Reasons to Believe

Connections 2002, Vol. 4, No. 1



Jupiter’s Migration Miracle
By Hugh Ross

A few years ago, a probe sent on a self-destruct mission into the interior of Jupiter revealed that Jupiter’s atmosphere grew dark and dry very soon after its formation.1 Continuing analysis of the data from that probe shows that Jupiter must have formed in a much colder place than where it now resides. The movement of Jupiter from its birth site to its present location, ideal for life on Earth, gives one more piece of evidence for the divine design of the solar system.

The Jupiter atmosphere probe found high levels of argon, krypton, and xenon.2 This discovery presented a problem: heat drives off these noble gases during planetary formation. Huge quantities of argon, krypton, and xenon in the present Jovian atmosphere indicate that Jupiter formed in a region with temperatures below –406 °F. Temperatures that cold exist only beyond the orbit of Pluto.

Jupiter’s cold origin means that the solar system’s largest planet must have migrated a long way, starting more than four billion miles from the Sun and ending up just 465 million miles from the Sun. There it steadily maintains a nearly circular, coplanar (aligned with the Sun’s equator) orbit. Jupiter’s great migration distance came as no surprise to planetary astronomers. Significant quantities of dust in the early solar system would have interacted with Jupiter, causing it to drift in toward the Sun.3 Indeed, nearly all of the 80 extrasolar gas giant planets discovered thus far show evidence of substantial drift from their birth sites.4

Remarkably, Jupiter drifted into exactly the right place (in distance) for life on Earth to survive. If Jupiter had drifted any closer to the Sun, its gravity would have destabilized Earth’s orbit. But, if Jupiter had stopped its drift earlier, farther out, Earth would have been bombarded frequently by killer asteroids and comets.

More amazing yet is Jupiter’s nearly circular orbit. Typically, gas giant planets drifting inward become gravitationally disturbed by other planets and nearby stars. Such disturbances increase the eccentricity (or noncircularity) of the planet’s orbit. Nearly all extrasolar planets more distant from their stars than Venus is from the Sun exhibit highly elliptical orbits.5 If Jupiter’s orbit were any more eccentric or elliptical than what it is, Earth would not remain long in its life-support zone.

Jupiter’s orbit is not only close to circular in shape, it has a tiny inclination. That is, Jupiter’s orbit nearly aligns with the Sun’s diameter. If Jupiter had even a slightly larger inclination, it would disturb Earth enough to pull it outside the zone of life support. Again, gas giant planets that experience significant drift typically do not end up with low inclinations unless they drift in closer than Venus is to the Sun (in which case no planet like Earth could avoid a catastrophic gravitational disturbance).

As noted in books and articles by RTB authors and others, dozens of features of planet Earth show signs of supernatural design.6 With each new discovery, the case for faith in the God of the Bible grows stronger. The fine-tuned features of Jupiter that make Earth a safe haven for life represent just one small but significant part of that case.

References:

  1. Hugh Ross, “New Planets Raise New Speculations About Life Sites?” Facts & Faith 10, no. 1 (1996), 1; David J. Stevenson, “The Subtle Taste of Jupiter,” Nature 379 (1996), 495-96; Richard A. Kerr, “Galileo Hits a Strange Spot on Jupiter,” Science 271 (1996), 593-94.
  2. Tobias Owen et al., “A Low-Temperature Origin for the Planetesimals That Formed Jupiter,” Nature 402 (1999), 269-70.
  3. Adam Burrows and Jonathon Lunine, “Astronomical Questions of Origin and Survival,” Nature 378 (1995), 333.
  4. James Glanz, “Planets Remind Astronomers of Home,” Science 271 (1996), 450; Jean Schneider, Extra Solar Planets Catalog, a frequently updated Web site catalog at http://www.obspm.fr/encycl/catalog.html (accessed 8 January 2002).
  5. Schneider, Extra Solar Planets Catalog.
  6. Hugh Ross, The Creator and the Cosmos, 3d ed. (Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 2001), 175-99; Hugh Ross, Big Bang Refined by Fire (Pasadena, CA: Reasons To Believe, 1999), 11, 12, 18-26 ; Hugh Ross, The Fingerprint of God, 2d ed. (Orange, CA: Promise, 1991), 129-32; Peter D. Ward and Donald Brownlee, Rare Earth (New York: Springer-Verlag, 2000); John D. Barrow and Frank J. Tipler, The Anthropic Cosmological Principle (New York: Oxford University Press, 1986), 238-353; George Greenstein, The Symbiotic Universe, (New York: Morrow, William & Co., 1988), 67-81.


