TASC in 2006TASC in 2006
This newsletter will review TASC’s activities in 2006 and look ahead to our plans for 2007. Besides by our monthly newsletters and meetings, TASC reached out into the community in a variety of ways through on-campus debates, presentations at churches and schools, and participation in a video on intelligent design. Substantial progress was made towards preparing a web-based Sunday school curriculum. The TASC board held a retreat, four board meetings, and an awards dinner. TASC also began the year with a new chairman.
An organization can’t function without faithful committed members like Fred Johnson, Dale Unger, and Joe Spears. Fred faithfully edits the newsletter each month, Dale manages TASC’s finances, and Joe keeps our website up-to-date. Thanks Fred, Dale, and Joe for your dedication!
Joe Spears, TASC’s webmaster and archeology buff, presented a talk on creation and intelligent design at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Raleigh in March to an estimated group of 35. His talk was well received and followed by lively discussion.
Dr. Gerald Van Dyke presented a talk on creation to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) chapter at Ravenscroft School in March. Gerald, who recently retired from North Carolina State University where he was Professor of Botany for many years, has been sharing about creation in the Triangle for decades and is one of TASC’s founding fathers. The TASC board recognized Gerald at its December board meeting by presenting him with an engraved plaque of recognition. Gerald is currently exploring overseas missions. See his testimonial about sharing creation later in the newsletter.
The TASC board held a retreat in March at Topsail Beach. It set goals for 2006 as well as enjoyed fellowship and the scenery. An agreed long term goal for TASC that came out of the retreat was to plant creation Sunday school classes in local churches. An associated goal was development of a modular creation Sunday school curriculum designed to be covered in one quarter. Mark Stephens identified a curriculum called “The Story of Creation”, created by Dr. Joseph Lenard and Donald Zoller of Pinehurst, North Carolina. They have graciously granted TASC permission to adapt and distribute these materials. TASC is currently converting the electronic version of their voluminous work into a web version which should be ready in early 2007. With the curriculum in hand, we should be equipped to plant creation Sunday school classes in local churches. Please contact us if your church would be interested.
TASC presented invited talks at Bethesda Baptist Church in March and again in April. Tom Gurganus, our host, had this to say after our first visit: “The response to you and what you talked about was great. We had a very good discussion last week spawned by some of the things you talked about.”
TASC was invited to Elon University in April to participate in a class discussion/debate on creation, evolution, and intelligent design. The class was Philosophy 113C, Critical Thinking. Students were required to identify a topic or issue, take a position on that issue, and then invite an outside person with experience and knowledge on the topic with a different point of view for an in-class discussion. There were five students working as a group arguing against creation. The discussion was cordial and stimulating. The class instructor, Professor Antony Weston, had this to say about the discussion in a subsequent e-mail: “Much of your approach was unexpected to me. Creationists I have known have tended to be much more dismissive of science, even to the point of waving their hands at all of it and simply insisting on the ‘truth’ of Scripture without any more subtle or informed thinking at all. Whereas you are impressively and deeply committed to science and conversant with it.”
TASC’s own Gerald Van Dyke, North Carolina State Professor of Botany, participated in a two-hour on-campus debate in April before a group of about 200 concerning the teaching of intelligent design in public schools. On the side of intelligent design were Gerald Van Dyke and Robert Hambourger, an NCSU associate professor of philosophy. The pro-evolution side was represented by molecular biologist John Gray and NCSU philosophy professor Douglas Jesseph. Both sides made points that were left unanswered by their opponents, resulting in a draw in the opinion of this observer. Nevertheless, one key observation made by Dr. Hambourger was the evolutionists’ dangerous intolerance to allow open discussion of the flaws in evolutionary theory in science class, all in the name of civil liberties. The News and Observer reported on the event (http://www. newsobserver.com/102/story/432109.html). We are extremely proud of Gerald for his willingness to engage the opposition in a public setting on this important issue.
TASC was invited to speak at Crossways Community Church during Sunday school and the morning church service in April. The topics presented included the theology and science of creation.
TASC was privileged to have Michelle Palmer, a North Carolina State University undergraduate biochemistry student, present a talk entitled “Natural Selection: God’s Creation” at our May monthly meeting. Michelle’s topics included DNA, the complexity of life, probabilities of life (arising randomly), mutations, natural selection vs evolution, and irreducible complexity. Michelle also helps teach a creation science class at Providence Baptist Church in Raleigh.
TASC was privileged to participate in the making of a video on intelligent design in May, produced by the non-profit organization North Carolina Family Policy Council (http://www.ncfamily.org/). The 20-minute video is one of twelve segments in a Bible study series entitled Family Policy Perspectives. Mike Kinnaird, former TASC chairman, and Dan Reynolds joined Philip Johnson, founder of the intelligent design movement, in presenting the case for intelligent design. The video series is available on DVD. See http://www.ncfamily. org/specialfpperspectives.html for more information.
The TASC Board met for a fellowship dinner in August at the Weathervane restaurant in Chapel Hill. At the dinner, two former TASC chairmen, Mark Stephens and Mike Kinnaird, were presented with plaques in appreciation for many years of faithful service.
TASC made a presentation on the age of the earth on October 22 at Cary Baptist Church.
TASC’s chairman, Dan Reynolds, spoke at to the FCA chapter at Athens High School on December 8.
TASC moved its website to another server after being attacked by hackers in December. Many thanks to Joe Spears for his expertise and dedication to get the job done!
TASC board member Javier Valdivieso is currently in Latin America sharing creation and the gospel in churches.
Dan Reynolds mentored a high school student from Virginia on a biology project concerning creation and intelligent design in December.
TASC has completed a new flyer for distribution at meetings and talks.
TASC BOARD PROFILES
We will be bringing you profiles of board members this year so you can get to know us better.
Everett Coates has a BS in geology from NCSU and is a Licensed Soil Scientist. He is an Environmental Services Team Leader employed by Wake County. His ministry activities this year included leading a middle school boy’s summer discipleship group through his church, presenting a creation-based personal testimony at his daughter’s Fellowship of Christian Athletes (Clayton High School) meeting (approximately 15 students present), distributing a case of the book, Exposing Evolution, and presenting the gospel. Everett presented an excellent and original talk on creation geology last year at a monthly TASC meeting.
A TESTIMONIAL FROM GERALD VAN DYKE
My son-in-law was sent to Turkey (Istanbul) through his employer for a year’s stay. My daughter, Mandy, and three of my granddaughters went along. They went to a church a few months ago, and while there Mandy saw a woman she thought might be an American, and she asked her if she was from the States. She said yes that she was from Oregon. Mandy told her she was from Raleigh. The woman said that back in the late 80s she had come to NCSU for a study leave from her University. While in Raleigh she had felt moved to attend a church service where an NCSU professor was giving a creation talk. At the end of the service an invitation was given to receive Christ, and she accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior. My daughter told her that that professor was her dad. I’m leaving for Turkey to spend Christmas with the family there and hope to meet this woman.
Chairman’s Comment: God is good! What a confirmation to God’s faithfulness and sovereignty!
TASC IN 2007
TASC has planned the speaker and newsletter author schedule for 2007. We are also planning a trip, probably in early summer, to the much anticipated Answers In Genesis Creation Museum due to open this Spring (http://www.answersingenesis.org/museum/). Please join us if you are interested. A firm date will be forth coming soon. TASC also plans to complete the creation curriculum and make it available on its web site. We will be proactive in finding churches that want to start a creation science Sunday school. Please pray for us.
A Biblical and Scientific Analysis of the Big BangA Biblical and Scientific Analysis of the Big Bang
The Big Bang is defined today as, everything we see in the Universe today having evolved out of a random 1 explosion of matter 2 that took place between 10 and 20 billion years ago. But the author of this paper believes the Big Bang is not a theory. Why? Because a theory is defined as, a scientific hypothesis that survives experimental testing. Then, is the Big Bang a hypothesis? No. A hypothesis is defined as, a testable statement about the natural world. Then what is the Big Bang? It is merely an idea, defined as, a personal view or estimate.
NASA’s view of the Universe through liquid helium COBE’s eyes. Colors indicate warmer (red) and cooler (blue) spots. The image is a combination of diffuse infrared, far-infrared and microwave frequencies.
History of the Big Bang
Let’s look at the history of the Big Bang. Between 1927 and 1933, the idea of the universe beginning with an explosion was first proposed, from Einstein’s equations, though Einstein [at that time] and others believed in a steady state model of the universe. The idea would be called the Big Bang, a sarcastic term, in 1944.
According to Stuart Burgess, “Some Christians believe that God used a Big Bang to create the Universe. …A common objection put forward by Christians who support the Big Bang idea is ‘why has God made seeming evidence for the Big Bang?’ However, there is a very straightforward answer to this objection: there is no real evidence for the Big Bang idea. Even secular scientists can see the weaknesses in the Big Bang idea. The only reason that there is seeming evidence for the Big Bang is that secular scientists have deliberately made an atheistic theory of origins that appears to be compatible with the observed features of the Universe. But considering the ingenuity of man, it is not surprising that man has invented an elaborate big bang cosmology that superficially fits the evidence.” 3
Why is the Big Bang So Important?
The Big Bang, evolution, etc. are the latest in a string of gradual and subtle attacks upon the foundation of the Bible and Christianity: the book of Genesis. The Big Bang and Scripture cannot both be equally true, and therefore uniting them together is impossible.
There are at last four dangers according to Burgess to embracing the Big Bang idea. First, “Naturalistic (as opposed to super-naturalistic) explanations of miracles inevitably involve speculations beyond what is revealed in Scripture. …[And] they [can] give the impression that God is constrained by natural laws.” 4 Second, “Naturalistic explanations may contain false theories. …Since modern theoretical physics is dominated by atheistic thinking, there is a real possibility that some of these theories are false theories.” 5 Third, “Naturalistic explanations tend to be very complicated...and abstract ...compared with the Biblical simplicity that the average man can understand” (contrary to Achan’s Razor). 6 Burgess continues, “The Big Bang idea is so complicated that there is little agreement about the validity of the idea even among creationist experts in mathematics. 7 … So how can the average person judge for himself if the Big Bang makes sense? 8 Fourthly, “[N]aturalistic explanations give respectability to atheistic ideas.” 5
Five Purported Evidences For the Big Bang
The first of at least five purported evidences for the Big Bang to be discussed in this article is the cosmic microwave background radiation, predicted in 1948 and accidentally discovered in 1964. The cosmic microwave background radiation is defined as microwave radiation coming from all directions in space at remarkably uniform intensity at a temperature of about 2.7°K (2.7°C above absolute zero, or 454°F below zero). It is supposedly an echo of a light flash of the Big Bang, stretched into microwaves, and cooled.
COBE (COsmic Background Explorer), a satellite launched in 1989, made observations of the cosmic background radiation. It found lumps, which seem to be clear proof of infant galactic material. But what is the significance of those lumps? If there were a Big Bang explosion at one time, any irregularities or lumps in the explosion would mean material is in clumps in some places, which would eventually turn into galaxies, stars, planets and people. On the other hand, a (nearly) perfectly smooth explosion would make galactic formation very hard to explain. COBE initially found very smooth radiation and then very small lumps. Did it find evidence of young galaxies?
Here are two problems with the small lumps found by COBE. First, the alleged bumps were well below the level of instrumental noise, and one COBE team member said, “You can’t point to any one point in the data and say, ‘ That’s signal and that’s noise.’ ” But the team was confident they had good statistical evidence for hot-and-old spots differing in temperature by about five parts out of a million. The team leader, George Smoot, admitted that he was “going out on a limb” until other experiments back him up.
In 2001 NASA then launched the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP) to continue where COBE left off. Although WMAP mapped the universe with greater precision than COBE, there are still problems with noise and other complications due to the universe supposedly being much smaller and opaque when the radiation now being observed was supposedly emitted in the young universe. Also, lumps are not a problem for a young universe, since they should exist due to irregular groupings of gas out there obscuring galactic light.
A second problem with COBE’s results is that the “bumps” are too small to explain the formation of galaxies, and especially of massive galactic structures, clusters, and super clusters of galaxies. In 1989 came the discovery of the “Great Wall” of galaxies, a sheet of Galaxies 500 million light-years long, 200 million light-years wide, and approximately 15 million light-years thick, with the dimensions of the structure being limited only by the scale of the survey. It is located between 200-300 million light-years from Earth. 9
The universe has too much large-scale structure (giant “walls” and voids) to form from a Big Bang type explosion and to form if the background radiation is as smooth as it is. And no matter how large a scale we look at the universe, we continue to see nonhomogeneous structure, which is increasingly hard to explain as coming from a Big Bang explosion, smooth or otherwise.
Red Shifting of Galaxies
What is redshifting? Redshifting is when light emitted by an object (e.g., a galaxy) is shifted toward longer wavelengths (i.e., toward the red end of the visible light spectrum).
The history of red shifting of galaxies goes back to 1929, when Edwin Hubble (the guy for whom the telescope was named) discovered the redshifting of galaxies and proposed (against Einstein and others) that the universe is expanding, but may not be, writing, “If the redshifts are a Doppler shift ... the observations as they stand lead to the anomaly of a closed universe, curiously small and dense, and, it may be added, suspiciously young. On the other hand, if redshifts are not Doppler effects, these anomalies disappear and the region observed appears as a small, homogeneous, but insignificant portion of a universe extended indefinitely both in space and time.” 10
There are two facts about redshifting of galaxies, as seen from earth’s vantage point: (1) the light of galaxies is redshifted, and (2) the greater the distance from Earth, the greater the redshifting.
Redshifting is seen by some as proof of galaxies moving away from us, but redshifting of galaxies can be caused by one of at least three things:
- It can be caused by an object moving away from an observer, as the emitted light waves are apparently “stretched” due to the object’s movement in the opposite direction of its motion. The same principle is heard by an observer as a train recedes while blowing its horn; the sound waves are “stretched”, causing the sound to shift to a longer (lower) frequency, and hence the sound is lowered in pitch to the observer. But at least 780 objects in the universe have redshifts that cannot be explained by the Doppler theory. Also, over 1,000 scientific papers have been written by professionals against a Doppler explanation for the redshifting of galaxies.’ 11
- Redshifting can be caused by dust between a galaxy’s light and our eyes. And more dust means more redshifting. Assuming a somewhat uniform distribution of dust between galaxies, a greater distance means more dust and therefore more redshifting for objects that are a greater distance from us. This increase in redshifting as distance increases is observed and is therefore consistent with what would be expected if there were indeed a uniform distribution of dust between galaxies.
- A third possible cause of redshifting of galaxies is based on a reduction of the speed of light over time. This idea was proposed by the Russian astronomer V. S. Troitskii in 1987, 12 who claims his model fits the available data as well as the current Big Bang cosmology. 13 Dozens of light-speed measurements taken over the past 300 years and measured as carefully as possible with available technology of the various time periods yield pretty convincing evidence for an increasing reduction of the speed of light. Those measurements, even taking into consideration the various levels of imprecision, do not allow for a horizontal line to be plotted through the data points on a speed-versus-time graph. Then the second law of thermodynamics requires that the lost energy not disappear into thin air, but be transferred into a lower form of energy. This may explain both the redshifting of galaxies and the cosmic microwave background radiation, coming from all directions and always at the same wavelength, and normally used to “prove” the Big Bang.
Although this idea is rejected by Dr. D. Russell Humphreys 14 , a man I respect greatly, I believe the data speaks quite clearly for itself and is worthy of serious consideration.
A third purported evidence for the Big Bang is Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, which supposedly proves the Big Bang to be true. But Einstein’s equations don’t work in extreme conditions as found in the Big Bang (essentially a superdense black hole, where the normal laws of physics break down). According to Burgess, “...mathematics is so flexible, and people are so ingenious, that there is always likely to be an answer to any technical criticism made against the Big Bang hypothesis” 15
A fourth purported evidence for the Big Bang is Dark Matter. There are basically four types of dark matter: (1) cold gas clouds, (2) invisible matter in the halo of a galaxy, keeping that galaxy from tearing itself apart from rotating several times over millions of years, (3) something that enables galaxies to stay together and distinct over billions of years, and (4) supposed otherwise missing matter from the universe that would keep the universe from expanding indefinitely. 16 In light of the second option, secular astronomers had a problem with dwarf galaxies, which are small galaxies with a faster rotation than larger galaxies. The problem with dwarf galaxies is that their faster rotation does not fit the old universe model of the Big Bang. The dwarf galaxies’ rotation would have caused them to disperse in about 50-100 million years (<1% of the supposed lifetime of the universe). To solve the problem, evolution sought for an out. Anything that contradicts the starting point collapses the whole model. Updating the model is never an option. Therefore Dark Matter was invented.
Cold Dark Matter and Hot Dark Matter
“The composition of dark matter is unknown, but may include new elementary particles such as WIMPs (Weakly Interactive Massless Particles), axions, and ordinary and heavy neutrinos, as well as astronomical bodies such as dwarf stars, planets collectively called MACHOs (MAssive Compact Halo Objects), and clouds of nonluminous gas. Current evidence favors models in which the primary component of dark matter is new elementary particles, collectively called non-baryonic dark matter.” 17
However, the invention of dark matter created a new problem. If it prevented dwarf galaxies from dispersing, it would have the same effect on large galaxies. This would also contradict the evolution model. To solve this problem, the hypothesis was updated to include cold dark matter and hot dark matter. Cold dark matter slows down the dispersion of stars in dwarf galaxies without slowing down their rotation. Hot dark matter travels at or near the speed of light, thus allowing larger galaxies to stay within the evolution model. Keep in mind that there is no evidence for dark matter and its only purpose is to constrain the observable science so that it fits evolution.
