Honey Locust Thorns, photo credit: MONGO

Pain and the Creator

I hate pain.  I don’t want to experience it, I don’t want to see it, I don’t want to think about it, and I’m certainly not going to laugh at it (like the things that happen to the bad guys in a lot of kids’ movies). But that doesn’t seem to be quite what God thinks about it.

Leprosy is a terrible disease that destroys the ability to feel pain. This allows people to do things that we would never do because it would hurt too much. Together with the leprosy bacteria, this causes such terrible damage that they can lose their fingers and the use of their hands and feet.

Both Eve and Adam were told they would have pain because of their sin. The ground was cursed to grow thorns and thistles for Adam, and Eve was told that bringing babies into the world was going to hurt (a lot). Genesis 3:16-18

Since the Fall of Adam and Eve, pain has served a very useful purpose in our lives. Our muscles and joints tell us when we are putting too much strain on our bodies. Our stomach lets us know when it is fighting germs and we’d better stop eating. And pain tells us when something is causing damage, like a thorn in our foot or sand in our eye. Without pain, our bodies wouldn’t last through our childhoods!

Jesus and Pain

Silhouette of Jesus on the crossOne of the things that Jesus did was to create us with the ability to feel pain, knowing that He Himself would be “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” Revelation 13:8b. Growing up, I really didn’t like hearing about Christ’s sufferings on the cross. They are too horrible to imagine.

Christ designed the whole nervous system with its ability to send urgent pain messages to the brain. He knew all the time that Humanity would figure out how to cause the most pain for the longest time and use it on Him. No wonder Jesus prayed so hard in the Garden to escape having to go through what was coming That Day!

Thank God, He submitted Himself to His Father and went anyway!

Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared;  Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; Hebrews 5:7,8

Because of Jesus’ sacrifice, someday those in His kingdom will never again have to feel pain:

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. Revelation 21:4

Recommended Resources: Persuaded by the Evidence

With the help of family and friends, I’ve been collecting Creation resources to check out and sort based on importance for you. This is one I’ve been wanted to share most. It’s going in the top-tier spot, aka “your family needs this!

Why? Because Persuaded by the evidence is all about people. It has enough eye-crossing science-speak for me to hold off giving my kids until they’re about 13 or so, but that’s just part of the focus. This book is about how these scientists and others came to dedicate their lives to Jesus and recognize Him as the Creator God. Which means a lot of people who don’t care much about science will connect to this book.

Being a lady, I found this book much better than a romance story. You have the same tension wondering how they will find their Savior: What did it take? What held them back? How did God break through to them in the end? What most attracted them to Jesus? And the best part is, I have the same Lord and Savior! Ahhh, the wonder of it! 🙂

So, for girls, this is especially good. For guys: well, it’s all written by guys, so there’s nothing mushy about it.

Teen Book GroupFor young people, It addresses a lot of the questions and doubts they experience now, or will when college starts. A few stories were of men who stayed firm about the Bible their whole lives, but the rest came out of the Evolutionary worldview.

For parents, some tell how they strayed from the Bible’s account and came back later; which is particularly important as their stories can serve as warning for us to avoid the same mistakes.

Some had never been exposed to anything but Evolution. Some became Jesus’ followers first and then struggled with the Bible’s claims about origins. A few accounts are from the early 20th Century when very little Creationist material was available. Their stories are all over the map in every way.

Questions?

Large parts of this book are filled with the science leading them to doubt the Evolutionary storyline and turning them to the claims of the Creator God. The subjects range from “why are there still continents if the world is as old as claimed?” to “how can we know right from wrong if everything is random?” Lots of people saw the impossibility of Evolutionary changes producing the order and complexity we see in living creatures.

The last section of the book is a treasure in itself. It is accounts of some founders of the modern Creationist movement. Did you know Dr. Henry M. Morris rose on the shoulders of other outspoken men of God and science? Dr. Duane T. Gish, Dr. Gary E. Parker (who has a particularly poignant story), and Dr. Andrew Snelling are all in here. Morris, Gish, and Snelling are names you can’t avoid in our field. How delightful to know their stories of God leading and preparing them for the places they fill!

I recommend this book for every home which has teenagers or older living in it (yes, that means you, parents). 🙂

If you appreciate what I do, please use my affiliate link to purchase this from Answers in Genesis. Thanks much!

In the same way, my words leave my mouth,
    and they don’t come back without results.
My words make the things happen that I want to happen.
    They succeed in doing what I send them to do. Isaiah 55:11

 

The Institute for Creation Research has another review to check out as well.

One Human Race

School Friends

Answers in Genesis has been talking a lot about what it means to know that all people are children of Adam, Eve and Noah’s three sons and daughters-in-law. As Bible believers, we have no reason to think that we are better or worse than anyone else because of our body shape, size, color, or gender. We are all created in God’s image “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” Genesis 1:27,  So we are all one enormous family.

This is one of the most wonderful gifts God has given us. About the only thing that I can think of more wonderful than this is making Jesus a member of our family to be our Savior. “And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.”  Matthew 1:21

I was really pleased by THIS ARTICLE where the former leader of Answers in Genesis’s UK branch, Dr. Monty White, talks about how people responded to his talks about being One Race. It’s not an eye-crosser, so I’ll just let you check it out for yourself.

Often I like to play “what if?”  with different things that people believe. There is only One Truth and that is Jesus and His Word, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” John 14:6. But it can help us understand how wonderful God’s gifts are when we think about what other people believe the world is like. For example, there is no other religion that puts girls on the same level as guys before God!

So, let’s play “what if?” with Evolution and races. One of the big things Darwin wanted from Evolution is to feel that he was better than others because he was English. If someone’s face ‘looks’ more like a monkey’s to someone else, then they must not be as highly evolved and are therefore worth less to the future of humanity. If you’re old enough to handle seeing some of what people have done because they really believed this, watch Ben Stein’s movie Expelled to see some of the things that happened in the 20th Century because of these beliefs.

This is a H'Mong babygirl. H'Mong is one of th...

This is a H’Mong baby girl. H’Mong is one of the ethnic minorities living in Northern mountain area of Vietnam. She has pink cheeks due to the cold weather and sun rays. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For me, if you could make anything be true just by believing it, I would never choose to believe that my great, great grandparents were apes, whose ancestors were fish, whose ancestors were amoebas, whose ancestor was a rock. No thanks, I’ll take being made by God in God’s own image any day. And guess what, that is the TRUTH!!! Thank you, God, so much!

…which was the son of Noe, which was the son of Lamech,… which was the son of Seth, which was the son of Adam, which was the son of God. Luke 3:36-38

Ica Stone showing Triceratops and other dinosaurs, WikiCommons

Dinos and People: The Ica Stones

Ica Stone showing Triceratops and other dinosaurs, WikiCommons

I don’t share things like these often, and never carelessly, because the worst thing we could do is rely on false evidence when there is a world full of real evidence for God’s Word.

For those new to this site, I think you will enjoy one of my longest posts pointing out the strengths and weaknesses of the case for the dino statuary of Mexico. It is quite a story when you become a serious detective who really wants to know the facts.

Today I’m going to send you to a Creationist website/blog I ran into on Good Search.

The site’s name is “Yec Headquarters 6 Day Creation.” YEC is short for “Young Earth Creationist.” In other words, someone who takes the Bible’s record as straight forward and accurate.They have an excellent article on the Ica Stones of Peru.

First, let’s see what Wikipedia thinks of these carved rocks with lots of dinosaurs and people on them:

English: Ica stones” In 1975 Uschuya and another farmer named Irma Gutierrez de Aparcana confirmed that they had forged the stones they gave to Cabrera by copying the images from comic books, text books and magazines.[2] Later, Uschuya recanted the forging story during an interview with a German journalist, saying that he had claimed they were a hoax to avoid imprisonment for selling archaeological artifacts. In 1977, during the BBC documentary Pathway to the Gods, Uschuya produced an Ica stone with a dentist’s drill and claimed to have produced a fake patina by baking the stone in cow dung.[3] That same year, another BBC documentary was released with a skeptical analysis of Cabrera’s stones, and the new-found attention to the phenomenon prompted Peruvian authorities to arrest Uschuya, as Peruvian law prohibits the sale of archaeological discoveries. Uschuya recanted his claim that he had found them and instead admitted they were hoaxes, saying “Making these stones is easier than farming the land.” He engraved the stones using images in books and magazines as examples and knives, chisels and a dental drill.[9] He also said that he had not made all the stones. He was not punished, and continued to sell similar stones to tourists as trinkets.[3] The stones continued to be made and carved by other artists as forgeries of the original forgeries.”

