Ancient walk on the beach

 

Beach scene in Costa RicaPeople have asked me about the reports of footprints of a human ancestor, which were uncovered by recent tides, being found in England. An article came out a couple of weeks ago in The Telegraph (April 21, 2014)  in regards to some tracks that were preserved in soft sedimentary rock. It referenced an older article (Feb, 7, 2014) by Richard Gray, a science correspondent, entitled 900,000 year old footprints of earliest northern Europeans discovered. Researchers think the tracks may have belonged to primitive human ancestors referred to as Homo antecessor, or “Pioneer Man.”

Sure enough, the tracks look good. In fact, they look too good to support any evolutionary interpretation. Rather than an “ancestor of humans,” they certainly look like modern human tracks.  Of the 49 tracks, not only do 29 show an arch, but many show clear outlines of the foot, and one shows a detailed toe print. All of this makes the tracks look like modern human tracks. Therefore the only “ancestral to humans” I get out of it is not “ape-like creatures,” but perhaps more like great, great, great, uncle Bill.   (For more information on this discovery, see Dr. Elizabeth Mitchell’s article, Ancient Footprints Place Humans in England Early In the Ice Age,  published February 18, 2014.

In 2009, ICR also reported on other tracks that were supposedly even older (1.5 million) that also looked like modern human tracks. (See Ancient Human Footprints Look Modern by Brian Thomas, M.S.)

The point in all of this (especially in this set of 49 footprints of adults and children), is that our great, great, great, grand families, just like families today, liked to take walks as a family on the beach. The tracks likely belonged to perfectly human great, great, grand children of Noah. Also, those millions of years didn’t exist.

 

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.

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.

Those Stubborn Mules

 

Impossible foal

Photo and caption from the original Denver Post story linked below

I really appreciate people sending me articles. Thanks, Frank, for the one regarding the mule!

One of the tests we have imposed on the term “species” is that of reproduction. If two animals can reproduce and if the offspring is viable (meaning the offspring can reproduce), then we say the original pair are of the same “species.”

It has been a common thought that mules, which are the hybrids between horses and donkeys, do not reproduce. That would mean that the donkey and horse are 2 different species.

Leave it to a mule to be stubborn and defy genetics!  A Denver Post article posted July 26, 2007 and updated in August of 2013 was titled, “Mule’s foal fools genetics with ‘impossible’ birth.”

According to the article, “It’s an event so rare that the Romans had a saying, ‘when a mule foals’ — the equivalent of ‘when hell freezes over.’”

Yes it is a rare event, but not “impossible.” The article mentioned that there are about 50 such cases of mules having offspring. Genetic researchers certainly are intrigued about this and are trying to figure out how this works.

Unfortunately, the young foal died last August from complications after having slipped on the ice earlier in the winter. While alive, it was the center of genetic attention and seems to have opened up new areas of genetic research. This case, and many others like it, should make us question our definition of a species. At the very least, it also shows that the Biblical definition of a kind is a whole lot more useful than our man-made term, “species.”

To read the original article, see: Mule’s foal fools genetics with “impossible” birth.

 

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.

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.

Getting Buried at the Museum

 

AOI always enjoys opportunities, with two just this past week, to give creation presentations along with museum tours of the Dinosaur Journey Museum in Fruita, CO. We have heard that this most recent tour has already had an impact on some of the participants!

AOI Museum Tour 2One was for a group of college students. The other group was a vibrant group of home educators and their children. The children really enjoyed the station where you can “dig” up dinosaur bones. Actually, as you can tell by the picture, some of the students enjoyed burying others in the group as much as digging up bones.

Of course, like most museums across this country (except for a few creationist ones), the amount of evolution presented is daunting. Without a proper creationist introduction, it would be easy for these students to “get buried” by the evolutionary philosophy.  This is happening to a high percentage of students in the public school system, as well as many Christian students.

We encourage you, if you get out to Western Colorado, to contact Alpha Omega Institute for materials or even to arrange for a presentation and creationist tour. You can then take the information back to your church, or so we would hope.

