Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Don't let the facts get you down


If you’re like me, you might only have heard very recently about a man calling himself “Dr Dino”, his real name being Kent Hovind.

Dr Dino is a young earth creationist who has been preaching and speaking creation science evangelism for many years, and has video files of these available for downloading and distributing from his website (http://www.drdino.com). Seeing as the video files are each 700mb each, I felt bad that I might have to use my work internet access to download all seven files - so I considered it a blessing when a friend mentioned that he knew someone who already had downloaded all the the sessions and would happily loan us the DVDs to watch and then copy ourselves. (All these files are not copyrighted and Horvind himself endorses people distributing his messages as freely as possible.)

So it was with great anticipation and excitement that I put disc one into my DVD player at home, and my wife and I settled in to the washing up of dishes and ironing of clothes whilst Dr Dino blared in the background. Immediately I found myself laughing and agreeing with practically everything said by Hovind - seeing as I myself am inclined to believe that the earth isn’t billions of years old at all, based on my belief that the Bible is the perfect, unerring and infallible true Word of God, and I believe it can be taken quite literally (in fact, it must), so when the Good Book says that God created the heavens and the earth and everything else in six days - I’m inclined to think that it happened in six days, and not 600 billion years as some scientists would have me think.

After watching the first half of session one, I couldn't help thinking that this guy is on the money; and wanting to find out more about him and revisit his website, I googled him the next day. Imagine my astonishment then, when the latest news on Kent Hovind, Dr Dino, is that he and his wife have been sentenced to 10 years in prison for tax evasion!

What?!? Yup, apparently he hasn’t paid taxes that are due to the US government for some time now - and the course of the law has caught up to him. That and some other rather scrupulous dealings on his part ended up in his being incarcerated; if you want to know more about it all, just google him like I did.

How disappointing, that someone who I had - albeit briefly - looked up to as being a great proponent and challenger for God’s Word, and refuting any and all shred of “evidence” for the Theory of Evolution, should now has his character assassinated by no-one other than himself and his own foolish actions.

What does this mean though? Does the evidence for a young earth creation - intiated and completed by the God of the Bible - lose any credibility? Or is it just Kent Hovind himself who has lost credibility? We humans are prideful and sinful beings, there is no one of us who is without sin (Romans 3:23), and so it only makes sense that we lose our way from time to time - not because we want it to happen, but because we’re not perfect. Facts on the other hand; are facts. They are absolute and cannot be changed; they are infallible. And what is pertinent to remember in the wake of recent events with regards to Dr Dino; is that the arguments he made for a young earth are echoed by a lot of other reputable scientists and organisations, one in particluar being Answers in Genesis (http://www.answersingenesis.org).

Now, we should never accept anything to be true simply because someone tells us to, even if we have a preconceived bias towards what we want the truth to be. Paul tells us to “Test everything. Hold on to the good.” (1 Thessalonians 5:21), and so based on this, one shouldn’t accept as truth everything that Dr Dino himself says, just because he provides evidences to support his theories. We should correlate the evidences he puts forward for a young earth and compare it with what other young earth theorists propose as evidences - and see where the two (or three or four) overlap. And even then - should you want to - one can still disagree and put forward your own idea of how to interpret the same facts. (Bearing in mind though that this is looking for scientific evidences to affirm the claims of the Bible. Or negate its claims as it were; though no such evidence has yet been found, and I can assure you most wholeheartedly, will never be found.)

But this is the most vital thing to remember: we are all looking and working with the same facts. Old earth, young, atheists, scientists and denominational churches; we are all looking at the same evidence - we’re just interpreting it differently. I look forward to watching the rest of the seven DVDs I have of Kent Hovinds sermons, and comparing it with other information that I find on the net.

No matter what I find out though - regardless of how the earth was actually formed - nothing changes the undeniable historical fact - infallible as it is - that Jesus Christ lived...died...and was raised up again. All to reconcile sinners like me and everyone else in the world to God, and to make salvation possible for all who accepts him.(Romans 5:8-9)

*If you are interested in finding out more about what evidences there are for the Bible being the absolute Word of God, the lack of any credible evidence to support the theory of evolution, just how the universe was formed and more about the historically accurate and true account of the life, death and life of Jesus Christ - might I recommend the following websites: AIG and CARM.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Icebergs & Icing


This last weekend I had the opportunity to go for a two hour drive up the north coast of KwaZulu-Natal with my beautiful wife, Jess, to attend the wedding of my cousin, Matthew, to his long-term girlfriend, Christine.

They stay in Richards Bay, a natural harbour on the East coast of Africa that sees the largest amount of cargo - per tonnage - exported and imported from and into South Africa (My stats on this might be slightly out, but take it from me, either way, these guys move millions of tons of stuff through its port). Very, very interesting if you’re into that sort of thing; unfortunately I am not. Although I would have loved to have been able to take more photographs during the afternoon that we arrived - only the wedding was to start at 2pm, and there wasn’t much time to do any “sightseeing”. Next time I’ll try and see if I can’t get my “photographic-eye” to snap off a few shots of the factories and industry in the area. Next time...

The low-key ceremony and following reception took place at the same little venue on the Meerensee waterfront, and was absolutely wonderful. The missus and I had a fantastic time, and it was great to be able to see family that I don’t often have the chance to catch up with. The whole occassion was a very humble affair, certainly not ostentatious or lavish in any way, and yet the spirit of family and togetherness that predominated over the entire proceedings made the day a thouroughly memorable one. And I’m sure, the prescence of the Lord was there as well, seeing as He invented marriage in the first place.

Marriages are funny things, I found myself thinking, and it’s strange how so many people place the importance of the day on the things that flesh it out - such as the décor, flowers, theme, venue and the hundred thousand dollar wedding dress - rather than the act of actually being married itself. Little wonder then that so many marriages today are in a state of decay and suffer from “irreconcilable differences”. The tone for a marriage is not set by the sending off or celebration that takes place at its conception. A wedding is for a day; a marriage is for a lifetime.

I was sitting in the bath today - yes, I know you’d rather not have that mental image in your head, but that’s where I got the idea - and it suddenly struck me that a marriage can be awfully likened to the Titanic. Here was this great ship, decked out in the most extravagent décor for its time, a floating emporium of gilt and treasure. The ceremony that launched it out of its berth in the docks was probably the most expensive christening ever. People boarded it with the expectation that this was the greatest ship ever to set sail on the ocean, and what a journey it was going to be. Unstoppable, unsinkable...underwater is where it ended up.

For all of its praises, for all the pomp and ceremony that surrounded the sending off of this vessel - for all of its great intentions and design - it had major flaws. They might have not been seen on the surface, they might have involved scenarios that were deemed remotely inconceivable, yet we all know what happened on April 14, 1912. One small iceberg combined with a chain of ill-fated events to doom the Titanic to the murky black depths of the Atlantic Ocean. Much like how some marriages end up.

A marriage is not a wedding. A marriage is not held together by the glue of Vera Wang and country club receptions. A marriage is maintained, strengthened, and blooms into its full potential by - and only by - its inventor, its author, God Almighty, God the Father. A God-centered and honouring marriage will survice any iceberg. Now, I’ve only been married for two years come January 21st of 2007, so I’m no expert on the matter, but - that having been said - I am married and so am allowed to make at least some commentary on it. Before my wife, Jessica, and I got married someone said to us: Picture a triangle, with God at the top and each of you - husband and wife - at the bottom corners respectively. The closer you both climb up the sides of the triangle towards God, the closer you get to each other. I can with 100% assurity say to anyone out there, that this is true - why? - because it has been true for me.

Marriage is about a commitment to each other, and more importantly, it is a commitment to God. It is a covenant that a man and a woman enter into with the Lord of all creation. A covenant based on commitment, with Jesus Christ as the “captain” of our ship. If we build our relationship with God on His steadfast, unfailing love and commitment to us; so will our marriage to our spouse be solid, faithful and committed. More than that; it will reach a potential that unsaved people can only dream about, but never quite attain.

So for all Christians out there; continue to live for God first - let Him be your captain - and He will surely bless your marriages.

For those of you who might be reading this and saying to yourselves that you would want your marriage to be like this - it can be. But first things first: Jesus died on the cross to cleanse your sins and mine, to make a way for us to be able to enter into God’s prescence and have eternal life when we die. Put your relationship with God right first and then allow God to put your relationship with right with the other people in your life, including your spouse.* As it says in Matthew 6:33, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”

* For more advice on what it means to be saved and how to become a Christian go to: http://www.carm.org/seek/be_christian.htm

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

New Year - New Things on the Go

Well...I've been quiet for a while...but it's been the whole Christmas holiday and end-of-year leave story - and I only have internet access at work - so that's why it's been like that.

But I'm back at work and hopefully the entries will start accumulating with earnest.

One of the first things I'm doing is revamping my website (http://www.soulonfire.co.za) - a nasty habit of mine I'm afraid. Although THIS time, things should stay this way for a while. I'm not really that into new year resolutions but I think I should attempt to not redesign my site for at least 6 months from the time it's back up.

Whew...I dunno if I can do it...but I'll see how I go.

Lot of things happened while I was gone. Saddam is dead. Hanged by the new Iraqi government. I tell you - I'm grateful I don't live in Irag that's for sure. Too much trouble happening over there. I feel sorry for everyone involved actually. The people that lived there are sufferring from post-traumatic stress disorder from the fear of getting blown up or shot every day, the troops over there are sufferring from post-traumatic stress disorder from the fear of getting blown up or shot every day, and the people who are themselves blowing up in suicide attacks can't be all that happy as well.

All in all a terrible situation and one that can't be resolved too soon enough for my liking.

Time to start praying for peace in the Middle East...although, I get the feeling that there will NEVER really be peace there. Just gotta read some of Jeremiah to see what it says about that whole region. I must find a study somewhere on what the Bible prophecies for the future of that area and link to it. I'm sure it'll make for some interesting reading.

L8ter. God Bless.

Murray