Gray Fossil Museum

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Visited the Fossil Museum in Gray TN this afternoon. There is a dig on site from which students and paleontologists are pulling out some amazing fossils. I want to preface this article by stating that I am very proud of the community for honoring the scientific find by dedicating resources to the site, as well as moving the direction of the highway in order to accommodate the dig. There are a plethora of fossil samples being pulled from the ground, two of which have been classified as new species. The exhibits are classy looking, and beautiful, and the facility, labs included, appear to be top notch.

This unfortunately is where my admiration for the project ends, as the whole site is absolutely dedicated to forcing evolutionary propaganda down each guest’s throat at every turn, and on every wall. It was egregious how prevalent the indoctrination was. Granted, I was expecting to encounter the millions-of-years mantra several times, but from the beginning 15 ft 4.5 billion year time line on the wall  at step one, to the ode to Charles Darwin hallway at the end, it dripped with the insatiable need to reinforce the religion of humanism, naturalism, and evolution.

It was never presented exactly how the dates were determined for the dig (between 4 million and 7 million years ago), but it could be deduced by both typical evolutionary presupposition and normal modus operandi that pre-determined index fossils dated the rocks, and of course the rocks date the fossils (a.k.a. circular reasoning).

In a 1979 interview with *Dr. Donald Fisher, the state paleontologist for New York, Luther Sunderland, asked him: “How do you date fossils?” His reply: “By the Cambrian rocks in which they were found.” Sunderland then asked him if this were not circular reasoning, and *Fisher replied, “Of course, how else are you going to do it?” (Bible Science Newsletter, December 1986, p. 6.)

“The rocks do date the fossils, but the fossils date the rocks more accurately. Stratigraphy cannot avoid this kind of reasoning . . because circularity is inherent in the derivation of time scales.”—*J.E. O’Rourke, “Pragmatism vs. Materialism in Stratigraphy,” American Journal of science, January 1976.

“The charge that the construction of the geologic scale involves circularity has a certain amount of validity.”—*David M. Raup, “Geology and Creationism,” Field Museum of Natural History Bulletin, March 1983, p. 21.

“It is a problem not easily solved by the classic methods of stratigraphical paleontology, as obviously we will land ourselves immediately in an impossible circular argument if we say, firstly that a particular lithology [theory of rock strata] is synchronous on the evidence of its fossils, and secondly that the fossils are synchronous on the evidence of the lithology.”—*Derek V. Ager, The Nature of the Stratigraphic Record (1973), p. 62.

 

“The intelligent layman has long suspected circular reasoning in the use of rocks to date fossils and fossils to date rocks. The geologist has never bothered to think of a good reply, feeling the explanations are not worth the trouble as long as the work brings results. This is supposed to be hard-headed pragmatism.”—*J.E. O’Rourke, “Pragmatism vs. Materialism in Stratigraphy,” American Journal of Science, January 1976, p. 48.

Furthermore, if you will notice the picture I took of one of their displays IMG_6303(sorry about the glare), it states another hard-nosed take on how evolutionists practice science. Let me paraphrase the sign for the laypeople that pass by it. “We here at the Gray Fossil Museum already know that these fossils are as old as we were taught in school, therefore we know we don’t have to use a test that may prove it wrong, despite the fact that C-14 has been found in everything from dinosaurs, to coal, to diamonds (see link here on Carbon dating), and may in fact be found here, which would ruin all of our predetermined expensive exhibits. We would not be able to handle reaching conclusions such as a fossil known to be 4.5 million years old with a C-14 result of 12,000 years for example, and if these conclusions were determined, we would of course throw them out based on the obvious reasoning of either contaminated specimens, leaching, our faulty testing, without once considering a change in our presuppositional position that was determined without any observable, demonstrable, repeatable testing whatsoever.”

This type of “science” has unfortunately become more normal, but is intellectually dishonest. I would be willing to bet C-14 was quite prevalent in these fossils, if one of the local scientists had the integrity and courage to test for it. But as you can see from the picture, they have already informed the public that it is wholly unnecessary.

A final note about the Gray Museum is in regards to the story they present about how these fossils got here. According to their “experts”, water leaked into a cavern under the surface, creating a sinkhole which eventually became deep, and then was filled with trapped wild life from tapirs to snakes to bear, and was then fossilized slowly over time. This conjecture makes me want to take everyone involved and set them on the rim of a sinkhole, toss in hundreds of animal carcasses, and make them camp and watch how quickly nature recycles dead flesh. (Don’t mind the smell, that’s just the rotting away of all your theories). I reiterate what science knows already, which is that fossil formation today is exceedingly rare. Is this sinkhole trap an anomaly that explains the possible thousands of trapped animals? What about the billions of other fossils all over the earth? Perhaps the earth was covered with sink holes? Ridiculous. Fossils are made when organisms are buried quickly by mud and water, and the world is filled with organisms that have been buried quickly by mud and water. Sorry Gray Fossil Museum, but it’s time to take Darwin the racist, incestuous philosopher off your wall, and start to practice real science.

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What does Geology’s lean towards Catastrophism mean?

When debating for the authority of God’s word, you get berated with broad sweeping statements about how evolution is an undeniable fact, a premise I take pleasure in battling, not only to edify Christians struggling against a hopeless humanistic view of the world, but also because it is absurd in every field of science. Today we explore the field of Geology, which is experiencing a paradigm shift within its walls that it is not quite ready for. Imagine the daunting task of re-evaluating 150 years of presupposition that has influenced historical geology, but has not come to bear in recent years as scientists in the field apply the actual scientific method of systematic observation, measurement, and modification of the original hypothesis. 1.The system is so unwilling to address it that the corporate response to various geological societies has been censorship, and policy statements that disparage views other than the accepted narrative.

Let me explain what I mean. The idea of deep time came from a philosophy over 150 years ago, and during a time when there was a shortage of good data, and only conjecture that was aimed at explaining all things through slow gradual processes – the term became known as uniformitarianism. It was the goal of Charles Lyell and others to save science from the biblical model, and the works in question dripped with vitriol towards God’s word. We discussed in my last article some debate fallacies; well geology started with a big one, called “Begging the Question”. This fallacy states that the conclusion is already true. With the premise firmly planted as a presupposition from which all data must be interpreted, it was easy to see how bones in the rocks became slowly buried over time, how layers were laid down slowly, and how gradual processes were the cause of all geological features, such as diamonds, oil, and stalactites.

But geologists began to notice a great many anomalies as time went on, facts that didn’t fit the framework. For example, the fossil record, a record of billions of organisms buried in the earth, despite the fact that fossilization is a very rare occurrence, and cannot explain the plethora of examples. A fish dies and what happens? it floats, rots, and is devoured by the ecosystem around it. But they still teach the gradual process of a fish floating down to the sand, and slowly being covered (preserved somehow) until it is buried and mineralized. Many of the larger fossils (dinosaurs, birds) have been found in death throws from drowning, and eddies exist called fossil graveyards where hundreds of animals were covered with water and mud. What gradual natural phenomenon would explain this? Also found within the fossil records are soft bodied animals such as jellyfish, previously thought to be an impossibility, since it was a certainty that the lack of rigidity wouldn’t allow for fossilization.

You may recall in school being taught that petrification, stalactites, coal, diamonds  all took eons to form. This is no longer the case. We have examples of modern man-made objects being petrified, we have embarrassed cave guides telling us the great time it takes for stalactites to form while standing on a metal staircase with stalactites forming off of them, we have found Carbon 14 in everything from dinosaur bones, to coal, to diamonds which shouldn’t be there (see link above), and we have been able to create in labs everything from diamonds, to oil, to opals in days.

Another great challenge to the narrative came in the form of polystrate fossils, as uncovered by the geology professor at the University College of Swansea, D Ager. He was of course trained to believe uniformitarianism, but came to realize it did not account for many things he was seeing. Specifically these polystrate fossils, trees passing through multiple layers of rock layers, sometimes through coal, then rock, then coal again. This covering of polystate fossils would be impossible at slow speeds, because the top would rot long before the hundreds of thousands of years it would take to cover it. Many geologists recognize these features as a product of catastrophe.

