The Pastor’s Corner is written by the pastor of Coronado Bible Church.

Deafening Pride

On my way through Las Bougainvilleas neighborhood in Coronado, I noticed Calle De Lesseps. I don’t know if it was meant to be a joke, but the road is a very short cul-de-sac. It accesses all of three homes.

If you’re not familiar with Canal history, Ferdinand de Lesseps was the French diplomat and developer who began … but could not finish the Panama Canal. He dug a very short cul-de-sac of a ditch that destroyed fortunes and buried 20,000 Frenchmen.

This astonishing failure of such a national hero shocked all of France, especially de Lesseps himself. He was a giant to the public and considered himself an unstoppable force.

He had already done what the world said could not be done by constructing the Suez Canal. The much shorter trade route between Europe and East Asia opened in 1869, ahead of schedule and below budget. But the very success that drove de Lesseps towards greater things was also his undoing.

David McCullough in, The Path Between the Seas, paints a picture of Ferdinand as a man deafened by pride. He consulted the world’s best engineers (Eiffel for one) and then discarded their advice to use a system of locks. De Lesseps mantra became, “A sea level canal or no canal at all.” It turned out to be a self-fulfilling prophecy. For Ferdinand there would be no canal, only failure and infamy.

King Rehoboam, faltered at the beginning of his reign, but found success when he followed the Lord. But that success went to his head. 2 Chronicles 12:1 records, “After Rehoboam’s position as king was established and he had become strong, he and all Israel with him abandoned the law of the LORD.”

King Hezekiah, one of Judah’s best rulers, also succumbed to pride. “In those days Hezekiah became ill and was at the point of death. He prayed to the Lord, who answered him and gave him a miraculous sign. But Hezekiah’s heart was proud and he did not respond to the kindness shown him; therefore the Lord’s wrath was on him and on Judah and Jerusalem.” 2 Chronicles 32:24-26

Unfortunately, there are many ancient and contemporary examples of men and women destroyed by pride in the second half of their life. If you want to finish well, remain humble before God and cultivate a heart that praises Him for all success and blessing.
 
The Holy Bible: New International Version. (1984). (2 Ch 12:1). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.
 
 


A Priori

Current genetic research traces all men and women currently living on the planet back to one male and one female ancestor. And yet … many scientists scoff at the Biblical narrative concerning God’s creation of Adam and Eve. I ended last week by asking, “Do scientists who reject the Biblical narrative do so based solely on “evidence” or is there an a priori reason.”

If you’re not familiar with the term “a priori” it’s Latin and literally means, “from what comes before.” It is knowledge or belief that comes apart from experience or tangible evidence. It is derived solely through deduction, rather than experience or hard data. Here’s how a priori reasoning might predispose a person to embrace atheistic or evolutionary dogma.

  • If there is a creator (God) there might be an objective standard of truth.
  • If there is an objective standard of truth my actions may be judged according to that standard.
  • That possibility is too morally confining or too frightening … therefore,
  • There is no creator (God).

Once this line of reasoning is present in a person’s thinking (even subconsciously), it makes it nearly impossible to see evidence of design or purpose as evidence for God. In fact, design and purpose are technically impossible in the atheistic evolutionary worldview. Evolutionists proclaim the case is closed on the Creator. But for many, the case was decided outside of the laboratory or the fossil bed … it was decided in their heart. Some are honest enough to out their own deductive bias. In one article clearly antagonistic to Christianity, the author exposed one of his a prior reasons for being an evolutionist, “I, for one, refuse to believe that I am just a primate born inherently sinful.” The problem he refuses to see is the problem that blinds him to truth.

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 1 John 1:8
 
 
 


Scientific or Genetic Adam

“In human genetics, the Y-chromosomal most recent common ancestor (Y-MRCA, informally known as Y-chromosomal Adam) is the most recent common ancestor (MRCA) from whom all currently living men are descended patrilineally. The term Y-MRCA reflects the fact that the Y chromosomes of all currently living males are directly derived from the Y chromosome of this remote ancestor.” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Y-chromosomal_Adam)

Okay … that was a mouthful, but did you catch the gist? Modern genetics accepts that “all currently living males” are descended from one common male progenitor. A plethora of articles refer to him as Scientific Adam or Genetic Adam. Similar articles discuss Mitochondrial Eve. Though it’s much harder to track genetic succession through the mother’s mitochondria, many scientists are convinced they have traced all living women back to one ancestor. Of course, most geneticists are only tracing these lines back to the “emergence of anatomically modern humans.” They believe that our common ancestors arose from humanoids of inferior evolutionary development. This belief is necessitated in their materialistic, closed-universe worldview.

