Science and Worldviews

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, October 31, 2014 10 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

The primary thing I’ve been learning about in the Cadre with the Creation Truth Foundation is about worldviews. Back in February, I described what a Worldview is and what a Biblical Worldview is. We have also been learning about a lot of science. How do these two interact? Is there a conflict between science and the Biblical worldview? Or does this whole origins debate actually boil down to a debate between worldviews?

First let me clarify what a worldview is and what a worldview is not. A worldview is a set of principles, presuppositions, and convictions that mold and shape how you look at everything around you. It acts as a filter that determines which knowledge we consider to be true and which knowledge we consider to be false. A worldview usually acts subconsciously, but it acts and influences our every day decisions both big and small. A worldview is NOT personal opinion, nor is it political philosophy, though our worldview will affect these. A worldview is NOT educational progression, though education can play a role in how our worldview is formed. A worldview is also NOT held by strong emotions, though our worldview will draw them out.

Our worldview addresses many key questions including: Does God exist? Is the Bible true? Where am I from? Why am I here? Who am I? Where am I going? What can I include for x discussion? Most of us really don’t think about these questions very often, yet the answers to these questions influence our daily lives in the same way the heart influences our daily lives and activities. And one area in which our worldview has a major influence is science.

Now science is very often misconstrued with the philosophy of science, or scientism. Scientism is itself a worldview; one that only considers that which science can address to be considered valid. But let’s dig a little deeper into this. First, science is NOT a philosophy. It is a method that we use to acquire knowledge. And that method is called the scientific method. This is a valid way we can gain knowledge. The scientific method has five major steps, though you might know them under different terms or in a slightly different order. The steps are:

(1) Formulate a Hypothesis: This is the step where you raise a question about an aspect that you want to explore. It is where you come up with an idea you want to test and seek to find out if it is true or not. For example, on the TV show Mythbusters, the hypothesis being put to the test is always what happens in the myth.

(2) Observation: Observation can occur before or after you formulate your hypothesis. It also occurs during the experiment. Observation is where you take a look at things that have already been done or have already happened to gather preliminary data on your question. It also occurs as the experiment it taking place. An example here would be with Isaac Newton and discovering gravity. He was in his house staring out his yard when he saw an apple fall. He observed the apple falling. This is the same as observing in an experiment but it got him thinking and that eventually led to his discovery of gravity. Observation relies and depends on your senses to be able to register what is happening.

(3) Setup/Execute Experiment: This is the glorious part of the scientific method and what everyone thinks of. This is where we set things up to put our hypothesis to the test. And it reveals if our hypothesis works out or doesn’t.

(4) Interpretation: This is where we take the data that we record and we come up with a conclusion about what it means and why. It usually relates to the hypothesis, and we determine if the hypothesis was accurate or not, or if there is something we explored correctly or not.

(5) Report Findings: The report is what everyone else sees from the experiment. This includes all the data from setting up the experiment, from the results, and how the experiment was performed. It also includes the interpretation of what the results mean.

Now here is where it gets tricky if we are not carful. Our worldview has a direct influence on 4 of these 5 steps, and can influence the 5th. Let’s check out each one.

Formulate a Hypothesis: Your worldview will show up here in how you ask the question to be tested. It will influence how you think about the issue you want to see resolved and influence which possible solutions you consider.

Observation: Your worldview will determine issues including how reliable your senses are. Most won’t question this aspect and that is part of the point. It will determine how you trust the equipment you are using. It will also determine what you think you are observing. For an extreme example, if you are observing an Ouija board, your worldview will determine if you think you are observing magnetism, human trickery, or demonic influence or which of those you won’t consider. Setup/Execute Experiment: This is the step least influenced by your worldview. The only area it will be influenced is the set up. But once the experiment gets going, it will go and your worldview does not have a role to play.

Interpretation: Here is where your worldview plays the largest role. If your worldview only considers natural explanations, you may completely miss what is going on. Likewise, if your worldview is driven by certain purposes, you may be inclined to think it is doing something it is not. In the origins debate, worldview-driven interpretation shows itself strongly when looking at fossils. Homology is pure interpretation, and it is influenced strongly by the evolutionary worldview which demands common ancestry. So anytime you see features that look similar, interpretation will make an evolutionist think: common ancestor. But a Biblical Creationist will think: common designer. Same evidence, different interpretation, each based on a different worldview.

Report: It is well assumed that scientists are professionals and that they do their job with integrity. Yet this is not always the case. One’s worldview also influences what you report and how you report it. Piltdown man was reported as a great missing link despite the fact that all they had was a pig’s tooth. Lucy was reported as a great missing link despite the fact that it had all the signs of a monkey (curved finger bones, hip structure, size, etc). Reports do not always match the facts. The moon is estimated to be 4.5 billion years old, yet when we got the results of radiometric dated moon rocks, 90% of them are nowhere close to this age. Reporting is not immune to worldview influence.

All this does not invalidate the scientific method, but we need to keep in mind that it is just a method and it is not the answer to all things. It has limits and it is very susceptible to outside influences. If we are aware of these influences, that is fine. And scientific etiquette requires that these influences be reported. Yet most of the time, they aren’t. Be a Berean. Check it out. Is it legit? And the only standard that is 100% reliable to test against is Scripture.

Building Blocks of Living Things

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, October 30, 2014 3 comments

by Steve Risner

It was understandable to believe the cell, which seemed to be nothing more than a bag of goo with a dot in the center, could arise through the proper combination of chemicals when Darwin published his famous work, On the Origin of Species, in November of 1859. The microscope had certainly revealed to us the secret world inside our tissues and even in our drinking water by that time, but real advancements in the magnification abilities of the microscope didn’t begin to pick up steam until some 25 to 30 years later. Cells are often referred to as the building blocks of life. So Darwin surmised that the cell, a simple bag of goo that was found in both plants and animals, could have a simple beginning in a vat of pond scum that was jolted by a bolt of lightning or some other energy source. But is the cell really a simple bag of goo? Or is the cell a mysterious factory that we still have a fairly limited understanding of when compared to all its complexities?

Ranging in size from 1-100 micrometers (that’s millionths of a meter), cells are the fundamental units of life. It makes no difference if we’re talking about a single celled paramecium or a multicellular sponge or an organism made up of trillions of cells like the human body, all living organisms are made of and rely on cells to function normally. Cells do everything from providing structure and stability to making energy and a means of reproduction for a living thing. There are two primary types of cells—prokaryotes and eukaryotes. These are distracting terms, so let’s not get hung up on them. Essentially, we’re talking about whether a cell appears to have a well-defined nucleus or not. All plants, animals, fungi, and protists (single or multi celled organisms) are eukaryotes, which means they all have a well-defined nucleus in their cells. Bacteria and archaea (single celled microorganisms) do not generally have this characteristic. A cell, whether it has a nucleus or not, contains genetic material in the form of nucleic acids—that is DNA and RNA. An exception to this would be our red blood cells, which have had their nucleus removed so they are smaller and more pliable. But every cell of your body (except red blood cells) contains all the information required to build another you!

The life spans and functions of cells within the human body range tremendously. Cells in the gut can live for only a few days while neurons (cells that make up nerves) are present before you’re born and will persist until your life on earth is extinguished. Stem cells that make blood cells among other things live fairly long lives but skin cells do not. In terms of function, some cells create structure for us, giving us hair and skin or bone. Some cells aid in structure by creating bonding agents (like glue). Cells make all the chemicals your body uses to make energy, heal, and function normally.

They convert the food we eat and air you breathe into useful chemicals that help us stay warm, walk across a room, digest more food, regulate our internal systems, fight infection, etc. The list literally is beyond imagination and we know far less than we don’t know. Eyesight is a function of cells. Taste is a function of cells. Having a pimple is the function of cells. Feeling hungry is the function of cells. Knowing where your right index finger is right now is the function of cells. Being aware that you stubbed your toe is the function of cells. Earwax is the function of cells. You get the idea, right?

I’ve often said that a cell is more complex than a Ford plant and is smaller than the naked eye can see. How’s that for complicated! Some Ford factories cover 1.5 square miles and most have millions and millions of square feet of floor space. The average cell of the body is 50 millionths of a meter in diameter and a cell has so many different things happening inside it all the time it boggles the mind. There are easily over 30 different named structures in a generic cell. These structures, called organelles, are miniature varieties of the organs that you have inside in your body. They make energy, convert one chemical into another either for use or for elimination, create structure, or something else. Most cells are highly specialized, which means they serve a very specific function. However, because your body is an unbelievable marvel, sometimes cells or even entire organs can adapt to have a new function.

In my opening paragraph, I indicated that Darwin, because he had no way of knowing otherwise at the time, believed a cell was a bag of goo whose genesis was spontaneous. He was unaware of the unfathomable complexities found inside these microscopic little factories. They literally hold us together and make everything we need for life from raw materials we breathe or eat. God designed an unimaginable machine and gave it life. As Psalm 139:13 says, “For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother's womb.”

After writing this, I realize I’ve only finished an introduction to the cell and haven’t addressed anything specific. It seems that my next blog topic has already been chosen. Stay tuned next week to read some of the amazing things cells do—and for a video that will blow your mind. The mystery of the cell, its origins, its functions and how it relates to other cells will be the topic of our next discussion.

Remember the Saints - It's Time to Suit Up

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Wednesday, October 29, 2014 0 comments

by Logan Ames

If you want to be good at anything, chances are you have to put in the work ahead of time to be prepared. Peyton Manning of the Denver Broncos just set the all-time record for most career touchdown passes. When reporters asked him about the record and his team’s general dominance of their opponent, the first thing he said was, “Well, we had a really good week of practice and I think that showed during the game”. The World Series is currently going on in baseball. I saw that the teams began practicing and preparing for their opponent five days before the first game of the series. In addition, players begin batting practice and pre-game stretching several hours before the first pitch. It’s true outside of sports as well. If you play in a band or lead music for a church, you don’t usually show up and wing it. You have set times for rehearsal. Likewise, if you have a big test or project at school or work, you increase your odds of doing well by studying or practicing.

Part of preparing, especially in music and sports, includes checking your equipment to make sure it will not malfunction and getting suited up in whatever gear or outfit you will need to complete the task at hand. The Apostle Paul tells believers to “suit up” as well. “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes” (Ephesians 6:10-11). Paul wanted the Christians at Ephesus to be prepared because he knew they were facing, and would continue to face, intense persecution. This was true about most of the Christians Paul wrote to in the New Testament letters, but we see in Revelation 2:3 that Jesus tells the church at Ephesus that they “have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary”. Yet, Paul continues in Ephesians 6 that the “struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (v. 12). He then goes on to describe each piece of the armor of God in verses 14-17. I’ll get to his very important words after that a little bit later.

Paul is telling Christians in Ephesus, and everywhere else, that those who persecute us are not the real enemies. The true enemies are the dark powers and forces that lead the persecutors to do what they do. Paul knew about being on the side of those powers because he used to be a persecutor of Christians. But he now understands that being strong in the Lord and his mighty power gives him victory against all of those enemies.

This time of year, we have two very different days of celebration. Whether we realize it or not, Halloween is a celebration of evil forces. Now, I’m not saying that anyone who participates in handing out candy to children dressed in costumes is celebrating evil. I’m simply encouraging you to think about what you are doing, what message you send to others this time of year, and what God might be saying to you about your activities. Personally, I do hand out candy to kids that come to my door, but I don’t get into horror movies or anything that celebrates evil, fear, or the harming of others. I believe Scripture is clear that those things do not come from God. If I have an opportunity at costume parties to maybe send a different type of message, I like to do so. Several years ago I wore a costume that was actually a live embodiment of the full armor of God. It certainly made for good conversations!

The second holiday is All Saints Day. Since Katie already described in Monday’s post where this holiday originated and why it is celebrated, I will simply say that this is an opportunity to intentionally remember current persecuted Christians all over the world. When Paul talks about the saints in the New Testament, it seems that he is almost always talking about persecuted believers. Every year, the Voice of the Martyrs designates the first Sunday of November (11/2 this year) as the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church. I would encourage you, wherever you are, to not let that day come and go with you just getting on with church, life, and watching football or whatever you normally do on Sundays. Instead, intentionally make it a point to go before the throne on behalf of the thousands, maybe even millions, of persecuted believers around the world. We often forget that persecution is happening because it isn’t right in front of our eyes, but there is no question that many Christians in nations around the world don’t enjoy the same comforts and freedoms that we still enjoy in America today.

By the way, I wouldn’t be the only one encouraging you. After explaining the full armor of God, Paul urges the believers to pray for him and for all persecuted believers. “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints. Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should” (Ephesians 6:18-20). Do you see the heart of what Paul is asking prayer for regarding himself? Nowhere in those words do you see him asking for God to change his circumstances. Paul is asking the believers to pray that God changes him through the persecution and enables him to go forward with a fearless boldness that can ONLY come by being “strong in the Lord and in his mighty power”.

That was the whole point of his instructions about the full armor of God. We can pray for protection for ourselves and for others, but ultimately we know this world is not our home. We know that as long as we are here, we WILL face troubles (John 16:33). Persecution will come and if we are blessed enough to be counted worthy of suffering for Jesus, it might even cost us our lives. So, as we pray for ourselves and as we pray for the persecuted church this year on the first Sunday of November, let’s focus on praying exactly as Paul asked in the verses shared above. Let’s pray that the saints that are in circumstances we can’t even imagine AS WE SPEAK will be covered with the full armor of God so that even in their death if necessary, they will take their stand against the devil’s schemes and will resist the temptation to abandon their faith. Let’s pray that they will stand boldly for Jesus and be a witness to even their persecutors. And let’s get suited up ourselves, for we know not when we might be called to face such persecution and might covet the prayers of saints all over the world as WE try to stand against the devil’s schemes. God may change your circumstances and he may not. But no matter what, he is ALWAYS doing something in and through you. Are you prepared?


He Has No Kingdom

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Tuesday, October 28, 2014 0 comments

by Bill Seng

In 1971, a man by the name of Saul Alinsky wrote a book titled Rules for Radicals. His book outlined a strategy by which the so-called anti-establishment movement could rebuild society with a new order in hopes that a utopian society could be achieved. Within his book is a dedication written as follows: “Lest we forget at least an over-the-shoulder acknowledgment to the very first radical: from all our legends, mythology, and history (and who is to know where mythology leaves off and history begins — or which is which), the first radical known to man who rebelled against the establishment and did it so effectively that he at least won his own kingdom — Lucifer” (Rules for Radicals). Do you believe this? Do you believe that Satan truly obtained a kingdom outside of God’s authority?

Popular folklore, media, and traditions promote the idea that while God is the King of Heaven, Satan is the king of hell. Along with the notion that Satan is the king of hell comes the idea that he rules over legions of demons who torment those who rejected Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. While a large portion of mankind suffers in hell, Satan and his demons have their fun torturing them for all eternity. Is this idea Scriptural?

There is truth to the idea that Satan is the lord of darkness. He rules over the forces of evil and is even referred to in the Bible as the Ruler of the Kingdom of the Air (Ephesians 2:2). He prowls around earth like a roaring lion seeking out whomever he may devour (1 Peter 5:8). He parades around like an angel of light so that he may deceive those who are not following after God (2 Corinthians 11:14). But his eternal destiny does not include a glorious kingdom that he stole for himself. No, his fate is perhaps the worst of all. Please read the following passage:

“When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth—Gog and Magog—and to gather them for battle. In number they are like the sand on the seashore. They marched across the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of God’s people, the city he loves. But fire came down from heaven and devoured them.  And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night forever and ever.” (Revelation 20:7-10)

In this case, “the beast” refers to Satan incarnate (also known as the antichrist). At the conclusion of all time and at the entrance of eternity, he and his band of rebels will be cast into the Lake of Fire (what we would call hell). The final verse in this passage specifies that, “They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever” (Revelation 20:10). Even Satan himself will be tormented in hell. If he will be tormented by his eternal damnation, how can we claim that he won a kingdom for himself?

Can I conclude by saying that Mr. Alinsky was a fool? He was not a fool in that he wanted to rebel against the establishment; sometimes it is necessary to stand up against an oppressive system. He was a fool in that he believed he could establish a utopian society through adopting the tactics of Satan. In trying to usurp the kingdom of God, Satan was cast out of heaven and will be doomed to hell’s torments.

What is All Saints Day?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, October 27, 2014 1 comments

by Katie Erickson

As the weather turns toward fall, pumpkins and all sorts of pumpkin-flavored items start becoming popular. As October dawns, more and more Halloween themed items and merchandise starts coming out. But Halloween isn’t the only holiday at this time of year; there’s also a much less-commercialized holiday called All Saints Day, which occur on November 1.

