Tuesday, July 22, 2014

RAPID GROWTH DINOSAUR, ROBERT BAKKER, WARM BLOODED DINOSAURS, DRAGONS, JUVENILE DINOSAUR, DINOSAUR EGG

DOES THE DINOSAUR FIT THE SIZE?

Hi there to all you good people out there! I’ve sure had some hectic days this week, but even so, I was able to spend some quality time with our precious Lord Jesus. It’s awesome that He’s so big He has the time and room for everyone!

Speaking of large sizes, did you ever wonder how the young of the large dinosaur (dragon) kind ever reached their full size with so many predators? After all, even a small--lets say a sheep or
 
 

horse size--T. rex would be just a nice snack for a full grown, adult Allosaurus. But all the large dinos were once very small, like when they first hatched and shortly there after. Certainly many of the young did succumb to predators. “Many reptiles grow throughout their lifetimes, gradually tapering off with age. An example is the Nile crocodile, the largest of the living reptiles. Some mammals, such as elephants, also grow slowly throughout their lives. The largest dinosaur fossils, therefore, may be from creatures that had lived for centuries.”1 But how did the hatchlings ever survive years of development to finally outgrow the large carnivores? You might be surprised…

“Two evidences suggest a rapid early growth rate for the dinosaurs. First, few half-grown dinosaur fossils have been found. Thus, dinosaurs may have rapidly passed through their juvenile phases. It may also be that specimens having smaller, fragile bones simply did not often survive the burial and fossilization process. Second, dinosaur bone texture, especially for the stegosaurs, shows evidence of rapid youthful growth. Robert Bakker (a paleontologist) estimates that stegosaurs may have grown from an egg to five tons in just one decade (Bakker, 1986)...In general, large dinosaur size also provided defense against attack from smaller foes. In the animal world there is a measure of safety in large size. Predators rarely attack something that is big an strong enough to injure them.”2 It seems God had provided for survival of the large dinosaurs by coding their DNA for rapid juvenile growth.

In addition to that, there is the very real problem of weight vs. volume. For example an animal whose size is doubled (2[length, height, and width]), will only have its bone strength increase about 3/2nd of that (22) because the bone’s supporting strength depends on the cross-sectional area.  So, “Animals much larger than the dinosaurs would require bones too bulky to be practical. Notice that bone size must increase substantially out of proportion to animal size. King Kong and Godzilla can exist only in movies--not in the real world. The same area-volume reasoning also limits the
possible size of trees. Perhaps you have seen the wide trunk needed to support a 350-foot redwood tree.”3

God has thought of every detail so get out there and enjoy His wonderful world!
God bless and take care!
Willow Dressel

This week in the night skies; for the northern lats; “Summer is hardly more than a third over, astronomically speaking. But already the Great Square of Pegasus, symbol of the coming fall, heaves up from behind the east-northeast horizon at dusk and climbs higher in the east through the evening. It's balancing on one corner.”4 

And for the southern lats;  “Comet C/2014 E2 Jacques is bright enough (magnitude 6) to potentially be seen in binoculars, but it is low to the horizon, and the rapidly brightening sky this week soon overwhelms it. Look to the left of the bright star Elnath (the tip of the horn of Taurus the Bull) with strong binoculars (at least 10x50's) for a fuzzy dot in the very early twilight. The New Moon is Sunday July 27. Jupiter is lost in the twilight. Mars and Saturn are prominent in the evening sky. Venus is prominent in the morning sky. The crescent Moon is close to Venus on the 25th, and Mercury on the 26th.”5


References:
1-3DeYoung, Don, PhD. Why Were Dinosaurs so Large? Creation Matters, Volume 19, Number 3, May/June 2014,p 5.

Monday, July 14, 2014

RAINBOWS, SUN DOGS, SUNDOGS, REFRACTION, REFLECTION, RAINDROPS, PRISM

RAINBOWS  AND  SUN DOGS

Hello all my fine friends out there!

How has your week been? We had some mighty thunderstorms here with a lot of great lighting displays. And it has been and answer to many peoples prayer for rain! Then after the rain often there are rainbows! I always love to see rainbows against dark thundery skies, don’t you?


And speaking of rainbows….here are a few things you might not know….

It all has to do with angles. When the sun is lower in the sky (morning and afternoon) the light rays are more horizontal. And when these horizontal rays of sun hit a falling raindrop the light is bent (by refraction [the simple act of bending light]) in two ways. Light entering the upper area of a spherical raindrop bends, is reflected internally, then departs at a 138 degree deviation. This constitutes the red light  spectrum. When sun rays strike the lower end of a droplet, it two is bent by refraction, is reflected internally, then exits at an approximate 232 degree divergence. This is the violet end of the light spectrum. This prism action of each drop of rain water causes the dispersal of the component colors of white light (all the primary and secondary colors). So the light that leaves the drop of water, having been broken down into these two angles, forms the primary and secondary rainbows we often experience after thunderstorms. And that’s how rainbows are formed! 



