Answering Ark Encounter Critic

Creationism is a subject close to my heart, because of many reasons. The vast rich history of mankind, the over 350 flood legends of ancient cultures that corroborate the Genesis account, the geological features that attest to the great volume of water that had to have been covering the world, to even the words of Jesus himself, it is a powerful historical truth that points us towards the ultimate authority of scripture. It is an important lesson in ministry, because only if the beginning is true is the end necessary, perhaps a point for another time.

One of the great attempts of our time to teach this authority of the Genesis account is of course the  Ark Encounter at Ken Ham’s new park in Kentucky. I have been following closely as an apologist, and am continually impressed with Ken’s patience and grace towards his detractors. I was specifically impressed with his handling of Bill Nye, who popped up with a camera crew to fill his own documentary about why he feels Christianity takes away from science. This premise holds no water, but the exposure he gets from making an arch nemesis out of Mr. Ham gets him the publicity he desires, and his impudence towards him face to face, and on the cable access shows following their encounters is childish, petty, and full of ad hominem attacks that have no bearing on the subject in question. Furthermore, his attitude and refusal to show the same respect that Ken shows him is beautifully contrasted, in my opinion, by Ken’s love for people, his desire to do God’s good work, and to spread the gospel. I continue to see Ken’s love for others, as well as his class in the face of those who hate the God of the bible. In fact he welcomes opposition, in hopes that the Holy Spirit will change their hearts.

When I mentioned my respect for how he was handling the aggression of atheists, this comment was shared by another detractor:

$10 million spent on a ridiculous monument to ignorant superstition that could have been spent housing, feeding and clothing the needy. Do Christians ever actually read the bible and study the words of their messiah? I can’t recall a single passage that would indicate Yahushua [sic} would have approved of such a farcical waste of resources that could have undoubtedly been put to better use. Regardless of what you may say to the media, Ken Ham, this monstrosity is nothing more than a gigantic monument to your own vanity.

I would first say, absolutely you have the freedom to not only feel this way, but speak it, as this country grants those God given rights. I encourage questions and opinions on every subject, which is how we grow. It can be inferred by the comment that she clearly does not believe in the authority of scripture, and further that the flood was a made up story with no veracity whatsoever.

With what follows I will elaborate on my initial response:

It was actually $100 million, not $10 million to build the Ark. I would point out that freedom to spend money as they see fit is the right of Americans, and there is nothing stating that though charitable donations have been  given to projects concerning the great commission, which Jesus (Yeshua) did condone since He was the one giving it, that other donations cannot continue to be given towards hunger, shelter, and disaster relief, which is certainly the case. The religious demographic in America is, in study after study, found to be the most philanthropic, and specifically Christians are most likely to donate to the causes mentioned then almost any other group. It is precisely because of the Bible that this charitable heart and a value for others’ lives arises, and is distinctly void or lessened in other world views. E.g. Allah wills it, and it is karma, and survival of the fittest.

Ken, his well educated staff, and many visitors do in fact read their bibles and study the words of the Messiah. In their bibles can be found verses such as:  “But from the beginning of the creation, God ‘made them male and female (Jesus);that the blood of all the prophets which was shed from the foundation of the world may be required of this generation,  from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah who perished between the altar and the temple (Jesus);  For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words? (Jesus)”. We can conclude that Jesus believed in the truth of Moses’ historical creation narrative, and that He did not think the flood, or creation, or any of Moses’ writings were as the comment accused, ‘farcical’, or ‘ignorant superstition’. Instead it is clear that Ken and his ministry continues to teach the authority of scripture, and to spread the gospel to the world, which is exactly what Christ asked us to do in Matthew 28, known as the Great Commission. I personally couldn’t think of a more worthwhile cause then to help those with the means spread the gospel message. 

I would also point out that when people donate $100 million to discover alien life forms under the tutelage of atheist Dawkins, or SETI, or any other endeavor to show that evolution is true through the existence of other evolved beings somewhere else in space (which is their freedom to do), the same outcry isn’t heard from the majority of religious entities, when those resources, according to a Christian or Creationist world view are most assuredly being wasted. But it is the exact belief that this ministry is not a waste, and that the flood is not a myth, as proclaimed by the vast evidence that has been collected by scientists and organizations such as http://www.answersingenesis.org, that lead Christians to exercise their freedoms to teach upon the authority of scripture, the same authority that Jesus lent to it, not to put too fine a point on it.

I want to be respectful of dissenters (although I am admittedly less skilled at it then Ken), however, if with a passing shot over the bow, someone dismiss the bible’s authority as a farce and merely ignorant superstition, and in the same breath attempts to educate creationists on Jesus’ teachings about humanity (from that same bible), I have to wonder which comment I am expected to listen to?  And moreover, what reasoning I would have to do so based on logic? Furthermore, when you add the personal attacks against Ken’s character because his focus at present is different then yours, I can conclude these statements are not based in reason, but in a personal biased against the subject matter.

http://www.jrcooper.org

http://www.facebook.com/cooper.author

You Aren’t Free

There is this violation to our psyche, this offense that rears and bucks at the thought of losing liberty – or worse yet, realizing you don’t have it. This battle is tumultuous within the political realm, to be sure. But what about within your soul? If we focus for a minute, not on the rulers and lawmakers of a particular land, but instead on the method in which you run your own life, make decisions for yourself, chose your path.What controls that direction? Is it random? Certainly not. Your choices are made based on what you love.

