Do you do your homework? This may seem like an odd question to be asking but that’s exactly what the people in Acts 17 were commended for doing. When Paul and Silas went to a place called Berea they were teaching the word of God to people in the synagogues. The people had never seen the scriptures in the light that Paul and Silas were teaching it to them, they had never recognized the truths that were being shared. So rather than just believe what they heard they went ahead and studied it in the scriptures for themselves to see if what Paul and Silas were saying was true. Essentially they were ‘doing their homework’. They found that what was being taught was true and so came to salvation. We refer to them as the Bereans. The term may sound familiar to you as many church youth groups have held the name Berean in their names. This is a reference to that noble group that studied the scriptures for themselves to see if what they were being taught was true.
In our society today there do not seem to be enough people who display Berean like qualities of ‘doing their homework’. Why were the Bereans noble – because they searched for the truth and they found it! Truth is important to us, but today the truth seems more, and more difficult to unearth. There are many newscasters, commentators, teachers, and yes preachers too who would all benefit from doing a little more homework before presenting information to the public. This would prevent a whole host of misinformation from circulating about. Many people would be better able to discern the truth if they did their homework. If you know the truth of a matter then you will less likely fall for anything false. We should all strive to be like the Bereans and desire to know the truth for ourselves, through diligent research especially when it comes to the word of God!
-Pastor Merry Peterson
Today’s Bible reading passages can be read or listened to at BibleGateway here – 2 Samuel 15-16 and Acts 17
I was a teenager when the movie Raiders of the Lost Ark first hit the theatres. It instantly became one of my all-time favorite movies. I love the Indiana Jones character and this particular adventure, searching for the Ark of the Covenant, was especially cool to me because it drew from Biblical themes. The Ark of the Covenant was a real thing containing real power. What would happen if it was found and fell into the wrong hands, like the Nazi’s? It was a great story. It got pretty intense toward the end when they tried to open the Ark. Spoiler alert: it doesn’t end well for the Nazi’s.
The Nazi’s in the story should have spent less time plotting the genocide of the Jews and global domination and more time reading their Bibles, because the story of the Ark in 1 Samuel 5-6 should have discouraged them from having anything to do with the Ark. (I know, Raiders of the Lost Ark is fiction- but what happens to the Philistines in today’s reading is True).
One thing we know from reading the Bible is that God doesn’t like to share His glory with idols. God is the one True God and He alone created everything, gives life, sends rain to produce crops and blesses people with fertility. God takes it very personally when people build statues for other “so called” gods and give them credit for sending rain or helping babies to be born.
I find the story of the Philistines stealing the Ark of the Covenant and bringing it in the temple of their “god” Dagon humorous. Dagon was the main god of the Philistines and they offered sacrifices to Dagon so that they could have fertility- their cattle, and their wives. They wanted lots of cattle to feed their bellies, and they wanted lots of sons to grow up and serve in the army to fight their enemies. So they prayed and offered sacrifices to Dagon so that Dagon would make their cows and their wives fertile.
We might excuse the ignorance of the Philistines because maybe they didn’t know any better, maybe no one told them the Truth about the True God. But God made it quite clear to His chosen people, Israel, that they were to worship and serve God alone. But they were often tempted to worship other gods. Several stories in the Old Testament show how God was superior and defeated other “so called” gods. Elijah called down fire from heaven and defeated the prophets of Baal. Samson’s last act after he had been captured and blinded was to push down the pillars of the temple to Dagon and kill a bunch of the Philistines. And here, when the Ark of the Covenant is brought into another temple of Dagon, The statue of Dagon falls down the first time, then falls down again breaking the idol into pieces. The Philistines of that town are afraid so they send the Ark to another town. There, everybody gets tumors and they end up in a panic. Everywhere the stolen Ark is taken trouble comes to the Philistines, so finally they bring the Ark back to Israel along with a guilt offering (golden tumors and rats, what a thoughtful gift).
The Philistines had trouble discerning fact from fiction- the true God, YHWH, the God of Israel, vs. Dagon, a statue that was quite brittle when it fell to the ground.
Truth matters. In today’s reading in John 18, after Jesus is arrested and brought to trial, he appears before Pilate, who is the highest representative of the Roman Empire in the region who ultimately decides all capital cases, who lives and who dies.
