Geologic Dating and Assumptions

Assumptions. We have them in religion and in science. Both sides are pots calling the kettle black. Face it, we all make assumptions. Let me list a few. We say the Bible was inspired by God (2 Tim 3:16) and tell people to believe it by faith, without any additional explanation. Though the Bible makes this claim of inspiration, is it backed up? Is there evidence? Sure, but is it proof?

On the other hand, science says the Earth is 4.5 billion years old, and aging. That is a claim. Is their evidence? Sure, but is it proof? Science has used several methods to determine the age of the Earth and living things. We look at the current processes, calculate their rates of deposition, erosion, or disintegrations, and then back calculate. Using Niagara Falls for example, the falls erode approximately 1-foot a year and have cut a canyon 6.8 miles long; thus using this dating method the river has been cutting for almost 35,000 years. Today, geologists estimate the fall’s origin to be about 10,000 years, because now they use higher flow rates.

We have improved dating the earth and living things by using C-14/C-12 and U/Th dating, but there are still assumptions. It doesn’t matter what method is used, every decay-type dating method has to assume they know the ratio of parent to daughter products when the clock starts ticking. If the ratio is wrong, the results will be wrong. Let’s look at C-14/C-12. After the above-ground nuclear tests and WWII, the concentration of C-14 in the atmosphere about doubled. Today it is much closer to the theoretical 1950 standard, but it still has to be corrected for. If a similar event occurred in the past, one we couldn’t measure, we would not be able to recalibrate; we would not be able to accurately date the material. For radio-dating to work, we have to assume nothing has happened to affect the equilibrium.

The Bible claims that several events may have drastically altered the environment in the past, events that could have changed the concentrations of C-14, uranium, and other radioactive elements; and if so, we would have no idea of their original concentrations. After the act of creation and after Adam and Eve sinned, God left our planet to pretty much fend for itself, and when He left, the world was greatly changed. It’s possible that elements started to age and decay along with the rest of the Earth. Two thousand years later, the Bible records a dramatic flood where the fountains of the deep exploded and rain fell in torrents for months. Massive, worldwide changes were recorded. Could these events have affected the concentrations of these radioactive particles?

Using the Christian, Jewish, and Muslim model, if in the beginning, let’s say 6,000 to 10,000 years ago, there were no C-14 atoms in the atmosphere to decay, and if we happened to test one of the plants Adam ate, it would show an infinite age, because there would be no C-14. It would be assumed that all the C-14 had decayed to C-12, taking 50,000 years or more. However, if C-14 had increased in the atmosphere at a linear rate, gradually, until it reached its 1950 concentration, there could be organic matter that dated 5,000 to 50,000 years old, when it was really much younger. Radioactive dating depends on the assumption that current atomic concentrations and processes are the same now as those that operated in the past.

In the late 1700’s James Hutton, a Scottish Geologist, coined the phrase, “the present is the key to the past.” This was incorporated into the concept of uniformitarianism or gradualism, and combined with Lyell and Darwin’s work, became one of the strongest pillars of evolution. But saying the present is the key to the past, is an assumption. Does the rock record support Hutton’s theory? Do modern geologists echo Hutton’s mantra? No, most geologists today think the past was not just like today.

The processes we see today are only a sliver of the possible events that could have occurred. The basalt flows of the past, like the Columbia River basalts, dwarf any lava flows we see today, even in Hawaii. The river channels of the past, like the Grand Coolie and Grand Canyon, are giants compared to the scrawny rivers of today. There were thousands of glaciers and thousands of volcanoes in the past which dwarf those we see today. No, the world we see today is not the key to the past. If scientists hold tightly to uniformitarianism, they are standing on unsupported assumptions.

As Christians we need to point out to our geologist and biologist friends that their belief in an old Earth, at the expense of believing in the Bible, is built on assumptions; and we need to realize that our beliefs have assumptions. We just have to show them the solid basis of our assumptions. There are facts and data to support what we believe to be true. All scripture that is inspired of God is profitable, we just need to show how profitable it is, and show how the Bible is supported by archaeology and history. And consider the following video clips on the Missoula Floods, then ask yourself, is the present the key to the past? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5V1LAG9eA14 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4C9JLBzDu2Q

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Overcome by the blood of the Lamb! What is that?

