Reasons to Believe

Staying Connected 2004 April

 

* Due to copyrights, original graphics and tables do not appear in these articles


ON THE BRINK OF DEATH:

The Personal Journey of RTB scholar, Kenneth Samples

Just before Thanksgiving in 2003, I contracted an infectious disease that first entered my right lung then spread to my brain. I was immediately hospitalized and my doctors at first thought I had stage four cancer, which is often considered terminal. Within a few days I went from thinking I had a bad case of the flu to contemplating my seemingly imminent death. As a Christian I was not afraid of death itself. I believe in the apostle Paul’s bold declaration, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21). However, the sting of conceivably leaving my wife and my three young children was very painful. I felt a great sorrow.

In my hospital bed I contemplated as never before the fundamental existential question posited by Christian thinker and writer Augustine of Hippo (AD 354-430): “Is this a life that leads to death, or a death that leads to life?” In other words, is life a lucky quirk of nature that leads to ultimate extinction? Or is physical death for the believer in Christ a doorway to eternal life? It seemed that I could think of little else while I lay on my back.

Surgery on my lung revealed I do not have cancer. Instead, I am undergoing a long and difficult treatment period which should, if God wills, lead to my full recovery. By God’s grace and mercy I have come to appreciate more fully what I have taught others for many years—that the historic Christian answer to the problem of evil and suffering is found in the person of Jesus Christ. God came in the flesh to heal his children’s suffering, to comfort as well as to teach, and ultimately to destroy all evil. The suffering of God in Christ is the ultimate solution to the problem of sin and suffering for human beings. As Christian philosopher SØren Kierkegaard intimated: Jesus Christ provides a reason to live and a reason to die.


The Case of the Glowing Eyes

Did you know your pet dog or cat is a walking (or lounging) testament to the genius of God’s creation? Perhaps you’ve already marveled at his or her wondrous design features—directional ears for precise hearing, pointy teeth for chewing, fur coat for warmth… But what about those glow-in-the-dark eyes? Why do they glow, and is that special feature somehow helpful for dogs’ and cats’ survival?

As it turns out, when light enters anyone’s eyes, some of it hits the retina’s light absorbing chemicals (sending messages to the brain from which the brain forms images), but most passes right on through the retina with no effect. Some creatures, however, such as cats and dogs, have a special layer of cells (called the tapetum lucidum) just behind the retina. This layer acts as a mirror, reflecting back to the retina a lot of the light that missed those special chemicals as it came through the first time.

This reflection gives Fido and Fluffy another chance to see something. Imagine how useful this second chance can be when light is scarce! No wonder these animals can see in the dark six to seven times better than their owners can! That capability can be a real benefit to nocturnal hunters.

Not all the light reflected back to the retina gets picked up on this second pass. This twice-missed light is what appears to us as the bluish or greenish glow in our pets’ eyes. If you want to catch a glimpse of it, try this: Turn out the lights in a room (or yard) where your dogs or cats (or both) are resting, and from a safe distance (about 12-15 feet) shine a flashlight in their direction. If your pets’ pupils are wide open, you can easily see the glow as light bounces off that “mirror” at the back of their eyes.

As you can tell, the tapetum lucidum reflects more than light. It reflects the wondrous creativity and care of the Creator.

Contributed by Mark Ritter, www.swordandspirit.com

P.S. If you try this experiment on a person, the best you’ll see is the “red eye” effect so common (and dreaded) in flash photography. Bright light can reflect off the blood-rich retina at the back of the eye.


What’s behind the picture?

A woman responded to Hugh’s message with such joy and enthusiasm, she asked Hugh if he would please join her and her family for a photo. As the picture was being taken, Hugh noticed an expression of stunned amazement on the faces of two of the event’s organizers. After the group left (and even before Hugh could ask) they explained: “That woman made every effort to block you from speaking here. She came to warn us that you’re a heretic, and she was adamant! We asked if she had heard you speak, and she said, ‘No.’ We asked if she had met you, and she said, ‘No.’ So we challenged her to come, listen, and judge for herself. She told us she certainly would and planned to bring others along to back her up. What we witnessed here today was a 180° turn-around. In fact, we’d say we just witnessed a miracle!”


Ministry in Unexpected Places

Dana, a friend of RTB, dialed 4-1-1 on his cell phone and said “I’d like to find the number for Reasons To Believe.” To this, the operator replied in a quiet voice, “That sounds like something I need to look into.” Wanting to take advantage of the situation, Dana let her know she could learn more about RTB at www.reasons.org. “Really?” she said.  “At www.reasons.com?”

