Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Who were our Human Ancestors?

by Brian Mariani
Model of Neanderthal Man, at one time thought to be human ancestors
http://www.theguardian.com/science/2013/feb/04/neanderthals-modern-humans-research
Were our early ancestors ape-like creatures and dumb cavemen or were they fully formed human beings created intelligently? Why do people think humans evolved from animals?

While an evolutionist would defend the ape-to-human evolution paradigm, citing various pieces of “evidence” throughout history and describing multiple transitional species along the long journey to homo sapiens, we believe that the correct interpretation of Scripture rules out all that conjecture.

As Genesis 1 describes, on day 6 of creation God made man and he was originally very intelligent and even walked with God. Man did not evolve from lower forms of human and was not a dumb caveman. In creation, God made man and ape as two different creatures.

“There are many differences between humans and apes that can be seen in fossil remains. These include the fact that humans walk erect and so have appropriate/distinctive knee and hip joints, backbone, toes, etc. Humans also have an opposable thumb, make and use sophisticated tools as well as fire, and engage in diverse creativity. They have a larger brain capacity than apes, smaller teeth set in parabolic or V-shaped, rather than U-shaped, jaws, and they sometimes write, paint or make and play musical instruments. Communication by language is another crucial difference, as is the ability to do mathematics. Other differences include the exercise of reason and free-will, rather than just instinct.”[i] Many of these characteristics obviously cannot be observed from fossils but are easily studied in the living species today.

Then why the confusion?


Imagine the fame, the prestige, and the money that follows the discovery of a new link in the chain of human evolution.Many evolutionists will find human and/or ape bones and claim them as human ancestors to get more funding for their research. “Evolutionists looking for evidence of apemen search for fossils that show anatomical features that look ‘intermediate’ between those of apes and humans, or that show some but not all of the above bodily characteristics. This has provided a fertile field for hoaxers.”[ii]

There have indeed been many human ancestor hoaxes that deceived even the scientific community and have been taught incorrectly for decades.

Reconstructed portrait of Piltdown Man
http://www.clarku.edu/~piltdown/map_intro/faked_foss_prim.html
  • Piltdown Man was “’discovered’ in England from 1908 to 1912…and was probably the most quoted ‘evidence for evolution’ for around 40 years.” The evidence for Piltdown Man turned out to be a human skullcap matched with the lower jaw of an orangutan that were stained and filed to fit.[iii] 
  • “The Illustrated London News for June 24, 1922, printed” Nebraska Man “as an upright-standing apeman, showing the shape of his body, head, nose, ears, hair, etc., together with his wife, domestic animals, and tools.” The evidence was one tooth, which later turned out to be a tooth from an extinct pig.[iv] 
  • Ramepithecus was “once widely regarded as the ancestor of humans, it has now been realized that it is merely an extinct type of orangutan (an ape).”[v]


Beyond the hoaxes


An evolutionist article admits that “over decades excavating sites in Africa, researchers have named half a dozen different species of early human ancestor, but most, if not all, are now on shaky ground.”[vi] One of the problems is that the quality of the fossils are typically very poor and paleontologists base new species on minor details with fragments of skulls or other bones. Assumptions can play a huge factor as scientists glue the bone fragments back together.

In fact, this challenge is evident with one of the most famous human ancestors theorized in a partial skeleton: Australopithecus afarensis, otherwise affectionately known as Lucy. Some have claimed that Lucy is nearly 40% complete, but with only 47 pieces of bones and 206 in the modern human body, that percentage is closer to 20%.[vii]  

Different artist depictions of Lucy
https://answersingenesis.org/human-evolution/lucy/bringing-lucy-to-life/
Even the oldest bones of our supposed human ancestors (Orrorin tugenensis) only consist of 13 fossils that make up a partial femur, bits of a lower jaw and a few teeth. It is fascinating to read through evolutionary teaching and see the evidence that has been collected: fragmented bones and skulls. Assumptions, questions, and guesswork is abundant in this field of science.[viii]

Changing the Family Tree


Hominid species are classified by head shape, hip structure and other cues. At Dmanisi, Georgia, parts of five skulls were found; each of “these human skulls all had very different shapes, [and] they were buried together within a short time…Instead of showing different transitional human forms living at different times and leading up to modern humans, the fossilized remains at this site showed variation occurring at the same time. Assuming the remains were all human...these results end up ‘drastically simplifying the story of human evolution,’"[ix]

Tim White, an expert in human evolution admits that “some paleontologists see minor differences in fossils and give them labels, and that has resulted in the family tree accumulating a lot of branches...The Dmanisi fossils give us a new yardstick, and when you apply that yardstick to the African fossils, a lot of that extra wood in the tree is dead wood. It's arm-waving."[x]

 “If the Dmanisi fossils represent ancient humans, then they show that generations of experts in human evolution have spent effort, time, and research dollars arranging fossil fragments of human skulls into an evolutionary line of descent that never really existed.”[xi]The theory of human evolution requires one or more missing links, so in the post-Darwin era many candidates have been put forward. Not one has stood the test of honest, rigorous investigation, as all have turned out to be from either an extinct ape or an extinct human.”[xii]

Conclusion


The Bible tells us that we are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14) – from the beginning of time, when God created man male and female in the garden (Matt. 19:4), to the child conceived this very minute. History tells the story of incredible intelligence, creativity, and skill all inherent in the lives of ancient builders, farmers, philosophers, and scientists.

We have not descended from mindless apes but were rather created and formed by the greatest mind of all!

Praise the Lord! I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart, in the company of the upright, in the congregation. Great are the works of the Lord, studied by all who delight in them. Full of splendor and majesty is his work, and his righteousness endures forever. (Psalm 111:1-3)

Read more about our amazing human ancestors!  







[i] Russell Grigg, Are there apemen in your ancestry?, December 2002, Creation 25(1):16-19, Creation Ministries International, http://creation.com/are-there-apemen-in-your-ancestry#lucys-bones, accessed August 28, 2014.
[ii] Ibid.
[iii] Ibid.
[iv] Ibid. .
[v] Is There Really Evidence that Man Descended from the Apes?, January 21, 1998, Answers in Genesis, https://answersingenesis.org/human-evolution/ape-man/is-there-really-evidence-that-man-descended-from-the-apes/, accessed August 28, 2014.
[vi] Ian Sample, Skull of Homo erectus throws story of human evolution into disarray, October 17, 2013, The Guardian, http://www.theguardian.com/science/2013/oct/17/skull-homo-erectus-human-evolution, accessed August 27, 2014.
[vii] Russell Grigg, How many bones does Lucy have?, January 11, 2012, Creation Ministries International, http://creation.com/are-there-apemen-in-your-ancestry#lucys-bones, accessed August 28, 2014.
[viii] PBS, Origin of Humankind, http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/evolution/humans/humankind/, accessed August 29, 2014.
[ix] Brian Thomas and Frank Sherwin, Human-like Fossil Menagerie Stuns Scientists, November 8, 2013, Institute for Creation Research, http://www.icr.org/article/7843/, accessed August 27, 2014.
Robert Lee Hotz, Skull Suggests Single Human Species Emerged From Africa, Not Several: Well-Preserved Find 1.8 Million Years Old Drastically Simplifies Evolutionary Picture, October 17, 2013, http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304384104579141600675336982, accessed August 27, 2014.
[x] Ian Sample, Skull of Homo erectus throws story of human evolution into disarray, October 17, 2013, The Guardian, http://www.theguardian.com/science/2013/oct/17/skull-homo-erectus-human-evolution, accessed August 27, 2014.
[xi] Brian Thomas and Frank Sherwin, Human-like Fossil Menagerie Stuns Scientists, November 8, 2013, Institute for Creation Research, http://www.icr.org/article/7843/, accessed August 27, 2014.
[xii] Russell Grigg, Are there apemen in your ancestry?, December 2002, Creation 25(1):16-19, Creation Ministries International, http://creation.com/are-there-apemen-in-your-ancestry#lucys-bones, accessed August 28, 2014.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Derinkuyu: City Beneath Our Feet

By Analea Styles

http://travellerguide.asia/turkey-tourism-the-incredible-underground-city-of-derinkuyu.html
It’s not everyday you hear about entire cities built thousands of years ago, boasting sophisticated architecture, design, and careful organization – underground! Derinkuyu, a massive subterranean city that could have housed up to 20,000 people, is literally a mine for unearthing evidence of ancient genius.