How does the blood of the Lamb help us overcome anything? And, what are we to overcome?

As Christians we take a lot of the words and metaphors we use for granted. We think everyone knows what we mean when we say, “You’re saved by grace, or there’s power in the blood, or have faith, or as it’s shown in Revelation 12:11, “they overcame by the blood of the Lamb…” What does it mean to overcome by the blood of the Lamb?

Consider these three verses together:

Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, “Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down. 11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death. 12 Therefore rejoice O heavens, and you who dwell in them! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time.” (Revelation 12:10-12)

First, note that they overcame “him.” Who is “him”? The verse before says it’s the accuser, and in verse 12 it identifies the accuser as the devil or Satan. Satan is the accuser of both God and man. In the beginning (think Genesis) Satan accused God of lying about sin causing death. Remember, God told Adam and Eve, “The day you eat of the fruit of the tree of good and evil, you will die;” and the serpent said, “You will not die…” Then in the book of Job, Satan accused God of playing favorites. He claimed God was arbitrary in how He bestowed His gifts by protecting Job and not others. Throughout the Bible Satan is found accusing you, me, and God of evil; and evidently, he even pressed charges against God. Paul wrote in Romans, “God may you win when you take your case to court.” Just think of the gall. How could a mere creature accuse God of wrongdoing?

So, putting this all together, the “him” is Satan, and what we overcome is Satan’s lies about God; and the first and most important lie was—we will not die if we sin; and we do it by the blood of the Lamb.

Is the logic sound? How does the blood of the Lamb refute that lie? If you compare the gospels we see that Jesus is the Lamb, and Jesus did a lot of bleeding. He bled in the garden of Gethsemane when He accepted the “cup of God’s wrath.” He bled when He was beaten by Pontius Pilate’s guards and when they placed the crown of thorns on His innocent brow. He bled as He carried the heavy, splintering cross to Calvary, and again when the Romans pounded spikes into His hands and feet. And finally, He bled when the Roman solider thrust a spear into His side after his death. There was a lot of blood, and the blood of the Lamb answered a lot of questions.

Why did Jesus bleed in the garden? He wasn’t struck; He wasn’t stabbed. This seems unnatural. It happened because Jesus was being treated like a sinner. God’s “wrath” was being poured out upon Him, and what happened? He staggered and fell dying to the ground. Had not an angel come to His aid, He would have died. Was God killing Jesus? Was God angry at Jesus? No, God even sent an angel to help Him. But Jesus was dying anyway, showing that sin does kill. God was separating Himself from Jesus. He was answering the accusation raised in the Garden of Eden? And it was supposed to increase our faith in Him, knowing He didn’t lie.

The blood Jesus lost in Pilate’s prison, the blood oozing from cuts by the thorns and the splintered cross, the blood lost while on the cross, and the blood brought forth from the spear were the results of the Jews handing Jesus over to the Roman authorities. Although it was the Romans who handed out the abuse, it was the Jews who were responsible for delivering Jesus to them. They were the ones who handed Him over to the authorities; they were the ones crying crucify Him, crucify Him. The Romans were the cruelest people on earth; the Jews were the most religious people on earth—ever—and which group was worse? Which group was the more hateful, the more degraded? It was the “Bible” preaching, pious Jews.

The Jews had swallowed Satan’s lies that God was arbitrary, exacting, unforgiving, and severe; and they acted it out when Jesus challenged them. They had to either accept Jesus’s description of God and follow Him, or kill Him. So, when push came to shove, their picture of what God was like allowed them to kill their Creator.

If we learn the lessons of the blood spent in Gethsemane; and if we learn from the abuse He suffered at the hands of the Jews and Romans, then we can aptly say we are saved by the blood of the Lamb.

Lest we lose the big picture by digging too deeply into the details, consider how much the Father and Jesus loved this rebellious planet. Consider all the time, effort, and pain it cost to demonstrate what God is really like. God poured out all of heaven to show us He cared. My jaw drops when I think that the One who set the galaxies in place would give up His thrown to come down here to be so abused. It’s almost unconceivable, but it’s true.

