Backstory of the Kings 2: Saul

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, September 29, 2023 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

King Saul was the first of Israel’s kings. He was hand-picked by God and anointed by Samuel, the current established prophet and judge. However, Saul started out okay but quickly fell into reliance upon self and a lust for power he never would have. But what I want to explore is the backstory. What was going on as Saul grew up and became the king he would be? What would influence him to become the ruler he became? Not everything will be able to be fully explored due to both space and information revealed in Scripture, but let’s dig in.

Saul biography includes several details. He was 30 years old when he became king. Then there is some debate about the length of his reign. 1 Samuel 13:1 states his reign was 42 years. Paul states he ruled 40 years. But Josephus states that the combined leadership of Samuel and Saul was a mere 32 years and Paul merely rounded up. I had never heard this before I started researching what was going on during Eli’s leadership and Samuel’s leadership that brought Israel to calling for a king.

Now a complication enters the scene when just two years into Saul’s reign, he attacks the Philistines. Jonathan is Saul’s right-hand man; Abner doesn’t enter the picture until David’s time. If Saul was 30 at coronation and at 32 attacks the Philistines with Jonathan who moves and thinks like a general, how old was Jonathan when this actually took place? There is something else in play that we are missing. I have to presume that Saul’s rule does include some overlap with Samuel, but also supports the full 40 years that Paul mentions.

Saul’s kingship is marked by two primary events: his war with the Philistines and his obsession with David. As David did not enter the picture until the last 1/3 of Saul’s reign, we will not address him too much here. The bigger story for the behind the scenes leading up to Saul’s reign is the Philistines and the Ammonites. The Bible is not very clear about the precise timeline during the time of the judges as several may have overlapped. But there are three judges in play leading up to Saul who are worth noting: Samson, Eli, and Samuel.

By Judges 13, Israel sinned again as per their sin cycle during this time period, and this time God raised the Philistines to harass Israel. After a while, God raised Samson to stir up trouble with the Philistines and did so for 20 years. However, all Sampson did was take out the Philistine temple and leave a stench in their nostrils for Israel.

During Samson’s rule, Eli was on the scene as a judge and an old man. His sons were wicked, and while he rebuked them, he did not remove them from their position. There was a major battle between Israel and the Philistines in which the Philistines won soundly and captured the Ark of the Covenant, fulfilling young Samuel’s prophecy. The Philistines returned the ark after plagues hit them and their idol of Dagan, their god, collapsed twice, but it was never returned to the Tabernacle. When Samuel’s word came true, he gained the respect and honor of the people and was treated as both a prophet and a judge as he grew.

During Samuel’s rule, no battles with the Philistines are recorded, likely because of the recent memories of the plagues. The Philistines would not attack again until Saul became king, due to Saul’s aggressive approach. However, the Philistines had economic control over Israel the whole time since Samson. This is evidenced by Paul’s first ventures with the Philistines and only two swords are found among Israel: Saul’s and Jonathan’s. Why? Because the Philistines had conscripted or removed every blacksmith from Israel, forcing all the farmers to go to the Philistines to get their tools sharpened. Now, in addition to all this, the Philistines occupied what is currently known as the Gaza Strip, which was in the territory of Judah. Israel wasn’t merely fighting foreign nations; they had to deal with enemy occupancy from within their own land.

There was military peace during Samuel’s judging, though we don’t know how long that was. However, it was during this time, as Samuel grew older, that Nahash of the Ammonites invaded and was harassing Israel. This was the catalyst to Israel asking for a king. They wanted a physical representative to lead them and direct them instead of God. They were tired of repenting to God and waiting for him to send a deliverer. They wanted a king who could be the face of their franchise. They wanted someone whom they could see and their enemies could see. And here enters Saul.

Being 30 years old at this time, Saul might have been old enough to hear about the defeat of Israel by the Philistines when Eli died. Some have said that Samuel judged for 20 years, and his judging began when Eli died, so that would put Saul at 10 years old when this happened. I’m not entirely sold on that, but it’s a possibility. What we can say is Saul knew about the attacks from Nahash because when the king of the Ammonites attacked Jabesh Gilead, where Saul would have his capital, Saul rallied the army and defeated Nahash. This happened between his coronation and confirmation. Saul’s military experience was that of militia – volunteer when necessary, not a formal officer.

Saul is introduced in Scripture as a man looking for his father’s donkeys. He was an ordinary guy, except his physical stature. He was the tallest Israelite by a long shot, head and shoulders above everyone else. He literally looked down to no one. But he also did not like attention; when he realized he was going to be crowned king, he hid among the luggage. He wasn’t a brave man until this battle with Nahash took place. Then Saul became a military ruler and would fight the Philistines enough for David to deliver the final blow. Yet, in all this, Saul was never a man of courage. Sure, he rallied the troops to defeat Nahash, but that was the only real victory he had. All others came from his son Jonathan or David.

An interesting detail about Saul is that he is never known for actually turning to idolatry. During Samuel’s rule, there may have been high places where idols were worshiped, but Saul never seems to turn to them. He did turn to a medium to practice a séance in his final moment of desperation before he’d be killed in battle, but he is the only king identified as wicked who is not recorded as worshiping idols. Considering Israel turned to the idols for the previous 300 years, it does strike me as interesting how Saul, of all the wicked kings, never did. He had his own evil spirits to contend with, but he never bowed before an idol.

While hardly comprehensive, these are some of the details that led to Saul becoming the first king of Israel. His reign was sought because of Israel’s rejection of God as their true King, and so God gave them a king who’d do what they wanted, with all the side effects and consequences they never thought about it. To learn more of Saul’s reign, read 1 Samuel 13-31. Next week, I’ll look at the backstory to David. This is the most comprehensive backstory we have, but I’ll try to put some perspectives in that some may not think about.

