All posts tagged General Thoughts

American University Hostility

 

I just read an article where Ravi Zacharias, one of the leading Christian Apologists, was quoted as saying that American universities are becoming more hostile to Christians than the Middle East. The online story, quotes Zacharias saying:

Ravi Zacharias

Ravi Zacharias – Photo from rzim.org

“If you had asked me [which is more hostile, the Middle East or an Ivy League campus] even last year, I would have probably said, ‘Clearly the tension is greater in those parts of the world, because one wrong word and you don’t know whether you’d be boxed and sent back or what,’” Zacharias said on Glenn Beck’s radio program Monday. “But you know, our university campuses are getting pretty hostile, too. I was at an Ivy League school earlier this year and had to walk with security. Unbelievable.”

Although Mary Jo and I did not have to hire security officers to accompany us while teaching Creation this fall (at the 6 universities where we spoke ), we certainly have experienced hostility. As Zacharias points out in the article, the hostility is more ridicule and mocking than physical assault. (Thank you, Lord!)

I would agree with Zacharias about the mocking. In fact, one of the leading spokespersons for the atheists had told his audience that in order to win this battle, his fellow skeptics would have to learn to “mock and scoff.”  That is exactly what we experience on the campus. With this type of hostility, in order to present creation on the university campus, you have to have a tough hide and strong emotional fortitude!

One student came by our booth at the University in Mankato, Minnesota, where the large poster board had the title of that night’s presentation, “Best Proofs of Evolution??  Think Again!” He cocked his head and snorted, “Huhhhhnn!” He turned back, and repeated his routine again before sauntering into the dining hall still throwing his head back several more times and likely repeating, “Huhhhhnn!”

If he thought that would discourage our attempts to present the truth of Creation, it didn’t. I actually caught up with him to deliver a personal invitation to talk about it and come to our presentation that evening.  He didn’t make it that night. His form of hostility – mocking and ridicule — merely made me chuckle at the state of “human evolution” (or lack thereof) on the university campus.

 

By 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.

Interview Questions for Young Creation Evangelists

 

One of our goals at AOI is to not only spread the gospel as we teach the creation message, but also to train and equip others to go and do the same. We want to encourage those who God is calling to teach creation, whether formally or informally, and when possible, help them connect with local Creation teaching ministries – or even start one of their own!

With that in mind, we would like to share this interview with California high school senior Caleb. Caleb is the founder of Foundations Creation Club (https://www.facebook.com/FoundationsCreationClub) and is an example of how young people (and older ones as well!) can impact their community for the Lord using the creation message. If you or someone you know is involved in some type of creation ministry, be it full-time or simply actively using it as a tool to share the gospel, we’d love to hear about it! Email us at: traininginstitute@discovercreation.org

Maybe we’ll share an interview with you as well!

Foundations Creation Club BannerAimee: Will you tell us a bit about yourself? 

Caleb: I am in my senior year in high school and have been homeschooled since 6th grade. I have had the blessing of being a Boy Scout for the last 5 years, concluding with the achievement of the rank of Eagle Scout. I currently serve as a leader in our local Christian-homeschool Trail Life USA Troop (Trail Life is the Christian alternative to Boy Scouts). For the last 2 years, I have served as a leader in our church’s AWANA program. I have been interested in science since I was a young boy and dreamed of being a scientist, specifically a paleontologist or geologist. I still haven’t given up that dream, but I’ll tell you more about that later. ;) I am currently working alongside some other creationists in our area in a ministry called Genesis Apologetics (www.genesisapologetics.com) to reach our community with this vital creation information.

Aimee: Why do you feel that belief in creation is important?

Caleb: In discussions with youth pastors, I have learned about the strategy being used to reach today’s youth is to “reach them where they’re at”. This is a good strategy, but I fear that most youth ministers and pastors don’t know where the young people in their congregation are “at”. On the 5 days of the school/work week, “churched” young people are being indoctrinated in a worldview that completely conflicts with what they are hearing on Sunday morning. “Bible stories” like Adam and Eve, Noah and the Ark, and the Tower of Babel are treated as mere superstition while “science facts” like evolution and millions of years are trumpeted as being the only “rational” explanation for our origins. On the one day of the week that Christian leaders have the ability to speak the truth into the lives of their youth, it is important that they equip them with answers to the claims they are hearing during the rest of the week. If we are to see this generation accept the truth of Scripture, this an issue that has to be dealt with. After all, if you can’t trust the first 11 chapters of the Book, why should you trust the rest? This is where ministries like ours come into play.

Aimee: How long have you believed in creation over evolution? Was there some incident or discovery that you made that caused you to change your mind, or have you always believed it?

Caleb: For about 7 years. For the first 10 years of my life, all I heard was evolution and millions of years. I didn’t even know biblical creation was an option. I knew that the Bible taught a six-day creation, Adam and Eve, Noah’s Flood, and a young earth, but science books contradicted these things by saying that earth has been around for billions of years and that dinosaurs died out millions of years ago. My response was one of confusion and apathy towards the Scriptures. It wasn’t until our family considered homeschooling that we were introduced to the biblical view of origins by a friend. We were loaned a creation book and volume 1 of the Jonathan Park radio adventure series, which helped us to understand what the Bible had to say about dinosaurs and fossils. Later, we attended a conference with Ron Carlson from Christian Ministries International, where he spoke on evolution and the age of the earth. This really helped our family to see the Bible in a new and refreshing light. For me, the Bible became more than a book of morals and stories; it became true history.

Aimee: Why did you start this creation ministry? What are your goals in the ministry? 

Caleb: The two verses that our ministry is built on (you could say that they are my “life verses”) are Psalm 11:3, “If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?” and 2 Corinthians 10:4-5, “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.” Genesis is the foundational book of the Bible, the history upon which every doctrine of Scripture directly or indirectly rests. But this history is being attacked by the onslaught of evolutionary teaching in public schools, museums, and in pop culture. What are we to do? We must stand on Scripture and be able to give an answer to these claims and challenges to God’s Word, while filtering everything through the lens of a biblical worldview. This is why our ministry exists: to equip believers with the tools and information to effectively defend their faith in God and His Word.

Aimee: There are many creation evangelism efforts popping up all over the country right now. What do you think is an effective (and possibly new) way of making an impact? Please explain how you think it can go from an idea to practical application. (We absolutely don’t want to steal your ideas and we don’t have to make this public if you are worried about others stealing your idea, but we want to help you achieve and accomplish your “big” ideas!)

 

Caleb: This is a great thing! I am extremely excited to hear about smaller ministries lead by local families and congregations. Ultimately, this is the way the battle over origins must be won. Ministries like Answers in Genesis and Institute for Creation Research are great at equipping the saints, but it’s ultimately up to local ministries to make sure that these resources are getting into the hands of believers across the nation. There are many ways of doing this. One way is to ask ministries like the ones I just mentioned to come and give presentations at local churches. Sometimes there is a cost for hosting ministries like these, but if you can get people on your side who are willing to donate or help out, it is worth it. Another way is to give out free materials, like ICR’s Acts & Facts newsletter (though, I admit, it is a bit hefty for those not familiar with creation science) or Genesis Apologetics’ Fast Facts sheets (http://genesisapologetics.com/creation-vs-evolution-fast-facts/). Another way is to hold regular meetings, where you have a speaker from your area speak, or you can show a video if there are no speakers in your area. Try hard to get pastors and youth leaders in your area on board.

 

Aimee: What do you plan to do after graduating high school? Do you plan to continue in formal creation ministry?

 

Caleb: Absolutely! I am planning to go to college to earn an undergraduate degree in geology (Lord willing!), then pursue a graduate degree in the same (or a similar) field. Ultimately, I would like to work for one of the major creation research institutes or ministries, like AiG or ICR, as a speaker, writer, and research scientist.

 

Aimee: What advice do you have for other young people who want to do active ministry, whether it be creation focused or otherwise?

 

Caleb: Ministry has to be preceded by a close, personal relationship with Jesus. Part of this means getting into His Word (remember that Jesus’ words aren’t just the red letters!). This can be challenging sometimes, as it must be something that you faithfully commit yourself to. This will fuel you and equip you for the battle you will be getting into. When you focus on reading and meditating on the Scriptures, you will grow. Another thing to remember (this is something I have to constantly remind myself of) is that God doesn’t need you. This is clearly seen in the book of Esther, where Mordecai explains to Esther that even if she didn’t take a stand for her people, He could just as easily raise up someone else to do the job. But God wants you. This is a humbling thought that should lead you praise God for His amazing grace and providence.

 

 

 

By Aimee Mariani

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.

Blindsided by Grace

 

I love surprises. In fact, one of the things I love about my husband is his enthusiasm for staging a good surprise. But lately I’ve been contemplating the idea that maybe there are some surprises that I should be “outgrowing.”

How does the concept of surprise figure into growing spiritual maturity? Often I am astounded at the grace of God, mercifully protecting, teaching and blessing me beyond my wildest expectations. I could, in fact, say that His grace comes by complete surprise. But is that a biblical view? Should I find myself astounded when I see God mercifully providing, from divinely orchestrating the circumstances of my son’s birth to blessing us with the gift of an abundant supply of baby clothes to outfit his first year of life?

hMy God does not work in ways that are predictable. I can’t expect that He will always act in the same way, or that He will always do things the way I want them done. But so often, I find myself being, I think, far too surprised by His provision. Hasn’t He said He will supply all our needs? (Phil 4:19) Isn’t He our shield and protector? (Ps. 18:2)

Blindsided by Grace. The phrase came to me one day, not too long ago, as I contemplated the mercies of my God, thinking how often I am astonished to see how He works. As I mulled over the idea (it has such a holy ring to it, don’t you think?), I began to wonder if being able to be caught off guard by the mercies of God is really what He is calling us to. Does that fit with the words of the Psalmist, who says:

“I wait for the Lord, my soul does wait, and in His word do I hope. My soul waits for the Lord more than the watchmen for the morning; Indeed, more than the watchmen for the morning.” (Ps. 130:5-6)

If I am waiting on the Lord like a watchman, I will undoubtedly still be surprised at the ways in which the everlasting, unchanging, infinite God chooses to work. After all, He, to borrow from C.S. Lewis’ vivid illustration, is “not a tame” God, and as His child I look forward to an eternity of surprises. But If I am waiting on Him, expectantly watching for Him to work, I don’t think that I will be completely blindsided by the fact that He is working!

So that is my challenge to myself, in a life fraught with uncertainty, and constant temptation to live in fear: Wait on the Lord. I desire now to be living on the edge of my seat, eagerly, expectantly, breathlessly waiting and watching – what will my God think of next? I have to think that this posture of watching will, by the working of His Spirit, help me to recognize when God’s grace takes shape in ways I do not expect. The presence of pain, sorrow, and difficulty don’t indicate His absence, but perhaps will call for an even more intense need to be aware of His presence.

My prayer is that I will be so aware and watchful of God working, that the very fact that He surprises me will be a surprise in and of itself!

 

Aimee Mariani

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

God of All Comfort

 

 

The God of All ComfortI have recently been re-reading an old book entitled, “The God of All Comfort” by Hannah Whitall Smith an author of the late 1800’s.

I am only a few chapters into the book, but it has been such a help and encouragement to me!

It is not a deep theological study, but rather a practical guide for living a more abundant, joyful Christian life.

The author had once had a conversation with an agnostic who declared, “The Christians I meet seem to me to be the very most uncomfortable people anywhere around.  They seem to carry their religion (faith and trust in The Lord Jesus Christ) as a man carries a headache .”  ( from page 7 and 8)

Hannah Smith was very disappointed to hear that Christianity… whose fruits were declared in the Bible to be love, joy and peace… should so often work out practically in the opposite direction, and should develop the fruits of doubt, fear, unrest, conflict, and discomforts of every kind.

We today are not that different, are we?  I had to ask myself which type of fruit I displayed to the watching world around me?  Do I usually display the love, joy and peace that is to characterize the Christian’s life, or do others see discontentment, conflict, worry and discouragement?  It is a convicting question!  We are Christ’s representatives to those who do not yet have a relationship with The Lord.  Does our behavior and outward countenance draw them to the Savior or repel them and make them glad that they are not so miserable as we?

The answer lies, according to this author (and I agree wholeheartedly), in KNOWING God and actually BELIEVING what He has promised in His word!  As Christians, we probably would all say,  “Oh, yes, I know God and believe the Bible.”  But I would challenge that.  I know from personal experience that when severe trials and suffering come, sometimes it is not as easy to REALLY know God and believe His word.  It can be easy to “say” we do,  but it is much harder when our circumstances are out of our control to put this into practice in our daily lives.  Our thoughts and minds crowd out the Word of God, and instead of finding His comfort and peace, we allow ourselves the self-indulgence of following the easy path of fear, worry, discouragement, and discontentment.  We cannot do this, and expect the fruit of the Spirit to be displayed in our lives.  God’s peace, joy, love and comfort are continually and abundantly being offered, but we MUST, by faith, receive them, in order to know their blessing and benefit.

In the book, “God of All Comfort,” there is a compelling thought that I would like to share with you.  Many of you are aware of my two major surgeries this past year and my struggles through the healing process these past nine months.  Many times I certainly felt like I was in a wilderness with no way out.  This statement really spoke to my heart and I trust you will find it interesting as well.

“We find ourselves, it may be, in a ‘wilderness’ of disappointment and of suffering, and we wonder why the God who loves us should have allowed it.  But He knows that it is only in that very wilderness that we can hear and receive the ‘comfortable words’ He has to pour out upon us. We must feel the need of comfort before we can listen to the words of comfort.  And God knows that it is infinitely better and happier for us to need His comforts and receive them, than ever it could be not to need them and so be without them.” (from page 40)

My heart was overwhelmed with gratitude to our precious Lord when I read that paragraph.  I was filled with thanksgiving that He would allow me the privilege to hear His words of comfort that He has been faithfully providing this past year, although I haven’t always been listening.  I have come to thank The Lord for the struggles and trials as they have caused me to redirect much of my thinking and attitudes of the past, and best of all, I better know my Savior!

I have been making a list these past months of some of the great blessings in suffering and pain that God has helped me to come to understand:

  1. A deeper desire for the Lord’s return;
  2. Less concern and desire for material things;
  3. Increased prayer life;
  4. Increased desire for heaven;
  5. Learning greater dependence on The Lord and others;
  6. Putting life and priorities in a better perspective;
  7. Developing more gratefulness for the little things;
  8. Increased compassion for others in pain and struggles;
  9. An opportunity to really “live my faith”;
  10. Deeper understanding of how brief and precious life is;
  11. Greater understanding of my weakness in contrast to the strength and power of God;
  12. To practice daily “living in His presence” and above the circumstances of life—truly finding my peace, joy and comfort in Him.

The Lord still has so much to teach me, as I think I learn His lessons slowly, but I am thankful for His patience with me and thankful for His continued guidance and presence for whatever the future holds!

 

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.

Dinosaur Track Field Trip

 

Dino Trackway 1 - GatewayLast month I had an opportunity to give some creation presentations at a church in Gateway, Colorado relating to dinosaurs and evidence for the Flood. Afterwards, we took an excursion to a dinosaur trackway which is found on a sandstone layer in the mountains between Gateway, Colorado and Moab, Utah. The question that was posed to me, as a geologist, was how they were made and then preserved. The first thing I jokingly told them is that the dinosaur must have weighed an awful lot to sink into solid rock. I followed that up with a more likely scenario that the layer had to have been still wet sand when the dinosaur walked across it and left his footprints.

Evidently, the dinosaur left the footprints in the sand shortly before a mud layer quickly filled in the trackway. Otherwise the tracks would have been quickly washed away. Further mud and sand layers would have subsequently been deposited above that to a great depth. Minerals from the body of water above would have cemented the mud and sand grains to form mudstone and sandstone.  Later geologic uplift and erosion would eventually expose the layer of sandstone. The mudstone in the track, being softer, washed away leaving the dinosaur imprints for us to see today.

Dino Trackway 2 - GatewayWhen I think of all that wet sand and the huge amount of mud and sand layers deposited above it, it speaks to me about events one might expect to occur during the Biblical Flood. Perhaps the dinosaurs were trying to escape rising Flood waters as they left the tracks, then further catastrophic deposition of layers buried everything.  Later, as the Bible indicates in Psalm 104, the mountains rose up and the valleys sank down. That caused the layers above the trackway to be revealed once again for all of us to enjoy on a field trip.

 

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.

“Being a Dad Who Leads” Book Review

 

I am now officially a father of a sweet little boy and my wife and I are loving it. He is so precious to us. We have been so blessed by the generosity of others. Normally at baby showers, you get great stuff for the baby or for the mommy, but a couple of friends gave me, the daddy, a thoughtful gift. They gave me a book entitled, “Being a Dad Who Leads” by John MacArthur.

Being a Dad Who LeadsI was somewhat familiar with the author and pastor and so I was excited to dig into it, even though our baby was not even born yet. What I love about John MacArthur, remembering from one of his other books, is that he uses so much scripture in his writing and preaching… and he did not disappoint with this book.

In this book, MacArthur touched on a number of key passages and themes dealing with being a father. As men, we are to “love our wives, just as Christ also loved the church.” (Ephesians 5:25) We are called to be Godly examples and leading our wives and children in a way they will notice and hopefully even the outside world will notice. The family is the primary priority – above our work.  Being a Godly father is likened to Christ’s relationship to the church, and also as similar in role to a church leader, so it is important.

MacArthur also exposits the passage in Proverbs 7 about being wise and avoiding the seductress. From that passage, there is a lot of insight, advice, and guidelines for fathers to help train their children. MacArthur also describes the attributes and characteristics of the father in the prodigal son account (Luke 15:11-32) and how that represents God and is an example of how we are to be as fathers.

MacArthur encourages parents to continually share the gospel clearly. Over and over again, he refers back to Ephesians 6:4 which says, “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” From this verse and MacArthur’s emphasis, I was encouraged to make every moment and every instance a learning experience to relate and teach God’s Word to myself, my wife, and my children. Every circumstance can be used to teach us and point us to God and His Word.

I was very blessed to already have received this book and to have had the opportunity to read it, since I am just starting out. I legitimately think that raising up men to be Godly leaders of their home can change our deteriorating culture. In fact, I may buy this book in large quantities to start giving away and I may even do a book study with the fathers around me. I am even considering including the young, single men around me that will someday be fathers. This is great teaching from God’s Word and it is crucial that we focus on His Word to make a difference in our families and community.

 

Brian Mariani

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.

Horn Creek Creation Adventure Report

 

Horn Creek Ropes CourseMary Jo & I recently enjoyed conducting a family camp at Horn Creek Camp near Westcliffe, Colorado. It was our first year doing a Creation Adventure at this camp and everything went great. Families enjoyed the facilities including their lodge rooms, excellent meals, and the meeting room for our presentations. The activities were as intense or as laid back as each family desired.

From the comments we received, everyone benefitted from, and enjoyed, the Creation sessions. We had adult teaching sessions and a special kid’s programs as well.  Teens, as well as the younger ages, enjoyed hanging out with each other and playing some popular games during the evenings and after the sessions.  I would like to think they were discussing creation as they were hanging out, but I’m not betting on it.

For the action minded, there was a giant swing that got the adrenaline flowing for anyone. Also, white water rafting was enjoyed by all who participated. The river we Horn Creek Water Sliderafted is one of the most popular, as there is one rapid after another. Others went horseback riding or climbed a fabulous climbing wall. Families also enjoyed the group dynamic activities that made everyone work together.

The long water slide into the pool was a real attraction for younger children, teens, and even the adults.  Some also tried their hand at bowling, basketball, or carpet pool, but most ran out of time to do all the activities that were available during that week.

It was a great success and we look forward to doing it again at Horn Creek next year. Our tentative dates for you to put on the calendar are June 28 – July 3, 2015. Hope to see you there.

 

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.

Our New Baby!

 

We have been anxiously awaiting the birth of our first baby. We did everything we thought that we could do to prepare for him or her (we didn’t know), as well as trying desperately to think through every decision so we could make the best and most God-glorifying decision. And we were doing good…we thought, but even with the best intentions, there is a fuzzy-line between trusting God and wanting it to go our way. We even developed our “birth plan” to be as natural, comfortable, and God-honoring.

We wanted to have our baby at the birth center in town and try to avoid the pressures of drugs and wires and protocol at the hospital. We thought that being in the birth center would be more comfortable, more convenient and possibly an opportunity to even witness. That was our desire.

40 weeks came and went and the days continued ticking by during the 41st week; we were concerned that we would not be able to have our baby as we wanted. We did almost everything to help our baby come along, but it liked its dark, warm, cozy little place within Mommy. We were now 42 weeks along and were finally forced to resign our desires and transfer to the hospital and have an induction with drugs… which we were desperately trying to avoid.

Our New BabyWithout going into gory details, we are now proud to announce that our baby boy, Caden David, was born late that night. He had a little trouble breathing at first and was in risk of infection. He had to spend that night in the NICU, but recovered very well.  We were able to rest that night as well and he was allowed to stay with us the next night. The hospital took great care of us and we were just sooo blessed by the lovely nurses that cared for us.

We don’t know how God used us there at the hospital to minister to them, but we felt very loved, cared for, and ministered to. God knew much better than we did that we needed to be in the hospital! God yet again protected and provided abundantly for us in that crazy process! We are now home, resting and praising God for our beautiful, healthy baby boy. God knows everything, His will is better than ours, and he wants to bless us that we might glorify Him! Not to say that the road won’t be difficult, but well worth it!

 

26 Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?…31 Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ 32 For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.   –  Matt 6:26, 31-33

20 Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, 21 to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.  –  Eph 3:20-21

 

Brian Mariani

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.

 

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

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Control and Provision

 

hJust recently, we were blessed by a wonderful gift of money from a family member. We were excited as it added a buffer, some breathing room, as we look towards added expenses with our baby on the way.

The next day, we had to go to the DMV to register our cars in Colorado for the first time since moving here. The DMV, for many, is known for long wait times and over-complicated “simple” transactions. We got there, took our number and waited. We only had to wait for a little bit, and eventually our number was called.

We had both of our cars to register at the same time. The young lady was very helpful and walked us through signing the paperwork. Now, I knew car registration was not cheap, but I figured it wouldn’t be too terrible and that is when the young lady told us about the late fees! Ouch! What a bummer – we thought we were being wise by re-registering last year in our previous states, due to the fact that we were moving half-way across the country and had not settled or established ourselves in Colorado yet.

The late fees really added to the total, but thank God one of our cars wasn’t as late because we didn’t retrieve it until later in the year. As we were waiting at the desk, I realized that I didn’t have any checks with me – I usually have one or two in my wallet.  I also noticed that there was an extra charge for using a credit card. Then I remembered, that envelope of cash from my family member! It covered the entire cost for that day, plus a little more as well. This may just seem like a coincidence to some, or not sound like that big of an issue, but to my wife and I, it was the powerful hand of God providing for us.

We had a professor at Bible College who taught about God’s character and power. I don’t feel like I learned, or remembered, much academically from him during that class, but I do remember him telling story after story of God’s provision for him and his family. That impacted me. I thought, what a better way to live life than to have these challenging experiences and to see God provide and to glorify Him by sharing that with others!

It stills surprises and scares my wife and I that we are missionaries, but let me ask this question: would you rather trust a man, an organization, the government or God for a paycheck?

We thought we were being wise and were trusting God by not registering our cars earlier, and it didn’t seem to work the way we wanted. We worried about it. Why do we worry? Who is in control??? God is in control! God has a better purpose and a better plan than we do, and I think that through His provision for us, God is greater glorified… and that is the goal. We often worry because we don’t want our life to be hard. Who are we living for?

Consider the Words of God:

25 “For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? 27 And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? 28 And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, 29 yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! 31 Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ 32 For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. 34 “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own…

“…Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man is there among you who, when his son asks for a loaf, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he? 11 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him! (Matt 6: 25-34, 7:7-11)

28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose…If God is for us, who is against us? (Rom 8:28, 31b)

 

Brian Mariani

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