Most secular teaching claims that the universe came to be with a Big Bang; that there was a small infinitely hot and dense point billions of years ago which is called a singularity point. From this singularity, the teaching says, came all the matter and energy that evolved into all that exists today in our universe. Naturalists believe that the universe is infinite; that it has always existed. Different types of theories have continued to arise in an attempt to explain the origin of the universe including the steady-state theory espoused by Hermann Bondi, Thomas Gold, and Fred Hoyle, and many others that claim that the universe is infinite and that, in spite of entropy and the Second Law of Thermodynamics, new energy and matter continue to, somehow, be generated, replacing that which is used up with the passage of time. These are all attempts to repudiate what the Bible says about the beginning of the universe. But the Bible unequivocally insists that the universe had a miraculous beginning at a point when there was no time, no space or matter; a time when there were no laws of physics as we know them since these laws could not exist without the universe: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth…Then God said, “Let there be light…”” (Genesis 1:1,3).
In 1963-1965 when Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson, two engineers employed by Bell Laboratories, looked through a giant telescope of a Satellite Transmission System known as Echo, they saw a film of radiation enveloping the whole universe; the entire universe seemed to be bathed in a soft glow of light. This light became known as the Cosmic Microwave Radiation Background (CMRB).
Prior to this discovery, skeptics had contended that if the universe indeed had a beginning at a certain point in time with the explosion of light, then the vestiges of that light should still be present, somehow. Well, what do you know? Penzias and Wilson discovered the remainder of that light-a telltale sign of creation, as the Bible boldly proclaims… “Let there be light…”
Listen to Penzias’ comment following this discovery: “The best data we have are exactly what I would have predicted had I nothing to go on but the five books of Moses, the Psalms and the Bible as a whole.”1
Although the CMRB is invisible to the naked eye, it continues to shine in the microwave part of the electromagnetic spectrum all around the universe.
1 D. D’Souza (2007). “What’s So Special about Christianity?” A. Penzias quoted in M. Browne, “Clues to the Universe’s Origin Expected,” New York Times, March 12, 1978, pp. 124.
The Incarnation is the ultimate miracle of the Christian faith. Every other miracle recorded in the Bible either prepared for it or amplified it or resulted from it-the Master of all miracles in which God, in Jesus, put on human flesh, hands, a mouth, nose, eyes, ears and feet. He had sinew, vital organs and blood!!! He took on all the attributes of humanity in its entirety because that was the only way He could save mankind. He became man at a time in history when imperial powers had perfected the ultimate form of torturous death by crucifixion. But He did it all perfectly because He is God. The only way we can share God’s dying is unless He dies (C.S. Lewis). But He cannot die unless He takes upon Himself a mortal form. How else would He qualify to be the propitiation for our sins except by dying on the cross and suffering what He did not need to suffer for our sake? That is why our imitation of God must be our imitation of God Incarnate because Jesus is the model of every believer-Jesus not only as we see Him at Calvary or during his post-mortem resurrection appearances, but as a humble worker in a carpenter’s workshop; as He walked the dusty roads of Palestine, rubbing shoulders with sweaty crowds, attending to their incessant demands, dealing with religious leaders’ opposition and jealousy, and being devoid of solitude or privacy. This was the Divine life being lived in human flesh. This is our example, our ultimate Model. The Incarnation is the ontic referent from which the spirituality of the believer derives its meaning.
Jesus is Lord!
A common objection against the God of the Bible is that He is a male chauvinist. Leviticus 12: 2-5 is one of the Scriptures objectors cite, in which God commanded Israel that “If a woman has conceived, and borne a male child, then she shall be unclean seven days; as in the days of her customary impurity she shall be unclean… And she shall then continue in the blood of her purifying three and thirty days; she shall touch no hallowed thing, nor come into the sanctuary, until the days of her purifying be fulfilled. But if she bear a maid child, then she shall be unclean two weeks, as in her separation: and she shall continue in the blood of her purifying threescore and six days.” Notice that God did not say the woman would be dirty during this time. He said “unclean.” Tumah in Hebrew is unclean, but its best English translation is actually similar to the word “taboo” or “off limits,” Why would God call what He had created dirty or sinful such as the monthly menstrual cycle or childbirth when, at the end of the creation process Scripture says He looked at all He had created and said it was very good?
