Category Archives: Science

Discussion about SCIENCE and ENGINEERING – All SCIENCE and all ENGINEERING. If there is a SCIENCE or ENGINEERING discipline that interests me, you will find it here.

What is the status of your unbelief?

20 And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.”

There are many things in the world that we believe in.  And there are many things that we do not believe in.  And these beliefs and unbelief’s permeate every one of our lives.  From social, to political, to science, and even our theology.  But have you ever stopped to consider how much easier it is to not believe than it is to believe?

I personally believe that the USA sent men to the moon and that they walked upon its surface.  This is as much a fact for me as the house that I live in or the clothes that I wear.  But there is an entire subculture that does not believe this.  No matter the evidence put before them.

I personally believe the earth is round, like a ball, hanging in space.  But there is a considerable subculture today that believes the earth is flat and not round.

I personally do not believe in Global Warming, Man Made Climate Change, or the data and extrapolations that come from such theories.  But there is a considerable number of people who do find this line of reasoning credible.

I personally do not believe that the current US administration colluded with Russia to alter the 2016 election results. But there are many people who do believe this.

I personally believe that abortion is murder and takes the life of a living human spirit.  But there are many that do not believe that and view abortion as an acceptable practice.

I personally believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of the Living God and that He came to earth to die for the sins of the world and that on the third day He rose from the dead proving his deity and solidifying His claims.  But there are a vast number of people who do not believe that.

In all of these, my belief is much harder than my unbelief.  It is easy to not believe something. But it is hard to actually believe something.  This is because our nature, our very human nature, is bent towards questioning and a need for proof.  And what I may require as proof is probably different than what you may require as proof.  We all want to be masters of our own destiny.  We want to be the ones in control.  And we all want to be our own judges of what is true and what is not.

Oftentimes we blame our skepticism on lack of faith.  We say that we have a problem with something because we do not have any faith in it.  We lack faith in our political systems.  We lack faith in our in our scientific methods.  We lack faith in our society.  And we certainly lack faith in our theology.

But how much faith does it take to effect changes in these areas in the world around us?  How much faith do we really need to make a difference in the world?

The disciples had this problem when they tried, on their own, to accomplish a task.  That of casting out a demon.  And when they failed, they came to Jesus and he told them that if they had but a very small amount of faith, that of a single mustard seed, they could move mountains.  At least that is what we usually focus on.

What we miss is the reason why they failed.  Jesus told them the reason they failed right up front.  See it there?  He told them the reason they were not successful is because of their unbelief.  Unbelief is a powerful thing in our lives and it will weigh heavy on our beliefs, dragging them down.  And then he told them that if they had a very small amount of faith they could move mountains.

From this we can learn that it is not the size of our faith that hinders us, it is the size of our unbelief that is important.  We are way too busy running around trying to increase our faith when what we should really be doing is working on our unbelief.

As further evidence of this I would submit God’s one requirement for entering into the Kingdom of Heaven, that of belief on the person of His Son, Jesus Christ.   God did not require us to first have great faith.  That naturally follows once we take care of our unbelief. Rather God requires us to believe.  Belief is where we must start and dealing with our unbelief is a foundational piece of that.

When a troubled father came to Jesus asking for healing for his child, Jesus asked him if he believed (Mark 9:23-24).  The father emphatically proclaimed that he believed and then immediately asked for help with his unbelief.  Jesus had just told him that all things were possible to those that believed, and the father so desperately wanted to believe.  But he knew that there were still doubts that were in his heart and he asked Jesus to help him with his unbelief.

I can assure you today that I have great faith that God is upon His throne.  He is in control, whether I believe that or not.  Faith that could move mountains and that I will stand for even though I walk in the Valley of the Shadow of Death.  And yet mountains are not moved, lives are not changed, and there seems to be little difference in the world around me.  Why?  Probably because I’ve been asking God for great faith when I should be asking him to help me with my unbelief.

How about yourself?  Are mountains not moving in your life?  Are you failing to make a difference?  And do you double down on your efforts because of your great faith only to no avail?  Perhaps it’s time for us to work on our unbelief.  Jesus, help me with my unbelief so that the faith you have given me in my life may move mountains for Your glory.

Is Abortion Murder?

I know I have made my opinion known on the topic of abortion within this blog in past posts, however, some topics are important enough, worth enough, to be revisited again and again.

2018 National Right To Life March Washington D.C.

January 22nd is the anniversary of the 1973 Roe Vs. Wade U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion as a “Constitutional” right in the United States of America.  During those 45 years since that ruling, there have been (conservatively) 60 million abortions in the United States alone.  To put this into perspective, six million people of Jewish decent were murdered by Nazi Germany between 1941 – 1945 during World War II.  If you are generous and allow a full 5 years across WW-II for the atrocities committed by Nazi Germany (in reality, they were slightly more compressed), you would achieve nearly the same rate of 1.33 million deaths per year for both Jewish people killed in the Holocaust and abortions in the U.S. since 1973 (1.20 million/year vs. 1.33 million/year for the Holocaust and Abortions in the U.S. respectively).

2018 National Right To Life March Washington D.C. – march participants

While both abortions in the U.S. and the Holocaust are (were) state sponsored events (the U.S. Supreme Court sanctioned abortion in the Roe vs. Wade decision in 1973 as well as Government funding of Planned Parenthood – using taxpayer dollars – which sponsors abortions), the justifications that each hide behind are quite different (presumably to make one sound less horrifying than it really is).

