Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Age of the Earth — Does it Really Matter? - Part Two

An excerpt from  Let There Be Light
[The following is a continuation of the article in the TBC August 2014 issue by Jay Seegert of the Creation Education Center. Jay now takes a closer look at the various scientific methods of observation regarding the age of the earth.]
Earth’s Magnetic Field
The earth is like a giant magnet, and scientists have been measuring its strength for more than 170 years. From these measurements, they have determined that the earth’s magnetic field has a half-life of about 1,400 years. This simply means that every 1,400 years, it loses half of its strength. The most interesting aspect of this phenomenon is not related to the future of the field but its past. About 1,400 years ago, the magnetic field would have been twice as strong as it is today. Going back another 1,400 years (c. 800 B.C.) it would be four times as strong. A greatly increased magnetic field means a greatly heated core in the earth (due to frictional effects of electrical currents within the core). So how far back could we possibly go? ...A plausible limit is about 10,000 years. Much beyond that, and the earth’s structure would not be able to withstand the heat. So could the earth actually be billions of years old?  Not according to its magnetic field. (Note: some have attempted to counter this by reference to “magnetic reversals.” However, the actual evidence shows that these reversals happened relatively quickly—related to the flood—and are in no way a valid counter-argument.)
At currently measured rates, it would take billions of years for Uranium 238 (238U) to completely decay into its final daughter element, Lead 206 (206Pb). As mentioned in part 1 of this series, the implied assumption is that the rate of decay has been constant (equal to the current rate) throughout the entire history of the earth....However, there is compelling scientific evidence to reject this assumption.
Unlike Uranium, the element Polonium (produced during the decay of Uranium) decays very rapidly. Uranium decay produces three isotopes (versions) of Polonium: 218Po, 214Po and 210Po. These three elements have half-lives of just 3.1 minutes, 164 micro-seconds, and 138 days, respectively. This means that these elements decay very quickly, not over millions or billions of years, but in days, minutes, or fractions of a second!
Why does any of this matter? Scientists have discovered numerous examples of Polonium “halos” within granite rocks. When Polonium decays, the radioactivity damages the surrounding structure (biotite—a mica mineral) and leaves a spherical pattern. The general term for these patterns is “radiohalos,” short for “radioactive halos.” Polonium halos are radiohalos specifically formed by Polonium decay. So where is this all leading? The radiohalos can only form in hardened rock, but Polonium decays very quickly. If it truly took millions or billions of years for the Uranium to decay and millions of years for the rocks to cool, the Polonium halos would not form. The rocks must have formed and cooled in much less time.
The existence of Polonium halos indicates that 100 million years of Uranium decay were necessary to produce enough Polonium to create these halos. However, since Polonium decays so quickly, it shouldn’t have left any record in the rocks (which supposedly were still in the process of cooling for millions of years). But the halos  are  there! This is evidence of accelerated radioactive decay rates. It appears that 100 million years of decay took place in a number of days! This would account for the appearance of the halos and would also indicate that Uranium decay was accelerated approximately 1 billion times the current rate—evidence of a young earth and against the assumption of constant decay rates.
Polystrate Fossils
Polystrate fossils are fossils (usually trees) that extend through multiple layers of rock that were supposedly deposited over multiplied thousands or millions of years....If those layers were truly laid down over such a long period of time, the trees would have rotted long before ever getting completely buried and thus would never turn into a fossil! It’s interesting that when we find these trees (and there are many of them), we generally don’t find the root systems intact, meaning that these trees were not growing there; they were catastrophically uprooted from their original location and  rapidly deposited .
