All posts tagged General Thoughts

Planet Earth: A Great Place to Be

 

http://www.nasa.gov/content/satellite-view-of-the-americas-on-earth-day/#.U1kQ4Vepb1a

http://www.nasa.gov/content/satellite-view-of-the-americas-on-earth-day/#.U1kQ4Vepb1a

If you think a full moon rising over the horizon is beautiful, just imagine being on the moon and seeing your planet overhead in the sky! Now for you couples, that would be romantic!

NASA recently came out with a remarkable “Earth Day” satellite photo of our planet.

Besides being breath-taking, one of the things it shows is the circulation in the atmosphere as noticed in the partial cloud cover. That is so important for us to have a home where we can breathe and thrive.

Do you also realize that if we were a bit further out in the solar system, we would be frozen ice cubes? Or perhaps if we were a bit closer to our sun, we would be scorched corpses? Then again, we could have an atmosphere where we would be gassed to death with noxious fumes.  If we were closer to our moon, we may be drowned because of huge ocean tides.

Yep, I think God positioned us and outfitted our planet just right and exactly where it should be in our solar system! As beautiful as it would be, I am also glad to be on Earth admiring the moon rather than on the moon admiring our planet.  After all, it is hard to hold hands or kiss your bride with those big old spacesuits!

 

Dave Nutting

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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

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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

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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.

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.

 

The Ken Ham/Bill Nye Debate – Thoughts

Ham-Nye debate

In researching about both speakers, they have two very different worldviews, perspectives, and goals. Ken Ham has been very active sharing his perspective and worldview for practically all of his life. He started out teaching public school science in Australia, but eventually moved to the US to work with Creation ministries.

Bill Nye has been a popular science teacher for many years, and recently, he has been especially outspoken on what he perceives are the dangers of allowing the US to slip in our position and emphasis in science. He passionately shares how he feels creationism is unscientific, evolution is basically a proven fact, and how it is wrong to teach children these erroneous viewpoints about science. He says he wants people to understand what science is and that through science we can then better impact our world.[i]

He said that he did not want to come as a scientist or to just spout off science, but he wants to teach people that evolution is proven science and that it is not acceptable to believe or teach creation as a scientific model. He has said that “your world just becomes fantastically complicated when you don’t believe in evolution.”i

Many secular and atheist individuals have warned not to do debates with creationists, because that gives creationism a platform or an opening to try to spread their non-scientific views. They don’t even want to give creationism a platform, or an option, to be heard or thought of as science. One atheist even gave Bill Nye tips on debating Ken Ham. Ultimately, Nye took the debate to raise awareness that “we need them (your kids), we need scientifically literate voters and tax-payers.”[i]

Here is a challenge that I might offer: Giving students numerous models (scientific, philosophical or religious) that they have to study and search out will make students more skeptical, critical, and better informed about each side and about what is truly science, philosophy, and religion. So teaching Creation and Evolution will help students to be critical and skeptical in searching out truth and to not just believe one side.

In fact, Ken Ham takes an even less imposing strategy on education by saying that “while we are not in favor of mandating that creation be taught in public school science classes, we believe that, at the very least, instructors should have the academic freedom to bring up the problems with evolution.”[ii]

The debate’s focus was on this question: Is creation a viable model of origins in today’s modern scientific era? Both men were very cordial, kept to time, and played by the rules with very little mud-slinging. Out of all of Ken Ham’s presentations, I thought he did one of his clearest presentations yet. Albeit, there was still a lot of material that could possibly go over peoples’ heads …especially if they were not familiar with the Creation perspective. By using video testimonies, he made the case that there were real scientists that rejected evolutionary naturalism and favored Biblical Creation. Ken Ham also made a clear distinction between observational science and historical science.

Chess-BattleBill Nye was, as always, more entertaining and less staged than Ken Ham. But, Bill Nye did not make strong connections or explanations for the various scientific arguments that he used for evolutionary naturalism. I was surprised at many of the evidences that Bill Nye brought up, because many of those evidences have very consistent (or better) answers from a Creation perspective. In fact, Creation Ministries International wrote a response to the debate (http://creation.com/ham-nye-debate) and linked it to many articles where they explain the creation perspective for the evidences that Bill Nye used.

Coming from a creation perspective, Nye’s arguments are fairly weak and so I was surprised that he was not as researched and knowledgeable about the creation perspective. I think Bill Nye would be surprised at the level of scientific complexity and research that has been done by creationists and I would simply challenge him, or any other atheist or evolutionist, to honestly search out and understand the complete Creation Model. I also challenge all creationists to study and understand the entire Evolutionary/Naturalistic Model.

One of the biggest issues in regards to the Creation/Evolution debate is that both sides are very often ignorant of the other perspective. I think it is important to study BOTH and then consider which one makes more sense.  I think if students did that, they would be much more informed and scientifically literate.

