What is the evidence for God’s existence?

Or do we take it simply by ‘Faith’?

Many ask whether God really exists and if God’s existence is detectable in a rational way. After all, no one has seen God. So maybe the idea of God is simply a psychology operating of our minds. Since God’s existence affects our understanding of ourselves, our future, and the meaning of life, it is worth exploring. There are three straight-forward and rationale families of evidences which tests fairly conclusively whether there is a God or not.

Test 1. Scientific Evidence for our Origins attests to a Creator

You and I exist and we find ourselves wonderfully constructed and in a world that supports a diversity of other life that is also interconnected and fine-tuned like machine components fine-tuned to work together. The scientist heading the team that first sequenced the human genome described DNA in the following way:

“As a first approximation, one can therefore think of DNA as an instructional script, a software program, …  made up of … thousands of letters of code. 

Francis Collins. The Language of God. 2006. p102-103

how [is] the program actually ‘run’ ?… A team of sophisticated translators in the factory [ribosome] then …  convert the information in this molecule into a specific protein

Ibid p 104

Another way to think about this … is to consider the metaphor of language.  …  These words [proteins] can be used to construct complex works of literature… 

Ibid p 125

‘Software programs’, ‘factories’ and ‘languages’ only come about by Intelligent Beings. Thus, it seems intuitive that the first and most likely explanation for our origins is that an Intelligent Designer – God – made us. We explore this more in-depth here where we examine this contrasted to the Theory of Evolution, which attempts to explain biological complexity without Intelligence.

Test 2. The Case for the Historical Resurrection of Jesus from the Dead.

Death is the ultimate fate awaiting all human life. Our natural systems, though incredibly designed, always deteriorate. But a very strong historical case exists that Jesus rose from the dead. If true then then most viable explanation points to a Supernatural Power that transcends nature. Examine the resurrection and consider for yourself whether Jesus rose from the dead. If so, this demonstrates a Supernatural Power (God) that works in the world.

Test 3. Prophecies of Jesus points to a Divine Plan, and hence a Divine Mind executing this Plan.

Many events of Jesus’ life are prophesied in various ways, both through word and drama, hundreds of years before he lived. The striking fulfillment of dozens of prophecies show a Mind coordinating events. But since these events are hundreds of years apart, and since no human mind can foresee the future that far ahead in time, that speaks to a Mind transcending time. Examine both the intricacies and the diversity of the prophecies and ask yourself if these can be explained in any other way apart from an omniscient Mind signalling and implementing His Plan. If that is the case then this Mind that can so coordinate in human life must exist. Here are some specific ones to explore.

Justice for Nations in a Globalized World: How does the Bible foresee it?

Globalization: Image by storyset on Freepik

With the advent of air travel followed by the internet with social media it seems that the world has shrunk. Now we can be in instant communication with anyone on the planet. We can travel to anywhere on the globe in 24 hours. Translation apps with Google and Bing have enabled people to communicate in different languages. Globalization is driven by advances in technology, transportation, communication, and economic integration. It has transformed the world into a global village, where events in one part of the world can have far-reaching consequences for others.

Globalization is a modern phenomenon, accelerating sharply after World War II. With internet and social media crossing national borders it seems like people in the nations are continually jostling with each other. We see the mass migrations at border crossings as people desperate to escape war, famine and to secure a brighter future for their children risk their lives to take planes, buses, and even trekking for days to reach security elsewhere.

Culturally, globalization has brought about the spread of ideas, values, and lifestyles. It has led to the popularity of global brands, the exchange of cultural practices, and the blending of traditions. However, it has also raised concerns about the loss of cultural diversity and the dominance of Western values. Critics argue that globalization exacerbates inequality, exploits workers, and undermines national sovereignty. They call for policies that protect local industries and workers.

Will there ever be justice for the poor in our roiled global village?

Foreseen in the Bible

Major Bible characters in Historical Timeline. The Bible in general, and Abraham in particular, is ancient compared to other historical events

Though an ancient book, the Bible has held the nations, and justice for them, continually in the center of its scope. This is remarkable considering the Bible was birthed by the Jews. Historically they have been very insular, concerned with their religious distinctives rather than with other nations. However, as far back as Abraham, 4000 years ago, God promised him:

I will bless those who bless you,
    and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth
    will be blessed through you.

Genesis 12:3

We see here that the Bible’s scope already 4000 years ago included ‘all peoples on earth’. God promised a global blessing. God later reiterated this promise later in Abraham’s life when he had just acted out the prophetic drama of his son’s sacrifice:

and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.”

Genesis 22:18

‘Offspring’ here is in the singular. A single descendant from Abraham would bless ‘all nations on earth’. Globalism surely permeates that scope. But that vision was laid out long before internet. modern travel and globalization arrived. It is like a Mind could foresee the distant future back then and envisioned the globalization occurring today. Also, that vision was for the good of people, not for their exploitation.

Continued with Jacob

Jacob/Israel in Historical Timeline

Several hundred years later, Abraham’s grandson Jacob (or Israel) uttered this vision to his son Judah. Judah became the leading tribe of the Israelites such that the modern designation ‘Jew’ is attributed to this tribe.

The scepter will not depart from Judah,
    nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet,
until he to whom it belongs shall come
    and the obedience of the nations shall be his.

Genesis 49:10

This foresees a time among the nations when that single descendant who Abraham previously glimpsed would one day obtain the ‘obedience of the nations’.

And the Prophets

Isaiah in Historical Timeline

Hundreds of years later, around 700 BCE, the prophet Isaiah received this global vision for the world. In this vision God speaks to a coming Servant. This Servant would bring salvation to ‘the ends of the earth’.

“It is too small a thing for you to be my servant
    to restore the tribes of Jacob
    and bring back those of Israel I have kept.
I will also make you a light for the Gentiles,
    that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.”

Isaiah 49:6

This same servant would also

“Here is my servant, whom I uphold,
    my chosen one in whom I delight;
I will put my Spirit on him,
    and he will bring justice to the nations.
He will not shout or cry out,
    or raise his voice in the streets.
A bruised reed he will not break,
    and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.
In faithfulness he will bring forth justice;
    he will not falter or be discouraged
till he establishes justice on earth.
    In his teaching the islands will put their hope.”

Isaiah 42: 1-4

Justice ‘to the nations’ that are ‘on earth’ even to the ‘islands’. That surely is a global scope. And the vision is to ‘bring forth justice’.

Listen to me, my people;
    hear me, my nation:
Instruction will go out from me;
    my justice will become a light to the nations.
My righteousness draws near speedily,
    my salvation is on the way,
    and my arm will bring justice to the nations.
The islands will look to me
    and wait in hope for my arm.

Isaiah 51:4-5

The nation that spawned this vision will see the spread of ‘justice to the nations’ even to ‘islands’ scattered across the world.

To Revelation at the Close of the Bible

Right down to the closing pages of the Bible, it holds healing and justice for the nations in view.

“You are worthy to take the scroll
    and to open its seals,
because you were slain,
    and with your blood you purchased for God
    persons from every tribe and language and people and nation.

Revelation 5:9

Speaking of the honor that will come forth in the New Zion, the Bible closes with

The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. 25 On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there. 26 The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it.

Revelation 21: 24-26

The Biblical scriptures foresaw a coming globalization long before technology emerged that makes it possible. No other writing has been so prescient and so globally cross-cultural in its scope. We do not yet see the justice that the Bible foresaw. But the Servant who will bring it about has come and even now invites any who are thirsty for justice for all nations across the globe to come to him.

“Come, all you who are thirsty,
    come to the waters;
and you who have no money,
    come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
    without money and without cost.
Why spend money on what is not bread,
    and your labor on what does not satisfy?
Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,
    and you will delight in the richest of fare.
Give ear and come to me;
    listen, that you may live.
I will make an everlasting covenant with you,
    my faithful love promised to David.

Isaiah 55:1-3

Isaiah foresaw and wrote down how the servant would accomplish this 2700 years ago. We examine it in detail here.

What about Evolution? Did we Evolve or were we Created?

I was an avid science reader while in school.  I read about stars and atoms – and most things in-between.  The books that I read and what I learned in school taught me that scientific knowledge had established evolution as a fact.  Evolution proposes that all life today descended over long ages from a common ancestor. It did so through the process of natural selection operating on chance mutations.  Evolution appealed to me since it made sense of so much of the world I saw and experienced around me. 

Evolution Taught in Society

For example, it explained:

  • Why there was such a wide variety of life forms,  but still with many similarities between them. This proved descent from a common ancestor,
  • Why we could see some changes in animals over a few generations. I learned how scientists observed populations of moths changing color, or bugs changing beak lengths, due to changes in the environment. Then there were the advancements in animal breeding.  These were examples of small evolutionary steps.
  • Why organisms, including humans, fought and struggled so hard with each other to survive. This showed the never-ending struggle for existence.
  • Why sex seemed so important to animals and especially humans. This ensured that our species would produce enough offspring to survive and continue evolving.

Evolution explained human life – struggle, competition and lust. It fit with what we observe in the biological world – mutations, changing species, and similarities between species. Chance and natural selection operating on our common ancestor over millions of years resulting in the various descendants we see today made sense of this.