God was teaching a mighty message: Just because you look good on the outside, going to church each week, praying on street corners, giving large sums of money to charities, and other great and noble things, you could still be the most evil person on the planet; and if you think God should be feared and appeased, if you worship God for the wrong reasons, and if you keep your fear and resentment suppressed because you think God would be angry, you may become just like these first century Jewish leaders, capable of killing the King. It’s a horrible fact that the most devout and the most religious people on the planet, the ones with greatest opportunity to know God, could kill Him when He came.

If we learn the right lessons, we will overcome by the blood of the Lamb.

Is God Doing This? Ebola

Is there any hope?

It’s been shown that a person’s world view answers four questions: Why is there something and not nothing? What has happened and is broken in the world? Is there any hope, and if so, what is it? And, where is history headed?

In Part I I’ve shown that science can’t answer the question, why is there something and not nothing? nor should it be expected to. You can’t test it; you can’t put something into a test tube or beaker or even a cyclotron and turn something into nothing or the reverse. Even turning energy into matter, as remarkable as that is, can’t be manipulated into making something from nothing. It’s beyond science.

We discussed, what has happened and is broken in the world? and noted two philosophies dominate. Evolution suggests nothing is broken. Rather, we are happily traveling down the survival-of-the-fittest highway of life, competing with each other for limited resources, and having “fun” doing it. The competition between individuals and countries and races is merely how we improve the gnome. The other theory is Biblical. What went wrong first happened in heaven, not earth. Our broken world is just collateral damage from a war gone wrong in the cosmos, and it was over God’s character. He was accused of lying, lying about sin causing death, of being arbitrary, exacting, unforgiving, and severe by His second-in-command—Lucifer—and one-third of the heavenly beings believed his lies. The only way to settle the conflict was to create a new planet with beings that didn’t know the past. But sadly, earth sided with God’s enemy. We rebelled thinking God couldn’t be trusted to keep his word; and we ate the fruit. Now we are living and dying from the consequences.

Today’s focus is on hope: Is there any? When I’m asked open-ended questions like that, I want to ask back quickly, “What kind of hope, or hope in what, or hope to do what?” It’s the same when someone says, “Trust me.” I want to ask, “Trust you to do what, to tell the truth, always be there for you and never let you down, or just trust you enough to make a tasty breakfast and nothing more? It varies a lot!

I think the “hope” all people crave is—immortality—both the evolutionary scientist and those of faith. Both have a deep-seated longing for something more than what we see, feel, taste, and are. If science continues its advances in medicine, men and women will live hundreds of years with the benefit of new knees, hips, and hearts. We’ll have new livers, new corneas, new kidneys, and we’ll know how to keep cancer at bay. We will learn to use genetics to overcome hereditary diseases like: physical deformities, ugliness, shortness, weakness, and stupidity. We’ll have bionic eyes and ears and able to jump tall buildings with a single bound, but I’m not sure about our characters. Have you seen the movies 1984 or A Brave New World? In 1984, Big Brother uses technology to enslave mankind; and in A Brave New World, technology is used to genetically create whatever type of worker is needed for the all-powerful Ford Motor Company. Mankind is prone to dominate, and domination in genetic science necessitates the creation of super beings. We are enthralled with them. We have Superman and Wonder Woman, Batman, Neo, Thor, Hulk, Spock, Yoda, Luke Skywalker and a score of other super heroes with super powers. They may not have super characters, however, and we become what we most highly prize and admire. What we behold be become, and society loves the powerful. Science’s endgame is immortality, super humans—self-perpetuated eternal life.

Those of faith have hope too in a future immortality, but their path is different. It’s not through science, technology, and evolution; it’s through a man—the God-man—Jesus Christ. It seems ironic that a person today can embrace immortality only through someone who died himself. I remember trying to make sense of it when I was young. I knew there had to be more to the story.

The short story is: we have all rebelled against God (sinned) and must die. But God so loved the world (us) that He sent His Son to die in our place; and those who have come back to Him and ceased their rebellion, will be forgiven. They will live forever—they will be given immortality.

This short statement is true if you make the correct assumptions. But world-wide, the way it’s generally presented puts God the Father in a poor light. Should doing one thing wrong, one time, no matter how trivial it is, be punished with death; why not have a graduated punishment scale instead? And, can one person’s death atone for every wrong ever committed? Would any court accept an innocent person’s punishment in lieu of another person’s crimes? Is that a just swap? Not normally.

