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Truth (Part One)

By Richard Gunther



Lemmings and Loose lips


In a perfect world there would not be any errors, mistakes, misleading statements, or traditions. The book you are about to read is an attempt to pull the truth out of the traditions, and bring us all nearer to what God actually says.

Friederich Wilhelm Nietzsche : "Every tradition grows ever more venerable - the more remote is its origin, the more confused that origin is. The reverence due to it increases from generation to generation. The tradition finally becomes holy and inspires awe."

Ralph Waldo Emerson : "Men grind and grind in the mill of a truism, and nothing comes out but what was put in. But the moment they desert the tradition for a spontaneous thought, then poetry, wit, hope, virtue, learning, anecdote, all flock to their aid."

I was brought up to believe that lemmings have sudden population explosions, and as a result they go running in their millions to the sea and drown themselves. For well over thirty years I never questioned the story. It came to me from the 'adult' world and was therefore reliable. I have now discovered that lemmings do not commit mass suicide.

The original view of the NZ moa was that it stood upright, with its head soaring above the tall grasses on a near-vertical neck, but now we are told that the neck bones were assembled the wrong way. The bird actually stooped.

It was once firmly believed by many scientists that there was intelligent, civilised life on Mars.

It was also believed that the solar system turned with the earth at its centre.

It was also believed that if a train went faster than a galloping horse, all the air would be sucked out of the carriages and the occupants would suffocate to death.

There are thousands of such misconceptions, errors, and traditional views, but truth has prevailed and most people now believe the revised information.

But there are always the people who want to hang on to errors. Like the Japanese soldier, who remained faithfully on the island he was ordered to guard, for forty years because he thought the war was still in progress, and had to be convinced by a letter from his emperor that the war was in fact over, there are people in the Church who hold tenaciously to errors, despite the fact that they have a letter from the emperor - the Bible - telling them that the facts are not as they believe them to be.

I was carrying a four-year old girl through a supermarket one day, when she became scared and told me not to go near the back rooms, because, she said, "that was where they cut up the children." I took the child to the doorway and let her see the plain, ordinary rooms. The truth set the child free and she was no longer afraid of those rooms.

Jesus said : "You make the commandment of God of no effect by your tradition!" In the context, he was speaking to the religious people, who had twisted the meaning of scripture to justify their sin. Jesus stripped away their hypocrisy. He wanted these people to do what the commandment said, not what they wanted it to say.

An example of how the truth can be twisted is found in a small book by Francis P. Martin, called 'Hung by the Tongue'

In the foreword by John F. Stephens, Ph.D. it is claimed that "all sickness is Satanic oppression Acts 10:38." , but the Bible actually says something different to this.

The verse which Mr. Stephens quotes actually says that Jesus "went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil . . ." Notice that the verse does NOT say that all sickness is caused by Satan.

The Bible says that sickness is a result of several causes.

1. The curse on Creation - Gen. 3. "In pain you shall bring forth children . . . Cursed is the ground . . . thorns and thistles." Dying and death came in because of sin.

2. Disobedience. If Israel obeyed God, God promised to defend them from the diseases common to Egypt . Ex. 15:26,27.

3. God. It was God who struck Moses with leprosy Ex.4:6. It was God who said "Who makes the mute, the deaf, the seeing, or the blind?" - Ex. 4:11. It was God who struck the cattle of Egypt with disease - Ex. 9:6 and the Egyptians with boils - 9:11.

4. Satan, with permission from God. Job 2:6,7, Luke 13:16, and 1 Tim. 1:20.

5. Ignorance or disregard of simple health rules. "There is death in the pot" - 2 Kings 4:40. "The law of the wise is a fountain of life, to turn one away from the snares of death." - Prov. 13:14.

Illness is a part of this age. It may be caused by inherited faulty genes, or environmental disruption, the repercussions of warfare, or foolishness. God allows it to occur for His own reasons, which we are not usually privy to.

(The man born blind - John 9 - the man was born blind not because his parents sinned, but for the glory of God, that the works of God should be revealed in him".

Timothy had frequent illnesses, for which a remedy was suggested by Paul : "Use a little wine for your stomach's sake and your frequent infirmities (illnesses)" 1 Tim.5:23.

Food, rather than God's power, is recommended for an aid to good health in Psalm 104:15 "Wine makes glad the heart of man, oil (makes) his face shine, and bread (strengthens) his heart."

James 5:13 - 16 is more about spiritual sins and the healing of a sin-scarred life, than physical sickness.

It is a gross overstatement to say that all sickness is caused by Satan. We need to have a wider, more balanced view, and accept that God is wiser and deeper than Man, and that His plans extend through time in so many ways, through so many generations, we can never hope to see the complete view of what He is doing. We need to see that life is more complex than it appears. Simplistic remedies often lead to despair - as in the case of the sincere Christian who slowly dies of cancer, despite having tremendous faith. There are many other causes (besides Satan) for the so-called bad things which happen to all of us through our lives.

Francis Martin begins his theme by quoting Prov. 23:7 "As a man thinks in his heart, so is he."

At first reading, this statement sounds like : 'Whatever you believe about yourself in your heart will come true in your life' - but the verse has been ripped in half! The whole verse is about the miserly person, who pretends to be generous, but who is really miserly underneath.

The whole passage starts in 6 and finishes in 8. What it means is "Don't waste your time with miserly people. They will pretend to be generous, but they will actually be counting the cost of everything they do." The effect of keeping company with hard, grudging, miserly people is negative. They will drag you down, waste your time, spoil your generous attitude, and use you as a pawn.

The LB says : "Don't associate with evil men; don't long for their favour and gifts. Their kindness is a trick; they want to use you as their pawn. The delicious food they serve will turn sour in your stomach and you will vomit it, and have to take back your words of appreciation for their "kindness." "

"As a man thinks in his heart, so is he" = as the miserly person thinks in his heart, so is he, though he may not appear to be like that outwardly.

Consequently, the verse quoted by Mr Martin, is not a "spiritual principle" as he claims, but rather a text pulled out of context.

There is almost no end to this kind of thing.


Knocking on doors and Mary


I think this question is fundamental to our lives as Christians. If we do not read the Bible and take what we read without adding or taking away from it, we will fall into the same errors which Jesus so roundly castigated the religious leaders for.

In the book of Revelation 3:20 we see a word-picture of Jesus standing at a door and knocking. This has been used in many ways to show how God knocks at the heart of a sinner, and that is fair enough. He does call sinners to repentance. But the truth of the verse is that Jesus is knocking at the door of the Church! The Christians have locked Jesus out! How can a church survive without the Founder and Creator of the Church? Logically, they cannot.

The main characteristic of the church behind the door is lukewarmness. To make something lukewarm, you mix hot with cold. The heat of God's truth has been adulterated with the coldness of . . . what? Traditions, rituals, ceremonies? You decide.

A dear Christian Bible-teacher I have spent many hours with had a catch-phrase which I have never forgotten. She would look straight at me and say "But what does it say?" That is a very good question. When we read the Bible, we must ask ourselves just what exactly are we reading? What precisely is God telling us?

For example, I was browsing through a beautifully illustrated Bible-story book when I came to the story of Elijah. Across one and a half pages was a wonderful picture of Elijah, sitting in a chariot, pulled by fiery horses, ascending into the sky. Elisha stood on the ground watching. The principle was OK. God took Elijah. But the method was not what the Bible said. 2 Kings 2:11 says "Then it happened, as they continued on and talked, that suddenly a chariot of fire appeared with horses of fire, and separated the two of them; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind . . ."

Does it matter? Of course it matters! The truth is the most important thing in the universe. Once a part of truth is lost or twisted, errors can grow, and the snow-balling effect occurs, until the original truth is totally buried.

Take the Roman Catholic doctrine of Mary. (The following is not aimed at offending Catholics - just an attempt to get the truth)

In general, Roman Catholics believe that

1. Mary was a virgin all her life

2. She was sinless

3. She was taken up into heaven (The assumption)

4. She intercedes in heaven on our behalf

5. She shares the throne of God with her son Jesus

6. She is to be venerated above all other women

The truth is quite different.

1. Mary had many children. This means that she could not possibly have remained a virgin. Mat. 13: 55, 56. "Is not this (Jesus') mother called Mary, and his (Jesus') brothers James, Joses, Simon and Judas? and his sisters, are they not all with us?"

2. Mary knew she was a sinner. She herself said "My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Saviour" Luke 1:47. Mary needed a Saviour, therefore she must have been a sinner who needed to be saved.

Lev. 12:2 - 8 teaches that if a woman conceives and bears a male child, she is to remain ceremonially unclean for forty days, at the end of which time she is to bring an offering to the temple. Mary obeyed this law. "So when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord . . ." Luke 2"39 (7 days + 33 days. The "eighth day is the first of the thirty three). So Mary showed that she was in need of purification.

As Jesus himself said : "That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit" John 3:6. "Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God" 1 Cor. 15:50. "The soul that sins, it shall die" Ezek. 18:4. "If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us." 1 John 1:8.

3. There is no mention anywhere in the Bible of Mary ascending to heaven. Rather, she disappears from the story in the book of Acts, without any special comment.

If she did go to heaven, she would have to go in her proper time, because the Bible says that Jesus was the "firstfruits" of the dead, that is, Jesus was the first to rise from the dead. "But now is Christ risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep (i.e. died)" 1 Cor. 15:20

In 1 Thess. 4:16 we are told that, when jesus returns to take the reigns of government over planet earth : " . . . the dead in Christ shall rise first." So Mary must still be dead, in her "sleep", waiting, along with everyone else, for the resurrection.

4. Mary does not intercede on anyone's behalf. "For there is one God, and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus." 1 Tim. 2:5. "And as it is appointed for men (mankind) to die once, but after this the judgement, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many." Heb.9:27. Mary, like everyone else, died, (once) and awaits the day of judgement. (Judgement can mean rewards as well as punishments.)

5. Jesus gave his life for all sinners, and finished the work by himself. "Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith (without Mary's help), who, for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." Heb. 12:2 (No mention of Mary sitting with him).

6. Mary is not to be venerated above all women. When the angel Gabriel spoke to Mary, Luke 1:28, he said : "Blessed are you among women." Among, not above. (The same was said of Jael, who killed Sisera : "Most blessed among women is Jael . . . blessed is she among women in tents." Jud.5:24. God does not elevate Mary above other women.

The place of Mary is about the same level as any other godly woman. For examples of this are :

A. John 2 where Jesus spoke respectfully to her at a wedding in Cana : "Woman, what does your concern have to do with me?" This shows that Mary was not to have any power or authority to interfere with her Son's work.

B. Mat. 12:47. When jesus' mother and brethren were trying to get to him through a crowd, Jesus said : "Whoever does the will of my Father is my brother and sister and mother". This puts Mary on the same footing as any other believer.

C. John 19: 25 - 27. When jesus was on the cross he said to John "Behold your mother!" and to his mother "Woman, behold your son!". After this John says "And from that hour that disciple took her to his own home." Here was a good opportunity to mention some special event concerning Mary, but none is added.

D. Acts 1:14. After Jesus has gone to heaven we are told about the disciples : "These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women and Mary the mother of jesus, and his brothers." So Mary is just one of the believers, praying along with everyone else, and this is the last mention of her in the Bible.

Tradition however, knows nothing of truth. Roman Catholic dogma, like the Talmud of the Jews, has grown luxuriantly, embellishing the original words with so much additional material that the original is effectively cancelled out.

Papal decrees elevated Mary to such a high position that she was regarded as shielded from sin by divine grace. This notion, which prevailed from the 12th century, was developed into a papal decree on Dec. 8th 1854. On Nov. 1st 1950 the Bull called Munificentissimus Deus declared the dogma of the Assumption of Mary. This dogma asserts that "the Virgin Mary, the Immaculate Mother of God, when the course of her life was finished, was taken up, body and soul, into the glory of heaven." (Acta Apostolicae Sedis XXXII 1950, page 753 -773).

