Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Why Science Fails to Explain Water

I heard a story about an elderly amusement park worker who was approached by a young couple. “Excuse me,” said the girl, pointing to a pond. “What is that water made out of?” Bemused, the wise old man replied, “Two parts hydrogen and one part oxygen.” “See?” she said to her boyfriend. “I told you it wasn’t real.” Aside from being humorous, the present plausibility of this story highlights two sober conclusions. First, most people are entirely too ignorant about the science that surrounds them. More to the point of this post, water (both its existence and its properties) offers so many mysteries that it is the next best thing to being unreal.

On that conclusion, earlier this year, LiveScience published an article titled, “The 8 biggest mysteries of our planet.” I will address a few of these in upcoming posts. This post will address why science fails to explain the origin of water on Earth. By way of background, evolutionary theorists believe that Earth was a "dry rock" after it cooled 4.5 billion years ago. If that is the case, then where did this essential chemical, H2O, come from? This “dry rock” cosmology regarding Earth’s formation fails to explain the most significant aspect contributing to our blue planet…water. The main reason why our planet is even capable of sustaining life is the existence of water. We as living organisms are physically comprised to a large degree of water. Without it, none of us would exist. And, the “dry rock” fiction regarding our planet’s origin simply does not add up to explain what we observe every day. In order to address this mystery of water’s origin, they have offered that perhaps an interstellar delivery system, in the form of “massive icy asteroid” impacts is the cause: “Pummeled by icy asteroids, the Earth could have replenished its water reservoirs.” But, they also admit, “The beginnings of Earth's water are shrouded in mystery because so little rock evidence remains.” The most significant words that you should take away from this clumsy thread of thoughts are, “so little evidence.”

First of all, this admission implies the obvious. Their belief about the Earth’s formation is not supported by the evidence. Therefore, it is likely false. In the practice of science, when evidence (or the lack thereof) opposes you, you are not afforded the opportunity to make scientific conclusions in favor of your thinking. You may resort to philosophical conclusions. But, even philosophical conclusions must be both logical and supported by available evidence.

Secondly, if there is so little evidence, shouldn’t this be treated as faith and not science? I have no problem with someone admitting their theories require faith. But, we should all have a very big problem when faith deceptively masquerades as science. That is mass deception. But sadly, denying their deception, they even double down with theories of “massive icy asteroids” impacting Earth, even though the geologic evidence supports no such claim. Even aside from the geologic evidence, from what source would we receive “massive icy asteroids?” We can’t even explain the origin of less massive icy comets, much less more massive icy asteroids. And, the combined mass of water on our planet would require so many icy asteroids that the combined impacts would likely reshape or destroy Earth's terrestrial mass. And, even if there was a source of massive icy asteroids, the fact that Earth is sandwiched/shielded by much more massive/gravitational bodies in our Solar System (the Sun and Jupiter), how and why would such asteroids even make it to Earth? I could go on with unanswered questions, but continuing to do so should insult everyone’s intelligence.

Thirdly, if something can be so broadly accepted in scientific circles with “so little evidence,” why are so many other concepts ignored and banished that have so much more evidence, like Intelligent Design Theory (IDT)? Doesn’t the existence of such a massive amount of water, whose origin is mysterious, and whose benefit is to uniquely sustain all life on our planet in concert with the equally mysterious existence of the moon (upcoming blog), actually scream of design? Therefore, why is IDT scientific heresy, but their cosmic “dry rock” babble not? In fact, how is their theory any different from me randomly claiming that a planet once existed in our solar system made entirely of water that exploded 3 billion years ago, and since this planet was actually nearest to Earth, it was just absorbed by our gravitational mass? Sounds clever, doesn’t it? The problem is that this too would be unsubstantiated fiction. But, that is how easy it is to burp out thoughts without discipline and without evidence. I can do it and so can a child. But, the Scientific Method was designed to transcend undisciplined and childish brain burps.

The only engine of orthodox science is the Scientific Method. All other producers of information and half-cocked thoughts are outside the realm of science because they have not sufficiently been subjected to the rigors of the Scientific Method. In short, if you don’t have logical and consistent data, you don’t have science. And, if what you babble is not science, then at best it is philosophy. And, if philosophy stands at odds with available evidence and the laws of logic, then it is at best poor philosophy and at worst pernicious babble.

Genesis 1:7-10 says, “And God made the expanse and separated the waters that were under the expanse from the waters that were above the expanse. And it was so. And God called the expanse Heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, the second day. And God said, ‘Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.’ And it was so. God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good.” And, concerning God’s authority over His watery creation, Jeremiah 31:35 says, “Thus says the Lord, who gives the sun for light by day and the fixed order of the moon and the stars for light by night, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar—the Lord of hosts is his name.”

