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from Does God Exist? 2nd Quarter 2020

STAY UP-TO-DATE ON NEWS AND NOTES. The stories in News and Notes are condensed from articles previously published on our website DOES GOD EXIST? TODAY. You can use the links within each of these articles to see the original posts (on the Does God Exist? Today website) for more details. (Some of the articles below have links to outside sources, which may not be available after we have published this page.) There are also many other interesting and informative articles on the Does God Exist? Today website each day. We encourage you to follow us daily on “Does God Exist? Today.” On that website you can also subscribe to our free weekly e-mail update. We call it “The Best of the Week from DOES GOD EXIST?” It contains links to the most popular of our posts on DOES GOD EXIST? TODAY and our facebook page (Facebook.com/evidence4god).

JOHN C. WHITCOMB AND FLOOD GEOLOGY. The co-author of The Genesis Flood, John C. Whitcomb Jr., passed away on February 4, 2020. Whitcomb and Henry M. Morris wrote the book advocating Flood Geology and supporting young-Earth creationism. Morris was an engineer, and Whitcomb was a theologian. They used the so-called flood geology to fit scientific data into their religious beliefs. The problem with their approach was that neither of them was trained in geology. Many of those reading The Genesis Flood were also not trained in geology and had grown up in a religious tradition that demanded a young earth.

Upstream view from the Desert View point

The result was the wide acceptance of Flood Geology as the book became a best-seller. Young people today have had academic training in geology and earth science. National Geographic, Smithsonian, and Scientific American have popularized modern understanding of the facts of astronomy and geology. Most of us know that the cosmos is larger than 6,000 light-years, indicating that the light from distant stars has been traveling for far longer than 6,000 years. In places such as the Grand Canyon, we can see rock layers that contain fossils that were clearly not produced by a flood. A flood did not produce structures like the Grand Canyon since they are mostly made up of rocks that are never associated with a flood.

Flood geology, which Whitcomb and Morris wrote about in 1961, will not stand up in 2020. Students of the Bible today know that the Genesis account is not dated or timed. They know that attempts to use the Bible as a clock of history is bad theology and violates its purpose. For more on this discussion, please read God's Revelation in His Rocks and His Word, available online at https://www.doesgodexist.org/Pamphlets/GodsRevelationInHisRocksAndInHisWord/GodsRevelationInHisRocksAndInHisWord.html.

CHRISTIAN MARTYR DATA. We live in a time in which many people who wear the name “Christian” are being killed. Various groups who keep track of Christian martyr data have wildly different counts of how many have died for their faith. The Center for the Study of Global Christianity says that 90,000 Christians were martyred in 2019. The International Society for Human Rights says that 10,000 were martyred. Open Doors puts the number at 4,305.

The term Martyrs on a brick background

The problem here is that the definition of a “martyr” is not the same for everyone. However you count them, the number is too many. In today's world, there are many countries where converting to Christianity is a sure way to be executed. Those of us who live in the United States should be thankful that, so far, we do not have to worry about being singled out or killed by the government because of our worship. That may change, but we should thank God for the freedom Christians enjoy now in the U.S. and other countries. Source: Christianity Today, March 2020, page 23.

EUTHANASIA ADVANCES. In virtually every country that has approved abortion, there has been an eventual acceptance of euthanasia, allowing a doctor to administer fatal drugs to a patient. Abortion was instituted in Portugal in 2007, and in February 2020, Portugal's parliament approved euthanasia for terminally ill people. Portugal now joins six other countries in sanctioning euthanasia — Belgium, Canada, Colombia, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and Switzerland. In the United States, medically assisted suicide is permitted in which patients administer the lethal drug themselves.

The issues involved in the advancement of euthanasia are very complex. No one wants a loved one to continue suffering when eventual recovery does not seem possible. The burden to family caregivers, the expense, and the level of pain present are all huge issues. In the progress of the disease, who would decide to administer euthanasia? Do not forget that doctors can be wrong about a terminal diagnosis.

