Friday, April 27, 2012


I will get back to my series about what I believe.  Soon.  I promise.

Overwhelmedness shut me down temporarily.

Today I'm going to write a short, simple post to try to get back into the swing.  This sometimes works.

Our pastor has been teaching us that there is a tripod of necessities for the growing Christian.  He says these three necessetiies are:

(A)  The Savior
(B)  The Scriptures
(C)  The Saints

In other words, we need God, specifically His revelation of Himself through Jesus Christ.  We need to know Him and love Him, to pray to Him and to seek Him.

We need God's word, the Bible.  We need to read it, learn it and practice it.

We need the body of Christ, the church, the fellowship of believers. We need to meet together, to love each other and be loved.  We need to encourage each other and hold each other accountable.

Our pastor said, though, the other day, "I don't think these things are exactly equal... not exactly a tripod that holds equal weight in each direction."

I would agree.  I've been thinking about it, and I think these spiritual necessities correspond to some physical necessities that we have.  Our spiritual needs for the Savior, the scriptures and the saints correspond to our physical needs for air, water and food.

Our need for the Savior, for Jesus, is like the need for air.  If you can't breathe, you die quite quickly.  Without Jesus, we have no hope of salvation.  No hope.  Jesus is everything.

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."  (John 14:6, NIV)

Our need for the scriptures is like our need for water.  We can go a little while without them, but not long.  They are crucial for our spiritual survival, just as water is crucial for physical survival.

I will never forget your precepts,
    for by them you have preserved my life.

(Psalm 119:93, NIV) 

For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. (1 Peter 1:23, NIV)

...and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.  All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:15-17, NIV)

And lastly, our need for the saints, for Christian fellowship, is like our need for food.  If we have air to breathe and water to drink, we can survive for quite a few days, even weeks.  So it is with Christian fellowship.  In a way, we can get along without it, as long as we have Jesus in our hearts and the Bible in our hands.  But we will not be healthy.  We will not thrive.  We will not be strong.  We will not grow.

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.  (1 Thessalonians 5:11, NIV)

Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you. (2 Corinthians 13:11, NIV)

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another —and all the more as you see the Day approaching. (Hebrews 10:24-25, NIV) 

If you are a Christian, you know Jesus; you are spiritually alive.  You are (metaphorically) breathing.  

Don't neglect the scriptures (metaphorically drinking).

And don't neglect the fellowship of the saints.  Like a (metaphorically) good Jewish mama, I say, "Eat!"

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The suffering of Joseph

The story of Joseph is one of the most wonderful stories in the Bible. Broadway even made a musical based on this incredible account.

You can read about Joseph in Genesis, chapters 37-50. I'd recommend that you read it in a more modern translation to get the full effect of the drama. Try the NIV or the NLT.

Joseph was the eleventh son of Jacob, son of Isaac, son of Abraham who was called by God to be the father of God's special chosen nation.

Joseph arrived in the middle of a rather sticky family situation. His father, Jacob, had married two sisters, Leah and Rachel. Jacob loved Rachel, but her father tricked him into marrying Leah first, because she was the older sister. Right off the bat we have an unloved wife and a favored wife.

Leah was fertile and produced sons, but Rachel was barren. This only added to the rivalry between the two of them. After Leah birthed four sons (Reuben, Simeon, Levi and Judah), Rachel became so upset and jealous that she told Jacob to sleep with her handmaiden and thus produce some children for her. Two more sons (Dan and Naphtali) were born this way, to Rachel's servant, Bilhah.

Leah saw what was happening and offered her own handmaiden, Zilpah, to Jacob to surrogate for her. Zilpah produced two more sons, Gad and Asher.

Then Leah herself had two more sons, Issachar and Zebulun.

By then, Rachel was probably tearing her hair out, hovering on the verge of a nervous breakdown. God finally opened her womb and gave her a son, Joseph.

So you see, Joseph was not born into an ideal family situation. He was, at the time, the youngest of the sons from four different women who were all wives (of a sort) of his father. His mother was the favorite wife, so he was the favorite son. This may not sound like a suffering situation, but think about it... ten older brothers who all had reason to resent him and be jealous of him. Sounds pretty scary to me.

Then Rachel conceived again and bore a twelfth son for Jacob (Benjamin was his name). Unfortunately, this time Rachel died in childbirth. Now Joseph didn't even have a mother to stand up for him in the middle of the fray.

Jacob, because he loved Joseph best, gave him a fancy (many colored) coat and favored him over his brothers. Jacob put Joseph in a position of authority over his brothers. As family manager, Joseph brought his father some bad reports about how his brothers were conducting themselves.

Little brothers who get special gifts and privileges and who "tattle-tale" do not gain much popularity with their older siblings.

But things got even worse. Joseph had some dreams full of symbols that suggested that he would one day rule over his family. Being young and brash (perhaps even in reaction to hostilities that the brothers may have expressed against him), Joseph did not keep these dreams to himself; he told his family all about them. Maybe he shouldn't have done this, but it worked right into God's eternal plan. Joseph's brothers became so angry, they finally decided to kill him.

Joseph's brothers worked at pasturing flocks... they traveled with the family animals to find food and water. One day Jacob sent Joseph out again to check up on them (poor kid, he was only 17). On this particular day, when the brothers saw Joseph coming, they devised a plan to get rid of him. When he caught up with them, they grabbed him, stripped off his fancy robe, and threw him into a pit. The eldest, Reuben, had some second thoughts at this point and he encouraged the others to wait and not commit immediate murder. He was trying to figure out a way to sneak back and get Joseph out of the pit.

The plan was to tear up the robe, cover it with the blood of an animal, and take it back to Jacob with the story that a wild animal got Joseph while he was out and about. Reuben went off somewhere, and the rest of the brothers sat down to eat.

About this time, a caravan of merchants came by, and Judah (who, like Reuben, was hoping to avoid killing his brother) talked the group into selling Joseph as a slave. The merchants gave the brothers twenty shekels of silver and took Joseph down to Egypt.

Are you starting to see yet how Joseph suffered? Lost his mother, hated by his brothers, stripped of his clothes, thrown into a pit, and sold into slavery. Do you think he was tempted to be depressed? Do you think he wondered, "Why me?"

He must have held together enough to appear to be a good buy. When Joseph hit the Egyptian market, Potiphar, the captain of the king's army, purchased him to be his slave. Joseph wound up in a rather influential, prosperous household. Moreover, Joseph worked diligently and capably, and Potiphar trusted him implicitly with all he had. The Bible says that Joseph managed everything for Potiphar; the only thing Potiphar did was pick out the menu for his chef to cook each day. Although it stinks to be a slave, Joseph was clearly making the best of it, working hard, trusting God, maintaining a positive attitude.

Unfortunately, Potiphar's wife noticed what a cracker-jack Joseph was and took a shine to him. Clearly he was gifted and intelligent; this suggests that he was also handsome and charming. Joseph did his best to elude her advances, explaining to her that he had no desire to do this wicked thing and thus sin against God. But one day, she caught him all alone and grabbed onto his clothes, demanding that he go to bed with her. Joseph, upstanding guy that he was, ran away as fast as he could. She, however, had held his garment so tightly, she ended up with it in her hands after he fled. She looked down and saw it, and then she began to scream.

When the other servants came to see what was the matter, she made up a lie. She told them that Joseph had tried to take advantage of her. This part of the story makes me so mad! There is nothing that frustrates me more than when somebody does the right thing and gets punished for it. I have to keep reminding myself, this is part of God's plan.

Poor Joseph was thrown into prison. I think we all need to take attitude lessons from Joseph, because even in prison he worked hard and stayed positive. The prison officials recognized what a great guy he was, and they put Joseph in charge of the prison, over all the prisoners.

God was clearly working in and around Joseph, lifting his heart, giving him favor with those above him. I don't think any of us could have gone through the things Joseph underwent and exhibited the grace and hope that Joseph exhibited without the power of God at work in us. They say it's lonely at the top, but that's what happened to Joseph time and time again: he became a manager; he was in charge; he was faithful; he was unpopular; he stayed positive. The grace God can pour on a life is just amazing to me.

In the prison, a couple of prisoners had dreams. They had been special servants of the king, and they were very curious about what their dreams meant. Joseph was gifted at interpreting dreams, so (with God's help) he interpreted theirs. According to these dreams, the king's former cupbearer would be restored to his old job within three days. The king's former baker would be executed by hanging. Joseph's interpretations came true, and Joseph asked the cupbearer to please speak to the king about getting him out of prison, too.

The cupbearer forgot about Joseph for two more years.

I'm not kidding. Joseph had a tough life. It seems like everything just went wrong for him, again and again.

But behind the scenes, in God's perfect plan, God's perfect timing, everything was happening right on schedule.

Two years later, the king had a dream one night and wanted to know what it meant. Finally the cupbearer remembered Joseph. They pulled Joseph out of prison and cleaned him up, shaved him, gave him some decent clothes. Joseph then interpreted the king's dream, which was a message of an impending famine in the land. This famine would come after seven years of bountiful harvests.

"Whatever shall I do?" asked the king.

"Choose a wise manager to store up grain during the plentiful years so there will be food to eat during the years of famine," said Joseph.

"Will you do it?" asked the king.

And of course, Joseph took it on. In so doing, Joseph was in position to offer food and sanctuary to all of his father's family, all the sons of Jacob... all the sons of Israel. When the famine hit, the children of Israel survived because of how God had worked in Joseph's life to bring him to a place where he could provide for his people.

Joseph suffered like crazy. His mom died, his bothers hated him, he was stripped and thrown into a pit, sold into slavery, unjustly imprisoned, and finally forgotten for an extra two years.

In the end, Joseph rose to a position of great power in Egypt and saved the lives of his entire family.

Was it worth it to him? It must have been. When he revealed himself to his brothers, he said, "I am your brother Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. And now do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve your life." (Genesis 45:4-5, ESV) Later, he told them again, "As for me, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today." (Genesis 50:20, ESV)

Whether or not it was worth it to Joseph, though, it was worth everything to us. God used Joseph as His special instrument to preserve the nation of Israel. Why? So that Jesus Christ would one day be born from these ancestors. From the line of Judah, brother of Joseph, at just the right time, Jesus, the Savior of the World was born.

Joseph suffered so that one day Jesus was born.

God uses suffering.

But wait, there's more...

Monday, April 16, 2012

What I believe: God uses suffering

People who are antagonistic towards Christianity have a trump card. At least, they think they do.

Here is how it works:

You have a deep conversation with one of these antagonistic people. You share about your own experiences with the Lord. You discuss the historical accuracy of the Biblical record. You talk about the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.

At the end, the antagonist rolls her eyes and says, "Yes, well, I can't believe that a loving God would ever allow all this suffering." And then she blinks her eyes triumphantly because she is certain that she has checkmated you.

Can I just say, can I just say...

The entire point of Christianity is that:

(1) God created Adam and Eve and placed them in Eden, in a paradise.

(2) They disobeyed His one simple rule and thus destroyed their paradise.

(3) God spent the next 2000-odd years consummating His divine plan to restore humankind to paradise.

(4) We are not in paradise yet, but we have the opportunity to go there after we die, because of Jesus.

Did you get that?

This earth is not paradise. God does not intend it to be paradise. Paradise, the place where there is no suffering, is in the next life. There is suffering here. This is not paradise.

Jesus said, in John 16:33, "I have told you these things so that in me you might have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." (NIV, emphasis mine)

Why would God allow suffering? I think a much better question would be: Why didn't God just trash all of creation and start over fresh when Adam and Eve brought sin, suffering and death into His perfect Universe? Why does God even allow us any chance at all to be reunited with Him?

Now, that is a good question. But it isn't the point of this post. This post is about suffering.

There are those who think that the existence of suffering in the world somehow provides evidence that the God of the Bible could not exist. Such people have obviously never read the Bible.

The Bible tells stories of the lives of many people throughout history. More often than not, they suffered.

Joseph suffered. Moses suffered. The children of Israel suffered. David suffered. Elijah suffered. Jeremiah suffered (we call him "the weeping prophet"). Job suffered. Paul suffered.

Jesus suffered.