My favorite pastime is to sit on a beach and stare at the massive Atlantic Ocean. I grew up in the Bahamas where God put His creation of water into a special place in my heart. The reason why I so enjoy staring at the ocean is that it centers me like nothing else. Its massive existence defies all that I can truly understand. As I meditate on its creation, I can’t help but bow to its Creator. For me, aside from life, there is no greater inspiration on our planet towards recognizing and praising our Creator than what lies before my eyes on a sandy beach.

If you survey the vast oceans and see them for the awesome creation that they are, then you are wise. If, however, you survey such otherwise unexplainable phenomena and willingly jump to accept foolish and unsubstantiated claims about unproven massive asteroid impacts, then what is the difference between you and the silly girl in the amusement park? Such blind acceptance in the name of science is the equivalent of bypassing science and embracing a conclusion scientifically equivalent to claiming H20 is not real. But, my guess is that we all agree that water is very real, and we all realize that it is larger than we are capable of explaining. So, we all have this common ground.

Where we lack common ground is in the way each side of the discussion characterizes water’s mystery. It is a mystery to me because I can’t fully understand God, its Creator. It is an even greater mystery to evolutionists because they have fictionalized its origin by looking for non-existent evidence in everything but its Creator.

Recognizing God directs mystery towards true and reasonable faith.

You can follow me on Twitter at @ReasonIfYouWill

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Speaking of Blood Moons

In the 1980s movie, “The Man with Two Brains,” Steve Martin plays a scientist whose wife recently died, and he is being seduced by a suspicious woman named Delores. On a rebound from his wife, he enjoys Delores’ entertainment, but feels he needs to ask his dead wife for a sign as to whether he should proceed with the new relationship. To do so, he engages in a conversation with his dead wife through her painting on the wall. To the painting he says, “If there is anything wrong with my feelings for Delores, just give me a sign.” Immediately, the room starts to shake, the lights flicker on and off, the painting of his wife starts to spin on the wall, all the while a haunting female voice warns from the dead, “No! No! No! No!” After she finishes her warning, Martin’s character ignorantly responds, “Just any kind of sign. I’ll keep on the lookout for it. Meanwhile, I’ll just put you in the closet.” Then he proceeds to take her painting off the wall and hide it in the closet. This is a hilarious example of ignoring obvious signs. Ironically, ignoring the obvious in favor of something more entertaining is fairly prevalent even among many in the Church today.

For example, earlier this month, we were apprised by modern day “prophets” of a “rare” celestial phenomenon referred to as “Blood Moons.” This actually happens regularly when the moon appears to turn red during a lunar eclipse by way of the earth coming directly between the moon and the sun. These eclipses were referred to as Blood Moons in reference to specific prophecy in Joel 2:30-31, “And I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and columns of smoke. The sun shall be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood, before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes.” And, several “prophets” emerged recently attempting to link these eclipses to end times and apocalyptic events. But, in fact there have been 62 such eclipses between the first century and the 21st century A.D. And, these eclipses will return as the earth and moon continue to move in their predictable cycles. Therefore, it is suspect to assert that these eclipses are specifically unusual, as the Biblical prophecy suggests the prophesied “Blood Moon” will actually be. For example, the Joel 2 Blood Moon will be accompanied by a blackened Sun. Could it be that the prophecy of Joel is actually speaking of something much more unusual, probably supernatural, and much less cyclical? Are we so anxiously lacking for a sensational sign that we grasp at anything to claim that it is? Are we distracted or entertained by this possible non-sign? Ironically, could this attention to common lunar events be distracting us from the central signs all around us that were personally  prophesied by Jesus Himself that are plain to interpret?

Why do we fall for potentially false prophecies by modern day end time prophets? It is probably because our culture is more interested in being entertained than engaged in disciplined study. We prefer to hear sensational claims without testing them against God’s word. We are comforted by seemingly encouraging modern prophecies regardless of whether they are likely false. We are willing to accept a false prophecy without skepticism. That is because the false prophecy is entertaining while the study to verify it is not. Ours is a culture, even in the Church, that is being conditioned into constantly being entertained as opposed to entertaining our Creator. We would rather be entertained over entertaining the One who is truly worthy of it. And, we spend so much time entertaining ourselves with fiction that we are not spending enough time studying reality. Entertainment is designed to entice us and lure us away from reality to the destination of escape. However, too much escape dulls our sensitivities to what is actually going on around us. Imbalance in this respect is dangerous.