One of the banners carried by protesters in Portugal says, “Euthanasia doesn't end suffering, it ends life.” It is not the end of suffering for family, for friends, for those you have tried to teach, for those considering their own lives. In this day, there is no reason for physical suffering because medical science has ways to stop the physical pain. Ending life prematurely will generate pain for others. Once we accept euthanasia, how long will it be before the state will determine who should survive and who should be euthanized?

If we consider humans to be special and created in the image of God, then human life is sacrosanct. If humans are just animals, then killing a human is no more of a problem than killing a bug. This is not a trivial issue, but one that deserves thoughtful attention. Source: South Bend Tribune, February 21, 2020, page A6.

A Planned Parenthood sign

PLANNED PARENTHOOD ABUSES. A group called “Students for Life” has begun a campaign to publicize information about Planned Parenthood's financial abuses. Here are some of the facts they present:

  1. Planned Parenthood receives more than $550 million from taxpayers every year.
  2. 79% of Planned Parenthood's 548 abortion facilities are located next to college campuses and high schools.
  3. The president of Planned Parenthood makes over $600,000 a year.
  4. Planned Parenthood charges an average of $450 for an abortion with 320,000 abortions a year.
  5. elling body parts from aborted babies is a major business for Planned Parenthood.

The continuation of Planned Parenthood abuses revolves around our culture's value of human life. If we can kill babies because we consider them to be a burden, why not also extinguish the lives of the elderly who are also a burden? There are solutions to an unwanted pregnancy other than killing an inconvenient human being. Source: Students for Life, 2020 Elections, National Youth Campaign mailout.

BLESSING NUCLEAR BOMBS. Vladimir Putin has made the Russian Orthodox church an arm of the state. For some time now, he has had the priests blessing nuclear bombs. They do it by splashing “holy water” on the nukes. Previously the church was doing the blessing on all arms as well as seeking divine protection for soldiers. A church commission has been set up by the Russian Orthodox church to investigate whether they should continue to include weapons of mass destruction in their blessings. The idea of Christians blessing nuclear bombs is not defensible. Source: The Week, February 14, 2020, page 9.

Cartoon illustration of the planets of the solar system.

SOLAR SYSTEM DESIGN. Astronomers have discovered thousands of extra-solar planets, and the evidence shows that our solar system design is not typical. They are finding giant planets that are closer to their suns than the planet Mercury. They have not yet seen anywhere else in the Milky Way a planet as small as Earth located as far from the parent star as we are. That makes the chances of having a planet in the “Goldilocks Zone” (where water could exist as a liquid) very low. It also means that the masses of the giant planets close to their parent stars must be enormous, and the speed of their orbits must be astronomical. The extra-solar discoveries just add more evidence to the fact that our solar system design is a unique product of engineering. That certainly urges us to care for what God has created. Source: Scientific American, March 2020, page 10.

DARK MATTER MYSTERY. Scientists understand that a vast percentage of the matter in the creation is something they call dark matter. The simplest way to understand dark matter is to realize that when something is spinning around a core, there must be a force to keep the spinning mass from flying away because of centrifugal force. The dark matter mystery is the unknown quantity preventing spiral galaxies like the Milky Way from flying apart. Some force must hold stars in place as they go around the center of a galaxy. That means there is a gravitational force we cannot see holding the stars in their position. Scientists refer to the mass that exerts that gravitational force as “dark matter.”

Astrophysicist Peter van Dokkum of Yale University has announced the discovery of a galaxy known as DF2, which has stars and star clusters moving at a very slow pace around the core of the galaxy. That can only mean that there is less dark matter in DF2. This discovery increases the mystery because it appears that dark matter is not constant in the cosmos.