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1 Corinthians 11:2-16

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, September 25, 2023 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

I praise you for remembering me in everything and for holding to the traditions just as I passed them on to you. But I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God. Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head. But every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head—it is the same as having her head shaved. For if a woman does not cover her head, she might as well have her hair cut off; but if it is a disgrace for a woman to have her hair cut off or her head shaved, then she should cover her head.
A man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God; but woman is the glory of man. For man did not come from woman, but woman from man; neither was man created for woman, but woman for man. It is for this reason that a woman ought to have authority over her own head, because of the angels. Nevertheless, in the Lord woman is not independent of man, nor is man independent of woman. For as woman came from man, so also man is born of woman. But everything comes from God.
Judge for yourselves: Is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered? Does not the very nature of things teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a disgrace to him, but that if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? For long hair is given to her as a covering. If anyone wants to be contentious about this, we have no other practice—nor do the churches of God.
- 1 Corinthians 11:2-16

The next few chapters of Paul’s letter to the church in Corinth deal with issues related to worship in the church. Paul uses a small Greek conjunction to start off this section, which indicates that he’s bringing up this topic on his own rather than answering a question that they had asked him. This passage has become one of those highly-contested passages among churches because many believe it addresses one aspect of the role of women in the church.

Rather than do my usual verse-by-verse commentary on this passage, I want to look at this passage as a whole and look at some overall concepts that are discussed here. One of the key words in this passage is the word for “head,” as both head coverings (or a lack thereof) are discussed as well as the idea of headship and authority. The word “head” can mean multiple different things depending on its context, including a physical head on a body, a source or origin, a person in authority, completion, and other meanings. Which meaning Paul intends here is the crux of the argument.

In verse 3, we see what first appears to be a hierarchical structure; God, then Christ, then man below Christ, then woman below man. The fundamental argument of this passage actually goes back to the Creation account (particularly the creation of man and woman in Genesis 2) and how a person interprets that passage. If you interpret creation as being hierarchical (i.e., man created first and then woman in a subordinate role), then you will also likely see this passage as being hierarchical. But if you see man and woman as created to be equals, then you will likely not see a headship hierarchy here in this passage but rather stating different but complementary roles. Whether man and woman were created in a hierarchy depends on how you interpret some words that even scholars dispute.

Verses 8-9 appear to support this hierarchy, by stating that woman came from man, and woman was created for man. But then Paul appears to change his mind in verses 11-12 where he indicates that man and woman are not independent of each other, and he implies equality by saying that “everything comes from God.” These statements are hard to reconcile with each other, and entire books have been written on this topic!

One view is that while men and women were viewed to have different (and often hierarchical) roles and statuses within society, Paul tells the believers that those in the church should behave differently. While verses 8-9 reflect the worldly view, verses 11-12 (which start with “Nevertheless, in the Lord…” reflect God’s design for the church, which states that the genders are distinct but equal in authority. It is important to note that when these Biblical texts were originally written (or, at least the most reliable manuscripts we have), they were not written with clear punctuation or other literary cues we may see today. Therefore, it would not have necessarily been clear from the written text if Paul was stating worldly thoughts and then contrasting them with Christian thoughts. That would have been clear to Paul’s original audience of the first-century church in Corinth because they were living in that culture, but there is too much historical and cultural distance between then and now for us to understand clearly.

For example, the idea of head coverings in worship is not really a big issue in the modern church, where it clearly was an issue for the Corinthians since Paul addresses it. It is not a key point of the whole of Scripture whether men or women should wear head coverings when praying or worshiping God, or whether men or women should have long hair or short hair. Of all the things that God instructed the human authors of Scripture to write and preserve for the Church, this is clearly not a key issue regarding living our lives as believers.

Many scholars agree that one point Paul is making here is that being proper and orderly is essential for worship. If there are distractions and disorder, whether due to head coverings or weird haircuts or anything else, then we will not be able to focus on God, which is not only our point in a worship service but also the point of our existence as humans. We honor God by focusing our lives on worshiping Him.

As with any Biblical text, it is important for us to interpret it in light of what it meant for its original audience. The letter of 1 Corinthians was not written directly to us in the 21st century; it was written in the first century to a specific body of believers in Corinth. Not every detail shared in Paul’s letter will apply directly to us, but the key theological principles do apply to us. The big question in this section of 1 Corinthians is, what are those key theological principles that cross over the historical and cultural distance?

The answer to that question depends on how various Biblical passages are interpreted, and this is one of those times that scholars basically agree that we do not have a clear answer. The argument can be made that this passage indicates that women should be subordinate to men in the church, but an equal argument can be made that this passage indicates that men and women are equals in the church. Where any individual person (or church) lands on this is a matter of interpretation. God doesn’t always make everything clear-cut and easy for us to understand, and this is one of those passages where that is evident.

This forum is meant to foster discussion and allow for differing viewpoints to be explored with equal and respectful consideration.  All comments are moderated and any foul language or threatening/abusive comments will not be approved.  Users who engage in threatening or abusive comments which are physically harmful in nature will be reported to the authorities.


Backstory of the Kings 1: Introduction

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, September 22, 2023 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

During my personal devotions a couple months ago, I was going through the earlier passages of Isaiah, and it hit me. When Isaiah was prophesying to King Ahaz regarding the siege of Syria and Israel, which would come up to Jerusalem but not take it, Ahaz’s son, Hezekiah, was old enough to be part of the king’s court and hearing the prophesies and then seeing them fulfilled. This may have played a role as to why Hezekiah was loyal to the Lord and followed the ways of God.