Helium Abundance in Minerals
When uranium (U238) decays into lead (Pb206), it goes through a series of “steps” during the process. It releases helium (He) 8 different times. This helium is “slippery” and easily escapes from the rock in which the uranium exists, out into the atmosphere. If the rocks are millions or billions of years old, we would not expect to find much helium within because it would have escaped long ago. Conversely, we should find quite a bit of helium in the atmosphere, since most helium atoms cannot reach the necessary velocity to escape the earth’s gravitational pull. In reality, we find much more helium in the rocks than should be expected and not much at all in the atmosphere! Recent research on this (by the RATE Group from the Institute for Creation Research) has shown that not only does this limit the age of the rocks and atmosphere to a number of thousands of years, but it also shows evidence of accelerated radiometric decay—billions of years worth within a very short burst of time (or a few bursts of time—similar to the previous “radio halo” example). [See]
Millions of Years to Form?
We all know that it takes millions of years to form oil… And the same goes for coal… And diamonds—millions of years…right? WRONG!
Oil supposedly formed over millions of years from the breakdown of organic material buried within the earth. However, scientists today are able to produce oil in a matter of minutes in the laboratory ( Discover,  May 2, 2003). It takes the right materials and conditions—not the magic of millions of years. The main ingredients are organic material, pressure, heat, and water. This is exactly what the flood would have provided! Lots of water burying tons of organic material, forming huge layers of sediment, creating tremendous pressure, which in turn created great amounts of heat.
More recent studies have indicated that oil may even be forming today by non-biotic ( abiotic ) methods. According to (2/1/08) “ hydrocarbons are naturally produced on a continual basis throughout the solar system, including within the mantle of the earth. The advocates believe the oil seeps up through bedrock cracks to deposit in sedimentary rock.
The same goes for coal. Argonne National Laboratories has proven that coal can be formed under natural conditions in a matter of weeks. Some laboratories have even produced it within hours under special conditions. (—last accessed 1/25/09)
Scientists have also been able to create diamonds that are indistinguishable from natural diamonds, using carbon dioxide, metallic sodium, high pressure, and a temperature of 440ÂșC, in just 12 hours!
Carbon-14 Levels
Carbon-14 (C14) dating is a method that is used to measure the age of things that were once living (fossil bones, remains of skin, etc.). C14 is a radioactive (unstable) form of Carbon. It slowly decays back into Nitrogen-14 (where it originally came from). Scientists measure the amount of C14 in a specimen to determine how old it is (or more specifically, how long ago it died). Space doesn’t permit a detailed explanation of how this method works, but I want to expose a few myths that most of us have grown up believing. (For more information, see our booklet entitled  What Exactly is Carbon-14 Dating? )
Dinosaurs supposedly became extinct 65 million years ago. If that were the case, their bones should have no evidence of C14, because all measurable amounts would have decayed away in less than 100,000 years. As a surprise to evolutionists, scientists have found C14 in some dinosaur bones, indicating that they have not been around for millions of years. (For more information on dinosaurs, see  Dinosaurs—Where Do They Fit in the Bible? )
With coal supposedly being millions of years old, you wouldn’t expect to find any amount of Carbon-14 remaining, but surprisingly, no coal sample has ever been found to be completely void of C14.
Diamonds are the hardest substance known to man and are extremely impervious to contamination. Allegedly millions to billions of years old, they also should not contain any C14, but recent studies have shown that they do, dispelling the idea of vast ages.
Decay of Biological Material 
Biological material is certainly not as resilient as geologic material, such as granite, and is especially susceptible to decay. In spite of the fact that researchers say that DNA cannot survive in its natural environment for more than 10,000 years, we have discovered it in places where it “ought not be”! One example is in insects that were imbedded in amber. Another was in some dinosaur bones. (They’ve even found dinosaur bones with blood cells and soft tissue, un-decomposed! But dinosaurs are supposed to be at least 65 million years old!) Lastly, they have evidently revived bacteria (supposedly 250 million years old) with completely undamaged DNA [ Nature  407:897-900 (19 October 2000)]. This is a huge conundrum for evolutionists but fits very comfortably with a young earth.