2018 National Right To Life March Washington D.C. – Marchers were of all ages, gender, and race.

While the reasoning used by Nazi Germany to justify the murder of millions of Jewish people all across Europe are completely indefensible by any right thinking individual, the subtlety used to justify abortions within the United States are more cunning and deceiving.  Within the abortion argument in the United States we hide behind words like embryo and fetus.  By using these words to describe a phase of human life, we tend to isolate the subject of the abortion and make it sound less human and thus perfectly acceptable to remove and throw away.  We simply state we are terminating the pregnancy (vice acknowledging we are terminating a human life) and having safely justified our actions to ourselves, we move on.

2018 National Right To Life March Washington D.C. – united in cause.

But the question still remains: Is Abortion Murder?  Just because we have justified it to ourselves does not mean that it is OK.  Nor does it mean that we will not be held accountable for our actions just because we’ve excused ourselves of them.  Have we fooled ourselves into believing that the termination of a pregnancy (vis-à-vis abortion) is OK because we are not actually taking a human life, when in reality, we actually are?

2018 National Right To Life March Washington D.C. – pause and think.

I suppose if you are Atheistic in your world view, it doesn’t really matter.  After all, there is no God, no Moral code, and definitely no purpose or meaning to life.  Given the foundation the Atheist builds their world view upon, they really shouldn’t mind killing of any kind.  After all, with no God to answer to, and everything in existence being meaningless, it wouldn’t matter one way or the other if abortions were murder or not.  But if you are Atheistic in your world view and you are intellectually honest with yourself, then why do you care how the morals get defined?  There is no more control over which process wins here than there is with stars burning out in the heavens.

2018 National Right To Life March Washington D.C. – marching together.

If you are Agnostic in your world view you shouldn’t have an opinion unless you are directly affected by the issue.  And even then you should pick your friends carefully.  After all, if you had one influence in your life that favored abortion and another, equal influence, that opposed abortion, it would be pretty confusing for you.  The Agnostic would have to flip a coin in order to decide.

However if you are Theistic in your world view, then you must believe that all life emanates from a God, a Creator.  And if you cannot definitively define the exact moment in time when that God-given, Creator induced life begins, then you had better err on the side of caution and treat all credible instances as human life.

This is essentially what President Ronald Regan said during his time in office.  President Regan argued (from a Theistic point of view, without stating it explicitly) that if one could not determine the point that human life began (we may all agree that the individual cells are life), that you could not act responsibly in terminating that life without being potentially guilty of murder.

So is abortion murder?  Consider that the fetus stage appears human in form.  We have hands, feet, a head, a torso.  A face.  Consider that at the fetus stage that we have a human heartbeat (~6 weeks), at the fetus stage we can measure brain waves/activity (~6 weeks.  Indeed the brain needs to be developed enough at this stage to govern organs such as the heart).  Consider at the fetus stage you can begin to see rudimentary facial expressions.  There are ultra-sounds of a fetus even sucking their thumb.  At the fetus stage you may even determine the biological sex of the child.

Some have argued as to whether or not the child is sentient at the fetus stage.  We know that at the fetus stage the child reacts to stimuli such as pain.  Very early on the child can even react to the voices of its mother and father.

These are what we know, in a rudimentary way, through both science and medicine of today.  Who knows what we will be able to discover or discern in the future?

And of course there is the religious argument.  Christianity teaches that the person (the spirit – that part of you that will endure forever) is known by God (the Creator) before you are even formed in the womb.

Is abortion murder?  How can any reasonable person say that it is not?  And we destroy thousands upon thousands of lives each year in the United States alone.  Isn’t it time that this practice is stopped?

What Is Truth?

In John 18:38 Pilate asked the question of Jesus “What is truth?”  Dr. Del Tackett has referred to this as one of the most important questions of all time in The Truth ProjectRavi Zacharias has called it the most tragic question of all time in that it was asked of the purveyor of Truth Himself.

But it is an interesting question.  Truth.  What is it?  Really?  And more importantly, what is our perception of truth?  And how does it shape our lives and affect the outcome of our existence for all of eternity?

Here is an important consideration: Is there a God?  It is an important question whether you realize it or not.

Some, like Dr. Stephen Hawking and Dr. Richard Dawkins, state that it is a fact that there is no God.  They have many that join with them in their belief that there is no God.

I, on the other hand, and many others with me state emphatically that there is a God.

You have your own beliefs as to whether or not there is a God.  Neither side can prove beyond any reasonable certainty that there is, or is not a God.  I can certainly point to evidence that there is.  But others will build their own case that there is not.

So what is truth?  In this case the truth may be found to be subjective depending upon your own personal beliefs.  And yet it is the most important question of all time.  This is why I believe it is very important to guard certain principles in our lives.  Because believe it or not, TRUTH can be lost.  For example: lets say for argument’s sake that there really is a God.  Just for a minute let’s all agree that this is an immutable fact.  Now lets divide all the people who believe the truth from those that do not believe the truth.  All of the people who actually believe there is a God are on one side of the room, and all the people who do not believe there is a God are on the other side.  Now suppose we were to have a war between the two groups.  And let’s say that the people who do not believe there is a God win the war.  They completely annihilate those that believe there is a God.

Question: Does that then make the fact that God exists not true?  No, of course not.  We’ve already established that the existence of God is true for our scenario here.  And the truth does not change.  But would the truth be lost?  I believe it would.  Those who do not believe there is a God would continue to propagate that belief and there would be no reason for any opposing point of view to arise.  The truth would be lost.

Here is a more realistic example.  How old is the Earth?  You ask this question and about 98% of people today will tell you it is 4.5 billion years old.  But if you really examine the answer you will read words like “scientists estimate …”, or “scientists believe ..”, or even “scientists think …”.

It IS NOT a proven fact that the Earth is 4.5 billion years old (or that evolution is the mechanism by which we all came to be here on Earth).  It may be a theory or a belief (by some), but not a factual piece of truth.  And yet people treat it as if it were so.  If you say it often enough and loud enough, others around you eventually begin to repeat it.  But that doesn’t make it truth.

Why?  Because when the question of Evolution seriously first came up, around the time of my grandparents generation, it was not successfully challenged.  And then when my parents generation came along, they began to make compromises and to try to fit an evolutionary world view into their own Theistic world view.  And as a result, in most (if not all) public institutes of education, Evolution is now taught as accepted fact and Creationism or Intelligent Design is not even allowed to be mentioned because they are considered myth or fairy tale.

As a result it has become a very difficult up hill battle to challenge or countermand the Evolutionary world view.  Most people have abandoned trying to fight it within public institutions and have left those for private schools and home schooling.  But what if Creationism were the truth?  It is not completely lost, but if we continue to indoctrinate new generations in the classroom, it could be.

And there is another truth we are about to lose today.  That Freedom and Capitalism provide more for any given population than Socialism and Communism.  The number of young people who supported Senator Bernie Sanders during the 2016 U.S. Presidential elections has been placed as high as 56%.  This is very alarming when you consider that these individuals are essentially voting not to be free.  The movement away from Truth, Justice, and the American Way is alarming.  If we do not stand for the principles the United States of America was founded upon, actually built upon, we could lose the greatest nation the world has ever seen.  And we could lose the truth for generations to come.

This is the reason I have not, and will not, support the NFL until they acknowledge that kneeling on foreign soil while our country’s National Anthem is playing is traitorous and disrespectful.  And then to stand during the National Anthem of a foreign nation (having just knelt for their own) simply adds insult to injury.  And that kneeling during the National Anthem on any occasion is disrespectful and is essentially saying “I stand against the institution that provides me the freedoms to protest”.  You cannot tear down the house you live in and then expect to not sleep out in the rain and the cold.  Kneeling for the National Anthem is not a protest, it is a vote not to be free.

And I take it even one step further.  For all my life I have been taught (and believed) that sports taught young people how to be good members of society as well as proper values and character.  I would suggest that the evidence today depicts otherwise.  A significant number of athletes are not demonstrating good character and values.  Therefore I do not even support college football.  Because I don’t believe these traits just magically show up when they become attached to the NFL and I do not want them to believe they have a supported path to that end.

We could be on the verge of losing our country;  Freedom, Capitalism, Democracy.  And if we do not take a very hard stand today, if we are complacent in the matter, as previous generations were with evolution, the truth could change out from underneath us and it would be very, very hard to get back.

The Way

Psalm 84:5-12 New American Standard Bible

5 How blessed is the man whose strength is in You,
In whose heart are the highways to Zion! …They go from strength to strength,
Every one of them appears before God in Zion.
For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
…The Lord gives grace and glory;
No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly.
12 O Lord of hosts,
How blessed is the man who trusts in You!

So…
Psalm 86:11
11 Teach me Your way, O Lord;
I will walk in Your truth;
Unite my heart to fear Your name.

My GPS has changed my life! I’ve put all my maps aside for the most part. “She” always knows where I am and how to get me where I want to go…most of the time. I call her Jennifer.

It has taken much of the stress of travelling away. Having my own personal navigator aboard, assuring me of my next turn and happily re-calculating when I get off course, is a lifesaver.  It has removed the concern of ever being lost. Amazing…how does she do that?  My techie friends tell me it’s not that complicated.  Though I don’t get it, I do trust my way to her.  Though I don’t understand, I believe her commands and go where she directs, confident I’ll ultimately get home.

The application to these verses is obvious. The psalmist tells us that having God’s Way in our heart will always get us “Home”, to HIM and Zion, His dwelling place. It is there that every “good thing” we need for life is found. Everything required for my sufficiency, adequacy and security is there in great supply. He is very happy to deluge us there with His best.

No wonder, the psalmist would ask he Lord to teach him the way to walk and to revere HIM enough to stay on that road to His presence…the ultimate Destination.

Actually, there are only two ways in Life, God’s way or another one. There are many voices calling to divert us from His prescribed path. His word, The Bible, has been God’s GPS for me in this life for some time and is always spot on. My problem is, I too often take “side trips” and get lost in the complexities and troubles waywardness brings.

Psalm 139:23
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me and know my anxious thoughts;
24 And see if there be any hurtful way in me,
And lead me in the everlasting way.

Knowing his vulnerability and predisposition to waywardness, the psalmist asks his Heavenly Father to search his heart for the entrenched habits and thinking that would upstage God’s way, and requests personal guidance in His eternal, life-giving, sustaining path.  Just think, having your own personal, resident Spiritual navigator with you, always directing and ultimately, to Himself.  It’s true! He wants to plug into your life and take you where you should go.  It brings the confidence He intends us to have in the difficult days we live.