There are approximately 200 of these underground complexes located in the Cappadocia region of Turkey. The largest, Derinkuyu, is a huge, 18-story complex with meeting rooms, halls, wells, ventilation shafts, wine and oil presses, tunnels, and stables that descend deep into the earth.[1]

Derinkuyu, underground, ancient man

Though living underground probably doesn’t sound appealing to most of us, the ancient people who excavated Derinkuyu built this amazing city for intelligent reasons. Their incredible skill and planning is evident even today.

Incredibly Defensible


Researchers believe that Derinkuyu was likely built as a practical refuge for times of war as it was very easily defended. Many of the tunnels were dug quite small perhaps in order to force invaders to crawl single-file into the city. Each floor could also be locked from the inside using huge round doors (up to 1000lbs) to close the tunnels.[2] The wells inside the complex provided fresh water for the inhabitants and they were protected from outside contamination. Able to house thousands of people as well as provisions and even livestock, Derinkuyu was a veritable fortress!

http://travellerguide.asia/turkey-tourism-the-incredible-underground-city-of-derinkuyu.html

Incredibly Designed


The volcanic rock in the Cappadocia region is quite soft and relatively easy to excavate and dig, but comes with its own set of problems. Researchers suggest that those cutting and carving into such soft formations risked possible cave-ins at any time – yet there is no evidence of any collapses. Apparently the builders knew what they were doing!

Derinkuyu map, diagram, ancient, underground city Turkey

The builders also carved several ventilation shafts, some as long as 180 ft. deep into the farthest levels of the city. The shafts would keep the air fresh and the temperatures even as well.

Incredible Builders


A project of this size and sophistication required immense planning, skill, and manpower. Like many awe-inspiring ancient sites, we have very little idea how they built it and what all was involved. But the immense size of Derinkuyu suggests a large work force. This means that the builders were organized and united with a purpose, and followed the directions of a master planner. They were intelligent, cooperative people.

As to who did the building, the answer is still unknown. There are several theories:

  • The Hittites: Some suggest the Hittites who controlled the region in the 15th century BC were the first to dig the underground tunnels. It is believed that they used Derinkuyu as a shelter during the Thracian attack in the 12th century BC. Several Hittite artifacts have been found in the tunnels
  • The Phrygians: Experts suggest that Derinkuyu was constructed between the 10th and 7th centuries BC while the Phrygians controlled the area. They were known to possess the great architectural ability that would be needed to excavate the complex.
  • The Persians: An intriguing theory based on an ancient section of the Zoroastrian book Avesta, suggests that the Persians first started construction on the site before the Hittites arrived. The mythical Persian king Yima supposedly built underground dwellings to house “flocks, herds, and men”.[3]

Incredible Purpose


We know that God created the builders of Derinkuyu with incredible skill and ability. We don’t know what inspired the first builders to start digging but it may be that God was preparing a place of protection for His people in later years.

Most researches believe that the early Christians used the tunnels of Derinkuyu and its sister subterranean cities as places of refuge during the Roman persecution.[4] There is some evidence that suggests some of the rooms were used as chapels and study rooms in later years.

Sometimes ancient sites can serve more purposes than their original builders could even imagine! They have left us incredible evidence of God’s intelligently created ancient man.

Special thanks to one our readers for suggesting a post about this amazing site! If you have any ancient mysteries or topics you would like to hear more about, please let us know in the comments or send us an email! 




[1] Derinkuyu Underground City. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Derinkuyu_Underground_City. Accessed August 6, 2014.
[2] Derinkuyu. http://www.ancient-wisdom.co.uk/turkeyderinkuyu.htm. Accessed August 6, 2014.
[3]The Intriguing Ancient Underground City of Derinkuyu.  http://www.todayifoundout.com/index.php/2013/09/intriguing-ancient-underground-city-derinkuyu/. Accessed August 8, 2014.
[4]Ibid.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

A Road to Heresy

By Derrick Zuk

Photo Credit: Derrick Zuk

I hear my fellow believers talking about geology and science and the age of the earth and I find myself wondering, do we believe in two different gods? If you believe the earth is millions of years old and hold consistently to that view, then logically you cannot believe in the same God I do. It is frightening and worrisome that believers cannot see that “millions of years” inserted into the first verses of Genesis is a subtle, yet very serious error that has heretical conclusions. Our passion is to point out this urgent theological issue and urge our brothers and sisters to defend the Truth!

All it takes is a subtle perversion of truth to produce disastrous results and lead us astray from true doctrine. Cunning lies can slip in without our knowing and they will affect the true conversion of souls in the next generation if we don’t root out the falsehood and stand firm upon the Word of God.

So just how could the belief in millions of years affect a person’s salvation? Isn’t the issue of the days of creation a minor, open-handed one? Certainly not a hill to die on, right!? Maybe these few points will cause you to reconsider.

Step One: Questioning God’s Word


In Genesis one God clearly describes the seven days of the creation week, most plainly interpreted as regular 24-hour days; yet you interpret Him to mean “millions of years” because that’s what “science” tells you? Where did this kind of rebellion start? In Genesis 3, the serpent, Satan, twists God’s words just slightly enough to spread seeds of doubt. And Eve chose the serpent’s words over God’s.

We choose the same lies of Satan today. We like the subtle perversions that seem more comfortable to us and less confrontational to others. This comes from a lack of faith (full assurance, confidence) in God and His Word. Millions of years is a theory of man; why trust faulty man over the God of the universe? Are you starting with a fallible science or with the authority of an infallible God?

Step Two: Questioning God’s Character


Who gets the credit for millions of years of death? The fossil record, layer upon layer of geologic formations filled with fossils of dead things, thorns, and evidence of disease and killing had to be laid before Adam walked the earth. If you say those “millions of years” were part of creation, then you credit God with creating them.

Not only that, but does God call death and suffering very good (Genesis 1:31)? How then are you defining “good”? Furthermore if God created it, then what happened when Adam sinned? Why would the punishment of death mean anything to Adam?

 Step Three: Removing the foundation of our faith


Let’s think about how this affects our theology concerning Jesus Christ, the cross, and the gospel itself. This is indeed where the rubber meets the road.

Technically speaking, Christ (the second Person of the Trinity) is Creator of all things (John 1:3).  Therefore, from the “millions of years” perspective, Christ is the author of death, disease, and suffering (evidenced by the fossil record). These are all things we would consider “not good”.  These are things that God promises will pass away (Rev. 21:4). Indeed the Father sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross to rectify—wait—His own mistakes from creation?

You argue: Ok, so maybe Adam’s sin in the garden only brought spiritual death as a punishment since physical death was part of God’s design.

So did Jesus Christ only die spiritually on the cross? If Jesus only died spiritually, then He didn’t need to die physically OR resurrect physically. Without His physical resurrection, we have no hope for a resurrection body in the eternal future and our faith is in vain!
 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. (1 Cor. 15:13-14)

You argue: Well maybe it was only human death that Adam’s sin brought, not animal death.

So the suffering of animals is good? And when Genesis 1:30 states that God gave all the animals plants to eat for food, they went against His design on their own – and that was good? And what of the thorns and tumors and disease that are evident in the fossil record, those things were created good as well and are not the consequence of sin?

 For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. (Romans 8:19-20)

End of the Road


Photo Credit: Derrick Zuk
There’s no light at the end of this tunnel, only heresy. The belief that the earth is millions of years old holds no hope for the sinner. When projected to its final conclusion, it describes a different god or multiple gods. If you credit God with creation and include the records of “millions of years” of death and suffering as His handiwork, then you redefine “good” (it now includes what we would call “evil”) and you destroy His character. That’s not the God of the Bible I know.

Guess what? The idea of God creating evil isn’t new. The Gnostics believed the god who created material things was an evil, inferior god; there was also a transcendent god who was over spiritual things and was good.

Here at Jackson Hole Bible College we don't believe this is a light, open-handed issue. We must proclaim the gospel from start to finish, from Genesis to Revelation. And we must do this with accuracy, leaning wholly on the Word of God and implementing good, proper hermeneutics in our studies. We start with the Bible and interpret the world through Scripture, not the other way around. Either the Bible is the authority or the “science” is.

Praise the Lord, for He is good!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Biographies of Ancient Man: Joseph

By Jacob Brockmann 
http://www.biblearchaeology.org/post/2010/04/05/Joseph-in-Egypt-Part-V.aspx

In The Genius of Ancient Man, we contrast two beliefs of human origins: the humanistic, evolutionary model of mankind slowly evolving from simple organisms to apes to humans and the biblically-based model that outlines how God created man perfectly intelligent, highly skilled, and capable of amazing feats.

We want to introduce you to some of the most ancient people of history, men and women created in the image of God, people whom God describes to us in His perfect, authoritative Word.

Joseph: Man of God


Joseph is an important character in the book of Genesis (as evidenced by the fact that twelve chapters (Genesis 37, 39-50) are devoted to his story. It is clear in the account of Joseph’s life that he was a godly man whose example should be followed, but there also seem to be indications in the biblical text that would lead us to believe that his intelligence was much greater than the secularists would give ancient man credit for.

Wikimedia Commons

The biblical account describes how Joseph not only dreamed prophetic dreams, but he was also able to interpret other people’s dreams with startling accuracy. Joseph’s God-given ability to interpret pharaoh’s dreams (Genesis 41:1-36) led to the saving of Egypt and much of the world. His interpretations were not autonomous intelligence, but instead given directly from God. Joseph makes this clear: “It is not me; God will give Pharaoh a favorable answer” (Gen. 41:16).  Moreover Genesis 42:54 makes clear that the interpretation Joseph gave for Pharaoh’s dreams was completely accurate: “and the seven years of famine began to come, as Joseph had said…” This would not have been possible without a revelation from God. He chose to use Joseph as His instrument to reach Pharaoh and predict the future.

Man is able to predict future events to some extent by observing what has happened in the past and extrapolating it to the future, but the ability to foretell a famine that would happen seven years into the future is impossible, even with our technological advances. There is no other explanation for Joseph’s interpretation except that it was given by God.

Feast and Famine


During the course of the next fourteen years, seven of plenty and seven of famine, Joseph organized and supplied food for “…all the earth…” (Gen. 41:57) not just the land of Egypt. Although we don’t know the population of the world at this time (and the terminology could be referring to only the surrounding countries), we can be certain that the organization and distribution of food to the world around Egypt at that time was a massive task for Joseph to undertake. Through the years of plenty he stored the food in the cities “in great abundance, like the sand of the sea, until he ceased to measure it, for it could not be measured” (Gen. 41:49). Then he sold it back to the people during the years of famine.

Wikimedia Commons

Imagine organizing and keeping track of such things without the use of our modern technology! Joseph had to build storage facilities to contain the food; he had to organize distribution of the food during the famine; he had to maintain control of a desperate nation and the starving world around them.  And he had no computers, calculators, or even vehicles to travel in, no telephones or email for communicating and coordinating. But God blessed Joseph with incredible capabilities and he succeeded in bringing Egypt through.

Joseph was made in God’s image and because He is not a God of confusion, but of peace and order (1 Corinthians 14:33), we would expect that man would have the ability to organize and plan things. What we see in the account of Joseph is a fantastic ability to organize and plan even in ancient times. Joseph’s skills confirm that man has always been intelligent since his creation, and ancient men were even more intelligent than we are today!

Man of Humility


Even though Joseph had these amazing abilities, he still recognized that God was so much more powerful than himself. Joseph was one of the most gifted men of his time. He became more powerful than everyone in Egypt except Pharaoh. Yet we see that his character remained pure and his faith in God never faltered. He did not use his authority for control and self-gain but rather in the service of others. Joseph’s heart is clearly seen through his interaction with his treacherous brothers:

“His brothers also came and fell down before him and said, ‘behold, we are your servants.’ But Joseph said to them, ‘Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today” (Genesis 50:18-20).


This is the heart of the one who has faith in God’s goodness and faithfulness. Joseph was not angry toward his brothers for what they had done, but rather forgave them because he knew that God was in total control. 

The same should be said of all who trust in the eternal character of God. He works all things together for the good of those who love Him, and who are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). God used Joseph, gave him dreams, interpretations, and incredible abilities in order to accomplish His purpose. It is a beautiful confirmation that God is intimately involved in His creation and especially mankind, who are made in His image.