Reasons to Believe

Connections 2002, Vol. 4, No. 3 & 4



Big Bang Stands Firm
By Hugh Ross, Ph.D.

During my school days in Vancouver, B.C., I met some really brilliant students, but none of them aced every test. I can say, though, that I have met a theory that does. The big bang has scored well on every test devised and applied by researchers over several decades,1 and it has just sailed through another one with flying colors.

Why is this fact relevant to the Christian faith? The big bang’s success not only advances science but also provides a huge boost for establishing the accuracy of the Bible. How? The Bible describes the fundamentals of big bang cosmology—a transcendent cosmic origin, a continuous cosmic expansion, and continuously increasing entropy—though it was written thousands of years before any physicist or astronomer even hinted at such notions.2

This latest test sought to explain the apparent “dipole” structure in the cosmic background radiation—the observation that the cosmic background radiation measures 0.1% hotter on one side of the sky than on the other (see figure).

The big bang’s ideological opponents seized upon this temperature difference as the basis for a challenge. They recognized that if the dipolarity really resides in the background radiation itself, the big bang model fails. The high uniformity of that background radiation is a pillar of big bang cosmology.

Defenders of the big bang (most astronomers) hypothesized that Earth’s motion, relative to the uniform expansion of the universe, causes this dipolarity. In other words, the temperature difference exists not in the background radiation but simply in Earth-bound measurements of that radiation. The difference is really an artifact of measurement since Earth is moving in two directions at once: 1) in the direction of the generalized expansion, and 2) by gravity, in the direction of the Great Attractor, a massive aggregate of galaxy superclusters.

Earth’s movement toward the Attractor would impact temperature measurements the way the Doppler effect changes the pitch of a train’s horn as the train passes by a human observer. The pitch is higher as the train approaches because the sound waves get pushed together by the train’s movement toward the observer, and the pitch is lower after the train passes because the sound waves get stretched by the train’s movement away from the observer. Similarly, measurements of the cosmic background radiation would read higher in the direction of Earth’s motion toward the Attractor and lower in the opposite direction.

Tests done in the mid 1990s supported astronomers’ hypothesis about the motion effect but were not adequately conclusive to satisfy all big bang critics. However, two British astronomers recently completed a more definitive test. They performed a deep-sky survey of radio (high-energy emitting) galaxies, selecting only radio galaxies with active galactic nuclei (because most are located at great distances), and eliminating nearby radio sources that might contaminate their findings.3

Their observations proved that the dipole structure comes from Earth’s secondary motion. Test data showed perfect consistency with what the big bang-supporting hypothesis predicted. To borrow the words of George Ellis, “With yet another observational success behind them, theoretical cosmologists can be pleased that their basic model remains intact.”4 Christians, too, can be pleased that a biblical model for cosmic creation gains resounding affirmation.

References:

  1. Hugh Ross, The Creator and the Cosmos, 3d ed. (Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 2001), 31-67, 77-108.
  2. Ross, 23-29.
  3. Chris Blake and Jasper Wall, “A Velocity Dipole in the Distribution of Radio Galaxies,” Nature 416 (2002): 150-52.
  4. George F. R. Ellis, “Maintaining the Standard,” Nature 416 (2002): 133.


Vexing Implications
By Hugh Ross, Ph.D.

“Disturbing Implications of a Cosmological Constant,” announced the title of a recent paper on the Los Alamos National Laboratory Web site.1 So “disturbing” were the paper’s findings that within a few days the British journal Nature ran an online commentary on them as well. Was evidence mounting against a naturalistic model for the beginning of the universe? Without daring to hint at the possibility of supernatural design, commentators suggested, “Our universe is so unlikely that we must be missing something.”2

The MIT and Stanford physicists who authored the original paper had investigated the possibility of replacing a single-creation-event cosmic model with a multiple-beginnings model. Their results said it won’t work: the cosmological constant (self-stretching property of the universe) negates the possibility.

The team had explored a phenomenon called “Poincare recurrences” as a way around the space-time limitations constraining their model.3 This idea offers the theoretical possibility (if the universe is subject to the same limitations event horizons impose on black holes) that after the universe is maximally expanded, it could come back together into one tiny point and then start all over again. The idea died when data showed that the time required between these hypothetical Poincare occurrences would be so absurdly long and the number of necessary recurrences so huge that unless the cosmological constant is wrong, a multiple-beginnings scenario remains both scientifically and philosophically impossible.

The authors also demonstrated that a universe governed by a cosmological constant will—of necessity—manifest extremely low entropy at its beginning. Such a low entropy state, according to the authors, would demand that “an external agent” (external to matter, energy, space, and time) that “intervened…for reasons of its own” in some miraculous way.4 In other words, the researchers conclude that either astronomers are wrong about the cosmological constant or, a specific deity miraculously intervened.

The researchers prefer to believe that astronomers are wrong. But, evidence for the cosmological constant is compelling—as is its implication of a divine Creator. Skeptics wanting more evidence need not wait long. Several independent teams of astronomers already are making measurements that will put cosmic creation to a more stringent test. The words “In the beginning God created…” stand to be affirmed anew.

References:
  1. L. Dyson, M. Kleban, and L. Susskind, “Disturbing Implications of a Cosmological Constant,” 1 August 2002, http://arXiv.org/abs//hep-th/0208013v1; accessed October 16, 2002.
  2. Philip Ball, “Is Physics Watching Over Us?” Nature, Science Update, August 13, 2002, www.nature.com/nsu/020812/020812-2.html; accessed October 16, 2002.
  3. Consider a large room filled with matter and energy where all the particles and photons undergo random, chaotic motions. The laws of statistical mechanics tell us that if we wait long enough the particles and photons, by chance, will all cram themselves into a cubic micron in one of the room’s corners. This condition, of course, is highly unstable and the particles and photons will quickly disperse throughout the room. The time between all the particles and photons being released from that cubic micron and their return, by chance, to that same cubic micron is called a Poincare recurrence.
  4. Dyson, Kleban, and Susskind, “Disturbing Implications,” 3; Ball, “Is Physics Watching?”


Salamander Study Challenges Evolutionary Theory
By Fazale R. Rana, Ph.D.

If one were to push the rewind button, erase life’s history and let the tape run again, the results would be completely different. So goes evolutionary biologist Stephen Jay Gould’s metaphor for the evolutionary process.1 Biological evolution should not repeat itself. And yet scientific advance, including a new study of salamanders, continues to demonstrate that evolution does “repeat” itself.

Chance superimposed onto history—that is, historical contingency—governs biological evolution. Evolution should not be repeatable, since every evolutionary pathway consists of thousands of unlikely events, each one funneling the process down a unique avenue.

Detecting contingency in the biological realm stands as a key test for the evolutionary paradigm. If scientific investigation finds chance at work in biological systems, the theory of evolution gains powerful support. On the other hand, the evolutionary paradigm receives a significant challenge if evolution seems to generate recurring (“repeatable”) results. The application of new techniques, based on advances in molecular biology, has provided just such a challenge to the evolutionary paradigm. Researchers have uncovered several examples of “repeatable evolution.”2

Relying on DNA sequence information rather than physical characteristics for comparisons, evolutionary biologists have discovered repeatable evolution for Anolis lizards, ranid frogs, cichlid and stickleback fish, river dolphins, mangabey monkeys, and island plants. And now scientists from UC Berkeley studying tropical salamanders have just discovered another example of repeatable evolution.3 This new discovery shows that the phenomenon of repeatable evolution can be properly viewed as a characteristic feature of the biological realm.

Four genera of lungless salamanders (members of the family Plethodontidae), suited for an underground lifestyle (fossorial), live in the lowland tropical region of southern Mexico and northern South America. These salamanders possess an elongated body and dramatically shortened limbs. One genus of lungless salamanders, Lineatriton, is comprised of a single species, Lineatriton lineolus. Based on external morphological features, biologists classified L. lineolus as a member of the genus Oedipina. However, detailed studies of internal anatomy later revealed fundamental differences, placing L. lineolus in a separate genus. Recent mitochondrial (mt) DNA analysis conducted by the UC Berkeley students supports this classification of L. lineolus.

In addition to supporting the reclassification of L. lineolus, the recent mt DNA analysis uncovered an unexpected result. L. lineolus is not a single species, but actually two separate species thought to have evolved independently to produce a unique combination of traits that serve as an extreme specialization for a fossorial lifestyle¾at least according to the evolutionary paradigm. Mitochondrial DNA analyses indicate that specimens from different regions of L. lineolus’ geographical range are more closely related to separate species belonging to the lungless salamander genus Pseudoeurycea than to each other. For L. lineolus, repeatable evolution seems to have occurred at two levels: 1) convergence with Oedipina; and 2) parallel evolution to produce two morphologically indistinguishable species.

The widespread occurrence of “repeatable evolution” strikes a blow at chance––the essence of the evolutionary process. However, the same data fits beautifully into a creation model. The repeated occurrence of unrelated organisms possessing trait combinations needed for survival in a particular ecological niche points to “repeated creation” rather than to evolution. It’s not surprising that a single Creator would reuse the same good design more than once to bring into existence organisms perfectly suited for their environment.

References:
  1. Stephen J. Gould, Wonderful Life: The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History (New York: W. W. Norton, 1989), 48-51.
  2. Fazale R. Rana, “Repeatable Evolution or Repeated Creation?” Facts for Faith 4 (Q4 2000), 13-21.
  3. Gabriela Parra-Olea and David B. Wake, “Extreme Morphological Homoplasy in Tropical Salamanders,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA 98 (2001): 7888-91.


Toumai Man Offers Evolutionists No Hope
By Fazale R. Rana, Ph.D.

This discovery is just “the tip of [the] iceberg—one that could sink our current ideas about human evolution.”1  Science writer John Whitfield typifies the reaction of paleontologists as they learned about an astounding fossil discovery recently reported in Nature.2

An international team of paleontologists led by French scientist Michel Brunet recovered and characterized a remarkably complete hominid skull, with partial jawbone and teeth, from the Sahel region of Chad. The find dates about 7 million years in age.3 The team assigned these specimens to a new genus, Sahelanthropus tchadensis, and nicknamed it Toumai, which means “hope of life” in the local language.

Ironically, Toumai man’s discovery sinks the “hope of life” in evolutionary explanations for man’s origin. Instead of providing fresh support, Toumai man contradicts several key predictions that stem from the human evolutionary paradigm: (1) evolution from a shared ancestor 5 to 6 million years ago, (2) emergence of two evolutionary branches (apes and hominids) from a single species, and (3) bipedalism as the gradual result from an evolutionary driving force.

Age Problem
Human evolution is thought to have occurred only in eastern and southern Africa. Based on genetic differences and similarities, evolutionary biologists place the divergence time of the great apes and hominids from a shared ancestor at about 5 to 6 million years ago.4 Toumai man, at 7 million years, appears in the fossil record at least 1 million years prior to the predicted date. And yet Toumai man’s anatomy appears as advanced as hominids such as Homo habilus, dated at 2 million years old. The australopithecines, such as “Lucy,” (3.3 million years old) possess features more primitive than Toumai man’s—meaning that this group of hominids, long regarded as the transitional intermediates in humanity’s ancestry, now seem to represent an evolutionary side-branch and dead end.

Family Problem
Toumai man did not live alone. The Toumai fossil is only the tip of the iceberg that represents many more likely to be found in central Africa. In addition, paleontologists have recovered hominid remains dated at 5.8 million (Ardipithecus ramidus) and 6 million years (Orrorin tugenesis) from eastern and southern Africa. Instead of a single species that gave birth to two evolutionary branches (the apes and hominids), they believe a plethora of hominids existed 6 to 7 million years ago. Thus, the hominid fossil record is not a family “tree” but a “lawn.” One paleontologist likens the structure of the hominid fossil record to the Cambrian Explosion.5 In other words, when hominids first occur in the fossil record, they make an explosive, not a gradual, appearance.
Foot Problem

Skull features indicate that Toumai man possessed the ability to walk upright, as did Orrorin tugenesis and Ardipithecus ramidus. This ability, considered a defining trait for humanity, appeared suddenly and coincidentally with the hominids’ first appearance. Toumai man lived in an ecological gallery that included woodlands, open savannas, and a lake front.6 But, the evolutionary model maintains that bipedalism arose gradually when hominids were forced from a forest environment into an open savanna.7 Thus, bipedalism apparently emerged in the absence of an evolutionary driving force.

Each fossil discovery reveals more of the iceberg that capsizes the case for human evolution. Toumai man’s discovery renders much of what appears in textbooks incorrect. At the same time, the explosive diversity and sudden emergence of bipedalism that occurs with hominids’ first appearance in the fossil record serve as hallmarks of God’s creative work.8


References:

  1. John Whitfield, “Oldest Member of Human Family Found,” Nature Science Update, http://www.nature.com/nsu/020708/020708-12.html
  2. Bernard Wood, “Hominid Revelations from Chad,” Nature 418 (2002): 133-35; Ann Gibbons, “First Member of Human Family Uncovered,” Science 297 (2002): 171-72.
  3. Michel Brunet et al., “A New Hominid From the Upper Miocene of Chad, Central Africa,” Nature 418 (2002): 145-51.
  4. Roger Lewin, Principles of Human Evolution (Malden, MA: Blackwell Science, 1998), 192.
  5. Wood, 133-35.
  6. Patrick Vignaud et al., “Geology and Paleontology of the Upper Miocene Toros-Menalla Hominid Locality, Chad,” Nature 418 (2002): 152-55.
  7. Lewin, 219-29.
  8. Fazale R. Rana, “The Leap to Two Feet: The Sudden Appearance of Bipedalism,” Facts for Faith 7(Q4 2001), 33-41.


Reining in Weird Cosmic Models
By Hugh Ross, Ph.D.

The supposed rebirth of the oscillating universe model made Internet headlines in recent months1 and the lead slot in Science.2 This model posits that the universe oscillates between successive expansions and contractions, each contraction followed by a new big bang. Readers of The Fingerprint of God and The Creator and the Cosmos may recall that science has declared the oscillating universe model (and thus the cosmological underpinnings of Hinduism, Buddhism, and many new age philosophies) as a dead issue.3 Astrophysicists recognize that the laws of thermodynamics and the specific entropy of the universe (a measure of how efficiently the universe radiates) do not permit any kind of cosmic “bounce” or “rebound.” So, how do we explain the recent reemergence, or “reincarnation” of the oscillating universe model?

The new bouncing model is founded on the equivalent of anti-thermodynamics or negative thermodynamics. Authors Paul Steinhardt (Princeton) and Neil Turok (Cambridge) hypothesize the existence of a time-varying energy component for the universe, with negative pressure causing the current acceleration in the rate of cosmic expansion. This hypothesized energy component changes its value and its sign (positive to negative or negative to positive) at just the right rates and at just the right times so that the universe alternates between expansion and contraction. As the authors acknowledge in their paper, their model “entails tuning” to “the same degree of tuning required in any cosmological model.”4 Thus, it offers no escape from the extreme fine-tuning in cosmic parameters that clearly points to the biblical Creator.5

Counter to what the Bible declares, Steinhardt and Turok claim that the universe may not possess a singular beginning of matter, energy, space, and time. But negative pressure and negative energy, though hypothetically appealing, offer more trouble than help. Essentially, they violate well-established physical laws. Such violations of known laws would render stable physics impossible. Stephen Hawking and George Ellis drove this point home in a famous theorem they derived nearly thirty years ago called the vacuum conservation theorem.6  The result derived from this theorem is that in any system described by forces and fields (like the universe) something cannot be created from nothing. To be more precise, the vacuum must be stable against spontaneous generation of matter.

British cosmologist Brandon Carter goes on to explain that the hypothesized negative pressure and negative energy lead to one of two consequences: 1) a lateral or wiggle instability in the cosmic space surface (best visualized by what happens when a person stands a paper straw upright on a table and then presses down very hard with a fist on the top end of the straw), or 2) the conclusion that the cosmic mass density is negative. If it were, the result would be a cosmic runaway creation of negative and positive mass particles out of the vacuum.7

Cosmic models that call for the operation of fundamental forces along higher spatial dimensional surfaces, in which pressure, energy, or matter “become negative” might make for some entertaining mathematics, but such models do not pertain to physical reality. Therefore, they pose no threat to the biblical doctrine of a transcendent creation event for matter, energy, space, and time.

References:

  1. Deborah Zabarenko, “Out with the Big Bang, and in with the Cosmic Crunch,” Yahoo!News at yahoo.com, April 26, 2002. Similar stories were published on the Web by Reuters, Associated Press, and space.com.
  2. Paul J. Steinhardt and Neil Turok, “A Cyclic Model of the Universe,” Science 296 (2002): 1436-39. A similar model was published November 2001 by Hongya Liu and Paul S. Wesson, “Universe Models With a Variable Cosmological ‘Constant’ and a ‘Big Bounce,’” Astrophysical Journal 562 (2001): 1-6.
  3. Hugh Ross, The Fingerprint of God, 2d ed. (Orange, CA: Promise Publishing, 1991), 97-105; Hugh Ross, The Creator and the Cosmos, 3d ed. (Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 2001), 87-98.
  4. Steinhardt and Turok, 1437.
  5. Lawrence M. Krauss, “The End of the Age Problem and the Case for a Cosmological Constant Revisited,” Astrophysical Journal 501 (1998): 461; Ross, The Creator and the Cosmos, 45, 53-56.
  6. Stephen W. Hawking and George F. R. Ellis, The Large Scale Structure of Space-Time (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1973).
  7. Brandon Carter, “Energy Dominance and the Hawking Ellis Vacuum Conservation Theorem,” a contribution to Stephen Hawking’s 60th birthday workshop on the Future of Theoretical Physics and Cosmology, Cambridge, UK, January 2002, arXiv:gr-qc/0205010v1, May 2, 2002.



