Saturday, May 05, 2007

Children, the Eastern Cape of South AfricaBELOIT, WI (May 4, 2007)

Please continue to pray for Larry and Susan as they continue to travel and preach God's Word, as they tell the stories of God, and ignite fires in the hearts of people who will listen. Amen.

Theological Dictionary word of the day: Intelligent Design
Time magazine cover,  August 15, 2005 Intelligent design (ID) is the concept that "certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection." Its leading proponents, all of whom are affiliated with the Discovery Institute, say that intelligent design is a scientific theory that stands on equal footing with, or is superior to, current scientific theories regarding the origin of life.

More and more of the scientific community are beginning to view intelligent design as a valid scientific theory.

  • The Evidence in Cosmology
    The Kalam cosmological argument is espousing a more powerful and compelling impetus.
  • The Evidence in Physics
    The "Anthropic principle" lead Patrick Glynn to abandon atheism. He says, "Today the concrete data point strongly in the direction of the God hypothosis. It is the simplist and most obvious solution to the anthropic puzzle."
  • The evidence in Astronomy
    "If the universe had not been made with the most exacting precision we could never have come into existance. It is my view that these circumstances indicate the universe was created for man to live in." -John A. O'Keefe of NASA
  • The evidence in Biochemistry
    Michael Behe has demostrated that Darwin's theory has broken down, through his description of "irreducibly complex" machines.
  • The evidence in Biological Information
    Stephen C. Meyer (Cambridge) has demonstrated that no hypothosis explains how information got into biological matter through naturalistic means.
  • The evidence in Consciousness
    "You can't get something from nothing. If the universe began with dead matter having no consciousness, how, then, do you get something totally different--consciousness, living, thinking, feeling, believing, creatures--from materials that don't have that?" -J. P. Moreland


Thursday, May 03, 2007

Theological Dictionary word of the day: cosmological argument
Modern thinkers sometimes cite evidence for the Big Bang to support the claim that the universe began to exist a finite time ago.The cosmological argument is a metaphysical argument for the existence of God, or a first mover of the cosmos. It is traditionally known as an "argument from universal causation," an "argument from first cause," and also as an "uncaused cause" argument. Whichever term is used, there are three basic variants of this argument, each with subtle but important distinctions: the argument from causation in esse, the argument from causation in fieri, and the argument from contingency. The cosmological argument does not attempt to prove anything about the first cause or about God, except to argue that such a cause must exist. This cause is known in Latin as "causa sui."

Origins of the argument
Plato and Aristotle both posited first cause arguments, though each had certain notable caveats. Plato (c. 427–c. 347 BCE) posited a basic cosmological argument in The Laws (Book X). He argued that motion in the world and in the cosmos was "imparted motion" that would have required some kind of "self-originated motion" to set it in motion and to maintain the motion. Plato also posited a "Demiurge" of supreme wisdom and intelligence as the creator of the cosmos in his work Timaeus.


The NGC 2440 Nebula, courtesy ©NASA
Theological Dictionary word of the day: anthropic principle
In physics and cosmology, the anthropic principle is an umbrella term for various dissimilar attempts to explain the structure of the universe by way of coincidentally balanced features that are necessary and relevant to the existence on Earth of biochemistry, carbon-based life, and eventually human beings to observe such a universe. The common (and "weak") form of the anthropic principle is a truism or tautology that begins with the observation that the universe appears surprisingly hospitable to the emergence of life, particularly complex multicellular life, that can make such an observation and concludes with that premise that in only such a fine-tuned universe can such living observers be.

Given the extreme simplicity of the universe at the start of the Big Bang, the friendliness of the universe to complex structures such as galaxies, planetary systems, and biology is unexpected by any normal model of turbulence driven structuring that science has been able to derive.

The idea evolved from the so-called "Dicke's coincidence", and has subsequently been reinforced by the discovery of many more anthropic coincidences since Robert Dicke first noted that the evolution of the universe is not random, but is coincidentally constrained by biological factors that require that the age of the universe had to be roughly this "golden-age". Much younger, and there would not have been time for sufficient interstellar levels of carbon to build up by nucleosynthesis, but much older, and the golden age of main sequence stars and stable planetary systems would have already come to an end.


Wednesday, May 02, 2007

David's Mighty Men

Larry and Susan had a good trip. Excellent Men's Retreat teaching on "David's Mighty Men"...tremendous response from many guys... 3 states and 6 churches, ages 16 to 83 at the meetings.