Folded Mountains
Have you ever tried folding rocks?…I haven’t either. It’s interesting to note, however, that there are a number of places on earth where we see great “folds” in solid rock. How did this occur? Experiments have shown that if there is enough pressure and heat, rocks can fold to some extent. In these cases, the rocks show evidence of having experienced great amounts of heat. However, there are many instances where the rocks show no evidence of great heat and also yield evidence that the rocks were in a “soft and plastic” state when they were folded (not having had enough time to harden). This fits perfectly with a global flood, depositing the layers rapidly that were then uplifted and deformed by subsequent tectonic movements, all before they had time to harden.
We are inundated with stories of millions and billions of years from the media and scientific community, but the empirical evidence is significantly lacking. Numerous scientific indicators show that the earth cannot possibly be billions of years old, as the evolutionary model indicates, and those who won’t question the validity of this model will generally not even consider any evidence that would counter the idea of eons of time.
From a biblical perspective, the case for millions of years is not supported by the text. Furthermore, importing millions of years into Scripture causes several serious exegetical and theological problems….
Our eternal destiny is not dependent upon our belief regarding the age of the earth, but a careful and reverential study of the Bible warrants against being too quick to adopt the conventional secular thoughts in geology and astronomy, especially when they appear to oppose the straightforward reading of God’s Word. “ Let God be true, and every man a liar .” (Rom:3:4)
Perspective: The Gospel Message
As interesting or important as the subject of the age of the earth might be, there is something infinitely more significant, and it relates to your eternal destiny.
I think it’s safe to say that when your life is over and you find yourself standing (more likely kneeling) before God, He won’t be asking your opinion on the age of the earth or quizzing you about radiometric dating! At that point, there will only be one subject on the table and I wish to close with this brief thought.
The Bible clearly teaches the following:
God created everything, including mankind. (Col:1:16; Gn 1:27, Jn:1:3)
Man rebelled against God and was consequently spiritually separated from Him. This sin brought a curse, including death, to all of God’s creation. (Rom:5:12)
God’s standard is 100 percent holiness because He is 100 percent holy. However, we cannot be “good enough” to obtain this standard, no matter how hard we try. 1 Pt 1:16; Rom:3:20; Ja 2:10, Isa:64:6
The penalty for sin is death, but God has paid the price for those who fully trust in Christ. (Rom:6:23; Jn:3:16; Rom:5:8)
Contrary to popular belief, there are not “many ways” to God. (Jn:14:6, Acts:4:12)
Restoring your relationship with God comes not from “head knowledge” or acknowledging the historical existence of Jesus but as a result of repenting of your sins and placing your faith completely in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ (as payment for your sins)....Here’s the personal challenge…before the day is over, ask yourself this question:
If I were to die tonight and find myself standing before God, and He asked “ Why should I let you into heaven? ” what would my response be?
Is there any rational reason that today you would not confess your sins and place your faith in Jesus Christ alone for the forgiveness of your sins and assurance of your eternal salvation?
I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation. ”—2 Cor:6:2
Don’t put it off another day…
And I’ll say to myself, ‘...Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.’ But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you.’”  —Lk 12:19-21
You may be sensing that you don’t know for sure what would happen to you if you were to die today and that you truly need to commit your life to Christ, but you aren’t quite sure “how” to do it. It’s not by saying some magical phrase and doing something highly mystical but simply by honestly and sincerely saying something like following:
Dear God, I know that you created me and that I have not lived according to your standards. Your word tells me that “ trying to be good enough ” does not earn your favor. Because of your great love for me, you sent your Son (Jesus) to die on a cross to pay the penalty for my own sins so that I don’t have to spend eternity separated from you in judgment. I am asking today for you to forgive my sins and am accepting the free gift of eternal life that you are offering to me through your son Jesus Christ. I want to live my life in a way that is honoring and pleasing to you. When I do sin in the future, help me to confess those sins and thank you for the fact that they too are also forgiven in Jesus. Amen!
