Archive for September, 2011

The Dead Sea Scrolls

In a recent blog, Reliability of the New Testament (Sept. 20, 2011), I showed how we have more than 24,000 copies of portions of the New Testament, giving evidence that the Bible we have today is what the authors originally wrote.

The Old Testament of the Bible does not have the same abundance of ancient manuscripts as the New Testament. However, we have the Dead Sea Scrolls!

In 1947, The Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered by a shepherd boy named Juma in some caves near the Dead Sea in Israel.

The Scrolls are made up of 40,000 fragments dating from 200 BC to 68 AD. From these fragments, more than 500 books, including all but one from the bible, have been reconstructed:

  1. Fragments from every book of the Bible (except Esther) have been found.
  2. Also found was an Aramaic paraphrase of the Book of Genesis.
  3. The entire book of Isaiah was found. It is the oldest copy of an Old Testament book (125 BC).
  4. Another fragmented scroll of the Book of Isaiah was also found.
  5. A commentary on the first two chapters of Habakkuk was found.

The Dead Sea Scrolls have shown that the Old Testament we have today is 99.5% accurate. For example – the 53rd chapter of the Book of Isaiah contains 166 words. Only 17 of those letters are in question – 10 of these are spelling changes, 4 are minor style differences, and the rest are letters for the word “light” which was added in verse 11, and does not change its meaning. Only one 3-letter word of the 166 words is in question … this after a thousand years of copying!

The New Testament manuscripts and Old Testament scrolls testify that the Bible we have today is what was originally written!

 

Lanny Johnson

If you would like to see if an AOI seminar is right for you, or you would like to help the work of Alpha Omega Institute, please visit our website events page or our donate page. Keep up to date with what AOI is doing. Thanks for your partnership.

A “Chance” Meeting

This past Sunday, we did a Discover Creation seminar at a small church in Minnesota. After the morning service, we went to a near-by fast food restaurant for lunch with the pastor and his wife and a few others from the church. While waiting to place his order, one of the men (Bill) ran into a couple whom he had not seen for over 15 years.

They had both been involved in a local creation group back then, but had gotten busy, stopped going to the meetings, and lost track of one another. Bill was excited to see the long-lost friends and invite them to the meetings that night at his church. He was even more excited and encouraged when they came.

Over the break, not knowing that these were the friends Bill had told us about at lunchtime, I “happened” to go over and talk with this couple. They were very enthusiastic about the program, and encouraged to be there. I found out that they were really interested in creation and would like to be able to share their knowledge and interest with others. I told them a little bit about AOI and our vision of training and equipping lay-people to teach creation in their own churches and communities, and they sounded very interested in participating. Who knows where God will take it from here?

Over the years, we have often been encouraged by what some people might consider “coincidences” or “chance” meetings. We don’t really believe that this meeting was a “chance.” We believe that as we seek to follow God, He directs our steps and guides our paths. What a privilege and an adventure it is to serve such a powerful and loving Creator! To Him be the glory!

 

Mary Jo Nutting

If you would like to see if an AOI seminar is right for you, or you would like to help the work of Alpha Omega Institute, please visit our website events page or our donate page. Keep up to date with what AOI is doing. Thanks for your partnership.

More on the Reliability of the New Testament

“Is the Bible we have today what the authors originally wrote?” or “Is the Bible historically reliable?”

In my last blog (Reliability of the New Testament ) I answered both of these questions with a “Yes” and a “Yes” by showing that the New Testament has more manuscript evidence than any other ancient writing. Another affirmative testimony to these questions is the time gap between the original New Testament writings and the earliest known copies; the greater the time span between the two, the greater the chance for copying errors.

Scholars believe the John Rylands Fragment of the Gospel of John was written about A.D. 125 – some 35 years after the original.

A majority of the writings of the New Testament are found in the Bodmer and Chester Beatty papyri, written between  A.D. 175-250 … only 100 to 150 years from the original writings.

Consider the time span between the originals and existing copies of other ancient writings:

  • Virgil – 300 year gap.
  • Homer’s Iliad – 500 year gap
  • Caesar’s War Commentaries – 950 year gap.
  • Plato’s Tetralogies – 1250 year gap
  • Writings of Aristotle – 1450 year gap

Dr. Norman Geisler (Professor of the Bible, Theologian, and Pastor) stated, “The average gap between the original composition and the earliest copy is over 1,000 years for other books.”

Sir Frederic Kenyon  (Director and Principal Librarian of the British Museum and leading New Testament authority) says, “Besides number, the manuscripts of the NT differ from those of the classical authors. . . In no other case is the interval of time between composition of the book and the date of the earliest extant manuscripts so short as in that of the New Testament. The interval then between the dates of original composition and the earliest extant evidence becomes so small as to be in fact neglible, and the last foundation for any doubt that the Scriptures have come down to us substantially as they were written has now been removed.”

So again, the answer to the opening questions –  Absolutely!

 

Lanny Johnson

If you would like to see if an AOI seminar is right for you, or you would like to help the work of Alpha Omega Institute, please visit our website events page or our donate page. Keep up to date with what AOI is doing. Thanks for your partnership.

Missing Our Atheist Friends

We were at DeKalb, IL, for 4 nights of speaking at Northern Illinois University. We have spoken at this university each fall for the past several years. Traditionally, these meetings have been heavily attended by students claiming to be atheists, agnostics, or skeptics, and the Q&A time has sometimes become quite animated.

Attendance this year was markedly down, and most in attendance were already Christians with some honest seekers. Probably a major part of the reason is that in the past, one of the most vocal anti-creation professors required his students to come to our Tuesday evening meeting, and gave extra credit for those who came to other sessions. Even though many of these students were openly opposed to our position, we enjoyed the opportunity to field their questions and interact with them. This professor has now retired, and we are missing him and his students.

Things were quite tame this year. While we missed the opportunity to speak to more skeptics, the quieter atmosphere allowed us to have deeper discussions with several individuals who might not have spoken up in a larger group. We were able to equip and encourage the Christian students to stand firm, and to answer different kinds of questions than we usually get from a group of avowed atheists.

The bottom line is that God has a purpose and a plan. We are grateful for the opportunity to present an alternative to the pervasive evolutionary, naturalistic, evolutionary teaching found on this very secular campus — and we are grateful for each person that came to hear. We are called to plant the seed. Others will continue to water, but only God can bring forth fruit. So please, pray with us that the seeds planted in Illinois fell on good ground and will bear abundant fruit for eternity.

 

Mary Jo Nutting

If you would like to see if an AOI seminar is right for you, or you would like to help the work of Alpha Omega Institute, please visit our website events page or our donate page. Keep up to date with what AOI is doing. Thanks for your partnership.

Reliability of the New Testament

One of the questions I have been asked several different times is, “Is the Bible we have today what the authors originally wrote?” or “Is the Bible historically reliable?”. My answer to both versions of this questions is “Yes” and “Yes.” Consider the New Testament (I will deal with the Old Testament in a future blog):

The New Testament has been confirmed by secular historians such as Josephus (before 100 AD), Roman Governor Pliny (110 AD), Roman Historian Tacitus (120 AD), and others.

There are more ancient manuscripts of the New Testament than any other document of antiquity. There are 5,300 known Greek manuscripts, over 10,000 Latin Vulgate manuscripts, and at least 9,300 other early versions in various languages, of the New Testament that still survive. That is more than 24,000 copies of portions of the New Testament! Compare these numbers with the 643 manuscripts (second in number to the New Testament) in existence of the Iliad by Homer … no other historical book even comes close to the New Testament. [See chart above]

Theologian Rene Pache wrote of the New Testament, “The [other] historical books of antiquity have a documentation infinitely less solid.”

