Staying Connected 2005 May
* Due to copyrights, original graphics and tables do not appear in these articles
My dad was a servant of the Lord from the time he was converted at age seventeen to his homegoing in 1999 at age 90. He was a beloved Bible teacher and mentor all his life, even serving as a pastor for seventeen years during one stretch. His view of the natural world was through the lens of God's mighty providence and miracle. He had always held the traditional 6000-year view of the age of our Earth.
Very late in life his view of the creation-its grandeur and antiquity-expanded. The change began with our visit to the Wheaton College bookstore while delivering our daughter for her freshman year in August 1993. We picked up several RTB resources, including The Fingerprint of God. Not having the time to read them when we returned home, we handed them over to Dad, an inveterate reader. Many months later, Dad showed me several other RTB books he had ordered on his own, including The Creator and the Cosmos. He was devouring these books with a passion. As a result, Dad's grasp of the majesty and greatness of God, already very strong, increased dramatically. We spent many hours discussing the goodness of God in creation and enjoying the night sky. Dad even viewed Comet Hale-Bopp through eyes failing with macular degeneration.
He voiced regret that he could "only read for 45 minutes at a time" (sometimes a problem for people with perfect vision!). God's gift to him in his waning years was the ability to read on his own that "The heavens declare the glory of God" (Psalm 19:1). Contributed by James Virkler, friend of RTB.
"Evolution has just been dealt its death blow. After reading Origins of Life with my background in chemistry and physics, it is clear that [biological] evolution could not have occurred."--Richard Smalley, Ph.D., Nobel Laureate-Chemistry, 1996
"Just want to let you know that I pray for you regularly and will start making an effort to pray for you daily. RTB has made a huge impact on my life...RTB periodicals, books and reasons.org, along with the most important habit of daily Bible study and prayer, are arming me for daily spiritual warfare. In my engineering department, I work amongst a healthy group of skeptics and evolutionists. I had a wonderful opportunity just this afternoon to witness to them, using much information gleaned from the pages of RTB sources (including Origins of Life). Of course you can't argue someone into the Kingdom, but we can sure use 'science for bait'." Randy Watkins - Greensboro, NC
When you see the stars at night ...would you mind letting them be a gentle reminder to pray for Reasons To Believe? They can also be a great reminder to praise our marvelous Creator!
What Are Stars Made Of?
by Mark Ritter
Ever wonder how astronomers figure out what stars are made of when we've never even been to our own star, the sun? It has to do with light.
A hot body like an incandescent light bulb or the sun itself will give off all kinds of wavelengths of visible light. Our eyes see this flood of wavelengths as a single white light. But shine the light through a prism, something that can spread out the light into its different wavelengths, and you will see the familiar rainbow of colors from red to violet.
Now the different atomic elements give off certain unique wavelengths of light when they are energized. For example, you can see the strong yellow wavelengths of sodium in those sodium vapor lamps that illuminate streets and parking lots. Or you can - carefully - sprinkle some table salt, a sodium compound, onto a lit stove and watch as yellow flashes light up the kitchen.
Not only do the elements of the periodic table give off unique wavelengths, they will also steal those wavelengths when given the chance! And this is the key to finding out what stars are made of.
A hot star emits the whole rainbow of colors from its surface. But there are cooler atoms there in its atmosphere preying upon some of those wavelengths as they attempt to fly out into space.
For example, a sodium atom, the same little critter that gives off those yellow wavelengths, will steal them away if they happen to pass by. An astronomer inspecting the spectrum of the star sees that those yellow wavelengths are missing and concludes that the star must have sodium in it. Ta da!
It is a great gift from the Light of the World that the lights in the heavens can reveal to us the marvelous design and makeup of a gloriously enormous universe.
Terri Schiavo-was her death an act of mercy or an injustice? Euthanasia is one of the tough questions RTB scholar, Kenneth Samples, addresses in his relevant book, Without a Doubt: Answering The 20 Toughest Faith Questions. Below is an excerpt on this topic.
Euthanasia: The Right To Die?
The term euthanasia literally means "good death" or "happy death." It is further defined as the "taking of a human life for some good purpose, such as to relieve suffering or pain." It is therefore sometimes referred to as "mercy killing." Forms of euthanasia may be considered when people are nearing death or suffering from terminal illness. Ethicists have identified two basic types of euthanasia: active and passive.
1. Active Euthanasia: (including suicide and assisted suicide): To intentionally and/or actively take the life of a terminally ill patient, either by the patient himself (suicide) or by the assistance of another (possibly a physician, family member, or friend). Active euthanasia actually produces or causes death. This means that the patient's death results not from the terminal illness itself but from the specific act of euthanasia (lethal dose of medication, gunshot, etc.).
2. Passive Euthanasia: To allow a terminally ill patient to die naturally without intervening, usually by withholding or withdrawing life-sustaining (artificial) treatment. Passive euthanasia permits death to take its natural course but does not actually cause death itself.
The traditional Christian view: Most theologians and ethicists who hold a traditional or historic Christian viewpoint accept the active-versus-passive distinction logically and morally. However, they would view active euthanasia as morally offensive and unacceptable. Such action violates the scriptural principle that prohibits suicide and homicide-the intentional taking of "innocent" human life (Ex. 20:13; Deut. 5:17). Many Christian ethicists believe that given the state of human sinfulness (original sin, total depravity: Ps. 51:5; 58:3; Prov. 20:9), active euthanasia weakens respect for human life and sets a dangerous precedent.
Passive euthanasia, on the other hand, has been generally accepted by traditional Christian theologians and ethicists but with some careful qualifications. Passive euthanasia can be acceptable if natural life-sustaining measures (air, water, food) are not deprived (though artificial measures may not be necessitated). Further conditions cited to justify passive euthanasia are when the physical condition of the patient is irreversible, death is imminent, and further treatment can only lead to a burdensome prolongation of death.
Kenneth continues the discussion by providing a biblical alternative in hospice care. For answers to other tough questions on abortion, hypocrisy in the church, God and evil, Pascal's Wager, the Trinity and more, we invite you to read Kenneth's book.
O - Local Outreach Appearance
R - Radio Interview
T - Television Appearance
- O - Albany, NY ( May 13-15)
- O - Pasadena, CA (May 16)
- O - Hungary (June 17-20)
- O - Fremont, CA (regional conference) (July 22-23)
- O - Kauai, HI (regional conference) (Oct 21-23)
For information on these and other events, please check our Web site at www.reasons.org or call us at (800) 482-7836.
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Discuss your science-faith questions with a trained apologist. Available daily from 5:00 - 7:00 P.M. (PT)
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Prayer on behalf of Reasons To Believe is a precious gift. A hearty thank you to all who pray for us! If you'd like to join the RTB prayer team, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Science and Evangelism Training
Anyone longing for an in-depth study of science-and-faith issues will want to register for our new online training program, Reasons Institute. Classes may be taken for college credit. Please call Bob Stuart at our toll-free number for more information.
What is theistic evolution?
Theistic evolution takes many forms but the general theme is that God used the natural evolutionary processes to bring about his desired results concerning life on planet Earth, culminating in the appearance of human beings. Advocates of this position typically propose that God intervened directly at the beginning of the creative process (origin of the universe) but afterward worked solely through natural processes to give rise to humanity. Some who hold this position suggest that God may have intervened to create the first life form and/or to give a living creature (possibly a hominid or bipedal primate) a soul or spirit, thus ensuring the appearance of the first man. Many who hold this position interpret the early chapters of Genesis as figurative, archetypal, or mythological in nature.
Does Reasons To Believe affirm theistic evolution?
No, we do not. Rather, Reasons To Believe affirms that God has repeatedly and directly intervened in the creative process to create, for example, the first members of each kind of species. We reject macroevolution. Further, RTB affirms that God created Adam and Eve in a direct, special, and personal way. Thus, the early chapters of Genesis reflect a reliable historical narrative.
ABC recently hosted a television special on UFOs. This prime-time program has opened up new opportunities for Reasons To Believe to speak on the subject from a biblical and scientific point of view. Since the special aired, Hugh Ross has had 22 interviews (both on secular and Christian stations) regarding UFOs. Learn more about RTB's position on extraterrestrials and UFOs through the following resources.
- Lights In the Sky and Little Green Men, by Hugh Ross, Kenneth Samples, and Mark Clark
- The rUFO Hypothesis (DVD)
by Hugh Ross, Kenneth Samples, Mark Clark, Greg Koukl (moderator)
At Reasons To Believe we often hear that our books have helped skeptics come to Christ and have strengthened the faith of Christians. Perhaps you know a co-worker, friend, or family member who needs some scientific evidence to help them bridge a gap of faith. Consider giving them a book from RTB on their birthday, for Christmas, or just to show you care.