Friday, December 20, 2013

Neanderthal man and the Bible

Neanderthal man - reconstruction
Image BBC News - Science and Environment

Melissa Hogenboog tells 20. December 2013 in BBC News Science and Environment how recent study of neck bones suggests that Homo sapiens neanderthalensis had similar vocal structure than we but which other primates are missing and that he was probably able to speak like modern man, Homo sapiens sapiens.

In both Creation stories Bible tells about the creation of man without any predecessors in nature - a special case so to say like other animal species each different from us. That is why Charles Darwin's Origins of Species (1859) was so shocking by suggesting that we are relatives to apes and other creatures. The first creation story tells how man and woman are together the image of God and how they were made last among all the creates on the Sixth Day of Creation. Note that he was originally a vegetarian!
Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

So God created mankind in his own image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.

God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”

Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.” And it was so.

God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.
Genesis 1:26-31
Natural Sciences have given us enormous amount of information about human evolution and our background in the biosphere of planet Earth. So it is only natural for a Jewish, Christian or Muslim believer to ask at what point humans become humans in the Biblical sense.

Humans as in Genesis 1
Could we look at this in the light of the first creation story in the beginning of the Bible? There we get two definitions of what is a human who together as a male and a female is an image of God:

1. Humans are fruitful and fill the Earth
2. Humans rule over all other creatures

Our cousin Neander did not fulfill either of these two command.  He has his own role during the last Ice Age about 200.000 - 20.000 before Christ and possible complicated history with our branch of human evolution. But when Ice Age is slowly melting he is already rare upon Earth and becomes extinct never ruling the animal kingdom, fish or birds. The latest known signs of Neadnerthals are from a cave in Gibraltar, Spain, dated to about 20.000 BC. Then it is bye bye.

On contrary to this, we "wise, wise men" as we call ourselves in Latin arrive during the last Ice Age, about 100.000 before present or so, and we do fulfill both the commands of our Creator. We are truly blessed and fruitful and have spread all over the planet in multitudes of seven billion and we have taken all  other God's creatures under our control.

On the basis of this reading we can say that the Bible talks about "humans" with the sense of modern man, Homo sapiens sapiens.

What was moving in the head of Neanderthal people, what they talked about and what they prayed - God knows!

Where are you Adam?
As for the story of the Garden of Eden and the six thousand years ... creation of Adam and Eve about 4000 before Christ.

For me personally, the second creation story in the Bible opens a window to the wonderful world of Sumer, its histories, stories and myths. Roots in the first literal civilization on Earth.

But there is more to this - a kind of archaeological and historical riddle that Neolithic studies are intensively trying to clarify. What caused the exponential growth, explosion of human culture, at about 3500 BC after such a long and nice period of hundred thousand years of leisurely hunting and gathering in the abundance of the Nature?

Let the research continue!

But it is a Big Mistake to try to solve the case of human evolution and cultural evolution without taking into account our Maker.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Dr Alice Roberts - sensible Origins of Us

Dr Alice Roberts with a Chimpanzee in Uganda
image BBC Nature
BBC HD was showing Dr Alice Roberts' documentary Origins of Us (BBC Nature 2011). This was episode 3/3 filmed in the East African Rift Valley and with emphasis on the evolution of brain capacity and volume from 400 cm3 some seven million years ago to our own average 1,400 cm3.

This very interesting documentary so charmingly presented by Roberts contained many other intriguing aspects about the origins of humanity and why we are then only human species surviving. I was particularly grateful of seeing in the BBC documentary the Gibraltar cave considered the last known site of the now extinct Neanderthal man and dated some 22.000 years ago.

Somewhat disturbed by her explanation of the evolution of the agile human hand in The Incredible Human Journey (2009-10) I was waiting for similar lines of argumentation. Something like this (which she did not say) "the human eye is unique among all animals in that also the white of the eyeball is visible giving the look clear directions. Humans evolved this physical characteristic in order to be able to convey messages just through the movement of eyes."  

But no such nonsense this time!

No evolutionary magic sand was thrown to the eyes of the viewers. Instead of the usual hammer of evolutionism "natural selection is key to everything" she presented iteresting and challenging facts inviting us all to learn more about our earliest origins.

The third part of the Origins of Us documentary was a factual introduction to significant traits in humans that may have contributed to our survival and eventually to our colonization of the entire Earth and the subjugation of all other living things to our rule.

According to the command given by the God of Israel (religious point which Dr Alice Roberts also did not mention in the documentary about humanity).
Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

So God created mankind in his own image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.

God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”
Genesis 1:26-28 NIV

This is what God claims - that He alone has made humans, made us man and woman and made us capable of fulfilling his command.

Science studies nature and reveals to the believing eye what and how God did what He said.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Dr Alice Roberts - Incredible claim in The Incredible Human Journey

Alice Roberts
Professor of Public Engagement, Birmingham
image Forest Avon Trust

The Incredible Human Journey (2009-2010) is an excellent BBC science documentary; it is today available as a DVD.

Usually you wait to hear a pleasant voice and to see interesting footage but in this case it is a pleasure also to watch the narrator. The captivating way now Professor Alice Roberts shares her own enthusiasm on the subject and the elegance of her presence greatly help in making the difficult scientific subjects understandable to the viewer.

For example, she is walking and running in a treadmill in a laboratory as gracefully as in the midday heat of African savanna to explain the significance of the skeletal structure and the Turkana boy.

Evolution of human hand - total nonsense!
I think that future History of Science will consider the 20th century evolutionism as something comparable to ether of the 19th century.

Ether was a widely accepted theory, an attempt to explain something that evolving science did not really understand. It was a kind of "Dark energy" of modern Cosmology with the exception that scientists did not acknowledge its darkness, our lack of knowledge.

Roberts explains in the excellent science documentary how human hand evolved as the result of using tools. She underlines the significance of the contribution of revolutionary human innovation - tool making - in the evolution of the anatomy of hand. Support for this view she brings from Washington University scholars doing experimental work on the physiology of human hand.

It was quite incredible to watch this and other similar explanations of "evolutionary ether", view of evolution in action that totally lacks scientific backing. Her narration of current views reminded me of the early 20th century controversy of the inheritance of acquired traits.
In 1928, Trofim Lysenko, a previously unknown agronomist, claimed to have developed an agricultural technique, termed vernalization, which tripled or quadrupled crop yield by exposing wheat seed to high humidity and low temperature. While cold and moisture exposure are a normal part of the life cycle of fall-seeded winter cereals, the vernalization technique claimed to increase yields by increasing the intensity of exposure, in some cases planting soaked seeds directly into the snow cover of frozen fields. In reality, the technique was neither new (it had been known since 1854, and was extensively studied during the previous twenty years), nor did it produce the yields he promised, although some increase in production did occur.
Lysenkoism wikipedia
As Alice Roberts rightly says in the Incredible Human Journey, sweating gives advantage to running humans over lions that can only pant and must rest during the day. She correctly underlines the magnificence of human hand, the counter grip of thumb and the other four fingers, the flexibility of fingers in comparison to apes and so on.