For example, there are many other signs that Jesus personally pointed to that are quite obvious that don’t involve sensational moon colors. These signs are less exciting than blood moons which are a more “shiny object.” Don’t get me wrong. I am intrigued by a potential linkage to biblical prophecy. But, there are much more obvious signs that the end is near that Jesus pointed to more primarily. Therefore, our attention should already be on the end game rather than on the next sensational and entertaining claim that is likely false.

For example, in Matthew 24:4-13, Jesus shared with His disciples the signs of the coming end that they should pay primary attention to, “And Jesus answered them, ‘See that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are but the beginning of the birth pains. Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name's sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.’” Interestingly, these prophecies are coming true before our very eyes as you read this. And, they are enough to warn us of time running out before His final return. We don’t need Blood Moons to distract our attention from the obvious.

Further, Jesus also concluded the chapter in Matthew 24:36-39, “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only. For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.” Therefore, we will not receive a warning that discloses the “day and hour” as that will remain in the sole knowledge of our Father. In fact, the Bible likens His return to a "thief in the night."

Isn’t it ironic that Jesus warned us of false prophets in the end times and we would rather be distracted by false prophets because the content of their prophecies are more entertaining? All the signs are already there to welcome the return of our King. The central question is not what colored moons represent. Rather, are you ready for our King’s return? If He returned today, would He find you faithful? Would He catch you off guard? Would you be ready to entertain Him? Or would He find you entertained by the moon?

You can follow me on Twitter at @ReasonIfYouWill

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

How To Criticize Someone's Bride

When I was younger and considering possible professions, my father encouraged me to consider being a lawyer. At the same time he also warned me of the downsides of such a decision. To this day he still refers to a license to practice law as a “license to steal.” Of course, he is painting with too broad of a brush. But, what he was referring to specifically is the rule of conduct between attorneys referred to as “professional courtesy.” This rule applies to many professions and primarily relates to how to treat others in the profession respectfully, morally, and generally giving them the benefit of the doubt. In the legal profession, this has evolved into something much more robust. To illustrate, have you ever heard of a single instance where an attorney directly sued another attorney? The reason you probably haven’t is because of professional courtesy. Therefore, as my father put it, attorneys have a license to steal, because they will never be held accountable by another attorney. Even though many lawyers take this too far, to some degree such courtesy is noble treatment of one’s peers. Ironically today, in contrast we are witnessing a growing degree of less noble behavior from those within the “church.”

In the book of Numbers, chapters 22-24, we first learn of the story of Balaam. This story is made famous by its talking donkey. But, there is a deeper lesson in the story that is far more differentiating from the movie, “Shrek.” The story of Balaam is a lesson directly from God to those who would criticize His people. As the story goes, Balak, the king of Moab, was in great fear of the Israelites after they destroyed the Amalekites. During this time, Balaam, a non-Israelite diviner, was famous for his ability to call down curses on others. So, Balak summoned Balaam to call down curses upon the Israelites. However, God confronted Balaam several times warning him not to do so. Ultimately, after several iterations, Balaam refused to curse the Israelites and instead repeatedly spoke blessings over them in obedience to God. It was on one of those iterations where he was traveling on his donkey to consider Balak's proposal where his donkey fell beneath him and refused to move forward due to a menacing Angel of the Lord that stood before them with drawn sword unbeknownst to Balaam. After Balaam beat the donkey, the donkey spoke to him to let him know that he was actually saving Balaam's life.

Most often, this story is told as an example of how supernaturally God can speak to us even through animals. But this misses the central point and lesson of the story. The point of the story is that God takes His people seriously, even to the point of fury. And, He does not take kindly to attempts at cursing His people. God even went as far as speaking directly and audibly with this non-Israelite diviner, followed by speaking to him through a donkey. And to top it off, he sent the Angel of the Lord to inform Balaam that he intended to kill Balaam. The only way that Balaam could spare himself from God's wrath was to actually bless God’s people in spite of the rage this would inspire in King Balak. I think we need to take the point of this story much more seriously than simply pawning it off as a fun Sunday School lesson for children about talking donkeys. Oh that we today, God’s people, would heed the lesson of Balaam!
Instead today there is a growing trend by use of social media of people who call themselves “Christian” who proceed to author, post, share, and “like” outright and ugly criticisms of God’s Bride, the Church. While such criticisms may not rise to the level of a “curse” by an Old Testament diviner, I don’t think they are enough unlike a curse to make the Bride’s Groom (God) comfortable with what is being said about His Bride.

Members of God’s church should not be criticizing God’s Bride or its members in public forums like social media. In the story of Balaam, the Angel of the Lord referred to Balaam’s journey (not the potential outcome of the journey; just the consideration of the journey) as “perverse” (Numbers 22:32). The message from God to anyone is that it is perverse to consider criticizing His Bride. And, it is delusionally perverse for those who consider themselves to be part of that Bride to willingly do so or endorse such practice.       

