Sunday, February 28, 2010

90 Day Bible Update- Timeline perspective on Jeremiah

When I was first reminded that Jeremiah began his ministry during the reign of King Josiah of Judah, I was a little perplexed. Remember, Josiah led Judah in a renewal of their covenant with the Lord and Josiah “did what was right in the eyes of the Lord and walked in the ways of his father David, not turning aside to the right or to the left.” (2 Chronicles 34:2) So, in order to satisfy my curiosity about how Jeremiah’s ministry coincided with the reign of King Josiah, I went back and looked at some dates of important events. I’ve gained a whole new perspective on both the ministry of Jeremiah and the reign of King Josiah. Please refer to the timeline showing the major events during the reign of King Josiah as outlined in the book of 2 Chronicles.

Indictments such as the following one that are prevalent throughout the book of Jeremiah must have been spoken during the first 5 years of Jeremiah’s ministry, before the book of the Law was found and Judah renewed its covenant with the Lord, or after his death during the reigns of Jehoiakim and Zedekiah. In fact, it is specifically said of Zedekiah that “he did not humble himself before Jeremiah the prophet, who spoke the word of the Lord. (2 Chronicles 36:13)

“The people of Judah have done evil in my eyes, declares the Lord. They have set up their detestable idols in the house that bears My Name and have defiled it. They have built high places of Topheth in the Valley of Ben Hinnom to burn their sons and daughters in the fire.” (Jeremiah 7:30-31)

It makes more sense that the “prophets prophesy lies, and the priests rule by their own authority” (Jeremiah 5:31) when we understand that for the first 18 years of Josiah’s reign, the first 5 years of Jeremiah’s ministry, the book of the Law was lost. It’s mind-numbing to conceive of the fact that God’s law was so inconsequential to the priests that it had been set aside and allowed to be “lost”. Yet, the fact of God’s Law being lost explains why the priests ruled “by their own authority”, and not according to the Law. Also, Jeremiah’s reference to the unfaithfulness of the leaders of the priests is echoed in 2 Chronicles 36:14. “Furthermore, all the leaders of the priests and the people became more and more unfaithful, following all the detestable practices of the nations and defiling the temple of the Lord, which He had consecrated in Jerusalem.” (This occurred during the reign of Zedekiah- more than 11 years after the death of Josiah.)

Constructing this timeline helped me to see that there was a brief interlude during the ministry of Jeremiah when Judah renewed its covenant with the Lord and returned to Him. It is said of Josiah that when he first heard the Law and the word of the Lord about the impending disaster that God was going to bring on Judah, that his heart was responsive to it and he humbled himself before God and wept in the presence of the Lord. So God heard him and decreed that Josiah would not live to see His outpouring of wrath on Judah. (2 Chronicles 34:27-28). This is consistent with Jeremiah 18:8, “and if that nation I warned repents of its evil, then I will relent and not inflict on it the disaster I had planned.” Perhaps the Lord used Jeremiah to bring about this interlude of revival in the land of Judah. It’s interesting that the Lord called Jeremiah to be a prophet one year after Josiah started to purify the land and rid it of all idolatry. God was gracious and gave Israel an extra 40 years of calm before the storm (there’s that number again! 18 yrs overlap of Jeremiah’s ministry and Josiah’s reign plus 22 yrs of the kings Jehoiakim and Zedekiah) that was probably due in large part to the repentance of Josiah and his renewal of the covenant.

God is merciful and hears the outcry of the repentant heart, but ultimately the people of Judah “made their faces harder than stone and refused to repent.” (Jeremiah 5:3) Even the remnant that had witnessed God’s wrath on Judah and swore to obey the Lord, ended up disobeying Him yet again and fleeing to Egypt instead of staying in the land! (Jeremiah 42) “Will you not learn a lesson and obey My Words?” declares the Lord. (Jeremiah 35:13) God is gracious to give us His Word, but how often do we follow in the footsteps of the people of Judah who “did not listen or pay attention, but followed the stubborn inclinations of their evil hearts”? (Jeremiah 7:24 & 35:15) There will be a day of reckoning for us, too. Let us learn from God’s judgment of Judah and not be guilty of the same rebellion against the One True God. Rather, let us humble ourselves now before God and be obedient to His Word.
You can read more 90 day updates at Raising Olives and Mom's Toolbox.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Swimmer-in-training- Watch out Olympics of 2028

Here's Baby Lu working on blowing bubbles.
Oops. It looks like she needs a little more bubble blowing practice.

I asked her if she wanted to get out after that little coughing episode. You can read her lips. That was an emphatic "No!"

Now, on to her next trick. Flutter kick.

Look at that splash!

And isn't she pleased with herself? That kicking was quite an accomplishment!

Baby Lu is happiest in the water. I hope she always feels that way. She's a girl after my own heart.

Today, I was sitting at the computer and look what flashed by. I'm not sure if she had a little help with this ensemble or not. It looks like Measle had a hand in it.

She's almost ready to go. Someone forgot about the swimsuit, though.

She knows there's something just not right about her goggles. Aren't they supposed to be up here covering my eyes??

It won't be long before Baby Lu joins her big brothers and sisters on the swim team. American Boy (3) gets to take lessons this summer, so he's one step ahead of her.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

90 Day Bible update on Isaiah- Better late than never?

I’ve really loved the 90 day Bible challenge because it’s helped me to gain a greater context in my readings. Reading Isaiah just a matter of weeks after reading through the Kings and Chronicles, Ezra and Nehemiah has shed the book in a whole new light for me. I see how much of Isaiah has already been fulfilled, at least in a partial sense, and this just reaffirms the trustworthiness of God to keep His promises.

I noticed many themes in Isaiah such as that of justice/judgement, salvation of the remnant, God’s sovereignty, but above all else shines the theme of the glory of God. I think Isaiah 42:8 sums up this dominant theme nicely. “I am the Lord; that is My Name! I will not give my glory to another or my praise to idols.”

Here are some of the ways God has/is or will be glorified as outlined in the book of Isaiah.

1. Through His chosen people- “Everyone who is called by My Name, whom I created for My glory, whom I formed and made.” (43:7) “It is too small a thing for you to be My servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring My salvation to the ends of the earth…. Kings will see you and rise up, princes will see and bow down, because of the Lord, who is faithful, the Holy One of Israel who has chosen you.” (49:6-7)

2. By strengthening His people- “You have enlarged the nation, O Lord; you have enlarged the nation. You have gained glory for Yourself.” (26:15) “I am the Lord, and there is no other; apart from me there is no God. I will strengthen you, though you have not acknowledged Me, so that from the rising of the sun to the place of its setting men may know there is none besides me. I am the Lord, and there is no other.” (45:5-6)

3. By delivering His people from their enemies- “Now, O Lord our God, deliver us from his hand, so that all kingdoms on earth may know that You alone, O Lord, are God.” (37:20)

4. By exacting justice- “But the Lord Almighty will be exalted by His justice, and the holy God will show Himself holy by His righteousness.” (5:16)

5. Through His creation- “So that people may see and know, may consider and understand, that the hand of the Lord has done this, that the Holy One of Israel has created it.” (41:20)

6. Through His mighty works- “When they see among them their children, the work of My hands, they will keep My Name holy; they will acknowledge the holiness of the Holy One of Jacob, and will stand in awe of the God of Israel.” (29:23) “Therefore once more I will astound these people with wonder upon wonder; the wisdom of the wise will perish, the intelligence of the intelligent will vanish.” (29:14)

7. Through accomplishing His purposes- “The Lord Almighty planned it, to bring low the pride of all glory and to humble all who are renowned on the earth.” (23:9) “O Lord, You are my God; I will exalt You and praise Your Name, for in perfect faithfulness you have done marvelous things, things planned long ago.” (25:1) “For the Lord Almighty has purposed, and who can thwart Him? His hand is stretched out, and who can turn it back?” (14:27)

8. Through the praises of seraphim- “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of His glory.” (6:3)

9. By pouring out His wrath on wickedness and evil- “I have commanded My holy ones; I have summoned My warriors to carry out My wrath.” (13:3) “The Lord is angry with all nations; His wrath is upon all their armies. He will totally destroy them, He will give them over to slaughter.” (34:2)

10. By punishing His rebellious people- “The Lord takes His place in court; He rises to judge the people. The Lord enters into judgment against the elders and leaders of His people.” (3:13-14) “Therefore the Lord’s anger burns against His people; His hand is raised and He strikes them down.” (5:25)

11. Through forgiving the sins of His people- “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.” (1:18) “I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions, for My own sake, and remembers your sins no more.” (43:25) “Although You were angry with me, Your anger has turned away and You have comforted me. Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid.” (12:1-2)

12. By sending the Messiah- “See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who trusts will never be dismayed.” (28:16) “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne over His kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.” (9:6-7)

13. When the Lord lays waste the earth and its rulers then assumes the throne over the new heavens and earth- “They raise their voices, they shout for joy; from the west they acclaim the Lord’s majesty. Therefore in the east give glory to the Lord; exalt the name of the Lord, the God of Israel, in the islands of the sea. From the ends of the earth we hear singing: ‘Glory to the Righteous One.’” (24:14-16) “For the Lord Almighty will reign on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, and before its elders, gloriously.” (24:23)

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Have you been wondering where I've been?

Have you been wondering where I've been and if you would ever hear from me again?

I'm still here. But unlike Baby Lu, whose jammies say she's not sleepy, I have been. That and I've been watching the Olympics with my kids. I was hoping to catch-up yesterday, but we had a swim meet. Don't forget about me. I'll be back. I'm not in hiding, just in hibernation :)

I've been loving Isaiah and hope to have time to write a 90 day Bible challenge update later today. Oh, and I've missed you guys, too.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Evidence for a Young Earth

Someone recently asked me what I felt the strongest evidence for a young earth is. It occurred to me that I may have given this person the impression that I find the RATE studies to be the strongest evidence for a young earth. I want to back up in this post and explain the purpose of the RATE studies that I’ve been summarizing for you.

There is much in nature that suggests that the earth is only thousands of years old. An abbreviated list is as follows:

1. Living fossils- “Living fossils” are plants and animals thought to be extinct for at least several million years. Animal examples include the tuatara and coelacanth. Plant examples include the Ginkgo, and Metasequoia. These “living fossils” appear in so-called ancient rocks but not in more recent beds. The unchanged nature of their forms and their continued living presence on the earth testify that little time has transpired since a catastrophic flood entombed their relatives.

2. Tall mountains- The very existence of mountain ranges argues for a young earth. Current estimates of soil erosion say the earth is eroding down at the rate of about one foot every 5-10,000 years. This means that one mile of erosion would occur every 25-50 million years. Mountainous areas would erode at rates above average. At this rate most mountain ranges would have eroded to foothills by now. Some would argue that mountains have pushed up several times, canceling out erosion, but the lower sedimentary beds do not attest to this.

3. River deltas- It has been estimated that the Mississippi river delta has grown an average of 262 feet each year. Using this figure, the Mississippi river delta is around 4,500 years old. The growth of the Po river delta can be traced by historical and archeological records. Again, using the size of the delta to estimate its age, the Po river is only several thousand years old.

4. Shrinking sun- According to estimated measurements of the sun spanning hundreds of years, our sun is shrinking at a rate that would have required it to be so big 1,000,000,000 years ago that life could not have been sustained on earth.

5. Receding moon- It has been estimated that the moon is moving away from the earth at a rate of about 2 inches per year. If our solar system was 4.5 billion years old, we would no longer be able to see the moon because it would have drifted out of sight long ago.

6. High oil and gas pressures- The high oil and gas pressures within relatively permeable rock imply the oil and gas were encased there less than 10,000 years ago.

7. Elements and sediment entering the oceans- The rate at which elements such as copper, gold, tin, lead, silicon, mercury, uranium and nickel are entering the oceans is very rapid when compared with the small quantities of these elements already in the oceans. This discrepancy suggests the oceans must be much younger than 1 million years. And more than 16 billion tons of sediment is deposited in the oceans each year. Given enough time, the oceans would fill up, but before that happened, the land areas would erode down to sea level. Based on the presents rate of sedimentation in the oceans and consequent rise in sea level, the continents would lower to sea level within 15 million years.

8. Poynting-Robertson effect- The sun sweeps up an estimated 100,000 tons of space dust and debris each day. If our solar system was billions of years old, it should have been swept clean long ago! The persistence of space dust and micrometeoroids argues that the solar system is less than 10,000 years old.

9. Spin rate of earth- Current measurements suggest the earth’s spin is slowing by about 1 second per year. If the earth is billions of years old, the initial spin rate of the earth would have been too fast to support life.

10. Atmospheric helium- The amount of atmospheric helium requires the earth be less than 40,000 years old.

11. Short-term comets- Astronomers believe that short-term comets have a life-span of 1,500-10,000 years. We observed the death of 10 of these short-term comets in the last century. If the universe is billions of years old, these short-term comets should have died out eons ago.

12. Radiation of Jupiter and Saturn- Jupiter and Saturn radiate more than twice the energy they receive from the sun. It appears that these planets have not existed long enough to cool off.

13. The decline of the earth’s magnetic field- The earth’s magnetic field has declined by 7% since 1835 when it was first measured. This suggests that the field loses half its strength every 1400 years. Working backwards, the earth must be younger than 10,000 years old because any older and the earth’s magnetic field would have been too strong to sustain life.

Perhaps I should devote a post to each of the above or perhaps the list itself is enough to make my point. Young earth creationists have much evidence that points to a young earth. But, for years evolutionary scientists have discounted the above by arguing that radioisotope dating trumps all other lines of evidence. Radioisotope dating has been held up as the irrefutable “clock” of the earth and purported to be inarguable evidence that the earth is billions of years old. What the RATE study has done is introduced doubt as to the proper reading of the clock of radioisotope dating. In other words, the burden is really not on the scientists in the RATE study to prove that there have been multiple episodes of accelerated decay in the past. All the scientists in the RATE study had to do is introduce evidence that suggests we’ve been reading the radioisotope clock incorrectly. And this, they’ve done. I’ve described their helium diffusion study, and their polonium radiohalo study. The RATE team also conducted 3 other studies over isochron dating, fission tracks, and C14 in diamonds that add weight to their theory of accelerated decay. But, let me reiterate this point. They do not have to prove that accelerated decay occurred or how it occurred. All they had to do is introduce doubt about the so-called infallible radioisotope dating method. And they have done this.

Let’s think about this for a moment as a courtroom drama. I'm the lawyer trying to defend the position of a young earth. The list I gave above is my list of witnesses that testify to a young earth. I call in my witnesses, one by one and they present a good case, albeit largely circumstantial. But then the lawyer for the other side, arguing in favor of an old earth, calls his star witness, radioisotope dating. It's just so impressive and persuasive and it enjoys serving as a professional witness. For years, those trying to defend the theory of a young earth have tried to discredit the main witness for the other side, radioisotope dating. But until now our attempts to discredit the witness of radioisotope dating have only been hearsay. What the RATE study has done is finally introduced scientific evidence to corrorborate the hearsay, which means it's no longer just hearsay. For the first time, doubt has been cast on the testimony of radioisotope dating. The RATE study has shown that it is quite possible that we've been reading the "clock" of radioisotope dating incorrectly.

Now, instead of discounting my witnesses above and just assuming they must all be wrong and radioisotope dating right, we can begin to take a more serious look at the evidence for a young earth. Which do I feel is the strongest evidence? This might be cheating, but I feel their strength is in their numbers. I didn't list all known evidences of a young earth, just a few of the most obvious. I feel the strongest argument in favor of a young earth, other than the Word of God which I believe is inerrant and infallible, is that there is so much evidence for a young earth.

At the end of the day, it does require a measure of faith to believe either view. Psalm 19:1 says, "The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork." God has designed our world to give evidence of His greatness. I'm confident that in the years to come more and more evidence will come to light that corroborates the Biblical view of a young earth. And I count myself blessed to live in a time of such great scientific discovery that I can embrace both the Bible and science, without compromising either.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

A Chip off the Old Block!!!

Did I ever tell you Big D played football? Well, he did. He played in high school in Florida and for two different Universities. He's always kind of hoped one of his boys would take to football. Monk tried it a couple of years ago and didn't enjoy it. In fact, when his dad tried to interest him in watching a football game, Monk's question was quite telling. He asked us, "If everyone jumps on the guy who has the football, why doesn't the guy with the football just get rid of it?" Why indeed. I'm afraid Monk takes after his mother and grandfather. I never did get the point of that game, either. It just seems so silly to me.

Monk did try baseball twice. It was so fun watching him. He looked like Mr. Bean at bat, but could actually hit the ball- sometimes on the second or third try, though. He always kept us in suspense. Anyway, he was on a great team that ended up winning the whole league his first year to play. By the grace of God, Monk happened to be the guy up at bat with the bases loaded in the last inning of overtime in the championship game. Oh, and there had already been 2 outs. We were going insane with nerves. We knew the fate of the game and the championship rested on our son. Our son who didn't really even "get" the game of baseball. By the grace of God, he hit the ball and he hit it hard. He got a homerun and brought in all the guys on base. They won the game and the championship. Everyone piled on top of Monk screaming in celebration. We couldn't believe it. It was like a miracle. Later, as we were headed to the car Monk calmly asked us why all the guys jumped on top of him. We explained that they were happy because of his homerun and bringing in all the bases. He said, "Oh." Then he asked us if his team had won the championship. The point of the story is that obviously Monk's not that into team sports. He's a great swimmer though. Just point him in the right direction, remind him of which event it is, and he does great.

So, Big D has known for sometime now that Monk is not going to be his football player. He's since transferred his hopes for a football player onto his All American Boy (3). The funny thing is Baby Lu found this football in the garage the other day and has been playing with it ever since. Forget her room full of baby toys. She wants to play football. She really is a chip off the old block!