A Fashionable Find
By Fuz Rana

Diamonds are a girl’s best friend. What about necklace beads made from seashells? A study conducted by anthropologists indicates that seashell beads were the rage near the time modern humans first appeared.1 The timing of this fashion-conscious behavior provides support for the biblical account of humanity’s origin.

Personal ornaments are found in all human cultures. Adorning the body with decorative objects reflects advanced cognitive ability. Designing, assembling, and wearing body ornaments is not a function of survival. Rather, jewelry denotes the capacity and propensity for artistic expression. Body ornaments in the archeological record also serve as markers for symbolic language. Personal decorations communicate group membership, social identity, and gender.

Anthropologists traditionally believed that body ornaments were not widely used until about 20,000 years ago—some time after the appearance of modern humans. Recently, however, a team of anthropologists from the University of Arizona, Yale University, and Ankara University in Turkey discovered widespread ornament use at 39,000 to 43,000 years ago in the Middle East and adjacent geographical areas. This finding fits within both biblical and scientific time frames for the appearance of Adam and Eve.2

The earliest humans apparently strung together marine shells to make necklaces. These early jewelers seem to have chosen shells on the basis of aesthetics. Instead of using mollusk shells left over from meals, they chose shells of unusual appearance, exceptionally white or brightly colored, with intricate patterns, shells from creatures with questionable food value. Ornamental shells were typically unfragmented, with a carefully punched hole, usually near the lip of the shell. The earliest humans appear to have been absorbed with making jewelry. Ornamental shells far outnumber shells used for food in the earliest geological layers investigated.

This discovery indicates that artistic expression and the use of symbolic language belong inherently and uniquely to humanity. Bipedal primates preceding modern humans lacked such capacities.3 At best, bipedal primates used extremely crude tools that remained static in sophistication for hundreds of thousands of years. Forty thousand years ago, tool kit complexity dramatically increased and artistic expression first appeared. The dual appearance of culture and humans meets the biblical creation model expectation that human beings were recently created in the image of God as a result of God’s direct activity.

References:
  1. Steven L. Kuhn et al., “Ornaments of the Earliest Upper Paleolithic: New Insights from the Levant,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA 98 (2001), 7641-46.
  2. Hugh Ross, The Genesis Question: Scientific Advances and the Accuracy of Genesis (Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 1998), 107-14.
  3. Christopher Stringer and Robin McKie, African Exodus: The Origins of Modern Humanity (New York: Heary Holt, 1996), 194-97.

PRESIDENT’S LAPTOP

Dear Friends,

Many people believe that God limits His miracles to far off peoples and places and rare circumstances—if He still does them at all. Yet, I’ve witnessed miracles happening right before my very eyes, and not just through a telescope lens. I’ve seen them in people’s lives. Meditating on the miracles I’ve seen helps me when I need to be reminded of God’s faithfulness. Telling about them sometimes helps me encourage others to get involved in personal outreach.

I have one little story for you. It involves Jackie, a friend and RTB volunteer. Years ago, she thought my stories of people coming to Christ after just a brief, divinely orchestrated encounter were too good to be true, perhaps a little bit of hype to motivate participation in the outreach visitation Kathy and I led. Jackie had difficulty believing my claims that God sent us to people who actually asked us how to become a Christian. She shook her head at my “outlandish” claims until her husband encouraged her to check them out firsthand. As we hit the streets to follow up visitors to our church, I urged Jackie not to judge too quickly because such miracles didn’t happen every week, usually every three to four weeks.

At the first home we visited, a man studying architecture greeted us at the door. He immediately invited us in, saying he was glad to see us. He wanted to become a Christian, he said, but needed to know how, and he wanted some questions answered about creation. Needless to say, the future architect got his questions answered. He then prayed to receive Christ as his Lord and Savior. Jackie got proof, lost her cynicism, and joined the evangelism team.

If I had space, I could fill pages with such stories, including one about walking past a ferocious, professionally trained guard dog who merely wagged his tail, leading his owner to believe my partner and I were messengers from God. I tell them to show that anyone committed to bring the good news of salvation to others will see miracles.

No doubt many of you could tell stories of your own. Whether or not you and I ever get to write them in a book, we know they are recorded for eternity in God’s annals. Meanwhile, let’s bring them out often enough to remind each other that “our work produced by faith, our labor prompted by love, and our endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ” are what make life wonderful.

Sincerely in Christ,

Hugh Ross


FIELD REPORT
By Linda Kloth

Pat Robertson interviewed Hugh Ross on the “700 Club.” Hugh presented some of the latest scientific evidences for fine-tuning in creation and Pat enthusiastically recommended The Creator and the Cosmos to viewers. During his stay in Virginia Beach Hugh delivered lectures at Regent University. The chapel overflowed for his talk, and he also taught as a guest lecturer in the apologetics class.

Santa Clara First Baptist Church in California hosted a panel discussion featuring Hugh Ross, Duane Gish, and Eugenie Scott. Speakers presented their diverse views on origins—viewpoints on old-Earth creation, young-Earth creation, and non-creation, respectively. Church leaders, seeing the intensity of interest, made the most of this opportunity by organizing follow-up classes for anyone wanting to study more about creation. Survey teams reported that several people attending the event expressed the need to reconsider their young-Earth or evolutionary perspectives.

Fazale Rana gave a presentation on biotechnology issues at Azusa Pacific University (APU) in California. His talk focused on such topics as cloning, embryonic stem cell research, and the human genome project, in the context of Christian faith. Hugh, Fuz, and Kenneth Samples have each delivered talks on campus as part of a series for the Center for Research in Science (CRIS). RTB looks forward to a continuing relationship with CRIS and APU.

Hugh and Fuz visited the University of California at Santa Cruz to deliver talks on the origin and design of the universe and life. The audience, heavily influenced by New Age beliefs, reportedly liked the “energy” in the room. Hugh and Fuz found themselves “translating” questions from New Age jargon into concepts consistent with biblical truths.

Hugh’s trip to Bellevue, Washington, drew a crowd to First Presbyterian Church. Business people in the community packed the sanctuary to hear Hugh address the question, “Is there a conflict between Christianity and science?”

Hugh’s fellow Canadians warmly welcomed him to his homeland. His heart went out to the dedicated RTB supporters in the Vancouver and Tswassen area of British Columbia, who face strong opposition in their churches. In Victoria, an association of pastors rallied around Hugh, committing themselves to pursue ongoing apologetics ministries. These pastors brought members of their congregations to a multichurch gathering at Central Baptist Church where Hugh delivered a creation model presentation. Some faculty from the University at Victoria who attended expressed eagerness to become involved in the work, along with the pastors and others.


FOR WHAT IT'S WORTH
Stewards of God’s Goodness
By David Madeira

Scripture presents many stories challenging us to be good stewards of God’s material blessings to us. Stories of Jacob and Esau, Abraham, the Prodigal Son, vineyard managers, and others reveal God’s desire that we faithfully manage His gifts. These stories consistently convey that we are not owners of what we possess but rather stewards of God’s property entrusted to us. Those who wisely manage property, talents, and affairs receive honor and reward, while those who misuse such things meet with shame and suffer loss.

Most people seek to manage income and property wisely. If we have the resources, we purchase health, life, property, and disability insurance. We make investments. We form retirement plans. Many of us also create wills and trusts to maximize an inheritance for our children and grandchildren.

Many people make tithes and gifts regularly in thankfulness for God’s blessings. Yet, do we think and plan with the notion that we are not owners but, as the Bible teaches, merely stewards of God’s gifts to us? If we do, we confront the idea that the estate remaining upon our death still belongs to God. We are challenged, therefore, to plan carefully for the use of His property.

Such thinking brings the realization that we can make estate plans to fulfill our stewardship duties after we’re gone. Creative and intelligent use of wills, retirement plans, insurance, and life-income trusts can protect our loved ones and support meaningful ministry.

To encourage estate stewardship that will support continued ministry, Reasons To Believe announces The Cornerstone Society, an organization consisting of those who provide for RTB through their estate plans. There are no minimum gifts. All who indicate that Reasons To Believe is included in their estate become part of this esteemed group. Together, members of The Cornerstone Society serve as witnesses to the importance of estate stewardship and encourage others to follow.

For helpful information on charitable estate planning, or for more information on The Cornerstone Society, please contact the Foundation office at 626-335-1480


RTB CHAPTERS

Charlotte, North Carolina Chapter
Contact: Jay Hanna
Phone: (704) 938-8064
E-mail: jhanna@711online.net

Denver, Colorado Chapter
Contact: Dan Brown
Phone: (303) 363-7327
E-mail: Denver@reasons.org

Houston, Texas Chapter
Contact: Bryan Darwin
Phone: (281) 376-6530
E-mail: wbd2@netzero.net

Huntsville, Alabama Chapter
Contact: Rick Byrn
Phone: (256) 830-0996
E-mail: Huntsville@reasons.org

Minneapolis, Minnesota Chapter
Contact: Kyle C. Frazier
Phone: (952) 933-5578
Email: the_falconer@msn.com

Nashville, Tennessee Chapter
Contact: Mark Whorton
Phone: (615) 963-7327
Email: mark.whorton@msfc.nasa.gov
(This chapter is just getting started)

Orlando, Florida Chapter
Contact: Phil Metzger
Phone: (407) 382-0088
E-mail: philtill@aol.com
(This chapter is just getting started)

Raleigh, North Carolina Chapter
Contact: Don Markle
Phone: (919) 424-4555
E-mail: dmarkle120@yahoo.com
(This chapter is just getting started)

Seattle, Washington Chapter
Contact: Stan Lennard, M.D.
Phone: (425) 485-9712
E-mail: lennardjs@msn.com

Spokane, Washington Chapter
Contact: Daniel Bakken
Phone: (509) 466-2639
Email: dan@runway.net
(This chapter is just getting started)

Australia
Contact: Mike McLerie
Phone: 61-8-9447-1307
E-mail: mclerie@iinet.net.au

Canada
Contact: John Duerksen
Phone: (250) 245-0012
E-mail: Canada@reasons.org

Japan
Contact: Rev. & Mrs. Timothy Boyle
Phone: 81-298-55-1907
E-mail: za3t-byl@asahi-net.or.jp

New Zealand
Contact: Philip Bennett
Phone: 64-4-299-3040
E-mail: rtb@paradise.net.nz

South Africa
Contact: Dr. David Block
Phone: 27-11-672-1298
E-mail: igalaxy@iafrica.com

For additional chapter information, see www.reasons.org/worldwide.


LETTERS

I have been listening to your programme for a long time. God is really using you to prove the fact that science and religion are one. In the past, people believed that science was discrediting religion, and even the existence of the living God. However, God has his own time to do things. Those who cannot be convinced by the preachers can be convinced by you.

-- Bombwe K. Mandevu, Kabwe, Zambia, Africa

I want to thank Dr. Ross for his books. I was a big atheist seven years ago and someone presented me with the book The Creator and the Cosmos, 2nd edition. The evidences were so compelling for the God of the Bible that I decided to accept Jesus. I have been a Christian ever since.

Being a Ph.D. student in the physics department at Indiana University, I have had to deal with skeptics that think that Jesus is just a myth and any person who believes in Him is ignorant.

I have read other books from Dr. Ross including The Creator and the Cosmos, 3rd edition and I find them very useful when I sit down with my non-Christian friends and talk about God. Keep up the good work and God bless your ministry!

-- Abaz Kryemadhi, Email

I have heard tapes or live discussions of Hugh [Ross] with young-Earth creationists, skeptics, atheists, old earth creationists, and denominational leaders.  I've heard him discussing science and theology with scientists and lay people.  I've heard him affirmed and attacked.  Always the message stays quite consistent, and—remarkably—Hugh keeps his composure.  This consistency is a hallmark of truth.

-- Dr. Edward Wolfe, Associate Pastor, Tempe, AZ

I just wanted to say thank you from the bottom of my heart for the work you are doing.  I feel that your quest to prove the absolute truth of God in His creation and His Word is critical to the Christian faith in today’s society, where the common belief is that you either believe scientists’ findings or hold blindly to a book of lies (that seems to be the way my peers perceive things at least). The book Beyond the Cosmos was an incredible blessing in my life, and God used it mightily to give me peace about His mysteries. Thank you.

-- Bob Reamer, Email


FOR FURTHER STUDY

A Christian Perspective on Biotechnology
By Fazale R. Rana, Ph.D.