The longer version is laid out in several thousand pages of the Bible. We are used to, here a little and there a little, like the paragraph above, but what about the rest? Only after knowing the whole story does it make sense. How does the nation of Israel fit into the narrative, and the sanctuary, the 10-Commandments, Elijah killing 450 or more prophets, and God killing 180,000 Assyrians? Try reading the whole book through yourself and don’t just take other people’s opinions as being true without checking it out yourself. You will be glad you did!

The Bible paints a picture more beautiful and more hopeful than any Walt Disney fairy tale. The hope of all Christians is being resurrected at Jesus’s second coming and living in God’s presence, having eternity to get to know Him and be like Him, living in a place where there are no tears, no death, no sorrow, and only joy; traveling from planet to planet as God’s ambassadors, sharing the good news of His love, mercy, and truthfulness with other creations, having bodies that won’t decay and brake and grow old. The hope of Christians includes all that of evolutionists, but is greater. It’s more than immortality—it adds perfection of character and living with God, angels, and others who love us and can be trusted. Note below a couple of hopeful verses taken from the Bible.

lion-and-the-lambIn the earth made new:

6The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them. The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. The infant will play near the cobra’s den, and the young child will put its hand into the viper’s nest. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. (Isaiah 11: 6-9, NIV)

Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him. (I Corinthians 2:9, NKJV)

There is Hope!

Could anything be worse than contracting the Ebola virus?

The Ebola virus kills around 50% of its victims; could anything be worse? Yes, two things: running from a bullet and running from God. The probability of surviving either one is–zero. Running from God is equivalent to an Ebola patient running from the best hospital’s best doctor, or a cancer patient refusing to listen to his/her oncologist. What chance do you have if you refuse the only medicine capable of make you well? Running from a doctor when you are sick does not make any sense, and neither does running from God.

I can understand why we run from some doctors–doctors make mistakes. Even the best can’t guarantee the outcome of every surgery; they can’t promise you they can beat your cancer or cure your diabetes. But that’s not true with God. He can heal everyone of us; He can cure all our infirmities. But the problem is we don’t come for help, because we don’t trust Him either. We don’t come, because we have heard He is scary and doesn’t really care. And nothing could be further from the truth.

Jesus came to this sin-sick planet to show that God could be trusted, that He wasn’t like what He had been falsely accused of. Jesus came and healed entire villages, showing He had the power to heal all of our diseases. He raised Lazarus showing He could conquer death, revealing that God was a healer and not a destroyer and was someone you could trust. By raising Lazarus, Jesus showed He can raise you and I from the grave as well.

Consider Jesus’s statement, “If you have seen me you have seen the Father,” so, trust Him! Believe that God is just like what Jesus demonstrated and the probability of survival is–100%

Quotes

The pews with empty people have two meanings. Hopefully these empty people are coming to church to find faith and truth and peace and love and a knowledge of God to put into those empty vessels. And a good church is the place to be for that to happen. But sadly the other is also true–the people in those pews are empty of true faith and love; they are devoid of the peace that comes from knowing God personally. Many are lost in the forms of religion and legalism, and are doing the best they can to look like what they think Christians should be. There needs to be a revival in America, and Europe. Too long has the Bible been collecting dust on the coffee table. Too long have we been filling pews without filling our hearts with the truths of God’s word. Too long have we kept God at an arm’s length. Too long have we been content with just looking like Christians. A quiet hour every day with God, reading one of the many versions of the Bible from front to back, and praying, is the answer to filling pews with empty people.

Three Iron Nails

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God is Not

It’s been said that God is love. But love never gets defined. Isis says God (Allah) is love, and Islam says the same. The Jews say God (Yahweh) is love. And Catholics say God is love, too; but they say it differently than Lutherans, who say it differently than Methodists, who say it differently than Anglicans, Adventists, Mormons, Church of Christ, and Evangelicals. If God really is love, how can He be like what all these churches and religions describe, when each presents a picture of God that is so different?

Strangely, we may not agree on what love is, but most people will agree on what a friend is. A friend sticks by your side even when the going gets rough. A friend can tell you the truth when you need to hear it, and they will do it with a smile or when needed, a tear, and with loads of compassion. A friend looks out for your best interests. A friend won’t ever throw you under the bus.