After the Fall of Man, sin pervaded human nature to such an extent that in ancient Israel (an in other nations) women had no rights and were at the mercy of their male counterparts.
During pregnancy and childbirth, a woman’s body undergoes drastic physiological and psychological metamorphosis. Loads of hormones are secreted to prepare the body for the changes of pregnancy and childbirth. Significant modifications to the immune system take place due to increased levels of cortisol. Pregnancy can increase women’s susceptibility to disease. The immune system changes during pregnancy to protect both the mother and the baby. But after giving birth the immune system can be weakened by varied factors that include loss of blood during delivery, exertion from both the delivery process and from sleepless nights of caring for a newborn. After the work of giving birth is done, the stress on the mother only increases. Her body, which has been through incredible challenges still faces the task of caring for the newborn baby. Her body also has to provide the resources for accomplishing this stressful transition from pregnant woman to new mother. This taxes the immune system.
In modern times, physicians advise new mothers to rest for a minimum of 3 days to regain their strength. The isolation instructions found in Leviticus 12: 2-5 gave women living in an agrarian community that was characterized by manual labor the much needed resting period to regain their strength. God created the human body. He understands the toll it takes on the human body to carry a fellow human being for almost one year, and then push them out into the world. In an age when people did not know about infection or germs, God gave instructions to isolate the new mother from the rest of the community in order to protect her from disease including puerperal fever, which was discovered about 3,000 years later by an Austrian physician known as Ignaz Semmelweis. Isolation gave her exemption from cooking and other forms of physical labor. She was also protected from possible sexual demands from her husband before her body fully recovered. A midwife took care of her food and nursing needs. During her purification period which lasted between 33 to 66 days depending on the gender of her baby, the new mother continued to avoid contact with crowds from which she and the baby could easily come into contact with deadly pathogens at a time when there were not clinics or hospitals. Does that sound chauvinistic? The most dangerous thing is to give an opinion about something we know so little about.
To read further about how God cares for the general health of human beings, get a copy of The Perfect Prescription from: http://www.wmturls.com/pp
Chapter 20 in the book of Numbers opens with the decease of Miriam, Moses’ sister. Miriam who had diligently watched the banks of the River Nile and guarded the basket that hid and protected her baby brother, Moses, from Pharaoh, the pathological egotist, who had instituted a program of Hebrew male infanticide; Miriam who had courageously approached the Pharaoh’s daughter when she had discovered the floating basket containing baby Moses, and had asked her if she would allow her to find a Hebrew nursemaid for the child; Miriam who had run home with all her might to alert her mother, Jochebed, and to bring her to Pharaoh’s daughter as Moses’ Hebrew nurse; Miriam the prophetess who had led the women of Israel in a song of exultation and praise to the Lord for delivering his people from the clutches of one of the world’s most powerful empires at the time; Miriam who had succumbed to the rigors and stress of protracted desert life and had thoughtlessly criticized Moses’ Ethiopian wife with Aaron; Miriam, for whom Moses had interceded and begged God to restore and heal her of her leprosy; Miriam whose sin had brought the entire nation of Israel to a standstill as they waited for God to heal her-this same Miriam had just died at Kadesh. The death of a sibling is a traumatic event because the role of a sibling is a unique one, and although sibling relationship may be far from being perfect, it is still significant in that siblings can function as best friends, confidants, surrogate parents, and even role models. No one knows the emotions Moses experienced as a result of Miriam’s death. Sadly, immediately after the announcement of Miriam’s death, we read that the people gathered themselves against Moses and against Aaron, not to comfort them for the loss, but to chide, blame, complain and murmur. Moses had patiently led them all the previous years, but the bitter complaints were unrelentingly frequent. The ingratitude and exasperating pressure from the rebels finally got the best of Moses. We read with sympathetic sadness how he lapsed under the accumulation of verbal onslaught, and sinned against God. Because of his sin, Moses could not lead Israel across the Jordan into the Promised Land. But the record tells us that God, who does exceeding abundantly more that we can ever ask for or think, immensely rewarded Moses, first by burying him Himself and then resurrecting him from the dead. Moses who could have been an Egyptian mummy is now alive forever. He did not only finally enter into the Promised Land, but he stood there on the Mount of Transfiguration, talking to Jesus in resplendent glory.
