Where Science and Faith Converge
  • Is There Scientific Evidence for Extra Dimensions?

    by Telerik.Sitefinity.DynamicTypes.Model.Authors.Author | Apr 09, 2021

    Question of the week: Do we have any scientific evidence for the existence of dimensions beyond length, width, height, and time?

    My answer: There is scientific evidence for the existence of dimensions beyond length, width, height, and time. I review and document in some detail that evidence in chapter 3 of my book, Beyond the Cosmos, 3rd edition. Briefly, the space-time theorems establish that there is a causal agent, and hence reality, beyond the dimensions of length, width, height, and time. Also, physicists have demonstrated that there is not adequate room within three space dimensions for all the symmetries required by quantum mechanics, gravity, and relativity. Since we need quantum mechanics, gravity, and relativity for physical life to be possible, there must be more space dimensions beyond the three that we experience.

    Given the constraints that the particle creation models must be consistent with cosmic creation models and that all four of the fundamental forces of physics were unified into a single force when the universe was extremely young and extremely hot, then the universe in which we live has nine dimensions of space. These nine space dimensions all rapidly stretched out (expanded) from the cosmic creation event. At 10-43 seconds after the cosmic creation event, gravity separates out from the strong electroweak force (the unified force of electromagnetism and the strong and weak nuclear forces) and six of the nine space dimensions cease to expand. The six space dimensions that stopped expanding are no larger today than when gravity separated out from the strong electroweak force. Their sizes remain about a hundredth of a billionth of a billionth of the diameter of an electron.

    As for space dimensions beyond the universe’s three large ones and six very tiny ones, Einstein's theories of special and general relativity imply that once physical observers are able to exist in the universe it will be impossible for those observers to physically detect anything beyond the universe’s space dimensions. Therefore, from the confines of our universe, we can only speculate about the nature of dimensions that may exist beyond the universe.

    Readers interested in exploring extra- and trans-dimensionality further can obtain a copy of Beyond the Cosmos, 3rd edition. Anyone can get a free chapter of the book at reasons.org/ross.

  • How Can I Improve My Prayer Life?

    by Telerik.Sitefinity.DynamicTypes.Model.Authors.Author | Apr 02, 2021

    Question of the week: I have been struggling with prayer lately. Sometimes I am not able to think of things to pray about and sometimes my mind will wander as if I cannot stay focused and connected with God? What would you recommend I do to improve my prayer life?

    My answer: Prayer is basically a process of determining God’s will for a particular situation or set or process of situations. God wants to partner with us. He wants us to discern his will.

    An important first step in developing a fruitful prayer life is consistent Bible reading. When I read the Bible, I begin by asking God to speak to me as I read. I ask him to teach me, to grant me understanding, to rebuke me, to redirect my plans, to show me what I should be praying for.

    Second, it is important to take time to listen to God when we pray. Prayer is intended to be a two-way communication. It is important that we do not do all the talking.

    Third, God wants us to pray with progressively greater specificity. For example, we can begin with a general request. However, do not be surprised if you sense God saying, “Exactly how do you want me to fulfill your request?” God wants us not only to discern his general will but his specific will. He wants us to discern the precise steps and the order of those steps in bringing about his will in a particular situation.

    Fourth, the power of prayer becomes greatly magnified when we fast. Fasting is where we sacrifice food, drink, sleep, or pleasures in order to dedicate extended focus on prayer. Some of my greatest experiences with God have occurred when I have dedicated an entire day to fasting and prayer. Reasons to Believe was birthed through days of prayer and fasting. Ever since the founding of Reasons to Believe 36 years ago we have dedicated 3–4 days per year to prayer and fasting. If anyone would like to join us on those days, either in person or through the internet, please contact our office.

  • Why Doesn't God Prove His Existence by Visibly Revealing Himself to All?

    by Telerik.Sitefinity.DynamicTypes.Model.Authors.Author | Mar 26, 2021

    Question of the week: If God is so powerful, why does he not just come into our dimensional realm and visibly reveal himself so that everyone can be Christians and be saved?

    My answer: God did exactly that. He came into our dimensional realm as Jesus of Nazareth. He lived among us for more than thirty years and performed many miracles in front of large and small crowds that proved his divinity. His death on the cross and his bodily resurrection from the dead rank as some of the best-established facts in all of human history. It is no exaggeration to claim that the historical evidence for the bodily resurrection of Jesus from the dead is stronger than the evidence for the defeat of Napoléon at Waterloo. Many books have been written on this evidence that have been translated into many languages so that all can see for themselves that God did appear to us in human form in our dimensions.

