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Posts Tagged ‘Science’

Growing up I was taught that the Bible is true, but at the same time I caught that the National Geographic held truth about the beginnings and progress of the world. My young mind was in conflict. Even at a young age I understood that both could not be true about how we got here and what changes have taken place in the world. God’s grace gave me faith to believe that what the early chapters of Genesis say about the Creation and worldwide Flood are true as plainly read regardless of what others say in print or in person. A good portion of my life has been spent searching and waiting for answers to evolutionists’ barrage of denials of God and His work. My history and perspective opens me to accusation that I am religiously biased and unscientific. On the first point I agree, but on the charge of being unscientific I disagree for two reasons. First of all, Science is a tool limited to investigation of natural phenomena. Science is a tool for understanding what God has done, not who He is. Naturalists insist that this is the reason that they do not accept the supernatural or remain agnostic on the subject. They emphatically claim to only accept empirical evidence. This claim is false in practice and of necessity. They are not admitting to their beliefs and faith. Where did we come from? What is our purpose? What happens after death? What is the source of love, beauty, and kindness? They have no answer for these questions apart from faith, and particularly on the subject of purpose, they cannot continue to live without it. Therefore, my second reason for denying that I think unscientifically is the fact that it impossible to think scientifically without faith. Frequently I read or hear accusations from Naturalists that God must not exist because we cannot observe Him, but the Bible says otherwise: “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse” (Romans 1:20).

As Christians who believe what the Bible says and believe that Science and Technology are God given tools for advancing knowledge and solving real world problems it is a time to rejoice and speak up. The Naturalist’s evolutionary model is proving to be very poor at explaining evidence and making predictions about how the world works. I had the privilege just recently to attend the premier of a documentary, “Evolution’s Achilles’ Heels”1, written and produced by Creation Ministries International. In this 96 minute documentary, 15 scientists explain why evolution’s proclaimed strengths are actually its weaknesses and how the Creation model based on Scripture explains better what we observe and makes predictions that are being confirmed in various areas of science. The areas discussed in the film are natural selection, genetics, the origin of life, the fossil record, the geologic column, radiometric dating, and cosmology. Two subjects that were the longest holdouts in my understanding of how science could reflect what the Bible says were radiometric dating of rocks and fossils and the redshift of cosmological objects (stars, particularly pulsars, and galaxies). How could we deny the time indicated by decaying radioactive elements when their half-lives can be measured in the laboratory. The documentary discusses assumptions (beliefs really) that are made to come up with these dates and evidence that it simply does not work so easily.2 Redshift of starlight is said to be a result of Doppler Effect as stars speedily retreat from us. This Doppler Effect is the same one that causes a siren or race car to change pitch as it approaches, passes, and speeds away from you. There are other reasons why the light may be shifting toward red and evidence is given of stars located in the wrong place to be red shifted as claimed. I urge you to get the DVD for yourself and hear the evidences and conclusions. The final discussion drives home a major practical reason it matters to us and our children: ethical implications. This documentary is not a Sunday School answer, “because God said so.” It meets scientific evidence and evolutionist claims head on with evidence and logic. On the other hand, it does not neglect to bring up what the Bible says and why it matters. I have long believed and proclaimed what the Bible says about the origin and progress of creation. With consistency I now can joyfully add scientific reasons for my faith that I hope will assist those blinded by the glitz of evolution’s false faith-based claims.

 

1It would be well worth your time to acquire your own copy of this documentary and you may for a very modest price at http://www.creation.com. I do not work for them.

2”Thousands Not Billions” by Dr. Don DeYoung, Master Books, 2005, or the DVD by Institute for Creation Research are excellent resources for digging deeper into why radiometric dating is better explained by creationism.

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Rock Cycle

Following is my attempt at simplifying the interaction of rock types:

Double click on Rock Cycle

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Perhaps the reason I don’t have a very big following for my blog is that I mostly write for my own posterity and the comfort of getting my burning thoughts down in “black and white”, or whatever other colors I choose. I thought it was humorous and somewhat gratifying the other day when a student said to me about midway through a monologue I was giving in class, “Mr. [Leon], I could listen to you rant all day!” “That’s and interesting comment,” said I, “why do you feel that way?” “You are not afraid to be honest about what you think and always do it without being profane. There is alot of truth in what you say” Wow, so perhaps others are not so honest or insightful and are profane?

So, you might well guess that we are preparing for a rant, though this one is quite mild in delivery compared to the sarcastic and cutting version the student heard about the real deficiencies of public education (Perhaps that one will serve for another day. Oh, no, not another prescriptive education rant!). No, this one is about a significant blind spot that is preventing science education and political action from moving forward and it is not being caused by the uninformed. If after all of that you are still up for it, click on  Stop Writing Us Off    I look forward to some rousing comments.

