Thursday, May 20, 2010
Friday, May 7, 2010
Tennessee lost at least 30 people to the flooding. Countless homes and businesses were washed away or out of commission due to the rising waters.
Financially, Tennessee sustained more than $1 billion in flood damage just in the private sector, according to our governor. Recall that $1 billion is another way of saying “one thousand millions.” By any measure, these floods were unprecedented. In some areas there were three months of normal rainfall in about thirty hours.
Tragically, many homeowners were not insured against flooding. Regular homeowners’ insurance does not cover flooding from rising waters. Because this week's flooding hit in areas not considered flood-prone, it is possible that the majority of property owners may not have had flood insurance.
In Nashville, water covered the field where the Titans play. Part of their downtown was submerged for days. Gaylord Opryland Resort and other facilities had to evacuate 1,500 people to a high school, due to about eight feet of water in it. It maybe closed for six months or longer, deeply affecting tourism. Tuesday's Grand Ole Opry country music performance had to be moved to a different auditorium, but played on.
Locally, Millington was particularly hard hit, but local churches and the Red Cross have stepped up to help. Each morning, crews leave First Baptist while loads of food are distributed from Crosspointe. These efforts, along with countless other churches, organizations, and individuals form a network of neighbors helping neighbors characteristic of our great area. Unsung heroes brought their boats and four-wheel drives to rescue people from flooded apartments and homes.
Dyer County to our north struggles as well. It was actually one of the first few counties declared as disaster areas by FEMA. Out of 95 total counties in Tennessee, over 50 have been sought by the governor to be declared disaster areas.
I cannot help but think of another flood. The largest flood ever. The one that many secular scientists say never happened. Looking just at the record 3-Day Rain Total of 17.51 inches received at Birdsong near Nashville, imagine if that rate continued for 40 days and 40 nights! There would be over twenty feet of rain, not counting drainage. The Biblical deluge was much worse than that, because much of the water was not rain, but the “fountains of the great deep” bursting open. We see the immense pressure of the gulf oil spill spewing black fossil fuels into the sea. Water in the ground was once under similar pressure and burst forth violently, covering the lands. Mountains, later pushed up by plate tectonics, still have seashells on their very top as a result.
However, those who listened to Noah were sealed up safely. Similarly, those who put their faith and trust in Our Lord Jesus may well perish, but will never be lost.
Allow this time of suffering to be the catalyst that points you to the Lover of your soul.
Mr. Peel’s other articles are posted on his blog at DavidBPeel.blogspot.com. He often speaks to clubs and churches and may be contacted at PeelLawFirm.com.
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
Evolution v. Creation series
The familiar nursery rhyme of “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” belies the long-standing controversy of the distance of stars and therefore, their age.
You may be thinking, are we discussing “distance” or “time?”
The short answer is, “both.”
Distant starlight has long been used as an argument against a young universe. Since there are galaxies full of stars that are very far away, it currently takes the light rays billions of years to get from there to Earth, and since these galaxies are visible to us each evening, many believe that the universe must be at least billions of years old—much older than the 6,000-10,000 years the Bible teaches.
First of all, the vastness of the universe is a way giving glory to God (Psalm 19:1).
For years, Christians have argued that God created the beams of light from these far distant stars “already on their way” here. They are quick to point out that Adam was created in a mature state, as he was commanded to be fruitful and multiply. He never had a mother, never nursed nor likely had any need of a navel! Also, the Garden of Eden was clearly created in a mature state, in that it gave fruit to our original parents to eat.
Genesis 1-2, in describing Day 4, seems to indicate to many that the universe was also made in a fully mature state. If not, the stars were not made visible, then how could they be used to give “signs and seasons.” This would be achieved if the light from these distant stars was created already “on the way.”
The creation movement has a controversy within itself about assuming that the light was created in-transit. From our modern observatories, we can actually observe events still happening in deep space. We can observe the movement, expansion, contraction and even destruction of stars. These celestial lights above are occasionally even obliterated by massive explosions we can watch.
Critics argue that these events we can literally watch occur never actually even happened, if God created the light beams already “on their way.” It would indicate to some that the stars we see expanding may never have even been there to begin with. Exploding stars may have never exploded or even existed, they argue.
So, did God merely fictionalize history when it came to distant stars? To more than a few creationists, God would never create illusory events. It smacks of dishonesty to some.
However, is it really that simple to write off this--the oldest of creationist apologist’s explanations? Think back to the Garden of Eden. Let’s assume that we look at a simple apple tree on Day 6, as Adam is under the first anesthesia, having the first surgery that will produce the first woman.
This twenty-five foot tall tree is covered with apples, many of which are ready to eat. The trunk looks mature and old, and there are leaves or more. Naturalistically speaking, an apple seed from an even older apple would have had to “die” in the ground to birth this one. Years of necessary watering, sunny days, and bee-pollinated blossoms did not occur, but the tree is nevertheless here in the Garden.