The Bible is all about suffering, and how God works through suffering to accomplish His purposes. Over the next few posts, we will examine the life stories of some of these sufferers. Particularly, we will look at how God worked through their suffering to accomplish His purposes.

Before I stop today, though, I want to leave you with this:

Suppose you were a primitive person who had been born and raised in a third world country. You have no education, no exposure to modern science or technology, no familiarity with life in the Western World.

Suppose then that your father became very ill, and some people from the USA found you in your hut, trying to nurse him with whatever dirty water, feeble herbs and superstitious ceremony you had access to. Of course, he was not getting better. So, suppose these Americans loaded him onto their plane, allowing you to come along, and brought him to the USA to be treated in a modern hospital.

You arrive in the airport, everything bright and slick with superhuman voices booming from electronic loudspeakers. You begin to be afraid. But as you arrive at the hospital, your fears accelerate. They strap your father into a bed and stick him full of needles. You think they are hurting him, abusing him.

Then it turns out that your father has a major heart problem. You do not know what it means, but they tell you they are going to have to do "open heart surgery." They allow you into the operating room.

You watch with terror as they apparently kill your father with needles and gas masks. He lies still and cold on the operating table. And then they start to cut him open with sharp knives, breaking through his rib cage to lift out his heart, which they carve and stitch.

This is absolutely horrifying to you. You do not understand why they are hurting your father in this way. You want them to stop. You hate them. You do not understand.

This is how we often feel toward God when He uses suffering in our lives. We do not understand His techniques. They are so far beyond our comprehension, they seem barbaric and cruel. We have no concept of the good He can bring through His ways.

Sometimes, after undergoing certain experiences, we become better able to accept and learn from suffering. Other times, persevering in suffering simply requires great faith, superhuman faith, faith that we can get nowhere but from the very hand of God Himself.

But no matter what, the Bible never says that there won't be any suffering in this life. In fact, it says the exact opposite.

to be continued...

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

An addendum to yesterday

Yesterday I did not get very far.

This is frustrating to me, because I want to get on with the things I want to write about, not dabble in science which is not my field, nor do I have any desire for it to become my field.

Just because I believe that God is the creator of all things, that doesn't mean I have to be a scientist. As I said yesterday, the origins of life are outside the scope of what can be studied scientifically, anyway.

Yesterday I tried to explain that this blog is not a scientific forum.

Today I will actually deal with what the anonymous astrophysicist said about my views on evolution, and then I will put this science stuff to rest.

I hope. I sincerely hope.

The anonymous astrophysicist said, "The fact that things crystallize is against the second law of thermodynamics. Molecules in solution come together in an ordered fashion. this[sic] proves that disorder can lead to order."

Really? Now, I am a simple housewife. My experience with crystallization is mainly when my honey crystallizes. Or my maple syrup. Or the cough syrup. They crystallize, and they become unusable, and in the end I have to throw them away. This fits right in with the concept of entropy, as far as I am concerned.

Scientifically speaking, however, I understand that crystallization happens when particles settle into a pattern based on their (the particles') affinities. The particles do not say to one another, "Hey! Let's work together and organize into a structure of order and beauty!" They merely fall into a pattern because that is where their electrons repose most comfortably. In essence, they follow the path of least resistance. In my mind, the path of least resistance is very closely aligned with entropy. If there is beauty in the result, I'd say that's the fingerprints of God; God showing His creative genius in design.

The anonymous astrophysicist also said, "The way the sun works is also against the second law of thermodynamics. Hydrogen atoms fuse together to form helium atoms. The sun will do so for another 4.5 billion years before there is not enough hydrogen around, and then the sun will start to burn helium (making things even less random). Don't tell god, but the things he designed are breaking the second law of thermodynamics. Maybe he already knows this?"

Obviously, God knows everything. Just setting that forth before I go on.

Just because God created the sun with a design that gives it the potential to last a very, very long time, that doesn't disprove the Second Law of Thermodynamics. As far as I know, the sun is a star, like any other star, and it has a life-cycle. It had a beginning and it will someday have an end. Just because right now it may be in a phase of (I don't know what to call it, expansion?) rather than a phase of decline, that doesn't mean it isn't ultimately headed for star death. And that is still entropy.

