hope we have in Christ, and the invigorating exploration of apologetics, as well as the beauty of literature and poetry, and the power that resides in the written word. It is said that in America, we have lost some 60% of the words that scholars used to utilize at the zenith of our language. How I envy the ability to write as Shakespeare did, or Jane Austin, or Cervantes.

But within these posts, you may have noticed an underline addressing of despondency; an analysis of heartache, tragedy, and melancholy; a searching for some future hope, or purpose, a loss of life’s magic, and even a celebration of beautiful literature surrounding these feelings.

The Greeks did honor to both masks, remember, the joyful laughter, as well as the tragedy of sorrow. We sometimes presume that the families who file into church Sunday mornings are balanced, happy, stable, even perfect. Pastors preach about sins, and tribulations faced, in a general way. But it often doesn’t appear to land on the well-dressed, well-behaved, perfect people in the pews.

But these same people fight within their marriages, have trust issues, have broken hearts, cry in Sunday school classes, face anxieties.

Charles Spurgeon once said in a sermon, “I wonder every day that there are not more suicides, considering the troubles of this life.”

We can end up rejecting, or not walking with God, due to our despondency. Prayer and rest become empty. Friends who “comfort” you with scripture feels like bright lights during a migraine. And when it doesn’t appear that Christ is “enough” and you aren’t exemplifying the fruits of the spirit such as joy and peace in your walk, those friends can become accusatory. Perhaps you don’t have Christ in your life? Perhaps you don’t have faith? Why can’t you just cheer up?

Zack Eswine, who wrote about Spurgeon’s sufferings said this:

“Conscious only of our miseries, we become like those who love a person without that love being returned. To carry out the metaphor, what is worse, we must listen in as the one we love marries another and goes on with life happily without us… the toasts and cheers from their family and friends only magnifies the absence, anxiety, and rejection with which we must live. This is what it is like with God.”

As we cling to God when all our evidences are clouded, and joys are fled, our grip on the cross becomes a desperate grasp.

The Psalmist said, “When I remember God, I moan: when I meditate, my spirit faints. Selah.” (Psalms 77:3)

These feelings are real, and I dare say, prevalent within the church. Addressing it, and talking about it is the only way to deal with it. Of course continue to take it to the Bible, and to God, but finding a peer group that is committed to each other, and to exploring ways to grow in their walk is vital. To grow in faith together, so that even as emotions ebb and flow, the faith on the promises of God do not.

We do not shy away from the fact that there is a precedence in the Bible for addressing depression. There was suffering and longing in the desert. David was broken by his sin, and the repercussions that unfolded because of it. Solomon had all worldly pleasures, and delivered us the book of Ecclesiastes, which spells out the vanity of our lives. Even our savior Himself, according to Isaiah 53, was prophesied to be the “Man of Sorrows.” And indeed, He was, taking on the rejection of the people He came to save.

I am starting a group within my church, a place to encourage each other, and to identify a means of support for those who can no longer pretend to have it all together. I feel called to this particular type of ministry, as I have noticed the common, anonymous, social media versions of this are riddled with unhelpful distractions. Often the classes available in church will never address some of these truths in our lives. College class, parents with children class, young adults, singles, married couples class, a place to study the word to be sure, but upon leaving, those issues will be waiting within your week to smother the spirit.

Charles Spurgeon was a tremendous warrior for the Lord, and his sermons are studied and quoted to this day. He fought as a soldier bought by the blood of Christ, and is widely respected by pastors the world over. But he testified once, “I could readily enough have laid violent hands upon myself, to escape from my misery.” Referring to his own death, he said, “I know one who, in the bitterness of his soul, has often prayed it.”

If you start by knowing that you not only aren’t alone, but that you are in fact in the best of company, well then it is a step. My hope is that the encouraging of one another will follow. God bless.

 

 

 

What Are Students Taught about the Death of Dinosaurs?

dinokiller

A giant, life ending, asteroid is the common theory, yes? 65,000,000 years ago, teachers confidently espouse, that the most “likely” scenario was an asteroid that our dragon friends could not survive. Despite no evidence for such an event, there are a surprising amount of specifics taught to children about this make-believe impact. It is a model that fits the bill, when one is needed to prop up faith in evolution, and allows evolutionists to maintain their pre-supposition in molecules-to-man, despite the observable data at hand.

The asteroid was apparently 6 miles wide, the needed girth to cause an impact great enough to change the weather, which would have created a crater 110 miles across. There are no craters in the surface of the Earth that show evidence of such an impact, though scientists have tried to pigeon-hole the data from the Caribbean Sea to imply that this event must have happened there. This impact, according to the theory, first proposed by geologist Walter Alvarez in about 1980, wiped out the dinosaurs, along with 80% of the Earth’s animals.

This theory is mostly propped up using the discovery  of a higher content of  of iridium in the Caribbean,  and coupling it with the made-up geologic column which exists no where on Earth. (Iridium is a mineral found in many meteorites, but is also heavily prevalent in volcanic events, which occurred during the flood.)

It is worth noting that though this is a prevailing theory, it is not the only one. Many scientists believe that alternate events killed the dinosaurs. Some of these include mammals eating dinosaur eggs,  the evolution of narcotic plants, climate change,  diseases, loss of plants causing herbivores to starve, which in turn caused the carnivores to starve, lowering of oxygen partial pressure in the atmosphere.

There are excellent articles and evidences addressing reptile size, geologic column, radiometric dating, etc, from a creationist perspective. But the important point here, and the crux of this article, is to note that none of these theories indicate a global flood. None of these indicate a drowning event, or water at all, as a catalyst for bringing about the extinction of large reptiles.

Why is this important? We can safely agree that academia in general has a strong bias against the bible, and its historical narrative, so we certainly wouldn’t expect the default opinion of secularism to match the global flood history recorded in genesis.

But what is telling is the actual observable data.

Certainly we know about finding buried dead things all over the Earth, including large pre-flood dinosaurs, or dragons. IMG_9378We have discovered billions of dinosaur tracks over the last 20 years, across the globe in over 1500 different locations. Scientists are slowly agreeing that these fossil graveyards, soft bodied (jellyfish) animal fossils, and fossils buried mid-meal, or mid-birth indicate a quick catastrophic burial, rather than some slow burial lasting millions of years.

But even more telling is that we have scientists themselves admitting that these finds were originally deposited due to water. For example:

World’s Largest Dinosaur Graveyard Linked to Mass Death, By Charles Q. Choi, Live Science Contributor – “The way the fossils are linked together in the same layers of earth within these bonebeds suggests all these Centrosaurs were wiped out simultaneously. The likely culprit in this scenario was a catastrophic storm, which could quickly have routinely made the waters flood up as high as 12 to 15 feet.”

Drowned dinosaur eggs’ fossil remains reveal embryos grew fast, Los Angeles Times, April 10, 2013|By Amina Khan

Publication in Yellowstone National Park – “Mammoth Site in South Dakota. Mammoths and other megafauna got trapped in a sinkhole and drown about 26,000 years ago.”

This is just a sampling. All over the world, and in article after article, scientists observe the data that these fossils were drowned at the time of death.

Now, look at these pictures of dinosaurs discovered buried:

Struthiomimus_skeleton_jconwaydownloaddeath_pose-lgcompsognathus_fossil

Notice they exhibit this peculiar contorted position popularly called the “death pose.” This pose of many fossilized dinosaurs, with wide-open mouth, head thrown back and recurved tail, likely resulted from the agonized death throes typical of brain damage from asphyxiation, according to paleontologists. If they were buried in rock slides, or were buried after death and then fossilized, they would not have this position. These animals were obviously suffocating as they were being buried by mud and water. These animals drowned.

We find this data all over the globe, and yet, I would remind you that all of the deep time, secular speculations taught in schools do not involve water! I would say that I remain curious as to why that is. But I know the answer. It puts science a little too close to a biblical theory that must not be allowed in the door. But, as it has many times before, the bible continues to be shown as the most accurate explanation of our early Earth. Is the story fantastic, and amazing? Absolutely. But it so easily explains so many geological features that it puts secular theories to shame. Academia will of course continue to scoff at the bible, regardless of how well the data matches the history. But it is quite faith-building to know that when you put in the time and research, you can stand on a great deal of evidence to support the biblical narrative.

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2 Peter 3:3 Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. 4 They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.” 5 But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens came into being and the earth was formed out of water and by water. 6 By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed.

What are the Odds, Layperson?

In the last article on dragons, I eluded to a default acquiescence that people engage in if they are laypeople, and are faced with advanced degrees and elite status. It is important to discover what science, and experts have learned, of course. But that is not to say that laypeople cannot engage in common sense considerations in regards to the creation vs evolution debate.

Often, we lay down against an opposing force with initials behind their name, and automatically assume that we are ignorant, or even stupid, if we disagree with them.

I have experienced this myself, when speaking to an astrophysicist. He talked circles around me, and was light-years (haha) smarter than me about Big Bang Theory, star formation, accepted postulations, lunar regression. But when I walked away, I couldn’t dismiss the fact that many of his postulations were deep time scientific models i.e. made up. The Biblical history described in Genesis was not only more logical in the end, but much more intellectually satisfying.

