Posted by: BibleScienceGuy | January 18, 2017

Science in the Bible – Ocean Currents

(3 Minute Read)
Matthew Fontaine Maury monument in Richmond, Virginia

Matthew Fontaine Maury
Pathfinder of the Seas
Monument in Richmond, Virginia
(His right hand holds a pen & compass;
his left his Wind and Current Chart.
A Bible is beside his left foot.)

Have you ever heard a Bible verse that so consumed your mind and heart that it drove your thoughts, actions, and pursuits for years upon end?

One of the Psalms contains a phrase that seized an already-successful man’s attention and dramatically influenced the course of his scientific life.

Whatever passes through the paths of the seas. (Psalm 8:8)

This is the Bible phrase that prompted the Father of Oceanography to begin a search for paths in the ocean.

King David of Israel wrote Psalm 8 by Yahweh’s inspiration 3,000 years ago. Yet the “paths of the seas” he mentioned have only been known by modern peoples for two centuries.

The “paths of the seas” were discovered by Matthew Fontaine Maury (1806-1873), the Father of Oceanography.

Maury was a US naval officer whose attention was arrested by the phrase “paths of the seas” upon hearing Psalm 8 read aloud. He vowed to find these “paths of the seas.”

The story is told in the booklet A Brief Sketch of the Work of Matthew Fontaine Maury, authored by Maury’s son, Richard Launcelot Maury:

At one time, when Commodore Maury was very sick, he asked one of his daughters to get the Bible and read to him. She chose Psalm 8, the eighth verse of which speaks of “whatsoever walketh through the paths of the sea.” He repeated, “The paths of the sea, the paths of the sea. If God says the paths of the sea, they are there, and if I ever get out of this bed I will find them.”

Maury studied navigation, meteorology, winds, and currents. He pored over thousands of ships’ logs and charts. His 1847 Wind and Current Chart of the North Atlantic greatly reduced the lengths of ocean voyages by showing how to take advantage of ocean currents and winds. He shortened sailing time to California by thirty days, to Australia by twenty, and to Brazil by ten. His system of recording oceanographic current and wind data was used worldwide to develop charts for major trade routes.

Maury said this about ocean currents:

“There are rivers in the sea. They are of such magnitude that the mightiest streams of the land are rivulets compared to them. They are either of warm or cold water, while their banks and beds are water of the opposite temperature. For thousands of miles they move through their liquid channels unmixed with the confining waters. They are the horizontal movements called currents. The mariner can sometimes detect them by the different color of their stream, while, if they give no such visible sign of their existence, he can trace them by testing their temperature with his thermometer. There is an equatorial current sweeping from east to west all along on either side of the equator, and well nigh encircling the globe. There are polar currents setting from the polar regions toward the equator; and there are return currents setting from the equator toward the poles.”
(John W. Wayland, The Pathfinder of the Seas, The Life of Matthew Fontaine Maury, 1930, p.81)

Maury’s lifelong effort at charting wind and ocean currents to find the most efficient paths for ships to follow earned him the sobriquet “Pathfinder of the Seas.”

In 1855 Maury published Physical Geography of the Sea, the first exhaustive treatise on oceanography. In it he wrote,

“I have always found in my scientific studies, that, when I could get the Bible to say anything on the subject it afforded me a firm platform to stand upon, and a round in the ladder by which I could safely ascend. As our knowledge of nature and her laws has increased, so has our knowledge of many passages of the Bible improved. The Bible called the earth ‘the round world,’ yet for ages it was the most damnable heresy for Christian men to say that the world is round; and, finally, sailors circumnavigated the globe, and proved the Bible to be right, and saved Christian men of science from the stake. And as for the general system of circulation which I have been so long endeavoring to describe, the Bible tells it all in a single sentence: ‘The wind goeth toward the South and returneth again to his circuits.'”

In Matthew Maury’s speech at the laying of the cornerstone for East Tennessee University on November 30, 1860 he said,

“I have been blamed by men of science, both in this country and in England, for quoting the Bible in confirmation of the doctrines of physical geography. The Bible, they say, was not written for scientific purposes, and is therefore of no authority in matters of science. I beg pardon! The Bible is authority for everything it touches.

What would you think of the historian who should refuse to consult the historical records of the Bible, because the Bible was not written for the purposes of history?

The Bible is true and science is true, and therefore each, if truly read, but proves the truth of the other. The agents in the physical economy of our planet are ministers of Him who made both it and the Bible.

The records which He has chosen to make through the agency of these ministers of His upon the crust of the earth are as true as the records which by the hands of His prophets and servants, He has been pleased to make in the Book of Life…

They are both true; and when your men of science, with vain and hasty conceit, announce the discovery of disagreement between them, rely upon it, the fault is not with the witness of His records, but with the worm who essays to interpret evidence which he does not understand.”

Maury memorial at Goshen Pass overlooking the Maury River

Maury memorial at Goshen Pass
overlooking the Maury River in VA

Clued in by the words of Psalm 8, Matthew Maury discovered the paths of the seas by mapping the major wind and ocean currents around the world. This benefited commerce and ocean-going ships all over the world.

Matthew Maury was a scientist who believed in the literal truth of the Bible. He believed in the harmony of Scripture and science and applied it to benefit all of mankind.

One of the monuments in Maury’s honor in Virginia (pictured here) is inscribed in part with these words:

Matthew Fontaine Maury
Pathfinder of the Seas
The genius who first snatched
from ocean and atmosphere
the secret of their laws.
His inspiration Holy Writ

Questions to Ponder
  1. If a statue were to be erected in your honor, what three objects would a sculptor show as characteristic of your life?
  2. Is Scripture as essential to your life as it evidently was to Matthew Maury?
  3. Share your thoughts on these questions in the comments below. It could encourage or help another reader.

Soli Deo Gloria.

This is the second in the Science in the Bible series of blog posts. While there is much science connected with Creation and Noah’s Flood, this series will focus on lesser known scientific truths that were alluded to in the Bible long before they were known to scientists.
Read the prequel:
1. Science in the Bible – Blood

Read the sequel:
3. Science in the Bible – Ocean Springs coming soon…

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Click the sidebar’s “SUBSCRIBE” button to follow the
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©William T. Pelletier, Ph.D.
“contending earnestly for the faith”
“destroying speculations against the knowledge of God”
“for the defense of the gospel”
(Jude 1:3; 2 Cor 10:5; Phil 1:16)
Wednesday January 18, 2017 A.D.

Thy word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. (Psalm 119:105)


Posted by: BibleScienceGuy | January 11, 2017

Science in the Bible – Blood

(3 Minute Read)

After Eden 424lookingfortruth

For the life of the flesh is in the blood.

Forty-five hundred years ago after the Great Flood, Yahweh told this to Noah when He gave Noah permission to eat meat (Genesis 9:3-4).

Thirty-five hundred years ago Moses recorded these words of Yahweh for the Israelites (Leviticus 17:10-14; Deuteronomy 12:23).

Yet this Biblical truth was either ignored or not understood by men of science and medicine for thousands of years. Eventually, around 1620 the English physician and creationist scientist William Harvey (1578–1657) discovered the circulation of blood pumped throughout the body by the heart. Blood maintains and supports life by carrying nutrients to every cell of the body and taking away wastes. In this way the life of the flesh is in the blood.

Even as few as 200 years ago this Biblical truth was ignored when it was common to try to heal people by draining their blood. Barbers, identified by their red-and-white-striped poles, were the usual operators. Bloodletting is an ancient practice, going back well over 2,000 years to ancient Greece.

A famous example of bloodletting is George Washington. He was bled to death by his doctors in 1799 at age 67 after catching a cold from inspecting his farm in a snowstorm. The average adult body contains 160-170 ounces of blood. Yet over the course of 10 hours preceding Washington’s death, 125 ounces of his blood were withdrawn.
(Vadakan, Vibul V. “A Physician Looks At The Death of Washington“. The Early America Review. Winter–Spring 2005.)

