Archive for September, 2012

My God

We received the following comment in response to my last blog (Biomimicry – Imitating God’s Design):

“It is disingenous [sic] to say that scientists learn from God just because humans have observed and mimicked nature as a way to improve physical items.  No, scientists and humans can learn from animals and nature.  You (and no one to date) have not done anything to prove that animals and nature have come from your God.

Please keep that in mind when composing your future blog posts in the “weeks to come”, Lanny.

And your closing sentence, which I suspect was intended to be humorous, only underscores your severe lack of understanding of how evolution (a fact that has been accepted by the overwhelming majority of respected scientists from a wide variety of disciplines) works.”

I have to disagree with the opening sentence – if disingenuous is meant as, ‘Not straightforward or candid; giving a false appearance of frankness’ – I am very straightforward in my opinion that we can learn from the things that God has made. But ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee; and the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee: Or speak to the earth, and it shall teach thee: and the fishes of the sea shall declare unto thee. Who knoweth not in all these that the hand of the LORD hath wrought this? In whose hand is the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind. Job 12:7-10. So I agree that “scientists and humans can learn from animals and nature.”  Where I disagree is the origins of those animals and nature.

In answer to the commenting individual, I would propose, “You (and no one to date) have not done anything to prove that animals and nature have come from your macro-evolution.”  Evolution has not been proved using the scientific method (A method of investigation involving observation and theory to test scientific hypotheses) of observation, demonstration and repeatability. Yes, we have observed changes within the kinds, but never observed (in life or the fossil record) one kind changing into another kind. The evolutionary tree of life is full of dashes and dots – assumptions – of how animals changed into another kind of animal, but it is not FACT based on observation.

For 20 some years I also believed in macro-evolution, and as a result did not believe in God. However, when I was really challenged to verify that belief, I could find no scientific evidence to back it up. No, I could not prove God either with science, but I was able to observe design in all living things. Design points to a designer, not to the mindless chance and accident of evolution. It was the design in nature that led me to believe in my God and the truth of His Word.

So I think I will continue to keep God in mind when composing future blog posts in the weeks to come.

 

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.

The Flood Tank

 

This summer, I had the opportunity to speak for a Vacation Bible School and was blessed to be joined on the teaching team by Mark Sonmor. Mark had been on the AOI staff for 7 years before starting his own art company. Mark has an intense interest in Creation and currently does the art layout for our publication Think & Believe.

Besides his own lessons he taught, Mark brought several hands-on demonstrations to the VBS which helped reinforce the lessons both he and I were teaching. One hands-on activity was the Flood Tank he constructed out of a metal watering tank.  He created a raised platform in it and covered that with a plastic liner. The liner had a hole in it with a removable plug. Plenty of dirt was placed in it and then it was submerged with water. He then circulated the water and pulled the plug - allowing all the water to drain out. As the water rushed out, what was left was soft mud which had been greatly eroded. The erosional pattern looked just like the canyons we could see nearby (which could actually be seen from the tank).

In that one demonstration, many other landform features that we see on the earth were also represented, in addition to the canyons. His demonstration showed that it certainly does not take millions of years to make canyons. Time is not the key ingredient… the conditions are.

The Flood Tank gave all the participants an idea of how the worldwide Flood in Noah’s day, and its aftermaths, could have shaped the world in one brief moment in Earth history. This helped them see the truth of the Bible.

 

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.

Junk DNA ‘Junked’ – No Surprise To Me

 

As scientists study living organisms, they continue to find increasing complexity.  This is what scientists discovered when they studied the human genome in the project called ENCODE, short for Encyclopedia of DNA Elements.  As I was reading an article on the ENCODE project by Malcolm Ritter (an AP Science Writer) at denverpost.com and other articles similar to it, I was amazed at what your worldview or presuppositions will do to how you look at life.  Let me explain.

The article talked about junk DNA, but what is junk DNA?  Well, according to research, only about 2 percent of our genome actually codes for proteins.  Thus, according to evolutionary scientists, the DNA which does not code for proteins was called junk.  This junk DNA was believed to be nonfunctional, and leftovers from the process of evolution. This belief about junk DNA is very similar to evolutionary teaching about vestigial organs.

As scientists studied the human genome they were surprised.  Below are some quotes from the article.

“The work also shows that at least 80 percent of the human genetic code, or genome, is active. That’s surprisingly high and a sharp contrast to the idea that the vast majority of our DNA is junk.”

“The big surprise is just how much activity there is,” he said. “It’s a jungle.”

“The findings, reported Wednesday by more than 500 scientists, reveal extraordinarily complex networks that tell our genes what to do and when, with millions of on-off switches.”

Not only were they surprised to find most of the genome is active, they were also amazed at the complexity.

