In the image of God he created him;
Male and female he created them.
-Genesis 1:27 A new species of human…er, ape…er, something has been discovered. It is being described as having both apelike and humanoid features. It is called A. (Australopithecine) Sediba. There are two particular features of the specimens that make them somewhat peculiar. The upper half of the creatures look incredibly well adapted for climbing and have features that are perceivably more apelike. Despite the “primitive” appearance of their arms, the hands look a little more sophisticated. The lower half displays a more advanced type of ankle structure that appears more human. Because of this seemingly bizarre combination evolutionists have concluded that these creatures are part human and part ape. They think that it might be a transitional form of some sort, but is it possible that they are entirely mistaken? They have never stopped to consider the possibility that they could be entirely human or entirely ape. According to scientists, this specimen is too old and too apelike to be human. Given their abnormal combination of traits why would it be wrong to call these specimens “missing links” or transitional forms? For the sake of clarity, my job here is not to determine what these creatures are, I don’t know and do not have enough information to take any guesses. Instead of taking stabs in the dark without sufficient information, let’s use logic in connection with information we do know to give us a better understanding of the possibilities and to help us understand evolutionary philosophy. Ready? Exhibit A: Albertosaurus. Do you know what albertosaurus is? Let me help: you know what a tyrannosaurus rex is correct? They are actually the exact same thing, except the albertosaurus is smaller and its proportions are slightly different from that of T-Rex. In other words the difference between a T-Rex and an albertosaurus is about the same as what the difference is between a tall person and a short person. But evolutionary scientists have chosen to classify them as two different species of dinosaurs. Weird, huh? www.enchantedlearning.com/subjects/dinosaurs/dinos/albertosaurus.shtml Exhibit B: Common physical deformities. Even healthy human skeletons have minor differences in size, proportions, and even shape in some cases but there are instances where the anatomy of the human skeleton is drastically different from the average person. Such differences are typically the result of disease or deficiency. People who are affected by Down’s syndrome, arthritis, and rickets often have anatomical features that are significantly different from the common person. The first Neanderthal ever discovered, for instance, was hunched over. As a result the person who made the discovery concluded that all Neanderthals were essentially hunchbacks. After many years the skeleton was reexamined and it was discovered that this hunched over Neanderthal had actually suffered from a nasty case of arthritis in his back. http://ds-health.com/ortho.htm (Marvin L. Lubenow, Bones of Contention: A Creationist Assessment of Human Fossils (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Books, 1992), 26.) Exhibit C: Extreme abnormalities. There are certain abnormalities that make the ones listed above look normal. Take for instance the Ostrich People of Africa. They have only two toes on each foot that are shaped and proportioned in such a way that it appears as though they have ostrich feet! These people have isolated themselves and have been inbreeding for so long that their ostrich feet have become a normal trait among them. Now, imagine if a scientist dug up the bones or fossils of an ostrich person without any prior knowledge of their existence. What sort of conclusions do you think he or she would have drawn? http://www.thisislocallondon.co.uk/indepth/features/1297969.startling_secrets_of_ostrich_people/ We have outlined three possibilities in exhibits a-c. Is it possible that the differences in these specimens and either apes or humans are so minute that there truly is no difference? Could the specimens have suffered from some sort of minor genetic defect that slightly altered certain characteristics? Could they have suffered from a serious genetic defect that makes them almost unrecognizable? Is it possible that they are missing links? Is it possible that the whole thing is just a hoax? Unfortunately the team of scientists already made up their minds what these creatures are. even The sad thing is that they probably never considered the possibilities outside of their evolutionary biases. Let us not make the same mistake. (If you want any pictures of the specimens being discussed, check out Wikipedia; they provide a very easy to understand diagram to help you understand what has been discovered and what has not. Just type in A. Sediba.) (I based this post on http://www.foxnews.com/science/2013/04/11/with-mix-human-and-apelike-traits-ancient-creature-is-puzzle-for-evolutionary/)
Have you ever disagreed with someone and ended up fighting over your disagreement? I would guess that every single person reading this blog could say yes to that question. It’s our selfish human nature to believe that we are right and to want to get our own way in everything.A quarrel is a verbal disagreement between people. They may be angry, and the quarrel may cause a temporary or permanent break in their relationship. Quarrels can happen over basically anything, from mundane things like what to eat for dinner to serious things such as issues that break up a marriage. What does the Bible say about quarreling? Proverbs 20:3 says, “It is to one’s honor to avoid strife, but every fool is quick to quarrel.” Proverbs 17:14 says, “Starting a quarrel is like breaching a dam; so drop the matter before a dispute breaks out.” Those verses remind us that we should not even begin a quarrel or an argument with someone. But what about if a quarrel is unavoidable? We receive further guidance from Titus 3:9-11: “But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless. Warn a divisive person once, and then warn them a second time. After that, have nothing to do with them. You may be sure that such people are warped and sinful; they are self-condemned.” This passage assures us that we need to stay away from people who are only seeking to argue with us. We don’t need to use a quarrel to condemn them; they will condemn themselves with their selfish motives. 2 Timothy 2:14-16 says, “Keep reminding God’s people of these things. Warn them before God against quarreling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen. Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly.” These are just a few of the passages in the Bible dealing with quarreling, but they all have the same theme - stay away from quarrels! We as God’s people were created to be perfect and always in unity and agreement, but because sin entered the world that is not possible in this present world. We as Christ followers need to try our best to avoid quarrels so that our differing ideas do not lead us to sin. But for those times we do end up quarreling with our friends or loved ones, we can be thankful that God is always quick to forgive us out of His amazing grace.
