Saturday, June 26, 2021

Recognition and Communication of Creation Gifts

 How does humanity recognize and communicate its fascination with creation—the universe and everything in it? There are abundant means to perceive, recapture, and communicate its wonders. Many Scripture references to the wonders of creation cite vision. We are encouraged to visually observe the beauty of creation. The Bible also refers metaphorically to other sensory experiences: the voice of the Lord (Ps. 29:3), taste (Ps. 34:8), and touch (Matt. 14:36). We recapture and celebrate creation’s wonders with many forms of visual depiction—for example, photography, sketching, painting, and sculpting utilizing various media. Calling attention to multiple features of our creation environment brings focus to the reality of the Creator of All Things.  

A unique product of a US government bureau, the US Mint, visually calls attention to many wonders of creation on our “coin of the realm.” Below we will review the subject matter of 112 different designs on US quarters produced sequentially by the US Mint from 1999 to 2021. Every calendar year featured five new designs. It was an inexpensive bonanza for coin collectors! The designs fascinate admirers of plant life and animal life, as well as students of geography, geology, history, and science in general. But first, a little historical background…

Early in the US Civil War in 1861, a movement to recognize God on our national coinage was motivated by wartime religious sentiment. Finally, a motto was approved and placed initially on the two-cent coin in 1864: “In God We Trust” appeared sporadically on US coinage from 1864 to 1938. Since then it has appeared on all denominations of coins. Congress approved the phrase as our national motto in 1956. Beginning 1966 this motto has also appeared on all specimens of US paper money.

Between 1999 and 2009 fifty states and six territories were recognized on coin designs submitted by committees from each state. The coins were known as “statehood” and “territory” quarters. Following that series, from 2010 to 2021 each of the fifty states and six territories were able to recognize a “site of natural or historic significance.” Coins in this series were called “America the Beautiful” quarters. All told 112 different designs were produced during the two coin programs. In total, almost 35 billion statehood quarters have been issued. America the Beautiful quarters have been minted to the tune of 18.5 billion.

Each of the billions of coins of all denominations minted from 1938 to the present has the inscription “In God We Trust.” Although the United States is not a theocracy, the national motto bespeaks respect our founding fathers possessed for God the Creator. If our coin of the realm and paper currency all bear this motto, we may take heart in this age of declining spiritual values, praying that we would return to a more traditional appreciation of faith in the reality of a divine Creator.

Almost 50 plants, including trees, grains, and flowers appear on the two series of quarters. Twenty bird species are highlighted, almost all of them different. About fifteen animals appear, including bear, elk, deer, mountain goats, dall sheep, bison, cattle, bats, tree frogs, and fish. In the world of the non-living, startling geological features appear several dozen times. In the area of geography, we counted fifteen state outlines in the statehood series. For those interested in national history, transportation, music, aviation, or infrastructure there are a number of depictions. Curiously, one may notice the almost total absence of insects, save for one regal fritillary butterfly on the “Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve” Kansas quarter of 2020.

The series communicates multiple reasons to exult in the beauty of creation. It provides support for a positive perception of our dynamic planet and in particular, the blessings God has bestowed upon the United States of America. The New Living Translation of I Timothy 6:17 reminds us our trust should be in God, “….who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment.”

Talented United States Mint metallurgists, engravers and technologists have helped us to celebrate creation and to enjoy the natural world which surrounds us. Whether deliberately or not, our secular officials have called attention to the beauty of divine creation originating in the mind of God. 








Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Tell-All?

 Current prominent publicity is circulating concerning the upcoming unclassified government release of information on UAPs during the month of June 2021. The subject has at times dominated public conversation for decades. The event is an official government release of information on what were dubbed “flying saucers” in 1947. There is scarcely a person alive who has not heard about UFOs (unidentified flying objects). Today they are more commonly known as UAPs (unidentified aerial phenomena). 