Pilate is a politician caught between his boss, Caesar, who has tasked him to keep the Jewish people in line and the Jewish people who can turn on him and cause trouble. He has to carefully consider the political implications of what he’s being asked to do. Like many politicians and people in charge, he is more of a pragmatist than anything else. What is going to work out to my best interests here? He asks Jesus some questions and Jesus gives an answer that he finds quaint. Jesus answered: “The reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”
Truth? How naïve. You might imagine the amusement (or scorn) in Pilate’s response when he asks Jesus: “What is Truth?”
If the idea of truth was a quaint notion to a first century Roman politician, it’s become reviled and scorned by 20th and 21st century intellectuals. We live in a time of Postmodernism. Absolute truth has been replaced by relativism. Truth is whatever the people who have the power to control government, the news, the arts and higher education say it is. Truth is what Facebook, or Twitter, or Google’s “fact checkers” say it is.
Whether you and I like it or not we are in the midst of a culture war. It’s the same one that’s been going on since the serpent tempted Eve to question God. It’s the same one that was going on in the temple of Dagon when the stolen Ark was brought in, it’s the same one that was going on when the Jewish leaders lied about Jesus and brought him to Rome to be condemned and executed, it’s the one that was going on when Pilate asked, “What is truth?” It’s going on today in a society where the things we’ve always believed about God and virtue, right and wrong, and pretty obvious things like basic human biology, are all being questioned and redefined. Gender isn’t about biology it is a social construct. If you start introducing facts or science or Truth, you will receive as much scorn as Jesus received from Pilate. But it is a culture war and Jesus told Pilate that there are two sides: one side is false and the other is true. Jesus said that if you are on the side of Truth you listen to Jesus. Pilate chose his side, and so he did what was politically correct and had Jesus crucified to appease the Jewish people. The question you and I must ask ourselves is whose side am I on? Am I on the side of Truth, that listens to the words of Jesus? Pick a side.
Today’s Bible reading can be read or listened to at BibleGateway here – 1 Samuel 5-6 and John 18
The lessons for us today just keep coming in the book of Joshua! In the last few days we’ve learned from Joshua: arm yourself daily with God’s word for strength and courage and success; God’s will, way and day leads to victory; and stop blaming God when we ought to be dealing with the sin amongst us which will then help us to overcome defeat.
Today we learn valuable intel on how to distinguish friend from foe, how to guard oneself from being deceived, and the all important how to get more hours added to your day. The answer to all three – Ask God. Don’t try to do it on your own. Trust His way and His understanding and His power, not your own.
The Canaanite neighbors have heard how Joshua and the Israelites have destroyed Jericho and Ai (on the second attempt). Some are ready to fight. Others find it easier to deceive. The sly Gibeonites, who live just over the next hill, came to Joshua. Pretending to have just made a long journey from a far off country, with worn-out clothes and old food, they convince the Israelite leaders to make a peace treaty with them. Three days later the Israelites learn they have been tricked. They have just signed a treaty protecting the lives of those who should have been their next targets.
What went wrong? They had been so careful. They had even tasted the Gibeonites’ stale bread! All their senses and intuition and prior knowledge told them this was safe and trustworthy and reliable and in their best interest. Scripture tells us, “The men of Israel sampled their provisions, but did not inquire of the Lord.” (Joshua 9:14 NIV).
I believe it is even harder today to distinguish friend from foe. Satan would love to have the world believe that what and who is actually an enemy of God is harmless, trustworthy or far-off. When actually this danger is at our doorstep, dressed in a disguise. And, since it looks good and convincing and seems to make sense Christians take the bait and sign the peace treaty and align themselves with the enemy. Because they did not inquire of the Lord.
Deception abounds on so many fronts. Who is God? Who is Jesus? What happens when you die? What is the value of a life? Who really has your best interest in mind? Who can be trusted? Who is on God’s side? And who is not?
God knows. And He wants to reveal the answers to you. Ask Him – not your own heart. Seek His wisdom – not man’s. Read His word. Spend time in prayer. Listen – to the Lord. Don’t sign the treaty without His okay.
Our reading in Psalms includes many great verses that would have been great refrigerator verses for the Israelites at that time – if only they had refrigerators.
“My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him. He alone is my rock, and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.” Psalm 62:1
“My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge. Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.” Psalm 62:7-8
In Exodus 23 and 24 God continues to lay out the laws that will help provide a stable foundation for Israelite society, and there are a couple that really catch my eye.
“You must not pass along false rumors. You must not cooperate with evil people by lying on the witness stand.
