Category Archives: Scripture

Not to be Served, But Serve

You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your servant — just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.

Jesus of Nazareth, Gospel of Matthew 20:25-28

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ἐνδυναμόω (verb)

en-dü-nä-mo’-ō — From ἐν (G1722) and δυναμόω (G1412)

The KJV translates Strong’s G1743 in the following manner: be strong (3x), strengthen (2x), increase in strength (1x), enable (1x), be made strong (1x).

  1. to be strong, endue with strength, strengthen;

  2. to receive strength, be strengthened, increase in strength;

  3. in a bad sense: be bold, headstrong.

STRONGS NT – 1743ἐνδυναμόω

ἐνδυναμόωἐνδυνάμω; 1 aorist ἐνεδυναμωσα; passive (present imperative 2 person singular ἐνδυναμοῦ, 2 person plural ἐνδυναμοῦσθε); imperfect 3 person singular ἐνεδυναμοῦτο; 1 aorist ἐνεδυναμωθην; (from ἐνδυναμος equivalent to ἐν δυνάμει ὤν); to make strong, endue with strength, strengthenτιναPhilippians 4:131 Timothy 1:122 Timothy 4:17; passively, to receive strength, be strengthened, increase in strengthActs 9:22ἐν τίνι, in anything, 2 Timothy 2:1ἐν κυρίῳ in union with the Lord, Ephesians 6:10; with the dative of respect, τῇ πίστειRomans 4:20ἀπό ἀσθενείας, to recover strength from weakness or disease, Hebrews 11:34 R G; (in a bad sense, be bold, headstrong, Psalm 51:9 ( Ps. 52:9); (Judges 6:34 Alex.Ald.Complutensian1 Chronicles 12:18 Alex.Genesis 7:20 Aq.); elsewhere only in ecclesiastical writings).

Beyond Eden

725,324 days ago we got all the solutions to all the problems.

That equals 17,407,776 hours; or 1,044,466,560 minutes; or 62,667,993,600 seconds.

That’s right: 1,985 years, 10 months and 12 days ago we got all the answers to sexism, racism, slavery, imperialism, colonialism, totalitarianism, ecology and the environment, finance, government, society, justice, propriety, science, tradition, hope, joy, love, family, faith and all the rest.

Even War.

20 centuries later, we are only now beginning to realize the futurist gleam of the greatest life ever lived, and the great document that recorded that life: an entire testament dedicated just to you.

Despite what Disney and so many others would have you believe, these solutions are eternal. Why? Because at the core of all these injustices and errors — is Man and his endless generations.

And the core of Man is his heart.

No, not his mind — his heart.

Technology is born of science, and science can only master the material world simply because matter and energy cannot change their mind. Man can change his mind, yes, but his heart often seems far colder than his thoughts.

Exactly what “past” is it Disney is trying to get you to “move on” from?

  • Are you still wearing powdered wigs?
  • Still coming to work in a horse-drawn carriage?
  • Are you making all your clothes on a loom?
  • Lose a few beads on your abacus?
  • Broke a wooden wheel on your chariot?
  • Can’t figure out your butter churn?
  • Haven’t oiled your gladius in a while?
  • Having to write down your thoughts on parchment or lamb’s skin?

No, you’re not.

Everyone has already moved on from the past — that’s exactly why it’s called the “past.”

The Amish and all those Stone Age tribes in the Amazon (or anywhere else) have chosen to live in the past, but the present is certainly available to them.

No, there is only One Past so many want you to abandon simply because it is one thing that has survived to the present… and it will survive into the future.

Do you know why?

It is eternal.

Guess what a synonym for eternal is?

Indestructible.

The past they want to destroy is indestructible and that is exactly why they are afraid of it.

And it is indestructible precisely because it is true.

So instead of trying to uproot this excellent part of our past — this singular inheritance, this unique love letter – why don’t we start living up to it?

All our problems (locally, nationally, globally) exist only because so many of us have not changed our hearts.

There is only one eternal image, one indestructible icon, you should be concerning yourself with.

Reject it, and you will remain trapped in the very wreckage of the world you so wish “someone, somewhere” could fix. And you will definitely find someone to blame, I can assure you. Of course, you’ll exonerate yourself.

As for Disney, I can assure you they will not fix it. Neither will Google nor Facebook repair it. Their profits are in line with their invasive and overbearing wills and desire the world remain separated from its indestructible past.

Well, that past is yours: eternal, indestructible, and true.

It is their past too. In fact, it belongs to everyone, but so many would rather shake their fists at an imaginary enemy than open their hand to new friends and family.

Put on this one image, this one icon, this Everlasting Man, and you will have Eden within the reach of your arm.

And everyone in Eden is family.

It’s the better deal.

It’s the better you.

Happy Valentine’s Day from Your Creator

The whole universe and everything within it is God’s special love letter to you, me, and every other member of the human race. I have written about these love letters in previous web articles and in my book, Improbable Planet.1 Here are a few of my favorites with brief descriptions (most of the photos come from my nature excursions) and links for those of you who want to explore more fully the depths of God’s love:

1. Flowers: Flowers are not just for romance. Our very existence would be impossible without flowering plants. Without them we would lack the rainfall we need for global civilization. Without flowering plants Earth’s surface would be too hot for human existence. Without flowering plants there would be a catastrophic drop in the number of plants and other species Earth could sustain. We would lack the food we need. Flowers show us how carefully, generously, and beautifully God designed Earth and all its life for our specific benefit.2

2. Whales: Whales efficiently fertilize the photic zone of the world’s oceans, thereby greatly increasing the abundance of phytoplankton. This great abundance of phytoplankton sustains enormous stocks of fish that we are able to harvest for nutritious food. Furthermore, the great abundance of phytoplankton removes greenhouse gases from our atmosphere, which makes Earth’s surface cool enough for our existence.3 Whales also are fun for us to watch.

3. BeaversBeavers do not exist simply to supply warm fur coats. Through their building of dams and lodges, beavers are one of the most important producers of valley sedimentation, wetlands, and wet meadows. These beaver construction projects enhance both the diversity and abundance of plant and animal species. They also help purify and oxygenate our lakes, rivers, and waterways. Busy beavers benefit all life and model for us an outstanding work ethic.4

4. Sulfate-reducing bacteria: For the first three billion years of life’s history on Earth, only microbes existed. During that time, Earth’s habitats were too toxic for animals. Thanks to over two billion years of sulfate-reducing bacteria transforming soluble metals into insoluble metals, Earth’s surface became a safe environment for life, where for each metal the amount in soluble form became optimal for animals.5 The concentrated insoluble metal ores produced by the sulfate-reducing bacteria made possible the launch of metallurgy and our high-technology civilization.

5. Cryptogamic crusts: The vascular plants that we depend on to feed ourselves and our animals need nutrient-rich, well-conditioned soils. It took over a billion years of complex ecosystems of microbes known as biological soil crusts or cryptogamic crusts to transform the barren chunks of silicates that comprised Earth’s early continents into rich, conditioned soil that allow vascular plants to live and thrive.6 God showed his love for us in that he made our planet “dirty”—comprised of the just-right kind of dirt.

6. Sand: Sand is essential for maintaining the texture and moisture retention of terrestrial soils that advanced plants require.7 It is also crucial for sustaining our civilization and technology.8 Earth did not start out with sand. God’s hand is evident in shaping Earth’s formation and history to ensure that the planet continuously possesses just-right geophysical and geochemical processes operating at just-right rates, times, and places to create an abundance of sand.