Somehow I don't think Baby Lu is one of the kids Big D was hoping would take up football. She looks so much like him in this picture. Poor Big D.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

90 day Bible update and some thoughts on worship

Disclaimer: I have never read a book on worship, these are just my reflections from recent readings in the Chronicles, Nehemiah, Job, and Psalms. I am not attempting to solve any of the myriad debates going on in churches today about worship.

The reason I added the disclaimer above is because when I told Big D what I was writing about he suggested I read a few books from his weighed down shelf devoted to worship first. I asked him if I could just write a disclaimer instead. Warning: I am completely ignorant about the doctrine of worship. So there, you’ve been warned. Read on at your own risk.

The first time I stopped in my 90 day Bible challenge and went, “Huh?” over something related to worship was when God instructed the Israelites to build an altar of earth or “undressed” stones. I pondered why He would instruct the Israelites in this manner, and specifically forbid them from using tools on the stones. Similar instructions are repeated in Deut 27:4-6 and Joshua 8:31. I mused over what some of those reasons may have been in my second 90 day Bible update, but whatever His reasons, the point is that God feels strongly about how His people are to worship Him. The service of the Levites in the temple of the Lord was also very specific. “They were to serve before the Lord regularly in the proper number and in the way prescribed for them.” (1 Chronicles 23:31) It seems like everyone has an opinion on worship these days, doesn’t it? It appears that God has an opinion, as well. And shouldn’t His opinion be the one that counts? This made me want to be more careful as I continue to read through the Bible to note any instructions or Biblical examples of worship. Of course, there are too many to be thorough so I’ll just share some thoughts that stood out to me.

1. Worship is more than music.

The first thing that probably pops into most of our minds when we hear the word “worship” in connection to the church is music. There are many examples of the role music plays in worship, and I don’t mean to discount those references in any way. In fact, I was surprised by the degree of choreography that went into dedicating the newly re-built wall around Jerusalem in Nehemiah 12. There were two choirs marching around the wall in opposite directions so that “the sound of rejoicing in Jerusalem could be heard far away.” And 2 Chronicles 5:12 describes the priests who were musicians playing cymbals, harps, lyres, and accompanied by 120 priests sounding trumpets and singers praising God and giving thanks to Him in unison. Wow! But, back to my point, worship is so much more than music.

It can take the form of declaration of who God is through praising His attributes (“I know that You can do all things; no plan of Yours can be thwarted.” Job 42:2 and from Nehemiah 9:5-6 “Blessed be Your glorious Name, and may it be exalted above all blessing and praise. You alone are the Lord.”); remembrance and celebration of what God has done for His people (“You made the heavens, even the highest heavens, and all their starry host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. You give life to everything.” Nehemiah 9:6 and from Joshua, “He did this so that all the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the Lord is powerful and so that you might always fear the Lord your God.” Joshua 4:24 in reference to the 12 memorial stones taken out of the Jordan.); giving (“Everything comes from You, and we have given You only what comes from Your hand.” 1 Chronicles 29:14); corporate reading of God’s Word (“They stood where they were and read from the Book of the Law of the Lord their God for a quarter of the day.” Nehemiah 9:3); confession (“And spent another quarter of the day in confession” Nehemiah 9:3; and obedience (Again in Nehemiah, “The rest of the people…bind themselves with a curse and an oath to follow the Law of God given through Moses the servant of God and to obey carefully all the commands, regulations and decrees of the Lord our Lord.” vv 28-29), to name a few.

Sing to the Lord, praise His name; proclaim His salvation day after day. Declare His glory among the nations, His marvelous deeds among all peoples.” Psalm 96:3

2. Worship requires a proper knowledge of who God is and who I am.

Unless I understand what God has done for me, I cannot ascribe the worth to Him that He is due. The first time this is evident in the Bible is with the offerings of Cain and Abel. I’ve written at length about this in a post on the proto-evangelium, but for now suffice it to say that Abel got it and Cain didn’t. Abel understood that he was a sinner and that his sin demanded death. Abel understood that there is no remission of sins without the shedding of blood. Abel understood that his firstfruits belonged to the Lord. The next time I noticed how serious this is to God is when He consumed Nadab and Abihu after they offered strange or unauthorized fire. My first thought was, “What did they do wrong? They were just trying to worship God, weren’t they?” Evidently not, for in Leviticus 10:3 Moses reiterates to Aaron that this is what God was talking about when He said, “Among those who approach Me, I will show Myself holy; in the sight of all the people I will be honored.” This tells us that they were not honoring God.

My husband and I have been very convicted about this over the last few years. Our kids can be very silly and my husband likes to play along with them in song. He plays the guitar and makes up silly songs. It’s a lot of fun. But, we make it very clear to our kids that when it comes to singing to the Lord, that’s no joking matter. We do not get silly when we’re singing to God. We do not allow them to sit on their heads, or sing vibrato, or insert different words, or any of the other things that they’re aloud to do during playtime. This might appear harsh to some people, but we are desperately trying to teach our children to honor God as holy. Something Nadab and Abihu failed to do and payed for it with their lives.

3. Worship is more of a heart attitude than an outward performance.

Psalm 40:6 “Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, but my ears you have pierced; burnt offerings and sin offerings You did not require.” The application I get from this is that listening attentively to and heeding God’s Word are more important to the Lord than any outward form of worship. We can sing beautifully and take communion, but it doesn’t mean anything if we are not pierced by His Word.

Psalm 51:16 “You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; You do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.” Again, it’s our heart attitude that God looks at. If we allow ourselves to be “pierced by God’s Word” then the result of that will be a contrite spirit that cries out to the Lord for His mercy.

1 Chronicles 22:19 “Now devote your heart and soul to seeking the Lord your God.”

Michal despised David in her heart when she saw him leaping and dancing before the Lord. (2 Samuel 6:16) David didn’t seem to be overly clothed. “Wearing a linen ephod, he danced before the Lord with all his might.” (2 Samuel 6:15) Michal says it is his “disrobing” of himself that she disapproved of. I can’t say I blame her for this. We put a lot of stock in our modesty, don’t we? But, evidently this was either a smokescreen and she had other reasons to be unhappy about David worshiping the Lord, or her complaint is evidence that she missed the point of his worship. Best case scenario, Michal was focused on David’s image as King. She was the daughter of a King and remember that Saul had been “an impressive young man without equal among the Israelites- a head taller than any of the others.” (1 Samuel 9:2) Saul’s father, Michal’s grandfather, was a man of standing. I don’t know if this means respect or money or both, but it seems like impressions were important to this family. A wife is supposed to contribute to her husband’s good reputation (Proverbs 31), but the kind of reputation God is concerned about is having a heart for Him. God is not as concerned about what we wear or how we appear to others, but whether we are seeking Him with our whole heart (1 Peter 3:1-6, Psalm 119:2 and 10). “The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7) All that by way of saying, it appears as if Michal was focused on the wrong thing. She was looking at the outer man and God was looking at David’s heart.

4. Worship assumes a variety of postures.

"So they all praised the Lord, the God of their fathers; they bowed low and fell prostrate before the Lord." 1 Chronicles 29:20 "They were also to stand every morning to thank and praise the Lord." 1 Chronicles 23:30 "As he opened it (the Book of the Law), the people all stood up." Nehemiah 8:5 "Ezra praised the Lord, the great God; and all the people lifted their hands and responded 'Amen! Amen!' Then they bowed down and worshiped the Lord with their faces to the ground." Nehemiah 8: 6 I especially love the progression there. Its seems they acknowledge who God is by standing and raising their hands and then acknowledge who they are by falling to the ground prostrate.

5. Worship is not always politically correct.

It seems to me that there is a whole side of worship demonstrated in the Psalms that is left out of our churches today, and perhaps even left out of our private prayer lives, as well. I’ve been underlining all the verses in the Psalms that plead with God to avenge His Name and His people. This is pretty radical stuff. I’ll just give you a sampling.