The detailed lists of geological problems go on and on, from the study of created granite, problems with dating methods, to river deltas, to folded rock formations devoid of fracturing, to continent-wide deposits of sediment, to quick geological sorting as evidenced by a study at Mount Saint Helen’s, which quite frankly, made a mockery of deep time when it was observed in 1980. It has become obvious that Lyell’s approach to geology wasn’t holding water, and slowly within field, more and more geologists have gravitated to the obvious conclusion, that geological features were affected by catastrophe. This is now known as catastrophism, or actualism, which stipulates that many features had to have been made very quickly. These are still evolutionists, mind you, and a large percentage will still deny intelligent design, which of course requires the continued paradigm of billions of years. However, the amusing trouble with the conclusion is that if we can observe catastrophe, but must still believe in deep time, we then have no choice but to insert the great eons of time between the layers… WHERE THERE IS NO EVIDENCE!!

It is interesting to note that each field, with its major setbacks concerning evolution, tends to depend on other fields to bolster the theory. And since each field knows which direction it must point, to change a paradigm is to go against all of academia. The dirty little secret however, is that these holes in evolutionary theory are demoralizing many fields at once from genetics, to taxonomy, to anthropology, to cosmology; and when deep time is taken away as the default, many men and women of science will be left to ponder what the alternative must be.

 

“It must be significant that nearly all the evolutionary stories I learned as a student….have now been debunked.” – (Dr. Derek V. Ager, Department of Geology, Imperial College, London)

“Evolution is unproved and improvable, we believe it because the only alternative is special creation, which is unthinkable.” – (Sir Arthur Keith, a militant anti-Christian physical anthropologist)

“The absence of fossil evidence for intermediary stages between major transitions in organic design, indeed our inability, even in our imagination, to construct functional intermediates in many cases, has been a persistent and nagging problem for gradualist accounts of evolution.” – (Stephen Jay Gould, Professor of Geology and Paleontology, Harvard University.)

“The universe and the Laws of Physics seem to have been specifically designed for us. If any one of about 40 physical qualities had more than slightly different values, life as we know it could not exist: Either atoms would not be stable, or they wouldn’t combine into molecules, or the stars wouldn’t form heavier elements, or the universe would collapse before life could develop, and so on…”

(Stephen Hawking, considered the best known scientist since Albert Einstein, Austin American-Statesmen, October 19, 1997)

“The extreme rarity of transitional forms in the fossil record persists as a trade secret of Paleontology. Evolutionary trees that adorn our textbooks have data only at the tips and nodes of their branches; the rest is inference, however reasonable, not the evidence of fossils.” – (Dr. Stephan J Gould, Harvard Paleontologist, “Evolution, Erratic Pace”)

“If I as a geologist were called upon to explain briefly our modern ideas of the origin of the earth and the development of life on it to a simple, pastoral, people such as the tribes to whom the Book of Genesis was addressed, I could hardly do better than follow rather closely much of the language of the first chapter of Genesis.”—*Wallace Pratt, quoted by W.L. Copithorne, in “The Worlds of Wallace Pratt,” The Lamp, Fall 1971, p. 14.

“Evolution is faith, a religion.” – (Dr. Louist T. More, professor of paleontology at Princeton University)

“We have had enough of the Darwinian fallacy. It is time we cry, “The emperor has no clothes.” – (Dr. Hsu, geologist at the Geological Institute in Zurich.)

 

 

 

  1. – Dr, Tasman Walker, PhD, “Evolution’s Achilles Heel”

“Evolution is Fact!” But The Debate Persists…

I have had two very spirited debates as of late, and like others, am noticing a trend of debate mistakes that reoccur, understandably so, because of the emotional nature of the topic. Though one must ask, if your default position is atheism, why adopt the aggressive freedom fighter mentality that usually decays in to insults and personal attacks. I stipulate that both sides do this often, but I suppose I can understand religious fervor to save one’s soul more than a fervor to prove Christians ignorant, fact-denying, brainwashed pseudoscience following imbeciles. I suppose it boils down to what’s at stake. If God and the bible are real, then that means a real creator, real sin, real judgement, and a real way to inherit that kingdom that was denied by said atheist. If Christians can be bullied into submission despite facts to the contrary, I suppose payoff for the atheist is obvious, a life that is consequence free.