But to claim that sweating evolved as a result of humans running?

But to claim that the exceptional fine mechanics of human hand is a result of using flint knives?

Incredible claims of evolutionism in action presented in a concise, clear and interesting manner!

Update December 17, 2013
Evolution of human hand - the Kaitio bone
Styloid bone - Acheulian burial site Kaitio, Western Turkana, Kenya
Image BBC News Health

Michelle Roberts
BBC News Health
The discovery of an ancient bone at a burial site in Kenya puts the origin of human hand dexterity more than half a million years earlier than previously thought.

In all ways, the bone - a well-preserved metacarpal that connects to the index finger - resembles that of modern man, PNAS journal reports.

It is the earliest fossilised evidence of when humans developed a strong enough grip to start using tools.

Apes lack the same anatomical features.
Read the entire article BBC News Health

Monday, November 25, 2013


Another remarkable piece of excellent journalism: Vladimir Hernandez  Mexorcism
BBC News Magazine 26.11. 2013

Mexico's exorcists say there is unprecedented demand for their services.

Some are even not taking new cases, as they are having to exorcise demons almost every day.

"This didn't happen before", says Father Francisco Bautista, another exorcist in Mexico City.

Most of the cases, he explains, require a lesser form of exorcism, called liberation prayers - effective when a person still controls part of his or her mind and body.

Only rarely does the Devil possess someone completely, he says, but when that happens, the bishop of the diocese must intervene.

In Bautista's view, the rising demand for exorcism is partly explained by the large numbers of Mexicans joining the cult of Saint Death, or Santa Muerte.

It is estimated that the cult, whose followers worship a skull in a wedding dress carrying a scythe, has some eight million followers in Mexico - and more among Mexican migrants in Central America, the US and Canada.

"It has also been adopted by the drug traffickers who ask her for help to avoid arrest and to make money," Bautista says. "In exchange they offer human sacrifices. And this has increased the violence in Mexico."
Read the entire article here BBC

Monday, October 28, 2013

Inerrant Bible: answer to Steve

Hi Steve, thank you for your comment and invitation, I will take a look at your blog!

We both agree that if Holy Spirit wishes to give to humanity an inerrant Bible without any fuzziness He can certainly do so.

As Christians we would then be invited just to memorize the Book written in Heaven and given to the humanity through the only true Prophet.

We can see the consequences of such a faith and religion.

Instead of a scientifically solid revelation about earthly and heavenly things, past, present and future, Holy Ghost has inspired a collection of books during more than one thousand years of the Jewish history, a collection that is full of contradictions, errors and some very fuzzy paragraphs, indeed.

For so He has seen it good for the most wondrous gift to humanity, the only begotten Son of God of Israel.

We do not believe in Bible as the heart of our religion.

We believe in Jesus Christ, the promised Messiah of Israel, who is the Word of God that came down to earth from heaven and who is attested already in the first verses of Genesis, as God said things, saying words.

I understand that this understanding of the Bible as witness of the "coming of the Word of God" is not to your liking.

But it stands the most rigorous acid test of truth.

Faith that is life together with the Word of God in Holy Spirit as children of God the Father is a miracle that nobody can take to himself or herself, it is something that is given from above.

Friday, October 4, 2013

European Union criminalized Judaism

European Union Parlamentary Assembly has overwhelmingly voted in Strasbourg for a resolution calling male ritual circumcision a “violation of the physical integrity of children according to human rights standards.”  Both male and female circumcision is forbidden below the age of 15 and without the personal agreement of the youth. (See, for example, the article in JPNews.)

God tells the children of Abraham to circumcise all male children eight days after the delivery or to be cut off from the people of covenant.
9 And God said unto Abraham, Thou shalt keep my covenant therefore, thou, and thy seed after thee in their generations.

10 This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised.

11 And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me and you.

12 And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every man child in your generations, he that is born in the house, or bought with money of any stranger, which is not of thy seed.

13 He that is born in thy house, and he that is bought with thy money, must needs be circumcised: and my covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant.

14 And the uncircumcised man child whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he hath broken my covenant.Genesis 19:9-14

Under the leadership of France the European Union refused to even mention the God of Israel in the foundation document of the Union.

Now they have criminalized Judaism.


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Stephen Hawking about assisted suicide

Image Copyright Easternblot on Flickr Creative Commons

Stephen William Hawking CH CBE FRS FRSA has finally figured out in his brilliant mind - with the assistance of a member of God's chosen people Leonard Mlodivov - that there really is no need for God. Physical laws alone are sufficient to explain everything humans wish to know about Cosmos (Grand Design, 2010).

Now our eminent Theoretical Physicist has told the world that he supports assisted suicide (BBC).

Also here there apparently is no need for God.

May man decide himself on matters of life and death.

Logical, indeed.

I am just thinking that lovely grandmother who is chronically ill and gets expensive treatment that is not fully covered by her medical insurance. Gently her children have made her to understand what a financial burden her treatment is and how mortgage is eating grandchildren's college funds.

As changed laws make it possible, out of pure love she signs her own death sentence, assisted suicide or euthanasia, whatever you like to call it.

The kids got rid of a troublesome situation and can now enjoy life without having to pay a fortune to keep ye old grandma alive. And she willingly agreed to go, didn't she?

Friday, September 13, 2013

Dawkins' world 2: no music

Dawkins' world envisages and promotes world without the fallacy of religions. " Let us make a better world where brilliant scientifically oriented humans like me teach the masses the eternal values of atheist humanism!"

"There is no god, and Dawkins is his prophet" as the saying goes.

So let there be Wayne's world 2 promoting better future to humanity without music. What enormous resources and human effort is waisted just to produce sounds!

Such a project would not be less violent mutilation of true humanity as the rationalistic cutting off and destruction of religiosity from human society.

It is ironic that the main proponent of rational religion worshiping humanity in Notre Dame during French revolution was sentence to the guillotine just six months after the illfamed Cult d'Raison occasion in Paris. The man who gave the masses the enciting Fraternity, Liberty, equality tricolor lost his head by the will of the liberated.