I think its better to define God as your best friend than to say, He is love, because there are so many types of love. I love my dog! I love your shoes! I love my cappuccino! And, I love my God? But we all know what we mean when we say, my friend sticks closer than a brother. My friend has never let me down. I can trust him or her with any secret.

Let me tell you a secret. I have found God to be the best friend a person could ever have. He is always there to talk to; He never leaves you or forsakes you, and He comforts me when there are no others. When you read His written word, its like He is right next to you, talking to you, encouraging you, telling you just what to look at and what to do with those heart-rending decisions that always crop up. And reading and praying to Him gives you peace, peace of mind and heart, peace that the world can not give.

Another way to describe God is: what God is NOT. He is not rude. He is not arrogant. He is not proud and not puffed up. He does not lie. He is not arbitrary. He is not an exacting task master. He is not severe or unforgiving or vengeful. And how do I know? I have studied the life and death of Jesus, who said before He went back to heaven, “If you have seen Me you have see the Father.”

What is God like? If you use the definition of love given in 1Corinthians 13, then, God is love. But you can also describe Him by saying, what He is NOT. And if you want, you can say with me, He is the greatest friend I have ever known.

The Bible Said It Would Happen

There will be wars and rumors of wars. When Jesus opened up the future to His disciples He said there would be wars and bloodshed to the end. He also said He brought a sword to the earth, and that His word, His teachings, and His principles would cause divisions, even though He promised them peace. The peace He offered was peace with God and our conscience, not peace with our neighbors. Why are we fighting? What are the issues between these religions? Is it even about religion? Could it be selfish pride cloaked in religion? Each group says they are following their Leader, defending His cause, fighting the fight of faith. Why do they all say that God is love and we should love each other, but end up killing each other?

It may be because many misunderstand the stories in the Bible, especially the Old Testament. The Bible records several stories where God allows Israel to wipe out the enemy–all the men, women, children, and even their pets; and they (Isis, and other countries) think it’s a good thing for them to do, too. It’s true that God commanded the Israelites to clean out the Canaanites before they took over the land, but few people realize that God wanted to drive out the evil, seductive, depraved people with hornets, surgically, one at a time, so Israel wouldn’t have to, and He would be careful as to who stayed and who left. He didn’t want Israel to lift a finger; He wanted them to pray. God wanted to drive the evil Canaanites out so they wouldn’t negatively influence His newly liberated people. But Israel too, rebelled, and insisted that they do it themselves; they wanted to be like the countries around them and kill with sword and spear, and this time God let them do it.

History shows, that too much force produces fear, and fear produces rebellion. Take the story of the flood. The world had become so wicked that God had to eliminate the opposition to keep from losing contact with the last eight decent people on earth, the last earthly remnant that would listen to Him. If He hadn’t, the whole demonstration would have ground to a halt. Flooding the world was an emergency measure, but it came with a cost. What happened after the flood? Those who lived later were afraid that God would wipe out the world again. They didn’t believe He would keep His promise not to flood the world again, so they built the tower of Babel to escape Him. They rebelled. They also demonstrated an important principle: force produces fear, and fear produces rebellion and hatred.

It just might be that there has been too much force in the Middle East and from every side. It just might be that some people have been ground down so far that there are no other options for them than to rebel and retaliate.

After the American Civil War, President Lincoln made sure that the South was rebuilt and treated as family, and their roads and ports and industries were rebuilt. After WWII, and after learning from the mistakes from WWI, President Truman initiated the Marshall Plan, and we rebuilt Europe, including our arch enemy Germany, and now they are our stable friends. And though it wasn’t done under the Marshall Plan, it was done with the same philosophy–we helped rebuild Japan, Taiwan, Israel, and others. Now look at the results. Maybe the time has come for a Middle East Marshall Plan. Why not attempt to rebuild the infrastructure in Gaza, Iraq, and Afghanistan? Would they still fight if they had great jobs, plenty of food, decent homes, and a positive hope for the future?

History has shown you can’t destroy evil with force, you can only keep it in check for a short time. How does good conquer evil in the long-run? How did Jesus conquer evil when He was here? If we are serious about peace, we will try to win the world through kindness and love, fish and barley loaves, and hospitals. Let’s fulfill Jesus’s words: the world will know you are my disciples if you have love one for another.