So what is a sun dog? Sun dogs (also called ice halos or parhelia) are also formed from the prism effect. They are the sometimes colorful or white lights in the sky often making a halo at 22 degrees around the sun or moon. It is not the same as a rainbow because the refraction occurs from hexagonal (six-sided) ice crystals. Because hexagonal ice crystals compose the section of a 60 degree prism, they separate the colors of white light. Often you will see high intensity spots of light on the halo known as the parthelic arc. This occurs because “A portion of the ice crystals are flat hexagonal plates and they tend to orient themselves with flat side horizontal when falling through the air….when the sun is at the horizon, they (parthelic arcs) can appear to be slightly outside it (the halo 22 degree arc) at higher altitudes and will flare into a white tail leading away from the 22° halo. Under appropriate conditions the tail may extend far outward on the horizontal ‘parhelic circle’. This extension of the sun dogs is reflection from the vertical sides of the flat hexagonal ice crystals.”1 Sun dogs got their name from the Arctic people in the far north. Often when a parthelic arc is present it is so bright that the rest of the arch is overlooked, and often there are two parthelic arcs present. Thus they were referred to as sun dogs!

Both of these phenomena in the heavens declare the glory of God. In chapter nine of the book of Genesis, scripture documents that the rainbow is a symbol of Gods covenant to never again destroy the earth with a world wide flood. And both of these phenomena are highly organized reflecting God sense of an intelligent designer who creates all things with a sense of order (as opposed to an evolutionists explanation of random selection). One other thing I would like to point out in relation to God and rainbows. The Hebrew word used in Genesis nine of the Bible for bow is arch and is the same word utilized elsewhere as in “bow (arch) and arrow”. So not only did God give us his covenant or promise to not flood the planet again, but He also gave us a sign of His protection….the “arch/bow” of the rainbow.

May you look at rainbows with a deeper understanding from now on!
God bless and take care,
Willow Dressel

This week in the night skies; northern hemisphere; “Wednesday, July 16. If you have a dark enough sky, the Milky Way now forms a magnificent arch high across the whole eastern sky after nightfall is complete. It runs all the way from below Cassiopeia in the north-northeast, up and across Cygnus and the Summer Triangle in the east, and down past the spout of the Sagittarius Teapot in the south. Thursday, July 17. The Big Dipper, high in the northwest after dark, is beginning to turn around to "scoop up water" through the nights of summer and early fall.
The waning Moon, nearly at last quarter, rises around 11 or midnight and climbs high in the early-morning hours. Far in its background is Uranus, magnitude 5.8. Locate it with binoculars or a wide-field telescope. Friday, July 18. Last-quarter Moon (exact at 10:08 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time, USA). The Moon rises around midnight tonight, shining in Pisces.
Early Saturday morning before dawn, the faint asteroid 611 Valeria will occult an 8.7-magnitude star in Pisces for observers along a track crossing northern Mexico, Texas, the Deep South (including the Atlanta area) and the Carolinas.”2 

In the southern hemisphere; “Saturn is high in the evening sky, and was at opposition on June 11th. Saturn is visible most of the night. Saturn is high enough from around 8 pm for decent telescopic observation and sets around 2:30 am.  Saturn is in Libra near the head of the constellation of the Scorpion and forms a line with the two brightest stars of Libra. Morning sky on Wednesday July 16 looking north-east from Adelaide at 6:30 am ACST.  Venus forms a triangle with the bright red stars Aldebaran and Betelgeuse. Mercury is at its closest with Venus. Similar views will be seen throughout Australia at equivalent local times….Venus was at its furthest distance from the Sun on the 23rd of March, and is slowly sinking towards the horizon. Venus is a clear gibbous Moon shape in a telescope. Venus forms a triangle with the bright red stars Aldebaran and Betelgeuse. During the week Venus comes closer to the horizon, and the rapidly climbing Mercury.”3

References:
O”Quinn, Jonathan, D.P.M., M.S., Creation Matters, Vo. 19 No 1, Jan/Feb 2014, pg. 9, produced by the Creation Research Society:
1http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/HBASE/atmos/halo22.html



Wednesday, July 9, 2014

ANTARTICA, VEGETATION, TREE STUMPS, SURVIVE DARK MONTHS


MYSTERY OF ANTARTICA VEGETATION




Hi guys!
This week is going to be just a short note as I am running behind again but I really want to get a little something out. So here’s some food for thought.

