Two Hyraxes, photo credit: Arikk

Coneys, Rock Badgers, Hyraxs. What kind of critter are those?

The conies are but a feeble folk, yet make they their houses in the rocks; Proverbs 30:26

Growing up, I never could picture what these animals looked like.  None of the English names we have for these guys meant anything to me since I’d never seen one. If you look up Coney with an online dictionary, it will tell you that a coney is a fish (try to picture fish building a house in the rocks!). My kid’s dictionary says that ‘Coney’ is a different way of spelling ‘Cony’ which is a European Rabbit.
So, now you know why I was so confused, but…

What are they really like?

Two Hyraxes, photo credit: ArikkTurns out that the Biblical Coney, aka Rock Badgers, aka Hyrax is something that looks more like a ground hog! When I went to look them up last year, I realized that I had just read a story about their African cousins, The 3 Little Dassies, by Jan Brett*. Although in Africa they are known as Dassies, the most common name for them in English now is Hyrax [hi-raks]. The ones living in Israel are part of the Syrian Rock Hyrax family.

Studying this has been really fun, because the first thing I saw on the African Wildlife Foundation page is that they don’t fit neatly into any group of animals. Some Evolutionists say that they are really close relatives of elephants, sea cows, and manatees!! Now, that is pretty crazy. God defi

Rock Hyrax Range

nitely has a way of throwing wrenches into people’s neat “tree of life” machines.

 

From the picture, you can see that hyraxes look kind of like marmots, mongooses, and ground hogs.

They have short, thick, brownish fur that can range from light grey in the desert, to almost orange in southern Israel, to dark brown in greener areas.  They have small ears and thick bodies. Grown up Hyraxs weight around 9lbs and are about 20ins long, so they’re a little smaller than a ground hog.

Hyrax colony on rocks, photo credit: ArikkUnlike these other animals, Hyraxs don’t dig deep burrows. The places they choose for homes already have piles of rocks and crevasses to live in. They keep their homes tidy by deciding on one spot to use as a bathroom so the rest stays clean.

Hyraxs love to live in groups that range from 10 to as many as 80 members. Like prairie dogs, they post a sentry (usually the dad) to keep an eye out for danger while the rest find food. If the sentry spys danger, he will call a high pitched alarm and they all scurry into their hiding places among the rocks. This protection works so well that it is rare for one to be eaten by the south Judean wolves.

Singing is a favorite pastime for Hyraxes. They seem to let each other know how they’re feeling and keep in touch with neighboring groups with all kinds of whistles, twitters, shrieks, and growls. The Tree Hyraxs of Africa are nocturnal, so they keep all the neighbors awake at night with their squeals and screams.

To stay near the protection of their dens, Hyraxs only venture out about 150ft from their homes to look for food. They’re vegetarians, eating whatever kinds of plants they can find, especially grass and leaves. They have incisor teeth that are nearly tusks (that’s part of why people think Hyraxs are so close to elephants) to chew on tough plant parts.

Desert Hyraxs get most of their water from the plants they eat. They can climb trees and will get into people’s gardens to munch the citrus leaves there. They also will eat insects and grubs.

Hyrax in an Israeli tree, photo credit: Yael & Amihay

A mother Hyrax is pregnant for 6-7 months before giving birth to two or three babies. Compare that to a rabbit who only takes a month to pop out 4-12 babies! Baby Hyraxs are born with their eyes open and lots of fur to protect them. They start running around at just an hour old and try out the veggies within a day or two. They take over a year to grow up, while a rabbit only takes 6-7 months, but both animals live about the same length of time- about 10-12 years.

Hyraxs are a ‘lazy’ bunch. They spend about 95% of the time lying around. During the day they spend most of the time basking in the sun. Even though Hyraxs are mammals, they can’t keep their bodies constantly warm like we do. They get warmer and cooler with the day and night, so lying in the sun helps warm them like a snake.

Not surprisingly, the fossil record shows that before the Flood there were a lot more varieties of Hyraxs.  It shows that they lived in more places including Europe. And (guess what!) some of them were really big, “about the size of a small horse”!! Wow, that’s a big furry critter!