Conveniently, the dark matter cannot be seen, and the theory cannot be proved or disproved. Whatever dark matter is made of is difficult to detect. Although many experiments have been undertaken to detect neutrino masses and WIMPs, no conclusive evidence has yet been found and the search for what the constituents are in dark matter goes on. It is interesting how this explanation implies that it is a fact while admitting that it has never been observed. If dark matter makes up 90% of the galaxy, shouldn’t [Voyagers 1 or 2 or] Pioneer[s] 10 [or 11] have encountered it in their multi-billion mile [journeys] beyond the [confines of our] solar system? After all, one of the functions of Pioneer and Voyager was to measure the magnetic fields, radiation belts, atmosphere and other data from the planets in our outer solar system. Pioneer [and Voyager] have not encountered dark matter. Dark matter also has not slowed down the flight of [any of those four] probes. Also, no dark matter has hindered any transmissions back to earth. An 8-watt transmitter is compared to the power of a nightlight. Pioneer [and Voyager] do not give off much energy. Unlike a star, it does not take much interference to block the signal of an 8 [or 20]-watt radio’.
Is it possible that dark matter may not exist? Why does dark matter exist only where it fits evolution’s interest but does not interfere in any other way? Could this be blind faith and not invisible matter?
The current supposed evidences for dark matter are the Bullet Galaxy and the Einstein Cross. ‘The Bullet Cluster emits X-rays, which fits naturally with [astronomer Halton] Arp's observations of similar galaxy clusters. It is not necessary, or even likely, that a collision is required to explain the X-rays or the bullet shape of the emission. The shape is typical of the “bow shock” of many jets, as is the “trailing” pink clump, somewhat arc-shaped. The jet is evidence of “eject[ing] material in opposite directions,” and the clumps of galaxies at each end are evidence of “it eventually age[ing] into … clusters….” Even the “hot gas” is not required: The x-rays are synchrotron (non-thermal) radiation, produced by fast electrons spiraling in the strong magnetic field of the jet. Instead of colliding, the cluster is forming, exhibiting expected features of such clusters: x-ray jets, arcs, and filaments; a profusion of irregular and disturbed small galaxies; discrepant redshifts. The Bullet Cluster is therefore much closer than astronomers calculate from the erroneous redshift/distance equation. That means the X-ray energy emitted is far less than calculated and it is not unusual. The cluster is not "the most energetic event known in the universe" but a minor ejection event in nearby galactic space.’ 18 And the Einstein Cross, upon careful observation, does not mathematically fit the requirements for a gravitational lensing of one hidden quasar behind a ‘galaxy plus dark matter’ into four separate images of the same quasar, but rather it strongly suggests, if not demands, that the four quasar images are actually four distinct quasars. 5
A fifth purported evidence for the Big Bang is that radioactive dating seems to prove the universe to be billions of years old. Radioactive elements such as uranium turn into lead, which in turn changes into potassium, and finally into argon. This dating method is used by evolutionists to go back into the distant past. Parent elements decay into daughter elements overtime. But three assumptions have to be made in order for radioactive dating to work properly: 19
- There must be no parent atoms present in the rock in the beginning, which is impossible to determine centuries later.
- No daughter atoms must be added to or removed from the rock over the entire lifetime of the rock. But contamination is easy through heating, deforming of rocks, and percolation of water carrying daughter product atoms to or from the rock.
- The rate of radioactive decay must be constant throughout the lifetime of the rock, but recent evidence suggests that neutrino, neutron, cosmic radiation and/or reduction in the speed of light may alter that rate.
Dramatically different results have come from identical data samples on more than one occasion, resulting in much confusion over the reliability and over-reliance upon radioactive dating methods to determine the age of rocks that are supposedly more than mere thousands of years old. Isochron dating, proposed by RATE (RAdioisotopes and the Age of The Earth), a team of godly scientists, strongly suggests that supposed ancient rock samples are actually quite young, according to their findings. 20
Six Problems With the Big Bang Idea
There are at least six problems with the Big Bang idea. First, it, ‘...cannot explain where the first matter came from. In fact, there can never be a satisfactory scientific explanation to this problem because science is based on the fact that something cannot be created from nothing in a natural process.’ 21 But a Big Bang requires ludicrous and illogical ideas to be accepted, such as matter coming out of nothing ‘In an article intriguingly titled, “Everything for Nothing”, a theoretical physicist at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Austin, Texas, notes that in 1990, Alexander Vilenkin of Tufts University “proposed that the universe is created by quantum tunneling from literally nothing into the something we call the universe.” 22 The Universe creating itself (existing before it exists) violates the logical Law of Non-Contradiction. According to information theory, information cannot spontaneously arise by random processes. …Information does not come about by accident’ 23
A second problem with the Big Bang is that since it is a natural (or anti-supernatural) idea, it can never correctly explain the formation of the universe.
Thirdly, neither can, ‘…it…explain why the Universe started at a particular time.’ 21
Fourth, stars appear to be aging much faster than current stellar theories allow. When a star has exploded as a supernova, the huge expanding cloud of debris is called a SuperNova Remnant (SNR). A well-known example is the Crab Nebula, produced by a supernova so bright that it could be seen during daytime for a few weeks in 1054. By applying physical laws (and using powerful computers), astronomers can predict what should happen to this cloud. According to their model, the SNR should reach a diameter of about 300 light years after 120,000 years. So if our galaxy was billions of years old, we should be able to observe many SNRs this size (300 light years). But if our galaxy is 6,000 to 10,000 years old, no SNRs would have had time to grow to the 300 light year size expected in a universe that is billions of years old. So the number of observed SNRs of a particular size is an excellent test of whether the galaxy is old or young. The results are consistent with a universe thousands of years old, and don’t fit with an old universe (Table 1).
|Number of observable SNRs
predicted if our galaxy were:
Number of SNRs
|billions of years old||7,000 years old|
A young universe model fits the data of the low number of observed SNRs. If the universe was really billions of years old, there are 7,000 missing SNRs in our galaxy.
A fifth problem with the Big Bang is that there are numerous crucial requirements that have been met within a fraction of a percent for life to exist 24 : Some of those requirements are: the strong nuclear force constant, electromagnetic force constant, ratio of electron to proton mass, decay rate of protons, 12C to 16Q nuclear energy level ratio, ground state energy level for 4He, polarity of the water molecule, supernovae eruptions (as stated earlier), mass of the neutrino, size of the relativistic dilation factor, uncertainty magnitude in the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, Earth’s ideal position from the sun, Earth’s safe position from extreme radiation sources, extreme similarity in God’s creation, extreme diversity in God’s creation, admissions by some members of secular science.
Finally, the Big Bang requires things to be getting more and more complex, from essentially nothing, while scientific observation and Scripture show that things started complex and perfect, and have been deteriorating, rusting, corroding, and dying since then because of sin.
- 1Burgess, S (2001) He Made the Stars Also, Day One Publications, Epsom, Surrey, 36-37
- 2Ibid., 35
- 3Ibid., 45
- 4Ibid, 47
- 5 a b c Ibid.
- 6Or ‘Ockham’s razor’, ‘Occam’s razor’, ‘the Principle of Parsimony’, ‘the Principle of Simplicity’, or ‘the Principle of Economy’. Defined as, ‘the simplest of two or more competing theories is preferable, and that an explanation for unknown phenomena should first be attempted in terms of what is already known. http://forums.livingwithstyle.com/archivelindcx.pbp/t442108.html, Accessed 2004.
- 7Burgess, 47. Stuart Burgess cites ByI, J (2001) God and Cosmos, Banner of Truth, Carlisle, PA, 193
- 8Ibid., 48
- 9Author unknown, http://www.newtonphysics.com.ca/BIGBANG/Bjgbang.html, Accessed 2004. Author cites Geller MJ, Huchra JP (1989) Mapping the Universe, Science 246: 897-903
- 10http://www.holoscience.com/news.php?article=stb9s0ye, Accessed February 2007, cites Royal Astronomical Society Monthly Notices, 17, 506, 1937). Emphasis is mine.
- 11Author unknown, http:/www.newtonphysics.on.ca/BIGBANG/Bigbang.html, Accessed 2004, astronomer Halton Arp’s 1987 book Quasars, Redshifts and Controversies provides an extensive review of nonvelocity redshifts, as does a lengthy 1989 review article by the Indian astrophysicist Narlikar, JV. A catalogue of 780 references to redshift observations inexplicable by the Doppler effect was published in 1981 by Reboul, KJ under the title, Untrivial Redshifts: A Bibliographical Catalogue. Many other papers indicate that non-velocity redshifts have been observed.
- 12Byl, J (2001) God and Cosmos: A Christian View of Time, Space, and the Universe, The Banner of Truth Trust, Edinburgh UK,52, cites Troitskii, VS (1987) Physical Constants and Evolution of the Universe, Astrophys Space Sci 139:389-411
- 13http://www.ldolphin.org/cdkgal.html, Accessed 2004, cites Troitskii, VS, (1987) Physical Constants and Evolution of the Universe, Astrophys Space Sci 139:389-411
- 14Humphreys, R (2004) Starlight and Time, Master Books, Green Forest, AR, 46-49
- 15Burgess, 41
- 16Williams, A, Hartnett, J, (2005) Dismantling the Big Bang, Master Books, Green Forest, AR, 136-137
- 17http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dark_matter, Accessed February 2007.
- 18http://www.holoscience.com/news.php?article=stb9s0ye, Accessed February 2007.
- 19Huse, S. (1993) The Collapse of Evolution, Baker Books, Grand Rapids, MI, 34-36
- 20DeYoung, D (2005) Thousands… Not Billions, Master Books, Green Forest, AR, 35-39.
- 21 a b Burgess, 40
- 22Morris, H (1994) Back To Genesis: The Big Bust, Institute For Creation Research, El Cajon, CA, page b. Morris cites Puthoff, H, (1990) Everything for Nothing, New Scientist, 127:55
- 23http://www.rationalist.org.uk/newhumanist/issue02summer/creationism.shtml. Accessed 2004. McIntosh, A., Professor of Thermodynamics and Combustion Theory, University of Leeds and Burgess, S., is Reader in Engineering Design, University of Bristol.
- 24Burgess, 42
Man or Ape: Which are You? Which do You Choose?Man or Ape: Which are You? Which do You Choose?
Mar 01, 2007 at 12:00 AM
O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called: Which some professing have erred from the faith. Grace be with thee. Amen.” I Timothy 6: 20-21 (KJV)
As we approach this topic, I want to remind us of Paul’s admonition to the young Christian, Timothy, to make strong efforts to keep his faith. Dr. Henry Morris in his commentary on these verses in his annotated The Defenders Study Bible points out that “Science falsely so called” is in the Greek, literally “pseudo-science” or “pseudo-knowledge."
This pseudo-science is nothing other than evolutionism, which has been in “oppositions” against God as Savior and Creator and against the world as His creation since the beginning of time. In Paul’s day, it mainly took on the form of Epicureanism (based on atheistic evolutionism) and Stoicism (based on pantheistic evolutionism). It soon would take the form of Gnosticism and later of Neo-Platonism, both also assuming evolution. In other parts of the world, it took on various other forms but in recent times it assumed the form of Darwinism, still rejecting God as Creator and Christ as Savior. Yet all forms of evolutionism are pseudo-science at best, filled with “profane and vain babblings”. 1 As far as “which some professing have erred concerning the faith”, Dr. Morris informs that many have abandoned the Christian faith during the two thousand years since Christ because of various compromises with evolution. This is still happening today as many Christian colleges, seminaries, and entire denominations are teaching theistic evolution (or its semantic variant, progressive creation) to their future leaders. This will, inevitably, degenerate, as it always has in the past, into atheism, humanism, or pantheism unless they come back to the Bible and true Christianity soon. 2 Notwithstanding, our youth who go off to state universities have no choice but to be taught and many times indoctrinated into naturalistic evolution while being denied a balance of investigating other origins such as creation. The excuse used to deny this balance is the “so-called” separation of church and state. (I contend that this is misapplied, but I will not go into that topic here.) It is no wonder that 70% or more of our young people who go to church abandon the church after they graduate from high school, according to US statistics quoted in the December 2004, Answers in Genesis Update. 3 “Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to your care. Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge, which some have professed and in so doing have wandered from the faith. Grace be with you. I Timothy 6: 20-21 (NIV). I state these verses again from the modern New International Version to provide further understanding. I take the opportunity to make a statement that as a person trained in science and the Bible I am not against science; rather, I love science and the pursuit of knowledge based on true scientific pursuit. I am against using science falsely and calling it new knowledge as is the case I believe when old and new research of fossils and the genome is presented and assumed, not proved, to support naturalistic evolution as fact as well as saying apes evolved into man. I appreciate and support knowledge gained in scientific investigation which God has given us to help us. I understand also that it is a willing service and duty of mine to help people more clearly distinguish the scientific observation from the conjecture of naturalistic evolutionists, as they make some assumptions from their research using the bias of evolution. I hope my service such as writing this article will help Christians with much or little science background to hold and increase their faith and help those who lack faith to open the door to faith in God as they pursue true scientific knowledge. I pray concerning the influence of false assumptions of naturalistic evolution being placed before us in the media today that all will be allowed to make and will make the effort to examine both sides of the topic I write about today to determine in fair balance whether we humans were created specially by God in His image (Genesis 1: 26-27) or came about accidentally and randomly through naturalistic evolution in the image of and from an ape without a Creator God.
With the above background for consideration, let us take a look at new research that currently has provided the ability to map or sequence the genetic make-up or genomes of animals, especially humans and chimpanzees. This ability has added new considerations and questions to the debate of whether man was created or evolved from apes. Discovering 97 to 98 percent similarities of chimp and human genomes raises new questions about whether apes evolved into humans. Could the interpretation be that the similarities simply show a common creator and the uniqueness of man over apes can be explained by how God used even this small percent difference in man’s genome to make him truly unique over the ape-like creatures such as the chimps? From the creationist interpretation, the new research, I believe, is showing the God-directed-and-regulated effects on the outcome of even this small difference. This is in contrast to the evolutionary interpretation or conjecture that we humans are just evolved, advanced apes since there is such a small difference in our genomes. It is a matter of whether one chooses the point-of-view of naturalistic evolution to explain how we got here or the creation view that holds and enhances one’s faith in God. What we believe about these observations explained with evolutionary conjecture and interpretation in the name or under the cloak of science is very important as to whether we hold on to our faith, or wander from the faith as many have, as discussed in the introduction above.
Until recently the debate centered more around the fossil record and whether or not there were links including the “missing links” fossils between apes and man. Today, the expanding molecular and genetic knowledge challenges us to see if this new knowledge adds more proof of naturalistic evolution, with the evolutionary viewpoint continuing to be expressed by many researchers who simply assume evolution to be fact and deny any supernatural involvement. They just assume that this similarity in the genomes adds more proof to naturalistic evolution. In contrast, the creation scientist researchers simply see and interpret this knowledge giving credit to an omnipotent and omniscient God who is the common Creator of all but who has made His created kinds different from man who is truly unique over other animals as communicated to us in the Bible from the beginning in Genesis 1: 25-27. That special uniqueness of mankind is reinforced in other passages throughout the rest of the Bible.
Before we take a closer look at some of the new information on genomes appearing in the literature which provides new impetus for evolutionists to make new claims of supposedly the “fact” of evolution and that man came from apes, it is worthwhile to review briefly what was once proposed to be “factual” evidences from the fossil record that evolutionists claimed to support ape-to-man evolvement. I will summarize by use of Table 1 and some comments from my June, 2005 TASC newsletter article (which you may access on the web at www.TASC-creationscience.org) titled “The Genographic Project: What is it? What does it mean?” The following evolutionary bias, conjecture, and false conclusions concerning “so-called” human ancestors (links) were outlined in a 2002 video from the Institute for Creation Research titled The Origin of Humans, The “Riddle” of Origins Series.
What it turned out to be
|Australopithocine (Lucy)||Extinct Ape / chimpanzee|
|Homo Erectus||Fully human (simply dated old to fit schema of evolution)|
|Nebraska Man||Pig’s tooth|
|Neandert(h)al Man||Fully human|
What we have truly found with scientific integrity tracing human ancestry thus far is that apes were apes and humans were humans and still are. 4 We creation scientists believe God created apes as apes and humans as humans and truly objective scientific evidences support this. A noted creation scientist, Dr. Duane Gish, in his book, The Amazing Story of Creation From Science and the Bible, refers to the admission of a famous British anatomist, Dr. Solly Zuckerman: “If we exclude the possibility of creation, then, obviously, man must have evolved from an ape-like creature; but if he did, there is no evidence for it in the fossil record.” 5 ,6 Dr Gish, after having reviewed extensively the fossil record, responded to Dr. Zuckerman’s admission by saying, “I would agree with this famous anatomist; if man has evolved, there is no evidence for it in the fossil record. Man is a special creation, as are monkeys. They were separately and distinctly created, you see, and did not evolve from some lower creature.” 7 Dr. Gish also states that Clarence Darrow in the 1925 Scopes Monkey Trial presented Nebraska Man and Piltdown Man as pieces of evidence he thought supported evolution. 8 Of course, these evidences were proved false, but this started a lot of undeserved ridicule of Christians because of their creation belief and because they still held fast to the word of God, the Bible.
Speaking of the Genographic Project relative to the information above, I participated in it by sending a sample of my DNA for testing. Results from my genetic marker of M343 showed that my ancestors migrated into northwestern Europe and my haplogroup of R1b has some association to supposed Cro-Magnon Man. Dr. Gish points out that researchers now agree that the once loudly proclaimed Cro-Magnon Man was identical to a modern European. 9 That I have northwestern European ancestors agrees with my own knowledge and records of tracings of my family tree. I can explain my ancestors’ migration into Europe from my knowledge of the migration of humans from Babel recorded in the Bible and information I reported in the April 2004 TASC newsletter article titled “Racism: Human ‘Races’ or ‘One Blood”’?” I pointed out in that article that all of us humans are related because we do have common ancestry from Adam and Eve and Noah’s family after the flood and human migration did start out from the general area of the Middle East which could have been at one time part of what we now know as northeastern Africa. Of course, the Genographic Project researchers seem to use an evolutionary view to fall in line with their assumption of naturalistic evolution although their research raises questions about the typical ape-to-man tie-in. However, the evidences favor more objectively, I believe, the creation science explanation based on the Biblical record of the migration of man commanded by God after the worldwide flood recorded in Genesis. From my understanding gained from all the above, I conclude that I am human, created from God, and not evolved from ape-like creatures through naturalistic evolution! Gaining that knowledge has helped to firm my faith, increase it, and make it whole, conducive to going forward joyfully unto good works.