“Repay them for their deeds and for their evil work; repay them for what their hands have done and bring back upon them what they deserve. Since they show no regard for the works of the Lord and what His hands have done, He will tear them down and never build them up again.” Psalm 28:4-5

“Let their lying lips be silenced, for with pride and contempt they speak arrogantly against the righteous.” Psalm 31:18

“O Lord, You have seen this; be not silent. Do not be far from me, O Lord. Awake, and rise to my defense! Contend for me, my God and Lord. Vindicate me in Your righteousness, O Lord my God; do not let them gloat over me. Do not let them think, ‘Aha, just what we wanted!’ or say, ‘We have swallowed him up.’ May all who gloat over my distress be put to shame and confusion; may all who exalt themselves over me be clothed with shame and disgrace.” Psalm 35:22-26

“In Your might make them wander about, and bring them down. For the sins of their mouths, for the words of their lips, let them be caught in their pride. For the curses and lies they utter, consume them in wrath, consume them till they are no more. Then it will be known to the ends of the earth that God rules over Jacob.” Psalm 59:11-13

“But God will shoot them with arrows; suddenly they will be struck down. He will turn their own tongues against them and bring them to ruin; all who see them will shake their heads in scorn. All mankind will fear; they will proclaim the works of God and ponder what He has done.” Psalm 64:7-8

“As smoke is blown away by the wind, may you blow them away; as wax melts before the fire, may the wicked perish before God.” Psalm 68:2

“Rise up, O God, and defend Your cause; remember how fools mock You all day long.” Psalm 74:22

“Pay back into the laps of our neighbors seven times the reproach they have hurled at You, O Lord.” Psalm 79:12

“May they ever be ashamed and dismayed; may they perish in disgrace. Let them know that You, whose name is the Lord- that You alone are the Most High over all the earth.” Psalm 83:17-18

“O Lord, the God who avenges, O God who avenges, shine forth. Rise up, O Judge of the earth; pay back to the proud what they deserve.” Psalm 94: 1-2

When’s the last time your church prayed like this? We’re living in the midst of a wicked generation in a culture that is increasingly anti-God. Does it bother us? Enough to cry out to the Lord to avenge Himself and bring glory to His Name? Why don’t we do this in church? Can anyone tell me? This is just so politically incorrect, is it not? I think it’s important to remember that our goal is God’s glory, not our own retribution. This type of prayer seems to be a major theme in the Psalms and I think recovering this desire for Divine retribution will help us to worship God more completely. But that's just my opinion. What do you think?

For more 90 day updates check out Mom's Toolbox.

Happy Early Valentine's Day and How well do you know me?

And the winners of Love in the House by Chris and Wendy Jeub are...

(The Amy above was the first Amy, without the W.)

Marsha, you're the only one I don't know how to contact, so please leave me your email and I'll get in touch with you. Congrats to all of you! I hope you enjoy your book! Thank you to all of you who entered- hopefully if you didn't win this time, you will next time. (Valerie- I was just glad you didn't win, AGAIN :-)

Remember when I asked you how well you thought you knew me?

About half of you guessed right. Mine is the terribly crumpled one that always has a goopy glob of toothpaste oozing out the top. I do normally buy Colgate so that I don't have to worry with a lid, but even the attached lid ends up hanging there limply after a few days.

For those of you who thought better of me, thank you. If you had read my post on how I dress, you might have had a heads up!

After posting the picture of our toothpaste tubes I asked my mom if she knew which was mine. She said, "Of course." I couldn't believe she would know. (Did I really think I had successfully hidden that side of myself for 18 years?) So I asked her how she could be so sure. She said, "Because your dad's looks just like it." It must be in the genes. I'm destined to have messy toothpaste for the rest of my life. I can live with that.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Existence of Polonium Radiohalos Gives Evidence of a Young Earth

To review a little bit- radioisotope dating, which has long been an obstacle to creation scientists, assumes a constant rate of decay (uniformitarianism). Creation scientists have long theorized that there may have been one or more episodes of accelerated decay in the past, most likely during creation week, or possibly the flood of the Bible. These episodes of accelerated decay would allow for a billion years or more of radioactive decay to occur within a few thousand years. You see why the theory is attractive to creation scientists. The problem with this theory of accelerated decay is that according to mathematical models and our current understanding of physics, unimaginable amounts of energy would be released- so much so that life could not survive it- perhaps not even the planet. This conjures up images of a Doomsday scenario. Obviously, if episodes of accelerated decay really did occur at sometime in our past, it must not have given off the excess heat predicted by such models.

Until recently this was merely educated guessing among creation scientists, some of my friends would say more like wishful thinking. But in the last few years several co-operative studies have found evidence that supports not only this theory of accelerated decay, but also that the accelerated decay was accompanied by rapid cooling. I told you last time about data from a He diffusion study that is “consistent with at most a short, moderate pulse of heating during and just after the accelerated decay episode”. (Radioisotopes and the Age of the earth vol. II pp. 68-69) In other words, the data and model from the He diffusion study reinforces the theory that accelerated decay may have coincided with rapid cooling which prevented the Doomsday scenario we envision from occurring. The question remains how?

Some creation scientists hypothesize that God’s “stretching out the heavens” (mentioned 17 times in the Bible) is a description of the expansion of the cosmos, which if it occurred rapidly enough could have dissipated the excess heat given off by the accelerated radioactive decay. This is just a theory, but the exciting thing is that there has been some evidence that indeed suggests accelerated decay accompanied by rapid cooling. Not knowing the mechanism of the rapid cooling, does not negate the evidence that it appears to have occurred. Tonight I want to continue with a second study that has also found data suggestive of accelerated decay accompanied by rapid cooling.

Radiohalos are very small darkened spheres found within biotite and other minerals that are formed by alpha nuclear decay. The significance of radiohalos is that they are a physical historical record of the decay of radioisotopes over a period of time.

Polonium (Po) is a radioisotope that is in the decay chain of Uranium (U) 238. It takes at least 100 million years worth of decay to supply enough Po to generate the Po radiohalos observed. So what, that would support the theory of an old earth, right? Wrong. The interesting thing is that U and Po radiohalos have been found together in the same flakes of biotite suggesting simultaneous formation and Po has a very short half-life (micro seconds to months depending on which isotope). In order to explain the abundance of Po radiohalos, a lot of Po had to have been produced rapidly. This suggests a period of accelerated decay of U 238. “If 100 million years worth of U 238 decay had to have occurred while the Po radiohalos were forming, then this implies the U 238 decay had to have been grossly accelerated so that the 100 million years worth of U 238 decay could be fitted into the hours and days over which the Po isotopes accumulated in the radiocenters from which the Po radiohalos concurrently formed.” (Radioisotopes and the Age of the Earth vol. II p. 153) In other words, given the millions of years scenario, the Po wouldn’t have hung around long enough to form radiohalos (half-life is too short).

What’s more, these radiohalos have been shown to have an annealing temperature of 150 degrees Celsius, above which they are obliterated and no longer visible. This means the radiohalos must have been formed, and have survived ever since, at temperatures below 150 degrees Celsius. “Therefore, the cooling of granites (in which the biotite with radiohalos was found) and the formation of radiohalos must be rapid and decay rates must be accelerated. So the rapid formation of granites and the Po radiohalos are a strong argument for a young earth.” (Radioisotopes and the Age of the Earth vol II p 744)

The investigators talk a great deal in this article about the evidence these Po radiohalos provide of the Flood, but I’d rather wait and consider multiple lines of Flood evidence together. For now, I want to reiterate the findings that U and Po radiohalos found together suggest an epidode of accelerated nuclear decay, and the annealing temperature of 150 degrees Celsius proves that they have been preserved at a temperature below that since their formation. So, again, it appears that at least one episode of accelerated day has occurred and that it was not accompanied by the enormous release of heat that would be expected by accelerated nuclear decay. Any rise in temperature over 150 degrees Celsius would have obliterated the radiohalos, so the accelerated decay must have coincided with some type of rapid cooling that kept the biotite under 150 degrees Celsius. The investigators hypothesize that hydrothermal currents may have contributed to the cooling effect, but agree that it would not be enough to keep the biotite under 150 degrees. Regardless, it doesn’t change the fact that we now have a second line of evidence that accelerated radioactive decay occurred at least once in our past and that it coincided with a cooling effect that prevented our aforementioned Doomsday scenario. Given this evidence for one or more periods of accelerated decay, the age of the earth would be much younger than that estimated by radioisotope dating methods that assume a constant rate of decay. And remember, a young earth kills the theory of evolution.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Special Valentine Giveaway for my Friends!!!

This has absolutely nothing to do with my creation science series, but Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. (Would somebody please gently remind my husband of this?) Anyway, since it’s the season for love, I wanted to share the love, the Jeub’s love that is. I bought their book Love in the House a year or so ago and have really enjoyed it. They have lots of wisdom to offer in the form of child training secrets and how to have more on less cost-saving tips. They were running a special offer on their website the other day so I bought a few more copies of their first book in order to get a free copy of Wendy’s new book Love in a Diet. So I want to share the love with you.

I am giving away Chris and Wendy Jeub’s Love in the House to 4 of my faithful followers. If you’re interested in a delightful book about a mega-family that has lots of love to share, then comment below to be entered to win. Be sure and tell me if you’ve copied my button to your blog for two additional entries. I’ll draw 4 names tomorrow night at midnight.

Please leave a way for me to contact you or be sure to check back to see if you won! Happy early Valentine’s Day!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Helium diffusion and the age of the earth

For those of you who normally follow my blog, you may have noticed we have some new visitors among us. I made a comment on Ray Comfort’s blog, Atheist Central, today and many of my new friends found me there and came over for a visit. I hope you’ll join me in welcoming them. They’ve given me an opportunity to put into practice 1 Peter 3:15.

“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear.”

To God be the glory! Now, back to helium diffusion.

I want to encourage those of you who are interested in a more thorough discussion of Helium diffusion and its implications for the age of the earth to read Radioisotopes and the Age of the Earth volume I pp. 344-351 and volume II pp. 25-95. I am not a geochemist or geophysicist so I’ll be highlighting the main findings of this study. You know where to go for more details.