"Tis strange - but true; for truth is always strange; Stranger than fiction." Lord Byron.

"The least initial deviation from the truth is multiplied later a thousandfold." Aristotle.


Wedges and Lies

A wedge is, (seen from one side) a triangular shape. Try to picture a wedge in your mind, lying with one of its flat sides horizontal. We will call this horizontal side the base line of truth. At one point the wedge is sharp, but its sides do not run parallel. The further one travels from the tip, the further apart are the two sides. Error is like this. We start with a small error, but, given time and the additional errors of misguided people, we move further and further from the original truth.

Now suppose you could spot an error the moment it occurred. Before the error had a chance to proceed, you could destroy the shape of the wedge before it started to grow. Logically, once you begin to follow an error, there is no limit to the distance you will end up apart from the base line of truth.

The lies which Satan told in the Garden were like the departure from the base line. Adam and Eve were deceived into believing half-truths. They thought they would never die. Today there are dozens of misconceptions about death. Astral travel, reincarnation, purgatory, heaven, hell, Nirvana, dream-life, and so on. There is no clear consensus in any general population as to what exactly happens after we die. Even Christians are divided fiercely over the issue - some say we go to heaven when we die, others say we sleep the sleep of death (total extinction) in the grave until the resurrection. Who is right?

It would pay for each of us to study the Bible and find out. The alternative is is go through life believing a load of errors, traditions and misconceptions.

Does it matter how sincere we are in what we believe if we are wrong?


Going to Heaven

Sophocles : "How dreadful knowledge of truth can be when there's no help in truth!"

Charles Sanders Pierce : "Every man is fully satisfied that there is such a thing as truth, or he would not ask any questions."

Charismatic leader Roberts Liardon said that one afternoon in 1974, when he was 8 years old, he was caught up into heaven where he says he met Jesus face to face. Liardon, who now directs his own world wide ministry in Laguna Hills, California, says that Jesus was "about six feet tall, with sandy brown hair, not real short, and not too long." In his book "I Saw Heaven" Liardon says that Jesus escorted him through the gates of heaven where he saw golden streets, dazzling flowers, plenty of mansions, trees that "swayed back and forth dancing and praising as we passed" and a "knee-deep, crystal clear" river of life.

Liardon claims that, when Jesus walked him to the heavenly throne room of God, he noticed "three storage houses 500 to 600 yards away" which, he found out were full of "all of the parts of the human body that people on earth need . . ."

Other people have claimed similar visions, or trips, to heaven (or hell). These include Paul Yonggi Cho, Dr. Richard Eby, Betty Malz, Kenneth Hagin, Marietta Davis, Mary K. Baxter and Morris Cerullo - all leaders and teachers in the Christian Church.

I do not for a moment want to question any of these people as far as their sincerity or integrity are concerned. What I would like to do is compare their experiences with the Bible, and see if there is a match.

The most obvious problem with visions of heaven stories is the clear Biblical affirmation that heaven is a place beyond our ability to describe. Paul, who was "caught up to the third heaven", "heard inexpressible things, things that man is not permitted to tell." 2 Cor. 12:2,4 NIV. With this in mind then, the problems with all "I went to heaven" stories are (1.) "Why are these people permitted to tell the world about it, when Paul was not? and (2.) Why are these people able to tell the world about it?.

Paul stated that what he heard was inexpressible, yet a growing number of charismatic leaders are not only publishing everything they experience, but are also expressing it in vivid detail, down to the colour of heavenly grass, trees and mansions, and even the colour of Christ's hair.

Another point to notice is the mention, in several of the visions, of "mansions". As Jesus said, "In my Father's house are many mansions . . . I go to prepare a place for you." John 14:2.

Vines Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words says that the Greek for "mansion" is "mone" which means primarily 'a staying' or 'abiding'. The same Greek word is translated as 'abode' in verse 23. Vines says "There is nothing in the word to indicate separate compartments in heaven; neither does it suggest temporary resting-places on the road." Despite this clear warning, many modern translations render the verse as "In my Father's house are many rooms . . ."

Visions of heaven frequently include descriptions of multi-roomed Victorian castle-like buildings, so who is right - the visionary or the Bible?

The same question can be asked about the many descriptions of Jesus. In some visions he has sandy brown hair, while in others he has brown hair, or golden locks, or dark hair. It is always possible that Jesus looks different at different times, but none of the descriptions from the visionaries match the description of him in the Bible. "His head and hair were white, like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like a blazing fire" Rev. 1:14. (For further information, see Christian Research Journal, Spring 1993)

I am not in the slightest bit sceptical about the existence of Jesus or heaven. The Bible describes both in terms of realities. But what are we to believe when we have a contradiction between what someone says, and what the Bible says? Which description is true? Does it matter if several world-famous Christian leaders all have similar visions? If a thousand Christian leaders all said that they saw Jesus with black hair, would that make it true?

These are questions we must ask whenever we encounter something different to the words of the Bible.


Angels, Mormons and the Bible

A book came out many years ago, called Angels on Assignment. The author claimed to have met with, talked to, and learned many wonderful things about God, angels and other spiritual things. Most of what the angels said was in line with the Bible, but some of it was completely out of line, yet, taken together with the accurate things, the reader could easily have swallowed the error with the truth.

The Worldwide Church of God has undergone a dramatic change. Members of its ranks, the 'steering committee' you might say, for all doctrinal matters, decided to have a look at some of the church's beliefs. To their surprise, they discovered that their beliefs were not consistent with what the Bible said. Consequently, further checks were made on other beliefs of the church, which led to a landslide of revisions. Today, after losing thousands of members, the Worldwide Church of God declares itself to be so in line with the Bible that it should be accepted as just another branch of the Protestant Mainline Churches.

I have personally helped Mormons to examine their own beliefs. They usually react with surprise, embarrassment and shame when they hear, spelled out clearly to them, just what exactly they believe. (There are two main ways of dealing with cults. One way is to keep showing them what the Bible says. The other way is to show them what they believe - their history, the character of their own founders, and their beliefs. Both ways are effective.)

A friend of mine kept taking the Mormons back to one of their claims. "Do you mean to say" he said, "That you actually believe . . ." Eventually, and rather sheepishly, the Mormons retreated from the door, having realised for the first time how foolish their statement really sounded.

Thomas Jefferson : "We are not afraid to follow truth wherever it may lead, nor to tolerate any error so long as reason is left free to combat it."

Many people are not able to agree with the above statement. They are scared to think about the possibility of being wrong. They justify themselves. They rest on someone else's scholarship, or sermon. They claim to have no time to study the problem for themselves.

For example, how many Christians (of a few years experience) believe in the Trinity, the deity of Christ, His Return, the general Resurrection of all the dead, and Judgement Day? Probably most. But ask them to show, from the Bible they carry, where the Bible actually says these things, and they will usually flounder. So how do they know these things? Because someone else told them. So how do they know what they believe is true? They trust those who have told them.

This is why all religions grow so strong. The followers believe what they are told. Without question. One generation tells the next, and so on, training and indoctrinating the children and new converts. When Jesus challenged the Jewish authorities, he came against the Talmudic traditions, which the Jews held to be on par with God's Word. They taught each new generation from childhood that the writings of the fathers were reliable wisdom. They indoctrinated and brain-washed with fanatical efficiency.

But it wasn't the truth.

Every culture has similar problems. Educating the rising generation is always a matter of myth and lies, truth and tradition.



The writings of Dr. Spock were like a Bible to millions of parents, and a whole generation was raised - educated - in the West on what Dr. Spok said, but many of his ideas have now been proved wrong, or at best in need of revision. What was originally received as truth, is now seen to be error.

In the West, the education system is generally accepted as an enduring, stable institution, but built into are many inconsistencies - noted by Reg and Dena Leighton, in the May 1984 Australian Women's Weekly. Here are some areas in which the truth has been lacking :

1. Girls are better pupils.

It was thought in the past that girls made better pupils than boys. Perhaps in some cases it appeared so, but there is absolutely no evidence (that I know of) that the sex of a child will affect his or her overall performance as a student. What is true is that a passive, docile child, is more easily moulded into the school system, whereas out-going, extrovert children are more difficult to control. More boys than girls fall into this category, hence the lie that boys were not as good at school than girls.

2. Long hours of study ensure good results.

It is now known that quality is more important than quantity. Methods of making the most of shorter times ensure better results than long hours of daydreaming, searching for lost books or mislaid information, interruptions and so on.

3. Success at school ensures success later.

It is impossible to prove this. A student who does poorly may, with determination, drive, better opportunities and high motivation, make more money and achieve a higher status job than a student who flies through with top marks. Another question we need to ask is what constitutes success?

On the other hand, there are cases (such as Winston Churchill) who did poorly at school, but rose to succeed in later life.

4. An IQ test is a true indicator of potential.

Such tests measure a child's skills in verbal, mathematical, conceptual and problem solving areas, but they do not usually test mechanical abilities, personality, artistic flair and creative thinking.

If a teacher has a numerical assessment of his or her pupils, this may adversely affect the way he or she relates to the pupils. A low-rating may become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

5. School is strictly for children.

Many adults are now returning to the classrooms, to gain degrees or qualifications they missed out on when they were young, or to learn new skills.

6. Bright children will learn despite their teachers.

Gifted and specially intelligent children need talented teachers, but what happens when gifted children are not encouraged? They become bored, restless and frequently get into trouble.

7. Spend more money on schools and the standard of education will rise.

It is more important to spend money wisely than in great quantities. Studies have shown that average grades have gone up after a small purchase of books, videos or computers, but little has changed after whole new buildings were provided.

8. School should be started as soon as possible.

Studies have shown that children who start later always catch up to those who have started earlier. Some studies have shown that formal schooling should not start until children are eight or nine.

9. Education should be left to the professionals.

Learning begins long before children go to school. Parents are the best educators usually, teaching children how to talk, dress, clean, cook, build, garden, collect, explore, ask and so on. Without realising it, parents teach their children a huge range of skills - as well as teaching morals, politics, spiritual values and social communication - which is why many schools today are encouraging the parents to share time in the school with the children.

10. Small classes are better than large classes.

Despite numerous studies it has never been proven that children learn more in a class of 15 or 35, but it has been shown that classes of 5 or 6 have a beneficially effect on the children's ability to learn because of the direct and personalised instruction, but there are other factors besides the number of children present which affect the matter. Environment, the physical surroundings of the classroom, the emotional security of the students, and most important the qualities of the teacher all play a part.

"Only the educated are free" - Epictetus (55-135 BC)


How Young is the Earth?

Most children are brought up to believe that the earth and the universe are very old, that is, millions or billions of years old, but there is a large amount of scientific evidence which indicates that this conclusion is totally wrong. Much of the evidence indicates that the earth and universe are in fact only a few thousand years old.

Here is some of that evidence.


The stars of our galaxy, the Milky Way, rotate around the galactic centre at different speeds. The inner ones rotate faster than the outer ones. From observations, including those made by the Hubble telescope, many scientists have realised that the shape of our galaxy does not match its proposed age, which is usually measured in billions of years.

If our galaxy is as old as 10 billion years, it should not have its present spiral shape, but instead should be a featureless mass of scattered stars.

This observed phenomena is called the "winding-up dilemma" and many theories have been proposed to account for it, all of which have come and gone.

The most logical conclusion is that our galaxy is really very young, and that it was formed and set in motion only a very short time ago - perhaps only a few thousand years - otherwise it would not have its present shape.


Comets are usually said to be the same age as our solar system, which is usually said to be about 5 billion years. The presence of comets totally contradicts this.

Comets which orbit close to our sun always lose a huge amount of their material. Even the biggest comet possible could not last much longer than 100,000 years at this rate, yet the average maximum age for a comet is about 10,000 years. If our solar system is as old as some scientists say, there should not be any comets in it.

Possible theories to explain this problem are that :

1. comets might come from an unobserved 'Oort cloud' which is said to be well beyond the orbit of Pluto,

2. comets might come from improbable interactions between passing stars which might knock them into our solar system,

3. comets might come from some sort of planetary effect.