This article is from Creation Matters, Vo. 19 No 1, Jan/Feb 2014, pg. 9, produced by the Creation Research Society:

“Fossilized stumps of tropical trees show that Antarctica was once forested. A photo of a tree stump sticking out of the ice begins a report on LiveScience about “weird forests” that once sprouted in the land of the midnight sun. Leaf impressions and tests of carbon by the university of Kansas show that a mix of deciduous an evergreen trees one grew there. The stumps are estimated to be late Permian in age according to the evolutionary timescale (250 million year old). Researchers can examine the wood cell patterns under the microscope to try to resolve how trees grew without sun for half the year. 
In order fore forests to have grown on this now icy continent, evolutionists surmise that “Some 250 million years ago, during the late Permian and early Triassic, the world was a greenhouse, much hotter than it is today.”

What they are missing is that if a forest had survived for over 250 million years, there would be a lot more evidence of it that what we have found. And it still doesn’t answer how the vegetation survived year after year of 3 + months of almost total darkness.
But God could easily take care of that….

Take care and God bless!

Willow Dressel

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

DIVINE PROVISIONS, ADAPTIONS, SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST, EVOLUTION, TIMBERMAN BEETLE, TIBETAN ANTELOPE, HIMALAYAN MOUNTAINS, BOMBARDIER BEETLE, GREYLAG GOOSE, PEKIN DUCK, ALTRUISM


                             DIVINE PROVISIONS


         Well hello all you fine people out there! This time of year we
are just about smack in the middle of the hot season or the cold one. I hope wherever you’re at the weather isn’t too extreme. But then if it is we have warm clothes and heat of some sort and hats, or cool clothes, shade and if we are fortunate, some sort of cooling system. And of course God gave us the brains to do something about our circumstances if the extremes are getting the better of us.

But what about all the critters out there, in the great outdoors? Well, the Lord has provided for them too during creation week. He installed information on their DNA strands that has been passed down generation after generation all the way to today’s creatures. Thus their bodies have been enable to adapt to allow them to live in extreme climates. Let’s look at some amazing examples…


There is a little beetle named the Siberian timberman beetle (Acanthocinus aedilis). This little insect is able to live in one of the coldest places on our planet. How? “Hibernating timberman adult beetles and their larvae have a high capacity for super-cooling, tolerate freezing well, and are able to tolerate temperatures that would kill other insects. During the winter months, these insects accumulate high concentrations of polyol, approximately 1,500 mmolal. Polyols depress the supercooling point of these insects (like antifreeze in your car’s coolant system).”1 In addition the more delicate larvae have greater glycerol concentrations which again act like antifreeze giving them greater protection. And these larvae’s cutical have low water permeability which helps them from becoming dehydrated. The timber beetles can tolerate cooling as low as -34.6F (-37C) degrees. Amazing stuff!

Another example is found in warmer climates. “The tiny bombardier beetle (Brachinini) could not possibly have evolved. His defense mechanism is amazingly complicated, and could only have been created with all the parts working together perfectly. From twin ‘exhaust tubes’ at his tail, this beetle fires into the face of his enemies boiling-hot noxious gases with a loud pop. How can this be? German chemist Dr Schildknecht discovered that the beetle mixes two chemicals (hydrogen peroxide and hydroquinone) which would usually form a dirty ugly mixture. The well-designed beetle uses a special ‘inhibitor’ chemical to keep the mixture from
reacting. How then can the explosion instantaneously occur when needed?Dr Schildknecht discovered that in the beetle’s specially designed combustion tubes are two enzymes called catalase and peroxidase which make chemical reactions go millions of times faster. These chemicals catalyze the extremely rapid decomposition of hydrogen peroxide into water and oxygen and the oxidation of hydroquinone into quinone, causing them to violently react and explode—but not so soon as to blow up the beetle, of course! Common sense tells us that this amazing little insect cannon which can fire four or five ‘bombs’ in succession could not have evolved piece by piece. Explosive chemicals, inhibitor, enzymes, glands, combustion tubes, sensory communication, muscles to direct the combustion tubes and reflex nervous systems—all had to work perfectly the very first time—or all hopes for ‘Bomby’ and his children would have exploded!”2 

Back to the cold country, high in the mountain steppes and semi-desert areas of the Tibetan plateau (Himalayan mountains), the Tibetan antelope (Pantholops hodgsonii) carves out its living. Through the comparison between Tibetan antelope who’s habitat is over 13,000 feet (4,000 meters) high and other plain-dwelling mammals, scientists could identify adaptive traits in the Tibetan antelope in genes associated with energy metabolism and oxygen transmission. This  identifies that genes involved in energy metabolism efficiently provide energy in conditions of low partial pressure of oxygen (PO2). Which of course is the case in the  high altitudes of the himalayan mountains. In addition, research revealed that the Tibetan antelope have signals of positive selection for genes involved in DNA repair and the production of ATPase (used in cell repare construction). Considering the exposure to high levels of ultraviolet radiation, positive selective genes related to DNA repair may be vital in protection of the Tibetan antelope. I live at almost 5,000 feet altitude, but if I go higher in the mountains and start hiking with vigorous steps, I don’t get very far before I am light headed and gasping for air. These antelopes behave like any other antelope or deer, grazing and running around, chasing each other, playing like as if they were at sea level! Again, amazing!


And last but not least is my favorite. It is an example of not just adaption to environmental conditions, but emotional adaption in the form of altruism. Because evolution underscores the significance of organism’s reproductive self interests, it would be an impossibility --evolutionary speaking--for an animal to have the behavior of selfless devotion to the welfare of other organisms. But that is not what we totally see in nature. Get a load of this! Jonathan C. O’Quin, D.P.M.. M.S., wrote an article for the Creation Research Society’s “Creation Matters”  journal (March/April 2013 Vol 18, No. 3) where he relates a personal experience. “While I was in graduate school in Raleigh, NC, a female Greylag goose at a nearby lake died, leaving her mate grief-stricken but not abandoned. Nearly one month later, a female Pekin duck at the same lake, who had just lost her mate, hatched seven ducklings, four of which survived. In what can only be described as a special provision of our loving Creator, the male Greylag goose literally adopted this family of ducks, assuming every responsibility of a biological parent. This unlikely pair successfully cared for and raised the ducklings to maturity. This offers a powerful testimony not only to the Lord God’s boundless and sometimes unexpected love, but to His ability to turn desperate circumstances around for His glory.” 

A fine example indeed of our Lord’s Divine Provisions! I would love to hear from any of you who know of other examples of altruism in the animal kingdom!

 Until next time, take care and God bless!
Willow Dressel

This week in the night skies--For the northern hemisphere; Tuesday, July 1st-5th  “Ceres and Vesta at their closest. The two leading asteroids, currently magnitudes 8.4 and 7.1, are closing right in on each other as seen on the sky. They're not far above Mars and Spica after dark. They are within 1/3° of each other for the next week and will appear closest together, just 1/6° apart, on the evenings of July 4th and 5th. (For everyone), Earth is at aphelion, its farthest from the Sun for 2014. But it's only 3% farther than at perihelion in January; Earth's orbit is nearly round and nearly centered on the Sun.”3
References:
1O’Quinn, Jonathan, D.P.M., M.S., Creation Research Society, Frozen Alive, Creation Matters Journal, 2010 Vol 15, No. 4, pg. 12.


Monday, June 16, 2014

COSMETOLOGY, WATER BOUNDARIES, BEGINNING OF UNIVERSE, EARTH HANGS ON NOTHING, ROUND EARTH, WORLD, WORLD RIDES ON BACK OF TURTLE, ATLAS

Does Scripture Talk About Astronomy?
Part I

Good day all my fine friends out there!

How have you all been this past week? It has been beautiful here except for the wind and we really, really need rain!  But it is that dry time of the year...until the monsoons come. But that won’t be until after the summer solstice (or winter solstice in the southern hemisphere) on June 21st. Here in the northern latitudes we will have the longest daylight hours of the year and in the southern lats, the longest dark hours of the year. 

Speaking of our great universe… does the Bible speak about astronomy? Yes it does. And the physical evidence of what we see out there in our great big universe supports what was written many thousands of years ago.


Isaiah 40:22 states the earth is a round (“circle of the earth.”). From our many snapshots of the earth taken in space, we know it appears as a circle. Again Job 26:10 states “He hath compassed the waters with bounds, until the day and night come to an end.” “This boundary between light and darkness is where evening and morning occur. The boundary is a circle since the earth is round.”1 It often takes some thinking to understand how things were stated in the ancient times. But when you do think about it it makes perfect sense.

Job 26:7 states that God “...hangs the earth on nothing.” Again you must interpret the old language into modern scientific terminology. Job did not mean that God hangs the earth up like a Christmas tree ornament, but rather the earth hangs by itself in empty space. Other religions are way off. 