There are a couple of things we need to understand before the results of this study will mean anything to us.

1. Helium is a byproduct of the radioactive decay of U238 to Pb206. For every one U238 that decays to Pb206, 8 He atoms are emitted.

2. Helium is a lightweight gas that diffuses readily through solids. In fact, helium leakage is fast enough that it is often used to test laboratory vacuum systems. Because of the relatively fast rate of He diffusion, it would not be expected to be found in significant quantities in rocks of the earth’s crust, if the earth is billions of years old. Even if the earth were only a million years old, He wouldn’t be expected to exist to a great degree in rocks of the earth’s crust.

So, we know the ratio of helium atoms emitted per U-Pb parent-daughter couple and we know that helium diffuses rapidly through solids. This information combines to suggest that a high content of helium still trapped within rock under the surface of the earth supports the theory of a young earth.

The first part of this study actually took place 25 years ago when scientists recovered zircons (crystals found in granite) from deep bore holes in a biotite formation embedded in hot Precambrian basement granite rock estimated to be 1.5 billion years old using Pb-Pb radioisotope dating. Exciting finding number 1 was that they found He, lots more than would have been expected had it indeed had 1.5 billion years to diffuse.

1. High percentage of He retention supports the theory of a young earth. It was especially surprising since these zircons were microscopic (smaller diffusion distance) and obtained from a very hot, volcanic area (heat increases diffusion rates).

So, the zircons came from rock estimated to be 1.5 billion years old. Given this age, evolutionary scientists would expect most of the He to have escaped the small zircons by diffusion. This result suggests that 1.5 billions years worth of decay occurred over a much shorter period of time. One or more episodes of accelerated nuclear decay could explain this finding.

The recent part of the study consisted in coming up with a mathematical model that would fit the zircon data discussed above. An evolutionary model of constant decay did not fit the data, so the creation scientists wanted to establish a model that would fit the data and help to more accurately estimate the age of the zircons and the rock sample they were obtained from. This leads us to exciting finding number 2.

2. Using the rate of He diffusion to estimate the age of the earth, an age of 6,000 years +/- 2,000 years was obtained. So, Pb-Pb radioisotope dating estimates the sample at 1.5 billion years, but that age is inconsistent with the vast amounts of He still trapped within the zircons. And the He diffusion rate dating estimates the earth is 6,000 years old, but doesn’t explain the amount of Pb-Pb decay required to emit that much He. So, I reiterate, it appears that 1.5 billions of years worth of radioactive decay occurred over a period of 6,000 years. This reinforces the creation scientist’s hypothesis of one or more periods of accelerated decay having occurred in the past, most likely during creation week and the flood.

I touched on this last time, but many of my visiting friends still insist that the excess energy release (yes, of cataclysmic proportions) is a stumbling block for accelerated decay. I know I don’t need to remind them of this, but the massive energy release for a 6 day creation already gives us this problem. So, again this is familiar territory for a creation scientist. However, rapid expansion of the cosmos (“stretching out the heavens” which occurs in 17 verses of the Bible) could dissipate this heat. There is also some evidence that rapid cooling coincided with periods of accelerated decay. For instance, the data in the He diffusion study “imply that after the zircons acquired their He, they were never very much hotter than they are now, nor were they hot for very long… In other words, our data and model are consistent with at most a short, moderate pulse of heating during and just after the accelerated decay episode.” (Radioisotopes and the Age of the Earth vol. II pp. 68-69) I’ll address another line of evidence for accelerated decay accompanied by rapid cooling in my next post, so stay tuned.

Some telling pictures and a quiz to see how well you know me

I noticed that several of you posted on your Superbowl snacks yesterday. Sunday afternoons around our house are pretty low key and I don't usually cook Sunday nights since we eat a big lunch after church. So, while Big D was watching the Superbowl, I was reading, or trying to. I vaguely remember the girls (8 &6) asking me if they could "create" something for a snacky supper, so I said sure. This is what they came up with.

They had 7 of these little creations lined up on the kitchen counter, one for each member of our family. That's pomegranate grape juice in the tumblers. You can tell Twinkle Toes (8) watches a lot of the Food Network. She thought presentation was just as important as taste. And you know what? It tasted pretty darn good. I'm not accustomed to sprinkling sugar and cinnamon on my fruit, but they may be onto something there.
Now for the quiz to see how well you know me. It's a funny thing blogging. In a way, you know me better than most people in my everyday life. Blogging allows me to talk about what I'm interested in, which only those closest to me usually learn. But by its very nature, blogging does not allow us to know one another in lots of everyday details.
So, I thought I'd ask if you can guess which tube of toothpaste is mine and which belongs to my husband? You can tell we're opposites. Which one is mine? Which is Big D's? (Mom, if you know the answer to this, you're not allowed to tell.)

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Creation Science Series: The Age of the Earth

The topic I want to begin with in our exam of evolution and creation science is the age of the earth. There are really only two theories about the age of the earth. Either the earth is relatively young, like between 6-10,000 years old, which fits into a Biblical framework, or it is very, very old, like around 5 billion years (evolutionary scientists estimate the age of the universe to be 10-20 billion years old), which evolutionary scientists feel is a reasonable amount of time for evolution to have run its course. The reason I want to start with the age of the earth is that it can be a game spoiler for evolution. A young earth sounds the death knoll for evolution, because there is no way that the random mutation and natural selection, thought to be the guiding principles of evolution, could have happened over just thousands or even millions of years. Evolution is about chance. Random chance. One random mutation that when combined with another random mutation over time confers a benefit which is then enhanced by another random mutation. Evolution’s best friends are time and chance. As Christians we don’t believe in chance, but atheists cling to it. However, chance without time is useless to the evolutionary scientist. If we can prove the earth is young, evolution as a theory must be discarded.

Radioisotope dating has long been a friend of evolutionary scientists because this technique has indicated that the rocks of the earth are very, very old. Several problems plague radioisotope dating though and make it difficult to accurately interpret the results. First let me explain the basics of radioisotope dating.

Radioactive isotopes (remember your periodic table from general chemistry class?) decay over time (give off energy) which causes the transformation of the parent isotope (starting one) to its daughter isotope. If we know the half-life (amount of time it takes for 50% of the parent isotope to decay into the daughter isotope) and we measure the amount of daughter isotope in a rock or fossil sample, we can estimate the age of the sample. Now back to the problems with this method of dating. There are two major assumptions in radioisotope dating.

1. The amount of daughter isotope present prior to decay (at the beginning) is assumed to be zero. The age estimates of the sample will be thrown off by the degree to which daughter isotope was present in the sample initially. The fact that we cannot know for certain the ratio of parent to daughter isotope before the decay process began means that we cannot be certain of our estimated age of the rock or fossil.

2. The second assumption of radioactive isotope dating is that of constant decay. In order to use the amount of daughter isotope in a sample and our knowledge of half-life to extrapolate the age of that sample, we have to assume a linear rate of decay.

The isochron method has been applied to help get around the first assumption, but there is no getting around the second assumption of radioisotope dating.

Creation scientists have long hypothesized that there could have been one or more periods of accelerated decay that could account for the “old” age estimates obtained by radioisotope dating. The problem has been, how to prove it. You see, accelerated decay is not without its own problems. Foremost of which is what to do with all that extra energy? When nuclear decay occurs, energy is given off. Accelerated decay would mean excess energy given off. Think energy emission of cataclysmic proportions here. (I’m envisioning all those destruction of the earth by meteor movies). Creation scientists already had problems with heat disposal. Creation and flood models simply have “too much geologic work being done in too short a time” (Radioisotopes and the Age of the Earth vol 1 pp 369-70). At least we’re in familiar territory! Fortunately, there is a solution to the problem of excess heat disposal. An expanding cosmos. The type of rapid expansion of the cosmos envisioned over the first 3 days of creation and also also possibly during the Biblical flood could use up all this excess energy. In fact, the one process (decay) could be used to fuel the other. This made me smile. Could it be that God is green? (Please don’t use that to support cap and trade! It’s more of an endorsement for recycling energy, not taxing it.)

Now’s the point where I tell you I’m going to leave you hanging until tomorrow. There have been some very exciting breakthroughs by the RATE (Radioisotopes and the Age of The Earth) study. I’m going to summarize several of their more important experiments for you over the next couple of posts. To whet your appetite I will tell you this. Accelerated decay would not have occurred without leaving its mark. Although we cannot absolutely verify that there was accelerated nuclear decay during creation week and the flood, any more than evolutionary scientists can tell you for certain that decay has been constant, there are traces that accelerated decay would have left behind. We can identify accelerated radioactive decay by the tracks it left behind in the same way we can know a deer has passed by where we see its tracks. Aren’t you just dying to know what evidence they’ve found for accelerated decay? You’ll just have to tune in tomorrow!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

90 Day Bible Update Week 5: A Woman's Place of Influence is in the Home

I had planned on writing about worship and a few other topics I’ve enjoyed learning about this week, but I may have to explore these in a second Bible update for week 5. The overwhelming theme in my reading this week that seemed almost to jump out from the pages at me every day is that of the powerful influence of women over their families and especially their children.