If you are not coming out this way, call AOI and arrange to have one of our speakers come to your church or university, thus bringing the truth of creation into your community.

Another option is to come to one of our family camps or perhaps college age students can come out to take part in our Discover Creation Training Institute.  You can read about these great opportunities on our website!

Whatever you do, fortify your family with the truth!

 

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.

Good Morning!

 

Snowy in MoabAs we were preparing for a full day of field trips, with the Jackson Hole Bible College, this was the scene in what is supposed to be warm and sunny Moab, Utah. It was still snowing! The students had just came from a pile of snow and very cold temperatures in Wyoming, so they likely think this is normal. However, they did have expectations of warmer weather and had to trade in their shorts for something warmer.

We had to delay our excursion a couple of hours from where we were staying in Moab as we really wanted to have them see something other than clouds, as this is a geology and biology field trip – not a meteorology class.

This has been the case for Mary Jo & I as we have led field trips for various groups over the years, including this bible college for many years. You take the weather you get and make the most of it. One year, we were tempted to make a T-shirt which said “I slid the Grand Canyon,” rather than the traditional, “I hiked the Canyon.”

Other times the weather is just perfect and that is what we are hoping and praying to have for the rest of this trip!  But, by the time I had finished this blog (and sent it to Scott), it was snowing even harder!

 

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.

75 Years of Commitment

 

Happy 75th

My parents, Irwin and Barbara Nutting, just celebrated their 75th wedding anniversary. First of all, that is hardly heard of because of the age attainments necessary. Secondly, many people are amazed at 75 years because of the fact that people these days seem to drift in and out of relationships with little commitment to each other long-term.

I realize that circumstances can make a marriage seem unbearable, but so many trials that cause many people to split apart, can be overcome. Many “unbearable” situations can actually be overturned to bring victory in a marriage and lead to 75 years. But it takes effort and it takes commitment. Enough preaching.

I really appreciate my parent’s commitment to each other and working through the difficulties of raising 4 boys together to achieve this amazing milestone of 75 years. That is a great encouragement and example for Mary Jo and I. Good job, Mom & Dad.

 

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.

 

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.

In Texas …or is this Canada?

 

AirplaneWe thought we were heading to a warmer climate, but it appears like the plane flew in the wrong direction or they moved Texas to the middle of Canada!  Bhrrrrr… It’s cold! Fortunately, we have dodged the sections that had snow and black ice.  We have certainly been praying for clear roads!

Mary Jo and I have been filling in for Richard Stepanek at speaking events he had previously scheduled with creation groups in Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio.  Due to his wife Sue’s difficult recovery from surgery, Rich needed to stay with her.

I always like a full schedule, so revising and filling up my schedule at the last minute posed a bit of a challenge. However, our schedule worked out fantastically with seminars and presentations at other locations as well. This included a “Classical Conversations” school (homeschool group that meets as a school one day per week). It took place 2 hours after our plane landed. I warned them that if there was a glitch in the flight, they may be doing the program themselves! We also did some church seminars and another full-day homeschool seminar besides the creation groups. So far, this has turned out to be a very full 2 weeks.

Our schedule also allowed us to swing by the Institute for Creation Research. It was good to visit with old friends there and catch up on some of the latest, and quite interesting, research they are conducting there.  Hopefully, we will be able to be report on that as it gets to the point where it can be shared in publications. We are so glad that ICR is continuing with their desire to promote high quality research and materials for us to share with others.

It is also good to see creation associations springing up all over, just like the ones we have spoken to on this trip. We have also spoken to other Creation groups across the country, including: Pittsburg, Portland, San Francisco, Phoenix, Tucson, Albuquerque, Denver, Kansas City, and Minneapolis. If you live in any of these locations and want to be part of one of these groups, let us know and we will put you in contact with them.

The Creation movement has certainly spread.  We hope that our readers will also continue to light the creation fires!

 

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.

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.