Unfold the Evangel before your eyes!

Are you lost?
Are you worn out?
Are you overwhelmed?
Are you rational?

Only rational, non-dogmatic persons can understand and accept this message. Give yourself a try. Nothing will be like before, I promise!

segunda-feira, outubro 30, 2006

Christian Discernment

Kerby Anderson

[Leia este artigo em português]


Turn on a television or open a newspaper. You are immediately presented with a myriad of ethical issues. Daily we are confronted with ethical choices and moral complexity. Society is awash in controversial issues: abortion, euthanasia, cloning, race, drug abuse, homosexuality, gambling, pornography, and capital punishment. Life may have been simpler in a previous age, but now the rise of technology and the fall of ethical consensus have brought us to a society full of moral dilemmas.

Never has society needed biblical perspectives more to evaluate contemporary moral issues. And yet Christians seem less equipped to address these topics from a biblical perspective. The Barna Research Group conducted a national survey of adults and concluded that only four percent of adults have a biblical worldview as the basis of their decision-making. The survey also discovered that nine percent of born again Christians have such a perspective on life.{1}
It is worth noting that what George Barna defines as a biblical worldview would be considered by most people to be basic Christian doctrine. It doesn’t even include aspects of a biblical perspective on social and political issues.

Of even greater concern is the fact that most Christians do not base their beliefs on an absolute moral foundation. Biblical ethics rests on the belief in absolute truth. Yet surveys show that a minority of born again adults (forty-four percent) and an even smaller proportion of born again teenagers (nine percent) are certain of the existence of absolute moral truth.{2} By a three-to-one margin adults say truth is always relative to the person and their situation. This perspective is even more lopsided among teenagers who overwhelmingly believe moral truth depends on the circumstances.{3}

Social scientists as well as pollsters have been warning that American society is becoming more and more dominated by moral anarchy. Writing in the early 1990s, James Patterson and Peter Kim said in The Day America Told the Truth that there was no moral authority in America. “We choose which laws of God we believe in. There is absolutely no moral consensus in this country as there was in the 1950s, when all our institutions commanded more respect.”{4} Essentially we live in a world of moral anarchy.

So how do we begin to apply a Christian worldview to the complex social and political issues of the day? And how do we avoid falling for the latest fad or cultural trend that blows in the wind? The following are some key principles to apply and some dangerous pitfalls to avoid.
Biblical Principles

A key biblical principle that applies to the area of bioethics is the sanctity of human life. Such verses as Psalm 139:13-16 show that God’s care and concern extend to the womb. Other verses such as Jeremiah 1:5, Judges 13:7-8, Psalm 51:5 and Exodus 21:22–25 give additional perspective and framework to this principle. These principles can be applied to issues ranging from abortion to stem cell research to infanticide.

A related biblical principle involves the equality of human beings. The Bible teaches that God has made “of one blood all nations of men” (Acts 17:26). The Bible also teaches that it is wrong for a Christian to have feelings of superiority (Philippians 2). Believers are told not to make class distinctions between various people (James 2). Paul teaches the spiritual equality of all people in Christ (Galatians 3:28; Colossians 3:11). These principles apply to racial relations and our view of government.

A third principle is a biblical perspective on marriage. Marriage is God’s plan and provides intimate companionship for life (Genesis 2:18). Marriage provides a context for the procreation and nurture of children (Ephesians 6:1-2). And finally, marriage provides a godly outlet for sexual desire (1 Corinthians 7:2). These principles can be applied to such diverse issues as artificial reproduction (which often introduces a third party into the pregnancy) and cohabitation (living together).

Another biblical principle involves sexual ethics. The Bible teaches that sex is to be within the bounds of marriage, as a man and the woman become one flesh (Ephesians 5:31). Paul teaches that we should “avoid sexual immorality” and learn to control our own body in a way that is “holy and honorable” (1 Thessalonians 4:3-5). He admonishes us to flee sexual immorality (1 Corinthians 6:18). These principles apply to such issues as premarital sex, adultery, and homosexuality.

A final principle concerns government and our obedience to civil authority. Government is ordained by God (Rom.13:1-7). We are to render service and obedience to the government (Matt. 22:21) and submit to civil authority (1 Pet. 2:13-17). Even though we are to obey government, there may be certain times when we might be forced to obey God rather than men (Acts 5:29). These principles apply to issues such as war, civil disobedience, politics, and government.

