Sunday, May 24, 2009

Complete Glover Series Now Available

When Christians choose to reject science that is nearly universally accepted, and choose to hold to views founded upon a literal reading of Genesis, their choice may be largely inconsequential. Other than accepting a false sense of reality, and limiting their own appreciation of the cosmos and of life sciences, their choice may have little impact upon their day to day lives.

But when Christian educators reject the last 200 years of scientific advancements, and pass this bias on to their students, they severely cripple Christian young people by passing on notions which will be completely worthless in their careers. Again, this may matter little to the student who does not pursue a career in certain technical or scientific fields. But those who do pursue such careers will find themselves severely handicapped in the job market.

Gordon J. Glover, author of Beyond the Firmament (see my review here) addresses this issue in his video series entitled “Science and Christian Education”. Glover has just announced the completion of the series, and it is available for viewing at YouTube by clicking here. Christian educators, or parents whose children are home-schooled or are enrolled in Christian schools, ought to view these 10 minute videos. But any believer who is struggling with how concepts like evolutionary biology, cosmology, and geology interface with an evangelical view of the Scriptures will benefit from watching this series. The videos are nicely done, powerful and succinct. I recommend them to my Christian friends.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Missing Link?

If you have ever asked that question, you have displayed your compete misunderstanding of evolutionary science. The term "missing link" is not used in science. It is a meaningless cliché typically forwarded by anti-evolutionists who quite clearly have no clue. I recall a recent seminar I was giving to a group of Christians in which evolution was one topic. One of the believers declared his staunch opposition to evolution. With an air of certainty he set forth his reasoning: "The missing link has never been found! Furthermore" he added confidently, "I believe it never will be." It seems he thought that if evolution were true, there must exist somewhere out there a smoking gun fossil which, if found, would forever lay to rest the evolution wars. It would finally prove Darwin was right! And in the absence of this fossil, "the missing link", evolution must forever remain a dubious hypothesis.

But the fact is, if evolution is true, there is no such "missing link". Instead, we should expect to find thousands upon thousands of transitional forms interconnecting all living species. If Darwin's theory is correct, we should expect to find fossil remains of every imaginable life form and species to fill in the gaps between every known species. And this is exactly what we do find! It seems that these discoveries of intermediate species, of transitional forms in the fossil record, are an almost daily occurrence! Just today, a spectacular fossil find of a 47 million year old intact early primate was announced. You can view "Ida" and read about her here or here.

Of course, it is highly unlikely that we will ever reconstruct the entire tree of life from the fossil record. It takes an unusual set of circumstances to lay down a fossil. Most organisms die and decay leaving no trace. But every now and then, some catastrophic event such as a flood will bury organisms in a watery grave which will preserve their skeletal remains. In the case of Ida, her fossil tells of an unfortunate broken wrist. Since her life consisted of swinging on branches from tree to tree, strong wrists were a must. It is theorized that she dropped from a tree into a lake, fell to the bottom where her remains were silted over, and voilà, she was nearly perfectly preserved.

If creationists truly find comfort behind a perceived castle wall of "no missing link", they should beware. That wall is coming down stone by stone. Evolutionists, on the other hand, are never surprised by finds like Ida. Thrilled, yes. But never surprised. It is exactly what they expect to find.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Update on Ginger

Every month or so, I send out an update email on my wife, Ginger, to a hundred or so friends. Many readers of this blog are aware that Ginger was diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer in 2007. Since many readers here do not receive those emails, I have chosen to include today's update here:

Family and Friends,

Many of you have thanked me for including photos of Ginger in these update messages — and some of you even write back to complain when I don't! So, over Ginger's voiced objections, I'll continue to post pictures, and below are two more. They were taken at our family's Resurrection Day celebration dinner on April 12. Tim, Mandy, Kaleb and Micah joined in with the rest of us for a candle light reenactment of the story of Jesus: Incarnation to Ascension and beyond! This has been a tradition in our family for many years now. After reading Surprised by Hope, by N.T. Wright, I actually re-choreographed the "end of the story" this year. You'll have to read the book if you're curious about that. Wright's book also helps set into focus the power and significance of the Resurrection on our lives today, and our lives to come. I am encouraged, (surprised by hope!?!) by God's profound and wonderful intentions for Ginger, and for all of us. Cancer is a small thing when we consider the scale of God's redemptive work in progress!

Still, Ginger's cancer is an every day reality now, and occupies our thoughts much of the time. A friend of a friend, who was diagnosed with the same cancer a year before Ginger, and who went through the same courses of treatment, passed away last week; his funeral is today. That news is sobering. But we know that both in medicine, and in God's economy, Ginger is not bound to the same time-table. We continue to ask boldly for many years to come.

I may have shared this with some of you before: When asked, "what is your favorite age", most people will respond "30" or maybe "25" or "16". As long as I've known her, Ginger's answer has always been "65". Next time you see her, you can ask her why. I have asked God, specifically, that Ginger would experience her favorite age, and more! Join me!

We had lunch this week with a friend (Wayne Shenk) who makes frequent trips to the West African nations of Liberia and Sierra Leone. Both Luke and Charis have been in Liberia with him at different times. He related how, on a trip earlier this year, some of the people there asked about "Charis's mom". Wayne tells me that they pray for Ginger three times or so every week (and West African prayer meetings leave many of our North American prayer meetings looking a bit insipid, frankly). These brothers and sisters, along with our friends in Cambodia, Southeast Africa, and many of you who assure us you pray for Ginger regularly, we are truly blessed with around-the-globe prayer support. 

Despite a favorite catchphrase of some, prayer does not "move the hand of God". That phrase always leaves me wondering if God suffers from temporal paralysis! Prayer does not guarantee our desired results. Rather, prayer is our invitation for God to intervene in our affairs ... something he is otherwise reticent to do. And when we pray, it opens the door for God's highest and best will to be accomplished, something that is not otherwise assured. Thus it is that Jesus instructs us to pray "your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven." And that is our continuing prayer for Ginger!

Ginger's next scheduled chemotherapy is Monday. Except for the expected three or four days following chemo, Ginger continues to feel well and shows no sign of slowing down. As I type this, she is in the kitchen making bread and other baked goods. Yum! 

Thank you for all your caring and your prayers.


At the end of our Resurrection Day candlelight story, all of our individual candles, having been lit earlier, are joined at the center of our table (Earth) by the candles representing God — Father, Son and Spirit. This represents the re-making of Earth, and of all Creation! The New Heavens and the New Earth, joined at last; the final destination of and fulfillment of Resurrection! The picture of Ginger was taken in the glow of this conjoined light, and it speaks powerfully to me of the hope which is ours ... the very good news of Resurrection Day!