It is ironic that the revolutionaries in Soviet Union following Stalin's order to demolish the Cathedral on Moscow and in Soviet People's hearts replacing religion with scientific atheistic materialism are remembered with such disgust and horror as Russian people ate trying to fix the enormous damage they caused to the Russian soul.

So let Dawkins lead humanity with Carl Sagan and others to a future without religion and to a sensible rational life without music.

To an impoverished colorless existence without respect and praise to our Maker.
It has been tried before with catastrophic results.

So why not try again!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Darwinism and Marxism

I define Darwinism and Marxism in a nutshell like this (may others define them as they please).

G.W.F. Hegel 1831
iamge wikimedia
Charles Darwin and Karl Marx were brilliatn students of G.W.F. Hegel that in the 19th century adapted Hegel's "importance of history" and "processes" in analyzing the deep structures in their own fields of interest. The results of processes are often layered structures that are in the heart of both scientists thinking with revolutionary consequences.

In addition to Classification  (Aristotle) both scientists give crucial significance to processes that take place in time. The dialectic process itself was more important to Marx than to Darwin. This is because Marx was like Hegel greatly interested in practical political situations, tensions in society and its dialectics.  In the background of Hegel's processes is French Revolution that he closely followed and that changed everything.

For Darwin the processes that create layered structures and logical trees was highly significant and as a result he found the continuity in the history of life forms, the Tree of Life (1837).

Charles Darwin 1868
image wikimedia
Charles Darwin recognized "the tree of life", the continuum of organic growth and development of life in which classed species depend on each other and follow each other in the flow of history as in a branching tree. The recognition and understanding of time bound process in Geology was of crucial importance to young Darwin. This fundamental understanding of the history of Earth's crust he learned from Sir Georg Lyell.

Darwin set natural selection in the center of the time bound processes that create species. We can see this already in the name of his book that revolutionaized Western world view and man's understanding of himself

On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life.
Oxford 1859

Karl Marx 1882
kuva wikimedia
Karl Marx realized the layered structure of society and analyzed elements in its origins, evolution and variations.  The slums of industrial England represented the problematic relationships between ownership and work. Marx set the ownership, capital, into the heart of his criticial social analsyses.

Das Kapital, Kritik der politischen Ökonomie Vol I
Hamburg 1867

After the death of Marx in 1883 Friedrich Engels published volumes II (1885) and III (1894) in his name.  

Darwinist is a representative of Evolutionary Biology for whom natural selection is the key in explaining origins of species in nature.

Marxist is a student of human society for whom capital is the key in explaining the fundamental structures and evolution of  humanity.

While Natural Sciences and Social Sciences are evolving along the growth of knowledge there are still scholars whose work reflects the fundamental principles on these two human geniuses.  Because of the common deep roots of the two thinkers it is only natural that there are Biologists who represent both Marxist and Darwinist views in the manner of Stephen Jay Gould and Richard Lewontin.

Darwinist student of Evolutionary Biology thus sets his or her explanation in the mold of natural selection. As soon as a theory has been presented that explains evolution in terms of survival of the fittest it is acceptable as a scientific theory, a hypothesis, even without any actual evidence for such a struggle. "We are not dogmatic about natural selection" they may say "but no better explanation has been found to the origins of species". Let the search for better explanations continue!

Marxist student of society uses the ownership structures, hierarchies of power and layered class structures of the society as key tools in his or her research in Sociology, Anthropology, Ethnography, Archaeology and other field of research of humans as social animals. 

Academic freedom of the modern scholar!
Evolutionary Biologist who is free of the heavy heritage of Darwinism examines discoveries, observes nature and closely follows the research in other related fields, such as Ecology or Genetics in trying to understand the evolution of life on planet Earth. Natural selection is an important but by no means the only criterion for formulating scientifically acceptable theories. 

Sociologists and others free from the powerful heritage of Marxism consider capital, ownership, social hierarchies and wielding of real power as very significant. But he or she considers the enormous variety visible in the real history and present condition of humans and their societies without forcefully squeezing everything into a single politically relevant model.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Views on the Origins of Man - US gallup statistics

image Sheun Ayo

Another Phos to Alethinon bookmark View on the origins of man gallup 2012
PRINCETON, NJ -- Forty-six percent of Americans believe in the creationist view that God created humans in their present form at one time within the last 10,000 years. The prevalence of this creationist view of the origin of humans is essentially unchanged from 30 years ago, when Gallup first asked the question. About a third of Americans believe that humans evolved, but with God's guidance; 15% say humans evolved, but that God had no part in the process.
Gallup's question wording explicitly frames the three alternatives in terms of God's involvement in the process of human development, making it less than surprising to find that the more religious the American, the more likely he or she is to choose the creationist viewpoint.
Americans with postgraduate education are most likely of all the educational groups to say humans evolved without God's guidance, and least likely to say God created humans in their present form within the last 10,000 years. The creationist viewpoint "wins" among Americans with less than a postgraduate education.
More broadly, some 78% of Americans today believe that God had a hand in the development of humans in some way, just slightly less than the percentage who felt this way 30 years ago
Frank Newport
Read the entire article in Gallup Politics

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Heavenly pearls!

Princess Diana just loved pearls!
Image Diana's jewels

Another Phos to alethinon bookmark  Philip Ball, What makes pearls round?
BBC Future, Science & Environment June 24 2013
Nacre [Mother of Pearl] is an astonishing material. It consists mostly of the mineral aragonite, a form of calcium carbonate (the fabric of chalk and marble). The mineral is laid down as microscopic slabs stacked in layers and “glued” with softer organic membranes of protein and chitin (the main component of the insect cuticle and shrimp shell). This composite structure, with hard layers weakly bonded together, makes nacre extremely tough and crack-resistant, which is why materials scientists seek to mimic it in artificial composites. It also reflects light in a manner that creates interference of the light waves, producing the iridescence of mother-of-pearl.

Everybody admires the beauty of pearls, Dilmun's pearl divers looked for elixir of eternal life in Gilgamesh epos 4000 years ago. Beautiful women of highest royalty have searched for the perfect pearl in order to outshine other noble ladies in that event...

Also the writers of the Holy Bible elevate pearls high up even to the gates of heavenly Jerusalem!

