Sunday Walk 64 – The Universe Has A Center

And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:

Genesis 1:14, King James Bible 1769

John Sanford and Christopher Rupe provide evidence that our galaxy is near the center of the universe in a paper at LogosRA. They write, “Astronomical data shows that the universe displays a striking pattern in its arrangement. Not only that, the universe may have a central position and it appears that our galaxy is at or very near it—far from what we would expect from a random, cosmic accident.

Here is a summary of the evidence offered for that view.

  • Redshift Data
    Regardless of whether we are in an expanding universe or not the galaxies furthest away from us have a stronger red shift. This is evidence that we are near the center of the universe. Edwin Hubble who discovered this redshift phenomena realized this. However, he found it philosophically intolerable, but not disprovable. Sanford and Rupe remark, “the cosmic redshift phenomenon clearly revolves around our own location, and this when taken at face value indicates we are near the center.
  • Galactic Shells
    In 1977 William Tifft discovered that the galaxies were patterned on their redshifts forming concentric spherical shells around our galaxy at the center.
  • Uniformity of the Cosmic Microwave Background
    From all directions we see a uniformity in the cosmic background radiation. Were we not at the center we would not expect to see this uniformity.
  • Symmetry of the Cosmic Microwave Background
    In 2001 the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe found evidence for a cosmic north-south pole and equator centered around our galaxy.
  • Spatial Distribution of Galaxies
    As Sanford and Rupe put it, “galaxies appear to be organized into gigantic web-like structures, and these structures form concentric rings around our own special position“.

On the fourth day of creation God created lights in the firmament for signs. Sanford and Rupe suggest: The universe’s countless galaxies may be designed for no other purpose than to be seen by us in these last days – so that it might be clear to all humanity that “The heavens declare the Glory of God…” (Psalms 19:1)


Weekly Bible Reading:  Ezekiel (Audio), Daniel (Audio)
17 Cheshvan, 5782, Vayeira: Parashat Genesis 18:1-22:24; Haftarat 2 Kings 4:1-4:37
Commentaries: 
David Pawson, Ezekiel, Part 44, Daniel, Part 45, Unlocking the Bible
Bible Project, Ezekiel (34-48) and Daniel

Sunday Walk 61 – Adam and Eve

The genetic evidence strongly suggests that Y Chromosome Adam/Noah and Mitochondrial Eve were not just real people, they were the progenitors of us all.

Carter, R.W., S.S. Lee, and J.C. Sanford. An overview of the independent histories of the human Y-chromosome and the human mitochondrial chromosome. 2018. In Proceedings of the Eighth International Conference on Creationism, ed. J.H. Whitmore, pp. 133–151. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: Creation Science Fellowship.

After the Fall, Adam named his wife Eve. (Genesis 3:20) Today geneticists talk about Y Chromosome Adam and Mitochondrial Eve. The controversy is over estimates of how long ago they lived. If the estimates are over fifty thousand years ago, and you believed it, that would strongly show the Bible is wrong. If the estimates are under ten thousand years, and you believed it, that would confirm the biblical account.

The Bible also mentions a global flood with three couples, Noah’s sons and their wives (Genesis 6-8). This population bottleneck should appear in the genetic record as well and indeed one can find it. Nathaniel T. Jeanson and Ashley D. Holland in 2019 “confirm a 4,500-year history for human paternal ancestry”.

At about 25:00 in the video below John Sanford provided seven lines of genetic evidence supporting the idea of a literal Adam and Eve.

(1) Mitochondrial Eve
(2) Y-Chromosome Adam
(3) Population Bottleneck
(4) Designed Variants in Genome
(5) Babel Dispersion
(6) Ape-to-Man Refuted
(7) Genetic Entropy

John Sanford, Genetic Entropy, Evolution & the Bible

Does that make you look at yourself differently? Do you still think that you are evolved stardust? None of us are.

Additional information on Adam and Eve and other science topics can be found at LogosRA.


I will include the Parashat Torah readings and Haftarah selections from the rest of the Bible in this set of readings since yesterday the reading of the Torah began again in Genesis. I will be using the Chabad.org calendar to find the name of the reading and the Jewish Virtual Library for the verses involved.

Weekly Bible Reading:  Isaiah (Audio), Jeremiah (Audio)
26 Tishrei, 5782, Bereishit: Parashat Genesis 1:1-6:8; Haftarat Isaiah 42:5-43:11
Commentaries: 
David Pawson, Isaiah, Part 38, Jeremiah, Part 39, Unlocking the Bible
Bible Project, Isaiah (40-66) and Jeremiah

Sunday Walk 60 – Doing What Is Right In One’s Own Eyes

In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes.

