from Does God Exist? November/December 2012
MARRIAGE ISSUE CONTINUES TO BE DEBATED. In the May/June 2012 issue of this journal we discussed the issue of marriage, comparing the biblical concept with the alternatives suggested by special interest groups in our culture. In the August 6, 2012, issue of Time magazine (page 42) there is a story of a Mormon polygamist, his three wives, and his 23 children. Those who promote alternatives to God's plan need to look at what an ideal polygamous household in America is like. We come back to the point that all alternatives to God's one husband/one wife for life plan involve destructive lifestyles. Whether you look at gay marriage, group marriages, polyandrous marriages, or polygamy the evidence is clear that on a practical level God's plan works the best.
ANOTHER STUDY ON GAY PARENTING. One natural spin-off of the marriage issue is how the type of marriage affects the children. Increasing numbers of homosexuals are adopting children or conceiving children using laboratory conception methods. A new study of 15,000 adults ages 18 to 39 at the University of Texas has shown that people with one or more gay parents have a higher rate of depression, drug use, unemployment, infidelity, and ill health. There is debate about what other parameters might be involved, but the data supports other studies in the same subject area. Source: The Week, June 29, 2012, page 21.
BY THEIR FRUITS. Jesus and the apostles made it clear that those who are really followers of Christ will be easy to identify by the product of their lives (see Matthew 7:16 – 20; Galatians 5:22; Ephesians 5:9; Philippians 4:17; and James 3:17 –18). If “looking after number 1” is the goal of your life, or if “survival of the fittest” is a summary of your moral code, then you will not be serving others in a self-sacrificial way. The recession has given Christians and atheist groups an opportunity to bring relief to others in a sacrificial way. The Christian response has been huge while organized atheism has been deafeningly quiet in any altruistic activity. Time magazine (June 23, 2012, page 32) has an interesting article about churches and faith-based programs and what they have been doing to meet the needs of the working poor in the recession. While the article gets into significant political rhetoric, the admission of Christian values is hard to miss.
THE UNIVERSE FROM NOTHING (AGAIN). Lawrence Krauss, a theoretical physicist, has released a new book titled A Universe From Nothing (Free Press) in which he claims to have proven that the laws of physics could have created the universe from nothing. What Krauss is doing is repeating the theory that there are virtual particles that appear for a very short time and then disappear in what is called “a quantum fluctuation.” By a very short time we are talking a billionth of a second or less. Stephen Hawking said it well “… in quantum theory, particles can be created out of energy in the form of particle/antiparticle pairs. All of the energy of these particle/antiparticle pairs add up to zero, the total energy of the universe” (A Brief History of Time, page 133). There are so many problems with these proposals that it would take many pages to explain them all. The Heisenberg uncertainty principle demands that the greater the energy of the fluctuation the shorter time it may last, so if there is infinite energy in the cosmos, the time would be zero. For a particle to appear in space it would require that space and the laws that govern it already have to exist — to have been created. The list of assumptions made by Krauss goes on and on, but the bottom line is that this is simply speculation — not science. Perhaps this can best be seen in his statement, “ ‘Nothing’ — in this case no space, no time, no anything! — is unstable.” Source: Scientific American, May 2012, page 86.
FREEDOM OF SPEECH AND BLASPHEMY. In 1989 the late Ayatollah Khomeini declared it was the duty of every Muslim to kill Salman Rushdie because his novel, The Satanic Verses, was blasphemous. Rushdie has survived by going into hiding, but the book’s Norwegian publisher was shot, its Turkish publisher and 35 of his guests were burned to death at a hotel, its Italian translator was stabbed, and its Japanese translator was assassinated. In Austria Elisabeth Sabbaditsch-Wolf has been convicted of “denigrating religious beliefs” for her comments about Mohammed during a seminar on radical Islam. In Holland Geert Wilders has been prosecuted for comments about Islam in political speeches as has Jussi Hallaaho in Finland. Random House made a last minute rejection of a historical novel titled Jewel of Medina by Sherry Jones because they wanted “to protect the safety of the author, employees of Random House, booksellers … .” All of this is just a small sampling of the cases of repression of free speech. For a more complete listing we would suggest you get a copy of Imprimis, Volume 41 Number 2, February 2012 from Hillsdale College, 33 East College Street, Hillsdale, Michigan, 49242, or at hillsdale.edu/news/imprimus. While many Muslims would not endorse all of this intimidation, the Muslim community is deafeningly quiet in its response to it, and the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation which was formed to respond to it has been dysfunctional.
THE GOD PARTICLE. The apparent discovery of the Higgs boson in July has resulted in some wild claims in the media and on atheist websites, including one claiming that the last reason to need the existence of God has been eradicated. We have talked about the subject area of quantum mechanics in our DVDs and in a number of articles in this journal. There are no apologetic issues involved in this discovery, because what the Higgs boson would be (if confirmed) is a designed control system which when combined with energy produces electric charge, gravity (and thus mass). The creation of the energy and the Higgs boson is not what is being addressed — only their existence. What is going on is a leap forward in our understanding of how God created all of these things. Finding the tool does not explain the origin of the tool or the intelligence to know how to use it.
FREE-WILL AND GENETICS. One of the major issues of social science is the existence of morality and a sense of right and wrong. There have been several articles in various science journals (e.g., Michael Shirmer's “Skeptic” column in Scientific American, August 2012, page 86) suggesting there is a section of the brain that has evolved conscience to control morality for survival purposes. Those of us that have been converted out of an immoral lifestyle in the world can testify that conscience is trained — not genetically programed. First Corinthians 8:7 –12 and Romans 12:2 make this pretty clear, but the experience of those of us who have been changed by Jesus Christ is perhaps the best argument against evolutionary explanations of conscience and morality.
DROUGHT AND GOD'S DESIGN. Our hearts go out to those of you who have been radically affected by the extreme drought that has afflicted many parts of the United States in 2012. We have had some interesting questions about God's design and the drought. Actually drought is more the norm than the exception on most of the earth. Passages in the Old Testament like Genesis 31:40; Jeremiah 50:38; Haggai 1:11; Psalm 32:4; Job 24:19; and Jeremiah 2:6 all mention drought in various situations, and much of the Middle East is vastly drier than most of the United States. The normal motion of air masses called the Hadley Cell, brings very dry conditions around 30 degrees latitude north and south. Thirty-degrees north falls along the Gulf Coast of the United States. In this country hurricanes and storage of ground water have mitigated the effect of this normal water shortage. However, the stored ground water is being used up and man-made influences coming from land-use have made the situation worse. God told man to subdue the earth and to take care of it (Genesis 1:28 and 2:15). Managing water properly is critical to our survival on this planet. The resources are there, but we must manage them wisely.
GLOBAL WARMING AND THE DROUGHT. Right in line with drought is the issue of global warming. What we have seen in the summer of 2012 is not global warming or a direct symptom of it. The term “global warming” refers to the average temperature of the whole planet — not to a certain geographic extreme. Some areas of the earth in 2012 had cooler temperatures than normal. The weather and climate systems come and go. We have had global warming and cooling in the past, and it will continue. Normal hot and cold spells are not a part of global warming. Human production of greenhouse gases may affect the climate and even sometimes local conditions, but that is not the sole cause. Again, it is up to us to take care of our home planet, and managing our wastes is a part of that.
FIFTH MOON FOR PLUTO. In July 2012 astronomers discovered a fifth moon orbiting the “solar object” Pluto. Pluto is no longer called a planet by astronomers because of its unusual orbit. (It has a tilted orbit that actually cuts inside Neptune's orbit). Our picture of the solar system continues to change as we realize that there is a significant amount of debris outside of the eight planets we can see from earth. The method of producing planets and the implications of that for finding resources and protecting ourselves from the dangers of outer space are important. God's methodology of “creating the heaven and the earth” gives us information useful in understanding everything from creation to how God works in our lives.
MORE FEATHERED DINOSAURS. Another Chinese dinosaur has been found that seems to have had feathers. The dinosaur is named Yutyrannus hauli and is about 30 feet long and weighed 3,000 pounds. Yu is the Mandarin word for feather and huali means beautiful. The feathers are small (six to eight inches) and would have been a fuzzy covering giving insulation and perhaps camouflage. The diversity of life today and in the past is amazing, and this is one more demonstration of how diverse the dinosaurs were. Source: Nature, April 5, 2012 and Science News, May 5, 2012, page 9.
MILKY WAY AND ANDROMEDA TO COLLIDE. Do not pack your bags, but there is a huge galactic collision about to take place. The media likes to generate alarming headlines, and recently a story written by Amina Khan in the Los Angeles Times (May 31, 2012) was picked up by papers all over the country. The facts are that it is POSSIBLE the two galaxies are moving toward each other, but the instruments to measure the movement of Andromeda are so crude and the distances are so huge that no sure movement can be measured. The two galaxies are 2.5 million light years apart, and while the speed of galactic movement is large at 250,000 miles per hour, we still have roughly 4 billion years before the collision. The distances are so huge that even if the collision did occur, the earth’s movement around the sun would be unaffected. The incredible size of the cosmos makes astronomical catastrophes highly unlikely, and all this hype simply demonstrates how big the system actually is.
NEW DATES ON MAN’S EARLIEST ART. We have pointed out repeatedly in this journal, that the Bible cannot be used to establish when the creation occurred or when man was created on the earth. All attempts to do so are based on assumptions that are invalid, and usually have denominational creeds that are being defended. We have also pointed out that man's artistic ability is not something that evolved, but was present when man first appeared on the earth. All data supports these claims, and in Science News (July 29, 2012, page 15) are two articles on new studies of the earliest cave art which is dated at 40,800 years ago; and the earliest pottery which is dated at 20,000 years ago. When God created Adam, he placed within Adam a spiritual make-up which allowed artistic creation and we keep finding evidence of that in all of ancient man's work.
GETTING OLD IS GOOD. Those of us who are up in years tend to complain about aches and pains, but Smithsonian magazine (July/August 2012, page 12) has an article titled “Wise Up,” saying that people over 50 are happier than at any other time in their lives. Anger and stress drop off and sadness and fear become less pronounced. The article quotes many people in the study as saying, “I wish I'd learned to enjoy life on a daily basis and enjoy the moment when I was in my 30s instead of in my 60s.” We would suggest that faith has a big role in that, which the article does not mention. If “survival of the fittest” is what you live by, it is hard to be happy when you know you are less fit than the world around you.
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