Scripture Requiring Deep Interpretation

By Will Myers

All Scripture is rewarding for those who seek the meaning from God, the Son, and God’s Holy Spirit through meditation and prayer. Of course, studying the Word of God helps also. Some scripture’s interpretation continues deeply into the intellect. At this time, the most in-depth scripture for me is Ecclesiastes 3:15; “That which hath been is now; and that which is to be hath already been; and God requireth that which is past.” I wrote an article about this scripture last year and, boy, did I miss the meaning. But, getting back on track, it’s my belief that each and all scripture weights on any subject to their own proportion. If one is cold, then they turn on the furnace. If a match is held near the furnace while giving out its heat, then one can’t really feel the heat from the match because the furnace is proportionally larger, but the match is still giving out its warmth. So it is with each subject; the furnace can be far removed and the match very close while intensifying than one can feel the warmth from the match more. All scripture weights upon any and all subjects and treatments.

Singling out Ecclesiastes 3:15 from above, we must have the knowledge that God’s Holy Spirit has always existed and manifested in His Son as He came into time. The universe was designed to bring man unto God’s Holy Spirit; the goal is that all possess God’s Holy Spirit. The universe was created thru God’s Son to reveal God’s Glory. “That which hath been is now…” is God’s Holy Spirit, and “…that which is to be hath already been…”; once again, its God’s Holy Spirit Who is in His Son. “…God requireth that which is past…” is again God’s Holy Spirit; during the meantime, the universe of man is imposed upon by God’s creation which is perfect as is His Son.

A more basic meaning of the scripture is that whatever man investigates in the universe they shall encounter God’s form or His metaphysical equation UspaceVspace=Q in His creation. The Uspace is defined as “All that God does or creates is perfect righteousness.” The Vspace is simply the nexuses of all thing” because everything inexistent is changing. The Q is a thing that IS and it is unique even as it comes into fruition and goes out of being. This is likened unto the absolute meaning of Ecclesiastes 3:15, and this latter example is nearer to the soul (As God makes a material statement) and, of course, our spirit is interacting with the Spirit of God in the formal example.

The universe displays the absoluteness of God. Its physical laws have been created by God thru and for His Son and were discovered by scientists who believe them to be perfect. What God does is forever. Through God’s Son, we can become nearer to God, our Heavenly Father.

For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:
Advertisements
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Christian Apologetics Mandate

 

BY KENNETH R. SAMPLES – OCTOBER 2, 2018

The Greek word apologia (Greek: ἀπολογία) is the root for the English term “apologetics.” Apologia and its root forms are found in the New Testament (Acts 26:2Romans 1:20Philippians 1:7, 16), with 1 Peter 3:15 revealing the mandate imploring Christians to be ready to explain and defend their faith. Throughout Christian history, apologetics became known as the enterprise by which apologists sought to give a reasoned defense of the truth of Christianity. Today, Christian apologetics involves the use of various disciplines to defend the faith, including the biblical, doctrinal, philosophical, historical, literary, and scientific fields.

In more technical terms, apologetics is a branch of Christian theology that seeks to provide rational justification for the truth claims of Christianity.1 For 20 centuries, Christian scholars and leaders have engaged in a fourfold defense of the faith by (1) presenting and clarifying the central truth claims of Christianity, (2) offering clear and compelling positive evidence for accepting Christian truth, (3) answering people’s questions and objections concerning the faith, and (4) providing a penetrating critique and refutation of alternative non-Christian systems of thought.2

This type of apologetic endeavor remains as important today as at any time in Christian history. And it is imperative that believers look to Scripture and church history to instruct them in the performance of this critical task. Fortunately, the apostle Peter—the central preacher in the primitive Christian church—offers such guidance in his first epistle.

Since 1 Peter 3:15 contains the official New Testament order or commission to do apologetics, let’s cite the passage and explore its meaning in some detail.

But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.

–1 Peter 3:15, NIV

Rules of Apologetic Engagement

In Peter’s words, we discover four points that provide a context for apologetic engagement and that honor God and instruct the apologist.

  1. Courage in Suffering

The backdrop of Peter’s admonition in verse 15 is the topic of suffering (see verses 13–14 and 16–17). In the apostolic age as well as for virtually three centuries following, a defense of the Christian faith would often occur under hostile interrogation (see, for example, Acts 25:16). Since Christianity was an illegal and politically controversial religion in the Roman Empire, the early Christians suffered through periods of great persecution and even martyrdom. Apologetic work in the early church (as today in totalitarian and Islamic-ruled countries) took great moral and physical courage.