If you sincerely pray a prayer similar to the one above, you can have peace, knowing where you will spend eternity! It doesn’t mean that everything else in your life will be easy, but that you can have confidence in your own eternal destiny (and you now have a new-found relationship with the Creator of the universe, who cares for you!). Isn’t that just a bit more exciting than learning about the age of the earth? (Jn:5:24; Jn:10:28-29; 1 Pt 5:7; Phil:4:13)

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Great Is the Mystery

Originally published in May 2003
Sep NL_0.preview.jpg In spite of thousands of years of inquiry into the universe, and the super-technology of today’s computer-aided science, we still know almost nothing in comparison to all there is to know. We don’t know what energy is, or what gravity or light or space are. Referring to the physical universe, British astronomer Sir James Jeans declared that “we are not yet in touch with ultimate reality.”
Much less do we know what life is. Living things are made up of chemical machines. The secret of life, however, lies not in the correct combination of the chemicals of which living things are built. Science seeks to discover how life is imparted to otherwise dead matter, hoping to reverse the death process and thereby create eternal life. The right conglomeration of chemicals that moments before was alive is still intact, but no scientific process can restore the life that has left a corpse.  That secret will never be found by examining living creatures because the life they have is not their own.
We now know what Darwin never imagined, that life is based upon information encoded on DNA (See TBC Aug ’02). Indisputably, no information is originated by the medium in which it is communicated (printed page, audio- or videotape, DNA, etc.).
Information can originate only from a conscious intelligence, a quality found only in personal beings. Clearly, the information that provides the instructions for constructing and operating the incredibly small and complex machines that make up living cells could only originate with an Intelligence beyond our capacity to comprehend.
Jesus claimed to be the Source of life: “I am the resurrection, and the life” (Jn:11:25)—and He proved it by laying down His life and rising from the dead. He said, “No man taketh [my life] from me, but I lay it down of myself...and I have power to take it again...” (Jn:10:17,18). And so He did.
There is, however, something more vital than physical life. Unquestionably, there is a nonphysical side to man. Words and the conceptual ideas they express (including those imprinted on DNA) are not a part of the dimensional, physical universe. The idea of “justice,” for example, has nothing to do with and cannot be described in terms of any of the five senses. It lies in another realm.
Thoughts are not physical. They do not originate from matter nor do they occupy space. Our brains do not think, or we would be the prisoners of that few pounds of matter inside our craniums, waiting for the next orders it might give us. Man has not only physical but “intelligent” life. What could be its source?
Of Jesus, John said, “In him was life; and the life was the light of men” (Jn:1:4). Christ declared, “I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life” (Jn:8:12). The reference is not to physical light but to the spiritual light of truth—another abstract concept without any relationship to the physical universe.
 “Truth” takes us beyond animal life; it has no meaning for animals. Their “intelligence” knows nothing of love, morals, compassion, mercy, or understanding but is confined to instinct and conditioned responses to stimuli. B. F. Skinner tried to fit man into the same mold, but our ability to form conceptual ideas and express them in speech cannot be explained in terms of stimulus/response reactions. There is an impassable chasm between man and animals.
Intelligence is nonphysical because it conceives of and uses nonphysical constructs that clearly do not originate with the material of the brain or body. This takes us beyond the physical universe into the realm of spirit. We do not know what a soul or a spirit is, or what it means that God “is a Spirit” (Jn:4:24) who “created man in his own image” (Gn 1:27).
God has given us sufficient proof in what we can verify to cause us to trust completely whatever His Word declares concerning things we cannot fully comprehend. That is where faith enters. There is much that, although we cannot understand it, we know is true. This is the case, for example, with the fact that God is without beginning or end. It boggles our minds, but we know it must be.
While seeking to unravel the secrets of the universe, science neglects its Creator. The universe can lead man only to a dead end, since ultimate knowledge is hidden in the God who brought all into existence.
Though not idol worshipers in the primitive sense, scientists, university professors, business executives, and political leaders, no matter how brilliant, who do not know Christ fit the description in Romans 1 of those who reject the witness of the universe and worship the creation instead of the Creator. It is possible for Christians also to be caught up in this same materialistic ambition and to miss what God offers us in Himself .
