Archive for the ‘Did you know?’ Category

Having a bad day? Feeling unlucky? After reading this you might feel differently because things could be a lot worse…

Our universe:

If…

…there were just two dimensions plus a time dimension, or four dimensions plus a time dimension life could not exist. Life can only exist in three dimensions plus a time dimension.

…the strong nuclear force was slightly altered the nuclei essential for life could not exist because hydrogen would not exist.

…the weak nuclear force was slightly altered there would be no heavy elements (or too many heavy elements) emitted by stars. Life would not exist.

…the gravitational force was slightly higher stars would burn too hot, if slightly lower, stars would never ignite, and thus no life would be possible.

…the electromagnetic force constant was slightly different no chemicals could bond and thus no life could exist.

…the ratio of electromagnetic force to gravitational force was slightly altered stars would be either too massive or too large and life could not exist.

… the ratio of proton mass to electron mass was slightly different chemicals would not bond and life would be impossible.

…the ratio of protons to electrons was slightly different galaxy, star and planet formation could not occur and life could not exist.

…the expansion rate of the universe was slightly slower it would collapse in on itself immediately, if slightly faster galaxies would never form, and thus no life.

…the entropy level was slightly different galaxy formation could not occur, and neither would life.

… the mass density of the universe was slightly different stars would burn too rapidly and life could not exist.

… the velocity of light was slightly different stars would be either too bright, or not bright at all, preventing life from existing.

…if the uniformity of radiation was smoother stars and galaxies could not form. If coarser, the universe would be empty space. Either way, no life.

…the decay rate of protons was slightly different radiation levels would be so high it would eradicate all life, but if too low, allow for no matter in the universe.

…the energy level ration between carbon and oxygen atoms was slightly different there would not be enough oxygen and carbon in the universe to support life.

…the ground state energy level for Helium was slightly different there wouldn’t be any carbon or oxygen, and therefore no life.

…the decay rate of Beryllium was slower stars would catastrophically explode. If faster, no chemistry for life would be possible.

… the mass excess of the neutron over the proton was slightly different heavy elements would not be possible and stars would collapse in on themselves. Again, no life possible…

…the polarity of water was greater heat generated by evaporation would kill all life, but if lower all water would be frozen and kill all life.

…the amount of supernova eruptions were occurring too frequently life would be exterminated, but if not at all heavy elements would not be present.

…the amount of white dwarf binaries in the universe were any less we wouldn’t have enough fluorine for life chemistry. If any more, planetary orbits would be disrupted and life would be exterminated.

…the ratio of exotic to ordinary matter was just slightly off the universe would collapse in on itself.

…if the amount of dark matter in the universe was slightly different, galaxies, stars, and planets could not have formed, and thus no life.

Max Tegmark, associate professor of physics at MIT states, “Our universe appears surprisingly fine-tuned for life in the sense that if you tweaked many of our constants of nature by just a tiny amount, life as we know it would be impossible.”[1] Another physics professor at MIT, Alan Lightman, writes, “…according to various calculations, if the values of some of the fundamental parameters of our universe were a little larger or a little smaller, life could not have arisen… The strengths of the basic forces and certain other fundamental parameters in our universe appear to be ‘fine-tuned’ to allow the existence of life.”[2]

The Planet Earth:

If…

…earth was in an elliptical galaxy or an irregular galaxy the lack of heavy elements and radiation exposure would prevent any life from existing. Life can only exist on a planet in a spiral galaxy, which is the kind we’re in (obviously).

…the earth was in one of the spiral arms of our galaxy the amount of radiation and supernova explosions would kill all life. Yet Earth lies in the peaceful openness between our galaxies’ spiral arms.

…the earth was too far away from the center of the galaxy there would be no heavy elements to form life. If too close to the center radiation and disruption in planetary orbit would kill all life.

…there were more than one star in our solar system our orbit would be disrupted enough to prevent life from existing.

… the sun we orbit were any larger it burn too rapidly and burn up all life. But if any smaller the rotational and tidal periods of earth would be drastically altered and there would not be enough UV radiation to allow plants to create sugars and oxygen.

… the sun burned a different color (more red, blue, ect.) plants could not photosynthesize.

… the surface gravity of earth was just minutely altered the atmosphere would contain either too many gases poisoning life, or too little gases and we’d lose our protection from deadly radiation.

…the earth was closer to the sun we’d be too hot. Farther and we’d be too cold. A change as much as 2% would kill all life.

…the orbital eccentricity was greater, seasonal changes would be too extreme for life to withstand.