For example:
  • “The Hindus believe the earth to be supported on the backs of four elephants, which stand on the shell of a gigantic tortoise floating on the surface of the world’s waters.
  • The earth of the Vedic priests was set on 12 solid pillars; its upper side was its only habitable side.
  • The Altaic people of Northern Siberia affirm that their mighty Ulgen created the earth on the waters and placed under it three great fish to support it.
  • The Tartars and many of the other tribes of Eurasia believe the earth to be supported by a great bull.”2
  • In ancient Chinese religions the world rides on the back of a sea turtle.
  • Greek mythology places Atlas, an enormous body builder man carrying the world on his back.

It is a well know fact at least amongst astronomers that the universe is spreading out. Isaiah 40:22 states “It is he… that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in.”3 Long before modern scientists discovered that the universe was expanding, God had it recorded in scripture. 

“Scripture also addresses the age of the universe. The Bible teaches that the entire universe was created in six days (Exodus 20:11). We know from the genealogies and other events recorded in Scripture that this creation happened about 6,000 years ago.”

But the physical evidence out there is consistent with a 6,000 year old timeline. And it  makes little sense when if we hold to the billions of years old and the big bang theory. 

Stay tuned next week for what exactly this physical evidence is! Until then, God bless and take care!
Willow Dressel 

This week in the night skies… the summer (in the northern latitudes) and winter (in the southern lats) solstice is June 21st.

References:


Monday, June 9, 2014

BIBLE, SKEPTIC, GOD’S WORD, LITERAL, EXTRAORDINARY, KING DAVID, DEAD SEA SCROLLS, TRANSLATIONS,TRANSCRIPTS,

BIBLICAL SKEPTICS
RED FLAG WORDS, ROOT IDEA AND PROBING QUESTIONS
PART  II

Well hello everyone! Another Monday has come around again. And with it another work week. Ahhh you might say, but look at it as a chance to minister to people God’s word.

Speaking of God’s word, we will conclude our series on biblical skeptics today. Remember the root idea behind the biblical skeptic is; The Bible is man-made (they question the Bible’s relevance, reliability and authority). And red-flag words we’ve already discussed are legends (any event in the past that can’t be explained naturalistically [scientifically], literally (a person who takes the Bible literally is naive or uneducated while “intelligent people” read the Bible with critical “sophistication”), and translations (the idea that he Bible today has many conflicting texts as opposed to the original writings).





When someone questions the Bible, “...we should first engage the Rood Idea that is the basis for their skepticism (“The Bible is man-made”). We need to present the Bible in a way they can relate to it first on a practical level, then on a transcendent level. We might start by saying something like, “I understand your skepticism. No one ever said the Bible was an easy book.” then we should ask the Probing Question: “If God really gave us a book, how would we know it came from Him?”1 

Most skeptics (and believers too) don’t understand how the Bible has been preserved and passed down through the generations. We can use the analogy of a recipe from a great aunt. But some of it’s smudged and a corner is ripped and a critical part is faded. So you call two cousins who also have the recipe and they fax you their copies. Both look different for your copy but only slightly. For example the first cousin spelled out the words “teaspoon” and “cup” and she had each step numbered. The second “cousin” used the word “stir” instead of “mix”, and “pot” instead of “saucepan”. So by crosschecking my faded copy with the other two, I can confidently identify any errors and rewrite an accurate copy.

This example demonstrates “...how scholars test ancient Bible documents. Even if some copies contain errors, become damaged, or are altered by a copyist, and accurate record can still be assembled by comparing the thousands of other manuscripts found all over the world. Even copies with errors would not all have the same errors…. Errors and corruption will stand out against the huge number of manuscripts that agree…. The vast majority of surviving Bible manuscripts have only minor variances between them (in most cases, merely single words) and no variance that affect meaning.

This is much different than what many skeptics believe. They tend to think the Bible was written similar to the “telephone” game where the outcome is much different than the original input.

When asked asked what’s so special about the Bible, we can reply “there are two ordinary reasons and two extraordinary reasons why I believe the Bible came from God and is different than any other book.

Let’s look at ordinary and extraordinary in regards to the Bible.
Ordinary:
  1. The Bible accurately depicts human nature and is honest about people. It documents their faults, failures, as well as the feats of an events’ hero. For example (amongst hundreds of examples), king David’s affair with Bathsheba and Peter turning his back on Jesus, Jonah not wanting to bring God’s message to the Nenevites, and the disciples being simple men. This is probably the most outstanding illustration that the writers were not biased. Why in the world would they include the most unflattering details about heroes of the Bible?
  2. “The Bible is historically accurate…. Secular records and archaeology repeatedly verify the Bible’s accounts of people such as king David, Pilate, the Hittites, many other s and details of places such as Sodom, Gomorrah, Nineveh, Nazareth, and Rome.
But there are many good books on human nature and history, so that alone isn’t convincing. The Bible should give us something beyond that , other wise, why should we trust it above other books?”3

Extraordinary:
  1. “The Bible predicts specific future events. It includes something supernatural that is also verifiable by recorded history. Hundreds of years before the events, the Bible predicted:
  • The rise of four specific world powers (Dan. 2:37-40; 8).
  • Nebuchadnezzar’s destruction of mainland Tyre and unique defeat of island Tyre by Alexander the Great’s coalition over 250 years after Ezekiel’s prophecy (Eek. 26).
  • The four-way division of Alexander’s kingdom (Dan. 11:3-4)
  • Jesus’ crucifixion (Ps. 22).

  1. “The Bible was written by as many as (or more) forty authors thousands of years ago. Yet its teachings are consistent.
  • The consistent character of God across both testaments (i.e. God’s compassion and judgement).
  • Consistent themes across both testaments; blood atonement, unblemished lamb, only son of miracle birth as a sacrifice, virgin birth, justification by faith (not works), self identification of God, final judgement.
  • The complementary (not contradictory) accounts of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection in the four Gospels.”4

It is pertinent we acknowledge that the Bible makes amazing claims. And that is just what we should expect from any book that professes to be the Word of God.
Take care and God bless!
Willow Dressel 
This week in the night skies; for the northern hemisphere “Thursday, June 12
Full Moon (exact at 12:11 a.m. June 13th EDT). The Moon shines in the dim legs of the constellation Ophiuchus. Look for Antares well to its right.”5  
For the southern latitudes; “Tuesday, June 10 For southernmost Africa, the Moon occults (covers) Saturn around 19 hours Universal Time. ”5 

References:
1-4 Foster, Bill. “Meet the Skeptic, A Field Guide to Faith Conversations.” Master Books, Green Forest, AR, 2012. Pp 118-123.    


Tuesday, May 27, 2014

biblical skeptics, bible’s relevance, bible’s reliability, bible’s authority, the bible is man-made, scripture is God-breathed, suffering, supernatural, unnatural, bible translation, bible transmission, legends, authorship,

BIBLICAL SKEPTICS
RED FLAG WORDS, ROOT IDEA AND PROBING QUESTIONS
PART I


Hey all my good friends out there! I hope your week was as delightful as mine. With Jesus in the center of my life I can appreciate so much all the small things which enrich living.

Speaking of enrichment, many people turn to other things for fulfillment because the image of the Bible to the nonbelieving world has been shaped much more by hearsay than personal inspection and research. Because the Bible is complex and unique, it is often call out-dated, a story, legend or fairytales, and of course error-filled. Such a secular belief consists of nothing being eternal or sacred and therefore man’s ideas are governed by what is happening in the present. 

You know you have run into a biblical skeptic if objections involve;
  • The Bible’s relevance
  • The Bible’s reliability
  • The Bible’s authority

When speaking with a biblical skeptic, almost always personal issues play a major role in their unbelief. Often people see suffering in the world and think God either no longer cares or never cared to begin with. Because God doesn’t fit their idea of Him, they reject the Bible.
“The Bible’s credibility also comes under fire because of its audacity: it records supernatural events and claims to be the Word of God. Consequently, a skeptics view of the Bible is vague and confused because he usually relies on hearsay rather than an honest firsthand reading. They have decided that it must be the result of corrupted human authorship and is no more authoritative than any other book on the shelf.”1
So the root idea behind the biblical skeptic is; The Bible is man-made. When dealing with people who are skeptical of the Bible they often use words such as legends/myths/fairytales, literally, and translations (meaning of the Bible). These red flag words can alert you that you are dealing with a biblical skeptic and can be used to clarify objections concerning the Bible’s reliability. 
For example, when a skeptic uses the terms legends/myths/fairytales most likely they mean any event in the past that can’t be explained naturalistically (scientifically). “Legends don’t just pop up overnight. They take several generations to develop and to overtake historical fact. It is difficult to pass along a legend as fact when people who witnessed the events are alive to refute it. Jesus’ resurrection is a prime example. Mark wrote his account of the empty tomb only thirty years after Jesus’ crucifixion. The other three Gospels were completed within thirty years after Mark. Plenty of people were alive to dispute the empty tomb but none did (although the Pharisees contrived a story to explain it [Matt. 28: 12-13]). More significantly, Paul repeats a creedal statement about the resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15: 3-8 that even staunch Bible critics date to within one to three years after Jesus’ resurrection-no time for a legend to have developed.”
As for the word “Literally”, a skeptic usually means that a person who reads/takes the bible literally has a simplistic, stiff understanding of the Bible. In other words they are naive or uneducated while “intelligent people” read the Bible with critical “sophistication”. “To read anything accurately, we must read it literally (i.e., according to the context, structure, purpose, and background in which it was written). Informed Christians recognize that the Bible is full of literary devices and figurative language such as metaphor, simile, metonymy, typology, allegory, personification, and so forth. The difference between us and most skeptics...is that we don’t dismiss out of hand the supernatural elements like they do. Just because the content of a passage seems unlikely to modern-day secularists...doesn’t make it figurative.” It is a real shame the the history of the Bible with all its credentials have taken a backseat to modern-day secular presumptions. 
The last red flag word we need to discuss is the word “translations”. When a skeptic uses this word he/she usually means that today the Bible has many conflicting texts as opposed to the original writings. We need to point out to the skeptic that most accepted Bible translations may differ in paraphrasing, but not in content.  And that the translations “relay on the accurate transmission of the Bible from the original languages into English or whatever the receptor language happens to be...Discoveries such as the Dead Sea Scrolls are significant because the scrolls are one thousand years older than manuscripts previously found of the same Old Testament books, yet they are virtually identical to them. This shows clean preservation of content over one thousand years, a powerful example of how carefully the Bible has been transmitted throughout the centuries.”3 
Next week we will discuss the probing question and continue with the Bible's reliability. Until then, may our Lord bless you kindly and take care of yourselves!