  1. Christ’s Lordship

Peter instructs believers that at the core of their being (Greek: kardia, the “heart”), where people form their most essential beliefs, they should acknowledge the Lordship of Christ. Calling Jesus “Lord” (Greek: Kyrios) in this context is equivalent to referring to him as Yahweh(ruler, king, and God).3 Christians can engage in the apologetic enterprise with the full assurance that Christ is the exclusive, sovereign ruler over all things (Matthew 28:18). Facing suffering, trial, and hostile interrogation with the conviction that Christ is in sovereign control serves to grant the believer peace and confidence.

  1. A Reasoned Defense

To provide the proper rational justification for the Christian faith and worldview today demands rigorous intellectual preparation. It presupposes an in-depth knowledge of the faith and the ability to answer questions and rebut objections. Peter sets forth the idea that the Christian faith has a rational foundation worth defending. Yet one does not need to be a professional to become an effective apologist.

  1. Gentleness and Respect

When it comes to rational persuasion, the advocate’s attitude and demeanor often carry as much weight as his or her arguments. People measure the credibility of one’s beliefs often by how they are communicated. Cogent arguments conveyed with an air of arrogance and disrespect will be drained of their apologetic potency. But apologetic responses that reflect a calm, measured approach and tone signify a quality consistent with the conviction that it is God (the Holy Spirit) alone who makes the human heart and mind receptive to the gospel (Acts 16:141 Corinthians 12:3).

The apostle goes on to speak of the importance of joining one’s rational defense with the virtue of moral transparency (“keeping a clear conscience,” verse 16). The effective apologist seeks to integrate the witness of one’s life with one’s words. A reasoned and winsome apologetic case possesses great force in conveying the message that historic Christianity is rational, viable, and true.

Reflections: Your Turn

Which aspect of Peter’s mandate concerning apologetics stands out to you? Visit Reflections on WordPress to comment with your response.

Endnotes
  1. William Lane Craig, Reasonable Faith: Christian Truth and Apologetics (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 1994), xi.
  2. See Kenneth Richard Samples, Without a Doubt: Answering the 20 Toughest Faith Questions(Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2004), 255–59.
  3. F. Bruce, Jesus: Lord and Savior(Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1986), 203.

About Reasons to Believe

RTB’s mission is to spread the Christian Gospel by demonstrating that sound reason and scientific research—including the very latest discoveries—consistently support, rather than erode, confidence in the truth of the Bible and faith in the personal, transcendent God revealed in both Scripture and nature. Learn More »

Support Reasons to Believe

Your support helps more people find Christ through sharing how the latest scientific discoveries affirm our faith in the God of the Bible.

DONATE NOW


U.S. Mailing Address
818 S. Oak Park Rd.
Covina, CA 91724
  • P (855) 732-7667
  • P (626) 335-1480
  • Fax (626) 852-0178

Reasons to Believe logo

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Undermining Our Constitutional Rights

By Will Myers

A social machinery of special interest groups who collect and peddle sensitive and intimate information about a private citizen, any private citizen, has grown with leaps and bounds with the advent of personal computers. In conjunction with mass storage of information with an almost instant recall of the information, the privacy of individuals is at peril.

A famed political scientist once stated that regardless of the sophistication and superior knowledge of any group or person who can counsel and monitor you while anticipating the thoughts of your, the “right to be let alone” is far superior for happiness and fulfillment of life. These special interest groups (SIG) who do attempt to monitor private citizen’s lives fall into this category. From personal experience,  there is a lure into temptation followed by much adversity manifesting by a sophisticated orchestration by SIG. This is classically the devil.

We have the constitutional right to live without any orchestration against our private lives; we have the right to “pursue our happiness and a fulfilling life.”The social machinery SIG opposes the U.S. Constitution blatantly.

If all citizens accept SIG and perpetuate the actions of SIG then we are creating a new government. I label this new government hyper communism whereas the government practically own the minds of the working class. The SIG snake organization is advancing in America while undercutting our constitutional rights. Our democracy is being counterfeited. The Trump Administration is exercising the powers of a Republic whereas the people have given total authority to the powers that be. I believe that Trump is from the American Oligarchy and he is their king snake. With this delegated power, Trump is opening doors for the institution of hyper communism. The Russian government is also moving toward hyper communism. This is the pairing of Trump-Putin in the near future.

Ephesians 6:12-15 New International Version (NIV)

12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Interplanetary Dust Delivery Allows Human Existence

BY HUGH ROSS – OCTOBER 22, 2018

Extraterrestrial iron dust delivery by means of exquisitely fine-tuned processes has made modern civilization possible. Scientists sought to discern the nature of an unknown part of a phenomenon—bioavailable iron on Earth—and their research led to a major discovery that was published in the October issue of Geology.1

Life has been present on Earth at a high abundance level throughout the past 3.8 billion years. While Earth’s continents possess the greatest diversity of life, it is the oceans that contain the greatest quantity of life—and the foundation for all this marine life is phytoplankton.

Phytoplankton Sustain Marine Life
Phytoplankton are microscopic organisms that engage in photosynthesis. They are primary producers in that they manufacture sugars, starches, and fats from water and carbon dioxide dissolved in water. These sugars, starches, and fats sustain the entire aquatic food web.

Phytoplankton account for more than half of all photosynthetic activity on Earth. When present at high-enough densities, some species are easily visible as colored patches on surface waters (see figure 1). Phytoplankton play a major role not only in sustaining marine life and diversity but also in removing sufficient quantities of carbon dioxide (a powerful greenhouse gas) from the atmosphere to compensate for the ever-brightening Sun (see figure 2).

blog__inline--interplanetary-dust-delivery-1

Figure 1: Phytoplankton Blooms off the Southwest Coast of England
credit: NASA

blog__inline--interplanetary-dust-delivery-2

Figure 2: The Sun’s Increasing Brightness throughout Life’s History. Image credit: Figure created by the author

What limits the quantity of phytoplankton in the oceans is the availability of iron—known as bioavailable iron—in physical and chemical forms that the phytoplankton can use.2 In most of the surface waters of the world’s oceans, the concentration of bioavailable iron is very low, less than 0.2 nanomoles (roughly less than 2 parts per 10 billion).3

Sources of Bioavailable Iron
Scientists have long thought that the bioavailable iron present in the oceans has been delivered by eolian dust. Eolian dust, otherwise known as loess, refers to silt-sized material deposited by winds blowing off of exposed continental landmasses, primarily deserts and plateaus. This flux of bioavailable iron from eolian dust is geographically highly variable. Ocean regions far from deserts and plateaus receive very little of this dust. The Southern Ocean, which comprises most of Earth’s surface water, receives just 0.2–5 micromoles/square meter/year of bioavailable eolian dust.4 (This figure includes not just bioavailable iron but all bioavailable metals.)

The delivery of bioavailable eolian dust to the Southern Ocean falls considerably short of what is needed to sustain the quantity of phytoplankton known to exist there. Thus, geologists Peter Reiners of the University of Arizona and Alexandra Turchyn of the University of Cambridge present evidence in their paper that the delivery of bioavailable iron from extraterrestrial dust makes up the difference.

They begin by citing ice, marine sediment, and terrestrial sediment core records that establish a present-day flux of 40 million kilograms/year of iron delivery to Earth from interplanetary space.5 Reiners and Turchyn calculate how much of this iron is bioavailable. For the Southern Ocean, they conclude that the present flux of bioavailable iron from interplanetary space is comparable to and likely larger than the flux from eolian dust.6

Implications of Present-Day Interplanetary Iron Flux
Reiners and Turchyn do not comment in their paper on the implications of such abundant extraterrestrial bioavailable iron delivery to the present-day Southern Ocean. However, the implications seem obvious. The Southern Ocean would not be able to sustain the enormous biomass and biodiversity that it does without this ongoing delivery. Nor would the phytoplankton in the Southern Ocean be able to remove enough carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to compensate for the brightening of the Sun.

Without the present high rate of extraterrestrial bioavailable iron flux, advanced life and human civilization would not be possible. In fact, global high-technology civilization requires that this flux be fine-tuned.7

Past Sources of Extraterrestrial Bioavailable Iron
Reiners and Turchyn devote most of their research paper to addressing several events during the past half billion years when the flux of extraterrestrial dust was many times higher than it is at present. The most dramatic of these events is the Ordovician L-Chondrite Event that, according to meteorite geochronology and terrestrial stratigraphic records, occurred 470±6 million years ago and produced the Ordovician meteorite shower 467.3±1.6 million years ago.8 This shower lasted at least 2 million years and the extraterrestrial material flux was 100–1,000 times higher than the present rate.

The Ordovician L-Chondrite Event was likely caused by a major collision event in the Main Belt (the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter) that resulted in the breakup of a single large asteroid.9 This collision was responsible for most, if not all, L-chondrite meteorites. Even today it accounts for about 40 percent of all Earth-bound interplanetary objects.

The end-Ordovician mass extinction event ranks as the second most devastating mass extinction event known. Half of all animal genera and about 85 percent of all marine species were wiped out.10 While much of this extinction resulted from major impacts associated with the Ordovician L-Chondrite Event, the extremely high flux of interplanetary bioavailable iron dust would have so enhanced marine primary productivity from phytoplankton as to greatly draw down carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. The drawdown of so much of this important greenhouse gas explains the widespread glaciation event that was associated with the end-Ordovician mass extinction event. The greatly enhanced phytoplankton productivity also explains the enormous deposits of oolite ironstones (resulting from increased oxygen concentrations in the oceans) and black shales (resulting from enhanced burial of organic carbon) that were laid down at this time.11

Similarly, Reiners and Turchyn show that three other major biological/depositional events, the late Miocene Veritas (8.3±0.5 million years ago12), end-Eocene (34.1–33.6 million years ago13), and Jurassic-Cretaceous (201–66 million years ago), were caused by much-enhanced fluxes of interplanetary bioavailable iron. The fluxes were 5, 6–10, and 4–10 times higher than the present flux, respectively.14 Each of these three events was accompanied by global cooling events and global depositions of oolite ironstones and black shales.

Implications of Past Interplanetary Iron Flux
As with present sources of interplanetary iron dust delivery to Earth, Reiners and Turchyn also decline to comment in their paper on the implications of past deliveries. Again, the implications seem obvious. Without the drawdowns of carbon dioxide that took place at each of the past four major iron dust deposition events, the increasing luminosity of the Sun would have heated Earth’s surface beyond the limit that life, especially advanced life, could withstand. Earth would have become a permanently sterile body long before the possible time window for human existence.

Without the much-enhanced productivity of marine phytoplankton, the treasure chest of biodeposits that presently exists would be much smaller. Lower reserves of biodeposits would have placed serious limitations on the capacity of humans to launch and sustain civilization. The maintenance of a human population in the billions—where those billions enjoy high-technology civilization—would not have been possible. Nor would it be possible for billions of humans to hear, understand, and respond in a brief window of time to Jesus Christ’s offer of redemption from sin. We indeed have many reasons to be grateful for bioavailable extraterrestrial iron dust being delivered to Earth in the just-right amounts at the just-right times.

Endnotes
  1. Peter W. Reiners and Alexandra V. Turchyn, “Extraterrestrial Dust, the Marine Lithologic Record, and Global Biogeochemical Cycles,” Geology 46 (October 2018): 863–66, doi:10.1130/G45040.1.
  2. Nazli Olgun et al., “Surface Ocean Iron Fertilization: The Role of Airborne Volcanic Ash from Subduction Zone and Hot Spot Volcanoes and Related Iron Fluxes into the Pacific Ocean,” Global Biogeochemical Cycles 25 (December 2011): id. GB4001, doi:10.1029/2009GB003761; P. W. Boyd and M. J. Ellwood, “The Biogeochemical Cycle of Iron in the Ocean,” Nature Geoscience 3 (September 26, 2010): 675–82, doi:10.1038/ngeo964.
  3. M. M. Morel and N. M. Price, “The Biogeochemical Cycles of Trace Metals in the Oceans,” Science 300 (May 9, 2003): 944–47, doi:10.1126/science.1083545.
  4. Reiners and Turchyn, “Extraterrestrial Dust,” 863.
  5. Bernhard Peucker-Ehrenbrink, Greg Ravizza, and Gisela Winckler, “Geochemical Tracers of Extraterrestrial Matter in Sediments,” Elements 12 (June 2016): 191–96, doi:10.2113/gselements.12.3.191.
  6. Reiners and Turchyn, “Extraterrestrial Dust,” 863.
  7. Hugh Ross, Improbable Planet: How Earth Became Humanity’s Home (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2016), 180–219.
  8. Ekaterina V. Korochantseva et al., “L-Chondrite Asteroid Breakup Tied to Ordovician Meteorite Shower by Multiple Isochron 40Ar-39Ar Dating,” Meteoritics & Planetary Science 42 (January 2007): 113–30, doi:10.1111/j.1945-5100.2007.tb00221.x.
  9. Korochantseva et al., “L-Chondrite Asteroid Breakup,” 113.
  10. Peter M. Sheehan, “The Late Ordovician Mass Extinction,” Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences 29 (May 2001): 331–64, doi:10.1146/annurev.earth.29.1.331.
  11. Reiners and Turchyn, “Extraterrestrial Dust,” 865.
  12. Alessandro Montanari et al., “Stratigraphic Record of the Asteroidal Veritas Breakup in the Tortonian Monte dei Corvi Section (Ancona, Italy),” Geological Society of America Bulletin 129 (April 19, 2017): 1357­–76, doi:10.1130/B31476.1.
  13. X. Li et al., “Terrestrial Responses of Low-Latitude Asia to the Eocene-Oligocene Climate Transition Revealed by Integrated Chronostratigraphy,” Climate of the Past 12 (February 2016): 255–72, doi:10.5194/cp-12-255-2016; Rui Zhang, Vadim A. Kravchinsky, and Leping Yue, “Link between Global Cooling and Mammalian Transformation across the Eocene-Oligocene Boundary in the Continental Interior of Asia,” International Journal of Earth Sciences 101 (2012): 2193–2200, doi:10.1007/s00531-012-0776-1.
  14. Reiners and Turchyn, “Extraterrestrial Dust,” 864.