It’s a grave misconception that a submissive wife who devotes her whole self to her husband and children is an insignificant member of the family, who doesn’t really make a difference in the culture because she’s stuck at home. Feminists would have you think women in the home are held back or put down or ignored. I’ve been struck over the last week of my reading just how much influence women have- over their husbands, over their children, over the course of nations. I remember a funny quote from My Big Fat Greek Wedding that went something like, “The man is the head, but the woman is the neck that turns the head.” I don’t think that’s a feminist statement, because the feminist would insist on being the head! I do think that’s a very true statement and one that has Biblical merit.

I am certainly not the first to do this, but I made a little chart of the kings of Judah and their mothers. Guess what? Almost every time you have a good king, his mother is Hebrew. Almost every time you have a bad king, his mother is a foreigner who did not worship the Lord. These mothers made a difference in the lives of their sons. In fact, it’s easier to predict the outcome of the son by looking at the mother than by looking at the father. Let me give a couple of examples. Solomon (good) fathered Rehoboam (bad). Remember all Solomon’s wives and concubines? It got him into trouble. It is said of Rehoboam that “he did evil because he had not set his heart on following the Lord.” Why wasn’t his father able to pass on his faith to Rehoboam? His mother Naamah was an Ammonite who didn’t worship the Lord.

Not only does a bad mother corrupt, but a good mother can make a positive difference. In the case of Hezekiah, his father Ahaz was very evil. “He walked in the ways of the kings of Israel” and even sacrificed his sons to Molech. (2 Chronicles 28:1-3) It’s hard to imagine a child of such a wicked man turning to the Lord, but Hezekiah’s mother was Abijah, daughter of Zechariah. She made the difference in his life and Hezekiah “did what was right in the eyes of the Lord.” (2 Chronicles 29:2) We see this same pattern of reversal repeat itself with the wicked Amon being replaced by the godly Josiah whose mother was Jedidah daughter of Adaiah. Jedidah means “beloved” and Adaiah means “Jehovah has adorned Himself”. Josiah’s father was wicked, but his mother came from a family who loved the Lord. By the way, you might have guessed that Amon, Josiah’s father, had a foreign mother.

Joash, Amaziah, Uzziah, and Jotham all had good starts, although they didn’t all finish strong, and they all had Hebrew mothers. Jehoshaphat, who had a Hebrew mother, starts out “walking in the ways of his father David” and the Lord blesses him. He gets into trouble at the end of his reign when he aligns himself to Ahab (wicked king of Israel) through marriage. This marital alliance was Jehoshaphat’s son Jehoram’s marriage to Athalia, wicked king Ahab’s daughter. It is suspected that Athalia is also Jezebel’s daughter. Either way Athalia is certainly not "a nice Jewish girl", and likely had a wicked foreign mother herself (Jezebel). Athalia and Jehoram are both murderers. It’s no wonder Ahazia doesn’t turn out so well. Not all the mothers of the kings are named, but there is definitely a strong trend among those that are mentioned: so goes the mother, so goes the son.

I couldn’t help but reflect on this thought again as I read in Ezra the radical way intermarriage to foreign wives was dealt with. They made the Jews who had sinned in this area send their wives packing, children and all. It seems so wrong, so heartbreaking, so unloving. But, what Ezra had in mind was preserving a nation for the Lord. “The people of Israel have not kept themselves separate from the neighboring peoples with their detestable practices… Shall we again break your commands and intermarry with the peoples who commit such detestable practices? Would You not be angry enough with us to destroy us, leaving us no remnant or survivor?” (Ezra 9:1&14) Ezra understood how much influence women have in the home and wanted to protect the re-planting of their nation in their homeland from the idolatrous influence of foreign women. God doesn’t have anything against foreigners, it is their “detestable practices” that are renounced as evil. The fact that God includes Tamar, Rahab, and Ruth, all three foreign women who worship the one true God and identified themselves with His people, in the genealogy of Christ shows that it’s not being foreign that God hates, but the idolatry. The issue is not place of birth, but whom they worship. God wanted a nation set apart for Himself, and we are grafted into that people today. We need to take seriously our role as wife and mother. God does.

Esther is another example of the incredible influence of a godly woman on those around her. The book opens with Queen Vashti, a feminist who bristles and rebels at the thought of being shown off like a trophy by her husband the king. She’s busy with her own agenda, throwing her own feast, so that she can’t be bothered with her husband’s plans. She doesn’t mind telling the king “no” even at the point of causing him public humiliation. The king realizes his wife doesn’t even respect him. Then enters Esther. She’s nothing Queen Vashti is, except beautiful, and she’s everything Vashti is not. Esther is meek and wise and submissive. She spends time in thought and prayer before acting to ensure that she’s being sensitive to God and her husband. She desires to please her husband. Esther’s oft repeated phrase, “If it pleases the king…” (3:9, 5:4, 5:8, 7:3, 9:13) shows her desire to contribute to her husband’s happiness, not take away from it with her own agenda. And God uses this meek, submissive woman of prayer to rescue His people instead of a Hebrew version of the strong-willed feminist Vashti.

Doesn’t this just fly in the face of the wisdom of the culture that says women have to be assertive and controlling to be influential? But, this is God’s way. Contrary to what many feminists would have you believe, God is not a misogynist. He gives women great responsibility and the opportunity to greatly influence others. The question is to what end will we use that influence? Esther had quite an effect on at least two kings of Persia, Xerxes I her husband, and Artaxerxes, her step son or possibly her son. She used this influence to rescue the Jews in Persia and she also helped establish Mordecai, her godly uncle, as second in command to her husband the king. Again, it’s amazing how influential women can be when we are content to submit ourselves to the Lord and pour ourselves into our family.

Consider for a moment the responsibility you have over the daily life of your home. I don’t know about you, but my husband entrusts to me entirely the running of our home. What the kids study in school, when and how often the kids are drilled in catechism and Bible memory work, when we do family worship (he asks only that we do it, but leaves the scheduling to me), as well as other details like paying bills and what’s for dinner. We set the focus, pace, and mood in our homes. And think of it this way. If the breakdown of the family is contributing to the breakdown of our society, then we can have a tremendous preserving influence on the culture at large through our efforts within our own families.

Your prayers for your husband and children are not wasted. The time you invest in studying the Scriptures with your children will pay dividends later. The character training is not in vain. The influence of a godly woman can make all the difference in the lives of your husband and children. Be encouraged and stay the course, for God has called you to a noble purpose. Do not neglect your great opportunity to influence your loved ones for the Lord.

You can check out other 90 day Bible challenge updates at Mom's Toolbox and Raising Olives.

Friday, February 5, 2010

The Best Excuse Ever and Spreading the Sunshine

The kids and I read Luke 12 the other morning and were discussing the parable of the faithful steward afterwards. I said, “Kids, we should always be asking ourselves, if Christ returned right now would He be pleased with what He found? Pleased with our choices? Pleased with our words? Pleased with our activities?” Then I gave an example. “For instance, Mr. Monk, do you think Jesus would be happy to find you playing video games when He returns?” Monk (10) replied sheepishly, “Probably not so much.” Without missing a beat, Twinkle Toes (8) jumped in with, “Mom, how do you think Jesus would feel if He returned to find us doing math?” I told her, “Nice try, but you’re not getting out of math today!” But I was thinking, that just might be the best excuse ever! Forget, the dog ate my homework and cut right to the imminent return of Christ. I mean, that’s pretty hard to argue with. Meanwhile, Measle Bug (6) had the worst excuse ever. When I went in to awaken her that morning (I do this as quietly as possible so as not to awaken the 3 and 1 yr olds) she hid under her covers and said matter of factly, “I can’t come out today.” Oh, she did come out.

Next, I want to thank my friend Gen at Girls and Sunflowers for giving me this blog award. She said I spread a little sunshine in her life and I’m to pass it on to 12 bloggers that do the same for me. I have a special place in my heart for Gen, because 6 months ago when I started blogging, she was one of my very first followers. I noticed I broke 100 followers just the other day. Thanks to all of you who put up with me and my oh-so-opinionated posts. I guess you’ve noticed I enjoy reading and writing. And perhaps I’m missing teaching, just a little ;-). My husband said my blogging obsession wouldn’t last 6 months, so I’m happy to have proven him wrong!

Without further adieu I am passing on the Sunshine Blog Award, in no particular order, to…

Steph at Sound Off
Roan at Joyful Always
Valerie at In Faith and Purity
Jen at Many Blessings, Busy Life
Momma Bug at Momma Bug’s Blog
Debbie at A Journey in Motherhood
Shoni at Nations Around our Table
Amy at In Search of Normal
Stacie at A Firefighter’s Wife
Debi at Who Says 8 is Enough?
Jenilee at The Goodwin Family
MumMe at Our Aussie Half Dozen

I enjoy following all these ladies. Some of them are especially encouraging to me through their comments and interaction with me on my blog. Some of them are very encouraging through what they post about on their blogs. But, all of them have encouraged me in some way or another. Ladies, I’m passing on this award to you for spreading sunshine in my life. Thank you.

If you choose to pass on the award, just list your 12 recipients with links to their blogs, comment on their blogs to let them know they won, and link back to the person who passed the award to you. Thanks again for making blogging fun and rewarding! (Btw, you all probably already know this, but the easiest way to pass on this award is to go to your dashboard then choose the manage tab under the list of the blogs you follow. If you keep this open in one window and have your new post open in another window it's very fast and easy to pass on the award by copying and pasting the blog addresses from the blogs you follow into your new post.)

And if you haven't suggested a question or issue you want me to address in my creation science series, do that here in my Questions over Evolution or Creation Science post.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Your Questions about the Theories of Evolution and Creation

I ended my last post with a quote by Isaac Newton, arguably the greatest scientist who has ever lived.

“I do not know what I may appear to the world; but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy, playing on the seashore and diverting myself now and then in finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.”

You know, he’s the guy who invented Newtonian physics in order to explain the physical universe, and calculus along the way to describe the physics. This is what he’s most famous for, but he also wrote extensively on optics and other mathematical and scientific questions that had stumped scientists until Newton paused long enough to solve them. (My personal favorite of his writings is over his interpretation of the books of Daniel and Revelation. I’ve also read his chronology of ancient kingdoms, which read about how you’d think a history book written by a scientist would read- he was extremely methodical.)

Newton saw that despite all his accomplishments, there was a vast body of truth, of science that still lay undiscovered. Thanks to great men and women of science since Newton and the invention of modern tools of science such as the electron microscope and immunoassay techniques, we have now dipped into that “ocean of truth.” It is my intention that this series on creation science will review some of the modern discoveries of science that support the theory of creation, or intelligent design. I’m now moving away from my theological posts in which I examined the Scriptures and turning to science, so I will refer to creation as a theory from here on out.

I want to ask you another thought-provoking question. What do you think the best evidence is for evolution? I mean, let’s suppose for a moment that you are on a jury. Creation is under attack and on the defensive, while the prosecutors are evolutionists. What’s the prosecution’s best evidence? Even if you’re completely convinced about creation, what is the one weapon that evolutionists have that worries you? OK, if you’re not willing to admit to any doubt or worry whatsoever, what is the one icon of evolution you’d like to see debunked? If I don’t know the answer, I’ll look it up and read about it, but I’d like to know what you’re the most interested in learning about. Yes, I’ll still write about what I’m interested in, too. I’m twisted that way.

Want a sneak peak? My next creation science post will be about the age of the earth. Right now I’m reading about radioisotope dating and accelerated decay. I hope to have some interesting conclusions to share with you in a few days. I’ll share the different theories on the age of the earth and the evidence claimed by both sides. Then we’ll weigh the evidence together. By the way, science is the pursuit of knowledge. Science should be impartial, right? When a theory is shot down by overwhelming evidence that does not fit the theory, it should be thrown out. At least this is how it’s supposed to work. Thank you again for going on this journey with me. I just love learning through science about how great God is!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Is theistic evolution consistent with a Biblical worldview? part 2

I linked to my previous blog post, Is theistic evolution consistent with a Biblical worldview?, from my facebook page and let me tell you, the discussion was much more lively than in the comment section here (thank you Roan and Catherine for your words of encouragement!). Anyway, this debate has caused me to think a little deeper about these issues and I wanted to share some of that with you in this follow-up post.

Two other points I left out of my last post that I think are valid in arguing against theistic evolution are 1.) the repetition of “after its own kind” which is contrary to evolution which requires change across species and 2.) the order of creation is not consistent with evolutionary theory which says that life originated in the sea before land and that birds evolved from dinosaurs. But, the main thing I want to expose tonight is that this debate is really over another debate.

1. Theistic evolutionists take Genesis 1 as being figurative, rather than literal. They take it to be a poetic description of our origins, despite the lack of poetic language. So, they refute the difference I pointed out between 2 Peter 3:8 “one day is as a thousand years…” and Genesis 1 that does not have the wording for simile or metaphor (no like or as- not in the Hebrew, either.) They say it doesn’t matter, that it is obviously not to be taken literally.

2. Several exchanges later, my friend stated the following. “I would suggest that the Bible was written, collected, translated, and printed by fallible human beings who were struggling to describe the indescribable, with stories spread across many centuries. That’s why there are so many different translations, versions, books left out, books left in, retranslations as new sources are rediscovered… Such a work as this cannot be expected to be literal throughout, or even consistent, because the point is the message. The idea of literal history is very 20th-century, and doesn’t have much bearing on a book written before the fall of the Roman Empire. If the Bible says that clouds are green, am I to trust it over my own lying eyes?”

The Bible doesn’t say that clouds are green. As another of my friends pointed out, this is a slippery slope. So, you don’t believe Genesis 1 is literal. What about the ten commandments? What about the great commission? What about John 3:16? What about the resurrection? What about the return of Christ?

This might sound shocking to you, but if I didn’t believe the Bible was the actual Word of God, I wouldn’t spend so much time studying it. I mean, what would be the point? I’m not that big of a history buff. And I wouldn’t go to church, either. I’m anti-social by nature anyway, so why buck it?

“For the Word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12

According to the above verse, the Bible is God’s Word and it is living. It’s not just a book written by a bunch of guys who had a spiritual encounter they wanted to share for posterity’s sake.

“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16

Again, the Bible is God-breathed and without it, we’re incomplete.

Our initial debate over creationism versus theistic evolution ended up as a debate over the inerrancy and infallibility of the Word of God.

3. My friend also had some interesting things to say about faith. “I don’t think faith in God increases if we believe that God created the world in 7, 24-hr long days. I think it instills, instead, an arrogance. A stronger faith means eliminating the safety net. This belief that the Bible is both inerrant and literal is a safety net; when something challenges your beliefs, you can fall back on, “I KNOW that this is so, because it’s in the Bible. My challenge to you is that if you really want faith, take that safety net away. Recognize that the Bible was written by flawed, fallible, sinful human beings…. Know that God allowed them to err when they wrote it, to let petty grievances creep in. Know that it is an essentially human creation. And then once you’ve done that, take your first step on the tightrope. For a minute, pretend that everything I said above is true. It scares you, doesn’t it?”

My response to my friend was that his version of faith sounds like blind faith and that’s what I thought creationists were accused of (confusing, isn’t it?)!

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1

Substance. Evidence. That doesn’t sound like blind faith to me. God is not asking us to have a blind faith, but to look at history (don’t you love all those memorials God was always having the Israelites build and the feasts and holy days in remembrance of His mighty works of deliverance and provision for His chosen ones?) and to look around at nature and see that He is TRUSTWORTHY!

“By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the Word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.” Hebrews 11:3

This is not blind faith. It’s faith in a God who has proven Himself time and again. And His people have always had short-term memory. How quickly we forget His mighty works and wondrous deeds, but the reminders are all around us.

My friend is right. Faith in a God who either could not or chose not to preserve His Word, but let it be corrupted by man so that it exists as “essentially a human creation”, is walking on a tightrope. It would scare the heck out of me. I’m so grateful that the Bible doesn’t call us to have that kind of faith. It seems to me that would reduce Christianity to a fairy tale. And I’m not really into fairy tales.
My friend is an honest thinker who has carried theistic evolution to its logical conclusion: the Bible is not really the inerrant Word of God, it's "essentially a human creation".

I used to be a fan of the X-Files in my college years. Its motto was, “The truth is out there.” I believe a more accurate statement would be, “The truth is in there”, in the Bible that is. I also believe that there has been no scientific discovery that contradicts God’s perfect, infallible Word. What is science, but the means of discovering God’s world? I love this famous quote by Sir Isaac Newton.

“I do not know what I may appear to the world; but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy, playing on the seashore and diverting myself now and then in finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.”

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Is theistic evolution consistent with a Biblical worldview?

Is theistic evolution consistent with a Biblical worldview?

There have been many books written in answer to this question and I am only going to give you the couple of arguments that I think are the strongest. Check out the Institute for Creation Research or Answers in Genesis for a more thorough treatment of this topic. My purpose is to give my personal journey and convictions about what the Bible has to say about our origins.

1. What is a day? Catherine already commented on this argument, and it’s a very powerful one. For a Christian to believe that God used evolution to create life as we know it, he must accept that a day does not mean a literal 24 hour period. If a day means a day, as we know it, then the honest Christian must choose whom to believe, the Bible or the culture at large.

Why would anyone think a day could be defined as anything other than a day? This argument comes from 2 Peter 3:8 and is known as the day-age theory.