During the debate, no evidence was put forth to diminish the word of God, and no evidence was put forth to bolster evolution, nor undermine the creation model. Statements were made such as:

“Christians and Americans are reaaaally good at spreading misinformation, because they don’t understand history”

“countless scientific facts that disprove so many statements and ideas in the bible”

“Believing the words of the bible is no different than believing the earth is flat”

“It is one of the most factually incorrect group of texts ever collected, outside of accepted fiction”

“[The bible} is entirely false. Christian scientists are amazed at their own ability to twist facts to fit their beliefs, but that’s about it.”

“most people who grow up in religious families … choose the much easier path of disbelieving overwhelming evidence and fact”

“Simply, you don’t know what you’re talking about”

“Christians would still stick their heads in the sand and keep believing all the incorrect, illogical, contradictory nonsense written in the bible. Keep believing what suits you, to the detriment of future generations”

Notice anything about these statements? Who was being attacked? Any scientist who is Christian or believes in intelligent design; Christians who are unlearned; religious families; anyone who does not fit with the debater’s presuppositions. I remind you that no evidence was given to support these claims; these were just brazen arrows shot across the proverbial debate table. This brings us to our first debate error, the ad hominem personal attack, and more specifically the ‘Guilt by Association’ technique, which states you must be wrong because you are part of a certain group. Both of these are fallacies, and attack the person for being who they are, which is not a valid reason for giving into that person’s position.

Secondly we find the ‘Hero-Busting’ argument, in this case levied towards Christianity as a whole, stating that because of certain faults, crimes, or errors in the past, the group itself must be wrong on all accounts. Essentially, there are no heroes, and since your hero is wrong, then you obviously are too.

Finally we have two other fallacies utilized often against the creation model, and thosee who espouse them. They are related. One is called ‘TINA’ (There Is No Alternative), and the other is ‘Essentializing’. TINA is stating this is the way it is, so get over it, basically squashing any alternate ideas as ludicrous and a waste of time. This is a bullying tactic, that eliminates all other positions without having to defend them. Essentializing, is also called a ‘default bias’, and just means, something is what it is, and there is no point in discussing it further. This position doesn’t allow for growth in knowledge, or in solutions, and minimizes the efforts of the other position as pointless.

All of these were used on me during my last few debates, and weeding through them on the fly is a challenge. As an example to those reading, the statement was made that  Christians don’t practice actual science, they twist facts, practice pseudoscience, and ignore the “actual scientific process”.  My response was as follows:

“To dismiss the education of a people based on faith is to be ignorant of how many doctors and scientists are at present Christian, and or believe in intelligent design. For example CMI (Christian ministries International) employs more doctors than any other ministry the world over, all of which believe in a literal six day creation, and the authenticity of scripture… To simply negate all christians who are scientists as pseudo-scientists, and bad at science is an ad hominem attack that cannot stand up to genuine scrutiny, for many of the the fathers of science were believers.”

There are many examples, and I have in the past posted an extensive list of Christians who were not only the fathers of science, but who made vast contributions to many fields. This illustrates that the previous emotional statements are not true; that in fact some scientists who are believers do practice real science. This point was unfortunately never conceded to, and on went the denigration of anyone who claimed to practice science but actually believed in intelligent design. This is not an intellectually honest position to have, as one example would crumble the hypothesis.

Since anger was blocking any ability of mine to make headway, I chose to thank him for the spirited debate, and can only hope and pray that God will set learned and strong Christians in his path until his heart is changed. I would count myself blessed to be part of that chain of salvation. I would reiterate to everyone, I know it isn’t facts that change a heart, but God does use the word, sharper than any sword and a conviction to mankind, to change people’s hearts. But sometimes we need to be able to understand that it is possible to rely on the authority of scripture, even though the world does all it can to make it seem foolish. Sometimes just being confident in it can throw others for a loop, and I don’t think that is a bad thing, if it helps others ask questions.

 

Mammals ate Dinosaurs!

774px-Timeline_evolution_of_life.svgAs we know from years of evolutionary indoctrination, the deep-time model has dinosaurs (dragons) living from about 230 million years ago to about 65 million years when through all manner of conjecture ranging from meteors to flatulence (I’m not kidding) the dinosaurs became extinct, making way for the prosperity of mammals. What I am about to tell you was discovered in 2005, but if you google or research the chronology of evolution, you will still find the narrative has remained stubbornly constant. Above is a standard evolutionary timeline, showing data will not affect the paradigm, a philosophy clung to at all costs.

