“For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come” (1 Timothy 4:8). “Bodily exercise does profit a little. The necessity for it in our time and place is well established. But it must not be allowed to place inordinate demands upon the stewardship of our time and money. I have a friend who spends two hours a day running, thirty minutes (plus showering and dressing time) three times a week in a health club at substantial cost, and three hours or more per week playing racquetball. In addition, he belongs to the local tennis club and plays there once or twice a week. He appears to be in excellent physical condition. He asked me to lunch not long ago because he wanted to talk personally. The all-too-common story was shared of a lack of joy in his work and family in particular, and a growing sense of boredom and frustration with life in general. I asked him if he was willing to take an honest inventory of himself. He was. He discovered that the time and energy spent on the physical compared to the spiritual was one hundred to one! His conclusion: ‘I’m physically fit, but spiritually flabby.’ That may become the epitaph on too many of our headstones. We may well be in need of regular physical exercise, and we should not ignore our physical fitness. But our spiritual fitness is of much greater importance”
(The Preacher’s Commentary Series).
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”
As creationists, we spend a lot of time working on our models about how we think the Flood could have happened, developing new models. The old vapor canopy model has long since been superseded by more biblical and more scientific models, such as Catastrophic Plate Tectonics or the newer Vertical Impact Tectonics.
What we should not lose sight of is the reason why God sent the Flood. The reason for the coming of the Flood is given in Genesis 6:5. “GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” If God had chosen to destroy everyone and everything, He would have been just to do so. But God also had a plan of salvation, which we read about in Genesis 6:8, which, in my opinion, is the most beautiful verse of the early chapters of Genesis.
Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.
Hebrews 11 tells us: “By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.” It follows, then, that Noah was saved by grace through faith. And Ephesians 2:8 reminds Christians: “By grace are ye saved through faith”. There has only ever been one method of salvation – by grace, through faith. We just have that little bit more knowledge than Noah, so that we know Who bought that salvation, and how.
“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 meanings 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 is 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.”
Jay Richards, “What’s the Difference?” The Stream, Aug. 7, 2017
“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 Moon is covered with craters. Other bodies in the Solar System are also covered with craters. If you look at an unlabeled photograph of Mercury, it is likely that you would simply assume it was the Moon because the cratering is so similar. Such craters have only been discovered since the advent of spacecraft to view the planets up close, so it was not until 1965, when the Mariner 4 craft flew by Mars, that craters other than on Earth or Moon were seen. Today, we know that a great many of the planets and moons of the Solar System are covered with craters which have been formed by the impact of bodies, such as meteors.
This large number of craters represents a puzzle for all interested scientists. After all, cratering is not observed happening today. So, evolutionary astronomers suggest that there are particular periods when impact cratering has occurred. Most impact cratering is attributed to a period known as the Late Heavy Bombardment, or LHB, which they date at about 3.9 billion years ago.
Creationists also have models to explain the large amount of cratering. There are two main creationist models. Some suggest that the cratering was part of God’s formation of the Solar System on the 4th day of the Creation Week, while others suggest that cratering occurred in the early stages of the Flood and might have been a mechanism that triggered the Flood. In either case, the specific timetable given by creationist models seem to provide a much more satisfactory explanation of the phenomenon than a naturalistic model.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has issued a strong policy statement claiming that the use of corporal punishment in the home is harmful. The group, which represents about 67,000 doctors, defines spanking as “noninjurious, openhanded hitting with the intention of modifying child behavior.” The group’s previous policy encouraged parents not to spank, but stopped short of calling it harmful. According to polls, the use of spanking in the U.S. has declined over the past two decades, but 70% of adults still have enough sense to agree that a “good, hard spanking is sometimes necessary to discipline a child” (2014 General Social Survey, cited from “Spanking Is Ineffective and Harmful, Pediatricians’ Group Says,” New York Times, Nov. 5, 2018). There are still 19 states in the U.S. that either allow spanking in schools or do not have specific rules prohibiting it. God’s Word is unequivocal on the issue. “He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes” (Proverbs 13:24). “Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him” (Proverbs 22:15). “The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame” (Proverbs 29:15). Note that the Bible is enjoining the rod of loving correction, not the rod of hateful abuse.
(Friday Church News Notes, November 23, 2018, www.wayoflife.org, email@example.com, 866-295-4143)
“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. And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth."
What could it be like to live on a space base on the surface of Titan? The sky would be either deep blue or perhaps a shade of orange under certain conditions. The base could be picturesquely situated by a lake, with a background of mountains. Perhaps a view across a plain would enable the breathtaking sight of the giant planet Saturn, with its majestic rings, hanging in the sky.
The atmospheric pressure would be sufficient for flying machines to operate like terrestrial airplanes, using shaped wings to provide the uplift, as a means of transport to other bases on the surface of this largest of Saturn’s moons.
