All posts in Stepaneks from the Front

Not all in the Family

 Exhibit Placard at Field Museum in Chicago

I was taught through grade school, high school, and college; increasing brain capacity was evidence of human evolution. They would show pictures of ape like creatures with small skulls and small brains leading up to the more human like creatures with larger skulls and bigger brains.    Touring the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, IL, a few years ago, I noticed that the teaching hasn’t changed.

As I studied science, and the limitations of science, I discovered this was primarily speculation. There hasn’t been any scientific evidence for Darwinian evolution, or what is sometimes termed macro-evolution.  We do see the Biblical and scientific evidence for a “be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth” microevolution.  All creatures are pre-programmed with a mind-boggling complex and orderly genetic data and networking system that enables them to adapt to their surroundings (one that even Bill Gates is envious of).  Bacteria are an excellent example of this observational fact.   Bacteria always stay bacteria, but they do exhibit the great ability to “be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth,” by being able to survive in their changing environments.  With these facts in mind, I began to study the variations within living apes and their skulls along with the variations in humans and their skulls.

Apes today have a variance of skulls and brain sizes as follows:  the bonobo has a brain size which ranges from 326-356 cc;  the chimp has a brain size of 350-386 cc; the orangutan from 337-437, and the gorilla has a brain size ranging from 455-525 cc.

Humans also have a huge range and variation in skulls and brain sizes.  Some mentally retarded adults have a brain size of about 511-519 cc.(1) http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/tj/v4/n1/cranial

Pygmies have a brain capacity about half of the larger human adult, and so would be about 600-700 cc.

There is a report of a man with a cranial capacity of only 624 cc. His name was Daniel Lyon and he displayed no mental or physical abnormalities.(2) http://creation.com/turkana-boy-getting-past-the-propaganda

Most of the larger human brain sizes range from 950 to 2,200 cc and with a mean cranial capacity of around 1,370cc.(3) http://topics.info.com/Whose-brain-is-larger-Neanderthal-man-or-modern-man_2699

There are people today who live in Australia, Indonesia, and Africa who have Homo erectus like skulls, yet they look perfectly human.(4) http://creation.com/turkana-boy-getting-past-the-propaganda; http://creation.com/how-different-is-the-cranial-vault-thickness-of-homo-erectus-from-modern-man

Below is a common illustration of increasing brain sizes that attempts to show evidence of human evolution.  But this is just speculation.  A scientist can make a similar illustration using creatures which exist today.  Starting with the bonobo with 326-356 cc then evolves into the chimps with a brain size of 350-386 cc.  The next step in this evolutionary scenario is the orangutan with 337-437 cc and then finally the gorilla with the brain capacity of 455-525 cc.  This brings us to the end of the ape evolution.  We do have to remember that species within a kind, or family, are consistently going extinct, so in the past we would have had many more apes to pick from… like the Australopithecines.

Cranial-Capacity-Illustration

In comparing the variations of human skulls we find around the world today, along with their increasing brain capacities, we can also make an evolutionary timeline. Starting with the mentally handicapped with brain capacities as low as 511-519 cc, and then increasing to the pygmies with 600-700 cc.  Evolving upward until we arrive at the larger humans with more consistent brain sizes ranging from 950 to 2,200 cc and with a mean cranial capacity of 1,350-1,370 cc.

Using the variety of apes and humans alive today, we can make a typical textbook illustration that shows the supposed evolution of man’s cranial capacities and we would be 100% wrong.  The advantage we have from studying living organism is that we not only have the hard anatomy to study, but the soft anatomy as well.  With the abundance of scientific research and evidence, we only observe speciation within the ape kind and the human kind, but no evidence of Darwinian evolution.

One of the disadvantages of using fossils is most, if not all, of the soft tissue is missing.  So the vast amount of information is missing, thus leading to increased speculation and the mixing of distinct kinds into an evolutionary jumbled mess.

In the fossil record, we find the human brain capacity ranging from around 900cc on up. Since humans were made on day six of the creation week, all human variations would live within a few thousand years.  So scientists should find some humans with small brains (Homo erectus) and some with bigger brains (Neanderthal).  What is interesting is that we find the same thing today.  Some people have small brains and some people have big brains.  Some people have Homo erectus like skulls and some do not.  Not much has changed over the years.