Sometimes we lose sight of the fact that our leaders-whether they be clergy or secular- are mere human beings prone to making mistakes. We harshly judge them; make crass jokes even about their physical appearances or their families or whatever we focus on to inflict maximum pain on them. The Bible tells us that of all the millions of adults who set out for the Promised Land from Egypt, only two crossed over to possess the land. The rest died in the wilderness, largely due to their sin of murmuring and complaining about the way they were being led. We do not read anywhere that the people came together to pray for strength for Moses or even to show appreciation for the work he was doing for them. All they did was criticize and rebel. Freedom to say whatever we feel about whoever we want to talk about is not without cost as far as God is concerned (Matthew 12:36), particularly if what we say hurts the other person.
This stunning statement was released by the FBI: “It’s sad but true: here in this country, people are being bought, sold, and smuggled like modern-day slaves. They are trapped in lives of misery—often beaten, starved, and forced to work as prostitutes or to take grueling jobs as migrant, domestic, restaurant, or factory workers with little or no pay. We’re working hard to stop human trafficking—not only because of the personal and psychological toll it takes on society, but also because it facilitates the illegal movement of immigrants across borders and provides a ready source of income for organized crime groups and even terrorists.”[i]
Child trafficking is not only a public health problem, but it is also a horrendous and heinous clandestine activity that is threatening the fiber of our civilization. This practice transcends cultural and national boundaries although it is more endemic in some countries than in others. This is a global epidemic fostered by greed and an impudent disregard for human rights. The International Labor Organization describes child trafficking as “taking children out of their protective environment and preying on their vulnerability for the purpose of exploitation.” The ILO further claims that there are approximately between 980,000 to 1,225,000 children of both genders in forced labor situations across the world as a result of child trafficking.[ii] These are conservative statistics. The numbers could be higher.
Child trafficking occurs internally in countries, across national borders and across continents. It is closely interlinked with the demand for cheap, malleable and docile labor. Usually child trafficking is more rampant in sectors and among employers where work conditions and employee treatment grossly violates the human rights of the children. It is a cruel practice that requires stiff punishment for perpetrators. The children’s places of employment and sleeping quarters are often unacceptably dangerous and squalid, and extremely hazardous to their health and development. Forms of indentured labor include child domestic labor, commercial sexual exploitation and prostitution, drug couriering, and child soldiering as well as exploitative and slavery-like practices in the informal industrial sector. UNICEF has programs such as End Trafficking, Every Child Counts and many others that need our support including lobbying governments, working with communities, and supporting training of professionals working with children rescued from child trafficking. The risk factors for the perpetration of this practice are many, but we can win this battle through a concerted effort, incrementally; one step at a time. The Bible says that children are a heritage from the Lord… a reward from Him (Psalm 127:3). Common sense tells us that squandering an inheritance is one sure way to court poverty.
To learn more about child trafficking, get a copy of The Perfect Prescription from: http://www.wmturls.com/pp
[i] Federal Bureau of Investigation (2014). Human Trafficking. Accessed from http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/investigate/civilrights/human_trafficking
[ii] International Labour Organization (2014). Trafficking in Children. Accessed from http://ilo.org/ipec/areas/Traffickingofchildren/lang–en/index.htm
The development of the behavior of a human being is shaped by the interplay among parental practices, dietary habits, cultural practices as well as congenital characteristics. A novel contributor to behavioral development has been identified by scientists in the form of epigenetic inheritance, which is a process of transmitting parental phenotypic responses caused by the challenges of their environment to subsequent generations, according to Lawrence V. Harper in his article, Epigenetic Inheritance and the Intergenerational Transfer of Experience. This transfer can happen even when the offspring themselves may not be directly exposed to the same environmental challenges their parents faced because although the genetic inheritance may not have been altered the expression of the genes has. For example, environmental challenges such as maternal exposure to stressful events during the late stage of a daughter’s gestation is likely to have an adverse effect on the physical development of the daughter as well as that of the daughter’s offspring. Genes and the environment tend to co-act in the behavioral development of an individual so that phenotypic adjustments to environmental events in one generation can result in alterations in the phenotype of the subsequent generation.
