Observations on life; particularly spiritual

Spiritual

Would a loving God send people to hell?

A well done sign - a reward for excellenceIn everyday life, some people are rewarded for what they have done, and others are punished for what they have done. But the idea of eternal punishment that God might inflict on some of us by sending us to hell is hard to accept. It seems offensive. How could God be loving, yet allow anyone to go to hell? How do we reconcile what we think is the love of God with a punishment as severe as hell? A loving God wouldn’t do that would He? Does that make sense?

This post is based on a video by J Warner Wallace. (more…)


Why did Jesus call Himself the “Son of Man”?

Jesus often referred to Himself in the third person. And the title He used most often was the “Son of Man”. But what does this title mean and why did He use it?

Mary Evans wrote under the name George EliotSometimes authors use pen names (or a pseudonym, or nom de plume) instead of their real name. For example, Samuel Clemens wrote The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn under the name of Mark Twain. Eric Blair wrote Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four under the name George Orwell. Charles Dodgson wrote Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass under the name Lewis Carroll. And Agatha Christie wrote Murder on the Orient Express and Then There Were None under the name Mary Westmacott. Many women authors have used a nom de plume to get their work published due to bias against women writers. For example, Emily Brontë wrote Wuthering Heights under the name Ellis Bell. And Mary Evans wrote Middlemarch under the name George Eliot. Was the “Son of Man” Jesus’ pen name? (more…)


King sized bed

King size bed - Manger with strawBeing a celebrity definitely comes with its perks, one of which is the capacity to make outrageous demands. If Jennifer Lopez travels, she reportedly asks for her hotel rooms to be completely white; everything from the walls, to the furniture, to the white candles. In order to ensure she’s properly rested, the sheets must be of minimum two hundred and fifty ‘thread count’ Egyptian cotton and the room temperature a precise and constant 25.5 Degrees C. (more…)


Investing in the next generation

Building a robust Christian worldview

Children and young people are the next generation. They live in an ungodly skeptical world that will challenge their faith in Jesus. We want them to have a robust and resilient faith that can withstand enemy attacks. But how is this possible when many young people stop attending church on a regular basis after they turn 18? And the pandemic may cause more to abandon Christianity or churchgoing. Many of these young people are leaving because the culture around them has impacted them deeply and caused them to question the truth claims of Christianity. What can we do about it?

Wildfire in NSW, Australia, January 2020Bushfires

Many homes were destroyed by wildfires (bushfires) last summer in Australia. Bushfires can attack buildings. Locations in bushfire prone areas are classified according to the Bushfire Attack Level (BAL: Low, 12.5, 19, 29, 40, Flame Zone). Close to vegetation the BAL is “Flame Zone” and the attack level decreases with distance away from the vegetation. A building in the flame zone without flame-proof protection has a high risk of being destroyed by a wildfire (bushfire). (more…)


Thanksgiving in all circumstances

Typical Thanksgiving mealHalloween was last month, and tomorrow is Black Friday, but what is today? Thanksgiving Day! It’s one American thing that we have not adopted in Australia.

Drought. Bushfires. Floods. COVID 19 pandemic. Job losses. Lockdowns. Restrictions. Financial crises. It’s been a difficult year for us. In such situations people ask, “Where’s God in this?” The prophet Habakkuk also questioned God. (more…)


Is the theory of biological evolution science or history?

Here is a conversation I had with Dr Jay Wile on whether “historical science” (like the theory of biological evolution) is science or history. Is it scientific or is it an historical narrative (a story written by scientists based on what they believed happened in the unverifiable past)?

Other conversations on this topic are given in Appendix A.

A theory is scientific if it makes predictions that can be observationally verifiedDr Wile’s comment

With regard the documentary movie “Dismantled” by Back2Genesis:

… I do want to point out that I strongly disagree with the first part of the documentary, which tries to claim that evolution isn’t really science; it’s history. As such, it’s not the same as the science that cures disease and makes Mars rovers, because it studies something that is not repeatable: the past. This is a very common assertion among creationists, but it is utterly false.

In fact, epidemiology has cured disease by studying the past. More importantly, the study of the past is definitely repeatable. We cannot repeat the past itself, but we can study the evidence related to the past, develop a hypothesis, and then test that hypothesis with more observations of the evidence related to the past. We can repeat such observations in different parts of the world, and if the hypothesis is repeatedly verified, it is just as scientific as a hypothesis about a medical procedure. A theory is scientific if it makes predictions that can be observationally verified. This is true whether the theory is about the past, present, or future. (more…)


Genetics doesn’t support the idea of biological evolution

We have seen that biology and paleoanthropology don’t support the idea of biological evolution – that single cells changed into humans by mutations and natural selection. But what about genetics?

