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Number One Favorite Smell…

Posted by Mats on 18/10/2010

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Barbeque is the number one favorite smell, on most people’s smell list. It brings instant salivation. The top favorite color is blue. That makes sense, because blue gives us a sense of well-being. Who doesn’t appreciate a clear blue sky? What are some of the every day pleasures you enjoy? Good music? How about the first bite of a tender steak, or some liquid that hits the spot on a really hot day? Imagine losing all of those pleasures. Imagine if you found yourself in a place where a terrible thirst could never be quenched.

I don’t need to “imagine” such a place. I am 100% convinced that Hell exists; and Hell is a place where there is no pleasure. No friends. No parties. I believe this because I know that a Creator exists, because creation exists: It is…therefore He does. As mocking atheists say, “Goddidit.” It doesn’t take too much thought.

I know intuitively that the Creator is good, because I am part of a “moral” creation. No animal has concerns about justice and truth. Only man. If God exists and is good, He therefore must care about justice. Billions feel as I do. Simply ask any human being what God requires of them, and they will say that He expects us to “live a good life,” etc. From there, common sense dictates that murderers and rapists will ultimately be punished. That’s a given. But what most of humanity doesn’t understand is that the standard of goodness that God has is infinitely higher than ours. That means that on Judgment Day His justice will be infinitely more demanding.

To believe that God doesn’t exist–that there is no absolute morality, no ultimate justice, and you can live as you wish, is to have all your eggs in one broken down basket, with a loose handle. If you are guilty on Judgment Day (and remember that lust is adultery in God’s eyes–Matthew 5:27-28), you will give up all of life’s wonderful pleasures.

Think about what “damnation” actually means. Crying out “I’m so sorry, I was wrong, God help me!” will mean nothing. The door of mercy will be closed. You laughed at His servants, you mocked His gospel, you blasphemed His name, you were ungrateful for the life he gave you, and lived in a way that was abhorrent to Him. Now you must face the music. Justice will have finally caught up with you, and there will be Hell to pay.

For the Christian, Hell has already been “paid.” Justice has been satisfied through the suffering death of the Savior. We can leave the courtroom. We will have pleasure for evermore, on a new earth…one without tornadoes, floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, disease, pain, suffering, death, etc. God hasn’t even begun to show the pleasures He has in store for those that love Him (see 1 Corinthians 2:9). We have instant salvation the moment we call upon Him, and eternal salivation awaiting us.

So what’s holding you back from repentance, and faith in Jesus? We both know the answer to that, don’t we? It’s two-fold. Your pride, and your love of your sin. Maybe the next time pleasure comes your way, you will consider these sobering thoughts. I hope so.

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Offensive and “art”

Posted by Mats on 12/09/2010

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Ancient Fragments of Moses’ Song of the Sea

Posted by Mats on 28/06/2010

http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/240361

by Dewayne Bryant, M.A.

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On February 26, 2010, the Associated Press reported that two pieces of a biblical manuscript had been reunited after being separated for centuries (Demirjian). The fragments date to the 7th century A.D., a period during which almost no Hebrew manuscripts survive. This exciting discovery has once again drawn the world’s attention back, not only to one of the earliest books of the Hebrew Bible, but one of its earliest sections.

The two portions together contain the Song of the Sea from Exodus 15:1-20. The song was sung just after the crossing of the Red/Reed Sea (Exodus 14). The song celebrates God’s victory over the Egyptian military, which was the strongest at the time in the ancient Near East. The Exodus event is so momentous in Jewish history that it has often been called the “Gospel of the Old Testament.” It was the foundational salvation event in Hebrew history that gave birth to the Jewish nation.

Scholars studying the manuscript believe that they were not only written by the same scribe, but were once part of the same scroll. This is remarkable given the fact that manuscripts from the Hebrew Bible dating to the period between the 3rd and 8th centuries A.D. are extremely rare. To the casual observer, these two Hebrew manuscripts may be little more than historical artifacts from a distant age and culture. But to believers, these manuscripts are yet another signpost pointing to the historical veracity of Scripture.

Scholars generally recognize the Song of the Sea as one of the oldest compositions found in the Hebrew Bible. The Song of the Sea is written in archaic Hebrew, consisting of a hymn (vss. 1-3), a short narrative (vss. 4-12) and a closing note on the victory (vss. 13-18). Its archaic appearance is important, since the first few books of the Bible are under fire by some scholars who claim that they were not written until very late in Israel’s history.

The antiquity of the song is attested by several elements. Alan Cole identifies the word for “praise” in verse 2 as a haepax legomenon (a word that appears only once in the Bible), arguing that it “is one of the many archaisms of the song” (Cole, 1973, p. 131). Additional examples include archaic suffixes on the Hebrew verbs “destroy” (vs. 9) and “swallowed” (vs. 12), and the phrases “holy habitation” and “sanctuary” in vss. 13 and 17, respectively (pp. 131-132).

