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Chance And Chaos, Or By Design?
Earth has a protective ozone layer to shield us from harmful UV radiation, and a magnetic field that deflects lethal cosmic radiation.
If the Earth was any closer or further away from the Sun, then it would be either too hot or too cold for any form of life as we know it, to exist.
The Earth provides food, water, medicine and all the nourishment that life needs.
If the laws of gravity were adjusted, or if there was a tiny change in electromagnetic force, life would not be able to exist.
If the Moon wasn’t in the exact position it is, or if it was destroyed, there would be no tides and increased risks of meteorites colliding with Earth.
There would be orbital instability because the Earth’s axis would tilt.
It would be the end of planet Earth.
Jupiter is the largest planet in our solar system and plays the role of protective big brother that protects us from the hostile environment that exists beyond its orbit.
There are lots of comets that could hit Earth that Jupiter deflects away, throwing them out of our solar system.
Saturn is not that much smaller than Jupiter.
We are lucky it never got any bigger.
If you have two planets the size of Jupiter in one solar system, they will eventually knock out the other planets.
If Saturn had been a little bigger, Earth would not exist.
We have a stable and almost perfect solar system.
Did this happen by chance and from chaos, a massive stroke of luck, or by design?
Where Did DNA Come From?
DNA (Deoxyrihonucleic Acid) are complex giant molecules that contain the information needed for a cell to make proteins.
DNA forms the basis of genetic inheritance in all organisms.
Hereditary information is stored as a specific sequence of bases.
A set of three bases, know as a codon, acts as a blueprint for the manufacture of a particular amino acid, the sub-unit of a protein molecule.
The sequence of codons determines the precise order in which amino acids are linked up during manufacture and, therefore, the kind of protein that is to be produced.
Because proteins are the chief structural molecules of living matter, it may be seen that the genetic code is effectively responsible for building and controlling the whole organism.
The DNA molecule inside each cell contains a 3.4 billion genetic code capable of overseeing and regulating all the anatomy on display in body worlds.
How did something as complex as DNA come into existence?
Where did it come from?
Who designed and created the DNA genetic code?
Scientists don’t know.
Did God Create The Earth?
Old Testament scholar and author Ellen Van Wolde claims the book of Genesis was wrongly interpreted to say “God created the heaven and the earth.”
The Hebrew verb “Bara” used in the first sentence of the Genesis does not mean “to create” but to “spatially separate”.
Hence the sentence should now read “In the beginning God separated the heaven and the earth”.
According to her the narration “meant to say God did create humans and animals, but not the earth itself.”
We Have Been Made In God’s Likeness.
The first and most important thing we know about God is that we know nothing about him except what he himself makes known.
The bible says we have been made in God’s likeness.
This does not mean God has a human body.
It means that, like God, we are able to love and choose, to think and make rational decisions, and to have a mind and a will.
We have been made with great creative skills and the Earth has provided us with amazing resources.
The bible tells us God has no beginning and no end.
He is far greater than our little minds can ever take in.
The Execution Of Baby Boys.
The story told by Matthew recounts how when King Herod heard from the Magi that the “King of the Jews” had been born, he ordered the execution of all male children in Bethlehem who were aged two and younger.
Is it possible that such an episode of mass infanticide really took place?
The first non Christian reference to the massacre was recorded four centuries later by Roman philosopher Macrobius.
He describes how Herod ordered the killing of all two-year old boys in the whole of Syria, including the King’s own son.
A Byzantine liturgy counts 14,000 child victims.
An early Syrian list states that there were 64,000, while Coptic sources raise the number to 144,000.
The Catholic encyclopedia suggests that, given the estimated population of Bethlehem, probably only between six and twenty were killed, with a dozen or so in surrounding areas.
Parts of the Bible refer to people who lived for hundreds of years.
There are two theories…
One says human beings cannot live for hundreds of years and that ages given in The Book of Genesis are based on a confusion between lunar and solar time, turning months into years.
