The Truth is Out There
“And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.”
Evolutionary theory is remarkably inconsistent. This is a major flaw in the theory, seriously undermining its veracity. But this problem does not often shake peoples’ faith in the evolutionary philosophy because they have committed too much to lose. And although the argument of inconsistency is undeniable, it is a sophisticated argument because it always requires at least two strands of argument which are developed and shown to be incompatible.
Fans of the 1990s scifi series, the X-Files, will remember their assertion that “The Truth Is Out There”. So, for those seeking extra-terrestrial intelligence, the question has to be, “How would they recognize if they got a message from an alien intelligence?”
The answer is in the nature of the signal received. It cannot be a regular repeating pattern, as natural objects can produce that. It has to be a recognizable code where combinations of signal portions, which might represent letters, can be joined to form “words”. No such intelligent signal has yet been received.
Or has it?
Scientists studying the nature of life have been busy decoding DNA. The base-sugar pairs that hold the DNA molecules together represent letters. Their arrangements are not random or repeating, but can be shown to carry information which is clearly of use in causing the organism correctly to function.
So here is the inconsistency. Some scientists state that non-random codes are indicative of intelligence, while others assert that non-random DNA codes must have evolved by blind chance. A better explanation is that DNA is an inevitable sign of God’s design process.
In the latest example of Iran’s undying hatred of Israel, the head of Iran’s air force says that his country is ready to destroy the Jewish nation. Brig. Gen. Aziz Nasirzadeh said, “We’re ready for the decisive war that will bring about Israel’s disappearance. Our armed forces are prepared for the day when Israel will be destroyed” (“Iranian air chief,” The Times of India, Jan. 21, 2019). This statement was made after Israel targeted Iranian weapons storehouses, intelligence facilities and a training camp in Syria. A day earlier, Iran had targeted the Mt. Hermon ski facility in Israel with a rocket, which was destroyed by Israel’s Iron Dome defense system. In July 2018, the deputy commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards boasted that the “Islamic army in Syria” in the Golan Heights was awaiting orders to eradicate the “evil regime” of Israel (“Top Iranian general,” The Times of Israel, Jul. 9, 2018). He said that “the Zionist regime constitutes a threat … to the entire Islamic world.” In 2016, Ahmad Karimpour, senior advisor to the elite al-Quds force, boasted, “If the Supreme Leader’s orders [are] to be executed, with the abilities and the equipment at our disposal, we will raze the Zionist regime in less than eight minutes” (“Iranian Commander,” The Times of Israel, May 22, 2016). In March 2016, Iran tested ballistic missiles emblazoned with the words “Israel must be wiped off the map.” Last year, Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei tweeted that Israel “will not see the next 25 years.” This is delusional, for the Bible says that Israel cannot be destroyed and that land is her God-given land. Her judgments at God’s hand during the “times of the Gentiles” as prophesied in Deuteronomy 28 will be completed during the reign of the Antichrist, the conversion prophesied in Deuteronomy 30:6 will occur, and a truly spiritual Israel will be at the heart of Christ’s kingdom. Israel is back in the land, and this is an exciting thing for Bible believers, but she is far from “circumcised in heart” at this time.
(Friday Church News Notes, February 22, 2019, www.wayoflife.org, firstname.lastname@example.org, 866-295-4143)
An Island is Born
“And the dove came in to him in the evening; and, lo, in her mouth was an olive leaf pluckt off: so Noah knew that the waters were abated from off the earth.”
In November 1963, an undersea volcano close to Iceland began to erupt. Emerging lava caused the sea to boil and steam. Gradually, the volcano began to appear above the waves. The eruption continued for three and a half years, causing a new island to emerge, one square mile in area and elevations of 560 feet above the surf. Of course, in the half century since the birth of this new island, erosion has reduced it somewhat – to a mere 506 feet above the sea and an area of only 0.54 square miles.
When the volcano had cooled, scientists flocked to the area to study what was likely to happen to this new piece of real estate. Biologists were particularly interested in how long it would take for life to colonize this bleak new rocky island. Only a few scientists are allowed to land on Surtsey. Most visitors only see the island from the windows of a plane.
Mosses were seen by 1967 and lichens by 1970. These two types of plants now cover much of the island. In 1998, a small willow bush had been observed to have grown. Limited animal life – such as gulls, puffins and seals – have set up home there. The bird guano is of particular use in fertilizing the soil for further plant growth. Insects, spiders and beetles can also now be found.
Surtsey has provided a living laboratory of how colonization of barren real estate can take place. Such recolonization could readily have happened worldwide after the Genesis Flood.
“The Walt Disney Company is embracing LGBT pride month for the first time ever and hosting a gay pride parade in its Disneyland Paris park in France. The massive corporation has been moving toward a more liberal approach to sexual identity over the last decade, but the ‘Magical Pride’ parade, set to take place on June 1, 2019, is the first time the Disney Parks have openly embraced and endorsed the shift. The event will take place right at the beginning of global pride month--June--and will feature a ‘Magical March of Diversity Parade,’ reportedly involving DJs, live music performances, and themed photo opportunities for visitors to the Disneyland Paris park, according to Queerty. Gay pride events in Disney Parks are not new. The ‘Magical Pride’ celebration has been an"unofficial" event at Disneyland Paris since 2014. Disney parks located in the United States--Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, and Disneyland in Anaheim, California--have both hosted unofficial LGBT events including ‘Gay Days,’ an unofficial weekend celebration for gay couples and same sex parents. The first Gay Days celebration took place in the mid-to-late 2000s. Disney has been inching closer to a cultural shift over the last decade, slowly incorporating openly LGBT characters into its television shows and animated features (including an LGBT background character in Frozen). The upcoming Disney live action film, Jungle Cruise, based on the Disney parks attraction of the same name, will feature the first openly gay character in a Disney live action feature.”