I have even heard some of my brothers and sisters use as their defense of such behavior, the example of Jesus when He publicly criticized the religious leaders of His day. However, this is a bad analogy that falls short from its beginning. Jesus was not criticizing His Bride. Jesus was criticizing those who were oppressing His Bride. In fact, Jesus made it very clear that those he was criticizing were not His followers. There are no examples of Jesus publicly criticizing His Bride or its individual members. So, upon what Biblical example would we ever do something so foolish?

It is okay to publicly criticize a thought or a public proclamation that is false. However, it is unbiblical to publicly criticize the church at large or to publicly pronounce someone a heretic, especially when you have never addressed that individual personally first (more on Matthew 18 later). God never gave us that command or example. He gave us the command to individually discern. He did not command us to publicly judge others as heretics or to publicly criticize His bride in any way, shape or form. Publicly criticizing the Bride of Christ actually helps the enemy not God. Such public criticism never positively inspires members of the body, but does positively inspire those aligned with His enemy. 

Criticism divides the church. To criticize the church requires someone to take a posture equivalent to being outside the church. By proverbially stepping outside the church to attack it amounts to de facto division. And, it inspires others to join you in further division.

The Bible has a lot to say about those who cause division in the church. Jude 1:17-23 says, “But you must remember, beloved, the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. They said to you, ‘In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.’ It is these who cause divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit. But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. And have mercy on those who doubt; save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.” And this is consistent with Romans 16:17, 1 Corinthians 1:10, and Titus 3:9-11. The Church is not only God’s bride, it is also God’s family. Would you support your earthly family members publicly criticizing you on Facebook as unattractive or lazy? Of course not. Then neither does God support you when you do the same with His family.

Jesus gave us clear instructions on how to privately address errant members of the family in Matthew 18. Addressing others in the church is a private, family activity not a public affair. Addressing those in the church in a public manner is a public defiance of the process that Jesus (God) commanded. Further, such energy is better spent towards being a part of the solution. Public criticism is not the solution. It is, however, part of the problem. If you think there is some social ill that the church can better address, try being the church and channel energy to addressing it yourself instead of insulting our God by publicly insulting His chosen Bride.

Criticizing God’s bride is spiritual insanity. If someone were to criticize my bride as unattractive or lazy, those would be fighting words. Imagine how God feels when you publicly criticize His bride and call her unattractive or lazy. Don't forget the great price that God paid for His Bride. Further, when you make such criticisms you are disagreeing with God Himself. It is He and He alone who determines what is and is not beautiful. He never delegated those determinations to you. And, He has already declared His bride radiantly beautiful. On this, my advice to my brothers and sisters in Christ is to refrain from even private disagreement with God, much less public disagreement.

Lastly, I would offer an alternative position that turns church criticism on its head. While the church may be comprised of imperfect members, there is no group of like-minded people on the planet that has done more to rescue the homeless, feed the poor, fight for the innocent, and rescue souls from destruction than God’s Bride, the Church. That is the irrefutable truth. So, before you hop on your high horse to speak down to God’s Bride, you better survey your own standing and be sure that you deserve such a lofty position. My guess is that you don’t. My guess is that you will never accomplish what God’s Bride has accomplished. So, my suggestion to you is to stop being a public divider. Stop criticizing God’s bride on any matter in any public way. Stop dividing the family. Stop causing division. Instead, join the Bride in her glorious work. Make God’s Bride even more beautiful through personally building up God's Kingdom. Look at God’s Bride holistically and honestly. Then, publicly proclaim her beauty and all that she has done to make this world a better place. See God’s Bride the way God sees her. And, ultimately be God’s beautiful Bride.

While we all are quick to judge lawyers for being rats and swindlers, at least they treat each other nobly. Should not the treatment of Christians by Christians exceed that of attorneys? So, the answer to the call of the title of this post, “How To Criticize Someone’s Bride” is quite simple. The answer is never.

You can follow me on Twitter @ReasonIfYouWill.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The Last Day Of Your Faith

On March 16, 2014, the Republican Governor of Wisconsin, Scott Walker, was so inspired by his Bible reading that day that he simply tweeted, “Philippians 4:13.” As you can imagine in today’s Western culture of cult-like political correctness, this set off a firestorm. Of course, the usual suspects, the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) and others of similar overzealous ilk, were quick to demand the tweet be taken down. After all, the verse referenced reads, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Thankfully, Walker did not succumb to the pressure and humbly refused to submit to these demands. Does Walker's tweet sound like a violation of the US Constitution to you? How narrow is the Constitution's protection of our religious freedoms, specifically, “the free exercise thereof?” And, what about Walker's individual freedom of speech? How does a state Governor personally tweeting the reference to a Bible verse "establish" a national religion? And, how should a Christian respond to attempts to suppress religious freedom?