However, for your benefit and mine in confirming our faith in God, let us now take a brief overview of two current articles in the literature pertaining to molecular and genetic data which try to convince us that we evolved from apes, primarily chimps. One article from the October 6, 2006, issue of Time ponders this ape-to-man question and is titled “What Makes Us Different? Not very much, when you look at our DNA. But those few tiny changes made all the difference in the world.” 10 This article cites that there are three billion base pairs in the human genome with 1.23% that are different in the chimp genome. The front cover of the magazine contains the headline, “How We Became Human”, superimposed over a picture of a chimp and a human baby. The adjacent page to the article contains an artist’s rendition of how this similar DNA material between man and ape might be expressed. It depicts a drawing of an ape- man creature with one side of the face appearing ape-like and the other human-like. I contend that this is image building for the informed and uninformed citizen to accept ape-to-man evolvement without much question and an example of using science falsely. Similar drawing techniques depicting how our ape-man ancestors might have looked were applied from the misinterpreted, false ape-to-man fossils such as Lucy, Piltdown, Nebraska, Java, and Peking Man and help to persuade adults and children that this ape-to-man theory must be true. 11
Assumptions from this Time article using the evolutionary position declare that “scientists figured out decades ago that chimps are our nearest evolutionary cousins, roughly 98% to 99% identical to humans at the genetic level.” The authors, however, do admit that even these small differences could elicit a big difference in humans and chimps by stating, “Yet tiny differences, sprinkled throughout the genome, have made all the difference. Agriculture, language, art, music, technology and philosophy—all the achievements that make us profoundly different from chimpanzees and make a chimp in a business suit seem so deeply ridiculous—are somehow encoded within minute fractions of our genetic code. Nobody yet knows precisely where they are or how they work, but somewhere in the nuclei of our cells are handfuls of amino acids, arranged in a specific order, that endow us with the brainpower to outthink and outdo our closest relatives on the tree of life. They give us the ability to speak and write and read, to compose symphonies, paint masterpieces and delve into the molecular biology that makes us what we are?” 12 Sounds to me like the above explanations could just as well be a creationist viewpoint and could give credit to the magnificent creativity that God would put into our special human qualities; even though, being the common designer of apes too, He made their genomes very similar to ours, but the little differences do make a big difference. However, in this article, the authors choose to beat the drum of evolution with their broad statements ever alluding to it concerning the data about the genomes. In summarizing what it all means, they do reign in a little by stating, “In fact, even the most ardent proponents of genome-comparison research acknowledge that pretty much everything we know so far is preliminary.” 13 It would be good if we can get this kind of statement out with balanced assessment to as many as possible about various new findings supposedly supporting evolution to help people avoid dismissing their faith. This is one of the missions of TASC. One special effect brought out in the article is that these small differences in the genomes do make a big difference in brain sizes between chimps and humans. We will look at that more in a later article.
The second article I cite was published in the April 2006 issue of Discover: Science, Technology, and the Future and is titled “The 2% Difference”, as it relates to the chimp and human genomes. 14 The author, Robert Sapolsky, is a neurobiologist and states, “Now that scientists have decoded the chimpanzee genome, we know that 98 per cent of our DNA is the same. So how can we be so different?” 15 One thing I deduce from this article is that the little differences in the genomes of chimps and humans account for significant differences in the species. Although Sopolsky gives his article the evolutionary conjecture on a number of observations, he points out findings and makes statements that can lend support to the creationist viewpoint as well. Examples of some of his statements about genomes in this article show uniqueness of humans over the chimps and follow:
Chimpanzees are close relatives to humans, but they’re not identical to us. We are not chimps.
The core differences arise from how we use our brains.
In genomes involving billions of nucleotides, a tiny 2 percent difference translates into tens of millions of adenine, cytosine, guanine, thymine differences. And that 2 percent difference can be very broadly distributed. Humans and chimps each have somewhere between 20,000 and 30,000 genes, so there are likely to be nucleotide differences in every single gene.
It's important to note that genes don’t act alone. Yes, each gene regulates the construction of a specific protein. But what tells that gene when and where to build that protein? Regulation is everything. 16 Another important fraction of that 2 percent involves genes related to reproduction—the sorts of anatomical differences that split a species in two keep them from interbreeding.
Still, chimps and humans have very different brains. …What makes the human species brainy are huge numbers of standard-issue neurons. …The main difference is the sheer number of neurons. The human brain has 100 million times the number of neurons a sea slug’s brain has. Where do those differences in quantity come from? At some point in their development, all embryos—whether human, chimp, rat, frog, or slug—must have a single first cell committed toward generating neurons. That cell divides and gives rise to 2 cells; those divide into 4, then 8, then 16. After a dozen rounds of cell division, you’ve got roughly enough neurons to run a slug. Go another 25 rounds or so and you’ve got a human brain. Stop a couple of rounds short of that and, at about one-third the size of a human brain, you’ve got one for a chimp. Vastly different outcomes, but relatively few genes regulate the number of rounds of cell division in the nervous system before calling a halt. And it’s precisely some of those genes, the ones involved in neural development, that appear on the list of differences between the chimp and human genomes. That’s it; that’s the 2 percent solution. 17
Related to differentiation of key types of cells above such as neurons, what if we considered early embryonic cell differentiation regulated by the small differences that we are finding make a significant difference in what is expressed from the coded information on the genes in the genomes of chimps and humans? Thus, worth mentioning briefly here is an assumed finding from a significant theory woven into evolution—ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny or embryological recapitulation—that was proved false concerning embryological development in the human and other animals like our supposed ancestor the chimp. A zealous evolutionist, Ernst Haeckel who was Darwin’s advocate in Germany in the 1870s, simply falsified the fetal development in his drawings to conjecture and propose that we humans go through the evolutionary stages from fish to man in the womb. 18 Embryologists have learned that each animal has very specific differentiating information in the embryonic cells no matter how similar the building blocks of DNA to truly make each animal differentiate into what it is meant to be. I recall the significant impact as I was studying in my university that this Haeckel’s embryological recapitulation theory, even then not entirely exposed or dismissed, had on raising doubts on my own belief system. Even though exposed as false, yet so convincing, these drawings based on Haeckel’s drawings are still displayed in modern biology textbooks 19 that our children have to study, undoubtedly still causing confusion and affecting one’s belief system. It seems obvious that evolutionary teaching “aims to indoctrinate students with the belief that they are evolved animals and ultimately are, in effect, nothing more than a chance rearrangement of matter.” 20
Sapolsky’s article (along with the insert information about Haeckel’s embryo drawings and theory) is a good one to encourage us all to be careful about being swayed by this new genome data as further proof of ape-to-man evolution. Like the fossil research of past and present, the genome data is often presented in a sensational way to try to persuade, sometimes ridicule, us Christians and creation science people to give up on God. Likewise, the genome data, presented with the evolutionary bias, can continue to serve as a stumbling block to atheists and others to keep the door closed on acceptance of God as Creator.
Another aside worth mentioning here that casts doubt on assumptions made by evolutionists about dinosaurs being around millions of years ago is that the article just before this one in Discover was about the finding of soft, fresh-looking tissue inside a T. rex femur by paleontologist, Mary Schweitzer. If fair balance was given to creationists in communicating this new information, this should have made big headlines throughout the media, but evidently was not. To help balance, creationists should get news of these type findings as widely distributed as possible.
Like the examination of the fossil record (reviewed above) by researchers to see how much credibility is lent to the evolutionary ape-to-man position, the information in the genome articles need to be critiqued by creation scientists and distributed as much as possible. TASC editorial writers have dedicated a number of articles recently published in the TASC newsletter to assess this new information on molecular and genetic research to keep proper balance on evolutionary positions that generally are espoused in this research. One of these articles was the November 2006 newsletter article by Dr. Dan Reynolds, titled “Does the Molecular Evidence Prove Common Ancestry is a Fact?”, in which he concluded that Endogenous Retroviral Elements have beneficial function, show some preference for insertion sites, and can appear in the same location in unrelated species, which are consistent with purposeful design without common ancestry. Another was the December 2006 article by Dr. David Plaisted titled, “Puzzles of the Genome”, in which he clarifies that the genetic similarity between chimpanzee and humans is not as originally thought and that recent results show how little we really know about the genome, and therefore it is unreasonable to assert that the genome provides evidence for evolution when we understand it so poorly. My article published in the June 2005 issue titled “The Genographic Project: What is it? What does it mean?” was part of an effort to observe to see if the Genographic Project provides credible information about the origin of humans and their migration, not just more fuel for spinning naturalistic evolutionary theory as fact. If you have not read these articles and desire to do so, you can access them on the TASC website at www.tasc-creationscience.org.
In summary, the goal by creation scientists in the interest of balance is to provide some comment and assessments of the new genome data based on the creation science view, as the naturalistic evolutionary view will most likely continue to be espoused using the new data, many times in sensational ways by the media that provide much bias and deceit. Bottom line, as Paul admonished Timothy, we should be careful about observations and conclusions espoused in these articles that attempt to rule out God as Creator and cause one to wander away from his/her faith in God. They may influence people to embrace the religion of naturalistic evolution which requires very much faith as well even with the new data.
As stated in the opening, we need to carefully examine both sides of these important questions related to how we originated—created by God or evolved from ape to man by random chance? Which will you choose, considering that it will make a difference? Evolution uses death in its processes but gives no hope over death. Let us aspire to overcome death by accepting the gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ, who is also the Creator. He created us and, as Creator, will create us again in heaven.
“But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables Him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.” Philippians 3: 20-21 (NIV)
- 1Morris, HM (1995) The DEFENDER’S Study Bible. World Publishers, Inc. Iowa Falls, IA, 1348-1349
- 2Morris, HM (1995) The DEFENDER’S Study Bible. World Publishers, Inc. Iowa Falls, IA, 1348-1349
- 3Ham, K. (2004 December) Decontaminating our children. Answers in Genesis Update. http://www.answersingenesis.org/us/newsletters/1204lead.asp Accessed 2007 Feb 20
- 4Riddle, M (2002) Video: The Origin of Humans, The “Riddle” of Origin Series, Institute for Creation Research, El Cajon, CA
- 5Gish, DT (1990) The Amazing Story of Creation From Science and the Bible. Institute for Creation Research, El Cahon, CA, 84
- 6Zuckerman, S (1970) Beyond the Ivory Tower. Taplinger Pub. Co., New York, NY, 64
- 7Gish, DT (1990) Video: The Origin of Man, The Basic Creation Series. Institute for Creation Research, El Cajon, CA
- 8Gish, DT (1990) Video: The Origin of Man, The Basic Creation Series. Institute for Creation Research, El Cajon, CA
- 9Gish, DT (1990) The Amazing Story of Creation From Science and the Bible. Institute for Creation Research, El Cajon, CA, 85
- 10Lemonick M, Dorfman A (2006) What Makes Us Different? Time, Oct 6:44-53
- 11Gish, DT (1990) Did We Come From Adam or the Apes? The Amazing Story of Creation From Science and the Bible. Institute for Creation Research, El Cajon, CA, 76-93
- 12Lemonick M, Dorfman A (2006) What Makes Us Different? Time, Oct 6:44-53
- 13Lemonick M, Dorfman A (2006) What Makes Us Different? Time, Oct 6:44-53
- 14Sapolsky, R (2006) The 2% Difference. Discover: Science, Technology, and the Future. 27(4):42-45
- 15Sapolsky, R (2006) The 2% Difference. Discover: Science, Technology, and the Future. 27(4):42-45
- 16Sapolsky, R (2006) The 2% Difference. Discover: Science, Technology, and the Future. 27(4):42-45
- 17Sapolsky, R (2006) The 2% Difference. Discover: Science, Technology, and the Future. 27(4):42-45
- 18Sarfati, J (1999) Refuting Evolution. Master Books. Green Forest, AR, 85-89
- 19Alton B, Kapicka C, Lundgreen L (1995) Biology, The Dynamics of Life. Glenco/McGraw Hill, Westerville, OH, 433
- 20Sarfati, J (1999) Refuting Evolution. Master Books. Green Forest, AR, 85-89
Archaeology Supports Exodus NarrativeArchaeology Supports Exodus Narrative
Who was Pharaoh when Joseph was in Egypt? Who was Pharaoh when Moses was there?
Egyptian records tell a story—does it jibe with (agree with) the story of the Bible? The answer is exciting. If the time line given below is accurate (and there is evidence that indicates it is), then we may have identified the Pharaoh who was the step-father of Moses, the Pharaoh who dreamed of seven lean years and was advised by Joseph to store up grain, and more! What is more, we can even see what these Pharaohs looked like, since statues of them (or other depictions) exist.
We shall examine in this article the dates upon which time lines of ancient history are based, and a new time line, based on modifications of these “pillar” dates. We shall see how this modified time line of Egyptian events and persons relates to biblical events and persons.
We use dates with a reference point of (assumed) time of the birth of Christ. The year 1943 is 1943 AD, where AD means “Anno Domini”, which is Latin for “the Year of the Lord.” The reference date is the birth of Christ, and therefore this date refers to a year approximately 1943 years after Christ was born.
An event which occurred about 200 years before Christ’s birth is given the date 200 BC. But how was it dated at the time it occurred? Could people see forward into time and know that 200 years in the future Christ would be born? Or did they use some other reference date?
Ancients used the regnal dating system, in which events are dated by the number of years into a monarch’s reign at which they occurred. So, the Bible mentions an event’s occurring in “year X” of the reign of some king, as do other ancient documents.
One king’s reign is sometimes given as starting in year “X” of some other king’s reign, or something similar, so we can correlate dates and events and come up with dates for both kings. This has been done for Egyptian history. We call this time line the conventional chronology. Below we shall look at it, and we shall also look at an alternative time line, or chronology, that we shall call the new chronology.
This article is largely based on the work of David Rohl, which is described in his book, Pharaohs and Kings. 1 Rohl says that Egyptologists have devised a dating framework, or chronology, which is in error. Rohl states, …“I did not originally set out to challenge our current understanding of the Old Testament narratives. …I have no religious axe to grind.” He says he was led to Old Testament chronology due to his efforts to correct errors in the chronology of the Third Intermediate Period of conventional Egyptian chronology.
The details of the new corrected reference dates and the problems with the conventional chronology’s “Pillars” will be given later towards the end of this article. But now let us look at the effect of this new chronology on the histories of biblical events and personages. We start with Joseph.
Based on the new chronology, Joseph would have been appointed a vizier in Egypt about 1670 BC. Senuseret III and his son Amenemhat III ruled during the time that Joseph was in Egypt. Statues of these rulers are known for their sad countenances. According to Egyptologist William Smith, “The dominating quality of these (statue) heads is that of an intelligent consciousness of a ruler’s responsibilities and an awareness of the bitterness which this can bring ... A brooding seriousness appears even in the face of the young Amenemhat III …”
Rohl suspects that the concern expressed by these rulers is due to the prediction of Joseph of the seven lean years and the actual famine which did occur. Barbara Bell, a specialist in ancient climates, claims that there would almost certainly have been famine at this time, due to flooding of the Nile. 2
According to the Biblical account, the Pharaoh stored grain in preparation for the lean years. However, the other local chieftains did not and were forced to sell their land to the Pharaoh for grain. Thus the Pharaoh gained the land of these local rulers and thereby gained political power over these local rulers.
According to the Egyptian evidence, during the reign of Senuseret III, the building of tombs of these local chieftains was discontinued. This seems to indicate a loss of political power for these rulers, in agreement with the biblical account in the preceding paragraph. (They lost their political power because they had to sell their land for grain.)
King Amenemhat III is known for having successful policies, as attested by his spectacular building projects and his long reign. Rohl attributes this success to his advisor, Joseph. 3 The Bible tells us that Joseph asked that his body be taken with the Israelites when they left Egypt. Moses took the bones of Joseph with him out of Egypt according to the Bible. Rohl mentions the discovery of a tomb which might be the tomb of Joseph. Was this tomb the tomb of Joseph?
Rohl says we should expect to find, in the tomb of Joseph, the following:
There should be evidence of the body’s removal, but without signs of plundering by grave-robbers.
The tomb should be a typical Egyptian one, since Joseph was “Egyptian-ized” to the extent of joining the government of Egypt.
Yet there might be evidence of his Asiatic origins, since Joseph was originally not Egyptian.
The tomb should be impressive, or large, due to his high office (only the Pharaoh was higher).
The tomb that was found was the largest sepulcher found at Avis. There was evidence that a pyramid once crowned the tomb. It was the only grave in the complex to have a funerary chapel. This agrees with points 2 and 4 above.
A large statue was found at this site. The statue was not a Pharaoh—in fact, the evidence shows it was a statue of a foreigner. Bietak, who discovered the tomb, said that it was “unthinkable” for a giant statue to be made for one who was not a pharaoh (and we might add, not even a native Egyptian). But, if this statue was Joseph, then it becomes more “thinkable”, for Joseph did receive great favor from the Pharaoh and was made ruler of Egypt, second only to the Pharaoh himself. This is consistent with Rohl’s point 4.
In every other grave of the cemetery where this tomb was found, there were skeletons. But not in this one! The evidence indicated the body had been removed while the chapel was still in use. This does not sound like the work of typical grave robbers. This agrees with Rohl’s point 1 above.
This statue holds the hieroglyphic symbol used to indicate a foreigner! The statue is also clothed with a coat of many colors: red, blue, black, and white. The Bible, of course, also makes mention of Joseph’s famous coat of many colors. Here we see Rohl’s point 3 confirmed.
Israelites in Egypt
The Israelites resided in Egypt before they were led out of Egypt by Moses. (The famous ten plagues and the parting of the Red Sea are part of the Biblical account.)