Before we discuss what All Saints Day is, what exactly is a saint? Check out this blog post for more on that, but in short, a saint is a person who is considered to be holy. On this earth, saints are still sinners just like you and me, but once people get to heaven they are holy and deserve the title of “saint.”

According to Wikipedia and other websites, the history of All Saints Day is not known for sure, but it is believed to have been celebrated on November 1st starting in the mid-700’s under Pope Gregory III. Prior to that, it was celebrated on May 13 in connection with a feast of all the martyrs. The November 1 celebration of All Saints Day began to be more widely celebrated under King Charlemagne in the early 800’s, and has continued throughout history to today. All Saints Day has a slightly different meaning to different faith traditions. For example, in the Roman Catholic Church, the day is used to commemorate all people who have gone to heaven. Other Protestant (non-Catholic) churches use the word “saint” to describe the people of the church universal, so All Saints Day celebrates the worldwide Church. Some churches use the day to remember those who have died in the past year. Although the official All Saints Day is on November 1, many churches celebrate it on the first Sunday in November. In Mexico, All Saints Day happens on the first day of their Day of the Dead celebration, and they use it to honor children and infants who have died.

While All Saints Day is celebrated officially on the day after Halloween, there is only a weak connection between the two. Halloween is a pagan holiday, whereas All Saints Day is a religious holiday. November 1 marked the beginning of winter for the Celtic peoples, and since winter means cold, darkness, and death, this holiday was associated with the human death. On the eve of this holiday, they believed that the souls of the dead would return to earth. Various peoples developed traditions based on this, including large bonfires, offering sacrifices, and dressing up in costumes so the souls of the dead wouldn’t recognize them. This is where many of our Halloween traditions come from, which are not necessarily linked to the remembrance of the dead on All Saints Day.

So what does All Saints Day mean for us today? It should still be a time for remembrance, whether of those who have died or those who are a part of the Church universal still on earth, or both. We as a culture may seem to celebrate death and gore on Halloween, but the following day of All Saints Day should be used to honor those who have gone before us.

Missing Links: Where Are They?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, October 24, 2014 6 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

“Let us make man in our image.” Genesis 1:26

“And the Lord formed man from the dust of the earth.” Genesis 2:7

The Theory of Evolution is rooted in, among other things, the belief the all living creatures today descended from a common ancestor or set of common ancestors. Many of our textbooks today and museum displays will have something like this to show how apes and humans have a common ancestor.

Now, notice how over time, there is supposed to be some kind of break where the apes will split off and where we split off. This is represented by each of the “nodes” where the lines intersect. However, it is amazing how these points are the precise points that Evolution needs to demonstrate their theory to be true, and these are ALSO the precise points where there is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.

If Evolution were to be true, there would not be such a hard search for any sort of fossil that might be a link. There would be hundreds of thousands of such fossils. Yet, we are having a hard time finding just one that can stand up to intense scrutiny. Here are some fossils facts. Of all the fossils we have, over 95% of them are marine, mostly ocean floor dwellers. Only 0.0025% of all fossils are those of land dwelling vertebrates with more than two bones connected. That concentration of the fossils does not reflect what we should expect after millions of years of Evolution. We should expect more intact fossils and a more even dispersion of fossils between marine and land animals. Not to 50-50, but way closer than 95-5. And I understand that the fossilization process would not readily take place, but we should see something that would reflect what is predicted by Evolution. Yet we do not.

So what about the claimed links in the textbooks? What about Lucy? Or Neanderthals? Or cro magnon? Or Homo Habilis, or A. Africanis? There are lots of claimed links, but these have significant issues.

Neanderthals have already been proven to be human. Check out this revelation from Science Daily: “Neanderthals were much more like modern humans than had been previously thought, according to a re-examination of finds from one of the most famous palaeolithic sites in Europe by Bristol University archaeologist, Professor Joao Zilhao, and his French colleagues.”

So Neanderthals cannot be a link because they were already fully human. It gets better. Many of these others fossils must be rejected for various reasons. Cro magnon co-existed with Neanderthals, which rules them out as a link because of the time frame. Some fossils like Lucy are not structured like a transition. She was pure monkey. She had curved finger bones and a totally wrong hip structure to be a transition. But Dr. Owen Lovejoy thought it was a problem of the bones being crushed out of shape. So he decided to “fix” the problem: with a power saw. Others like A. Africanus are out of order. Evolution would have to work “backwards” in this case which totally defeats the purpose. But it still gets better. The museums and scientific journals do a wonderful job at depicting what these transitional fossils would look like. And some are outright fraud.

Now, take a look at this depiction of Lucy from the Living World Exhibit at the St. Louis Zoo. Look at the hand. It has straight bones from knuckle to knuckle. The entire hand is human like. Lucy’s actual finger bones are curved. That’s a monkey, not a humanoid. Look at the eyes. No ape has the white of the eyes visible. Those are human eyes. Look at the facial expression. Ever seen a monkey look like it’s thinking like this? Not in the real world.

Here are Lucy’s feet. Notice how they are perfectly flat, like a human without opposable thumb. Notice how the toe bones are straight from knuckle-to-knuckle. Monkey feet have an opposable thumb and they have curved toe bones. The feet on the display are NOT derived from the fossils.

All of Lucy’s features show it to be monkey, yet they show it to be humanoid. The deception like this is found rampant. It’s all over the place. Be watchful for what is actual science and what is “artist’s depiction.”

The main defense of common ancestry lies in phylogenetic trees. After all, if Evolution was not true, why would we be able to fit the nested hierarchies and phylogentic trees so perfectly? Here is the main problem. My degree is in computer science and one of the early data structures I learned in my program is how to generate trees and how to fill them. Phylogenetic trees prove one thing and one thing only: that we know how to organize data. It required a predetermined algorithm and presuppositions to fill the tree with the data. There would be no phylogenetic tree without already assuming Evolution to be true and as a result it cannot be used as evidence for Evolution. It can only be used to present what the assumptions already state.

The scientist that discovered Lucy, Donald Johanson, had some very interesting things to say after the fact. And I applaud him for being honest.

“Nobody places a great deal of faith in any human [phylogenetic] tree.”
~Ancestral Passions: The Leakey Families and the Question for Human Beginnings” by V. Morrel (1995).

It is very simple, there are apes and there are humans. There are no ape-humans. There never was. This is exactly what the Bible suggests in how God created the land animals according to their kinds and how he created man specifically in His image.

Johanson also reveals the mindset he had when he found Lucy and what is commonly found among Evolutionary scientists. 
"I was trying to jam evidence of data into a pattern that would support conclusions about fossils which on closer inspection the fossils themselves would not sustain…It is hard for me now to admit how tangled in that thicket I was, but the thing about bias is that it does make one deaf to the cries of other evidence."
~Lucy, the Beginnings of Humankind, 1981 p 357

Where else do we see this mindset? In the textbooks, in the museum displays, in the science magazines? I see it there. There are no links between the apes and humans. And I did not even get into the issues that even if all these proposed links panned out, there are no links to the proposed links. There is no connection between Lucy and H. Habilis or anything else. The scientists will try to lord their knowledge and experience over you with fancy terminology and phraseology, but you keep thinking. Learn the difference between the actual facts and the fancy story telling that surrounds it. When you keep thinking, you will find that the Bible has always been right.

DNA: The Blueprint of Life

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, October 23, 2014 0 comments

by Steve Risner

A computer stores information and is programmed using a binary code—2 symbols that give us all the wonderful things that computers do for us. They’re pretty complicated. Imagine a code that doesn’t use 2 symbols but uses 4—which would exponentially change the complexity of that coding. That is deoxyribonucleic acid, or DNA. So what’s the big deal about DNA? Is it something special? Can something like DNA be accidentally made by a mindless force like nature? We shall see…

Here’s a little background information on this genetic carrier. Friedrich Meischer discovered DNA in 1869 but its role in genetics at the time was unknown. Proteins were thought to be what held our genetic information. The double helical structure of DNA was first written about by Watson and Crick in 1953. A double helix means the structure is like that of a ladder that has been twisted. The rungs of the ladder are called bases and there are 4 of them—A, G, T, and C. Their arrangement determines what you are—it is literally a blueprint for whatever the organism in question is. With the instructions in a cell’s DNA, you could build a living organism (if you knew the code, of course). DNA is wound in to little bundles called chromosomes. These chromosomes vary in number depending on the living thing. But make no mistake—there isn’t a living thing we are aware of that does not have DNA just as it’s been described here. Humans have 46 chromosomes—23 from each parent. A gene is a section of DNA that codes for a protein. It’s estimated that this collection of genes, known as the genome, is that we have about 25,000 genes held in our DNA. DNA has other functions as well. This gigantic molecule is found in every cell of your body except red blood cells (which you can read about here). They have no nucleus to make them smaller and more pliable. Believe it or not, a strand of DNA when unwound would be roughly 6 feet in length! And you have approximately 100 trillion strands of this in your body right now. That’s much further than the distance to the sun from the earth! DNA’s primary roles are to make all the proteins you need to build you and to pass on that information to your offspring.

