HONOR ELDERS – 1 Timothy 5:17-25

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Elders are the leaders of the local congregation of Christians under the oversight of Jesus Christ. Elders make or break a congregation. They make a congregation when they lead with vision, in love, with patience. They break a congregation when they harbor pride in their heart. In 1 Timothy 5, Paul encourages Timothy to honor good elders and rebuke bad elders.

Consider Paul’s words…

Verse 17 – Paul returns to elders in this verse and tells Timothy that those elders who “rule” well should be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who preach and teach. The verb “rule” is also used in 1 Thess. 5:12 and Rom. 12:8. There really is no distinction between preaching and teaching except perhaps the size of the audience.

Verse 18 – To prove Paul’s point, he quotes “Scripture” and, fascinatingly, the “Scripture” is not only the Old Testament (Deut. 25:4; which Paul also quotes for the same purpose in 1 Corinthians 9:9-10) but also the Gospel of Luke (10:7). This illustrates that Paul had the Gospel of Luke in front of him (so also in 1 Cor. 11:24-25) and he sets it on the same level as the Old Testament writings.

Verse 19 – Leaders often receive just and unjust criticism. Here, Paul warns Timothy not to receive accusations of sin against an elder unless it was witnessed by two or three witnesses.
The idea of having two or three witnesses is quite biblical: Deut. 17:6; 19:15; 2 Cor. 13:1; Matt. 18:16.

Verse 20 – If an elder is guilty of sin (present tense) and refuses to repent, he, too, will have to be disciplined and that is to be done “in the presence of all” so that the “rest” will be fearful. “When faced with sinning elders a spineless attitude is deplorable” (Guthrie, 121). Remember that Paul had warned the elders in Acts 20 that some false teachers would arise among them.

Verse 21 – Paul charges Timothy in the presence of All who are holy to engage in this behavior without bias (prejudging) or partiality (inclination to side with one). The fact that angels are observing us is taught both here and, at least, in 1 Corinthians 6:3; 11:10.

Verse 22 – Thus, he ought to “lay hands” on no one too hastily in appointing them as elders because we might share in their sins. So, Paul tells Timothy, “keep yourself free from sin.”

Verse 23 – Timothy was drinking only water and had developed a stomach ailment so Paul encourages him to drink a little wine for medicinal purposes.

Verse 24 – Some men, it is evident, do not need to be appointed elders for their behavior is “quite evident.” Some, however, might not be so visible in their sins until after they are appointed as elders. Their “sins follow after.”

Verse 25 – On the other side of the coin, men whose “deeds are good,” can be evident before hand. Men engaging in “bad deeds” cannot conceal their works.

Christians should be careful and follow the biblical commands closely in appointing men who will shepherd the congregation. They will either lead them to green pastures or into the waiting jaws of the wolf.

–Paul Holland

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How to scatter ashes

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“Scatter My Ashes …”

The popularity of cremation as a means of disposing of the bodies of the deceased is rising. “The Huffington Post” reported in August of this year that more than 40% of Americans now choose to be cremated, rather than buried. A generation ago the option was rarely discussed. How times have changed!

But once cremation is accomplished, what does one do with the ashes? The stock answer has been, “Put them in an urn.” But folks are becoming creative.

A story on Yahoo News today reports how one man’s ashes will be launched into the sky this weekend via fireworks. The man’s son, a funeral director in Missouri, says his father always loved fireworks, and that this seems a fitting way to scatter his ashes.

Just the day before, a similar story appeared. The ashes of John and Lois Lafferty will soon be sent into the sky by means of a weather balloon. Lois’ daughter (John and Lois were married later in life) spoke of how they always loved to travel. Now they will take their final journey together. When the balloon reaches 72,000 feet, their ashes will be released, and will settle on mountaintops, valleys and oceans. A romantic idea!

Did these, whose ashes will be scattered, want this? The articles don’t mention this. Personally, I have no instructions for my loved ones when my use of this physical body has ended. But there is another “scattering” I’m definitely interested in.

This interest is based on Peter’s summation of Jesus’ life in Acts 10:38: “… how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good …” Peter also noted the miracles of Jesus, but I’ve not been empowered to do those kinds of things. But doing good works wherever I go? I absolutely can do that.

In fact, Jesus commanded me to do such things: “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16). Doing good works is not about building my legacy, or drawing attention to myself. It’s about showing what a wonderful God I serve, and hoping others will catch the idea.

There’s another scattering I need to be interested in: the scattering of God’s word. Jesus told a parable in Luke 8 about a farmer who sowed seed in various kinds of soil. His point was not about agriculture, but evangelism, i.e. telling others the good news of salvation. As Jesus explained in Luke 8:11, “The seed is the word of God.” When my life is over, will others have benefited because I have scattered that seed?

What happens to my ashes is of little concern to me. But what I do with my life now …

Come to the light God offers! Study His word, the Bible. Worship Him in spirit and truth (John 4:24). Get in touch with us if you’d like to discuss these ideas further.

Timothy D. Hall.

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How to Handle Relationships with non-Christians

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In Acts 17:6-7, Paul and Silas are in Thessalonica and have stirred up opposition. The Jews have dragged some Christians before the secular authorities, complaining that “These men who have upset the world have come here also; and Jason has welcomed them, and they all act contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, Jesus.”

The context of Matthew 10 follows on the heels of Matthew 9:36-38. Not only did Jesus pray to send out workers into the harvest but He also fulfilled that need – Matthew 10 is Jesus sending out His apostles on what we call the “limited commission.”

How do we handle our relationships with non-Christians…?

DO GOOD (10:1-4):
To these twelve, Jesus gave power to perform miracles, establishing the veracity of their message (Mark 16:17-20). Today, we, too, help our cause by doing good (Gal. 6:10). These apostles were – from the occupations we recognize – middle-income Palestinians. They were not part of the religious elite. It is noteworthy one worked for the government (Matthew) and one worked against the government (Simon the Zealot, Canaanite).

The “sent out” in verse 5 carries the idea of delegated authority. The authority was not in themselves. It was in Jesus; in their message. It is with us today as we are ambassadors for Christ (2 Cor. 5:18-20). The authority is in the message (Titus 2:15).

The message (for them – vs 7) was that the kingdom was near at hand. Our message is that Jesus is coming again to separate the sheep from the goats (Matt. 25:31-46), to put an end to sin and to death (Rev. 20:12-15).

We are to be wise in our presentation of the Gospel (10:16). Compare Colossians 4:5. We do not have to unnecessarily provoke non-Christians! See 2 Timothy 2:24-26 and how we should teach non-Christians. “Innocent” means “unmixed” with the world’s values (cf. 2 Cor. 6:14-18).

But, the message they should preach would come from God (10:18-20). To us, the Holy Spirit has revealed His message, through those same messengers (Eph. 3:3-5).

Jesus does not call us to pointless martyrdom (10:23).

Just because we are living as “good” Christians, we should not expect people to love us all the time (10:24-25). It may be because we are “good” Christians that people hate us!

Yet, we are still to preach boldly (10:26-27). The early Christians did not pray that God would take away the persecution; they prayed for courage (Acts 4:23-30). So should we (Eph. 6:18-20).

It may be our own family who persecutes us (10:34-37). The peace Jesus came to bring (cf. Isa. 9:6-7; Luke 2:14) is fundamentally peace between God and man. Jesus separates us from the values / worldview of society.

“Little children” does not refer to physical children. It refers to Christ’s disciples metaphorically, picturing them as dependent and helpless.

In living upright in an upside down world, we must choose Christ first, even in the face of persecution from our family and friends. “I am resolved to enter the kingdom, leaving the paths of sin. Friends may oppose me, foes may beset me. Still will I enter in.”

–Paul Holland

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Israel sat on the banks of the Euphrates and wept

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How Can We Sing the Lord’s Song?

That is the question God’s people asked as they sat on the banks of the Euphrates River, having been carried into captivity by the Babylonian people. It was their sins that took them there. God had tried over and over again to get His people to repent. He sent them prophet after prophet. He withdrew His blessings and sent curses. Yet the hard-headed and hard-hearted Israelites persisted in their sin.