When you lose your blood, you lose your life, in accord with the Biblical truth, “the life of the flesh is in the blood.” Too bad President Washington’s doctors paid no attention to this. Moses made this very clear by recording these words of Yahweh 3500 years ago:

“And any man from the house of Israel, or from the aliens who sojourn among them, who eats any blood, I will set My face against that person who eats blood and will cut him off from among his people. For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you on the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood by reason of the life that makes atonement. Therefore I said to the sons of Israel, ‘No person among you may eat blood, nor may any alien who sojourns among you eat blood.’ So when any man from the sons of Israel, or from the aliens who sojourn among them, in hunting catches a beast or a bird which may be eaten, he shall pour out its blood and cover it with earth. For as for the life of all flesh, its blood is identified with its life. Therefore I said to the sons of Israel, ‘You are not to eat the blood of any flesh, for the life of all flesh is its blood; whoever eats it shall be cut off.’” (Leviticus 17:10-14 NASB)

Yahweh instructed the Israelites not to eat blood because blood is special, as the life of flesh is in its blood. This is why the Bible teaches that man is redeemed and forgiven through the blood of Jesus Christ (Colossians 1:13-14). Scripture tells us that the Messiah “made peace through the blood of His cross” (Colossians 1:20) and that we are now “justified by His blood” (Romans 5:9). The blood of Jesus, His life, was the price for man’s salvation.

The truth about blood being the life of flesh has been in the Bible since around 1500 BC, yet science is late to the table on understanding this.

Blood is fundamental for life. It reaches every cell via an extensive microscopic capillary network. The combined length end-to-end of an adult’s blood vessels is about 100,000 miles. This is about four times the circumference of the earth.

The heart pumps about 100,000 times a day to send blood with oxygen, minerals, vitamins, and nutrients through the capillaries to each cell and carry away waste products. It pumps about 80,000,000 gallons in a lifetime. What man-made pump could deliver this level of performance? Is it reasonable to believe it could have “evolved” as a result of accidental mutations?

Your liver chemically monitors and adjusts components of your blood moment by moment within very narrow limits to keep it in proper condition for its work. For example, blood acidity is constantly adjusted to within one part in a hundred million.

Blood is a great gift from the Creator to sustain life. It performs a multitude of highly complex functions. For example, one of its very complicated functions is clotting. The blood clots upon exposure outside the body, but remains liquid inside the body when things are working properly. The clotting cascade (a series of chemical processes in which each step of the process depends on the preceding one) consists of over 100 steps, with more being discovered regularly. The removal or failure of only one of the steps or components would dynamite the entire cascade. A clot would not form and blood would run out of the body ending in loss of life.

How could a mindless, error-driven, evolutionary process develop the clotting cascade when it has to be fully functioning from the beginning to work at all? Did evolution develop the entire circulatory-respiratory heart-lung system which has to work perfectly from the beginning to sustain life? The answer is obvious. A super-intelligent Creator put man together working perfectly in finished form in the beginning.

Questions to Ponder
  1. Can you think of other practical implications of “the life is in the blood“?
  2. What are other examples of “science in the Bible” that precede knowledge by scientists?
  3. Share your thoughts on these questions in the comments below. It could encourage or help another reader.

Soli Deo Gloria.

This begins a Science in the Bible series of blog posts. While there is much science connected with Creation and Noah’s Flood, this series will focus on lesser known scientific truths that were alluded to in the Bible long before they were known to scientists.
Read the sequel:
2. Science in the Bible – Ocean Currents

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©William T. Pelletier, Ph.D.
“contending earnestly for the faith”
“destroying speculations against the knowledge of God”
“for the defense of the gospel”
(Jude 1:3; 2 Cor 10:5; Phil 1:16)
Wednesday January 11, 2017 A.D.

Thy word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. (Psalm 119:105)

Posted by: BibleScienceGuy | January 4, 2017

I’ve Got a Secret

(2 Minute Read)

After Eden Eve, mother of all living

Recently a re-broadcast of an episode of the TV game show I’ve Got a Secret from October 29, 1962 featured contestant Roy Davis appearing with his great-grandson who was five years old.

The remarkable twist for this show’s “secret” was that the man also brought his grandson, age five, and his own son who was likewise age five. Could the panel figure out that Roy Davis had a son, a grandson, and a great-grandson — all of whom were the same age?

At first this seems astonishing. Is it possible for a man to have a son, a grandson, and a great-grandson all of whom are simultaneously five years old? How could this be? (Keep reading to find out.)

This situation was intriguing for a popular TV show in 1962, because in modern times it is a rare and unusual occurrence.

But before Noah’s Flood this would not have made the cut for an antediluvian I’ve Got a Secret show. It would have had no entertainment value, because it would have been a common occurrence. Men commonly lived for 900 years before the Flood and sired children for hundreds of years.

In Genesis 5 the record of the antediluvian patriarchs gives ages of men at the birth of one of their sons, not necessarily the oldest or the youngest. These ages ranged from 65 to 500 and averaged 155. The pre-Flood patriarchs were continuing to beget children at much greater ages than when men sire children today. It would not have been at all uncommon for a man to beget sons at the same time older sons and grandsons and great-grandsons were also begetting children.

Take Adam, the father of mankind, as an example.

The Bible names only three of Adam and Eve’s children. Cain and Abel were probably the first two (Genesis 4:1-2). Their son Seth was born when Adam and Eve were 130 years old (Genesis 4:25; 5:3).

It is likely there were many sons and daughters born to Adam and Eve both before and after Seth, because the first recorded command God gave to Adam and Eve was “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth” (Genesis 1:28). Genesis 5:4 explicitly says that Adam begat other sons and daughters in addition to Seth.

Here is a hypothetical chart showing how multiple generations of Adam’s descendants could all plausibly be age 5 simultaneously. It also shows how game show contestant Roy Davis could have had three generations of descendants simultaneously aged 5 by the time Davis was 65 years old.

Adam’s Age Event
20 Adam begets son A
40 Adam begets son B
Adam’s son A at age 20 begets son AA
45 Birthday: Adam’s son B & his grandson AA are both 5 years old
60 Adam begets son C
Adam’s son A at age 40 begets son AB
Adam’s grandson AA at age 20 begets son AAA
65 Birthday: Adam’s son C & his grandson AB & his great-grandson AAA are all 5 years old

 

Here are five generations.

Here are five generations,
from Baby to Great-great-grandmother

Clearly this pattern could have continued, so the pre-Flood patriarchs could have had many generations of descendants all aged 5 simultaneously.

If Adam had a child every two years, he could have had 65 children by the time Seth was born. Many of those children could have been married and having children of their own who were also having children of their own by the time of Seth’s birth.

Genesis does not record the number of Adam’s children. But he could have had hundreds of kids since the patriarchs were capable of begetting children at least up to age 500. If Adam had a child every 2 or 3 years to age 600 (about 2/3 of his 930-year lifespan), he could easily have had well over 200 children. If Adam continued having children throughout his life, as men today can do, he could have had close to 500 children.

Adam probably sired hundreds of children!

The Old Testament does record some large numbers of children for several men.

One of the judges of Israel some 2,000 years after Adam’s death was Gideon (aka Jerubbaal), son of Joash. Gideon had at least 72 sons by his wives and concubines (Judges 7:1; 8:29-32; 9:4-5, 16-19). Several hundred years later, King Rehoboam of Judah fathered 28 sons and 60 daughters for a total of 88 children (2 Chronicles 11:21). King Ahab of Israel had 70 sons some 2500 years after Adam (2 Kings 10:1). Assuming Gideon and Ahab had about as many daughters as sons, this means each had close to 150 children in a normal lifespan thousands of years after Adam.

Thus it is very possible, and I think highly likely, that Adam sired hundreds of children during his lifetime. Exactly how many we do not know, because the Bible does not tell us. He certainly could have had many generations of descendants of the same age, even many more than game show contestant Roy Davis.

Questions to Ponder
  1. Have you heard skeptics dismiss other elements in the Biblical record because they differ from present-day culture?
  2. What family patterns today would be incomprehensible to antediluvians?
  3. Share your thoughts on these questions in the comments below. It could encourage or help another reader.

Soli Deo Gloria.

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©William T. Pelletier, Ph.D.
“contending earnestly for the faith”
“destroying speculations against the knowledge of God”
“for the defense of the gospel”
(Jude 1:3; 2 Cor 10:5; Phil 1:16)
Wednesday January 4, 2017 A.D.

When Adam had lived one hundred and thirty years, he became the father of a son in his own likeness, according to his image, and named him Seth. Then the days of Adam after he became the father of Seth were eight hundred years, and he had other sons and daughters. So all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years, and he died. (Genesis 5:3-5)

Posted by: BibleScienceGuy | December 31, 2016

Best of 2016

(4 Minute Read)

bestof2016

It’s the last day of 2016, and this is the 52nd and last weekly blog post of the year. I hope that the Bible-Science Guy Blog has informed, challenged, and perhaps even stirred you in 2016.

I used this picture of one of my roaring campfires from this fall to highlight the Best of 2016, because most of this year’s blog posts were written in close proximity to a campfire. We camped more during 2016 (over 100 days) than in any previous year. Camping is so much fun that I sometimes wonder how people ever got started living in houses.

Here are some of the statistical highlights for this year’s blog. Don’t miss the recap below of the Best Bible-Science Guy Articles from 2016.

In 2016, 66,072 distinct readers from 182 countries viewed this blog 105,156 times. This is a 20% increase in distinct readers and an 18% increase in views over 2015. And that does not count all the blog subscribers who read the blog posts by email. This year the blog followers have increased by over 100 to reach 1,713 blog followers at year’s end.

The top ten countries in descending order of total views in 2016 were USA (78,971 views), Canada, UK, Australia, India, South Africa, Philippines, Germany, Malaysia, and Norway (579 views).

Sunday was the most popular day of the week to read the blog in 2016 with 17% of the blog views occurring on that day. This means viewership is probably fairly evenly spread throughout the week, since an equal distribution of views throughout the week would have 14.3% per day of the week. October was the busiest month with 9,750 views.

Click 2016 Bible-Science Guy Articles for a list of the 52 new articles posted on the Bible-Science Guy Blog in 2016. Additionally, 46 blog articles from 2008 were migrated from a defunct previous host to BibleScienceGuy.wordpress.com.

The Bible-Science Guy Blog started in October 2007. It now comprises 518 posts, 87 newspaper articles, and 10 tab pages for a total of 615 items. During 2016, 611 of these items were viewed at least once. Over the life of the blog, 177,258 different visitors have viewed the blog 347,498 times.

The five articles with the most views during 2016 were all published in prior years. Of the 140 articles with 100 or more views during 2016, only 27 were published in 2016. This illustrates the continuing relevance of the Bible-Science Guy blog articles.

Here are the Top Five articles with the most views during 2016:

How Many Died in Noah’s Flood? (Jun 18, 2014) – 24,731 views.
Tower of Babel – What Did It Look Like? (Mar 20, 2013) – 6,649 views.
Tower of Babel – Where? (Mar 13, 2013) – 5,583 views.
Could Noah Fill the Earth? (May 28, 2014) – 4,717 views.
Tower of Babel – When? (Apr 3, 2013) – 2,946 views.

 

The Best Bible-Science Guy Articles from 2016

Here are my choices for the best Bible-Science Guy Blog posts from 2016, listed in order of publication date. I chose the posts I liked best — the ones I found most interesting, most important, or best written. I included those that accumulated the most views or stimulated the most comments.

After Eden 20120120AdamTest

Where Was Adam’s Garden of Eden? (Jan 6)
Genesis is a hotly debated book. For a decade or so Genesis has been under a new assault. The claim is that Adam never existed. According to those who imagine that mankind evolved over millions of years, Adam and Eve are mythical and have no place in human history. Does the historical existence of Adam matter? Was there a real Garden of Eden? What does the Bible teach about Adam? This is one of a series of 42 articles on Adam that I began in Sept 2015 in which I discuss such questions. This Where? article on the Garden of Eden was the second-most viewed 2016 blog post this year. Other intriguing questions covered this year include:
Was Adam Backward or Brilliant? (with video)
Adam’s Dream Girl
How Many Children Did Adam Have?
Whom Did Adam’s Sons Marry?
Did Adam’s Garden Have a Talking Snake?
Why Should Adam’s Sin Affect Me?
Did Roses Have Thorns in Adam’s Garden?
Adam the Image-Bearer & Harambe the Gorilla (with video)
Did Adam Know Earth Is Round?
Did Jesus Say When Adam Was Created?
Did Adam See Dinosaurs?
Could Adam Read & Write?
Did God Use Evolution to Make Adam?
Adam and the Gospel (with video)

Risen Clavius Lucius

Risen, the Movie (Feb 24) (with video)
The body of Jesus Christ is missing from its tomb after the Crucifixion. Where is it? This mystery is the heart of the movie Risen — an investigation into the disappearance of Christ’s body by a high-ranking Roman tribune. This post reviews one of the best Bible movies I’ve ever seen while presenting a cogent defense of the Resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. This was the most-viewed 2016 blog post this year.

What If the Bible Is True? (Mar 2)
This post featured a guest contributor who responded to a column by a philosophy professor titled Life from an Atheist’s Perspective that appeared in the Colorado Springs Gazette. The essay answering the professor was a beautiful dismantling of the atheist position using logic, analysis, and philosophy.
This blog post generated the most comments of any 2016 blog post. There is a lot of good material in the comment section as well, as people argue back and forth.

What I Fear (Mar 23)
What phobias do you have? I do not have any phobias except one — theophobia, fear of God! I fear Yahweh, the Almighty Creator God of the Bible. This article explains why.

Kepler

Kepler

Kepler’s Complaint (May 11)
This is a blog written by our Jack Russell terrier Kepler. He feels like his Master and Missus do not treat him as an equal member of the family. He gives examples of how he is treated like a dog. Kepler believes the bumper sticker he sees that reads “Dogs Are People Too.” Sometimes he has trouble accepting his place in the created order of things. The Creator made each creature, from amoeba to man, for its own purpose and place in Creation.

Big Dipper — Clock in the Sky (Sept 21)
The Big Dipper reflects the Creator’s glory as it fulfills the purpose for which He created it — measuring the passage of time. This post explains how to tell time at night from the position of the Big Dipper relative to the North Pole.

Orion's Belt

Orion’s Belt

Orion & the Pleiades Speak Truth (Nov 23)
The grandeur of Orion and the sparkling beauty of the Pleiades point to a Maker, to One who made heaven and earth. He is the One who announced to Job that Orion’s stars are “bound” but those of the Pleiades are “loosed” long before the astronomers of today discovered it.

The Milky Way (Dec 14)
No matter how far out into the universe man peers, he sees order and structures of increasing complexity and magnitude. From where did it all come? Who designed it all? Who made this huge expanse of space in which the galaxies swim? Who made all the stars? Who organized them into more than two trillion galaxies? Who arranged the clusters, superclusters, sheets, and walls of galaxies? Who hung the Milky Way galaxy with more than 100 billion stars on nothing in space? Who placed numerous galaxies in orbit around the Milky Way? The vast immeasurable extent of the universe, the incomprehensibly enormous energy of innumerable stars … these far surpass the human mind’s ability to comprehend them. They speak of the glory, majesty, and power of their Creator.

After Eden Word Became Flesh

Genealogies of Jesus (Dec 21) (with video)
Both Matthew and Luke recorded genealogies of Jesus. But they give different fathers and ancestors for Joseph, the husband of Mary and adoptive father of Jesus. How can the discrepancies between them be resolved? Why do the genealogies matter? What is their significance?

 

Questions to Ponder
  1. Which is your favorite of all the 2016 Bible-Science Guy Articles? Why?
    (It does not have to be one from this Best of 2016 list.)
  2. Which do you think is the best article to share with unbelievers to stimulate their consideration of Jesus of Nazareth?
  3. Which do you think is the best article to share with believers to spur them to honor, worship, and glorify the Creator?
  4. What topics would you like to see addressed in 2017?
  5. Share your thoughts on these questions in the comments below. It could encourage or help another reader.

Soli Deo Gloria.

Peruse the other Best of Bible-Science Guy lists:
Top Ten Bible-Science Guy Blog Posts 2007-2012
Best of 2013
Best of 2014
Best of 2015

Bible-Science Guy logo

Subscribe – Don’t miss future blog posts!
Click the sidebar’s “SUBSCRIBE” button to follow the
Bible-Science Guy Blog. You’ll automatically receive
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SUBSCRIBE NOW!