And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good. Genesis 1:25

Other websites I used to build this post:

Israeli Mammals

and a stop by Wikipedia, which is pretty decent on these animals (the pictures are from them)

*The Amazon link to 3 Little Dassies is an affiliate link. If you purchase anything from Amazon after clicking it, I get a percentage of the sale to support this ministry.

open Bible

Science in the Bible: Earthquakes

If you pay attention to what’s going on as you read the Bible you will catch on pretty quickly that the Holy Land is located in an earthquake zone. Sometimes earthquakes are even major players in the action of Bible events.

I’m going to send you to a video with Dr. Steve Austin in a minute, but let’s see some of the times where earthquakes had a part in events recorded in the Bible:

“And the Lord began to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah. He caused fire and burning sulfur to fall from the sky. He destroyed the whole valley—all the cities, the people living in the cities, and all the plants in the valley.” Genesis 19:24,25

Although an earthquake isn’t mentioned, how did God get the volcanic stuff to come out? Volcanoes and earthquakes are bosom buddies.

JSC the battle of Jericho

So then the priests blew the trumpets. When the people heard the trumpets, they began shouting. The walls fell down, and the people ran up into the city. So the Israelites defeated that city. Joshua 6:20

Again, the earthquake isn’t mentioned, but God doesn’t do magic; there was some physical cause for the walls to drop.

And Jonathan climbed up upon his hands and upon his feet, and his armor bearer after him: and they fell before Jonathan; and his armor bearer slew after him. And that first slaughter, which Jonathan and his armor bearer made, was about twenty men, within as it were an half acre of land, which a yoke of oxen might plow. And there was trembling in the host, in the field, and among all the people: the garrison, and the spoilers, they also trembled, and the earth quaked: so it was a very great trembling.  I Samuel 14:14,15

No explanation needed here!

Suddenly there was an earthquake so strong that it shook the foundation of the jail. All the doors of the jail opened, and the chains on all the prisoners fell off. Acts 16:26

This wasn’t in Israel, but shows God controls events anywhere.

Every once in a while God uses His natural world to accomplish His plan for history. He has more subtle ways of doing this, but when he uses big things like meteorites (Joshua 10:11) and earthquakes, people pay attention! They also have a much harder time hiding the evidence. 😀

One other thought that came to me while watching Dr. Austin: just as God has positioned the world so we can study space, so He prepared the way for us to study these earthquakes. How many lakes in the world are lifeless, so the sediments settle undisturbed for millennia? There are a few, but it is cool to know one of them is perfectly located to preserve a record of God’s truthfulness.

Our God is great, with the most mind-boggling foresight imaginable!

The video starts just a tad dry through the first part of the talk, but after the break it is WAY COOL.

The captain of the guard and those with him, when they saw the earthquake and everything else that was happening, were scared to death. They said, “This has to be the Son of God!” Matthew 27:54 The Message

I was alerted to this video by Creation Sensation, you can follow them for yourself to keep up with lots more.

Dr. Austin’s findings have been available at the Institute for Creation Research for some time, which is where I first read about them.

PS I’d really like to ask him just how certain that AD 33 crucifixion date is. It could settle a debate that goes back to the AD 300s!

Wednesday Links: The Praying Mantis

I got an e-mail the other day from a veteran homeschooling mom who’s done some videos in the creation science field. We had a lovely talk today (including me telling her that I’m only a teensy bit famous!). Her son taught her videography and now is working in Israel with the bombs and everything! For all that, she’s amazingly calm and peaceful.

Right now, there isn’t that much of her work available online for free (something else I mentioned she might consider), but she does have a few videos up on YouTube.

Even though this video doesn’t get into how and when the mantis got invented, I like it. Watching someone hold one makes me wonder why I never did when one would get in the kids’ room window at our last house. However, I have the feeling they tickle and that doesn’t sound like fun to this bookish mom!

[youtube=http://youtu.be/Pb2ZVKRy_Vs]

for more on the praying mantis (I’m running too late to write any more up today), check these articles out:

Creation Ministries International: Ready to Prey

CreationWiki: Praying Mantis

open Bible Wash your hands!