But the similarities would be superficial. With the highest temperatures about -180°C (-292°F), the lakes would be of liquid methane. The base would need to be sealed against the atmosphere, which contains no oxygen. In fact, life would be bleak.
Yet it is life that encourages NASA to continue to want to explore Titan, to garner data beyond that which was collected by the Huygens mission.
NASA scientists, because of their belief in evolution, cannot comprehend that life is a phenomenon unique to the Earth. Surely, if life evolved on the Earth, then it must have evolved elsewhere, and, despite its extreme conditions, many so called “astrobiologists” think that Titan is the most likely candidate for similarly evolved life.
The Bible, on the other hand, shows us that the Earth is indeed unique. God has placed created life on this world, and we have no evidence to suggest that He put life anywhere else.
“A 69-year-old Dutch ‘positivity guru’ who says he does not feel his age has started a battle to make himself legally 20 years younger on the grounds that he is being discriminated against on a dating app. Emile Ratelband told a court in Arnhem in the Netherlands that he did not feel ‘comfortable’ with his date of birth, and compared his wish to alter it to people who identified as transgender. Ratelband said that due to having an official age that did not reflect his emotional state he was struggling to find both work and love. He has asked for his date of birth to be changed from 11 March 1949 to 11 March 1969. ‘When I’m 69, I am limited. If I’m 49, then I can buy a new house, drive a different car,’ he said. ‘I can take up more work. When I’m on Tinder and it says I’m 69, I don’t get an answer. When I’m 49, with the face I have, I will be in a luxurious position.’ Doctors had told him his body was that of a 45-year-old man, Ratelband argued. He described himself as a ‘young god.’”
The Bible says, “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23), and, “it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27).
“Dutch man, 69, starts legal fight,” The Guardian, Nov. 8, 2018
“And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.”
In various Creation Moments, I have sometimes criticized the so-called green movement over its obsession with the flawed concept of Climate Change. For example, the demonization of the naturally occurring gas carbon dioxide, essential for the life and growth of plants, makes little sense. In practice, the contribution of artificially produced CO2 as a greenhouse gas is negligible compared with materials such as water vapor. And the panic caused by dire predictions of global warming catastrophes are contrary to God’s words about the seasons continuing as long as the Earth endures.
However, we should not leap to the opposite conclusion that all environmental science is flawed. Indeed, the Bible lays down a reason, as well as a mandate, for human beings to look after this planet on which we live. This is the biblical concept of stewardship, which is first outlined in the very first chapter of the Bible.
And God said to them, “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.”
By commissioning humanity to have dominion over all creatures and to subdue the Earth, God established us as stewards. The quality and cleanliness of our rivers, lakes, oceans, and living spaces is a solemn responsibility for humanity, and we are neglecting our God-given duty when we allow pollution of any sort to spoil and degrade the world. Projects which improve our environment in tangible ways are, therefore, in accord with what the Bible teaches.
“Zeynep Tufekci, of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, observes, ‘What Facebook does is profile you. If you are on Facebook, it is collecting everything you do. If you are off Facebook, it is using tracking pixels to collect what you are browsing. And for its micro-targeting to work, for its business model to work, it has to remain a surveillance machine.’ From 2012-2015, Rand Waltzman and his colleagues at the U.S. Department of Defense published more than 200 academic papers and reports about the threats they were seeing from social media. Waltzman says, ‘The concern was that social media could be used for really nefarious purposes. The opportunities for disinformation, for deception, for everything else, are enormous. Bad guys, or anyone else, could use this for any kind of purpose in a way that wasn’t possible before. That’s the concern. [The potential threat of people giving up their data] is that they are opening themselves up for being targets for manipulation. I can manipulate you to buy something. I can manipulate you to vote for somebody. It is like putting a big target on yourself and saying, “Here I am; come and manipulate me. I’ve given you everything you need. Have at it.” That’s the threat. What I saw over the years of the program was that the medium enables you to really take disinformation and turn it into a serious weapon. When you look at how it works, you see the opportunities for mass manipulation. People are easily misled, if you do it the right way. For example, when you see people forming into communities, I can exploit that to craft my message so that it resonates most exactly with that community. And I can do that for every single community. It would be pretty easy to set up a fake account, and large numbers of fake accounts, embedded in different communities, and use them to disseminate propaganda. It’s a serious weapon, because it is an enormous scale. It’s the scale that makes it a weapon.’ Dmytro Shymkiv, adviser to the president of Ukraine, 2014-2018, describes the propaganda center that was set up in St. Petersburg, Russia, called the Internet Research Agency, which has poured out disinformation to fight the anti-Russian government in Ukraine. ‘Russian propaganda against the Ukrainian government was massive on social media. There were so many stories that started emerging on Facebook. They scared people. They planted a story that Ukrainian soldiers had crucified a child, which is totally nonsense. It was proven that the people telling the story of the crucifixion were actually hired actors. So Facebook was weaponized. [Just as in the Arab Spring, Facebook was being used to flame division. But now by groups working in behalf of a foreign power, using Facebook’s tools built to help advertisers boost their content.] By that time in Facebook, you could pay money to promote these stories so your stories emerge on the top lines. You immediately get media response. You can test all kinds of nonsense and understand which nonsense people do not believe and to which nonsense people start believing which will influence the persons receptive to propaganda. And then provoking that person to certain action.’ [After Shymkiv met with Facebook executives and asked them to intervene, the response was,] ‘Sorry, we are an open platform; anyone can do anything within our policy, which is written on the website. We will think about this, but you know we have freedom of speech and we are a very pro-democracy platform; everybody can say anything.’”