Textbooks mentioned transitional fossils as possible further scientific evidence for evolution. Transitional fossils showed how animals in the past linked to their evolved descendants through intermediate fossils.  I had supposed that many such transitions existed, proving the sequence of our evolution down through the ages.

evolution Predicted sequence of transitional organisms
Example of Transitions in Evolution from Mouse to Bat. Intermediates A – H are assumed by many to have existed and been found. But None have. Taken from Evolution: The Grand Experiment Dr. Carl Werner

Fact: Lack of Transitional Fossils and Intermediate Life forms

Evolution publicly debated at McMaster University with Evolution professor. Dr Stone began with 30 minute presentation in favor of Evolution, I followed with a critique. Then we had rebuttals and Questions from audience. Debate was over the Dobhzansky statement “Nothing in Biology makes sense except in the light of Evolution”

I was quite surprised, as I looked closer, to discover that this was simply not the case.  As a matter of fact, the lack of transitional fossils showing the textbook evolutionary path (single cell -> invertebrate -> fish -> amphibian -> reptile -> mammal -> primates -> man) directly contradicted evolution.  For example, the evolution from single cell organisms to marine invertebrates (ex. starfish, jellyfish, trilobites, clams, sea lilies etc.) supposedly took 2 billion years.  Think of the countless intermediates that must have existed if life evolved from bacteria to complex invertebrates by chance and natural selection.  We should have found thousands of them preserved as fossils today.  But what do the evolutionary experts say about these transitions?

Not one Transitional Fossil has been discovered out of the millions and millions collected. Image from Evolution: The Grand Experiment Dr. Carl Werner

Why should such complex organic forms [i.e., the invertebrates] be in rocks about six hundred million years old and be absent or unrecognized in the records of the preceding two billion years?

M. Kay and E.H. Colbert, Stratigraphy and Life History (1965), p. 102.

The fossil record is of little use in providing direct evidence of the pathways of descent of the invertebrate classes. … no phylum is connected to any other via intermediate fossil types.

J. Valentine, The Evolution of Complex Animals in What Darwin Began, L.R. Godfrey, Ed., Allyn & Bacon Inc. 1985 p. 263.

Thus, the actual evidence showed NO such evolutionary sequence culminating in the invertebrates. They just suddenly appear in the fossil record fully formed.  And this supposedly involved two billion years of evolution! 

Fish Evolution: No Transitional Fossils

We find this same absence of intermediate fossils in the supposed evolution from invertebrates to fish. Leading evolutionary scientists confirm this:

Between the Cambrian [invertebrates] … and  when the first fossils of animals with really fishlike characters appeared, there is a gap of 100 million years which we will probably never be able to fill”

F.D. Ommanney, The Fishes (Life Nature Library, 1964, p.60)

All three subdivisions of the bony fishes appear in the fossil record at approximately the same time… How did they originate? What allowed them to diverge so widely? How did they come to have heavy armor? And why is there no trace of earlier intermediate forms?

G.T. Todd, American Zoologist 20(4):757 (1980)
Fossils of Fish Evolution: No transitions have been found. Image from Evolution: The Grand Experiment Dr. Carl Werner

Plant Evolution: No Transitional Fossils

When we turn to see the fossil evidence supporting the evolution of plants we find again no fossil evidence:

The origin of the land plants is about as “lost in the mists of time” as anything can be, and the mystery has created a fertile arena for debate and conjecture

Price, Biological Evolution, 1996  p. 144
Evolution Textbook diagram of Mammal Evolution showing no Transitional Fossils. Price, Biological Evolution, 1996 p. 127

Mammal Evolution: No Transitional Fossils

Evolutionary tree diagrams shows this same problem. Take the evolution of mammals for example.  Observe this textbook figure with no start, or transitional fossils connecting the major groups of mammals. They all appear with their characteristics complete.

No Transitional Fossils in the Museums

Scientists have searched exhaustively all over the world for over 150 years for the predicted transitional fossils.

[Darwin’s] ideas were presented in opposition to the theory of special creation, which predicts the instantaneous creation of new forms, …  He … predicted that as specimen collections grew, the apparent gaps between fossil forms … would be filled in by forms showing gradual transitions between species.  For a century thereafter, most paleontologists followed his lead.

Evolutionary Analysis by Scott Freeman & Jon Herron 2006. p. 704 (popular university text with later editions)

They have catalogued millions and millions in various museums.

Fossil Museum Collections since Darwin. Why have no transitional fossils been catalogued? Image from Evolution: The Grand Experiment Dr. Carl Werner

Though scientists have found millions of fossils worldwide, they have not found one undisputed transitional fossil.  Notice how scientists at both the British and the American museums of Natural History summarize the fossil record:

The American Museum people are hard to contradict when they say there are no transitional fossils…You say that I should at least ‘show a photo of the fossil from which each type of organsim was derived’.  I will lay it on the line — there is not one such fossil for which one could make a watertight argument”

Colin Patterson, Senior paleontologist at the British Museum of Natural History in a letter to L.D. Sunderland as quoted in Darwin’s Enigma by L.D. Sunderland, p. 89  1984

Since Darwin’s time the search for missing links in the fossil record has continued on an ever-increasing scale. So vast has been the expansion of paleontological activity over the past one hundred years that probably 99.9% of all paleontological work has been carried out since 1860. Only a small fraction of the hundred thousand or so fossil species known today were known to Darwin. But virtually all the new fossil species discovered since Darwin’s time have either been closely related to known forms or, .. strange unique types of unknown affinity.

Michael Denton. Evolution: A Theory in Crisis. 1985 p. 160-161

New Emerging Information never observed in Natural Selection

Change and diversity in Chickens. Just variations on existing design themes. Chickens are always Chickens

Then I realized that evolution’s explanatory power that I described earlier was not as impressive as I had first thought.  For example, though we see changes in animals over time, these changes never show increasing complexity and new function.  Thus, when the moth populations mentioned earlier change color, the level of complexity (gene information) remains the same.  This is how human races arose. No novel structures, functions or information content (in the genetic code) are introduced. Natural Selection simply eliminates variations of existing information.  Yet evolution requires change showing increase in complexity and new information.  After all, this is the general trend that the evolutionary ‘trees’ portray. They show simpler life (like single-celled organisms) gradually evolving to more complex life (like birds and mammals). 

Soapberry Bug beak length decreases: Textbook case of Natural Selection does not show new structures emerging

Seeing objects moving horizontally (like billiards rolling on a pool table) is not the same as movement vertically up (like a rising elevator). Vertical movement requires energy. In the same way, variations in frequency among existing genes is not the same as developing new genes with new information and function. Extrapolating that increasing complexity can be inferred from observing change at the same level of complexity is not supported.

Limb design similarities in mammals – Can just as well come from Common Design as ancestor

Biological Similarities Explained by Common Design

Finally, I realized that similarities between organisms allegedly proving the existence of a common evolutionary ancestor (called homology) could alternatively be interpreted as evidence of a common designer.  After all, the reason that automobile models of a car company bear similarities in design with each other is because the models have the same design team behind them. Similarities between designed products is never because they are descended from a common ancestor, but planned by a common design team.  Thus, the pentadactyl limbs in mammals could signal evidence of a designer using this basic limb design for all mammals. 

Bird Lung: Irreducibly Complex Design

I have seen that as we continue to understand more about the biological world, the problems with evolution keep increasing.  For evolution to be possible, small changes in function need to increase survival rates so that these changes can be selected and passed on.  The problem is that many of these transitional changes will simply not work, let alone increase function.  Take birds for example.  They supposedly evolved from reptiles.  Reptiles have a lung system, like mammals, by bringing air in-and-out of the lung to alveoli though bronchi tubes.

Birds however have a totally different lung structure.  Air passes through the parabronchi of the lung in one direction only. These figures illustrate these two design plans.

How is the hypothetical half-reptile and half-bird going to breathe while his lung rearranges (by chance modifications)?  Can a lung even function while part-way between the bi-directional reptile structure and the uni-directional bird structure?  Not only is being half-way between these two lung designs NOT better for survival, but the intermediate animal would not be able to breathe. The animal would die in minutes.  Maybe that is why scientists have not found transitional fossils. It is simply impossible to function (and thus live) with a partially developed design.

What about Intelligent Design? It explains our Humanness

What I first saw as evidence supporting the theory of evolution, upon closer inspection, turned out to be unpersuasive. There is no direct observable evidence supporting the theory of evolution. It contradicts a surprising amount of scientific evidence and even common-sense. Essentially one needs faith, not fact, to adhere to evolution. But are there any alternative explanations for how life came to be?

Perhaps life is the product of an Intelligent Design?

There are also facets of human life that evolutionary theory never even attempts to explain. Why are people so aesthetic, instinctively turning to music, art, drama, stories, movies – none of which have any survival value – to refresh ourselves? Why do we have a built-in moral grammar that allows us to intuitively sense moral right and wrong? And why do we need purpose in our lives? These capabilities and needs are essential to being human, yet are not easily explained through evolution. But understanding ourselves as created in the image of God makes sense of these non-physical human traits. We begin exploring this idea of being created by Intelligent Design here.

