It is the latest in a long line of evidence that marijuana is not an innocent relaxation drug. “Smoking high-potency cannabis, used daily, has been linked to diagnosis of conditions like schizophrenia, paranoia and other psychosis disorders, new findings say. About 50 percent of new cases of psychosis disorders diagnosed in Amsterdam were linked to use of high-potency cannabis, according to a study published Tuesday in The Lancet. Additionally, 30 percent of new psychosis cases diagnosed in London were also associated with high strains of the drug. Overall, daily cannabis users were three times more likely to suffer a psychotic episode than those who never used the drug. That risk increased to five times for high-potency users. ‘As the legal status of cannabis changes in many countries and states, and as we consider the medicinal properties of some types of cannabis, it is of vital public health importance to consider the potential adverse effects that are associated with daily cannabis use, especially high potency varieties,’ said Marta Di Forti, researcher at King’s College London.”
“High potency marijuana,” UPI, Mar. 20, 2019
“He made the stars also.”
Let’s start positively. It is fascinating to think that there are earth-sized planets orbiting other stars and that some of these may be of similar size to the Earth.
We need to temper this enthusiasm by reminding ourselves that these planets have not actually been seen. Their position, size, mass and orbit are calculated, based on brightness measurements of the stars, considering that a planet orbiting in front of its star will slightly reduce the star’s brightness. NASA has produced some wonderful graphics – and released most of them to the public domain – showing simulations of these exoplanets. While I am thankful for the release of these pictures and grateful for the skills of the artists, I need constantly to remind us all that these graphics are not photographs. Not even the Hubble Space Telescope can take photographs of such worlds.
So, the latest research suggests that the planet Kepler-186f has a stable axial tilt just as the Earth has, whereas the axial tilt of Mars is said to be unstable. The Science Daily article that reports this suggested finding, based on computer simulations, states that this makes evolved life likely on that world. Another positive word is that at least they recognize that so many measurements concerning the Earth indicate how clearly designed for life this Earth is, but it is a leap of blind faith to suggest that a similar axial angle automatically implies life elsewhere. Astro-evolutionists are clutching at straws in space.
Some difficulties are created by asking the wrong questions. If the Bible does not plainly answer a question, it is because God has not chosen to answer it. The Bible student must be satisfied with what the Bible says and not be occupied with what it doesn’t say. Some teachers and commentators spend a lot of time trying to answer questions that aren’t clearly answered. The wiser method is to focus like a laser on what the Bible actually says, because that is what God wants to reveal. Every hard passage contains clear teaching. By focusing on that which is clearly taught one finds edification and clarity and certainty as opposed to endless questionings, uncertainty, and doubt. For example, Revelation 2:20-23 speaks of Jezebel. We aren’t told such things as why she has this name, whether or not it was her given name at birth, how she came to be in the church, etc. In other words, there are many questions we can ask about her that aren’t answered. Instead of being occupied with such things, the Bible student should focus his attention on exactly what is said about Jezebel and her works and teachings. Revelation 2:17 speaks of a white stone that Christ will give to the overcomer. We aren’t told exactly what kind of stone it is, its clarity, refraction quality, setting, etc. That is not for us to know at this time. What the Bible student should do is to focus on exactly what is said about the white stone and be edified by that. Revelation 4-5 describes 24 elders before the throne of God. It is interesting to try to figure out exactly who they are, but the bottom line is that we aren’t given this information for sure, so our focus must be on exactly what that passage says. Another example is the attempt to harmonize the life of Christ in the four Gospels. God did not chose to give us a perfect timeline of Christ’s life, so it is not possible or necessary to harmonize every event with certainty.