    It is clear, however, that this overwhelming evidence for the physical appearance of God among us did not bring salvation to all humanity. In spite of the evidence, less than a majority of human beings are Christians. Jesus explained why. He declared (Luke 16:31) that there are people whose tendency toward rebellion against the authority of God is so strong that even if someone right in front of them were to rise from the dead they still would not believe and submit their lives to God. Indeed, John 12:9–10 records that after Jesus had raised Lazarus from the dead, the chief priests decided to arrest and kill both Jesus and Lazarus as a means to stop people from following Jesus. Acts 4:5–22 records another account of the Jewish leaders fully acknowledging that an outstanding miracle had been performed right in front of them and yet they refused to believe.

    Just before he went to the cross, Jesus told his disciples that it would be better for them if he left their dimensional realm and returned to the Father. In coming into our dimensional realm and becoming fully human Jesus temporarily put aside some of the powers of his divinity (Philippians 2). In returning to the Father and the Comforter after his ascension Jesus now is able to do much more for each one of us. He makes that offer to every human being every day. We would be foolish not to partake of that offer.

  • Why Is Prayer Important?

    by Telerik.Sitefinity.DynamicTypes.Model.Authors.Author | Mar 19, 2021

    Question of the week: How and why is prayer important?

    My answer: Prayer is the most powerful tool God has granted to us humans. The power of prayer is illustrated in the sacrament of communion. The bread in communion symbolizes Jesus's body broken on our behalf that removes the barrier between us and God the Father. We who have committed our lives to Jesus Christ as Creator, Lord, and Savior now have continual access and fellowship with God as a result. Thus, God always hears our prayers and is able to communicate truth to us through our prayers. The wine in communion symbolizes Jesus's shed blood during his death on the cross. Because of that shed blood we have access to power from God. “There is power in the blood.” We gain power from God through prayer.

    Anything we pray for that is in line with the will of God will happen. Prayer is a process wherein as we relate to God and listen to him, we discover in greater and more specific detail what his will is for a particular circumstance. We partner with God in seeing his will done through prayer. If we do not pray, God looks for a different partner and we miss out on seeing God's miraculous hand at work through us.

    Because prayer is such a powerful tool, God puts restrictions on how and when it is to be used. For example, we are not to pray for our own selfish desires (James 4:3), we are not to utter babbling, repetitious prayers (Matthew 6:7), and we are not to pray for reprobate people (1 John 5:16), people whose evil is so ubiquitous and entrenched that they are incapable of doing, saying, or thinking anything good and incapable of receiving any grace or truth from God.

    Because prayer is such a powerful tool, God strongly exhorts us to use it and to use it often. We are to pray individually and privately. We are also to pray corporately and publicly with other people. There are times when God calls us to pray and fast, where we intensify and focus our prayers through abstaining for a time from some basic need such as food or sleep.

  • Could Noah Have Built the Ark with Stone Age Technology?

    by Telerik.Sitefinity.DynamicTypes.Model.Authors.Author | Mar 12, 2021

    Question of the week: Is it possible that Noah could have constructed the ark with Paleolithic or Mesolithic Stone Age technology?

    My answer: It is certainly possible. Genesis 5:32 and Genesis 7:6 indicate that Noah and his family had up to 100 years to construct the ark. It is likely that in addition to employing his seven relatives, that Noah had hired many other workers. Hebrews 11:7 implies that Noah, like the rest of the prophets mentioned in Hebrews 11, warned the people around him of the coming judgment. 2 Peter 2:5 explicitly states that Noah was a “preacher of righteousness.” Noah’s role as a prophet to his generation would be enhanced by hiring many of them to assist him and his family in building the ark. With a hundred or more people working for up to 100 years and an abundant supply of gopher wood and pitch, Noah would have faced no insurmountable difficulty in constructing a 450-foot-long ark.

    It is also possible that Noah may not have been limited to Stone Age technology. The discovery that humans living 14­,000–33,000 years ago were involved in harvesting, roasting, and grinding grains to make a variety of bakery products was not made until 2015–2018 because of how small-scale the baking industry was at that time (as a consequence of the extremely unstable climate that persisted throughout the last ice age).1 Similarly, it is reasonable to presume that humans living before the Neolithic Revolution and the Copper and Bronze Ages may have been involved in small-scale metallurgy that archeologists have yet to uncover.

    For example, paleoanthropologists have pointed out that the Inuit peoples of northern Canada, for likely at least the past 10,000 years, had made regular trips to northwestern Greenland to recover fragments of the Hiawatha and Cape York impactors (large stainless-steel asteroids) and used cold forging techniques to manufacture from those fragments sophisticated tools. Evidence that the ancient Sumerian and Hittite names for iron bear the meaning “fire from heaven” and that the most ancient iron relics (predating 5,000 years ago) in Mesopotamia possess nickel content ranging from 7.5–10.9%, establishes that ancient Mesopotamian peoples also were cold forging tools from stainless-steel meteorites.2 With the use of such tools, Noah and his family could have constructed the ark in far fewer than 100 years.

    As I explained in Navigating Genesis, chapter 18, gopher wood likely had a tensile strength much superior to oak.3 If gopher wood indeed was of that quality, it would have simplified the engineering designs of the ark, making its construction even more straightforward.

    Endnotes
    1. Hugh Ross, "The First Humans Developed Food-Processing Technology," Today's New Reason to Believe (October 5, 2015); Hugh Ross, "Confirmation That Early Humans Were Making Bread," Today's New Reason to Believe (August 27, 2018).
    2. T. A. Rickard, "The Use of Meteoric Iron," Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland 71, no. 1/2 (1941): 55–66, doi:10.2307/2844401.
    3. Hugh Ross, Navigating Genesis (Covina, CA: RTB Press, 2014), 174–75.
  • Does God Have His Own Time Dimension He Exists On?

    by Telerik.Sitefinity.DynamicTypes.Model.Authors.Author | Mar 05, 2021

    Question of the week: Does God have his own time dimension that eternally exists with him?

    My answer: God fills and operates everywhere within all the space and time dimensions and other possible dimensions (not necessarily space or time dimensions) that he has created. The Bible declares that God created the space-time dimensions that govern the universe. The space-time theorems establish that a causal agent beyond space and time created the cosmic space-time dimensions. See The Creator and the Cosmos, 4th edition, for details and documentation.1

    The Bible states and the space-time theorems imply that God in no way is limited to or by the space-time dimensions. He is free to operate independent of all the dimensions he has created. For example, he was experiencing what we would interpret as temporal phenomena (love, relationships, planning, beginning his works of redemption) before he created the time dimension that governs the universe. Furthermore, the only dimensions that exist are the ones God has created. To use theological terms, God is simultaneously transcendent (beyond space and time and all other possibly existing dimensions) and immanent (always present and operating within space and time and all other possibly existing dimensions).

    Among the books that undergird the world’s religions, this doctrine of God being simultaneously transcendent and immanent is unique to the Bible. For much more on God’s transcendence and immanence and on God’s extra- and trans-dimensionality, see my book, Beyond the Cosmos, 3rd edition.2 Anyone can get a free chapter at reasons.org/ross.

    Endnotes
    1. Hugh Ross, The Creator and the Cosmos, 4th ed. (Covina, CA: RTB Press, 2018), 109–39.
    2. Hugh Ross, Beyond the Cosmos, 3rd ed. (Covina, CA: RTB Press, 2017).
  • How Should a Christian Prepare for a Science Apologetics Ministry?

    by Telerik.Sitefinity.DynamicTypes.Model.Authors.Author | Feb 26, 2021

    Question of the week:What brief advice would you give to a young Christian who is preparing for a science apologetics ministry?

    My answer: God has revealed himself through two books: the book of Scripture and the book of nature. Both revelations are utterly trustworthy and reliable. However, because of our incomplete knowledge and understanding, anomalies in our attempts to integrate the two books are inevitable. Our faith will grow and strengthen as we research the anomalies and find that the pathways toward resolution always yield more evidence for God and the Christian faith. Diligent study of God’s two books will increasingly affirm that the more we learn and understand about nature, the more evidence we will uncover for the supernatural, super-intelligent handiwork of God. The more we learn and understand about the Bible, the more successful we will become at discovering and understanding hidden truths in the book of nature.

    1 Peter 3:15 exhorts Christians to always be ready to share, with anyone who asks, the reasons for their hope in Jesus Christ with gentleness, respect, and a clear conscience. It has been my experience that if a Christian prepares sound, good reasons for their faith and hope in Jesus Christ and is committed to share those reasons with gentleness, respect, and a clear conscience, that Christian will experience God supernaturally orchestrating meetings with people for whom God has prepared them to receive and respond to those reasons. In our book, Always Be Ready,1 I document the evidence for this claim. A free chapter is available at reasons.org/ross.

    Endnotes
    1. Hugh Ross with Kathy Ross, Always Be Ready (Covina, CA: RTB Press, 2018), https://shop.reasons.org/category/format/books/always-be-ready.
  • Who Created God?

    by Telerik.Sitefinity.DynamicTypes.Model.Authors.Author | Feb 19, 2021

    Question of the week: If God created us and the universe, who created God?

    My answer: It is not just nontheistic physicists who ask this question. Almost everyone has asked or thought about this question. I often hear the question posed by young children. Children will ask, "If God created us, who created God?" A sophisticated adult might phrase the question this way, "If God created the universe and everything in it, including all matter, energy, and the 10 space-time dimensions, who created him?"

    The question itself yields an elegant proof for creation. The universe and everything in it is confined to a single, finite dimension of time. Time proceeds only and always forward. The flow of time can never be reversed. Nor can it be stopped. Because it has a beginning and can move in only one direction, cosmic time is really just half a dimension. The proof of creation lies in the mathematical observation that any entity confined to such a half-dimension of time must have some ultimate starting point or point of origination. That is, that entity must be created. This necessity for creation applies to the whole universe and ultimately to everything in it and constrained by it.

    The necessity for God to be created, however, would apply only if God, too, were constrained to half a dimension of time. He is not.

    Again, by our definition, time is that realm or dimension in which cause-and-effect phenomena take place. According to the space-time theorems of general relativity, such effects as matter, energy, length, width, height, six other tiny space dimensions, and the single cosmic time dimension were caused independent of the time dimension of the universe. According to the New Testament (2 Timothy 1:9, Titus 1:2), such effects as grace and hope were caused independent of the time dimension of the universe (meaning before, outside of, or apart from our time dimension). So, both the Bible and general relativity speak of at least the equivalent of one additional time dimension for God, since effects existed before time in this universe began.

    In the equivalent of two or more dimensions of time, an entity is free from the necessity of being created. If time were two-dimensional, for example, both a time length and a time width would be possible. Time would expand from a line into a plane (see the figure). In a plane of time, an infinite number of lines running in an infinite number of directions would be possible. If God were to so choose, he could move and operate along an infinite time line that never touches or crosses the time line of our universe. As John 1:3, Colossians 1:16–17Hebrews 7:3, and Revelation 1:8 say, he would have no beginning and no end. He would not be created. Without him nothing was made that has been made.

    creator-and-cosmos-figures-001-1024x576
    Figure: God’s Time Frame Relative to Our Time Frame
    If time were two-dimensional rather than one-dimensional, it would be some kind of plane rather than a line. In this case, an infinite number of time lines (A) would run in an infinite number of directions. This, according to general relativity and the Bible, is the minimal situation with the Creator. If the Creator were to so choose, he could move and operate for infinite time, forward and backward, on a time line (B) that never intersects or touches the time line of our universe (C).
    Diagram credit: Hugh Ross
  • How Do You Reconcile Scripture's Recency With Earth's Age?

    by Telerik.Sitefinity.DynamicTypes.Model.Authors.Author | Feb 12, 2021

    Question of the week: If the universe and Earth are billions of years old, as you have indicated, rather than thousands or tens of thousands of years, why do you think God waited so long to give us Scripture? Many pastors teach a young-earth theory because that number of years approximates the age of Scripture. Can you add anything to help me think this through?

    My answer: First, God purposely designed the universe to be governed by gravity, electromagnetism, thermodynamics, and the strong and weak nuclear forces. One important reason why is that God intended to use these laws of physics to efficiently and rapidly eradicate evil once it was introduced to humans. These same laws of physics required a long preparation time of the universe and Earth before humans could possibly survive and thrive on Earth. For much more on how God designed the laws of physics to efficiently and rapidly eradicate evil while he enhances the free will capability of redeemed humans to experience and express love, see Why the Universe Is the Way It Is.1

    Second, I believe oral Scripture significantly predated written Scripture. It took the onset of extreme climate stability for humans to possibly develop the technology that made written communication possible. This period of extreme climate stability did not begin until just 9,000 years ago (see my book Weathering Climate Change2). In strictly oral cultures, records are preserved through word-for-word memorization. There is ample evidence, for example, that the content of the book of Job predates the advent of written Hebrew by 4–6 centuries. (I describe this evidence in my book, Hidden Treasures in the Book of Job.3) However, note that almost the entirety of Job is poetry and that the Hebrew poetry in Job is designed for relatively easy memorization. I believe the Book of Job was preserved by memorization until Hebrew became a written language. In this context, humans had Scripture long before the Scripture took written form.

    Endnotes
    1. Hugh Ross, Why the Universe Is the Way It Is (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2008), https://shop.reasons.org/category/format/books/why-the-universe-is-the-way-it-is.
    2. Hugh Ross, Weathering Climate Change (Covina, CA: RTB Press, 2020), https://shop.reasons.org/category/format/books/weathering-climate-change-a-fresh-approach.
    3. Hugh Ross, Hidden Treasures in the Book of Job (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2011), 30–32, https://shop.reasons.org/category/format/books/hidden-treasures-in-the-book-of-job.
  • Does God Have Limits?

    by Telerik.Sitefinity.DynamicTypes.Model.Authors.Author | Feb 05, 2021

    Question of the week:Does God have limits and, if he does, does that mean he is not infinitely powerful?

    My answer: As an all-powerful Being, God can choose to limit himself. For example, God chooses not to ever sin or commit evil (Job 34:10–12). God chooses never to lie or deceive (1 Samuel 15:29, Hebrews 6:18). God chooses always to do good (Matthew 7:11, Matthew 19:17, Mark 10:18). He chooses to never alter his character attributes (Malachi 3:6, James 1:17). He chooses to never change his mind or his purpose (Hebrews 6:17).

    A human analogy may help. An athlete can consistently run a mile in under four minutes. However, that same athlete can choose to spend twenty minutes walking that mile. The fact that he takes twenty minutes to walk a mile in no way proves that he lacks the power to cover that distance in under four minutes.

  • Scientifically, How Do We Know God Is a Personal Being?

    by Telerik.Sitefinity.DynamicTypes.Model.Authors.Author | Jan 29, 2021

    Question of the week: I understand that the fine-tuning evidence for God’s existence is overwhelming. But, how do we know that this God is a personal Being. I know it myself from the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, but how do I explain it to a skeptic?

    My answer: The experimental and observational evidence that the universe has a beginning in finite time establishes that the universe must have some kind of Beginner. The space-time theorems provide additional evidence that some kind of Causal Agent beyond space and time created our universe of matter, energy, space, and time. I describe and document in much detail this experimental, observational, and theoretical evidence for this Causal Agent in my book, The Creator and the Cosmos, 4th edition.

    The evidence for a cosmic Causal Agent establishes deism (the existence of an uncaused Agent that created the universe but does not interfere directly thereafter in the created universe) but not necessarily theism (the existence of a Supreme Being who not only creates the universe but directly intervenes in shaping the created universe to achieve specific purposes and goals). Deists either reject the proposition that God is a personal Being or that the personal Being who created the universe intervenes in any way at any point in the history of the universe beyond the cosmic creation event. Theists, on the other hand, assert that God is a personal Being and that he has demonstrated his personality by directly intervening throughout cosmic history to achieve his personal goals and purposes for the universe.

    Christians frequently cite the fine-tuning of the universe, Milky Way Galaxy, solar system, Earth, and Earth’s life to make possible the existence of human beings and human civilization as indisputable evidence that God is a personal Being. I explain why this evidence is so powerful in chapters 5, 6, and 14­–17 of The Creator and the Cosmos.

    In many cases, the level of fine-tuning design of the universe and the laws of physics to make possible the existence of human beings or their functional equivalent measures far beyond the best examples of fine-tuning design achieved by us humans. Some examples would be the needed fine-tuning of dark energy, dark matter, the force of gravity, and the force of electromagnetism. That this fine-tuning design far exceeds our best human achievements implies that the Causal Agent, who designed dark energy, dark matter, gravity, and electromagnetism for the possible existence of human beings and for the specific benefit of human beings, at a minimum is many orders of magnitude more intelligent, knowledgeable, inventive, creative, and powerful than we humans. Since intellect, knowledge, inventiveness, creativity, and power are attributes that only a personal being can possess, the Causal Agent who created the universe must be a personal Being.

    Evidence for fine-tuning design to make possible the existence of human beings and high-technology human civilization in particular is not limited to the laws of physics and the gross features of the universe. This evidence for fine-tuning design is ubiquitous. It exists on all size scales.

    As I show inThe Creator and the Cosmos, for humans, or the equivalent, to possibly exist in the universe, not only must the laws of physics and the universe as a whole be exquisitely designed, but also the cluster of galaxies, the galaxy, the host star, the planetary system, the host planet, and the host planet's moon in which the humans reside.Furthermore, as I show in mybook,Improbable Planet, the physical, chemical, and biological history of the humans' planet must also be exquisitely fine-tuned.The required fine-tuning extends all the way down in size scales to molecules, atoms, and fundamental particles.

    No matter where human investigators look throughout the realm of nature, they will find overwhelming scientific evidence for the existence of God and for the personal attributes of God. No matter where human investigators look they will find increasing scientific evidence for a personal God. A quick look at the four past editions ofThe Creator and the Cosmoswill affirm that the more we learn about nature the more evidence we gain for the existence of an all-knowing, all-powerful, all-loving personal God and for what Paul declared in Romans 1:20: For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made.

  • Did Job Believe God Cannot See through Clouds?

    by Telerik.Sitefinity.DynamicTypes.Model.Authors.Author | Jan 22, 2021

    Question of the week: Job 22 says that God hides in the clouds and that God cannot see through the clouds. What does this mean? I find it hard to believe that God who created everything cannot see through clouds.

    My answer: There is no biblical contradiction or error here. The relevant text is Job 22:13–14. It states: “Yet you say, ‘What does God know? Does he judge through such darkness? Thick clouds veil him, so he does not see us as he goes about in the vaulted heavens.'”

    Here, Eliphaz is speaking, not God or Job. Eliphaz is accusing Job of believing a false statement: that God cannot see Job’s sins. Eliphaz is rebuking Job for believing that the clouds prevent God from seeing all the evil Job is committing. It becomes clear in the later chapters of the book of Job that Eliphaz’s accusations are not true. Job really does believe that God sees everything he does (see Job 23:10; 24:23; 28:23–24; 31:4). Job recognizes that he is a sinner and in need of redemption.1 Job is not guilty of the specific evils that Eliphaz insisted Job committed.

    Endnotes
    1. Hugh Ross, “Job’s Discernment of God’s Redemptive Plan,” in Hidden Treasures in the Book of Job (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2011), 206–07, https://shop.reasons.org/category/format/books/hidden-treasures-in-the-book-of-job.
  • How Long Have Humans Been on Earth?

    by Telerik.Sitefinity.DynamicTypes.Model.Authors.Author | Jan 15, 2021

    Question of the week: How long have humans been on Earth? How do you square that date with the biblical genealogies that imply roughly 4,000 years from Adam to Jesus of Nazareth?

    My answer: I answer this question in detail in Navigating Genesis.1 None of the genealogies in the Bible, including those in Genesis 5 and 11:10–26, are exhaustively complete. Each one has missing names. The names that are included are intended to make specific theological points. The theological points can be discerned by noting which names are omitted and which are included. In the Matthew 1:1–17 genealogy, for example, the names of kings who led wicked reigns and did not repent are omitted. Matthew 1 also names the wives of four of the named men, some of whom were not Jews by blood and some who had committed serious sins. Matthew here implies that the gospel offer of salvation is not just for male blood descendants of Jacob but for all who repent of their sin and turn to their Messiah. For three web articles by our guest scholars on the Genesis 5 and 11 genealogies, go here and here and here.

    The best biblical date for Adam and Eve comes from Genesis 2. Genesis 2 states that four known rivers come together in the Garden of Eden. The only location where they do come together is in the southeastern part of the Persian Gulf. Presently, it is more than 200 feet below sea level. However, during much of the last ice age, this location was above sea level. This sea-level constraint implies that God created Adam and Eve between 15,000 and 130,000 years ago.

    The best scientific dates for the origin of the human race range from 300,000 years ago to 45,000 years ago. For an article on the statistical and systematic errors impacting scientific attempts to date the origin of humanity, go here.

    Endnotes
    1. Hugh Ross, Navigating Genesis (Covina, CA: RTB Press, 2014), 70–78, 96–100, https://shop.reasons.org/category/format/books/navigating-genesis.
  • Is the Ex Nihilo Doctrine of Creation Unique to Christianity?

    by Telerik.Sitefinity.DynamicTypes.Model.Authors.Author | Jan 08, 2021

    Question of the week: What do you make of assertions by skeptics that there are several religions and mythologies that include in their doctrines an ex nihilo creation event and that Christianity is not unique?

    My answer: Creatio ex nihilo is Latin for “creation out of nothing.” It refers to the belief that space, time, matter, and energy are not eternal but were created by a supernatural act of God.

    It is the kind of ex nihilo creation event that sets the Bible apart from nonbiblical holy books. In the eastern religions and in ancient mid- and near-eastern, African, European, and American creation myths God, Gods, or creative forces create the universe within space and time that eternally exists. The Bible teaches that space and time did not exist until God created the universe.1

    Where the Bible also stands unique is in its description of God and in how God fashions the universe, Earth, and Earth’s life after the cosmic creation event. The Bible describes God as a triune Being: one essence and three persons. Only Christianity among the world’s religions asserts the doctrine of the Trinity. As I wrote in a blog several years ago,2 science only makes sense if God is triune. Furthermore, only the Bible among the world’s foundational religious books accurately and consistently predicts future scientific discoveries.

    Resources

    Endnotes
    1. I provide a review of the relevant biblical texts in The Creator and the Cosmos, 4th ed. (Covina, CA: RTB Press, 2018), 25–26, https://shop.reasons.org/category/format/books/the-creator-and-the-cosmos-fourth-edition.
    2. Hugh Ross, “How To Persuade a Skeptic Than God Must Be Triune,” Today’s New Reason to Believe (blog) July 13, 2016, https://www.reasons.org/explore/blogs/todays-new-reason-to-believe/read/todays-new-reason-to-believe/2016/07/13/how-to-persuade-a-skeptic-that-god-must-be-triune.
  • What Was the Christmas Star?

    by Telerik.Sitefinity.DynamicTypes.Model.Authors.Author | Jan 01, 2021

    Question of the week: What was the Christmas star?

    My answer: The relevant Bible text is Matthew 2:1–12. The Greek word used in the text for star is asterAster can be translated as star, planet, comet, asteroid, or meteor. The text specifically refers to a single star, a single star that appeared to the Magi, disappeared from view, and then reappeared roughly a year and a half later. The roughly year and a half is discerned from the fact that Herod, in an attempt to kill Jesus, had all the boys two years of age and under in Bethlehem and its vicinity killed.

    The text also indicates that Herod had to question the Magi carefully to find out the nature of the star. That Herod was unfamiliar with the star and the fact that there is no record of the star in the annals of the Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, or Parthians indicates that the star was not a bright object. Thus, a bright comet, supernova, planet(s), and nearly all Christmas card depictions apparently are ruled out. Likewise, the reference to a single star rules out conjunctions of a planet with another planet, star, or the Moon.

    A dim comet or asteroid is highly unlikely since it is extremely improbable for such an object to reappear about a year and half later in the exact same location. The only remaining candidates are either a recurring nova or a cataclysmic variable star. When I first suggested a recurring nova as a possible explanation for the Christmas star some forty years ago, several of my astronomer friends were skeptical since astronomers had never observed a recurrence that was under 10 years. However, within the past three years astronomers have discovered two recurring novae with recurrence times under 1.5 years. You can read much more about the Christmas star and recurring novae in these two articles that I have written (The Christmas Star, and Astronomy Sheds New Light on the Christmas Star). 

  • Why Celebrate Christmas Since It Originated from Pagan Traditions?

    by Telerik.Sitefinity.DynamicTypes.Model.Authors.Author | Dec 25, 2020

    Question of the week: The Bible doesn’t mention anything about early believers celebrating any event other than baptism and communion. Therefore, shouldn’t Christians refrain from celebrating Christmas especially since it originated from pagan traditions? 

    My answer: While the Bible mentions nothing about early Christians celebrating Christmas or Easter, to me, it seems only natural that Christians would want to celebrate the incarnation (God becoming human and dwelling among us) and the resurrection. That the dates for Christmas and Easter approximately coincide with pagan celebrations of the winter solstice and the spring equinox I see as Christians co-opting the unrighteous for the righteous as a means of encouraging non-Christians to consider becoming Christians. This co-option is similar to Christian musicians transforming drinking songs into beautiful hymns with lyrics that teach sound biblical doctrine. Some of the most doctrinally accurate and uplifting hymns are Christmas carols.

    Having said all this, I believe we need to be on guard against reverse co-option. For example, it bothers me a great deal that today images of Santa, snowmen, elves, and reindeer far outnumber images of Jesus, Joseph, Mary, and angels on peoples’ lawns and in store displays. I also am bothered by how small a percentage of “Christmas music” actually celebrates the coming of Jesus Christ and what the coming means for human beings. One reason why Kathy and I wrote our book, Always Be Ready,1 was to counter reverse co-option by encouraging Christians to be more active in sharing their faith.

    Endnote

    Hugh Ross with Kathy Ross, Always Be Ready (Covina, CA: RTB Press, 2018), https://shop.reasons.org/category/format/books/always-be-ready.

  • How Did Adam and Eve Keep Warm During an Ice Age When They Were Naked?

    by Telerik.Sitefinity.DynamicTypes.Model.Authors.Author | Dec 18, 2020

    Question of the week: How did Adam and Eve keep warm before the fall when they were still naked if God had created them during the last ice age?

    My answer: Good question. Genesis 2 implies that God created Adam and Eve sometime during an ice age, most likely the last ice age. The reason why is that Genesis 2 describes four known rivers, the Euphrates, Tigris, Pishon, and Gihon, coming together in the Garden of Eden. Today, only two of those four rivers are flowing, but during an ice age all four would be steadily flowing rivers. The only location where the four rivers come together presently is more than 200 feet below sea level in the southeastern part of the Persian Gulf. During an ice age, however, the sea level was 200–390 feet lower. The location where the four rivers come together would have been above sea level.

    The location of the Garden of Eden in the southeast part of what is now the Persian Gulf at an elevation more than 200 feet below the present sea level implies that it must have had a year-round warm climate in spite of the colder conditions farther north and at higher elevations. Adam and Eve would not need clothing to stay warm.

    For a much more comprehensive and detailed answer, see my book Navigating Genesis, pages 95–108.1

    Endnotes

    Hugh Ross, Navigating Genesis (Covina, CA: RTB Press, 2014): 95–108, https://shop.reasons.org/category/format/books/navigating-genesis.

  • How Do Christians' Relationships with God Differ from Adam's before He Sinned?

    by Telerik.Sitefinity.DynamicTypes.Model.Authors.Author | Dec 11, 2020

    Question of the week:Adam and Eve before they sinned against God had a continually intimate, loving relationship with God. In what ways and to what degrees are the relationships that Christians have today with God the same or different from the pre-sin relationship Adam and Eve had with God?

    My answer:One of the biggest differences is that Christians today still have sin in their lives while Adam and Eve at that time had none. The other big difference is that Adam and Eve lacked an eternally secure relationship with God whereas Christians today, thanks to the baptism in the Holy Spirit, possess such an eternally secure relationship. Where the relationships are the same is that both Christians today and Adam and Eve before they sinned have continual access to God.

  • Could Our Lives Be a Computer Simulation?

    by Telerik.Sitefinity.DynamicTypes.Model.Authors.Author | Dec 04, 2020

    Question of the week: How do we know that our lives are not some kind of sophisticated computer simulation? Could it be like the movie, The Matrix?

    My answer: This question is not unique to our high-tech world. For the past two millennia gnostics and religious cults with gnostic roots have claimed that our physical lives and physical experiences are illusions. For people who believe this, one way to persuade them otherwise that I definitely do not recommend, is to punch them in a sensitive spot hard enough that it leaves a bruise and then ask them if the resultant pain and bruise are mere illusions. A kinder response that I highly recommend is to present them with the evidence for human free will. If our free will is real, and not programmed or predictable, then we are not automatons in a computer simulation.

    What is this evidence? First, there are the abundant observations that human behavior is not predictable. If it was, then anyone could get very rich on the stock market and consistently predict political election outcomes. Second, there are the attempts by our most intelligent and skilled computer programmers to develop a truly artificially intelligent machine. A truly artificially intelligent machine would not only include self-learning and self-teaching software, it would manifest real free will real emotions, and a capability of forming personal relationships. Real progress is being achieved at improving the self-learning, self-corrective capabilities of computers. However, there has been no measurable progress on creating a machine with conscious free will. The fundamental reason why is that the conscious free will that every human being possesses is not physical. It does not have its origin in physics and chemistry. It is spiritual. It is our spiritual nature that makes humans different from all other life on Earth. It is our spiritual nature that proves that we are not part of a computer simulation.

    My favorite quote from the community of scientists working on artificial intelligence is, “We are ten years away from making an artificially intelligent robot and always will be.” Or, to paraphrase from The Matrix, the pursuit of true artificial intelligence is like taking the blue pill. We are always better off choosing the red pill.

  • Why Would God Send an Evil Spirit to King Saul?

    by Telerik.Sitefinity.DynamicTypes.Model.Authors.Author | Nov 27, 2020

    Question of the week: “I have a question about 1 Samuel 18:10, where ‘an evil spirit from God came forcefully on Saul.’ Why would God send an evil spirit? It doesn’t seem to me that humans need any help being evil. Can you shed some light on this for me?”

    My answer: It was through his rebellion against God that King Saul opened himself up to demonic influence and invasion. While all the demons are under God’s control, God allows demons to inflict humans who of their own free will have chosen a reprobate path. If one reads all of 1 Samuel 16–19, one notes that in allowing the evil spirit to do what it does, God uses the spirit’s actions and words to accomplish his ultimate good purposes.

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