Published with the aid of scientists at New York’s Natural History Museum, there was a discovery announced in 2005 about a fossil. It was found by a farmer in northeastern China, and was dated at 130 million years old. It was a mammal.

This mammal is listed as Repenomamus Robustus, and is akin to a large possum, or shrew, that is simply called Repe. Bear in mind, the creation model has no issue with heavy duty animals larger than today’s due to pre-flood conditions (air pressure, oxygen content, magnetism), so this could very well be a larger than modern day possum, as several over-sized mammals have been found in the fossil record. But there is more damning evidence for the evolutionist’s model to consider.

ig25_Repenomamus_rob_02After examining the fossil, scientists first thought it had been pregnant at the time of burial. Turns out that’s not the case. This specimen was buried so quickly that preserved in it’s stomach was its last meal, the chewed up body of a baby dinosaur, the psittacosaur. The mammal had last eaten a dinosaur before being quickly buried in water, and mud, leaving no time for digestion before fossilization. Admitting the tantalizing find  proved that there was a”major player” within the ecosystem of what science has dubbed the Mesozoic period, previously reserved for dinosaurs and since stubborn discoveries like these, a begrudgingly  admitted spectrum of smaller mammals. There was no discussion of the conundrum it left evolutionists with. 

The scientist, Jin Meng, said “This is the first direct evidence that mammals fed on dinosaurs.” Comments abounded regarding how dinosaurs must be tasty, and mammalian species were getting payback. But no where within the frivolous conversation were obvious conclusions considered, such as, ‘perhaps we need to rethink our time-line, or dating methods, or postulate a model that has more mammals and dinosaurs living at the same time and, within the same ecosystem, and consider how that could be, since it would necessitate the evolution of mammals much earlier. None of these questions were addressed by secularists.

I will keep pointing out that evidence continues to support, and fall within the young earth, deluge model, and evolutionists will of course continue to push back, touting their faith in evolution as fact we must accept. Our friend the Repe is just another one of many finds that not only shows a world that was buried quickly in a catastrophe like Noah’s flood, but that all known animals were around at the same time, including man. Using the bible, we can clearly infer that ancestors of  the Repe and the psittacosaur were made on day 6, and can see that played out within the wonderful observable earth sciences.

Over all there have been 432 mammals found within the rock layers of dinosaurs, but as we keep pointing out, these specimens are not publicized or taught. That may not seem like a lot of samples, but consider this; there have only been 1200 full dinosaur skeletons found. Out of the millions of fossils found, only 0.0125% of them are vertebrates.

Again, for fun you can google “how old are mammals” and get information on the discovery of 165 million year old mammals, while at the same time googling a time line for evolution that still teaches small mammals arising at 60 million years regardless of how it flies in the face of known discoveries (such as a large mammal eating dinosaurs 130 million years ago). 

[From livescience.com -meet your mama-

These new findings also suggest this forerunner of most mammals appeared shortly after the catastrophe that ended the age of dinosaurs, scientists added.

“Species like rodents and primates did not share the Earth with nonavian dinosaurs, but arose from a common ancestor — a small, insect-eating, scampering animal — shortly after the dinosaurs’ demise,” said researcher Maureen O’Leary at Stony Brook University in New York.]

I reiterate, this is not science but a philosophy, clung to with all of the fervor of any other religion, and indifferent to that which is observable. They have their doctrines, and will not be dissuaded. My fervent prayer is that the house of cards that is evolutionary theory will soon collapse under the weight of its own failure. But until that day, consider the words of our Lord Jesus from John 3:12: “If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?”

If you cannot understand what you see here on earth, how can you understand what God has in store?

Let’s Be Clear… It’s a Young Earth

I have debated many agnostics and atheists over the years, over a myriad of issues, and against both hostile and kind opponents. I appreciate each one, because more often than not it highlights areas of apologetics that I need to brush up on, or better teaches me how to present biblical truth with love, rather than some misguided sense of superiority. Let us never forget as apologists that our sole purpose is to guide others lovingly to the cross. Not to berate or belittle those who lack a relationship with Christ.