English: Ica stonesDo you thing it more likely that he (like they say the Mexicans did) made these stones by studying comic books and such, or do you think these are ancient originals along with some direct copies?

Our beliefs as Christians are not based on blind faith that cannot stand the stress of careful examination. Go ahead, read for yourself what the deniers claim, then compare it with the evidence for their authenticity.

Remember, it is possible for someone to admit that dinosaurs were alive not too long ago and still refuse to submit to the Creator God. My prediction is that soon the evidence will be so overwhelming that the Evolutionists will be forced to change their story. But they will never abandon their worldview. Some people will escape the snare and find Jesus’ life, but not everyone.

The people were burned by the great heat. They cursed the name of God, who had control over these plagues. But they refused to change their hearts and lives and give glory to God.

The fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast. And darkness covered the beast’s kingdom. People bit their tongues because of the pain. They cursed the God of heaven because of their pain and the sores they had. But they refused to change their hearts and turn away from the evil things they did.  Revelation 16:9-11 Easy-to-read Version

Want to see more artifacts people made showing they knew what dinosaurs looked like alive? Check out the awesome book, Dire Dragons.

Genius of Ancient Man Book & Blog

Links: The Genius of Ancient Man Blog

Genius of Ancient Man book cover

Click to purchase with my Affiliate Link

 

Originally published October, 2013, still relevant, their blog has just gotten way bigger!

One of the most exciting things to learn about is just how smart and talented our earliest forefathers actually were.

I just started a book with my six year old on people around the world and right at the beginning they had the usual “people slowly developed from ape-like animals” story. They tell kids with all the confidence in the world how fire was accidentally discovered and then another accident inspired them to continue dropping their meat into the warming blaze.

It would be really interesting to see their sources for such statements

With my older kids I’ve been reading about inventions that changed the world. They start out with the same kinds of stories. “Accidentally”, “perhaps” a million, or “approximately” 50,000 years ago, things like the wheel and cooking were discovered, revolutionizing the poor things’ lives.

Now, the dates they give starting at about 50,000 years ago are based on actual discoveries. To find out what’s going on and how trustworthy such statements are, check out my article on Carbon Dating. But these story lines also have to ignore a huge amount of discoveries we have made about our ancestors.

Farming terraces on the eastern side of the vi...

Chinese Farming Terraces

On this blog I collected some of the cool findings I ran into over the past few years. You can check them out under the categories Ancient Technology and Ancient Civilizations. My favorite posts are the ones on Farming Terraces and the Sewers from ancient times. Not only are they really cool, they also have nothing to do with idolatry!

Recently, I haven’t been adding any more articles to these categories. Not because I lost interest, but because I haven’t been running into any more discoveries, plus….

Another Creationist group is specializing in presenting these findings in a Christ-honoring light!

Last Autumn I was thrilled to buy a copy of the new book The Genius of Ancient Man published by Master Books, but I never bothered to tell you all about it because there was very little new info (for a student of the ancients) in it. It is, however, worth having in your family library for the worldview training alone and the pictures are cool.

So, when I found Jackson Hole Bible College was continuing their research and sharing with a blog I was ecstatic! This time my excitement has been justified. Every week or so the Alumni of the school post an article about some new place, artifact, or finding illustrating our forefather’s brain power.

Even better is the manner of presentation. They are careful to use credible sources, always have a couple good pictures, and best of all, they point people to Jesus. Some of the cultures and practices of the ancients were completely sold out to sin. That didn’t mean they lost their brain power right away, it meant everything they did was corrupted.

The Genius of Ancient Man blog provides us a safe environment to learn the truth about our past

They also continue to expand their worldview training. For example, they’ve recently posted about brain power not having to be connected to technology. This will be a relief to all of us who struggle to learn computer skills others already designed let alone create new things!

Squeeze Toy Alien guarding chemicals

(Photo credit: jepoirrier)

They’ve also just taken on the popular fascination with aliens. If you (or your kids) know someone interested in the new TV series, or who just feels drawn by this subject, these articles are for you. Ancient Aliens: Part One and Part Two.