“The Facebook Dilemma,” part one, Frontline PBS, Oct. 29, 2018
“Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.”
What makes a hero? Is it a particular character trait? Are some personalities better suited to being heroes than others? Or could anyone be a hero, given the right circumstances? A research project of the Ohio State University was set up to try to answer these questions.
OSU needed a case study to track how heroes emerge and behave. They chose to study the behavior of individuals involved in the Rwandan Genocide of 1994.
I remember with horror watching the events of the genocide unfold on the television news. The event which triggered the genocide was the assassination of Rwanda’s president, who came from the majority Hutu people. Within hours, Hutu people were attacking and massacring members of the minority Tutsi people. The numbers of dead are uncertain, but at least 500,000 were murdered, and possibly as many as 1.3 million – possibly 70% of the pre-genocide population.
But there were some Hutus who sheltered Tutsis. Why would they do this? Remarkably, some of the Hutu rescuers were also killers; six of the people studied had murdered Tutsis who they did not know, while sheltering Tutsis who they did know.
The study concluded that the nature and motivations of heroes are complicated. But they also noted that a very large majority of rescuers were what the researchers called “people of faith”. But the only faith recorded was Christianity. Those who have given their lives to the Lord, while being imperfect vessels, are capable of extraordinary compassion and bravery, which cannot be explained by humanity, but only by the power of the Holy Spirit.
“He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end.”
Beauty with golden makeup
Are you fascinated by special numbers? One number that fascinates me is the so-called Golden Number – 1.618.
A boring definition of the Golden Number would be to say that it is the square root of 5 plus 1, all divided by 2. This is approximately 1.618.
The number can also be found from a sequence. If the first and second element of a sequence are both 1, then every element after that is equal to the sum of the previous 2, then we get a sequence like this:
This is known as the Fibonacci Sequence, named for its inventor.
We can then define a second sequence where the first element is equal to the second element of the Fibonacci sequence, divided by the first, and so on. We find that we get a sequence, where, after about ten or eleven elements, every element becomes equal to 1.618 – the Golden Number.
This number can also be found in nature. The spiral shell of a nautiloid grows according to this pattern, as do the elements in the face of a sunflower.
One fascinating application is to measure features on the faces of people. Take a photo of a person, considered to be good looking. Measure the distance between their eyes, and the length of their nose, and divide one by the other. The number is approximately 1.618. But if the face is not what is considered good-looking – my face, for example – then the number obtained is further away from the Golden Number! Is this number a coincidence, or is it part of God’s good design?
The United Bible Societies (UBS) and the World Council of Churches have published a book that discussed the Bible as an ecumenical tool. It is called Your Word Is Truth: The Bible in 10 Christian Traditions. “The publication revives a long history between the WCC and UBS of working together to nurture engagement with Scripture as a unifying element in ecumenical, inter-confessional relations” (Christian Newswire, Nov. 8, 2018). The only way that the Bible can be a unifying element in ecumenical relations (Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox) is to misuse it. If it were interpreted literally and accurately, it would destroy the ecumenical movement. The Bible says, “earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints” (Jude 3). Fighting for the one true faith of God’s Word is the very opposite of ecumenical unity. If I stand up, for example, for the gospel of the grace of Christ without works or sacraments as taught in God’s Word, then I destroy unity with those who preach a sacramental gospel. If I stand up for the literal interpretation of Bible prophecy, I destroy unity with those who hold to an allegorical method of interpretation. If I stand up for the cessation of apostolic sign gifts, I destroy unity with those who claim to exercise those gifts. In truth, the World Council of Churches and the United Bible Societies are enemies of the Bible. they together because they are unified in error. They have a false christ, a false gospel, and a false spirit. For evidence of this, see the free eBooks Unholy Hands on God’s Holy Book and The World Council of Churches, available at www.wayoflife.org.
(Friday Church News Notes, November 16, 2018, www.wayoflife.org, firstname.lastname@example.org, 866-295-4143)
“I said in mine heart concerning the estate of the sons of men, that God might manifest them, and that they might see that they themselves are beasts. For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity. All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again. Who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast that goeth downward to the earth?”