 

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Stress and strain are engineering terms. Stress is any force, pressure, torque, electrostatic potential, or thermal gradient that tries to distort an object, its surface or its components. (didn’t even look that up) Strain is the deformation of that object resulting from the stress. Motion is apt to result in both stress and strain. In elastic collisions stress does not result in permanent strain to the objects involved because the colliding objects temporarily distort and return to their original form when the deforming energy is converted to other forms, most notably heat. In other words, the strain is passed out of the system, leaving no impression on the objects. The most common example is billiard balls colliding on a pool table. Non-elastic collisions, on the other hand, permanently deform the objects involved. Tossing wet mud onto a wall where it sticks is an obvious example.

So, am I merely in the mood to convey physics concepts which are all too obvious to many who read this page? No, stress and strain have very straightforward analogy to life in the body and mind and spirit. Frequently when people say that they have so much stress in their life, they really mean both. That is, they are saying that all of the pushes and pulls that are stress are getting them down and making it hard to function, strain. I am experiencing both- changed schedule, pressures to succeed, accusations of neglect and slack-handedness, bills, desire to enjoy and play when it’s time to work and serve, and very notably, sadness at seeing someone I love degraded in her ability to serve her family as she likes to do.  You may take this for whining if you like, but it is really just the way that I have learned to deal with the stress. Somehow it’s supposed to be more noble to not talk about your troubles. Of course, there is nothing noble about self-focus and there is way too much of that in this society. Perhaps then I should keep quiet. Aaaccchh! Tangents!

So (love that word) here’s another one. My wife took about 6 hours to fix my son and me supper one day this past week. She can’t much read recipes just now, and her work is very slow and deliberate, but she so wanted to take care of her family that she worked diligently most of the day cutting up salad, baking sweet potatoes, sauteing cabbage and carrots with venison sausage, and baking cornbread so that we could eat a good meal. I about couldn’t eat for the tears. Then this morning she fixed oatmeal pancakes, a recipe that she had never done before. She laughed that it was a good thing that all of the ingredients were 1 (cup, teaspoon, etc) because she could not have made it otherwise. She still can’t say most names or understand much of what is said to her, but she can fix meals and wash dishes and she is happy to be able to do it again. I guess we’ll go grocery shopping together this afternoon.

Anyway, I have concluded that strainless stress is probably not very beneficial to this object. Afterall, if I am not changed by what pushes on me I’m apt to have to repeat that lesson until there is change. The idea of standing up to stress with dauntless courage and stone-faced lack of strain is neither where I live nor useful to my progress forward in the faith. I want to learn now so that I don’t have to repeat the lesson. Of course, the strain I am after is one that conforms me to the image of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, not a wet mud pie stuck to a wall like so much yak dung on the side of the house drying to be used for fuel to cook and heat. Though it is not particularly what I want in the sense of what is enjoyable, change for the sake of conformity to His image is good, and God is good in patiently working strain into my life through the stresses He ordains. The more pliable, that is non-resistant to strain, I am, the easier that strain will conform me without destroying the very fabric of who I am. It reminds me of Philippians 4:6-8: “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.” I so want that peace of and with God that so surpasses comprehension that onlookers upon spying it cannot help but attribute it to a work of God. But that will involve far more stress and considerably more strain that I’m not all too sure I’m up to. I have discovered that is not for me to determine. As per Colossians 3 I need to focus above so that I may succeed below:

God’s grace is my comfort and rest

 

My strong tower in the midst of test

 

While I trust Him I shall prevail

 

Raised from the dead without fail

 

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My previous poem, “It Is a Moral Issue”, is in our society largely, I believe, the result of believing that chance, time, matter, and energy (CTME) are the cause of all that we observe. If CTME is our god we have no purpose and no responsibility. But the universe screams a different message:

Nothing random in the way the world works
Order and sequence the rule of the day
For observers consistency has perks
Cause and effect reveal the rules at play

What is the source of this order we see?
Of design in the cosmos’s scenery
Even random disorder follows laws
And beauty is objective and enthralls

Design points to an Architect with skill
Information an Intellect reveals
Beauty an Artist with canvas to fill
Order a Mathematician Who wills

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I have thought about 2 Peter 3 extensively and even written about it (see “Four Singularities”). It is all amazing to me but verses 10-13 are just fascinating:

” But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned upSince all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat! But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells.” (underlining mine)