Theologian Dr. Benjamin Warfield said, “If we compare the present state of the text of the New Testament with that of no matter what other ancient work, we must…declare it marvelously exact.”

F.E. Peters ( Professor Emeritus of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies and History at New York University) stated, ” … on the basis of manuscript tradition alone, the works that made up the Christians’ New Testament were the most frequently copied and widely circulated books of antiquity.”

“Is the Bible we have today what the authors originally wrote?” or “Is the Bible historically reliable?” Absolutely!

 

Lanny Johnson

If you would like to see if an AOI seminar is right for you, or you would like to help the work of Alpha Omega Institute, please visit our website events page or our donate page. Keep up to date with what AOI is doing. Thanks for your partnership.

AOI and Redcloud’s 25th Year Co-Op Celebration

Happy anniversary!!

August marked AOI’s 25th year of doing Family Mountain Adventures at Camp Redcloud. A lot of people think that AOI owns or runs Redcloud, but we are totally separate ministries. We have just had a good and long association with Redcloud.

To help celebrate the 25th anniversary camp in cooperation with Redcloud, our staff surprised Mary Jo & I by having Redcloud bake a special anniversary cake and then, at the variety show, sang a song with special lyrics they wrote. The tune of the song was from a country western style song that Buddy Davis sings called “I Don’t Believe in Evolution.” During the song, they held up caricatures drawn by our volunteer Chelleston of Mary Jo & I.

It was a fun time, and we thank our staff and volunteers, and the cake bakers/decorators who took a lot of time putting it all together. Here are the lyrics and some photos of the celebration.

Chorus

A special song for Dave and Mary Jo...

I believe that God above created Redcloud too,

So praise His name for Mary Jo,

Give credit for Dave too!

I don’t believe in Evolution,I know AOI is true!

Verse 1:

I like to canoe out in the pond

And swing down from a pole

Climbing biking, hiking (pause)

Is all I like to do.

Redcloud pro-vides everything

In six days we are through

So the Texas heat is just a dud

But Red cloud’s just for you (Chorus)

Verse 2

Dave and Mary Jo in Art

Fly fishing from the pond,

But Mary Jo would rather hike

To the chapel and beyond.

Rich will teach deep into the night,

For even one or two

But Mr. Dave is the only Nut…

That I’m going to listen to! (Chorus)(Chorus)

Dave Nutting

If you would like to see if an AOI seminar is right for you, or you would like to help the work of Alpha Omega Institute, please visit our website events page or our donate page. Keep up to date with what AOI is doing. Thanks for your partnership.

Making Life Easier Still Doesn’t Work for Evolution

In my last blog article “Making Life Easier?,” I shared what we observe about how bees and the flowers they pollinate go against a main tenet of evolution, which teaches that animals develop traits and habits that make it easier for them to survive. Another example that goes against this idea of evolution is the following:

A bee orchid not only looks very much like a female bumblebee, but also produces a smell like that of a female bumblebee. A male bumblebee is attracted to the “female,” courts her for a short time, finds the “female” unresponsive, and flies off to another bee orchid to try his luck there. In the process of tricking the male bumblebee, the bee orchid is pollinated!

Most flowers make nectar; however, they don’t use it for themselves. Nectar is used to attract animals that will help transport pollen to other flowers of the same kind. A flower uses a lot of energy to make nectar that is just consumed by these animals.

Flowers like the bee orchid do not have to expend a lot of energy making food for animals; therefore survival is easier for them.

Now consider this – if evolution were true, shouldn’t orchids like the bee orchid, which have an easier time surviving than nectar producing orchids, be the most predominant kind of orchid found in nature? Yet bee orchids (and other orchids that attract by mimicry) are very rare … most orchids are nectar producing orchids. Doesn’t this go against evolution?

Once again, what is observed in nature goes against the teachings of evolution. What is actually observed appears to be a special design with purpose … not random chance and accident.