“Disney Holding,” The Daily Wire, Jan. 30, 2019
The Missoula Flood
2 Peter 3:5-6
“For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished:”
At the peak of the Ice Age, the world’s second largest flooding event occurred in the Northwest of the United States. Glaciers trapped water, forming Lake Missoula. As the glaciers retreated, the water escaped westwards, across Idaho, into Eastern Washington, and south, into the Columbia. In the process, this enormous deluge carved out the scablands, and those drainage valleys, known as coulees. In one place, an enormous waterfall was created, about four times as large as Niagara, but now known as the Dry Falls. In the Columbia Gorge, massive gravel deposits were left behind, along with clear signs of erosion, by the massive flows of water.
Yet, when the idea of a Missoula Flood was proposed, it ran counter to the prevailing uniformitarian geology and was rejected. Even since its acceptance, geologists have wanted to believe in multiple Missoula Floods. Yet, careful scientific analysis has shown that all the effects seen are best explained by only one Missoula Flood.
Harlen Bretz was the man whose research suggested the Missoula Flood. His first paper on the subject was published in 1923 to enormous resistance from the geological establishment. Bretz was by no means a creationist, but his ideas were ridiculed as being biblical. Geologists rightly understood that if Bretz’s limited local catastrophe were accepted, then there was no reason to reject a worldwide biblical Flood.
It took forty years to vindicate Bretz. The Biblical Flood may never be vindicated in this life, but in the world to come, it will be known as truth.
Marijuana Not Effectual for Pain Relief
“Alex Berenson is a graduate of Yale University, with degrees in history and economics. He delivered a speech last month at Hillsdale College’s Allan P. Kirby, Jr. Center for Constitutional Studies and Citizenship in Washington, D.C., on the hidden dangers of marijuana use. He told his audience, ‘Almost everything that you think you know about the health effects of cannabis, almost everything that advocates and the media have told you for a generation, is wrong.’ The active ingredient in marijuana is tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. Marijuana is most commonly prescribed for pain, but it's rarely tested against other pain relief drugs, such as ibuprofen. Last July, a large four-year study of Australian patients with chronic pain showed that cannabis use was associated with greater pain over time. Marijuana, like alcohol, is too weak as a painkiller for people with terminal cancer. They need opiates. Berenson said, ‘Even cannabis advocates, like Rob Kampia, who co-founded the Marijuana Policy Project acknowledge that they have always viewed medical marijuana laws mostly as a way to protect recreational users.’ Marijuana legalization advocates sometimes argue that its use reduces opiate use. That is untrue. Berenson said, ‘The United States and Canada, which are the countries that have the most opioid use, also have by far the worst problem with cannabis.’ Marijuana carries not only a devastating physical health risk but also mental health dangers. A 2017 National Academy of Medicine study found that ‘cannabis use is likely to increase the risk of developing schizophrenia and other psychoses; the higher the use, the greater the risk. Regular cannabis use is likely to increase the risk for developing social anxiety disorder.’ Also, a paper in the American Journal of Psychiatry last year showed that people who used cannabis in 2001 were almost three times as likely to use opiates three years later, even after adjusting for other potential risks. Something else that’s not given much attention is that cannabis today is much more potent than it was in the 1970s, when most marijuana contained less than 2 percent THC. Today marijuana routinely contains 20 to 25 percent THC, as a result of sophisticated farming and cloning techniques. As such, it produces a stronger and quicker high. Berenson said that the difference between yesterday’s marijuana and today’s is like the difference between ‘near beer and a martini.’ Berenson cited several studies and other findings showing a relationship between marijuana use and violence and crime.”
“Marijuana, Mental Illness and Violence,” Walter Williams, DailyWire.com, Feb. 16, 2019
The Sands of Pluto
“When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; what is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?”
What would it be like, standing on the surface of Pluto? As a boy, fascinated by astronomy, I avidly devoured any books that I could about the planets. One of my favorites was called “Challenge of the Stars”, published in 1972, with text by TV astronomer Patrick Moore and space artist David A. Hardy. My copy was even given to me and signed by Mr. Moore himself. In the section on Pluto, Hardy had painted a scene where one seems to be looking out through the entrance of an icy cave. Icicles are hanging over the opening. The sky is black and full of stars, but one star is noticeably brighter than the others. The text told me that this was the Sun, appearing so far away, it just looked like the other stars, albeit a bit brighter. The text also told me that the ice was actually solid nitrogen – and so were the icicles.
Roll on 45 years. The New Horizons space mission has now visited Pluto and taken photographs, along with lots of measurements. This data from that 2015 fly-by is still being analyzed today. Research just published has suggested that nitrogen frost at the edge of Pluto’s ice plain has split the rock into tiny particles, looking like sand. Winds of methane have moved the grains into dunes. At -230°C, this must be the coldest beach property in the Solar System. It is truly amazing when we consider that Scripture refers to the universe as the work of God’s fingers.
Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, says that he speaks in “tongues” every day. In a recent interview with the Christian radio station Premier, he said, “In my own prayer life, and as part of my daily discipline, I pray in tongues every day--not as an occasional thing, but as part of daily prayer. It’s not something to make a great song and dance about. Given it’s usually extremely early in the morning it’s not usually an immensely ecstatic moment” (BBC News, Jan. 21, 2019). The “archbishop” is also open to receiving words of knowledge and prophecies. He claims that he was “filled with the Holy Spirit” and began speaking in tongues at age 19. That was at Holy Trinity Brompton (HTB), one of the largest and most prestigious Church of England parishes. It is located at the heart of Knightsbridge, London’s most exclusive shopping district, just down the street from Harrods department store. It was at Holy Trinity that the “laughing revival” was birthed in England in 1994. Nicky Gumbel, a priest at Holy Trinity, had an experience “like massive electricity going through” his body. In a meeting Gumbel was leading, a man lay on the floor with his feet in the air and started laughing like a hyena. (This information is from material published by Holy Trinity Brompton that I picked up on a research visit there in 1997.) In an interview with Charles Moore in 2013, Welby said it isn’t necessary to have a personal conversion experience to be a Christian. “There is an incredible range of ways in which the Spirit works. It doesn’t matter how you get there” (Welby interview with Charles Moore, The Daily Telegraph, Jul. 12, 2013). Welby practices Roman Catholic contemplative prayers. His “spiritual director” is a Roman Catholic priest who has taught him to engage in “the adoration of the Eucharist,” which is the worship of the consecrated host of the mass, and the methodology of Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuits (The Daily Telegraph, Jul. 12, 2013). When asked if “gay sex is sinful,” Welby said, “I don’t do blanket condemnation and I haven’t got a good answer to that question” (“Justin Welby unable to give ‘straight answer,’” The Guardian, Oct. 2, 2017). In conclusion, I have a word of knowledge for Archbishop Welby that is based solidly on the Bible’s teaching: “You are the head of an apostate institution which is not a New Testament church; your ‘tongues’ are gibberish; your contemplative mysticism is demonic; and there is only one way of salvation, which is through a born again conversion experience by repentance toward God and faith in the once-for-all sacrificial blood atonement of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
(Friday Church News Notes, February 22, 2019, www.wayoflife.org, email@example.com, 866-295-4143)
“Bow thy heavens, O LORD, and come down: touch the mountains, and they shall smoke.”
Everybody knows two “facts” about volcanoes. First, they are large cone-shaped mountains, and second, they send streams of lava flowing across the countryside, like hot treacle. But, of course, these “facts” are not facts at all. They are, in fact, mutually exclusive.
The large cone-shaped volcanoes are stratovolcanoes, produced by thick, viscous lava that will not usually flow across the countryside. Such volcanoes typically occur where crust is being destroyed or subducted, as at Mount St Helens – the volcano where I live. Low viscosity red-hot lava flows usually occur from shield volcanoes in places where new crust material is being formed. The volcanoes of Hawaii are mostly like this.
As I write, Kīlauea – Hawaii’s best known volcano – has been erupting for several days. The crater itself is full of red-hot lava liquid, but one of the interesting sights that we have seen – for those of us who have viewed the eruption only on the TV news – is that of fissures opening up many miles from the central crater. These fissures themselves are spewing lava from just below the surface. On the TV news bulletins, it almost appears as if a fissure, throwing lava high into the air, opens up in a neighbor’s backyard, throwing lava high into the air.
God made a world that was perfect. It is almost certain, therefore, that it contained no volcanoes. The first volcanic activity would seem to be the fountains of the deep that began the Flood. Like other volcanoes, Kīlauea is a reminder that the Flood was a real, historical, geological event.
Left-Handed Amino Acids
I Timothy 4:4
“For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving:”
Most people remember from their high school days that amino acids are the building blocks from which proteins are built. However, most people are not aware of how special the arrangement of amino acid molecules is.
Amino acid molecules are asymmetric. They are compounds of the element carbon, and a carbon atom can have four bonds, all arranged in space, as if pointing to the corners of a tetrahedron. Sometimes a carbon atom will have four different groups attached to it. If that happens, then the molecule can exist in two mirror images. If the mirrored molecules are separated, then it is found that one arrangement rotates polarized light clockwise (“to the right”), while the other does so by the same angle counter-clockwise (“to the left”). But the arrangement of the four groups around the asymmetric carbon is not directly predictable. So the arrangement of the molecules is compared to molecules of right-rotating and left-rotating glyceraldehyde. The two arrangements (called enantiomers) of glyceraldehyde are given the prefixes D- (for dextro – right) and L- (for laevo – left). If the arrangement of a molecule is in the same format as D-glyceraldehyde, then it is also labeled as D-, even if it rotates light counter-clockwise.
All this complicated talk leads to this point. An experiment, producing an amino acid would always make 50% D and 50% L. Yet, all amino acids in nature have the L-form. And all natural sugar molecules have the D-form. This remarkable fact suggests that these natural molecules were not designed by random chance.
A snow roller is formed when a thin blanket of snow is rolled across ice by wind or gravity to form something that looks like a bale of hay. They are extremely rare and fascinating. Though a “natural” phenomenon, like the marvelous snow flake, it is obvious to the Bible believer that they are also controlled by God. The Creator did not make the world and then leave it. Christ upholds all things by His power (Heb. 1:3) and by Him all things consist (Col. 1:17). “Fire, and hail; snow, and vapour; stormy wind fulfilling his word” (Psalm 148:8). Every scientist should fall to his knees in wonder at the marvels of God’s creation that are being discovered on a daily basis, but instead their hearts are ever more hardened as they hold steadfastly to the myth of evolution. It is wiser to bow before the compassionate but holy God and receive His gracious salvation. Then you can go through life singing, “This is my Father’s world, the birds their carols raise, the morning light, the lily white, declare their Maker’s praise. This is my Father’s world; He shines in all that’s fair; in the rustling grass I hear Him pass, He speaks to me everywhere” (“This Is My Father’s World,” text by Malthie Babcock, music by Franklin Sheppard).
(Friday Church News Notes, February 15, 2019, www.wayoflife.org firstname.lastname@example.org, 866-295-4143)
Signs of Life on Mars Again
“I have made the earth, and created man upon it: I, even my hands, have stretched out the heavens, and all their host have I commanded.”
The first sentence of another article about Mars on a popular science website immediately grabbed my attention: “Iron-rich rocks near ancient lake sites on Mars could hold vital clues that show life once existed there, research suggests.”
Listeners and readers of Creation Moments will recognize the phrase “research suggests” as a typical example of fuzzy words – phrases used by evolutionists as get-out clauses to avoid them definitively stating that some evolutionary process actually happened.
So what clues can be found? It is suggested that the rocks in question are sedimentary rocks. On Earth, we would tend to find fossils in sedimentary rocks. The article goes on to suggest that these sediments were formed in the Noachian epoch on Mars – a period in which they believe that large parts of the surface of Mars could have been covered with water. They believe that this epoch was between three and four billion years ago.
This is also the timescale in which evolutionists believe that life evolved on Earth. It would seem odd, therefore, for them to expect fossils.
To be fair, the article is suggesting that these rocks could serve as a possible landing site for a NASA Rover mission. What if such a Mars Rover finds evidence of micro-fossils? Will that be the end of the Bible as a source of authority?
Of course not! The Bible is true and will remain true whatever discoveries are made. It is unlikely that micro-fossils will be found, but if they are, there will be a perfectly good biblical explanation.
Calm, an online meditation subscription service, has raised $115 million in startup funding and is evaluated at $1 billion, which is called “unicorn” status (referring to its rarity) (“The Meditation Unicorn,” businessresearcher.com, Feb. 6, 2019). Calm is only the largest of a slew of popular meditation services and apps, such as Simple Habit, BioBeats, and Headspace. The latter has in-flight meditation channels on eight airlines. Calm cofounder Alex Tew says, “This financing will accelerate our mission to make the world healthier and happier.” Meditation is the practice of entering into a transcendental or altered state of consciousness by means of a mantra or by focusing the mind on a single mental image, etc. Meditation is an integral part of Hinduism and Buddhism that has spread widely through Western society since the twentieth century. The invasion from the east began in the 1920s with Hindu gurus such as Paramahansa Yogananda (d. 1952), founder of the Self-Realization Fellowship Society, and Jiddu Krishnamurti (d. 1986) of the Order of the Star in the East. Yogananda’s book Autobiography of a Yogi, continuously in print since 1946, has been translated into 18 languages and has wielded a great influence. Before I was saved in 1973, I joined the Self-Realization Fellowship Society. It emphasizes the Hindu-New Age concept that man is divine, the universe is God (pantheism), and man can connect with truth and power in his inner self through mystical practices, particularly meditation. It is “the science of uniting the individual soul with the Cosmic Spirit.” It was in the 1960s that Hindu meditation exploded in popularity in the West when the Beatles became associated with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, founder of Transcendental Meditation. Maharishi called TM “the spontaneous flow of knowledge.” In October 1975, Maharishi’s picture appeared on the cover of Time magazine. Most members of the Beatles moved on from TM, but George Harrison remained closely affiliated with the International Society for Krishna Consciousness. His 1970 hit song “My Sweet Lord” glorified the Hindu god Krishna and featured a yoga mantra. Meditation is a major instrument in the New Age tool kit, together with positive thinking, positive confession, visualization, guided imagery, and hypnosis. It is used by New Age channelers and alternative health care providers. It is a mainstay of life coaching and human potential gurus, such as Jack Canfield and John Gray. It is used by the world’s largest corporations and by the U.S. military. There is a New Age meditation room at the United Nations headquarters in New York City. Meditation cannot be separated from its pagan roots and has inherent spiritual dangers. The attempt to enter an alternative state of mind is a recipe for spiritual deception. Deepak Chopra says that through meditation “a change occurs” and that “something may be glimpsed behind the screen of thought, a sense that you have entered a deeper reality” (The Third Jesus, p. 93). At this point, the meditator “may sense a hidden presence that cannot be described but can still be felt.” In view of the Bible’s warning about demons that pose as angels of light, this is a loud warning to those who have ears to hear. Not surprisingly, meditation often leads to acceptance of pagan beliefs such as pantheism, panentheism, reincarnation, and universalism. “And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works” (2 Corinthians 11:14-15). “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8).
(Friday Church News Notes, February 15, 2019, www.wayoflife.org, email@example.com, 866-295-4143)
Peoples of the Americas
“Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech. So the LORD scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city.”
How Native American people came to be in the American continents is one of the most fascinating mysteries of anthropology. Scientists from both secular and Christian backgrounds tend to agree that, for the most part, Native Americans must have migrated to the continents from Asia. This would almost certainly involve crossing from present-day Siberia to present-day Alaska during the Ice Age, which creationists say happened shortly after the Flood.
The existence of large ice sheets in North America would have seemed to create a barrier to migration. In a previous Creation Moment, we discussed the Clovis sites, which are consistent with people having migrated into the interior of what is now Canada, in an ice-free area between two large ice sheets. Now, more recent research has suggested that the migration could have been along the coast. Certain islands off the coast of Alaska contain evidence of this possible migration route.
In the near future, it is unlikely that we will be able definitely to say which of the coastal or inland migration routes is correct. But why would such people groups have migrated so far in any case? Why would they not just stop on the Asian side of Beringia?
The answer is likely to be that they spoke different languages, so they could not understand each other. At the Tower of Babel incident, in Genesis 11, God had spread confusion into human language, and this is what forced the migration of all peoples of the world.
There is a rapidly growing acceptance of socialism among American voters, but it is the product of gross and frightful ignorance. The following is excerpted from Jay Richards, “What’s the Difference?” The Stream, Aug. 7, 2017: “Too many of us are still clueless about socialism and communism. I blame biased media and fuzzy thinking. Still, sometimes, the truth leaks out. Last year, The Washington Post published a long piece by Ilya Somin. It’s about the ‘greatest mass murderer’ in the world. Guess who wins that grim prize. It’s Mao Zedong, the leader of China’s communist revolution. ‘From 1958 to 1962,’ Somin notes, ‘his Great Leap Forward policy led to the deaths of up to 45 million people--easily making it the biggest episode of mass murder ever recorded.’ Let that sink in. In under five years, a government led by one man murdered 45 million of its own people. Scholars have long known the basic stats. But historian Frank Dikötter has shown [Mao’s Great Famine, 2011] that the number is larger than previously thought. And many more of the deaths were deliberate, rather than ‘just’ the outcome of bad policies that led to famine. Millions were tortured to death, often for minor crimes like digging up a potato. Lots of people seem to think ‘communism’ just means ‘bad socialism.’ But that ignores the meaning of words and Marxist theory itself. Here’s a brief primer: Marx and his disciples claimed that ‘capitalism’ must give way to ‘socialism,’ where private property would be abolished and an all-powerful state would own everything on behalf of the people. That’s what Marx meant by the word socialism, and that’s the main dictionary definition. This was only supposed to be a stage, though, not the end of all our strivings. At some point, under socialism, people would lose their silly fondness for property, family, religion, and other evils. A ‘new socialist man’ would emerge and then the state would ‘wither away.’ Everyone would enjoy peace, prosperity, and the brotherhood of man. Marx and his acolytes called that final, stateless paradise ‘communism.’ Here’s the point: Those regimes led by mass murderers with their gulags, death camps, man-made famines and killing fields were socialist. That’s not slander. It’s what these countries called themselves. USSR stood for the ‘Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.’ You gotta break millions of eggs with socialism to make the communist omelet. That was sort of the theory anyway. In practice, socialism has just been evil. Unremitting evil, wherever it’s tried. Have a look at North Korea and now Venezuela. Socialism doesn’t lead to a higher plane of existence or a stateless utopia. It leads to a bottomless pit of immorality, poverty, and death. Why would we expect anything different? It’s based on a false view of human nature, history, labor, property, economic value, capital, and the role of prices.”
(Friday Church News Notes, February 15, 2019, www.wayoflife.org, firstname.lastname@example.org, 866-295-4143)
God Created Insects
“For the life [nephesh] of the flesh is in the blood:”
Some people find insects, such as butterflies, fascinating. But there are also those who cannot stand the sight of other insects. Wasps and leather jackets are not particularly loved. I have often wondered why God created such nasty creatures, and I have to remind myself that, like everything else, they were created perfect originally.
But when did God make insects? What classification do we put them in?
Were they created with land animals on the sixth day? Are they the creeping things? Probably not, because all such animals are described as nephesh, and the life (nephesh) of the flesh is in the blood. Were they created on the fifth day? After all, most insects can fly. But, again, the creatures on Day Five were nephesh. Insects do not have blood.
In Genesis 7:14, we read about the flying creatures taken aboard the Ark. They were to be “every fowl… every bird”. In a previous Creation Moment, we saw that there are two Hebrew words for birds – ôph and tsippor. The first refers to all winged creatures. The juxtaposition of both terms in Genesis 7:14 suggests that insects are specifically excluded, especially as insects do not breathe through nostrils, which was a condition for creatures being taken on the Ark.
In short, the creatures mentioned in Genesis 1 all have nephesh. So non-nephesh animals, like insects, and, for that matter, spiders, are not mentioned. Everything was created in that one week, but we don’t know when insects were made. As non-nephesh animals, they do not have the blessed quality of life of those animals with blood.