About Reasons to Believe

RTB’s mission is to spread the Christian Gospel by demonstrating that sound reason and scientific research—including the very latest discoveries—consistently support, rather than erode, confidence in the truth of the Bible and faith in the personal, transcendent God revealed in both Scripture and nature. Learn More »

Support Reasons to Believe

Your support helps more people find Christ through sharing how the latest scientific discoveries affirm our faith in the God of the Bible.

DONATE NOW


U.S. Mailing Address
818 S. Oak Park Rd.
Covina, CA 91724
  • P (855) 732-7667
  • P (626) 335-1480
  • Fax (626) 852-0178

Reasons to Believe logo

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

How Does Science Show That God Is a Personal Being?

BY HUGH ROSS – OCTOBER  2018

The following question was posted on my Facebook page several days ago:

I understand that the fine-tuning evidence for God’s existence is overwhelming. But how do we know that this God is a personal Being? I know it myself from the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, but how do I explain it to a skeptic?

I answer this question at length in my book The Creator and the Cosmos.1 Here, I will provide a much briefer answer.

The experimental and observational evidence that the universe has a beginning in finite time establishes that the universe must have some kind of Beginner. Space-time theorems provide additional evidence that some kind of causal Agent beyond space and time created our universe of matter, energy, space, and time. I describe and document in much detail the experimental, observational, and theoretical evidence for this causal Agent in The Creator and the Cosmos.2

While this evidence for a cosmic causal Agent establishes deism (the existence of an uncaused Agent that created the universe but does not interfere directly with the created universe), it does not necessarily establish theism (the existence of a Supreme Being who not only creates the universe but also directly intervenes in shaping the created universe to achieve specific purposes and goals). Deists reject either that God is a personal Being or that the personal Being who created the universe intervenes in any way at any point in the history of the universe beyond the cosmic creation event. Theists, on the other hand, assert that God is a personal Being and that he has demonstrated his personality by directly intervening throughout cosmic history to achieve his personal goals and purposes for the universe.

Christians frequently cite the fine-tuning of the universe, Milky Way Galaxy, solar system, Earth, and Earth’s life to make possible the existence of human beings and human civilization as indisputable evidence that God is a personal Being. I explain why this evidence is so powerful in chapters 5, 6, and 14­–17 of The Creator and the Cosmos.3

In many cases, the level of fine-tuning of the universe and the laws of physics to make possible the existence of human beings, or their functional equivalent, measures far beyond the best examples of fine-tuning achieved by us humans. Some examples would be the needed fine-tuning of dark energy, dark matter, the force of gravity, and the force of electromagnetism. That this fine-tuning far exceeds our best human achievements implies that the causal Agent—who designed these features for the existence and benefit of human beings—is, at minimum, many orders of magnitude more intelligent, knowledgeable, inventive, creative, and powerful than we humans. Since intellect, knowledge, inventiveness, creativity, and power are attributes that only a personal being can possess, the causal Agent who created the universe must be a personal Being.

Fine-tuning evidence for the existence and benefit of human beings, and high-technology human civilization in particular, is not limited to the laws of physics and the gross features of the universe. This evidence for fine-tuning is ubiquitous. It exists on all size scales.

As I show in The Creator and the Cosmos, for humans to possibly exist in the universe, not only must the laws of physics and the universe as a whole be exquisitely designed, but also the cluster of galaxies, the galaxy, the host star, the planetary system, the host planet, and the host planet’s moon in which the humans reside.4 Furthermore, as I show in my book Improbable Planet, the physical, chemical, and biological history of the humans’ planet must also be exquisitely fine-tuned.5 The required fine-tuning extends all the way down in size scales to molecules, atoms, and fundamental particles.