This got me thinking. What is the backstory of the kings? Before each of the kings of Israel and Judah rose to the throne, what was going on and what would have influenced some of their decisions? We often treat each king as if they exist in a vacuum, like they came out of the nowhere then began ruling. Yet that is not the case. Most of the kings were adults when they became king, and many knew their grandfather when they were king. In the Northern Kingdom, with so many dynasties, one king may have lived through 3-4 kings before taking the throne himself.

This is one of the reasons why the genealogies are so important. They give more than just a historical record. They give us clues to the backstory that we only on get to see through the king’s predecessor. Now, not all the reports give the king’s age when they became king, but a number do. When they don’t, it’s quite safe to say they were adults, which means they were attuned to what was going on both politically and religiously. We hear about the 3 ½ year drought during Ahab’s reign, but how many of us think of how that affected Jehoshaphat who did see rain? Athaliah, who ruled Judah for six years, was Ahab’s daughter. She knew of Elijah and the prophets of God but refused to believe.

I teach physics, so I am a science guy. My historical skills ultimately boil down to names and dates. Only recently have I really started being able to connect what these events truly were doing and how they impacted us down the road. The names and dates were frequently disjointed events that had no bearing on each other. In reality, they are all connected. The phrase, “Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it,” and a counter-but-similar phrase, “History doesn’t repeat itself but it surely does rhyme” do have merit. When we do our studies of the Old Testament history, we tend to use these accounts as literary stories and try to apply what the story says to our lives. But they are actual history, and that history had real, lasting effects on that which followed.

We in the United States understand the transition from administration to administration. I vaguely recall President Reagan as a child, but I knew Bush Sr, Clinton, Bush Jr, Obama, Trump, and now Biden. Each presidency is either built upon the predecessor or seeks to undo what the predecessor did. The latter is especially seen under Trump and Biden. But as citizens, we have seen the transitions. However, people outside the United States may not recognize that. In fact, when we look at past presidents, many of us simply see one name following the other but we don’t know the political, social, or religious contexts in which each president served.

Our history books tell us brief snapshots of the Whigs, the populist parties, the international wars, the teachings of Evolution, and the Great Awakenings, but few seem connect the dots. We hear about the Enlightenment, but few connect that Enlightenment to Charles Lyell and Darwin. We hear about the Great Awakening, but few connect it the American Revolution. We hear about the Scopes Trial and Sputnik, but few realize those played critical roles in how and why God was kicked out of the public schools in the 1960s.

So here, I want to start connecting more dots between the Old Testament kings and seek to understand the underlying settings in which each king came into power. Much of this will be by exploring the previous ruler and what was going on with that ruler but seeking to give it a point of view of the upcoming king. Fellow blog writer Katie Erickson has already written a series about the kings (the first post of the series is here), emphasizing their reigns specifically. This is like a prequel to that series.

So to set the stage, upon Israel’s arrival in the Promised Land, Joshua conquered the bulk of the land, but there were still a few tribes left wandering loose. Israel never completed the conquest, so God let them stick around and linger to be trouble for Israel. This began the roughly 300-year period of the Judges. If you want to know much more about the judges, see Katie Erickson’s book on this time period.

The time of the judges came to a close as Samuel rose to prominence. God had grown silent as the judging of Samson was fading and Eli was a less-than-impressive priest and judge. Samuel heard his call as a child and grew into a position as both prophet and judge. But Samuel had no godly heirs, and the people were not wanting to wait for another judge. So they called for a king. God gave them Saul, who did not turn out so well. He was the precise type of person that God warned would be ruling over them, so God wanted to show them what man’s rulership looks like before putting him away and giving them a king who would seek after God – David. Then David’s son Solomon ruled, and after Solomon sinned into idolatry, the kingdom split into the Northern Kingdom of Israel and the Southern Kingdom of Judah.

In this series, there are 39 kings I want to examine. You can see Katie Erickson’s blog series on the kings to learn about the reigns of the kings directly. What I want to look at is the backstory behind each king. Some kings won’t have a lot of information and I’ll combine them, but many will get their own post. There will be a lot of backstories for kings that would be reflected in the rule of the king before, but I want to try to showcase the things that each king would have seen growing up and which events, prophets, etc. would have influenced them, or which ones they rejected. This will be a fun series and I hope you learn something from it as well.

This forum is meant to foster discussion and allow for differing viewpoints to be explored with equal and respectful consideration.  All comments are moderated and any foul language or threatening/abusive comments will not be approved.  Users who engage in threatening or abusive comments which are physically harmful in nature will be reported to the authorities.


1 Corinthians 10:23-11:1

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, September 18, 2023 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

“I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive. No one should seek their own good, but the good of others.
Eat anything sold in the meat market without raising questions of conscience, for, “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it.”
If an unbeliever invites you to a meal and you want to go, eat whatever is put before you without raising questions of conscience. But if someone says to you, “This has been offered in sacrifice,” then do not eat it, both for the sake of the one who told you and for the sake of conscience. I am referring to the other person’s conscience, not yours. For why is my freedom being judged by another’s conscience? If I take part in the meal with thankfulness, why am I denounced because of something I thank God for?
So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God — even as I try to please everyone in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved. Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.
- 1 Corinthians 10:23-11:1

If it feels like the apostle Paul keeps coming back to the issue of eating meat sacrificed to idols in this letter to the first-century church in Corinth, it’s probably because that’s exactly what he’s doing. That likely was a big issue for the early Corinthian believers, and Paul returns to it as an example for multiple points he makes in this letter.

