Reasons to Believe

Connections 2003, Vol. 5, No. 2

Diseases Follow Human Origin and Spread
Fazale R. Rana, Ph.D.

Perception doesn’t always match reality. Such is the case when it comes to the question of human origins. Some Christians perceive that scientific advance affirms evolution and negates biblical creation. But in reality, scientists investigating humanity’s origin have made no discoveries that challenge a biblical understanding of origins. In fact, recent advances in genetics provide compelling support for that perspective.

Geneticists have found new ways to characterize humanity’s origin and expansion by studying human disease. These techniques rely upon genetic analyses of pathological microbes. Intimate association with humans allows these microbes to function as surrogate indicators of their hosts’ origin and migrations.

A team from the National Institutes of Health recently dated the origin of the malaria parasite (Plasmodium falciparum) to coincide with the origin of humanity.1 In a separate study, an international research team showed that the genetic fingerprints of Helicobacter pylori, a bacteria implicated in gastric cancer and peptic ulcers, affirms the migration of humans from east Asia into the Americas about 11,000 years ago.2 This finding dovetails with a prior study based on the genetic profile of the human JC virus. The virus work demonstrated that humans migrated from east Asia to the Americas and the Pacific Islands and dates the origin of the JC virus between 50,000 and 100,000 years ago.3

A new study by an international research team discovered that Helicobacter pylori clusters into seven subpopulations based on genetic makeup that correspond to distinct geographical locations for humans. The Helicobacter pylori population patterns find ready explanation in the view that humanity arose from a single geographical location and then spread globally. Early humans probably established ancestral groups in Africa and central and east Asia, followed by subsequent migrations to Polynesia, the Americas, Europe, and Africa (the Bantu expansion into the sub-Saharan regions of the continent).4

These studies of human pathologies together with other genetic studies add weight to evidence for a biblical account of origins. Genetic diversity, mitochondrial DNA, Y-chromosomal DNA, and linkage disequilibrium (the movement of genes relative to one another) in modern human population groups all combine to indicate a recent origin (in the neighborhood of 50,000 years ago), in a single location, from a small population of men and women. These studies also demonstrate that humanity spread from the Middle East to populate the rest of the world. While this description fits awkwardly within the evolutionary framework, it fits comfortably with the biblical description of humanity’s origin.

Scientists derive satisfaction and a sense of certainty when disparate methods, based on different assumptions, converge to yield the same conclusions. Both genetic characterization of indigenous human parasites and direct genetic analyses of human population groups agree—and, at the same time corroborate the Bible’s account of humanity’s origin.


  1. Jianbing Mu et al., "Chromosome-Wide SNPs Reveal an Ancient Origin of Plasmodium falciparum," Nature 418 (2002): 323-26.
  2. Chandrabali Ghose et al., "East Asian Genotypes of Helicobacter pylori Strains in Amerindians Provide Evidence for Its Ancient Human Carriage," Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA 99 (2002): 15107-11.
  3. Hansjürgen J. Agostini et al., "Asian Genotypes of JC Virus in Native Americans and in a Pacific Island Population: Markers of Viral Evolution and Human Migration," Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA 94 (1997): 14542-46.
  4. Brian G. Spratt, "Stomachs Out of Africa," Science 299 (2003), 1528-29; Daniel Falush et al., "Traces of Human Migrations in Helicobacter pylori Populations," Science 299 (2003), 1582-85.
  5. Hugh Ross, Fazale Rana, and Kenneth Samples, Who Was Adam? Video (2002) Reasons To Believe, Pasadena, CA.

Big Bang Passes Big Test
Hugh Ross, Ph.D.

Atheist astrophysicist Geoffrey Burbidge once worried aloud that his peers might rush off to join "the First Church of Christ of the Big Bang."1 The rush of which he spoke was precipitated by a deluge of observational support for the big bang. Astronomers had just verified specific predictions coming from the big bang model. Today, that verification continues. The latest comes from the discovery of something called "polarized radiation" in the early universe.