Willow Dressel 

This week in the night skies; for the northern hemisphere “Tuesday, May 27 Comet 209P/LINEAR, the source of last Saturday morning's meteors, is closest to Earth for the next five days. It was only 13th magnitude as of May 22nd, but if you want to try for it with a large telescope, here are our finder charts. It's south of Leo, crossing Sextans and Crater.”4  
For the southern latitudes; “Evening sky on Saturday May 31 looking north-west as seen from Adelaide at 18:00 pm ACST in South Australia. Jupiter is above the north-western horizon, Mercury is just above the horizon. The crescent Moon lies between them Similar views will be seen elsewhere at the equivalent local time. At 6:00 pm if you have a level horizon free of obstructions, you can see four bright planets strung out across the sky, Mercury just above the horizon, Jupiter above that, Mars high in the northern sky and Saturn rising in the west.”5 

References:
Foster, Bill. “Meet the Skeptic, A Field Guide to Faith Conversations.” Master Books, Green Forest, AR, 2012. Pp 97-107.     1-3pg. 39-55.
5http://astroblogger.blogspot.com


Tuesday, May 20, 2014

MORE NEWS ABOUT DINOSAURS!

Hi guys! 
So sorry about missing last week. I didn’t realized until today that a whole week had gone by! Summers are soooooo busy for me!

This week we are going to take a quick break from the skeptics. I wanted to share this update from the Creation Research Society about their research on dinosaurs. It is amazing!



Isn’t that great stuff!

God bless, and take care!
Willow Dressel 



Sunday, May 4, 2014

MORAL WRONGS, MORAL RIGHTS, GOD, CREATOR, CREATION, GOOD WORKS, HEAVEN, KARMA, STANDARDS, BASICALLY GOOD, ENLIGHTENMENT, MEDITATION, AUTHORITY, ORGANIZED RELIGION, MERCY, UNIQUE, GOD, SPIRITUAL, SALVATION, FEEL GOOD, JESUS, SAVIOR, FREEDOM, SELF RULE, BASICALLY GOOD, HEAVEN, ALL PATHS, SPIRITUAL BELIEFS, PRAYER, INNER VOICE, NATURE,

SPIRITUAL SKEPTICS
RED FLAG WORDS, ROOT IDEA AND PROBING QUESTIONS


Good afternoon all my fine friends out there! How are you all? It is a beautiful spring day here today and the flowers everywhere are looking gorgeous. This is one area where God’s design shines through in all t


he intricate patterns and different formations of each petal. It is truly sad that some people take this to the extreme and worship the creation rather than the Creator.

Such beliefs fall under the category of spiritual skepticism. The spiritual skeptic wants to get to heaven (and thinks everyone else should too) their own way. “But for freedom gained by climbing toward heaven in one’s own way, there is the unending burden of the climb itself...spirituality provides a temporary, feel-good sense of accomplishment, but it is a futile, self-serving attempt at salvation.”1 Only in acceptance of Jesus as your Savior does one get to heaven not by our own works, but by grace. Why don’t more people accept Jesus then? Because to surrender self-rule is probably the most difficult thing for mankind to do.