The psalmist’s prayer has become mine every new day.  Wayward as I have been and still can be, I’ve put aside all other “maps” and trust His unfailing direction for everything. For me, that is making all the difference.

My prayer for you is to find His way and stay there. You will never regret it. Make your way “Home” to Him and know the best and most He’s gives.  For me, I’ve made up my mind.  I’m

Heading Home,

Mitch

A New Dynamic

When I started LRPSP three plus years ago, I had no intention or desire to have a blog.  I did not set out to simply archive my thoughts for all the world to peruse. If you have read any of them and taken pause, been blessed, or given new thought to some subject, then I am truly humbled and pleased.  However this was not my original goal.

What I really envisioned when I started this journey was a discussion. A debate of ideas. And debates and discussions take multiple parties. The Scriptures say that  “iron sharpens iron”. And one lone voice cannot sharpen itself nor lead others to sharpen themselves.

I have long believed that we must each run our own race. I can no more stand before God in your stead than you can stand before Him in mine.  Therefore you must grow as I must grow. And you must seek truth as I must seek truth. And hopefully I may intone a thought that inspires others to think deeper, but others will intone a thought that causes me to think deeper.  I don’t want to just share on a blog, I want others to begin or continue a journey in their lives that will lead them to a Creator that loves them and desires a personal relationship with them, as He does me.

I have also desired to consolidate voices into one strong accord. A choir of voices if you will. A choir is made up of parts, yet when they sing together, each part comes out in beautiful harmony that pleases the soul.  I know your time is valuable.  And I also know that there are many great voices, most much greater than mine, out there that may bring true value to your life.  I’ve desired to bring voices together here on LRPSP to help maximize your time and search for that material.  I’ve longed to build that choir.

Today I am very happy to announce that LRPSP is beginning to build that choir.  It is with great humbleness and honor that I welcome a new Contributing Editor to this site.  My Christian Brother Mitch White is joining LRPSP to add his voice and his part to the discussions that take place here.

This will afford you, those that linger on this site to read a few words, a new perspective.  You will now be able to consider topics from a different point of view and perspective.  And I know that will bring even greater insight and blessing to your life.

Welcome Brother Mitch, to LRPSP.  I, and I hope others, look forward to all that God has to share with us through your voice.  It is truly a New Day here on LRPSP and it is exciting to look forward to all God has in store for us as we each journey to know the Great I Am more personally in each of our lives.

Does Your Life Have Meaning?

Here we are at another Easter.  April 16, 2017 is the 55th Easter I have encountered in my life.  Many of my early Easters were spent with family and friends hunting for Easter Eggs, trying to fill baskets with Easter candy, and having Easter Day meals.  All of these have been joyous occasions and comprise many happy memories.  But none of these ascribe meaning to my life, or meaning to my very existence.  However, the meaning of Easter, the true meaning of Easter, the Religious aspect of Easter does bring meaning and value to life and to my existence.

I had the great honor and privilege of attending a talk by Dr. Ravi Zacharias this past week.  I’ve mentioned Dr. Zacharias in my posts on occasions in the past and consider him the greatest Christian Apologist in the world, alive today.  In his talk this past week he talked about four elements to the ultimate pursuit of Truth in one’s life.  He stated that those four elements are ‘Origin, Meaning, Morality, and Destiny’.  These four elements are all met in the celebration that is Easter Sunday.

Today you really have but one question of existential relevance before you.  And that is “Do you believe that Jesus Christ rose from the dead?”  Because how you answer that question will shape your world view and provide the foundation for how you conduct yourself in your life.

If you answer the question with a resounding “Yes” you should be compelled to believe that He is the only person in human history to ever do so of His own accord and that would lead you to find relevance in all His other claims – that He is who He said He was, the Son of the one true and living God.  That He came to die for our sins, and to bring life more abundantly.

If you answer the question with a flat “No” or a “maybe” or an “I don’t know” the rest of His claims are left in doubt and bring no relevance to your life.

But how you answer the question is how you will discover whether or not the four elements are met.

Science may claim to answer the question of ‘Origin’, where we came from, but it cannot answer the questions of ‘Meaning’ or ‘Morality’, or ‘Destiny’.  The answers to those question ring hollow and are without substance with the pursuit of Science.

Philosophy may claim to have the answers to ‘Meaning’ or ‘Morality’ or ‘Destiny’ but without an ‘Origin’ these answers do not provide purpose or relevance to one’s life.

However, there is one answer that provides all four.  If Jesus Christ did rise from the dead, as is recorded in history, then His claims of being the Son of God must also be true and that must mean there is a God.  And that answers the question of ‘Origin’.  If Jesus Christ did indeed rise from the dead, then we must be created beings, made by a living God.

If Jesus Christ is who He said He was, then the account of Genesis must be accurate and true and that answers the question of ‘Morality’ and gives meaning to right and wrong.

If Jesus Christ is who He said He was, then the purpose of His coming to earth, of dying for our sin, of providing us a path to a more abundant life, must also be true.  And that answers the question of ‘Meaning’.  It provides a purpose to our lives.  Not one that we invented or made up, but one that the One True God laid down from the foundation of time.

And if Jesus Christ rose from the dead, as history records, then the warning of a Heaven and a Hell must also be true.  And that answers the question of ‘Destiny’.  We can know why we are here and what our ultimate endpoint in all of eternity will be.

The reality of ‘Origin, Meaning. Morality, and Destiny’ are all met in the person and the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  No other pursuit of Truth, relevance, or logical consistency are met anywhere else in life,  Only in the Gospel of Jesus Christ do we find answers to all four elements.

So the question is – “Do you believe Jesus Christ rose from the dead?”  But before you answer, let me pose another question to you, and that is “For how long have people been trying to get you to believe that the answer to the question is no?”  Would you believe me if I told you that the answer is “Since the day He died”?  Because on the day He died He was sealed in a tomb and a Roman Guard was placed to watch over it.  Why?  Why would a Roman Guard be placed to keep watch over a sealed tomb of a carpenter from Galilee who had been executed upon a cross?  If not to keep you from learning that He had risen from the dead?

Why were Christians persecuted from the earliest of times and sacrificed in the Roman Colosseum?  To keep you from learning that He had risen from the dead.

Why have governments for centuries tried to control and stamp out the Christian faith?  To keep you from learning He had risen from the dead.

Why does Science teach evolution and denounce the Bible?  Why is the world seemingly so threatened by the Christian faith?  To keep you from learning He had risen from the dead.  And what does it threaten them?  After 2,000 years, why is the world so consumed with you not knowing that He has risen from the dead?

The answer is because He is the TRUTH, the Life, and the Way.  And that TRUTH meets all four elements of ‘Origin, Meaning, Morality, and Destiny’.  And that threatens not the world, but rather the Prince of this world, Satan himself.  He does not want you to know the TRUTH.  And thus he does everything in his power to propagate the lies.

Does your life have meaning?  You can find new purpose and meaning in your life today by knowing the TRUTH, the Way, and the Life.  Purpose and meaning are found in the person of Jesus Christ.  But that truth starts at the foot of the cross and is found in an empty tomb.  And is obtained through belief in Him.

WHY DID THE TREE HAVE A NAME?

I have a question, the answer to which, is not 42.  The answer, “42”, is an esoteric reference to The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, a science fiction work by Douglas Adams.  In Douglas Adams’ fantasy realm, the Earth is actually a Super Computer, named Deep Thought, running a 10 million year-long program to calculate the “Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything“.  A rather fanciful way of asking “What is the meaning of it all?”  And the answer, “42”, has become a euphemism to state “The answer is too complicated for you to understand”.

In reality, the question asked in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is not too complicated to be understood, as long as one goes to the correct source to research the answers.  And that source is the Book Of Life, the Bible, which is the real guide to the universe that God himself provided to mankind.

Of all the other sources available to us, none provides an exact answer to the questions surrounding good and evil with the clarity and finality that the Bible does.  Not Science, nor Religion, nor Philosophy, nor Politics, nor any other source you may care to name.  The answer to the meaning of it all is found in the Bible.  And at the root of that study is the answer to good and evil.

In Genesis chapters 1 & 2, we have the great creation story.  And within that story we have the Garden of Eden with two main inhabitants, Adam and Eve.  And very early on we are introduced to the concept of good and evil.  In Genesis 2:9 God made the plants to grow in the Garden of Eden, two of which, had a name,  One is the Tree of Life and the other is the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.  And my question today is: “Why were those trees, specifically, named?”  Of all the plants that must have grown within the garden, two were specifically, and deliberately named.  Why did the tree have a name?

The first tree, the Tree of Life, is interesting in and of itself.  It’s purpose is found in Genesis 3:22.  Eat of the Tree of Life, and you live forever.  Pretty straight forward.  Perhaps I’ll come back and revisit the Tree of Life someday, but for now, the tree I’d like to contemplate is the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.  This tree brought death.  At least the taking of the fruit did (Genesis 2:17).  God specifically said that the day Adam ate of this tree, he would surely die.  This is an interesting statement to me because at that time the world did not know death.  Neither Adam nor Eve had any basis for understanding death.  And yet they clearly understood that there were consequences associated with eating of the fruit of this tree.

However, eating of the tree also brought something else.  It brought with it knowledge.  Specifically knowledge of what was good and what was evil.  This is interesting to me because the tree brought knowledge of, not the substance of.  And knowledge is gained by learning, by being taught of something, or by discovery.  Clearly the concept of, and the very existence of, both good and evil existed before the Garden of Eden.  Otherwise there would not have been a tree that provided knowledge of them.

It is also clear who the teacher of the knowledge was (and who held the knowledge prior to the planting of the tree).  In Genesis 3:4-5 the Serpent told Eve that  God knew her eyes would be opened, as gods, knowing good and evil.  Obviously for God to know this, he had to have prior knowledge of good and evil.  And this is not a situation of God possessing all knowledge (epignosis) as the Serpent was aware as well, prior to either Adam or Eve eating of the fruit.

No, God did not simply know the future, that Eve, and then Adam would eat of the fruit of the tree and that evil would suddenly enter into the world.  Evil was a concept that already existed and could be taught.

I also note that the Serpent was partially accurate in what he relayed to Eve.  The tree really did bring knowledge of good and evil.  And more to the point, that knowledge made Adam and Eve (and by extension all of human kind) as gods (Genesis 3:22).  God acknowledges that Adam and Eve had become like Him (the phrase “as one of us” is in reference to the triune God in the form of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit) to know good and evil.  That is, by eating of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, they had learned of good and evil.  And human kind has known of good and evil ever since.

