Interracial marriage is an issue for some . . . but not for God.
“One blood.” That’s what the Apostle Paul preached in his landmark message in Athens 2,000 years ago. Explaining that all human beings were descended from Adam, accountable to God their Creator, and equally in need of salvation and restoration to God through Jesus Christ—Paul said, “And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth” (Acts 17:26). Sadly, as this week’s news suggests, even some Christians can get mixed up in their thinking about this.
In Pike County, Kentucky, a handful of members in a small church voted, at the urging of their retired pastor, to support a resolution stating the church “does not condone interracial marriage. Parties of such marriages will not be received as members, nor will they be used in worship services and other church functions, with the exception being funerals. All are welcome to our public worship services.” The resolution adds, “This recommendation is not intended to judge the salvation of anyone, but is intended to promote greater unity among the church body and the community we serve.” Apparently supporters of the resolution have no objection to mixed couples mourning death together but don’t think they should be serving the Lord together.
What prompted the church to take such an action? According to news reports, last June, a long-time (the article refers to her as “not active”) member of the church—a white woman—and her black fiancé from Zimbabwe, while visiting, did the special music during the Sunday morning service. The church’s pastor at the time, Melvin Thompson, later told the woman’s father Dean Harville that the couple would not be allowed to sing in the church again. Since then, Pastor Thompson has retired. The church’s current pastor, Stacy Stepp, overturned the former pastor’s ruling and said the couple was welcome to come and sing. At this, the retired pastor called for a church vote on the matter. The vote was 9 to 6 in favor of the ban. Harville reported 35–40 had attended the service prior to the vote but many left or chose to abstain. The Harville family has asked the church to reconsider.
Thompson, who believes the resolution will be overturned, says, “I am not racist. I will tell you that. I am not prejudiced against any race of people, have never in my lifetime spoke evil about a race. That's what this is being portrayed as, but it is not.”1 In addition to the church’s current pastor’s opposition to the ban, the Pike County Ministerial Association’s president Randy Johnson says, “It's not the spirit of the community in any way, shape or form.” "It sure ain't Christian," Dean Harville adds. "It ain't nothing but the old devil working."
While as Thompson has stated, the matter is an internal affair and therefore subject to the church’s discretion and decision, publicity obliges fellow Christians to share with the watching world what the Bible says. We cannot know the thoughts of those involved, and we suspect by examining the Scriptures the church led by its pastor would arrive at the same conclusions we discuss here. After all, as biblically minded Christians confident the Bible is God’s Word, we acknowledge the Bible as our authority in all matters of faith and practice.
Some people—including some Christians—think the Bible says things it does not say. (In fact, confusing people about what God really says has been the devil’s tactic since he asked Eve, “Yea, hath God said?” as recorded in Genesis 3:1.) For instance, some people claim that, when Noah denounced his son Ham’s behavior and prophesied about his grandson Canaan’s descendants, a so-called “curse of Ham” turned the Hamites into black people. Such a belief is utter nonsense. The Bible says no such thing.
But the Bible does explain how different skin shades (commonly called “colors”) came about. When God confused the people’s languages at the Tower of Babel, they split into many small groups and dispersed. With only a fraction of the gene pool present in each group, certain differences eventually emerged. Today people think of those differences as “racial differences.” Yet all human beings are descended from Adam and Eve. And Adam and Eve had the genetic toolkit in their original genomes to diversify into all the skin tones we see today.
On the other hand, some evolutionists, including Darwin, believing human beings evolved from apelike ancestors, have thought some “racial” groups are more highly evolved than others. While evolution did not create racism—sinful human nature did that—the evolutionary worldview allows for and has been used to support it.
Despite some Christians’ erroneous thoughts to the contrary, however, the Bible does not support separation on the basis of skin color/tones. In fact, lest we get confused about this issue, God’s Word preserves the historical account of a particular incident involving so-called “interracial marriage.” Numbers 12:1 says Moses ”had married an Ethiopian woman.” Miriam and Aaron objected, and God judged them rather harshly, even striking Miriam with leprosy for a time.