Most people have offered their opinions concerning the reality or unreality of UAPs—What are they? How do they work? Who pilots them, humans or extraterrestrials? Did they originate on this world or on other worlds? Are they a threat to humanity? Most important, are they real, or are they figments of human imagination and faulty perception? Currently, many other questions have been raised. Answers to these questions variously provide certainty, uncertainty, amusement, indifference, fear, doubt, frivolity, and a variety of other reactions. For several years the story has increasingly become the subject of media commentary. Previously our national government attempted to suppress its importance.

A government task force in December 2020 was authorized to present findings to Congress, then to the public within six months to answer what the US government knows about UAPs. Our government authorities have hedged, avoided, and diverted public attention for years on UAP phenomena. Now they are scheduled to present documented evidence collected by military personnel. Senator Marco Rubio, vice-chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee (SIC) has instructed the task force to reveal government knowledge of the unidentified objects increasingly observed the last few years.

Senator Rubio’s comments duplicate many other statements from military personnel and politicians. He states “We cannot allow the stigma of UFOs to keep us from seriously investigating this.” The term “stigma” is fascinating in this context. It implies our government suffers disgrace and embarrassment related to our lack of knowledge. The core meaning of science relates to knowledge. Our military scientists, however, do not currently possess knowledge of answers to questions posed above. 

One undergirding pillar of modern science is our ability to observe carefully. Our ability to observe has been substantially enhanced in recent decades, but our ability to explain UAPs has not been enhanced. Modern technology has established that UAPs have physical capabilities far beyond anything currently known. They manifest no obvious propulsion or braking system, but are capable of incredible acceleration including sudden starts, stops, and changes in direction able to produce G-forces fatal to humans. They are generally soundless and often travel at incredible hypersonic speeds. Their flight characteristics cannot be explained by our current knowledge of physics. The modern mantra “follow the science” becomes meaningless with respect to the observed behavior of UAPs. The discipline of science has not provided true knowledge concerning UAPs. It is no wonder that scientists suffer the stigma of ignorance. In this existential sphere, scientists do not have explanations we have come to expect. Most scientists negate the possibility of alien extraterrestrial beings. Secret U.S. military technology is virtually ruled out along with foreign military technology, but some still speculate on these possibilities. Science journalists and politicians privy to some of the task force information recently warned us “unidentified” aerial phenomena may remain unidentified, even after the task force mandate for public disclosure has been fulfilled. 

Most professional scientists maintain science does not investigate theological realities. This includes a study of God, the Creator of All Things, as a provable scientific reality. By extension, we may conclude the spirit world of demons is also not a provable scientific reality. Many volumes have been produced concerning the mystery of theodicy—the reality of evil. Much as we abhor this reality, we are forced to acknowledge the reality of evil. The coexistence of evil and righteousness in the world of God’s Creation is a mystery we may not understand until the Creator Himself reveals it. Christians have free will—freedom—either to choose and obey righteousness, or to choose and obey evil.

In the mundane context of UAPs, however, the categorization of UAPs as a manifestation of demonology may be accurate. We encourage readers to investigate the meaning and mystery of theodicy. Evil manifests itself in many spheres: physical, moral, and metaphysical.

Plentiful scientific commentary concerning the current phenomena does not mention the possibility that UAPs are manifestations of the world of the spirit—specifically, the world of the evil spirit. Science professionals apparently do not permit mention of demons as scientific reality in the same way they do not professionally countenance the scientific reality of God, the Creator. Apparent evidence of God, however, is permitted by believers in scripture but the evidence does not rise to the standard of secular scientific “proof.” (See Romans 1:18-20.) But neither would evidence of demonology driving the UAP phenomena rise to the level of scientific proof. Perhaps this explains why this possibility is not posed to the public.

Science professionals prefer to explain UAPs according to conventional scientific laws and experience with conventional causes and effects. If however, these objects are a product of the spirit world, scientists may experience frustration. UAPs have been pronounced “real,” but scientists, military personnel, and the public have not yet accessed the sort of reality they desperately seek.  

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In our series of ten posts from 11/16/19 to 1/30/20 we covered many aspects of the UAP phenomenon in some depth. Multiple authors have covered the topic in great depth from many different vantage points. We invite you to access our posts by clicking the initial link and continue clicking NEWER POSTS to read all ten posts: