Saturday, August 11, 2018

Why Do Scientists Reject Darwinian Evolution?

            Darwinian evolution is marketed as if it is absolutely right and that the contending claims of the Creation and Intelligent Design community are absolutely wrong.  But the fact remains that the Darwinian evolution and Neo-Darwinism are light years away from adequately and reasonably explaining the origin of life.

            You are wrong if you think that all scientists believe in Darwinian evolution. Not all scientists believe in evolution (macroevolution). Quite a few reputed and credible scientists reject evolution.

            You are very wrong if you think that scientists who believe in God and Creation are the ones to reject evolution. Although Christian Research Journal mentions a few nonreligious scientists who reject evolution, I present two nonreligious scientists for your consideration:1

…Another nonreligious scholar who is both a skeptic of Darwinian evolution and an ID sympathizer is David Berlinski. Trained in philosophy at Princeton, and later a postdoctoral fellow in molecular biology and mathematics at Columbia University, he is also a senior fellow at Discovery Institute. In 2009, Berlinski published a volume titled, The Deniable Darwin and Other Essays, offering critiques of biological and chemical evolution…
…Berlinski elegantly and comprehensively critiques Darwinian theory. First, he tackles the fossil record:
The facts in favor of evolution are often held to be incontrovertible: prominent biologists shake their heads at the obduracy of those who would dispute them. Those facts, however, have been rather less forthcoming than evolutionary biologists might have hoped. If life progressed by an accumulation of small changes, as they say it has, the fossil record should reflect its flow, the dead stacked up in barely separated strata. But for well over 150 years, the dead have been remarkably diffident about confirming Darwin’s theory….there are gaps in the graveyard, places where there should be intermediate forms but where there is nothing whatsoever instead.45
Berlinski observes that the complexity of the cell is “insignificant in comparison with the mammalian nervous system; and that far impossibly ahead, there is the human mind, an instrument like no other in the biological world, conscious, flexible, penetrating, inscrutable, and profound.”46 In his view, these complex features imply design: “We never attribute the existence of a complex artifact to chance. And for obvious reasons: complex objects are useful islands, isolated amid an archipelago of useless possibilities….An artifact is the overflow in matter of the mental motions of intention, deliberate design, planning, and coordination. The inferential spool runs backwards, and it runs irresistibly from a complex object to the contrived, the artificial, circumstances that brought it into being.”47
According to Berlinski, “Darwin’s theory of evolution rejects this counsel of experience and intuition,” and instead relies on “sheer dumb luck.”48 After quoting scientists who doubt Darwinism, he notes that evolutionary theory is “in the doubly damned position of having compromised the concepts needed to make sense of life—complexity, adaptation, design—while simultaneously conceding that the theory does little to explain them.”49
...Another famous atheist who supported ID was Fred Hoyle (1915–2001), a theoretical physicist at Cambridge University. His 1983 book The Intelligent Universe maintained, “Darwinian theory is wrong because random variations tend to worsen performance, as indeed common sense suggests they must do.”52 Elsewhere Hoyle famously stated, “If one proceeds directly and straightforwardly in this matter, without being deflected by a fear of incurring the wrath of scientific opinion, one arrives at the conclusion that biomaterials with their amazing measure of order must be the outcome of intelligent design.”53 (Emphasis Mine).
            Furthermore, Dissentfromdarwin.org lists reasons that compel scientists to reject Darwinian evolution:2