The amount of dark matter in a galaxy depends on what is needed to keep everything moving at a speed that produces stability in the galactic system. It appears that the design of galaxies has a new variable that is critical to their existence. God has tools affecting the creation that we are just beginning to understand. The role of dark matter is only one of those. Source: Astronomy, March 2020, page 45.

STARS AND HABITABLE ZONES. The more scientists study Earth and other objects that surround us in space, the more variables we realize must be carefully controlled for life to exist. NASA posted a graphic of different kinds of stars in the cosmos and whether they could support life. Science defines life as having properties such as moving, breathing, eating, reproducing, and responding to outside stimuli. Water is essential for life. For that reason, scientists are interested in stars and habitable zones — the just-right “Goldilocks zone” surrounding a star where water can exist as a liquid.

Goldilocks Zones and Stars

The most common type of star, making up 73% of all stars in our Milky Way galaxy, are M stars. These red stars have very active magnetic fields and massive radiation. Their Goldilocks zone would be minimal and very close to the star. Orange K stars make up 13% of the stars in the Milky Way. They have a modest Goldilocks zone but are fairly active with some radiation levels. Yellow G type stars, like our Sun, make up only 6% of the stars in the Milky Way. These stars have very large Goldilocks zones, and they are very quiet compared to K stars. Other critical factors include the size of the star, the location of the planet relative to the star, and the shielding a planet has for protection from the radiation of the star. Also, the stability of the star's location in the Milky Way is another factor that goes into a life-supporting planetary system.

Our existence is not a product of chance. The more we learn about the Earth, the Sun, and the stars, the more we understand that the statement, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” is a massive understatement of what God did to make a place for us to exist. Source: NASA @ https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap200131.html

WHERE ARE THE CHRISTIANS? Current statistics show that only 9% of all people in the world who call themselves “Christians” live in North America (the U.S. and Canada). So, where are the Christians? The home of 51% of the world's Christians is in Africa and Latin America. Africa alone has 26%. Europe has 23%, Asia 16%, and Oceania 1%. Realize that these numbers only tell us people who claim the religious identity of “Christian.” That does not mean they attend any worship services.

When we correspond with our friends in Africa and South America, we find them talking about the stabilizing influence of Christ. They say that things are improving in their nations because of Christianity. As we look around in America, we see increasing violence and instability. Does anyone want to suggest a reason for that? Where are the Christians? Source: Christianity Today, January/February 2020, page 25.

Happy smiling elderly couple at home

MARRIAGE AND HEALTH. God said, “It is not good that man should be alone” (Genesis 2:18), and he created woman, so the two of them would be one (Genesis 2:24). Paul further emphasized the relationship between man and woman in 1 Corinthians 7. As our society moves farther from belief in God and biblical teaching, marriage is being denigrated and avoided by a large percentage of our population. What many do not realize is that there is a connection between marriage and health. Consider these study results indicating that personal health is related to a person's marital state:

  1. Unmarried men are 58% more likely to have a heart attack than married men, and single women are 60% more likely to have heart attacks than married women. This data comes from a study by Turku University Hospital in Finland. (This item had a misquote in our printed journal.)
  2. Studies of 19,000 married people showed a 20% lower probability of dying than unmarried people, according to the National Opinion and Research Center.
  3. Studies at the University of Chicago show that single people have higher cortisol levels than married individuals. Cortisol levels are related to stress.
  4. The University of Rochester reports that 83% of married people are still alive 15 years after coronary bypass surgery, while only 28% of single women with the same surgery are still alive.

Studies continue to show a connection between marriage and physical health as well as your emotional health. A good marriage benefits both partners. Source: Focus on the Family, Febrary/March 2020, page 16.

Picture credit:
Photo: Roland Earnst.
© BILLPERRY. Image from BigStock.com with wording added by Roland Earnst
© Jonathan Weiss. Image from BigStock.com
© Golden Vector. Image from BigStock.com
© Infographic Credit: NASA ESA, Z. Levy (STScI)
© kuran. Image from BigStock.com