Saturday, May 14, 2022

Reproduction Rights and Roe

 Discussions involving human reproductive rights generate intense controversy. Our national populace has always been concerned about human rights. As humans what rights do we have? Our rights are deemed sacred because humans are created in God’s image. As Creator, God bestows rights on his created entities.

In 1948 the United Nations produced the important UDHR (Universal Declaration of Human Rights). Only one of its 30 articles might be construed to relate to the issue of abortion rights but we are confident the writers of Article 3 of the UDHR did not have abortion rights in mind: “Everyone has the right to life, liberty, and the security of person.” In our current day, we believe contemporary pro-choice advocates have elevated abortion rights far beyond the well known 1948 United Nations declaration of human rights. Nowhere in the United Nations human rights document is “a woman’s right to choose” or “a woman’s right to privacy” advocated as an important human right.

The flawed 1973 Roe v. Wade decision by SCOTUS is used as justification for affirming a “woman’s right to choose” and a “woman’s right to privacy.” It was based on the errant belief that constitutional language “implies” the right to privacy with respect to “a woman’s right to choose,” (referring to the woman’s right to choose abortion). But nowhere is abortion addressed specifically as a constitutional right. Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun, who wrote the 1973 decision, stated, “If the suggestion of personhood is established, the appellant’s case, of course, collapses, for the fetus’s right to life would then be guaranteed specifically by the (fourteenth) amendment.”

The more important issue, therefore, is the “personhood” of the embryo and fetus. If participants in the abortion argument would concur with the many life scientists who state that “life begins at conception,” there would be no more discussion. In 2014 we published a series of posts highlighting the divine miracle of God-given personhood—LIFE in the womb from conception until birth. Below we provide the title and one or two statements from each post and a link to the blog site of each full post:

EMERGENCE OF CONSCIOUSNESS: The development of a mature human consciousness is only one of the miracles of human development in the first year of life from conception to infancy.

CONCEPTION TO CONSCIOUSNESS: Denial that the developing entity within the womb is fully human and deserves protection from the moment of conception to the moment of birth and beyond has become a paramount collective sin staining our nation.

BODY BUILDING BLUEPRINT: Knowledge of the fundamental component of living things—the cell—has exploded. This includes knowledge of genetics and the fundamental secrets of heredity possessed by the incredible DNA molecule.

PRENATAL SCIENCE AND THEOLOGY: The union of a male sperm and female ovum is classic modern knowledge. This union forms the human zygote, a single diploid cell containing two sets of chromosomes—one set from each parent.

LET THE BUILDING BEGIN: The 8-9 day period following conception precedes implantation of the embryo into the mother’s uterine wall. These are important days of preparation for the actual body building project to follow…..The mother is host to the embryo during the 8-9 days prior to implantation.

EMBRYO TO FETUS: In humans, the child is termed an embryo up until eight weeks. The event sequence of the first few weeks of pregnancy is fascinating almost beyond imagination. The mysteries of embryology still puzzle scientists.


PLOTTING PRENATAL PROGRESS: The astonishing beginning and subsequent development of the human embryo and its transition to the category of fetus at roughly eight weeks is known to medical scientists in stunning detail.

IMAGERIES OF BUILDING: Quality building materials must be selected. Construction materials must be utilized at the proper time and place and in the appropriate manner…..Applying this imagery to human reproduction, the foundation of an embryo, its transition to a fetus and finally, the arrival of the birth of a child are events which are coordinated precisely by the Creator.

MYSTERY OF REPRODUCTION: A Highlight of the Genesis account is the creation of man…..In Chapter One, the initial mention of the vast array of the creation of life forms concludes with, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him, male and female he created them.”

Finally, we concluded our January/February series of eleven posts with two essays containing information more typical of a biology textbook:

Enjoy your study! 





Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Abortion on a Living Planet---An Oxymoron

 During the last decades of the 20th century, the BBC presented several popular television series. One series was titled The Living Planet. The series, created by biologist David Attenborough, was broad in its historical scope, highlighting many features of life on Planet Earth. Its was heavily ecological in its theme, emphasizing the environment and the protection of nature for which humanity is responsible. We stress its description of Planet Earth as The Living Planet. Attenborough holds current humanity responsible for the proper care of the environment. Emphasis on humanity’s concern for earth’s living creatures is noteworthy and commendable.  