Science in the Bible: Hygiene

Wash your hands!

God Says

Remember when you were little and it was a bother to have to wash your hands before supper? That was before you learned about germs and diseases! When you study the scientific history of germs, you learn that we’ve only known about these little meanies for less than 200 years.  Although God didn’t tell the Israelites about the causes of diseases, He did show them how to protect themselves from them and gave them this promise:

e Coli bacteria

If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the LORD that healeth thee.  Exodus 15:26 

So, what did God tell them to do that would protect them from these diseases, or was it just a mysterious miracle?  I’m not going to go into a lot of detail on this stuff, because it gets really gross, but you’ll get the idea from these verses:

And the LORD said unto Moses, Go unto the people, and sanctify them to day and to morrow, and let them wash their clothes,  Exodus 19:10

There are 29 verses that tell the people to wash their clothes to be clean before God.

Washing hands (before shot)_0033

Washing hands (before shot)

And Aaron and his sons thou shalt bring unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and shalt wash them with water.  Exodus 29:4

50 times washing with water and bathing is mentioned in the Law.  You might start to get the idea that He’s as picky as the tidiest mother!

Then there are the more disgusting things like:

Thou shalt have a place also without the camp, whither thou shalt go forth abroad:  and thou shalt have a paddle upon thy weapon; and it shall be, when thou wilt ease thyself abroad, thou shalt dig therewith, and shalt turn back and cover that which cometh from thee:  for the LORD thy God walketh in the midst of thy camp, to deliver thee, and to give up thine enemies before thee; therefore shall thy camp be holy: that he see no unclean thing in thee, and turn away from thee.  Deuteronomy 23:12-14

This passage always made me snicker when we read it during family devotions growing up (which wasn’t too often, but I sure remember the times we did!).  My favorite part is that God didn’t tell the Israelites that they would get sick if they disobeyed, He just reminded them that He didn’t want to have to step in poop when He came to visit them!

Model of bubonic plague bacteria - Smithsonian...

Model of bubonic plague bacteria – Smithsonian Museum of Natural History

Or if a soul touch any unclean thing, whether it be a carcase of an unclean beast, or a carcase of unclean cattle, or the carcase of unclean creeping things, and if it be hidden from him; he also shall be unclean, and guilty.  Leviticus 5:2

Then said Haggai, If one that is unclean by a dead body touch any of these, shall it be unclean? And the priests answered and said, It shall be unclean.  Then answered Haggai, and said, So is this people, and so is this nation before me, saith the LORD; and so is every work of their hands; and that which they offer there is unclean.  Haggai 2:13-14 

I picked the Haggai passage because it starts with the everyday law and goes on to show how gross our sin is.  They had been told many times (for all the details read Numbers 19:11-22) that touching a dead body was a very dirty thing.  The Law was very specific about the contamination that would happen to anything that touched these things.  If you couldn’t sterilize it, you had to destroy it! So, when God looked for the most disgusting thing to compare sin with, He chose dead bodies.  Haggai doesn’t really say how they could get rid of their sin except by turning back to God, but in a minute we’ll see how!

Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When any man hath a running issue out of his flesh, because of his issue he is unclean.  Leviticus 15:2

And the priest shall look upon him the seventh day: and if it be spread much abroad in the skin, then the priest shall pronounce him unclean: it is the plague of leprosy.  Leviticus 13:27 

Now, watch what Jesus does:

Jesus on Hollywood BlvdAnd, behold, a woman, which was diseased with an issue of blood twelve years, came behind him, and touched the hem of his garment: for she said within herself, If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole.  But Jesus turned him about, and when he saw her, he said, Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour. Matthew 9:20-22

 And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.  Matthew 8:3

And he came and touched the bier: and they that bare him stood still. And he said, Young man, I say unto thee, Arise.  And he that was dead sat up, and began to speak. And he delivered him to his mother.  Luke 7:14,15

Jesus showed the people over and over again that He was stronger than the uncleanness the Law warned them about.  He has power over unseen germs just as He has power over our unseen sin.