Biblical Discernment

So how do we sort out what is true and what is false? This is a difficult proposition in a world awash in data. It underscores the need for Christians to develop discernment. This is a word that appears fairly often in the Bible (1 Samuel 25:32-33; 1 Kings 3:10-11; 4:29; Psalm 119:66; Proverbs 2:3; Daniel 2:14; Philippians 1:9 [NASB]). And with so many facts, claims, and opinions being tossed about, we all need to be able to sort through what is true and what is false.
Colossians 2:8 says, “See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.” We need to develop discernment so that we are not taken captive by false ideas. Here are some things to watch for:

1. Equivocation — the use of vague terms. Someone can start off using language we think we understand and then veer off into a new meaning. Most of us are well aware of the fact that religious cults are often guilty of this. A cult member might say that he believes in salvation by grace. But what he really means is that you have to join his cult and work your way toward salvation. Make people define the vague terms they use.

This tactic is used frequently in bioethics. Proponents of embryonic stem cell research often will not acknowledge the distinction between adult stem cells and embryonic stem cells. Those trying to legalize cloning will refer to it as “somatic cell nuclear transfer.” Unless you have a scientific background, you will not know that it is essentially the same thing.
2. Card stacking — the selective use of evidence. Don’t jump on the latest bandwagon and intellectual fad without checking the evidence. Many advocates are guilty of listing all the points in their favor while ignoring the serious points against it.

The major biology textbooks used in high school and college never provide students with evidence against evolution. Jonathan Wells, in his book Icons of Evolution, shows that the examples that are used in most textbooks are either wrong or misleading.{5} Some of the examples are known frauds (such as the Haeckel embryos) and continue to show up in textbooks decades after they were shown to be fraudulent.

Another example would be the Y2K fears. Anyone who was concerned about the potential catastrophe in 2000 need only read any of the technical computer journals in the 1990s to see that no computer expert was predicting what the Y2K fear mongers were predicting at the time.

3. Appeal to authority — relying on authority to the exclusion of logic and evidence. Just because an expert says it, that doesn’t necessarily make it true. We live in a culture that worships experts, but not all experts are right. Hiram’s Law says: “If you consult enough experts, you can confirm any opinion.”

Those who argue that global warming is caused by human activity often say that “the debate in the scientific community is over.” But an Internet search of critics of the theories behind global warming will show that there are many scientists with credentials in climatology or meteorology who have questions about the theory. It is not accurate to say that the debate is over when the debate still seems to be taking place.

4. Ad hominem — Latin for “against the man.” People using this tactic attack the person instead of dealing with the validity of their argument. Often the soundness of an argument is inversely proportional to the amount of ad hominem rhetoric. If there is evidence for the position, proponents usually argue the merits of the position. When evidence is lacking, they attack the critics.

Christians who want public libraries to filter pornography from minors are accused of censorship. Citizens who want to define marriage as between one man and one woman are called bigots. Scientists who criticize evolution are subjected to withering attacks on their character and scientific credentials. Scientists who question global warming are compared to holocaust deniers.

5. Straw man argument — making your opponent’s argument seem so ridiculous that it is easy to attack and knock down. Liberal commentators say that evangelical Christians want to implement a religious theocracy in America. That’s not true. But the hyperbole works to marginalize Christian activists who believe they have a responsibility to speak to social and political issues within society.

Those who stand for moral principles in the area of bioethics often see this tactic used against them. They hear from proponents of physician assisted suicide that pro-life advocates don’t care about the suffering of the terminally ill. Proponents of embryonic stem cell research level the same charge by saying that pro-life people don’t care that these new medical technologies could alleviate the suffering of many with intractable diseases. Nothing could be further from the truth.

6. Sidestepping — dodging the issue by changing the subject. Politicians do this in press conferences by not answering the question asked by the reporter, but instead answering a question they wish someone had asked. Professors sometimes do that when a student points out an inconsistency or a leap in logic.

Ask a proponent of abortion whether the fetus is human and you are likely to see this tactic in action. He or she might start talking about a woman’s right to choose or the right of women to control their own bodies. Perhaps you will hear a discourse on the need to tolerate various viewpoints in a pluralistic society. But you probably won’t get a straight answer to an important question.

7. Red herring — going off on a tangent (from the practice of luring hunting dogs off the trail with the scent of a herring fish). Proponents of embryonic stem cell research rarely will talk about the morality of destroying human embryos. Instead they will go off on a tangent and talk about the various diseases that could be treated and the thousands of people who could be helped with the research.

Be on the alert when someone in a debate changes the subject. They may want to argue their points on more familiar ground, or they may know they cannot win their argument on the relevant issue at hand.

In conclusion, we have discussed some of the key biblical principles we should apply to our consideration and debate about social and political issues. We have talked about the sanctity of human life and the equality of human beings. We have discussed a biblical perspective on marriage and on sexual ethics. And we have also talked about a biblical perspective on government and civil authority.

We have also spent some time talking about the importance of developing biblical discernment and looked at many of the logical fallacies that are frequently used in arguing against a biblical perspective on many of the social and political issues of our day.