However, while studying the lengthy Wikipedia entry on the biological genius of Attenborough, it is evident that one of the most surpassing issues of our day—the sanctity of human life (homo sapiens)—takes a distant back seat to environmental and ecological issues. Examples: planetary biodiversity, limiting human population growth, switching to renewable energy sources, mitigating climate change, reducing meat consumption, and setting aside more areas for natural preservation. 

Why is the meaning of our current blog title: Abortion on a Living Planet—an oxymoron? The description “Living Planet” may characterize our tiny planet more aptly than any other. LIFE is present on Earth to an incredible extent. Over 8.7 million separate species including homo sapiens have been identified, but many more exist yet unclassified. So far as known, of the billions of exoplanets existing in our home galaxy and the quintillions of exoplanets in the entire universe, only Planet Earth possesses life! The human race has devised many barbaric means of terminating human life during pregnancy. This is a tragedy of our times.

Abortion on a Living Planet—an Oxymoron? In what sense is the term abortion an oxymoron?

This term is defined by most dictionaries as “a figure of speech in which contradictory words or terms appear in conjunction.” A better term may be “paradox:” the opposition of ideas or themes. We list several examples how the term “abortion” is presented in positive terms. Some describe oxymoronic language as a “fluffy euphemism” in which we learn to accept the “unthinkable.” Many pro-life citizens perceive abortion as a pejorative term for murder. It is easy to perceive abortion as murder of an innocent, helpless, immature human being, especially when brutal methods of abortion have been described in the literature. There have been 63 million children in the USA since the Roe v Wade decision of 1973 whose lives were terminated by abortion.

We present several examples of cherry-picking language terms in order to mislead. (1) Abortion is a matter of “a woman’s right to choose.” We might ask what could be negative about “a woman’s right to choose?” If the choice is between choosing death over life, there is much to be perceived as negative. (2) Abortion exemplifies a “woman’s right to privacy.” If the outcome of a private action results in abject harm to another developing human being, the answer is clear. In such cases abortion rights are not tantamount to the right to privacy. (3) Abortion tissues are referenced as “the products of conception.” However, avoiding the use of terms such as zygote, embryo, fetus, or baby and instead using a phrase such as “the products of conception” misrepresents biological truth.  

The Creator has initiated life on Earth, in particular, human life. In the last 70 years the discipline of developmental biology has become well known. Biologists have unlocked many secrets of life processes from conception to the birth of newborn children. We have often cited scripture from Psalm 139:13-16 as a devotional and scientific description of human development before birth. 

God is the Author and Creator of life. It is unthinkable that many humans would seek to destroy a human life created by God. In the past week many pro-choice abortion activists have defiantly rejected the truth that God is the Creator of life itself. They have elevated their “right” to end a human life by abortion over preserving and protecting the miracle of life itself. Human life is a monumental divine gift. The impact of defiantly terminating a developing human life in the womb is grievous to the Creator beyond our ability to understand.      


Thursday, April 28, 2022

God Manifest in the Mundane

 Our recent family move to a different state necessitated many deliberate actions and modifications during the moving process. Of course, there was plentiful discard of what may be termed “junk.” The material for which we had no use was shipped to the “junkyard.” It no longer served any useful purpose. Other materials were classified as “clutter.” They needed to be organized more intelligently, perhaps to be used at a future time. In the past we did not see the value of materials we now judge to be clutter as significantly interesting or useful. Some clutter became useful as “giveaways,” including books which may or may not be useful to their new owners. Many items were donated to Goodwill Industries for resale.

Some giveaways had unusual histories. One example is the jade plant (Crassula ovata) which graced our Illinois home for almost twenty years. This jade plant began its sojourn as a very small plant a few inches tall, possibly purchased at very low cost from a supermarket shelf. A few months ago it had achieved a height of one meter and a width of a similar dimension. We found it impossible to transport this large volume jade plant to a new midwestern state. So we clipped all the fleshy leaves of the succulent plant, leaving only a few bare branches. It was a harsh reminder of the beauty we had enjoyed for two decades—now gone!

Happily, in the past few months our jade plant has experienced a renewal. Slowly, the branches have sprung back to life. The bare, woody stems have sprouted many new leaves fashioned in their characteristic ovals—some from the ends of stems where the clippers had lopped off succulent leaves, some from other random locations along the bare stems. The jade plant is slowly returning to its former attractive dense, dark green, fleshy succulence. This method of plant propagation is called root cutting. Some new jade plants also grew from stem cuttings. Several friends and relatives received young jade plants as “going away gifts,” offspring of our twenty year old jade plant.

Our experience with the recent renewal of our jade plant inspired us to research other methods of plant propagation. These fascinating methods are known to plant hobbyists. They have been developed over thousands of years ever since the writer of Genesis 1:29 penned these words: “And God said, Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food” (ESV). In addition to the method of plant propagation by seed, humanity has discovered other plant propagation methods in addition to the root and stem cutting methods described above. They are suitable for decorative plants such as our jade plant. Decorative plants are also created by God to supply esthetic enjoyment for humanity. Vegetative propagation methods involve splitting of the root system, layering, grafting, budding, and tissue culturing (used by cloning technologists to produce exact replicas). Our jade plant provided us with an imagery of resurrection as well as other spiritual life lessons.

What is our attitude toward the unusual characteristics of plants in our home and neighborhood? Do we perceive their fascinating characteristics as merely ordinary or do we recognize the unique traits as a manifestation of God’s creative genius? We have mused that the jade plant’s color, unique leaf shape, succulence and especially its power of renewal are wondrous outworkings of the genetic code which governs the activity of all life forms. Beyond this, many human gardeners are hobbyists gifted with creative plant propagation talents reflecting the ability of the Divine Creator.

When our grandchildren visited our Northwestern Illinois home and marveled at the multitude of unusual traits of plants and animals in our neighborhood, they were reminded by their grandfather many times that “God had (has) great ideas." We encouraged them to reflect and appreciate the mundane as well as the exceptionally unusual.     



Saturday, April 16, 2022

God Belief---Proven, Probable, or Doubtful?

 What is more important than belief in God? Many would put this question at the top of their list of important life issues. People who believe in God usually acknowledge that God is the Creator. Many also acknowledge that we should offer God respect and obedience. As Creator, God has established requirements for successful, fulfilled living. In our day of personal self-esteem, there are many ways these requirements are met. The wide spectrum of beliefs and how they manifest themselves in the fabric of our lives is very wide indeed.

Belief in God is fundamental. The Creator does not force his human creations to believe in a particular way. They are free to respond to God with love or reject Him in disbelief. Believers in God experience a wide range of allegiance to the Creator. God knows that in our human frame we are weak and imperfect. Sadly, even In our day up to one third of the populace professes disbelief in God. Their response depends on how the question is phrased. A large fraction of people self identify as a member of the category of “nones”—they do not identify with ANY religion. In the past fifteen years this fraction has virtually doubled. This may indicate these individuals do not believe in the reality of God. Included are atheists and agnostics.

In our personal devotional life there are many opportunities to contemplate the quality of our “God belief.” We acknowledge that our quality of belief may vary moment to moment or day to day. We may speak on the topic of personal “God belief” with family or friends. This results in many interesting discussions. Can we demonstrate that the reality of God has been proven? Is the Creator’s reality axiomatic and self-evident or a proposition taken to be true intrinsically? Some people insist they need proof for the existence of God. Others are satisfied with the probability that God exists. 

Individuals intent on solving such weighty questions must be approached honestly and sincerely. Truth seekers have devoted energy to solving similar questions for thousands of years. Our discussion barely touches the surface of this profound topic. Pastors in our church pulpits most often present their sermons assuming that their members’ “God belief” is axiomatic or self-evident.

What arguments for the reality of God are proposed by theologians or by the writers of science/faith blogs such as ours? There are several arguments. 

(1) The cosmological argument poses the reality of a first cause. William Lane Craig has stated the Kalam argument that everything has a cause. The universe began to exist. The universe, therefore, has a cause. That cause is God.

(2) The teleological argument is the argument citing the apparent design of the universe, sometimes called the intelligent design argument. When we examine the world, we perceive it is complex but coherent, orderly, and inherently purposeful. There are many aspects of the teleological argument including the apparent consistency of fundamental physical constants governing gravity, electromagnetic charges and forces, masses of particles, and velocity of light. If any of these physical constants were even slightly different, matter’s existence and life itself would be impossible. Existence of consistent physical constants is affirmation of the argument from design—intelligent supernatural design.

(3) The moral argument for God’s existence refers to objective truth which must exist driving people to act morally. God must exist to give authority to these moral truths.

These capsule statements are far from convincing. They do not prove God’s existence nor could they persuade anyone that God’s existence is probable. Our goal is to encourage subjective investigation related to this vital question. In a New Testament passage (Mark 9:23-25) the father of a demon-possessed boy confesses his belief in Christ as a divine healer was weak: “I believe; help my unbelief,” he stated. Many people of that day had difficulty believing in Christ and in the reality of the Heavenly Father. The issue of belief in divine reality has always been present in man. Ultimately, belief in God is a divine gift from God himself: “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him…” (John 6:44).  





Thursday, March 24, 2022

Carbon Neutrality and Climate Change

 In the last several decades climate change has been the new topic du jour. A famous saying attributed to Mark Twain, “Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it,” may more accurately be ascribed to Charles Dudley Warren, author and editor at The Hartford Courant in the late 19th century. He was a good friend of Mark Twain.

Many modern journalists and politicians, however, are trying to “do something about it.” Political prophets of doom pronounce the termination of our society within a decade if we do not act immediately to remedy the situation. In their view, it is not the weather but rather, long term climate which must be changed. Humanity must become the agent of change, according to the doomsayers. Seldom is an unusual weather phenomenon reported without climate change being identified as responsible. Often linked to their warnings is a political agenda. Climate change remediation will not be cheap, of course. Our society may be bankrupted even if we do not face extinction, we are warned. Other quotes from famous men include, it’s “now or never” and “ we are at the limits of suicide” (Pope Francis). Politician Bark Obama warns of “submerged countries, abandoned cities, and fields that no longer grow,”

“Climate change” now stands in for the former “global warming.” The first term refers to long term measures of precipitation, temperature, and wind patterns. The latter term refers primarily to global temperatures. A favorite topic of conversation has transitioned from friendly banter to alarm. We must keep in mind that weather and climate support human flourishing. It is one of God’s greatest gifts to humanity.

We do not minimize the threat of dangerous weather. Our climate system has been gifted to humanity by the Creator of All Things. God has put man in charge of managing the vagaries of weather perceived as both good and bad. I recall an uncle who preferred to remain on an open screened in porch during thunderstorms so he could enjoy the grandeur of the event. I also recall crawling under an overturned wooden rowboat on a riverbank to shield my father, my brother and me from a severe storm during a fishing excursion. “God will take care of us,” my father assured us. It was one of my life’s poignant moments. Unusual, hazardous weather is a feature of a climate system generally favorable to plant growth and living creatures. Plants and animals on our planet are able to adjust to inconvenient or even violent weather and still enjoy the ultimate benefit inherent in our majestic climate system.

Modern scientists have discovered many technological solutions to the challenges posed by our climate system. Many of these challenges relate to conditions generated by Earth’s burgeoning population. For example, Earth’s population has doubled since 1973, tripled since 1952. World population is now 7.9 billion. The burning of fossil fuels  to support our enormous human population still generates a significant quantity of CO2, a greenhouse gas which has slowly increased from 0.03% to 0.04% of the atmospheric composition. This small increase amplifies the greenhouse effect, a measure of heat retained by the Earth’s atmosphere. Amplification of the greenhouse effect is responsible for climate change currently highlighted by our media.

Many factors produce the greenhouse effect. The aviation industry contributes 6% of anthropogenic warming. Eliminating CO2 emissions resulting from aviation would be a significant help in our battle against CO2 and harmful climate change. Swiss and German engineers led by Remo Schappi have proposed and demonstrated a new technology to replace most of the CO2 producing fossil fuels used by the aviation industry, according to a recent blog posted by Hugh Ross of Reasons to Believe. Ross states, “…their solar production system uses concentrated solar energy to convert CO2 and water vapor from the atmosphere into a mixture of molecular hydrogen (H2) and carbon monoxide (CO), otherwise known as syngas. It then uses a solar-powered gas-to-liquid unit that converts the syngas into…methanol, which can be substituted for CO2-producing kerosene that presently fuels all the commercial and military aircraft in the world.”

The above description exemplifies one “carbon neutral” process developed by brilliant technologists. We propose that Our Creator has gifted scientists with knowledge to “manage the vagaries of weather and climate.” This phenomenon is similar to the exhortations of scripture authors who state that humans are strengthened by adversity. “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness (James 1:2-3 ESV). A scientific problem, therefore, could be similar to a spiritual problem. We must work to remedy both types of problems. Ultimately we are strengthened as we work to solve challenges.  



Friday, March 11, 2022

Meteorological Seasons

 Most calendars proclaim March 20 as the first day of spring. This date marks the beginning of astronomical spring. Even though the March 20 calendar date generates excitement, most residents cannot explain the significance of that date from an astronomical perspective. Even fewer residents could explain why on rare occasions the first day of spring might fall on either March 19 or March 21. The last March 21 “first day of spring” occurred in 2007 and will not occur again on that day until 2101. The 2020 first day of spring was the first March 19 occurrence since 1896 across the entire spectrum of US time zones. Varying time zones and calendar modifications affect precise dates when the first day of spring arrives. Trivia enthusiasts thrive on such esoteric information. People uninterested in trivia may exult in the emotional significance of the “first day of spring.”

Easier to understand than astronomical spring is meteorological spring. This season is always considered to be March, April, and May. It never varies.  (September, October, and November in the Southern Hemisphere.) In short, this term relates to weather, specifically, familiar springtime weather. As this post is written, the local population is reveling in somewhat warmer weather conditions. Neighbors may greet us with “It’s warmer today,” or “It’s supposed to be warmer tomorrow.” Of course, there could be a hard cold snap or an incident of frozen precipitation. If the latter occurs it will probably not remain frozen very long, but there were a few notable exceptions to this rule. The Storm of the Century of March 1993 in the eastern half of the US was a profound exception. Other storms more typical of winter your blogger personally experienced in March while living in New Jersey were March 18-19 1956, March 2-5 1960, and even a rare April 6-7 1982 mid-winter-type blizzard.

Meteorological summer, autumn, and winter follow meteorological spring. In divine wisdom, our Creator has established seasons to benefit humanity in diverse ways. A world population approaching 8 billion would not produce enough food without the existence of seasons. Readers may wish to study this topic more completely. For those challenged by more detailed research, we suggest:

When God ordained seasons, He performed transformative miracles for the benefit of humanity. Transformative miracles are defined as ancient environmental modifications superintended by the Creator which shaped and prepared our home planet to benefit Earth’s future teeming billions of residents. Among such miracles is the appropriate tilt of the Earth’s axis as it revolves around the Sun. Without this 23 degree tilt Earth’s life-sustaining seasons would not be possible. Knowledgable Earth residents are able to study the parameters of Earth’s seasons and give glory to the God of Creation. The author of Genesis 8:22 refers to conditions in all four seasons with devotional exuberance: “For as long as  Earth lasts, planting and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never stop.” (The Message translation)

When meteorological spring approaches, our wild creatures and plants adjust to the changing conditions in interesting ways. Flocking behavior, particularly in birds, is no longer necessary to insure effective group food gathering or group safety. As spring advances they become more intent on finding mates and scouting sites for nest building. The sounds of late winter bird songs during brightening late winter days suggest future reproductive activity. Late in winter, we have heard calls of owls who hatch their babies in February. Squirrels provide entertainment by chasing each other through tree branches on mating forays as winter recedes. Green plants also share in the joys of renewal:

Significant human joy is produced by observing God’s provision of work/rest cycles. These cycles are illustrated by the divine gift of planetary seasons which benefit humanity created In His Image. The natural world praises the genius of the Creator: “Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them, let all the trees of the forest sing for joy” (Psalm 96:12).





Thursday, February 17, 2022

Of Making Many Books

Human writing skills have proliferated in the past several thousand years. The Book of Ecclesiastes, attributed to The Preacher, probably Solomon, makes a notable comment about book writing even in his day. The Preacher said, “And further, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh.” (Eccl. 12:12 KJV)

Recently our family has been focused on a move from one house to another. When it becomes necessary for a family to change their home location, they acquire multidimensional responsibilities, including how to deal with the accumulation of objects from the past. Disposal of books and other printed matter ranks high on the list of activities associated with relocating. We must put away sentiment and become focused on reorganizing and renewal, especially when we consider the fate of aging books. Most friends agree this activity generates some trauma, especially when a surprising number of acquaintances confess they have even retained their college textbooks! We may be shocked to find out how our human knowledge base has changed since we were college students. As we decide to cull and discard or give away personal books, we might also consider motivations and goals of the writers.  

Writing is a special human skill, invented surprisingly late in human history. One wonders why writing skills were not manifest much earlier on the human timeline. Historians have recognized the presence of “full humanity” for tens of thousands of years prior to the invention of writing. Our Science/Faith blog has used the term “full humanity” many times in past years. You may access many blog posts using the term “full humanity” by entering the term in the SEARCH THIS BLOG window.  

Sources credit the ancient Sumerians of Mesopotamia with developing early writing skills about 3500 BC, followed by Egypt in 3200 BC, then China about 1300 BC. Mesoamerican residents developed writing skills in the millennium before the advent of Jesus Christ. The term pre-history refers to the time in human history before writing skills appeared. Even after humans possessed writing skills, autographs (original copies) of the author’s written production are virtually never preserved. They exist as copies. Old Testament writings originated not long after human writing skills were invented. Original manuscripts do not exist even for New Testament authors.

Tools for writing developed in concert with writing skills. For example, early writing was produced with primitive writing tools. Early humans did not have access to plentiful paper, printing methods, and duplicating skills, but in our modern day numerous technological innovations have made the production of books and the distribution of information easy compared with the early days of antiquity. It is not difficult for modern authors to record and publish personal opinions and ideologies utilizing diverse writing styles. Our culture has been blessed with millions of books by tens of thousands of authors. We live in the age of information. The writing of many books is one of the most important means of spreading information. The type and quality of information is exceedingly diverse. We thank our Creator for enabling his children to develop and refine this gift of communication.

Why was writing invented so late in time? We could also ask why knowledge of the wheel, agricultural innovation, genetics, germ theory, animal and plant domestication, human nutrition, aviation, space travel, and electric powered automobiles were not prevalent earlier in human experience? We have listed only a few of blessings divinely bestowed on contemporary humanity.

Writing, specifically the writing of “many books,” is looked upon with various degrees of favor, indifference, or disfavor. Book writing is an effective way to convey truth. It is also a means of spreading misinformation and disinformation—popular terms in our day. We must filter out the useful from the non-useful as we decide which books to purchase, retain, or discard.           

Several scripture verses come to mind in relation to our query: why was writing not invented earlier in the timeline of history? Phrases such as those in 2 Cor. 6:2  and Gal. 4:4 speak of “the fullness of time” or “when the time had fully come." These verses primarily refer to the advent of Christ. Modern commentators advance beyond our knowledge of Christ and refer to medical breakthroughs, technological marvels, and increasing human achievement, including the relatively recent advancement in writing. In human history, God works according to HIS calendar.

The fulness of time expression may relate to the human population explosion since the invention of writing and other startling human advancement. Our God oversees the achievements of his created beings, especially those created In His Image. He has endowed humanity with diverse abilities which came to fruition in our day. Metrics for the population explosion since the invention of writing surprise us: In 3000 BC world population was about 14 million. In 2022 world population is 7.9 billion—more than 500 times the human population when writing was invented. Technological advancement now proceeds at a breakneck pace. This human advancement is enabled by Our Heavenly Father—The Creator of All Things.