Questions such as “People can get to heaven by many different ways…” or “To achieve enlightenment one must meditate...” or “What we believe in, our thoughts and words all shape our reality...” are all reasons people turn to religion...to be set free from the problems of our moral world. The Creator God has given us an internal drive for spiritual freedom (read Ecclesiastes 3:11) and most people strive for it. Unfortunately many people are mislead by the Root Idea that good works get you to heaven. In this manner, a person’s spiritual beliefs allow the individual to set the rules in which the deity of his or her choice will operate. Often they believe that if they (or anyone) is basically good, they can get to heaven. And by basically good they mean doing more good than bad deeds.

However there is a major flaw in this thinking...how good is good enough? This line of belief exaggerates the character of man, and/or diminishes the nature of God. Let’s take a closer look...

If a basically good person can get into heaven, then they believe in a god who has compromised standards so that man can fulfill the perfect standards of God. But the only standards worthy of a true God is perfectionism. No basically good person would be admitted into Harvard, or medical school, or be allowed to play on a NFL team. Nor would Bill Gates hire a basically good programmer, nor Donald Trump hire a basically good businessman, etc. You get the point. It is puzzling as to why people change the standards when it comes to God. Especially when Christianity is the only religion where God demands payment for sin (because heaven is a perfect place) and then provides the payment. You see, God must be satisfied by the only known source of perfection...God Himself. But He gives each individual a choice if they refuse His grace...that is God will then judge that person by their own standards (a scary thought) because God’s standard is perfect righteousness, not mere human goodness. Besides if basically good people are the ones who will populate heaven, how will heaven be much different than our current fallen world?

Then there are those who believe enlightenment (self-actualization) is the way. They believe that divine self-mastery will enable them to find reality from within and usually involves some source of meditation. When the skeptic speaks of meditation, they mean that it is a way to find a frame of mind to become one with the universe or to find one’s inner voice. However there is a major flaw with this thinking…

“Man cannot enlighten himself because his nature is where the problem is. The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? [Jer. 17:9]...how did the guru get beyond his own flawed nature? ...if man is really divine and only needs to re-recognize his divinity, how did he lose touch with it in the first place? If the divine can be corrupted, is it really divine?...Only a true Divine source beyond man can provide enlightenment...”2 “Meditation seeks a connection to an impersonal force; prayer seeks a relationship with a personal being.”3 Prayer is active while meditation is passive.

Then there are times that the skeptic can get frustrated and hostile and turn to name calling. One of the favorites in organized religion. Let’s define what they mean by that; a narrow, dogmatic, hypocritical belief system. They often believe that churches are filled with hypocrites. And while hypocrites can be found everywhere including the church along with plenty of genuine Christians filled with integrity, it is not the people in the church that give salvation, it is Christ. If you dig a little deeper you will see that hypocrisy is not the main objection that spiritual skeptics have towards organized religion, but authority. You see “...personal experience and discovery are their primary source of authority.”4 Organized religion challenges this authority and requires adherence to a set of beliefs that don’t match their experience. And they don’t like that. They would rather have their own customized religion so they can have the freedom to assemble their own beliefs. “The trade-off is that there is no accountability and thus, no true growth.”5 An analogy is a person who is partially blind that needs and operation. Because he is partially blind, even if he were a skilled eye surgeon, would he be able to operate on his own eye? Like wise, since man is a product of a broken world, his ideas of how to fix himself are also broken.

“Ask the skeptic why he shouldn’t at least consider the one faith system that is unique--the only one that both satisfies the standards of a perfect God and shows mercy to man’s flawed character.”6

Until next week, God bless and take care,
Willow Dressel

This week in the night skies; “Comet C/2012 K1 PanSTARRS is quite bright at the moment, by cometary standards. It is around magnitude 9 (just below binocular brightness but in the range of small telescopes). Currently it is only visible in the northern hemisphere, near the Big Dipper. Over the past few days the comet has passed M51, the iconic Whirlpool galaxy. This is not the end of the comets encounters, from 11-13 May the brightening comet is close to galaxy M106 and a host of smaller galaxies. Should be very nice to watch.

For the southern lats… “The eta Aquariids meteor shower, the debris from Halleys comet, peaks on May 6 at 07 UT (that's 5 pm AEST and 4:30 pm ACST, disappointingly in daytime) with a ZHR of 55. However, the shower radiant rises around 2 am, so you can't see the shower until the morning of Tuesday the 7th...Although the actual peak is on 6th at 17:00 AEST, for Australia the best time to see the eta-Aquarids is in the early morning of the 7th, 8th and 9th. This year the first quarter Moon sets long before the radiant rises, so you should have almost ideal observing conditions if the cloud stays away.”7

References:
Foster, Bill. “Meet the Skeptic, A Field Guide to Faith Conversations.” Master Books, Green Forest, AR, 2012. Pp 97-107.     39- 55 pg. 39-55.
8http://astroblogger.blogspot.com