“No,” he kindly corrected, “at www.reasons.ORG.” She thanked him and gave him the phone number he had requested—ours. Only God knows what was on this woman’s heart that day, but please pray she will visit our Web site and that God will use it to help meet the longing of her heart.


2004 Interview Series with Christianity’s Leading Bible Scholars

RTB’s weekly web cast, Creation Update, has provided an open forum for people of any religious perspective to discuss their questions about the scientific reliability of the Bible. Now it is becoming THE place to hear interviews with some of Christianity’s leading Bible scholars on a variety of science/faith issues. Their comments have been both insightful and encouraging. Audiotapes are now available. So don’t miss a single episode!

Now available!

Interviews with Norm Geisler • Vern Poythress
Walt Kaiser • John Jefferson Davis • and more!

Call 800-482-7836 to order today!


Journey Toward Creation receives 2004 Silver Angel Award

The second edition of Journey Toward Creation (JTC) is now an award winning video. JTC has received the 2004 Silver Angel Award for Excellence in Media—Video.

For more information, visit www.journeytowardcreation.com


How Has RTB Affected You?

We would love to hear how God has used Reasons To Believe in your life or in the lives of your friends or family.  Will you share your stories with us?

(Please mail your story to the attention of Hannah Palpant or email it to hpalpant@reasons.org)


The Problem of Evil

Is God ultimately responsible for evil? Why would a loving God allow evil to touch his people? This year our Message of the Month (M.O.M.) program is delving into such perplexing questions as these. Will you consider becoming a Message of the Month member? As you provide $30/month of vital ministry support, we in turn send you monthly faith-building, outreach-equipping messages. To receive a free sampler CD, please call 1-800-482-7836, or e-mail MOM@reasons.org.


Books

The Historical Jesus: Ancient Evidence for the Life of Christ

Is the story of Jesus just an embellished legend? Did he really do what the Bible says—even rising from the dead? Christian historian Gary Habermas builds a compelling case for the trustworthiness of the New Testament account based on historical data from both Christian and non-Christian sources. This book is a must-read for anyone searching for reliable information for himself or to share with others about who Jesus is.

Origins of Life

Check out the Publishers Weekly review of RTB’s newest book at Amazon.com. Under SEARCH, select the BOOKS category. Type in Fazale Rana, hit GO, and you’ll see Origins of Life: Biblical and Evolutionary Models Face Off. Click on the title and when the new screen appears, just scroll down to the review.

After reading the review, we hope you’ll call us at 1-800-482-7836 to order your copy. RTB’s price is the best, and proceeds will benefit the ministry. Once you’ve read the book, a return trip to Amazon.com to write a review could help promote the book and extend its impact even further.


RTB Calendar of Events

April 14th

  • Los Gatos Christian Church
    • Los Gatos, CA
    • Hugh Ross will be speaking at the Men’s Fellowship dinner. Contact wfyee@juno.com for more info.
  • NewSong Church
    • San Dimas, CA
    • Kenneth Samples will be speaking as part of the Azusa Pacific University/ CRIS lecture series. Go to http://www.apu.edu/cris for more info. 

April 22nd — 24th

  • Biola ID Conference
    • “ID and the Future of Science” comes to Biola University this spring. This conference is geared for lay people as well as scholars. It brings together the leaders of the Intelligent Design movement— and their critics. Hugh Ross and Fuz Rana will join a distinguished consortium of speakers including William Dembski, Michael Behe, J. P. Moreland, Henry “Fritz” Schaefer III, David Berlinski, and many more.
    • To register or for more information, go to http://www.biola.edu/id

RTB Resources

Apologetics Hotline (626) 335-5282

Discuss your science-faith questions with a trained apologist. Available daily from 5:00 – 7:00 P.M. (PT)

Creation Update Web Cast

Listen live through our Web site on Tuesdays, 11:00 A.M. – 1:00 P.M. (PT).  Other options: Listen to archived broadcasts at reasons.org or purchase programs on tape or CD

RTB Chapters

RTB chapters provide fellowship and opportunities for interaction and outreach based on the latest scientific developments. To find a chapter in your area or get information about starting one, call Ken Hultgren at 1-800-482-7836.

Prayer Team

Prayer on behalf of Reasons To Believe is a precious gift. A hearty thank you to all who pray for us! If you would like to join the RTB prayer team, please contact us at PrayerPraise@reasons.org.

Science and Evangelism Training Course

Learn the facts behind the compatibility of science and the Bible and gear up for evangelism through this in-depth course. You can earn college credit if you wish. Please call Bob Stuart at our toll free number for more information.

Web site

www.reasons.org

Toll Free Number

1-800-482-7836