©William T. Pelletier, Ph.D.
“contending earnestly for the faith”
“destroying speculations against the knowledge of God”
“for the defense of the gospel”
(Jude 1:3; 2 Cor 10:5; Phil 1:16)
Saturday December 31, 2016 A.D.

For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day and made it holy. (Exodus 20:11)

Posted by: BibleScienceGuy | December 21, 2016

Genealogies of Jesus

(5 Minute Read)

After Eden Word Became Flesh

Since we celebrate the birth of Jesus on December 25, it’s intriguing to look into His genealogies at this time. The Gospels of Matthew and Luke each contain genealogical records for Jesus.

Matthew traces the genealogy of Jesus from Abraham to Joseph, the husband of Mary by whom Jesus was born (Matthew 1:1-16).

Luke gives the genealogy of Jesus from Adam to Joseph, the adoptive father of Jesus (Luke 3:23-38).

Problem

The two genealogies listing the ancestors of Jesus’ adoptive father Joseph are not the same! They are very different from King David to Joseph.

Matthew traces the line of descent through King David’s son Solomon, whereas Luke traces it through David’s son Nathan. Matthew says Joseph’s father was Jacob. Luke says Joseph was the son of Eli (Heli in KJV).

Is this an error in the Bible? How can Mary’s husband Joseph have two distinct fathers, Jacob and Eli?

The usual explanation is that Matthew records Joseph’s genealogy and Luke records Mary’s. The claim is that Joseph’s father Eli in Luke’s genealogy is actually the father of Mary, so he is Joseph’s father-in-law.

Jesus genealogy chart

Genealogies of Jesus
The chart shows the lines given by Matthew and Luke, with the exception that Mary
(shown on the chart) is not listed by Luke. Also, Jeconiah should only appear once in
Matthew’s line, and the shared names in the two lines, Shealtiel and Zerubbabel,
are most likely different people in each line.
(Click to enlarge. Image from creation.com by Caleb Salisbury.)

Usual Explanation Is Not Satisfactory

I do not find this a satisfactory explanation. The obvious interpretation of Luke’s words is that Joseph is the son of Eli. There is no indication in the passage that Joseph is not the son of Eli, but rather is married to the daughter of Eli. If Joseph was only the son-in-law of Eli, why didn’t Luke say “Jesus the son of Mary, the daughter of Eli, the son of Matthat, …”?

Moreover, none of the church fathers proposed this solution. Even though today it is almost universally believed that Luke’s genealogy is that of Mary, the history of this idea does not go back to the early centuries of the church. It was first proposed by archaeologist, historian, and scholar Annius of Viterbo (1432-1502) and only began to gain adherents in the sixteenth century.

The Jews were fanatical record keepers, especially with respect to genealogy. Jesus’ disciple Matthew the tax collector would have been a meticulous record keeper. Luke was a physician and a careful historian, as his Book of Acts shows. Moreover, Luke says he “investigated everything carefully from the beginning” so that his readers would “know the exact truth” about the things of Jesus (Luke 1:3-4). Both Matthew and Luke would have recognized and respected accurate records. Both men would have made sure the genealogical records they placed in their gospels were correct.

Thus I believe that both Matthew and Luke recorded accurate genealogies of Jesus through his adoptive father Joseph.

But how can this be when Jesus’ adoptive father Joseph has two different fathers in the two genealogies, and those two different fathers themselves have very different lineages?

Is Jacob the father of Joseph or is Eli his father? Or are Jacob and Eli the same person?

Jacob and Eli are not the same person, because they have different fathers, different grandfathers, different great-grandfathers, etc. Jacob’s father was Matthan, son of Eleazar. Eli’s father was Matthat son of Levi.

So how can Joseph have two different fathers and two different lines of genealogical descent?

eusebiusecclesiasticalhistory

Background of the Solution

The essence of the explanation I will describe here comes from Eusebius (AD 260/265 – 339/340), the Greek Bishop of Caesarea in Roman Palestine. He was a Biblical scholar and is recognized as the Father of Church History. He chronicled the first three centuries of the church from Christ to Constantine in Ecclesiastical History.

Eusebius explains the seeming conflict between Matthew’s and Luke’s genealogies in Book 1 of Ecclesiastical History in Chapter 7, titled “The Alleged Discrepancy in the Gospels in Regard to the Genealogy of Christ.”

Eusebius cites as his source a letter from Julius Africanus to Aristides which says this genealogical history came from the Desposyni, descendants of the brothers of Jesus. Julius Africanus is sometimes honored as the father of Christian chronography. Little of his work survives except for extensive quotations by Eusebius. Aristides was a 2nd-century Athenian Christian who wrote a defense of the Christian faith that Eusebius mentions.

Solution

The key to the solution is the Jewish law of levirate marriage given in Deuteronomy 25:5-6:
When brothers live together and one of them dies and has no son, the wife of the deceased shall not be married outside the family to a strange man. Her husband’s brother shall go in to her and take her to himself as wife and perform the duty of a husband’s brother to her. It shall be that the firstborn whom she bears shall assume the name of his dead brother, so that his name will not be blotted out from Israel.

Levirate marriage is thus a marriage in which the brother of a man who dies without a son must marry his brother’s widow in order to beget a son for his brother who will be deemed the son of his brother.

The account in Genesis 38:6-11 of Judah’s son Onan whose older brother Er had died is an example of this custom that is codified in the law of Deuteronomy 25:5-6.
Then Judah said to Onan, “Go in to your brother’s wife, and perform your duty as a brother-in-law to her, and raise up offspring for your brother.” Onan knew that the offspring would not be his; so when he went in to his brother’s wife, he wasted his seed on the ground in order not to give offspring to his brother. (Genesis 38:8-9 NASB)

Onan refused to have a child with his brother’s widow, because he knew the child would be recognized as his brother’s son, not his own son. The “legal” genealogy for this child would be through Er and not through Onan, even though the biological genealogy would be through Onan. Thus this child would have had two legitimate genealogies. This example illustrates what could have happened with Joseph, the husband of Mary.

After Eden Fathers Day

This is how the Matthew genealogy
…Matthan->Jacob->Joseph->Jesus
and the Luke genealogy
…Matthat->Eli->Joseph->Jesus
can be resolved based on the Hebrew practice of levirate marriage according to Eusebius’ report which was based on historical records available to him:

  1. Matthan, a descendant of King David’s son Solomon, married a woman that tradition names as Estha. Matthan begot Jacob by Estha. Matthan is the grandfather of Joseph, Mary’s husband, per Matthew.
  2. Matthan died.
  3. Matthat, a descendant of King David’s son Nathan, married Estha the widow and begot Eli. Matthat is the grandfather of Joseph, Mary’s husband, per Luke.
  4. Thus Jacob and Eli were half-brothers with the same mother (Estha) but different fathers (Matthan and Matthat, respectively).
  5. Eli married but died without a son.
  6. Eli’s half-brother Jacob married Eli’s widow according to the levirate law of Deuteronomy 25:5-6 to raise up a son for his half-brother Eli. Jacob begot Joseph.
  7. Legally Joseph was the son of the dead brother Eli according to the levirate law. (Luke’s genealogy)
  8. But Joseph was also the natural born son of Jacob. (Matthew’s genealogy)
Conclusion

Matthew gives the biological genealogy through Joseph’s natural father Jacob. Luke gives the legal genealogy through Joseph’s legal father Eli. Both genealogies are correct.

In the time frame of Jesus’ day, the levirate law of marriage and descent that may seem so complicated today would be a daily familiarity. Many people would have this kind of dual family tree. In New Testament times, a person encountering two genealogies for Jesus would understand their harmony as natural and ordinary. The explanation would not seem intricate and difficult as it may to a reader today.

What is the significance of the genealogies? The significance is that the genealogies root Jesus of Nazareth in space and time. The genealogies are evidence that Jesus, son of Mary and adopted son of Joseph the carpenter, was a real man who lived and died on this earth 2,000 years ago in the land of Israel.

Who today can trace their genealogy back for 4,000 years over 75 generations? Who else can trace their genealogy back to Adam, the father of the human race?

Nobody makes up one genealogy, much less two of them, for a mythical being. Myths do not have such extensive genealogies in such well-evidenced historical documents. Only real people have and record detailed genealogies. These ancient lists of names include famous personages who are acknowledged as historical like King David of Israel and Abraham the father of the Jewish people. The genealogies confirm Jesus of Nazareth as a real person! This is why the genealogies of Jesus are so important.

Questions to Ponder
  1. Do you know anyone who has two sets of paternal grandparents (via a father and a step-father)? Do you think this now-common phenomenon might seem peculiar in Jesus’ day?
  2. What benefit is it to a follower of Christ to ponder difficult Scripture passages?
  3. Share your thoughts on these questions in the comments below. It could encourage or help another reader.

Christmas Blessings!

May all my readers enjoy a blessed Christmas season this year as we celebrate the birth of our Creator who came to rescue us from eternal death and save us from our sins.

Here’s a 2-minute YouTube Christmas video from Living Waters on the meaning and reason for Christmas:

Soli Deo Gloria.

Read previous blog articles on the genealogy of Jesus:
16. Age of the Earth—Luke’s Testimony
17. Age of the Earth—Luke & Cainan Puzzle
18. Age of the Earth—Luke & Cainan Explanation
The Curse of Jeconiah

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Click the sidebar’s “SUBSCRIBE” button to follow the
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©William T. Pelletier, Ph.D.
“contending earnestly for the faith”
“destroying speculations against the knowledge of God”
“for the defense of the gospel”
(Jude 1:3; 2 Cor 10:5; Phil 1:16)
Wednesday December 21, 2016 A.D.

The unfolding of Thy words gives light. It gives understanding to the simple.
The sum of Thy word is truth, and every one of Thy righteous ordinances is everlasting.

(Psalm 119:130,160 NASB)

Posted by: BibleScienceGuy | December 14, 2016

The Milky Way

(4 Minute Read)

milkywaybar

Milky Way is the name of a very yummy candy bar. It is chocolate-malt nougat topped with caramel and smothered in milk chocolate. It’s very difficult to say “No, thank you” when offered a Milky Way.

The Milky Way candy bar was created in 1923 and named after a well-known milkshake which was itself named after the subject of this article.

Milky Way is also the name of the galaxy in which we live. A galaxy is a gravitationally-bound island of stars orbiting the stars’ center of mass. Our galaxy’s name comes from its hazy, milky glow as it arcs across the night sky. The individual stars that contribute to the milky glow cannot be distinguished with the naked eye.

As far as we know, Galileo was the first post-Flood astronomer to resolve the milky glow of the Milky Way galaxy into individual stars with his telescope in 1610. As late as 1920 astronomers generally thought the Milky Way contained all the stars of the universe.

Today astronomers think the Milky Way is a barred spiral galaxy that contains 100–400 billion (100,000,000,000-400,000,000,000) stars and is 100,000–180,000 light-years across. Earth is about 27,000 light-years from the Milky Way’s galactic center, on the inner edge of the spiral arm called the Orion Arm.

To get a feel for how big the Milky Way is, imagine a scale model of the solar system that is one foot in diameter. The sun would be smaller than a period with the earth an eighth of an inch away. The nearest star would be about 2/3 of a mile away. The Milky Way would be larger than the Pacific Ocean!

Galaxies

Today we know the Milky Way is only one of many galaxies of stars, some smaller, others much bigger. Galaxies range in size from dwarf galaxies with “only” a few billion (2-3,000,000,000) stars to giant galaxies with one hundred trillion (100,000,000,000,000) stars.

The largest known galaxy in the universe is the yellow-red elliptical galaxy IC 1101. It lies one billion light-years away and is six million light-years across. It contains 100 trillion stars. Comparing IC 1101 with the Milky Way, IC 1101 is 60 times as large with 1,000 times as many stars.

Hold a grain of sand up to the night sky.
The part of the sky blocked out by that
grain of sand has over 10,000 galaxies.

If there are many galaxies in the night sky, how many is many? If you hold up a grain of sand to the sky, the part of the sky blocked out by the grain of sand has over 10,000 galaxies. Recent results from October 2016 based on observations with the Hubble space telescope show at least two trillion (2,000,000,000) galaxies in the observable universe. The Creator God alone knows how many are in the unobservable universe.

Who made all these stars? The Genesis account of Creation says of God, “He made the stars also” on Creation Day Four (Genesis 1:16).
How many stars did God make? A 2010 estimate reported
300 sextillion = 3 × 1023 = 300,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 stars in the observable universe. The Creator God alone knows how many are in the unobservable universe.

Andromeda Galaxy

Andromeda Galaxy
A spiral galaxy with a trillion stars
about 2.5 million light-years away.

Galaxies are gravitationally associated in groups, clusters, and superclusters. Superclusters lie in enormous sheets separated by huge vast voids.

The Milky Way is part of a group or cluster of at least 54 galaxies called the Local Group. The Milky Way is the second-largest galaxy in the Local Group after the Andromeda Galaxy.

In the Local Group, the Milky Way has at least 15 satellite galaxies that orbit it. Three of these satellite galaxies are the Large Magellanic Cloud, the Small Magellanic Cloud, and the Sagittarius Dwarf Galaxy.

The Andromeda Galaxy is the closest major galaxy to the Milky Way, lying 2,500,000 light-years from Earth. It has more than twice as many stars as the Milky Way and is more than 220,000 LY in diameter. Observations with the Spitzer Space Telescope in 2006 showed Andromeda has one trillion (1,000,000,000,000) stars.

Spiral Galaxies

Andromeda is a spiral galaxy. A spiral galaxy is disk-shaped with a central bulge. Spiral arms extend from the central bulge to the outer edge. The arms are regions that appear to have greater numbers of stars.

Astronomers think the Milky Way is a spiral galaxy, but we don’t know for sure because we are on the inside looking out. We can’t see the structure of the Milky Way from outside like we can with Andromeda.

Spiral galaxies are a thorn in the side of evolutionary astronomers. As spiral galaxies rotate, the inner regions rotate much faster than the outer regions. Thus the spiral becomes tighter and tighter. After a few hundred million years the spiral structure would be gone. But supposedly, galaxies are billions and billions of years old! Spiral galaxies give the lie to this claim. They cannot possibly be billions of years old. But they could be 6,000 years old, as the Bible reports.

20020520-StarWars

Superclusters of Galaxies

The Milky Way is part of the Virgo Supercluster, also called the Local Supercluster. This supercluster contains the Virgo Cluster and the Local Group along with at least 100 other galaxy clusters. The Virgo Supercluster is one of about 10 million galaxy superclusters in the observable universe.

The Virgo Supercluster is a lobe of a cluster of galaxy superclusters named Laniakea. This Hawaiian name means “immense heaven” from lani for “heaven” and akea for “immeasurable”.

The Laniakea Supercluster contains 300 to 500 galaxy clusters. It may include many more in the region obscured by the Milky Way. The Laniakea Supercluster comprises over 100,000 galaxies.

Neighboring galaxy superclusters near Laniakea include the Shapley Supercluster, Hercules Supercluster, and Coma Supercluster. The Great Wall is an immense galaxy superstructure that contains the superclusters Hercules, Coma and Leo. Laniakea and the Great Wall are the largest known structures in the universe. But I am confident larger structures and more organization will someday be discovered. I will not be surprised to learn that either Laniakea or the Great Wall is simply a filament of a far larger structure.

Sombrero Galaxy

Sombrero Galaxy
Sombrero’s bulging glow of light comes from 800 Billion stars. Its unusually large bulge
and dust ring suggest its name. Sombrero is 31 million light-years away in the
constellation Virgo and is 50,000 light-years across. The dots of light are not stars but thousands of other galaxies, including a pair of twin galaxies at the bottom at 7 o’clock.

Who Did It?

No matter how far out into the universe man peers, he sees order and structures of increasing complexity and magnitude. From where did it all come? Who designed it all? Who made this huge expanse of space in which the galaxies swim? Who made all the stars? Who organized them into so many galaxies? Who arranged the clusters, superclusters, sheets, and walls of galaxies?

