Soar around the Moon, carried by the music of Debussy | Aeon Videos

Not too late to squeeze in our “Friday Fun” item while also appreciating amazing video of the moon and a beautiful piece of classic music.

Below is the introduction; click on the link at the end to view the wonderful video.

Behold the handiwork of God – in creation and in creative music! Enjoy!

Vast lunar landscapes set to the aching, shimmering piano of Claude Debussy’s 1905 composition ‘Clair de Lune’ (French for ‘moonlight’) offer an enchanting melding of science and art through the interplay of light, texture and music. The video, which traces the flow of sunlight over the Moon’s surface, was created by NASA’s Scientific Visualization Studio using images captured by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. It was first shown at a celebration of NASA’s 60th anniversary along with a live performance of Debussy’s music.

Source: Soar around the Moon, carried by the music of Debussy, in this breathtaking space flight | Aeon Videos

The Wonders and Wanderings of Our Memory – Dr. N. Lanning

sb-logo-rfpaIn the July issue of the Standard Bearer Dr. Nathan Lanning pens another fascinating article for the rubric “All Thy Works Shall Praise Thee.” This one treats the amazing topic of “Memory.” Writing from the viewpoint of a believing scientist, Lanning describes the science behind our ability to remember. At the same time he writes from a biblical perspective, pointing out what the Christian Scriptures say about our minds and our calling to use memory in the service of God and His glory.

Tonight we give you a sampling of his article, drawing especially from the end. Let these thoughts amaze and humble you, as they direct us to the wonders and wanderings of our memory, and therefore, to the hope we have for the perfect day of our salvation.

Whether or not the sovereign God will permit man to completely understand the nature of memory formation, man does have clear commands to use memory for specific purposes. Throughout the Scriptures, the Holy Spirit urges people to remember. Man is called to use his memory specifically by the fourth commandment (Ex. 20:8), and we are often called to remember the commandments themselves (Mal. 4:4). The Israelites were continually told to remember the LORD who brought them out of Egypt (e.g., Deut. 6:12; and consequently, we are commanded to remember Jehovah, who delivered us from the slavery of sin), and we are often called to remember all of the wonderful works that God has accomplished for our salvation (Deut. 4:9, Ps. 77:11, Ps. 143:5, II Tim. 2:8). If we become discouraged with how long we think the Lord is tarrying or begin to slip into unholy living in accordance with the world, we are encouraged to remember what Scripture plainly tells us about the last days (II Peter 3). Throughout the Scriptures, we are further instructed to remember the weak, such as the poor, the orphans, and the widows (e.g., Acts 20:35, Gal. 2:10, Heb. 13:2). The act of remembering is also an important component of our praise and prayers to God (I Chron. 3:12, Ps. 42: 4-11, Ps. 103:2, Ps. 119:55). Further, remembering is a key aspect of the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper (Luke 22:19).

From these passages, we are encouraged to work on our memories for God’s glory. The act of Scripture memorization is not only for catechism and Christian school children. If we are to comply with God’s commands, adults will continue to memorize Scripture throughout their lives. Memorizing Scripture will allow us to call to mind all of God’s wonderful works guiding His Church throughout history and accomplishing salvation for His people. In order to properly prepare ourselves to celebrate the Lord’s Supper, we also have to exercise our memories by looking back at our life and bringing to mind the evidence of God’s sanctifying graces in us. Memory is integral to the Christian life.

However, we also have to recognize the effects of the Fall on our memories. We all experience the deterioration of our memories. In fact, many of our earliest memories are likely creations of our minds based on facts that were told to us or pictures that we viewed and then integrated into a “memory” (perhaps after reading this article my mother will inform me that I never did visit my brother’s kindergarten class). Even our memories of relatively recent events suffer from obvious defects. …We all experience this in more mundane ways in our daily lives. For example, if I do not put my car keys in exactly the same location every day, I will be late to work the next day. Similarly, most of us have experienced the confusion of walking into a room with a purpose that has completely slipped our mind. As an exercise to prove the point of our fallible memories, have everyone in your family try to remember what you had for dinner going back as many evenings as possible, and then compare notes.

We also know that stress, distraction, lack of physical activity, and poor nutrition can negatively affect our memories. These produce almost the opposite effects of the biological events described above. Additionally, many of us have experienced a family member suffering from Alzheimer’s disease or other age-related memory loss. This too is an effect of the Fall on our memories. Disease and age can ravage the once-sharp memory of loved one until every last memory has seemingly been torn away.

Therefore, a careful consideration of memory also exposes the frailty of the human condition and will incite in us a desire that looks forward to the incorruptible bodies in which we will be raised upon Christ’s return. However, even now in our corruptible bodies the Scriptures provide us great comfort when meditating upon memory. Our God’s memory is incorruptible and active in our salvation. How many times does Jehovah remind us that He remembers His covenant with us (e.g., Gen. 9:14-16, Exodus 2:23-25, Ps. 105:8, Ps. 111:5). He also remembers individuals in their particular needs (Gen. 30:22, I Sam. 1:19, Is. 49:15-16), and even causes us to remember Him to our salvation and His glory (John 14:26-27). Our memories are a precious gift from above—let us remember to use them to the glory of God’s Name.

The Christian Apologetic toward New Atheism and Its Attack on God

PassionateIntellectbookScientific atheists often challenge Christians to prove the existence of God, as if Christians understand God to be an object within the world – such as an additional moon orbiting the planet Mars, a new species of newt or an invisible unicorn. Perhaps they think Christians imagine God to be like an Olympian deity, sitting on the top of Mount Olympus, waiting patiently to be discovered. Of course, for the Christian, God is not an ‘entity’ alongside other entities in the world but rather the source, ground and explanation of all that exists. God is the creator of all things, not a member of this class of things.

…What a word means needs to be determined by the way it is used. Dawkins [Richard, the avowed “new” atheist and ardent opponent of the Christian faith] understands one thing by the word God, and I understand something quite different. The new atheism conducts its polemic against a notion of God that bears little resemblance to that of Christianity. Christians will not find their faith shaken by evidence or arguments that make assumptions they do not share and consider to be completely wrong. The atheist ‘critique’ of Christianity at this point amounts to little more than a circular argument concerning the internal consistence of atheism, rather than a considered engagement with what Christians believe about God.

Taken from Chapter 7, “The Natural Sciences” pp.110-11), in Alister McGrath’s book The Passionate Intellect: Christian Faith and the Discipleship of the Mind (IVP, 2010), a book I picked for review a few years ago and have picked up again to continue reading.

Light and Time – Dr. B. Looyenga, December 1 Standard Bearer

The latest issue of the Standard Bearer (December 1, 2016) contains an interesting and edifying assortment of articles, among which is one by Dr. Brendan Looyenga (Calvin College professor in the science department) on “Light and Time” for the rubric “All Thy Works Shall Praise Thee.”


Dr. Looyenga writes about God’s amazing creation of light and time, showing the close relation between these two creatures. At the end of his article, he makes some points in answer to the question, How does the knowledge of these creatures bring glory to the Creator?

Here are two of his significant points:

Secondly, it is notable that the very first creative act we read of in the Bible is God’s creation of light (Gen. 1).  Remarkable!  Why?  Because as we discussed above, the central constant in our cosmos is this very creature!  No matter where you are, no matter how fast you move, no matter when you observe it,  light moves at a constant speed.  And as such, though we do not read that time was God’s first creation, He in effect made that creature too when he fashioned light as His first creature.  And so, while Einstein’s work may have pointed to the primacy of light as a constant, it was our heavenly Father who fashioned it to be His standard for the physical laws governing the creation.  A mere coincidence, says the scoffer.  No, say we, a providential work of the Creator!

In the third place, I would point out that God’s omnipotence over time is not only key to our understanding His creative power, but also to understanding the possibility of the cross.  It was there that our Lord Jesus Christ suffered for sin, conquering it completely and atoning for sin such that we may have fellowship with God.  But the puzzling thing about that atonement is that our Lord accomplished it in the space of just three hours.  Stop and think about that.  Complete atonement for an eternity of punishment for sin—in just three hours.  No mere man could do this, regardless of his perfection, because no man could bear eternity in the space of time, regardless of its length.  But we confess that Christ is not only man; He is God incarnate!  As fully divine, He was able to bear an eternity’s worth of suffering for all His people, compressed into a temporal space of three hours.  No man could do this; but “with God nothing shall be impossible.” (Luke 1:37).

For more information on subscribing to this Reformed bi-monthly magazine, visit the SB link above.


The Sin of Certainty –

the-sin-of-certainty-pennsThis review of Peter Enns’ (former professor at Westminster Seminary in Philadelphia) new book by Calvin Smith at is worth noting here (posted June 14, 2016).

Enns has been and continues to be influential as a professing Christian scholar who uses a higher critical view of Scripture to promote popular teachings in Christian circles today, including such subjects as biblical authority, evolution, and now the nature of faith itself (not as certainty but as doubt, as the title to his book indicates).

I give you the introduction to Smith’s review and then a section from it on Enns’ evolutionary views, encouraging you to read the full review at the link below.

Peter Enns’ latest book reads like the average village atheist attempting to discredit the Bible, all the while assuring you that he’s a Christian trying to illuminate you on how to build your faith. It’s basically a re-hash of similar concepts we’ve seen before in his previous writings and reiterates that while the Bible doesn’t contain the truth, you can still believe and trust in God (whoever that might be).

And here is the section on Enns’ evolutionary perspective:


In his chapter on evolution Enns admits what Genesis plainly says.

“The problem for biblically centered Christians is that the Bible, right in the very beginning, tells us clearly that God created all life forms with a simple “Let there be … ” No common descent, natural selection, or billions of years required. So if Darwin was right, the Bible was wrong.”2

Now Enns is a committed theistic evolutionist and hence this isn’t a ‘problem’ for him. Which reveals he isn’t a ‘biblically centered Christian’. And he believes Darwin was right, which means he believes the Bible is wrong!

This would mean that God knowingly put contradictions in His word (or else the Bible isn’t actually inspired although Enns doesn’t comment on this directly). But proclaiming known contradictions amounts to lying (which is likely why Enns has a chapter blasphemously titled ‘God is a liar’9).

Perhaps Enns forgot Numbers 23:19 where Scripture makes something clear- “God is not a man, that He should lie, or a son of man, that He should change His mind.”

(But of course that could just be one of those parts of the Bible you don’t have to take as plainly written in Enns’ way of thinking.)

For Enns the truth of the Bible isn’t what’s important, it’s ‘trust’ in God. Of course the word ‘trust’ is defined as; ‘firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something’. So Enns shoots himself in the foot in his basic premise. How are Christians supposed to trust in God if His revelation to His people is un-trustworthy?

Source: The Sin of Certainty –

Is Evolution Biblically Acceptable? The Question of Genesis 1 – Reformation21

Is Evolution Biblically Acceptable? The Question of Genesis 1 – Reformation21.

One of the main articles last month at the Reformation 21 website (December 2014) is this significant one by Dr. (PCA pastor) Richard D.Phillips. By it he begins a series in which he does and will argue that evolution is incompatible with the Bible’s teaching.

This first installment focuses on the issue of how Genesis 1 is to be read (he defends its full authority and historicity).

Below are a few paragraphs from it (follow the link above to find the full article). I believe this is must reading (and understanding!) for Reformed Christians, as it focuses on the issue facing us at the present time.

Given what World Magazine has called a “major, well-funded push” to promote the acceptance of evolution among evangelical Christians, the case must be persuasively made against the compatibility of evolution and the Bible.  In answer to this pro-evolutionary stance, I am one of those Bible teachers who believe that the implications of evolution involve sweeping changes to the Christian faith and life.

While I appreciate the moderate spirit of many who want to find a way to accept evolution alongside the Bible, I find that the more radical voices are here more helpful.  For instance, I share the view of Peter Enns in the conclusion to his book The Evolution of Adam, writing that “evolution… cannot simply be grafted onto evangelical Christian faith as an add-on,”[1] but requires a fundamental rethinking of doctrines pertaining to creation, humanity, sin, death, and salvation.  But Christian ethics must also be revised.  Enns writes that under evolution “some characteristics that Christians have thought of as sinful,” including “sexual promiscuity to perpetuate one’s gene pool,” should now be thought of as beneficial.  Even so foundational an issue as the Christian view of death must be remolded by evolution.  An evolution-embracing Christian faith must now see death as an ally: “the means that promotes the continued evolution of life on this planet.”[2]

I am not a qualified scientist and have virtually nothing to contribute to the science involved in evolution.  As a Bible teacher and theologian, my concern is the necessary beliefs that flow from the Word of God.  For the ultimate issue involved with evolution is biblical authority: must the Bible submit to the superior authority of secularist dogma? Or may the believer still confess together with Paul: “Let God be true though everyone were a liar” (Rom. 3:4).  From this perspective, I plan a short series of articles arguing against the idea that evolution is biblically acceptable.

…One of the grand motives, I believe, for accommodating evolution in Genesis 1 is so that evangelicals can stop arguing about science and start teaching about Jesus.  But do we fail to note that Jesus’ story begins in Genesis 1?  “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God…” (Jn. 1:1).  In fact, when the interpretive approach used to neutralize Genesis 1 as history is necessarily extended by evolution, then the reason for Jesus’ coming is lost?  After all, without a biblical Adam as the first man and covenant head of the human race, then what is the problem for which the Son of God came?  Here we see just how right Peter Enns is: evolution is not an add-on to the Bible, it is a replacement.

Dr. Richard D. Phillips is the senior minister of Second Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Greenville, SC and the chairman of the Philadelphia Conference on Reformed Theology

See more at:

In this connection, a great resource to read is this one by Prof.David J. Engelsma: “Genesis 1-11: Myth or History.”

Interpretive dance: BioLogos and the Promotion of Evolution| Daniel J. Devine | World

WORLD | Interpretive dance | Daniel James Devine | Nov. 29, 2014.

Creation vs evolutionThis is a significant “exposure” article by World magazine and its reporter Daniel J. Devine on how BioLogos – headquartered right here in Grand Rapids, MI – is pushing evolutionism in the name of Christian science on a broad spectrum of Christian institutions (posted today, Nov.29, 2014).

There are some familiar names given here, many of them with ties to Christian colleges well known to us. The issue of the historicity, accuracy, and authority of Genesis 1-3 (especially), God’s “book of beginnings”, continues to generate heated debate in Christian circles.

But it ought not, if we hold to the clarity as well as to the authority of Scripture. Truly Reformed Christianity posits that God’s Word sheds authoritative light on science and determines how we understand the things that we see (and don’t see!) in creation, not the other way around. We need to continue to keep our biblical “glasses” on straight in order to see the world right.

Here’s the opening paragraphs to Devine’s article; find the rest at the link above.

Just a five-minute stroll from the campus of Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Mich., sits the brown brick building that is home since last year to BioLogos, a foundation pushing churches and believers to embrace evolution, and in the process change how they read the Bible.

The brainchild of Francis Collins, who now heads the National Institutes of Health, BioLogos has taken in nearly $9 million from the Templeton Foundation and millions more from other donors. BioLogos in turn offers grants to church, parachurch, and academic leaders and organizations that promote “evolutionary creation.”

BioLogos president Deb Haarsma, former chair of Calvin’s physics and astronomy department, says churches that support evolution will be more effective witnesses in a culture that reveres science, and will help college students avoid a crisis of faith when biology professors argue for evolution. The BioLogos website states, “Genetic evidence shows that humans descended from a group of several thousand individuals who lived about 150,000 years ago.”

Word Wednesday – R.C. Sproul on Words and Ideas

NotaChance-SproulOur last book club title (which we finished and discussed last Saturday morning) was R.C.Sproul’s Not a Chance: God, Science, and the Revolt Against Reason (c.1994 by Baker Book House), recently updated and reprinted after twenty years. At the beginning of chapter 5, “Light and the Light”, Sproul launches into a treatment of words and their meanings, including some references to the Dutch.

So, for our Word Wednesday” feature this week, I will let him tell you about the importance of words and how they relate to the world of ideas – vital for whatever science you are treating, including the “queen of sciences”, theology.

We return now to the complexities of speech We begin with the simple question, ‘What is a word?’ In English we have twenty-six letters in the alphabet. We combine these letters in a huge variety of ways to form discrete units we call words. We use these words to speak and to write. When we write words we use letters. When we speak we use sounds in various combinations. Many different languages emerge using the same alphabet. There are still other languages that use different alphabets. Sounds are more common to broader groups of people than are letters. There are only so many different sounds the human voice can make. Some people master sounds that other people have difficulty with.

The Dutchman struggles (here we go! -cjt) if you ask him to say quickly, ‘Throw those things there.’ The ‘th’ sound is not a familiar sound in his language. Likewise Americans struggle to imitate certain vowel sounds that are easy for Dutchman to speak. We do not infer from this that Dutch babies are born with an inability to voice ‘th’ but with an innate ability to make vowel sounds that befuddle us.

The combination of sounds seems to be an acquired ability. By hearing these sounds often enough the infant learns to imitate them.

Apparently cows speak in different languages and make different sounds (sic). In Holland cows say ‘boe,’ while in America they say ‘moo.’ Not really. Cows don’t say either ‘boe’ or ‘moo.’ Rather they make sounds we seek to imitate in our own respective languages.

Words are composed of sounds and letters. These words are written or spoken representations of ideas. but wait a minute. How can we have ideas without words? Do we not also think with words as well as write or speak with them? The written or spoken word uses visual or aural signs and symbols to express ideas.

Then we ask, ‘What are ideas?’ Is there an identity between ideas of reality and reality itself? This is the old question with which Plato wrestled. Are ideas real ontological entities or mere abstract names used to point to reality?

Though we presently think with words, it is highly unlikely that our thought process began with words. How does language actually begin?

I have enjoyed watching not only my own children but my three grandchildren learn to speak. …The youngest, Michael, only recently learned how to speak. I was involved as a tutor in his learning experience. We played a little game of show and tell. I would point to objects in the room or in pictures and say the name or word for him. I would point to a chair and say, ‘Chair.’ Then Michael would mimic my sound and repeat, ‘Chair.’ We did this exercise daily. Michael was in the process of associating sounds with objects in his field of vision.

What was going on inside Michael’s young mind before he had words to speak with? Certainly he was conscious before he could speak. Consciousness preceeds language. Of what was he conscious (79-81)?

That’s as far as we will go with Dr. Sproul. Is your head spinning? Have you ever thought so deeply about words and ideas? How would you answer these questions? They are important, you know. 🙂

Story Time from Space!

Teaching Science in Space – Earth Science Picture of the Day.

Story time in spaceReally? Truly? Story time from space?! Yes, with real astronauts up in space reading books to children on earth. In the Earth Science picture of the day that came into my email box last week (posted June 19, 2014) I learned about this new program that teaches science to children (see the intro below).

I would be dreaming if I thought the program did not teach science from an evolutionary perspective, but I can at least take pleasure in knowing the program is teaching children the joy of books and reading. For your part, you may still be able to use this program for your children, but of course, from the viewpoint of the truth about God’s world, including space (Ps.19:1).

Imagine if astronauts on the International Space Station (ISS) could read books that teach aspects of Earth and Space science to kids, teachers, and parents down on Earth. Well, there’s no need to imagine because it’s already happening, as part of the new Story Time From Space program. In this photo we see JAXA astronaut Koichi Wakata as he prepared to read “The Wizard Who Saved the World,” by Jeffrey Bennett. The Story Time From Space program will also include videos of science demonstrations performed on the space station, curriculum materials and more, all posted freely on the web. Photo taken on March 13, 2014.

Why Books Have Such A Distinctive Smell – Business Insider

Why Books Have Such A Distinctive Smell – Business Insider.

Keepcalm smell booksI have posted something similar to this before (although that was about old books), but this article on why books have that alluring aroma (old and new) is also interesting. So, on this Friday, I hope you will show some more interest in the scientific side of the smell of a good book – musty or fresh. Visit the link and you even get a helpful infographic to assist you!

And perhaps it will even persuade you to do a little book shopping this weekend and get yourself some good summer reading! That would make me even happier. 🙂

Posted June 2, 2014

Everyone’s familiar with the smell of old books, the weirdly intoxicating scent that haunts libraries and second-hand book stores. Similarly, who doesn’t enjoy riffling through the pages of a newly purchased book and breathing in the crisp aroma of new paper and freshly printed ink? As with all aromas, the origins can be traced back to a number of chemical constituents, so we can examine the processes and compounds that can contribute to both.

As far as the smell of new books goes, it’s actually quite difficult to pinpoint specific compounds, for a number of reasons. Firstly, there seems to be a scarcity of scientific research that’s been carried out on the subject – to be fair, it’s understandable why it might not exactly be high up on the priority list. Secondly, the variation in the chemicals used to manufacture books also means that it’s an aroma that will vary from book to book. Add to this the fact that there are literally hundreds of compounds involved, and it becomes clearer why it evades attribution to a small selection of chemicals.

It’s likely that the bulk of ‘new book smell’ can be put down to three main sources: the paper itself (and the chemicals used in its manufacture), the inks used to print the book, and the adhesives used in the book-binding process.


Read more:

Published in: on June 20, 2014 at 6:50 AM  Leave a Comment