You can easily sign up to receive updates about new posts on their blog and, if you’re on facebook, follow their page. It takes a while for the new articles to show up there, but it makes it super easy to share with your friends.

Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations; Deuteronomy 7:9

Creation Science 4 Kids Show

God Spoke, Michael Faraday, Dreadnaughtus

Episode 1: Why did God speak the universe into existence? What is the biggest dinosaur we’ve found so far? Who was Michael Faraday? We look at all these in the pilot episode of the Creation Science 4 Kids Show!

Creation Science 4 Kids Show

Have you and your family experienced podcasts yet? If you’re a veteran I don’t need to say more, but they allow you to listen to content whenever and wherever you have free time.

Me, I’ve been keeping up with the Creation Today Show, Answers in Genesis, Real Science Radio, Scripture on Creation, and occasionally Creation Ministries International for years while I do chores using this technology. If you use iTunes, just copy in the names to find each of these shows.

A few years ago you needed a special MP3 player to take advantage of podcasts. Today, if you have a smart phone you can get them on a simple app. I’ve heard a number of new American cars are going to come pre-programmed for them starting this year. Talk about easy!

For the moment, you can listen to our new show right here on your browser. I’m submitting the show to iTunes, Stitcher, and a couple other places, but they have real people checking to make sure I’m not too rude to be allowed, so it will take a while before you can subscribe (for free) and make sure to never miss an episode.

You’ll be the first to know when that happens.

Click the play button to listen:

 

Find out how to listen any time anywhere HERE

Praise the Lord!
I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart,
    in the company of the upright, in the congregation.
Great are the works of the Lord,
    studied by all who delight in them.
Full of splendor and majesty is his work,
    and his righteousness endures forever.
He has caused his wondrous works to be remembered;
    the Lord is gracious and merciful. Psalm 111:1-4 ESV

Let there be...

God spoke and it was:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
The same was in the beginning with God.
  All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
In him was life; and the life was the light of men.
John 1:1-4

Genesis 1:3  And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
Genesis 1:6  And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.
Genesis 1:9, Gen. 1:11, Gen. 1:14, Gen. 1:20, Gen. 1:24, Gen. 1:26, Gen. 1:28, Gen. 1:29

Dreadnaughtus Articles:

Sauropod Dinosaur scales. Dreadnaughtus is even bigger!

Sauropod Dinosaur scales. Dreadnaughtus is even bigger!

I quoted from Scientific American for the plastic dinosaur vs. house comparison

The Smithsonian has a good article as well

Creation Ministries International is the only one of the creation ministries with an article out so far (I typed in “Dreadnaughtus” into the Search Creation engine to find it)

Michael Faraday Biographies:

Michael Faraday

Michael Faraday

The BBC had a detailed article on his life story and scientific achievements.

We went to The Creation Science Hall of Fame for a basic overview of his Christian beliefs (they have a huge collection of mini-bios of scientists past and present

Biblical Creation.org and Adherents.com rounded out our understanding of his Christianity and character.

Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created. Revelation 4:11

Please drop me a line if you have suggestions, comments (it will help the kids be braver to know they are appreciated), or something creation related your own kids have written:

Theme music adapted from All God’s Children by Aural Night

NOAA-Storm from space

Magic vs Miracles: Storms

Continued from Magic: Part 1 and Part 2.  Now I can finally get to the exact question I was asked on facebook!  “Can [non-Christian powers] cause storms?”

Giant waves on the seafront at Seaham, County ...

But the Lord brought a great storm on the sea. The wind made the sea very rough. The storm was very strong, and the boat was ready to break apart…The sailors were very afraid. Each man began praying to his god.

The captain of the boat saw Jonah and said, “Wake up! Why are you sleeping? Pray to your god! Maybe your god will hear your prayer and save us!”

Then the men said to each other, “We should throw lots to find out why this is happening to us.”

morro-rock-big-waves_mg_2346So the men threw lots. The lots showed that the troubles came to them because of Jonah. Then the men said to Jonah, “It is your fault that this terrible thing is happening to us. Tell us, what have you done? What is your job? Where do you come from? What is your country? Who are your people?”

Jonah said to them, “I am a Hebrew. I worship the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the land and the sea.”

Jonah told the men he was running away from the Lord. The men became very afraid when they learned this. They asked Jonah, “What terrible thing did you do against your God?” Jonah 1 Easy-to-read Version

English: Four coloured 6 sided dice arranged i...Here we have magic and God’s power face to face.  The men knew that the gods could cause storms, especial out of season (the Mediterranean has a storm season just like the monsoon and hurricane seasons).  They knew the gods would show them who was the “guilty one” by using lots (something like short straws, dice or other “chance” objects).

Look at how they reacted when they realized it was the “God of heaven who made the land and the sea” who did this.  I would have been “very afraid,” too!

If you continue reading, you will see that as soon as they sacrificed Jonah to God by tossing him in the water (It is nice to see they hated to do this, they were honorable men), the storm stopped immediately.

North Pacific storm waves as seen from the M/V...This reminds us of someone else who could do the same thing: Jesus (Mk 4:39; Matthew 14:32).  In Mark’s story of Jesus’ nap, He just spoke, “peace, be still,” and the winds and water obeyed (the water had to obey, or the  waves would have continued for some time).  In Matthew’s account of Jesus foot-surfing to the disciples, Jesus didn’t even have to talk; it just calmed down as He climbed into the boat.

I’m sure there are a bunch of other stories about people groups who are familiar with demonic power (we call them animists), but this one will have to do for today.

BTW, Praise God, He doesn’t insist that we get our act all together before He helps us.  None of God’s earthly children are perfect, but He cares for us anyway!

Here are some quotes from the Plymouth Pilgrims during their first Summer in New England:

Bradford wrote, “the Lord seemed to blast… and threaten… sore famine unto them, by a great drought which continued from the 3. week in May, till about the middle of July, without any rain and with great heat…  the corn began to wither away.”

Its raining in my backyard-Hooray

Its raining in my backyard-Hooray (Photo credit: aussiegall)

“they set a part a solemn day of humiliation to seek the Lord by humble & fervent prayer, in this great distress. And he was pleased to give them a gracious & speedy answer, both to their own & the Indians admiration, that lived amongst them…. toward evening it began to overcast, and shortly after to rain, with such sweet and gentle showers, as gave them cause of rejoicing, & blessing God. It came, without either wind, or thunder, or any violence,…  the earth was thoroughly wet and soaked therewith. Which did so apparently revive & quicken the decayed corn & other fruits, as was wonderful to see, and made the Indians astonished to behold.”

An Indian named Hobamak who witnessed this event said to a Pilgrim: “Now I see that the Englishman’s God is a good God, for he hath heard you, and sent you rain, and that without storms and tempests and thunder, which usually we have with our rain, which breaks down our corn, but yours stands whole and good still; surely your God is a good God.

The Indians could get their gods to send rain, too.  But when it came, it was as bad as the drought.

Sing unto the LORD with thanksgiving; sing praise upon the harp unto our God:
Who covers the heaven with clouds, who prepares rain for the earth, who makes grass to grow upon the mountains.
He gives to the beast his food, and to the young ravens which cry.
The LORD takes pleasure in them that fear him, in those that hope in his mercy.  Psalm 147:7-9,10

Nebuchadnezzar's Dream Church Window, Wikicommons

Science in the Bible: Magic Part 2

Continued from  Part 1:

Jesus said, “False messiahs and false prophets will come and do great miracles and wonders, trying to fool the people God has chosen, if that is possible. Now I have warned you about this before it happens.”  Matthew 24:24,25 Easy-to-read Version

Hieroglyph for “Magician”

Today it’s time to learn about “magicians” in the Bible.

The first and last mentions of magicians are really interesting (Genesis 41:8; Daniel 5:9-11), both tell about how magicians were expected to interpret dreams and couldn’t do it for real.

The strongest magicians in the Bible were those who mimicked Moses before Pharaoh.  They were able to:

  • Turn rods into snakes (Exodus 7:11,12)
  • Turn water into blood (Exodus 7:22)
  • Brought frogs up on the land (Exodus 8:7)

That last one is highly questionable since God was doing the same thing all over the land.  How would you know whether it was the magicians or God?  After that, they had to give up.  Only God could produce lice, hail and all the other terrible plagues.