Genetics — Mutations Cause Harm and Do Not Build Complexity: Darwinian evolution relies on random mutations that are selected by a blind, unguided process of natural selection. This undirected process has no goals. Being random, it tends to harm organisms and does not improve them or build complexity. As biologist Lynn Margulis, a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences until her death in 2011, said: “New mutations don’t create new species; they create offspring that are impaired.”1 Similarly, the past president of the French Academy of Sciences, Pierre-Paul Grasse, contended that “[m]utations have a very limited ‘constructive capacity’” because “[n]o matter how numerous they may be, mutations do not produce any kind of evolution.”2
Biochemistry — Unguided and Random Processes Cannot Produce Cellular Complexity: Our cells are like miniature factories using machine technology but dwarfing the complexity and efficiency of anything produced by humans. Cells use miniature circuits, motors, feedback loops, encoded language, and even error-checking machinery to decode and repair our DNA. As Bruce Alberts, former president of the U.S. National Academy of Science, observed: “[t]he entire cell can be viewed as a factory that contains an elaborate network of interlocking assembly lines, each of which is composed of a set of large protein machines.”3 Darwinian evolution struggles to explain the origin of this type of integrated complexity. Biochemist Franklin Harold admits in a book published by Oxford University Press: “There are presently no detailed Darwinian accounts of the evolution of any biochemical or cellular system, only a variety of wishful speculations.”4
Paleontology — The Fossil Record Lacks Intermediate Fossils: The fossil record’s overall pattern is one of abrupt explosions of new biological forms, and generally lacks plausible candidates for transitional fossils, contradicting the pattern of gradual evolution predicted by Darwinian theory. This non-Darwinian pattern has been recognized by many paleontologists. University of Pittsburgh anthropologist Jeffrey Schwartz states: “We are still in the dark about the origin of most major groups of organisms. They appear in the fossil record as Athena did from the head of Zeus — full-blown and raring to go, in contradiction to Darwin’s depiction of evolution as resulting from the gradual accumulation of countless infinitesimally minute variations.”5 Likewise the great evolutionary biologist Ernst Mayr explained that “[n]ew species usually appear in the fossil record suddenly, not connected with their ancestors by a series of intermediates.”6 Similarly, a zoology textbook observes: “Many species remain virtually unchanged for millions of years, then suddenly disappear to be replaced by a quite different, but related, form. Moreover, most major groups of animals appear abruptly in the fossil record, fully formed, and with no fossils yet discovered that form a transition from their parent group.”7
Neo-Darwinian Evolution Has Been and Continues to Be Critiqued by Mainstream Scientists: Everyone agrees that microevolution occurs. But mainstream scientific and academic literature is saturated with skepticism about the neo-Darwinian claim that microevolution offers an adequate basis for justifying macroevolutionary claims. Günter Theißen of the Department of Genetics at Friedrich Schiller University in Germany wrote in the journal Theory in Biosciences that “while we already have a quite good understanding of how organisms adapt to the environment, much less is known about the mechanisms behind the origin of evolutionary novelties, a process that is arguably different from adaptation. Despite Darwin’s undeniable merits, explaining how the enormous complexity and diversity of living beings on our planet originated remains one of the greatest challenges of biology.”8 A 2011 paper in Biological Theory stated, “Darwinism in its current scientific incarnation has pretty much reached the end of its rope,”9 and in 2012, the noted atheist philosopher Thomas Nagel argued in an Oxford University Press book that “the materialist neo-Darwinian conception of nature is almost certainly false.”10
Evolutionary biologist Stanley Salthe likewise describes himself as “a critic of Darwinian evolutionary theory,”11 which he insists “cannot explain origins, or the actual presence of forms and behaviors”12 in organisms. Biologist Scott Gilbert has stated in a report in Nature that “[t]he modern synthesis is remarkably good at modeling the survival of the fittest, but not good at modeling the arrival of the fittest,” and evolutionary paleobiologist Graham Budd admits: “When the public thinks about evolution, they think about the origin of wings and the invasion of the land, . . . [b]ut these are things that evolutionary theory has told us little about.”13 Eugene Koonin writes in Trends in Genetics about the increasingly undeniable reasons to doubt core neo-Darwinian tenets, such as view that “natural selection is the main driving force of evolution,” indicating that “the modern synthesis has crumbled, apparently, beyond repair” and “all major tenets of the modern synthesis have been, if not outright overturned, replaced by a new and incomparably more complex vision of the key aspects of evolution.” He concludes: “Not to mince words, the modern synthesis is gone.”14 Because of such criticisms, Cornell evolutionary biologist William Provine believes the Darwinian claim that “Macroevolution was a simple extension of microevolution” is “false.”15
            In all of this, I have not even mentioned the refutations of Dr. James M. Tour. He is one of the most acclaimed and established scientific minds in existence today.

            I’ll just mention his remarkable credentials, in case you are not familiar with his name:

Professor James M. Tour is Rice University Chao Professor of Chemistry, computer science, mechanical engineering, and materials science. A renowned leader in his field, he is the premier scientist at Rice University, and his work is often cited in leading scientific journals.1 After Nobel Laureate Rick Smalley’s untimely death, the prolific Tour has successfully carried on Smalley’s groundbreaking nanotechnology research. This ‘world-class scientist’ has revolutionized one of the most challenging fields of science.2
Of the more than 720,000 scientists who published chemistry papers in academic journals during the last decade, Tour was among the ten most-cited authors in the world. He authored 135 papers during this time, and the Thomson-Reuters list of research most referenced by other scientists in their scientific work ranked him in the top ten. Tour’s scientific achievement “spans an incredible breadth, from building tiny cars and trucks out of molecules, to making computer memory from graphite, building tiny missiles that carry drugs to tumors and trying to cure radiation sickness.”1 Wade Adams, director of Rice’s Smalley Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology, noted that Tour is an “incredibly creative … chemist. He makes molecules dance.”1
One of his most recent achievements to add to his already long list was to convert shortbread into graphene, a high-tech carbon form that is a promising material for high-speed circuits. A single thick layer of graphene is strong enough to hold the weight of an elephant.3”3
            If you wish to read a quick overview of Dr. Tour’s refutation of evolution, please read his article entitled “Origin of Life, Intelligent Design, Evolution, Creation and Faith (Updated June 2018).”4

            Scientists are under pressure to not question or debunk evolution, “…they face pushback from peers who feel they are betraying science: “We’ve been told by more than one of our colleagues that, even if Darwin was substantially wrong to claim that natural selection is the mechanism of evolution, nonetheless we shouldn’t say so. Not, anyhow, in public. To do that is, however inadvertently, to align oneself with the Forces of Darkness, whose goal is to bring Science into disrepute.”13 They observe that in the ivory tower, “neo-Darwinism is taken as axiomatic,” “literally goes unquestioned,” and contrary views are “ipso facto rejected.”14… Significantly, many of these scholars and scientists share an acute awareness of the hostility faced by critics of the evolutionary consensus. Their stories suggest that neo-Darwinism retains its academic prestige not so much by the power of reason, but by the power of intimidation. One cannot help but wonder how many other Jerry Fodors or Thomas Nagels exist, waiting silently until they have academic freedom to publicly join the ranks of Darwin-skeptics.”5