What makes matters worse for evolutionary theory is the research done by John Hawks, an anthropologist from the University of Wisconsin, that states, “And it’s also clear the brain has been shrinking.”(5) http://discovermagazine.com/2010/sep/25-modern-humans-smart-why-brain-shrinking#.UvaltrQk-So

Another comment from the same article stated, “If our brain keeps dwindling at that rate over the next 20,000 years, it will start to approach the size of that found in Homo erectus, a relative that lived half a million years ago and had a brain volume of only 1,100 cc.” (6) http://discovermagazine.com/2010/sep/25-modern-humans-smart-why-brain-shrinking#.UvaltrQk-So

It appears that human evolution has peaked in the Neanderthal and Cro-Magnon man, and we are now in a process of devolution according to these findings.

But the good news is found in an article from Answers in Genesis: “Because man’s cranial capacity is so variable today, it has been shown that there is very little relationship between cranial capacity and human intelligence.”(7) http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/tj/v4/n1/cranial

The bottom line is this, different brain sizes and skull shapes have nothing to do with Darwinian evolution or increasing intelligence.  We exhibit different brain sizes and skull shapes in our past and we still have them today.  As we study the evidence today, as well as in the fossil record, we discover we are not all in the same family.  The apes are in the ape family, or kind, and the humans are in the human family, or kind, and each family has a wide range of variation.  God is a very interesting and fascinating God, by creating a complex and orderly genetic information system that enables a huge, and fantastic, variance within each kind, and with all this He clearly displays His 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.

Getting over our fears

 

As many of you know, my wife Sue was diagnosed with cancer in the small intestine.  When we first heard the news, we and the doctors were very concerned about the severity of the cancer.  There was a chance the cancer had already spread to the other organs.  Thoughts of living without Sue went through my mind.  These thoughts were unbearable.  The surgery went very well and the doctors were confident they removed all the cancer, but then there was the recovery.  The recovery was worse than I expected.  Sue had about six months of pain, weight lose, and digestive problems.   On top of all that, she had some complications, and two weeks ago had to undergo major surgery to fix these complications.

Reflecting on the past six months with the fear of losing my wife and the pain she was enduring, I realized this would all be for a season.  I knew one day we would be together again and she would have no more pain. Then I thought about the unbeliever.  If a person has not trusted Jesus Christ as his Savior, he will live forever in a place of misery and be eternally separated from the Creator.  This was a thought too scary to entertain.  I then read a couple of Scriptures where God weeps, and two of these times it was over the unbeliever.  God weeps over the broken relationships caused by sin and the rejection by the unbeliever of His free gift of salvation.  God longs for a relationship with all people.

hThen I realized I was part of the problem.  I was scared, and sometimes reluctant, to witnesses to others.  People need to know about the free gift! And how will they know if someone does not tell them!  It was time for me to overcome these fears and tell others.  After spending so much time in the hospital, I decided to witness to the nurses.  I was surprised to see the hunger that they had to know the truth.  One nurse said he believed God had brought us to the ICU just for him.  He was struggling with many issues and creation and salvation was just what he needed to hear.

John  4:35 -  “Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.” (KJV)

This statement is so true, the fields are white, but we need laborers.

 

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.

All in the Family – Part 3

 

All in the Family - sign 2 - focus

Picture of a sign at the Anthropology Museum in Laramie, WY

Recently, while visiting the anthropology museum in Laramie, WY, I read and saw some very interesting exhibits.  Most of what I read was not new, but exactly what the book of Genesis predicted …as I will explain later.  The sign for the first display of interest read in part (pictured right and the content in the black box is printed below):

“H.rudolfensis, A. boisei, and H. erectus All lived at the same time and this means that one is not an ancestor of the others.”

All in the Family - sign 1 - focus

Picture of a sign at the Anthropology Museum in Laramie, WY

We can read from an article in the Discover magazine, that they agree with the findings of the museum.

“Human evolution is bushy with branches that go nowhere. You don’t just have Australopithecus leading to Homo habilis leading to Homo erectus leading to Homo sapiens. This lineal idea is just kind of bogus. It was all very simple in the past, but it’s all wrong.”

- Anthropologist Russell Ciochon, University of Iowa, comments on new fossil finds. Discover, Jan 1996

We neither observe today, nor in the fossil record, the vertical macro-evolution (Darwinian evolution), which is one creature evolving into a completely different creature.  There is no evidence of an evolutionary tree of life.  What we do observe in nature is horizontal micro-evolution as described in Scripture.

As I listen to people, including scientists, they seem to have a misconception of what the Bible actually teaches. Many believe the Bible states that creatures do not change at all.  But this is not the case.  With a little studying of the Greek culture, we will see that some of the influential Greek philosophers taught this concept and it is usually called ‘the immutability of species.’

“Fundamental to natural selection is the idea of change by common descent. This implies that all living organisms are related to each other; for any two species, if we look back far enough we will find that they are descended from a common ancestor. This is a radically different view than Aristotle’s Great Chain of Being, in which each species is formed individually with its own purpose and place in nature and where no species evolves into a new species.”

http://www.iep.utm.edu/evolutio/

Some in the church made a great mistake when reading some of the false teachings of the Greeks into Scripture.  So Darwin did not discredit the Bible, but those who incorporated the false philosophical wisdom of man into Scripture.

The question is …what does the Bible teach?  God created kinds, or family types, to be ‘fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth.’  The original kinds would have contained a huge diversity of genetic information, thus giving them the ability to adapt to different and changing environments.  God’s intent was not for the kinds to go extinct, but to survive and fill the earth, and this would be accomplished by speciation within a kind. Speciation is not vertical macro-evolution (Darwinian evolution), but is instead the Biblical, scientific, horizontal micro-evolution.

All in the Family - sign 3

Picture of a sign at the Anthropology Museum in Laramie, WY

If a species did not have the genetic diversity to adapt to the ever-changing environments,  they would probably go extinct.  As we observe in some species today.  If a given species still has the genetic diversity to adapt to the changing environment, that species can then change to survive in a new environment.  As the Bible predicted, there would be a number of different kinds growing into diverse ‘bushes’ (instead of a tree) of species , where the specific makeup differs as the conditions change.  One species would not be any more complex or superior to the other species, but just better adapted for the current conditions. The conditions will determine what species of a kind will fill what environment.

Since God created all the kinds in just two days, there would be a number of bushes existing at the same time.

Tree of life - noAs the Bible predicted, scientists do find evidence of man existing with his so called missing links.

“At the beginning of its time range, around 1.9 Mya, H. erectus coexisted in East Africa with several other early human species including Homo rudolfensis, Homo habilis, and Paranthropus boisei. Sometimes they were even found at the same fossil sites. At the end of its time range, around 143,000 years ago, it coexisted with Homo sapiens and possibly Homo floresiensis in Indonesia.”

http://humanorigins.si.edu/evidence/human-fossils/species/homo-erectus

As one studies the research on Homo erectus, one discovers he is only one of many variations of a human being.  Some of his physical features are similar to modern day Australian aborigines and African groups.

“The skeleton of H. erectus was heavier, or “more robust,” than the average modern human skeleton. Body proportions vary greatly from individual to individual. “Turkana Boy” was tall and slender, like modern humans from the same area,…”

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/evolution/humans/humankind/k.html

The Turkana Boy skeleton is regarded by many as a subhuman ancestor, but it is easy to see why even some evolutionists believe he is the same species as people today.

“From the neck down, the skeleton is virtually indistinguishable from that of a modern Kenyan bushman.”

http://creation.com/turkana-boy-getting-past-the-propaganda

There is also evidence of humans living at the same time as ‘Lucy.’  This topic will be discussed in a later article or you can search our website.

Creationist OrchardThe conclusion from the evidence is, we never observe the vertical macro-evolutionary tree of one kind, or family type, of creature evolving into a completely different kind of creature.  We do observe the horizontal, micro-evolution of Biblical bushes (species or speciation within a kind).  Can we use the Bible as a guide to prevent us from making scientific mistakes?  Yes, we can!

 

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.

All in the family! Part 2

 

Research on the Neanderthal genome has revealed modern humans and Neanderthals could interbreed with one another.  This means Neanderthals and modern humans are all of the same kind, or family. In other words, Neanderthals are just a variation of humans.

The following is from an article on the New Scientist website entitled, “Breeding with Neanderthals helped humans go global,” by Michael Marshall.