Nebuchadnezzar's Dream Church Window, WikicommonsThe other magicians in the Bible served the Babylonian king.  Their job seems to have been to tell the king what his dreams meant.  But, when God really did send a dream, these men were helpless to respond.

Next, we have the word “sorcerer.”  This word is used to describe the magicians, is also mentioned in the law and here:

[King Manasseh] caused his children to pass through the fire in the valley of the son of Hinnom: also he observed times, and used enchantments, and used witchcraft, and dealt with a familiar spirit, and with wizards: he wrought much evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger.   II Chronicles 33:6 KJV

This is almost an exact quote from Moses’ command to never do these things in Deuteronomy 18:10.  King Manasseh’s willingness to kill his own children was directly tied to the rest.  What do they mean?

  • Observed times: remember all those observatories the ancients made?  They believed that when the stars and planets were in special places it was very bad/good to do certain things.  It also can mean to watch for shapes in clouds or other nebulous things (crystal balls?)
  • Enchantments: augury: to observe signs and omens.  Black cats, comets, and other stuff would be in this catagory
  • Witchcraft: the Bible doesn’t really tell us what this means except that it is bad enough to earn you the death penalty under the law.  All dealings with unholy spirits would be included along with drug/poison use (Revelation 9:21)
  • Dealing with a Familiar Spirit: we have one clear example of this with Saul and the woman of Endor (I Samuel 28:7-25).  This tells us that people would try to talk to the dead through such people.  The amazing thing is, when the dead Samuel actually showed up, she was shocked and realized what was going on right away.  This shows that whatever usually happened, real humans weren’t involved.
  • Wizards: those who practice all of these things

All of these in themselves are a big pile of nonsense, but there is a power behind them.

And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk: Revelation 9:20 

The idols couldn’t walk, but there was something else there: demons.  Get yourself some good missionary stories and find out what’s going on here.  I highly recommend Otto Koning’s CD series where he came from a denomination that didn’t even believe in demons, but he learned better (and the power of Jesus over them in the 20th century).  My kids and I just finished reading Joanne Shetler’s story of translating the New Testament for the Balagao people of the Philippines, powerful and encouraging stuff.

Notice, these magical arts never helped anyone.  The best people could hope for was to be left alone so bad things wouldn’t happen.  Demons want you scared, weak, poor and eventually dead.  God is the one who loves you enough to help you in big and small things.

Parents, you aren’t doing your kids any favors pretending there isn’t a war going on in the unseen realm.  If you don’t prepare them, the Enemy will still do all he can to entice them.  Knowing that there is real power lined up against us, but our God is far stronger is the best protection we can have.  It’s how the Bible deals with these things!

“The one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.”  I John 4:4 EtrV

 

open Bible

Men as Trees Walking: Jesus’ Double Miracle

Stained glass, All Saints, Nazeing

Stained glass, All Saints, Nazeing (Photo credit: TheRevSteve)

Jesus and his followers came to Bethsaida. Some people brought a blind man to him and begged him to touch the man. So Jesus held the blind man’s hand and led him out of the village. Then he spit on the man’s eyes. He laid his hands on him and asked, “Can you see now?”

The man looked up and said, “Yes, I see people. They look like trees walking around.”

Again Jesus laid his hands on the man’s eyes, and the man opened them wide. His eyes were healed, and he was able to see everything clearly. Mark 8:22-25 Easy-to-read Version

What’s going on here? Why did Jesus have to lay His hands on this man twice to restore his vision? At first glance, it seems like Jesus had to double the amount of power before the miracle could be finished. But that doesn’t match the limitless power of God!

When I was growing up, I only thought how fun it would be to see “trees walking.” The story is part of the 6% of the book by Mark not repeated by the other gospels so it’s easy to miss. But, there is so much we can learn from it!

Seems like the only explanation I ever heard from a pastor or Sunday school teacher was that maybe the man didn’t have much faith, so it was his fault Jesus had to do it twice. But there are no signs of this in the passage. In fact, you see Jesus expecting the man not to see properly.

Years later, I read an article on doctors restoring sight to the blind. The more I read the more I recognized what Jesus was doing.

Baby Colt 3

Baby Colt 3 (Photo credit: xopherlance)

When a baby is born, they spend the first year building brain connections like crazy. Even a newborn who seems to do nothing but sleep, eat, and fill their diaper is developing nerves they will use their whole life. The more interactions they have with people and objects, the more brain connections they make.

These connections don’t have a chance to form when a baby is born blind; the part of their brain designed to help them understand what they see has nothing to do. We’ve found they start using this area to help them understand language and even to read Braille. But their brain never practices figuring out what their eyes see.

Jesus designed our eyes and brains. He knew how big a task it was to heal this man and apparently decided to use him to prove He knew. When He first spit on the man (I wonder if this means Jesus didn’t have any bad germs in His mouth?) and put His hands on him, He healed him perfectly. The man’s eyes were able to instantly see 20/20 or better.

But Jesus didn’t heal the man’s brain and He made sure the disciples and everyone who read the Bible would know it by asking what the man could see. Then, He touched him again and instantly gave the man all the brain connections he needed to perfectly interpret what his eyes were telling him.

Blind children and teachers at work!.

Blind children and teachers at work!. (Photo credit: Community Eye Health)

Jesus was way ahead of His time. In 1688, a man named William Molyneux wondered what would happen if something like this occurred. He realized sight is a complex thing. It took over 300 years before doctors could answer his question.

No, it isn’t an automatic thing for the brain to interpret images, but the younger a person is when they gain vision, the better their chances.

At least one adult has learned to get around pretty well with her new vision, but it will never match what a person who has seen since infancy can understand. This is why doctors are extra careful to screen babies for vision problems. If there is something wrong which can be corrected, like cataracts at birth, they usually try to take care of them within 3 months.

Since the world began was it not heard that any man opened the eyes of one that was born blind. If this man were not of God, he could do nothing.  John 9:32,33

This is still true. These men not only had eyes to see but a brain to understand!

For more, check out Phys.org: Out of darkness, sight: How the Brain learns to see

Creation Ministries International:  Walking trees … Modern science helps us understand a puzzling miracle

 

Black and Yellow Butterfly on a Leaf

Ravi Zacharias: Speaking for Jesus, our Creator

Ravi Zacharias-flickr

This is an article I wrote two years ago, but the only thing that’s changed is instead of having raised a few pennies for RZIM, my total is over $81. It’s still one of my favorite podcasts, and they still bring Jesus as Creator into the mix. Just the whole ministry is super careful not to drive away either Christians who think God used evolution and/or millions of years to “create” or those of us who know better!

I’ve mentioned a couple of times that I use GoodSearch to find things on the internet, and now it’s time to tell you who I support with this program!  Ravi Zacharias has been preaching and speaking around the world for many years about Jesus, humanity and the need for a Christian worldview to make sense of our lives.  When I was about 12, I saw him speak at a church on the north side of Chicago and I’ve been interested in him ever since.

His sermons are one of my favorite things to listen to on iTunes while I do my chores.  Dr. Zacharias has an unusual ministry that focuses on the very smart and “wise” people of the world.  He speaks and works at Cambridge and Oxford in England.  He has spoken to many of the most powerful people in the world, people whom most Christians never have a chance to talk to.  He uses some very big words and big ideas, but his whole focus is on pointing people to Jesus Christ and the life and meaning He offers to everyone.

I’ve noticed over the past few months how often the beginning of Genesis comes up in his speeches and I know it’s not an accident.  If we let go of God as Creator and Adam and Eve as our first parents, we lose all of the foundation of our worldview.  Life becomes just a squishy mess that we can mold however we want to, but that can’t support us in hard times.

The last two weeks the podcast has been a recent speech that Dr. Zacharias gave to a group of young people attending some sort of Bible school (at least that’s the impression I got from his closing comments).  It has a lot of big words, but the main ideas he shares I think all of you who are at least 11 or 12 should be able to understand, and all of us who are turning into or already are grown-ups need to hear.  They had to split the speech into two parts so here are the links:

Effective Apologetics in the 21st Century (part 1 of 2)

Effective Apologetics in the 21st Century (part 2 of 2)

Let me know what ideas struck you the most!

But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; but unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.  Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.  For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: but God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; and base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: that no flesh should glory in his presence. I Corinthians 23-29