Alcohol abuse is an environmental factor which scientists claim is capable of altering epigenetic signatures and gene expression. According to research by Wong and associates even a short-term abuse of a substance such as alcohol has been found to produce long-term epigenetic alterations via DNA methylation as well as histone modification. Epigenetics alterations of gene expression, in such cases, further increase the craving for more alcohol abuse in future, which in turn, increases epigenetic changes. Sadly, exposures to substance abuse by one generation can influence and impact the following generation as well. A research report by Walden and associates in their article, Trajectories of Change in Adolescent Substance Use and Symptomatology: Impact of Paternal and Maternal Use Disorders, suggests that both “paternal and maternal drug use had an addictive effect on the offspring’s drug use trajectory…” What this means is that exposure to substance abuse fosters transmissible epigenetic changes which are passed on to the offspring’s behavioral and physiological development. Because of these findings many are calling for policy enactment and educational campaigns by public health professionals and allied health professionals to spread the awareness among the general public about the inter-generational impact of drug abuse during their adolescent and childbearing phases of life. In epigenetics we inherit more than genes from our parents.
Scripture teaches us that we have a responsibility to keep our bodies as temples of the Holy Spirit. The Bible also shows us that our personal choices do not only affect us, but that they have a ripple effect that can affect our offspring either positively or negatively. Our sinful indulgences have a tendency to visit our subsequent generations with adverse consequences unless until they are mitigated by the Blood of the Lamb (Romans 5:19).
Over the years as they have continued to examine and study Einstein’s theory of gravity further, physicists and mathematicians have been astonished to discover that the universe is expanding. This means that the galaxies outside our own galaxy are moving away from us. What is amazing is that the farther the galaxies are from us the faster they are moving away. Even if we happened to be in another galaxy, the neighboring galaxies would still be moving away from us. The concept of the expanding galaxies has been confirmed by the redshift in the light emanating from distant galaxies. Of all the galaxies ours, the Milky Way, is the only one where life is found and sustained. The Milky Way has multiple arms and tucked between two of its arms is a single-star solar system (our solar system), which contains planet earth and its tiny inhabitants. Compared to the other objects in the universe, the inhabitants of earth are of negligible stature, puny specs of animated dust. For example, the volume of our sun is so huge that about 1.3 million planet Earths could fit inside it, but our sun is just of medium size compared to other billions of stars in the galaxy. Yet a single human being is of greater value than any of these objects in the universe. They are inorganic. The Bible tells us that “The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament shows his handiwork” (Psalm 19:1, NKJV). Yet, daunting and gigantic as these objects are, none of them bear the Imago Dei, none of them are made in the image of God. Human beings have both extrinsic and intrinsic value. God has made unprecedented investment in them. “For You have made him [mankind] a little lower than the angels, And You have crowned him with glory and honor. You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands…” (Psalm 8: 5,6).
Biologically, we are just as amazing: our hearts beat an average of 7O times per minute. That is 100,000 a day. and this adds to about 36 million times each year. In one life time of about 70 years the heart beats a total of approximately 2½ billion times. Each single day the heart pumps about 3,000 gallons of blood. Our skeletal system consists of 200 bones created to support the body and assist it in movement. In order to regulate the temperatures of our bodies the skin has 2 million sweat glands. This means that, on average, there are 3,000 sweat glands per square inch of the skin.
Spiritually, we are the only ones in our universe created with an innate desire to worship. As living souls, we have an inherent, insatiable desire to know our Maker. We have a spiritual instinct that has been endowed to us from the beginning of time. Blaise Pascal aptly observed that “There is a God shaped vacuum in the heart of every man (generic term) which cannot be filled by any created thing, but only by God, the Creator, made known through Jesus.” Human life is magnificently sacred at all times. Learn more about the glory of mankind from: http://www.wmturls.com/pp