2 “You must not follow the crowd in doing wrong. When you are called to testify in a dispute, do not be swayed by the crowd to twist justice. 3 And do not slant your testimony in favor of a person just because that person is poor.
I really think that this can speak to us today in a powerful way, and maybe convict many of us. I have heard it said that we are living in a “post truth era”, a time when objective facts are not as impactful to people as appeals to emotion and personal beliefs. Many times these emotional appeals are used to push a political agenda or the narrative of a social movement.
Every day our society is making judgements on people, and these opinions can move at the speed of light on the internet, and it can be very easy to follow the crowd and help spread a narrative about a person, but we need to be very careful. If we are passing on unresearched false claims, or choose to ignore facts because they do not fit with the narrative of a movement that we like then we are only spreading lies.
The Lord detests lying lips, but he delights in those who tell the truth.
As followers of God we need to value the truth very highly, because God is the God of truth, and in the end it does not matter how society judges something because God is the great judge and we will be judged by God. It is important to remember that the ends do not justify the means, even if a group has a good message, if they spread it with lies and misrepresentations of events they completely undermine any impact their message would have had.
I have heard a lot of people saying things like “you have to go find the right facts”, and usually they say that because the facts do not match their opinion of how something should have gone, and they are searching for somebody who will confirm their feelings. This is called confirmation bias when we look for information and interpret facts to all agree with what we already think. Fundamentally this mindset assumes that we are right about everything and do not need to learn anything new. We need to be humble and realize that we can easily be wrong about things and look forward to searching out the truth. As a person who loves knowledge and being right I can tell you that it is not easy to learn that you are wrong about something, but I have had many mentors in my life that have told me many thousands of times that I am wrong about things, but at this point I am ok with that, because accepting that you are wrong is the first step to learning new things and growing.
In Exodus and Mark we have seen God at work in a mighty way to change his people from the broken people they used to be into his followers. Moses brought them out of Egypt where they turned from God and worshiped the gods of Egypt, and gave them the law of God that would define their society and customs around a worship of God alone. Jesus broke the Israelites out of their wooden and heartless following of the laws of Moses and taught them to change their hearts and love the way God loves. We need that message just as much today since we live in a very broken world, and lots of people are pointing out those issues and trying to tackle them, but these social movements will not bring ultimate peace, they may improve some things, but they can also be deeply flawed and do not have an emphasis on truth that God values and we should value as well.
If we wish to remain in a peaceful and stable society, then we need to put truth first and be quick to listen and slow to judge. We need to learn to see people the way God sees them and humbly submit ourselves to his judgement and not worry about how the world will judge us.
Thank you for reading along with me this week. I hope that these scriptures spoke to you and I hope you will stick around for the rest of the year in this series, because if you do there is a ton you can learn.
After being taken out of Egypt, crossing the Red Sea on dry ground, grumbling their way through the Desert of Sin and failing many tests, the people of Israel have made it to Mount Sinai where God is going to meet with them and establish the rules for them.
3 Then Moses climbed the mountain to appear before God. The Lord called to him from the mountain and said, “Give these instructions to the family of Jacob; announce it to the descendants of Israel: 4 ‘You have seen what I did to the Egyptians. You know how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. 5 Now if you will obey me and keep my covenant, you will be my own special treasure from among all the peoples on earth; for all the earth belongs to me. 6 And you will be my kingdom of priests, my holy nation.’ This is the message you must give to the people of Israel.”
Then, after Moses runs up and down the mountain several times, God gives the ten commandments to the people, and it was completely overwhelming.
18 When the people heard the thunder and the loud blast of the ram’s horn, and when they saw the flashes of lightning and the smoke billowing from the mountain, they stood at a distance, trembling with fear.
19 And they said to Moses, “You speak to us, and we will listen. But don’t let God speak directly to us, or we will die!” 20 “Don’t be afraid,” Moses answered them, “for God has come in this way to test you, and so that your fear of him will keep you from sinning!”
21 As the people stood in the distance, Moses approached the dark cloud where God was.
When the Israelites saw the pure raw power of God displayed before them they were terrified and realized that they had been disobeying and testing the one true God. But this encounter was very impactful and the Israelites stuck to the ten commandments and the rest of the law until the time of Jesus, but we do see that their teachers had really perverted the commandments by then.
In today’s New Testament chapter (Mark 7) Jesus is talking to some of the religious leaders, and they are mad because his disciples are not washing their hands before a meal, which is an old religious tradition from the time of Moses. Jesus is disgusted with them because of the cleanliness of their hands contrasted with the perversion in their hearts.
9 Then he said, “You skillfully sidestep God’s law in order to hold on to your own tradition. 10 For instance, Moses gave you this law from God: ‘Honor your father and mother,’and ‘Anyone who speaks disrespectfully of father or mother must be put to death.’ 11 But you say it is all right for people to say to their parents, ‘Sorry, I can’t help you. For I have vowed to give to God what I would have given to you.’ 12 In this way, you let them disregard their needy parents. 13 And so you cancel the word of God in order to hand down your own tradition. And this is only one example among many others.”
14 Then Jesus called to the crowd to come and hear. “All of you listen,” he said, “and try to understand. 15 It’s not what goes into your body that defiles you; you are defiled by what comes from your heart.
We have talked a bit about remembering what God has done for us, and having it in as obvious of a place as possible to remind us so that we do not forget about what God did for us, and this often leads to traditions, which can be very good to remind us. For instance we have Christmas as a time to remind us to celebrate and thank God for sending Jesus, but it has turned mostly into a celebration of consumerism and credit card debt. In all of this we need to remember that it is what comes out of our heart that is the most important.
In Genesis 29, Jacob arrived in Padan Aram and found his first cousin, Rachel, at a well. I’m immediately reminded of Genesis 24, where Abraham’s servant came to this same place, probably to this same well, and found Rebekah, the then-future wife of Isaac. We’re not told if Jacob had prayed for God’s direction like Abraham’s servant did in Genesis 24. But we do know Jacob went there not only to run away from his brother, whom he had cheated, but also to find a wife. And bonus, Rachel was a virgin and was gorgeous.
After spending a month working for Laban, Jacob’s uncle, and working hard the whole time, Laban asked what wages Jacob would like as he continued to work for Laban. In Genesis 29:18, we read, “Jacob was in love with Rachel and said, I’ll work for you seven years in return for your younger daughter Rachel.” He must have really been in love, because we’re told, “So Jacob served seven years to get Rachel, but they seemed like only a few days to him because of his love for her.” Wow, that sounds like a romance novel (although I haven’t actually ever read one).
At the end of seven years, there was a big wedding ceremony. When Jacob woke up the next morning, he woke up with Rachel’s older sister, Leah. Laban had tricked Jacob, and had him marry the wrong girl! Personally, I can’t imagine how this happened. Did Jacob celebrate a little too much to notice who he was marrying? Leah had to be complicit in this subterfuge. Did Leah keep her veil on until it was dark? Did she not talk, because presumably the two sisters’ voices sounded different. Where was Rachel while all this was happening?
Regardless of the answer to any of these questions, Jacob had been tricked into marrying the wrong sister. After complaining to Laban, he agreed to work another 7 years for the wife he really wanted, and married her a week later.
Polygamy may sound wrong to us, but there are several examples in the Old Testament of men marrying multiple women. Having said that, there are no examples of this working out well anywhere in the Bible. According to Jesus in Matthew 19:4-9, God intended from the beginning that one man would be married to one woman for life.
Anyway, Jacob had tricked his father, and had cheated his brother. Now, Jacob was tricked by his father-in-law, and (spoiler alert) he would be cheated by his father-in-law repeatedly for 20 years.
This is an example of a principle that we see demonstrated throughout scripture, and in our lives today. We read in Galatians 6:7, “Do not be deceived, God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.” You may have heard the old axiom, “What goes around comes around.” Basically, these both mean the same thing – everyone eventually has to deal with the consequences of their actions.
But wait, God had promised rich blessings to Jacob. Shouldn’t God have prevented Jacob’s problems? Sorry, it doesn’t work that way. Followers of God are promised, in 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” This takes away God’s punishment for our sins, but it doesn’t take away the natural consequences of our actions.
Despite this, we can still rely on another promise, found in Romans 8:28, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
In his early life, Jacob was opportunistic and deceitful – looking out for number one. After working for Laban for 20 years of hardships, Jacob grew to understand that God was looking out for him (See Genesis 31: 38-42).
I think this isn’t just the story of a historical character and his family. I think these truths still hold true for us today, and we can learn from them. God will forgive us if we confess and repent. But we will receive natural consequences for our actions. Despite this, if we are living in a right relationship with God, everything, even those natural consequences will turn out for our good.
There is an easier way. We can save ourselves a lot of pain and trouble by just following God from the start. But we each have to make that choice for ourselves. What’s your choice?
I’ve covered quite a lot this past week about the truth of the Bible, especially in contrast to what some scientists say about certain matters. My goal has been to try to steer folks back to a belief in what the Bible plainly says and to also demonstrate that scientific observation actually supports what the Bible says. I have seen too many cases of believers who start to question if the Bible is accurate in a certain area, and then begin to question at what point you can actually trust scripture.
I believe we can trust the Bible for many reasons, not the least of which is that real world evidence supports it. Theologian John Wycliffe once said, “On all domains of doctrine and in life, the authority of scripture is to be placed higher than all human understanding, for it is God’s word and as such the highest authority.”
Some people point out that the Bible is not a science textbook and so we shouldn’t put too much stock into what it says on science-related topics. My first response is usually, “Thank goodness it’s not a science textbook. Those are always being corrected and updated but the Bible has stood the test of time.”
There is one particular issue that I hear brought up time and time again in regards to the Bible not being trustworthy, and that is an apparent contradiction in Genesis chapter two, in the detailed account of Adam and Eve.
If you will recall, Genesis chapter one states that God created vegetation on day three, but did not create man until day six. But chapter two seems to indicate a different order.
Genesis 2:4-7 (NIV) – This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created, when the Lord God made the earth and the heavens. 5 Now no shrubhad yet appeared on the earth and no plant had yet sprung up, for the Lord God had not sent rain on the earth and there was no one to work the ground, 6 but streams came up from the earth and watered the whole surface of the ground. 7 Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.
So which came first the chicken or the egg, or in this case, the man or the brussel sprouts?
Let’s read the passage in the New King James version to see if it sheds any light on this apparent contradiction.
4 This is the history of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens, 5 before any plant of the field was in the earth and before any herb of the field had grown. For the Lord God had not caused it to rain on the earth, and there was no man to till the ground; 6 but a mist went up from the earth and watered the whole face of the ground. 7 And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.
Aha! So it wasn’t that there were no plants when Adam was created, in the more detailed chapter two summary, it’s that certain types of plants were not created until after Adam was created. Specifically, what we would consider crop-like plants. That is made clear when it says part of the reason the plants had not been created yet is that there was no man to work or till the ground, so it should be clear these were crops. Soon after God created Adam, He created the Garden of Eden to place Adam and Eve in, and there God finally created these edible plants for them.
But doesn’t it say in Genesis chapter 1 that God created EVERY plant on day three? In fact it does not say that.
Genesis 1:11-13 – Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb that yields seed, and the fruit tree that yields fruit according to its kind, whose seed is in itself, on the earth”; and it was so. 12 And the earth brought forth grass, the herb that yields seed according to its kind, and the tree that yields fruit, whose seed is in itself according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 13 So the evening and the morning were the third day.
Nowhere does it suggest that God created EVERY plant on day three. Contrast that with:
Genesis 1:20-25 – Then God said, “Let the waters abound with an abundance of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the face of the firmament of the heavens.” 21 So God created great sea creatures and every living thing that moves, with which the waters abounded, according to their kind, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 22 And God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” 23 So the evening and the morning were the fifth day.
24 Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth the living creature according to its kind: cattle and creeping thing and beast of the earth, each according to its kind”; and it was so. 25 And God made the beast of the earth according to its kind, cattle according to its kind, and everything that creeps on the earth according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.
It seems clear to me that there is no contradiction. Not all of the plants were created on day three. Instead God waited to create the plants intended for human consumption until after He created humankind. Those plants were created as part of the Garden of Eden, where God placed Adam and Eve.
Why does talking about Creation matter? Primarily, because studies have shown that anywhere between 70 and 88% of kids that were active in youth groups leave the church within a couple of years of graduating.
When we teach our kids that either the Bible is wrong in places, or tell them the Bible despite what some scientists claim, but then do not back that up with good reasons, we are setting them up to question their faith. Or when we try to fit millions of years and evolution into scripture, as many well-meaning Christians try to do, eventually many young people come to the conclusion that it doesn’t actually fit, and then they also find themselves questioning their faith.
But when kids are given the evidence that actually supports what scripture says, wow, what a difference that makes! I have seen it first hand many times.
If anyone has any questions or comments regarding the devotions dealing with creation, please reach out to me at email@example.com.
SeekGrowLove Editor: We thank Greg for giving us all a week of devotions on creation and God’s reliable Scriptures. We can benefit greatly from the many years Greg has studied and analyzed the creation and evolution arguments. As we reaffirm the truth of God’s Word and understand the errors of some scientific theories that attempt to strip God of His power, might and even existence, we develop a deeper love for God, His Almighty power, and truth. As supposed inconsistencies with God’s Word are explained logically, we are reminded that God is right – again and again and forever and ever. May we love Him and trust Him more and more.
This coming week we will hear from Steve Mattison as he connects with God’s word in Genesis and guides us in continuing to SeekGrowLove. If you got behind on your Bible reading at all now is a great time to get caught up.
This conversation can be a great jumping off place for reaching non-believers. I hope you have an opportunity to use it for that purpose.
According to Genesis, God created the first life on Earth, in the form of plant life, on the third day of creation. Then He created sea creatures and birds on the fifth day of creation, and finally, He created land animals and then man on the sixth day of creation.
Christians certainly believe that God created life. But not everyone believes in a creator, so how do those folks, especially scientists, propose that life got started here on Earth? The image below, from the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History gives a clue:
The first part, about living things being made up of organic compounds, is not disputed. But how those organic compounds, known as the building blocks of life first appeared, is really not clear to scientists. That is clear from the language used in this sign – “may have formed” and “may have been carried to Earth”.
But then, students are presented with a misleading experiment in their textbooks, known as the Miller-Urey experiment. In 1953, Stanley Miller reported that he had conducted an experiment which replicated the primeval conditions on Earth and had produced the chemicals that were essential for life to begin. The point being made to students to this day is that if the building blocks of life could start on their own, as this experiment demonstrates, then certainly life could eventually follow.
Even if the building blocks of life were there, to say that life could begin from non-life is actually a non-starter. It has never been observed and is not even remotely possible. There is something called the Law of Biogenesis which is the principle stating that life only arises from pre-existing life, not from nonliving material.
But the Miller experiment was actually a failure, and did not create the correct kinds of amino acids, which was the experiment’s goal. Also, the fake environment created for the experiment lacked oxygen, because Miller knew it would prevent the molecular bonds from forming, though scientists believe the early Earth had higher oxygen levels than today’s atmosphere.
But let’s pretend for a moment that amino acids were actually able to come about completely by chance. What then? They would have to form into proteins, which are the building blocks of living cells. This is no small feat however. The law of probability states that an event with a chance higher than 10 to the 50th power (that’s 10 with 50 zeroes behind it or 10⁵⁰ in scientific notation shorthand) will never happen. It has been estimated that the chance of a single protein arising by chance is 10 to the 191st power! And cells are made up of millions of proteins. The possibility of an entire cell arising by chance is estimated to be 10 to the 40,000th power!
The idea that a single cell is somehow simple in composition is a fallacy that has lived on well after the truth of its complexity has been discovered. One scientist described a single cell as, “a high-tech factory, complete with artificial languages and their decoding systems, memory banks for information storage and retrieval, elegant control systems regulating the automated assembly of parts and components, error fail-safe and proof-reading devices utilized for quality control, assembly processes involving the principle of prefabrication and modular construction… and a capacity not equaled in any of our own most advanced machines, for it would be capable of replicating its entire structure within a matter of a few hours.” That does not sound like something that could have arisen completely by chance.
Even biochemist and spiritual skeptic Francis Crick, who shared the Nobel Prize for discovering the molecular structure of DNA, said, “an honest man, armed with all the knowledge available to us now, could only state that in some sense, the origin of life appears at the moment to be almost a miracle, so many are the conditions which would have had to have been satisfied to get it going.”
He’s right of course. Secular science is missing the most important parts of how life begins. A Creator, and the breath of life.
Genesis 2:7 – Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.
Secular science will never be able to explain or demonstrate how life began on its own, because it is an impossibility. But the fact that you exist is proof that we have an amazing Creator God. And the fact that you are able to read this is also pretty incredible. Why? Because of the design that enables you to see. There are 100 million light sensitive cells in the human eye, which send signals to the brain through the 1 million nerve fibers of the optic nerve! The visual process culminates in our brain which contains 100 billion nerve cells connected by 150,000 kilometers of nerve fibers. It is estimated that there are 100 trillion connections between nerve cells in the human brain! All of that, just so you can see. And that is only one small but miraculous part of the equally miraculous rest of your body.
Indeed, we have a great God! And indeed, you are fearfully and wonderfully made!
