Categories
Christianity Islam

Islam and Christian values compared

Nonie Darwish, expat Egyptian author and scholar of Islam compares the values in Islam with those in Christianity. This was presented as part of a conference held in Los Angeles, in August  2016, titled, “Islam and Western Civilization: Can They Coexist?” Nonie Darwish succinctly describes the differences. It is only 8 minutes long and well worth listening to.

AFA Conference bannerConference organised by American Freedom Alliance.

Categories
Cosmology Physics

SUSY is not the solution to the dark matter crisis

On August 19, 2016, the “SUSY Bet” event took place in Copenhagen at the conference on Current Themes in High Energy Physics and Cosmology at the Niels Bohr International Academy. An adjudication of the wager on supersymmetry (SUSY) first made in 2000 was given. The detail of wager is explained in the image below.

Supersymmetry

The bet involved two aspects of supersymmetry theory.1

  1. That after 10 years (from 2000) the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) would have collected enough experimental data to confirm or deny the existence of the supersymmetric particles that the theoretical physicists were thinking about at that time.
  2. That supersymmetric particles with sufficiently low masses would be discovered like “sitting ducks” (as Gerard ‘t Hooft put it).

At the event, the Yes side of the bet, who believed the particles would be detected, conceded the loss of the bet to the No side. The bet was meant to be decided on June 16th 2016 if no SUSY particle was detected after effectively 10 years of operation of the LHC. The adjudication of the bet was extended by the ‘No’ side by an addition of 6 years due delays in getting the LHC online, part of which was a delay due to an explosion, which caused a delay of 2 years.

On the larger question of the significance of the negative LHC results, a recorded video statement by Nobel Laureate Gerard ‘t Hooft (who had bet against SUSY) can be viewed above, and a statement by Stephen Hawking (not in on the bet, but in the audience) claimed that if arguments for SUSY were correct, the LHC should have seen something, so they think nature has spoken and there’s something wrong with the idea.

Categories
God hermeneutics

When did God first appear on Earth?

Soon after arriving in Indonesia in the early 1980’s I remember when I first heard the Indonesian expression Roh Kudus meaning the Holy Spirit that I had the impression it gave me the feeling of a soft gentle loving God. The Indonesian word ‘roh’ meaning ‘spirit’ is probably derived from Arabic as are many Indonesian words. And since Arabic and Hebrew share a common source, both being semitic languages, it is no coincidence then that ‘roh’ sounds very similar to the Hebrew word רוַּח ruach.

The first time the Hebrew word appeared in our history was in the first words in the book of beginnings–the book of Genesis verses 2. Here we read Genesis 1:1-2 where the first bolded Hebrew word (reading right to left) is Ruach.

 בְּ·רֵאשִׁ֖ית בָּרָ֣א אֱלֹהִ֑ים אֵ֥ת הַ·שָּׁמַ֖יִם וְ·אֵ֥ת הָ·אָֽרֶץ׃
וְ·הָ·אָ֗רֶץ הָיְתָ֥ה תֹ֙הוּ֙ וָ·בֹ֔הוּ וְ·חֹ֖שֶׁךְ עַל־ פְּנֵ֣י תְה֑וֹם וְ·ר֣וּחַ אֱלֹהִ֔ים מְרַחֶ֖פֶת עַל־ פְּנֵ֥י הַ·מָּֽיִם׃

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. 2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. (Genesis 1:1-2)

The second verse there, Genesis 1:2, is transliterated as follows:

wə·hā·’ā·reṣ, hā·yə·ṯāh  ṯō·hū  wā·ḇō·hū,  wə·ḥō·šeḵ  ‘al-  pə·nê  ṯə·hō·wm;  wə·rū·aḥ  ’ĕ·lō·hîm, mə·ra·ḥe·p̄eṯ  ‘al-  pə·nê  ham·mā·yim. (Strong’s meaning are actively linked)

The Hebrew words,  רוַּח אֱלוֹהִים  Ruach Elohim, describe God’s presence in the beginning of the world. The Hebrew word ruach can mean either ‘wind’ or ‘spirit’. So how do we know which meaning is intended in this most very important verse?

Hovering eagle

Categories
Belief in God Witnessing

Do you know Him? 你认识他吗?

Cover他爱你,甚至超过于他自己的生命。

He loves you, even much more than His life.

  1. 谁爱你? Who loves you?

神差遣他的独生子到世上来,要使我们藉着他得生命,神爱我们的心,在此就显明了。(约翰一书 4:9)

In this was revealed the love of God toward us, because that God sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. (1 John 4:9)

耶稣对他说:“我就是道路、真理、生命,若不藉着我,没有人能到父那里去。(约翰福音 14:6)

Jesus says to him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes to the Father, but by Me. (John 14:6)

  1. 神存在吗? Does God exist?

自从造天地以来,神的永能和神性是明明可知的,虽是眼不能见,但藉着所造之物,就可以晓得,叫人无可推诿。(罗马书 1:20)

For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse. (Romans 1:20)

Categories
Bible prophecy hermeneutics

The battles of Gog and Magog

In the late 1970’s my wife and I were living in Singapore where we did some street witnessing, handing out tracts, mostly on salvation but one tract was a prophetic end-time message, titled “Israel Invaded”.  That tract discussed the future invasion of Israel from the northern lands of Gog and Magog, and was based on chapters 38 and 39 of the book of Ezekiel.

Gid 25 -Christina1977
My wife Christina and I in Singapore in 1977

As you may know, Singapore is a bit sensitive about anything political, so it was not totally surprising then that we were taken into custody by the police, along with our daughter, who was less than two years old. At the station, all the police were eager to read the different tracts we had and some of the female officers enjoyed playing with our daughter. Eventually they let us go saying that we should get the tracts registered with the Department of Religion, which I did except for the Ezekiel 38 and 39 tract. The reason for that was that a senior police officer visited me at home later and told me that Singapore has close relations with Israel and they would not want anything to upset that, even though I told him the message was not about Israel in our time, and that it was just Bible prophecy. But then I believed that Ezekiel 38,39 was a prophecy to be fulfilled in our future and it involved the invasion of Israel.

So that brings me to my point. Is the prophecy in Ezekiel chapters 38 and 39 really about some future end-time event, as I once believed? Well, I admit I have recently changed my mind. I also once believed as many evangelical Christians do today that there would be in the future the rise of a world dictator, the AntiChrist, who would establish a 7-year peace agreement and allow the re-construction of the Temple in Jerusalem, internationalising the city. He would somehow build a supercomputer to control all world commerce and trade and would break his peace agreement in the middle of the 7 years and subjugate all who oppose him in a great Tribulation period. I have since learned that that is not the case and, in fact, most of those ideas, though they form part of John Nelson Darby’s dispensational pre-Trib. secret Rapture doctrine, were developed long before Darby by Jesuit interlopers who wanted to destroy the effects of the Reformation and get the Protestants’ eyes off Rome as the reformers taught that Rome is the Mystery, Babylon the Great, the Mother of Harlots (Revelation 17:5) and they recognised the papacy as the real AntiChrist, the ‘beast’ of Revelation 13, who sits in the temple of God proclaiming himself to be God.

Categories
Age of the Earth hermeneutics History

The world is not yet even 6000 years old

Two years ago I wrote a post with a Table derived mostly from biblical texts showing that the world was a little over 6000 years old, or in 2014 precisely 6188 years old. Since then I have learned that one of those biblical periods I used was incorrect and as a result the age of the earth and the whole Universe, in fact, as of 2016, is only 5975 years. That is less than 6000 years and gives us only 25 years to the 6000th birthday for the whole creation. That would be worth celebrating! It would be so nice if that is when our Father in heaven has decided to send back His beloved Son in the Day of the Lord, when judgment comes upon the whole world (Revelation 20:11). But watch and pray!

The table of generations

In this new calculation, only the period of time, derived from Exodus 12:40, for the children of Israel entering Egypt to their exodus has been changed, based on new information. Then I derive a new creation date where I get 3959 B.C. for the year of the beginning.

Categories
Christianity Islam

Jesus or Muhammad?

— Did they preach the same message?

Let us examine the words of these two men, Muhammad of Mecca (Arabia) and Jesus of Nazareth (Israel). We’ll contrast what each taught while they lived on Earth. Jesus lived between 1 BC and 30 AD, while Muhammad lived between 570 AD and 632 AD.

The Lord Jesus Christ, through the Apostle Peter, warned us that there will be false prophets, and false teachers, who will teach damnable heresies and will even deny that He is the Lord. (All bold are my emphases added. Square brackets [ ] indicate meanings of words. King James Version Easy-Reading Bible (KJVER) is used.)

2 Peter 2:1 But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who secretly [craftily] shall bring in damnable [destructive] heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.

quran72Is Islam essentially the same as Judaism? Does Islam have the same teachings as Christianity? Don’t all three religions believe in the same God and teach the same truths? In particular does the Quran contain the same message as the Bible?

Muslim scholars teach that the patriarch Abraham was really a Muslim and therefore Islam is really the same as or the true basis for Judaism, in fact, that all religion is really Islam but that Jews and Christians corrupted the Book. The writings of Moses and Jesus are called the Book. Hence Jews and Christians are called the people of the Book.

Q 3:67 Abraham was not a Jew nor yet a Christian; but he was true in Faith, and bowed his will to Allah’s which is Islam, and he joined not gods with Allah.

Q 2:135 They say: “Become Jews or Christians if ye would be guided to salvation.” Say thou: “Nay! I would rather the Religion of Abraham the True, and he joined not gods with Allah.”

So Muhammad’s message is that originally Abraham had the true religion, Islam, and that Allah says that no one should follow Jews or Christians. (Unless otherwise stated the Quran translation used here is by Abdullah Yusuf Ali.)

The Muslim scholars claim Islam preceded both Judaism and Christianity.  They teach that God really gave the Tawrat (the Torah, the first five book of the Old Testament) to Musa (Moses) who was a really Muslim. They also teach that Jesus was really a Muslim, a prophet, not God, but because Jews and Christians have corrupted the original writings of Moses (the Tawrat) and also the writings of Jesus, the Injil (the gospels to Muslims), God had to send Muhammad to get the pure religion sorted out.

Categories
astronomy Cosmology Creation/evolution hermeneutics Physics

Mature creation and false information in starlight

Some biblical creationists argue for a mature creation as an explanation for the history of Genesis to align with modern cosmological observations. Don DeYoung1 is one who argues that such a view is not refutable, and he is quite right. But neither is any cosmology as really cosmology is not science.2 It is not subject to repeatable laboratory type tests that is normally required in science. Its goal is to reconstruct the history of the Universe, and in so doing cosmology is more akin to evolutionary biology or geology in which researchers must simply accept some facts as given. That makes cosmology more like a religion, a belief system, with its unprovable axioms upon which everything else is based.

De Young argues that all biblical creationist cosmogonies (i.e. worldviews) contain some level of mature creation, which I do agree with. The problem, though, which he does not address, is the issue of false information in starlight.

ngc290_hst_big-590x590
Credit: ESA & NASA; Acknowledgement: E. Olszewski (U. Arizona)

We know that the Universe is very large. Light travels very fast indeed, yet light travelling at its measured speed travels one light-year distance in one year (by definition). The Bible tells us that the Universe is only about 6000 years old, but the distances light needs to travel from the most distant sources to Earth, since creation, is about 14 billion light-years. So DeYoung, and others like him, claim that God created the ‘light in transit’. He says that this explanation is valid as it is equivalent to the mature creation of our sun or even to adult forms of life created on Earth (i.e. Adam and Eve created in the Garden as adults and not babies or embryos). On some level this may be true, but the ‘light in transit’ remains a problem in terms of God’s truthfulness.

No doubt DeYoung, and those others who hold similar views, believe that God is 100% truthful, yet they see no problem with false information in the ‘light in transit’. DeYoung excuses it by saying that it is nevertheless true in the mind of God. But there still remains a problem.

In Psalm 91 (and other passages in the Bible) we are told that the heavens tell us of God’s workmanship. Is this also only in the mind of God? Is everything that is in the astrophysical heavens just part of a big light show, which has no reality, such as the reality we can discover with the rest of our senses here on Earth? I don’t think so.

So how do you justify ‘light in transit,’ which does not relate back to real events in the past history of this Universe? If you want to take the approach of the least number of assumptions, that is, using Occam’s Razor,3 a law of economy, then I would say that a time-dilation model or a time-convention model is a far simpler and better choice.4 For example, I could construct a cosmogony (description of the origin of the Universe) where our Creator God makes the sun, the moon, the planets and all the stars and galaxies on Day 4 of Creation Week, according to Genesis 1.5 But in so doing He slows the rate of clocks on Earth during that day only. Really that means he slows the rate at which time passes on Earth relative to elsewhere in the cosmos. He makes some galaxies initially and places them throughout the Universe, like unfurling a flag or tent. It does not necessarily involve any stretching of the fabric of space, or of time or of space-time. This Universe is not an expanding, but created static, with the galaxies essentially in the same locations now as when they were created 6000 years ago, as measured by Earth clocks.

Categories
astronomy Cosmology Creation/evolution Physics

Quasars exhibit no time dilation and still defy a big bang explanation

In April 2010, Marcus Chown wrote in an article entitled “Time waits for no quasar—even though it shouldfor New Scientist online,

“Why do distant galaxies seem to age at the same rate as those closer to us when big bang theory predicts that time should appear to slow down at greater distances from Earth? No one can yet answer this new question [emphasis added] … .”

mg20627554.200-1_300
Figure 1: An artist’s depiction of what a quasar is believed to be — a supermassive black hole at the centre of a galaxy.

He says no one can answer this question. But this question has already been answered before it was even asked. To understand this we need some background.

Quasars are assumed to be supermassive black holes with the mass of a galaxy2 that are the early progenitors of the mature galaxies we see around us today. See Fig. 1. They nearly all exhibit extremely large redshifts in their emitted light and the big bang community believes that these redshifts are nearly entirely due to cosmological expansion. Therefore it follows that these massive objects are extremely bright and are being observed at some stage only several billion years after the alleged origin of the Universe in the big bang. Hence, from their redshifts when interpreted as resulting from cosmological expansion of the Universe, using Einstein’s general theory of relativity, it follows that the greater the redshift the greater the effect of the distortion of time at the quasar. That is, local clocks on quasars at greater redshifts should run slower than local clocks on quasars at lower redshifts, which are interpreted to mean that they are closer to us. (This post is based on my original article “Quasars again defy a big bang explanation” published in the Journal of Creation 24(2):8-9, 2010.)

No time dilation

But that is where the problem comes in. Mike Hawkins of the Royal Observatory in Edinburgh, UK, looked at light from quasars and he found no time dilation. He used observations of nearly 900 quasars made over periods of up to 28 years. According to the article, he “compared patterns in the light between quasars about 6 billion light years from us with those at 10 billion light years away.” But the distances assigned here are actually derived from the assumed cosmology and the Hubble law. What was really measured was the redshifts of those quasars. However the problem arises because quasars scintillate or their brightness varies. This scintillation can have periods of as little as a week, or even a day. That tells us something about the size of the object at the core, since that time should be of the scale of the light-travel time across the light-emitting region.2

Chown writes,

“All quasars are broadly similar, and their light is powered by matter heating up as it swirls into the giant black holes at the galaxies’ cores. So one would expect that a brightness variation on the scale of, say, a month in the closer group would be stretched to two months in the more distant group.”

Categories
God Islam Trials and temptations

A very brief history of Muhammad and Islam

Muhammad: Among Muslims, imagery of Muhammad is widely considered idolatry. Credit: Conservapedia.
Muhammad: Among Muslims, imagery of Muhammad is widely considered idolatry. Credit: Conservapedia.

Muhammad ibn Abdallah ibn Abd al-Muttalib was born in Mecca April 20, 570 AD and died in 632 AD. His youth was marked by poverty and rejection.  His father died soon after he was born. His mother gave him up for adoption at the age of 2 years old. His foster-mother raised him in the highlands south-east of Mecca, in a poor shepherd’s family.  Muhammad started having visions and fits at age 5.  The shepherds that he lived with were afraid he was possessed by the devil and returned him to his mother.  Some medical experts today believe he had epilepsy.  Orphaned at age 6. At age 8 he was cared for by an uncle, who hired him out as a shepherd and at age 10 as a guard and caravan camel driver.  He was probably illiterate.

Age 25: Married his first wife Khadija, a 40-year-old wealthy older widow.

Age 40: Received his first revelation. Khadija and a cousin of hers became his first disciples.

Mohammed_receiving_revelation_from_the_angel_Gabriel
A depiction of Muhammad receiving his first revelation from the angel Gabriel. From the manuscript Jami’ al-tawarikh by Rashid-al-Din Hamadani, 1307, Ilkhanate period. Credit: Wikimedia commons

Co-opts the moon-god Allah.  By picking, for the god of Islam, the name of the moon-god Allah, particularly revered by Muhammad’s own tribe, the Quraysh, Muhammad helped assure the early success of Islam by avoiding any too radical innovations.