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God and the Nations

This is a short book that summarizes some of Dr. Morris’ favorite topics, from Creation to early post-Flood history through end times and the New Earth.  His focus is to describe the way that God uses nations, and how He determines when they will be succeeded. 

Nations began, says the biblical scholar and scientist, after the flood when God instituted human government in the form of capital punishment.  Nimrod is supposed to be the first dictator.  His rebellion against God in the form of building Babel (an extra-biblical story) brought God’s intervention in languages, causing the dispersion of nations.  One of the most interesting parts of the book is Henry Morris’ speculations on the descent of modern nations from the Table of Nations in Genesis. 

God selected Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob to be the forefathers of the nation set apart to deliver God’s truth to the world.  This country, Israel, gets a lot of focus in the Bible and in God and the Nations.  Their time is not ended, but suspended until the end times.  Mentioned is the Daniel 9 prophecy of 70 weeks.  Someday in the future a majority of the people of Israel will embrace Jesus as the Messiah and take up their role of proclaiming their King to the world. 

In the Millenial reign of Jesus Christ, there will be nations, presumably made up of survivors of the Great Tribulation.  These nations will gather again to rebel against the King of Kings at the end of the 1,000 year kingdom, to be finally defeated.  This final victory ushers in the New Heaven and New Earth, in which there will, again, be “nations,” bringing their wealth and glory into the New Jerusalem. 

According to Dr. Morris, there are several measuring sticks by which God judges existing nations.  First of all is the dominion mandate, God’s command to Adam and Eve (repeated to Noah and his sons) to fill the earth and subdue it.  This includes both population increase and dispersion, as well as technological advancements.  Secondly, nations are judged by how they treat God’s Chosen People, Israel.  Finally, the author suggests that the prosperity of a nation is dependent on its response to the Great Commission from Jesus to “Go into all the world and make disciples.” 

Though I am a fan of Dr. Morris, this one of his last books was disappointing.  If a reader was unfamiliar with fundamentalist Christian ideas, this would be an intriguing introduction.  But there was no new information presented.  Neither was this book a Bible study on the doctrine of nations.  In fact, the times the Bible was quoted, the conclusions Henry Morris made did not seem well-founded.  There is a lot of repetition in the book, and speculation and assumption.  I was hoping for more. 

To God be all glory,

Lisa of Longbourn

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The post-modern world is rather fond of saying that there are no absolutes. A logical counter to this is to ask the relativist whether his statement about absolutes is absolute. He is in the difficult position of refuting his own claim whenever he states it. In rational debates this breaks the law of non-contradiction.

For several years, since reading Christian apologists like CS Lewis and Ravi Zacharias, I have been convinced that there is only one internally consistent worldview, and that is the biblical worldview. All other explanations of reason and existence cut the ground out from under themselves. Either the beliefs themselves are self-refuting, like the man who tried to disprove the existence of air; he was using air as he tried to deny it; or they reduce to absurdities; or they never really deal with the fundamental questions, but rely on borrowed but unadmitted presuppositions from other worldviews. In the final case, we consider their beliefs to be arbitrary, rather than rational.

My explanation could not have been termed with such clarity without first reading Dr. Jason Lisle’s new book, The Ultimate Proof of Creation. Creationists have plenty of evidence for the biblical history of the world. They have evidence contradicting the evolutionary and uniformitarian theories of origins. Bible-believing scientists are even doing real science all the time (science of observation and technological advancement to improve our lives), just as they have done for thousands of years. None of these things convinces a man committed to a naturalist worldview. But no naturalist can debate against the Bible, for evolution, or conduct science of his own without assuming things that can only be true if the things the Bible teaches are true. This is the ultimate proof, to engage skeptics on their worldview.

This method has several advantages. First, it keeps in mind that the motive for Christian apologetics is to glorify God and to invite non-Christians to be saved. Thoughtful meekness is what the Bible directs us to have when responding to critics. The Bible also teaches that if we do not live consistently with our beliefs, our critics have reason to ridicule us and those beliefs. Consistency is a biblical tactic.

Second, the Bible does give instructions for debate. Dr. Jason Lisle has applied two verses in Proverbs to his debating style. Do not let a skeptic convince you to fight on neutral ground when the question you are debating is inherently about the reliability of your ground as opposed to all others. For a Christian to abandon, for the sake of argument, his belief in God and dependence on the account of the Bible, is to surrender before he has even lifted his sword. But we can do an internal critique of the skeptic’s position, making apparent where he contradicts himself or leaves questions unanswered.

Third, and I really appreciate this one, a Christian apologist using these techniques does not need to be a PhD or have memorized an encyclopedia of scientific evidence for Creation. Creation science is valid and interesting, but not every believer is called to that kind of knowledge of the world as he is called to give a reason for the hope that is in him and to preach the gospel to every creature. In my experience, it is great for a philosophical person like me to team up with someone who knows a lot of facts, and to tag-team a discussion. Or I could practice a bit more so that I can have some representative cases of creationism scientifically supported.