This post is based on the documentary movie “Dismantled” by Back2Genesis.

DNA sequencing has enabled the determnation of genomesChimp-human similarity

It’s hard to find anyone who has not heard the often repeated claim that humans and chimpanzees are genetically 98-99% identical. This has been promoted to the world as proof that humans share a common evolutionary ancestor with chimps. However, recent studies now challenge this claim.

Evolutionary geneticists have acknowledged that the actual genetic differences are far greater than we’ve been told. For example, primate evolutionist Todd Preuss states “it is now clear that the genetic difference between humans and chimpanzees are far more extensive than previously thought; their genomes are not 98% or 99% identical” (1). Earlier studies published in the evolutionary scientific literature reported an overall DNA similarity of 98-99%. However, large portions of the chimp genome didn’t align with the human genome and so were excluded from the reported estimates! For instance, the algorithm parameters used in the major milestone publication in Nature reported by the chimpanzee sequencing and analysis consortium omitted over 100 million DNA letters (2)! When accounting for these large non-alignable regions and other omitted sequence data, the actual chimp-human DNA similarity is significantly lower than the 98-99% identity claims. (more…)


Paleoanthropology doesn’t support the idea of biological evolution

We have seen that biology doesn’t support the idea of biological evolution – that single cells changed into humans by mutations and natural selection. But what about paleoanthropology?

This post is based on the documentary movie “Dismantled” by Back2Genesis.

Paleoanthropologists at workMissing links

Since the time of Darwin many determined individuals have searched for missing links between apes and mankind. Periodically fragmentary skeletons have been found and artists reconstructions of their bones are presented to the public as undeniable evidence that mankind evolved from ape-like creatures. To scientists who study their bones these alleged transition forms are called hominins (see Appendix). (more…)


Biology doesn’t support the idea of biological evolution

“Dismantled” (2020) is a movie, which is a scientific dismantling of the theory of evolution

Although the concepts of evolution are contrary to many of our experiences in daily life, it’s commonly used to explain everything about life. But does biology support the idea of biological evolution – that single cells changed into humans by mutations and natural selection?

This post is based on the documentary movie “Dismantled” by Back2Genesis.

Where did everything come from?

Have you ever looked up at the night sky and wondered how the vast expanse of the universe with its countless stars and galaxies came into existence? How do you explain the incredible diversity of plants and animals that fill our habitable planet? And how do you explain the origin of mankind and the beautifully diverse ethnic groups?

For centuries we have struggled to understand were we came from. Many theories have been proposed. Some rational and thought provoking, others wildly speculative and seemingly impossible to verify. So how do we sort through all of these theories to determine which one is most logical? Modern science is revealing important clues to this puzzle helping us to understand the full picture of our origin. However, the mystery still remains, where did everything come from? (more…)


A robust climate?

The polar bear has been used as a symbol of climate change by some activitists“By not doing enough to fight global warming, we’re trashing the planet” says National Geographic magazine. “How hot can it get before truly catastrophic changes are set in motion?”. And Wikipedia warns of “abrupt climate change as it approaches and surpasses 2°C above pre-industrial levels”. It also mentions the possibility of “accelerated global warming”, “runaway climate change”, “climate collapse” and “climate apocalypse”. Others mention a “climate emergency”, “climate crisis”, “climate breakdown”, “irreversible climate destabilization”, “abrupt and irreversible environmental changes” and “interconnecting calamities”. That’s alarmist. It’s creating a culture of fear and panic. And climate change is blamed for any extreme weather. But are these warnings justified? (more…)


A robust and resilient creation

Prostate biopsy needleWhen I had a prostate biopsy in March, core samples from 32 needles were used to check for the presence of prostate cancer. The prostate is located in the male pelvis beneath the urinary bladder. It’s about the size of a walnut. I had no side effects from this procedure and afterwards the prostate continued to function as usual. That’s amazing! What if we stuck 32 needles through a smartphone? It would be useless and never work again.

The human body is robust and resilient

This shows that the human body is more robust than human-engineered machines. In fact, your body is a miracle of precision engineering. It’s also robust with built-in redundancy. As the human body can heal itself from injury and disease it’s also resilient. “Robustness” is the ability to resist failure, and “resiliency” is the ability to recover from failure. (more…)


Read the Bible through

A person reading the BibleI supposed I knew my Bible
Reading piecemeal, hit and miss,
Now a bit of John or Matthew,
Now a snatch of Genesis,
Certain chapters of Isaiah
Certain Psalms (the twenty-third!);
Twelfth of Romans, First of Proverbs—
Yes, I thought I knew the Word!
But I found that thorough reading
Was a different thing to do,
And the way was unfamiliar
When I read the Bible through. (more…)


Community and COVID-19

Expressing Church life in pandemic times

Four peole wearing masks greet each other by touching elbows during the COVID-19 pandemicThis post comes from Philip Nunn who lives in The Netherlands.

Now we are all concerned about the ‘second wave’. And we are told that other waves may follow. We are also told that once the vaccines arrive life will return to normal. But can these new intrusive vaccines be trusted? We hear that COVID-19 is not unique, that it is only a matter of time before other viruses will follow. We sense fear, also in Christian circles. For some time now governments have been restricting our free movement. Only last year we all thought that such severe restrictions could only happen in totalitarian states and never in our free democracies. We sense frustration and anger, also in Christian circles. Among some Christians I also sense a movement towards a comfortable self-centered existence. (more…)


Many battles at Megiddo

Arerial view of Tell MegiddoDuring the Bronze Age, Megiddo was an important Canaanite city-state and during the Iron Age, a royal city in the kingdom of Israel. The city was  located about 26 km (15 miles) east of the Mediterranean Ocean and about 40 km (25 miles) southwest of the Sea of Galilee.

The ancient city of Megiddo had a strategic location. It was at the intersection of two main roads and near a pass (Wadi Ara) through the Carmel mountain range. It was on the main route (the Via Maris) between Mesopotamia (present-day Iraq) and Egypt. (more…)


God and science

Is God obsolete? Has God been replaced by science?

Nobel prize medalNobel Prize winners

John Lennox noted that if science and God do not mix, there would be no Christian Nobel Prize winners. In fact, between 1900 and 2000 over 65% of Nobel Laureates were self-confessed believers in God.

The statistics were taken from Shalev (2005) and the number of theists may even have been higher still, as he records that just over 65% of the overall winners identified as Christian, whilst over 20% were Jewish and just under 1% were Muslim. Just under 11% of the winners had no belief in God (e.g. atheists and agnostics), although, interestingly, far more of them were in the field of literature (around 35% of winners), than in scientific disciplines (7% of winners in chemistry, 9% in medicine and 5% in physics). (more…)


Atheism and science

Atheism denies the existence of GodThe views of two scientists

Atheism is inconsistent with the scientific method. That’s the view of Marcelo Gleiser, Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Dartmouth College.

He says that atheism is a statement that expresses belief in nonbelief. “I don’t believe even though I have no evidence for or against, simply I don’t believe”. Or “I deny something I have no evidence against”. It’s a declaration. But in science we don’t really do declarations. We say, “Okay, you can have a hypothesis, you have to have some evidence against or for that.” And, “the absence of evidence is not evidence of absence”. (more…)


Memory loss

Did you forget some thing?Do you ever forget where you put your keys, phone or glasses? Have you ever gone into another room at home and wondered what you went in there for? We all forget some things and forgetfulness can be a normal part of aging. We get memory lapses. Our brain doesn’t function as well as it used to.

Mary couldn’t find her car keys. She looked on the hook just inside the front door. They weren’t there. She searched in her purse. No luck. Finally, she found them on her desk. Yesterday, she forgot her neighbor’s name. She decided to see her doctor. After a complete check-up, her doctor said that Mary was fine. Her forgetfulness was just a normal part of getting older. The doctor suggested that Mary take a class, play cards with friends, or help out at the local school to help her memory. (more…)


The Niagara 2020 declaration

A new statement on religious liberty

The Canadian flagBackground

In Canada, as blessed recipients of the gospel of Jesus Christ for generations and heirs of the Christian Parliamentary tradition and English Common Law, we have long been able to take our freedoms and liberties in the faith for granted. Tragically, those days have waned, and we all share culpability for the declining situation and loss of the pervasive influence of the Scriptures. In our generation, with the undeniably radical cultural shift over the last sixty years, we are confronted with increased political, institutional, and legal opposition to the faith. Christians are facing an attack on our historic liberties and Charter freedoms. These include (but are not limited to) various persecutions in the form of media propaganda, speech and human rights codes, Supreme Court decisions regarding Christian institutions and end of life issues, municipal and provincial bylaws regarding sexuality and gender, indefinite emergency restrictions and lockdowns, and proposed amendments to the Criminal Code that could radically curtail the freedom of Christian leaders, churches and parents (cf. the federal bill to criminally ban so-called “conversion therapy”). (more…)


Entertainment trumps worship

Church closed becauese of COVID-19The COVOD-19 rules in New South Wales, Australia, favor public entertainment above public worship.