Why would a Loving God allow Suffering, Pain and Death?

Of the various reasons put forward denying the existence of an all-powerful and loving Creator this often tops the list.  The logic seems pretty straightforward.  If God is all-powerful and loving then He can control the world and would control it for our well-being. But the world is so full of suffering, pain and death that God must either not exist, not have all power, or perhaps not be loving.  Consider some thoughts from those who have argued this point. 

“The total amount of suffering per year in the natural world is beyond all decent contemplation. During the minute that it takes me to compose this sentence, thousands of animals are being eaten alive, many others are running for their lives, whimpering with fear, others are being slowly devoured from within by rasping parasites, thousands of all kinds are dying of starvation, thirst and disease.”

Dawkins, Richard, “God’s Utility Function,” Scientific American, vol. 273 (November 1995), pp. 80‑85.

The grim and inescapable reality is that all life is predicated on death.  Every carnivorous creature must kill and devour another creature … How could a loving God create such horrors? …Surely it would not be beyond the competence of an omniscient deity to create an animal world that could be sustained and perpetuated without suffering and death.

Charles Templeton, Farewell to God. 1996 p 197-199

Diving into this question, however, we will quickly find it more complex than might appear at first.  Removing the Creator crashes on a contradiction.  Understanding the complete Biblical answer to this question provides powerful hope in the face of suffering and death.

Building the Biblical WorldView

Let’s consider this question by carefully laying out the Biblical worldview.  The Bible starts with the premise that God exists and that He is indeed all-powerful, just, holy and loving.  Simply put, He always is.  His power and existence does not depend on anything else.  Our first diagram illustrates this.

The Biblical worldview begins with the premise of an all-powerful Creator

God, from his own will and power then created Nature out of nothing (ex nihilo).  We illustrate Nature in the second diagram as a rounded brown rectangle.  This rectangle includes and contains all the mass-energy of the universe as well as all the physical laws by which the universe runs.  In addition all the information required to create and sustain life is included herein.  Thus, the DNA which codes for the proteins which utilize the physical laws of chemistry and physics, is also included in Nature.  This box is huge, but crucially, it is not part of God.  Nature is distinct from Him, represented by the Nature box as separate from the cloud representing God.  God used his power and knowledge to create Nature, so we illustrate this with the arrow going from God into Nature.

God Creates Nature which encompasses the Mass-Energy of the Universe and its physical laws. Nature and God are distinct

Mankind created in the Image of God

Then God created man. Man is composed of matter-energy as well as the same biological DNA information construct as the rest of creation.  We show this by placing man inside the Nature box.  The right angle arrow illustrates that God constructed man out of the elements of Nature.  However, God also created non-material, spiritual dimensions to man.  The Bible terms this special feature of man as ‘made in the image of God’ (explored more here).  Thus God imparted spiritual capabilities, capacities and characteristics into man that go beyond matter-energy and physical laws.  We illustrate this with the second arrow coming from God and going directly into man (with label ‘Image of God’).

Sister Nature, not Mother Nature

Both Nature and man were created by God, with man materially composed of, and residing within, Nature.  We recognize this by changing the well-known adage about ‘Mother Nature’. Nature is not our Mother, but rather Nature is our sister. This is because, in the Biblical worldview, both Nature and Man are created by God.  This idea of ‘Sister Nature’ captures the idea that man and Nature bear similarities (as sisters do) but also that they both derive from the same source (again as sisters do).  Man does not come from Nature, but is composed of elements of Nature.

Nature is our ‘Sister’, not Mother Nature

Nature: Unjust and Amoral – Why God?

Now we observe that Nature is cruel and does not operate as if justice has any meaning.  We add this attribute to Nature in our diagram. Dawkins and Templeton artfully articulated this above. Following their cue, we reflect back to the Creator and ask how He could have created such an amoral Nature.  Driving this moral argument is our innate capacity for moral reasoning, so eloquently expressed by Richard Dawkins.

Driving our moral judgments is a universal moral grammar …  As with language, the principles that make up our moral grammar fly beneath the radar of our awareness”

Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion. p. 223

The Secular Worldview – Mother Nature

Not finding an answer to our liking many then dismiss the notion of a transcendent Creator who made both Nature and mankind.  So now our worldview has become secular and looks like this.

We have removed God as the cause who made us, and thus also we have removed man’s distinctiveness bearing ‘The image of God’.  This is the worldview Dawkins and Templeton promote, and which pervades western society today.  All that remains is Nature, the mass-energy and physical laws. So the narrative is changed to say that Nature created us.  In that narrative, a naturalistic evolutionary process brought forth man.  Nature, in this view, really is our Mother.  This is because everything about us, our capabilities, capacities and characteristics must come from Nature, since there is no other Cause.

The Moral Dilemma

But this brings us to our dilemma.  Humans still have that moral capacity, which Dawkins describes as a ‘moral grammar’.  But how does an amoral (not immoral as in bad morals, but amoral in that morality is simply not part of the makeup) Nature produce beings with a sophisticated moral grammar?  To put it another way, the moral argument against God presiding over an unjust world, presupposes that there really is justice and injustice.  But if we get rid of God because the world is ‘unjust’ then where do we get this notion of ‘justice’ and ‘injustice’ to begin with?  Nature herself shows no inkling of a moral dimension which includes justice.

Imagine a universe without time.  Can someone be ‘late’ in such a universe?  Can someone be ‘thick’ in a two dimensional universe?  Similarly, we decided that amoral Nature is our sole cause. So we find ourselves in an amoral universe complaining that it is immoral?  Where does that ability to discern and reason morally come from?

Simply discarding God from the equation does not solve the problem that Dawkins and Templeton so eloquently articulate above. 

The Biblical Explanation for Suffering, Pain and Death

The Biblical worldview answers the problem of pain but does so without creating the problem of explaining where our moral grammar comes from. The Bible does not simply affirm Theism, that a Creator God exists.  It also articulates a catastrophe that entered Nature.  Man rebelled against his Creator, says the Bible, and this is why there is suffering, pain and death.  Review the account here with ramifications spelled out here also.

Why did God allow entry of pain, suffering and death as a consequence of man’s rebellion?  Consider the crux of the temptation and thus man’s rebellion.

For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

Genesis 3:5

The first human ancestors were tempted to “be like God, knowing good and evil”.  ‘Knowing’ here does not mean knowing as in the sense of learning facts or truths like we might know the capital cities in the world or know the multiplication tables.  God knows, not in the sense of learning, but in the sense of deciding.  When we decided to ‘know’ like God we took the mantle to decide what is good and what is evil.  We can then make the rules as we choose.

Since that fateful day mankind has carried this instinct and natural desire to be his own god, deciding for himself what will be good and what will be evil.  Up to that point The Creator God had made Nature as our friendly and well-serving sister.  But from this point on Nature would change.  God decreed a Curse:

Cursed is the ground because of you;
    through painful toil you will eat food from it
    all the days of your life.
18 It will produce thorns and thistles for you,
    and you will eat the plants of the field.
19 By the sweat of your brow
    you will eat your food
until you return to the ground,
    since from it you were taken;
for dust you are
    and to dust you will return.”

Genesis 3: 17-19

The Role of the Curse

In the Curse, God, so to speak, transformed Nature from our sister into our step-sister.  In the romantic stories step-sisters dominate and put down the heroine.  Similarly, our step-sister, Nature, now treats us harshly, dominating us with suffering and death.  In our foolishness we thought we could be God.  Nature, as our cruel step-sister, constantly brings us back to reality. It keeps reminding us that, though we might imagine otherwise, we are not gods. 

Jesus’ parable of the Lost Son illustrates this.  The foolish son wanted to depart from his father but he found that the life he pursued was hard, difficult and painful.  Because of that, Jesus said, the son ‘came to his senses.. ’.  In this parable we are the foolish son and Nature represents the hardships and hunger which plagued him. Nature as our step-sister allows us to shake off our foolish imaginations and come to our senses.

Mankind’s technological breakthroughs over the last 200 or so years has been largely to lighten the heavy hand of his step-sister upon him.  We have learned to harness energy so our toil is much less painful than in the past.  Medicine and technology have greatly contributed to lessening Nature’s hard grip on us.  Though we welcome this, a by-product of our advance has been that we have begun to reclaim our god delusions. We are deluded into imagining in some way that we are autonomous gods. 

Consider some statements from prominent thinkers, scientists and social influencers who sit atop man’s recent advances.  Ask yourself if these do not smack a little of a god complex.