Likewise, babies (all kinds of babies... human babies, animal babies, even plant babies) grow before they die and decompose. I am surprised that you didn't mention this as one of your arguments. The Life Force that keeps new life rising up... spring after a hard winter, new growth after a forest fire, new babies born as older people pass away. This is contrary to my idea of entropy. I believe that it is the grace of God poured out on earth, a sign of the eternal life He offers us in contrast to the death and destruction that we face without Him. He is not contradicting Himself. He is presenting paradoxes that will lead the searcher to find Him.

When God created, each day after He finished His task for the day, He looked at what He had made and said that it was good. Everything was perfect and beautiful.

We don't know how long Adam and Eve may have lived in the paradise of Eden before the serpent appeared and messed everything up. When you read the Bible, verse follows verse, and on first impression it seems as though they were only there for three or four days. But the Bible never says how long they lived in sinless perfection. It could have been centuries. I think they lived in a world without entropy. A world with no death, no decay, no destruction. And when God said, "When you eat of the fruit, you will surely die," what that meant was: on that day, entropy will enter the world system. And it did. However, I believe that God, in His grace and mercy, left signs of His Life Force amidst the entropy, signs that would reflect His beauty, His order, His love. Signs that would draw the seekers to find Him. These signs are often what an atheist sees as contradictions, but I see as paradoxes, mysteries that can lead us to Christ.

Adam and Eve did not fall down dead on the day they disobeyed, but death entered the world, the Universe... and entropy began. What had been eternal became mortal. All of creation was suddenly caught in a cycle that leads ultimately, inevitably, to death and decay. But in all of it, God did not leave us without hope.

Romans 8:20-21 says, "For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God." (ESV) Creation has been in bondage to decay ever since Adam and Eve sinned. But (also in Romans 8), Paul writes that the creation waits in eager expectation for Jesus to return and make things new, that it has been groaning as with the pains of childbirth throughout these years of waiting.

In Revelation, the Lord's promise is that He will make all things new. (Revelation 21:5) He will create a new heaven and a new earth. A new creation. One without tears, death, decay or entropy.

About my statistical analysis of evolution (I say that tongue-in-cheek; I despise statistical math), the anonymous astrophysicist said this: "Your watch argument is also flawed. The planet/god/mother nature didn't make life this way at all. You bring two things together, then you bring three, and then you bring four .... Each time you make a small addition that takes billions of years. It's called evolution."

So... who brings two things together, and then three and then four? Because as far as I am aware, in a random nebula of particles, nobody is counting out the parts, picking the one he wants and then holding on to it until the next good one comes along.

Each time who makes a small addition? This doesn't sound like a very efficient building process for a sentient God to follow, but I think someone would have to be sentient to be picking and holding and waiting and selecting.

My own son tried to explain to me that evolutionists see it this way. He used some sort of analogy about monkeys drawing cards one at a time. I could sort of see what he was getting at, although I couldn't figure out why you would have faith that the monkeys would hold onto the good cards and not drop them as they waited (and waited and waited and waited) for a desirable sequence to form, so it seemed like quite a stretch to me. As you say, "It's called evolution."

I maintain that whether you have all the particles there at once and expect them to figure out a productive arrangement, or whether somehow you insert some anonymous unconscious (unrecognized) force that takes them one at a time and then adds to them one at a time, the odds are formidably opposed to anything productive ever rising out of the process.

Finally, the anonymous astrophysicist said, "I would love to see your ridiculous argument against carbon dating, or any other atomic dating for that matter."

I'm just saying that carbon dating is based on accepting evolution as a fact, not a theory. And evolution is necessarily a theory because it can never be scientifically proven through observation and experimentation. It can only be pieced together through what we do have in front of us to study, which will never be enough to prove it categorically. Everything I've ever read about carbon dating sounds very circular to me. It all comes back to rest on evolution, and I am not convinced by evolution. Then they use it to "prove" evolution, which is what it rests on in the first place.

This is very frustrating to me, and the way I feel about it makes me think of how someone who does not believe in God would feel if someone tried to use Bible verses to prove to him that there is a god.