The point is, and this is just my opinion, laypeople have every right to engage in healthy debate, and if done cordially, and with respect, they can depend on their own sense of logic and common sense when it comes to the both biblical, and evolutionary studies. On the biblical side, we must ascertain if miracles are possible, for example. On the evolution side, we must decide if it is logical for us to believe in abiogenesis, or life from non-life. Another example may be that both camps have a huge problem with explaining starlight distance against time. One camp doesn’t have enough time for it to reach Earth, the other doesn’t have enough time for it to be observably equal across galaxies.

We have all heard the old example of monkeys pounding out Shakespeare on a typewriter. If not, it goes something like this:

If several hundred monkeys were lined up at typewriters, and were coerced to start pounding on the keys, and if this experiment went on long enough, we would eventually get the complete works of Shakespeare. This is evolution to a tee. It is a sold probability, and is supported by the elite of academia, regardless of whether or not it passes the smell test of our collective common sense. It is an accepted truth. It is technically possible, and so we add deep time, and conclude that without any guidance what-so-ever, a bacteria can through natural selection become a giraffe. This means that an unintelligent cause, literally beyond a simple-mindedness into the reality of no-mindedness, which knows nothing of giraffes, transforms a bacteria into a giraffe.

Must you be a technical expert in genetics, or biology to understand that this does not hold water?

The theory is perpetuated like this:

Can our monkeys accidentally hit the ‘T’ and then the ‘O’ one after the other? Sure, it is possible. One might say, hey neat, this monkey accidentally made a small word, the word “To”.

Is it technically possible that the space bar is hit next? Of course. Then, the odds would be small, but again technically possible for that monkey, assuming we had enough monkeys, billions of monkeys, hit ‘B’, ‘E’, ‘space’, ‘O’, ‘R’, ‘space’…

And then, ‘N’, ‘O’, ‘T’, ‘space’, ‘T’, ‘O’, ‘Space’, ‘B’, E’.

Is it technically possible? Given billions of monkeys, and billions of years, that eventually you would get the sentence, “To be or not to be”? It is a stretch. I’m going to say the answer is an obvious no. This is based on what I observe. I am not a geneticist. Not a biologist. But I know that based on my experiences this cannot happen.

We as logical, rational laypeople, realize that if I toss a handful of letters up in the air, it is possible that two letters may land next to each other, and spell ‘be’, or ‘to’, or ‘is’. If I actually got a three letter word, I’d probably laugh in amazement. “Holy cow, look, I tossed these letters up and it spelled bat! I mean, the ‘T’ is a bit crooked, and the ‘B’ is backwards, but still, that’s crazy!”

But if I go up in a helicopter, and toss out millions of letters, and I do that millions of times, will I ever spell, “To be or not to be, that is the question”?

Now imagine doing that and putting several million in the right order – the amount of base pairs in one bacteria cell’s DNA (cell of a human is 3 billion base pairs).

Another logically huge difference is evolution’s need for trillions of monkeys, to pound on that keyboard non-stop for billions of years. As if the universe, by chance through a series of non-intelligent causes with no agenda, is somehow trying to make order from chaos an infinite number of times. Not only this, but the universe must by chance continue to create new information, beneficial mutations, in order, at the right place, in a habitable zone, and with precise timing, all in order to bring about a result it does not desire in the least. Again, the mindless universe does not know what a giraffe is.

This is what we are taught. And despite our teachers telling us this is how it happened, we know instinctively that this cannot be the case. In fact, one could say, that we are “Without excuse.” It is my opinion, that people must train themselves into this belief, regardless of its absurdity. People wanted to believe it, wished for it, sold it, and of course now it is prevailing and acceptable. So much so that theistic evolutionists have adopted its processes as some warped way that the God of the bible would have created us. It is handed to us by an increasingly secular, man-centered society, and it is a gift for people to latch on to who hate the idea of God.

When Christ said ‘the truth shall set you free’, to those that sought to kill Him, they argued about accepting His truth about God the Father. He told them, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would be doing the works Abraham did, 40 but now you seek to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. This is not what Abraham did… If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and I am here. I came not of my own accord, but he sent me. 43 Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear my word. 44 You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies. 45 But because I tell the truth, you do not believe me.” (John 8: 39-45)

We know that an anti-God position is presented to allow for the greatness of man and his theories, but more so for his flexible morality. But I reiterate, a layperson should have every right to test what is being taught against their common sense,  about macro-evolution (molecules to man), abiogenesis (life from non-life), and all random chance creating perfect order (anthropic principle) out of chaos for literally no reason, and with no intelligence.

I speak out about it to hopefully lend courage to those on the fence, or who are too scared or intellectually bullied by science elitists. It is okay to disagree with a prevailing theory that makes no sense, and is completely un-observable. It is okay to speak up and say that you don’t believe you came from a sub-species of ape, or from a fish, or from a bacteria, or the now infamous ‘we all came from stardust.’ It is okay to believe that billions of monkeys doing random things will never create the genius of a play, or the genius of a hummingbird, or the genius of you, who are made in the image of something wonderful. It is okay to believe you are worth more than happenstance, built upon random pointlessness.