Information derived from: Exploring Creation With Botany,
Apologia Educational Ministries, Inc. Jeannie K. Fulbright, 2004

 

Lanny Johnson

If you would like to see if an AOI seminar is right for you, or you would like to help the work of Alpha Omega Institute, please visit our website events page or our donate page. Keep up to date with what AOI is doing. Thanks for your partnership.

God Painted the Mountain with Flowers

Lanny just wrote a blog article in which he said that bees and the flowers they pollinate go against evolutionary theories. That reminds me of going up to American Basin with a group who were attending our Creation Family Mountain Adventure at Redcloud Ranch this August.

I came close to staying back at the camp that day to get some writing done, but the lure of the fabulous scenery and the wildflowers of American Basin just won out (and gave me new fresh writing material!). Not only do the mechanics of the bee/flower relationship speak volumes against evolution, but just the sheer beauty of the flowers shows how much of a master artist our creator really is.

It was so beautiful that I think I could make a fairly long video of the area if you just strung all of my numerous individual shots together. Everywhere I turned was another postcard picture opportunity.

The blue, star shaped flowers above are columbines — the Colorado state flower. The red and yellow flower to the right (taken by MJ) is another one of God’s renditions of the columbine.

So enjoy a few of the many shots and marvel at how much of an artist your Creator really is.

 

Dave Nutting

If you would like to see if an AOI seminar is right for you, or you would like to help the work of Alpha Omega Institute, please visit our website events page or our donate page. Keep up to date with what AOI is doing. Thanks for your partnership.

Working on Charlie’s “House”

To help out with the finances when donations are low, I sometimes help my son Ryan, who is a general contractor.  He had quite the job to do in Craig, CO in which he needed an extra hand.  It was a seven day job working almost from sunrise to sunset.  We worked about 12 hours each day.

I brought my computer and projector along, so in the evenings we could have a one hour creation session.  During the week, I experienced this burden to witness to the owner of the house.  So on the last day, I presented a power point message about how you can know for sure if you are going to heaven (the gospel message).  She was not sure if she was going to heaven, but really wanted to know.

After the presentation, she trusted Jesus Christ alone as her Savior!  Praise the Lord!  I was thinking about how many people in the world are desperate to hear the Gospel message, but most Christians are, unfortunately, too scared to tell them!  I have discovered that most people are eager to hear. God does all the work and we just need to be faithful.

Rich Stepanek

If you would like to see if an AOI seminar is right for you, or you would like to help the work of Alpha Omega Institute, please visit our website events page or our donate page. Keep up to date with what AOI is doing. Thanks for your partnership.

Making Life Easier?

One of the main tenets of evolution is that animals develop traits and habits that make it easier for them to survive. Yet what we observe in nature goes against this idea. For example, observe a bee:

Each day, bee colonies make a decision of what kind of a flower to gather nectar and pollen from, on that particular day. Then the bees will venture from the colony, not stopping at just any flower, but looking for just that one special kind of flower.

Now consider this – wouldn’t it be a lot easier for the bee to survive if it could get nectar and pollen from any flower? Wouldn’t a bee expending lots of extra energy on a long trip looking for a specific kind of flower be less likely to survive? Doesn’t this go against evolution?

And consider the plant – their survival depends on the bees searching for only one kind of flower at a time. If a bee stops at a daisy, then visits a gardenia, then hops over to a rose, then on to an apple blossom, then heads on home … how would any of those kinds of flowers be pollinated? Flowers can only be pollinated by flowers of the same kind (see Genesis 1: 11-12.)

This particular habit of bees is more beneficial to the plant than it is to the bee itself. It is apparent that bees were created with a special design or purpose … helping flowers survive.

Information derived from: Exploring Creation With Botany,
Apologia Educational Ministries, Inc. Jeannie K. Fulbright, 2004

 

Lanny Johnson

If you would like to see if an AOI seminar is right for you, or you would like to help the work of Alpha Omega Institute, please visit our website events page or our donate page. Keep up to date with what AOI is doing. Thanks for your partnership.