The Ultimate Proof of Creation is an interesting book on logic and worldviews, exciting as I think of applying it. Think of watching the Discovery Channel and being able to identify the worldview being used, the presuppositions made, and the logical fallacies committed. This book enables you to do that. Or it can help when you’re trying to stay focused when witnessing to a friend who doubts the Bible. Learn to find ways to tie all questions into a question of faith: do you accept the ultimate standard of God, who created you – or do you reject Him and therefore all that depends on Him (including your will and rationality)?

To God be all glory,
Lisa of Longbourn

The Ultimate Proof of Creation

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Like many children, my fascination with mammoths began long before I could understand the science.  Maybe I caught the tone of mystery when anyone wrote or talked about these huge wooly beasts of the past.  As I have grown up, I have gradually gained more knowledge of the mysteries surrounding mammoths and their ice age.  Like the dinosaur question, how did they all die?  Why were they living in Siberia and Alaska in the first place?  These ivory-tusked creatures of legend have on occasion been found mummified, almost whole, standing upright in the permafrost.  How did that happen, and what does it tell us about the climate of the past? 

For a creationist, curiosities related to extinction and weather always bring to mind the Flood.  How much did the world change when God judged mankind by sending a global catastrophe?  Are we still affected today by the aftershocks of the Flood?  So for a person like me, a book giving a scientific creationist perspective on the Ice Age and the Mammoth mystery is gold.  Michael Oard, a meteorologist, has written such a book. 

Frozen in Time is well-constituted, moving through a thorough introduction of the subject and mysteries to a presentation of the Creationist Flood model and its Ice Age mechanism followed by a summary of secular theories and their difficulties, finishing with an exploration of the evidence for and against the proposed explanations for the Ice Age and the demise of the seemingly out of place mammoths.  Michael Oard is willing to criticize both secular and creationist scientist for jumping to conclusions about the extinction of mammoths, pointing out that a deep snap freeze is not necessary to preserve a few mammoths in standing position with relatively unspoiled food in their stomachs.  His book provides an alternative and points out that most mammoths appear to have died and been buried in more normal ways. 

Aside from including very interesting tidbits about mammoth finds, other large mammals associated with the Ice Age, elephant taxonomy, and weather patterns, Frozen in Time is an important book because it is yet another evidence that the sciences built on uniformitarianism (demanding an old earth and repeating processes in nature) cut the floor from under themselves.  By excluding short timelines and catastrophic possibilities because of their bias, secular scientists have no chance of following the evidence where it leads.  Like trying to figure out which paints to mix to create green when the existence of blue is denied, the scientists are figuratively mixing any color except for blue, and are frustrated that they have not been able to explain green.  This is bad science. 

Creation science, on the other hand, not only solves puzzling natural phenomenon (and no, we do not solve everything by saying “God did it.”), but provides us with useful sciences and models.  In this book are included speculations about cavemen, about classification, the adaptability of animals to different climates, geology, geography, global warming or cooling, and migration of man and beasts. 

To God be all glory,

Lisa of Longbourn

Frozen in Time

PS: 

Here’s what I don’t understand.  Why, when the evidence works for biblical creation and worldwide flood – but not for uniformitarian, old-earth evolution – would you compromise your Christian belief in the literal history of the Bible to subscribe to the secular theory? 

When a Creationist does something predictive, like entering conditions they believe were existent immediately following the Deluge into weather pattern models, their presuppositions yield predictions that are founded by scientific evidence.  Here I want to be completely honest about my claim.  I’m not saying that a creationist who knew nothing of the Ice Age put flood data into models for meteorology and geology and bam! there was an Ice Age in the model.  What I am saying is that creationists, who had already developed the theory of flood ramifications (plate tectonics, volcanic and geothermal activity, massive amounts of water in the air and on the continents draining into the oceans, dispersion from Ararat), put the puzzle pieces together and connected these models to the Ice Age.  When applied, their results matched the evidence. 

The secular scientists who reject the Bible’s claims about history, especially on origins, age of the earth, and the Flood, have observed and know that there was an Ice Age, but had no preexisting mechanisms they could apply to the historical advent of the Ice Age.  So all of their efforts have been to study the data about Ice Ages and devise possible mechanisms, according to the traditional scientific method.  Except every time they test their hypotheses with computer models, the predictions fail to account for the data.  In fact, many times the uniformitarian (long-age) theories have resulted in predictions directly contradicting the data.  What’s more, the more puzzling questions of the Ice Age (Mammoths in Siberia, Hippos in England, ‘disharmonious associations’) are left unanswered, and never answered as part of a comprehensive model of the Ice Age. 

So why would a person, who claims to believe in God and the Bible, trade belief in the most reliable historical document ever written, whose predictions are universally proven by the evidence, for a theory whose science, hypotheses, and predictions are so unsatisfactory and questionable?  Christian, you don’t have to compromise, or try to fit secular philosophies into your Scripture.  They have no evidence.  To switch sides on such unconvincing assertions is foolish! 

Skeptics who like to comment on this blog, if you’re going to object to the claims made here or in any of these books I’m reviewing, you’re going to have to be more substantial than the ad hominem attacks that the creationists are ‘lying’ or ‘stupid’ or ‘bogus scientists’.  A battle of name-calling is misplaced on this blog.  If you want to discuss evidence, models, or the logic and reality of presuppositions, please comment.  We all benefit from critical thinking. 

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Over the past decade or so, several scientists, authors, and speakers have joined forces to promote their observations that indicate life originated with a designer. Cells are just too complicated, they say, to have arisen by chance. Spontaneous generation, disproven centuries ago, remains the naturalist’s only option for the origin of biological life. Yet the odds against even a simple single-celled organism arising by chance are astronomical. The molecules have to line up all at once to form proteins, which have to line up quickly into the cells. DNA is a complex code for building life: made up of simple proteins, the series communicates a baffling level of information. Intelligent Design usually rests their case for an original designer at this point, picking back up after life has begun to debate Darwinism’s explanation for the variety of life we witness on earth.

But they could take the matter farther. Even if the remotest of far-fetched chances (this is before mutation or natural selection or heredity can have any impact on the process) came true and all the chemicals and molecules lined up, the language DNA writes still had to come from somewhere. It has no meaning without an Author. That age-old question, “Why?” asked by every two year old since humanity began, remains: both inside science and in the realm of philosophy.

According to the theory of evolution, mutations and natural selection account for increasing complexity and increasing variety among living creatures. (Evolutionists have precious little to explain the acquisition of new information in the DNA; all observable speciation, mutation, and variation consists of loss of information, reduced parameters for variety in future generations.) Evolutionists usually posit that all life arose from a single simple organism (which found sufficient nourishment, reproduced, and gave us the definition of life as we know it). Intelligent Design scientists point out that among the known species, there are many examples of features too complex, too perfectly adapted to be attributed to chance. The advent of each of these mechanisms would have been almost as miraculous as the first life, according to the mathematics. Take vision, wings, migration instinct, sex. Some creatures demonstrate irreducible complexity: all the new parts have to be present and perfect immediately to be functional. In some cases, the slightest difference means death for the creature in whom the feature was derived, and we know that dead creatures don’t pass their genes to future generations.

Complexity, information, and observed natural processes and their limitations are the data. Statistical probabilities are the analyses. Impossible is a logical conclusion. But life exists whether we can explain it or not. So some, purely on scientific grounds, conclude that there may be a designer. If we include this intelligence in the list of natural phenomenon; in other words, accept it as an observable* part of our world, humans can keep studying this marvelous, orderly world, drawing conclusions allowing for design and occasional if not constant intervention by a creative and powerful force.

*Scientists observe evidence for design in other fields (outside of ‘natural science’) all the time. Forensic science, for example, searches for clues that will tell an investigator whether a crime was committed. We not only judge whether there was intelligence, but degrees of intelligence using science. Consider archaeology. We may find a rustic clay pot, or a ziggurat aligned with constellations. Both represent intelligence, but of varying degrees.

Nor does it take a scientist to observe evidence for design. You are walking on the beach. Lying in the sand is a watch. With its gears and correspondence to what you call and measure as time, you conclude that the watch was designed, intelligently. Here most people explain our conclusions using a contrast with something “obviously” not designed, like the sand on the beach. The casual observer can see nothing about the form of the sand that stands out, that indicates someone intentionally smoothed it out and drew in ripples. In fact, we can even explain the tiny size of the particles, their smoothness, and the ripples by natural, consistent, observable events.

Here’s where I differ. Just as we have no explanation (using forces exclusive of a designer) for life, so science cannot explain the origin or structure of these tiny rocks. Under a microscope these crystals and substances reveal a mastery of molecular architecture. Each different rock is functional and unique from other kinds of rock. We’re taught that everything is composed of atoms, those busy bits whirling and attracting and repulsing with a reliability that we need every moment. What keeps the atoms together? What gives them weight? Why are there so many different substances? Even if “naturalists” are right, and the universe began with a big bang, what exploded, why and how? Where did the “what” come from, or the energy for the explosion? Why are there laws, and why are they repeatable? Taking our illustration of the sand, how did it get in the sea to be beaten into fragments, smoothed along a beach, and shaped by the waves breaking on the shore? Why do waves break, and how?

I argue that there is no such thing as naturalism without a designer, because every bit of nature is inexplicable without a designer. The laws of the universe represent order and harmony and intelligence. A cell may be more complex than a grain of sand, but only as the ziggurat is to a clay pot. Both are designed. And everything “natural” is so elegantly structured that its aesthetic far outweighs the clumsy pot made by man.

To God be all glory,
Lisa of Longbourn

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