The First Amendment to the Constitution is also the most important in the Bill of Rights. It, therefore, should be treated as the most broad and most sacred of all other Constitutional rights. And, the First Amendment unambiguously reads, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech.” Under all reasonable readings and interpretations it is beyond debate that Scott Walker has every right to freely tweet a Bible reference. Doing so does not violate any aspect of the Constitution. After all, the central authors of our Constitution also publicly cited the source of such freedoms in the Declaration of Independence as being "endowed by our Creator." The Declaration of Independence is far more substantial than a tweet. Since the authors of the Constitution publicly declared their individual faiths, it is safe to say that so can Walker. The backlash that Walker is facing on this is a form of persecution by those who wish to silence all religions in the public arena except their own (atheism). And, it is they who should be stopped while attempting to suppress the freedoms of others. Freedom of speech is broadly protected until that freedom infringes upon the freedom of others as the FFRF is hereby attempting to do. 

Be that as it may, such persecution over the Bible is only going to increase and it is prophesied to mature into more prevalent martyrdom. Scott Walker is not a martyr. But, these anti-Christian sentiments are the small beginnings of the aggression to come that has already escalated into violence against approximately 170,000 Christians every year around the world who are brutally executed for their faith. And, that statistic does not include the millions that are inhumanely jailed. This sentiment begins with attempts to suppress religious freedom. Such anti-Christian sentiment has already been birthed in America and is reaching adolescence rapidly.

It is very difficult to hold fast to your faith in the face of threats, especially violent threats. But, that is what we are called to do. In Matthew 13, Jesus shared with His followers the famous “Parable of the Sower” which I like to call the “Parable of the Soils.” This parable describes four types of people (through an analogy of soils) who actually receive the Gospel with four different types of faith. All but one of these people ultimately fall away. One of those that falls away is the “rocky ground” of which Jesus was most descriptive. Regarding this type of “soil,” Matthew 13:5-6 says, “Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil, but when the sun rose they were scorched. And since they had no root, they withered away.” Later Jesus explains this in verses 20-21, “As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away.”

What does it mean to be persecuted on account of the word? Well, that is pretty simple. If you stand behind the truth of God’s word in the Bible and face oppression as a result, you, like Walker, are experiencing persecution on account of the word. And, if in the face of such oppression, you decide to no longer stand behind or stand up for the Bible, you have “fallen away.” It is not anyone else’s job to judge you except God’s. But, you can take liberties in imagining how God might react to falling away on account of His word. If you no longer stand behind the Bible, isn't your faith most like the “rocky ground” type? If so, and you finish your last day in that frame of mind and resulting behavior, what do you think will be the eternal impact? Well, the parable gives you a hint by saying that what “sprang up” in the rocky ground “withered away.” That does not sound promising.

This is not to mean that you can lose your salvation because the Bible is clear that you can't. What it suggests, however, is that only the enduring type of faith is saving faith. What the parable showed us is that there are various types of faith, but only one that saves. For example, a faith that believes God is true but denies His word, is probably not effective towards salvation (James 2:19). After all, the Pharisees had this very same type of faith resulting in God's direct condemnation. Therefore, enduring Faith is effective and ceasing faith is dead, and was likely dead from the time of its seeding (James 2:14-26). Likewise, enduring Faith was likely enduring from the time of its seeding as well. The sovereign God never chooses ineffectively (Romans 8:29-30). The seed that fell on rocky ground and what sprang up as a result were both ineffective and ultimately withered away. Faith, like love, is proven true through endurance, and proven false by ceasing. 

In this light, the Christian should respond to persecution in two ways. First, like Walker, the Christian should humbly refuse to submit to pressure of persecution reserving our submission for God and His word over man. The Christian should humbly stand their ground on the word and the Gospel of Jesus Christ, no matter what it costs them personally or otherwise. Second, the Christian should forgive, bless, pray for and turn the other cheek towards those persecuting them. But, most importantly, the Christian should, in every sense of the word, “keep” their Faith.

Jesus' parable shows us that the first day of your faith matters the least. It is the last day of your faith that matters the most. It is the last day of your faith that reveals its type as either enduring or dead. If we keep our Faith until our Father calls us home, then He certainly will.

Keep the Faith!

You can now follow me on Twitter @ReasonIfYouWill.