This is where our worldview affects how we view life.  Using my life as an example, I was taught evolution in school and college.  I had no concept of creation science.  I was taught life evolved from simple elements and a process that involved no intelligence.  With this worldview, or presupposition, life should be very simple and primitive, with a lot of leftovers from an imprecise process.   But over millions of years, life would ever evolve into more complex creatures.  So with the discovery of vast complexity and information in living organisms, it was a surprise.

Today I have a different worldview or presupposition.  I have a Biblical creationist worldview.  According to Scripture, God is a being who is omniscient and omnipotent.  This means He is all knowing, all powerful, and I would assume a very intricate designer.  In Romans 1:20, His creation, especially in living organisms,  reflects some of His attributes.  With this presupposition, all living organisms should be very complex and full of information.  God is a perfect being, so in the beginning all organs and DNA were perfect and had a function.  But sin entered the world and now this perfect world is in a state of ageing and deterioration.  In this state of deterioration, some organs and DNA may not function as they were originally designed.

So when I read articles like ENCODE, I am not surprised the evidence fits with my world view.  I believe we will discover even more complexity and information in living organisms.  What is so exciting is that God, being the Master Engineer and Designer, has incorporated advance technology and design into His creation.  We need to study and research His creation so we can advance our knowledge and technology for the betterment of mankind.

With a Biblical creation worldview, it should inspire all of us to advance our scientific knowledge of God’s creation.  We can learn much from an all knowing God!  And by the way, God does not make junk!  You are His special creation!

 

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.

Desolation Canyon – Remote, But Full of History

 

On the exploratory raft trip down the Green River, we saw a lot of geology and wildlife and all of us likely got a bigger feel for the effects of the Genesis Flood. Another very interesting dimension of the raft trip was the historical aspect.

The canyons we went through are named Desolation and Gray Canyons. Desolation Canyon is true wilderness. There are no modern roads that meander through the canyon and no train tracks for most of it. Even though it is remote, there is still a lot of human history there.  First of all, the American Indian people groups frequented this area as evidenced by ancient drawings on the rocks. More recently in 1776, the Spanish exploration teams led by Dominguez and Escalante came through. Some of their expedition is actually recorded in some of the native petroglyphs. Fur trappers and explorers like Kit Carson, who was also a guide and Indian agent, wintered in the area in 1833-1834. Captain John Gunnison scouted the area for a railroad crossing of the Green River in 1853. (He was supposedly killed by the Indians just a short time afterwards, but many historians along with Gunnison’s wife claim that the killing was ordered by Brigham Young.) Cattle ranchers also saw the low lands as an ideal place to winter their livestock and established a few ranch sites where stone buildings still stand.

Notorious outlaws saw the canyons as a good place to hide from the law. Butch Cassidy and the Wild Bunch, infamous from the Midwest to the deep west with their train and bank robberies, holed up in the late 1890’s and 1900 in the remote sections. Part of the group was even overtaken and shot by lawmen along the River (George Flat-nose Curry, and Joe Walker).

For the history buffs, the trip was like stepping into the past and experiencing the life of these early inhabitants. We likely pitched our tents on the very same campsites where some of these people out of the past spread their bedrolls.

Desolation and Gray’s Canyons—remote, but full of history!

 

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.

Biomimicry – Imitating God’s Design

 

Japan’s Shinkansen Bullet Train

While traveling home yesterday, we drove by Denver International Airport and saw many airplanes on their approach to land. As we looked at the underbellies of the large airplanes flying over our heads, Marilyn made the comment, “It’s amazing that something so large can even fly!”

It is amazing; especially when you consider that the technology for mechanical flight came about from man observing a part of God’s creation … the birds. Today, scientists and engineers continue to learn from God’s creation through biomimicry.

Biomimicry literally translates from the Greek as “imitation of life.” It is the idea that problems can be solved, and humans greatly benefited, by simulating or copying the processes found in biology, chemistry and geology.

Kingfisher

From biomimicry, engineers were able to solve a problem with the design of the world’s fastest train, Japan’s Shinkansen Bullet Train, which can travel at over 200 miles per hour. The first design had a very serious noise problem – every time it came out of a tunnel at high speeds it would make an extremely loud bang, due to the change in air pressure. To solve this problem, the engineers turned to one of God’s birds, the kingfisher. Because of the design of the kingfisher’s beak and head, there is very little splashing when it dives into the water. The train was redesigned to imitate the aerodynamic shape of the kingfisher’s beak and skull and the result was a train that ran faster, much quieter and uses less energy. Many other countries have “borrowed” similar designs for their trains.

In the weeks to come, I will be blogging on more imitated designs from God’s Creation that are being developed and used today. Amazingly, many of the scientists and engineers who study the design in nature still believe it all happened by chance and accident … so why don’t they just sit back and let their problems resolve themselves by mindless evolution?

 

 

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.

