Space: A New Discovery

early-manned-spaceflight_939_600x450Mesmerized is the best word to describe my state of mind on May 5, 1961, and I was not alone.  There were another 44,999,999 other people glued to a black and white TV—all 45 million of us were fixated on NASA’s herculean effort to launch Mercury-Redstone 3 into space, and the heroic exploits of Alan Shepard, Jr.

Today, nearly 56 years, NASA will be holding a press conference to release information on a new discovery.   The space agency will share information concerning their “new findings on planets that orbit stars other than our sun, known as exoplanets.” nasa-kepler-452b

The word I find interesting in the paragraph above is “discovery.”  NASA has not created these exoplanets, they have discovered them; and this is true of all truth and scientific findings—they are discovered and not created.

The nature of truth is a frequent topic of discussion in the writings of Norman Geisler and Frank Turek:

  • Truth is discovered, not invented. It exists independent of anyone’s knowledge of it. (Gravity existed prior to Newton.)
  • Truth is transcultural; if something is true, it is true for all people, in all places, at all times. (2+2=4 for everyone, everywhere, at every time.)
  • Truth is unchanging even though our beliefs about truth change. (When we began to believe the earth was round instead of flat, the truth about the earth didn’t change, only our belief about the earth changed.)
  • Beliefs cannot change a fact, no matter how sincerely they are held. (Someone can sincerely believe the world is flat, but that only makes the person sincerely mistaken.)
  • Truth is not affected by the attitude on the one professing it. (An arrogant person does not make the truth he professes false. A humble person does not make the error he professes true.)

It was Jesus who said: “You shall know the truth and the truth will set you free.” Truth, according to Jesus, can be known; however, the fly in truth’s ointment is that people give little effort to knowing the truth, but they are fully engaged in the pursuit of happiness.

This cart before the horse perspective will only lead to the mire and the muck of Pilgrim’s slough of despond—the more one struggles to find happiness apart from God the more he is stuck in the mud.

I’ll close with this comment by Timothy Keller: “While other worldviews lead us to sit in the midst of life’s joys, foreseeing the coming sorrows, Christianity empowers its people to sit in the midst of this world’s sorrows, tasting the coming joy.”

Think about this truth; it just might set you free.

Killing the Innocent to Save the Innocent

harambe-22A trip to the zoo can be an adventure of expecting the unexpected.  Whether it’s the chimps, the giraffes, or the elephants, somewhere at some time, one of these animals will do something unusual to the delight of the visitors.  No one, however, could have expected the series of events that occurred on Saturday and resulted in the death of, Harambe, a gorilla at the Cincinnati Zoo.

When a 4-year-old boy climbed under a fence and fell into the gorilla’s enclosure,  Harambe, grabbed him and dragged him around his pen.  Even though the western lowland silverback gorilla is an endangered species, the zoo’s emergency response team shot him to save the child.

Some posts on social media have been angry outbursts directed towards zoo officials and the parents of the 4-year old boy. Some think the gorilla should have been spared at the risk of the child.

While it’s sad that zoo officials had to shoot the gorilla, I think they took the right course of action.  The question for you is: How do you make decisions. Do you have a decision tree that you follow or some hierarchy that directs you?

Dr. Norm Geisler has developed some principles to help guide him, and he refers to them as the Seven Principles of Ethical Hierarchy:

  1. Persons are more valuable than things
  2. Infinite persons are more valuable than finite persons
  3. Complete persons are more valuable than incomplete persons
  4. Actual persons are more valuable than potential persons
  5. *Potential persons are more valuable than actual things
  6. Many persons are more valuable than a few persons
  7. Personal acts which promote personhood are better than those which do not

Geisler’s Seven Principles, support the actions of the zoo’s officials:  Humans have more value than things or non-humans.  As much as I like my non-human dog, I recognize that humans are moral beings and animals are amoral; moral beings have rights, but non-human, amoral creatures do not.

I spend more time with my dog that I do most human beings; watch his diet closer than I watch mine; and, I’ve been known to cry when one of these, magnificent creatures dies; however, when choosing between the life of a 4-year old child and a non-human, I’ll spare the child every time.



*Some people draw the conclusion that Geisler’s view seems to imply that a developing child is of no value and that abortion on demand is justified.  This is not the case; Geisler has said: “An unborn baby is a work of God that He is building into His own likeness,” and he cites Psalm 139:13-15, which speaks of God’s providential care for the unborn.

Why God?

In the last two blogs, I’ve discussed the presence of evil in the world.  There are times when people meet evil face to face and then question the existence of God:  How can there be a God when there is so much evil in the world today?

My response to this question is a question:  How do you know evil exists?  To determine what is evil and what is good, a person must have some standard or moral law by which evil and good are measured.  A moral law of this sort requires a moral law giver, and that, I believe, is the God of the Bible.

With God as my starting point, I believe He created a universe in which there was no evil and no suffering.  This includes Adam and Eve who were created as perfect beings with the ability to choose right and wrong.

This is where things take a turn for the worse.  Adam and Eve freely chose to engage in an act of disobedience, and sin entered the world.  Their act of rebellion gave birth to sin and evil.

God did not directly create evil.  He created Adam and Eve with the ability to choose good or to choose evil.  “God created the fact of freedom; we perform the acts of freedom.  God made evil possible; men make evil actual (Norm Geisler).”

A couple of days ago, I made the comment that I find myself praying for peace.  The underlying assumption of that prayer is that evil will be eliminated.  When will this happen?  I don’t know about you, but I want it to happen immediately.

More often than not, I find that I do not understand God’s timetable.  In my understanding of theology, I believe God is in the process of eliminating evil.  The Scriptures tell us there will be a future day of peace when even the lion and lamb will lay down beside each other.

As we wait for this day to arrive, we need to realize that we are a key component in restraining evil.  This statement can be understood by seeing the contrast between the following statements made by Jesus.

  • Men loved the darkness because their deeds were evil.
  • You are the light of the world.
  •  God is light an in Him is no darkness at all.

Here is a thought to keep you thinking.  When your light shines in the darkness, is it perceived as one of condemnation or compasssion?  Is it a light that shows the Way or a light that pushes away?