Man at last knows that he is alone in the unfeeling immensity of the universe, out of which he emerged only by chance. His destiny is nowhere spelled out, nor is his duty. The kingdom above or the darkness below: it is for him to choose.“

Jacques Monod

“In the evolutionary pattern of thought there is no longer either need or room for the supernatural.  The earth was not created, it evolved.  So did all the animals and plants that inhabit it, including our human selves, mind and soul as well as brain and body.  So did religion. …  Evolutionary man can no longer take refuge from his loneliness in the arms of a divinized father figure whom he has himself created…

Sir Julian Huxley. 1959. Remarks at the Darwin Centennial, University of Chicago. Grandson of Thomas Huxley, Sir Julian was also the first director general of UNESCO

‘I had motives for not wanting the world to have a meaning; consequently assumed that it had none, and was able without any difficulty to find satisfying reasons for this assumption. The philosopher who finds no meaning in the world is not concerned exclusively with a problem in pure metaphysics, he is also concerned to prove that there is no valid reason why he personally should not do as he wants to do, or why his friends should not seize political power and govern in the way that they find most advantageous to themselves. … For myself, the philosophy of meaninglessness was essentially an instrument of liberation, sexual and political.’

Huxley, Aldous., Ends and Means, pp. 270 ff.

We no longer feel ourselves to be guests in someone else’s home and therefore obliged to make our behavior conform with a set of pre-existing cosmic rules. It is our creation now. We make the rules. We establish the parameters of reality. We create the world, and because we do, we no longer feel beholden to outside forces. We no longer have to justify our behavior, for we are now the architects of the universe. We are responsible to nothing outside ourselves, for we are the kingdom, the power, and the glory for ever and ever.

Jeremy Rifkin, Algeny A New Word—A New World, p. 244 (Viking Press, New York), 1983.  Rifkin is an economist specializing on impact of science and biotechnology on society.

The Situation as it Stands Now – But with Hope

The Bible summarizes why suffering, pain and death characterizes this world.  Death came as a result of our rebellion.  Today we live in the consequences of that rebellion.

Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned

Romans 5:12

So today we live in frustration.  But the gospel story puts forth hope in that this will come to an end.  Liberation will come.

‘For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God

We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time

Romans 8:20-22

The resurrection of Jesus from the dead was the ‘firstfruits’ of this liberation.  This will be achieved when the Kingdom of God is fully established.  At that time:

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them.  They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.  He will wipe away every tear from their eyes.  There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away

Revelation 21:3-4

Hope Contrasted

Consider the difference in hope that Paul articulated, compared with Dr. William Provine and Woody Allen.

When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”

55 “Where, O death, is your victory?
    Where, O death, is your sting?”

56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:54-57

One must have one’s delusions to live. If you look at life too honestly and too clearly life does become unbearable because it’s a pretty grim enterprise. This is my perspective and has always been my perspective on life – I have a very grim, pessimistic view of it… I do feel that it [life] is a grim, painful, nightmarish, meaningless experience and that the only way that you can be happy is if you tell yourself some lies and deceive yourself.”

Woody Allen – http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/8684809.stm

“Modern science implies … ´There are no purposive principles whatsoever. There are no gods and no designing forces that are rationally detectable …  ´Second, … there are no inherent moral or ethical laws, no absolute guiding principles for human society.  ´Third, [a]… human becomes an ethical person by means of heredity and environmental influences. That is all there is.  ´Fourth …when we die, we die and that is the end of us.”

W. Provine. “Evolution and the Foundation of Ethics”, in MBL Science, Vol.3, (1987) No.1, pp.25-29. Dr. Provine was professor of History of Science at Cornell University

Which worldview would you prefer to build your life on?

What does the Bible teach about Environmental Stewardship?

The Creation Account
Sweet Publishing, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

What does the Bible say about the environment and our responsibility to it?  Many think that the Bible only deals with ethical morals (i.e., do not lie, cheat or steal). Or perhaps it only concerns an after-life in heaven.  But the relationship between mankind, the earth, and life on it, along with our responsibilities are introduced right on the first page of the Bible.

The Bible states that God created mankind in His Image. At that same time He also gave mankind his first charge.  As the Bible records it:

26 Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

27 So God created mankind in his own image,
    in the image of God he created them;
    male and female he created them.

28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”

Genesis 1:26-28

God retains Ownership

Some have misunderstood the commands ‘subdue’ and ‘rule’ to imply that God gave the world to mankind to do as we want with it.  We are thus free to ‘rule’ over the earth and its ecosystems to our every whim and fancy.  In this way of thinking God washed his hands of His creation right from the beginning. Then He gave it to us to do as we like.

However the Bible never states that mankind now ‘owns’ the world to do with it as they please.  Many times throughout the Bible God asserts his ongoing ownership of the world.  Consider what God said through Moses ca 1500 BCE

5 Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, 

Exodus 19:5

And through David ca 1000 BCE

10 for every animal of the forest is mine,
    and the cattle on a thousand hills.
11 I know every bird in the mountains,
    and the insects in the fields are mine.

Psalm 50:10-11
eMaringolo, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Jesus himself taught that God retains an active interest in, and detailed knowledge of, the state of animals on this world.  As he taught:

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. 

Matthew 10:29

We are Managers

The more accurate way of understanding the roles given to mankind is to think of us as ‘managers’.  Jesus used this picture many times in his teachings to describe the relationship between God and humans.  Here is one example,

1 Jesus told his disciples: “There was a rich man whose manager was accused of wasting his possessions. 2 So he called him in and asked him, ‘What is this I hear about you? Give an account of your management, because you cannot be manager any longer.’…

Luke 16:1-2

In this parable God is the ‘rich man’ – the owner of everything – and we are the managers. At some point we will be evaluated on how we have managed what He owns.  Jesus consistently uses this relationship in many of his teachings.

In this way of thinking we are like pension fund managers.  They do not own the pension funds – the people paying into their pensions are the owners. The fund managers have been delegated authority to invest and manage the pension fund for the benefit of the pensioners.  If they are incompetent, lazy or do a bad job the owners will replace them with others.

So God remains the ‘owner’ of creation and has delegated to us the authority and the responsibility of managing it properly. Therefore it would be prudent to know what His goals and interests are with respect to creation.  We can learn this by surveying some of His commands.

God’s heart for His Creation revealed through His commands

After the Passover, and the giving of the Ten Commandments, Moses received further detailed instructions on how the fledgling Israelite nation should establish itself in the Promised Land.  Consider the instructions that give visibility to the values in God’s heart concerning the environment.

1 The Lord said to Moses at Mount Sinai, 2 “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘When you enter the land I am going to give you, the land itself must observe a sabbath to the Lord. 3 For six years sow your fields, and for six years prune your vineyards and gather their crops. 4 But in the seventh year the land is to have a year of sabbath rest, a sabbath to the Lord. Do not sow your fields or prune your vineyards. 

Leviticus 25:1-4
An Untouched Earth
Sweet Publishing, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Unique among all the other nations and their practices back then (3500 years ago) and even different than typically practiced today, this command ensured that the land, remained uncultivated every seventh year. Thus the land could have a regular, periodic ‘rest’. During this rest, nutrients that had been depleted under heavy agriculture could replenish.  This command shows that God values long term environmental sustainability over short term extraction.  We can extend this principle to environmental resources like fish stocks. Limit the fishing either seasonally or pause fishing until over-fished stocks can recover.  This command applies as an extended principle to all activities that deplete our natural resources, whether water, wildlife, fish stocks, or forests.

This guideline seems environmentally beneficial. But you are probably wondering how the Israelites were to eat on the year that they did not plant.  These were people just like us and they likewise asked this question.  The Bible records the exchange:

18 “‘Follow my decrees and be careful to obey my laws, and you will live safely in the land. 19 Then the land will yield its fruit, and you will eat your fill and live there in safety. 20 You may ask, “What will we eat in the seventh year if we do not plant or harvest our crops?” 21 I will send you such a blessing in the sixth year that the land will yield enough for three years. 22 While you plant during the eighth year, you will eat from the old crop and will continue to eat from it until the harvest of the ninth year comes in. 

Leviticus 25:18-22

Concern for welfare of animals

4 Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain.

Deuteronomy 25:4

The Israelites were to treat the beasts of burden well.  They should not withhold their animals treading on the grain (so it would thresh) from enjoying some of the fruit of their effort and work.

11 And should I not have concern for the great city of Nineveh, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left—and also many animals?”

Jonah 4:11

This comes from the well-known book of Jonah. In this book a giant marine creature had swallowed Jonah before he obeyed his call to preach repentance to the wicked citizens of Nineveh.  Angry with God that they had repented from his preaching and so had averted His judgment, Jonah complained bitterly to God.  The quote above was God’s response to his complaint.  Apart from revealing God’s concern for the people of Nineveh, He also reveals His concern for the animals. God was pleased that the animals were spared because the people of Nineveh repented.

Judgment for those harming the earth

The Book of Revelation, the final book of the Bible offers visions of the future of our world. The pervading theme of the future it foresees centers on coming judgment. The coming judgment is triggered for a number of reasons, including:

18 The nations were angry,
    and your wrath has come.
The time has come for judging the dead,
    and for rewarding your servants the prophets
and your people who revere your name,
    both great and small—
and for destroying those who destroy the earth.”

Revelation 11:18

In other words, the Bible predicts that the mankind, instead of managing the earth and its ecosystems in a manner consistent with the will of its owner, will ‘destroy the earth’.  This will trigger judgment to destroy those guilty.

What are some signs of the ‘end’ that we are destroying the earth?

On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea.