In this section, Paul gives us 3 key points: 1) Believers have the right to do all things, but all things may not be beneficial, 2) practicing Christian freedom in this way may not be helpful for fellow believers, and 3) as believers, we are not to focus only on our own good but on our fellow believers.

The quotes we see in verse 23 are almost identical to those in 1 Corinthians 6:12. In that context, Paul was using those quotations to make it point that they were taking the idea of freedom in Christ too far, and he builds on that idea in this section of his again.

In verse 24, he begins making his point with the idea that we as believers should not seek our own good, but that we should seek others’ good. He returns to this thought at the end of his argument here, so we can clearly see the point he’s setting up in this section.

Bringing up this idea of Christians eating meat that may have been sacrificed to pagan idols, Paul explains that if it’s being sold in the public market, there is clearly no religious significance to it (verse 25). Paul backs up that idea by quoting Psalm 24:1 in verse 26, that everything in the earth belongs to the Lord. This verse from Psalm 24 was often used as a mealtime blessing by the Jews, so it is very appropriate for Paul to tie that to eating meat while making his point that everything is God’s, so it doesn’t matter whether that particular meat had been previously used in pagan idol worship or not.

But then Paul brings up another situation in verse 27 – being invited to dinner at an unbeliever’s house. Since the church was still very new at this time, it is likely that the Corinthian believers still had a lot of overlapping social circles with unbelievers. Out of politeness, the believer should go ahead and eat the meat; however, if someone brings up the issue that it was from an idol sacrifice, then they shouldn’t eat it (verse 28). If they don’t know whether it came from a pagan sacrifice or not, it’s fine; but that changes if it’s confirmed that the meat was involved in a pagan sacrifice.

Why is that? Paul is concerned for the other person’s conscience (verse 29). He doesn’t want to cause the other person to feel guilty by offering meat sacrificed to idols. It doesn’t affect his own conscience, because only he is responsible for his conscience just as every person is responsible for themselves. If Paul thanks God for the meat, he should not be criticized for eating it, but that is his choice (verse 30).

In verse 31, Paul begins to share a bigger-picture perspective: “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” After discussing the details of the meat-eating situation, Paul shows the application to all of life. However you choose to exercise your freedom as a Christian, it is our goal as believers that God is glorified in that situation. This principle doesn’t only apply to eating meat sacrificed to idols but all of our lives as believers in Jesus Christ.

While glorifying God is our primary goal, Paul shares our secondary goal in verses 32-33: that we do not cause anyone else to stumble, and that we seek the good of others so that they might be saved. Paul tries to please everyone, but he needs to keep the proper perspective of why he lives his life that way – so that more people may come to a saving faith in Jesus Christ! Paul can exercise his freedom however he wants, and so can we, but we need to make sure that our goal is to glorify God and seek the good of others.

There is much discussion among scholars as to whether 1 Corinthians 11:1 belongs in this section or with the next section, and some Bible translations break up the section differently. But since I am generally following the NIV translation, I’ll put it in this section. Paul encourages the believers to follow his example as he follows the example of Christ. While commanding them to imitate Christ is a great goal, that is harder to do than imitating a person who is still walking the earth with them. While Paul was not perfect in his imitating of Christ, he was a great example for them to follow.

While the specific circumstance of eating meat sacrificed to idols doesn’t really fit with our modern culture, think about how this idea does apply in your life. What might you be doing in your life that is okay for your conscience but may be causing a fellow believer to stumble, or even causing an unbeliever to be discouraged from the faith?

Remember Paul’s key points in this passage. Just because you can do something does not mean you should. Everything we do should focus on glorifying God and building up our fellow people. Focus on doing good for others, including the ultimate good of sharing salvation in Jesus Christ with them.

This forum is meant to foster discussion and allow for differing viewpoints to be explored with equal and respectful consideration.  All comments are moderated and any foul language or threatening/abusive comments will not be approved.  Users who engage in threatening or abusive comments which are physically harmful in nature will be reported to the authorities.


The ICC 5: My Poster Presentation

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, September 15, 2023 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

The driving force for me going to the International Conference on Creationism was the prospect of being able to present my own research. On a personal study, independent of the major YEC organizations, I have been investigating radiometric dating methods, the methods that mainstream scientists tell us how old rocks and bones are. I have been a skeptic of these methods for many years, but ten years ago, I decided I needed to take a deeper study into them.

In 2011, an article came out with new studies showing that DNA had a half-life of 521 years. The article then claimed that DNA would be detectable after 1.5 million years and totally decomposed after 6.8 million years. When I read that article in 2013, I immediately knew that was wrong, so I started crunching numbers. DNA, at that half-life, lasts only 19,000 years until complete disintegration. Their math was not only off, but it was off BADLY. And this passed peer-review. That got me thinking: What about radiometric dating? So that began my study.

I set out to do a mathematical internal integrity study of the whole system, testing to see if the published numbers actually agreed with each other. If that DNA math was off by that much, how much is this “darling” of everyone who believes in “millions of years”? I looked at various angles, but the one that really caught my attention was the measurement of the half-life. I did my studies, but a couple of years ago I hit a dead end because I didn’t have the equipment to do experiments to move forward. I needed help and advice, and this conference was the perfect place to get it. This is what my poster presentation would cover.

As I did my studies, I began learning that individual samples used to measure the decay rates were only being observed for minutes, hours, or maybe days with devices that had 20% efficiency rates, leading to requiring an 80% fudge factor. This led to calculations that these half-lives, that are supposedly billions of years, are being claimed using only 10 to 16 decimal points of a fraction of a sample space of the claim. The sample space was so small that no one could make a meaningful statement out of it without some extremely poor assumptions.

So, what do we do with that? We need to do some experiments. We could measure the physical amount of breakdown of the parent isotopes by calculating how much substance we have, then measuring again after a sufficient time has passed. For example, a 1000 kg sample of Carbon-14 would decay by one gram in three days, validating the half-life measurement of 5730 years. We could also measure how many counts we should be getting on the same sample and watch them get smaller over time to showcase an exponential decay pattern. From that, I suggested where my studied desired to go, such as figuring out if there is a consistent error factor in the calculations by the mainstream scientists determining the +/- factors that are presented, what could cause the decay rates to accelerate, and how water could pull these isotopes in and out of the system.

I proposed doing some experiments that test these measurements that I could not find any information about going into the conference. During the conference, I had a two-hour window to defend my poster and explain it, but I also got to explain it at various other times. Many people were able to follow the poster and when I explained it, they all pretty much agreed that these are things we should do. But then I got to talk to three of the scientists who were part of the RATE Team, who 15 years ago threw a bomb into the whole confidence in radiometric dating methods.

John Baumgardner said I had some good ideas but indicated that when the RATE team was doing their studies, there were many things they looked at which were not published because they did not get anything really conclusive. He did not say specifically, but I wonder if they did look at this aspect. Then Russel Humphreys came by, who is a physicist I highly respect. I really didn’t get a whole of useful information from him because he really wanted me to go look somewhere totally different, but he did make a specific comment about examining how our proximity to the sun during our orbit affects the decay rates.

Then the real help came from Andrew Snelling. He said I was on the right track and that the experiments I suggested needed to be done, but he also indicated that to at least some degree, they had already been done. I had not heard of any, but I got the impression that the direction I wanted to go was either a dead end or at a canyon without a bridge to cross it. He also made comments that when K-Ar dating showed to give wrong results compared to a Uranium date, they tweaked the half-life of K-40 to make it match. I could not get details on this other than a video presentation he had done, which was put on YouTube about five years ago.

However, before this, two of the full paper presentations really caught my attention. One was Snelling’s presentation on radiohalos. His presentation showed strong evidence of both accelerated decay and aquatic leaching because hydrothermal fluids (water and heat fluids) had to pull Polonium away from the Uranium to create the halos that were present in an extremely short time due to Polonium’s extremely short half-life. So, I had some pieces to the puzzle I was working on solving.

But even bigger than this was a presentation given by two college kids at Cedarville University. They did a statistical analysis of the published radiometric dates from the US Geological Databases, analyzing about 29,000 samples. They simply compared the results of the same methods to the same samples and different methods to the same samples to see how much they agreed. Using the bare minimum overlap as a “concurrence” or “agreement” (that is, if one method gave a range of 60-120 million years, and another method gave a range of 30-61 million years, that was a concurrence). Overall, their data showed that only 64% of the dating methods agreed with themselves.

After their presentation, Andrew Snelling gave some detailed feedback along with John Woodmorappe (most famous for his book Noah’s Ark: A Feasibility Study) on how they need to zoom in on their comparisons to separate the whole rock samples from isochron samples (don’t worry about that difference here) and from isotopes with a solid daughter product from those with a gas as a daughter product. Then I made a comment about those concurrences in how aligned they really were, whether a strong overlap or a just barely overlap. I spoke with both that I would like to take their study and take that step, and I also mentioned it to their mentor, Paul Garner, who initiated the thought for the study and then guided them throughout it. I now had a direction I could go.

What I learned in this process is how even in science, man can make his plans but God directs his steps. I got shut down from going the direction I wanted to go, despite all positive feedback, but I am not to go that direction, at least for now. I instead got a new direction I can look at and when these papers are released. When you take your academic studies and submit them to God’s will and God’s purpose, He will take you directions you could not imagine, and I am by far not done here. I’ll take some time to let things settle, while teaching gets going again for this school year, and once I get some time to review the papers of this conference, I’ll be able to start going down the next step of my journey.

The next International Conference on Creationism is slated to be at Cedarville University again in about four years. A LOT can happen between now and then, but my goal is to publish a full paper with my statistical analysis, and I am also considering doing a theologically based paper as well, possibly showing how a compromise in Genesis leads to compromise everywhere else individually or over generations. But we will see what God does and how He leads me as the dust continues to settle from this conference.

I want to leave this series with this note: science and the Bible are not enemies. They are allies, and as long as you let God direct everything and let Him get the glory, He will show you things beyond your imagination. You can believe the Bible as written and do proper science. You may not make many friends in the academic world, but if you tap into the mind of Christ, you can run circles around their whole departments. Do not fear them nor their mocking. Trust in the Lord and He will bless your studies, including in the sciences. He certainly has blessed mine, and I’m just getting started.

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1 Corinthians 10:14-22

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, September 11, 2023 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

Therefore, my dear friends, flee from idolatry. I speak to sensible people; judge for yourselves what I say. Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ? Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all share the one loaf.
Consider the people of Israel: Do not those who eat the sacrifices participate in the altar? Do I mean then that food sacrificed to an idol is anything, or that an idol is anything? No, but the sacrifices of pagans are offered to demons, not to God, and I do not want you to be participants with demons. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons too; you cannot have a part in both the Lord’s table and the table of demons. Are we trying to arouse the Lord’s jealousy? Are we stronger than he?
- 1 Corinthians 10:14-22

As I’ve said many times before and will probably say many times again, when you see a passage that begins with a “therefore,” you need to ask, what is the “therefore” there for? In this situation, it relates this section back to the previous one, which you can read about here. Paul has just given the first-century Corinthian believers a history lesson about the people of Israel, particularly at the time of the exodus from Egypt. The point of that lesson was that the first-century believers should NOT imitate what Israel did, as they did not do a great job of following God.

So, because of that heritage, Paul gives the believers a specific warning to “flee from idolatry” (verse 14). It is a command for them to flee from idolatry. Don’t just ignore it, don’t just stand by while it happens, but actively run away from it. Idolatry is really the pinnacle of all sin, as all sins we commit stem from some form of idolatry – putting something or someone else (including ourselves) in a greater position than God in our lives.

Paul knows that this concept is not difficult for his audience to understand (verse 15). He knows they can reason out what he is saying. It’s no great mystery; God is the one true God, and they have the example of the historical nation of Israel to look at to see how God punishes those who consistently and persistently engage in idolatry.

Paul then brings up the Lord’s Supper or Holy Communion in verses 16-17 and relates that to unity in the church. As believers, everyone participates in the same fellowship with Christ that is represented by the cup and the bread. The term “cup of blessing” refers to a specific cup that was part of the Jewish Passover celebration, which Jesus and His disciples were celebrating when He instituted the Lord’s Supper. All believers are united in Christ because we share this cup together, and we are united as one body as we all partake of the body of Christ in this sacred meal.

In verses 18-20, Paul relates this back to the nation of Israel and back to his discussion of eating food that was sacrificed to idols from back in 1 Corinthians 8 (which you can read about here and here). When the Israelites made sacrifices to God, they would eat it, as commanded by God in Leviticus 7:15 and 8:31. They were fully participating in the worship of God through this sacrificial system.

Paul makes it clear that comparing sacrifices for pagan idols to sacrifices to God does not make the idols at all equal to God. Idols and their sacrifices are still nothing. Pagan sacrifices are worshiping demons, not God. That is an important distinction to be made, and Paul is being very clear so the Corinthian people know the consequences of their worship. If they participate in pagan worship, then they are worshiping demons. He does not want them to participate in demon worship as that would obviously pull them away from worshiping God.

Paul’s point in this section comes in verse 21: “You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons too; you cannot have a part in both the Lord’s table and the table of demons.” A person cannot participate in both the worship of God and the worship of demons; you have to choose your side. Are you focused on serving God and God alone? Or are you focused on the ways of the world and worshipping pagan gods?

The idea of the table was one that the Corinthians would be familiar with. Pagan worship in that area was often associated with having a meal at a table. Participating in the table of demons was a way of worshiping that demon. Similarly, participating in the Lord’s table is a way of worshiping God through the sacrificial death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and the meal that He instituted. Christians cannot participate in a meal at the table of a pagan god and also participate in the Lord’s table.

If we try to worship at both tables, Paul tells us in verse 22 that we will stir up the Lord’s jealousy. There is precedent for this in Deuteronomy 32:21, Psalm 78:58, and in the Ten Commandments where God says that He is a jealous God (Exodus 20:4-6). God’s jealousy is not a sin because He is the only God who is worthy to be worshiped. As His creation, we are not stronger than God that we could somehow overcome His jealousy of His people worshiping false gods.

Just like the believers in first-century Corinth, we have that same choice to make. Do we participate in the Lord’s table and worship the one true God? Or do we participate in the ways of the world and worship idols – anything that is not God? We need to make that choice all the time in every moment. Every thought, word, or action shows our allegiance either to the one true God or to the sinful ways of this world and its demons. While we will not be perfect at worshiping God at all times, that is the goal that we strive toward. Make the choice today to participate in the Lord’s table!

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The ICC 4 – Papers and Abstracts

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, September 8, 2023 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

The heart and soul of the International Conference on Creationism is the papers and abstracts. As this is the first and only professional conference I have been to, I do not have much of sample space for this type of thing as a whole, but it is my understanding that the general idea is not that much different in the mainstream or secular professional conferences.

At this conference, there were full papers and abstracts in which the author(s) got to give a defense of their paper before an audience composed of laymen and other professionals. Each paper and abstract still went through the peer review process, but here the authors got to present before the audience. The paper authors were given 50 minutes to give an overview of their paper and clarify things, whereas the abstracts were only given 20 minutes. You can watch this video to learn about some of these authors.

I am not going to attempt to describe the technical details of these papers here. The only reason I had a remote clue of what was going on in most of these papers was being already familiar with the topics and even then, a lot of it went over my head. What I will emphasis here is what I talked about two weeks ago. The Biblical Creationists are doing true, valid, and legitimate science. During the presentations I sat in, I saw legitimate science. I didn’t agree with every statement or every conclusion. But if Creationists are “not doing legitimate science” then NO ONE is. I’ve seen what is coming from mainstream journals and there is no evidence that science was ever done in some of their papers.

Here are some highlights on a few of the topics. Tim Clarey expanded his published “Carved in Stone” research to showcase through five continents of mapping the six major “geologic megasequences” that the Flood did happen gradually over the course of the year-long event with the peak of the waters only around day 150 and then receding. Australia’s mapping wasn’t finished yet, but Clarey indicated that Australia could be the best of the six continents to show the Flood’s reach. Andrew Snelling discussed radiohalos and showcased how polonium had to be pulled away from uranium to produce their own halos. This would be evidence for accelerated radioactive decay and evidence that such accelerated decay would not produce the heat problem that skeptics insist upon. Steve Austin gave a presentation about Hopi Lake, which would be a great lake that would breach to carve the Grand Canyon.