Who hung the Milky Way on nothing in space? Who placed numerous galaxies in orbit around the Milky Way?

To say it all “just happened” is to wimp out on answering these questions.

The answer is that Yahweh, the Almighty Creator God of the Bible, made the universe and all that we see in it.

The vast immeasurable extent of the universe, the incomprehensibly enormous energy of innumerable stars … these far surpass the human mind’s ability to comprehend them. They speak of the glory, majesty, and power of their Creator.

O Lord, our Lord,
How majestic is Your name in all the earth,
Who have displayed Your splendor above the heavens!
When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,
The moon and the stars, which You have ordained;
What is man that You take thought of him,
And the son of man that You care for him?
(Psalm 8:1,3-4)

The dependable regularity of the Big Dipper, the grandeur of Orion, the sparkling beauty of the Pleiades, the galaxies orbiting the Milky Way, and the innumerable stars of the Milky Way … all these point to a Maker, to One who made heaven and earth (Isaiah 37:16).

The majesty of the stars alone should compel men to seek the Creator and Savior before it is too late and judgment comes. It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God. (Hebrews 10:31 NASB)

Questions to Ponder
  1. What aspect of God’s creative work in making the stars, galaxies, and space is most awe-inspiring to you?
  2. What concrete step can help remind you to keep giving our awesome Creator worship and praise?
  3. Share your thoughts on these questions in the comments below. It could encourage or help another reader.

The Heavens Declare the Glory of God. (Psalm 19:1 KJV)
Soli Deo Gloria.

Read the prequels on astronomy:
He Made the Stars Also
Naming the Stars
Big Dipper — Clock in the Sky
The Hunter and Seven Sisters
Orion & the Pleiades Speak Truth

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©William T. Pelletier, Ph.D.
“contending earnestly for the faith”
“destroying speculations against the knowledge of God”
“for the defense of the gospel”
(Jude 1:3; 2 Cor 10:5; Phil 1:16)
Wednesday December 14, 2016 A.D.

Lift up your eyes on high and see who has created these stars, the One who leads forth their host by number, He calls them all by name. Because of the greatness of His might and the strength of His power not one of them is missing. (Isaiah 40:26 NASB)

Posted by: BibleScienceGuy | December 7, 2016

The Curse of Jeconiah

(3 Minute Read)

After Eden Fathers Day

Does the Curse of Jeconiah in the Old Testament impact Jesus’ claim to the throne of David over the house of Israel?

Is Jesus disqualified from being King of the Jews due to the Curse of Jeconiah?

This Old Testament curse bans any descendant of Jeconiah from the throne, and Matthew’s genealogy of Jesus includes a man named Jeconiah.

Since we celebrate the birth of Jesus in December, this is a good time to look into His genealogies. Does the information in Matthew’s genealogy disqualify Jesus from being the Messiah by virtue of His being a descendant of Jeconiah?

The Curse of Jeconiah is recorded in Jeremiah 22:24-30:
“As I live,” declares the Lord, “even though Coniah the son of Jehoiakim king of Judah were a signet ring on My right hand, yet I would pull you off; and I will give you over into the hand of those who are seeking your life, yes, into the hand of those whom you dread, even into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and into the hand of the Chaldeans. I will hurl you and your mother who bore you into another country where you were not born, and there you will die. But as for the land to which they desire to return, they will not return to it.
“Is this man Coniah a despised, shattered jar?
Or is he an undesirable vessel?
Why have he and his descendants been hurled out
And cast into a land that they had not known?
“O land, land, land,
Hear the word of the Lord!
“Thus says the Lord,
‘Write this man down childless,
A man who will not prosper in his days;
For no man of his descendants will prosper
Sitting on the throne of David
Or ruling again in Judah.’”

Jeconiah was a wicked king of Judah for three months in the early 6th century BC. Jeconiah was also known as Jehoiachin (2 Kings 24:6) and Coniah (Jeremiah 22:24), and he began to reign following the death of his father King Jehoiakim. God’s extreme displeasure with the evil ways of Jeconiah and his father Jehoiakim resulted in the curse (Jeremiah 22:18-30). Later Jeconiah was carried away captive to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar (2 Kings 24:8-16).

An ancestor of Jesus named Jeconiah is listed by Matthew in Jesus’ genealogy:
Josiah begat Jeconiah and his brothers, at the time of the deportation to Babylon. After the deportation to Babylon: Jeconiah begat Shealtiel, and Shealtiel begat Zerubbabel. And Zerubbabel begat Abiud; (Matthew 1:11-13)

So how can Jesus sit on the throne of David if He is a descendant of the cursed King Jeconiah? How can He rule Judah if He descends from Jeconiah whose seed is excluded?

The answer to this puzzle is simple. It involves recognition of the fact that in many families multiple people can bear the same name. Often this is true of several names in a family.

So the answer to Jesus and the Curse of Jeconiah is that there are two different Jeconiahs. Jesus is NOT a descendant of the cursed Jeconiah son of Jehoiakim. Rather he is a descendant of a different uncursed Jeconiah. A little study of genealogical records in the Bible makes this clear.

The cursed Jeconiah of Jeremiah 22 was the son of King Jehoiakim who was the son of King Josiah of Judah. Thus the cursed Jeconiah was the grandson of King Josiah. This Jeconiah had a single brother, Zedekiah. (1 Chronicles 3:16)

The Jeconiah who was an ancestor of Jesus was a son of King Josiah, not a grandson, and he had multiple brothers. (Josiah begat Jeconiah and his brothers… Matthew 1:11) Jesus’ ancestor Jeconiah had a wicked nephew with the same name. It is that wicked man’s descendants who are prohibited from the throne.

Different Offspring

Further proof that there were two different Jeconiahs is that the two Jeconiahs have different offspring, even though there are some shared names. The cursed Jeconiah, son of Jehoiakim and grandson of Josiah, had seven sons, two of whom were Shealtiel and Pedaiah. Pedaiah’s son was Zurubbabel. (1 Chronicles 3:15-19)
Josiah-> Jehoiakim-> Jeconiah-> Shealtiel
Josiah-> Jehoiakim-> Jeconiah-> Pedaiah-> Zurubbabel

The uncursed Jeconiah, son of Josiah, had a son Shealtiel, who had a son Zerubbabel, who had a son Abiud. But Zerubbabel, son of Pedaiah, did not have an Abiud among his seven sons. (Matthew 1:11-13; 1 Chronicles 3:17-19)
Josiah-> Jeconiah-> Shealtiel-> Zurubbabel-> Abiud

These are two different Zerubbabels — one is the son of Shealtiel, and the other is the son of Pedaiah.
These are two different Shealtiels — one is the son of Jeconiah son of Josiah, and the other is the son of Jeconiah grandson of Josiah.
Thus the two Jeconiahs have different offspring.
There are two different Jeconiahs!

After Eden ChristmasTravel

Changed Names

Some wonder why Jeconiah, who is identified as a son of Josiah in Matthew 1:11, is not listed among Josiah’s sons in 1 Chronicles 3:15: The sons of Josiah were Johanan the firstborn, and the second was Jehoiakim, the third Zedekiah, the fourth Shallum.

The likely answer is that Josiah’s firstborn Johanan and Jeconiah are the same person. Josiah’s other three sons had their names changed, so it is well within the realm of possibility that this happened with Johanan/Jeconiah as well.

Josiah’s second son Eliakim had his name changed to Jehoiakim by Pharaoh Neco of Egypt when Neco installed Jehoiakim as king after defeating and killing Josiah in battle (2 Kings 23:34).

Josiah’s third son Mattaniah had his name changed to Zedekiah by King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon when he deposed Jehoiachin (Jeconiah) son of Jehoiakim. Nebuchadnezzar took Jeconiah prisoner to Babylon and installed Zedekiah as king (2 Kings 24:17).

Josiah’s fourth son Shallum was the first to reign following his father’s death. He was also named Jehoahaz (2 Kings 23:30; Jeremiah 22:11).

Thus comparing 1 Chronicles 3:15 and Matthew 1:11, it must be that Johanan and Jeconiah are the same person.