And the twelve gates were twelve pearls: every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass.
Rev 21:21 KJV 

Pearls have messages in the Bible

Rare in Old Testament * - only Mother of Pearl is mentioned in Persia:
The garden had hangings of white and blue linen, fastened with cords of white linen and purple material to silver rings on marble pillars. There were couches of gold and silver on a mosaic pavement of porphyry, marble, mother-of-pearl and other costly stones.
Esther 1:6

Pearls were known and valued in Roman period Palestine:
Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.
Matthew 7:6

Sound investment!
Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls.  When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.
Matthew 13:45-46

Modesty of Christian women:
I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes.
1 Timothy 2:9 

The Book of Revelation: 
The woman was dressed in purple and scarlet, and was glittering with gold, precious stones and pearls. She held a golden cup in her hand, filled with abominable things and the filth of her adulteries.
Rev 17:4

cargoes of gold, silver, precious stones and pearls; fine linen, purple, silk and scarlet cloth; every sort of citron wood, and articles of every kind made of ivory, costly wood, bronze, iron and marble;
Rev 18:12

Woe! Woe to you, great city,
dressed in fine linen, purple and scarlet,
and glittering with gold, precious stones and pearls!
Rev 18:16

* Note that in many Old Testament verses the Hebrew word פּני פּנין (pni, pnin) is translated as ruby rather than as pearl, for example Proverbs 3:15 et al.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Jonathan Sarfati - Flood models and Biblical realism

Tri Jonathan Sarfati (1964)
Kuva wikimedia
The subject is an article by New Zealend born Creation Ministries Int. researcher, Doctor of Chemistry Jonathan Sarfati (b. 1964)
Flood models and biblical realism Journal of Creation 24 (3): 46–53 December 2010.

Sarfati works as a researcher in Creation Ministries International (CMI). Sometimes we hear that CMI does not represent Young Earth Creationism with its biblical 6000 years chronology.

But such claims are false. CMI markets a collection of articles edited by J.F. Ashton In Six Days (1999). Here 50 doctoral level writers exlain independently each from his or her point of view why the world is  6000 years old (young).
John F Ashton, In Six Days. Creation Ministries Int, 1999. 360 p.
Fifty Ph.D. scientists each wrote a chapter, without collaboration, telling why they hold to literal creation. Features fields as wide-ranging as geology, cosmology, zoology, botany, geophysics, biochemistry and more. Will have a powerful effect on the unbeliever who reads it, and be immensely encouraging to believers.

Even if not every CMI associated researcher represents YEC world view Sarfati himself definitely does as shown by his article in Ashton's publication.
We should believe in a recent creation in six consecutive normal days because the only Eyewitness tells us this is what He did, and He has shown that He should be trusted. While this requires faith, it is a faith amply supported by science, as I can confirm from my own specialist field.
J.F. Sarfati in Ahston 1999 

About biblical authority 
Model-building should be an example of the ministerial use of science. In contrast, the magisterial use of science, practised by all compromisers on Genesis, overrules the clear teaching of the Bible to come up with a meaning inconsistent with sound hermeneutics. Instead of the Reformation principle of Sola Scriptura (Scripture alone), this is Scriptura sub scientia (Scripture below science). With these principles, some popular ideas can be examined.
Sarfati op. cit.
... all compromisers of Genesis = any interpreation that does not represent American fundamentalism à la Chicago 1978 statement about Biblical inerrancy.

... Scriptura sub scientia = all research that does not accept the total and absolute authority of the Bible as the purest representative of truth both in earthly and in heavenly matters.

Pre-flood Paradise?
Many creationist works from a few decades ago portrayed the antediluvian world as a paradise, which was horribly spoiled at the Flood. But this is not taught in Scripture.

... But even if she were much younger, more recent research points to aged fathers as a major source of genetic disorders. This should not be surprising since men keep producing sperm throughout their lives, and older men have more mutations.

So it is not surprising that Shem, while very fit by today’s standards, would have been considerably less fit than his parents, and carried extra heritable mutations.
Sarfati op. cit.
Truly representative example how Sarfati reads the Bible as a man of our modern scientific era  (hermeneutics).

No rain before Flood?
Furthermore, the Bible gives no indication that the ‘laws of nature’ (really God’s regular ways of upholding His creation) were any different before the Flood from what they are now. Yet they would have to be if there were no evaporation, precipitation and differential refraction before the Flood.
Sarfati op. cit.
Some times we have noted how creationists explain things by saying that God "stopped natural laws for a moment" or that pre-Flood world worked differently from post-Flood world. Sarfati rejects such thinking.

Higher air pressure 
One idea for the pre-Flood world, derived partly from the fallacious pre-Flood paradise assumption, is that oxygen concentration or atmospheric pressure was higher than today. This would supposedly have beneficial effects duplicated in today’s hyperbaric chambers. These increase the oxygen partial pressure as per Dalton’s Law.
This doesn’t disprove a higher oxygen concentration and air pressure, but it shows that they were not needed scientifically. They are definitely not needed on biblical grounds.
Sarfati op. cit.
Strange pseudo-scientific mumbling that has nothing to do with the subject of the article.

As a chemist Jonathan Sarfati may find it very difficult to realize that the writers of the Bible knew nothing of an invisible gas called by modern science air. The Bible does not have a Hebrew word for air. Instead, it speaks about the thing we can observe and feel, wind "ruach" and of blowing air.
In the meantime, on August 1, 1774, an experiment conducted by the British clergyman Joseph Priestley focused sunlight on mercuric oxide (HgO) inside a glass tube, which liberated a gas he named "dephlogisticated air". He noted that candles burned brighter in the gas and that a mouse was more active and lived longer while breathing it. After breathing the gas himself, he wrote: "The feeling of it to my lungs was not sensibly different from that of common air, but I fancied that my breast felt peculiarly light and easy for some time afterwards." Priestley published his findings in 1775 in a paper titled "An Account of Further Discoveries in Air" which was included in the second volume of his book titled Experiments and Observations on Different Kinds of Air. Because he published his findings first, Priestley is usually given priority in the discovery.

Meteorite causing the Flood?
This theory Sarfati rejects on Biblical grounds as such a tsunami would only be a local phenomenon. Bible says that water covered highest mountins so it must have covered the entire world.

Water over firmament?
The canopy theory, as a model for the beginning of the Flood, aligns strongly with this ‘antediluvian paradise’ idea. This asserts that the ‘waters above’ referred to a canopy of water vapour, which condensed and collapsed to provide the rain for the Flood (figure 1). A few decades ago, this was very popular—for good reason, since it seemed to explain many things about rain, rainbows and longevity. Now it is rejected by most informed creationists.
Sarfati op. cit
Sarfati explains on the basis of Bible and modern science why this popular explanation to the Biblical Flood is not valid.
However, the real problem was that some creationists gave the impression that it was a direct teaching of Scripture; CMI cautioned against such dogmatism back in 1989 when the model was still very popular among many creationist writers. After all, for most of church history, no one had seen a canopy in the actual text of Scripture, yet God specifically wrote Scripture to teach, i.e. to be understandable (2 Timothy 3:15–17). Furthermore, it seems to contradict Scripture, since Psalm 148:4 says: “Praise him, you highest heavens, and you waters above the heavens!” Clearly these waters could not have been a canopy that collapsed during the Flood, since they were still present during the time of the Psalmist over a thousand years later.