Luke 21:25b

The fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, and the sun was allowed to scorch people with fire. 9 They were seared by the intense heat and they cursed the name of God, who had control over these plagues, but they refused to repent and glorify him.

Revelation 16:8-9

These signs written down 2000 years ago sound like the rising sea levels and increased intensity of ocean storms we witness today as part of global warming. Maybe we should heed the ancient warning.

What can we do to help our environment?

Here are some steps we can take to work towards a better environment:

  • Lower your waste output by reusing products as much as you can before recycling them. Recycle items that can be processed and re-used, such as paper, plastic, and metal.
  • Plastics harm the environment, so decreasing the plastic use is an easy first step. You can take simple steps such as carrying a water bottle with you instead of buying water in plastic bottles. Reuse your plastic shopping bags. Use metal or glass containers to store food. Some snacks and foods are still packaged with plastic.  You can try to buy these in bulks and then store them in reusable containers.
  • Water is an important aspect of the environment. Conserve water by taking precautions such as turning off taps when you are not using them. Repair dripping pipes and faucets.
  • Use energy efficient products. For example, using energy-efficient light-bulbs is not only better for the environment (with a lower carbon footprint) but will also save your energy costs.
  • Use public transportation instead of your own car. This is not always the easiest step to take because they are far more convenient than walking or taking the bus. But try walking short distances to get some exercise and take a step in protecting the environment. If the weather is nice try bicycling. Buying electrical cars instead of fossil-fuel burning cars is another way we can reduce the carbon emission caused by cars.
  • Use environment-friendly products which do not harm the environment. These include organic foods or biodegradable cleaning products. 
  • Do not litter. Because of littering many plastics wash into the oceans and bodies of fresh water.
  • Remember that small changes can make a big difference. Whatever step you take towards a protecting the environment if you maintain it throughout your life will make a difference.
  • Pass on these tips and strategies to others.
  • Educate people, especially those younger, about the environment and the importance of protecting it. Social media is a big part of our lives. Use social media to share information about environmental issues and how we can protect it.
  • Practice these preventative measures so you can set an example for others. People are more likely to adopt a new habit when they witness other people practicing it.   

What is Ascension Day?

Ascension Day, also called Holy Thursday or Ascension Thursday, is a European holiday occurring on a Thursday in May or June. Though it is a civic holiday in much of Europe, it is also commemorated across much of the world. Here we look at where this day comes from. We also delve deeper into how a telltale trait of Ascension Day shows its Divine signature. Beyond just a holiday this day reminds us of God’s Plan for your life.

Historic Basis for Ascension Day

Ascension Day comes from the Bible. This is the day when Jesus ascended into heaven. The account in Acts of the Bible explains about Jesus that:

After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”

Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”

He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.

10 They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. 11 “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”

Acts 1: 3 – 11
Jesus ascends to heaven
Distant Shores Media/Sweet PublishingCC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Ascension Day in the Calendar

In the Bible account, Jesus appeared to his disciples for 40 days after his resurrection. On the 40th day, he ascended to heaven before their very eyes. This explains why Ascension Day always comes 40 days after Easter Sunday. Because Easter moves around in our modern calendar, Ascension Day will likewise move around year by year.

The Pattern of Remarkable Scheduling of Days

Now a day, Many interpret this idea that Jesus ascended into heaven as simply out-dated superstition that has become part of Christianity’s fabric. In some countries it gives you a well-earned holiday, but beyond that Ascension Day offers little to a modern person.

The blood of sacrificed animals displayed so the angel of death will pass over the home
Distant Shores Media/Sweet PublishingCC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

But before we dismiss Ascension Day in this way, let’s reflect on the detail that this occurred 40 days after the resurrection. This detail seems trivial enough, but if we look closer at Jesus’ significant days a striking pattern emerges. All the days of his Passion exactly match with significant festival days in the Old Testament. It demonstrates a coordination between events separated by hundreds, even thousands, of years.

For example, Jesus’ crucifixion occurred exactly on the Jewish Passover. This was the day that 1500 years before Jews had sacrificed lambs so death could pass over. On that very same day Jesus was sacrificed so death can pass over us. His resurrection occurred on First Fruits. This was the day that Jews celebrated new life, anticipating more life to come. On that very same day Jesus rose from the dead, allowing us to anticipate our own resurrections.

40 Days

When Moses went up Mount Sinai to receive the Ten Commandments, he stayed on the mountain for 40 Days. As Israel’s prophet he witnessed God’s presence and commands for 40 days. Jesus showed himself to his disciples for 40 days so that they could witness his presence and commands for 40 days. In patterning himself after Moses he was pointing to an ancient prophecy. God had promised Moses 1500 years beforehand that:

I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their fellow Israelites, and I will put my words in his mouth. He will tell them everything I command him. 19 I myself will call to account anyone who does not listen to my words that the prophet speaks in my name.

Deuteronomy 18: 18-19
Jesus and Moses Relationship in Historical Timeline

God had promised to send a prophet like Moses with the very words of God in his mouth. In patterning after Moses for 40 days he called attention to this prophecy. He fulfilled it by teaching, speaking to disease, and to nature itself, with God’s ‘words in his mouth’. In fact, Jesus in remarkably supernatural ways, linked himself to his Jewish nation.

We do not typically think of Jesus as a ‘prophet’ as the prophecy declared. Jesus carried several roles and titles. He was the Christ, the Son of God, Son of Man, and Lamb of God – all defined in the Old Testament. But in addition to these he was also a prophet.

“What things?” he asked. “About Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people.

Luke 24:19

50 Days

Ten Days after Ascension day, thus 50 days after his Easter resurrection, Pentecost came. On this day 1500 years before Moses had received the Ten Commandments. These are commandments that no one can keep on their own. But 10 days after his ascension, the Holy Spirit came on that Pentecost Day. He came to empower people so that they could follow those commandments.

Moses with the Ten Commandment tablets
Anton Losenko, PD-US-expired, via Wikimedia Commons

The Pattern

The fact that Jesus’ days coordinated so precisely to so many Festivals established hundreds of years beforehand, reveals a mind. Only a mind can have intention to coordinate like that. But this mind must be able to span hundreds of years, which no human mind can do. Thus, in this way God reveals to us both his Mind and also his Plan. It centered on the person and work of Jesus.

Ascend… Implies Descend

The fact that Jesus ascended implies that he will descend, or return. In fact this theme recurs throughout the Gospel – that he will return. Jesus gave signs of his return and now in our day we can see some of these occurring before our very eyes.

But in his Ascension Day discourse he explained that the disciples would first begin a witness of him that would reach ‘to the ends of the earth’. We now live in the day when this is literally happening.

Be Prepared

When Jesus taught about his return he warned that many would not be ready. They would be unprepared. Take this Ascension Day to become a little more informed so it does not catch you unaware. You can do so by

Is there a difference between Christianity and the Gospel?

Christianity as a religion has been in Europe (and then the Americas) for about 2000 years. It first came when the Apostle Paul crossed the Bosporus Strait and entered Macedonia around 50 CE. This is recorded in the Book of Acts, chapter 16.

Roman Emperor Constantine
Mary HarrschCC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Brief History of Christianity in Europe

Christianity began as a despised Jewish Sect in those first days. But almost 300 years later, under the Roman Emperor Constantine, Christianity became the state religion of the Roman Empire. With the alliance of Church and State, it became a powerful institution with popes, bishops, rituals, and customs. Christendom then split between the Roman Catholic Church of Western Europe and the Orthodox Church of Eastern Europe. This occurred in an event called ‘The Great Schism‘ in 1054 CE.

Then in the 1500’s with the advent of the Protestant Reformation, the church in Western Europe again split. The various Protestant denominations like the Anglican Church, Presbyterians, Lutherans, Wesleyans, Baptists came from that Reformation movement.

The Great Schism
Milan_studio, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Christianity Practiced Today…

Christianity now has a long history of institutions, patriarchs, archbishops, monasteries, priests, pastors, monks and cathedrals across Europe. Those people who practice their Christian faith today often do so by attending church on Sunday, getting baptized, performing the eucharist or the breaking of Bread. They go to confession, or even go on pilgrimages to venerated locations across Europe. Others give generously to church or other worthy causes or even buy indulgences. Disciplines like doing penance and abstinence from various foods, drinks and pleasures are practiced by the devout. People venerate the many saints that form the fabric of Christian history in Europe. Perhaps the Virgin Mary, considered the greatest of the saints by many religious people, comes to the forefront when we think of the saints that people pray to and venerate. Finally, there are the various Christian holy days like Christmas, Easter, Ascension Day, Pentecost that Christians celebrate.

For many, the principle applied in these different religious practices is to do the good deeds that God desires. Enough of these religious deeds then might cancel or pay for those sins and bad things we do occasionally.

Losing Sight of the Gospel

But what was Paul’s original message which drove him to cross Asia Minor, traveling through Greece and over to Rome? Do the various practices that characterize our Christian faith follow from what Paul brought to Europe 2ooo years ago? After all, none of these places, customs or rituals practiced today existed in his day. So what grounded his faith?