Some Christians err by compromising with cultural prejudices and adopt a sort of sanctified separation of people on the basis of skin color. Yet the Bible does not speak of “race.” The Bible speaks of tribes, tongues, people, and nations, as in Revelation 5:9 when we learn that Christ’s blood will redeem people “out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation.” God is no respecter of skin color. Skin color is determined by varying amounts of skin pigment, and placing divisions between people because they differ in skin color makes no more sense than prohibiting marriage between blonds and redheads. When we remember that Adam and Eve were the first parents of every person ever born (and who were probably middle brown in skin shade), we should have no confusion about the issue of “race” and marriage.
Last meal is a testament . . . but to what?
“Preserved indicators of diet are extremely rare in the fossil record; even more so is unequivocal direct evidence for predator–prey relationships.”2 Therefore, proof a dinosaur ate a bird has created quite a stir. Jingmai O’Connor and colleagues from the Chinese Academy of Sciences have reported “Microraptor provides unique evidence of dinosaurs preying on birds” in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. New Scientist reports “the near-intact skeleton of a primitive bird”—an adult enantiornithine—was “nestling suspiciously inside . . . the ribcage of an early Cretaceous winged theropod called Microraptor gui.”
That this extinct bird lived in trees is important to the researchers, as their evolutionary conclusions depend upon its “distinctly arboreal”2 habits. If the victim was arboreal, then the predatory Microraptor that swallowed it probably flew well enough to catch it. “The origin of avian flight is heavily debated by paleontologists.”2 O’Connor believes the discovery is a breakthrough showing flight evolved as winged dinosaurs—like Microraptor—glided down from trees learning how to flap. This research therefore takes on greater significance than just assuaging curiosity about extinct edibles.
Not everyone agrees, however, that this prey kept to the trees. For that matter, not everyone agrees the predator was a dinosaur!
Luis Chiappe of the Los Angeles Natural History Museum says, “The fact that Enantiornithes are largely viewed as arboreal animals doesn't mean that they didn't frequent the ground.” The fossil record reveals other enantiornithines in non-arboreal locations.3 This one may have been caught on the ground, leaving Microraptor without proof it could fly. So, was Microraptor flap-running around the forest trying to lift off or gliding down from trees nabbing small birds on the way?4
A Microraptor is built like a biplane with genuine feathers.5 Some scientists are convinced Microraptor’s dragonfly-like wings would not be efficient enough for flight. They suspect Microraptor was therefore a ground-based winged . . . well, winged what? Why do the authors call their feathered predator a dinosaur?
Classification of this truly feathered creature as a dinosaur springs from the determination of evolutionary scientists to link dinosaurs and birds. Calling this four-winged feathered animal a dinosaur does not make it a dinosaur or resolve the many design differences that would make it impossible for a dinosaur to evolve into a bird. Furthermore, not all evolutionary scientists agree Microraptor was a dinosaur.5
We should mention that this fossilized predator, though “largely complete,” is “nevertheless poorly preserved . . . with few clear morphological details.”2 Part of what’s missing is the wings and feathers. However, much of the skeleton is preserved, and the researchers are convinced it is a Microraptor gui.
So does this discovery tell us anything about what dinosaurs ate? Microraptors, with anatomically modern feathers on the upper and lower extremities, appear equipped for flight, at least insofar as having feathers. Of course, some birds fly and some do not. We know Microraptor had modern-appearing feathers arranged in a unique way. No one knows whether it could fly. (That is largely the point of this study.) But as it had ordinary feathers, we would expect to see it flying as a bird if it flew.
God created “every winged bird according to its kind” (Genesis 1:21) on the fifth day of Creation week. He said, “Let birds fly above the earth across the face of the firmament of the heavens” (Genesis 1:20). The next day, God made each “beast of the earth, each according to its kind” (Genesis 1:24), including dinosaurs. Birds fully equipped to fly were flying the day before dinosaurs were even created. No evolution was involved.
Dinosaurs did not evolve into birds. Anatomical differences between them make such a transition impossible. No genetic mechanism enabling an organism to acquire information to evolve into a completely new kind has ever been found. The fossil record fails to reveal any legitimate transitional forms when labels are applied honestly without convenient revisions of classifications to create transitions by linguistic hocus-pocus. God created each kind of creature to reproduce after its kind, as science illustrates.