So far none of these three theories have been substantiated by any observed or calculated proof.

The best conclusion which explains the presence of comets is that they are very young - perhaps only a few thousand years - otherwise they would not be there.


Every year, water and winds erode about 25 billion tons of dirt and rock from the continents. This material is washed down from the land by rivers and deposited on the floor of the ocean, where it accumulates as sediment on the hard basaltic ocean floor. The average depth of all the mud in the whole ocean, including the continental shelves, is less than 400 metres.

How old is the earth? Some theories say about three billion years. If the earth is three billion years old we should expect to find sedimentary layers several kilometres deep, but of course we do not. The present depth of sediment is consistent with a very young earth.

One theory for getting rid of the sediment is plate tectonic subduction. This means that the sea floor slides slowly beneath the continents, taking some sediment with it (about 1 or 2 cm per year). This process removes about 1 billion tons per year. Obviously, this leave about 24 billions tons to account for, which does not exist.


Every year, rivers carry about 450 million tons of sodium off the land and into the sea. Only 27% of this sodium leaves the sea in different ways, leaving the remaining 73% in the oceans. This means that the sodium content of the oceans must be steadily increasing, which presents a very difficult problem to those who say that the oceans, along with the earth are three billion years old.

The oceans should be outstandingly salty today if they are as old as the theories say they are, but if the earth is relatively young, then present saltiness (salinity) is about what we should expect to find.


The total energy stored in the earth's magnetic field has steadily decreased by a factor of 2.7 over the past 1000 years. If the earth is as old as some theories would have us believe, the magnetic field should have long disappeared, but if the earth is only a few thousand years old, the present magnetic field is exactly what we would expect to find.


In many mountainous areas, strata thousands of metres thick are bent and folded into hairpin shapes. The usual theory is that, millions of years ago, these strata were buried as relatively horizontal or straight layers of sediment, and then later bent, but modern observers have noted that the bending has not cracked or disrupted the layers.

The only possible explanation for this is that the layers of strata were formed very quickly, and bent into their present shapes very soon after they were formed. This means that the formations must be very young. Since no such formation of similar bent strata is occurring today, the formation of these shapes must also have been quite recent, perhaps only a few thousand years ago - otherwise they would not exist.


Radio halos are rings of colour which form around microscopic bits of radioactive minerals in rock crystals. They are records of radioactive decay.

For example Polonium-210 radiohalos in three different layers of rock in the Colorado plateau indicate that they were each deposited within months of each other. The usual estimate for their deposition is hundreds of millions of years, but the radiohalos would not be the way they are if time periods of this size were allowed for.


All naturally occurring families of radioactive elements generate helium as they decay. If such decay took place through billions of years, much helium should be in the earth's atmosphere. At the same time, helium is being lost all the time to space, but at a very low rate.

Working with the amount of helium being produced and the amount being lost, we find that earth's atmosphere has only 0.05% of the amount of helium it would have accumulated if the earth is several billion years old. Logically, the earth must be much younger that the theories say it is.

Another measurement of the age of the earth can be calculated from the rate of radioactive decay in deep, hot rocks. These rocks are supposed to be billions of years old, yet their helium has still not escaped into the atmosphere as it should have by now.

The helium retention of these rocks shows that they must be only a few thousands of years old, otherwise they would not contain so much helium.



Man, that is theoretical primitive Man, is supposed to have been on earth for millions of years. The Stone Age, as it is called, was supposed to have lasted about 100,000 years, during which time Cro-Magnon and Neanderthal men were supposed to have numbered around 10 million. All that time they were burying their dead with artefacts.

If this is so, then there should be about 4 billion bodies available to examine. Buried bones can last for many thousands of years - some scientists (palaeontologists) say well over 100,000 years in good conditions, yet there are hardly any bones to be found.

Only a few thousand bodies and a handful of artefacts have been found so far - this implies that the so-called Stone Age was only a few hundred years, which means that earth's history is a lot shorter than many people believe.


In modern times human populations are seen to be increasing consistently at more than 1% per year. Allowing for disease, famine, war and so forth, and taking a much more conservative figure of 0.5% every year, we can work backwards to estimate the population of the world in the past. At the rate chosen, it would take only about 4,000 to 5,000 years, starting with four couples, to reach present world population figures.


Carbon-dating is often used to determine the age of an object, but contrary to popular belief, carbon-dating has nothing to do with millions of years. Even with the best analytical equipment available today, the carbon-dating method can be used only to make estimates to an upper limit of 100,000 years.

What usually happens is that those who operate the carbon-dating system calibrate the measurements with great age already built into it. An assumption is made that the substance or object to be tested is already x number of years old, so this is added to the final answer, thus supposedly providing support for what was already assumed.

Carbon-dating can only date things which contain organic carbon - which rules out most fossil bones.

As an example of how unreliable carbon dating methods are : Carbon dating of wood found under lava, which came from the Rangitoto eruption about 200 years ago gave it about the correct age. But when the lava on top of the wood was tested, the result gave it an age of half a million years. How can the lava be older than the wood under it?

As an example of how unreliable carbon-dating is :

living molluscs have had their shells carbon dated at 2,300 years,

new wood was dated at 10,000 years,

mortar from Oxford castle which is about 800 years old was dated as 7370 years,

and freshly killed seals were dated as 1300 years

while mummified seals only 30 years old were dated as 4,600 years.

How too, can a dating method which is so far out with known dates, be used to measure things in terms of millions of years?


What is a fossil? Usually, it is a plant or animals which has been buried quickly and thoroughly by water-borne sediment. Most fossils show evidence of rapid burial because the impression made by softer tissue is still there.

Fossils are said to be millions of years old, yet some fossil bones have been found with the remains of blood cells still in them. How can this be, if the bones are millions of years old? The evidence points to a recent event, otherwise decay would have obliterated the tissues completely.


When rivers reach the sea, they usually continue into the water, dropping their sediments in a fan-shape. The Nile is an obvious example of this, where the delta is used clearly seen on an atlas.