The big bang model anticipates that fluctuations in the temperature of the cosmic background radiation (left over radiation from the origin event) were polarized—that is, the light waves from these fluctuations took on different properties at different angles of transmission, most markedly for waves at right angles to one another. The model even specifies both the level of polarization and the spatial distribution of that polarization. This amazingly detailed prediction could be tested only by a powerful and sensitive instrument.

An array of radio telescopes at the South Pole has just done the job. A research team there found the polarization at exactly the level and distribution predicted by the big bang.2 Nature devoted a record-breaking twenty-five pages to the discovery (the norm is one or two pages). The editors also ran a two-page commentary for non-experts and featured a photograph of one of the telescopes on the journal’s front cover. This discovery gives researchers "confidence in the values of the cosmological parameters" and provides an "extraordinary picture of the origin and structure of the universe."3 That picture, more clearly than ever, reveals the work of the cosmic Creator, the God of the Bible.

This latest evidence for the big bang represents number thirty-three in a growing list of confirmations. (Some of these evidences are posted on RTB’s Web site at Today the big bang is as well established as the shape of the Earth. Residual resistance to the big bang arises not from the data but from its profound theological implications—implications of a transcendent cosmic creation event and of supernatural design in so many of the universe’s characteristics.

This discovery from the South Pole generates excitement not only for what it has accomplished already—this resounding big bang confirmation—but also for what it may potentially accomplish in the months and years ahead. More refined polarization measurements of the cosmic background radiation will allow astronomers their first view of two "hidden" epochs of the universe’s history: 1) that brief moment (roughly a billionth of a trillionth of a trillionth of a second after the creation "bang") when the universe may have experienced hyper expansion, and 2) that period between light’s first separation from darkness (circa 400,000 years after creation) and the formation of the first stars (a few hundred million years after creation). Such observations are expected to yield even more evidence for a divinely guided cosmic origin and development.

To learn more about this amazing discovery, access the January 7 (2003) Creation Update webcast at

  1. Stephen Strauss, "An Innocent’s Guide to the Big Bang Theory: Fingerprint in Space Left by the Universe as a Baby Has Doubters Hurling Stones," The Globe and Mail (Toronto), 25 April 1992, 1.
  2. E. M. Leitch et al., "Measurement of Polarization with the Degree Angular Scale Interferometer," Nature 420 (2002): 763-71; J. M. Kovac et al., "Detection of Polarization in the Cosmic Microwave Background Using DASI," Nature 420 (2002): 772-87; Matias Zaldarriaga, "Background Comes to the Fore," Nature 420 (2002): 747-48.
  3. J. M. Kovac et al., 786.

Speed of Gravity Measured, Scripture Validated
Hugh Ross, Ph.D.

General relativity and the biblical creation model received yet another boost on January 8, 2003, at the 201st meeting of the American Astronomical Society. The boost came from an announcement of the first-ever measurement of the speed of gravity.1 Einstein’s theory says that gravity travels at roughly the same velocity as light. Physicist Sergei Kopeikin and astronomer Ed Fomalont verified (within 20 percent precision) that gravity moves through space at close to light’s speed.2 In other words, it’s in the range current big bang models predict.

In the years since Einstein’s equations made this prediction about gravity’s velocity (1916), astronomers and physicists have been eager to test it, but they presumed that to observe gravity’s speed would require the detection of gravity waves, an extremely difficult feat that still eludes scientists. In 1999, however, Kopeikin broke through that technological barrier with a creative approach. He demonstrated that the speed of gravity could be detected by measuring a moving body’s gravitational effects on light or radio waves. Fomalont then calculated that the Very Long Baseline Array (ten radio telescopes distributed across the continental U.S., Hawaii, and the Virgin Islands), combined with the Effelsberg radio telescope in Germany would be capable of making the proposed measurement. This Hawaii-to-Germany link would give astronomers an instrument with the equivalent resolving power of a telescope more than 6,000 miles in diameter, an instrument so powerful it could resolve (measure) the width of a human hair from 250 miles away.