But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house.  Matthew 9:6

cs4k-cover-geese2.jpg

Human Population and Creation vs Evolution

English: 2011 Chinese protests ‪中文(简体)‬: 中国茉莉花革命

Today was a rare day where I wasn’t already chomping at the bit to share something with you.  So I decided to see what the Institute for Creation Research is actively investigating right now.  If you want a short overview, you can check out ICR’s Bio-Origins Research and it’s mini-links to the four special areas they are looking into.  By the time this decade is up we should have a lot of information to help us stand strong in our belief in a single Creator with many similar but separate designs.

What really got me excited was a sort-of-technical article from ICR:  Conservation ethics based on evolution that talked about human population and the earth’s ability to support us all.   I don’t know how much you’ve heard about the “overpopulation crisis,” but not so long ago it was very popular to be frightened of the human pest problem on earth.  It still is popular in some circles.

financial portfolio review

So what’s the problem with more little people running around? Water, food, medicine, jobs. Some people believe that there is just so much to go around, so if I have more, you will have less. Now, this is a Creation Science site, not a political one, but sometimes these things interact. The truth is, if we could stop destroying our own homeland and our neighbors, there wouldn’t be a problem. If we would pass along God’s blessings as we are able and help one another rather than grabbing all we can for ourselves, there wouldn’t be a problem.

Smokestacks

Less you think I’m a raving leftist, it’s not Americans who shop at Wal-Mart that I’m talking about, it’s militias that hold their own countries’ citizens under their thumbs and communistic thinking that the earth is ours to exploit that is far more of a problem.  Apparently this isn’t something that many people want to admit anymore, but I did run into a book called Ecocide in the USSR that is willing to talk about that fallen government’s horrible care for its land and people.

The thing that I wanted to bring out to you is the difference Worldview has on our care for the land and our fellow man. China has been trying to cure its problems by murdering tiny babies before they are born.  But is this the only way to handle such problems?   Have a look at these pages:

Don’t tell me you’re in big trouble because you have just too many people to try to feed.  I  didn’t realize what I had discovered at the time, but if you look at the Chinese Flood legend, you will find how old this thinking is. For 1000s of years, the Chinese people have believed that babies dying and people being unable to have children were blessings given them to prevent another horrible flood.  They have thought God’s command was a curse for a very long time.

Map of precipitation regimes in the world

Map of precipitation regimes in the world

Now, to show you a different way to think about people and the land, have a look at Israel.  Israel has a population density of 803 people per square mile (sorry, I don’t know the metric equivalent) while China has a density of 365psm.  Any way you slice it, people are packed in a lot closer in Israel than in China.  Yet the only food stuff that they don’t manage to grow enough of to feed themselves is grain.  How do they do that without forcing their moms to only have one child or destroying their environment?  All while living in one of the driest areas of the world!

 

I rather liked what this article has to say about how Israel can help India (one of the world’s most densely populated countries) feed their people.  Their opening paragraph talks about how Israel combines all its areas of study to help produce the most food in the smallest space.  They are very good at using a little bit water and all of this requires only a few people to spend their time growing it.

Israel Farm_1312Learn more about:

And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.  Genesis 1:28,29

And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.
And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, upon all that moveth upon the earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea; into your hand are they delivered.
Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things. 

And you, be ye fruitful, and multiply; bring forth abundantly in the earth, and multiply therein. Genesis 9:1-3,7

And the servant said, Lord, it is done as thou hast commanded, and yet there is room.
And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. Luke 14:22,23

Lacy Ferns

Isaiah 41 on Origins

Photo of the Book of Isaiah page of the Bible ...

Photo of the Book of Isaiah page of the Bible (cropped version) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yesterday was the first time I didn’t put up a post with great links to check out, so today is going to be the first Sunday post!  I’ll have to do links later, this Bible study was time consuming (and fun!).

We were so busy that I didn’t even get my Bible reading done until just before bedtime last night, but it was so amazing I want to share some with you.

In this passage God wasn’t addressing Evolutionist people in Isaiah’s day, but idols. However, the same principles apply since idolatry often has elements of Evolution in it.  Continue reading