Here is a clip from a recent article I ran across in the news: “Scientists have found fossils of whales and other marine animals in mountain sediments in the Andes, indicating that the South American mountain chain rose very rapidly from the sea.The rare assemblage of fossils, recovered on an expedition by the American Museum of Natural History to a remote plateau in southern Chile, is expected not only to illuminate an obscure epoch of animal evolution but also to document the rise of the Andes mountains in the past 15 million years. Among the fossils the scientists reported bringing back were the bones of whales and other marine animals found at altitudes of more than 5,000 feet. When these animals died from 15 million to 20 million years ago, their carcasses settled to the ocean floor and were embedded in submarine sediments. But since then, the violent upthrusting of the Andean chain has carried the sediments to the tops of mountains. In geological terms, the time the fossils took to rise from ocean floor to mountain top was relatively brief.”This theory about the whale fossils is overflowing with problems. Even if the Andes mountains rose from the sea over millions of years (God says that the earth was made in 6 literal days only about 6,000 years ago), the whale/dolphin carcasses (over 300 of them), would not last long enough to embed in ocean floor silt. Anyone who has had a fish tank know that dead fish float at first. Listen to what an expert has to say about the matter: “Even when the remains eventually sink, the skeleton does not fossilize. Craig Smith of the University of Hawaii has been studying whale corpses on the bottom of the ocean for more than a decade. As a rule, there is not much food around on the deep ocean floor—it’s a bit like an underwater desert. So, when the remains of a whale arrive at the bottom, it signals feeding time for everything that lives down there.
For months the carcass is alive with scavengers. Hundreds of long, tendon-like hagfish curl in and out of every opening. Huge sharks feast on the softening flesh. Crabs are busy eating all they can. In as little as four months, the soft tissue can be stripped away, leaving a pile of bones. Furry worms and shrimp-like animals then multiply and consume the small fragments of tissue dispersed over the sea floor. After another year, the furry worms have gone and the bones are covered in mussels, clams, tubeworms and bacteria. Over ten or so years, the bones are slowly consumed until they disappear and the site is clean.
Clearly, dead animals will not fossilize in the ocean under normal circumstances. Their scattered bones do not lie around long enough to be covered by sediment. Special conditions are needed to form fossils, especially to preserve the bones in their correct orientation. The creature has to be buried quickly to protect it from marine scavengers. “ The only possible explanation for this discovery is the global flood of Noah’s day. We must learn to look at headlines pertaining to geology and other sciences in light of what the scriptures say!
Over the past several months I have been teaching the Acts of the Apostles to the adult class at 11-E. I have definitely improved my own knowledge of the historical events in the Apostle’s lives that have been preserved for us. It seems that every time we study the bible, it is indeed like peeling an onion skin. You flake off layers at a time and get deeper into the text each time you encounter it.
The thing that has struck me recently as I have studied on my own this go around is the possible emotions of the apostles and those with them as they encounter different situations. This seems to be easier to do in the portion of Acts which follows Peter. However, as we encounter Paul, things move so quickly that his possible emotions, at least on my part, have typically gone unconsidered. For example, it’s easy to see how Peter felt before Annas and Caiphas in Acts 4, or when he was in prison in Acts 12. The text moves slowly enough for these things to be more easily considered. But in the case of Paul, especially on the missionary journeys, the text moves from one location to the next rather rapidly. This makes it hard for us to “put ourselves in their shoes” because we are really doing well to simply keep up with where they are!
Let’s consider an example where this has applied to me in past studies: Paul on Cyprus during the first journey recorded in Acts 13:6-13. This is the account of Paul’s success with Segius Paulus and subsequent exchange with Elymas the sorcerer (Barjesus). I had never considered what it may have been like to be Paul or even a member of his party. It is likely that this exchange could have been an extremely frightening ordeal for them. We must remember that they were the visitors in the city of Paphos. Sergius Paulus was the Proconsul of the city, and it appears that Elymas must have had some sort of interest in keeping the Proconsul from the gospel. Acts 13:8 states it this way, “Elymas the sorcerer (for so his name is translated) withstood them, seeking to turn the proconsul away from the faith.” It is unclear how many, if any, stood with Elymas as he attacked Paul. The exchange between them would have been very heated and with most men would have caused them considerable anxiety. In fact, it is only a short time later that John Mark withdraws himself from the journey. The conflict he witnessed on Cyprus could be one possible explanation for this.
This is only one of many places in Paul’s journeys where I have considered this. It is easy for us to brush their emotions aside because “they’re apostles” or not notice them at all. It is important, however, for us to remember that, although they are apostles, they were still ordinary men just like you and I. I think it’s helpful for us if we notice their struggles and even try to imagine that we were with them as they encountered each and every enemy of the cross!
Today has been a great day at the 11-E church of Christ! First of all, the past week had been very long and difficult. We were back in AL for a couple of days working on our house when we were notified that a sister at 11-E had passed away. The family wanted me to speak at her funeral, which I did, although I had only visited with her one time. She had only been a christian @ 6 months. Well, yesterday, Tonya and I had her sister over for lunch. She had been visiting for some time at church and I thought it would be a good time to begin a bible study with her and her husband. After lunch I told her how happy we were that they were visiting with us, and then she told me that she wanted to be baptized into Christ! Tonya had a women's bible study at the building tonight after which a few of the men and I arrived and baptized her into Christ. So all members of the Lord's Body now have a new sister, Jane Phillips! We are extremely hopeful for her husband who appears interested in the gospel and has a history with the Christian Church. He has agreed to study, so please, everyone pray for him to have a heart that seeks the truth the gospel offers!
It's been a while since I have been able to post anything so here goes. My family and I have had an action packed 2 1/2 months since deciding to come work at the church in Jonesborough last november. Now that we are here, we are definitely excited about the # of prospects for the gospel in this place. We were pleasantly surprised to see how many of the members at the 11-E congregation are actively involved in personal work. The congregation here has about 40 members with several families having young children. We pray that the church will grow and be a blessing to this area. We do , however, miss our friends/family from Alabama a lot. Keep us in your prayers and keep in touch.
Today I preached am/pm sermons for the church at S.T. We had about 13 people there. Last night I began writing the sermons at 4PM and finished up @ 2AM. I had to stop after lesson 1 was finished and go to my parents to print my notes(dry ink in mine).When I had returned home, my BW
had completely cleaned up the house and made a wonderful pot of that pumpkin spice coffee she was bragging about for my midnight oil session. Both sermons went well. One was about the healing of the demoniac(mark 5, and the other was about selfishness. This was something I put in the sermon on selfishness:
Leonard Bernstein, a famous orchestra conductor said concerning what orchestra position was the hardest to fill. “2nd fiddle. I can get plenty of 1st violinists, but to find someone who plays second violin or 2nd french horn or 2nd flute with as much enthusiasm, now that’s a problem. And yet if no one plays second , we have no harmony.”