Kopeikin’s measurement depended not just on telescope power but also on an astronomical event occurring only once this decade. On September 8, 2002, Jupiter passed within a short distance (an eighth of Earth’s moon diameter) of Quasar J0842+1835. General relativity predicts that Jupiter’s gravity will bend light from the quasar by a certain amount, depending on gravity’s speed relative to light’s speed. When the day came, the measurement was made, and the results matched the prediction, as indicated above.

This measurement, given that it weathers a challenge raised by one theoretician,3 will provide yet another confirmation that general relativity correctly describes the dynamics of the universe. And if the space-time theorems of general relativity are correct,4 the best explanation for our cosmic beginning is that a causal AGENT beyond the confines of matter, energy, space, and time brought the universe into existence, just as the Bible declares.

Anyone wanting to learn more about this breakthrough discovery can access the January 14 (2003) Creation Update Webcast at

Note: Some big bang models predict a tiny difference between the velocities of light and gravity. Exploring such a possibility will help astronomers pin down by how much certain cosmic parameters have been designed to permit life’s existence.

  1. S. Kopeikin and E. B. Fomalont, "Measuring the Speed of Propagation of Gravity," American Astronomical Society 201st Meeting, January 2003, abstract #101.07.
  2. Dave Finley, Charles Blue, and Matt McGowan, "Speed of Gravity Measured for the First Time," www.aoc,, 1.
  3. Robert Irion, "Confirmation of Gravity’s Speed? Not So Fast," Science 299 (2003), 323-24.
  4. Stephen Hawking and Roger Penrose, "The Singularities of Gravitational Collapse and Cosmology," Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Series A, 314 (1970), 529-48. This is the first of the space-time theorems of general relativity. Discussion on the subsequent theorems with references may be found in The Creator and the Cosmos, 3d ed. (Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 2001), 91-97, 101-02.

WMAP Offers Spectacular Proofs of Creation Event
Hugh Ross, Ph.D.

Preliminary results from the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP) have stirred great excitement among physicists.1 Radiometers on board the satellite are sending NASA researchers by far the most detailed maps to date of the radiation left over from the cosmic creation event—specifically of the temperature fluctuations in that radiation.

Astronomers have now refined their calculations of the time back to the creation event to three significant figures. Their measurements say the universe is 13.7 ± 0.1 billion years. The date when light first separated from darkness has been pinned down to two significant figures: 0.00038 billion (i.e., 380,000) years after that event. The new maps confirm the three density parameters of the universe and the geometry of the universe to two significant figures. According to these latest readings, the universe is 4 percent ordinary matter (protons, neutrons, and electrons that strongly interact with photons or light), 23 percent exotic matter (matter such as neutrinos that weakly interact with photons), and 73 percent space energy density (a self-stretching property of the space fabric of the universe); and the universe’s geometry is flat to within 1 percent.

What delights astronomers most about the new maps is that they provide the first accurate date for the formation of the first stars. By measuring polarization in the cosmic background radiation (see p. 2), WMAP records the birth of the first stars at 0.2 billion years after the big bang.

The theological significance of the WMAP measures is huge. Here’s why: The most spectacular evidence for supernatural design of the cosmos resides in its density characteristics. For physical life to be possible—anywhere, anytime—the mass density of the universe can differ by no more than one part in 1060, and the space energy density by no more than one part in 10120.2 Thus, achieving confirmation of these density parameters strengthens the observational case for a Creator, one who is orders of magnitude more intelligent, more knowledgeable, more creative, and more powerful than humans can even imagine.

When big bang predictions can be refined to the degree of accuracy manifested in the WMAP results, the argument for a transcendent creation event grows tighter than ever. Not only can we point to potent evidence that the Creator must transcend matter, energy, space, and time, but we can also demonstrate the reliability of Scripture. The Bible accurately predicted three fundamental features of all current big bang models (initial singularity, continuous expansion, continuous cooling) thousands of years before any scientist had discovered these cosmic features.3

As mentioned on a recent Creation Update Webcast (February 18, 2003, available at, evidences for the big bang are now so voluminous and powerful that to oppose them, as some creationists (and atheists) do,4 harms the reputation of the Christian community. Worse yet, it throws away one of the best opportunities God has given His people for drawing people to consider the truth-claims on which the gospel stands.