Fortunately we can answer that because Paul’s writings (and the Apostle Peter’s too) are available in the Bible today. No one has changed their writings. The Apostle Paul summarized the message, which he called ‘Good News’ (the meaning of ‘Gospel’), in a key sentence. That sentence is:

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 6:23

Paul cared deeply about faith, but he was careful to place his faith (or trust) on ‘Christ Jesus’. He did not place it on his own works, or his own practices, or someone else’s holiness.


What does this mean?

How is this the foundation of all Christian practices that follow?

We explore these questions, digesting this key verse of Paul’s in his letter to the Church in Rome here.

The most unique Book: What is its Message?

Brilliant and creative writers have penned many great books down the centuries. Books of different genres written in multiple languages from diverse cultures have enriched, informed, and entertained mankind over generations.

The Bible stands unique among all these great books. It is unique in several ways.

Its Name – The Book

The Bible literally means ‘The Book’.  The Bible was the first volume in history to be put into the book form using pages common today.  Before that people kept ‘books’ as scrolls. The change in structure from scroll to bound pages allowed people to keep large volumes in compact and durable form. This led to increased literacy as societies adopted this bound page form.

Multiple Books and Authors

The Bible is a collection of 69 books written by several dozen authors. As such it is perhaps more accurate to think of the Bible as a library rather than a book. These authors came from different countries, languages, and social positions.  Prime Ministers, kings and senior government officials to shepherds, rabbis, and fishermen comprise the some of the authors’ backgrounds. However, these books still create and form a unified theme. That is remarkable. Pick a controversial topic today, like economics. If you scan the foremost writers in that topic you will see how they contradict and disagree with each other. Not so with the books of the Bible. They form a unified theme, even with their diverse backgrounds, languages and social positions.

The Most Ancient Book

It took more than 1500 years for these books to all be written from start to finish.  In fact, the first authors of the Bible wrote their books about 1000 years before the rest of the world’s earliest authors began their writing.

Bible Time Span with some of its major characters shown on Timeline. Notice how much later the ‘Father of History’ come as well as other major historical events and persons. The Bible is Ancient

Most Translated Book

The Bible is the most translated book in the world, with at least one of its books translated into over 3500 languages (out of a total of 7000).

Diverse Writing Genres

The books of the Bible form a wide variety of writing genres. History, poetry, philosophy, prophecy all incorporate into the various Bible books. These books look back to the ancient past and also forward to the end of history.

… But its message not readily known.

This book is also a long book, with a complex epic story. Because its setting is so ancient, its theme so profound, and its scope so wide many do not know its message. Many do not realize that the Bible, though vast in scope, centers on a very personal invitation. You can take different perspectives to understand the Biblical story. The list below provides a few on this website:

The Noah Controversy: Could that Flood have happened?

When the movie “Noah” came out in 2014 there was a lot of hype and controversy.  Critics questioned the plotline for not following the Biblical account. In the Islamic world several countries banned the movie since it visually depicted a prophet, strictly forbidden in Islam.  But these issues are minor when compared to a much deeper and longer-running controversy.

Did such a worldwide flood really happen?  That’s a question worth asking.

Multiple cultures all around the world retain legends of a great flood in their past. No comparable myths of other disasters like earthquakes, volcanoes, wildfires or plagues exist across so many widely distributed cultures like these flood accounts. So anthropological evidence for memories of a past global flood exists.  But do any physical evidences exist today that point to Noah’s flood having happened in the past?

The Power of Moving Flood Water seen in Tsunamis

The Tsunami hits the coast of Japan in 2011

Let’s start by surmising what such a flood, if it happened, would have done to the earth.  Certainly, a flood like that would involve unimaginable quantities of water moving at great speeds and depths over continental distances.  Large quantities of water moving at high speeds have a lot of kinetic energy (KE=½*mass*velocity2).   This is why floods are so destructive.  Consider pictures of the 2011 Tsunami that devastated Japan. There we saw the extensive damage that kinetic water energy caused. The tsunami easily picked up and carried large objects like cars, homes and boats. It even crippled nuclear reactors in its path.

That tsunami showed how the energy of a few ‘big’ waves could move and destroy almost everything in their path

Sediments and Sedimentary Rock

A flooding river in Ecuador. The water is brown because the fast moving water is carrying a lot of dirt – sediment

Thus, when water’s speed increases it will pick up and transport larger and larger sediment. Particles of dirt, then sand, then rocks and even boulders are carried along as water velocity increases.

This is why swollen and flooding rivers are brown. They are loaded with sediment (soil and rock) picked up from the surfaces over which the water has traveled.

Aerial view in New England showing brown flood water entering the ocean. It is brown from the sediments
Sediments will sort into layers based on particle size even in a ‘dry’ flow

When water starts to slow down and loses its kinetic energy it then drops this sediment. This deposits in laminar layers, looking like layers of pancakes, resulting in a particular kind of rock – sedimentary rock.

Sediments from the 2011 Japan Tsunami showing pancake-like layers of sedimentary rock – rock laid down by moving water. Taken from British Geological Survey website

Sedimentary Rock formed in History

You can easily recognize sedimentary rock by its trademark pancake-like layers stacked upon one another.  The figure below shows sedimentary layers about 20 cm thick (from the measuring tape) deposited during the devastating 2011 tsunami in Japan.

Sedimentary rock from a tsunami that hit Japan in 859 CE. It also produced sedimentary rock about 20-30 cm thick. Taken from British Geological Survey website

Tsunamis and river floods leave their signatures behind in these sedimentary rocks long after the flood has receded and things have turned back to normal.

So, do we find sedimentary rocks that are, similarly, signature markers for a global flood that the Bible claims happened?  When you ask that question and look around you will see that sedimentary rock literally covers our planet.  You can notice this type of pancake-layer rock on highway cut-a-ways.  The difference with this sedimentary rock, compared with the layers produced by the tsunamis of Japan, is the sheer size. Both laterally across the earth and in vertical thickness of sedimentary layers they dwarf the tsunami sediment layers.  Consider some photos taken of sedimentary rocks where I have traveled.

Sedimentary Strata around the World

Formations in the hinterlands of Morocco that extend for many kilometers and are hundreds of meters thick vertically
Sedimentary rock in Joggins, Nova Scotia. The layers tilt about 30 degrees and stack vertically more than a kilometer deep
The escarpment in Hamilton Ontario shows vertical sedimentary rock many meters thick. This is part of the Niagara escarpment which extends for hundreds of miles
This sedimentary formation covers a good part of North America
Sedimentary formations on a drive through the US Midwest
Note the cars (barely visible) for scale to compare with these sedimentary rocks
The sedimentary formations go on and on…
Bryce Canyon Sedimentary Formations in US Midwest
Towering Sedimentary formations on drive through US Midwest
Continental extent of the Sedimentary strata in US Midwest. Miles thick and extending laterally for hundreds of miles. Taken from ‘Grand Canyon: Monument to Catastrophe’ by Dr. Steve Austin

So, one tsunami caused devastation in Japan but left sedimentary layers measured in centimeters and extend inland a few kilometers. Then what caused the gigantic and continent-wide sedimentary formations found almost over the entire globe (including on the ocean bottom)? These measure vertically in hundreds of meters and laterally in thousands of kilometers.  Moving water made these immense strata at some point in the past. Could these sedimentary rocks be the signature of Noah’s flood?

Rapid Deposition of Sedimentary Formations

No one argues that sedimentary rock of unbelievably massive scope covers the planet. The question centers on whether one event, Noah’s flood, laid down most of these sedimentary rocks. Alternatively, did a series of smaller events (like the 2011 tsunami in Japan), build them up over time? The figure below illustrates this other concept.

Conceptual illustration of how large sedimentary formations could have formed apart from the Biblical flood.

In this model of sedimentary formation (called neo-catastrophism), large intervals of time separate a series of high-impact sedimentary events. These events add sedimentary layers to the previous layers. So, over time, these events build the huge formations that we see around the world today.

Soil Formation and Sedimentary Strata

Sedimentary rock in Prince Edward Island. Notice that a soil layer has formed on top of it. By this we know that some period of time has elapsed since flood water laid down these strata

Do we have any real-world data that can help us evaluate between these two models? It is not that hard to spot. On top of many of these sedimentary formations, we can see that soil layers have formed. Thus, soil formation is a physical and observable indicator of time’s passage after sedimentary deposit. Soil forms into layers called horizons (A horizon – often dark with organic material, the B horizon – with more minerals, etc.).

Model Diagram of Typical Soil Horizons
Thin layer of soil (and trees) has formed over sedimentary rock in US Midwest. Since soil formation takes time this shows that these sedimentary rocks were laid down some time after sedimentary rocks were deposited
Soil layer clearly visible on top of sedimentary rock in US Midwest. These rocks were thus laid down sometime ago

Seafloor Bioturbation and Sedimentary Rocks

Ocean life will also mark sedimentary strata forming ocean floors with signs of their activity. Wormholes, clam tunnels, and other signs of life (known as bioturbation) provide tell-tale signs of life. Since it takes some time for bioturbation, its presence shows the passage of time since the laying down of the strata.

Life on the bottom of shallow seas will, over a rather short interval of time, reveal its telltale markers. This is called bioturbation
Testing the model of catastrophe sequences by looking for evidence of soil formation or bioturbation at the ‘Time passes’ planes

Soils and Bioturbation? What do the Rocks say?

Armed with these insights we can search for evidence of soil formation or bioturbation at these ‘Time passes’ strata boundaries. After all, neo-catastrophism says that these boundaries had been exposed on land or underwater for significant periods. In that case, we should expect some of these surfaces to have developed soil or bioturbation indicators. When subsequent floods buried these time boundary surfaces the soil or bioturbation would also have been buried. Take a look at the photos above and below. Do you see any evidence of either soil formation or bioturbation in the layers?

No evidence of soil layers or bioturbation in this sedimentary formation in US Midwest

There is no evidence of soil layers or bioturbation in the above photo or the one below.  Observe the Hamilton escarpment photo and you will see no evidence of any bioturbation or soil formation within the layers.  We see soil formations only on the top surfaces indicating time passage only after the last layer was deposited. From the absence of any time indicators like soil or bioturbation within the strata layers it appears that the bottom layers formed almost at the same time as the top.  Yet these formations all extend vertically up about 50-100 meters.

Brittle or Pliable: Folding of Sedimentary Rocks

Sedimentary strata formed in 1980 from Mount Saint Helens had already become brittle by 1983. Taken from ‘Grand Canyon: Monument to Catastrophe’ by Dr. Steve Austin

Water permeates sedimentary rock when it initially deposits sedimentary strata. Thus, freshly laid sedimentary strata bend very easily.  They are pliable.  But it only takes a few years for these sedimentary strata to dry out and harden. When that happens the sedimentary rock becomes brittle. Scientists learned this from the events of Mount St Helens eruption in 1980 followed by a 1983 lake breach. It took only three years for those sedimentary rocks to become brittle.

Brittle rock snaps under bending stress. This diagram shows the principle.

Sedimentary rock gets brittle very quickly. When brittle it snaps when bent

The Brittle Niagara Escarpment

We can see this sort of rock failure in the Niagara escarpment.  After these sediments were laid down they became brittle. When an upthrust later on pushed up some of these sedimentary layers they snapped under the shear stress. This formed the Niagara escarpment which runs for hundreds of miles. 

Niagara escarpment is Sedimentary Rock that broke under shear stress and was thrust up (pushed up) in a fault
Niagara escarpment is an upthrust extending hundreds of miles

Therefore we know that the upthrust which produced the Niagara escarpment happened after these sedimentary strata became brittle. There was at least enough time between these events for the strata to harden and become brittle. This does not take eons of time, but does take a couple of years as Mount St. Helens showed.

Pliable Sedimentary Formations in Morocco

The photo below shows large sedimentary formations photographed in Morocco.  You can see how the strata formation bends as a unit.  There is no evidence of the strata snapping either in tension (pulled apart) or in shear (sidewise rupture).  Therefore this whole vertical formation must have been still pliable when bent.  But it takes only a couple of years for sedimentary rock to become brittle. This means that there can be no significant time interval between the formation’s lower layers and its top layers.  If there had been a ‘time passage’ interval between these layers then the earlier layers would have become brittle. Then they would have fractured and snapped rather than bent when the formation contorted.

Sedimentary formations in Morocco. The whole formation bends as a unit showing that it had still been supple (rather than dry and brittle) when it was bent. This indicates that there is no time passage from the bottom to the top of this formation

Grand Canyon’s Pliable Formations

Schematic of monocline (bending upthrust) at Grand Canyon showing it was raised vertically about 5000 feet – one mile. Adapted from “The Young Earth” by Dr. John Morris

We can see the same type of bending in the Grand Canyon. Sometime in the past, an upthrust (known as a monocline) occurred, similar to what happened to the Niagara Escarpment. This raised one side of the formation one mile, or 1.6 km, vertically up. You can see this from the 7000 feet elevation compared to 2000 feet on the other side of the upthrust. (This gives a difference in elevation of 5000 feet, which in metric units is 1.5 km). But this strata did not snap as the Niagara escarpment did. Instead, it bent at both the bottom and the top of the formation. This indicates that it was still pliable throughout the entire formation. Not enough time had elapsed between the bottom and top layer depositions for the bottom layers to become brittle.

Bending that occurred at Tapeats, in the low layer of the Grand Canyon sedimentary formations. Taken from ‘Grand Canyon: Monument to Catastrophe’ by Dr. Steve Austin

Thus the time interval from the bottom to the top of these layers has a maximum of a few years. (The time it takes for sedimentary strata to become hard and brittle).

So there is not enough time between the bottom layers and the top ones for a series of flooding events. These gigantic layers of rock were laid down – across an area of thousands of square kilometers – in one deposition. The rocks give evidence of Noah’s flood.

Noah’s Flood vs. Flood on Mars

The idea of Noah’s flood having actually happened is unconventional and will take some reflecting.

Sedimentation and flooding on Mars?

But at the very least, it is instructive to consider an irony of our modern day.  The planet Mars exhibits channeling and evidence of sedimentation. Therefore scientists postulate that Mars was once inundated by a huge flood. 

The big problem with this theory is that no one has ever discovered any water on the Red Planet.  But water covers 2/3 of the Earth’s surface. The Earth contains enough water to cover a smoothed and rounded globe to a depth of 1.5 km. Continental sized sedimentary formations that appear to have been deposited rapidly in a devastating cataclysm cover the earth. Yet many consider it heresy to postulate that a flood like this has ever occurred on this planet. But for Mars we actively consider it.  Is that not a double standard? 

We may look at the Noah movie as only a re-enactment of a myth written as a Hollywood script. But perhaps we should reconsider whether the rocks themselves aren’t crying out about this deluge written on scripts of stone.

Was the Chernobyl Disaster Predicted in the Bible?

By Pastor Sam Jess, Barss Corner, Nova Scotia, Canada

I am an English-speaking Canadian. I’ve never been to Ukraine, and I do not speak Ukrainian or Russian. But when I was 17 years old I watched a tour video and I learned something fascinating about Ukraine that has stuck with me since. The traveler in the video spoke about the Chernobyl disaster, and his camera focused on a shrub that is common in the region around Chernobyl. The shrub is called wormwood, and has a bitter taste. The traveler quoted a prophecy from the Bible, about a disaster that was going to happen: 

10 The third angel sounded his trumpet, and a great star, blazing like a torch, fell from the sky on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water— 11 the name of the star is Wormwood.[a] A third of the waters turned bitter, and many people died from the waters that had become bitter.

Revelation 8:10-11

I don’t remember how much the traveler pointed out the uncanny ways the Chernobyl disaster (April 26, 1986) resembles this prophecy. (I will review the similarities below.) But he made his point when he said,

“The Ukrainian word for Wormwood is ‘Chernobyl’.” 

Now with war in Ukraine frequently on the news, people here in Canada have been asking me about the end of the world. So I decided to study about Chernobyl and Wormwood. The following is some of what I learned, and my conclusions.

Absinthe Wormwood Shrub
Agnieszka Kwiecień, NovaCC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Chernobyl and Wormwood

First, I learned that not many people in the English-speaking world have explored this question. It is not common to find it discussed in current books about end-times prophecies. US President Reagan referenced the prophecy, and the New York Times highlighted it in the year of the disaster. Then it seems like it was largely forgotten.


Angel of the Wormwood Star
Clay GillilandCC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Maybe because it didn’t fit with how people pictured the end-times happening. For example, everyone was expecting nuclear disaster to come as an attack, not as an accident. Also, Bible-readers expected the “third trumpet” to happen within a sequence of other disasters within a 7-year period of “tribulation.” 

Second, I learned that this prophecy has a prominent place in how many Ukrainians understand the Chernobyl disaster. Serhii Plokhy is a Ukrainian historian who was downwind from the disaster when it happened. He is a professor at Harvard University now. In his 2018 book, Chernobyl: The History of a Nuclear Catastrophe, he introduces the prophecy on p. 27 and returns to it at significant points throughout the book. I’ve read a couple of other books written by non-Ukrainians about the disaster, and they don’t mention the prophecy at all.

More prominent is the physical memorial constructed to mark the 25th anniversary of the disaster at the old town of Chernobyl. This features a stunning statue made of metal rods to look like an angel blowing a trumpet – the angel of the Wormwood Star.

Chernobyl and Bible Prophecy

All of this shows that it is worth our time to look carefully at

  1. what happened,
  2. how it lines up with the prophecy,
  3. how it does not line up with the prophecy, and
  4. how it should effect the way we believe and the way we live.

1. What happened?

At 1:27:58 AM on April 26, 1986, in the middle of a safety test on Reactor #4, the reactor went out of control and exploded. Radioactive material was scattered over a wide area. And then part of the core continued to burn hotter and hotter over the coming days and weeks, sending a steady plume of radioactive smoke over much of Europe. It took a surprisingly long time for the technicians at the plant to realize and acknowledge what had happened – such an explosion was supposed to be impossible. Top authorities were more concerned at first to get the generators generating again, than with the real issues. And for the few who got close enough to look down into the reactor, to see the nuclear fire, it cost them their health and their lives.