Paul’s earnest desire was that all believers might attain unto “the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ; in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Col:2:2,3).
Our knowledge of both the physical and spiritual is limited at best. But one day we will fully know when we are with Christ in our glorified bodies: “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known” (1 Cor:13:12). When in His presence we wholly know Christ as He truly is, all limitations will have vanished, even our lack of power to fully overcome sin: when we see him, “we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is” (1 Jn:3:2). Knowing Christ is everything!
Secular knowledge pursued in our universities looks in the wrong direction. The treasures of wisdom and knowledge hidden in Christ can never be discovered by scientific inquiry but can only be revealed by His Spirit through His Word to those who believe in Him.
The concept of one true God who exists eternally in three Persons (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) is rejected even by some who claim to be Christians. Yet this is taught all through Scripture, in the Old Testament as well as in the New. Consider: “I have not spoken in secret from the beginning; from the time that it was, there am I....” Surely the speaker who has been in existence forever must be God himself. Yet He declares, “the Lord God, and his Spirit, hath sent me” (Is 48:16). We cannot comprehend the mystery of the Trinity; yet that is no more reason to doubt it than to doubt anything else that we know is real but cannot comprehend.
If God were a single being (as Muslims believe Allah to be and most Jews believe Yahweh is), He would have had to create creatures in order to experience love, fellowship and communion. The biblical God is love in Himself, manifesting plurality in the Godhead: “The Father loveth the Son...” (Jn:5:20). God must be one; but He must comprise both singularity and plurality.
Only God could pay the infinite penalty His justice demands for sin. But that would not be just, because “God is not a man...” (Nm 23:19). The incarnation is therefore essential—but impossible if God were a singular being. “The Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world” (1 Jn:4:14). It was Jesus who died on the cross, not the Father nor the Holy Spirit.
Neither could a mere man, being finite, pay that infinite penalty. All through the Old Testament, Yahweh declares that He is the only Savior (Is 43:3,11; 45:15,21; 49:26; Hos:13:4, etc.). Thus Jesus had to be Yahweh but also a man. When God the Son became a man He did not and could not cease to be God. Jesus was both God and man.
How could God become a man? Again that is only possible through the Trinity. The Father didn’t become man, nor did the Holy Spirit. Even though we cannot understand this, we know it must be so. The penalty for our sins is infinite because God and His justice are infinite. Consequently, those who reject Christ’s payment on their behalf will be separated from God forever.
How evil could arise in God’s “good” universe (Gn 1:31) is a mystery—“the mystery of iniquity” (2 Thes:2:7). It will reach its fullness in Antichrist through whom Satan will rule the world. In Antichrist, Satan will be manifest in the flesh, as God was, and is, in Christ.
Satan must be brilliant beyond our comprehension, apparently second only to God in power and understanding. It is a mystery that Satan, having known intimately the holy and glorious presence and power of God on His throne, could ever have dared, much less desired, to rebel. How could he have imagined that he could ever defeat God? Surely this is a great mystery!
Satan was not raised in a “dysfunctional family” or in a ghetto, nor was he “abused as a child.” None of the standard excuses for rebellious and selfish behavior accepted by today’s Christian psychologists applies to Satan—or to Adam and Eve. To accept any explanation for evil that doesn’t fit them is to be deceived. Certainly today’s popular diagnosis of “low self-esteem” or a “poor self-image” was not Satan’s problem!
Scripture says he was lifted up with pride: “O covering cherub....Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness” (Ezk 28:16-17). He is apparently a self-deceived ego-maniac, blinded by pride in his own power and abilities.
Here is the mystery of iniquity: In the very presence of God, in the heart of the cherub closest to God, the ultimate evil was conceived. By one fateful choice, the most beautiful, powerful, and intelligent angelic being became for all time the ultimate in evil: the arch enemy of God and man, the “great dragon...that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world” (Rv 12:9; 20:2).
Paul warns that a man should not become an elder until he is mature in the faith, “Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil” (1 Tm 3:6). This tells us again that pride was Satan’s downfall—and is man’s besetting sin as well. “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall” (Prv 16:18).
It is also a mystery that Eve would believe the serpent’s lie contradicting what her gracious Creator had said. Adam was not deceived (1 Tm 2:14). No doubt out of love for Eve and not wanting to be separated from her, he joined her in disobedience, knowing the consequences. It remains a mystery, however, that anyone would rebel against God, that anyone would choose the pleasures of the moment in exchange for eternal separation from God.
The heart of this mystery is the autonomy of intelligent created beings who clearly have something called self-will. At least some angels (Satan and those who joined his rebellion) and all men have the power of choice. In deciding upon beliefs or actions, though evidence may be weighed, ultimately reason is set aside in order to bow before the throne of self. We are our own worst enemies.
Self had its awful birth when Eve made the choice of disobedience for all of her descendants. Christ said there is no hope except we deny self (Mt 16:24). And the only way that can be done effectively is to embrace the cross of Christ as our own so that we can say with Paul, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me...” (Gal:2:20).
The solution to evil through the incarnation is also a mystery: “...great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory” (1 Tm 3:16).
God was manifest in the flesh .” What a mystery! God could become a fetus in Mary’s womb? John the Baptist as a 6-month-old fetus leapt in the womb of Elizabeth in recognition that Mary was pregnant with the Messiah. Amazing!
Seen of angels .” These heavenly beings must have watched in astonishment. The One whom they had known as God the Son, one with the Father, for at least 4,000 years by earth time (we know not how much earlier angels were created), was growing in the virgin Mary’s womb, soon to be born a babe needing a mother’s milk and care—truly man, yet at the same time truly God. Mystery of mysteries!
Believed on in the world .” The Apostle John speaks in awe of this One whom “we have heard...seen with our eyes...looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; (for the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and show unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us)” (1 Jn:1:1,2). In his Gospel John says, “The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth” (Jn:1:14).
Yes, “ Believed on in the world .” Certainly John believed, as did Paul, that Jesus the Messiah of Israel was truly “God manifest in the flesh.” To be a Christian one must believe that Jesus Christ is God come as a man to redeem us. What love to come from so high to stoop so low—to be rejected, hated, misunderstood, mocked, maligned, stripped, scourged, and crucified by those He came to redeem!
Received up into glory .” His sacrifice accepted by the Father, He is glorified at the Father’s right hand and interceding there for us (Rom:8:34). But even before that great meeting in His presence in the Father’s house, “beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, [we] are changed into the same the Spirit of the Lord” (2 Cor:3:18).
Surely if the incarnation is the great mystery of godliness, then for us to live godly lives we must have Christ dwelling within us and living His life through us: “Christ in you, the hope of glory: whom we preach...” (Col:1:27, 28). This is the “hope of his calling” which Paul prayed that the Ephesian saints would understand. Peter explains that God “hath called us unto his eternal glory” (1 Pt 5:10). We are going to be like Christ. The glory that the disciples beheld in Christ will be manifested in us!
We are transformed by His Word, the Word of Truth upon which we feed for spiritual nourishment. The written instructions which God spoke into DNA and which are essential for physical life present a powerful picture of the “words that...are spirit,” (Jn:6:63). This is the living Word of God which when believed (1 Pt 1:23-25) creates and nourishes spiritual life.  TBC

Monday, September 1, 2014

Italian Evangelicals speak out

Defining it as “historical” may be an overstatement. However, what happened on July 19 is a landmark in 150 years of Italian evangelicalism. For the first time ever, nearly 100 percent of Italian evangelical churches and bodies (85 percent of the 500,000 Italian Protestants) signed a common statement reinforcing our evangelical commitment to the gospel of Jesus Christ. This statement provides biblical standards to assess the mounting ecumenical pressure coming from the Roman Catholic Church to expand its catholicity at the expense of biblical truth.

See entire article here: