Staying Connected 2005 June
* Due to copyrights, original graphics and tables do not appear in these articles
by Tom Walker
As a student attending a secular public high school and university in the 1970's, I was only taught the naturalist perspective in my general science classes. Based on the "facts" that I was presented with, I became an agnostic, which in practical terms means I did not know whether there was a God or not. I was taught that humans evolved from lower life forms and that we are merely the product of unintended mutations, natural selection, and survival of the fittest. According to my former worldview, I couldn't have a relationship with a Creator of the universe because I didn't think there was a Creator of the universe. With no Creator to be accountable to, I believed I had no ultimate destiny. Death meant personal extinction. Therefore, I valued materialism and pleasure because I thought there was nothing beyond physical reality.
Personal circumstances, including the death of a friend's father, motivated me to investigate "religion," and I eventually discovered Reasons to Believe and "day-age creationism". I learned of the overwhelming facts from science-yes, science-that there must be a God. The first piece of evidence I came across that really had a profound effect on me is the story of Albert Einstein and his theory of relativity. His field equations of general relativity revealed that the universe is simultaneously expanding and decelerating. This aspect of his theory implied that the universe began this expansion at a specific, finite time in the distant past. Einstein immediately realized the theological implications: a beginning requires a Beginner, and looked for a loophole to avoid those implications. What he did was to introduce, out of thin air, his infamous cosmological constant. This constant forced his equations to predict an infinite and static universe. Along comes Edwin Hubble, the astronomer who first accurately measured the distance and velocity, relative to us, of a large number of galaxies. He showed Albert Einstein that the galaxies were indeed moving away from us and the farther you looked the faster those distant galaxies were receding. This evidence proved to Einstein that the universe is indeed expanding and that his original equations were correct, without the cosmological constant. Of even greater significance is that this proved to Einstein that there is, as he put it, "a superior reasoning Power behind it all".
Based on this theory of relativity, which is now extremely well proven, Steven Hawking and Roger Penrose developed the space-time theorems of general relativity. This theorem establishes that at the first instant of the big bang, not only were matter, energy, and space created, but time was created, as well. These facts were significant to me because the Bible anticipated them and because only the Bible, among all religious texts, states that God is a transcendent being, a being who exists outside of cosmic time. All other so-called holy books and religions of the world claim God exists within time.
This is just the tip of the iceberg of information I've learned from Reasons to Believe (and others) about this incredible universe we live in. When I grasped this information, a verse in the Bible was personally fulfilled in my life. Romans 1:20 declares, "For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse" (NASB). In the summer of 1999 I ran out of excuses and had to make the only rational decision left to me: I became a devout Christian. I would now state my worldview this way: (1) Based on the principle of cause and effect, the overwhelming evidence that the universe had a beginning requires that there be a Beginner. (2) Since the material universe was created, the Creator must exist beyond the material realm. (3) The encoding of information in DNA requires an Encoder. (4) The irreducible complexity of many features of even the simplest life forms requires a Designer and Maker. Given that the universe was created and I am a complex part of that universe, the Creator is therefore responsible for all that I am and all that I have. The only logical conclusion I can draw from these facts is that I owe my Creator for all that I am and all that I have. Because I owe God for my very existence, I value my relationship with Him above all else.
Frances, our Customer Service manager, made an unplanned visit to the hospital recently with sharp pain in her side. During the admitting process, the receptionist asked her all the personal questions the paperwork requires-name, address, SSN, and work information. As soon as Frances said she works at Reasons To Believe, the receptionist stopped, looked up, and asked, "What exactly is that all about?" Recognizing a wide open door, Frances began telling her about the ministry and how we use science to help people see how totally reliable the Bible is. The receptionist asked question after question, including one about God's grace. As Frances described for her the character of God and the promise He has given us through his son Jesus, the receptionist's eyes began to light up with understanding. By the time they finished talking, Frances and she had prayed together, and the young woman rededicated her life to Christ. A half hour later, Frances's pain subsided. She stayed for some tests and went home later in the day. This experience reminds all of us that God uses our pain-and even our name, Reasons To Believe-for His eternal purposes.
P.S. Frances later found out that the receptionist's brother is a pastor, and he has been praying for his sister for some time.
"I first saw Hugh Ross as a guest speaker on the 'Hour of Power' television show several years ago. I was an unbeliever at the time, hearing a rational scientist give a dimensional explanation for how God may be omnipresent and how the Godly dimension of space may be turned to the side. Hugh used the palm of his hand and turned it sideways, demonstrating how the view of our sight of God becomes invisible. He opened a skeptic mind in myself. It took a few more stubborn years until God humbled me, but then I asked Him to come into my life and He has truly created a new person in me. That has been the strongest proof to me of His undeniable existence. I now have a 'Reason To Believe!' Keep up the work. God has certainly put you into your purpose; TO OPEN THE STUBBORN MIND! God bless you." (Julie - via e-mail)
"I just wanted to let you know I heard G. Gordon Liddy referring his callers to your website the other day! I was driving down the road and almost lost control of the car! It was very exciting to hear a nationally recognized radio personality recommending your ministry." (Tracey - Ohio)
"Thank you so much, my Christian brother, for your wonderful insight into creation. I personally believe in literal days but also believe God created the heavens and earth in the beginning at an unspecific time before the six days. Though we may differ a little, I honor you and pray for you (I am appalled that any Christian would do otherwise). I heard your lectures at (school) in 1992 while studying for my doctorate and have read your books to my great benefit. May our Lord bless you greatly, dear brother." (Thomas - via e-mail)
We'd love to hear how God has used RTB in your life or in the life of someone you know. If you are willing to share your story, please send it (up to 200 words) to email@example.com, or send it via regular mail to "Staying Connected" at RTB, P.O. Box 5978, Pasadena, CA 91117. In addition to being blessed by how God is working in your life, we may be able to bless and encourage others by using your story in an upcoming newsletter.
Graduate Credit Now Available!
Here's great news for everyone interested in graduate-level credit for Reasons Institute course work. Beginning this summer, Hope International University (www.hiu.edu) will offer graduate credit for the following courses: Creation and the Bible, Creation vs. Evolution, and Critical Thinking Skills. In the fall, graduate credit will be available for History of Christian Apologetics as well. Hope International University is nationally accredited and its courses are transferable to other educational institutions.
Reasons Institute continues to receive positive feedback from students. Stephanie writes: "I have so enjoyed my current class. I've gained so much and grown as a Christian person. I'm truly thankful for RTB!"
For those looking to enhance their apologetics skills this summer we are pleased to offer the following courses:
Summer 2005 - classes begin June 27th
|Item #||Course Title||Dates||Audit/Cost||College/Cost|
|I 0401/2||Creation and the Bible||6/27/05 - 9/18/05||$110||See Web site|
|I-0403||Creation vs. Evolution||6/27/05 - 9/18/05||$110||See Web site|
|I 0405||History of Christian Apologetics||6/27/05 - 9/18/05||$110||See Web site|
|I-0406||Critical Thinking Skills||6/27/05 - 9/18/05||$110||See Web site|
For more information or to register for any of these courses, go to RTB's website at www.reasons.org and click on the Reasons Institute icon on the homepage. Or, go directly to www.reasonsinstitute.com. Classes begin on June 27th. Enrollment is now open for the summer session.
RTB's San Jose Chapter is sponsoring an RTB Regional Conference in Fremont, California, July 22-23, 2005!
Come hear how the latest scientific discoveries are adding to the huge body of evidence for a Creator of the universe-specifically, the biblical Creator. Cosmic Fingerprints: Evidence of Design shows how science is an ally to the Christian faith, not an enemy. Hugh Ross and the RTB scholar team challenge skeptics to reconsider their worldview, to revisit the issues that keep them from considering Christianity. Christians learn how to use these evidences to uphold the Word of God and to open conversation about the good news of Jesus Christ.
Host Church: Bridges Community Church (formerly Fremont Evangelical Free Church)
Friday 7 P.M.: Outreach open to the public (free)
Saturday 9 A.M. - 5 P.M.: Science-and-faith conference (cost: $35)
Sunday: Hugh Ross speaks at Bridges during the Sunday morning services.
To register for the Saturday conference, visit www.bridgescc.org or call Ken Hultgren at (800) 482-7836.
If you have fresh ideas for wayspeople can help spread the word about Reasons To Believe and its resources, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org. A good idea is worth sharing!
Apologetics Hotline (626) 335-5282
Discuss your science-faith questions with a trained apologist. Available daily from 5:00 - 7:00 P.M. (PT)
To find an RTB chapter in your area or to get information about starting one, contact Ken Hultgren at email@example.com.
Creation Update Web cast
Listen live through our Web site each Tuesday, 11:00 A.M. - 1:00 P.M. (PT) Special "Prime Time" Web interviews to be announced.
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.
Do you have a car, motor home, boat, or motorcycle that you'd like to donate? Give us a call at (800) 482-7836 and ask for Ministry Advancement or e-mail us at email@example.com. Reasons To Believe is able to accept most vehicles, even if they are not running. Your donation will have double impact-providing support for RTB while offering you a tax deduction.