Many of the words describing the demise of the created order as we now know it must certainly be metaphor. Indeed, they must be for our quantum mechanics and relativity still cannot fathom what God will do then. But our present understanding does align with what the Scriptures say and very possibly give us some insight into what God is saying through Peter. I am particularly interested as a student of science in the words I have underlined. I am fully aware that this passing away is not the main point of the passage but rather the certainty of judgment and the certainty of a future home where righteousness dwells and the result of compelling us to live for more permanent things. For these I am thankful. But I still muse on how God accomplishes His works. The word destroyed is variously translated as “destroyed” (NASB, NIV), “dissolved” (HCSB, ESV), and “melt” (KJV). The Greek (anytime I mention this it means I only have a dictionary to look it up in, not more knowledge than that) has the meaning of “loosed, released, dissolved”. “Intense heat” (NASB) is also rendered “burned up” (ESV), “fire” (NIV), “fervent heat” (KJV), and “burn” (HCSB). The word in Greek for “roar” means a “rushing sound”. The word rendered here as “elements” has the meaning of “in a row” as letters or bits of knowledge. These words strongly suggest to me properties of matter and energy. But since Einstein and E = mc2 matter and energy are really convenient descriptions of the same thing. E = m. Energy = matter.  c, the speed of light in a vacuum is a constant that relates the two. Since speed of light is so large and squared in the equation, matter is seen to hold “crazy” amounts of energy. When matter is destroyed it becomes energy, and when energy is organized just so it is matter. I like to think of matter as “condensed” energy. That suggests that energy is the fundamental “stuff”. But here is where science becomes vague. What is energy? We know what energy does but we do not know what energy is. It is as Feynman said an abstract idea. Could it not be that our lack of understanding stems from viewing a spiritual matter rather than a totally physical one? The elements roar with intense heat and are released. That sounds like the destruction of all matter into energy to me. All of the particles of matter, discovered and undiscovered (muons, electrons, strange, flavors, and so on) becoming intense abstraction. But the abstraction is real, and what is it? 

“By the word of the Lord the heavens were made,
And by the breath of His mouth all their host.
He gathers the waters of the sea together as a heap;
He lays up the deeps in storehouses.
Let all the earth fear the Lord;
Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him.
For He spoke, and it was done;
He commanded, and it stood fast.”  (Psalm 33:6-9)

God spoke His word and it stood fast. Out of nothing, physically speaking, but out of a substantial word from God, everything. “In the beginning God created….Then God said,” (Genesis 1:1,3) His Word was condensed into physical creation and will one day soon be “melted” into His Word. When it happens will not this Scripture be fulfilled for Creation?

“So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth;
It will not return to Me empty,
Without accomplishing what I desire,
And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:11)

It, that is His Word, will return to Him in an intense flame out, not empty or simply annihilated, but fully complete in His intention and accomplishment. So all of the elements, atoms in fact, lined up in their orderly fashion, controlled and compelled by fundamental forces will dissolve or melt back into energy. Am I saying energy = God’s Word? Certainly not. But God’s Word accomplishes energy and all His works return after fully accomplishing what He set out for them. It is so with man’s spirit as well:

“For man goes to his eternal home while mourners go about in the street. Remember Him before the silver cord is broken and the golden bowl is crushed, the pitcher by the well is shattered and the wheel at the cistern is crushed; then the dust will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it.” (Ecclesiastes 12:5-7)

So it is with all things. God gets ultimate glory because all things proceed from Him and all will return to Him and be assigned to the place He has ordained for them to be in His presence or excluded from it. In the meantime His Word holds all things together. Is not this the Grand Unified Theory, the Fundamental Force?

“For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.”  (Colosians 1:16-17)

The physical world will be destroyed by thermonuclear annihilation, coming unglued as it were:

“You, Lord, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth,
And the heavens are the works of Your hands;
They will perish, but You remain;
And they all will become old like a garment,
And like a mantle You will roll them up;
Like a garment they will also be changed.
But You are the same,
And Your years will not come to an end.”   (Hebrews 1:10-12)

These words are spoken of Jesus, God the Son, who will not end as the created order will end. He endures and so does His Word. So in the transience of the what seems so permanent I see the permanence of what I have I have seen to be transient. God’s Word is permanent.

Wow! Roar on to completion.

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After showing her some poetry of mine my English-teacher colleague challenged me to write Haiku. I’ve heard of it and maybe even wrote some in high school, but I don’t remember. It turns out to be a quite difficult short form of poetry that juxtaposes two ideas in three lines of five, seven, and five syllables, respectively. It has some other characteristics but that is sufficient for me since I add one other difficulty of my own. I want my poetry to rhyme and I was told traditional Haiku does not. So I asked, ‘Must it not rhyme?’ or ‘May it not rhyme?’ Evidently traditional Japanese Haiku simply does not but in other Asian countries it frequently does. So with all of this swirling in my head I began: 

Said she write haiku
I don’t know what to pursue
Will truth and rhyme do?
 
Haiku has no rhyme
For this form I have no time
Want my verse to chime
 
Haiku Nazis come
Five, seven, five is the sum
Juxtapose in some
 

Then I got a bit more serious and wanted to write more substantial verse:

God’s Son comes in flesh                                               Beauty in flower
Controls worlds yet has to rest                                   And in design of tower
Died that life flourish                                                    Art forms with power
 
What odd design this
Transfer sin for holiness
God’s death buys us bliss

And to end on a light note, I ‘haiku’d’ (Where’s the Nazis?) science:

Biology, cool!                                                    Chemistry, oh my!
Growth, reproduce, cells the rule                 Explosions and baking pie
So look alive fool                                              Electron shift is why
 Physics tells what moves
Accelerates, stops and grooves
Know it all behooves

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Logic is good and should be sound when used but no matter how sound the logic if the beginning point is wrong (wrong presuppositions) the end result (understanding of God, man, sin, eternity, reality, the world around us, fundamental forces and particles) must also be wrong at some level. For that reason I endeavor to pursue a study of science that begins with a true beginning and is most supported by evidence. Galileo was restricted because he believed truth both in terms of the Creator and in terms of the revealed evidence the Creator gave (most notably four moons orbiting Jupiter rather than Earth). Eventually the truth of his observations was accepted by all. Sometimes the opposite happens and ideas are accepted that start from the wrong place, making assumptions that are not true and do not hold up under scrutiny, and yet still persist. Evolution is just such a false idea but because of the metaphysical commitments (read, ” secularized ‘beliefs'”) it yet stands under the onslaught of truth. So then true science involves a correct starting place, opened-minded and careful observation, and sound logic. In the last generation it seemed that people gave an unerring allegiance to science and technology for all of the problems of humankind that it solved. But recently there is a growing skepticism toward “scientific theories” because they have led us to dead ends so that the heart is not satisfied, the real problems of society are not solved, there are major gaps in the explanation of the observed, health is treated for symptoms rather than promoting long-term health, and technology deceives by reducing the quality of life when fully embraced (Note that our country spends more on healthcare than any other and yet ranks 37th on the World Health Organization’s list of health systems. Many health enhancing practices are ignored or disdained by much of the world.). The summary of what I am saying is as follows. I applaud the efforts of many practitioners of science for their attempts to explain their various disciplines from the evidence they have based on logic that they work hard at making consistent. But turning a blind eye to influences outside of the natural system that effect all that we see both as to its origin and its progress is stubborn and wrong. God impinges daily on this terrarium we call the universe all the way from holding the forces and particles in check to controlling where it is headed. 

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The Way of Science

The first poem I remember writing as an adult came to me while my students were taking a test. I was struck by their recent questions of why they should know this material, how I got interested in science, and what difference it makes. My thoughts added what truth and true science are. Science succeeded and grew in Western thought because people who believed in a God of order and reason who reveals Himself sought greater understanding of Him through His Creation. That should tint how you read my poem:

I love science
For in it there is compliance
With all of the laws
Upon which this space-time draws

 

I study science
Because of its reliance
On a complex design
That is beautiful and fine

 

I teach science
That screams with defiance
Of all that is false
And dearly held without cause

 

If you pursue science
Prepare for acquiescence
To ways of thinking
Both disturbing and satisfying

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What do we have here? Oh, just the trimmings on a burial stone  of Richard Bell (1410-1496) in Carlisle Cathedral.  Curious though how those beasts look like Apatosaurs.                                                                                                                                                                   http://creation.com/bishop-bells-brass-behemoths

Wow! That’s 350 years before dinosaur bones were dug up in mass or called dinosaurs.

Check out the drawing of a North American Anasazi Indian in a cave:     http://www.genesispark.com/genpark/ancient/ancient.htm


Look at the websites for more drawings of creatures the evolutionists say didn’t exist when the drawings were made.

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Ta Prohm temple of Angkor, Cambodia was built in the late twelth century.  This Buddhist temple is made eerie by its Strangler Fig Trees that engulf temple structures, carvings in stone of various figures, and rounded roofs blackened by moss and lichen.  One temple is topped with the face of woman and dark stone pillars abound.  My curiosity was increased by the short video below.  Is it that simple?  Are we purposely blind to what is obvious because of what we have been told is true?

Or how about South American evidence in Ica Stones?http://www.icr.org/articles/view/3882/368/

But if your presuppositions don’t allow such possibilities you will claim these are hoaxes or creations of fertile imaginations. Or perhaps they mimic creatures wondering around in the woods at night near your hut not so long ago.

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When I was a child my father owned a National Geographic book about… well, I don’t exactly remember. However, I do remember the inside cover painting, one similar to the one below, though linear. It also based its unit of measure on the height of man, a markedly humanistic approach which at least has merit because it compares all else to something we know.  Notice that the exponents range from a mere -15 to 25 and yet this nearly emcompasses the entire known range of size in the universe (the universe is above 10^25 and elementary particles or strings (Do they have dimensions?) are below 10^-15).

Source: http://www.astrobio.nau.edu/~koerner/ast180/lectures/pic/cdrom/art_low-res/es01/figure-I-03.jpg

I loved numbers and making connections so this painting was the source of contemplation and imagination for many hours. I liked the idea of numbers and size relationships so much that one time while carrying English ivy that my father was trimming along the driveway, I asked him what the largest number was.  He replied that it was similar to an eight turned on its side. I didn’t figure out for years that this was the infinity symbol (∞). Sometime near the end of elementary school I decided to write my numbers as high as possible. Was I trying to write to infinity, or some highest number, or just a very big number? I have no idea, but frequently the young are too idealist to notice the possible failure rate of poorly laid plans. I also know that author John Piper says he believes we are drawn to bigness in its various forms because we are made in God’s image with an ability and afinity for seeing the beauty of God which we cannot clearly see at the moment. At any rate (or perhaps a specified rate within limits of one factor of ten) I had one of the old large rule writing tablets with dotted lines for teaching beginners to write their letters. I would write each number interval of 100 on a page. I don’t now know where I stopped but I do remember it was over 10,000.  Obviously these antedotes mean that I was (am?) silly, but they also partially introduce why I think “order of magnitude” thinking is important and partly explain how I know it is largely missing in education. When students crunch numbers on calculators they mindlessly accept what number it spits out not considering that perhaps they put in inappropriate numbers or incorrect key strokes. You may not immediately know what 1,549,000 times 361 equals but you should be able to know that 55,918,900,000 is not the answer by inspection because it is two orders of magnitude (100x) too large. You may not know a comparison between miles per hour and meters per second but if I tell you that a person walks at 1.5 meters per second you should be able to tell that any normal car is not likely to be traveling at 150 meters per second (unless transported to a war zone in a C-5A perhaps). If this rambling of childhood memories in any way spurs you on to consider at all or again powers of ten or orders of magnitude I have included a fun link that is useful for imparting the concept as well as firing the imagination. Enjoy it and share it with some young person who needs an introduction to magnitude so that their future answers might at least be in the ballpark.

 http://micro.magnet.fsu.edu/primer/java/scienceopticsu/powersof10/     (As I understand it I may not link this site for copyright reasons but you may go to the site by copying and pasting it into your address line. Enjoy!)

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     In eighteen concise verses of II Peter 3 the Holy Spirit by the apostle Peter gives the believer significant motivation for godly living and insight into God’s works. The historical scope of the verses is nothing less than ‘beginning to end’. 

     God, based on His authority and the worthiness of His person, could simply command man what to do with no further information or motivation.  But knowing our frailty and sinfulness He gives us every conceivable reason and motivation to enable us to please Him:            1)     Christ died for us.   2)  The Holy Spirit indwells us.   3)  He has     given many evidences of who He is through his teaching, miracles, and providence.   4)  He has given us promises.

We are privileged and responsible for what we do with these great helps. The passage I am considering refers to each of these motivations.

     v.1-3: Why is Peter going to write about the huge events of God’s workings?  First of all, Peter wants to remind these hard pressed believers of the teachings of God through the prophets and apostles.  They are all God’s teachings, what Peter later calls Scriptures (3:16, literally, “The Writings”). The apostles communicated that part of God’s teachings are commanded by Jesus, the One Who is Lord and Savior.  Even as he does later with Paul’s writings specifically, Peter here is declaring the apostles’ teachings to be equal with the prophets and clearly God’s teachings.  And is there a difference because Jesus commanded it? In time and voice (that of our Lord, Savior, Elder Brother, Friend, Gloried Son of the Father), yes, but in content, not really.  When Jesus speaks you feel at once as though you have heard this somewhere before and as though He is repeating Himself.  And of course He is as any frequent reader of the Old Testament will know. Peter’s letter is the second reminder he is giving, the first one fortifying them by way of attention to godly living against persecution and suffering. The second part of Peter’s purpose is the specific subject of His reminder, which is somewhat different in approach from I Peter. Chapter 2 spent much time revealing the false teachers within the Body who disturb the faith of many. The “mockers” (v.3) may be one and the same with the “false teachers” (2:1), as many commentators assume, but I rather think these represent a second threat, external scoffers rather than internal deceivers. Rather than gaining advantage by tickling ears (II Timothy 4:3) they combat sound teaching by supposed empirical evidence to the contrary.  “They all are not of us.” (I John 2:19) It is as true today as it was then. The content of the mocking now, as I hope to show, is amazingly similar though increasingly sophisticated. The underlying purpose of the mockers is the same then as now.  As Alduous Huxley so honestly confided, “The philosopher who finds no meaning in the world is not concerned exclusively with a problem in pure metaphysics, he is also concerned to prove that there is no valid reason why he personally should not do as he wants to do,… For myself, the philosophy of meaninglessness was essentially an instrument of liberation, sexual and political.” He agrees with Peter that his purpose was to follow his own lusts.

          v.4-7: The mockers’ question concerning unfulfilled promise is not very intimidating by itself, but couched in the plausibility of empirical data’s absence, supposed historical evidence, and the implied principle of unchanging progress of phenomena with time, what answer might the beleaguered believers broach? And now we have a name for this ‘unalterable’ principle that reveals why history records no empirical data on promises fulfilled- uniformitarianism.  We are told that Nature is the “whole show” (“Miracles” by C. S. Lewis) and within that show the pace of processes (chemical and physical weathering for example) observed now is the pace at which they have always proceeded. That is, “all continues as it was” (v.4). In reality, if this is true, then God is not active in His creation and therefore didn’t create this “show” anyway. Therefore, the mockers today as well as then mean something else by “beginning of creation” than we do, for we are not Deists. Evidence that they believe something else about what creation means follows immediately in their willful ignorance of God’s creative process.

           Peter confronts the fallacy of the mockers’ argument not on the basis of unsound logic but on the basis of a willfully incorrect starting point.  Wrong conclusions are inevitable from wrong presuppositions regardless of how sound the logic. In fact the more sure the logic the more sure the wrong conclusions from the wrong beginning. So Peter sets the record straight by way of four unmistakable works of God, singularities if you will. A singularity is defined in various ways depending on the discipline of study. In math it means a point at which a function is not defined. In physics a gravitational singularity is a point in space where density is infinite and volume is zero (commonly called a black hole). In mechanics (physics again) and technology it is an event, position, or configuration after which subsequent behavior cannot be predicted. The event or place changes what would have happened in a way that cannot be immediately predicted.  Peter is talking about four such events that have and will change the consequences for nature and its creatures in ways only God knows.

           The first of these is the Creation (v. 4-5) whereby God made the rules of the game. Next was the Flood (v. 6) which destroyed the equilibrium by overturning all the pieces on the game board.  In the future comes the Day of the Lord (v. 7,10-12) with the return of the Game Designer and meting out of judgment, game over. Lastly arrives the New Heaven and New Earth (v. 13) which awards those selected as the winners- a new game with new rules. The game metaphor focuses on the reason why these singularities changed what happened afterwards.

     God has and will intervene in His Creation to fulfill His purposes.  The mockers may deny it or ignore it or explain it away but their blindness is willful and their deceit is shallow in light of the evidence.

           Peter reviews details of the 4 events some of which teach us brand new facts. The Creation comes about, as do the rest, by God speaking them into existence (Psalm 33:6). In the case of heaven He spoke it out of nothing (“ex nihilo” as the creationists like to say). The earth at this point it seems was a part of the heavens in the form of water. As it says, “the earth was formless and void” (Genesis 1:2), as fluids are apt to be, taking the shape of a container, if they have one. The solid earth or land was formed by bringing it up out of the water (Psalm 136:6) in which it now sits and is fully saturated, and it was also shaped by the water through erosion and deposition no doubt as the dry land was appearing (Genesis 1:6-10). The heavens, that is the atmosphere, were formed between two layers of water, and the Psalmist declares “Praise Him…waters that are above the heavens” (148:4). Evidently God formed the heavens, including all that came from nothing and subsequently the earth from water. God is the “Maker of all” who “stretched out the heavens” and “made the earth by His power” (Jeremiah 10:12,16).

     Peter rushes right on through the next big event, the Flood of Noah’s day. He is doing considerable clumping by saying “at that time” for an event that was 1600+ years later.  But it was all ancient history and the point seems to be that the agent God used for creating, water, could just as well be used for destruction, flooding. We know of course based on God’s promise and the symbol of the rainbow that God is not going to repeat this type of destruction, but that does not prevent or slow Him down from His purpose. His Word is just as powerful to destroy by fire as by flood, and He is not slack (II Peter 2:5). “Present” denotes that this heavens and earth are neither in its origin pristine form nor the “new” form to be later created. God has not forgotten nor has He been rendered unable. Rather it is reserved and kept for fire. The appointed destruction and judgment are determined for the ungodly, so mockers beware.

           v. 8-10: Verse 8 is frequently misused by the skeptic to mean that since God overlooks lengths of time then the days of Genesis 1 could just as well be ages of time in which great geologic and biologic changes took place by slow naturalistic processes. But the context of Psalm 90:4 from which this thought comes indicates the timelessness of God as compared to the short life span of man, not His inability to tell time. For God clearly gave Moses the record of numbered days in the Creation Week and evening and morning delineating literal 24 hour days. And because God is timeless, He can be patient and exact about the timing of fulfilling His purposes, which is not slowness. He gives a legitimate invitation to all “for whoever will call on the name of the LORD will be saved” (Romans 10:13), and yet only those He calls will be saved (Acts 13:48).

           He is patient now and many are being called to Him (3:15) but things will change suddenly and unexpectedly like a thief breaking and entering while you are asleep. The day of the Lord is usually referred to as a period of time in which judgment falls as in verse seven, but the suddenness and finality of this event speaks of one actual day or moment in time. The references to fire (v.7), pass away with a roar and intense heat and burned up (v.10), and burning and elements melting with intense heat (v.12) seem to the modern mind to so obviously  refer to thermonuclear annihilation of all matter. But how could Peter, who at best would have an Aristotelian view (earth, air, fire, water) of matter and more likely had none (untrained, Acts 4:13), give such an accurate description of matter’s demise? The prophet need not fully understand what God is giving him to describe. The Psalmist could not have understood the type of crucifixion Christ would undergo when he described it in such clear detail in Psalm 22. Ideas about God’s nature like the Trinity that we read in Scripture are still not understood. But there it is. In Christ “all things hold together” (Colossians 1:17), but when He withdraws His hand it will cease to hold together and every fundamental force will cease its function as the physical world comes unglued and is no more. In the case of believers “this perishable must put on imperishable” (I Corinthians 15:53).

           Verses 11-18: God will then create a new heaven and new earth that are not perishable where believers in their new imperishable state of righteousness will see God and dwell with Him forever. All that the first heaven and earth failed to be because of Adam’s sin the new ones will be without the threat of being tarnished by sin. Peter has said that the Creation will be destroyed three different times, making clear his point that the mockers are totally wrong. This leads to the point of application for the believers. Peter is so intent on presenting the solution that he gives most of the answer in the question, “What sort of people ought you to be?” I see 4 applications in the final verses:

1) True awe brings about holy conduct, anticipation of glory, and working with His plan  (v.11-12)

2) The conduct will be characterized by a diligence for holiness permeated with peace (v.14)

3) This awareness will produce a guard against error (v.17)

4) and a life characterized by growing in grace and knowledge of Christ (v.18)

Verse 16 seems to be included by Peter as a last shot at those who disbelieve what God has said.  And in so doing he excludes modern positions about Paul’s epistles not being equal with the rest of Scripture.  Mockers, false teachers, whoever else is untaught and unstable distort what the “Writings” of the Prophets and Paul have to say. And since Scripture is spiritually discerned who would expect them to do otherwise, but Peter has pre-warned you, so that you may be on guard and grow.

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As time passes I seem to have more, not less, on my mind than I can bring to the front burner and cook. I have so many incomplete questions and thoughts that sit on back burners and in warming alcoves that some will spoil before they ever get cooked.  Rather than a source of discouragement it reminds me that there are life times of ideas to explore in God’s person and works and I shan’t ever get bored  in this one. And it encourages me also that my mind is more active, albeit somewhat slower, than at earlier times, so that I am confident of God’s continued work in my heart and mind.

After college and some number of years of self study in “true science”, unbiased by evolutionism and naturalism (OK, highly and proudly biased by biblical thinking- what of it?), I had come to the conclusion that naturalistic thinking had only two difficult to confront evidences against 6-day Creationism. The first was radiometric dating which gave a clear cut way to measure time since the formation of rocks.  After years of study and a number of different evidences to the contrary, I feel confident in saying Creationists have overcome this difficulty. Polonium halos forming is less than three minutes in granite, the possibility of additive or subtractive contamination in parent and daughter isotopes, evidence for changing decay rates in carbon-14, and most significantly the absence of large amounts of helium from the alpha decay in the uranium series strongly suggesting the youth of the rocks (Don DeYoung’s Thousands . . .Not Billions (Master Books, Green Forest, Arkansas, 2005)) have given sufficient alternative evidence and explanation of this phenomena to render great age unneccesary.  The second difficulty I saw was distant starlight as inferred from redshift data. How could the universe be less than 10,000 years old if starlight had been coming from stars for millions and billions of years? The “appearance of age ” suggestion by some Creationists was never satifactory to me since it means practically that Christians could always retreat to a “miracle” to answer unanswerable questions. Now don’t get me wrong. I not only believe God has but does interfere with Nature for His purposes to accomplish great and actual, albeit rare, miracles. But if God is the God of order and reason then His Creation reveals Him and His work in reasonable and orderly ways, though incompletely without Scripture. And though I much prefer correct explanations, that is not the main point of giving a reasonable explanation, for we can no more know if our scientific explanation is right than can the Naturalist. Sorry, it is simply the limited nature of science. However, we now have a reasonable and convincing explanation for the “starlight problem”. And as such Naturalistic explanations are unneccesary. This fact does not mean that my faith was weak before and stronger now. God said it; that is all that matters, but since I was not created with fins or scales, I get tired swimming upstream in this Naturalistic culture. A little slowing of the downward current on occasion is pleasant . It turns out that the explanation is a matter of relativistic perspective. Einstein chose a convention (rule of thumb, reference frame, or perspective if you like) that was useful and convenient for his mathematical and scientific thought experiments but is not required. Einstein was concerned with observers at different locations. In order to retain this perspective he had to consider them going at the same velocity in the chosen frame of reference. If instead the location of the observers is forfeited so that they are at the same location then the velocity may vary. The result is a new definition of simultaneous that matches the Bible’s explanation for how starlight arrived at earth on the same Day Four that it was created. For considering the age of the universe, the author argues convincingly from evidence that Einstein’s convention is not the correct one. If you are neither faint of mathematical or logical thinking you may like to read it as well:   http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/arj/v3/n1/anisotropic-synchrony-convention    Even though I cannot revel in a complete understanding of every detail it adjusted my perspective by comparison to a new one and that is pleasant.

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Energy Intertwined

I am far from being a materialist but God has ordered a material world which is fascinating. It shouts of deep complexity and beautiful simplicity.  He is intimately involved and yet He set it to work. Oh, what a wonderful Creator and Sustainer is He!