There were other presentations about statistical comparisons about radiometric dating results, other radiometric dating topics, issues with the Ice Age and the Flood, discussions about animal longevity, and the list goes on – paleontology topics, genetic topics, more Flood geology topics, and even some theological topics. To try to describe them all would overwhelm almost anyone.

There were at least one or two papers that people said were unimpressive and likely should not have passed peer-review. There were papers that disagreed with other papers being shared, but science does that. There are competing ideas over the same central theme. There were other papers that were good enough for getting through peer-review but needed modifications and tweaks to further the study. I’ll hit one in particular next week as it related to my own research.

What was really cool though was despite the disagreements, the whole conference had a central theme: demonstrating the validity of the Bible’s accounts and seeking how the events took place. Some discussions did get heated, and we have to face the fact that we are not yet fully redeemed. There is so much we still have to learn, and some of what we think is going on now may not be actually happening. Some of the scientists have pointed out that they are on their third or fourth version of their models, tweaking things as they go, and would eventually reject the models if the evidence really turns against it. The creationists are doing all the legitimate science that the mainstream only boasts about doing. There is no valid reason to reject their findings on the grounds that “they don’t do science” or “they are biased.”

Next week, I’ll wrap up my series on the International Conference on Creationism by examining my personal experience with my own research and what happened as a result of the feedback I received.

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1 Corinthians 10:1-13

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, September 4, 2023 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

For I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers and sisters, that our ancestors were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea. They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. They all ate the same spiritual food and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ. Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them; their bodies were scattered in the wilderness. N
ow these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did. Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written: “The people sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in revelry.” We should not commit sexual immorality, as some of them did—and in one day twenty-three thousand of them died. We should not test Christ, as some of them did—and were killed by snakes. And do not grumble, as some of them did —and were killed by the destroying angel.
These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the culmination of the ages has come. So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.
- 1 Corinthians 10:1-13

Paul starts a new section of his letter to the first-century Corinthian church with this passage. He starts out with a history lesson about the people of Israel during the time of the exodus, and then he uses that to instruct the people on how they should live, giving them a warning against doing the same things ancient Israel did. But this section is still connected to the previous chapters; Paul just challenged them to live lives of self-discipline, and now he’s giving them an example of how not to do that.

Although Paul is writing to both Jews and Gentiles, he refers to ancient Israel as “our ancestors” (verse 1). Even though the Gentiles were not direct descendants of Israel, they are spiritual descendants, since Jesus and therefore salvation came out of that nation. Israel being “under the cloud” means that they were under God’s guidance. God appeared to Israel in the form of a cloud, as referenced in Exodus 13:21 and Numbers 9:15-23. As the cloud, God gave them guidance on where and when to go to keep following Him.

Israel was “baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea” (verse 2), meaning they were in a relationship with God through the leadership of Moses. Again, the reference to the cloud is to show God’s glory, and the reference to the sea represents God’s redemption and leadership.

Paul gives references to food and drink in verses 3-4. He calls them spiritual food and drink, but they were also physical objects. God provided manna and quail for them to eat while in the wilderness (Exodus 16), and He provided water for them to drink. The Israelites drank water from a rock in the wilderness (Exodus 17:1-7 and Numbers 20:1-14). Just like that water saved their physical lives, so the rock of Christ also saved their spiritual lives.

Yet God was still not pleased with Israel, and “their bodies were scattered in the wilderness” (verse 5). Even though He provided for them, God had to acknowledge that Israel did not truly desire to worship Him and follow Him all the time.

Paul goes on in verse 6 to tell the Corinthian people, and us, that these historical events also serve as examples to teach us how to live. We, too, have received blessings and provision from God as Israel did, yet we also have a tendency to turn away from Him and not follow Him with our lives. Israel set their hearts on evil things even in the midst of God’s provision for them, and we should be warned not to do the same thing.

In verses 7-8, Paul brings up two ideas from the Ten Commandments (idolatry and sexual immorality) that the Corinthian people were specifically guilty of. While breaking any of the commandments can be traced back to idolatry of some sort, Paul specifically references Exodus 32:6 here, which is in the narrative of Israel building and worshiping the golden calf. Paul also references the narrative of Israel joining with Baal of Peor in Numbers 25:1-9 where idolatry was committed through sexual immorality.

In verse 9, Paul includes himself in saying that “we should not test Christ.” Neither ancient Israel, nor the people of first-century Corinth, nor modern-day Christians should grumble against God and test Him to see what He will do. The specific mention of being “killed by the destroying angel” in verse 10 could refer to the situation with Korah, Dathan, and Abiram in Numbers 16.

Essentially, Paul is bringing up multiple examples from the history of Israel to warn the people not to do those same things. As he writes in verses 11-12, “These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the culmination of the ages has come. So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!” The Corinthians may have thought they were standing firm on Christ, but they still need to stay alert and vigilant and not get complacent in their faith.

Verse 13 is one of those verses that often gets taken out of context: “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” We like to look at that verse and apply it to any temptation we have, but we need to remember what comes before that verse. Look at all that Israel went through and how they responded. Temptation is unavoidable in this sinful world, but just as God provided for Israel even when they turned away from Him, God will provide for us. God won’t necessarily take away our temptations, but our relationship with Him will help us stand firm and get through the temptation.

This passage shows us just one reason that the Old Testament history books are important for even us 21st-century Christians to study. While our historical context is different than Israel, people are still people, and our nature has not really changed. We still mess up and don’t trust God as we should. We still commit idolatry in a lot of ways. But God is still faithful through it all! We can be encouraged by reading the struggles of ancient Israel to know that even though we’re just as sinful as they were, God will continue to love us, provide for us, and call us back to Him just as He did with Israel.