Every day, it seems, we are confronted with ethical choices and moral complexity. As Christians it is important to consider these biblical principles and consistently apply them to these issues. It is also important that we develop discernment and learn to recognize these tactics. We are called to develop discernment as we tear down false arguments raised up against the knowledge of God. By doing this we will learn to take every thought captive to the obedience to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:4-5).


1. "A Biblical Worldview Has a Radical Effect on a Person's Life," The Barna Update (Ventura, CA), 1 Dec. 2003.
2. "The Year's Most Intriguing Findings, From Barna Research Studies," The Barna Update (Ventura, CA), 12 Dec. 2000.
3. "Americans Are Most Likely to Base Truth on Feelings," The Barna Update (Ventura, CA), 12 Feb. 2002.
4. James Patterson and Peter Kim, The Day America Told the Truth (New York: Prentice Hall Press, 1991).
5. Jonathan Wells, Icons of Evolution: Science or Myth? (Washington: Regnery Publishing, 2000).

© 2006 Probe Ministries


About the Author

Kerby Anderson is National Director of Probe Ministries International. He received his B.S. from Oregon State University, M.F.S. from Yale University, and M.A. from Georgetown University. He is the author of several books, including Genetic Engineering, Origin Science, Living Ethically in the 90s, Signs of Warning, Signs of Hope, Moral Dilemmas, and Christian Ethics in Plain Language. He also served as general editor for the Kregel Publications books Marriage, Family and Sexuality and Technology, Spirituality, & Social Trends. He is a nationally syndicated columnist whose editorials have appeared in the Dallas Morning News, the Miami Herald, the San Jose Mercury, and the Houston Post. He is the host of the "Probe" radio program, and frequently serves as host on "Point of View" (USA Radio Network).

What is Probe?

Probe Ministries is a non-profit ministry whose mission is to assist the church in renewing the minds of believers with a Christian worldview and to equip the church to engage the world for Christ. Probe fulfills this mission through our Mind Games conferences for youth and adults, our 3 1/2 minute daily radio program, and our extensive Web site at www.probe.org.

Further information about Probe's materials and ministry may be obtained by contacting us at:
Probe Ministries
1900 Firman Drive, Suite 100
Richardson, TX 75081
(972) 480-0240 FAX (972) 644-9664

sábado, outubro 28, 2006

Truth, Lies, and the BBC

Chuck Missler
from the October 24, 2006 eNews issue

[Leia este artigo em português]

"There was a widespread acknowledgement that we may have gone too far in the direction of political correctness. Unfortunately, much of it is so deeply embedded in the BBC's culture, that it is very hard to change it." - Comment made by a senior BBC executive

Executives at the British Broadcasting Corporation have finally been forced to admit what most of us have known for years - that the BBC's coverage of religious and political issues is inherently biased. A memo leaked to the media has revealed the details of a recent "impartiality" summit attended by senior figures at the BBC. Executives admitted that the BBC is responsible for promoting left-wing ideals and an anti-Christian sentiment.

The BBC is not impartial or neutral. According to news reports, "Most executives admitted that the corporation's representation of homosexuals and ethnic minorities was unbalanced and disproportionate, and that it leaned too strongly towards political correctness, the overt promotion of multiculturalism and anti-Americanism." BBC executives also admitted that they would be willing to broadcast images of a Bible being thrown away, but they would not do so for the Koran. This is due to the "fear of offending the British Muslim community."

The BBC is the largest broadcasting corporation in the world. It is also publicly funded - nearly 80 percent of the BBC's funding comes from television license fees. In the UK, the cost of a TV license is £131.50 per household per year (that is approximately $240.00 in US funds). That money goes directly to the BBC, enabling it to provide public service broadcasting that (according to its website) is "independent, impartial and honest."

Impartial and Honest?

The BBC often broadcasts a distorted view of the war against terrorism. The BBC’s coverage of the terrorist attacks on London is a good (although not the only) example. In the hours and days after their initial publication, the BBC removed the words "terrorist" and "terrorism" from several articles on its website, opting instead for more politically correct terminology.

Perhaps the BBC's most conspicuous shortcoming has been its biased reporting of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In 2002, the BBC aired a now-infamous profile of Yasser Arafat which called him a "hero" and "an icon" and concluded that the corrupt Palestinian leader was "the stuff of legends." Israel has often complained about the BBC's often one-sided reporting. For a period of seven months in 2003, Israeli officials boycotted BBC news programs, declining interviews and excluding BBC reporters from briefings. The boycott was ended after the BBC appointed a panel to oversee its Middle East coverage and to ensure it would be unbiased. However in recent months there have been calls for the government to reinstitute the boycott, in large part due to the BBC's coverage of the recent war in Lebanon.

In April 2006 a report was released on the impartiality of the BBC's coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian. The report was commissioned by the BBC board of governors and, not surprisingly, it concluded that there "was little to suggest systematic or deliberate bias." However the period of time analyzed went from August 2005, the time of the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza, to January 2006, when Ariel Sharon had his stroke. During this period of time circumstances dictated that Israel should receive more sympathetic coverage. Moreover, the report excluded both the BBC World Service and the international TV channel BBC World.

Despite these factors, the report still found that there were "identifiable shortcomings" in the BBC's reporting. Furthermore, it concluded that the BBC "does not consistently give a full and fair account of the conflict. In some ways the picture is incomplete and, in that sense, misleading." Yet the average viewer is unlikely to notice, unless of course they have done their homework and are familiar with the various geopolitical aspects of the conflict. According to the report, "The evidence shows that most viewers and listeners, at least within the UK, regard the BBC as unbiased. But they say they do not understand the conflict and, perhaps for that reason, do not see it as important or interesting. Given how little history or context is routinely offered, it is easy to understand their bewilderment..."

What Are They Hiding?

Several other reports have been assembled in past years on the subject of the BBC's coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. However the BBC has refused to release the findings of those reports to the public. Last year a request was made under Britain's Freedom of Information Act to release the findings of those reports, but the BBC denied the request. A lawsuit was then filed against the BBC. It argued that since the BBC is publicly funded, taxpayers have the right to know if the BBC is being fair in its reporting. The courts have since ruled that the BBC should make the report available to the public, but the BBC has yet to comply and has decided to appeal the decision at Britain's High Court.

Discerning the Truth

As we are faced with an ever-increasing barrage information it is important to keep in mind that the media has its own agenda and takes pride in its ability to shape public opinion rather than to inform it. So what can we do about it? How do we find the truth?

Always keep in mind the underlying principle found in Acts 17:11. Don't believe everything you hear, do your own homework. Read and listen carefully, seeking to differentiate facts from opinions. There is no such thing as a truly unbiased source of information. Therefore it is important to pay attention to details, check facts, and rely on the Holy Spirit for discernment.

sábado, outubro 21, 2006

Chance and Intelligent Design 3

By James A. Choury, serving with WorldVenture in North Brazil

[leia este artigo em Português]

To answer the query concerning the probability of the universe and life coming into being by chance we need to understand how probability is defined and calculated.

Probability: The number of possible ways of attaining a result divided by the total number of possible outcomes. Probability is always a fraction between 0 and 1.

Examples: The chances of getting a head on any toss of a coin is ½ because there is only one way of getting a head and there are two possible outcomes of tossing a single coin; heads or tails. Therefore the probability is ½ or .50 or 50%.
The chances of rolling a die and getting a one is 1/6 because there is only one way to get a one on top and there are six different ways a die can land. So the probability is 1/6 or .16666666…. or 16.66 %.
The chance of getting a four in rolling two dice is 3/36 because you can get a 1-3 or a 3-1 or a 2-2 and the total number of possible outcomes is 36. So the probability is 3/36 or 1/12 or .0833333…. or 8.33333%.

We should notice that a greater number of possible outcomes results in a smaller probability of any one of them occurring. Any outcome of tossing a single coin (only two possible outcomes) has a greater probability than any possible outcome of tossing a die (six possible outcomes). We also note that tossing two dice creates many more possible outcomes (36) and hence the probability of any particular outcome is considerably reduced. In Mathematics, this last phenomenon is termed “joint occurrence”. Joint occurrence calculations give us the probability of event A and event B both occurring by chance.

We say two or more events are independent when the outcome of any particular one has nothing to do with the outcome of the others. Tossing one coin twice or tossing two coins at the same time are examples of independent events. To calculate the probability of joint, independent events we simply multiply the probability of one by the probability of the other or others. Since probability is always a fraction between 0 and 1 we always come up with smaller and smaller probabilities as the number of joint events increases (unless we are dealing with certainties). That means that getting all heads when tossing 5 coins is much less likely than getting all heads when only tossing one coin (3.125% as opposed to 50%).

What does this have to do with evidence of God’s existence? Let’s look at some examples:

Example #1. You walk into a room. There is a table in the room and among the normal clutter there are five coins on the table. All the coins are heads up. What do you conclude? The odds of five coins being all heads up on the table is 1/32. By chance there is only one way all the coins could end up all heads. There are 31 ways that they can end up not all heads up. (They must be either all heads up or not all heads up by the law of the excluded middle). What would a reasonable, unbiased, rational person conclude when finding himself in a room with a table with five coins on it all heads up? It is possible that it just happened by chance but it is much more probable and reasonable that someone was arranging things that way. It is 31 times more probable that someone was arranging things. Suppose there are fifteen coins on the table all heads up? In that case the odds of all fifteen coins being heads up is 1/32,768. There is still only one way you can get all heads. There are 32,767 ways of getting “not all heads”. From this example we see that the odds of fall drastically as the number of joint occurrences increases.

