Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Truth Project: Lesson 6

Lesson 6 – History: Whose Story?
Remembering…Isaiah 46:9-11. Israel would get in trouble, God would rescue them, and He would tell them to remember His great works. God is in control – He is sovereign over the affairs of men! God has a plan and He is carrying it out. Galatians 4:4-5

The Past: Events which have already happened
The Future: Events which have not yet happened
The Present: “the very thin, nanosecond line converting the future into the past”
What you believe in the present is determined by the past. Thus remembering is very important and history is extremely critical!
The story of “I, Rigoberta Menchu”: a very sad autobiography about life under Guatemalan gorillas which won the author a Nobel Peace prize. It was placed on many school’s reading lists. However, David Stoll discovered that many of the incidents in the story had not occurred. When questioned about this, another professor said it didn’t matter whether or not the book was true…it could be used to teach students about abuse of women. This is a very troubling idea – that something which did not actually happen could be taught as fact in order to make a point.
The Mayflower Compact – Version taught in schools leaves out the references to God which are in the original…thus it loses the whole reason they pilgrims came!

“If I can change your historical context, I can change your present beliefs.”
There have been lies about history since the serpent in the Garden of Eden!!! It didn’t take long for lies about the resurrection to spread! Matthew 28:11-15
Lies = historical revisionism (which is very prevalent today)
When you rewrite the past, you can make people believe whatever you want.
Guess which book comes under the greatest historical attack?? The Bible! People say it has been changed, that it isn’t accurate, etc. etc. In reality, the historical data for the Bible is overwhelming! Of all the ancient books, the Bible has the greatest amount of manuscript evidence. Compare the New Testament, for example, to the Iliad by Homer (which no one questions!). Plato wrote in 900 BC. The earliest manuscripts we have of his works were copied in 400 BC, 500 years later! Furthermore, we only have 643 manuscript copies! With the New Testament, however, the earliest copy was written only 25 years after the original, and we have around 24,000 manuscripts.
Why is it, then, that no one seriously questions the Iliad yet everyone questions the New Testament?
George Orwell – He who controls the past controls the future!!!

Israel’s Memorial Stones: Joshua 4:17 – But they didn’t do too well at remembering, so God would have to rescue them, then they would forget and sin again – Judges 2:16-17.
Why did they tassels, the Passover, etc.? To remind them of God’s work in their history.
The problem with us: forgetting what we should remember (God’s providence, etc.) and remembering what we should forget (sin which we have confessed and which as been forgiven).
Dairyample: Without History, life had no meaning.
Os Guinness: Where we have come from is a key to who we are – we have no identity without our past.
Deuteronomy 8:10-20 – God warned the people of Israel: be careful and remember, otherwise you will forget and become proud. That is exactly what happened! As a result, the Lord sent them a famine of hearing His word: Amos 8:11. That is a picture of a destroyed nation…one that is without God’s word. To avoid that, we must filter history the same as any other subject – by taking every thought captive: 2 Corinthians 10:3-5.

A false picture of God by H.G. Wells: God is like a frantic director of a play who’s stage has just caught fire, running around and unable to do anything about it.
That is not true. Rather, God is sovereign!!! Acts 4:27-28
The problem is that I want to be the one in control…
So did Ahab in 1 Kings 22, but guess what happened? Ahab’s plan failed. God uses even “chance” to accomplish His will, sometimes despite our best efforts!

Antinomy and Paradox in Scripture
First – Last; Weak – Strong; Live – Die; Free Agents – God’s Sovereignty

Jean-Francois Lyotard: postmodernism = an incredulity towards metanarratives. (a Metanarrative is any large story giving an all-encompassing plan to history)
Gordon Pennington from Burning Media: Modernism placed Reason above Religion, while Postmodernism rejects both. In postmodernism, everyone tells their own story however they want to tell it.

Photo albums – filled with stories of our lives. God’s grand story is like a photo album of His work. Hebrews 11
Myopia is near-sightedness – everyone has natural myopia at times…we get so focused on our own story that we lose sight of God’s big picture. The Bible is God’s larger story. History is not about ME…we must be caught up into God’s larger story rather than stay focused on our little lives.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The Truth Project: Lesson 5

Lesson 5 – Science: What is True? [This lesson was in two parts - two hours instead of the typical one]
In this tour, it is important that you be objective and listen to the evidence.

Psalm 19:1-4 – The box (the universe, see lesson 2 about the cosmic cube) is noisy! There is a lot going on inside of it. God displays His glory through His work in the box.

Counting the stars – various attempts throughout the ages. In 2003, the star count was 70 sextillion: 70 with 21 zeros after it!

The Universe is NOT random and chaotic. God reveals Himself in Creation (Romans 1:18-20). We almost have to go out of our way to deny His existence. Only a fool says that there is no God – Psalm 53:1.