“But beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” 2 Peter 3:8

Let’s deal with this first then I’ll move on to why I think the Bible defines a day as a 24 hr period. In the verse above, Peter is talking about the faithfulness of God to keep His word and specifically that Jesus would return. I’ve often thought it interesting that Christ’s return is taught in Scripture as imminent, like it’s just around the corner, when in reality it’s been almost 2,000 years since He promised it. Peter is saying, don’t lose heart, Jesus will return, He will make new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness will dwell (v. 13). This may be hard for us to relate to, but Peter’s audience was suffering persecution and discouraged that Christ had not yet returned. So, that’s the context. Peter is not saying according to God one day equals one thousand years. He’s simply saying that your time is not God’s time and Jesus will return in His time. It may seem like you’re waiting forever, but according to His eternal perspective, the return of Christ is right around the corner.

Notice Peter says that “with the Lord one day is as a thousand years”. I remember learning about simile and metaphor when I was in school. These literature devices are used to help us better understanding something unknown through comparison to something we already know. In this case, the thing Peter wants them to understand is that God’s timing is not the same as ours.

Even if Peter had said that one day was equal to 1,000 years, which he didn’t, is it enough? NO!!!!! Six thousand years is peanuts. Evolutionists tell us that we’re talking billions of years, not millions, for there to have been enough time possibly for life to have evolved. There is not one evolutionary scientist who will pretend that evolution could have happened over thousands of years, not even millions of years. So, where does that leave us? Back to the drawing board.

The reason I believe in a literal six day creation is because the Bible teaches it in Genesis 1.

“Then God said, ‘Let there be light’; and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. So the evening and the morning were the first day.” Genesis 1:3-5

This same phrase, “so the evening and the morning were the _______ day” is repeated after the explanation of each day’s creation.

It is true that the Hebrew word yom can mean something other than a 24 hr period (like when I say I did such and such the other day and it may have been much longer ago than just a few days), though that is its first and most widely used definition. People have argued long and hard about the different meanings for the Hebrew word yom, but you cannot get around God’s qualifying definition. So that there would be no mistake about it, He tells us outright, “God called the light day”. Then just in case we weren’t paying attention, He tells us again, “so the evening and the morning were the first day.” Then He reminds us of what kind of day He’s talking about at the end of each day’s description by tacking that phrase, “so the evening and the morning were the ________ day” onto the end of it. In all, I count 7 times in Genesis 1 that day is defined as just a day.

Exodus 20:11 reaffirms this definition of day in the context of commanding Sabbath rest. “For in six days the Lord made heavens and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.” Equal terms are being discussed here. Since God made the world in six days and then rested one day, so you shall work six days and then rest one day. The context and the use of the same vocabulary both testify that God created the world and everything in it in 6 literal days.

2. Did God leave any gaps in His description of creation?

The Gap theory has become very complicated, too much so for me to try to explain all the different gap theories out there. But, basically, the argument is that there is a gap between the first two verses of Genesis 1. And that gap could have been millions or even billions of years, or however much time contemporary evolutionary scientists feel could have been enough time for evolution to work (it keeps getting longer). I will direct you to a more thorough refutation of the gap theory, if this is something you’re into. I never found this argument attractive, because it makes no sense to me. If everything is “formless and void” at the beginning of verse 2, how could evolution have accounted for life in the gap after verse 1? This is where it gets complicated. To answer this question, gap theorists have invented a theory called ruin-and-reconstruction. (Does this sound familiar? Kind of like the whole flood thing, right? Just wait.) They theorize, and I emphasize theorize, that life evolved after God created the heavens and the earth (the Big Bang, no doubt) described in verse 1. The reason they do this is to try to explain the geological “evidence” for evolution. They believe the only way the geological strata of fossils can be explained is evolution, but they also want to believe in a literal 6 day creation. I commend them for wanting to accept God’s definition of a day, but their theory has more holes in it than Swiss cheese.

If life evolved in the gap between Genesis 1:1 and 2, then how did the earth become formless and void by verse 2? To answer this they theorize that Lucifer’s fall must have occurred at this time and that this event must have been the cause of the ruin of the world.

If life evolved in the gap between Genesis 1:1 and 2, then Adam wasn’t the first man. Besides the obvious, why didn’t God record the creation of the first man and start there instead of waiting to start with Adam? (If this is the argument, why didn’t He just start the Bible with Noah?) 1 Corinthians 15:45 specifically states, “and so it is written, ‘The first man, Adam became a living being.’”

If life evolved in the gap between Genesis 1:1 and 2, and if this fits with the geological strata, then what evidence did the flood of the Bible leave behind? It didn’t leave one. Oh, so it must not have been a world-wide flood, or at least not a really big flood. So they support their “flood” at the expense of the Biblical flood.

If life evolved in the gap between Genesis 1:1 and 2, and if this fits with the geological record, then how is it that animals and humans were dying and killing before the fall? Oops. Now they’ve really done it. There’s no way around this one in my opinion. You have to really mess with theology at this point and either allow for a fall before the fall in Scripture, or argue that there was in fact, physical death prior to the fall.

Believing the gap theory involves WAY too much theorizing for my taste. I’m a simple person and like the obvious answer. The more theorizing that goes on, the more room for the introduction of errors into your theory that is built upon theory that is built on yet another theory. And what really gets me, is for Christians to buy the gap theory, they have to end up compromising so much Biblical doctrine to do it.

3. Is theistic evolution consistent with God speaking the world and life into existence? I’ve never heard anyone use this point before, but it’s something that I’ve enjoyed thinking about and wanted to share it with you. The language in Genesis is that of “God said” such and such. God spoke, “Let there be light” and there was light. It’s hard for us to imagine the power and authority of God, but we can try. At my house I’m prone to repeat to my children often that “delayed obedience is disobedience.” Oh, that my wish were their command, but alas, I’m not God. But God is God. Is it possible that God could have spoken and billions of years passed before “nature” answered? (This doesn’t even make sense since there was nothing, ex nihilo, but work with me.) The part I really love to think about is the power in that voice.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.” John 1:1-3

God is doing the speaking, but the pre-incarnate Christ is the very Word and means by which everything is made. Isn’t that a cool thought? The second member of the Trinity is always the one reaching down to us, to make us, to live among us and die for us, and even now to encourage us and mature us as we study the Word. And lest the third person of the Trinity be left out of creation, it’s specifically mentioned as being there amid it all, hovering.

It seems to me that when God speaks, the universe obeys. We see this in the account of the flood, and when He sends plagues on Egypt, when He parts the Red Sea, and in about a thousand other miracles in the Bible. Why is it Christians have no problem believing God raised Jesus from the dead, but that He needed a little help in creating the world? Surely, He couldn’t have just spoken it into existence! It must have taken time, or there must have been a gap. I do not follow this line of thinking. My 3 yr old son's favorite Bible verse is, "Nothing is impossible with God." Luke 1:37

4. Theistic evolution steals God’s thunder.

Psalm 19:1-2 says, “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork.”

Even when you acknowledge that God did create the world, when you qualify that by saying He did so using evolution, you give partial credit to evolution, or time, or chance, or whatever, something besides God.

Psalm 8:3 “When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained…”

Psalm 100:3 “Know that the Lord, He is God; It is He who has made us and not we ourselves…”

The result of pondering creation should lead the believer to praise God and marvel at His might and ingenuity. Somehow, I can’t see the following verses from Job making sense if God had started the process like a divine watchmaker, and then let it go to run its course via evolution.

Job 31:4-11 “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell me if you have understanding. Who determined its measurements? Surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it? To what were its foundations fastened? Or who laid its cornerstone, when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy? Or who shut in the sea with doors, when it burst forth and issued from the womb; when I made the clouds its garment, and thick darkness its swaddling band; when I fixed my limit for it, and set bars and doors; When I said, ‘This far you may come, but no farther, and here your proud waves must stop!’”

These verses show God’s intimate ordination over every detail of creation. He was not disinterested, He did not step back. When God commanded the ocean, it obeyed immediately.

One of my favorite Psalms is 139. I won’t reprint all of it, but just a few of my favorite verses. “For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well.” (vs 13-14)

Any evolutionary scientist will tell you that first and foremost evolution depends on chance. Do the above verses sound like we came about by chance? I understand why people who do not know the Lord believe in evolution. What I do not and cannot understand is how someone who believes in God and His Word can also believe in evolution. There is no middle ground. Either we are here because God made us and put us here in the manner in which He describes in His Word, or the evolutionists are right and we are here by chance. Chance upon chance upon chance upon chance. Take your pick, but there is no Biblical grounds for evolution. The random nature of evolution defies everything in Scripture from beginning to end. God has carefully been at work on His masterpiece since the beginning of time. He deserves all the credit, all the praise, and all the glory.
At least, this is my opinion. What do you think?


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I'm an on-the-run mom to 6 kids who studied and taught exercise science in a previous life. I love all things running, nutrition, and health-related. I usually run at zero dark thirty in the morning and am often quite hungry before, during, and after my run, but I live a rich, full, blessed life with my children, family, and friends. My faith in God is my anchor, and looking to Him and His promises allows me to live fully even when life circumstances are difficult. While running gives me an appetite, my desire is to hunger and thirst for righteousness more than for physical food.