…the axial tilt was slightly changed, surfaces temperatures would be too high for life.

… the earth rotated faster atmospheric wind velocities would be catastrophically violent, if slower, temperature differences would be too great.

… the earth’s magnetic field were stronger, electromagnetic storms would be catastrophic, but if too weak, solar radiation would eradicate all life.

…the earth’s crust were too thick too much oxygen would enter the crust killing life, if too thin, volcanic activity would kill all life.

… the albedo of earth was slightly different we’d either start a runaway heat up or runaway cool down which would kill most life forms.

…there were more asteroids and comets in the solar system, constant collisions would kill most life.

…the carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere were too high there would be a catastrophic greenhouse effect, if too low, plants could not photosynthesize.

…there were too much water vapor in the atmosphere a runaway greenhouse effect would kill all life, if too little there would not be enough rainfall to support life on land.

…the atmospheric discharge of electricity (lightning) were too high fires would reach catastrophic levels, but if too low, there would not be enough nitrogen in the atmosphere to support life.

…the ozone level in our atmosphere were too high surface temperatures would be freezing, and if too low, radiation would kill all life.

…the moon were too close, tidal forces would catastrophically sweep over the earth surface, and if too far, create instabilities in earth’s climate.

Cosmologist Dr. Hugh Ross claims that all the factors required for life to exist in the universe and on earth happening by chance is one in ten to the forty-second power (1 x 1042).[3] Physicist Roger Penrose calculates it out to be one in ten to the one-hundred and twenty-third power (1 x 10123)![4]

Biological Life:

But we’re not even done yet… you can have all the ingredients for life, but still not have life. What caused life to first appear? How did it first come about on its own? We have still never observed life come from non-life (Law of Biogenesis). Yet, life exists!

Oxygen is poisonous gas that oxidizes organic and inorganic material on earth. The first life form would have to have a protective membrane immediately from the very beginning.[5] Biochemist Dr. Michael Denton notes, “What we have is sort of a ‘Catch 22’ situation. If we have oxygen we have no organic compounds, but if we don’t have oxygen we have none either.”[6] Water would likewise kill any exposed polypeptides required for life through hydrolysis, if it wasn’t already protected. What are the odds that first life forms would automatically have protective membranes to guard against oxidization and hydrolysis?

Now take into consideration reproduction. The first life would have to be capable of reproduction or else we wouldn’t be here. The odds of life generating from non-life is already difficult to postulate, but to then propose it coincidentally was capable of reproducing is philosophically astounding. What are the odds of that?

Molecular Biophysicist Harold Morowitz calculates that the odds of a single living cell developing on its own is one in ten to the one-hundredth billion power (1 x 10100,000,000,000)![7] Astronomer Michael Hart calculates the odds at one in ten to the three thousandth power (1 x 103,000).[8] Materials scientist Dr. Walter Bradley and chemist Dr. Charles Thaxton calculate the odds of life forming from non-life as five in ten to the one hundred and ninety-first power (4.9 x 10191).[9] Astronomer Sir Frederick Hoyle and professor of applied math and astronomy Chandra Wickramasinghe calculate the odds as one in ten to the forty thousandth power (1 x 1040,000).[10] No matter which one you pick… these are all really bad odds!

Ok, so now you have life, but out of the millions of life forms on this planet, only one (humans), are capable of intellectual thought, art, reason, science, ect.

Ok, so now you’re a human, life can still suck depending on where you live. And if you’re reading this, you’re probably living inAmerica, a relatively wealthy country with immense civil rights. A country that by shear citizenship, puts you in the top percentile of wealthiest people on earth. Your odds of being born inAmerica, one in twenty two.

So let us rewind. What are the odds that you live in a great country, are a human, are alive, on a planet that supports life, in a galaxy that supports a planet that supports life, in a universe that supports life? The odds are not good at all. In fact, the odds are so bad you are technically defying all odds by simply reading this. So it is kind of hard to have a bad day when technically you shouldn’t exist!

Our existence alone is testimony to a God that created us, and loves us. Psalms 8:3-4 says, “When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?” (NIV).

So have a blessed day, because you are definitely blessed!


[1] Tegmark, M., (July 2011) “The Multiverse Strikes Back,” http://www.scientificamerican.com

[2] Lightman, A.P., (December 2011) “The Accidental Universe; Science’s Crisis of Faith,” http://www.harpers.org

[3] Ross, H., (1994) The Creator and the Cosmos,  Navpress Publishing Group:Colorado Springs,CO, pp.134.

[4] Luskin, C., (April 2010) “Penrose on Cosmic Fine Tuning,” http://www.evolutionnews.org

[5] Ward, P. & Brownlee, D., (2000) Rare Earth, Copernicus,New York: NY, pp. 245.

[6] Denton, M., (1985) Evolution: A Theory in Crisis, Alder & Alder:Bethesda,MD, pp. 261.

[7] Shapiro , R., (1986) Origins: A Skeptic’s Guide to the Creation of Life on Earth, Summit Books, New York, NY, pp. 128.

[8] Hart, M.H., (1990) “Atmospheric Evolution, the Drake Equation, and DNA: Sparse Life in an Infinite Universe,” Physical Cosmology and Philosophy, Macmillan,New York, NY, pp. 263-264.

[9] Thaxton, C., Bradley, W., & Olsen, R., (1984) The Mystery of Life’s Origins: Reassessing Current Theories, Philosophical Library:New York,NY, pp. 66.

[10] Hoyle, F. & Wickramasinghe, C., (1984) Evolution from Space, Simon & Schuster:New York,NY, pp. 176.

Ok, let’s face it, there are a lot of Christian denominations. We’re talking thousands! To be honest I’ve only known what a few of them actually believe of why they have the name they do, so I did a little research to find out what some of the most popular are all about.

 

Catholicism:

The one that started it all. Started inRomeoriginally to oversee all other Churches the Catholic Church became very modified over hundreds of years. In which they acquired many traditions and practices, many of which are not mentioned nor commanded anywhere in the Bible but were instead products of adopted traditions from other religions, political movements, and philosophical movements over the years. The Catholics believed that the Bible, along with the Church leaders and traditions, were the ultimate authority. One method by which the Catholics maintained a monopoly on Christianity was by only allowing Bibles to be produced in Latin, a language that was dying out and the majority of lay people did not understand.  Therefore, the only access the layperson had to the Bible was through the Church authority. These actions among other corrupt actions taken by Church leaders led to an eventual revolution.

-J.S. Lang (1999) “1001 Things You Always Wanted to Know About the Bible,”New York: Thomas Nelson Inc., pp. 283

The Protestant Reformation:

Launched by Martin Luther and others, the Reformation was a “back to the Bible” campaign. The key belief being that the Bible was alone the authority and guide to each man, not the doctrines and traditions of the church. This ran contrary to the Catholics way of doing things, which the reformers felt had become corrupt and ineffective (as indeed it had). One of the greatest outcomes of the Reformation was the Bible being translated into various languages for people to read themselves. Every denomination that came from this reformation is considered Protestant.

-J.S. Lang (1999) “1001 Things You Always Wanted to Know About the Bible,”New York: Thomas Nelson Inc., pp. 283

Lutherans:

With the Reformation came the Lutherans, followers of Martin Luther’s back to the Bible campaign.  Martin Luther one morning nailed a Ninety-five Thesis to a church door that addressed the corruption of the church. He was excommunicated and his life threatened but he continued forward writing many theological works. In many ways Lutherans practice or appear to carry out services like Catholics (hence their nickname of Catholic-lite) but maintained a priority of the Bible being the only authority.

-J.S. Lang (1999) “1001 Things You Always Wanted to Know About the Bible,”New York: Thomas Nelson Inc., pp. 284

Anglicans:

The Anglican Church started with King Henry VIII inEnglandwho wished to divorce his current wife, but his request was denied by Pope Clement VII of the Catholic Church. Protestant Thomas Cranmer saw this as an opportunity to override the Pope’s authority and convinced English clergy to separate from the Pope’s authority and make the King the true head of the Church of England. This of course made it possible for King Henry to divorce his wife, and thus the Anglican Church was born. The Anglican theology is overall a confusing mix of Catholic and Protestant beliefs.

-http://www.gotquestions.org/Anglicans.html

Anabaptists:

After the reformation came another split as some Christians felt that even the Protestants were not faithful enough to the New Testament. Their name came from their belief that only adults should be baptized, not infants (as many Catholics and protestants like Lutherans do). They were called “rebaptizers” which is where the name Anabaptist comes from. They asserted that infant baptism is NEVER mentioned in the New Testament, which is true.  The Anabaptists also followed a very high moral code as outlined by Jesus. These differences lead to harsh persecution from Catholics and Protestants. Mennonites and the Amish are a branch of the Anabaptists.

-J.S. Lang (1999) “1001 Things You Always Wanted to Know About the Bible,”New York: Thomas Nelson Inc., pp. 148-149

The Amish:

Stemming from the Mennonites and Anabaptists are the Amish. We all know about the Amish and their strict lifestyle. Why the simple life? Their belief is that Bible should be taken literally, with an emphasis on Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount with its strong stance on non-violence. Compared to all other denominations they live most accordingly to the Bible’s command to avoid worldliness.

– J.S. Lang (1999) “1001 Things You Always Wanted to Know About the Bible,”New York: Thomas Nelson Inc., pp. 149

The Quakers:

Started by George Fox originally as the Society of Friends, taking their name from John15:15, “… but I have called you friends.” They believed that Christian worship was too ritualized and shallow. True Christian life was to live by the Bible and be guided by the Holy Spirit (or as they referred to it as the “Inner Light”). Like the Minnonites, they had a strong stance on non-violence. As they became larger they became named the Quakers and were harshly persecuted by other Christians.

-J.S. Lang (1999) “1001 Things You Always Wanted to Know About the Bible,”New York: Thomas Nelson Inc., pp.150

The Baptists:

Like the Anabaptists, the Baptists are named because of their belief in adult baptism or “believers baptism” which maintains that as long as you’re old enough to understand baptism and willingly want to be baptized, you may be baptized. This is can be done as young as 5-yrs old. Just like the Anabaptists, the Baptists point out that no infants were ever baptized in the Bible, but instead believers were.

-J.S. Lang (1999) “1001 Things You Always Wanted to Know About the Bible,”New York: Thomas Nelson Inc., pp.151

The Methodists:

Originally a university group called the Holy Club, they believed that the Church of England was a shallow Christian Church. They believed that the Christian lifestyle needed to be focused on prayer, fellowship, and Bible study. The name Methodist comes from their stance that “one who lives according to the method laid down in the Bible.” People inAmericaandEnglandwere desiring a much deeper Christian lifestyle and latched onto the Methodists launching a Methodist revival in the 1700’s.

– J.S. Lang (1999) “1001 Things You Always Wanted to Know About the Bible,”New York: Thomas Nelson Inc., pp.152

Episcopalians:

Episcopalians are actually an organization of the Anglican Church here in theUnited States. They get their name from the Greek word “Episcopal” which means Bishop. In 1789 they became independent but remain Anglican in that they’re a mix of catholic and protestant beliefs, but throughout its history it has adopted many liberal theologies and interpretations of the Bible which has strained relations with the Anglican Church.

-http://www.gotquestions.org/Episcopalians.html

The Mormons:

Also known as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, many Christians do not consider the Mormons a denomination of Christianity but instead a cult. This is because they do not maintain the Bible as the authoritative text on God, but instead believe that other books; the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price, supersede the Bible’s authority. TheChurchofJCLDSwas founded by Joseph Smith, who claimed he was visited by an angel, which revealed to him Golden Tablets, which Smith then translated into the Book of Mormon. Oddly, the tablets have never been seen by anyone else, and the Book of Mormon contains many verses that are word for word identical to passages from the King James translation of the Bible, which leads to the fair assessment that he copied them out of the Bible. Because of this and many other facets of the Mormon teachings which contradict the teachings of the Bible, they have been labeled a cult, and though they claim to be Christian, almost all other denominations do not consider them to be.

-J.S. Lang (1999) “1001 Things You Always Wanted to Know About the Bible,”New York: Thomas Nelson Inc., pp.152

Seventh-Day Adventists

A pastor by the name of William Miller predicted that Christ would return and the world would end onOctober 22, 1844. His followers spent all that day waiting, but of course it never happened. That day is historically known as the Great Disappointment. Miller disconnected himself from the movement, but his followers remained. They are known as the Seventh-Day Adventists because they worship on the seventh day, Saturday. This was the original day of Sabbath, as still practiced by the Jewish. The Sabbath was moved to Sunday in Christianity because that was the day Jesus resurrected from the dead. An interesting side note is that many Seventh-Day Adventists are strict vegetarians, which the Bible does not command.

– J.S. Lang (1999) “1001 Things You Always Wanted to Know About the Bible,”New York: Thomas Nelson Inc., pp.152

Jehovah’s Witnesses

Originally called “Bible Students,” Jehovah’s Witnesses are named for their strong evangelical practices, as I am sure many of you have had them come to your door at one time or another. Started by Charles Taze Russell in the 1870’s, he started a publishing house, the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, which publishes their own translation of the Bible called the New World Translation. Mind you, the NWT has serious alterations in many key areas of the Bible, most notably the divinity of Jesus which JW’s deny. Like the Mormons, the JW’s contradictory beliefs lead one to not consider them Christians though they are often associated with Christians.