Example #2. Four students go out of town for the college football game knowing that on Monday they have a math exam. None of them prepare for the test and do not show for the exam. On Tuesday they all come wanting to take the test saying that they went to the game, had a flat tire, and didn’t get back in time to take the test on Monday. The professor agrees to give them the test immediately and has each student sit in one of the far corners of the room. He announces that there will be only one question on the test. Each student receives a blank sheet of paper and a pencil. The professor writes the following question on the board: “Which tire?” What are the odds that, without prior planning or collusion, they will all give the same answer? There are four ways they can all agree out of 256 possible outcomes. What if the number of students had been eight going to the game in a van? In that case the odds of all eight students agreeing which tire blew out, without planning or collusion would be 4 out of 65,536 or .00006103515625.

The odds drop off very quickly when we are looking at “joint occurrences”. Joint occurrences are cases where all four students must agree, for example. These examples use very simple circumstances (heads or tails, four students and four tires on the car, etc.) The real world is much more complex. When talking of the origins of the universe or of life it is universally acknowledged that many highly unlikely circumstances would have had to have occurred jointly for the universe and life to have come into being by chance. This joint occurrence makes the odds astronomical against such a thing happening. The probability of life and the universe coming into existence by chance is not easy to calculate but it is generally agreed that the odds are extremely small.* If it was not by chance then it must have been designed or arranged.

Observation: Some believe that even highly unlikely events will eventually take place given enough time. Is this true? For more on this see the study entitled “Chance and Intelligent Design Part 4 dealing with the difference between independent and dependent events and probability.

* Richard Dawkins, staunch evolutionist and popular writer calculates that the odds of the DNA code developing twice by chance is one in a million, million, million, million, million. A River Out of Eden: A Darwinian View of Life by Richard Dawkins, p. 12.


Explain why the probability of joint occurrences drops off as the number of possible outcomes increases.

Come up with an example of your own showing the unlikelihood of joint occurrences.

If the probability of the DNA code developing independently twice is one in 1030, what would be the odds for it developing just once? Would you consider this a good probability?

sexta-feira, outubro 20, 2006

What Is Light?

by Lambert Dolphin

Human vision is utterly amazing in its ability to receive and process a wealth of information concerning levels of light intensity, colors, motion, and stereoscopic depth of field. However, as wonderful as our eyesight is, we are able to see only electromagnetic waves between 400 and 700 nanometers (4 to 7 x 10-9 m) in wavelength.

Young Isaac Newton in 1666 used a prism to break visible white light into the rainbow colors of the spectrum, giving impetus to the development of what is now the vast science of optics. Discovery of the wave nature of light soon led to the realization that our universe is permeated with electromagnetic waves ranging in wavelength over at least 16 orders of magnitude - from ultra low-frequency radio waves, which are tens of kilometers in wavelength, to cosmic rays with wave crests and troughs only a millionth of a millionth (10-12 ) meter apart.

Just in our century, science has quickly extended the range of the eye for explorative purposes. Many different kinds of electronic sensing instruments now tell us vastly more about the cosmos than our eyes alone can tell us directly.

Light from the sun arrives at the top of the earth's atmosphere at a power level of about one kilowatt per square meter. It is this heat and light from a modest star (surface temperature only 5500 degrees C), that all life processes on earth are ultimately driven. Without the sun's constant energy input, our planet would quickly radiate away its latent heat and freeze us and everything else very solid in short order.

Heat and light from the sun are obvious, but we are unaware of cosmic rays penetrating our bodies at the rate of perhaps 10 per second. Nor do we realize that radio and television signals from a hundred stations fill our living rooms. Many of these "rays" pass through our bodies unimpeded. Light waves, radio waves, heat signals, X-rays, and the like, are electromagnetic (EM) radiation - all forms of which can transmit energy and carry useful information even across vast reaches of "empty" space. The signal speed of EM waves ranges upwards to a maximum value which is the current speed of light, ~3 x 108 meters/sec.

In this century has also come the realization that we can equally well describe light and other EM radiation as if it were corpuscular in nature. EM radiation is a result of moving electrical charges (currents), and all forms of EM radiation can be described mathematically as consisting of streaming photons. Each photon constituting a "particle" of light has an energy equal to Planck's constant times the speed of light divided by the wavelength. (Photons are very small, yet the human eye is sufficiently sensitive that we can sometimes detect even a single light photon with dark-adapted eyes).

Whether one uses a wave model or a particle model for light is largely a matter of convenience for the physicist. The concept of "wave-particle duality" is well established by experimental evidence and the excellent models of Quantum Mechanics.

Gravitational forces seem to us to be powerful, because it is gravity which holds us to the earth's surface and makes us work hard to lift and move things. But the force of gravity is actually some 42 orders of magnitude weaker (10-42) than the electrical forces which generate light waves and radio waves!