No matter where in the realm of nature human investigators look, they will find overwhelming scientific evidence for the existence of God and for the personal attributes of God. A quick look at the four past editions of The Creator and the Cosmos will affirm that the more we learn about nature, the more evidence we gain for the existence of an all-knowing, all-powerful, all-loving personal God and for what Paul declared in Romans 1:20 (Christian Standard Bible),

For his [God’s] invisible attributes, that is, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen since the creation of the world, being understood through what he has made.

Endnotes
  1. Hugh Ross, The Creator and the Cosmos: How the Latest Scientific Discoveries Reveal God, 4th ed.(Covina, CA: RTB Press, 2018), 45–266.
  2. Ross, Creator and the Cosmos, 33–158.
  3. Ross, Creator and the Cosmos, 45–76, 159–222.
  4. Ross, Creator and the Cosmos, 159–222, 243–66.
  5. Hugh Ross, Improbable Planet: How Earth Became Humanity’s Home(Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2016), 28–219.

About Reasons to Believe

RTB’s mission is to spread the Christian Gospel by demonstrating that sound reason and scientific research—including the very latest discoveries—consistently support, rather than erode, confidence in the truth of the Bible and faith in the personal, transcendent God revealed in both Scripture and nature. Learn More »

Support Reasons to Believe

Your support helps more people find Christ through sharing how the latest scientific discoveries affirm our faith in the God of the Bible.

DONATE NOW


U.S. Mailing Address
818 S. Oak Park Rd.
Covina, CA 91724
  • P (855) 732-7667
  • P (626) 335-1480
  • Fax (626) 852-0178

Reasons to Believe logo

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Sexual Reproduction Challenges Evolution, Affirms Creation

BY GUEST WRITER – OCTOBER 5, 2018

By Hugh Henry

One of the greatest challenges to the theory of evolution is to explain sexuality. How could sexual reproduction have emerged by random, natural processes from early life-forms practicing asexual reproduction? How could natural selection evolve two versions of a species: essentially identical except for reproductive organs? When the data is analyzed, a creation perspective may make more sense.

Accounting for the Emergence of Sexual Reproduction

A review of the scientific literature reveals that the evolution of sexual reproduction has been described as “controversial,”1 and as a “paradox”2 and a “mystery.”3 A 2002 article in Nature Reviews Genetics states that “at least 20 theories had been proposed to explain the widespread occurrence of sexual reproduction”4; and a 2017 article in Trends in Ecology and Evolution observes that “many of the plausible hypotheses for sex have restrictive assumptions.”5 Moreover, there is no hard evidence for any of the twenty or so hypotheses.6

Yet the most perplexing question from an evolutionary perspective is: why did advanced life-forms evolve sexuality at all? Why didn’t we evolve based on asexual reproduction? To use a mythological image: why aren’t we all Amazon women?

It should be noted that asexual reproduction can be much more complex than simple cell division (mitosis). An advantage of sexual reproduction via meiosis is the exchange of genetic material; however, this can also be done asexually. For example, the phenomenon of parasexuality describes the direct transfer of genetic material among bacteria7; and, as first reported in 1953,8 it is common in fungi.9 Even some higher life-forms reproduce asexually via apomixis, which is reproduction by special generative tissues without fertilization; that is, without female and male union. The term apomixis includes parthenogenesis (in which a new individual develops from an unfertilized egg) in some plants, invertebrates, and even vertebrates.

The cell biology of some of these asexual reproductive mechanisms is similar to sexual reproduction in the transfer of genetic material; it’s just that distinct “male” and “female” forms are lacking. Since the theory of evolution often focuses on finding transitional forms, these asexual reproductive mechanisms might be viewed in that way.

However, the scientific literature suggests that these asexual processes could be a barrier to the development of sexuality, rather than a transition into it. Articles in the Journal of Heredity and Integrative Zoology, respectively, emphasize that sexual reproduction offers no advantage in the context of natural selection, and that it is less efficient than asexual reproduction:

Nobody has attributed any benefit of amphimixis [sexual reproduction] to the parents who are engaged in it, and the supposed beneficiaries are the offspring.10 [The] inherent costs [of sex] have made its maintenance difficult to explain. The most famous of these is the twofold cost of males, which can greatly reduce the fecundity [reproductive capacity] of a sexual population, compared to a population of asexual females.11 A 2018 article article in Trends in Genetics summarizes the problems: The issue of the evolution of amphimixis involves three problems: (i) how it originated some 2 billion years ago; (ii) how it manages to outcompete obligate apomictic clones that keep emerging in some, although not all, amphimictic species; and (iii) how its gradual evolution does not turn amphimixis into apomixis or something similar. . . . Problem (iii) is the toughest one. Amphimixis can disappear not only abruptly, . . . but also gradually.12

These and other journal articles taken together reveal an interesting picture:

  • There is no consensus among evolutionary biologists about the development of sexual reproduction, and many of the hypotheses are structured as restrictive “just so stories” requiring a cascade of unlikely events.
  • Most—if not all—life-forms could be configured for asexual reproduction.
  • Sexual reproduction is more “expensive” than asexual reproduction; it is more difficult and requires more energy.
  • From the point of view of natural selection, there is no benefit to sexual reproduction. To the contrary, asexual reproduction offers reproductive advantage over sexual reproduction.
  • The real question may be how do we keep sexual reproduction—however we acquired it. Why do we and other sexual life-forms not devolve into the less “expensive” condition of asexuality?

Which Model Makes More Sense?

In light of all the above, the evolution of sexual reproduction by random, spontaneous processes makes no sense. Assuming natural selection as the mechanism, evolution should have stopped with some form of asexual apomixis. Even if a life-form had happened to evolve sexual reproduction, it would have disappeared because there was no reproductive advantage.

There must be a different answer . . . and that answer may be found in the Bible: God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them (Genesis 1:27 NASB). The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him” (Genesis 2:18 NASB).

Sexual reproduction is not for efficiency; it offers no reproductive advantage. Why does it exist? It may be for companionship and partnership, as ordained by the creator-God for humans—and for many animals as well. It seems most plausible that it came from a loving God—not as the product of an evolutionary processes.

Acknowlegment:

This topic was the idea of my 17-year-old grandson, Jeff Obermeyer, Jr., who deserves special credit for his insight.

To find out more about Hugh Henry, please check out his biography.

Endnotes
  1. Matthew Hartfield and Peter D. Keightley, “Current Hypotheses for the Evolution of Sex and Recombination,” Integrative Zoology 7 (June 12, 2012): 192–209, doi:10.1111/j.1749-4877.2012.00284.x.
  2. Roger Butlin, “Evolution of Sex: The Costs and Benefits of Sex; New Insights from Old Asexual Lineages,” Nature Reviews Genetics 3 (April 1, 2002), 311–17, doi:10.1038/nrg749.
  3. Maurine Neiman, Curtis M. Lively, and Stephanie Meirmans, “Why Sex? A Pluralist Approach Revisited,” Trends in Ecology and Evolution 32 (June 9, 2017): 589–600, doi:10.1016/j.tree.2017.05.004.
  4. Roger Butlin, “Evolution of Sex,” 192–209
  5. Maurine Neiman, Curtis M. Lively, and Stephanie Meirmans, “Why Sex?” 589–600.
  6. Alexey S. Kondrashov, “Through Sex, Nature Is Telling Us Something Important,” Trends in Genetics 34, no. 5 (February 4, 2018): 352–61, doi:10.1016/j.tig.2018.01.003.
  7. Sarah P. Otto, “Sexual Reproduction and the Evolution of Sex,” Nature Education 1 (2008): 182, accessed August 23, 2018, https://www.nature.com/scitable/topicpage/sexual-reproduction-and-the-evolution-of-sex-824.
  8. G. Pontecorvo et al., “The Genetics of Aspergillus nidulans,” Advances in Genetics 5 (1953): 141–238, doi:10.1016/S0065-2660(08)60408-3.
  9. R. D. Tinline and B. H. MacNeill, “Parasexuality in Plant Pathogenic Fungi,” Annual Review of Phytopathology 7 (September 1969): 147–68, doi:10.1146/annurev.py.07.090169.001051.
  10. A. S. Kondrashov, “Classification of Hypotheses on the Advantage of Amphimixis,” Journal of Heredity 84 (September 1, 1993): 372–87, doi:10.1093/oxfordjournals.jhered.a111358.
  11. Matthew Hartfield and Peter D. Keightley, “Current Hypotheses for the Evolution of Sex,” 192–209.
  12. Alexey S. Kondrashov, “Through Sex,” 352–61.


Category
Tags

About Reasons to Believe

RTB’s mission is to spread the Christian Gospel by demonstrating that sound reason and scientific research—including the very latest discoveries—consistently support, rather than erode, confidence in the truth of the Bible and faith in the personal, transcendent God revealed in both Scripture and nature. Learn More »

Support Reasons to Believe

Your support helps more people find Christ through sharing how the latest scientific discoveries affirm our faith in the God of the Bible.

DONATE NOW


U.S. Mailing Address
818 S. Oak Park Rd.
Covina, CA 91724
  • P (855) 732-7667
  • P (626) 335-1480
  • Fax (626) 852-0178

Reasons to Believe logo

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

6 Straight A Christian Thinkers

BY KENNETH R. SAMPLES – SEPTEMBER 18, 2018

The Christian church has been graced with brilliant and influential thinkers since its inception. A list of “who’s who” in Christian scholarship would be long and diverse in terms of scholarly disciplines. To whet your appetite in the areas of theology and philosophy, here’s a snapshot of six “straight A” thinkers.

By “straight A,” I mean two things. First, I’m noting that these thinkers were all brilliant scholars (no doubt, they would’ve received straight A report cards in today’s grading system) and accomplished philosophers and theologians who advanced Western civilization in general, and Christianity in particular. Second, all of these distinguished Christian scholars’ names begin with the letter “A.” So they’re Christendom’s A-Team!

Christendom’s A-Team

Here’s a brief summary of the “straight A” Christian theologians and philosophers from ancient and medieval Christendom and what they are known for:

  1. Athanasius (ca. 296–373), Defender of Orthodoxy

Athanasius is one of the most honored theologians in church history. His articulation and defense of essential Christian doctrine earned him the title “Father of Orthodoxy.” With his rare combination of a tenacious character and depth of theological insight, Athanasius championed the doctrine of the incarnation at a time when the faith was extremely vulnerable to heretical attack.

  1. Ambrose (ca. 340–397), The Great Orator

Ambrose is recognized as a Doctor of the Catholic Church and is known as one of the great orators in Christian history. A classically educated scholar, he helped introduce Greek Christian thinkers to the Latin West. Ambrose served as a skilled church theologian and bishop. Ambrose was deeply influential in the conversion of St. Augustine and later baptized him into the faith.

  1. Augustine (354–430), Greatest Author of Antiquity

Augustine of Hippo is arguably the most influential Christian thinker outside the New Testament authors. History knows him as a theologian, philosopher, church bishop, and a gifted and tenacious defender of orthodox Christianity. Having penned more than five million words, Augustine was the most prolific author of antiquity. He wrote several books that are considered both Christian and literary classics, including Confessions and The City of God.

  1. Anselm (1033–1109), Integrator of Faith and Reason

Anselm of Canterbury is honored as a Doctor of the Catholic Church and has been recognized as the greatest Christian thinker between St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas. He is well-known for his understanding of the relationship between faith and reason and for formulating one of the most distinctive arguments ever—the ontological argument—for the existence of God.

  1. Abelard (1079–1142), The Medieval Logician

Peter Abelard is considered one of the great scholars of the Christian Middle Ages. As a French scholastic philosopher, he contributed significantly to such fields as logic and the problem of universals. As a theologian, his extravagant life and controversial beliefs were sometimes criticized by the church, but he still made contributions in Christian doctrine and practice.

  1. Aquinas (1225–1274), The Catholic Philosopher

Thomas Aquinas may have possessed the brightest mind in the history of Christendom. A medieval scholastic philosopher and theologian, Aquinas’s system of thought (called “Thomism”) was declared the official philosophy of the Roman Catholic Church. In a lifespan of fewer than 50 years, he wrote voluminously and masterfully defended classical Christian theism.

In the modern world, people sometimes ask whether the Christian faith is compatible with reason. But for most of Western civilization, the greatest intellectuals were also people of deep Christian faith. Today’s Christians could greatly benefit from knowing about these scholars of Christendom’s ancient and medieval past.

My faith is uplifted by knowing that these people affirmed the same historic Christian truths that I do.

Reflections: Your Turn

Who is your favorite Christian thinker of the past outside of the Bible? What lessons can today’s believers learn from earlier Christians? Visit Reflections on WordPress to comment with your response.

Resources

For more in-depth articles that highlight these men’s lives, writings, and contributions to Christendom, see:

About Reasons to Believe

RTB’s mission is to spread the Christian Gospel by demonstrating that sound reason and scientific research—including the very latest discoveries—consistently support, rather than erode, confidence in the truth of the Bible and faith in the personal, transcendent God revealed in both Scripture and nature. Learn More »

Support Reasons to Believe

Your support helps more people find Christ through sharing how the latest scientific discoveries affirm our faith in the God of the Bible.

DONATE NOW


U.S. Mailing Address
818 S. Oak Park Rd.
Covina, CA 91724
  • P (855) 732-7667
  • P (626) 335-1480
  • Fax (626) 852-0178

Reasons to Believe logo

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment