Monthly Archives: November 2011

Time to Set the Rapture Straight

Many Christians have been taught that there will be a “Rapture” before the earth is subjected to a tribulation period, which ultimately leads to the end of the world (i.e. Apocalypse). The word “rapture” is not found in the bible and originates from the expression to “be caught away” found in 1 Thessalonians 4:17.

Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. 1 Thessalonians 4:17 (KJV)

The roots of the pre-tribulation Rapture concept can be traced back to the early 1800s, where it gained momentum through John Nelson Darby and became mainstream thinking among many Protestant evangelical Christians. Prior to this time, no one had even heard of this pre-tribulation Rapture (or “Secret Rapture”) idea. It’s time to go back to basics in what the Word of God says.

If the reader is willing to objectively review the scriptures, he/she may be surprised that the bible clearly falsifies this doctrine. It’s very important that one studies the scripture not to prove what he/she has been taught, but to evaluate if what he/she has been taught aligns with the truth in the scriptures.

First of all, the return of Christ will be no secret; everyone will see Him.

30“At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. 31And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other. Matthew 24:30-31 (NIV)

In 1 Thessalonians, Paul the Apostle provides further detail on this event when believers will be united with Christ at the time of His return.

14For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. 15For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. 16For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. 1 Thessalonians 4:14-17 (KJV)

First, Christ will arrive with (a) a shout, (b) the voice of the archangel and (c) the trump of God. Second, the dead in Christ shall rise first. Third, [Christians] which are alive will be caught up to meet the Lord.

The shout, voice of the archangel and trumpet are described in Revelation.

1Then I saw another mighty angel coming down from heaven… 2He planted his right foot on the sea and his left foot on the land, 3and he gave a loud shout like the roar of a lion… 5Then the angel I had seen standing on the sea and on the land raised his right hand to heaven… 6and said, “There will be no more delay! 7But in the days when the seventh angel is about to sound his trumpet, the mystery of God will be accomplished, just as he announced to his servants the prophets.” Revelation 10:1-7 (NIV)

15The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said: “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign for ever and ever.” Revelation 11:15 (NIV)

At the moment the seventh trumpet is sounded, Christ returns to establish His kingdom on Earth and the dead believers are resurrected.

The resurrection of the “dead in Christ” is described in Revelation.

4I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony for Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or his image and had not received his mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years. 5(The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) This is the first resurrection. Revelation 20:4-5

The resurrection of the “dead in Christ” occurs at Christ’s return and after the tribulation period. Any Christians that are still alive after the tribulation period will also be united with Christ at this time. Consider that if the “Rapture” occurred before the tribulation period, the “dead in Christ” would rise and, together with the living Christians, be united with Christ. The resurrection of those that become Christians during the tribulation period and are killed (described above) would, therefore, be a second resurrection. A second resurrection at this time contradicts the scriptures.

The scriptures are clear and one must be careful to heed the words of John the Apostle when he says,

18I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book. 19And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book. Revelation 22:18

There are many other scriptures in the Old and New Testaments with the theme of enduring tribulation followed by the Lord’s deliverance. All scriptures are synchronized to the same message that we are lost without God, are delivered through Jesus, and must be willing to follow Him unto death.

Then [Jesus] said to them all: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. Luke 9:23 (NIV)

To fully appreciate the teachings of the scriptures, one must understand that Christians will endure the tribulation period unto death and Christ will return once to reunite with believers and rule the nations thereafter. The question is not “Will the Rapture occur before or after the tribulation?”, but rather “Are we prepared to faithfully and patiently endure the tribulation, even unto death?

Evolution: Complex Functions

In his day, Darwin’s ideas were revolutionary and could not be falsified with the vast amounts of scientific data that are so easily available today. Darwin admitted that there remained great gaps in his theory of transitional species when he said,

“But just in proportion as this process of extermination [natural selection] has acted on an enormous scale, so must the number of intermediate varieties, which have formerly existed, be truly enormous. Why then is not every geological formation and every stratum full of such intermediate links? Geology assuredly does not reveal any such finely graduated organic chain; and this, perhaps, is the most obvious and serious objection which can be urged against the theory. The explanation lies, as I believe, in the extreme imperfection of the geological record” (Darwin, 1998: 406).