            Finally, here are David Berlinski’s witty yet thoughtful and factual words to conclude this short essay:6

…Look — Tens of thousands of fruit flies have come and gone in laboratory experiments, and every last one of them has remained a fruit fly to the end, all efforts to see the miracle of speciation unavailing.
Look — The remarkable similarity in the genome of a great many organisms suggests that there is at bottom only one living system; but how then to account for the astonishing differences between human beings and their near relatives — differences that remain obvious to anyone who has visited a zoo?
But look again — If the differences between organisms are scientifically more interesting than their genomic similarities, of what use is Darwin's theory since its otherwise mysterious operations take place by genetic variations?
These are hardly trivial questions. Each suggests a dozen others. These are hardly circumstances that do much to support the view that there are "no valid criticisms of Darwin's theory," as so many recent editorials have suggested.
Serious biologists quite understand all this. They rather regard Darwin's theory as an elderly uncle invited to a family dinner. The old boy has no hair, he has no teeth, he is hard of hearing, and he often drools. Addressing even senior members at table as Sonny, he is inordinately eager to tell the same story over and over again.
But he's family. What can you do?

Endnotes:
1http://www.equip.org/article/non-religious-skeptics-darwinian-evolution-proponents-intelligent-design/

2https://dissentfromdarwin.org/resources-for-students/why-is-darwinian-evolution-controversial/

3https://creation.com/james-tour-darwin-skeptic

4https://www.jmtour.com/personal-topics/evolution-creation/

5http://www.equip.org/article/non-religious-skeptics-darwinian-evolution-proponents-intelligent-design/

6http://www.discovery.org/a/2450/


Websites last accessed on 11th August 2018.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Original Sin: True or False?

What Is Original Sin?
          
            All of us are sinners. We all have a corrupted nature that motivates us to sin. Our sinfulness or sinful nature precludes our allegiance to the various religious worldviews. In other words, a Christian subscribing to Historic Christianity would believe that all of us, irrespective of our religious worldviews, are sinners because we have a sinful nature.

            If all of us are sinners, there may be a common factor that leads us all to sin. This common factor is often referred to as the Original Sin. Original sin is the dimension of sin with which we begin life or the effect the sin of Adam has upon us as a precondition of our lives.1

Biblical Basis For Original Sin
        
            Romans chapter 5:12-19 is a key passage that offers us the answer:

Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned— To be sure, sin was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not charged against anyone’s account where there is no law. Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who is a pattern of the one to come. But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! Nor can the gift of God be compared with the result of one man’s sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification. For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ! Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people. For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous. (NIV)
            So this is how we could understand original sin:2

            1. The Bible maintains that because of Adam’s sin all persons receive a corrupted nature and are guilty in God’s sight as well.

            2. We were involved, although not personally, and are responsible for the sin.

            3. With this matter of guilt, however, just as with the imputation of Christ’s righteousness, there must be some conscious and voluntary decision on our part to sin. Until we sin, there is only a conditional imputation of guilt.

            4. Thus there is no condemnation until one reaches the age of responsibility. The Bible also says that children are not under God’s condemnation for this sin, at least not until attaining an age of responsibility in moral and spiritual matters. If a child dies before becoming capable of making genuine moral decisions, the contingent imputation of Adamic sin does not become actual, and the child will be with God forever in heaven.

Is Original Sin An Essential Doctrine Of Historic Christianity?

            Christian apologist, William Lane Craig, asserts that the original sin is not an essential doctrine of Historic Christianity, “…the doctrine that the sin of Adam is imputed to all men is far from universally held among Christians and so is not essential to Christianity. The doctrine is also weakly attested biblically, so that personally I remain quite open-minded about it. In short, you don’t have to accept this doctrine in order to become a Christian…”3

            Apparently, not all Christian denominations subscribe to the doctrine of original sin, “…in all the Eastern Orthodox confessions, such as Greek, Russian, and Syrian Orthodox churches, original sin is taken to be merely a sort of corruption introduced into the human race by Adam for which we are not culpable. Many Protestants, of course, will also deny the imputation of Adam’s sin….biblically faithful believers may adopt any of a variety of views on the question of original sin.”4

            These words of Dr. James Tour – one of the world’s most influential scientists – alludes to the presence of essential and not-so-essential doctrines, “As a scientist and a Christian (Messianic Jew), I am unsure of many things in both science and faith. But my many questions are not fundamental to my salvation. Salvation is based upon the finished work of Jesus Christ (Yeshua the Messiah), my confession in him as Savior and my belief in his physical resurrection from the dead…”5

            Is the doctrine of original sin essential to the sustenance of Historic Christianity? I do not think so.

            I believe in the doctrine of the original sin. But I also understand that this doctrine is not as crucial (for salvation) as that of believing in the birth, death, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.