Evolutionists believe that dinosaurs appeared about 240 million years ago and then disappeared again about 65 million years ago. They believe in the development and evolution of different dinosaur kinds within that period of about 175 million years.
In order to understand any type of animal, it is always helpful to find subdivisions, usually by looking at an easily observed feature. Traditionally, dinosaurs have been divided into two orders, based on the shape of their hips. These orders are known as saurischia and ornithischia. The former order have hips shaped like those of lizards – hence. they are lizard-hipped, which is what saurischia means. The latter order have hips shaped like birds, so they are known as bird-hipped – and that is what ornithischia means. The saurischia order includes sauropods and therapods. Sauropods are the large, long-necked, long-tailed dinosaurs, like apatosaurus and diplodocus. Therapods are the allegedly fierce meat-eaters, like tyrannosaurus, allosaurus, and oviraptor. Ornithischians include stegasauruses and ceratopsians – the group that includes triceratops.
As we know, evolutionists believe that birds evolved from dinosaurs. So, obviously birds evolved from bird-hipped dinosaurs, right? Wrong. Evolutionists believe that birds evolved from therapods, which are lizard-hipped.
The division between bird-hipped and lizard-hipped creatures is so old that even I remember reading about it in childhood dinosaur books. But now modern evolutionists are abandoning the theory, suggesting that therapods evolved from within the ornithischian kind, somehow temporarily producing lizard-hips, which would evolve back into bird-hips.
As creationists, we look at the bone structure of dinosaurs and think that they look as if they have been well designed for the purpose God gave them.
“Growing up in the Hinn family empire was like belonging to some hybrid of the royal family and the mafia. Our lifestyle was lavish, our loyalty was enforced, and our version of the gospel was big business. Though Jesus Christ was still a part of our gospel, he was more of a magic genie than the King of Kings. Rubbing him the right way—by giving money and having enough faith—would unlock your spiritual inheritance. God’s goal was not his glory but our gain. His grace was not to set us free from sin but to make us rich. The abundant life he offered wasn’t eternal, it was now. We lived the prosperity gospel. We lived in a 10,000-square-foot mansion guarded by a private gate, drove two Mercedes Benz vehicles, vacationed in exotic destinations, and shopped at the most expensive stores. On top of that, we bought a $2 million ocean-view home in Dana Point, California, where another Benz joined the fleet. Doubts would surface. What about unsuccessful healing attempts? I learned that it was the sick person’s fault for doubting God. Why would we speak in tongues without interpretation? ‘Don’t quench the Spirit,’ I was told. ‘He can do what he wants.’ Why did many of our prophecies contradict the Bible? ‘Don’t put God in a box.’ Despite the questions, I trusted my family because we were so successful. After graduating college and returning home, I met my wife, Christyne. I had no idea that God would use her in bringing about my salvation. In fact, my family and I were nervous because she didn’t speak in tongues. One day she pointed to a verse I had never seen: 1 Corinthians 12:30 (‘Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret?’). I was shaken to the core. There it was plain as day—not everybody has to speak in tongues. Soon, the domino effect began. Other longstanding beliefs were failing the biblical test. No longer did I believe that God’s purpose was to make me happy, healthy, and wealthy. Instead, I saw that he wanted me to live for him regardless of what I could get from him. I am thankful that my wife was willing to question my insistence on speaking in tongues and that my pastor loved me enough to disciple me out of prosperity gospel confusion.”
“Benny Hinn Is My Uncle,” Christianity Today, Nov. 20, 2017
“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:”
You must remember the pictures of Neanderthals that you saw in high school textbooks. These creatures were drawn to look like subhuman brutes. They had angry, but unintelligent looking faces. The men almost certainly pulled their womenfolk around by the hair, and arguments were settled with a brutish looking club.
Of course, in recent years, many articles have been published to soften this image that we have. It has been shown that Neanderthals could make flutes out of bones, but they were still not fully human. They buried their dead with what appears to be the ritual use of flowering plants, but they were still not fully human. Now, a new study by the University of York has suggested that Neanderthals cared for their sick and elderly. Dr. Penny Spikins of the University of York said, “Our findings suggest Neanderthals didn’t think in terms of whether others might repay their efforts, they just responded to their feelings about seeing their loved ones suffering.”
One Neanderthal body shows evidence of having suffered from a degenerative disease. This disease would probably have rendered him incapable of fully independent living for the last 12 months of his life. Yet, he was buried with all the same ritual honors as Neanderthals without disease. The York study claims that this suggests the Neanderthal man must have received a pretty high level of health care.
We should not be surprised by such care. Biblically speaking, we simply accept Neanderthals as fellow human beings, descended from Adam and made in the image of God.