A Problem with Link Fossils

Originally the coelacanth was believe to be a transitional form between fish and amphibians. This was because its bone structure was different from most present-day fish. The coelacanth fish was believed to be extinct. However, in 1938 a fisherman caught two living coelacanths. He brought them to some scientists who studied the creature. After studying the creatures soft tissue they realized that the coelacanth was merely a fish and not a transitional form.

“If the case of the coelacanth illustrates anything, it shows how difficult it is to draw conclusions about the overall biology of organisms from their skeletal remains alone. Because the soft biology of extinct groups can never be known with any certainty, then obviously the status of even the most convincing intermediates is bound to be insecure.” – Michael Denton


Quito, Ecuador: Ecuador Mission Trip Part 2

Quito, Ecuador is a city of paradoxes. Its beautiful mountains are populated by an arid landscape that oddly, has many tropical trees and fruits. Set right on the equator, the people in Quito will wear sweaters in July when it is 60 degrees.  Every house, building, church, and hotel is barricaded by tall fences with barbed wire, or concrete walls jutted with glass on top. I felt as if the city were screaming “Stay Out!” But then, as we entered the Compassion school, adorable little five to ten year old kids would come running to us and jump IMG_0059 (2)up and down asking to be held. They would laugh and giggle and act as if they felt completely safe in the arms of a stranger.

Perhaps this is a paradox; cold walls keeping you out, warm hearts inviting you in. Or perhaps this is a testimony to the change Christ creates in people’s hearts.  The church (Iglesia ChriIMG_0160stiano Carmen Bajo) and the Compassion school are run by devoted Christians who show Christ’s love to the children and their families.   We got to partner along-side the Compassion staff and be a part of the impact they have on the children. We helped with Elementary games, crafts, dance and preparing a hot meal – which for some kids is the only meal they may get (Compassion also hosts a preschool in mornings).

What We Did and Where We Went: Ecuador Mission Trip Part 1

A group of 42 people, consisting of individuals and families from my church went to serve at a church in Quito that is located in the neighborhood of Carmen Bajo. The church is also linked with a Compassion school in the same neighborhood. Every day members of our group worked at a construction site at the church and/or played with the elementary children of the Compassion school. I got the privilege to work at the construction site during the mornings and play all afternoon with the children.

The children are so friendly and just want to be loved on. They would run up and give us big hugs and then ask to be held, and never wanted to be put back down. I was struck by the openness they had towards us, even though we were basically strangers. It was such a blessing to love on these children.

Later, at the end of the week, I went on a house visit. There I saw firsthand what these Compassion children lived in – dark, foul smelling, tiny, houses in which family relationships were often strained and sometimes abusive. It was terrible, and I was appalled at the inhumanity these children had to live in.

Because of this visit, I better appreciated the Compassion program and began to understand why the children were so loving and always asking for hugs. This building was their safehouse. The Compassion building was where they were able to be loved unconditionally, eat a hot meal, and learn about Jesus. This was their home.

My siblings and I have decided to sponsor a Compassion child, hopefully in Carmen Bajo, because of the house visit and seeing how important the Compassion program is to these children.

The kids literally piled on me during story times

Intro to Mission Trip to Ecuador

Hello audience!

I apologize for not writing anything during the past (how many?) months its has been. I have been very focused on passing my college credit classes. After finishing strong in my schoolwork, I then served at Life Action Family Camp for the month of June as the Assistant Director of Film and Media. That was an amazing experience and I would not have traded it for the world. In fact, I will probably write more about that some other time.

However, more interesting to you would be my most recent adventure to Ecuador! Although this blog has been more focused on ideas, theology, philosophy, and abstract thoughts… I do want to show you all that you can’t just talk the talk but that you also need to walk the walk. And Christ blessed me with the financial support and the physical health to display my faith by traveling with my church to Quito.

I hope the ensuing posts will be an inspiration to you all to continue to reexamine your lifestyles, always ask questions, and strive to live honorably. For we have been COMMISSIONED to love others, share the good news, and disciple others (Matt. 28:18-20). I hope my following posts will be a testimony of my love for Jesus Christ and also be an encouragement to you.

Blessings in our Lord Jesus Christ,


Who Goes to Hell?

What is Hell? For centuries, the idea of hell has fascinated people. Everyone who has lived has clearly wondered what happens when they die. Throughout the Western World during the Renaissance, there were three varied views about this: the view of the Greeks, the ideas expressed by Dante, and the Christian view of the Bible. Predictably, some of the ideas in these views are similar, although very different in matters of who is there and what their punishment is. They have progression in matters of why people are there, and what the levels of punishments are, but none of them show the Christian view.