            So those who do not believe in the doctrine of original sin would still go to heaven because they believe and love the Lord Jesus Christ. These Christian brothers and sisters will go to heaven as long as they do not deny any essential doctrines e.g. the birth, death and the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. In fact, there are a few doctrines that one need not believe in order to be a Christian.

Why Is Original Sin Not Essential To Christianity?

            A simple answer to this question is because my belief in the doctrine of original sin does not affect my salvation. In other words, I would be saved, even if I do not believe in original sin because my salvation is predicated on my belief in the Triune God and the Lord Jesus Christ’s finished work on the cross of Calvary.

            It’s acceptable that Christians do not believe in the doctrine of original sin. But it’s not acceptable if Christians do not believe in sin.

            Sin is an assault on God. We sin when we disobey God. Since God exists, sin also exists because human beings, having been created with freewill, have the ability to obey and disobey God. Therefore, Christians cannot claim that there is no sin.

            However, we could agree to disagree about the other aspects of sin, such as its origin etc. The first instance of sin was in the heavenly realms when Satan and his angelic cohorts rebelled against God. Then sin infiltrated into the human realm when Adam and Eve disobeyed God. This is a common understanding of the origin of sin.

            However, if some Christians have a different understanding of sin’s origin, then there is always enough room to accommodate/endure such theological differences because these differences do not undermine Historic Christianity. Furthermore, disagreements on fringe doctrines cannot promote or relegate anyone or any group as theologically superior or inferior, respectively.

            So as long as a Christian believes that we are capable of sinning and that the consequence of our sin is alienation from God (wages of sin is death), he/she is doing well in his/her Christian faith. This is the bare essential, within the context of sin and salvation, to be a Christian.

Conclusion: Is Original Sin True Or False?

            We can always agree to disagree on doctrines that are not central to Historic Christianity. Those who disagree about the doctrine of original sin or any other fringe doctrines cannot be relegated to any superior or inferior status whatsoever.

            I believe in the doctrine of original sin, but at the same time, I am aware that there are many sincere Christians who do not believe or disagree with the doctrine of original sin.

            That’s okay.

Endnotes:

1Christian Theology, Second Ed., Millard J. Erickson, p648.

2Ibid, p655-656.

3https://www.reasonablefaith.org/writings/question-answer/original-sin/

4Ibid.

5https://www.jmtour.com/personal-topics/evolution-creation/


Websites last accessed on 31st July 2018. 

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Enduring and Overcoming Failures – The Christian Way

            First and foremost, failures in a Christian’s life need not be considered as a surprise or an abnormality. Failure, also, need not be omnipresent in a Christian’s life. It is not mandatory that every Christian should experience failures. (In this short essay, I will address the failures of a committed Christian, who delights in loving the Lord and obeying HIS commands.)

            Am I qualified to deal with this theme? Failure has been my constant companion for several years. Hence I understand failure, not from an objective or a transcendent sense, but I understand failure and the nature of this evil from a very subjective sense (personal experience). So, yes, I am qualified to engage in this subject.

            To begin with, let me emphasize a facet of ‘failure.’ Some failures can be overcome and other failures cannot be overcome – these failures can only be endured.

            Certain failures are temporary in nature, these failures could be overcome:

                                    (1) Financial Losses could be earned or regained in due course of time.

                                    (2) Academic Failures could derail our plans by a few days/months/years. However, we could overcome this failure by subsequently succeeding in them.

                                    (3) Fleeting Ailments could be temporary failures but can be healed by the grace of God. 

                                    (4) Church Induced Failures: The church is meant to be a safe haven where love, grace, compassion, and care rules. But the church could abuse its members so much so that the abused Christians could suffer immensely. However, in due time, by the grace of God, the victims of abuse can forgive the abusers to regain their peace.

                                    (5) Parental Abuse: Some parents abuse their children constantly by deeming them to be failures. The victimized children are deeply damaged and plagued by these awful memories. These insults could be overcome when the victims allow God to work in them to forgive their parents.  

            Then there are permanent failures that cannot be overcome in the physical or the material sense. These failures can only be endured:

                                    (1) Terminal Ailments: Sicknesses such as Cancer, Alzheimer's, Autism etc. do not have a cure. Barring a miraculous divine intervention, these sicknesses ought to be endured.

                                    (2) Public Humiliation: When a person is humiliated in public for no fault of his own, he suffers a loss of reputation. A classic case in point is the ‘false accusation.’ If the false accusation is made public, and if the accused is incarcerated or rendered jobless, this person could be destroyed. His health could deteriorate and/or he could be depressed. In certain instances, being unable to bear with this failure, he/she could commit suicide.

                                    (3) Sudden Death: We cannot overcome the [sudden or unexpected] loss of our parents/ children/very good friends because they cannot be replaced.

                                    (4) Church Induced Failures: Christians insulted/abused by the church could renounce their faith in God. This has an eternal ramification.

                                    (5) Betrayal By A Loved One: When your loved one betrays you (e.g. when your spouse leaves you for another or accuses you falsely or when your loved one does not love you anymore and disengages from the relationship by not caring or devoting time and effort for the relationship) and if this relationship exists for the sake of the world, then the victimized partner ought to endure this failure until the very end.