Sunlight on the grass and trees
Photosynthesis within the leaves
Glucose stored in chloroplast
In the food web first, but last

 

Consume producers all day
Cell respiration at work and play
Glucose energy that may
Be used to keep death at bay

 

Up the chain energy flows
‘Eat or be eaten’ the saying goes
Predator and prey each knows
Watchfulness precludes dire woes

 

Top dog on a nonstop binge
Top of the food chain has its challenge
On catching the food will hinge
Life and on offspring impinge

 

Death comes to all in their time
Decomposers recycle the grime
The world would be full of slime
Life’s web would lose all its rhyme

 

In and out energy goes
Though inefficient transfer, life grows
From sunlight to plants it flows
Animals, then decompose

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Bee on flower in mutual dance

Mare with colt on a beautiful prance

Sword fishes school marshal every lance

Not a chance

 

Four main forces balanced precisely

Fingers on key board glide adeptly

Sun, Moon, and stars trace paths exactly

Not likely

 

All of life programmed in DNA

Beauty and function have interplay

Complex fossils in low strata lay

Hey, no way

 

Unless an all sufficient first Cause

Transcendent of effect, without flaws

Made it all, His rule the written clause

Let give pause

Bumblebee on Woodland Sunflower?

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The very idea of knowledge has many fascinating angles. Four examples are the wonder of discovery (Hey, just think, that old person with dementia that you feel so sorry for is really very happy because of their new discoveries each and every day, even if they are just old ones rediscovered), the satisfaction of knowing (This doesn’t have to be arrogance or pride but can be refamiliarization of an old friend, like when I eat a good peach knowing beforehand that it will be good and confirming afterwards that it was as it should be), the humility of not knowing, and the “need” to know (OK, desire to know).  For example, the other day another teacher sent several students to me with a catch they had made behind the school assuming that I was the resident spider expert.  They would only accept a quick answer so I gave one, “Wolf spider.”  I said that I was interested in looking more closely at it and satisfied, they agreed to leave it with me.  Lycosidae is indeed the family of “Wolf Spider” and I thought it would be interesting to key it down to genus or perhaps even species.  So I got out my page-darkened “How to Know the Spiders” by BJ Kaston and began keying from the beginning.  But I couldn’t get to Lycosidae.  Oh well, thought I, I’m abit rusty.  I’ll go straight to the Lycosidae family key and continue.  Try as I might every attempt ran into a dead end.  I Googled terms to get me back up to speed; I worked backwards from supposed possibilities. Perhaps this had been a bit longer ago than I thought.  Then I thought to go back and read the family description. The eyes of Lycosidae are recurved and of two different sizes. Oops, this spider definitely had eight eyes of almost identical size in two straight rows.  Now I was experiencing knowledge-based vertigo, disorientation.  Oh well, the only other similar spider family is Pisauridae, “Nursery web spiders”.  They are fequently hunters as the wolf spiders and therefore do not build webs, but I did not remember any of that family being so big.  The females build a web around the egg sac and keep watch to protect it.  Before this they carry the egg sac in their chelicerae (the projections that hold their fangs) whereas the wolf spiders carry their egg sacs with their spinerets (other end!).  I promptly keyed the spider out to Dolomedes vittatus, Fishing Spider. I definitely had a female and probably pregnant.  The males have a white band down the center of the carapace and around the margins of the same.  This speciment was dark brown with tan spot on its abdomen.  These live near streams and catch insects, spiders, and occaisional minnows!  I enjoyed discovering the true identity of the spider.  The realization of what I did know that enabled me to discover this and the use of a once well-worn key, the humility of having been wrong reminded me of how little I know compared to others and the many things only God knows, while the “need” to know drove me on to discovering the identity and habits of a backyard neighbor.  Enjoy the pictures.

Dolomedes vittatus, Fishing Spider

Some people call it too much time on your hands, but being a good teacher involves a continued love of knowledge and a solid knowledge base.  Modern educational theory rejects knowledge base as no more than a trivial side light, emphasizing the art and practice of teaching.  Without diminishing these I submit that students want teachers that know something.  It takes time and effort.

From the Kaston "Spider" Key, female on the right

The author of knowledge and wisdom must enjoy us obtaining it in whatever respectable form.  To Him be the glory!

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During the collection of insects last semester one of my students collected a moth.  After a day in the ziplock there were small round dots in the container. “What are they?”  We put them under a microscope and there appeared these translucent moth eggs.  They contain an embryo you can see, looking almost like crystals, and ridges on the outer coat.  A “hair” projects off to the left.  There is little doubt that a knowledgeable scientist could identify the species of moth by these characteristics.  My students and I were fascinated by the intricate design. And why shouldn’t we be considering the Infinite Designer?  And in six short days; is it any wonder many try to deny such a mind boggling display of intelligence and power?  “For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them” (Exodus 20:11)

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Physics is the way to go
Or stop or go with the flow
Or at least know how it works
Like impulse of bumps and jerks
Who cares may be your question
Each action has reaction
Energy conserved as well
Even if you cannot tell
Not effect your life you say
Neglect it and you will pay
Efficiency or power
Safety of bridge or tower
Go away leave me alone
Please change frequency and tone
Add net force and head for home
Physics guide you as you roam

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