So, did dinosaurs eat birds? There is no reason to think they didn’t or couldn’t. But the evidence from China only shows what was probably a four-winged bird consumed a smaller bird. But these scientists get a lot more mileage from the story if they insist the predator was a dinosaur. After all, they write, “This report of a dinosaur feeding on birds is unique.”2
Before leaving this preserved predator-prey picture, we must comment on the New Scientist’s statement, “The world was a dangerous place for the first birds.” We beg to differ. When God finished creating the world on the sixth day, He said “everything” was “very good” (Genesis 1:31). According to Genesis 1:29–30, the original animals ate plants, not each other. Death did not enter the world until after Adam’s sin. The first birds had nothing to fear.
And as AiG’s Ken Ham pointed out in his recent blog, if dinosaurs—or even Cretaceous birds!—were eating each other millions of years before humans appeared on earth, then death cannot be explained. Christians who compromise with evolutionary assertions about millions of years cannot explain the origin of suffering. Only the Bible’s history in Genesis explains where death and suffering came from. The Bible also offers the solution: Jesus Christ came to pay the price for the sins of mankind, to destroy the works of the devil, and to offer eternal life to all.
The great dinosaur stampede mystery solved (again).
Lark Quarry in Queensland is home to the only known fossil record of a dinosaur stampede. There, preserved in mid-Cretaceous rock, are about 3,300 individual tracks representing about 150 dinosaurs of varying sizes and kinds. They seem to be fleeing in the same direction. It’s not hard to imagine some great dinosaur tales to match the tracks. By reassessing these tracks using modern technology and trying to identify their owners, an international team of scientists whose efforts are chronicled in a TV-whodunit6 has tried to shed light on the real story.
As the scientists discuss the group dynamics of the one large and many small dinosaurs running across a mudflat, many make the usual assumptions—namely, that dinosaurs with claws and bones that look like they could run fast were obviously predatory carnivores “built to kill.” Some, however, think the large dinosaur was an herbivore that still probably managed to scare off the smaller dinos. The mystery becomes one of discovering the identity of the dinosaur that frightened all those little dinosaurs away from their watering hole 100 million years ago.
The film takes us to other trackways in Spain and North America. A common thread runs through the story of the tracks on three continents. That thread is water. Tracks can only be fossilized if they are pressed into a mineral-rich mud and then either dried quickly in air or buried quickly so that the overlying sediment preserves the muddy prints while the water is squeezed from them. The idea that tracks could have fossilized over millions of years begs credulity, for such tracks would be eroded and quickly lost. (In fact, to protect the Lark Quarry tracks from perishing even though they are fossilized, they are sheltered in a large protective facility.)
But the common thread goes beyond the mineral-laden water needed to form fossilized tracks and includes some additional features of trackways elsewhere. The film takes us to Red Gulch, Wyoming, to see a collection of Middle Jurassic dinosaur tracks 167 million years old by evolutionary reckoning. Dr. Michael Brett-Surman shows us ripple marks on the surface as well as fossilized shrimp burrows and fossilized clamshells embedded in the tracks. These findings, he explains, indicate a receding tide at the time these prints were made. The “obvious” conclusion, of course, is that the dinosaurs of Red Gulch frolicked in the intertidal region munching on seafood.
More ripple marks in northern Spain’s Lower Cretaceous Cameros Basin deepen the watery story. These ripple marks were formed by water at least three meters deep. Dr. Loic Costeur explains that the form of the scratch marks and tracks suggest their large theropod owner was trying to keep itself oriented directly upstream. Of course, the embedded video includes a computer-generated sequence showing the hungry creature seeking its dinner in the river. Perhaps the creature was pursuing something to eat or drink. But perhaps something else was going on.
That something else may well have been the onset of the global Flood. Footprints in rivers and on beaches would ordinarily wash away quickly. Preservation of tracks as fossils would have required mineral-laden mud and sudden burial of the pressed imprints. The surging waters rising during the first five months of the Flood would have brought mineral-rich ocean water and sediment inland, making a muddy place for creatures to press their prints as they fled the waters. Subsequent surges would have hauled in sediment to rapidly bury the prints and press the water from the cement-like mud.
The layers in the geologic column, several of which are represented in the film, tell the story of the order of burial as creatures were overcome by rising Floodwaters about 4,300 years ago. The geologic column is a timeline, but one representing months, not millions of years. And the tracks we see preserved in its layers are largely the result of animals fleeing rising water. So, while the stampede recorded at Lark Quarry may have been produced by skittish dinosaurs fleeing a “big, scary” dinosaur during the time Noahic floodwaters were rising, it may as likely represent a panic-stricken group of dinosaurs fleeing those very waters.