Reasons To Believe staff biochemist Dr. Fazale Rana helps Christians make sense of the supposed “boundless” limits of biotechnology. Is human cloning actually possible? What is the purpose behind stem cell research? What are scientists learning as a result of the human genome project? Recorded in October 2001, Dr. Rana examines the trend lines of the research and predicts future discoveries.

Item #A0176 | $5.00 plus s/h* | 1 audio tape | 1 hour

Travels to the Nanoworld: Miniature Machinery in Nature and Technology
By Michael Gross

Discoveries of molecular machines inside cells are inspiring nanotechnologists to create new applications in machinery. Biochemist and science journalist Michael Gross eases readers into the miniature world of nanotechnology and cellular chemistry with a comprehensive understanding of molecules that everyone can grasp. Gross highlights the exploration and development of nanotechnology, including current and prospective applications. Although written from an evolutionary perspective, the nanoworld lends new insight into the designed nature of biology.

Item #B0113 | $16.00 plus s/h* | Paperback | 254 pages | Level: All Readers
*Avoid handling charges by ordering online


MESSAGE OF THE MONTH

Providing New Reasons

It’s a win-win. Regular RTB supporters get the satisfaction of keeping and growing a key ministry while receiving monthly messages on the latest faith-building discoveries and ministry events. For information, call 800-482-7836 or sign up via the Web.


RTB IS COMING TO TOWN
Listed are upcoming outreaches and other RTB events. Check to see if one will be held near you.

CALIFORNIA

    AZUSA
        Azusa Pacific University’s Center for Research and Science (CRIS) is hosting a science apologetics seminar series featuring RTB and other speakers on selected Mondays at 7:30 P.M. Contact CRIS at (626) 815-5482 for more details.
        March 18
            Fazale Rana will speak about “Evolution or Creation: The Scientific Challenge to Biological Evolution.”
        April 15
            Speakers will participate in a wrap-up panel discussion.
    LA MIRADA
        January 28 thru March 25
            Kenneth Samples will teach an 8-week course on the History of Apologetics at Biola University. The class will be held on Monday evenings from 6:30 - 9:30 P.M. Contact Biola’s M.A. Program in Apologetics at (562) 903-6000.
    SIERRA MADRE
        Sundays
            Hugh Ross leads the Paradoxes Class at Sierra Madre Congregational Church most Sundays, 11:00 A.M. Contact the church office at (626) 355-3566 for more details.
    UPLAND
        January 20 thru March 24
            Fazale Rana will give a 10-week course on "Responding to Evolution" at Life Bible Fellowship. The class will be held on Sunday evenings from 7:00 - 8:30 P.M. Contact Bruce Erickson at (909) 981-4848.
    PASADENA
        March 4, May 6, and July 8
            Hugh Ross, Dave Rogstad, Fazale Rana, and Kenneth Samples offer a Skeptics Forum at the University Club in Pasadena at noon. Contact Margo at (626) 796-2649.
    SAN DIEGO
        April 6
            Hugh Ross will speak at Rancho Bernardo Community Presbyterian Church from 9:00 A.M. to 12:00 P.M. about “Genesis and the Big Bang.” Contact Dave Turner at (858) 487-0811.

OHIO

    BOISE
        March 19 & 20
            Hugh will give his testimony and participate in a panel discussion at Boise State University. Contact Nino Guarisco at (208) 342-7365.

ILLINOIS

    LANSING
        March 12
            Hugh Ross is scheduled to speak at Crete Reformed Church. Start time will be 7:00 P.M.  Topic is “Science, Evolution, & Creation” and will include a Q-and-A opportunity. Contact Herman Chapman during the day at (708) 474-6166.


COMING SOON in FACTS for FAITH

Rare Sun
The Sun is not a typical star. It manifests rare and distinctive qualities necessary for life’s existence on Earth. Why? Guillermo Gonzalez
Extremophiles

Microorganisms thriving in extreme environments spark hope among scientists who promote naturalistic origins. Extremophiles may even help launch new missions to Mars and Jupiter’s Europa. But can this origin-of-life hypothesis survive? Fazale R. Rana

Cosmic Creation Details
Breakthrough discoveries and measuring methods provide powerful evidence for the biblical creation model. Hugh Ross

“Who Do Men Say I Am?”
Reformer, exorcist, or mystic—who is Jesus? Specific historical criteria help answer the question still being asked today. Dennis Ingolfsland