But often a discussion will beat around the bush in regards to specifics of the creation model, or not address it at all if it isn’t within the scope of a contested topic, leaving sometimes months of ambiguity about certain positions. This may leave the opponent, or those following along, with unanswered queries that usually are dismissed, no doubt forsaken for a more comfortable choice. When smacked in the face with a glaring challenge to a long understood paradigm, the reaction towards me can be intense. Perhaps I seem dense, ignorant, or even stupid to the debater, and the inevitable response is to pretend it wasn’t said, or to forever think slightly less of me. I have had people throw my bible across a room, I have been told to shut up, and that I know nothing about science, and am met with dumbfounded questions like, “Have you ever even been to a natural history museum?”

So to boldly state it, so there is no room for dismissal or confusion, we will address the elephant in the room. I am a biblicist, young earth creationist who believes the earth, and for that matter the universe, is only about 6 or 7 thousand years old. I have seen science agree with the bible time and time again, and consider deep time science to be filled with assumption, circular reasoning, and un-testable hypothesis. This means dinosaurs and man have always lived together, which concurs with the book of Job. This means languages were confused at Babel, which fits with the science of linguistics, and current understanding of population growth charts. It means archaeology attests consistently to old testament historicity, regarding geography, ancient kings, unearthed cities, and numerous artifacts such as cuniform and bulae. It means we observe limiting factors in cosmology such as volcanic moons on Jupiter which should have long since cooled off, the moon pulling away from the earth in its orbit limiting its age, the impossibility of comets being older than 10,000 years due to the loss of material as it moves, the drifting out of Saturn’s rings and much more. It means we look to a literal world wide deluge about 4500 years ago to explain not only the fossil record, but also the unique and extraordinary geological features we find world wide. This includes explanation of biomass becoming fossil fuels, the Grand Canyon, the ice age, millions of tons of sediment burying pre-flood animals all over the world, like sharks teeth in a South Dakota farmer’s field, petrified clams on Mount Everest, and fossil graveyards that collected thousands of carcasses from varied species in post-flood eddies. It explains how we find man-made objects in coal seems, signs of civilization near the edges of the continental shelf, and evidence of malnourished, nomadic man with primitive tools during a post-flood world. It means we can account for the over 300 flood legends from almost every ancient civilization. It corroborates taxonomy and genetics, and allows for the splendor of natural variety within animal kinds without assuming un-demonstrable macro-evolution. It embraces the natural laws of physics, and does not assume a constant, yet un-observable, violation of these laws in order to add complexity to a closed system.

The creation does not claim to answer every mystery, but it does begin with a basic pre-supposition that the bible, in all of its uniqueness, is an eye-witness account of the history of our world, and so far is the only text proven to consistently get it right.

Without even discussing the over 1800 prophecies fulfilled without error as a mode of proof, let us consider that the bible discussed the cities of Nineveh, Ur, Jericho, and the City of David before they were unearthed in modern times; that it clued us into pathways/currents in the ocean as well as fountains from under the sea floor before man knew they were there; that it told us the earth hung in space on nothing back when men still fought over whether it rested on the shoulders of a god or on the shell of a large turtle.

In the simple telling of truthful history over a  4000 year period of writing from over 40 authors, the bible as a simple matter-of-fact revealed concise details that only later could be verified, and its accuracy continues to astound, causing skeptics to blare from a position of argumentum ad ignorantiam, or “absence of evidence”. At every turn, and within every field of scientific study, a logical position can be taken and defended that stands on the authority of scripture. I encourage questions and curiosities as always, but let us not be scared to proclaim the truth without compromise. And let us not remain ignorant of the fact that evolution is purely faith based. The only difference is the bible offers us veracity as well as hope, where as evolution offers only conjecture and insignificance.

Be Still…

Many Christians look around at the social and political landscape with a deep anxiety towards what the future holds. Different issues cling to our psyche like pursuers we can’t gain distance from. Morality, liberty, church, money, the way in which we view these things is changing. What’s worse is we are often guilty of feeding that worry, of staying exposed to it, trapped in an echo chamber of our own making  until we believe the sky is falling. It does us good to step back and remember who is in charge.

You have to wonder how terrifying the world seemed to young Daniel when Babylon marched the Israelites across Shinar into Babylonian slavery.