…On The Right Track In Genesis

 

Below is a segment from a letter I just received from my translator in India.  A few years ago, he translated my Genesis series over a period of two weeks for a number of Bible colleges and seminaries.

 

…Hope you are keeping well as I do here by His grace. I just want to say…………….You have been the mentor of life. Though I did not realize it earlier. Now it feels great to have someone who guided me to the right track in life. Thanks for being my teacher and guiding me towards the right path of life. I am grateful to you. With a great teacher like you, I was sure that life would be a successful journey but I never knew you will also make the journey to success such a cakewalk. I can’t express my gratitude Sir! 

 Thanks for the love and the concerns you do have for me.

 

The conclusion of his letter is not me, but the information which was taught.  I was only with him for a few days, and what I taught was mostly Genesis chapters one through three and creation science.  The Bible and the Holy Spirit are our guide and his.  I believe if you get started on the right track in Genesis, it will help you stay on track with the rest of Scripture and the journey of life.  To God be the Glory!

 

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.

Surveying Destruction And Beauty – While On A Discover Creation Raft Trip

 

Last week, Mary Jo & I led a Discover Creation Green River Raft Trip.  AOI co-sponsored the trip along with Journey Quest, a new Christian wilderness ministry and rafting company our son is helping develop. Everything went very well. We were blessed with safety, health, energy, good weather, good attitudes, great fellowship, and good learning for both the participants and the instructors! This was meant to be an exploratory trip as we had never physically explored the geology of that section of the river. We enjoyed camping in the wilderness while exploring the geology and seeing evidence of the Flood and God’s restorative power after the destruction. We also enjoyed teaching/learning more about God’s creation, and digging into His Word with fellow travelers.

Besides the landforms and geology, we saw several groups of wild horses, groups of desert big horn sheep, deer, coyotes, lots of lizards, snakes (but no rattlesnakes),  a few very old homesteads, a fossil imprint of a turtle, and drawings made by American Indians on the sandstone walls.

Mary Jo and I camped out in a tent as we are not too fond of the idea of sharing our sleeping bags with an unwelcome critter. Some of the brave ones in our group went without tents, so they could enjoy the stars since the weather was so cooperative. The days were spent floating down the river, shooting rapids, and enjoying the “mini”-lectures (we hope) and the beauty of the area.

So why do we do field trips and, in this case, the raft trip? Over the last few years, we have had many students tell us that seeing and experiencing the places we talk about not only cemented the truth of Creation for them, but also the truth of the Bible. I think all 30 of the raft trip participants, including staff, got a much bigger, hands-on feel for the scope of the Flood and how it and the aftermath of it shaped our present world.

If you want to be notified of the next field or raft trip, send an email to aoi@discovercreation.org.

 

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.

Children Being Deceived

 

As I travel around the world and in the United States,  I have come in contact with concerned parents and people who talk to me in person, by email, or even call me about a loved one or a person they know who is leaving the church and rejecting the truth taught in Scripture…. because of evolution.   Many times they are at a loss of what they can do.   First, I explain to them the vast amount of scientific evidence in support of creation and also the overwhelming amount of scientific evidence refuting evolution.  Most people comment that they did not know about any of this evidence, and wish they would have known sooner.  I refer them to our website for more information and also to view the many resources available in book or DVD on this topic.

Secondly, there is more to this debate than just science.  There is a spiritual aspect.  This is where I believe most of the problem lies.  Who is in authority in your life?  Creation and the Bible states that God is the authority, but evolution states man or might is the authority.   Many people do not want to be under the authority of God, so they look for an alternate world view.

But there is a third aspect which I will unveil later in my Genesis Series.  I am working on this project as I write.  When these concerned people realize the aspects of this debate, then they understand what is really happening.  Again their reply is…. I have never heard this information before!  We need to know this!

So Alpha Omega Institute is working to proclaim the truth so people can understand the whole picture.  By knowing the truth, people can be set free!

 

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.

Bill Nye: Creationism Is Not Appropriate For Children

 

When Marilyn and I first joined AOI, there was a very popular Disney/PBS children’s science show on television (1993 to 1998) called “Bill Nye the Science Guy.” Nye was very entertaining and made learning science fun for kids. However, every chance he got, he would interject his worldview of evolution. For years, I would warn children to be careful watching Nye because of what he taught on evolution. After his show was dropped in 1998, we didn’t see him much on public television for children, and so I quit mentioning him in my talks.

However, he is back in the spotlight with an anti-creation clip on You Tube labeled “Bill Nye: Creationism Is Not Appropriate For Children.”

I could spend a lot of time and space refuting Nye’s claims. However, Creation Ministries International has put out a video that refutes it so well, that I recommend having you view their comeback on You Tube - CMI: Evolutionism is not appropriate for anyone.

 

Lanny Johnson

Make sure to check out the After Eden cartoon, “Competent Advice?,” from Answers in Genesis on the subject.

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.