Many of the arguments for the canopy were faulty on scientific grounds. For example, one argument is that the canopy would protect us from damaging radiation, and explain the extremely long lifespans. But water vapour is not a great shield for UV—you can be sunburned on a cloudy day and while swimming. When it comes to cosmic radiation, there is no evidence that this is involved in longevity, and as stated above, the cause of decreasing lifespans was genetic rather than environmental.

What water absorbs very well is infrared, as any vibrational spectroscopist knows. It is actually a far more important ‘greenhouse gas’ than CO2, accounting for about 66% of the atmospheric ‘greenhouse effect’ on Earth, or maybe even as much as 95%. This leads to the major scientific problem with the canopy theory—a water vapour canopy thick enough to provide more than about a metre’s worth of floodwater would cook the earth.

Sarfati op. cit
Sarfati is critical on the theories presented by his own colleagues and argues why "waters over firmament" theory does not stand criticism.

Catastrophic tectonic plates theory 
This is probably the most popular model among informed creationists today. This accepts much of the evidence adduced to support uniformitarian plate tectonics, but solves a number of problems. The CPT model begins with a pre-Flood super-continent (possibly indicated by Genesis 1:9).  While uniformitarian models assume that the ocean plates have always had the temperature profile they display today, the CPT model starts with some additional cold rock in regions just offshore surrounding the supercontinent. Since this rock was colder, it was denser than the mantle below. At the start of the Flood year, this began to sink.

... But CPT is not a direct teaching of Scripture, so it is legitimate for creationists to question or reject it as a model, and a number of knowledgeable creationist geologists do. Opponents argue that it concedes too much to uniformitarianism, and that it doesn’t explain the whole of the Flood, but only the last half.

Sarfati op. cit
--- uniformitarianism is among the geological concepts most hated by the creationists. Father of Geology, Sir Charles Lyell (1797-1875), presented the fundamental concept in his major Principles of Geology (1830-1833). Geological phenomena, such as the growth of river delta or the building up of hills on the slopes of a volcano happens at fairly uniform rate throughout history. This is a foundation stone of modern Geology and revolutionized scientific dating of Earth's surface in the 19th century. It also replaced the traditional Biblical chronology calculated from the genealogies.  It is not helpful that Charles Darwin was a close friend of Lyell and ardent student of Geology; it was the new understanding of the formation of soil deposits through time that suggested to Darwin different stages in the history of organic life on Earth.

Plate tectonics are a significant subject in modern research. It is really nice that Bible is also mentioned in this context - or is it?

Underground waters 
This model of Dr Walter Brown  has many passionate supporters. Brown explains:
“Before the global flood, considerable water was under the earth’s crust. Pressure increases in this subterranean water ruptured that crust, breaking it into plates. The escaping water flooded the earth. Because hydro means water, those crustal plates will be called hydroplates.”

Furthermore, water and rocks were hurled at speeds exceeding escape velocity, so this explains the origin of comets, asteroids and meteorites (figure 3).

Sarfati op. cit
Sarfati does not directly reject the theory proposed by engineer Dr Walter Brown (b.1937) but, instead, politely asks him to write more about the theme in CMI context.

"Vanished flood" argument
Sarfati replies to criticism that the Great Flood of Bible has somehow just vanished leaving no trace of it for us to study.

After rejecting such a godless claim Sarfati now gives a beating to Lyell, Darwin and all other uniformists.
The same applies to the uniformitarianism of Flood scoffers, such as Darwin’s mentor Charles Lyell who tried to “free the science [of geology] from Moses”. Widespread fossils of soft-bodied creatures and huge animals, as well as wide and flat sedimentary layers certainly fit the bill. Thus this passage rules out certain extreme versions of the ‘Anglo-European’ or ‘Recolonization’ Flood Model, which become ‘vanishing Flood’ models, where most of the geology of the earth formed after the Flood. And of course, this would rule out the view of certain ‘progressive creationists’ such as Hugh Ross that the Flood was local and left no traces. Sarfati op. cit

Tas Walker's biblical-geological model

Sarfatin artikkeli, Fig. 4

This is how Jonathan Sarfati evaluates Dr Tas Walker's model
The Biblical Geologic Model is a geologic classification scheme based on the biblical record of Earth history. The model is useful for classifying geologic data, understanding geologic processes and guiding geologic research. It is a powerful tool for communicating biblical geologic concepts.
Sarfati Fig. 4 kuvateksti
Pay attention how Walker's model is offered as a comprehensive alternative to the sequential model of geological ages offered by modern Geology.

Of course, anyone is permitted to publish alternative histories of Earth's crust and even to argue for the model using the Great Flood. People whose work it is to study the geological formations of Earth and their history evaluate these theories and take some into attention in their own work rejecting others.

Personally I do not know a single introduction to Geology that would even mention Tas Walker's Biblical Geological model as a serious alternative.

Two notes
Jonathan Sarfati has worked hard analyzing creationist models of Great Flood. The article also gives a nice overview of his own methodology and Biblical hermeneutics.

1. The article demonstrates characteristic Creation Ministries Inc. circular reasoning creating the illusion of research that is done together by a team. The writers refer to each others within the closed circuit as if in legitimate critical scientific discussion of ideas.

There is no real discussion with the views offered by modern scientific Geology. Central ideas are borrowed from there but handled completely free of any scientific research and method. There is no field research, geologist's hammers are not in action, nobody is diving to the bottom of the sea to study continental plates, no chemistry of rocks is discussed and the rock cycle is non-existent. This is arm-chair pseudo-geology full of mudslinging on real geologists pushing the boundaries of human knowledge of out planet.

Instead of being thankful for the men and women who during the past 200 years have gathered and interpreted fundamentally important truthful facts about Earth and discovered more and more wonders in God's creation!

2. Sarfat's article is a good mile stone in the reality of New Earth Creationism today. It is honest and serious attempt to fit everything into the 4000 years genealogy from Adam to Jesus.  Jonathan undoubtedly is among the leading gurus who works actively in CMI projects and is thus a representative case.

Unfortunately, CMI is talking about its own reality of creation that in many ways resembles the reality of Jehovah Witnesses with their New World theories, Biblical references and "scientific quotes". The building has a certain internal logic in which different elements support each other - because they have been constructed purposely to support each other and the assumed truth of the Bible.

Geology is Theology!
(by this I mean real Geology, not the pseudo scientific rubbish offered by CMI in glossy covers)

Hello, Jonathan, where in your world is Gilgamesh Epos Table XI and the excavations of Abram's home town Ur?

For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee..
Isaiah 54:10

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Satan in Giotto's fresco and Egyptian god Bes

Last Judgement
Giotto di Bonavenda 1306
Scrovegni Chapel Padua
Image Web Gallery of Art
Alastair Sooke published in BBC Cutlure June 19, 2013 an interesting article on how imagery of Egyptian god Bes may have influenced the depiction of Satan in Christian art. The analysis is well worth reading in its entirety (here).

The decisive punch of Sooke's argumentation comes at the end of the article. He refers - almost in passing - the world famous fresco of Devil in Arena Chapel of Padua. Giotto depicts the Devil in decidedly bessian style. However, as Sooke rightly reminds us, Bes was for ancient Egyptians a protective god especially helping in delicate moments of child birth rather then an incarnation of evil.

Detail from Last Judgement
Image Web Gallery of Art
On theological note, Giotto depicted in his Last Judgement fresco the Devil as having a real good time in Hell   as an orgy of devouring condemned humans. This is an interesting twist of Biblical message common in Medieval Church art - for the Book of Revelation describes the burning lake of hell prepared as a place of eternal punishment for him and his angels.

Egyptian god Bes
Image BBC Culture

The typical depiction of Bes in Egyptian art shows him facing the viewer. This is very uncharacteristic as gods, people and also animals are usually depicted in profile - they "walk like an Egyptian". As Alistair Sooke suggests this detail may indicate foreign, possibly African origin, to this god in the rich pantheon of ancient Egyptian gods and goddesses.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Jesus and the Cursed for Gold

Men work during the week in often illegal gold washing sites among Amazon. Diesel engine pumps water with high pressure and hoses are used to attack soil. Water loosens it and it flows to structures made of rain forest trees cut down for the purpose. The wash towers contain boxes that are covered by small mats. Men pour mercury from small plastic bottle over the washed soil and rubs the mixture with bare hands. Running water removes the mud and mercury ties the gold dust into the mats. Water continues flowing eventually reaching branches of Amazon river. The men use tea spoons to scrape the gold dust into a bowl carefully adding also every nuggets they find.

Image Cursed for Gold TF2

Weekly visit to civilization
Image Cursed for Gold TF2
After hard work of a week or two the men walk jungle paths or use their canoes to reach Wild West towns, that have been haphazardly built here and there. Now is time to get things, diesel oil for the pumps, mercury from Brazil, food and other necessities. Gold is valid currency here but if there is enough some of it is changed into cash at local shops and sent to wife and kids far away.

Airplanes land and take off in some of the many unofficial strips bringing necessities and taking things and people back to the big cities.

Now is the time to relax in bars, seek female company, laugh, dance, drink and enjoy life until morning and return back to harsh work in the rainforest. Gang fights are often bloody, .38 guns send men to their deaths and to simple burial in nearby forest where the body decomposes in a few days.

Working women 
Gold washers attract women who arrive to the Wild West towns even from far. They include mothers from Brazil, lonely teenager from Surinam, local daughters from French Guiana families seeking for income. There are enough clients. Some women have legitimate work as cooks in the hotels, shop keepers, pharmacists or postal workers. Some just hang out bored waiting for the week-end action.

The number of prostitutes is significant among the women. Gold dust is local currency and a popular girl may get 4 or 5 grams for the services. Evening in bars, dancing places can be profitable if you do not concentrate on a single nice guy.

Many of these women suffer from home-sickness, eyes are sad despite the smile on the lips, husband and children are there far-away and occasionally get some money from the gold fields. The business is not that profitable and after a year or two the women long home if they just had the money to travel.

Wild West life in modern rainforests of Amazon.

Dangerous to life, mercury poisoning, devastating forests, eventually deadly fish that cause medical problems to Amerindian children and also make the gold diggers themselves sick. For each 50 kg of gold brought from Amazon jungle people introduce 20 kg mercury into the nature.

Gospel light to the night of humanity 
How wonderful it was to see preachers in these towns talking about Jesus to these people in the midst of heavy work, murder, adultery, drugs and deadly poisons.

Some twenty women of the gold town have gathered and are standing with open Bibles in their hands reading aloud what Jesus says in Matthew 6 about Treasures in Heaven
"Não acumulem para vocês tesouros na terra, onde a traça e a ferrugem destroem, e onde os ladrões arrombam e furtam. Mas acumulem para vocês tesouros nos céus, onde a traça e a ferrugem não destroem, e onde os ladrões não arrombam nem furtam. Pois onde estiver o seu tesouro, aí também estará o seu coração.

“Os olhos são a candeia do corpo. Se os seus olhos forem bons, todo o seu corpo será cheio de luz. Mas se os seus olhos forem maus, todo o seu corpo será cheio de trevas. Portanto, se a luz que está dentro de você são trevas, que tremendas trevas são!"
“Ninguém pode servir a dois senhores; pois odiará um e amará o outro, ou se dedicará a um e desprezará o outro. Vocês não podem servir a Deus e ao Dinheiro

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

“The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light.But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!

“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money."
Jesus Mat 6:19-24

This text is a thankful comment on the exceptionally fine multiple awards winning documentary by Olivier Weber Cursed for Gold (TF2 2008).

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Le Nozze di Figaro - Théâtre des Champs-Élysées 2004

image captured from a youTube clip 
Bel Air Classiques BAC017
Just a few moments into the overture to W.A. Mozart's beloved opera buffa composed in 1786 and we realize that tonight Concerto Köln is going to give a landmark performance under the direction of René Jacobs.

Just a few moments into the first act and we realize that stage director Jean-Louis Martinoty has somehow succeeded in reaching the spirit of Amadeus and in creating a performance that Mozart himself would surely have appreciated. The unusual  set created by professor Hans Schavernoch has been both criticized and praised in press - in the filming it works perfectly.

But it is very difficult to define exactly what makes this recording so different.

We can ask some usual questions and get an affirmative answer:

  • Does the share beauty of E Suzanna non vien or Dove sono i bei momenti (German soprano Annette Dasch) bring tears to our eyes? Yes it does.
  • Does the approaching marching band (Concerto Köln) inadvertently make us smile from the pure joy of music? Yes it does.
  • Is there perfect harmony in the sextet Riconosci in questo amplesso una madre? Yes there is.
  • Does Deh, vieni, non tardar teasingly sung by Susanna (British soprano Rosemary Joshua) take us to the heights of pure music? Yes it does.
  • Does the Count (Italian baritone Pietro Spagnoli) have a presence that in all its hypocrisy still brings dignity and social values into the comedy? Yes, he has, magnificently so.
  • Are there amorous feelings between Figaro (Italian operatic bass-baritone Luca Pisaroni) and Susanna that the audience can feel? Yes, there are.