The sin, for Adam and Eve, was disobeying God and eating of the fruit.  The consequences that it brought into the world is knowledgeKnowledge that humans did not know how to deal with then, and still don’t know how to deal with today.  Dangerous knowledge that God had intentionally protected with  a commandment that Adam and Eve not eat of the fruit of the tree.  God did not warn Adam and Eve of the knowledge they would gain or the consequences thereof.  The Serpent did that.  And he did it rather convincingly since Eve understood that the fruit of the tree would make one wise (Genesis 3:6).

It is interesting to me that the definition for the word wise contains the words power, discernment, and judgement.  Because that is exactly what most of us think of ourselves as.  Powerful, discerning, and judges of right and wrong.  We have become as gods, all because of knowledge of good and evil.  Knowledge that is dangerous in our hands.  Is it any wonder that Christ warned us not to judge (Matthew 7:1-5)?  Because though we may be as gods, we are not The God, who judges rightly and perfectly in every case.

Another thing that knowledge of good and evil does to us is to make us believe we are self-sufficient.  We have power (knowledge), and discernment (to chart our own course), and judgment (to rightly align those around us).  Nothing is further from the truth.  It is the greatest deception of all time.  Those are exactly the things we should be crying out to God for and relying solely on Him to provide in our lives.  But because we have not, we stand in our own understanding and then wonder why we have conflict and struggle in the world.

So you see, there is a reason as to why the tree had a name.  The question is, are we going to understand the reason and apply it to our lives?

A Sad Occurance

I was in a fast food restaurant today and I ordered a hamburger meal (realizing that many in the world today do not have even that simple privilege, and if they do, quite a few do not have the means to act upon it) and I chose a table near the back where I thought I would not be disturbed and sat down to eat.

There was an older woman and a young girl sitting at the table next to me.  The young girl was white, blonde hair, and appeared to be around the age of first or second grade.  The woman appeared to be of Spanish decent (I could not say which) and I was guessing she was the little girls Grandmother.  In the Philippines my wife’s family would call her Lola.

The young girl was acting up.  She clearly was not happy being there and she was acting out in every way imaginable.  She told the lady I perceived to be her Grandmother to “shut up”, that she “was not going to eat her meal” and that she “could do whatever pleased her”.  At one point she picked up some food off the table and threw it at the older lady, started to kick her under the table, and when she was threatened with not getting the toy that came with her meal, quickly grabbed it and proclaimed it hers and that no one else could have it.  At one point the older woman, who was clearly displeased with the way the young girl was acting, mentioned that she was drawing attention to herself and that if she did not behave, they would have to leave.  The young girls reaction was fairly predictable at that point as she proclaimed that she could do what she wanted and that no one could make her leave.

This went on for several minutes until the older woman looked over at me and said to the little girl that “the man sitting at the next table was looking at her wondering why she was being such a bad little girl”,  Of course the little girl did not care.  The little girl continued to carry on her temper tantrum and the older woman looked over at me and told her that I was going to be upset if she did not behave.

I leaned over at this point and addressed the older lady telling her that the little girl probably was not aware that I was a minister.  The little girl immediately looked annoyed and asked “What’s a minister?”.  To which the older lady said “Why don’t you ask him?”  I told the little girl that a Minister was a Pastor, thinking that she might understand that better.  But she quickly replied “What’s a Pastor?”  I told her a Pastor was someone who manages and teaches at a Church.  The next question surprised me a little (although it shouldn’t have), she looked at me and said “What’s a Church?”.  And I thought ‘How do you describe a Church to a first or second grade child that clearly has no context to draw upon’?  I asked her if she had ever passed a Church on her way to school or the store.  And it was clear she still had no context from which to draw upon.  I turned back to my meal thinking that there was no way to make any headway with the little girl and that any further conversation was a lost cause.

Now don’t get me wrong, I was no angel when I was her age (and older).  But I did know what a Church was and I did have some sense of when I was not acting rightly or pleasing to my parents.  This little girl was void of any understanding of a Church, or Religion, or the concept of a God in her life.  And I would argue she was void of any social understanding or of good behavior in general.  She was the center of her own universe and only interested in what pleased her or met her own whim at the moment.  She clearly lacked a Theology in her life.

I have no idea whatsoever of the Theology of the older woman I perceived to be her Grandmother, or her parents, or of any other adult figure in her life.  But I did consider that this is a grave area of failed development in the youth of the world today.  We are literally seeing a generation of children being raised without a concept of God or a Theology all around us in the world today.  And it saddened me.  I left the restaurant despondent at the prospects of where we are headed as a society and as a people trying to make our way in the world today.

If you are agnostic, I get that.  I understand how you would not consider a Religion (any religion) as something that would be of concern or interest to how you live or govern your life.  But consider this, a child without the concept of a Religion is void of an important aspect in their social development.  They have no basis whatsoever for establishing a morality in their own lives and for understanding their purpose in the world.  Would the social interaction and concepts of a Church or a religion be so damaging to a young child that it would rob them of something important in their lives or social development?  I think not.

If you are atheistic, I get that also.  I understand how you may struggle, even abhor religions, and in some extreme cases consider them a danger.  But again, consider the results that we see in our children growing up without the social interaction of a Church.  How can a child make any sense of a grounded science, that of Theology, if they have no concept of what it even provides in their life?  What is so damaging, so uncontrollably horrific that they cannot be taught the tenants of what Religions teach and stand for?

If you are theistic, then there is simply no excuse.  The Jewish and Christian religions teach that you should “Train up a child in the way they should go and when they are older they will not depart from it“.  Other religions at the very least teach one that they should consider the desires of others, trying to make the world a better place.  To be considerate in their actions and to take the path void of conflict unless truly faced with no other choice.

What about you?  Are you concerned with the youth of today?  Clearly the great social experiments in the world today are failing us, developing a generation that is void of any moral understandings or a foundation of a Theology that may very well provide the basis of that moral understanding.

Isn’t it time for us to stop and take stock of what we, as a people, are developing as a future path for the world and ask whether or not we are on the right path?  I think so, and hope you would give it serious consideration as well.

Do You Have Wisdom to Share?

There are a few types of knowledge in this world.  There is the scholarly knowledge that is taught and gained in schools.  Some of it may be correct, accurate, and true.  While some of it may be questionable.

Take for example the study of mathematics.  In every culture and in every land we have an understanding of at least simple math.  Everyone understands (or should understand) that 1 plus 1 is equal to 2.  That is if you have 1 apple and then I give you another apple, you have just had your total quantity of apples grow.  And your new total of apples is now 2.

But then you have those that are wise in math and they will tell you that 1 plus 1 is equal to 10.  IF you use base 2 (binary) math.  In other words for a mathematician, it is important to state exactly which math you are talking about.  They want to represent the correct number base and ensure everyone is following the same set of rules.  There is a level of knowledge displayed that goes beyond the every day use of most people counting their apples, BUT it does not alter their understanding of the number of apples they may (or may not) possess.

Then there are studies that are not quite as concrete.  Take for example the study of evolution.  There are those that want to teach biological evolution concerning the alteration or transformation of one species into another as fact.  When they know (and actually have full knowledge) that it is simply a theory and is not repeatable and indeed is unprovable.

The science of evolution is constantly changing, constantly growing, and constantly evolving as people perceive to gain new insights and knowledge and thus alter their thinking on the subject.

I’ve mentioned a book written by an acquaintance of mine in past blog posts.  The book is: “The Word of God A Logical and Moral Dilemma“.  In chapter 5 of his book, titled “The Reality Of God”, my friend writes:

“During my early conversations with creationists, I often presented the scientific viewpoint during our creation vs. evolution discussions.  That is, I used small scientific facts, such as the existence of pelvises in ancient whales and the existence of gill slits and tails in embryonic humans, as evidence that God didn’t create the world beginning with an evolved state of nature.  I made very little headway in my debates, and usually departed from my encounters cursing the “blindness” of my opponent.”

(Eric Brownlee, The Word of God A Logical and Moral Dilemma, Writers Club Press, 2001, Lincoln, NE, ISBN: 0-595-19417-6, pg. 85)

The problem is, we now know that the ‘gill slits‘ in embryonic humans (and I would argue the ‘tails’ as well) are not what we used to think they were.  As a matter of fact, it has now been proven that the scientist, Ernst Haeckel, who is sometimes credited with this “discovery” (it is more an observation), actually faked his drawings and misrepresented the truth (Human Gill Slits).  In other words, we’ve come to a new understanding and know that the statement that human embryos have gill slits is just wrong (Evolutionary Point of View).  An Answers In Genesis article on the subject may be found here.

So here we have wisdom (it was originally represented as scientific fact) that is neither wise nor very long lived.  Certainly not like the mathematical fact given in my first example.

Thus our wisdom grows and gains new insights.

But what about spiritual wisdom?  Surely something so critical as to bringing understanding to the creator and guidance in our own lives, we don’t want to take chances with, right?  We want to make sure we have the right understanding, or at least the best understanding from as early a point in time as possible.

Spiritual wisdom is not too unlike earthly wisdom, it comes by learning, and learning comes by asking questions.  The difference is, knowing who and how to ask.  When our earthly wisdom is challenged, such as in the case of human embryos having gills, a little bit of research and asking the right questions reveals the answer.  Now there may be those that colloquially make reference to my blindness (see definition # 2) however I am going to claim that it is their own blindness since main stream evolutionist don’t even have that understanding anymore.  The point is, if I am willing to challenge the understanding and ask the right questions of the right resources, I am able to learn an answer and grow my understanding.

The same is true with Spiritual wisdom, but you have to know who to ask.  Fortunately there is an answer within the Bible.  It is found in James 1:5-8.  James tells us that if we lack wisdom (Spiritual wisdom) we simply need to ask of God, and God will provide us with wisdom liberally (see the origin of the word.  Here it means generously).

And I love the fact that the verse tells us that God gives to ALL MEN, without regard for Christian, or Atheist, or Agnostic, or any other Religion or world view.  Why would God do that?  Wouldn’t God just reserve wisdom for those that know him and are his children?  Of course not!  Otherwise, how are we even to discover him in the first place?  God wants us to know him.  He wants us to be curious about him.  And he wants us to discover him, to learn about him, and to have knowledge and understanding of him.  And this comes through wisdom from him.  He gives to all who ask him, and he gives with great abundance, BECAUSE he wants us to discover him.

But note the condition.  You have to truly ask in Faith believing that God will answer your request and will grant you the wisdom you seek.  In other words, you had better believe that God is there and capable of providing an answer.  If your predisposition is that science has given you all the facts of evolution and there is no God, you cannot be running to God asking him to provide you wisdom of himself.  That is not truly seeking after God.  That is simply convincing yourself that the lie you believe is justified.

I sincerely hope that no one believes I have any great wisdom to share.  Rather I hope that for earthly wisdom you will do due diligence and seek out the right answers.  And for Spiritual wisdom that you will ask of God, in Faith, believing he will answer you and provide the wisdom that you seek.

Do You Have A Right To Die?

The world is officially losing its mind.  At least we are here in the United States of America (and probably most other Western cultures as well).

California became the fifth State this week to pass a Right To Die law.  For some reason there are those that seem rather gleeful about this.  This law supposedly gives those that are terminally ill the choice to end their own lives through doctor supplied drugs.

What it does, in reality, is cheapens life.  Forty-three years ago there were those here in the U.S.A. that decried the legalization of abortion predicting that it would lead to new forms of legalized, state sponsored deaths.  And here we have their predictions coming true.

Rush Limbaugh made this very case in his1992 book The Way Things Ought To Be.  Rush writes:

“But I am also pro-life because I am a human being who feels a sense of duty to civilization.  I think it is incumbent upon us all to be concerned about the values we transfer to succeeding generations.  When we take actions that cheapen life, we are contributing to the overall decline in society’s moral values.”

(Limbaugh, Rush, “The Way Things Ought To Be“,  New York, Pocket Books, 1992, ISBN: 0-671-75145-X, pg. 50)

Rush goes on to write:

 “It’s not just abortion that is eroding our respect for human life.  There’s also death at the other end of the spectrum.  Look at the right-to-die movement.  They’re not calling for a right to die, they’re mostly calling for a right to kill.”

(Limbaugh, Rush, “The Way Things Ought To Be“, New York, Pocket Books, 1992, ISBN: 0-671-75145-X, pg. 59)

At the time Rush wrote those words, Dr. Jack Kevorkian was practicing his physician assisted suicides in Michigan.  Rush addresses his work in the chapter of his book I have referenced.  Dr. Kevorkian actually was convicted in 1999 of Second Degree Homicide and served 8 years in prison for that conviction.

It is amazing that just 16 short years ago, States were prosecuting and convicting those engaged in this type of behavior and yet today they are signing that very behavior into law.  How quickly a society can change.

These laws presume to offer you a right (definition #19).  A right to die.  My first question would be: Why in the world would you want such a right?  I have never wanted a right to die.  I want a right to live.  And to live free with the pursuit of happiness.  To be all that God has made me to be.  It used to be that we made SciFi movies about people who were terminally ill and how they would freeze themselves or have their bodies put into some type of stasis so that years into the future when medicine had advanced they could be revived and cured.  Today we simply tell them they have the right to take some life ending drugs.

But my second question is: Where in the world did this right come from?  I’ve talked about rights on this Blog in the past (see my posts on: Where Do YOUR Rights Come From? as well as: Chasing After Rights).  Rights come from somewhere.  That is they are granted by some entity.  The founding fathers of this country believed there were certain inalienable rights that were granted by God.  And among those were Life.  I don’t think that God, who has granted each and every human an inalienable right to life,  has suddenly granted everyone a right to die.  So where did this right come from, if not from God?

And the only possible answer is it came from society.  It came from us.  And if society is in the business of granting rights, we have gone down a very slippery slope indeed.  Why do those in physical pain and suffering get to be granted a special right and those in emotional pain and suffering do not?  I’m going to cry foul here and tell you all about my anguish over the financial disparity between myself and Bill Gates.  I demand the right of financial equality.  It is germane to my sanity and good health.  But there is no such right.  Because God never granted it, and society could never achieve it even if it wanted to grant it.

The people that “granted” this (so-called) right never had the authority to grant such a right to begin with.  They are playing god and are only feeding their own warped egotistical existence.

My biggest problem with the (so-called) Right To Die is the same thing Rush Limbaugh identified 23 years ago.  It cheapens life.  And this is because I actually do have a Theology (something most of the world lacks).

If you are a Creationist, then you have to believe that life was created.  Depending on your particular theology, you might even go so far as to say that life is a gift from God.

My particular religion teaches that God intended for life to be abundant and joyful.  However because sin entered into the world it brought death and destruction.  Death as a consequence of sin, is the very antithesis of life.  The former is a gift, the latter is a curse.

Because of my Theology, I actually cringe whenever I encounter any type of mercy killing or humane killing.  Even with animals or pets.  My problem is that even putting an animal out of its suffering (as if that animal doesn’t want to live) is a hardening of our hearts.  It is a practice that makes it easier for us to then see our way to extending the same practice to our fellow humans.

This is not going to sit well with most of you (actually the vast majority of the world) – but the pain and suffering of death actually AMPLIFIES the great sacrifice that Jesus Christ made upon the Cross.  It is because I abhor death with such great disdain that I appreciate the Cross all the more.  It is because I understand the great sin curse of death that I come to understand Grace all the more.  It is in the pain and suffering that we learn just how much as been overcome.

“Oh, the love that drew salvation’s plan!
Oh, the grace that brought it down to man!
Oh, the mighty gulf that God did span at Calvary!”

Paul of Tarsus understood this when he wrote:

“54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.  55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?  56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.” (1 Corinthians 15″54-56)

Paul understood the sting of death.  And Paul understood the great price that had been paid.  He understood death was the consequence of sin and that Jesus Christ had defeated it once and for all and had walked out of the grave victorious in Life!

So do you have a right to die?  I sincerely hope not.  I hope you have a hope to live!  And I trust that hope is found in the one who was victorious over the grave.  My Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.