The Great Cosmological Question: Where did the cosmos come from???
Two possible answers:
It had a beginning – there was nothing, and then there was something
It has always existed – eternal cosmos, but it is eventually winding down
Without God in the picture (assuming number one), there was nothing nothing and then BOOM…there was everything. Sartre: Why is there something rather than nothing???
Evolutionists are men of faith too! They believe that something came from absolutely nothing!
Questions to consider –
Why is anything in motion rather than everything being still?
Why is there order instead of chaos?
Why is there life instead of deadness?
Why is there music?

If something came from nothing, there are two options:
God created – therefore He exists and is revealed through special and general revelation
The Cosmos created the world using eons of time – the impossible becomes possible, that something can come from absolutely nothing
Sagan: to find the truth we need imagination [that’s for sure!!] and skepticism

Science
The systematic study of “stuff in the box”àphilosophy and science are very closely linked. Philosophy deals with the universals, Science deals with the particulars. Now, however, science is trying to answer the big philosophical questions of where the world came from and where it is going.
Kepler said that the chief aim of science is to study the work of God’s hands.

Ed Myer – The Scientific Revolution was based on the idea that the universe is rationally designed!
True randomness means that there is nothing intelligible!!! Where does the information in the world around us come from?
Unlocking the Mystery of Life DVD: 20 kinds of amino acids, arranged like letters in words to form proteins which then form every part of our bodies. The code (or dictionary) for the amino acids is in the DNA…DNA is required to form the correct chain of amino acids. Such a code really could not come about merely by chance. Example: try dropping scrabble letters onto a table and coming up with two lines from Hamlet: “To be or not to be, that is the question.” It really isn’t possible!
Dr. Tackett – not just that, but you have to get the scrabble letters from somewhere!

Scientific method: HypothesisàTheoryàLaw
Hypothesis: collecting data and making an assumption of what typically happens
Theory: predicting what will happen
Law: a broad truth claim that applies to all of reality

William Paley: Natural Theology – if you find a pocket watch in the woods, you know that there was obviously a designer. Dawkins tried to refute such an idea in his book The Blind Watchmaker….

Really, the evidence of design is plain. People don’t drive by Mount Rushmore and praise the winds and the rain. Kids do not find arrowheads and get excited about how the creek shaped the rock. The same is true for the cosmos.

[Part 2]
The amazingly intricate process of blood clotting – a chain of reactions with many different chemicals, each of which must do its own part.

Sagan – Evolution has been verified by the fossil record and by molecular biology.
Is that true? What did Darwin say about it? How does the evidence of today’s science stack up?
Molecular Biology: Darwin said that “If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed, which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.”
At the time that Darwin wrote that, scientists believed that the cell was basically just a blob. Now, however, they know that it is itself a complex organ. The nucleus of the cell contains the DNA, which is copied to provide the patterns to make amino acids, which are linked together and folded in specific ways to form proteins (see above), which then fulfill various tasks throughout the body. The cell is not a blob, it is a fully functioning factory! There is no way that the cell could have formed by slight modifications. One of the smallest objects in the world strikes a heavy blow against Darwin’s theory, by his own admission.
Evolutionists of today prefer spontaneous generation over special creation, even though the idea of spontaneous generation was shown to be false by Louis Pasteur in the 1800’s.
The bacterial flagellum also causes problems for evolutionists. It is essentially an outboard motor on a little tiny creature – it has several parts, all of which MUST be there at the same time for it to function. This is what some scientists call “irreducible complexity” – just like a mouse trap which requires many pieces to be in the right place at the right time.
The Fossil Record: Darwin admitted that the lack of fossilized transitional forms was a big hit to his theory. He had great faith, however, that these so called “missing links” would be discovered in the following years.
However, the missing links are still missing. We have no fossils which are (without a doubt) transitional forms. Dr. Berlinski explains what a large problem this is by estimating how many transitional forms would be needed to go from a land creature to a creature that always lives in the sea (50,000). He then goes on to point out that with this huge number of intermediate creatures, we ought to have some indication of that process. But we don’t. We have the two separate classes of creatures with no real indication of a progression from one to the other.
The evolutionists’ answer to this dilemma is the punctuated equilibrium theory – that evolution occurred in large sudden bursts triggered by asteroid impacts or volcanic eruptions. Thus, the transitional forms all died in a very short time frame…too short to give fossilization an opportunity to preserve the process. The problem is that this theory is supported by a LACK of evidence, contrary to the way science is typically done!

Icons of Evolution
Darwin’s Finches – True, the beak size increased during the droughts, but then when the rain came the beak size decreased again…that is not very good evidence for changes form one species to another!
Haeckel’s Embryos – At the very least, Haeckel took much artistic license and intentionally over emphasized the similarities…yet these drawings still occur in many textbooks!

Soren Lovtrup – Evolution will someday be seen as the greatest scientific deceit of all times.
It is not merely a scientific truth claim; it is a philosophical truth claim! It is a world view, not just a scientific theory. This is the true battle ground of today. The secular society prefers evolution over creation because once they accept creation they also admit that there is a Creator to whom they are accountable.
G. Richard Bozarth – without Genesis (specifically Adam and Eve), Christ’s death is useless.
Laying a foundation at a young age for belief in a world without God can cause serious problems later in life.