DNA is obviously, then, very important. Damage to the code can create major problems. As a result, we have several different mechanisms that read our DNA over and over again to make sure it’s not been damaged or copied with errors. An evolutionist may say that when these mechanisms break down and allow an error to be passed on, that’s a mutation that has the potential to change the organism over time. What we see in reality most frequently is these uncorrected errors give us genetic disorders and cancer among other things. If you think of the genetic code as a computer code (which it is very similar to albeit exponentially more complex), you can see very quickly that inserting mistakes in it would cause major problems. If you copied a computer program repeatedly and altered the code randomly in just a few spots over and over you would probably not birth a brand new computer program that works better than the one you started with. Randomly inserting mistakes doesn’t help a programmer, it gets him fired for creating junk.

How much information is stored, then, in this molecule? A LOT! If you translated the information in your DNA into printed information, you could type out 200 pages of small font. Typing each individual letter of the genetic code would take you nearly 30 years if it was a full time job. In terms of the possibilities of storage using DNA, Harvard researchers recently stored 700 terabytes of information on 1 gram of DNA. This is approximately over 300 lbs of hard drives worth of information. This technology for data storage is not practical at all considering the cost, but using it we could store every bit of knowledge acquired by humanity, every piece of art, everything ever recorded in a space that could easily fit in your closet! I had a professor in college describe DNA’s storage and retrieval this way: Imagine you have a tape (this was in the 90’s when people knew what cassette tapes were) that had on it every piece of music ever recorded or even played. It would stretch from here to the moon and back. Now imagine you want the Moonlight Sonata. In seconds, you could find it, copy it perfectly, and deliver it to a friend. Now you want Dream On by Aerosmith. In seconds you find the right place on that 500,000 mile long tape, copy it perfectly and give it to a friend. That’s how your DNA works. It’s an unbelievably efficient storage and retrieval system. Yes, it makes errors on occasion but we’re talking about, in many cases, thousands upon thousands of copies made over and over again with very little mistakes. If that information isn’t mind blowing, try this on for size: the Darwinist or the person who believes in molecules to man evolution wants you to believe that this system of coded information that is responsible for everything that physically makes you what you are happened to manifest itself by accident in some slime pool or on some clay tablet. This enormously complicated system that we know very little about was the result of energy zapping inanimate matter and now we have the most complicated coded system of information imaginable. The acid molecule we call deoxyribonucleic acid, which is the building block and blueprint for every living thing, has been studied for over 50 years. Despite the advancements in understanding it, we are in the infancy stages of knowing what this molecule is capable of. At 6 feet in length and one 50 trillionth of an inch in width, it holds more secrets to life than a library could hold. It’s a wonder and great mystery of our God Who created us.

Although 99.9% of our DNA is identical, that small portion of it that is different is what makes us each an individual. The God of the universe knows each and every difference down to the number of hairs on your head and He loves you indescribably. The evidence for His design is everywhere around us if you’re only willing to accept it. There is no logical or coherent explanation for the existence of genetic material from a naturalist’s point of view. Keep in mind that DNA houses a code (DNA is not the code itself but only the medium by which the code is transmitted). A code is something that has an intelligent source. A code is a message that is turned into a set of symbols that is decoded upon receipt of the message. This demands an intelligent source. I believe the source is the God of the Bible. The evolutionist is forced to believe a mindless intentionless force accidentally created this coded system. I feel that is a silly notion on a colossal scale.

Christ, The Object of our Faith and Subject of our Truth

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Wednesday, October 22, 2014 0 comments

by Logan Ames

Several years back, I worked for a Christian organization and the job was truly a blessing considering how it has shaped me as a person. But I say that knowing that even the frustrating parts of the job were opportunities for me to learn and grow. One such part of the job was working for a very controlling boss. This man had a wonderful testimony and truly loved the work of the ministry, but when it came to managing the people under him it was a train wreck. He would find the smallest reasons to criticize us and rarely liked us making any decisions without first consulting him. To make matters worse, his opinions and policies constantly changed. A lot of what he did was reactive rather than proactive, so the workers rarely knew what the true right decision was in a given scenario.

That man is a good man who loves the Lord and I don’t believe that he really understood just how difficult he was making the job for those who served under him. The problem was that just about everything that should be based on truth was subjective for our boss - and HE was always the subject! As the executive director of the organization, he had the right to govern it in that way. But unlike God, this man was constantly changing his mind and contradicting himself. By the time we figured we knew what he wanted us to do, he’d change his mind and decide we were wrong for going that direction without asking him.

This week, we are addressing the question of whether there is such a thing as subjective moral truth. I think we all know that a large number of people live this way. They live as though moral truth is up to them. Here’s the thing: The only way we should view truth as subjective is when GOD is the subject. Unlike the boss I described above, God does not change, according to Scripture. In Malachi 3:6, he speaks it himself through the prophet: “I the Lord do not change. So you, O descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed”. Could you imagine if God was the type of subjective ruler whose character and promises change on a whim? Based on this passage, we can gather what would have happened to Israel if that were the case. The promises the Lord made to Israel long ago would be irrelevant. They would be destroyed because of their lack of obedience. Then, God’s unchanging nature is declared again in the New Testament. “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows” (James 1:17). So, we don’t have to walk on eggshells wondering if God is going to change his mind on us once we have learned his truth, for he doesn’t change and the only thing we need to decide is if we are willing to believe and obey him.

But how do we do that? When there seem to be so many options regarding moral truth, how do we stay focused on God as the authority in this matter? I suggest that we view Jesus Christ, who is God in the flesh, as not only the subject who decides moral truth but also the object of our faith. After all, that’s exactly what he is. Webster’s second definition of the word “object” is “a focus of somebody’s attention or emotion”. Think about it. When it comes to moral truth, you certainly put your trust and faith in something. If it’s yourself, I’d say you are both the subject and the object. Maybe it’s the law of the land. Maybe it’s whatever popular belief society appears to be adopting at the time. If you’re a Christian like me, you have put your faith in Christ. He is the focus of our faith and is therefore the object of our faith. When we need answers, we turn our attention to him.

Christ is not only the object of our faith, but also the “author and perfecter of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2). If you read the rest of that passage, you see encouragement to keep your eyes fixed on Jesus, which helps you avoid distractions. One such distraction would be subjective moral truth, which is created by others in an effort to make the Christian life easier or more comfortable. The passage goes on to talk about resisting sin and growing through discipline. Much of the world is tempted to listen to only those who “say what their itching ears want to hear” (2 Timothy 4:3). They don’t know that this ultimately results in destruction. I urge you to think about the moral truths you believe. Are they subjective and based on someone’s views or opinions other than Christ’s? If so, I encourage you to abandon them and fix your eyes on Jesus, who is the only completely holy and good subject of truth and object of your faith.

The Defeated Enemy

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Tuesday, October 21, 2014 0 comments

by Bill Seng

“Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ. For the accuser of our brothers, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down. They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony… But woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has gone down to you! He is filled with fury, because he knows that his time is short.” ~Revelation 12:10-12

When did Satan fall? Was it before creation, during creation, or was it sometime afterwards? Most people choose to believe that the fall of Satan happened really early on because that prompted him to tempt Adam and Eve to sin. Let me put a new spin on what is commonly misunderstood about Satan’s fall.

Satan did not fall toward the beginning of time. Now, I might have just ruffled some feathers with that statement and I may continue to do so. Before I get labeled a heretic, let me define what I mean by Satan’s fall. I do not define Satan’s fall by the corruption of his heart. He fell when he was cast out of heaven by God and his army of angels. Some people at this point might think that the two events go hand-in-hand. I, for one, would encourage you to keep on reading this post but also to read the above Scripture, Revelation 12:10-12, very closely. I would also ask that you lay aside many of your preconceived notions about the “mystery” of Satan’s fall. I do not think there is a mystery behind it because God clearly tells us when it happened in Revelation 12. Satan fell at a definite point in history.

Last week, we discussed how Satan is the accuser and how he rightly accused mankind of sins. Many people believe that the serpent in Eden was actually Satan in disguise. For people who believe that I would encourage you to pick up a copy of my book The World That Then Was, in which I give a fairly thorough explanation concerning why the serpent and Satan were not the same entities. The reason that is significant is because Satan received no punishment for tempting the serpent, Eve, and Adam to sin. At the same time Adam, Eve, and all of nature were placed under a curse for the sake of their sin. Indeed, Satan’s heart was corrupt, but he was merely the accuser after the sin had taken place.

If you pay close attention to what the Bible says, all of Satan’s accusations against mankind occur in the Old Testament or are Old Testament references. He accused Job of being overrated, he pointed out the filthiness of Joshua the High Priest, and he tried to lay claim to the body of Moses. Each one of these accusations occurred in the presence of God in his heavenly realm. Revelation tells us that the accuser, Satan, was later cast out of heaven.

What changed between the Old Testament and the New Testament? The question I just asked answers itself. The Old Testament is the Old Covenant and the New Testament is the New Covenant, and the New Covenant was sealed by the shedding of Jesus’ blood on the cross. Throughout all of history up to that point, Satan was rightfully accusing mankind of all sorts of wickedness. Granted, he was tempting them to sin, but who was Satan aside from being a ministering spirit who was to report mankind’s condition to God? God had to provide mankind a system of sacrifices in order to cover over the wickedness that Satan was accusing them of and thus take away their sins. Then, on that fateful day, Jesus Christ took sin upon himself and died to wipe out the world’s sin debt. Satan’s accusations were worse than meaningless after Jesus’ death, they were blasphemous. They were blasphemous because Adam and Eve’s sin became Jesus’ sin. Cain’s sin became Jesus’ sin. Abraham’s sin became Jesus’ sin. Moses’ sin became Jesus’ sin. David’s sin became Jesus’ sin. The one who knew no sin became sin for the world and died. From that point on if Satan were to accuse anyone of sin he was accusing the Son of God of sin.

War ensued in heaven. Satan and his forces attempted to overthrow God’s kingdom and establish his own reign. But he was cast out of heaven because of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and the testimony that would follow. Remember, in Eden he was able to avoid condemnation because he pointed out the sin of others. But at Calvary he attempted to point out the sin of Jesus and God’s Son was found blameless in the sight of his Father. Revelation 12 subtly points out the curse that was put upon Satan and it is not much different from the curse that was announced in Eden against creation: “He is filled with fury, because he knows his time is short” (12:12). Did you catch that? Before he was cast out of heaven Satan enjoyed immortality. After he was cast down to the earth, he became subject to the same fate of the rest of creation: death. He knew from that point on that his days were numbered, and he became furious.

Satan has been defeated but his meddling against God’s plans has not been eradicated quite yet. The fate that he fears has not yet come to pass, but that day is rapidly approaching. Let’s make that next week’s topic.

Is There Such a Thing as Subjective Moral Truth?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, October 20, 2014 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

Last week we discussed absolute truth, and whether it’s real. The answer is yes, it definitely is real, and it is found in God’s Word, the Bible. But what about the other side of that - subjective moral truth?

Let’s start with some definitions. Subjective means that something depends on a person’s opinion, whereas objective is the opposite of that; objective means there is a clear right or wrong answer. Think about taking a test in school. True/false questions or multiple choice questions are objective; there is clearly a right and wrong answer. Essay or short answer questions can often be subjective, meaning that the teacher has to decide if you’ve answered it well enough, and there may be multiple answers.

Objective moral truth is what we talked about last week, also known as absolute truth. So what is subjective moral truth? It is “truth” (and I use that word loosely) that is defined by the person who believes it. It is only true sometimes, and can change as time goes on. It is not necessarily true for all people, in all times, and in all places.

For example, I can say that lying is ok in some situations. If a person asks me if that outfit looks good on them and I lie that it does to make them feel better, that makes it appear that lying is ok. That is a subjective moral truth, because it’s what I believe to be true at that time. While some may say that lying is always wrong, others may say it’s ok in certain situations. That is subjective moral truth.

In a perfect world, there would be no such thing as subjective moral truth. Everyone would live completely by the absolute truth of God’s Word. But, we don’t live in a perfect world. People cloud God’s absolute truth with our opinions, sinful though they may be. We bend God’s truth to fit what we want it to fit, like in the example I gave above, how I seemed to believe lying is ok for that situation. When we do this, we are putting ourselves in God’s places, and considering ourselves to be more important than Him. If I believe “my truth” is better than God’s absolute truth, I’ve just called myself better than God!

Subjective moral truth is a real thing in this world, thanks to sin. Watch out for it, because it is very dangerous! We are warned about this in Romans 1:18-19: “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them.” When you suppress God’s truth because of your own sinfulness, the wrath of God will be revealed against you. God’s truth has been made plain to us in the Bible; it is not hidden or secret in any way.

Discover what God’s absolute truth is to fight against subjective moral truth. Keep holding on to God’s truth and don’t let your own opinions influence it in any way.

Biblical “Perspective” from Ratatouille – Part II

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Saturday, October 18, 2014 0 comments

by Nathan Buck

Make sure to read my previous blog post here to understand the context for today’s post.

In order to unpack the situation with Adam and Eve, we need to realize their choice was about relationship. You cannot have relationship without the choice not to. And the choice to break relationship always has consequences. I believe there was a real Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, but I also believe the tree was a metaphor for relationship with God. To choose to eat from the tree was to break relationship with God, and to embark on a life journey apart from His presence. The journey apart from God would experience the limitations and brokenness of what it is to live separated from God’s life sustaining and preserving presence and power – natural life, and natural decay. We even learn through Eve in Genesis 3:1-5 that this tree is at the center of the garden – the center of their “world” and relationship with God.

Let me answer last week’s questions with more questions:
Do children have the same choice in regard to relationship with their parents? Is the choice to obey a parent based on a child’s understanding of consequences, or on trust? Does a child’s lack of knowledge about something harmful make it any less dangerous or deadly? Does the child’s lack of experience make it “right” to disobey their parents?

When we bring this closer to home in our experiences as parents, or our own experiences as children growing up, we can begin to realize that lack of knowledge or lack of “perspective” doesn’t change the nature or consequences of a choice. Even in the U.S. justice system it is held firmly that ignorance of the law is not a defense for breaking it. For Adam and Eve, their lack of knowledge should have provoked questions – what is evil? What is death? Why is this tree in the middle of the garden if we are not supposed to eat from it? We don’t know if they did. The point is, regardless of what they understood, they chose to step out on their own, based on believing a lie offered by a creature they had no relationship with. Instead of testing the serpent’s words or asking God to explain, the desire for the experience overwhelmed their trust of their Father/Creator. They not only took the counsel of a stranger, but they decided for themselves to go against God’s caution and used their freedom to choose their own path.

That moment is repeated again and again and again in human history – right up to this very moment, and probably for yourself already today. We are constantly tempted to rely on our reason, experience, and wisdom to make choices, and to discern what is true. Individual perspectives and experiences have so fractured or damaged our sense of what is true, that we now consciously and subconsciously believe that truth is relative and each person gets to define what is “true for them.” It is in this altered state of hallucinogenic self-absorbed reality that we need an earth shattering dose of perspective.

Why? Because there are still things that by definition are good and bad. There are things that by context are good or bad. And there are things that by intent are good or bad. Without perspective we cannot always see what is truly good or truly bad. For example, a young man tells a young woman that she looks pretty in a dress, even when he didn’t think it looked good on her. It was a lie, but it made her feel good. So was it evil or good? Then that young woman decides she is going to wear that dress to prom, and she enters with tremendous confidence, only to be deflated instantly by laughs and sour faces. She sees the same young man turn and hide his face. She is so depressed she runs out in to traffic and commits suicide. Again, was his lie good or bad? It made her feel good, but set up the circumstances for her suicide. What if he had told the truth from the beginning? What if she lived? What if she still committed suicide? How do we sort out what is right and wrong, good and evil, righteous or sinful?

Now apart from being overly simplified and exaggerated, the example should make clear that no matter how much experience we have, no matter how much knowledge or insight we have, we do NOT have a perspective like God’s. We cannot see eternity, and we cannot see the ultimate result of our actions. We can only trust that God does, and trust that His way of living takes into account every situation from eternity past, to eternity future. Only God can see it all and only God can know good and evil from a perspective that He can always lead to what is good. We can only know good and evil from inside the experience of good times that make us dance, and bad times that unravel our soul. Unless we choose to trust that God has already seen what is yet unknown to us, and has given us a moral bearing, an absolute truth that will take us always into what is good. This is not always what feels good, but always what IS good for us and for others.