Conclusion

There are two Jeconiahs. The cursed one has one brother Zedekiah and is the grandson of King Josiah. The uncursed one is the son of King Josiah with multiple brothers (Jehoiakim, Zedekiah, Shallum), two of whom, Jehoiakim and Zedekiah, were carried off to Babylon (2 Chronicles 36:5-6; 2 Kings 25:7). Jesus is a descendant of the Jeconiah who was not cursed. Therefore the Curse of Jeconiah does not disqualify Jesus from being the Messiah and from sitting on the throne of David.

Many try to use an argument that the Curse of Jeconiah does not apply to Jesus because Matthew’s genealogy is the legal genealogy of Jesus through His adoptive father Joseph and not the biological genealogy through His mother Mary. But whether the curse applies legally or biologically is irrelevant, because Jesus of Nazareth is not a descendant of the cursed Jeconiah.

Jesus of Nazareth is indeed the Messiah, the King of the Jews. He is truly the rightful possessor of the throne of David. The Curse of Jeconiah does not apply to Him.

Questions to Ponder
  1. What king of Judah had three sons who also reigned as king?
  2. Why do you think God chose to include a genealogical record right at the beginning of the New Testament Scripture?
  3. Share your thoughts on these questions in the comments below. It could encourage or help another reader.

Soli Deo Gloria.

Read the sequel about resolving the discrepancies between the two genealogies of Jesus in Matthew and Luke:
Genealogies of Jesus

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©William T. Pelletier, Ph.D.
“contending earnestly for the faith”
“destroying speculations against the knowledge of God”
“for the defense of the gospel”
(Jude 1:3; 2 Cor 10:5; Phil 1:16)
Wednesday December 7, 2016 A.D.

The unfolding of Thy words gives light. It gives understanding to the simple.
The sum of Thy word is truth, and every one of Thy righteous ordinances is everlasting.

(Psalm 119:130,160 NASB)

Posted by: BibleScienceGuy | November 30, 2016

Is Denying Creation Wicked?

(2 Minute Read)
Richard Dawkins

Richard Dawkins

Evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, evolution’s most famous evangelist, wrote this over 25 years ago:

“It is absolutely safe to say that if you meet somebody who claims not to believe in evolution, that person is ignorant, stupid, or insane (or wicked, but I’d rather not consider that).”
(Richard Dawkins, “Book Review of Donald Johanson and Maitland Edey’s Blueprints,” The New York Times, April 9, 1989.)

To begin, let me vigorously assert as strongly as possible,
I do NOT believe in evolution.”

Therefore, according to Dawkins, this assertion puts me in one of four categories: Ignorant, Stupid, Insane, or Wicked.

No one who knows me would consider me ignorant, stupid, or insane. Therefore, according to Dawkins, I must be wicked.

Dawkins is essentially saying that knowledge is a moral issue. Dawkins assumes and believes that Evolution is the truth. He therefore concludes that someone with the mental capability to understand the truth and yet who denies the truth is wicked.

On this point I agree with Dawkins: knowledge is a moral issue and denying the truth is wicked.

Dawkins and I both say that denying the truth is immoral. Therefore, the important question is: Which is the truth? Evolution or Creation?

After Eden 20040315bigbang

Which is the Truth?

Dawkins says it is Evolution. I say it is Creation. Who is right?

For support of Evolution, Dawkins appeals to authorities like Charles Darwin.

For support of Creation, I will appeal to a couple of the smartest people who ever lived, King Solomon and the Apostle Paul, men whom the Creator used to deliver truth to mankind.

About 3,000 years ago King Solomon of Israel said,
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction. (Proverbs 1:7)
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. (Proverbs 9:10)

Solomon, himself a scientist and the wisest man who ever lived (1 Kings 3:12; 4:29-34), said that knowledge begins with fear of the Lord. That is, one has to respect and revere the Creator in order to truly understand anything. To deny the Creator is to be a fool.

Without Excuse

The Apostle Paul spoke clearly to this issue some 2,000 years ago. He used unambiguous moral language about those who reject the Creator. He said,
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools. … For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. (Romans 1:18-22, 25)

After Eden 20111118thanksfornothing

Paul certainly saw knowledge of the truth as a moral issue. He says men have no excuse because the Creator’s attributes have been clearly seen through what He has made. According to the Apostle Paul, all evolutionists know there is a Creator God of great power and glory. When they deny it, they are intentionally suppressing the truth in wickedness.

Paul does not allow “deceived” as an option. It is immoral and wicked to deny the truth.

Thus to express my position, I would modify what Dawkins wrote and say,
“It is absolutely safe to say that if you meet somebody who claims to believe in evolution and denies the Creator, that person is ignorant, stupid, insane, or wicked, and the last choice is the most likely.”

So, to answer the question of the title, YES, denying Creation is wicked. Belief in Evolution is wicked. Allegiance to the Creator is the first duty of every human being.

Questions to Ponder
  1. If you sat beside Richard Dawkins on a plane, what would you say to him?
  2. In what specific ways does our evolution-loving culture “worship and serve the creature rather than the Creator“?
  3. Share your thoughts on these questions in the comments below. It could encourage or help another reader.

Soli Deo Gloria.

Bible-Science Guy logo

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Click the sidebar’s “SUBSCRIBE” button to follow the
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©William T. Pelletier, Ph.D.
“contending earnestly for the faith”
“destroying speculations against the knowledge of God”
“for the defense of the gospel”
(Jude 1:3; 2 Cor 10:5; Phil 1:16)
Wednesday November 30, 2016 A.D.

That which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. (Romans 1:19-20)

Posted by: BibleScienceGuy | November 23, 2016

Orion & the Pleiades Speak Truth

(2 Minute Read)
Orion Constellation

Orion Constellation
Shoulders, belt, sword, & feet.

Last week’s article, The Hunter and Seven Sisters, surveyed two groups of stars which are mentioned several times in the Bible: Orion (the Hunter) and the Pleiades (the Seven Sisters).

Several Old Testament books use these two star groups, along with the Bear (Ursa Major, of which the Big Dipper is a part), to seize attention and megaphone truth to mankind (Job 9:8-10; 38:31-32; Amos 5:8).

Orion and the Pleiades in the Bible

The book of Job is probably the oldest book in the Bible. It relates the troubles of a man named Job who lived after the Flood, probably around the time of Abraham.

Job had been proclaiming his innocence of wrongdoing, insisting that his suffering was not fair, and calling for an answer from God. Instead of giving Job an explanation, God asked him a series of unanswerable questions to demonstrate His superior wisdom in ruling the world, including His sovereign decision to permit Job’s suffering. Here are several of the questions that God asked Job related to constellations:
“Can you bind the chains of the Pleiades,
Or loose the cords of Orion?
Can you lead forth a constellation in its season,
And guide the Bear with her satellites?”
(Job 38:31-32 NASB)

Astronomers today know that the Pleiades is a gravitationally-bound star cluster. All the stars of the Pleiades are moving in the same direction across the sky at the same speed. In contrast, Orion’s stars are not gravitationally-bound; they are gradually moving away from each other.

Was this bound/unbound nature of the Pleiades and Orion known in Job’s day? It’s very unlikely! The Creator alone would be able to hint to Job that the Pleiades are bound together, but Orion’s stars are “loosed” (not bound). This “inside information” testifies to the divine origin of the Bible.

After Eden 20001211-ChristmasLights

Yahweh alone can either bind or release stars, for He is their Creator, the One that made them and placed them in the heavens (Genesis 1:16-18) where they remain to this day.

The 8th-century BC prophet Amos also mentioned the Pleiades and Orion. The nation of Israel was sliding into pagan idolatry, and Amos sought to call Israel back to worship the true God by reminding the people of Yahweh’s great deeds.

Amos urged Israel to seek the One who performed certain stupendous acts:
Seek Him that makes the seven stars and Orion, and turns the shadow of death into the morning, and makes the day dark with night: that calls for the waters of the sea, and pours them out upon the face of the earth. The LORD is his name.
(Amos 5:8 KJV)

Amos called for Israel to return to
– the One who made the stars, in particular the One who made the Pleiades and Orion,
– the One who turns night to day and day to night, and
– the One who once judged rebellion with a Flood, pouring the oceans over the face of the earth.

Orion's Belt

Orion’s Belt
Alnitak, Alnilam, Mintaka (left to right)
Best way to locate Orion.

These are awe-inspiring deeds! No mere man can come close to doing them. According to Amos, these are reasons to serve the real Creator God instead of impotent idols.

Amos’ exhortation is still needed today when so many believe the stars, earth, and living things originated from nothing by chance. How absurd!

The Prophet Amos calls mankind to seek the Creator and Judge, the One who made it all and the One who once judged Earth with a Flood.

Note: The words “Seek Him” in Amos 5:8 of the King James version are not in the original Hebrew. But “Seek Him” is in the context in verses 4 and 6, and should be implicitly understood for verse 8. Many other versions in addition to the King James include “Seek Him” in verse 8 in order to render in English the proper sense of the Hebrew passage.

The grandeur of Orion, the sparkling beauty of the Pleiades, the innumerable stars of the universe all point to a Maker, to One who made heaven and earth (Isaiah 37:16).

The majesty of the stars alone should compel men to seek the Creator and Savior before it is too late and judgment comes. It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God. (Hebrews 10:31 NASB)

Questions to Ponder
  1. Why would Orion and the Pleiades be mentioned together three different times in Scripture? (Job 9:8-10; 38:31-32; Amos 5:8)
  2. When you are suffering or sorrowful, how will you apply the questions God asked Job about the stars (Job 38:31-32)?
  3. Share your thoughts on these questions in the comments below. It could encourage or help another reader.

The Heavens Declare the Glory of God. (Psalm 19:1 KJV)
Soli Deo Gloria.

Read the prequel:
The Hunter and Seven Sisters

Read the sequel:
The Milky Way

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Click the sidebar’s “SUBSCRIBE” button to follow the
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©William T. Pelletier, Ph.D.
“contending earnestly for the faith”
“destroying speculations against the knowledge of God”
“for the defense of the gospel”
(Jude 1:3; 2 Cor 10:5; Phil 1:16)
Wednesday November 23, 2016 A.D.

Lift up your eyes on high and see who has created these stars, the One who leads forth their host by number, He calls them all by name. Because of the greatness of His might and the strength of His power not one of them is missing. (Isaiah 40:26 NASB)

Posted by: BibleScienceGuy | November 16, 2016

The Hunter and Seven Sisters

(2 Minute Read)
Andromeda Galaxy

Andromeda Galaxy
This spiral galaxy proclaims the glory of
its Creator with a trillion stars about
2.5 million light-years away.
Andromeda is more than 220,000 LY
in diameter. (Click image to enlarge.)

One of the most amazing understatements of the Bible is tacked on at the end of Genesis 1:16:
He made the stars also.

Five short words! Yet one of the most stunning testimonies to the awesome greatness of Yahweh is this very panoply of stars in the heavens:
Lift up your eyes on high and see who has created these stars, the One who leads forth their host by number, He calls them all by name. Because of the greatness of His might and the strength of His power not one of them is missing. (Isaiah 40:26)

The Bible mentions three constellations or star groups by name: the Pleiades, Orion, and the Bear (Job 9:8-10; 38:31-32; Amos 5:8).
Who alone stretches out the heavens
And tramples down the waves of the sea;
Who makes the Bear, Orion and the Pleiades,
And the chambers of the south;
Who does great things, unfathomable,
And wondrous works without number.

(Job 9:8-10 NASB)

Orion, the Hunter

Orion is a prominent winter constellation in the northern hemisphere named after the hunter Orion of Greek mythology. In the southern hemisphere it’s a summer constellation.

The constellation is easy to recognize by its belt of three stars, which are sometimes called the Three Kings. Orion contains two of the ten brightest stars in the night sky: the blue-white supergiant Rigel (left foot of the earth-facing Orion) and the red supergiant Betelgeuse (right shoulder).

Orion Constellation showing shoulders, feet, belt, and sword

Orion Constellation
Showing shoulders, belt,
sword, and feet.

The seven stars marking Orion’s shoulders, feet, and belt are among the most distant that are visible with the naked eye. The sword hanging from Orion’s belt appears to be marked by three stars, but the middle one is actually not a star but the Orion Nebula, a reflective cloud of gas, dust, and stars.

The easily recognizable Orion is useful in locating other stars in the sky. For example, extend the line of the belt southeastward to find Sirius, the brightest star in the sky. A line from Rigel (Orion’s left foot) through Betelgeuse (Orion’s right shoulder) points to Castor and Pollux in the constellation Gemini. Castor and Pollux was the sign (figurehead) of a ship the Apostle Paul took on his way to Rome (Acts 28:11). Below I will describe how to find the Pleiades using Orion.

The Pleiades, or the Seven Sisters

November is sometimes referred to as the Pleiades month, because the Pleiades are visible in the northern hemisphere throughout the night in November. In the southern hemisphere, the Pleiades are visible in the summer.

Galileo was the first we know of to view the Pleiades with a telescope, and he discovered the cluster had more than seven stars. He published a sketch of the Pleiades showing 36 stars in 1610.

The Pleiades (Messier 45) is a star cluster about 440 light-years from Earth containing over 1,000 stars. Seven of the brightest ones can be seen with the naked eye and give the cluster its alternate name, the Seven Sisters. The cluster lies in the constellation Taurus.

subaru

The Pleiades have been known worldwide in many cultures from ancient times: the Babylonians, the Chinese, the Japanese, the Persians, the Greeks, the Maori of New Zealand, the Maya, the Cherokee, the Aztec, the Sioux, Moslems, Hindus, and the Aborigines of Australia. Subaru (meaning cluster or united) is the Japanese name for the Pleiades; an image of the cluster forms the car company’s logo.

You need a dark sky to see the Pleiades. They are a faint group shaped like the bowl of a small spoon. In November in the northern hemisphere, they will rise in the east after sunset and travel overhead across the dome of the sky. The cluster is west-northwest of Aldebaran, the brightest star in the constellation Taurus.

The easiest way for me to find the Pleiades is to first locate the constellation Orion. Orion rises in the east after dark and travels across the sky to the west. Draw a line parallel to Orion’s belt from Betelgeuse, Orion’s right shoulder (Orion faces Earth). Half-way to the Pleiades, the line will pass above (north of) the bright star Aldebaran in Taurus and then goes on to hit the Pleiades.

The nine brightest stars of the Pleiades are named for the Seven Sisters of Greek mythology: Alcyone, Merope, Electra, Celaeno, Maia, Taygeta, and Sterope, along with their parents Atlas and Pleione.

The nine brightest Pleiades’ stars are named for the Seven Sisters of Greek mythology:
Alcyone, Merope, Electra, Celaeno, Maia, Taygeta, and Sterope,
and for their parents Atlas and Pleione.

The grandeur of Orion, the sparkling beauty of the Pleiades, the innumerable stars of the universe all point to a Maker, to One who made heaven and earth (Isaiah 37:16).

The majesty of the stars alone should compel men to seek the Creator and Savior before it is too late. It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God. (Hebrews 10:31 NASB)

Questions to Ponder
  1. Why should a Christian study the stars?
  2. Why aren’t stars named after Biblical characters like the Genesis patriarchs instead of figures from mythology?
  3. Share your thoughts on these questions in the comments below. It could encourage or help another reader.

The Heavens Declare the Glory of God. (Psalm 19:1 KJV)
Soli Deo Gloria.

Read the sequel:
Orion & the Pleiades Speak Truth

Bible-Science Guy logo

Subscribe – Don’t miss future blog posts!
Click the sidebar’s “SUBSCRIBE” button to follow the
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new posts free by email. Click SUBSCRIBE NOW!

©William T. Pelletier, Ph.D.
“contending earnestly for the faith”
“destroying speculations against the knowledge of God”
“for the defense of the gospel”
(Jude 1:3; 2 Cor 10:5; Phil 1:16)
Wednesday November 16, 2016 A.D.

He who made the Pleiades and Orion
And changes deep darkness into morning,
Who also darkens day into night,
Who calls for the waters of the sea
And pours them out on the surface of the earth,
The LORD is His name.
(Amos 5:8 NASB)

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