“In a contentious world first, China plans to implement a social credit system (officially referred to as a Social Credit Score or SCS) by 2020. The idea first appeared in a document from the State Council of China published in June 2014. It is a technological advancement so shocking to modern-minded paradigms that many can do little but sit back in defeatist chagrin as science fiction shows us its darker side. The SCS seems relatively simple. Every citizen in China, which now has numbers swelling to well over 1.3 billion, would be given a score that, as a matter of public record, is available for all to see. This citizen score comes from monitoring an individual’s social behavior—from their spending habits and how regularly they pay bills, to their social interactions—and it’ll become the basis of that person’s trustworthiness, which would also be publicly ranked. This actually sounds worse than an Orwellian nightmare. A citizen’s score affects their eligibility for a number of services, including the kinds of jobs or mortgages they can get, and it also impacts what schools their children qualify for. China’s SCS proves reality is darker than fiction. The government also says that this will ‘allow the trustworthy to roam everywhere under heaven while making it hard for the discredited to take a single step,’ according to The Wall Street Journal. The major issue is this: the SCS goes well beyond just rating one’s ability to manage debt; in essence, it puts a number on a citizen rating their worth as a human being—and it forces others to respect that rating. ‘China’s proposed social score is an absolute reaffirmation of China continuing to push forward to be a complete police state,’ said Anurag Lal, former Director of the U.S. National Broadband Task Force for the FCC under the Obama administration and president and CEO of mobility solutions firm Infinite Convergence, in an email to Futurism. ‘They take it a step further by becoming not only an establishment of a totalitarian police state that monitors its people but one that completely evades users’ privacy. All forms of activity and interactions, online or otherwise, will be rated, available to view and stored as data.’ Ultimately, the problem is that ‘socially acceptable behavior’ will be defined by the Chinese government, not a democratic process or an objective panel. And punitive measures will certainly be taken when a person breaks this trust. With the SCS, the Chinese government will actually hit two birds with one stone: They will have a way of promoting and enforcing what they consider to be ‘socially acceptable behavior,’ and they will have a way of monitoring virtually all aspects of citizens’ lives.”
“China’s Social Credit System,” futurism.com, Dec. 2, 2017
Livestock, Creeping Things and Beasts
“And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.”
The sixth day of the Creation Week seems to have been the busiest, as far as the variety of creation goes. On this day, God made land animals, and He made the first two people. During that day, we have to assume that all the events of Genesis 2 happened. That is, God made the animals, planted the Garden of Eden, made Adam, brought some animals to Adam for him to name, and finally God made Eve from Adam’s side.
It is not easy to understand what is meant by the threefold division of the land animals into livestock, creeping things and beasts of the Earth. It seems likely that these subdivisions are not along the lines of the classes of vertebrates. They probably, instead, refer to the way that these animals interact with humans – a more pragmatic, use-oriented classification system that would be more typical of biblical classification.
One point that we notice is that these land creatures, like the sea and flying creatures, are described as living creatures. In other words, they have nephesh. In Genesis 1:22, we read that God blessed these creatures. By implication, this blessing would seem to extend to all nephesh lifeforms – those animals that contain blood. We also read that the creatures were created “according to their kinds”. This concept of kinds is wider than species. A biblical kind (creationists often use the term baramin, from the Hebrew for “created kind”) is probably closer to the taxonomic term family. Species within kinds can vary widely, but one kind cannot evolve into another.
Let Fowl Fly Above the Earth
“And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.”
Many translations tell us that God made birds. The KJV refers to fowl. The use of a word other than bird in the KJV is significant. The Hebrew word is ôph (עוֹף). There is another Hebrew word that means birds. It is tsippor (צִפּוֹר). In fact, the word ôph is much wider in meaning than birds and includes all flying creatures. For instance, in Leviticus 11:13-19, the bat is included at the end of a list of birds. But the collective word used in Leviticus 11:13 is ôph, not tsippor. So ôph does not really mean birds – it means flying creatures. Hence, the creation of flying creatures in Genesis 1:20 includes not only birds, but also bats, and, by implication, flying insects also – and pterosaurs – the flying dinosaurs.
Once again, we notice the efficiency and economy of the words used in Genesis 1, which gives far more information than at first we think.
Swarms in the Ocean
“And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life…”
These creatures are described as living creatures – in Hebrew, this is nephesh chayyāh. The word nephesh (נפש) refers to life as described in Leviticus 17:11 – “the life of the flesh is in the blood.” It is this word that indicates the great difference between animal life and plant life, as far as the Bible is concerned. Plants can be described as food machines that can self-replicate. Animals, in contrast, are what life is really about. That is why, for example, the blood of certain animals could be offered as a covering for sin as a type of Christ, whereas plants could not. This, indeed, was part of the reason for God later accepting Abel’s offering, but not Cain’s.