A site, Tell ed-Daba, and other sites nearby have been excavated in Egypt. Buried Asiatics, not Egyptians, were found. Sixty-five percent of all burials at Tell ed-Daba were infants, less than a year and a half of age! This statistically should have been 20-30 percent. Why the infant graves?
A possible explanation is given in the Old Testament: all male children under two years of age were to be destroyed at the orders of the Pharaoh.
Also, at Avaris in the strata just before (below) a settlement break (which could be explained by the Exodus) it was found that more adult women were buried than adult men. Why more women? This also might be explained by the Bible. If male infants were killed earlier, there would be more women.
We see the archaeological evidence is consistent with the Biblical accounts.
Now let us shift our attention to Moses. Based on a chronology of Israelite kings by Thiele, Rohl assigns the birth date of Moses as approximately 1527 BC.
According to fragmentary accounts in the writings of Eusebius and Clements of a Jewish historian, Artapanus, Moses was raised by a daughter of a Pharaoh. She married Pharaoh Khenephres, who can be equated with Khaneferre Sobekhotep IV. Artapanus’ story is very similar to the account of Moses in the Bible; for instance he names Moses’ father-in-law as Raguel, while the Bible calls him Reul.
Artapanus, and also Flavius Josephus, tell of Moses (under Sobekhotep) leading a campaign against Ethiopia. The only reference by Egyptians to a military campaign into this region occurs on a stela fragment with the name of Sobekhotep IV, the same Pharaoh named by Artapanus!
The city of Kerma is where Moses would have fought, for this was a capital city of the Ethiopians at the time of Sobekhotep. A statue of Sobekhotep has been discovered near Kerma, and archaeological research has determined that Egyptians were present at Kerma. But when? Although the precise date is not known, it was during the Second Intermediate Period of Egypt, during which time Sobekhotep ruled and during which time Moses lived, according to the new chronology. This agrees with the accounts of the campaign from Egypt under Moses given by Artapanus and Josephus.
Based on the dating of the reign of Neferhotep (see the Ugarit Solar Eclipse below), the reign of Sobekhotep was approximately 1529-1510 BC. This amazingly correlates with the date of Moses’ birth as given above, 1527 BC! Thus, based on Thiele’s chronology of Israelite kings and the new Egyptian chronology, Moses was indeed born during the reign of Sobekhotep. This has support from the account of Artapanus, who refers to Khaneferre Sobekhotep, which is a rather uncommon name for a Pharaoh. There have been several Thutmose’s, several Ramesses, etc., but there was only a single Khaneferre. Thus, it seems highly unlikely that Artapanus made up a fictitious account. Rather it appears that Khaneferre Sobekhotep IV was the actual Pharaoh step-father of Moses. We thus see that evidence from the new chronology indicates that Moses was a real historical person.
Archaeologist Kathleen Kenyon found that the walls of the Middle Bronze Age Jericho indeed did fall down. 4 She also found the city had been burned, and according to the Bible, Joshua 6:24, the city of Jericho was burned. However, this was not, according to the conventional chronology, at the time of Israel’s presence. But, the corrected chronology does put Israel in the area at this time. The Bible also says the fall of Jericho happened during harvest season. Large storage jars filled with grain were found in Jericho.
John Bimson’s research has shown that, using the new chronology to date events, the cities that the Bible says were burned were actually burned, and the ones the Bible says were not burned were not. 5
Dating Reference Points and the Four Pillars
There are four reference points or pillars, as Rohl calls them, from which the dates of the conventional Egyptian chronology are derived. 6
- Pillar 1 – the sacking of Thebes by Ashurbanipal in 664 BC, the last year of Pharaoh Taharka’s 26 year rule, which is Year 1 of Psamtek I
- Pillar 2 – the identification of Shishak, King of Egypt who was mentioned in the Bible (I Kings 14:25-26, II Chronicles 12:2-9) with Shoshenk I, founder of the 22nd Dynasty of Egypt. This leads to the date of 925 BC as Year 20 of the reign of Shoshenk I.
- Pillar 3 – the date of 1517 BC, being Year 9 of Amenhotep I’s reign. This allows us to date the Egyptian New Kingdom as beginning in 1550 BC with the accession of Ahmose.
- Pillar 4 – the accession of Ramesses II in 1279 BC
Rohl states that not only the chronology of Egypt, but also the chronologies of Mycenaean Greece, Minoan Crete, Hittite Anatolia, and pre-Solomonic Israel are all based on these four pillars or reference dates. Thus any errors in these “Pillar” dates can have far-reaching consequences.
The following are Rohl’s assessment of the soundness or problems with these pillars.
No problems. Sound!
The main reasons for equating Egyptian Shoshenk with biblical Shishak are given below:
the similarity in the sound of the names
Egyptian records indicate that Shoshenk invaded Judah, while Bible records show that Shishak was an Egyptian ruler who also invaded Judah
But, their military campaigns are different! Information from Egyptian records and from the Bible are not consistent in their descriptions of the military campaign of these two individuals. 7
Ramesses did reach Jerusalem, but Shoshenk apparently did not. Ramesses is the only Pharaoh known to have recorded a defeat of Jerusalem. The Shishak of the Bible did reach Jerusalem. Thus, biblical Shishak has more in common with Ramesses II than with Shoshenk.
Also, even though the two names may sound somewhat similar, it has been found that Ramesses II was also referred to by a name written Ss, Sysw, or Ssy. 8 Rohl states the name must have been pronounced something like “Sesy”, “Sesa”, “Sysu”, or “Sysa”. According to Rohl, “There are many biblical examples where we see the Egyptian ‘s’ (Heb. Sin) rendered as ‘sh’ (Heb. Shin). Just as Egyptian Askelon is biblical Ashkelon…” 9
So, now, we need to compare the sound of Shishak with Shisha, not just Shoshenk! On the basis of the similarity of the sound of the names, Ramesses II could be Shishak just as well as Shoshenk. There are more details showing the similarities of biblical Shishak with Ramesses II, and showing the differences between biblical Shishak and Egyptian Shoshenk.
Thus, Pillar 2’s equating of Shishak with Shoshenk is not trustworthy. Based on the match of his military campaign and the sound of his name as “Shisa”, Ramesses is a much better match to Shishak than Shoshenk.
Pillar 3 is based on astronomy. Pillar 3 is based on a date in the Ebers Papyrus for an event which occurs only once a year. However, the Ebers Papyrus states this event happened during every month of the year! This is based on documents giving the date of the rising of the Dog Star.
Rohl quotes the Director of the Austrian Institute for Egyptology in Vienna, Professor Manfred Bietak, as follows, “The chronology of the New Kingdom therefore no longer depends on the Sothis-date of the Year 9 of Amenhotep I, which is insecure and should not be used.”
Pillar 4 is also based on astronomy. I spare you the details. Pillar 4 itself depends on the dates of Pillars 2 and 3. So, it as much in doubt as they are.
Another Erroneous Dating of an Event
Another error was the assumption that the Pharaoh of the Exodus in the Bible was Ramesses II, simply because the name of a store city, Ramesses, was mentioned in the Bible. 7 We could imagine we have traveled in a time machine many years into the future. Looking at “ancient” documents, we might see that the newspapers of the 20th century mentioned a city named Washington, D.C. This city was named after George Washington. So, we might conclude that George Washington lived during the 20th century—and be wrong. The Israelites might have built a city at Ramesses, but this need not have been the original one built at the time of Ramesses. Archaeologists have uncovered multiple layers—cities built on top of cities.
Ugarit Solar Eclipse: Another Reference Date
This section details the determination of the date at which Neferhotep I took the throne. (This is used above in the section on Moses.)
A letter was written to Pharaoh Akhenaten by Abimilku, a ruler of Tyre. This letter referred to the burning of a palace at Ugarit. Near the palace was found an inscription which stated, “The day of the new moon of Hiyaru was put to shame as the sun [goddess] set, with Rashap as her gate-keeper.” 10 The putting to shame of a day refers to a total solar eclipse, making day as night. The month Hiyaru is mid-April to mid-May. The eclipse occurred as “the sun set” or at sunset. The reference to a “day of the new moon” refers to the first day of a lunar month.
There was another celestial occurrence, referred to in the phrase “with Rashap as her gate-keeper.” According to Rohl, “The priest-astronomers viewed Rashap as the gatekeeper or guardian of the entrance to the underworld towards which the solar disc was descending…” 10 Given the above information, using astronomical retrocalculation software, it was found that during the second millennium BC there was only a single candidate date for this eclipse. The eclipse occurred 6:09 PM May 9, 1012 BC. It was found that near the eclipse was a star, a giant star that would explode as a supernova 2,000 years later to form the Crab Nebula. This pins down a date quite accurately. This then gives a sound anchor or reference point; from this point other dates can be calculated. Based on other documents, this puts the date of the beginning of the 18th Dynasty, with Ahmose, at 1194 BC.
Using the new chronology herein described and using the 1012 BC Ugarit eclipse as one reference point and a date of 1419 BC for Year 1 of Ammisaduga of the 1st Dynasty of Babylon, it was determined that 30 out of 31 ancient eclipses recorded in ancient times matched perfectly with the new chronology. Two other chronologies matched only 20 and 19 of the eclipses.
This dating of Ammisaduga allows us to date Hammurabi, one of the most famous Babylonian rulers. His reign begins in 1565 BC. Hammurabi destroyed the palace of King Zimrilim of the city of Mari in Syria. King Zimrilim had received a gold cup from Yantin-Ammu, King of Byblos, according to a tablet found at Mari. Thus, Yantin-Ammu, ruler of Byblos, was contemporaneous with Zimrilim and Hammurabi. We can thus date the reign of Yantin-Ammu to roughly 1550-1530 BC, since he reigned at approximately the same time as Hammurabi.
A hieroglyphic inscription was found at Byblos which referred to both Yantin-Ammu and Pharaoh Neferhotep I of the 13th Dynasty of Egypt. Thus we may conclude that Neferhotep I was a contemporary of Hammurabi, Zimrilim, and Yanti-Ammu. He would have taken the throne approximately 1540 BC.
There is more: Egyptian records giving evidence of the existence of King Saul and King David, for example. To discover the rest, you can read Rohl’s book.
Summary and Conclusion
We have seen that there are dates in history, from which other dates are calculated. If these foundation dates are wrong, then so are the ones derived from them. Some pillars of the dating of events were examined and seen not to be supported very strongly. These pillars influenced the setting of dates of events in the ancient history of Egypt, Israel, and other nations.
These pillar dates were corrected, and the evidence was summarized. This resulted in a new chronology, a new history, a new time line. Astronomical evidence using dates of eclipses was utilized, which indicated the new chronology holds up well. Then, using this new corrected and updated chronology, we found that Jericho indeed did fall at the time the Bible said it did. We also found evidence from Egypt that was consistent with the Biblical account of Joseph and also that of Moses. We also saw evidence of Israel’s persecution in Egypt, the murder of male infants under two years old.
In spite of this evidence, according to David Rohl, there is a school of biblical exegesis which maintains that the Old Testament has no value as a historical source. 11 Why?
Some researchers have not found evidence to support the events described in the Bible, because they were looking in the wrong “place”, more accurately, in the wrong time! Errors in archaeological dating of some events have led to erroneously concluding that the Bible is not accurate historically. When these errors are corrected, the Bible is supported by archaeological evidence. Perhaps there is a lesson here: not to rush to discount Biblical histories on the basis of archaeological research or other research.
Einstein pointed out that we must question our scientific assumptions. Is this new chronology absolutely correct? I don’t think even Rohl would claim that, but instead he would see it as an effort at improving existing dates.
In conclusion, when the Egyptian chronology is examined and attempts are made to improve it, we see a change from less archaeological support of the biblical narratives, to more support. Interestingly, as efforts to improve the chronology lead to updates of the chronology, there is increasing consistency with the Old Testament history.
Recent Discoveries in GeneticsRecent Discoveries in Genetics
Several recent discoveries in genetics reveal even more of the amazing properties of the genome and give additional evidence for the design of life by an intelligent creator. DNA consists of a long sequence of four nucleotide bases. Proteins consist of sequences of about twenty amino acids, and are specified by a coding system in which three successive nucleotide bases of DNA constitute a “codon” and are translated into a specific amino acid. However, there are more codons than amino acids, so more than one codon corresponds to a given amino acid in many cases.
Now, within everyone’s DNA are “SNPs”, single nucleotide polymorphisms. This is a site at which many humans have differing nucleotides. Sometimes such a difference does not influence the amino acid coded for. For example, the codons UCU and UCC both code for serine, so a change of uracil to cytosine at this point in the RNA, corresponding to a change of thymine to cytosine in the DNA, has no effect on the sequence of amino acids in the protein. Is there then any difference between such codons in terms of their effects on the organism?
Recent research shows that there is. 1 This research shows that a combination of three SNP’s in a gene known as the MDR1 gene alters P-glycoprotein activity among individuals with these polymorphisms. Pglycoprotein is a “multiple-transmembrane protein pump” that transports various drugs out of cells. Thus this protein can affect the degree to which many drugs are absorbed and can thereby affect their utility. Therefore the combination of these three SNP’s, although it does not affect the sequence of amino acids in this protein, does affect its three-dimensional shape, and therefore the activity. How can this be?
When a protein is created from a gene, the gene is first transcribed into messenger RNA that travels to the ribosome, where the messenger RNA is translated into protein, one codon, one amino acid at a time. As this is done, a sequence of amino acids emerges from the ribosome and gradually folds up into the protein as it is is being created. The speed at which the amino acid sequence is created can affect the way in which the protein folds. It turns out that some codons are translated faster than others and this can affect the way the protein folds up. This is partly because the translation into protein depends on the availability of “transfer RNAs” (tRNAs) to carry amino acids to the ribosome. Some tRNAs are more abundant in a cell than others. Each codon specifies a different tRNA, so even if two codons specify the same amino acid, one codon may translate faster if its tRNA is more abundant.
This research was done on HeLa cells as well as cells from two species of monkeys and another line of human cells, with similar results. HeLa cells are an immortal cell line used in medical research. The cell line was derived from cervical cancer cells taken from Henrietta Lacks, who died from her cancer in 1951. These cells are called immortal because they can divide an unlimited number of times as long as they are maintained and sustained in a suitable environment. They are immortal because their telomerase is active during division so that the telomeres at the ends of the DNA do not shorten with time as in typical human cells. HeLa cells have a typical chromosome number of 82, with four copies of chromosome 12 and three copies of chromosomes 6, 8, and 17. They have become a laboratory "weed" and sometimes contaminate other cell cultures in the same laboratory, interfering with biological research. However, they are useful for research purposes because they still have many of the properties of human cells. Because this research was done on several different kinds of cells, its conclusions have more weight than if they were just done on one line of cells.
This research shows that the extra codons in the genetic code are not “wasted” and have a function in protein folding. Certain codons that take longer to translate give the protein a little more time to fold before new amino acids are produced. This can help the protein to fold properly. This is just one example of the amazing functionality that is built into many aspects of living organisms. This also helps to explain why different organisms have a different “codon bias,” a different preference for various codons that code for the same protein.
Another function built into the DNA of bacteria is described by Marx. 2 These experiments were performed on the bacterium Streptococcus thermophilus, which is widely used to make yoghurt and cheese. Bacteria are often attacked by viruses called bacteriophages, and these viruses are very abundant on earth. This research involves a defense mechanism of bacteria against these viruses. This defense mechanism involves the so-called CRISPR sequences, which are “clustered interspaced short palindromic repeats” and are widely distributed in the genomes of both bacteria and archaea, another division of single-celled organisms lacking nuclei. Accompanying these CRISPR sequences are some cas (CRISPR-associated) genes. It now appears that when they face infection by bacteriophages, bacteria can incorporate some of the sequences of the phage DNA into their CRISPR spacer sequences. Bacteria which do this have enhanced resistance to bacteriophages. Both the spacer sequences and the cas genes have been shown to be necessary for this resistance. When such sequences were artificially inserted into bacteria, their resistance to bacteriophages increased. When such sequences were removed, their resistance decreased. Also, when faced with infection by bacteriophages, some of the bacteria incorporated such sequences that had not been present before. Inactivating the cas genes reduces this resistance.
Apparently these bacteria produce short RNA sequences from these CRISPR sequences and this RNA binds to complementary sequences in messenger RNA made by invading phages, preventing the invading phages from manufacturing protein and thus preventing them from reproducing. This work may have applications in selecting bacteria that already are resistant to bacteriophages, but it also reveals the amazing ability of these tiny organisms to modify their own DNA to become resistant to infection. And this resistance passes down to their offspring because the DNA, CRISPR sequences and all, is copied during reproduction. This shows that DNA is not static but it is dynamic and can be modified by the organism. This can be seen as another facet of the functionality built into life by the Designer. So many different elements have to work together to make this system work that it is difficult to imagine how it could have evolved. It would be interesting to know whether higher organisms have a similar ability to modify their DNA in a manner that is passed down to their offspring.
Another amazing fact about the genome is that even though only a tiny amount of the genome is occupied by protein coding genes, the great majority of the human genome is transcribed into RNA. 3 In fact, millions of distinct transcribed RNA sequences are known for the human genome. 4 These sequences are produced by the so-called RNA genes. Now, a single RNA gene can produce more than one distinct sequence. However, even after clustering these sequences according to their similarity, one compilation contains over 800,000 distinct clusters! 5 An average of 10 percent of the genome is included in such sequences. 6 This could mean that there are 800,000 or even millions of RNA genes in the human genome. Because these RNA genes can be very short, they do not occupy a large amount of the genome. However, the RNA produced by these genes apparently has a function in regulating the protein-producing genes. Some of these genes produce RNA that binds to messenger RNA and prevents the messenger RNA from being translated into protein. Thus these genes appear to play a role in gene regulation. Each such RNA gene is thought to regulate multiple protein producing genes, so the RNA genes can have a significant impact on the organism. There is even a possibility that small RNA genes may activate protein coding genes instead of only repressing them. 7 Even though the human genome is thought to have only about 20,000 to 25,000 protein coding genes, the complexity of the genome and the human organism may be much larger than this indicates because of the possibility that there are millions of small RNA genes that regulate the activity of the protein coding genes. Such great complexity is additional evidence of the thought that went into the design of life and makes it even harder to imagine how life could evolve by blind mutations.