In my perspective, there is a lot of internal and external evidence that the Bible is true. It is full of genealogies which can often be documented. There are many internal prophecies that were fulfilled many years after the prophesies were recorded. Many of the historical events in the Bible are corroborated in archaeological findings and secondary sources.

In an evolutionist's perspective, I expect that there is also a lot of evidence that the theory of evolution is logical, probable, and sensible. So perhaps it was not entirely fair for me to say that carbon dating may actually be a more striking example of circular reasoning than is proving the existence of God with the Bible. That's the way I see it, but I can see that to a proponent of carbon dating, the opposite would be the case.

It all depends on your perspective.

Just keep in mind: all perspectives are not created equal, and not all perspectives lead to the discovery of truth.

Ugh, I hate these long posts. I hope we can put this to rest. If you want to be an evolutionist, I suppose your mind is made up and I can't probably convince you of anything else.

I believe that God is the Creator of all things.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

New link to "Part 2"

Interestingly, something has "happened" to the link to my my most controversial post. (Random chance? I wonder?)

You can still view it in sequence from my home page, if you scroll down. But you cannot link to it directly.

So I will repost it here, and see what happens.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

What I believe: God is the Creator of all things, part 2

I spent the last post detailing why and how I believe that God is the Creator.

Today I am super crunched for time.

I am going to give you two reasons why I don't think evolution makes any sense, and one reason why I think it's kind of crazy to try to make it make sense.

In fifteen minutes or less.

Seriously, I'm sweating now. And I type really badly when I'm stressed.

Two reasons why the theory of evolution doesn't make sense:

(1) The Second Law of Thermodynamics.
(2) Statistics.

I'm not sure which to begin with, as they are inter-related. I guess I'll start with the Second Law of Thermodynamics.

The Second Law of Thermodynamics states that left alone, everything proceeds towards entropy. Entropy is increasing randomness or chaos, in other words: decay.

I am both a mother and a homeowner. I know that this is true. If I do not apply a lot of energy and work to my situation, things go downhill. Little children left alone in a room destroy it... until they reach a sentient age where they can be taught to join me in applying positive energy (work) to the situation to improve it rather than destruct it.

My children may or may not remember me telling them, as they played, "We are going to be constructive. We are not going to be destructive." This was a constant lesson I attempted to drum into them. "We build towers with our blocks," I told them, "we do not throw our blocks at each other or at the walls." I needed to emphasize these things, because left on their own, they would always destruct rather than construct. It is the Second Law of Thermodynamics. You have to work very hard and very deliberately to counter the forces of nature.

This is why your house needs to be painted (or at least washed ) every few years. Why your plumbing needs to be cleaned out, why your roof needs to be replaced, why your landscaping needs to be pruned and weeded and eventually overhauled. It's even why your kitchen floor needs to be swept.

Everything is constantly moving towards disorder.

This tells me that the theory of evolution is impossible. Things simply, on their own, do not move from disorder to order. A mass of unorganized matter is never going to magically arrange itself into something that is ordered and eventually culminates in life. Apart from positive energy being applied to the situation by a sentient being (in this case, I'm arguing for God), it isn't going to happen. The Second Law of Thermodynamics tells us so, and all you need is a little bit of high school science to understand this.

On to statistics: I do not play the lottery. I never buy lottery tickets because I understand odds, and I do not like to waste my money. Same with Las Vegas. I look at the money they are using to build their high-rises, put on their shows, power their glitzy lights, and I know it comes from somewhere... from the poor fools who gamble and lose and gamble and lose. In Las Vegas, a few people win a little bit now and then, but overall, there is a vast conspiracy to make sure that the casinos are wildly profitable. It's kind of like insurance, except that there are government mandates that I buy insurance (even though I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that the insurance companies are rigged to be sure that they take in far more than they ever pay out). There are no government mandates that I gamble. So, hallelujah, I don't!!

I understand the odds against winning in Las Vegas and against winning the lottery. However the odds are infinitely more likely that I would win at either of these than that evolution could ever have brought us life as we know it.

I don't care how much time you give it. More time doesn't mean better chances. More time means a further descent into entropy.

Think of a watch, a handy piece of workmanship. It's a very intricate thing, in its way. Of course, it is not nearly as intricate as, say, a solar system, or a daffodil, or a rabbit... or a human.

Suppose you took the pieces of a watch, all of them, nice, fresh-off-the-line screws and gears and whatever all else is inside a watch. Suppose you took them all, not one piece missing, and you put them into a box and you shook that box. Say you shook it for two hours straight. Do you think those parts would, within those two hours, form themselves into a watch?

Well, they wouldn't.

And suppose you continued to shake the box for a year. Fifty years. Three billion years. Over that length of time, are the contents of that box going to become more or less like a watch?

You don't know? Well, I'll tell you. After three billion years of shaking in that box, what used to be watch parts would have decomposed into dust (oh! we're back to entropy!). Materials that at one point could have fit together to form a watch are ground down into useless rubbish. Why? Because there was no sentient energy applied to the situation. (Although not sentient, we did apply energy! Imagine what would have happened over three billion years if the box just sat on a table.)

If you can't do it with a watch, it stands to reason that you couldn't do it with a universe.

You need a sentient, powerful God to create life.

They try to create life in the lab from "raw materials." Never mind that they aren't worrying about what would have been the original source of these raw materials (which they ordered from a catalog of chemicals). If we put that thought out of our minds, they've actually gotten pretty close to producing life. But they've never accomplished anything without applying brain power and energy to the experiment. I rest my case.

Lastly, it makes no sense to pursue the idea of evolution because clearly, the chicken had to come before the egg.

God created things in a mature form. He did not make Adam as an embryo or a six-month-old baby or even a nine-year-old-child. If He had, Adam would have required care. God made Adam as a fully grown adult male, and Eve as fully formed adult female. God made trees as trees, ready to produce fruit with seeds for reproduction. He made fish as fish, birds as birds and kangaroos as kangaroos.

We didn't get a glimpse of how our development worked until the first reproductive cycle began. In reproduction, things start from a single cell, and within this cell are the DNA blueprints for whatever multi-celled organism that cell is programmed to become. Creation and reproduction are not the same thing. Creation was when God wrote the blueprints and stored them in the DNA. Reproduction is when the cell follows the directions God gave it. Adaptation is when the blueprints flex to accommodate different environmental factors, and it certainly happens. But the adaptation of a species is not the same as the development of a new species (something we have never seen in recorded history; conversely, we have seen species become extinct, because that is the result of entropy).

It is my belief that people are clearly starting from a flawed premise when they try to work backwards to find the "first single celled organism." If you start from a flawed premise, you get flawed science.

Oh, I hadn't planned to mention this, but here's a freebie before I go: Carbon dating is at least as much an example of circular reasoning as is proving the existence of God with the Bible. Actually more so. Maybe we'll talk about that next time.

An attempt to begin at what I had hoped not to become embroiled in...

I am going to begin to respond to the comment the anonymous astrophysicist left on What I believe: God is the Creator of all things, part 2.

First off, I want to clarify something: I do not consider myself a scientist. I am related to a number of scientists, even hard-core scientists. But I am not a scientist myself. And the purpose of this blog has never had anything to do with science or any desire to be scientific.

I have a BA in English.

After that, I stayed home to raise my children.

I have earned less than $20,000, total, in my entire life. No lie. I know this because I get letters from Social Security telling me how much I do not have in their accounts.

I tell you this to demonstrate that I am not here to try to impress, or to prove something, or even to convince. I am just laying out my own theology, what I believe. You can take it or leave it, like it or hate it. There are Christians whose hearts bleed for the lost. I am not really quite one of them. My heart bleeds for those who are searching, but not for those who are happily determined to reject the Lord. I will feel blessed and thankful if anyone is ever touched by the Lord through this blog, but if people read it and reject it, that is their problem and not mine. There are too many people following the way to destruction (Matthew 7:13-14), too many for me to lie awake at night stressing over them all.

I have spent too much time around people who are dead set against loving Jesus, atheist types. I've been around enough of them that I don't have much hope for their souls. Of course, I believe that all things are possible with God, and that He and only He (not I) knows who is destined for salvation and who is destined for damnation.

In obedience to my Lord, I am writing about what I believe, and my hope is that somehow this might benefit someone who may be searching for answers. If God can use my simple words to bless and save anyone, then that is His miracle and no testimony to my background, education or writing skills (or bleeding heart).

If you ask me honest questions that you are really wrestling with, I will do my best to answer them thoughtfully. But if you heckle me and put me down, I will remove your comment. The world has pretty much heckled me and put me down my whole adult life because of the counter-cultural choices I've made, and I have taken it. However, on this blog, which I manage myself, I will remove the unpleasantness. Because I can.

In the Bible, Jesus says, "I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will." (Luke 10:21, ESV)

Later, Luke records this story about Jesus: "Now they were bringing even infants to him that he might touch them. And when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them. But Jesus called them to him, saying, 'Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God.' " (Luke 18:15-16, ESV)

God wants us to come to Him with childlike faith. He did not set up His witness to His existence to be a difficult puzzle. God's presence in the world is simple enough for a child to discern. Ecclesiastes 3:11 says that God has set eternity in men's hearts, to make us wonder, even though we cannot fathom all that God has done.

Now, some Christians (too many, in my opinion), decide that science leads us away from God, science is evil, therefore we should eschew science. This is what they understand to be "childlike faith."

I think that is foolishness, utter rubbish. Childlike faith is about how we approach God, not how we handle our science classes. However, there is a kernel of truth hidden in the folly. We do need to be careful of how we accept the teaching of "scientists" who begin their scientific exploration from a fundamental premise that there must be no God. If they are stubbornly operating from the premise that there is not, never has been, never will be, never could be a God, then they are as foolish as the Christians who are afraid of science. They are afraid of God. (And not in a "fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom" way; rather, in a "if I can't see you, you can't do anything to me," way.)

Since nobody was there when it all began, and nobody will ever be able to travel back in time to see what happened, we must recognize that the origins of life are not something we can scientifically study. Science requires observation, hypothesis and testing of the hypothesis. We can't do that with the theory of evolution. We can only observe what is before us now and try to piece together an explanation. Have you ever read an Agatha Christie novel? There are myriad ways to piece together evidence, but only one right answer.

The only way we'll ever figure out who was right about the origins of life is after we die. If, when you die, you simply cease to exist and your cells just decompose down into dirt, then you were right (not much glory in it at that point, though). On the other hand, if you find your eternal soul in the courtroom of God, judged by His perfect knowledge and justice on the basis of whether you accepted His Son and His forgiveness, and you didn't... then you will be cast into outer darkness and lament for all eternity that you were wrong.

An acquaintance of ours, one of the many scientific types with whom we regularly rub shoulders, one of the ones who actively opposes God for no good reason, said to me once, "Science and religion just need to stay in their own spheres. Science is over here," and he gestured with his hands to signify an area, "And religion is over here," he gestured to signify a different area.

"You can study and prove science," he told me. "You can't study and prove religion. So they should just stay in their separate areas." That would be fine, maybe, if science would stay away from trying to explain the origins of life, which it cannot by virtue of what it is... the systematic study of the physical, material world through observation and experimentation.

Do you know what I wish? I wish scientists would just be fair. I wish they would study the origins of life with an open mind. I wish they would begin their theorizing with the question, "Supposing that there might be a God at the source of life, what would it mean? How would that affect our interpretation of this evidence?" Notice I am not even asking them to suppose that there is a God, only that there might be. And I would like very much to see where that supposition would lead them.

Too long. Sorry. I certainly did not accomplish what I had hoped to cover today. More tomorrow.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Psalm 100:3

Know that the Lord, He is God!
It is He who made us and we are His,
we are His people, and the sheep of His pasture.

Psalm 100:3 (ESV

In the spirit of my recent posts... another scripture that points to God as the Creator.

I received a comment on my last post. I believe that this commenter was what is sometimes known as a "troll." He did not like my arguments against evolution. Although he posted anonymously, he claimed that he was an astrophysicist. Imagine that! An astrophysicist commenting on my little blog that gets next to no traffic. Who would have thought?

I did not appreciate the anonymous astrophysicist's tone, so I deleted his comment, but I did want to address his criticisms. I will at some point, when I am not busy with family coming home for holidays, which is much more fun.