Those dinosaurs could not escape from the judgment that fell on the earth as a result of mankind’s rebellion against God. But man has a way to escape the judgment we all deserve for our rebellion. In the days of Noah, only eight people (1 Peter 3:20) availed themselves of God’s mercy. Today, the grace of God still beckons us to flee the judgment to come. The dinosaur stampede at Lark Quarry and the ripples and tracks at Red Gulch and Cameros Basin do have a story to tell. They should remind us of the stark reality of judgment and the importance of receiving God’s grace while we can.
Read more about that grace through Christ.
Cambrian secrets of small beginnings
Darwin was troubled by the sudden appearance of multicellular organisms “in the lowest known fossiliferous rocks”—the Cambrian explosion. He “argued that the incompleteness of the fossil record gives the illusion of an explosive event, but with the eventual discovery of older and better-preserved rocks, the ancestors of these Cambrian taxa would be found.”7 Since the fossil record has failed to provide sufficient ancestral forms, the magical world of mathematics has stepped in to fill the gap, giving new significance to Precambrian microfossils.
In Darwin’s view, Precambrian rocks contained no fossils. Evolutionary scientists have not thought that the Precambrian microfossils discovered since Darwin’s day are ancestrally sufficient to explain the diverse multitude of Cambrian creatures. Because evolutionists believe life evolved in a series of small steps over millions of years, the missing ancestors represent a real conundrum.
An international team of researchers has been crunching numbers from both paleontology and molecular genetics to solve this age-old mystery. They say they’ve found the secret of the Cambrian “illusion.”
Using a divide-and-conquer approach, half of these paleo-detectives analyzed the “precise temporal framework”7 of the fossil record while the other half collated data drawn from a “rigorous understanding of the phylogenetic relationships”7 between extant and fossilized organisms and “their dates of origin.”7 When they compared notes, they found “the basic genetic components for the organisms that seemingly sprang into existence during the Cambrian period were in place long before the fossil records show.” They calculated these genes got the jump on the Cambrian fossils by 200 million years.
And where were these genes lurking? In those Precambrian microfossils! “The unavoidable conclusion from the molecular record is that precambrian animals are largely stem lineages leading to extant phyla.”7 This “macroevolutionary lag”,7 they write, lasted until ecological conditions adjusted to the influences these primordial life-forms were having on the earth and also until regulatory genes could evolve. Since similar protein molecules appear in multiple organisms, the researchers believe regulatory genes to individualize protein expression had to evolve just prior to the evolution of diverse multicellular life-forms.
The only way to distinguish “evolutionary origins from geological first appearances . . . is to use a molecular clock,”7 the team writes. While asserting the molecular clock distinguishes between the two halves of “the fossils-and-genes crowd,”8 both groups are really using information built on the same assumptions. The results, therefore, give the illusion of remarkable precision in their correlation of data, but those data consist of numbers all drawn from the same source. What the researchers have built is an elaborate system of statistical circular reasoning.
A 2004 study published in Trends in Genetics details how molecular clocks offer an “illusion of precision . . . achieved mainly through the conversion of statistical estimates (which by definition possess standard errors, ranges, and confidence intervals) into errorless numbers. By employing such techniques successively, the time estimates of even the most ancient divergence events were made to look deceptively precise.”9 The product of such molecular clock calculations has been “an exhaustive evolutionary timeline that is enticing but totally imaginary.” 10
Molecular clocks, built on the assumption that mutation rates have remained constant, are correlated with radiometric dating methods. In fact, they actually hinge on “a single calibration point that has been unjustly denuded of error.”9 Such methods do not provide the promised “precise temporal framework.” Instead, they are built on unverifiable uniformitarian assumptions that ignore changes in earth’s history, particularly the catastrophic influence of the global Flood on geology. And even if those dating assumptions were true, “no geological dating is without error.”10 Statistical mismanagement of such dates has built a molecular clock database on shaky sand.
