Sunbeams over the Grand Canyon, photo credit: Nate Loper

The Book of Jude and Genesis

[First published May, 2012] I’m way behind in a Precepts Bible study of the book of Jude, but yesterday I got to the end of the first week. They even recommended that we find a way to share what we were learning about the book with others!
I’ve been a fan of this tiny book snuggled up against Revelation for a long time and I’m excited to share what Jude tells us about Genesis.Sunbeams over the Grand Canyon, photo credit: Nate Loper

Jude’s book is only 25 verses long, so it’s a great way to impress people with your ability to read very quickly. “Mom, I read a whole book of the Bible this morning!” Or something like that. 😀 He has only a few points to make focusing on how easy it is to lose the truth we have been given in the Bible and warning us of ungodly men who use religion to cause all kinds of wickedness.

The first time Jude mentions ancient history is something that we only get in tiny bits and pieces through the Bible: the fall and punishment of angels who followed Satan.

6 And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.

There must be two classes of demons, because we know that there are still lots of them on the loose in the world [Matthew 8:28,29] even though the ones mentioned here are already bound.

Next, Jude moves on to the cities of the plain of Jordan which is now under the Salt (Dead) Sea.

7  Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.

Jude assumes that the events recorded in Genesis 19 are actual historical events. Since the valley of the Salt Sea isn’t still smoking, the “eternal fire” must be talking about what happened to the people of these cities after they died.

9 Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee.

I’ve always liked this verse. If angels are very careful how they interact with wicked beings, we humans had sure better humbly depend on God’s power rather than our own.

11a Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain,

Now we’re at the beginning of time! Do you remember what the “way of Cain” was? Just before Easter I wrote about Cain and what he chose to do to his righteous brother. This verse tells us that anyone who rejects the truth of the Bible and follows their selfish desires is following in Cain’s footsteps.

11c and perished in the gainsaying of Core.

This is talking about the time in the wilderness when his cousin Korah didn’t want to follow Moses’ leadership [Numbers 16]. God was very upset about this, so although Moses begged God not to destroy the whole people, he did ask for the ground to swallow Korah and his friends up [v 31-33]. That was one crazy earthquake! Jude also accepts this as a historical fact without question.
BTW, not all of Korah’s family died then, apparently at least one of his sons, Assir [I Chronicles 6:22-24], decided to stay close to Moses rather than his dad!

13b wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever.

It took some searching to find out what this is talking about. Turns out the name “wandering stars” is the old term for the known planets.  This is a possible explanation, as Barnes’ notes points out that sailors can’t rely on them to guide them accurately.
There is another possibility as well. Jude might be talking about meteors which only shine for a moment before being extinguished forever. This wouldn’t be the first time God used one sentence to say more than one thing!

14-15 And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, to execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.

Now we finally come to some of the coolest stuff that Jude talks about! He makes no excuses for believing that the list of our forefathers in Genesis chapter 5 is complete and accurate. There are people who want to say a bunch of people were left out of this chapter, making the time of Adam and Eve much farther back in time. But Jude doesn’t even allow this as a possibility.

Then, we get a brief glimpse into what Enoch was like. All we know from Genesis 5:24 about his character is that he “walked with God”. It is nice to find out here that part of his job was to be a prophet of God’s judgment on the wicked.

We can also learn more of Enoch’s character from the meaning of his name. Enoch means “dedicated,” which tells us that his parents wanted him to be special for God. (Cain also named his son this, but he was dedicating him to something completely different!) 

Thank you, God for giving us not only what we need to understand how you work in the world, but even little bits about our shared history! It’s going to be awesome meeting this man who has been walking with you since just after the dawn of time.

Newton fractal, image credit: Solkoll

Laws of Physics

Newton fractal, image credit: Solkoll

[First published in May, 2012]

Why can we describe the world with “laws”?

