Return to 2nd Quarter 2022 articles.
from Does God Exist? 2nd Quarter 2022
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).
OPPORTUNITY TO STUDY WITH JOHN CLAYTON: Because of the COVID pandemic, we have suspended our lectureship schedule. In place of that, we are providing an opportunity for congregations to have a lectureship electronically. We want to give the readers of this publication the same opportunity to study with John Clayton.
We will mail you a DVD of the first four lectures in our video series. You or your group can watch the four programs writing down questions and challenges to the material. Please send us your questions via e-mail or postal mail, and John Clayton will respond to them. If you are satisfied with that material, return the DVD, and we mail you the next one. Your only cost is the return postage for the DVD.
If you are interested in this opportunity, please send us your name and address, and we will send you the first DVD. Watching the Does God Exist? presentations in the comfort of your home is an excellent way to receive the information without risk from COVID or the inconvenience of driving to a lectureship site. E-mail your request to John Clayton at firstname.lastname@example.org.
WATER AND CLIMATE: One of the factors that put planet Earth in the so-called “Goldilocks Zone” of our solar system is that it is the correct distance from the Sun for liquid water to exist. We know that life is not possible without liquid water, but we can easily overlook how water affects Earth's climate.
Norway's Lofoten Islands are 105 miles (169 km) north of the Arctic Circle, but they enjoy relatively mild temperatures. For example, the warmest temperature ever recorded at the Skrova lighthouse on one of the islands was 86.7°F (30.4°C), and the coldest was 4.8°F (-15.1°C). On the other hand, the city of Yakutsk, Siberia, holds the title of being the coldest city in the world. Some reports say the temperature has dropped to as low as -76°F (-60°C). The surprising thing is that Yakutsk is 280 miles (450 km) SOUTH of the Arctic Circle. That is 385 miles south of Skrova in the Lofoten Islands.
Water largely explains the difference. The North Atlantic Current and the Norwegian Current bring warmer water to the Lofoten Islands. By contrast, Yakutsk is landlocked and located in a valley surrounded by mountains. As a result, the cold air settles into the low area and keeps Yakutsk in the freezer.
The highest and lowest temperatures on Earth tend to be in the interior of continents because landmasses heat and cool much more quickly than large bodies of water. The precision design of water gives it the qualities that life requires, and it is abundant on this planet to supply our needs. We think water is strong evidence of God's design wisdom and care for his creation.
HOW FISH NAVIGATE: A biologist in Israel conducted an ingenious experiment to learn how fish navigate. She constructed a fish-operated vehicle for a goldfish to drive. The vehicle consisted of a square fish tank fastened to a chassis with four multidirectional wheels. A downward-facing camera was connected to a computer algorithm which prompted the wheels to move the vehicle in the direction the fish was swimming. The six goldfish in the experiment navigated around obstacles and avoided dead ends.
The researchers suggest that understanding how fish navigate in unfamiliar territory, such as the terrestrial world, may help humans navigate in unfamiliar environments such as the zero gravity of space. The natural world is filled with examples of God's design, and how fish navigate is one of many systems we are just beginning to understand and may use as models to shape the future.
Source: American Scientist magazine, March/April 2022, page 77
CAMPUS CENSORSHIP: When we began giving lectures on university campuses in 1968, we could go onto virtually any campus, rent an auditorium or classroom, and give a presentation of evidence for the existence of God. We could prepare and distribute posters on the campus and advertise in the student newspaper. Volunteers could pass out brochures and invite students and faculty to attend. Our sessions always included a question/answer session. We did this on hundreds of university campuses, including major state and private schools, and they brought in sizeable audiences.
In the past ten years, we have seen a militant attempt by these schools and others to stop presentations like ours. An organization called the “Foundation for Individual Rights In Education” (FIRE) evaluated 481 colleges and universities on a scale with 100 meaning a totally free-speech campus. The colleges studied were all under 73 on that scale. That says a lot about censorship on American college campuses.
Jesus Christ challenged his listeners with questions. See, for example, Matthew 17:25; 18:12; 21:28; 22:42. Censorship on American college campuses does not allow the free exchange of ideas, especially when someone tries to present a Christian view.
Sources: https://www.thefire.org/research/publications/student-surveys/2021-college-free-speech-rankings/ and South Bend Tribune, 12/22/21, page 5A.
LIZARD LUNG DESIGN: Studying the design of lizard lungs may lead to innovations in developing artificial lungs for humans. Princeton University researchers studied the development of lungs in brown anole lizards and found that their lungs develop in a few days.
In the brown anole lizard, fluid fills the area that will become a lung and pushes against smooth muscle tissue until gaps develop in the muscle. Then, a membrane protrudes through the gaps so that a large surface area forms, and within two days, the surface area is ready for gas exchange. Researchers were able to build a working replica mimicking the lizard's natural process of lung development.
The Princeton researchers say that the process is a simple mechanical process that could be a model for “advanced biotechnology design.” The National Science Foundation says this discovery could lead to innovations in artificial lung design and development. We can improve the future of human health by studying living things, including God's design of lizard lungs.
Source: https://beta.nsf.gov/news/lizard-lungs-could-be-model-biotechnology-design and https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/sciadv.abk0161
LIFE ON MARS: The media has sensationalized the finding of organic molecules from Mars. For many people, hearing that something is “organic” means it is related to life. For example, in 1996, scientists reported on their study of a meteorite identified as ALH84001 found twelve years before in Antarctica. Characteristics of the meteorite indicated that it had come from Mars, and analysis showed that it contained organic compounds. Media reports immediately claimed that this was evidence of life on Mars at some time in the past.
