Monday, May 17, 2010

Where was Jesus From?

I've never been able to read through the entire Bible in a year. Twice previously, I have undertaken the quest of reading through the Bible in 365 days. Both times I completed the reading, but both times I crammed my 12 months of reading into about 18 months.

Now on my third attempt, I am on pace for 12 months and holding steady, but today I had to read two days worth to catch up...and I am so glad that I did, or I would have missed this connection in the life of Jesus.

John 7:40-55 tells the story of Jesus teaching the crowds during and after the Feast of Tabernacles with such aplomb that many, who previously rejected him as the Christ began to question whether he might truly be the promised Messiah.

The Pharisees hated and wanted to kill Jesus, and they responded, "How can the Christ come from Galilee? Does not the Scripture say that the Christ will come from David's family and from Bethlehem, the town where David lived?" Israel's teachers had the wrong information, which they used to form a bad conclusion, and they missed the promised Messiah. When the temple guards returned without apprehending Jesus as ordered by the priests, the guards explained that they agreed with the teachings of Jesus. The Pharisees vainly chided them with "You mean he has deceived you also? Has any of the rulers or the Pharisees believed in him? No!" Bad information and pride in their place of authority caused these men to miss out on salvation in Christ.

In the following chapter, Jesus answers the same critics in a separate conversation with the remarks, "Even if I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is valid, for I know where I came from and where I am going. But you have no idea where I come from or where I am going." He was able to say this with both spiritual and physical meaning. They rejected his divinity and ultimate source because they refused to believe that he could have been born in Bethlehem.

I thought that in an of itself was a remarkable link in the scriptures and was glad I read them both on the same day, even though I was scheduled to read them on separate days. But I've got even more to share. If you'll bear with me a few more paragraphs, I've got an application of this for today's culture.

The dominant paradigm of thought today is that evolution can explain the appearance and culmination of organisms...all without the interaction of the loving God of the Bible. Many Christians have tried to compromise the obvious teaching of scripture regarding origins by declaring Genesis a myth and accepting materialistic explanations. In my analogy, we'll compare these compromising Christians to the Pharisees. Bad information leads to bad conclusions. The Pharisees missed the Messiah, and the current compromising Christians are missing out on the joy of trusting God's Word as completely true. They are also missing out of the cohesive nature of scripture and how it is internally consistent.

Like the Pharisees, who mocked the temple guards, they regard the contemporary high priests (evolutionary scientists) as infallible and mock anyone who would actually believe the Genesis account to be true. The evolutionary scientists shout the mantra, "Are there any REAL scientists who doubt evolution to be true?" They have so much knowledge and training, but like the Pharisees, they are unable to see the truth because of bad information which has led them to bad conclusions.

Praise God for His written Word! Don't miss the truth of scripture because high priests of today are worshiping at the altar of Darwinism and mocking those who believe God's Word to be true.

Evidence From Genetics Confirms the Bible

There are literally oceans and mountains of evidence confirming the truth and historicity of the Bible. But surely genetics is not part of the evidence...is it?

With a straightforward reading of the flood account in Genesis, what kinds of things would we expect to see today?

  • Billions of dead things buried rapidly
  • Sedimentary layers all over the earth covering vast distances
  • Fossilized sea creatures buried high above current sea level
  • Sorted and distinct layers of soil with little erosion between them
And this is exactly what we find when you begin digging down into the soil. But genetics? Come on?!?!? This has been a bastion of evolutionary ideas since Francis and Crick discovered the DNA molecule? Right?

Well before we make up our minds, let's talk history for just a second to get some background. Genesis 7 tells us that Noah, his wife, their three sons and their three daughter's in law were the only eight humans saved from the flood by the ark.

We'll also need a tiny lesson in genetics. Mothers pass along to their daughters a genetic unit called mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA). The mtDNA is not passed along from fathers, so it remains unchanged (other than mutations) from mother to daughter. Therefore, we can trace back a lineage through the mtDNA. How many mtDNA lineages were on the ark? Three. The wives of Noah's sons all have recorded children. It is possible that there could have been four, but the Bible does not record Noah's wife bearing any more children after the flood.

So, if that story is true, how many mtDNA lineages might we expect to find today? Three, right? Well, that is exactly what secular genetics confirms. The current mtDNA lines have been given the designations "M", "N", and "R". God's Word is confirmed yet again.

If you're interested in seeing a more detailed explanation of this article, you can see it on creation.com's website.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

The Fossil Record. What Does it Actually Show?

Does it show long ages (billions of years) of slowly changing species into modern animals? Or is it a poignant confirmation of the biblical account of catastrophe because of man's sin?

The fossil record is exactly what you would expect to find based on the biblical account in Genesis 7-9.

Check out the images from this blog. You'll see dinosaurs and fish buried so quickly and so catastrophically, that the meal they were eating was only half-way in their mouth! There are a few pictures of a dinosaur "graveyard"...jumbled bones all broken and disorganized as though a flood had trapped hundreds of dinosaurs and buried them under tons of sediment.

Is it Noah's Ark?

We had a question today in our Christian Worldview of Origins class about whether the recently discovered remains on the mountains of Ararat are actually the historical timbers from Noah's Ark.


I am optimistically cautious that the find "holds water"...so to speak. Some of the positive signs so far:
1) It is in the right place (it fits the Biblical description of the mountains of Ararat.)
2) It is 5000 feet above the tree line and human civilizations
3) It is buried or partially buried in a mountain glacier. (this is useful only to note that it would be very diffi...practically impossible to haul tons of lumber UNNOTICED up this tall mountain, construct it, and imbed it in a glacier so that it appears to have been there for 4500 years.)

Obviously, many people will be anxious to rebuke the claims of authenticity, but we should watch for their motives.

You can follow an ongoing discussion about the news and developments of this story at creation.com

Christian Worldview of Origins

I'm teaching a class at our church called the Christian Worldview of Origins. Our culture today is so biased towards a humanist/evolutionary worldview, that many Christians feel like they have to compromise.

There have been some good questions so far in our classes, and this is a pretty good forum to address some of those.

One of the questions was, "How do evolutionists handle the question of poly-strata fossils?" I went looking on the most popular evolutionist debate site (www.talkorigins.org), and this is what they had to say:

As for Malone's "problem" with the "thousands of years" for the tree to remain upright for "slow accumulation" to occur, it is a non-problem - he is simply interpolating the average depositional rates for an entire formation down to the scale of metres. This is not the correct way to do it, because individual beds can be deposited rapidly (say, sands and mud during a levee breach), and then little deposition can occur for a long time (e.g., a soil horizon), as is observed in modern river floodplain environments where trees commonly occur. In short, he is assuming conventional geologists would interpret the occurrence the simple way he has interpolated - they do not.
Essentially, layers of soil accumulate slowly over millions of year unless you can prove otherwise, like with poly strata fossils. Or evolution happens just like WE say it does, except for the all of those times when organisms stay constant in the fossil record.

Feel free to post other questions, comments, or other ideas.