So when the Bible says that Methuselah lived to the age of 969, it really meant about 80, which seems to make more sense.
On the other hand, various men in Genesis became fathers in their sixties, which would make them five years old.
The other theory is that man’s lifespan was altered by God after the flood.
In chapter 6 of Genesis, we are told that our days will number 120 years, but that was after the flood and all the really old men lived before it.
We Three Kings Of Orient Are.
The Bible never says these men were kings, or indeed that there were three.
Only the gospel of Matthew mentions the Magi, or wise men, at all.
It has always been assumed there were three because of the number of gifts they bore : gold, frankincense and myrrh.
But an early painting discovered in Rome depicts four men, while others believe there may have been as many as 12.
A group of men called the Magi certainly existed in the time of Jesus.
They belonged to a priestly sect from Persia, now Iran, described by the Greek historian Herodotus nearly 500 years earlier.
The Magi specialized in astrology, mathematics and the interpretation of prophecy – hence their calculation that the time had come for Jesus’s birth.
Why Does God Allow Suffering?
For those whose faith has been shaken as to why God would permit natural disasters and human suffering, it is actually one of the main topics in the Bible.
It gives clear teaching on why bad things happen, how we are to respond to such events and God’s attitude towards them.
Disasters occur because natural laws created by God for this age have been ‘corrupted’.
The law by which nature operates were created to work properly, but the corporate nature of human sin affected what God created, so they no longer work as they intended.
Whether an individual is good or bad has no bearing on how they are affected by these natural laws.
Ecclesiastes 9:2 states, ‘This is an evil thing that similar events occur to the righteous and wicked alike’.
Romans 8:20 promises that these natural laws will be restored to their perfect state when this present age has run its course.
Scripture repeatedly reassures us that God will redress all wrongs in eternity.
Reminding us that not one sparrow is unloved, it addresses those who suffer unjustly by promising, ‘Not a hair of your head will be lost, I will repay, says the Lord’.
When we see suffering we need to view it from the ‘eternal perspective’, namely that in eternity God will repay down to the tiniest detail.
Many Christians who take the Bible seriously believe the Tsunami (2004) and the shaking of the Earth on it axis was foretold by Jesus in Luke 21:25/26: ‘On the Earth there will be distress with the sea and waves roaring, with men’s hearts failing from fear for even the powers of the heavens will be shaken’.
We All Have A Divine Origin.
Scripture gives us identity by showing us something of our beginning, and hope by showing us something of our end.
For our beginning and our end alike are with God.
Just as the child originates within the family and acquires a sense of identity from that origin, we, as human beings, have our origin with God.
The Bible begins with the creation, not as a scientific statement but as a statement about relationships.
Genesis tells us that we are all, male and female alike, made in the image and likeness of God.
Genesis 2 contains a different narrative in which the very breath of humanity is the breath of God, by which God gave life to the first human being, Adam.
All human beings, then, have a divine origin.
All are presented (correctly, even from the point of view of modern biology) as being related to one another.
We have, then, a relationship to God, like it or not, as certain as our relationship with each other.
The whole course of creation from beginning to end is in God’s hand, and we with it.
In this day and age – with the fast pace of life and all the endless possibilities that we can use to satisfy our senses – we forget, or at least put to the back of our minds, any thoughts of spirituality or morality and about what may happen after life.
Is The Vatican Possessed By The Devil?
The Pope’s chief exorcist has claimed the Vatican is possessed by the Devil.
Father Gabriel Amoth, 84, said, “The Devil lives in the Vatican. He has won over the confidences of people. The Consequences are visible. We have cardinals who don’t believe in Christ, bishops connected with demons.”
Father Amoth claims to have conducted 70,000 exorcisms in his 50 year career.
Father Amoth has also claimed Adolph Hitler and Josef Stalin were possessed.
He added, “The Devil is invisible, but in the people he possesses he can be seen through pain and blasphemies”.
“Sometimes he makes fun of me, but I have to say I enjoy my work”.