Weird Madonna at World Youth Day 2019
World Youth Day 2019 was held in Panama City in January, and Pope Francis conducted an open air papal mass for about half a million devotees on the last day. Behind the altar was a painting of the typical long-haired hippie Jesus and on the altar was a Madonna holding the monstrance. The Mary image features a halo, signifying Mary as the Queen of Heaven. Her position between Jesus and the people, and the fact that she is holding the monstrance, which is the container for the consecrated wafer or host, which is the very Jesus Himself according to official Catholic theology, depicts Mary’s position as Mediator. The Second Vatican Council proclaimed, “[T]he Blessed Virgin is invoked in the Church under the titles of Advocate, Helper, Benefactress, and Mediatrix” (Vatican Council II--The Conciliar and Post Conciliar Documents, “Dogmatic Constitution on the Church,” chap. 8, II, 62, pp. 382-383). But the Mary image at the papal mass is mostly empty from the breasts down where body should be and has extraordinarily long thin legs. We don’t know exactly what the thing is supposed to signify, but it is very strange and New Agey. Many popular Contemporary Christian Music groups have participated in papal masses or have performed at forums where masses were conducted, including Hillsong and Darlene Zschech, Lincoln Brewster, Tammy Borden, Switchfoot, Newsboys, Norma Jean, Steven Curtis Chapman, Casting Crowns, Underoath, Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir, Sanctus Real, the Gaithers, Matt Maher, Graham Kendrick, Jack Hayford, John Michael Talbot, Rich Mullins, Sandi Patty, Michael W. Smith, John Wimber of the Vineyard churches, Third Day, TobyMac, Kari Jobe, David Crowder, Kirk Franklin, Passion, and Jeremy Camp. At World Youth Day 2019, the Pope urged the young people to work for Christian unity, claiming that disunity is of the devil. “True love ... harmonizes [differences] in a superior unity. On the other hand, we know that the father of lies prefers people who are divided.” This is the ecumenical philosophy that is building the end-time one world “church,” and contemporary music is its most practical and effectual element.
(Friday Church News Notes, February 8, 2019, www.wayoflife.org, email@example.com, 866-295-4143)
For Signs, Seasons, Days and Years
“And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day rom the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:”
There was a time when the stars in the sky were much more important to us than they are today. We still rely on objects in the sky for signs, seasons, days and years, but they tend to be artificial objects – satellites that have been launched to help with issues such as global positioning and weather monitoring.
In times past, stars would have been used to help people find their way. Most people know that there is a star called Polaris which is pretty much above the Earth’s North Pole, but few know how to find it. When you have found it, then you know which direction is North. Not only that, but if you measure the angle of Polaris above the horizon, then you know what line of latitude you are on. And if you watch the stars appear to move around Polaris during the night, then you will get an idea of what the time is.
Where the Earth is in its orbit around the Sun changes what stars can be seen in the sky at different times. That is why, wherever we are in the world, we often speak of Summer and Winter constellations. So the stars also tell us what season of the year we are in and indeed when the year is about to begin again.
All this information is still available to us, and it is worth learning at least a bit of it because the heavens declare the glory of God.
Hillsong is a church in the suburbs of Sydney, Australia, the largest church in that country (formerly Hills Christian Life Centre), long affiliated with the Assemblies of God. It is co-pastored by the Houstons, a husband-wife team: Brian (author of “You Need More Money”) and Bobbie (author of “Kingdom Women Love Sex”). Hillsong is also a growing family of churches around the world. There are Hillsong affiliates in New York, Los Angeles, Phoenix, London, Madrid, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Paris, Zurich, Sao Paulo, Tel Aviv, and Moscow, among other places. Hillsong churches are among the most influential producers of contemporary worship music, music that is used by all denominations, even by some Independent Baptists after a lot of the rock & roll is squeezed out. Darlene Zschech of “Shout to the Lord” fame was worship leader at Hillsong Sydney for 25 years before becoming co-pastor with her husband of Hope Unlimited Church in 2010. Hillsong has long been radically ecumenical. In a 2004 interview with Christianity Today, Zschech expressed her philosophy: “I’ve been in the Catholic Church, in the United Church, the Anglican Church, and in many other churches, and when worship is offered in truth, this sound emerges-regardless of the style” (Michael Herman, “Zschech, Please,” christianitytoday.com, June 4, 2004). She doesn’t explain how worship can be “in truth” in the context of an ecumenical unity among denominations that teach doctrinal error. Zschech and Hillsong performed for the Roman Catholic World Youth Day in Sydney on July 18, 2008. Pope Benedict XVI conducted a papal mass on the last day of the extravaganza. On July 3-4, 2015, Zschech and Hillsong joined hands with the pope at the Convocation of the Renewal of the Holy Spirit at the Vatican. The Catholic mass was celebrated at the event led by Cardinal Angelo Comastri. According to blasphemous Catholic dogma, the priest has the power to turn the bread into the actual body and blood of Jesus, and it is then worshiped in the form of the consecrated host. We wonder if Hillsong addressed some of their enthusiastic worship to Rome’s Host-Jesus? Pope Francis praised the charismatic movement’s zeal for unity and said that Christian unity is “rooted in a common baptism” (“Pope Greets Members of the Renewal,” July 4, 2015, FullyCatholic.com). According to Roman Catholic dogma, baptism is the new birth and the entrance into the Christian life which is then nurtured by the sacraments. It is a cursed “grace plus works” gospel (Galatians 1:8-9) which the Catholic Church in recent times has cleverly rebranded as “grace only.” In Rome, Darlene Zschech and Hillsong sang “God Is Here,” but whatever God they were singing about, it is not the God revealed in Scripture, for He does not countenance heresy, false gospels, and rebellion to His Word. We wonder if the Hillsong folk took the time to visit Rome’s Santa Maria Maggoire (Saint Mary Major) basilica to pray to the Queen of Heaven and to meditate on the statue of Mary hanging on the cross with Jesus? Hillsong United participated in Together 2016 in Washington, D.C., joining hands in that forum with Pope Francis, who delivered a message by video. Most recently, January 31-February 1, 2019, Hillsong Phoenix hosted the annual Alpha Conference. Catholic priest Mike Schmitz, one of the speakers, conducted a Catholic mass. Fundamental Baptists and Bible-believing churches that use contemporary praise music are playing with fire. This music brings with it a philosophy that will change the character of any “fundamentalist” church. It builds bridges to the “broader church,” which is progressing toward the formation of a one-world apostasy.
(Friday Church News Notes, February 8, 2019, www.wayoflife.org, firstname.lastname@example.org, 866-295-4143)
He Made the Stars Also
“And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also.”
The Bible gives us a tiny hint in Psalm 19 that the universe is vast when the Psalmist says:
The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.
The heavens must be vast indeed if they are there to declare the glory of God, because the glory of God is unlimited. Just as the builders of medieval cathedrals in Europe built vast structures to make a statement about how great God is, so our view of the universe, even from the surface of the Earth, shows us the sheer bigness of God.
And yet, the whole creation of the universe is summed up (in the King James Version) in just five little words, in Genesis 1:16: He made the stars also.
Those who believe in God, whatever their view of Creation, are usually able to accept that the existence of the Sun was designed by God to give us heat and light. Creationists would suggest that these attributes were created before the Sun, but, nevertheless, the Sun’s purpose today, since the fourth day of creation, has been to shine down on the Earth. Yet somehow the sheer bigness of the universe causes us to think that the stars have far less of a purpose. The stars are just there. But God placed them for a reason – for signs and for seasons. So if the vastness of the universe points us to the worship of the Creator, then that is good. But apart from God, their importance is only that of five little words.
Beware of Molinism
Molinism is a theology developed by 15th century Jesuit priest Luis de Molina as a half-way thing “between Calvinism and Arminianism.” It is defined as follows by Jake Rainwater: “Molinism is an attempt to reconcile God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility through the use of ‘middle knowledge.’ Between God’s ‘natural knowledge’ of everything that could be and God’s free knowledge of everything that is, there is God’s middle knowledge of everything that would be” (“Salvation and Sovereignty: A Molinist Approach,” Oct. 3, 2017). If you don’t understand that, you are not alone! Molina himself didn’t understand it. “Middle knowledge” is a worthy addition to the many other inscrutable Calvinist terms, such as supralapsarianism, sublapsarianism, infralapsarianism, compatibalism, monergism, synergism, hypothetical atonement, libertarian free will, subjective grace, immediate imputation, desiderative will, and antecedent hypothetical will. A major proponent of Molinism today is Southern Baptist Kenneth Keathley, professor of theology at Southeastern Baptist Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina. Keathley’s book Salvation and Sovereignty: A Molinist Approach is listed on the “Reading for Leading” list of Paul Chappell, pastor of Lancaster Baptist Church of Lancaster, California. Keathley’s approach is described as follows: “Molina’s middle knowledge is key for Keathley’s soteriology. After introducing and laying the framework in the first two chapters, Keathley borrows Timothy George's ROSES framework (an alternate to TULIP - Radical depravity, Overcoming grace, Sovereign election, Eternal life, Singular redemption) to unpack his Molinist soteriology. Keathley is a clear writer, and has the ability to bring lofty concepts such as the workings of the Molinism and soteriology down to an accessible level.” Reformed Theology has spread widely throughout the Southern Baptist Convention in recent decades, having first captured its seminaries, and it is spreading rapidly among the more intellectual Independent Baptists, with Bob Jones University graduates at the forefront. In truth, Molinism is Jesuitical philosophical junk. Some men can’t simply and humbly accept what the Bible says; they must try to bind Bible teaching into a philosophical package (which they call systematic theology). And Molinism holds to the fundamental error of John Calvin and his mentor Augustine, which is “sovereign election” (or “unconditional election”). The Bible’s approach is foreknowledge election, not “sovereign election.” That’s what we see in two major passages on election, Romans 8:29-30 and 1 Peter 1:2. The Bible begins with God’s foreknowledge. And fore-knowledge is not fore-will; the Greek proginosko (verb) and prognosis (noun) in Ro. 8:29 and 1 Pe. 1:2 mean “to know beforehand, to foresee, forethought.” Foreknowledge election, which is the plain teaching of Scripture, allows for and encompasses all that the Bible says about human free will and choice and the fact that the gospel is for whosoever will. Election is as complicated as God Himself, but it is simple enough at a basic level as revealed in Scripture. The doctrine of the Trinity, too, has a basic simplicity that a child can understand, if we let the Bible speak for itself in its own words and don’t try to go beyond Scripture. “The Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world”! Foreknowledge election is something I can teach to highly literate and illiterate, which I do in our missionary work. I don’t have to try to explain dense, manmade terms. If you try to philosophize and enter into the mysteries of God’s eternal counsels beyond the Bible’s actual teaching in the Bible’s own precise words, you waste a lot of time and enter dangerous spiritual territory.
(Friday Church News Notes, February 8, 2019, www.wayoflife.org, email@example.com, 866-295-4143)