“The publication of the Neanderthal genome last year offered proof that Homo sapiens bred with  Neanderthals after leaving Africa. There is also evidence that suggests they enjoyed intimate relations with other hominins including the Denisovans, a species identified last year from a Siberian fossil.”

Tourists at the entrance to Denisova Cave, Russia from the Wikimedia Commons.

Tourists at the entrance to Denisova Cave, Russia from the Wikimedia Commons.

But another variation of humans was discovered fairly recently, the Denisovans.  Their genome reveals they were related to the Neanderthals.  But there is more to the plot.  The Denisovans also interbred with another mysterious variation of humans.

The following quotes are from another article by Michael Marshall, “Mystery human species emerges from Denisovan genome.”

“The genome shows that Denisovans were cousins of the Neanderthals – this much was already known. ”

“The new hominin has left its traces in the genome of a Denisovan, an extinct hominin known to exist from a finger bone and two teeth found in a Siberian cave. Nobody knows what Denisovans looked like because there are so few fossils. But geneticists have managed to sequence their entire genome to a high degree of accuracy.”

“The best explanation is that the Denisovans interbred with an unidentified species, and picked up some of their DNA. Or as Reich puts it: “Denisovans harbour ancestry from an unknown archaic population, unrelated to Neanderthals.”  

A finger bone and two teeth are not a lot of evidence.  But with the evidence they do have, the information seems to show that these hominins were all in the same family or kind.  There also seems to be a variation within this human family.  This is no surprise to Scripture.

Again, the Bible can shed light on the evidence.

As we study Scripture, God is a God of unlimited knowledge and intelligence capable of making and creating complex creatures.   Scientists are now beginning to see the incredible complexity of life.  Also, as we examine Scripture and science, there is the ability in the genome for great variety.  In Genesis chapter ten, we have the division of the nations as people groups that spread throughout the world.

Genesis 10:5  – By these were the isles of the Gentiles divided in their lands; every one after his tongue, after their families, in their nations.

Genesis 10:32 - These are the families of the sons of Noah, after their generations, in their nations: and by these were the nations divided in the earth after the flood.

With the separation of nations, certain human characteristics would be more pronounced or prevalent in the dispersed people groups.  Thus giving us the drastic variations of humans we see today, and it was possibly even greater in the past.  As time past from the division of the nations, or even from Adam, some of these people groups have been lost due to wars (genocide), harsh living conditions, diseases, natural disasters, interbreeding with other people groups, etc.

The following is from the same article mentioned above, “Mystery human species emerges from Denisovan genome.”

“Whoever the mystery people were, they are a reminder that inbreeding was rife in human evolution.”

Interbreeding within the human kind and having more little humans is not Darwinian evolution (macro-evolution), but instead micro-evolution or variation within a kind.  This concept is both Scriptural and scientific, but not evidence for macro-evolution.

Going back to the articles, the finding of a wide variety of humans is no surprise.  Some of the humans had big jaws while some had small jaws, some had big skulls and some had small ones, some ate with big teeth and others without, some people had sloping foreheads and big eyebrow ridges and others had straight or protruding foreheads.  Some individuals were very big, and others were small.  Some people even had big noses whiles others had small ones (unfortunate).

Just because an individual has a flat forehead, larger eyebrow ridges, big jaw and teeth, or even a big nose does not mean that he or she is less human or more primitive!  These are some of the variations God has programmed into the human genome.

There are no surprises in the fossil record.  They fit perfectly with what we read in Genesis.  It’s all in the family!

 

Rich Stepanek

All in the Family! Part 1

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.

Work …a Blessing or Curse?

 

WORK.  What thoughts come to mind when you hear this word?  Are they in a positive or a negative light? Do you like to work? I have been thinking about work and its value for the past few weeks. Since my cancer surgery four months ago, I basically had the “privilege” of being served by others. This was primarily my dear husband and my family, who provided almost everything I needed. They brought me many meals in bed, washed many dishes, and served me in whatever way they could. I was unable to do almost any of the usual household duties I had been accustom to doing for the past 35 years. I had always enjoyed serving, so it was very difficult for me to now be the one to be served. This life went on for over three months.

hThen by God’s grace and some new medication, I started to feel somewhat better. I began to be able to do some simple cooking and cleaning. One of these first days as I was ironing one of my husband’s shirts, a task I had not been able to do for over three months, I just began to cry and praise The Lord for His goodness in allowing me the privilege to do this again! It felt so GOOD to work! At the end of the day, I could look back and see what God had allowed me to accomplish. Now by many standards it really wasn’t much, but it was so much more than I had been able to do before! It brought such a sense of fulfillment. Part of my joy was related to the fact that I wasn’t sure if my health would ever improve, but part was also just the joy derived from doing something of purpose, meaning, and service to my family. After several months of serving me, my husband and family were more than happy to have me resume my role and responsibilities, even with a few limitations!

The subject of work also reminds us of Genesis and creation. Work was part of God’s original plan. He gave both Adam and Eve specific duties and expected them to fulfill them. God knew that work was good and would provide joy and fulfillment. Work was NOT part of the curse after Adam’s sin. The curse made his work more difficult, because of the weeds and thorns, but the work itself was not a curse.

So the next time you are feeling discouraged or dismayed by the work that is before you, I would  encourage you to stop a moment and think. Thank God first for the ability to work, also His provision of work, and maybe ask for a change of heart that you would sense the joy that God intended to be derived from your work.

 

Sue 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.

How Ungrateful We Can Be

 

As most of you know, I had a Whipple surgery on November 25th, because of cancer in the duodenum.  As the months after my surgery pass, and as I try to adjust to my “new” (but certainly not improved!) redesigned digestive system, I have found myself having some troubling thoughts.  I have often looked with envy at other people who can eat anything they want, anytime they want, and feel good afterwards.  No pills, no pain, no restrictions, and I think, “this just isn’t fair.”  These people do not think twice about what a blessing it is to have a digestive system that works well.  It doesn’t even cross their mind!  How ungrateful these people are!

Footprints on the beachThen God brought conviction to my heart.  I thought about people who are blind.  Do I really thank God daily for my sight?  I honestly had to answer, “No.”  What about people who are wheelchair bound for life?  Do I thank God daily for the ability to move and walk?  Another “no” answer.  Or how about those who are bedridden, or have lost limbs, terminally ill children, stroke victims, and the list could go on and on.  You get the picture.  I was just like the people I had called ungrateful.  I was no different.

I was suddenly overcome with my own self-centeredness.  And I cried out to God for forgiveness.  I could see my own area of suffering so clearly and yet there are so many areas of my life in which God had blessed me tremendously, but I often take those blessings for granted.  We all are keenly aware of our own “area of suffering,” whatever it may be.  But how often we fail to have TRUE compassion for those who are suffering in other ways.  My prayer is that I would truly have a grateful heart daily to see the blessings from The Lord and to have a heart of loving compassion for others.

 

Sue 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.

All in the family! Part 1

 

DmanisiA discovery of five skulls from Dmanisi, Georgia, has added a new twist to the story of human evolution. They believe there may not have been many different evolutionary Homo species, but just one species consisting of a huge variation within that species.

“The five skulls found at Dmanisi do not seem to go together, having cranial capacities varying from 546 to 730 cubic centimeters and a constellation of features evolutionists typically assign to three different species of early Homo—Homo erectus, Homo habilis, and Homo rudolfensis.“  From the article, Does the Dmanisi discovery Demonstrate We Are All One Family.

“This would lump the various human species that have been named during early Homo history into a single evolving species connecting Homo habilis to the Dmanisi humans, and forward in time to Homo erectus as it expanded across Eurasia. “We think that many African fossils can be lumped in this category and aligned with the single-lineage hypothesis,” Lordkipanidze says.” From the article, Dmanisi Human: Skull from Georgia Implies All Early Homo Species were One.

So some researches believe that Homo habilis, Homo erectus, Homo rudolfensis, and the Dmanisi fossils could all just be variations of the same species.

Let us review of what they found.

Dmanisi skullIn 1991, paleontologists began to unearth fragments of skulls, miscellaneous human and animal bones, and stone tools. In 2000, researchers first found a complete lower jaw, then five years later they discovered the cranium they believe fit that jaw.  In the Dmanisi cave, they found the bones scattered and evidence of bite marks on the bones. One conclusion was that this was a carnivorous beast’s den, into which the victims were dragged.

“The team found clearly human skeleton parts, along with five skulls or partial skulls. Even though skull 5 has several key features resembling an ape, not a human, the Science study authors wrote, “Skull 5 is probably associated with the postcranial [bones located below the head] elements of an adult individual with nearly modern human body proportions.” From the article, New ‘Human’ Fossil Borders on Fraud.

As I read and study the evidence, it appears that wild animals dragged their prey into the den and scattered the remains around. Some of the prey may have been human. Some of the skulls have ape characteristics and the skeletons have modern human characteristics. There is a possibility that some of the humans could have had diseases, deficiencies, or deformities, etc., which may lead to some of the strange skulls.  Eventually the cave was occupied by humans, which is evident from the stone tools.  The humans may have hunted and brought in some of the remains that were found, and later the cave collapsed preserving the remains.

Can the Bible shed some light onto this data? Yes it can! True knowledge, wisdom, and understanding starts with the fear of the LORD.

Proverbs 1:7 – The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Proverbs 9:10 – The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.

Scientists have limited knowledge, and their worldview interferes with the interpretation of the data.   So to fully understand the facts of these fossils, we must first start with a source of all knowledge.  This source is the God of the Bible, the Creator of all things …including science.

Turning to Genesis, God created and made everything in six days and so finding human remains alongside ape remains is not unexpected.  God also programmed in the DNA for creatures to reproduce after their own kind or family type.  For example, we have the dog family, cat family, or even the bacteria family.  Everything reproduces after their own kind or family type.  Dogs always stay dogs and bacteria always stay bacteria; this is observational science.  Organisms never change into completely different organisms (macroevolution).  Macroevolution has never been observed.

What most people have missed in Genesis is the phrase found in Genesis 1:22, “And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth.”

And again in Genesis  1:28a, “And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish (fill) the earth, …”

To be fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth, creatures must have the ability to adapt to different environments.  God has created a very complex DNA system so creatures can adapt to their new environments. Scripture reveals that species will change to fill the earth, this is what we call microevolution or microadaptation, and what I like to say is variation within a kind.  This is Biblical and also scientific.  But at the same time, creatures are made with limitations and cannot change into a completely different kind or family type.

With this information in mind, let us review the data.  What they found are variations of apes, mixed with human bones.  Some of these variations of apes have probably gone extinct, so we will not see those types of apes alive today.  This is not a new concept, because variations in kinds are going extinct today.  We also observe a huge variation within the human kind, and some of these variations may have also ceased to exist.

Again it is all in the family!  We have the ape family and the human family, with a large range of variation within these families.  By studying Scripture, we can come to know the truth!

 

Richard Stepanek

All in the Family! Part 2

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.

Total Surrender

 

I have been thinking quite a bit lately about the term “surrender.”  In the weeks leading up to surgery, the word took on a whole new meaning.  Suddenly, so many things were out of my control.  It sometimes takes a real attitude adjustment, to release OUR control to others, even to God.  I heard a sermon during this same time period,  reminding me that I cannot question God’s path because it is different than my agenda; even when that path includes cancer.  I MUST surrender.  Sometimes it is forced upon us.  We can respond willingly, or reluctantly.

This may seem silly, but right after surgery, when I was in the recovery room, the first thing I said to Rich was, “I have a great idea for a blog.”  As I was coming out of the anesthesia, my mind was thinking about my surrender to my surgeon and the other doctors and nurses that day.     I definitely was no longer in control.  I was TOTALLY in their hands (I know I am ultimately in the LordFreedom-at-the-cross’s hands). I was depending on them for everything. I had to trust them to know what they were doing.  And I did trust them.  Actually, I didn’t want to be in control! I didn’t have the medical know-how about these things. Even after the surgery, I had so many tubes, drains, monitors, and machines hooked up that I could hardly even move.

How silly, I thought, that sometimes we have a hard time surrendering to God, who is all-powerful, all-knowing, and so loving.  I would not have considered for a minute on giving advice to my surgeon on the best way to perform his job, or tell him that I maybe had a better plan.  But yet so often that is how we approach our heavenly Father, wanting our own agenda to be accomplished instead of surrendering to His path …whatever that may be.