            Does the church address failures adequately? The key word is ‘adequately.’ The church in many instances performs a lip service to this evil that plagues its members. Consequently, the members who worship at these churches continue to suffer.

            How often do you hear this theme preached from your pulpit? Renowned Christian apologist, William Lane Craig, says “I have been a Christian for over thirty years. I estimate that in my Christian lifetime I have attended upward of a couple of thousand church services, hundreds of chapels at Wheaton College, and scores of Christian meetings at retreats, conferences, and so on, held by Campus Crusade and other groups. Yet during this entire time I have never once—not a single time in the thousands of meetings over some thirty-odd years—heard a speaker address the subject of failure.” (Emphasis Mine).1    

            Christian Counseling is meant to help alleviate the pain of those suffering. However, it has become a brutal business or a hoax, in this day and age. Quite a few Christian counselors are more interested in gossiping about their clients/patients than earnestly serving them. These counselors are unable to empathize with their clients.

            But of course, there are some faithful Christian counselors who serve God and HIS people to the best of their God-given abilities. They are God’s channels of healing. 

            Allow me to digress momentarily. The church is gradually becoming ineffective. The church delights in legislating against various sins so much so that ‘grace’ takes a back seat. Often, the church falls in love with its laws because it is easier to be legalistic.

            If the church is to practice grace, it needs to take the long and arduous road of being gracious with its people. While doing so, it may face stiff opposition from its more prominent and powerful law-abiding leaders/members, who proclaim their so-called super-spirituality with gay abandon.  

            Suppose a member is in sin and is struggling to renounce. The church, in this instance, can graciously help this member to renounce that sin. But many churches shame the sinning member in public by impulsively and recklessly punishing him/her. The verse “God loved us while we were still sinners” (Romans 5:8), which was so relevant to those leaders who indulge in such punishments, is forgotten and relegated to the darkest corners of their minds.

            When a member sins and when he/she is punished and shamed impulsively and publicly, the church has then willfully deemed the sinning member as a failure. God delights in loving us and in HIS perfect love and grace, HE engages us to restore us. God does not delight in deeming us as failures.

            What do we do when we fail?

            Do not lose hope. When you are suffering, you may lose your health, reputation, your family members may disregard you, and your friends may betray/abandon you.  Fear not! Even when you do not see the light at the end of the tunnel, do know that in your utter darkness, you are not alone, but God is with you.

            Trust in God. Don’t ever stop trusting God. Trust God even against all odds – even if everything is going wrong for many many years. This is mandatory. The moment you stop trusting in God, you are by yourself and that’s a recipe for disaster.

            Trust God’s people. God will bring HIS loyal servants to serve you. These people are a minority. Accept their service with a grateful heart.

            Pray without ceasing. Continue to plead with God for deliverance. But while praying do not give deadlines to God. You are not God to give HIM deadlines to deliver you.

            Praise God while you are praying. Look around you, even while you are suffering. You will find several reasons to thank and praise God. Be ever grateful to HIM who watches over you.

            Relax and Refresh. If you are not enduring a terminal ailment, then God may provide you with opportunities to relax and refresh even while you are experiencing severe trials and tribulations. These opportunities could come in the form of taking short vacations or playing recreational games/sports or watching clean and entertaining sports, movies or TV series.   

            When we encounter failures, how do we trust and hope in God?

            Think about the Lord Jesus Christ, for a moment. Jesus came to save all of mankind. But did HE save all of mankind? No! HE did not!

            While HE lived, HE was rejected by many of HIS disciples. Even today, the unbelievers of Jesus outnumber the believers.

            So was the life of the Lord Jesus Christ a failure? Did God not know what HE was doing?

            Some people may argue that Christ was a failure if they observe Christ’s ministry from a worldly or a temporal sense. However, a deeper study of the Lord’s ministry will reveal that HIS ministry was and is an outstanding success – despite the presence of a very large number of unbelievers.

            Therefore, if we look at failures from a temporal sense, we will certainly be discouraged and depressed. But the life we live on this earth is fleeting or momentary when compared to our lives that we will live unto eternity with God.

            Finally, we are not alone in our suffering. We do not worship a God who is firmly located in heaven. Rather we worship a God who suffered and died for us. So HE knows what we are going through. HE will either deliver us or will enable us to endure our suffering while it lasts.

            By the grace of God, when we fix our focus upon HIM and HIM alone, we would be able to say, “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." (2 Corinthians 4:16-18, NIV).

Endnotes:


1https://www.reasonablefaith.org/writings/popular-writings/practical-issues/failure/, last accessed on 25th July 2018.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Dinosaurs And Christianity; Is There A Problem?

            Dinosaurs existed many many years ago. I say ‘many many years ago’ because there is an ongoing debate about the age of our earth and thereby the time or the era when dinosaurs existed.

            Broadly, Christians subscribe to either of the two creation models: (1) The Young Earth Creationism and (2) The Old Earth Creationism. If you believe that the age of the earth is approximately 6000 years old, then you are a young earth creationist. But if you believe that the earth was created millions of years ago, then you are an old earth creationist.

            The young earth creationist or those who believe that the age of the earth is approximately 6000 years would claim that the dinosaurs existed within the past thousand years. But an old earth proponent – a Christian who believes that the earth is millions of years old – would believe that the Dinosaurs existed millions of years ago.