Larry is again off to keynote another Men's Conference in central WI. He will be back for church Sunday, then he and Susan are off for a two day mission meeting in the LaCrosse area (WI) representing Timothy Ministries.

Keep praying and we'll keep traveling and preaching/teaching! Love you guys!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Theological Dictikonary word of the day: watchmaker analogy
Hooke’s drawing of a flea.The watchmaker analogy, or watchmaker argument, is a teleological argument for the existence of God. By way of an analogy the argument states that design implies a designer. In the 17th and 18th centuries, the analogy was used (by Descartes and Boyle, for instance) as a device for explaining the structure of the universe and God's relationship to it. Later, the analogy played a prominent role in natural theology and the "argument from design," where it was used to support arguments for the existence of God and for the intelligent design of the universe.

The most famous statement of the teleological argument using the watchmaker analogy was given by William Paley in 1802. Paley's argument was seriously challenged by Charles Darwin's formulation of the theory of natural selection, and how it combines with mutation to improve survivability of a species, even a new species. In the United States, starting in the 1980s, the concepts of evolution and natural selection (usually referred to as "Darwinism") became the subject of a concerted attack by Christian creationists (see creationism). This attack included a renewed interest in, and defense of, the watchmaker argument by the intelligent design movement.

The Watchmaker argument
The watchmaker analogy consists of the comparison of some natural phenomenon to a watch. Typically, the analogy is presented as a prelude to the teleological argument and is generally presented as:

  1. If you look at a watch, you can easily tell that it was designed and built by an intelligent watchmaker.

  2. Similarly, if you look at some natural phenomenon X (a particular organ or organism, the structure of the solar system, life, the entire universe) you can easily tell that it was designed and built by an intelligent creator/designer.


Monday, April 30, 2007

Theological Dictionary word of the day: ex nihilo
artistic view of creationismEx nihilo is a Latin term meaning "out of nothing". It is often used in conjunction with the term creation as in Creatio ex Nihilo, "Creation out of nothing". God created merely by speaking it into existence.

Due to the nature of this, the term is often used in creationistic arguments, as some religions believe that God created the universe from nothing. It has also been argued that this concept cannot be deduced from the Hebrew and that the Book of Genesis, chapter 1, speaks of God "making" or "fashioning" the universe. However, Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi (1745-1812) refuted these arguments in section II of his book titled "Tanya".

Arguments in Favor
Typical verses from the Christian scripture (i.e. the Bible) cited in support of Ex nihilo creation by God are the following:

  • Genesis 1:1-2 - In the beginning when God began to create the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void...

  • Proverbs 8:22-24 “Jehovah himself produced me as the beginning of his way, the earliest of his achievements of long ago. 23 From time indefinite I was installed, from the start, from times earlier than the earth. 24 When there were no watery deeps I was brought forth as with labor pains, when there were no springs heavily charged with water.

  • Psalm 33:6 - By the word of the LORD were the heavens made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth.

  • John 1:3 - Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.

  • Romans 4:17 - ... the God who gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they were.

  • 1 Corinthians 1:28 - He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are,

  • Hebrews 11:3 - By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God's command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.


Theological Dictionary word of the day: Creation
Orion Nebula taken by the Hubble Space Telescope.The act of creating; especially, in a theological sense, the original act of God in bringing the world or universe into existence.

Creation is a doctrinal position in many religions and philosophical belief systems which maintains that a single God, or a group of gods or deities is responsible for creating the universe. Creationism affirms this belief, but the doctrinal belief is not necessarily synonymous with creationism.

Judaism & Christianity
Genesis 2:4-25

Mainstream Biblical scholarship maintains that the creation story found in Genesis 2 is the earlier of the two Genesis accounts. Filled with ancient and rich imagery, it is believed that the basic story once circulated among the early nomadic Hebrews, told perhaps around simple, intimate campfire settings, answering questions about life and the origins of humankind. The story also reflects Israel's belief in its covenant relationship with God. The concern in Genesis 2 is not in the creation of the cosmos but in the origins of humankind and their environment. There is a clear connection between humans and the land (Gen. 2:7) and the notion that people are a special creation of God. "Jehovah" is that name of God, which plainly means that he alone has His being of himself, and that He gives being to all creatures and things.