Now I KNOW it is not an easy thing to do at times, but it is the only way to true joy and peace.  This also is not a one-time event, but a daily, even moment by moment, continual process, as I am finding out through my slower than I expected recovery process.  Again, I need to remind myself that I cannot, should not, and will not, question God’s agenda, for He is truly a competent, trustworthy Physician!

 

Sue 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.

Who’s Fault is it? A response…

 

I received a comment on a recent blog (Who’s fault is it?), and so I wanted to respond on today’s blog.

Comment:

Do you think that it’s possible that God sometimes inflicts suffering to instruct us? Hear me out. The curse of the ground was to bring thorns into the work of man, to remind him that he’s the cause of his own suffering. And the animal sacrifices instituted by God in the beginning: they cost us something. It’s a little pain to show that we desire to be reconciled to God. And as you read the prophets, what did God do with Israel. Note that it is God doing the damage a lot of the time. And death itself is a curse from God on man. It was promised as a result of sin. But those who have faith in the resurrection power of Jesus’ sinless life, death, and resurrection can overcome death by it. It would be like me flicking my son’s finger when he sticks it in my mouth. (Filthy, grubby little things!) Sure, it hurts for a little while, and sometimes it hurts a lot for a long while, but we have faith that it’s for the good.

I take that position currently. Does it seem tenable to you?

 

hResponse:

I will have to agree with you to a certain extent.  In some cases it is a very tenable. God can use suffering to instruct us.  Hopefully, suffering will bring us back to God and His Word, because Scripture is where we receive God’s clearest instructions.

God used plagues with the Israelites to draw them back to Him. In the 28th chapter of Deuteronomy, we read of the blessings and curses for Israel.  When Israel turned away from God and His laws, it would result in a number of curses, including diseases. Many times God would send His prophets to warn the Israelites of their sins.  In Exodus, God sent a number of different plagues on the Israelites because of their rebellion.  In these cases, it was very clear that these plagues were from God for the purpose of turning Israel from their sin and back to Him.  The same is true for pharaoh and Egypt.  Pharaoh and the Egyptians knew these plagues were from God, because of their disobedience to God.  Moses, God’s prophet, clearly proclaimed these consequences and plagues to pharaoh.  The same thing is expressed to your son, for he knows he did something wrong by your flicking of his finger.

Today it is not always so clear.  Look at Job.  His friends were accusing Job of living in sin and thus God was obligated to bring judgment on him.  This was clearly not the case.  In Job 42:7-8, God rebukes Job’s friends for not speaking correctly about the LORD!

Job 42:7, 8

“And it was so, that after the LORD had spoken these words unto Job, the LORD said to Eliphaz the Temanite, My wrath is kindled against thee, and against thy two friends: for ye have not spoken of me the thing that is right, as my servant Job hath. Therefore take unto you now seven bullocks and seven rams, and go to my servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering; and my servant Job shall pray for you: for him will I accept: lest I deal with you after your folly, in that ye have not spoken of me the thing which is right, like my servant Job. “

We have to be very careful not to accuse God, or people, of doing things that they may not have done.  In Job, it was Satan who was behind the plagues.

In the case of the man born blind, again the people believed his blindness was the result of his or his parent’s sin.  But this was not the case.  It was so Jesus Christ’s works, God’s Glory, could be manifested before the people, and by seeing they may believe.

John 9:2, 3

“And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.”

There is also the case in which people who live a sinful lifestyle (for example; pre-marital sex, adultery, homosexually, drug use, alcohol abuse, etc.) will come down with diseases.  This is just the consequence of their behavior, and not necessarily God striking them with these diseases.  Even poor eating habits, smoking, and dangerous activities can lead to poor health.

I believe the majority of the diseases, cancer and others, is caused by the increase of corruption in our bodies which began after Adam sinned.  This corruption has increased drastically since the Flood. The Increase in mutations in the human body accompanied with viruses, bacteria, etc. has had a drastic effect on us all.

In the case of my wife, the oncologist examined Sue’s profile and from his examination concluded that Sue should not have cancer.  With her good eating habits and healthy lifestyle, she should have been in perfect health.  He concluded that the cause could be a bad gene (mutation) that was passed down from her parents, grandparents, or great grandparents. Another possible cause could be stress.  With raising two biological and four adopted children, being my help meet, and the particular difficulties of ministry; she has had plenty of stress!

Sue has not gone through just a little pain, but she has gone through over four weeks of hell.  We knew it was going to be bad, but I did not think it was going to be this bad.  She is showing some improvement, but it is slow.  Also, her illness has shut down my individual ministry with AOI, and it may have an effect on my future ministry.  I have been on call 24/7 for Sue in trying to ease the pain and discomfort, cooking food she can eat, getting her medication, shopping, and doing everything she would do if she was healthy.  If anybody is responsible for this, it is probably Satan and his demons… what better way to neutralize me than by attacking my wife.

I believe God will use her cancer for His glory and our good.  It has certainly changed our view of life.  We all waste a lot of time, money, and energy on things which are not important, especially in God’s eyes.  God views the souls of man, their relationship with Him, and their future destination as of ultimate importance and not the accumulation of stuff, which the world views as important.

The world views God as someone who takes joy in making life miserable for people. This is not what I read in Scripture, especially in the book of Genesis.  The Scripture proclaims God as a perfect, righteous, holy, and just God, and so He will judge the ungodly.  But He is also loving, compassionate, and merciful.  He desires to serve us and to take care of us.  God has a desire for everyone to be saved, and to deliver us from this present evil age. He will ultimately take us to a world of no pain, suffering, cancer, etc., where we will be in perfect communion with Him.

He wants us to conform to the image of His Son, and this will take the studying of His Word, His guidance, and His discipline.  The reason for us conforming to the image of His Son is for our good, His glory, and an eventual perfect relationship with Him.

Romans 8:29

“For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.”

I hope God can use Sue’s bout with cancer to show the world His love and compassion.  That He is always with us and will not forsake us. We pray that God can use this fight with cancer to bring us, and others, into a closer relationship with Him.  Thank you for all your prayers as well.

 

Richard 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.

Who’s fault is it?

 

As more tests were performed to determine the extent of Sue’s cancer, there was good news.  The cancer seems to be contained to one area.    It seems we may have detected the cancer before it spread to other organs, and the surgery appears to confirm this.  The surgery was a difficult one, but a success, and we are still in for a long haul.

In-The-BeginningThe question is, who is responsible for Sue having cancer?  Is it God’s fault?  If God is a God of love, how could He allow Sue to have cancer?  God is not to blame.  As I study Genesis chapters one and two, God made everything perfect (very good).  Cancer is not ‘very good.’  It is a corruption of what was originally very good.

So, how did this corruption enter into God’s perfect creation?  Again, the answer lies in Genesis.  Adam and Eve were made to live forever in paradise, but something went wrong.  The serpent, which was possessed by Lucifer, deceived Eve, who then enticed Adam to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  When Adam ate of the fruit from this tree, death and corruption entered into God’s perfect world.

So God is not to blame; man is to blame.  The death and suffering we observe around us is a consequence of sin.  I have also observed that when mankind moves further away from God and His Word, suffering seems to increase.

Does Sue have cancer because God is punishing her for her sins or those of her parents?  The answer to that question again is no.  Jesus revealed this in John chapter nine.

John 9:2, 3: “And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.”

Is it God’s will or desire for her to have cancer?  The answer again is no.  God’s desire is for all to repent and have eternal life and have it abundantly.  God came to bring life and not corruption and death.  The evil one comes to bring death and suffering.

John 10:10: “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” 

Jesus Christ came to deliver us from this present evil world of death and suffering.

Galatians 1:4:  “Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father:”

Revelation 21:4: “And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”

God’s will and desire is to take away death, sorrow, crying, pain, etc.  God wants the best for us, and that is why He sent His Son to save us.

Satan is the prince or god of this world.  Through Satan’s deception and man’s sin, death and suffering abound in this world.

John 14:30: “Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me.”

2 Corinthians 4:4: “In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.”

Jesus Christ has come, and will come again, to change the corruption which has entered into the world.  Praise the LORD!

God is always very good and everything He does is right, but God has allowed Sue to have cancer.  We do not know why, but there must be a reason.  God has a plan for our lives and that is all we need to know.  So for now our goal is to glorify God in any circumstance and to rejoice in the LORD always!

Philippians 4:4-7: “Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

God will be with us through this time of suffering. Thank you for all of your prayers and support.

Hebrews 13:5:  “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”

 

Richard 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.