Because of this huge difference in energy levels, we actually know little about gravity. For instance, many scientists have tacitly assumed that gravity signals, and the force of gravity between masses, are communicated ("mediated") back and forth by streams of photons traveling at the velocity of light - some have assumed that gravity will be explained as arising from some type of EM wave. But as we saw in the March issue of Personal UPDATE, it is now more probable that gravitational forces are communicated by particles called gravitons, which are very much smaller than photons.1

Furthermore, the speed of gravitons is apparently some ten orders of magnitude higher than the current speed of light. This raises the possibility of space travel throughout the entire known universe in very reasonable time periods. From energy considerations (in the universe considered as a whole entity) it now appears that the speed of light initially had the same high value as gravity still has, but the speed of light has decreased whereas the speed of gravity has not. [Ed. note: Many competent scientists disagree with the theory that the speed of light has decreased.]

A great frontier lies before us now in better understanding gravity. For example, we cannot as yet be certain whether the hypothesized gravity waves are transverse in nature (as are EM waves), or compressional (like sound waves).

Suffice it to say that energy and information can be transmitted across the universe by means others than ordinary photons. That is, energy and information transmission in the physical world is probably not always electromagnetic in nature.

(And this is not taking into account how prayer and spiritual forces travel between God, men and the angels - about which we know next to nothing.)

On the First Day of creation week, having brought into existence space, time and matter, the second creative act of God was (I believe) the creation of light. Light was spoken into existence by the Second Person of the godhead, Jesus, the Logos or Word of God:
And God said, 'Let there be light' and there was light.

I like to think of this second event in God's work of creating everything as the making of a vast energy source. The Lord then incorporated potential and kinetic energy reservoirs in many forms into His universe as He constructed things during the six days of creation. These energy endowments would allow the universe to function indefinitely with built-in power supplies. (Before The Fall I think this energy supply also included means of replenishment of reserves to make up for dissipation and losses).

The statement "Let there be light" may mean (in my opinion) "Let there be energy of all wavelengths and in all forms." I believe it was from these four working substances created on Day One-(1) space, (2) time, (3) matter and (4) energy-that God constructed (and filled) the universe we live in.2In His work as Creator, the Son of God was the "master craftsman" of Proverbs 8.

The activity of creation week involved many separate actions by all the Persons of the godhead, as can be seen by the numerous action verbs in Chapter One which refer to God.
Many good people will probably not agree with my own interpretation of the opening verses of Genesis - so I won't be dogmatic about the model I have just suggested. Dozens of books and hundreds of scholarly theological papers have disputed exactly how to interpret these opening verses of Holy Writ and I don't claim to have the final word by any means. The important point is that light, as we know it and understand it in the physical world, was created by God on the First Day of creation.

The Bible says that "God is Light" and this is not the same as saying "Light is God." If we claimed that the Light shining forth on Day One of creation week was simply God Himself we would have major problems - because God is a Spirit and He does not directly emit protons or waves! Such a hypothesis as saying that the Light of Day One came from God Himself puts us on the fast road to pantheism, which we must refute. The God of the Bible is separate from, and transcends, His creation.

Because God is Light, a more profound problem appears when we consider other passages in the Bible which speak figuratively of light, and of spiritual light. Writing to Timothy, Paul the Apostle tells that God, "alone has immortality, [and that He] dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see." (1 Tim 6:16). Moses, who enjoyed a very intimate relationship with God, on one occasion asked God that He might see Him as he was:
And Moses said, "Please, show me Your glory."

Then God said, "I will make all My goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before you. I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion."

But God said, "You cannot see My face; for no man shall see Me, and live." And the LORD said, "Here is a place by Me, and you shall stand on the rock. So it shall be, while My glory passes by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock, and will cover you with My hand while I pass by. Then I will take away My hand, and you shall see My back; but My face shall not be seen." (Exodus 33:18-23)

The whole point about God's being Light is that the splendor and radiance of His immediate presence is so intense it must be veiled in clouds of thick darkness. Otherwise mere mortals would be burned to a crisp if they came into the unveiled presence of His effulgent power.
Spiritual realities are more permanent and more substantial than the shadows they cast into our physical world. Jesus is likened to the rising Day Star and called by Malachi the "Sun of Righteousness" - symbols which suggest to us that His true splendor is greater than that of any star or any known source of light and power in our physical world.

Revelation describes the face of Jesus as shining like the sun in full strength (Rev 1:16).
Light is a common symbol in the Bible for truth as opposed to ignorance and error. "Enlightenment" means true understanding and comprehension in the inner man. It was Jesus who declared, to the consternation of his enemies, "I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life." (John 8:12).

So in some way there is a connection in Scripture between spiritual light and life itself! The New Testament furthermore insists that the man Christ Jesus is the exact visible expression of God the invisible. It is by knowing Jesus that we who once were "sons of darkness" become "sons of light." Unlike Moses we are invited to look full into the face of Jesus:

...we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, all this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. (2 Cor 3:18)

God, were His Light unveiled, would fill and flood the entire universe with His presence to such a degree that there could be no ordinary night time anywhere. Therefore the spiritual world where He dwells, surrounding us on all sides, a world in which the material creation is embedded, is not only more solid than our world, it is also brighter - it is full of light in fact. Living as we do at present in a world still relatively dark, we await the coming of the Dawn.

S.R. Filonovich, The Greatest Speed, 1983, Mir Publishers, 2 Pervy Rizhsky Pereulok, 1-110 GSP, Moscow, 129820. A good discussion of the physics of light at an elementary level.
Sobil, Michael L., Light, 1987, The University of Chicago Press, Chicago.
Bova, Ben, The Beauty of Light, 1988, John Wiley and Sons, New York.

This article was originally published in the
May 1998 Personal Update NewsJournal.


1. Gravitons are probably on the order of a Planck length in size, L* = (hG/c3)0.5 = 1.6 x 10-33 cm. In current thinking on the nature of the vacuum, space has a granular structure and is composed of particles emerging from and vanishing back into the background sea of Zero Point Energy. The "Planck density" of these particles is at the present time about 4 x 1093 gms per cubic centimeter, incredibly greater than known particle densities encountered in the atomic nucleus which do not exceed 1014 g/cm3 , or water which is only 1 g/cm3 . As we noted in an earlier article, the Planck density would have been smaller still in the early history of the universe assuming a decreasing velocity of light over time. A good discussion of these issues is given by Gerardus D. Bouw on his web pages, www.baldwinw.edu/~gbouw/g/index.html. I recommend his discussion on the plenum aether whether or not one agrees with Dr. Bouw's views on Geocentricity.

2. I have tried to clarify the events of creation week in my current thinking in my article "The Uniqueness of Creation Week," available on my web pages. I reserve the right to learn and grow and change my views!

quinta-feira, outubro 19, 2006

The Fall Feasts: Succoth

Chuck Missler
from the October 03, 2006 eNews issue

[Leia este artigo em Português]

"Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the feast of tabernacles for seven days unto the LORD... Ye shall dwell in booths seven days; all that are Israelites born shall dwell in booths: That your generations may know that I made the children of Israel to dwell in booths, when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God." - Leviticus 23:34, 42-43

The Feast of Tabernacles, or Succoth, begins on the 15th of Tishri and lasts for eight days. This year Succoth will begin on October 7th. The word Succoth (also spelled Sukkot) means "booths", and refers to the temporary dwellings which are built and inhabited during the festival. This feast commemorates the 40 years that the nation of Israel wandered in the desert before entering the Promised Land. The Feast of Tabernacles or the Feast of Booths, as it is sometimes called, is a joyous holiday and a time of feasting.

It is fascinating to visit Israel at this time and observe them build their temporary "booths" in the traditional way, leaving deliberate gaps in the branches to view the stars at night, and for the wind to blow through during the day. This is intended to remind them of the wilderness wanderings.

At the end of the eight days, they leave their temporary dwellings to return to their permanent homes. (This is one of the reasons some suspect that this feast, rather than the Feast of Trumpets, is suggestive of the Rapture of the Church.) This day, traditionally, is the day that Solomon dedicated the first Temple.

This feast also involved a daily processional to the Pool of Siloam to fetch water for the Temple. This ceremonial procession is the setting for the events of John 7, where Jesus offers them "living water." This procession involved four types of branches: the willow, the myrtle, the palm, and a citrus (Leviticus 23:40). The willow has no smell and no fruit. The myrtle has smell, but no fruit. The palm has no smell, but bears fruit. The citrus has both smell and bears fruit. This sounds reminiscent of the four soils of the first "kingdom parable" of Matthew 13, doesn't it? The prophetic implications of this climactic feast are many. Most scholars associate it with the establishment of the Millennial Kingdom in Israel. To learn more about the Jewish about this subject, listen to our briefing package titled The Feasts of Israel.

The Torah - the five books of Moses - describes seven feasts on the Hebrew calendar. Three feasts are in the spring, in the month of Nisan: Passover, the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and the Feast of First Fruits. Most Bible scholars believe that the first three feasts are prophetic of the Lord's First Coming. Then fifty days later there is the Feast of Weeks, Shavout, also known as Pentecost. The feast of Pentecost is predictive of the Church. Pentecost is notably the only feast in which leavened bread is ordained. There are three remaining feasts in the fall, in the month of Tishri: the Feast of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, and the Feast of Tabernacles. The fall feasts are prophetic of the Lord's Second Coming.

If you take the time to study the feasts of Israel I think you will be amazed by numerous prophetic parallels you'll uncover. At times the tasks and rituals described in the Old Testament, particularly in the book of Leviticus, may seem laborious or even inapplicable to Christians today. However it is important to remember that every number, every place name, every detail, every jot and tittle found in scripture is there for our learning, our discovery, and our amazement. Truly, our God is an awesome God!

[Editor's Note: This is the final installment of a three part series on the fall feasts of Israel.]

segunda-feira, outubro 09, 2006

Existe Demônio Também na Política

Um cristão acredita em Deus, claro, mas sabe, como reafirmou o papa João Paulo 2º, que o demônio existe. O que é matéria de crença pode encontrar plena correspondência numa mentalidade agnóstica. Deus é a convicção, o princípio, o norte moral; o demônio é frouxidão da vontade, a ausência de limites, o relativismo sobre todas as coisas. Um cristão sabe que a manifestação mais clara do demônio — e, por favor, eliminem da imaginação aquela bobagens de possessão à moda do filme O Exorcista — é aquela que o leva a duvidar de si mesmo, dos seus valores; que põe uma névoa sobre os seus olhos e o impede de distinguir o certo do errado, porque, afinal, o certo de um sempre será o errado de outro, e vice-versa, e, enfim, tudo seria uma questão de ponto-de-vista.

Na política, também existe o demônio — para tristeza (ou felicidade, sei lá) de Marilena Chaui e de Emir Sader. Ele converte em fel todas as conquistas da democracia, que passam a ser encaradas, então, como marcos a serem superados em nome de um bem maior, que chamam a “redenção dos oprimidos”. Hoje li um texto de Sader, que me foi enviado por um amigo. Ali, um professor, alguém que carrega o título de cientista social, mente sem receios: diz que, se eleito, Alckmin vai privatizar a Petrobras e o Banco do Brasil. Infelizmente, trata-se de uma mentira. Infelizmente, o país sofrerá muito até que se evidencie essa necessidade. O homem aplaude todas as conquistas do governo Lula, com especial ênfase para o que considera a retomada do Mercosul. Penso nos crentes que o lêem, que acabam acreditando naquilo...

É o Mal. No texto de Sader, peça de resistência do petismo, de que Marta Suplicy já faz proselitismo nas ruas de São Paulo, todos os escândalos havidos são uma trama dos inimigos. Nada aconteceu. A história se passa num outro plano, que não este que reconhecemos. Haveria uma luta entre duas essencialidades: o projeto popular, que Lula encarnaria, e o outro, o das elites entreguistas, que querem subordinar o Brasil à lógica do capital — como se hoje vivêssemos à margem. É, claro!, um ponto-de-vista, mas que precisa se ancorar na farsa, em dados que não existem. Ou, então, não se sustenta. E que só encontra eco entre os admiradores porque certamente compartilham da ignorância que ele tem ou finge ter.

O mal é sempre sedutor. Aparecesse aos que são alvos da tentação com sua vestimenta real, não atrairia ninguém para o covil. Imaginem se Sader ou Marilena resolvessem lembrar os milhões de mortos de sua crença, de sua ideologia, para que eles pudessem chegar até aqui, em 2006, repetindo aqueles mesmos mantras. O interessante dessa gente é que eles não têm nunca um passado a oferecer como guia. Suas teses só têm futuro. O mundo que nos oferecem como alternativa nunca existiu, mas existirá um dia, desde que paguemos um preço.

Nós, os que acreditamos no individualismo radical; os que não suportamos que o demônio do Estado venha nos dizer o que fazer e o que não fazer; os que não acatamos as “imbecilidades coletivas” (by Olavo de Carvalho); os que não reconhecemos a autoridade da manada; os que não aceitamos o argumento da autoridade do social sobre a autoridade moral; os que não acatamos que leis democraticamente votadas sejam sacrificadas por causa da gritaria de minorias influentes, nós temos o dever de resistir, de ir para a guerra de valores, de acusar o golpismo dessa gente nefasta. E temos de mobilizar outros indivíduos como nós, neste exército sem quartel, nesta religião sem templo, que é a liberdade individual, que eles tentam sufocar, seja com a caridade que esmaga, seja com a patrulha que silencia.

Sim, é preciso ter em relação a essa gente uma ira verdadeiramente santa. Santa, pacífica e absolutamente intransigente. A ninguém foi dado, por Deus ou pelos homens (cada um segundo a sua escolha), de conquistar o Bem por meio do Mal. Se vocês repararem, eles reivindicam dois monopólios: tanto o de pecar como o de pedir perdão. Seja pecar contra Deus (para os crentes), seja pecar contra a cidadania. Eles têm de ir embora.

Se não agora, quando?