However, he believed that these gaps would be compensated for after enough scientific data had been gathered. Sadly enough, that hope has failed and Humanity is left with even more perplexing questions regarding human evolution. Michael Behe, Ph.D. and Professor of Biochemistry at Lehigh University, has embarked on an in-depth study of the biochemical processes that regulate the human body. He has summarized some of his work in his book entitled, Darwin’s Black Box. The term “black box;” has effectively been used to illustrate his point of the many assumptions Darwin made without examining the fine details. A “black box” is used to represent a process where the box receives input and produces output, but the contents and workings inside the box are unknown. This symbolic representation is often used in engineering when only the input and output are needed. However, when dealing with the science of evolutionary processes, the complete understanding down to the smallest molecule is required to sufficiently support the notion that life has evolved through eons of time to the present complexity demonstrated in the human body. In the 1800′s, Darwin and his associates were unable to investigate these details of bodily functions, but since the invention of the electron microscope, these details have been unmasked. For brevity, two examples of the human molecular operations at the cellular level will be examined which clearly run the theories of neo-Darwinian evolution aground. They are the minimum requirements for the functionality of the human cilium and the clotting of the human blood.
Behe first introduces his argument regarding irreducibly complex systems and minimal function with the following definition.

“By irreducibly complex I mean a single system composed of several well-matched, interacting parts that contribute to the basic function, wherein the removal of any one of the parts causes the system to effectively cease functionality. An irreducibly complex system cannot be produced directly… by slight, successive modifications of a precursor system, because any precursor to an irreducibly complex system that is missing a part is by definition nonfunctional. An irreducibly complex biological system, if there is such a thing, would be a powerful challenge to Darwinian evolution. Since natural selection can only choose systems that are already working, then if a biological system cannot be produced gradually it would have to arise as an integrated unit, in one fell swoop, for natural selection to have anything to act on” (Behe, 1996:39).

Behe continues with the distinction between necessary and sufficient conditions required for a functioning system. An irreducibly complex system is necessary to perform a given function, but it is not sufficient. The materials, parts, components, etc. that make up the irreducibly complex system may be available in different qualities, sizes, properties, but only a precise combination of these components may merit a sufficient condition for system functionality.

“In order to be a candidate for natural selection a system must have minimal function: the ability to accomplish a task in physically realistic circumstances… but even complex machines that do what they are supposed to do may not be of much use… Nonetheless, minimal function is critical in the evolution of biological structures… Irreducibly complex systems are nasty roadblocks for Darwinian evolution; the need for minimal function greatly exacerbates the dilemma” (Behe, 1996:45-46).

To summarize, a system is functional if it meets the necessary condition that it contains all the irreducibly complex components and it meets the sufficient condition that it performs the minimal function. After examining the following biochemical examples, Darwin’s suggestion that “[if] it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down” (Darwin, 1998:232) becomes reality.
The human cilium “is a structure that, crudely put, looks like a hair and beats like whip” (Behe, 1996:59). The cilium is used to transport liquid over the surface of a stationary cell, or when free to move acts as an oar to propel the cell forward. This cellular operation has a very complicated and detailed structure. As space does not permit a thorough biochemical explanation in this article, the reader is encouraged to research this structure separately. Behe sums up the problem in the following.

“Ciliary motion certainly requires microtubules; otherwise, there would be no strands to slide. Additionally it requires a motor, or else the microtubules of the cilium would lie stiff and motionless. Furthermore, it requires linkers to tug on the neighboring strands, converting the sliding motion into a bending motion, and preventing the structure from falling apart. All of these parts are required to perform one function: ciliary motion… The complexity of the cilium… is inherent in the task itself… The question is, how did the cilium arise?” (Behe, 1996:65-65).

This structure and system as described by Behe is an irreducibly complex system with minimal function. After performing a thorough investigation as to the possible evolutionary steps which resulted in the formation of this system, Behe concludes that no one knows how this system came to be through evolutionary steps. If only one part of this system is missing, the system is functionless and there is no advantage or disadvantage in the remaining parts. Thus, nature has nothing to select to bring about this ciliary system. There has been an enormous increase in the knowledge of how the cilium works, but many people have falsely assumed that if they don’t know how it evolved, surely someone else does. This, in fact, is not the case. The evolution of the cilium is a mystery to science. No one can suggest even a possible route of development, much less demonstrate scientifically plausible processes. This swimming machine is but one of the many biochemical machines for which evolution offers no explanation as to origins. If Darwin had been aware of these drastic objections to his theory, he surely would have questioned the validity of it. The cilium is not an organ, per say, in the human body—as organ development was the perspective Darwin had—but is a very small and complicated machine available in many cells that make up the organs.
The clotting mechanism in the human blood stream is a breathtaking operation to study and difficult to fully grasp. There are so many intertwined chemicals and reactions that constitute a fully functioning blood clotting mechanism. The reader is again encouraged to research the blood clotting process in the human body separately for a thorough comprehension of its complexity. Behe states that,

“…when a person suffers a cut it ordinarily bleeds for only a short time before a clot stops the flow; the clot eventually hardens, and the cut heals over… Biochemical investigation, however, has shown that the blood clotting is a very complex, intricately woven system consisting of a score of interdependent protein parts. The absence of, or significant defects in, any one of a number of the components causes the system to fail: blood does not clot at a proper time or at the proper place” (Behe, 1996:78).

If the blood does not clot in the correct place, a person may suffer severe problems in blood supply to other parts of the body; if the clot does not occur at the correct time, a person may continue to hemorrhage and death may result. Either of these failures has a detrimental effect on the human body and if the blood clotting mechanism were anything but fully functional, there would be no means in which nature could select its gradual progression to its present state. Blood clotting is an irreducibly complex system. If any of the components involved (i.e. fibrinogen, prothrombin, Stuart factor, proaccelerin and their many chemical forms) is missing, the system ceases to function. Gradual progression through incremental steps is impossible as far as neo-Darwinian theory is concerned. “There are other ways to stop blood flow from wounds, but those ways are not step-by-step precursors to the clotting cascade. For example, the body can constrict blood vessels near a cut to help stanch blood flow” (Behe, 1996:86). On blood clotting, Behe concludes with the fittingly remarks.

“The discussion is meant simply to illustrate the enormous difficulty (indeed, the apparent impossibility) of a problem that has resisted the determined efforts of a top-notch scientist [Russell Doolittle, Harvard Ph.D., professor of biochemistry at the Center for Molecular Genetics, University of California] for four decades. Blood coagulation is a paradigm of the staggering complexity that underlies even apparently simple bodily processes. Faced with such complexity beneath even simple phenomena, Darwinian theory falls silent” (Behe, 1996:97).

These two examples of biochemical challenges to the neo-Darwinian theory of evolution are a mere fragment of the total volume of biochemical irreducibly complex machines, which possess highly specialized components to perform the minimal functions required by the organism. There is absolutely no concrete evidence for gradual progression of these irreducibly complex systems—from the base elements to the current specialized forms—and no scientist has been able to explain, on scientific terms, the means by which natural selection, as described by Darwin, could have acted on the initial system to perfect it to its present finely-tuned state.

Behe, Michael J. Darwin’s Black Box. New York, NY: Touchstone Rochefeller Center, 1996.

Darwin, Charles. The Origin of Species. Modern Library ed. Toronto, Ontario: Random House of Canada Limited, 1998.

Evolution: What are the Chances?

One should expect that common sense alone would convince a scientist to reject the notion of evolution; however, empirical evidence is necessary for concrete falsification. Through logical reasoning of cause and effect in accordance with mathematical probability calculations, one may determine the zero percent chance of any occurrence of evolution.

The French expert on probability, Emile Borel, developed the “single law of chance” (Ankerberg & Weldon, 1998: 183). Any process or entity having a probability of existence lower than 1 chance in 1050 is said to never occur. This denominator is incredibly large, but for the benefit of evolutionary theory, it will be used as an example to logically falsify the possibility of any evolutionary process. David J. Rodabaugh, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Mathematics at the University of Missouri, explained that “the probability that a simple living organism could be produced by mutations ‘is so small as to constitute a scientific impossibility’—the chance that it could have happened ‘anywhere in the universe…is less than 1 [chance] in 102,999,942’” (Ankerberg & Weldon, 1998: 182). This probability is 102,999,892 smaller than the “single law of chance” and therefore, must be treated as strictly impossible. For a slight comprehension as to the magnitude of this small possibility, Ankerberg and Weldon write, “A picosecond is one-trillionth of a second. In 15 billion years, there are 1030 picoseconds” (Ankerberg & Weldon, 1998: 185). The age of the earth proposed by evolutionary theory is only 5 billion years. Surely, an evolutionary event with a probability less than 1 in 1050 is proof enough of the irrationality of evolutionary theory.

Evolutionary theory misinterprets mathematical principles. If there is a one in a million chance of an amino acid forming from a rich broth of organic chemicals in one year, and these chemicals were present for 1 million years, there is no greater possibility of that amino acid forming in the first year than there is in the millionth year. The probability of forming that acid in one particular year is completely independent of the number of years that have passed, during which it had not formed. The product of chance and time does not equal creation. The chance of one reaction occurring is not catalyzed by a vast span of time. “Natural operations proceed in a direction of greatest probability”—toward greatest disorder (Williams, 1981: 19).

Ankerberg, John; Weldon, John. Darwin’s Leap of Faith. Eugene, Oregon: Harvest House Publishers, 1998.

Williams, Emmett L. Thermodynamics and the Development of Order. Kansas City, MO: Creation Research Society Books, 1981.