The list goes on. What a magnificent cast; what a great performance!

But all these details do not explain the particular charm of Théâtre des Champs-Élysées 2004 performance of Le Nozze di Figaro in 2004.

What does?

I do not know.

Taken all together, the performance is just so .... eh ... so Mozart.

W.A. Mozart 1780/81 Detail.
Oil on canvas. Johann Nepomuk della Croce (1736-1819)
Image wikimedia

Saturday, June 8, 2013

In hoc signo vinces

Labarum of Constantine
Reconstructed from the coin shown below.
The three circles probably had portraits of rulers.
Image wikimedia

Constantine I 307-337 AD. Æ en:Follis (2.97 gm)
Struck 337 AD. Constantinople mint.
labarum, with three medallions on drapery and crowned by a christogram, spearing serpent.
Image wikimedia

“Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other."
Matthew 24:30-31 NIV

Ichthys inscription from Ephesus
Image wikimedia

Christ talks in Matthew about the sign of the Son of Man but we do not know what sign is in question. Among the earliest symbols for Christ found in excavations in Israel and in catacombs was the fish, in Greek Ichthys.  "Ίησοῦς Χριστός, Θεοῦ Υἱός, Σωτήρ", (Iēsous Christos, Theou Yios, Sōtēr) Jesus Christ, Son of God, Saviour.

It is numismatic fact that Constantine the Great knew the Chi Rho symbol and this must have been the sign painted on the helmets and shields of his legionaries in the crucial Battle of Milvian bridge on October 28 312. Before  that eventually led to his rise to power as the sole Emperor of Rome and to events that made Jesus Christ the divine ruler of Rome and Constantinople.

Image MudPreacher

However, today world knows better cross than labarum as the sign of the Son of Man. In early church it was such a cruel tool of execution that it was not used as religious symbol. However, after Constantine the Great forbid crucifixion its horrors were forgotten and gradually during the 4th and 5th centuries it gradually became the dominant symbol of Jesus Christ in art.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Such a total failure!

Praying mantis - India
Image wikimedia

"I am such a total failure;
when I bought myself a praying mantis
it turned out to be an atheist."
Benny Hill (1924-1992)

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Youssou N'Dour et le Super Etoile de Dakar

Youssou N'dour Warszawa, Poland during the 5th Cross Culture Festival Sept. 13 2009
Image wikimedia
Another Mezzo experience
Last night I had yet another Mezzo TV experience.

First, allow me to explain what this means in general. Living in an area with rather limited active cultural life and narrow-band choice of music in public media the unbelievable quality and breadth of Mezzo TV seen in satellite channels connects me to the wider world. Uniquely, I would say, there is nothing like it in radio or TV here or among the hundreds of satellite channels visible. After watching and listening some performance I usually feel a little less ignorant, a little bit less outsider as the magnificent programs expand my knowledge of  composers, artists and musical companies. 

So I am not ashamed to confess (or maybe a little...) that through Mezzo TV I have learned about Jordi Savall's extraordinary work on Albigensian Crusade, about the exceptional charm of  Renée Fleming, seen Händel's Rinaldo at the Caen Theatre with the Collegium 1704, learned to appreciate the Green by Johann Sebastian Bach... the list is long. All this would be unreachable for me without this precious TV channel.

Last night it happened in the usual way - casual browsing of channels for something worth to watch, stopping for a moment at Mezzo (for I am not always in tune even for the best of musical performances), quick look at the Jazz offering and ... My thumb simply stopped not so much on what I saw but what I heard! This is usually dangerous and was again so - I was hooked even knowing that tomorrow is regular work day.

For what I heard from the 2011 festival at Fes was not really Jazz. It was something I have never heard before. First of all I was attracted by how comfortable and relaxed the singer was in front of full house audience. Then I noticed the easy at which each musician handled their instrument - easy that only comes with complete mastery of it. Then the sound started to sink in; Super Etoile de Dakar players formed a  single organic body playing complex rhythms and melodies in total harmony over which Youssou N'Dour developed his singing as an integral part of the whole.

Particularly impressive was the joining in of an Arabic singer with beautiful voice and his background group of four humming Allah, Allah. Youssou joined in as if he was one of them. Arabic I understood more or less but what he was singing I did not have any idea of. No wonder Youssou N'Dour  recently n 2013 won a share of Sweden's $150,000 Polar music prize for promoting understanding between faiths as well as for his music (Reuters 2013).

Spectacular musicians
By time my ear started to recognize different instruments in the pleasing and interesting flow of kind of music I have never heard before (ignoramus as I am). I was astonished by the quality and beauty from the electric guitar - and learned soon that yes, it is indeed a Fender Stratocaster played by Senegalese Jim Mbay - and that Jim is internationally known as one of the most celebrated African guitarists if not the most. Similarly, the famous bassist Habib Faye did not try to impress anyone - he just played what came to him, and it impressed everyone! 

But that was not all. There was something in the sound of the band that I did not quite catch first - an unusual and very catchy beat. The western drum set it was not nor was it the skilled bongo player, these are familiar sounds. Could it be that ridiculous little thing Assane Thiam was holding near his head with such obvious joy?
And indeed, there was a microphone near the tiny drum and the exceptional beat came from it Assane beating it with right hand fingers and holding a kind of spoon in his left hand.

I learned that this is a "talking drum" called tama and what a difference it made. Unforgettable!

"Talking drum" tama
Image wikimedia

Artist and politician
Last night I also learned while listening to the enthralling music that Youssou N'Dour is a world famous artist and also an important politician, currently the Minister of Tourism and Culture of Senegal. Mezzo TV has thus - again - made me a little less ignorant about world class music and art.

No, Jazz it was not.

The music Youssou N'Dour et le Super Etoile de Dakar played deserves its own category - the proper name for it is mbalax.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Homosexual sins and rabbi Steven Greenberg

Orthodox rabbi Steven Greenberg (1956)
Image wikimedia
Times are a'changing!

With the growing acceptance in secular and religious societies of the fact that sexual minorities do exists and that some people are naturally oriented towards their own sex, many homosexuals and lesbians are coming out of the closet. One outstanding example - because of the strict sexual morals of Judaism against homosexuality - is rabbi Steven Greenberg, 57, telling about his love of opera singer Steven Goldstein. Together they are the parents of two-and-half years old girl Amilia.

Greenberg's views
Israeli newspaper Haaretz had front page headline"And God created gays: The first openly gay Orthodox rabbi talks about coming out, pain, and parenthood" (Haaretz)

Wikipedia tells:
In 2004 Greenberg's book, Wrestling with God and Men: Homosexuality in the Jewish Tradition was published, meeting with critical acclaim. In particular it addressed permitted and forbidden sexual behaviour: “While the common understanding of the verse ‘Thou shall not lie with a male as one lies with a woman’ [Leviticus 18:22] has been taken to refer to both active and passive partners ... it would appear that the verse directly refers only to the active partner engulfing his penis in the body of another man. According to this analysis the verse prohibits one, and only one, sexual practice between men, namely, anal intercourse, and speaks specifically to the active partner. There is no mention of any other behavior that this verse would prohibit.”

In Greenberg′s reading “the verse prohibits the kind of sex between men that is designed to effect the power and mastery of the penetrator. Sex for the conquest, for shoring up the ego, for selfaggrandizement, or worse, for the perverse pleasure of demeaning another man is prohibited,” and he adds that reading Leviticus 18:22 “as a law against sexual domination and appropriation ... offers gay people a way to reconnect to God, Torah, and the Jewish people”. Greenberg says that he interprets the passage in this way “because it offers me a way of coming back to Judaism. It’s a radical reading, but if you believe that God hates what you are, why would you go to such a temple?”

Changing legislation
The acceptance of homosexuality as a natural phenomenon, as a true sexual minority, and the protection of their equality with heterosexuals has in recent years led to changes in legislation in several States of the United States and in many European countries, most recently France allowing gay marriages. The rights of homosexuals to have public legislative protection are a significant socio-ethical matter in Scandinavian countries where the majority of population belongs to Christian churches.

Sin of homosexuality
Times are a'changing!

However, with the acceptance of the fact that there are God created sexual minorities there is also a blurring of the divine prohibition of homosexual relations in the Old and New Testament.

For accepting the fact that some men and some women prefer their own sex is not a license to heterosexuals to engage in homosexual relations.

Bible says that homosexuality is abhorrent to God. But not only to God. It is a disgusting thing for heterosexual men and women who normally cannot imagine getting into bed with another man or woman. It is not predominantly a religious feeling, it is natural behavior.

In the same breath we can say that for a homosexual person having sex with opposite sex is a disgusting and unpleasant thing and in many cases simply impossible. 

This is good.

This is something that people of religious should keep reminding the people - that there are all sorts of things that God forbids and one of them is getting into bed with a person of same sex. 

It is a sin. 

The modern addition to this natural and just and important religious teaching is that it may be a sin for a homosexual to get into bed with a person of opposite sex. 

Times are a'changing
Come gather 'round people
Wherever you roam
And admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You'll be drenched to the bone.
If your time to you
Is worth savin'
Then you better start swimmin'
Or you'll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin'.

Come writers and critics
Who prophesize with your pen
And keep your eyes wide
The chance won't come again
And don't speak too soon
For the wheel's still in spin
And there's no tellin' who
That it's namin'.
For the loser now
Will be later to win
For the times they are a-changin'.

Come senators, congressmen
Please heed the call
Don't stand in the doorway
Don't block up the hall
For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled
There's a battle outside ragin'.
It'll soon shake your windows
And rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changin'.

Come mothers and fathers
Throughout the land
And don't criticize
What you can't understand
Your sons and your daughters
Are beyond your command
Your old road is
Rapidly agin'.
Please get out of the new one
If you can't lend your hand
For the times they are a-changin'.

The line it is drawn
The curse it is cast
The slow one now
Will later be fast
As the present now
Will later be past
The order is
Rapidly fadin'.
And the first one now
Will later be last
For the times they are a-changin'.
Bob Dylan

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Resurrecetion - Impact crater

Speaking of religions Carl Sagan rephrased the Principle of Laplaze saying "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence".  Pierre-Simon Laplace (1749–1827) had said in more generic manner that "The weight of the evidence should be proportioned to the strangeness of the facts."

Some Christians take Sagan's famous challenge by trying to show that there actually is extraordinary evidence about the resurrection of Christ. See, for example, the blog on the subject by Matt Slick, President and Founder of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry (CARM).

Weak evidence
The God of Israel has decided otherwise and the evidence of resurrection of Christ is minimal, contradictory,  weak and easy to dismiss. An empty tomb in Jerusalem some 2000 years ago, some confused women, uneducated Galilean fishermen... Encounters with Jesus after His death but stories told in the New Testament in such a manner that it is very difficult to put them together in logical way.

The claim that a human being comes back to life after being cruelly killed and buried for three days is truly extraordinary. It would have been easy to give extraordinary evidence for the case. For example, Jesus showing Himself publicly on the southern steps of the Temple of Jerusalem  proving to everybody that He lives.

But do you notice, what mistake I made in the above paragraph - a fatal error that so many people keep doing?

Apostle Paul
The life of Saulus of Tarsos was revolutionized by his encounter with Jesus after His death on the way to Damascus. He explained resurrection concept to the young Christian congregation in the Greek city of Corinth.

If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. So it is written: “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual. The first man was of the dust of the earth; the second man is of heaven. As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the heavenly man, so also are those who are of heaven. And just as we have borne the image of the earthly man, so shall we bear the image of the heavenly man.
1 Cor 15:44-49

The body of resurrection is not the body of Adam made of dust and having soul (nefesh in Hebrew) but it is a heavenly body with spirit.

Accordingly, resurrection of Christ is moved even further from our materialistic scientific world into the realm of religion and spirituality. Further away from extraordinary proofs and evidence that can convince anyone.

In fact, it is a miracle if anyone believes in the resurrection of Christ.

Impact crater
There is, however, something that brings the resurrection to the realm of material world, science and logic.

The comparison is obviously not perfect as resurrection is life and the impact of asteroids and meteorites on Earth is usually accompanied with widespread destruction.

What I am trying to point out with impact crater is that often we do not have much left of the large object that exploded when hitting planet Earth. But we do have impact crater as in the case of the famous Yucattan hit. We can study the signs that the impact of the asteroid left, the minerals, the temperatures, the size of the crater and so on.

There is a huge impact crater left from resurrection of Christ - in the lives of human beings, in the history of human race, in the fate of the Jewish people, on you and on me through something very strange and underestimated - faith alone.

For God of Israel has seen it good to arrange things for His only Son so that our relationship with Him is based on faith - not on knowledge and science.

And it works - there is quite a number of people who are willing to die for their faith that God has risen Jesus from the death.

Not back to earthly life but to eternal life.

They do not know it - they believe it.