Some, we do not know how many, tried to be faithful in a perverted land. But a minority holds little power. The remnant were carried into captivity as well. Just like Moses and Joshua and Caleb who believed Israel could and should conquer Canaan (Numbers 13-14), yet they were punished with forty years of wandering in the wilderness along with the unfaithful and disobedient. Sometimes the faithful suffer for the sins of the unfaithful.

So Israel was uprooted from her land, her homes, her vineyards, her gardens, her flocks; most worrisome for them was that they were separated from their temple. The dwelling place of God. The location of meeting between the God of heaven and His people.

So Israel sat on the banks of the Euphrates and wept. They hung their harps on the branches of the willows – for why should they sing? The Babylonians mocked the Israelites because the captivity proved that Ashur of Babylon was stronger than Jehovah of Israel. They taunted the Jews: “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!” (Psalm 137:3).

And the author laments, “How can we sing the Lord’s song in a foreign land?” (vs 4).

Do you ever feel like these Jews? Has life ever dumped so much emotional cargo on your heart that you lament if you will ever sing again? Divorce. Persistent unemployment. Death of a spouse or a child. Chronic pain for which there is no ease. “How can I sing the Lord’s song on this forsaken earth?”

How can you sing the Lord’s song in that environment? First, don’t forget Who God is. In the exiles’ mind, they were to remember Jerusalem (vs 6). It was the city of the King. Remember Who God is. Second, remember that God is a God of justice (vs 7). He will always do what is right. As a matter of God’s justice, He is also one of vengeance (vss 8-9).

We should be careful how we think and feel about those who have wronged us. The wiseman said, “Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles” (Prov. 24:17).

Yet, it is also true that God will punish those who break up marriages (Rom. 1:31). He will punish employers who fail to respect their employees (Eph. 6:9). God will also punish Satan, the agent of all evil, and death, the ultimate tool of the Deceiver (Rev. 20:10, 14). Even that chronic pain will eventually be destroyed (Phil. 3:21).

How can we sing the Lord’s song in a foreign land? David gives an answer to that question in Psalm 138:8: “The Lord will accomplish what concerns me; Your lovingkindness, O Lord, is everlasting; Do not forsake the works of your hands.”

Paul Holland

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I’ll look after you

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“Whatever Happens”

During his courtship with a young woman named Julia Dent, Ulysses S. Grant once took her out for a buggy ride. Coming to a flooded creek spanned by a flimsy bridge, Grant assured Julia that it was safe to cross. “Don’t be frightened,” he said. “I’ll look after you.”

“Well,” replied Julia, “I shall cling to you whatever happens.” True to her word, she clung tightly to Grant’s arm as they drove safely across.

Grant drove on in thoughtful silence for a few minutes, then cleared his throat and said, “Julia, you said back there that you would cling to me whatever happened. Would you like to cling to me for the rest of our lives?” She would, and they were married in August 1848. *

Wikipedia provides the following summary of the marriage Ulysses and Julia Grant: “The Grants’ marriage was often tried by adversity and it met every test, as the couple gave each other lifelong loyalty.”

In Genesis 2:24, we find God’s design for marriage: “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united [“cling”] to his wife, and they will become one flesh.”

It is the “clinging together” in loving commitment that will enable a married couple to endure the challenges that life brings and enjoy life together.

And it is “clinging to Christ” that will enable a person to navigate through this life and have the hope of eternal life.

Life has its challenges but sin is our greatest enemy, for it separates us from God (Isaiah 59:1-2) and condemns us (Romans 6:23).

But God loves us so much that He gave His Son Jesus to die on the cross for our sins so that we might be forgiven of our sins and receive the gift of eternal life (John 3:16; Romans 6:23).

God will save those who “cling” to Jesus by placing their faith and trust in Jesus (Acts 16:30-31), turning from sin in repentance (Acts 17:30-31), confessing Him before men (Romans 10:9-10), and being baptized (immersed) into Christ for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38). Jesus will continue to wash away the sins of those who continue to “cling” to Him faithfully (1 John 1:7).

“I shall cling to you whatever happens.” That mindset is crucial for a great marriage. It also describes how we should respond to the Savior.

Whatever happens, won’t YOU cling to Jesus in trusting obedience?

David A. Sargent

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Why I am not a Catholic

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1) The first letter in our acrostic is “C” and this letter will stand for the word “church.”
2) This church has an earthly head, and it is very powerful group.
i) The wealth of the Catholic Church goes beyond gold and cash; it also has priceless land and art.
ii) The Vatican has its own bank and Vatican City is its own country.
3) This group has enough clout to speak and people from around the world will listen.


1) In the Catholic faith we find infant baptism, original sin, “penance” (punishment to make up for our sins).
2) We find prayers being directed to Mary and appeals to “dead saints,” etc.
i) The word “head” occurs more than 50 times in the New Testament.
ii) Jesus spoke about “anointing” the head in Mt. 6:17.
iii) He also said the hairs on our “head” are numbered (Mt. 10:30).
3) The word “head” (“H” in our acrostic) is also used in more specialized sense.”
4) Hear what Jesus said in Mt. 21:42– READ Lk. 20:17 same sentiment.
5) This statement is no limited to Mt. 21. We also find it Lk. 20:17.
6) Acts 4:11 – READ
7) 1 Cor. 11:3 – the “head of every man is Christ.”
8) Eph. 1:22– READ
9) Eph. 4:15 – READ
10) Eph. 5:23 – READ
11) Col. 1:18; 2:10, 19; 1 Pet. 2:7.

12) The way of Christ is the way of freedom and liberty; other ways are oppressive (the “O” in our acrostic).
a) “Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.
b) Oppression is also seen with things like purgatory which is a troubling and oppressive belief.


1) We need to remember large is not always the best or even the right way to go.
i) The Bible says “many” Sadducees and Pharisees” came to see John the Baptist (Mt. 3:7).
ii) John greeted this large group of religious people as a “brood of vipers.”
iii) The Lord said “many” will enter into eternal destruction (Mt. 7:13, 22).
iv) “Many” are called but “few are chosen” (Mt. 22:14).
v) Not “many” of the influential people in society are inclined to obey the gospel (1 Cor. 1:26).


i) In constructing today’s material I wondered if it would be possible to learn the cost of the Pope’s clothing.
ii) http://huff.to/ZwyDRv

2) Imagine wearing clothing, for your “religious work” that costs upwards of $__________ in US currency.
3) Just the cross that hangs around the Pope’s next was estimated to cost $891.00.
4) Lk. 20:46 and compare Mt. 23:5.

5) We must make a CHOICE; what will our choice be?

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Advice for preachers

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Ten Commandments for Preachers – 1 Timothy 4:11-16

Paul left Timothy in Ephesus to instruct certain men not to teach strange doctrines (1:3). Some of those strange doctrines are found in the first paragraph of chapter 4.

In this brief paragraph from verse 11 to verse 16, Paul gives ten commands to Timothy and you will notice that they all have to do with the Word of God. Timothy is a minister of the word, an evangelist of the Gospel, and everything he does ought to be tied up with the word.

Verse 11 – Commands #1 & #2: Prescribe and teach these things. The word translated “prescribe” (parangello) means to “command” or to “order.”
Preachers ought to preach with authority but understand that the authority resides, not in them, but in the message being preached. We need to make sure that we properly understand the context and that we are teaching God’s word consistent with its context.

Verse 12 – Commands #3 & #4: “Let no one look down on your youthfulness” and “Show yourself as an example.” This word for youth, plus the chronology of the NT, would suggest that Timothy was probably in his mid-30s at this point. If Timothy joined Paul’s travels (Acts 16) in A. D. 50 and 1 Timothy was written in A. D. 62/3, then he would be roughly 35.
So that no one would disrespect Timothy’s usefulness, he is to “set an example” in five areas:
1. Speech
2. Conduct
3. Love
4. Faith (without the article = faithfulness or trustworthiness)
5. Purity

Verse 13 – Command #5: Give attention to reading. The implication is to read Scripture and to read it publicly; not only the reading of Scripture but also: exhortation and teaching.

Public reading of the OT was practiced by the Jews (Deut. 31:11-12; Neh. 8:7-8; Acts 13:15; 2 Cor. 3:14) and, naturally, taken over by the Christians with their own body of Scripture (2 Cor. 7:8; Col. 4:16; 1 Thess. 5:27; 2 Thess. 3:14).
“Exhortation” is paraklesis which means “encouragement” or “comfort.” A preacher preaches to the hands (what are we to do), to the heart (how we are to feel), and to the head (what we are to know). We need to be “doers” of the message, not hearers only (James 1:22).

Verse 14 – Command #6: Do not neglect the spiritual gift. This gift had been bestowed on Timothy through a prophesy from the Holy Spirit when the body of elders (“presbytery”) laid their hands on him and when Paul set his hands on Timothy (2 Tim. 1:6).

“Laying on of hands” could refer to a simple ritual act, setting one aside for a special task (cf. Acts 13:1-3) or it could refer to giving the ability to perform miracles (cf. Acts 8:15-17). In Timothy’s case, the elders did the former; Paul did the latter.

Verse 15 – Commands #7 & #8: Take pains with these things & be (absorbed) in them. Timothy should do this so that his spiritual progress will be evident to all.

The verb translated by “take pains” (meletao) means to “care for; study; practice; cultivate.” Timothy was to immerse himself in teaching the Gospel of Christ.

Verse 16 – Commands #9 & #10: Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching. Persevere in these things. If he does that, Timothy will save himself and save those who listen and obey what he is teaching.

Every Gospel preacher needs to take to heart these ten commandments for preachers.

–Paul Holland

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Science vs. Evolution

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Years ago, while a student in the graduate education program at Freed-Hardeman, I had a class in developing curriculum. To get an “A” in the class, we had to propose a major project, get it approved, and then work on developing the project during the course of the semester. Since my background was in Bible and biology, evolution has always been an interest. So, I proposed to my instructor to develop the major outline of a unit on evolution that critiques evolution from an entirely scientific perspective which could be taught in a public classroom. He accepted the proposal and I received an “A” on that project.

Dr. Jeff Miller has recently written a book that would provide a substantial resource for such a curriculum. His book, Science vs. Evolution, takes a look at several major scientific laws and shows how they invariably refute the theory of evolution. Although Miller has done extensive work in bio-thermal sciences and biomechanics, he writes on a level that the average adult can understand (not always true of Stephen Meyer’s book, Darwin’s Doubt which is heavy in biological and genetic terms).

Miller does not argue for creation by saying, “Genesis 1:1 says God created the earth. God said it. I believe it. That settles it.” A scientist would look at our world from the perspective of the laws of science. Philosophers of science have long argued that the law of rationality, the law of excluded middle, and similar laws of thought have argued against the theory of evolution. Miller’s book is unique (at least among my library books) in that he looks at laws of science.

So, Miller emphasizes in chapter 1 that “laws” are unchangeable and undeniable. They have stood the test of time. Then, in chapters 2 and following, he examines the laws of energy (thermodynamics), the law of causality, probability, biogenesis, and genetics.

You can understand Miller’s book without having a strong education in the sciences. He explains concepts well and uses common illustrations to help get the point across. This book could be used in a high school classroom as well as a college level class and above. It is printed in color, which makes it more attractive and appealing to the modern millennial. Chapters have review questions, making it helpful in the class.

Half the book is a review of scientific laws but the other half deals with frequent “quibbles” against the Christians’ arguments. Chapters in the front of the book refer the reader to such discussions in the back of the book, making for a more thorough discussion of the concepts.

Throughout the book, Miller makes reference to the work at Apologetics Press. If you share this book with others who are asking questions, give them this book. Should they go to AP’s website, the questioner may just learn even more than they anticipated.

Share the book with children and grandchildren in high school or college. Share it with friends and family who are needing a firm foundation. Share it with co-workers who are atheists. They’ll have a hard time arguing with the truth as Miller presents it.

–Paul Holland

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Only man was created in the image of God

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God placed man in a world full of splendor and stunning beauty. All around us is an endless supply of wildlife to fascinate us. He has blessed us immeasurably on this planet.

Nevertheless, through carelessness and destructive pride, the earth is being destroyed and species are becoming extinct at an alarming rate.

Yet, Christians often find themselves opposed to organizations devoted to protecting the environment and wildlife from human destruction. Often these groups are steeped in pagan religions, place plant and animal life over that of humans, and utilize aggressive bullying tactics. All of these methods should be opposed by God’s people.

For whatever reason, many Christians give little thought to God’s original plan for maintaining our planet and aid the wanton destruction.

“Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our
image, according to Our likeness; let them
have dominion over the fish of the sea, over
the birds of the air, and over the cattle,
over all the earth and over every creeping
thing that creeps on the earth'” (Genesis
1:26, NKJV).

Out of all of these listed above, only man was created in the image of God. Man is to have dominion over the planet and its inhabitants. Yet, dominion does not mean destruction. God wants us to take care of his creation as caretakers because he is watching and maintains the title to the planet (Psalm 24:1).

God allows us to live on earth but nowhere do we see in Scripture permission to destroy it.

“The whole earth is full of His glory” (Isaiah 6:3).
Every inch of this earth screams of his majesty. Nature speaks his name every day (Job 38-40). Man must show respect for the creation and the creatures that walk the earth.

“For every beast of the forest is Mine, And the cattle on a thousand hills” (Psalm 50:10). “A righteous man regards the life of his animal, But the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel” (Proverb 12:10). God gave animals to man for our use but we must still respect them as any good steward (Genesis 3:21; Ezekiel 16:10; Mark 1:6; Mark 7:25-30; 2 Samuel 12:3).

God gave animals to man for food and clothing.
Therefore, do we have the right to carelessly kill them for any reason other than food or a threat to our safety?

Will we make a renewed effort to care about God’s creation and creatures? Would we want to lose the magnificent beauty of our planet? We only get one earth and once we destroy it, what will happen then?

Richard Mansel – www.forthright.net

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The “Cambrian” Period of earth history

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Darwin’s Doubt

The “Cambrian” Period of earth history is defined as the period between 590-505 million years ago “during which sediments deposited include the first organisms with mineralized skeletons” (The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Zoology, edited by Michael Allaby). The Cambrian period is a tremendous headache for evolutionists today, even as it was for Charles Darwin.

Darwin’s Doubt, written by Discovery Institute scientist Stephen Meyer, begins by discussing how a contemporary of Darwin, a Harvard paleontologist named Louis Agassiz, could not accept Darwin’s theory. The reason he could not accept his theory was, in part, because paleontology did not support the idea of gradual evolution. It was a conundrum that perplexed Darwin himself.

The rest of Darwin’s Doubt is dedicated to recent efforts to explain, from an evolutionist’s perspective, how the Cambrian explosion happened. But, there is not reasonable, credible, logical explanation for the Cambrian explosion if we are limited to only naturalistic causes.

Here’s the problem… In the Cambrian period of rocks, we have a sudden appearance of complex animals. These animals have no forms in the “pre-Cambrian” layer that could have evolved into the animals in the Cambrian layer. So, where did they come from? Vertebrate fish are present. Where are the missing links?

Many land plants are present. Where did they come from? Major, complex animal forms show up, out of the blue – fish, reptiles, birds, mammals. It is also not just in the Cambrian layer that the enigma persists. Primates appear in the fossil record, out of “nowhere.” Mankind appears “out of nowhere.”

Where did these complex fossils originate? Meyer documents a number of efforts of modern scientists to explain where these forms originated but the lab work always comes back, “no explanation.”

Meyer’s explanation, which is the only credible explanation there is, is that these animals were intelligently designed. They were created. Indeed, that is the only explanation for the incredible variety of animals we enjoy in our world today. Not only do scientists have to explain where the animals originated, but they also have to explain where the information came from that generated the first lungs, heart, kidneys, legs, arms, fingernails, etc.

“Yet we do know of a cause that has demonstrated the causal power to produce digital code. That cause is intelligent agency. Since intelligent agency is the only cause known to be capable of generating information (at least starting from nonliving chemicals), intelligent design offers the best explanation for the origin of the information necessary to produce the first organism” (pg. 359).

It is unscientific, irrational, illogical and blind faith to believe in evolution.

–Paul Holland

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