EDITOR'S WORD
Seeing Past Sincerity
By Joe Aguirre

The unexpected Saturday morning knock on the door sometimes engenders mild irritation, sometimes anxiety. What should I say to the well-mannered, well-groomed, youthful “elders” from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (or callers from the Kingdom Hall, for that matter)? Competing calls of family responsibility––Saturday morning is always a bad time for a visit––and Christian witness often lead to an unsettling angst for any layperson. The quick, “Sorry, I’m not interested” dismissal leaves me wondering whether I could have and should have done more.

Christians know that doctrinal departures are serious, but the visitors’ sincerity, dedication, and commitment to their cause and admirable values can obscure their perilous state. More than once have I rationalized, “These are fine young people. At least they’re not doing drugs and carrying guns. Surely God will send someone to straighten them out before it’s too late. My family needs me.” This sentimental view of the missionaries’ plight jeopardizes the opportunity for truth telling.

I have not handled every encounter gracefully, but for four weeks I managed to keep two guys coming back to my home for discussions. On the final visit I think I offended them, but not with my manner. I presented the gospel to them. Salvation by grace alone didn’t comport with their belief system. They left discouraged because I said (after they asked me) that if they died believing what they told me, they would not be going eternally where they hoped they were going.

The cross of Christ is an offense to some, the sweet news of salvation to others. May Christ use our lips to bring hope to the sincerely deceived.


FOR WHAT IT'S WORTH
Trust in the Living Trust
David Madeira

Trusts are important financial and estate planning tools with unique characteristics to meet a variety of personal and financial objectives. As the name implies, a trust involves trust, putting assets in the name of a trustee who will oversee and manage your property according to the terms you, as the “grantor,” set forth. Several types of trusts exist, and they can be created to take effect during your lifetime (a living trust) or after your death (testamentary trust).

One particular trust, a “revocable living trust,” offers some noteworthy benefits, including these:

  • PRIVACY - The provisions of a living trust are a private matter. By contrast, a will becomes a matter of public record once probated. If privacy for your financial affairs is important to you, consider a trust.
  • FLEXIBILITY - Living trusts allow you to amend or revoke any of the provisions of your trust to meet changing interests or life circumstances.
  • ECONOMY - Costs of estate administration are determined by the size of a person’s estate. Since a trust legally owns the assets it holds, the assets you place in a trust are not considered part of your estate at death. In this way, the trust reduces both the expense and time of probate, and it transfers assets more readily to your beneficiaries.
  • CONTROL - You may name yourself as trustee of your trust. Thus, while you gain all the benefits of a trust you remain in command of your financial affairs for as long as you wish. At any time you may choose to name a family member, a friend, or a financial professional to manage the trust for you, as God in his wisdom directs.

A living trust, together with a simple will, can be the foundation of an effective estate plan. For more information on how trusts may help order your financial affairs, meet your charitable goals, and provide for your loved ones, ask for our brochure, The Living Trust: A Trust for Life. Call Yolanda at (626) 335-1480 x 154.


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
A Beautiful Mind/Beautiful Math

I'm a chemistry student at a secular university. I decided to take some physics courses as a secondary science. Last night, my professor introduced Einstein's theory of special relativity. WOW! I've learned from Dr. Ross's book about the extra-dimensionality of God, but it was awesome to see it in a mathematical equation. When he put the mass and time dilation equations on the board, almost instantly I could see the point where mass and time become imaginary! It was like seeing where we physically end and God begins! This was an absolute confirmation of God's existence for me. I thank God for you and your ministry, for making me aware and watchful to see God in all things.

-- Judi Smith, Email
Good “Old” Freedom

I am a 17-year-old missionary kid and have spent most of my life living in Latin America. All my life I’ve had an interest in nature and God’s creation. Christian science texts I’d read had indoctrinated me to believe that the words “old” and “evolution” were inherently evil, and any scientific topic or person related to them was taboo, even though this wasn’t my parents’ position.

Therefore, you can imagine with what skepticism I approached your book, Creation and Time. I don’t wish to exaggerate, but since reading that book, I feel as though I’ve been set free. Now I can believe both the Bible and science at the same time (with proper discernment, of course). Moreover, the book is very easy to understand and has been a constant reminder to treat those with other views as possible converts and not enemies. Thanks!

-- Nathan Griswell, Email
Overcoming Evolution

I have watched your television show for many years. As an engineer, [I’ve found that] the show strengthens my faith and has helped me balance the evolution attack my children have endured in the public schools. Keep up the great work!

-- Fred Matlack, Friendswood, TX

Thank you so much for your wonderful books. You have especially helped me with your words about evolution. I believed in evolution ever since 1958. My nephew taught me macroevolution was false. The Holy Spirit seemed to witness what he told me. Your books clinched the matter, and provided an alternate theory to explain the origin of different species. Thank you so much for all your help.

-- Bill Boyle, Gallup, NM


PRAY-ERS
Logs, Planks, and Splinters
By Kathy Ross

“M---- is so lazy. All he ever wants to do is sit around playing video games,” laments the front seat passenger.

“Sounds like the pot’s calling the kettle black,” I reply, seizing the opportunity to point a motherly finger without taking my hands off the steering wheel.

“Isn’t that some kind of racist comment?” responds the back seat passenger.

Having fallen into the generation gap again, I attempt to climb out using a different illustration, this one from Scripture. “Remember Jesus’ teaching about the splinter and the log?”

“You’re wrong, Mom.”

“How’s that?”

“It’s a plank, not a log.”

“I’m glad you’re familiar with it.”

As usual, I’ve nailed myself during this little interchange with my sons - not with a mistake as much as with conviction. A friend (and pastor’s wife) once warned me about this phenomenon. She said whenever she pointed out a bad attitude in one of her sons, God showed her the same attitude in herself.

Minutes before this exchange in the car, my “righteous indignation” had welled up. A news reporter aired some blatantly derogatory, downright inflammatory words about Muhammad from the mouth of a preacher at this year’s Southern Baptist Convention. The media and Islamic spokespeople understandably - and justifiably - expressed outrage.

I was ready myself with a few choice words. How can this minister of the Gospel be so stupid as to insult the people Christians are dying to reach with the message of God’s grace?  The thought merely awaited the opportunity for expression. Then came this corrective conversation with Joel and David.

How often have I subtly (or not so subtly) insulted evolutionists, atheists, agnostics, others - people in whom God has called me to fan even the smallest spark of faith? How often have I carelessly doused that spark with disrespect? Please pray with me, and for me, that in my role as editor and communicator I will be vigilant, as well as delicate, in removing both planks and splinters.

P.S. I could also use prayer for the same in my role as a mother.


RTB IS COMING TO TOWN

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

CALIFORNIA

    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.
    PASADENA
        November 4
            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.
    AZUSA
        November 16
            RTB will join the Christian Educators Association (CEAI) and the Center for Research in Science (CRIS) for an equipping seminar, “Teaching Science from a Biblical Perspective: Content and Legalities,” at Azusa Pacific University, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Join the speakersfor dinner afterward. Contact CEAI at (626) 798-1124 or www.ceai.org for more information or to register.
    GLENDORA
        December 7
            A time of prayer and fasting will be held from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at Reasons To Believe. Please call (626) 335-1480 if you wish to attend.

VIRGINIA

    VIRGINIA BEACH
        October 12
            Hugh Ross and Fazale Rana will be speaking at a conference at Regent University. Contact Gordon McAlister (chaplain, Regent U.) at (757) 226-4485, or gordmca@regent.edu  for more information.

MARYLAND

    SILVER SPRING
        October 13
            Hugh Ross will appear at Potomac Bookstore for a book signing. Contact Paul Glenn at (301) 572-0700 or (800) 325-8492.

MICHIGAN

    NORTHVILLE
        January 22
            Hugh Ross will discuss “New Scientific Evidence for the Existence of God,” at Ward Evangelical Presbyterian Church. Contact Rev. Mike Gatliff at 248-374-5937.

PENNSYLVANIA

    GROVE CITY
        March 24
            Grove City College will host a lecture and question and answer session with Hugh Ross. Contact Scott Powell at 724-458-2191.


Creation Update - Tuesdays, 11 A.M. to 1 P.M. (PT)
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Ask the experts your questions about science and the Bible during our LIVE broadcast. Call in at 866-RTB-RADIO or e-mail CreationUpdate@reasons.org.
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Message of the Month
Providing New Reasons

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