  1. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, "Top Story: New Image of Infant Universe Reveals Era of First Stars, Age of Cosmos, and More," February 11, 2003,; Sean Carroll, "Filling in the Background," Nature 422 (2003), 26-27; Geoff Brumfiel, "Cosmology Gets Real," Nature 422 (2003), 108-110.
  2. Lawrence M. Krauss, "The End of the Age Problem and the Case for a Cosmological Constant Revisited," Astrophysical Journal 501 (1998), 461, 465.
  3. Hugh Ross, "Big Bang—The Bible Taught It First," in The Creator and the Cosmos, 3d ed. (Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 2001), 23-29.
  4. AiG editors, "Surprise? NASA ‘Confirms’ the Big Bang," 14 February, 2003,; Russell Humphreys, "Light from Creation Illuminates Cosmic Axis," March 17, 2003,

Neanderthal-to-Human Link Severed
Fazale R. Rana, Ph.D.

Over the last five years, astonishing advances in ancient-DNA analysis have provided remarkable insight into Neanderthal genetics. As a result, the evolutionary connection between humans and Neanderthals has been severed. In other words, evolutionary biologists no longer think of Neanderthals as a transitional species linking the primitive bipedal primates, such as Homo erectus, to modern humans.

This stunning conclusion comes from analysis of mitochondrial DNA recovered and sequenced from Neanderthal remains.1 DNA sequencing refers to the process of determining the exact order of the chemical building blocks (bases A, T, C, and G) that comprise DNA strands. The average percent and locations of the differences between Neanderthal and human DNA sequences indicate that Neanderthals did not evolve into humans.

Researchers conducted the first studies on three distinct specimens that date between 30,000 and possibly 100,000 years in age, from three locations in the Neanderthal’s range (Germany, Russia, and Croatia). The DNA sequences obtained for all three Neanderthal specimens display remarkable agreement with one another. In fact, the DNA sequences vary by only about 3.7%. This sequence diversity compares favorably to that measured for modern humans (3.4%). Such similarity within the species, but dissimilarity between the species, indicates that these animals did not make any genetic (hence, evolutionary) contribution to modern humans.

More recently, scientists have isolated, amplified, and sequenced mitochondrial DNA for two more Neanderthal specimens. The specimens were recovered from new excavations of Feldhofer cave deposits—the location in the Neander Valley, Germany, where Neanderthal remains were first discovered.2 The DNA sequences of these two newly discovered specimens closely agree with those obtained for the three earlier studies and fall within the parameters for Neanderthal genetic diversity.

Ancient-DNA analysis makes many scientists uneasy, since contamination can readily creep in during the isolation and amplification processes. This wariness, however, can be confidently dispelled for the Neanderthal mitochondrial DNA sequences since independent research teams have generated consistent results for five different specimens. The conclusion is undeniable: Neanderthals did not give rise to modern humans.


  1. Matthias Krings et al., "Neanderthal DNA Sequences and the Origin of Modern Humans," Cell 90 (1997): 19-30; Matthias Krings et al., "DNA Sequence of the Mitochondrial Hypervariable Region II from the Neanderthal Type Specimen," Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA 96 (1999): 5581-85; Igor V. Ovchinnikov et al., "Molecular Analysis of Neanderthal DNA from the Northern Caucasus," Nature 404 (2000): 490-93; Matthias Krings et al., "A View of Neanderthal Genetic Diversity," Nature Genetics 26 (2000): 144-46.
  2. Ralf W. Schmitz et al., "The Neanderthal Type Site Revisited: Interdisciplinary Investigations of Skeletal Remains from the Neander Valley, Germany," Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA 99 (2002): 13342-47.

Why We Do What We Do

Traveling is not fun, and airline food isn’t what it used to be. But traveling gives me the opportunity to meet many of you in person, and that’s a joy. Your comments at outreach events always encourage. Even your questions give me a boost. One of my favorite (non-apologetics) questions, repeated often lately, asks about the mission of Reasons To Believe. You’ve asked for a statement that’s succinct enough to pass along to others. What follows may not be as brief as you wish, but my hope is that you can draw from it what you need.

Reasons To Believe exists to research and communicate new, science-based reasons to believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and to trust the Bible as God’s Word. We focus on new reasons because most thought- and opinion-shapers in current culture show no interest in traditional reasons. We focus on science because it offers a continual wealth of new reasons—enough to stop me (among many others) in my once skeptical tracks and turn me around.

RTB’s science scholars study Scripture and keep a sharp eye toward research frontiers for faith-relevant breakthrough discoveries. A staff theologian keeps a sharp eye on the connections we make to ensure doctrinal soundness. With several new discoveries per week adding to the case for faith in Christ, we try to select the more significant ones for communication (or "translation") via our weekly Webcast, books, articles, radio and television interviews, newsletter, outreach events, and Web site. We confront skeptics with these evidences and, at the same time, pass these evidences along to you for use in your own outreach endeavors.

Multiplication of impact is vitally important. That’s where you and our "chapters" come in. Next quarter I’ll give you a glimpse into the thinking behind development of regional RTB chapters. Yes, I am looking to recruit YOU!

Raelians, UFOs, RTB Courses, and More

Jamie Warner

Recent events that captured media attention have provided RTB with opportunities to present a Christian perspective on the news. Hugh Ross, Fuz Rana, and Kenneth Samples were interviewed by various media across the continent and asked to clarify fact from fiction on UFOs, cloning, and the Raelian movement. On Duffy and Company (a Christian talk show in Los Angeles) Fuz discussed the ethics and scientific feasibility of cloning. Hugh was featured on Coast to Coast AM (a late-night talk show devoted to UFOs) and offered a Christian and scientific assessment of UFOs and Extraterrestrials. And Christianity Today asked Kenneth to explain the theological background of the Raelian movement and the importance of cloning in fulfilling Raelian goals.

Meanwhile, RTB continues to train students both on campus and online. Apologetics Coordinator Bob Stuart announced that the RTB online curriculum offered through King’s College in Van Nuys, California, is underway. The first course of this three-part curriculum, "Creation and the Bible," began this winter. Students can earn three units toward either undergraduate or graduate work at King’s College. The real advantage of the online course is that people from anywhere in the world can enroll.

Internationality characterized Hugh’s audience at the Irvine Hyatt in Southern California, where he addressed a crowd of approximately 1,000 Korean Americans, primarily college students from UC Berkley, UC Irvine, UCLA, and USC, and spoke about hope, purpose, and destiny in our God-created universe. The outreach marked the first time that RTB and Korea Campus Crusade for Christ have partnered in ministry.

RTB’s video production team has just completed a remake of Journey Toward Creation. This updated version, available on videocassette or DVD (bonus material on the DVD), features stunning imagery and makes an excellent resource for classroom or Sunday school discussion.

Keeping Your Thinking On Track

Kenneth Richard Samples

Logic, often defined as "the principle of correct reasoning," helps to order thinking so a person can arrive at truthful, rational conclusions. Greek philosopher Aristotle (384-322 B.C.) was the first to systematize the principles of logic and referred to logic as a "tool" or "instrument" that helps one arrive at truth.

Logic is used to prove (verify) things through the use of arguments, which consist of two essential parts: (1) a claim (or conclusion), and (2) support for the claim (or premises) in the form of reasons, evidence, or facts. A good argument (sound or cogent) requires that the premises genuinely support the conclusion—a necessary connection called an inferential relationship must exist. A breach in this relationship results in a breakdown or failure of the argument to prove the conclusion. Various fallacies (errors in reasoning) describe breakdowns in the premise(s)-conclusion relationship.