The very soil is formed mostly by the death and degradation of organic matter like plants. Again, these plants never lived, died or decayed. But the mature soil still exists. And, to borrow the old riddle, the chickens are walking around without the benefit yet of the very first egg.
Is this God fictionalizing as well? Or, in fact, is the setting in motion of natural processes that appear as if they have existed for millennia? I would contend that God started time with an appearance mirroring his Trinitarian Godhead, in three parts—past, present and future. It is only very far way that we can even see the created past. What of the wine in the jug as Christ’s first miracle? The grapes were never grown. What of the fish that fed the 5,000 who apparently never swam? What of the bread that was made of wheat the was never planted, and never swayed in the sunny breezes? Miracles are supernatural, by definition.
That does not mean that people are not still looking for an explanation. There are other creationist theories developing as well. I will just touch upon a couple briefly.
Speed of Light’s Consistency:
It assumed that the speed of light is constantly one year to travel 6 trillion miles, or 186,300 miles per second. If though, light was faster in the past, light could travel the distance without any delay. Light speed might have been affected by gravity or other factors.
Perception of Time:
Albert Einstein discovered that time passes differently depending on motion and gravity. If a spaceship moved fast enough--close to the speed of light--“time-dilation” occurs. As a clock approaches the speed of light, that clock would tick very slowly. If we could somehow reach the speed of light, the clock would stop completely. Also, gravity slows the passage of time. An atomic clock at sea-level ticks slower than one on a mountain, based on the strength of gravity. If Earth’s gravity varied in the past, (sometime called a “white hole”) that caused quick expansion--it may be that time would seem to flow more slowly on earth than in the distant universe. This would be somewhat akin to the way time zones interrelate.
In general, we can observe things about the galaxy that seem inconsistent at first glance with a young universe. However, there are many items that argue strongly against a universe of any age approaching multiple billion years.
For instance, many stars burn too hot to last long. Some called “hot blue” stars, cannot last billions of years. Spiral galaxies are common, but cannot be very old because they continue to twist. Disintegrating comets and decaying magnetic fields are in our own galaxy, and are not consistent with billions of years. Thus, the location and distance of the heavenly bodies challenge the alleged long age of the universe.
The stars’ location should cause no serious challenge to a young earth creationist, or belief in the God who named each one. Whatever theory comes in or out of vogue in creationist circles, we know that the heavens declare the glory of God:
He determines the number of the stars
and calls them each by name.
Great is our Lord and mighty in power;
his understanding has no limit.
George Washington and our other founding fathers could scarcely have imagined that their idea for a National Day of Prayer would one day be declared against the very Constitution that many of them wrote. The Continental Congress called for "a day of public humiliation, fasting, and prayer" be observed in 1775.
Over 200 years later, on April 15, 2010, Judge Crabb ruled that the statute establishing the National Day of Prayer was unconstitutional as it is "an inherently religious exercise that serves no secular function". However, she stayed her ruling pending the completion of appeals.
She explains her position in her ruling, wherein she stated the following:
“In my view of the case law, government involvement in prayer may be consistent with the establishment clause when the government's conduct serves a significant secular purpose and is not a "call for religious action on the part of citizens." McCreary County, Kentucky v. American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky, 545 U.S. 844, 877 (2005). Unfortunately, (section) 119 cannot meet that test. It goes beyond mere "acknowledgment" of religion because its sole purpose is to encourage all citizens to engage in prayer, an inherently religious exercise that serves no secular function in this context. In this instance, the government has taken sides on a matter that must be left to individual conscience. "When the government associates one set of religious beliefs with the state and identifies nonadherents as outsiders, it encroaches upon the individual's decision about whether and how to worship." McCreary County, 545 U.S. at 883 (O'Connor, J., concurring). Accordingly, I conclude that (section) 119 violates the establishment clause.”
“It bears emphasizing that a conclusion that the establishment clause prohibits the government from endorsing a religious exercise is not a judgment on the value of prayer or the millions of Americans who believe in its power. No one can doubt the important role that prayer plays in the spiritual life of a believer. In the best of times, people may pray as a way of expressing joy and thanks; during times of grief, many find that prayer provides comfort. Others may pray to give praise, seek forgiveness, ask for guidance or find the truth. "And perhaps it is not too much to say that since the beginning of th[e] history [of humans] many people have devoutly believed that 'More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of.'" Engel v. Vitale, 370 U.S. 421, 433 (1962). However, recognizing the importance of prayer to many people does not mean that the government may enact a statute in support of it, any more than the government may encourage citizens to fast during the month of Ramadan, attend a synagogue, purify themselves in a sweat lodge or practice rune magic. In fact, it is because the nature of prayer is so personal and can have such a powerful effect on a community that the government may not use its authority to try to influence an individual's decision whether and when to pray.”
Ultimately, there is massive misunderstanding between freedom OF religion and freedom FROM religion. America continues to turn her back on God.
See more articles on PeelLawFirm.com and DavidBPeel.blogspot.com. Mr. Peel maybe available to speak to your church or club.