2. Uncanny connections to the prophecy:

A. The name. It was only after long deliberation that the nuclear plant was named after the administrative capital 13 km away, Chernobyl (or Chornobyl). That name refers to the bitter-tasting black shrub that grows abundantly there, a variety of wormwood. And so, a little bit indirectly but quite definitely, the nuclear power plant was named after the shrub, wormwood. The prophecy says the star would be called Wormwood. If you check a Russian or Ukrainian Bible, Rev. 8:11 will say “Polyn,” for “Wormwood,” not “Chernobyl.” Polyn is the more generic term for the shrub wormwood, while chernobyl is the local variety. The connection is direct enough, for locals who know the shrub.

B. The way it burned and burned. The prophecy says that it would “burn like a torch.” That is exactly what happened, giving an eerie coloured glow and a constant plume of smoke. By May 1 it seemed to have burned itself out, but then May 2 the temperature and the radiation levels began to rise sharply, and it risked either exploding again (but much worse than the first time) or burning through the floor and descending down into the water table. No one knew how long the burning could last. However, fortunately for the world, the graphite burned itself out on May 10.

Dnieper River
Dmitry A. MottlCC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

C. Its prominent place on the waters. One of the drawbacks of building the plant at its site was that groundwater flowed very close to the surface. The nearby Dnieper river is “one of the largest surface water systems in Europe.” And a recent Hollywood movie frightened all the technicians regarding what would happen if the reactor burned its way down into the water table and poisoned all the water. The technicians took extreme measures to prevent anything like that.

D. It was not a star, but it was referred to as one, long before the accident. Nuclear power was Gorbachev’s hope for revitalizing a stagnant economy. Soviet authorities referred to these power plants as “stars” shining across the USSR. Also, the nuclear reaction they used was comparable to the nuclear reaction that powers stars. And at the time of the explosion, the heat in the reactor reached 4,650 degrees centigrade, almost exactly the temperature of the surface of the sun.

I admit that something doesn’t fit with the part of the prophecy about the star “falling from the sky.” But somehow it is worth mentioning that everyone was expecting nuclear war to come from the sky. They were talking about President Reagan’s “Star Wars” missile defense system. And after the accident, one of the reasons Soviet authorities were hesitant to welcome IAEA authorities was that they would see the nearby enormous radar array, the USSR’s principal way of watching for “stars falling from the sky” (nuclear missiles).

E. The timing of the crisis was such that it challenged people to wonder what they truly should celebrate. May Day (one of the two biggest holidays in the USSR) parades happened 5 days after the explosion, while Victory Day celebrations occurred on May 9. Meanwhile, people felt challenged to return to celebrating (Orthodox) Good Friday (May 2) and Easter (May 4) during the evacuations.

Victory Day celebrations
Alexxx1979CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

3. Differences, that show it was not a complete fulfillment

Memorial for victims of the Chernobyl disaster in Rivne
VenzzCC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

A. No bitter taste was reported in anything I read, aside from pills people took. The prophecy says that a third of the water will turn “bitter.” Yes, some water became poisoned (though not as much as could have been). But even the firefighter who drank out of the cooling ponds didn’t say it tasted bitter. People with radiation spoke about metallic tastes in their mouths, and someone mentioned a taste like sour apples. But never bitter. Moreover, the government effort to protect the groundwater and the river water was largely successful. If this was a complete fulfillment of the prophecy, then I think we would have had to ship huge amounts of drinking water into Europe for decades. That did not happen.

B. Deaths were surprisingly less than you would have expected, especially in the early days of the disaster. Certainly in the following months, years, and decades many, many people and families suffered terrible things because of the radiation, and many people died much younger than they should have. But the prophecy says that many people will die “from the waters.” That does not seem to fit exactly with what happened.

C. It doesn’t fit within a series of other disasters listed in Revelation 8. Of course, the world may have “missed” various details of things that have already happened, like how many of us “missed” the uncanny connections between Wormwood and the Chernobyl disaster. But that gets less likely when you have a list of 7 trumpets instead of just one.

Summary: I find it hard to dismiss these disasters as having nothing to do with this prophecy. I also find it hard to say that it was a complete fulfillment of this prophecy. It seems like if the meltdown had reached the groundwater, then it would have been more like a complete fulfillment. But it didn’t. It seems wisest to say that the Chernobyl disaster is some kind of partial fulfillment of this prophecy.

What is a “partial fulfillment” of a prophecy?  

While we watch for signs of the end of the world, we need to learn from the Bible about how biblical prophecies come about. Sometimes they come all at once, like the sudden destruction of Sodom in Abram’s day. Or sometimes they come in one part, and then another part later. 

Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah
John Martin, PD-US-expired, via Wikimedia Commons

On Christ’s Day, many people thought they had the end times figured out. And then Christ didn’t fit with what they had figured out, so they missed embracing him as they should have. Even John the Baptist was like that: he had predicted that Christ would come with great destruction. And then Christ came with compassion. He struggled to see that Christ would come twice, not once, and that most of the destruction he predicted would be at the Second Coming. So he was confused by the partial fulfillment at the first coming. 

I think that “partial fulfillments” of prophecy are fulfillments that yet allow us time to repent, fulfillments that come with more mercy than judgment.

I am not an expert on prophecy or the history of the Chernobyl disaster. But it seems to me that the Chernobyl disaster was a “partial fulfillment” of Rev. 8:10-11. God was merciful (and many people worked very hard) to hold back the more horrifying things that could very easily have happened. As we reflect on that, may we turn our lives to him in repentance?

4. The following are some lessons we can learn as we reflect on the Chernobyl disaster, and the mercy God showed us in it:

When it comes to watching for signs of the end, we need to be careful not to think we have it all figured out, how things are going to happen. Things can come from directions we don’t expect. No one expected that a nuclear disaster would come from human negligence, and civilian infrastructure, instead of from the sky, from war. And things can go in directions you don’t expect. No one would have expected this event to lead to an end of the Soviet Union as it did, and the peace that came from that, for a time.

Chernobyl reactor 4 – where the disaster took place
Adam Jones from Kelowna, BC, CanadaCC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Some things that will happen in the end times will allow people to carry on as if nothing has happened. 

Seven weddings happened in the city of Pripyat (4 km from the nuclear power plant) on Saturday, April 26, a short walk from the burning reactor. And in the months that followed, peasants who were being told to evacuate were challenged with the invisibility of the danger. (A man in a city told his peasant mother in her village, “Mom, look at the bugs and worms in the ground. Are they dying? Then get out!”) In the same way, we need to watch for the signs that Jesus warns us about, signs that may be happening around us today.

Sometimes well-educated officials, who had access to all the true information, just simply did not want to believe what was happening, did not want to believe the words of those who had looked into the pit. There is a lot that has been said about the USSR’s failure to tell what was truly going on. But when we hear the truth, do many of us want to believe it? May God make us ready to believe it.

The disasters in the end will not be total, at first.

Like in the plagues in Egypt, there was always a relief, always a chance for Pharaoh to harden his heart again. So it is when God pulls us back from the brink of destruction. (If all 4 reactors had exploded, it could have wiped out human life on Earth.) May God’s mercy lead us to repentance, not toward hardening.

Radiation can melt many things.

It caused spots on the film of young couples’ wedding videos on April 26. The radiation fried the circuitry of the robots that first tried to clean off the roof of the reactor building. It even melted many people’s atheism and disobedience toward God. Plokhy tells about a Communist official defying orders and celebrating Easter with his men for the first time in years, in the wake of the disaster (page 201).

God curses those who curse the Jews.

The town of Chernobyl was 60% Jewish in 1900, a thriving center of Hasidic Judaism (which has since moved to the USA and Israel – those who had not been murdered, that is). Pogroms, Holodomor, Holocaust, etc., reduced their numbers severely in that place. God’s special people will factor large in what happens in the End Times, and God will curse those who curse them.

Often our first reaction to end-times prophecies is to think that they are “fantastical,” “unbelievable,” and “unrealistic.” I believe that God gives us events like the Chernobyl disaster to warn us that these things are not unbelievable, or even difficult to believe. What is difficult to believe is that peace and safety will prevail.

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, his compassions never fail, great is his faithfulness (Lam. 3:22-23).
The Second Coming of Jesus
Distant Shores Media/Sweet PublishingCC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

John the Baptist and many others struggled to understand Jesus because they struggled to understand that God would come in mercy before he would come in judgment (and he will come in judgment). The purpose is for us to repent and turn to him while there is time. The reactor was out of control, and God held it back from the disaster that it could have been. KGB documents have since been declassified, to show us how often other terrible things almost happened there. Do you have any idea how many disasters God and his angels are on purpose holding back right now, just to give you a chance to turn yourself, heart and soul, to Jesus Christ who died for your sins?

And please don’t assume that this story about Chernobyl and Wormwood is over. Chernobyl is currently in a war zone, and there have been times in the past year when we have gone to bed wondering what was going to happen at that nuclear power plant, or at other nuclear power plants. We are still wondering.