A consensus of scholars have dated the song no later than the 10th century B.C. W.F. Albright dated the composition to the 13th century B.C. (1957), while, more recently, Brian Russell has dated it to about 1150 B.C. (2007). Widely respected scholars Frank Moore Cross and David Noel Freedman date the song no later than the 10th century. Writing in 1997, Freedman flatly states,

I am as firmly convinced today as I was forty-five years ago that early [Hebrew] poems really are early. While it is true that many, perhaps most, serious scholars date this poetry across the whole spectrum of Israelite history…I believe that the whole corpus belongs to the earliest period of Israel’s national existence, and that the poems were composed between the twelfth and tenth-ninth centuries B.C.E. I have encountered neither compelling evidence nor convincing argument to the contrary, or to make me think otherwise (Cross and Freedman, 1997, p. x).

While scholars generally date the song very early, many still date it several centuries after the time of Moses. However, there is solid evidence that supports the belief that Moses could have written the song himself. This includes Egyptian language in the song, which would be only natural since Moses would have been trained in an Egyptian school called the k3p, or “the Royal Nursery,” where foreign-born princes were educated. [NOTE: Despite the use of the word “nursery,” this school was a prestigious one—some prominent Egyptian government officials listed their attendance in the Royal Nursery in their “resumes” recorded on the walls of their tombs. Cf. Acts 7:22] This connection is strengthened by the fact that the language in Exodus 15:4 includes the formal Egyptian phrase “of the choicest” and the word often translated “captains,” both of which have Egyptian parallels (Craigie, 1970, pp. 84-85). In order to use this language, whoever wrote it must have been trained in Egypt. This provides a perfect fit for the biblical account of Israel’s presence in Egypt.

An unfortunate tendency among modern critics is to date everything in the Bible as late as possible, arguing that it was the Exile, not the Exodus, which served as a starting point for ancient Hebrew literature. Archaic verbal forms and the parallels cited by scholars above obviously militate against an assumption that is actively—and wrongly—dismissive of the ancient evidence. The Christian belief that the book of Exodus is ancient is both well-founded and well-supported. Thanks to a remarkable discovery by a trained eye, that fact is once again confirmed to the world.

REFERENCES

Albright, William F. (1957, reprint 1994), Yahweh and the Gods of Canaan: A Historical Analysis of Two Contrasting Faiths (Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns).

Cole, R. Alan (1973), Exodus (Downers Grove: Intervarsity Press).

Craigie, Peter (1970), “Short Notes: An Egyptian Expression in the Song of the Sea (Exodus 15:4),” Vetus testamentum, 20[1]:83-86, January.

Cross, Frank Moore, Jr. and David Noel Freedman (1997), Studies in Ancient Yahwistic Poetry (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, and Livonia, MI: Dove Booksellers).

Demirjian, Karoun (2010), “Ancient Bible Manuscript Fragments Reunited,” Associated Press, February 26, http://news.discovery.com/history/bible-manuscript-fragments-reunited.html.

Russell, Brian D. (2007), The Song of the Sea: The Date of Composition and Influence of Exodus 15:1-21 (New York: Peter Lang).

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Secular Geology Admits to Rapid Canyon Formation by Megafloods

Posted by Mats on 26/06/2010

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June 21, 2010 — It’s hard to deny catastrophic canyon formation when you have the evidence right in front of you. Look what happened in Texas a few years ago, as reported by PhysOrg:

In the summer of 2002, a week of heavy rains in Central Texas caused Canyon Lake – the reservoir of the Canyon Dam – to flood over its spillway and down the Guadalupe River Valley in a planned diversion to save the dam from catastrophic failure. The flood, which continued for six weeks, stripped the valley of mesquite, oak trees, and soil; destroyed a bridge; and plucked meter-wide boulders from the ground. And, in a remarkable demonstration of the power of raging waters, the flood excavated a 2.2-kilometer-long, 7-meter-deep canyon in the bedrock.

The actual canyon was formed in just three days, said Science Daily. Live Science also reported the story, saying, “Some of the most spectacular canyons on Earth and Mars were probably formed in the geologic blink of an eye, suggests a new study that found clues to their formation deep in the heart of Texas.”
Such catastrophic floods and canyons that resulted are not unknown in historic times, but what’s new is that geologists are taking note and applying the lesson of Canyon Lake to large, prehistoric megafloods on earth and even Mars. PhysOrg continued, “Our traditional view of deep river canyons, such as the Grand Canyon, is that they are carved slowly, as the regular flow and occasionally moderate rushing of rivers erodes rock over periods of millions of years.” Quoting Michael Lamb of Caltech, co-author of a paper in Nature Geoscience,1 the article said that such is not always the case: “We know that some big canyons have been cut by large catastrophic flood events during Earth’s history.”
Lamb went on to explain that there is not often an easy way to tell a catastrophically-formed canyon from a gradually-formed one:

Unfortunately, these catastrophic megafloods – which also may have chiseled out spectacular canyons on Mars—generally leave few telltale signs to distinguish them from slower events. “There are very few modern examples of megafloods,” Lamb says, “and these events are not normally witnessed, so the process by which such erosion happens is not well understood.” Nevertheless, he adds, “the evidence that is left behind, like boulders and streamlined sediment islands, suggests the presence of fast water”—although it reveals nothing about the time frame over which the water flowed.

Lamb found that process like “plucking” – in which boulders popped up from fractured bedrock became sledgehammers in the current, and headward-eroding waterfalls, led to quick downward erosion of the canyon. He hopes the features witnessed in the Canyon Lake flood will aid in interpreting megaflood evidence on earth and Mars. Here is the abstract from the paper by Lamb and Fonstad:

Deep river canyons are thought to form slowly over geological time (see, for example, ref. 1 [Grand Canyon]), cut by moderate flows that reoccur every few years 2, 3. In contrast, some of the most spectacular canyons on Earth and Mars were probably carved rapidly during ancient megaflood events 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12. Quantification of the flood discharge, duration and erosion mechanics that operated during such events is hampered because we lack modern analogues. Canyon Lake Gorge, Texas, was carved in 2002 during a single catastrophic flood 13. The event offers a rare opportunity to analyse canyon formation and test palaeo-hydraulic-reconstruction techniques under known topographic and hydraulic conditions. Here we use digital topographic models and visible/near-infrared aerial images from before and after the flood, discharge measured during the event, field measurements and sediment-transport modelling to show that the flood moved metre-sized boulders, excavated ~7 m of limestone and transformed a soil-mantled valley into a bedrock canyon in just ~3 days. We find that canyon morphology is strongly dependent on rock type: plucking of limestone blocks produced waterfalls, inner channels and bedrock strath terraces, whereas abrasion of cemented alluvium sculpted walls, plunge pools and streamlined islands. Canyon formation was so rapid that erosion might have been limited by the ability of the flow to transport sediment. We suggest that our results might improve hydraulic reconstructions of similar megafloods on Earth and Mars.

Their references included the paper by J H Bretz on the channeled scablands of Washington, and other research on the Lake Bonneville floods, but no work by creation geologists who have postulated rapid formation of the Grand Canyon by a dam breach megaflood. They did not discuss the Grand Canyon in their paper other than to state in the introduction that “Most bedrock river canyons are thought to be cut slowly over millions of years (for example, Grand Canyon, USA, ref. 1) by moderate flows that reoccur every few years.” They did not say whether they agree with that assessment now in light of their work.
Lamb and Fonstad described in the paper how it is hard to tell slow processes from rapid ones:

It is difficult to identify morphologic features in Canyon Lake Gorge that indicate canyon formation during a 3 day event, versus a longer-lived flood or multiple events. For example, inner channels, knickpoints and terraces are often formed slowly over geologic time in response to shifting climate or tectonic forcing, but in Canyon Lake Gorge and other megafloods they must have formed rapidly through intrinsic instabilities in the erosion processes. A narrow gorge is sometimes inferred to represent slow persistent erosion, whereas Canyon Lake Gorge was formed in a matter of days. It is clear that models for the rate of bedrock erosion are needed to calculate the duration of flooding necessary to excavate a canyon of known volume. Although notable progress has been made, there are no well tested mechanistic models of bedrock erosion via plucking during megafloods.

They did the best they could to come up with a “semi-empirical theory” of sediment transport capacity to account for the rapid erosion of Canyon Lake Gorge. Apparently it was not the strength of the bedrock that limited erosion, but the ability of the water to pick up and move large blocks: “Thus, it seems plausible that erosion of well-jointed rock by large floods might be extremely rapid, such that canyon formation is limited by the capacity of the flood to transport plucked blocks rather than by the plucking processes itself.” Whether that is the only surprising paradigm shift from this observational example of rapid canyon formation remains to be seen. It may be time to change a lot of western national park interpretive signs.


1. Lamb and Fonstad, “Rapid formation of a modern bedrock canyon by a single flood event,” Nature Geoscience, Published online: 20 June 2010 | doi:10.1038/ngeo894.

What does he mean this is not well understood? If the secular geologists had been reading the creationist journals for decades, which are way ahead of the curve on this topic, they would not be so clueless. The Creation Research Society Quarterly, Journal of Creation and other peer-reviewed journals written by creation scientists, with field research and PhDs, have for years been talking about the power of catastrophic processes to produce the Grand Canyon and other large earth features in just days and weeks by breached dams and other megaflooding processes. This is nothing new, but the secular journals and news media act like it is. It’s nice for the secular crowd, still awaking from their Lyellian slumbers, to catch the groove finally (better late than never), but how about some attribution? Creationist authors of papers on this subject should get together and walk into Lamb’s office with a stack of their papers on catastrophic canyon formation by megafloods, pile them on his desk, and ask, “Where have you been all this time?”

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