Category Archives: The Big Picture

Science in the Bible: Lifting Waves

For he commandeth, and raiseth the stormy wind, which lifteth up the waves thereof. Psalm 107:25

Ever been to a beach on a NOAA Photo Library: ocean wavesstormy day? The waves crashing into the shore can be awesome if you keep your distance, or terrifying if you get too close!

It doesn’t take much scientific observation to realize the wind and the waves are connected. A few waves, like tsunamis, are caused by earthquakes, the moon’s gravity, or things pushing the water, but most waves are caused by wind. How?

What causes ocean waves? Ocean waves are caused by wind moving across the surface of the water. The friction between the air molecules and the water molecules causes energy to be transferred from the wind to the water. This causes waves to form.” Ducksters.com Earth Science, Ocean Waves and Currents

NOAA Ocean Explorer: DART bouy Seems obvious enough. We aren’t surprised the writer of Psalm 107 recognized wind caused waves 1,000s of years ago. But there’s more.

If you blow on your soup to cool it, you make little waves by pushing the water down. But the verse says, “which lifteth up the waves thereof”. Now that’s interesting!

The turbulence in the wind produces random pressure fluctuations at the sea surface, which produces small waves with wavelengths of a few centimeters (Phillips, 1957). Introduction to Physical Oceanography

Wikipedia.nl: Globe shaped Barometer

barometer

In English this means the wind keeps changing air pressure: sometimes high and sometimes low. This is what gets a new wave started. So, sometimes the wind is pushing the water like you see with your soup, but it also sucks it up higher.

Notice when we discovered how this all works?*

1957

I bet you know someone who remembers that year. Before then, people knew the wind was connected to the waves, but we didn’t know how. Yet, the Bible knew about it 3,000 years ago!

People will tell you the Bible was invented by Bronze Age goat herders and it doesn’t connect to modern life, science, or reality. Have those people been reading their Bibles carefully?

God wants us to trust Him. He doesn’t have a sign saying “I am God and you must worship me” in the sky. Jesus didn’t show Himself to the whole world when He rose from the dead. Someday He will, but when that happens, it will be too late for anyone to choose Him as their Savior.

At the same time, if we want to believe God, He gives us lots of answers. This little verse about the wind and waves in the middle of Psalms is one example.

And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:13 

Thank you, Father, for not asking us to have “blind faith”. Thank you for giving us so many ways to recognize you are real…. and smart!

Learn more:
How Waves Are Made: Surfing-Waves.com

Waves | Coastal Care.org (detailed, no ads)

eHow: Science Projects on Water Waves (most are simple enough to do on your own)

How Surfing Works by HowStuffWorks (best graphic of wave motion)

*It was hard to find any history of wave science. The O.M. Phillips paper seems to be the main study on the subject.

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Jesus: Creator, Redeemer, Savior

This week is the most special time of remembering for all followers of Jesus. We go from the excitement of honoring Jesus as the eternal King on Palm Sunday, through the sorrow of the crucifixion, and out again into the glorious dawn of His resurrection.

At first, thinking about creation doesn’t seem to fit into this picture. But it does!

The reason I posted the audio link on the right is because Dr. Barrick does a wonderful job helping us see how all of history, from the beginning to the end, points to Jesus’ amazing sacrifice.

Here are some articles I wrote showing us what God tells us about creation directly ties to why Jesus had to die:

I’m also including my article on how sin and salvation can be described in scientific terms. It is my favorite analogy to help young children understand why they need Jesus!

But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. Isaiah 53:5-6

 PS Just ran into a great article talking about creation’s reaction to the event of Jesus’ last week on earth: The Passion of Creation by Ren Blogger

Science in the Bible: Earthquakes

If you pay attention to what’s going on as you read the Bible you will catch on pretty quickly that the Holy Land is located in an earthquake zone. Sometimes earthquakes are even major players in the action of Bible events.

I’m going to send you to a video with Dr. Steve Austin in a minute, but let’s see some of the times where earthquakes had a part in events recorded in the Bible:

“And the Lord began to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah. He caused fire and burning sulfur to fall from the sky. He destroyed the whole valley—all the cities, the people living in the cities, and all the plants in the valley.” Genesis 19:24,25

Although an earthquake isn’t mentioned, how did God get the volcanic stuff to come out? Volcanoes and earthquakes are bosom buddies.

JSC the battle of Jericho

So then the priests blew the trumpets. When the people heard the trumpets, they began shouting. The walls fell down, and the people ran up into the city. So the Israelites defeated that city. Joshua 6:20

Again, the earthquake isn’t mentioned, but God doesn’t do magic; there was some physical cause for the walls to drop.

And Jonathan climbed up upon his hands and upon his feet, and his armor bearer after him: and they fell before Jonathan; and his armor bearer slew after him. And that first slaughter, which Jonathan and his armor bearer made, was about twenty men, within as it were an half acre of land, which a yoke of oxen might plow. And there was trembling in the host, in the field, and among all the people: the garrison, and the spoilers, they also trembled, and the earth quaked: so it was a very great trembling.  I Samuel 14:14,15

No explanation needed here!