The following acrostic may serve as a guideline to keep one’s reasoning on the logical TRACK:

True support: All premises must be factually true or intellectually acceptable.

Relevant support: The premises must be connected and readily applicable to the conclusion.

Adequate support: The premises must provide enough support—sufficient in number, kind, and weight—to justify the conclusion.

Clear support: The premises must possess clarity, thus avoiding vagueness, ambiguity, and grammatical error.

Knowledgeable support: The premises must qualify as knowledge (justified, true belief), avoiding unwarranted presumption and vulnerability to possible counter evidence.

Paying heed to the principles of logic makes our arguments and viewpoints rational, and therefore persuasive. It behooves us as Christians to excel in our thinking. Sound reasoning not only helps remove obstacles to faith in Jesus Christ, but it also—especially when combined with a winsome spirit—exemplifies Christian virtue. Careful thinking brings honor and glory to our Creator and Lord (Rom. 12:2).

"Daddy, That Fire Truck Is Broken"

Joe Aguirre

Applause down the road signaled the first entries in the brief parade. Not your average Fourth of July parade, this procession consisted of local police cars, fire trucks, and a couple of flatbeds: one carrying rubble from the World Trade Center, the other a New York City fire truck damaged in the attack. The caravan had trekked through eighteen states.

As the fire trucks rolled by, the crowd applauded and cheered, but there was a solemn character to the appreciation. I held Corey in my arms for a better view and he kept saying, "Look, Daddy, another fire truck." Momentum built with each passing fire vehicle and police car—everyone knew what was coming.

When the flatbeds finally neared, cameras clicked left and right. The first carried two twisted, rusted columns from one of the twin towers—not much to look at from an aesthetic sense, but staggering once the mind considered their history. The crowd hushed as the wreckage rolled by and applause was measured. Few people moved. I got a lump in my throat and was glad I wore sunglasses. The second truck carried a disabled fire truck damaged at Ground Zero. At this my three-year-old Corey, oblivious to the ideologies and events of the adult world, exclaimed: "Daddy, that fire truck is broken!" The lump in my throat grew larger, and I nearly lost all composure.

My son’s senses were right: he saw a badly broken fire truck. But how—and when—would I complete the picture for him? As he grows how will I help him understand good and evil and why they get mixed up for some people. Suddenly my parental responsibility to educate my child overwhelmed me. I realized that God had entrusted to me the charge of guiding the development of this precious little life, my son’s ideas and values. Maybe I’ll start by playing with Corey and his fire truck.

Your Will As Testimony of Your Faith
Alan Graas

I’m certain that Patrick Henry was a Christian. How, you ask? I read his will. A local court probates most wills when a person dies. This is a public process; so one’s will becomes a public record available at the local county hall of records. That’s how I learned Patrick Henry was a Christian. I was so impressed by the statement of faith in his will, I borrowed it for my own will. Here’s what he said (paraphrased in more contemporary English):

    I have now disposed of all my property to my family. There is one thing more I wish that I could give them, and that is a faith in Jesus Christ. If they had that and I had not given them one penny, they would be rich. And if they did not have that, and I had given them all the world, they would be poor indeed.

Think about the possibilities. Through your will, family members, relatives and friends can hear of your faith in a riveting way at a time when they are pondering their own mortality. What a great time for a testimony! And future generations can know of your faith, thanks to the county hall of records.

I encourage you to consider one more thing you can do in your will as a demonstration of your faith. While you may not be able to give a large, lump-sum gift to your church or favorite Christian ministry, a $5,000, $10,000, or $25,000 gift through your will may represent a smaller portion of your estate, the larger part of which would still go to surviving family members. What a wonderful way to express your priorities!

Nearly everyone needs a will. If you don’t have an up-to-date will, make an appointment to get it done this month! If you do have a will, consider a brief amendment. You could include a statement of faith and perhaps direct a tithe of your estate toward a church and/or ministry actively engaged in bringing people to Christ. For more information on preparing one, call the RTB Foundation office at 626-335-1480.

Providing New Reasons

Join the team! Become a regular supporter of RTB and receive monthly recordings on a variety of controversial topics. For 2003, we begin with a short series on the "big bang." Call 800-482-7836 for information, or sign up via

RTB’s Impact Felt

    I have been a Christian for years and was educated to be a science teacher. During my years of study as an undergraduate and graduate I was very perplexed about what the scientific evidence seemed to suggest (as interpreted by my largely non-Christian professors) and what the Bible seemed to teach. It was only after years of study and quiet reflection that I began to piece together a cohesive idea that brought the two together. Then, upon finding your Web site and books, my last few pieces were put in place and it was as if a great weight was lifted from my mind. Finally, I could see how both science and the unerring Word of God could exist side by side and support one another. I can’t thank you enough for your ministry and I continue to pray for its success in reaching other people like me.

-- Evan Inboden, Robinson, IL

    Your organization exhibits an extraordinary standard of conduct. Listening to your tapes (I am a member of Message of the Month) has helped me see the importance of being gentle and respectful. Those are qualities that I would likely have had to learn by error had I not seen your organization model them so well.

-- Jim Stearns, Des Moines, IA

    Your work and witness are brilliant. I believe that time will vindicate your work as being of the utmost importance to Christians, especially young folk, who have to grapple with atheism, evolution, and so-called Creation Science.

    Recently, the Bible College of New Zealand (this country’s leading seminary) established a branch in our city and with the help of some colleagues we have been able to donate several of [your] books to their library. I have also been booked to lecture on faith and science, using these resources as background.

-- Rev. John S. Thomson, Senior Pastor, Stoke Baptist Church, Nelson, New Zealand

Life Lessons from Dad
Kathy Ross

My dad handed me a royal blue hardback with bright gold lettering.

"I thought you might like to read this," he said.

Coach John Wooden’s A Lifetime of Observations and Reflections On and Off the Court may seem more like a father-to-son gift, but my dad knows I share his enthusiasm for sports, and for Coach Wooden.

The legendary UCLA basketball coach (now 92!) admired by millions—even USC fans—begins by giving honor to his father and mother for the values they instilled, by example and word, during his growing-up years on an Indiana farm. From them he learned faith and discipline, respect and courtesy, a love of learning and a passion for excellence. These farm folks knew how to teach, and young John took their lessons to heart. He became a venerable teacher, himself.

As the book records, Joshua Wooden, John’s father, was the master of short lists and simply-stated rules for living. I read his rules just once and still find them easy to recall, days later. No wonder they were fixed in Coach’s mind—and in his life. Priorities: family, faith, and friends. Ethics: don’t lie, don’t cheat, don’t steal. Conduct: no whining, no complaining, no excuses.

The first two sets of three brought forth a pious "Amen" from my head and heart. Certainly, I see room to improve, but my life does (usually) affirm these priorities and ethics. However, that third set—I hate to admit—hit me between the eyes. Who is NOT guilty of these three? After all, they started in the Garden of Eden, and I’m just a product of my human past. I can’t help being human, can I? Besides, I have too many other things to work on. . .

Okay, I can at least admit the problem and repent, turning in the right direction. I’ll start by working on "no excuses" and grow up the list from there. I call upon my family and friends to hold me accountable. With prayer—theirs, mine, and yours—I hope to learn, and then teach, an invaluable lesson in personal responsibility. Care to join me?
We would be grateful for your prayers in these areas too. Please pray for:

  • all upcoming events listed in Connections
  • our effectiveness as communicators of the message God has given us
  • the health (in all senses of the word) of our team and their families
  • several book projects under consideration
  • the RTB conference, "Who Is the Designer?" in June 2003


RTB scholars are available worldwide every week through the Internet broadcast Creation Update. E-mail your questions on Tuesdays between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. (only), Pacific Time, or call 866-RTB-Radio.

Register now for RTB’s 2003 conference, "Who Is the Designer?" June 26-28 at SeaCoast Grace Church in Cypress, California. Early registration price ($79) is valid through June 6 ($150 after June 6). Call 626-335-1480.