It is more than okay. It is obvious.

 

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Romans 1:20 – For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse

 

 

Endurance Through Trials

Romans 5 : 1 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

Been meditating on this verse lately. Trying to, though counter-intuitive, be grateful for sufferings. Each of us bears his or her own loss, or bitterness of heart. Having been broken in love, or denied goals, having drank the anguish of defeat, often it causes us to resolve ourselves to hopelessness.

Charles Spurgeon said, “The mind can descend far lower than the body, for in it there are bottomless pits. The flesh can bear only a certain number of wounds and no more, but the soul can bleed in 10,000 ways, and die over and over again each hour.”

But, in wading through these things, we do good to remind ourselves of a couple of key truths. Firstly, For by him [Christ] all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. (Col 1:16)

Also consider, John 15:5 “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.”

God has given us creation to enjoy, to be sure; love, wine, nature, a myriad of pleasures, but that only works if our hope and focus is on Him. When we look to the world to make us happy, finding sustaining life in the world is impossible. Welch put it this way:

“When you observe life and listen to wise people, you will quickly find that it is not about us, which hurts our pride but is a welcome relief. We simply can’t invest our hopes, dreams, and love in the self because it was never intended to carry such freight. For that matter, there is nothing created that was intended to sustain such hopes. Creation is to be enjoyed, but we don’t put our trust in it. The only alternative is God himself.” -Welch, Edward T.. Depression: Looking Up from the Stubborn Darkness (Kindle Locations 913-916). New Growth Press. Kindle Edition.

If we face bitterness and continue to long for that which we feel we are owed, even owed by God, then our resentment towards Him would distance us from that which is most important, would it not? If Christ is the door, the way, the truth, if indeed the greatest command is to love God above all else, then it could be determined that any trials, though not caused by God, are allowed to happen, in order to bring about the truth of this reality.

Paul said, it is better for you to lose your life and save your soul. Again, very counter-intuitive with how the world thinks. But imagine a world where every pleasure and desire was realized, and those pleasures kept you perpetually from seeking God. That life is still subject to entropy, and eventual death. Would it not be better to endure trials that “produce perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope?”

This has led me to conclude, rather reluctantly, that I am grateful for my trials. I say this carefully, not wishing certainly to evoke more, God forbid. But, my bitterness has certainly exposed the worst parts of me, it has exposed all of what I need to work on, and all I have put my hope in other than God Himself.

If the rest of my life, hypothetically, were devoid of all joys, stripped of all hope of love, and robbed of all entertainments, and ego-boosting assurances, understanding this one fact, that it is God’s love that will sustain me, then it is not a life wasted.

That is not to say, that nothing should be enjoyed. You won’t see me moving to a stone-built monastery in the Alps this year leaving my LOTR extended addition behind, or selling my car and living with the Amish (though I am sure they are much happier than many of the people who are plugged deeply into the world). But the folly of dependence upon people or things is lessened, as I focus my hope on Him, who has promised to sustain me, not just now, but always. John 5:24 “Truly, Truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes in Him who sent Me, has eternal life…”

Yes it is counter-intuitive. But I am grateful for my trials.

Trust

God has seen fit to grant me great faith. I say this, without boasting, for even at my worst, when all my lights faded, I knew the word to be true. I believed in the reality of God, an awesome creator, and author of real love and salvation. Belief became obvious for me. Yet, trusting Him, and trusting Christ through the day to day, through the broken plans, and the if-onlys, and the dreams of how I saw things going, this is where I falter, this is part of being sanctified, part of our endurance, part of our refinement, as I understand it. A lesson that despite my faith, I fail over and over. Trusting God, trusting in His plan, His laws, His instruction, His goals, His kingdom over my own wishes; for my wishes seem right to me, seem possible, seem magical, and seem more important.

Faith is a gift of the Holy Spirit. It says so in 1 Corinthians 12:

8 To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in various tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues…

I have been on the precipice of despair, I have felt the hopelessness of all my remaining years, I have wrestled with the imminent death of those I have loved, and I have walked through many a failing dream, and at my lowest low, this faith that God was ultimately above all things never left me, and at times was most likely the only thing that saved me.

But still… as these trials linger, and my search for purpose rolls onward, I find once more I have screamed into the wind, that I have built secular temples and trappings, that I have compared myself to all those who are what I am not, because I fail to walk with trust. And so enduring each trial becomes a stubborn reminder that I have not learned.

James 1:2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Joshua 1:9 says “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Psalms 56:3 says, “when I am afraid, I put my trust in you.”

Not in myself, or my plans, but in Him. Psalms 20:7, some trust in chariots, some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord.

We are told not to lean on our own understanding, which seems counter-intuitive as a young Christian. But as I have gotten older, and have seen the failures of my own understanding, this instruction begins to slip past the pride of my heart, and starts making sense. Trust.

So as we look to the future, we trust. We pray and trust. Even when we do not see a hope. We make decisions each day, we try to be ready for whatever purpose, whatever end; but we trust.

We plan our tomorrows with such pride and tenacity, don’t we? The dreaming, building up around us all that we deem pleasing. The reality of these hopes never remain, it is the way of a thousand small deaths.

James 4:13 Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” 14 Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15 Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” 16 As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil. 17 If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.

So on this day, May 5th, 2018, I consider the question, what will I be doing in 5 years; what has God ordained that I cannot yet see? What successes, or what hopelessness, or what cynicism, or what love. It will be interesting to see the reality of May 5th, 2023, in comparison with my mind’s wishes, or fears. All my useless what-ifs. So I pray again for trust, and say again, if it is the Lord’s will…

Perhaps it is time to have trust in our faith. Not just faith in Him. Not just trust in self.  “He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”” – Revelations 21:5

Perhaps trust in God is the key to curing the bitter heart.

The Gospel in Genesis (Bible Coincidences)

A non-believer would have to care enough about the study of the word of God to affirm there are indeed “coincidences” before he or she would have to deal with them intellectually. While it is true that some higher critics do this on a small scale, it is my opinion that there are so many so-called “coincidences” that seem to align perfectly throughout biblical history, that it becomes quite clear that the word could not have come about by accident, or fable, or from the simple imaginings of an ancient people. Sadly though, most who want the bible to be false will not take the time to consider its treasures.

For one looking for the truth of God, the NT instructs them to knock, to seek, to ask;

7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. (Matthew 7),

and in doing these things, one may indeed find faith-building evidences in the text, and in our human history that verify what the bible has stated all along. If a student were to come across such a serendipitous realization, that person would have to ignore it and pretend it isn’t there, dismiss it as coincidence, convince themselves it is a fabrication, or accept that it verifies the truth of the word, the promises of God, and actualizes His will. Easy enough to pick the first three reactions when one, or even two things are happened upon, but with hundreds of prophecies, and collaborative archaeology, it of course becomes increasingly harder to hope that it all means nothing.

As stated, there are hundreds of things we could allude to, but I thought I would share one of my favorites:

Adam Seth Enosh Kenan Mahalalel Jared Enoch Methuselah Lamech Noah.

These are the first ten names in the long line of names leading to Christ. The Bible actually tracks the lineage from Adam all the way to Jesus, the Messiah. The line of redemption, if you will. At first glance they appear like boring lists that no one reads; so and so begat so and so, and lived this many years and he died, and on down the list it goes. Adam begat Seth. Seth begat Enosh. And so on. Each of the lists is what we call a toledoth, which states a group of generations. Genesis consists of ten toledoths, but this one is the first ten men that make up the line of Christ. Here is the text from Genesis 5:

“When Adam had lived 130 years, he had a son in his own likeness, in his own image; and he named him Seth. 4 After Seth was born, Adam lived 800 years and had other sons and daughters. 5 Altogether, Adam lived a total of 930 years, and then he died.

6 When Seth had lived 105 years, he became the father[b] of Enosh. 7 After he became the father of Enosh, Seth lived 807 years and had other sons and daughters. 8 Altogether, Seth lived a total of 912 years, and then he died.

9 When Enosh had lived 90 years, he became the father of Kenan. 10 After he became the father of Kenan, Enosh lived 815 years and had other sons and daughters. 11 Altogether, Enosh lived a total of 905 years, and then he died.

12 When Kenan had lived 70 years, he became the father of Mahalalel. 13 After he became the father of Mahalalel, Kenan lived 840 years and had other sons and daughters. 14 Altogether, Kenan lived a total of 910 years, and then he died.

15 When Mahalalel had lived 65 years, he became the father of Jared. 16 After he became the father of Jared, Mahalalel lived 830 years and had other sons and daughters. 17 Altogether, Mahalalel lived a total of 895 years, and then he died.

18 When Jared had lived 162 years, he became the father of Enoch. 19 After he became the father of Enoch, Jared lived 800 years and had other sons and daughters. 20 Altogether, Jared lived a total of 962 years, and then he died.

21 When Enoch had lived 65 years, he became the father of Methuselah. 22 After he became the father of Methuselah, Enoch walked faithfully with God 300 years and had other sons and daughters. 23 Altogether, Enoch lived a total of 365 years. 24 Enoch walked faithfully with God; then he was no more, because God took him away.

25 When Methuselah had lived 187 years, he became the father of Lamech. 26 After he became the father of Lamech, Methuselah lived 782 years and had other sons and daughters. 27 Altogether, Methuselah lived a total of 969 years, and then he died.

28 When Lamech had lived 182 years, he had a son. 29 He named him Noah[c] and said, “He will comfort us in the labor and painful toil of our hands caused by the ground the Lord has cursed.” 30 After Noah was born, Lamech lived 595 years and had other sons and daughters. 31 Altogether, Lamech lived a total of 777 years, and then he died.”

As it turns out, these ancient, but seemingly innocuous names are no accident, and are very special. But no one can explain how this happened, for each name actually has a meaning in ancient Hebrew. They were of course named by men, in their free will, and according to their wishes. So, how then could the names mean anything collectively? The meanings are as follows:

Adam           man

Seth              appointed

Enosh           frail or mortal

Kenan           sorrow

Mahalalel     blessed God

Jared              shall come down

Enoch             teaching

Methuselah   his death shall bring

Lamech          the despairing

Noah               rest or comfort

A non-believer must now ask this – how did the Christian gospel message get presented in the the first toledoth? Do you see it?

“Man is appointed mortal sorrow; but the Blessed God shall come down teaching that His death shall bring the despairing rest.”

You will never convince me that Jewish authors conspired to hide the message of the Christian gospel right there within the Torah.

 

Old Earth Christians

From Prior article on SES National Conference on Christian Apologetics: “…and of a most interesting conflict among the scholars was of course young verses old earth opinions. I may do a follow up article on that, as it was quite unique the way scholars who believe in the big bang theory have to explain themselves under the paradigm of a creator. They certainly have rebuttals and evidences all neatly decided upon, however, to me (though I am no astrophysicist), these explanations fall very short, and completely contradict what we find in God’s word. You can play interpretation games all day long, but as Ken Ham said quite correctly at the conference, you do not get the idea of millions of years from a simple reading of bible. It is a man-made worldview, which must then be shoehorned into the text to make it seem to fit.”

Two  apologists whom I had the pleasure of meeting, and hearing speak, are both adamantly resigned to the “facts” of the Big Bang, and therefore are forced to explain the creation in a seemingly convoluted way, in my opinion. Dr. Hugh Ross, one such apologist, an author of many books, including Improbable Planet, is a proponent of a version of the Day-Age theory, whereas billions of years of prep and design happened during the overlapping “days” of creation. It is impossible to reconcile a plain reading of the bible text as a whole, and not be at the very least, inconsistent in understanding it when you try to force man’s world view into it. Though some of these old-earth Christians are learned scholars, have advanced degrees, and are smarter than I am, (I realize this puts me in precarious waters, though I’d also point out I met many doctors and scientists with my shared opinion as well), they also simultaneously  deny macro-evolution, Darwinism, and abiogenesis. (These processes, if given any serious thought without the philosophy of naturalism, have way too many holes to be viable, so much so that even the great atheists of our day are forced to kick the can of responsibility down the road.) This means they have to somehow imagine a scenario where God lays the groundwork of creation in stages, or steps, leading up to the existence of man, and during the great lengths of time, He must intervene intermittently in order to spur along the groundwork for mankind’s arrival at some later date.

This certainly conjures up many important questions about God, His infinite power and abilities, and why such a lengthy, slow, and clumsy process would be utilized. As stated, the bible certainly doesn’t even imply this process, and we have stated a “good” world in the beginning that stands as an example of what should have been, and that we will one day be redeemed to. This supposed history that led to our “good” and perfect Eden was apparently arrived at through, chaotic volcanoes, cosmic explosions, millions of years of death, carnage, flooding, cancer, thorns, and suffering. Not exactly a lion laying with the lamb scenario.

The problem is exacerbated when a Christian spends some time studying the actual history of evolution theory, Charles Lyell and his hate for God, how Chalmers reacted to save face for the church, and how over the years, coming up with naturalistic causes for creation and design has allowed for man to use theory in order to assert his own godhood, and how these theories have slowly become axiomatic facts that should not be questioned. (For an amazing book on that subject, read In the Minds of Men, by Ian Taylor.)

Bottom line is, I am not necessarily smart enough to argue with a doctor of astrophysics, and I’d point out that when I read his book, I can see not only his love of God, and Christ, but also his extensive knowledge about astrophysics. But it is obvious that all of his conclusions are based on the presupposition that the Big Bang is true, and that the days of creation are overlapping eras; a problematic position when one considers the importance of resting on the sabbath in the Old Testament, a particular day to honor God, not a roving, malleable representation of His glorious work (imagine an OT Hebrew resting on the 5th and 6th overlapping days in order to work on the seventh as a representation of creation week). So, if the Big Bang is true, then……

(for example) …. if it is true then we explain the collision that created the moon this way, its craters were formed this way, and Mars must be this size, and Jupiter must have formed first in our solar system, and the asteroid belt must have… etc etc, all based on computer models. One model states that there is, based on star observation, a conclusion that the Milky Way tilts up and down every 66 million years, and that the edges of this tilt are too full of radiation for mankind to live, so, of course it is ordained by God that we just happen to be in the center of this tilt process after billions of years at the exact time man arrives on the scene. A whole string of intelligent thoughts, conclusions and theories, based wholly on the fact that the group explaining it is dedicated to a Big Bang model creation. The easiest answer, from a seven day creationist standpoint is, this is where we were placed in the galaxy, and things can simply be observed moving.

Big Bang “proofs” are full of fudge factors, and faith based premises as well, and its problems are glossed over, and not addressed most times in speeches or books presented by Christians. The smoothness problem, dark matter theory, the horizon problem, all serve to discredit an already unscientific theory that challenges logic, laws of causality and energy. Ross even invokes the ridiculous Oort Cloud theory as if it were accepted fact, primarily because it needs to be in there to explain the Big Bang model, our comets, and our solar system, despite it being literally imagined (this passes for science in evolution theory). These issues are sufficient to make any Christian question this as the method in which God used to bring about mankind. But most damning to the theory is of course the bible itself, and how it clearly stands irreconcilable next to the theory, without presenting a myriad of verbal gymnastics, interpretation tricks, and imaginings.

… the earth was formed out of water and by water.

The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.

For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God,

For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned—

The suggestion, therefore, is to once again, stick to the bible as authoritative, as always, in matters of history, and forensics, for as it has time and time again, despite thousands of years of criticism, it will prove true, and man’s hope that it will be proven false in its accuracy will continue to fail. If we do this, we are less apt to look foolish in retrospect, even if our current contemporaries consider us foolish now. This was the case with many kings listed in its pages, ancient cities, civilizations, and scientific observations up to this point. It will continue to be the case moving forward.

God vs god

I welcome discussion on this, and look forward to thoughts, so please share, and invite people to like the page, and join the discussion:
I asked  fellow Christians about whether or not the God of the bible and the gods of other religious writings were the same, and got some scary answers, as if Americans got to heaven one way, and the Japanese another, and Islamic states another. The crux of the issue is, are other religious writings from God too? Let us take a look at the Quran as a comparable.
We launch from the pre-supposition that the bible is fact, and was inspired by a holy creator, and we look at the question logically. God cannot contradict himself or lie, and therefore another holy book that contradicts the bible cannot be inspired by the same God. We could do this with the Vedas or Buddhist writings easily, and no one would challenge that they are speaking of the same paradigm. But what about Islam? Some verses to consider:
Does the Quran agree with the bible that Christ is God in the flesh, the only son of God, a considerable doctrinal truth in Christianity to say the least.
Surah 4:171 – …The Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary, was but a messenger of Allah and His word which He directed to Mary and a soul [created at a command] from Him. So believe in Allah and His messengers. And do not say, “Three”; desist – it is better for you. Indeed, Allah is but one God. Exalted is He above having a son…
Surah 23:91 – No son did Allah beget, nor is there any god along with Him: (if there were many gods), behold, each god would have taken away what he had created, and some would have lorded it over others! Glory to Allah! (He is free) from the (sort of) things they attribute to Him!
Furthermore, where is it that Christ will spend eternity according to the Quran?
Surah 3:45 says – Behold! the angels said: “O Mary! Allah giveth thee glad tidings of a Word from Him: his name will be Christ Jesus, the son of Mary, held in honour in this world and the Hereafter and of (the company of) those nearest to Allah
yet
Surah 21:98 says – Indeed, you [disbelievers] and what you worship other than Allah are the firewood of Hell. You will be coming to [enter] it.
indicating that believers “and what (they) worship” will be firewood for hell, which would include worship of Jesus Christ.
Let us remember that Jesus was worshiped by the apostles as Lord, and
John 1:3, “Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.”
Col. 1:16-17, “For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”
Rev. 1:17, “When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: ‘Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last.’”
Rev. 2:8, “To the angel of the church in Smyrna write: These are the words of him who is the First and the Last, who died and came to life again.”
John 8:24, “Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.” (NKJV)
John 8:58, “I tell you the truth,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I AM!”
Matthew 1:23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.
I would ask, with this disparity between the two works, would they both be written of the same God? would one so fully exalt Christ above all things, and the very same author deny His deity, position, omnipotence, and importance?
Whether you follow one school of thought or the other, that is your choice, but we must logically conclude that when it comes to what the author was trying to convey, the two are diametrically opposed. We also must conclude that since God cannot lie or contradict Himself, the Quran cannot contain the same god as the God found in the bible.
puts it this way, which I thought was a most logical and succinct way of viewing the entire issue:

Premise 1: Either the Bible is the Word of God or it is not.

Premise 2: If the Bible is the Word of God, the Qur’an is not.

Premise 3: If the Bible is not the Word of God, the Qur’an is not.

Conclusion: Therefore, the Qur’an is not the Word of God.

For a link to his article explaining this in greater detail,  click here.
(For reference, here is a list of Quran Scriptures that affirm the bible:

Surah Al-E-Imran 3: “He has revealed to you the Book with the truth [i.e. the Qur’an], confirming what has been before it, and has sent down the Torah and the Injil.”

Surah An-Nisa 136: “O you who believe, do believe in Allah and His Messenger and in the Book He has revealed to His Messenger and in the Books He has revealed earlier. Whoever disbelieves in Allah and His angels and His Books and His Messengers and the Last Day has indeed gone far astray.”

Surah An-Nisa 163: “Surely, We have revealed to you [i.e. Muhammad] as We have revealed to Nuh and to the prophets after him; and We have revealed to Ibrahim, Isma’il, Ishaq, Ya’qub and their children, and to Isa, Ayyub, Yunus, Harun, and Salaiman, and We have given Zabur [i.e. the psalms] to Dawud.”

Surah Al-Isra: “Your Lord knows best about all those in the heavens and the earth, and We have certainly granted excellence to some prophets over some others, and We gave Dawud the Zabur (the Psalms). Say, “Call those who you assume (to be gods), besides Him, while they have no power to remove distress from you, nor to change it.”“

Surah Al-Anbiya: “And We have written in Zabur (Psalms) after the advice that the land will be inherited by My righteous slaves.”

The Qur’an  also assert that the prophet Muhammad is prophesied in both the Old and New Testaments, although he is never mentioned. Consider the following verses:

Surah Al-Araf 157: “Those who follow the Messenger, the Ummiyy (unlettered) prophet whom they find written with them in the Torah and the Injil and who bids the what is fair and forbids what is unfair, and makes lawful for the good things, and makes unlawful for the impure things, and relieves them of their burden, and of the shackles that were upon them. So, those who believe in him and support him, and help him and follow the light sent down with him, those are the ones who are successful.”

Surah As-Saff 6: Remember when Isa, son of Maryam, said, “O children of Isra’il, I am a messenger of Allah sent towards you, confirming the Torah that is (sent down) before me, and giving you the good news of a messenger who will come after me, whose name will be Ahmad.” But when he came to them with manifest signs, they said, “This is a clear magic.”)

Renewal of My Mind

Romans 12:2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind…

Living with joy is not always an easy endeavor, and yet, as a Christian, I know that my life is supposed to be a letter to others:  2 Corinthians 3:3 “And you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.”

This joy that Paul discusses over and over, and the reason he is able to praise God in even dire circumstances is due to the transcendent purpose of Christ in His life, and in the lives of those whom he cares for. This allows for a person’s heart to be filled with gladness, and love, and hope, even when all earthly pleasures have been stripped away. But our daily thoughts can be consumed by things we want, things we lack, people we are envious of, false idols, people or powers that stand above our love of Christ in our minds. So how do we renew our minds, and focus on the only thing that truly matters? (For why it is the only thing that matters, check out this blog from last year.)

I would state first that this is something I have not mastered, and am presently working on. My goal is to eventually live with the joy of Christ fully, and for my life to be a letter, a testament to that hope I have in Him. But putting away all the messy darkness must start with prayer, and there are several verses I pray and meditate on daily as I work towards keeping Jesus Christ as the transcendent purpose of my life:

Romans 12:2 “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

In regards to putting the past behind me, old idols, old hopes, old sadness, old worries, I use this: Philippians 3:13 “Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 15 Let those of us who are mature think this way…”

Him alone? Psalms 62:1 “For God alone my soul waits in silence;
from him comes my salvation.
2 He alone is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken.”

All those things we attempt to gain by our flesh, do we someday realize that God intends to give us these freely, if we but humble ourselves:

“And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.”
1 Peter 5:10

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you.” 1 Peter 5:6

This is so powerful. This is freedom from all anxiety, all regret, all pain. I’ve tried to establish my life on my own, my heart on my own. I failed. All was impasse, what love I could muster was selfish, half measures, and insufficient to establish anyone, least of all myself and those I loved. I died there, at the dead end of my decisions, my will. Luckily the mighty hand of God is expert at resurrection. I am thankful for my failures, for there is nothing more humbling than the death of all the best efforts of my heart.

So… the question is, are we humble enough to be truly care-free? I ponder this, and how to walk forward with a renewed mind, singularly focused on the only source of lasting joy. I am free then, to love others as He would have me love others, under His power, and because He first loved me. I hope this is a renewal of my mind, for I need the will of God to replace my own. My own is flawed, and only hurts. I trust His far more.