From Monday 28 September 2020, entertainment facilities including theatres, cinemas and concert halls across NSW were able to increase capacity up to 50%, to a maximum of 1000. Alternatively, entertainment facilities may allow one person per 4 square meters on the premises, with no maximum capacity. 

If a place of public worship has multiple buildings at a single location, each building can have as many people as allowed under the 4 square meter rule, up to a maximum of 100 people or 150 people for a wedding. (more…)


Converting ancient secular dates to biblical dates

There are two main explanations of the earth’s geological history. One (Biblical) is based on recorded history in the Bible and the other (Uniformitarian) is based on assuming that the present (processes today) is the key to the past (ancient processes) and on the hypothetical geologic time scale. The biblical explanation allows for catastrophic events (such as the flood of Noah), whereas the Uniformitarian explanation minimizes the role of catastrophic events (because it has a preference for gradual events). The biblical explanation mainly involves rapid processes over short periods of time, whereas the Uniformitarian explanation mainly involves slow processes over long periods of time. (more…)


Faith in the family

Brown family reunion - October 2001Family reunions bring relatives together to celebrate and share memories. I gave this message at a church service during the reunion of the Brown family at Bedgerabong, near Forbes in New South Wales, Australia, in October 2001.

When reading through the Brown family history, I noticed the following instances of Christian faith amongst our forebears. (more…)


Une nouvelle chronologie biblique

Comment lire la Bible dans l’ordre chronologique

Le gouvernement chinois a l’intention de réécrire la Bible pour «refléter les valeurs socialistes». Cette ordonnance a été proposée en novembre 2019, lors d’une réunion tenue par le Comité des affaires ethniques et religieuses du Comité national de la Conférence consultative politique du peuple chinois, qui supervise les questions ethniques et religieuses en Chine. Les nouvelles éditions de textes religieux ne doivent pas aller à l’encontre des croyances du Parti communiste. Toute partie jugée erronée ou contestée par les censeurs sera réécrite pour correspondre aux valeurs communistes. Ils affirment que cela empêchera les «pensées extrêmes» et les «idées hérétiques» d’éroder le pays. Dans cet article, nous examinons le contenu de ce livre «hérétique». (more…)


Two ways to live

Raod sign - Our way or God's new wayThe choice we all face

The message at the heart of Christianity can be outlined in a few pages. It’s a message from the Bible about God and His Son Jesus that’s about life and death, and the choice we all face. In “Two ways to live” the message is summarized in contemporary language in six points (Appendix A).

This post is based on a blogpost by Tony Payne that proposed updating the “Two ways to live” booklet (Jensen and Payne, 2007; Payne 2020). (more…)


Coronavirus politics

This is an appeal for calm. The number one command in scripture is “Fear not” (33 times in the ESV Bible). But there is a lot of fear. A lot of what’s happening right now in Australia, especially in Victoria, and in the world, is driven by fear. And I think that the political response is also being governed by the fear that people have. Both of those things are not helping us.

This post is based on a message by Martyn Isles of the Australian Christian Lobby.

Martyn Isles, Australian Christian Lobby - The truth of itLock-down

Victoria has the toughest lock-downs we’ve experienced at Stage 4 in 31 local government areas in Melbourne. That’s over 5 million people! There are only four reasons to leave the house: necessary work, necessary goods and services, medical care and compassionate reasons, and exercise. But exercise is limited to one hour per day within 5 km of your home. Shopping is limited to one person per household per day, within 5 km of your home. A curfew applies between 8pm and 5am, which is astonishing in a free country. And it’s the usual stuff with non-essential businesses closed. And most who still have jobs are working from home. But as a result of these measures 500,000 workers have been stood down with more to come. All this is done to save lives. But I wonder whether there is more harm being done than good? Whether we are creating fear where we shouldn’t be? (more…)