(Friday Church News Notes, March 22, 2019, www.wayoflife.org, email@example.com, 866-295-4143)
In a trial conducted in Israel last November, Elijah was found guilty of murder while Cain was exonerated. The trial was conducted at the Bible Lands Museum in Jerusalem under the auspices of the Ministry of Education with the goal of applying modern Israeli legal standards and precedents to biblical passages. Elijah and Cain were defended by top lawyers: Elijah by Avigdor Feldman, and Cain by Zion Amir. Feldman argued that Elijah should be acquitted as he was acting in the name of God and Judaism, but Judge Aylon Infeld ruled that “the accused is found guilty of premeditated murder in accordance with paragraph 300 of the Israel Penal Code” (“Jerusalem 2018: Biblical Figures on Trial,” Israel Today, Feb. 2019, pp. 4-5). As for Cain, his lawyer argued that “the text gives no indication of premeditation to murder.” One of Amir’s students pointed out that Cain could not know what effect a murder would have on society, which “would be sufficient for an acquittal.” Other students reasoned that perhaps Abel was equally guilty, that he was mocking Cain because God didn’t accept his offering. After hearing these arguments, Judge Ilan Shilo ruled that Cain was not guilty. This is an example of how that modern Israel sits in judgment on God’s Word instead of putting itself under its authority, how that her laws are not based on biblical truth, and how that she follows human reasoning rather than holy Scripture.
(Friday Church News Notes, March 22, 2019, www.wayoflife.org, firstname.lastname@example.org, 866-295-4143)
“And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.”
When Adam and Eve had eaten the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, the Bible says “The eyes of them both were opened.” They had been given a commandment. It was just one commandment – that they should not eat of the fruit of that tree. Why were they given that commandment? In his novel, Perelandra, C.S. Lewis suggests that the commandment was given simply so that they could obey it. I do not believe it undermines the important doctrine of the Sovereignty of God to say that in order for obedience to be meaningful, there had to be the possibility of disobedience.
The opening of their eyes implies that they realized what they had done. Now, they must have previously been aware that they were not wearing clothes. But Genesis 2:25 says that they were naked and not ashamed before their sin. This implies that now nakedness brings shame, whereas their innocent lack of clothes did not. Now that they were sinners, they were not simply without clothes. They were now naked and ashamed.
Their first reaction to this nakedness was to make themselves coverings by sewing up fig leaves. This was their own action. By their own works, they were hoping to make themselves right with God. Of course, they would soon find that this attempt would not work. The important lesson that Adam and Eve learned here is that we cannot cover over our own sin.
Tel Aviv City Government Heeds Orthodox Jewish Complaints to Restrict Distribution of "Messianic Literature"
“The City of Tel Aviv says that it will prevent the infiltration of Messianic Jewish literature in municipal ‘street libraries.’ Working behind the scenes to restrict Hebrew-language Messianic books in the open-air book stalls is Or L'Achim, an organization that seeks to prevent attempts to lead Jews away from their faith. Messianic Jews have been placing literature in the public libraries set up around the city to encourage reading. Or L'Achim sent a formal complaint to Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai warning about ‘abuse of a municipal service for missionary conversion,’ according to reports. The Tel Aviv Municipality responded that, ‘Library management instructed workers to check whether flyers were placed having to do with publications of a cult and were ordered to remove them from the shelves.’ Organizations working to prevent Jews from hearing the Gospel like to paint Messianic Jews as belonging to a ‘cult.’ In recent years, several genuinely dangerous cults have sprouted up around Israel, and placing Messianic Judaism in this category stirs public fears and encourages anti-Messianic crusades.”
“Anti-Messianic Jewish Update,” Israel Today, Feb. 19, 2019
“For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.”
It would appear that Eve’s reasoning for taking the fruit was as follows:
The tree was good for food. Her intelligent eyes were able to discern that this food was good. By good, we must presume it meant that she could somehow estimate the fruit’s food value. She saw it was a delight to the eyes. This reminds us that fruit is often very attractive, whether it is fruit that we eat or fruit that we don’t. And in a perfect creation, we can certainly assume that this fruit was very beautiful to look at, and possibly looked delicious. She also saw that the tree was "to be desired to make one wise”. The function of the tree must have been apparent to her. After all, contrary to what the serpent alleged, the function of the tree was not a secret. She knew what it was for, and she knew what the penalty would be for breaking the commandment. And the fruit was not poisonous. It was not the fruit that caused Adam and Eve’s death; it was their disobedience.