            Is there a problem? Christian apologist, J. Warner Wallace, articulates this dilemma, “Perhaps the most frequent questions asked of me related to the age of the earth are these: What do Christians say about dinosaurs? How do Christians account for dinosaurs and the death we observe in the fossil record? Doesn’t the very existence of dinosaurs in the fossil record, contradict the claims of the Bible? There’s an impression, even amongst Christians, dinosaurs present the Christian community with a true dilemma. There seems to be something contradictory about the archeological record of dinosaur life, and the biblical record of creation…”1

            A systematic study of this subject should encompass a study of the claims and the counter-claims of the young and the old earth creationists. But because of a self-imposed word restriction for every essay that I publish for your consumption, I shall only consider the response to the dinosaur dilemma from the perspective of the young earth creationists.

            Since this view completely disagrees with the evolutionists, I believe it would be more interesting to study the arguments of the proponents of young age creationism with respect to the dinosaur dilemma. (On the other hand, the old age creationist’s view of the dinosaurs would largely agree with that of the evolutionists.)

            “Answers In Genesis” is a Christian apologetics ministry that believes in the young earth creationism. They believe that the existence of dinosaurs does not disprove the Bible or that of Historic Christianity. Here’s their response to the existence of dinosaurs:2

Did Dinosaurs Really Exist?
Dinosaurs certainly did roam the Earth in the ancient past! Fossils of dinosaurs have been found all over the world, and their bones are displayed in museums for all to see. Scientists have been able to reconstruct many of their skeletons, so we know much about how they may have looked.
When Were Dinosaurs Found?
The story of their discovery began back in the 1820s, when Gideon Mantell, an English doctor, found some unusual teeth and bones in a quarry. Dr Mantell realized there was something very different about these animal remains, and believed that he had found an entirely new group of reptiles. By 1841, about nine types of these different reptiles had been uncovered, including two called Megalosaurus and Iguanodon.
At this time, a famous British scientist, Dr Richard Owen, coined the name “Dinosauria,” meaning “terrible lizard,” for this is what the huge bones made him think of.
When Did Dinosaurs Live?
The story we have all heard from movies, television, newspapers, and most magazines and textbooks is that dinosaurs lived millions of years ago. According to evolutionists, the dinosaurs “ruled the Earth” for 140 million years, dying out about 65 million years ago. However, scientists do not dig up anything labeled with those ages. They only uncover dead dinosaurs (i.e., their bones), and their bones do not have labels attached telling how old they are. The idea of millions of years of evolution is just the evolutionists’ story about the past. No scientist was there to see the dinosaurs live through this supposed dinosaur age. In fact, there is no proof whatsoever that the world and its fossil layers are millions of years old. No scientist observed dinosaurs die. Scientists only find the bones in the here and now, and because many of them are evolutionists, they try to fit the story of the dinosaurs into their view.
Other scientists, called creation scientists, have a different idea about when dinosaurs lived. They believe they can solve any of the supposed dinosaur mysteries and show how the evidence fits wonderfully with their ideas about the past, beliefs that come from the Bible…
Although the Bible does not tell us exactly how long ago it was that God made the world and its creatures, we can make a good estimate of the date of creation by reading through the Bible and noting some interesting passages…
…As you add up all of the dates, and accepting that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came to Earth almost 2000 years ago, we come to the conclusion that the creation of the Earth and animals (including the dinosaurs) occurred only thousands of years ago (perhaps only 6000!), not millions of years. Thus, if the Bible is right (and it is!), dinosaurs must have lived within the past thousands of years.
Where Did Dinosaurs Come From?
… The Bible tells us that God created all of the land animals on the sixth day of creation. As dinosaurs were land animals, they must have been made on this day, alongside Adam and Eve, who were also created on Day Six (Genesis 1:24–31). If God designed and created dinosaurs, they would have been fully functional, designed to do what they were created for, and would have been 100% dinosaur. This fits exactly with the evidence from the fossil record.
Evolutionists declare that no man ever lived alongside dinosaurs. The Bible, however, makes it plain that dinosaurs and people must have lived together. Actually, as we will soon see, there is a lot of evidence for this.

            Another question that deserves a credible answer is, “Did Dinosaurs and Man coexist?” Evolutionists claim that dinosaurs and man did not coexist. In contrast, the young earth creationist claim that they coexisted, “Here, in short, is how we arrive at our conclusion that dinosaurs and man lived at the same time—starting with a straightforward reading of the Bible as the true, eyewitness account of history:

1. Dinosaurs, being land animals, were created on Day 6 of Creation Week. (Genesis 1:24–25)
2. Adam and Eve were created on Day 6 of Creation Week. (Genesis 1:26–30)
3. Thus, dinosaurs and humans lived side by side.6 (Genesis 1:31)”3