As I’ve read through articles about our genetic parents, every article goes to great pains to state upfront that this cannot be evidence in support of the Biblical Adam and Eve. So every living man and woman on the planet can be scientifically traced to two progenitors, but the Genesis account must be a “myth.” Romans 1:18–20 comes forcefully to mind,

The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.

Do scientists who reject the Biblical narrative do so based solely on “evidence” or is there an a priori reason. Tune in next week. 
 
 


Study Finds …

“Creationists and conspiracy theorist share the same cognitive error.” As a person of faith, headlines like that grab my attention. I’m not a conspiracist … but I am a creationist. I see evidence everywhere that a masterful, all-powerful designer engineered and created this amazing cosmos we live in. I wondered what my “cognitive error” might be. A recent study by the University of Fribourg has kindly identified my mental deficiency as “teleological thinking.” And the authors of the study do believe it is a cognitive deficiency. Here are a few quotes …
  • “This kind of thinking leaves people prone to some grossly erroneous beliefs”
  • “Such thinkers are often ill-equipped to comprehend basic scientific facts.”
  • “This type of thinking is anathema to scientific reasoning and especially evolutionary theory

So what is this awful aberration known as teleological thinking? According to the Fribourg study, “a powerful cognitive bias which entails the perception of final causes and overriding purpose in naturally occurring events and entities.” In other words, if you believe that there is a creator, purpose or goal to our universe, you are guilty of erroneous thinking.

It’s interesting that the researchers identify this as “a powerful cognitive bias.” In fact, at one point they accuse creationist of “confirmation bias” … the tendency to interpret new evidence as validation of one’s existing beliefs or theories.”

So, a group of people who have decided that a Creator cannot possibly exist and that there is no ultimate purpose to the universe … do a study “revealing” that everyone who interprets the evidence differently is guilty of fallacious thinking? Evolutionary theorists have closed the door on any meaningful debate and labeled all dissenters as mentally deficient … or willfully blind. Their stance is indeed a powerful cognitive bias, one that is anathema to scientific reasoning. Read carefully, think deeply, respectfully challenge unconfessed bias and non sequitur reasoning. Don’t be bullied into silence … or out of your faith.

By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible. And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who seek Him. Hebrews 11:3,6
 
 


What’s new?

I’m a child of my age when it comes to technology … always fascinated with what’s just around the corner. I’m a combination of a very technically minded father and an extremely imaginative mother. Even so, I never dreamt of the kind of technology contained in my cellphone. I never would have believed that computers would exist that could pick my face out of crowd or listen to and translate what I’m saying into another language.

Or what about this? A neuroscientist and biomedical engineer (Theodore Berger) at the University of Southern California in LA has designed silicon chips that mimic the signal processing that neurons use to create memories. He and his research team have proven that “silicon chips externally connected to rat and monkey brains can process information just like actual neurons.” That’s the plot for a Saturday Sci-fi flick right?

How about this one? “General Electric is making a radical departure from the way it has traditionally manufactured things. Its aviation division is preparing to produce a fuel nozzle for a new aircraft engine using a sophisticated printer.” You’ll excuse me if I don’t want to be on the test flight.

So … what’s new? Is it even possible to keep up with the answer to the question? But ask me about the most extraordinary, shocking, revolutionary news I’ve ever heard … and I have to look backward, not into the future. Two-thousand plus years ago, God became man, lived among us and died in our place to remove the sin-guilt of all humanity. How could any news be more radical? And … for all the hype we give to the latest results of human intelligence, it will never produce better news!

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.    (John 1:14)

 
 See Philippians 2 for more scripture regarding Christ’s humanity.
 
 
(Reprinted from March 9, 2014)