7. Falling leaves: Plots with the greatest quantity of leaf litter receive the greatest enrichment of inorganic nitrogen and nitrates—the keys to forest growth and health. Too much leaf litter, however, prevents seeds from gaining access to the soil. The fine-tuned abundance of leaf litter in Earth’s forests speaks of thoughtful, intentional, loving design.9

8. Wildfires: These events keep the leaf litter from accumulating to too great a degree. Wildfires also deposit charcoal into the soil, an important nutrient, conditioner, and aerator to enable vascular plants to thrive. God designed Earth’s atmosphere and Earth’s vegetation to give us the optimal number and intensity of wildfires.10

9. Merging neutron stars: Nearly all of half the elements heavier than iron are manufactured when two neutron stars merge together to become a black hole.11 These elements include platinum, gold, palladium, thorium, and uranium. Thanks to thorium and uranium, Earth has continents and a magnetic field that protects us from solar and cosmic radiation. Thanks to platinum, gold, palladium, and other elements manufactured by merging neutron stars, we can enjoy high-technology civilization. God showed his love by exposing Earth to neutron star merging events when it was forming but kept Earth very far away from these events during the epoch of advanced life.

10. Mountains: The diverse and variable diet of herbivores, and consequently of carnivores, is significantly higher in mountainous forests than it is in flat lowland plains. One of Earth’s miracles is its abundance and extent of mountain ranges and volcanoes. These mountains play a crucial role in enhancing rainfall and species diversity and in providing spectacular scenery for us to enjoy.12

These are just ten of the billions of Valentine’s cards God has sent us through what he has created and designed in the realm of nature. How can we not see and be grateful for his surpassing love for us?

Original article: Happy Valentine’s Day from the Creator

Of Death

Men fear death as children fear to go in the dark; and as that natural fear in children is increased with tales, so is the other. Certainly, the contemplation of death, as the wages of sin, and passage to another world, is holy and religious; but the fear of it, as a tribute due unto nature, is weak. Yet in religious meditations there is sometimes mixture of vanity and of superstition. You shall read in some of the friars’ books of mortification, that a man should think with himself, what the pain is, if he have but his finger’s end pressed or tortured; and thereby imagine what the pains of death are, when the whole body is corrupted and dissolved; when many times death passeth with less pain than the torture of a limb, for the most vital parts are not the quickest of sense. And by him that spake only as a philosopher and natural man, it was well said, “Pompa mortis magis terret, quam mors ipsa.” Groans and convulsions, and a discolored face, and friends weeping, and blacks and obsequies, and the like, show death terrible. It is worthy the observing, that there is no passion in the mind of man so weak, but it mates and masters the fear of death; and therefore death is no such terrible enemy when a man hath so many attendants about him that can win the combat of him. Revenge triumphs over death; love slights it; honor aspireth to it; grief flieth to it; fear preoccupateth it; nay, we read, after Otho the emperor had slain himself, pity (which is the tenderest of affections) provoked many to die out of mere compassion to their sovereign, and as the truest sort of followers. Nay, Seneca adds niceness and satiety: “Cogita quamdiu eadem feceris; mori velle, non tantum fortis, aut miser, sed etiam fastidiosus potest.” A man would die, though he were neither valiant nor miserable, only upon a weariness to do the same thing so oft over and over. It is no less worthy to observe, how little alteration in good spirits the approaches of death make: for they appear to be the same men till the last instant. Augustus Cæsar died in a compliment: “Livia, conjugii nostri memor, vive et vale.” Tiberius in dissimulation, as Tacitus saith of him, “Jam Tiberium vires et corpus, non dissimulatio, deserebant:” Vespasian in a jest, sittingupon the stool, “Ut puto Deus fio;” Galba with a sentence, “Feri, si ex re sit populi Romani,” holding forth his neck; Septimus Severus in dispatch, “Adeste, si quid mihi restat agendum,” and the like. Certainly, the Stoics bestowed too much cost upon death, and by their great preparations made it appear more fearful. Better, saith he, “qui finem vitæ extremum inter munera ponit naturæ.” It is as natural to die as to be born; and to a little infant, perhaps, the one is as painful as the other. He that dies in an earnest pursuit, is like one that is wounded in hot blood, who, for the time, scarce feels the hurt; and therefore a mind fixed and bent upon somewhat that is good, doth avert the dolors of death; but, above all, believe it, the sweetest canticle is “Nunc dimittis,” when a man hath obtained worthy ends and expectations. Death hath this also, that it openeth the gate to good fame, and extinguisheth envy: “Extinctus amabitur idem.”