Equations of Motion

“There are four major concepts in science: facts, hypotheses, laws, and theories,” Coppinger told Live Science. “Laws are descriptions — often mathematical descriptions — of natural phenomenon; for example, Newton’s Law of Gravity or Mendel’s Law of Independent Assortment. These laws simply describe the observation. Not how or why they work.”

A couple of months ago I picked up a copy of Is God a Mathematician” at a discount store because it sounded interesting. The author, Mario Livio, thinks that the Catholic church rejecting Galileo’s work proves that the Bible has nothing to say about science.

Apparently, the Church at that time believed that everything in space was perfect, so the moon couldn’t have craters even if telescopes showed them. (An idea that originated with Aristotle.) They also thought Joshua’s long day (Joshua 10) meant that the sun and moon went around the earth, so Galileo couldn’t have been right. Of course, this doesn’t begin to prove that Evolution and long ages are facts (called a Straw Man Argument), but this was just a small part of Livio’s book.E=MC2

It is very exciting to me to realize just how much God loves math and used it to set up His universe. I’m not that great at math myself, but I remember how cool it was to figure out how algebra works (I just couldn’t remember how to do it the next day!). Here’s the fist paragraph of the Amazon review of Livio’s book:

“Nobel Laureate Eugene Wigner once wondered about “the unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics” in the formulation of the laws of nature. From ancient times to the present, scientists and philosophers have marveled at how such a seemingly abstract discipline could so perfectly explain the natural world. More than that — mathematics has often made predictions, for example, about subatomic particles or cosmic phenomena that were unknown at the time, but later were proven to be true….
how can it so accurately describe and even predict the world around us?”

Those who refuse to admit that there is a Creator have no answer to these questions. WE DO!!

The LORD possessed me [wisdom] in the beginning of his way, before his works of old. I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was. Proverbs 8:22-23

Hubble Deep Space Galaxies

Interestingly, there is one study of distant stars that ‘seems’ to have broken one of the laws of electromagnetic interaction. If you want to know what that means read this Article “for kids” and leave me a comment if you can explain it! The only thing I understand is that the way light from very distant stars is acting in the northern part of the sky is different from their southern sky cousins. There’s a good picture of this on a skeptic’s article showing the (very slight) variation in wave length.

That the constants of the universe would have one minor exception in very distant space fits what God has been telling us all along. And all I was looking for was info on how absolute these laws are!!!

Laws give God a place to hide

One more point on all of these clues in the Bible is the uncomfortable fact that God has chosen to almost always disguise Himself. God doesn’t want us to worship, serve, fear and love Him because we Must but because we Choose to. Although the Bible records a few times when God appeared to people in an unmistakable way, these times are always rare. Even then, people sometimes chose to refuse to honor God for who He is (Genesis 4:6; Daniel 5:5; Numbers 22:13+31:16).

Jesus said: But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. John 4:23

Earnesto Carrasco's Ark Model

Noah’s Ark Models Around the World

Earnesto Carrasco's Ark Model

For the first time in millennia, if you can make it to the middle of Kentucky in the USA, you can experience just how big the Ark God told Noah to make really was. That is, if Noah was around 6’3″ (195cm). Or, off the Atlantic Ocean, you can see a slightly smaller version assuming Noah was only about 5′ 10″ (180cm) that can really sail*.

Both of these ships are sure to blow your mind and make all the kids’ book versions look utterly silly.

But what if you don’t live near these places?

There are still quite a number of places where you can picture just how much room God told Noah to prepare for the survivors of the Wold-Wide Flood!

Perhaps even better, there’s nothing stopping you from joining the club and making your own model ark. You can even get a kit to make your own paper Answer in Genesis style version for just a few dollars.

The only thing is, depending on how small you make your model, finding such tiny animals is going to be tough. 😀
I did hear one grandpa decided to make an ark to PlayMobil scale. He had to keep it outside because it was too big to fit in his house!

You can find a basic plan for how to make your own wooden model on the Institute for Creation Research website. It’s not a project for first time wood workers, that’s for sure.