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The ICC 3: Keynote Speakers

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, September 1, 2023 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

The International Conference on Creationism did something that usually is not done in many conferences. Instead of just one keynote speaker for each evening speaking for 1-2 hours, they decided to give multiple speakers the opportunity to speak on different subjects about where the science based on Creation is standing. There were eleven keynotes over three evenings. I will not be able to cover everything in this blog post, of course, but here are some of the highlights.

Bill Barrick from The Master's Academy International opened up discussing theology. He called out a few of the old earth teachers by name for poor theology but also called out some of the errors that young earthers have made too by using certain Scriptures out of context. He called for bringing back theology as the queen of the sciences and that every scientific study group or team should have a good, qualified (or proven) theologian on the team to show that the models are in line with what Scripture teaches.

Andrew Snelling from Answers in Genesis spoke about geology and listed 12 different fields of geology to be addressed. These included comparing the real geologic column in the physical earth to the textbooks’ models, to further studying where the Flood started and stopped, to dealing with radiometric dating and calling for a more complete model of radioactive decay that is in agreement with Scripture and the Flood.

Russel Humphreys spoke about physics and presented four different projects for future physicists to address. While I have greatly respected Humphreys and his work, I was rather disappointed in this one as one project called for a naturalistic explanation for supernatural events (the forming of galaxies) and another greatly misused a verse from Ecclesiastes where there is nothing new under the sun to suggest that time is “circular.”

Joe Francis from The Master's University spoke about biology with a strong focus on immunity and microbiology. He spent most of his talk explaining the immune system and how much it truly requires an intelligent designer, including how it can tell the difference between real and fake substances.

Douglas Petrovitch from Brookes Bible College spoke about archeology, focusing on the finds from the 2nd century BC. He was featured in the Patterns of Evidence series, namely on “The Moses Controversy” part. He pointed out that all the evidence points to Pharaoh Amenhotep II being the Pharoah of the Exodus, as he is the only king that meets all the criteria. He showcases several stone slabs where Israel is mentioned as a nation but some that actually date all the way back to Joseph with the early Hebrew alphabet, written by Joseph’s first son, Manasseh. He listed several other finds that showcase the Bible’s history and the evidence that Hebrew was indeed the first alphabetic written language in history.

Danny Faulkner from Answers in Genesis spoke about astronomy. He addressed how early on, creation research was more about Big Bang bashing than creating our own models, and he bemoaned that we lack in this area due to lack of qualified experts to study it, a lack of Biblical specifics, and the dangers of having that kind of great freedom to explore many other options. But he also pointed out some of our gains in examining cratering, aspects of Venus and Mars, and how the exoplanets (5700 of them) continue to showcase the uniqueness of Earth.

Then John Baumgardner from Liberty University spoke about Numeric Modeling. Most of his talk was how he used numeric modeling to create the TERRA program in Los Alamos Labs that the government uses today. It was numeric modeling that helped him create Catastrophic Plate Tectonics and various other things.

John Sanford from Logos Research Associates spoke about genetics, possibly for the last time as a focus of study, because another topic related to the sexual identity crisis has his attention. He pointed out five different geneticists who have made a tremendous impact, including himself with “Genetic Entropy” and Rob Carter on Mitochondrial diversity who was the first to discover that humans to trace back to a single woman. Then he addressed Liu-Y.G. (I did not get this full name) for showing how many viruses got their immunity, mentioned Jeff Thomkins (ICR) for his chimp vs human DNA comparison (showing only 84% similarity instead of the claimed 99% similarity), and concluded with Nathaniel Jeanson and his books Replacing Darwin and Traced.

Kurt Wise from Truett McConnell University spoke on paleontology and with much gusto and energy. He spoke about many fossils and said that studying fossils like studying living creatures. While I got where he was coming from, I could not really agree with him on that. He also made a point about horse evolution, just on a YEC time scale, and he is not in a lot of agreement with the rest of the YEC community on that one.

Matt McLain from The Master's University spoke about education. He tried to give it as much of a positive spin as he could, but only 14 colleges still teach YEC and only two of them have YEC-friendly grad school programs. It is critical for teachers to pour into the next generation, and he called for more YEC schools, more YEC programs, more students doing YEC research, more careers available to them, and a need to rethink what it means to prepare a student for success.

Then, finally, Aaron Hutchinson from Cedarville University spoke about chemistry, an often-neglected field in Creation with very few chemists. He suggested that solubility rates and studies would be a valuable field to examine. He pointed out that with many reactions being reversible, we should be looking at solution equilibrium and rock formation, how they form quickly. He specified dealing with carbonates coming from biology and from materials similar to salts. We should look at hot hydrothermal fluids as sources for metals, carbon, and sulfur, along with sorting by solubility going on. Of course, such experiments are quite dangerous as they can explode. As Dr Hutchinson said, as a chemist, he’s not exactly opposed to such notions. He concluded by pointing out that the conditions in which a rock formed could affect the ratio of stable and unstable isotopes regarding the dating methods.

So that is a quick summary of the content of the keynote speakers from the International Conference on Creationism. I’ll touch on the papers and abstracts and posters next week. My point in sharing this is that there is a lot of research being done to validate and verify the Bible’s account regarding origins, and there is still a lot more research to do. We are just starting to catch up to the Bible. We have a long way to go, and that is one of the fun parts of being a scientist who believes the Bible as written. We are finding so much that it is a shame we aren’t being recognized for it. Many of our finds are truly Nobel Prize worthy and beyond. More on this next week.

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