Suddenly there was an earthquake so strong that it shook the foundation of the jail. All the doors of the jail opened, and the chains on all the prisoners fell off. Acts 16:26

This wasn’t in Israel, but shows God controls events anywhere.

Every once in a while God uses His natural world to accomplish His plan for history. He has more subtle ways of doing this, but when he uses big things like meteorites (Joshua 10:11) and earthquakes, people pay attention! They also have a much harder time hiding the evidence. 😀

One other thought that came to me while watching Dr. Austin: just as God has positioned the world so we can study space, so He prepared the way for us to study these earthquakes. How many lakes in the world are lifeless, so the sediments settle undisturbed for millennia? There are a few, but it is cool to know one of them is perfectly located to preserve a record of God’s truthfulness.

Our God is great, with the most mind-boggling foresight imaginable!

The video starts just a tad dry through the first part of the talk, but after the break it is WAY COOL.

The captain of the guard and those with him, when they saw the earthquake and everything else that was happening, were scared to death. They said, “This has to be the Son of God!” Matthew 27:54 The Message

I was alerted to this video by Creation Sensation, you can follow them for yourself to keep up with lots more.

Dr. Austin’s findings have been available at the Institute for Creation Research for some time, which is where I first read about them.

PS I’d really like to ask him just how certain that AD 33 crucifixion date is. It could settle a debate that goes back to the AD 300s!

Is Your Family Watching the Cosmos Series?

My family doesn’t have time to watch anything on Sundays, so we aren’t keeping up with this program, but that doesn’t mean you all aren’t!

In fact, if you have kids 12+, I recommend watching shows like this. Eventually, one way or another, your kids are going to hear the kinds of ideas presented in the series. The last thing you want to do is leave them ignorant until they’re out on their own, never having thought through the worldview, logic, and assumptions presented as facts by the world.

If you sit down with your kids and examine things like this carefully, they will develop the spiritual muscles they need to discern the difference between fact and fiction. But, this doesn’t mean you have to get a degree in science to help your kids. Others have already, and they love to share with us!

Since I can’t tell you what I think, I’ve looked around for those who have already put up reviews. There aren’t too many yet, but here’s what I’ve found:

Answers in Genesis has a lengthy article just on Episode 1

Creation Evolution Headlines has one that’s not so long. As usual, the editor’s thoughts are in green toward the end.

Then the other day I listened to a podcast on Challenging Cosmos (it doesn’t matter if your kids are in a school system instead). Starting just after the 12 minute mark, the host talks with Jay Ryan of Classical Astronomy, about the first episode of Cosmos. Ryan likes to ramble, so the show is almost an hour long, but you’ll learn a lot if you have the time! You’ll also see not all creationists walk in lock step. In fact, I don’t know too many who do. It’s a science community after all. 😀

Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. Matthew 10:16 

Book Review: Questions God Asks

by Israel Wayne, published by New Leaf PressCS4K-Questions

Have you ever wondered why the God Who Knows Everything asks people so many questions? Or, maybe, like me, you never stopped to think about this much at all. You will be amazed by the wealth of wisdom we can learn from slowing down and thinking through what God is really doing.

A few weeks back, I saw this title come up for blog reviewers and for once wished my own blog had a wider subject because it looked so interesting. Then, through the miracle of social media communication, I was able to ask Israel Wayne himself if there was enough in his book for me to be able to share about it here. He assured me there was plenty- and he was right.

First of all, the book is an easy read. The ideas are big, the vocabulary and style aren’t. So, you could hand this book to your older kids (about 10 or so) without trouble [Warning: there is a bare bones description of the Assyrians’ cruelty in the Jonah chapter]. Better yet, you could use it for family study time with the everyone.

Then there are the subjects covered. Do you know the first time God asked a person a question? Yes, indeed, it was when He asked Adam where he was. Why did He ask Adam that? So Adam would have a chance to ‘fess up and face what he’d done and the consequences. Most importantly, God wanted Adam to turn to Him for help rather than trying to fix things himself. All of Adam’s children have needed to face these issues for themselves, including each of us. It’s the starting point for our relationship with our Creator and Savior.

Actually, Wayne doesn’t even start his book with Genesis, so this is the 2nd question he covers. The first chapter of his book opens with this bedrock question:

“Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding.” Job 38:4

How many people get their whole way Processed with MaxIm DLof looking at the world wrong because they think they should be the ones asking the questions and making God prove Himself?

The whole book is this practical for helping us to think God’s thoughts after Him.

Each chapter is like listening to a well-done mini sermon, or even a workshop on how to live the Christian life. From one of the many personal examples Israel Wayne presents, this isn’t surprising since he’s been speaking at conference workshops since he was a young man.

Oh, yes, there was one chapter I’d never seen in the light Wayne shines on it. Do you remember God asking, “why did Sarah laugh?” when announcing Isaac was coming? I’d always imagined it was God’s way of talking to Sarah when she’s behind the tent door. I’d never thought of God actually addressing Abraham (and through him, husbands) with that question.

Origins science is directly covered in the book as well. It’s even part of the “Look Inside” feature on Amazon so you can check it out right away (starting with page 10).

Is any thing too hard for the LORD? Genesis 18:14

Find more reviews at New Leaf Publishing Group’s blog post: Questions God Asks

Disclaimer: I received a free electronic version of Questions God Asks from the publisher in return for this review. The thoughts are my own; no one made me write nice things about it.

And, congrats to Israel Wayne and his wife. They had their 8th child a few days before my own daughter was born!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ryJvlcqHnm0

No Engineer Believed in “Evolution” for the Apollo Moon Landing

A guest post taken with permission from Spike Psarris’ Creation Astronomy Newsletter. I read this the other week and thought it would be great to share with you all while I’m on maternity leave. Enjoy!

You’ve probably heard about the upcoming creation-evolution debate on Tuesday between Answers in Genesis founder Ken Ham (arguing for creation) and science popularizer Bill Nye (arguing for evolution).

There’s been a lot of discussion in the media about this debate, and about anti-creation remarks that Nye has made previously. However, some of these remarks have a very interesting implication for astronomy and space exploration—which nobody seems to be discussing.

Nye said that anybody who believes in creation can’t be scientifically literate. Nor can an evolution-denier be an engineer who builds stuff and solves problems.

Lord Kelvin

Really? Apparently Nye, who claims to be the “science guy,” doesn’t know much about the history of science. Most of the giants of science—great scientists like Newton, Galileo, Faraday, Maxwell, Pasteur, Mendel, Kelvin, and the list goes on and on—were creationists and Christians.

These men would be very surprised to learn that they weren’t actually scientifically literate. (For that matter, there are thousands of scientists today who reject evolution.)

But I’m more interested in the second part of Nye’s claim—that denying evolution means you can’t be a good engineer who builds stuff and solves problems.

Let’s take a specific example from the space program. One of the most challenging engineering projects that humanity has ever faced was…

Going to the Moon and Back

Imagine laying your hand flat on the floor, palm facing up. Now balance a long pencil on the end of your index finger, straight up and down, with the eraser resting on your finger and the sharp end of the pencil on top. Keep it there for a few moments. How stable is the pencil?

Now imagine moving your hand straight up from the floor all the way to the ceiling, keeping the pencil perfectly balanced straight up and down the whole time. Oh, and you’re not allowed to touch the pencil at all (except for your index finger underneath)—you can’t straighten it or keep it steady. You can only balance and “steer” by pushing up from below.

And you can’t stop pushing either, even if you need to stop and regain your balance—the pencil has to move upwards at a steadily increasing rate until it reaches the ceiling.

And while you’re trying to do this, a friend stands next to you, blowing on the pencil from random directions.

Oh, and you get only one chance to do this. If the pencil tilts over and falls off your finger, you lose the game and something bad happens. (Perhaps you have to pay your friend some money or something).

This is the kind of problem that engineers have to solve when launching a rocket

A rocket’s propulsion comes out of the bottom, similar to the support your finger provides to the bottom of the pencil. But the rocket is a long, thin tube that must balance itself perfectly on its column of fire, with no other support.

And it must do this despite a tremendous amount of inherent vibration, buffeting from winds going in different directions as it reaches different altitudes, shock from breaking the sound barrier, etc.

Oh, and it also has to steer and remain true to its course.

And this is only one of the major problems involved in a launch. Another is producing the propulsion—you must release a massive amount of energy in a short time.

Usually, a device that does this is called a bomb.

[I had to cut some of the cool details about the Apollo Rocket here, sorry]

But how many of these engineers believed in “evolution”?

If we take Bill Nye’s logic to its conclusion, we would say that these engineers couldn’t have been “scientifically literate” enough to do their jobs unless they believed in the usual evolutionary theory about the origin of the Moon.

But none of them did.

Am I saying that all of them were creationists? No, of course not. Some were, but many believed in secular theories for the Moon’s origin.

But here’s the thing. During the Apollo missions, there were three secular theories of lunar origin (the capture theory, the nebular theory, and the fission theory).

Later, all three theories were discarded. (The rock and soil samples that the astronauts brought back disproved all three theories for various reasons.)

Today, most secular astronomers believe that the Moon formed from a giant impact 4 billion years ago, when a Mars-sized object hit the Earth. (This idea has also been disproved, but we’ll set that aside for now.)

The important thing is this: the giant-impact idea wasn’t proposed until the mid-1970s, after the Apollo program had finished.

So this means that…

None of the Apollo engineers believed in today’s evolutionary theory for the Moon…

because that theory hadn’t been invented yet.

Thus, according to Bill Nye’s claim, none of them should have been able to do their jobs. But they did do their jobs, and spectacularly well.

Cheri~This kind of quick change happens all the time in Evolutionary thinking, yet they never abandon the theory. Without it, they have no choice but admit there is a Creator God who gets to set the rules.

The wise men are ashamed, they are dismayed and taken: lo, they have rejected the word of the LORD; and what wisdom is in them? Jeremiah 8:9