The average rate of silt-dumping under the sea can be measured, and projections made forward and backward in time, which in turn can give us an estimate of the age of the river.

At present average rates, the fan-shaped deposits should be enormously bigger than they are, if the earth is as old as we are told. But if the earth is only a few thousand years old, and present rates of erosion and silt-dumping have remained constant, then the earth must be only a few thousand years old.


Rocks around oil beds are not stable. measurements have shown that they gradually give way to the enormous pressures exerted by the oil beds under and inside them. If oil is as old as we are usually told it is, then it should not be trapped so securely under the rock - but if oil beds are only a few thousand years old, then we should find them as they are at present.

The powerful pressures found within oil beds indicates that they and the rock they are a part of were formed about 10,000 years ago.

(It is also known that oil and coal can be produced in a matter of weeks or even hours in the case of oil, using heat and pressure.)


Present-day rates of erosion can be quite rapid. Some mountain ranges are being eroded away at 2 to 3 cm per year. This may not sound much, but multiply it over a few million years and the entire mountain range is gone. Even allowing for upthrust forces of the earth's crust, the present shape of the earth, given a few million years, should not be what we see today.

But if the earth is only a few thousand years old, and given that erosion has been relatively unchanged, the present shape of the earth is what we would expect to find.


Coal (and oil and gas) are called fossil fuels because they can be burned by Man. Coal is the remains of wood, mainly trees, which were buried very quickly and covered, or sealed, thus preventing the usual breakdown of the cellulose - as we see when a tree falls to the ground in a forest. Under the seal of sediment, the wood turns black and becomes coal.

How is a coal field formed. It must be a rapid event, because natural processes are quick to recycle wood if they are allowed to proceed. Coal fields are often very thick, sometimes whole kilometres thick, representing millions and millions of buried trees.

One theory has it coal is formed by forests constantly dropping leaf and twig litter, which builds up over millions of years. Nowhere in the world has this been seen to be happening. What usually happens is that the litter becomes humus, on which the successive generations of trees feed, thus keeping the layer of humus much the same over thousands of years.

Coal fields are full of tree trunks, which lie at all angles, as if they were tumbled and pushed roughly together. Often the trunks stand vertically through other layers, which shows that rapid burial took place, otherwise the upper part of the trunk would have long decayed.

Coal also often contains marine fossils, which shows that it was not formed in a fresh-water swamp.

Because coal does not require millions of years to form, its presence indicates that the earth may be much younger than some people would believe.

All the above can be said of oil too.


Space researchers were worried that when the first vehicles, or the first men landed on the moon, they would sink into something like 60 metres of dust. This figure was arrived at by a simple calculation based on the presumed age of the earth and moon times the amount of meteorite and cosmic dust dropping down.

If - as it was correctly reasoned - the moon had been there for millions of years, there should be a large quantity of dust on the surface, sufficient to soak up any moon lander - hence the large, round feet on the lander, to help prevent it from sinking in.

If, on the other hand, the earth and moon were very young, perhaps only a few thousand years old, the amount of dust on the moon should be almost insignificant.

As we all know now, the astronauts found a very thin layer of dust, which shows that the moon is probably very young.


It is a fact that all natural processes tend to go from a higher energy level to a lower energy level. To illustrate this, take a brand new car. It arrives as a fully organised machine, with everything working, clean and complete - but leave it outside for a few years and drive it for a while and it gradually falls apart. The paint work flakes off, the plastic perishes and cracks, the tyres wear down . . . eventually it rusts away and is no longer a car.

The world and the universe show the same process. Whole, complete systems are gradually winding down, or falling apart. Galaxies are flying apart. The earth is cooling. The gravitational forces in the earth are weakening. Animal and plant species are disappearing with no new species taking their places. The land is eroding away. The seas are becoming saltier. The atmosphere is degrading.

It should be obvious that a system which is slowly winding down must have, at some point in the past, been 'wound up' to start it all off. It should also be obvious that no disorganised collection of things is working the other way today - that is, nowhere do we find the opposite to the laws of thermodynamics. Disorder never forms into order without some external help. (For example, a house left to itself, will not keep itself clean and tidy without an intelligent organiser).


Reasons why people believe that the earth is millions of years old :

1. They were taught it at school,

2. They think science in general teaches this unanimously

3. They get this message from books, videos, movies, advertising, television programs, songs, paintings, and they hear it from experts in teaching positions,

4. They hardly ever hear the other side of the argument.


Questions and de Bono's Puzzle

Most people of world are occupied at one time or another with a quest for truth. Crimes are investigated, lawyers argue for and against, detectives investigate, police take down names and addresses, children ask questions, movie directors find out histories and design sets, costumes and art to suit . . . and television provides what is meant to be a constant supply of information, some of which is true, some false, some a mixture. Advertising tries to convince us of the truth about a product, or just the truths which are convenient.

In every area of our lives the truth matters.

When truth is not shown to be revealed, people get upset. When a massacre is hidden, or an offence covered over, a whole nation may become interested, such as with the Watergate incident. And who really shot Kennedy? Was there an accomplice? And where did those two young people go when their boat was found empty? Was the captain of the Titanic really urged to move his ship at an unwise speed by one of his passengers? Thousands of questions, thousands of answers, all aimed at finding out the truth.

People go through life asking why, and where, and who and what, and when, and all the variables in between. In most cases the questions may seem mundane, but they are still based on a search for what is true.

Libraries are full of millions of facts, which some people spend years searching through as part of their research projects. Other people in the world are busy massing facts, for documentaries, books, videos or scientific programs. Millions of computers are at this very moment recording, processing and storing facts, and why? Because humans (made in the image of a truth-loving God) are trying to know the truth too.

But what is truth?

One way of answering this is to ask what is NOT truth. By eliminating the errors, we should arrive at something which has no errors. Like the classification system developed by Linnaeus, which narrows a creature down through different categories, restricting the definition until it can be only one thing and no other.