“In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah came Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon unto Jerusalem, and besieged it. And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with part of the vessels of the house of God: which he carried into the land of Shinar to the house of his god; and he brought the vessels into the treasure house of his god.” – Dan 1: 1-2

Israel, after prophetic warnings, had finally passed into judgement for not obeying God. Jeremiah chapter 34 explains how Israel did not practice their Sabbath days or years, and were to spend between 606BC and  536 BC as slaves to the Babylonian and Persian empire. It was exactly 70 years before Daniel and his countrymen were allowed to start rebuilding Jerusalem, the bulk of his life in fact. Permission was given by the Persians to rebuild the temple, but never again, until May of 1948, were the Jewish people not ruled over by others. They had lost their independence.

But what came from this slavery, this providential lowering of protection for Israel. First consider the precision of judgement. God’s people had abandoned the Sabbath year for precisely 490 years before enslavement. Every seventh year being a Sabbath year, meant the Israelites were being judged for disobedience in regards to exactly 70 of those years (490 / 7 = 70). The exact amount of years they were under captivity! Much too perfect to be coincidence, true historical data such as this continues to make the word of God unique, and remarkable.  Precisely 70 years were paid back to God; and during those 70 years it was prophesied not only the empires to follow and continue to rule over the Israeli people, but also the 490 year prophecy pertaining to God’s plan for them. A precise starting point was given, and an exact time of the messiah was shared with Daniel, and in turn, with the world.

The bible was edified beyond comprehension through this tumult, proving to be prophetically accurate, highlighting God’s precise righteous judgement, and promising a time of grace and salvation, all within, and around, and in the midst of human debauchery. You see, it is within the framework of human behavior that this historical narrative plays out, and does so according to the sovereign will of God. What seems like abandonment, unfairness, tragedy, when examined from a historical perspective, falls in line perfectly with what God is doing. Make no mistake, grace and judgement are, and have always been, linked. We like to celebrate God’s love, but tend to deny deserving God’s judgement, and the sacrifice necessary to bestow undeserved grace. In Eden, sin was covered, and the animals shed blood to cover it; during the flood, Noah and his family were spared, the continuously evil world judged; at the exodus, Jews were shown grace, while Egypt was judged righteously; at the cross, the world was loved, while blood was shed. It has always been.

A true study of Daniel is mind-blowing, but the greatest lesson from its pages is the comfort of knowing who is in control, even when hardships fall. That trek across the Shinar valley, each step adding distance between each prisoner’s home and holy places, while the Babylonians defiled everything sacred, how could one be asked to trust in God. It must have seemed hopeless. But even then, we can look back at a perfect mosaic woven by God’s hand, and see a plan unfold that was implemented beyond our understanding, and outside of our time.

What does this mean for you? It means that God’s plan far exceeds your understanding,  even your life, and furthermore, He does not owe you explanation before accomplishing His will. What He demands instead is trust. The kind of trust Daniel personified, despite circumstance, despite slavery, despite even death if need be. But this trust does not go unrewarded. In return for your trust, you receive that precious grace you don’t deserve, and it is stamped with the same assurances as the prophecies given to Daniel, which unfolded with supernatural accuracy.

So when we view the landscape of our times, do so with the wisdom that comes with hanging hope on the promises of God. He has asked for your trust, and has bought you with His own blood. For consideration:

When the earth and all its people quake, it is I who hold its pillars firm. – Psalms 75:3

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. – Philippians 4:6

Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth. – Psalms 46:10

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. – Proverbs 3:5

(Jesus) Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. – John 14:27

 

 

 

What is Apologetics?

Are we apologizing for being Christian? Heaven forbid. Apology in early English times did not convey the idea of excuse, or making amends for some injury done.An apologist should proudly proclaim the word of God as inerrant, divinely inspired, and expertly preserved through the ages, better than any other in history. For example, apologist John Warwick Montgomery says this: “To be skeptical of the resultant text of the New Testament books is to allow all of classical antiquity to slip into obscurity”. The reason? Because the bible manuscripts have been retained and preserved hundreds, even thousands of times better than many of the books we rely on from antiquity. Click on CARM.org link here to examine the difference between our bible and the writings of Plato, or Aristotle, or Homer. There is no comparison, as no other book in history demanded such reverence and respect when it came to authenticity.