Furthermore, the demand for evolutionary ancestors assumes that one kind of organism can accumulate information through mutations and evolve into another kind of organism. However, mutations involve a loss of information. Indeed, a 2010 study in Trends in Genetics points out that “most studies of recent evolution involve the loss of traits, and we still understand little of the genetic changes needed in the origin of novel traits.”11
Since this secret to the Cambrian mystery is the real illusion, we need to look elsewhere to explain the sudden change between the Precambrian and Cambrian rocks. The answer is in Genesis. God created all kinds of living things during Creation Week and designed each to reproduce after its kind, not to evolve into new kinds. Most creationist geologists believe the Precambrian rock layers were present prior to the global Flood. The upheavals of the Flood then buried countless marine invertebrates as the first impact of God’s catastrophic judgment, trapping them in the sediments now making up the Cambrian layers. The secret of the Cambrian explosion has been available in the Bible all along.
Creationists accused of conspiring to create intellectual prisoners.
In the wake of a statement that the U.K. education secretary “will not accept any academy or free school proposal which plans to teach creationism in the science curriculum or as an alternative to accepted scientific theories,”12 some citizens have been expressing their opinions in video clips aired after the evening news in the U.K. on 4ThoughtTV. Their topic: “Should creationism be taught in schools?” Philosophy lecturer Stephen Law has made vociferous accusations there, offering curious criteria for mental illness.
Law, who calls creationism “pernicious scientific nonsense,” considers his discovery of one public school science teacher who held “such an extraordinary view” as evidence that creationism is insidiously “creeping into the British school system.” The teacher’s views were a surprise to fellow teachers, so it seems the teacher’s extraordinary views hadn’t crept too far. But Law, apparently claiming omniscience regarding earth’s origins, says, “Teaching creationism in any class as fact is to teach children things which we know not to be true.”
Curiously, creationists who have spoken on this Moral and Ethical Opinions feature (and whose TV spots are all linked online) do not ask that creationism be taught as fact but that it be open for discussion. Even evolutionist Michael Reiss, featured in one of the spots, favors discussion of the subject in schools, if only to allow exposure to how other people think while explaining why creationism is wrong.
Raising the alarm lest children be “sucked into belief systems which are utterly absurd,” Law considers creationists to be conspiracy theorists who go about “convinced that everyone else is wrong and they are right.” He warns that once someone gets “sucked into that kind of belief system, they’re never coming out. It makes them intellectual prisoners, and they become intellectually unreachable.” In fact, he adds, they begin thinking in ways that are “symptomatic of mental illness.”
Another of the 4Thought speakers considers creationism to be unscientific because it is not falsifiable. Yet evolutionism suffers from the same problem. Neither creationism nor evolutionism can form testable hypotheses falsifiable by observable science. Why? Because the origin has already happened and cannot be undone, rewound, observed, and tested in a controlled fashion.
According to Law, anyone convinced he’s right and others are wrong thinks like a mentally ill person. So now, because we dare to think we’re right, our thought processes have gone beyond the reach of intellectual reason as we’ve been sucked into mental illness. But don’t evolutionists generally think they are right too? Law himself declares what he knows to be true. Even outspoken evolutionist Richard Dawkins, in reference to the evolutionary explanation of human origins, has said, “We don’t need evidence. We know it to be true.”13 Wouldn’t that make evolutionists mentally ill too?
No, both evolutionists and biblical creationists have a faith. Faith is “evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1).“By faith we [biblical creationists] understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible” (Hebrews 11:3). Neither evolutionists nor creationists saw the origin of the universe. Biblical creationists believe God created the way He said He did. Evolutionists believe ideas of man’s invention. But neither was there to see it. (At the same time, we would argue that what we see and experience in the world only makes sense—and can only be truly understood—in light of the Bible.)
One law of logic declares that contradictory things cannot be true at the same time. To believe that you are right about something does not suggest mental illness. We as creationists believe God’s eyewitness account of Creation. If we were to say that we believed God did as He said and at the same time say that He might not have, then we would be illogical.
Answers in Genesis has never suggested teachers of any persuasion be forced to teach creationism but rather has always maintained students and teachers should have academic freedom to critically examine scientific facts and the worldviews by which they are interpreted. Learning to exercise discernment when presented with facts and interpretations frees the intellect, not imprisons it.
Be sure to watch the articulate young man in www.4thought.tv/themes/should-creationism-be-taught-in-schools/sam-scott-perry.
Remember, if you see a news story that might merit some attention, let us know about it! (Note: if the story originates from the Associated Press, Fox News, MSNBC, the New York Times, or another major national media outlet, we will most likely have already heard about it.) And thanks to all of our readers who have submitted great news tips to us. If you didn’t catch last week’s News to Note, why not take a look at it now? See you next week!
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