If anyone has any questions or comments they would like me to address on any of the devotions dealing with creation this week, please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Keep Seeking God – in his Scriptures and with the brain He has created for you. Your faith will Grow. Then Love someone else enough to share what God is teaching you.
The final piece in God’s creation, on day 6, is humankind. Man stands out in all of creation, having been made in God’s own image.
Genesis 1:26-28 – 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.”
27 So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.
28 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.”
Adam and Eve were the first humans, as recorded in Genesis and other places such as in Timothy 2:13 – For Adam was formed first, then Eve. Adam is mentioned quite a few times throughout scripture, including in the genealogy of Jesus in Luke chapter 3. But there are many Christians who question if Adam and Eve were even real people. Why? Primarily because of Darwinian Evolution. If Darwinian Evolution is true, then there really were no exact pair of first humans per se, because humans would have evolved slowly from an ape-like ancestor. For Christians who believe Darwinian Evolution to be true, it has led some to question how there could have been an actual Adam and Eve in that scenario.
But Darwinian Evolution is not possible, as I shared in yesterday’s devotion, and so there is no reason to try to explain away all of the references to Adam in scripture. Doing so creates the need to start discounting the veracity of a lot of scripture. Another reason to toss the idea that man evolved is that if you allowed one random step in evolution to occur every hour on the hour (much, much faster than evolutionists suggest it happens), it would take around 6.8 billion years for man to evolve from a single cell, which is too much time, even given the incorrect ancient age of the earth.
The supposed evolution of humans is full of a history of hoaxes, exaggerations, and errors. For example, you may have heard it reported that humans and chimpanzees have anywhere from 95% to 99% genetic similarity, as this image from the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History claims.
This is intended to support the idea that humans and chimps share a common ancestor. But the truth is that that percentage is arrived upon because researchers only compared the most similar sections of the genomes. But if you compare the entire genomes, it is more akin to a 70% similarity. And still, there are over 900 million DNA differences that divide humans and chimps! This is known to be true, but misleading information that states otherwise still appears in museums and in textbooks today. No wonder so many Christians believe it.
“There is no encompassing theory of human evolution,” concedes Berkeley evolutionary biologist F. Clark Howell. “Alas, there never really has been.”
Is there any evidence that points to an actual Adam or Eve? Yes! Using comparisons of mitochondrial DNA, which is only passed on from the mother, creation scientists, and many secular scientists agree that evidence indicates all humans are descended from a single pair of humans that lived in the relatively recent past. (This study was published in the journal Human Evolution in May 2018.)
Another recent study published in Science Magazine (337, p.64-69) suggests that humans haven’t been around very long. Regarding human genetic diversity, the study concluded, “The maximum likelihood time for accelerated growth was 5,115 years ago.” This time frame aligns rather closely with scripture, and specifically the time that Adam would have been created.
It is exciting for me to see that real world observation continually confirms the Bible. As more and more Christians learn these truths, I hope it leads to an abandonment of attempts to throw out or twist sections of scripture that are not compatible with some scientific claims. In regards to human evolution, you should feel confident that you did not evolve from an ape-like ancestor. You were specially designed, created in the image of God, just as Adam was, in the beginning. Jesus confirmed as much in Matthew 18:4 when he said, “at the beginning, the creator made them (Adam and Eve) male and female.”
If anyone has any questions or comments they would like me to address on any of the devotions dealing with creation this week, please reach out to me at email@example.com
Editor: Do you know someone who could benefit from reading today’s devotion? Pass it on. I believe it could really save a life – an eternal life! Evolution has been used to distort God’s truth and lead youth and adults to question God’s existence, power, and love. It’s time to fight back. And how encouraging to know that Science Really IS on God’s side!
And, keep going on your daily Bible reading. Lots of good stuff in Genesis and Matthew!
Have you ever been in an outdoor area away from city lights and marveled at the starry night sky? If not, what are you waiting for? The beauty and sheer number of the stars and other heavenly bodies in the night sky are simply amazing. About 3,000 stars are visible to the naked eye on a clear, moonless night, but it is estimated that there are about 100 billion stars in just our galaxy alone. It is estimated that there are about 10 billion trillion stars in the universe. That is 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000. That’s a lot of stars. And if you ever want to feel truly insignificant, search for a video that compares the size of our closest star, the sun, to Earth and to the other stars. But then, while feeling truly insignificant, remember that the same God who created all of those stars also created you and loves you!
How do we know God created the heavenly bodies?
Genesis 1:14-19 – And God said, “Let there be lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years,15 and let them be lights in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth.” And it was so. 16 God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. 17 God set them in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth, 18 to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19 And there was evening, and there was morning—the fourth day.
Isaiah 45:12 – I made the earth and created man on it; it was my hands that stretched out the heavens, and I commanded all their host.
Psalm 33:6 – By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and by the breath of his mouth all their host.
Scripture seems pretty clear about this. But you may have heard about something called The Big Bang Theory. No, not the television show. The Big Bang Theory claims that the universe came into being about 13.8 billion years ago with an explosion, all on its own, for no reason at all. Though it is tempting to take the angle that the theory is essentially attempting to scientifically describe what God created, that is not the real intent of the theory. It is an attempt to explain how the universe came into being, without the hand of a Creator God.
“Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the Universe exists, why we exist. It is not necessary to invoke God to…set the Universe going.” – Stephen Hawking.
It is understandable that some scientists would not invoke a Creator or the miraculous nature of the creation of the universe in their explanation of the origin of the universe. And yet, there is no choice but to invoke miracles as part of an explanation of how something can come from nothing, as is the case with the Big Bang Theory.
“[The big bang] represents instantaneous suspension of physical laws, the sudden abrupt flash of lawlessness that allowed something to come out of nothing. It represents a true miracle…” – Paul Davies – physicist and evolutionist – The Edge of Infinity.
Keep quotes like these in mind when defending your faith. Whether it is the universe starting from “spontaneous creation” or life starting from non-life, scientists will often rely on miracles to try to explain the world around us. We as believers certainly accept miracles, but the difference is, we also believe in a Miracle-maker.
Other than the Big Bang Theory not allowing for a Creator, the theory also does not fit with the creation account in Genesis because the creation account says that the earth was created before the stars, whereas the Big Bang theory claims the opposite.
The Big Bang Theory is truly not compatible with scripture, but moreover, it is now a crumbling theory, scientifically, as well.
There are numerous problems with the theory as it stands today. Many things that we observe in the universe around us, both near and far, are simply impossible if the universe started with an explosion billions of years ago.
Without going into multiple explanations, a few of the problems include:
We should find magnetic monopoles, but we don’t.
There should be equal amounts matter and anti-matter, but it’s not even close.
Only about 7,000 years worth of supernovas have been discovered.
Distant galaxies appear far too young.
Galaxies as we know them shouldn’t even exist.
There are millions of years of missing collisions.
The echo for the Big Bang is missing.
Dark matter and dark energy are needed for the Big Bang model, but there is no evidence that either exists.
Mercury shouldn’t be dense, but it is. And it shouldn’t still have a magnetic field, but it does.
The surface of Venus is too young, and it should not be rotating sideways or have a magnetic field.
The Earth shouldn’t have any water, and its magnetic field is too young.
Stars shouldn’t exist.
Our moon’s origin and geologic activity are unexplainable.
Saturn’s magnetic field shouldn’t be there.
Neptune appears too young and shouldn’t even exist.
Uranus should not still have a magnetic field and gives off too much energy.
Jupiter also still gives off too much energy.
Comets should no longer exist.
“Big Bang cosmology is probably as widely believed as has been any theory of the universe in the history of Western civilization. It rests, however, on many untested, and in some cases untestable assumptions. Indeed, big bang cosmology has become a bandwagon of thought that reflects faith as much as objective truth.” – G. Burbridge, Why only one big bang? Scientific American, 266 (2):96.
Either the universe started on its own, breaking multiple laws of physics in the process, and somehow resulted in many phenomena that indicate it didn’t begin as they say, billions of years ago, or our amazing God created all the stars and heavenly bodies that we see in the beautiful night sky just as scripture tells us.
If anyone has any questions or comments they would like me to address on any of the devotions dealing with creation this week, please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
SeekGrowLove Editor: We thank Greg for tackling the job of discussing creation and the Bible during our devotions this week. Too often Godly kids have turned away from the truths of Scripture when faced with “smart” college professors teaching evolution. Greg has studied much and presents the truth of Scripture as well as the errors and inconsistencies of evolution. So, this week we offer a deeper look at creation than could be covered in one day of devotions. Dig in with us – and keep reading from the Bible reading plan as well. Print your copy below and mark off those passages as you go. God bless your journey with Him – from beginning to end!