Which brings us to the big question: Where was Adam when all this was happening? Why did he not step in? Verse six tells us that he was right there with his wife. He heard everything. And he was not deceived. So that is why his disobedience was more serious than that of Eve, who sinned after being deceived. Adam sinned with his eyes open, and that sin has been imputed to us all.
The music-driven, entertainment-focused, me-first American pop culture is a devouring monster. A new study from the American Psychological Association has found that “the percentage of young Americans with mental health disorders has more than doubled over the past decade” (“Depression and suicidal thoughts have doubled,” Fox News, Mar. 16, 2019). That’s a huge increase. These “disorders” include major depression, suicidal thoughts, and attempted suicide. The study analyzed data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. I suggest that some of the causes are an over-abundance of leisure; lack of discipline; addiction to social media, pornography, and multi-player online video games; psychotic music; the legalization of marijuana; the rejection of a biblical worldview and the acceptance of nihilistic philosophies, the disappearance of wholesome, winsome heroes from the national spotlight; and the mainstream media’s perpetual harping against traditional America and everything that was held as good and right by the founders, for starters. Who wouldn’t be depressed! The only solution is to know the true God through Jesus Christ, who has “not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7), and to walk as pilgrims who refuse to be conformed to this world system and its foolish ways, and to use the power of the Word of God to purify the mind. “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5).
(Friday Church News Notes, March 22, 2019, www.wayoflife.org email@example.com, 866-295-4143)
“And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.”
God’s word to Adam had been that he had permission to eat the fruit of any tree in the Garden of Eden except that of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. God told Adam that the day he did so, he would “surely die”. But Satan directly contradicted God when he said, “Ye shall not surely die.”
This direct contradiction of God’s word did not come immediately. We have already mentioned that Satan still employs the same strategy as he did in the Garden and it is this:; he takes time to soften up his victim before he directly contradicts God.
In the early stages, he caused Eve to doubt what she thought she knew, but when he reaches his contradiction, he invokes a false piety.
“God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.”
Of course, on one level, it is right to want to be like God. We want to love what He loves and to do what He would have us do. But the devil suggests that there is something more – a deeper knowledge of good and evil. That has to involve the experience of evil because Adam and Eve already knew about good and evil – good is obeying God’s commandment, and evil is disobeying it. Part of the devil’s lie is that you cannot know good without experiencing evil. That is still part of the devil’s lie today.
“Pope Francis met Saturday (March 9) with the leadership of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the first such meeting of its kind, on the eve of the dedication of the church’s huge new temple in Rome. The Vatican offered no details of Francis’ audience with the church president, Russell Nelson, and other leaders. The Latter-day Saints said it was the first-ever meeting between a pope and head of their church and said the two men discussed religious liberty, family and youth, among other topics. ‘We have much in common,’ Nelson tweeted afterward. ‘The differences in doctrine are real, and they’re important, but they’re not nearly as important as the things we have in common.’”
“Pope meets with Mormon leadership,” RNS, Mar. 11, 2019
“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.”
Tyrannosaurus was so named because it was terrifying. As a child, we were glad that they had gone extinct because we didn’t fancy being chased and eaten by one. But since my childhood, scientists have been continually attempting to play down the fierceness of Tyrannosaurus Rex.
One childhood game that I remember well was long bacon. We used this to irritate our friends, or to insult our teachers, without them knowing. The game involved placing our thumb on our nose and wiggling all the other fingers around while sticking our tongue out. We already know that T. Rex’s feeble arms wouldn’t reach its great nose, but now we find out that it probably couldn’t even stick its tongue out.
We have long thought that dinosaurs were sort-of lizard like and, therefore, probably stuck out forked tongues, as many lizards do today. But crocodiles do not stick out their tongues. Instead, crocodiles and alligators have tongues rooted to the bottom of their mouths. Scientists at the University of Texas at Austin have been looking at high-resolution images of dinosaur skulls and suggest that hyoid muscles and bones – the ones that anchor and move the tongue – indicate a fixed tongue for many types of dinosaurs, including T. Rex.
It probably takes few by surprise to realize that birds also usually have these sort of fixed tongues. However justified the research might be, it is led by an unjustified a priori commitment to “proving” the evolution of dinosaurs into birds.
Students Protest Liberty University President's Statement that He Will Raise His Granddaughter as a Girl
Liberty University has long been on a slippery slide of compromise that began under founder Jerry Falwell’s leadership. His compromise started with small steps, as it always does, but the Word of God warns that “a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump” (1 Co. 5:6; Gal. 5:9). The latest evidence of the school’s spiritual decline came last week with the protest by some 30 students of the president’s announcement that he and his wife are raising their granddaughter “as a girl.” Speaking to a satellite Conservative Political Action Conference event that also featured Donald Trump, Jr., Jerry Falwell, Jr.’s wife, Becki, said, “She’s our granddaughter, and we’re raising her as a girl. We’re not letting her have a choice. God makes the choice of what the babies are going to be and God decided she would be a girl.” Jerry Falwell, Jr. voiced his agreement (“Liberty University students,” Washington Examiner, Mar. 13, 2019). This innocuous, common sense statement was ridiculously marked as “hate speech” by a clique of Liberty students who staged a day-long protest on campus. Signs included “Hate is a choice, being transgender is not.” Protester Elizabeth Axley, a sophomore, identified herself as “bisexual.” Caleb Fitzpatrick, a senior, said, “Hopefully we can create an environment where comments like Friday’s aren’t welcome and aren’t normal.” Obviously these people do not embrace freedom of speech and freedom of religion. When the late Jerry Falwell, founder of Liberty, started down the path of pragmatic compromise in the 1980s by renouncing biblical separatism, forming an ecumenical political action organization, and seeking the world’s accreditation, he would not have dreamed that the day would come when students at his Christian college would be so unbiblical in their thinking. His efforts to form a “moral majority” to save America did not save the nation, but it did destroy a church and college. It can also be said that his example contributed to the destruction of the biblical character of an entire group of churches, the Baptist Bible Fellowship International (BBFI). In the 1980s, BBFI president Victor Sears boldly warned, “Dr. Falwell is not basically a fundamental Baptist but is a New Evangelical in the same compromising vein as Dr. Billy Graham. If we keep following the road paved by Falwellism, we will lose our identity completely as old-fashioned, Bible-believing separatists” (Calvary Contender, June 15, 1987). That has come to pass. See “Jerry Falwell: the Billy Graham of Independent Baptists,” and “Baptist Bible Fellowship International’s Road to Emerging.”
(Friday Church News Notes, March 22, 2019, www.wayoflife.org firstname.lastname@example.org, 866-295-4143)
“I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.”
When I used to work for a large creationist ministry in England, I recall my manager commenting one day, “The sun is shining out there, it is summer time, there will probably be a new ape-man discovery in the news.” During the quiet summer months, when little was happening for the news agencies to report on, newspapers and TV news programs still had to be filled. So one obvious candidate for a sleepy summer news story was a good old skeleton or fossil of a supposed ancient human.
The year 2018 was no exception. I was fascinated by the headline on a popular science website: “Cranium of a four-million-year-old hominin shows similarities to that of modern humans”. Reading through the article was an interesting exercise in what I call Fuzzy Word Analysis. At no point did the article attempt to justify why it was considered to be four million years old. This dating was simply stated as a fact. The fossil was an example of australopithecine, but, unlike the most famous such “southern-ape” fossils, which were found in or near Tanzania, this was found in the Sterkfontein Caves in South Africa, in 1995.
The bone of this semi-fossilized specimen is too fragile for much scientific analysis, so researchers have carefully scanned bone fragments and then carried out a virtual investigation by computer. Their conclusion? Some of the bones are similar to human bones. We have to remind people over again that this is to be expected but that such similarities have nothing to do with “proof” for evolution.
“The living cell is a fantastically complex thing, more complex than a modern city. It’s a living body with organs called organelles. It has blueprints, decoders, error checkers, quality control systems, power plants (mitochondria), power storage units, manufacturing plants (cytoplasm, endoplasmic reticulum, Golgi apparatus), chemical plants, assembly lines, disposal units (proteasome), trash compactors, a complex communication system, recycling centers (lysosomes), detoxification plants (peroxisomes), transportation highways and tracks and tunnels, transportation vehicles (dynein), incredible living walls with many types of one-way and two-way guarded, gated portals to the outside world, an external matrix to connect with other cells, and a host of other things. It is living and reproducing and not only makes its own machinery but also its own raw materials. The cell contains not only the blueprint of the plant or animal’s body and the information describing its every function but also the ability to actually fashion and operate it. A typical cell contains more than a trillion parts at the atomic level (Jerry Bergman, Ph.D. biology, In Six Days, edited by John Ashton, p. 25). Even a ‘simple’ E. coli bacterium has about 4,640,000 nucleotide base pairs, which code for 4,288 genes, each one of which produces an enormously complex protein machine (Bergman, p. 25). There are 200 major types of cells in the human body and each one contains the complete DNA needed to create the entire body. Each cell uses only that part of the DNA instructions necessary to accomplish its particular function. The information in the DNA in one human cell is equivalent to a library of 4,000 books (each containing 500 pages), yet all of the DNA from every person who has ever lived would weigh less than an aspirin tablet (Walt Brown, In the Beginning). The amount of information that could be stored in a pinhead’s volume of DNA is equivalent to a pile of paperback books 500 times as tall as the distance from earth to the Moon, each with a different, yet specific, content (W. Gitt, ‘Dazzling Design in Miniature,’ Creation Ex Nihilo, Dec. 1997 - Feb. 1998, p. 6). There are 60 trillion cells in the human body.”
Seeing the Non-existent: Evolution’s Myths and Hoaxes by David Cloud
“Christian cake artist Jack Phillips has scored a major victory after facing years of continuous persecution for his religious beliefs from LGBT activists and the Colorado Civil Rights Commission. The Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a Christian nonprofit that advocates for religious freedom and traditional values, announced Tuesday that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission ‘will dismiss its most recent charges against cake artist Jack Phillips in the wake of newly discovered evidence of the state’s ongoing hostility toward religious freedom.’ After Phillips prevailed at the Supreme Court in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, the Christian baker was targeted for refusing to create a transgender celebration cake due to his religious beliefs concerning sex and gender. ADF explains: ‘On June 26, 2017, the same day that the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to take up Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, an attorney asked cake artist Jack Phillips to create a cake designed pink on the inside and blue on the outside, which the attorney said was to celebrate a gender transition from male to female. Phillips declined the request because the custom cake would have expressed messages about sex and gender identity that conflict with his religious beliefs. Less than a month after the Supreme Court ruled for Phillips in his first case, the state surprised him by finding probable cause to believe that Colorado law requires him to create the requested gender-transition cake.’ In response to the clearly-targeted harassment of Mr. Phillips, ADF attorneys filed Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Elenis. ‘We’re pleased that the state will be dismissing its case against Jack,’ said ADF attorney Kristen Waggoner, who represented Phillips in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission. ‘This is the second time the state has launched a failed effort to prosecute him. While it finally appears to be getting the message that its anti-religious hostility has no place in our country, the state’s decision to target Jack has cost him more than six-and-a-half years of his life, forcing him to spend that time tied up in legal proceedings. Jack’s victory is great news for everyone. Tolerance and respect for good-faith differences of opinion are essential in a diverse society like ours. They enable us to peacefully coexist with each another. But the state’s demonstrated and ongoing hostility toward Jack because of his beliefs is undeniable,’ noted Waggoner.”
“Christian Baker Jack Phillips,” DailyWire.com, Mar. 5, 2019