            Interestingly, carvings of dinosaurs have been discovered at various locations. Carvings of dinosaurs could only exist if man had seen them, claims an article in the “Apologetics Press,” entitled “Physical Evidence for the Coexistence of Dinosaurs and Humans [Part II],” “If humans and dinosaurs lived together on the Earth in the past, what would you expect to find to verify their cohabitation? One line of conclusive evidence would be a series of carvings or drawings accurately depicting dinosaur anatomy that could be shown to have been produced before modern information about dinosaur anatomy emerged. The Stegosaurus carving in Cambodia, the dinosaur carving found by Samuel Hubbard, the accurate dinosaur petroglyph on Kachina Natural Bridge, dinosaur figurines discovered by Julsrud and studied by Charles Hapgood, the Ica stones, and various other carvings, figurines, and ancient art that we have not had space to include, converge to form a mountain of physical evidence that is exactly what would be expected if humans saw live dinosaurs. Evolutionists have used dinosaurs long enough to teach their false worldview. It is time we take dinosaurs back, and use them to teach about the awesome power of the One Who created these magnificent creatures.”4

            If you desire to dig deeper into this subject matter from the perspective of young earth creationism, then this page5 in the ‘Apologetics Press’ website would offer you helpful resources (copy and paste the link found in the endnotes in your browser). Also please visit the website of “Answers In Genesis” to learn more about dinosaurs from the perspective of young age creationism.

            How do the Christians subscribing to old earth creationist model respond to the dinosaur dilemma?

            Reasons.org is a Christian apologetics ministry subscribing to old earth creationism. They claim, “Since dinosaurs were first given a name (“terrible lizards”) in 1841, they have fascinated people. Our testable creation model says God created dinosaurs to roam the Earth roughly 230 million years ago, and many different types of these creatures dominated the landscape. Their time on Earth ended when a 6 mile-wide asteroid impacted Earth 65 million years ago. Some Christians say the Leviathan and Behemoth mentioned in Job refer to dinosaurs, but we disagree. Because humanity arrived on Earth much later, no biblical author would have had contact with dinosaurs. The most popular scientific model claims dinosaurs evolved into birds, but we reject this view also. Instead, we argue that both birds and dinosaurs were specially created by God to fill the livable environments available on Earth during their respective eras.”6

            To conclude, sincere Christians endeavoring to study the subject of dinosaurs from within the perspective of Historic Christianity could either agree to the views of the young earth creationists or the old earth creationists. But as Christians subscribing to Historic Christianity, let us not condemn the proponents of the opposing viewpoint.

            The dinosaur dilemma and the various models/perspectives of creation (young earth creationism, old earth creationism etc.) are not essential to the truthfulness of Historic Christianity. In other words, we are not required to take a hard stand on fringe topics such as the creation model or the dinosaurs.

            It would be worthwhile to invest our time and energy into understanding the truth-claims that offer validity to the various essential doctrines of Historic Christianity e.g. Creation over Unguided Evolution etc. This is a better alternative than to pore over fringe doctrines because our belief in the fringe doctrines cannot jeopardize our belief in Historic Christianity.

            Hence, when we study/discuss dinosaurs or creation models, we can always agree to disagree with the opposing view to uphold this timeless saying, “In essentials unity, in nonessentials liberty, in all things charity.”

Endnotes:

1http://coldcasechristianity.com/2012/do-dinosaurs-disprove-the-bible/

2https://answersingenesis.org/dinosaurs/dinosaurs-and-the-bible/

3https://answersingenesis.org/dinosaurs/humans/dinosaurs-man-and-the-bible/

4http://apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=9&article=446

5https://www.apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=9&topic=59

6http://www.reasons.org/explore/publications/tnrtb/read/tnrtb/2011/07/29/rtb-s-position-on-dinosaurs


Websites last accessed on 20th July 2018.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Laws Cannot Change Flaws

            The five-judge constitution bench of the Supreme Court in India is hearing petitions that demand the scrapping of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, which criminalizes gay sex. One of the reasons offered by the Supreme Court to hear these petitions is the changing ‘social morality.’1

            The judiciary may decide to uphold Section 377 or it may decide to decriminalize gay sex in India. Even if the court decides to uphold the law criminalizing gay sex, the continuous uproar from the pro-LGBT section of India’s populace would, in the near future, succeed in decriminalizing gay sex in India. So it is a mere matter of time – possibly a few years – when gay sex would be legitimized in India.

            Would the endorsement of gay sex by the Indian constitution (at any point in time) motivate us, Christians, to change our view on gay sex?

            A worthy Christian response is two-fold:

            First, hating the gay people is out of the question, so let us love them. But remember that our love for the gay people is not an endorsement of their sinful lifestyle.

            A gay lifestyle is an abomination.  However, we should love the gay people. By doing so, we hope and pray that they will see God in and through our love and allow HIM to change their lives.

            Second, let us, as God-loving and Bible-believing Christians, be strong in our biblical convictions. The Bible condemns homosexuality as a sin. So let us uphold the biblical teaching at any cost.

            Significantly, let us not commit the error of diluting the biblical teaching because of the changing ‘social morality.’ Today our society may decide to decriminalize gay sex and tomorrow our society may decide to decriminalize other offenses.

            Let not the changing mores of our society dictate our response to sins. Sins are an assault against God, so sins ought to be hated and rejected at all costs because we are God’s people.

            We reject sins because we love God. Remember that the commandment to love our neighbors is always preceded by the commandment to love our God.