Research on ALH84001 reported in January 2022 shows the organic molecules probably came from the interaction of water and minerals and are not related to living organisms. Earlier researchers had made similar findings on a Martian meteorite that landed in Morocco in 2011. Neither of these meteorites gives evidence of life on Mars. Organic molecules can form by abiotic (non-life) chemical reactions when water is present, along with the minerals that make up organic materials. Many chemists are active believers in God because they see the wisdom and creative design built into chemistry, making life possible. There is strong evidence that the laws of chemistry were fine-tuned for life, especially human life.
Sources: “Organic molecules in an ancient Mars meteorite formed via geology, not alien life” in Science News, February 12, 2022, page 10, and Science, Vol. 375, No. 6577, January 13, 2022
CRYONIC ETERNAL LIFE: If you believe this life is all there is to your existence, the logical thing is to try to make this life eternal. One way to do that could be to have your body frozen when you die until science can find a way to make you live forever. Organizations such as the Cryonics Institute in Michigan are offering cryonic eternal life.
When you are declared dead, technicians will cool your body with ice water and keep the tissues oxygenated using CPR and an oxygen mask. Then, they fly the iced body to a laboratory and connect it to a heart-lung bypass machine that circulates the blood. Next, they pump in a solution to act as an antifreeze to prevent cell tissues from being destroyed by ice crystals. Finally, they cool the body to minus 320°F in a tank of liquid nitrogen.
The idea is that when medical science advances and finds a cure for whatever caused the person's death, they can revive the body, reverse the aging process, and give the person another shot at life. However, it is evident that the technology to make that possible is a very long way off and probably will never happen. How much greater would it be to accept the better eternal existence that God offers for free through Jesus Christ.
Source: Discover magazine, March/April 2022, page 10.
AGING CHURCHES: A child is born every eight seconds, and someone dies every 11 seconds in the United States. The average age of all people in this country is 38, but no mainline Christian denomination has an average age that low. Data on major religious groups shows that those with an emphasis on the biblical concept of the family have a lower age than denominations that do not. For example, the United Methodist church has an average age of 58, the Episcopal church average is 57, Lutheran church is 56, and the Presbyterian church is 55. In contrast, Pentecostal church members have an average age of 47 and Churches of Christ average 48.
Examining statistics about the aging of churches and projecting those numbers into the future, we see that churches failing to adhere to the nuclear family concept of the Bible will eventually age out. We do not ask the age of people who use our websites, take our apologetic courses, or send us e-mails. However, it is evident from the questions we receive that most of them come from younger people looking for answers concerning science and faith. We do know that the age group with the largest share of likes on our Facebook page is 18–24. The second largest is 25–34. Together, those two groups make up almost half of the followers on our Facebook page (facebook.com/evidence4god). On the other hand, most of our negative e-mails come from older people who do not feel there is a need for what our ministry is doing.
Sources: Christianity Today, November 2021, page 20, and The Search, November 2021, page 1.
ARCHAEOLOGY SUPPORT FOR THE BIBLE: Archaeologists have discovered an inscription containing the name “Jerubbaal” at Khirbet al-Rai near Lachish in the Judaean Foothills. The inscription was in a grain silo dated to the 12th or early 11th century B.C. Judges 6:32 mentions Jerubbaal as a name given to Gideon. Earlier, in the same area, archaeologists found an inscription on the floor of a city believed to be the biblical Shaarayim dating to the early 10th century B.C. This inscription has the name “Eshbaal.” That was the name of Saul's son who challenged David's kingship in 1 Chronicles 8:33 and 2 Samuel 2–4. These inscriptions show that those names were in use at the very time of the biblical references.
Another interesting archaeological support for the Bible has to do with the Philistines. It is well-known that pork was taboo for the Israelites but a mainstay of the diets of the Philistines, Greeks, and Romans. Archaeological digs in Israelite cities do not show any bones of pigs, but digs involving other cultures contain massive numbers of pig bones. That fact adds importance to Jesus' parable of the Prodigal Son, who, at his lowest point while in “a far country,” took a job feeding pigs.
Recent finds heavily challenge the skeptics who suggest that the Bible is only a bunch of ancient Jewish myths and historically unreliable. On the contrary, the Bible is not only an expression of God's will for humanity, but it is a record with historical integrity.
Source: Biblical Archaeology Review, Spring 2022, page 17.
GROW YOUR FAITH: Faith is something that needs to be fed and nurtured. So what do you do to nurture and grow your faith, and what does Satan use to defeat your faith? In Luke 4, we read of Satan's attempt to destroy the faith of Jesus. The temptations that did not work against Jesus are the same ones Satan uses on each of us. The first thing Satan did was tempt Christ with physical cravings. Jesus had not eaten for 40 days, and he was hungry. Satan knows when we have physical cravings, and he works to offer destructive things to meet those cravings — be it food or drink or sex or emotional needs.
The second thing Satan offered Christ is political power. Today, we are expected to embrace political positions that fly in the face of God's commands. We see recreational drugs, prostitution, abortion, euthanasia, and immoral lifestyles asking for our support and endorsement.
The third temptation Satan presented is expecting God to interfere in the normal processes of life. Jesus responded to Satan's challenge to violate the law of gravity and expect God to step in and prevent it from working.
Jesus responded to each of the temptations by quoting scripture. This third one was Deuteronomy 6:16, which says not to test God. Expecting God to violate the laws he created when we practice destructive behavior is not logical or reasonable.
Our daily articles on DoesGodExist.today and our video series available free on DoesGodExist.tv present positive evidence to build faith. You can also grow your faith by reading the Bible. We recommend Romans 1:19–20, Proverbs 8, Psalm 19:1, and Psalm 139:14–15. We have the tools to build our faith, and we urge you to use them!
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