Judges 21:25, King James Bible 1769

The bottom line up front would be if I’m not listening to and obeying God’s word in my heart, validated through the Bible, but instead come up with my own ideas of what is good, I will need to repent of many if not all of those supposedly good deeds.

The road to hell is paved with the good intentions I follow where good is defined as what I find right in my own eyes. Eve, deceived by the serpent and with no objection from Adam, saw the forbidden fruit as “good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise” (Genesis 3). When they ate the fruit, they were doing what was right in their own eyes.

The 20th century Catholic philosopher, G.E.M. Anscombe seems to have been saying something like that in her classic paper, Modern Moral Philosophy, where she criticized moral philosophy from Kant onward. Her message, as I understand it, is there’s no moral law that a philosopher can come up with outside of that coming from a divine lawgiver.

When a philosopher tries to ground moral obligation on something other than God’s command the philosopher’s own good intentions become what is right in his eyes. Since he is the author of his particular moral system this makes him one of many self-righteous lawgivers. Walk down the path of that self-righteous moral philosophy and one walks down the road to hell either on this earth or hereafter. Injustice, addiction, and conflict are some of the results one can expect.

Over the past few centuries that Anscombe was critical of people had powerful means to implement what was right in their own eyes leading to autonomy from God. Such humanistic autonomy is best seen as rebelliousness. We live in a dark age regarding morality because we rationalize what we should do based on criteria like maximizing happiness or effective altruism rather than hearing God’s voice confirmed through the Bible. We don’t listen to God’s voice because we don’t believe there is a God to listen to, or if we do like Adam and Eve surely did, we think we know better.

So, how do we hear God’s soft voice and how do we distinguish it from the deceiver’s misdirection? That is the topic of the video series below.

Derek Prince, Four Requirements

Weekly Bible Reading:  Song of Solomon (Audio), Isaiah (Audio)
Commentaries: 
David Pawson, Song of Songs, Part 36, Isaiah, Part 37, Unlocking the Bible
Bible Project, Song of Solomon and Isaiah (1-39)

Foggy Reflection
Foggy Reflection

Sunday Walk 59 – End Times

And notice the promises are given to only one kind of person. Do you know who that is? To him to overcomes. There are no promises in the New Testament to those who do not overcome.

Derek Prince, How To Face the Last Days Without Fear! (about 25:00)

A few years ago if someone told me the world was coming to an end, I would likely have been disappointed if I didn’t outright dismiss it. When I prayed the words, “Thy Kingdom come”, in the Lord’s Prayer I did not expect it to come right now.

Call it an awakening or a revival, but something happened over those last few years which changed all that. That change didn’t have to happen, but I am grateful that it did.

Based on my own experience, those who look forward to the end times do not feel at home in “Satan’s territory”. Willing to stay, if that is God’s will, we are nevertheless ready to go with oil for our lamps. As Derek Prince remarked, “The only recommendation that Jesus has is ‘Be ready.’

I have been reading Derek Prince’s Spiritual Warfare for the End Times. YouTube has many of his lectures on the last days. One I particularly like is How to Face the Last Days Without Fear which I quoted from above.

The one I’ve linked to below is a fifteen part radio broadcast. It seems close to the book I am reading. He identified the situation we face and mentioned the defensive resources we have as well as the offensive resources to do this battle.

The six defensive weapons are listed in Ephesians 6:13-17. They are being girt with the truth, wearing the breastplate of righteousness, having feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace, taking the shield of faith, wearing the helmet of salvation and carrying the sword of the Spirit. The four offensive weapons are prayer, praise, preaching and personal testimony.

He gives us an example of a personal testimony in Part 15 at 9:45 right at the end of this series. He says, “Through the blood of Jesus I am redeemed out of the hand of Satan. Through the blood of Jesus all my sins are forgiven. The blood of Jesus cleanses me from all sin. Through the blood of Jesus I am justified, made righteous, just-as-if-I’d never sinned. And through the blood of Jesus I am sanctified, made holy, set apart to God. I am no longer in Satan’s territory.

It’s all through the blood of Jesus. And so I testify as well.

Derek Prince, Spiritual Warfare

Weekly Bible Reading:  Proverbs (Audio), Ecclesiastes (Audio)
Commentaries: 
David Pawson, Proverbs, Part 34, Ecclesiastes, Part 35, Unlocking the Bible
Bible Project, Proverbs and Ecclesiastes

Cone Flowers in a Prairie

Sunday Walk 58 – Creation Order

The Fall, contra to what you may have seen…in Sunday School, is not simply the eating of the forbidden fruit…. What happens in Genesis 3…is actually an attack on creation order.

Owen Strachan, Issues in Biblical Anthropology, Lecture 3 (about 57:45)

Creation order is the order of Genesis 1 and 2. As Strachan put it: “There’s God and under God there is the man who’s called to this position of headship as the New Testament will call it. There’s the woman underneath him. There are the animals underneath them.” (about 59:00)

Biblical anthropology does not take the creation order from the world but from the Bible. The world blurs distinctions the Bible makes and creates distinctions the Bible doesn’t.

  • The world blurs the distinction between fathers and mothers by calling them “parents”. Strachan recommended that we avoid words like “parent” that undermine the distinction between fathers and mothers.
  • The world blurs the distinction between men and women and the rest of creation in particular the animals. Strachan told us to maintain the distinction. Both men and women, and only they, are made in the image of God. The animals are not.
  • The world creates more distinctions between the sexes than there are and then blurs those distinctions through gender fluidity. Strachan recommended the use of the word “sex” for its specificity of only two biological sexes over the word “gender”. We capitulate theologically to the world by using its preferred language.

Owen Strachan wanted the future pastors in this seminary lecture to see clearly the creation order so they could effectively lead their churches and not be themselves led by the world. He said, “Are you feeling how alien Christianity increasingly is from what our secular culture teaches? Are you feeling that? I hope you are. If you are, good. That’s what you should feel. You should feel that Christianity is distinct from the world.” (about 42:45)

Owen Strachan, Issues in Biblical Anthropology

Weekly Bible Reading:  Psalms (Audio), Proverbs (Audio)
Commentaries: 
David Pawson, Psalms, Part 32, Proverbs, Part 33, Unlocking the Bible
Bible Project, Psalms and Proverbs

Sunday Walk 57 – Greg Bahnsen on Miracles

Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him. Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit.

Proverbs 26:4-5, King James Bible 1769, and expounded in Greg Bahnsen’s Always Ready.

In one of Jim Lee’s posts he linked to Reconstructionist Radio, a site offering Grey Toombs’ narration of Always Ready, a collection of essays by Greg Bahnsen. Bahnsen was a proponent of Van Til’s presuppositional apologetics. Keeping Proverbs 26:4-5 in mind, this apologetics answers the fool without capitulating to the fool’s presuppositions.

After reading C.S. Lewis’s Miracles, Bahnsen’s essay, The Problem of Miracles, reprinted as Chapter 34, caught my attention.

At the beginning of the essay, Bahnsen explained why miracles are a problem for the modern mind: “Miracles would disrupt our simplistic and impersonalistic views of the predictability and uniformity of the world around us.”

We should be careful not to accept Naturalism’s presuppositions by becoming aware of what they are. For example, there needs to be a reason for the uniformity of nature. Can the Naturalist presupposition of the existence of impersonal laws of nature provide that reason? Given that “impersonal” implies those laws arose by chance, it is not likely. Furthermore as Bahnsen claimed at about 21:30 in the narration of the chapter, “God’s self-revelation in the scriptures offers no support for the idea that there are impersonal laws of nature which make the world operate mechanically and with an inevitability which is free ordinarily from the choices of God’s will.” So, there is no need for a Christian to capitulate to the Naturalist’s presupposition of impersonal laws of nature.

The Christian presupposition is that the Bible is the Word of God. The creation account in Genesis 1-2 provides a reason for the uniformity of nature since the creation was good and Genesis 3 provides a reason for the disorderliness of evil (rebellion) that we also see.

Is the source of the orderliness we experience personal or impersonal? If we accept that it is personal (rather than arising from impersonal chance), does the Bible reveal the true personal source or might there some other source such as panpsychism, Brahma or some Baal? The Christian presupposes that the Bible reveals the true source and, given that source, miracles are possible.

At the end of the chapter, Bahnsen warned us to be careful with miracles. They are possible, but the presence of a miracle, or perhaps better put, a sign or wonder, does not mean that God was responsible for it. Signs or wonders, given the serpent in Genesis 3, may also come from demonic sources seeking to deceive.

Greg Bahnsen, The Uniformity of Nature: Atheism’s Philosophical Problem

All knowledge is deposited in Christ. Man’s knowledge of the truth depends upon God’s prior knowledge, begins with the fear of the Lord, and it requires submission to God’s Word.