– J.S. Lang (1999) “1001 Things You Always Wanted to Know About the Bible,”New York: Thomas Nelson Inc., pp.153

Pentecostals:

The term Pentecostal comes from Acts 2 with its description of baptism by the Holy Spirit, which happened to Jesus’ disciples during Pentecost. This baptism by the Holy Spirit is more important than baptism by water for the Pentecostals, which one could make an argument for based off Biblical accounts of people “saved” despite not being baptized in water, like the criminal crucified next to Jesus. Pentecostals are also strong believers in the spiritual gifts of Christians as mentioned in 1 Corinthians and Romans. This is why many Pentecostals use speaking in tongues and prophesying heavily.

-J.S. Lang (1999) “1001 Things You Always Wanted to Know About the Bible,”New York: Thomas Nelson Inc., pp.154

The Evangelicals:

Evangelical is often considered a denomination though it is more so a term for any Christian that evangelizes. Today it brings with it the connotation of a conservative Christian. Evangelicals believe the Bible to be accurate and true in all aspects.

-J.S. Lang (1999) “1001 Things You Always Wanted to Know About the Bible,”New York: Thomas Nelson Inc., pp.159

Unitarians:

Unitarians have the most liberal theology of all Christian denominations. They recognize all spiritual religions and faiths. They also don’t have a conversion process, one may self-identify themselves as a Unitarian and do not need to denounce their current faith. Though it should be pointed out that their beliefs contradict Biblical teaching that Jesus in the only route to heaven (John 14:6). http://www.uua.org/beliefs/index.shtml

 

These are the most popular ones I know of. In case you’re wondering which denomination I am… I am none of these. My faith is non-denominational. I conduct myself in accordance to the Bible and it’s teachings as the literal truth of God. If anything, I’m closest to an evangelical.

Many phrases in common usage today originated from the Bible believe it or not:

Armageddon: This word comes from Revelation 16:14-16 which mentions all the powerful kings of the world gathering together to wage war against God at a location called Armageddon. We use this word to describe an end of the world conflict, but it is actually the location for which this conflict is to occur.

Scapegoat: The term scapegoat actually pertains to a real goat. Israel’s annually celebrated Day of Atonement involved a high priest laying his hands on a goat to symbolically transfer people’s sin onto it. The goat was later released into the wilderness. That same day another goat was sacrificed as a sin offering. These sacrifices cleansed the Israelites of their sins, or in other words, the goat took the heat for the sins. And that is where scapegoat; “someone who takes that blame for others,” comes from.

Fat of the Land: Comes from Genesis 45:18 where Joseph tells his brothers, “I will give you the best of the land of Egypt, and you will eat the fat of the land.”

Eye for an eye: Ever heard, “eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth?” It is in the Bible actually, in Leviticus 24:19-20 as a form of justice. Those who read it often point out this law of God as mean-spirited. Religious author J. Stephen Lang clarifies, “ …the Old Testament law was pretty compassionate. “Eye for eye, tooth for tooth” was a limit. It meant ”tit for tat”- but no more. The common custom (human nature never changes) was (and is) to get more than even. But the enlightened law of Leviticus said, No, if you’re injured you can’t take two teeth because you lost one tooth. It was actually a progressive law. Jesus took it a step further.”[1] Jesus did clarify in Matthew 5:38-39 that this law was to be held at an even higher ethic, “whoever slaps you on the right cheek, turn the other to him also.”

Blind Leading the Blind: This phrase actually originated from Matthew 15:14 where Jesus says, “If the blind leads the blind, both will fall into a ditch.”

The Writing On the Wall: This phrase originated from Daniel 5, in which the Babylonian ruler Belshazzar is at a feast when a mysterious words begin to appear written on the fall, terrifying Belshazzar. The message was translated by Daniel to mean that the rein of Belshazzar was coming to an end. That night Belshazzar was killed and Darius took over the Babylonian Kingdom.

Adam’s Apple: Not so much directly from the Bible, but Bible based. An ancient tradition believed that when Adam ate the forbidden fruit a piece of it became lodged in his throat forever passed on to all men. Interestingly the Bible never says what kind of fruit was eaten, but because of the term Adam’s apple, people always associate another common phrase, “forbidden fruit,” with an apple.

Woe is me: This comes from Isaiah 6:5, “Woe is me, for I am undone!”

A Lamb to the slaughter: Is from Isaiah 53:7 in which God’s chosen servant “was lead as a lamb to the slaughter…” This is a popular interpretation of prophecy of Christ.

Holier than thou: We use this phrase to point out someone’s self-righteousness. The Bible actually condemns this attitude in which Isaiah 65:2-5 points out that there are people that say, “Stand by thyself, come not near to me; for I am holier than thou.”

Apple of the eye: This is a Hebrew term which references the center of eye, our pupil. Something that remains the focus of attention is obviously being watched and therefore in the center of the eye. It’s used in Deuteronomy 32:10 and Psalm 17:8.

We reap what we sow: This comes from Galatians 6:7 KJV.

Fly in the ointment: Ecclesiastes 10:1 says, “Dead flies putrefy the perfumer’s ointment, and cause it to give off a foul odor.”

The Powers that Be: Come from Romans 13:1 KJV.

Misused phrases:

Money is the root of all evil: Close, but the Bible actually says, “the LOVE of money is the root of all kinds of evil.” 1 Timothy 6:10. Money is not evil, but loving it and obsessing over it is. And it is not the root of all evil, but all kinds of evil.

God helps those who help themselves: This is actually nowhere in the Bible. It come from Benjamin Franklin and was popularized by John F. Kennedy.

The Truth Will Set You Free: A very popular verse that is from the Bible but is leaving out the most important part. Jesus says in John 8:31-32 that those who believe in him and follow his teachings will know the truth and the truth shall set them free. In other words, the only truth that is going to set you free is the truth of Christ’s teachings.

So many of these phrases and words in common usage are all traced back to the Bible. I wonder how many Bible haters use these words everyday J


[1] Lang, J.S., (2010) 1001 Things You Always Wanted To Know About the Bible But Never Thought To Ask, (New York: Barnes and Noble, Inc.) pp.3.

General Lew Wallace (1827-1905)

The story of General Lew Wallace is an interesting one. Wallace, a retired Civil War General, was riding on a train with Republican Party candidate Robert Ingersoll. Both were heavy opponents to Christianity, Ingersoll was even nick-named the “the Great Agnostic,” authoring many books that were anti-Biblical in topic. While on this train ride Wallace and Ingersoll were discussing their hostility to Christianity and the Bible. The conversation motivated Wallace to author a book that would expose the flaws in the Bible rendering Christianity false. However, while studying the history of Jesus and the Bible, Wallace discovered that he was mistaken. He became a Christian and ended up writing the pro-Christian novel Ben-Hur. Which was subsequently made into a major “epic” motion picture of the same name. Ingersoll unintentionally brought about Wallace’s salvation.

Sir William Ramsay (1852-1939)

Si r William Ramsay was an archaeologist and skeptic of the Bible’s accuracy. Throughout his career he studied countless artifacts from the New Testament period which ultimately convinced him of the New Testament’s accuracy. Ramsay especially credits the Gospel of Luke, considering Luke a true historian. Ramsay also authored the famous book, St. Paul the Traveler and Roman Citizen.

Quote:  “Christianity did not originate in a lie; and we can and ought to demonstrate this as well as believe it.”

Peter Stoner- (1888-1980)

Stoner was a famous mathematician and astronomer that served as chairman of the Mathematics and Astronomy Division for Pasadena City College as well as the Science Division for Westmont College. Stoner turned to Christ after calculating the odds of Jesus fulfilling just 48 the prophecies spoken about Him in the Old Testament. His conclusion was that the odds of one man fulfilling just 48 of the prophecies in one lifetime was 1 in 1x 10157 (or 1 with 157 zeros after it). Then take into consideration Christ fulfilled more than 48 prophecies and it became obvious to Stoner of Christ’s divinity. His work was published in his book, Science Speaks.

CS Lewis- (1898- 1963)

C.S. Lewis, a leading figure and English professor at Oxford University and author of many acclaimed books was baptized catholic as a child but fell away from the faith as a teenager. Later in his late twenties Lewis began to study and investigate the word of the bible with the intention of discovering its flaws and exposing them in his writings. In his studies he became so overwhelmed and moved by what he was learning, that at one point he wrote, that he dropped to his knees and began to pray to God. At age 30, he was baptized Christian. He became known as the “Apostle to Intellectuals,” writing many intellectuals books such as The Screwtape Letters, Miracles, Mere Chstianity, etc. The book he is most famous for however is The Chronicles of Narnia.

Quote; “Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important.”

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (1918-2008)

Solzhenitsyn was a Russian Soviet novelist and historian. Though his writings were often suppressed by government, they  exposed much of the atrocities happening in Soviet Russia. His writing eventually landed him in prison where he was subject to brutal punishment. But it was in prison he was introduced to Christianity and gave his life to Christ. When he was released years later he would escape to America and was eventually awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

Quote;  “The meaning of earthly existence lies not, as we have grown used to thinking, in prospering but in the development of the soul.”