As I write this post, I have literally just gotten back home from a long weekend trip from Ohio to the far western part of Missouri and even into Kansas. I got to spend a good bit of time in 2 major cities - Kansas City and St. Louis - that I had never been to before in my life. I enjoyed a baseball game at a beautiful stadium that I had only seen before on TV, saw a well-known federal prison at Fort Leavenworth, dipped my toes in the Mississippi River, visited the Gateway Arch, and ate amazing food in both cities. Despite all of these awesome experiences, I doubt that any of them really would’ve mattered to me had I been by myself. What made the trip so much fun and so rewarding is that it happened with three people that are very close to me. There was one day that we basically spent inside relaxing and watching movies, and we had just as much fun doing that! In contrast, the most physically beautiful “paradise” I have ever been to is Buena Vista, Colorado. I spent two full weeks there during an autumn season and the landscape was amazing, but I had no one with me to share the experience. I brought back many pictures and showed them to many people, but it’s not like I can sit and reminisce about the experiences with someone else.Who you share an experience or a physical location with makes all the difference in whether you view it as “paradise” or “just some amazing place you visited once”. In the New Testament, the Greek word for “paradise” is a word that was used in that context to describe “a pleasure-park, forest where wild beasts were kept for hunting, or garden of trees of various kinds” (Mounce). In other words, life is pretty good and easy. There may be work to be done, but it’s enjoyable and fulfilling work. There are no problems, no tears, no unmet needs or desires, and no evil. The word is not only used in the New Testament, but is also the word, when translated from Hebrew to Greek, that is used for the Garden of Eden in Genesis 2. Isn’t that interesting? Man’s history in the Bible begins with God placing him in “paradise”, and also ends in the “paradise” that Katie described from Revelation 21-22 in Monday’s post. While the first “paradise” was reserved for the man and woman who knew God by their very nature, the last “paradise” is reserved for those who willingly choose to know God through the sacrifice of his Son, Jesus Christ. So, it seems to me that the common denominator about these two physical places must not be WHAT is there, but WHO is present. Scripture tells us about some of the physical details about these two locations, but not many. However, there is no denying that Scripture makes it abundantly clear who is present in each place. We know from Genesis 2 and 3 that the Lord God was present with Adam in the Garden of Eden because he spoke to him freely and openly (2:16-17), brought animals to him to be named (2:19), formed another human being out of his rib (2:21-22), and walked in the garden in a way that was heard by Adam and his wife (3:8). We are led to believe that Adam enjoyed a fearless and shameless relationship with God up to the point that he sinned, which caused him to feel like he needed to hide from God out of fear and shame (3:10). One of the huge consequences of Adam’s sin was that God banished him from the Garden of Eden (aka “paradise”) and even set up angels to guard its entrance in case the man tried to come back (3:23-24). In the same way, Scripture tells us that God is present in the last “paradise”. We are told that “now the dwelling of God is WITH men, and he will live with them” (Revelation 21:3 [emphasis mine]). Later, we are told that this new location “does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp” (Revelation 21:23). In addition to these passages, Luke 23:43, which Katie also referenced in Monday’s post, makes it clear that Jesus is telling the criminal that he is not sending him to paradise alone, but that Jesus will be there too! I find it fascinating that Jesus tells the man nothing else about paradise. I mean, seriously, what else did he need to know? Jesus didn’t need to tell him what to pack, what to eat, or what to wear on this trip. The only thing that mattered to the criminal was that he would be with Jesus! I hope you all understand that God’s work of redemption that is told throughout the entire Bible is just that – a plan to redeem us by bringing us back to the “paradise” where it all started for us. His plan is to bring us back to a place where we can enjoy an open relationship with Him walking right beside us because we have nothing to hide and nothing to fear. If you have accepted Jesus as your personal Savior AND ALSO made him your Lord, your journey of getting back to paradise has already begun and there are days when you feel like you are already there with him. But there are also still those days where your sin causes you to hide and be afraid. While Christ completed the work of redemption on the cross with the resounding words “it is finished”, we know that we will not realize its completion until we can once again live and walk with God 100% of the time. And that’s precisely what will make it our “paradise”. People have opinions and have even written books about what heaven and hell will look like, and Scripture gives us a little bit of an idea. But what really makes all the difference is that God himself is there in paradise, and that outside of paradise he is not there. In this lifetime and by how we live, we choose between inviting God to dwell in and with us and kicking him out of our lives. Whatever we choose in this lifetime is what he will grant us for all eternity.