In the movie Ratatouille, Anton Ego comes to give his perspective and ends up having his perspective rocked to the core. He is forced to realize his assumptions were not only wrong, but prejudiced and imprisoned him from enjoying what he loved most – creatively delicious food. Adam and Eve broke relationship and chose not to trust God, because they chose to accept a perspective that did not trust the One who sees everything clearly. They lost perspective even further and fell into the chaos of limited human understanding. Today, we continue to choose our own way, from our limited perspectives, and we constantly see the fallout of the consequences in our society and culture.

It’s your turn to decide. Is there absolute truth? Does God have a perspective that is trustworthy to follow and will bring us constantly into what is good? Can you trust Him to show you the best way forward, even when you may not understand anything about where you are or what’s going to happen? If even one principle that God taught or commanded holds true for all people, at all times, in all places – then is that an absolute truth? Are you willing to test His Word and find out?

After all, if there is no absolute truth, then no one can absolutely deny its existence. The very denial itself fails because of limited perspective.

Abiogensis: What’s the Deal?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, October 17, 2014 27 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

Jeremiah 2:27
“Who say to a tree, ‘You are my father,’
and to a stone, ‘You gave me birth.’
For they have turned their back to me,
and not their face.”

I had the great privilege of returning to the Creation Truth Foundation for the 2nd of four parts of the Cadre, a Biblical Foundations and Worldview Seminar. In the next few posts, I will be discussing several of the topics we covered. And to start off, one of the big questions that have been plaguing science for hundreds of years is: “How did life begin?”

When you really boil it down, the origins of life question has only two possible answers: it came about on its own or it was designed and created by a supernatural being that exists outside space/matter. Ultimately, while people believe in many deities, there is only one that actually fits the description of one capable of creating the universe: the Biblical God. And the big debate about origins has ultimately been about this: the Biblical God or no God at all.

Many on the Evolution side will say two things: (1) that Evolution does not remove God from the picture, and (2) that abiogenesis, the origin of life from non-life is not part of Evolution. Both of these claims have major issues.

(1) Evolution does not make an official statement regarding the existence of God, but if God does indeed exist, and if he indeed did create the universe, would it not be best to consult him on how he did it? Evolution does not do that. More on this in a bit.

(2) The idea that Evolution is only about genetic diversity may have been what Darwin had in mind, but one must consider the logical conclusions. If all life came from a single common ancestor or a set of common ancestors, one must ask the question: “Where did that common ancestor(s) come from?” And if it did not come from a Creator, it has to come about on its own.

We have to watch our definitions here, so for clarity’s sake, when I reference Evolution, I am talking about the overall, big picture, origins of life/universe, which includes biological evolution, but also how it got started. And to also be clear, one definition of Evolution is “change in allele frequencies”, but I have yet to meet an Evolution supporter that actually sticks with this definition.

I will again emphasize that the two are inseparable. You cannot have Evolution and abiogenesis separate in the whole scheme of things. You can zoom in on biological evolution and not look at abiogenesis, in the same way you can look at the orbit of a shuttle without looking at the launch. But in the whole scheme, you must have them together. Here is why it is inseparable.

I have yet to see a museum display on Evolution that does not mention it. I’ve been to the Natural History Museum in Denver with my sister and nephew. And I recall in three different exhibits, this aspect of the overall theory of Evolution was mentioned, including biological and non-biological evolution aspects. I also wonder if it is so unimportant to the diversification of life, why are scientists constantly looking for the answer to this question: “How did life begin?”

The book Biology by Miller and Levine is used in over 50% of high school and college textbooks.

Many of you may recognize this book. One of the speakers at the Cadre has debated Miller and apparently it did not go well for Miller. Miller is a very angry person and this is the guy that is educating many of our students on this subject. But Miller has some outright contradictions in his book. Subtle, but outright.

On page 13, Miller states that Louis Pasteur disproved the idea of abiogenesis. Later on page 170, Miller describes cell theory, which includes that new cells must come from existing cells. Yet later on page 425 in his chapter on Evolution, he states that life MUST have come from non-life at some point. Right there in the most popular textbook in America is the inseparable bond between abiogenesis and Evolution. And without a Creator in the center of the picture, the only alternative is abiogensis. You may come to the same conclusion I have. In order to keep a Creator out of the picture, they must go against the very foundation upon which they claim to stand.

But it gets more interesting. The very popular Miller-Urey experiment is often cited as evidence that life could form on its own. Yet this concept is completely full of holes. First off, the experiment purposefully removed any oxygen from the equation. Why? Because oxygen destroys unprotected amino acids. There is another major problem. If there was no oxygen, these unprotected amino acids would be wiped out by cosmic radiation. How do I know? Because we are protected by a layer of oxygen called the ozone layer. You can’t have O3 without at some point getting a decent amount of O2.

Miller-Urey also provided a major issue to the idea of abiogensis. Yes, they were able to produce amino acids but that alone can’t produce proteins. Not by themselves. Here is why. First, amino acids are water-soluble. Water is the worst place for amino acids to be able to form on their own, unprotected. Even if they were to combine, the water would break them apart. Second, they formed two types of amino acids that have completely identical chemical formulas. The difference is their orientation. Life MUST have completely 100% left-handed oriented amino acids. Just one right-handed oriented amino acid could kill the creature because of how the proteins fold to do what they do. Yet this solution is racemic: that is 50-50. And a batch of 100% of one kind, left unprotected and on their own will very quickly settle to 50-50. Third, there are 20 types of amino acids. The simplest protein contains 51 amino acids. Let’s run the numbers. That’s a 1 in a 2051 chance of getting the simplest one right (remember that amino acids can repeat). This is about 2.25 x 1066. The chances of the sequence of events in this Calvin and Hobbes take are much better.

One may ask: “Do scientists actually buy this and believe this?” Others are even more audacious to ask, “Why don’t we buy this and believe it?” But here is the truth. Science has long proven that abiogenesis is completely impossible. And most scientists are well aware of that. This is a good reason why there is the push to try to keep abiogenesis and Evolution separate. Today, most just accept it, even though they know all their experiments to try to demonstrate it be possible have all ended in failure. But there are a few honest ones that state flat out that they just don’t have a clue how it happened. And some even go as far as to why they accept Evolution and reject the idea of a Creation. George Wald, a Harvard Biology Professor, Nobel Laureate, and the mentor to the late Evolutionary leading professor, Stephen Gould said this. “There are only two possibilities as to how life arose. One is spontaneous generation arising to evolution; the other is a supernatural creative act of God. There is no third possibility. Spontaneous generation, that life arose from non-living matter, was scientifically disproved 120 years ago by Louis Pasteur and others. That leaves us with the only possible conclusion that life arose as a supernatural creative act of God… I will not accept that philosophically because I do not want to believe in God therefore, I choose to believe in that which I know is scientifically impossible; spontaneous generation arising to evolution.”
~ George Wald, “The Origin of Life” Scientific American (August 1954, pg 46)

I’m not sure there is much more to say than this: at least he is honest. There are many others out there who have said similar things. It boils down to this: Evolution (and abiogenesis with it) is accepted in the scientific community because believe in a Creator God is anathema to them. When your worldview only allows for the natural to be considered, you will be forced to accept things that even naturalism itself disproves in order to keep God out of the equation. And this proves that this debate never was scientific to begin with.

Absolute Truth - It Trumps Tradition and Trickery

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Wednesday, October 15, 2014 0 comments

by Logan Ames

For the first two years of my college education, I studied criminal justice at a fantastic community college that employed faculty who were either still in the field or had recently retired from it. One such man was a former detective and known polygraph expert. He taught me not only in a criminal evidence class, but also when he was a special guest one time in my “Psychology of Speech” class. I remember two things that this professor specifically said that are relevant to our topic for this week. The very first thing he shared during the evidence class was that “the criminal trial is a game, and the name of the game is to win”. I’ll never forget those words. He was making sure that his new students didn’t have any grandiose views of the world in which both sides would always work to find the truth. The truth, we learned, didn’t matter. What mattered was which side could find a way to win, using all means necessary including deception, manipulation, and trickery.

The second thing I remember learning from him, when he came to the speech class to talk to us about how to tell when people are lying, was that people who use emphasizing words that are unnecessary in a situation often do so because they aren’t speaking the truth. An example he used was former president Bill Clinton, who initially said he “absolutely” did not engage in the sexual misconduct of which he was accused, only to later admit that he did. My professor said that when a criminal claims he is “100% innocent”, he is likely lying. His point was that when someone knows they are truly innocent, that’s all they need to say. Emphasis is not needed because they don’t really need to convince anyone. Obviously, this method is not always accurate, but it was interesting to consider.

You may be wondering, then, why it is necessary for believers to talk about “absolute truth”. I mean, if the truth is really TRUE, we can just let it speak for itself, right? The answer is “yes”! Because there is such a thing as absolute truth, we don’t have to go around saying, “I believe this and it’s absolutely true”. We can simply guide people to the One who IS absolute truth. Jesus said, “I am the way, THE truth, and the life” (John 14:6 [caps mine]). This means that when there is a question of what is true, we need to seek him. Look at all the places in the Bible where God actually spoke truth to someone. I can’t think of even one place where God needed to defend his statement by over-emphasizing his words.

I can think of two places where God had to rebuke the same man and did so very directly without the need for emphasizing his point. This man happened to be one of the central figures of the Gospels and the rest of the New Testament. I’m talking about the Apostle Peter. Peter, like many Jewish converts to Christianity and even new converts in our society today, struggled with truth as it related to his long-held traditions. In Matthew 16, Peter becomes the first disciple to declare that Jesus is the promised Messiah (v. 16). However, he allows his tradition to block him from seeing the truth and finds himself rebuking, then being rebuked, by Jesus just a few verses later. Jesus tells his disciples that he will suffer, be killed, and be raised from the dead three days later (v. 21). At this point, we need to understand that Peter’s tradition has taught him that the Messiah would be a conqueror and deliverer of Israel from the power of their enemies. So, when he hears Jesus speaking this nonsense (to him), he literally pulls Jesus aside to rebuke him and tell him it will never happen (v. 22). Here’s a tip: Don’t be that guy who rebukes God himself! Jesus responded, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men” (v. 23).

Many years later, a much more mature Peter finds himself again standing at the crossroads where truth and his traditions meet. Read the whole story in Acts 10 about how God prepares Peter’s heart so he will offer the salvation message to a Gentile named Cornelius. Gentiles were seen as “unclean” by Jews, and Peter evidently still viewed them this way despite his boldness for Jesus and his acceptance of the message of hope. So in order to set him up to be changed, the Holy Spirit allows Peter to fall into a trance in which he sees a vision of a sheet coming down from heaven with all kinds of animals that would have been considered unclean by a Jew. Peter is very hungry and the voice tells him to eat, but Peter says, “Surely not, Lord! I have never eaten anything impure or unclean” (v. 14). The direct response from the Spirit is, “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean” (v. 15). In both those situations, God spoke truth to Peter and did not need emphasis. It was the voice of God. You may say that Jesus calling Peter “Satan” was a bit overkill, but the name of Satan literally means “adversary”. So even that statement was a matter of truth because Peter was opposing God’s plan at that time! In each situation, God’s absolute truth trumped Peter’s traditions.

At the beginning of this post, I shared that the goal even in our court system is not to find the absolute truth but to win the case. I actually experienced this just yesterday in my job as a child abuse investigator. I spoke to the attorney for a man who has been accused of abusing a child. The attorney told me he has advised his client not to speak to me. He went on to say, “I don’t know whether he did it or not and I don’t even want to know, I just have to do my job”. While this didn’t surprise me in the least because it is common practice for defense attorneys to not ask their clients whether or not they are guilty, I took notice because of his very matter-of-fact attitude about it. Once again, truth didn’t matter. All that mattered was the attorney doing, or not doing, whatever was necessary to give his side the best chance to win the case.

The Spirit brought some verses to my mind after that phone call and they are verses I often lean on when justice doesn’t appear to be done. In Luke 12:2-3, Jesus says, “There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs”. For me, this is the essence of knowing there is an ABSOLUTE truth that is in and also beyond this world. If you define “absolute” as that which is proven and obvious to everyone, then you will have a hard time finding absolute truth. But God doesn’t need to prove himself. His evidence is all over creation. It’s up to each individual to think about the traditions that he has believed over God’s truth. We may have been taught that certain things are true through traditions just as Peter was, but absolute truth from God trumps all of them. And that truth can’t be tricked either, because it will expose all that has been hidden.

The Accuser

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Tuesday, October 14, 2014 0 comments

by Bill Seng

“Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right side to accuse him.” Zechariah 3:1

Last week I discussed the origin of evil. God was good, his creation was good, and even mankind was good. Despite the purity of the original creation, the knowledge of good and evil in the spiritual realm opened up the possibility that sin could enter the world. I am referring, of course, to the angels. A rogue angel, Satan, became obsessed with his own splendor and sought to over throw God. Satan has always known that he does not have the power to overcome God, so he has instead opted to steal away the pinnacle of God’s creation, mankind, for himself; thus the infamous words of the serpent, “You will be like God” (Genesis 3:5).

Nonetheless, this kingdom of Satan would not be like God’s creation. This kingdom would need to be stolen. In order to steal God’s creation, Satan had to create a divide between God and creation. This divide is known as sin, which is defined as lawlessness. And yet, in order for Satan to establish a kingdom that would last he had to maintain his position as an angel (which is a ministering spirit according to Hebrews 1:14). This meant that he himself could not fall under condemnation if he wished to rule over a kingdom apart from God. Henceforth he became the divine tattletale.

In the book of Job, we are presented a situation that shows what Satan does. God asks Satan to consider Job, who is blameless and hates evil (Job 1:8). Because Satan could not find fault in Job, he first tells God that Job has been protected and that if God would allow him to suffer then, “he will surely curse you to your face” (Job 1:11). He is the accuser. He is our enemy. Because he was a ministering spirit, he had to know the difference between good and evil in order to minister effectively and then (apparently) report to God.

The sad part is that Satan’s accusations had historically been correct. The scripture at the top of this article exemplifies Satan accusing the High Priest Joshua of sin and rightly so! Zechariah 3:3 says that Joshua was dressed in filthy clothes. Joshua was not only being accused of sin, he was guilty of sin. But the angel of the LORD called Joshua a “burning stick snatched from fire” (3:2). After causing Joshua to take off his filthy clothes, the Lord then declared that, “I have taken away your sin” (3:4). Furthermore, he puts clean garments on Joshua. It is only through the LORD our God that we can be made clean and be declared clean despite Satan’s accusations.

Are you a sinner? Do you feel condemned by the evil of your past? All of us could, if we put our faith in our own righteousness. Although Satan was correct about mankind’s wickedness, God did something that he could not comprehend. God forgave the sins of the world and extended grace.

What is Absolute Truth? Is it Real?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, October 13, 2014 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

Truth seems to be a complex thing in today’s society, but it really doesn’t need to be. Truth is defined as “that which is true or in accordance with fact or reality.” Sounds simple, right? Well, the problem comes in when people have different opinions on what “fact” is, or what “reality” is. Society doesn’t appear to acknowledge anything that is absolutely true for everyone.

Absolute truth is something that is true at all times and in all places and for all people. It is absolutely true, period. Is this a real thing? Yes!

We’ve written before about how just because someone doesn’t believe in something doesn’t make it fake. I can say that I don’t believe there are plants in the solar system except earth because I’ve never been to them, but that doesn’t make the statement true. Just because I don’t believe the planet Mars exists, for example, doesn’t make Mars cease to exist. Similarly, just because someone doesn’t believe that absolute truth exists doesn’t make it cease to exist.

But what is absolute truth? Where do we find it? Coming from a Biblical worldview, I believe that God created the universe. Because of that, God set up the rules for the world we live in, and He is the ultimate authority. So what does this ultimate authority say about truth? Jesus (who is God) said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). Jesus is also known as the Word (John 1:1). So logically speaking, if Jesus is the Word and Jesus is the truth, then the Word is truth, right? And that Word is the Word of God, the Bible.

The Bible is the source of absolute truth. God created the world, and we received the Bible from God. It is absolute truth, whether humans acknowledge it as such or not. We can claim that it is not real or not applicable or not relevant, but that doesn’t make it any less of absolute truth.

So how does this apply to our daily lives? Well, what is the source of truth in your life? Are you clinging to the absolute truth found in God and His Word? Or are you making up your own truth as you go along, whatever feels right to you? Check out some examples of truth in the Bible in this blog post.

Absolute truth is important, because without it we’re not truly following God. We need to know what God’s truth is and apply it to our lives, in order to truly follow Him. How are you doing with this in your own life? Do you know God’s absolute truth, and are you living by it?

Biblical “Perspective” from Ratatouille – Part I

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Saturday, October 11, 2014 0 comments

by Nathan Buck

Kids’ movies sometimes have the most profound moments, and often they are unintentional or accidental in their unmasking of principles and values we really do believe are true, even if we spend a tremendous amount of effort trying to deny them. In the Disney movie Ratatouille, an actual rat named Remy becomes a chef in a human restaurant. He is compelled to cook because of his unique sense of smell and taste, alongside a belief in the slogan spoken by his human idol, Chef Gusteau. Chef Gusteau always said, “Anyone can cook.” Through a bizarre set of circumstances Remy ends up controlling a human being by using his hair like a set of puppet strings, and no one knows the food they find so amazing is actually being designed and prepared by a rat.

When the nemesis of the movie – food critic Anton Ego – hears about the food, he makes a visit to critique the food with the intention of writing off the restaurant and deflating the reputation that has begun to build. When Ego arrives there is a brief moment in the movie that is actually quite epic. I am sure it was carefully written and designed for the movie because it is a pivotal moment in the story. But it also reveals a truth we often ignore when it comes to discussing the Bible and truth. When Ego is asked what he would like to order, he says to the waiter, “I am craving, perspective… that is what I think I will have, bring me a plate of well-seasoned… perspective…” (pause) “Fresh out I take it? Then how about this, you provide the food, and I will provide the PERSPECTIVE.” You can watch a clip of this scene here.

When we ask questions about morality or truth, we typically ask them and try to resolve them from our perspective. Occasionally, if we are teachable, we may try to see a moral issue from someone else’s perspective. We may even consider that there is truth in any perspective. However, when it comes to absolute truth – we may struggle. Absolute truth by definition is a transcendent truth, that holds true for all people, at all times, in all places. It is immutable, meaning it cannot be undone or disproven – it is absolute, and by its nature it supersedes any other assumptions or opinions.

The reason we struggle with absolute truth is because of perspective. Look at Genesis 2:16-17 and 3:1-5.

Was God being deceptive and trying to trick Adam and Eve? When God tells them to avoid the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, it is actually from a position of freedom to eat from ANY other tree in the garden. They also can freely choose to eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. That tree simply had consequence attached to it. The Hebrew words God used there to describe “the knowledge of good and evil” can be translated as, “the experience of wholeness/wellness, and brokenness/dismantling.” Adam and Eve are given a choice of the fullness of life with God, or to experience the rollercoaster of life apart from God. The situation was clearly defined and explained, but how could Adam understand what “brokenness” was at that point? He had never experienced it. Perhaps that is why God added, “and you will surely die.” But did Adam know what death was? Maybe his experiential gap in understanding is what lead him to explain it so poorly to Eve. When she repeats what God told Adam to the serpent in chapter 3, it sounds very different than what God actually said.

Does it seem odd that God would put that choice in front of them? They are only days old and are faced with choices and consequences they have no experience with. How could God expect them to know the “right” thing to do? How could their choice be wrong if they didn’t know what evil and death were?

Check back during the week to explore these questions and whether there is absolute truth, and next Saturday for Part II of this post.

Fear the Lord, Not People - It's a Heart Issue

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Wednesday, October 8, 2014 0 comments

by Logan Ames

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline” (Proverbs 1:7).

This may be a verse you are familiar with from the Bible, but have you ever really thought about what it means? If something is the “beginning”, that means nothing like it existed before. The first four words we read in the entire Bible are “in the beginning, God” to signify that God was here before nothing else was and that everything was made by him (Genesis 1:1). In the same way, the verse quoted above declares that there truly is NO knowledge before the fear of the Lord. Obviously, people who don’t believe in God can still know certain things in the world. The point is that their knowledge might as well not exist because it is pointless. Everything we think, feel, and do must be filtered through the knowledge that we only exist each day because God says we get to, and the knowledge that he does not guarantee us tomorrow whether we worship him or not. What he does guarantee is eternity either with or completely without him, so it would follow that we would want to be on his side.

Fear can be a wonderful motivator. I’ve told the story before of how I faced a dilemma when my younger brother asked me to join him for a skydiving adventure in 2005. My older brother signed on as well, and I was the only one who was extremely hesitant. I have a fear of heights that was certainly making me anxious about jumping out of an airplane, but I certainly didn’t want to be the ONLY one of three brothers who chickened out. When it came down to the decision, I had to decide which fear was greater. I eventually decided to face my fear of heights and accept the challenge to skydive. The fear of being the “chicken” in the family motivated me to overcome a different fear.

I believe that a healthy and necessary fear of the Lord can be a motivator as well. Too often, we assume that because God loves us and is gracious, that he won’t deal harshly with our sin. This is a very dangerous view to accept. While it is true that God loves us and shows grace when we fail, we must remember that he doesn’t OWE it to us just because we “got saved”. The mark of a believer is repentance, not “fire insurance” so we can be spared from hell no matter how we live. We can disregard the reality of God’s sovereignty over our lives if we want, but that doesn’t change the fact that everything we are and everything we have depends on his permission. The religious zealots who didn’t grasp this were the ones that often frustrated Jesus in the Bible, while the sinners who did grasp it glorified God in extraordinary ways.

This week, we’re addressing the question of how to fear the Lord rather than people. In my opinion, this isn’t really a “how to” issue, but a heart issue. It’s not like you can go pick up a “fearing the Lord for dummies” little yellow book. There is no formula to make it happen. Whether or not you fear the Lord really gets at the core of who you are as an individual. When I look at some of the heroes of the faith in the Bible, it’s obvious that the fear of the Lord was central to their lives and choices. You can tell by their language. The Apostle Paul declared, “I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me - the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace” (Acts 20:24). This is what he said to the elders at the church of Ephesus right after telling them he was going to Jerusalem “not knowing what will happen to me there” (v. 22). The threat of persecution and death were very real and Paul later told them in the same passage they would never see him again. Yet, his fear of not doing what God laid out for him to do was far greater than any fear of man. You can find other evidence that Paul feared the Lord rather than people all throughout his letters in the New Testament. Just to name a few, check out Philippians 1:12-26, 2 Corinthians 4:7-18, and 2 Timothy 4:1-8, which was his last letter written just before he was executed.

In the Old Testament, I find the story of Rahab very interesting. At the very least, she is an innkeeper, but the NIV translates the word as “prostitute”. Take a look at Joshua 2. In this story, Rahab is a foreigner living in Jericho, which is located in the land that is the Promised Land that God would give to the Israelites. When Joshua sends two spies into the land to check it out so the Israelites would know what kind of resistance they would get when they decide to push forward and conquer it, the king of Jericho hears of it and questions Rahab to see if the spies are with her. She lies and says the men left and she doesn’t know where they went, when in reality she had hidden them on her roof. What is relevant to this blog post is what she said to the spies as her reason for protecting them: “I know that the Lord has given this land to you and that a great fear of you has fallen on us, so that all who live in this country are melting in fear because of you” (v. 9). She goes on to explain what she has heard about how the Lord has worked on their behalf so far, then says “for the Lord your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below” (v. 11). Rahab was not a follower of God. She did not know the Lord. In addition to her well-known shortcomings, she had just become a liar. But we can’t judge her for what she did before she came to knowledge of a relationship with God. What we can and must do is see how she responded when the truth of the sovereignty of a God she previously did not worship was right in front of her face. The fear of the Lord was the very beginning of her knowledge, and she acted appropriately.

Joshua himself has an appropriate response to the fear of the Lord in Joshua 5:13-15. Right before they actually take Jericho, Joshua sees a man standing in front of him with his sword drawn and approaches him to find out which side he is on. The man says, “Neither, but as commander of the army of the Lord I have now come”. Joshua immediately falls down in reverence, going from a position of strength and battle to one of humility and surrender. He asks what message the Lord has for him and does everything he is told up to the point that Jericho falls, beginning with the simple act of humility in taking off his sandals. Joshua didn’t care if he looked like an idiot and didn’t try to convince God to be on his side. Because of his healthy fear of the Lord, he knew what really mattered was that he get on the Lord’s side!

We can learn from all of these examples. None of these people seemed to have a formula for how they learned to fear the Lord over others. At their core, they recognized that human beings can only do so much to them, while God is sovereign over everything. Their fear of the Lord was shown through obedience, humility, faith, and repentance. Do those words characterize your life and your attitude? If not, you may need to get to know God a little better until you realize who he is and who you are NOT!