How I defended the scriptures there, using facts, resources, respected researchers and authors, that is apologetics. Defense, from the Greek “apologia” means a defense of conduct and procedure. A verbal defense, a speech in defense of what one has done, or of truth which one believes. This describes, like a lawyer might, the examining of facts and reason that would allow someone to believe, or make a case for belief.

“Apologia” is used 8 times in the new testament including the verse 1 peter 3:15 ‘But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer (defense, apologia) to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.’

Here are some other relevant verses
Acts 22:1 – hear my defense before you now
1 corinthians 9:3 My defense to those who examine me is this…
Philippians 1:7 … in the defense and confirmation of the gospel
Philippians 1:17 knowing I am appointed for the defense of the gospel…
The manner in which the word “apologia” is used in 1 peter 3:15, denotes the kind of defense one would make to a legal inquiry, asking, “Why are you a Christian?”

Everyone who is a Christian is responsible to give an adequate answer to this question. Christianity is either EVERYTHING to mankind, or it is NOTHING. It is either the highest certainty, or the greatest delusion. But we lovingly guide others to Christ knowing this; Christianity appeals to facts of history that are clearly recognizable and accessible by everyone. It is a factual faith. Here is a basic apologetic thesis:
“There is an infinite, all-wise, all-powerful, all-loving God who has revealed Himself by means natural and supernatural in creation, in the nature of man, in the history of Israel and the Church, in the pages of Holy Scripture, in the incarnation of God in Christ, and in the heart of the believer by the gospel.” – (Bernard Ramm, apologist.)
There are many ways to practice apologetics, and I would encourage you to follow your studies in a direction that the Spirit leads you, and based on how adeptly you pick up on the different types. Often you will have to decide at the onset of a discussion what pre-suppositions each party is starting with. These will have to be explored and defined, otherwise it will be very difficult to make points. As you already know, the world of religion is very complex, and debates can spin off onto several tangents very fast. One party may want to challenge the veracity of a God while the other is only prepared to start with the pre-supposition that the bible is true, accurate, inerrant etc. There is room in apologetics for every presupposition, as long as it is defined. In fact, you may find that the bulk of a discussion is spent defining the problem. There is nothing wrong with this. As it is often said, “If I had only one hour to save the world, I would spend fifty-five minutes defining the problem, and only five minutes finding the solution.”

One way to practice apologetics is Classical, which highlights rational argument for the existence of God. You have to show that God exists before you can show miracles, or necessitate Christ’s works. Without the presupposition that God exists, it is hard to show why we need redemption at all. Refining this argument further, you can approach from a couple positions. One states there must be a cause for matter to exist; some cause that was not caused itself, for there cannot be an infinite regression of causes. Another approach is the watchmaker argument. Basically, evidence of design proves there must be a designer.

Romans 1: 20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse.
Evidential is another method of approaching apologetics. This appeals to history, the sciences, fulfillment of biblical prophecy, resurrection of Christ, etc. as evidence for the veracity of scripture and Christianity.

We must always be aware of our audience, just as the apostles were in Acts, and know from which point the audience is starting from. When Peter preached to the Jews in Acts 2, he spoke to citizens of Jerusalem with a clear knowledge of the beginning, with a respect for the Old Testament already:

“But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words… this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel… Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know…For David speaketh concerning him…”

Do you see how Peter approached by appealing to their patriarchs and already accepted history? Now compare that to an Acts 17 culture:

“Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, To The Unknown God. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you. God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.”

Paul was speaking to Athenians here, steeped in an idolatrous polytheistic culture. It would have done Paul no good to start referring to Moses, and David, and the Ten Commandments. They had no frame of reference without first being introduced to who God was.

This is often the case in America today. In the 50’s and before, our western culture was one of Christian roots, and less apologetics had to be applied, because a biblical framework already existed. That isn’t so, today. By the admittance of even our own leaders, we are not a Christian nation, and the west certainly practices varied types of idolatry and religious inclusion that parallels the Acts 17 Athenians. Therefore, we must be prepared, as Paul was, to give a defense of our beliefs, and to lovingly guide others to the cross.

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For Excellent tutelage on apologetics, visit CARM.org/apologetics (Matt Slick)