Greg Bahnsen, Always Ready, Chapter 6

Weekly Bible Reading:  Psalms (Audio)
Commentary: David Pawson, Hebrew Poetry, Part 30, and Psalms, Part 31, Unlocking the Bible

Sunday Walk 55 – The Cross: Blessings and Curses

I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:

Deuteronomy 30:19, King James Bible 1769

Given the Deuteronomy quote above there are both blessings and curses (life and death). Furthermore, experience suggests that many of us find it easier to curse than to bless. Too often we speak harshly of others and even ourselves. Too often we slip into immorality while seeking either pleasure or power.

Given curses, how do we undo them? How can we go from curses to blessings?

Near the beginning of the video below Derek Prince said, “If you have any need or problem whatsoever in your life there is one place and only one place to which you must go to find God’s provision or God’s solution and that one place is the cross of Jesus.”

Satan wouldn’t want to remove a curse. Those nature deities like Gaia couldn’t. Honoring them with attention might go beyond being a waste of time and lead one through idolatry to even more curses.

Derek Prince, From Curse To Blessing

Weekly Bible Reading:  Ezra (Audio), Nehemiah (Audio), Esther (Audio)
Commentary: David Pawson, Ezra and Nehemiah, Part 26, Esther, Part 27, Unlocking the Bible

Sunday Walk 54 – Christian Birth and Repentance

Hell is God’s incinerator for perished people.

David Pawson, Repent of Your Sins Towards God, (about 26:00)

Focusing on repentance, these are my thoughts after listening to David Pawson’s lectures on the normal Christian birth. I have added to some of what I’ve heard. In the process I may have got some of it wrong. So check out the videos for yourself if you want to hear Pawson’s views directly.

There are four stages to a Christian birth: (1) repentance, (2) belief, (3) baptism and (4) the laying on of hands. Many skip the first and the fourth looking only for eternal security (safety) rather than being saved (salvaged) from sins for holy service in the Kingdom.

It takes time to identify specific sins. However, like a Catholic penitent kneeling in a confessional we need to specifically identify what sins we want to be saved from. This growing awareness convinces us that we really are sinners and, after we’ve changed, we know what specific sins we have stopped doing.

Repentance is more than regret for what we’ve done to ourselves and more than remorse for what we’ve done to others. It is sorrow for what we’ve done to God. Having that kind of sorrow is proof we believe there is a Lord God we can offend. We prove our faithfulness (allegiance to the Lord) by following orders to sin no more.

Without repentance we aren’t of much use. We are broken pots, perished to such an extent that we really ought to be thrown out. Without repentance we can only fool ourselves with our good deeds.

If we ever do get around to repenting we find we will have to repent not only for all of the bad things we know we’ve done, but also for all of those good deeds we’ve done to our own glory. By then we will have realized that nothing short of being made holy for renewed service will do.

David Pawson, Repent of Your Sins Towards God

Weekly Bible Reading:  1 Chronicles (Audio), 2 Chronicles (Audio), Ezra (Audio), Nehemiah (Audio)
Commentary: David Pawson, 1 and 2 Chronicles, Part 24, Ezra and Nehemiah, Part 25, Unlocking the Bible

Morning
Morning

Sunday Walk 53 – Idolatry and the Distant Starlight Problem

You see you have to remember that idolatry is giving credit to some power other than God for what God has done.

Pastor Clifford Allcorn, Days of Creation Part 2 (about 1:30)

An idol does not have to be an entity like Gaia or Satan. It could be a mythopoetic explanation for the way things are such as Evolution or the Big Bang that gives “credit to some power other than God for what God has done” .

Explanations help us understand the world we live in. The Big Bang would be one explanation. The Creation account in Genesis would be another. How do they compare?

If we consider the Creation account of the universe by God over a period of six days in a mature state about 6000 years ago the universe would look then much the way it does today since only a few thousand years have elapsed. Those who object to this presuppose either that there is no God who could have created a universe or that God did not create the universe as the Bible claimed. They either deny God or they deny the biblical account.

Those denying the biblical account have raised a specific doubt that has led some Christians to agree with them. According to Genesis on the fourth day the stars became visible. How did that happen if the light came from stars billions of light years away? The speed of the light coming from those stars to an observer on earth would have to be arbitrarily large. This is called the distant starlight problem.

Is such an arbitrarily large speed of light possible in relativity physics? It is if the Bible is using what Jason Lisle calls the anisotropic synchrony convention (ASC). I have often heard that the speed of light is a constant of nature given relativity, but as Lisle explained what is actually constant is the round trip or two-way speed of light with there being no way for anyone to know the one-way speed.

By convention we could set the speed of light coming to the observer on earth as instantaneous, that is, having an arbitrarily large speed, and set the speed of light leaving earth as the two-way speed of light divided by two. If we did that then the speed of the round trip would average out to be the constant two-way speed of light as required. That is what the ASC convention does. It defines simultaneous events as what we see at any moment from our position on earth.

This answers the objection of those denying the biblical account. On the fourth day of Creation the light coming from all of the stars in the universe reached earth as Genesis reported using the ASC convention.

The other common convention used is the Einstein synchrony convention (ESC) where we assume, or stipulate, that the one-way speed of light is the same in all directions. The laws of physics work no matter which convention we select. As Lisle pointed out it is like choosing to use inches over centimeters. No falsifiable prediction can be made from either the ASC or the ESC convention alone.

However, if we take the ASC convention and add to it the Creation account of the mature universe with the 6000 year time frame of the Bible, we can come up with falsifiable predictions. Lisle calls this the ASC model. That model would be falsified if there existed evidence showing that the universe had to be more than a few thousand years old.

By contrast the Big Bang model claims that the universe is over 13 billion years old. It needs all of that time for physical processes starting from a random event to form the universe we live in without resorting to a designing agent of any sort. That model would be falsified if there existed evidence that the universe could not be that old.

As Lisle pointed out our observations of spiral galaxies or blue stars provide falsifying evidence for the Big Bang. We should not see them in such an old universe. That means the universe is too young for the deep time predictions of the Big Bang model. The Institute for Creation Research provides further details on this and additional evidence that the universe and our earth are young, too young for deep time explanations to be true.

Bottom line: If we want randomness rather than God as our Creator, we need a lot of time, more time than evidence shows was available.

Given that here is what Pastor Allcorn has to say about idolatry.

The 1689 Second London Baptist Confession of Faith, Days of Creation Part 2

Merging the Big Bang or Evolution with Christianity is a form of syncretism which introduces idolatry. For what it’s worth, I was one of those who used to believe in deep time speculations, but now I see the error in that. I would even go so far as to agree with Pastor Allcorn that my former views were idolatrous.


Weekly Bible Reading:  1 Kings (Audio), 2 Kings (Audio), 1 Chronicles (Audio), 2 Chronicles (Audio)
Commentary: David Pawson, 1 and 2 Kings, Part 2 of 2, 1 and 2 Chronicles, Part 1 of 1, Unlocking the Bible

Brick Wall

Sunday Walk 52 – Biblical Archeology

I recently went on a tour of the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago led by Ted Wright, Executive Director of Epic Archeology. After exploring his site here are a few of the many topics I found of interest.

  • Among the top 10 things to know about Biblical archeology are that “every major New Testament village and town has been discovered”, the Book of Acts records accurate geographic references, and there is an “historical synchronism” between the Assyrian record and the Old Testament regarding Sennacherib’s sacking of Lachish and the siege of Jerusalem. The prism containing the annals of Sennacherib is on display in the Oriental Institute.
  • The uraeus representing the Egyptian goddess Wadjet was a cobra often seen on the heads of statues of the pharaohs. When the Israelites yearned to return to Egypt, God sent them poisonous snakes to remind them what would be waiting if they went back (Numbers 21). As a cure for the bites Moses hung a copper snake on a pole which was how John 3 represented Jesus on the cross.
  • The references to Pharaoh hardening his heart is evidence that Exodus was written by an eye-witness who knew the Egyptian Book of the Dead where a weighty, hardened heart meant a miserable afterlife.

In the video below Ted Wright reviews one of the documentary films in Timothy Mahoney’s Patterns of Evidence series. Some of the questions asked in these documentaries are whether the Exodus and Conquest happened in the 15th century BC, where was the Red Sea crossing and whether Moses would have been able to write the Torah.

Ted Wright, Patterns of Evidence

There is also the question of whether Hebrew is the language of “the world’s oldest alphabet”, a position held by Douglas Petrovich. The discovery of the origin of the alphabet involved the discovery of Joseph, Manasseh and Ephraim at the beginning of the Sojourn in Egypt at Avaris. As Petrovich presented the data, they would have been the most likely inventors. This alphabet made it possible for Moses to write the Bible and for the Israelites to read it.


Weekly Bible Reading:  1 Samuel (Audio), 2 Samuel (Audio), 1 Kings (Audio), 2 Kings (Audio)
Commentary: David Pawson, 1 and 2 Samuel, Part 2 of 2, 1 and 2 Kings, Part 1 of 2, Unlocking the Bible