It turns out that DNA can be transferred between even distantly related species of bacteria. In fact, according to Fraser et al. “it is probably possible, through a series of intermediaries, to transfer genes between any two bacteria”. 8 This transfer is more frequent between closely related bacteria than between distantly related ones, because of mechanisms in the bacteria that prevent a transfer if the DNA is mismatched. In spite of this, “far from a continuum mediated by promiscuous gene exchange, bacteria seem to form clusters of genetically related strains (species), at least for those genera studied so far.” The question arises as to why there are still identifiable groups of bacteria if gene exchange is so frequent, instead of a continuous variation between different kinds of bacteria. This seems to be an evidence that the barriers between different kinds of bacteria are so strong that even when evolution is helped by receiving fully functional genes from closely related species of bacteria, evolution cannot cross these barriers. Of course, the barriers between higher organisms would be even stronger, and the transfer of genetic material is less frequent, suggesting that evolution never could cross these barriers between different kinds of organisms and that instead of evolving from a common ancestor, the major kinds of life were created much as they are today.
The final item that relates to genetics has to do with the variations in the genomes of different humans. Scientists have recently developed an enhanced map of the genome that shows differences between the DNA of different members of the human population. 9 However, the scientists report that “the genetic differences in our individual DNA are greater than originally thought. For example, it is not uncommon to find in some people large sections of DNA moved to a different location, or missing altogether.” This observation is interesting for two reasons. First, it shows that our genome is so well constructed that the human organism can still function when large portions of the DNA are moved to a different location or missing altogether. This is an additional evidence of the marvelous forethought that went into the design of life, especially human life. Second, this shows that, instead of evolving to greater and greater fitness, the human organism is rapidly degenerating. This contradicts the teaching of the theory of evolution, which states that all of life developed from a simple, common ancestor by gradual changes. Instead of developing to greater and greater complexity, life is rapidly degenerating and deteriorating.
The more we learn about life and about the genome, the more we understand its amazing complexity and greater and greater is the doubt cast on the hypothesis that life evolved by random mutations and selection from nonliving matter on earth without the intervention of an intelligent Creator. If it were not for the dogmatic stance taken by the scientific community against creation and in favor of evolution, no doubt many more people would see that life was designed by a loving and wise Creator.
- 1Komar A (2007) SNPs, silent but not invisible. Science 315 (5811): 466-467
- 2Marx J (2007) New bacterial defense against phage invaders identified. Science 315:1650
- 3Mattick J (2005) The functional genomics of noncoding RNA. Science 309 (5740):1527-1528
- 4Nekrutenko A (2004) Reconciling the numbers: ESTs versus protein-coding genes, Mol. Biol. Evol. 21(7):1278-1282
- 5Nekrutenko A (2004) Reconciling the numbers: ESTs versus protein-coding genes, Mol. Biol. Evol. 21(7):1278-1282
- 6Claverie J (2005) Fewer Genes, More Noncoding RNA, Science 309 (5740):1529-1530
- 7Garber K (2006) Small RNAs reveal an activating side. Science 314 (5800):741
- 8Fraser C, Hanag WP, Spratt BG (2007) Recombination and the nature of bacterial speciation. Science 315: 476-480
- 9Rice S, Feig C, Fortin J, Langmaid T (2006 Nov 24) Enhanced genome map could help disease research, scientists say. http://www.cnn.com/2006/HEALTH/11/24/genome.disease/index.html Accessed 2007 Apr 15
A Response to Selected Arguments in Richard Dawkins' The God DelusionA Response to Selected Arguments in Richard Dawkins' The God Delusion
Well-known atheist and evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins authored the now best selling book The God Delusion which was published last year. 1 This is just one of several recent popular science books by atheists to hit bookstores in the last few months. This essay will discuss selected scientific and philosophical arguments made in the Delusion.
Dawkins’ central argument is that God is a less likely explanation than is natural law and chance for life and the fine-tuning of the universe. Dawkins says that if we invoke God as an explanation, we are then faced with the question of who or what made or caused God. Since this line of reasoning must lead to an infinite regress without any final answer, the invocation of God has no explanatory power. 2 Therefore natural causes, however inept they may seem, are better candidates for explaining the world. Natural selection is seen as a “crane” which can lift simple life to greater complexity. However, the answer to Dawkins argument has been known for centuries and is called the Kalam Cosmological Argument (KCA). 3 The KCA goes something like this:
Everything that begins to exist has a cause.
The universe began to exist.
Therefore the universe had a cause.
Assuming for the moment that premise #2 is correct, the logic and validity of the argument are self-evident. That the universe had a beginning is now an accepted scientific fact. The expansion of the universe as evidenced by the red shift of the wavelengths of starlight from galaxies as they move away from us suggests the universe was smaller in the past. Running the expansion backwards, the universe reaches a state of infinite density, no volume, and no time; the universe becomes a singularity. The Second Law of Thermodynamics also requires the universe be of finite age. It says that the amount of useful energy (that can be used to do work) in the universe is irreversibly decreasing with time. Since there is still plenty of useful energy available, the universe must be of finite age. On the other hand, theists have always claimed that God is eternal or even transcends and exists independent of time. Indeed, theists hold that God invented time. Logically, something has to be the ultimate cause from which everything else came; something has to have always existed. Science has demonstrated that the universe itself had a beginning, so God becomes the logical alternative cause for the universe. Now to be sure, evolutionary scientists have postulated ideas to get around these well established facts—ideas such as imaginary time and brane theory. However to date none of these ideas have gained any empirical support. Indeed, they are speculations that at present are not even testable. So, invoking an omniscient and omnipotent God that transcends time and therefore had no beginning is a logical explanation and cause for the universe that does not lead to an infinite regress. Dawkins argues that a God that could create the universe would have to be at least as complex as his creation and therefore even less probable than the universe. But because God does not have a beginning, he also does not have a cause and the argument of his improbability therefore becomes moot. With Dawkins’ central argument refuted, many of his other assertions become impotent.
Dawkins says that he doesn’t believe in God for the same reasons he does not believe in a celestial teapot orbiting the sun. 4 Such a teapot is unlikely to exist but its non-existence would be very difficult to demonstrate. So while one can’t say that the teapot does not exist with 100% certainty, one can say there is a very low probability it exists. Dawkins says that while he cannot disprove God’s existence in an absolute sense, he dismisses him on the grounds of improbability. But there is absolutely no reason to postulate the existence of such a teapot while there is every reason to think that an intellect (God) has been at work in the world.
Dawkins cites the results of a recent study of the effects of intercessory prayer on recovering heart surgery patients in support of his atheism. 5 The experimental design and results are described in the quote below:
Patients at 6 US hospitals were randomly assigned to 1 of 3 groups: 604 received intercessory prayer after being informed that they may or may not receive prayer; 597 did not receive intercessory prayer also after being informed that they may or may not receive prayer; and 601 received intercessory prayer after being informed they would receive prayer. Intercessory prayer was provided for 14 days, starting the night before CABG [coronary artery bypass graft surgery]. The primary outcome was presence of any complication within 30 days of CABG. Secondary outcomes were any major event and mortality.
In the 2 groups uncertain about receiving intercessory prayer, complications occurred in 52% (315/604) of patients who received intercessory prayer versus 51% (304/597) of those who did not (relative risk 1.02, 95% CI 0.92-1.15). Complications occurred in 59% (352/601) of patients certain of receiving intercessory prayer compared with the 52% (315/604) of those uncertain of receiving intercessory prayer (relative risk 1.14, 95% CI 1.02-1.28). Major events and 30-day mortality were similar across the 3 groups. 6
On the face of it, the results suggest prayer had no positive effect on patient outcomes. And this is what Dawkins expected since he does not believe God is there to hear the prayers. However, there was a major problem with the study according to one critic of the study: 7
One flaw with the STEP trial and others like it has been the lack of a true placebo group with which to compare the proposed therapy. In the STEP trial, group 2 received no prayer from the study intercessors, but it was reported that 96.8% of the 597 patients in this group “believed that friends, relatives, and/or members of the religious institution would be praying for them.
Hence, the people not receiving prayer (from study participants) believed that they were, and, in fact probably did from friends and family, not to mention themselves. This situation essentially destroys the variable controls between experimental groups and hence invalidates the results. But there are other problems. Can God, a free will agent, be forced to act in certain ways in a controlled experiment as if he were the same as a natural law? The answer is clearly no.
C.S. Lewis is famous in Christian circles for stating that the gospels confront each of us with three choices concerning the truth of Jesus, that he was a liar, a lunatic, or the Son of God. However, Dawkins suggests a fourth option, that Jesus was just simply mistaken. 8 But is it logical that Jesus could have been merely mistaken about being God, having the authority to judge the world, being able to come back from the dead, being the only way to come to the Father and gain salvation from eternal damnation for all humanity for all time, that he would someday rule the universe, etc? Clearly, the proposition that someone could honestly and sanely make mistakes of this caliber is not credible and not a valid fourth option.
Dawkins critiques the concept of irreducible complexity, the idea that certain complex organs, organelles, and biochemical pathways must have all their constituent parts in place in order to function. According to intelligent design theorists, the implication of irreducible complexity is design, because any alleged evolutionary precursor of an irreducibly complex system would not be functional and therefore add no survival value, and natural selection would not retain useless structures. Dawkins says that structurally related but simpler systems that performed other functions could have served as evolutionary precursors to more complex systems. Dawkins presents as an example the type three secretory system (TTSS), an organelle that contains 10 of the 40 protein parts of the bacterial flagellum, as an evolutionary intermediate to the flagellum. There are problems with this example. First, phylogenetic studies have shown that the flagellum probably preceded that TTSS, not the other way around. 9 Hence, if any evolution was involved in the construction of the two systems, the more complex devolved into the simpler, a process resulting from a loss of information. Second, although the TTSS and flagellum share 10 proteins in common, the remaining 30 in the flagellum are unique to it; from what organelle could evolution have co-opted these parts? Third, assuming for the moment that the TTSS could have been an evolutionary precursor of the flagellum, what was the step-by-step evolutionary pathway to the flagellum on which every intermediate maintained a functional advantage to the organism? Even if such a pathway were proposed, where is the experimental evidence that such a pathway can in fact be traversed? Imagined pathways may make good theories but cannot serve as evidence for anything until experimentally verified. Experimentally unverified evolutionary pathways are merely “just so” stories that do not add much weight to an argument.
Dawkins offers a simplistic description of the origin of life. He offhandedly surmises that the chances of life evolving are one in a billion. This calculation grossly underestimates the improbability of the evolution of life from chemicals, at least life as we know it. Even the simplest prokaryotic cells require hundreds of proteins to function. An average protein might contain 100 amino acids. There are typically 20 amino acids found in proteins. The sequence of the amino acids determines the function and utility of the protein. If the entire sequence of amino acids is required, the chance of obtaining a specific sequence is 1 out of 20100 or 10130. But lets say only 25% of the amino acids in the sequence are actually required on average for protein function. In that case, the chances of obtaining a functional protein by chance is 1 out of 2025 or 1032. Now, you have to get ~200 similar proteins together in the same place at the same time to form the first cell. The chances are now 1 in (1032)200 or 106400!! William Dembski has shown that the probabilistic resources of the entire universe from its beginning until its heat death in the distant future only amount to 10150 possible arrangement of particles which is nothing compared with 106400. 10 In other words, it is essentially impossible that the simplest form of life science knows of could have formed by chance even if all the probabilistic resources of the universe are brought to bear on the problem. Of course, evolutionists say that the first life was far simpler. The only problem with this answer is that there is not a shred of evidence that there has ever been or even could ever be simpler forms of life.
In conclusion, Dawkins recent book, The God Delusion, is not a very convincing apologetic for atheism. Imaginative theories, however plausible, are no substitute for empirical evidence. Given what science knows, it takes more faith to be an atheist than a theist.
- 1Dawkins, R (2006) The God Delusion, Bantom Press, London
- 2Ibid., 114. Dawkins calls this The Ultimate 747 Argument.
- 3Sarfati, J (2004) Refuting Compromise, Master Books, Green Forest, AR, p.179. See also http://www.leaderu.com/offices/billcraig/docs/kalam-oppy.html
- 4Dawkins R (2006) 53-54
- 5Ibid., 64-65
- 6Benson, H , Dusek JA, Sherwood JB, Lam P, Bethea CF, Carpenter W, Levitsky S, Hill PC, et al. (2006) Study of the therapeutic effects of intercessory prayer (STEP) in cardiac bypass patients: a multicenter randomized trial of uncertainty and certainty of receiving intercessory prayer. Am Heart J 151(4): 934-942
- 7Lilly S (2006) A “STEP” in the right direction. Am Heart J 152(4): e31
- 8Dawkins R (2006) 92
- 9Nguyen L, Paulsen IT, Tchieu J, Hueck CJ, Saier MH Jr. (2000) Phylogenetic analyses of the constituents of Type III protein secretion systems. J. Mol. Microbiol Biotechnol 2(2):125-144
- 10See the TASC newsletter for May 2006 entitled Intelligent Design. It can be downloaded at http://tasc-creationscience.org/media/may06.pdf. This article discusses other problems with Dawkins views.
Global Warming - Seeking a Godly PerspectiveGlobal Warming - Seeking a Godly Perspective
As a toxicologist working for the United States Environmental Protection Agency, I have become increasingly aware that the biggest environmental concern of the general populous has little to do with the chemicals and air pollutants that I study so intently every day. Not one of my neighbors, friends, or relatives has ever asked me how this chemical or that chemical affects their health. Instead, the question I’m most often asked, by a large margin, is “what do you think about global warming?” To be honest, I doubt they really care about what I think. What they probably mean is “what does the big, powerful, and influential USEPA think about global warming?” For the answer to that latter question I refer them to the USEPA website, www.epa.gov/climatechange. But after pushing the big red button on my desk that chimes “that was easy,” I start feeling a bit guilty. I’ve read the EPA perspective, and there are a number of opinions in it that, as a Christian and a Creationist, I do not agree with and some that I’m not sure about. As much to sort things out in my own head as to edify this readership, I’d like to take you for a walk through the EPA website and compare some of the statements therein with what I have read in creationists’ scientific literature, particularly a recent article by Dr. Larry Vardiman, Chairman of the Astro/ Geophysics Department of the Institute for Creation Research (ICR). 1 Perhaps in doing so together, we can begin to understand the perspective of a bigger, more powerful and ultimately more influential entity than the USEPA, our creator God. First of all, while disagreeing on the amount of time involved, both the USEPA and Dr. Vardiman acknowledge that significant climate change has occurred throughout earth’s history without man’s intervention. Some natural causes for such climate change discussed by both parties include changes in the earth’s orbit, 2 changes in the sun’s intensity, 3 and volcanic eruptions. Volcanoes can affect the climate because they can emit aerosols and carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Aerosols do not produce long-term change because they leave the atmosphere not long after they are emitted. However, carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere can contribute to what is referred to as the “greenhouse effect.” According to the USGS Volcano Hazards Program, human activities now emit 150 times as much CO2 as volcanoes (whose emissions are relatively modest compared to some earlier times). 4
There is no disagreement regarding the current trend in atmospheric carbon dioxide levels. Numerous bodies of evidence indicate that the concentration of carbon dioxide in the air, as shown in Figure 1, has been increasing exponentially for almost 50 years now. The data depicted in Figure 1 below were collected by C. C. Keeling of the Scripps Institute of Oceanography at the Mauna Loa Observatory, Hawaii. 5
Figure 1 - Atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration
It is true that increased carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere can increase the greenhouse effect and possibly cause warming. It is also true, however, that the heating or cooling of the Earth’s surface can cause changes in greenhouse gas concentrations. As Dr. Vardiman suggests, this makes it difficult to distinguish whether global warming is due to increased carbon dioxide concentration or if higher carbon dioxide concentration is the result of global warming. He points out that the ocean contains thousands of times more carbon dioxide than the atmosphere “and can release significant quantities of carbon dioxide if they are warmed or the pH altered.”
Dr. Vardiman analyzed three data sets in his analysis of recent warming trends, (1) the sea-surface temperature in the Gulf of Alaska, (2) the frequency of hurricanes in the southeastern Atlantic and Caribbean, and (3) the polar extent of sea ice in the Arctic Ocean. Figures 2-4 show that the trends for all three processes seem to be consistent with global warming for at least the short term. Seasurface temperature in the Gulf of Alaska has increased about 3% over the past 30 years. Hurricane frequency in the western Atlantic appears to have increased about 3% over the past 150 years. And, the Arctic sea-ice extent has decreased about 5% over the past 25 years. Based on these limited observations, it appears likely that global warming seems to be occurring over at least the past 30- 50 years. Dr. Vardiman emphasized, however, that because of the limited spatial coverage and short time period of these data, it is still not possible to say if these trends will continue. There may be even longer-period fluctuations which we don’t yet see in the data.
Figure 2 - The sea-surface temperature in the Gulf of Alaska
Figure 3 - Frequency of hurricanes in the southeastern Atlantic and Caribbean
Figure 4 - Polar extent of sea ice in the Arctic Ocean
When long-period records of data are plotted, oscillations for many periods are often seen. In fact, the EPA website contains extrapolations back millions of years, showing significant fluctuations of magnitude equal to or greater than what is being observed today. 6
To summarize and compare the USEPA and Creationist perspective on this issue I’ve put together the following three tables. Table 1 compares what the USEPA and creationists like Dr. Vardiman believe is known about the global warming issue. Note that, regarding what is considered known, the two sides are in fairly close agreement. Table 2 compares what the USEPA and creationists like Dr. Vardiman believe is likely true about the global warming issue. Note that, regarding what is considered likely, the two sides are a bit further apart. Table 3 compares what the USEPA and creationists like Dr. Vardiman believe should be done about the global warming issue.
While the two sides may agree that some research questions remain unanswered, they do not appear to agree on the extent to which additional resources and funding will help to resolve global warming. Due to growing concerns in this area expressed by the media, EPA and other secular organizations, a great deal of government money is being spent to address the areas of scientific uncertainty identified above. 7 Dr. Vardiman’s perspective, and the perspective of many Christians and young earth creationists, is that such intense scrutiny and concern may not be justified. Global warming may affect some parts of our society negatively but would likely benefit others. In fact, the current warming trend may be returning our global climate closer to that prevalent in the Garden of Eden. In any case, it is likely that the global warming issue is not the catastrophic concern that many in the media currently convey. Now, going back to my real area of expertise, would anyone like to ask me about toxic air pollutants? I’m pretty sure that the Garden of Eden contained less ozone and particulate matter than we breathe today.
Table 1. What is believed to be known about the global warming issue?
|USEPA Perspective||Dr. Vardiman’s Creationist Perspective|
|Human activities are increasing the levels of carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere.||True, but we do not know how much of the increase in carbon dioxide is due to man’s influence.|
|A warming trend of about 0.7 to 1.5°F occurred during the 20th century.||
Sea-surface temperature in the Gulf of Alaska has increased about 3% over the past 30 years. Global warming appears to have been occurring for the last 30-50 years.
|Atmospheric levels of greenhouse gases will continue to rise over the next few decades.||Global warming may only be a short-term fluctuation, but could be a longer-term trend.|
|Increasing greenhouse gas concentrations tend to warm the planet.||And vice versa, warming of the ocean produces green house gases.|
Table 2. What is likely to be true about the global warming issue?
|USEPA Perspective||Dr. Vardiman’s Creationist Perspective|
|There is new and stronger evidence that most of the warming observed over the last 50 years is attributable to human activities.||Evidence is still inconclusive regarding whether man is
causing the global warming.
|As atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases rise,
average global temperatures and sea levels will rise and precipitation patterns will change.
Because of the limited spatial coverage and short-term period of the data analyzed, it is not possible to say if the warming trends apparent for the past 30-50 years will continue. There may be even longer period fluctuations that we don’t yet see in the data.
Table 3. What should be done about the global warming issue?
|USEPA Perspective||Dr. Vardiman’s Creationist Perspective|
|Research to improve our understanding of natural climatic variations, changes in the sun’s energy, land-use changes, the warming or cooling effects of pollutant aerosols, and the impacts of changing humidity and cloud over.||Extensive research in these areas may be premature. Earth has a stable environmental system, designed by God, with many built-in feedback systems to maintain a uniform climate.|
|Determining the relative contribution to climate change of human activities and natural causes.||
Earth’s climate has only been dramatically upset by catastrophic events like the Genesis Flood.
|Projecting future greenhouse emissions and how the climate system will respond within a narrow range.||Compared to climate changes which have occurred in Earth’s history, a temperature rise of a few degrees is a small fluctuation which will not lead to a complete melting of the polar caps or another ice age.|
|Improving understanding of the potential for rapid or abrupt climate change||Catastrophic climate change will occur again in the future, but only by God’s intervention in a sudden, violent configuration of planet Earth in the end times (II Peter 3:1-2).|
- 1Vardiman L. (2007) Evidence for Global Warming, Institute for Creation Research Impact Article #406, http://www.icr.org /article/3233, Accessed 2007 Jun 16
- 2Changes in earth’s orbit and tilt are thought by some old earth advocates, including noted mathematician Mulitin Milankovitch, to be the most significant drivers of ice ages. http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Library/Giants/ilankovitch/milankovitch.html Accesses 2007 Jun 16
- 3According to NASA, reduced solar activity from the 1400s to 1700s may have contributed to a “Little Ice Age” which cooled North America, Europe and probably other areas around the globe. http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Newsroom/NasaNews/2001/200112065794.html Accessed 2007 Jun 16. Dr. Vardiman points out that scientists have recently shown “striking statistical correlation” between sunspot activity and temperature change over the past 1000 years (Marsh N, Svensmark H (2003) Solar influence on earth's climate. Space Science Reviews. 107:317-325
- 4U.S. Department of the Interior 2006 Jan 10 Volcanic Gases and Their Effects http://volcanoes.usgs.gov/Hazards/What/VolGas/volgas.html Accessed 2007 Jun 16
- 5Keeling CD, Whorp TP, and the Carbon Dioxide Research Group, Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO) University of California (2004 Jun) Carbon Dioxide Research Group, Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO), University of California, http://cdiac.esd.ornl.gov/ftp/maunaloaco2/aunaloa.co2 Accessed 2007 Jun 16
- 6Since the 1960s numerous quantities have been measured in ice cores to make inferences about Earth history. According to the EPA, “Scientists have been able to piece together a picture of the Earth's climate dating back decades to millions of years” from these data. Of course, the data are interpreted differently by young-earth creation scientists. http://www.icr.org/article/120/63/ Accessed 2007 Jun 17
- 7The CCSP (U.S. Climate Change Science Program) is developing twenty-one Synthesis and Assessment products to advance scientific understanding of these uncertainty areas by the end of 2008.
Is There Evidence for the Flood in the Soil?Is There Evidence for the Flood in the Soil?
Figure 1. Rounded quartzite gravel mixed with angular gravel within residual piedmont soil suggesting abrasion by water transport. Underlying weathered rock is not quartzite.
Soil science became a separate scientific discipline in the early twentieth century when geologists first began to think of soils as a natural body distinct from the rocks underneath. These early soil scientists began to classify the soils they found on various landscape positions according to a system they developed as they mapped. Some soils obviously formed in sedimentary material since they occur on stream flood plains or on gently rolling coastal plains. Other soils formed on hilly piedmont and mountain landscapes. The piedmont and mountain soils not on stream floodplains are assumed to have formed in place from the various types of underlying bedrock.
Having received a Bachelor of Science degree in geology in 1975, I held the same assumptions about soil formation in my work as a soil scientist in Wake County, North Carolina. However, after becoming a creationist in 1990, I began to notice the presence of rounded (to varying degrees) quartzite gravel in many soils occurring on hilltop and side slope landscape positions. Quartzite was once sand that was hardened into rock by heat and pressure or by cementation by silica. Note that the gravel was always present in the soil, but I did not “see” it, that is, I did not recognize its significance, until my uniformitarian bias changed. The bedrock underlying the soils in the eastern two thirds of Wake County is igneous or metamorphic (not sedimentary) with no quartzite present. The closest quartzite outcrops are just east of the Appalachian Mountains about 120 miles northwest of Wake County where a layer about one hundred feet thick caps both Pilot Mountain and Hanging Rock.
The problem with finding rounded gravel in upland “residual” soils is the fact that it should not be there. Since round gravel is produced by abrasion during water transport, its presence indicates that at least part of the soil may have formed in material deposited by moving water, not in weathered igneous or metamorphic bedrock. Varying amounts of angular gravel (both quartzite and crystalline quartz) is often mixed with the rounded quartzite gravel (Figure 1). The angular gravel is not visibly weathered while the quartzite gravel is slightly, regardless of its degree of roundedness. The different gravels likely had different sources. The angular gravel’s source would be closer to the point of deposition since it is less abraded. It could even have been scoured from local igneous and metamorphic bedrock since it contains quartz veins.
Often the gravel is distributed throughout the entire soil profile although it frequently is concentrated in the topsoil. However, it sometimes occurs as a thin layer or as a distinct bed at the base of the soil lying unconformably above weathered granite, gneiss, or schist. Figure 2 shows a bed of gravel about 2.5 feet thick at the base of the soil overlying weathered gneiss—note a barely visible three inch long red knife placed near the center of the bed for scale. These basal layers, where present, are generally parallel to the ground surface and may be convex in form, indicating deposition on a hilltop. Since streams usually do not deposit gravel and other sediments on hilltops, there must be another explanation.
Some soil scientists in piedmont counties have actually noted the presence of the out-of-place gravel. Of course, their explanation conforms to the evolution group-think of “true science”. The gravel is referred to as “let-down”. That is, it is the remnant of hundreds of thousands of years of weathering and erosion. It has been “let down” as the underlying rock first slowly turned into soil and then eroded way. How the pebbles survived the process they do not address. For that matter, no one has ever satisfactorily theorized how soil can form on an actively eroding surface other than to say that the soil is in a state of equilibrium with the landscape. In other words, it erodes as it develops.
Figure 2. Distinct, thick bed of rounded and angular gravel at the base of upland soil indicating its sedimentary origin. The rectangle and enlargement encloses a three-inch long red knife for scale.
These observations caused me to think that the soil may also contain other evidence of sedimentary origin. To test this I collected samples of presumed residual soils from several places in Wake County to analyze for sand mineralogy. Any mineralogical difference would likely be more evident in the sand since it would probably be less weathered than finer particles. Samples were taken from the major soil horizons (or layers of soil having different physical and chemical composition due to soil forming processes) and the presumed weathered rock parent material at several locations around the county. I theorized that if the soil formed in sedimentary material rather than in the bedrock, then grain size, shape, and mineralogy may differ between the soil and rock.
The samples were washed using standard sieves to clean the sand grains of clay and silt and to separate the sand into its coarse (1-0.5 mm), medium (0.5-0.25 mm), fine (0.25-0.1 mm), and very fine (0.1-0.05 mm) fractions. I used a high-magnification light microscope to examine the sand. In the upper soil horizons the sand was approximately 90-95% quartz, with the remainder being dark silicate minerals and muscovite mica. Quartz and dark minerals (mainly amphiboles and pyroxenes) are relatively more resistant to weathering than is mica, due to their crystalline structure. At least that is the standard assumption based on the observation of minerals present in weathered rock and soil since weathering processes cannot be observed. Sand from the “parent material” was dominantly mica with traces of quartz and dark minerals. It is difficult to imagine how a quartz-poor rock could give rise to a quartz-rich soil.
The shape of the grains was equally interesting. The smaller soil sand grains are sharply angular and tend to have an irregular or sometimes needle-like shape resembling shattered glass. This could be the result of a fracturing or crushing action in a high-energy transport environment such as would be expected during the Recessive stage of the Flood. The larger grains have a more spheroidal general form (generally equi-dimensional) but are not rounded, still having sharply angular edges. Quartz grains found in weathered igneous or metamorphic rock usually have a crystalline appearance (more regular, geometrically related surfaces) and tend to have edges that are less angular, showing little evidence of having been fractured or crushed.
The apparent lack of evidence of solution weathering of the crushed quartz grains also led me to think about the age of the soil. If the quartz sand had been exposed to the ground water as it moved downward through the soil over millions of years, it seemed reasonable to expect to see significant amounts of solution pitting of the grain surfaces and reduction of angularity of the points and edges. But there was very little to none. Uniformitarian geologists and soil scientists (and even some creationist geologists) believe that quartz is essentially insoluble in water under conditions found at the earth's surface. In my opinion, it is the assumed great age of the soil combined with the fresh appearance of the crushed quartz sand grains in the soil that has led these scientists to make that assumption.
But through years of soil mapping and agronomic work, soil scientists have recognized the presence of naturally occurring silica-cemented soil horizons that are relatively resistant to water movement and root penetration. Before silica can be precipitated from ground water as cement, it must have first been dissolved by the same water. The only source of the silica in the soil is quartz sand. I was recently informed of a little-known series of experiments conducted in 1960 which demonstrated that crushed quartz sand is, indeed, very water soluble at conditions normally encountered in soil. 1
In the experiments, crushed quartz sand was tumbled in distilled water at 25°C for over 350 days at one atmosphere pressure. Water samples were analyzed periodically for dissolved silica content. The sand and water were tumbled at 75 revolutions per minute to remove any dissolved silica from the grain surfaces, thus allowing solution to continue. The scientists determined by microscopic observation that abrasion of the grains was not the source of the silica in solution. Non-crushed crystalline quartz grains are not very soluble. The higher solubility of the crushed grains was due mainly to stresses placed on the crystalline structure by the forces of crushing. The effect of these stresses on solubility may be visualized by thinking about a Tinker Toy structure that is twisted slightly, making it easier for a small section to pop off when pulled. The twisting of the crystal structure when the grains are crushed allows silica molecules to be stripped away by the electrical pull of water molecules. As described above, the quartz sand grains I observed that were taken from the soil appeared to have been crushed. The downward movement of water through the soil would have the same effect in removing dissolved silica from the grain surfaces as the tumbling in the experiment.
While a direct correlation cannot be made between the duration of this experiment and the amount of time required for evidence of weathering to appear on crushed quartz grains in soil, the fact that crushed quartz is highly water soluble in natural conditions has reinforced my opinion that quartz grains exposed to weathering for hundreds of thousands or millions of years should show some significant effects. They do not, at least in the few samples collected to date.
Although my work was not extensive, my observations do indicate that the current assumptions about soil/parent material relationships may be wrong. That is, much “residual” soil may be formed in sedimentary material deposited on top of the bedrock. I have recently collected a number of samples from Yadkin County in the western North Carolina piedmont that I hope to be able to sieve and photograph under a microscope and include in a future report.
My observations have raised several questions. Is it likely that a soil rich in quartz sand could somehow develop from a quartz-deficient parent rock? While hundreds of thousands of years of weathering would account for some mineralogical changes, is it likely that water-soluble quartz would show little or no evidence of weathering? If erosion of the landscape occurred over millions of years, could soil horizons form at the same time? What uniformitarian—“the present is the key to the past”—process could account for the presence of round non-native gravels in soils weathered from bedrock? More research may answer some of these questions.
Rather than being the result of long ages of weathering and erosion processes, residual soils may be the result of a catastrophic Flood. This event would have left clues in the soil for us to observe at least on a regional scale if not global. Evidence of millions of years of weathering, such as briefly described above, should be present in most “residual” piedmont soils wherever they occur, but it does not.
The sediment load being carried by the retreating Flood waters, as well as the force of the water itself, during the early Recessive stage would have helped scour the hard bedrock into the dendritic (branching) topographic pattern visible today. Some of the sediment would then have been deposited as the water’s velocity slowed. If floating vegetation mats covered this new surface, erosion would have been immediately minimized or eliminated altogether. This would have allowed soil horizon formation to begin while growing vegetation became established.
The soil is a remarkable system. It is necessary for growing food. It supports our houses. It is a very efficient and environmentally sound filter for wastewater treatment and disposal when used properly. If it is indeed a relic of the Flood, then it also is a reminder of the love of our Creator. For, while overseeing the destruction of the sinfilled world that then was, He left sediments draped over an otherwise jagged and sterile landscape to become soil. In doing so, He showed compassion for the still-sinful descendants of Noah who would one day need it to survive.
- 1Morey GW, Fournier RO, Rowe JJ (1962) The solubility of quartz in water in the temperature interval from 25 to 300 degrees C. Geochemica et Cosmochimica Acta 26:1029-1043
History of the Great WarHistory of the Great War
“But you said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God, And I will sit on the mount of assembly In the recesses of the north. I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the MostHigh.’ “
Isaiah 14:13-14 NASB
This is simply a declaration of war between a created angel and the Creator God. This “war” has caused suffering on a global scale since Adam and Eve joined the rebellion in the Garden of Eden. They had fellowship with the living God, yet Eve allowed herself to be deceived and spread doubt to Adam who did now exactly what God had told him not to do. He chose to rebel and as all decisions have consequences, this one had some severe ones.
And the LORD God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, cursed are you more than all cattle, and more than every beast of the field; on your belly shall you go, and dust shall you eat all the days of your life; and I will put enmity between you and the woman, And between your seed and her seed; he shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel.” To the woman He said, “I will greatly multiply your pain in childbirth, in pain you shall bring forth children; yet your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.” Then to Adam He said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat from it’; cursed is the ground because of you; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field; by the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, because from it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”
Genesis 3:14-19 NASB
Death now existed. The perfect creation was now contaminated, and history witnessed the first casualties of war. The creation was no longer perfect and hospitable; our very planet is a casualty. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. (Romans 8:22 NASB) Adam and Eve now could not produce perfect and righteous offspring, so all mankind was automatically involved in a war that is fought in both the physical and spiritual realms. Mankind had the enemies of death and the grave that did not exist before he rebelled. The first battle of the “war” had ended with the creation cursed and mankind now “lost.”
God had a plan, a plan that would pay for the sins of man and would bring him back into relationship with Him. He made this promise known to mankind, and some clung to the promise and acted in obedience. But most men desired to not have God in authority, continued in rebellion, and did not accept the promise. Soon only eight were chosen because the man Noah accepted what God said, and God destroyed the earth with a great flood. Noah preached repentance to the people but they were unwilling to believe and be saved from the flood. God sealed Noah and his family in the ark, saved them from the deluge, and blessed them.
The next recorded battle took place in Babel. Man was arrogant in his disobedience and built a tower to learn the mysteries in the heavens. God simply confounded their language and the people, divided by language, went out from that place and spread over the world. Here the genetic pools of the various populations were smaller and the various characteristics associated with each ethnic group became dominant within each group. This act was the creation of various “races” within man.
More of God’s gracious plan was revealed to man as time progressed. There were those who would obey God and those in rebellion. God’s relationship with Abraham created the nation by which the whole world would be blessed. Events showed that the evil one was always trying to thwart the plan of God to send His Son to pay for our sins. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were strangers in a foreign land but received the promise of all the land they saw. The nation of Israel was in bondage, but Moses obeyed God and led them out. The battle raged, God working great signs through Moses and Satan working counterfeit signs through the mages of Egypt. Satan did all he could to keep God from freeing His people and fulfilling His plan for man through the nation of Israel.
Even after Israel took possession of the land there were many battles as the war continued. The Scriptures record the cycle of the chosen people as they turn away from God, repent, and turn away again and again. They become more depraved with each turning away from God and never obtain the level of closeness to God that they had earlier. Sin has consequences, so punishment comes as the nation of God’s chosen people are conquered and exiled.
God sends His people home and there is an apparent lull in the warfare as the time for the Deliverer approaches. God fulfills His promise just as He said and as the prophets recorded in the Old Testament. The Savior King comes. Satan tries to have Him killed, but he is losing this battle and the war. He tries to tempt the Savior to betray His Father; he knows the battle is going badly. Signs and wonders are done, and many come to know the truth; blinders are falling off as the Light is in the world. Satan attacks, infiltrates the followers of the Son, and gets one to betray the Savior to his forces comprised of the Pharisees and the Romans. The Savior is put to death—victory at last!
A new battle was just beginning; a new age for this planet was about to dawn.
Therefore it says, “WHEN HE ASCENDED ON HIGH, HE LED CAPTIVE A HOST OF CAPTIVES, AND HE GAVE GIFTS TO MEN.” (Now this expression, “He ascended,” what does it mean except that He also had descended into the lower parts of the earth? He who descended is Himself also He who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things.)
The grave lost its power, and the enemy called death has been conquered. But the defeated foe continues the war, deceiving himself into thinking he has a chance or maybe just to drag as many down with him because he knows how much the Creator loves those He created. The oppression of the early church and the death of the martyrs show Satan’s attempts to destroy the work done at Calvary, to nullify it. When one has a personal relationship with the creator of the universe and has been set free from bondage, he will spread this news about, no matter the cost. The cost to many believers was everything.
Now during the church age the war continues in the battle of two worldviews, the view God created and the naturalistic view of evolution. Evolution by pure definition assumes no supernatural occurrence to existence or reality as we know it. Henry Morris states, “As we have seen, evolutionism consistently applied completely undermines biblical Christianity in particular and any form of monotheism in general. In its place is substituted the religion of humanism. As the name implies, humanism is centered on “humanity” as the pinnacle of evolution and as the measure of all meaning, rejecting altogether the concept of a transcendent Creator.” 1
The war is now a battle of the mind—which worldview explains best the reality we live in? The reality of spiritual things cannot be shown to those who are spiritually dead or unaware. The ramifications of spiritual warfare are also manifested in the physical realm by the paranormal things such as ghosts, UFOs, witchcraft, and demon possession or influence. Where the Christian influence in the society wanes or was not dominate, there are spiritual manifestations and activities leading to superstition and darkness in the mind that only the Creator can overcome. Evolution fuels humanism and hostility to the truth. To many, the truth of evolution is the fact that we exist. This is not logical thinking. “Life could never begin by any combination of natural processes. The very existence of living organisms testifies to a living God, for life can only come from life, as far as all knowledge, observation and history testify.” 2
The war continues as mathematician/physicist Wolfgang Smith relates, “We are told dogmatically that evolution is an established fact; but we are never told who established it, and by what means. We are told, often enough, that the doctrine is founded upon evidence…but we are left entirely in the dark on the crucial question wherein, precisely, this evidence consists.” 3 Smith continues, “The point, however, is that the doctrine of evolution has swept the world, not on the strength of its scientific merits, but precisely in its capacity as a Gnostic myth. It affirms, in effect, that living beings create themselves, which is, in essence a metaphysical claim. This in itself implies, however, that the theory is scientifically unverifiable (a fact, incidentally, which has often enough been pointed out by philosophers of science). Thus, in the final analysis, evolutionism is, in truth, a metaphysical doctrine decked out in scientific garb.” 4
Antichristian evolutionary thinking has permeated the fabric of every society on earth. The western societies once based on Christian principles are now compromised, and true worship of God is becoming rare. Many churches either think it is not important to show God’s word as accurate and perfect about origins or compromise to add man-made religion into the Scriptures. But it is very important, because reality includes the spiritual things of God as much as the things God physically created. Jesus is real, and the relationship a believer has with Him is real, just as real as the air we breathe and the sun that shines.
The war is almost over, and the pronouncement in Scriptures will be fulfilled. Jesus is returning again soon according to the Scriptures.
And as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was departing, behold, two men in white clothing stood beside them; and they also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.”
For you yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night.
I Thessalonians 5:2
He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming quickly.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.
Satan and his followers will be punished as foretold.
And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.
And death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire.
This war has raged for thousands of years. The time of God’s victory is near. The final one to hear God’s word and repent is all that is necessary for the reality of God’s victory over all His enemies to come into the physical universe.
The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.
II Peter 3:9
Noah's Ark. Really? she asked. Yes, Really, I replied.Noah's Ark. Really? she asked. Yes, Really, I replied.
Figure 1: Representation of Noah's Ark based on the Biblical description
The objective of this article is to help people gain a true understanding of Noah's Ark that will help their faith in God, our Creator, and help them bring faith to others as they share this message.
Real life experience brings out need for true understanding.
I was inspired to write this article about Noah’s Ark because of an experience I had in a foreign country while assisting others in their use of English, which included the reading of the English Bible. One young lady contacted me later by email, as she had been discussing Noah’s Ark with a friend and had run into difficult questions about the Ark. She knew she needed a true understanding about this for her own faith and to help build faith in others. In her email to me she asked several questions that we all might have about Noah’s Ark. These questions also helped me with the title that I decided to use for this article.
My response to her about her difficult questions was purposefully not very technical and was reasonably brief due to language considerations. However, it was based on the truth of the Bible and scientific evidences. The following includes some of the information I used to respond to her questions.
The importance of Scripture
First, the truth of the Genesis account of creation and the other accounts in that book of the Bible, such as Noah’s Ark and the worldwide flood, is the solid foundation for our understanding of God, our Creator, and our Savior, Jesus Christ. Genesis is not just an allegory or story line to give us an idea about creation and other early events. It is inspired by God and it is God’s divine revelation to mankind. It not only tells us of the creation and origin of life but it is the foundation of moral law, marriage, and the family. The account of Noah’s Ark is an illustration of God’s merciful plan for man to escape the degradation and death into which he and all creation had fallen as a result of man’s sin. God preserved mankind and His other created kinds of air-breathing land animals from total destruction with the Ark. An understanding of the flood is foundational for our understanding of what God has provided for us through Christ.
Some would say that our salvation is just about Christ, not about Genesis, or that they just do not believe Genesis is true. But if we believe in Christ, through whom our salvation comes, why should we not believe Him regarding the Genesis account, including Noah’s Ark, or when He said in Matthew 24:37-39,
As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man”(NIV).
Hebrews 11:7 and II Peter 2:5 provide other confirmations of the Genesis account of the flood.
Actual Biblical account
I will comment on some of the scriptures about Noah’s Ark, but due to space limitations I cannot provide the full text here. However, it is important for you to read and compare the account of Noah’s Ark in Genesis 6:5-7:24 from both the King James Version and from a more modern version such as the New International Version to get a more accurate picture of Noah’s Ark. Also, The Defender’s Study Bible provides careful theological and creation science commentary on these verses. The commentary of this Bible is written by a well respected theologian and scientist, Henry M. Morris, PhD., LL.D., Litt.D. 1 I will provide some of Morris’ assessments from his commentary below.
Correct image of Noah’s Ark
What did this very large, amazing vessel look like? It was an ark, not a boat. The Hebrew word for “ark” (tebah) does not mean “boat.” 2 It means, quite literally, “box”.3 This same word was used to describe the floating vessel into which baby Moses was placed to be saved from being put to death by Pharaoh.4 The Ark was a long, rectangular box approximately 450 ft. long, 75 ft. wide, and 45 ft. tall. (The unit of measure used in the King James Version is the cubit, which is generally accepted to be about 18 inches.) 5 ,6 The Ark had no outside deck or curved bow like we generally associate with boats. The one cubit window placed at the top of the Ark was probably an opening for light and ventilation extending circumferentially around the Ark, with a parapet to keep out the rain. The single large door in the side was to be closed only once (after the animals were in) and was to be opened only once (to release them a year later). The Ark had lower, second, and third stories or decks. 7 A representation of the Ark based on the Biblical description (Gen. 6:14-16) is shown in Figure 1 on the first page of this article. The Noah’s Ark many of us have been presented in drawings, books, and movies, especially in children’s materials, is that of a relatively small boat with a little house in the middle, with animals crowded upon an outside deck, and with giraffes’ heads sticking out of the boat. As previously stated, there was no outside deck on the Ark; everyone and everything was contained inside the Ark. The door was shut and was not opened until the Ark landed.8
To reiterate, the Ark was not a boat. Boats are designed to go somewhere and be propelled through the water. The Ark had no propulsion system, such as an engine or sails, and it had no steering such as a rudder. It was designed by God, and that design was communicated to Noah and was followed in Ark’s construction. The Ark was designed as a place of shelter—a provision for the people and animals on board to stay afloat for over a year. (371 days). Thus, the Ark was a very large box, superbly designed by God, and sustained by His power until it came to rest on Mt. Ararat.9
Building Material to Withstand a Worldwide Flood
Noah’s Ark was made out of gopher wood (KJV). Gopher is the Hebrew word used for this material and is translated cypress in the NIV, but the exact species is not known. It has been presumed by some to be a type of cypress, cedar, teak, or mahogany. Gopher wood could have been a material which was far stronger than conventional wood, and the Antediluvians may have had processes for strengthening wood of which we are not aware.2 The Ark was made waterproof, not by a bituminous pitch (a different Hebrew word) but by some as-yet-unknown “covering”. The Hebrew word for “covering” is kopher, equivalent to kaphar, and is frequently translated as “atonement” (Lev. 17:11). In providing a protective covering against the waters of judgment, the ark becomes a beautiful type of Christ.
Worldwide Flood? Yes. Dr. Morris’s commentary on Gen. 6:13 points out that Noah’s Ark was built to save those inside against a worldwide flood, not a local flood.
“God did not promise to destroy man from the earth but with the earth. The physical earth-system itself, as man’s home and dominion, must share in His judgment. The Flood obviously was to be global and cataclysmic, not local or tranquil, as many modern compromising Christians have sought to interpret it.” 6
Atheists and naturalistic evolutionists are pleased with the various compromises on the Genesis account by those of us who simply will not believe the straightforward textual account, but they laugh and scoff at us at the same time. To escape a local flood, Noah and the animals could simply have moved away. But there is evidence of a worldwide flood all over the world—by the disruptive changes to the earth’s surface, the massive layering of deposits, and the formation of billions of fossils laid down over its one-year duration (Gen. 6:17-8:19).10
Dimensions, Design and Stability
The Ark was 1.5 times the length of a standard football field, which is 300 ft. long. Noah’s Ark was perfectly designed by God for stability in rough seas. The Ark was six times longer than it was wide. Modern ocean-going vessels like aircraft carriers and oil tankers are still built to this same ratio. When it was fully loaded, the Ark displaced about 22 ft. of water. Since it was 45 ft. high, just about half of the Ark was submerged, with the other half above the water. This provided perfect stability in the water; it was one of the most stable floating platforms ever built.8
The ratio of the dimensions of the ark is 30×5×3. This design is a perfect design to prevent capsizing in rough seas. 11 Specific stability testing of the Ark was performed by constructing a scale model of the Ark. It was tested in a special tank at Scripps Institute of Oceanography at La Jolla, California. The tank was capable of generating giant waves relative to the model ark, simulating severe sea conditions. The waves were much larger than would be experienced in the ocean today. The ark proved impossible to capsize. Due to the rectangular shape, it was capable of righting itself, even from 90 degrees. This is unheard of on an ocean-going vessel. Most vessels will develop severe stability problems at more than a 60 degree list. Dr. Werner Gitt, an engineer, showed by modern mathematics and physics that the dimensions of Noah’s Ark were optimal for the most important factors in ark construction: first stability, and then, efficient use of building material. 12 He also pointed out why the images shown in children’s books and elsewhere are actually ridiculously unstable. It is no wonder that confusion and disbelief in children and adults come from such misrepresentations.
Figure 2: Comparison of Noah' Ark to a modern cargo ship
Image copyright Tom Pickett
Comparison of the capacity of Noah’s Ark with the capacity of a modern, 550 ft. long cargo ship shows the same capacity for both (Figure 2). 13 The Ark had a volume of 1.4 million cubic feet and a gross tonnage of 14,000 tons. This is the equivalent of 522 railroad box cars. The ark could have carried over 125,000 sheep-sized animals. Interestingly, there are less than 18,000 species of land animals alive today. Also, the average size of most animals is less than that of a sheep.2 Since there are not more than about 25,000 species of land animals known (mammals, bird, reptiles, amphibians), either living or extinct, and since the average size of such animals is certainly much less than that of a sheep, it is obvious that all the animals could easily have been stored in less than half the capacity of Noah’s Ark, with each pair in appropriate “rooms” (literally “nests” in Hebrew).6 It is apparent that the ark had plenty of room to hold the animals specified by God and much room left for the other things such as food and other supplies for support of Noah’s family and the animals. Creationist estimates for the minimum number of animals that would have been necessary to come on board the Ark have ranged from 16,000 to 35,000. The Ark as described in the Bible truly was a gigantic vessel. It was not until relatively recent times (in the late 1800s) that a ship was built that exceeded the capacity of Noah’s Ark.
I want to mention the book by John Woodmorappe, Noah’s Ark: A Feasibility Study, because it provides a scholarly assessment of the feasibility of Noah’s Ark. 14 Dr. Henry Morris sums up the book by stating in the foreword, “In this unique volume, John Woodmorappe has provided an amazingly complete and compelling response to the many critics of the Biblical record of the Flood and Noah’s Ark. While not questioning the possibility of God’s miraculous activity in connection with the gathering and care of the animals in the Ark, Woodmorappe has shown that the Genesis record makes perfect sense even if no miracles at all were involved.” 15 This work is a systematic evaluation of the housing, feeding, watering, and waste-disposal requirements of some 16,000 animals on Noah’s Ark. It is also a comprehensive rebuttal to the myriads of arguments that have been made against the Ark over the centuries. It is shown that it was possible for eight people to care for 16,000 animals, and without miraculous Divine intervention. 16 Woodmorappe concludes that it is obvious from this work that the oft-repeated pseudo-intellectual arguments against the Ark are without foundation. Fallen humans do not want to be reminded of God’s judgment in the past any more than they want to be informed about God’s judgment in the future. No doubt humanists will continue repeating the same old false claims about the Ark and the Flood, or perhaps even dream up some new ones. The compromising evangelicals will continue promoting the local-flood copout because of their un-critical acceptance of such anti-Biblical claims (“after all, so many scientists can’t be wrong”), and go on twisting the Bible—no matter how grotesque the contortions. But no matter, the evidence clearly shows that the Ark account and global Flood could have happened exactly as the Bible teaches. Far from actually being the modern-iistic travesty of “believing what you know isn’t true,” faith in God and His Word are eminently reasonable.
I hope and pray that sharing the above information has helped you to come to a true understanding of Noah’s Ark and to hold your faith. Also, I hope it will help you to share your faith confidently with others to help them come to faith and hold theirs too.
- 1Morris HM (1995) The Defender’s Study Bible. World Publishers, Inc., Iowa Falls, IA, 1348-1349
- 2Pickett T (2005 Jan 12) Noah’s Ark: Accessed 2007 Sep 23.
- 3Dooley T (2003) What Was the Ark Really Like? The True Story of Noah's Ark. Master Books. Green Forest, AR, 67-70
- 4Pickett T (2005 Jan 12) Noah’s Ark: Accessed 2007 Sep 23.
- 5Ham K (2005) Was There Really a Noah’s Ark and Flood? Answers in Genesis (USA), Petersburg, KY, 23
- 6 a b c Morris HM, 21
- 7Ibid., 21-22
- 8 a b Dooley T, 67-68
- 9Ibid., 42, 68-71
- 10Morris HM, 22-27
- 11Pickett T (2005 Jan 12) Noah’s Ark: Accessed 2007 Sep 23.
- 12Gitt W (2004) How Well Designed Was Noah’s Ark? (DVD), Answers in Genesis (USA), Hebron, KY
- 13Pickett T (2005 Jan 12) Noah’s Ark: Accessed 2007 Sep 23.
- 14Woodmorappe J (1996) Noah’s Ark: A Feasibility Study, Institute for Creation Research, El Cahon, CA
- 15Ibid., ix
- 16Ibid., xi
The Biblical Creation Account from a Young Earth PerspectiveThe Biblical Creation Account from a Young Earth Perspective
For those who adhere to a literal interpretation of Genesis and believe in a young earth, scripture is the first, final, and unrivaled authority (sola scriptura) on the questions of the origin of the universe, the origin of life, the origin of man, and the age of the earth. Young Earth Creationists (sometimes referred to as “YECs”) believe that the Bible is inerrant and clear in its teachings about origins. Good exegesis based upon the grammatical-historical hermeneutical approach and comparing scripture with scripture leads to the conclusion that the earth was created in six 24-hour days in the recent past. Nature viewed through the lens of scripture lends support to the recent creation view.
There were no human eyewitnesses to the creation of the universe, the earth, and life. It is for this reason man on his own can never really know what happened. But there were eyewitnesses. The triune God was there and has communicated his observations to us via Moses in scripture. God’s Word is as true as any observable fact of science. For this reason, one must take both the facts of scripture and science into account when considering origins. However, scientific theories (e.g., macroevolution) which are not in agreement with the clear teachings of scripture are wrong by definition; science is always subordinate to scripture, never vice-versa (except in cases where scripture is silent or equivocal), nor should they be given equal weight. 1 When science and scripture seem at odds, scripture is given the benefit of the doubt. To see this, imagine consulting science to validate one’s view on the virgin birth or the resurrection. Clearly, if science were given the final word here, one’s faith in Christ would soon falter.
There are many biblical reasons to accept the YEC position and reject alternative views such as theistic evolution, the gap theory, the day-age theory, progressive creation, the framework hypothesis, etc. First, the order of the events during the creation week are completely inimical to any cosmological, geological, or biological evolutionary account. Second, the original language of Genesis 1 clearly indicates that the creation of all things was accomplished in six literal 24 hour days. Third, physical death does not enter the scene until after the Fall, making biological evolution impossible and the fossil record a product of a global Flood. Fourth, the creation account is always treated as history by Bible authors, never as allegory. Fifth, observed scientific facts and well established natural laws are completely harmonious with the biblical account. The creation account explains the origin of information in living things and the precise tuning of physical laws that support life, while naturalism can only offer uncertain and improbable speculation. The existence of the universe itself is explained by creation but is beyond the reach of science to explain.