That is not to say that we don’t have free will, but rather that our choices are inexorably tied to that which we love and worship. Becky Manley Pippert, in Out of the Salt Shaker, says, “Whatever controls us is our Lord. The person who seeks power is controlled by power. The person who seeks acceptance is controlled by acceptance. We do not control ourselves. We are controlled by the lord of our lives.”

This means that though we act upon our own desires, make 10,000 decisions a day, all while maintaining that we are masters of our own destiny, not one of us is free. There is no soul that is not pressed upon by some ruling factor. There is no one truly at liberty to be free from all needs, or to just be. This is an illusion, and furthermore, as with atheism for example, to deny God, or a lord within your life, is to deny that a deeper desire exists within you, one that rules over your direction. Fear? Food? Vanity? Sexual immorality? Money? Anger? Do these not lord over us? Do we not make decisions in order to feed these desires? That isn’t freedom. That is control of another kind. I am reminded of verses such as, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.”

“You shall have no other gods before me.”

“Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I have come here from God. I have not come on my own; God sent me.  Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say.  You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.  Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me!  Can any of you prove me guilty of sin? If I am telling the truth, why don’t you believe me? Whoever belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.””

If there is a lord of your life no matter what, if this is a truth that is understood by an individual, then it would behoove us to take notice of what the bible makes very clear. You are either of Him, or of your father the devil. There is no alternative option. To be utterly free is to be God. This means, as people who aren’t gods, we must choose the type of slavery we want to operate under. The slavery of sin, of unforgiveness, of distance from our creator God? Or do we  chose to worship God, make Him our king, our Lord, and in that relationship, find redemption, forgiveness, grace, hope. Either way, you belong to someone not of yourself. If you need proof, then consider this… the lord of your life will determine the nature of your death. If you are in fact the lord of your life, then by what means will you conquer it?

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?

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.

To join the conversation, please join and share at www.facebook.com/cooper.author 

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

“There is Only One Race” is Racist

“At the lowest stage of human mental development are the Australians, some tribes of the Polynesians, and the Bushmen, Hottentots, and some of the Negro tribes. Nothing, however, is perhaps more remarkable in this respect, than that some of the wildest tribes in southern Asia and eastern Africa have no trace whatever of the first foundations of all human civilization, of family life, and marriage. They live together in herds, like apes.”

Does reading that make you mad? It should, and righteously so. That is a quote from Ernst Haeckel, a German evolutionists I have covered briefly before. In doing so, I not only pointed out his affinity for horrible and fraudulent science, but also his influence on Hitler in promoting the idea of evolution and superior “races”.

Racism is an unfortunately prevalent issue as of late, as all types of crossfire ensue across many of America’s battlefields. These arguments play out on many stages, and take many forms, but like most of our problems, the reality is that it is a heart issue, a sin issue, and an issue that can be remedied with faith in God and His scriptures.

Many very personal testimonies exist that have dealt with this issue, and can make this subject touchy. Some experience personal turmoil. Others belong to an occupation, or people group that has been effected by racism. This article is not meant to belittle those experiences, but simply to say that with a proper understanding of Biblical Christianity, healing can take place in the heart of the believer in regards to this sin. But in order to do that, we must understand what the bible says about it.

Revelations 7:9-10:   After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.

What a tremendous victory that is waiting for followers of Christ, and illustrated clearly here, those victors do not share in the trite aesthetic qualifications that we who are in sin deem pertinent. Where in this victory are men separated from women? Or where do you see Haeckel’s offensive and absurd stance on certain people groups having evolved over others? Is skin tone mentioned? Does the amount of melanin  in skin determine where you stand when we arrive at the throne of grace? Does language? Does geography? No. Clearly what scripture teaches here is that none of these genetic variations that God designed in order that we may experience beautiful variety determines our brotherhood and sisterhood, or our importance when crying out to the Lamb who was slain for us.

If you feel that your rank in front of a holy God will be higher than that of a fellow believer based on your ancestry, or language, or people group, then you do not understand yet the extent of your sin, or how desperately you need grace. If you understood how judgement descended upon every nation at the flood; How every language origin was created at the Tower of Babel during the judgement of all; How every nation will endure the righteous judgement of God at the end, then you will conclude that you are not special, and have not been set apart based on anything so trivial as variety within a genome.

Now, in knowing this, and in studying genetics, it’s determined  that there is only one race, the human race. Biblically, we all came from the same 8 people on the ark that were spared 4500 years ago. This works perfectly with population growth charts, and also with present day archaeology. It was, unfortunately, science rather than the church who led the charge in stating this was a genetic certainty, despite the continued argument over origins. It is now considered fact that the term “race” is altogether worthless in describing any people group. But we give power to words that maybe they shouldn’t have. For instance, in the University of California, it is racist to state this fact:

[“There is only one race, the human race,” is offensive because it denies “the significance of a person of color’s racial/ethnic experience and history.”]

Among other banned phrases, such as, “America is the land of opportunity,” (implying that “People of color are lazy and/or incompetent and need to work harder”), and to say nothing of our freedom of speech, or growing tendency to be offended by everything, they have quite literally banned true statements, as proven by genetic science, or observation. This is not even a religious conclusion (though it is corroborated by the bible), and yet is banned as being deemed racist.

I would submit to the reader that Haeckel’s, and Darwin’s, and Hitler’s view on different people groups is extremely sinful, bigoted, and evil. I would further submit that you will be standing shoulder to shoulder with every tribe and beautiful variety of the world when you face death, either in judgement, or in victory. The question isn’t whether or not you will look like them on the outside. It is whether Jesus Christ the Lord of all is on the inside.

For more on race, please visit Answers in Genesis article.