Or we can compare what we are thinking about with similar things, and with different things, so that by comparison we may possibly decide what is the truest version. C.S.Lewis went through a process similar to this when he compared the different religions, which he called myths, until one day he realised that behind them there must be a "true myth". The New Testament was arrived at by a similar method, by comparing all the thousands of fragments, quotes and copies, until the consensus of all the pieces defined what was the most authentic. Errors were easy to spot because they were in the minority.

Or we may exhaustively examine what we want to define as true until we have collected what we think is enough information about it to be sure that we have defined it.

Or it may be like a person who buys and trains a dog, until eventually that person knows that particular dog from all others simply because of familiarity.

How do we identify a counterfeit, except by comparing it with the original. How do we know we have the original except by comparing it with fakes.

However, the further we look into the truth the harder it becomes to find it. The nearer to the truth we come, the more accurately it must be defined. It is the lack of definition which leads so many people to ask sincere but foolish questions.

For example, Edward de Bono once raised this question about God - the God of the Bible - being omniscient. (All-knowing.) If God knows all things, that is absolutely everything, then he should not be able to think. Why? Because as soon as God tries to raise a question, or consider something, he cannot go any further. He already knows the answer, or product, or outcome. So said Edward de Bono.

This, of course, is a question for theologians and philosophers, but even a layman like myself can see the holes in the argument.

1. What we humans mean by omniscience and what God means are two different things. They are not totally different, but they are different enough to make nonsense of Mr. Bono's question.

2. Our definition of "think" may not be wide enough to include the full meaning of "omniscience". Does omniscience really mean all-knowing? or does it mean more than this? Omniscience might include the ability to know all things, but transcend it in many other ways.

3. Buried in the question are two entities : God and Man. God is the Creator, Man is the creature. There is an enormous gap between the two. The question I would like to ask is whether Man is capable of understanding the God of the Bible well enough to deal with the problem which Mr. Bono raised. I doubt it.


Chasing the Moon


As an illustration, I remember a time when I saw two children playing outside on the path to their house. The four year old saw the moon, while she was standing at one end of the path, and the two year old saw the same moon from the other end of the path. The four year old walked down the path and thought the moon was following her. She laughed and ran back to where she had started, saying that her sister couldn't see the moon anymore because she had "taken it away", and now she intended to keep it.

Could an adult explain to that child about perspective, optical illusions and the effect of distance on the relative positions of objects set with a spatial framework? It is highly unlikely. The truth, though reasonably clear to an adult, is totally obscure to an infant.

Edward de Bono thought he had 'caught God out' with his question. What he was doing in fact was :

1. Betraying his lack of information

2. Betraying his position as a creature rather than a Creator

3. Using a very crude weapon to poke at his limited idea of the Almighty, Everlasting Father.

It is interesting that Jesus said "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me." John 10:27. There is an intimacy implied in these words. The shepherds of Jesus' day knew every sheep by name, and could call them one by one to their side. The sheep could discern the difference between one shepherd and another, and would come only to the one they trusted. As far as the sheep were concerned, they knew the truth about their shepherd, and of course Jesus the Great Shepherd, the Creator of the sheep, knows all there is to know of his own.

William Makepeace Thackeray : "Truth is one forever absolute, but opinion is truth filtered through the moods, the blood, the disposition of the spectator."

Anias Nin : "There are very few human beings who receive the truth, complete and staggering, by instant illumination. Most of them acquire it fragment by fragment, on a small scale, by successive developments, cellularly, like a laborious mosaic."

So we have arrived at an important step in the unveiling of truth. It is a matter of definitions. It is a matter of knowing what something is, and what that same something is not. It has a personal side and a technical side. It depends on intelligent memory and the ability to think. Truth may exist without being known to exist by humans. It does not need a human to understand it to be valid. It can be valid without any human knowing it exists - like a mountain flower which blooms and dies unappreciated and alone, or like a distant galaxy, which only a 20th century telescope could be used to discover.

Truth and magic are closely linked. The magician tries to make people see things which those same people know cannot be true. Rabbits, cars and elephants do not just disappear, cards do not cut themselves in half or move around a deck by themselves, people do not walk through walls, or fly, or survive swords passing through them. The audience knows this, but it likes to think that reality, or truth, can be changed. (Some people are more interested in finding out how the trick was done - the alternative truth).

Magicians make fun of truth. They throw the joke back at the audience. "You know this can't possibly happen, but you think you saw it happen." The audience is made to feel foolish and ignorant, yet bright and intelligent too, because it thinks it knows that certain things are impossible.

And why do we laugh at someone else's stupidity? Why is the fool considered important in Shakespearean plays? Why do we need a foil to laugh at? Because the fool, or clown, makes the audience feel smarter. Because the fool is out of place in a world where most people think they know the truth. But do they?

I challenged some people to tell me what a certain object on the floor was. It was a shoe. They got it right first try. But then I explained that the shoe was made of chemicals, molecules, atoms, sub-atomic particles and so on, down to quarks and beyond. So what we thought was a shoe, on one level of truth, was in fact a complete mystery on other levels. Energy, light, gravity, electromagnetic fields . . . the further we go, the harder the truth is to find.

So what do most people do in a world full of different levels of truth? They settle for the familiar. The world they know, through their senses and some thought, is the world they accept as mostly the real one. Real to them that is. They usually know in an abstract sort of way about other things - radio waves, light waves, x rays and so on, but these are not the immediate experience, so they become the irrelevant concepts of the shadows. The words they hear in the background.

Which is why science is rarely headline news in the newspapers. Reality for most people is summed up by the main fare on television and other mass media. There are various reasons for this of course, which other people more qualified than me could do a better job of discussing, but as I see it, one of the main reasons why people are content to live on only one level of truth is because they have never been educated in any other.

Parents raise their children to be, more or less, copies of themselves. Peer pressure, the media, the entertainment industry, advertisers and others all add their weight to the moulding process. One generation replaces the next with a copy of itself. Cloning would be too hard a word. Replication would be closer to the mark. The right kind of education can change the machinery, but the new birth is the best way to correct the fault.


Truth and Science

The editorial in the Creation magazine March - May 1998 said "Compromise with evolution and longageism has weakened and undermined the influence of Christianity in our culture. Therefore it is not surprising to see an unprecedented flourishing of all manner of crazy cults, occult practices, and bizarre superstitions, even among the intelligentsia. This link between decades of evolutionary brainwashing and the rise of irrational pseudo science is confirmed by careful sociological research in, of all places, The Sceptical Inquirer (Page 18 - 31, Summer 1980)

"The authors of the research report make it clear that they expected that freedom from 'the ancient myths of traditional religions' (as they regard the Bible) would usher in a new era of rational, reasonable thought.

"Their findings showed otherwise. Conservative (or 'traditional' or 'fundamentalist') Christians, the most likely to reject evolution, were also the most likely to reject 'occult and pseudo-scientific notions'.

'Furthermore geographical surveys showed that in areas where such Darwin-rejecting churches are the weakest, there is the greatest flourishing of cults, occult activity and various forms of superstition.

"The authors also state that it would be a mistake to assume that religious liberals (e.g. those who endorse evolution, long ages, etc) had "superior minds of great rationality"; they are in fact "much more likely to accept the new superstitions". Those who declared themselves as having "no religion or only nominal religion are especially likely to accept deviant, exotic alternatives to Christianity, just as they are likely to accept Darwin. Bible-believers are the ones who "appear most virtuous according to scientific standards when we examine the cults and pseudo-sciences proliferating in our society today."

The word "science" comes from the root "to know". It is a way of knowing the truth, or finding as much of it as possible. Interesting that the further people go from the Bible, the more non-truth they are willing to believe.


The Church - what is it?

Since the Bible itself claims to be, and is by believers claimed to be, the source of truth, the theme of the following chapters will be centred mainly on discovering what the Bible says about a selection of things. Obviously, this book could not be exhaustive in its scope, because the number of subjects is too vast to include them all, so the subjects chosen are mainly of interest to the author, and, hopefully to many of the readers as well.

The church - people, or building?

Some people say : "I am going to church" and by that they mean they are going to a certain building, while other people say the same thing and mean a group of Christians, who might, for argument's sake be meeting in a field, or in a house.

The church is a group of Christians who are committed to each other, who meet regularly for worship, prayer and sharing of meals, who are helped by elders. The church refers to people living for and doing things for Christ. The 'Early Church", meaning the believers who lived together in Jerusalem just after Jesus ascended to heaven, met in homes and the synagogue, but when they were expelled from the synagogue, they maintained home fellowships. The early church grew at an incredible rate - until traditions set in, and extra rules and regulations were imposed on the believers.

Nowhere in the NT are Christians told to build a church building - convenient though it may be. Nowhere are Christians told to wear special clothes . . . but today the Church has become so complicated, the original shape of it has been buried.

Today we have multitudes of denominations, orders, job titles, plans, books, halls, centres, colleges, funding schemes, rituals, orders of service and so on, all of which seem to serve good purposes, but where is the Church which Jesus started. What has Man done to it?

"Church" comes from the Greek "ekklesia" which means an assembly or meeting. It does not refer to an organisation or a building. It has not denominational tag.

Wherever a group of believers meet, elders can be elected or appointed, and there we have a church. There is no need to sign a membership card, or even to attend every week. The Christians should live around the same locality, and work there, winning the neighbours through witnessing, hospitality and good works.

I recommend the book "The Bride of Christ" by Ronald McKenzie, Craig Printing Company Ltd. Invercargill.

How did the original church grow? By splitting into small groups and expanding through the homes. This is not to say that there is no place for a large meeting, in a hall. Corporate worship is edifying and inspiring. But the central building idea is not mandated in the NT - for several good reasons.

One is that the building consumes huge amounts of money. Another is the immobility of it. As populations change, the Christians cannot move with them, but remained fixed in one spot. Another is the fact that community needs change constantly, and a single building is usually too inflexible to change with the needs. Another is the fact that most unbelievers think church buildings are strange and even threatening places.

A whole book could be written (and several already have) about the difference between what Jesus set up, and what Man has built. The following summary may help to expose the stark contrast between present day 'church' and the model which Christians ought to be following:

There is no scriptural warrant for :

one-pastor churches

boring sermons

silent congregations

fixed, permanent church buildings

professional clergy

theological schools or colleges



benches in a row

two songs

a prayer

the offering

the Sunday morning sermon

church splits over doctrine

church doctrinal statements

compulsory tithing

wimpy denunciations of error

neckties and suits to be worn at meetings



altar rails

church buildings

Sunday School

Children's Church

Youth Ministries

churches without elders

Separating the people of God into individual small groups in separate rooms for special treatment/lessons/fellowship, though there are times when this is very useful and practical.

Some Christian meetings ban women from speaking or praying, but there are several NT verses which show that women are permitted to contribute in every way to the fellowship. Acts 2:17, 18. 1Cor. 14:26. 1Cor. 11:4,5. Acts 18:1 - 5, 18 - 26. Romans 13:7. 1Tim.5:2 - possible refers to "lady elders".

As 1Cor. 14:26 says "Whenever you come together, EACH OF YOU has a psalm, has a teaching, has a language, has a revelation, has an interpretation . . ." Open meetings give the reigns back to the Holy Spirit, allowing Him to move through, and use all, of His people.

As Ronald Mckenzie : "Rather than restricting the ministry of women, we should be encouraging them to take up the gifts that God has given them. They must be encouraged to exercise the ministries to which God has called them . . ." (page 30)

But some people say that the present church structures must be good because they have lasted so long. The reason churches last so long is because, even when they have died, they continue on their institutional framework. Some dead churches probably last hundreds of years on the traditions and formalised rules they started with!

In Revelation 3:20 Jesus is pictured standing outside the church, knocking on its door and asking to be let in. It seems absurd to think of a church - a group of people claiming to be Christians - actually shutting the door to Jesus - the founder and sustainer of the the Church!

The fact that some things last a long time does not mean they are good. God may bless, in a small way, an institution which has believers in it who sincerely want to please Him, but how much more could he do if the believers abandoned their traditions and went back to the pattern in the NT?



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