The history of the universe, earth, and life according to recent creation, progressive creation, and the standard evolutionary scenario are contrasted in the Table 1. It is clear from these few examples that God did not create in a way that even remotely resembles modern evolutionary thinking. It may be that God created in this way so there could be no mistaking Genesis for an allegory to some naturalistic scenario. Making the creation days into vast time spans will not make the sequence problem go away. For example, how does the passage of millions of years between the emergence of sea mammals (day 5) and their alleged evolutionary land mammal ancestors (day 6) help reconcile scripture with evolution? One solution might be that the “days” of creation somehow overlap, but there is no evidence from the text this is the case; each day starts, stops and is distinct from every other day. The meaning of the word “day” in Genesis 1 is clearly a normal 24-hour period. Although the Hebrew word yom translated day throughout Genesis 1 can denote time spans longer than a literal day, the context of its use in Genesis 1 and comparison with other scripture leave little doubt of its intended meaning. For example, each day during the creation week (e.g., Gen 1: 5) is described as having an evening and a morning (except day 7). When God separates light from the darkness (Gen 1:4-5), He calls the light “day” and the darkness “night.” Does it make sense to call a time span of millions of years “light”? Scripture even defines what a “day” is in Gen 1:3-5:
Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. And God called the light day, and the darkness He called night. And there was evening and there was morning, one day. (NASB)
In other words, one day has an evening and a morning, light and darkness, just like the days we experience.
The meaning of yom in Genesis 1 is also made clear by reading Ex 20:9-11:
Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it. Ex 20:9-11 (KJV)
Every occurrence of the word “day” in the above passage is yom in the original text. In the first part of the passage, God is clearly referring to six literal 24 hour days when instructing the people when to work and rest. God’s rationale for this pattern is his own activity during creation week. The same comparison made between man’s work week and God’s creation week is echoed in Ex 31:15-17. Clearly, 24 hour days are in view in these passages. It is also significant that most commentators prior to the 19th century understood the days of Genesis 1 as 24 hour days and/or thought the creation was only thousands of years old; it was only after the rise of Darwinism and associated geological theories that people began to try to make scripture accommodate long ages.
As another example, the Hebrew word translated “day” in Gen 1:14-19 is yom as shown below:
14 And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day <yom> from the night and let them be for signs, and for seasons and for days <yom>, and years. 15 And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so. 16 And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day <yom>, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also. 17 And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth, 18 And to rule over the day <yom> and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good. 19 And the evening and the morning were the fourth day <yom>. Gen 1:14-19 (KJV)
The contexts in verses 14-18 unambiguously indicate that yom means an ordinary 24 day in those verses. Progressive creationists would say that the meaning of yom in verse 19 must be a long period of time, but it is clear from the passage that the meaning remains in accord with the previous uses: an ordinary 24 hour day; to say otherwise is reading into the text (eisegesis).
Another clue as to the length of the creation days is Adam’s age. Adam was created on day 6 (Gen 1:26), had Seth when he was 130 (Gen 5:3-4), and lived another 800 years for a total of 930 years (Gen 5:5). If the lengths of the creation days were vast ages, then Adam would have lived longer than 930 years.
Jesus endorses the recent creation position when he speaks with the Pharisees about divorce:
And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female… Matt 19:4 (KJV)
But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. Mark 10:6 (KJV)
Progressive creationists also claim that Noah’s Flood was a local rather than global event, but scripture teaches otherwise:
And the waters prevailed, and were increased greatly upon the earth; and the ark went upon the face of the waters. And the waters prevailed exceedingly upon the earth; and all the high hills, that were under the whole heaven, were covered. Fifteen cubits upward did the waters prevail; and the mountains were covered. And all flesh died that moved upon the earth, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of beast, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth, and every man: All in whose nostrils was the breath of life, of all that was in the dry land, died. Gen 7:19-22 (KJV)
A local flood also invites many questions: Why did Noah build the Ark? Why did God send every kind of animal to the Ark? Why was the Ark large enough to hold all the land vertebrates that have ever existed? Why were birds sent on board? How could the waters rise eight meters above the mountains if the Flood were local? If the Flood had been local, some people would have survived. Jesus said his second coming would be like the days of Noah (Matt 23:37, 2 Pet 3:3-7). Will God’s judgment at the end of history be only partial? God would have broken his promise never to destroy the earth again by a flood (Gen 9:11-16) if the Flood had only been local.
Scripture clearly teaches (Rom 5:12-19) that the physical and spiritual death of men entered the picture after the Fall. 2 Because of Adam’s sin, the ground was cursed (Gen 3:17-18) resulting in poor crop yields and useless/harmful plant species, Eve’s pain in childbirth would be multiplied (Gen 3:16), Adam would have to work hard to have food (Gen 3:19), Adam and Eve would eventually die (Gen 3:19), and the entire creation was cursed (Rom 8:20-22) and as a result is perishing (Heb 1:10-11). Although not explicitly stated, animals were also under the curse as evidenced by the following facts: (1) God originally provided plants for the food of animals (Gen 1:29-30); (2) when Christ sets up His kingdom on the earth, the animals and man will dwell together without any prey/predator relationships (Isa 11:6-9); even the lion will eat straw (Is 11:7). God considered the initial creation “very good” (Gen 1: 31) and yet will make a new heavens and earth at the end of history (Rev 21:1) which is devoid of death (Rev 21:4). If physical death of man and animals was a part of God’s original plan, why would He call his original creation “very good” but then plan to remake the creation without death or carnivorous activity? Clearly, man’s sin resulted in physical death being passed upon himself and the animal kingdom. And not only this, but apparently some animal species were modified/degraded from their original design by the Fall to become carnivorous, parasitical, poisonous, etc. Now since the physical death of man and animals was not in the world until after the Fall, the evolution of animals and man would have been impossible. Evolution involves the “survival of the fittest” as the selection mechanism which allegedly leads to macroevolution, but there can be no evolution where all survive. Also, why would an all-loving omnipotent God use a cruel drawn out process to create man and the animals when He could simply speak them into existence? On the contrary, Christ came to destroy death (1 Cor 15:26-27, 54-55; 2 Tim 1:10; Rev 20:14, 21:4); death was never a part of the original plan nor is it consistent with God’s character. Therefore, all theistic evolutionary scenarios are false. Another implication is that there would not have been the possibility of a fossil record prior to the Fall, making it clear that the fossil record was formed primarily as aresult of the Flood.
Another way to think about the death and suffering question is to compare God’s original creation with the state of affairs after Christ’s return (Table 2).
|Before the Fall||In Heaven|
|No death or suffering||No death or suffering|
|No prey/predator||No prey/predator (millennium)|
|God initial source of light||God is source of light|
|Tree of Life||Tree of Life|
|No curse||No curse|
|People could see God||People will see God|
|Day and Night||Only Day|
There is a clear symmetry shown in the state of affairs before the Fall and in the new creation which is consistent with God’s character and plans and with scripture. This symmetry is broken if death occurred before the Fall.
Some believe that the first few chapters of Genesis are written as poetry or allegory and therefore should not be taken as literal history. However, when reference is made to the creation account by various Bible authors, we find that the account is taken at face value. For example, an historical/literal understanding of Genesis is seen in the writings of David (Psa 8:3; 33:6-9; 104:19; 148:3-5), Peter (2 Pet 3:5), the author of Hebrews (Heb 1:10), John (Joh 1:1-3; Rev 2:7, compare Gen 2:9), Matthew (quoting Christ in Mat 19:5), and Mark (10:7) to name a few. Indeed, if Adam were not the first literal man from whom all have descended but merely a symbol of men who fall to temptation, there are serious theological implications. If men evolved, they did so as a population of individuals so that Adam would not have been the first man but merely one of a group of individuals. Therefore, sin would not have been imputed to those who were not Adam’s direct descendants meaning there would have been some who would not have been under the curse or in need of Christ as a savior. But this idea clearly contradicts the clear teaching of scripture that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Rom 3:23, 5:12) and that Adam was the first man and the father of us all. So, we see that the creation account should be understood as history, nothing less.
In conclusion, the weight of the biblical evidence clearly supports the literal young earth creation view. God has set things up so that we must trust in Him; He has left some things mysterious and unanswered (Eccl 3:11, 8:17). Our confidence should be in God’s Word through faith (Heb 11:1-3) and not in the wisdom and philosophies of the world (Rom 1:19-25; Col 2:8; Eph 4:17-20; Prov 3:5-7; 26:12; 28:26; Psa 14:1; 1 Cor 1:19-31).
- 1This position is consistent with the Chicago Statement on Biblical Hermeneutics (Article XX):
WE AFFIRM that since God is the author of all truth, all truths, biblical and extrabiblical, are consistent and cohere, and that the Bible speaks truth when it touches on matters pertaining to nature, history, or anything else. We further affirm that in some cases extrabiblical data have value for clarifying what Scripture teaches, and for prompting correction of faulty interpretations.
WE DENY that extrabiblical views ever disprove the teaching of Scripture or hold priority over it. (See http://www.bible-researcher.com/chicago2.html).
- 2The life of plants is considered different from the life of animals in scripture. This can be seen in God’s rejection of Cain’s sacrifice (Gen 4:3,5) and the requirement of the shedding of blood for the remission of sins (Matt 26:28; Heb 9:22). Plants were created to provide food for man and animals (Gen 1:29-30) so that their “death” was always a part of God’s original intentions for his creation.
Evidences and Events of the FloodEvidences and Events of the Flood
Geological structures give considerable evidence about the sequence of events during the world-wide flood described in Genesis and also give evidence for the flood itself. These structures include the chalk deposits during the Cretaceous period, paleocurrents, which indicate the direction of water flow when fossils were deposited, coral formations, and others. Astronomical findings also give us information about the flood and its development.
The geological time scale including most of the fossils is divided into three eras, the Paleozoic, Mesozoic, and Cenozoic eras. A few fossils are also found in pre-Cambrian strata, which are believed to have been formed before the Paleozoic era. These eras are subdivided into geological periods. The last period in the Mesozoic era is the CCretaceous period. This period is conventionally dated at between 145.5 million years ago to 65.5 million years ago, when it is commonly believed that the dinosaurs became extinct, possibly due to the impact of an asteroid. During the CCretaceous period, chalk deposits formed over most or all of the surface of the earth. These deposits indicate much about conditions existing at the time.
Chalk deposits form from the microscopic skeletons of plankton called coccolithophores, which accumulate on the sea floor when they die (Fig. 1). Coccolithophores are a kind of algae that have calcium structures called coccoliths around them. These structures fall off and accumulate on the ocean floor, forming chalk. Coccolithophores only survive in warm, sunny water. The chalk deposits are believed to have formed near the end of the Cretaceous period, and are dated from 100 million to 60 million years ago. The fact that chalk deposits are so widespread indicates that most or all of the earth was covered by warm water during this time. However, chalk deposits only form in relatively shallow water, because the skeletons of plankton dissolve if the water is too deep. The chalk had to have formed in water 200 to 300 meters deep, because this is the only way the skeletons of the plankton could have been so well preserved. The chalk is also very pure, indicating that land was far away and there were no sediments washing off the land to mix with the chalk (Fig. 2).
From a creationist viewpoint, these findings show that much of the earth was covered by water during the Cretaceous period. For example, geologists state that “most of Britain was under water and evidence of shorelines was scanty even in the western outcrops and near Scotland”. 1 The fact that the land was far away from these chalk deposits shows that essentially the whole earth was under water. Therefore this period must have taken place before or at the end of the flood, because afterward the Lord promised that there would no more be a flood to cover the surface of the earth (Genesis 9:11). This also raises the question how land animals could have survived in the conventional model when all or almost all of the earth was under water.
How could so much chalk have formed so quickly? After the flood the oceans would have been warm and filled with organic matter. Thus conditions would have been favorable for plankton blooms and chalk could have accumulated rapidly. In fact, it is hard to see how the chalk could have formed slowly. Even if the chalk formed far from land, in water only 200 to 300 meters deep one would expect many clam shells, snail shells, worm holes, and fish bones to accumulate on the bottom and be mixed with the chalk. The purity of the chalk shows that it had to have formed quickly. Sometimes well-preserved and large fossils are found in the chalk, consistent with its rapid formation. It is believed that some asteroids hit the earth at the close of the Cretaceous period and led to the extinction of the dinosaurs. Probably asteroids were striking during the flood but only those that hit near the end have left any evidence.
Paleocurrents are currents that were flowing when geological layers were formed. From the structure of these layers, geologists can infer the direction of water flow. During the Paleozoic era, in North and South America, paleocurrents flowed predominantly southwesterly. During the Mesozoic era, especially near the end, paleocurrents flowed west to east. During the Cenozoic era, the currents did not have any predominant direction of flow, and this is also true of the Precambrian era. 2
It is difficult to account for these paleocurrents in the conventional geological model. Water tends to flow from high elevations to low elevations and towards rivers from both directions. For the currents to be in one predominant direction for millions of years, the continent would have to be tipped in one direction, and all the rivers would have to flow parallel in that direction. Then the continent would have to tip in the other direction for the flow to reverse. Or else the continents were under water and the current flowed in one direction.
However, in the flood model, this pattern of flow is easy to explain. During the Paleozoic era, the continents were largely together in a supercontinent called Pangea, and flood waters were flowing from the center of Pangea in both directions towards the Pacific Ocean (Fig. 3). 3 This explains the flow from east to west. During the Mesozoic era, the continents split apart. Thus the water from the Pacific Ocean had to travel across the continents from west to east to reach and fill the Atlantic Ocean. This explains the pattern of flow during the Mesozoic Era, and geologists agree that the continents moved apart during the Mesozoic Era. After the continents had largely split, then the oceans became calm and the chalk deposits formed. During the Cenozoic era, the continents continued some motion but it soon stopped and the pattern of flow became more conventional. This shows that the flood continued at least until the end of the Cenozoic era and perhaps longer. This also shows that when Genesis speaks of the earth being “divided” in the days of Peleg (Genesis 10:25), it does not refer to the separation of the continents. However, the flood was a complex event, and with the motion of the continents the surface of the earth may have buckled and considerable portions of the earth may have been above water at times.
It is interesting also that coral formations give evidence of the sequence of events in the flood. Most coral only grows in shallow water. Certain kinds of coral reefs, called atolls, form on top of submerged mountains (Fig 4). These formed as the mountains descended or the water level gradually rose. This shows that the oceans were shallower in the past, but the ocean floor sank slowly enough that the coral could keep up with it. Sometimes the ocean floor descended faster than this and the coral could not keep up.
Geologists are finding evidence of massive floods in the past. For example, Richard Kerr provides evidence that the British Isles were separated from the continent by a massive flood. 4 Also, geologists believe that great eruptions of magma on the sea floor caused the ocean to rise as the continents separated during the Cretaceous period, explaining why sediments are found on the continents and not on the floor of the ocean. In the flood model, this would be explained because the “fountains of the great deep” breaking up (Genesis 7:11) would have caused water levels in the ocean to rise as the rain fell, containing the sediments on the surfaces of the continents. A problem for conventional geology is that at current rates of erosion the continents should have eroded away many times during the time that they are assumed to have existed. Also, sometimes entire geological layers are missing for many miles in all directions with no evidence of erosion. Geologists believe these layers formed and then eroded away, but if so, why is there little or no evidence of erosion between the layers?
As for astronomical evidences, Kerr also gives evidence that the massive cratering on the moon and in other planets originated in the asteroid belt. 5 Kerr suggests that a collision in the asteroid belt produced the asteroids that led to the extinction of the dinosaurs at the end of the Cretaceous period. 6 He also points out that small asteroids tend to be more widely dispersed than large ones in the asteroid belt, an effect of the sun’s energy pushing away the smaller asteroids. However, this observation can also be explained if one assumes that this collision, or breakup of a planet, happened very recently and the small asteroids were propelled farther than the large ones. This breakup of a planet could have happened during the flood when rates of radioactive decay were accelerated, possibly due to an increase in radiation reaching the solar system. Another evidence for this is the tremendous energy emanating from Jupiter’s moon Io; this is far too large to have continued for millions of years. 7 This could have been caused by an increase in the decay rate heating up the moon Io. In fact, even on earth, more heat is found leaving the surface of the earth where the concentration of radioactive rocks is highest. This should not be so if these rocks were slowly decaying for millions of years. Where could all this radiation reaching the solar system have come from? Astronomers have observed a star whose pole points almost directly at the earth. 8 If such a star happened to become a supernova, large quantities of radiation could have been directed at the earth, and such an event could also have a role in last day events and the breakup of the earth at the second coming of Christ.
Thus there are geological evidences that are consistent with a flood scenario and even easier to explain in that way than in the conventional millions of years of geological time. Even astronomical findings can give insight into the mechanism and sequence of events in the flood.
- 1Graham B (2006) The Cretaceous Chalk in Southern England http://courses.washington.edu/uwtgeo06/ papers/BrieannaGraham_Paper.htm Accessed 2007 Nov 15
- 2Chadwick AV (2000) Megatrends in North American paleocurrents http://origins.swau.edu/papers/global/paleocurrents/default.html Accessed 2007 Nov 15
- 3Chadwick AV (2000) Megatrends in North American paleocurrents http://origins.swau.edu/papers/global/paleocurrents/default.html Accessed 2007 Nov 15
- 4Kerr R (2007) Did a megaflood slice off Britain? Science 317(5836):307
- 5Kerr R (2005) Another hint of planetary marauders. Science 309(5742):1800
- 6Kerr R (2007) A big splat in the asteroid belt doomed Earth’s dinosaurs. Science 317(5843):1310
- 7Coppedge DF (2007) Spewing Hot Rocks on Old Ideas http://www.icr.org/article/3477/ Accessed 2007 Nov 15
- 8Quirrenbach A (2007) Seeing the surfaces of stars. Science 317(5836):325-326