The Italian priest once said reading Harry Potter “Opens children’s minds to dabbling with the occult and black magic”.
Why are cardinals who don’t believe in Christ, bishops who are connected with demons, and Father Amoth who believes in black magic, still in the Vatican ?
Does the word ‘exorcist’ or ‘exorcism’ even appear in the Bible?
“Let no one be found among you who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead.
Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord.”
( The Bible, Deuteronomy 18:10-12 )
“Resist the Devil, and he will flee from you.”
“Come near to God and He will come near to you.”
( The Bible, James 4:7-8 )
Martin Luther (1483 – 1546) was a firm believer in witchcraft and saw the Christian life as a battle against Satan.
By the year 1520 he had developed what he called his Theology of the Cross.
He had taken the phrase from St Paul, who had told his Corinthian converters that the cross of Christ had shown that “God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength”.
Luther doubted the possibility of proving the existence of God.
“Faith does not require information, knowledge and certainty, but a free surrender and a joyful bet on his unfelt, untired and unknown goodness”.
Faith was a leap in the dark towards a reality that had to be taken on trust.
It was a sort of knowledge and darkness that can see nothing.
God, he insisted, strictly forbade speculative discussion of his nature.
To attempt to reach him by means of reason alone could be dangerous and lead to despair, since all that we would discover were the power, wisdom and justice of God which could only intimidate convicted sinners.
Instead of engaging in rationalistic discussion of God, the Christian should appropriate the revealed truths of scripture and make them his own.
Who Really Baptised Jesus?
The accounts of Jesus’ baptism in the first three gospels disagree with each other.
According to Matthew (3:13-17), when Jesus came to be baptised by John, John tried to dissuade him, but Jesus insisted.
After the baptism itself, “The heavens were opened to him and he (presumably Jesus) saw the spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my son, the beloved, with whom I am well pleased’.
Mark’s version, however, is somewhat different (1:9-11).
There is no conversation with John, and the heavenly voice now addresses Jesus directly, saying, “You are my son”.
Luke’s version (3:21-22) is different again.
According to Luke, John was already in prison (3:19-20) and therefore could not have baptised Jesus (Luke does not tell us who did).
Also, where Matthew and Mark only mention Jesus as having seen the heavens opened and the dove descending, according to Luke these were both public events that anyone could have seen.
Some early copies of Luke also have a slightly different version of the message given by the heavenly voice, but it is not clear which words Luke wrote.
Who really baptised Jesus?
Were the opening of the heavens and the descent of the dove public events, generally visible, or a private revelation to Jesus alone?
What did the heavenly voice say and to whom did it speak, Jesus or the crowd?
It is clear that all three of the reports cannot be historically accurate.
Perhaps, indeed, the miraculous elements may be allowed to have appeared differently to different people.
Yet there remains at least the question of John.
Did he or did he not baptise Jesus?
Two gospels say yes, one no.
Who Exactly Were The Nephilim?
Scholars and theologians find this subject fascinating.
Nephilim, in the Hebrew Bible, is a group of mysterious beings or people of unusually large size and strength who lived both before and after the Flood.
The Nephilim are referenced in Genesis and Numbers and are possibly referred to in Ezekiel.
The Hebrew word nefilim is sometimes directly translated as “giants” or taken to mean “the fallen ones” (from the Hebrew naphal, “to fall”), but the identity of the Nephilim is debated by scholars.
The Book of Enoch describes angels marrying women on earth, and the offspring was a giant type of being.
The most popular view in the Church today is that the “sons of God” were fallen angels who had relations with the “daughters of men”, and as a result, the Nephilim were born.
Another view is that Nephilim were children of human men who were possessed by fallen angels.
When we speak of giants and the Nephilim, let’s not forget the other “giants” mentioned in the Bible, the Rephaim, also known as the Zamzummim, and the Anakim.
No one really knows exactly who or what were the Nephilim, or where the giants came from.