Some really cool and inspiring Models to Check Out

An internet friend of mine, Ernesto Carrasco, has been working and studying with the Institute for Creation Research for several years. A couple years ago he decided to build his own model taking advantage of all the wise people around to ask questions. He has some great pictures and description on his own blog (I borrowed one for the picture at the beginning of this article) and ICR has a nice article on what they think of his project as well.

Looks like the Akron Fossils & Science Center in Ohio has a model, too!

And then you’ll want to check out This Page which is part of the World Wide Flood site.  Just click on the modeler’s name and you will see a bunch of pictures of their ideas about what Noah’s Ark. It’s not been updated in a long time, but everything is still working at least on my laptop sized screen.

If you’ve seen an Ark Model yourself, let me know! Where was it, and what did you think about it?

Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch. And this is the fashion which thou shalt make it of: The length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, the breadth of it fifty cubits, and the height of it thirty cubits. A window shalt thou make to the ark, and in a cubit shalt thou finish it above; and the door of the ark shalt thou set in the side thereof; with lower, second, and third stories shalt thou make it. Genesis 6:14-16

One thing you will notice is just how big the Ark really was. We don’t know what kind of wood “Gopher Wood” is talking about, since this is just the sound the Hebrew word makes.  It certainly doesn’t have anything to do with gophers! We also don’t know what kind of “pitch” or “covering” they were to coat the Ark with (there wouldn’t have been any petroleum, or very little, before the Flood). But we do know how big the Ark must have been because of the cubit dimensions (a cubit measures from the elbow to the fingertips) God gave to Noah. If Noah was the same height as an average man now, it would have been 450 feet long, 75 feet wide, and 45 feet high.  If his forearm was longer than ours, it would have been even bigger!!

All the way through the Bible we can’t help wondering about the details of places, and people and the way things actually happened.  I suppose God didn’t include more because we would need a library cart to take our Bible in to church with us!!

*Creation Ministries International has a good article on the Dutch Ark Replica as well.

 And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen. John 21:25

Magnifying Glass and letters, WikiPedia

Fuzzy Words

[I got the idea for this article from This Episode of the Creation Today Show]

Magnifying Glass and letters, WikiPedia

Newspapers, magazines and scientific articles are constantly writing about the latest ‘proof’ that Evolution is true. The headlines talk as if the newest discovery discussed in the article has finally put the truth of Evolution beyond all doubt. But when you read the article, will the facts support such strong claims?

First of all, no one besides God will ever be able to prove what happened before people came on the scene and began writing things down. Only those of us who believe the Bible will admit that the first people did write down what they saw and lived through! So it isn’t even possible to claim as absolute truth what the millions of years crowd wants to say.

Have a look at the words the article itself actually uses

It’s amazing how many imagination words you run into in an honest evolutionary article. Think of the kinds of words you might use if you don’t want your mom or dad to find out what really happened. You could say:

  • Perhaps
  • Might have
  • Maybe
  • Imagine if
  • Possibly
  • Could have
  • Suggest
  • Hypothetically

Get the idea? If you add these kinds of word you can say anything an make it sound attractive. The person listening isn’t going to ask questions like, “Is that even possible?” when you’re just saying, “maybe it happened like this.”

Unfortunately, books and articles written for kids don’t usually write so honestly

I once borrowed a book from the library about “feathered dinosaurs” to write about. I have studied the proper way to do non-fiction research, and the way the book handled the facts was appalling. They state flat out that these animals “lived between 230 million and 65 million years ago; started growing feathers;…” that one “was a fierce hunter; able to fight,” and so on

as if the author had been there and seen these things happen.

If someone wrote that way with so little evidence about a historical person, they would never get published.

But they don’t want kids to get the impression that we don’t really know if dinosaurs lived millions of years ago. They don’t want to admit that we can’t possibly know for sure what an extinct animal ate and how they lived just from their petrified bones. So they write as if what they are saying is a fact that no one could possibly argue with so you won’t either.

I found an article by National Geographic

talking about “The long curious extravagant evolution of feathers“. The author started out by admitting that “a bird wing is vastly more sophisticated than anything composed of sheet metal and rivets”, but then quickly turns to how strongly he believes “a simple switch in the wiring” transformed a reptile’s scales into the intricate interlocking network of feathers.

WikiCommons

Feather barbs under the electron microscope

It was rather interesting reading about the constantly changing history of evolutionary thinking about feather evolution. What are the odds the current, confidently stated, ideas about their evolution will eventually meet the same fate? But since they’ve already determined to never admit nature points to a Creator, there will always be some sort of fanciful tale of how they imagine things evolved without God.

Here’s a list of the “Fuzzy Words” I found in the article talking about what is currently believed:

WikiCommons

Thorny Devil lizard scales under the electron microscope

  • the origin of feathers may have had nothing to do with the origin of flight
  • Richard Prum of Yale University and Alan Brush of the University of Connecticut developed the idea that the transition from scales to feathers might have depended on a simple switch in the wiring
  • only minor modifications would have been required
  • This raised the astonishing possibility
  • The origin of feathers could be pushed back further still if the “fuzz” found
  • There’s an even more astonishing possibility
  • the discovery of the same gene in alligators that is involved in building feathers in birds suggests that perhaps their ancestors did
  • So perhaps the question to ask, say some scientists, is not how birds got their feathers, but how alligators lost theirs.
  • If feathers did not evolve first for flight, what other advantage could they have provided the creatures that had them? Some paleontologists have argued that feathers could have started out as insulation. Theropods have been found with their forelimbs spread over nests, and they may have been using feathers to shelter their young.
  • Another hypothesis has gained strength in recent years:
  • The possibility that theropods evolved feathers for some kind of display
  • Perhaps the males of the species flashed their handsome tails when courting females. Or perhaps both sexes used their stripes the way zebras use theirs
  • Whatever the original purpose of feathers, they were probably around for millions of years before a single lineage of dinosaurs began to use them for flight.
  • they may have been too weak for flight
  • It’s possible that sexual selection drove the evolution of this extravagant plumage
  • the extravagant feathers of Anchiornis may have been a bit of a drag
  •  have found a way that Anchiornis could have overcome this problem
  • If Sullivan and his colleagues are right, this crucial flight feature evolved long before birds took wing
  • It now looks like bird flight was made possible by a whole string of such exaptations
  • Perhaps, says Dial, the path the chick takes in development retraces the one its lineage followed in evolution

Whew, that’s a bunch of guesswork and imagination! When you take all these possibilities out of the picture, what are you actually left with?

Not much

Creationists also are careful with their words when doing scientific research. If we don’t have an eye witness statement about an issue we too will point to the facts and present possibilities built on our thinking about them. But, we have a firm foundation to start from, not the shifting sand of popular, godless human reasoning!

But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.  II Corinthians 11:3

 

NASA- Clouds as seen from the ISS

God’s Miracle: the Clouds

Part 2 of a series on Science in the Bible: Water

NASA-Clouds seen from the ISS

Dost thou know the balancings of the clouds, the wondrous works of him which is perfect in knowledge? Job 37:16

I searched online to find how heavy a rain cloud can get before it drops its load or rain. Of course, this isn’t a simple thing since clouds are floating in the sky. But a hot air balloon floats even though it weighs in about 2 and 1/2 tons and there’s the weight of an Airbus to consider as well! Turns out clouds can carry a mind-boggling amount of water before the droplets get too heavy to stay aloft.

So, how does God pull this off?

The best thing I can compare clouds to is how ice floats. You’ve probably studied this already, but it never hurts to remember just how amazing God’s design for H2O actually is. Most things get denser and denser as the temperature cools. Water does this too as it gets colder until something miraculous happens. When water crystallizes into ice the molecules it is made of get farther apart making ice 9% less dense than average water. Why that happens is out of the realm of science, but we know Whom to be grateful to!!

Morning mist- WikiCommonsWater vapor works in a similar way, except it is always lighter than the air it moves through. Water as a gas is quite a bit lighter than the nitrogen that makes up most of our air. There’s a teachers’ page showing why warmer air can hold more water vapor without raining than cool air can. And even a news article (with a pop-up ad) that talks about how airports make more rain in the local area. The coolest thing it talked about is that water vapor left alone (like, far away from an airport!) doesn’t freeze until it gets to be 40 below (that’s the temp which is the same in F and C!).  Fascinating stuff!

More Bible!

While as yet he had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor the highest part of the dust of the world. Proverbs 8:26

In this chapter, Wisdom is talking about how old “she” is.  I’ve always liked the verse about how wisdom likes us people best, but today we’re talking about clouds.

What does this verse tell us about them? If you think about how water vapor is always lighter than the air around it, why doesn’t it just stay up there forever? That’s where the “high dust” comes in. For water vapor to turn back into liquid it has to have a tiny particle, called a nucleus, to stick to. This is also true for snow, although snow can also form around tiny pre-frozen ice particles.

Volcano Dreams

Volcano Dreams (Photo credit: jurvetson)

Guess what are these particles made of

Dust of some kind!  This can come from anything ranging from dirt specks, ashes from fires or volcanoes, exhaust fumes from cars and factories, or even sea salt spray (near the ocean). These bits are so tiny (about 1 micrometer= 0.0001 mm) that you’d never know it was there without a super strong microscope. The water collects around this center until it gets heavy enough to fall out of the air as a raindrop about 2mm across.

I have space for one last cool thing about rain: if rain drops fell on us without wind resistance, they could be going fast enough to kill you! Not only does air slow down these drops, it also splits them apart if they get too big.

Remember that thou magnify his work, which men behold.  Every man may see it; man may behold it afar off. 

Behold, God is great, and we know him not, neither can the number of his years be searched out.  For he maketh small the drops of water: they pour down rain according to the vapour thereof: which the clouds do drop and distil upon man abundantly. Job 36:25-28

Try out this simple, but way cool experiment from the National Weather Service (check it out anyway for the number of gallons [x 3.79 for liters] a typical rain cloud holds!)

Sumerian Cylinder Seal, Flickr, Steve Harris

God Says Earth Spins like a…. Seal?

No, not the animal, but a seal to press into clay. Check it out:

Sumerian Cylinder Seal, Flickr, Steve Harris

Hast thou commanded the morning since thy days; and caused the dayspring to know his place;
That it might take hold of the ends of the earth, that the wicked might be shaken out of it?
It is turned as clay to the seal; and they stand as a garment. Job 38:12-14

If you read these verses in other versions, you’ll read something quite different. They say the earth was changed like clay under a seal. But King James’ translators tried to be super honest with the Hebrew even if something seemed odd. They just translated each word into English as best they could and left us to puzzle why God would say things the way he did.

Let’s see what we can solve using modern archaeology:

Mesopotamian Cylinder Seals:

Ancient Mesopotamians.com says: Cylinder seals, small stone cylinders covered with a design were the oldest form of art in Mesopotamia. Cylinder seals were used as ownership stamps for the people. They were also used as jewellery or magical amulets. Cylinder seals were related with the cuneiform system of writing because they were used to authenticate cuneiform documents.

These seals differ in sizes, designs and shapes. It was from the 3rd millennium BC that they began to be prevalent. They were used extensively by the government officials in various occasions such as sealing the closure of the door of a storeroom, confirmation of receipt etc. Cylinders were used as signatures in contracts and other documents.

Cool, huh?

How does this fit our verses? Verses 12 and 13 are easy enough; God is talking about the morning and how bad guys can’t hide once the sun comes up. Then He says, “It is turned as clay to the seal”. What is “it”? Not the earth, but the morning. The morning is compared to clay getting stamped by one of these cylinder seals.

“Morning” isn’t a thing like the sun or moon. It’s the name we have for the time of day when sunlight first starts shining onto us. When we put verse 14 together, it sure looks like God is talking about the atmosphere. “And they stand as a garment makes a lot of sense when you think of how the air wraps around the earth like a skin or clothes.

But what could God be talking about with “it” being turned or pressed like clay in one of those seals? I decided to check around to see if the atmosphere changes shape when morning comes. Here’s what NASA has to say about it:

Since air is gaseous, it is compressible. This means that the air pressure nearer the surface of the Earth is greater than the air pressure in the stratosphere. . . .

The page goes on and on about how temperature affects an airplane’s flying power. Air pressure also messes with the instruments telling pilots how high they are above sea level. Temperature gets higher every morning.

It isn’t easy to find out if the whole atmosphere changes shape; most people just want to talk about its “average height”. But, I kept looking and check out what I found:

Federation of American Scientists: Understanding the Atmosphere: The tropopause is a thin zone of transition between the troposphere [where we live] and the stratosphere. Obviously, the tropopause height varies directly with the troposphere thickness and depends largely on geographical location, season, and other factors.

Could the tropopause change height in the morning? I found a super eye-crossing paper saying, yes it does. About an hour after sunrise, the height starts changing. This study didn’t come out until the end of 2008AD, but God told us it happened 1,000s of years ago.

Once more we see God knows what He’s talking about. Our job is to remember how smart He is and watch for ways to check it out.

BTW, there’s one cylinder scroll creationists find extra interesting. You can read more about it on Creation Ministries International: Mesopotamian monsters in Paris

Long necked creature seal, Louvre, wikimedia

“Lions”?!!! Are you sure?

Dragons and Humans

My kids’ reenactment of life after the Flood

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read a book or listened to a program about dinosaurs flatly informing us that no human being has ever seen one alive.

Does the Bible say anything about this?

Water dwellers and flying creatures were made one day before Adam. All land creatures were made on the same day as Adam. So, since by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; (Romans 5:12a) the dinosaurs couldn’t have died before Adam and Eve were created.

Turns out we have lots of evidence that people were quite familiar with dinosaurs

We just never called them that until the mid-1800s. We called them dragons. (That’s my eldest son’s “Dragony” in the foreground).

Here are a few things people have made that show dinosaurs:

Check out this mosaic found in Italy showing life along the Nile about 100 years before Jesus was born. It is called the Palestrina Mosaic after the town it was found in.

100BC mosaic of nile warriors fighting a dragon

 

The particular dragon shown in this scene was called a crocodile-leopard. Is that what you would call it? (This scene also shows what REALLY happened to the dinosaurs.)

Flag of Bhutan Eesti: Bhutani lipp Français : ...

Flag of Bhutan

Next we have an example from the Far East, or rather the Top of the World.  Bhutan is just east of Nepal up in the Himalayas. There are so many drawings, statues and carvings of dragons in the East that you might just get the idea people knew about these animals.

Cultures around the world have all had stories and pictures of dragons. Europeans grow up with stories of brave warriors fighting dragons. Western Africans have these stories too. The Tagalog of the Philipines, the Maori of New Zealand, and the Algonquins of the USA all have stories of dragons.

Remember Daniel and the king’s dream? Here’s Nebuchadnezzar’s take on dragons.

Ishtar Gate dragon Photo credit: Zunkir

Ishtar Gate Dragon

Just to compare, here’s another animal from the same gate so you can decide if those artists were any good at showing an animal accurately:

Fragments of the processional street of the Is...

Ishtar Gate Creature

And one more version from the Vikings. What do you think, did they copy something somebody had seen, or did they have really vivid dreams?

Viking Ship Head Post

And for comparison:

Brachiosaurus animatronic model

Brachiosaurus animatronic model

 In that day the LORD with his sore and great and strong sword shall punish leviathan the piercing serpent, even leviathan that crooked serpent; and he shall slay the dragon that is in the sea. Isaiah 27:1

I’ve written lots more about Dragons

Answers in Genesis has written quite a bit about dragon legends around the world. You can learn a lot wandering their section on the subject.