            If the Lord Jesus wanted us, HIS disciples, to declassify sins as acceptable practices, then HE would not have reduced the laws to two. Instead, HE would have reduced it to one. But the Lord did not!

            Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias articulated this thought wonderfully, “For living together in harmony, Moses gave 613 laws to help build their community. About half a millennium later, David, in the fifteenth psalm, reduced them to eleven. Isaiah, in his opening chapter, reduced them further to six. Micah, in his sixth chapter, narrowed them down to three: “To do justice, to love mercy and to walk humbly before your God.”

            How much further could one go to find the essence of the law? Jesus, in the 22nd chapter of Matthew, was asked which was the greatest commandment. The point was to see if he would earn the wrath of the political or religious leaders who dictated social or religious practice with scores of laws. Jesus, knowing their intent, surprised them. He did not reduce the laws to one. He could have done that. Instead, he reduced them down to two: “To love the Lord your God with all our heart, strength, soul and mind, and to love your neighbor as yourself.” “On these two,” he said, “hang all of the laws and the prophets.”2

            Ascribing preeminence to God is the bounden duty of an honest Christian. Such a Christian would not endorse sins. Instead, he will reject sins but will love the sinner.

            Let us then love the gay people but let’s reject gay sex because it is a sin against God. Let us always love the Lord our God and continue to follow HIM all through the days of our life.

            But that’s not it! This situation in India is a classic case that reveals the incompetence of the law to change the hearts of the people. As Ravi Zacharias said, “Laws don’t change flaws.”3

            The law to criminalize gay sex has been in existence for around 150 years in India. But that law did not succeed in convincing people that gay sex is immoral.

            When India decides to decriminalize gay sex, I would like to think that India would have moved over from the side of the law to the side of grace. When grace is in effect, sins would be condemned but sinners would be offered a second chance to repent and reject their sins.

            Those practicing gay sex (not only them but all who sin voluntarily, which includes you and me) are being swayed by the powers of this world and the ruler of the kingdom of the air (Ephesians 2:2). The law is incompetent to save us from sins. Only the blood of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ can save us from sins, says Ravi Zacharias:4

All the platitudes of political double-speak remind us that if we hope in politics and laws we will make the suicidal blunder of thinking that laws change hearts. They do not. Societal laws are always at the mercy of power brokers, as language without integrity of heart lends itself to the machinations of demagogues. Oftentimes those machinations will dress up their own violations with noble purposes. Few evils rise to the insidious level as those that mask reality with purportedly benign intentions, cosmetically hiding a cancerous, self-serving motive.
We see again and again in the ebb and flow of history how laws have the power of letters but they never win the soul of a person. Courts, agencies, police, military, EPA, FAA, FTC, IRS, the politically correct enforcers…my goodness, we have enough laws to make Rome look like a toy shop. All over the world we hear more talk about brotherhood and yet in reality we see more hoods than brothers.
But, thank God, there is a law above our laws. There must be a law above our laws that gets to the innermost being of a person and breaks the pursuit of autocracy within. That happens when we admit that the heart must humble itself before God, and this brings change. That surrender of the heart to God disarms the individual and engenders a love from God and for His will.
We look around today at the environment and mourn the abuse. Fair enough. But here is the greatest mystery of all. Why do we never think of the “invironment”? What stalks us within? Is there nothing sacred about this body? Is it only the trees that need protection? Is there nothing sacred about my relationships so long as I can pop something into the mouth to negate the behavior of the night before? Is there nothing sacred about work so long as the government will pay my bills? Is success all in the power to enforce and not in the power to change for eternal truths? Has the family no place in the building blocks of a society? Is politics purely left and right without any up and down? Ah! There’s the question.
Having left that question unanswered, we are producing a generation of young people that are ready to cry “justice” when wronged but seldom think of what is right in personal responsibility. They know everything about outer space and very little about inner space. They know how to hate; they simply don’t know how or why to love…
… we see the love of God at work. He sends and gives His Son so that we might not have to live with mere laws. We hear enough that we are a nation of laws. Laws don’t change flaws. They just reveal them. How about becoming a nation of grace? In Him, law and love converge. He brings the work of grace within us to make us hunger after the true, the good, and the beautiful. That rises beyond mere laws…
Several years ago, terrorists broke into two hotels in Mumbai and opened random fire. So many were killed. The carnage was bloody. One Indian actor was found alive amidst the pile of bodies under a table where several had dived for cover. In an interview he was asked, “Why didn’t they also shoot you when they walked by?” He said, “I was so covered with someone else’s blood that they thought it was mine and left me for dead.”
He didn’t know it but he hinted at the Gospel. The blood of our Savior saves us.

            The law cannot change your heart and mine. But Jesus can. But we need to allow HIM to rule us. We need to commit our lives to HIM and HIM alone. When Christ rules us, we will repent of our sins and HE will make us new again. The blood of Christ shed on the cross of Calvary will heal and save us.

Endnotes:

1https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/will-examine-correctness-of-2013-verdict-on-gay-sex-says-supreme-court-1880773

2https://rzim.org/global-blog/from-kiev-to-ferguson-stable-words-in-an-unstable-world/

3Ibid.

4Ibid.


Websites last accessed on 11th July 2018.