Ultimately, I hope that Ken Ham and Bill Nye will continue dialoguing and corresponding. I think Bill Nye would be fascinated by the science incorporated in creation models. As this has been one of the most popular Creation/Evolution debates, I really appreciate Mary Jo Nutting’s reminder that “we really need to be praying for God to speak through Ken Ham (and all of us as well) to reach this generation with the truth. We also need to pray for God’s grace and compassion to shine through Ken and all of the other staff at AiG. Our desire is not for Bill Nye to look bad, but for the lies of evolution to be exposed and for Bill Nye and MANY others to come to the knowledge of the truth.” Ultimately, the crux of the matter is to share God’s Truth with others that they might be saved and that God would be glorified. I hope and pray that God might open Bill Nye’s eyes and heart so that he could be a tremendous tool in God’s hands for spreading His Truth!

You can watch the debate for free at http://debatelive.org/ for a limited time after the debate. There is a follow-up answers session featuring Ken Ham and Dr. Georgia Purdom on that website as well. Consider how you can use this debate to reach out to family, friends, or coworkers and to be able to share the gospel. Keep studying and Praise God for what He has done!

 

By Brian Mariani

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[i] Bill Nye: Creationism Is Not Appropriate For Children, Big Think Video, Published August 23, 2012 on Youtube, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gHbYJfwFgOU, accessed February 6, 2014.

[ii] Ken Ham, Ken Ham: Why I’m debating Bill Nye about Creationism, CNN, Belief Blog, http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2014/02/03/why-im-debating-the-science-guy-about-creationism/, accessed February 5, 2014.

God’s Timing is Impeccable!

 

Whitewater adventure 1A couple of weeks ago, I called a friend of our ministry, Don Holmes, to see if he would help spread the word regarding AOI’s family camps as well as our Creation Action Boot Camps.  These are camps which we are offering this coming summer for teens and families with teens. I knew that Don helped in connecting a lot of churches and youth groups, both in Texas and in other states, with appropriate mission and camp opportunities. I also anticipated that those youth groups would really like to be fortified with creation and the problems of evolution, especially in Colorado, as they take part in AOI’s summer Rock and River Adventure. After all, how could Texas youth groups pass up the lure of 5 days of whitewater river rafting,  and rock and mountain climbing in Colorado??

Yellowstone 1Don’s answer to me was, “You can’t believe the timing of your call! I was just typing out an email that was going to a large number of youth groups listing opportunities.” Then he said that it was also quite unlikely that I would have caught him at his office number. He was  heading up to Colorado the very next week with a group of youth pastors and would like to have me speak to them about creation and the reliability of the Bible. Which I did just the other evening. Now, some of those youth workers are looking to have me speak at their churches.

The following morning (after speaking to the youth pastors), while I was talking to one of the youth pastors at a breakfast at the hotel, a couple who was not part of the group just happened to sit down at a table next to ours and overheard the conversation. They asked for information about our camps, training institute, and as well, seemed interested in checking out our information to see if their church would like to have us speak.

I can only say, “God’s timing (not mine) is truly impeccable!”

 

Horn Creek 3Dave 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.

“Wet Glue”

 

This is not an unknown revelation … things break. Some of these broken things can be repaired if we can only stick them back together. The first item many of us turn to for repairs is duct-tape or bailing-wire; however, if you try to put a vase, or fine china, back together using duct-tape, the results are far from satisfactory – and a wire repair on such items is preposterous. So our next option for restoration is some type of glue product. Two of the most versatile glues I have found are superglue and epoxy, both working well on many types of materials. Yet even superglues and epoxies have their limits, especially when it comes to bonding materials in wet conditions.

MusselsSo how do you make better “wet glue”? Scientists have turned to one of God’s created creatures to study and develop glues that stick together underwater … they are observing the mussel.

“Mussels manufacture their glue under water, yet the glue can withstand the force of a thousand pounds per square inch. Mussel glue will even stick to Teflon! The mussel begins by making the glue in two parts, each part made by a separate gland. One gland produces proteins that are like resin. The other gland makes the hardeners. When these are mixed, they harden into a strand in only a couple of minutes. The mussel will make many of these strands as it fastens itself to a rock. As more of these strands are made, they begin to cross-link with one another, greatly adding to the strength of the bond. The mussel makes between five and ten different kinds of protein strands, carefully limiting the cross-linking to produce the greatest strength. Without this mix, the bond would be brittle and easily break.” (taken from the article “True Superglue” on the Creation Moments website.)

Scientists and engineers continue to find better and new ways to solve problems when they carefully study the design already established in God’s creation.

 

Lanny Johnson

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

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.