George R. Price (1922-1975)

Price was a man heavily involved in science being a geneticist, physical chemist and science journalist.  For a time he even worked at the famed Galton Lab as a theoretical biologist. In 1970 Price admitted that he had experienced many “coincidences” in his life that drove him to investigate religion. He looked into the New Testament eventually becoming a very passionate scholar on it. Convinced of its authenticity he became a Christian.

Anthony Flew- (1923-2010)

Flew, a famous British Philosopher, was world famous for his outspoken atheism. He always claimed to follow the argument where ever it led, and boasted that until evidence of God is discovered there is no logical reason to believe in God. Flew even debated CS Lewis on one occasion and is famed for defeating Lewis. However, keeping true to following the argument where ever it lead, Flew began to realize at a very old age that scientific findings in both biology and cosmology left no reasonable alternative but to accept that there is an Intelligent Designer behind our existence. Though whether he accepted Christ before his death is unverifiable, he did admit that Christianity was the most logical religion on God. I’ve personally read his book, There is a God, and highly recommend it.

Quote; “”It now seems to me that the findings of more than fifty years of DNA research have provided materials for a new and enormously powerful argument to design.”

Dr. Rick Oliver

Dr. Oliver has a MS in life science and a PhD in evolutionary biology from the University of California Santa Cruz (where he also minored in geology). He is also the founder and CEO of Confound the Wise Ministries and founder of the Mount Hermon Outdoor Science School. Originally an atheist, Dr. Oliver admits that in studying the anatomy of specimens it became very apparent that life was “designed.” He became a Christian in 1987.

Quote; “I remember how frustrated I became when, as a young atheist, I examined specimens under the microscope. I would often walk away and try to convince myself that I was not seeing examples of extraordinary design, but merely the product of some random, unexplained mutations.”

Francis Collins (1950-_)

Collins is a world renowned physician and geneticist that was the head of the Human Genome Project. We was described by the Endocrine Society as “one of the most accomplished scientists of our time.”  During college however, Collins was a self-described atheist. It wasn’t until the death of his parents that he began to investigate religion and God. He credits C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity as one of the books that aided him in re-examining his beliefs, which lead to his conversion to an evangelical Christian one day while hiking in the Pacific Cascades. He is also known for his book, The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief and he currently serves as the Director of the National Institute of Health.

Quote; “”Science is the only reliable way to understand the natural world [but] is powerless to answer questions such as ‘what is the meaning of human existence… We need to bring all the power of both scientific and spiritual perspectives to bear on understanding what is both seen and unseen.”

Lee Stroble (1952-_)

Investigative journalist Lee Stroble is well known in the Christian community for his many books and articles on Christian apologetics. But before he became a Christian he was a strong atheist and looked at Christianity as an old fable or even cult-like. The fact that his wife became Christian upset him so much, that he began to research the true story of Jesus Christ and read the bible in an attempt to point out to her how false and inaccurate Christianity is. But day by day he began to realize that just the opposite was true. He was so shocked to find the teachings and happenings of the bible were more than just accurate, but that they were indeed divine. His attempt to disprove Christianity led him to becoming a Christian. He has since authored famous books such as The Case for Christ, The Case for Faith, and The Case for a Creator.

Quotes: “It was the evidence from science and history that prompted me to abandon my atheism and become a Christian.”

Alister McGrath (1953-_)

McGrath is a theologian, apologist and scientist, holding a PhD in Molecular Biophysics and Doctor of Divinity from Oxford. A former atheist, he has now become an outspoken Christian writing the anti-atheism book The Twilight of Atheism, but is most notably known for his book The Dawkins Delusion? A formal response to famed atheist Richard Dawkin’s book The God Delusion. On an interesting side note, Dawkin’s himself personally interviewed McGrath for the television documentary The Root of All Evil?, but McGrath’s entire interview was not included in the final cut.

Quote: “Atheism, I began to realize, rested on a less-than-satisfactory evidential basis. The arguments that had once seemed bold, decisive, and conclusive increasingly turned out to be circular, tentative, and uncertain.”

Halo

Posted: July 31, 2011 in Did you know?, History Related
Tags: , , , ,

Sorry, this isn’t about marines fighting aliens in outer space.  I’m writing about all those halos you see over the head’s of angels. I’ve always wondered, what does that mean? Where did the halos come from?

Halos[1] are obviously a disk or ring of light over someone’s head, which is classically used to symbolize divinity. Why? Well, many ancient cultures from Rome to India believed the circle to be supernatural since it had no beginning or end.[2] The word “Halo” means “threshing floor” in Greek because oxen and cattle would often leave hoof imprints on threshing floors in the shape of a circle as they walked in circles.[3] Painters began to paint it around the heads of Roman Emperors since they were believed to be divine anyways. Later on when Christianity took over, painters borrowed the same halo technique and applied it to their paintings of Christ, Mary and the saints.[4] As these paintings became popular overtime our culture naturally misconceived that people receive halos in heaven. Hence why the traditional depiction of an angel involves having a halo over their head.

As you can see, the halo has evolved over the years…

Are halos in the Bible though? Nope. Just add it to the laundry list of non-biblical attributes found in biblical paintings. Since technically the roots of the halo are pagan, one could argue it to be disrespectful to place halos over the head of divine figures in Christianity.


[1] Also called “nimbus.”

[4] J. Stephen Lang, “1,001 Things You Always Wanted to Know About the Bible,” (Barnes & Noble, Inc.New York:NY 2010) Pg. 408

Have you ever heard that no two snowflakes are alike? Is this true? Well both yes and no. There are actually two types of snowflakes; the smaller hexagonal snowflakes and the larger star shaped crystals. Between the two, the smaller hexagonal flakes are often very similar in appearance. However, the larger star-shaped crystals are where we find the incredible uniqueness in each snow flake.[1] Each crystal can have up to 100 different features meaning there are up to a mind blowing 10158 number of possible combinations.[2] That’s more combinations than there are atoms in the entire universe!

As wonderful and interesting as these beautiful snowflakes are, they believe it or not, have played a part in the evolution/creation debate. How so? Well evolutionists use the intricate complexity of snowflake crystal formation to prove that “something can come from nothing.” Which is precisely what evolution requires in order to be the true cause of our origins. Is this a good argument though? Do they have a point? The only way to know is to first understand how snowflake crystals form these complex designs.

Ice is of course made of water (H2O). H2O molecules are bent with positive and negative charged ends. When they get cold enough to freeze they come together at odd angles to form hexagonal (six-fold) shapes.[3] CO2 molecules by contrast are linear shaped molecules, so when they freeze to form dry ice, they come together to form cubic crystals. As H2O crystals form, temperature, altitude and humidity influence the shapes they become. This appears to be order from disorder. So evolutionists claim that just as simple water molecules can form such complex larger forms, than simple molecules could have accidently come together to form more complex structures like a living cell.[4]

As you can see, the angular shape of an H2O molecule, causes hexagonal shapes when it freezes (bonds).

This is quite a stretch though. Snowflake crystals are a far cry from a living cell. Ice crystals are merely structures formed by collective of angular shaped molecules, like a building made of bricks. Ice crystals form by the removal of heat and evolutionists believe life arose from the addition of heat. Two completely different processes.  Information-wise the snowflake structures contain no more information than the H2O molecules they’re made from. Life on the other hand requires the emergence and gain of information in order to take form. That’s essentially what life is; information (in code) that allows for order, function and reproduction of itself. A living cell’s “order” of molecules is incredibly precise and detrimental if slightly altered, whereas a snowflake can’t be considered ordered since its shapes have no real function and vary in trillions of different ways every time they form. The living cell’s molecules are encoded to remain functional and operational, where as water freezes differently every time with no encoded information to tell it exactly which particular way to form.

Here’s something else to consider. Water forms snowflakes naturally in cold and so it commonly happens 24/7 around the clock everywhere around the world. If life arising from molecules was such a natural occurrence, how come it has never been observed happening, ever? If it was just as natural as snow crystals we’d be able to witness and document life arising from non-life to this very day… but we unfortunately do not. You can stick the raw ingredients of DNA into a test tube and shake it, heat it up, freeze it, etc they’ll never form into a DNA chain. But you can take the raw ingredients of snow (water), send it through a cold weather system and now you got snowflakes. In conclusion, they’re not comparable, sorry.

As one evolutionist even admitted, “One could almost convince oneself that snowflakes constitute a demonstration of supernatural power.”[5] Hmmm… maybe he should convince himself.


[3] Vardiman, L., Microscopic masterpieces: discovering design in snow crystals, Institute for Creation Research, 1 Dec 2007; icr.org/article/3555.

[4] Bailey, D., Evolution and Probability, Report of National Center for Science Education 20(4), 2001.

[5] Bailey, D., Evolution and Probability, Report of National Center for Science Education 20(4), 2001.