I had a look around JafiraDragon.com and liked its summaries of dragon stories around the world, and listing of general characteristics by region. Even their Theories page makes me wish the author knew God agrees that people were alive at the same time as dragons/dinosaurs/pterodactyls, etc.

Perhaps the most interesting of the websites that realizes this is: S8int.com he has a whole section on Mega Fauna that’s mostly about dragons.

To Buy:

My favorite book about dragons an people:

#1 Untold Secrets of Planet Earth: Dire Dragons

And

Answers in Genesis carries a number of dragon materials, from books to DVDs. Clicking through from my page and purchasing something means I get an automatic percentage of whatever you choose. Thanks!

 

Water cycle drawing, WikiCommons

Science in the Bible: The Water Cycle

First Published June, 2012; things haven’t changed any since then!

Water cycle drawing, WikiCommons

Today I want to mention how knowledgeable the ancient writers of the Bible were about the water cycle. I found a long webpage from UNESCO that talks about what most people long ago thought of the Water Cycle:

“The Greeks therefore described the water cycle backwards, arguing that since the level of the seas remained constant despite all the rivers flowing into it, the water must penetrate the earth’s depths and feed the underground springs. Evaporation and Precipitation were ignored.”

Ancient Egyptians couldn’t figure out how the Nile flooded annually even though it never rained during that time of year. The average Egyptian thought that the river was just a sort of back flow from the Mediterranean Sea. You’d think they would have wondered why the river water wasn’t salty!

The Chinese knew that rain was the source of the water in their rivers and even had a flood warning system using horseback messengers that could travel faster than the rising waters! But there is no evidence that they understood where the rain came from in the first place. They even invented a Rain Dragon myth to explain what caused it.

But is this the kind of confused tale that the Bible presents for us about the water cycle?  Have a look at these verses:

All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full; unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again. Ecclesiastes 1:7

If the clouds be full of rain, they empty themselves upon the earth: Ecclesiastes 11:3a

He causes the vapors to ascend from the ends of the earth; he makes lightnings for the rain; he brings the wind out of his treasuries. English: LightningPsalm 135:7

The Psalms verse is especially interesting because it shows the connection between lightning and rainfall. Even what is known as Dry Lightning has rain, it just never reaches the ground! I found out that there is something called a Rain Gush whenever lightning occurs. If there is even lightning very close to you, you might notice it starts to rain extra hard a few seconds later. This all has to do with the electricity in water and is something we still don’t completely understand, but the Creator does!

Mist on Lake Ontario

He that calls for the waters of the sea, and pours them out upon the face of the earth: The LORD is his name. Amos 9:6b

When he utters his voice, there is a multitude of waters in the heavens, and he causes the vapors to ascend from the ends of the earth; he makes lightnings with rain, and brings forth the wind out of his treasures. Jeremiah 10:13

These last three verses show a clear understanding of evaporation, unlike what these other cultures were thinking!

Beginning with Leonardo Da Vinci in the late 1400s, and Bernard Palissy 100 years later, modern scientists pieced together how the water cycle works. Finally in the 1600s, two Frenchmen, Pierre Perrault and Edmé Mariotte, showed that there was enough water from evaporation and rain to explain how water reached the land and then flowed back to the sea.

Nowadays, knowledge of the water cycle is so common that we all learn about it in our first school years.

Praise be to our great God who formed the earth so carefully and thoughtfully!

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater:
So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: Isaiah 55:8-11

Continued: God’s Miracle: the Clouds

Islamic Ark Illumination

The Whole World Remembers Noah’s Flood

Cover of

Cover via Amazon

This topic seemed good to cover since Master Books has put out a book on the same subject. Haven’t had a chance to look at it yet, but you can get an idea of the kinds of things it covers from my article I’m reposting:

A couple of years ago I ran into the book Eternity in Their Hearts by Don Richardson that discusses the memory many people groups have of the great Flood.  I had heard of the Babylonian myth of a cube-shaped boat and the gods landing on the sacrifice afterwards because they were so hungry.  That story in the Gilgamesh Epoch is often used to “show” that the Bible just borrowed and sanitized other cultures’ myths.  But like all the arguments non-believers use, this can cut both ways.

If the great Flood of Noah’s day actually happened, wouldn’t you expect his descendents to hold on to some memory of it?  If it was just a myth, why would people groups from all over the world reinvent the same false story?

This is one of the commonly known evidences of the truth of God’s Word that non-believers don’t want children to find out about.  They will talk about it among themselves, but Cosmos-forbid the little ones get the wrong idea! “Flood myths are told by probably the majority of human nations.” by Albert L. Kroeber in Anthropology from 1948.

Turns out the Babylonian story is just the “cube” on the tip of the iceberg.  I found an enormous page covering these stories.  I was going to tell you the total number of people groups Mark Isaak mentions, but when I saw how many more there were after counting to 100 I stopped!  Every part of the globe that people live in (so no stories from Antarctica!) has groups that remember some part of the Flood.  Mind-blowing and Awesome.

English: Illustration of the Black Sea deluge,...

Illustration of the Black Sea deluge, before and after

An explanation worldwide Flood doubters have for why people “invented” flood stories is the filling of the Black Sea.  I once accidentally bought a book that claimed this.  I didn’t keep it, so I don’t recall the title, but I did read it (here’s a page with a pop-up ad that makes the same case).  The author explained that as sea levels rose long ago (which they certainly did, at the end of the Ice Age) suddenly flooding the fertile valley that is now the Black Sea.  I’m sure this happened.  But does that explain why they tell flood stories in the Pacific Islands and the Americas?  It takes just as much faith to believe that all humans were living in the Black Sea basin 7,500 years ago and carried the story around the world as it does for me to believe God’s Word.

Let’s compare what we have recorded in the Bible with all the other stories.  This page from Northwest Creation Network does a good job of this.  On their chart you’ll see that the only thing that every story has in common is destruction by water.  They’re chart shows that only the Babylon- Gilgamesh epic has all the story parts that the Bible mentions.  However, when I looked up that story on Isaak’s page, it didn’t say anything about people being wicked (and therefore judged), just that there were too many of them!

Noah's ark

This is not the real ark!

Now, let’s look at the details the Bible gives compared to the other stories to see which fits reality better.  Any story (like the Gilgamesh epic) that has many gods landing on meat like flies doesn’t fit.  Neither does a boat shaped like a box.  The Chaldeans said the dimensions of width to height was 5 to 2, the Bible’s ratio is 5 to 3.  Not too bad.  The Lithuanians (along with a number of other groups) knew that the Flood came because of wickedness, but they said that people survived by riding in a nutshell.

I wanted to see what the Chinese story had.  It says that the flood lasted 22 years and didn’t quite cover the mountain tops.  Maybe that’s why they’re fond of living up so high.  The hero gets killed by the gods and after 3 years a dragon comes out of his cut open body. Yuck!

There’s lots more you could say about the believability of the Bible’s account compared to all these others, but the main point is: They still remember!!!

If you like this topic be sure to listen to this episode of Creation Today’s interview with Jeremy Wiles who’s been to a bunch of these places and heard their stories straight from the people!

I’m not going to link to it, but I saw a page where someone stopped believing the Bible because he claims there is no evidence of a massive flood just a few thousand years ago.  I have a verse for him:

Jesus quoted, That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them. Mark 4:12

Here’s an article from Answers in Genesis on the seaworthiness of Noah’s ark.

God said, For this is as the waters of Noah unto me: for as I have sworn that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth; so have I sworn that I would not be wroth with thee, nor rebuke thee.  For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the LORD that hath mercy on thee. Isaiah 54:9,10

The edition I have of Eternity in the Hearts from 1984 only cost 75c from half.com or there’s an updated one from Christian Book Distributors for $10 (both plus shipping)

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