In the Greek view, all are punished. Equally, everyone goes to hell. Even the mightiest of heroes go there, as readily shown by Hector’s death in the Iliad, “The shrouds of death enfolded him, whereon his soul went out of him and flew down to the house of Hades” (Illiad 22.371-72).  Every soul goes to hell, even those who are the greatest by Greek standards. Having traversed there, their sentence is then pronounced by judges. Everybody is judged to be punished, from the good to the evil. If you had lived an extraordinary life, you went to the best part. However, most of the dead souls end up as shades, floating around eternally like leaves because of their mediocre lives. Obviously, Greeks believed that everyone went to Hell and were judged according to their deeds.

In Dante’s hell, a slightly different view of Hell is expressed: all who were not baptized went to Hell with progressive punishments. In Dante’s Inferno, it says, “That they sinned not; and if they merit had, ‘tis not enough, because they had not baptism” (IV. 34-35). If one who was not baptized died, that person went to Hell, no matter how they had performed during life because they had not entered into the realm of God via baptism. Having been decided their eternal place of residence, they were subsequently judged by Minos, the former King of Crete. “Seeth what place in Hell is meet for it; girds himself with his tail as many times as grades he wishes it should be thrust down” (Inferno V. 10-12). Everyone is judged by Minos to see where in Hell they belonged. If their sin was small, their punishment would be small. Likewise, if their sin was excessive, so would would their punishment. In Dante’s view, all unbaptized went to Hell, with sin being punished according to severity.

In the final view, Christianity, all the unrighteous are punished in Hell, and punished equally. “And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20.15). Every person who has not accepted God’s free gift of eternal life with Him will consequently be sentenced to an eternal separation from Him which is called Hell. All sinners are judged equally based on this status. They are then thrown into the burning pit called Hell and eternally separated from God because of their unbelief. If one is not a Christian, they are unsaved and must dwell in Hell for eternity.

In the Greek view, everyone went to Hell and were judged according to works. Dante’s view was slightly different in the fact that only the unbaptized went to Hell. Clearly, their precise level of punishment is still determined by their deeds, however. The Christian view holds that those who are unsaved go to Hell, and are punished because of their rejection of life with God and their unrepentance of sins. Although these views are somewhat similar, it is obvious that the Greek view and Dante’s view differ from the Biblical one. Their punishment is the greatest deciding factor because of their greatest difference. How is this? While the Christian and Dante’s view both restrict the occupants of Hell, Dante’s limits it even more by requiring baptism. In the Bible, it says nothing about needing to be baptized to be saved, but only that it is a symbol of the faith. Only God can save a soul from Hell.

Two Artists, The Renaissance, and God

During the Renaissance, man saw everything in relation to himself.  Man conquered all. Man measured all. Man made his own worldview.  Why should they not be able to ?  God became irrelevant because of this pride.  Predictably, this quickly caused humanism.  Every man was affected by this mind set, which spread like a disease .  Two contemporaries, Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci, show this mindset well.  Although they possessed distinctly different views about man, they had the same basic assumptions.

Michelangelo, like most other men of the time, believed the self to be the most important thing.  Clearly, this is evident in many of his greatest works.  His statues of men tearing themselves out of rock depicts this idea well.  Working on his own, man could liberate himself from the bonds of the world.  Because of this, man will always be victorious.  If man could fully tear himself out of solid rock, how could he ever fail at anything? However, Michelangelo’s most excellent example of humanism is found in his greatest work of art.  David was the humanistic ideal.  This man, who was perfect, was the man of tomorrow.  When looking at this statue, one would have confidence in what man could do because of his greatness.  However, in Michelangelo’s later works, human pride seems lessened, even to the extent of putting his own face on the man holding the dead Jesus.  Despite this, it can be concluded that he once thought that man was everything like every other man of the day.

Leonardo da Vinci, however, foresaw the problem of man, but failed to do anything about it.  By only looking at particulars, man would never decipher any meaning or absolutes.  Man was like a machine.  Seeing this, Leonardo tried to paint absolutes, which was what man could not figure out.  However, Leonardo still tried to find them in himself and what he observed.  Because of this, he failed in his attempts.  How could he think that he could find the answer to a problem without addressing it in himself?  Leonardo correctly assessed the problem of man, but ultimately failed to change it in himself because of his personal pride.

During this period of the Renaissance, man was everything.  Although Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci lived during the same time, their responses to this were very different as revealed by their art.  Michelangelo embraced human pride at the beginning of his life, but his later works revealed that he thought less of humanism toward the end of his life.  Leonardo da Vinci, however took an distinctly different approach.  Starting with the belief that humanistic particulars would go nowhere, he attempted to find absolutes like Plato of old.  Unfortunately, he tried to find these within himself, which resulted in failure.  Both men tried and failed to make a coherent man-centered view.  What was the reason for their failure? The Bible clearly explains that it was so because the only way to find meaning in life is through God.  Clearly, human pride has no room in God’s word.