Francis Bacon, Wisdom of the Ancients

Birth of Exomoon Astronomy

exomoon

Many eyes were trained toward the night skies with the recent, rare, super blue blood Moon. While such spectacular events in the solar system provide joy for laypeople, astronomers seek to find similar features—beginning with finding a moon—outside the solar system in ongoing efforts to detect conditions for life elsewhere.

An exomoon is a moon orbiting a planet outside our solar system. So far, astronomers have discovered and measured the characteristics of 3,728 planets outside the solar system.1 They have yet to make an undisputed detection of an exomoon.

An exomoon detection is imminent, however. Furthermore, astronomers have made sufficiently extensive observations to place meaningful limits on exomoon formation models. Such limits already are shedding light on moon design features that are critical for making life possible on a moon’s host planet.

In April of 2014 a paper was published in the Astrophysical Journal announcing the detection of a sub-Earth-mass moon orbiting a free-floating (detached from its host star) gas giant planet 3–4 times the mass of Jupiter.2 However, as the authors pointed out in their paper,3their detection also could be explained by a Neptune-mass planet orbiting a very low-mass red dwarf star. Thus, their exomoon identification was not definitive. They simply detected an exomoon candidate.

In the January 2018 issue of the Astronomical Journal, two Columbia University astronomers and a citizen amateur astronomer published a paper in which they announced the discovery of a much stronger exomoon candidate and placed a limit on the existence of analogs of Jupiter’s large moons (known as Galilean moons) orbiting exoplanets.4 This paper was the sixth in a series of papers published by the “Hunt for Exomoons with Kepler” (HEK) project. Kepler is the spacecraft dedicated to finding exoplanets by the transit method.

Exomoon Candidate

The exomoon candidate that the three astronomers found apparently is orbiting the gas giant planet Kepler-1625b. Kepler-1625b is between 5.9 and 11.7 times the mass of Jupiter and orbits its host star with a period of 287 days. The moon, if it proves to be real, is about the size of Neptune (17 Earth masses) and would be orbiting its host planet at a distance of about ten times the diameter of the host planet (about one million miles).

It is possible, however, that Kepler-1625b is more massive than 11.7 times Jupiter’s mass. In that case it might be a brown dwarf star instead of a gas giant planet. Then, the three astronomers would have discovered a planet orbiting a brown dwarf star rather than a moon orbiting a planet. The three astronomers have scheduled time on the Hubble Space Telescope to determine which of the two scenarios is correct.

Galilean Moons

The team selected 284 exoplanets for which astronomers had the highest quality measurements of their physical and orbital properties. They then stacked the data from a total of 6,096 transit events that astronomers had observed for these 284 planets. Next, they performed a rigorous statistical analysis to characterize the exomoon population for the sample of the 284 planets.

The statistical analysis yielded a strong upper limit on the exomoon population for planets orbiting their host stars as close or closer than Earth orbits the Sun. Moons, at least moons as large as the Galilean moons, orbiting such planets must be rare, if they exist at all. The team’s finding is consistent with theoretical work showing that when planets migrate inward toward their host stars any closer than Earth is to the Sun, they lose any moons that they might have possessed.5 Thus, the trio concluded that their finding indicates that a large majority of the 284 planets in their sample experienced substantial inward migration.

The paper published by the three astronomers gives the first significant findings from exomoon astronomy. Therefore, it is fair to say that the discipline of exomoon astronomy has been launched. It is also fair to say that these initial exomoon astronomy findings provide yet more evidence for the rare solar system doctrine. The findings make a yet stronger case that the solar system is rare, and likely unique, in its property that its planets experienced exactly the right amounts of inward and outward migration to make advanced life possible within the planetary system.6

Original article: Birth of Exomoon Astronomy